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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Murdaugh Lead Prosecutor on Killer's Conviction and Life Sentence; CNN Tracks Down Those Who Knew 13-Year-Old Who Lost Mother In Russia Shelling, Read Apparently Scripted Words At Moscow Rally; International Criminal Court Investigating Reports Of Deportation Of Ukrainian Children Held By Russia. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 03, 2023 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: He tells "Out Front," "Most basal cell carcinoma surgeries go very well and our experience is that these things very, very rarely come back."

Biden's doctor says no cancerous tissue remains and no further treatment is needed.

Thanks so much for joining us. I'll be back at nine for a special hour, CNN Primetime: "Navalny: And the Cost of Standing up to Putin."

But now it's time for AC 360.


And take a look, this is the face tonight of Alex Murdaugh, convicted killer; his head shaven at a South Carolina prison system intake facility on his way within the next several weeks to serving two consecutive life sentences, life without parole for murdering his wife, Maggie and son, Paul.

This is also the face of a man whose family name was once synonymous with the law in the county in South Carolina and that he lived in, a scion of multiple generations of Murdaugh's in the legal profession and criminal justice system there.

At today's hearing in the Courthouse where his grandfather's portrait once hung, Murdaugh was sentenced. He spoke briefly, but Judge Clifton Newman had the last word.


ALEX MURDAUGH, CONVICTED OF KILLING HIS WIFE AND SON: I would never, under any circumstances hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son, Paul-Paul.

CLIFTON NEWMAN, JUDGE, SOUTH CAROLINA CIRCUIT COURT: It might not have been you, it might have been the monster you've become when you take fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty opioid pills -- maybe you become another person. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well tonight, a primetime exclusive interview with Creighton Waters, lead prosecutor in the case who made it plain in his remarks today in Court exactly who Alex Murdaugh was to him.


CREIGHTON WATERS, LEAD PROSECUTOR: No one who thought they were close to this man knew who he really was, and Your Honor, that's chilling. And I've looked in his eyes and he likes to stare me down as he would walk by me during this trial and I could see the real Alex Murdaugh when he looked at me.


COOPER: Mr. Waters, thanks for joining us. We just heard you say that you knew Alex Murdaugh was the killer as soon as you looked into his eyes.

When you heard him today continuing to declare his innocence, I'm wondering what went through your mind.

WATERS: Nothing more than the same. I think after he said that, I had got up and said words to the effect of, what more needs to be said?

You know, the truth is not in this man, and I think that was a big part of what the jury saw and certainly a part of I believe what led them to the right verdict that they reached.

COOPER: Were you surprised at all by the speed of the jury's deliberations?

WATERS: Well, I've always said that, you know, trial lawyers tend to be a little superstitious and I try, frankly, not to think about things like that and people come up and talk to you while you're waiting.

And I'll say this, though, we had put so much out there. It had been such a huge effort by the whole team and you saw the whole team in action.

I probably was less nervous waiting for this verdict than I ever had, and not because of overconfidence, but I just felt like we had done all we can do.

But yes, usually when you get a verdict within a short period of time, that's generally good for the State. But you know, you never like to even consider that until you actually hear the word that you want to hear.

COOPER: This was obviously a very complex trial. There was a lot of moving parts to it, a lot of evidence was circumstantial.

One of the State's key focuses was the timeline that night, and when you got up and you went through all the things that would have had to occur to have not been Alex Murdaugh, I thought that was extraordinary and I just want to play that for our viewers.


WATERS: So what you're telling this jury is that it's a random vigilante that just happened to know that Paul and Maggie were both at Moselle on June 7th, they knew that they would be at the kennels alone on June 7th, and knew that you would not be there, but only between the times of 8:49 and 9:02.

That they show up without a weapon, assuming that they're going to find weapons and ammunition in there, that they commit this crime during that short time window, and then they travel the same exact route that you do around the same time to Alameda.

That's what you're trying to tell this jury?

MURDAUGH: You've got a lot of factors in there, Mr. Waters, all of which I do not agree with, but some of which I do.


WATERS: It's interesting, you know, obviously, that timeline was very crucial evidence. And, you know, it really tells a story.

You know, we have to remember this guy was an experienced lawyer, doing sometimes complex accident cases. He's a part-time assistant solicitor, and there is a hundred years of prosecution legacy in his family.

And so as we started to look at that timeline, it really appeared that this was a man who was manufacturing an alibi and that these time periods were more compressed than seemed reasonable.


WATERS: You know, and I think it's kind of ironic that he was using his cell phone and this kind of data to construct an alibi, but in the end, that kennel video, I think, really caught him.

But the chain of circumstances, even though the burden is on the State, the chain of circumstances that he was trying to get this jury to believe, just defied any sort of logic that this could have occurred, and I think it was compelling to the jury.

COOPER: Do you have any sense of when he came up with this decision to kill his son and to kill his wife? Because as you said, he was laying the groundwork for this from, you know, that -- I mean, that day -- earlier that day, at the very least.

Do you have any sense of how long he had planned this?

WATERS: You know, one of the things I described with him, and this is why I think it was important for the jury to hear this is the, I think, I've used roller coaster or hamster wheel that he had been on for a decade. And it's really, you know, as you look at it, and look at it in its entirety, it's really exhausting. And these pressures were building, they were coming to a culmination

and he was running out of options. I think that the other thing that was very important to him was this family legacy. I think that was more important to him than anything aside from his own personal things that he would suffer if all this was exposed.

When that exact moment was, I don't know, but I do know that all of these pressures, I called it a gathering storm, a perfect storm, were arriving on June 7th.

And whether it was that day, or whether he had been thinking about it for a while, I don't think we'll ever know. There is only one person who can answer that.

But what I do know is that as the storm -- as that storm arrived, as he was running out of options, as he was faced with ruin of not just himself, but again, that family legacy as his son had become a liability that threatened to expose him, that's -- all those came to a head on June 7th and that's the day they died.

COOPER: You also pointed out just sort of the impunity that he and maybe other members of his family, some of his kids, maybe Paul, but the impunity that he felt he had.

I mean, it was his great grandfather, his grandfather, his father had all been the prosecutors in this area in South Carolina. I mean, it seemed like he figured he can do just about anything.

WATERS: Oh, absolutely. And that's what we -- you know, I never knew him. I did work with his father years ago on a case. But, you know, with Alex, as we studied this more and more as the white collar stuff, as we investigated that over months and months of investigation, we really started to get a picture of this man in talking to the people that that knew him or thought they knew him, because the one thing that ultimately revealed is no matter how close -- the closest people in his life, had no idea who he was, which I said was chilling.

So as we started to discover that, as we started to realize that, you know, that became very clear and very apparent that he had never faced accountability in his life and had always been able to escape that, and that that was more important to him than anything.

That's why I was always convinced that he would testify in this case, that he was assured that he could talk his way out of it one more time. Maybe not out of all the trouble, but certainly talk his way out of this. Obviously, the jury saw otherwise.

COOPER: He said it even today and in the court was I would never do anything to hurt Maggie or Paul, Paul-Paul, he said today, which obviously he was talking about the murder, but he was -- I mean, he hurt them repeatedly for -- I mean, he was stealing money. I mean, he was ruining their lives.

He was the distant father because he was a drug addict who had been lying to everybody and was stealing from all these people. The idea that he hadn't already hurt them, even without killing them is just another lie.

WATERS: Yes, and again, I'm not a psychologist, and I'm not trying to diagnose anyone here. But you know, I think there's an element of narcissism there.

I think that to some extent, you know, he almost saw this as a necessary action so that they wouldn't have to suffer the consequences of any of this coming out.

But I think he's very careful in how he says things. He's a lawyer and his cross examination was very interesting in dealing with him. You know, one of the things I wanted to do, unlike a typical cross where you really try to control the conversation is to start with a constructive cross and get him talking because I felt like, you know, he believed he could look at that jury and really convince them, but I felt if I got him talking, he would eventually, you know, he would eventually lie, and they would get to see that in real time, see that in action.

But I think also they got frustrated by kind of the things he was saying and if you really listened to what he was saying, you know it's very careful in how he words it. You know he says he'd never hurt them, you know at one point he said he never "intentionally hurt" them.


WATERS: You know, a lot of times people try to live with the things they've done by qualifying it or say that wasn't the real me or things like that. He had a very well-known and common tell that whether it was on the videos, the law enforcement interviews, or even on the stand, that when he said things that are a lie, he would shake his head forward like this, while he's doing that.

COOPER: Is that right?

WATERS: Those were all things for the jury to consider.

COOPER: That's incredible.

WATERS: Yes, yes, and so -- you know, and I pointed that out to the jury, but I think the main thing was, you know, establishing with them that nobody who knew this man knew who he really was. He lies effortlessly, he lies convincingly. And he looked in their eyes and lied to them about perhaps the most important fact of this whole case, you know, about when was the last time he saw his wife and his son alive?

And only when he was backed into yet another corner did he come up with this latest version, and obviously, the jury saw through that. And I think, you know, he got up there very, very confident that he was going to -- you know, this is his community, and he has always been able to do this that, he was going to get them on his side.

COOPER: We're going to take a short break. We're going to have more of my conversation with Creighton Waters when we come back, including his take on that exact moment on the stand.

And later, the Ukrainian girl who ended up at the center of Vladimir Putin's propaganda rally. How she got there? And what would happen to her and thousands of other kids could be a war crime.



COOPER: More now on my primetime exclusive conversation with Alex Murdaugh's lead prosecutor, Creighton Waters.

Before the break, we talked about Murdaugh being forced to admit he lied about when he last saw his wife and son. That's where we pick things up.

I want to play just some of what he said on the stand on that crucial day when he suddenly admitted that he had been lying all along.


WATERS: The second that you're confronted with facts that you can't deny, you immediately come up with a new lie. Isn't that correct?

MURDAUGH: Mr. Waters, as we established, I have lied many times.

I told a lie about being down there and I got myself aware to that.

Other than lying to them about going to the kennel, I was cooperative in every aspect of this investigation.


COOPER: Do you think he lied to his attorneys? At what point in the trial did he decide I've got to take the stand and I've got to admit -- I mean, was it just because the preponderance of evidence of all the people you brought forward, who said, yes, that was his voice at the kennel that night on the tape?

WATERS: Well, I think so. And now, obviously, I'm not privy to what he says to his attorneys and don't want to be and I have a good working relationship with both Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian.

You know, when he started talking about this, you know, I pointed out that even his own lawyer, you know, as late as November of 2022 and now they say whenever it was recorded, but still, you know, it has been publicly repeated what had been -- what he initially claimed.

If you look at the statements to law enforcement, his lawyers were sitting, you know, at least his lawyer on the June 10th one is sitting in there where he tells this lie. And of course, I pointed out and he conceded that his own brothers, weren't hearing that for the first time on the stand.

There is a reason why we continue to bring up family and friends who had other relevant evidence, but have them identify that video because, you know, initially in this case, you heard the testimony from one of the friends of Paul, that -- and you heard it also on the August 11th interview with David Owen, that, you know, the friend had said, I thought I heard Alex in the background when I was talking to Paul about the dog.

And, you know, that was easy for Alex to deny, because, you know, again, witnesses, you can say, well, they don't remember and they equivocate and he was like, well, you know, he's wrong, I would be surprised if that wasn't happening.

And he wasn't -- you know, I don't think he liked that, but he wasn't as concerned.

But when the kennel video came out, it became, you know, impossible.

COOPER: One of the things I thought was so effective when you pointed out was, you know, he said, okay, you know, I lied then and it was because of paranoia because of the drugs I was taking.

He had also testified in the stand that he was sober, I think for some several hundred days. And, you know, rightly proud of that. And yet, as you pointed out, he continued to lie, while sober all of those hundreds of days.

I mean, it was -- yes, which I just thought was very, very damning. I mean, the idea that this was just a drug fueled paranoia, you know, that he did eventually wake up from and he is still continuing to lie about?

WATERS: Well, and if you recall it, and then this cross again, I wanted to get him talking. I wanted to let him talk and there were pauses, and he couldn't help himself and he kept adding new things.

You know, there were a number of things he said, well, I decided to lie because I was paranoid because I had a bag of pills in my pocket. He didn't even really describe it as some sort of overwhelming paranoia. I mean, I think he likened it to, you know, being paranoid if a police car gets behind you driving down the road, but he described that.

He said that he had a distrust of SLED. He said that, you know, his law partners told him not to talk without an attorney, and there were a number of factors that he identified.

And, you know, one of the last questions to him in my cross examination was to play the video with Daniel Greene and point out on the 9-1-1 call that he was lying about the time periods out of the gate, and that was long before those factors had existed.

And, you know, pointed out that you know, about the most important part of his testimony, he had just lied to that jury. And you know, I think a lot of times as a lawyer you get to look in the jurors eyes and you know, it's always a read and they can obviously speak for themselves if they decide to speak, but I just think that they saw him lying in action and saw how easily he could do it.

And it's hard to get by the fact of lying about being at the murder scene with the victims just minutes before they died.

COOPER: I just want to quickly play that 9-1-1 call.


MURDAUGH: I need the police and ambulance immediately. My wife and child have been shot badly.

DISPATCHER: Are they breathing?

MURDAUGH: No, ma'am.

DISPATCHER: Okay, and you said it's your wife and your son?

MURDAUGH: My wife and my son.


DISPATCHER: What is your name?

MURDAUGH: My name is Alex Murdaugh.


COOPER: You know, again, to hear this stuff now and with the -- now, with the convictions and you know all that crying, you know, maybe he was crying because he was emotional, I don't know. But you just see it and you hear it in a different light, obviously.

WATERS: Well, absolutely and again, many people commit terrible crimes, and they're very upsetting. You know, I think Judge Newman said that today that Maggie and Paul are going to be visiting you forever.

You know, we had testimony early on that, you know, he appeared to be crying but they saw no tears. And, I think in observing him on the stand, you saw that. But, as you look at what he said, as you watched his reactions there, it's always dangerous to try to gauge the accuracy of someone's reaction to a situation like that because people respond differently.


WATERS: But when you start to look at it in a totality, it just -- it doesn't -- it didn't add up and it didn't make sense and there was something off about it. And that was, you know, sort of the beginning as you tell the story, but that's part of it, is that he is already lying out of the gate, and he's already lying, if you replay later that 9-1-1 call and then Daniel Greene, he is already lying about the time period where he tried to tell that jury about factors that made him do that, that hadn't even existed yet.

COOPER: Just the last piece of video I'd like to play is just some of the Attorney General when he was interviewing a crime scene expert to counter what the defense's crime scene expert had said about the crime scene. I just want to play some of those. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN WILSON, SOUTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, the defense's theory, you tell me what to do, and you act this out, and I'm going to do what you told me to do based on the defense's theory of the case.

DR. KENNETH KINSEY, CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATOR: The defense agreed with the assessment that Paul stood there for a moment bleeding down his injured left arm, and he slowly walked toward the door.

WILSON: Okay, and what does the shooter do?

KINSEY: The shooter is coming in the door.

WILSON: And then what does the shooter do?

KINSEY: He shoots Paul in the back of the head after he passes him.

WILSON: Okay, and then shoots Paul in the back of the head like this and where does the blood spatter go?

KINSEY: The blood spatter, the pellet defects and one that I didn't know about that the expert collected was in the doorframe at the top of the door.

WILSON: Now understand this a little different than the feed room door. That's the best we can do. So what did you find out about the theory first of all?

KINSEY: I think the theory is preposterous, in my opinion.


COOPER: I mean, obviously, that was incredibly powerful, just as somebody you know, me watching it and I think for a lot of people. Can you talk about the decision to -- did you know far in advance you were going to have to do a demonstration like that? Or was it because of what the defense witness had said that you needed to come up with something to point out the flaws in his argument?

WATERS: Well, yes. You know, trials go on, you constantly adapt. And you know, in South Carolina, they don't have to provide us -- the defense doesn't -- you know, any sort of report or anything like that as to what their experts are going to say.

So, you know, that's what a rebuttal case is for where you have to listen to what they say, and then if we have contrary testimony presented. You know, Dr. Kinsey did a great job, but one of the things that I think we were able to point out with that is not only how ridiculous what they were saying was, but that also they were trying to convince this jury that they could say things in absolutes, that the crime scene just doesn't tell you.

So aside from how ridiculous that assertion was, you know, again, they were also, you know, trying to establish definitive height of the shooter or that there had to be two shooters, you know, based on practical things like well, it would just be easy enough to empty out the clip in a blackout.

And you know, and these experts, I think, went too far, and I give the jury a lot of credit, and I give the General and Dr. Kinsey a lot of credit, but, you know, the jurors saw that for what it is. You know, jurors have a great meter for bull and I think that they saw that from the defense experts who tried to convince them that they could say things that simply are beyond what or what's reasonable.

COOPER: His financial crimes are or the allegations of his financial crimes are shocking. I mean the numbers of people, the amounts of money he stole from people, even small amounts of money from people who did not have a lot of money are just horrific.


COOPER: How -- there are some people who raise questions about, you know, how much of the financial evidence was allowed in? Will that be something that they use to try to appeal on? How concerned are you about his chances for an appeal?

WATERS: Well, you know, I started my career as an appellate lawyer and it's just part of the process. You know, we filed a motion prior to the trial where we indicated our intent to use it and put in great detail, and just to alert the Judge and the defense that we were going to do that there or as you know, in camera hearings, and ultimately, Judge Newman considered that and admitted it.

I think this case is unique. And, you know, as I described during the trial, and a little bit today, you know, there's this unbroken chain of circumstances that are part of the factors of all the various pressures leading to that day.

To answer a very important question is what about this man to lead him to do these impossible things? You know, motive is not an element, but it's almost always, you know, something a jury wants to know is -- and it doesn't even have to be motive, just why? How could this person do such a thing?

So ultimately, you know, I'm certainly not going to speak for the State Supreme Court, but our Judge Newman considered all of that and issued a very detailed and well thought out ruling, and so we're confident that that will be upheld.

You know, and also we have those white collar crimes. Yes, sir.

COOPER: No, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

WATERS: Well, we also have those white collar crimes remaining. And, you know, to be clear, Alex is still presumed innocent of those.

They came in or testimony evidence about them came in in this trial because of that decision by Judge Newman as to their relevance, but he is entitled to a trial on those as well and he is presumed innocent until that happens, and we plan to aggressively pursue those as well.

COOPER: Yes. Creighton Waters, it's really a pleasure to talk to you. I appreciate it. Thank you.

WATERS: I enjoyed it. Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, the latest on the stealing of Ukrainian children by Russia and an update on one teenager's story. Her name is Ana. She'd been living in Mariupol in Ukraine until she was seen at a rally in Moscow there encouraged to praise Russian soldiers for saving her and other Ukrainian kids they have illegally taken out of Ukraine.

We'll also speak to Karim Khan, the head prosecutor for the International Criminal Court who was in Ukraine tonight who just met with President Zelenskyy.



COOPER: The U.S. announced another major investment in Ukraine's war effort, up to $400 million in military aid, including more ammunition for artillery, as well as the HIMAR's multiple rocket launch system. It comes the same day that President Biden hosted Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House. It was a show of unity with both leaders expressing commitment to Ukraine.

Also the same day, Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced trip to Ukraine. Garland met with President Zelenskyy and other officials on the topic of Russian war crimes. We're going to have more on that in a moment with the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, which is investigating crimes.

First, though, an update on a young girl now in Russia, one of thousands of Ukrainian children brought there by Russian forces. We told you a bit about her earlier this week. Her name is Anna. She's 13 years old and she's from Mariupol. Now, we showed you video of how she was made to read apparently scripted words of thanks to a Russian soldier during a Moscow rally celebrating Russia.

Tonight, CNN's Melissa Bell has learned more about who she is.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As soon as Kateryna Pustovit saw the little girl on stage in Moscow that she'd sheltered with in Mariupol, she knew something was wrong.

KATERYNA PUSTOVIT, FRIEND OF ANYA'S FAMILY (through translation): I was scared to look at it. You can't use kids like that.

ANYA NAUMENKO (through translation): Thank you, uncle Ura, for saving me.

BELL (voice-over): But who is Anya? CNN tracked down her family members, too scared to speak on air.

She is Anna Naumenko, or Anya, as she's known, a 13 year old brought from her foster family's home in Mariupol to this rally celebrating the Russian army. CNN has no way of knowing how willingly she went, but Anya's social media gives an insight into her bewilderment.

Look at all the rows, she says, before being told where she will stand and what she will say. It was a year ago that Anya's hometown of Mariupol was pounded, devastating heavy artillery, forcing its population underground to basements like this one.

Anya and her family shared this space for much of the three-month long siege with Kateryna Pustovit, who's now in Germany. She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw her on stage.

PUSTOVIT (through translation): We were like a family. We saved ourselves, saved our life.

BELL (voice-over): But in early April, Anya's mother Olga, left the basement and was killed by Russian shelling. Anya shared her grief for her mother online. "I want to be with you," she writes.

By the end of a siege, Anya and her siblings were separated. Anya sent to a foster family in Mariupol. So does the International Criminal Court believe that Anya has been a victim of a war crime by being paraded in Moscow.

KARIM ASAD AHMAD KHAN, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT CHIEF PROSECUTOR: Regarding Anna, it's very troubling. And the Rome statute and in fact, the Geneva Conventions make it clear regarding how children must be treated by occupying powers. The law is present. Too many think it's an optional extra.

BELL (voice-over): CNN has reached out to Russian officials for comment on the children featured in Putin's rally last week. Moscow has not responded. But for all the tragedy of Anya's short life so far, the propaganda event has brought her fresh troubles.

Daily, and violent threats under her adolescent post from Ukrainians. "Anya, don't be shy. When we liberate Mariupol again, you'll be hanging from a post downtown." Just one example of the many threats that Anya has received deceived.


PUSTOVIT (through translation): We need to stay human. She is a child who survived the war, famine, and lost her mother.

She is small. Even if she looks like an adult, she is a child.

BELL (voice-over): But children, as symbols of the future, play an important part in Orwellian displays of loyalty to Moscow, like this one, held in occupied Mariupol last week. Two visions of childhood, one care free, the other twisted.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Kyiv.


COOPER: We'll get some perspective now from the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court you just saw there in Melissa Bell's report. Karim Khan has more than 25 years experienced as an international criminal law and human rights attorney.

Mr. Khan, you are in Ukraine. Last time we spoke together in Lviv about a year ago, can you talk about what you're doing on the ground there now, what your focus is?

KHAN: Well, as we said when we last spoke, Anderson, that Ukraine is a crime scene. We've been looking at a variety of locations, from care homes on the front lines of Ukraine that were occupied by the Russian Federation to power stations that were targeted to residential buildings that have been partly destroyed, trying to find out what took place, what crimes, if any, have been committed and who's responsible.

COOPER: We showed just some video there of you I think you called a care home, I think it's like an orphanage in southern Ukraine near the front lines. What were you looking at there or what were you looking for?

KHAN: Well, we've seen from many sources a number of allegations that children have been taken from Ukraine and forcibly transferred to be deported into the Russian Federation. And this was one of the homes concerned. It's a pitiful sight, in fact. You see empty cots, children's shoes and clothing often donated by well-wishers in cupboards and on shelves.

And on the walls, you see paintings of children that we see in our own homes, in bedrooms around the world, of children that are proud to display their art. And then photographs of really Christmas past, sometimes, children dressed up in nativity plays. And that's in very sharp contrast, the joy, the environment to the silence of what is otherwise now an empty carcass of a building with the toys and the playthings of children.

But no children at all, because the allegation is they've been taken into the Russian Federation, away from their families and loved ones and the familiar environment that they've grown up in.

COOPER: So that's what you believe may have happened to the kids at the place you were today, that they've actually been taken into Russia or somewhere?

KHAN: Well, this is the allegations that we're looking into. We've had it from multiple sources that there may be a pattern of conduct that children from the areas occupied by Russian Federation forces have been taken into the territory of the Russian Federation, not given to neutral third countries, not given or sent to other parts of Ukraine but taken into the Russian Federation.

So we have been investigating this. And I went to the front line yesterday, in fact, and went to one of these homes and I wanted to see it for myself.

COOPER: You also, I understand, met with President Zelenskyy, also, I believe, Attorney General Merrick Garland, who made a surprise trip there. Can you talk at all about what that was like, what the focus of the meeting was? KHAN: Yes, well, it's now public. I'm in Lviv at the moment and President Zelenskyy and the government of Ukraine hosted a conference, a really historic conference, in fact, in the middle of a war called entitled United for Justice. And it was really to focus on the importance of the rule of law even as bullets are flying and bombs are landing and wreaking tremendous havoc.

And Attorney General Garland was attended as well. And the United States is supporting Ukraine in terms of the rule of law. And also I had the opportunity of meeting the Attorney General for the first time. And I'm looking forward to seeing whether or not we can also get some tangible assistance from the United States.

Because since December, the law has changed that the United States can support the International Criminal Court in relation to the investigations we're conducting in Ukraine so we can get to the truth. And I want to see whether or not that a promise of assistance can be rendered tangible as soon as possible.


COOPER: I mean, you've had an extraordinary career looking at war crimes, crimes against humanity, international crimes. It's very rare, though, and you and I have talked about this in the past, it's very rare to have active investigations like this going on in the midst of a war. I mean, often it's years after war has ended, decades, even.

KHAN: Absolutely. And I think, I mean, even today's conference was absolutely historic because we had the London agreement in August 1945 that discussed the importance of trials that would come at the end of the Second World War and gave rise to Nuremberg. But here we are.

Yesterday I was on the front line and there were drones in the sky, there were shells that were landing in different parts of Ukraine. And I think it is to the tremendous credit of the Ukrainian authorities that they are talking about the rule of law.

And what we need to do as the International Criminal Court is to make sure that our own investigations are independent, are credible and are based upon evidence that will stand the test of time. And I think it -- there's a lot of firsts in this conflict, Anderson, for good and bad.

COOPER: Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

KHAN: Great pleasure. Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, an update on the second day of what had once been a must visit conference for all Republican presidential contenders, but that is now dominated by one name, one name only.

CNN Jeff Zeleny is at CPAC, a day ahead of the former president's speech. He joins us next.


COOPER: Tomorrow, the former president speaks at what once had been an important stop for all potential Republican presidential candidates. But this year, several likely contenders are a skip in the Conservative Political Action Conference, known by its acronym CPAC, in part, because it's become a major three-day rally for the MAGA wing of the party.

Jeff Zeleny has more.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's long been a command performance for Republicans harboring White House ambitions.


ZELENY (voice-over): But at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, the parade of potential presidential hopefuls is far shorter this year. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley --

HALEY: If you're tired of losing, put your trust in a new generation. And if you want to win not just as a party, but as a country, then stand with me.

ZELENY (voice-over): And former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gently called for a new direction.

MIKE POMPEO (R), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We shouldn't look for larger than life personalities, but rather we should find power in the rooms like this one.

ZELENY (voice-over): But the long running, three-day gathering called CPAC is now seen as The Trump Show.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are my people. This is beautiful.

ZELENY (voice-over): The former president is set to appear Saturday, joining a sea of loyal supporters and members of his own family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your president, President Donald Trump will be here.

ZELENY (voice-over): Who are rallying to return him to office. But other big-name contenders, who many Republicans see as the party's future, had other plans.

Last year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took to the stage as a rising star.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: CPAC. ZELENY (voice-over): But as he inches closer to declaring a presidential bid, he attended a gathering of donors in Florida hosted by Club for Growth, an antitax group urging the party to move on from Trump. Several potential rivals also skipped CPAC and headed to Florida, including former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.

But adoration for Trump was on full display at CPAC, where Evie Phillips (ph) took a seat at a replica resolute desk against a backdrop of a foe Oval Office.


ZELENY (voice-over): OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then DeSantis, let's do that in '28.

ZELENY (voice-over): Colleen Hoffman is from Jacksonville, Florida. She wore a DeSantis hat even as she sported a Trump sticker. She said she's torn, but believes Trump is the stronger choice for 2024.

COLLEEN HOFFMAN, CPAC ATTENDEE: I really love this hat because it's like, let us alone, you know? It's -- I love it. But as of right now, I'm going to vote for Donald Trump.

ZELENY (voice-over): At the early stage of the campaign, it's hardly a two-man contest, as Vivek Ramaswamy, an Ohio businessman who jumped into the race last month, made clear on the CPAC stage.

VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we rallied behind the cry to make America great again, we did not just hunger for a single man. We hungered for the unapologetic pursuit of excellence. That is what it means to be an American.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet even as the Republican field grows, the conversations at CPAC and the comparisons between candidates always came back to Trump.

KRISTEN FORBES, CPAC ATTENDEE: I think Governor DeSantis is wonderful. I think he's amazing. I just don't think it's his time quite yet. I think if he could just give it four years, I think he'd be a great successor to Trump.


ZELENY: Now Trump's grip on the broader Republican Party is very much an open question. His hold on CPAC in the base is unmistakable. But that is the dividing line inside the Republican Party. Those who want to see him come back to office and those who are looking for a fresh start. That is part of his burden as he comes here tomorrow to make the case for a new candidacy.

I'm told by his advisers he plans to also try and begin defining Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who he believes is his top rival. Anderson? COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Daylight savings time begins next weekend. But if a growing number of lawmakers have their way, this may be the last time we change our clocks.

Our Senior Data Reporter, Harry Enten, is skeptical of the whole thing, and we'll explain why. He's also obsessed with Daylight too.



COOPER: So next weekend, for reasons I'm still not really clear of, we spring forward and move the clock ahead for an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. This week, though, a bipartisan group of senators announced they've reintroduced a bill to make daylight savings time permanent. A year ago, the measure, called the Sunshine Protection Act, passed the Senate, only to die in the House.

Harry Enten, our favorite Senior Data Reporter, who we should note is our only senior data reporter --


COOPER: -- is called Mr. Sunshine to his friends from weather camp, joins us now. So shine some light on this. Why will we lose an hour of sleep next weekend?

ENTEN: Because we've instituted, you know, daylight saving time for now since essentially the late 60s. It's been uniform across the United States. You can opt out of it. They do that in northeast Arizona. They also opt out of it in Hawaii.

COOPER: You can opt out of it?

ENTEN: You can opt out of it, You can --

COOPER: Like individuals can or --

ENTEN: Individuals, states.

COOPER: -- whole states?

ENTEN: States.

COOPER: States, OK.

ENTEN: States. Not individuals. As you and I have to obey the laws of time in the state of New York.

COOPER: What is the purpose of this?

ENTEN: Well, the whole purpose of it they had this whole idea -- yes, here.

COOPER: Saving money.

ENTEN: They say, oh, it's for energy. We're going to save energy. It doesn't save any energy. By the way, I noticed before the break, you call it daylight savings time. There's no s, it's saving.


ENTEN: Saving. I just want to clarify.


ENTEN: You'll also --

COOPER: You told me before we went on.

ENTEN: Yes, don't worry about it. You know, I figure we could bring it up. And, you know, look, we're shifting time.

COOPER: We're sitting here for 10 minutes.

ENTEN: I thought it was 15. We're shifting time. We're not actually saving an hour, right?

COOPER: Right.

ENTEN: It's just we're going to --

COOPER: I don't still understand, why are we doing this?

ENTEN: We -- because it's the way things are. That's the reason why -- no, no. Look, we brought it in because with the idea we're going to save energy, right? We're going to save a money. But that isn't actually true. And now we're sort of in the stasis whereby you have these groups that want standard time all year round, daylight saving --

COOPER: So has it has been done before? Have we gotten rid of it before?

ENTEN: Yes, we have gotten rid of it before. We got rid of it in -- during World War II. We got rid of it in the mid-1970s again, to save energy.


It went disastrously, Anderson. Went disastrously. We moved back. Polls showed that people hated the idea of daylight-saving time or year round.

COOPER: Why? What is so bad about it?

ENTEN: You want to know why? What is so bad about it? I'll tell you what's so bad about it. Let's say that you're a kid going to school --


ENTEN: -- in the Midwest.


ENTEN: OK? Let's say you're in Michigan. Let's say you're in Grand Rapids, Michigan, OK.

COOPER: OK. All right.

ENTEN: I'm going to paint picture for you. Kent County --

COOPER: You got the whole feed up the picture.

ENTEN: Here's the deal. The deal is that if you go to school in Kent County, Michigan, right, you go Grand Rapids. You know what time you'll have to go to school in January if you had daylight saving time all year round?


ENTEN: You have to go to school in the dark because the sun will not rise until past 09:00 a.m., 09:00 a.m. The senators who introduced this bill in Florida and Massachusetts, their kids would only have to go to school and they probably wouldn't have to go to school in the dark because it'd be 08:00 a.m. when the sun would rise.

So the fact is, you have these people in Florida, Michigan, pushing this on the rest of the country when the fact is they would be pushing people in Michigan to go to school in the dark and they have hated it historically, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Harry Enten, I appreciate it. Thank you.

ENTEN: A little bubble.

COOPER: Quick programming note. He's very passionate.

ENTEN: Very.

COOPER: Join us Tuesday night at 09:00 p.m. Eastern for CNN Town Hall. We're -- this is really important, "America Addicted: The Fentanyl Crisis". We're going to look at how the drug makes its way into the country, talk with families who've been affected, doctors on the frontlines, and explore efforts to stop it. It's an important conversation, Tuesday night, 09:00 p.m. Eastern.

CNN Primetime Special "Navalny and the Cost of Standing Up to Putin" is next right after a short break.