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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

NY Times: Manhattan Prosecutor Signal Trump Criminal Charges Likely; Fifth Friend Who Was Supposed To Be With Americans Kidnapped In Mexico Speaks Out About The Attack; Sen. Mitch McConnell Treated For Concussion After Falling At DC Hotel; Sen. Mitch McConnell Treated For Concussion After Falling At A D.C. Hotel; Biden Unveils 2024 Budget Proposal Calling For $3 Trillion In Deficit Cuts Financed By Higher Taxes On Rich; Biden Budget Includes Tax Increases On Wealthy, Corporations; Top GOP Contenders Head To Iowa As The Republican Field Begins To Take Shape; At Least 11 Dead After Ukraine Hit With Barrage Of Russian Attacks; Oregon Motorist Trapped In Snow With No Cellphone Service Uses Drone To Get Help. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 09, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Well, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate the time. We'll see you back here same time, same place tomorrow.

In the meantime, AC 360 begins right now.



We begin tonight with breaking news. Donald Trump may be just a short time away from becoming the first former President ever to be criminally indicted.

"The New York Times" is reporting that the District Attorney's office here in Manhattan recently offered him one final chance to testify next week before the grand jury, hearing evidence in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

According to "The Times" such offers almost always indicate an indictment is close. Now, the investigation you may recall centers on $130,000.00 that one time fixer, Michael Cohen paid to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels near the end of the 2016 campaign. Cohen was later reimbursed by the former President.

According to "The Times," he is yet to testify, but is expected to.

Joining us now with more CNN's Kara Scannell.

Kara, what are the details you've learned?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so Anderson, as you said "The New York Times" is reporting that Donald Trump was offered to appear before the New York Grand Jury investigating this hush money payments scheme. Now that is required under the law when there is a criminal investigation. So that step certainly indicates and tells us that this investigation is wrapping up. And that's also evident by the parade of witnesses that have met with prosecutors and appeared before the grand jury.

We reported yesterday that Kellyanne Conway had met with the Manhattan prosecutors, Hope Hicks has also been in, as well as some top executives at the Trump Organization. Michael Cohen has met multiple times with prosecutors although he has not yet appeared before the grand jury.

But all of this signaling that the investigation is wrapping up and that a decision on whether or not to charge is likely soon.

Now, as a reminder, as you said, they are investigating the hush money payments. Now hush money payment is not illegal. So what prosecutors are looking at and weighing is whether to charge the former President and possibly the company with falsifying business records. That's because what we've learned through the Federal investigation into Michael Cohen, remember he pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges there, is that the Trump organization had treated this reimbursement payment to Michael Cohen in their books as a legal expense, and Federal prosecutor said that was incorrect and not true.

That's when the Manhattan District Attorney's office picked up this investigation and looked at whether it violated State charges. So the State charge that they've isolated here is falsifying business records, and that's a misdemeanor. In order to make it a felony, it has to be falsifying records to commit another crime. So what they're looking at here is whether any campaign finance laws, State laws were violated, that's according to sources.

You know, that is an uphill battle, though. That's not a given. That's not a slam dunk kind of case and it is the type of thing that the former President's attorneys could really work with here and try to knock down back to a misdemeanor, which would carry you know, a zero prison sentence to up to 364 days -- Anderson.

COOPER: Has the former President or his team responded to the new reporting? And how likely is it he would be to accept the District Attorney's invitation to testify before the grand jury? Because I understand, a lot of times people do not avail themselves of that.

SCANNELL: Right. I mean, I think it's pretty unlikely that he would go in and testify before the grand jury, you know, wait to see what kind of decision that the prosecutors are going to make here. But he did issue a statement according to Trump's spokesperson, they said the Manhattan District Attorney's threat to indict President Trump is simply insane.

For the past five years, the DA's office has been on a witch hunt investigating every aspect of President Trump's life, and they've come up empty at every turn and now this.

And I should also add a source has told us that Trump's lawyers have recently met with the Manhattan District Attorney's prosecutors, because of their concern about all of this activity before the grand jury. It certainly does seem like things are coming to a head. COOPER: Kara Scannell, appreciate it. I want to talk about it now, the implications with CNN senior political analyst, "New York Times" senior political correspondent, Maggie Haberman. She's also author of "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the breaking of America;" also CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Elie Honig. His book is titled "Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away With It." With us as well, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

So Elie, what does this signal to you about the grand jury?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, this tells me that a decision on whether to seek an indictment is very close at hand. And, frankly, that an indictment is quite likely here. This is an unusual feature of New York State law that says when prosecutors are getting close to indicting someone, you have to give that person a chance to testify in the grand jury. That's actually different from Federal law.

And you would not do this tactically as a prosecutor until you're at the very end stage because on the off chance, close to zero here, but on the off chance that the person accepts and comes in to testify, you need to have all your ammo arrayed to question that person. So this tells me we're really in the closing phases of this.

COOPER: But it's unlikely he would actually testify.

HONIG: It's close to zero percent because if you do testify, as they warn you in the cop shows, anything you say can and will be used against you in an eventual trial.

COOPER: Maggie, I mean, how do you expect him to react to this? Does it affect his campaign at all?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So we don't -- we're entering uncharted territory here and I think it's important to note about this case, as Kara said, this is a misdemeanor that they're trying to push up to a felony, it is a --

COOPER: Which is a really kind of --


HABERMAN: Exotic. An exotic case.

COOPER: Exotic case.

HABERMAN: And the Judge could decide, no, we're going to knock it back to a misdemeanor. That is difficult for a prosecutor when it's a former President. I understand, you know, justice is supposed to be equal, you know, for all but you know, people take into consideration factors like this.

I think we could see a rallying effect from his supporters. It could be that more people are turned off by this, I just don't think we know. We know how he will use it, which is that he will say, he's being attacked and victimized. And we have seen that over and over again, we're going to continue to.

COOPER: And Gloria, to that point, the idea of, you know, they've been investigating for five years, and all they have is this misdemeanor?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Yes, I think Trump would use it. He would say, you know, this is a weaponized Justice Department, look what they're doing to me. This is peanuts.

And then you know, there are many serious things coming down the road potentially for him. But he can use this, and then he could build on it. And you know, the other candidates, I would think are not likely to attack him on this or mention it in any way. You know, it's old news.

And candidates in 2016 learned that if you get down in the mud with Donald Trump, you're likely to lose. And so I think it could become a rallying cry, as Maggie says, for his supporters, and nothing in the campaign.

COOPER: Elie, talk about why this is kind of from a legal standpoint, somewhat sketchy in terms of making it actually a felony.

HONIG: Yes, a couple of reasons. First of all, using State laws here is really a square peg in a round hole. This should be ideally, a Federal campaign finance crime, because the idea is while they made this payment, it counts as a campaign contribution. It was in connection with a Federal election.

COOPER: That's what the idea of --

HONIG: Of a Federal charge.

COOPER: What the criminal aspect of this would be, is that that the $130,000.00 was essentially a campaign contribution, because that benefited his campaign, which is a little bit of a -- I mean, you have to convince a jury of that.

HONIG: Yes, you have to convince a jury that beyond a reasonable doubt. What they're trying to do with the State charge is this falsification of business records charge, which is a misdemeanor, that's a lowly charge. It only gets bumped up to a felony and the lowest level felony, the maximum is four years and it's not even certain he would go to prison, even if convicted of that.

If you can try falsifying the business record saying this was a legal payment, as opposed to a campaign payment, if you can tie it to the campaign violation. So this is not a smooth fit between the law and the facts.

And then there's also the potential problems posed by having Michael Cohen as your star witness. He's a convicted perjurer. He has a very public white hot hatred of Donald Trump that will impact his impartiality.

And remember, the Feds across the street, the Southern District of New York rejected him as a cooperator. COOPER: He was also asked about the payments back in April 2018 on Air Force One, let's take a look.


REPORTER: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000.00 payment to Stormy Daniels.


REPORTER: Then why -- why did Michael Cohen make this if there was no truth to her allegations?

TRUMP: Well, you have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney, and you'll have to ask Michael Cohen.

REPORTER: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: I don't know.


COOPER: That turned out not to be true.

Maggie, I mean, it's interesting because, you know, this same office was looking at other potential charges against the former President. The District Attorney chose not to pursue those. Two of his prosecutors resigned in the wake of that and this is now what they have.

HABERMAN: Yes, and look, and what I think Michael Cohen would say as a witness and has said before, is that he -- you know, he lied on Trump's behalf. And I think you would hear him say that in this case. You did have Alvin Bragg decide not to bring a prosecution against Trump in connection with his actual business despite proceeding against his business and they got a conviction across the board in 17 counts in that case.

I don't know -- it's different when you're prosecuting a faceless company than it is prosecuting a man. I do think it's worth noting here, putting aside issues of Michael Cohen specifically or you know, prospective thinness of the case.

Take it all together, it requires 12 people and it just takes one person to have reasonable doubt. And even in pretty, you know, progressive Manhattan, I think probably a defense lawyer could find one person and that's a risk here.

COOPER: Gloria, there are other more serious investigations, obviously going on with the former President right now looking to efforts to interfere in the 2020 election results, the insurrection and the declassified documents. I guess one question is, would an indictment related to Stormy Daniels' payment, which happened seven years ago dilute the impact of those investigations if anything were to come of them? BORGER: I don't really -- I don't really think it would. I mean, the other investigations, whether you're talking about the documents or the insurrection, I think those are pretty big cases. And I think this looks like peanuts compared to those cases.

So I don't think it would dilute those or the impact of those in any way and that is something that would be talked about on the campaign trail, whether it were from a Democrat or even from a Republican.

What this does though is it agitates and motivates Trump's base to get out there and say Look he's being persecuted, and he will use that to the absolute fullest, Anderson.


COOPER: Just Elie, just for clarification, if he was convicted of a misdemeanor, would they even bring a case for a misdemeanor?

HONIG: That is a very good question. I think what they're likely to do is to charge it as the felony. And then if they're able to prove both aspects of it, A., that they falsified business records, that gets you to misdemeanor and then if they can prove it was in order to avoid campaign finance laws, that would bump it up to a felony.

So that would sort of give prosecutors a fallback or if they can convict him on either one, but really important to understand, even if this charge happens, even if there is a conviction. There's a very good chance Donald Trump is not sentenced to a term behind bars.

COOPER: But he would still -- even if he was convicted of a misdemeanor, like on I mean, not that his record necessarily matters anything to him. But would he be the only former President to have been indicted?

HONIG: Absolutely, he would.

HABERMAN: In this country.

HONIG: Yes, he would be the only former President in this country.

COOPER: Even if it's just a misdemeanor.

HONIG: Even if it's just a misdemeanor. It's also really important people understand, an indictment does not legally prevent anybody from running for President, from being President. Even a conviction does not prevent a person from running for President or serving as President.

COOPER: Yes, Elie Honig, Maggie Haberman, Gloria Borger, thanks so much.

A 360 exclusive interview with a woman whose four friends were kidnapped in Mexico. Two of them, as you know, were killed. She might have been one of them. Why she never made it across the border on that trip and with a cartel that allegedly committed the crimes did today.

And later, Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Senator Mitch McConnell's fall and hospitalization for concussion. What we know of his condition and what can be said about his likely treatment and prospects for recovery.



COOPER: Tonight, a 360 Exclusive: Interview with Cheryl Orange whose four friends were the victims of a kidnapping in Mexico that ended with two of them dead. The cartel believed responsible has, if you can believe it, issued an apology letter and handed over five members to local authorities. That's them on the ground, according to images circulating online and a version of the letter obtained by CNN from an official familiar with the ongoing investigation.

Cheryl Orange and her friends were on their way from South Carolina, but she did not have the identification needed to cross the border. She said that she didn't know they were crossing over. For that, she might have been a victim, too if she had.

I spoke with her just before airtime moments ago.


COOPER: Cheryl, thank you so much for joining us. I'm so sorry, it is under these circumstances. How are you doing right now?

CHERYL ORANGE, FRIEND OF AMERICANS KIDNAPPED IN MEXICO: It is hard. I am trying one day at a time. It's a lot to process.

COOPER: So you were the first to actually alert authorities in Brownsville about -- that your friends were missing or hadn't made it back. Can you just -- let's just start by telling us about why you and your friends were planning to go to Mexico.

ORANGE: Latavia is my best friend. She had me out, asked me to join her, to accompany her in a trip to Brownsville, Texas for cosmetic surgery. And, we began the road trip. We left out on Thursday and traveled to Texas.

Once I got there, I was then informed that our procedure was being done across the border. In that event, we were just arriving in Brownsville, Texas at Studio 6 and I didn't have proper identification, so I couldn't join her to go across to the border, which left me back at the hotel.

COOPER: So because you didn't know you you'd be going out of the country. You didn't know you'd be going to Mexico. You didn't bring ID with you. Did you travel with her and the others to Brownsville or did you meet them there?

ORANGE: No, we all traveled together. It was a road trip.

COOPER: So did you have any idea about threats down in Matamoros or what it was like across the border? Or did Latavia?

ORANGE: No, sir. Not at all. Not to my knowledge. I'm not -- I'm assuming that she didn't know because I know her, she's not going to travel to danger.

COOPER: Did you actually try to cross the border with them and were turned away? Or did you just realize before even trying that you didn't have ID?

ORANGE: No, she told me -- she told me that -- when I told her I didn't have my ID with me, they dropped me off at the hotel and said that they would return in 15 minutes, that's why I was so like worried and in fear because it didn't seem right. Fifteen minutes had gone by, they were not there.

COOPER: So how long did you wait after 15 minutes? I mean, that must have been agonizing.

ORANGE: When they dropped me off, sorry, when they dropped me off at the hotel, I had gotten into the shower. I showered and I laid on the bed. I was exhausted from, you know the long hours, the long ride. So I ended up falling asleep.

I woke up and it was already five o'clock in the afternoon. So from nine to five, I went down to the office. The clerk in the hotel, and I asked them had my friends come back or attempted to, you know come in and up the hotel, come back to the hotel? He told me no.

So I called my -- I called my boyfriend. I called Tay's brother and I said something's not right and I text my roommate. I said something's not right. Nine o'clock guy here, 12 o'clock got here, midnight, and then now we're into Saturday morning at 10:23. It's literally a few minutes before checkout. I'm like there's no way. I called the cops immediately.

COOPER: I know you had their luggage, you had their things. Is that right?

ORANGE: I had three of the three male victims' belongings. I retrieved it after It became 11 o'clock.

COOPER: At what point did you learn about what had actually happened? When did you see the video of them?


ORANGE: They sent it to me, I think, it had to be like between Saturday night and Sunday morning, like the wee hours.

COOPER: What do you think when you saw that? I mean...

ORANGE: I dropped the phone, my body clenched up. I dropped the phone. My stomach was in knots and I just began praying. I just began praying for their return.

I didn't know much about the cartels, and I started looking at videos and it was -- it was bad. It was bad. I began to think the worst and just thank God for her daughter her 18-year-old daughter, Tay's daughter, she held me together. She held me together. She made me keep the faith.

COOPER: Have you talked to her since? How -- have you been able to talk to Latavia? Have you talked to her daughter? How is she doing?

ORANGE: Yes, me and her daughter speak every so many minutes. And yes, I have spoken to Tay. It put me at ease a little bit. It was music to my ears to hear her voice.

COOPER: What do you want people to know about Latavia and the others? About your friends?

ORANGE: I want the world to leave us alone and stop being mean. I want them to have a heart because everyone has a past.

What happened to her wasn't right. She didn't deserve it. She's a beautiful person. When I spoke Latavia yesterday, she said thank you. She told me thank you and said she was worried about her. This lady was facing death damn near. And she said, I was worried about you.

COOPER: She said she was worried about you.

ORANGE: I love her. She's the best. Right. She's a beautiful person.

COOPER: Well, Cheryl, I'm so sorry for what you and your friends have gone through and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and I wish you the best. I hope you get to see her soon.

ORANGE: Thank you. I appreciate that.

COOPER: Cheryl Orange, thank you.

ORANGE: Thank you.


COOPER: Just ahead tonight, the latest on the condition of Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell who is hospitalized for concussion after a fall. I will talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, next.



COOPER: The highest ranking Senate Republican is in the hospital tonight. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who is 81 tripped and fell at a dinner event last night in Washington. He has been treated for concussion, is expected to stay hospitalized for a number of days.

The senator had a bad fall back in 2019. He broke his shoulder on that occasion. Kind wishes have been coming in all across the political spectrum.

Given the 51 to 49 split in the Senate, any absence on either side, obviously is significant.

We're joined tonight by CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So what kind of treatment might Senator McConnell be receiving for a concussion? How serious is a concussion, I mean, for anybody, but somebody who is his age.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It can be serious, I mean, there's still some details that we need to understand and know about him.

First thing they would do is just do an overall assessment of how he is doing and then increasingly focus on the neurological exam and just see, what is his neurological status? Did he lose consciousness as a result of this fall? We don't know that.

Does he have any other neurological symptoms? Is he oriented to person, place and time? Does he have any amnesia? What we call retrograde amnesia, amnesia of things in the past or is he having trouble remembering things now? These are the sorts of things they would do immediately.

Depending on how he looks at that point, if he has qa headache or something, they would determine whether or not he might get a CT scan of his brain to see if there's any kind of bleeding or anything that's of greater concern.

Again, we don't know that and more times than not, there is not an issue of having bleeding on the brain. But keep in mind, we do know several things about his health.

First of all, he is 81 years old. That's going to heighten the level of concern overall. He survived polio as a child. He had bypass surgery 20 years ago, back in 2003.

You mentioned that fall that he had four years ago back in 2019. Pretty significant fall, you may remember, Anderson. He fractured his shoulder at that point. He also, a couple years ago, was seen with these bruised and bandaged hands as well. We don't know what was causing that. But, you know, it gives you an idea sort of his overall health.

Right now, doctors, I'm sure focused on his neurological exam overall, trying to determine if there is anything that more needs to be done. More likely than not, there won't be, but that's how they approach it.

COOPER: Some recall him and noted in their statement that he tripped. People at the event he was at last night said he was "on point" when speaking at the event. I'm not sure at what point the fall may have taken place. How long would you expect him to be in the hospital for?

GUPTA: Well, you know, first of all, with regard to you know, "being on point." You know, the way I read that, the way I interpreted that was that it did not seem like he was having any trouble leading up to that fall and that is an important piece of data I think for the medical team. You know, was he starting to develop any kind of weakness on one side or something? It sounds like he was speaking coherently and it would suggest that he tripped and fell, just like what was described as opposed to something more. I think maybe that's what they were referring to.

You know, as far as how long have you'd be in the hospital, it's interesting, most people, even with a mild concussion, can go home the same day. But again, he is 81 years old. They may be a bit more cautious with him.

But also, if he did get a scan, a CT scan of the brain and it showed anything at all, it might warrant him staying more days in the hospital. He is continuing to have symptoms, even mild headache would constitute a symptom in this case, that might warrant him staying in the hospital as well.

You know, Anderson falls are a big deal, you know, especially in the elderly. We don't probably talk about it enough, but it's essentially taking a lifetime of risk of so many other medical problems and consolidating it into a split second.

So you know, in the hospital, doctors take falls in the elderly very seriously, and I think that's probably why they're erring on the side of caution with him.

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, thanks so much. Our best wishes, obviously, to him and his family.

Coming up, Senator Elizabeth Warren joins us to talk about the President's new budget plan. His challenge to Kevin McCarthy to put his own cards on the table and what she makes of Speaker McCarthy's decision to give January 6 security footage to Tucker Carlson.

Plus, the top Republican presidential contenders are heading to Iowa as the 2024 campaign ramps up. Jeff Zeleny spoke with Republican voters there about who they want to see win the nomination, ahead.



GUPTA: And I think that's probably why they're erring on the side of caution with him.

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, thanks so much. Our best wishes, obviously, to him and his family.


COOPER: Coming up, Senator Elizabeth Warren joins us to talk about the President's new budget plan has challenged Kevin McCarthy to put his own cards on the table and what she makes Speaker McCarthy's decision to give January 6 security footage to Tucker Carlson.

Plus, the top Republican presidential contenders are heading to Iowa as 2024 campaign ramps up. Jeff Zeleny spoke with Republican voters there about who they want to see win the nomination ahead.


COOPER: President Biden chose Philadelphia as the place to roll out his 2024 budget plan calls for nearly $3 trillion in reduction over the next 10 years raises defense spending, caps insulin prices, promises Medicare drug savings and calls for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The President today calling in House Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans to lay out their alternative.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I'm going to introduce my budget on the 9th of March, you introduce yours and we'll sit down, we'll go line by line. And we'll go through it. Let's see we can agree on and what we disagree on and then fight it out in the Congress.

So I want to make it clear, I'm ready to meet with the Speaker anytime tomorrow if he has his budget. Lay it down. Tell me what you want to do.


COOPER: Speaker McCarthy has rolled out any tax increases and pledge not to cut Social Security or Medicare leaving little wiggle room for deficit reduction. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. I spoke to her just before airtime.



COOPER: Senator Warren, I appreciate you joining us. What does the President's new budget proposal anything say about the administration's priorities and the battles that they're willing to have with congressional Republicans?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think it says, we're taking you on. Look, the Republicans have made clear what they want to do. They want no tax increases for the wealthy and the well connected, and they want to impose a lot of cuts on everybody else.

This week, Moody's crunched the numbers on that, and said, the consequences of the Republican tax cuts would be a recession, plus, 2.5 million people will lose their jobs. What the President has put forward is he said, I want to do this the other way. I want to invest in America, I want to invest in middle class people and working families. I want to increase access to child care, for example. And I want to pay for it and pay down the debt by saying the wealthy and the well-connected are going to have to pay a little more.

COOPER: Are there any democratic priorities that you think were not represented or underrepresented in the budget?

WARREN: No, I have to say right now, of course, we're all still reading through it. But the main pieces are there. This is truly about investing in America. So we've got more on climate, we've got, as I said, childcare, personal favorite of mine, we've got -- it's a downpayment on that, it's family leave, paid family leave.

So we're getting the major pieces. And, of course, he's got the child tax credit in there, which lifted half of the kids in America out of poverty when we put it in place a few years ago.

COOPER: The Republican leadership both in the House and the Senate have said that they are not interested in changes to Social Security, Medicare. Do you believe them?

WARREN: You know, I don't know what their plan is here. What the President is trying to do, for example, with Medicare, is to say we can extend the life of Medicare by just changing how much we're paying the drug companies, negotiating for drug prices and bring down costs for American families.

You know, that $35 cap on insulin was a great down payment and shows Joe Biden doing what Joe Biden does best, and that is out there fighting for working families. What have the Republicans got to offer on that, they've got to offer 2.5 million people being pushed out of work. And that's bad for our economy. And it sure as heck bad for those millions of families that lose jobs.

COOPER: This is, obviously, kind of an opening salvo. Republicans haven't put forward their proposals yet. Negotiations haven't begun. President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy both said that today that they are willing to meet to begin negotiations with the showdown over the debt ceiling, though looming. Do you think the White House and Congressional Republicans can actually find a compromise?

WARREN: Well, you know, the thing is, the Republicans right now are just playing hostage games. So they're saying, if you don't do what we want to do, we're going to default on the debt. Now, I had a hearing, a subcommittee hearing this week in which chief economist from Moody's Mark Zandi came in. And he said, if they push us to even a temporary debt default, it's going to push the country into a recession and it's going to cost a million people their jobs.

And interestingly enough, the Republican economists who are there, invited by the Republicans agree, and they said, we just can't do this on the debt ceiling. But notice the other half, and that is when Moody's crunched the numbers, they said as well, if you give in to the Republican cuts into the budget, what that's going to do is push the country into a recession, and costs 2.5 million jobs.

So either way, the Republicans go, either default on the debt, even short term, or forced these cuts on the economy, both of them, put people out of work and push the economy into a recession. If the Republicans want to sit down and negotiate, what they got to do is, first, they need to vote to raise the debt ceiling. And now let's sit down and negotiate over the budget.

They really want to bring down the national debt great. How about we ask somebody like Jeff Bezos to pay more in taxes than a Boston public school teacher? Because right now, that's all he's paying.

COOPER: Before we go, I do -- just want to ask you about the criticism that Speaker McCarthy is getting, including from some Republicans, at least in the Senate, for releasing more than 40,000 hours of security footage from the January 6 attack to Tucker Carlson with his manipulation of it. How dangerous in your view are these ongoing attempts to rewrite the history of what happened on that day?

WARREN: Look, obviously, what he's trying to do exactly what you say, is he's trying to rewrite history and that is very dangerous. But this is also dangerous in a more immediate sense.


Having all of the tapes released to someone like this, that now means that all the camera angles are known where you're covered, where you're not, where the exit routes are in an emergency, where it is that you take someone like the Vice President to try to protect him from harm. This is about security in the short term right now.

And to just hand that over for political purposes, to try to reshape a narrative that's at odds with what America saw with its own eyes, that is genuinely dangerous and shocking, that the person who is now the leader of the House of Representatives would do that, not just to others who are in Congress, but will do that to America.

COOPER: Senator Elizabeth Warren, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

WARREN: You bet.


COOPER: More political news, Republican presidential hopefuls and potential candidates are making their way to Iowa less than a year before Congress is marking the started primary season. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley returned there yesterday. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will be there tomorrow to meet with Republican lawmakers.

And just a few days after that, the former president visits Iowa. CNN's Jeff Zeleny asked voters there what they may be looking for in 2024 Republican presidential nominee. Here's what he found.



JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (through translation): In Iowa, breakfast is served with a hearty side of politics.

KIM SCHMETT, WESTSIDE CONSERVATIVE CLUB: Welcome to the Westside conservatives.

ZELENY (voice-over): In less than a year, these Republicans will help start the 2024 presidential contest yet talk has already turned to the end of the campaign revolving around one question above all.

SCHMETT: We like him. The question is, can he win?

ZELENY (voice-over): He, of course, is Donald Trump, who remains at the center of the conversation at a regular gathering of loyal conservatives that Kim Schmett presides over.

SCHMETT: Right now, he's closer to getting that majority probably in the party than anyone else. But it didn't work last time and we're concerned about that.

ZELENY (voice-over): A clear sense of Trump fatigue has sit in among many Republicans, but not Terry Pearce. He still proudly wears his Make America Great Again hat and believes to his core the former president can win again.

TERRY PEARCE, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I think Donald Trump is the only one that can lead us back to where we were in 2020.

ZELENY (voice-over): Others are more blunt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a Trump supporter, and if he's not on the ballot, I'm going to write him in.

ZELENY (voice-over): The Republican field is slowly taking shape. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visits Iowa for the first time on Friday. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is on a three-day tour here this week. And Trump comes Monday.

KELLEY KOCH, CHAIR, DALLAS COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: He's going to have to sell himself.

ZELENY (voice-over): Kelley Koch is driving around Dallas County, the fastest growing in Iowa, where she leaves the Republican Party. She admires Trump but as bracing for rising attacks among GOP rivals.

KOCH: We don't want too strong candidates to shred each other, you know, and duke it out in the boxing ring and see the best man standing. So hopefully, grace, dignity, poise, smarts calculation, because in the end, we're all wanting to support the nominee.

ZELENY (voice-over): David Oman, a Des Moines businessman said Republicans need a fresh start.

(on-camera): Should the party move on from Trump?

DAVID OMAN, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I'm not sure he needs a third nomination. Now Trump's message is getting a little stale, a little old. Looking backwards more than forwards.

ZELENY (voice-over): Bob Vander Plaats is president of the influential Christian group, The Family Leader. He, too, believes it's time to turn a page.

BOB VANDER PLAATS, PRESIDENT, THE FAMILY LEADER: There is an appetite for somebody other than Trump. ZELENY (on-camera): Is that Trump fatigue?

PLAATS: I think part of it is I think there's a little bit of an exhaustion. I think there's also some people saying I'm looking to the next generation of leaders.

ZELENY (voice-over): But a field too large and unwieldy, he said, will only benefit Trump.

PLAATS: If Trump wins in Iowa, I don't see anybody stopping him after that.

ZELENY (voice-over): Republicans like Mary Ann Hanusa are listening and sizing up all of the contenders. Mindful the Iowa caucuses have a long history of humbling front runners and elevating alternatives.

MARY ANN HANUSA (R), FORMER IOWA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: So it's not a two man race at all. I think it'll be a wide-open field, not necessarily in terms of 15, 16 people running but I think open in terms of that everybody's got a chance at it.


COOPER: And Jeff Zeleny joins me now from Nevada, Iowa. So as we mentioned, DeSantis headed to Iowa tomorrow for his first visit. What's the anticipation for him like there?

ZELENY: Anderson, it's definitely the closest the Florida Governor has come to really openly showing his intention to run for president. We are told that he plans to make a formal announcement most likely after the legislative session in May or June, but Iowa voters certainly are eager to see him, to size him up. But I can tell you, it is very much more so many open minds here.


I was just at a Nikki Haley campaign event in central Iowa, in Nevada, talking to so many voters here. Candidates -- the voters really are looking at all the candidates across the spectrum here. It really gets down to, are you ready to move on from the former president? And if you are, who will you consider?

So yes, the Florida Governor certainly is popular in many circles, but people do want to take a measure of him. So that's what this time is about now in Iowa, and the voters here and in other places across the country clearly want to size these candidates up.

Iowa in many early voting states have humbled front runners before. They've elevated other candidates before. We will see if that happens again this time. Anderson?

COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Thank you.

Another potential Republican presidential candidate joins CNN next hour. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin taking questions from live studio audience of parents and educators and students in a new CNN town hall. Jake Tapper moderates "The War Over Education". That is just a few minutes from now.

Coming up, a deadly wave of Russian missile and drone attacks slam Ukrainian cities. What our Ivan Watson is seeing on the ground live in Kyiv next



COOPER: At least 11 Ukrainians are dead after Russia pummel the country with a large-scale attack including missiles and drone strikes this morning. The attack included as many six hypersonic missiles, which is rarely used. A top official for the country's Air Force said they have, quote, no capabilities to counter those missiles.

CNN's Ivan Watson has the latest from Kyiv, where the air raid alert lasted almost seven hours.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By land, sea and air, Russia launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine, hurling at least 84 missiles and killer drones against its neighbor in a single night. The deadly barrage pounding Ukraine in the north, south, east and west, decimating several houses in the western city of Lviv, killing at least two women and three men there.

In the capital Kyiv, one missile strike temporarily knocked out some electric power, while another slammed into the courtyard of a large apartment block.

(on-camera): Fortunately, no one was killed here this morning by this missile strike, but it terrified people living next door. No one in Ukraine knows when a deadly Russian missile could explode in their neighborhood.

(voice-over): Olya and Nastya Kalinowski (ph) say the 7:00 a.m. blast broke windows in their 7th floor apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very dangerous, so we was very scared of it.

WATSON (voice-over): But the close call didn't stop them from working today.

We've developed immunity after a year of war, says Olya (ph). We don't even run and hide in the basement anymore when there are air raid sirens.

The Ukrainian military says air defenses shut down nearly half of Russia's missiles and drones but can't intercept some of these deadly weapons.

YURII IHNAT, UKRAINIAN AIR FORCE SPOKESPERSON: There were X22 which we can't shoot down. We can't shoot down the Kinzhal either. WATSON (voice-over): Russia's Defense Ministry calls the missile barrage retaliation for what it claims was a Ukrainian terrorist attack in Russia's Briansk region on March 2nd. Claims which CNN has not been able to independently verify.

Deadly Russian revenge attacks that leave ordinary Ukrainians picking up the pieces.


COOPER: And Ivan Watson joins us now. Are there concerns that more of these attacks could happen soon?

WATSON: Well, certainly, the Ukrainian military says the risk of further tax is high. This isn't the first time that there's been a big salvo. The Russians have basically been firing missiles that Ukrainian cities since back in October and September, with the goal that appears of trying to knock out the electric power grid.

So that sent workers, utility workers scrambling to get power back up. Here in Kyiv, for example, they did manage to restore power to some 15 percent of the city that had been knocked out. They're still trying to get the heat back on to 30 percent of the city. But I have to point out, these utilities are still functioning in the city, in this country, despite these repeated salvos of attacks.

And, in fact, in the neighborhood, I was in, Anderson, where that high rise had nearly been hit. Just across the street, the supermarket was still working. The Domino's Pizza was still working. This has not succeeded in crushing Ukraine's economy.

And people I talked to who nearly missed this attack, they said they're not leaving, that includes a mother of a seven-month-old baby who was born in Ukraine during this war. She said she's not going anywhere. Anderson?

COOPER: Ivan Watson, I appreciate it. Thank you. Be careful.

Another massive snowstorm is hammering the Northwest tonight, which is why you need to hear our next story about how a driver in that region trapped alone in the snow on a remote road with no cell service no one looking for him use the drone to mastermind his escape. You've never heard another story quite like this before, that's next.



COOPER: We have severe snowstorms in California now threatening southern Oregon and more of the Northwest under as much as 2 feet of snow. Travelers might want to look closer at this next story. A local sheriff's office is releasing details what happened on a remote road in Oregon's Willamette National Forest in late January.

Still a named driver stuck in the snow with no cell service. His family was out of the country. Nobody knew where he'd gone but he was not alone. He had a drone. Remember, there was no cell service. He typed a text message including his exact location to somebody he trusted. He hit send and then attach the cellphone to the drone. He then launched the drone several 100 feet into the air and hopes it could find a signal it did and the message actually got through and rescuers were able to get to him.

And just for good measure, it turned out there was another stranded motorist near him who rescuers also located and rescued. Well done.

The CNN town hall, "War Over Education" with Governor Glenn Younkin starts now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The war over education.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER (in unison): Shame on you. Shame on you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's turn schools into culture war battlefields.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beware of terms like social justice, equity, inclusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How should America teach its children about race, history and identity?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're teaching children to hate others because of their skin color.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You cannot tell me what is or is not racist. Look at me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus, a pandemic feud pungent test scores and kids struggling with their mental health.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must go to work for our children. They can't wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, his election win transformed the politics of education in America.