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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Video Shows Drone Intercept, Refuting Russian Account; Russian Intelligence Document Outlines Plan For Destabilizing Ukraine Neighbor; Feds Casting An Extremely Wide Net In Classified Documents Probe; 11 Big Banks Inject $30 Billion Into Flailing First Republic Bank; Biden Admin Editorial Goes After DeSantis For "Banning Books And Censoring What Students Can Learn"; Embattled Rep. George Santos Files Paperwork That Would Allow Him To Run For Reelection In 2024. Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired March 16, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Still no word as to what was the reason, who was at fault, but this is one now of seven close calls we know about at American airports this year.

And tonight, don't miss a Special Report on America's aviation problems. That's tonight at nine.

Thanks so much for joining us. It's time now for AC 360.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Images that would have terrified us during the Cold War, bringing a similar chill tonight.

John Berman here, in for Anderson.

By now, you might have already watched this video of a Russian fighter harassing an American drone in international airspace over the Black Sea.

Tonight, we're going to look at what it signifies in today's confrontation between Russia and the West, one in which Moscow is already fighting a Hot War in Europe, and just as during the Cold War, it's also actively trying to subvert pro-Western governments.

We have a 360 exclusive on a Russian document laying out one such plan to effectively topple a country besides Ukraine, and indications that the scheme has already started.

First, though, what that video tells us and new details on the intercept itself. CNN's Oren Liebermann has that.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): High over the Black Sea, a US spy drone points its camera backwards towards its own tail, a Russian fighter jet closing fast on a much slower MQ-9 Reaper. The Russian jet then begins dumping fuel as it passes by the drone. The cloud of fuel vapor and crucially, the spinning propeller clearly visible in the video after the pass. The Russian Sukhoi SU-27 fighter then flies by on another pass dumping fuel once again, the jet comes even closer, and the video pixelate when the Russian fighter collides with the US drone.

When it comes back online, you can see the propeller with a bent blade damaged in the impact.

In these side by side images, you can see the propeller before and after operating and damaged.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, UNITED STATES CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We know that the intercept was intentional. We know that the aggressive behavior was intentional. We also know it was very unprofessional and very unsafe.

The actual contact of the fixed wing Russian fighter with our UAV, the physical contact of those two, not sure yet, that remains to be seen.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): The video undercuts the Russian narrative of what happened during the encounter.

REPORTER: Mr. Ambassador, any comment on the --

LIEBERMANN (voice over): The Pentagon says, it lasted 30 to 40 minutes in total. Russia claimed there was no physical contact.

ANATOLY ANTONOV, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE US: There was no collision. You see that. The problem is that we didn't contact to this drone. We didn't start firing. It's very important.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): And CNN has learned the intercept was at the direction of some of the highest levels of the Russian Ministry of Defense according to two US officials familiar with the Intelligence, but the official said there was no indication Russian President Vladimir Putin knew of the planned aggression in advance.

Russia has already reached the crash site, some 80 miles southwest of Crimea, two US officials tell CNN. They have been able to recover some debris from the wreckage, but the US downplayed the significance of the drone remnants saying there is probably nothing left of real value.


BERMAN: Oren Liebermann joins us from The Pentagon tonight.

Oren, has the US continued to operate drones over the Black Sea even after that incident.

LIEBERMANN: John, we know from three officials familiar with the matter that the US is conducting an assessment of its drone operations over the Black Sea, a look at what's gained, a look at what's risked as they figure out how to proceed from this point. But we also know that even after the collision, there was at least one flight by a US drone over the Black Sea, the same type of drone, an MQ-9 Reaper, that flight likely to surveil the crash site and find out if the Russians were making a move on some of that wreckage.

We have since learned, as you heard there in the piece that the Russians have made a move on the wreckage and have been able to recover a little bit of it. During this assessment, they are looking at where to go from here with the expectation there will be more drone flights perhaps quite soon.

BERMAN: Oren Liebermann, thank you so much for your reporting.

Perspective now from two people who have seen the spectrum of Russian military behavior across the many ups and downs in its relationship with the United States, CNN military analyst and retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling; also William Cohen, who served as Defense Secretary during the Clinton Administration.

Mr. Secretary, what's your assessment of this video now that you've seen this, this stunning confrontation between a Russian jet and a US drone? How does it undermine the Russian version to you?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER US DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, there are several things that have come out of this. Number one is a Casablanca moment that I'm shocked that the Russians will be lying. I think it's very clear. There are two things we know from this. Number one, the Russians can't be trusted to tell the truth and they can't be trusted in terms of international law, so can't be trusted, can't be believed.

And this has been demonstrated over and over again, from the time they pledged not to invade Ukraine, they pledged not to attack civilian targets. All of that has been proven to be a major lie. So this is nothing new on that.

What this shows is they're becoming more brazen, and maybe more desperate, but this is not -- this is not shocking in terms of what their behavior represents.

BERMAN: General Hertling, we heard from General Milley there. You can't question the intentionality of the encounter. That's clear from looking at it.


There are questions about the intentionality of the contact itself. Does this video show you that one way or the other? And is that really even important?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It is important, John. And I'll tell you why, it is because it reaffirms what I've already believed and that is the poor training of the Russian military, not just the ground forces, but the air forces, the naval forces.

We have seen repeatedly, these kinds of portrayals of how the Russian military conducts operations. I mean, you talk to any Air Force pilot, they will tell you that was really a bad move.

I heard someone say, you know, the film surprises a lot of Americans, it's like "Top Gun." No, it isn't. I mean, it's nowhere close to being "Top Gun."

For an aircraft to come in underneath a drone, an aircraft that is probably flying at about 650 miles an hour to a drone that's flying about 250 miles an hour, and try and dump fuel from underneath and then strike a blade of propeller that's on the back of the drone, I mean, it just really confirms to me how incompetent the Russian military is.

BERMAN: So Secretary Cohen, you heard CNN's reporting there. Senior officials at the Russian Ministry of Defense, according to our reporting gave the order for this fighter jet to harass the US drone over the Black Sea.

But there is no indication that the Kremlin itself, that Vladimir Putin knew about it. Does that seem plausible to you? And is that distinction important?

COHEN: It's not even relevant to me. We keep asking: What did Putin know? Did he know that his forces were targeting civilian apartment buildings, maternity wards, children's playgrounds? Did he know?

It is irrelevant because he is responsible to the Commander-in-Chief to know. So the notion that he may not have approved this, to me is not a pertinent issue.

What we know is that the highest levels that we think we know is the highest levels of the military have ordered this, them to bully the United States.

The Russians feel that the Black Sea is kind of their backyard pool, and no one including the United States should be playing in their pool, and we have to show by putting more Reapers out there, putting more drones up there that they're not going to tell the United States or anyone else where we can go what we can do in international airspace and waters.

BERMAN: Yes, the Russians have wanted the Black Sea as a Russian pool or Russian lake for centuries, and to that point, General Hertling, as Oren Liebermann just reported, the US is conducting an assessment of its drone operations over the Black Sea and taking a look at how to better avoid conflict with the Russians in that area.

Do you see that as a shift from what Secretary Austin said yesterday that the US would continue to "fly and operate wherever international law allows"?

HERTLING: You know, I take it a different way, John. I think what we're assessing, what European Command, EUCOM is assessing, is how to better safely fly the zone knowing that you're going to get these kinds of intercepts by the Russians. When you look at the map again, too, I mean, that drone was downed closer to Romanian and Bulgarian territory than it was to Russian territory. So it confirms what Secretary Cohen just said, Russia considers this, the Black Sea, a Russian lake, and they can't have it that way. This is international waters.

So what I think the assessment is going to really look at is how do we better protect our drones? Because these drones can loiter over the area anywhere from 14 to 34 hours. It gives a distinct advantage in terms of Intelligence collection. How do we protect them? And how do we scramble jets when we see Russian aircraft going after the kind of harassing actions that they've done in this case?

BERMAN: Mr. Secretary, it does appear as if Russia has recovered some debris from this drone and the Black Sea. Officials describe the wreckage as pieces of fiberglass or small bits of the drone? In your opinion, does this material hold any kind of value to the Russians?

COHEN: Well, according to The Pentagon, most of that information, or all of it even was deleted and stripped from the Reaper. So would they be able to reconstruct the capabilities of the Reaper? I don't think that that's crucial.

The Russians aren't totally without, you know, engineers and specialists in terms of constructing these types of things. I don't think that's a big issue as far as we know. I think the bigger issue for me is whether or not we should start replacing the MiG-29s. The Poles are now going to give the Ukrainians, replace them with the F- 16s so that they can put more aircraft into Ukraine.

BERMAN: Secretary Cohen and General Hertling, always a pleasure to speak to both you. Thank you both so much.

HERTLING: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Now, as if to really underscore the stakes at play here, a 360 exclusive new reporting that reveals the existence of a Russian Intelligence playbook for undermining the government of another pro- Western country in Eastern Europe and bring it back into Moscow's sphere of influence.

More now from CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): This is one phase of Russia's hybrid war to destabilize Ukraine's tiny neighbor, Moldova. An organized pro-Russian protest, whipped up by apparent pro-Russian political provocateurs, claiming intimidation, calling for the overthrow of Moldova's Prime Minister.

It's just one element in a sinister secret Russian Intelligence document obtained by CNN, systematically laying out ways to bring down the nation's Western leaning leaders.

In addition to organized protest, options include utilizing the Orthodox Church, threatening to cut off energy supplies.

Its 10-year strategy titled "Strategic Objectives of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova" appears to have been written two years ago by Russia's KGB replacement, the FSB. The aim: Creation of stable pro-Russian groups of influence and the formation of negative attitudes towards NATO.

Moldovan officials increasingly seeing its volatile effects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This black propaganda actually is getting too many people in form of manipulation that the Western and European integration path will only lead the country to war.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Russia's aggression appears triggered by Moldova's shift to the West, reaction to Russia's war in Ukraine.

ROBERTSON (on camera): A Kremlin spokesman denies the FSB plan exists, dismisses it as a fake, but only last year, Russian military officials were boasting battlefield gains in Southern Ukraine would soon link Russia with Russian troops in the pro-Russian breakaway, Transnistria region of Moldova.

ROBERTSON (voice over): It didn't happen, but a few days later, tensions spiked as two radio towers in the separatist region were blown up. No details emerged.

But the FSB plan raises troubling questions about the possibility of a false flag operation, and Russian missiles en route to kill and maim in Ukraine routinely fly close to or even inside Moldova, last month, triggering a shutdown of Moldovan airspace also look less accidental, more intentional. In light of the report --

ANATOLIE NOSATII, MOLDOVAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): We permanently asked for the unconditional evacuation of the Russian forces, which are illegally stationed in Moldova's territory, including the evacuation of the ammunition depot in Cobasna.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Western allies are increasingly showing solidarity. The UK Foreign Secretary, the latest high profile visitor offering no weapons, but strong support.

JAMES CLEVERLY, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY: The one of the best ways that we can help physically protect Moldova from harm is to ensure that Ukrainians are able to defend themselves against Russian attack.

ROBERTSON (voice over): As long as Russia remains on the offensive in neighboring Ukraine, and perhaps longer, Moldova will likely be in Moscow's crosshairs.


BERMAN: Nic, in your piece, you talk about this document, this actual plan for Moldova, what more can you tell us about that?

ROBERTSON: It is very basic, but it's also quite meticulous. It almost sort of seems right out of a Soviet-era playbook. They break it down into three sections over three stages. So they have a political security section, they have a trade economy section, they have a humanitarian section and they have objective, short-term objectives for 2022, midterm objectives for 2025, long-term objectives for 2030.

So to give you an example, on the humanitarian file, their short-term objective is take pressure off of pro-Russian media. Their midterm objective for 2025 is allow more Russian students to come and study in Moldova, and then 2030 their long term objective is have Russian become the main language of Moldova.

So it sounds weird, but they've set this out almost as you might have on a spreadsheet. You send it to the boss, President, President Putin and he checks it off as the years go by, have you done this? Yes. Have you done this? Yes.


This is the way that they were setting about changing Moldova, trying to make it anti-NATO, trying to have pro-Russian partners as the dominant political force. It was a whole makeover is what they had in mind.

BERMAN: Extraordinary. Playing the long game there.

Nic Robertson, fascinating reporting. Thank you so much.

And next for us, more exclusive reporting, in this case on the Mar-a- Lago documents case and the remarkable number of subpoenas going out.

Later, Florida's Governor, his school book law and the opponent it now faces in Education Secretary Miguel Cardona who joins us tonight.


BERMAN: We have exclusive reporting tonight on who and just how very many more people have been subpoenaed to testify before the Washington Federal grand jury in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. They are, in the words of one source, casting an extremely wide net.

We learned as well tonight that a communications aide named, Margo Martin who worked in the White House and then moved with the former President to Florida appeared today before the grand jury.

Also with an indictment possibly coming in New York, "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman has new reporting that the Trump campaign and I'm quoting Maggie now, "is preparing to wage a political war on Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg" laying the groundwork, she reports for a broad attack on Mr. Bragg, a Democrat, a war that may have seen his first shot fired tonight.


Maggie also reporting that the campaign was adding staffers to focus on attacking prosecutors. We'll talk about that and the documents case shortly with our legal and political panel. First, though CNN's Kristen Holmes, who shares credit for the documents exclusive. Kristen, what can you tell us about the people who were subpoenaed and what it means?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, we're talking about roughly two dozen people who are subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury in this documents probe and this is everyone from Mar-a- Lago resort staff to members of Trump's inner circle.

When you talk about Margo Martin, that is a member of Trump's inner circle. Not only was she part of a small group of individuals who went from the White House to Florida, she is part of an even smaller group who is still with Trump today.

But this range of subpoenas was incredibly broad. We are told there was a number of resort staffers who work on the grounds at Mar-a-Lago who were also subpoenaed. This included a housekeeper. It also included at least two restaurant servers.

And we're told that the interest here is really around what they may have seen or heard in their daily activities when they were doing their daily duties on the ground and that includes whether or not they saw boxes of documents in Trump's suite or on the property.

BERMAN: We talked about "The New York Times" for Maggie's story, the former President's Campaign, adding reportedly staff members to focus on pushing out their message. What more do you know about that?

HOLMES: Yes, this political war has already been waged. We've already started to see statements from the campaign. We're also all getting calls from various sources about this attack strategy.

And earlier tonight, we got a statement from the campaign that went after Alvin Bragg, as you said, a Democrat. The statement said that he was linked to George Soros, also linking him to President Biden essentially saying that this investigation and this potential indictment was a favor to Biden in some way.

And the thing to point out here is that the fact that this campaign is already starting, this is not a coincidence. I have talked to a number of sources who are on the ground in Florida, who really believed that there is likely an indictment and it's likely coming next week.

So they are already starting their strategy here to try and get ahead of that, to put out their messaging and try various lines as they await this.

BERMAN: All right, Kristen Holmes, a lot of reporting there. Thank you very much.

With me now, CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Elie Honig, and in Washington, CNN senior political correspondent, Abby Phillip, anchor of "Inside Politics" Sunday.

All right, counselor, all these subpoenas casting a wide net, including this communications aide. What is special Prosecutor, Special Counsel Jack Smith up to?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He is doing his due diligence. This is how you handle subpoenas, John.

When you are deciding who your trial witnesses are going to be, you want to be very careful, selective, strategic. But subpoenas are a great gift for prosecutors because you can sort of shoot them out of a t-shirt cannon, essentially, to make sure that you get all the information and he's doing exactly what he should be doing.

You never know what a housekeeper, what a server may have overheard. And so you want to make sure that you run all of that down, that's what subpoenas are for.

I used to have a stack of subpoenas on my desk yay high, and you want to talk to everyone who you can. That's what he's doing.

BERMAN: All right, Abby, everyone from a key communications aide to people who work in the house. What's your takeaway?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR OF "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY": Yes. I mean, actually, I'm intrigued by the people who work in the house, because I think this is actually a big part of the picture that the Federal government has to at least complete when they're trying to figure out not only what happened to the documents, how did they get there, but who may have had access to them?

I mean, remember, Mar-a-Lago is a private club, but it's kind of open to anyone who has the money to pay for a membership, who's a guest of someone who is a member. It is not a particularly private place. It's not like a private home in the same way that other, you know, former Presidents have private homes.

And so I think that the Federal government in this case is particularly interested in the goings on in Mar-a-Lago. How did people get from place to place? Who might have had access to some of the rooms where some of these documents were found? That seems to me a really critical part of the picture as they're trying to establish whether the documents were recklessly handled, and perhaps put in places where people who shouldn't have had access to them had access to them.

BERMAN: So Abby, we heard about first, Maggie Haberman's in "The New York Times," and Kristen Holmes added to that about the political attacks now on Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan County District Attorney who may very well issue indictments as soon as next week or the grand jury will. From the political side, what's your takeaway there?

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, this is classic Donald Trump. I covered Trump and the White House when he was dealing with the Special Counsel investigation. He attacked Robert Mueller, specifically and directly in that time, and that was perhaps despite his aides really not wanting him to go there.

Trump is really, his view of this is that the best way to undermine the investigation is to go directly at it. You're already seeing this happening with his supporters. I mean, they're claiming that because Bragg is a Democrat that he is biased against Trump, that may or may not be true.


Trump also calls Bragg racist, perhaps because he happens to also be Black. These are all that sort of types of attacks, some of them political, some of them just straight up ad hominem and he will throw everything at this because his supporters really eat it up and they take this stuff at his word, and they repeat it and it becomes part of the narrative that helps inoculate him, he believes at least against some of these investigations.

BERMAN: All right, Elie, there are two very different worlds. There's the world out here, the political world, then there's the world inside the courtroom.

So what we were just talking about with Abby there, these political attacks on Alvin Bragg, these public attacks on Alvin Bragg, can they get from the political world to the legal world, to the courtroom?

HONIG: There actually could be an avenue into the courtroom. I don't think they will lead to much success. First of all, any criminal defendant who gets indicted can make a motion to dismiss based on what we call selective prosecution, meaning you're arguing to the Judge, and this only goes to the Judge, not the jury, I was singled out, and I'm being prosecuted for political reasons.

It is really hard to make that showing, in part because you have to show some other similarly situated person who was not charged. I can't think of anyone in this case.

Now, when it comes time for a jury, that is technically an improper argument, but a lot of good defense lawyers will still try to get into not just the prosecutor's motives, but what is relevant is the witness's motives and if you can show these witnesses have an axe to grind, these witnesses have a personal agenda, that's fair game.

But I do think it's worth sort of stressing the point Abby made, Donald Trump attacks everyone who investigates him, going back to Robert Mueller on prosecutors, FBI agents, Judges who've ruled against him, jurors, grand jurors, so this is completely expected.

I don't like it. I think it's inappropriate, but it is lawful to criticize prosecutors who are investigating you.

BERMAN: Does it have or have you seen it have an influence on a prospective jury pool?

HONIG: Yes, sure. I mean, jurors are human. Jurors listen to what's out there in the media. It could backfire. I think jurors think this is a diversion, this is irrelevant, why do I care about whether there is political motives, all I'm supposed to do is judge the facts and the law.

But, you know, I believe -- I know jurors are human beings and if jurors, I mean, breaking news, but, you know, the jury is not just some sort of mechanistic body. It is 12 human beings and if they think that something is poorly motivated or ill-motivated, that will come into play.

BERMAN: Elie Honig, Abby Phillip, thanks to both of you.

US stock markets breathing a big sigh of relief today, at least today, they were up after a remarkable concerted effort by major US banks to rescue a smaller bank whose failure could have made a bad week for the world worse. NYU Business School Professor, Scott Galloway joins us next to explain whether we're out of the woods yet and if rescuing banks is just another example of banking executives playing by a different set of rules than the rest of us.



BERMAN: All major U.S. stock market indices finished sharply higher today after a rollercoaster week for retirement accounts and the global economy at large. What began with the failure of a large tech oriented U.S. bank over the weekend, extended to worries about the solvency of other regional U.S. banks.

And then most recently, the concerns about a large 167 year old Swiss bank with a trail of reputational issues. And this week isn't even over yet. But as government and large banks converge to provide financing it perhaps as important confidence for the banking system, there is still the giant lingering question of what just happened and can we please do something so it doesn't happen again?

Prospective now on a crazy volatile week for the entire world from Professor Scott Galloway from the NYU Stern School of Business, we should note, he has direct ties with four companies that had a relationship with Silicon Valley Bank.

Professor Galloway, today we saw a handful of big banks throw first Republican lifeline putting $30 billion into their books. How much of an impact do you think that will have on calming investors in the banking system here in the U.S.?

SCOTT GALLOWAY, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: I think it'll have a real impact. I think essentially the government and banks themselves and also some more responsible venture capitalists, if you will, are ring fencing the contagion. And to a certain extent, the American banking system, you would argue over the last kind of four days has been stress tested, and it survived that stress test. But shoring up the balance sheet, making them more bulletproof to a run, that absolutely reduces the likelihood of a run on the bank.

BERMAN: So I hesitate to use the word bailout here, but I can't think of anything else. So with first republic being bailed out by the big banks --

GALLOWAY: Yes. BERMAN: -- and the investors that SVB having their deposits guaranteed by the federal government, what's like the average American supposed to take away from this, as they, you know, they see the price of everything go up, they get impacted directly by one thing or the other. Do you think there's the perception that the rich guys get protected and the average American, you know, get screwed?

GALLOWAY: I think that perception and that discomfort is warranted. But look, the reality is in the last 10 years, 73 banks have failed, and of the 73, 72 have had their deposits backstopped and actually think it might be 73. I couldn't find information on the 73rd.

I think what you have here is a brand problem. And that is if this was the first agricultural Bank of Iowa, the public wouldn't have a problem with it. What the public has a problem with is that Silicon Valley's brand has come to represent a group of individuals who are very talented, who capture all of the upside from the risks they're taking.

And externalize the downside of some of these risks to our teenage daughters, or to young men who have investment apps gamified or to ride hailing companies that have massive amounts of capital that they invest in legislation to see power from labor, to capital.


So it's -- what you have is this brand where they're full throated capitalists on the way up and socialist on the way down. It's sort of like this part time libertarianism that I think the American public is correctly sort of gagging on. They start a fire in their own backyard. They get angry when the Navy and the Air Force and the fire department doesn't show up.

And when it does show up, they stand up and pin a metal on themselves. I think people are just more -- I think it's a brand problem, quite frankly.

BERMAN: When it comes to the Silicon Valley Bank and the collapse there, Congressman Patrick McHenry, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee said this was the first Twitter fueled bank run. Can you explain to me how the run in SVB was fueled by posts on social media spreading concern and fear?

GALLOWAY: So that was one factor. But the reality is not to be fair. This was a combination of a historic increase in interest rates, which took investments, the value of investments they were holding way down. This was concentration of risk. We're not just a small number of companies, but a small number of individuals who had influence over their portfolio companies who told them to get out, created massive concentration risk.

Also, to your -- to be fair, to your point, there were a group of individuals, I would argue are not venture capitalists but a venture catastrophists. And in an attention economy, get some sort of currency or satisfaction of going on Twitter and saying in all caps verbatim, chaos will ensue. You should be terrified. On Monday morning, there are lines around the banks of thousands of people, some will get their money out, most will not. That is not helpful.

BERMAN: Venture catastrophists, a new term for me there. Do you think there's any solution to containing something like that that type of fear, that type of alarmism or is the genie already out of the bottle?

GALLOWAY: Well, I would argue this is a great way to be American. I mean, first off, banks do, generally speaking, lend out more money and invest more money than they have that creates growth in the economy. That has how money is created. The question is, do we need additional regulation?

This bank managed to convince regulators to exempt them from a regulation around certain liquidity and coverage ratios that would have made them a stronger bank. Would that have prevented this? We don't know. But what we know is there's probably additional regulation coming down the pike.

But also, I think it comes down to trying to demonstrate to younger leaders that there's a need -- a different Gestalt that's needed among our leaders. And that is, who do you want in your foxhole? Do you want someone who's deliberate and see themselves as a citizen and as calm and purposeful? Or do you want someone who sees gotcha points or some, you know, see some sort of currency in creating alarm and unnecessary panic?

So I think it's a cultural issue. But I think quite frankly, America comes out of the stronger. Our government did exactly what it was supposed to do. And I believe the American banking system actually comes out of the stronger. There's been a stress test. And so far, we've survived it.

BERMAN: Scott Galloway, you always give us such an interesting way of looking at things. Thank you so much for your time.

GALLOWAY: Thank you, John. Good to see you.

BERMAN: Coming up, the Biden administration takes aim at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a new op ed over book banning. They don't mention the governor by name, but they didn't need to either. We'll explain when the author of the editorial, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona joins us next.



BERMAN: Earlier this week, Anderson spoke with Best Selling Author Jodi Picoult after 20 of her books were banned in just one county in Florida. Fallout from a law championed by a Republican Governor Ron DeSantis that requires approval of all books in public schools that has led to a lot of books being removed.

Picoult said that included one book she wrote about the Holocaust. She also said that the law is so egregious and vague that, quote, books are being pulled off shelves without a lot of understanding why.

Today, a top official for the Biden administration published an editorial on this controversy. It does not name Governor DeSantis but it is rather conspicuously published in a Florida newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes, quote, "Ironically, some of the very politicians who claim to promote freedom are banning books and censoring what students can learn."

He also writes, "Parents don't want politicians dictating what their children can learn, think and believe. That's not how publication is supposed to public education is supposed to work in a free country."

I spoke with Secretary Cardona shortly before air.


BERMAN: Secretary Cardona, thanks so much for being with us. So your op ed was written exclusively for the Tampa Bay Times. That can't be a coincidence. Why did you choose to publish it in Florida specifically?

MIGUEL CARDONA, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Look, silence is complicity here. And yes, it was sent in Tampa, because I've talked to teachers, I've talked to parents and students over there that are very concerned. But I know it's going to have a national reach. This is why I'm here with you today.

This attack on our books, you know, from the party that preaches freedom of speech, is banning books. You know, it doesn't make sense. The party of small government is overreaching into our schools. You know, I have confidence in our educators and our parents to communicate what's right for our students. We don't need a state governments banning books.

BERMAN: So you've mentioned politicians there not parents, and I want to ask you about a quote from your op ed, because you write, "Parents don't want politicians dictating what their children can learn, think and believe." And that's the end of the quote there. But we do know that many of the people making the decisions about which books to ban, for example, are our parents who've been empowered by politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. So what do you say to those parents?

CARDONA: Look, I'm a lifelong educator, and I can tell you and as a father, too, I want to make sure that I have a say in what my children are learning in the educational process. And I'm all in favor of that. I've always been. Parents are the first and most influential teachers, but that's not what we're talking about.

We're talking about an attack on black history. We're talking about going after specific books. They banned a book on Roberto Clemente like it's gone too far. Let our parents and educators work together to find what's best for the students, and stop using our schools and our students as political pawns to get national attention.


BERMAN: So in addition to the book bill, Governor DeSantis proposed plans to defund all diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at state colleges and universities. Now, Ron DeSantis is seems like he is positioning yourself to run for president. He's going to be a national player for the next couple of years. So what kind of implications do you think that could have if it spreads to the national level?

CARDONA: Not only in Florida, but across the country, we really have to pay attention to what's happening to this overreach, to this division in education. You know, our students have suffered a lot in the last three years. We need to be raising the bar.

We need to be providing more, we need to be unified to make sure that our kids are OK, that they're getting the academic help they need, the mental support they need, but also pathways into these careers that are going to be available to them in the next couple of years. Instead, many across the country are trying to sow division and attack our public schools. And we're going to stand up for them.

BERMAN: It seems to be spreading. I mean, in Arkansas, the bill passed in the House yesterday there that would establish a process for challenging books available to children. Again, this was the House, this was the popularly elected legislature in --


BERMAN: -- Arkansas. So is this something that is becoming more popular?

CARDONA: You know, I don't want to speak to a specific proposed bill. What I will say is a parent engagement needs to increase. You know, look at our track record since day one, we've listened to more than 9,000 parents, and what I've heard from them is they need more access, they need more engagement. And we're in support of that.

As a matter of fact, a lot of the things we're funding include parent engagement, increased parent engagement, support for full service community schools that engage parents. I'm all in favor of parents having a more, say in a more of a role, and what their students are learning. What I'm not in favor of is having state level politicians insert themselves in local schools to gain political points.

BERMAN: You bring up a good point here, all of what we've just been talking about from the very beginning here, these are state and local decisions.

CARDONA: right.

BERMAN: Does the federal government, is there anything you can do about any of this?

CARDONA: You know, going back to the issue of banning books or making environments where people don't feel safe. You know, if you have a strategic attack on books that talk about Black Heroes, to me, that creates an environment that's not conducive to learning or to learning about the beautiful diversity in this country. And our role, quite frankly, is to listen, if folks feel that their civil rights are being violated. We encourage them to, you know, push forward, an investigation request to the Office for Civil Rights.

We take the civil rights of our students very seriously. It is state and local control. But our parents and educators are speaking up and we have a responsibility at the federal level to call out hypocrisy and call out an attack on public schools. And that's what we're doing

BERMAN: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, we do thank you for your time.

CARDONA: Thank you.

BERMAN: Coming up, so what do you do after you're caught faking it until you make it? Well, when you're Congressman George Santos who file paperwork to seek reelection. We're getting reaction from his constituents next.



BERMAN: If New York Republican Congressman George Santos actually were Jewish, as he more than once falsely claimed, he might recognize the word hutzpah, because this is it. He filed paperwork this week indicating his intent to seek reelection next year. The man who has already lied about nearly every aspect of his life and is facing countless investigations, including by the House Ethics Committee.

So is this really the kind of record you run on? CNN's Jason Carroll went to his district to ask.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a time of bitter partisan politics when few can seemingly find any common ground, here in New York's Nassau County, it appears Republicans, Democrats and Independents agree on one point, they've had enough of George Santos.

BONNIE KATZ, VOTES INDEPENDENT: We don't trust him. I don't understand why he's still there.

PAUL HERZFELD, VOTES DEMOCRATIC: He's completely humiliated himself. And it's -- just seems like he's detached from reality.

CAROL ZOLONDEK, VOTES DEMOCRATIC We don't know who he is, and we don't like what we see. And it's time for him to go home.

CARROLL (voice-over): The fact that Santos is filing for reelection will allow him to continue to raise money, only adding to the discussed by some in his district.

SHELLEY SCOTTO, VOTES INDEPENDENT: I don't know if it's shock or disgust. I think it's terrible.

CARROLL (voice-over): It's not welcome news to constituents such as Stephen Farrell, says he predominantly votes Republican. STEPHEN FARRELL, VOTES REPUBLICAN: I hope it just goes away. I mean, there's been just so much turmoil with response to his environment, the environment he's created.

CARROLL (voice-over): On this day, we could not find a resident in the area who supports the embattled congressman, not one. And official here tells us Santos also does not have the backing of Nassau County's Republican Party.

MAYOR PAMELA PANZENBECK (R), GLEN COVE, NEW YORK: He needs to resign. Resign now. Forget about running for reelection, George. Resign now.

CARROLL (voice-over): Glen Cove's mayor has joined a chorus of other Republicans, both locally and nationally who say Santos should not keep his seat after numerous scandals and lies surface about his resume and background.

PANZENBECK: If Mr. Santos is doing this and has any intention of running for reelection, he will not have the support of anyone that I know. Everyone in the Republican Party of Nassau County has pretty much demanded that he resign immediately and he has so far not paid attention to anyone.

CARROLL (voice-over): Despite widespread calls for his resignation from Santos' own party, Democrats such as Mindy Isacoff worry enough Republicans could be convinced to support him, rather than risk losing a congressional seat.

MINDY ISACOFF, VOTES DEMOCRATIC: If he does what he says he's going to do. The people who voted for him the first time will let go of their hatred and vote for him again because they hate a lot of other people.


BERMAN: And Jason Carroll joins us now from Douglas in New York part of the district. You know, Jason, you can hear the frustration in everyone's voice there. What else did they tell you?


CARROLL: Oh a lot of frustration here, John, as you know what I mean. I think after talking to people here, John, I think what a lot of folks are hoping is that the House Ethics Committee will do its part, complete their investigation and expel Santos from Congress. But I have to say a lot of folks here have little faith in Congress. And a lot of them are feeling what he's going to end up getting is a slap on the wrist and they're going to end up being stuck with Santos. John?

BERMAN: Two years. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

Next, the blob. No, really, the blob, and it's heading this way.


BERMAN: Right, this is for fans and jobs too. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. Well, if you do, you might sue run into a piece of something a lot bigger than a great white shark by miles big enough to be seen from space. Giant blobs of seaweed. Some of the strands are up to 60 miles long stretching over a giant swath of ocean more than 5,000 miles from the coast of Africa to the Gulf of Mexico.

Blobs of it have already turned up off the coast of Key Largo in Florida and also in Mexico and some have come ashore in Barbados. Look at that. Here's the problem, when the stuff washes up, it rots and it smells. And Jimmy Buffett will never, ever write a song about it.

The CNN primetime special "Flight Risk Turbulent Times for Air Travel" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.