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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Police Release Bodycam Video Of Nashville School Shooting; Biden Urges Congress To Act, Repeats Call For Assault Weapons Ban; Warlike Weapons In Civilian Hands; Key Republicans Won't Budge On Tougher Gun Restrictions As Dems Express Doubts New Shooting Will Lead To Action; Sources: Federal Judge Rules Pence Must Testify About Conversations With Trump Leading Up To Jan. 6; Dominion & Fox News Want Host And Executives To Take The Stand At Trial. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 28, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well in Central America, the Guatemalan officials say that 28 of the 40 who died were Guatemalan nationals -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, thank you very much, Ed Lavandera.
And thanks so much to all of you for joining us. You can watch the show anytime, anywhere. You just have to go to CNN Go.
In the meantime, though, it is time now for AC 360 with Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360"): Good evening.
Tonight, newly released body camera video from the police officers who confronted and killed a mass shooter at the Covenant School in Nashville. We're going to show it to you, but first we want to tell you what we know about those who were murdered, about their lives not just how their lives ended.
Three adults and three children at the school were killed yesterday.
Mike Hill was the school custodian. Students called him Big Mike. He loved the kids at the school and his job and he loved his own kids so much. There were seven of them and his 14 grandchildren as well.
He loved to spend time with them and to cook, his family says. He was just 61 years old.
Cynthia Peake also was 61. She was a substitute teacher at the school. A family friend tells local station, WSMV, she lived most of her life in Alabama, recently moved to Nashville with her husband. She had three children of her own.
Katherine Koonce was head of the school. She was 60. A former student with learning disability said that Miss Koonce never gave up on him telling WSMV that there are too many educators who do. The world, he said, needs more people like her. Hallie Scruggs' dad was the pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church,
which runs the school. Hallie was in the third grade, just nine years old.
Evelyn Dieckhaus' family said: "She was a shining light. Our hearts are completely broken. We cannot believe this has happened," they said in a statement today. Evelyn, too, was just nine.
We don't have photos of William Kinney, also nine years old. Family friends said that he loved his sisters, adored his parents and grandparents, was unfailingly kind and gentle and quick to laugh. "Sweet Will" as she called him knew no strangers, she said.
But a stranger did come in to his school yesterday and killed Sweet Will and Evelyn and Hallie, Mike, Cynthia, and Katherine.
What we're about to show you was released by the police today and it shows you how the killer was stopped. Videos from two officers which we've synchronized to the clock so you can see from each viewpoint what actually happened as it happened.
It's hard to watch, there is no doubt about it, but you won't see any bloodshed, you won't see any actual violence. You will hear gunfire, however.
It is a little more than three minutes but it shows you what police are up against in a situation like this. It shows you the reality of what is happening far too often in this country.
The video starts with one officer's camera and is later joined in sync with the second officer's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, just an update. It is going to be first four main lobby --
POLICE OFFICER ENGELBERT: I am making entry on the front side. I've got a civilian that's over here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kids are all locked down, but we have two kids that we don't know where they are.
POLICE OFFICER ENGELBERT: Okay.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay.
POLICE OFFICER ENGELBERT: Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
POLICE OFFICER ENGELBERT: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone has fired into my window, someone is there upstairs. They are upstairs.
POLICE OFFICER ENGELBERT: Give me three. Let's get three.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). All the way down this hall. This is Scholarship Hall, and of this hall is Scholarship Hall. They are. They've just said they heard gun shots down there, and then upstairs are a bunch of kids.
POLICE OFFICER ENGELBERT: Let's go. I need three.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more.
POLICE OFFICER ENGELBERT: Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open doors. On me. On me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know where he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Metro Police. Open door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Second floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Locked door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did they go in?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With me. With me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First floor, first --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through the door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold there. You all -- somebody hold there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through that door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open it. I got it. I got it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Flashing cars blue. Go. Go. Go. Go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down. Get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move right. Cover. Cover left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cover left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move. I'm with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go left. Hold on. Take this with me. Take this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it. Bring it in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's locked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope, that's locked. Take this door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take this door. Take it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take that stairs. Take the stairs. Go. Go stairs. Go stairs. Go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's upstairs. It sounds likes it's upstairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep pushing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. Shots fired. Shots fired. Move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Right. Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Push (INAUDIBLE). Go right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Some professional perspective now from CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Andrew, it's really stunning to see that you get a -- I mean, just -- first of all the coordination that they showed and when those shots -- when they heard shots after, you know, trying to clear rooms, there was no -- the thing that stood out to me is there was no pause from them of stopping in the hallway, seeking cover. They in fact accelerated toward the gunfire. ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know,
Anderson, law enforcement in this country takes a lot of criticism, and we're not perfect, and we get some things wrong, but you see the heart pounding intensity of what those men the way they executed their responsibilities and lived up to the oath that they swore under unbelievable danger and pressure, it's remarkable.
And yes, what you see there is a very highly trained, well-coordinated response. You see them shouting at each other and touching each other on the shoulder and they're not yelling for no reason, they are communicating in an incredibly loud and chaotic environment.
You know, when you're the first person of that group of the few officers, you cannot take your eyes off of what you're looking at, looking for that threat. So you can't turn around to see if your cover person is still behind you or if you've left them, so you wait for that tap on the shoulder, you wait for them to say "Move, move, forward, push." And that's all what you see happening there.
They are clearing room after room quickly, they're not slowing down. And as soon as they hear those gunshots go, they run to it. And that's what makes the difference in, you know, limiting the loss of life. So, yes, it's a remarkable video. It's hard to watch. Hard to watch, but --
COOPER: Yes. Incredibly disturbing. It's also interesting to me that you know, the officer whose body camera we see first who arrives, immediately gets out of the vehicle, gets his long gone.
Here is a little bit from one of the school administrators or a teacher about the locations of things and what may be happening, and then calls out "I need three." I assume that means I need three other people with me because it looked like there were at least two other police cars there at the time. I'm not sure how many officers had already been there.
But he is basically getting kind of a stack together, getting a group together to actually move in. That is standard procedure now.
MCCABE: That's exactly right. You know, he gets out of his car, he doesn't know how many people are in there, how many are not. He just knows he's got a long gun. He's got to get in there. He heads for the door where he sees another officer or somebody directing him towards that door. And he just you know, ideally you want to go in as two, three, four people and so he calls out what he needs.
And he either gets -- presumably, he gets that support. If not he's going in anyway because he hears that person from the school tell them that, you know, there are shots being fired. So it is a very quick rally, and they get inside and they find the threat.
There is no standing around the hallway talking about it, asking for extra equipment or more people. They've got to get the job done.
COOPER: Yes, that's Officer Engelbert who did all of that, main body camera video we saw. It was also interesting. The person from the school said, you know,
it's down -- far the end of the hall, there were shots that, you know, there may be people there. And then she also talked about people upstairs.
That message clearly got through again to officers on the scene because when the second body camera comes in, it appears that that officer and maybe other officers are moving up to that second floor location. Again, I'm surmising here, but that's what it appears. I assume that information from the school administrator got out, which is again something that in Uvalde, communication seems to be a real issue.
MCCABE: That's absolutely right. You know, it was remarkable to me that when she first addresses him on the sidewalk there, his response is "Yes ma'am." And he replies in a very under control kind of composed way, courteous way.
MCCABE: He knows where he is going. He knows what he is about to face, but this is somebody is not panicking. He is dedicated and focused on what he has to do.
She also gives him some very important information about where the children are, she says, most of the children have been evacuated or are on lockdown and he needs to know that as he goes inside, so he can figure out which rooms need to be searched, where kids need to be protected, and which ones he can potentially go faster or spend less time on.
COOPER: It's also interesting, because you know, people never know -- I mean, even officers who had been on the job for a long time, very often times an officer doesn't take his gun out or actually fires a shot on the police force for four years, if at all, in an actual environment like this. You never know how you're actually going to respond, whether it's a combat zone or for police, whether you're going to become hyper-focused and laser focused and calm or whether you're going to freak out, clearly, I mean, again, just from what he said to the school administrator, that officer seemed extraordinarily focused on the task at hand.
MCCABE: He does, and you know, I don't know what his personal experience has been. Maybe he's been in situations like this or combat before, but maybe it's just the result of incredibly dedicated training.
You know, you don't you don't know until you're in that moment in a crisis situation. But the best you can do is prepare and train and train. You see, when he reaches into the back of the car, he knows exactly where he's going. The gun is in the bag. It's ready. He doesn't have to reassemble things, reload magazines. That officer is prepared when he gets on the scene. And that shows you he is somebody who has thought through what he's going to need. He gets in -- before he gets in the car to leave on his shift, he has got his -- he knows where his gear is in the back. He knows how to get to it quickly. That's how you save lives.
COOPER: Yes, Andrew McCabe. I appreciate it. Thank you.
President Biden today renewed his call for lawmakers to pass a ban on so-called assault weapons just short of 19 years since the 1994 version expired and wasn't renewed. He also signaled how constrained he says he is as chief executive to do more telling reporters: "I can't do anything except plead with the Congress to act reasonably."
As for what Congress will do, so far, Democrats have yet to decide how to proceed or if to proceed and fair to say many, if not most, Republicans aren't willing to proceed at all in the House, at least on any gun restrictions.
Here is what some of them said or flat out refused to say when asked by reporters, including our Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What happened in Nashville, obviously incredibly serious (INAUDIBLE) response from the House.
REPORTER: Do you think (INAUDIBLE).
RAJU: Should there be any gun restrictions at all?
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): And I think with respect to any discussion of legislation, it's premature.
REPORTER: You seem to indicate there was nothing more Congress can do in terms of --
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): You know, we want to -- we want to legislate evil. It's just not going to happen. We need a real revival in this country.
Why does the President have a Corvette in his garage that will do 150 miles an hour, not 55? Because it's freedom,
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I believe in the Second Amendment, and we shouldn't -- you know, we shouldn't penalize law-abiding American citizens.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Before they even know the facts, the first thing they talk about is taking guns away from law-abiding citizens,
REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): People are allowed to possess firearms. Need is in the eye of the beholder. I don't question why you need a blue suit, but you've got one that.
REPORTER: What should be done to protect people like your little girl from being safe at school.
BURCHETT: Well, we homeschool her. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is Tennessee Congressman Tim Burchett, who also said he does not see "any real role" for Congress in the wake of yesterday's slaughter.
This morning, Senate Chaplain Barry Black argued there certainly is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRY BLACK, US SENATE CHAPLAIN: Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers, remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman, Edmund Burke: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Chaplain Barry Black joins us now.
Chaplain, I appreciate you being with us. Is evil triumphing? Are good men doing nothing?
BLACK: Well, I think indeed.
There is a triumph of evil when six people die in such a horrific way. And of course, we've had to face challenges like this repeatedly. There is almost a danger of de-sensitization.
BLACK: I think that there are people who are doing something, but that we can do more, and I believe that when you are faced with a challenge, you have to expect setbacks and failures, but you persevere until you find better ways of solving the problem.
I remember when I was very young, probably preteen, JFK talked about putting a person on the moon and bringing that person back to Earth by the end of the decade, and I thought he must have inhaled something to make that kind of an optimistic -- to embrace that kind of optimistic challenge, but with setbacks and challenges, they managed to accomplish that goal.
Time and time again, when Americans have made up their minds we're going to tackle this problem and solve it, they have eventually done so. And so that is what I am challenging us to do.
One of the purposes of government is to hold evil in check. So the idea that there is nothing that government can do is not true of the facts of our history.
COOPER: In your view --
BLACK: Go ahead.
COOPER: Sorry, in your prayer, you also said deliver our senators from the paralysis of analysis that waits for the miraculous. Talk about that a little bit. You also said it's time to move beyond thoughts and prayers. What does that look like moving beyond thoughts and prayers?
BLACK: I think moving beyond thoughts and prayers, it means doing something, praying is doing something but it is ethereal. The 1 Psalm: 3 talking about the happy believer says, whatever he or she does will prosper. God prospers what we do. And so we begin to -- we have to begin to try some things that may be counterintuitive.
It took Thomas Edison thousands of attempts before he found the filament for the incandescent light bulb, but he thought that these were steps toward accomplishing that goal and eventually, he did.
So I am talking about developing a proclivity for substantive action, and not just waiting for something beatific to occur because of the movement of the transcendent.
COOPER: Chaplain Black, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
BLACK: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, the AR-15 type rifle that is killer and so many others have carried, why it's so deadly and what if anything might be done to keep it out of the wrong hands.
Later, what a judge told former Vice President Mike Pence about what he'll have to tell grand jurors and why his former boss will not be happy with that decision.
COOPER: It's known as America's rifle. It has also, been over the years, the weapon of choice in mass shootings and the Nashville mass killer was carrying one. Light, easy to carry easy to shoot, the AR-15 and variants of it are civilian versions of the US military's M-16 series and like the M-16, they fire a relatively small caliber bullet at a very high velocity.
What that does to a human body used to be only seen in wartime.
More now from CNN's Josh Campbell.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They're known as assault style weapons. Their deadly firepower seen yet again when a shooter opened fire on an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. It's just the latest.
From Uvalde, Tulsa, and El Paso to Parkland, San Bernardino, and Sandy Hook, the high-powered assault rifle has been the weapon of choice for many of the killers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Line is hot.
CAMPBELL (voice over): The Los Angeles Police Department demonstrates an AR-style semiautomatic rifle for us on the department's gun range.
SGT. JAMES ZBORAVAN, LOS ANGELES POLICE: You have a 16-inch to 20- inch barrel. You have a stock that is shouldered. You're going to be accurate at farther distances, as opposed to a pistol.
CAMPBELL (voice over): Not to mention like some other weapons, it can fire a bullet with enough power to appear soft body armor, something Sergeant James Zboravan knows firsthand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is definitely an automatic weapon.
CAMPBELL (voice over): He took assault weapons fire during the now infamous 1997 North Hollywood shootout where two bank robbers wearing body armor fired on police for nearly an hour, injuring eight people and 12 officers including Sergeant Zboravan.
ZBORAVAN: You're being hit with pieces of the vehicles we are hiding behind, asphalt, radiator fluid. It felt like we're being stung by bees.
CAMPBELL (voice over): That shooting changed policy, prompting the LAPD and other departments to upgrade their own weaponry to counter the increasingly powerful guns used by assailants.
That firepower from weapons is studied inside a ballistics lab at Wayne State University where researchers simulate a bullets impact on the human body.
CYNTHIA BIR, PROFESSOR, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY: It is a block of 20 percent gelatin, and it is meant to represent the human tissues, so soft tissues.
CAMPBELL (voice over): Watch as Cynthia Bir's team fires a handgun round at 1,000 feet per second into the gelatin block.
BIR: For this particular round, you'll see the bullet come in on this side. You see this temporary cavity here happening. So that expansion is what happens in the body and then it collapses down, so that is where your damage comes in.
CAMPBELL (voice over): Now watch this a team fires around from an assault rifle.
BIR: we see a lot more disruption. This round actually breaks apart, it doesn't exit, it so it's about 3,000 feet per second and all of that energy goes into the soft tissue. We have a piece of plastic here to reflect to do the videos and it actually lifted the plastic up off the table with the energy.
CAMPBELL (voice over): On aftermath photo of the handgun rounds shows a relatively straight line through the tissue exiting the other side, but not so with around from an AR-15. BIR: It basically goes into the body and creates an explosion inside
CAMPBELL (voice over): Trauma surgeons say the wound from an assault rifle can be catastrophic.
DR. CHETHAN SATHYA, PEDIATRIC TRAUMA SURGEON: And the worst part is in a child, all the vital organs are that much closer together so each of those bullets causes, you know, irreversible damage.
CAMPBELL (voice over): In Uvalde, Texas families were asked for DNA swabs to help the authorities identify their children.
BIR: As a mom, it really affects me, right? Because I cannot imagine having a child endure this.
CAMPBELL (voice over): And with high capacity magazines, suspects can shoot for much longer.
CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, the discussion about high-capacity magazines largely centers on reducing the amount of time that a suspect can fire without having to reload.
As a former FBI agent, we were trained to quickly get your weapon reloaded and back up on target. But for a suspect, for example, who isn't trained, you can see using this training weapon, that is a process. It involves removing the empty magazine, obtaining a fresh round of ammunition, loading it into the weapon, charging the weapon, getting it back up on target, those are all precious seconds where victims can be fleeing, the gun can jam or the suspect could be engaged by law enforcement or bystanders.
CAMPBELL (voice over): Knowing the damage that sustained firepower can do, researchers hope their critical findings lead to awareness.
CAMPBELL (on camera): Regardless of where one comes down on the gun control debate, it is indisputable that the assault weapon causes significant damage inside the body.
BIR: Definitely. But this is the reality. This is what's happening.
CAMPBELL (voice over): Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.
COOPER: This is what is happening time and time again.
Joining us two CNN senior political commentators, former Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger and David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Obama.
David, I mean, I don't know how many times you and I have had this discussion. Is there any chance of anything actually getting done in Congress? DAVID AXELROD, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I'm eager
to hear from Adam on this, but I'm very, very doubtful. You know, last year, we passed a relatively modest gun control or gun safety law out of the United States Congress after Uvalde, and still Republicans in the House led by Kevin McCarthy moved against it.
There were 14 Republicans who were willing to stand up. Adam Kinzinger, who was one of them. But now Kevin McCarthy is the Speaker of the House and I see no evidence in his reaction to this latest tragedy that he has changed his view on this issue at all.
COOPER: Congressman, as David said, you were one of 14 House Republicans who voted for the new gun safety legislation last June. You're also a member of the military, supporter of the Second Amendment. I mean, AR-15s aren't going away, it seems.
Senator Murphy last night mentioned the idea of maybe someday mandating training before somebody could get one. Is anything possible to move on this?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, I think David is right, probably not right now and I can tell you the inside of what a conference -- the Republican conference feels like right now, because I sat through that for 12 years, which is every time there's a mass shooting, you basically are sitting around, and you can't wait till the next story overtakes this one. And that's why you're going to stay quiet. You're not getting comments from these members.
Look, I think what we have to do is, you know, there are folks that probably very rightfully, in their mind advocate for a complete ban of AR's and there are some that won't even address the issue.
There is middle ground here. Look, this is an exception, but a lot of the school shootings that happen are mass shootings are people under the age of 21. You have to be 21 in America to buy a handgun. In many states, you only have to be 18 to buy an AR. Well, that's one thing.
And why is it that you have to be licensed to drive a car in this country in every State? But yet, there are States now that are moving to say you don't even have to have a license to conceal carry, I conceal carry, I have a license to conceal carry. And why don't we say that with AR's, at least in the near term, maybe you have to have a license to have one of those, too.
Look, if you are somebody that's sitting around saying, you know, I'm not going to go do a mass shooting with my AR, which is 99.99 repeating percent of those gun owners, then I don't think you'd be upset about going and getting a license to own one.
These are intermediary steps. But everybody, particularly my party right now, the Republicans are too scared to talk about this. They couldn't even raise the age to 21.
COOPER: It does seem also, you know, Congressman, if you're, you know, at a gun range, you want people who are also at a gun range, who have training, who know what they're doing and are not going to shoot somebody, you know, taking their AR out of the case it is in.
KINZINGER: Yes, there are multiple points to this. So number one, one of the better things about getting licensed to conceal carry is you learn the laws in the State. For instance, Illinois has a much different standard for when you can shoot somebody in your home than say Texas does, right? So you get to learn that stuff.
The other thing is, people assume I think a lot that a police officer with a hand gun against an assailant with an AR is an even match. It is the furthest thing from an even match. I've shot AR's, I've shot them both in the military and in the civilian sector. They are much more accurate. They have much better ability to hit somebody at a distance than a pistol does.
So this idea that it's the same thing, it's not recognized that. And that's why, I think, as a country, a step is to say maybe you have to go through some training to understand what these things can really do.
COOPER: David I mean, there is a line for Democrats of thinking, well, this doesn't necessarily drive people to the polls. It's not the top issue that people say they vote on or hasn't been traditionally. And there's concern about driving voters, I guess, to Republicans among some Democrats.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, I think that's been true historically. It may still be true today. I think if there were a chance to pass some really significant legislation, that you'd see the vast majority of Democrats do it. But I think that there is a reluctance to push it. If, at the end of the day, there are those who are going to have to walk the plank, as it were, to vote for something that has an uncertain future.
So, you know, I mean, I don't -- I think people should stand up on this issue. And I appreciate everything that Adam is saying. I still don't understand exactly why weapons that he uses in war are ones that people should casually have on their own. And they have increased exponentially since the ban on assault weapons went out in 2004, to the point where we have 20 million of them or so or 20 million people own them. And, you know, even if we passed a law, it would be very hard at this point to enforce it.
COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, Adam Kinzinger, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, the latest on whether that Manhattan grand jury investigating the former president will make a decision this week. Plus, a judge telling former Vice President Mike Pence he has to testify about his private conversations with then President Trump in the weeks and days leading up to January 6. Pence has just spoken out about it. What he said, next.
COOPER: Sources tell CNN that the Manhattan grand jury investigating the former president's role in an alleged hush money scheme involving an adult film star will not hear the case again this week. Source also tells CNN the grand jury adjourned Monday without taking a vote on whether to indict. That means no answer this week on whether there will be an indictment or not.
In a separate investigation with potentially more serious consequences for the former president, multiple sources tell CNN the special counsel leading the federal probe into his actions surrounding January 6 scored a big legal victory involving testimony from Mike Pence, who tells Newsmax he is now evaluating the court's decision that he has to testify.
Our Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez joins us. So the CNN Legal -- also CNN Legal analyst Elliot Williams, a former federal prosecutor and deputy's assistant attorney general. So, Evan, talk more about what this judge is -- what he ruled, and if he's given the former vice president any leeway.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the important thing from this judge is that he's basically saying that there's plenty that Mike Pence can talk about with prosecutors as part of this investigation, the January 6 investigation.
Boasberg said that while Mike Pence is -- does have the protection of the speech or debate clause under the Constitution as the Senate president, he was serving as Senate president during part of this, he does have to answer questions, however, for everything leading up to January 6 when he wasn't acting in that capacity. And so that means that there's a lot of questions that the vice president -- the former vice president, is going to be facing when he goes before the grand jury.
Now, it is important to note that there are limitations, right, that the Justice Department is going to have to observe. It is not clear, though, Anderson, when the former vice president goes before the grand jury where that line will be. It may be that the judge will have to say that question is allowed, that question is not allowed.
Keep in mind, he was at the center of all of this, right? He was the one that was facing the pressure campaign by the former president and his allies that he had the power, they said, to not certify the election of Joe Biden as president. And so those are the questions that really, I think --
PEREZ: -- the prosecutors want to get at.
COOPER: Elliot, do you know where that line is? Because that's confusing then, I mean, if he does have to testify about conversations he had with the former president, but maybe there are some things he doesn't have to say. Do you know where that line is? ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. Anderson, there's a lot of gray area here between Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, who is also sort of Mike Pence, the candidate for office, and Mike Pence, the guy whose boss might be investigated by the Justice Department. Where do you slice up where those different roles lie and excise and take out Mike Pence, the congressional officer who was presiding over the Senate?
Now, anything he did in his capacity as the person overseeing the Senate, as president of the Senate, as the Constitution, well, that's all protected. But where does everything else go? And look, looking -- I mean, we haven't seen this opinion yet. It's all under seal. But there's something for everybody to appeal in this.
If Mike Pence wished to appeal the fact that he has to testify at all, he would have a perfect basis for doing so. And the Justice Department could actually say, you know, Your Honor, this is actually quite vague. And because of all the gray areas and sort of trying to determine where exactly or how much wiggle room the former vice president has is actually quite difficult, and we really need clarity on this.
COOPER: Elliot, do we know what specific information about January 6 that investigators would like to get out of the former vice president --
WILLIAMS: Sure --
COOPER: -- if the ruling stands up and he ends up complying
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. And it's important, Anderson, to get out of the frame of Mike Pence and Donald Trump were bickering and are mad at each other and sort of the palace intrigued stuff. And where is there legally operative information that could come from Mike Pence?
Number one, what evidence or information did he hear about the President knowing he was going to obstruct the actions of Congress, which is itself a federal offense? Was the president -- did the president make any threats to Mike Pence? Was he aware of violence on the day of January 6? Was he aware of, you know, any other crimes that may have transpired?
Those are all legally relevant questions to charges that could either come to the president or other people around him. So, you know, it's -- yes, it's interesting as a human matter, but there's actually some law there, and Mike Pence is a very central figure who might have heard important information.
COOPER: Evan, is it clear what phase this investigation, the January 6 investigation is in at this point?
PEREZ: Well, look, I mean, I think we often use the word accelerating, but really, Anderson, I mean, we're getting the picture, certainly with all of the legal activity you're seeing. The prosecutors are giving deadlines, very tight deadlines for people to come in to the grand jury. People who were asking for more time, they don't get it. They're also going to the appeals court in very accelerated timelines. So it gives you the impression that prosecutors certainly want to try to get everybody in, and then be able to make a decision as to who they're going to charge or if they're going to charge anyone.
Now, we don't know who those people will be. There could be some of the allies of the former president, people who are very involved in trying to overturn the election results, right? And push this whole idea of fraud could be the former president himself. And so that is right now, what we know is, you know, certainly I think that the political calendar is also playing into this, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Evan Perez, appreciate it. Elliot Williams as well.
Quick programming note, in about 20 minutes, CNN Primetime presents "Inside the Trump Investigations," an hour long in depth look with CNN Anchor and Chief Investigative Correspondent Pamela Brown at the multiple investigations facing the former president. She'll have new reporting on former Vice President Pence's mindset after the judge's ruling today. Whether he'll testify, that's at 09:00 p. m. Eastern tonight.
Coming up for us, we're going to dive into the details of how separate allegations made by two women about affairs with the former President in the years before his election turned into a present day criminal investigation.
COOPER: As we mentioned earlier, we learned that today, the Manhattan grand jury investigating the former president will not hear from any more witnesses this week, though yesterday they heard from David Pecker, once a confidant at Donald Trump. He was the former head of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, and he's central to the alleged hush money scheme under investigation.
It's a story I've covered on this broadcast on 60 Minutes for some time now, and how it works and the purpose of the alleged payoffs may determine the severity of any charges the former president now faces.
Randi Kaye explains.
COOPER: And you had sex with him?
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM ACTRESS: Yes.
COOPER: You were 27, he was 60, were you physically attracted to him?
DANIELS: No. RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Porn star Stormy Daniels opening up to Anderson Cooper about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. She says she first met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in July 2006. A year later, she says, they met at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
DANIELS: He came and sat next to me and, you know, touched my hair and put his hand on my leg.
KAYE (voice-over): Nearly a decade later, during the 2016 campaign, Stormy Daniels was shopping her story about the alleged affair and says she got a phone call from her lawyer saying --
DANIELS: I think I have the best deal for you.
KAYE (voice-over): That deal was essentially a nondisclosure agreement, or NDA, a promise to keep silent. It came about after Daniels had approached the National Enquirer with her story. At the time, longtime Trump ally David Pecker was running American Media Inc. or AMI, which published the National Enquirer.
RONAN FARROW, AUTHOR, "CATCH AND KILL: LIES, SPIES AND A CONSPIRACY TO PROTECT PREDATORS": The Enquirer forged an alliance with Donald Trump. They would go out and seek unflattering and usually tawdry stories about Donald Trump, and they would pay money for the rights to those stories, which entailed, essentially muzzling the people in possession of those stories.
KAYE (voice-over): AMI's Pecker helped broker the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels.
COOPER: Was it hush money to stay silent?
KAYE (voice-over): Pecker and one of his editors contacted Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, who then reached out to Daniels and offered the $130,000 payment to make her story go away. When Daniels threatened to take her story elsewhere, court filings say Pecker called Cohen on an encrypted phone app and said the deal needed to be completed or it could look awfully bad for everyone.
Trump has denied the affair and any fault with the payment. Still, in the end, Daniels took the deal. She signed the agreement 11 days before Election Day in 2016.
Playboy model Karen McDougal says she, too, was essentially muzzled by Pecker and AMI after trying to sell her story about an alleged affair with Trump.
KAREN MCDOUGAL, PLAYBOY MODEL: I met Donald when they were filming the "Celebrity Apprentice" at the Playboy Mansion.
KAYE (voice-over): She says she met Trump in 2006, and their affair lasted about 10 months.
COOPER: Were you in love with him?
MCDOUGAL: I was, yes.
COOPER: And do you think he was in love with you?
MCDOUGAL: He was, yes.
KAYE (voice-over): McDougal told Anderson she and her attorney met with AMI.
COOPER: You told him your story?
MCDOUGAL: We told him story.
KAYE (voice-over): She says AMI was only interested in buying her story after Trump won the Republican nomination.
MCDOUGAL: The side deal was, oh, we're squashing the story.
COOPER: You think it's because of a personal relationship with the guy who runs AMI is friends with Donald Trump?
KAYE (voice-over): Federal prosecutors cut a non-prosecution agreement with American media back in 2018, ruling out charges for the publisher. As part of that agreement, AMI admitted to paying Karen McDougal $150,000 to prevent her claims of an affair from being made public.
KAYE: And Anderson, in that interview with you, you probably recall Karen McDougal went into quite a bit of detail about what was offered as part of that catch and kill scheme. Not only the $150,000 to silence her, but she also said that she had been promised that she would be on magazine covers, that she would be able to write columns for their health and fitness magazines, which was certainly a passion for hers -- passion of hers, I should say.
And none of that ever really panned out for her. But they were successful, of course, in syncing her story before Election Day. Anderson?
COOPER: Yes, and that's who testified on Monday, David Pecker.
Randi Kaye, thanks so much.
Coming up, you'll notice some names, including Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. The Dominion Voting System wants testimony from in its $1. 6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. Who else they want on the stand? Next.
[20:53:03] COOPER: Tonight, we're learning about who might be called to testify in Dominion Voting Systems $1.6 billion defamation case against Fox News over the 2020 election. Both sides have some similar names and ones you'll recognize. CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy joins us with details. So, what happened in court today?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, this trial is shaping up to be quite a high profile case if it does actually move forward a trial. We're learning some of the names that Dominion and Fox hope to call to the stand. On Dominion's front, they're hoping to call Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to the stand, Fox News President Jay Wallace, and then notable hosts, people like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Bret Baier, people that are recognized by viewers. So very high profile case if this does move forward at trial, Anderson.
And how are the -- how's the judge been responding to the arguments being made?
DARCY: It's safe to say he's not impressed with Fox's arguments in court. A couple of times that he really scoffed at Fox's lawyers. In one time, they were talking about the objections to the exhibits that Dominion wants to admit in a trial and --
COOPER: And the judge sort of blanket objections to all the exhibits.
DARCY: To everything. And the judge said this to Fox. He says, "If I think you're going to be -- to interrupt testimony out of gamesmanship, you may have a problem. Be careful, people. Keep your powder dry on this stuff. This isn't a game. This is a trial, and you're going to be presenting to a jury."
And at another point in time, they were talking about Murdoch and whether he can come to testify in the case. And the judge told Fox's lawyers this. He says, "Mr. Murdoch has claimed that he's traveling and that it is an inconvenience. But I also have people telling me that he's hardly infirm and is able to travel around. I think he recently got engaged on St. Patrick's Day, and he said he looks forward to traveling between his various residences in Montana, New York, and London."
And, of course, we just saw him at the Super Bowl with Elon Musk just a few weeks ago.
COOPER: So I think the trial scheduled for April 15th. Is it clear if it's actually going to get to trial? I mean, there could be a settlement, perhaps.
DARCY: There could always be a settlement right before the clock strikes midnight, but it looks like all things are pointing to a trial happening in just a few weeks, Anderson.
If it -- there is no settlement, the jury selection will begin on April 13th, and then this would go to trial April 17th. Again, you'd see some really big names appearing potentially at this trial. COOPER: Yes. Fascinating.
Oliver Darcy, I appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Coming up next, something much lighter, which we all need tonight. Details on how to watch the planets align, five of them, to be exact, for a nighttime show tonight.
COOPER: Might not feel that way, but several planets are actually aligned tonight and will be in the coming weeks. Five planets aligning under the Moon just after sunset. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus. Jupiter, Venus and Mars should be easy to see since they shine so brightly. For the other two, you may need binoculars, I'm told, or telescope.
Mercury and Jupiter dip below the horizon about 30 minutes after sunset, so you might want to be quick about it. Tonight is peak viewing for the entire show. Luckily, if you missed it here in the Eastern Time zone, astronomers say there will be other chances this Friday and also over the coming weeks.
CNN Primetime Special, "Inside The Trump Investigations," starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight, investigations closing in.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're evaluating the court's decision.