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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Former President At Trump Tower As He Prepares To Formally Face Charges Tomorrow; Manhattan DA Will Hold Press Conference After Trump Arraignment; Trump Hires New Lead Counsel For Manhattan DA Case; Prominent Russian Military Blogger Killed In St. Petersburg Cafe Blast; Iger: DeSantis Actions Against Disney "Not Just Anti-Business But It Sounds Anti-Florida"; How Disney Took On DeSantis In Fight Central To His Image; Trump Attorney Says There's No Purpose In A Mugshot: He's The Most Recognized Face In The World". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 03, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And this is the latest from the Nashville Police, and we are also learning tonight that the shooter acted alone, that the shooter spent months planning the attack, months and studying other mass shooters.

Police are continuing to analyze Hale's journals, but have yet to determine a motive.

Funerals continue this week.

Thanks for joining us. I'll see you back here at nine. Anderson starts now.



History is about to be made by the man who has made history in a number of remarkable and dubious ways before. This is what it looked like in 2015 when Donald Trump made history at Trump Tower there on the left gliding down the escalator and launching the campaign that would make him President, and on the right side of your screen, that is former President Donald Trump unaccompanied walking down the stairs of the plane that returned him to New York, an alleged criminal being arraigned tomorrow.

His reception at Trump Tower is quiet as 2015 was flashy, no crowds inside, just a now private citizen moving rather quickly from his car to his residence.

Tonight, the latest on what happened today and everything we know about tomorrow when he leaves Trump Tower, heads downtown and this country's 45th President becomes the first to face criminal charges.

The exact charges still sealed. We know more about what the process will look like and how much of any of it we will get to see.

We have correspondents and attorneys on all the angles tonight. CNN's Jason Carroll at Trump Tower, CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, and Paula Reid downtown with what awaits the former President tomorrow and security surrounding it.

Let's start with Jason Carroll outside where the former President is tonight.

Do we know how he is spending tonight?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do, and it started when Trump arrived here late this afternoon, Anderson. He gave a quick wave to some of the supporters who had gathered outside of here in front of Trump Tower.

We do know that he has met with some of his advisers and some of his legal team as well. A lot of attention though, focused on what is happening outside of Trump Tower where we've got steel barricades that are set up here and along the street here. We've seen a number of folks who have come out just to see what is going on.

A lot of folks try to focus on what will be happening tomorrow, and that is when former President Trump will be taking his motorcade downtown, taking that four-mile trek from here where we are to downtown where he will be processed.

During that processing period, he will be fingerprinted, and then he will head in for his arraignment, an arraignment is typically a short legal proceeding. He will be read the some 30 counts, criminal counts that he is facing, expected to enter a plea of not guilty, and when all of that is over, he is expected to hop back into his motorcade, then get back on the Trump jet and head back to Palm Beach, where tomorrow night, he is expected to hold some sort of a speech. A lot of people waiting to see what he will be saying then --Anderson.

COOPER: Jason Carroll, appreciate it.

Now, more on the process the former President will go through tomorrow as he leaves the residence, heads downtown. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is downtown for us.

So, walk us through where he goes tomorrow, what the security is going to be like.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: So Anderson, the this is where he will ultimately end up here on Hogan Place. This is outside the Manhattan District Attorney's office. His motorcade will come down this street here. It'll stop and this is where he will get out.

This is where he will get out and walk into the District Attorney's Office where he will ultimately be taken into custody and arrested. He will walk through these doors just right here, this rotating door. He will walk in.

There are elevators in that building. He is going to take the elevators up to the seventh floor, and that is where the processing will begin. He will be fingerprinted on the seventh floor. He will be -- they will fill out paperwork. It's unclear if there's going to be a mug shot. Right now, there are

indications that there may not be a mug shot. And then at some point, he's going to be taken to the 15th floor, which is the courtroom where he's going to be arraigned, and that is just behind here. He doesn't need to leave the building. The security staff can just take him through a secure elevator and they take him up to the 15th floor where he is going to be arraigned. It should be quick.

But by 2:30, we think he will be with the Judge, before the Judge where the arraignment will take place. And by then, hopefully we will learn more specifically, Anderson, what are some of the charges that he is facing. His attorneys will certainly know the charges once they walk through these doors. They will be handed the information from the District Attorney's Office.

So perhaps maybe somehow, we will learn more information at that point. But certainly everyone here is getting ready for tomorrow with all the barricades -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, let's talk about potential threats. How tight is security down there?

PROKUPECZ: So look, right now, obviously it's at night, but we're certainly seeing more security staff, more Court officers who are really the ones that are securing this building than we normally do on the night --

Okay, Anderson, I am just have going to go across the street.


COOPER: There is security.

PROKUPECZ: These barricades have been -- there is security. I mean, you know -- people are allowed to walk, but apparently because we have a camera, we can't walk on the street, so -- but that's okay.

So these barricades are here. By the morning, we will see more officers here. They're going to also close off parts of this street.

Here is the one concern, Anderson, some of the former President's supporters like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Congresswoman, she is going to be gathering just across the street. This is a park. It's a public park and right now the NYPD says they're going to allow those folks inside that park and you just can see how close it is to this courtroom.

Of course, everyone out of fear, out of concern because of what happened on January 6th, that's why we're seeing all of these barriers, Anderson. They want to make sure they can safely keep people back and making sure they have control over any of the crowds that could potentially come here and try to disturb what will be going on inside -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. More now on charges, not to mention the legal maneuvering, which

today, include the former President hiring yet another attorney for his defense. CNN's Paula Reid has also outside the Court. She joins us now.

So what more do we know about when the indictment will be unsealed and how the arraignment exactly will unfold tomorrow?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Anderson, we expect that the indictment will be likely unsealed tomorrow during the arraignment as it would be for any other defendant.

Now, media organizations, including CNN have been pushing to get this indictment unsealed more quickly than that citing the enormous public interest in these charges. But look, it's eight o'clock tonight, the Judge still hasn't ruled on it. So it appears unlikely that we're going to get those charges any earlier.

But look, that hasn't stopped the former President's legal team. They also don't know what these charges are specifically, it hasn't stopped them from trying to fight these charges in the court of public opinion, and making it clear that their first move after this initial hearing will be to file a Motion to Dismiss.

Now tomorrow, we expect that they will get these charges at some point during this process. We do expect this initial appearance will be pretty brief. Like any other defendant, the former President is expected to have his fingerprints taken, but at this point, it's not clear if he'll also go through the traditional mug shot. There are concerns within law enforcement that that could be leaked in violation of State law.

COOPER: So, Paula, we don't know -- when does he get to see the charges and his attorneys? Obviously, it won't be at the same moment that it is revealed to everybody else when the Judge reads it out in Court. Don't they get to see it a little bit beforehand?

REID: A little bit beforehand. We expect that unless they decide to do something different here, that when he initially goes in for the first part of this process earlier in the afternoon that they should receive these charges. Now how quickly they become public? We hope that they'll release them as quickly as possible.

They will get to see them a little before the public, but it depends on how quickly they want to release them to us how quickly we'll get to see them.

COOPER: Yes. And what about television cameras, where will they be allowed? Are they allowed in the courtroom, do we know?

REID: Well, it's unclear. News organizations, once again, including CNN had been pushing for more transparency here and that includes having a camera in the courtroom, but the Judge allowed both the prosecutors and the defense to weigh in on this and while the District Attorney didn't take a position, Trump's attorneys took a clear position in opposition of having cameras in the courtroom.

Anderson, they argued specifically that not only are there are security concerns, but they say that having a camera in the courtroom for this historic arraignment would add to a "circus-like atmosphere." And they also said that it would interfere with their client's presumption of innocence.

Now, historically, this Judge has not been in favor of having cameras in the courtroom. So the fact that the defense attorneys have argued against it, it's not clear if we're actually going to get a camera tomorrow in there.

COOPER: And there is a new attorney on the case for the former President.

REID: That's right. As the former President heads into this historic case, he is adding another attorney to his legal team. Todd Blanche, a very experienced white collar defense attorney is being added to the team. Some people have asked what that means for Joe Tacopina because he has been the most forward facing member of the defense team.

Joe says he is still on the team. He expects to be the lead attorney during tomorrow's hearing. Some other people suggested that it will be Blanche who will be the lead attorney. But look that the other attorney on this, Susan Necheles, she is the one who has been signing all the things that have been going to the Judges. So we'll see who is the "lead attorney" tomorrow, Anderson, but it's not surprising that he is adding to his legal team as these legal threats continue to mount.

COOPER: All right, Paula Reid, thanks very much.

Our team tonight is CNN chief correspondent, Kaitlan Collins; CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Elie Honig; CNN political commentators, David Urban and Van Jones; and CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, John Miller.

Kaitlan, let's start with you. What's your sense of how the former President is thinking about this?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: He didn't really spend the weekend acting like someone who was about to be indicted, he was playing golf, having lunch with friends, going to dinners at Mar-a-Lago.


COLLINS: I think though the fact that he has added a new defense attorney to his team the day before he is about to be arraigned does show that they are taking this seriously, despite what they've said about the merits of the case here. Adding someone, which I was told happened literally today is when they added this new attorney, someone who has -- Elie knows him well, he has a good reputation. He has good credentials, he worked in the SDNY office.

Adding him to the team does speak to the level of how they are approaching this because Joe Tacopina, there has been some internal divisions within the legal team over whether or not he was the best person to take this to trial.

I asked another Trump attorney about this last week, and he kind of basically said, I'm not going to talk about Joe Tacopina, no kind of endorsement there.

COOPER: Surely, you're facing serious legal charges, like the attorney who talks on TV is not necessarily the attorney you actually want in the courtroom.

COLLINS: And Susan Necheles has been a big part of that. I mean, she has been the one as Paula noted there, has been signing things. She is seen as a very strong attorney here, but this is -- I mean, this could go on for several months. You know, they don't believe that it has strong legal merits, when I say they, I mean Trump's legal team, but they still believe it could go on for months.

Obviously, Trump has been threatening the Judge that he -- or criticizing the Judge, I should say that he's going to appear before tomorrow. I think it still remains to be seen what that looks like.

But watching him go into Trump Tower today, in a way that he's never gone in there before him. I mean, he has never been facing criminal charges as he has returned to New York. And so it is a different moment for him. As much as they are trying to take advantage of it politically, raising millions of dollars, as they say, having this sense of bravado, they're still taking it seriously behind the scenes. He does not want to be indicted.

COOPER: Elie Honig, from your standpoint, what should we be looking for when the indictment is unsealed?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So first of all, there are two different kinds of indictments. There's what we call the bare bones indictment, which just lays out the allegations sort of tracks the language in the statute books, on or about this date, the defendant did hereby, you know, lots of legalese.

Then there's the speaking indictment, which is a narrative. It reads like you're telling the story. So first of all, I want to see which one this is. I suspect they're going to give us more detail.

COOPER: And that's written by the DA's office.

HONIG: Written by the DA, written by the prosecutor, so if they go with the speaking indictment, I want to see how much depth they give and you confront your evidence. For example, you may quote documents, you may quote texts, you may quote pieces of witness testimony.

The other big thing I'm looking for is, will these charges go beyond what we expect? I think the core of what we expect here is business records charges relating to the hush money payment. Will there be some X factor? Will there be some charge that's beyond that? And from the prosecutor's point there, there better be, because if they're resting solely on the business records as relates to the hush money payment, they're leaving themselves without a lot of safety net there.

COOPER: John, just in terms of NYPD, Secret Service, are they -- obviously, I assume expecting -- they're already been getting a lot of threats. What are they expecting tomorrow?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, what they're looking out for is any demonstration that's larger than what they're tracking. What they're tracking so far are small crowds, small turnouts. Then there's the threat piece.

The District Attorney has received numerous threats, the DA's office has received threats, the courthouse building has received threats. They're assessing those and tracking those because those keep coming in.

What they have determined is they don't see any credible, specific threats, although they've gone out on a lot of investigations to talk to people who have posted things about what they think should happen to people and, you know, building guillotines, and you know, bringing guns and stuff like that. So far, they're pretty comfortable that most of that is hot air, but then there's always the unknown threat.

So there's a lot of assets that are going to be in place.

COOPER: David Urban, the former President's team, Jason Miller, I think tweeted out that they've raised some $7 million off this so far. We can't tell if that's a real number or not. How do you think this is impacting his reputation? How people view it?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Did you really ask that question? How is it impacting his reputation?

COOPER: Reputation? Well, I mean in some corners, maybe --

URBAN: So, look, Anderson, there have been two polls out recently, right, the CNN poll out this morning, and then a recent Quinnipiac poll, which both kind of said the same thing, right? Sixty-two percent of people in the Quinnipiac poll found that this was politically motivated, right, and 76 percent in the CNN poll said they thought it was politically motivated.

So it's not surprising that the Trump team is out there trying to raise money off and say, look, I've had people call me up who despise the President and say, this is kind of, you know, BS, and I think your guy is getting railroaded here. So they're going to raise a good deal of cash off this. I think they're going to -- you know, we talked about this earlier, there was some reporting out that, you know, the Trump mug shot would be on coffee mugs and t-shirts, and they try to raise money off it. I would suspect you're going to see lots more of that.

COOPER: Van, what do you think?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it could be -- look, I think tomorrow is going to be a big deal because first of all, the images that you see tomorrow are going to be in history books. There are going to be documentaries about this century in the next century. It has never happened before. It's huge.

I think for progressives and Democrats, there's this mixed feeling. On the one hand there's this feeling that finally something may happen, some accountability may happen for a President that people feel like have been getting away with stuff forever.


JONES: He was getting away with stuff here in New York. I remember when he was in the Oval Office, people called me every day, is he getting impeached and removed tomorrow?

So on the one hand, you have Democrats who have been wanting, wanting for something to happen; at the same time, there is this nervousness, we don't know what's in the damn documents. We don't really know what is going to be revealed tomorrow? Is this going to be, you know, a big slam dunk case? Is it going to be so convoluted that it's not going to work?

And so I think that you're going to have both sides, wondering, at the end of the day, do we have a stronger system because someone was held to account? Or do we have a weaker system Because it looks so political? That's the question mark.

COOPER: David, you're shaking your head?

URBAN: Well, I think, look, I've said this before, you know, 22 years ago as a Chief-of-Staff when Clinton was being impeached, right, and Robert Ray faced incredible pressure to indict former President Clinton over his lying under oath, right about his cases. And Robert Ray on January 19, 2001, the last day of his presidency, cut a deal with him. And he said, history and the American people will judge whether I did the right thing or not right here, and he faced a lot of pressure.

And I say, looking back in that history judging him correctly and said, he shouldn't have indicted him, and I think history will look at this and say Alvin Bragg shouldn't have indicted him here and he made a big mistake for America.

COOPER: And Kaitlan, tomorrow night, he's going to fly back to Mar- a-Lago and he is going to do a speech or his press conference,

COLLINS: It remains to be seen if he takes questions. They often call things, press conferences, where they don't actually take questions. So we don't actually know about that. I do have a sense that he will want to speak.

They said he wasn't going to talk to reporters, while he's here in New York, we'll see if that holds tomorrow.

He is going to go back to Mar-a-Lago, that is a good thing in the eyes of some of his advisers, because they were worried, you know, initially two weeks ago, when he was saying he was going to be arrested two weeks ago. He wanted to do a speech on the steps of the courthouse, to come out, and to give this speech here in New York. A lot of people were counseling him against that, they've seemed to have settled on this middle ground.

He did still want Republicans and his supporters did come here to New York to have this public show of support. Marjorie Taylor Greene is organizing something, it's not totally clear what that's going to look like, when it comes to fruition, but we will hear from him.

But he has been attacking the Judge. That is not something even people in his own orbit have thought was a wise decision here. That's the Judge he is going before tomorrow. He was saying that he hates him and blaming him for the way Allen Weisselberg, the financial guy from the Trump Organization was treated.

So we'll see ultimately, how he publicly speaks about it.

COOPER: John, we heard from Paula Reid earlier about the new lead attorney representing the former President, where does he fit in in sort of the matrix of Trump attorneys past and present?

MILLER: Well, it's interesting Anderson because the new attorney, Todd Blanche is billing himself as the new lead counsel, which of course, is what Joe Tacopina has been telling us he is, but if you look at kind of the merry-go-round of, you know, lawyers around Trump, you know, you start with Joe Tacopina, lead counsel in this case, at least until today. But there's interesting history and conflict here.

So that takes us to another key Trump friend and supporter, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who actually was defended by Tacopina when he was indicted on tax evasion and other Federal charges. He ended up suing Tacopina claiming that Tacopina went behind his back and met with Federal prosecutors five times and gave information on him to them without disclosing it.

He also went to the Bar Association, but --

COOPER: Also, he did time, right?

MILLER: Yes, he did. He ended up pleading guilty and did four years.

To bring that complaint against Tacopina, Commissioner Kerik hired a lawyer, Tim Parlatore. Now as you probably all know from watching this show, Tim Parlatore is a current Trump lawyer in the Mar-a-Lago classified document cases.

Well, to fight that case, Tacopina had to hire a lawyer because he was being sued by Kerik, so he hired Lanny Davis, who is now the lawyer for Michael Cohen, who is Trump's chief accuser in the hush money payment.

COOPER: John, are you making this up?

MILLER: I am not making this up. You can't make this up.

So Tacopina is represented by Lanny Davis, of course, who is now defending Michael Cohen, the chief accuser, but at the beginning of this conspiracy, Michael Cohen needed a lawyer before he pled guilty. So he got Robert Costello, a Giuliani associate, and he was defended by Costello until they parted ways and he ended up pleading guilty. But Costello is the lawyer who was the last witness to testify in the grand jury on behalf of Donald Trump, basically saying that Michael Cohen was not just Trump's lawyer, but a liar who was the guy who set up the whole hush money payment thing in the first place.

So when we talk today about conflicts within the Trump legal team, you see a lot of internecine battles, changing of sides, crossovers.


COOPER: That's like a six season Netflix show. I mean --

MILLER: Yes, this is like "Succession," the lawyer version with a little toxic added, but I'd defer to Elliot. I mean, there may not be legal problems in here, but it's hard to form a legal team when you've got this many conflicts going on.

COOPER: Yes, Elie, I mean --

HONIG: There is no soap opera that can measure up with the drama of the Manhattan legal world. Legally, the big question is, is there a conflict of interest that cannot be overcome here? The closest we have is yet another angle here, Joe Tacopina used to represent Stormy Daniels. And so --

COLLINS: He didn't fully represent her.

COOPER: Right, they had discussions about representation.

HONIG: But, right, that's enough for an attorney-client privilege. You don't have to have a formal signed retainer.

COLLINS: Which another Trump attorney is bringing up publicly, Tim Parlatore is bringing up that he believes Tacopina could potentially have conflicts of interest on television.

HONIG: Exactly. And I think he's right about that. So what the Judge is likely to do with respect to Tacopina is, first of all, make sure Donald Trump understands there's this conflict, ask if Donald Trump is willing to waive it, to give up any claim on it, and then if Tacopina stays on the case, he'll be walled off, he won't be allowed to cross examine Stormy Daniels.

I will just say, the new attorney may be an effort to instill some sanity, some calm on here. He's not part of this mayhem. So, maybe they're trying to get some legitimacy going.

COOPER: All right, Elie Honig, Kaitlan Collins, David Urban, Van Jones, John Miller. Thanks very much.

Next attorney and longtime conservative, longtime Trump critic, George Conway, what he expects to see tomorrow and how he sees this playing out.

Later, Ron DeSantis learning there are limits to his power as Governor when it comes to taking on the Walt Disney Company and how the British Royal family ended up playing a part in that lesson, ahead.


[20:25:23 ]

COOPER: We're talking tonight about tomorrow, namely what happens tomorrow when Donald Trump enters the history books as the first former or sitting President ever to be booked on criminal charges and potentially not for the last time, striking all the same.

Joining us, conservative attorney and "Washington Post" contributing columnist, George Conway.

So tomorrow, what will you be watching, besides everything?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER AND WASHINGTON POST CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST: Everything, the entire spectacle. I mean, I don't know what we can talk about after the Trump lawyer show right there.

COOPER: Why is he surrounding himself -- are these the people who will work for him?

CONWAY: I mean, I think he's pretty much run out of lawyers. I mean, he had this trouble five years ago, when he was trying to find lawyers to represent him after Rod Rosenstein appointed the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and let -- you know, he went through the list of big names. In fact, I was on a phone call with him where he was asking me about lawyers.

And they won't represent him because he's erratic, he doesn't pay his bills, he doesn't follow directions, he undercuts his own lawyers by, you know, shopping for advice. And --

COOPER: It just seems like he likes this sort of team of sort of "Game of Thrones" like people --

CONWAY: Yes, no, that's part of it. Yes, I mean, that's part of the -- you know, his manipulation of the situation. He wants to manipulate the situation, what he wants to hear, which is part of how, you know, he is getting himself into trouble in other places, like the Mar-a- Lago documents. He is talking to a nonlawyer getting advice about whether he gets to keep these documents that he took from the Federal government.

It is just -- it is no way to run -- it is no way to run a criminal defense or any kind of defense program.

COOPER: So you know, the campaign says they're fundraising on it. Miller says they have raised $7 million. We don't know if that's real or not, but it is very possible. I mean, he certainly fundraises on just about everything.

Does this hurt him? Does this help him?

CONWAY: Look, it helps among the base. I think it helps among the Republican base, because they don't want to admit, once you start admitting that maybe Trump did something wrong, you have to kind of -- it's hard to kind of stop the one thing. It's a domino effect.

So you, so you basically have to engage in this extended psychological denial and this displacement, this complete attempt to just shield yourself from the reality of who this man is, and all the things that he has done. And that's part of why the base seems to -- or the polls seems to be suggesting, and it's probably true that there's a coalescing here, where people kind of gathering around him and they're protecting him, they want to protect him from -- because it's a sense, that they view it as an attack on him and that's what he tries to take advantage of.

On the other hand, you know, the fact of the matter is, he is never -- they are never -- he is never going to be able to win the people he needs to win to win back the presidency and more of this that happens, the more distasteful he becomes.

COOPER: It is a reminder of all the drama and the --

CONWAY: Right. He is sort of boiling -- yes, his support is boiling down to its essence, which is not going to be enough to win a General Election, but it is probably going to get him the nomination.

COOPER: The Trump legal team is saying that they'll challenge every potential issue. What is that? I mean, for the legal process this could, you know, Elie Honig had said previously that, you know, something like this usually might take a year this case.

CONWAY: Easily.

COOPER: But with dragging it out, it could take longer. It could -- a year put you right in before the presidential election, essentially, right in the heart of campaign.

CONWAY: Yes. We are going to have -- this man could possibly be indicted three, maybe four times between now and November of 2024. I think, it's reasonably likely he'll be indicted in Georgia. We will have to have this whole situation that we are seeing tomorrow unfold in Fulton County.

And with the news that we've just recently heard of the Special Counsel in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, tightening the noose a little bit. That's going to be a very serious case, and that's probably, actually the most serious one of them all.

COOPER: I want to play with something that Cy Vance, the former Manhattan District Attorney said on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday about Trump's statements about the current DA, Alvin Bragg.


CYRUS VANCE, FORMER MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I've got to say that I was disturbed to hear the former President speak in the way he spoke about the District Attorney Bragg and even the Trial Court in the past week, and I think if I were his lawyer, and believe me no one has called up to ask for my advice, I would be mindful of not committing some other criminal offense like obstruction of governmental administration which is interfering with or by threat or otherwise the operation of government.



COOPER: I mean, is it possible that his comments could threaten his own case?

CONWAY: Yes, absolutely he could. And I -- you know, this is going to be a very difficult juggling match or very difficult thing for judges to have to try to deal with, to try to figure out, well, how can I muzzle this guy? I mean, you do have -- they do have the right to issue gags, judges do have the right to issue gag orders on criminal defendants and prosecutors.

On the other hand, you know, this is -- this guy's running an active presidential campaign.

COOPER: Do you think there should be a mug shot? Do you think there should be cameras in the courtroom?

CONWAY: I generally think cameras should be in the courtroom because I think people need to see what's actually happening and it needs to be demystified and mug shot. And I don't care one way or the other.

COOPER: George Conway, appreciate it. Thank you.

COOPER: Lot to watch tomorrow. We're going to have more in a moment on the former president day in court tomorrow. But just ahead, a targeted assassination of a pro-Russia blogger. Extraordinary new video from a cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia, moments before a hidden bomb exploded. They're opening the box that has a statue in it that the bomb is believed to have been inside of, killing a high profile support of Russia's conflict with Ukraine that's about to explode.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Russia tonight with the latest.


COOPER: We'll have more on the former president's arraignment tomorrow in Manhattan courtroom in just a moment. But first, I want to tell you the latest in that bombing at a cafe inside Russia that killed a well- known Russian blogger, including new video that shows the moments just before the explosion. It is one of the most audacious attacks yet against supporters of the Kremlin, with many questions still to be sorted out, including who did it.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Russia tonight and has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the extraordinary last moments of one of Russia's most controversial military bloggers. At pro-war event in a St. Petersburg cafe, receiving an unexpected gift. It's a small figurine, painted gold, wearing a combat helmet in his likeness. Investigators believe it may have been the bomb that killed him just seconds later.

This was the devastation caused by the explosion, in which more than 30 other people were also injured. Security cameras caught the powerful blast tearing through the building in central St. Petersburg. Russia's, calling it terrorism, accusing Ukraine of orchestrating the attack, something Kyiv denies.

This is Vladlen Tatarsky, the outspoken military blogger targeted and killed. With more than half a million subscribers to his Telegram channel, he was notorious for extremist views in his support of the war and for criticism of how it was being fought.

This is him at the Kremlin last year, celebrating Russia's annexation of Ukrainian land with trademark vitriol [ph]. We will defeat everyone, he declared. We'll kill everyone and rob what we need. For him, Russia was not being hard enough in its campaign.

Already, Russian police have arrested a suspect, a woman who Russian investigators named as Darya Trepova spotted arriving at the cafe carrying a large box shortly before the explosion. Investigators say the same woman was recorded inside the cafe after Tatarsky received the figurine, interacting with the blogger moments before the blast.

She's also on camera outside the cafe as the injured evacuated the bombsite. Russian officials say Trepova was once arrested at an anti- war protest last year, and they say she's an active supporter of the poisoned and jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose organization the Russian authorities also accused of involvement in the bomb attack. Navalny's supporters deny having anything to do with it.

But this is not the first time Russia has been shaken by the killing of a war advocate. This was the Moscow car bomb that killed Darya Dugina last August, the outspoken daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist. The Kremlin accused Ukrainian saboteurs of this, too, which Kyiv denied.

But now a second killing, this time in Putin's home city of St. Petersburg, shows how Russia's special military operation in Ukraine is reverberating at home.


COOPER: And Matthew Chance joins us now from Moscow. What happens next for this woman who's been arrested in connection with the bombing? And do we know how she escaped the scene on harm since she appears to be outside in the immediate aftermath?

CHANCE: Yes, good question. Well, in terms of what happens to her, she's been brought from St. Petersburg to Moscow. She's going to be appearing at court tomorrow, where she's expected to be sort of arraigned, detained, kept in custody before her trial starts. In terms of, you know, how she managed to escape serious injury, well, actually, I think it's astonishing that so many people managed to walk out of that blast. I mean, there were 30 people or so injured. Eight of them are in critical condition. But perhaps this woman was, you know, in the right place in the room.

Perhaps she left the room before the explosion took place. That kind of detail has not been given to us yet by the investigators, Anderson.

COOPER: Has there been any further reaction from the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin?

CHANCE: Well, the Kremlin have, you know, slammed this as terrorism. They've blamed the -- blame Kyiv, of course, saboteurs. They've blamed the Navalny campaign, as I mentioned, for being involved in this. But Vladimir Putin tonight has also awarded the blogger Tatarsky with a posthumous medal of bravery. The Kremlin saying it's an honor for his courage as a Russian war correspondent, Anderson.

COOPER: Matthew Chance, I appreciate it. Thank you, from Moscow.

Coming up, in the next hour on a special edition of Erin Burnett OutFront, Erin talks with a close friend of the arrested wall street journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

Next for us, did Governor Ron DeSantis get outplayed by the Disney Corporation? Seems that way at the moment, as the companies managed to restrict control of its kingdom as they did it in plain sight. Randi Kaye has the story next.



COOPER: Disney CEO Bob Iger slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis today as antibusiness during an annual shareholders meeting. It is just the latest, an increasingly visible fight between the iconic American company and likely Republican presidential candidate, whose attacks on Disney and what he calls woke corporations, have been a chief selling point for many Republican voters.

Disney last year opposed a law DeSantis champion that would limit discussions of LGBTQ issues in Florida schools. DeSantis later tried to strip away unique governing powers that the company had over its Disney World home in Orlando.

Today, Bob Iger called DeSantis' actions an attack on Disney's ability to create jobs.


BOB IGER, CEO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY: And so our point on this is that any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida.


COOPER: Left unsaid by Disney CEO, is that the company appears to have outmaneuvered DeSantis on a fight that's been central to his political image. Randi Kaye has more in that story.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Now there's a new sheriff in town. We've taken away their self-governing status. There's a lot of little back and forth going on now with the state taking control, but rest assured, you know, you ain't seen nothing yet.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis talking about signing a bill last months to give himself new power over Disney in what amounted to a state takeover of the special taxing district.


For decades, that district has has provided the entertainment giant control of its theme parks and the land around them. But Disney had something else in mind.

RON PERI, CENTRAL FLORIDA TOURISM OVERSIGHT DISTRICT BOARD MEMBER: I cannot tell you the level of my disappointment in Disney.

KAYE (voice-over): Disappointed because DeSantis appointed board members, political allies who were brought in to oversee the new district, now seeing their power greatly diminished. Turns out Disney quietly cut a deal with the outgoing board just days before the state so-called hostile takeover.

BRIAN AUNGST JR., CENTRAL FLORIDA TOURISM OVERSIGHT DISTRICT BOARD MEMBER: This development agreement essentially strips the government of the government powers and give those powers to Disney.

KAYE (on-camera): On February 8th, as the Florida legislature met in a special session, Disney and the previous board hammered out a series of agreements to transfer nearly all of the district's powers to Disney for the next 30 years. In fact, the board can't take action, in some cases without first getting approval from the company.

AUNGST: It was done to prevent us from doing our job, and that is offensive to me.

KAYE (voice-over): The terms spelled out in one agreement signed by the outgoing board restricts the new board from using Disney's fanciful characters until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England.

PERI: This essentially makes Disney the government.

DANIEL LANGLEY, SPECIAL GENERAL COUNSEL: I cannot imagine Orange County, Osceola County, the city of Orlando, or any other central government, central Florida government, allowing or agreeing to allow any private developer or property owner to have this sort of control over a government and the officials that run it.

KAYE (voice-over): Our attempts to reach any of the board members, new and old, were unsuccessful. Governor DeSantis office did send us a statement saying the governor is aware of Disney's last ditch efforts. And in this letter DeSantis's office sent us today, the governor is requesting the State's Inspector General launch a criminal and civil investigation into actions taken by the outgoing board.

"These collusive and self-dealing arrangements aim to nullify the recently passed legislation," the letter says, adding the deal appears to suffer from serious legal infirmities, including, among other things, inadequate notice.

Despite that, Disney is standing firm telling CNN, "All agreements signed between Disney and the district were appropriate and were discussed and approved in open noticed public forums in compliance with Florida's government and the Sunshine Law."

In fact, the notes from that February 8th meeting include the notice of meeting that was published in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper on January 27th, alerting readers that a final public forum on the issue was scheduled for February 8th. Also included in the meeting notes, receipts for advertising the public forum.


COOPER: And Randi joins me now. So what is -- what's next in this back and forth?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, the new board has voted to hire lawyers to challenge this agreement. And now, of course, Ron DeSantis is asking for an investigation. So they are certainly gearing up for a legal battle on their end. But meanwhile, this whole back and forth, Anderson, has caught the attention of Ron DeSantis's chief political rival Donald Trump and his supporters.

The spokesman for the Make America Great Again PAC releasing a statement saying this, "President Trump wrote 'Art of the Deal' and brokered middle east peace. Ron DeSantis just got out-negotiated by Mickey Mouse." So a not so subtle hit at the Florida governor, of course.

But DeSantis' rapid response team has also responded on Twitter saying governor's appointees will hold Disney accountable. And also that the governor thinks 10 steps ahead. Of course, his critics may argue with that, given that it does seem he has been outfoxed by Disney and this outgoing board. But we'll have to see how it plays out in court, Anderson, if it gets that far.

COOPER: Interesting story, Randi. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Still ahead, will the former president have a mug shot taken tomorrow? If he did, he would be the first former president to join a long list of prominent names of famous mug shots. Details next.


COOPER: As we wait the former president's arraignment in Manhattan court tomorrow, it's still unclear. Shimon Prokupecz reported earlier if he'll have a mug shot taken. Earlier today, the former president's attorney told CNN she didn't see a, quote, purpose in releasing a mug shot, saying he's, quote, the most recognized face in the world.

But if there is one release, he'll certainly join a long list of other prominent names with the famous photo. CNN Sunlen Serfaty has more.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one second, one flash, one photo. An indelible image is produced steeped in the long history of the justice system. Eyes forward, looking right into the camera. That exposure exposing the person becoming a lasting part of their own legacy.

Al Capone, Pablo Escobar, John Gotti, these mug shots of famous suspects have become iconic. Lee Harvey Oswald's taken just hours after he assassinated President John F. Kennedy. O.J. Simpson's mug shot as enduring as images of his white Ford Bronco racing down a California highway.

Now all eyes are on the former president's movements and the palace intrigue is building. If Trump, known for his media and image savvy, will become the first former president to have a mug shot taken or not.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: The leaning has been not to because, a, it's not really necessary. Everybody knows what he looks like. It's not like if he fled the jurisdiction that they would say, wow, we really should have had that mug shot. B, if they need to, they can create a mug shot from existing pictures. But the real concern is that the mug shot is going to be misused.

SERFATY (voice-over): New York State law prohibits the release of booking photos unless police say there is a legitimate law enforcement purpose to release them. Sources tell CNN authorities are concerned about the potential photo leaking. The Trump team is trying to avoid it.

ALINA HABBA, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I do have a problem with leaking of pictures. I think that it's -- because we're in a campaign, because he's the leading GOP candidate, it's not going to help anything.


Mug shots are for people so that you recognize who they are. He is the most recognized face in the world, let alone the country right now. So there's no need for that. There's no need for the theatrics. No.

SERFATY (voice-over): Other politicians like John Edwards, Tom DeLay and Rick Perry attempted to turn their mug shot into more of a pleasing headshot, smiling with perfectly quaffed hair, suit and tie. Then there are the mug shots that go on to become celebrated. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Jane Fonda, a badge of defiance.

The world waits now for Tuesday's historical moment. A moment that would only be punctuated by this unparalleled mug shot.

Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: We'll be right back.


COOPER: Earlier, John Miller showed a graphic of all the attorneys in former president Trump's orbit and how they work. In some cases, their work, some cases overlapped. One of the people in that graphic, Lanny Davis, called in a few minutes ago to say while he and Joe Tacopina have been friends for years, he never formally represented him. He also said that Robert Costello never represented Mr. Davis' current client, Michael Cohen.

The news continues. Erin Burnett OutFront starts now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Out front next, we are awaiting two key rulings from the judge in Trump's hush money case.