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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Pence Won't Appeal Judge's Order To Testify In January 6 Probe; The Catch And Kill Factor; Trump, The Former Playboy Model And Catch And Kill; China Condemns Meeting Between McCarthy And Taiwan's President; China: Meeting Between McCarthy Delegation And Taiwan President Seriously Violates The One China Principle; Judge: Dominion Can Force Murdochs To Testify At Fox News Defamation Trial; Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity Among Prominent Fox Hosts, Executives Set To Testify At The Billion-Dollar Defamation Trial; Trump Supporters React To Him Facing 34 Felony Counts; Funeral Held Today For Katherine Koonce, Head Of School. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 05, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have also not released any information about a suspect -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, Veronica, thank you very much for all of that new reporting.
And thanks so much to all of you for joining us. AC 360 begins now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: More than 24 hours after the former President was arraigned, tonight, new trouble for him.
Former Vice President Mike Pence no longer fighting in Court, now willing to testify before a grand jury in the Department of Justice's investigation into January 6th, about direct conversations he had with the former President leading up to that day when he and his family were forced to flee a mob demanding he be hanged.
Today, former Vice President Pence dropped his appeal of the Federal Court decision ordering his testimony. Now, this will be the first time that a former Vice President testifies about his former boss in a criminal investigation. In this case, a boss who, according to testimony before the January 6th Select Committee said he deserved to be hanged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: If I were you, I would still be livid with Donald Trump. I would be so furious, and I know you're a measured man. But are you still angry?
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I must tell you the President's words and tweet that day were reckless. It endangered my family and all the people at the Capitol, and I was angry. But you know, my Christian faith tells me to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, and in the Christian faith, forgiveness is not optional.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, forgiving his one thing; forgetting another. We'll see how much he remembers under oath and there are signs of deep concern in the Trump camp on the Federal front.
New CNN reporting, multiple sources telling our Kaitlan Collins tonight that the aggressive moves taken by the Special Counsel have deeply concerned those in Trump's inner circle, especially on the documents investigation.
As for his former boss, the former President, as he often does when he sees trouble coming, he lashes out. Last night he called the Special Counsel investigating him a lunatic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This lunatic special prosecutor named, Jack Smith, I wonder what it was prior to a change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That last bit is odd. He is claiming Jack Smith changed his name. This is in a 1987 yearbook photo of Jack Smith in his hometown paper today, which reveals his name back then was Jack Smith.
Now today, the former President is actually calling for the defunding of Federal law enforcement. He posted this today on his social network. Quoting now: "Republicans in Congress should defund the DOJ and FBI until they come to their senses."
Last night, he also verbally attacked the Judge in his New York case, the Judge's wife and the Judge's daughter.
We start with Mr. Pence's decision to testify.
CNN's Sara Murray joins us now.
What more do we know about the testimony and him opting not to appeal the ruling that ordered him to testify?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, you know, it's a significant step that he has decided not to appeal. You know, a prior Court had said he must testify about his conversations with Donald Trump in the run up to January 6th, where we of course know the former President put enormous pressure on Mike Pence not to certify the results of the 2020 election.
He did get, you know, a slim victory from the Court saying that there is a period where Pence was serving as President of the Senate and he doesn't have to answer questions related to that. So essentially, what we heard from Pence's team today is they are going to take that as a victory. They are going to take that as sort of a constitutional win, and they are now willing to put Mike Pence before a Federal grand jury.
COOPER: Do we know when he may testify?
MURRAY: There is not yet a date that we are aware of for him to go in front of the grand jury, but we know that in other cases with other witnesses, prosecutors tended to move pretty quickly to try to get these folks in front of a grand jury and get their testimony.
COOPER: Can the foreign President block it?
MURRAY: He can try. You know, he made an executive privilege argument when it came to Mike Pence. The Lower Court was not buying that. It did not buy the notion that Pence should not talk about his conversations with Trump. So Trump could try to appeal on that front, again. But he has lost this kind of argument again with Mike Pence already, when it comes to Mark Meadows, when it comes to Pat Cipollone, the former White House Counsel, they have not had success on this, even as the Trump team insists you know that the government is plowing through constitutional norms and insisting there should be no case against the President -- the former President in the first place -- Anderson.
COOPER: Sara Murray, I appreciate the update. Thanks.
Joining us now, CNN political commentator, Republican consultant, Margaret Hoover; also Sarah Matthews who served as the Deputy Press Secretary in the previous administration and testified before the January 6th Committee, and Elliot Williams, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and currently a CNN legal analyst.
Are you surprised, Margaret, that he is going to testify?
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I'm not surprised. Look, I think it's not fair to characterize Mike Pence's resistance to testifying as though he didn't want to cooperate with the Special Counsel. He had a very narrow grounds on which he was resisting his testimony, which was an actually constitutionally grounded argument in separation of powers.
Like we haven't spent a lot of time talking about the idiosyncrasies of the Constitution in the Trump era especially with people who worked in the Trump administration, but Mike Pence deserves the benefit of the doubt of somebody who has defended the Constitution against the backdrop of this --
COOPER: There is an argument that was made, a conversation between the Vice President and the President should be kept -- that the President should be able to have these conversations.
HOOVER: Well, that's an executive privilege conversation. He was actually suggesting this is a separation of powers question. COOPER: Based on control --
HOOVER: There's a Speech and Debate Clause because he was President of the Senate at a certain time. So that is the very narrow constitutional argument he was making, which by the way, the Judge conceded on; and now in Federal law, there is precedent, because Mike Pence pushed that back.
We both know he has no problem talking about January 6th. He wrote an entire -- you know, a book where he really focused on it. His entire media tour around his book was about his role on January 6th.
I think we should take Mike Pence at face value, that he was standing up for a principle in the Constitution and is now moving forward.
COOPER: Elliot, if the former President does decide to appeal with an executive privilege claim, would it first go to the Appeals Court? And if he wanted to, the Supreme Court? How -- and if so, how long could that delay you think?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, the Courts have proven in these matters, Anderson, they can resolve some of these issues overnight, frankly.
If you remember the last time, this constitutional question came up before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Literally, they set the timelines for the parties at midnight and 6:00 AM the next morning, so they're able to move quickly if they want to. Yes, the procedure would be that would go to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals right here in Washington, and then the United States Supreme Court.
But look, as the reporting said -- Sara's reporting said at the top of the segment, the President has consistently lost these executive privilege questions. Yes, exactly like you and Margaret were talking about a moment ago, you want the President and Vice President to be able to speak freely on behalf of the American people when they're doing work.
But that cannot and is not -- and the law doesn't recognize that as a blanket license to talk about anything, particularly when there is a criminal investigation ongoing and reports have been consistent on that.
COOPER: Sarah, you were in the White House in the days leading up to January 6th. You testified about your experience that day to the January 6th Committee. How critical do you think could the former Vice President's testimony be to the DOJ's investigation? Because to Margaret's point? I mean, he did write a book in which he talked about this. He has spoken about it in interviews.
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: I certainly think that there's more that he can share. Yes, he did write a book in there. He detailed some of that in there. But I do think that there will be more that he can shed light on, particularly when it comes to his conversations with the former President, and what the former President's mindset and intent was to try to overturn the election.
And I'm encouraged that Mike Pence is not going to appeal this ruling. He is someone I have the utmost respect for, and I do believe that his testimony before the grand jury will be honest and transparent and truthful.
COOPER: Margaret, do you agree that there's -- that he has more to tell?
HOOVER: He's never told it under oath, so having the Vice President of the United States with a Special Counsel under oath, I think adds enormous value.
COOPER: He also last night, Margaret, you know, railed against many things -- against the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, which is clearly concerning to him. I mean, it's such a tell that he rails against these things publicly and says all the stuff you shouldn't say out loud, he actually says it out loud.
COOPER: I just want to play you some of what he said about how he did nothing wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, the boxes hoax, as we call it, just so everyone knows, I come under what's known as the Presidential Records Act, which was designed and approved by Congress long ago, just for this reason.
Under the Act, I'm supposed to negotiate with NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration. We were negotiating in very good faith, proper way in order to return some or all of the documents that I openly and in very plain sight brought with me to Mar-a-Lago from our beautiful White House just as virtually every other President has done in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: First of all, it's not written that you're supposed to negotiate. Secondly, he wasn't negotiating in good faith. Obviously, he was -- they were dragging this out and they lied about it. Does it seem like that's the case that's concerning him a lot.
HOOVER: It sounds like based on how he is talking about it, but this is again, classic Trump, he's back, up is down, left is right. You know, the sky isn't blue, bizarro world. He is trying to -- nobody -- most Americans don't know about the National Archives and Records Administration, the Presidential Records Act. I happen to sit on the Board of a Presidential Library and worked in the White House.
Everyone who walks through the door of the White House, Anderson, is briefed on what you do with your documents and your e-mails when you work there, and let me tell you, the President is: Why do you think he pulled documents out of -- the staff had to pull documents out of the toilet? And the ripped up documents out of the trash can? Because he knows he was not supposed to get rid or destroy those documents.
So he is trying to inform his supporters with lies in order for -- to give them their marching orders so they can go to the public square and argue on his behalf.
COOPER: Elliot, we mentioned multiple sources have told CNN's Kaitlan Collins that the aggressive moves taken by the Special Counsel, Jack Smith have been deeply concerned those in Trump's inner circle, especially on the document investigation. Do you think there's good reason for the President -- the former President to especially fear the documents case?
WILLIAMS: I do. Well, again, I should say, there is a reason for any party to fear anytime they're being investigated. And that extends frankly to the New York City DA as well.
There is some reporting, as folks may be familiar with, from "The Washington Post" earlier this week that involved information or allegations that the former President, even after a subpoena had come his way was directing his staff potentially to go in the boxes or hide them and their surveillance images and so on.
That is quite troubling, because it's possibly evidence of obstruction of justice, which itself is an incredibly serious crime on top of the document mishandling and retention crimes that the President might be investigated for.
It is incredibly serious, and it does seem as we've been talking about tonight, that they're moving along with that investigation.
COOPER: Sarah, when you were in the White House, was keeping document, was that something that was well known about?
MATTHEWS: Yes, every White House employee goes through, you know, a training and is told how to dispose of classified material. I know that if I personally went home with classified documents, and was told to return them, that I would have, you know, the FBI knocking on my door and hauling me in to be arrested.
I think another thing too, that Trump is going to do in this case, to try to deflect is to point to the fact that other Presidents have mistakenly taken classified material with them, but I think his remarks showed last night that he purposely took this material, and then when he was asked to return it, he refused to do so, and that is really the issue at hand is that he didn't want to return the material because he thought he had a right to keep it, which he obviously doesn't.
COOPER: Also Sarah, you know, we mentioned the former President is calling congressional Republicans to "defund the Department of Justice and the FBI until they come to their senses," I mean, it is extraordinary that the frontrunner of the GOP, which has always claimed to be the law and order party, is saying such a thing. I mean, he's talking about defunding Federal law enforcement. Obviously, Republicans accused Democrats wanting to defund police, which only I think one or two actual members -- Democratic Members of the House have actually backed that idea. As a loyal Republican, can you believe this?
MATTHEWS: I think that it's totally hypocritical on Donald Trump's part, and I think Jim Jordan, I've seen has also come out in support of this idea.
You know, Republicans were critical of those Democrats who called for defunding the police. And I think they were right to do that, and to be critical of that. But I think that now for them to want to defund other law enforcement agencies is just absurd.
COOPER: And Margaret, last night, the part of the Justice Department's Special Counsel investigation, the former top National Security official testified to a Federal grand jury, they repeatedly told the former President and his allies, the government didn't have the authority to seize voting machines after the 2020 election. How damning is that for the former President, that he was informed of this and yet, they went ahead to look into plans on trying to do that?
HOOVER: They looked into plans of that. They drafted executive orders that came out in an in an Oval Office meeting on December 18th, suggesting -- and the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security staffers had to try to persuade him that he didn't have the authority to do that.
Look, this has come out before, but what I think it does, Anderson, is it demonstrates to us the scope, and the breadth of details that Jack Smith is putting together in order to make a case that Trump was trying to overturn the election.
I mean, in the January 6th Committee hearings, we heard about how Trump was stoking up the crowd, we heard about how he was working with Sidney Powell on the legal front, but what we see now is all of those things are being covered by Jack Smith and this National Security component. I think it just demonstrates how broad the case he is putting together is.
COOPER: Margaret Hoover, appreciate it. Sarah Matthews, Elliot Williams, thanks so much.
At the top of the hour, CNN's Pamela Brown hosts a special hour "Inside the Trump Investigations." That CNN Primetime nine Eastern right here.
Next for us, journalist, Ronan Farrow, who is reporting on the former President's efforts to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal are now at the center of New York's case against him. His first take on that indictment when we come back.
And later, breaking news: China's reaction to House Speaker McCarthy's bipartisan meeting with Taiwan's leader today in California.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:18:20]
COOPER: Much of the behavior at the heart of the indictments yesterday was reported by journalists over the last few years, most notably by "New Yorker" contributor, Ronan Farrow.
Tonight, in his first interview since the indictment, his book on the subject is titled "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and Conspiracy to Protect Predators."
Does it seem to you that David Pecker is front and center in this? That he could be the star witness for the District Attorney?
RONAN FARROW, AUTHOR, "CATCH AND KILL": Well, we don't have to do much interpreting to draw that conclusion. The facts are, he has already testified a couple of times before this grand jury. Now, that we have this statement of facts from Bragg, the Manhattan DA, we know that he's putting right at the heart of his argument, Anderson, this wider pattern of AMI transactions, not just the one that went directly from Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels.
COOPER: By the way, the statement reads like your report -- I mean, you are at -- I mean, I don't know you weren't called as a witness, but I mean, it's your reporting that is front and center in all of this.
FARROW: Yes, I mean, it was striking to a lot of the sources in that reporting that they opened up the same news we did and right there in the center in this effort to make a case that this was a pattern to defraud voters, that it was undertaken in collaboration with others from AMI.
There is, for instance, the story of the doorman, who sold a story to AMI about a rumored Trump love child, and then they suppressed that. That was one that I reported on and it's right there from the center.
COOPER: And the reason that's in the statement of fact, or one of the reasons it's in the statement of fact is because, you know, the Trump attorneys and his associates were making the argument well, this was about -- it could have been about protecting Melania and not wanting this information out.
In the statement of fact, it says about the doorman is that not only did Pecker agree to catch that story and kill and hold on to it, but when AMI determined that it was likely a false story, they had paid $30,000.00 to catch it. He calls Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen tells him, no, no, don't release it, and Pecker wanted to release it. Cohen told him according to the statement of fact, hang on to it until after the campaign. Again, it being all about manipulating the presidential campaign.
FARROW: Exactly right, and that was the first of several transactions. After that, there was their payment to Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model, which I reported on, and after that there was this payment to Stormy Daniels, which although it didn't go through AMI, financially, AMI did speak to Stormy and her representatives. They did consider taking it on.
And this is what's interesting, actually, as a prediction of how this is all going to go, Anderson. At that point in time. We know from an earlier non-prosecution agreement struck between Federal prosecutors and the folks at AMI, Pecker actually felt overextended, and apparently knowing that this would look bad someday said, a plan that was in place to reimburse AMI for those costs for the McDougal transaction that was going to be called off, and they then went and said, you know what, Michael Cohen, you can pay off Stormy Daniels yourself.
COOPER: There were a lot of claims by the Trump attorneys again about this was about sparing Melania Trump. The statement of fact says that -- I mean, it shows time and again, this was all about manipulating the presidential race. It says that there was this meeting in Trump Tower in 2015, shortly after the President announced that he was running for the first time, Pecker agreed -- this is from the statement of fact -- pecker agreed to "act" as the "eyes and ears," so he will testify to, I guess that term being the eyes and ears for the Trump campaign by looking out for negative stories about Trump and then alerting Michael Cohen.
FARROW: They are going to have two big assets here. They're going to have Michael Cohen. Now, there are problems with putting Michael Cohen on the stand, right?
Michael Cohen's credibility has been assailed. People can say that he has an axe to grind. He has an agenda. But he is going to be a piece of this puzzle. He was in a lot of those rooms, and we know that he is gamed to turn on Trump in this contrast.
COOPER: As much as a liar. Cohen has been, David Pecker, I mean, whatever you think of his reputation and his work, he actually verifies everything Michael Cohen says.
FARROW: That's exactly right. So Pecker becomes absolutely central and important. And look, we know from the non-prosecution agreement that I mentioned with Federal prosecutors that he is also willing to sing on this.
COOPER: Does David Pecker help the DA prove the underlying crime that elevates this to make it a felony?
FARROW: Well, so they haven't specified exactly what that predicate will be, what the crime will be, that these business accounting misrepresentations were in service of.
FARROW: But we know from Bragg's press conference yesterday that he is looking in his area of election law, possibly both State and Federal, and for sure, having David Pecker say to this grand jury, we were doing this as part of a plan to protect him during the election, specifically, not just to spare his marriage, not just to spare his personal reputation, that's going to be powerful, that's going to be important to the case they're making.
COOPER: The other question is, you know, there's been a lot of question of, well, what was new in this? What was new that made Bragg move forward with this when you know, the Fed's didn't move forward on it when this has been their zombie case hanging around? Is the new thing David Pecker's willingness to cooperate?
FARROW: Well, we know from that moment with Federal prosecutors that he's been in a place of willing cooperation with authorities for some time now to save his own skin. So I don't think that is a new development.
I think what's new here and what we see in this statement of facts that they've released in the press conference, is this very inclusive legal approach where they're pulling in the doorman transaction. They're pulling in McDougall's case, and they're saying this was a pattern and that's how we're going to establish intent.
COOPER: Does it -- you know, there was a lot of talk yesterday that when people were first looking at this, well, there's nothing really new here. Is this really a strong case? What do you think?
FARROW: You know, it continues to be an unproven legal argument. There's not a lot of case law doing this specific thing of using this kind of election law predicate to essentially turn what would be a business accounting misdemeanor into a felony. I think that the legal skepticism around that is fairly justified.
That said, that wider argument, the willingness to bring in these facts about the AMI scheme writ large, does give them a shot at clearing that hurdle.
COOPER: Ronan Farrow, appreciate it. Thank you.
FARROW: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: We mentioned Karen McDougal, again, her story is according to the statement of fact, part of a pattern by the former President and David Pecker.
Reading another passage from the statement of fact, it is a quote: "About five months before the presidential election in or around June 2016, the editor-in-chief of the "National Enquirer" and AMI's Chief Content Officer, the AMI editor-in-chief contacted Lawyer A (which is Michael Cohen) about a woman, Woman 1 (Karen McDougal), who lead she had a sexual relationship with the defendant while he was married."
Now, Randi Kaye has more on Karen McDougal's story.
KAREN MCDOUGAL, FORMER PLAYBOY MODEL: I met Donald when they were filming the "Celebrity Apprentice" at the Playboy Mansion.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Playboy model, Karen McDougal says she met Donald Trump in 2006. She told Anderson Cooper there was an instant attraction.
COOPER: You could see him looking at you.
MCDOUGAL: Oh, I could see it.
KAYE (voice over): McDougal says the two later had a date at Trump's bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
MCDOUGAL: As the night ended, we were in to bed.
COOPER: So the sex was consensual?
MCDOUGAL: It was consensual.
COOPER: Just to be clear.
KAYE (voice over): Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal.
Long before she met Donald Trump, Karen McDougal grew up in a small town in Michigan. "The New Yorker" says she worked as a preschool teacher before starting her modeling career. McDougal said she won to a local modeling contest, which landed her in California.
MCDOUGAL: I got a lot of contracts to relocate in LA and do a lot of modeling there.
KAYE (voice over): McDougal first appeared in Playboy as Miss December in 1997. Then was named Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1998. McDougal told Anderson, she and Trump were in love.
COOPER: Did Donald Trump ever say to you that he loved you?
MCDOUGAL: All the time.
KAYE (voice over): McDougal says Trump once took her to his apartment at Trump Tower.
MCDOUGAL: We passed a room and he said, "This is Melania's room."
COOPER: How do you feel being in his apartment?
MCDOUGAL: Guilty, very guilty.
KAYE (voice over): After meeting Trump, McDougal was photographed alongside Melania and Ivanka Trump at a party for "The Apprentice." She told Anderson she ended her relationship with Trump in April 2007. Years later, in 2016, McDougal was at the center of a catch and kill scheme after trying to sell her story about the alleged affair to the "National Enquirer."
McDougal says AMI, which published the "Enquirer" bought her story only to bury it. Trump's longtime friend, David Pecker was the CEO of AMI.
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): In 2016, Michael Cohen recorded himself talking with Trump, about how to set up the payment to McDougal. The recording was later made public.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP ATTORNEY: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David.
I've just spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with ...
TRUMP: So what do we got to pay for this? 150?
COHEN: ... funding. Yes.
KAYE (voice over): In the end, AMI paid McDougal $150,000.00 to silence her. She signed the deal just before the election.
COOPER: And Randi joins me now. What has Karen McDougal said about Trump's recent indictment, if anything?
KAYE: Well, Anderson, she has kept a pretty low profile as all of this recently has been unfolding. She hasn't issued any formal response to the indictment or to that statement of fact with all the details in it, where she is referred to as Woman 1, but she did post on her social media today, sort of a tongue in cheek posts and here is what she wrote on Instagram: "I've been out and about enjoying God's country. I hope I didn't miss anything," with a smiley face emoji.
So Anderson, she is certainly trying to make light of this very historic and serious moment that she too is at the center of.
COOPER: All right, Randi, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up, a historic meeting today between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the leader of Taiwan, the first of its kind on US soil. It follows in the footsteps of that very controversial meeting last year with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria joins me next to discuss China's reaction whether these meetings are a good idea.
[20:31:00] COOPER: Breaking News, moments ago, China officially responded to the meeting today between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, along with the bipartisan congressional delegation and the leader of Taiwan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. This was the first time any leader from Taiwan has met with the House Speaker on U.S. soil. Last year, as you'll recall, Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan and its president. China's Minister of Foreign Affairs now says that this latest meeting "seriously violates the One China principle" and that China "firmly opposes and strongly condemns this." He also demanded the U.S. "stop upgrading the substantive relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.
CNN'S Fareed Zakaria joins me now with more. Fareed, from what we've seen thus far, do you think Chinese response to the stateside meeting will be the same or at the same kind of level as it was when Speaker Pelosi visited Taiwan in 2022?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST OF 'FAREED ZAKARIA GPS': I think it's likely to be quite different. They recognize that the difference, you know, in terms of how provocative that was. But look, it was a bad idea for Nancy Pelosi to go to Taiwan. It is a bad idea for Kevin McCarthy to do this. The Congress should not try to get involved in something as sensitive as this and particularly get involved in what is really the domestic politics of Taiwan.
You know, the important thing to realize is there are actually two Taiwan presidents going on trips right now. There is President Tsai coming to the United States meeting with Kevin McCarthy because he insisted on it, but the former president, President Ma Ying-jeou is going to China and he is meeting there with some Chinese officials. He is on a 12-day trip to visit his homeland. That party is much more comfortable with some kind of dialog with Beijing. In the old days, they used to be in favor of some kind of peaceful reunification.
In general, Taiwan has been trending more towards the party that Presidents Tsai represents, the current president, who's meeting with Kevin McCarthy. But there are a lot of Taiwanese who vote for President Ma's party, you know? So you see what I mean? Kevin McCarthy is getting himself involved in something that an American politician shouldn't. This is a very sensitive issue and better to let the administration handle it.
COOPER: Source close to Speaker McCarthy told CNN that it was important for the speaker to make sure the meeting with the Taiwanese president was bipartisan. Talk a little bit about why Taiwan is one of the very few things that both sides of the island actually agree on these days.
ZAKARIA: Well, this is the big area of bipartisanship in Washington these days, everyone is a China hawk. Everyone wants to in some way or the other show how tough they can be on China.
And you know, Taiwan is an extension of that. And that's why, as I say, Speaker Pelosi went to Taiwan because she wanted to make that point. I should point out the Biden Administration was more opposed to that visit than they have been to this -- to this meeting precisely because it was more provocative. But privately, they will tell you they're against all this. It's a -- this is a very delicate and calibrated relationship. You know, what we're trying to do -- what the United States is trying to do is to preserve Taiwan's autonomy and preserve the status quo, which has allowed Taiwan to flourish.
If there's a change in the status quo, there's a provocative move and the Chinese invade or, you know, the whole thing can explode. And I don't think that Kevin McCarthy is the world's most skilled diplomat to be to be entering this arena.
COOPER: Do you think Russia's difficulties in Ukraine have affected the thinking of China's leadership regarding Taiwan? The idea of trying to take it by force?
ZAKARIA: I don't know what lesson they draw from it because it's such a complicated one. So lesson number one, you know, the Russians have gotten totally isolated from the world economy. Huge sanctions on them. Could that happen to China? It's difficult to imagine, but the Chinese must have been surprised as I think we all were at the extraordinary, frankly, effectiveness of the Biden Administration at isolating Russia, putting sanctions on, freezing its Central Bank reserves. A second lesson, I think is if the Ukrainians -- if the locals fight, it is a very tough battle to win.
COOPER: The French President Macron was in Beijing today, part of a three-day trip there I think it is. He had a phone call with President Biden earlier. They reportedly discussed a common desire to engage China to accelerate the end of the war in Ukraine. Do you see China as having an actual diplomatic role in that?
ZAKARIA: No, because the Chinese have no credibility, because they have been so one sided in their support for Russia, that the Ukrainians will never trust anything that they do. The Chinese might be able, once there is some kind of negotiation going, to weigh in a little bit with the Russians and make the case that, you know, they should take the settlement. But I, unfortunately, think they have been very irresponsible on this. They're benefiting from all this because they have found in Russia, cheap vessels stake (ph).
You know, this -- Russia is the largest exporter of energy in the world. They now have to do it at a discount whether it's oil, it's natural gas, it's coal. And guess who's buying it? Mostly China and India. So, the Chinese have benefited from this. I don't think they particularly care if it goes on. You know what I mean? It's a situation where they haven't really suffered much. They have, in fact, gotten huge discounts on their energy. So do they have a real incentive in solving it? They certainly don't seem to -- just to act like that.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, appreciate it. Thanks so much.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up. Will Rupert Murdoch be forced to take the stand and testifying in that billion-dollar defamation lawsuit against Fox News? The judge made the decision today. Details next.
COOPER: Jury selection of that billion-dollar defamation suit against Fox News begins next Thursday. One of the major outstanding questions, should there be no settlement before the trial was answered today, namely, will Fox's Rupert Murdoch be forced to take the stand ? CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy joins us now. What did the judge say?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Bad news for the Murdochs. The judge says he's basically going to be able to force the Murdochs, both Rupert and Lachlan, to testify at a trial.
COOPER: Lachlan is the son who now runs the corporation?
DARCY: Yes, Lachlan is the CEO; Rupert Murdoch is the Chairman. And the -- this isn't really surprising. The judge had really indicated that he was going to go this direction, but it's something Fox tried shielding the Murdochs from and they tried saying, it would be inconvenient for the 92-year-old Murdoch, the elder Murdoch, to travel to Wilmington, Delaware. The judge didn't buy that excuse. He basically said, "Look, you got engaged recently." He's no longer engaged, but at the time he was, and he said that you look forward to traveling between your different residences across the world. So he wasn't really buying it. And today, he basically said, "Look, if Dominion wants them to testify, which they do, he's not going to stand in the way and they're going to be compelled essentially to go to Wilmington and testify in this trial."
COOER: How is Fox responding?
DARCY: Fox isn't very happy with this, as you might imagine. And so, they put out a statement; I'll read part of it to you. They said, "Dominion clearly wants to continue generating misleading stories from their friends in the media to distract from the weak case, demanding witnesses who had nothing to do with the challenge. Broadcast is just the latest example of their political crusade and in search of a financial windfall."
Of course, the Murdochs might not have had, you know, to do with this specific broadcast. But at the end of the day, most observers and I think Dominion would say that the buck stops with them. Rupert Murdoch has conceded in depositions behind the scenes that he could have put an end to some of these people, these guests like Rudy Giuliani coming on the broadcast and spreading these conspiracy theories, but he didn't. And so, that's why Dominion wants to put them on the stand.
COOPER: Who else is testifying that we know?
DARCY: Well, Fox has said, basically, they're going to put some of their marquee talent on the stand to testify in this Fox trial, and that includes a lot of hosts like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Bret Baier. They're going to have a lot of high-wattage stars that are recognizable to the Fox audience, who will likely take the stand in this trial, and it's going to generate quite a bit of headlines that I think are going to be uncomfortable for the network.
COOPER: Also, Lou Dobbs is up there.
COOPER: He's no longer at Fox, right?
DARCY: That's correct. Lou Dobbs is no longer at Fox but --
COOPER: So, does he get his lawyers paid for by Fox? Do you know?
DARCY: Fox is representing him in this case, because they're suing Fox, so they're representing in this case, and they're going to make him available to testify as well. He was really one of the Fox hosts at the center of a lot of these lies, him and Maria Bartiromo, so Dominion is going to want to have them called to the stand.
COOPER: And when is the trial supposed to start because there's still a chance they could settle before, but when is it supposed to start?
DARCY: Time is really running out if they do want to settle. I mean, the trial starts next week, jury selection's Thursday of next week, and then the trial will start on April 17th. Now, I've talked to lawyers and they're all saying, you know, that this could really just -- there could be a midnight deal basically. Right before the clock strikes midnight, they could settle this, but the time is really running out here.
COOPER: Fascinating. And will there be cameras in the court?
DARCY: Not likely, Anderson. You know, courts typically don't like cameras, and so we're not expecting cameras in the courtroom. But I think you can certainly expect to see people like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, at least arriving at the court and exiting the court. So, we'll see.
COOPER: Oliver Darcy, appreciate it. Thanks very much. Up next, what supporters of the former resident told our Gary Tuchman about seeing Trump in court facing 34 criminal counts.
COOPER: The former president claims the indictment against him is a "fake case" to interfere with the 2024 run for the White House. He pleaded, as you know, not guilty to all 34 felony counts. The case could go to trial during the caucuses and primaries next year. Gary Tuchman talked to some of his supporters to see what they think of the indictment. Here's what he found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is it fair? Or is it unfair?
TUCHMAN (on camera): So do you believe the prosecutors? Or do you believe Trump when he says it's not true?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I believe Trump.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Most of the people we talked to at the Four States Fair in Texarkana, Arkansas think the Manhattan District Attorney is being unfair to Former President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: The man is the best president that this country has ever had in my lifetime.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Texarkana, Arkansas, which is adjacent to Texarkana, Texas is a short drive from Louisiana and Oklahoma. That's why this is called the Four States Fair. It's certainly Trump country. Shannon and Byron Watkins have both voted for him twice.
SHANNON WATKINS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think it's right. I think it's all a setup.
BYRON WATKINS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I don't think it's a set up.
TUCHMAN (on camera): You think it's a set up?
B WATKINS: No, I don't think it's a setup, but I think it's kind of a witch hunt.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But as we continue our conversations with some of the people who initially told us they feel Trump is being treated unfairly, some of the black and white declarations turn a bit gray.
TUCHMAN (on camera): He still says that the election was stolen. There's no evidence of that.
B WATKINS: Right.
TUCHMAN (on camera): You both voted for Donald Trump.
B WATKINS: Yeah.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Does it trouble you that he is not exactly a truth teller?
B WATKINS: Yeah, that bothers me. I mean, it bothers me that anyone that would be in the band (ph) office wouldn't be forthright.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Trump is exactly truth teller. Do you believe him when he says he's innocent about these charges?
B WATKINS: I don't but I don't know whether he's innocent or not. I mean, that's for the jury. TUCHMAN (on camera): Is your open about --
B WATKINS: My mind is open. Do I think it is possible that that could have happened? Very -- most definitely, I most definitely feel like he could be in that position.
TUCHMAN (on camera): He could have committed a crime?
B WATKINS: Yeah, he could have committed a crime.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Do you feel the same way?
S WATKINS: Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Anne Granado says she voted for Trump in 2020.
TUCHMAN (on camera): How does it make you feel what's going on with Trump?
ANNE GRANADO, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I never really expected that he would just be the best person. I just thought the policies lined up more with my personal beliefs. So I'm not shocked.
TUCHMAN (on camera): But he's now accused of a crime. That's a serious crime, it's a felony. He has been accused of felony and he could get prison time. What do you think?
GRANADO: Well, he deserves if he did the crime, then he should good prison time for sure.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Johnny Mooneyham is a Trump supporter. But --
JOHNNY MOONEYHAM, TRUMP SUPPORTER: All politics or politicians are crooked and shady. I don't care you are Republican or Democrats, they are -- have got stuff here.
TUCHMAN (on camera): So do you think Trump is shady, that Trump is crooked?
MOONEYHAM: I think all of them are shady. I think every last one of them is shady.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Certainly, some Trump voters we talked to at the Fair are not re-examining their thoughts. Ron Langley (ph) is enjoying his corn dog and enjoying defending Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think they need to just leave him alone.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But Gunner and Brittany Hamilton (ph), who didn't vote in the last presidential election, but say they like Trump have a different philosophy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: If he did do it, he should be held accountable. If he didn't do it, then it's just the Democrats trying to start stuff. TUCHMAN (on camera): If goes to a jury and a jury finds him guilty, would you accept that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Gary joins us now from Arkansas. First of all, please tell me you had a corn dog because that looked really good. And that fair looks fun. Have any of the people you've talked to there in Arkansas mentioned wanting to vote for their Former Governor Asa Hutchinson?
TUCHMAN: Quite a few people I have talked to, Anderson, did not know that he has -- their former governor officially announced his candidacy for president. That being said, some of those people and others tell me they like the job he performed his governor, and they would consider him for his White House bid. One woman I talked to just about 10 minutes ago told me -- she voted for Trump twice -- and she told me that she definitely wants a Republican in the White House in 2024, but perhaps it would be best to have less drama.
One other thing I want to mention, Anderson. This is a great tradition, this Fair. It's a lot of fun for families. The last thing people expect is for a reporter like me to come here and ask them questions about politics. So, we thank them for being so gracious to us.
COOPER: Yeah, there were very. How long is that Fair going? It looks great.
TUCHMAN: Yeah, it's a two-week long Fair and it goes through this weekend, if you want to come this weekend, Anderson.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Up next, we remember Katherine Koonce, the Head of the Covenant School killed in last week's school shooting. Her funeral was held today, the loving memories from her family and her friends ahead.
COOPER: The city of Nashville mourning and saying goodbye this week to the three students, just 9-years-old, killed in the shooting at the Covenant School -- Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, William Kinney. Three adults also were laid to rest this week -- Custodian Mike Hill, Substitute Teacher Cynthia Peak, and today, Katherine Koonce, the Head of the School. Her funeral was the last, took place this afternoon.
Katherine's family wrote something really beautiful in her obituary that we wanted to share with you. They wrote, "Relationships were treasurers to her and she invested herself in every person she met. She was a supporter, encourager, counselor, cheerleader, rescuer." They also wrote, "She loved well individually, creatively, insightfully, tenderly, fiercely."
That's how Christian music singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman also remembered Koonce. He performed at her funeral today, and I talked to him last week. He was heartbroken. The whole family was. And he talked about Katherine stepped into his family's pain when they were going through a tragedy. She didn't shy away from it. She ran towards them to help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN, FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM KATHERINE KOONCE: When we first heard what was happening and we were huddled up, praying, crying, begging god that this wasn't even true. We knew Katherine was there. We knew this, she was the Head of the School, and my wife even said, as much as I don't want to believe, Katherine is one of those that we're hearing about. I know her well enough to know she probably was doing everything she could to change the story, to stop this thing from happening, to talk to this person, whatever she could do.