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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

One Expelled Tennessee Lawmaker Reappointed To Seat, Second Could Follow Suit On Wednesday, If Local Officials Agree; Louisville Bank Shooter Was Shot And Killed By Police; Appeals Court Set Deadline For Plaintiffs Seeking To Ban Widely Used Abortion Drug; Many Leaked Pentagon Docs Remain On Social Media Despite Urgent National Security Concerns; Pentagon Still Trying To Determine "Scope And Scale" Of Classified Docs Leak; Texas Gov. Abbott Says He Plans To Pardon Man Convicted Of Killing BLM Protester; Biden Is Set To Visit Northern Ireland Tomorrow To Celebrate 25th Anniversary Of The Good Friday Agreement; The Surprising Connections Between Some U.S. Presidents And Ireland. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 10, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Now, in just the past few days, the State Department's envoy for North Korea met with Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Seoul; together, they issued a statement calling out North Korea's crypto theft -- Bianna.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Really important and timely report.

Alex Marquardt, thank you.

And thank you all for joining us. AC 360 starts now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The Tennessee Two is down to one.

John Berman here, in for Anderson.

Late today, officials in Nashville voted to reinstate Justin Jones, one of the two lawmakers expelled from the State House last week. The second, Justin J. Pearson of Memphis joins us shortly. They, and a third lawmaker who was not sanctioned took part in a protest against gun violence in the wake of the Covenant School mass murder just a few miles from the State House.

Jones and Pearson's expulsion for violating decorum, essentially talking out of turn, sparked local protest and national outcry. Now, in a horrible turn of events, people in neighboring Kentucky are living through a mass shooting of their own and we will have a live report in Louisville just ahead.

First, though CNN's Ryan Young in Nashville for us tonight.

And Ryan, you spoke to Representative Jones after he was reappointed. So what did he tell you? RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, this was amazing to see. We saw it all play out right there in front of us, not only from City Council, and then the march down the street here from the State Capitol, but all of these thousands of people showed up to be here for a rally to walk up the stairs here to the State Capitol, and this all played out right before us.

Right there at the State Capitol, that's where he was sworn in on those steps. People were cheering, they were yelling. They said they wanted their voices to be heard. And let's just say this, Justin Jones says he was energized by what happened, and he said, the fight is not over just yet. Take a listen.


JUSTIN JONES (D), REAPPOINTED TENNESSEE STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Today, we sent a clear message to Speaker Cameron Sexton that the people will not allow his crimes against democracy to happen without challenge.

We are calling on House Speaker Carmen Sexton to resign as Speaker of the House.

(PEOPLE cheering.)

JONES: He is an enemy of democracy.


YOUNG: John, more than a thousand people marched with him all the way from City Hall, and then walk through that front door. And then of course, when they swore him in right there on the steps, then he went and got his old plaque back and went into that seat.

The battle here won't stop for quite some time, because we've got to remember, they were appointed back to the seat and we are told, there will have to be a Special Election.

So this process is not over just yet, but you can just tell by the energy that is surrounding the city right now that they believe they have finally sort of cracked the surface in terms of getting people to understand what's going on in the State.

BERMAN: And this process tonight that you just saw was for Representative Jones, in a moment, I'm going to speak to Representative Justin Pearson. What is the timetable for his possible reinstatement?

YOUNG: Well, they are talking about Wednesday. So of course, there was this talk across the State about whether or not what could happen here at the State House might affect Shelby County and whether or not funds would be held back, but now we're hearing we believe that what will happen in Memphis will Pearson will get a chance to come back to the House.

But he was here today, too, and it energized the crowd to see both these young men standing together strong addressing this crowd. The crowd came to hear these two people.

At some point, it sounded like they were addressing like a rock concert because it was so loud here with people amped up and pumped up to go into the State House.

People admitted to us today they had never been to the State Capitol, but they wanted to be here to support these two young men who they felt like were unjustifiably kicked out of the State House last week -- John.

BERMAN: Two elected officials, both expelled; one now reinstated.

Ryan Young, thank you very much.

Now to the other, joining us now, the man in question, Representative Justin J. Pearson.

Representative, thanks so much for being with us.

Your reaction tonight to your colleague being reappointed to the Tennessee Legislature, and are you confident that you will be reinstated on Wednesday?

JUSTIN J. PEARSON (D), EXPELLED TENNESSEE STATE REPRESENTATIVE: First, I want to honor the victims of another mass shooting in our country, in Louisville, and the mass shooting here in Nashville at the Covenant School that elevated this real conversation for the need to end gun violence in our communities. That's the issue that we got expelled for, standing up against the National Rifle Association and standing up against gun lobbyists.

And so one, I still mourn with everyone who is still mourning. And while we celebrate our brother, Representative Jones and the democratic process of people who have decided that we are tired of the injustice of the Republican Majority of the Tennessee State House who have decided that they are going to have a mobocracy rather than a democracy, we continue this fight and this movement and this momentum toward justice.

BERMAN: How do you think you will be received given that you were voted out by a supermajority if you are reinstated on Wednesday, how do you think that Republican majority will greet you?


PEARSON: I don't know exactly how the Republican Party is going to greet us into the future. What I do know is that the people who are advocating for change, the people who want to see an end to gun violence, the people who are asking that our legislators do something, the people who continue to march and to protest, and who continue to show up, the children, and the teenagers, and the grandmothers who the Republican Party called insurrectionists, who were peaceful protesters are going to continue to demand that justice happen.

And if I have the opportunity to serve the people of Memphis and Millington in Shelby County, as District 86 as Representative in this appointment, and hopefully, in an elected office, I promise to elevate the issues of our community and not stop because the issues of justice in the State of Tennessee.

In a State that too often is silencing those who are marginalized, that is intentionally expelling voices of people who are saying we have to do something about gun violence, who are exercising our First Amendment that is given to us in the Constitution, it is the will of God and the people in Shelby County for me to serve, I promise to continue to do so and I'm going to do it, I believe with all of the people who continue to show up for us in this moment, who are saying it's enough, and now is the time for us to create change in this State.

BERMAN: Talk to me about maybe the split feelings that you brought up yourself to see your colleague reinstated today. But also today, to see a mass shooting where four people were gunned down in a neighboring State.

PEARSON: It's a sobering reality that we are in, that we are not doing enough to prevent gun violence. It is a sad and another tragic day in our country where we know the decisions of people in power, decisions of people who could actually do something to prevent gun violence in our schools, in our banks, in our communities by preventing guns from getting in the hands of individuals who have them, the people in positions of power are refusing to act.

And it is a tragedy that that is our reality, and at the same time, we are seeing people who are pleading for democracy to work, the people in Nashville Metro Council, the people in Shelby County, the County Commission, our communities are pleading for democracy to work in order that we might be able to affect the change that we need.

And so yes, it is multiple emotions, a celebration of the determination of people who want to see justice happen with Representative Jones being re-seated, and it is also a painful moment of recognition that our legislators and people like Cameron Sexton and the Republican Party in Tennessee and across the South in this country are not doing nearly enough to prevent guns from getting in the hands of people and doing all of the holistic work of gun prevention that is necessary in places across our communities, including in Memphis and Millington, my district.

BERMAN: Very quickly, if you are reinstated, would you engage in the type of behavior that Republicans say they expelled you for? Would you demonstrate again like you did on the House floor?

PEARSON: I believe that our actions were wholly justified, and that even though we broke a rule of decorum, we stood up and we spoke for people who needed us to speak for them, voices of children and adults who will never be able to speak again.

And so I believe what we did was right, and it was for right, and that we have a responsibility now and our legislators in this legislature now need to do more to stop and end gun violence. It is preventable, and we aren't doing nearly enough.

BERMAN: Would you break the rules of decorum again, to make that point?

PEARSON: Sometimes rules have to be broken in order for the people who've been pushed to the periphery to be brought to the center of the conversation. Sometimes rules have to be broken in order for the voices that have been marginalized and told that they are voiceless to be heard. Sometimes rules have to be broken in order for us to create justice.

And if that is what's necessary for justice to happen, then that is what is necessary. And as you see District 86 and our community, we're willing to risk it all for people to be safe, we're willing to risk it all for justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream and we will not stop.

BERMAN: Events like we have not seen are happening in Nashville before our eyes. Representative Pearson, we do appreciate you being with us tonight. I look forward to speaking with you again.

PEARSON: Thank you. We'll keep fighting.

BERMAN: Now as we and he just mentioned, the very reality and tragedy of those three Tennessee lawmakers were protesting, it has happened again.

Another lone killer with another AR-15-type rifle committed yet another act of mass murder. Two weeks ago, it was a school in Nashville, this time a bank in Louisville, Kentucky. The killer, an employee reportedly about to be fired. He is now dead. Sadly are four others. They are Tommy Elliot, aged 63; Jim Tutt, 64; Josh Barrick, 40; and Juliana Farmer, she was 45.

Nine others were hurt in the shooting including a newly minted police officer who was severely wounded. More on all of it now from CNN's Omar Jimenez.



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In just moments, four people were killed and nine others injured at this bank in Louisville, Kentucky.

JACQUELYN GWINN-VILLAROEL, INTERIM CHIEF, LOUISVILLE METRO POLICE: Officers were on scene within three minutes. The suspect shot at officers, we then returned fire and stopped that threat.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Police revealing the shooter was an employee at the bank and had livestreamed the attack.


GWINN- VILLAROEL: The suspect was livestreaming and unfortunately, that's tragic to know that that incident was out there and captured.

JIMENEZ (voice over): A law enforcement source telling CNN the shooter had also learned he was going to be fired and wrote a note to his parents and a friend indicating he was going to shoot at the bank.

Louisville's Head of Police solemnly reading the names of the victims at an afternoon press conference.

GWINN- VILLAROEL: Tommy Elliott, 63 years of age; Jim Tutt, 64 years of age; Josh Barrick, 40 years of age; and Juliana Farmer, 57.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Among those injured in the attack, two police officers including a rookie cop just days into the job.

GWINN- VILLAROEL: The officer who was in critical condition today, Officer Nickolas Wilt, 26 years of age, just graduated from the Police Academy on March 31st. I just swore him in and his family was there to witness his journey to become a police officer. He was struck in the head --

JIMENEZ (voice over): That officer tonight, out of surgery, in critical but in stable condition.

The shock of the attack also felt that the highest levels of the State's government. One of the victims known to the Mayor and Governor.

MAYOR CRAIG GREENBERG (D), LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: One of them was Tommy Elliot, a very good friend of mine, of the Governor's.

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): Tommy Elliot helped me build my law career. Helped me become Governor, gave me advice on being a good dad. He was an incredible friend.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Officials say the gunman used an AR-15 style rifle in the attack. Investigators are still trying to establish a motive, as the Governor paid tribute to those lost today.

BESHEAR: To honor those that have fallen and as so many families grieve, I'm ordering our flags statewide fly at half-staff until Friday.


BERMAN: And Omar Jimenez joins us now live from Louisville.

Omar, we were on TV together this morning right after this happened. Several hours later, is it clear exactly what was going on at the bank when the shooting occurred?

JIMENEZ: So at this point, it seems to have happened during one of the morning meetings at this bank. A co-worker of the gunman was actually attending that meeting virtually when she saw through her laptop the gunman burst into the conference room and start shooting, to use her words: "I witnessed people being murdered. I don't know how else to say that."

And all of this was happening in just the three minutes it took for officers to get to the scene. On top of the four that were killed, nine others were hospitalized, three have been released. Three are non-critical, three are still in critical condition, including that police officer that had just graduated from the Police Academy.

The hospital says that no one they've treated so far has died, but when you take a step back, a hundred days into this year in this country, we have already seen 146 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

So while this community figures out how to deal with this tragedy, it's a tragedy that is no stranger to communities across these country tonight -- John.

BERMAN: Terrifying and tragic. Omar Jimenez, thank you for being there for us.

Next, a late development in the legal battle over an abortion drug that has had FDA approval for decades, which a Federal Judge now wants to undo.

And later, tracing the sources and assessing the damage from a huge US Intelligence leak.



BERMAN: We have this just in tonight in the fight over the abortion drug, mifepristone and a Federal Judge's ruling Friday to suspend FDA approval of it.

A short time ago, the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals gave plaintiffs a Tuesday midnight deadline to respond to a request to put that ruling on hold. The decision by a Trump-appointed judge in Amarillo, Texas would otherwise take effect by week's end. It was quickly followed by another Federal Judge's decision in Washington State, this one requiring the government to keep mifepristone available in 17 States and the District of Columbia.

So yes, it's confusing, and reaction to the Texas ruling does cross party lines, New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez and her South Carolina Republican colleague, Nancy Mace, are both calling on the Biden administration to simply disregard it, something the White House today declined to do.

So now, it is before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and whether on its own or along with the Washington State ruling could soon be heading to the Supreme Court.

With us now is renowned Washington reporter, author, and NPR legal affairs Correspondent, Nina Totenberg.

Nina, thanks so much for being with us. What do you see the chances are that these conflicting rulings will end up at the Supreme Court, and when?

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the when is the critical question. I think they probably will end up at the Supreme Court. The Biden administration has already asked the Fifth Circuit to impose a stay to block Judge Kacsmaryk's ruling from going into effect, and if that Court, which is a Court that's heavily dominated by Republican appointees, and half of those are Trump appointees, that Court would It would not surprise anybody if they don't grant a stay, and then certainly, the Biden administration would appeal to the Supreme Court and say, at least block this for now, and then tell us, sort it out later on, or it might be that the Fifth Circuit goes ahead and hears the case on an expedited basis.

If they don't, again, you've got everything in limbo, but if -- this is one of these very messy cases, and it's right coming at the end of the Supreme Court term when the Justices are about to finish hearing oral arguments in cases, so it gets even hairier yet.


BERMAN: Look, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, Justice Alito, majority opinion, his opinion implied that overturning the precedent was somehow going to resolve many legal questions. It doesn't appear to have happened here. Do the Justices really want to be right back in the middle of this?

TOTENBERG: Well, I'm sure they don't, but this shows you how I think, how little the majority in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe actually appreciated how this could go off in 10, 15, 20 different directions.

Justice Alito said that Roe had been egregiously wrong, and that it had divided the country. And he seemed to assume that by overturning Roe, that would change. And of course, there are a million questions here.

Do people who live in one State where abortion is banned, can they travel to another State for an abortion? Do people have access via the Internet to get access to abortion pills? And by the way, abortion pills are now, they are early abortions, but they are a majority, more than a majority of most of the abortions in the country today.

So this has an enormous effect, and it is even beyond that, because the whole authority of the FDA to regulate drugs, to decide what is safe and not safe, to prescribe rules, that's in the balance, too.

BERMAN: The very way the FDA does its job could hang in the balance here. So, is it as simple as looking at the makeup of the Supreme Court and saying, hey, this is the Court that overturned Roe vs. Wade, you know, they'll rule against any kind of abortion rights. Is it that simple? Or could Judges be in play here?

TOTENBERG: Oh, I think there are Judges in play here. I mean, I think clearly the Chief Justice is not -- would not be likely to go along with this. And you know, Justice Kavanaugh, at the time of the oral argument in the case said, look, States that don't want to have abortions, they could ban abortions, and the States that want to have abortions can have abortions.

Well, this flies in the face of that, and I think that at least those two conservatives are in play, and perhaps other members of the Court's conservative majority.

I think this is a pretty radical decision, and I wouldn't predict what the Supreme Court is going to do.

BERMAN: It will be very interesting to see as this winds its way through.

Nina Totenberg, thank you so much as always.

TOTENBERG: My pleasure.

BERMAN: So for more now on how Americans see this and how they might vote on it, I'm joined now by CNN senior data reporter, Harry Enten and CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Harry, you've been looking at this. I mean, what are the potential political repercussions of what happened in Texas on the Republican Party?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, I mean, look, Americans overwhelmingly do not want this abortion pill banned. Seventy percent are opposed to it, over 80 percent of Democrats are opposed to it. Look at that, over 50 percent of Republicans are opposed to it. My goodness gracious. When was the last time you saw controversial issue in which a majority of Republicans and Democrats agreed.

And you know, John, we oftentimes look at polling and we say, okay, is this necessarily reflected in the real world? Well, since Roe v. Wade was overturned in the middle of last year, we had half a dozen abortion ballot measures, right? And the proabortion rights side and every single one of them came out with the majority with the win, and we are not just talking about Blue States like Vermont and California, we're talking about Red States, right, like Kentucky, and Kansas and Montana.

So the fact is, Americans are on the side of proabortion rights, and it's going to be very interesting to see going forward whether or not they like this decision. I don't believe that they will if it holds.

BERMAN: You know, Dana Bash, we talked about this bipartisan call for the Biden administration, the FDA to simply disregard the ruling.

Republican Nancy Mace of South Carolina said they should ignore it, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I had the pleasure of watching your interview with her where she also said, ignore the ruling. But does that align with the rule of law or how things work?

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR AND POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly goes up to the line of the rule of law if you ask the people in the Biden administration, which is really what is what matters here because they will help determine what the FDA actually does.

The HHS Secretary was on "State of the Union" with me yesterday. He said everything is on the table when I put that question to him and then a few hours later, a spokesperson made clear that what is on the table is not simply sort of shirking off, something that is going through the Courts. So they're trying to play this very, very carefully.


What is abundantly clear though to everybody as they try to posture and position here on the politics of it is that this is not something that most Republicans who are looking at the Senate map, looking at the House map, and looking at the White House in 2024 welcome.

There is certainly sort of a collective Republican holding their -- Republicans holding their breath and hoping that the Supreme Court sort of gets rid of this in the near future.

BERMAN: I remember when you were out before the 2022 election, Dana, how many voters you were talking to, and I'm not talking about Democratic voters, I'm talking about Independent voters or Republican voters who were saying, this has gone too far on abortion.

BASH: Right, and even those who argued that they were in favor of the Dobbs decision, most Republicans said it is because they want it to be decided on a more local level, that it shouldn't be a national decision, it should be done by the States.

Well, what does this Federal decision do? It makes it potentially national, and so it's the opposite, even for those who fundamentally philosophically believe that no, abortion should be allowed, the way that it is going to happen, if it goes through, in this case, through the Courts is anathema, and it will be -- and the other thing I just want to point out, if I may, we're talking about this as it relates to abortion. It is medication used for abortion.

It is also medication used by many, many women who suffer from a miscarriage, and so to take it off the market, it will cause trauma to a lot of women when it comes to their fundamental health, especially after they're dealing with the trauma of losing a pregnancy.

BERMAN: There are people for whom this is not a question of politics, it is a question of health and wellbeing.

Dana Bash, Harry Enten, thank you so much to both of you.

Just ahead, a deep dive on that huge Pentagon leak of classified information, perhaps the biggest and most concerning since the Edward Snowden affair. Top former members of the military, FBI, and National Security establishment join us next.



BERMAN: The Pentagon today said is still trying to determine the, quote, scope and scale of what may be the biggest exposure of classified sequences Edward Snowden, many of which are still visible online. The leaks includes sensitive information on the war in Ukraine, including how far the U.S. has penetrated the Russian Defense Ministry and the Wagner group militia, information that potentially could compromise intelligence assets including human sources. The leaks also revealed a level of spying done not just on foes, but friends as well, including South Korea and Israel. So far, despite a Justice Department investigation and an interagency effort announced by the Pentagon over the weekend to assess the leaks impact, there was still little information about who did it or why or how this information could be sitting in the open on social media for more than a month.

Perspective now from three key angles of the story CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Andrew McCabe, a former FBI Deputy Director, CNN Military Analyst and Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling and Carrie Cordero, Former Counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security. She's also a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

And, Andrew, I want to start with you here. How does the FBI even go about an investigation like this? It involves the Defense Department, it involves intelligence agencies. You know, where do you even start?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, John, there are two things that the bureau does at the same time when they get a referral like this. The first is to conduct a damage assessment. So that's the work that involves trying to identify this information, trying to identify the organizations, the other intelligence agencies that are responsible for it, and ultimately classified it to make sure those agencies get to review that material to see if there's been damage to sources and methods.

The second thing the bureau does, and again, these things happen at the same time, is to begin the search to find the person responsible for the leak. Now, in this case, there's a lot of different directions they're likely going.

They're probably starting by looking at those photographs to figure out everything they can from the photographs, from things that may have been captured in the background of the photographs to the metadata that's always kind of attached to digital photographs, and then look at things like IP addresses that and from which the photographs may have been posted to the internet.

They'll also look at establishing a pool of people who they know would have had access to these documents at the respective times that are of concern. Now those pools I can tell you from having been involved in many of these investigations are always about 10 times bigger than you think they'll be.

And so that brings the task of trying to rule out anybody who may have had access to this material as being the potential leaker. And that is an effort that can take many, many resources over a long period of time.

BERMAN: So General, you get in here, you know, how big is this possible pool who have access to these materials? Also, you know, in the short term, what do you think the most immediate national security impact is of this? LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: John, you know, I'll jump on what Andrew just said about 10 times larger than we think it might be. There are some folks you wouldn't even consider that might have the ability to touch these documents. You know, some of those documents came from within the joint staff.

I remember when I was a primary on the joint staff as the J7, we would dispose of secret and top secret documents that we no longer needed inside of burn bags. Those burn bags were transferred by individuals who carried them to the incinerator.

So it's not just the people who are using the documents for establishing communication and situational awareness, it is the people who transport them to be destroyed. So that pool really expand significantly, just like Andrew said, in terms of the assessment. This is going to be very difficult.

And, you know, the fact that it appears today mentioned Secretary Austin learned of this on the 6th of April, and there have been additional leaks since then tells me that when we're talking about the relevancy or the recency of these things being leaked, could there be more might the individual who's leaking them have more than he can -- that he or she can put out on the internet or through photographs.


Those are the things that are very concerning. Right now, it's probably gone a little bit dark but also the fact that it deals with activities that are going on now. The Snowden leak had to do with cables and things from the State Department and the Defense Department. These things are occurring now and it talks, in many cases about Ukraine, about the capability for them to conduct operations, which is not a good thing.

BERMAN: You know, Carrie Cordero, how important is motive here? And how central will that be to the Justice Department investigation, and ultimately, they hope their prosecution?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, so I think, John, this is going to be a really substantial interagency investigation that has to go on led by the Justice Department and the FBI. And one of the factors that they will look at is what the intent was of the individual or individuals who released this information.

I do think John, it's really -- we're at a very preliminary stage. And so one of the questions that I have is, was this an individual with lawful access to this information who then facilitated its unauthorized disclosure and -- or as we say, leaked it? Or potentially, I would think one of the avenues of investigation will have to be whether or not this information was hacked, which was an unauthorized access into systems.

So those are the types of questions at this very preliminary stage that will have to take place. There's also a really, I think, important difference between our current environment in 2023, versus that which it was in the -- when the Snowden disclosures happened that you mentioned at the top of the segment 10 years ago, and that is, is that we are currently in a online and digital information environment, where investigators have to be looking at whether information and images are altered or false or not what they appear to be.

And that particular environment I think poses an additional challenge to investigators for these types of disclosures that is a different and new scenario that they will have to factor in.

BERMAN: Andrew McCabe, very quickly, this stuff was out there for a while, for several weeks before it seemed to catch the national attention. How could that be? It was circulated on these message boards.

MCCABE: It's really bizarre, John. It's -- you know, it kind of mitigates against the idea that this person was some sort of a whistleblower who wanted to bring these things to the public attention, because they lingered out there for so long. But the scary part is they, you know, they were uploaded by someone, they are now in the possessions of many, many people who presumably have downloaded them onto their own devices.

So it's essentially impossible to kind of put the toothpaste back in the tube. This stuff is out there. It'll be reappearing on sites for as long as you can imagine.

BERMAN: Yes, look, it's a dangerous metaphor, but they just want, you know, to stop the toothpaste from flowing at this point, because the leaks are still going on.

Andrew McCabe, General Hertling, Carrie Cordero, thank you all so much.

Coming up, a convicted murderer could sue walk free after pressure from Texas Governor Abbott and Fox News. The details ahead.



BERMAN: Three days after a U.S. Army sergeant was convicted of the 2020 murder of a Black Lives Matter protester and just two after Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he was working, quote, swiftly regarding the convicted murderers pardon, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles today said it is launching a review.

Daniel Perry had claimed he shot Garrett Foster in self-defense, the jury disagreed. But now he could sued walk free after pressure from Fox on the Texas governor. CNN's Ed Lavandera has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER (in unison): Garrett Foster.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the summer of protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Garrett Foster joined a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Austin, Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you got it out tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It'll let us march in the streets anymore. So got to practice some of our right.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Daniel Perry was an Army Sergeant working as a Rideshare driver that summer and had just dropped off a passenger near a BLM protest. Prosecutors say Perry ran a red light to turn into protesters on the street instigating the confrontation. Perry's lawyer says several people started beating on his car and Foster motion for him to lower his window.

Foster was carrying an assault style rifle which he was legally allowed to do.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): This police interrogation video at one point captured Perry saying he didn't want to give Foster a chance to aim at him. Perry grabbed his handgun, fired multiple times and killed Foster, an Air Force veteran. Perry claimed it was self-defense, but he was charged with murder.

Prosecutors also pointed to texts and social media posts suggesting Perry was looking for a fight. Perry wrote to someone he might kill a few people on my way to work. They are rioting outside my apartment complex. A Texas jury rejected the self-defense claim and found him guilty of murder on Friday. Perry broke down when he heard the verdict.

Perry has become a celebrity cause and right-wing media. Fox News host Tucker Carlson is pressuring Republican Governor Greg Abbott to issue a pardon.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: And it means that in the state of Texas, if you have the wrong politics, you're not allowed to defend yourself.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): And the next day, the Texas governor announced he would swiftly move to pardon Perry.

WHITNEY MITCHELL, GARRETT FOSTER'S LONGTIME PARTNER: I watch my husband died in front of me.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Foster's longtime partner Whitney Mitchell was with Foster the night of the deadly encounter. She says his family is angered by the governor's announcement.

(on-camera): What the governor is saying and vowing to pardon Daniel Perry, that has come as a complete shock and surprise to you?

MITCHELL: This has been a complete nightmare. I just thought it was disgusting. And I don't think that he's fully like read the case or know what's going on with it. And I honestly can't understand this decision. Like it's just -- it's absolutely disgusting.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Governor Abbott went on to say that "Texas has one of the strongest Stand Your Ground laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive district attorney." That D.A. in Austin Jose Garza called Abbott's comments deeply troubling.


(on-camera): Do you think this is the governor bowing to pressure from right-wing media?

JOSE GARZA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, TRAVIS COUNTY, TX: By weighing in he has caused irreparable damage to our criminal justice system. I know that he has weakened the rule of law in the state of Texas. I know he has endangered the public safety of our community.


BERMAN: And Ed Lavandera joins me now from Dallas. Ed, how likely is it that Daniel Perry will actually be pardoned? And when will that final decision come?

LAVANDERA: Well, you know, virtually, every member of this Pardons and Paroles board has been appointed by Governor Abbott. The organization said today that has immediately launched an investigation to issue a recommendation on Perry's potential pardon.

And in the state of Texas, John, the way it works is, is that the governor can't just issue a pardon directly. He has to -- he or she has to wait for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to issue a recommendation. And after that, the governor can make their decision. But right now, we don't have a timeline as to how long this will take. John?

BERMAN: All right, Ed Lavandera, keep us posted. Thank you so much.

Still ahead, Ireland is preparing for presidential homecoming as President Biden is set to travel there tomorrow. We will take a look at the impact of past presidential visits and the surprising connections our nation's leader have with that country, that's next.



BERMAN: Tomorrow, President Biden is set to make an historic visit to Northern Ireland to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement of remarkable achievement that brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violent conflict. The President is scheduled to meet with the British prime minister and speak at Ulster University of Belfast during the trip.

He last visited in 2017. And as Vice President 2016, Biden's great, great, great grandfather was among the millions of people who left Ireland in the 19th century during the potato famine, and he has been touted as one of the most Irish-American presidents.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan looked at other presidents with Irish roots and their past presidential visits and his findings may surprise you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm currently at probably the most highly regarded landmark in Ireland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Barack Obama Plaza.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's become a viral favorite on TikTok on the site of an Irish motorway, a rest stop named after President Barack Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Ireland. My name is Barack Obama of the Moneygall Obamas.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Barack Obama Plaza was built here in the tiny village of Moneygall where Obama's ancestors immigrated from in the 19th century.

OBAMA: I suspect you don't always dress up this much.


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Obama visited the village in 2011.

OBAMA: Cheers.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): That makes you guys --


O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): OK.


O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): What's your nickname?

HEALY: He gave me the nickname Henry VIII.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Henry Healy is Obama's distant cousin and is now a manager at the Barack Obama Plaza.

(on-camera): I think it definitely raises some eyebrows in the United States when they hear there's a rest stop at the side of a highway named after an American president.

HEALY: There's be some shock and all. The cardboard cutouts that we have here are phenomenally popular.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousands cheer with the enthusiasm that only Irishman can -- O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Ireland's love affair with U.S. presidents

began when President John F. Kennedy visit his ancestral home here in New Ross County, Wexford in 1963.

(on-camera): And you were sitting in the front row?

MARK MINIHAN, IN CROWD FOR JOHN F. KENNEDY'S 1963 SPEECH IN IRELAND: I was about I'd say maybe 10, 15 yards out there.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Mark Minihan's dad was mayor of New Ross at the time, and was to introduce Kennedy to the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you hear me now? Can you hear me?

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Some of the microphone stopped working just as JFK arrived.

MINIHAN: Microphones broke down just before he started, so he was even more uptight.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): The microphones broke down?

MINIHAN: The microphones broke down when President Kennedy was only over at --coming along the street here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in right trouble now.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The technical glitch was eventually resolved and the speech ended up going ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took 115 years to make this trip.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): A trip which included a visit here.

PATRICK GRENNAN, IRISH RELATIVE OF LATE U.S. PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: So this is the original farm yards the president's great grandfather, Patrick Kennedy left from. He actually left through that gate, the same gate --

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Oh wow.

GRENNAN: -- during the famine when he went off to Boston.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Like many Irish-Americans, Kennedy's great grandfather immigrated to the United States during the Irish potato famine.

GRENNAN: I think he decided to come back to Europe and show that he was proud of his peasant roots.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Kennedy began a tradition of presidential visits to Ireland, Reagan visited in 1984.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many Irish men and women from every walk of life played a role in creating the dream of America. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The interiors of this pub and Reagan's ancestral village of Ballyporeen were eventually shipped to California to the Reagan Presidential Library. Now perhaps the most Irish of Irish-American presidents is about to visit the country and his cousins, the Blewitts here in Ballina, County Mayo are getting ready.

(on-camera): Tell us how you're related to the President, first of all.

JOE BLEWITT, IRISH RELATIVE OF U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: So my dad is his third cousin. So his great, great grandfather, Edward Blewitt left Ballina in the 1860s. And he went to move to Scranton.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Girls, how does it feel to be related to a president?



E. BLEWITT: Because he's president.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): And have you met him before?

LAUREN AND EMILY BLEWITT: Yes, we've met twice. Yes.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): What did he say to you?

LAUREN BLEWITT: He's just -- he was just eating our chips, and when fancy meals came out, he just wanted the chips and chicken nuggets.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): He was stealing your chicken nuggets?


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Biden's ancestors, the Blewitts and the Finnegans immigrated from counties, Mayo and Louth.

(on-camera): Your dad and Joe Biden are third cousins?


O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): But you seem to be the favorite cousin.

LAURITA BLEWITT: I don't know why. It was -- well, maybe it's just my personality.


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Biden has visited Ireland in the past and Laurita Blewitt has made multiple trips to the White House, but this wouldn't be the first time they will welcome him to Ireland as president.

[20:55:02] LAURITA BLEWITT: We've struck up a great friendship since the first day that we met. You know, his family are steeped in Irish traditions. You know, he talks about it all the time as he tells great stories growing up and basically growing up in an Irish household even though, you know, obviously, they were very much American.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Yes.

(voice-over): From accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom --

BIDEN: You know, I can't let it come and go by without quoting an Irish poet.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): To accepting the Democratic Party's nomination for president.

BIDEN: The Irish poet Seamus Heaney once wrote --

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Biden always seems to have a line of Irish poetry to hand.

BIDEN: But then, once in a lifetime, the longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope and history rhyme.

J. BLEWITT: And he's just so proud of those roots, like he's really proud of Irish roots. Yes, we have had the presidents but this president is more important I think than the rest of them.


O'SULLIVAN: And before the President traveled south to the Republic of Ireland to see his cousins, he'll come first here to Belfast, Northern Ireland tomorrow on the 25th anniversary of that historic peace agreement, the Good Friday Agreement. There will be a lot of celebrations here for that 25th anniversary, but also a lot more work to do. There's still a lot of division here.

The power sharing government that was -- the former power sharing government that was set up where Catholics, Protestants, Unionists, and Republicans share power here is not functioning at the moment. So he'll have that and then, John, he will go south to the Republic of Ireland where I guess if he's lucky, like Obama, he might get a gas station named after him.

BERMAN: Donie O'Sullivan, my third cousin, great to see you. Thank you so much for that report.

O'SULLIVAN: Thank you, John. Thank you, cousin.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.