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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

At Least 23 Killed In Russian Missile Strike On Ukrainian Apartment Building; Never Been Seen Photos Show The White House On The Day Bin Laden Was Killed; Pence Testifies Before Special Counsel Grand Jury; Pres. Biden Facing New Questions About His Age After Using Detailed Note Cards; W. H. Calls It "Entirely Normal"; Millions Of People Watch NFL Draft Every Year; Tom Brady Was Picked 199th In The 2000 NFL Draft; Lamar Jackson Of The Baltimore Ravens Signs A Five- Year, $260 Million Contract; "The Reign Begins: Charles And Camilla" Airs Sunday At 8PM ET. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 28, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And finally tonight, some very happy news to share. We have added two new members to the "OUTFRONT" family. This is Samuel Sasso Hand, eight days old now and you see his dad there, our booker, Bob Hand.

Samuel was born weighing seven pounds 13 ounces and his mother, you saw there, Jamie and Samuel are doing great.

And that's not all, there is Teddy Lane, born to our producer Heather and her husband, Andrew. Teddy, precious little thing joins his older brother, Wilder in keeping his mom and dad sleep deprived.

We congratulate all of them.

Thanks so much for that and for joining us. Anderson starts now.



As Ukraine continues to prepare ways to launch a counteroffensive, today, Russia launched more missile strikes against civilians, including one of the deadliest strikes of the war this year.

The missiles hit residential buildings in two cities. Ukrainian officials say at least 23 are confirmed dead including four children in the city of Uman. A missile slammed into that apartment building they were sleeping in. And in Dnipro, a mother and her two-year-old child were also reported killed.

Russia routinely denies they are targeting civilians, but the list of non-combatants they've killed is a long one, and tonight, as the rubble continues to be cleared, that list is likely to grow.

A CNN team was there in Uman as some of the dead were found.

Nick Paton Walsh who was with us last night joins us with more about today's attacks. You've been reporting in Ukraine for months. How does today compare with what you've seen all throughout this war?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The numbers are always terrifying, not the worst we've seen since this war began certainly, but after weeks, if not months of less missile attacks like this in terms of their intensity, the numbers today tell a much more intimate, horrifying story in Uman, where they appear to have hit an apartment block.

Families who knew each other, who lived side by side and under that rubble, tonight, firefighters still looking for a boy and a girl, their parents survived. They're trying to reach their children through cell phones, but getting no answer.

Here is what happened today.


WALSH (voice over): As usual, the terror comes at night as Ukraine tries to sleep.

A mother described hearing the missile roar in and throwing her children into the bathtub, under pillows. Another filmed the seconds afterwards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My God. I never thought this would happen. A rocket hit our building. I am covered in blood. I don't know. My windows were blown out.

This is the kids' room, but we're all alive. We're just all covered in blood.

God, we don't have windows, anything. I'm so afraid.

WALSH (voice over): As usual, as dawn clarifies the victims in this apartment block in Uman, it was only those hoping to escape the war.

SERHII LUBIVSKY, UMAN RESIDENT (through translator): We felt the impact, heard the explosion. We were on a balcony until 7P:00 AM. All the rooms were full of smoke.

WALSH (voice over): The rubble hiding some of the agony, but also surrendering some throughout the day, this body removed hours later.

That morning, as tension around a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive grows, Russia fired 23 missiles only two got past Ukraine's NATO improved air defenses.

But lest you think the horror of Uman an error, similar strikes hit buildings in Dnipro and also killed a 31-year-old woman and her two- year-old. They had fled the war to this, her parents' suburban home, but its savagery found them.

Kyiv is hoping to turn the tables, slowly taking out valuable Russian targets in the south like this radar system. (UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (voice over): With social media videos fueling fears like this one, apparently showing a Russian ammo depot hit in occupied areas that Ukraine will soon assault.

(PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (voice over): Kyiv very silent about when and where they will attack, which made this day's comments by the Defense Minister about their high readiness, particularly intriguing.

OLEKSII REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): In a global sense, we are ready in a high percentage mode. The next question is up to the general staff.

As soon as it is God's will, the weather and the commander's decision, we will do it.

WALSH (voice over): Ukraine's need to move mounting as Russian lashes out.


COOPER: Nick, how does the size of this attack compare to other big missile waves that we've seen from Russia?

WALSH: Yes, I mean, over the past two weeks, we saw a significant attack against one town, Sloviansk where over a dozen people lost their lives, and so this is bad, certainly.

It is also intriguing to see how many of the missiles Ukraine says it was able to down, well over 90 percent taken out of the sky. Is that a reflection of improved anti-aircraft anti-missile systems supplied by the West? I fear, Anderson, we are going to see more of this as the counteroffensive inevitably gets underway in days or weeks ahead.


Russia has a track record of lashing out over time, claiming it is trying to hit something, but really knowing its targeting systems are pretty poor and the violence end up being indiscriminate.

It will probably try and take its anger and revenge out on the Ukrainian civilian population. We've seen that in the past when they endure military losses, but a lot of pressure on Ukraine now to get results in this strategic win that it needs in the counteroffensive -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We thought tonight a good time to check in with senior military analyst, retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

General Hertling, today, we heard the Ukrainian foreign minister say in the aftermath of these latest attacks that: "The way to peace is to arm Ukraine with F-16s." This has suddenly been talked about certainly since the beginning of the war. Are fighter jets the answer?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I don't believe they are, Anderson, and I know this has been a debate and I know I'm going to get heat for saying this. But you just don't put a pilot in a different kind of airplane and expect the kind of results that the US and NATO forces have seen in conflicts around the world.

It takes years to train that kind of capability, where you have a coordination between the ground forces and the air forces with close air support, with combat air patrols, all of those things are critical.

It is beyond the measure of just putting a pilot in a seat and training them on flying the airplane. It's that coordination between ground and air. That is what is so difficult. That takes years to do.

What we're seeing right now is there is no magic potion to stopping Russia attacking Ukrainian villages, hitting Ukrainian civilian targets. Those are war crimes.

What is critical right now is the combined arms operations that the Ukrainian ground forces are going to do within the next several weeks. They are going to coordinate their new infantry fighting vehicles, their strikers, their artillery, their additional tanks into a ground campaign.

The air would be great if they had it, but they don't have it and that is not something that can be completed within weeks or months, it is just --

COOPER: So let me ask you about that counteroffensive that you're talking about, the combined coordinated ground offensive. What is that going to look like? And why is that so significant? I mean, is this -- because there is -- you know, there are some people who believe that this offensive is sort of for political reasons or strategic reasons in the sense of convincing European allies and the West to keep funding Ukraine that they can actually retake territory, or is there a military reason for it?

HERTLING: Yes, I'm not one of those that thinks that. I think it's going to be an operational campaign where the Ukrainian forces are going to be terrain-oriented, regaining terrain.

There are two types of attacks or offensive operations you do. You're either force-oriented or terrain-oriented.

The Ukrainian force is going to be terrain-oriented. They are going to look to regain ground. They have to do that in a quick lightning bolt.

And what's going to be different, Anderson, and we've got to watch this very closely. In the past 14 months, Ukraine has been on the defensive, Russia has been on the offensive.

They kind of come to a little bit of a slugfest over the last couple of months, but it is still that case. Within the next couple of weeks, you're going to see Russia turn to the defensive and they have been preparing that for months and you're going to see Ukraine go on the operational offensive and it is more difficult to do that.

They will pick the time and place of their choosing in terms of attacks. They will look for seams in the Russian defensive belt, which Russia has been preparing, and they will take the new equipment they received from the West and conduct that combined arms operation.

One of the things it is going to be -- that we need to watch is how they conduct breaching operations. In other words, getting through the defensive belts that Russia has created with minefields, trenches and wire. It's going to be a difficult fight over the next couple of weeks.

COOPER: General Hertling, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

Almost exactly 12 years ago on May 1, 2011, American Special Operations forces raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killed al-Qaeda's leader.

In the intervening years, certainly there have been a lot of movies and books put out about what happened.

Today, we learn some new information. Here is Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A never before seen image depicting the intensity and drama during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Then President Obama and Vice President Biden in the White House Situation Room, tension visible on their faces, pressing Defense Secretary Bob Gates, one of several newly published pictures from inside the White House on that momentous day, May 1, 2011.


PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: They all knew, look, if this thing goes wrong, al-Qaeda fights back. Special operations people that are captured or killed. Bin Laden isn't there. The Pakistani military gets involved -- a lot of things that could go wrong.

TODD (voice over): These pictures just obtained by "The Washington Post" from the Obama Presidential Library from a Freedom of Information Act request.

Previously, this was the image the public knew best from that day. Obama along with Biden, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top aides watching the bin Laden raid in real time, Clinton's hand over her mouth.

CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen believes this was around the time the Navy SEALs' helicopter clipped a wall and was damaged in hard landing.

Bergen interviewed President Obama and all the key players in the room for the CNN documentary: "We Got Him."

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's here where we observed for example, that one of the helicopters got damaged in the landing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what were you thinking?

OBAMA: I was thinking that this is not an ideal start.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE: And that your heart was in your throat the whole time we were in there. I've never spent any more stressful 30-plus minutes in my life.

TODD (voice over): The newly released pictures show Obama watching intently, asking questions. When word came that the raid was successful, Obama is photographed shaking hands with Gates.

Other photos depict the President making calls to give the news to former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and calls to other world leaders.

Other images show the President and his team working on the speech he would give to the nation late that night as they could hear a crowd gathering outside the White House.

In one of the newly released photos, Biden and then Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen show White House photographer Pete Souza, the rosary beads they'd had wrapped around their fingers during the bin Laden raid.

TODD (on camera): What sense do they give you of just the relief afterwards?

BERGEN: I'll tell you what a lot of people said. They said that they only really realized what a big deal this was when they left the White House. Suddenly, they hear these cheers and that's when people said, you know, some people said, I started crying.

(CROWD chanting "USA.")


TODD (on camera): On those phone calls President Obama made to tell other world leaders about the bin Laden raid, according to Obama's memoir, when he told them Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari about it, Zardari's reply was: "Whatever the fallout, it is very good news." That despite the public backlash from the Pakistani government at the time, expressing serious displeasure with the raid -- Anderson.

COOPER: Brian Todd, appreciate it.

Still to come: "The Washington Post" reporting about previously unknown evidence obtained by the special counsel's office looking into efforts to overturn the election that the former president's campaign knew their voter fraud allegations were false.

We'll talk about it with Harvard Law School professor, Laurence Tribe.

Also tonight Republicans raising questions about President Biden's cognitive fitness after being seen with note cards while talking with reporters. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us ahead.



COOPER: "The Washington Post" is reporting on more evidence collected by the special counsel in its investigation of January 6th that suggests the former president and his team knew their claims about a stolen election were false, specifically, "The Post" uncovered a second study paid for by the Trump campaign to look into their allegations of voter fraud.

The founder of the firm has since spoken with the Justice Department. Ken Block told "The Post": "No substantive voter fraud was uncovered in my investigations, looking for it, nor was I able to confirm any of the outside claims of voter fraud that I was asked to look at. Every fraud claim I was asked to investigate was false."

This comes a day after we learned of a potentially important moment both in the investigation and history, former Vice President Pence testifying before the grand jury, the first time in modern history that a vice president has been compelled to testify about the president he served under. It is also the first time he has testified about January 6th under oath.

I am joined now by Harvard Law School professor, Laurence Tribe, co- author of "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment."

Professor Tribe, so the historical significance certainly of a former vice president testifying about the president he served under, it is hard to overstate.

How concerned do you think former President Trump should be about this?

LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: He ought to be very concerned, because Mike Pence is the last piece in the puzzle. He is the one who was the object of the former president's attempt to storm the Capitol with an angry mob when it turned out that Mike Pence wouldn't do his bidding, and basically carry out a bloodless coup.

All of the conversations between the president and vice president who were in office at that time are going to be fair game for the prosecutor.

The special prosecutor had Mike Pence in there before the grand jury all day yesterday. He wasn't taking the Fifth Amendment because he doesn't have any criminal exposure. He wasn't invoking his special role as president of the Senate, because the courts had already rejected the claim that that special role entitled him to stay silent when it came to what the president was doing and saying to him.

And the president, who was in the office at the time that Pence was vice president failed just the day before yesterday, in his final attempt to invoke executive privilege to silence the former vice president so, you know, Pence was in a position to tell the truth, and he really had no alternative.

COOPER: Does the timing --

TRIBE: That proof is very damning to the former president.

COOPER: Does the timing of his testimony signal to you anything about a potential timeline of the special counsel's probe? I mean, would investigators be likely to bring Pence in to testify in the middle of it? Or are they more likely to bring him in toward the end or is just this is when they could get him?

TRIBE: I think they would bring him in as the final witness or the next to the final witness because when you go up the food chain, the only one beneath the former president is the former vice president. The way the plot unfolded, the attempt to basically steal the election through using phony certificates to give Mike Pence an excuse for interfering with the transition of power, this was the final step.



TRIBE: And so, it is very clear that the indictment is about to come down sometime this summer.

COOPER: What about Mark Meadows, the chief of staff? I mean, might he have, perhaps even more to offer the grand jury? I mean, a federal judge ruled last month as you know, that Meadows must testify. To our knowledge, he hasn't. That hasn't yet happened. He certainly would be -- he was in the White House on that day talking with the president. He must have a lot of information.

TRIBE: No question about it, so it might well be that Meadows will be the last shoe to drop before the entire indictment falls. I don't think we can predict for sure who is the very last.

But the point is that we are now in the inner circle, the inner ring. We're not at the outer spokes. We're not talking to people who only had only a remote connection. We've closed in on the former president and everything about the pressure he was putting on the vice president of the United States to enable him to stay in power. All of that is going to be revealed in the last few days of this grand jury.

So at this point, simply, it is rather like sort of waiting for the guillotine to fall.

COOPER: Do you think the Department of Justice and the special counsel will wait until all his investigations -- election interference, January 6, the Mar-a-Lago documents are wrapped up before making a decision whether to indict? Or do you think those announcements could be made piecemeal?

TRIBE: They could be made piecemeal, because the Mar-a-Lago matter is involving refusing to return top secret documents when they are demanded by the government really does not overlap the January 6 and coup investigation. So, either of them could come first.

There is no particular reason for them to be consolidated. In fact, they might not even be brought in the same jurisdiction. So, I'm not pretending to have a crystal ball about exactly which will happen in what order that I don't think we can know unless we are sort of a fly on the wall in the special counsel's office and that is not where I am at the time.

COOPER: With the decision whether to indict ultimately be up to Jack Smith, the special counsel or would Attorney General Merrick Garland need to sign off on it?

TRIBE: The final decision is Merrick Garland's, but he has I think, made it very clear that unless there is some extraordinary misconduct on the part of the special counsel, something that undermines the plausibility of a recommendation to indict, he is not going to upset that recommendation.

And conversely, if the special counsel doesn't decide to indict, Merrick Garland we know for sure is not going to override him. So although the final sign off is going to be in Merrick Garland's hands, the decision is ultimately going to be made by Jack Smith.

And I'm quite confident, given how he has proceeded that since the facts and the law are going to make it clear that if you don't have an indictment here, that means that no insurrection will ever be held accountable, no attempted coup, and the country can't survive that and I think Jack Smith knows it, and I think in the end, Merrick Garland knows it.

COOPER: Laurence Tribe, appreciate your time. Thank you.

TRIBE: Thank you.

COOPER: Still ahead, new questions about President Biden's age and his ability to serve as he announced his second bid for the White House.

This, as Republicans are claiming he had what they are calling a cheat sheet at a press event this week in part due to his age. What the White House is saying about this. Plus, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me to look at what we know about the president and all of our cognitive abilities as we age.


COOPER: As you know, this week, President Biden formally launched his re-election bid. His age, 80 years old, will certainly be a factor voters will have to take into account and a number of Republicans are pointing to images of President Biden's detailed note cards at a press conference this week, one seemingly showing a list of speakers and you in capital letters at the top of the list. The President was also holding a piece of paper with a photo of a "Los Angeles Times" reporter with the pronunciation of her last name and seemingly what she would ask.

The President did call on that reporter and it turned out she did ask a question on the topic stated on the President's note card, it wasn't word for word, but was the same topic. "The LA Times" insists they didn't give the White House details on what would be asked.

Still, some Republicans are calling his note a cheat sheet, and they accused the White House of knowing what would be asked and imply he needed notes due to his age. The White House says that is not the case.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is entirely normal for a president to be briefed on reporters who will be asking questions at a press conference and issues that we expect they might ask about.

We do not have specific questions in advance. That's not something that we do.


COOPER: We should point out this president is not the first to use notes. It's happened for decades. Even President Trump in 2018 was spotted with a note card that read: "I hear you" when meeting with families whose loved ones were killed in the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Still questions obviously remain about President Biden. Joining us with insight on cognitive abilities is CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, using note cards is certainly not out of the ordinary in politics, but how common is it for people in that age range that the President is into need help remembering certain things? Does it signal cognitive decline?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think it signals cognitive decline. And frankly, people who are many decades younger, even often use note cards.

I mean, when you have a lot going on, you know, you have a lot of things to sort of keep on top of, they help. They are these cues to sort of get you through your day. So I worked at the White House back in the 90s and I remember President Clinton often using note cards at that point, he was much younger, obviously.

But what I can tell you, it is interesting, you know, age is obviously a factor when it comes to you know, attention, memory, things like. It is not the only factor.

Your overall lifestyle is a big factor. How much you're exercising your brain, if you will, something you and I have talked about, Anderson, but if you think about the brain like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the better it's going to perform.

Being president, I think is one of those ways of sort of exercising the brain. Your genetics make a difference to some degree. His father and mother I think lived into their late 80s or early 90s.

But there are different types of things that do happen with age.


Let me show you this. I think this is really interesting. Sort of break this down into crystallized abilities and fluid abilities going up and to the right, the darker line that's crystallized abilities over one's age. And you can see that they really continue to increase.

This is your ability to have good vocabulary, good judgment, your good sort of stored knowledge of things. And you can see those crystallized abilities sort of keep going up and then sort of plateau into the 80s. What does go down at a pretty remarkably young age, like in your 20s, it starts to decline and really decline around mid-50s, early 60s is your fluid abilities.

And think of that more like attention. Think of that like your processing speed. So it's like you have a lot more stored knowledge and judgment, but your overall processing speed, at least according to some of these studies, does start to go down. That could also explain, you know, the need for cues and things like that.

COOPER: I'm happy that I'm right in the age where it's really starting to slide downward.

GUPTA: Now you do appreciate it.

COOPER: That comforting that graph. As we mentioned, President Biden is 80. He's the oldest president in the U.S., how does that compare to other leaders around the world?

GUPTA: It's interesting. I looked this up. I didn't know. You know, we know he's the oldest U.S. president. Actually, 9th oldest as far as world leaders go overall. There's a king of Norway and certain emirs (ph) and things like that that are older.

But if you look at this graphic, this is sort of, you know, a lot of leaders that you would know. And he's obviously skews very far to the right there in terms of age. So, you know, you have the leader of Cameroon, who's older. He's 90, but the median age is around 62. Youngest leader in the world, around 37.

What I thought was interesting when we were looking into this segment tonight was that the leaders of countries are often almost always older than the members of those countries, the citizens of the country. The average age in the United States is around 40. President Biden's, 80. So he's about twice as old. And that sort of fits with what you see with a lot of leaders in terms of that disparity in age between citizens and leadership. COOPER: I have been reading a lot about things that people can do to protect their brain abilities and cognition as they age. Can you talk about those?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, I mean, I'm wildly fascinated by this. As you know, I wrote a book about this --


GUPTA: -- because I think maybe as we're getting older, it becomes more of a concern. But actually, physical exercise is one of the biggest protectants, as it turns out, of cognitive health, physical exercise. People are sometimes surprised by that.

President Biden works out five days a week. Smoking is a big sort of thing. That's a potential problem. He doesn't smoke. He doesn't drink. We know that. Also, having a higher education tends to create more of a buffer against cognitive decline over time.

But again, going back to this notion of, if you don't use it, you lose it, I think, you know, people who are rigorously exercising their brain, if you will, with all these different challenges, that also is predictive of long-term cognitive health as well.

COOPER: That's nice.

Sanjay, I appreciate it.

GUPTA: You know what else I just got to tell you. You know what else is predictive?


GUPTA: Having recent birthdays of your children. That makes a huge difference as well.

COOPER: Well, that's good.


COOPER: Because, yes, Wyatt turned three yesterday and Sebastian turned 1 February 7th, so.

GUPTA: I can't even believe it.

COOPER: Yes, that's crazy.

GUPTA: Because I've known you for over 20 years. I'm just so happy for such magical.

COOPER: Yes. I was saying he got a bike with training wheels on it and actual pedals, and it's his big boy bike needs. I could not -- I took the day off yesterday to help him ride it and learn how. The best day ever.

So Sanjay, thank you. I appreciate it. GUPTA: Could always use more balance. All of us.

COOPER: Thanks.

Programming note, the White House Correspondents' Dinner takes place in Washington tomorrow night. It'll air live here on CNN. Starts at 08:00 p.m. You don't even have to get all dressed up.

Next for us, bestselling author Judy Blume joins me. Some of her most famous books have, for decades, been targeted for banning. Now she says what is happening is worse than ever. Hear why, next.



COOPER: Author Judy Blume is one of the leading critics of banning books. Her powerful books, many dealing with growing up and making sense of adolescence, mean a lot, to a lot of people. Ground zero for her fight and for many is her home state of Florida because of legislation backed by Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican controlled state legislature.

As we've been reporting on the program, the criteria for pulling books off shelves of Florida schools is not clear often, and there's been a lot of anger over the move. One Florida school district removed Blume's book "Forever" from shelves. And her novels have faced bans and challenges for decades because they often dive into puberty and sex.

The new documentary "Judy Blume Forever" on Amazon Prime dives more into her story. And in theaters today is the movie, "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret," based on her bestselling book with the same title first published in 1970.

The iconic author Judy Blume joins me tonight. Ms. Blume, it is such a pleasure to meet you. You have had such an impact on so many generations of people. I remember when "Forever" came out, it blew my mind when I was a kid. You faced people trying to ban your books from a long time ago. Did you ever imagine you would still be facing these kind of attacks in 2023?

JUDY BLUME, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: Never. Never, never, never. And of course, it's not just me, it's a whole lot of people who are facing the attacks today. It's much worse.

COOPER: It's worse in what way?

BLUME: It's worse because it's coming from the government. You know, I mean, I happen to live in key west, which we pretend isn't in that state where we have that governor, but in fact, it is and we do. And, you know, we have elected -- elective legislators who are trying to not just ban books, but, you know, control what kids can learn, what they can ask, what they can think.

I mean, it's that bad. And it's not just in Florida. It's in a lot of states.


COOPER: When you look at the current crop of particularly books that are being targeted and, I mean, you know, your books are still being targeted, they often deal with matters of race, gender identity, sexuality. Do you see -- are there -- is that the same topics that were being attempted to be banned back in 80s, let's say?

BLUME: Well, you know, sexuality is always so dangerous for anybody. Puberty is such a dirty word to some people. So that's the same. But what's different is that, you know, any books LGBTQ, any books having to do with gender, any books having to do with racism.

And what's really scary to me is that it's as if the book banners want to get rid of history. They just want to erase history. That's scary stuff.

COOPER: It's also interesting to me because when you actually kind of drill down on some of the people who are doing this, you realize they actually haven't read these books. It's not like they've actually read them and are personally outraged by them, they've often been, you know.

They've downloaded lists of books that are supposedly dangerous from some organization online who just prints out lists of books that they think should be banned. And people go to school boards and raise hell about these books. They haven't read them.

BLUME: Exactly, but they never did read them. They didn't read them in the 80s either. It's based on fear. I've always thought it was based on fear, and it's based on how can we control, we want to control our children's lives. How are we going to do that? It's worse and worse now with the Internet. How can we control it?

Oh, I know. We can take away books. Not guns, but books.

COOPER: Can you talk a little bit about the way you approached writing from the beginning? I mean, why you chose to write books that dealt candidly with real issues facing young people? I mean, even actually me asking that question sounds so stupid because it seems like such an obvious thing. Of course, you would want to -- you're an author, you would want to write books that dealt with real issues facing young people, but there weren't a lot of people doing it when you started.

BLUME: I just knew that I wanted to write books about real kids in the real world. That was my real world, you know, not everybody's. And I hated secrets. God, I hated secrets. Family secrets, any secrets when I was a kid. And so, I wanted to be honest and truthful. I didn't know anything more than that.

COOPER: There's a lovely Amazon documentary, I think it started streaming last week, about your life and your work. It's called "Judy Bloom Forever". And it -- one of the things that's just so amazing in this -- and we're showing some of the video right now -- is that you have had -- not only the impact you've had on the lives of adolescents in this country for generations, but so many young people reached out to you and you wrote them back.

And in some cases, you have had correspondence back and forth with people for decades. And some of those young people who wrote to you are now authors themselves, which is, I mean, that's incredible.

BLUME: Yes. And in the documentary, you meet two of the now women who have children themselves, who are teenagers or beyond, who wrote to me. One started when she was nine, and one when she was 12. And we have never lost touch.

COOPER: Wow. I mean, what an incredible family to have built. I mean, an extended family of readers and admirers and people who become strangers, who become friends.

BLUME: Yes. I never think of it that way, but that's lovely. Thank you.

COOPER: So tonight is the opening of "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret". You waited 53 years to make this film. Why so long?

BLUME: I don't know. You know, I was afraid. I thought it would get ruined. Although a book is a book and a movie is a movie, but it wasn't until this team came along and I just knew it was the right team. And it turned out to be absolutely the right team.

COOPER: I look forward to seeing you.

Judy Blume, thank you so much. Such an honor to talk to you.

BLUME: Thank you.

COOPER: I'm told there was a really big sporting event that kicked off last night that I have no idea about or why it's important. But Harry Enten is here to explain it all to me next. I can't wait.



COOPER: So I don't need to tell you, last night kicked off the 2023 NFL draft, which is apparently a pretty big deal to a lot of people. I don't know much about how it all works, but the draft is seven rounds, and each of the 32 NFL teams receive an automatic pick in each round. What -- wow. I really have to do this.

This whole event spans across three days. And I know all that because someone wrote it for me. Yes. I'm just reading. I'm not even here, thankfully.

CNN's Harry Enten is here. Tell me. Explain it all. Do people watch this on television?


COOPER: Would you --

ENTEN: So --

COOPER: There are people -- this is a TV show --


COOPER: -- where people are watching football players getting picked for a team.

ENTEN: Correct.

COOPER: The things that used to happen, that I used to try to -- like try to hang back and school on the sidelines hoping never to get picked.

ENTEN: Right, or, you know, you might have gotten picked last, right? If you were picked at all.

COOPER: Believe me.

ENTEN: If you were picked at all. Yes, it's --

COOPER: If I even showed up that day.

ENTEN: If you showed up that day. If you weren't cutting Jim, right?

COOPER: So that -- this is a thing. People watch this.

ENTEN: People watch this.

COOPER: Great. So what's the appeal?

ENTEN: Could you imagine? It's like 13 million on average for the last three years.

COOPER: I mean, God bless them. I just -- I wish I knew the characters. Maybe I'd be into it.

ENTEN: Maybe you would be into it. You know, and that's the thing that's so interesting to me. You know, last night, you know, obviously, Bryce Young was picked number one.



ENTEN: Which, of course, you knew, obviously.

COOPER: Of course, that was my pick. That was in my -- what do you call that thing?

ENTEN: Your bracket.

COOPER: My -- no -- yes, my bracket.

ENTEN: Yes. Your NCAA bracket. Remember that?


ENTEN: That was a fun time. But someone like a Will Levis, right, out of Kentucky.


ENTEN: He was supposed to be picked really high up.

COOPER: High up.

ENTEN: He didn't even get picked in the first round.

COOPER: In the first round.

ENTEN: How could that have happened?

COOPER: I don't know.

ENTEN: It was like an episode of Dallas --

COOPER: This is how I get through sports conversations. I try to complete the last thing the person has said, and it makes it seem like I know.

ENTEN: You know, you're fooling me all along right here.

COOPER: Yes. So when it comes to -- is there -- I understand that when -- just because there's a question written here.

ENTEN: Yes, it's right there.

COOPER: When it comes to getting picked, players want the earlier rounds. Why is that?

ENTEN: Well, because that means you get paid more money if you get picked in the early rounds. The better players get picked earlier, or the people that think or the, you know, scouts who think are good get picked in the earlier rounds. But it turns out it's not always the case, right?

There's a little bit of mystery in here, right? I was talking about Dallas early. It's almost like a soap opera. You don't know what's going to happen. So someone like a Tom Brady, right?

COOPER: Don't put it in terms so I can understand. Soap opera.

ENTEN: Soap opera. And I don't know. You know, I like watching soap operas. Dallas, Falcon Crest --


ENTEN: -- what have you. Someone like Tom Brady, right, was picked way late of the 199th pick in the 2000 draft. This is somebody who was picked very, very late in the draft. They didn't think he was going to --

COOPER: So everybody have to stand there shirtless?

ENTEN: Yes, for the Combine, yes. They have to stand there and he doesn't -- if you --

COOPER: Wait, what's the Combine?

ENTEN: So the Combine is something that you train for beforehand. You kind of go out there and you say they measure your times and you try and figure out what's exactly going to happen, you know.

COOPER: So people are tuning in and just looking at shirtless football players?

ENTEN: Well, they -- that's -- they take those photos beforehand.

COOPER: I mean, look --

ENTEN: I mean, maybe, right? I mean, who knows? But that Tom Brady picture is a very famous picture because I think a lot of people were just surprised how good he ended up being. He was not somebody that anybody expected and that's sort of the mystery and the drama of it all.

COOPER: OK. So I like that. I like the mystery. And what are salaries like these days? How are --

ENTEN: Yes. So to me, what's so amazing, right, you know, if you get picked in the first round, you're going to make millions of dollars. But let's just say that, you know, we just had a new contract that came out with Lamar Jackson. Do you know how much he's making percent year?

COOPER: I do not.

ENTEN: Over $50 million.

COOPER: Wow. He must be really good.

ENTEN: Look at this, $52 million per year. Compare that to 1990. You remember Joe Montana?

COOPER: I remember the name.

ENTEN: Yes. Joe Montana, 7.6 million per year back in 1990.

COOPER: Right.

ENTEN: Players' salaries have exploded --


ENTEN: -- which may be why, of course, they're turning into the draft, right? Because there's so much interest. The teams are worth so much more.

COOPER: Right. ENTEN: The players are making so much more.

COOPER: Is it a fun show to watch? Because I might actually watch this. If it is, like, a fun show.

ENTEN: I think it's a fun show to watch.


ENTEN: I mean, you know, even though you're not in the football, there is a red carpet, so you can watch that.

COOPER: I don't know why. That would be the least --

ENTEN: They do the fashion, right?

COOPER: OK. All right.

ENTEN: They sort of throw things back, and they go like this. So it's a fun time for everybody. And that's something for everybody.

COOPER: All right. Harry Enten, thanks very much.


COOPER: Coming up, King Charles III will be officially crowned a week from tomorrow. But as the Commonwealth officially welcomes Charles as her new king, many are questioning the relevancy of the monarchy in today's world as the subject of the whole story airing this weekend. A preview of that next.



COOPER: In just a little over a week from now, King Charles III will officially be crowned after being heir to the throne for 70 years. As final preparations for the coordination are underway, it's certainly raising questions about what the monarchy means in a modern world. On this week's "The Whole Story" CNN's Erica Hill travels to London in search of those answers. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The King is acutely aware, like his late mother was, that they're only there for as long as the public wants them to be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Britain, among 18 to 24 year olds, specifically, where now more than 50 percent would support abolishing the monarchy.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): The way I understand it, there's no real rule about how the U.K. would go about abolishing the monarchy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have no constitution. This is one of our questions. Unlike so many of the countries that have the monarchy's head of state, they are have constitutions. So their political will has to be there to abolish the monarchy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The monarchy does depend on taxpayers' money. It receives 80 million to 90 million of taxpayers money every year. Every year that goes through the parliamentary process.

HILL (voice-over): Last year, the Royal Family cost each U.K. taxpayer roughly $1.66. And while that number is admittedly low amid rising inflation, it's the optics that really add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current generation are about to go through a cost of living crisis. It's his problem right now. In the future, it might actually be William's problem.


COOPER: And Erica Hill joins me now. Is there excitement over the coronation?

HILL: It was interesting. I found it was a bit of a mixed bag. There's definitely some people I spoke to who were very excited for the coronation. They haven't seen this in 70 years. You know, not a lot of people remember it who were even alive 70 years ago. They may have watched it on TV, maybe they just heard about it.

And then there were other people who had a lot of questions. You know, there is a very serious discussion in the U.K. right now about this cost of living issue. And I kept hearing on the news it's heating or eating, heating or eating. And that was coming up in the questioning about how much is this going to cost? What is it going to look like? How much are we actually spending on it?

COOPER: He's certainly been -- King Charles has certainly been waiting for a long time for this. He's given it a lifetime of thought and preparation, and yet the situation he's finding himself in is pretty unique and relatively new to him. I mean, the issues with the family writ large, the death of his mother.

HILL: Absolutely. And I think all of those things, certainly based on the conversations and debates, in many ways, that we had with the experts that we spoke with, scholars and journalists, and some of those were closest foreign press secretaries to the Queen and to King Charles, all of those things have weighed on him.

He has been watching this, he's been planning for 70 years, trying to really rally around causes he believes in, because what I was told is he does see this as a role that is all about service. It's about serving the British people. The question, I think, in the modern world in 2023 is, what does that service look like? And how much of that service is going to be tied to addressing the history that got the U.K. into this place?

COOPER: Erica Hill, thanks so much. I look forward to it.

"The Reign Begins: Charles and Camilla," one whole story, one whole hour, this Sunday at 08:00 p.m.

The coronation of King Charles III will also be televised with all of its pomp and pageantry here on CNN. And I'll be there to bring to you live.

If you missed it, the first episode of "The Whole Story" starts right now, only on CNN.