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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Biden Officials Race To Confront Significant Challenge Posed By End Of Title 42; US Troops Heading To Southern Border Ahead Of Expected Migrant Surge; Fired Fox News Producer, Abby Grossberg Talks With Anderson; Trump's Attorney Confirms Former President Will Not Testify In E. Jean Carroll's Rape And Defamation Case; Woman Who Claims Trump Sexually Assaulted Her On An Airplane Takes Stand In Rape And Defamation Trial; Sources: Texas Mass Shooting Suspect In Custody; Residents Of Florida Town Developed By Disney Discuss DeSantis' Fight Over Park; Attorney For Suspect In Bob Lee Murder Says Toxicology Report Will Be A Factor In Defense. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 02, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: So, I think the idea of being able to sell to the middle of the electorate that I'm a moderate, I'm not quite sure it'd be that easy for him this time around -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Well, we will be watching and you'll be there to explain it all to us.
ENTEN: I'm going to try.
HILL: Thank you, my friend.
ENTEN: Thank you.
HILL: All right, Harry Enten.
Thanks to all of you for joining us tonight. I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett.
AC 360 starts right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin tonight, Keeping Them Honest, the Biden administration is sending 1,500 more active duty troops to the border with Mexico. The move is aimed at freeing up resources so Customs and Border Patrol officers can cope with the expected surge of migrants when a Trump-era policy expires next week.
The policy is called Title 42 and it allows authorities to quickly expel certain migrants using the COVID pandemic as a reason.
The new troops will join 2,500 others who were sent to the border last fall, because clearly there is a problem. But there isn't not now and not for decades is a comprehensive solution, at least not one that enough people in both parties can get behind. The administration tried sending a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress on day one, January 20, 2021. That went nowhere.
So instead, like so many others before him, President Biden has taken a series of far smaller steps while trying to paint those limited measures in the best possible light. which raises a question, when does selling a policy veer into overselling it? Case in point this exchange yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: How does the president want to address hits challenge of illegal immigration? A lot of people coming here, and is this one of the issues which he considers his job not done, job not finished?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He has asked Congress to take action, Republicans in Congress to take action and to take and to work on this in a bipartisan way. He is going to continue to do that.
In the meantime, he has put forth some -- he has tools that he has used to make sure that we do this, we actually deal with the immigration system in a humane way, in a way that is -- that actually deals with what we're seeing at the border and that's why you've seen the parolee program be so successful.
It has -- when it comes to illegal migration, you've seen it come down by more than 90 percent. And that's because of the actions that this president has taken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, whether by accident or design, the press secretary made it seem like there's been a 90 percent drop in illegal migration. But that, of course is not true. She was mentioning a certain program, which we'll get into in a moment that only affects a small percentage of migrants.
Her answer was either so unclear or so clearly misleading, she was asked again about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-PIERRE: So I was speaking to the parolee program, as you know, the president put in place a parolee program to deal with to deal with certain countries, on ways that we can limit illegal migration. And we have seen, the data has shown us that is gone down by more than 90 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So the program she's talking about allows people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to be considered on a case by case basis to come here under a temporary parole period for urgent humanitarian reasons. And as you can see by the blue line on the chart, it has substantially reduced the number of migrants from those countries stopped on the southwest border while here unlawfully.
But Keeping Them Honest, that 90 percent drop she mentioned only referred to one of those four countries, Venezuela. When it comes to all nationalities not just the four border encounters, the four border encounters as you can see, again, represented by the blue line, though, take a sharp dip earlier this year are now running roughly on par with the same time a year ago, more than 1.2 million from last October through March, and that's not a story the administration wants to highlight.
We should note, we invited the press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre to come on the program tonight, she declined.
CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us now with some new reporting about what's been happening behind the scenes at the White House.
So Phil, the White House claiming success or some limited success, because they're sending these 1,500 more troops down to the border for this expected surge of migrants next week. That doesn't sound like it is really successful.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson.
It is one piece of a pretty broad and expansive effort that has been underway over the course of the last several months as the administration has been racing to stand up a system to deal with what they have long expected and long been concerned about, a significant surge at the border of migrants when Title 42 is lifted.
Now with that has come a level of anxiety according to senior officials that I've spoken to, that there is a very real possibility that border crossings could simply be overwhelmed, create the kind of chaos that would create a potential lasting damage on a president that just announced re-election a week ago.
But there is also some element of officials being resigned to the reality of this moment. As one official told me, we've always known this was going to come. It was an inevitability. What we've been trying to do is mitigate and manage this to the best of our ability, and that's what you've seen over the course of the last several weeks with tweaks to asylum rules, efforts to try and streamline processing, surging of personnel, and efforts trying to basically manage what's coming, knowing that it's going to be more than they are capable of handling and yet try and at least stem the tide to some degree.
The reality though, when you talk to officials here is, as one told me, we're simply working within a broken system. There is only so much that they can do. They would need Congress to create a system that would actually allow them to manage what's happening next.
When I asked an official whether or not there any back channel conversations about something like that being possible, officials said bluntly, none -- Anderson. COOPER: Yes, I mean, without a comprehensive solution, without a change to the asylum policy or getting more judges to process claims. I mean, even those applying or want to apply for asylum wait years here and are unable to work while they're here, so it creates all sorts of problems.
For all the talk, though, Republicans in Congress about focusing on the border, have they proposed any workable solutions?
MATTINGLY: You know, it's interesting, Anderson, they are keenly aware of that May 11th timeline of the lifting of Title 42. They plan to put their own expansive immigration legislation on the floor next week.
Now, it's immigration legislation that Democrats have already panned and said they will not support. Even Republicans have had a tough time coalescing in the House around the legislation, but it is legislation that would include sharper restrictions on the asylum program, it would restart the building of the border wall, significant funding for technology and personnel.
I think the question right now is, each side has always had their own proposals dealing with some of their intra party issues as they put them together, what they've never been able to do is actually reconcile those proposals. And there just is no sign right now given how hot this is, as a political issue, given the reality of what's been happening on the border throughout the course of President Biden's two plus years in office, that there is any resolution anytime soon.
Now, there was at the end of last year, some hope that perhaps a bipartisan compromise could come together. There was one that was put on the table, that didn't actually make it across the finish line and there is no sign at this point in time, particularly with Republicans that control the House that is going to happen anytime soon.
COOPER: And I mean, the President came to office pledging a safe and humane immigration border policy. Do his senior officials actually believe they've met that pledge?
MATTINGLY: Work in progress, and I think they're candid about that when they acknowledge that they are working within the system that they have. And with the tools that they have.
They always maintain that humane, safe and orderly are kind of the three critical words that drive the proposal, but they also make clear that there is only so much they think that they can do given the cross cutting pressures, both political and policy that they face, and the fact that much of what they are trying to do, particularly when it comes on the diplomatic side of things, addressing some of the root causes of what is an unprecedented flow of migrants really across the world, but certainly in the Western Hemisphere over the course of the last couple of years, it will take time to actually take effect.
There is no other way to get around it, Anderson. Without a legislative solution, this is the reality. There are tweaks, there are rule changes that can be made. Many of those rule changes that the President and his team have made have upset Democratic allies, including Senator Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was extremely critical of the decision today to send US troops down there.
But this is the system that they're working within and when you put the political constraints with those policy issues, and all you have are problems -- Anderson.
COOPER: Phil Mattingly, I appreciate it. Thanks.
Now to the border, CNN's Rosa Flores in El Paso, Texas.
How is the city of El Paso preparing for this expected surge?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, let me show you around so you can see, Anderson because this city is under a disaster declaration and you can see that there are hundreds of migrants that are on the streets here and what the city is doing is they are providing porta-potties, hand wash stations, and also they come out and clean out the streets every single day because one of their biggest concerns, of course, is public health and also public safety.
Now, one of the things that they point out is that there are a lot of individuals who are out on the street and you're wondering, well, why doesn't this disaster declaration, which usually frees up moneys help these individuals who need shelter?
Well, here's the answer. FEMA money only allows the city of El Paso to help individuals who have turned themselves into border authorities and have been processed in some sort of way.
The problem, Anderson, is that a lot of the individuals here got frustrated in Mexico and crossed into the country illegally, and the city really can't help them.
COOPER: And title 42 is still in effect right now. Can you just explain why there are so many migrants on the street?
FLORES: You know, that's a great question, because Title 42 allows immigration agents to simply return migrants back to Mexico. So, you're exactly right. So then why are we seeing all of these migrants here when immigration agents have the power to return them back?
From talking to migrants on both sides of the border and officials on both sides of the border, I can tell you that there's tens of thousands of migrants that are just like this, but on the Mexican side of the border and they are frustrated.
And so what has happened, Anderson, is they are frustrated. They got impatient and they decided to cross the border illegally, and so that's why a lot of them are ending up in cities like El Paso.
El Paso is not the only city that has declared a disaster; also, Brownsville, Texas has done the same because they are seeing a huge influx.
COOPER: And what's been the reaction to the administration's announcement of more troops on the border?
FLORES: Now, walk with me and I'll show you more of what we are seeing here in the alley, because there are just hundreds of people here.
You know, from talking to people in border cities for a really long time, Anderson, they are really tired of seeing a lot of the militarization of the border, whether it's troops or National Guard or any of that.
I talked to one resident today who put it this way. He said, you know, they're really tired of Governor Abbott spending billions of taxpayer dollars to send troops to the border, to send more police officers to the border.
They are also tired with the Biden administration, because they say that there really is and has been no solution. And the reason why I want to point this out, here, where I'm at is because this resident told me, look, the American people, the American taxpayer is paying billions of dollars, the Texas taxpayers are paying billions of dollars to secure the border and what are you looking at around me? Hundreds of migrants who are still crossing the border, and that's their point.
Sending troops, sending more police officers, those are Band-Aids. There needs to be a real solution, and Phil mentioned it, a lot of people on the border feel the same way, there needs to be immigration reform. Congress needs to act for there to be a real solution -- Anderson.
COOPER: Rosa Flores, appreciate it. Thank you.
Next my conversation with Tucker Carlson's former top booker, Abby Grossberg. Her thoughts on his firing, what she witnessed that made her sue Fox twice in a truly bizarre story she told me about Carlson wanting to broker Kevin McCarthy's winning the House Speakership live on his program.
Also tonight, John Walsh on the manhunt still ongoing after four days for the man accused of murdering five neighbors outside Houston because they asked him to stop firing his gun outside his house.
COOPER: Now that Tucker Carlson has been shown the door at Fox News, we've been learning more about the kind of workplace he allegedly fostered.
Some of it comes from his former head booker, Abby Grossberg. She has just filed a pair of lawsuits against Fox in Delaware and in federal court here in New York. We should also mention she worked for this program in 2007 as an associate producer. She and I spoke just before airtime.
COOPER: When you heard that Tucker Carlson got fired, did you feel vindicated in a way?
ABBY GROSSBERG, FORMER FOX NEWS PRODUCER: In a way, I did. At first, it was a shock. So there's obviously a lot to process.
COOPER: You didn't expect that they would do that.
GROSSBERG: Oh, no. I didn't believe people when they told me.
COOPER: Because he had so much power at the network.
GROSSBERG: I thought he was invincible. I thought his team was invincible and they believe they were, too, by the way that they behaved.
COOPER: You say in two of your lawsuits, you say that you endured a "work environment that subjugates women based on vile sexist stereotypes, typecast religious minorities, belittles their traditions and demonstrates little to no regard for those suffering from mental illness."
In another lawsuit, you say Mr. Carlson's derogatory comments toward women, his disdain for those who dare to object to such misogyny is well known on the set of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."
His attitude, would you say his attitudes that permeated the culture at his show?
GROSSBERG: Of course, and I think the best example of that was when I ultimately -- and I'm jumping ahead -- did stand up and complain to one of my supervisors. His answer to me was, Tucker sets the tone for the show, and we follow Tucker's tone and that summarizes everything.
COOPER: So people got a message from Tucker Carlson that it was okay to use the C-word or whatever it was, and they felt emboldened to do that, too.
GROSSBERG: I think that they took pride and joy in doing it. They thought it was fun. It was just really kind of a bro fest there.
COOPER: It's also incredible, your descriptions of the -- I don't know if he was always like this or his ratings and power went to his head, but from what you say, like he talks as if he was in the position to destroy campaigns and would actually threaten politicians.
Like if you don't come on the show, we're going to do -- some congressman, if you don't come on the show, we're going to destroy your campaign.
GROSSBERG: It was shocking to me. His lieutenant, Justin Wells, who was fired along with him, I have messages I was just looking at today saying we are the most powerful political platform in the Republican Party and they acted that way, especially leading up to the 2022 midterms.
They would say there was like Ron Johnson, for example, the office called me and said, he'll come on the show, but are you going to destroy him? Because this will ruin his chances, it will be over for him.
COOPER: So the politicians were terrified of it.
GROSSBERG: Yes, they were. And that was a power that I was terrified of, too.
I don't think journalists should have that kind of power to threaten and bully people and Tucker did and reveled in it.
COOPER: He enjoyed that. That was part of his persona.
GROSSBERG: Yes, I mean, they believed that he could broker who was Speaker -- House Speaker. He wanted to do that live on air, but Kevin McCarthy said no.
COOPER: What do you mean? He wanted to do that live on air?
GROSSBERG: His plan was to have Kevin McCarthy come on the show, according to Justin Wells who revealed this grand plan to us.
Tucker, a few days earlier, had sort of set some terms for McCarthy, which included this Church-kind of committee that he said about I think this was about January 5th, so about January 2nd, he said you should have this Church Committee.
So fast forward to January 5th, they started asking me to book McCarthy on the show that night. I had worked with him a lot when I was at "Sunday Morning Futures" and had a relationship with his team. That afternoon, Justin came in and he said here's the plan.
Tucker's going to first have Kevin on. Hear him beg and grovel. Then we'll bring in Matt Gaetz and Matt Gaetz will then kind of set his terms, then Tucker will set his terms that McCarthy has to agree to.
COOPER: Carlson had terms that McCarthy would -- ?
GROSSBERG: Had terms yes, had terms, and we're going to make this whole thing happen on air and save the Republican Party. Fortunately, for McCarthy's sake, he said no, but he did call Tucker the next day from his office with Representative Thomas Massie and had agreed to some of Tucker's terms according to a text that Tucker had sent me and he said that was a win.
COOPER: Prior to working for Carlson, you worked on Maria Bartiromo's show. She repeatedly had Sidney Powell on, Rudy Giuliani on spreading lies.
When you were a senior producer there, was that okay with you? Did you buy into that? GROSSBERG: It's an interesting thing to look back on from kind of a perch of perspective now, but being there in the moment, I was definitely seduced for about a week by those ideas as tens of millions of Americans were and wondering if there could be evidence, and I was waiting for it and waiting for it because the president of the United States had made very serious claims of fraud and that evidence never came.
So for me, it took a few days to kind of just realize that the whole thing was a ruse. And kind of, you know -- I think the American public was also waiting and coming to that realization around the same time, and Fox certainly fueled that false hope for them.
COOPER: But I mean, plenty of people were saying there is no there, there. Did you feel an obligation -- I mean, Maria Bartiromo did not push back on Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani. Did you feel an obligation to like get in her ear and say you've got to push back?
GROSSBERG: Yes, and I had statements and I had statements and --
COOPER: You would put up a Dominion statement at one point on the screen and she didn't read it.
GROSSBERG: Ultimately, it was up to her to read it and she didn't and those were pre-tapes as well. And all the executives at Fox were watching them come in and saw no problem with it. Their only concern was that perhaps Rudy would come on and bash Fox for calling Arizona first.
COOPER: You've said in some of your interviews that you were in the bubble, I want to get it right, you said you were in the bubble. You were talking about the Trump White House during COVID, you would "getting my information from people that were close to Trump and also running a show by myself."
I mean, did you not feel you had a journalistic obligation? I mean, you could have -- there were plenty of other people to talk to other than Trump people to get facts. No?
GROSSBERG: There were, those who are the people that Maria ultimately wanted on the show and the Fox executives okayed to be on the show.
COOPER: But there was never a feeling of -- like, were there discussions with Maria Bartiromo about should I push back on this person? Should I -- you know, I mean, there's plenty of evidence there is no election fraud. Why not have Maria Bartiromo say that to Sidney Powell or like where's your actual proof or --
GROSSBERG: She was supposed to? It was in the notes. It was her responsibility ultimately to do that, and she didn't. And it was the role of the executives at Fox who were watching that come in live, which is David Clark and Jay Wallace, to say we're not going to re-air this, or we're going to cut this out.
And ultimately they didn't, and when I was deposed in the Dominion case, I was told to downplay the fact that I didn't have help and I was asking for help, never to say that; never to pin the blame on those executives who were males, that they ultimately had responsibility over the content that ended up on the air.
And to just sort of say, I didn't remember what had happened.
COOPER: Do you believe that you had a responsibility to point out something that was not true, that was said on your air?
GROSSBERG: Absolutely. And Maria had a responsibility to push back, which she ultimately didn't do and should have.
COOPER: Why do you think she didn't? Did she just believe in this? Or did she just know where the ratings were and what her audience wanted?
GROSSBERG: I've thought a lot about this and having known her and worked with her very closely, I do think she believed it. And I think it was also a result of the misogyny at the network, and them just pushing her further and further into the corner where she had to had bigger and bigger news, which was very much contingent on Trump winning, and she had a lot of hope that he could pull that through till the very end.
COOPER: But isn't her job to have some sense of responsibility? And like, in the end, if you're being pushed to say stuff that's just not true, you quit or you resign?
I mean, Maria Bartiromo, I understand in your position, you've worked your way up in this company and it's a really tough -- you know, you've reached a pinnacle in your career as a senior producer and wanted to be an executive producer that I get.
But Maria Bartiromo has -- assuming she would think long term and know she has a reputation and a name that she wants to protect, I'm just stunned that it just seems again malpractice on her part.
GROSSBERG: I think she believed it. I think she still might tell you -- I don't want to speak for her that the election was stolen to this day.
COOPER: But there's no -- I mean, she can't honestly believe that because there's just no evidence of it and she is not a stupid person.
GROSSBERG: That's what Trump told her and he still thinks it was stolen and she believes what Trump says still.
COOPER: Yes, I don't understand how that's possible.
Do you think Maria Bartiromo should be fired?
GROSSBERG: I don't think that's my place to say that.
Yes, I wouldn't want to say that. I hope she's doing okay and I hope she's maybe had some of the same moral growth that I have in the time since the 2020 election, but that's ultimately not my decision to make.
COOPER: Fox News has responded to your claims saying they're riddled with false allegations against the network and our employees.
You stand by all the claims you've made.
GROSSBERG: I have evidence, too. As you've seen, I've had the receipts and I have the receipts for the claims that I'm making. And I will point out that that statement is also very similar to what they told Dominion a few weeks before they settled.
COOPER: Abby Grossberg, thank you so much for being with us.
GROSSBERG: Thank you.
COOPER: We just had new testimony in the rape trial of the former president that attorneys for E. Jean Carroll say supports her allegation that he attacked her in a department store in the mid-90s. We will have a live report from the courthouse, next.
COOPER: Attorneys for E. Jean Carroll, the woman accusing the former president of rape in a New York civil trial called two witnesses today to bolster her recent testimony. Lisa Birnbach, a longtime friend of Carroll described the phone call she says she received moments after the alleged attack in the mid-1990s and how Carroll was "breathless, hyperventilating and emotional."
The second witness, Jessica Leeds claimed the former president sexually assaulted her on an airplane in the late 1970s. The former president has denied wrongdoing in both accounts.
Senior legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid joins us right now from the courthouse with the latest.
So, Paula, what more can you tell us about today's testimony?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Carroll's attorneys put on these witnesses to help bolster their case. For example, when it comes to Lisa Birnbach, a contemporaneous account of this alleged assault is so critical because we're talking about allegations of something that happened nearly 30 years ago.
So to have someone say, look, in 1996, I remember she called me almost immediately after this happened. Here's what she sounded like. Here's how I interpreted it. What was interesting is Birnbach said she told Carroll at the time that what she was hearing about was clearly a rape, but she said at the time, Carroll, she didn't want to see it in those terms.
She still saw it as a fight or as a tussle, but her account is definitely something that can bolster Carroll's case. But defense attorneys on cross-examination tried to highlight her dislike of Trump. Pointing to posts that she's made -- that make it clear that politically, she's not a fan of Trump.
Now, as you know, that the jury also heard from Jessica Leeds, who alleges that she was assaulted on a plane in the 1970s by Trump. She said that she was upgraded to first class, seated next to Trump, and that he allegedly tried to kiss her and grope her. Now, Trump has denied those allegations, but her testimony is part of an effort by Carroll's attorneys to establish that her allegations are part of a pattern, of alleged behavior by Former President Trump.
COOPER: Do we know if the former president's actually going to testify?
REID: So, no. He was never expected to testify, but his lawyer actually confirmed that shortly after court today. And Anderson, I can tell you I speak with many of the Former President Trump's attorneys, and some of his attorneys in the other criminal investigations are going to be quite relieved to hear that their client will not be on the stand.
In this case, there were some concerns about how other issues could come up in this civil case that could complicate those other criminal investigations, particularly when it comes to his credibility.
COOPER: And will the defense call any witnesses? Do you know when -- and do you know when the trial may end?
REID: Yes, so the timeline we're looking at now, Anderson, is that Carroll's lawyers are expected to wrap up their case on Thursday. Then the Trump attorneys will get their chance to put on a defense, but as of now, they're only expected to call about one witness that is supposed to be an expert who will testify remotely. There's no court on Friday, so it appears that at this time this could go to the jury as early as Monday.
COOPER: All right, Paula Reid, appreciate it. Thanks.
Joining now is former Federal prosecutor, Jessica Roth, now a professor at Cardozo School of Law. Does it make sense that the president -- former president wouldn't testify?
JESSICA ROTH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: It does. I think that he would be a very, very challenging witness and he has lots of exposure in all these other cases. So I think from his attorney's perspective, it makes a lot of sense that he would not testify.
COOPER: Does it make sense that he doesn't go to the court? Does it sort of send a message that he doesn't -- that it's not a legitimate case?
ROTH: Yes, I think there's a real risk that the jury will make that inference that he's not taking this seriously. That has to be balanced. However, against also the possibility that the jury would make inferences based on his demeanor in court if he were to attend. So I think there are risks both ways.
COOPER: So, so much depends on -- really it all depends on the jury's perception of E. Jean Carroll, her testimony. And I guess the testimony of maybe her friend who -- of Lisa Birnbach.
ROTH: Yes. I think Lisa Birnbach, who testified today, was likely the most important witness in this case except for Jean Carroll herself. Because it's Lisa Birnbach, who, as Paula said, Jean Carroll called moments after the alleged rape happened. And she gave an account at that time that it was remarkably consistent with what she said on the stand in court this week -- last week.
So, Lisa Birnbach really corroborates that it happened then, that it happened the way Jean Carroll has described it. And, you know, the notion that she would have that Jean Carroll would have fabricated this back in 1996 and then kept quiet about it, you know, until 2019 when she wrote her book just sort of boggles the vine.
And so if you think that she actually, that it happened and she told Lisa Birnbach about it at the time, and that Lisa Birnbach honored the promise that she made to Jean Carroll in that conversation on the day that it allegedly happened to keep quiet until Jean Carroll wanted to speak about it on her own, I mean, it's very, very powerful.
And also the details that Lisa Bach gave her. She remembered the conversation. She remembered that she was giving her children dinner at around 6:00 p.m. I mean, her recall was very specific that made the testimony I thought seemed quite credible.
COOPER: The -- on -- the Trump attorneys were saying, well, look, you've written nasty things about the former president. You clearly don't like the former president. Do you think that -- I mean, I guess it makes sense that they would do that.
ROTH: It makes perfect sense that they would ask her those questions. They're trying to suggest that she's biased against the former president and that's why she's offering this testimony. Lisa Birnbach owned the fact that she doesn't like Donald Trump, and she's made those statements on social media and on a podcast.
She didn't hide anything in that regard, but I think she said quite firmly on Redirect, but I wouldn't lie under oath --
ROTH: -- just because I don't like Donald Trump.
COOPER: Jessica Leeds also gave her a detailed -- her account. I interviewed her years ago when she first surfaced with these allegations about being assaulted on an airplane sitting next to him. Is it controversial that she was allowed to testify? I mean, if this was a -- I mean, some -- would all judges have allowed her testimony?
ROTH: So it's really interesting. Because this is being tried in federal court, the federal rules of evidence apply and there are specific rules that apply in cases involving alleged sexual assault that are very permissive in terms of allowing in evidence of other alleged sexual assaults by the defendant.
ROTH: Many states do not have such a rule. So the fact that that rule applies made it much easier for the court to rule -- to admit this incident.
COOPER: The fact that it's a civil case, does that play into it as well?
ROTH: That actually does not play.
COOPER: It doesn't. So it's just the fact that it's in federal court?
ROTH: That it's in federal court this particular kind of charge.
COOPER: Ms. Leeds also testified she did not report the incident, you know, until the former president decided to run for office. She said, she, quote, thought he was not the kind of person we wanted as president. Again, how will that comment sit with the jury?
ROTH: Again, I think these were lines of cross-examination that the defense needed to bring out. That makes sense. Again, they're trying to suggest that she's testifying as she did because of political bias. But I thought again, you know, she explained that she was coming forward because, it was true and she wanted to raise her voice of corroboration of what Jean Carroll had said.
And again, she owned the fact that -- I think she also said, you know, I don't like Donald Trump. I didn't think he was the kind of person that should be president. So the fact that the witnesses are, I thought, relatively straightforward about the fact that they don't care for Donald Trump, it helps their credibility. They're not -- they don't appear to be hiding any bias.
COOPER: Right. Interesting. Jessica Roth, appreciate it. Thank you.
Up next, breaking news, an arrest in the manhunt for the man accused of shooting to death five neighbors in Texas, including a nine-year- old boy. And perspective from John Walsh, the former host of America's Most Wanted.
COOPER: There is breaking news just in, the suspect accused of shooting to death five neighbors, including a nine-year-old boy and his mom is now in custody. In a moment, I'll speak with John Walsh, who knows a lot about manhunts like these, he's the former host of America's Most Wanted.
First, CNN's Josh Campbell joins us. What have you learned? JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, the big breaking news now, after this days long manhood for the suspect that was accused of killing five people, including a nine-year-old boy there in Cleveland, Texas, three law enforcement sources tell me that he is now in custody.
Francisco Oropeza, 38 years old, a Mexican national who had been on the run for several days and being hunted by hundreds of law enforcement officers here in the United States, as well as in Mexico, one source telling me, was arrested in the area with a town called Cut and Shoot Texas, which is about 17 miles from the area of Cleveland where this brutal murder occurred.
Again, authorities had been fanning out across that area trying to find this suspect. The reward that was announced by the FBI as well as a host of other federal and local law enforcement agencies, was up to some $80,000. But the big breaking news now which will come as a great relief to many members there of the South Texas community is that this suspect is now in custody.
Of course, the questions that come afterwards is how was he able to go on the run for so long? There was a question, Anderson, about whether he would flee into Mexico. We know that sources had told me that border patrol officers on both sides of the border had been on alert just in case he tried to flee back into Mexico.
He had been back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico at least five times. But it looks as though he didn't get that far as we've seen in so many of these manhunts where suspects will, you know, stay relatively close to the area where they are.
Again, after this dayslong manhunt found some 17 miles away from the area of Cleveland, the suspect now in custody, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Josh Campbell, appreciate the details.
We want to get some perspective now from the former host of America's Most Wanted, John Walsh. He now host In Pursuit with John Walsh on Investigation Discovery and streaming on Discovery Plus, part of CNN's parent company.
John, I appreciate you being with us tonight. What is your reaction in the news tonight?
JOHN WALSH, HOST, "IN PURSUIT WITH JOHN WALSH": It's great news, Anderson. I mean, here's a guy, a so steel path, alcoholic, bad guy and he -- who can shoot an eight-year-old boy in the face, three women, and eight year old boy. I mean, everybody was worried.
I -- my guess was he was trying to make it to the border because as you know, on the Mexican side, there are no border agents or, you know, customs or immigration. I guess maybe he didn't hook up with a cartel or get somebody to drive him across the border.
But we've chased guys for years. You and I have been talking about this. I've caught, I think, 47 guys in Mexico where Mexican people themselves would do the right thing and make the call. But he's dangerous.
And it begs the question that you and I talk about all the time. What kind of immigration do we have when a guy can walk back and forth five times into the United States and when he is a convicted felon? It's just, we've got to change that. We've got to do something about that.
COOPER: Do you think -- does it surprise you that he did not, I mean, make it down to the border. I mean he -- some 17 miles away from where the shooting took place, do you find -- I mean, I guess every manhunt is different, but, you know, some people go to where they have friends or other family members to hide out, any sense of why he would have gone to this town?
WALSH: Might have been lie low until the heat was off to make the move because everybody in that part of the world was looking for him. Every law enforcement agency, including on the Mexican side in the -- he may have been laying low and waited or couldn't get a ride.
I mean, he wouldn't walk -- you can walk across the border anywhere, anywhere on the Mexican, Texas border, or Arizona or New Mexico, or even a little California. But Texas got such a big border, but he may have been -- maybe his friends were going, hey, you're too hot. You're too -- they want you bad. You know, they're going to do something.
When they catch you, you'd be lucky they don't shoot you. So, he may have been waiting, but I'll tell you, Anderson, I just looked at the statistics for this year, 150 -- or last year, 152,000 unaccompanied minors came in to cross those borders and nobody knows where they went.
And this guy, he was able to go back and forth five times and come here and kill a -- most of a family and an eight-year-old boy. It's just something -- we're the richest, most powerful country on the planet for a while. But just look at these beautiful people.
How could this guy go leave? We deport him and then he walks back in and gets back in. It's just -- we got to do something about that. We got to find out what happened to those 152,000 kids.
COOPER: We didn't hear a lot of information coming out to law enforcement today, until the news broke just now. What does that say to you?
WALSH: Well, I think they were close. I think they might have got some good leads. Some of my sources were saying he's probably hooked up with a cartel, or he may be. What cartel? We didn't know. He may be waiting for that cartel to come and give him transfer -- you know, transportation.
So -- but everybody, he was such a hot commodity. But guys like him do terrible things, Anderson. And anybody that can kill, just shoot women like that and shoot an eight-year-old boy in the face, I'm saying, God bless law enforcement. They worked hard. I don't think they were telling the media much. And you have to respect that. As a journalist, you have to say, don't tell me something. They'll tip them off and they'll make a run.
WALSH: So I think they kept their guards very close to the vest and it turned out they got him before he killed somebody else.
COOPER: Yes. That's really good news. John Walsh, really appreciate it. Thank you.
WALSH: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Still to come, you've likely heard about what politicians think about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fight against Disney Pro and Con, but what are people who live there actually saying. Randi Kaye joins us with that story next.
COOPER: Allies of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday filed a countersuit against Disney after the company sued over alleged violations of its First Amendment rights. DeSantis fight against Disney, as you know, is defining him as a candidate even before he's declared he's running for the GOP nomination.
Lost in a lot of the coverage of the Disney-DeSantis fight are the voices the people actually live in the Orlando area. So we sent Randi Kaye out to hear what they have to say.
TERI HOHENTANNER, FLORIDA VOTER: I'd love to be able to vote for a Republican, but yes, he's not winning me over with this.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Teri Hohentanner is talking about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Teri lives here in Celebration Florida, a town developed by the Walt Disney Company in 1994. Celebration is located near Disney World. Residents and visitors here have been closely following the Disney-DeSantis feud.
HOHENTANNER: It's disappointing, number one, and seems, the timing of it at least seems very retaliatory based on some of the decisions that Disney made, and then almost a little bit of a pissing match, quite honestly, to see who can up the other.
KAYE (on-camera): We spoke with 30 people here, mostly residents. Half of them identified as Republican voters. But of the nine people we spoke with who said they support DeSantis in his moves against Disney, only one of them was willing to go on camera.
ANN FITZPATRICK, REPUBLICAN VOTER: I think that Disney's had too much power from the very beginning. KAYE (voice-over): Republican Ann Fitzpatrick has lived in Celebration for 26 years. She's proud of DeSantis for taking on Disney.
FITZPATRICK: I have agreed with every battle he has taken on.
KAYE (on-camera): What do you say to people who think the governor should focus more on, you know, other more important things around the state?
FITZPATRICK: Well, he's done that hasn't he? And Disney is not unimportant. They control so much here.
KAYE (voice-over): Republican Ron Kelly is another Celebration resident.
(on-camera): So you have supported Governor DeSantis in the past. What do you think about this battle with Disney?
RON KELLY, REPUBLICAN VOTER: Waste of time and money.
KAYE (on-camera): How has this whole thing changed your opinion of Governor DeSantis?
KELLY: Yes, I think he's a little bit off the track on this one. I can't fathom why he was go after them.
KAYE (voice-over): Independent voter, Sallie Moore calls DeSantis move ridiculous.
SALLIE MOORE, FLORIDA VOTER: Disney reacted the way I felt like they should have reacted. And then to keep going with it and be spiteful about it on DeSantis part. But, you know, I just think he's looking like a fool.
KAYE (voice-over): University of North Florida poll voters separately about DeSantis and Disney between February and March. Among all Florida voters, DeSantis had a 50 percent favorability rating. While Disney had a 52 percent favorability rating.
Among just Republican voters in the state, DeSantis came out ahead with 87 percent seeing him as favorable compared to just 27 percent for Disney.
COOPER: Randi joins me now from Celebration. Was there anything the people you spoke with agreed on?
KAYE: Yes, Anderson. In fact, we found some pretty common ground among most of the people we spoke with, except for maybe one or two of them. Almost all of them agree that they believe this is pretty childish. This whole feud between Disney and the governor is pretty childish.
They think that it would be best if it just went away. And they also agree on the impact that it's having on the governor. Even the Republicans in the group who we spoke with say that this really is not doing governor DeSantis any favors, and it's especially if he goes for the nomination, they don't think it's going to help him in terms of getting the nomination, if he does enter the race for president, Anderson.
COOPER: Is there a sense of tension over this issue?
KAYE: Well, there's a lot of people who were afraid to speak with us. They declined to speak with us. They just didn't want to get involved. They didn't want their faces to be on camera talking about this issue. There is definitely a sense of attention on the ground.
We also spoke with the executive director of Celebration. We went over to town hall and spoke with her. She doesn't live here in this county, so she didn't want to offer an opinion of her own. But she said that people have been coming in and out of the town hall raising this issue.
It's been raised in committee meetings and people just don't want to touch it. They bring it up. Some of them do want to discuss it, and others just try and turn the other cheek. They just don't want to get into it because there is a real sense of tension here, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Randi Kaye, I appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Programming note, we told you, at the top of this hour about the 1,500 troops headed to the border in advance of an expected surge of migrants coming up on CNN Primetime. Abby Phillip will talk about that with Chad Wolf, the former acting secretary of Homeland Security under Former President Trump, who, what a long-term solution might actually look like. That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, coming up in about six minutes.
Up next for us, what a lawyer for the man accused of fatally stabbing Cash App founder Bob Lee, plans to do with the details of Lee's toxicology report.
COOPER: Tonight, the attorney for the suspect in the staffing death of Cash App Founder Bob Lee, says the toxicology report for Lee would be a factor in their defense. According to the report, Lee had cocaine, alcohol about the amount of one beer as well as ketamine and allergy medicine in his system when he died. Those are not indicated as factors in his death, however, instead, the autopsy report shows that Lee died from multiple stab wounds, including two that pierced his heart.
Still the attorney for the suspect in the case claims that Lee's system was, quote, like the Walgreens of recreational drugs. She also told reporters that people under the influence, quote, make bad decisions and do bad things without giving any specifics.
San Francisco's attorney general is pushing back saying no one deserves to be killed, whether or not they've done drugs. As for the suspect, he's had his arraignment postponed for a third time today and is now expecting a court on the 18th of this month.
The news continues here on CNN.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you.
And good evening everyone. I'm Abby Phillip. And we begin tonight with breaking news.