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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Jury Finds Trump Liable For Sexual Abuse And Defamation In E. Jean Carroll Case; Trump Accuser, Jessica Leeds Speaks Out; Sources: Rep. Santos Expected In Court As Soon As Tomorrow To Face Federal Criminal Charges; Source: Feds Estimate About 155,000 Migrants In Northern Mexican States Ahead Of Title 42 Expiration; Sen. Feinstein Returns To Capitol Hill After Nearly 3-Month Absence. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 09, 2023 - 20:00   ET




Tonight, in the eyes of a federal jury of his peers, Donald John Trump, the once and possible future president of the United States is a sexual abuser. Six men and three women found him liable for sexually abusing writer, E. Jean Carroll at a Manhattan department store in the 1990s and then defaming her about it last year on his social media site.

The jury took just under three hours to reach their verdict and award Carol approximately $5 million in damages.

In a moment we'll be joined by Jessica Leeds who testified during the trial that a young Donald Trump groped her on a flight in the 70s. His lawyer has neither put on a defense nor called him as a witness leaving the plaintiffs to play damaging portions of Mr. Trump's testimony.

Jurors heard the "Access Hollywood" tape in which he says stars can get away with grabbing women by the genitals and heard him essentially during the deposition double down on that.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, historically, that's true with stars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's true with stars that they can grab women by the pussy?

TRUMP: Well, that's what -- if you look over the last million years, I guess that's been largely true. Not always, but largely true, unfortunately or fortunately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you consider yourself to be a star.

TRUMP: I think you can say that. Yes.


COOPER: Jurors also heard the former president who claimed Miss Carroll wasn't his type as if that would excuse sexual assault, mistake this photo of her back in the 1990s for his ex-wife, Marla Maples.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this the photo that you were just referring to?

TRUMP: I think so. Yes. I don't even know who the woman, let's see, I don't know who. That's Marla.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say Marla is in the photo?

TRUMP: That's Marla, yes. That's my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which one are you pointing to in that photo?

TRUMP: Here. Oh is that --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The person you just pointed to is E. Jean Carroll.


COOPER: Miss Carroll did not speak to reporters today, she did release a statement which reads in part: "This victory is not just for me, but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed."

As for the former president, he posted this on his social media site quoting now: "I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace, a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time." Trump attorney, Joe Tacopina underscored that jurors stopped short of concluding that his client raped Ms. Carroll and promised to appeal.


JOE TACOPINA, ATTORNEY: You know, there were things that happened in this case that were beyond the pale. This judge have been overturned already once by the Second Circuit in Carroll versus Trump, and we think he is going to be overturned a second time.


COOPER: Well, a lot to discuss, joining me tonight, Jessica Leeds in her first interview since the verdict.

Miss Leeds, thanks for joining us. First of all, what is your reaction upon hearing the news of the verdict?

JESSICA LEEDS, WITNESS FOR PLAINTIFF: Well, I am very pleased for Jean. I'm very pleased for the whole situation. I'm very pleased. COOPER: You were actually brought up in former President Trump's

deposition that was played in front of the jury, which included some of his earlier comments that he made about you on the campaign trail.

For our viewers, I just want to play that for a moment.


TRUMP: Made up a story, just like your client made it up.

People that are willing to say, oh, I was with Donald Trump in 1980.

Nothing changes.

I was sitting with him on an airplane. All right, he went after me on the plane. Yes, I'm going to go after them. Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. Man, you don't know, that would not be my first choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you said in that video that Miss Leeds would not be your first choice. You are referring to her physical looks, correct?

TRUMP: Just the overall not -- I look at her, I see her, I hear what she says, whatever. She -- I would not have any interest in.


COOPER: I'm wondering what was going through your mind when you heard what he said in the deposition?

LEEDS: Well, I knew he was going to say something like that when I when I first made my story to the "Times" and that's why I gave them a picture of what I looked like at the time that I met him although the picture I gave them, I had shorter hair, but I knew he would not be able to see past the fact that I, at that time when this whole thing got started, I was like a 76-year-old woman.

Well, I am now an 80-year-old woman and he can't imagine what I looked like because all he sees is an 80-year-old woman. And he wouldn't make a pass at an 80-year-old woman if his life depended upon it because his entire image is of himself is that younger women are accessible to him.


COOPER: We heard Mr. Trump denied your allegations against him. I'm wondering what your experience was being cross examined by his attorney. What it was like to be on the witness stand. What did you think of the jury? How -- were they listening? What was it like?

LEEDS: They were very attentive. And, of course, it's one thing to be telling your story to friends, to family, to even just acquaintances. It was one thing to tell the story to "The Times" and have it published. But it's very disconcerting and very, very difficult to be in a jury, be on the witness stand and be making -- telling the story to a group of people and to be questioned, and basically badgered by the lawyer that Trump had.

And the judge was very protective of me. He would not let this man carry on, go on for too long, as he let him do with E. Jean. She really endured two days of harassment.

COOPER: Did you hear E. Jean's testimony?

LEEDS: Did I hear -- no, I did not sit in on her testimony. You're not allowed in.

COOPER: Right.

LEEDS: You're not allowed.

COOPER: The judge today advised jurors in this case not to reveal themselves publicly. And I'm wondering, has there ever been a moment when you regretted coming forward?

LEEDS: No. I've never regretted it. I've been absolutely amazed and sustained by the support that I have received from friends, family and strangers. It's really been quite awe inspiring.

COOPER: Why did you decide to go ahead and testify in this trial?

LEEDS: Well, E. Jean asked me about a year before this -- before it got started, when she and her lawyers felt that my story was important to the whole case. They stressed that to me several times.

COOPER: Important because, it, in their mind showed a pattern.

LEEDS: Correct. And also, they zoned in on the interview that I did with you at one point where I talked about this was his MO and they could show with me and with Natasha from "People" Magazine, that he -- this is the way he treated women over the whole spectrum.

At one point, I begged and pleaded "The Times" people to take this -- to take some time and to try to investigate the girls that Trump dated in high school and in college because I am sure they have quite a few stories to tell.

COOPER: When you -- I don't know if you watched much of the deposition that he gave, that we played a small part of it, but in it, he really doubled down on what he said on that "Access Hollywood" tape which is counter to what he said immediately after the "Access Hollywood" tape where he sort of gave -- you know, he talked about a locker room talk and he said, it was not representative of who he really was.

The idea that he said you know that stars have always been able to do this for millions of years, I'm not sure how many neanderthal stars there were back then.

And then he said unfortunately -- in fact let's play this. He said unfortunately or fortunately and I just want to play this again for our viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Certainly, that's true with stars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's true with stars that they can grab women by the pussy?

TRUMP: Well, that's what -- if you look over the last million years, I guess, that's been largely true; not always, but largely true, unfortunately or fortunately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you consider yourself to be a star.

TRUMP: I think you can say that. Yes.


COOPER: I mean beyond him being one of the worst people ever to give a deposition, were you surprised by that? By the fortunately -- unfortunately or fortunately?


LEEDS: No, he truly believes it. He says exactly what he believes and he will sometimes couch it with, oh, I hope you're not -- I hope you're not upset with me or whatever. But the fact remains, he believes that from the bottom of his toes that he has the right because he is something special. And of course, he's not, even president of the United States.

COOPER: Jessica Leeds, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

LEEDS: Thank you. It's good to see you.

COOPER: It is good to see you.

I want to go next to conservative lawyer, George Conway, who first urged E. Jean Carroll to sue the former president.

George, can you just walk us through how and when you met E. Jean Carroll, what exactly you advised her?

GEORGE CONWAY, WASHINGTON POST CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST: Well, it was a bit serendipitous. What had happened was the week before her story had come out in "New York" Magazine and the book excerpt, and over that weekend, that had prompted me to write an op-ed for "The Washington Post," where I pointed out that Jean Carroll's case was actually much stronger in terms of its corroboration than the case of Juanita Broderick and her allegations of having been raped by Bill Clinton.

And the point that I made which was -- which flowed from the fact that the Trump campaign itself brought out Juanita Broderick in 2016 to attack Hillary Clinton was that if you believe the allegations of Juanita Broderick, and you thought she was courageous for coming forward, well, you darn well better feel the same way about Jean Carol, because Jean Carol had two contemporaneous witnesses to whom she confided her sexual assault. And then of course, you have the incredible pattern evidence of dozens

of women coming forward, alleging that Donald Trump had done exactly the same thing.

And if you hold that, by the standards that we've been focused on in the last few years, with all the #MeToo reporting in "The New Yorker" and "The New York Times" and other outlets, the strongest things that you can have that correlate, that confirm an event like this, because usually it's one person and another alone in a room is whether or not the victim told anybody at the time. And also, we know that the men who engage in this grotesque conduct, do it repeatedly and over and over again, without shame.

And we saw that and we saw that again in the tape that you just showed. It was almost the sociopathic, to basically say, oh, unfortunately or fortunately, women get raped.

I mean, it's just -- it's just crazy stuff. And that shows you his attitude toward the women around him and shows you -- it shows him his basic inability. He was unable to defend himself because he would have been destroyed on cross examination if he showed up at trial and essentially there was no evidence. This is --

COOPER: It's so interesting that back in 2016, after the "Access Hollywood" tape emerged, Donald Trump said, and I'm quoting, he said: "Anyone who knows me know these words don't reflect who I am. I said it. I was wrong, and I apologize." And then obviously, listening to that deposition, that's what he really thinks in the deposition. Those were words that somebody else crafted for him.

CONWAY: Absolutely. I mean, he has never truly -- he is not capable of actual remorse. He's not -- he doesn't have a conscience. He's not capable of empathy. And those words that he apologized, that he felt bad. I mean, those did not last very long.

In fact, by the time of the transition in late 2016 and early 2017, he actually told -- and this was in "The New York Times" -- he told a United States senator that he said, he thought the "Access Hollywood" tape was made up and fabricated. Okay, so that's the depth of his remorse for his egregious sexual misconduct.

COOPER: Do you think this verdict plays a role in how he does in the campaign for the nomination? Do you think it affects that?

CONWAY: I think like everything else involving Donald Trump, it cuts both ways. I think, to the people who support him, they will simply dismiss it as a conspiracy led by the litigation funder or me or you or CNN or, Jean Carroll or Jean Carroll's lawyers, another attempt to get Donald Trump and they never really asked themselves, wait a minute, how is it possible for any one person to get into these many scrapes and have that many people say the same thing about him, about his dishonesty, about his lying, about his sexual predation?

And they don't really ask themselves like, well, maybe there's something to this. Where there is smoke, there is going to be fire. Because they can't do that. They can't bring themselves to do that, because if they do that, then they have to admit that they've been essentially endorsing and enabling a monster.

COOPER: Yes. George Conway, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

A bit later in the program, what two Republican women, including a longtime Trump supporter make of today's verdict.

And next, our legal and political panel join us for reaction including former Trump White House communications director, Alyssa Farah Griffin, who today in the aftermath of the verdict said she brought countless cases, her words, to then White House chief-of-staff, Mark Meadows, where she thought the former president's interactions with women were "dangerous."

Also tonight, first on CNN reporting on federal charges expected tomorrow against Congressman and serial fabricator, George Santos.



COOPER: What happened today in federal court has never happened before. Donald Trump is the first former president to be found by jury to be a sexual abuser, the first and only former president to be facing felony charges, but also running first in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination.

A short time ago, one of his supporters, Senator Lindsey Graham weighed in.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think the New York legal system is off the rails when it comes to Donald Trump.


COOPER: Republican Senator Marco Rubio echoed that notion saying, "That jury is a joke. The whole case is a joke."

Both senators, it should be noted are also attorneys.

Joining us now CNN political commentators, Van Jones; Alyssa Farah Griffin. He worked for President Obama, she for President Trump; also Harvard Law School senior lecturer and former federal judge, Nancy Gertner; former federal prosecutor, Jessica Roth, who is now in Cardozo Law School and CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

Judge Gertner, what was your reaction to the verdict?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Well, I wasn't surprised. Once it was clear that the testimony of the other three women -- of the other two women, rather and the "Access Hollywood" tape was going to come in, then there was a clear pattern.

[20:20:09] And the judge allowed it in, precisely, there is a pattern and the

pattern was walking up to women and touching them. So her story was consistent with that. So I wasn't really surprised.

COOPER: Jessica, is there anything surprising to you? I mean, the former president's attorney focused on the fact that the jury did not find him liable for rape, but for sexual abuse.

JESSICA ROTH, NEW YORK CARDOZO LAW SCHOOL LAW PROFESSOR AND FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, picking up on what Judge Gertner said, I think that the through line through this trial was about the pattern, by the consistency of what he had done to those two other women who came forward, with the account that Jean Carroll gave, and also with what he said in the "Access Hollywood" tape about how he would just attack women, essentially, and grab their private parts.

And so to the extent that that pattern was very important to the jury, and reaching the quick verdict that it did, it's not surprising that they essentially went for the category that most closely fit what he described doing in that tape and what he did to those two other women.

COOPER: And when he doubled down on in the deposition, that to me is stunning.

GERTNER: It was an assault and not -- sexual assault, and not necessarily rape.

ROTH: And it's clear that the jury believed Jean Carroll in her account. I mean, the fact that they didn't check the box for rape doesn't anyway take away from the clearly them having credited her account about what happened to her and they credited not only that it happened, but how it had harmed her.

The damages that were awarded here, $5 million, the vast majority, all but $300,000.00 were in compensatory damages, not punitive, which I thought actually was striking here.

COOPER: Alyssa, I mean, first of all, do you think this makes a difference politically?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it does. I mean, it certainly does if he makes it to a general election. I don't know how you win female voters when it's one thing when there are allegations lingering over your head, it's happened with Democrats, it's happened with Republicans, but this is a jury of his peers finding that this did in fact, take place.

I mean, the flag I would be waving for Republicans to listen to is this man cannot survive a general election with this now as one of the badges that he is wearing.

I don't know in the primary. I mean, latest polls have him seven points ahead of Joe Biden, head-to-head, you see some of these responses. I'm very disappointed to see someone like Marco Rubio try to dismiss this. This is an important New York statute that allows victims to take up a

case after the fact who aren't able to after the statute of limitations has surpassed and I think it's something that will be a landmark case and is important.

COOPER: You said earlier on CNN that when you worked with the Trump White House, you noticed and you flagged some of the behavior toward women that you found "dangerous," can you --

GRIFFIN: Yes, I want to be careful and how much I say because it's not my story to tell, but I can share my role in it, which is, there were junior staffers that we were concerned about how much time they were spending one-on-one with the former president -- female staffers.

It was a pattern that several different people noticed. Stephanie Grisham and I actually never worked together in the White House. She raised it when she was press secretary. I did when I came in as comms director to the then chief-of-staff and said, this is problematic for him -- these women to be alone with the president, to have an audience where he summons them.

We are not, you know, with more senior staffers bringing him in. I don't know if it was ever addressed. I know what I feel about what was happening and I thought it was my duty to report it. I can't go further in making assumptions, but it was widely believed that it was problematic.

COOPER: And in reporting it, I mean, was there any --

GRIFFIN: I was told by the chief-of-staff he was aware of it, and he would handle it. I don't believe anything ever happened.

COOPER: Van, does this matter for people who back the former president?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know, but it certainly should. And I think certainly for Graham and Rubio to be undermining a jury. I mean, that is -- that's really despicable because if anybody has ever served on a jury, you work hard, you do the very best that you can.

The facts here, the pattern, the confession. I mean, Donald Trump said he does this stuff. And so they have US senators dismissing it, trying to undermine it, I think is really -- it's whistling past a certain graveyard here and I think they should really be ashamed of themselves.

COOPER: Does it, Jeff Zeleny, I mean, just politically in terms of getting the actual nomination in the Republican Party, do you think this plays a role?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think, it is unclear. I mean, there is a sense of exhaustion among Republican voters out there. I kind of put Republicans in a couple different categories. One, there are the always Trumpers and they will not be bothered by this. But there is a sense of a center lane and it's pretty significant that there is an exhaustion factor. They are searching for someone else and that other someone else has not yet arrived on scene.

I mean, there's no doubt that Donald Trump is in a stronger position now than he was at the at the beginning of the year than he thought he would be.

But I was just in Michigan last week talking to a voter who voted for Donald Trump in 2020. She's looking for someone else. And she said she doesn't want any more drama. She is turned off by the Biden administration because the economy, she thinks he is too liberal on judges, but she does not want Trump drama.

So for those voters in the middle, I think this does have a big effect. But in the primary, it's sort of unclear, but as Alyssa was saying, in the general, without question, this is a problem for Republicans.

But again, no one has been able to fill that exhaustion void that clearly exists.

COOPER: From a legal standpoint, does he have to pay this? I mean, can he -- I mean, I know He lives in Florida. Can he get away with not paying?

GERTNER: It's A verdict that can be enforced in Florida and Florida is part of the United States at least up until now.


No, he has to pay it. There's no question about it. I mean, they'll have to chase him. There's no question about that. And he's not known for paying his bills. But of course, they'll have to pay. Now, they can appeal here.

COOPER: How do you --

GERTNER: Well, there will be a judgment and you can execute the judgment in Florida, you can execute it in anywhere in the United States. But there will be appeals, there is no question.

I mean, the only victory that his lawyer has won in this case is delaying it. The case was originally brought in 2020, rather, and you know, he's managed to delay it up until now, so there will be a delay. But the verdict will stand, it seems in my judgment, the verdict will stand, and that can be executed anywhere.

COOPER: Kevin McCarthy today deflected this question, Alyssa about whether he'd still support the former president. I mean, it seems like they're just going to try to ride this out until the next news cycle moves this along.

GRIFFIN: I think that's very likely. I think that elected Republicans are hoping that they can just get away with not answering this. But the problem that I want to underscore is one in three women in this country will face sexual assault in their lifetime. You will lose female voters if you decide that you're hitching your wagon to somebody who's now been found guilty of it.

And that's not something that -- I mean, the morality of it aside, just the tactical trying to win a political election. This man is a loser. There is no lack of talent on the GOP side that we could put forward that could actually be someone we're proud of and we're not constantly dodging people in the Capitol, not wanting to answer questions about his wrongdoing.

I would hope it would be a moment where someone in the party would step up, but I saw, you know, the chairwoman of the RNC saying she's not going to speak out against it and other senators deflecting. So, I'm not holding my breath.

COOPER: Van, do you think there's anything the former president could say publicly including at tomorrow's townhall that would -- I don't know defuse this situation for him?

JONES: Well, unfortunately, every time he has a chance to defuse it, he makes it worse. He doubles down, he triples down. And I think for a long time, I remember, you'd go overseas during the Trump years, people say how is he getting away with this? How is he getting away with this?

Now, he is no longer getting away with it. His whole thing was, I'm a winner. I can do what I want. Nobody can touch me. He has a kind of untouchable kind of aura. He's getting touched a lot now and there are more cases to come, and so I don't know what he can say. It would be very interesting if tomorrow he chose to take a different tack.

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, his rivals, though, at least the ones that are out there. They're not going after him.

ZELENY: Some are. I mean, we heard Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas going after him. Chris Christie has been, others have not been, you're right.

There is still this sense that they want his voters, they believe that they need his voters, so they've not been able to sort of have the confidence to make that leap.

But that is why he is in the driver's seat here for the nomination, because no one is, you know, is taking him on in a full frontal way.

COOPER: And it is not clear anybody really knows how to, is it?

ZELENY: No, I mean, obviously, it didn't work in 2016. But Chris Christie, I think the former governor of New Jersey is talking about it in the most fulsome way, going after him directly. The problem is, he's not very popular among Republicans.

So we just have to see how this plays out. I'm very skeptical of the polls right now, of the head-to-head among Republicans. We've all seen past elections. The horse race is not that relevant now.

Let's see what he says tomorrow evening, but there is an exhaustion like I said, so we'll see if anyone fills that void. COOPER: Thanks, everybody. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, more on in the political fallout of today's jury decision against the former president, two Republican women, including a former Congresswoman discuss the impact this may have on the race for the House.

We'll be right back.



COOPER: Today's jury verdict against the former president, finding him liable for sexual abuse and defamation comes in the middle of a heated race for the presidency, obviously. And while the former president is the current frontrunner for the nomination in the Republican Party, he also lost the female vote in the 2020 general election of about 15 points, according to exit polls.

I'm joined now by two Republican women to discuss the potential political fallout today's decision. Barbara Comstock, former Congresswoman from Virginia, who has been deeply critical of the former president, and Senior and Political Commentator, and Republican Strategist Alice Stewart, who has been supportive of his policies in the past.

Alice, as we mentioned, you supported the president in the past, does this verdict change anything for you, either personally or politically? Do you think it will impact his primary campaign?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, personally it certainly does, because this is yet another example of where he has shown complete disrespect to women. And for many people, this is an example and demonstrates the fact that this Access Hollywood tape that has been disturbing to many people was not just bus banter.

What he calls locker room talk was actually foreshadowing of dressing room action. And this is quite disturbing for women that have distanced themselves from Donald Trump for quite some time. I was frustrated with Trump back when he first started the election integrity nonsense and widespread voter fraud leading up to the January 6 as well as stepping in to try and avoid the peaceful transfer of power.

And the broader GOP electorate is quite frustrated with him. They do have Trump fatigue, and they are looking for someone that has his policies, but does not have the personal grievances and the political backlash and baggage that he has.

The problem, Anderson, as many people know that his base will believe everything that Donald Trump says. They will say that this is a witch hunt. They will say that this verdict was disgraceful, and they will stand by him. They will be emboldened.

I've spoken with other candidates that are vying for 2024, and they feel this will energize his base. And in a fractured field with many GOP candidates, that's not going to be helpful for the GOP nominee.

COOPER: So Alice, I mean, do you -- you know, Marco Rubio, you know, and Graham both, you know, attacking New York juries said they're ridiculous. Do you believe the jury? Do you believe that Donald Trump is a sexual abuser?

STEWART: I believe the verdict that the fact that no one is above the law, there is no statute of limitations on the truth. And I believe what the accuser said did happen. And the facts of the matter is there are other women that have made similar claims. Donald Trump, of course, as he always does, he goes after the message instead of going after --

COOPER: So do you think this disqualifies him to be president of the United States?

STEWART: Look, this is everyone's personal decision to make. For me, this is a deal breaker for myself. There are plenty of other candidates that, again, will support the policies that I support that are people that are not going to have the baggage that Donald Trump has.



STEWART: The difficulty is, right now, Donald Trump looking at RealClearPolitics average. He is almost 30 points ahead of the next GOP challenger, which is Ron DeSantis.


STEWART: And Republicans need to rally behind someone else that cannot just win the primary, but can win in a general election.

COOPER: Congresswoman Comstock, do you believe this jury decision will be a tipping point at all?

BARBARA COMSTOCK (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, VIRGINIA: I said, you know, Donald Trump was vile, disgusting, and the tape was disqualifying. Now he's doubled down on it. And I think, you know, consider that eight years later, there's a lot of people who never saw that tape who are now seeing it for the first time, like a young person who was 16 at the time, who's now going to be 24 next year. They're going to see this all over.

And you're going to see a lot of people who are going to see this, and they're also going to see Republican men and women defending it and be repulsed by our entire party saying that this kind of thing is OK, saying the insurrection is OK, saying that Donald Trump's authoritarian, anti-Democratic, you know, January 6 things are OK.

We have repulsed an entire generation with this guy that they're going to look at and see this, you know, bloated orange guy sitting there saying, you know, hey, you know, it's OK for a million years. This is what guys have done to women. And they're going to think, what is wrong with this party?

So, no, this is disqualifying. And if Republicans don't wake up and say, you know, let's find somebody else, they are going to lose the general election, and rightfully so. So, you know, I'm proud of, you know, that Asa Hutchison's stood up against this. And I hope, you know, we can go to Iowa and catch fire and find some people who realize he is a good and decent person who's been willing to stand up against Donald Trump.

Others are doing this also. And I appreciate Mitt Romney standing up, but people who are mocking a jury, go home and talk to your wives and your daughters. I mean, I know Lindsey Graham doesn't have a wife or a daughter to talk to about it, but if you're talking to any women or, you know, women in your district, they do not find this acceptable.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, it's amazing to see Marco Rubio, you think fact, you know, he was quick to go after Donald Trump's small hands, and yet on this, he chose to attack the jury system as an attorney himself.

COMSTOCK: Yes. Well, listen, if he -- you know, I live in a swing district, in a swing state, and that's where the elections are decided. And first of all, Donald Trump being president is just morally aberrant, and this should be opposed on moral grounds, but it's also politically stupid.

You are not going to win Pennsylvania suburbs, you know, Michigan suburbs, you know, in Nevada, Arizona, or Georgia by supporting --


COMSTOCK: -- Trump. You know, last -- if you haven't learned it, we have not won since '16, and a lot of Trump voters have died off --


COMSTOCK: -- but Trump has been losing since '16. Wake up. You know, I mean, I don't know why they think this is going to work. It hasn't worked --


COMSTOCK: Since '16.

COOPER: Barbara Comstock, appreciate it, Congresswoman. Alice Stewart, thank you so much.

Up next for us, a CNN exclusive. Congressman George Santos facing federal criminal charges. No lie.



COOPER: Now a CNN exclusive, federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against New York Republican congressman, admitted resume fabricator, serial liar, Jewish impersonator, and alleged dog swindler George Santos. According to three sources familiar with the matter, he's expected in court as early as tomorrow.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz joins us with more. So what do we know about specific charges Santos could be facing?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Anderson, we don't have word yet on exactly what the charges might be. Right now we know they are under seal, but George Santos, this Republican from New York representing Long Island and Queens, he does face criminal charges that are being brought by federal prosecutors.

And there are a lot of potential things that he could have what they say is exposure on. But we do know a little bit about this investigation at very least. We know that the federal prosecutors out of the Eastern District of New York, so in Long Island, that they were investigating him, and also people from the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section.

And so, Anderson, that indicates that it's very likely that he could be facing some liability here related to campaign finance, specifically what he was telling the federal government in campaign finance disclosures. And there have been lots of questions about the brokering of a major yacht sale between donors, some money that he had loaned to his campaign, $700,000 or so that no one really knew where he got that sort of wealth.

And so, there are a lot of questions around that, but we haven't seen the charges yet. And we probably will not until he would appear in court, potentially even tomorrow.

COOPER: And has the congressman or his legal team made any statement?

POLANTZ: They have not. His attorney declined to comment whenever they were reached by our reporting team that broke this story tonight, Mark Morales and Evan Perez. And then his spokesperson in Congress, that's her there, and she was approached by reporters, asked repeatedly, do you have any Congress -- or do you have any comment, even for people that the congressman represents? She wouldn't even look at the cameras, let alone provide some sort of response.

COOPER: And does -- I mean, obviously, I guess Santos keeps serving in Congress at this point?

POLANTZ: He is allowed to continue serving in Congress. There are House rules around what you can actually do as a member, but he's not disqualified. The Constitution allows him to keep serving. And there have been many people who have served in Congress, continued to serve as they faced charges, even federal charges, campaign finance-related charges.

But George Santos is a very different person than many of them. He's only been in Congress for, what, four or five months now. He's already announced he's running for reelection. And he also has that very long list of apparent lies about his past that have so far even had members of his own party call for his resignation and he has been indignant so far.

But we'll see what happens when he does appear in court to face these charges.

COOPER: Yes. Katelyn Polantz, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us now is CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig, former federal prosecutor for the District of New York. Do you think this case is likely to be something campaign finance-related?


ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, Anderson, I see two possibilities here based on what's been publicly reported. It could be related to campaign finance. We know, for example, that George Santos reported all manner of expenditures of exactly $199.99. That's significant because if you spend $200 or over, then you have to give a detailed accounting.

And so if the those were not in fact a bunch of $199.99 expenditures, then there could be fraud there. There's also legitimate questions, as Katelyn just said about where did George Santos get his money? He's been asked that question many, many times. He's never given a straight answer. So it could be that there's some charge relating to a fraud or a Ponzi scheme as well.

COOPER: It's not necessarily illegal to lie to voters. I mean, what if the lies are designed to get people to donate to your campaign? Is that legal?

HONIG: No. So you're right, Anderson. It is not a crime to lie to voters about your background, about your past, about what you will or won't do. I suppose at an extreme, there could be a fraud case if you tell a very specific disprovable lie in order to raise money.

But I think the allegations here, knowing the way that prosecutors usually approach and charge these cases, are going to be focused on either his statements to the Federal Election Commission, which could be chargeable under perjury, or the way that he made his money if by fraudulent means.

COOPER: So what happens next?

HONIG: So tomorrow, George Santos will appear in federal court in Brooklyn, the Eastern District of New York. The indictment will be unsealed. So then we will know exactly what he's charged with. The judge will advise George Santos of the charges against him. He will enter his plea almost certainly not guilty.

The judge will then set bail conditions. George Santos will not be locked up pending trial, and then we'll be into the case. Prosecutors will have to turn over their discovery, all their evidence to George Santos. And ultimately, Anderson, either George Santos is going to plead guilty or he's going to go to trial and see what a jury says.

COOPER: And how does this impact the House Ethics investigation? I mean, obviously, federal criminal charges are more serious. Does any of this preclude him from serving in Congress? HONIG: So, technically, there's nothing about this that would preclude the House Ethics investigation from proceeding. I think prosecutors typically would say to the House stand down, this is more important. Let us do what we have to do first, and usually Congress would respect that.

And to your second question, Anderson, no, there's nothing stopping George Santos from serving in Congress while this plays out. The only way Congress can get rid of George Santos is by voting to expel him. Under the Constitution, the House can throw out its own members by a two-thirds vote. So that, of course, is going to require substantial Republican support in addition to Democratic support to get to that two-thirds number.

But, Anderson, it's worth noting that has only happened five times in our history. Three of them were confederates back in the 1800s, and it's only happened twice since then.

COOPER: Elie Honig, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Just ahead, why President Biden said the situation at the southern U.S. border may soon become, quote, chaotic. New numbers on just how many migrants may be waiting on the other side of the U.S. southern border days before pandemic error restriction used to expel them is set to expire next.



COOPER: A source tells CNN that the federal government now estimates about 155,000 migrants are located in shelters and streets in Mexican states along the U.S. border. Several thousand more than estimated earlier this week. This is just two days before COVID-era public health order known as Title 42, used to quickly expel migrants, is set to expire.

Earlier today, President Biden was asked if the administration is prepared for a possible rush of migrants to cross the border. During his response, he cited his talks today with Republicans on the debt ceiling.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It remains to be seen. It's going to be chaotic for a while. And, as an example, as I raised in the meeting, when they said, "Well, we're going to cut, and no spending more money." So what the hell happens? If you cut -- you're going to cut people at the border? You're going to cut agents at the border? We need more at the border, not less at the border.


COOPER: CNN's Rosa Flores joins us now from the southern border in El Paso, Texas. You were there when federal immigration agents woke up migrants this morning to give them flyers. What did the flyers say? ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, those flyers were urging migrants to turn themselves into immigration authorities. And we have video of this, you can see it was dark. And, Anderson, I can tell you that there was a lot of confusion because these migrants were sleeping while this was happening.

They were just giving them flyers. And then once the migrants realized what this was, then that's when the fear just sunk in. A lot of these individuals that I talked to, grown men, were almost in tears saying that really all the reason why they're here in this country is to seek asylum because in their home countries, in Venezuela, they work, work, work, and they can't afford food, water and medicine. Anderson?

COOPER: Did people turn themselves in?

FLORES: You know, they did turn themselves in. A lot of them. We actually have video of this, too. They walked a few blocks from here. And according to a source, there were hundreds who turned themselves in this afternoon.

Now, CBP is not releasing official numbers just yet. We've asked for them, but our understanding is that at least hundreds. And if you look around me, we've been live on your show, Anderson, there's a lot fewer people out here. A clear indication that a lot of those individuals turn themselves in.

COOPER: So what happens when they turn themselves in?

FLORES: Sorry, I didn't hear what you said.

COOPER: What happens when they turn themselves in?

FLORES: A lot of them, when they turn themselves in, they're very afraid. They were -- some of them shaking. I mean, one man that comes to mind that I can't get off my mind, literally, is a man who was shaking. He was holding his phone. He said that his daughter had just called him from Venezuela, that she was hungry, and he was terrified to turn himself in because there was a second round of law enforcement action.

We have video of that, too. And it was very different, Anderson, because that was in daylight. The officers were wearing flak jackets that said Police ICE Border Patrol.


And it was intimidating for a lot of these migrants to see these officers now verbally asking these individuals to turn themselves in to immigration authorities. And like I said, right now a lot of these individuals are off the street. They're not here. I've been in communication with some of the ones that I've been talking to, and the communication has been cut. I haven't heard from them since they went into immigration processing.

COOPER: All right, Rosa Flores, I appreciate it. Thank you. A programming note tonight on CNN Primetime, Donald Trump's lawyer in the E. Jean Carroll trial will join Dana Bash on the jury's decision. And what is their next move? Join Dana for that at the top of the hour.

Up next for us, the return of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein on Capitol Hill.


COOPER: Senator Dianne Feinstein has returned to Capitol Hill, bringing Democrats back to the full majority in the chamber. A case of the shingles that left her hospitalized, at one point, kept her in San Francisco for nearly three months. The 89-year-old senator last voted in February. It led some House Democrats to call for her resignation with her absence holding up President Biden's judicial nominees.

Tonight, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Feinstein is, quote, ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work. Earlier this year, she announced she would not seek reelection in 2024.

That's it for us. The news continues. CNN Primetime with Dana Bash starts now.