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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Several GOP Senators Push Back Against Trump's Claims During Townhall; Deadline Nears As Border Influx Grows; Sen. Klobuchar On Trump's Jan. 6 Comments During Town Hall; Attorneys Say Penny "Risked His Own Life And Safety"; Will Be Charged Tomorrow With Manslaughter In The 2nd Degree; Prime Suspect In The Disappearance Of Natalee Holloway In Aruba Will Be Extradited To The U.S. To Face Extortion, Fraud Charges In Case. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 11, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Police interviewed Penny after the struggle, but they did not charge him and his attorney said has said his client never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.

Well, thanks so much for joining us. It is time now for AC 360, as always with Anderson.



Before we begin with tonight's broadcast, I want to say something about what we witnessed at last night's townhall. Many of you have expressed deep anger and disappointment. Many of you are upset that someone who attempted to destroy our democracy was invited to sit on the stage in front of a crowd of Republican voters to answer questions, and predictably continued to spew lie after lie after lie.

And I get it, it was disturbing. It was disturbing to see and hear that person refer to a Black law enforcement officers as a thug, an adjective he used many times to describe Black men and called Kaitlan Collins, the moderator, nasty, which is what he calls any woman who stands up to him.

It was disturbing to hear him speak so highly of QAnon conspirators and insurrectionists who assaulted police officers and our democracy on January 6, and it was awful to hear him spread ridiculous lies about the election.

And it was certainly disturbing to hear that audience, young and old, our fellow citizens, people who love their kids and go to church, laugh and applaud his lies and his continued defamation of a woman who according to a jury of his peers, he sexually abused and defamed.

As good a job as Kaitlan Collins did trying to factcheck him, it is impossible to factcheck fully because he lies so shamelessly.

Now, many of you think CNN shouldn't have given him any platform to speak, and I understand the anger about that, giving him the audience, the time, I get that.

But this is what I also get. The man you were so disturbed to see and hear from last night. That man is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president. And according to polling, no other Republican is even close.

That man you were so upset to hear from last night, he may be president of the United States in less than two years, and that audience that upset you, that's a sampling of about half the country. They are your family members, your neighbors, and they are voting, and many said they're voting for him.

Now, maybe you haven't been paying attention to him since he left office, maybe you've been enjoying not hearing from him thinking it can't happen again. Some investigation is going to stop him. Well, it hasn't so far.

So if last night showed anything, it showed it can happen again. It is happening again.

He hasn't changed and he is running hard.

You have every right to be outraged and angry, never watch this network again. But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away? If we all only listen to those we agree with, it may actually do the opposite.

If lies are allowed to go unchecked, as imperfect as our ability to check them is on a stage in real time, those lies continue and those lies spread.

If you're angry or upset, I understand, but you have the power to do something about it. You can actually get involved, you can make a difference, whatever side of the aisle you're on.

After last night, none of us can say I didn't know what's out there. I didn't know what's coming. We asked Republican senators for their thoughts about last night, some preferred not to say anything, others did. Here's a sampling of what we heard.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What was the reason for not supporting him?

REP. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): Where do I begin? President Trump's judgment is wrong in this case. President Putin and his government have been engaged in war crimes.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I think people saw last night, what they would get with another term of Donald Trump as president, which is completely untethered to the truth, uncertain as to whether he wants Russia or Ukraine to win in a brutal conflict, which Russia has imposed on Ukraine.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): You're asking me, do I think he should pardon people who engaged in like rioting behavior? Well, I don't.

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): Anybody who crossed into the Capitol under the circumstances that I witnessed firsthand, it's hard for me to have a positive predisposition towards him.


COOPER: We will have more now from Jessica Dean. She is at the Capitol for us tonight. What more are you hearing tonight -- Jessica.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start first with the Republicans both in the Senate and the House. You just heard from some Senate Republicans there, Anderson, and people like Senator Mitt Romney, that's somebody who has been pretty outspoken against former President Donald Trump.

But it was somewhat surprising to see somebody like Senator Josh Hawley push back against some of his positions that he took last night and what we heard again and again, in talking with these Republican members who pushed back against and had very different opinions than former President Trump, it really kind of circled around three issues. It was Ukraine and Vladimir Putin and if he is a war criminal or not, and who should win that war.

It was January 6th and former President Trump's pledge to perhaps pardon people who were here at the Capitol as insurrections, who have been convicted and are serving time.

And then it was also of course the debt ceiling which is what looms very heavy here right now as they work toward that June 1st deadline and allowing the nation to default. Those were really the key issues.


We also heard similar things from members of the House GOP who kind of came back to those same issues as well, but Anderson, even in hearing some of these Republicans speaking out against the former president, that's still just a handful of people and let us be very clear, he still has an enormous amount of power and an enormous support system here among Republicans on Capitol Hill.

COOPER: And what about reaction from Democrats?

DEAN: Well, as you can imagine, Democrats have never been fans of the former president and that certainly continued, and what we saw was the Democratic Party really trying to attach Donald Trump, the MAGA Republicans, which is really been their line that they have that President Biden has used as well to kind of put them all together as a party that is too extreme to lead, and that is the case that we heard them making.

We heard Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer talking about how President Trump has what he calls enormous sway over House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as he navigates these debt ceiling negotiations.

We heard from Hakeem Jeffries, who leads the House Democrats and he said that this was Exhibit A of the trauma that America would see if we have another four years with President Trump.

And then we also heard from Richard Blumenthal, the Senator from Connecticut who said that if he were to pardon those January 6th rioters that that would be grounds for yet another impeachment in his eyes.

So again, a lot from the Democrats that you would expect, really trying to stick their positions and make it very clear that they are quite different than the Democrats who offer a very, very, very different view than Donald Trump and attaching him to that far right wing of the party.

Also interesting, Anderson just to go back to the Senate Republicans for one second, we did talk to the Senate Majority Whip, John Thune who said it looks like a lot of Democratic campaign ads were written last night.

COOPER: All right, Jessica Dean. Appreciate it.

I want to get some perspective now. With me here, Republican consultant and CNN political commentator, Margaret Hoover; host of "The Firing Line" on PBS also, Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as White House communications director to the former president, and our own chief White House correspondent, Phil Mattingly.

Anthony, do you think anything has happened in the past 24 hours that have changed the dynamics for this GOP primary race?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Not yet, but I think you guys are bringing up something that could change it. And that is an onslaught of Senators and House of Representative, congressional leaders going against the president. I think that would be a snowball rolling in a direction that he actually couldn't stop.

And so, they are still fearing him because he is a big bully, and their political consultants are telling them, don't say anything about them or don't make a comment. But if they start to stand up to him the way Mitt Romney did, you saw a glimmer of that with Senator Hawley, you will blunt him, you will slow him down.

And remember, when the witch in "The Wizard of Oz," the water accidentally spilled on the witch and she started melting, the soldiers turned to Dorothy and said, hey, jeez, I'm sorry that we did this and I think we're getting to that point right now where the water has to hit Trump and he has to start melting, and they have to show some bravery and courage.

COOPER: There's a lot of munchkins on Capitol Hill, though. I mean, are they really ready to --

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: More on the House of Representatives than the Senate, I would say. I mean, that's about -- I mean, this is also about our electoral incentives. And you know, what it takes to have political courage and moral courage, right?

There are US senators who have recently been elected, who voiced that -- who absolutely agree with everything Senator Tillis just said, by the way, just re-elected and didn't really mince words there in suggesting that he didn't really support returning an insurrectionist to the White House.

So I think you're right, Anthony, this is the moment where Republicans and elder statesmen and women of the Republican Party have to self- police. We haven't done it for six years and we have to start now and it is going to be behind closed doors, and it's going to be open and public.

But it has to be Republican on Republican, because the problem with Donald Trump's inertia right now is that he is seen as a victim by the media, the Democrats, the other people, and that's emboldening him.

But if this is a Republican on Republican affront to Donald Trump, then you've got a chance at building a wedge and actually building momentum for someone else.

COOPER: Phil, what are you hearing from the Biden White House? Because last night, we were hearing, well, you know, there are all of these attack ads that were written last night because of so many lies, we're being told, is that putting a brave face on it? Or I mean, were they --

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is a spin and I think there's -- this is the value of, and I think the Republican senators are actually quite good at kind of surfacing this reality.

When you take a step back from the very visceral passions of last night; one Democrats said, this entire event was just triggering for our entire party and I think we all get it and understand it. You addressed it at the top and you look at the actual content, substance and policy that was addressed through the questions that Kaitlan was asking, you realize that the president, the former president -- former President Trump was walking right into pretty much the entire framing of President Biden's campaign re-election launch video.


The stakes of the moment, the January 6th, the pardons, putting the election and the sanctity of the election at risk and the constitution at risk, but also on the critical policy issues that Democrats have run on and won on both in the midterm elections and Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

You look the kind of statewide in Michigan, you look at swing states on the issue of abortion. That is a winning issue every day of the week. And the former president can try and parse on whether he wants to national abortion ban all he wants, what he said on Dobbs and making very clear how proud he was of what happened with Dobbs, every Democrat in America is writing a campaign ad on that issue.

The one thing -- and I'll just say one of the things that I was told last night is an aide texted -- an adviser texted me and said this was a weeks' worth of damning content in one hour, it was quite efficient. And the point of elevating this moment, as opposed to letting him sit and save corners and just kind of talk amongst his own people underscores that reality and we saw it from Republican senators, too.

COOPER: It is interesting, you know, Joe Biden got into the race initially saying the soul of the nation is at stake, pointing to what happened in Charlottesville, where the former president said, you know, very good people on both sides.

He essentially said the same thing last night about, you know, not -- he would have to look into the Proud Boys who had been convicted and whether or not he would pardon those guys. I mean, that's extraordinary. Again, it is him talking about there were, you know, good cops -- there were cops there who had been arrested, a police officer who was attacking other police officers.

HOOVER: I mean, that's what's so interesting is I mean, many people say he hasn't changed at all. Actually, that's not true. In many ways, he has gotten worse. He is doubling and tripling down. It's not good people on both sides. It's like Ashli Babbitt was a good person. And she was -- you know, I mean --

COOPER: Said nothing about the injured officers.

HOOVER: Correct. Correct.

So, actually, I think -- and that does -- it is -- to somebody who is thoughtful and watching this, we have all reflected on what a second Trump term would look like. It wouldn't have Anthony Scaramucci at the desk, it would have no guardrails.

I mean, it would just have no guardrails.

COOPER: But Anthony, I mean, you know this better than anybody. When you look at the Republican challengers that are out there now, and the ones who are sort of bubbling up and we talked to Chris Sununu last night and others, do any of them know how to run against this guy?

SCARAMUCCI: No, but they could bee swarm him, you know. It is like what happened with the meme stocks on Wall Street. They could get together and say, okay, enough is enough. And they could push the party and other people to bee swarm him.

See, the problem with the analysis on the Democratic side with all respect to them, is a lot can go wrong for the Democrats between now and 2024 and God forbid, you know, there's health related issues or anything like that. And he's sitting there in a seat that you did not expect. He could be the sitting president again.

He will damage the democracy, he will abrogate elements of our rule of law. And he will do things that are non-traditional to the United States, and forget about the things that he could potentially do to our allies, and our adversaries in that role, okay and he is a very angry guy. And we all know at this table that he is intellectually incurious and he will have a staff of misfits running around for him because nobody like General Kelly, or, you know, you pick the team that was in there first time, not even his children want to go.

He knows that, which is why he propped up the First Lady this week, because he knows that he doesn't have the connectivity. And this is not 2016 anymore, Anderson, and the country has changed a lot.

But you could be in a situation where things happen randomly, and he is in the pole position and I think we owe it to the American people to stop that, as fellow Republicans.

MATTINGLY: And I think, be careful what you wish for kind of prism to look through things. I think everybody should be reminded of 2015 and 2016, where Democrats were saying we want him as the nominee.

It's not that much different this time, except the primary reason why is because they feel like there are so many weaknesses, and he has been defeated by the incumbent president. But Anthony makes a great point. You never know what's going to happen.

One thing I would note, though, is, you know, there's been a lot of talk about the apathy on the Democratic side for the current president, for President Biden, the lack of energy, enthusiasm. This is what brings that out.

And when you talk to advisers who are looking at the polls, you know, this Washington Post poll that got a lot of attention last week, I believe, that showed the former president beating President Biden and their coalition was where their numbers dropped off dramatically. It's why they question a lot of the methodology of the poll.

That coalition comes home in the view of Biden advisors when they see stuff like this, that is what energizes them. That's what got Joe Biden to the White House in 2020.

Him being on center stage for all of the pain that he seems to have caused some people, for Democrats, that is a serious motivating factor and for the current president, that is his path, no question about it.

COOPER: Really quick, we've got to go.


SCARAMUCCI: I just want to say, it doesn't reflect well on me, but we did a lot of equivocation in that 2016 campaign. This is not a time for my fellow Republicans to be equivocating on Donald Trump. He is the wrong guy, hits the wrong policy decisions, and he will hurt the democracy and so we have to stop him.

COOPER: Anthony Scaramucci, Margaret Hoover, thank you so much. Phil Mattingly, great to have you.

Coming up next, with a key enforcement measure about to expire, two reports from the southern border from Univision's Jorge Ramos and CNN's David Culver who got a ride on the sometimes deadly train that migrants take north to get to the US.

Later, 18 years after her disappearance, new developments surrounding the Natalee Holloway case specifically concerning the prime suspect.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: At 11:59 Eastern Time tonight -- by the way, this a live shot of the US-Mexican border -- the crisis on this country's southern border could get that much worse tonight at around 11:59 PM. That's when the Trump-era policy known as Title 42 expires.

Now, Title 42 allows for the quicker expulsion of migrants due to the pandemic and that can make a serious problem even worse.

Today President Biden met with Homeland Security secretary, Mayorkas; Defense secretary Austin; and secretary of State Blinken. According to White House they discuss ongoing actions to "humanely manage regional migration through enforcement, deterrence and diplomacy."

The US federal government estimated two days ago that there were about 155,000 migrants in the Mexican states that border the us, about 5,000 More than the day before.

CNN's David Culver is on the Mexican side of the border tonight and saw even more people arrive today -- David.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, what you could see from above, you're also seeing behind me and that is the US side and you can see hundreds of migrants are camped out. They are starting to be processed and it seems that Texas National Guard along with Texas State Troopers are putting together a show of force in stopping any more migrants from crossing over to begin the processing.

But even to get to this point, it is a deadly and dangerous journey and one that we got a sample of for ourselves.


CULVER (on camera): We're just outside Ciudad Juarez and this is the last train stop for this freight train that's eventually going to head into the city. And you can see already dozens of migrants in several of these cars, on top of them all about. They're asking us if we have water, we have food.

CULVER (voice over): We climb on. The train slowly starts up again heading north. We meet migrants from all over.



CULVER (on camera): He says, he is from Honduras originally and wants to go to the US.

CULVER (voice over): Felipe and Marcela from Colombia, also hoping to enter the US.

(MARCELA speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (on camera): I asked her why the US, she said to have a better future.

CULVER (voice over): Omar from Venezuela.


CULVER (on camera): He is trying to get to Baltimore, Maryland.

CULVER (voice over): We rode for an hour. They had been here on here for days, 12 days for Roberto and his family.

(ROBERTO speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (on camera): He's with his dad and his sister.

(ROBERTO speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (on camera): He says they've been attacked, they've been robbed. He describes a really treacherous track.

CULVER (voice over): Part of the train journey north for some is on what's called La Bestia, "the beast." It's also known as the train of death and often controlled by cartels.

Roberto wears a face mask to not infect the others. He tells me he got sick early on in his travels.

CULVER (on camera): He says, a lot of them have been sick and over the journey, he has had to leave his two kids, young ones.

CULVER (voice over): He tells me his two toddlers nearly died. So he sent them back with family in Honduras as he continues on.

They stand, sit, and sleep on metal construction beams covered in plastic, dirty clothes and cardboard used to make it as comfortable as possible. The heat and sun brutal. At night, it is the cold and wind. The smells a range, sewage at times and burning trash as we drove past what appears to be an incinerator.

Their soles worn down.

(FELIPE AND MARCELA speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (on camera): He says it's very dangerous for women, too, and they said food is just really scarce right now.

(OMAR speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (voice over): Omar spent four days on board already. Food, he has run out. He showed us the little water he has left and the documents he clings to, keeping secured and plastic.

(OMAR speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (on camera): He is really through all of the different situation that would allow you to enter the US and he's got it printed out in Spanish, and he has got the address of his friend in Baltimore that he hopes to get to.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER: Four days on the train for him, he said the first day, he just got really sick because the sun was just so strong. And now he is making sure to keep cover as much as possible. He wants to go to New York.

CULVER (voice over): For Omar, it is a familiar journey. He left Venezuela six months ago, already expelled once from the US for trying to cross. He'll try again.

(DAVID CULVER speaking in foreign language.)

(OMAR speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (voice over): Legally or illegally, he will cross, he tells me. I asked him if he's hopeful.

(DAVID CULVER speaking in foreign language.)

(OMAR speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (voice over): "I've got a lot of faith," he tells me.

CULVER (on camera): Ultimately, he hopes to get money sent back to his two kids in Venezuela.

(DAVID CULVER speaking in foreign language.)

(OMAR speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (voice over): As we pull into Ciudad Juarez about 25 miles still from the border wall with El Paso, we and the others climb out.

CULVER (on camera): And that's it. You can see most everyone now getting off. This is basically the last stop.

Omar among the last off carrying his only belongings and somehow a smile.

(DAVID CULVER speaking in foreign language.)

(OMAR speaking in foreign language.)

CULVER (voice over): Planning to cross immediately.

(DAVID CULVER speaking in foreign language.)

(OMAR speaking in foreign language.)



COOPER: David, do you know where the migrants you traveled with are now?

CULVER: Some of them went to the city center to wait it out a few days, Anderson, to bathe themselves and then try to get processed through the CBP One app. Others are in the crowd right behind me, getting processed as we speak.

They say if they get expelled and deported from the US, they'll try again and again and again until they make it in -- Anderson.

COOPER: David Culver, appreciate it.

Univision anchor, Jorge Ramos also covering the story from the Mexican border for his viewers and lending his perspective for us tonight.

Jorge, you're at a migrant camp in Mexico, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. What are you seeing there? What is it like?

JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Well, it's true desperation. Right here, we can see Rio Grande or Rio Bravo. But you just move over here and you see trash all over the place. This is a migrant camp in Matamoros.

There are about 6,000 immigrants who are trying to cross into the United States. They have absolutely nothing, they have no papers, they have no money.

In these camps, as you can see, they live in tents with no running water, no public bathrooms. However, what they do have is a desire to go into the United States. That's exactly what they want.

And they do understand that it is incredibly difficult, but who wants to be here? Matamoros by the way, is one of the most dangerous cities in a very violent country. And they owe so much money understand that if they go back to their country of origin, most of them from Venezuela, it would be impossible for them to pay their debts.

And at the end, what they're telling me, this is not rocket science, when they lift Title 42, it is going to be much easier for them, that's the message that they are getting, it is going to be much easier for them to cross into the United States.

COOPER: So right now, under Title 42, if they want to apply for asylum, they have to do it in Mexico, is that correct?

RAMOS: Exactly. That's what happens. Here, they have absolutely nothing, but they have a cell phone and through the cell phone, they are applying with CBP One trying to get into the United States.

Now, what's really interesting is that Mexico has become the processing center, the immigration police of the United States. Mexico, in a way has become the wall. And whatever the US government doesn't want to do, now Mexico is doing it.

COOPER: So once -- with title 42 going away, are the people there waiting for that to go away in order to cross over? Do you know, what are their plans? RAMOS: Yes, I think when you talk to everyone, there's a lot of confusion. There are so many rules. Title 42, Title 8, what applies only to people from Haiti, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. It is incredibly complicated, but at the end, they do understand that once Title 42 is lifted, it's going to be much easier, and we are already seeing the surge.

Last Tuesday, there were about 11,000 immigrants who crossed illegally from Mexico into the United States, just to put it in perspective. Before, the average was about 6,000 to 7,000.

So now, if you have about 10,000 or 11,000 immigrants every single day crossing, at the end of the fiscal year, it could be more than four million immigrants crossing. This would be an incredible record, and we have to say no one, absolutely no one, the Biden administration nor the Trump administration before or the Obama administration could have handled something like this.

This is the new normal. And the best we can hope, I think, is just to handle the crisis before it becomes truly chaotic.

COOPER: And yet the system is so backlogged. The political differences are so severe on this issue in the United States that there's no -- I mean, there's no sign of any kind of comprehensive immigration reform that's actually going to get more border security and also figure out a way to streamline this asylum system, get more judges in, whatever needs to be done.

RAMOS: Exactly. Nothing is going to change. The system is completely broken and we have many different crises. On one hand, we have about 10 or 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States already, that they need a solution. Republicans and Democrats are not even talking about it.

Then we have these probably four million immigrants, maybe less that are coming this year into the United States and the system on the other side, on Mexico, what you see over there is Texas, it is simply not working. It isn't functioning. It is completely dysfunctional.

It's going to be used as a political tool during the campaign and nothing is going to be resolved. And the people who are really suffering are the immigrants over here, many of them who have legitimate reasons to ask for asylum, and the legal process is so difficult that some of them might decide tonight at midnight, just to cross illegally,

COOPER: Jorge Ramos, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you, Jorge.

RAMOS: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up, reaction to the former president's comments about pardoning January 6th rioters and more from a Democratic senator and former presidential candidate who was at the Capitol that day, Senator Amy Klobuchar joins us next.


COOPER: Earlier, we showed you some of the reaction from Republican senators the former president's comments during last night's town hall. Those that would talk with us were disturbed by his remarks about pardons for January 6 rioters and refusal to call Vladimir Putin a war criminal.

I want to get reaction now from the Democratic side of the aisle. I'm joined now by Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She's also the author of her brand new memoir released just this week, "The Joy of Politics: Surviving Cancer, a Campaign, a Pandemic, an Insurrection and Life's Other Unexpected Curveballs".

Senator, it's good to have you on the program.


COOPER: Congratulations on the book.


COOPER: You write in the book a lot about --

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

COOPER: -- the events of January 6. I'm wondering what your reaction was to the former president last night, saying he didn't think Vice President Pence was in any danger and that he's inclined to pardon many of those convicted for their roles in the insurrection, even saying he'd have to look closer at the seditious conspiracy convictions of the four so-called Proud Boys.

KLOBUCHAR: I think anyone that questioned if he had somehow changed got their answers last night. He didn't backed down. He doubled down. He talked about police officer being a thug. He said he would, as you know, pardon a bunch of the insurrectionists and he called January 6 a beautiful day.

I was there, Anderson. It wasn't beautiful, and it certainly wasn't beautiful for the family of Officer Sicknick who died, or the several other officers who later died, or so many police officers who are injured.


Senator Blunt and I, as I note and tell the story in the book, were, as heads of the Rules Committee, were the ones at, you know, 4:00 in the morning that made that walk through the broken glass and by the spray painted pillars filled with vulgarities and racist things.

And we made that walk with those three pairs of pages holding the mahogany boxes with the last of the electoral ballots up to Wyoming and did our job. And two weeks later, standing under that blue sky.

And one of the reasons I did the book was the memory of the words of Amanda Gorman, youngest inaugural poet ever, 22 years old in her bright yellow coat, standing on that very platform for Joe Biden's inauguration, the very platform that the insurrectionists had tried to destroy.


KLOBUCHAR: And saying those words, we must find light in the never ending shade. And that's what I think politics is about, looking for that light, getting things done, helping people.

COOPER: You write in the book about going after them, President Trump, during the 2020 campaign on abortion. Last night, he repeatedly refused to say whether he'd signed a federal abortion ban into law. He certainly expressed pride in the three justices that he put on the Supreme Court who helped overturn Roe v. Wade. I'm wondering how you interpreted that.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I took it as he put those judges on, and he did it for a reason, and he knew what would happen. And to me, it's very clear the path between his decisions to who he was going to put on the bench, and that outcome which overturned over 50 years of precedent, which basically left our country with a patchwork of laws so that women in Texas have to take a bus to Illinois or Minnesota just to get their reproductive health care. It's an outrage, and he is responsible for it.

COOPER: You open your book talking about how much COVID impacted you and your family. First, your husband's battle with the virus, then your delayed breast cancer diagnosis, delayed because you didn't go for routine testing during the pandemic.

Today marks the end of the national public health emergency around COVID here in the U.S. I'm wondering, as you look back and as you were writing this, these past three years, what do you think we've lost and gained? I mean, do you think the U.S. is prepared for the next pandemic?

KLOBUCHAR: I think one of the things I wanted to do in that chapter, because I wrote this book, because we've all been through a lot in America and it's important to not forget it. But we can't just lament the setbacks. We have to rejoice in the comebacks. And we have come back from COVID.

People are gathering together. But some of the things we learned is people lost their moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and brothers and sisters, and they weren't even able to be there to hold their hands, to say goodbye.

COOPER: You lost your dad --

KLOBUCHAR: Kids who fell behind in school.

COOPER: You lost your dad two years ago.

KLOBUCHAR: My dad -- yes. My dad actually got COVID and survived it, but ultimately, perished from late onset Alzheimer's. But I remember standing outside of that window at the assisted living when he had it, thinking I was going to be the last time I saw him. But he somehow made it through and graduated from hospice three times, mountain climber that he was.

But I miss him very much. And I think we all went through such a hard time because you couldn't meet the people, you couldn't see your loved ones. And so I think it's important to not forget that as people struggle with mental illness now, as we see some of the long haul symptoms and also as our economy continues to build back.

A lot of this is behind us, but we have to understand. And then it's preparing for the next one, making sure we have updated equipment, making sure we continue to support science and the NIH and make much needed reforms to the Center for Disease Control.

All of those things are recommendations I make in the book. You know, I'm not trying to hawk it here, but I think it is -- there are things that we have to do to continue to make sure this never happens again.

COOPER: Senator Klobuchar, I appreciate your time. Congratulations again. The new book is, "The Joy of Politics: Surviving Cancer, a Campaign, a Pandemic, an Insurrection and Life's Other Unexpected Curveballs".

Up next, an arrest expected in the deadly New York City subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely. Plus, a new statement from the suspect's attorneys.



COOPER: On the eve of an expected arrest in the New York City subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely, attorneys for the man being charged, Daniel Penney, issued a new statement about an hour ago. They write to Penny, quote, "He risked his own life and safety for the good of his fellow passengers." And went on to write, "Mr. Penny will be fully absolved of any wrongdoing," end quote.

The statement comes just hours after the Manhattan D.A.'s Office told CNN that Penny would be arrested tomorrow. The charge will be manslaughter in the second degree. Jordan Neely was a Michael Jackson impersonator. The confrontation between the two occurred last week on a subway train.

A witness has told CNN that Neely was being loud and aggressive, shouting that he was hungry, had little to live for. The witness also said Neely didn't attack anyone. The witness took a video of the confrontation. And we warn you somewhat you see is disturbing.

Penny came up behind Neely and put him in a chokehold. CNN doesn't know exactly what led up to the confrontation or how long Neely was in the chokehold. And while one person in the video says Neely might have a weapon, the witness tells CNN he did not see one. Neely later lost consciousness and was pronounced dead in a nearby hospital.

There have been protests and calls for Penny's arrest since Neely's death became public.

I'm joined now by CNN Senior Legal Analyst and Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig, and CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller, who's also a Former NYPD Deputy Commissioner.

John, what more do you know about the decision to charge Neely?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, this is something that the D.A. has been going back and forth on since May 1, which was the night they decided not to make that summary arrest that night. And the choices were, do we study the evidence, the autopsy, the witness statements, and decide, you know, what do we see here in terms of self defense versus manslaughter?

Do we put the whole thing in a grand jury, let them decide whether to indict and then go forward or not? Or do we authorize an arrest? So today they decided we're going to authorize the arrest.

One grand jury --

COOPER: So they haven't done a grand jury?

MILLER: So they haven't. And they have five days to get this in front of a grand jury and get that process towards an indictment.


And what's going to happen is he's been charged now. The grand jury will hear from the passengers who were on that train as to whether they felt threatened, were frightened or not. They will hear their account of what they saw and heard. They will look at the video. They'll hear from the medical examiner.

But this is the key, and probably where we pass the ball to Elie. The question is, does Daniel Penny go and waive immunity at his own risk and testify in the grand jury and basically try not to get indicted by telling his story of what was in his mind when he did this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. That's a really interesting question. So, first of all, the charge here, manslaughter in the second degree. The key term is recklessness. So, there --

COOPER: You know, what does that mean, second degree in manslaughter?

HONIG: Yes. So it's not a murder charge. The more serious charge here would have been murder, meaning, intended to cause somebody's death. They do not -- prosecutors do not have to prove that Penny intended to kill Neely. They do need to prove that his actions were recklessness. And there's no magic formula. That's going to be up to the jury. What was recklessness, what was not.

Now, a couple of things. First of all, will Penny, the potential defendant here, use his right, which he has in New York State, to go in the grand jury and try to defend himself? That's a really difficult strategic decision. The other thing is --

COOPER: Because anything he said --

HONIG: Absolutely. But he may also convince a grand jury to not indict him.

MILLER: And then, I mean, it's notable because that is a hard decision, that Penny has already been questioned by detectives. He's already given his version of the story. So his grand jury risk goes down a little bit there.

HONIG: Yes. And on this self-defense question, John and I were just talking about this, people may say, well, Penny wasn't in any danger if he came up -- Perry -- if he came up behind Neely and put him in a chokehold. But you are allowed to use force to protect other people.

So it doesn't necessarily have to be defense of yourself. You can use reasonable force to defend some other third person.

COOPER: There's also the question, I guess, not only of the initial chokehold, but then how long was it sustained for, I mean -- I guess the initial attempt to subdue Mr. Neely. I mean, a grand jury could find that that was OK, but the chokehold holding onto it for him so long was not.

HONIG: Absolutely. You're going to want to know every step of what led up to the video that we've all seen, where they're down on the ground. But, yes, the duration is going to matter a lot. How long did he hold him? Was he showing signs of life? Was he verbally able to say anything? What were other people doing? All of that's going to matter here.

COOPER: I mean, there's been demonstrations. How does that influence, I mean, a prosecution like this? Is there -- I mean, there's clearly pressure on the city, on officials.

MILLER: So there have been demonstrations, there have been arrest. As a prosecutor, you're supposed to feel that pressure, but you're not supposed to react to it. This is about the law. This is about justice too, but it's not about outside influences.

I asked people in the D.A.'s office today, you know, their plan was to put it through the grand jury. And then suddenly their plan was we're going to make it the arrest now and go through the grand jury. What was the driver there? Why the change?

And what they said simply was we've got a grand jury sitting now, we can get this through the grand jury next week. We know the witnesses, it's not that complicated. Otherwise, we'd have to wait to the next grand jury to come along and this would drag out through the summer. And justice needs an answer.

COOPER: Yes. John Miller, Elie Honig, thanks so much.

Remember Joran van der Sloot, one of the last people to see Natalee Holloway alive in Aruba 18 years ago? Well, he is being extradited to the U.S., not to face charges related to her death, but for something else connected to her disappearance. We'll have the latest on that ahead.



COOPER: The main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway is being extradited to the United States. Joran van der Sloot is his name. He's accused of scamming the Holloway family and faces charges of extortion and wire fraud. Their then-18-year-old daughter was last seen leaving a bar in Aruba with him and two other men. She was on the island for her senior class trip.

Van der Sloot is a Dutch national. He's serving time in a Peruvian prison for murder in a separate case.

Jean Casarez has been covering the Holloway case from the beginning and has the latest developments for us tonight.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Natalee Holloway was on a school trip in Aruba when she vanished 18 years ago. One of the last people to see her alive was Joran van der Sloot.

BETH HOLLOWAY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: He knows exactly what happened. He knows what, where, when, who, why, and how. He knows the answers.

CASAREZ (voice-over): It was May of 2005, 18-year-old Holloway was last seen leaving a nightclub in Aruba with van der Sloot and two other men. Holloway's body was never found. All three men were charged by Aruban prosecutors in 2007 for involvement in manslaughter, but a judge ordered their release, citing lack of direct evidence.

Van der Sloot is accused of extorting thousands from Holloway's mother, Beth, in exchange for details on the location of her daughter's remains. According to legal documents, in March 2010, van der Sloot offered to take the cooperating witness to the location of Natalee Holloway's body, advise as to the circumstances of her death, and identify those in her death and disappearance in return for a payment of $250,000.

A total of $25,000 was given to van der Sloot as a down payment and Holloway's attorney flew to Aruba. Van der Sloot took the attorney to a house, saying the body was buried within the foundation. Days later, he emailed the Holloways saying he had lied about the location of Natalee Holloway's remains.

Extortion charges were filed a short time later, but van der Sloot was nowhere to be found. He had fled to Peru. Surveillance video shows him gambling with what was believed to be that $25,000. He met the daughter of a prominent Peruvian businessman, Stephany Flores. Video shows them leaving the casino, going to her apartment. Hours later, she was dead.

[20:55:00] CNN went to Peru when van der Sloot was arrested and charged with Flores's murder. We obtained exclusive access to Castro Castro, one of the most violent prisons in Peru where van der Sloot was housed at the time.

As he was let out, we were allowed to enter his private cell. Van der Sloot was convicted of murdering Flores in Peru in 2012. Peruvian authorities said from the beginning they would extradite him to the U.S. eventually to face federal charges in the U.S.

Natalee's mother reacting to the news in a statement Wednesday. "She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey. But the persistence of many is going to pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee."


COOPER: Jean Casarez joins us now. I mean, this is incredible this new development. You were at the prison in Peru, is he going to be surprised by U.S. prisons?

CASAREZ: He's going to be very surprised because in Peru, you can wear your own clothes. So they all have street clothes on. And because of that, they can hide their weapons, right? I mean, we saw a knife. You saw a knife in that video of somebody trying to get out of their cell.

Anyone from the community can bring in baked goods, a hot meal to any prisoner that they want, just anytime. And women come to the prison. Men can come to the prison and they can associate, socialize. Joran van der Sloot met a woman and he actually married her and --

COOPER: In prison?

CASAREZ: In prison, and she has his child.

COOPER: Jean Casarez, appreciate it. Thank you.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: The news continues. "CNN PRIMETIME" with Kaitlan Collins starts now.