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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Ron DeSantis Enters Presidential Race In Glitch-Filled Twitter Stream; Music Legend, Tina Turner Dies At 83; Sources Say U.S. Intel Indicates Ukrainians May Have Launched Drone Attack On Kremlin; IRS Veteran Goes Public As Whistleblower In Hunter Biden Criminal Probe; More Than a Million People Displaced In Sudan During Refugee Crisis And 300,000 Fled To Neighboring Countries; Vigils Mark A Year Since Robb Elementary Killings. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 24, 2023 - 20:00   ET


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We still need to ban in my view, AR-15 firearms, assault weapons once again.

I know for a long time it's been hard to make progress, but there will come a point where our voices are so loud, our determination so clear that we can no longer be stopped.

We will act.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Nineteen fourth graders and two teachers lost their lives that day and a year later, questions about the botched police response still remain unanswered.

Thanks for joining us. It's time now for AC 360.



We begin with breaking news. Florida governor, Ron DeSantis announcing on Twitter eventually, he is running for president, but the livestream event with Elon Musk certainly did not go according to plan. It was plagued with technical problems and delayed for nearly 30 minutes.

If you tuned in when it was supposed to start, you would have heard silence and after about 12 minutes of that, you would have heard this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just keeps crashing?

MUSK: I think we've got just a massive number of people online, so it's -- servers are straining somewhat.


COOPER: That was Elon Musk saying that the servers are straining somewhat. Then there was silence again.

The former president is already mocking the governor's debut, a campaign spokesman saying: "Glitchy tech issues, uncomfortable silence is a complete failure to launch and that's just the candidate."

CNN's Jessica Dean joins us now from Miami.

So last night in the program, we talked about how a live event on Twitter with Elon Musk could either be compelling or a train wreck. It certainly started out pretty badly. What exactly happened?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, people tuned in at 6:00 PM, just like they had been told to do and as you just let everyone hear there were a number of glitches that went on for some twenty, thirty minutes before they were able to finally get the ship righted as it were, and allow Governor DeSantis to announce that he is running for president, which was exactly what he was there to do.

And they had tried to really pick this unconventional way of doing it, and of course, that comes with risks. Watch this.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Do you go with the crowd? Or do you look at the data yourself and cut against the grain and I chose to do the latter.

DEAN (voice over): Florida governor, Ron DeSantis' attempt to declare his candidacy for president in a unique way with Twitter owner Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces, an audio-only platform plagued by technical issues at the start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just keeps crashing, huh?

MUSK: I think we've got just a massive number of people online so it's -- servers are straining somewhat.

DEAN (voice over): But server issues caused the rollout to be plagued with problems with Team DeSantis tweeting: "It seems we broke the internet with so much excitement. While you're waiting, donate now."

DESANTIS: We must look forward, not backwards. We need the courage to lead and we must have the strength to win.

DEAN (voice over): DeSantis also asked about the NAACP issuing a travel advisory against his state claiming Florida is not safe for minorities to visit.

DESANTIS: Claiming that Florida is unsafe is a total farce. I mean, are you kidding me?

DEAN (voice over): Wednesday's Twitter event, the latest move in DeSantis's presidential campaign rollout. He filed paperwork earlier Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. On Tuesday, DeSantis' wife Casey tweeted a hype video encouraging supporters to sign up for campaign updates. UNIDENTIFIED MALE:: America has been worth it, every single time.

DEAN (voice over): DeSantis jumps in the Republican primary following months of speculation about the Florida governor's political future, fueled by a national book tour and visits to key early nominating states.

DESANTIS: I have only begun to fight.

DEAN (voice over): As the Republican primary fight intensifies, a new CNN poll shows former President Donald Trump leading the GOP field with roughly double the support of DeSantis and no other candidate in double figures.

But the survey also finds the Republican field to be far from settled. More than eight in 10 of those polled said they either support or say they're open to considering either Trump or DeSantis.

DESANTIS: We have to reject the culture of losing that has infected our party in recent years. We have no more time for excuses.

DEAN (voice over): DeSantis and Trump have appeared to be on a collision course for months with the former president launching repeated attacks against the Florida governor.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: DeSantis is very low and crashing. He's crashing and burning.

DEAN (voice over): But DeSantis has been intentional in not directly attacking Trump instead using his speeches around the country to draw a contrast.

DESANTIS: I don't have time for drama. I don't have time for palace intrigue. I want to make sure that we're executing the agenda. And you know what's happened over the last four years, we don't have leaks, we don't have drama. All we do is get the job done day after day.


COOPER: What comes next for the governor's campaign?

DEAN: Up next, Anderson, we're here in Miami. That's because he's going to gather all of his biggest donors and bundlers. They're going to talk tomorrow.

He has already got this unprecedented number in his war chest, $100 million. They are hoping to really make the most of this rollout and really go on a fundraising blitz after this.


So that's what they're going to be working on tomorrow, and then we are expecting to see him hit the campaign trail, especially in those early states pretty quickly and pretty aggressively, probably in the next several days. It would be expected that we would see him out there campaigning,

really launching this effort. And worth noting as well, Anderson, I reached out to one of his spokespeople who I asked them what their reaction was to the glitches, to people who were pointing to all the problems, to the rivals that were pointing to all the problems with the launch this evening, and they said that this was a groundbreaking announcement and an internet breaking excitement -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Jessica Dean, appreciate it.

Our senior data reporter, Harry Enten is here, along with CNN political commentator, Alyssa Farah Griffin, who served as White House communications director in the previous administration; and in Los Angeles, CNN political commentator, Van Jones, former special adviser to President Obama.

Alyssa, you had said this morning on CNN that it would either be brilliant or disastrous. Obviously --


Listen, when you're doing these campaign launches, months of planning goes in, comms teams, advance teams. They pinpoint every single detail to make you look presidential.

And frankly, the first thing you should do is do no harm. The tech side harm was done. But also looking presidential is a very odd platform to have him with two other people kind of talking amongst each other.

COOPER: Well, also there's no looking because --

GRIFFIN: There is no looking, yes, you're only hearing. So it came off almost like he was a talk radio host, not a future leader of the free world. I think it was a total miscalculation by his team.

Listen, his remarks off the top were perfectly decent. He could have given them an arena with a crowd, and I think that would have been much stronger than this, what was frankly a debacle.

COOPER: Van, I mean, President Biden trolled Governor DeSantis during the tech glitches. He tweeted "This link works." Former President Trump is also reveling obviously in this. What did you think of it?

Also, I mean, it was a lot about Twitter and about Elon Musk, less so much, even Ron DeSantis.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. It is a very weird way to start your campaign. It's kind of already bowing down to technology, wealth, power. This is not a populist campaign. He's sitting there.

By the way, you know, Twitter, trying to get involved in social audio, chasing clubhouse, failing, it's not just DC who is laughing. Silicon Valley is laughing as well. So you put yourself in the middle of the big fist fight in Silicon

Valley over who's going to be the king of social audio while you're trying to run for president and nobody can hear you talking. It was a disaster.

And the weird thing about this is, this is not a normal way to begin. You would ordinarily want to be with normal people, not the billionaire. Regular voters, where are they in this whole thing?

Regular voters have never heard of Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse. This is -- I just think it was an unbelievable miscalculation from the very beginning. Conceptually, it was wrong. And execution, it was a disaster.

COOPER: Harry, just in terms of polling, where does Governor DeSantis stand?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, I think what happened this evening is a manifestation of what the polling has generally showed over the past few months and that is Ron DeSantis, falling further and further behind in the Republican race for president.

You go back at the end of last year, it was a pretty close race. You know, Donald Trump was up on Ron DeSantis, but it was only about a 10- point advantage. You jump forward to today, and you're looking at Donald Trump ahead by you know, thirty, thirty-five points, depending on what poll you're looking at.

And it's more than just the top line, right. It's sort of what's going on underneath that top line. And if you look at the strongly favorable ratings among Republicans for both Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump, this is a key metric that really sort of forecasted Trump's rise back in 2016.

You know, back in December, Trump and DeSantis were pretty close on that metric. And now we go to today, what do we see? We see Donald Trump much better liked among Republicans.

COOPER: Yes, Alyssa, how much is that people learning more about Ron DeSantis and not liking what they see.

GRIFFIN; That's got to be a part of it. So a poll came out that showed the candidate in the field people want to learn the most about is Tim Scott, who's really just made a foray onto the national stage this past week, and I think is a bit of an unknown.

DeSantis has had a huge national profile, partially because he intentionally, you know, does stunts that drive national media attention and his polling has dropped with that.

But what is about this announcement that I think is a factor in all this as to what the kids called very online, like I felt like the conversation that was happening was what people on Twitter talk about.

Only 20 percent of Americans are on Twitter, a fraction of that is Republican primary voters. They're talking about speech arguing about the platform itself. They weren't talking about kitchen table issues. And it also reminded DeSantis and his team, the average Republican primary voter is on the older side. They are largely 50-plus, and that is not an audience that's in Twitter Spaces talking about tech policy and Elon Musk's latest grievances.

So, overall, I think they need to recalibrate, they need to get back to kitchen table issues, they need to get back to economic policy, because this was not a winning campaign launch.

COOPER: Van, who do you think President Biden sees as a bigger threat or his team sees a bigger threat in 2024? Governor DeSantis or former President Trump?


JONES: I don't think they are even thinking that much about DeSantis. I think most Democrats are assuming that this runaway train of Donald Trump with all of its noise and furor is probably going to win.

As more and more people pile in, you have Tim Scott getting involved, who I think as you know, probably the best voice in the Republican Party, but he's got to be one Lilliputian among maybe 15, within the next couple of months.

COOPER: He does have a lot of money behind him, though.

JONES: Which is, I think, a very good thing. Honestly, DeSantis has, I think, a very low and falling ceiling now. Today, which is time to come out and shine, and we're not talking about him. We're talking about Elon Musk and technology.

Tim Scott is the one to watch.

COOPER: Harry, what does history say about candidates who were getting DeSantis' polling numbers at this point, were they able to come back?

ENTEN: Most of them were not able to come back. Eight out of 10 since 1972 were not able to come back. However, there were two who did, right, John McCain and Barack Obama in 2008. They were polling in the low 20s at this point, and were able to go on and win those nominations.

I don't know if Ron DeSantis is either John McCain or Barack Obama. But the fact is, most people in DeSantis' position do not in fact go on to win the nomination.

COOPER: Alyssa, I mean, he's also untested on the national stage. Do we know -- I mean, there has been a lot of talk about he's not necessarily the most people-oriented person as a campaigner. Do we know if he knows how to run against the former president?

GRIFFIN: Well, the first message --

COOPER I mean, does anybody know?

GRIFFIN: I don't know that anyone knows, but the mistake that DeSantis has made is letting Trump define him. The fact that everyone has just decided Ron DeSantis has a bad personality and isn't a personable person is because Donald Trump has said that.

I've dealt with Ron DeSantis in the House. I knew him as governor. He's not an expert, retail politician, but this is -- he can have a conversation.

He hasn't hit back in to find himself. He hasn't gotten out there in retail politics enough. He tried to in Iowa about a week ago you know, to mixed reviews. If he wants to come back, he needs to talk to actual voters and get off the internet.

COOPER: How much bigger do you think the Republican field is going to get? I mean, there's -- Axios had a thing out yesterday that Glenn Youngkin is rethinking maybe coming back.

GRIFFIN: I think as people see DeSantis, who was seen as sort of the heir-apparent to Trump's slip, there are others who may get in. I think Governor Chris Sununu may as well.

But again, we don't want to run into 2016 where it is a massive pile up and it just ends up handing Donald Trump the nomination.

COOPER: I mean, there are already a lot of candidates in there.

GRIFFIN: Yes, the key is going to be knowing when to get out. So if you can't get to a certain threshold, you know, by February of next year, you've got to get out of the race.

COOPER: Alyssa Farah Griffin, appreciate it. Harry Enten as well. Van Jones, thank you.

Coming up next, remembering Tina Turner who died today. We'll look back at some of the most remarkable moments on stage and there are a lot of them and in her life and we'll speak with one of her collaborators, the legendary Herbie Hancock about his friend.



COOPER: Looking there at the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the tribute at Tina Turner's star.

Anyone who was lucky enough to see her perform whether onstage or just on TV knows exactly why her death today at 83 is being felt so deeply around the world tonight.

She was simply one of the most compelling and charismatic and incredible performers of her time, and most likely of all time.

Here is just a small sample from 1981 with Rod Stewart.


COOPER: Tina Turner's life was a roller coaster, but her talent, her determination and her faith held her through.

In a few minutes, we'll talk with her friend and colleague, music legend, Herbie Hancock who Tina Turner credited with helping her when she left Ike Turner with her kids, didn't have anywhere to go.

But first, a look back at her wild and extraordinary life.



COOPER (voice over): She was known as the Queen of rock'n'roll.


COOPER (voice over): While she was most certainly a music royalty, Tina Turner in her 83 years became so much more, pioneer, icon, survivor.


COOPER (voice over): Born Anna Mae Bullock, she first performed at age 17 when she was passed the microphone at an Ike Turner concert. The two would go on to write hit singles and get married. It was Ike who suggested she change her stage name to Tina.


COOPER (voice over): While the relationship soared professionally, privately it descended into physical and emotional abuse.

Tina Turner spoke to Larry King about it in 1997.

TINA TURNER, SINGER: I had had a lot of violence, houses burned, cars shot into the lowest that you can think of in terms of violence.

COOPER (voice over): Finally in 1976, Tina left Ike and filed for divorce. A single mom in debt, she fought her way back into stardom.


COOPER (voice over): In 1984, she released "What's Love Got To Do With It," which meant three weeks at number one and earned her three Grammys.


COOPER (voice over): In 1985, she burst into Hollywood starring opposite Mel Gibson in "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome."


COOPER (voice over): The movie soundtrack launched another hit for Turner, "We Don't Need Another Hero."

[20:20:08] [VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]

COOPER (voice over): Throughout the 1980s and early 90s, came a slew of unforgettable songs that solidified Tina Turner's place in rock history.


COOPER (voice over): But it was her unflinching memoir, "I, Tina," which was made into the Academy Award nominated film, "What's Love Got To Do With It," that elevated Turner to a whole new level?

LARRY KING, TALK SHOW HOST: Do you realize that you are a feminist hero in America? Heroine?

TURNER: Your wife just told me.

KING; No, do you realize that?

TURNER: I'm beginning to. You see, it wasn't something that I planned. I kind of see it as a gift, because of the life I lived. It had a meaning. And I think that the meaning was all of what is happening now.

I think that if I not had the -- if I had not given the story to the world, maybe my life would not be as it is, I believe.

COOPER (voice over): Tina Turner continued to perform and write, continued to loved. In 2013, she married her longtime boyfriend, Erwin Bach. She spoke about meeting him the 2021 documentary, "Tina."

TURNER: He was younger. He was 30 years old at the time, the prettiest face. I mean, I cannot -- it was like saying, where did he come from? He was really so good looking. My heart went -- and it means that a soul has met.

COOPER (voice over): A soul has met, and today Tina Turner's family released a statement that said she died peacefully after a long illness, and with her passing, the world loses a music legend.

Up next, Herbie Hancock, music legend in his own right remembers his friend Tina Turner when they recorded together for a Grammy-winning album.



COOPER: More now on the loss of a legend, Tina Turner. Remembering her tonight as her friend and another legend, jazz pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock who recorded a song with her that was part of his Grammy-winning Album of the Year in 2008.

He joins us now by phone.

Mr. Hancock, thank you so much for joining us. I'm sorry it is under these circumstances. What an incredible life Tina Turner lived. When did you first get to know her?

HERBIE HANCOCK, LEGENDARY PIANIST AND COMPOSER (via phone): I first met Tina, back in about 1977, something like that and I actually met her through friends of mine that are Buddhists, like we all practice the same Buddhist religion. Members of SGI, Soka Gakkai International, and I saw her at a meeting.

COOPER: What would you like people to remember about her?

HANCOCK: She was a very dynamic human being, a lot of feeling in her heart. And she had a joy in her life. I think you can hear that from her music.

Even though her life wasn't necessarily that joyful in the beginning, but everything changed. Everything seems to have changed right after she started practicing Buddhism.

COOPER: It's incredible to think that she started when she was in high school, singing back up in Ike Turner's band and then became the star obviously of the "Ike and Tina Turner Review."

She wrote something in a mag -- or she said something, she gave an interview to a magazine a couple of years ago and I want to read it because she mentions you in it.

She says, when I was going through some of the hardest times in my life as a solo artist, some of my jazz friends, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock and their families took me in and my sons and helped me get back on my feet.

We would sometimes chant together for several hours, and I would dream about a future in which we'd all be happy and successful. So winning the Grammy for Album of the Year, for "River: The Joni Letters" with Herbie and Wayne was very sweet.

Do you remember that time when, I mean, things were not going well for her. She left the "Ike and Tina Turner Review." She obviously was in an abusive relationship. She was very public about that. Do you remember those days?

HANCOCK: Absolutely. Because I remember her going over to Wayne Shorter's house. She was a friend of Wayne and his former wife, Ana Maria Shorter, and she was really trying to escape Ike, and she went into the house and actually, Wayne and Ana Maria told me about this because I wasn't there at the time.

And they said that she came in and was telling them, I can't go backwards with Ike. Then, Ike must have found out where she was going, maybe trailed her in some way and they went right to Wayne and Ana Maria's altar, started chanting "nam-myoho-renge-kyo."

And it seems that Ike walked up to the door, stopped, turned and went back to his car and she didn't see him after that. He just disappeared. He must felt the vibe.

COOPER: The power of Buddhism. HANCOCK: I'm sorry?

COOPER: The power of Buddhism.

HANCOCK: The power of Buddhism, right? It's the power that comes from your own life actually.

COOPER: And for her, I mean, that was something that really she felt saved her from the abuse in that time.

HANCOCK: Yes, yes. It was like the key component that made her life really turn around and she began to really adamantly practice Buddhism, and encouraged others to check it out for themselves, because that's what this Buddhism is about.


You practice for yourself, and you practice for other people.

COOPER: I want to -- I want to just play, "Proud Mary" was her first- top ten hit. It was the first top-ten hit that the Ike and Tina Turner Revue had. It was also -- they got a Grammy for Best Live Performance -- Best Group Performance. I just want to play a little bit for our viewers, "Proud Mary" because -- I mean there is just nothing like Tina Turner on stage. So, let's just watch this for a second.



COOPER: How incredible is that? I mean, to this day, that was 1971 when they came out with that song.

HANCOCK (via telephone): Nobody had energy like Tina.


COOPER: Yeah. I mean, you can't help but just smile, and I mean, just want to get up and dance to that song. It's amazing.

HANCOCK (via telephone): Yeah. And I'm a terrible dancer.


But for that, I would get up and dance. You don't want to see that, though. You want to watch her, not me.


COOPER: But it's extraordinary how -- I mean, she came from nowhere. She was a high school student when she started, and just the force of her talent and her will, she propelled herself into the -- onto the greatest stages around the world.

HANCOCK (via telephone): I mean, it's remarkable how things began to turn toward her advantage. And everything just seemed to all of a sudden start opening up. In Buddhism, we talk about the lotus flower, that's a key component to our practice.

That the lotus flower is born in a swamp, but it's a gorgeous flower that continues to bloom and its seeds are actually on top of the flower rather than underneath. And that represents simultaneous cause and effect. And so, we believe that human life is like that.


HANCOCK (via telephone): And when you do this practice, things begin to blossom.

COOPER: And it blossomed for her. I mean, once she left the Ike & Tina Revue, I mean things went bad for a while. I think it was 1984 when she came out with the "What's Love Got to Do with It?"

HANCOCK (via telephone): Right.

COOPER: She -- there's a performance she did with the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger. She actually -- she opened for the Rolling Stones. They asked her to open for them in 1966, with Ike Turner. This is from Live Aid, and I just want to play a little of this for our viewers.



COOPER: What was it like to work with her? You worked together on "River - The Joni Letters."

HANCOCK (via telephone): Well, actually, we were in two different countries. She overdubbed her vocal. I wasn't able to go to Germany. The record producer, Larry Klein, actually went -- I think she was living in Germany at that time. Anyway, she was in Europe. And he recorded her there.

And brought the tape back then and brought the -- actually, no, it was -- of course, it was a hard drive. And he brought it back. I was shocked that -- because that's not an easy song to sing, but she was fantastic. And nobody guessed that it was Tina Turner.

COOPER: Is that right (ph)?

HANCOCK (via telephone): I used to play that game with people and say, you know, "Who do you think this is?" I even asked Dianne Reeves, "Who do you think this is singing?" And when I said Tina Turner, they went, "What?"


You know, it's a whole new side of her.


HANCOCK (via telephone): It was a -- she had multiple dimensions.

COOPER: It's so awesome that so many generations of audiences got to know her and love her and just -- I mean just fall in love with the music.

HANCOCK (via telephone): Right.


I'm so glad her life made this turn for success and the positive side of life --


HANCOCK (via telephone): -- for her. Not just the success of having more concerts, but the fact that she could be a spokesperson for great music, for women.

COOPER: Yeah. Also her influence on women in the music industry, for women in Iraq. I mean --

HANCOCK (via telephone): Huge.


HANCOCK (via telephone): Yeah. I don't think there's anything really to compare to her influence --


HANCOCK (via telephone): -- in that regard. And that is so timely right now.


HANCOCK (via telephone): And it's interesting that, I mean, she makes her transition at a time when all of the things she did in her life that moves life forward, are really starting to blossom in an amazing way. As difficult as things are now, certain things are working toward human beings becoming more humane and recognizing more about the things that we need to change.

COOPER: Yeah. Herbie Hancock, it's such a pleasure to talk to you again. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances, but thank you for helping us remember your friend.

HANCOCK (via telephone): Well, thank you, Anderson. Thanks for calling me.

COOPER: Tina turner, she will be missed. It's a busy night. Up next, we have breaking news on the Kremlin drone attack earlier this month and who might be behind it.



COOPER: More breaking news tonight. Sources tell CNN, the U.S. Intelligence has indicated that Ukrainians may have launched the drone on the Kremlin earlier this month. Now, their level of confidence, however, that Ukraine is behind the incident is low. U.S. officials picked up chatter among Ukrainian officials blaming each other for the attack.

They also intercepted communications of Russian officials blaming Ukraine, wondering how it happened. Officials say the U.S. has not been able to reach a definitive conclusion.

Joining me now is CNN National Security Analyst Steve Hall. He's Former CIA Chief of Russia Operation. So, given the fact that U.S. officials are discussing this intelligence, are they trying to send a message to the Ukrainians, or the Russians by the fact that this is leaking out?

STEVEN HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST AND FORMER CIA CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATION: I think, Anderson, what we have going on is sort of a larger message that the U.S. Government is sending, talking about this intelligence. I mean, the Russians are so good about putting up their own propaganda, their own active measures. They've been trying to control the dialog about what's going on in Ukraine.

They're saying it's not really a battle anymore with Ukraine, it's with the West, and this is an opportunity for the U.S. Government and other NATO allies to actually set the record straight and say, "No, that's not the case." And I think that's why you're seeing a little more intelligence than the administrations are used to putting out.

COOPER: The U.S. is assessing, as we said, with low confidence that Ukrainian group may have been behind the incident. Can you explain what that means just from an intelligence standpoint?

HALL: Yeah. There's lots of different ways that intelligence is collected and sometimes you get stuff that isn't exactly -- you're not exactly sure what is going on, but you don't want to just leave it on the cutting room floor.

And so you want to get that to consumers, but you also need to mark it as, 'OK, we're not exactly sure.' Think about, for example, when you talk about the hearsay rule in legal circles. When somebody says something about somebody else, you put a little bit less emphasis on it.

It's a little bit similar in intelligence. You have got other people talking about what other people said or sometimes you get somebody saying something like, "Oh, that event went off very well." And I think you know what you're talking about but you're not sure, and so you have to assign it a little less level of confidence.

COOPER: According to sources, U.S. officials also believe it is unlikely that senior Ukrainian officials, including President Zelenskyy, ordered the attack or knew about it beforehand. Does that seem likely to you, given the circumstances of this war?

HALL: It's a really fascinating question in this particular context. And I think that it might be true here. It might be accurate because one of the questions that came up when this drone strike initially happened was, how did somebody, if it was the Ukrainians, fly this small drone almost 300 miles to right above the Kremlin?

Well, it's a lot easier if you're operating behind Russian lines and you are a lot closer. And over the past couple of days, we have seen some groups that are able to actually conduct military operations against Russia inside of Russia's border.

So, is it possible that partisan group, perhaps Russian nationalists, who don't necessarily respond directly to Zelenskyy when they are in Russia, they might not have told him. They might have just said, "Look, if we have to apologize later, we will. But we're going to go ahead and take action and not tell the senior-most folks back in Ukraine because we are Russians in Russia doing this."

COOPER: How -- I mean, how do you think incidents like this, or the cross-border attacks you just referenced, is actually going to impact intelligence cooperation and military between the Ukraine and the West? Does it?

HALL: I don't think that it will much because I think the administration, our government's position has been, look, Russia attacked Ukraine, Ukraine has to do its best to defend itself. We are going to help them defend themselves, but we are not going to tell them precisely how to do it.

Now, we do get a little nervous when they start using some of the stuff that we have given them inside of Russia. But again, the context is important. None of that military equipment and that training would have been there if the Russians had not attacked and annexed part of Ukraine to begin with. So it's a delicate balancing act on that one.

COOPER: Yeah. Steve Hall, thank you. Appreciate it. Also, there is new news tonight, the IRS whistleblower who claims there's been political interference in the Hunter Biden probe has spoken out publicly for the first time. CNN Sara Murray joins us with the latest on that. So, talk about who the whistleblower is and what he is saying happened during this investigation.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Anderson. This is Gary Shapleigh. He's a 14-year veteran of the IRS and through his attorneys, he has previously said that there was political interference in a case involving high-profile individual. We know that to be Hunter Biden. He has claimed there were conflicts of interest regarding how the case moved forward. And he shared a little bit more light on what he was talking about in an interview tonight with CBS. Take a listen.



GARY SHAPLEY, IRS WHISTLEBLOWER: There was multiple steps that were slow walked at the direction of the Department of Justice.


SHAPLEY: I had not, no.


MURRAY: Now, again, we're still not getting a ton of detail of the meat of his concerns, what he has been concerned about, what was slow walked, what were irregularities in the case. But we should note that in the letters we have seen from his attorneys on this issue, he first raised these concerns internally in the summer of 2020, so that would've been under the Trump Administration. These concerns have persisted under the Biden Ministration and the Hunter Biden case, as you know, still no one has been charged in that, Anderson.

COOPER: And why has he decided to come forward now?

MURRAY: Well, look, he's set to meet on Friday with House Ways and Means Committee and provide investigators behind the scenes more details about his allegations of political interference. And so, he doesn't explicitly say in the interview why he is speaking out now, but it is clear his tensions and his concerns about the case have been bubbling up for some time.

And again, this case has been sort of an interesting one because we've been reporting for a while, the prosecutors have been looking at potential tax charges, potential false statement charge when it comes to Hunter Biden, who has denied any wrongdoing. But again, the prosecutors in this case still have not brought any charges, so it's kind of in limbo at this point, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Sara Murray, appreciate it. Still ahead tonight, report you will only see on CNN, more than a million people have been displaced by the ongoing fighting in Sudan, according to a new study. We'll take you to the front lines in this refugee crisis next.



COOPER: As the fighting in Sudan enters its sixth week, it is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. According to a new report from the United Nations, The International Organization for Migration, more than one million people have been displaced in Sudan. More than 300,000 have fled to neighboring countries, 80,000 of them to Chad. Our CNN Correspondent Larry Madowo reports for us tonight. It's a report you'll only see on CNN.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The kids cry constantly. The adults look weary of war. The pained faces here are a reminder of the horrors that drove them out of Sudan. At this refugee camp across the border in Chad, sadness stalks almost everyone. As fighting intensified in Sudan's western Darfur region, they had to run or risk getting killed. Kobra Abdala (ph) left so suddenly that her son got lost in the chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My brother is still back there. I heard he was injured. I was forced to come to Chad to seek safety.

MADOWO (on camera): Would you go back to Sudan?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No, no. The only reason I will go back is to bring my child and my brother here. There has been too much insecurity for too long.

MADOWO (voice-over): Because of decades of conflict in Sudan, many of these refugees had already been internally displaced several times. Mastira Ishaq (ph) is 22, but hasn't known a permanent home for most of her life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm worried about all the people we left behind, especially my mother who could not cross the border. I keep asking myself how I can get her to Chad.

MADOWO (on camera): I notice there are mostly women and children here. Where are the men from Sudan?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The men told us to take the children and cross the border, so they can stay behind to defend themselves and our property if necessary.

MADOWO (voice-over): The U.N.'s refugee agency says close to 90% of new arrivals in Chad from Sudan are women and children. Many so traumatized that they will need a lot of support to heal.

MADOWO (on camera): We had expected to meet refugees as they arrived in the border town of Koufroun, right across from Sudan. But just before we arrived, it was hit by a rocket. That is why refugees are being moved away from border towns to places like this in Gaga.

MADOWO (voice-over): CNN travelled with USAID Administrator Samantha Power to eastern Chad. The U.S. is giving more than $100 million to support the over one million people displaced by the war across Sudan and in neighboring countries.

SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: We met one woman whose eye had been gouged basically with somebody just attacking her. And she is seeking medical care here in Chad. Horrific violence, which triggers for so many of these people also memories of previous horrific violence.

MADOWO (voice-over): It's a full-circle moment for her. She was in Chad in 2004, writing in 'The New Yorker' about Sudanese civilians fleeing the janjaweed militia in Darfur.

POWER: You talk to them, you feel like you're in a time warp because they're describing janjaweed coming in with their knives and their machetes, killing people, raping women.

MADOWO (on camera): Is it surreal for you being here, hearing these stories when you heard them 20 years ago as a reporter?

POWER: Well, I feel lucky this time at least to be working at USAID, a big development humanitarian agency. At least, there is something I can do. But fundamentally, there is no substitute for the root causes getting addressed for these two warring generals to put their own power grabs aside and put the interests of these people who are fleeing sometimes for the fifth time in their lives.

MADOWO (voice-over): Chad one of the world's poorest countries, had about 400,000 Sudanese refugees before this latest surge.

PATRICE AHOUANSOU, DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE UNHCR - CHAD: We need to collectively work with all the actors in support of the government of Chad to ensure that resources are mobilized to address the urgent needs of the refugees.

MADOWO (voice-over): These are the innocent victims of a deadly power struggle in Sudan. The poor and most vulnerable who have nowhere to go, just another chapter in a life of hardship.


MADOWO: Anderson, this Sudan conflict has quickly spilled over into a regional refugee crisis. These latest statistics from the U.N. are significant. One million (ph) people displaced, mostly in Sudan, but over 200,000 have crossed into neighboring countries like Egypt and Chad. The refugees I met in eastern Chad don't live in comfortable conditions. The heat alone is more than 110-degrees Fahrenheit.


They live in these makeshift structures in the desert, but they still prefer that. It's safer for them than in Darfur where they have come from. So many of them have been displaced, sometimes up to five times. And they don't care which of the two warring generals in Sudan wins this.

They just want peace. They want the same things you and I want, a chance at a dignified life, and they will go back for whoever can deliver that for them. Anderson?

COOPER: Larry Madowo reporting. Thank you.

Here at home, the community of Uvalde, Texas remembers the victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre one year later.


COOPER: Ceremonies tonight in Uvalde, Texas. The city coming together for two prayer vigils to mark one year since the shooting massacre at Robb Elementary School. Earlier, community members released monarch butterflies to mark the day. Uvalde is on the monarch migratory route.

But tonight, they had a large role as a small symbol of renewal and hope as the families of Uvalde and we in the country all remember the 19 fourth graders and two teachers killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in American history.

One year later, their families are still looking for accountability and answers after it took 77 minutes for law enforcement to confront the gunman and to kill him. Remember the victims tonight and think of their families.

The news continues. CNN Primetime with Abby Phillip starts now. See you tomorrow.