Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Leaked Documents Reveal Hidden Details Of Putin Ghost Train; Kremlin: Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin Met With Putin After Attempted Rebellion; Trump, DOJ Suggest July 18th For Documents Case Hearing; More Than Nine Million Across Parts Of America's Northeast Under Flood Alerts; Rep. George Santos Now Compares Himself To Civil Rights Icon. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 10, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: The revelations about Nasser's abuse sparked national outrage. Star gymnasts including Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, all blasting the FBI and the Justice Department for mishandling allegations against Nasser.
Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
AC 360 begins now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": Tonight on 360: A CNN exclusive. What life is like inside Vladimir Putin's secret armored train and why he has been taking it more and more since invading Ukraine.
The former president and his valet, are they trying to run out the clock in the classified documents case? What Special Counsel Jack Smith did about it today.
Also tonight, record rain and floods in the Northeast. We will tell you who's about to get hit next.
Vladimir Putin may be one of the most secretive Russian leaders since Joseph Stalin, but tonight, we're taking you inside his secret armored train.
This, on a day that Russia and the war in Ukraine is very much in the news. President Biden has arrived in Lithuania for Wednesday's NATO Summit, where the US and its allies will discuss efforts to contain Vladimir Putin's aggression. That's where Biden will be meeting with Ukraine's President Zelenskyy, whose attendance had been in question until late today.
The war and a path for Ukraine's eventual NATO membership both expected to be on the agenda and top the agenda.
Also today, Turkey dropped objections to Sweden becoming a member and Stockholm in turn appears to be supporting Turkish membership in the European Union, according to Turkey's state-run news agency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: Completing Sweden's accession to NATO is an historic step that benefits the security of all NATO allies at this critical time. It makes us all stronger and safer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In Russia, of course, there was the stunning claim by the Kremlin's top spokesman that Vladimir Putin met with the Yevgeny Prigozhin just five days after the Wagner mercenary boss led an armed insurrection, overran a major city, shot down Russian aircraft, and began marching toward Moscow.
Now, that claim notwithstanding, we have not seen Prigozhin in public since the 24th of last month.
I'm going to talk about all of this with a former CIA chief and Russia operations. First though, the CNN exclusive, the lifting the veil on Vladimir Putin's secret train.
CNN's Matthew Chance did the reporting. He joins us now from London.
Matthew, this is really fascinating. What have you learned?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, I mean, Anderson, remarkably, little is known about Vladimir Putin's private life or about how he travels around his vast country, which makes this incredible trove of photographs and documents that was gathered by the Dossier Center, which is a Russian investigative group, and shared with CNN, all the more fascinated with the revelations it brings out about that train, and about how Vladimir Putin is treated behind closed doors.
CHANCE (voice over): A rare glimpse inside Putin's secret train, with leaked documents shown to CNN.
(GLEB KARAKULOV speaking in foreign language.)
TRANSLATION: It is a special train for the president.
CHANCE (voice over): Revealing how the Kremlin leader travels amid increasingly tight security and luxury.
ABBAS GALLYAMOV, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR VLADIMIR PUTIN: He is surrounded by enemies, and psychologically, he wants to feel protected.
CHANCE (voice over): From outside, train number one as it is dubbed in Russia seems ordinary. Its heavily armored carriages, purposely disguised with regular Russian Railways paintwork and grime.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
CHANCE (voice over): State media was once allowed inside recording President Putin meeting transport officials in a sumptuous boardroom.
The trains other 20 or so carriages, some updated as recently as last year, have remained a closely guarded secret until now.
Zircon Service is a Russian company that builds what it calls elite wagons for its clients, specializing in luxury designs for private and state corporations, and of course, the Kremlin.
Among a trove of documents, including blueprints, letters and images, obtained exclusively by the Russian investigative Dossier Center and shared with CNN is one from Zircon Service, dated August 2018 notifying the Kremlin of a test run for what it calls the sports health wagon that's been ordered.
Accompanying photos show what the Dossier Center says is Putin's private gym onboard the train. As recently as last year, the Kremlin was looking to upgrade the gym with American equipment to replace the Italian machines originally installed.
A former member of Putin's personal protection service, who says he fitted the train's secure communications equipment before defecting from Russia told the Dossier Center, the Kremlin leader started traveling by train more regularly in the build up to the invasion of Ukraine last year.
(GLEB KARAKULOV speaking in foreign language.)
TRANSLATION: Planes can always be detected. While there are so many trains and there's no real way to track them.
So, this way was just for secrecy so nobody knew his movements.
CHANCE (voice over): But discretion for the Russian president doesn't mean discomfort.
Leaked plans for the train also show a luxurious spa onboard, including a Turkish steam bath. And according to the Dossier Center, a fully equipped cosmetology suite with a massage table and high-end beauty equipment.
CHANCE (on camera): Now the Kremlin disputes the Dossier Center's findings telling CNN that President Putin neither owns nor uses a railway car like the one described.
But in the aftermath of a recent armed rebellion here in Russia, in which Putin's authority was threatened, the focus on his isolated existence is higher than ever.
CHANCE (voice over): And the idea of Putin being pampered as he travels incognito by armored train underlines how strangely cloistered the Kremlin leader has become, even paranoid and besieged according to his former speechwriter.
Why is it do you think that Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin has spent such large sums of money planning and constructing this armored presidential train?
GALLYAMOV: He is losing the war, he is losing politics, he losing in popularity. He is getting more and more enemies, committing more and more crimes.
He cannot build political walls, so he wants to build the walls of concrete and armor. Physical defense.
CHANCE (voice over): There are signs that's an image the Kremlin knows it should show. In recent weeks, we have seen Putin more publicly engaged than he has been for years.
But in his increasingly hostile world, the security and luxury of train number one, maybe sanctuary indeed.
COOPER: Matthew, I mean, is he, do you think, more concerned about threats from outside Russia or from inside Russia itself?
CHANCE: I think it's almost certainly from inside Russia, that that seems to be what most observers would have said is true about Putin.
Remember, the critics -- his critics have been jailed, poisoned, imprisoned. Opposition has been neutralized. And of course, Putin is absolutely right to be concerned about the threat from within his country.
Just a couple of weeks ago, there was an armed uprising, of course in Russia. And I suppose the ironic thing is that the more cloistered the Russian president becomes, the more cut off he is from the rest of the country, the greater those threats become.
So he is in an increasingly difficult -- in an increasingly difficult situation -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Matthew Chance, I appreciate that.
Perspective now on the Prigozhin mystery and today's NATO news from Steve Hall, former chief of Russia operations at the CIA and currently, CNN national security analyst; also CNN military analyst and retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
General Hertling, when you hear that Prigozhin met with Vladimir Putin, again, this is from the Kremlin spokesperson. This is from Peskov, so take it with a grain of salt, but -- and even the top leadership, the top generals of the Wagner Group, does that surprise you?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You know, Anderson, we've got to consider the fact that, you know, we have focused on Prigozhin as part of the operations in Ukraine over the last several months, and he has headlined that operation.
But he is head of a worldwide global private military company. They are in several continents attacking in several countries -- Syria, the Middle East, in Africa. So Mr. Putin can't afford to lose this guy.
You would think that he would immediately have been put in jail because of the uprising in Ukraine and in Russia. But truthfully, he has such charisma and such sway over a large percentage of forces that is helping the Russian government in various countries that he couldn't afford to be cashiered.
So I think this meeting, again, I don't have any classified intelligence, but I'm sure this meeting was an attempt to get him back on board, while his forces, the Wagner Group are being dispersed, and in fact, sort of broken up, being told, hey, they've got to join the Russian military or get away from the Wagner group, so there is confusion within that force.
COOPER: I mean, Steve, it was June 24th that Putin called the leaders of the rebellion, which would include Prigozhin, traitors on television. Now, the spokesman is saying, five days later on June 29th, he met with Prigozhin, and then they -- you know, on Russian state television, they're putting out all of this video of the raids on Prigozhin's properties, looking at his wigs and his money and all of the guns he has, which I assume comes with the Kremlin stamp of approval for all of that video to be out there, and then to be sort of trying to tear him down as a populist. How do you read all of this?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, Anderson, I think the best way to read it is perhaps looking at the target audiences for these individual activities. It really doesn't matter whether or not this ridiculous meeting happened or not. And by the way, we don't have any confirmation except from Mr. Peskov who is well-known for not stating the truth.
But it doesn't matter. It is the message that Putin and the Kremlin want to get out. So there is, I think, great concern in the Kremlin, and certainly with Putin himself, that Prigozhin actually might have gotten a grip or somehow found a good niche for himself inside of the Russian population.
Remember the themes that he was talking about? My boys are being killed, they don't have enough guns and ammo, regardless of the fact that he was using them as cannon fodder. That's something that the Russian people care about. We saw that, you know, two decades ago, when the Grozny and the Chechen situation was going down, and the mothers of those killed servicemen started to protest in the streets and it was a serious problem. So they've got to do something about that.
And what they do is they say, look, Putin was basically acting as dad between the Ministry of Defense and Prigozhin, and it's all going to be okay, because now he's in control. But that doesn't mean that his elite isn't watching this carefully. And what have they learned? Well, they've learned that you can basically have a military attack almost on Moscow and get away with it and not get immediately killed. And indeed, if it is true, get a meeting with Putin.
So I think it depends on which audience you're looking at, to get an idea as to what message is being transmitted.
COOPER: General Hertling, just on the military front. I mean, Turkey drops its objection to Sweden joining NATO. What does Sweden bring to the table from a military standpoint?
HERTLING: Truthfully, Anderson, it is a very good force. It was one of the strongest partners we had when I was commander in Europe close to a decade ago. Their army is about 24,000. They have a reserve of about 34,000.
They have a very good Air Force of about 120 Gripen aircrafts, over 300 ships in their Navy. They have a great capability of patrolling and monitoring the northern oceans that lead in and out of northern Russia. It's a good force, well-led, very operationally savvy.
But truthfully, the fact that they have stayed independent throughout the history of NATO, and then suddenly they want to become members, and they are now joined or they will be joining, I'm sure, it just shows how Mr. Putin's political objectives of further dividing NATO has really fallen apart along with his other military and political objectives. So it's a very good sign. Sweden and Finland, both joining NATO, there's nothing better.
COOPER: General Hertling, appreciate it. Steve Hall, thank you.
Next, breaking news in the documents case. The former president's legal team weighing in after another go slow move by his co-defendant, Walt Nauta and the special counsel's answer to it.
Also, a new round of flooding in the Northeast where the damage and suffering are already severe.
COOPER: There is breaking news tonight in the Trump documents case. A new court filing by his defense team, the special counsel's office on when the next significant milestone will be. That caps a day that saw co-defendant, Walt Nauta arraigned last week after two delays asking to delay a court hearing scheduled for Friday.
And that in turn underscored questions that legal observers have already raised about go-slow tactics. It also prompted a sharp reply from the special counsel, Jack Smith.
CNN's Evan Perez joins us now with that and the breaking news. So, what's the latest?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the new date that everybody appears to be coalescing around is the 18th, which is next Tuesday. It's just a slight delay, but it is something that I think is emerging as a theme that the special counsel team is already flagging as an ongoing issue.
I'll read you just a part of what they say in their filing today to the judge. They said: "An indefinite continuance is unnecessary and will inject additional delay in this case, and is contrary to the public interest." They are flagging the idea that, you know, small delays like this will add up to longer delays.
The special counsel already indicated that they want a speedy trial. They believe it is in the public interest to have a speedy trial. Of course, we know, Anderson that Donald Trump and his co-defendant, Walt Nauta appear to not want that.
The former president is, of course, running for office again and it appears that his strategy is one we've seen before, which is to delay, delay, delay and perhaps delay beyond the 2024 election.
The special counsel already calling that out. So, we'll see whether the judge signs off on this new date for them to discuss these classified matters next Tuesday -- Anderson.
COOPER: What more do we know about the deadline today regarding the special counsel's proposal that the trial begin in mid-December?
PEREZ: Right, so they have a deadline until midnight tonight for the Trump team to say exactly what they are thinking as far as a trial date.
Keep in mind, Anderson, that under the law, you know, it is the defendant that has the right to a speedy trial. It's their right to invoke a speedy trial. And so the special counsel, the government really doesn't have that same power.
And what we're expecting is, you know, what we've seen before, right, from the Trump team, which is they're going to ask for a further delay of this. We expect that they are going to litigate a lot of the issues, including the classified documents that are at play here, Anderson.
The special counsel has proposed a trial date of December and so we'll see what the Trump team proposes. But as I said, you know, they've shown already that they want to delay this as far as they can -- Anderson.
COOPER: Evan Perez, appreciate it. Thank you.
Now, the man who wants to defeat the former president, but is suffering in the polls and blaming the messenger for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Yes, and you've done a great job pushing back against woke, we know that. But I'm wondering what's going on with your campaign?
There was a lot of optimism about you running for president earlier in the year, but here's this weekend's headline from the Politico playbook: Failure to Launch. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' campaign to topple Donald Trump has stalled. We are way behind says a top DeSantis PAC official sounding the alarm. What happened?
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maria, these are narratives. The media does not want me to be the nominee. I think that's very, very clear. Why? Because they know I'll beat Biden.
But even more importantly, they know I will actually deliver on all these things.
It's pretty clear that the media does not want me to be the candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's the media's fault. To be clear, the governor almost exclusively appears on friendly conservative outlets and even there, as you can see, he didn't seem happy with the questions.
As for his claim, it is the media who don't want him to defeat Donald Trump, polling shows that it's actually a plurality of Republican voters who don't.
The most recent CNN polling shows him trailing the former president by 21 points.
Joining us now, two CNN political commentators, Van Jones and former Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger.
Congressman, can you just try to explain how exactly the media, much of which he does not speak to, is to blame for Governor DeSantis' struggling candidacy among Republican voters?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So Anderson, the one thing we have learned, we've learned it from Donald Trump and everybody else is never ever -- this is like the new not the buck stops here -- but never ever accept blame for anything.
It's always like perry, you know, defend push off and the media is an easy target. Right? I mean, he -- again, yes, he only appears on Fox News or friendly media. He doesn't come on CNN. But somehow it's the media's fault.
Well, I'll tell you the truth. It's actually Ron DeSantis' fault because he made a decision -- I think this is largely the issue. He made a decision early on that he was going to try to be a younger version of Donald Trump.
Actually, I mean, tactically, it's probably not a bad decision to make, except that Donald Trump is running again, and nobody can out- Trump, Donald Trump, and so it was a bad tactical decision, and I think he's waiting and hoping that Donald Trump is indicted and indicted again, or he is convicted and, and people sit back and say, okay, well, who's the new Trump? And in that case, he'd be able to come into that field, but it's just not going to work that way.
COOPER: Yes, Van, just logically, I mean, I guess he is referring to what he would call the left-wing media, anybody who he is not actually speaking to, but -- so he is saying that the left-wing media is influencing Republican voters not to vote for him.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, it is kind of sad. I mean, he -- to the contrary, the media -- the establishment media was jumping up and down. I mean, way before even launched, breathless, oh, maybe it won't be Trump, maybe it'll be DeSantis.
And of course, I thought that was kind of weird, since I thought DeSantis was probably worse than Trump. But I mean, he got the biggest build up, the biggest support. I mean, it was nuts. It was, you know, DeSantis mania for months and months.
Then he launches his campaign, it was just like this little pfft. So he got more support from the mainstream media than any Republican has ever gotten. He just couldn't convert.
And by the way, you're exactly right, Anderson, who in the Republican base is listening to mainstream media in the first place? He is getting killed by his own people, because his strategy is dumb. He tried to run to the right of Donald Trump, when there's a big space to the moderate center of Donald Trump. He ran away from his natural constituency, and now he's failing.
And to the Congressman's point, rather than being a grown up and saying, maybe I should change, he just wants to cry about it.
COOPER: It sounds like Congressman, that strategy may be changing a little bit, according to "The Wall Street Journal," DeSantis is reportedly now planning to do interviews around a series of policy proposals that he is laying out in the coming weeks.
I mean, is that an acknowledgment that what he's been doing so far isn't working? I mean, now they're sending his wife out solo on the campaign trail, because I guess, among voters, she has shown some traction.
KINZINGER: Yes, it is probably an acknowledgment that he'll never acknowledge, again, probably tactically shouldn't, but it is also, you know, nobody is ever at fault, you know, except for -- I mean, everybody is at fault except for him.
So, yes, I think, look -- I think it would actually be good for the debate if he does pivot to issues. People want to know where he stands on. You know, when he signed the abortion ban in Florida, for instance, kind of did it in the dead of night. These are issues he needs to come out and talk about and defend his positions.
Anybody running for president anywhere needs to come out and defend their positions, but I think the big issue is this. I can't remember at least in my life, anytime, an almost guaranteed frontrunner or a significantly talked about frontrunner, as early as Ron DeSantis was has ever advanced to end up being that person. I mean, you think back, you know, the early days of Governor Bush, Governor Scott Walker, that's the nature of it, and he was built up far too much, far too fast. And he doesn't have -- I don't mean this meanly -- he just doesn't have the personality or the acumen to be able to follow through on that.
COOPER: Van, the Congressman alluded to it a little bit, do you think it's a mistake for DeSantis to try and run to the right of former President Trump? Has that been a mistake?
JONES: Oh, only because there's nothing there but a ditch. I mean, you can't go -- you can't out-Trump Trump. The Congressman just said it.
When you look at the people who are available in his party to vote against Donald Trump, it is the people who would maybe admire the competence of a governor who has gotten a lot of stuff done, but not people who are more extreme.
And so he's done this bizarre thing, where it's -- I guess, there's some narrow slice of people who just don't think Donald Trump is mean and horrible enough, but I haven't found them yet and nor can the pollsters, and so that is what is showing up. He has got a terrible strategy to get the nomination. And, you know, it's just the bottom line.
COOPER: Van Jones, appreciate it. Adam Kinzinger as --
KINZINGER: Anderson, you know what -- I was just going to say real quick. I think, he at the very beginning just thought Trump was going down, and he needed to carbon copy Trump. The problem is Trump's not going down.
COOPER: Do you? I mean, how much does just being a nice person matter on the campaign trail, in national politics, do you think, Congressman? Or somebody you want to have a beer which is the old saying about you know, George W. Bush.
KINZINGER: It hasn't lately -- yes, it hasn't lately, but actually, I mean, if you think about it, people like Donald Trump's personality that like it, you know, they think he's funny and everything else. I'm not a fan of it.
But I do think people have to feel like they like you, you're relatable. He doesn't -- he doesn't exude that. He doesn't have that vibe, obviously.
Donald Trump somehow figured out a way to be a billionaire totally out of touch with America and exude that vibe, but Ron just hasn't.
COOPER: Congressman, appreciate it. Van Jones as well.
Up next, devastating flooding, roads and even stairs turned into rivers. A look at the damage in parts of the Northeast and where it may be moving next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Across parts of America's Northeast, more than nine million people under flood alerts over the past two days. Intense rain and flash flooding, leaving homes in ruins, also roads and cars washed away. Take a look at a scene in Pennsylvania on Sunday.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
COOPER: In a moment, we'll get a live report from Vermont. First, the latest from CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Vermont, already incredibly hard hit and it's still raining. The state's Search and Rescue Coordinator says some towns are inaccessible at this point.
MIKE CANNON, VERMONT URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM: We have a swift water team in that area trying to gain access so we can continue doing welfare checks.
MYERS: So far, at least 50 people have been rescued as roads are washed out and rivers continue to rise. Neighboring Massachusetts sent their emergency task force members to help out.
UNKNOWN: It's going on for days and that's my concern.
MYERS: This comes on the heels of deadly flooding in parts of New York State. Homes inundated with water in Rockland County. Just north in West Point, more than seven and a half inches fell in just six hours on Sunday. That's a one in one thousand-year rainfall event for that area, according to CNN analysis of NOAA's data. In Orange County, one woman was swept away by floodwaters.
STEVE NAUHAUS, ORANGE COUNTY EXECUTIVE: She was in the bottom of a ravine.
MYERS: Their county executive says emergency services conducted about 50 significant water rescues. And right now, there are no reports of anyone missing.
NAUHAUS: I saw active-duty Army soldiers up to their bellies. We were walking to cars to make sure that people got out.
MYERS: Eighty-year-old Richard Beyers says this is some of the worst flooding he's ever seen. He was rescued by boat from his home on Sunday.
RICHARD BEYERS, NEW YORK RESIDENT RESCUED IN FLOOD: I'm just depressed and sad that this is happening. I knew I was going to lose a lot of stuff.
MYERS: People were forced from their homes and cars all across the Northeast.
UNKNOWN: I just watched my car swim away.
KATHY HOCHUL, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: This is the new normal. Be prepared for the worst because the worst continues to happen.
MYERS: Chad Myers, CNN.
COOPER: More now from hard-hit Vermont. That's where Miguel Marquez is tonight in the town of Rockingham. Miguel, what's it like there? You spend all day trying to, I know, get up to the hardest hit places.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been trying to get to Ludlow and other areas that are hit incredibly hard, and this is what you find everywhere. This is the Williams River in Chester, actually. We had to come back from Rockingham because we couldn't get a signal out of there, and the water was extremely deep.
I want to show you. I'm standing on mud here and if I stand up this way, that is the road. But check this out. It's washed out just over here. This you will see throughout this area. You will go down a road. There'll be no water on it. A half-hour later, it will be completely flooded out. And keep in mind, this is now good. The water is starting to recede here in Vermont, but they have had rainfall after rainfall after rainfall for weeks and weeks now, and there is literally nowhere for the water to go.
Search and rescue in Vermont has affected about 50, if not more by now, search and rescues. We saw one earlier today in the six counties, sort of in the southern part of the state that are having, are being hardest hit by the rainfall. The green mountains here, that storm just went up it and dumped a massive amount of rain very, very quickly onto it. And it all flowed into the into the valleys and into the rivers and this is the effect. You could be upriver and the water will go down. But if you go downriver, it gets higher and higher. We were at a spot trying to cross earlier.
And suddenly we heard a very loud rumbling and emergency crew says everybody out, you know, go back to higher ground right now. They weren't sure if a bridge had collapsed or a dam had collapsed or there was going to be a pulse of water coming down there as people were waiting for the water to recede at another crossing down here.
Just very, very concerning times for Vermont right now. The entire state has just been pummeled by this latest storm. Anderson.
COOPER: And I mean, is the worst of it over?
MARQUEZ: The worst of it is over for now. If they get another storm in here, you're gonna have a similar effect. But they expect tomorrow will be brighter and sunnier. They'll start to dry out and then all the people who lost their cars, their homes, lots of folks we talked to whose homes are inundated right now, they will be able to get in, assess, and figure out how they pick up the pieces and go from here. Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah, Miguel Marquez, thank you very much. Serial Fabulous Congressman George Santos now comparing himself to a civil rights icon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE SANTOS (R), U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, guess what Rosa Parks didn't sit in the back and neither am I going to sit in the back.
COOPER: Oh boy, we'll be right back.
COOPER: Okay, so the serial fabulous New York Congressman George Santos has taken on many fake identities with his fabricated resume and his shamelessness continues. He has now compared himself to Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks. His comments came in a recent podcast interview where he discussed Senator Mitt Romney, reportedly telling him, quote, you don't belong here. Before President Biden's State of the Union address in February, Santos invoked Rosa Parks' name when discussing what happened. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I'm going to call them out. You want to call me a liar? I'll call you a sellout. I mean, Mitt Romney, the man goes to the State of the Union of the United States wearing the Ukraine lapel pin, tells me, a Latino gay man, that I shouldn't sit in the front, that I should be in the back. Well, guess what? Rosa Parks didn't sit in the back, and neither am I going to sit in the back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, snap. Let's put this into context, shall we? In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to sit in the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white passenger. Her act of extraordinary courage and defiance led to the Montgomery bus boycott and is known as one of the earliest starting points of the civil rights movement.
Nearly a year later, Supreme Court ruled the city's bus segregation laws were legal and unconstitutional. By comparison, Mr. Santos is awaiting trial on criminal fraud charges. He's pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment that includes allegations of misusing campaign funds and lying about his personal finances on a House disclosure form. He's also admitted to lying about his resume and family background. The first term congressman's thirstiness is unquenched, however, and he claims he will be seeking re-election.
So, let's take a look at the numbers, shall we? Our Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten is here. So, what does the data show us about how Mr. Santos is polling?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN Senior Data Reporter: What the hell is wrong with him? Can I just say that? I mean, my goodness gracious. You know, look, his favorable rating in his own district comes in at seven percent. That's not particularly high. So, I like to --
COOPER: I mean, I'm surprised it's that high, to be honest.
ENTEN: Well, you know, again, you can get seven percent of Americans to agree upon anything. And in fact, I have some examples of that right there. How --
COOPER: Ten percent believe the Earth is flat?
ENTEN: Ten percent of Americans believe the Earth is flat.
ENTEN: Twelve percent of Americans believe that the U.S. faked the moon landing.
COOPER: Oh, well, that's, you know, yeah, of course.
ENTEN: So obviously, right? So, the fact is --
COOPER: Stanley Kubrick filmed it.
ENTEN: Yeah, there we go. That's exactly right. They did it on a set stage. We did it all for some ridiculous reason. So, I think that gives you an understanding of just how unpopular this dude is. He has fallen behind conspiracy theories. His support pocket in New York's third district is so, so small.
COOPER: And, what -- I mean, does he have fundraising numbers? Does he put those out?
ENTEN: Yeah, he did. For quarter one. We don't know what his quarter two fundraising is, but for quarter one. He raised a little bit more than $5000. By comparison, his Republican challenger, we know what his quarter two fundraising is, and he's raised about $200,000.
ENTEN: So, I'm not necessarily the biggest math genius in the world, but I believe that is 40 times, about 40 times as much as the incumbent representative has. And that, of course, is ridiculous, because normally, you know, incumbents raise a lot of money. In this case, the incumbent is being far out raised.
COOPER: Santos has great name recognition.
ENTEN: He does have great name recognition, but sometimes you know they say that all news is good news. Perhaps that's not necessarily the case in politics because in this particular case that news seems to be quite negative.
COOPER: And are there polls about Rosa Parks' popularity?
ENTEN: Yeah, there are, so --
COOPER: Are there, really? ENTEN: There are, but there's false about everything, come on, you know this. You know, if George Santos is universally disliked, Rosa Parks is universally well-liked, at least now. So, if you look at Rosa Parks' favorable rating among Democrats and Republicans, they hover right at about 90 percent, right? Slightly higher among Democrats than Republicans, but the fact is that's within any statistical margin of error.
COOPER: Well, that's at least good to see.
ENTEN: It's good to see. I come with good news. Yes. You know, we have a serial fabulous who's somehow gotten to Congress, but the fact is Rosa Parks, a civil rights hero, rightfully so, is still very well liked.
ENTEN: While someone like George Santos is not just disliked by Democrats. He's disliked by Republicans with just a favorable rating of only 11 percent among Republicans in his own district.
COOPER: Yeah, Harry Enten, thanks very much, appreciate it.
ENTEN: Thank you so much.
COOPER: Still ahead, President Biden's royal visit, meeting today with the first time with King Charles since he was crowned. We'll check in on how that went, next.
COOPER: Before heading to the high stakes NATO summit in Lithuania, we talked about earlier, President Biden was in Britain meeting with King Charles for the first time since he took the throne. This was Biden's second trip to Windsor Castle since taking office. In 2021, he met with the late Queen Elizabeth II. He also met with King Charles during the Queen's funeral last year, but in keeping with U.S. tradition, the President didn't go to the coronation in May.
President Biden put his hand on the King's back at one point during their visit, which was much commented upon in the U.K. A royal source said that it was correct protocol and called it a, quote, a wonderful symbol of warmth and affection.
Joining me now is CNN Royal Commentator and Author of "George VI and Elizabeth: The Marriage that Saved the Monarchy", Sally Bedell Smith. So, Sally, seeing the President and the King together, they've obviously both been on the world stage for decades. Do these kinds of meetings matter?
SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the one today did matter. It was different from certainly the way the Queen operated. Not that she wasn't aware of substantive issues, but it was mostly played out in private. And today was, to me, having studied him for a long time, sort of a marker for his reign. He was -- he's always been a convener. He's loved convening groups but that was Prince of Wales and hen now, he is King, and he was doing it with a very specific agenda in mind and an agenda that he absolutely shares with President Biden.
They are completely in accord on climate and this was a -- this was a heavy hitter group. It was 50 to 60 of some of the most prominent businessmen, philanthropists, financiers and they were all getting together. It was really under the auspices of the British government. We have to remember that the King, now that he's King, only does things that the government allows him to do.
COOPER: You know, it's interesting. There was some talk in the U.K. about the President putting his hand on the King's back as sort of not being a traditional protocol.
It was sort of, I guess, poo-pooed by royal sources who said it was, you know, not a big deal at all. There is that formality, though. There is that obviously that tradition in England. There is that formality and it was more the case with the Queen. I remember once when the Queen was on a state visit to Washington, D.C. and she went to visit somebody and the woman was so enthusiastic that she put her arms around the Queen and you could see the Queen's hands were sort of pointed to the ground. She didn't know what to do.
Charles grew up in a sort of more huggy time. He had a very huggy grandmother and he's been out and about with people in very informal settings. And I think that kind of a tactile approach was not anything that would put him off. He, you know, he's been hugged a lot by people out on rope lines and he -- I don't think it bothered him at all. And it was an expression of warmth on the part of Biden and reciprocated by the King.
COOPER: It's also interesting when you look at both the President and the King, obviously the President is a few years older but they're basically of the same generation and they both waited a very long time to get to their respective jobs. I mean, there is this sort of strange commonality.
BEDELL SMITH: There is. I mean, obviously the King was born to it. His destiny began the day he was born in 1948. And Joe Biden started indicating that he wanted to be president back in the 1980s. He had a few fits and starts along the way. But in a sense, they both have fulfilled their destiny, Charles as a septuagenarian and Joe Biden is a youngish octogenarian. And I think, you know, I think that means a lot to both of them to finally be able to fulfill their ambitions at -- even at this, what they call in England, great age.
COOPER: Sally Bedell Smith, it's great to talk to you as always. Thank you.
BEDELL SMITH: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, all the demons are here. CNN's Jake Tapper joins me to talk about his new book, exploring the chaotic post-Watergate era of the 70s, next.
COOPER: UFOs, discos, celebrities, and the rise of tabloid journalism, and my colleague Jake Tapper's new thriller-novel, "All the Demons Are Here". He explores the underworlds of 1970s America through the lens of an AWOL Marine. The new novel continues the Martyr Family story and the chaos of the decade. And thanks to Jake's intensive research, love of politics and pop culture, history. The book is really a great read. Jake is here with me tonight. Congratulations on this book.
JAKE TAPPER, AUTHOR, "ALL THE DEMONS ARE HERE": Thank you.
COOPER: I love this book and I feel like you are writing about my childhood. It's Evil Knievel, Studio 54, or New York City blackout of 1977, which I have huge memories of.
TAPPER: Do you really remember it?
COOPER: Oh my God, of course. And Elvis' death, which was, I totally remember.
TAPPER: So, 1977 was -- so, I was eight in 1977. You're just like a couple years older than that. I'm 56, so yeah, I was nine. So, I was in Philly and my parents were hiding all of this from me. Summer of Sam, New York City. I didn't know any of it. The only thing I remember is Elvis Stein --
TAPPER: -- which was very tragic to me. I loved Elvis.
TAPPER: But I didn't, and disco, I remember disco too.
COOPER: I went to Studio 54 in 1978 with my mom twice. Insane.
TAPPER: Well, that's your particular childhood that I've read about in your books. But I will say --
COOPER: And you have Truman Capote. Truman Capote's there. I knew him well.
TAPPER: So --
COOPER: Did you know Roy Cohn? I did know Roy Cohn.
TAPPER: Yes. He also shows up, spoiler alert, in Studio 54.
COOPER: My mom's lawyer, who got disbarred, worked for Roy Cohn.
TAPPER: Should have told you right there. I should have consulted you.
COOPER: I was 10 years old. I was like, Mom, you should not have a lawyer who worked with Roy Cohn. I was 10. I knew this.
TAPPER: So, I should have consulted you on the book. But I will say, 1970, I was going to skip. You know, the first book was about the 50s. The second book was about the 60s.
TAPPER: I was going to skip the 70s, because I remembered them, my, you know, sheltered view of them. And I thought, these lame gas lines, malaise.
COOPERE: They were incredible.
TAPPER: No, they were insane as you as you knew and so when I went diving into them and I realized like UFO sightings and cults, Studio 54, New York City blackout, Son of Sam, which you remember, and I don't, because my parents hid it from me. This was a wild and crazy time and very fun to write about.
COOPER: Well, also what's great about the series that you've done is that, I mean, if you have read your previous books, it's a continuation of The Martyr Family, Senator Martyr, his wife, the two kids. But you don't have to have read your previous books. This is a standalone book.
COOPER: You can just jump right in.
TAPPER: And in this one, the kids are now in their 20s.
TAPPER: So, they're the main characters. Lucy is a journalist, an aspiring journalist --
COOPER: --And working for a Rupert Murdoch figure.
TAPPER: Yeah, exactly. Max Lyon is his name, loosely based on Rupert Murdoch and she goes into the world of tabloid journalism, which was huge in 1977 and has, unfortunately, continued to be.
COOPER: I also thought of Robert Maxwell a little bit.
TAPPER: A little bit.
COOPER: A little bit with him. TAPPER Yeah.
COOPER: Which -- whose name has sort of been forgotten by history, except for Epstein's.
TAPPER: Except for Ghislaine Maxwell.
TAPPER: Right. And then Ike is, he's an AWOL Marine, and he's working for Evil Knievel in Butte, Montana, and that whole plot gets into the idea of demagogues and mobs and why people follow charismatic figures like Evil Knievel. Were you into Evil Knievel?
COOPER: I was very into Evil Knievel.
TAPPER: See, that -- I missed that, too.
COOPER: Evil Knievel's son, even? Robbie Knievel?
TAPPER: He passed away earlier this year.
COOPER: I'm not even aware of that.
TAPPER: Yeah. But no, that character is so fascinating. I wasn't into him. A friend of mine was, told -- when I figured, okay, I need to do the seventies, I started looking into Evil Knievel and I'm like --
COOPER: I wanted a motorcycle my entire life and it was the one rule I had I couldn't -- wasn't -- I'd have one. So, of course, when I came of age, in 18, before I got a car, I got a motorcycle license.
TAPPER: And they're really dangerous.
COOPER: They are ridiculous. I drove -- I rode for three years, then I was like, okay.
TAPPER: They're incredibly dangerous. And he wasn't even, by the way, a particularly good motorcycle.
COOPER: Is that right? Really?
TAPPER: No, he was just braver or dumber or willing to jump over 15 buses. But the idea that this guy, who was a stuntman, and was one of the hugest celebrities in the 1970s, just was unfathomable to me.
COOPER: But it's so well-written, and it is, I mean, it's a page- turner. It's just an exciting story.
TAPPER: This is fun. This is fun and if it's fun for me, hopefully it'll be fun for the reader.
COOPER: It's gonna be fun for the reader. "All The Demons Are Here". Congratulations.
TAPPER: Thank you so much, Anderson. I appreciate it. COOPER: Yeah, again, the name of the book is "All The Demons Are
Here". It's out tomorrow, and it is a really great read. Well, it is a big night here, not just because of Jake's book, but tonight's the premiere of "The Source with Kaitlin Collins". I'll certainly be watching. So, with the very best wishes from everyone at 360, here is "The Source with Kaitlin Collins".