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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Interview With Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY); Interview With Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); Major Corporations Accused Of Breaking Promises To Leave Russia; Witness In Hunter Biden Investigation Charged With Arms Trafficking, Acting As Chinese Agent, Violating U.S. Sanctions; U.S. Attorney Leading Hunter Biden Probe Refutes Claims Made By IRS Whistleblower In Letter Obtained By CNN; FBI Director Wray Testifying Before House Judiciary Committee Tomorrow; Catastrophic Flooding In Vermont; PA State Police Have Found Items In The Last 24 Hours Believed To Be Connected To Escaped Inmate; Suspect He's Receiving Help; Jury: Aretha Franklin's 2014 Handwritten Will Found Under Sofa Cushion Is Valid. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 11, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Van Houten has undergone in the past 50 years. Now, Van Houten was a teenager, right? She said she was 19 years old. She said she was on drugs when she joined the Manson cult.

Now, she was not part of the group that killed five people, including actress, Sharon Tate, but the next night, she did participate in the killing of a supermarket executive and his wife, stabbing her 14 to 16 times.

Well, thanks very much for joining us tonight.

AC 360 begins right now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": Tonight on 360: The former president's legal strategy becomes clearer. Delay, delay, delay. His lawyers make their case to the judge in the documents case. We are Keeping Them Honest.

Also Senator Tommy Tuberville last night on CNN, he said "White nationalist to me is an American." Now, he is doing damage control while still blocking promotions in military officers and a battle over abortion.

And live reporting tonight from New England where some of the worst flooding there in a decades is still far from over.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, we know what has long been suspected, the former President is trying to run out the clock in the documents case and it's not just us saying it, he and his legal team did.

A court filing which arrived just before midnight last night spells it out. In it, attorneys for the former president and his co-defendant, Walt Nauta asked Judge Aileen Cannon to not only set aside her August trial date, but to also, and I quote: "... postpone any consideration of a new trial date." So delay the trial and delay deciding when to have it.

Special Counsel Jack Smith wants a December trial, which our legal analysts agree is both quick for this type of case and for white collar trials in general. Additionally, judges typically go out of their way to give defendants ample time to prepare.

Now that said, this filing argues that the former president cannot be tried until after the election, which if he wins would likely amount to never according to most legal observers.

As you know, Judge Cannon is a Trump appointee who has already been rebuked by an appeals court panel for an earlier ruling in this case, in his favor based on dubious legal justifications.

Now, the former president's attorneys are arguing, in this case, should be delayed for a number of reasons. One is they say he is just too busy campaigning to prepare for trial. Quoting now: "This undertaking requires a tremendous amount of time and energy and that effort will continue until the election on November 5, 2024."

Here is another, too many other trials, quoting again from the former president's attorneys: "... previously scheduled trials and other matters for both President Trump and defense counsel, make it nearly impossible to prepare for this trial by December 2023."

Now, a third justification is handling the government's documents themselves, which he is accused, of course of mishandling: "... significant effort will be required to sort through the purportedly classified documents once received from the government before any motions on behalf the defendants can even be filed."

Then, of course, there's this argument: "There is no ongoing threat to national security interests, nor any concern regarding continued criminal activity."

Now this, for a defendant charged with obstructing the investigation, even before he was indicted, and already on warning not to discuss the case with his co-defendant or potential witnesses out of concern for just that, any continued criminal activity.

So there's a lot for Judge Cannon to consider, but the former president's strategy is now quite clear. The irony, of course, is that he is now in a position he once envisioned for Hillary Clinton, a position he wants said should have precluded her from ever becoming president.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We could very well have a sitting president under a felony indictment and ultimately, a criminal trial.

We need a government that can work properly from day one for the American people.


COOPER: Perspective now from someone who prosecuted then President Trump in Congress, not in court as lead counsel in the first impeachment hearings, Daniel Goldman, now a democratic congressman from New York.

Congressman, do you believe the legal arguments the former president's attorneys are making are legitimate?

REP. DANIEL GOLDMAN (D-NY): They certainly should not win the day. This is the, I am Donald Trump defense, and therefore I am running for president, so I cannot be charged with a crime that every other American would be charged with, nor can I go to trial.

There is no question and there was no question all along that Donald Trump was going to run for president as part of his criminal defense strategy, and we see that played out in this letter, which is to say, I am running for president, therefore, I am so important that I'm above the law, and I can't be tried.

Of course, the objective is to get into 2025 when he hopes to be president and he can somehow make the case go away. So these arguments that you referenced at the top, Anderson should not be persuasive to any objective reasonable judge. The question here is whether Judge Cannon, a Trump-appointee who bent over backwards and went over the line in a lawless ruling related to the Mar-a-Lago search warrant whether or not she will placate Donald Trump and grant this request ...


COOPER: Do you think she will?

GOLDMAN: ... or adjourning it indefinitely.

It's very hard to tell. I think she should not. I don't know what she will do. This is a request that in my 10 years as a federal prosecutor I never received, nor would any judge that I practiced in front of ever grant.

There are legitimate concerns with the classified documents case, because there are procedures that both parties need to go through to deal with the classified materials.

These materials, though that are relevant to this case are not so burdensome, as to require months and months of review, but it does take a little bit longer than most cases.

So if they were to make an argument that it should stretch into next year before the trial begins, that would be a much more colorable and reasonable argument. This is not a reasonable argument.

COOPER: I understand the argument you make that you know, any other citizen would -- you know, this would go to trial at a certain date. There are those who argue that, look, Donald Trump is not any other citizen. He is the leading candidate for the Republican Party, a major candidate who could become the next president during a heated presidential campaign.

Is it good for the country, and right that one of the main candidates would be on trial?

GOLDMAN: Well, I think the question of whether it's good for the country as separate from whether or not this motion should be granted. The fact of the matter is, Donald Trump was under investigation long before he announced running for president.

So posit this, Anderson, let's say I'm under criminal investigation. I know it and here I am in Congress, I decide I'm going to declare my candidacy for president. Does that mean that I cannot be prosecuted because I've declared myself a candidate for president? No, of course not.

The DOJ regulations stipulate that a sitting president cannot be indicted because of a variety of reasons related to the importance of that job. A candidate for president does not have a job that is any more important than anyone else in America, and he is not above the law as a candidate, nor is any candidate for elected office, and he must sit trial as any other American citizen would. That is the rule of law in this country. No one is above the law, not even Donald Trump.

COOPER: Chris Wray, the FBI director is going to testify before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow. Now, according to committee, it's going to "examine the politicization of the nation's preeminent law enforcement agency under Wray's leadership."

We should note that Wray is a Republican, was appointed by former President Trump. I'm wondering what your expectations are for the hearings?

GOLDMAN: Look, I think the Republicans have made this their general purpose in this Congress where they want to undermine the credibility of the FBI, because of its investigation into Donald Trump, and because perhaps of its investigation to other members of the House. That has been their approach this entire Congress. And I think they view this opportunity to continue to do that.

This is part of an authoritarian effort to undermine the democratic institutions that uphold accountability and our separation of powers in this country, and the Republican Congress has made it very clear that in order to do Donald Trump's bidding, they want to undermine the credibility of the FBI, and I expect them to go full bore to try to do that tomorrow.

COOPER: Congressman Goldman, thanks for your time.

GOLDMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: With us now, CNN legal analyst, Elliot Williams.

Elliot, what do you make of this effort by the former president's attorneys to delay the trial?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Anderson, there's a problem here and that whenever a defendant is accused of a crime, a number of rights attach to that defendant and prosecutors have to be very, very careful when it comes to pushing back on things like trial dates, or whether somebody or who their counsel is, and so on, because those are the kinds of things that can actually lead to a conviction being thrown out down the road.

So yes, he is very well trying to delay this case, but you have to be very careful as a prosecutor to not at least give the appearance of overstepping and getting in the way of a defendant's rights to have a fair trial.

COOPER: The Trump team brings up discovery throughout the filings as a reason for delaying the trial, which is the process of gathering evidence to prove the case. How long would discovery in a case like this typically take?

WILLIAMS: You know, Congressman Goldman was exactly correct, which is that it is a classified documents case. Discovery is going to take several months and probably longer than a firearm or drug possession case or something like that. But the idea that a classified documents case would necessarily have to be delayed until 2024 or 2025 or beyond is simply nonsense.

Yes, you will need to have time. The judge and lawyers can sit down and hash out an appropriate time for the trial to be held, but the idea that it can't possibly be held prior to the 2024 election just makes no sense.


COOPER: How long does Judge Cannon have to make a decision? I mean, could she do it at any time?

WILLIAMS: She could at any time. I mean, the thing with being a federal judge is that they operate on their own timeline and their own schedule.

Now, look, as a defendant, he is entitled to a speedy trial. And so the judge can't be responsible for delaying the former president's trial indefinitely into the future. But again, she's not under -- she doesn't have a deadline by which she has to rule on any one motion.

COOPER: If she does decide to delay the trial, does the DOJ have any recourse?

WILLIAMS: Well, at that point, you don't have a ton of recourse to challenge individual rulings by a judge on things like scheduling.

Now, as the Congressman had said a moment ago, she has already ruled in the case and a number of observers, including the Justice Department have found disturbing -- took issue with her ruling, and perhaps they could make an argument that she made a ruling that was impermissibly political, and just was outside the bounds of making a mistake on the law and just try to get her removed from the case.

They could try to do that, but again, she has pretty wide latitude as a trial judge to set the date, you know, at a time that she thinks appropriate.

COOPER: Elliot Williams, thanks very much.

Coming up next, Senator Tommy Tuberville's quickly evolving views on White nationalist, racism, and the military. Perspective from a decorated military veteran and a fellow senator.

And later, the flood damage already done and the possibility of more ahead.

We will be right back.



COOPER: Before playing Alabama senator, Tommy Tuberville's recent thoughts and then subsequent second and third thoughts on White nationalist and racism, I want to read you the Webster's definition of the term White nationalist: "One of a group of militant White people who espouse White supremacy and advocate enforced racial segregation."

Now, in the past, Tuberville had told a radio station when asked if White nationalists should be allowed in the military and said: "I call them Americans."

Then during last night's debut of "The Source," CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked the senator to clarify those remarks. Here is what he said.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): I'm totally against anything to do with racism, but the thing about being a White nationalist is just a cover word for the Democrats now where they can use it to try to make people mad across the country, identity politics. I'm totally against that, but I'm for the American people, I am for military, I am for Christian conservatives, Democrats, whoever wants to be in the military to fight for this country, to protect this country. That's what it's all about.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: But just to be clear, you agree that White nationalists should not be serving in the US military? Is that what you're saying?

TUBERVILLE: If people think that a White nationalist is racist, I agree with that. I agree they shouldn't --

COLLINS: A White nationalist is someone who believes that the White race is superior to other races.

TUBERVILLE: Well, that's some people's opinion, and I don't think -- I mean, a lot of --

COLLINS: It is not opinion --


COLLINS: What's your opinion?

TUBERVILLE: My opinion of a White nationalist, if somebody wants to call them White nationalist, to me is an American, is an American.

Now, if that White nationalist is a racist, I'm totally against anything that they want to do, because I am 110 percent against racism.


COOPER: That was Senator Tuberville last night, and here he is today.


REPORTER: Can you explain why you continue to insist that White nationalists are American?

TUBERVILLE: Listen, I'm totally against racism. If Democrats want to say that White nationalists are racist, I'm totally against that, too.

REPORTER: But that's not a Democratic definition, the definition of a White nationalist is --

TUBERVILLE: Well, that's their definition. My definition is racism is bad.

REPORTER: It is the definition. The definition is that.

TUBERVILLE: Next question.

REPORTER: The belief that the White race is superior to all other races.

TUBERVILLE: Next question. Next question. Racism is -- racism is totally out of question.

REPORTER: So do you believe that White nationalists are racist?

TUBERVILLE: Yes, if that's what racism is, yes. Thank you.


COOPER: So that was this morning, by afternoon though, he seemed to say more explicitly telling reporters off camera: "White nationalists are racist." And according to testimony before the January 6 committee by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, White nationalism is a significant problem in the ranks.

This evening, I talked about it with Senator Tammy Duckworth, a wounded combat veteran and Democratic senator from Illinois.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Senator Duckworth, thanks for being with us.

As a person of color, as a combat veteran. How did you feel when you heard Senator Tuberville make those comments about White nationalism in the military?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, I was incredulous, and I checked to make sure that he actually said it and I cannot believe that he would think that White nationalists were not racist.

In fact, I think that it is an insult to all military men and women of all different backgrounds who wear the uniform of this great nation, and we should be focusing on supporting them and not defending White nationalists as he is doing.

COOPER: I mean, do you think he is truly ignorant of what White nationalism means? What it is? Or is it some sort of a game or just kind of a head nod to something?

DUCKWORTH: I can only take him at his word and he said that, you know, he didn't think that White nationalists were racist, when that's an actual dictionary definition. And frankly, that is a disservice to our men and women in uniform.

COOPER: He did say finally this afternoon, "White nationalists are racists." Do you think he's seen the light?

DUCKWORTH: I highly doubt it. I think he's been put under a lot of pressure. But still, for him to even say it in the first place is wrong. We should be focusing on our military men and women who are deployed all over the world right now protecting and defending this great nation and in harm's way.

And this just undermines our nation's national security in so many ways, and you know, he is injuring our military in more ways than one, not just with this remark.

COOPER: What you're referring to, which is what we've been reporting on is he has been blocking hundreds of military promotions, high- ranking officers, among them over his objection to the Pentagon's policy of paying for travel for service members who are seeking abortion, not paying for an abortion itself for the procedure, but for travel and are stationed in states where the procedure is essentially illegal.

He told Kaitlan Collins last night that his hold is not hurting military readiness or recruiting and if it was, he wouldn't be doing it. Do you buy that?

DUCKWORTH: He is wrong and you could just -- not just take my word for it, but take the word of former secretaries of Defense, a bipartisan group have come forward and said that he is wrong. Military officers have come forward and said he is wrong.

For the first time in our nation's history and over -- for the first time in over a hundred years, the Marine Corps is not going to have a commandant of the Marine Corps because of this hold.

[20:20:07 ]

And by the way, it's not just about abortion, the Pentagon policy is if a service member needs to seek reproductive health care, because they're stationed in a state where they don't have access to it, they will reimburse them for their travel, not for the procedure, but for their travel.

So it could be like me, someone who had to leave to go get IVF, for example, and he is injecting his personal agenda into military readiness, and this problem is only going to get worse the longer he maintains this hold.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins pointed out to him that, you know, these former secretaries of Defense had signed this letter saying this is hurting. He said, well, they're not elected. They're just nominees. He's an elected official, elected by the people of Alabama.

What he also didn't say is that he's never been in the military before, I believe his father was which he is understandably very proud of, but he has not served. And yet, he's telling these former secretaries of Defense that they don't know what they're talking about.

DUCKWORTH: He is also telling all the military officers, including those who are currently serving who have told him, this is hurting the military.

You know, when you have an acting commander at whatever level, that I think commander cannot issue certain orders, and at a time when we have troops who are in harm's way, defending and protecting our nation, to have commanders, the commandant -- not have a commandant of the Marine Corps, who can exercise his full duties as commandant is destructive to this nation's national security, and it all is laid at Senator Tuberville's feet.

COOPER: What do you think is going to take to break his hold on military nominations?

DUCKWORTH: I don't know. You'll have to talk to Senator Tuberville. He has been offered all sorts of off ramps for this. He was offered a vote on Senator Ernst's bill, which is actually much more stringent and he rejected that.

He has been offered many other options by his own leadership, and he has rejected them all. You know, he is fundraising off of this. So, I suspect that there is more than just his own personal concerns for why he is taking this position.

COOPER: Are you surprised that more Republicans haven't spoken out against what he's doing? Because I mean, of their pro-military history.

DUCKWORTH: Well, you know what, I wish more of them would speak out. I know they've had many conversations with them. Now, listen, Republican Leader McConnell has spoken up and said that he does not support this. So I don't think that you can have a more influential Republican than the leader of their own caucus in the Senate, and yet he's rejected that.

COOPER: Senator Duckworth, I appreciate your time.

DUCKWORTH: Thank you.


COOPER: Now an exclusive CNN investigation on why it is that 500 days into Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the global sanctions that followed, big companies are still allegedly doing business in Russia after saying they'd pull out.

More from CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When Russia marched into Ukraine, hundreds of companies from other nations announced plans to march out of Moscow hitting Vladimir Putin's government in the pocketbook and hobbling his war effort.

But one year, four-and-a-half months after the invasion, some others are still doing brisk business in Russia, according to Yale professor, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.

JEFFREY SONNENFELD, PROFESSOR, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: These are companies that said they were leaving and then reneged saying, it's too much trouble. It's wartime profiteering, and it is actually aiding, sadly, helping to fuel Putin's war machine.

FOREMAN (voice over): His research finds although many companies followed through on their pledges, taking millions of dollars out of Russia, some big players did not. Among them, Heineken.

Sonnenfeld researchers say the Dutch company has seven facilities in Russia, 1,800 employees and is still launching new brands there.

Heineken calls the war a terrible human tragedy, and says the company remains committed to leaving, but so far has not secured Russian regulatory approval to sell its assets.

Also on the list, Mondelez, the company that makes Oreos among other things. With 3,000 employees and products still moving in Russian markets, the company is being boycotted by some Europeans, even as it said in a statement last month, it is scaling back in Russia.

And there are more, Unilever has called the war brutal and senseless. Philip Morris has said the situation is complex. Nestle last year pledged to sell only essential items. But Yale researchers say non- essential items are still being sold. And all of those companies continue doing business with the Russians.

Many suggest divesting themselves from Russia is more costly and complicated than outsiders might imagine, and they don't want to hurt their Russian employees.

Sonnenfeld's response --

SONNENFELD: The whole point of the sanctions and the business exits is to put pressure on the average Russian so that the humanitarian things to motivate them to act.


COOPER: That was Tom Foreman reporting.

Up next, tonight, he has been called a credible informant by House Republicans investigating Hunter Biden, yet, the Justice Department has now accused him of some serious charges including arms trafficking and he's a fugitive. Details ahead.

Plus, new developments in the search for murder suspect with survivalist skills who escaped a Pennsylvania jail. That manhunt is intensifying. We will get the latest.



COOPER: Well, the story of the alleged Washington whistleblower has gotten stranger. The man in question is named Gal Luft and his current whereabouts are unknown. He disappeared in Cyprus. He jumped bail and is now a fugitive.

Republicans call him a credible informant in the House Oversight Committee's investigation of Hunter Biden, that much we've known, but now things have taken another turn. The Justice Department has unsealed an indictment against Luft alleging he is among other things, an arms dealer, an unregistered agent for China, and that he lied to federal agents.

CNN's Kara Scannell has been following his trial.

So Kara, who is this guy? What is being charged with?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, his name is Gal Luft and he is a US-Israeli citizen, someone who is a co-director of an energy think tank.

Now what prosecutors said, as they unsealed this indictment late yesterday, they allege that he is involved in numerous crimes involving a lot of crimes overseas.

You know, they say that he was acting as an agent of China here in the US and hadn't registered as that. He was also a broker of illicit arms deals. And he was, you know, trying to be a matchmaker to help the sale of Iranian oil, you know, something which would violate US sanctions and they also said that he lied when he was interviewed by the FBI.

COOPER: And what is his relationship to Hunter Biden? SCANNELL: So Luft claims that he has incriminating information about the Biden family's business dealings overseas particularly with China and that has made him someone of interest to Republicans who have said that he is an informant. He is a potential top witness as they are looking to investigate the Biden family business dealings overseas.


COOPER: And yet now he's being charged with being an agent of China.

SCANNELL: Yes, that's right. And what's even more confusing here is that he was doing work, according to the U.S. authorities with this Chinese conglomerate. And that is the same conglomerate that he says was doing business with the Bidens.

COOPER: And has he responded or how has he responded?

SCANNELL: Yes. So the other funny thing here is that he was initially arrested in Cyprus on these charges, and then when he was waiting extradition, he jumped bound. So he is now considered a fugitive by the U.S. government.

But at the time in February, he did tweet out a denial of these allegations in which he said, "'ve been arrested in Cyprus on a politically motivated extradition request by the U.S. The U.S. claiming I'm an arms dealer. It would be funny if it weren't tragic. I've never been an arms dealer. DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe, Jim and Hunter Biden. Shall I name names?"

And his lawyer also saying, telling us after these charges were unsealed, that this is a vicious attempt to silence a witness.

COOPER: But he's in the wind. He's nowhere to be found right now.

SCANNELL: He's in the wind. We don't know where he is. He has been active on Twitter, retweeting some comments by one of the senators who has been supportive of him, but he has not shown his face and there's no indication if he is going to come to the U.S. to face these charges.

COOPER: There's also this letter obtained by CNN from the U.S. attorney overseeing the Hunter Biden criminal probe that seems to undercut a number of the claims made by an IRS whistleblower.

SCANNELL: Right. So that IRS whistleblower testified before Congress saying that David Weiss, the Trump appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware had told him and others in October of 2022 that he had requested special counsel status, which would have enabled him to bring criminal charges anywhere in the U.S.

And that Weiss had told him the whistleblower at the time that he was denied that by top Justice Department officials. Well, Weiss, in this letter to Congress is trying to clarify the record here. He's saying that he never asked to be special counsel, he wanted to be a special attorney, which is different under the statute. And he said that he was assured that he would have authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction. Now ultimately he did negotiate this plea deal with Hunter Biden where he will plead guilty to those two tax demeanors later this month in Delaware.

COOPER: All right. Kara Scannell, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Some perspective now from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, he's now CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst. I mean, so the primary witness or one of the primary witnesses in the Hunter Biden saga is now a fugitive in charge with, among other things, arms trafficking. What are we to make of this?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Wow, what a complicated story to try to weave through. But I think it's important to remember that he is potentially a witness for the committee. This is not the way we typically think of witnesses as people who would be testifying in criminal trials. He's actually a defendant in a criminal matter.

I think it's also important to note that the case that the government has brought against Gal Luft is very, very serious. Contrary to his public statements, he hasn't been charged simply with lying to the federal government. He's been charged with violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. He's been charged with acting as an illicit arms broker between countries like China and Iran and other countries.

So these are very serious offenses. It's also clear from the statements from the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, they have, in some form, his communications. They have quoted things that he said to people and referring to arms as toys and things like that, which means this is a very complicated, probably long running investigation in which they either had access to his historical communications through court authorized access, or potentially even Title 3 coverage electronic surveillance of his communication.

So this is not just a simple case that the government cooked up after they interviewed him and didn't like what they said. This is likely the result of a very long and complicated investigation.

COOPER: Is it possible it's politically motivated, as Luft is calling it?

MCCABE: You know, I suppose that's possible, but I find it to be highly unlikely. You know, the Justice Department contrary to some people's belief, the Justice Department, the FBI, do not initiate cases against people for political reasons.

And as I indicated, this is not a case that simply turned on an interview that didn't go the way the government wanted. This is a case that probably came from months and months and months, maybe years of investigation of this individual from very serious offenses, from violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act to arms dealing and all kinds of other matters.

So, there's a lot more to this than just that one interview that he allegedly had with the government that apparently didn't go well.


COOPER: Just lastly, I talked to Congressman Dan Goldman about this, but what do you make of FBI Deputy -- FBI Director Chris Wray going to testify before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow?

MCCABE: This is a really important piece of oversight of the FBI, and it happens on an annual basis, and there are many significant and reasonable questions that the House should have for the FBI Director at this moment in time. Questions about the way the FBI prepared or didn't for January 6.

Questions about how the FBI has handled their, you know, efforts to reform the FISA process. All kinds of really legitimate things. Unfortunately, I find it highly unlikely that any of those serious and reasonable and legitimate oversight issues will come up.

This will probably devolve into yet another version of the weaponization of the FBI, an effort for Congressmen to -- like Jim Jordan to propagate this myth that the FBI is somehow biased against Republicans, which is laughable, but I expect that's what we'll see tomorrow.

COOPER: Andrew McCabe, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, the urgent flooding crisis in Vermont after historic rainfall. Dams now pushed to the breaking point. More than 100 rescues will take you there next.

And later, a community on alert as police search for an escaped inmate. The new tactics underway to find the murder suspect ahead.



COOPER: It is a mess in Vermont's capital. A historic and catastrophic flooding has forced evacuations. Drone video recorded earlier shows the devastation for block after block after intense rains. For a couple of days now, several parts of the state have faced raging waters, putting drivers and other residents in danger.

On the scene for us CNN's Miguel Marquez. Here's his report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not out of the woods. This is nowhere near over.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reservoirs meant to control flooding. Overflowing north of Vermont's capital, the Wrightsville Dam was inches from overflow. It could have dumped even more water into the already swollen Winooski River, receding slowly in some places, but other parts of the state still on alert. Downtown Montpelier, State Street, a fast-moving river completely impassable the water lapping at the State House lawn. Water rescues continue over 100 so far. Jesus Garcia and his family were staying in an Airbnb. His family, their host and the family dog, Harley, evacuated.

(on-camera): You wanted to get out of there because you just weren't sure what was going to happen?

JESUS GARCIA, VISITING VERMONT FROM TEXAS: Man, we just saw how strong the current was. I mean, look at it. It's pretty strong. So I mean, if it can knock a few branches off, imagine what it can do to, you know, to a house. So we're just, you know, playing the safe.

MARQUEZ (on-camera): Right. You weren't sure if it was going to keep rising.

GARCIA: Yes, we didn't know. Yes, we didn't know. Like I said, we're not from here, so we don't know what the weather's like, and yes, it's been -- I never seen nothing like this. It's been pretty crazy.

BETSY HART, RESIDENT: Well, the water was rising quickly after being pretty tame most of the morning, and all of a sudden it was in the house.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Rainfall for weeks on end saturating the state. The result, the water only had one place to go over land, washing away roads, causing massive property damage, and putting people like Don Hancock out of their homes.

(on-camera): Sir, you are wet from head to toe without any shoes on. I mean --

DON HANCOCK, RESIDENT: We went down when I come across.

MARQUEZ (on-camera): So you lost your shoes getting across here?

HANCOCK: Yes, I couldn't find a rope, so I took two heavy duty extension cords, tied them to there and tied them to the back of the truck.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Extreme weather, the new American and global normal. Oklahoma City drenched with life-threatening rainfall. Flooding only the beginning. Extreme heat baking other parts of the country. The National Weather Service warns parts of the Southwest could hit all time heat records later this week.


COOPER: And Miguel, what are conditions like there now,

MARQUEZ: Erie, we are right downtown Montpelier right now. This is Maine and State Street. The alarms are still going off. They've been going off about 24 hours. I'll let you listen for a second.

I mean, they're alarming to nothing. The waterline, we're about two blocks from the river. The waterline came up to here. This is a bookstore. Everything in this bookstore destroyed. There are some people who have already started to pull stuff out of their businesses and trying to recover.

But keep in mind, this is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses that have just been so damaged by this storm. It will be weeks, months, maybe years before Vermonters recover.


MARQUEZ: Anderson?

COOPER: Incredible. Miguel, thank you.

Up next, the search for an escape Pennsylvania inmate who authorities say is both military experience and survivalist skills and where police think the escapee may be now. Also tonight, how this handwritten will from 2014 led to a heated legal battle over Aretha Franklin's estate and the jury's verdict today in the case.



COOPER: Tonight, new details on the manhunt for an escape Pennsylvania inmate. Michael Burham vanish last Thursday. This afternoon, the state police said they believe he's likely still in the area around the jail and he's probably getting help.

CNN's Brian Todd has more.


LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: We are still finding some items that we do believe are connected to him. Those lead me to believe that there is still a likelihood that he is here.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities now say Michael Burham escaped by climbing onto exercise equipment on the jail's rooftop gym last Thursday, then using these bedsheets tied together to repel down from the roof to this portico. He then allegedly jumped down and fled on foot.

The sheriff tonight disputing suggestions that he got a big head start.

SHERIFF BRIAN ZEYBEL, WARREN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: Literally, I would say that Burham saw red and blue lights within two minutes of leaving that jail. It's -- they were that close.

TODD (voice-over): Burham, age 34, is considered armed and dangerous and wanted in cases involving murder, kidnapping, carjacking and arson. Authorities describe him as a self-taught survivalist with military experience.

BIVENS: We have had a number of sightings reported. None of those has panned out.

TODD (voice-over): He was last seen wearing an orange and white striped jumpsuit, denim jacket, and crocs. More than 200 law enforcement officers are now involved in the manhunt.

ZEYBEL: I have a strong belief that he is receiving help.

TODD (voice-over): Authorities say they found small stockpiles or campsites they believe are associated with him in surrounding wooded areas.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: That suggest that he escapes the prison, that he goes on the run, and that he knows where he's going to these designated locations in the woods where food and supplies or rations are waiting for him.

TODD (voice-over): How might he be caught?

MILLER: They're going to try to close off that circle if there is help, and then make him do something like, I've got to steal a car. I've got to break into a house and get some food or a weapon or keys to a car. They've got to force him out of the woods.

TODD (voice-over): It's Burham's second time on the run. In May, he eluded authorities for two weeks. Officials say he kidnapped an elderly couple at gunpoint, made them drive him to North Charleston, South Carolina, and then drove off with their car. Authorities telling residents to avoid engaging if they see him and lock up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every night, you got to make sure the windows are locked, make sure both doors, front and back doors are locked.



COOPER: Brian Todd joins us now from Warren, Pennsylvania. So he's been on the loose now for almost a week. What are authorities saying about his particular skillset that makes it difficult for them?

TODD: Well, Anderson, one of the things that makes this manhunt so compelling is that both sides have a lot of advantages and disadvantages on their side. The police advantages, of course, are pretty obvious. They've got over 200 officers on the hunt. They've got helicopters, they've got DNA technology that they're using. They've got other assets that they're not really telling us much about.

So they've got those things to their advantage. But Michael Burham has some serious advantages of his own. Number one, he apparently had a plan, according to police of -- that he wanted to get into the woods. He had a plan to get into the woods even before he escaped. So he was planning this out.

Number two, they strongly believe that people are helping him. So possibly at these campsites where they might have found some traces of where he was, people might have left things for him and maybe they're laying out other areas for him to go to. Another advantage that he has is that he's a survivalist. He's trained himself on how to deal with these conditions out in these woods.

Another advantage, Anderson, that he's got is that the Allegheny National Forest, just adjacent to where we are, is about 800 square miles. If he knows that area fairly well, and we don't have any reason to believe that he doesn't, that's a serious advantage that he has. And he's already been gone for five days, Anderson.

One thing we do have to say is that the police are asking people with information about Michael Burham, if you have seen him or maybe have talked to people who've seen him, to call their command post. Here's the number 717-265-9650. That's the command post near where we are in Warren, Pennsylvania. They are relying on a lot of help from the public.

COOPER: Brian Todd, appreciate it.

Joining me now is former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker. Chris, are you surprised authorities found items believed to be connected to this guy, leading them to believe that he's still in the area?

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Yes, not shocked. I mean, I listened with a lot of interest to the statement that authorities thought that he had some help. Well, that would have been help before he escaped in setting up these campsites and supplying them.

But I'm curious why, if they were in a position to help, if he was in a position to set up that assistance, why he chose to stay in the forest and not get picked up in a car and get out of the area? So that may lead -- lend some credence to the fact the sheriff saying that they were hot on his trail when he -- shortly after he escaped.

But I think the advantage really is to the man hunters, if you will, if he is, in fact, in the forest. In fact, that's -- I would rather have him in the forest than out in the open at large in a position to carjack or invade homes and harm people.

COOPER: When you hear details about how he escaped, tying up sheets, sliding down from a window, I mean, it's kind of like you see in movies. Are you surprised by seemingly how straightforward it was?

SWECKER: Yes. I mean, we've seen this, though, Dannemora, other prison escapes, most recently, a prison escape where they just rattled the locks on the door that were deficient. I mean, I hate to say it, but sheriff's jails can be pretty leaky sometimes. They're not well funded.

Complacency sets in. Guards are not well paid. Administrators are not well paid. So I'm never shocked to hear that someone escaped from a sheriff's prison or, you know, a state facility sometimes. But, you know, again, I go back to this issue of complacency. This only happens when you're complacent, when you're not red teaming yourself and trying to imagine how escapes could take place. This seemed a little bit too easy. COOPER: Also, I mean, authorities, I assume, would have access to kind of a list of people he had been in contact with while in the system, wouldn't they?

SWECKER: Absolutely. I mean, that's the first thing you do in a fugitive investigation, is you go back, you slide time back to before he was incarcerated, and you construct his social network, if you will, his contacts at a time when he was not planning crimes or planning to escape. And these would be the people that these are his go-to people, if you will.

And, you know, there -- one by one, the U.S. Marshals and the Pennsylvania State Police are cutting off those contacts, maybe -- and some they might leave open in hopes that he would contact them and lead them to him. So there's a cat and mouse situation with a manhunt like this.

The U.S. Marshals are very good at it. It's pretty much all they do. And the Pennsylvania State Police, they've been through this drill before, and I'm sure they're getting the help of national park rangers, as we did in the Rudolph investigation in North Carolina. They know their area much better than he does.

COOPER: I mean, in national parks, are there a lot of cameras, you know, that put out along trails?


SWECKER: Yes, there are trail cameras. You know, there are video surveillance cameras on road access areas. You know, it's not covered like you would in an urban area, but there are certain access points that are covered by video.

But, you know, I hope he is still in that national forest because they -- I think the advantage again goes to the law enforcement authorities in the manhunt because they can set up more trail cameras, they can create a broad perimeter and just slowly sort of constrict that perimeter down and contain him in that area so he can't harm people while they're trying to catch him.

COOPER: All right, Chris Swecker, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

Still ahead, long battle --

SWECKER: Thank you.

COOPER: -- over Aretha Franklin's estate has finally come to an end. The focus was on a will found under a sofa cushion in her house. The jury's verdict next.




COOPER: Today, a jury in the battle surrounding Aretha Franklin's estate determined that a will signed by the Legend in 2014 should stand as the document of record. Aretha Franklin died from rare form of cancer in 2018. She was, of course, the Queen of Soul.

Shortly after her passing, her niece found multiple handwritten wills in her home, including one found under a couch cushion and dated 2014. Three of her sons were in a legal dispute over two separate wills. Two of her sons argued the 2014 documents should count as her legal will. The other son said a document from 2010 should stand.

According to an attorney represented Franklin for almost three decades, she was a very private person who didn't do formal will planning and, quote, "wrote them up herself". After deliberating for almost an hour, the jury concluded the 2014 will was signed by Franklin and shows her intent.

That's it for us. The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.