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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Judge Sets Trial Date in Trump Classified Documents Case for May 2024; Remembering Tony Bennett, Who Died at Age 96; Remembering Tony Bennett, Who Died At Age 96; Bennett's Doctor On How The Singer Performed On Stage And Sang For Years With Alzheimer's. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 21, 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: It's amazing how his voice never grew old.
Thanks so much for joining us on this Friday.
AC 360 starts now.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, the former president's legal slate grows as a judge sets a trial date in the documents case, one of four civil and criminal trials Donald Trump now faces with two more still in the cards.
Also, Josh Groban joins us to remember Tony Bennett, who could swing with the best, sing even better, and kept right on doing it for eight decades even in the depths of Alzheimer's.
And later, a surprising look at what happens when a Republican longshot, Vivek Ramaswamy goes looking for support in a sea of Trump voters.
Good evening, John King here, in for Anderson tonight, and starting us off, the former president gets a date. It's one he had been hoping would be never. And as we will detail tonight, he's still trying to put it off past the next election.
But today, federal judge, Aileen Cannon said Trump's trial on 37 document related felony counts could begin as early as the 20th of next May, with a preliminary hearing the week before. His lawyers wanted it postponed indefinitely. Special Counsel Jack Smith was asking for this December.
Splitting the difference, Judge Cannon also had to thread her way between three other federal and state, civil, and criminal trials the former president is facing this October, next January, and then again in March.
CNN's Paula Reid joins us now live with the very latest. Paula, what can you tell us about this trial date the judge has now set.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: John, I was in federal court on Tuesday when the lawyers were arguing about this issue and it is clear, the central conflict in this case right now is timing, when this case goes before a jury.
The defense attorneys were insisting that it would be unfair to do this trial before the election and they said it is premature to even set a trial date, but prosecutors argue that even if former President Trump is running for the White House, he should be treated like any other busy and important American, so we see the judge sort of split the difference here, setting a May 2024 trial date.
But John, she also in her order included a very detailed schedule, everything that has to happen between now and a trial and it is easy to see how this could slip if a few of those deadlines are delayed.
And today, the Trump team said they are confident they'll be able to push this back until after the election. Now, right now it's unclear if this will happen before after the election, but most experts I speak with, John, they say they do not expect this to happen this year.
KING: Oh, as we watch this play out, we did hear just not too long ago from the attorney just added to the Trump legal team. Now, what's the most important thing he said when you look at their strategy for what comes next?
REID: Yes, so when it comes to the January 6 special counsel investigation, the former president has added a new lawyer, John Lauro, and yesterday, of course, was the deadline for Trump to go before the grand jury and his new lawyer weighed in on why Trump declined that invitation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LAURO, FOUNDER, LAURO FIRM: There's no need to appear in front of any grand jury right now. President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. He's done nothing criminal. And he's made his case that he was entitled to take these positions as president of the United States.
When he saw all of these election discrepancies and irregularities going on, he did what any president was required to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Now that the deadline has passed for the former president to go before the grand jury, John, an indictment can come any day. But we know even if the former president is indicted in the coming days, the special counsel's work will continue. We know they have interviews scheduled through the summer.
Now interestingly, John Lauro was also advocating for cameras in the courtroom, but we know cameras are not allowed in any federal courtroom. But John, regardless of the motivation, we're all here for more transparency in the federal court system.
KING: Yes, more transparency, and you have one of the toughest jobs in the business, keeping track of all these many complicated cases with yet another one, perhaps just around the corner.
Paula Reid, thanks so much.
Let's get some perspective now. Joining us, the former federal prosecutor, Jessica Roth. She currently teaches at the Cardozo School of Law in New York.
Professor, you just heard there, Paula Reid going through the reporting.
The Trump team even though Judge Cannon says no, I will delay it a little bit, but not what you would like. They think they can push it past the election. You think that's possible?
JESSICA ROTH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It is possible and it's probably more likely than not that it would be pushed back further. There's lots of motions that they're planning to file. They've already indicated in court and in public statements the nature of some of those motions.
Some of them include challenging the authority of the special counsel to bring this prosecution arguing that the Presidential Records Act is a defense here. They are going to be litigate issues of executive and attorney-client privilege. Most of those are losers.
But the judge is going to have to decide them, and then, there are more substantive motions with respect to the use of classified information, including what is going to be used in court, and how it is going to be presented in court. And so, there are a lot of motions that the court is going to have to decide.
And so really, the question I'm interested in is how promptly is the judge going to rule on those motions when they're submitted to her? And how much is she going to hold the defense's feet to the fire, in keeping to the schedule that she has set?
If she has committed to keeping the schedule that she has set, to the extent possible, I still think there is a window for this trial to happen in May. I do think it's a reasonable schedule, and it is consistent with how similar trials have been handled or schedules of other similar cases in the past and it is consistent with the extent of the discovery here and the real issues that do have to be litigated about the use of classified information.
KING: So we'll get more clues, as you smartly know, when we get into the motions and how quickly she rules and how much she presses and how much she tries to keep the train on the current track.
This judge would be under a ton of scrutiny anyway, because of the consequences of this case. But because she's a Trump appointee, because of the previous special master ruling that was overturned, even more scrutiny.
So how do you read into it? What do you read it to the fact that she did not delay the trial indefinitely as the Trump defense team wanted? Jack Smith didn't get exactly what he wanted, either, but the Trump team did not get after the election.
ROTH: I took her ruling today setting the schedule that she did as a very positive sign. I think everybody was watching to see if she was going to grant Trump's motion to postpone the trial indefinitely.
And so I think it's really important that she did not, that she set a schedule. It's a trial date that's later than the prosecution wanted. It's after most of the Republican primaries or the most important ones, but it is before the general election.
And she very clearly said in her order that she didn't see any reason why she couldn't set a schedule now, including the fact that the defendant was currently running for president. She didn't see that as a reason why she couldn't set a schedule.
So I took it as a very positive sign in light of the context and the prior rulings that you just mentioned, which had raised real concerns about whether she was affording preferential treatment to former President Trump.
And so I think the question going forward is, will she try to her best effort to hold everybody to this schedule?
KING: Put your former prosecutor hat back on for me for a moment here. You know, the special counsel's team says these are serious offenses. These are serious crimes. We need to get these into court in a speedy trial.
It's also right in the middle of a presidential election cycle. Does that factor in? Did they check the Republican primary calendar as they're making this? Or do they just say, blinders, straight ahead, here we go.
ROTH: I've been very impressed by how the special counsel's team really has just been doing the work before them as prosecutors. You see that with respect to the fact that they are not leaking, that they are just doing the job of prosecutors, not talking to the press other than when announcing the indictment, especially the special counsel did with respect to this indictment.
So I think they are just doing what they think is appropriate in terms of the calendar for this case. They're obviously aware of the political season and are determined to get this case tried as soon as they possibly can, so that it can be brought because of course, if it's not tried until after the election, it may never be brought.
KING: That's an excellent point there, the political part of that if Trump does win the election.
KING: Jessica Roth, appreciate the legal -- important legal insights and we'll continue on that political question as we get some perspective now from two legendary investigative journalists and best- selling authors, "The Washington Post" associate editor, Bob Woodward is with us tonight. His most recent book is a collection of conversations titled "The Trump Tape, " Bob Woodward's 20 interviews with President Donald Trump. Also with as, Carl Bernstein, whose latest is :"Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom."
Gentlemen, welcome to you both, grateful for your time on this important day.
Bob, let me start with you. And just focus on just the unprecedented nature of that. Four trials on the calendar, so we've been talking about right here. Four for trials, Judge Cannon has scheduled classified documents trial now for May, in the middle of an election year, historical context, nothing like this, right?
BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: There is no question about that. It's hard to keep -- you see, you put a calendar up there, it is going to change -- I think you have to think a little bit about what is at the core of this and not just the documents case, but now the investigation into January 6, and at the core is Trump's claim that the election was stolen from him. There was this massive fraud.
If you look at some of this, and when I did the book "Peril" with Robert Costa, we were able to get the documents that Rudy Giuliani, who was Trump's lawyer, sent to Lindsey Graham, a Trump supporter, somebody who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at that time and if you look at these documents and we have thick packets of them, at one point, I mean this is astonishing, the claim by Giuliani and this is January 4th, two days before the January 6th insurrection, Giuliani says in Nevada, 42,000 registered voters voted more than once.
Now think about that. We do voting in this country by precinct, how do you vote more than once? Do you walk into your precinct and say, I'd like to vote again? You can't untangle lists and when you look at it, there are in fact, zero people who voted more than one time.
In another allegation in this that Giuliani makes -- now, this is the president's lawyer saying, oh, in Wisconsin, 226,000 incarcerated prisoners, local, state, federal -- 226,000 people who were incarcerated voted on election day, November 3.
Now, do you remember the stories about the massive jailbreak in Wisconsin that day? There were zero, not 220 -- not even a single person who was incarcerated who voted.
So you get into looking at the basis of this, it's not factual. It's made up and Lindsey Graham's chief counsel, Lee Holmes investigated this. Holmes came to my house with all the documents, weeks of investigation, and he said, this is Lindsey Graham's person. None of its true. It is all false. It is concocted.
KING: It is concocted and that will be part of the -- if we get to the second case in Jack Smith, I'm sure that theory will be part of it, that they knew it was concocted and they knew it was bogus, and then they kept going. Carl, let's come back, though, to just where we are right now, in
seeking to delay the classified documents case. You've covered Donald Trump a long time, delay is in about every story when it comes to Donald Trump in legal peril. This is what they do. They try to delay things.
But in the classified documents case, you're well aware of the sensitivity there, there are more legitimate issues, if you will, to hear things out or who can see what and does everybody have the clearances to do this? What do we say in court in front of the public? How do you see this delay question playing out?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Donald Trump is somebody who has tried to evade and break the law throughout his life, since he was a young man, and delay, of course, has been a constant tactic, since he was taught the basics of how to break the law and evade the law by his lawyer, Roy Cohn.
But I think we need to cut to the chase here about what all of these proceedings are about. They are about a criminal president of the United States who attempted a coup, who tried to take over the legitimate functions of government by staging a coup so that his lawfully elected successor could not take office.
What we have, Bob and I wrote in the 50th anniversary edition of "All the President's Men," a new foreword largely about the criminal president, Richard Nixon; and the criminal president, Donald Trump, and the greatest danger is obviously from Trump.
What is he? He is the first seditious president in the history of the United States. A president who attempted to foment an insurrection to stop the legitimate transfer of power and functioning of the United States government.
Listen to what Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader said on that day after January 6, that only one person was morally and practically responsible for this insurrection, Donald Trump.
So let's keep our eye on the facts, as Bob said, and what it is about. The Republican Party, which historically has done the right thing in the moment of Joe McCarthy, the great demagogue, did the right thing in Watergate, forced Richard Nixon from office. Are they going to allow an insurrectionist seditious president to carry our democracy into a terrible, horrible place where it has never gone?
KING: And I'm going to ask you both to sit tight. We will continue the conversation after a quick break. I'd like to get more of your thoughts on this January 6 related charges that Carl was just alluding to that could possibly happen any day. We're waiting on the grand jury there.
And later, some of Anderson's remarkable visit with the great Tony Bennett. My own conversation with Josh Groban about what it was like to harmonize with one of the very finest of all time.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:18:55]
KING: We are talking tonight with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about a former and would be president with a court docket that is already long and could be about to get even longer if the special counsel, Jack Smith secures what could be his next indictment.
And Bob, to that point, I want to play a clip here from the former president's new attorney, John Lauro. He appeared on Fox News today. Here is what he said about what the former president, still president at the time Donald Trump wanted after the 2020 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURO: The only thing that President Trump asked is a pause in the counting, so those seven contested states could either re-audit or re- certify. I've never heard of anyone get indicted for asking for an audit.
What President Trump was looking for was the truth, was to find out exactly what happened in those seven contested states. That's just not criminal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Bob, you've extensively reported on this issue, had all those conversations with the former president. Is what you know match what you just heard?
WOODWARD: Carl is absolutely right. This was a coup and there is a coup memo that was written literally by one of Trump's attorneys, John Eastman, the famous Eastman memo, one of your colleagues, Jamie Gangel got it and ran it on CNN and in it, Eastman says, oh, there are seven states with contested electors.
Mike Lee, the Republican senator from Utah, a big Trump supporter, started looking into this and discovered there were absolutely zero states with contested electors. He was quite upset about this. Senator Lee actually sent me the coup memo saying it is unsupported.
Senator Lee, when the certification of Biden finally came after January 6th, went to the Senate floor and said, there's nothing to this. Lindsey Graham said nothing to it at all. These are Trump supporters, who backed Trump and investigated and found nothing.
KING: And to your point, it'll be interesting to see if they can make this case in a court of law that they make publicly where they're not under oath. As Mr. Lauro talked about, the audits were done, the recounts were done. All of that was done, all the court challenges were done.
Yes, the president had those rights to make those case. They were all done by January 6th, and he had lost them all. To that point, Carl, as we look forward, the former president on the
radio earlier this week suggested that, "a passionate group of voters would be more dangerous than in 2020" if he were imprisoned during the election, what do you make of that?
BERNSTEIN: I make of that, once again, he is threatening that his people are going to go into the streets and riot and hurt people and there's going to be a great movement in his favor, that is going to be violent and the threat of violence is somehow going to help him in the courts, et cetera, et cetera.
Let's just mention Mike Pence for one minute and this coup attempt. Listen to what Mike Pence was told by the president of the United States to stop the certification of the duly elected electors to the Electoral College meeting on January 6th that indeed, the president of the United States clear as can be telling the vice president, break the law. Let's not have a lawful transfer of power.
We have to look and forget Mr. Lauro there for a minute. We have to look at the unprecedented nature of a president of the United States, fomenting insurrection, the overthrow of legitimate government in this country, never happened in the White House before. That's what this is about and Republicans above all, should be terrified of allowing this president to get away with it.
KING: And yet the overwhelming majority are quite silent, even as he even if you support Trump, you think about the fact that all of this is going to play out in the middle of a presidential campaign which Trump thinks might be good for him. We'll see as it plays out.
Gentlemen, we'll continue this conversation in the weeks and months ahead, of course. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, thank you so much.
And just ahead, we remember the life and the amazing legacy of an American icon, the legendary singer Tony Bennett died today at the age of 96.
Anderson Cooper joins us on what is supposed to be a day off for him to remember the man he met. interviewed, and Anderson will share how despite a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, Tony Bennett could still remember the songbook and still mesmerize an audience.
KING: Tony Bennett's remarkable career spanned eight decades, 19 Grammy Awards, multiple generations of fans. His voice, his smile, and his presence were iconic and timeless, allowing him to work with stars of every era from Rosemary Clooney to Lady Gaga.
Bennett was also an accomplished painter, and in addition to his legendary career, he was an activist, important activist even walking with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March.
Tony Bennett died today at the age of 96 after a year's long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Anderson Cooper joins us now on what's supposed to be his day off to discuss his remarkable interview with Bennett for "60 Minutes" when the singer was already suffering from Alzheimer's.
Anderson, thanks for joining us on your day off.
Truly amazing profile you did for "60 Minutes." You got to sit down with him, his loving wife, and his caretaker Susan.
I had watched Tony Bennett rehearse for his performances at Radio City Music Hall with Lady Gaga. What were your impressions? What did you learn from that time spent with this icon?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It was extraordinary. We didn't know how it was going to go. I mean, he was 95 at the time. It was in the months before the concerts were to take place. He was just about to start practicing with Lady Gaga. They hadn't seen each other in a while.
And I sat down with Tony in his home with his wife, Susan, for an interview and quickly realized just how difficult having a conversation with him was at that stage. And yet, minutes after our talk finished, he was going to rehearse for the show. He went to the bathroom. His piano player, longtime accompanist started playing a few chords on the piano of a song. Tony trotted out literally sort of half running, stood at the piano, put his elbow on the piano and without being told what the song was, there was no music sheet, there was nothing, no prompting.
He just launched into the first song and he did an hour's set standing in front of me, you know, four feet away from me on the other side of a piano and was so engaged with me while he was singing, while that music was alive in him and he was telling a story, he was telling me a story through the songs.
And he would look at me and look at me and I knew he didn't know who I was, but in that moment, I believed he knew because he knew he was Tony Bennett and Tony Bennett was the consummate performer no matter what was happening in his life, no matter how tough things were for him in his 70-plus year career.
In that moment, he was able to be himself, even though he was in the late stages of Alzheimer's. I mean, just an incredible amount of strength, and just incredible ending to an incredible life and career.
KING: Let's listen to a little piece of what you did for 60 Minutes because it's remarkable.
COOPER (voice-over): He spends much of his time in his New York apartment looking through books and old photos.
(on-camera): What are these of? (voice-over): We met Tony and his wife Susan in June, a few weeks before his 95th birthday. Is that Bob Hope?
TONY BENNETT, LEGENDARY SINGER: Bob and Dolores.
SUSAN BENEDETTO, WIFE OF TONY: They sent that for your 75th birthday. And in a month and a half, you're going to be 95. How about that?
COOPER (on-camera): Do you feel 95? You don't look it.
BENEDETTO: How old do you feel so?
COOPER (voice-over): On opening night in early August, Radio City's 6,000 seats were sold out. It was Tony's 95th birthday.
ALL: Happy birthday to you.
COOPER (voice-over): And his fans were waiting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Tony.
COOPER (voice-over): A few days after that triumph, we met Tony and Susan on their daily walk in Central Park.
(voice-over): How'd you feel about the concert the other night?
BENNETT: I don't know what do you mean?
COOPER (on-camera): I saw you at Radio City. You did a great job.
BENNETT: Oh, thank you very much.
COOPER (voice-over): Tony had no memory of playing Radio City at all.
(on-camera): Is this a sad story? Tony Bennett's last performance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's not a sad story. It's emotional. It's hard to watch somebody change. I think what's been beautiful about this and what's been challenging is to see how it affects him in some ways, but to see how it doesn't affect his talent.
I think he really pushed through something to give the world the gift of knowing that things can change and you can still be magnificent.
KING: Anderson, you were there that night, that special night when Tony Bennett on his 95th birthday, performed at Radio City with Lady Gaga. What do you most remember?
COOPER: I was standing next to him as he was about to go out on the stage for that last time and he was watching Lady Gaga perform because she was doing a set before him. And a few minutes before, our cameras had seen him backstage and he didn't even know where he was. He didn't know he was about to go out on stage even though he was ready to go and all dressed and everything.
And Susan, his incredible wife, briefed him on what songs was -- were in the set. And but backstage, as soon as he came backstage where I was and he was looking out through the wings at Gaga on stage, you could feel the music just starting to pulse through him. Literally, he -- you could see him come alive.
He went on the stage. I mean, he killed it. And then this incredible thing happened on the third night, which Lady Gaga told me later. He hadn't said his name -- her name to him. He hadn't said hi, Gaga. Hey, Lady Gaga. All the time they were rehearsing and she wasn't sure he knew who she was or remembered her name.
And the final night of their final performance, she comes out for their final songs and he goes turns and he sees her and his eyes light up and he goes, wow. And then he paused and he goes, "Lady Gaga". And you could see her just -- I mean, the tears came and everybody in that audience.
I mean, I literally --
LADY GAGA, SINGER: -- grateful to have witnessed your talent.
COOPER: It was an incredible moment. And it's one of the great, amazing career blessings that I've had to be there that night and to be there with him in the days ahead of his incredible performances. And also a blessing to see the beauty of the relationship he had with his wife, Susan, with his son Danny, who was his manager, who, you know, got him -- who kept him current and, you know, vital.
And just as Susan did, and his whole family and his doctor, Gayatri Devi and Lady Gaga, I mean, God bless her for the work she did with him and the energy she gave him.
KING: Well, the way you describe it and the emotions you show and share, add poignancy to the piece we played right there at the end from 60 Minutes, where you asked Lady Gaga, you know, his friend yes, a colleague, but a friend, if it was a sad story. And she gave that beautiful answer. What did learn about that from his friends and his loved ones, about how they viewed him in the best of days, but even as he struggle?
COOPER: You know, even -- look, Alzheimer's is we -- all know it is a horrible, horrible illness. And it's horrible for the person who has it, but even more so, perhaps, in some ways, for the people around them and the people who love them. And, you know, yes, he was Tony Bennett, and he had resources and a beautiful apartment overlooking, you know, Central Park.
But, you know, Susan was his caretaker, was his primary caretaker for the years of his life. And all during COVID, they were isolated, and she kept him focused on these concerts. She kept him focused on what he loved to do. He would put on shows in their living room, just her and him and the accompanyist and all during COVID when no one else was listening.
And so, to me, it is a story of, yes, a remarkable man and an extraordinary career. But it's also a story of what the human mind is capable of, even when so much is stripped away, Tony Bennett knew who he was in his core. And who he was, was a remarkable performer. And that never left him. It never left him.
And the love of the people around him, it surrounded him and it buoyed him. And it never left him either.
KING: Anderson Cooper. Anderson, really appreciate your time tonight. I know you're supposed to be resting and relaxing, having some peace, but I can see how that --
COOPER: No, it's an --
KING: -- important this is to you.
COOPER: It's an honor to talk to him.
KING: Yes, I really --
KING: -- appreciate your time. You can see that. Thank you.
The singer songwriter, actor Josh Groban joins us next to share his memories of Tony Bennett.
KING: One of many entertainers who worked with Tony Bennett, my next guest, Josh Groban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And I'm joined now by the singer or songwriter and actor, Josh Groban. Josh, thanks for joining us, especially under these sad circumstances. We just played some of that duet there with Tony Bennett performing, "This Is All I Ask". What can you tell us about what it was like recording with him?
JOSH GROBAN, SINGER, SONGWRITER AND ACTOR: Singing with Tony Bennett was a masterclass, to say the least. He came from an era where everything was in the room, that listening was the most important thing, that everything was about the interpretation, everything was about telling the story in the most honest and organic way possible.
And so, that clip was not a setup, that was our session. All the musicians were in there with us. You'll notice also we didn't have any headphones on. He liked to hear everything just in the room. We had a few little speakers in there, but otherwise he just wanted to hear it as we were doing it and couldn't think of a more fitting lyric than that one you just played for the way that he embraced life, embraced music and embraced the way that he worked with other artists.
KING: And so what is it like to first get that call, even for someone as accomplished and successful as yourself, saying, hey, would you like to do a duet with the one and only Tony Bennett?
GROBAN: It's, you know, you have to -- in many ways, you have to kind of suppress the part of you that's freaking out because you have -- you realize you've got a very big job to do. But it also helps. You know, sometimes they say, don't meet your heroes because you don't want to be disappointed.
In the case of Tony Bennett, I just had a feeling, and was absolutely correct, that he was going to be one of the kindest souls that I'd ever collaborate with. He knew the power that he had and the influence that he had on younger singers. And he took that influence with such an enormous amount of grace and gratitude.
And, you know, one of the first things I asked him when I stepped into the room with him, because he knew that I was nervous. We all -- no matter where we are in life, to stand in a room at a microphone with him is nerve wracking.
I just, you know, he asked a lot of questions about, you know, what drives me, where my passions are, and I asked him the same thing. And at the time that I recorded that with him, and he was in his 80s, he said, you know, I get up and I'm still -- I still have the fire to find new things, to find new places to put my voice, to find new ways to interpret songs, new songs, old songs.
He never stopped wanting to be a student. And so I think one of the things is for somebody that felt very much like a student in that moment, to know that the teacher in that moment also had that spark to keep learning was something that I'll carry on with me forever.
KING: So what, in your view, was the secret sauce that allowed him to stay so relevant? I was born in 1963, I remember, in the late 60s, early 70s, my dad had an old crank up Victrola and he would play Tony Bennett and walk around the house thinking he could sing like Tony Bennett. He was good. He wasn't quite that good.
And there are 50 years later, nearly 50 years later, there you are on stage performing with Tony Bennett. How did he stay so relevant? How did he keep that energy? You talked about the desire to learn new things and try new things all the time.
GROBAN: Because what he does and the gift that he had was classic and it was timeless. And he had the wherewithal to know that. He knew that through every decade that he was at the top of his game. He knew that the fads of those moments were just that, and that the important thing was to stay true to that spark of inspiration that he had, the voice that he knew he had, the way that he could tell a story like nobody else.
He knew that that was his -- forever his guiding light. And he continually pushed away outside influence to change for a younger crowd or a different crowd, or a cooler hip or whatever.
KING: What else can you share more about the personal touches than the professional brilliance of Tony Bennett?
GROBAN: Well, one of the things that he was asking me, because there are parts of my music and his music that overlap and there are parts that don't. And he was interested in some of the classical training. He was a real -- he was really passionate about vocal training. And he was asking me what my warm ups were. And he was asking me, you know, what I like to sing before a song to get myself in the right headspace and vocal zone.
And he loved listening to opera singers. He loved listening to classical music. Vocal technique was something that was really, really important to him and something that -- sometimes, when you think about the crooning and the interpretation of these songs, you think about it being very loose.
But he had that extraordinary ability to be very loose and playful with this interpretation, but also had this -- just absolute focus and attention to detail about his vocal techniques. So I couldn't believe that he was asking me what my warm ups were because I was just thinking to myself, what he -- I don't know, Tony, what skills do you do in the shower, because these are mine, you know?
Again, just curious, you know, and, you know, God willing, you know, to be able to stay curious for the entirety of such a legendary career is just such a gift and so happy we got to share that.
KING: Amen, such a gift. Very well put.
Josh Groban, really, thank you for your time today. Thank you.
GROBAN: Thanks for having me.
KING: And next, Tony Bennett's neurologist on how not even Alzheimer's could silence the music inside him.
KING: A bit earlier, we played a portion of Anderson Cooper's 60 Minutes interview with the great Tony Bennett. During that segment, Anderson also spoke with my next guest, Dr. Gayatri Devi, Bennett's neurologist. She diagnosed him with Alzheimer's, and she spoke to Anderson about how Bennett could perform even as his memory failed. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. GAYATRI DEVI, TONY BENNETT NEUROLOGIST: People were bond differently depending on their strengths. In Tony's case, it's his musical memory, his ability to be a performer, those are an innate and hardwired part of his brain. So even though, he doesn't know what the day might be or where his apartment is, he still can sing the whole repertoire of the American songbook and move people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I'm grateful Dr. Devi could join us this evening. Dr. Devi, thank you for being here tonight. Sorry it's under these terrible, sad circumstances. Tony's Alzheimer's case, as you explained in that 60 Minutes interview, was really remarkable. Even to you as a neurologist who knows so much about this, how was he able to flip the switch and actually perform, sing these songs from memory, even after suffering such tragic memory loss because of his diagnosis?
DEVI: Well, you know, this is just a testament to the human brain and the beauty of it and the remarkable nature of it. I remember sitting in the audience at Radio City, and I -- we had been gearing up to this big performance. And up until the very end, I knew he could do it, but until he did it, and, boy, how well did he do it?
For his 94th birthday at Radio City Music Hall to a sold out crowd, he delivered with Alzheimer's disease. Completely solid performance. He got standing ovation. But up until the very end, we weren't really sure if he was going to be completely able to perform as flawlessly as he did. And he did.
And I remember I was sitting next to a physician, friend of mine, and she said to me, what do you mean he has dementia? He doesn't have dementia. There's no sign of it. And I thought, that's one down for us. That's the goal.
KING: That's remarkable. And following up on that, from a neurological standpoint, you've said, I've seen prior interviews, you think that singing specifically activates a lot of the brain. The sound of music, the rhythm of music. What is it about music and singing that is powerful for the mind and perhaps, perhaps helped a bit here?
DEVI: Well, I think singing activates, you know, the whole brain because you activate emotion, you activate language circuits, you activate rhythm circuits. So, I -- and it's something that really can fire up the brain, if you will. And so, music has that great power. It has the power to really trigger and activate the whole brain and get it to be in synchrony.
KING: You worked with, were able to treat, work with Tony and his partner, his amazing wife, his caregiver, Susan, since back in 2017. Let's talk a bit, not the professional part, but the personal relationship like, and how that develops over time in such a case. Any special memories just jump out to you about who he was, who they are as people. DEVI: They had the most playful, wonderful, loving relationship. It was a joy to see -- you know, I think Susan was the love of Tony's life. And I think what -- I heard that one of the last things he said before he passed was, I love you, Susan.
I've never once ever seen him be not sure who Susan was. He always recognized her. And they had a really wonderful, close moving relationship. And she was the reason and I believe, aside from singing, Susan and singing kept Tony going, I believe.
KING: That's very touching. You know, you're the expert here. You're the doctor treating the patient, but every case is different. What did you learn? What did you learn from this incredibly high profile, critical patient, Tony Bennett?
DEVI: Well, I learned that when you have a passion and when you have a gift that you can give the world, then you should be allowed to do it, whether or not you have Alzheimer's. People with Alzheimer's should not be stigmatized. They can still bring joy to the world and to themselves.
And Tony did that. He bought joy to the world. He was able to perform, and he was very much a beloved member of the community. And I think that's something powerful that we should never forget, that just because someone has a diagnosis, it doesn't take away from all the incredible gifts that they have to offer us.
KING: And how has that influenced? Do you treat other patients differently? Do you try different ways to try to help them or keep them in whatever it is they do in their walk of life? Did you learn from Tony Bennett, I guess, is the question simply.
DEVI: The -- yes, I did learn. I learned first of all from Tony Bennett, I learned one thing which is, you know, attitude really matters. I remember him telling me once that he grew up without any money, but he never felt poor, that his mother Anna always made them feel like they had plenty, and he had that attitude toward life itself.
I learned that from Tony Bennett. I learned from Susan how important it is for a person with Alzheimer's to feel loved and feel beloved, and for all of us, really. But in Tony's case, it was really very important. And I also learned that when someone has a passion, they should be allowed to really continue to pursue it, whether or not they have dementia like Alzheimer's.
KING: Fantastic advice. Dr. Gayatri Devi, thank you so much for sharing your time on this day. Thank you.
DEVI: Thank you for having me. Thanks.
KING: We'll be right back.