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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
All 19 Defendants In Georgia Election Case Have Pleaded Not Guilty; Jack Smith Accuses Trump Of Daily Statements That Could Prejudice Jury Pool In Federal Election Interference Case; One-On-One With Chris Christie; Manhunt For Escaped Killer Continues For 6th Day; Attorney Seek New Trial For Convicted Killer Alex Murdaugh; Capitol Hill Doctor Rules Out Number Of Possibilities To Explain Sen. McConnell's Recent Health Scares; ISIS Didn't Know It Was Being Recorded For Month; Video Will Likely Fuel Prosecutions Around The World. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 05, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RYAN DRUMMOND, SAYS HE SAW INMATE IN HIS HOUSE: What I decided to do was flip the light switch on and off, you know, three or four or five times, pause, and then he flipped the light switch from downstairs three or four times, which was the moment of like: "Oh my God, this guy is down there."
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And he also said that apples, peaches, green snap peas were missing from his kitchen after Cavalcante left.
Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360: Breaking News, Special Counsel Jack Smith is accusing the former president of making daily statements that could prejudice future jurors in the January 6 case.
Also, new polling and presidential candidate Chris Christie's reaction to it showing the frontrunner, Donald Trump pulling away from the Republican pack even farther, and the vast majority of Republican voters seemingly okay with him even if convicted of federal crimes.
And later, stunning new claims about the Alex Murdaugh murder trial and whether they could lead to a retrial.
Plus, exclusive stunning video from inside a Syrian Children's Hospital that ISIS used as a torture center, video that's now in the hands of war crimes investigators.
Good evening, thanks for joining us. Hope your holiday was a good one.
We begin tonight with breaking news wrapped in a mystery: A late-day court filing from Special Counsel Jack Smith in the 2020 election subversion case. In it, he accuses the former president of making "daily extrajudicial statements that threaten to prejudice the jury."
Now because this is part of a court fight being conducted largely under seal at the moment, we don't know specifically what Smith is referring to. We do know this isn't all he's focused on at the moment. There's also exclusive CNN reporting tonight from our Paula Reid that Smith is looking into former Trump election lawyer, Sidney Powell, her fundraising and its role in voting machine breaches in four states.
Now as you know, she is one of 19 defendants in Georgia, all of whom have now waived arraignment entering not guilty pleas. Tomorrow, she and attorney Kenneth Chesebro has a court hearing on their efforts to sever their cases from the other 17.
Meantime, co-defendant, Mark Meadows, one of five who pleaded today is waiting for a judge to rule in his request to be tried in federal court.
Now, there is also a reminder of the high price to be paid for actions by some on January 6. Tonight, Enrique Tarrio, leader of the so-called Proud Boys drawing a 22-year sentence for his role in the attack on Congress. That's the longest sentence so far.
So we've been busy post Labor Day tonight. CNN's Paula Reid starts us off. So what more do we know about this court filing from Jack Smith?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we don't know very much at all, because this entire dispute, whatever it is about is happening under seal, and this comment about the former president's statements possibly prejudicing a jury for the election interference trial is just one piece of a comment they made about this larger dispute. And there is currently a dispute about whether that dispute will become public.
So it could be a while before we get more context, but we're seeing this as we've learned what exactly Smith and his team have been up to in the weeks since they filed that indictment against former President Trump related to election interference.
We've learned that they've asked multiple witnesses specifically about Sidney Powell. She is of course the Trump-allied lawyer who pushed a lot of these election lies and was actively involved in efforts to overturn the election.
Now, of course, Trump was the only person indicted so far by the special counsel, but in the federal indictment, they did list a description of six co-conspirators. We've learned that Powell is one of those co-conspirators.
And Anderson specifically, they've been asking witnesses about whether Powell ever showed them evidence of her conspiracy theories and her claims. They've been asking about her nonprofit, Defending the Republic, and how it used money that it raised off of election lies to find a forensic team that was able to breach voting machines in four states that Biden won.
Now, it is unclear if Powell or anyone else will be charged, but Anderson, it is the first insight we've gotten into what exactly the special counsel has been looking at since they filed that indictment.
COOPER: We also just saw her mugshot in Georgia. What are we expecting at the hearing tomorrow in Fulton County?
REID: Well, this is huge, Anderson, because this is one of the first times that people are going to be able to watch this on TV. There are going to be cameras expected to be in the courtroom tomorrow, because this is a state case, and you'll have the opportunity to watch the judge weigh in on some really critical issues here, including scheduling, and the larger question of whether this case should be broken up into smaller cases.
The district attorney, Fani Willis has been asked by the judge to come with a good faith estimate about just how long it's going to take her to try a case with 19 defendants. We know several of these individuals have already asked to separate or sever their case from the herd in the hope of getting to trial faster.
She is also going to have to explain to the judge what would happen if this was divided up into several smaller trials. So Anderson, I think it is a fascinating opportunity for people to watch this process play out. As you know, not all court systems are this transparent especially the federal system where Trump currently faces two trials. There are no cameras allowed in the courtrooms.
COOPER: Yes, Paula Reid, thanks. Appreciate it.
Perspective now from two CNN legal analysts, former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig; and Karen Friedman Agnifilo, former Manhattan chief assistant district attorney.
So a lot we don't know about this breaking news about the filing by Jack Smith, but Jack Smith complaining about comments being made by the former president that could prejudice a jury. He is a presidential candidate. I mean, there's got to be kind of a wide latitude on this, doesn't there?
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's certainly a lot that he can talk about, right, but he doesn't have to talk about the facts of this particular case and I think that's the concern. He's not just answering questions from reporters, which he could be allowed to do. He is engaging in this barrage of Truth Social videos that he's posting, where he's just going on and on and on putting his side of the story out there.
On the one hand, he's trying his case in the court of public opinion, but trying to seek delays because he doesn't seem to really want to try the case in court in front of an actual jury. And the fear is that inadmissible things that won't be admissible at trial are things that he's trying to get out there now to prejudice the jury pool in his favor.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is a dilemma for prosecutors. I'm trying to picture what I would do in their scenario. On the one hand, you're right, there's no realistic way prosecutors are going to say to the judge, lock up this presidential candidate because of a bail violation. On the other hand, in a normal case, if you had somebody committing every day violations, as the prosecutors have said here, you would immediately go to the judge and say, we need to lock this person up.
So it sounds to me there is a lot we don't know. It sounds to me like they're looking for some workable middle ground to get some handle on his public statements.
COOPER: A lot of this is under seal. Any idea what it could be about?
HONIG: Yes. I mean, I imagine, I'm speculating here, but based on my own experience, that they are asking the judge to either bring Donald Trump in and give him a talking to, what good that will do, who knows, or to perhaps impose some other bail restrictions short of locking him up.
Perhaps, I mean, in some cases, you could put restrictions on a person's movements, they would have to report in to a pretrial services officer.
COOPER: I mean, look, he is running for president. Again, this is such an unchartered territory.
HONIG: I know. That's -- exactly. I mean, that's why this is a difficult spot for prosecutors. You can't let it go and do nothing, but you also can't lock them up realistically. So they're looking for some middle ground, I would think.
COOPER: Let's talk about the hearing tomorrow in Georgia, we're going to get a glimpse of Judge McAfee really, for the first time. A lot of questions about his level of experience, his ability to wrangle 19 defendants, some of whom are now pushing for a speedy trial, what are you expecting?
AGNIFILO: I think he wants to get a realistic view from Fani Willis, just from her perspective, her case, how many witnesses she has, how long she thinks it will take to put her case in.
The big wildcard that we don't know about, though, is with 19 defendants and 19 lawyers, there is an opportunity for 19 cross examinations, 19 opening statements 19 summations, so it will drag the case out much longer. But I think he really wants to know realistically how long is her case? I mean, it is a 98-page indictment with many dozens of charges and over 160 overt acts in the conspiracy. So, it's a big case. It's a big monster of a case.
COOPER: So right now, you have -- I mean, they're not all united still, you have Sidney Powell and Chesebro looking to break off.
HONIG: Yes, and you have Mark Meadows trying to get over into federal court. I mean, look Fani Willis took a big bite here, and now she's got to deal with it We are not going to have one trial of 19 defendants that is physically impossible.
The Supreme Court does not look fondly on what they call mega trials like that, because everyone does have some right to an individualized finding of their guilt or non-guilt. And so the judge is going to have to decide how to break this up. Judges have very wide discretion, this judge could put in for 19 separate trials. I don't think that's going to happen. The judge is going to have to look for groups.
One thing I think we know for sure there's going to be an early group, those who have invoked their speedy trial rights and a much, much later second or more groups.
COOPER: The speedy trial -- those who are invoking the speedy trial, I mean, that is a kind of throwing the gauntlet down to Fani Willis, like put up or shut up. Can you do this?
AGNIFILO: Yes. Absolutely. And the Georgia Speedy Trial Act is much, much stricter than other speedy trial acts federally or New York or other states. I mean, she has to be ready before -- she has to have a jury set, a full jury set before the end of the second court term, which is early November for her.
So she asked for October 23rd giving herself enough time to get 12 jurors in the box and alternates.
COOPER: I mean, they were doing a big RICO case with some rappers and were having a hard time getting a jury.
AGNIFILO: Eight months of that has been going on.
COOPER: Why does it take eight months to get a jury?
AGNIFILO: Because you have to -- it can take a long time, and this one is going to take, I think, a significant amount of time to get a jury because you have -- the whole point is fair and impartial jurors. That's why there's such concern about poisoning a jury pool because you're going to ask each person, how much do you know? How much have you seen? Can you be fair and impartial?
And the more that it is talked about, the more information that is out there, the harder it is going to be to find people who can just look at the evidence that's right in front of them, who haven't made up their mind already, who aren't anti-Trump or pro-Trump. You know, you really need somebody who is really just going to look at the evidence.
COOPER: Does it seem already that Mark Meadows is pointing the finger at the former president?
HONIG: Oh, for sure.
COOPER: I mean, he had a hearing in which his attorney was essentially pointing out the limited role that Mark Meadows had in the phone call with Raffensperger.
HONIG: Yes, a big part of Mark Meadows argument to move over into federal court is -- I was doing what chief-of-staffs do, which is they carry out the will and instruction of the president. COOPER: But already in court, didn't his -- I mean, his attorney already -- they did admit that a number of his activities were not -- were political.
HONIG: Yes. And that's why it was such a risk for him, I think, to take the stand because we're in sort of unknown legal territory here. Because if what you're doing is within your job, as a federal official, you are entitled to go to federal court; if it's outside, you are not.
But the scenario we have here is it looks like the judge based on his request for more briefing is saying, What if some is inside and some is outside? The answer is we don't know. We're going to find out any day now.
But yes, Mark Meadows did make some really damaging admissions when he took the stand the other day.
COOPER: If Mark Meadows can't get his case moved to federal court, does anyone else have a better shot?
AGNIFILO: I think he probably has the best shot. I mean, Trump also I think it has a decent shot, but I think of all the other defendants, he probably has the best shot and the open question is, let's say he gets removed. Does the whole case get removed? And the law is unclear there? Would he just be removed? Or would the rest of the defendants be removed?
And it'll be interesting to see how the judge rules on that and whether it gets removed? I mean, when Mark Meadows took the stand, he admitted to other crimes. I mean, him saying I want to be removed saying I was just doing my job, I think, inadvertently admitted to other crimes, known as the Hatch Act, because you're not allowed to mix your day job with politics and political activity. So it was a big risk, but he's hoping to get immunity.
COOPER: There is a lot of that mixing though during the administration.
HONIG: A lot of gray areas.
COOPER: Karen Friedman Agnifilo, appreciate it. Elie Honig, as well.
Coming up next, new CNN polling on Republicans' willingness to accept a Trump presidency even if charges against him are true and he is convicted. We've got Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie's take on that and the state of the race as campaign season gains momentum.
Later, new video of an escaped killer on the run as the search for him, the manhunt continues and intensifies.
[20:15:49] COOPER: In light of tonight's breaking news in connection with Jack Smith's election subversion case against the former president, there is new CNN polling on how little impact even a conviction would have on Republican voters.
They and Republican-leaning voters were asked if the charges were true, would it disqualify the former president for them from becoming president again? Sixty-eight percent, more than two in three said no, they are not relevant to his fitness for the job, which presents a real challenge as our polling also shows to any Republican challenging him on that basis or any basis, it appears, the former president now leads his closer rival, Ron DeSantis, nationally by 52 to 18 percent; all of the others in single digits or less. This, of course, as I said a national poll in the primaries run state by state.
Joining me now, one of the challengers, former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie. How do you reconcile that 68 percent of Republicans say -- two in three say, yes, even if he is convicted, that doesn't disqualify him from being president.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the distinction a lot of these voters are making and I've heard this on the campaign trail is that they believe that the charges were politically motivated, but a lot of those 68 percent, I suspect don't approve of the conduct. And I think that's where the difference is also going to kind of be made here, is that people have differing opinions about whether the Justice Department has approached this in a way that's fair or unfair to Donald Trump and the Hunter Biden case plays into that as well.
But when I asked people about the underlying conduct, is that what they want from a president of the United States? A good majority of those people say no.
So I think that's where the distinction would be. Maybe they can start to ask the question a little bit differently.
COOPER: In this CNN poll, again, national -- the president has gained since June, in this poll, you've lost supports since then. I know. You say these national polls are essentially useless at this point.
COOPER: You look at New Hampshire, what do you see when you're in New Hampshire? What do you see when you're in --
CHRISTIE: Well, the latest poll in New Hampshire has Trump at 34, not at 52. It has me a 14, not a two, and that means 66 percent of the people polled in New Hampshire don't want to support Donald Trump.
COOPER: Your argument when we talked last time was if the dam breaks in Iowa or New Hampshire, then that's it, then if somebody else wins in either of those states, then the dam will break elsewhere. What evidence do you have that that's the case? That somebody in South Carolina is going to pay attention what somebody in Iowa and New Hampshire thinks? CHRISTIE: Because a lot of people will say they're for Trump now because he's winning, and they say, well, okay, if it's inevitable, I'll be with him because I don't like Biden. The minute someone else is feasible, is plausible, and by winning either the caucuses in Iowa or the primary New Hampshire, you're more than feasible or plausible. You're now someone who has defeated Donald Trump, that becomes a whole different story.
And I would say to you, too, remember that in a place like New Hampshire, and I saw Jeff Zeleny set a piece for this. I mean, you know, at the end, these folks are looking at this and there was a big divide between men and women on this issue, too.
And I've seen a large number, probably two-thirds to one-third at my town hall meetings, women to men, because I think that women in much larger numbers have abandoned him. And if you look at that poll that came out, the "Wall Street Journal" poll, you know, 62 percent of Independents say they won't vote for him.
Well, if 62 percent of Independents won't vote for him, he is not winning the general election, and on the general election polls --
COOPER: But it doesn't seem like primary voters are paying care too much about who's going to win the general election.
CHRISTIE: Yes, because it's Labor Day. And you know, they don't have to think about it yet. Look, this thing is going to really start to come into focus in the next couple of months, and people are going to start to pay attention.
Summer vacations are over, kids back-to-school, all right, now there is an election going on, we will see what's going to happen.
COOPER: When you heard Jack Smith making this filing, again, it is sealed, there's a lot we don't know about it, but complaining about comments that the former president is making that could taint a jury, isn't that -- I mean, the guy who is running for president. I mean, I keep coming back to this. This is a truly tricky situation.
CHRISTIE: Well, this is a tricky situation. He is running for president, that's voluntary.
COOPER: I mean, he has the rights -- he has the right to criticize the process, doesn't he?
CHRISTIE: Of course, he does, but when you have been indicted, the judge now has certain authority over you regarding your influence on a jury pool. Because look, Donald Trump in DC in particular, I'm sure he will making the argument he can't get a fair trial because of the jury in DC. Well, he's not making it any better through some of the comments he has made.
So this is going to be a balancing act for the judge. I think what Smith is probably trying to do is to establish a factual predicate to fight Trump later on when he says the jury can't be fair. Smith will probably then say, well, whose fault is that, Your Honor? He has been polluting this jury pool right from the beginning.
So my guess is this is a bit of gamesmanship, Smith's part, anticipating what the defense arguments are going to be.
COOPER: What do you think of DeSantis not meeting with Biden when he came down to Florida after the hurricane? I should point out for those who have a short memory, you met with Obama. He was the president at the time. There was criticism that there had been a hug. There hadn't been a hug.
I've looked at the photo again. There was a handshake. I think Obama put his hand on -- there it is.
CHRISTIE: There it is. He patted my shoulder.
COOPER: He patted your shoulder.
CHRISTIE: Let me tell you something. In Jersey, that's no hug. That is no hug, sir.
COOPER: But I mean, it's just a sign of how politicized these things are, because you got hammered that that was a -- that you bear hugged him.
CHRISTIE: Sure. And by the way, I wouldn't do one thing differently. My job at that moment, when you saw that picture, we had over $35 billion in damage done to our state, two-thirds of the state was without electricity. We had no operating water treatment or wastewater treatment plants.
Every major highway was obstructed, 365,000 homes were destroyed in 24 hours -- that's the guy who can help me get it fixed.
COOPER: Should DeSantis have met with --
CHRISTIE: Well, of course, he should have. Look, we shouldn't be playing politics with this stuff, but Governor DeSantis has always played politics with this.
He voted against Sandy aid in 2012 as a member of the House, and now he wants aid. You know, this is the hypocrisy that everybody sees in politics, and why they're looking for someone who will just tell them the truth.
I'm trying to tell the people in that camera the truth tonight, which is if I had to do it all over again, 11 years later, and I know, it was six days before the election, but I was governor of New Jersey and my job was to make sure my state got rebuilt and my people recovered as quickly as possible and I couldn't do that without the help of the president of the United States.
COOPER: You're obviously still concerned very much on Ukraine. You were there, met with Zelenskyy. The Defense minister, the new Defense minister there now and also now Kim Jong-un apparently going to be meeting with Vladimir Putin. What does that tell you?
CHRISTIE: What it tells me is that it's exactly what I've been saying it is, which is, this is a proxy war between the authoritarian dictatorships of this country and the free world.
So when you look at people like Kim Jong-un, the mullahs in Iran, Russia and China, they're all together on this. This is a proxy war and the free part of the world has to fight this, it has to back Ukraine and has to help Ukraine win.
Now Ukraine has made some gains in the last week or ten days in their counteroffensive, but they're still getting outgunned 10 to one artillery shells on a daily basis.
And so if we were serious about this, if Joe Biden were serious about it, he would be upping what he's doing. He would have given the F-16s a long time ago, and that's what I would have done.
COOPER: The cluster munitions, you --
CHRISTIE: I support that as well. Look, the Chinese are now -- and now the Russians and the Saudis are coming together to keep the cuts in production down so that Russian prices for oil can stay higher all to supply them with money for the war, Anderson, and look, this is the naivete of the Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy approach to foreign policy.
They all think they're going to go talk to Putin, and they're going to convince him to get away. Putin is spending his time talking to Kim Jong-un and President Xi of China and the mullahs in Iran, he has no interest until we show him that the juice is not worth the squeeze, that he needs to stop with what he is doing to a free country. The atrocities there, the 20,000-plus children who have been kidnapped from their parents.
This is stuff that the United States has to stand up against, and when I'm president, we will.
COOPER: Governor Christie, appreciate it. Thank you.
CHRISTIE: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, the manhunt for an escaped murderer in Pennsylvania almost a week in to it, a new surveillance video now has police expanding their search area.
Plus, another chance for Alex Murdaugh. Is that possible? Convicted earlier this year for murdering his wife and son among many other things. His defense now says they have evidence worthy of a new trial.
COOPER: The manhunt for escaped Pennsylvania inmate, Danelo Cavalcante is now in its sixth day. Police say they believe there have been six sightings of the convict and new surveillance video captured last night has authority shifting their search.
CNN's Brian Todd has more.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, new surveillance video capturing an escaped inmate on the run in Pennsylvania. Convicted killer, Danelo Cavalcante seen last night on a park's trail camera outside the perimeter police were searching, forcing police to expand their manhunt.
LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: Obviously, we wish we would have been able to capture him without him getting through that perimeter, but we will now expand that perimeter or and move it so that we can try and encapsulate him again.
TODD (voice over): Police say they were only a few hours behind him and the perimeter is still small.
BIVENS: And if we squeezed him hard enough over a period of a few days, he will slip up. We're making him move and that's a good thing.
TODD (voice over): Authorities warning residents the situation is evolving. Two school districts canceling classes today as the search zone expands.
One homeowner believes the convicted killer entered his home late Friday night. He says he heard something downstairs and rushed to his upstairs landing.
RYAN DRUMMOND, SAYS HE SAW INMATE IN HIS HOUSE: What I decided to do was flip the light switch on and off, you know three or four or five times, pause, and then he flipped the light switch from downstairs three or four times which was the moment of like: Oh my God. This guy is down there.
TODD (voice over): He says Cavalcante walked out after taking some food. Cavalcante escaped prison last Thursday, just weeks after he was sentenced to life without parole for the 2021 murder of his former girlfriend.
Prosecutors say he stabbed her 38 times in front of her two young children. Police believe the convict has now been spotted six times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's making bad decisions. He's still on foot. They are going to bring out the K9s and they're going to start focusing in. Those K9s are very effective. They've got helicopters.
TODD (voice over): Nearby residents being asked to lock their homes, cars, garages, and sheds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like I'm a prisoner, scared to go out -- well, just scared in in general, we don't know where he is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My level of fear and concern is pretty high.
TODD (voice over: The latest images show Cavalcante has obtained a hooded sweatshirt, a duffel bag, and a backpack.
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Clearly, he is now you know burglarizing places getting access to a backpack, probably some food, maybe a knife or two and Lord knows maybe even a firearm, we don't know.
[20:30:38] TODD: The search force already numbers more than 200 officers on the ground, but today, the FBI and the Border Patrol have sent in new teams and equipment. Police say they are also interviewing Danelo Cavalcante's contacts, his family and other inmates for potential clues. Anderson?
COOPER: Brian Todd, appreciate it.
Joining me now is CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, John Miller, a former NYPD Deputy Commissioner. Six days now, six possible sightings. How do you think he's been able to evade capture so far?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So this is not out of the norm. We've had the Burnham Escape, which was in Warren County, Pennsylvania, back in July. He was on the run for 10 days --
COOPER: A lot of forest area there.
MILLER: Well, that's right. And Anderson, as you recall, he was a guy with survivalist training, former military person, and he had help on the outside, caches of supplies set up in the woods. Danelo Cavalcante has none of that. You can tell by the fact that he seems to be laying low in the day, but moving around in the night looking for opportunities and what's he looking for.
Changes of clothes to alter the description, food to sustain himself. And always the possibility when you enter a house, whether it's occupied or not, about being able to obtain a weapon, whether that's a knife or, you know, we're in the cusp between rural and suburban Pennsylvania, a gun, because a lot of houses have it.
COOPER: I mean, in your experience, what happens when a fugitive stays on -- you know, the longer somebody stays on the run?
MILLER: They get either lucky, they see a car running and they're able to put some distance between them and maybe switch to another car again or they get tired. If you look at the pattern here, he has made it basically from one box that they thought they had him trapped in to another. It's getting tighter around him. He's clearly getting worn out, clearly getting hungry.
The dangerous piece here is he's also desperate. And the the real factor -- the threat factor here is what happens when he is about to be captured and there's a civilian between him and that capture or a weapon between him and law enforcement -- COOPER: I mean, you know, Brian was stating the obvious, which is the
law enforcement is looking at his contacts and stuff. That is a common -- I mean, that would be the most obvious thing for somebody to do, to try to reach out to somebody that they know from their past.
MILLER: Right. So when he was being sought for the murder that he's been sentenced to life for, you know, he reached out to two family members. They were able to get him away, help dispose of the body, get him to a car, get him on the road. But they also became witnesses in the case defendants charged with harboring and helping. So he's --
COOPER: Helping dispose of a body usually does end up in charges.
MILLER: Yes. So his network of friends has significantly shrunk.
MILLER: Right? He's got very little to offer. And the fact that, you know, the message being sent from the family, his mom in Portuguese, you know, blaring from the loudspeakers on the helicopter, turn yourself in safely --
MILLER: -- and, you know, and anything.
COOPER: John, appreciate it. Thanks.
COOPER: We'll keep you updated.
In South Carolina, lawyers for disgraced attorney fraudster and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh are seeking a new trial. Murdaugh's currently serving two life sentences, you may remember, for the killing of his wife and son. Now, his attorneys say that they have uncovered new evidence suggesting, according to them, significant problems with the court clerk.
Randi Kaye has the latest on that. So walk us through these new allegations from the defense.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the defense is alleging jury tampering denied their client, Alex Murdaugh, a fair trial. And at the center of it all is the court clerk. Her name is Becky Hill. And some of the allegations against her by the defense were laid out in their 65-page filing today. And they include that she instructed jurors not to be fooled by Alex Murdaugh's testimony or misled by evidence presented by his defense team.
This is, of course, an allegation. Also that she had frequent private conversations with the jury foreperson in the bathroom, in the jury room. Also that she asked jurors their opinions about their guilt or innocence of Alex Murdaugh. She told the jury foreperson that everything Murdaugh has said was lies. And also this is a big one here, Anderson. The defense is alleging that she invented a story about a Facebook post in order to have a juror removed. A juror who she thought was going to vote that Alex Murdaugh was not guilty, and sure enough, that juror was removed on the very last day of the trial.
Also, the defense is alleging that she pressured the jurors to actually come up with a very quick verdict, telling them that they were going to have to stay in a hotel. Also that they would not be allowed to take smoking breaks. Six of those jurors were smokers.
So the defense team held a very brief press conference today, Anderson, and they shared how Alex Murdaugh himself is responding to these allegations. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM GRIFFIN, ATTORNEY FOR ALEX MURDAUGH: When I shared with him the affidavits, he's a lawyer, he was astonished. He was shaking. He was in disbelief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: And of course, Anderson, the question is, why would a court clerk allegedly do this?
KAYE: Well, the defense also laid that out in their court filing, and they say that she did this to get her book sold, that she had the plan to write a book based on this trial, and she wanted to profit from that book. Sure enough, Anderson, she did. She published a book this summer.
They also say that without a conviction, it would be very unlikely that she would have been able to secure a book deal. We did reach out to Becky Hill for comment, Anderson, and we have not heard back.
COOPER: And what kind of proof does the defense say that it has?
KAYE: The defense cites at least three sworn affidavits, one from a juror and one from one of those dismissed jurors. They're also using an excerpt from Becky Hill's book, the book that she got published this summer as evidence against her in this case.
And I did speak with the lawyer who's representing two of those jurors, Joe McCulloch, and he told me that those jurors did come forward reluctantly. Anderson?
COOPER: And what did the attorney general and prosecutors have to say?
KAYE: Well, the attorney general has 10 days to file a reply. I did get a statement from Attorney General Alan Wilson's office today saying that they are currently reviewing the defense's latest motion. They'll respond through the legal process at the appropriate time.
I also reached out to SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. They, of course, did the key investigation of Alex Murdaugh, and they did not want to offer a response at this time. But it's just worth noting, Anderson, very quickly, that even if there is a new trial and this conviction gets overturned, he is facing dozens of charges related to financial crimes, and he will very likely still spend the rest of his life in prison, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, but all the twists and turns this case has had just another one now. Randi, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up next, the questions that continue to surround Mitch McConnell, the highest ranking Senate Republican. We'll tell you what the Capitol Hill doctor said and didn't say about his recent health scare.
And later, this is an incredible report. ISIS, as you know, was not shy about recording its crimes for years. Well, now there's an ISIS video it didn't even know was being recorded from a children's hospital that they turned into a torture chamber. You're going to see the video. A 360 exclusive ahead.
COOPER: The Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, today made his first public appearance since he froze in front of reporters last week. The appearance comes as his office looks to ease concerns over its recent health scares, releasing a more comprehensive report from the Capitol's attending physician that ruled out a number of potential causes. But we should point out it also failed to explain exactly what happened.
Last week, the Senate Minority Leader froze for about 30 seconds while speaking with reporters in Kentucky. And as you know, he experienced a similar episode just weeks ago during a news conference on Capitol Hill. This is the latest incident that you just saw. The latest one has, of course, raised more concerns about his health even among his own party, and has called into question his ability to serve.
He addressed those concerns on the Senate floor today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Now, one particular moment of my time back home has received its fair share of attention in the press over the past week. But I assure you, August was a busy and productive month for me and my staff back in the Commonwealth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So he addressed it, but didn't really address it. McConnell is also expected to address his health during a closed door GOP conference meeting tomorrow. With me now, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So walk us through what the Capitol physician said about Senator McConnell.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Dr. Brian Monahan basically looked at, you know, some of the things that were most likely to cause episodes like this, freezing episodes. And he sent a letter directly to Senator McConnell basically saying this, that there is no evidence, that there is a seizure disorder, that you've experienced a stroke or something known as a TIA, which is a transient ischemic attack, sometimes known as ministrokes, or something like a movement disorder such as Parkinson's.
So he basically said that there -- you know, based on the various tests and stuff that he had done, there was no evidence of those things. He didn't say what it was other than lightheadedness, which, again, is pretty hard to sort of reconcile with those types of freezing episodes.
Pretty brief letter. He did say at the end that the senator should continue his current treatment protocol for the concussion that he suffered back in March, but again, did not say what that treatment protocol was.
COOPER: Do we know more about the tests that the doctor said the senator underwent? Because this doctor wasn't giving the senator tests, right? The senator had undergone some tests and he just had access to those. I mean, how -- if we know about the tests, how effective would those tests be in ruling out other conditions?
GUPTA: So there were a few tests. And from the letter I got the sense that after August 30 until now, he had these tests done and they had -- also he -- the doctor consulted with neurologists about Senator McConnell. It's not clear that Senator McConnell actually saw these neurologists himself.
But the tests, Anderson, to your question, were brain MRI. So that's looking at the brain, looking for anything from blood collections to tumors, things like that. An EEG study which is sort of a snapshot in time of the electrical activity of your brain. It's to sort of look for seizures. But again, it's a snapshot in time.
Someone could have a seizure, then have a normal EEG and have a seizure later. And then, as I mentioned, according to Manu Raju's reporting, there was four different neurologists who were consulted as well. So, you know, what's interesting, Anderson, is that's a fairly detailed investigation. Those are significant tests.
They can give you a fair amount of information, although they can't definitively rule out a seizure. Again, they can just give you that snapshot in time. And when you look at the video, I think part of the reason for this level of concern, when you watch that most -- I think we have the video of it -- that most recent episode just a few days ago, he has this period of time where he again appears frozen, which is, you know, the best sort of clinical term here. But as you see that aid coming up on his right shoulder, he seems to have neglect on that side of his body. He's not looking at that aid. She's talking to him. He says something. You'll see another aide come to the left side and say something as well. And at that point you'll see Senator McConnell look to his left.
So that's another clue that there is something, what we call focal going on, something involving one part of his brain perhaps that's causing these types of symptoms. And there obviously was a level of concern by the capital physician because they got all these tests.
Unfortunately, Anderson, we're left still with no real answer as to what exactly happened here. Lightheadedness is not a focal thing. That's something that would cause your whole system to sort of feel like you need to sit down, rest, something like that. What you're being there is something very specific and I'm not sure we still have an answer as to what caused that.
COOPER: Are there -- I mean, what's left that could be causing the issue?
GUPTA: There's not many other things that you'd really put on the list, but I don't know that as extensive and exhaustive as the testing was done. Again with that EEG, it's just capturing a moment in time. If some one's not having a seizure at the time the EEG is being performed, you would say that there's no evidence of seizure --
COOPER: Are there other tests to do?
GUPTA: -- but oftentimes --
COOPER: Like if one wanted to --
GUPTA: You would probably do -- you'd monitor him for a period of time probably. And if there's still, you know, that could be a 24 hours sort of monitoring --
GUPTA: -- with -- for an EEG. You might even do what are called challenges, where you actually would do things to see if you can induce the seizure. You're trying to find any evidence as to why this might occur.
GUPTA: Now, I will say that after someone has had a concussion, which is a brain injury that back in March, there is sometimes seizures that can happen after that. And it wouldn't be that unusual for that to sort of all fall in line with his previous history.
COOPER: Sanjay, I appreciate it. Thanks.
Next, the video that ISIS did not know was being recorded in Syria. The horrors it reveals and why will likely or possibly lead to prosecutions around the world, hopefully. The 360 exclusive report coming up.
COOPER: Now a CNN exclusive, for years, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, wasn't shy about recording its staggering brutality and terrorizing the world when it hoped to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Many of their crimes, as you know, were posted online, including executions.
Now you're about to see video of ISIS in action during its reign of terror that was being recorded in secret for months. ISIS had no idea. The video will likely fuel prosecutions or possibly fuel prosecutions around the world. It's never been seen publicly until now, and it's difficult to watch at times. Some disturbing images.
CNN Jomana Karadsheh has the exclusive report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Answering the call to unite under one flag. This is the source of our glory.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was an ISIS hallmark. Slick Media Productions terrorizing the world. It's what they wanted us to see, but not this.
CHRIS ENGELS, COMMISSION FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY: This film is different. This film is Islamic State without Islamic State knowing it was being filmed.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Never before seen video inside the groups' headquarters in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2013, a children's hospital turned into a house of horrors. CCTV video that captures the reality of the Islamic State, where torture was routine.
Hundreds of Syrians were held in this makeshift prison. Many never made it out to tell their stories. Others did, including some Western hostages with chilling accounts of what they survived and witnessed.
DIDIER FRANCOIS, FRENCH JOURNALIST: We could hear the Syrian prisoners in the first places where we were detained, in the Aleppo hospital, for instance. We could see some of them in the corridors, and we could see some people lying in their blood.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): This video is much more than just a snapshot of ISIS's reign of terror.
ENGELS: As a normal state of affairs, the hospital had CCTV running. The members of Islamic State didn't realize that this was being recorded in the background and didn't think too much about it.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): And the cameras rolled for months, capturing scenes like this. A captive left hanging in a stressed position. Blindfolded detainees march down the hallway. Here, a fighter laughing as he pushes down the head of a handcuffed and hooded detainee. These only a few of the clips shared exclusively with CNN by the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, CIJA.
ENGELS: This is exactly the type of treatment that we've heard about from survivors, right? What makes this important is, as you see right there, the Islamic State member without a mask on, walking down the hall, that's a person that would normally try and hide his face outside.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): We've blurred faces to preserve ongoing investigations and possible future prosecutions.
ENGELS: That's incredible evidence at trial for several of these individuals who've been identified.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): According to Engels, fighters from all over the world, including senior members from Europe and the U.S. were operating in the facility. This video, he says, has already been used to identify a French suspect.
Evidence gathered has long allowed them and law enforcement in various Western countries to identify and track down ISIS members who fled. Before the fall of ISIS' so-called caliphate CIJA's war crimes investigators worked undercover collecting evidence like this from the battlefields in Syria and Iraq.
ENGELS: It's often the case that domestic law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities have enough evidence to prove that they were a member. What we think is important is that wherever possible, we're able to prosecute them for the torture, for the kidnapping, for the murder.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): This is not just about the past. ISIS remains a top global security threat.
ENGELS: These are individuals that have already proven that they are a threat, and we don't want to give them the opportunity to decide to go down that path again. We've had several hundred requests for information. Our law enforcement partners have not at all forgotten about the conflict.
KARADSHEH (on-camera): Just before dawn on January 17, heavily armed Dutch police descended on this street in the village of Arkel. They raided a house and arrested a man suspected of having been a senior ISIS commander in Syria.
(voice-over): His arrest in the small, sleepy town where he lived a quiet life with his wife and children shocked the nation. Residents here were reluctant to speak to us about the suspect, identified as Aham al-Es (ph). He allegedly operated in Damascus, not Aleppo. So it wasn't the CCTV video that led to his arrest. It was a tip from a Syrian NGO and witnessed testimony that triggered a years long Dutch investigation. Sources say he had a long history of extremism in Syria, holding leadership positions, first within an Al-Qaeda affiliate and later ISIS. Aham al-Es (ph), who rejects the government's accusations, now faces life in prison.
MIRIAM BLOM, PROSECUTOR, NETHERLANDS PUBLIC PROSECUTOR SERVICE: He had a leading position within terrorist organizations.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Miriam Blom is the lead public prosecutor on the case. She's charged him with two counts of membership in terror organizations with the aim to commit war crimes.
BLOM: In order to charge him with separate war crimes like execution or violent arrests or torture, you need more evidence than indications.
KARADSHEH (on-camera): And so this is ongoing --
BLOM: And we have investigations still going on. Yes.
KARADSHEH (on-camera): Was he hiding?
BLOM: He was not hiding. He was living there openly. People like him, and also war criminals come to the Netherlands hiding in the legitimate stream of refugees.
And to be able to investigate and prosecute those cases is a very important aspect in our mission not to be a safe haven for war criminals.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The trail of terror ISIS left behind will haunt not only their victims, but those who tormented them.
COOPER: And Jomana joins us now. I mean, that video is just so sickening in that former hospital. The man who was arrested in that small town of the Netherlands, do investigators have a sense of how many suspected high ranking former ISIS members might be hiding in plain sight in Western countries right now?
KARADSHEH: It's very unclear, Anderson. What you have is, as you recall, tens of thousands of foreigners who joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq about a decade ago. Many of them have been killed. You also have thousands who remain in jail in Iraq and Syria. But you've had countries that have been dealing in recent years with returnees, the repatriation of foreign fighters.
And in some cases, European countries like this have found suspected ISIS members who have made it into these countries through the stream of refugees. How many? We don't really know. And this is why evidence like this is crucial. It could help law enforcement agencies identify some of these suspects, and it would allow prosecutors to go after them for more serious crimes and offenses, not just for membership. And as you heard there from Chris, who we spoke to in our piece, we're talking about individuals who've already proven that they are a threat. And it is very important for organizations like CIJA, they say, to hold these perpetrators accountable. And as we heard also from the prosecutor in the Netherlands, this is also about justice for the countless victims of ISIS, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And it's amazing that that CCTV footage was being recorded for months without them realizing.
Jomana Karadsheh, fascinating report. Thank you.
KARADSHEH: Thank you very much, Anderson.
COOPER: We'll be right back.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: CNN's Jake Tapper here from The Lead with Jake Tapper and State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Here to congratulate Anderson Cooper and his AC360 show and their team on their 20th anniversary, 20th anniversary. Two decades of stellar, steady journalism and storytelling from the studios there in New York to scenes across the country, around the world.
Two decades of keeping them honest every single night. Cheers to you, Anderson, and the entire AC360 team on your 20th anniversary. This is actually just coffee, but congratulations.
COOPER: Thanks, Jake. I appreciate it.
Yes, we launched this program September 8th, 2003. I have no memory of that date. As Jake said, this is our 20-year anniversary week, which honestly sounds very strange to say. We'll be celebrating all week, sharing some great memories. I hope you join us as we look back this week.
The news continues right now. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.