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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Judge Rules That Powell And Chesebro Will Be Tried Together In Georgia Election Subversion Case; Poll: Minority Of Voters Say 2024 Candidate's View On The 2020 Election Must Alight With Their Own; Special Counsel To Indict Hunter Biden This Month; Feud Over Tuberville's Stand On Pentagon Nominations Risks Senate Confirmation Of Nation's Top Military Officer; Authorities On Day Seven Of Search For Escaped Pennsylvania Murderer; U.S. Secretary Of State Blinken Pledges More Than $1 Billion In New Aid For Ukraine; Russian Missile Attack In Eastern Ukraine Kills At Least 17, Injures Dozens More; Federal Judge Orders Texas To Remove Floating Border Barriers On Rio Grande; Gov. Abbott Appeals Ruling. Aired 8-9 ET

Aired September 06, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: The National Hurricane Center reporting sustained wind gusts of 75 miles an hour. They expect that to possibly double.

It's too soon to know whether Lee will directly impact the US mainland. Of course, a direct hit would be absolutely devastating. Even if it isn't a direct hit, though, its effects could reverberate up and down the entire East Coast.

As we watch that, thank you very much for joining us.

AC 360 begins now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": Tonight on 360: They are in this together, with cameras recording, two of the 19 Georgia election defendants are told they cannot be tried one at a time.

Also breaking news tonight, in a stunning reversal of fortune, Hunter Biden is now facing criminal indictment.

And later, how a vicious killer escaped. New video showing him scaling a wall before running across a roof, climbing a fence, and pushing through layers of barbed wire without a single guard seeing a thing.

Good evening.

Thanks for joining us. Tonight, what comes next after the judge in Georgia's election subversion case decided that two of the 19 defendants asking to be tried early and separately from the other 17 cannot be tried separately. They are attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell.

And today, with cameras giving us our first look inside the courtroom, Judge Scott McAfee said they will not get solo trials.

CNN's Paula Reid starts off our coverage.


SCOTT MCAFEE, JUDGE, FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: So based on what's been presented today, I am not finding the severance from Mr. Chesebro or Powell as necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant in this case.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee in court Wednesday giving the first glimpse into how he plans to handle the sweeping election subversion case in Georgia, all in front of cameras allowed in the courtroom.

McAfee ruling Wednesday that defendants, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, who both filed for a speedy trial cannot be separated and will stand trial together in a matter of weeks.

SCOTT GRUBMAN, ATTORNEY FOR KENNETH CHESEBRO: Obviously, we're a little disappointed. We filed the motion and it was denied. However, we respect the court's ruling.

REID (voice over): Now the issue before the court will be whether it's realistic that all 19 defendants, including former President Donald Trump be tried together.

GRUBMAN: To say that all 19 defendants should be tried together, including ones that don't want to avail themselves of the speedy trial demand is really just nonsensical.

REID (voice over): Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis has said from the beginning, she wants to do just that.

FANI WILLIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY: Do I intend to try the 19 defendants in this indictment together? Yes.

REID (voice over): But the judge expressing skepticism in court Wednesday about that plan, and whether they can put on a massive trial for all the defendants as soon as October 23rd, the date now on the calendar for Chesebro and Powell.

MCAFEE: It just seems a bit unrealistic to think that we can handle all 19 in 40-something days.

Are we even delaying the inevitable? If we say there's no severance, are we going to have 17 defense attorneys get up here and file motions for a continuance just saying they're not ready.

REID (voice over): This, as some defendants like Trump's former White House chief-of-staff, Mark Meadows are trying to get their cases moved to federal court.

MCAFEE: I think we've already had some counsel indicating they are on trial in other cases in federal court. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Paula Reid joins us now.

McAfee may be a young judge, but he is a former prosecutor and he was very skeptical about the prosecution's timeline for the rest of the case.

REID: That's exactly right. I mean, for the first time, the district attorney said that you wanted to try all 19 defendants together. There have been so many questions about whether that is logistically possible, and the judge really brought that to the forefront today, saying, look, I don't know if it's possible to do 19 defendants all at once on this timeline.

And the timeline right now is an October 23rd, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro will go to trial. And now the judge needs to decide officially, whether the other 19 defendants, including Trump will be there alongside him. He's asked for additional briefings, but we know other defendants, Mark Meadows, other folks have asked to sever their cases.

So Anderson, it appears highly unlikely that we're going to see all 19 defendants go to trial on October 23rd. But one significant development we saw late today, the district attorney, Fani Willis asked the court to issue protections for any prospective jurors.

This is incredibly significant because of course members of the grand jury, their names were published in that indictment that went out to the entire world. They were all doxed and many of them faced threat. So the fact that she's taking this step is incredibly important.

COOPER: Paula Reid, appreciate it.

Joining us now CNN legal analyst and former US attorney in Georgia, Michael Moore, former federal prosecutor Jessica Roth and Keisha Lance Bottoms, former mayor of Atlanta.

So Jessica, obviously, a big day. The first time we've seen any of these cases televised. First time we saw this judge and the way he approaches it, I'm wondering what you made of it all, both in substance and style.

JESSICA ROTH, NEW YORK CARDOZO LAW SCHOOL LAW PROFESSOR AND FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well in terms of substance, we saw the judge asking all the right questions that bear on whether he should grant severance for these defendants one from each other initially, that was the motion that was pending before him today.


He was asking them, the lawyers to articulate how their clients would be harmed if they were tried together, Powell and Chesebro, and they really weren't able to satisfy him. In fact, the arguments they made seemed to kind of backfire. They were claiming that they were -- that the allegations suggested that these two defendants were part of very different schemes. And they were essentially -- those would be unrelated trials, but joined together.

And the judge said, well, but, wait a minute. One of the reasons you are arguing for a severance is because your say your clients would be harmed by the jury using evidence admissible against the other defendant, but inadmissible against your client -- against them, despite my instructions to the contrary.

But if the schemes are as different as you allege, the jury should be able to follow my instruction and keep the schemes different and decide the guilt of each defendant or innocence on its own merits.

So he just wasn't persuaded and the defendants didn't satisfy their burden of establishing the need for a severance and the law expresses a preference for joint trials because of efficiency.

COOPER: Michael, were you surprised Chesebro wasn't able to get his case severed from Powell's?

MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'm glad to be with all of you.

I really wasn't surprised. I mean, what's interesting here is that these two individuals both filed for speedy trial under the Georgia statute. They could have secured without question, the chance to have the cases tried separately had Miss Powell simply waited a few weeks to file her motion for speedy trial.

She in fact had through the end of October to even file it, so she could effectively could have let the Chesebro trial start and then filed her motion, and that would have pushed her trial into the November-December timeframe.

So I don't think it came as a great surprise. I also think these are two lawyer defendants, and there is some argument to be made about efficiency and moving forward together. And I think at the end of the day, you'll likely see the defense team, in fact, team up as they question each of these 150 witnesses that the state is actually going to put forward.

COOPER: Mayor Bottoms, I mean, the judge was obviously skeptical of the DA's position that all of these defendants should be tried together in October, does that seem realistic at all, for so many defendants?

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's going to be very difficult. You have to remember we have this big YSL RICO trial that's going on right now. It is, I think, I believe month eight. There is still not a juror that's been set in that trial.

So even if the judge said you all go to trial on October 23, it's highly unlikely that you will have a jury seated anytime soon. With this YSL trial, they've had hundreds of people come in and at the point that you project to the public that you are going to have a trial that will last months, people will have all sorts of conflicts that will make it difficult for them to sit that long as a juror.

So I don't think that all 19 will be tried October 23rd. You've got to remember, you've got multiple attorneys who will have leaves of absences in place; conflicts, federal courts take precedence over state court, so that's highly unlikely.

COOPER: And Jessica, prosecutors, I mean, they'd claimed in court this would take, in their prediction, four months and with 150 witnesses. I'm not an attorney, but is that realistic at all?

ROTH: That's a very ambitious view of how quickly they could try a case of that magnitude. And the judge expressed skepticism --

COOPER: Yes, the judge said like it could be eight months.

ROTH: He said it would be double their estimate. Exactly. That's what he thought. And that was based on his own experience as a prosecutor.

So if the more defense attorneys who are present at the trial on behalf of the defendants who are joined in the trial, the more cross examinations of each and every government witness we could see, the more witnesses called by the defense we will see, the more closing and opening arguments we'll see and the more motions we'll see by each of those attorneys on behalf of their clients that the judge will have to hear and rule upon. So I think that four months does seem unrealistic.

COOPER: Michael, do other defendants, do they have the opportunity to push for a speedy trial? I mean, if they suddenly decide a month from now, or to your earlier point about Sidney Powell, can they apply for that?

MOORE: They can. You have to file your motion under the statute, either at the term you're indicted or the next term of court. And so that essentially will be the September-October term, of course. So they in fact could file for a speedy trial.

But, you know, I guess why would they at this point? Because they're going to get a free preview of whatever evidence the state is going to put on.

I think, it has been sort of disingenuous from the state to suggest somehow that they're going to try these 19 defendants by October 23rd, and that really was the win I think for Mr. Chesebro and Miss Powell today because they have effectively made a good argument, but the judge hadn't ruled on it yet, but the case is going to be moved, likely severed from the other 17 defendants and that separates them from Trump.


It was a little ridiculous, I thought, at one point, the judge ruled that there was going to be some briefing and the judge asked the state, well, how long do you need to write a 10-page brief? And they suggested two weeks?

Well think about how ridiculous it is to bring 19 defendants to trial with 150 witnesses to get ready for in six weeks if it is going to take you two weeks to write a 10-page paper.

And so it's just been a little bit wishy-washy, and sort of -- I think it's been good theater for the state to suggest that they are going to try this case together, but I think it's been unrealistic from the outset.

COOPER: Mayor Bottoms, do you think it's a good idea that cameras are in the court.

BOTTOMS: Absolutely. That's customary in state courts in Georgia that cameras are in the court. So I think, for the judge to do anything differently would be out of the ordinary.

COOPER: And, Jessica, what is the next step in this now?

ROTH: So the judge said he's reserving decision on whether to sever the other defendants, the other 17, but he noted that, of course, we have the pending motion in federal court to remove the case of some of the defendants led by Mark Meadows.

And of course, that hangs over all of this, because if Mark Meadows and any of the other defendants succeed in their motion to remove their cases to federal court, that really throws a monkey wrench into whatever schedule this judge sets.

So he is cognizant of the fact that we need to wait on that ruling from the federal district court judge, and then any appeals that may ensue from that before we have a schedule as to the other 17 defendants that really starts to look anything close to firm.

COOPER: Mayor Bottoms, do you think the judge will grant Fani Willis' desire to have the identity of jurors kept secret?

BOTTOMS: I do think so. In a case like this, when you can see what happened with the grand jurors, then absolutely. What will happen is that jurors will be assigned a number as the attorneys are going through their questioning, they'll refer to them by their number.

And one of the most high profile cases that most of us remember that this was done in, I believe it was done in the OJ Simpson trial. And then after of course the trial is over, it is up to the jurors to then decide whether or not they want their identity known publicly.

COOPER: Yes. Mayor Bottoms, thank you. Michael Moore, Jessica Roth, thanks so much.

Now, a closer look at the political climate that the trial is in and other Trump trials are taking place and for that we're joined by CNN senior data reporter, Harry Enten.

You talked about the former president's approval ratings the last time, how do Republican voters view what happened on January 6th?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: You know, there are sometimes I look at polling data and I go, what the heck is going on? And this is one of those instances.

You know, Republican voters don't seem to blame Donald Trump for anything and that includes January 6th. And there was a fantastic poll question that Reuters/Ipsos asked last month that essentially was: Do you believe that it was left-wing agitators who essentially forced this riot on January 6 at the US Capitol? And look at this, 51 percent of Republicans agree it was left-wing agitators. That is a conspiracy theory. I'm not even sure where they got that.

COOPER: I mean, that was the early days conspiracy theory that this was Antifa disguised -- I mean, that's just ridiculous.

ENTEN: It's ridiculous, but this is where the Republican base is right now and this gives you a very good understanding why poll after poll after poll finds Donald Trump so far ahead in this Republican race.

COOPER: What does the data say? Or the data says -- is it data or data? I think it's data.

ENTEN: I think you can go either way on that.

COOPER: I am going with data -- so, how much of a factor is 2020 in 2024?

ENTEN: Yes. So sometimes polling to me presents interesting questions that I can't quite figure out, right? So we know, for example, that in the horse race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, we're basically dealing with a tied race right now. Some polls have Biden up by a little; some have Trump up by a little.

And yet, the same polling shows that most Americans believe that the 2020 election was legitimate, thank God, because that's in fact, the case. And so I'm trying to square those two pegs and why this poll question, I think is so interesting, that sort of does that it says, okay, how important is a candidate's views on the 2020 election for your 2024 vote? And what we see is only a third say that the candidate's views must align with your own.

The vast majority either say, it's one of many factors to consider or isn't a major issue at all. So yes, Donald Trump goes out there and says something that the majority of the American public doesn't believe. And the fact is that a lot of voters are just willing to let it go and that to me is so surprising given, of course, we're talking about a democracy at stake. But yet, a lot of voters are willing to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt and that's why he's ahead in the Republican primary and that is why he is so close with Joe Biden in the general election.

COOPER: Harry Enten, thanks very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Appreciate it.

Coming up next, breaking news in the Hunter Biden investigation. How and why it's about to become a felony criminal case. That's next week.


COOPER: There is breaking news tonight that the investigation of Hunter Biden. By the end of this month, it is highly likely, the president's son will be a criminal defendant in a felony case.

In a court filing today, Special Counsel David Weiss said he intends to indict Biden on a gun charge for literally lying on a federal form when buying a pistol in 2019, and this comes you'll remember -- excuse me 2018 -- this comes, you'll remember after a plea deal on that and alleged tax violations clapped back in July.

CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now with more.

So I mean, this is a fascinating development. What more are you learning?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so this new development, we were just going to get an updated status report in this case, but special counsel's office saying, hey, look, we're going to move forward with an indictment related to this gun possession by the end of this month, by September 29th, so that's a pretty significant development.

I mean, one reason maybe because the statute of limitations around the gun possession expires in October, so they do have to move kind of quickly.

COOPER: But they hadn't been doing a whole new investigation. They just -- the plea deal fell apart, and so they decided we're going to go and charge it.

SCANNELL: Yes. I mean, this is kind of a fairly straightforward issue. He possessed a gun and filled out paperwork while he was addicted to cocaine. That's against the law, and he falsified the document by saying he wasn't, so...

COOPER: And it is illegal to falsify the document.

SCANNELL: Right. Both of those are illegal. So it's -- and he's acknowledged this in court he was prepared to plead, so it's a fairly open and shut case. It is just a question of what are they going to charge him with because he had this deal that was a pretrial diversion, meaning if he abided by certain conditions for 24 months, it would go away.


If he is charged with a felony, that's a serious charge, it has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; highly unlikely he would get that, but it certainly is a much more serious issue here in this case, and his lawyers are signaling that they are going to fight this. Because as you remember, they thought they had this deal. They went to the judge after it fell apart saying no, no, we believe it is still binding because we signed it and the prosecution signed it. The prosecutor said, well, it's missing another signature.

COOPER: The probation officer hadn't signed it.

SCANNELL: Exactly. The head of probation in Delaware didn't sign it, so they said it was never executed. It's not binding. And Biden's team signaling that they're going to fight this.

COOPER: What is the latest on the possible tax charges?

SCANNELL: So the judge had already dismissed the tax misdemeanor charges because both sides agreed there was no deal, it fell apart. He pleaded not guilty.

Now, this is where it's an interesting question here. Prosecutors, will they move forward with the same misdemeanor tax charges? Will they charge tax evasion as a felony? Again, Hunter Biden admitted all of this under oath at that plea deal that fell apart.

And the other question here is, are they investigating anything else, right? That's what collapsed this plea deal because they were not on the same page about what was covered and what his immunity was and that's not addressed in this filing, and it's really unclear yet. We haven't seen any indications that they're investigating foreign bribery, or, you know, acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

COOPER: But they had looked at that over the years.

SCANNELL: Yes. This has been a five-year investigation and that was a key part of it for a while, then it had narrowed to the tax and the gun issue and then it was negotiated into this plea.

But now the question remains, you know, are they going to continue to investigate? There's all this Republican pressure. David Weiss asked for special counsel status, which enables him to take a broader look at it.

And you know, for these tax cases, they've indicated that they are intending to move forward with them. It's just a matter of bringing it in a different jurisdiction, either LA or DC, where the alleged crimes took place.

COOPER: Kara Scannell, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Coming up now, perspective from a former colleague of then Vice President Biden and senior adviser to President Obama, CNN senior political commentator, David Axelrod.

David, plenty of presidents have had embarrassing family members. Criminal charges, obviously is different. How big of a problem could this be for President Biden personally or politically?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I divided into two questions, Anderson. The first is the political and they're related. The first is the political. Look, the president wasn't involved with this. Very clearly, this was something that involved something that Hunter Biden did on his own, and involved his own drug addiction and his own misrepresentation.

But it fuels what the Republicans in Congress are trying to fan, which is the idea that Hunter Biden is involved in a bunch of illicit activities and they want to try and link the president to these in this will be a log on that fire, even though he has nothing to do with this.

And certainly, if they go forward with some of the other issues that they've explored, that that would be more fodder for them. But even as we speak, they are talking about an impeachment inquiry, in search of proof that the president had some sort of involvement. So this just adds to that coloration.

Remember, the Republican -- the leading Republican candidate that you just discussed has 91 felony counts against him right now and they would love to muddy the waters. And so for the Biden campaign, this is unwelcome news.

The second issue is for Biden as a father, and I think that's underreported or under discussed. There is, if this goes to trial, there is potential prison time associated with it. It's a felony. Joe Biden obviously cares deeply about his son. He has experienced a lot of loss involving his children in the past.

That's a heavy burden to carry into a presidential campaign. And I think that's under discussed, you know, when we're talking about the Hunter Biden case.

COOPER: Is there -- I mean, is there a consensus in terms of how prominent Democrats view all of this or even Democratic voters?

AXELROD: You know, I do think that people are not dismissive of the Hunter Biden charges. I don't think Democrats are -- you know, believe that this is solely Biden himself, but they're a burden. They recognize that it's a burden that is, you know, another burden into a very difficult campaign. So I think there's concern about it. Absolutely when you talk to Democratic politicians.

COOPER: And as you said, it can be used by the former president, he already has been, sort of muddying the waters, you know, saying what I have done compared to that of the Bidens'.

AXELROD: Absolutely, and if Biden -- however Hunter Biden has treated, president Trump is going to claim that he was treated differently than he was treated even though the charges are different, the circumstances are different. Anything to muddy those waters is helpful to Trump, I think Democrats recognize that.


COOPER: What do you think the best case scenario for President Biden and his campaign is? I mean, obviously, that plea deal seemed like it would have been pretty good for him regardless that it was for Hunter Biden, for the Biden campaign.

AXELROD: Look, anything that would end this quickly would be better for them. If they could reconstruct a plea deal or make a different, a new one, that would be best.

The second thing is if it becomes clear that this is the end and that other charges are not coming, related to his taxes or foreign lobbying. Those -- you know, what you don't want is this to drag on from now until November and it may well, because now we have a special counsel who has broad portfolio, and he is under tremendous political pressure from Congress, and is clearly feeling that as well.

So this is all unwelcome news, I'm sure, over at the White House.

COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, appreciate it tonight. Thank you.

Coming up next, the growing feud between Republican senator Tommy Tuberville and Democrats over Tuberville -- over his personal obstruction have hundreds of military nominations. Why it could impact the nomination of the nation's top military officer.

Also tonight, how a convicted murderer escaped a Pennsylvania prison. The video proof, ahead.


COOPER: The feud between Democrats and Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville is escalating. For months, Tuberville has blocked roughly 300 military nominees over abortion policies that he claims is illegal. Now, this could get even riskier. The Alabama senator could hold up the confirmation of the nation's highest-ranking military officer, General C. Q. Brown on the left there in that photo. He was nominated to replace General Mark Milley as the next Joint Chiefs Chairman. General Milley is expected to leave the post when his term expires in just three-and-a-half weeks.

CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins us now. So, you talked to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about this hold from Senator Tuberville, what is he saying?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. He's trying to ratchet up the pressure campaign on Tommy Tuberville saying that he, the Democrats, aren't going to change their approach. They want Tuberville to simply relent, block -- drop his blockade and allow these nominations to move forward and be approved quickly by a voice vote in the U.S. senate. That's typically what's done for (inaudible) nominations like this.

But Schumer does have the ability as the Senate Majority Leader to schedule votes. It could take time-consuming procedural steps to overcome those objections. That's something he could certainly do with the Joint Chiefs nominee. But when I asked him whether he would commit to scheduling a vote on the Joint Chiefs of Staff nominee, he made very clear that he was not going to do that and he wanted Tuberville to back down.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) MAJORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES SENATE: The bottom line is this is a problem created by Republicans and it's up to them to solve it. Senator McConnell, Senator Thune have said they disagree with Tuberville. It's now up to the Republican Party to get him in line. We're not going to shift the burden to Democrats when this is a Republican-caused problem.


RAJU: But in talking to Republicans, Anderson, a number of them simply may disagree with Tuberville's tactics, but they are not leaning on him to back off, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has publicly broken with Tuberville but has not called on him, not pressured him, not lobbied him behind the scenes. They simply, as they're trying to -- they're hoping there's some sort of resolution without their fingerprints on it here. But Anderson, some of them are calling on Schumer to change his approach, to schedule those nominees and simply get those nominations confirmed.

COOPER: Has Senator Tuberville expressed any concern that Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, who is the nation's highest-ranking military officer, is set to retire at the end of the month?

RAJU: He also is calling on Schumer to schedule a nomination on General Brown's -- to sit in that very important position here. But he said that if Schumer does not do that, does not individually schedule this vote, he's not going to change his approach. In his words, he's not budging.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE, (R) ALABAMA: Milley is going to have to work overtime then. That's the way we're going to do this. I mean, in the past, they've done it one on one, and they're not going to do it now. It just shows you they're putting politics in front of readiness. So...

RAJU: But that won't change your position? They say...

TUBERVILLE: No, no, no. I'm not changing my mind. I mean, I think you know me well enough now that I feel like I'm doing it for the right reasons.

RAJU: C. Q. Brown is going to have to wait to get that position filled.

TUBERVILLE: Unless he brings him one on one, but yeah, he'll have to wait.


RAJU: And again, Tuberville is demanding that the Pentagon drop its policy providing reimbursements for service members who go out of state for abortion services, saying that he will not change his approach unless that happens. He claims that he has been talking to other military officials, people on the ground, he says, who don't believe what he's doing is harming the military.

In fact, he told me, if I thought I was really harming the military, I wouldn't be doing this. But I'm not. He also down played the claims by the Pentagon that a lot of these officials are doing two jobs at once saying that's the case, that's the case. But he's not hurting the military, he says. And he says, I'm not budging.

COOPER: All right. Manu Raju, thank you. Perspective now from Former Defense Secretary William Cohen. He is also former Republican senator and congressman. Senator Cohen, do you think he's harming the military?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY AND FORMER SENATOR: I do think he's harming the military. I don't know who he's talking to, but perhaps he ought to have a public hearing and call witnesses and let him call in his witnesses in as well to say it's not harming the military. But let me give you two views on this. As a Former Secretary of Defense, my job was to thrive (ph) for the best fighting force in the world. What did that mean? It meant we had the best equipment, the best training, the best education, and the best leadership.

What this senator is doing is he is imposing his will to prevent the leaders from progressing, meaning he's weakening our readiness. And when you weaken the readiness, you enhance the opponent's ability to prevail in the future. Readiness is going to come down as a result of this. I don't know who he's talking to but I can tell you, I've talked to many. I have many in my own forum of four-star black (ph) officers. I know what they feel. I know what I feel. I know what I felt as a secretary of defense.

And as a senator, my job was to support the military. And by supporting the military was to use the rules of the senate, but not abuse them. This is a clear abuse of process and of power on the part of one senator, and it's never been done in the history of the senate to date. That's the problem.

COOPER: What kind of a message do you think it sends to the rest of the world about our readiness, about our system?


COHEN: The rest of the world is watching us very closely. When we say that China is watching what's happening in Ukraine to decide whether they're going to move against Taiwan at any point, everybody is watching us. I met with two high-ranking officials this past week. Both of them were concerned about what they see as the dysfunction, the paralysis of the congress, not to mention what's going on as far as the indictments and concerns. So, we are harming our image in the world and we are actually degrading the image of the senate when senators don't speak up.

Barry Goldwater never would have allowed this. Bob Dole never would have allowed this. Warren Rudman, I go down the list of all the senators who served in the military, they never would have allowed one of their colleagues to hold up the promotion of these individuals, 300 or more, and the harm that's going to their families not being able to plan on moving.

COOPER: And what do you make of Tuberville's argument, "Well, if it's so serious, why not have Schumer put up individual nominations?"

COHEN: Well, OK. I can say, fine, let's just do it this way. Let's have a running schedule. Day time, they can deal with appropriations. Then starting at 7:00 at night until midnight, start dealing with the nominations. Call off -- no more recesses, no more time-off in the summer, no more time off for Thanksgiving and no Christmas recess. We're going to stay in session every day, all the way through from Monday through Friday and Saturday. We'll have Sunday off. But you're going to finish every one of these nominations.

Then you won't be allowing one senator to set a precedent that others may use in the future. This is an abuse of his power, an abuse of process, and it ought to be discouraged. It's shameful what we're doing to ourselves by sending this kind of signal of weakening our military and weakening the leaders of our military.

COOPER: As a former -- I mean you indicated this, but as a former senator, I mean, did you ever see anything like this happen in your time at Capitol Hill? Or is it kind of specific to this current era of scorched earth politics?

COHEN: It's never happened to my knowledge in the history of the senate. This hold -- putting a hold on a nomination was really kind of a senate courtesy to a senator saying, you have a problem with this nominee, his character, his qualifications, OK, we'll hold it up for a little while so you can get the information you need. It's never been used. Here, a courtesy use as a sledge hammer to drive this kind of a policy change in any administration. No, unprecedented.

COOPER: Secretary Cohen, thank you very much.

Coming up now, take a look at this. This is an inmate who broke out of a Pennsylvania prison last week. He scaled up a wall in just the first step of his escape. There is a new video out. The details ahead.



COOPER: Tonight, new details on the convicted murderer who escaped a Pennsylvania prison last week and is still on the run. Officials there released new video today, showing how he got out. And it comes as authorities are expanding the search area after yet another sighting. CNN's Briand Todd has the latest.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the moment convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante escaped from Chester County prison in Pennsylvania, prompting an intense manhunt that is now in its seventh day. From the exercise area, he crab walked up the wall and apparently dropped down the other side. HOWARD HOLLAND, ACTING WARDEN, CHESTER COUNTY PRISON: Cavalcante escaped from the prison, having crab walked up a wall, pushed his way through razor wire, ran across a roof, scaled another fence, and pushed his way through razor wire.

TODD (voice-over): A tower guard in an observation post did not see the escape and has been put on administrative leave. It took an hour until the prison was locked now and an alarm was sounded. Furthermore authorities admit in May, another inmate briefly escaped by the exact same route. Since then, the only step taken to address the weak point, additional razor wire was installed.

HOLLAND: While we believed the security measures we had in place were sufficient, they have proven otherwise.

TODD (voice-over): Meanwhile, the search area again growing today after another sighting reported last night. Unlike Monday's sighting, this one in a creek bed by a resident was not caught on camera.

TODD (on camera): Any traces of him left anywhere?

LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: Yes, there have been footprints and there have been other indicators to us that he has passed through a certain area. We've had a number of dog scent trails that we have followed for quite some time.

TODD (voice-over): Hundreds of officers plus dogs and drones and helicopters continue to search. At road blocks and check points, CNN observed police searching vehicles, opening trunks and checking back seats.

BIVENS: He will make that mistake that we are pushing him hard, so that he makes, where there will be some piece of other type of evidence that points us to him.

TODD (voice-over): Two school districts again closed today. Reverse 911 calls warning residents in the area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you see this individual, do not approach him.

MICHAEL DOYLE, RESIDENT OF CHADDS FORD, PENNSYLVANIA: Locking everything, locking the cars at night. I've been checking out all the woods

TODD (voice-over): The risk...

BIVENS: He is a violent individual. If given the opportunity, I believe he would use as much violence as he needed to or could to avoid capture.

TODD (voice-over): Cavalcante escaped prison last Thursday, just over a week after he was sentenced to life without parole for the 2021 murder of his former girlfriend, Deborah Brandao. Authorities say she discovered he was wanted on murder charges in Brazil. Her sister tells CNN he had become suspicious and jealous. SARAH BRANDAO, SISTER WAS MURDERED BY ESCAPEE (through translator): There were threats like, if you ever cheat on me, I'll do the worst to you. These types of things.

TODD (voice-over): Now that he escaped, she is scared.

S. BRANDAO (through translator): I haven't slept for many days since then. I nap and I wake up afraid.


TODD: Now, while law enforcement officials are concerned that this manhunt could end in a violent way, given Danelo Cavalcante's violent history, Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police did tell me, right now, they do not have any indication that he has any kind of a weapon on him. But Anderson, they are concerned that he could procure one somehow because he's been seen near a few homes and it's believed that he's broken into at least one of them. Anderson.

COOPER: Alright. Briand Todd, appreciate it.

Still ahead, Russia launching one of its deadliest attacks in months against Ukraine, killing several civilians in a marketplace, as a top U.S. diplomat makes s a trip to Kyiv. We have details next.



COOPER: In his visit to Kyiv today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced more than $1 billion in additional aid to Ukraine, and he reiterated Washington's commitment to the counteroffensive against Russia. His meeting with Ukraine's President Zelenskyy came amid one of the most lethal attacks in recent months. CNN's Melissa Bell has details. I want to warn you, some of the video you'll see is graphic.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The moment a peaceful market was flattened. The CCTV footage posted by the Ukrainian president, even as he prepared to meet with Washington's top diplomat. The Russian missile killed at least 17 people, including a child, in an industrial town just 19 miles from Bakhmut.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We know that area very well. We understand they delivered a deliberate strike.

BELL (voice-over): One of the deadliest attacks in months came just hours after the Kremlin warned the United States was intent on keeping the war going until the last Ukrainian.

DMITRY PESKOV, PRESS SECRETARY OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): They are essentially going to continue to keep Ukraine in a state of war and to wage and continue this war until the last Ukrainian, without sparing any money for it.


BELL (voice-over): Moscow's reaction, as Secretary of State Blinken arrived in Kyiv, his third visit to the city since the war began.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are determined, the United States, to continue to walk side by side of Kyiv.

BELL (voice-over): The aim of Blinken's trip, to align Washington and Kyiv's message ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, but also to announce fresh support that will now include depleted uranium munitions, a controversial addition to Ukraine's arsenal that's expected this fall.

BLINKEN: In the ongoing counteroffensive, progress has accelerated in the past few weeks. This new assistance will help sustain it and build further momentum.

BELL (voice-over): The boots on the ground, meanwhile, turning their focus to expanding their recent gains in the south after breaching Russian defenses in the Zaporizhzhia village of Robotyne. A tactical retreat claims Moscow to do withdrawing to the nearby hills for a height advantage.

In the east, the situation is more difficult for Ukrainian forces. A Ukrainian commander saying the enemy is not abandoning its plans and is stubbornly preparing to take revenge. A warning President Zelenskyy is likely to take to the United Nations General Assembly in New York as he call on western allies to stand not only firm, but ever firmer.


COOPER: Melissa Bell joins us now from Kyiv. Has there been any response from Russia to this new round of support for Ukraine from the U.S.?

BELL: Just what you heard there in that report at the very start of the day, Anderson, which was from the Kremlin Spokesman. Since there has been nothing even though everything about this visit will have substantially irked Moscow, the optics of it, of course, Secretary Blinken confidently walking around Kyiv with his counterpart stopping in a McDonald's for a snack at one point.

The substance of what he announced, an aid package that includes military aid, including Pentagon's stockpiles, specifically designed to help Ukrainians breach those Russian defenses that they're struggling to get beyond ammunitions and also including, of course, those depleted uranium munitions. Now, these are particularly controversial.

When the United Kingdom had announced they were going to send them last March, Anderson, we had heard personally from Vladimir Putin that we could expect an answer in kind, a reaction directly to the sending of those munitions. For the time being, nothing at all in terms of a response to the substance of what was announced here today.

COOPER: Is it possible this deadly attack was a response to Secretary Blinken's trip to Kyiv?

BELL: Look, when you consider the words of Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman this morning, they are interesting. What he had to say, even as this visit was kicking off and those first images of Secretary Blinken here in Kyiv were appearing, it had been embargoed before, were to the effect that the United States was clearly willing to spend as much money as it took right down to the last Ukrainian. Just a few hours later, that deadly market attack that claimed the lives of so many Ukrainians. Of course, it is impossible to know.

COOPER: Melissa Bell, thank you so much, in Ukraine for us tonight.

So, this week marks 20 years that this program has been on the air, which is kind of crazy. While I've never been very comfortable celebrating my own birthday, we thought we would show you some of the moments that I and the remarkable "360" team had been fortunate enough to bring you over the years from all around the world.

So this is from two broadcasts we did in Egypt in 2011 during the week's long toppling of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak as anti- Mubarak protesters and pro-Mubarak forces were fighting in the streets and pro-Mubarak thugs were attacking western reporters.


COOPER (on camera): The security situation where we are has changed somewhat in the last 30 minutes or so. We've been advised to actually turn off our lights, get down on the floor, and try to barricade ourselves in the area that we're in. So. that's why we're doing this program like this tonight. It is not going to look very good over the next hour. But I hope you bear with us because what has happened today in Egypt on these streets has been nothing short of extraordinary.

COOPER (voice-over): My cameraman Neil Hallsworth and my producer Mary Anne Fox and I were heading for Liberation Square in order to report on both sides of the protest. Suddenly, a man jumped out of the crowd and tried on grab Neil's camera. That's when all hell broke loose.

People started throwing punches, pushing us around, screaming at us. We immediately decided to turn around and try to get to a safe location. Several Egyptian men helped us but still the crowd followed, throwing punches. That man there had a knife in his hand. These people kept joining in, trying to punch us. We only had about a block to go when another guy came up and punched me in the head.


COOPER (on camera): I've been hit now like ten times. Yep! The Egyptian soldiers, they are doing nothing.

COOPER (voice-over): Finally, we reached a safe location.

COOPER (on camera): No. Where are you going? Where is the -- where's Leo? Where's Leo?

COOPER (voice-over): All we were trying to do today was report on both sides of this conflict.



COOPER: Major new development tonight over Texas Governor Greg Abbott's border policy which is supposed to be a federal, not state responsibility. Late today, a federal judge ordered Texas to remove those floating barriers they had put in the Rio Grande by the 15th of the month and pay the cost of doing it. He also barred the state from installing new ones. Opponents, including the Mexican government, called the barriers inhumane. Texas quickly appealed the order. Governor Abbott's office said he's prepared to take it to the supreme court.

News continues. "The Source" with Kaitlan Collins for us now. I'll see you tomorrow.