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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Hunter Biden Indicted On Three Gun Charges; Interview With Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY); Georgia Judge Shuts Down DA's Effort to Try Trump And Co-Defendants Together; Trump: Had Dems Not Impeached Me, "Perhaps You Wouldn't Have It Being Done To" Biden; Senate Launches Inquiry Into Coast Guard Sexual Assault Coverups Exposed By CNN. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 14, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Right, and this is what we have here right now is Jomana, again she is now called in for the third or fourth time, and I know it is frustrating for all of you as well as it is for us, but it does give you a sense of what we're actually seeing happening here, which is how difficult it is for anyone to be able to get help. Never mind even be able to touch base with us.

We're going to continue trying to reach her. She will be on this network later this hour. She is on the ground there in the hardest hit area.

And for now, let's hand it off to AC 360.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": Tonight on 360: What happens now that the president's last surviving son is now the first son of a sitting president charged with a federal crime.

In Georgia, the first president ever charged with alleged crimes of his own gets a break that could help him in his trial there.

And tonight, meet the American caver who came close to death 3,000 feet deep underground. He tells me about his dramatic rescue, whether he plans to go back underground when he recovers.

Good evening, thanks for joining us.

We begin with breaking news on what is a history making day. Never before has a sitting president child been indicted, until now.

Early this afternoon, we learned Hunter Biden had been charged in Delaware by Special Counsel David Weiss on three gun related counts. This follows the collapse of a plea deal, as you know, on those and other tax related offenses.

It comes of course in the middle of a presidential campaign and consider this, the same Justice Department now prosecuting President Biden's son is also prosecuting President Biden's leading opponent and there are new developments in one of his cases as well tonight, but we begin with Hunter Biden charges. CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now.

So talk more about what we know is in this indictment.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So these are three felony charges and they all relate to a purchase of a gun in 2018. So specifically, what Hunter Biden is charged with is making false statements on the ATF form that someone has to fill out in order to buy a gun.

And what prosecutors say was false was that he checked the box saying that he was not addicted to or using any illegal drugs, and Hunter Biden has been pretty public since writing in a memoir that he was addicted to crack cocaine.

The second count that same false statement, but the statement was given to the gun dealer, and then third count is that he was charged with possessing the gun while using or being addicted to the illegal drugs.

So three serious counts, and as you say, this is you know, a big reversal from what he had a deal where he would have avoided any prosecution on the gun charge if he had abided certain conditions.

So what has changed since then is that, you know, there were questions there about that deal. The judge wasn't sure it was constitutional the way it was structured, and then a number of Republicans have called it a sweetheart deal. They were very critical of it.

After the judge said she wasn't sure of it, she asked the prosecution and Biden's team to see if they could amend it. But then from there, the US attorney, David Weiss who was appointed by former President Trump and stayed on, he then asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to make him a special counsel. That happened and that's led us to this indictment today -- Anderson.

COOPER: And what is Hunter Biden's legal team saying about it?

SCANNELL: Well, Hunter Biden's top criminal defense lawyer, Abbe Lowell has really pointed to that special counsel's team caving to what he says is political pressure. So in a statement tonight, he says: "The evidence in this matter has not changed in the last six weeks, but the law has and so has MAGA Republicans' improper and partisan interference in this process. Hunter Biden possessing an unloaded gun for 11 days was not a threat to public safety, but a prosecutor with all the power imaginable bending to political pressure presents a grave threat to our system of justice. We believe these charges are barred by the agreement the prosecutors made with Mr. Biden, the recent rulings by several federal courts that this statute is unconstitutional, and the fact that he did not violate that law, and we plan to demonstrate all of that in court."

So his team is saying that they are going to be fighting these charges -- Anderson.

COOPER: And what are the next steps? SCANNELL: So in this case, the next step will be Hunter Biden to

appear in court for the arraignment. He will be asked to enter a plea in those charges.

But also looming in the backdrop are the tax charges. He had that deal where he would have pled guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges. That is off the table. And the prosecutors have indicated they plan to move forward with charges either in Washington, DC or California where the alleged crimes took place.

The question here is whether those will be felony charges, misdemeanors or some combination, but that is still looming, and the statute of limitations on one of those years is expected to run next month, so we could see action on this quickly.

But you know, otherwise, we're looking at this case, this gun case could be heading to trial while Hunter Biden's father is seeking re- election -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Kara Scannell, thanks.

With me here CNN legal analyst, Karen Friedman Agnifilo, who is a former Manhattan chief assistant district attorney; also with us, criminal defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, and CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the FBI.

Karen, let's start with you. What about these charges? What do you make of them?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, I think they had to bring this case because the statute of limitations was running and when the deal fell apart. It was either you walk away from it or you bring the case in order to preserve the status quo.

I do think there will be some significant legal hurdles that they face by making the decision to bring this case. However, there is a real constitutional question about whether these charges can stick. There is at least one, potentially two appellate courts that aren't binding on Delaware, but that have already ruled that this infringes on Second Amendment rights.


And the Supreme Court has been saying some restrictions like this are potentially unconstitutional, different restrictions, but restrictions on the Second Amendment nonetheless.

So I think, there are some legal hurdles that this will face and I think, some factual hurdles as well. I mean, the prosecution still has to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that will have to include, for example, that he was an addict at the time, or that he was using drugs, you know, narcotics, controlled substance, whatever -- all the all the items that are listed on that form during those 11 days or at the time of those 11 days.

And I think it's going to be hard to prove that, that he was addicted to those types of drugs. I mean --

COOPER: Has he already admitted that in the as part of the plea deal.

AGNIFILO: Well, he admitted aspects of that, yes. He said, yes. But it's unclear about whether or not that is admissible, because that was part of a plea bargain. In fact, I think he has an argument to say that he can enforce that, because he already entered an agreement with the prosecution about that gun, He went into diversion, he started showing up to probation. And in fact, the judge said, why are you involving me in this? That was one of the issues that day was, why are you involving me in this?

This is unconstitutional for me to be involved. This is an agreement between the two of you and he had already started. So he might be able to actually say, look, we already had an agreement, and now, you're backing down on that agreement.

COOPER: Andrew, I mean, it is the first time the Justice Department has charged the child of a sitting president. What kind of considerations would have gone into that decision?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, the fact that he is the child of a sitting president really shouldn't have any bearing on it, they should be looking at the facts and the law. But nevertheless, there is always an element of prosecutorial discretion. And in this case, on these facts, it's a little bit hard to understand how they're seeing clear to drive that three significant felonies.

The fact is that people are very rarely ever prosecuted for unlawful possession of a weapon at the federal level, if that weapon wasn't also involved in some underlying more serious crime.

There was interesting reporting in "The Washington Post" today, it looked at federal charges for where the lead offense is unlawful possession of a weapon from last October until last March, October 22 to March 23 on circumstances similar to this, when that charge is based on simply a statement on the application that took place only in three percent of the almost 4,000 cases that were brought.

So it raises some really serious questions about how they decided to apply these pretty serious charges on a fairly weak set of facts.

COOPER: Mark, how strong of a case do you think it is? Do you think it's weak?

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it's weak. I think it's very weak. It is starting to sound like a Rosco exam question where you have to consider the political side of it, the son of a president, then you look at crimes that literally in 40 years of doing this, I've never seen anyone nor heard of anyone charged with that criminal offense.

Again, firearm by a convicted felon, easy, easy to prove, he is a convicted felon. But when you're going to try and prove something under this Statute 924, to say he was addicted at that time, and I think they are limited to those 11 days, it's going to be virtually impossible, even though he talked about it in his memoir, even though it may have been referenced in the plea agreement, which by the way, I agree, is probably enforceable.

And certainly, there is going to be this argument of how can you use that information now against me.

You know, I think Mr. Weiss is a great lawyer and a great prosecutor, but you can't deny that there has been some political overtones to this, because it's the only variable that makes any sense as to why this one person would have been charged with a crime that I've never heard of being charged before.

COOPER: You said you'd never heard of it in all 40 years that you've been doing criminal defense.

O'MARA: Literally, and you know, I was a prosecutor for a couple of years and doing criminal defense. I've done federal work for I guess, 36 of those years. And no, I've never heard of it. 924 issues when you're in possession of a firearm and you are a convicted felon, or as was mentioned by Andy, if it is used in a commission of a new offense, then they tack on the fact that you had a gun.

But you know, I have never seen somebody violated the 4473, I think it is. They fill out this form to get a gun that say hey, are you an illegal alien? No. Hey, have you ever been addicted to drugs? Truly, I've never seen anyone answer that question yes and I've never seen as a prosecutor.

COOPER: So Karen, the constitutional battle about this that you mentioned, there is some irony in there because it's gun rights advocates who are -- those court cases have been in support of the Second Amendment.


COOPER: So, the idea is Hunter Biden's attorneys might be arguing something which, I guess or would go against probably the politics of his father.


AGNIFILO: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that's exactly right, and that's the thing, if this goes all the way to the Supreme Court, you're going to have the same Supreme Court that ruled last year, in Bruen, in the New York case against the New York State Rifle Association, basically saying that the licensing scheme in New York was unconstitutional because it was too restrictive.

And so, it is just interesting that the direction of the Supreme Court has been to make it so this is -- to rule in favor of the Second Amendment, and it will be interesting to see in this kind of situation what they will decide.

COOPER: And Andrew, Hunter Biden's attorney told Erin Burnett last hour that he thinks the charges against his client violate the plea agreement made with the government. Do you mean that's a strong argument?

Because they did have this plea agreement, I guess, it wasn't signed off by the Probation Department, although I guess the Probation Department had agreed to it, but just hadn't actually signed it. Is that the sort of the -- where they hung being able to dismiss the plea agreement on?

MCCABE: I'm not sure that the position of the probation department would be dispositive here. I think the fact that he has been complying with the agreement and having visits with the probation officer I think is a strong point on his side of the argument.

I think the better argument against enforcing the agreement is the fact that the judge never accepted it. So, that one is really a ball in the air, Anderson, that is a tough one to call, but nevertheless, it would be -- it will be a significant issue at this trial.

And I think, you know, just to tail on to what Karen said, the idea that the president's son might and that's if he is convicted and then chooses to appeal, his appeal could potentially lead to the dismantlement of the Brady Act, which has been the core of federal efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people like convicted felons and people fleeing, you know, fugitives and people who've been adjudicated mentally defective, is just incomprehensible, but here we are.

COOPER: Andrew McCabe, Mark O'Mara, thanks so much.

Karen Friedman Agnifilo is going to stick around. I want to talk about today's big development in one of the four Trump criminal cases.

First, the conversation I had just before airtime with New York, Democratic congressman and former federal prosecutor, Dan Goldman.


COOPER: You heard what Hunter Biden's attorney is saying. What do you think of this?

REP. DANIEL GOLDMAN (D-NY): Well, look, it is a crime that in my 10 years as a federal prosecutor, I have never heard of being charged.

The facts of it seem to be that he had a gun for 11 days, and he lied in making that application for a gun and that is the letter of the law.

I am somewhat concerned as they are that what changed the prosecutor's mind may have been some of the political influence.

But at the end of the day, Anderson, if Hunter Biden committed crimes, he should be held accountable for them. But those crimes and that investigation should remain in the Department of Justice in the court of law.

Hunter Biden is not the president. And whether or not he committed crimes is not grounds for an impeachment inquiry that we're now going into, and that is all that the House Republicans have.

They have no evidence linking Joe Biden in any way to Hunter Biden's business dealings.

COOPER: But just to be clear, as a former federal prosecutor, are these charges you would have brought? These are not charges commonly brought.

GOLDMAN: They are -- they are -- I've never heard of this charge being brought. I understand it is occasionally brought here and there. But in the discretion, you know, I was in the Southern District of New York, we looked for felons who were in possession of guns. We did not look for people who were subjected to substance abuse for 11 days in the possession of a gun.

So this is unusual, and when you hear of the two-tiered justice system, I would argue that Hunter Biden is getting worse of the worst of it, because his last name is Biden, not the other way around.

COOPER: So as a Democrat, are you concerned about this indictment hurting the chances of the current president?

GOLDMAN: No, I think that, you know, we, as a Democrat, I as a Democrat think that the Department of Justice needs to deal with criminal investigations on their own without any political influence and if Hunter Biden committed crimes, he should be held accountable.

You don't hear Republicans saying that if Donald Trump committed crimes, he should be held accountable, because we care about the rule of law. We care about our criminal justice process. We care about our democracy and the Republicans are purely political at this point.


This impeachment inquiry is purely political theater designed to help Donald Trump's re-election in 2024.

COOPER: It's an impeachment inquiry, which the speaker has pointed out, but do you think it's inevitable that it will be an impeachment?

GOLDMAN: Well, once the horse is out of the barn, it's hard because if they do not impeach him, that, of course, is an admission that their investigation was a total flop.

It is a flop, and there is no basis to move from a standard investigation into an impeachment inquiry, other than to kowtow to Marjorie Taylor Greene and Donald Trump who want this impeachment.

And so now we're going down this road based on no evidence that changed over the last several weeks, and they don't have any more authority than they did before.

So nothing is different, other than calling it an impeachment inquiry, but now, it has turned into a very hyper partisan and unfortunate political game that they are playing when we're facing a shutdown in three weeks. COOPER: Do you think Speaker McCarthy keeps his seat?

GOLDMAN: I don't know. I cannot figure out what is going on with this Republican Party. You have the fringe extreme right of 20 or so people who do not acknowledge that we're operating, they are operating in divided government with a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president.

And they think just because they want something that they should hold the entire government hostage to get everything they want, and they're willing to go forward with a shutdown. That's not the way anybody governs.

You can't sit there and say it's my way or the highway, especially when you're 20 out of 535, plus the president.

COOPER: Congressman Dan Goldman, thank you.

GOLDMAN: Thank you.


COOPER: Next tonight, how a judge's ruling today in Georgia could make life easier for the former president's defense.

Also, the very latest on rescue efforts in the wake of flooding in Libya with a thousand dead, many thousands more unaccounted for.


COOPER: So tonight, the federal justice department has devoted to special counsels, several grand juries, and countless lawyers and staffed prosecuting both a former president and the current president's son, cases obviously not comparable except for the fact that the names Trump and Biden both now appear on federal court dockets.


And in the former president's case in New York and Georgia as well, in Georgia today, the former president appears to have gotten what could be a break from the presiding judge. CNN's Paula Reid joins us now with the latest on that decision that could give the defense a sneak preview of what they're up against.

Explain what the judge had to say about the former president's case.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Today, the judge ordered that two of the defendants in this case will go to trial in late October, but former President Trump and the other 16 defendants, their trials will be pushed back. They may not even schedule them until later this year.

So Anderson, what that tells us unofficially is that the former president is unlikely to face trial in Georgia before the 2024 election, because the Fulton County trial is expected to take between four and eight months.

And if you look at the calendar next year, the federal trials that are scheduled, the state cases, there's just no place to put a trial of that length. So it is now expected that the former president will not face charges in Georgia until at least after the 2024 election.

But the fact that two defendants are going ahead in a few weeks. I mean, that's not great for prosecutors, because they're effectively going to preview their entire case for those other 17 defendants.

COOPER: That's if they can get a jury impaneled and ready.

What's next for Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell for their joint trial?

REID: Well, to your point, the jury selection, that judge said today he expects jury selection will take about two weeks. So this trial will get underway in early November. And again, the prosecutors say it's going to take four months, the judge says I don't know, a case like this could take up to eight months.

They're working through right now some of the logistics, the administrative burden on the court. Interestingly, Sidney Powell's attorneys say they are seeking out certain messages that they believe would help their client and help to show that her alleged effort in voting and breaching some voting systems in Coffee County, Georgia, that that was something she was directed to do.

And Anderson, I think we're going to see a lot of that over the next few months as some people take plea deals, and we have these trials, you're just going to see people start pointing fingers.

It's a RICO case, there's 19 defendants. That's to be expected.

COOPER: The judge also appeared receptive to a motion from the defense to speak to the grand jurors. Why did the defense want to speak to them?

REID: They say they want to speak to the grand jury to find out more about what happened during those proceedings, witnesses. And in their words, if this grand jury was really, "independent."

Prosecutors have expressed concerns because this grand jury has been through a lot. Their names were published in the indictment, their identity, some of them have been published online, they've been doxed. So they were concerned about opening them up to this.

But the judge, remember, Georgia is a state where they don't have much secrecy around grand juries. The judge said he would allow it, but he wants the defense attorneys to give him the questions, and then any grand juror that is going to be questioned have to do so voluntarily. So they have to be on board and agree to do this.

COOPER: All right, Paula Reid, thanks very much.

A busy night for CNN legal analyst, Karen Friedman Agnifilo. We appreciate it. And joining us, former Georgia state senator, Jen Jordan, who gave grand jury evidence in this case.

Karen, how significant is the former president, that it is going to be officially severed? How important is that?

AGNIFILO: I mean, I think it was expected. I don't know anyone who didn't expect it. I mean, you can't force the 17 to go to trial as quickly as the ones who elected to have their speedy trial, but it does give him a preview of what the evidence will be.

I think even more interesting will be his January 6 trial with a lot of the same witnesses who will likely be going on at the same time as this 48-month trial in Georgia. You could have witnesses testifying in Georgia and then flying to Washington, and so that will be, I think an interesting thing about this happening the way it is.

COOPER: Probably not flying on Trump's plane.

Jen, how much of an advantage will the former president and the 16 other defendants have by watching the Powell and Chesebro trial?

JEN JORDAN (D), FORMER GEORGIA STATE SENATOR: I mean, there could be an advantage. But look, at the end of the day, the judge had to do this. I mean, there are significant due process concerns with making those that have these types of allegations against them go forward in a trial when they're not ready.

There are -- I can't even remember the number of terabytes with respect to that discovery that's been turned over. So the judge understood that really, you know, if Chesebro and Powell wanted to do the speedy trial, that's fine, but he cannot force the others to do so.

And in fact, if he did that, he probably would be injecting error into the trial.

COOPER: How difficult, Karen is going to be for Powell and Chesebro to actually put on a defense so quickly?

AGNIFILO: I mean, the facts are what they are and yes, it's quickly they're putting out a defense, but it's not like the crime just happened, right? They've had years now, a couple of years to think about this.

There has been lots of motion practice. There has been January 6 hearings. I mean, so it is quickly in terms of when the indictment was brought, but I do think the facts are what they are and their defense is going to be what it's going to be.


And so I don't think it'll be that difficult.

COOPER: And Jen, what happens if the judge decides the group of 17 defendants are just too big to try at once? I mean, would they be divided up into groups and tried at the same time in front of different judges? I mean, is that a thing?

JORDAN: No, not before different judges. I think, you know, possibly what the judge could do is really look at the indictment and determine based on subject matter, right, so you have allegations that are around the communications, the call that Trump made to Raffensperger and then all the communications to put pressure on different officials in Georgia, that's kind of one kind of bucket of allegations.

Then you've got the Coffee County allegations, that's another bucket. And then you also have going after the election workers, that's another.

So there really is a dividing line in terms of the subject matter of the allegations where the court could go with that, if that is what he chooses. But it really would be up to him ultimately, at the end of the day, and I have no doubt that if he wanted to go down that road, that the defendants would go with him and agree to it. Because obviously they don't want to be all bunched in together either, and particularly, they don't want to be with Trump, right?

COOPER: How does it work, I mean, Karen, if one witness on the stand, do all the other attorneys get to ask questions?

AGNIFILO: Yes, yes, absolutely. You can have -- let's say all 17 go to trial at once, you'll have 17 opening statements after you have the prosecution's opening statement, if they choose to. They don't have to, but this is what they could choose to do.

And then the prosecution puts on a witness and does the direct examination, and you could have 17 defense attorneys cross examining those witnesses.

And as a prosecutor, I've done multiple defending cases, I did one with five defendants, and by the time the fifth defendant cross examined one of my witnesses, they had forgotten the direct and, you know, I'd lost anything that I had gained, because it had been so long, and that's part of the strategy.

So it can really hurt a case I think, if you have so many defense attorneys, but they could also agree to say, you know what? I'm not going to ask questions. This person doesn't have anything to do with my defendant. It doesn't hurt me. So I'm going to step aside and not ask questions.

It just sort of happens depending on stylistic and substantive decisions during the trial.

COOPER: Karen, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Jen Jordan as well, thanks so much.

Coming up, former President Trump given an interview where he seemed to suggest the impeachment inquiry into President Biden is in retaliation for his own impeachments, more on that ahead.

And also, rescued: An American who was trapped thousands of feet beneath its surface in a Turkish cave was finally brought to the surface earlier this week, he nearly died down there. I'll talk to him about his harrowing story.



COOPER: Former President Trump sat down for two new interviews. He told NBC's Kristen Welker that he did consider pardoning himself at the end of his administration. We'll play that in just a moment. The other was with former Fox News host Megyn Kelly for what was at times a combative interview was their first since 2016.

At one point they relitigated the infamous Rosie O'Donnell moment from a Republican primary debate. There was also this moment when the former president seemed to suggest that the impeachment inquiry into President Biden was in retaliation for Democrats impeaching him twice.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think had they not done it to me, and I'm very popular in the region, they like me and I like them, the Republican Party, perhaps you wouldn't have it being done to them. And this is going to happen with indictments, too.


COOPER: Joining me now to discuss Maggie Haberman, she's a Senior Political Correspondent with New York Times and CNN Political Analyst. I mean, he's basically admitting it's retribution and that there would be more retribution on indictments.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's not like he's been particularly subtle on the idea that retribution is coming if he comes back into office, but that is something that people have been hoping to avoid him saying explicitly around this Biden impeachment inquiry because it does make it seem as if it is less on the level. It makes it harder for Republicans who are going to get dragged into this to sell it in districts that are more centrist and so forth.

COOPER: How much is he pulling the strings on this impeachment stuff? I mean, you had reported in Times that Marjorie Taylor Greene had met with him at Bedminster. CNN had reported that he had talked to Elise Stefanik as well.

HABERMAN: Elise Stefanik reporting I think, is really important and those conversations I think, have been key here. Our understanding is that he is not aggressively twisting Kevin McCarthy's arms, but as you know, he doesn't really have to do that. Sometimes he can just toss out a suggestion or he, you know, ask about it.

And I think that in some of the conversations it's been that way but he's made very clear as he has publicly, that he favors this and, you know, he has going back several months, and I expect you will hear more of it. But that was a surprisingly candid statement that one person who is an ally of has described as a confession to me about an hour ago. COOPER: Yes. I want to play something that Trump said about self- pardoning. He told NBC that he would think about it anyway. Let's play this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, if you were reelected, would you pardon yourself?

TRUMP: I could have pardoned myself. Do you know what? I was given an option to pardon myself. I could have pardoned myself when I left. People said, would you like to pardon yourself? I had a couple of attorneys that said, you can do it if you want.

I had some people that said it would look bad if you do it because I think it would look terrible. Let me just tell you, I said the last thing I'd ever do is give myself a pardon.


COOPER: Self-pardon obviously never been tested in court, but if he got back in the office, is there anything he would not try to do to avoid prosecution?

HABERMAN: I mean, I think that what we have seen with this campaign so far is that he sees his freedom at stake. And so I would be really surprised if he got back into office and said, you know what? I'm just -- I'm not going to try that. But we don't know what it would look like, where the cases will be, what is happening.

I will say that, you know, he said there were a couple of lawyers who told him that he could have pardoned himself when he was in office before. I'd be surprised if any of those lawyers were people who were actually employed by the office of the president as opposed to outside voices.

COOPER: He also spoke with Megyn Kelly for her podcast about the incident that we all know about now, where he was waving around classified documents. Let's play this.

MEGYN KELLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: What were you waving around in that meeting because it certainly sounded like it was an attack?

TRUMP: I'm not going to talk to you about that. I'm allowed to have those documents.

KELLY: But once you get a subpoena, you have to turn them over.

TRUMP: I know this. I don't even know that because I have the right to have those documents. So I don't really know that.

KELLY: Do you believe that every CIA document that came to you as president was automatically yours to keep no matter what?

TRUMP: I'm not going to answer that question.


COOPER: Interesting. He says, I'm not going to talk about it but he does talk about it.


HABERMAN: Well, there -- as you and I both know, there are times he can't help but feel like he has to defend himself and that has been his defense, is to keep saying, these are my documents. These documents, in fact, belong to the government. And he repeatedly misstates what the Presidential Records Act says.

I mean, whether or not it gets adjudicated on his side, what he is saying is not correct. But it is notable that he is steering away from answering that question more fully than, say, what he did with Bret Baier a couple months ago.

COOPER: He rarely does that, you know, I'm not going to answer that.

HABERMAN: He rarely does that unless he feels like he is entering danger territory and it means he was more on guard despite everything we saw him say. He was more on guard in this interview than I think people realize.

COOPER: Interesting. Maggie Haberman, thank you so much.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Just in tonight, a milestone in the wake of CNN reporting on sexual assaults at the Coast Guard Academy that were covered up for years. A Senate subcommittee chaired by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal has just launched a formal inquiry. The academy is located in New London and the subcommittee now wants to see all documents from the coast guard's own investigation, details of which were kept under wraps until CNN began digging.

Coming up, a top Libyan official fears what he calls a high magnitude of deaths after this week's massive flood. That would be on top of the at least 5,000 people already believe dead. Live report from the hardest hit area, next.


COOPER: I want to go for the latest on the massive flooding and the massive loss of life in Derna in northeastern Libya. I want to show you this report from CNN's Ben Wedeman.



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Days after disaster struck Derna, they're still collecting the bodies. Egyptian rescue workers lower one full body bag to the pavement and go back for another. The death toll is still unclear, but there's no doubt thousands were killed in the floods and thousands more remain missing. This survivor recounts what he saw.

The children died in front of my eyes. My neighbors died, he says. It feels like a nightmare. Until this hour, I still can't believe it.

And the nightmare isn't over. The magnitude of this disaster is more than this doctor interviewed on Libyan television can take. The numbers, he says, are awful. In a country consumed by years of conflict and hijacked by rival foreign powers, simple things like the weather service were neglected, says the head of the World Meteorological Organization.

PETTERI TAALAS, SECRETARY GENERAL/WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION: If they would have been a normally operating meteorological service, they could have issued the warnings and also the emergency management authorities would have been able to carry out evacuation of the people.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): In Derna, the authorities urged caution and imposed a curfew before the storm. But there were no evacuations, and this is the result.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


COOPER: There's been so much loss of life. The actual number at this point still really unclear.

Jomana Karadsheh from CNN has just arrived in the affected area. She's joining us now. Jomana, talk about where you are, what you've been able to see.

Jomana, it's Anderson. You're on the air. If you can hear me, talk about where you are and what you've been able to see.

We're having trouble, obviously, with that connection. We'll try to reestablish it. Obviously, it is a very difficult situation on the ground there, as you can see. Just the devastation is all throughout the region there in northeastern Libya, particularly in Derna. We'll have more on that.

We'll also, when we come back, we're going to talk to an American caver named Mark Dickey, who -- the video is just extraordinary. He started having internal bleeding when he was about 3,000 feet under the surface of the ground. 3,000 feet in a cave in Turkey. Had to get blood brought down to him. He thought he was going to die. I'll talk to him about his remarkable rescue ahead.



COOPER: As you may have heard, an American caver named Mark Dickey spent more than a week trapped in a cave deep in Turkey, some 3,000 feet below the surface of the ground. Dickey reportedly began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding when he was more than, as I said, 3,000 feet underground became too weak to make the journey back to the surface.

A whole rescue operation, about 200 people were involved to get him out. Dickey's condition became so severe. At one point, rescuers gave him transfusions while underground. We're happy to report that he survived. He's in much better condition and he joined us tonight from the hospital.

Mark, thank you for being here. I'm so glad you are alive and in the light. I have been freaked out by this entire drama that you have been imagining. You so deep underground in these -- I mean, first of all, how are you feeling?

MARK DICKEY, AMERICAN CAVER RESCUED AFTER MEDICAL EMERGENCY UNDERGROUND: I appreciate your asking. Definitely feeling much, much better than I have been. You know, every single day is a steady improvement. And I hear you on the freaked out. It's a crazy thought to be that far underground. Just thinking about how much rock, earth and just everything that's piled on top of you and how far away from the surface you are. So yes, freaked out is a good term, especially for when things started to go wrong.

COOPER: So when did things start to go wrong? How deep were you at that time?

DICKEY: How deep was I at that time?


DICKEY: I actually was even deeper in the cave. I wasn't at camp, which is where I was stabilized for quite some time. I was farther into the cave at a location that I was exploring. I was actually with Jessica. We were about to start climbing a lead. I was --

COOPER: Jessica is your partner.

DICKEY: Yes, that is my partner.

COOPER: And she's in the room with you.

DICKEY: And we were both there. She is.

COOPER: Hi, Jessica.


COOPER: And you had internal bleeding. What did you feel was wrong?

DICKEY: So, it was -- it turned out to be internal bleeding, which I figured out after I got down on the ground. Jessica got down behind me, and, you know, she called out, what do you need? And my response was just privacy, because, unfortunately, I was having -- I needed to go to the bathroom. And it was a crazy fast onset dizziness, nausea, hot and cold. And the stool that came out was just black, tarry, digested blood. And that was a bad sign.

COOPER: So you realize you have internal bleeding, and you're in trouble. Jessica goes for supplies. It takes her, was it 24 hours just to get out or 24 hours to get out and back?

DICKEY: No, Jessica is spectacular. That was 24 hours for her to get out. Coordinate a response, notify different organizations. Get the medical supplies on the way. Have them delivered to camp, and then all the way back to me. No, she pulled off a miracle.


COOPER: Did you think you might die down there?

DICKEY: It was this transitioning thought process. At first, it was, OK, this is pretty bad. I have no idea how serious it is. Then it moved into, OK, this doesn't seem to be life threatening, unpleasant, nasty. Immediately make my way out of the cave, but I'm OK.

And then the moment I started vomiting large volumes of blood, it was, this is life threatening. This is bad. I need serious assistance. And then the time period before Jessica arrived was the roughest. There were -- I remember the transition as my symptoms got worse, as my pulse was decreasing, as my blood pressure was decreasing, as it was harder to hold on to consciousness. Yes, my -- I was in the range of I'm probably going to die.

COOPER: And how long did it take for them to actually bring you physically out?

DICKEY: So once things started, I was very impressed by how quickly it went. There were virtually no breaks. I was transitioning from team to team. I would maybe rest for an hour or two in between one team, finishing transport and the next one getting in and getting coordinated.

That was -- it was an interesting balance of it's better to just keep moving, keep making that progress. But at the same time, it was taking a toll on me. I was already in really bad shape, and just that constant movement through the cave was rough.

COOPER: What was the moment like when -- was it daytime when you got out? When you saw sun? When you breathed fresh air?

DICKEY: It was not. My first sunrise was through the window of a hospital room, actually.


DICKEY: After I got out of the ICU and --

COOPER: And that's an even better place to see the sunrise, frankly.

DICKEY: -- I'm glad to see a sunrise.

COOPER: Yes. DICKEY: Yes. It was nighttime. But trust me, up there in that plateau, where there is absolutely no light pollution, those stars are -- they light things up.

COOPER: Can you just -- just finally, I mean, can you just explain what is the appeal of it? I mean, I did like spelunking long ago, and it was cool. But, I mean, going to these depths, what is it for you? What is the magic of it?

DICKEY: That's always a tough question. Every single person has their own drives, you know, it's -- in this case, I enjoy pushing the limits of human exploration. I'm never going to get to the moon. I'm never going to get to the bottom of the ocean. And other than those two, you're looking at caves.

You're looking at caves being that final frontier where you're able to get to places no human has ever been before, see things that have never been seen, find species that are currently unknown, discover more things about the world.

Caving, for me, has that allure of you're pushing those human limits. Not the limits necessarily of a physical standpoint. I'd much rather have, you know, a comfortable trip in, lots of supplies. I'm not looking to push my body, but pushing what humans are doing.

COOPER: Mark Dickey, I'm so glad you are alive and on the road to recovery. And I'm so glad you got Jessica because what she's put up with, I mean, I don't know what you're going to do to make it up to her, but seems like she's put up with a lot here.

DICKEY: I don't know. Jessica, I owe you a big time, don't I.


COOPER: Mark Dickey and Jessica, thank you so much. I wish you the best.

DICKEY: Absolutely. Thank you so much.

VAN ORD: Thank you.

COOPER: And just ahead, new independent report that seeks to answer one of the biggest mysteries in the universe and explain encounters like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa! Got it! Whoo-hoo! What the (INAUDIBLE) is that?



[20:58:16] COOPER: A report to NASA by a group of independent experts and scientists finds no hard evidence that many well publicized UFO encounters, often by service members, have extraterrestrial origins. In short, they say, it's probably not aliens.

The authors say much of what are now officially known as unidentified anomalous phenomena can be explained, but they said not all. The report follows a congressional hearing in July, as well as the official release of military videos like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa! Got it! Whoo-hoo! What the (INAUDIBLE) is that?


COOPER: This was recorded by U.S. Navy plane in 2015. The encounter took place off the East Coast. This one happened in 2004 of the coast of Southern California. One of the pilots has been on this program. She told us that in her experience, whether people believe in extraterrestrials or not, they all want answers.

And for that, NASA today said it is appointing its first director of UAP Research to help collect more data. We shall see.

That's it for us. The news continues. I'll see you tomorrow night. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from the source. The Biden Justice Department indicts a Biden. President's son Hunter in the first charges ever against a sitting president's child.

And we are also counting down tonight. When the clock strikes midnight, union workers could strike against the Big Three automakers. It could upend not just the car industry, but the entire U.S. economy.

Plus a load of F bombs dropping on Capitol Hill today. Is House Speaker Kevin McCarthy swears and dares his right flank to oust him? They just might take him up on it.

I'm Kaitlan Collins and this is The Source.