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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
NY Times: Former Trump Assistant Told Investigators In Documents Case Trump Told Her To Say You Don't Know Anything About The Boxes; Interview With Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD); Interview With Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA); New Hampshire Voters On Trump, Kennedy, GOP Field; International Uproar After Canadian PM Says "Credible Allegations" Tie India To Sikh Assassination On Canadian Soil; Russian Court Keeps WSJ Reporter In Detention After Appeal Denied; CNN's Matthew Chance Removed From Gershkovich Hearing; Russell Brand Denies Sex Abuse Allegations, Faces More Fallout. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 19, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's sort of like having a pilot light. And if that pilot light starts to dim, you need to find a way of motivating yourself. And sometimes, it's hard. I'm not going to quit. I just don't believe in that. I believe in let's just keep going and see if we can become better than we are today. Let's see what tomorrow has in store.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And Mel has inspired so many. Don't miss the "Champions for Change" special. It is Saturday night at eight. And right now, it's time for AC 360.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360: Breaking News: New reporting that the former president told an aide not to acknowledge that she knew about classified files he kept at Mar-a-Lago.
Also tonight, with 11 days until the government shuts down, why House Republicans can't get their act together long enough to stop it.
And Canada says there are, what they call, credible allegations tying India to an assassination of one of its citizens, and the US has been drawn to the controversy.
We begin tonight with breaking news and this quote attributed to the former president, "You don't know anything about the boxes." The boxes of course, being boxes of classified material kept at Mar-a-Lago. The reporting just hit "The New York Times." The headline reads: "Trump is said to have told aide not to acknowledge she knew of documents."
Here's the lead: A former assistant to Donald J. Trump has informed investigators that the former president told her to say she did not know anything about the boxes containing classified documents that he had stashed in his private club in Florida after leaving the White House, according to a person briefed on her comments.
Now her name is Molly Michael, who first gave her account to ABC News. Quoting again from "The New York Times" reporting: "Miss Michael also told investigators that Mr. Trump would write notes to himself on documents that he gave her listing tasks that he wanted done. She later realized that in some cases, the documents had classified markings," the person briefed on her comments said.
So this now makes at least two potential government witnesses with evidence the former President sought to obstruct the investigation. The other is that Mar-a-Lago IT worker.
Joining us now is former January 6 committee member, Adam Kinzinger. He is now a CNN political commentator, also CNN contributor and former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean; Axios senior contributor, Margaret Talev, and CNN senior legal analyst, Elie Honig.
John, your opinion, how damaging could this testimony be?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It could be very damaging. She's an insider. It's a direct statement from the president, it shows his intent, as does his action with telling her to or making notes on the back of a classified document. So she will be a valuable witness.
And Anderson, I suspect this is just a sliver of what she has told them and what she knows.
COOPER: Congressman, I mean, when you hear, you know -- there's really nothing that one can be too surprised about that one hears about the former president, but writing notes on classified documents and giving them to an aide, if true, is extraordinary.
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it is, and it is reckless. And it's everything we know about Donald Trump, which is the only thing he cares about is himself. So whether it's classified information or not, if that's the convenient paper to grab and write a note, that's what he's going to do.
And, you know, once again, you know, Molly Michael, and you think of people like Cassidy Hutchison, you think of Sarah Matthews, you have these young women in Trump's orbit that actually have the courage to come forward and say the right thing. I don't know the whole story with Molly, but for her to say this information is very important.
And as was mentioned, I think this is probably the tip of the iceberg. And Donald Trump could be going away for a long time. It doesn't mean though, Anderson, that we're going to convince his current hardcore supporters that he's done anything illegal, because they're just going to channelize on Hunter Biden or something like that.
COOPER: Margaret, though, I mean, for the person who campaigned about Hillary Clinton and her e-mail systems and her server, again, just old school writing notes on classified documents and handing them around. I would say it's unbelievable, but it's actually not.
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's kind of like if you or I were like, oh, I need something to write something on and you're like fumbling around and you grab a receipt from the grocery store. In this case, you grab a classified document and write a note on it to your aide who doesn't actually have the status to be allowed to look at that document.
So she's important for a number of reasons. She was a close aide to Donald Trump, both when he was in the Oval Office and her desk was right outside, and then after he left office, so there's that continuity.
This is direct knowledge rather than hearsay or someone else told me that Trump wanted me to do something. This is her conversations with the president and it goes to two possible things. One is the argument the prosecutors will want to make that he was reckless, and the other is the idea that he was telling people in his orbit not to cooperate.
And for of all those reasons, this could be really important from a legal perspective even if we don't know if it's going to move the needle politically or not.
COOPER: Elie, I mean just from a legal standpoint what do you make of this?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, this is potentially devastating evidence for prosecutors and against Donald Trump. First of all, let's consider the source of this evidence. This is Molly Michael, this is a person who's been as loyal as it gets to Donald Trump, both when he was in the White House, on to now.
And so prosecutors are going to offer up this testimony and say, what possible incentive does this person have to go out of her way to lie to harm Donald Trump, and she's going to be a really difficult person for Donald Trump's defense team to cross examine.
And then let's think about the substance of what the reporting is saying, Molly Michael will testify, which is that Donald Trump told her straight up, you are to lie to investigators, you are to tell them you know nothing about boxes or documents, which was untrue, that is right down the middle. That is textbook obstruction of justice, that is textbook witness tampering, potentially really devastating evidence here.
COOPER: He also, Elie, I mean, according to the contemporaneous notes by one of his attorneys, had, you know, indicated that perhaps the attorney could take the boxes back to his hotel or motel room and, you know, pluck out the attorney talked about him sort of fingering, you know, motioning with his fingers, the idea of kind of plucking classified, you know, the not good documents to have out there, take them out, remove them from the chain of evidence.
HONIG: Yes, the indictment references a plucking motion. This is not out of nowhere. This is part of a broader pattern. In fact, if we look at the indictment and what's known right now, there's really several different lanes of obstruction of justice. One, Anderson, it is what you just referenced, which was the effort by Donald Trump to hide documents from his attorney and to have his attorney hide documents from the FBI, the DOJ, and the grand jury.
Second of all, we know that there are new charges relating to the attempt to tamper with the video surveillance system at Mar-a-Lago, whether that was successfully done or not, we don't know. But we know there was an effort that's now been charged in the most recent indictment.
And now, this direct tampering with this witness with Molly Michael, this effort to have her lie to investigators is a third lane. And I think when you take it all together, again, prosecutors can argue to a jury, this is a pattern. This is a way of doing business.
COOPER: John, I mean, the classified documents saga has always been the case, at least according to many of the lawyers we've talked to that's considered the most straightforward, clearest to prove, does this sort of revelation -- I mean, it certainly seems to bolster that argument.
DEAN: It does. And one of my reactions when I first heard of the story, was that the prosecutors seem to know that they weren't being given everything, when they have prepared there to have the FBI go in and seize material, like they had an inside witness.
This could be that inside witness. No one could, at that time, feign who it might be. And she certainly apparently was in a position to know, both during the White House days as well as the early days after he left the White House. So this could explain why they did what Trump calls the raid.
COOPER: And Congressman, I mean, if Republican lawmakers are largely going to keep shrugging off every new damning allegation about the former president, which certainly seems like they are, does it underscore to you what Senator Mitt Romney said in announcing his retirement, which is that Republicans are just too afraid to speak out against Trump or they just don't care about the Constitution. Again, that was coming from Mitt Romney.
KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, there's no other conclusion you can come to. I mean, look, I've been around these folks and they are scared to death of the base. They're scared to death of going to a town hall or a Lincoln Day dinner and having the base be upset. They have acquiesced to everything Donald Trump says.
I think it's important that when we talk about why is the base supporting Donald Trump, it's because everybody else that they trust, besides Donald Trump is telling them that this is a witch hunt. And it's important to keep in mind with this investigation, the classified documents, Donald Trump had many opportunities to return this information.
It's not like DOJ just found out that he had some documents, and then they did a raid on Mar-a-Lago. They tried for, I think, almost a year to get this back and he simply refused to do it, because he feels above the law and for whatever reason.
So yes. you cannot claim to be the party of law and order if you're going to continue to defend this completely lawless behavior.
COOPER: Margaret, you know, the Congressman was talking about, you know, how it is not going to change many Republican voters' minds, that that very well -- you know, that certainly has been the case in the past.
It may though, start to weaken some of the other potential witnesses. I mean, you have the IT worker flipped as soon as he got rid of the Trump PAC paid attorney. The question is, would the property manager who also has a Trump paid attorney or a Trump PAC paid attorney, would he start to wobble if there's more witnesses coming forward?
TALEV: I think you're raising a really good point. Certainly as a reporter, if I was trying to crack a locked box and one person, you know, started talking, and then it became a second person, I would know, I would sort of smell blood in the water. And I imagine that if you're Elie Honig or John Dean, you know, maybe you're thinking about it the same way is that from those witness perspectives or people who could be called to testify or people who could be in trouble or implicated themselves, there is some safety in numbers when you see other people based on the advice of counsel, change their stories or come forward with stories like this, I think it gives some cover or some encouragement if there are other people who could cooperate.
But I think from a political perspective, you're really in a situation where this just raises the stakes for the general election showdown that we're barreling towards where, on the one hand, Republicans can't quit Donald Trump and on the other hand, this could be a general election where these are not just allegations but evidence like this against the person who could be standing as the party's nominee.
COOPER: Yes. Margaret Talev, John Dean, Adam Kinzinger, thank you so much. Elie Honig as well.
With us now, Maryland Democratic congressman, Jamie Raskin.
Congressman, I mean, I don't know if any of this surprises you, but how damning do you this is for the former president?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, it's doubly damning when you consider that there's also an IT worker on the staff, who is apparently prepared to testify that Donald Trump tried to get him to delete security camera footage from the Trump servers.
So obviously, Donald Trump was trying to cover his tracks, sometimes he tries to play the fool and act as if he doesn't really know what he's doing. Or maybe he's, you know, too crazy to be found criminally responsible.
But this demonstrates a clearly premeditated pattern of obstructing investigation of the evidence. And he's been charged in that case with not just stealing those documents and concealing those documents over repeated efforts to get them back, but also of obstruction of justice.
So I think there's extremely promising progress for the prosecutors in all of these cases. But this one just seems like an open and shut case to me.
COOPER: Well, also, so much of this just seems like dialogue from a, you know, an 80s or 90s Mafia movie. You know, I mean, according to reporting, the former president tells his aide -- this aide, Molly Michael, you don't know anything about the boxes. It just -- you know, you would see that in a movie, the idea that someone would -- an aide, you know, facing legal jeopardy would continue to lie for the former president. It's kind of extraordinary to me that sort of how he patterns himself.
RASKIN: Yes. Well, I remember when I was an assistant attorney general, Anderson, and I just started out and I was watching some footage kind of along these lines, and saying, you know, it's amazing to me how well, the godfather in the mob movies captured the way these people really talk.
And a senior prosecutor said to me, no, it's quite the reverse. The mobsters watch the movies, and that's how they learn how to talk. And Donald Trump is basically imitating the way he thinks a tough guy acts and what he thinks a mob boss does.
COOPER: And again, I mean, I asked this to an earlier guest, but again for the candidate who campaigned against Hillary Clinton, railing against e-mail servers and lock her up. The idea that he's writing to- do lists on the back or on the front of classified documents and then handing them to this aide, it is you -- I mean, you can't make it up.
RASKIN: Well, you know, our colleagues in the GOP have to completely shelter themselves from the actual news, and they've got to wrap themselves in this ideological vacuum where they're just playing, you know, Donald Trump propaganda, quote tapes all the time.
I mean, if they really listened to that, and tried to compare it to things that they themselves said about Hillary Clinton or about security breaches in the past, there's nothing that they could do to defend any of this and you know, they're all just about to have the problem of explaining why they voted not to impeach or to convict a president who incited a violent insurrection against the union, and yet they're eager to impeach a president for a completely unknown crime, a crime that nobody can specify or identify, because all of the evidence has debunked all of their allegations.
If they had a single damning fact against Joe Biden, believe me it's all we would be hearing about, but they don't have a single one.
COOPER: Congressman Raskin, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
RASKIN: You bet.
COOPER: Coming up next, the looming government shutdown, the dysfunctional Congress and House Speaker and why nothing's getting done, Keeping Them Honest. Later, the growing fallout from sexual misconduct allegations against comedian, Russell Brand.
COOPER: All right, Keeping Them Honest report tonight starts at the United Nations with the story of dysfunction at a story that once a venerable representative body that is not the United Nations, one so dysfunctional, in fact that it makes the UN look like a well-oiled machine by comparison. That would be the United States House of Representatives with a government shutdown just 11 days away if lawmakers can't pass a series of short-term spending bills, which they showed again today, they can't.
Now the reason we mentioned the UN, and we begin there is because today, the need for a fully functioning Congress was underscored in what Ukraine's President Zelenskyy asked for in his address in the General Assembly, what President Biden also pledged in his.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: We must act united to defeat the aggressor and focus all our capabilities and energy on addressing these challenges.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?
I'd respectfully suggest the answer is no. We have to stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, President Biden is seeking another round of funding for military aid to Ukraine, which could be hard to pass for a number of reasons. It is a sticking point for a number of hardline Republicans who do not want to spend any money on Ukraine, and that alone could lead to a shutdown.
The more immediate problem tonight though, is that House Republicans who hold a slim majority cannot even pass the easy stuff, let alone hard stuff like that.
Now remember last week when they failed to advance a key defense bill and a Republican lawmaker said if you can't pass Defense, you can't pass anything? Well, they failed again on that same Defense measure today.
They did not even bring a separate stop-gap funding bill to the floor because they didn't have the votes for that. And this comes after House Republicans met today trying and failing to work out their differences on it.
South Carolina Republican Nancy Mace telling CNN afterwards: "There are a lot of no votes in that room. I don't know how they will get to 218," and they couldn't. Non-Defense which five conservative Republicans voted against, not on the bill that was pulled also for lack of support from the far right, something Republican Mike Lawler lashed out against last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL LAWLER (R-NY):This is not conservative Republicanism, this is stupidity. These people can't define a win. They don't know how to take yes for an answer. It's a clown show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So just a reminder, that's a House Republican talking about other House Republicans who the top House Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy cannot bring on board, even though the price of failure is a shutdown that his Senate counterpart today warned against.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think all of you know, I'm not a fan of government shutdowns. I've seen a few of them over the years. They never have produced a policy change and they've always been a loser for Republicans, politically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The problem though, is Kevin McCarthy can only lose four Republican votes to pass anything without support from Democratic members and his moves to start that impeachment inquiry into Biden, which starts tomorrow does not appease those hardline members.
He's got Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz now threatening to challenge his leadership, who himself is now feuding with another Florida Republican, Byron Donalds.
In addition, McCarthy faces a possible challenge to his leadership if he seeks help from Democrats who show no sign of wanting to help. He's in a box. His members are in disarray, and the shutdown clock is ticking.
Joining us now is Massachusetts Democratic congressman, Seth Moulton.
Congressman, when you look at the stakes of this brinksmanship, funding the Pentagon, sending aid to Ukraine, avoiding a government shutdown, how dire is this?
REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): These are very high stakes, Anderson. I mean, we're talking about just paying our troops and this used to be the party of national security. But the party that used to champion national security is now against paying our troops. They won't stand up to Russia. They refuse to even meet with Zelenskyy who is fighting for democracy and freedom, principles that used to matter to the Republican Party. And you've got one Republican senator from Alabama, who knows a lot about coaching football, nothing about serving in the military, and he is single handedly decimating the leadership ranks of our military and crushing their families, too.
So this is really serious. I mean, if you just look at the national security implications, this is a bigger gift to Russia and China than they could ever have imagined.
And I'm not -- Anderson, I'm not a partisan hack. I mean, I think some of my greatest accomplishments like passing the 988 National Mental Health hotline, I've done those with Republicans -- Republican veterans, but you can't defend this right now.
I mean, this is -- when I look at the threats to our national security, the Republican Party has become a great threat to America's national security.
COOPER: You really believe that?
MOULTON: Yes, I do. I mean, and you hear -- I mean, Republican veterans walked out of the House today, and just were assailing the fellow members of their party saying that they are helping China. That's what Republicans said about fellow Republicans on the House steps this afternoon, and it just shows you how much they are in disarray, and how high the stakes are for our country.
COOPER: So do Democrats. I mean, at some point see room for compromise with Republicans on a stop-gap bill to keep the government open? GOP Congresswoman Nancy Mace said, "Without a deal with Democrats, I don't see it passing."
MOULTON: Democrats have always stepped in to save us in situations like this. But you have to have a Republican Party that's willing to compromise, that's willing to work with us. I mean, their Defense Appropriations Bill right now has all these, you know, crazy provisions. Like they're trying to ban books and everything through the Defense Department, that are never going to -- that are just total nonstarters with any sensible Republican or any reasonable Democrat.
So the Republicans have to be willing to compromise. That's what's happened in the past and it is not happening today.
COOPER: You heard President Biden in the UN today calling for the world to stand up to Russia's invasion in Ukraine. You're a veteran as a member of the Armed Services Committee, what message do you think it'll send to the world if the chaos in the House causes an actual disruption in US aid?
MOULTON: It tells the world that America is not a reliable partner, that America does not take seriously the values that we have stood for, for two centuries, that we're not willing to stand up to the greatest enemies that we face like Russia and China, and that we can't even get our own house in order.
And we're just talking about national security here. What about the fact that the so-called compromise bill that they have put forward to fund the government would cut 60,000 seniors off of meals-on-wheels? I mean, I remember when my grandfather depended on meals-on-wheels to eat every day.
It's going to cut 800 Customs and Border officers. I thought this was the party that cared about border security. I mean, it's just a mess. Anderson, and it's dangerous for our country.
COOPER: I mean, do White House congressional supporters of Ukraine need to do a better job explaining to the public why they feel more aid is vital to US interests, because CNN polling over the summer indicated that a majority of Americans oppose it.
MOULTON: Well, actually, the problem is right now in the House knows that the majority of Republicans actually support it, but they're not willing to say that publicly.
When we go in --
COOPER: Because they're afraid of their constituents or --
MOULTON: Yes, because they're afraid of their constituents, because instead of going home to their districts, and explaining to them why this is important, why funding Ukraine, supporting Ukraine is a great investment in our national security, because they refuse to explain that to their constituents, you have these terrible poll numbers.
And you have a whole bunch of Republicans who behind closed doors say they're all with the Ukrainians, and they're with us, and they agree with the Biden administration on their Ukraine policy, but then go out five minutes later on TV and say something completely different.
COOPER: So you hear that from Republican colleagues of yours, one from behind closed doors.
MOULTON: All the time. All the time. I mean, we have a classified briefings on Ukraine. We have for months now on the House Armed Services Committee, and sometimes they come in with legitimate questions, you know, concerns. But when those questions are answered to their satisfaction behind closed doors, it doesn't affect what they say on TV.
And that just lack of basic political courage to just simply tell the truth is a real problem if you're trying to actually make a deal to fund the government.
COOPER: Congressman Seth Moulton, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Just ahead tonight, we're going to get a pulse check on the Republican presidential primary from the independent-minded voters in New Hampshire. Our John King takes his ongoing series "All Over The Map" to this early contest to gauge the strength of the former president and understand why some Republican voters in New Hampshire are eyeing a Kennedy instead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: With the New Hampshire primary just months away, our John King decided to gauge the mood of voters there, for the latest installment of his 360 series, "All Over The Map," it is a series that tracks the presidential campaign through the eyes and experiences of voters who live in key battleground states.
New Hampshire obviously isn't just a critical early test for the former president's control of his party, it will also be a key battleground in the general election. Here's John's report.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Heading out in the moonlight, Andrew Konchek often spends 80 hours a week on the water, sometimes more. It is grueling work and it shapes his politics.
ANDREW KONCHEK, NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN VOTER: I am Republican. You know it's there -- they are more for the working man.
KING (voice over): Fishing boats have filled this harbor for 400 years, and is a proud but struggling industry. A blue collar craft where the workers feel ignored by the regulators who set the rules and by the politicians who now want to line the coast with wind turbines.
KONCHEK: That's going to completely destroy our fishing industry.
KING (on camera): So your political decisions are based on --
KONCHEK: My livelihood.
KING (voice over): The men we met along these docks are not climate deniers. The water is warmer, the storms wilder, the fish different, but they say the people deciding what to do about it don't ask those who live it every day.
KONCHEK: I don't think a politician will ever understand what I do for work unless they come on the boat with me and then maybe they will understand.
KING (on-camera): Any of them ever offer to come on the boat?
KONCHEK: No, no.
KING (voice-over): Distrust and disaffection are easy to find here.
LUCAS RAYMOND, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: I mean, the middle class, the working class, fishermen, all of us, we are struggling in this economy.
KING (voice-over): Anger at traditional politicians drew Lucas Raymond to Donald Trump back in 2016. He sees a new insurgent in the 2024 presidential field. RAYMOND: I am extremely likely to vote for Robert Kennedy.
KING (voice-over): Why.
RAYMOND: He is willing to state that we should not blindly trust corporations or our government. And I think he staunchly believes in caring for our environment.
KING (voice-over): Raymond says many Republican leaning friends feel the same way.
RAYMOND: My crew mate sent me his interview with Joe Rogan, and I started listening to him. And I found many things about him pretty impressive.
KING (voice-over): Two things to know about me. I love craft beer and I obsess about political math.
STANLEY TREMBLAY, LIQUID THERAPY BREWERY OWNER: There you go.
KING (voice-over): How choices like Raymond's could impact not only the primary, but also the vote here next November. Stanley Tremblay shares Raymond's disgust with politics as usual.
(on-camera): 2016, Clinton-Trump?
TREMBLAY: I wanted neither. I didn't vote for either of them.
KING (on-camera): Vote third party?
TREMBLAY: Third party.
KING (on-camera): Gary Johnson, I assume. 2020, Biden-Trump?
TREMBLAY: Neither. Third party.
KING (on-camera): What are you going to do now? What if you get Biden- Trump again?
TREMBLAY: Probably not vote.
KING (voice-over): Tremblay's father was a Vietnam veteran. His brewery is in an old fire station. And signs of service are everywhere. He wants to believe but he just can't right now.
TREMBLAY: We need to get the old out and bring new in and reinvigorate what hopefully is a better United States.
KING (voice-over): Tremblay would never vote Trump, so you could argue his sitting out the primary helps the former president. Pete Burdett's change of heart hurts Trump.
PETE BURDETT, NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN VOTER: National security is the number one thing that any president would need to take precedence over everything else because you don't have an economy if you don't have a country. KING (voice-over): Burdett served 21 years in the Navy as a helicopter pilot and a flight instructor. Newcomer Trump won him over in 2016.
BURDETT: He was a pretty smart guy, and I had met him personally.
KING (voice-over): But Burdett says Trump 2024 is not Trump 2016.
BURDETT: He's not focusing on the issues going forward. He seems to be focusing on the issues of the past. I'm done with the past.
KING (voice-over): Nikki Haley is Burdett's choice this time. Still, signs of Trump's New Hampshire advantage are easy to find.
NATALYA ORLANDO, NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN VOTER: It's definitely very much pro-Donald Trump from what I see here on grassroots on the ground.
KING (voice-over): But Natalya Orlando adds a caveat worth keeping an eye on.
ORLANDO: I personally don't think that he's as strong as he was in 2016. I have people who argue with me about that and tell me I'm wrong and get mad that I'm saying this, but I'm going to be honest and say no, I don't see it.
KING (voice-over): Andrew Concheck agrees.
(on-camera): Then compared to now, same, different, less, more.
KONCHEK: I think it'd be less now because all the legal cases and yes, it did impact him around here.
KING (voice-over): Like in 2016, though, Konchek sees Trump as the best catch in another crowded GOP field.
KONCHEK: Donald Trump as of right now, but I'm going to keep it open so that I can make an educated decision. Trump would be first, DeSantis second yet.
KING (voice-over): Konchek may have to catch the second GOP debate offshore on satellite TV, but fishing season will be on winter break when the primary is held early next year.
COOPER: John King joins us now with his trusty sidekick, the CNN magic wall. So you hear New Hampshire voters, you hear Iowa voters, they're not always in lockstep. What does history tell us?
KING: That's why this is so interesting, Anderson, this is the 2016 map. Remember Donald Trump's first win came in New Hampshire. You just heard the voters there saying he's got a pretty healthy lead there. They all believe that, even the voters who are not with him, at the moment, right?
Then Iowa, Ted Cruz won it back in 2016, but Donald Trump, we were there just last month, a month before. Donald Trump's very strong there now. And yet these states are so different. How is Donald Trump ahead in these two states? Look at this. This is the 2016, forgive me for turning my back, this is the 2016 primary and caucus election.
Look how different. Iowa, 79 percent of the voters were Republicans. In New Hampshire, that's only 59 percent. Because only 20 percent in Iowa were independents. Look at that, more than 4 in 10 voters in the New Hampshire primary back in 2016, and likely again, this time around, are independents.
Look at the difference ideologically, 40 percent of the Iowa voters in 2016, very conservative, New Hampshire only 26 percent, Evangelical Christians, really easy to find in Iowa, and guess what? Of the electorate in the caucuses last time, more than 6 in 10, hard to find in New Hampshire, only a quarter.
And yet, as of today, look how different these two states electorate, right? Very different electorate. Very different in terms of their ideology. And yet, Donald Trump's way ahead in both states, which makes him the faraway frontrunner. Not impossible to beat, but very, very hard to beat.
COOPER: Did you get a grasp on the level of excitement that exists for Trump in New Hampshire this time?
KING: If you listen, what was interesting is there's no question Trump has a lead. And everybody, again, even people in our forum think it's a pretty sizable lead. But it was so interesting. The biggest takeaway for me, the biggest takeaway was the disillusionment across the board, which is why some Republicans are going even to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
But among Trump voters, so many of them, Anderson, said, I'm with him now but it's not like 2015. It's not as exciting as early 2016. And some of them said, as we get closer to the primary, they haven't set the date yet, but it'll be probably in January.
That if DeSantis -- they most mentioned DeSantis, but if somebody else was surging, maybe they'd reconsider. So Trump has a big lead now. Make no mistake about that. Take nothing I say to make you think Trump's not way ahead.
But you do sense some vulnerabilities. The question is, in a crowded field, can anybody take advantage of it? We have lived that before.
COOPER: John, Stanley's liquid therapy bar looked like a lot of fun. How was the craft beer?
KING: It was awesome, Anderson, to come along. Come along on the next trip.
COOPER: I would like to.
KING: But, you know, I'm laughing about it, but Stanley Tremblay is actually really fascinating to me as someone who's done this. This is my tenth presidential campaign. Dad, Vietnam veteran, cares about his community, votes in local elections, has the local officials into his pub, won't vote in national politics because he's disgusted. That's a problem.
COOPER: Yes. I would love to go there sometime.
John King, thanks so much.
Coming up --
KING: It's on me.
COOPER: -- a major diplomatic conflict between Canada and India is drawing in the U.S. and others. Canada's Prime Minister says there are credible allegations tying India to the assassination of a Canadian citizen and Sikh activist on Canadian soil. We'll have the latest on that next.
COOPER: Anger, outrage, and calls for action against India after an explosive allegation by the Canadian prime minister on the floor of that country's parliament on Monday. Justin Trudeau said there are, quote, credible allegations that tie India's government to the murder of a Canadian citizen, a well-known leader in the Sikh community with ties to separatists in India.
The murder occurred in June on Canadian soil. Trudeau says today he was not trying to provoke India, but since the allegations, both countries have expelled senior diplomats in both the U.S. and British governments. They call the charges, quote, "serious allegations".
Paula Newton has more.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hardeep Singh Nijjar was just steps away from the temple he led in worship when Canadian police say he was shot several times by masked gunmen who had marked him for murder as he sat in his grey truck.
Police say the suspects then fled on foot, possibly in this car, a silver Toyota Camry. Canadian police released this image pleading for the public's help. That was mid-June. There has been no trace of the car or suspects since. The trail had gone cold.
But many in this Sikh community in British Columbia believe it had all the hallmarks of a political assassination. Then, in a stunning disclosure, their suspicions were voiced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. NEWTON (voice-over): He cited credible intelligence that the Indian government may have ordered Nijjar's killing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: India, the government of India, needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that. We are not looking to provoke or escalate. We are simply laying out the facts as we understand them. And we want to work with the government of India.
NEWTON (voice-over): Nijjar's lawyer confirms to CNN, the Canadian intelligence officials warned the Sikh leader that his life was in danger.
(on-camera): Did they offer any protection?
GURPATWANT SINGH PANNUN, GENERAL COUNSEL, SIKHS FOR JUSTICE: They did not offer any protection, but they advised him to relocate. They advised him do not go to work. Besides giving advice how to safeguard his life, they did not give him any protection.
NEWTON (voice-over): The Indian government has denied allegations linking it to the killing. Trudeau says he confronted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the accusations at the G20 summit last week, but Modi would not accept his claims.
Trudeau instead went public with the accusations, but not before speaking with U.S. President Joe Biden and other allies. This audacious killing in front of a place of worship is now no closer to being solved. Canada and India have traded tit for tat diplomatic expulsions with India firing back that Canada shelters terrorists and extremists.
At issue is Sikh independence. India has long sought to put down the separatist movement to divide India, and it labeled Nijjar a wanted terrorist in 2022. While Canada is leaning on what it describes as solid evidence, Canadian police are still asking for the public's help, telling CNN this homicide remains a priority investigation.
NEWTON: You know, and Anderson, make no mistake, the thought that India possibly allegedly reached right into Canada and pulled the trigger on someone they wanted to silence for political reasons, chilling to the Sikh community and, you know, all of Canada, really.
At issue here as well is the White House, Biden's Indo-Pacific strategy. They hardly wanted this when they are trying to use India certainly as a counterbalance to China. Having said that in less, Trudeau can actually come up with the evidence and show everyone that evidence or they get the suspects and it's revealed in court. I think most allies, including the White House are ready to just stay on the sidelines of this one and watch it unfold.
COOPER: Paula Newton, thanks so much.
We also have new information on an important court hearing in Moscow today involving Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and whether he would remain detained while awaiting trial. Gershkovich, as you know, was arrested in March on a reporting trip. Russia's FSB, its main security service, accused him of trying to obtain state secrets.
He and the Journal have denied the allegations. The U.S. has said he's wrongfully detained.
Our Matthew Chance is in Moscow and was at the courthouse today where he briefly saw Gershkovich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: ccccccOK, we've been let into the courthouse where you can see Evan Gershkovich is in there. Hi, Matthew from CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)
CHANCE: Are you holding up all right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Foreign Language).
CHANCE: No questions?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, understood, Panyatna (ph).
OK, well, there he is standing there. You can see him looking relaxed, all the cameras being allowed in to take a close up look at him. The security is very tight here. What's the problem?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)
CHANCE: It's a vast motion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)
CHANCE: Yes. Go to Evan. Go to Evan.
(Speaking Foreign Language)
CHANCE: What do you want us to do?
(Speaking Foreign Language)
CHANCE: OK, what do you want us to do? Max (ph), it's OK. It's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I'm join now by Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Matthew Chance in Moscow. Looked certainly tense there. Can you explain that moment in court today that we just saw?
CHANCE: I mean, I think I can in the sense that, you know, we walked into the courtroom, as you say, as you see. And I said hello to Evan Gershkovich. And my cameraman was filming the scene and we were preparing to, you know, record something for broadcast later.
But the security services there and the court authorities move very quickly to stop us. They didn't like the fact that I'd asked a question. They didn't like the fact that I'd communicated with Evan. Or that we weren't just filming him sort of tight in clothes.
They want you to stand there with the camera and point it right at Evan Gershkovich and not say anything. Which is, of course, is very hard. Particularly when, you know, on the other side of that glass cage is a colleague, somebody you know. And I just thought it was the right thing to do to sort of speak to him.
But anyway, they kicked us out pretty quickly. Shortly afterwards, I mean, the court session wasn't very long in all honesty. And shortly afterwards, his appeal against his pretrial detention extension, which has been extended until November the 30th, he was appealing against that, that was denied.
And so, the appeal was a failure as expected, because this is not the first time that this has happened. And every time there's an extension on his detention, he appeals it, and the appeal is denied, and that happened again, this time as well, Anderson.
COOPER: The U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy, was able to meet with Gershkovich on Friday. Have U. S. authorities made any comment on his continued detention?
CHANCE: Well, they have. I mean, they've been absolutely scathing about the fact that Russia continues to hold Evan Gershkovich and other U.S. citizens, particularly Paul Whelan, also held for espionage. And Lynne Tracy, the U.S. Ambassador, you know, said that when she came out of the court, down the steps outside the courthouse, after the hearing ended, and made her point again that this was fundamentally wrong, that Evan Gershkovich, who she denies, and the American government deny, remember, that he engaged in any kind of espionage on their behalf.
And she pointed out again how fundamentally wrong it is that he's being held by the Russians. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNNE TRACY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Evan is fully aware of the gravity of his situation, yet he remains remarkably strong. True to his profession. Evan is always eager to discuss the latest headlines. He knew, for example, that his parents had delivered a petition to the United Nations last week. A petition that calls on the U.N. to make clear that he has been arbitrarily detained and to push for his immediate release.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: Well, Ambassador Tracy went on to say that journalism is not a crime. But of course, you know, sometimes in Russia, it feels a bit like it is.
COOPER: Matthew Chance, thank you.
Coming up next, more fallout for comedian and YouTuber Russell Brand as he faces multiple sex abuse allegations and denies any wrongdoing.
COOPER: Tonight, British comedian Russell Brand is blocked from making money from his show on YouTube. The BBC has pulled some of his shows from their streaming service and his multi city comedy tour is on hold. All this as he now faces sexual assault allegations from at least four women dating as far back as 2006. Allegations he denies.
More now from 360's Randi Kaye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Russell engaged in the behaviors of a groomer. Looking back on it, I didn't even know what that was then or what that looked like.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This woman says she was 16 when actor Russell Brand first took an interest in her. At the time, he was 31. The woman says Brand would refer to her as the child and that he tried to separate her from her parents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would try to drive a wedge between me and my parents, taught me to lie to them. I was at my dad's house and it was 11:00 at night. Russell was texting me. He's like, please come over. I need to see you. I'm really upset. Like I need to see you.
KAYE (voice-over): Their relationship allegedly lasted about three months. And according to the alleged victim, Brand forced her to perform oral sex on him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn't breathe. It was just choking me and I couldn't breathe. I was pushing him away and pushing him away and he wasn't backing off at all. And so I ended up having to punch him really hard in the stomach to get him off and then he like -- but finally, then he like moved, fell backwards and I was crying and he said, oh, I only want to see your mascara run anyway.
KAYE (voice-over): The allegations were raised as part of a joint investigative report from three British media outlets. This woman, along with three others, are accusing Brand of sexual assault in separate incidents allegedly occurring between 2006 and 2013. The women chose not to be identified by name and CNN has not been able to independently verify their claims.
Brand took to social media before the investigation had even published to preemptively deny any wrongdoing.
RUSSELL BRAND, COMEDIAN AND YOUTUBER: But amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks, are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute. As I've written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous. Now during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual.
KAYE (voice-over): Despite Brand's denial, fallout from the sexual assault allegations has been swift. Just one day after the report was published, the London Metropolitan Police said they have opened an investigation into one of the allegations of sexual assault, but did not name brand, saying, quote, "We are aware of reporting by The Sunday Times and Channel 4's Dispatches about allegations of sexual offenses.
On Sunday, 17 September, the Met received a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003. Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support".
Brand has also postponed the remaining dates of his comedy tour, and YouTube has suspended his channel's revenue stream.
BRAND: Yes, let's chill the idea of sex with pretty (INAUDIBLE).
KAYE (voice-over): Brand has been very open about his past struggles with sex addiction and often incorporated his sexual exploits into his stand-up routine.
BRAND: Sex is sort of a hobby. I like it. Would you believe that there are people that are trying to spoil that for me now?
KAYE (voice-over): Brand now says he may have been too open about his struggles, opening the door for others to attack him.
BRAND: I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent. And I'm being transparent about it now as well. And to see that transparency metastasized into something criminal that I absolutely deny makes me question, is there another agenda at play?
KAYE: And Anderson, these allegations go back more than a decade. So the question of course is why are these women coming forward now? The reporters involved in this joint investigation say the women are coming forward and agreeing to talk with reporters because they saw the success that Brand had as a wellness influencer recently. And so that's why they agreed to talk.
You know, it's also worth noting that these reporters say that they have evidence to support these women's claims. They say that they have text messages, private emails, notes from therapists who treated these women, and it's also important to note just the date of these allegations, this was at the height of Russell Brand's fame.
He had a show on BBC Radio, he had a show on Channel 4 in the U.K., he had married pop star Katy Perry in 2010. They divorced a couple of years later and he was in Hollywood. He was making movies as well, so he had a lot of success in his life at that time, Anderson.
COOPER: Randy, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That's it for us. The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.