Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
McCarthy Meets With Divided House Republicans After Last Ditch Bill To Avert Shutdown Fails; Interview With Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D- IL); First Trump Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty In Fulton County, Georgia Election Case; Suspect Arrested In 1996 Murder Of Tupac Shakur; State Of Emergency In NYC After Heavy Rains Bring Flash Floods; Longest- Serving Female U.S. Senator Dies At The Age Of 90; Milley Says Military Doesn't Swear Oath To "Wannabe Dictator" In Apparent Swipe At Trump; Milley: Trump Disrespected Military With Execution Comment; Former Pres. Jimmy Carter Turns 99 Sunday. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 29, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, Democrats and Republicans together paying tribute to Senator Dianne Feinstein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We lost a giant in the Senate. Senator Dianne Feinstein was one of the most amazing people who ever graced the Senate, whoever graced the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Republican Senator Susan Collins, you see her there, showing off this watercolor painting made for her by Feinstein. Feinstein's desk on the Senate floor was draped in black with a vase of white flowers. That's the Senate tradition.
She was the longest serving woman in Senate history. Senator Feinstein was 90 years old.
Thanks for joining us. AC 360 begins now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360: Breaking news, a government shutdown just a day away and a House speaker who can't seem to stop it.
Also tonight, 27 years after Tupac Shakur's murder, a man police say ordered his death is now in custody.
Plus, live reporting after some of the most rain and worst flooding New York has ever seen and it's not over yet.
Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
We begin tonight with breaking news and the likelihood that 28 hours from now at one midnight -- one minute past midnight, the federal government will shut down. Now in a moment, you'll meet some of the men and women who will be left without paychecks if it does, but still have the same bills to pay.
First, though, the man largely responsible for it, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It's not so much what he's done that's led to all this, it is what he's been unable to do.
Speaker McCarthy for weeks now has not been able to get the right wing of his narrow majority to agree on stopgap funding to keep the government running nor has he been willing to work with Democrats instead or even grab onto a lifeline and take up a temporary spending measure with broad bipartisan support in the Senate.
Instead, today, he brought a bill to the floor that was soundly rejected with 21 Republicans, many of them hardliners joining Democrats in defeating it.
At a press conference shortly before the vote, Speaker McCarthy was asked why he was pushing legislation that was dead on arrival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Speaker. You know the full well in order to get a stopgap bill approved, you need to get support from Democrats in the Senate and the White House. So why do you say to people who simply believe that the reason why you're not in is because you're concerned about your own job?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Really? So let's see.
What has the White House done and what has the Senate done? They haven't passed one appropriation bill, and they haven't passed any --
RAJU: ... trying to pass a CR right now on bipartisan lines.
MCCARTHY: And they've been trying to pass an appropriation bill, too, and they haven't done any of that.
It's easy to surrender. If you want to surrender, yes. But if you want to fight for the American public to secure our borders and keep government open, how is that a problem?
It's only for CNN that that becomes a problem that I don't surrender to the liberals. What I want to do is stand for America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I don't actually recall advocating any surrender to anyone, but I digress, and the government is about to shut down.
CNN's Melanie Zanona joins us now with the very latest.
So House Republicans met a short time ago. What are you hearing?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, this is a two-hour long meeting tonight, and during that meeting, Kevin McCarthy laid out what their limited options are, at this point. The first option being just accepting the Senate deal that includes money for Ukraine and disaster aid; the other option is putting their own short term bill on the floor that doesn't include Ukraine money. And the third option is a government shutdown.
But after that meeting, Kevin McCarthy emerged, and he had a new message. He said that any bill to fund the government just needs to drop Ukraine money.
Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: I think if we had a clean one without Ukraine on it, we could probably be able to move that through. I think if the Senate puts Ukraine on there and focuses Ukraine over America, I think that could cause real problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZANONA: So Anderson, this is a real change in tune from Kevin McCarthy. After Republicans earlier today failed to advance a funding bill that included a number of other conservative priorities, like boosting the border and spending cuts.
Now Kevin McCarthy, unable to get the votes within his own conference, moved off of those demands, and is signaling that he could be open more to working with the Senate, something he was previously reluctant to do.
But again, given the time constraints, it's just unclear if the two chambers can come together in time for tomorrow night's deadline.
COOPER: So what exactly if anything, is going to be voted on tomorrow?
ZANONA: Well, House GOP leaders are going to whip those 21 Republicans who voted against their own spending bill earlier today and try to gauge whether they could support a short, a potentially 14-day long CR, a continuing resolution that would fund the government just temporarily, and if they can support that, the hope is that leadership can put that bill on the floor tomorrow.
And then meanwhile, over in the Senate, they have been moving through a bipartisan bill to fund the government that does include $6 billion for Ukraine and $6 billion for disaster aid. They'll take that procedural vote tomorrow.
But given the time constraints, they're likely not going to be able to vote on a final passage until potentially as late as Monday. So the big picture here is that Congress still has no plan to avert a government shutdown, which is now just almost 24 hours away -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Melanie Zanona, thank you.
Much more now on maneuvering within the GOP and across party lines over Speaker McCarthy's job. Joining us tonight, Washington Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.
Congresswoman, what is your understanding of where things stand at this hour?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-IL): Well, Anderson, it's a sad situation that we're in because we have a GOP majority with a speaker that cannot get his own party to do the simple work of funding a continuing resolution. And the thing is, Anderson, we have plenty of votes to avert a shutdown, with a clean continuing resolution that keeps the government funded until the Republicans can get their act together on appropriations bills.
So this is not a situation that has to happen. If it happens that we have a shutdown, it looks increasingly likely, it is a Republican shutdown and it has tremendous consequences for people across the country, from people not being able to get the assistance they need to make sure that their security is working properly, cafeteria workers not being able to get their paychecks.
It has tremendous consequences, and it is all because, Anderson, the Republicans have been trying to pass this extreme agenda, a nationwide abortion ban, severe cuts to Social Security. They can't get it through, so now, they are holding the government funding hostage and the American people hostage.
COOPER: So is there a realistic scenario under which House Democrats team up with some House Republicans in the next 28 hours to pass the stopgap funding measure that would be able to pass the Senate and get signed into law by the president?
JAYAPAL: Well, that's exactly what should happen. So if the Senate sends over something to us, then we can use -- either Kevin McCarthy can put it on the floor and allow Republicans to vote with us because I think we would have enough Republicans to pass that, or we could use a discharge petition, and we just need a handful of Republicans to vote with all Democrats on a continuing resolution.
And listen, we'd like to have that disaster relief aid in there. We'd like to have Ukraine funding, but at a minimum, it should be the clean continuing resolution to fund the government. No policy riders, no bad, you know -- no other bad immigration policy, nothing but just fund the government.
COOPER: You told POLITICO that Congressman Gaetz spoke to you about a potential motion to remove McCarthy from the Speaker's Office and that you indicated Gaetz, the progressives would not support McCarthy in that scenario.
Can you talk more about that conversation, particularly whether Gaetz was asking you flat out to help him reject McCarthy in his post?
JAYAPAL: Well, I'm not going to speak about the conversation specifically, but I will tell you that at the Progressive Caucus, and you know, we have 103 members, we had a very strong discussion at the executive board a week ago. And then we had another discussion just yesterday with the full membership.
And I think what people feel is that Kevin McCarthy has led us into this Republican shutdown. Kevin McCarthy started an impeachment, a baseless impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Senator McCarthy has turned the gavel over to Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz depending on the day, and we have no interest in saving Kevin McCarthy.
We do have an interest in making sure that government continues to function that people can get the services that they need, and at the end of the day, we are not going to save Republicans -- we are not going to save the speaker, because he has been a completely untrustworthy negotiator.
COOPER: Democratic Congressman James Clyburn said today that there are circumstances under which he could vote for McCarthy to remain speaker. Can you see a scenario in which you and the rest of Progressive Caucus could help McCarthy keep his job?
JAYAPAL: Well, the only -- I mean, the problem, Anderson is that he's not a reliable negotiator. He made a deal with the president, then he immediately broke it. So for us, I think we would need to write in power sharing into the rules of the House.
But listen, we're not even going there right now. What we're focused on is, let's get through the shutdown. Let's make sure that government functions because Republicans have shown they can't govern. I mean, there's a civil war going on over on that side. We have said we are willing to fund the government with a clean continuing resolution, ideally, with the disaster relief and the Ukraine money, but they're not even willing to do that.
So we have to get through the situation, and then I think the Republicans have got to get it together and figure out if they've got a majority. Do they have a speaker that can actually control that majority? Because that is what governing is about.
COOPER: Congresswoman Jayapal, thank you so much.
Much more now on the human consequences that the Congresswoman referred to because for the people directly affected by government shutdowns, especially men and women doing essential jobs, none of what's happening is academic.
CNN's Oren Liebermann has more.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On the last military pay day before a looming government shutdown, Joanna Nicoletti (ph) is worried about the unknown.
JOANNA NICOLETTI, MILITARY WIFE: We have on childcare costs we have student loans, we have bills to pay. We have a mortgage to pay and where's that money going to come from?
LIEBERMANN (voice over): A shutdown would leave Nicoletti's family and 1.3 million other active duty servicemembers without pay even as they have to keep working.
For Nicoletti and her army spouse, a recent family emergency makes it even harder.
NICOLETTI: We were not anticipating this on top of an already financially challenging time.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): Ginger Garish (ph) lost her husband's paycheck during the last shutdown in 2018 to 2019. At the time, Congress made sure the military got paid except for the Coast Guard where her husband serves which falls under the Department of Homeland Security.
This time, there is no such measure to pay troops.
GINGER GARISH, MILITARY WIFE: It's difficult when you can't count on your elected officials to protect you when you're literally protecting them and your country.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): It's not just military paychecks that would stop during a shutdown, some Defense Department childcare centers will close and on base commissaries could close if this goes on too long. A quarter of all active duty servicemembers already experienced food insecurity in recent years, according to a study commissioned by the Defense Department. A shutdown will only make things harder, especially for junior enlisted.
Organizations like the Armed Services YMCA are ready to offer more help now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Making sure that if we need to, we are adding food distribution events either through our branches or through our partner organizations to ensure that at least once a week, there will be a food distribution in those areas where possible.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): Melissa Shaw (ph) says servicemembers in her husband's unit have put on a brave face about a potential shutdown. But the concern is real.
MELISSA SHAW, MILITARY WIFE: Over the last 24 hours, in particular, we've had a chat thread going with many of the families in our unit and what they're telling us is that right now they're choosing to be optimistic, they're choosing to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): A military life requires the willingness to make sacrifices for the country like facing the challenges of deployments and moves.
But a shutdown is different, not a threat from an enemy, but a self- inflicted wound. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is always a sacrifice and this is just another way that we are potentially being forced to sacrifice so that my spouse or my family can serve.
LIEBERMANN (on camera): In previous shutdowns, Congress has acted to make sure the military gets paid even if and when the government stops functioning in the shutdown. But Congress hasn't done that, at least not yet in this case, which means we are a very short time away from 1.3 million active duty servicemembers having to work without pay.
Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.
COOPER: Well, next tonight, more breaking news. The first plea deal in a case against the former president and 18 other co-defendants.
And later, the remarkable chain of events that turned one of America's longest running cold cases, the murder of Tupac Shakur hot.
COOPER: Welcome back. There's more breaking news tonight.
In a first, the first defendant in Georgia's RICO case against the former president to plead guilty. His name is Scott Hall. He's one of the 18 other co-defendants entering a plea and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.
Now, CNN's Nick Valencia joins us with that along with CNN legal analyst, Jennifer Rodgers.
Nick, first off, talk about what happened in court today.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this was all part of an impromptu hearing that went down earlier today, Anderson, with Scott Hall pleading guilty to five misdemeanor charges. He was initially facing seven charges including racketeering in the district attorney's office here in Fulton County.
And with that guilty plea, he becomes the first of the 19 co- defendants to cut a deal with the district attorney's office.
Listen to part of what happened earlier today in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you plead to the five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interferes with performance of election duties?
SCOTT HALL, TRUMP CO-DEFENDANT: Guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And is this guilty plea being freely and voluntarily given with full knowledge of the charges against you? HALL: Yes, ma'am, it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: So there he is there in his own words, Anderson. As part of the conditions of this sentencing, it's five years of probation, a $5,000.00 fine, 200 hours of community service, but perhaps most importantly, as you mentioned, he's going to have to cooperate. He is going to testify at any future proceedings, or trials in this case -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Jennifer, how significant is it for the case against the former president? And also, I guess, maybe more directly to Sidney Powell.
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's really significant, Anderson, because he's the first one right? This kind of starts what should be a rush to Fani Willis' office to cut deals from the other defendants. You know, not everyone will get a cooperation deal and I think the cooperation piece is why he ended up pleading to misdemeanors with an agreement that there'll be no prison time.
So this really ought to start this process, which will strengthen their case, and also thin the number of defendants. You know, they can't try 17 defendants together, so they're going to need to get some more out of the case and I think this will start help the process along, too.
COOPER: And, Nick, what do we know about this guy's role in the efforts in Coffee County? I mean, how does a bond -- a bails -- you know, bond bailsman get into subverting democracy?
VALENCIA: Yes, really bizarre, right? He was a pro Trump poll watcher in Atlanta during the election in 2020. He was also a supporter of this conspiracy, that there was widespread voter fraud in the state during the 2020 election when there wasn't and as a result, they tried to prove this conspiracy.
He, along with other Trump operatives, according to the district attorney's office and through Hall's own admission that by illegally accessing voting equipment in rural Coffee County. You know, it's really interesting, Anderson, because I mentioned, he is the first of the 19 co-defendants to take a plea.
Well, earlier today, during a procedural hearing involving Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro, their trial is expected to start with jury selection on October 20th.
The DA's Office seemed to signal that they were going to offer plea deals to those two co-defendants and we will see if they do the same to others in this case.
COOPER: And Jennifer, you said for prosecutors, it is the beginning of the thinning of the herd.
RODGERS: Yes, exactly. They really need to get down to maybe six to eight if they don't want to try this more than once or twice if the Powell-Chesebro trial does go forward next month. So this is a big part of what they're doing.
But also, of course, strengthening their case. I mean, this guy can testify directly against Sidney Powell. And any testimony he gives about this scheme actually goes to all of the co-defendants because of course, they're charged with a racketeering scheme and conspiracy.
So it's important evidence. It's an important thing that happened today. And I think we'll see more people coming in, some to cooperate, some to just plead out of the case.
But in both of those instances, it's important for prosecutors to get these deals done.
COOPER: And is there going to be a rush now because when you said that Hall was given a pretty good plea deal, no prison time, not every subsequent defendant who is interested in a plea deal is going to get the same treatment.
RODGERS: Exactly. It will depend on the person how involved they were, other things that we don't necessarily know about like their criminal history, but you know as we go along and as they get more and more cooperators then they don't need as many, right?
It'll depend on what they know, but it'll be really interesting when we get into more of that mid-level and the top level defendants, were the most culpable, were the ones who planned the scheme, created the scheme. That's when we'll see what kind of deals they'll really be offering for people who want to take a guilty plea without cooperation. That's when it'll get interesting.
COOPER: Jennifer Rodgers, Nick Valencia, thanks so much.
One other quick Trump related note, federal prosecutors say announcing charges against an IRS contractor who allegedly stole the tax returns of a high ranking government official. A source familiar with matter told CNN that this official is the former president, the suspect Charles Edward Littlejohn is also accused of stealing IRS information on thousands of other wealthy Americans.
Coming up, Tupac Shakur, a legendary rapper who was murdered in 1996. No suspects never been arrested for his death until today. We'll have the latest in the more than two-decade long investigation.
Plus, a city underwater. New York City enduring months of rain in just one 24-hour period, producing massive floods like this.
Gary Tuchman joins us ahead with why some of the danger is yet to subside.
COOPER: Welcome back.
After 27 years of numerous theories about why police made no headway in the murder investigation of legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur, a grand jury today handed down an indictment against a man who has long placed himself at the scene of the crime.
Sara Sidner has more on the investigation surrounding the murder of a trailblazer who was just 25 years old when he was gunned down.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tupac Amaru Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas in a drive-by shooting in 1996. At the time, he was one of the most prolific voices of a hip-hop generation.
Shakur's lyrics read like poetry and give an unvarnished look at the life he was born into, a life he called thug life.
His brother, Mopreme Shakur says all of these years later, people are still confused what his brother meant by thug life.
MOPREME SHAKUR, TUPAC SHAKUR'S BROTHER: The core of it is about looking out for the poor, the disenfranchised, and the kids. If you don't look out for the kids, they could turn out to be a monster.
A lot of times kids in these communities have forgotten about, left out, shorted.
SIDNER (voice over): Tupac's music explored themes about poverty, street violence, Black liberation, and the love between a mother and son.
Tupac lived a version of the American Dream, as well as an American nightmare. He was a young Black man who unchained himself from extreme poverty.
His school friends say his nose was always in a book, always learning, but it was his music and acting that set him apart.
AFENI SHAKUR, TUPAC SHAKUR'S MOTHER: Tupac was extremely passionate, very honest, and raw in his approach to communicating.
SIDNER (voice over): He became a world famous icon of the then emerging genre of music, hip-hop, only to be gunned down at just 25 years old near a Las Vegas street corner.
Retired Las Vegas police lieutenant, Chris Carroll was first on the scene that September day.
CHRIS CARROLL, RETIRED LAS VEGAS POLICE LIEUTENANT: I ended up pulling Tupac out of the car. I spoke to him, he was still alive. He was still breathing. I was asking him who did it, who shot him, what happened? And that's when he responded to me with the now infamous words F-U.
SIDNER (voice over): To put it mildly, Shakur was not a fan of police. One reason his mother says, he experienced police violence while still in her womb.
Afeni Shakur core recounted the FBI charging into her home, guns out and carting her off to jail. She was a member of the Black Panthers. She defended herself in court and won her case against the state.
AFENI SHAKUR: He was born one month and three days after we were acquitted.
SIDNER (voice over): Tupac also had his own run-ins with violence and the law.
TUPAC SHAKUR, RAPPER: We are going to make this court proud if they give me the chance to do so. I mean, I'm sure you don't need to see another Black face behind bars.
SIDNER (voice over): He was a natural born fighter for Black causes, born of members of the Black Party.
AFENI SHAKUR: I am his mother, and to a large extent, I feel as though Tupac came into this world carrying my Black Panther past which was his baggage.
SIDNER (voice over): He himself was shot five times during a robbery in Quad Studios at Times Square and he survived, but he always thought East Coast rappers had set him up.
He was arrested multiple times accused of violence, but Tupac went to prison after being convicted of sexual abuse in 1995. That happened about a month before the release of his album, "Me Against The World."
The raw and real words of his song served as a form of empowerment for people feeling the weight of poverty and oppression.
Twenty-seven years after his death, his music is still as relevant as ever.
In 1996, Los Angeles Police did pick up and questioned a man they say belonged to a gang, Orlando Anderson was named a suspect in the case, but he was never charged.
REPORTER: Were you involved in any way in the death of Tupac Shakur?
ORLANDO ANDERSON, GANG MEMBER: No, I was not involved. I mean, I am like a victim. I feel sorry for him.
SIDNER (voice over): The night of Tupac's murder, surveillance showed Anderson being beaten by Shakur and his entourage in Las Vegas.
Hours later, Shakur was gunned down in a drive-by.
Now police say they finally arrested his killer, the uncle of the initial prime suspect.
MOPREME SHAKUR: My thoughts are, yes, this information has been out there. What took so long? It's a type of victory you know. It's bittersweet still, stay tuned. I miss my brother. You know what I mean? At the end all of that, I miss my brother. So you know, I'm glad something's happening.
COOPER: Sara Sidner joins us now.
What more do we know about the indictment?
SIDNER: You know, it is interesting, it is just a true bill. So it's only a couple of pages and you look through it and you know, you've got some things, some themes here.
You've got this man who was the uncle of the initial prime suspect.
COOPER: The guy who was interviewed back, Orlando Anderson.
SIDNER: That's right.
So you have his uncle just two months ago, they went and searched his house. And everyone was shocked that they were still investigating this 27 years later. But when you look through this, there's always been this talk of these two men being in a gang that is mentioned here that he was a part of the South Side Compton Crips, and they say that he purchased -- police say he purchased the weapon that was used in the killing.
Now, he has always said he's a con out himself and sort of said, yes, I was there. But he always denied being the person who was responsible for the death of two.
COOPER: Right. We'll keep following it. Sara Sidner, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Now to the cleanup in New York City and surrounding areas where there's a state of emergency, hard hitting rains produced massive floods in the city today. It was a mess out there. Knocking out subway, commuter train lines, standing -- stranding motorists, leaving much of the city at a standstill. No fatalities, fortunately, or injuries have been reported. The danger still exists even as the rains move away from the city.
Gary Tuchman tonight joins us from hard hit Brooklyn. Gary?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, that video you just showed was taken in this exact spot. This exact intersection. We're in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. There was about 3 feet of water rampaging through the streets this morning, flooding homes and businesses on the street and in many parts of New York City.
They saw the same thing. The water has receded for the most part, but the rain continues to fall. The system is not yet done.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TUCHMAN (voice-over): Life-threatening flash flooding in America's largest city, creating large scale problems. Many houses and apartments inundated, particularly in the New York City Borough of Brooklyn. One Brooklyn man said when he woke up at 8:00 a.m., the water was at his knees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within, I guess, about 10 minutes, it was waist high water.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This was the scene at one of the city's largest parks. Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How the -- am I supposed to get across this? Are you -- serious?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Cars, trucks, buses driving through floodwaters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my goodness.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The huge New York City subway system impacted. With raging rapids pouring down stairs of this station in Brooklyn. Deluges flooding some of the tunnels and causing signal issues. Delaying some of the 36 subway lines. And getting to airports, a huge challenge for many.
On the Grand Central Parkway on the way to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, flooded roadways. The New York City mayor warning people earlier in the day to stay in place, whether they were at home, work or in schools, which were open.
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK: I am issuing a state of an emergency for New York City based on the weather conditions. And I want to say to all New Yorkers this is time for heightened alertness and extreme caution.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): A state of emergency was also declared in New York State's Long Island and the Hudson Valley, north of New York City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, this is unbelievable. I had never seen this situation happen. And this is crazy.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And across the state line, a state of emergency declared in New Jersey. In Fairfield, New Jersey, about 25 miles west of Manhattan, a man driving through floodwaters is rescued by a Fairfield police officer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, keep going. Keep going.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The driver is fine.
This flooding highly unusual. But because it's New York City, many people went on with their normal lives the best they could. Like this man on his delivery bicycle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was 3 inches of water. I'm soaked. I'm soaked now. I got -- I probably got like a disease now.
COOPER: And how much rain has fallen in the New York area so far?
TUCHMAN: Well, Anderson, here in Brooklyn, more than 7 inches in the last 24 hours. But the most in New York City, JFK Airport in Queens, more than 8.5 inches to put that into context. A typical September, the average September at JFK Airport gets about 3.5 inches.
So 8.5, that's about 2.5 Septembers in one 24-hour period. Anderson?
COOPER: Yes. It's a mess. Gary Tuchman, thank you.
Coming up, we remember the legacy of Senator Dianne Feinstein. She died today after a three decade career on Capitol Hill at the center of some of the most divisive issues the country has faced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: When then Senator Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2008, he and Hillary Clinton met in private to begin the process of unifying the party after what had been a bitter primary fight. And that happened at the Washington home of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who played many roles in her three decades in Washington.
That night, she was the role -- playing the role of the peacemaker. Senator Feinstein died today at the age of 90 following months of declining health and a career that was intertwined with some of the most explosive issues the nation has faced from CIA torture sites to gun control.
Randi Kaye has more on the longest serving female senator in U.S. history.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I became mayor as a product of assassination of the mayor being killed and the first openly gay public official being killed.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Dianne Feinstein, tragedy paved the way for opportunity and a career in politics that would last decades.
FEINSTEIN: Both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed.
KAYE (voice-over): It was 1978, San Francisco's mayor, along with town supervisor Harvey Milk, had been shot dead. Feinstein had been serving as president of the County Board of Supervisors and was sworn in as the city's first female mayor. Fast forward to 1984, when Feinstein found herself on the shortlist of VP candidates for Walter Mondale. That didn't pan out, but Washington, D.C. eventually did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help you God.
FEINSTEIN: I will.
KAYE (voice-over): In 1992, Feinstein won a special election and packed her bags for the nation's Capitol, becoming the first woman to represent California in the U.S. Senate.
FEINSTEIN: I won among men. I won among women. Now, what that says is that to me, the fact that I'm a woman is there, but it's incidental.
KAYE (voice-over): Incidental, perhaps, but hard to ignore, especially given all Feinstein has done for women of future generations. On a long list of firsts, Feinstein served as the first woman to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the first female chair of the Intelligence Committee, and the first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Today, there are 25 women serving in this chamber, and every one of them will admit they stand on Dianne's shoulders.
KAYE (voice-over): Feinstein fought for the issues that were important to her, like gun control. One of her more notable successes was helping push through the federal assault weapons ban in 1994.
FEINSTEIN: There's no Second Amendment right to bear every type of weapon that you know of.
KAYE (voice-over): She was also a leading voice on legalizing gay marriage and LGBTQ rights, and she helped create the nationwide Amber Alert system. Feinstein, a Democrat, had a unique ability to reach across the aisle, where she found a friend in Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Elaine and I were actual friends of Dick and Dianne.
KAYE (voice-over): Feinstein was born in San Francisco in 1933 and graduated from Stanford University in 1955.
FEINSTEIN: I want to find out what was on the tapes.
KAYE (voice-over): Her high profile Senate career was featured in the 2019 film, "The Report". Feinstein was portrayed by actress Annette Bening in the film, which tackled the subject of the CIA's use of torture after 9/11. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Feinstein fought with the CIA for years over releasing the investigation into the agency's use of enhanced interrogation techniques. In February, she confirmed she would not run for re-election, telling CNN, the time has come. Feinstein was the longest serving woman in the U.S. Senate.
FEINSTEIN: It's what I'm meant to do, as long as the old bean holds up.
KAYE (voice-over): Her desk in the Senate chamber now draped in black. Dianne Feinstein was 90 years old.
COOPER: Extraordinary life of service.
Next, during his retirement speech, outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley made an apparent swipe at the former president who accused him of treason. You're going to hear what Milley had to say, and I'll talk about it with former Defense Secretary William Cohen, ahead.
COOPER: Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley has formally retired after holding the military's top job over the last four years and serving the country for more than four decades. Today, during a farewell ceremony, General Milley turned over command to his replacement, General C. Q. Brown.
Milley's retirement typically wouldn't have gotten so much attention, but he's had to take security precautions because his former boss, the 45th president of the United States, recently accused him of treason writing on social media, quote, "In times gone by, the punishment would have been death", which he followed with this thinly veiled threat, quote, "to be continued".
In his farewell remarks, General Milley did not mention the former president by name. His words, though, certainly sent a message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARK MILLEY, OUTGOING JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: We don't take an oath to a country. We don't take an oath to a tribe. We don't take an oath to a religion. We don't take an oath to a king, or a queen, or a tyrant, or a dictator. And we don't take an oath to a want to be dictator. We don't take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now is former Defense Secretary William Cohen. Secretary Cohen, I'm wondering what you made of what General Milley said.
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, I think it's understandable under the circumstances so that he would say this. After all, the former president has put a target on his back by suggesting that he would be guilty of treason and then face the death penalty all in capital letters as far as death is concerned.
That's the equivalent of calling for someone to attack him and kill him. Under those circumstances, I think his emotion coming out, talking about would be dictators is understandable. And as far as the treason charge is concern, that's usually defined as giving aid and comfort to an enemy.
What General Milley had done is he gave aid and comfort to the American people. In doing so, he protected us against any other country acting on the assumption that things were going downhill very rapidly in this country.
And I can tell you from my own experience that most countries draw profiles of the leaders, civilian and military in every other country. They want to know who they're dealing with under any circumstance.
And I'd be willing to bet that is no different in China or any other country. That you would go through their profile and you'd see the words unstable, mercurial, explosive, impulsive, unreliable, no respect for law, and possibly sociopathic. I believe you would find all of those words in the profiles in other countries draw of our former president.
So under those circumstances, for him fearing that another country might see action being taken or thought to be taken by us, he did us a favor by calling out and talking to his counterpart, saying, it's OK. We're safe. You're safe. Nothing bad's going to happen right here.
COOPER: I'm kind of stunned by, I mean, I shouldn't be, but by the reaction -- or the lack of reaction that the former president's comments got. I mean, do you remember when Donald Trump was running for president and at a symposium, he attacked John McCain and said, John McCain is no hero and he liked people who didn't get captured.
That got a lot of reaction at that time. We are now at a point where the former president of the United States accuses a man who has served this country for four decades in very difficult circumstances, accuses him of treason, and talks about the death penalty and it goes by without much of a blip.
COHEN: Well, it goes by for me, at least shamefully in the Senate. I don't recall any Republican Senator or Democratic Senator for that matter, calling out and condemning the statement. And Pat Moynihan, you celebrated the life of Dianne Feinstein, whom I knew from the time she was mayor in San Francisco, but she was a lioness of the Senate.
There was another one called Pat Moynihan, and Moynihan wrote that we are defining deviancy down. We are taking aberrant behavior, and we're taking this country down. It's aberrant for a former commander in chief to basically attack the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and call for a death penalty. It's aberrant behavior from people in the Congress calling for the former -- for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to be hung, and we are tolerating it, allowing it, and normalizing it, and say, it's just him talking. No, it comes from the top and it sends a signal down to the average person. It's OK to think in those terms.
It's OK to take military or physical action to use firearms and other means of destruction to go after high ranking officials, as you pointed out, have devoted their lives to the safety of the insecurity of this country, whereas the former president had bone spurs, as I recall, and evaded going into the service because of that certificate that he had.
So it's aberrant behavior on the part that is filtering down into every aspect of our society. And I think as was recently said by President Joe Biden, Democracy is in real danger. We are facing a world in which there's an existential level event that can take place in a moment's notice.
And so we want people in positions of power to act according to reason, rationale, credibility, and consistency. And we're seeing a former president gather the support of millions of people who is acting with aberrant behavior, who is psychologically, I think, and mentally unfit to serve as president of the United States again.
COOPER: Yes. Secretary Cohen, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
COHEN: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up next, former President Jimmy Carter celebrating his 99th birthday this weekend, even though he entered hospice care seven months ago. We sent Tom Foreman to President Carter's hometown of Plains, Georgia, to see how the small town is honoring their favorite son. That's next.
COOPER: This Sunday, former President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 99th birthday, a milestone that seemed impossible to many seven months ago when he entered hospice care. He's decided to spend his remaining time in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, with his wife of 77 years, Rosalyn, where his family plans a quiet celebration this weekend.
That's where our Tom Foreman went to talk to family and neighbors about President Carter's enduring legacy.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven months into hospice care, making a surprise appearance in the peanut parade, there was former President Jimmy Carter, barely visible but smiling, rolling into his 99th birthday where everyone seems to know him as a friend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really impressive he's made it that far too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday to him. Yes, yes, yes. That's a good president.
FOREMAN (voice-over): To anyone passing through, tiny Plains Georgia may not look like anything. But to the 39th president, it is everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jimmy Carter knows what it's like to work for a living.
FOREMAN (voice-over): This is where he dreamed of playing baseball while helping his parents scratch a living from the red dirt, where he launched his bid for president. Then after decades of building houses for struggling people, fighting disease in faraway lands, and defending rights --
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We look on human rights as an ability to live in peace. And to believe that your future will be better than your past might be.
FOREMAN (voice-over): This is where he is calling it done. When the folks at Gladys' Kitchen heard the president was craving their casserole, they started sending a whole pan every few days.
TRACIA TULLIS, OWNER, GLADYS' KITCHEN: It was just overwhelming knowing that someone like him came from where I'm from.
CARTER: Good morning, everybody.
ALL: Good morning.
FOREMAN (voice-over): He can't make it to church as he once did every week, drawing people from hundreds of miles away to hear the farmer turned president turned Sunday school teacher.
CARTER: South Carolina?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: California.
CARTER: Yes, in the middle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: D.C.
CARTER: D.C., I used to live there.
KIM CARTER FULLER, JIMMY CARTER'S NIECE: Even when he can't attend, he's listening.
FOREMAN (voice-over): His niece Kim took over and notes the tourists are gone.
(on-camera): But the people who are here for him are still here for him.
FULLER: Yes. Exactly. And we're here for him. And we know that we have to keep on -- keeping on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, dear Jimmy.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Of course, there are big tributes in New York singer and activist Peter Gabriel led a chorus of happy birthday at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Good wishes are coming in too fast to count.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, President Carter.
FOREMAN (on-camera): So what is the oldest living president in American history making of all of this hullabaloo? In his simple, quiet house away from prying eyes here in his hometown, his family says he's just taking it all in.
(voice-over): Alongside his wife, Rosalyn, now diagnosed with dementia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are at home, in love, and they know who they are. And I don't, you know, you don't get more from a life than they've gotten.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The former president is with his family, watching the Braves play baseball, and enjoying the extra innings at home at last.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Plains, Georgia.
COOPER: And we wish him a very happy birthday, and we wish him the best, and his wife, Rosalyn, as well.
That's it for us. The news continues. I hope you have a great weekend. I'll see you Monday. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.