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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Reports: Trump Allegedly Talked About Nuke Subs In Mar-a-Lago; Donald Trump Willing To Be House Speaker For A Short Period; Rep. Gaetz's Constituents On Speaker Mess; Trump Claims Immunity In Federal Election Interference Case; Trump Attorney Tells Judge They Will Seek A Stay Of The Civil Fraud Trial; Ukraine: At Least 51 Civilians Killed In One Of The Deadliest Attacks Of The War; Trump Attacks Former Chief Of Staff After Retired General Confirms Several Disturbing Stories About Former President; NFL Great Dick Butkus: 1942-2023. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 05, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's just really a good feeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At best, White House dogs can be happy and they can really humanize a president making the most powerful person in the world seem like a lot of us, just hanging out with our best friends, but at worst, well, sometimes for the dog and the humans, it just bites -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Yes, and for the hippo, and you know what? Hippos are not pleasantly dispositioned. Let's just put it that way.
FOREMAN: They are not. I can't believe you had a possum.
BURNETT: Briefly. I didn't succeed in saving my possum, but I did.
All right, Tom, thank you very much.
And thanks to all of you for being with us. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360: New reporting that Donald Trump allegedly disclosed potentially sensitive information about American nuclear subs at Mar-a-Lago to a fellow billionaire who reportedly told dozens more.
Also tonight, with Congressman Jim Jordan lobbying to be House Speaker, the former president now says he will take the job, too.
And later, one of the deadliest civilian attacks in Ukraine we have seen, more than 50 people killed at a wake for a fallen soldier. We're on the scene with a live report.
Good evening. We begin tonight with breaking news. The reporting comes from ABC News and it's about the former president on how allegedly reckless he has been. Reckless again, allegedly beyond keeping highly classified documents at his Florida club in plain view for all to see.
Here is the lead paragraph of the story from ABC News' website: Months after leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump allegedly discussed potentially sensitive information about US nuclear submarines with a member of his Mar-a-Lago club, an Australian billionaire, who then allegedly shared the information with scores of others, including more than a dozen foreign officials, several of his own employees, and a handful of journalists, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Now, the ABC story identifies the billionaire is Anthony Pratt and says the FBI and federal prosecutors have interviewed him at least twice this year. In those interviews, again, according to ABC's sources, Pratt told prosecutors he struck up a conversation with the former president during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago in April of 2021.
Quoting from the report: "Pratt told Trump he believed Australia should start buying its submarines from the United States to which and excited Trump leaning toward Pratt as if to be discreet, then told Pratt two pieces of information about US submarines. The supposed the exact number of nuclear warheads they routinely carry, and exactly how close they supposedly can get to a Russian submarine without being detected."
ABC further reports that in subsequent e-mails and conversations, Pratt described what he heard to at least 45 others including six journalists, 11 of his company's employees, 10 Australian officials, and three former Australian prime ministers.
Sources tell ABC that a Mar-a-Lago employee told investigators that Pratt began telling people within minutes of his conversation with the 45th president. The same source is saying, this employee told investigators he was "bothered" and "shocked" to hear that the former president had provided such seemingly sensitive information to a non- US citizen.
Just before airtime, a Trump's spokesperson put out a statement which reads: "These illegal leaks are coming from sources which totally lack proper context and relevant information. The Department of Justice should investigate the criminal leaking instead of perpetrating their baseless witch hunts, while knowing that President Trump did nothing wrong, has always insisted on truth and transparency and acted in a proper manner according to the law."
"The New York Times" has more on this as well. Tonight, Maggie Haberman on the byline, she is their senior political correspondent, our political analyst, and author of "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America," also joining us, former Defense secretary, William Cohen; CNN military analyst and retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling; and rounding out the panel, CNN senior legal analyst, Elie Honig.
So Maggie, what more have you learned from your reporting?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We confirmed what ABC reported, Anderson which is the Trump had this conversation with Mr. Pratt who is a member of Mar-a-Lago, not long after leaving office.
This was a conversation which in which Trump supposedly revealed a couple of pieces of sensitive information. Now, you know, it's not clear exactly what Trump said. We know that, you know, according to ABC, it was specifics about capabilities and about distance that the submarines can go and how close they can get in certain cases.
This is not -- it doesn't appear he showed a document to this gentleman, but I don't know for prosecutors that that matters, because our understanding is he is among the trial witnesses who prosecutors have listed as possible people they will call and what they would likely use him for is to establish a pattern of Trump being loose with sensitive information and the government's secrets.
COOPER: So he might actually be called.
HABERMAN: He is among dozens of people who might be called and this list stretches back through the White House years because, Anderson as you know, and as we've reported, as CNN has reported, Trump has a history of allegedly talking about classified information or putting classified information.
There was an infamous Oval Office meeting with two Russian officials where he is said to have spilled some sensitive information that upset Israeli officials.
He tweeted out a classified picture of an Iranian launch site, I think it was in 2019. You know, this is something he's done for a while. This is the kind of behavior that added to why President Biden cut off Trump's briefings that ex-presidents get to sensitive information and classified briefings because according to the current president, you know, what could happen other than that Trump would slip up and say something.
COOPER: Secretary Cohen, what's your reaction to this report?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER US DEFENSE SECRETARY: It's not surprising. I know, it's not been validated completely, but let's just look at his history as Maggie just pointed out. His history is, he has very little concern about national security interests, especially as it affects our military and our civilian population.
He has given away secrets in the past, he will do so in the future. And this case, here, he is being given the benefit of the doubt. How much more evidence do we need of his misbehavior?
In terms of attacking our institution, the military, he thinks those who give life and limb for service to the country are losers and suckers. He has thrown the intelligence community under the bus in Helsinki. Everything he has done has been to undermine respect for this country of ours.
So we're watching the slow, or I'd say even rapid dissolution of democracy under his hands. He is doing it day after day. And this is just one more example of why we should never allow, never vote to allow him to get his hands on classified information in the future. He shouldn't be anywhere near the Oval Office, ever.
COOPER: General, you know, the capabilities of America's nuclear subs. How close proximity they can get to an adversary's subs. How valuable would information like that be to a foreign adversary or to people in the Defense industry?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, what I'd say, Anderson, is all classified information is provided to those only with a need to know and every president needs to know a lot of stuff to help them in decision making.
But then need to know also comes with a requirement not to disclose. If he was truly talking about capabilities as Maggie said about the nuclear part or the sea-base part of our nuclear triad, I would suspect, and I don't know this for sure that they are at the higher levels of security clearances, either top secret, our code word when you're talking about the nuclear force, that puts the country and as the secretary said, it puts service members in harm's way when he's giving up capabilities.
And one other thing I'd add to that, if this alleged incident did occur, and it seems that it did. This is just one incident that's being reported. How many other times at Mar-a-Lago or at one of his golf courses, did he lean into somebody and put our citizens in danger because he's given up other secrets. That's the thing that concerns me the most.
COOPER: Elie, I mean, the ABC report says that this billionaire, the Australian billionaire, went and talked to other people very quickly and that FBI, federal investigators have talked to him.
The alleged incident that is not part of the special counsel's -- or not the charges they have brought, but he is on apparently on the witness list.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think this could be golden evidence for prosecutors. You're right. The indictment does not specifically mention this incident, and it does mention other incidents where Donald Trump does show people classified documents. The infamous incident at Bedminster that we've heard the audio of.
That said, prosecutors often do not and do not have to list all of their evidence in an indictment. You can introduce evidence that goes beyond what's in the indictment, but it has to be relevant and the relevance here is to intent.
It goes to Donald Trump's state of mind, it goes to a pattern. It goes to answer the question of what was he doing with all of this information anyway? And if he's out there disseminating it to people, I think it's really going to resonate with the jury. COOPER: Maggie, is there any reason to believe access to the former president at Mar-a-Lago is any less freewheeling than apparently it has been over the past few years? I mean --
HABERMAN: Yes, I think it's exactly the same. Now, what is different is that he doesn't have those documents at Mar-a-Lago anymore. Those, as far as we know, have all been either retrieved or turned over under subpoena or an FBI search. But he continues to, you know, entertain his members.
Again, it is worth noting that this gentleman who he was talking to, this Australian businessman, is a member of Mar-a-Lago. He is somebody who joined Mar-a-Lago after Trump became president. He is somebody who became pro-Trump after not being pro-Trump prior to the election, and he is somebody who, "The New York Times," my colleagues and I reported a couple of years back through the end of the presidency was sort of part of this broader effort of Trump or a habit of Trump's of sort of melding the presidency and his business and his own persona into one.
And so this gentleman, Mr. Pratt, you know, was invited to a state dinner in 2019. The president went to one of his factories in Ohio.
And so there is this atmosphere where there is a sort of seamless rolling of things related to the White House and things related to government secrets into aspects of Trump's business.
COOPER: Secretary Cohen, I mean, ABC News also reports that this billionaire, this Australian guy, went to tell more than a dozen other people. How difficult and not impossible is it to stop this game of telephone once sensitive information is out there.
I mean, I remember -- I can't remember if it was World War One or World War Two where there were posters the US government put out saying, you know, "Loose lips sink ships." It's -- this is -- I mean, this is a prime example.
COHEN: Exactly right, Anderson.
I was thinking back and Greek mythology, Roman mythology, they had the bird, Rumor and under Rumor's feathers were eyes and ears. And so that's how information spreads.
So when you think I'm just giving this information to a friend. Number one, it is a violation of the law; but number two, that friend is going to spread it just like everybody else will when they have a rumor they've heard, they have inside information.
Look how important I am, I'm close to the former president and I have this information and it just spreads like wildfire. That's the danger. You're not just giving it to a friend, you're potentially giving it to enemies as well.
So this is why it's so important, General Hertling, you mentioned the submarines in particular. The triad that the submarine is the one that is most secure for us because it is not targetable, a preemptive target that can't go after subs, they can go after airplanes, they go after land-based missiles, but not the subs.
So they're special, and he is giving away special information on what is protecting us around the world.
COOPER: And General, I mean, to Secretary Cohen's point, it is just to bolster one's ego. I mean, that's why people in this case, it would seem unless there was some business, you know, quid pro quo here. It's just to make himself feel more important and look like -- you know, you would think that having the title of president would be enough, but what kind of steps can the military actually take to limit damage when they know sensitive information is out there? And once it is out, it's out.
HERTLING: If they know exactly -- yes, if they know exactly the kind of information that's been given to others, they can certainly take steps to try and fence the information, fence the capabilities, fence the type of secrets that have been given away, that's happened multiple times, Anderson.
We look at spies that have given information to foreign governments and there is that reaction of the intelligence community or the military or the State Department to try and mitigate the risks that can occur this, but you never expect it out of a president.
I mean, he's giving secrets to people and carrying secrets into his home, where you know, everyone that is read-in to classified document, signs a piece of paper that says I will not divulge this, because each of these secrets have something to do with national security and divulging it could cause either grave or serious harm to the United States. And it appears that there have been incidents with President Trump just willy-nilly giving that because he wants to appear big.
You know, there have been times on CNN where you all have asked me questions that I've known the answer to because of my background, and because of secret information I had, but I'm not going to give it up to you.
I mean, Maggie will try and get it from anonymous sources and others will, but they'll never give up the details of this secret information. Because people that take the oath know that these kinds of things harm the country, number one; and number two, if they're found out giving it, they can be held accountable with a lot of jail time, as Elie will probably talk about.
COOPER: So Elie, he's an Australian billionaire. I don't know what his -- I assume, I don't know if he has any US citizenship, but can a foreign national be -- that's a photo of him with the former president -- can a foreign national be compelled to testify?
HONIG: Absolutely, yes. There's a process called MLAT, Multilateral Assistance Treaty. It's essentially a treaty that we have with certain countries including Australia to compel someone to comply with a subpoena. He might also testify voluntarily and to General Hertling's point, put aside any documents, it is a free-standing crime to disseminate, to spread this type of classified information, not charge at this point, but Jack Smith may be chewing on that now.
COOPER: All right, Elie Honig, thanks; Maggie Haberman, Secretary Cohen, thank you. General Hertling as well.
Coming up next, the race to be House Speaker, Congressman Jim Jordan, lobbying moderates and the former president says he's ready to do the job, too.
Later, Ukraine where not even a memorial service in a civilian area is safe from Russian attack. A report from the scene of one of the deadliest attacks on civilians so far in this war.
COOPER: The last time the former president was anywhere near the Capitol was on The Ellipse on January 6th, rallying and encouraging his followers to march on it.
Well, tonight, he is telling Fox he would return if asked to serve as House speaker. He is already expected to be there Tuesday to speak with House Republicans.
Speaking today with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton weighed in on the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE: It's a classic tale of an authoritarian populist, who really has a grip on the emotional, psychological needs and desires of a portion of the population and the base of the Republican Party for whatever combination of reasons, and it is emotional and psychological, sees in him someone who speaks for them, and they are determined that they will continue to vote for him, attend his rallies, wear his merchandise because for whatever reason, he and his very negative, nasty form of politics resonates with them.
Maybe they don't like migrants. Maybe they don't like gay people or Black people or the woman who got the promotion at work they didn't get.
So it is like a cult and somebody has to break the -- break that momentum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Secretary Clinton was also asked about Congressman Jim Jordan who is now trying to win over moderate Republicans in his bid for the speakership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It is said that the main contenders for his position are Jim Jordan, who you know very well for Benghazi -- CLINTON: Well, I don't know him well. I watched him and you know, stared at him for 11 hours while they made stuff up about me, so I don't know him, but I've seen him in action.
AMANPOUR: So what would it mean if he gets the speakership?
CLINTON: Well, I mean, he is one of the principal ringleaders of the circus that's been created in the Republican Party for the last several years.
When you look at the extremists in the House, they certainly don't represent a majority of the country. And you know, somebody has to stand up and say, "enough."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Melanie Zanona joins us right now with more on the speaker's race. And if anyone is even close to unifying around a candidate, let's start with Jim Jordan, Melanie. Could his history with MAGA elements of the GOP potentially complicated his bid for speaker?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, I think that could be one of his biggest vulnerabilities in this speaker's race. Of course, his flame throwing brand of politics, as well as the fact that he's the face of the Biden impeachment inquiry is going to be a tough sell among vulnerable members, particularly in those districts that were won by Joe Biden.
And one GOP lawmaker who is a moderate told CNN that he is not anxious to support Jordan, and that Jordan's challenge is that he built the monster that's part of the problem.
And remember, Jordan was a co-founding member of the Freedom Caucus, which was home to many of the members that ultimately voted to oust Kevin McCarthy. But Jim Jordan knows he has his work cut out for him.
He has been making calls specifically trying to win over those moderates. And part of his pitch, I'm told, has been that he is the best position to try to unite the conference, in part because he has the ear and respect of that Freedom Caucus.
And one other group I would look out for is the moderate members who were loyal to Kevin McCarthy because a lot of bad blood between Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, the other Republican who is running has happened over the years, and Jim Jordan was really a loyal ally of Kevin McCarthy, particularly in January during the speaker's race.
And so that could really go a long way in convincing at least some of these members to get behind Jim Jordan.
COOPER: So could Donald Trump actually become speaker, especially given he is under federal indictment?
ZANONA: Well, that is a pretty farfetched idea, Anderson. First of all, there are conference rules in the Republican Party that state that any member who is indicted on felony charges that carry a prison sentence of two or more years has to step down from their leadership posts.
Now, it's unclear how that would apply to someone who's already indicted, stepping into that role, and they could always change the rules, but that would take the requirement of 218 votes from Republicans just like electing Trump as speaker is going to take 218 votes, and he just does not have the support of the Republican Party and remains a very polarizing figure inside the GOP.
COOPER: So I mean, how many -- do you talk -- do the Republicans you talk to, do many really want him to be speaker?
ZANONA: Of course, there are some hardcore Trump supporters like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who are egging on this idea and floating it openly, but I talked to one Republican lawmaker who told me the solution to chaos isn't to bring in a chaos agent. Right?
And you also have to keep in mind, there are 18 Republicans who are in districts that were won by Joe Biden. There are two Republicans who are still around that voted to impeach Donald Trump, so they are not going to be on board with a Trump speakership in any form.
And meanwhile, I don't know that Donald Trump wants this job. He has a presidential campaign that he needs to think about. He has court battles that he has to fight. I do think that perhaps he is bringing up this idea for some more attention and more headlines. But that hasn't stopped some of his most loyal supporters from really trying to push this idea, and potentially, he could come to Capitol Hill next week. So we'll have to see -- Anderson.
COOPER: I'm shocked by your suggestion that this could be about attention and headlines.
Melanie Zanona, thanks very much.
Perspective now from CNN political commentator, Alyssa Farah Griffin who once worked for Congressman Jordan when he was chair of the House Freedom Caucus.
So Jordan is trying to lock down support of moderates. The former president says, you know, put me in, coach. What do you make of this situation?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So listen, both Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan, the two declared and likely candidates kind of take votes from each other.
So Steve Scalise has the moderates in his corner. I would suspect Jim Jordan is meeting with the House Freedom Caucus in which he was a founding member and chairman of tomorrow. I would guess that they as a group would endorse him as a bloc. Also, Matt Gaetz has suggested he would lower his requirements for the Motion to Vacate for a Jim Jordan speaker. That's a big selling point within the conference. Because this notion of the Motion of Vacate hanging over everyone's head and speakers only lasting a few months is a problem. But neither of these candidates have 218 votes, not even close to it.
So what I'd expect as next week, you're going to see a private conference ballot. You know, they do not make their votes public, and they're going to realize that nobody has a majority of votes.
Now the Donald Trump idea in all of this, I'm considering it political fanfiction at this point on. He doesn't know how to do the job. It's a highly -- it's a functional role for one thing. He also wouldn't have the votes. Even the most diehard House Republicans I think, would admit that he would be a further agent of chaos. He is not somebody who could fund the government and I think he'd probably get under 150 votes on a private ballot in Congress.
COOPER: Can Jim Jordan win over moderates?
GRIFFIN: It is a very tough sell. Anyone who has been part of the House Republican conference since, you know, the early days of the Freedom Caucus, I think would say that Jim Jordan is not someone you could expect to pass a government funding bill in divided government. You know, that's 43 days ahead. That's going to be his biggest hurdle.
He is a good messenger. He's a good face for the party in an era when they want to go after Joe Biden and talk about the impeachment inquiry.
A scenario that I could see happening though I've not heard any rumblings of this is ultimately a deal being cut between Scalise and Jim Jordan. One is speaker, one is leader where they kind of burden share and trying to bring everyone into the fold because right now, the votes do not exist for any one individual.
COOPER: I mean, if there is a battle going on for the sole of the Republican Party, I'm not sure if it is going on or if it's already been won by the Trump wing, what would a Jim Jordan speakership say about the future of the Republican Party?
GRIFFIN: I mean, that would be the logical almost conclusion of the Trump era. It would be somebody who was instrumental and you know, going after John Boehner, him leading; somebody who started the Freedom Caucus, who became the biggest defender of Trump.
He received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump for his efforts and things related to Crossfire Hurricane in investigating Hillary Clinton.
Him becoming speaker would basically be the icing on the cake of this is Donald Trump's party. It is not the party of Paul Ryan, the Reagan Republican Party anymore.
COOPER: Alyssa Farah Griffin, thanks so much. More now on the man who sparked all of this. Our Randi Kaye went to Matt Gaetz's congressional district to see what his constituents think of it all.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you think about Matt Gaetz leading that move to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy?
BILLY MITCHELL, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: I think it's a great move on his part. He's a hero to me.
KAYE (voice over): A hero is how Republican voter, Billy Mitchell sees Matt Gaetz here on the northwestern edge of Florida's panhandle in Gaetz's congressional district, voters like Mitchell are in good company.
KAYE (on camera): Matt Gaetz believes that he did what his constituents wanted him to do. Do you support that? Is that what you wanted?
MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely. It was like a government shutdown entirely for a while. Maybe the money won't be -- maybe our money won't be going to Ukraine.
KAYE (voice over): Not every Republican we met backs Gaetz's decision to oust McCarthy.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHAIRMAN, ESCAMBIA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: We didn't think that was a good idea. Gaetz has been great Congressman here, strong conservative. We thought this was a mistake.
KAYE (voice over): John Roberts is chairman of the Escambia County Republican Party.
ROBERTS: I don't think the majority of the constituents really wanted that. It would have been better if we would have just simply supported him, worked together and gotten the job done without all this waste of time.
KAYE (voice over): Republican, Buddy Cummings had nothing good to say about the Gaetz-led rebellion in the House.
BUDDY CUMMINGS, REGISTERED REPUBLICANS: Now, we don't have a leader. So I think it just creates so much more chaos.
KAYE (voice over): Gaetz would disagree.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I don't think voting against Kevin McCarthy is chaos. I think $33 trillion in debt is chaos.
CUMMINGS: I don't know if he's about trying to create a circus or that he's trying to be the ringleader of it, but I think it's very dangerous.
KAYE (voice over): And this independent voter, he is no fan of Gaetz either.
CHRIS ZIMMERLY, REGISTERED INDEPENDENT: Matt Gaetz is a bully. I'm one of his constituents and I disagree, so he won't be getting my vote.
KAYE (voice over): This woman, a Democrat believes Gaetz's push to remove McCarthy was personal related to the House Ethics Committee investigation of Gaetz.
ALYSSA GREEN, REGISTERED DEMOCRAT: I think it was absolutely personal. It kind of comes across like just attention seeking. I don't think that anything he does is really for the good of the constituents. I think it's what's good for him.
KAYE (voice over): Gaetz, now 41 was born in Hollywood, Florida, but grew up in the Panhandle.
He earned a Bachelor's degree from Florida State University and later graduated William and Mary Law School.
Gaetz worked as an attorney before becoming a Florida state senator in 2010, alongside his wealthy father. Don Gaetz, was a state senator from 2006 to 2016. Now 75, he has announced plans to run again.
In 2016, Matt Gaetz was elected to the US House of Representatives.
Now, with some Republicans calling for Gaetz to be expelled from the House GOP conference, his own political future may be in jeopardy.
Do you think he should remain in Congress?
CUMMINGS: All right, if it was up to me, absolutely not.
ZIMMERLY: I think we all need to calm down and get along, work together. We can work with Matt Gaetz.
COOPER: Randi Kaye joins us now. So given the electoral makeup of that part of Florida, is support for Gaetz surprising?
KAYE: It's not really surprising, Anderson. No, this is a very red part of the state, the first congressional district here in the Panhandle.
In fact, back in 2020, Donald Trump won this district by a very wide margin. He got more than 65 percent of the vote compared to Joe Biden who got about 33 percent of the vote, and then just last year here, Matt Gaetz won re-election in this district by nearly 36 percentage points.
So this is very friendly Republican territory, and I spoke with a lot of people today on both sides of the aisle, Anderson, who do expect that Matt Gaetz will win re-election again next year.
COOPER: Yes. Randi Kaye, thanks very much. Coming up, the former president now claiming he is immune from prosecution by the special counsel in a claim that could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Plus, more testimony in his civil fraud trial that ties him to those allegedly inflated valuations that could potentially cost him hundreds of millions of dollars.
COOPER: More legal issues for the former president tonight in the civil fraud trial underway in New York. Testimony from a former top records keeper for the Trump organization who's also defendant appeared to back up the state's claim that Trump knew about the allegedly inflated financial claims his company was making.
Specifically, he testified about a handwritten note that read DJT to get final review. Also, we should note that despite previously claiming he was forced to appear at his fraud trial, and that quote, "they took me off the campaign trail", former president was not in court today because you don't have to be for civil trial. So he was lying when he had said that.
There's also been a new filing in Special Counsel Jack Smith's case against Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election. Former president's attorneys asked the judge to dismiss all criminal charges. They say he has immunity because he was president and because he was acquitted by the Senate. It's a claim that could wind up before the Supreme Court.
Back with us is Elie Honig, and I'm joined by Cardozo Law School Professor Jessica Roth. So Elie, does the former president have a chance of getting the federal election interference case thrown out?
HONIG: He does, Anderson. And some of Donald Trump's motions, including the impeachment part of this one are ridiculous and you can dismiss them out of hands. But that's not this. This immunity argument has real consequences. And there's a lot of unknown territory here.
Let me sort of clarify what we do and don't know. We do know that the president has civil immunity. Meaning, he cannot be sued for anything he did within the broad parameters of his job.
What we don't know, the Supreme Court has said we don't know is whether that applies to a criminal charge. So this could be the moment when we find that out. And whether Trump was, in fact, acting within the broad parameters of being president.
I don't think Trump's going to win at the District Court. I don't think Judge Chutkan is going to grant him this dismissal. But he's not playing for Judge Chutkan here. He's thinking of the U.S. Supreme Court. I think there's a reasonable, nonzero chance that he wins. And if he does, this case goes away.
COOPER: What do you think? I mean, do you think this is headed for the appeals court and maybe the Supreme Court?
JESSICA ROTH. PROFESSOR, CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW: Absolutely. This is headed for the D.C. Court of Appeals and for the U.S. Supreme Court. And this is a serious motion. It's well written, and the issues are tremendously significant. And the court, as Elie said, has not ruled on whether or not a president or a former president enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution.
In cases in the civil context that have already been decided by other judges in the D.C. District Court, the court where Judge Chutkan sets, courts have ruled that former President Trump does not enjoy immunity from civil suits for actions related to January 6.
And so I think this judge is probably going to be somewhat influenced by the other decisions in that regard. But ultimately, this is going to the D.C. Circuit into the U.S. Court of Appeals -- to the U.S. Supreme Court. And really, it's going to turn on how broadly the court characterizes the facts.
And then what Trump is asking is the court to say, look in a very broad manner, at the actions that I took. I was communicating with members of the Department of Justice. I was communicating with state election officials. Those are the kinds of acts that a president undertakes as part of his official duties.
And what I expect the special counsel is going to respond is, no, you have to look at a more specific level and what he was doing, and whether those actions actually are consistent with the president's role.
COOPER: What would the timeline though of all of -- this going to the Supreme Court be?
ROTH: Well, it's going to depend on how quickly this case gets up to the D.C. Circuit and how quickly it rolls and then how expeditiously it gets up to the U.S. Supreme Court. I mean, the D.C. Circuit and other circuit courts dealing with --
COOPER: So the trial would have to -- all the trial would have to take place be -- there would have to be a sentence, and then it would go to appeals and --
ROTH: Unless he persuades the court to grant a stay, which of course, is now what we see him asking for in a variety of contexts and other co-defendants asking for in other cases involving Trump asking for stays, but they have yet to be successful.
COOPER: And Elie, if he was successful in the immunity claims on this, would this have ramifications for the Georgia trials?
HONIG: Yes. I think if Trump wins this one, if he gets the U.S. Supreme Court to say you're immune from criminal prosecution for Jack Smith's case, Fani Willis' case is all but gone as well. She might argue, well, I've charged different laws, either state laws as opposed to federal laws, and there's some different nuances.
But the core of the conduct that Fani Willis has charged is the attempt to steal the election in Georgia. That's included in Jack Smith's indictment. So if he prevails here, and again, there's a reasonable chance. I'm not saying it's more likely than not, but it's also not a 5 percent chance, not a 10 percent chance.
If he succeeds here, he's going to knock out the Jack Smith election interference case and probably Fani Willis' case too.
COOPER: In the fraud trial, the former president's attorney told the judge that they plan to seek a stay tomorrow. Is it clear what their argument for pausing is?
ROTH: No. No, I mean, that's what we're waiting to hear, is also what is the scope of this day? Are they seeking a stay of the trial? Are they seeking a stay of the judge's order that would resend the certificates to do business? What parts of the judge's order from last week? Are they seeking to stay? So we'll know more about that tomorrow.
COOPER: I mean, Elie, when you look at that case, how long of a trial do you think that's going to be?
HONIG: Well, they've said it could take into December. I mean, trials do sometimes have a way of compressing though. I mean, especially because remember, this has been tried to a judge, not a jury. You can simplify the issues, you can do away with some of the histrionics.
The judges even said in this case, OK, folks, there's not a jury here. Let's just get right to the point. So I'd peg it at six to eight weeks if I had to guess.
COOPER: Elie Honig, Jessica Roth, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up now, more than 50 civilians killed in a Russian missile strike on a village in eastern Ukraine. Many of the victims were gathered for a wake from fallen soldier. CNN is on the scene with the latest ahead.
COOPER: Ukrainian officials say Russia fired a cruise missile hitting a cafe and shop in a small eastern Ukrainian village. At least 51 civilians were killed including a six-year-old boy. And one of the deadliest attacks in the war. Several victims were attending a wake for a fallen soldier.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen is on the scene.
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FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An absolutely devastating attack that happened here in the village Hroza in eastern Ukraine. We're actually pretty far away from the front lines, I would say about maybe 25 miles away from the front lines.
Nevertheless, as you can see this building here, absolutely annihilated. The Ukrainians are saying that this was a supermarket and a cafe. Now they say there was an event going on at the cafe that there were a lot of people in the cafe for some sort of funeral events for someone who is local to here.
They also say more than 50 people were killed in this attack and the bodies were absolutely mangled. I'm going to show you over here. You can see that a lot of the forensic work is actually still going on over there. We're obviously not going to go close to there because some of the bodies really are not in very good condition.
The Ukrainians are telling us that because of the thrust of the explosion, because the explosion was so strong, that they actually haven't been able to identify all of the bodies yet simply because they're in such bad condition.
The Ukrainians authority say that the missile that was used to destroy this building was an Iskander. That's a medium range missile with a massive warhead that can do a lot of damage. And obviously, when it's dropped on a fairly small building like this one, the result will -- you can see it right here.
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COOPER: And Fred Pleitgen joins us now live. Fred, what are President Zelenskyy, other Ukrainian leaders saying about the strike?
PLEITGEN: Well, they're absolutely angry and irate about all this, Anderson. In fact, I want to show you some more of the devastation that we're seeing here. You can see that this building here, you know, it hasn't just been destroyed, it's been absolutely reduced to rubble.
These are the kinds of things we would probably see if there was like a magnitude eight earthquake that had gone through here. And that's how powerful that explosion was. And President Zelenskyy of this country, he was in Spain today meeting European leaders. And of course, this was one of the main things that was on his mind.
And he said it shows the need for Ukraine to have better air defense systems because it's precisely the kind of missile that hit this building. The Iskander cruise missile that does a lot of damage and wide parts of Ukraine obviously has devastating effects when it hits civilian areas.
Now, of course, we know, Anderson, that there are larger cities in Ukraine that are better protected by air defense systems. But it's precisely areas like this one, where if a missile like that is fired, it does do a lot of damage to these kinds of civilian areas.
So that's certainly one of the things that President Zelenskyy pointed out. But then, of course, coming back to some of the uncertainty with weapons supplies coming from the U.S. as well, the Ukrainian saying, look, this is one of the best examples of why they continue to need aid, why they continue to have to try and drive the Russians from their land because, of course, they understand that this is not the only time this happened, and they fear that this could happen once again in the future, Anderson.
COOPER: Fred Pleitgen, thanks very much.
Just ahead, the former president goes after his former Chief of Staff, Retired General John Kelly, confirming the disturbing statements that Trump allegedly made about wounded veterans and soldiers killed in action. Details ahead.
COOPER: Donald Trump is now attacking his former Chief of Staff Retired General John Kelly, who was unsparing in his criticism of his one-time boss in an exclusive statement given to CNN's Jake Tapper. Kelly confirmed a number of incredibly damning statements the former president made behind closed doors attacking U.S. service members and veterans.
Kelly described the former president is, quote, "A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or shot down or seriously wounded in combat or spend years being tortured as POWs are all suckers, because there is nothing in it for them. A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because it doesn't look good for me".
In response, that former president said in part, quote, "John Kelly, by far, the dumbest of my military people, just picked up the theme of the radical left's lying about Gold Star families and soldiers in his hatred of me. He was incapable of doing a good job. It was too much for him and I couldn't stand the guy so I fired him like a dog".
Trump also mentioned Kelly's wife, quote, "Interestingly, before firing him, his wife who suffered a lot told me he would never speak badly about President Trump".
Jake Tapper joins me now. Jake, obviously, the former president's reaction is pretty typical. It's about when what one would expect. He, of course even, brought in General Kelly's wife into into his argument.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but fundamentally, the stories that we have heard that John Kelly is now confirming on the record were sourced by multiple people, when Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that story for The Atlantic in 2020, about all those horrific things that Donald Trump as president said about veterans who were killed in action, about veterans who were in the cemetery in France, killed in World War I, about wounded veterans and on and on and on.
Those were sourced to multiple people behind the scenes. John Kelly is just the first person to, you know, to acknowledge it and confirm it on the record.
COOPER: The thing that has, again, shocked not surprised me is the lack of response from Republicans. I mean, I don't know if privately you're hearing from Republicans something but publicly certainly, if any other politician, Democrat or Republican, had said anything like this, you would think there would be outrage.
TAPPER: When Barack Obama saluted a marine's president while holding a cup of coffee in his hand. That was Fox News banner headlines for a week, just because he held the coffee in his hand while he did a salute. So correct, it's outrageous.
And one of the things that I think has escaped the notice of a lot of people but Olivier Knox in The Washington Post notice today, is that what General Kelly picked up on that the statement about the assassination or the execution rather, of General Milley is that, in Kelly's view, Trump doing that.
Trump saying and, you know, and not so long ago, a guy like Milley would be executed for such a thing. In Kelly's view, that's Trump wanting somebody to act. If you look at the statement that he gave me, wanting somebody to take matters into his own hands. That call for violence.
And I think that's one of the things that's so shocking about it is other than the likes of the Kinzingers and the Cheneys and the Romneys of the world, where are the Republicans, including the Nikki Haleys and Ron DeSantiss and the Tim Scotts who were running against Trump? Why are they not saying anything about this sort of thing?
COOPER: Well, I mean, Lindsey Graham, who was in the military, I haven't heard anything from him either.
TAPPER: No, I mean, it's shocking. And, you know, we've seen this before, not just with Donald Trump, but during the the Joe McCarthy era, when people say and do indecent things, and are not challenged at all by people within their own party, it just gets worse and worse and worse.
COOPER: Also, I mean, the resident has -- the former president has said that nobody loves the military more than he does. I mean, if all of these statements are true, and again, from General Kelly and all the other sources, there's no reason to believe that they are not true. Multiple people have confirmed the statements.
He doesn't understand -- the foreign president doesn't understand why people join the military, doesn't see what's in it for them, which is what he said about those who are in Arlington. And if you fight and get wounded, and disabled or disfigured, he doesn't want you around him --
COOPER: -- because it doesn't look good for him. I mean, that's who this person is. TAPPER: Well, I don't think that somebody who tries to get out of the military by pretending to have bone spurs -- and look lots of people tried to get out of service in Vietnam, and I'm not here to cast dispersion, but I don't think anybody who tries to get out of service in the military can credibly say that nobody loves the military more than them when there are people who actually join the military, volunteer to serve, devote their life to the military, and their families join the military too.
They actually -- I mean, General Milley served his country honorably including on the front lines of battle for four decades to say that nobody loves the military more than somebody who never served versus somebody who did is ridiculous.
COOPER: Yes. Jake Tapper, thank you.
TAPPER: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up next, remembering the life and career of NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.
COOPER: Better sweet reminder now that Poet Carl Sandburg was right, Chicago is the city of big shoulders. Chicago Southside is where the massive and legendary NFL linebacker Dick Butkus was born 80 years ago. Overnight, a world away in Malibu, California, he died peacefully, which was not how he played, not at the University of Illinois and certainly not throughout the 60s and 70s with the Chicago Bears.
He was a terror on the field and a champion in every sense of the word both on and off it. Hall of Famer Dick Butkus was 80 years old.
That's it for us. The news continues. I'll see you tomorrow. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.