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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Israel Resumes Strikes In Gaza; Israeli Military Drops Leaflets In Southern Gaza City Of Khan Younis Calling It A "Fighting Zone"; Truce Ends, But Talks Continue On Release Of More Hostages; Former Israeli PM Barak On NY Times Report That Israel Knew Hamas's Attack Plan More Than a Year Ago; Federal Judge Denies Trump's Motion To Dismiss Election Subversion Case; House Votes To Expel Santos From Congress In Historic Vote; Palestinian-American College Student Shot With Friends In Vermont Speaks About Attack. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 01, 2023 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "OUTFRONT": Of course, we should keep in mind, Elon Musk's net worth has gone up this year, not down, despite the travails of Twitter.

Earlier, during my interview -- one last point here -- with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, I attributed a quote about Buttigieg to Speaker Mike Johnson. That quote was from a book that Speaker Johnson endorsed and wrote the foreword, too.

Thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate your time. "AC360" starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on "360," the truce ends in Gaza, but the questions about who knew what and when about what Hamas was planning for October 7th are just beginning for Israeli officials.

Also, tonight, two court rulings -- one civil, one criminal -- both saying the former president is not immune for actions he took as president leading up to January 6th.

Plus, a finality for the fabulous George Santos, kicked out of the house. And that is not a lie.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin with Israel-Hamas in the first day of fighting after a seven-day truce in Gaza. Israeli airstrikes resuming today in northwest Gaza, and according to Hamas's interior ministry, also targeting sites in the southern cities of Khan Younis and Rafah.

The IDF dropped leaflets into the area today calling Khan Younis, quote, "a fighting zone." Hamas, for its part, resumed rocket attacks into Israel.

As for the hostages, sources are telling us that both Israeli and American officials believe Hamas continues to hold a number of women taken from the Nova Music Festival on October 7th, an IDF spokesman tonight, putting the number of women and children still captive at 17 out of 136 hostages in all. Talks to freedom continue in Qatar -- all this against the backdrop of last night's detailed and damning report that Israeli leaders dismissed warnings of Hamas's attack plans for more than a year leading up to the 7th.

In a moment, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's take on that and renewed fighting. Also, what CNN's John Miller is learning from his sources in the intelligence community.

First, the latest from CNN's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is what Israel vowed would happen if Hamas stopped releasing its hostages. After a seven-day pause and more than 100 freed, Gaza is being pounded again. Israeli officials say military pressure will force Hamas to release more.

EYLON LEVY, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: Having chosen to hold onto our women, Hamas will now take the mother of all thumpings.

CHANCE (voice over): Israel says it was Hamas that broke the truce, firing rockets out of Gaza, striking Israeli tanks. But it's inside the Gaza Strip where the intensity of this war has resumed. Hospitals, already overwhelmed, now facing a new flood of casualties.

JAMES ELDER, UNICEF SPOKESPERSON: We cannot see more children with the wounds of war, with the burns, with the shrapnel littering their body, with the broken bones. Inaction by those with influence is allowing the killing of children. This is a war on children.

CHANCE (voice over): Amid US calls to protect civilians, Israel has distributed leaflets in Gaza with links to this online map, dividing the entire territory into a group. Israel says it's warning Palestinians which blocks to avoid.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

CHANCE (voice over): "I'm asking you to look at this map carefully," this Israeli military spokesman says in Arabic, "and move from your residence as instructed." But with unreliable Internet access, it's unclear how many Gazans will get the message.

It's unclear also now when there will be more hostages released. Mediators say talks to free more are ongoing, despite the fighting. But until there's a new pause, relief for so many families may have to wait.


CHANCE: Well, Anderson, behind the scenes, negotiations are continuing to try and agree a new pause in the fighting and, of course, to get more hostages released. But tonight, for the first time in more than a week, Gaza is once again being shaken by Israeli bombs.

COOPER: Matthew Chance, thank you. Let's go to CNN's Jeremy Diamond with a view of the fighting from Ashkelon near Israel's border with northern Gaza.

Jeremy, so what have you been seeing this evening?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's been relatively quiet over the last hour. But earlier this evening, we saw heavy military activity inside the Gaza Strip -- flares, explosions happening inside of Gaza, but also the most significant barrage of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel that I have seen in weeks.


We saw dozens of rockets being fired from northern Gaza into Israel, including towards our position in Sderot, Israel. We heard very loud explosions as the Iron Dome system intercepted those rockets right above our position.

What's most significant about this is the fact that those rockets -- we could actually see the rockets coming up from Gaza in the northeastern-most city of Beit Hanoun, which is a city where the Israeli military has been operating on the ground for weeks now. And despite the fact that the Israeli military has said that they are in control of northern Gaza, this just goes to show that Hamas still has the ability to operate there, still has the ability to fire rockets from there towards Israeli towns and cities.

It also comes, of course, after a week during which Hamas, according to military analysts, may have had the opportunity to regroup and to, you know, reassess, effectively, move its operations around during that time period. That was a concern that military analysts had of that fragile truce that we saw over the week.

But the Israeli military is not only once again carrying out its bombing campaign in Gaza, but also moving its ground operations further south into southern Gaza. That is what Israel's military and political leadership has been telegraphing for weeks now, and we have watched as if that plan has started to move into action today.

Of course, the result of that, the results of the bombing campaign in particular in southern Gaza today, resulting in the deaths of 178 people, according to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. And, of course, once again, we are seeing devastating images of people wounded and injured, including women and children -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jeremy Diamond, thanks very much. We want to get perspective now from Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel. I spoke to him just before air time.


COOPER: Mr. Prime Minister, what's your response to this reporting from "The New York Times" that Israeli intelligence had obtained a blueprint for the Hamas attack more than a year before October 7th?

EHUD BARAK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: It's basically true. The journalist, Dr. Bergman, has very good sources. It's basically true. Probably, the investigation committee will find more.

COOPER: Do you believe that a report like that would have gone all the way to the top, to the prime ministers?

BARAK: No, I don't think that Netanyahu could be held responsible to the fact that there was no tactical kind of early warning or so. That's a huge fail of our intelligence.

COOPER: There are high levels members of the military intelligence services, who have accepted responsibility for their part in the failures of October 7th; the prime minister has not. Do you think that's something he should do at this stage?

BARAK: Look, I thought that in any normal country, he would resign on the 8th of October in the morning or in the evening. And in the UK, if he would not have resigned, his members of cabinet would have called upon him and convinced him, so to speak, to resign. But Israel is not a normal place in this regard.

So, he tried to survive, in spite of all the kind of evidence. He basically run his policy that Hamas is an asset and the (inaudible) liability for five years and was ready to bribe them with the protection money. I call it Qatari protection money in case that amounts to 1.5 billion over the five years. And half of it -- about half of it went to equip, train, and prepare this attack.

So, anyhow, it's a major, major kind of failure.

COOPER: What you're saying, which some viewers may not understand, I just want to clarify, you're pointing out that -- you're saying Netanyahu was essentially propping up Hamas and undercutting the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The idea of that was that because Hamas would be unacceptable on the world stage that there wouldn't be a two-state solution because the Palestinian Authority was viewed as so weak and corrupt ...


COOPER: ... and Hamas was the only major player, so nobody would accept that. And that was a huge miscalculation.

BARAK: Yes. Basically, the -- Netanyahu said in his own words that whoever support blocking the path towards two-state solution should support his attitude of paying the Hamas these three million cash to Hamas.

COOPER: There are a lot of people now -- hundreds of thousands of people -- in the south. Is it possible to wage war against Hamas on the ground in the south with all those people around?


BARAK: I think that we will see certain differences in styles because of the different nature of the problem in the south after all the citizens from the north will move to the south. It's too condensed in the -- or too dense in population to run the same kind of airstrike that we had in the north. But there would be a lot of pointed attacks against targets in Khan Younis, Rafah, and any other place where we feel there are (inaudible) to Hamas kind of process or governing capability.

But when we look at the overall picture, we should bear in mind the following. When the armed forces got the directive to destroy Hamas physical and kind of (inaudible) capabilities. They said clearly to the political level that it will need many months or more.

And somehow everyone knows, from our experience, that usually you don't have it. Legitimate usually evolves within several weeks or few months. So this contradiction of yet had to be closed. That's the responsibility of the government, of the parties, to make sure that the two clocks are synchronized for reasons unexplainable of objects (inaudible), but not very complementing to our government. This (inaudible) has been closed.

COOPER: Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barack, thank you.

BARAK: Thank you for having me.


COOPER: I want to talk more now of what the former prime minister was talking about there, what he described as a huge intelligence failure. CNN"s Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller is here.

People have used the term "it's a failure of imagination." You don't think it's a failure of imagination or of intelligence.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: No, I don't think. I think a failure of imagination -- which is a term coined by the 9/11 Commission, referred to using passenger airplanes flown by terrorists as missiles. Al-Qaeda imagined it. We failed to imagine it before they did, and we didn't know about it.

You can't say it's a failure of imagination. When you look at the reporting of Ronen Bergman and Adam Goldman from The Times, they say the Israelis actually had the 40-page planning book. You don't need to imagine. It was all laid out in there.

COOPER: Very detailed, exactly how the attack took place. And you're saying it's not a failure of intelligence, it's a failure of actual leadership.

MILLER: Well, that's right, because a failure of intelligence usually means your intelligence collection fails. You didn't find out about it, they did, or your intelligence analysis fails. You didn't figure out what it means.

COOPER: The analysts were right on target.

MILLER: The analysts were pushing this, saying, we've got to consider this real, and the leadership. And that's where the failure is. The failure is military and intelligence leadership. The burning question that has not been approached yet either in that

article or with anybody coming forward, saying here's the answer, is, when they had that intelligence and that analysis, how far up the chain did it make it?

COOPER: Did Netanyahu -- the prime minister did -- who saw it?

MILLER: Exactly. This is the kind of level of intelligence, based on my experience in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence at the FBI, where we briefed in the White House regularly, that would have ended up on the president's desk.

COOPER: You would think a shocking report that says Hamas has these capabilities that Israel doesn't even realize they have and they're imagining and planning this massive attack. You would think that would go to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

MILLER: You would think that. And you would think if it didn't right away because they considered it, because of confirmation bias, it's not how we're thinking. So we're thinking it's possible, but not likely that when reservists on the fenceline -- and I've been following these reports who are reporting suspicious activity, men showing up with maps, bulldozers being pulled in where there was no construction ...

COOPER: Doing a trial run where they were executing hostages.

MILLER: Where they saw the actual training ...

COOPER: Right.

MILLER: ... you know, happening in camps and saw communications with the results of that, that one thing would be added to another, which would be added to another, which should make, as they said before 9/11, all the lights flashing red. We didn't see that here; we saw the opposite. So there's going to be a reckoning.

And it's not just between the public officials and the politicians. Anderson, you know this because you've been talking to them nightly for weeks. When the families of those taken hostage, when the families of those killed, when the families of those, you know, left for dead and raped, when those families form that family's group, the organized group, and they demand answers, this is going to be something that the government is going to, you know, probably not survive.

COOPER: The -- I mean, the -- what sort of capability -- it's impressive that they were able to get this report. I mean, the fact that, you know, they had a detailed report by Hamas a year ago shows they do have -- I mean, because that was a big question. How could this have possibly happened and they didn't know about it? The intelligence people did know about it. It just didn't get to something.


MILLER: Right. And I mean, you've got the report. So, that's a paper document you can look through.

But you've got the signals intelligence, where they're picking up reports on the training. You've got the witness reports from the reservists seeing activity on the fence line. That's way too much to write off in the spirit of confirmation bias which is, it just doesn't fit with our political assessment.

COOPER: It's also incredible you think they had, like, you know, in one military location on the border six people on duty that day given they knew this plan was at least out there.

John Miller, thank you.

MILLER: Thanks.

COOPER: Next, two court rulings on the former president's claim that he cannot be held legally accountable for trying to overturn the 2020 election because he was acting in his official capacity.

And later, somewhere George Washington is smiling, mythical cherry tree and all after the George who could not tell the truth, George Santos, is expelled from Congress.


COOPER: More now on our breaking news that the federal judge overseeing the former president's indictment on election interference has denied his attempt to dismiss charges based on a claim of presidential immunity. At one point in her ruling, the judge, Tanya Chutkan writes, quote, "Defendant's four-year service as commander-in- chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens."

This decision comes the same day as another setback for the former president in a federal court in Washington. A three-judge appeals court panel decided he can be sued in civil court related to his actions during the January 6th riot at the capitol.


The decision was unanimous, sought to distinguish between campaign speech and official actions of a president. It's a victory for the Capitol police and lawmakers behind three separate cases affected by the decision, plus others who may now seek civil damages as well.

Perspective on all this from CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman, Senior Political Correspondent for "The New York Times," also the author of "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America." Also, Carolyn Polisi, she's a White House -- she's a -- excuse me -- White Collar criminal defense attorney. She's also a lecturer at Columbia Law School.

How big, Maggie, of a blow to the former president is this?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: Look, it was always a long shot that this was going to go through or that Chutkan was going to rule on his side. She's made very clear on previous rulings how she views some of the claims that Trump has been making or his lawyers have been making.

But what this does do is it starts the clock on an appeal, that they are going to go through the courts, possibly go up to the Supreme Court. No one knows how the Supreme Court will rule, if they will even take it up. They don't have to.

They have generally not sided with Trump on any of his election- related issues. They obviously have on other issues. If they send this back or if they rule against him, the clock then starts on the trial, but this buys time for his team.

So this is not a surprising ruling, but it is a very, very lengthy ruling. And it refers to the Nixon Pardon. It refers to a number of things that counter what Trump's team is arguing.

COOPER: Caroline, what stood out to you in these rulings?

CAROLINE POLISI, WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I think, look, earlier today when the DC circuit came out with the ruling with respect to the civil context, that was an easier bar to meet. Presidential immunity is really, you know, a thing that has been recognized by the Supreme Court since Nixon v. Fitzgerald. Trump was trying to push it further in the criminal context, not surprising that Chutkan waited, I think, for sort of her superiors to come out with the ruling this afternoon.

And then immediately -- I agree with Maggie -- I think she wants to keep that March 4th trial date. This is the one thing that could potentially throw a wrench in those plans. If the case is somehow stayed, pending an appeal, certainly I think he certainly will appeal this ruling, as well as the DC circuit ruling. And I think it is rife for a Supreme Court review.

COOPER: So do you think it's likely it would be stayed?

POLISI: You know, just as Maggie was saying, you'll never know what the Supreme Court is going to do. They can take it, they cannot. They could stay, they could not. But I think that that is sort of the question mark here with respect to -- it's looking more and more like that's going to be the only trial that will sort of get in under the gun before the election.

COOPER: Is it clear to you, Maggie, what other arguments the president might make to try to get this thrown out?

HABERMAN: I think this was a big one. I think getting it -- I think getting it thrown out is going to be very, very hard. This was really it. This was the shot.

It's possible someone was suggesting to me today that the Supreme Court could take up the gag order issue that seems a little less likely than this one because it's a presidential power issue and it's a little broader, that the other one is specific to Trump as a defendant. I think this is it in terms of their shot of getting it thrown out

entirely. Next up becomes just, you know, trying for an acquittal or trying for a hung jury or -- those are their best hope.

This is a case that being tried in DC, Trump's allies and advisers think is unlikely to go his way just based on the events and based on what the jury pool will be, but that's down the road.

COOPER: There was also, Maggie, the pretrial hearing in the Georgia election case. What stood out to you there?

HABERMAN: Well, it was interesting listening to this argument that the trial ought to start. I think it was -- there was some suggestion it should start in 2029 or something like that, I mean, well, well, well down the road.

What you've heard over and over again from the Trump lawyers is there's such a volume of discovery, this is such an exotic case, and they've said this in various ones. We need time to go through everything for discovery. We need time to look at the evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. There are clearance issues there. There actually are on the January 6th case too, although it's a little less so.

That -- it doesn't surprise me that they're talking about a delay. A delay of that much was surprising to me, and I would be mostly surprised if it works.

COOPER: And in Georgia, the president's attorneys arguing that this violates Trump's free speech rights.

POLISI: Yes. And they -- by the way, they made that argument today in the check-in motion as well, which she denied.

But the 2029 date, you know, that was under the scenario in which the judge asked Trump lawyers, well, what would happen if he were to be elected president? Essentially, it would stop the clock on that time to prosecute.

But I have a different perspective because I'm a defense attorney. I think the August 2024 date is a bit aggressive. There are -- there's a backlog in the criminal -- in Fulton County Georgia Criminal Court. And, you know, it cuts both ways.

Any criminal defendant shouldn't be, you know, above the law. I think Fani Willis is trying to push this case through. She wants to get it in before the election. I think it's pretty apparent, yes.


COOPER: Maggie, which of these cases do you think the former president is most concerned about?

HABERMAN: I think he's concerned about all of them. Honestly, I think that he is more concerned about the federal ones. The documents case, in particular, concerns him, except for the judge in that case, which is one of his appointees, and the fact that it's a more favorable jury pool just based on the counties around the courthouse.

The January 6th case angers him for a variety of reasons, and you can see it when he talks about the election. It relates to an event that he considered humiliating, which is having to leave the White House. And so I think all of these things tie together.

He's angry about the Manhattan indictment for different reasons. I mean, there's no case that makes him feel good here; they're all bad. But they are most -- they are most concerned right now about the January 6th one because they think that's the one that's likely is necessary.

COOPER: So you mean that the humiliation is having to leave the White House as opposed to the humiliation of having his supporters break into the Congress in ...

HABERMAN: We've heard him defend that.

COOPER: Yes, please.

HABERMAN: So that is not something that I have heard him sound any concession of shame about publicly.

To the point about fairness versus a speedy trial, though, I think that you are going to hear that over and over again. And it is the one place or a place, where the Trump team has a legitimate point about the fact that Trump does have the same rights as any other defendant.

COOPER: Yes. Caroline Polisi, thanks so much. Maggie Haberman, thank you.

HARBEMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Appreciate it.

Coming up for only the sixth time in US history, a lawmaker was expelled from the House of Representatives. The life, the times, the many lies of George Santos when we return.


COOPER: George Santos, who was rarely any of the things he claimed to be, was expelled from Congress today for being the one thing he truly is, a liar.


So tonight if the 23 count federally indicted alleged money laundering fraudster wants to tell anyone he is now one of just six people ever to be kicked out of the House. He will be speaking the truth. The fabulous has left the building. Here's a handyman changing the locks on his old office door shortly afterwards, which is probably wise move.

The vote was 311 to 114. It came on the third try and more than half of his fellow Republicans voted against expulsion. The nays included House GOP leaders Elise Stefanik, Steve Scalise, and Speaker Mike Johnson. It's in spite of a scathing Ethics Committee report accusing Santos of among many other things stealing from his campaign and spending the money on among other things, Botox and the adult website OnlyFans,. The last straw reportedly was this from fellow Republican Max Miller of Ohio.


REP. MAX MILLER, (R) OHIO: I myself had been a victim of George Santos. You sir are a crook.


COOPER: Santos; campaign he said fraudulently charge his and his mother's personal credit cards. He's also accused of writing bad checks in both the northern and southern hemispheres ripping off donations for disabled veterans dying service dog, lying about being Jewish, lying about being the grandson of Holocaust survivors. And more.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS, (D) NEW YORK: Shabbat Shalom to everybody.

My name is Anthony Devolder. I always joke I'm Catholic, but I'm also Jew ish, as in ish.

My grandparents survived the Holocaust.

My mom was a 911 survivor. She was in the South Tower. And she made it out. She got caught up in the ash cloud.

But they sent me to a good prep school, which was Horace Mann Prep.

I actually went to school on -- on a volleyball scholarship.

JOSEPH G. CAIRO JR. CHAIRMAN, NASSAU COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: He told me I remember specifically, I'm into sports a little bit, that he was a star on the volleyball team and that they won the league championship. What can I tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you graduate from Baruch?

SANTOS: Yeah, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you graduate from them?



SANTOS: I did, I did.

I put myself through college and got an MBA from NYU.

I have nothing to hide. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Joining us now Congressman Dusty Johnson, Republican of South Dakota who voted yes, on expelling George Santos. I assume that montage just reaffirms your vote in your mind. It certainly would, in my mind. Were you disappointed that more your Republican colleagues didn't vote to expel him?

REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: I was a little disappointed. There are really two camps, Anderson. One camp wanted some additional due process protections. I've gotten no bone to pick with those folks. I think they're wrong. I think there was a lot of due process. But I think they're no vote was principled. Then there's a whole bunch of folks who just didn't want Republicans in the House to lose another vote. And I am pretty disappointed with those folks.

COOPER: Yeah, essentially, because previously you had said, if Republicans aren't willing to police their own, there's a quote, how can we possibly look the American people in the eye and tell them that we're willing to police folks on the other side of the aisle, which is a respectable thing to say. I mean, it's -- it's, you know, any -- if any political party isn't willing to police their own, it's -- it's not a good thing.

JOHNSON: I just don't care what the letter behind this guy's name is. He is a crook. He has lied about everything seemingly he's ever said. And I know there are some folks who wanted a court conviction before we threw him out. But the reality is that so much of what he's been accused of isn't actually against the law.

And so at some point, we needed to say the facts are not in question. We had an Ethics Committee that unanimously on a bipartisan basis, advanced this report with a breathtaking finding of wrongdoing. It was clear, it was time for the fantastic George Santos to leave the building.

COOPER: That's interesting that the idea that because that was one of the arguments that have to vote to keep him in, which was that he's not been convicted of a crime. But your point is, some of these things may not have been actually against the law, but they were wrong.

SANTOS: God bless their heart.

JOHNSON: Right, a certain number of Americans are concerned with election fraud. Well, it seems like election fraud to me, when you invent from whole cloth and entire resume and lie to the voters of the district, give them inaccurate information upon which they base their vote, continue to lie day in and day out while you're in the U.S. House, steal from your campaign accounts, enough was enough.

I get it. We're in a very tribal time in this country where I guess Republicans are supposed to defend all Republican behavior. But for almost a majority of Republicans in the House, this was simply too much.

COOPER: We all saw what happened with Speaker McCarthy's ouster, do you think with a new speaker getting settled in with Santos gone that the GOP conference may be turning a page? I mean, obviously, there's -- the Matt Gaetz is the world but do you think this is the possibilities of kind of a new chapter?

JOHNSON: Oh, as long as Matt Gaetz is running around, I guess I wouldn't want to get too optimistic about how well the

House will function. Republicans still have incredibly tight margins. We have a number of exceptionally colorful members that don't really like to get to yes on anything.


So I don't -- listen, I wouldn't want to have rose colored glasses on, Anderson. It's going to continue to be a difficult one underneath Congress. But even given that difficulty, I would say I'm proud of a lot of the things we've done, cutting $2 trillion in spending over the next four years, reforming energy siting and welfare reform. There's more of that to come as well, in the next year and a month.

COOPER: If Republicans lose the Santos seat, will it still have been worth it to get rid of him?

JOHNSON: I think when you're dealing with these sacred constitutional duties, when you're trying to decide what is right and what is wrong, it's best not to have too much political calculation in your mind. Either guilty -- either guy's guilty, or he's not, either those actions are worthy of expulsion or they're not, we can worry about the political calculation tomorrow.

COOPER: Congressman Dusty Johnson, appreciate your time. Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

COOPER: Have a good weekend. Just ahead, three college students, Palestinian descent shot of visiting family in Vermont Thanksgiving weekend only one of the three has been released from the hospital and I'll talk to him, next.



COOPER: The first of three college students of Palestinian descent shot last week in Vermont, has been released from the hospital, Kinnan Abdalhamid, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, and Hisham Awartani were in Vermont for Thanksgiving weekend hosted by Hisham's family.

According to an uncle, the three young men were at the birthday party for an eight-year-old twins when they went for a walk wearing keffiyehs, a scarf closely associated with Palestinian identity. That was when they say they encountered a 48-year-old man, Jason Eaton, who allegedly shot all three. He's been charged with three counts of attempted second degree murder.

Prosecutors said they don't have the evidence yet to pursue this as a hate crime but that they're not ruling it out. Two of the young men are still recovering in the hospital. One still has a bullet lodged in his spine. Kinnan Abdalhamid, who was released earlier this week joins me now.

Thank you so much for being with us. First of all, how are you doing? How are your two friends?

KINNAN ABDALHAMID, VERMONT SHOOTING VICTIM: Oh, thank you for having me. I'm doing all right, you know, taking it step by step. Regarding my two friends, the road for recovery is a bit longer than mine. So I'm hoping everyone could pour more of their support towards them.

COOPER: Can you walk us through what happened initially? I mean, you were there for the holiday weekend and when did you see this person?

ABDALHAMID: Usually, before we go into each other's grandmother's house, we go on a walk. So we did that the day before. And I believe the day before that. So on our way back from the walk, we see this man standing on the porch looking away from us. And as soon as he looks towards us, he just walks down the steps of his porch, pulls out a pistol and began shooting. He shot my friend Tahseen first, and then Hisham and that's when I run away.

COOPER: Did he say anything? I mean, had you ever seen him before? You said you'd went for a walk before? Do you think he saw you previously? Was he waiting?

ABDALHAMID: I don't like to make any allegations like that now, but it's definitely a possibility.

COOPER: But did he say anything to you?

ABDALHAMID: Not a single word. Not a single word just went down and pulled up pistol, extremely quickly. It's definitely seems like a part of a bigger issue regarding the hatred towards Palestinians.

COOPER: When did you realize -- I mean, did you realize you'd been shot right away?

ABDALHAMID: No, it took me about a minute after jumping the fence, hiding behind the houses. And then when I ran to the second house to -- when the people in there call 911, I only realized I was shot when they sat me down. It was kind of like a sharp pain. And then I put my hand on my back looked at my hand and it was soaked with blood, so --

COOPER: Is that -- that's where you were shot in your back?

ABDALHAMID: He shot when I was running away. Yes, yeah, exactly here. This is the exit wound.

COOPER: And authorities haven't yet said whether they said they don't yet have enough evidence to say if it was a hate crime, but they're not certainly ruling it out. Is that -- I mean, do you have any other -- do have an opinion on that?

ABDALHAMID: I mean, proving a hate crime in the eyes of the people, in the eyes of the law are very different things. In the eyes of the law, it does -- you generally need a lot more evidence, but just logically, even when all three of us mad the hospital, we all said why do you think and we all sat at the same time or probably because we were speaking Arabic and English or probably because we were wearing the keffiyeh. There's just -- it's just there's no other reason we could think of, if he was looking to kill anyone, he probably would have done that a while back, so yeah.

COOPER: Have you been concerned in the last week? I mean, leading up to this about safety and given the tensions that, you know, feelings surrounding the war?

ABDALHAMID: Yes, yeah. I am very concerned for the safety of Palestinians in the United States and obviously in the West Bank and Gaza. It's just part of a system designed to dehumanize Palestinians and the logical conclusion of dehumanization is murder. I didn't expect it to go to this extent though. And having something intellectually known in your head rather than experiencing it firsthand definitely shatters a new type of bubble.

COOPER: Yeah, I mean to have something like this happened to you, I mean, you know, when reads about it, you see it, you know, intellectually it can happen, but to actually have it happened how does it change? Does it change you?

ABDALHAMID: It does change you and it does change a lot of families in Palestine as well. We have a very, very strong sense of community and it kind of just ripples throughout which I believe is a big reason for the international support is our sense of community and outcry of every Palestinian, when one Palestinian is hurt.


For example, when the other eight-year-old was stabbed, we are all her as well. It's just a collective thing we have and we're very proud of that. And that's why every Palestinian right now is in anguish for what's happening because especially the ceasefire has ended.

COOPER: Kinnan, I'm so sorry would happen to you and to your friends, and I wish you a speedy recovery and your friends as well. Thank you so much for being with us.

ABDALHAMID: No, thank you, I appreciate it.

COOPER: You take care.

Coming up next, public health officials have talked about an epidemic of loneliness in this country and in countries around the world. In New York, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, has been named the state's first loneliness ambassador. They remember her well, she's 95 now and she joins me ahead.



COOPER: Dr. Ruth Westheimer is best known for her advice on sex, which at 95, she is still giving advice on. But she's also added a new title, New York's Honorary Ambassador on Loneliness. She was named that by New York's Governor. This spring, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an official advisory warning that isolation is an epidemic that can be as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and poses a greater risk to longevity than obesity or lack of exercise. I spoke with Dr. Ruth Westheimer earlier.


COOPER: So tell me about what made you want this job?

DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER, NEW YORK'S HONORARY LONELINESS AMBASSADOR: Because I do believe that I have some wisdom to give, because I'm after all going to be 95, 95 --

COOPER: That's amazing.

WESTHEIMER: Soon, on June 4th.

COOPER: Wait a minute, your birthday is June 4th? My birthday is June 3rd, we're Gemini twins.

WESTHEIMER: We should cover together, you and me.

COOPER: Totally, I would absolutely travel with you.

WESTHEIMER: At least take an extra home for the children, so there's a privacy. I like when I make you smile. What I want to do is to use the same method that I have used with my sex education, classes and sex set up practice to teach people how to be of interest, so that people don't get bored. And to teach people how to be interesting to themselves.

COOPER: Had --

WESTHEIMER: And I come up with all kinds of tricks to help you to beat that loneliness.

COOPER: There's so many people who they've lost loved ones or their friends have moved away. It's hard, especially even in a big city people feel very isolated, even though they're surrounded by many other people.

WESTHEIMER: Right, and that's it, it's hard. But it's not enough to say it's half, you have to find that remedy of helping how to prevent all these people from being so lonely. And you and I together will come up with all kinds of tricks and ways of people making people be interested in you, and making people to be interested in wanting to talk to you.

COOPER: Well, I would love that. I -- I'm doing something about grief right now. I'm doing a podcast about grief, in grief and loss. There's also this sense of loneliness.

WESTHEIMER: Yeah, I used to tell people, there are people, like Anderson, people who are experts in grief counseling, and they should find them. I'm more in pleasure counseling, I'm more on the side of what people should do in order to give each other pleasure. So that the other person who wants to make another date. Bye-bye Anderson, all the very best.


WESTHEIMER: And come and see me soon.

COOPER: I would love to.

WESTHEIMER: Let's make a nice birthday party for your boys.

COOPER: I would be happy. I will bring my boys over anytime you want.

WESTHEIMER: Bye Anderson Cooper, my good friend.

COOPER: I love you.

WESTHEIMER: Thank you. I always say that again.

COOPER: I love you.

WESTHEIMER: Yeah, that's pretty good. I don't want to see you again. Bye Anderson.


WESTHEIMER: All the best.

COOPER: You, too.


COOPER: I like when someone waves at the end of an interview.

I mentioned my new podcast there. It's called, "All There Is." It's about grief and loss. And if you put your phone's camera, right now to QR code, which I think we're going to put up right, there. You can point your camera at it and a link will show up on your phone for you to click on and listen.

Grief is the most universal human experiences we all have or will experience it. It's really a bond that people share. And yet the loneliness of it is really hard and always has been for me, talking about it is the only thing that I know that helps break that loneliness and hearing from others who are living with it and learning from their grief. And that's what the podcast is all about.

President Biden is going to be on the podcast next Wednesday with a very personal conversation with him about grief. But the first episode, the second season is available now. And the entire first season is also available now, if you haven't been able to figure out that QR code on the screen. You can get the podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify, or wherever you may listen to podcasts. I hope you like it and find it helpful.

Coming up next, remembering a trailblazer, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.



COOPER: Tonight, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is being remembered as a trailblazer. The first woman to serve in the nation's highest court, died this morning in Phoenix, Arizona. The court said Justice O'Connor died due to complications related to advanced dementia. A child of Texas ranchers who went to graduate magna cum laude from Stanford. She was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan back in 1981.

As a moderate conservative, she became a swing vote on the court. And during her tenure, Justice O'Connor upheld the abortion rights, affirmative action and campaign finance rules. Her rulings flowed from our philosophy of judicial restraint. At her confirmation hearing, she said, and I quote, "Judges are not only not authorized to engage in executive or legislative functions, they're also ill-equipped to do so."

That said, she was also a central figure in one of the courts most argued over examples of judicial activism. She sided with conservatives and supported George W. Bush in the case that swung the 2000 presidential election to him. Six years later, after nearly a quarter century as a justice, she retired to take care of her husband who had an Alzheimer's disease. She was replaced by Justice Samuel Alito and abortion and other social issues she supported were eventually overturned as the court became more conservative.


In 2018, when she was diagnosed with dementia, she wrote in a letter to the public that she was grateful for her countless blessing. She's survived by her three sons. Sandra Day O'Connor was 93 years old.

That's it for us. The news continues. Have a good weekend. "THE SOURCE" starts now.