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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Federal Prosecutors File New Criminal Case Against Hunter Biden; Trump Attends New York Civil Fraud Trial As Accounting Expert Testifies For Defense; Trump Expected To Testify In NY Civil Fraud Trial On Monday; Defense Accounting Expert Argues NY AG's Allegations Against Trump Have No Merit; Wharton Advisory Board Calls For Leadership Change Over UPenn President's Remarks About Campus Antisemitism; Lies, Conspiracies And The Threats To Public Officials And Election Workers; Hunter Biden Faces Nine Criminal Charges In New Federal Tax Case; Israel Releases Photo Of Hamas Leaders In Tunnel; Says Five Of 11 In Image Are Now Dead; Images From Gaza Show Israeli Soldiers Detaining Dozens Of Men Stripped To Underwear; MI School Shooter Could Spend The Rest Of His Life Behind Bars; Victim's Parents Say More Should Have Been Done; 103-Year-old Pear Harbor Attack Survivor Returns To Hawaii To Honor Those Killed 82 Years Ago Today. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired December 07, 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: Finally, CNN shining light on 10 extraordinary people who give back to their communities. Anderson Cooper and Laura Coates will host "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute." They'll be joined by a celebrity guest to reveal this Hero of the Year this Sunday at 8:00 only on CNN.
Thanks so much for joining us. ANDERSON starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with breaking news.
New federal charges against the president's son, Hunter Biden. They have not yet been made public. We've learned of their existence just before airtime and do not know the details, only that in addition to being the second set of charges he is facing, anything to do with the president's son is potentially significant, all the more so during a presidential campaign.
Here with the latest, CNN Legal Affairs Correspondent, Paula Reid. Paula, what do you know about these charges?
PAULA REID, CNN LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Anderson. Well, our colleague Evan Perez breaking the news that the Justice Department has filed a new criminal case against Hunter Biden. We don't know the specific charges because the court documents are not yet public.
Just a few weeks ago, we broke the news that the special counsel appointed to investigate the president's son, David Weiss, has been using a Los Angeles-based grand jury to gather evidence about Hunter Biden's finances, specifically his taxes. Now, going back to 2018, the Trump-appointed US attorney has been investigating Hunter Biden's finances.
Hunter Biden repeatedly missed IRS deadlines to pay his taxes and eventually owed around $2 million. Anderson, he did pay back what he owed, including $800,000 in penalties and fees, and this was all expected to be resolved as part of a plea deal where he would plead guilty to two misdemeanors. But over the summer, that plea deal fell apart. The US attorney David Weiss was then appointed a special counsel, and the investigation was revived. Now, the special counsel has already filed three gun charges against Hunter Biden in Delaware.
Now, Hunter Biden's lawyers insist that, here, the special counsel is bowing to pressure from Republicans to charge the president's son with something. They do not believe that a criminal trial is the proper venue for these allegations, and they are confident on the gun charge that they will prevail at trial.
Anderson, again, it's unclear exactly what charges have been filed in Los Angeles, but they previously told me that they believe that they bring this tax case not as a plea deal, but as a criminal trial, that they will win.
COOPER: Paula stick around. I want to bring in CNN's Senior Political Commentator and Former Obama Senior Adviser David Axelrod. David, a lot we don't know, but what impact do you think these new charges could potentially have on the president's reelection campaign?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, house Republicans have been trying for two years, Anderson, to link the president to his son's activities. And that hasn't really panned out. there's been no financial gain shown for Biden.
And so, in that sense, this is about his son, it's not about him. But there is no doubt that supporters of President Trump, who is facing four separate trials, will try and conflate the two and muddy the waters to try and take some of the pressure off of himself.
I think, Anderson, the most significant impact is not on the president as a candidate or as president, it's as a father. These are burdens on a family. And you know you just did a depthful conversation with the president about grief. He has lost a lot in his life. He lost two children.
I'm sure that this is a source of concern for him. And how that affects him as a candidate may be as important as what kind of impact it has on him politically, and what others do with it.
COOPER: He has obviously avoided openly talking about his son's legal troubles, especially as House Republicans look to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. Do you see him continuing to do that?
AXELROD: I do, I do. You know, if I were him, I would speak of it about -- I would -- the only thing I would say is I'm concerned as father. I'm not thinking about this as a president. You know, I do think this will further ignite the House Republicans who have been desperately eager to do this. I think President Trump has probably urged them to do it, and now he has an ally in the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson. So this will be a log on the fire. The fire may not actually reach the door of the White House, but the Republicans will try and depict it as such.
COOPER: And, Paula, what is the process from here now that Hunter Biden faces new charges? Will there be an arraignment in short order?
REID: Sure. We'll see something similar to what we saw in Delaware. First, we are waiting for the unsealing of these court documents. We could see the nature of the charges, and we would expect that he would make his initial appearance, have an arraignment, likely next week probably. That would be the expected timing. And then I would expect that his lawyers would try to fight these charges the same way they are fighting the charges in Delaware.
It's been interesting, Anderson, over the last several months, we've seen a much more aggressive Hunter Biden. He, along with his attorney, Kevin Morris, they brought on Abbe Lowell -- of course, a very prominent attorney -- to make a much more forward-leaning approach to his detractors.
Now, they expected the criminal case was going to be resolved with a plea deal, but now they are also facing now two criminal cases, and they been very aggressive, very litigious, filing off lawsuits against detractors like Rudy Giuliani and his long-time friend and lawyer Rob Costello, sending letters to the Hill, demanding investigations into Congress folks. So it has been a very different approach than what we had seen before with Hunter Biden.
It was somewhat of a split with the White House to be more vocal, to be more forward-leaning. We've seen in just the past few days Hunter Biden is saying look, I'm not going to come up on the Hill and do a deposition unless you do it publicly, sort of engaging in this stalemate with Republicans on the Hill. I would expect that he and his attorneys will take just as aggressive a stance for this case, whatever it ends up being.
COOPER: David, I mean, you've been skeptical of the president's reelection prospects, not necessarily because of his son, more because of his age and poll numbers. But if he were ever to reconsider his candidacy, which is of now he is not, do you think anything around his son would factor in or could factor in?
AXELROD: I don't know, Anderson. I have the strong sense that the president is full speed ahead, and that he is going to go through with this campaign. But as I said, he's going to -- this is more than a political burden. This is an emotional burden, and we'll see.
But the family has always encouraged him, and I don't imagine they're going to discourage him now. And I do think, as Paula suggests, that there's going to be a major effort to depict these as politically motivated charges. And so, you know, it's kind of ironic because you see both sides trying to do that.
In that sense, this serves Donald Trump's purposes because he'd love to muddy the waters and suggest that the whole system is a swamp and point fingers in a lot of different directions. So it's just one more thing that's going to make it a messy, a messy campaign.
COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, Paula Reid, thanks so much.
Now, presidential politics, today the four Republican candidates who debated in Alabama last night were out on the campaign trail, trying to make the most of their performance. Donald Trump, who did not take part, was in New York. He was in court for his civil fraud trial and complaining it was keeping him away from the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER US PRESIDENT: It's called election interference. It's a sad day for our country that a thing like this can take place. I'm sitting in a courthouse instead of being in Iowa where I should be, even though I'm leading by about 40 points.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The former president, in Lower Manhattan earlier today, suggesting he was being kept unfairly off the campaign trail, which is just not true. This is a civil, not a criminal trial. He is under no obligation to attend, doesn't have to be there at all, yet this was his ninth time there.
As for his claim that it's interfering with his campaign, that doesn't appear to be true either. We know this because he has said so himself. Today, in a campaign email, which went out just moments before he spoke in that clip there, I quote from it now, he said, "They'd rather have me in court than on the campaign trail in Iowa with the first vote only 39 days away. But in some ways, I will still be on the campaign trail today."
He went on to say that every time he shows up in court, voters see how badly they need him back in the White House. In short, he is not really implying that this is part of his campaign. He is saying it and fundraising off of it, so it's sort of a twofer for him. It helps him campaign, he believes, and make money.
For more on his day and his upcoming testimony on Monday, CNN's Kara Scannell starts us off.
So let's talk about what happened in court today.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So as you said, this was Donald Trump's ninth time attending. And the first time he has attended his defense case and the witness that was on the stand today was their last expert witness. This was a professor of accounting from New York University. And this witness was unequivocal in giving Donald Trump exactly what he wanted to hear. His testimony today was that he said his review of the documents showed that there was absolutely no evidence of accounting fraud. He also said that he found no material misstatements on the financial statements that are at the heart of this case.
And the judge interjecting at one point, asking the professor if his testimony was that the attorney general's lawsuit had no merit, and the professor said, "Absolutely, that was exactly what his testimony was." So he went through a number of examples, saying that again and again that he saw no evidence of fraud.
Even, for example, the triplex apartment at Trump Tower that Trump owns, when Trump testified, he acknowledged that that was, at one point, incorrect on his financial statements, saying it was three times the size it actually was. Professor today is saying that was a mistake, an error, but he said it did not constitute any fraud.
Now, Trump, himself, was pretty quiet inside the courtroom today. He seemed to be paying attention to the professor's accounting. Outside, he praised him, praised his testimony. He also criticized the New York attorney general.
She shot back in a social media post saying that, "We have already proven this massive scope of his fraud. No matter how much he lies, the facts don't." And as a reminder, the judge has already found that the financial statements at the heart of this case have been fraudulently inflated. But Trump's play here is for an appeal, and that is why we have seen this testimony, along with many other expert witnesses in the case, and Trump himself will be taking the stand on Monday.
COOPER: And -- yes, so let's talk about that. On Monday, has he or his legal team given any indication as to what the testimony will entail?
SCANNELL: So his lawyers were out speaking today after court saying that Trump is not afraid to testify in this case, that he is going to come in there with an open mind, willing to answer any questions.
Now, you remember the last time he was on the stand when he was called by the New York attorney general's office. The judge had told one of Trump's lawyers to control their client because Trump was speaking as if he was at a campaign and not answering the questions at issue.
This time around, there will be much more leeway because he will be asked questions by his own lawyers, so it really remains to be seen exactly how broad they're going to try to make his testimony and exactly what issues he'll talk about. But the judge is going to try to keep a rein on this testimony -- Anderson.
COOPER: Kara Scannell, thanks.
With me here, CNN Legal Analyst and Former Chief Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Karen Friedman Magnifilo, also Investigative Journalist, Trump Biographer, and Syracuse University Law Lecturer, David Cay Johnston.
So, Karen, the -- I mean, the president didn't have to be in court today, didn't have to show up. Is there any legal importance in him being there in person?
KAREN FRIEDMAN MAGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Not at all. He chose to be here. Let's don't forget, this is not a jury trial, this is a judge trial, a bench trial. And so there -- and he didn't testify today. He didn't do anything in court. So he was just an observer today. There was -- this was his choice to be there.
COOPER: Does it not sort of show the judge how serious he is taking? I mean, there's -- is that impressing anything upon the judge, do you think?
MAGNIFILO: Potentially, I guess, that could be something that the judge looks at is that he is taking it seriously. But I think the judge knows he is taking it seriously.
COOPER: And, David, you heard that the NYU accounting professor testified for the defense today said the attorney general's claims of fraud had no merit. When asked about Trump's company claiming his New York apartment was three times the size than it actually is and therefore more valuable, he downplayed it saying it could have been inadvertent or accidental. Do you think it was?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, SYRACUSE LAW LECTURER: No, because there is some email traffic showing that Donald knew this with "Forbes" magazine. And there were other problems. Donald has valued at 10, 20, 30 times what they're worth.
So interestingly, Donald, every time he values something, none of them come in below. They come in above, And above by a lot.
I was, frankly, very surprised of this very eminent accounting professor's testimony as an expert witness, by the way, he came out today. He was paid more than $0.5 million.
COOPER: He was paid $500,000 for his testimony today?
JOHNSTON: Well, that's what came out in court is the Trumps have paid him over a $0.5 million. So I mean, that's not a normal expert witness you bring in who gets $25,000, $50,000, $60,000. That's a great deal of money. And there are clear badges of fraud in his statements. So that's what I find very surprising ...
COOPER: Karen, I mean, the ...
JOHNSTON: ... in the testimony.
COOPER: ... does the fact that he is a -- you know, a respected professor, I guess, at NYU, or the fact that he has paid $0.5 million, does that influence the judge?
MAGNIFILO: I mean, the judge will take both those things into consideration. I mean, he is a respected professor with a good resume, and he's been a long-term professor. It was for -- some of the things he did say were surprising.
COOPER: In what way?
MAGNIFILO: You know, he is an expert, right? He is supposed to talk about expert accounting principles. But for him to then opine that there was no fraud here, that's up to the judge to decide, right?
He can say what he thinks something is worth or what the equations are that should go into it. But how does he know whether something was a mistake, whether it was inadvertent.
COOPER: What the intent was.
MAGNIFILO: Exactly. I mean, that's sort of the ultimate question that the judge was there to determine. And to me, that shows that he's biased, frankly, towards Trump. He really -- it's -- as opposed to being just an expert on the subject, which is what an expert is supposed to be, and to educate the judge on valuations and things like that. But he really has decided that there was no fraud here and that there was no criminal intent. And I don't -- I think (inaudible).
COOPER: I'm wondering if the judge asking him directly about that saying -- are you saying that the case has no merit, indicates the judge also is raising that concern.
MAGNIFILO: Potentially, yes. I mean, potentially maybe he want -- maybe the judge wanted to see how far is he willing to go for Trump, how far is he willing to say these things about Trump. Because it's not just about the mistake about the tripling the size of the penthouse apartment, it was also things like saying that Mar-a-Lago is commercial property or its residential property when it suited him, because you get more favorable insurance terms if it's one versus the other or loan terms if it's one versus the other, or saying in another building that all of the units were rented out when they weren't because, once again, that makes it more valuable.
You know, there -- at a certain point that it's not really necessarily just mistakes potentially, and that's what the judge is there to determine.
COOPER: David, what do you expect when the former president takes the stand Monday? I mean, we saw -- you know, we heard his -- what his testimony was like the last time.
JOHNSTON: Well, the first time around, this was the state questioning Donald Trump. Now, it will be his attorneys laying out their case. This is what we want you to understand, Your Honor.
And what I'm looking forward to is the cross-examination of Donald Trump, how skillful it will be, asking him about things like, well, you said Mar-a-Lago to the county tax assessor is worth $27 million, now you're saying it's worth $0.5 billion, $1 billion, things like that. And the cross-examination, I think, will be the much more interesting part of this. We know the fundamental story they're going to put forward.
I'm an honest man. I've never done anything in my life that's required me to apologize to anybody.
COOPER: David Cay Johnston, appreciate it; Karen Friedman Agnifilo as well.
A quick reminder to stay tuned for Laura Coates live tonight when her guest will be former Attorney General Eric Holder. That's tonight 11:00 PM Eastern right here on CNN.
Next for us, more breaking news. The latest in the fallout after president -- the presidents of some of the country's most prestigious universities were asked by lawmakers to unequivocally condemn calls for the genocide of Jews, and then appeared to equivocate.
Plus, the latest on the fighting in Gaza and the progress Israeli forces say they're making on the ground there.
COOPER: Some more breaking news tonight. It comes on the first night of Hanukkah. In two months to the day Hamas perpetrated the massacre of citizens, most of them Jewish in Israel, the board of advisors at the University Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School tonight calling for a leadership change at UPenn. The board's letter to University President Liz Magill part of her backlash to her congressional testimony along with other Ivy League presidents on the subject of antisemitism on campus.
Miguel Marquez has more.
ELISE STEFANIK, (R) NEW YORK REPRESENTATIVE: Ms. Magill, at Penn, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn's rules or code of conduct, Yes or no?
LIZ MAGILL, UPENN PRESIDENT: If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment, yes.
STEFANIK: I am asking specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?
MAGILL: If it is directed and severe or pervasive, it is harassment.
STEFANIK: So the answer is yes?
MAGILL: It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman.
STEFANIK: It's a context dependent decision? That's your testimony today, calling for the genocide of Jews is depending upon the context? That is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer yes, Ms. Magill.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Presidents of three of the country's top schools, MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania sharply questioned this week on Capitol Hill over antisemitic rhetoric on their campuses now facing massive backlash for not taking a hardline stance against calls for genocide.
(PROTESTERS chanting, "From the river to sea.")
MAGILL: I have not heard calling for the genocide for Jews on our campus.
STEFANIK: But you've heard chants for intifada.
MAGILL: I've heard chants, which can be antisemitic depending on the context when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.
MARQUEZ (voice over): So far, no protesters held accountable.
NATHANIEL MORAN, (R) TEXAS REPRESENTATIVE: Have any students been expelled or disciplined for bullying, harassment, or these actions that you're listing?
CLAUDINE GAY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: I can assure you we have robust student disciplinary processes and we use them.
MORAN: No, no, no, I'm not -- I didn't ask about -- I did not ask about your process, I asked if any students had been disciplined or removed from Harvard as a result of the bullying and the harassment that's taken place based on their antisemitic views.
MARQUEZ (voice over): After the hearing, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill attempted to clarify her remarks, issuing a video statement.
MAGILL: When I was asked if the call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies, in that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies aligned with the US constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable. I was not focused on, but I should have been.
MARQUEZ (voice over): Harvard's President Claudine Gay issued a written statement after the House committee hearing, in part, saying, "Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community or any religious or ethnic group are vile. They have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account."
Pennsylvania's democratic governor said UPenn's Magill failed at the most basic level.
JOSH SHAPIRO, (D) PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: It shouldn't be hard, and there should be no nuance to that. She needed to give a one-word answer, and she failed to meet that test.
MARQUEZ (voice over): The White House making clear on calls for genocide, there is no room for nuance.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Calls for genocide are unacceptable. It's vile, and it's counter to everything this country stands for. I can't believe I even have to say that. I can't believe I even have to say that.
MARQUEZ (voice over): From the halls of congress to presidential politics ...
NIKKI HALEY, US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was disgusting to see what happened.
MARQUEZ (voice over): ... calls for all three university presidents to step aside, growing some business leaders, and the CEO of the anti- defamation league.
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: When I watch these presidents flail and feebly with legal-ish answers respond to a simple line of questioning, I've got to say, we've lost confidence in them.
MARQUEZ (voice over): Some Jewish students and their supporters demanding action.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jewish students do not believe that the MIT administration has done an adequate job to make students feel safe on campus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do something. Protect Jewish people. Protect your students.
COOPER: Miguel joins us now. I mean, that testimony was incredible, their responses. We mentioned the board of advisers of UPenn, for Wharton School, calling for change of leadership. Any likelihood that the UPenn (inaudible) that?
MARQUEZ: It is possible. The trustees met today. There is no answer out of that meeting so far. There was an emergency meeting called, this board of trustees, or the Wharton school, very powerful members of the alumni board for UPenn as well.
At MIT, interestingly, their executive committee has said they have full and unreserved support for its president up at MIT, but Congress now has also called for a full hearing that would have subpoena power and dig in even deeper. Lots of moving parts. It's going to keep going.
COOPER: And, Miguel Marquez, thank you. Appreciate it.
Just ahead, 360 investigates how election conspiracy theories turn into, and what we warn you now are graphic threats of violence against public official across the country like this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to (EXPLETIVES) hang you, traitor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give them a (EXPLETIVES) Alabama necktie, (EXPLETIVES).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The threats facing government officials and election workers are so gray that the Department of Homeland Security, in a threat assessment for next year, warns of Americans, quote, "motivated by conspiracy theories and anti-government or partisan grievances". These people, the department said, could use violence or threats of violence to disrupt elections.
Kyung Lah has the story about the conspiracies, how they fuel the threats and the lives forever change because of them. We warn you, much of the language you're about to hear is graphic and disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to hang you, traitor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give him a -- Alabama necktie, you piece of shit.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what it sounds like to work for the American people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You piece of shit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will take a bullet to your -- head if you -- my rights anymore.
LAH (voice-over): From members of Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell Matt Gaetz to watch his back. Tell him to watch his children. He's going to -- die.
LAH (voice-over): To your local government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People that are coming and visiting the homes of the Board of Supervisors and basically executing their families.
LAH (voice-over): But who and why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we come to lynch your stupid lying commie ass.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are all lines that I've heard come out of his mouth hundreds of times. My dad's been with that whole wave since the very beginning and it lit a fire.
LAH (on-camera): Hello? Excuse me.
(voice-over): The man we're trying to speak with is Mark Rissi.
MARK RISSI, CONVICTED FOR THREATENING TO KILL CLINT HICKMAN: I would never talk to you guys. Goodbye.
LAH (voice-over): He lives in a quiet corner of Iowa, in a suburb of Cedar Rapids. Rissi will go to federal prison next month. Convicted for threatening to kill an election official. CNN reviewed more than 500 federally prosecuted threats to public officials.
In the last decade, at least 40 percent were politically motivated. Overall, prosecuted threats to named lawmakers jumped 168 percent during Trump's presidency. Threats to Republicans making up the bulk of cases. 95 percent of those prosecuted men, average age 39.
Mental health issues, divorce, loss of a loved one, isolation, all recurring themes in the cases. A profile that the son of Mark Rissi (ph) of Iowa recognizes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he was a great dad. He was very present. He's always been a conservative. You know, they'll never take our guns kind of a guy. But over the course of the last 10 years, it's gotten really, really intense.
LAH (on-camera): Your mother at this point was starting to become ill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. She started showing signs of dementia. Turned out she had early onset Alzheimer's. And so, my dad was her caretaker. Taking care of my mother 24/7. How he would get away from that would be to dive into, you know, literature and politics and the Internet.
But getting lost in his newsfeeds, I think was really the main culprit here. The turning point where I started to realize that, while this is a serious problem, is when he bet me $100 that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would be hung in the next 30 days.
LAH (voice-over): The final break between father and son happened during protests after the police murder of George Floyd, when his son supported a local Iowa march.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a message from my dad in the middle of the night that said, you know, your boys, Antifa, are now a terrorist group.
M. RISSI: You come near my house and I will drop you like the sack of shit you are. I never want to see your stupid -- face again. You're a -- moron. I hate your guts, you little prick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He really, you know, has put aside having family- related interactions, right? He's given up all of that so that he can 100 percent focus on this, you know, whole anti-government operation.
LAH (voice-over): Rissi's father was also calling someone 1,500 miles away in Arizona. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to get started.
LAH (voice-over): Clint Hickman, Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
M. RISSI: Hello, Mr. Hickman. You're going to die, you piece of shit. We're going to hang you.
LAH (voice-over): The county board oversees Election Day voting and tabulation. Starting in 2020, lies spread into conspiracies and threats. There were hundreds upon hundreds of terrifying calls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Clint, you -- liar. You goddamn CCP, butt- rimming piece of shit. Pile of shit. You -- great reset corrupt politicians.
CLINT HICKMAN, REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: I've lived through my staff. This county has lived through a mountain of threats. And this is basically, in my case, the one guy that was caught.
LAH (voice-over): Rissi will spend two and a half years in prison for the threatening call he made to Hickman.
HICKMAN: I'm just a public servant and representative that has the audacity to take part in running fair and clean elections. And if law enforcement can catch him, I'm absolutely there to see people to go to jail because I'm worried about our election workers.
JOHN DIXON KELLER, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY CHIEF, DOJ PUBLIC INTEGRITY SECTION: The Mark Rissi case epitomizes the type of conduct that the task force is trying to combat, and that's because it threatens the foundation of our democracy. Death threats are criminal and they will be prosecuted.
LAH (voice-over): John Keller leads the election Threats Task force at the Department of Justice, formed after the 2020 election. The task force currently has dozens of active investigations, but Keller says it's a drop in the bucket.
KELLER: We can only investigate and prosecute threats of unlawful violence.
LAH (on-camera): What percentage are cases that just don't meet that standard?
KELLER: Over 90 percent are cases --
LAH (on-camera): That's a lot.
KELLER: -- that do not meet the standard. And it gives you a sense of what the election community is dealing with and what they're facing and why we can't prosecute our way out of this problem.
LAH (voice-over): One in five election workers signaled they wanted to quit after the midterms. More than half worried about their safety.
(on-camera): What do you think as we look ahead into this election year? Are there going to be more people like your father?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I hope not, but I know that there is going to be, right? Like, I'm actually pretty scared to see what's kind of on the horizon there.
COOPER: Kyung La joins us now. I feel so sorry for his son. What measures are available to election workers to protect themselves and their colleagues?
LAH: Well, the Department of Justice tells us that there is some funding out there. They certainly are working with local, federal authorities in each jurisdiction to get training. There is funding available to get securities as well as hardening some of these election spaces.
And they do hope that that message will get out to the election workers to begin talking about it, report everything to the federal authorities, but also talk to the public, share their stories. So there is this awareness that this is horrible and it is simply unacceptable.
The Department of Justice also adds this, that while the bulk of these cases simply cannot be prosecuted, they do intend to chase the ones that can. And they hope to send a very strong message in 2024.
COOPER: Kyung Lah, thanks so much.
I want to go back to our breaking news because we've just gotten hold of the new Hunter Biden indictment. I want to go back to CNN's Paula Reid. What have you learned, Paula?
PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I have the indictment right here. It's voluminous. It's 56 pages. But in going through this, the Justice Department details the allegations supporting these nine counts that they have filed against Hunter Biden. They include three felony tax offenses and six misdemeanor tax offenses.
Now to put that in context, Hunter Biden was hoping to resolve this investigation by pleading guilty to just two misdemeanors. But here, the Justice Department is alleging that he engaged in a four-year scheme in which they say he chose not to pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed between 2016 and 2019.
And then they also accuse him of trying to evade the assessment of taxes for 2018 when he filed false returns. Now, they allege that he subverted the payroll and tax withholding process of his own company by withdrawing millions outside of that process. They also accuse him of spending millions of dollars on a, quote, "extravagant lifestyle" rather than paying his tax bills. They say in 2018 he stopped paying his outstanding and overdue taxes for the tax year 2015 and willfully failed to pay his 2016, 2017 2018 and 2019 taxes on time, despite, they say, having access to funds to pay some or all of these taxes. They allege he willfully failed to file in 2017 and 2018.
And then when he did finally file in 2018, they say that he did so to reduce the very substantial tax liability he faced in February 2020. Again, these are tax allegations. It's a little in the weeds, but he faces a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison.
Now, of course, oftentimes sentences are far less than the maximum. But I'll note that in the press release tonight, Anderson, the Justice Department also says that the investigation is ongoing. And that's notable because the question of whether the investigations into the President's son were fully going to be wrapped up with a plea deal or if they would possibly continue, that became a real key issue between his lawyers and the Justice Department.
So notable that they included that here. It feels a little bit more than just the standard boilerplate, but we would expect that the President's son would likely make his first court appearance probably sometime next week.
COOPER: All right, Paula Reid, appreciate the update. Thank you.
Just ahead, an update from Israel and Gaza, exactly two months since Hamas's October 7th attack.
COOPER: There's more breaking news this evening. Two months since the October 7th attack that sparked Israel's war with Hamas, we're seeing new images from the war in Gaza including one released by the IDF that they say shows senior military leaders of Hamas who have been killed.
Jeremy Diamond joins us now from Ashkelon, Israel. So Jeremy, first of all, Israel is vowed to obviously destroy Hamas. They now say they've eliminated five of 11 senior Hamas commanders in a photograph that they released.
It seems like Hamas is organized enough to hand over hostages and still fight. So what is it Israel saying about their progress in this war?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, still organized to do those things and also to fire rockets against cities in Israel. And we've seen those barrages take up again over the last several days since that fragile truce between Israel and Hamas ended.
Israel is trying to show the progress that it is making towards its primary objective of destroying Hamas and removing it from power in Gaza, showing that image of five out of those 11 senior commanders of the Northern brigade of Gaza, being eliminated. Also talking about two other senior Hamas officials who were killed in a strike on an Intelligence Center in Gaza.
But what is clear is that even as Israel pushes deeper into southern Gaza, entering the city of Khan Younis, encircling the home of Hamas's leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, although that is simply a symbolic victory, according to Israeli officials.
What they're doing is they're making advances militarily but they are still not quite close to that broad goal of destroying Hamas.
Two months in, we are watching as this military offensive is still proceeding. But with U.S. pressure ramping up on the front as it relates to civilian casualties, Israeli officials very much know, two months into this war, six months into that ground operation, that the clock is definitely ticking. And the question is, can they achieve their goals with the time that they may have left?
COOPER: There's also this video that's appeared of dozens of men being detained. What do we know about it?
DIAMOND: Yes, these images were circling on social media today and it shows dozens of Palestinian men detained by Israeli forces in Gaza. We don't know exactly when or where these videos were taken, although some of them we have geolocated to the northern Gaza city of Beit Lahia.
And in it you can see men who are blindfolded, who are stripped to their underwear, who are detained on streets and in the backs of military vehicles. What we also know is that while some of them may be Hamas fighters, certainly we know that not all of them are.
And that's because CNN has spoken with the families and the employers of some of the men spotted in these videos. One of the men is actually a journalist for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. His employer says that he was detained along with members of his family. Another relative of another individual who was spotted said that that man simply went out of his house when he was ordered to do so by Israeli forces and was subsequently detained.
So a lot of questions about these videos and the mass detention and the treatment of these individuals. CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for comments. They haven't responded, although Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari, he said that the IDF investigates and checks who has ties to Hamas and who does not. Anderson?
COOPER: Jeremy Diamond, thanks very much.
Coming up next, remembering the victims of the UNLV campus shooting. Also, a sentencing hearing tomorrow in another shooting case, a Michigan high school shooting, where the parents of one of the victims fear the punishment will not fit the crime.
[20:51:08] COOPER: This afternoon, authorities in Las Vegas said all three victims of Wednesday's shooting on the campus of UNLV were faculty members. They identified two of them, said the name of the third will be shared once their next of kin is notified.
Well, tonight we remember Patricia Navarro-Velez, an assistant professor of accounting. She came to UNLV nearly five years ago. And according to the university president, she had devoted her career to educating the next generation of accountants. The Las Vegas Review Journal says the mom of four was from Puerto Rico. She was just 39 years old.
We also remember Professor Cha Jan Chang, who liked to be called Jerry. He taught management information systems at the business school and had an educator -- been an educator at UNLV for more than 20 years. Jerry Chang was 64 today.
Today police also identified the dead shooter as a 67-year-old man. Investigators are still trying to understand his motive. Las Vegas sheriff says the gunman applied, quote, numerous times for jobs at different Nevada Higher Ed learning institutions and was rejected by all of them.
The sheriff also said the gunman had a list of people they say he was seeking on campus and none of them were victims. Also that before the shooting, he mailed 22 letters to various university personnel across the country, one of which so far was found to obtain a white substance.
While Las Vegas authorities continue their investigation, another shooting will be the focus of a sentencing hearing tomorrow in Michigan at a high school. In that case, a teen gunman had pleaded guilty to killing four fellow students and wounding seven others.
A judge is going to decide whether he's going to face life in prison without parole, the harshest punishment allowed. For the parents of one of the victims, though, that is not enough. They spoke with Omar Jimenez.
CRAIG SHILLING, VICTIM'S FATHER: Every single day I have is cloudy. There's this emptiness. A big void in your heart, you know, family life. That's been the hardest.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Craig Shilling is the father of Justin Shilling, one of four students killed by a classmate in Oxford, Michigan, in November 2021. Justin's parents are joining the hundreds of American families who've had to meld grief with legal procedure.
In this case, the gunman pleaded guilty to terrorism and murder charges in October 2022. The sentence could be life without parole, the harshest penalty available in Michigan.
JILL SOAVE, VICTIM'S MOTHER: Nothing is enough. You know, he gets to live and my son doesn't.
SHILLING: That's not enough.
JIMENEZ (on-camera): Why is it not enough?
SHILLING: I personally feel that when you do something like that, that you should meet the same fate.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): In some of Shilling's final moments, he was hiding in a bathroom with another student, Keegan Gregory, who was texting his family in real time. He killed him. OMFG. Gregory ran and survived.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The day he came home, he sat with us and he said, I shouldn't have left him. But there's nothing he could have done.
JIMENEZ (on-camera): The shooter himself, of course, you feel there are others that need to be held accountable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot let it go.
JIMENEZ (on-camera): While the sentencing in the criminal case is one major thing these families are dealing with, they've also filed civil lawsuits because they believe the school and some of its employees should have done more to stop this from happening in the first place.
(voice-over): And an independent report commissioned by the Oxford Board of Education found, in part, "that had proper threat assessment guidelines been in place and district threat assessment policy followed, this tragedy was avoidable."
VEN JOHNSON, LAWYER, REPRESENTS OXFORD SHOOTING VICTIMS: What we do in civil law is we go after everybody who's culpable. Their own paid for report says they screwed up and could have prevented the shooting.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): But in March, a state judge sided with the Oxford School District, ruling it was protected by governmental immunity. The families are appealing. The last time his father saw the shooter in court, he had to restrain himself.
SHILLING: I just wanted to jump the benches, and I know it's not right.
SOAVE: You know, I wouldn't say that I'm will ever forgive him and I don't think I'm required to. You know being in the courtroom with a person that murdered my son. But I have to accept that this has happened.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): Omar Jimenez, CNN, Oxford, Michigan.
COOPER: Coming up next, a remarkable moment. 103-year-old survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor turn to Hawaii to honor fellow service members who were killed on that day 82 years ago, leading American to World War II.
COOPER: Today marks 82 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched in the U.S. into World War II. And 103-year-old veteran and attack survivor made the trip to Hawaii to be at today's commemoration. Ike Schab was the oldest of five other survivors on hand.
As they do every year, there was a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the moment the first bombs fell. More than 2,300 service men were killed in the attack, a date then President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, we'll live in infamy.
That's it for us. The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLIN COLLINS" starts now. See you tomorrow.