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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

US Vetoes UN Security Council Resolution For Gaza Ceasefire; Cites No Mention Of Hamas Attack In Resolution; Harvard President Apologizes For Congressional Testimony As Divide On Israel-Hamas War Grows At US Colleges; Fallout Of Israel-Hamas War On US College Campuses; Federal Appeals Court Largely Upholds Trump Gag Order Citing "Significant And Imminent Threat" To Trial Process; A Parade And Politics; Hunter Biden Says Republicans Are Investigating Him In Order To Undermine His Father's Presidency; Hunter Biden Faces Nine Federal Criminal Charges In Tax Case; MI High School Shooter Sentenced To Life In Prison Without Parole; MI School Shooter's Parents To Stand Trial Next Year On Involuntary Manslaughter Charges. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 08, 2023 - 20:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us. Hope you have a peaceful weekend. ANDERSON COOPER 360 starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: On 360, I'm sorry, an apology, from Harvard's president as anger and division over Israel's war against Hamas rages on US college campuses.

Also, good news about the US economy, but why so many don't believe it. Elle Reeve is at West Monroe, Louisiana, to understand the disconnect.

And a school shooter hears his sentence, an emotional day for the family of four Michigan high school students he gunned down two years ago.

We start with breaking news. A short time ago, the united states vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, citing no mention in the resolution of the attack by Hamas. Thirteen countries voted in favor; the UK abstained.

In Israel, that country's defense minister said he believes there are signs Hamas is, in his words, beginning to break inside Gaza. Today, an Israeli flag was seen raised in the middle of Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City in the north.

Alex Marquardt has more on the scale and intensity of the battle. Alex joins us now. So those comments from the defense minister, what evidence, if any, is there to support what he said?

ALEX MARQUARDT: Well, Anderson, no doubt Israel has significantly degraded Hamas' capabilities. They have taken out several thousand of their fighters. They have killed several -- many, in fact -- of their mid and senior level commanders. They have seized a lot of their arsenal.

But, Anderson, intense fighting remains, particularly, around the city of Khan Younis. That's where several of Hamas's top leaders are believed to be, including its most senior leader, Yahya Sinwar.

Hamas continues to fire rockets. There are at least three barrages aimed at Tel Aviv today. The Iron Dome was deployed. So there is still a lot of concern about what Hamas can do. There's an expectation that this phase -- this high-intensity phase of the campaign is going to continue for at least a couple more weeks. Many, of course, asking, at what cost?

Anderson, we have to warn our viewers that some of the images they are about to see are graphic.


MARQUARDT (voice over): The fight in Gaza's second biggest city intensified. Israel's military claiming today to have killed dozens of Hamas militants in Khan Younis, in what it called tunnel-to-tunnel and house-to-house raids.

Khan Younis is a main stronghold of Hamas, Israel believes, where top Hamas leaders may be. Strikes were carried out in Gaza on around 450 targets over the past day, Israel said on Friday, as the Hamas- controlled health ministry reported the death toll in Gaza had climbed to around 17,500.

According to the World Health Organization, Khan Younis hospitals are now at the breaking point -- over double capacity.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

MARQUARDT (voice over): This father of a wounded boy says they were in a designated safe zone and the children were playing outside when a deadly strike happened.

The health ministry added today that infectious diseases are ripping through the population -- some 300,000 cases of 15 different diseases, which CNN cannot verify.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)

MARQUARDT (voice over): "All this water is salty, it's dirty, it's got diseases in it," this woman says. "We drink it. We wash with it. The children have gotten diarrhea from it."

Gaza, a UN official said, is on the brink of full-blown collapse, the fighting forcing even greater waves of Palestinians toward the southernmost point of Gaza, where there isn't enough shelter, food, water, or fuel.

Israel accused Hamas on Thursday of firing rockets from within humanitarian zones. And today, sirens blared over Tel Aviv twice to warn of incoming rocket fire. The booms of the Iron Dome intercepting the rockets echoing across the city. Hundreds of terror suspects have been arrested in Gaza, the IDF says. And they accuse the men in these photos of being members or suspected members of Hamas, stripped down to make sure they weren't carrying explosives.

But one news organization said they spotted one of their journalists, and the relative of two other men told CNN his brother and cousin have no militant ties.


COOPER: And, Alex, the IDF has said two soldiers were severely wounded in an operation of rescue hostages. What more do we know about that?

MARQUARDT: Yes, Anderson, they announced that today. They said it was an operation overnight to rescue several hostages. The operation was not successful.

You have these two soldiers who were severely wounded. The IDF saying that they did actually kill several Hamas militants.


We know of at least one other rescue operation like this carried out by special operations at the end of October. A young private was rescued. Of course, Anderson, these hostages -- and there are 137 of them who still remain in Gaza -- are being held all over, we believe, by different groups above ground, below ground. We believe that they are being moved.

This comes at a time -- these operations are happening at the same time that the hostage talks have come to a complete standstill, the mediators -- Qatar, Egypt, and US -- trying to get Israel and Hamas back to the table, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon -- Anderson.

COOPER: Alex Marquardt, in Tel Aviv. Alex, thank you.

We have seen startling divisions on college campuses in the wake of the war in Israel and Gaza. The leaders of Harvard, MIT, and UPenn are now under fire after their testimony to Congress in which they refuse to say that calls for genocide against Jews on campus would violate their schools' codes of conduct on harassment and bullying. There are now calls for those university presidents to resign.

Nick Watt has more on the divisions at another major school in California.


JOHN STRAUSS, PROFESSOR, USC: ... be killed and I hope they all are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the news!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got that on video. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the ...

NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST (voice over): Those five seconds have been reposted by national influencers, viewed millions of times on Instagram. Watch again.

STRAUSS: ... be killed and I hope they all are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the news!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got that on video. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the ...

WATT (voice over): The caption attached. This USC professor, John Strauss, threatened these students, hope you get killed, and I hope they all are, during a campus rally for Gaza. "We call on USC to terminate this professor immediately." The college paper claimed, "Tenured economics professor says, "I hope they all are killed," walking by event mourning Palestinian deaths.

Is that really what he meant or even what he said? Strauss, who is Jewish and pro-Israel appeared on the campus news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Annenberg Media spoke with a USC processor who was put on administrative leave after a confrontation at a protest of Palestinian lives.

STRAUSS: I started getting emails -- very, very, very nasty emails, things from, I hope you die you fascist pig, to Palestine forever.

WATT (voice over): While an actual war rages thousands of miles away, this video and its fallout typified the current conflicts on so many American college campuses.

DAVID KEATING, PRESIDENT, INSTITUTE FOR FREE SPEECH: We have an atmosphere that's hostile to free speech is the key problem. The people who are going to college are adults, but a lot of them are acting like children. They want to see people punished for their speech.

WATT (voice over): So, what actually happened that day here in LA? Well, here is a longer version of that video, 21 seconds, not five.

STRAUSS: You people are ignorant, really ignorant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Professor Strauss, I believe.

STRAUSS: Hamas are murderers. That's all they are. Everyone should be killed, and I hope they all are.

And that they should all die, everyone one of them, referred, of course, to Hamas. WATT (voice over): The longer video of Professor Strauss was shot and posted by this student, founder of Trojans for Palestine. She asked that we obscure her identity for fear of reprisals.

WATT (on camera): Your identity is hidden here, but you exposed the identity of Professor Strauss. So how do you kind of reconcile that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, FOUNDER, TROJANS FOR PALESTINE: Professor Strauss, first of all, like, he is, a grown man, like, like you said, tenured faculty who harassed students.

WATT (voice over): She says Strauss stepped on the names of the dead. He said that it must have been an accident. Emotions, she said, were high.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So as I know students, we're like (inaudible) in front of us, and they were filming the names and, like, laughing at them.

WATT (voice over): We spoke to a Jewish student who was there, remembering their own dead. He did film the names, and he was disrespectful. He apologizes for any offense caused but told CNN he does not know for sure that all those names are innocent dead Palestinians because the source is the Gaza health ministry, controlled by Hamas.

And that's a basic problem on these campuses. The two sides barely agree even on any basic facts.

WATT (on camera): Trojans for Palestine, why did you feel moved to create that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a very large Jewish population on campus. We have obviously the Shoah Foundation. I have seen a lot of misinformation being spread.

WATT (voice over): And the two sides cannot even agree on the meaning of what actually comes out of mouths at the many pro-Palestinian rallies.

(CROWD chanting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!")

WATT (voice over): Many pro-Palestinians say it's just a call for freedom. Many Jews say it's a call for genocide, for the destruction of Israel, which right now lies between the river and the sea.


(on camera): Is there a way back from where we are right now, where both sides feel similar things in terms of their voices being suppressed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On a personal level, no. What I know about someone is unequivocally going to support Israel, I will cut them out of my life.


COOPER: And Nick Watt joins us now from Los Angeles. What more is USC saying about this?

WATT: Well, that's very interesting. I mean, what they're saying basically gives us the other slice of the story, which is how college administrators across this country are struggling to deal with this. They're trying to nullify and to sway. They're trying not to offend. And they're making mistakes in the process, as we've seen on Capitol Hill.

Here at USC, they say Strauss was never placed on administrative leave. He says he was on November 10th, so I kept on pushing. And eventually they told me, our statement discusses his status since November 13th. Not exactly clear and candid.

They now say that -- I mean, they have said all along that they are shocked by the comments attached to those videos. And they now say, you know, all restrictions are lifted. He's allowed back on campus. Also, worth noting that classes for the semester have finished.

They also say he has not been punished in any way. Last I heard from his lawyer, he's still under investigation and still could be punished. As I say, they don't appear to know how to deal with all this stuff that is going on college campuses. And it continues to happen -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, appreciate it. Thank you.

We mentioned the controversy over the comments made by president of Harvard, Penn, and MIT and the calls for them to resign. Harvard's President, Claudine Gay, apologized in the interview with the school's newspaper published today, saying, "I'm sorry." She told "The Harvard Crimson," "words matter."

Congressman Josh Gottheimer went to two of the schools -- Penn and Harvard and is one of dozens of Jewish members in the House. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: Congressman Gottheimer, thanks for being with us. I'm wondering what was your reaction to what these university -- and when you heard these university presidents saying this and what they decline -- and what they said and what they declined to say in that House hearing, and now how they've been trying to clean it up, what do you make of it?

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D), NEW JERSEY: I mean, I literally had to watch it multiple times because my jaw was on the ground. I couldn't believe they were actually saying that calling for the genocide of Jews did not violate their code of conduct and trigger bullying and harassment issues on their campus.

And so, frankly, I think the level of outrage across the country, you know, is making them try to rewrite what they said. But the bottom line is, they were saying, unless there was actually conduct, unless a Jewish student was killed, it didn't violate their code of conduct and bullying and harassment unless it was actual conduct, you know? And I think we're all in the same place on this. And everyone you heard ask questions of those presidents in shock.

COOPER: The Harvard president told the school's "Crimson" newspaper, quote, "I am sorry. Words matter. When words amplify distress and pain, I don't know how you could feel anything but regret."

The University of Pennsylvania president, "I'm not sure she directly apologized. She said, in that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies aligned with US constitution, which said that speech alone is not punishable.

She also went on to say, "I was not focused, but I should've been on the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide for Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It's evil, plain and simple." Do you think they've gone far enough? Do you think they should step down?

GOTTHEIMER: I certainly think the three of them should step aside. Imagine being a parent of a student on that campus who, you know -- and I don't ever want any student -- I don't care if you're Jewish, if you're Muslim. I don't want anyone to be afraid to go to class, to be who they are, regardless of their background.

And, to me, I don't know if you're -- how if you're a Jewish student right now on those campuses -- and, frankly, on a lot of campuses in our country -- you're not just afraid. And that's when people are screaming death to Jews or dirty little Jew or other things that I've heard from a lot of my constituency of students of what it feels like. I mean, this campus where they literally don't want to go to class. They can't wear head covering, yarmulke, right? They just can't be who they are.

And I never want that. You know, you have a freedom of speech as I believe in strongly as a member of Congress, but you also do have a freedom from fear. And no one should be afraid.

COOPER: We mentioned this newly launched House Education and Workforce Committee investigation to Harvard, MIT, and UPenn. I know you're not on that committee. Do you have a sense of what the lawmakers would be investigating, what kind of leverage they would have over private colleges?

GOTTHEIMER: Each of these colleges receives a large amount of federal funding, research funding, and other resources, you know, and a certain violation of Title IV. I think this department -- the Department of Education needs to investigate as well.

They can lose their funding. The government should not encourage environments that literally put students in fear, again, regardless of background and, I mean, if it's antisemitism, islamophobia, none of this should be accepted. And we need to send a very strong message to these campuses that this can't go on and this -- whatever these presidents said shouldn't be accepted. [20:15:15]

COOPER: I mean, obviously, incidents of antisemitism in the US have been widespread, not just at these three universities. How do you want to see it addressed on a national level?

GOTTHEIMER: Well, as someone who went to one of these schools and who is on the Intelligence Committee and seeing not just what's going on here but around the world in terms of the surge of antisemitism, you know, which has reached all-time highs, and what do I think? I think, as a country, we need to make sure we stand up to hate in all its forms. A lot of it is about education and teaching.

We got -- I believe that TikTok is right now in the disinformation, is causing huge destruction to the truth in our country. I think we have to make sure that we get the facts out and that we teach that hate is unacceptable in all forms. And the most important place to teach that, of course, is at our college campuses and our schools.

COOPER: Congressman Josh Gottheimer, thank you for your time.

GOTTHEIMER: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.


COOPER: Still to come tonight, Trump loses another fight over a gag order, this time involving the federal 2020 election case. There is, though, one person on the case he can keep criticizing. We'll have details ahead.

Also, Hunter Biden facing a new indictment and speaking out, attacking congressional Republicans in a new interview. What he said, ahead.



COOPER: A federal appeals court panel today largely upheld the gag order in the former president's federal election subversion case, writing that his public statements about witnesses and others pose a, quote, "significant and imminent threat to the trial's proceedings."

Now, the decision bars the former president from talking about witnesses, and court staff, and their families, but he now can comment specifically about Special Counsel Jack Smith. Judge has also called any delay in the trial date counterproductive, and they said he can't use his presidential candidacy nor the First Amendment as a shield.

Quoting from the final paragraph, the decision, quote, "We do not allow such an order lightly. Mr. Trump is a former president and current candidate for the presidency, and there is a strong public interest in what he has to say, but Mr. Trump is also an indicted criminal defendant, and he must stand trial in a courtroom under the same procedures that govern all other criminal defendants. That is what the rule of law means." The former president vows to appeal. I want to get perspective from actual attorneys, Elie Honig, a former assistant US attorney, and Carrie Cordero, former counsel to the US Assistant to the Attorney General for National Security.

Elie, what do you make of the ruling?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think the Court of Appeals got it spot on here. It's a difficult balance.

But what the Court of Appeals has done is craft a ruling that's as narrow as possible, that protects Donald Trump's very broad First Amendment interest, but also protects the trial. And I think the best way to understand it is if we look at the history.

Originally, DOJ asked for a very broad -- overbroad gag order. They basically wanted to prevent Trump from saying anything about anybody to do with the case.

Judge Chutkan, I think, wisely rejected that. And she instead said, he can say what he wants, but he can't talk about court staff or witnesses, and he can't do something that might interfere with the jury.

And today, the Court of Appeals just narrowed that a little bit more by saying, he can talk about Jack Smith, though. So really, he can say much of what he would want and need to say to defend himself vigorously in the public, but also were protecting the trial. So I think they got it right.

COOPER: And, Carrie, as you mentioned, the former president has already vowed to appeal the gag order ruling. What are the chances of him winning this if it ends up at the Supreme Court?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think -- I agree with Elie that I think the appellate court drew -- walked a really difficult line and drew the line where they should. So I don't think that the Supreme Court would necessarily alter it too much.

But we honestly don't know, Anderson, because this is a really challenging order to be implemented. I think it's going to be hard if, for each instance, that the former president then says something or tweets something, if then that goes back to the district court judge whose order has now been slightly adjusted by the appellate level, and how is the district court judge going to have to navigate each one of those instances? Because the former president, we know how he acts in public, so he will go right up to lines. He will try to cross the line ever so slightly. And I think it's going to be a difficult opinion to implement as a practical matter.

COOPER: And, Elie, the -- I mean, the former president continues to insist that he has absolute immunity, which is obviously an argument that Judge Chutkan has rejected. They're going to appeal it, but there's a lot of -- that's an important issue to decide. HONIG: Yes, I mean, the gag order is important. But the immunity issue is make or break because if Trump wins, I think it's unlikely -- it's possible but unlikely. If he wins on this, the case is over.

Now, he's appealing now. He's arguing to the Court of Appeals. First of all, there is such thing as criminal immunity. We don't even know that there is such thing as civil immunity, but Trump is trying to make a novel argument that there's criminal immunity. And he's arguing what I'm accused of doing here was part of my job as president. Judge Chutkan has rejected that. I think whatever the Court of Appeals does, this is going up to the Supreme Court.

The other thing that Trump is arguing is, while I'm going through the appeal, everything at the trial court level, all the discovery, all the motions, all the stuff you get ready to do before trial, all that should be put on hold. And if he succeeds on that, that can really jeopardize the march trial date. So that's really important. We have to keep an eye on that.

COOPER: And, Carrie, what would you expect the Supreme Court to do with that question of whether Trump has immunity?

CORDERO: So on the immunity, I think he's going to lose substantively. He has tried to make these different claims of immunity in a number of different contexts. He loses every time. He continues to create a law that is not in his favor on that issue of immunity. He tries to claim it as a former president.

So, I think he loses on that. But I do think that there is the potential as its way -- as it makes its way through the court, particularly if it ends up in the Supreme Court, to push that march trial date. So, I think he has less substantive merit on that case, different than the appellate decision on the First Amendment issues, which acknowledge that he had some credible argument.


COOPER: So, Elie, do you agree that there's a chance the court will put everything on hold until a decision is made and that would push the March 4th trial date back?

HONIG: I think that's possible. I think it is incumbent on both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Whether they put things on hold or not, they have to move at lightning speed or they have to be aware of this.

People sometimes ask, how long does an appeal take? The answer is as long as the appellate judges want it to take. I've seen appeals take two years, but we've seen in other Trump-related cases appeals get resolved in three, four weeks.

So these judges have to be operating in the real world. And whether they put things on hold, they're not. They need to be ready to rule quickly.

COOPER: Elie Honig, Carrie Cordero, thanks so much. Coming up next, a parade in politics, what voters at a holiday celebration in Louisiana have to say about the economy and why that could be a challenge for President Biden in his re-election campaign.


COOPER: The Biden-Harris campaign is touting a better than expected jobs report. According to Labor Department, 199,000 jobs were added last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%.

Now, the campaign says the report, quote, "confirms how much progress we've made under President Biden's leadership." They went on to say, "The US economy has consistently defied expectations and experienced the fastest recovery in history, far outpacing our global counterparts. Now, Democrats are arguing that those gains are at risk if the former president is re-elected.

Our Elle Reeve went to Louisiana, talked to voters who certainly do not see it that way. Here's her report.


ELLE REEVE: This is the annual Bawcomville Redneck Christmas Parade in West Monroe, Louisiana.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just not your typical Christmas parade. I mean, we've got a motorized lazy boy. I mean, you can't get much more redneck than that.

LAURA KAY, PARADE PARTICIPANT: It's hilarious. People will be throwing toilet paper, ramen packets, toothbrushes. My goodness, it's always a good laugh.

ZACH RAYBOURN, PARADE PARTICIPANT: This part of our town, I don't think there's very many rules, you know? And so, pretty much anything goes.

REEVE (voice-over): But behind the jokes, there's a tough reality. Bawcomville is a very poor community, and the parade serves as a holiday toy drive.

KAY: I have been a child who has been less fortunate growing up, and I had the redneck parade, the fire department give me and my brothers Christmas gifts, and this is my way of returning the love.

REEVE (voice-over): These ladies run Bawcomville Hope, a non-profit that gives food to the needy.

(on-camera): Is there a lot of need in this community for them?

RACHEL HOLMES, PARADE PARTICIPANT: Oh my lord, yes. People don't realize this is kind of like a third world country.

DEBI MAYO, PARADE PARTICIPANT: There's need for clothes, food, housing. There's many, many homeless in this area.

HOLMES: There's a lot of abandoned homes, abandoned trailers that they're living in, and so --

MAYO: And in the woods.


MAYO: They just makeshift tents. They weren't managing to survive until everything got so expensive and they couldn't afford the little apartments that they had or the houses and --

HOLMES: Interest rates skyrocketing, fuel skyrocketing, the milk, $5 a gallon.

REEVE (on-camera): I know it's a sensitive subject, but do you guys have any thoughts about the upcoming presidential election?

MAYO: We hope Trump gets back in there. Maybe he can straighten it out.

REEVE (on-camera): And why do you think he'd straighten it out?

MAYO: Because it wasn't in this turmoil when he left. All this has managed to happen in the last three years, so.

CHRISTINA JONES, PARADE SPECTATOR: I think we are going downhill, especially for a parent like me that's a single mom, and not being able to find work. Feels like you keep getting put in a hole. You're trying to climb out, but you keep getting knocked down.

REEVE (voice-over): President Biden's campaign has been pushing biodynamics, saying the economy has gotten better since he's been in office. But while by some metrics that's true, wages are higher, inflation is falling, public opinion polls show that people still think it's bad.

(on-camera): So there's some, you know, commentary, punditry that says, well, yes, inflation was bad, but now it's lower. The economy was bad, but now it's better. Unemployment is lower. What do you say to those people?

TONI BOLER, PARADE SPECTATOR: I say that's a big fat lie.

REEVE (on-camera): OK, why? Just give me some details.

BOLER: Well, I mean, look at our pocketbooks. What little people may have been able to save from the stimuluses we got and all that, it's gone. People are living off credit now. If they even have that. I don't know how these families that come to this redneck parade, this community even can buy groceries. Because you got to either choose to buy gas, or do I buy groceries, or do I pay my electric bill.

REEVE (voice-over): Louisiana is a deep red state, and neither presidential campaign will spend much money to win over voters here. There were a few Trump flags at the parade, but support for the former president had a different feel to what we felt in the run up to 2020.


REEVE (voice-over): Many people didn't want to comment on politics, but those who did focused on the economy.

JANE TEMPLE, PARADE SPECTATOR: Economy, economy, economy, you know, economy is horrible. We're ready for Trump -- can I say that?

REEVE (on-camera): Totally.

TEMPLE: We're ready for Trump to get back in. Can't wait. We're counting on it. I think he cares. May be wrong, but I think he does. And that's to say he's going to be perfect. We know that, you know, a lot of things he does, but for the most part, when he was in office, even with everything going on, he accomplished a lot.

REEVE (on-camera): And do you think that Biden doesn't care about people down here?

TEMPLE: I don't think that he has a clue.

REEVE (on-camera): You've probably seen a lot running a convenience store.

WILLIAM THOMPSON, PARADE SPECTATOR: Oh yes, they got problems with the drugs, the meth and the fentanyl. That's here is prevalent and the law still hadn't been able to deal with it. I blame Biden for that too.

REEVE (on-camera): Who do you think you'd vote for in the 2024 presidential election?


REEVE (on-camera): Why?

THOMPSON: Because he's the only president in my knowledge who's given back to the people and helps the people. If he's in jail, I'd vote for him.


COOPER: And Elle Reeve joins us now. It's, you know, you can hear all the news reports about unemployment levels dropping, inflation, you know, cooling, but people aren't feeling it in a lot of places.

REEVE: The people who are most animated when talking to us about politics were people who had jobs that put them working with people on the margins. So those two women who ran the food pantry, twice a month before COVID, they were giving out 70 boxes of free food a week. During the pandemic, it was 600 and it hasn't dropped.


COOPER: It hasn't dropped since then? REEVE: Yes. And Toni Boler, she worked helping getting housing for mentally ill people, but there just isn't enough housing and so a lot of them have to live in nursing homes. So while none of these people might have been Biden fans to begin with, the economic problems they're talking about are real.

COOPER: And finding work in that community, how difficult is it?

REEVE: It is a community with a high poverty rate, a higher unemployment rate. I mean you just walk around and there's a lot of people living really difficult lives.

COOPER: Yes. It's interesting to see the role that parade plays in people's lives. I mean, and that tradition of it and, I mean, that young woman saying, you know, as a child, she was -- these were Christmas gifts she was getting and she wants to give back now through this parade.

REEVE: Yes, it's like joking, but not joking. You know, like there were many really fancy pickup trucks there. Like, not everybody was broke, but there was a real understanding and acknowledgement of need there. And also kind of a celebration that like, OK, we live like this. We're not like, see, folk is what one person said. You know, we like to be outside. This is how we have a good time.

COOPER: Yes, it's a celebration of a remarkable and resilient community.

Elle Reeve, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up, just a day after Hunter Biden was indicted on nine tax charges, the President's son shares what he thinks Republicans are targeting him in a newly released interview. Details next.



COOPER: A day after Hunter Biden was indicted on nine tax charges in connection with the long running Justice Department investigation into him, the White House stayed largely silent on the issue. Refusing to comment on new charges and instead saying the President, quote, "loves his son and supports him as he continues to rebuild his life."

In a new podcast interview released today recorded before this latest indictment, Hunter Biden had much to say about Republicans tying his legal problems to his father.


HUNTER BIDEN, PRESIDENT BIDEN'S SON: They are trying to, in their most illegitimate way, but rational way, they're trying to destroy a presidency. And so it's not about me. And their most base way, what they're trying to do is they're trying to kill me, knowing that it will be a pain greater than my father could be able to handle.


COOPER: Joining me now is CNN Contributor and Author Evan Osnos. He's written a remarkable biography of the President. And his latest book is on the deep division in the U.S., it's titled, "Wildland: The Making of America's Fury."

Evan, I'm wondering what your reaction is to hearing Hunter Biden saying that.

EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's, I mean, pretty extraordinary thing to hear. I think it's a window into the pressures inside this family, the pressures on this man. I think just on a purely human level. What you hear him saying is his belief that the Republican campaign against him is intended to drive him back into addiction.

Ultimately, back into the kind of downward spiral, which we all know about, which he's written about with the goal of undermining Joe Biden's sort of core source of strength. And that, after all, is his family. He talks about it.

So I think it is a sign, Anderson, of this extraordinary collision of the political, the personal, the legal. And the guy at the center of it is the son of the president. And we don't hear from him very often, and this was a window into what he's going through.

COOPER: Yes, as you know, I spoke with President Biden recently from my podcast, All There Is, which is focused on grief and loss, and the extent to which his family is the core that has pulled him through a lot of tragedy. I want to play just something he said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Beau and Hunt, they finish each other's sentences. They are the close as they could possibly be. And I think the loss of Beau was a profound, profound impact on Hunter. But when Jill and I got married, she was just totally embraced by them. Everything we've done, we've always done as a really close- knit family."


COOPER: I thought it was interesting to hear him talk about the impact of Beau Biden's death on his brother.

OSNOS: Yes, it is a huge piece of this story that we don't talk about very often. The death of Beau Biden, honestly, Anderson, as you know, from your conversation with the President was like a bomb going off in that family. And the reverberations went through everybody at the time.

Of course, President -- then Vice President Biden made the decision not to run for president, but then his son, Hunter, of course, began this downward descent. So many of the things that we talk about in his legal case, in his -- in the investigations in Congress are around that period. And you heard in the President's voice in his conversation with you, he wanted, and he sort of came right up to the point of talking about that impact and he stopped himself. I think there is a way in which he draws a line around what he will and will not say about Hunter's legal problems because after all, he doesn't want to be seen as putting a thumb on the scale.

COOPER: I want to play just another thing that the President said in this podcast.


BIDEN: Beau's son looks like him. Hunter's son looks like Beau. Beau named his son Hunter and Hunter named his son Beau. I mean, it's like -- I know it sounds stupid to people who haven't been through this, but --

COOPER: No, it's beautiful.

BIDEN: -- there's this thing. And I even find that -- that I'll find, like, one of my grandchildren doing what Beau would have done.


COOPER: He was talking about just the importance of contact with Hunter, with his daughter Ashley, with all the members of his family, his grandchildren, talking to them constantly throughout the day, reaching out to them each day. That is what, for the President, has really enabled him. It's given him purpose beyond his pain, as he said.

OSNOS: That's exactly it. At one point, I think, in his interview with you, we described grief as the glue that holds this family together, meaning that it's the thing also that allows each one to support the other. It is this -- it is a family that has been through agony, not just once in 1972, but then, of course, in Beau's death.


And, you know, when he talks about having constant contact with his surviving children, with his grandchildren, it is a big piece of how he organizes his life. And we don't see that very often. It's only rarely that we get a window into what the pressures are in a family like this. And it's extraordinary. We haven't had a situation like this in the White House in a long time.

COOPER: And we've seen, you know, I remember Jimmy Carter's brother, you know, is getting into trouble and there were questions, you know, would the president distance himself from his brother. In a situation like this, obviously, given -- I mean, Hunter Biden's importance and role in President Biden's life, obviously, they are deeply, deeply connected as any father and son would and should be.

OSNOS: Yes, and that's not going to change. I can tell you one thing for sure, Anderson. It's that, you know, people sometimes wonder why does Hunter Biden still play a public role in this family? Why is he in and out of the White House as much as he is? It's because Jill Biden and Joe Biden feel very deeply that that is an essential piece of their lives.


OSNOS: They're not going to change that. And, in fact, he's, you know, he's put him -- he's brought him on foreign trips. That is a piece of the present and it's going to be a piece of the future. If anything, their solution has been to bring him closer and push him away.

COOPER: Yes. Evan Osnos, thanks so much.

If you want to hear my full interview with President Biden in the podcast, All There Is, you can scan the QR code you see there on the screen. The podcast is about grief and loss, which is something we all experience and don't talk about enough.

I hope you can listen and that it helps. It has certainly helped me to hear from so many people talking about their grief and loss. It's available wherever you get your podcasts.

Just ahead, a teenage gunman who killed four fellow high school students gets sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. What the family said to the killer as they faced him in court, next.



COOPER: It's been more than two long and tumultuous years for the families and friends of the four victims killed in a high school shooting in Oxford, Michigan. 14-year-old Hannah St. Juliana, 16-year- old Tate Myer, and two 17 year olds, Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Shilling, were killed on November 30th, 2021.

Tonight, their families, their loved ones, have finally received some sense of justice after hours of gut-wrenching emotional statements in court today. The shooter was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

CNN's Jean Casarez has more.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Families finally getting their chance to be heard.

BUCK MYRE, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Our family has been navigating our way through complete hell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It almost feels like time slows down and everything around you speeds up. It's been two years already, but feels much like yesterday.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Madisyn Baldwin's mother describing the moment she learned her 17-year-old daughter was dead.

NICOLE BEAUSOLEIL, MOTHER OF MADISYN BALDWIN: On November 30th, 2021 is a day that has forever changed my life. It burns into my body like a cigarette burn. I looked through the glass. My screams should have shattered it. My daughter's lifeless body was laying on a cold metal gurney.

CASAREZ (voice-over): After speaking in court, Nicole Beausoleil told CNN she felt her daughter was with her today.

BEAUSOLEIL: I felt like she was saying, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for taking the higher route. You know, not going down that path of anger.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Madeline Johnson didn't know walking to class that day would be the last time she would see her friend.

MADELINE JOHNSON, MADISYN BALDWIN'S BEST FRIEND: I didn't think that goodbye was going to be permanent. I thought it was goodbye for an hour. And I'll see you next class.

CASAREZ (voice-over): At first, Kylie Ossege thought a balloon popped, then realized she was shot.

KYLIE OSSEGE, OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I fell right to the ground. I remember hearing screams. I saw running, but I couldn't run. I was already down.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Right next to her, Hannah St. Juliana.

OSSEGE: Realizing that I wasn't alone, I kept trying to reassure her. Someone will come help us. Don't worry. Just keep breathing. Just please stay with me. I said that to her a thousand times.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Hannah died from her injuries. Her father spoke directly to the shooter of the future he stole.

STEVE ST. JULIANA, 14-YEAR-OLD SHOOTING VICTIM'S FATHER: I will never think back fondly of her high school and college graduations. I will never walk her down the aisle as she begins the journey of starting her own family. I am forever denied the chance to hold her or her future children in my arms.

CASAREZ (voice-over): In addition to the four students killed, seven other people were shot that day but survived, including Riley Franz, who was hit in the neck and Molly Darnell, a teacher at the school.

RILEY FRANZ, SHOOTING VICTIM: I can no longer sleep without having flashbacks of a bullet entering one side of my neck and exiting the other.

MOLLY DARNELL, SCHOOL TEACHER AND SHOOTING VICTIM: Because I came within your line of sight, you intended to kill me, someone you didn't even know.

CASAREZ (voice-over): The shooter was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

ST. JULIANA: There is utterly nothing that he could ever do to contribute to society that would make up for the lives that he is so ruthlessly taken.

JOHNSON: I want the person who did this to know that Madisyn would have been your friend. I want you to know that she would have treated you with nothing but kindness had you not killed her. I'm not sure how much emotion you're capable of feeling, but I hope you regret it. And I hope it eats away at you. And I hope you feel even a fraction of the loneliness that I felt over these last two years.

MYRE: What you stole from us is not replaceable. But what we won't let you steal from us is a life of normalcy. And we'll find a way to get there through forgiveness and through putting good into this world.


COOPER: Jean joins me now from Pontiac, Michigan. Jean, the parents of the shooter are expected to stand trial themselves next year for involuntary manslaughter. What do we know about that?

CASAREZ: That's right. You know, this is a precedent setting case. This is the first time in this country that the parents of a school mass shooter have actually been charged themselves with causing the shooting. Just as you say, they've been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecution is saying you had notice, your son had mental issues, he was begging you for help, nonetheless, you bought him a gun. Days later, he committed this mass shooting. And they have been tried together, but just in the last few weeks, the judge severed them because now they have independent defenses. Looks like they may be going at each other.


But one of the parents will stand trial beginning January 23rd, 2024. It will be interesting.

COOPER: Yes. Jean Casarez, thanks very much.

Coming up next, after this tough week, something we hope brings you a little happiness. Details on Sunday night's CNN Heroes and All-Star Tribute, hosted by me and Laura Coates. An incredible night where we honor 10 people really making a difference in our world.


COOPER: This weekend night, I hope you'll join me and Laura Coates for CNN Heroes and All-Star Tribute. The star studded gala airs live here on CNN Sunday night starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll be honoring the 10 extraordinary people who put others first all year long.

One of them will be named the CNN Hero of the Year. Get ready to be inspired. Take a look at some of their work. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


ESTEFANIA REBELLON, YES WE CAN WORLD FOUNDATION: We provide bilingual education for migrant and refugee children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Support the extraordinary people making a difference in our world.

MIKE GOLDBERG, I.CARE: We are rebuilding the coral reefs here in the Florida Keys.

OSEI BOATENG, OKB HOPE FOUNDATION: I'm going to ensure that people in Ghana have access to health care.

DR. KWANE STEWART, PROJECT STREET VET: I see a pet need and a person who cares for them dearly.

ADAM PEARCE, LOVEYOURBRAIN: Trauma can be a pathway for growth.

ALVIN IRBY, BARBESHOP BOOKS: We install child friendly reading space in the barbershop.

YASMINE ARRINGTON BROOKS, SCHOLARCHIPS: We all are connected because of the shared experience of having an incarcerated parent.

STACEY BUCKNER, OFF-ROAD OUTREACH: There should be no homeless pets, period. None.

TESCHA HAWLEY, DAY EAGLE HOPE PROJECT: I don't want to be defined as a victim of my circumstances.

MAMA SHU, AVALON VILLAGE: I do want to make sure that they get all the attention and love that they deserve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.


COOPER: A lot of really inspiring, remarkable people. The news continues, "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. Have a great weekend.