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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Soon: Sen. Tim Scott Expected To Endorse Trump At NH Rally; New Probe Into DA Fani Willis' Alleged Affair With Trump Case Prosecutor; Court Filing: Georgia Prosecutor On Trump Case Paid For Trips With DA Willis On His Credit Card; Sources: Trump Expected At E. Jean Carroll Trial Day Before New Hampshire Primary; Alec Baldwin For Second Time In Fatal "Rust" Shooting; Buffalo Bills Mafia Shows Up To Shovel Snow For $20 Bucks An Hour; 8-9p ET

Aired January 19, 2024 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: The plane had been in the air for 14 minutes total. The incident started three minutes into the flight, so 11 minutes of that harrowing situation, according to FlightAware.

Now, by the way, we should notice, when he said they have five hours of fuel, right, turning around and landing with so much fuel can be disastrous. And yet, with all that calm, they did it.

They followed procedures. They were able to land safely back in Miami. Just an incredible thing and a testament to the professionalism there.

Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on "360," all aboard in New Hampshire, just four days before the primary South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is expected to endorse the former president, snubbing South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and becoming the latest Republican of many to fall in line.

More breaking news tonight, a new Georgia court filing adding to the controversy over the Trump special prosecutor, the DA Fani Willis who hired him and allegations of an improper relationship between the two.

And later, Alec Baldwin and how he came to be charged with involuntary manslaughter again today after similar charges were dropped last year in a deadly shooting on the New Mexico movie set.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with breaking news.

Within the next hour or so, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is expected to endorse the former president who has been working to establish himself after just one contest as the inevitable nominee. To that point, Senator Scott and his fellow Republican lawmakers are certainly helping. And it shows in how early and eagerly they've been falling in line compared to the first Trump campaign. On February 28th, 2016, then Alabama Jeff Sessions became the first Republican senator to endorse then candidate Trump. This was after Trump victories in New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Now this time around, the endorsements have been coming earlier, in some cases, much earlier. Most recently, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott gave his nod before any votes were cast back in November. That's slow compared to Alabama's Senator Tommy Tuberville who got on board almost a year before that, on the 17th of November 2022.

We'll have more on what this says about the former president and his party in a moment. But first, CNN's Alayna Treene at the New Hampshire Trump event where Senator Scott will give his expected endorsement. So what do we know about this event tonight?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Yes, well, this is a huge pick-up for Donald Trump, Anderson. And in typical Trump fashion, they are trying to make this potential, or this expected Tim Scott endorsement a moment.

We saw the senator tease this endorsement earlier today. He tweeted a photo right before boarding the private plane that Trump flies on and flying with him to New Hampshire for this event tonight. And I'm told that during his remarks, Trump will call the senator up to the stage and have him give remarks and praise the former president and call for four more years of Donald Trump.

But I think, you know, what's important to note here, Anderson, is how this came together. Donald Trump and his team, according to my conversations with his campaign, have really pursued Tim Scott for this endorsement ever since he dropped out of presidential race last year. And they were really hoping that he would give his endorsement before South Carolina. But in recent weeks, as Trump and his team have closely watched Nikki Haley rise in the polls here in New Hampshire, they accelerated that time line as just another way to try and undercut her momentum here in the granite state.

COOPER: It's certainly a blow for Ambassador Haley who was instrumental in Tim Scott's career. What's been the reaction from her? And is it clear how this endorsement could impact not just New Hampshire, but also South Carolina?

TREENE: Yes, well, it's definitely a big blow. I mean, she was governor and while she was governor, she was the one who actually appointed Tim Scott to the Senate in 2012.

But we did hear her respond to this. She issued a statement to CNN earlier today where she said, quote, "It's interesting that Trump's lining up with all the Washington insiders when he claimed he wanted to drain the swamp. But the fellas are going to do what the fellas are going to do."

Now, we've seen Haley use this language before, Anderson. And she really tried to use this to take a shot at Donald Trump and claim that he's not the outsider that he paints himself to be, but really just part of the boys' club in Washington. Now, we also heard from New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. He was also pretty dismissive of this. He said to reporters today, quote, "If anyone cared about Tim Scott, he'd still be running for president."

But, you know, to just answer your part to the second question, Anderson, this endorsement is very important because the Trump team does see this as showing that he's likely to do very well in the state. And it's such an important state to win for Donald Trump not just because it's Haley's home state, but also because they really see South Carolina as the place where the race will change, where the Trump campaign can effectively really end the primary season and try to lock up the GOP nomination months before the July national convention.


COOPER: Alayna Treene, thanks so much.

I want to get perspectives now the way Republicans are falling in line. Joining us is former Republican political consultant, Stuart Stevens. His most recent book is "The Conspiracy to End America: Five Ways My Old Party is Driving Our Democracy to Autocracy."

Also with us, CNN Political Analyst and former Obama Special Adviser Van Jones.

Stuart, how big of a boon is this for the Trump campaign, the Scott endorsement? And how big a blow to Nikki Haley?

STUART STEVENS, FORMER REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, look, I think endorsements generally don't matter much. But when it's somebody that you appointed and is, you know, the other senator from your home state, I think it does matter.

Likewise, I think you always have to flip these things. Would it be really good for Nikki Haley if Tim Scott was on the stage endorsing her tonight? Yes, that'd be pretty good.

You know, this is just part of a complete collapse of the Republican party, in my view. These senators who, a lot of them, issued very strong statements after January 6th. And yet, now they're falling in line. While at the same time, a New York court has found Donald Trump liable of rape. It's really just inconceivable to me that this has happened to the Republican Party.

But the reason Donald Trump is winning is because he is giving Republicans what they want. Nobody is making anybody vote for Donald Trump. And he's running away with this probably unlike anything in modern history. He's really performing like an incumbent president.

COOPER: We should point out it was the New York court sexual abuse that the former president had -- did.

Van, what does it say to you that Senator Scott chose the former president over Haley? VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's sad day. Eight years ago, February, Marco Rubio was running and he was on stage. And it was Marco Rubio, it was Tim Scott, it was Nikki Haley.

And as a Democrat, you saw that picture. An African-American, a Latino, and an Asian. There it is right there. And you were shocked, like, holy crap, is this the new face of the Republican Party? Democrats are in trouble.

If you had said eight years later that Donald Trump would be the face of the party, and Rubio and Scott would like it, and would be happy to pile on against Nikki Haley while she's being slammed with racist innuendos from Donald Trump, he said, no way. That would be some crazy twilight zone black mirror episode. It's impossible.

This Republican Party is moving in a positive direction. And yet, here you are eight years later with this -- it's a clown show. How can a Tim Scott who represents decency, who represents civility throw Nikki Haley under the bus in this way to stand next to Donald Trump. There is something really bad happening in that party, and it's distressing.

COOPER: Stuart, last year when Ambassador Haley was preparing to launch her campaign, you wrote a "New York Times" op-ed. And I want to read a quote from it because I remember this. You said, "No political figure better illustrates the tragic collapse of the modern Republican party than Nikki Haley. Her rise and fall only highlights what many of us already knew. Mr. Trump didn't change the Republican Party; he revealed it. Ms. Haley, for all her talents, embodies the moral failure of the party in its drive to win at any cost, a drive so ruthless and insistent, that it has transformed the GOP into an autocratic movement."

I wonder what you make of her and Trump going at each other in recent days because, I mean, I remember the stuff Nikki Haley was saying when President Trump was first running or when then candidate Trump ...


COOPER: ... was running back in 2016. I mean, she was incredibly tough on him, but just categorically, I mean, she was linking him with the KKK.

STEVENS: Yes, Van is exactly right. That event that they had in South Carolina, just think if she had held true, she could be running for president now saying, you know, I thought that Donald Trump would not be a good president. I did not expect him to attempt to overthrow the government of the United States and refuse to accept the not very close election.

I was right. The party has gone in the wrong direction. We must save it. Instead, she just folded like the entire party has.

And this is why I say that Donald Trump has revealed the party, not changed it because I just don't think people abandon deeply held beliefs in a few years. So if Nikki Haley really believe that, I mean, she said that Donald Trump was everything I taught my children not to be. And now, she's going to end up endorsing him for president? She already raised her hand in a debate and said she'd endorse him even if he was convicted.

And what is just amazing is they're running this campaign, you can be given no greater gift than a campaign, but run against somebody with 91 counts of indictments. And they won't even bring it up on stage.

I mean, how serious are you about winning if you don't say, oh, by the way, my opponent has got 91 counts. Instead, it's all this stylistic stuff where it's like, you know, Washington insider. I mean, it's just absolutely the problem is unimaginable, it's difficult to imagine.

COOPER: Van ...

STEVENS: And that's just playing out.


COOPER: ... how much of this Tim Scott's endorsement do you think is about him, you know, maybe wanting to get reelected as a senator and needs the support of all the folks who Trump has to support by? And how much is him wanting to be vice president?

JONES: Well, you know, it sounds like you're saying he might be somewhat political here. Yes, I would say the answer to your question is yes. It has to do with both.

Look, to give him his due, Donald Trump right now is like a runaway train. And to try to stand in front of a runaway train may not be advisable from your political handlers and directors. And so, I imagine he wants to be considered to be vice president. He certainly, if he came out against Donald Trump, he might be a Trump challenger in a primary.

But, you know, Tim Scott also could just not say nothing. I mean, you're literally in a situation, let's not forget, where Donald Trump is, you know, using her foreign-sounding name, saying that, you know, she can't run for president because her parents weren't born here. The same kind of crap that he pulled with Obama.

This is really bad stuff. This is not good stuff. One of the great things about Tim Scott is, you know, he stood up to President Trump on some of this stuff, you know, after massacres and stuff like that. And that's part of why, I think, there's a deep well affection for him in the black community even though he is in a different party than most of us.

But this is not the time. While Donald Trump is pulling out all the old nasty race cards to stand next to him today, next one tomorrow if he wanted to. But I think it's just -- it's very, very surprising to see Tim Scott do this because who he is a decent man, a decent human being. What he stands for is that. Today is a weird moment for Tim Scott, I think.

COOPER: Van Jones, Stuart Stevens, thank you. Joining us now is someone who says they will not be getting on the Trump train any time soon, someone who, in fact, has been pleading with Republicans for months to break with the former president, CNN's Senior Political Commentator, former Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans who served on the House January 6th Committee.

So, Congressman, you overlapped Tim Scott in the House before Nikki Haley appointed him to the Senate. Are you surprised he's endorsing Trump and doing it now?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, I was shaking my head the whole time, you know, that Van and Stuart were talking in agreement. You know, I never expected this from Tim. I know him, as Van said, as a decent man, as somebody that's concerned about character. But he chose to put himself and his political career above his character, as so many other people have.

I mean, you know, it was implied by Stuart, maybe he even said it, like, Nikki Haley appointed Tim Scott to the Senate. She made him a US senator where he could then become a national figure and then launch his campaign for president that failed. And he could have waited after New Hampshire, at least give it New Hampshire. But there is something that's going on in people's soul where it's like, as the Bible says, you know, what is it to gain the whole world but lose your soul? There's people that are just wanting to gain the world right now, and Donald Trump has done a masterful job of convincing people that they can't stand up against him, and so they won't.

COOPER: How much of it do you think is -- I mean, voluntary and how much is strong arm tactics by, you know, the team of the former president?

KINZINGER: Well, I mean, it's probably strong-arm tactics in that, you know, it's saying, hey, do you want to get reelected when you're up? I don't know when Tim's up. I don't think it's this year. Do you want to be considered for vice president?

I actually think Tim Scott could d very well be on a Trump's short list for vice president. But a lot of it is just in his mind sitting there saying I don't want to stand in front of a train. I want to have a political future.

I mean, I've been in these positions where I, you know, there's times I should have taken on the president, and I didn't. There's times I did and I knew what the cost was because you recognize like I'm going to be out of the game if I take this too much because he's convinced his base.

Donald Trump is a masterful victim. He is actually one of the weakest men you'll ever meet. He's actually somebody that is scared of his own shadow, and he's frankly scared of everybody, but he puts up a really good front that he's not. And he puts up what appears to be a tough front, and it cajoles people like Tim Scott to not even wait until after New Hampshire. Give Nikki a shot to actually take it to New Hampshire. I don't think this is going to affect her in New Hampshire too much. The one thing it does do is it shows momentum that Donald Trump has been doing, I'll objectively say, a good job of showing momentum. And it's actually pretty disheartening.

COOPER: Ambassador Haley told the member of the public today that being Trump's vice president is, quote, "off the table." It wasn't something she had been willing to say previously. Given -- I mean, did you think that's just because she realized she's no longer in the running for that?

KINZINGER: I don't know. She should have said this a long time ago, by the way. She's been asked this question many times before. And I guarantee you, if Donald Trump called her after she drops out and said, do you want to be vice president, she would do it. But I think she's starting here now in New Hampshire a little bit to take him on more.


The problem is we really need to reverse the clock back to August or September whenever the first debate was, and that's when those people running for president needed to be taking on Donald Trump, not three days out from New Hampshire. They needed to be doing it then.

So, look, I mean, I doubt that Donald Trump will ask her to be his vice president. But I'm going to tell you, if he did, she would say yes in a heartbeat.

COOPER: Yes, Adam Kinzinger, thanks.

Coming up next, breaking news that no one bringing a case against the former president would welcome. Fulton County, Georgia DA Fani Willis tonight facing a new investigation hours after court records show that her lead prosecutor paid for her out-of-state travel with him.

Also, the former president's newest effort to get E. Jean Carroll's civil damages case against him thrown out. His latest mistrial motion ahead.


COOPER: More breaking news tonight, a major case against the former president that's turning to a major mess. Late today in Atlanta, Fulton County commissioner launched a probe into allegations that District Attorney Fani Willis misused county funds and, quote, "accepted valuable gifts and personal benefits" from the special prosecutor that she hired to prosecute the case. His name is Nathan Wade. DA Willis are already facing allegations of having an improper relationship including from the former president.

And the county commissioner's tonight follows the revelation in a divorce proceeding that Wade paid for Willis to travel with him on out-of-state trips. So CNN's Katelyn Polantz joins us now with more.

[20:20:10] So what did you learn from the court filing in this special prosecutor's divorce case?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, this divorce case is really becoming juicy because it's is giving us insight into the District Attorney Fani Willis. That's why it's of interest.

So Joycelyn Wade, the woman who, two years ago, said she was going to be divorcing Nathan Wade, the top prosecutor in Fulton County, Georgia. He also agreed to this divorce two years ago. Now Joycelyn Wade is openly accusing Nathan Wade of having essentially a relationship with Fani Willis, the DA. And she says that she wants to know more information from Fani Willis such as this information about trips that they may have taken that Nathan Wade would have been paying for, what he is making from the district attorney's office because that's all relevant to the divorce.

Her argument is that they need to divide assets. And she doesn't know how much money he has that he's making, and so she wants information. She wants to even depose District Attorney Fani Willis as soon as next week.

COOPER: And has the DA made any comment?

POLANTZ: The DA has made a comment. In this divorce proceeding, she stepped up in court and said, I want to not be deposed next week. There's nothing that I have that is relevant to this divorce proceeding that's been going on for two years. So the District Attorney Fani Willis says, in a recent filing, that Joycelyn Wade, soon to be ex-wife of Nathan Wade, the top prosecutor, is using the legal process to harass and embarrass DA Willis and in doing so, is obstructing and interfering with an ongoing criminal prosecution.

Of course, Nathan Wade is the top prosecutor on the Trump case with all these other defendants. There's clearly a political problem that is bubbling up in that case that is drawing attention. And DA Willis also says in her filing that she is wondering if Joycelyn Wade might be working with some of these criminal defendants or at least one of them, who's tried to drag the proceeding into the criminal case around election interference, and see if there's some sort of conspiracy there between them where they're trying to smear her.

COOPER: So Fulton County commissioners launched an inquiry into the matter. What -- where does that stand?

POLANTZ: Yes, that is the news that we just learned of today -- this evening. And it is a Republican commissioner in Fulton County who is serving on an audit board, who's a chair of the audit board. And he has requested information from DA Willis. The question for him boils down to, is there a misuse of county funds here?

Now, we don't know what he'll be able to get out of that. It is unclear, at this time, if he's really going to have the power to dig into this, at least as much as the divorce proceedings could dig into this. But at the end of the day, Anderson, we should be watching what happened in the divorce proceeding, as well as what happens in court in this election interference case.

There's set to be a hearing in the middle of February about this. If there are any specific ethical issues or any conflicts of interest that really should be weighing in on that. And we just don't know yet if there is something that could affect DA Willis' ability to continue prosecuting this case and having Nathan Wade work on it as well.

COOPER: Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much. Joining us now is CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former Federal Prosecutor Elie Honig.

So, A, what do you make of these allegations, Elie?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, there are some real problems here for the DA, but I think it's also really important to differentiate what matters legally from what does not matter.

I'm not so concerned with the nature of the relationship between DA Willis and Mr. Wade. It doesn't really matter to me looking at this legally if they're having a romantic relationship or not. What does matter to me (inaudible) ...

COOPER: There's no legal ramification...

HONIG: ... and the conflicts of ...

COOPER: ... there is no legal ramification if they were having a relationship. I mean, as a -- she hired him, is there some sort of employer problem?

HONIG: Well, so right. This gets into the potential conflict of interest in the money where there could be an issue. So, first of all, there's a genuine question about Mr. Wade's qualifications here. He's been a lawyer for a long time. His primary area of practice before this was personal injury and traffic law. He's never prosecuted a felony case, a felony criminal case before and yet now suddenly he's leading the biggest criminal case in the history of this office.

And when we look at the money here, Mr. Wade is one of three outside attorneys who is being brought in on a contract basis to work with the DA. Nothing uncommon about that. But if we look at the amount of money that's been paid to these three lawyers over the last two years, one of them has made $73,000, one of them has made $90,000. And Mr. Wade has been paid $650,000 plus. That's an enormous discrepancy.

And, Anderson, if some of that money is making its way back to the DA, whether through trips or hotel or other entertainment or arrangements, then you have a problem with a conflict of interest.


COOPER: Could it just lead to legal sanctions against her or the lead prosecutor? And what would be the ramifications if she had to leave the case? Does that matter in terms of the case moving forward against the former president?

HONIG: Yes, so I do not think this is going to be a basis to dismiss the charges against Donald Trump or any of the other defendants in this case. It does not have to do with the merits of the charges against Donald Trump. It does not have to do with any of the defendant's constitutional rights.

However, I think we could see a couple of outcomes here. If there's a conflict of interest, then yes, the DA could be disqualified from this case for conflict of interest. And then there's the next question about, would that mean her whole office is disqualified? Meaning, the case would have the probably move to a neighboring DA's office.

And then second of all, there's the question about just what this does for the public confidence in this case. Public confidence matters to prosecutors. And if there's a glaring conflict of interest and problems with money like this, you can bet it's going to undermine public confidence.

COOPER: And Willis already tried to squash the subpoena, calling her to testify next week in this divorce case, accusing his estranged wife of trying to ruin her reputation and obstructing the election interference case. I mean, if she has nothing to hide, why not be deposed?

HONIG: I think the DA is far out of line here. She receives a subpoena in a divorce case. The subpoena is not an accusation. A subpoena means you're a witness who has relevant information. Clearly, she has information about Mr. Wade, about his finances, about whatever his current relationships may be.

And the way the DA responded to that is she took the criminal case against Donald Trump and injected that into the divorce case, trying to use it as a shield from her having to testify. She clearly has relevant information. And I think it's is very improper for her to say, well, you're trying to interfere with this criminal case. That's the DA who is using the criminal case as a shield, and I think she's wrong there.

COOPER: And it isn't the first time that Willis has faced questions about possible conflicts. A judge barred her officer investigating Georgia lieutenant governor for his role in a fake elector scheme because she held a fundraiser for his eventual opponent. At some point, I mean, do -- I mean, her judgment has been called into question before.

HONIG: Yes, and I think fairly, Anderson, the incident you're referring to, the DA hosted a fundraiser for the political opponent of a person who she subpoenaed and the judge -- a different judge, who was overseeing the grand jury, disqualified Fani Willis from that portion of the case. And this is a judge who had been very supportive of Fani Willis.

He said to her on the record, and I quote, "What were you thinking?" And he said, it's very poor optics. I do think there's genuine reason to question the DA's judgment on these matters of conflict of interest. But she ran for and she holds an enormously powerful position. She's the chief law enforcement officer of a very large county in Georgia. And I think she needs the hold herself to a higher level of professional ethics and responsibility. And she's causing problems for herself and potentially for this case.

COOPER: Yes, it's extraordinary. Elie Honig, thanks.

Coming up, while the former president has often turned courtroom appearances at his second defamation trial into campaign stops, the heart of his civil court case is what a jury found in that first trial that he sexually abused E. Jean Carroll. A closer look at last year's jury decision that serves as the foundation of his current trail. That's next.




COOPER: So two major developments in the former president's second defamation trial involving writer E. Jean Carroll to tell you about, where verdict is likely next week. Sources late today saying that Trump is likely to appear in court again Monday which would be the third time he's attended the trial.

He, of course, does not have to appear, but as we've noted, it's become a part of his unofficial campaign schedule.

Also today, his legal team, once again, demanded a mistrial. This was over some emails deleted by Carroll. They claim are crucial.

Now earlier in the weeks, we told you before the judge denied the motion almost immediately after it was raised. Now sometimes getting lost in this trial is the jury decision last year that underpins the current trial that Donald J. Trump was guilty of sexual abuse.

Kara Scannell has more on that.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It happened nearly three decades ago in a New York department store. Advice columnist, E. Jean Carroll, says she was leaving Bergdorf Goodman when she ran into Donald Trump.

E. JEAN CARROLL, MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: He said, come advise me. I want to buy a present. I said, oh, for who? He said for a girl. So I was enchanted.

SCANNELL: Carroll says they went to the lingerie department on the sixth floor and joked about who should try on a sheer bodysuit. She followed Trump into a dressing room. That's when she said a lighthearted encounter turned into a life-changing assault.

CARROLL: The minute I was in there, he shut the door and pushed me up against the wall and bang my head on the wall and kissed me. I just -- it was so shocking.

SCANNELL: She says, Trump pinned her to the wall and pulled down her tights.

CARROLL: That was when it turned serious. I realized that this was -- this was -- this was a fight.

SCANNELL: Carroll says she fled the store and largely kept the 1996 encounter secret. It wasn't until June 2019 when she shared the story publicly.

New York Magazine ran an excerpt from her new memoir. Trump has continued to deny the encounter happened and even knowing Carroll.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no idea who this woman is. This is a woman who's also accused other men of things, as you know. It is a totally false accusation.

SCANNELL: Carroll first sued Trump in 2019 for defamation, but for years, he successfully tied the case up in litigation.

CARROLL: Thank you.

SCANNELL: In 2022, under New York State's Adult Survivors Act, she filed a second lawsuit against Trump, this time, for battery and defamation. That case went to trial last year. Trump didn't appear in court but his video deposition was played before the jury where he denied raping Carroll.

TRUMP: She said that I did something to her that never took place. There was no anything. I know nothing about this nut job.

SCANNELL: He even mistook Carroll in a photo for his second wife, Marla Maples.

TRUMP: That's Marla. Yes. That's my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which woman are you pointing to?


TRUMP: Here.

SCANNELL: And when questioned about it, he defended the infamous Access Hollywood tape where Trump was caught off camera making lewd remarks about women.

TRUMP: This is very old news, fully litigated during debates, during everything else. Fully litigated.


TRUMP: And you know what I said then and I say it now? Locker room talk. That was locker room talk.

SCANNELL: The jury ultimately found that Trump did sexually abuse Carroll and defame her. They awarded Carroll $5 million, but Trump didn't stop. One day after the verdict at a CNN town hall, Trump repeated his statements.


TRUMP: And I swear -- and I've never done that. And I swear to, I have no idea who the hell -- she's a whack job.


SCANNELL: Carroll updated her 2019 lawsuit, now seeking more than $10 million for Trump's repeated verbal attacks and denials.

Meanwhile, the former president is squeezing in court appearances to his packed campaign schedule. His attorney say he may testify next week.

TRUMP: Hello, New Hampshire.

Kara Scannell, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Joined now by conservative attorney, George Conway.

So, George, can you just remind our viewers of how you met E. Jean Carroll? And what role you played in her decision to sue the former president?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: Yes. I met her one day in 2019, I guess. It was right after about a week or two after the report of her story came out and the book came out and the excerpt in New York Magazine came out.

And I had written a piece in the Washington Post talking about how if anyone believed Juanita Broaddrick who made the claims against Bill Clinton that Donald Trump trumpeted during the 2016 campaign, then they should really believe Jean Carroll as well because she actually had witnesses who she told about the event right after it happened.

And I thought that, you know, it was - it was pretty compelling and pretty persuasive. And I ran into Jean Carroll just by happenstance at a cocktail party in Manhattan a few days after writing that piece and she came up to me and introduced herself and thanked me for writing the piece in The Washington Post and asked, you know, some people are saying, I should sue.

Do you think -- do you think I have a claim? And I said, yes, I mean, immediately, it took -- it took basically no thinking. It's like, he's lying about you and that's a defamation. That's defamation claim.

And then about 10 seconds later, I thought, oh, I know precisely the lawyer who should be handling this, an excellent lawyer who would become a friend of mine, Robbie Kaplan, who had -- who has been since that day representing her.

And that's how I got to know Jean Carroll and that's kind of how she met -- that's how she met her lawyer and the rest is what we have now.

COOPER: Yes. As you know, how about the former president's attorney questioned Carroll this week about her association with you, asked if you'd planted the seed for her to sue the former president.

Does it matter in any legal sense who, if anyone advises a plaintiff to file a lawsuit?

CONWAY: No, no. Not at all. And it came out in the first trial. I mean, in fact, E. Jean's lawyers brought that out just so that, you know, there's no secret there, no -- nothing to hide there. But it's also -- it's also completely irrelevant.

But some -- for some reason, Trump and his counsel seem obsessed with that fact and they brought it up consistently again and again in the first trial to the point where the judge had to tell them to stop. And then they did it, they're doing it again this week.

I'm kind of flattered by it, but it's all -- it's just kind of bizarre, frankly.

COOPER: What do you -- what do you make of how Trump has handled this phase of the case?

CONWAY: Well, I mean, look, I think that this whole case is something of a microcosm of his, frankly, his mental state. No, his tendency to lie and lie again, his tendency to attack.

I mean, you know, he lied about -- he lied about the fact that he never met her when, in fact, there was a photograph that came out of her with him in 2019 -- no, in the 1990s. He then lies about what happened. He lie -- he then lies about -- he says that she's not his type. He said that in 2019.

And it turns out then he confuses her, as you saw, as that excerpt showed, for his former wife, Marla Maples, which means that, you know, she must have been his type.

And it's just -- it's just the craziness of it all. And then the fact that he continually, after being found to have defamed her and after a jury found that, you know, that he raped her, he's then continually to assert that, you know, it didn't happen again and again. And he's doing it outside the courtroom.

And it's just -- it's crazy. Inside the courtroom, his lawyers are trying to minimize what he did and minimize what happened. And yet, he's -- he's repeating the lies over and over again, and repeating the defamation, which completely defeats what his lawyers are trying to -- what his lawyers are trying to do inside the courthouse. It's crazy.

COOPER: George Conway, thank you.

CONWAY: Thank you.

COOPER: Appreciate it. Next, Alec Baldwin, charged for a second time in the fatal "Rust" movie set shooting. I'll tell you why and what the actors' attorneys are saying about the case, ahead.



COOPER: The grant jury in New Mexico has indicted actor, Alec Baldwin, on charges of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors, once again, trying to hold him criminally accountable for the fatal shooting of cinematographer, Halyna hutchins, with a prop gun on the "Rust" movie set nearly three years ago.

Similar charges, you may remember, were dropped against Baldwin last spring with prosecutors saying they could not proceed with the evidence they had at the time.

Then in October, they said they had new facts. With more in the case, we want to go to CNN's Josh Campbell.

So what more do we know about this indictment?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, so if this sounds familiar to viewers, it's because it is. We've seen this before. This is now the second round of charges that have been filed against actor, Alec Baldwin.

And just to walk viewers through the timeline, he was previously indicted in January of 2023, a very similar involuntary manslaughter charges. Those charges were dropped because prosecutors at the time said that there was an issue with a piece of evidence.

A law enforcement source told me that evidence was the gun itself that was used in that shooting. There were questions about whether it had been modified, which raised questions about its reliability as a piece of evidence.

Interestingly, FBI analysts determined that that gun could not have fired without someone pulling the trigger. Alec Baldwin, for his part, has long proclaimed his innocence.

He said he did not pull the trigger on that weapon. Nevertheless, we're learning today, this grand jury in New Mexico issuing this indictment to accounts here. I'll read you. It's involuntary manslaughter, negligent use of a firearm, involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspection.

All of that getting to, again, negligence. There is the question about how a live round of ammunition got on the set to begin with. It appears that these new prosecutors who are working this case, filing very similar charges to what were filed before, Anderson.


COOPER: And you previously interviewed a prosecutor in the case about the culture on the set. What did she say?

CAMPBELL: Yes. So this was the district attorney who brought that original set of charges. CNN, we interviewed her in her first interview after that indictment. And what she said was there was this culture of negligence.

You know, we've been reporting here at CNN on this story about accidental discharges on the set previously, about members of the set who described feeling unsafe in and around the making of this movie. I should mention the producers of the movie to include Baldwin have denied all of that.

But take a listen here to this interview about what they found as part of this investigation and what ultimately led them at the time to file charges.


MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY, NEW MEXICO: There was such a lack of safety and safety standards on that set. That there were live rounds on set. They were mixed in with regular dummy rounds. Nobody was checking those or at least they weren't checking them consistently.

And then they somehow got loaded into a gun, handed off to Alec Baldwin. He didn't check it. He didn't do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Hayna Hutchins and he pulled the trigger.


CAMPBELL: And again, team Baldwin disputing all of that. This culture as well as the fact that he pulled the trigger on the gun. They say that they will fight these charges, Anderson.

COOPER: What happens next in the case?

CAMPBELL: So in the state of New Mexico, what happens next is what's called the first appearance. That could happen either in person. Alec Baldwin could be summoned from New York to actually travel to New Mexico.

They might handle that by video conference as they did the last time. When that occurred, we didn't hear or see Baldwin. All this was handled by his attorneys. But this will be very interesting to watch because after that initial set of charges, we heard from numerous legal experts on this case, raising that main question that we all had.

You know, if there's an actor who was handed a gun and told that this gun is empty, is he liable for whatever happens after that?

Now, prosecutors appear to say, yes, this grand jury said yes, that he should be indicted. But, of course, we'll have to wait and see how -- what happens next. We did get a statement in today from Baldwin's attorney. Very short statement saying they look forward to their day in court, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Thanks so much. Appreciate it, Josh.

Coming up, our Harry Enten is in Buffalo to watch his blood Bills play in this weekend's NFL playoff game. He asked if we could send him. We said sure, at least as far as the parking lot. He has our NFL cold weather playoff preview, next.



COOPER: Any diehard Buffalo Bills fans looking to earn $20 an hour should head to Buffalo where the Bills are hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. One of four NFL playoff games this weekend. More heavy snow is forecast for the area. The Bills are paying at $20 an hour to die-hard fans to help clean up the mess so the show can go on.

As you can see here, a lot have already showed up. I'm truly not a football guy or really a sports person in general. Although I'm trying to learn. So we sent our resident Bills super fan, Harry Enten, to Buffalo to explain what's going on to soak it all in. And it seems to suffer in the cold of bed. He's hanging on the parking lot at Highmark Stadium where his beloved Bills play.

So I know you're emotionally invested in Sunday's game. Are you going to spend the next two days in the Bills parking lot shoveling or getting pumped up for the game as they say?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Look Anderson, where else would you rather be than right here right now? As you mentioned, the Bills are giving $20. I've got a bunch of 20s here to shovel some --

COOPER: Well, I'm actually in Los Angeles. I'm quite happy to be here because it's lovely and quite warm.

ENTEN: Come on. Come on, Anderson. Come join me in the cold here in Buffalo. Actually, Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo. I got myself a shovel. I tried to get in there, but there have already been hundreds, if not more than a thousand folks who showed up here to try and shovel. Of course, this is all ahead of the game on Sunday.

And I'll also note, as a weather aficionado, a snow hound who went to weather camp, the combination of snow and Buffalo Bills football. There is nothing that gets me more joyous. It's almost as if you are the Make-A-Wish Foundation for Skinny Juice from the Bronx, Anderson.

COOPER: Didn't you go to Space Camp also? Or was it just weather camp?

ENTEN: I have -- I visited Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. But I've never been to Space Camp. But maybe that's the next trip for me. We can all go down to Huntsville, Alabama together.

COOPER: So what's the -- what's the over and under? I don't know if that's a term. What should we expect from the game this weekend? Is it-- is the over-- ENTEN: Yes. Yes. So they're playing the Kansas City Chiefs. That's a betting term. I will tell you that the bills are favored by two and a half points over the Kansas City Chiefs, or as I call them, the Kansas City Swifts, of course, Taylor Swift is dating Travis Kelce, the star tied on for the Kansas City Chiefs.

I will note, the Bills have already beaten the Chiefs in Kansas City when Taylor Swift showed up. So while I do enjoy Taylor Swift's music, as I know you do, we're both Swifties at heart. I'm hoping she's probably crying at the end of Sunday because that will mean my Buffalo Bills have won.

So this is the one time I am rooting against Taylor Swift. I'm sorry, Swifties. I got to do it.

COOPER: Wow, that's kind of harsh.

So I understand you have some questions for me.

ENTEN: I know. I know.

COOPER: I'm sort of dreading.

ENTEN: Yes, yes. So, you know, last week, we did your favorite game, which is figure out the matchups through the logos. And, of course, we had to do it again back by popular demand. So we're going to go through some of the games that are not the Chiefs versus the Bills.

So let's start off with our first game. This is the first Saturday game. Here are the logos of the teams. Can you guess them? One you actually learned last week. Let's see if you can guess these two.

COOPER: Well, I know I learned that the one in the left last week. And I should remember it, but I don't because I'm really not interested. And it's not the -- I don't know who it is. It's the fighting Taurus. That's who it was. The patriotic Taurus.


ENTEN: The fighting Taurus. Very patriotic.

COOPER: I'm guessing those are the Baltimore Ravens.

ENTEN: Yes. Yes. We were getting pumped up.


ENTEN: The other team of course is very good. I'm rubbing off on you. It's the Houston Texans against the Baltimore Ravens.

Let's move on to matchup number two featuring a favorite team of yours.

COOPER: The -- those are the Packers. Wisconsin Packers. Is that right?


COOPER: Why is it a G?

ENTEN: Green Bay Packers. Of course, they play-

COOPER: Green Bay. OK. OK. They're -- got it now. OK. And San Francisco 49ers.

ENTEN: Yes. Yes. OK.

COOPER: That's OK. That's--

ENTEN: Last one for you, Anderson.


ENTEN: Let's see if you can round it up.

COOPER: OK. The Blue Lions we knew. I mean, we talked about before. Oh, it's the Detroit Lions and --


COOPER: The fighting. Swashbuckling pirates. Oh, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

ENTEN: Oh, my God. We did it, Anderson. It is a miracle. A miracle. You got it. You've made me so proud.

COOPER: I got it.

ENTEN: You're going to Make-A-Wish Foundation Numerous ways tonight. God bless you --

COOPER: All right.

ENTEN: -- Anderson Cooper. God bless you.

COOPER: All right. What -- are your gloves fraying? What's going on with your gloves? OK. Anyway, harry Enten --

ENTEN: My gloves. I got these at Home Depot. I picked up the shovel at Home Depot too.

COOPER: Oh, you got cash in your hand. That's what it is

All right. Harry Enten, thanks very much. Stay warm. Good luck to your Bills. We'll be right back.


COOPER: The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. Have a great weekend.