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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Trump Absolute Immunity Claim; Interview With Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD); Chris Christie Weighs In On Federal Appeals Court Ruling On Trump Immunity Claim; One-On-One With Former Gov. Chris Christie; MI Jury Finds Mother Of School Shooter Guilty Of Involuntary Manslaughter; Fathers Of School Shooting Victims React To Guilty Manslaughter Verdict Against Mother Of Shooter; SC GOP Voters Discuss Trump, Haley Divide Ahead Of Primary. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 06, 2024 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: If you take a look at this picture sent in text messages between two Boeing employees in September during work on the aircraft, these three circles show where the bolts were missing and the location of the fourth bolt on the top left corner that is covered by installation in this picture, but it does come as patience for Boeing is wearing thin.

The chief of Emirates, one of Boeing's biggest customers, which just recently placed a $52 billion order. The airline is serving the world's busiest airport, saying: "This is the last chance saloon for the manufacturer to restore its once pristine and now tarnished reputation."

Thanks so much for joining us. Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360: A federal appeals court deals the former president a major blow saying he must stand trial for January 6 and that no former president has immunity for crimes committed in office.

Also tonight, in a primetime exclusive interview with former presidential candidate, Chris Christie makes of the c endorsing anyone this primary season.

And later, a jury's verdict on a school shooter's mom and the unprecedented charges against her in connection with his crime. We'll hear from the parents of two of his victims.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

In addition to all of that, there is breaking news from the Capitol as Republicans tried to do something which hasn't been done since 1876, impeach a Cabinet secretary. Their effort and their failure for now just ahead.

But first, the other big breaking story out of Washington. Today's court ruling, one which if it stands will be taught in history classes and law schools for generations to come. A three-judge panel from the DC district federal appeals court

rejecting Donald Trump's appeal in the January 6 elections subversion case. Their unanimous decision laying waste to his claim of absolute immunity for crimes he may have committed while in office, especially crimes to help him stay there, unless that is, he had already been impeached and convicted by Congress first, which sounds outlandish even to say now absolute criminal immunity, but it was chilling to hear during oral arguments last month when Judge Florence Pan confronted a Trump attorney with the implications.


FLORENCE PAN, JUDGE, DC APPEALS COURT: Could a president who ordered SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival who was not impeached -- would he be subject to criminal prosecution?

TRUMP ATTORNEY: If he were impeached and convicted first.

PAN: So, your answer is no.


COOPER: And Judge Pan's answer to that, along with her two colleagues was unanimous and unequivocal, quoting now from their unsigned opinion: "Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that as the president, the Congress could not legislate, the executive cannot prosecute and the judiciary could not review. We cannot accept that the office of the presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter."

The court also put the former president on an accelerated timeline giving him until Monday to file an emergency stay with the Supreme Court, after which the clock would start running again on his trial before Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Joining us now is Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe, constitutional scholar, Supreme Court litigator, and author most recently of "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment."

So Professor Tribe, can you just put into further perspective the importance, the magnitude of this ruling?

LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Anderson, I think today's ruling was historic, to put it mildly. It is the first time an appellate court has had occasion to consider the rather extravagant claim that being president puts you above the law, enables you to commit crimes, at least when they are within the outer perimeter of your office.

But actually, in Trump's case, he was making even more remarkable claim that he could commit crimes, regardless of whether he was doing it in his official capacity.

All of those arguments that he made to put himself above the law, were dismembered piece by piece methodically in this historic opinion, which, as you've indicated, is likely to be studied by law students for generations, especially because there is very little reason for the US Supreme Court to weigh in.

COOPER: Why do you say that?

TRIBE: Well, the argument is airtight. It's bulletproof. It's not in conflict with the decision of any other circuit and it establishes a principle, based on widely agreed upon ideas about the separation of powers and the proposition that crime is committed by anyone, including a president when in office, especially the crime of trying to deprive the voters of the ability to replace you with someone else. Those crimes must result in trial and either an acquittal or a conviction. They can't simply go into the ashcan of history.


And there is nothing the Supreme Court of the United States could add to that. If there were a gap in the reasoning of this opinion, if it left important issues unanswered, if it was ambiguous, it was over the top in some way. If it didn't take seriously all of Trump's arguments, then maybe there'd be reason for the Supreme Court to weigh in.'

Now, the only reason to weigh in would be delay, and everyone knows that in this case, justice delayed could well be justice denied.

COOPER: The ruling also said, and I'm quoting: "It would be a striking paradox of the president who alone is vested with the constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, were the sole officer capable of defying those laws with impunity." So if the Supreme Court, you don't think has any grounds to take up the appeal, and there's this accelerated deadline for him to appeal, what sort of timing -- I mean, how soon do you think -- what happens next?

TRIBE: What happens next is that the former president rushes to get his motion for a stay accompanied by a petition for certiorari, for review by the Supreme Court into the court a week from today. The Supreme Court then proceeds to deny review, probably within a week, or at most, two or three weeks.

If it were to grant review, that would slow things down, but not necessarily so much as to prevent a trial before the election, but it would slow things down enough to create a real risk that this case would never come to trial, because if Trump assumes office in January of 2025, the first thing he is going to do is get rid of the federal criminal prosecutions against him.

COOPER: Yes. Who at the Supreme Court decides whether or not to do a review?

TRIBE: Well, the Supreme Court will make that decision quite quickly. But there is, as I say, no reason to think it would grant review. Most of the experts agree with me that the odds are better than 50/50 that the Supreme Court would just let the remarkably careful, thorough, respectful decision of this unanimous three-judge panel, let it be the last word. There is no reason for it to review.

If it were, as I said, to decide to review the case, it could put it on an accelerated track. Either way, we're going to get an eventual decision in this case, unless the Supreme Court, basically disgracefully just lets it drag out.

Now, you know, there are people who thought that the three-judge district or the three-judge Court of Appeals was acting unfairly by letting it drag out just for this month, but I must say, even though I was one of those who was impatient to get the result, it seems to me that it would have been almost humanly impossible to write as careful, thorough, decisive, and bulletproof an opinion as this Court did in less than a month.

It seems to me it did a remarkable job, and I imagine that having done as well, if it rushed to judgment.

COOPER: The former president said in reaction to the ruling that without immunity, the presidency would lose its power and will be "consumed by the other branches of government." Does that make any sense to you?

TRIBE: It doesn't make any sense to me, and it made no sense to this three-judge court, but again, they dealt with it respectfully. They said, if that were the case, then we would expect prior presidents to have run amok and committed all kinds of crimes, because they assumed they were not immune, they were more restrained than this president.

Former presidents assumed that they could be prosecuted. Gerald Ford certainly assumed that Nixon could be prosecuted. That's why he gave him a pardon. The same thing in the case of other presidencies.


TRIBE: What this court did was basically say that Donald Trump is announcing that if he becomes president, again, he wants the freedom to commit any crimes that advance his own interests, undeterred by the prospect that he is just Citizen Trump when he leaves office. He is basically announcing, as this court described it, announcing an intention not just to be a dictator, but to be a criminal-in-chief that's not a very appealing position to be taking.

COOPER: Laurence Tribe, appreciate your time. Thank you.

TRIBE: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Here now with more reporting on the reaction in Trump World, CNN's Kaitlan Collins who anchors "The Source" at the top of the hour. The former president had already been fundraising off this, what are you hearing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: They expected this decision. They didn't think that it was going to go in their favor, especially how that day went, when the judges were kind of eviscerating every argument that --

COOPER: The SEAL Team 6 argument. The assassination argument.

COLLINS: Yes, which didn't go well. A lot of them would argue privately that that argument the way he handled that, saying that hypothetically, yes, that could happen unless he was impeached and then convicted by the Senate didn't go well.

What surprised them was how they got boxed in by the timing here, because that is almost as important as the substance of this ruling from these three judges, including Democrat and Republican appointees, I should note is they say that Trump's team has until next Monday, not very much time to respond to the Supreme Court and file that emergency request to basically pause this decision, and if they don't take that, obviously, then we could potentially see this case start back up again.

But they're basically saying you only have a few days. They are kind of eliminating this tactic that Trump and his team have been using all the time, to delay, delay, delay, make these appeals, that they don't even know if they will win on, but just making them and --

COOPER: Do they seem confident that the Supreme Court would take up the case on appeal?

COLLINS: You know, it's interesting, because I have been talking to a lot of people in his orbit about this -- lawyers, non-lawyers, previous lawyers alike -- they sounded confident that the Supreme Court before it came out today would take it up.

It seems to have been a shift since this has come out, a question now that is being raised of whether or not it is as Mr. Tribe said, there is going to be such a sound ruling at the Supreme Court with that.

COOPER: Right. He says, it is bulletproof.

COLLINS: Yes, that they look at it -- George Conway saying it's airtight, that they look at it and say, well, maybe that's what we would write or we wouldn't disagree with that.

I think the big question for Trump's team tonight, they will definitely appeal this by Monday. It's not clear when exactly, but they have to do it by Monday. What argument do they make before the Supreme Court because if you read through this 57-page ruling, they eviscerate every single argument that his attorney made in front of the federal appeals court.

COOPER: We have CNN new reporting that the former president is not going to go to the Supreme Court to hear arguments on Thursday.

COLLINS: I don't think that's totally surprising. The Supreme Court is obviously a bit -- a different magnitude for him to go and be there than it was even for the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial that he attended here in New York or the civil trial, the fraud trial that he attended.

I think it's also a calculation of how that benefits him and which attorneys he's listening to right now and how he is also balancing their judgment. He is not thrilled after the $83.3 million verdict. I think it's a question of what the legal maneuvering is here, but the sense was, they weren't really expecting him to show up on Thursday.

COOPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, thanks very much. We will see Kaitlan at nine o'clock for "The Source."

Just ahead, what a one-time ally then adversary and primary opponent of the former president, not to mention a former US attorney makes of today's appeals court ruling.

Governor Chris Christie joins me ahead.



COOPER: More breaking news tonight. A stunning defeat for House Republicans who failed in their attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a deeply politicized process. The White House moments ago called it an unconstitutional impeachment stunt. And then even the conservative "Wall Street Journal" opinion editors last week called bad precedent.

The vote narrowly failed 214 to 216. Afterwards, some Republicans said it was unwise of House Speaker Mike Johnson to put the bill on the floor without knowing the vote count on their side. Quoting Republican Ralph Norman: "They're good on the other side of knowing that. Is it that hard?" The number of votes Republicans can lose increased by one vote in the last moment. That's when Democrat Al Green who was thought to be absent and recovering from surgery was actually wheeled onto the floor. Sources say he wasn't even wearing shoes.

Three Republicans joined the no vote, a fourth join the no side to allow the House GOP to bring up the vote again, and more on that in a moment. This was the scene when the final vote was announced.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): On this vote, the yeas are 214 and the nays are 216. The resolution is not adopted.



COOPER: Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, a no vote joins us now. He led the case against the former president during his second impeachment.

Congressman, thanks for being with us. Can you just walk us through what happened on the House floor tonight?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, the Republicans are just not good at counting their votes. And on our side, we got conditioned to a great vote counter in Nancy Pelosi, and I think that Hakeem Jeffries and Katherine Clark, who is in charge of that has been doing a great job of knowing where everybody is and who's going to be there, and I imagine they made provisions for Al Green to get to the floor despite his condition. But the Republicans suffered three significant defections, and one was

Ken Buck, who has been increasingly constitutionalist in his thinking and much more willing to take a walk on the GOP now that he has announced his departure from Congress.

McClintock and then I think Congressman Gallagher abandoned them, and they just didn't have the votes. I saw Marjorie Taylor Greene on the way out this evening and she was vowing to bring it back up again in committee. It's been recommitted, and she said, they're not done with it yet.

But you know, it's a laughingstock impeachment. It's just mad hat excursion for them to go in and try to impeach a Cabinet secretary, at the very moment when that Cabinet secretary is working with the Senate to produce the compromise on immigration in the border that the Republicans claim to want.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the timing of it is interesting. What do you make of the Republicans' arguments against this Senate border bill? Because I mean, again, you know, a very conservative, Senator Lankford was involved in this, Kyrsten Sinema, Independent was involved in this as well. I mean, it gives the Republicans a lot that they had been saying they want for a long time.

RASKIN: Yes, they are just not taking yes for an answer. I mean, you had Lankford out there, saying he could not for the love of God understand why the Republicans would walk away from the best deal that they could get from their perspective. McConnell was for it. There were dozens of Republicans speaking for it. "The Wall Street Journal" editorial was for it, but remember, Donald Trump needs something to run on.

Abortion is gone as America has been proven to be a pro-choice country, thanks to the people of Kansas and Ohio, and all over the country, anytime they put up one of their theocratic anti-abortion bills, it's gone down, and the next one to go down will be in Florida, or I think the Florida voters will write a right to choice into the Constitution. But in any event, that's gone for them.

And so immigration is all they have left, and Donald Trump thinks he knows how to demagogue that. And so he has basically thrown himself in the doorway to say, under no circumstances will his followers let an immigration go through no matter how pleasing it is to the members and so, there's also Vladimir Putin hanging around in the background eager to sink the $60 billion in aid and strategic assistance to the people of Ukraine fighting off Putin's filthy imperialist invasion.


And so you've got Putin in his ear. Trump knows he wants to run on immigration. And at this point, the GOP is the MAGA party. It's Trump's party, and they just want to blow everything up. It really is a party of chaos and insurrection.

COOPER: How does anything change at the border, though if you have the former president talking about it has to be a perfect deal. There's no such thing as a perfect deal. I mean, everything has to be a compromise, even though there's many now in politics who believe compromise is a dirty word.

RASKIN: I mean, he doesn't want a solution, he wants a scapegoat and he thinks that he knows how to run against Mexicans and run against immigrants and rapists other than himself, of course and that's the kind of campaign he wants to run. It really is in the gutter and the shocking thing is how much he has dragged the whole Republican Party down and we're talking about Abraham Lincoln's party.

It was an anti-slavery, pro-union, pro-freedom, pro-reason party, and it's been turned into this authoritarian cult of personality obsessed with conspiracy theory and disinformation and it is playing out every day in Congress and it is an embarrassment.

I mean, everybody is calling them the do-nothing Congress, but that's on the good days. When they try and do something like today, it is impeaching a Cabinet official for doing his job.

COOPER: Congressman Raskin, thank you for being with us.

RASKIN: You bet.

COOPER: Coming up next, my conversation with Chris Christie about today's appeals court defeat for his former primary opponent. His thoughts on that and the other criminal cases as well as the campaign that he bowed out of?


COOPER: Returning to the DC appeals court ruling against the former president, I spoke about it with former Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, in addition to having served as US attorney for New Jersey and the governor, he is also a newly published author. His new book out just today is "What Would Reagan Do: Life Lessons From The Last Great President."

I spoke to him just before airtime.


COOPER: First of all, the reaction to federal appeals court decision?

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Look, I think it's a very tight, concise decision. I don't think there's any grounds for appeal. I don't know why the Supreme Court would want to take it and I think what's going to lead to is a trial later this spring in Washington.

COOPER: You think the trial will actually take place before the election?

CHRISTIE: Oh I absolutely do. Look, there are a couple of things --

COOPER: Won't he try to delay? I mean, even if there are no grounds for an appeal, I mean he'll -- [20:25:08]

CHRISTIE: He'll try, but if -- you know, when I read the decision today, one of the things the Circuit Court did was say, if he wanted to appeal to the Supreme Court, he had until Monday to do it. Usually it's 90 days, they get until Monday and said, if you don't, then we're just going to lift the stay.

So I think, you know, he's going to have some decisions to make regarding how he wants to proceed. I'm sure he's going to try to appeal to the Supreme Court.

COOPER: You don't think they would take it up?

CHRISTIE: I don't. I don't. I think it's a very tight, narrow ruling. And I don't think that the Supreme Court would be looking to take it up on a three-oh decision, that in fact, I think is the correct decision.

COOPER: Do you have confidence that politics wouldn't influence some of the judges on the Supreme Court?

CHRISTIE: I do. And I think the other politics that people don't think about is the small p -- politics of this. They already have to be involved this coming week in hearing the ballot access argument. I don't think they want to take two election related cases, and I think Chief Justice Roberts has been pretty clear about that, over time in some of his public speeches, that in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore, he really was going to try to keep the court out of those type of disputes if he could.

COOPER: Do you think any of the president's trials will actually be adjudicated before the Republican convention?

CHRISTIE: Yes. I think, at least the January 6 trial will be or could be, very well. I think it could probably start beginning of May. Basically, what the trial judges said is that she will give them a day for every day that the case has been stayed to prep.

If the Supreme Court makes this decision let's say, whether to take the case or not, and assume they don't take it by the end of this month, which I think is likely, then that's two months, add two months onto that March 4th date, May 4th, the trial is probably a six to eight week trial. I think it will be done. And my guess is that he'll be a convicted felon, when he gets on the stage to accept the Republican nomination for president.

COOPER: You put so much time and money into New Hampshire. Why did you drop out when you did?

CHRISTIE: Because I didn't see a path to beating Donald Trump. That was my goal all along. And by the time we got about two weeks out, we had been polling fairly regularly. And we just didn't see ourselves within striking distance of him. And because of that, I didn't want to continue on in what was going to be a really, really difficult challenge to defeat him. And so my view was, it was the right time to do it. Because I always

told my supporters that if I didn't see a path to winning, I wasn't going to go on some vanity exercise.

COOPER: Was it also to help Nikki Haley or some alternative?

CHRISTIE: No, because I didn't think it would, and in fact, it didn't.

COOPER: Would it have helped if you had endorsed her?

CHRISTIE: I don't know. I mean, I don't know how much endorsements really matter, quite frankly. But that wasn't really the way I made that decision.

COOPER: You're still not willing to endorse her.



CHRISTIE: Because she's not running against Donald Trump. And, you know, I think that the people who support me in this enterprise expect that if I'm going to support someone, they're going to be as aggressive and as honest and direct about Donald Trump being unfit for the presidency.

During the time I was in the race in New Hampshire with Governor Haley, she wouldn't even say that she wouldn't accept the vice presidency from him. So that hardly seemed like someone that would be a natural fit for me.

COOPER: What about the idea of a third party run? I mean, the No Labels group has talked about it.

CHRISTIE: I mean, look, I think --

COOPER: And you haven't said no to this or something like that.

CHRISTIE: No, look, I what I think is that if anybody is going to pursue that, they'd have to be convinced that there was a path to 270 electoral votes. And so I just got out of this race about three weeks ago, so I haven't began to think about anything else except take a vacation with my wife.

COOPER: Where did you go?

CHRISTIE: We went to the Keys.

COOPER: Okay. So your new book, "What Would Reagan Do?" What would Reagan think of the Republican Party today?

CHRISTIE: He'd be appalled. He'd be appalled at the cowardice of people not standing up to something that's so obviously wrong.

COOPER: Would Reagan even win a primary? CHRISTIE: Well, I don't know if Ronald Reagan running as -- the Ronald

Reagan that I knew and voted for in 1980 wouldn't recognize how to even run in a primary like the one we just had.

I mean, imagine -- I can't imagine that Ronald Reagan would have raised his hand at the first debate as six of the eight people did, and say I would support Donald Trump even if you were a convicted felon. And I think Ronald Reagan, as we all saw, would have taken on Donald Trump directly.

COOPER: In the book, you write many Republicans have abandoned their common sense and discernment and jumped into a shabby cult, denying plain reality, ignoring proven facts, promoting ridiculous conspiracy theories, and pledging allegiance to a blustery loser who can't remotely be called a conservative and who cares solely about himself. It's about as far as you can get from Ronald Reagan."


CHRISTIE: I like that. That's pretty good.

COOPER: And yet this is the party you want to head.

CHRISTIE: Well, look, I mean, what I want to do is change it. And, you know, listen, Anderson, if you took those words and you went to any number of leaders of our party privately, and ask them if they agreed with it, they say they did.

The problem is they don't want to do the hard work that's necessary to lead and change the party. It means that if you don't raise your hand at the debate in Milwaukee, you're going to get booed. And you have to be willing to do that.

COOPER: When you look at the border battle that's happening now, dead on arrival, the Senate bill on the border, does that make sense to you?

CHRISTIE: It does make sense to me, it's certainly going to make sense to Reagan. What Reagan would do is if there was parts of it he didn't like, he'd get in there and negotiate it and try to make it better. And then ultimately would agree on a compromise that if it didn't give him 100 percent of what he wanted, it would give him a lot of what he wanted and he would move the ball down the field.

COOPER: The former president, President Trump, has talked about -- this is not a perfect bill, only a perfect bill is acceptable. There's really no such thing as a perfect bill.

CHRISTIE: Not my experience of being governor for eight years in a state where I presided over divided government with the Democratic Legislature. But we got a lot of really great things done during that period of time. Reagan working with Tip O'Neill, save Social Security. Reagan working with Tip O'Neill, cut taxes. Reagan working with Tip O'Neill, rebuilt the military.

So those things can be done if you want to. But it's hard work, Anderson. And sometimes you're going to make people unhappy. And my view of our race and why this book is relevant even more now is that Ronald Reagan was a guy who lost at times, standing on his principles. But he's willing to stand up against Gerald Ford when he thought Ford had moved too far to the left.

He was willing to stand up against the Birch Society when he thought they were too far to the right. And what I tried to do in this race was to stand up for the truth. And that was not extraordinarily popular with some members of my party, but it doesn't mean you stop trying.

COOPER: Do you have any doubt that President Trump is pulling the strings, members of the House, to reject the border bill?

CHRISTIE: None at all. He said it publicly. So I know I have no doubt about that at all. And let's add, he's doing it purely for political reasons because he'd rather to continue to have people pour across the border and endanger our country because he thinks it will help him politically against President Biden.

COOPER: Governor Christie, thank you.

CHRISTIE: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, a mom of an Oxford, Michigan school shooter is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The fathers of two victims share their reaction to the verdict that could set a precedent nationwide.



COOPER: In a potentially precedent setting verdict, a Michigan jury has found a mother criminally responsible for her child's deadly school shooting. Jennifer Crumbley was convicted of four counts of involuntary manslaughter, one for each of the students killed by her son at Oxford High School in 2021. Crumbley faces up to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors said she and her husband didn't do enough to properly store the gun they bought for their son just four days before the shooting. The jury forewoman agrees, saying that, quote, "really hammered at home" is that the mother was, quote, "the last adult with the gun."

The prosecution also claimed Crumbley cared more about her horses and an extramarital affair than getting help for her son's mental health issues. Her husband is expected to go on trial for the same charges next month.

Joining me tonight are Steve St. Juliana and Buck Myre. Steve is the father of 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, the youngest victim. She was on the school's basketball team. Buck is the father of 17-year-old Tate Myre, who's remembered as an honor student and a standout athlete. Steve, I'm wondering what your reaction to the verdict is.

STEVEN ST. JULIANA, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM HANA ST. JULIANA: It's a combination of surprise and relief.

COOPER: The surprise, you didn't think the jury would find her guilty?

ST. JULIANA: Yes. As of this morning, I had my doubts. And not because of the job that the prosecution did, I think they did a phenomenal job. It was more -- just a matter of the human factor of dealing with the jury. Not really being able to read them and have a feel for what they were going to come back with.

COOPER: But you feel that on the stand, she was not believable.

ST. JULIANA: No, I don't think she was believable. I don't think anything that she said matched with the evidence of her actions.

COOPER: Buck, how about you?

BUCK MYRE, FATHER OF SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIM TATE MYRE: You know, I feel the exact same way that Steve feels. You know, I -- the people spoke. You know, and to me, that was important. That's our system at work, and that's how our system is supposed to work. So that I felt really good about that.

COOPER: Do you want additional people held accountable?

MYRE: Absolutely. The school. Yes. There was a whole systemic failure here. And, you know, we've -- when I think of November 30th, I've always thought about it. There was four legs of failure. There was the shooter, the parents, you know, our community, and our school.

So, you know, when I look at all four of those, you know, we're able to hold the system, which I'm -- which is what I call our government is holding the people accountable. So they have a shooter accountable. They held the mother accountable. They're going to hold the father accountable. And the only thing left is the school.

And the people aren't allowed to hold the system accountable. So the school isn't being held accountable.

COOPER: What do you want people to know about Tate?


I mean, he sounds like a remarkable person. He was a wrestler.

MYRE: Yes, he was a wrestler. He was a football player. But more importantly, he was a great kid.

It just happened that he happened -- he's happened to be a good athlete. Yes. He -- God gave him some unbelievable tools. But he was just a very fun kid. He always wanted to have fun. He was a big time risk taker.

COOPER: He was an honor student too, I think.

MYRE: Yes, he was an honor student. He was my little wingman for hunting. Well, he wasn't little, you know.

COOPER: He was your big wingman.

MYRE: Yes, he was my wingman for hunting and fishing and, yes, he was just an unbelievable kid. He loved to try new things and take risks and have a blast, man. He had unbelievable zest for life.

COOPER: And Steve, what do you want people to know about Hana?

ST. JULIANA: Hana -- so Hana was just a -- such a caring person. She tried and she would try everything. I mean, she got interested in jewelry so she started making her own rings.

COOPER: That's cool.

ST. JULIANA: And she would just jump from one thing to another. She had a very sarcastic personality. But she was the first person to notice when you were feeling down or you were sick. Yes, she's just just a bright light.

COOPER: Buck, I know in your victim impact statement at the sentencing, you talked about the idea of forgiveness. Can you talk about that a little bit? Is that possible?

MYRE: It's a great question. I don't feel like it's possible, but, you know, I feel like through this whole thing, you know, us families are the prisoners. We're the ones that are living this life now that you could never imagine, Cooper. You just could never imagine it.

And it's eating our family alive. It's eating me alive. And I've -- and I was -- I'm actually reading -- I've read a couple of books on resilience grieving. And, you know, one of them was putting a focus on -- you know, one of the things in the books was putting a focus on forgiveness. So if you don't have so much anger, I'm so angry and so mad right now, you know?

So I'm my own prisoner. And I have to find a way to work my way towards forgiveness, so I'm not so bitter.

COOPER: That's not an easy thing to do.

MYRE: The tough -- you could -- it's tougher than you could ever imagine. Because all we did was send our kid to school.

COOPER: Steve, do you feel the same way?

ST. JULIANA: Yes, basically. You know, it's constant. It's with you all the time. And it's -- you know you realize the fact that you have to keep moving forward and that's where I keep my focus is just moving forward one day at a time and helping my family do the same in their own individual journeys.

MYRE: There's been a lot of focus on the parent, the shooter and the parents' trials. And we feel like there needs to be more focus on the other failure, which was of the school. You know --

COOPER: Is there any legal remedy for you on that? I mean, is there an avenue?

MYRE: Well, we filed civil suits, but the school is hiding behind unconstitutional legislation called governmental immunity. So we're not allowed to ask questions.

ST. JULIANA: Yes. The school themselves don't acknowledge that they did anything wrong. Even though they didn't follow their own policies, they don't acknowledge they did anything wrong. There hasn't been even a single case of discipline related to the shooting within the school.

COOPER: Buck and Steve, I appreciate talking to you. Thank you.

MYRE: Thank you, Cooper.

ST. JULIANA: Thank you.

COOPER: Footnote, we reached out to the school district tonight to respond to some of the comments from Steve and Buck, but didn't get a response. We'll continue to follow the story.

Coming up, which is how firm is the former president's lead in the South Carolina primary? To find out, our John King spent time there talking to Republican voters as part of his "All Over the Map" series. That's next.



COOPER: Today's appeals court ruling rejecting the former president's claim of absolute immunity is unlikely to dent the double-digit lead. Polls suggest he enjoys over Nikki Haley in the South Carolina primary, which is just two weeks from Saturday. Talk to Republican voters there, and what you'll find is buried inside those numbers, and electorates still come into grips with their decision and the direction of their party.

That's what our John King did for his ongoing series for 360, "All Over the Map" that tracks the presidential campaign through the eyes and experience of voters in the battleground states. And John joins me now. I mean, Nikki Haley was a very popular governor of South Carolina. Why doesn't she have more support there?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Think about what has changed since then. She was last on the ballot a decade ago. 2014 is when she won her second term. Since then, Donald Trump won the 2016 primary, the 2016 general election and then the 2020 election in South Carolina. So our lesson from our travels, Anderson, is they like her, but they love him.


KING (voice-over): The South Carolina shoreline is spectacular. Island Treats ice cream shop, a popular stop in Pawleys Island.

KING: Just one scoop of moose tracks. That's good.


KING (voice-over): Joy Rendulic cashed in her 401 (k) eight years ago to buy the place, leaving Pennsylvania behind.

RENDULIC: God brought me here. I tell everybody, he brought me here.

KING (voice-over): Rendulic served her first scoop back in 2016. Nikki Haley was governor then. And Rendulic was impressed.

RENDULIC: Yes, she was a very good governor.

KING (voice-over): But then, and now, Donald Trump is her vote for president.

RENDULIC: I totally believe that God has assigned him to this position. That is my true belief.


KING: Assigned him to be the president of the United States?

RENDULIC: Yes. And he'll be president again. I've been saying that for a long time.

KING: What happened in 2020 then?

RENDULIC: That was a mess. That was some illegal, some improper cheating happening.

KING: No judge in any state or federal judge on any evidence.

RENDULIC: And I think so many people hate Trump that, and that --

KING: Even judges appointed by Trump, even Trump's Supreme Court, that rejected them in the end? Three of his justice is there.

RENDULIC: I know, I just know that there was a whole lot of cheating.

KING: If it was God's plan for Trump to be president, why would God let that happen?

RENDULIC: Because, right now, the time happened -- OK, what happened is what happened. And I believe Trump's coming again.

KING (voice-over): Such, Trump is best no matter what sentiment is easy to find in South Carolina. A big reason the former president is heavily favored in Haley's home state.

RENDULIC: He's even more ready now.

KING (voice-over): Mark Sanford is out of politics because he has a very different take on Trump. Sanford was the Republican governor here before Haley. Then, he won his old House seat back in 2013. But Sanford lost a Republican primary in 2018 because he criticized Trump's spending and sometimes his tone.

MARK SANFORD (R), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: I would say, well, I'm for Trump in this area, but I'm against in these different areas. But people didn't want nuance. They want, are you for or against him?

KING (voice-over): Sanford nods in agreement when Haley criticizes Trump for all the chaos and all the deficit spending. Yet, he expects a big Trump win here.

SANFORD: That which has traditionally worked in GOP politics isn't so much working these days. I've seen this erosion, you have too. You go from Tea Party, sort of pro-movement to Tea Party, to Trump. It's metastasized in ever aggressive forms.

And what started out as a lot of well-meaning Americans saying, look, we got to do something about politicians doing what they said they were going to do into something much more strident is their religion. I mean, I don't know how else to explain it.

KING (voice-over): Hartsville is two hours inland from the coast. Billy Pierce, here for 70 years, except for a stint in the Navy, is another piece of the Trump comeback puzzle.

KING: The four years he was president, how was your life?

BILLY PIERCE, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN VOTER: Better. Definitely better. We didn't have the high inflation. We didn't have the high interest rates.

KING (voice-over): Not an election denier. Not a fan of the toxic tone.

PIERCE: He'd have just shut up and, you know, got off of Twitter and that kind of stuff. He'd have made a great president.

KING (voice-over): His 2016 and 2020 votes for Trump track his 1992 vote for Ross Perot.

PIERCE: I wanted a non-career politician in there that would do, would run it like a company. Run this place like a company, like a CEO.

KING (voice-over): Pierce calls himself likely Trump in the primary. The border is his top issue.

PIERCE: Shut it down.

KING (voice-over): And on that, he trusts Trump more than Haley.

PIERCE: He's going in to fix the things I need him to fix. I have no problem, to be honest with you, I have no problem with putting up two rows and mining the other. So if they come in, you tell them it's mine, you put signs out there that say it's mine.

KING (voice-over): Like many voters drawn to Trump back in 2016, Craig Thomas wanted to send Washington a message.

CRAIG THOMAS, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN VOTER: It was like, all right, like, this is good. Let's blow some things up.

KING (voice-over): Now he's voting for Haley to send his children a message.

THOMAS: I don't think there's any sort of crazy bill conspiracy between the NFL and Taylor Swift and everything else just showing up for a Biden coronation.

KING (voice-over): To end, Thomas hopes awkward conversations after his teenage daughter gets home from the stables.

THOMAS: How do I look at my daughter who is a huge Taylor Swift fan? And this guy's just attacking Taylor Swift for it just because she's going to, like, support another candidate, right? And other things like that. And so having those conversations with them, it does matter and it does, you know, matter with who you support.

KING (voice-over): Charleston is rich with revolutionary and civil war history. It is more affluent, more educated, less trumpy than most of the state.

THOMAS: But there is quite a bit of talk about Trump, even here.

KING (voice-over): That's a bad sign, Thomas says, for those like him who wants South Carolina to somehow give Haley a win and give the Republican race a new beginning.


COOPER: John King is over the magic wall. Now, can you walk us through the polls in South Carolina? What kind of scenario Haley would need to actually pull this off?

KING: It looks bleak for Governor Ambassador Haley at the moment, Anderson. A little context. First, quickly, remember, Trump won one and he won two. So he's 2 and 0 right now. If he wins South Carolina, a lot of people think this one is over. So you mentioned the polls.

Let me just pop the state. The most recent poll showed Trump ahead by about 25 points. So what Haley has to do is change the electorate, there's no voter registration in South Carolina. So Democrats, Independents, Republicans, anyone can vote if you're a registered voter in the primary.

The problem for her is it's never happened before. It tends to be a very conservative electorate. What do I mean by that? This is from the Washington Post-Monmouth University poll taken just a little more than a week ago. Forgive me for turning my back.

57 percent of those who say they are likely to vote in the South Carolina Republican primary, 57 percent of them say Joe Biden was elected because of fraud. That's simply not true. Simply not true, but that's what they believe. [20:55:09]

Nearly -- so it's nearly 6 in 10 of the people who say they're going to vote in two weeks say Joe Biden shouldn't be president. Guess what? 85 percent of those back Trump over Haley. So if it's almost 60 percent of the electorate and more than 8 in 10 back Trump, you can see right there, the huge advantage he has in what used to be, as you noted earlier, Haley's first state.

Here's another thing. She needs to change the composition of the electorate, get more moderates, more Democrats, more independents to vote. But right now, she's not doing that. In Iowa, 55 percent of the voters there identified themselves as white evangelicals.

In New Hampshire, it was only 19 percent. Remember, that's where Haley did, at least, in the 40s. South Carolina looks a lot like Iowa. 54 percent of the voters who say they're likely to vote describe themselves as white evangelicals, and look what happens. Trump gets nearly 70 percent of that vote, Anderson, to 22 percent for Haley.

So, she has two weeks, but she has to completely change the composition of the electorate. We've heard candidates in past years say, I'm going to do that, I'm going to do that. John McCain said it back against George W. Bush. It simply has not happened in the past.

And remember, she last ran a decade ago, as I said. In 2016, Trump won all but two. All but two. Back in 2016, when he was brand new, when he was less known, he won all but two of the 46 counties. This state is even more Trumpy now. And he did pretty good back then.

COOPER: Yes. John King, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


COOPER: That's it for us. The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.