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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

GA D.A. Defiant: "I'm Not On Trial" As Defense Tries To Disqualify Her In Combative Hearing On Election Interference Case; Trump's Historic, First Criminal Trial Now Set To Begin March 25; Justice Department Charges Former FBI Informant With Lying About The Bidens' Involvement In Ukraine Business; Trump Civil Fraud Trial Verdict Expected Tomorrow; Two Juveniles Detained In Connection With Deadly Kansas City Shooting. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 15, 2024 - 20:00   ET


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Even if this proposed legislation eventually becomes law, Victoria knows that this may not affect Dr. Caldwell because he is quite elderly and he is ill. She's doing this for other people, Erin. And as far as Dr. Caldwell, well we did go visit him at his Connecticut home, he did not want to talk and his attorney had no comment. Erin?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Kyung, thank you so much. It would be incredible, though. Gosh if you could prevent those things from happening again that would be doing good in the world.

All right. Kyung, thank you so much. And thanks so much to all of you, as always, for being with us. AC360 begins now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, thanks for joining us.

Tonight's special coverage of the Trump trials, the high drama and deep significance in two of them today and what are expected to be the potentially enormous financial consequences tomorrow in a third. Also, late today, the former president's final pitch to the Supreme Court on why he should be criminally immune for actions he took in office, so there's a lot to get to in this next hour.

In Atlanta today, the drama revolved around Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and whether she and her department should be removed from the Georgia RICO case against the former president and others. At issue, her relationship with lead prosecutor Nathan Wade the timing of it and whether that and how they paid for trips they took together created conflicts of interest. He testified today, so did Fani Willis. She'll be back on the stand tomorrow.

Today, she repeatedly classed with Ashleigh Merchant who's the attorney for the co-defendant Michael Roman.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: So let's be clear, because you lied in this - let me tell you which one you lied in, right here. I think you lied right here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, (inaudible) ...

WILLIS: No, no, no, this is the truth.


WILLIS: ... And it is a lie.



COOPER: That earned her and the other attorney a strong admonishment from the judge and we'll have more on that case in a moment. Here in Manhattan, meantime, both drama and history, a judge setting a March 25th date for what will be the first criminal - Trump criminal case to get to trial. The first and arguably thinnest really of four cases against the former president.

Now, this case is New York's 34 count indictment of the former president over his alleged 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Something that virtually every legal scholar says they don't understand that there's no crime, even if he was guilty of something there's no crime.


COOPER: Others disagreed. The he he's referring to there is, of course, himself more in that trial shortly. Also as we mentioned and what happens tomorrow if as expected the judge, Arthur Engoron, imposes what could be hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties in New York civil fraud trial.

First, we begin with the Georgia case and CNN's Tom Foreman on today's dramatic testimony.



WILLIS: (Inaudible) ...


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A stunning and fiery day in court as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis took the stand to defend herself and her case.


WILLIS: You're confused. You think I'm on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020.


FOREMAN (voice over): In one explosive exchange after another she explained her Romantic relationship with the prosecutors she hired to lead the election fraud case and she tore into the legal team around former president, Trump, and his allies.


MCAFEE: ... able to ask follow-ups.

WILLIS: Well, it's highly offensive when someone lies on you and it's highly offensive when they try to implicate ...

MERCHANT: Judge ...

WILLIS: ... that you slept with somebody the first day you met with them and I take exception to it.


FOREMAN (voice over): At issue in the hearing were two key questions, first, when did her romantic relationship with special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, begin.


NATHAN WADE, FULTON COUNTY SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Let's be clear, 2022 was the start of any intimate sexual relationship with the District Attorney.


FOREMAN (voice over): While Wade testified that the romance started when the investigation of Trump and his co-defendants was well underway a one-time mutual friend Robin Yeartie he insisted it started way back in 2019.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you observe them do things that are common among people having a romantic relationship?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such as, can you give us an example?

YEARTIE: Hugging, kissing, just disaffection.


FOREMAN (voice over): Willis' take at that time she and Wade were friends, nothing more, and as for that contrary testimony ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIS: I have not spoken to Robin in over a year. I certainly do not consider her a friend now.


FOREMAN (voice over): The second key question, did the District Attorney financially benefit by choosing her romantic partner to lead the election fraud case. Team Trump came in saying Wade used money from that appointment to take Willis on trips to California, Aruba, Belize, the Bahamas and more. But hold on, Wade said, Willis paid him back in cash for all that travel.


WADE: What I allege is that our travel was split roughly evenly.


FOREMAN (voice over): A line he held even as team Trump drilled in.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure you probably have the deposit slips where you took the cash and deposited the cash into your account, don't you?


WADE: I did not deposit the cash in my account.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have a single solitary deposit slip to corroborate or support any of your allegations that you were paid by Mrs. Willis in cash, do you?

WADE: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a single solitary one.

WADE: Not a one.


FOREMAN (voice over): And Willis was right there with him dismissing the claims of financial shenanigans.


WILLIS: I mean I paid for the hotel. I paid for the flights. I had a birthday luncheon for him. I paid for massages. I paid for everything.


FOREMAN (voice over): And as for always repaying in cash ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIS: I have money in my house.

MERCHANT: You have money in your house. So it was just money that was there.

WILLIS: When you meet my father, he's going to tell you as a woman you should always have which I don't have so let's don't tell him that, you should have at least six months in cash at your house at all time.


FOREMAN (voice over): She also batted down questions about sensitive personal matters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... characterization ...

WILLIS: I'm not going to emasculate a black man, but I'm just telling you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry what?

WILLIS: I'm not going to emasculate a black man, did you understand that?


FOREMAN (voice over): And slapped away so much of what team Trump said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

WILLIS: No, no, no, this is the truth ...

MERCHANT: Judge ...

WILLIS: ... and it is a lie. It is a lie.

MCAFEE: (Inaudible) ...


COOPER: That was CNN's Tom Foreman reporting perspective. Now starting with CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, anchor of "LAURA COATES LIVE" here at 11. She's outside the courthouse in Atlanta.

Incredible day on the stand. First of all, what's your sense of just how this hearing went?

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I could not believe that the DA took the stand. I think it was expected that perhaps she might be able to avoid this. The judge seemed to be leaning at this after Nathan Wade testified, but was she explosive out of the game, raw with emotion, obviously intense, but also very persuasive and that she was trying to clarify the nature of her relationship talking about why and how she'd repay different things really had a take no and suffer no fools attitude towards the attorneys that she viewed is trying to fatally undermine her.

The judge at times seemed very flabbergasted by the pacing of the questions from earlier testimony, but ultimately their responsibility in bringing this motion was to draw a through line between the finances and a financial benefit for Fani Willis. That was an uphill battle to begin with even when you consider in they only had one witness testifying about a relationship that predated the time in which finding Willis and Nathan Wade admitted to having one.

Without that through line, you don't have the conflict of interest that would rise to level of disqualification. Because Anderson, that requires the person to have such a conflict of interest as to undermine fatally the opportunity for any defendant to have a fair trial. That has yet to be met but tomorrow is another day.

COOPER: Right. She's back on the stand tomorrow. It does seem interesting - I mean, they - as you said, they only had the one witness and her credibility is in question. She didn't have really any details about when - exactly when she believes the relationship started and she also left the office where she was working, the DA's office, under a cloud.

COATES: Oh, she was clearly a disgruntled employee, but I can tell you I was screaming at the screen wondering where the follow-up questions were going to come from. It's not enough to simply say do you have any doubts they had a romantic relationship at that time. And her to say, I have no doubts. It begs further questions why don't you have a doubt, you witness them hugging and kissing, where? Was it in an office? In a home? Who else was there? Was it on the cheek? Was it on the lips? Had you heard stories? Had you seen text messages? What did you know to substantiate what you are presenting to the court?

You didn't have those follow-up questions. It begs the question as to why they didn't ask it, was it one question too many, was the old rule of you don't ask the question you know the answer to. But it does require you to have more, especially since it is an isolation and currently uncorroborated. That is the kiss of death for many litigation and many motions. You've got to have somebody who is an unbiased credible witness that will come across to the judge in this case and not have the ax to grind.

Now it could very well be true she is telling the truth but corroboration is really what you want to have when you have a witness that has a potential cloud as you say over her departure from the office.

COOPER: Laura Coates stay with us.

I want to bring in criminal defense attorney, Caroline Polisi, also two former federal prosecutors Jessica Roth and Jeffrey Toobin and Gwen Keyes former District Attorney for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit in DeKalb County, Georgia. Caroline let me start off with you. Your defense attorney, what did you think of the defense here?

CAROLINE POLISI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. Look, obviously today was salacious, it was tawdry, it's an unfortunate ...

COOPER: And by the way, this is crazy ...


COOPER: ... this is a trial about Donald Trump ...

POLISI: Correct.


COOPER: But now we're talking about the DA.

POLISI: Correct, it is an unfortunate byproduct of legitimate legal questions at the heart of this. And it is true, this has nothing to do with the merits of the case nothing to do with Donald Trump, nothing to do with whether or not you know he should continue to be prosecuted really.

There are two distinct issues here that I saw as evidenced by the questions one and two that you did in the lead-in package, and they're distinct. It's ethical issues and then the law of recusal and disqualification of an attorney and they kind of blended together for me today. I don't think they made that evidentiary hurdle of having the DA be disqualified because I don't think they showed an actual conflict of interest in the finances of this. However, I do think there's a real question that Fani Willis and Nathan Wade potentially lied in a court affidavit in Willis' ...

COOPER: About when the relationship began.

POLISI: About when it started. And this is a classic case of the cover-up is worse (inaudible) ...

COOPER: But the only person making that allegation is this one witness. Go ahead, Jeff.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Can I ask a question? So what? So what if they had this relationship.

COOPER: Well, the question is did they lie about it.

POLISI: I agree with so what if they had it, exactly.

TOOBIN: But why does it - does this prejudice Donald Trump or any of these defendants at all. I mean that's the thing that's so baffling about all this. Suppose they had this relationship, suppose they lied, why does that disqualify them in this proceeding? I mean, yes maybe it's because ...

POLISI: An attorney lying to the court, is not good. TOOBIN: ... maybe it's a reason that she should be voted out of office.


TOOBIN: That's a legitimate - but there is no prejudice against Donald Trump.

COOPER: But just the details - Jessica, did the defense - I mean, they didn't really even question Fani Willis about when the relationship began or I mean they didn't get any actual timeline here really and pursue any kind of lines of questioning on that.

JESSICA ROTH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: She did say when the relationship began and it was consistent with what Nathan Wade had said which was it was in 2022, so after he had been appointed and it continued through 2023, they both said it had ended in roughly the same period of time, which would suggest if you believe both of them that when she appointed him to this role a special prosecutor they were not involved in a romantic relationship.

The only evidence that was proffered to the contrary was the testimony of that one witness who was her former friend who said in a very sort of non-specific way that she believed that they had been having a romantic relationship way back before the 2022 date. I did not find that witness credible, she was not specific. She clearly seemed to have an ax to grind with Fani Willis.

So when you put the sworn testimony of these two attorneys against the testimony of that one witness, I thought that the defense who has the burden here did not carry their burden based on what we've seen thus far.

TOOBIN: But they certainly carried their burden of embarrassing the hell out of the prosecutor in this case and that's why Donald Trump was the big winner in Atlanta today. I mean - and that's why this - I don't think this proceeding ever should have been held. I don't think this is a relevant issue, but the fact that this judge who seemed to be a bump on the log not let - letting all this nonsense go on for hours and hours, the only person who really benefited here was Donald Trump and the other defendant.

COOPER: Gwen, I want to play a bit more of the DA's testimony today and then ask you about it.


WILLIS: He called his travel agent, he called his cruise agent, they do it and then he tells me how much it is and I give him the money back.

MERCHANT: I know he initially paid for it, did you pay him back.

WILLIS: For the cruise and for Aruba, yes, I gave him his money before we ever went on that trip. MERCHANT: You gave him cash before you ever went on the trip.

WILLIS: Mm-hm.

MERCHANT: The money that you paid Mr. Wade, the cash in October of 2022, you do not know where that money came from.

WILLIS: I do know where it came from, it came from my sweat and tears.


COOPER: Gwen, I'm wondering what you thought of her on the stand and the job the defense did.

GWEN KEYES, FMR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY, STONE MOUNTAIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA: Well, again, I have to agree with all of your other guests that many of us wish we were not having to talk about this. There is a real question for a jury at some point in time about the underlying charges and yet we have not spoken about the sufficiency of those charges in weeks as we deal with this. So - but even that all being said, I think DA Willis did what she had to do today. What you saw in her was a fight that she's trying to defend herself and her reputation against these types of allegations, but that's the same type of fight and tenacity that she brings to her pursuit of justice on behalf of her constituents.

So I'm not at all surprised at the tone that she took, how clear she was and how unwavering she was in being very clear that she did not accept or she did pay back all of the money that was given.


So again what many hope is that we can get back to the issue of what is the evidence that establishes the underlying charges within this RICO indictment. And as long as we are not talking about that, I think again this is just a delay tactic and unfortunately one that's creating a very large distraction.

COOPER: Do you think all the granular details were necessary from a legal standpoint?

KEYES: Well, I think they certainly help, because again it goes to the issue of credibility and I'll agree with the other guests in terms of I do not believe or there's many that do not believe that the defense has met its obligation here. They have to prove that there is an actual conflict not just a speculative one. Their lead witness or the witness they desire to call first failed on being able to establish that case for them. They had to go to a backup witness who again, in my viewing of the hearing, did not provide sufficient detail, may have an interest or again is it - as been labeled as a disgruntled employee and all of that goes to credibility.

So when you look at those weakening credible points with the level of detail that was provided the surety of the DA and providing that level of detail again, I think if you were looking at credibility, I don't see where the defense has met their burden nor do I see where the judge could disqualify her.

COOPER: Laura, do you agree with that, that - I mean do you see a case for disqualifying her at this point? Again, she's taking the stand again tomorrow.

COATES: I don't think that they - yes, I have not seen the evidence that would rise to the level. Again, disqualification requirement is that it would go to the heart of the ability of the defendants to get a fair trial. We have not addressed the underlying facts that is part of the reason why ultimately so far this is qualification effort is likely to fail.

They have not gotten to the heart of why this would prejudice or undermine the defense' ability to have a fair trial. But if, Anderson, they are disqualified, I do mean they, it's not just Fani Willis, it's her entire office. It would mean that you have a prosecuting counsel in Georgia that then has to choose to either appoint and assign or get somebody else to now be the prosecutor. That successive team doesn't have to actually follow the recommendations of the indictment, they could add defendants, they could take away defense, they could actually dismiss the case and they could try to go to a private practice litigator that is a hard battle as well. We're talking about a very nominal fee compared to what the stakes are, security issues, political implications.

There is a huge spotlight over this case if they are disqualified, this could be slow rolled in a way that we would not have a trial before the actual election in November and dare I say not for the many months to come. And so a lot is riding on this, this judge is well aware if you are to disqualified Fani Willis, the whole office becomes disqualified as well.

COOPER: I want to play some more of what Willis said on the stand.


MERCHANT: Has he ever visited you at the place you laid your head.

WILLIS: So let's be clear, because you lied in this - let me tell you which one you lied in, right here. I think you lied right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, (inaudible) ...

WILLIS: No, no, no, this is the truth.

MERCHANT: Judge ...

WILLIS: ... and it is a lie.

MCAFEE: We're going to (inaudible) ...


COOPER: How do you think that ...

TOOBIN: I think it was - I think she was a good witness. I mean, I think if - for the purposes that she was on the stand for, she actually, I thought, demolished the case against her. You - some people will simply not believe that some people have that much cash around, but some people do. And other than that, I think she - she's a good witness.

The problem is that if you ask people in Atlanta who are the jury pool here about Fani Willis, they are going to know about this, a hell of a lot more than they are going to know about the details of the case and that's a win for the defense even if, as I expect, they will allow her to continue.

COOPER: Do you think it's right - it affects the jury potential?

ROTH: It might, I mean - but in a sense, politically she may have felt that she needed to show her outrage. I mean I think that was genuine outrage but I think politically she was defending her integrity. In terms of how it plays with the judge who's ultimately the one who's making the decision on this narrow issue of disqualification, I'm not sure how it played. I mean he seemed like - he was actually getting a little bit impatient with her at times and I believe he called a recess shortly after that clip you played where basically things were just getting a little too hot and he said we're going to take a recess and he reminded everybody that they are professionals, right, including the witness and the lawyers that they're lawyers and that they should treat one another essentially as professionals and not step on one another's speech.

So I think that there were times where the judge was losing patience with how long her answers were going on and how non-responsive they were. So in terms of his decision here I'm not sure ultimately if it was to her benefit.

COOPER: Caroline Polisi, thank you, Gwen Keyes as well thanks. Laura Coates we'll see you at 11 o'clock on CNN. Jessica's going to stick around and Jeff Toobin as well.

We'll talk about the former president's day in court here in New York where a judge set the date for what will be the first criminal trial ever faced by a former commander-in-chief.


Plus, the latest on the shootings of the Super Bowl celebration in Kansas City, my conversation with the brother of Lisa Lopez-Galvan who was killed there yesterday.



COOPER: As we said at the top of the program, history was made today here in New York. Donald Trump lost his last chance to delay a trial that will make him the first ex-president to face a jury with his peers in a criminal.

CNN's Kara Scannell was in the courtroom as it happened. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A New York state judge ordering Donald Trump to stand trial for criminal charges next month.


TRUMP: Instead of being in South Carolina and other states campaigning, I'm stuck here.


SCANNELL (voice over): This case related to a hush money repayment scheme involving porn star Stormy Daniels and former Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, will begin on March 25th.


TRUMP: There is no case.


SCANNELL (voice over): It's a historic first, a former president facing a jury and on trial in the middle of a presidential campaign.


TRUMP: How can you run for election if you're sitting in a courthouse in Manhattan all day long.



SCANNELL (voice over): The judge in this case, Juan Merchan, made the decision after consulting with Judge Tanya Chutkan who is overseeing the election subversion case in Washington, D.C. During a pre-trial hearing in New York, Trump attorney, Todd Blanche, seized on that unprecedented timing protesting for a delay: "We strenuously object to what is happening in this courtroom," he told the judge with Trump's eyes locked on his attorney.

"The fact that President Trump is going to now spend the next two months working on this trial instead of out in the campaign trail running for president is something that should not happen in this country."

Judge Merchan asked, "What's your legal argument?" "That's my legal argument," Blanche said. "That's not a legal argument," Merchan replied, telling the lawyers he'd see them on March 25th.


TRUMP: We'll just have to figure it out. I'll be here during the day and I'll be campaigning during the night.


SCANNELL (voice over): This case stems from actions that took place in the days before the 2016 election when Donald Trump, former National Enquirer publisher, David Pecker, and Michael Cohen allegedly schemed to keep Stormy Daniels from going public about an affair. According to the indictment, Cohen paid $130,000 in hush money to Stormy Daniels then submitted sham legal bills to the Trump Organization which the former president reimbursed with a series of monthly checks.


MICHAEL COHEN, FMR. PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I did it at the direction of, in concert with and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump.


SCANNELL (voice over): Today the parties debated questions to ask prospective jurors, an 18-person jury will ultimately be seated. Trump's lawyers wanted to delve into politics telling the judge they need to know if people like Trump, Judge Merchan called it inappropriate saying they need fair and impartial jurors.


TRUMP: I'm honored to sit here day after day after day on something that everybody says the greatest legal scholars say it's not even a crime.


COOPER: That was CNN's Kara Scannell who's with us here. Joining us as well, former Trump - White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, Jeff Toobin and Jessica Roth remain with us.

Kara, let's start out with you. What stood out to you - what else stood out in the courtroom?

SCANNELL (on camera): So we saw Trump in the E. Jean Carroll trial where he was outspoken, he was disruptive to the courtroom. Today, he was quiet he was leaning back in his chair for most of the time. And really paying attention to the attorneys who were speaking, what I also thought was interesting. We talked a lot about how the attorneys perform for an audience of one and I have seen in the cases I've been covering that the lawyers do tend to enhance their dramatic speaking before the judge when Trump is in the room.

And after Todd Blanche had made his pitch to try to push back the trial date and loss, they moved on to talk about jury selection and to talk about the trial schedule, the judge said is there anything else you want to bring up. And at that point Blanche looked over at Trump who nodded at him and then Blanche began saying he objects to everything that's happening in this courtroom, Trump shouldn't be here, this shouldn't happen in America.

And then when Trump was leaving the courtroom, someone in the back row started clapping and the court officer said quiet in the courtroom. But that is the first time I've seen someone publicly react in the courtroom to him in a way that was really audible.

COOPER: Anthony, do you think this - he's saying this hurts him on the campaign trail. He has been able to make any court appearance into a campaign appearance.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It really does hurt him though because it's killing him with the donors. The RNC, it's killing him with a large donor community, it's also ...

COOPER: He is fundraising (inaudible) with small donors.

SCARAMUCCI: He is, but the incremental fundraising he's now turning those lemon rinds into lemonade, it's very hard, Anderson. And so he knows that a path to the presidency requires way more money than he's currently raising and so this does not help him at all. Moreover, he'll be in that courtroom for two months. He makes no fundraising calls.

If you talk to any of the big donors and any of the big donors that talk to Ronna McDaniel (ph), they don't want to give her any money and so this is a disaster for the guy, okay. Now, he's been lucky he's got the distraction going on in Georgia, but Michael Cohen has been fairly thorough with the prosecution about exactly what happened and let's not anybody forget Michael Cohen served jail time for what happened and so this is a big ...

COOPER: Michael Cohen ...

SCARAMUCCI: ... this is a big case and it's a big deal for Donald Trump.

COOPER: As a witness, though, Michael Cohen has a lot of problems.

ROTH: He does have a lot of problems. And I mean, the prosecution if they're smart is going to front all those problems on their direct examination of him so it doesn't look like they're hiding anything from the jury and leaving it for cross-examination and they're going to have to corroborate everything he says, that's material. They're going to point to the document showing the reimbursements and they're going to need other witnesses maybe David Pecker who's going to be able to corroborate the purpose of those payments. Corroboration is going to be absolutely critical here.

TOOBIN: I was in the courtroom too and I was struck by how shabby it is and how there was - there's a bulletin board right next to where Trump is and there's a little piece - torn piece of paper that says, what to do if there's a mass shooting incident, I mean that's the kind of courtroom this is.


It exposed wires everywhere. I mean this is a rough-and-tumble New York courtroom and he's going to trial and that's not good for him. They're going to be witnesses, that he's not going to be able to grandstand. You know, he's not going to be able to try this case in the hallway like today.

You know, it's just going to be witnesses and it's not clear to me what his defenses other than oh, it's all a lot of nonsense. Michael Cohen is a liar. I mean, the documents are the documents and it's a tough case to defend.

COOPER: But there's the idea of the underlying crime here. I mean, he keeps saying all legal scholars look at this and say they don't even know where the crime here is. That there's the question of the case of what actually is the -- it's not the hush money per se, is that there's an underlying crime.

TOOBIN: It's how those docs -- it's how those payments were handled in the underlying paperwork. And he made the exact argument that you're implying that there's no crime here to the judge. And an opinion issued today, the judge said, yes, it is a crime if the prosecution can prove it.

COOPER: Alvin Bragg has actually brought up like three or four different options for what the crime is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it's primarily a legal argument that he made to the judge and lost today. But how this is not a crime, you can't essentially incorporate one of these theories into the crime of falsifying business records, and he lost on that. Now he may prevail on that on appeal someday. That's possible.

But now, going forward, Alvin Bragg is going to have to persuade the jury that Trump falsified these business records in order to conceal or further another crime. There are three crimes that the judge has said Bragg can pursue before the jury. One is violation of federal election law. Another is violation of New York state election law. And the third is violation of New York tax law because of how these payments were made.

COOPER: Alvin Bragg was on radio recently, any sort of portraying this as an election interference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, that's the best framing of this case, I think in terms of the significance of it. These were -- these repayments that were made during the 2016 election where Trump allegedly were trying to cover up the affair with Stormy Daniels that she alleged because he thought that if the public knew about it, it would diminish his chances of succeeding as president.

TOOBIN: But the theory makes all kinds of sense that Bragg puts forward. It's not just during the election, the check to Stormy Daniels went on October 27th, you know, the week before the election. I mean, that's why he paid the money.

COOPER: Trump's argument has been -- well, I didn't want my wife to find out about this and therefore this was made.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the indictment, there's an allegation that you can tell that they spoke to a number of people on his campaign, and there is an allegation there that they were concerned about how this was playing with voters. And so that is how they're going to try to tie the two together to prove the case, because Bragg is trying to make this as the first election interference case in 2016 before the 2020.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It would really hurt him. You had the "Access Hollywood" tape on October 7, you had that check on October 27. If that came out the weekend prior to the campaign was already in trouble with Melania. He is only offered like two apologies, I think one was to Melania over the October 7 fiasco. And so, Mr. Bragg has a real point here about election interference. That would --

COOPER: You think that's a strong case?

SCARAMUCCI: Oh, I think it would kerplunk him. If that came out priority election and that was the threat, and that was the hush money payment. Okay. That's the election interference that the professor is referencing.

TOOBIN: Were so inured to Trump scandals. You know paying $130,000 to a porn star actually was probably a pretty big deal in October of 2016. Now, we've talked about it for so many years. It seems like background noise.

It was -- it would've been a very big deal in October.

COOPER: What happens if he is found guilty of this?

SCANNELL: I mean, so as a first-time offender, he's -- he may not get jail time, but the judge will see what comes in of this case. I mean, part of the theories that this was a big catch and kill story, that this was what he was doing. It's not just Stormy Daniels, but also the Karen McDougal payments and others.

But at the high-end of this range, he could get one and a third to four years in prison. It's going to be up to the judge to decide what he wants to do.

COOPER: It all boils down to the judge.

SCANNELL: All boils down to the judge.

COOPER: The judge could give them probation. Can you see him actually --

SCARAMUCCI: I don't -- I don't see him ever going to jail.

I mean, listen, you know, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. There was a firestorm after it. We don't want to jail these political opponents or adversaries --

COOPER: Do you think a conviction -- if he was convicted in the case, do you think it hurts him politically?

SCARAMUCCI: I do think it hurts him politically --

COOPER: Even though people say this is like the least impressive of the cases.

SCARAMUCCI: I understand that, and let's say it doesn't hurt him with a hard-core 20 to 25 percent. You got to get the independents and you need the money. Anderson, you know this better than anybody. The money is the lucre of these campaigns. He can't find the money. And it's drying up.

And by the way, the money is still going to Nikki Haley. I mean, there's one fundraiser after the next here in New York or in Silicon Valley.

TOOBIN: And how's she doing with all that money?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, my only recommendation to her is you got to expand the market. You got to think like an entrepreneur, you don't challenge Trump.


Go find the nonvoters like Barack Obama did in 2008 and invite them into the party because you're not going to beat Donald Trump on his own home turf, expand the party. I think that's the mistake -- the mistake that the adversaries of Donald Trump are making on the Republican side.

COOPER: Everyone, thanks. Appreciate it. Good to have you here.

More on the Trump trial shortly. First, we have more breaking news. A significant blow to the House Republican Biden impeachment probe. Special counsel investigating Hunter Biden tonight charging a former FBI informant with making up claims about the president and Hunter Biden's involvement with Ukrainian company Burisma.

Here with details, CNN's Evan Perez.

So, how central, Evan, was this testimony of this witness to the House Republicans case against Biden and Hunter Biden?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, he is a very central to at least the claim that Joe Biden was benefiting from his son's business -- business dealings in Ukraine. This informants name is Alexander Smirnoff. He was arrested today and what's important here is that he was the one who told the FBI that in a memo that the Republicans fought to make public, that the -- there was an executive in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company, where Hunter Biden was serving as a board member, that that person had said that they were paying Joe Biden and Hunter Biden $5 million apiece in order for favors, for the business interests of Burisma in the United States.

What the FBI says is that it's completely false. I'll read you just a part of what they say in the court filing. It says, in short, the defendant transformed his routine and un-extraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017. And later into bribery allegations against public official, one who is Joe Biden? We've reported. The presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for president, after expressing his bias against public official one and his candidacy.

This is important because as I pointed out, Anderson, for Republicans, this was a big part of their claim that Joe Biden was corrupt and that his -- he was benefiting from his family's corruption. And why they've launched this impeachment inquiry.

COOPER: Has there been any reaction from House Republicans

PEREZ: Well, now, not surprisingly, they are dismissing the importance of Smirnoff in their -- in their inquiry. And they say that there's a mountain of evidence, James Comer told or Annie Grayer that there's a mountain of evidence that they've collected, that they've amassed as part of this investigation. And so they say that these documents that the Smirnoff is alleged to have falsified are not that important to their inquiry.

COOPER: All right. Evan Perez, thanks.

Coming up, back to the former president's many trials. Today, while taking questions from reporters at his Manhattan hush money trial hearing, he did not respond to whether he would be back here in New York tomorrow for the expected verdict in his civil fraud trial, one that could cost him hundreds of millions of dollars. We'll have a preview of that, next.



COOPER: We're now in the many Trump trials. While in Manhattan for his hush money trial, the former president also addressed his civil fraud trial, where a verdict is expected tomorrow. He called it a, quote, rig deal that other New York case that may pose the biggest danger to him financially speaking, he and his sons already have been found liable for fraud.

Now, the state attorney general seeking among and other penalties more than $370 million from the former president and his businesses.

Joined now by investigative reporter and Syracuse University law lecturer David Cay Johnston. He's the author of "The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family". Back with us, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin.

What do you took the damages to actually be tomorrow?

TOOBIN: Probably around with what the -- a prosecution has asked for. I mean, this is a case that the prosecution has won at every step of the process, and if it's not $370 million, maybe it's $300 million. And obviously, this will be appealed to, but as in the E. Jean Carroll case, he is going to be in a position of having to post bonds or post the amount of money that is charged against him for in order to appeal. And it's not at all clear that --

COOPER: So, he's got to get that money to just to post it in order to have an appeal?

TOOBIN: Correct. Or pay a bonding company if you can find one a portion of that, but then you'd have to pay interest on that, which, of course, he doesn't want to do.

COOPER: David, I mean, you were skeptical a few weeks ago that the foreign president has enough cash to pay the $83 million E. Jean Carroll verdict. What do you expect him to do tomorrow he gets hit with a few hundred million dollars more penalties?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, "THE BIG CHEAT": Well, I think he and his lawyers will scream and yell that this is all unfair and it's rigged, which is of no legal consequence. And then he's going to have to make some very hard decisions.

I will be very surprised if in about three weeks, he's able to come up with the money to appeal the E. Jean Carroll case. And if he can't, that, of course, should get people to understand that his money is all smoke and mirrors. And in this case, as Jeffrey pointed out, $370 million or perhaps a bond of around $80 million. But who is going to loan Donald the rest of that money?

So this is going to be very --

COOPER: He does have assets, though, doesn't he? He does have properties.

JOHNSTON: He does, though we don't know if they're unrecorded loans. That's how we bought Mar-a-Lago. Chase Bank in writing and a letter I have promised to never record the mortgage on that property.

And I think there may be other obligations that haven't come to light, but he may be able to persuade the court to let him put up properties as security rather than cash.

TOOBIN: In a deposition in this case, he said he had $400 million of liquid assets. That strikes me and David knows far better than I as it's extremely unlikely that he has that that might that much in liquid assets.

And, you know, that -- you can't fake money at this point.


You have to put up actual cash and it's not at all clear that he can do that.

COOPER: David, do you agree with that?

JOHNSTON: Oh, absolutely. I never thought Donald had $400 million. Maybe if he was counting the money, donors have been giving and part of which he's been diverting to his legal fees, which by the way, should be treated by the IRS as taxable income to him. We'll see if anything has ever done about that down the road.

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, there's also the Trump Organization and it's assets. Can you use that?

TOOBIN: And it's also the management of the Trump Organization. I mean, one of the remedies that the attorney general, the state attorney general, is asking for here is to take control basically remove control from -- and at the moment, a former Judge Barbara Jones is essentially running the Trump Organization.

But one of the remedies here maybe to make that make that kind of thing permanent, which renders -- which creates the possibility that Donald Trump may be living in Trump Tower, but he may not manage it anymore.

I mean, so -- I mean, there's a real change in the whole business structure as well as just money out of his pocket that could be the result here.

COOPER: David, does this affect -- his two sons, Eric and Don Jr., don't they -- I mean, they work for the organization. Does this impact them? I mean, are they financially liable here as well?

JOHNSTON: They are. They're actually seven charges and only one persistent fraud has been settled, and I expect the judge is going to find against the Trumps for all of them.

And if the judge is concerned at all about Trump absconding with money or not following the court orders, I think hell reinstate his order from months ago, revoking all of Trumps business licenses. We call them business certificates in New York and if that happens, Trump cannot do business in New York. He will have to one way or another dispose of those properties.

And the Trump Organization is a New York corporation. A corporation is a privilege granted by the state, which can be revoked if you don't play by the rules.

COOPER: So if he didn't have businesses licenses in New York, he would have to sell everything he has in New York?

JOHNSTON: He'd have to transfer it. I don't think it's clear exactly how the process would work, certainly not clear to me, but essentially, yes, you have to eliminate his business activity so you could still on his apartment in Trump Tower. But the retail space and the office space that he owns a handful of apartments in the building he still owns. Those would all come into this as would as other properties, his golf course in Westchester County in New Jersey has golf course, his California golf course, all of these are underneath a New York corporation of the Trump Organization, which is a corporation.

TOOBIN: And the way the lawsuit is structured, the sons couldn't run it either.

COOPER: Wow. Jeff Toobin, thank you so much. David Cay Johnston, appreciate it.

Coming up, as Kansas City still reels from yesterdays deadly shooting Super Bowl rally, we'll take you live to a candlelight vigil and bringing the latest in the investigation.

And I want you to know about the woman who was killed yesterday. I'll speak to her brother, Lisa Lopez-Galvan was her name -- is her name. She was killed while celebrating her beloved Kansas City Chiefs. That's next.



COOPER: There's a candlelight vigil tonight is Skywalk Memorial Park in Kansas City in honor of the victims yesterday's mass shooting there. At least 23 people shot, including many kids.

One person was killed, a 43, a woman leader, Lisa Lopez-Galvan, who was a popular radio deejay. Now, in a moment, the vigil to honor her memory, but first, Simon Prokupecz with the latest on the investigation.


SIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (voice-over): Gunfire. Police say it was a personal dispute at the end of a rally celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl win, leaving one woman dead and over 20 injured.

CHIEF STACEY GRAVES, KANSAS CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Victims age range between eight years old and 47 years old, at least half of our victims are under the age of 16.

PROKUPECZ: Two juveniles are now in custody for the shooting.

Is this some kind of gang shooting?

GRAVES: The relationship between the subjects involved, wait, that's still under investigation.

PROKUPECZ: Several guns were recovered according to police.

Have enough evidence at this point?

GRAVES: So some of those questions I'm not able to give a direct answer just because I want to protect the integrity of this investigation.

PROKUPECZ: Seems like we are so many hours from the shooting at this point that you're announcing the rest?

GRAVES: We have subjects said are detained.

PROKUPECZ: At least one person was tackled by bystanders. Trey Filter said he helped knocked down one man and hold him until police arrived.

TREY FILTER, SUPER BOWL PARADE SHOOTING WITNESS: We were pretty elated once we know we had him, and they started yelling that there's a gun.

PROKUPECZ: Casey Filter said she grabbed the gun.

CASEY FILTER, SUPER BOWL PARADE SHOOTING WITNESS: At first, actually, that it was it looked like a toy, but then once I picked it up, I quickly realized it definitely was not.

PROKUPECZ: Nearly 24 hours after the parade ended, crews are out here cleaning up. And what they're finding are many of the personal items that people left behind as they were running for their lives. You could see some of them here, blankets and chairs with strollers, little strollers here for babies.

The aftermath of thousands of parade goers rushing for cover as hundreds of officers on scene ran toward the shots.

MANNY ABARCA, SUPER BOWL PARADE SHOOTING WITNESS: All of a sudden through the partitions, a wave of people come rushing through screaming gun, run, and I was watching people being trampled.

PROKUPECZ: One family said several of them were hit.

JACOB GOOCH SR., SUPER BOWL PARADE SHOOTING WITNESS: My son got shot in, my wife got shot, she got shot in her cast. I got shot directly in the ankle.

PROKUPECZ: Lisa Lopez-Galvan died at the scene. She was a local Kansas City area radio deejay. The city now grieving after a day of celebration.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Trey Smith said he and his fellow players have to take cover and help young fans stay calm amid the shooting.

TREY SMITH, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS FOOTBALL PLAYER: I'm pretty angry to the senseless violence, you know, someone lost her life today.


You have children are injured. You have children who are traumatized.


COOPER: Shimon, what do we know about the investigation when there'll be charges?

PROKUPECZ: That's the big question right now, Anderson, because police are just not releasing much information, we tried to get answers from them earlier today. They wouldn't talk about the individuals that they have in custody, just simply saying that they're juveniles. So that could be what's causing some of the delays.

But, you know, it's been over 24 hours. These two individuals have been in their custody and we have yet to know if they're going to be charged, or if there are any charges. So that's the big question right now.

And also, what was this dispute about earlier as you saw, I asked whether or not this was some kind of gang activity, they will refuse to answer that question. So there's still obviously a lot of questions that I think the police need to answer -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Shimon, appreciate it. Thank you.

Yesterday, we knew one person had been killed at the celebration. We didn't know her identity, but tonight we do. And her family wants you to know her name, and who she was in life, not just in death.

Her name was Lisa Lopez-Galvan. She was a mother, radio deejay and part of a very close-knit family who loved her deeply.

Her brother Beto Lopez joins me now.

Beto, thank you so much for joining us. I am so sorry for your loss and this must -- I can't imagine how surreal this must seem.

BETO LOPEZ, BROTHER OF KANSAS CITY SHOOTING VICTIM, LISA LOPEZ-GALVAN: Yes, absolutely. You know, there's still -- our families still pretty much in a state of shock. And we're pretty close knit family, so that's helping us get through this period.

COOPER: I know Lisa's husband, children were with her at the rally. Lisa son was also shot. How is he doing? How are the other family members doing?

LOPEZ: Yeah. We're happy to report that my nephew is out of the hospital and he's in recovery and, you know, aside from a broken heart, a hurtful heart with the loss of his mother and my sister, you know, he's coming along okay. And that's my --

COOPER: You had as many as 20 family members at the rally, right?

LOPEZ: We did. We had quite a group there. Actually had more people and other disperse and other parts of the area, but yeah, just a big celebration. We wanted to celebrate with our home team.

COOPER: Lisa was a big -- big Chiefs fan, I understand.

LOPEZ: Yeah. Without a doubt, she was a big local sports fan in general, but I think I think there's no one louder and my family that she was as a Chiefs fan.

COOPER: Tell us about, Lisa. I mean, she just sounds like such an extraordinary person, so outgoing, clearly loved music. I mean, she was a deejay for KKFI radio. I know she deejayed as well at events and functions. LOPEZ: Lisa absolutely was an amazing woman great mother, great sister, great friend, yes. She just loved having fun, and helping others. And, you know, the things that she did in this community are going to be felt and badly, people are going to be hurting for awhile with her loss.

COOPER: Growing up, was music something she was always passionate about?

LOPEZ: Yeah. Yeah, it's kind of a funny story. We have three generations of very decorated musicians in our family.


LOPEZ: And my siblings and I broke that trend. But she took up being a deejay. I guess you count that as a musician and she did a really good job with that. Great job.

COOPER: What else do you want people to know about her and remember about her?

LOPEZ: Yeah, absolutely. You know, you have tragic situations like this one that occurred, unfortunately, way too often in a lot of times individuals get lost as just statistics are numbers. My sister was a real person who was a very loving, caring, and devoted mother, like I said earlier, and community leader.

She did a lot for this community and the Kansas City area, raising money for a lot of charitable events and organizations, and something we'll be very proud of forever.

COOPER: Beto again, I'm so sorry for your loss and your family's loss and I hope you can spend time with family and have time to get through this together. Thank you so much for being with us.

LOPEZ: Thank you, Anderson, for the opportunity, and for us to share a little bit about the life of my sister that was very impactful in this community. And we want as many people across the country to know about her better.

COOPER: Beto, thank you.

LOPEZ: Thank you

COOPER: The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. I'll see you tomorrow.