Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Judge Orders Trump To Pay $355M In NY Civil Fraud Case; Judge: Trump Submitted "Blatantly False Financial Data"; Russian Police Detain Protesters At Vigils For Alexey Navalny After Prison Announces His Death; Mystery Surrounds The Sudden Death Of Putin Critic Alexey Navalny; Mystery Surrounds The Sudden Death Of Putin Critic Alexey Navalny; Two Days Of Contentious Testimony In Georgia D.A. Hearing End; New Details Emerge On Potential Russian Nuclear Space Weapon. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 16, 2024 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: This is real life, the salacious political stories that Jake Tapper is diving into in his new original series United States of Scandal.

Remember the former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, who infamously tried to sell Obama's Senate seat? Well, Jake talked to him now. He's still defending himself years after getting out of prison.

Don't miss that and all so much more in this great new series from Jake, United States of Scandal. It premieres this Sunday night at 9 Eastern.

And also earlier in the program, there was a headline on our screen incorrectly showing Putin's name instead of Navalny's. We do apologize for that error.

And we also thank you, as always, for being with us. AC360 begins now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight on 360, Trump's trials, a New York judge orders the former president to pay $355 million for business fraud, saying his lack of contrition and remorse, in his words, borders on the pathological. Does that man who once boasted about his financial liquidity actually have the cash?

Also tonight, we'll have the latest in the death of Alexey Navalny in Vladimir Putin's prison and the crackdown tonight on Russians paying Navalny their respects.

And Fani Willis, her father, takes the stand. What happened in the Georgia courtroom today and what are Willis' chances of staying on the election interference case against Trump?

Good evening. Thanks for joining us. A lot to get to tonight.

When he first was running for president, Donald Trump told CBS News, I'm the king of debt. I'm great with debt. Nobody knows debt better than me. Well, tonight he is sitting on an even bigger mountain of it, $355 million more imposed today in New York's now successful civil fraud case against him and his two adult sons. On top of the $83 million he has to pay for defaming E. Jean Carroll, the woman he - a federal jury said he sexually abused.

So in the span of 22 days, the former president is now on the hook for about half a billion dollars. In today's ruling, the judge credited former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen for testifying truthfully in a trial whose genesis dates back to Cohen's appearance before a congressional hearing four years ago.


LACY CLAY, (D) FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: To your knowledge, did the president or his company ever inflate assets or revenues?


CLAY: And was that done with the president's knowledge or direction?

COHEN: Everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of Mr. Trump.


COOPER: Mr. Trump weighed in on the ruling tonight from Mar-A-Lago, confirming the judge's assessment about lacking remorse.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was no fraud. The banks all got their money, a hundred percent. They love Trump. They testified that Trump is great, great customer, one of our best customers. They testified beautifully. And the judge knows that. He's just a corrupt person and we knew that from the beginning.


COOPER: That's the former president of the United States tonight. More on how we got here from CNN's Kara Scannell, who joins us now.

This began last October. Can you just remind people what happened inside and outside the courtroom since then?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, it was an 11-week trial. It had everything from the most mundane testimony about accounting rules to the former president appearing 10 times, even though he was not required to. He also testified, as did his three adult children, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump.

And while he was on the stand, he even almost got thrown off the stand for campaigning. And on the final day of the trial, Trump made one last ditch effort to try to convince the judge to find his way and that clearly carried no weight.


SCANNELL (voice over): A devastating blow to Trump's reputation as a successful businessman. After a New York Supreme Court judge ordered him and his company to pay nearly $355 million, barring him from serving as a company director in the city where he made his billions, where his name is plastered on skyscrapers for three years.


LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: Donald Trump may have authored the Art of the Deal, but he perfected the art of the steal. This long running fraud was intentional, egregious, illegal.


SCANNELL (voice over): Friday's ruling follows a nearly three month long trial filled with dramatic moments. Trump himself often chose to attend court, though he was only required to be there when he testified.


TRUMP: This trial was railroaded and fast tracked. This trial could have been brought years ago, but they waited until I was right in the middle of my campaign.


SCANNELL (voice over): He frequently attacked Judge Engoron, as well as his clerk and the New York attorney general in the hallways of the courthouse and on Truth Social.


TRUMP: This judge is a very partisan judge, with a person who's very partisan sitting alongside of him. We're wasting our time on this trial, with a Democrat judge from the clubhouses, it's a disgrace. We're going to be here for months with a judge that already made up his mind.

We have a rogue judge who rules that properties are worth a tiny fraction - one one-hundredth - a tiny fraction of what they actually are.

A Trump hater, the only one that hates Trump more is his associate up there.



SCANNELL (voice over): His attacks even resulted in the judge issuing a gag order, restricting him from going after the court staff, which Trump then violated twice and was fined a total of $15,000.


DONALD TRUMP JR., CO-DEFENDANT IN NY CIVIL FRAUD TRIAL: I thought they were going to go somewhere, but I think they understand that they have nothing as it relates to a case other than, I guess, an overzealous attorney general who would destroy all of New York business by going after transactions where there are no victims, I guess, other than herself.


SCANNELL (voice over): The former president and his adult sons all testified during the trial, which began in October last year. During his testimony, Donald Trump frequently clashed with Judge Engoron in the courtroom. The judge warning Trump's lawyer, Chris Kise, to control your client and threatened to remove him.


TRUMP: Thank you very much.


SCANNELL (voice over): Outside Mar-A-Lago Friday after the ruling, Donald Trump continued those attacks.


TRUMP: These are radical left Democrats. They're lunatics and it's election interfering, so I just want to thank you for being here. We'll appeal. We'll be successful. I think because, frankly, if we're not successful, New York State is gone. People are moving out of New York State. And because of this, they're going to move out at a much faster rate.



COOPER: I want to bring in senior legal analyst Elie Honig, also former federal prosecutor and bestselling author, Jeffrey Toobin, also CNN's Kaitlan Collins who anchors The Source, the top of the next hour and Kara is with us.

So, Kara, just what does this ruling mean for Donnie Jr. and Eric Trump?

SCANNELL: I mean, the judge is banning them from serving as an officer or director of a company in New York State for two years. So that leaves this big question of who is going to step in and run The Trump Organization. It's mostly managed day to day by Eric Trump. They don't even have a chief financial officer since Allen Weisselberg left. And remember, he pleaded guilty to 15 years of tax fraud.

COOPER: And he got fined for a million.

SCANNELL: He got fined for a million today, too. He was a co-defendant in this case. Now, I reached out to my sources connected to Trump and The Trump Organization, no one has gotten back since this judgment came out. So I think it is going to be a big question of who will take over. At this point, it's not clear who that leader is inside the company.

COOPER: Jeff, what stood out to you from the ruling? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think people need to know what this case was really about. I mean, what the president - former president said is what his defense was in this case, which was I borrowed money and I paid it back, so what's the problem? There's no harm.

The problem is that because he lied about his assets, he got lower interest rates to have to pay it back. So he benefited to the tune of millions of dollars by lying to the banks and to other authorities about how much money he had. He has never acknowledged that. But this damage award is because he got all this benefit, millions of dollars, lower interest rates because of the lies that he told.

COOPER: And Elie, is there - I mean, the chance of an appeal, is there one for him?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he certainly will appeal. I think he has next to no chance of prevailing. I don't think I've ever read ...

COOPER: But he has to put up money just to appeal.

HONIG: Yes. He has to put up a bond. Usually the parties will agree on it. If not, the judge will set. It's usually some percentage. And you can secure the bond with properties or that kind of thing. He's not going to have to bring a suitcase full of cash. But reading this opinion, this opinion was written by this judge absolutely with appeal in mind. It's meticulous. He goes through every property, every transaction, and he puts things in the appeal that he knows he cannot be reversed on.

For example, assessing how credible a witness is, did I believe this witness or not, that is uniquely up to the trial judge. You can't be reversed on that. So Donald Trump certainly will appeal. I think he's got next to no chance of winning on it.

TOOBIN: And Donald - and Michael Cohen, whom this judge believed, is the central witness in the criminal case against him, which is going to start on March 25th. So, of course, it's no guarantee that the jury is going to believe him, but it is certainly a good sign for the prosecution that at least this judge found Michael Cohen ...

COOPER: Because there's certainly been a lot of concern about Michael Cohen's testimony and how credible he actually is.

TOOBIN: Yes. When you have a witness who's pleaded guilty to lying repeatedly the way Michael Cohen has, that is a problematic witness. But not - that notwithstanding, the judge believed him, and he's going to be the main witness in the Stormy Daniels case.

COOPER: Kaitlan, you've spoken to former president - Republican rival, Nikki Haley. What is she - is she talking about this?

COLLINS: She made a good point, actually, when it comes to what is facing Trump. It is a massive financial weight on him right now, especially with this, because it's not just what we heard today, which also has - it's north of about a hundred million dollars of interest added on top of this. It's also the E. Jean Carroll verdicts and all of the other civil cases that he's also still dealing with, in addition to the legal fees he's paying for the criminal cases.

So we had Nikki Haley on. We have her on the show tonight and we asked her about her reaction to this and just the fact that he's going to have trouble paying for it and this is what she said.


COLLINS: How damning do you believe this ruling is?

NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, my biggest issue is I don't want the RNC to become his legal defense fund. I don't want the RNC to become his piggy bank for his personal court cases.


We've already seen him spend $50 million worth of campaign contributions towards his personal court cases. Now we see him trying to get control of the RNC so that he can continue not to have to pay his own legal fees. The problem is that doesn't help us win any seats in the House, in the Senate or anything else if the RNC is all focused on his legal fees. The RNC is practically broke now as it is. And so this is a bigger issue for the Republican Party.


COLLINS: Two things from that, the RNC is practically broke right now. But also the PAC that Donald Trump has been using to transfer money to a leadership PAC to pay money for his own legal bills also doesn't have a lot of money left. I think they had $5 million left after they spent $50 million or so on legal fees just last year alone in the last half of last year. And so I think there is a real question and the RNC did pay a lot of Trump's legal fees before when he was in office.

COOPER: Was he trying to get his daughter-in-law to head the RNC?

COLLINS: Yes. And it's - I mean, he doesn't get to install them. They have to be technically elected. He's also picked who he wants to run the RNC and be the new chairman after next Saturday in South Carolina. And so these are all Trump loyalists that are going to be running the RNC. And so she does raise a good point there about the issues of that's not supposed to be just a personal legal fund for the former president, but this is what Republicans have agreed to do time and time again.

COOPER: Is it clear, Kara, how much he - cash he actually has on hand?

SCANNELL: So he testified in a deposition in this case about a year ago, and he said they had in excess of $400 million in cash, now of course ...

COOPER: Well, then that must be true.

SCANNELL: ... well, right, that's the question, is that an actual. COOPER: If he testified to it, it's got to be true.

SCANNELL: Is that a valid number? We don't know. That's the only thing we have to go on because it's a private company and so closely held. And there was no testimony really about that at this trial. But he has been trying to sell some of his properties, including Seven Springs here in New York. That was one of the properties that the judge found was inflated in value and there's been no buyer yet.

So it's going to be an interesting question, can he offload any businesses if he needs to or if he wants to in order to raise cash.

COLLINS: Can I also just say one thing as I was reading through this with the judge when he was meticulously going through everything, Donald Trump has been saying time and time again that Mar-A-Lago is worth north of a billion dollars, maybe a billion five I believe he says. The judge rightly writes here that it's not a private residence. The deed of Mar-A-Lago says it can't be a private residence. It's a club.

And that even if it were, it would be north - 400 percent north of the most valuable property, private property in the United States, basically saying it's completely unrealistic. And he had this footnote. He said Donald Trump knows this because he signed the deed for Mar-A-Lago.

Just like showing that every time Trump comes out at Mar-A-Lago and what he has said about this is completely wrong.

COOPER: One of the things that the former president was saying at Mar- A-Lago during his rant was that they had this expert witness who was highly respected, I think from NYU Stern School of Business, who they paid. He didn't point this out, but he paid him an awful lot of money.

HONIG: Yes, that expert witness was a bit of a mess and I know Kara recalls his testimony. He tried to explain, for example, the tripling of the size of the apartment and he was confronted on that. And he said, well, that must have just been an error. I mean, first of all, that's not anything an expert witness would know. And the judge rejected his testimony, which is what judges do. They will - or juries, if there's a jury that was not in this case.

But when the judge looked at this guy's testimony, he said, I think he's in the bag for them and I think his testimony makes no sense and is not credible. And to Kaitlan's point, the difference in valuations here are not 20 percent, 30 percent, they are mind boggling. I think Seven Springs is worth $10 million, something in that range. And the Trump people tried to claim it's worth 140 million. I don't even know what's - 1,400 percent different - and that's why the judge came out with the ruling he did.

TOOBIN: And my favorite argument was about the square footages that his lawyer said, well, the number of square feet is a matter of interpretation. Square feet is not a matter of interpretation. It's a matter of like a ruler. And it just underlines the absurdity of some of their arguments. COOPER: Everybody, thanks.

Next, more on today's ruling, "Art of the Deal" author Tony Schwartz joins us, the guy who actually wrote the book.

Later, more breaking news, reporting you'll see here first on CNN, what sources are now telling us about a nuclear space weapon that Russia is working on and the damage they say it could do.



COOPER: Before the break, you heard New York State Attorney General Letitia James say this in the wake of today's $355 million judgment against Donald Trump.


JAMES: Donald Trump may have authored the "Art of the Deal," but he perfected the art of the steal.


COOPER: She's actually wrong about something. We have the person who actually wrote the Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, more recently the author of Dealing with The Devil, My Mother, Trump and Me.

What is your - what's your reaction to this today?

TONY SCHWARTZ, AUTHOR OF DONALD TRUMP'S "THE ART OF THE DEAL": To believe that this is an incredible blow to him. Now, I'm not talking about from an election perspective, but nothing is more important to Donald Trump than money. This is something not everybody understands.

COOPER: That is his number one ...

SCHWARTZ: Number one. More important than power, more important than dominance, because ...

COOPER: More important than family?

SCHWARTZ: Family is down at number 18 or 24, not unimportant as the crime family. He's officially now the head of a crime family, because his two sons also were ...

COOPER: Convicted.

SCHWARTZ: ... convicted. But money is, for Donald Trump, the measure of his worth, the measure of his value. He has no ...

COOPER: In his own head, he - that's how he views it.

SCHWARTZ: ... in his own head, more money equals I'm worth more. And his core belief is I'm nothing, I'm worth nothing. And so, if you're empty inside, and you're looking outside, and money is your measure, he just lost 385 - you count it all in ...

COOPER: Right.

SCHWARTZ: ... it's a half a billion dollars, if you include E. Jean Carroll. So his feeling has got to be, first and foremost today, humiliation, stupefication (ph), because I think he could not have believed that he was going to - that the judgment would be this big against him and rage, because rage is his primary emotion.

COOPER: It is fascinating, though, for a guy who has been lying and telling stories so - for so long, I mean, before politics, I mean, about his business acumen, all of that, to finally actually be in a court and have it called out and have a judge actually highlight - you said this was 3,000 square feet, it was a thousand square feet, I mean, to actually see it all in print is stunning.

SCHWARTZ: It's stunning to us. I mean, look, that's his playbook forever. I mean, he was telling lies, he's been telling lies all his life. He's been a fraud all his life. It just became absolutely official today that he's a fraud.

Trump has two goals for his second term, if he gets it. One is to end democracy.


Not so much that he has a philosophical feeling about democracy, but he wants to be the autocrat. He wants to be in charge.


Well, partly for dominance, but mostly because the real number one desire he has is to be the richest man in the world. Because then maybe, maybe all that gnawing that's going on inside him might go away if he's number one truly. He wants to be richer than Putin. Putin's probably the richest person in the world now. Putin's probably worth a trillion dollars.

How do I know?

There's good speculation that Putin has a lot. He would very much like to be richer than Putin. So he's going to - that's going to be the focus of his attention. And right now, he's being asked, Anderson, he's being asked to pay an amount of money he does not have.

COOPER: A judge wrote of The Trump Organization, their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological. That does not come as any surprise to you.

SCHWARTZ: Well, it's a silly thing to say. It doesn't border on pathological. It's sociopathic. Zero contrition for something you know you did that is wrong is the definition of sociopathy.

COOPER: Tony Schwartz, it's good to talk to you. Thank you. Appreciate it. Coming up, the death of Russian dissident Alexey Navalny in a Siberian prison. Clarissa Ward who once tracked down Russian assassins who tried to kill Navalny by poisoning him and the director of the Oscar- winning documentary Navalny joined me to remember the man who paid the ultimate price standing up to Vladimir Putin.



COOPER: What you're seeing here is a skirmish between a protester and police in St. Petersburg, Russia. More than a hundred people have been detained across Russia for attending vigils and rallies following the announcement that the most well-known dissident in Russia, Alexey Navalny, died in the Siberian prison where he'd been exiled. We don't know what happened to this protester, but an independent monitor says some of those detained have been released.

The cause of Navalny's death remains unclear, but President Biden and world leaders today immediately pinned the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin quoting from President Biden, he said, "What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin's brutality."

Clarissa Ward has more on the man who stood up to Putin.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For three years, Alexey Navalny had been languishing in Russian penal colonies. Sentenced on charges of extremism, his real crime, taking on Russian President Vladimir Putin and exposing the rampant corruption of Russia's political elites. Navalny's lawyers warned that the brutal conditions and solitary confinement were taking a toll on him. Still, he managed to communicate to his followers and loved ones through social media.

On Valentine's Day this year, as he had done every year, he posted a message to his wife, Yulia: "Baby, everything is like in a song with you: between us there are cities, the takeoff lights of airfields, blue snowstorms and thousands of kilometers. But I feel that you are near every second, and I love you more and more."

Hours after the shocking news broke, Yulia Navalnaya addressed world leaders at the Munich Security Conference.


YULIA NAVALNAYA, Alexey Navalny's Wife (through interpreter): (Foreign language) I would like Putin and all his staff, everybody around him, his government, his friends, I want them to know that they will be punished for what they have done with our country, with my family and with my husband. They will be brought to justice, and this day will come soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WARD (voice over): Defiant and determined, just as her husband always was. A staunch critic of Putin for more than a decade, Alexey Navalny had dodged death before. Collapsing on a plane from Siberia in August 2020, after being poisoned with a deadly nerve agent, Novichok. The flight was diverted. Two days later, a comatose Navalny was flown to Berlin and saved by a team of German doctors.

The CNN investigation with Bellingcat found that a team of FSB operatives had been following Navalny on trips across the country for years before poisoning him. We located one of the men accused of the poisoning and tracked him down to his apartment in Moscow.


WARD (on camera): (Foreign language) CNN.

My name is Clarissa Ward. I work for CNN. Can I ask you a couple of questions?

(Foreign language)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).

WARD: (Foreign language).

Was it your team that poisoned Navalny, please? Do you have any comment?

He doesn't seem to want to talk to us.


WARD (voice over): Despite the attempt on his life, Navalny vowed to continue his work and return home.


WARD (on camera): So you've said that you want to go back to Russia.

ALEXEI NAVALNY: Yes, and I will do.

WARD: You're aware of the risks of going back.

NAVALNY: Yes, but I'm Russian politician and even when I was not just in hospital, I was in the intense therapy and I said publically I will go back and I will go back because I'm a Russian politician, I belong to this country and definitely, which I - especially now, when this actual crime is cracked open, revealed, I understand the whole operation. I would never give Putin such a gift.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language) ...


WARD (voice over): Before boarding the plane to Moscow, Navalny posted an expose on YouTube about the $1.3 billion Black Sea villa he claimed belonged to Vladimir Putin. It was viewed more than 100 million times. The moment he landed back in Moscow, he was taken into custody. Yet even in prison, Navalny never stopped criticizing Putin, never lost the extraordinary charisma and courage that made him popular.

Russia's opposition has now been crushed. But in prescient words from the Oscar-winning documentary Navalny, he had a clear message for the Russian people.


NAVALNY: (Foreign language) ...


WARD (voice over): "You are not allowed to give up," he says. "If they kill me, it means we are incredibly strong."


COOPER: And I'm joined now by our Chief International Correspondent, Clarissa Ward.

We've seen some of the skirmishes with people arrested. What more kind of reactions have you seen across Russia?

WARD (on camera): More than a hundred according to a Russian monitoring group have been arrested or detained on the streets of various cities across Russia. We've also seen some silent vigils, people lining up tearfully, placing flowers out in memory of Alexey Navalny.


But definitely it has been a very muted response inside Russia, where the risks are so high. Across the world though, we have seen Russians coming out outside embassies in many different capitals, openly grieving. This tremendous for anybody who believe in a better, freer future for Russia, Anderson.

COOPER: Clarissa, to stay with us.

I want to bring in the director of the Academy Award-winning documentary film "Navalny", a clip which we just saw in Clarissa's piece. Daniel Roher joins us now.

Daniel, I know you spent obviously a great deal of time working with Alexey Navalny. I'm so sorry for the pain you must be feeling and all those who worked on the film with you.

Can you just talk a little bit about what he was actually like in person? Because -- I mean, just from a distance, the extraordinary courage and strength he must have had to knowingly go back to Russia, knowing what awaited him, knowing the likelihood of what could -- how is life could end.

DANIEL ROHER, DIRECTOR, "NAVALNY": Well, Anderson, first and foremost, thank you for having me on the program this evening. I'm sad to be here, but I'm happy that I get to talk a little bit about Alexey.

Here's a man who is charismatic. He was funny. He was a terrific father. He loved to debate. He loved to talk about politics.

He and I became fast friends. And although we didn't have the same mother language, I think are common language was through humor. He was very quick to make front of me and I give it right back to him and I think that jovial relationship really comes through in the movie, and that's the man who I'm thinking about and mourning today.

COOPER: Well, I mean, Clarissa, I mean, you interviewed him as well and I'm talking about humor. We saw that in his last quarter appearance, which was just yesterday, remotely from the -- from the penal colony where he was. He was joking with the judge that he was talking to.

WARD: He was. And if you actually stay on the shot, Anderson, you see the camera pan over to the prison guard and the prison guard is laughing along because even those who were part of the system that was working against Navalny found it very difficult when confronted with him in person, not to be disarmed.

He was self-deprecating. He was funny. He was humorous. He was determined. He was defiant. And very difficult not to admire that in some way, shape, or form, Anderson.

COOPER: Daniel, from people who watched your film now, what do you hope that they take away from it about what he represented?

ROHER: You know, Anderson, I think that the legacy of the film is different now. I used to tell people that this movie is, believe it or not, a comedy. He's such a funny, charismatic guy.

It's not funny anymore. You know, I think now when people watch this film they need to be reminded of the fragility of democracy. Of course, Navalny's great mission was to bring democracy to Russia. But all over the world, there are contexts where the rise of authoritarianism is sweeping through all kinds of countries.

And I think we have to realize that democracy is fragile and certainly here in this country where there are political factions who seem to embrace authoritarianism. We need to participate and be active citizens and heed the call that Navalny delivered at the end of the movie -- don't be inactive.

COOPER: Clarissa, this may sound like an odd question to some people, but do we know what will happen to his body? Will his family get his body back? And I asked this not just for -- for their peace of mind, but also for evidence of actually what was done to him or what happened to him.

WARD: I don't think anyone is holding out hope, Anderson, that there is going to be a proper, thorough, and transparent autopsy. And unlike the investigation which Daniel documented, which we were privileged to be a part of, along with Bellingcat, led by Christo Grozev, I think its very unlikely that we will have that kind of a thorough and clear reckoning as to how exactly, Alexei Navalny was killed.

But the bottom line, ultimately, whether it's from his friends, his followers, world leaders across the globe, is that Russia is responsible. No matter how exactly he may have died today, the reality is, he was being held in the custody of the Russian state and you heard President Biden himself say it, Vladimir Putin is the man responsible for his death.

COOPER: Well, also being tortured, I mean, at the very least psychologically, having somebody put in his cell who never bathed and who had some severe a mental or emotional issues. I mean, you know, the full extent of the stresses and horrors that he had to face on a daily basis, it's there. It's untold.

Daniel, I just want to play a bit more from the film, from your film, where he speaks to his supporters.



ALEXEY NAVALNY, PUTIN CRITIC (through translator): We need to utilize this power to not give up and to remember, we are a huge power that is being oppressed by these bad dudes. We don't realize how strong we actually are. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. So, don't be inactive.


COOPER: I mean, Daniel, do you think others will take his place? I mean, that others will stand up where he no longer can?

ROHER: I think that that's the most important thing that I'm thinking about today, Anderson. Navalny was one man, but he set up his organization quite intentionally. So that in the case of his death, there would be a continuity.

This is the beginning of a new dawn for the Russian opposition. And the night is darkest just before the dawn. So it is my hope that the supporters and the staff who have been helping him will rise to the occasion.

I don't yet know who the next Navalny will be or the next iteration of the Russian opposition. What that will look like? But I take solace in knowing that Navalny has gone, but his mission lives on.

COOPER: Clarissa Ward, thank you. Daniel Roher, thank you so much.

And I'm glad that the film "Navalny", will be seen again tomorrow night, 9:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

Just ahead, Georgia D.A. Fani Willis testified yesterday. Today was her father's turn. What he said and whether it will help his daughter stay on the case against Trump. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: The hearing to determine whether Georgia D.A. Fani Willis will be disqualified from her election interference case against the former president and others has concluded. Willis's dad took the stand today as did the divorce attorney and former law partner for Nathan Wade, who's relationship with Willis is at the heart of the hearing.

Nick Valencia has details.


REPORTER: Can you tell us why you were late today?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Terrence Bradley was supposed to be a star witness for defense attorneys trying to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the Donald Trump election interference case.

But on Friday, Wade's former law partner and divorce attorney couldn't provide details lets just show Willis and Nathan Wade were lying about the extent of the romantic relationship.

TERRENCE BRADLEY, NATHAN WADE'S FORMER LAW PARTNER & DIVORCE ATTORNEY: I have no personal knowledge of when it actually happened. I was not there I do not have any personal knowledge.

VALENCIA: Attorney-client privilege, a major hurdle for the defense, especially after Judge Scott McAfee ruled Bradley could not be asked about what privileged conversations he had with Wade about his relationship.

ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR MIKE ROMAN: I want to talk about privilege, I'm happy to ask him the substance of the question.

VALENCIA: Yet, one defense attorney managed to introduce a text exchange with Bradley in 2023 about the Wade-Willis romance.

BRADLEY: So what I have is a text message from you saying, oh, my god, Nathan took Fani on a trip to Napa and pay for with his firm.

MERCHANT: OK, continue reading.

BRADLEY: And you said, is he dumb (ph)?

VALENCIA: Also testifying Friday, Fani Willis's father, backing up her heated testimony from Thursday when she said she always keeps cash on hand.

FLOYD WILLIS, FANI WILLIS' FATHER: I've always kept cash. You know, and I've told my daughter, you keep six months worth of cash, always.

VALENCIA: On both days, money was center stage because defense attorneys are trying to prove that Willis somehow benefited financially from a relationship with Wade through gifts and vacations that weighed paid for with money he earned on the case.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We went out multiple times. That probably went to the level of more than $100. But if were doing tit for tat like that, I probably paid for as many meals as he paid for. And so, I did not receive any gifts from him.

VALENCIA: And Willis and Wade both maintain the relationship began only after Wade took the job of special prosecutor. Willis's father testified he didn't know about the relationship until the rest of the world found out and only met him region certainly.

F. WILLIS: I did not meet Nathan Wade until 2023.

VALENCIA: In a surprise turn, Willis did not take the stand again on Friday, her team believing they had enough to beat back efforts to this qualify her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state has no further questions for Ms. Willis.

VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: I'm joined now by Michael Moore, former U.S. attorney in Georgia, plus criminal defense attorney and former Manhattan chief assistant D.A., Karen Friedman Agnifilo.

Karen, I mean, did the defense here move the needle at all because it seems like on every front they've pretty much come up with nothing.

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, on two areas, I think they did not succeed. Number one, they really haven't established a conflict of interest, financial conflicts of interests as much as they kept trying. They're just was nothing there that would show that there was any sort of financial relationship or financial incentive --

COOPER: That Fani Willis was benefiting --

AGNIFILO: Correct.

COOPER: -- from the salary that the Wade was getting.

AGNIFILO: Correct.

And second, they tried to discredit Fani Willis and Nathan Wade, who both testified that the relationships started after he was hired, and they failed at that as well, despite trying. In fact, a former governor of Georgia testified today and it was all about the fact that Ms. Willis, D.A. Willis tried to get him to take the job because she testified that he was -- Nathan Wade wasn't even her first choice. So she tried to get the former governor who's now a lawyer to take the job, but that he didn't want to do it because of all the threats and financial reasons and the date was prior to when Nathan Wade was hired. COOPER: So, to -- let's play -- we have the sound of Roy Barnes on the stand. Let's play that.


FORMER GOV. ROY BARNES (D), GEORGIA: She asked me if I'd be interested in being special prosecutor to which I replied that I have mouths to feed at a law office and that I could not -- would not do that.


COOPER: He went on to say he didn't want to live with bodyguards for the rest of his life because of threats he was already receiving for other stuff.

The significance of that to you is that Wade was not her first choice and the allegation is they were in our prior relationship and she picked Wade because they were dating. This would indicate that she actually tried to pick this guy first?


AGNIFILO: Exactly. And so there really was no financial conflict of interests that would impact whether or not she could be still the prosecutor on this case. And there was just really nothing to disprove what they were saying. And to move the ball forward on the financial aspect, either.

COOPER: Michael, do you think the judge is going to take Fani Willis off this?

MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't know. I don't know if --

COOPER: That judgment about having relationship, but aside, just on what -- did the defense do their job?

MOORE: I think its a 50/50 chance right now that she comes off. I think the easiest thing would have been if she just pulled weight off of the case early out and maybe we wouldn't be in all of this circus that we've been watching here.

But what may happen is this issue of the attorney-client privilege. And so there's a lawyer, Mr. Bradley, we've heard from and he's now being interviewed in camera, which just means privately by the judge. And so the judge is going to inquire whether or not he -- what he knew, when he knew, those things that the judge protected from the courtroom and from the public, things that could have been attorney- client privilege.

And we'll see --

COOPER: So, that attorney can talk to the judge, frankly, even stuff that's attorney-client privilege?

MOORE: Well, the judge will do it carefully to make sure there's no incrimination and that kind of thing, but hell ask him about things like these text messages that we've seen in these this question of whether or not Mr. Bradley approved of the contents of the motion that seems to be out there. There's an email and a text apparently where he approves the allegations set forth in the motion.

If that happens, then I think that's a different ballgame when you've got a possibility of a prosecutor and maybe a special prosecutor not being in candid with the court. And so we've got one witness, we know the first witness who said now this happened earlier. We've got Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis saying they visited with each other in 2021 privately at her home.

And now we have this issue of the apparently the divorce or having some information that seems to indicate that maybe that was -- maybe there was a relationship and we don't know it yet. So while the fight for the money is not there yet, that could be like just like a lot of times a cover up to be worse.

COOPER: Karen, you agree with that? Because that first witness who said, oh, she thought the relationship came earlier. I mean, they impugned her potential motives that she was basically forced out of the D.A.'s office given the chance of either resigning or being fired.

AGNIFILO: Look, I think --

COOPER: She didn't have any specifics.

AGNIFILO: Exactly. I think there was a lot more that the defense could have done, but didn't do here. For example, define what you mean by relationship, where their feelings between them before.

COOPER: Right, is it just sexual. The sex, that's when relationships begin.

AGNIFILO: Exactly, exactly. Or they have a crush on each other. Did they -- were they close friends? I mean --

COOPER: They didn't pursue that at all. Why?

AGNIFILO: Nobody -- I was baffled by this because they really didn't pre -- they were not precise. And if they were precise, I think and ask more questions that went more to the heart of the issue and the problem. They should also ask to Fani Willis plus about how did how did you hire people and what vetting process did they go to and did they submit invoices and how did you determine the $250 an hour versus somebody else --

COOPER: None of that was asked.

AGNIFILO: None of that was asked. And had they developed that record, I think that they could have established potentially a conflict of interest that if there is something to discredit them, I think could potentially make them come off the case, but the lawyers instead, I think focused on the salacious part of it rather than the facts that could help their case.

COOPER: Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Michael Moore, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

More breaking news, new exclusive reporting in the Russian -- the nuclear space weapon that U.S. officials say Russia is developing and the threat they say it could pose. That's next.



COOPER: More breaking news tonight, exclusive new reporting about that nuclear space weapon that U.S. officials say Russia is working on.

CNN's Oren Liebermann joins us now from the Pentagon.

What more have you learned about it?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, according to three sources familiar with the intelligence, Russia is trying to develop a nuclear space weapon that would use one of the byproducts of a nuclear weapon to try to a nuclear explosion, I should say, to try to render satellites ineffective or effectively useless and destroy those satellites.

Now, President Joe Biden said earlier today in discussing this, that there was no nuclear threat to the U.S. and the administration has already said this is something that's under development, not something that's operational.

Still, it's clear the administration views this as a threat and it's not just because of the risk to U.S. satellites which are used for things like nuclear command and control, early warning satellites and more. Its also the threat to commercial satellites that are used for communications, Internet, and so much more. This is what's put at risk if the Russians were to make such a nuclear space weapon operational.

COOPER: And how does an EMP -- electromagnetic pulse weapon work?

LIEBERMANN: So that's what's the heart of this, that byproduct of a nuclear explosion. Normally when we think of a nuke, we think of the explosion itself, the heat from it causing that destruction. In this case, one of the byproducts of a nuclear explosion is an electromagnetic pulse, which is a very powerful full energy wave effectively that fries the circuitry in the electronics within a satellite. It doesn't have to destroy physically, but it renders it in it makes it useless, so that the satellite itself can't work.

That's how this weapon could work. And it wouldn't just affect U.S. satellites, effectively anything near it would be affected by an electromagnetic pulse if it's powerful enough. And that's part of the risk here. It's not specifically targeted. It could wipe out a whole bunch of satellites that are used not only by the U.S. military and others, but also by commercial companies. And for so many more purposes.

Now, U.S. satellites, especially the military ones, they're supposed to be -- have systems that defend against EW weapons, electromagnetic weapons. But it would still take out a tremendous number of commercial satellites, U.S., Russian, and so much more. And that end of itself would have a dramatic effect on global communications and so much more here.


COOPER: So it could also take out Russian satellites is it known what Russia is timeline is for the technology?

LIEBERMANN: As of right now, this is still in development. So it's not yet operational, but clearly the administration views this as a risk. There is no set timeline here, but yes, absolutely. This would affect Russian satellites that were on an orbit that were near where this exploded, where that electromagnetic pulse plus was set off.

And from that perspective officials say it would only really likely be used as a last ditch weapon, essentially to try to blind adversaries, enemies by taking out communications, taking an early warning satellites and almost in a way, try to set the playing field back to zero if something like this were to be used.

COOPER: Oren Liebermann, thank so much. We'll be right back


COOPER: They've been all kinds of political scandals over the years, but I don't think you've seen them covered like you will this weekend. Sunday night at 09:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, join Jake Tapper for the premier of his new CNN original series, "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL" with back-to-back episodes.

Jake talks with this still defined former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who served eight years in prison on federal corruption charges. Jake also looks at the extramarital affair confession from former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford after his office claims he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Again, "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL" starts at 09:00 p.m. Sunday night here on CNN.

The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. Have a good weekend.