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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump, Adult Sons And Former Trump Org. Officials Appeal Civil Fraud Judgment In New York; Manhattan DA Seeks Gag Order On Trump In Hush Money Case; Student Killed While Jogging At UGA Honored As The Suspect's Immigration Status Fuels Debate; Biden Says "We're Close" On Gaza Ceasefire; Why Ukraine's Secret Weapon Against Russia Is Becoming Harder To Use; How A Deepfake Biden Robocall Become A Magician's Most Famous Illusion; Supreme Court Hears Argument In Two Cases That Could Upend What We See On Social Media. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 26, 2024 - 20:00   ET




REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): ... housing stock in California. That's the big challenge we face is housing affordability. Washington needs to focus on it. It's California's biggest problem.

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Porter, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.

And finally tonight, before we go, Monica Lewinsky wants Americans to vote, Lewinsky teaming up with the clothing brand Reformation, not just to sell clothes, but to get out the vote, the brand partnering with to encourage voter registration and turn out at the polls come November.

And as Lewinsky herself says, "If you want to complain for the next four years, you got to go out and vote."

I guess we strategically place the lines there. You can go look at the words on the advertising campaign for yourself. We hope you do.

Thanks for joining us. AC 360 starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, a gag order requested in the Trump hush money case, why New York prosecutors want a judge to impose one on the former president with the trial now just weeks away.

Also tonight, new details in the murder of a Georgia nursing student and how her killing is now part of the debate over the border.

And later with Russian forces on the move, a rare look at the Ukrainian drone warriors using some type of homemade technology to try to slow the Russians down.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Plenty of new developments to bring you tonight in the many trials and growing tribulations of defendant, Donald Trump. Today, he and his adult sons appealed New York's massive civil fraud judgment against them. He did not, however, begin paying the $460 plus million he now owes, an amount New York Attorney General Letitia James has taken to tweeting out actually. The figure on the left of her tweet there, the equal sign of - the left of the equal sign, a hundred and fourteen some thousand dollars, that's how much interest piles up every single day on a bill that Trump has now got less than a month to either pay off himself or find someone else to.

There's also a new court filing in the classified documents case setting one special counsel against another. But we begin tonight with another case against Trump, the New York hush money trial and district attorney Alvin Bragg's new request for a gag order on the former president, justified according to his filing by threats against him and his staff that went from nearly non-existent before the case to so many that the district attorney's security detail had to bring in help from the New York Police Department because they couldn't keep up.

The filing also cited his conduct in other matters and keeping them honest, they are not hard to find.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Deranged Jack Smith, have you ever heard of him?

Deranged Jack Smith.

Deranged Jack Smith.

The deranged one I call him.

Doesn't he look deranged?

You take a look at that face, you say that guy is a sick man. There's something wrong with him.

I meet a woman outside of Bergdorf Goodman. I took her upstairs to a changing booth. It was all made up.

I don't even know who this woman is.

What else can you expect from a Trump-hating Clinton-appointed judge?

I have a Trump-hating judge.

This rogue judge, a Trump hater.

We have a rogue judge.

This judge is a lunatic and if you've ever watched him, and the attorney general may be worse, may be worse. You ever watch her? I will get Donald Trump.

Letitia James, the corrupt attorney general of New York.

She's a corrupt person.

She's got serious Trump derangement syndrome.

Every single day, I'm suing him. I'm going to sue him.


COOPER: Just a small sampling there, some of which, in tone at least, his campaign spokesman adopted in response today, quoting now, "Today, the two-tiered system of justice implemented against President Trump is on full display, with the request by another Deranged Democrat prosecutor seeking a restrictive gag order, which if granted, would impose an unconstitutional infringement on President Trump's First Amendment rights, including his ability to defend himself, and the rights of all Americans to hear from President Trump."

CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now, along with CNN legal analysts Karen Friedman Agnifilo and also Elie Honig.

Kara, let's start off with you. Let's talk about what this gag order would potentially cover, because Trump could still criticize Alvin Bragg, the district attorney.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He can still criticize the district attorney and the case itself. But what Bragg's team is saying to the judge is they would like him to prevent Trump from criticizing any of the potential witnesses in this case, any of the jurors that are selected in this case, as well as the attorneys that are working on it that aren't Bragg and the court staff, as well as their family members, saying that they have seen this in other cases and they're trying to get ahead of it here.

COOPER: He went after the assistant to the judge, the clerk of the judge in the other case.

SCANNELL: Right. And the judge imposed a gag order there. So they're now trying to get ahead of it, saying they want to protect this. And particularly the jury here, because Trump has had a history in some other cases of going after the jurors, including in Roger Stone's trial, he is a longtime confidant of Trump. He went after them after Roger Stone was convicted.

So what they write in their filing for protective order for the jury, they say, "Defendants conduct in this and - including his extensive history of attacking jurors in other proceedings - presents a significant risk of juror harassment and intimidation that warrants reasonable protective measures to ensure the integrity of these proceedings, minimize obstacles to jury selection and protect juror safety."


So they're saying in this case, Donald Trump will learn the identities of the jurors, but they want the judge to stop him from sharing that with any of his supporters, any of his confidants. And they also don't want him to know the addresses of any of these jurors. COOPER: And what about the security for Alvin Bragg? What's the latest

on that?

SCANNELL: So to support this, they're saying that the - his office had seen a direct correlation from March 2023, when Donald Trump started attacking Bragg and attacking this case. This was at the time when we were reporting every day about the grand jury hearing from witnesses and was just before the indictment.

So they said in 2022, there was one threat against the office. In 2023, there was 89 threats against the office, including two instances where letters were sent to Bragg, including white powdery substances that were deemed not to be toxic, but included death threats against Alvin Bragg himself.

COOPER: All right. Elie, what do you think from a legal standpoint about this the idea of a gag order?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think the requested gag order here is appropriately narrow. Now, I'm no fan of gag orders. I was a prosecutor for 14 years. I never asked for a gag order, but I also never had a client or a defendant quite like Donald Trump. And he has a history, as Kara said.

Any judge in deciding whether to issue a gag order like this has to weigh the defendant's First Amendment right. You do have a right to criticize prosecutors in the case against you with the need to safeguard the proceedings, especially jurors and witnesses. And that's really the focus of this gag order. So I think it's narrow enough that the judge can sign it without infringing on the First Amendment.

COOPER: But Michael Cohen is going to be one of the witnesses ...


COOPER: ... in this. So he - so Trump's not going to be able to say anything about Michael Cohen?

HONIG: Exactly. I mean, Michael Cohen is well known as a witness. And Donald Trump and Michael Cohen both talk publicly about each other quite aggressively. If this gag order is signed, then yes, Trump would violate it if he made verbal public attacks on Michael Cohen.

COOPER: Karen, what do you think about it?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So I think you bring up an excellent point that it's going to be a concern for the judge that this is all about protecting the jury pool because they're getting ready for trial. They're getting ready to send out jury questionnaires. And you need to protect the information that gets to prospective jurors and ...

COOPER: So why not have an - why not - why didn't the D.A. ask for an anonymous jury, that the identity of the jurors wouldn't be known?

AGNIFILO: So the law in New York State is different than the federal law, and it's really - you're not actually allowed to have a completely anonymous jury to the defendant. And so this particular request that they made, which is to keep the names and addresses from the public, but not from the defense team or the prosecution team, is actually along with New York law.

But the Michael Cohen issue is a concern because if Michael Cohen continues to speak out about Donald Trump, Donald Trump will say he has a right to respond. So I could see the judge here, for example, issuing a gag order on all parties and all witnesses to protect the jury pool from getting extraneous extrajudicial statements and information now that we are weeks away from the trial.

COOPER: And there's certain testimonies, certain evidence that they're trying to keep out.

SCANNELL: That's right. They want to keep out some of the testimony from - or some of the public statements that Rudy Giuliani had made. He was on Fox News trying to explain this way back in 2018, 2017. And at the time, he was saying that Trump knew about the payments and then - so Trump's team is saying they don't want that in.

COOPER: Right. He was implicating Trump in this and now the Trump folks are saying, well, he had nothing to do with this. He was just speaking off the cuff.

SCANNELL: Right. They're saying he wasn't actually retained by Trump. He wasn't acting as his attorney. He just kind of freelanced and went on Fox and was saying this. They're trying to put that back in the bag or say, if you're going to let it run, let us run the cleanup effort that Trump and Giuliani then engage them afterwards.

COOPER: They also don't want some contemporaneous notes that Allen Weisselberg made.

SCANNELL: Right. So Weisselberg was part of this hush money payment. He was involved in conversations with Michael Cohen. He took handwritten notes that the prosecutors want to use. Trump's lawyers are saying they shouldn't be allowed to use that because Allen Weisselberg is not being called as a witness in this case. He's not on either side.

COOPER: So he can't be questioned by the defense about it.

SCANNELL: Right. That's right. And also, remember, he is in talks to plead guilty to perjury in the New York Attorney General's case, which also raises complications about his credibility as a witness.

COOPER: And what about the Access Hollywood tapes and his public statements on sexual assault allegations?

HONIG: Yes. I mean, the question then for the judge is going to be not just does this show bad character. You can't just introduce evidence that shows - that a defendant's a terrible guy and says terrible things. You have to show that it's directly relevant to one of the issues at trial, the person's intent, some sort of pattern. And I think what prosecutors have argued and will argue is this goes

to Donald Trump's motive, his intent. Why was he willing to pay off Stormy Daniels, because this tape had just come out and he didn't want to sustain further political damage. That'll be the prosecution case.

COOPER: Karen, how long do you think this trial goes on for?

AGNIFILO: It could be - a lot of it depends on how much cross- examination of the witnesses that Donald Trump's lawyers choose to do.


But the prosecutors have estimated about four weeks is what they think their entire case will take from start to finish. And depending on the - if the defense attorneys cross-examine their witnesses or put on their own defense case, that could obviously extend it. But I think four to six weeks is a decent guess.

COOPER: I want to go over to the former president's now appeal in the - this other case on the fraud. Can you walk us through what he did today?

SCANNELL: Yes. So he filed a notice of appeal along with his sons. They're appealing both the dollar amount, this massive number of $454 million just for Trump, as well as the other remedies, which includes banning them from being an officer director of a company and also continuing this monitor that's in place. So they filed their notice of appeal to get the ball rolling on this.

Now, they still have 30 days to post money in order to satisfy the judgment in the case, so that's the thing that is still lingering out here. That wasn't address today in the appeal. This was just more of them saying, we are going to go forward with this and we're going to challenge all this, see if the judge has committed any error.

COOPER: And is it clear how or if he can pay?

SCANNELL: I mean, this is the big question that it's a private company. There were questions about the credibility of their financial statements, which the judge said were fraudulent and inflated in many ways. I mean, Trump has said that last year in testimony, he had more than $400 million in cash. The attorney general's office said in 2021, $200 million was tied up in an illiquid partnership that he had with another real estate company.

So no one really, unless you're there, can really see and have a handle on actually how much cash he has. So he could get a bond and have that collateralized by some of the assets that he owns. He could sell property. That takes longer to do. But you know, this is kind of uncharted territory for an individual having to put up so much money because he's not a company that has access to loans and banks ...

COOPER: Right.

SCANNELL: ... and other sources of money. COOPER: I just want to bring in investigative reporter and Trump

biographer, Syracuse University of Law lecturer, David Cay Johnston. So, David, based on what you know, I mean, do you think Trump can pay for this? I mean, you've been saying you think he might file for bankruptcy.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR: I think Donald certainly will not have the cash to pay both the state award and the E. Jean Carroll award, that's about $530 million. He may be able to find someone. It won't be a bank, I suspect, to in effect guarantee the payments.

But given how murky his finances are, given his long history of not being truthful about his finances and having hidden debts, it would be a strange bird who would do that. And by the way, if Trump becomes president, that means he's going to be owing somebody over $500 million. And he began his campaign almost nine years ago saying, I don't owe any money (inaudible) be obligated to anybody. I'm not going to take contributions.

COOPER: Elie, what do you think the odds are that Trump wins this appeal?

HONIG: I think they're low. It's important to understand, you're not going to win an appeal by arguing to a court of appeals, well, the judge should have credited our witnesses. The judge should have believed our evidence more than the other side. That's not an appeal issue. You have to show something structural or procedural. It's also, frankly, not an appeal issue in my view to say, well, the attorney general had political motivation. She ran for office based on a promise that she'll go after me, which she did. But that's an issue of judgment and ethics and mixing prosecution and politics. That's not going to win you an appeal.

COOPER: Is the attorney general doing herself any favors by tweeting out things, mocking Trump's - the interest he has to pay? I mean, isn't that sort of - is that appropriate?

HONIG: No, I think it's inappropriate. I think it's a terrible look. And you showed this before what the attorney general has been doing the last several days is every day tweeting out plus one hundred fourteen thousand, whatever, dollars in interest. She's mocking him. Let's be honest. She's rubbing it in his face. She's gloating.

It's not a good look when Donald Trump's argument to the public and to his voters is she targeted me politically. Now, we know she ran for office. She said it dozens of times during her campaign for AG, vote for me. I'll go after Trump. That's bad enough. Now she's piling on and sort of reveling in it and I - if I was advising her, I would tell her to knock it off.

COOPER: And Karen, what happens if Trump doesn't pay?

AGNIFILO: So after 30 days from when the judgment is entered by the court ...

COOPER: And it's already been entered, so clock is ticking. AGNIFILO: ... it's already been entered. Yes. That clock is ticking.

After 30 days, if he hasn't either paid the judgment or posted a bond in the amount with collateral that satisfies the bond, the attorney general can start enforcing the judgment, which means she can go after his bank accounts. You can go after his airplane, his buildings, his property. It's - it'll be interesting to see how she chooses to enforce the bond.

But also you've got Barbara Jones, who is embedded in The Trump Organization at the direction of Judge Engoron, and she's the former federal judge who is the monitor there.


So she has a window into the financials of The Trump Organization. And that could also be an interesting way that the attorney general will be able to enforce the judgment.

COOPER: And Kara, do we know - I mean, does he have to pay the 83 million to E. Jean Carroll any time - is there a clock on that?

SCANNELL: Yes. The clock has been ticking on that. I think it's about halfway through the 30 day clock in federal court. But just hours after the judgment came down in the New York civil fraud case, Trump's lawyers went to the judge overseeing the Carroll case and said, hey, can we postpone complying with this until all of our post trial motions are dealt with? The judges said a very quick briefing schedule and wants to hear from everyone by the end of the week.

COOPER: David, how do you think the E. Jean Carroll judgment will play out?

JOHNSTON: Well, Donald's going to do everything he can to delay past November 5th, that's a hundred percent of his ballgame in these two cases. If he can find some judge who will stay seizing of his properties and will stay requiring him to put up money, he's going to run there.

He's entitled in the state case to appeal to the Intermediate Court of Appeals. The highest court in New York is discretion as to whether they take the case or not and like Elie, I don't see any substantial grounds here for him to overturn the findings of fact and I don't see any significant errors by Judge Engoron.

COOPER: David Cay Johnson, thank you. Kara Scannell, Karen Friedman Agnifilo and Elie Honig as well.

Coming up next, what investigators are learning about a nursing student's killing at the University of Georgia and what politicians, including the former president, are making the fact that her alleged killer was in the country unlawfully. And later, how a magician unwittingly became part of a campaign dirty trick against Joe Biden through the dubious magic of AI. We'll explain ahead.



COOPER: Georgia officials today released grim new details in the killing of nursing student Laken Hope Riley on the University of Georgia campus last Thursday. As if the initial facts were not horrifying enough or the sense of loss not deep enough by now, and all of it has now been compounded by the revelation the suspect was in this country unlawfully and how quickly that fact became politicized. More from CNN's Ryan Young.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Arrest records alleging her suspected killer, Jose Antonio Ibarra, prevented Riley from calling 911 and mutilated her body by disfiguring her skull, then dragged her to a secluded area to hide her body.

Autopsy results determine the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head. A 26-year-old suspect lives in an apartment complex, only steps from the campus trail Riley had been jogging on Thursday morning.


CHIEF JEFF CLARK, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA POLICE: We have a suspect in custody for Laken's murder.


YOUNG (voice over): Ibarra was arrested on Friday, the day after Riley was killed. Investigators have not released a motive.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R) GEORGIA: Laken's death is a direct result of failed policies on the federal level and an unwillingness by this White House to secure the southern border.


YOUNG (voice over): Over the weekend, Republican Georgia governor, Brian Kemp, sent a letter to the White House criticizing the administration's immigration policies and demanding information on Ibarra.


KEMP: It is an understatement to say that this is a major crisis. And because of the White House's failures, every state, as I've said repeatedly, is now a border state. And Laken Riley's murder is just the latest proof of that.


YOUNG (voice over): Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Ibarra was arrested in 2022 for being in the United States unlawfully. He was paroled. And Ibarra was arrested again in New York City in 2023, charged with acting in a manner to injure a child less than 17 and a motor vehicle license violation.

According to ICE, NYPD released Ibarra before a detainer could be issued. Former President Donald Trump joined the court's claim aimed at the Biden administration, hyperbolizing the current border crisis as Biden's border invasion on truth social, saying Riley's murder should have never happened.

Ibarra was denied bond and is being held in the Athens-Clarke County Jail.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not one more dog (ph).


YOUNG (voice over): Tonight, Riley's sorority holding a vigil to remember the 22-year-old.


CHLOE MELAS, LAKEN'S SORORITY SISTER: It is so obvious to me why it feels so dark right now and that is because we lost one of the brightest lights that there's ever been.


YOUNG (voice over): Shaken community gathering to grieve the loss of one of its own on the first full day of classes since the murder.


MELAS: Our hearts will always ache without Laken. She was such an integral part of our sisterhood.


COOPER: There's got to be - I mean, the impact of this on campus, it's just - it's horrific.

YOUNG (on camera): Yes. When you think about the size of this campus is over 40,000 students. We talked to so many today who were scared, Anderson. A lot of them left on Friday. This was their first day returning. And as far as the eye could see, you saw thousands and thousands of students lining up to pay their respects, holding hands, also talking about the little things like telling your friends you love them or calling home to your parents.

Also, they want more security on this campus. There's been a lot of talk about how fast this investigation happened, but there's also been talk of bringing back the blue lights that we all know that used to be across campuses all across this country. Those were removed about 20 years ago from this campus. But the conversation is really extending. We saw so much pain here. People saying they're scared to walk by themselves. Now groups are going out together. But you can understand this is

going to be something that they're going to remember for the rest of their lives. There's no murder that's been - on this campus for over 20 years, Anderson.


YOUNG (voice over): This has been heartbreaking to watch throughout the day as these kids are just struggling.

COOPER: Ryan Young, thank you so much.

For certain perspective now, joining us tonight former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Andrew, the suspect's immigration status, what impact would it have on the investigation?


ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: On the investigation, likely not much. Right? What we have here, Anderson is just an irredeemably awful act of violent crime. And so to the investigators who were able to identify this individual as a suspect in this crime with the assistance - incredible assistance of video surveillance, and then to collect physical evidence likely that ties him to the crime scene itself, to them where he comes from or what passport he holds or doesn't hold is not particularly relevant. It's his involvement in the violent crime and how they can prove that with physical evidence that matters to them.

COOPER: As Ryan Young reported, the suspect has been arrested before given his immigration status. Is it surprising he was released in those other cases?

MCCABE: I don't think so. We don't have perfect detail about what happened in the New York case in which he was accused, at least or convicted of endangering a child. But it is not uncommon in this country for people who are here, either on lawful immigration status or unlawful immigration status, to be treated the same way that Americans, people who are lawfully here, are treated. And that is when they are arrested for nonviolent acts, if they don't have an extensive record of criminal convictions, they typically are not held in jail pending a resolution of those charges.

And so it doesn't surprise me that that happened to him here. People will rightfully ask, well, how is it that someone who's unlawfully in this country is given bail? The fact is it happens around the country dozens and probably hundreds of times a day. And that's just simply a reflection of the volume of people that are going through the criminal justice system and the inability to keep all those people prior to trial.

COOPER: And if somebody commits a serious crime and they're here unlawfully, do they generally, if they're convicted and it's a crime that people would actually be in prison for that - do they do time? And then when that time is up, they get deported or does it - is that not automatic?

MCCABE: They do, generally. That's certainly the position at the federal law enforcement level, right? If you're arrested for a crime, you are going to go through the system and serve your time. If you're convicted and sentenced, you're going to serve that sentence before you're turned over to the immigration service to be deported to your home country.

Most states pursue that same sort of prioritization. So if - obviously, like in this awful case, he's now been arrested and detained for murder. He's not ever going to get bonded out on that charge. So he's going to have to see this one through, serve his sentence here before he's deported back to Venezuela.

COOPER: And right now, do you imagine investigators still looking for more evidence at this point? I mean, it's still pretty early on.

MCCABE: There's no doubt they are. That's going to happen until they are convinced that they have completely coursed that scene for everything they possibly can. I'm sure they've already or will soon execute a search warrant at his residence to try to collect any other evidence that could possibly tie him to this crime, to see if he's maybe taken anything from the crime scene, brought it back to his residence. Anything like that would be very powerful evidence against him and that's the way that they're going to look at this.

It's really on the political side that the defendants or the accused immigration statuses is becoming relevant and it's not particularly helpful on the criminal investigative and prosecutorial side.

COOPER: Andrew McCabe, appreciate it.

Coming up, President Biden meets with Republican and Democratic leaders at the White House tomorrow, Ukraine aid is a major topic. We'll look at how the fight is getting more difficult for Ukraine, even for what's been called its secret weapon against Russian forces. That's next.



COOPER: Some breaking news tonight on the war in Gaza. Hopeful words from President Biden on talks to establish a new ceasefire in exchange for hostages now held by Hamas.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My national security adviser tells me that we're close, we're close. We're not done yet. And my hope is by next Monday, we'll have a ceasefire.


COOPER: Also, tonight, the New York Times reporting that Israeli negotiators are signaling their willingness to release a group of jailed Palestinians in exchange for some of the Israelis held hostage in Gaza. Now this comes as President Biden hosts congressional leaders from both parties to the White House tomorrow in an effort to break through the deadlock in a number of key funding battles.

On the agenda, money for Israel, but also tens of billions of dollars for Ukraine. Russia is slowly reclaiming territory in the east. President Zelenskyy told CNN that, quote, "Millions in Ukraine could die without more funding." We'll have more on that interview in a moment.

Right now, our Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground in Ukraine with how the fight has changed.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They flit around fast, hiding each week in a new, abandoned shell. Drone operators have been Ukraine's secret weapon for months. But now, it is getting harder.

We saw this unit in December, but their base back then has been bombed. Yet still, they hunt every day for a single mistake. A Russian who gets himself spotted.

They say the Russians are better at hiding themselves, although sometimes, obviously not.

PATON WALSH: Yes, so they've just spotted a Russian soldier carrying groceries, and a dog came out to greet him. So, I think it's quite possible that's where some Russians are hiding.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): So it begins. The first strike, on the window. One drone watching, the other flies into the target.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Launch another one immediately.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): And quickly, they prepare another. The hunt is no game, but has the tools of one. They lose about a quarter of their drones to Russian jamming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The jamming got worse. It's affecting us more. But we won't give up. We have to evade like snakes. Inventing things. Experiment.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): They see the Russians running into the blue house, its roof clearly hit before a while ago. It becomes their next target.

They go in again. It could be a mortar position, they think. Watch how smaller explosions send fragments flying out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Nice one. Not sure it's a kill. We'll see. PATON WALSH (voice-over): The Russians often have to stay injured inside the damaged building to not draw in more drones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They usually wait. They don't run out immediately.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): They go in again, it could be a mortar position they think. Then suddenly, the power goes out. The internet down and screens black, but remarkably they barely miss a beat. The commander sparks up his cell phone 5G with the drone feed and a chat group directing the entire attack just from an iPhone.

The smoke grows in intensity. They think they might have hit a weapons store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's something inside. Should be ammo.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): They never see Russian faces or taste the smoke. The blast noise takes a few seconds to travel to them. But this is still killing up close, yet far away. Strike. Launch. Repeat all day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Nice. Nice.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Sometimes its cheers here, screams there. Other times, the other way around.


PATON WALSH (on-camera): Now, Anderson, what really is striking about these units is just how relentless those attacks are. They simply do that all day, every day, whenever they spot a potential Russian target. Interesting too, though, this unit based in Kherson, a city that was invaded, occupied, liberated, well, they are concerned of what they've seen 20 kilometers further away from their position.

Russian units are massing. They're concerned they might be trying to have another go at the city all along the front lines. Now, Anderson, real concerns amongst Ukrainian soldiers that Russia might be trying to regain some momentum. We saw some of that just outside Avdiivka, which Ukraine had to give up two Saturdays ago.

Russia moving towards a small village, Lastochkyne, essentially taking it, Ukraine withdrawing from that. Another sign of Moscow's momentum and that is leaving many Ukrainians deeply anxious that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, admitting today that of the million shells, the European Union promised.

Remember, it's Europe that's going to have to step in to the gap left by a lack of American assistance. Of that million shells, only 30 percent have arrived so far. Shocking, frankly, and they're feeling it on the front lines, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you. Be careful. Incredible to see the work of those drone operators up close. To that point, President Zelenskyy spoke with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. The interview airs tonight at The Source at the top of the hour.

Here's some of their conversations, specifically about American aid now being held up in Congress by House Republicans.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: You're basically saying that there will be no new success for Ukraine if there's no new U.S. aid? Essentially, this all depends on USAID.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Steps, success, forward will depends on USAID. Yes. Not defending line. Not only defending line. Because if you defend, just defend, you give possibility Russia, push you, yes, small steps back. But anyway, we will have these steps back. Small one. But when you steps back, you lose people. We will lose people.


COOPER: People will die. Again, you can see more in the next hour on The Source, 9:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

Just ahead for us tonight, we now know who was behind the deepfake robocall President Biden during the New Hampshire primary and how easy it was to actually do. A magician tells his secrets next.



COOPER: An answer to a month old political mystery, who was behind a deepfake robocall to New Hampshire voters days before the presidential primary that sounded like President Biden telling some to stay home and not vote. It's a strange answer involving a New Orleans street magician. Kyung Lah has details.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paul Carpenter, New Orleans street magician, wanted to be famous for fork bending.

PAUL CARPENTER, MAGICIAN WHO USED AI TO CREATE FAKE BIDEN AUDIO: They could actually see it, looks like it's bending.

LAH (voice-over): But instead he's making national headlines tricked himself, he says, in a political scandal around this fake robocall of President Biden.

BIDEN: What a bunch of malarkey.

LAH (voice-over): Sent to more than 20,000 New Hampshire residents, urging Democrats to not vote in last month's primary.

BIDEN: It's important that you save your vote for the November election.


LAH: Did you know when you made that recording how it was going to be used?

CARPENTER: None. None, whatsoever. I'm a magician and a hypnotist. I'm not in the political realm. So I just got thrown into this thing.

LAH: Carpenter says he was playing around with AI apps, getting paid a few hundred bucks here and there to make fake recordings. One of those paying, according to text messages shared with CNN, was political operative Steve Kramer, then employed by Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips.

CARPENTER: No, I was like, no problem. Send me script. I send you recording. Send me some money. Poo, poo (ph).

LAH: How easy is all of this for a self-taught guy?

CARPENTER: Five minutes. Ten tops.

LAH (voice-over): Kramer admitted to CNN he was behind the robocall. The Phillips campaign cut ties with him, saying they had nothing to do with it. But this deepfake raised immediate concern over the power of AI from the White House --

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That call was indeed a fake and not recorded by the president.

LAH (voice-over): -- to election watchers.

HANY FARID, DIGITAL FORENSICS EXPERT, UC BERKELEY: When people are getting phone calls 48 hours, 24 hours before an election, there is nobody there to interfere, and those were very worrisome to me. And when you think about, you know, how much we are connected to our devices, and now you're going to inject these generative AI into that ecosystem, and I think we're in for something dramatic.

LAH: Can you create a voice that sounds like President Biden.


LAH (voice-over): Deepfake expert Vijay Balasubramaniyan says there's no shortage of often free apps that can do it.

VIJAY BALASUBRAMANIYAN, FOUNDER AND CEO, PINDROP: It requires just three seconds of your audio and you can actually clone someone's voice.

LAH: We are testing to see how quickly you can create an AI voice.

BALASUBRAMANIYAN: And then upload that.

LAH: And add voice. And then I can just type whatever I want. I would like to buy a new pair of shoes, but they should be pink. BALASUBRAMANIYAN: And then say generate.

LAH (voice-over): And in just seconds.

I would like to buy a new pair of shoes, but they should be pink.

BALASUBRAMANIYAN: For someone like me, you know, it did sound a little bit like you.

LAH (voice-over): A famous voice?

BALASUBRAMANIYAN: Like five minutes of President Biden speaking at any particular event, and that's what it took to create a clone of his voice.

LAH (voice-over): Pindrop, his company, not only detected that robocall of President Biden's voice was a fake, but tracked it to the very AI company that made it. So, it takes AI software to detect whether a voice is AI generated.

LAH: It knows that it's a deep fake.

BALASUBRAMANIYAN: You cannot expect a human to do this. You need technology to be able to fight technology. So you need good AI to fight bad Alisyn.

LAH (voice-over): To alert Americans that, just like a magic trick, an AI deep fake is not what it seems.

CARPENTER: You can actually make it look like it's twisting off.


COOPER: Senior Investigative Correspondent Kyung Lah joins us now. And if anything, are cams doing to try to guard against this?

LAH (on-camera): Well, here's one window into some of the interests in this space, Anderson. Pindrop, the company you just heard of in that story says that they are getting a lot of interest from political campaigns right now and that in the coming months, they expect to have some announcements in this space.

So this is just one company and we have a long way to go before the end of 2024 and November. And part of the reason why there's so much interest here, it's because all of us, we have human ears that naturally compensate and fills in the blanks. Our brains want to believe what we see in here, Anderson.

COOPER: Kyung Lah, thanks so much.

Coming up next, the Supreme Court hearing arguments today in two cases that could change what you see on social media. I'll talk it over with CNN Contributor Kara Swisher.



COOPER: Stakes (ph) battle at the Supreme Court today, justices appeared divided as they heard arguments in two cases that could change what you find on social media and other websites. Texas and Florida want to stop YouTube and TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and other from being able to remove content that expresses certain viewpoints.

The legislation in both states was in response to accusations from former President Trump and others who said the platforms are hindering conservative perspectives. But tech companies say they have the right to set rules and argue without the power to dump posts or users, it'll give airtime to misinformation or a hate speech.

Joining us to talk about it, senior contributor, tech journalist and podcaster Kara Swisher, whose fascinating new memoir "Burn Book": A Tech Love Story" goes on sale tomorrow.

Congratulations on the book.


COOPER: A couple -- a lot of things I want to ask you about. First of all, the Supreme Court hearing today about --

SWISHER: That's right.

COOPER: -- how whether tech giants should be treated like phone companies. How do you see this?

SWISHER: Well, I'm not usually on tech's side, but in this case it's ridiculous that the government's trying to impose what they should and shouldn't say. These tech companies have First Amendment rights. They're also not the public square. And they're trying to put -- they're trying to use the word censorship to get everyone upset because it gets people in this country all rattled, if you use that word, but these are private companies that can do what they want.

COOPER: But the First Amendment applies to governments not (INAUDIBLE) private companies.

SWISHER: That's correct. If they actually read the First Amendment, the Attorney General of Texas, for example, it actually says government shall make no law, not Google or not Facebook or anything else.

COOPER: You -- I mean, in the book, you -- your trajectory is fascinating. I mean, you were a young journalist, young reporter, and kind of the only one around who was really interested --


COOPER: -- in digital stuff from the beginning.


SWISHER: Yes, I was the young one. Like, give it to the young one. That's -- that, really, it was exactly like that. And I was interested. I was interested in phones. I was very interested in -- I covered retail, and I -- and when I saw Craigslist, I worried about the death of newspapers right away.

You could see all those economic underpinnings were going. And they didn't see it, and I was like, don't you see what's happening, kind of thing?

COOPER: You -- it's also fascinating because, I mean, you write about all of the giants in tech who we know about from the various earliest times you met them to now and the trajectories. I just want to ask you about a couple --


COOPER: -- Elon Musk.

SWISHER: I met him when he was at a company called Zip2, which was basically yellow pages online. And he kind of got tossed out of there. He made a few million, but not a great history. He was very typical of a lot of those people. And then he moved on to something called, which was a competitor to PayPal. They merged and luckily sold off to eBay. And then that's where he made his money.

COOPER: You -- in the book you're writing about him now as sort of all his worst impulses or what we see now.

SWISHER: That's correct. He had 10 percent of it was -- I don't know if I can say penis jokes, but it was penis jokes and boob jokes and memes and things like that. And then -- and that was 10 percent of his personality, and then he was super interesting, and he was covering, like, cars, and solar, and space. That was substantive.

Everyone else was making a digital dry cleaning service. He wasn't. And that was it -- that's what attracted me to him. Big ideas, and I like that.

COOPER: And now, what do you think of him?

SWISHER: I think he's still doing big ideas, but something's happened to his personality. Something drastic and disturbing. He's been radicalized in some way.

COOPER: You write about Jeff Bezos, also, who you've known from the beginning. What do you make of his trajectory? I think -- I don't know if it was in the book or in an interview I read that you said that he would eat your face off if he needed to with you.

SWISHER: I called him Farrell. When I met him for the first time, he was older than the ones I was -- people I was covering, you know, were very young at the time I met them. Jeff was -- he was already successful. He'd worked on Wall Street. He was an adult. He had a wife. He was, you know, later he had, children pretty early.

And so he is a very different character. He was into logistics and math. And so he was doing the logistics company is what he was doing. It didn't matter. They were selling books. And so he was a different -- he's a different cat. You know what I mean? He's a different person.

And so, I just thought he was wildly ambitious in a way that was more common to me, more like the Bill Gates kind of character.

COOPER: In the book you write about January 6th, you say, "On January 6th, 2021, the scenario that I had concocted -- which Twitter executives in 2019 told me was preposterous and irresponsible to write -- became a reality."


COOPER: Walk us through that. So I wrote a column in the New York -- I had a column in the New York Times for a while because I really wanted to show -- I wanted to cause alarm and I knew the New York Times would be the place they would pay attention to it.

And so, one of the columns I wrote was in 2019 where I said if Donald Trump loses the election, it's not unusual to think he's going to say it's a fraud. And when he says it's a fraud, it's going to pump -- it was going to go up and down the online food chain that exists on the right, which is very vast and it goes back and forth.

So he's going to say it's a lie, he's going to say it's a lie, he's going to say it's going to repeat it like propaganda. And then he's going to ask his people to do something about it in the real world. And it's going to jump from online to offline. And I was like -- and he's going to ask them to stop the results.

And I said that. And when I wrote that, I was called out by tech companies are like, this is preposterous, ridiculous. We're not responsible. I said, I didn't say you were fully responsible. I said, this could happen and it did.

COOPER: There is an arrogance in Silicon Valley about from a lot of these founders, these titans who are, I mean, they're doing extraordinary things, but --

SWISHER: They are.

COOPER: -- there is this -- I mean, am I wrong in feeling this arrogance (ph)?

SWISHER: No, it's just like, you never have a Wall Street person telling you they're going to build community. They're here to take your money. They're here to like --

COOPER: You're very clear on Wall Street, it's about money.

SWISHER: We're very clear about money. And the first line of this book is, it was capitalism after all. I just don't want to hear this nonsense about changing the world when they control the world.

COOPER: Mark Zuckerberg was asked at a congressional hearing on social media. I want to play that moment -- SWISHER: Sure.

COOPER: -- because it's very dramatic.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: I'm sorry for everything you have all been through. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered and this is why we've invested so much and are going to continue doing industry wide efforts to make sure that no one has to go through the types of things that your families have had to suffer.


COOPER: You point out repeatedly, there's been no regulation --


COOPER: -- of these social media companies.

SWISHER: No, no, none specifically.

COOPER: Is there any other industry that --


COOPER: -- has happened to?

SWISHER: No, none specifically, and Section 230 protects them, actually, from liability. There's hardly any liability. They are born -- you know, they can't murder people, but neither can the rest of us, right? Or maybe they can't, I don't know.

In that case, those parents thought that Facebook and others had a thing in it. Listen to what he said -- yes.

COOPER: The role and what happened to their children.

SWISHER: Right. Listen to what he said. Did he say, I'm sorry for what I've done? Or did he say, I'm sorry for what's happened to you? There's a very big difference. He still can't take -- even the smallest amount of responsibility.

COOPER: What do you think -- how should they be responsible? Whether it's for that issue or just --

SWISHER: Viability. Those parents should be able to sue. They'll lose or win in court. That's fine. That seems fair for everybody else. Even Donald Trump's in court.

COOPER: When you look at this next election coming up, are we going to see all the same issues we saw in 2020?

SWISHER: Some of them. And then there's going to be more deepfakes were going to -- you know, we'll have to figure it out and work through. But my issue is, these are unaccountable people making decisions for the rest of us and not paying the price of damage.

COOPER: Kara Swisher, thank you so much.

SWISHER: Thank you.

COOPER: The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins and her interview with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy starts now.