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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Supreme Court To Hear Trump Presidential Immunity Claim, Further Delaying Federal Election Subversion Trial; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) And Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY) Discuss About Their Take On The Hearing Delays Of Former President Trump; Judge Denies Trump's Attempt To Delay $454 Million Civil Fraud Judgment; Supreme Court To Hear Arguments Over Trump Presidential Immunity Claim In April; White House Doctors Say Biden Continues To Be Fit For Duty After His Physical; Texts Reveal Shadowy Role Witness Played In Defense Attorney's Push To Disqualify Willis From Trump Case. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 28, 2024 - 20:00   ET


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOGBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Kremlin denies any involvement in this killing too. But anyone who takes on Russia's opposition mantle knows they're taking a huge risk.


CHANCE (on camera): Well, Erin, it's still unclear tonight where in Moscow exactly Alexei Navalny will be buried. The funeral service is being held at a church in the area of the Russian capital where the late opposition leader lived, but Navalny's team say they're under pressure now to move the burial to a different, more private cemetery where the general public can be more easily kept away.

Erin, back to you.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Matthew, thank you very much. And thanks to all of you for being with us as always.

AC360 starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Tonight on 360, the Supreme Court agrees to decide whether Donald Trump is immune from prosecution for election subversion and throws into chaos the timeline of a criminal trial.

Also tonight, new evidence the former president cannot raise the money to pay New York's $450 plus million civil judgment against him. Evidence supplied by his own legal team of how hard up he is.

And later, the results of President Biden's annual checkup, the questions it answers and those it doesn't.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin a very busy night at the Supreme Court, where about two months from now, nine men and women will hear arguments about whether president should enjoy total criminal immunity for their acts while in office. Perhaps even up to and including, as appeals court judge Florence Pan got Trump attorney John Sauer to concede, ordering Navy SEALs to murder a political rival.

Now, that notion, the need for total immunity, is at the heart of the former president's appeal, which the high court today agreed to take up. It goes to a question as old as the country, are presidents above the law. Oral arguments are set for the week of April 22nd. The court's decision could then come by June. And even if it goes against Mr. Trump, his January 6th trial is on hold until then.

We'll be joined shortly by constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, but first and Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent, Paula Reid.

So what does this move by the court mean for the former president and for Jack Smith?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, in speaking with sources on Trump's legal team, they're still not confident they're going to win on the merits of this issue of absolute presidential immunity. But they know they are winning on their larger strategy to delay, delay, delay these federal cases until after the election. If Trump is re-elected, he can have his attorney general dismiss Jack Smith and these cases, so great news for him.

But this is a considerable blow for the special counsel, Jack Smith. This is the second time the Supreme Court has rejected his pleas to just weigh in and quickly resolve this question of immunity so he can move along with his case. As you noted, these oral arguments are not until April 22nd, so we expect we probably won't get a decision until late June. The judge overseeing the federal election subversion case has said she would want to give the two sides two months to prepare for trial, which pushes it into the late summer, Anderson, and just makes it not impossible, but much less likely that this trial will go before November.

COOPER: So the oral argument set for the week of April 22nd, how does that schedule fit with the former president's other legal proceedings?

REID: Anderson, I'm going to need the help of our handy calendar graphic to go through all of this. It is so complicated. So the first criminal trial that Trump is expected to face is in late March. It begins on March 25th.

Now, this so-called hush money case, the District Attorney, though, frames this as an election interference case. They argue that the hush money Trump paid to former adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election was meant to interfere with that election, to influence it. Now, that trial is expected to go until maybe early May.

And then you see the classified documents case is on the calendar. I'll tell you, it's really penciled in for late May. And tomorrow, I leave for Florida because the judge overseeing that case is actually holding a scheduling hearing on Friday. Anderson, it is widely expected that she will delay that case. The question is, will it be delayed once? Will it be delayed multiple times? Will it go before November? It's an open question.

Then you see, of course, the political events, but the Fulton County case is scheduled for August. That's when Fani Willis previously said she wanted to bring that case, again, a state case, also a case that's outside the pardon power. But right now, these efforts to disqualify Willis are likely going to delay those proceedings. So it's really a wild card down there in Georgia. If any cases will start in August, and if they do, Anderson, they're expected to go on for months. It's unclear if Trump will be tried.

So right now, the only thing we know for sure is that Trump is currently expected to face his first criminal trial in Manhattan, starting in just a few weeks.

COOPER: All right. Paula Reid, thanks very much.

Former federal prosecutor and best-selling Supreme Court biographer, Jeffrey Toobin joins us. Also CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Elie Honig and CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who anchors THE SOURCE at the top of the next hour.

Jeff, is this a victory for Donald Trump?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Big - a big victory. One of the things you learn in law school is that sometimes procedure is even more important than substance. And I still think it's very likely that Donald Trump is going to lose this case on the merits. If he ...


COOPER: But if he Supreme Court would rule against it ...

TOOBIN: ... that the Supreme Court will say he does not have immunity for all his actions as president. But if they say that at the end of June, which is the likely calendar at this point, that will make it almost impossible, not entirely out of the question, but almost impossible for this trial to go forward before the end of - before the election and that's what Trump wants more than anything.

COOPER: They could have just decided not to weigh in on this and deferred the appeals process, right?

TOOBIN: And they could have - if they had done that, Judge Chutkan in Washington could have started this week in - doing the pretrial proceedings that could get the case going in plenty of time before the election, but they didn't do that and that's why it's a big win for Trump.

COOPER: So Elie, I mean, the oral argument is April 22nd, what does that say about the court's view of the urgency of this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think there's a lot of frustration out there from people who see this and say, oh, wow, now Donald Trump, in all likelihood, not impossible, but in all likelihood, will not be tried before the election. But one of the lessons I take away from this is the Supreme Court doesn't care about that. They don't share Jack Smith's sense of urgency and I think there's a couple of ways you can look at this decision to take the case. There is a way to look at it and say, well, they've done Donald Trump a great favor, which certainly they have in the outcome. But there's also some truth to this. This is a classic case that the U.S. Supreme Court would take.

I agree with Jeff. I think they're going to rule against Donald Trump. But this is an unknown issue. We've never had a ruling from Supreme Court directly on the question of criminal immunity. It goes to the heart of executive powers, of separation of powers.

So as Jack Smith himself argued to the court two months ago, this is a paradigmatic case, a classic case that the Supreme Court would and should take.

COOPER: So Jeff, would there still be time to hold a trial? I mean, if they ruled at the end of June?

TOOBIN: It depends. I mean, it's very hard to know at this point. I mean, let's just work the schedule forward. End of June decision, the judge has already said there are two months of pretrial proceedings at least that are necessary. That takes you approximately up to Labor Day, could you start a trial at Labor Day when its one of the defendants is a candidate for president.

The Justice Department has a policy that says the Justice Department should not interfere, should not take action on the eve of an election. That - this is came up in the James Comey situation. Unclear if that applies to a judge scheduling a trial and whether Merrick Garland will instruct Jack Smith not to proceed because of this policy.

COOPER: Elie, do you think they would?

TOOBIN: I think it's going to be very difficult.

HONIG: I think DOJ is still going to try to get this case in. I think as soon as the case comes down for the Supreme Court, they're going to say start it in August, start it whenever you need. But important to understand, there's going to be - there's always a tug-of-war, prosecutors, defense lawyers. Prosecutors usually want a quicker trial. Defense lawyers want to push it back. It's up to Judge Chutkan. She will be the one to decide, am I willing to start a case late summer.

COOPER: Kaitlan, what reaction have you been hearing from any of the former President allies?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, THE SOURCE: They're overjoyed tonight. I mean, they view this as a huge win for them. They don't think that they're going to win on the merits of this. But with this decision, just to review this, what the ruling from the appeals court here that Trump does not enjoy, blanket immunity as president, simply just taking that up helps them achieve their strategy here, Anderson, which was to delay all of the trials, but specifically this one, which they were incredibly concerned about. And now they have succeeded potentially with this. And Elie saying it is up to Judge Chutkan, of course it is. But you have to look at the legal landscape here and that's what Trump's team is doing. Because, of course, we've also got the classified documents case in Florida that still has to be scheduled. And if it gets pushed and that is something that's happening when this June decision comes out from the Supreme Court, then the Trump team does not believe that this January 6th case is going to go forward because they believe it's going to be too late. They can't just restart that trial immediately in June once the Supreme Court decision comes out and I think that's a really pivotal moment here. It could be a pivotal moment in this election.

And of course, may I remind you, this election case was supposed to go to trial starting next week here in Washington. Now it is an open question of whether it ever goes to trial at all.

COOPER: Jeff, I want to play the now infamous clip from the D.C. appeals court hearing last month. One of Trump's lawyers argued that he could have SEAL Team 6 kill a political opponent.

And it seems we're having problem with that, so anyway ...

HONIG: But we remember what they said.

COOPER: Yes. He basically was asked, could a president order SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival. And then the person said, that's an official act in order to - anyway, they went on.

TOOBIN: But - that's why I think this case could have been disposed of with just denying cert and let the case proceed. This is an easy case. Yes, it's a profound issue. But this is an easy case that the D.C. circuit, I think, demolished all the arguments against - in - that Trump made.


And this is why I think it is a frustrating decision, because it means that there is going to be delay to what seems like an inevitable conclusion, that Trump does not have this immunity.

COOPER: It's also - now we're in a situation where the trial that is going forward is the one that's always been considered kind of the weakest, the thinnest gruel of the bunch, the Alvin Bragg case.

HONIG: It's true. And that one is going to happen. I mean, that case is going to start picking their jury on March 25th. But yes, I mean, our political experts can talk about it, that's an ideal scenario. But this is the way it's played out.

And by the way, some blame here has to be laid at the feet of the Justice Department because it took DOJ two and a half plus years, almost two and three quarters years to indict this case. The indictment came down August of 2023 and they left themselves with a year and change between now and trial.

And by the way, you can see this immunity issue coming the moment that indictment dropped that had to cause delay. So yes, the Supreme Court has allowed this to get carried on, but DOJ bears some fault here.

COOPER: Kaitlan, would the former president's team relish the idea of him being on trial during the convention or during the fall and would that play into their narrative?

COLLINS: I think it depends on which case it is. I mean, it would it would play into their narrative in the sense of they're arguing that he is being politically persecuted, which, of course, we know that these cases were brought long before the election. It's just the sense of how long it's taken and the way that they've sought to delay them.

But when it comes to which ones they fear the most, the election case is certainly up there. The classified documents case they've seemed to grow more confident about. I mean, that's just their speculation. That doesn't really actually mean what - it will bear on the case and what that will actually look like. But it would help them make their argument.

But I think it's actually the Alvin Bragg case that you just mentioned there that is going to be something that they're pointing to. And given it is one of the weaker ones, when you look at all of these and just what the allegations at the heart of the prosecutions are, they believe that one will be more effective in helping boost him. And every time he's been indicted, other Republicans and former challengers of his like Ron DeSantis will say it only has boosted him.

They believe that that case in New York is only going to help boost him. It is a novel legal theory that it's at the heart of it. So that is something that could be helpful.


COLLINS: I don't think that they believe that the January 6th case, if he's actually on trial for that before the election, would be helpful to them.

TOOBIN: Also ...


TOOBIN: ... he might win that case.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: I mean, imagine what a gift that would be if he not only is on trial, but gets acquitted.

COOPER: Right. And that's the only case that goes before the election.

Elie Honig, thank you. Kaitlan Collins - Kaitlan has a guest the - on the 9 o'clock hour, Republican Senator Mitt Romney. Look forward to that. Jeff Toobin is going to be back shortly.

Joining us now, constitutional scholar Supreme Court litigator and Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe.

So Professor Tribe, why do you think the Supreme Court decided to take this up instead of just letting the appeals court ruling stand?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Well, I think both Elie and Jeff are right that the Supreme Court sees that as a very fundamental issue. The question isn't why did they decide to take it up, but why didn't they take it up in December? There's nothing new under the sun here.

Fact is, if they shared the view that it matters to get this case tried and to get it to verdict one way or another, to an acquittal or to a conviction before the election, so that the American people are aware of who they're voting for or they're voting for someone who committed the serious crimes that are alleged here or not. If they shared that sense that there's an imperative public necessity, they could have decided to leapfrog the court of appeals, grant certiorari back in December.

Even now, having decided to take the case, it's obvious that the dynamic within the court is leaning very heavily pro-Trump. Because although everyone seems to agree that at the end of the day, the court is not going to say that former presidents have absolute immunity from any criminal prosecution for anything they might do while in office. We all know the end of the story, so why the delay?

COOPER: So ...

TRIBE: Hoping as long as they did to issue this order is amazing, allowing months to last before they hear argument is even crazier. We now know that the odds of this case reaching a verdict before the election are very low. So this case really gives the meaning to the phrase justice delayed is justice denied. Whichever side of this issue you're on, it's crazy that the court processed it this way. It doesn't suggest - go ahead.

COOPER: Is it possible that the Supreme Court - I mean, I know they do things the way they do things and they have their own timetable, but I mean, could they - if they wanted to, if enough of them wanted to, speed it up?


TRIBE: With no question. Just remember Bush v. Gore. When the state of Florida wanted to keep counting ballots, they handled everything in a matter of weeks, not months. And between the final decision that they reviewed and the oral argument, there were only a few days and between the oral argument and the decision, there was only one day. It doesn't make any sense to stretch this out this way.

Just the fact that they are waiting two months when all of the issues have been teed up, where everyone knows how the story ends is disgraceful, frankly. And the way they phrased the question presented is scary in its implications. Instead of asking whether a former president has absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for trying to prevent the next president from taking office, a narrow question, the only question they had to decide, they put the broadest possible question, whether and to what extent does a former president have immunity for acts alleged to be within the reach of his office. Well, Trump alleges that everything is within the reach of his office. Jack Smith alleges the opposite. Right now, it looks like they could decide that broad, abstract question and then send it back to the Court of Appeals for a further decision, applying their new criteria on whether that immunity, whatever it is, and there's not going to be much, extends to what was charged in this case. That is a formula for having this case never decided, especially if Donald Trump wins and gets it dismissed. So this is not the way a court that wants to preserve the rule of law and wants to satisfy the public need for an answer to whether Donald Trump was guilty of trying to overturn the election criminally.

COOPER: So ...

TRIBE: It's not the way a court that realizes the importance of that issue would have perceived.

COOPER: Who on the court just makes this decision? I mean, is it the Supreme Court justice? I mean, who decides what the timing is going to be?

TRIBE: It would take five. And in this case, the five would surely have to include the chief justice. I don't think that they could get five votes without him. It's possible that Gorsuch and or Kavanaugh and or Barrett were part of this group. But what we do know is that there are some justices who are not interested in seeing this resolved one way or another before the election. That much we can be sure of.

We can also be sure because they obviously struggled over the formulation of what question the parties should argue, we can be sure that they want to use this case to settle a whole broad range of issues contrary to their supposed practice of deciding no more than you must decide. In fact, the chief justice once famously said, if we don't have to decide something, that means we have to avoid deciding it. He's obviously violated that mandate here.

COOPER: Interesting.

TRIBE: And the struggle in the court results in injustice for the nation.

COOPER: Laurence Tribe, thank you for your time.

TRIBE: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next, two congressmen weigh in, one who served as Democratic counsel in the first Trump impeachment, the other former constitutional law professor.

And later yet another bizarre twist in the legal uproar surrounding Georgia's election subversion case against the former president and the effort to get the district attorney taken off the case, how this person on the witness stand waffled and surprised the defense. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Moments ago, Liz Cheney tweeted about the Supreme Court's decision to hear the former president's claims of immunity. The former Republican congresswoman and vice chair of the January 6th committee said, "Delaying the January 6th trial suppresses critical evidence that Americans deserve to hear. Donald Trump attempted to overturn an election and seize power. Our justice system must be able to bring him to trial before the next election. SCOTUS should decide this case promptly."

Reaction now from two Democratic members of Congress who played key roles during the impeachment of the former president, Congressman Dan Goldman and Jamie Raskin.

Congressman Raskin, first of all, your reaction to the Supreme Court taking this up and the timing of what this actually means.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, I reacted very similarly to my friend, Liz Cheney. The people have a right to know what happened and I think the Supreme Court, which is lopsided with gerrymandered right wing appointments, is really slowing things down here.

The D.C. Circuit Court opinion was perfectly clear and totally compelling in saying that there was no basis at all to Donald Trump's fraudulent claim that a president is absolutely immune to criminal prosecution for criminal acts undertaken allegedly in pursuit of his office unless he's first impeached or convicted in the Senate, which, of course, has never happened in American history. And so that is the claim of an entitlement to Roy (ph) to be a king, to be a dictator and so it's very dangerous.

I hope that the Supreme Court now, having taken up the case, will follow the unanimous bipartisan ruling coming out of the D.C. Circuit and will find that there is no such immunity built in the Constitution. On the contrary, it's totally antithetical to the idea that nobody is above the law and the president's job is to take care that laws are faithfully executed, not to violate the laws by doing things like ...


RASKIN: ... assassinating his political opponents, which his lawyers hypothesized he could do.

COOPER: But Congressman Goldman, I mean, even if they do rule that way, as it seems they very well might, doesn't this - isn't this just a clear victory for the former president in his attempts to delay and delay and delay?


REP. DANIEL GOLDMAN (D-NY): Well, it certainly will delay some, but I am not in the camp that believes this will necessarily delay the trial until after the election. This opinion will come down by the end of June, and the district court judge has indicated that she will be ready to move very quickly. There could be a trial end of July, August, that would be before the election.

My concern, though, is similar to what Professor Tribe said, which is the way that they reformulated and refashioned the question presented takes it away from the specific facts of this case and broadens the question to a question of law. And if they decide that they are going to say, for example, that no, a president is not absolutely immune from official acts, they could send it back down to the district court or the court of appeals to say you need to make a finding as to whether or not this is an official act that he did, because the courts have to this point tried to avoid that question and just say, of course, he doesn't have immunity.

But the way the Supreme Court has teed it up may actually cause there to be further litigation, which, of course, would push it well past the November election.

COOPER: Congressman Raskin, do you think that's a very real possibility as well?

RASKIN: Yes. I mean, the Supreme Court could take it in several different directions here. I mean, it could do just what the D.C. Circuit said, which is that the claim of immunity is ludicrous and totally opposite our constitutional design. Or it could say, well, in certain cases, you might have it. In other cases, you wouldn't. They might say it's clearly not available in pursuance of a criminal design. They might be seeking further fact-finding on those questions and further rulings by the D.C. Circuit, which, of course, would slow the whole thing down.

So the best scenario would be one simply saying what the D.C. Circuit said, which is President Trump is now citizen Trump. And you might have some temporary civil immunity for being dragged into court on particular things to accommodate your schedule as president. But once you're out, you don't have immunity for actual criminal conduct that took place while you were in office, totally outside the scope of your duty.

But look, we saw the Supreme Court act quickly in Bush versus Gore. When they want to move, they can move and they can make things happen in a matter of days. And so I would like to see some Bush v. Gore- style speed here to get to their ruling so we can actually see the justice go forth in that ...

COOPER: But I mean, there's certainly some on the court ...

RASKIN: ... Trump ...

COOPER: ... who don't necessarily - I mean, Clarence Thomas' wife was involved in the so-called "Stop the Steal" rallies.

RASKIN: Well, there is that problem and we've seen this court follow Trump's bidding in dismantling Roe v. Wade in a half-century of privacy jurisprudence in order to dismantle abortion rights.

COOPER: Yes. RASKIN: So obviously, we can't put all of our hopes in the Supreme Court. The people need to be engaged and aroused at this point to demand that there be justice, but also to be organizing ...


RASKIN: ... for the election. Everybody needs to be vigilant.

COOPER: Congressman Goldman, do you think the Justice Department dropped the ball in not pursuing this case sooner?

GOLDMAN: I think they should have started investigating the - Trump and his associates for the charge of conspiring to overturn the election before they did. They focused initially on the actual rioters who were violent and potential continuing dangers. Part of it may have been resource issues. But I was one of the early ones calling for them to start that investigation long before they did.

And I will say, that is part of the problem here, because yes, the Supreme Court could have and should move faster. I don't quite understand why they waited so long even just to rule - to set this schedule. Professor Tribe pointed out they could have taken it directly in December.


GOLDMAN: But even if they weren't going to do that, they waited several weeks. But it wouldn't be in this situation if the Department of Justice had moved quicker ...


GOLDMAN: ... to investigate this case.

COOPER: Yes. Congressman Goldman, Congressman Raskin, thank you very much. Appreciate it.


Coming up next, the former president tries to play art of the deal on his $450 million fraud judgment and what a judge said to that today.


COOPER: Before the Supreme Court agreed to take up his presidential immunity claim, the big story was something rather remarkable. Donald John Trump essentially saying, I don't have the cash I've claimed to have, suggesting in the New York appeals court filing, he doesn't have the cash to pay his $454 million civil fraud judgment and can't get anyone to lend him the full amount. Offering instead to put up $100 million bond and warning what would happen if he has to pay more, quoting now from his filing, "In the absence of a stay on the terms here and outlined properties would likely need to be sold to raise capital under exigent circumstances." Exigent circumstances, in other words, or a fire sale. The appeals judge quickly said no deal to any delay in collecting the full amount, did put another part of the judgment though on hold, that was the provision barring Trump from dealing with New York banks. In any case, it is a big come down certainly for the man who never refused a chance, including under oath, to say how much money he had.



DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that we have substantially in excess of $400 million cash, which is a lot for a developer.

Now, here's the good news. I'm very rich.

I started off with $1 million loan. I built a net worth of over $10 billion.

I would say that I'm worth more than $5 billion.

I'm very rich.

Hey, I'm rich.

The money you're talking about is a lot, but it's peanuts for me.

I have a lot of money.

I have a lot of money.

I have many, many companies, hundreds and hundreds of transactions, and many, many, many deals. Lot of cash and very little debt.

Great assets, low debt, great cash.

Fortunately, I'm very rich.

I have assets that will if I ever sold them, I don't want to sell any of them. But if I ever sold them, if I ever put some of these things up for sale, I get numbers that were staggering.


COOPER: Our Jeff Toobin is back. CNN's Kara Scannell joins us along with investigative journalist, Trump biographer and Syracuse University law lecturer, David Cay Johnston.

So Kara, can you just walk us through what this means for the former president?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He has come up with the money now. That's what this judge decided. He tried to get it lower to $100 million, that wasn't accepted. So, he basically has two options. He can either post cash of $454 million or he can try to get a bond, but his lawyer said that to get a bond, he'll actually have to raise $550 million or more because the bond people, they want 120 percent of the judgment and also, they want cash as the judgment, not property. So, he's going to have to get this money some way or another, and that's why it's the importance of that band being lifted on getting alone.

COOPER: So even if he was to get a bond, he would have to sell stuff to get that money for the bond?

SCANNELL: Yeah. Or because the judge lifted this ban on going to a bank, he can try to get a loan off of some of the collateral he has, some of the properties, try to get money off of that. But that's going to come with its own challenges too, because major banks have not done business with him for decades. Deutsche Bank, which was his big go-to lender, stopped doing business with him after January 6. So he's going to have to now look for a lot of banks --

COOPER: He could go to Saudi Arabia and ask for money.

SCANNELL: I mean, he could. There's no restriction on that and that is a big question because, as the frontrunner for the Republican Party --

COOPER: That would be incredible.

SCANNELL: -- to take money from a foreign government would be something. But, this is the conundrum he's under (ph).

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, this is a blow, you know?

TOOBIN: And -- and the interest keeps going -- $100,000 a day, this number is going up. Plus he has the $80 million for judgment against him from E. Jean Carroll that he's got to go through the same process with, and he hasn't even started there. I mean, he raised $5 million for the initial damage judgment, but the big damage, the punitive damages, he hasn't even said how he's going to raise that money.

I think if he doesn't raise the money, it means that both E. Jean Carroll and the State of New York can go to Barbara Jones, who was the person running the company, and say, you got to start selling stuff because this judgment is in effect.

COOPER: So the supervisor -- David, let me bring you in here. The supervisor that they put in -- that the judge put it on this that Jeff just mentioned, she could actually just mandate sales of things?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR OF "THE BIG CHEAT": Sure. Yes, absolutely. Once the time period has run, and if Trump does not come up with the money. And you looked at the two judgments and the overage that's going to be wanted, you're looking at about $600 million, maybe more than $600 million. Now, of course, if Donald really was worth the $10 billion he claims, this wouldn't be a problem, it would be an annoyance. Instead, it's a crisis because he's not worth anywhere near that.

COOPER: And you're sure of -- I mean, how much -- do you know how much property he has and how much it is actually worth? I mean, obviously, a lot of the values he has given have been inflated according to the judgment. CAY JOHNSTON: Well, we know all -- we know all the properties that he owns. Those have all been disclosed in various ways, including when he was president, his financial disclosure statements. We know the debts on many of these buildings and there are some things he might be able to arrange a deal to get out of.

For example, he gets tremendous cash flow from a deal with Vornado Realty Trust, which owns what was the Bank of America headquarters in San Francisco and a very big building in Manhattan. He's a minority partner, I think 30 percent ownership. He might be able to take that cash. But anybody who loans the money to Donald runs the risk that when he loses his appeal, as he's likely to do, then he's going to fight collection with them because that's how he does business.

COOPER: And what are the next step -- I mean what's the timeline in this case?

SCANNELL: So, he's got less than 30 days to put this money up, but he does get another shot at the appeals court. This was one judge today. He will be able to make the same argument to a panel of judges. They set a briefing schedule very quickly, all briefs will be due at the middle of next month, and we are told a decision expected at the end of March.


SCANNELL: That is when this payment is going to come due. So, they are running in parallel, but he's really racing the clock here and he's going to have to move quickly to get them -- this money together.

COOPER: And what options, Jeff, if Letitia James -- does Letitia James have if he doesn't?

TOOBIN: Go -- to go to Barbara Jones, who is the person in charge and say, look, the company owes this money. This is a debt like any other debt and we are collecting, and it's up to you, Barbara Jones, who is effectively running the company now, to come up with this money. If you have to sell buildings, sell buildings. If you have to borrow money, borrow money. But we, the State of New York is on this money -- owed this money and we are collecting.

COOPER: She's a former like mob prosecutor, isn't she or a judge?

TOOBIN: She is, she was the head of the organized crime bureau.

COOPER: It's going to be the weirdest situation for her to be overseeing -- I mean, does she go into the office every day when like Donnie Junior is there and Eric Trump, and just when everybody's having coffee? I mean, does she --

TOOBIN: I think they spent most of their time in Florida now, the Trump family.


TOOBIN: They're not -- they're not interacting -- COOPER: Not actually (ph).

TOOBIN: -- in New York too much. But, the -- one of the things the appeals court did is they basically said to the Trump family, we will give you this 30 days to put this together and then you're thrown out because that is also part of the ruling in the civil case.

COOPER: Kara Scannell, Jeff Toobin, thanks so much. David cay Johnston as well. Coming up next, what the White House physician is saying and not saying about President Biden's health after his annual physical today, as he seeks re-election at age 81. We'll be right back.



COOPER: More breaking news, President Biden is "a healthy, active, robust, 81-year-old male who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency." That is just one line from a six-page summary written by the White House physician after the president had his annual physical today. Short time later, the nation's oldest sitting president joked with reporters that his doctors think he looks too young.

His health assessment comes at obviously a critical time with him facing questions about whether he's physically and mentally capable of serving another four years in the White House. He did not go -- undergo a cognitive test today because the White House said that doctors didn't find that necessary. That's obviously raising questions. Joining us is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our Chief Medical Correspondent, also CNN's Political Analyst, Kate Bedingfield, former Biden White House Communications Director.

So Sanjay, Biden's doctors say he continues to be "fit for duty." What else does this -- the president's health summary reveal or not?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's pretty similar to what we saw last year. There wasn't a lot of changes during the interval -- the interval history, as they call it. The biggest thing compared to last year was that he now uses a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. You've heard of this, it basically gives you continuous pressure, so that you can sleep at night. Much of the other things that you may see on the screen there are things that we've known about for some time.

He takes a statin medication for cholesterol. He takes a blood thinner because he has atrial fibrillation. One of the biggest things I think that they focused a lot on in the six-page summary was his gait, his walking, and the stiffness of his walking. There's about 20 specialists involved in his physical exam today. Many of them around this issue of his gait, so neurologists, radiologists, orthopedics, physical therapists, and what they concluded and they wrote about this, they said, first of all, we rule out things like a stroke or MS or Parkinson's disease.

This is most likely due to arthritis of the spine. Pretty significant arthritis of the spine, but not bad enough where they think it warrants any kind of treatment right now. They say it's about the same as it was last year, but it's obviously very noticeable, which is why I think they spent so much time on it. But that was where a lot of the attention was focused. As you pointed out, Anderson, there was no cognitive test that was performed.

COOPER: So, Kate, the president did see a neurologist today. But, as Sanjay said, there was no cognitive tests. Here's what Karine Jean- Pierre, the Press Secretary, said about that today.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's doctor says, if you look at what this president, the president who is also the Commander in Chief, he passes a cognitive test every day, every day, as he moves from one topic to another topic, try -- understanding the granular level of these topics.


COOPER: So Kate, if the president took a cognitive test and did well as the White House is clearly suggesting he would, I assume that would help dispel the narrative that he's not up to the job. Whereas not taking the test, doesn't it fuel that narrative?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, but remember a cognitive test is usually only administered when a doctor believes there is reason for it. I mean, maybe Sanjay can speak to this a little bit, but if they were to have the president take the cognitive test, then critics could say, well, why? Why were -- well, you know, what was the reason? Why did the doctors think he needed to take a cognitive test?

So, you know, it 's a little bit of a Catch 22 there. I think what they were doing is trying to follow the medical guidelines and also be incredibly transparent. I mean, they put out, as Sanjay was just saying, they put out this report every year. They're very detailed in the way they walk through any issues the president has. And so, I think by sticking to the medical guidelines, sticking to the recommendation, not voluntarily taking the cognitive test, they're showing in effect that he doesn't need it.

COOPER: Sanjay, I mean, plenty of people go to their doctor though and say, you know what, I'm mixing up words here or there, or I'm noticing I'm searching for words -- like I was just searching for words right now as I was talking to you -- you know, should I take a test or something? How would a neurologist decide if a patient needs a cognitive test?

GUPTA: Yeah. It's a really good question and it's not just a bright line to say, OK, now, you need a cognitive test. Now, you don't. I mean, despite how long this visit was, a few hours, it's still a relatively short time. It is typically what is the patient saying?

[20:50:00] GUPTA: What is the family saying, as well. Have there been any issues of concern? And after that, I think the bar is pretty low because the type of tests we are talking about, and I don't know if we have an image of this. You may remember this, Anderson, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. This is the one that President Trump took, Former President Trump took a few years ago. And you could -- I don't know it's up on the screen -- but you can see what it's like, numbers and letters connecting that drawing, a three-dimensional cube, memory test, drawing a clock. It takes about 15 minutes or so to do. It's pretty simple.

And it's a screening test. It's not diagnostic, but screening in the sense that OK, there's something here, let's explore this a little bit further. Not saying someone has dementia or anything like that, but just more of an indication that we should explore this further. You know, it's not an absolute that he doesn't need it. This guy does need it. To give you some context, Anderson, about 16 percent of seniors, when they go in for a physical exam, they do get a cognitive test like this. So the most -- most people don't. But, not an insignificant percentage of people do.

COOPER: Kate, I take your point about sticking to the medical advice, not taking a cognitive test. But certainly, the -- as Sanjay mentioned, family concern. I mean, there's a lot of country concern, poll after poll shows people are concerned about his age. I guess, the question would be, why not meet that head on and take a test? The -- it seems like the only answer is, if you don't do well, then obviously then that's a big issue.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, no. I mean, I think people see him every day. I mean, they see him out there. Yes, does he confuse word sometimes? Of course, he does. So do I. You were just saying you did as well. But you know, there's no reason in the execution of his day-to-day responsibilities as president, there's nothing that any of the people around him, including by the way, the doctor who is with him frequently.

I mean, obviously, he went today for the full battery (ph) of tests at Walter Reed, but there's a medical staff that's with him at the White House all the time. And they have not recommended that he needs this. So, and I think, just if you think about the sort of politics of it, the news cycle of it, I mean, think back to when Trump took the cognitive test and talked about man, person, woman, camera. I mean, the entirety of the media was consumed by that for days and days on end. That's not something the Biden team is interested in doing. Here, you're feeding the beast by administering a cognitive test that the president does not need.

COOPER: Yeah. Kate Bedingfield, Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much. Coming up, a CNN Exclusive involving the Fani Willis misconduct hearing and hundreds of newly obtained emails that for the first time show just how deeply involved a defense witness was in the efforts to disqualify her and what happened when he actually testified under oath, let's add (ph).


COOPER: A far messier trial involving the former president is playing out in Atlanta, a day after a key witness for the defense waffled on the stand, frustrating their efforts to prove claims and misconduct on the part of the Georgia D.A. Fani Willis. We have a CNN Exclusive tonight, hundreds of newly obtained text messages, which shed light on that waffling witness. Nick Valencia has more.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you lie to Ms. Merchant when you told her facts about Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis' relationship?

VALENCIA: CNN has obtained over 400 text messages that show this man, Terrence Bradley was more deeply involved than previously known in advising the effort to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as an attorney yourself, you are testifying here under oath that you had no idea what Ms. Merchant was going to do with all the details that you are giving her about Wade and Willis' relationship?


VALENCIA (voice-over): Earlier this week, on the witness stand, Bradley, Nathan Wade's divorce attorney repeatedly said he could not recall details about Willis and Nathan Wade's relationship. But in text messages obtained by CNN, just days before the allegations of a conflict of interest were initially filed in court, Bradley told Ashleigh Merchant, the Defense Attorney for Trump's co-defendant, that Wade and Willis were absolutely in a relationship before she hired him.

"Is this accurate?" Merchant writes. Upon information and belief, Willis and Wade met while both were serving as Magistrate Judges and began a romantic relationship at that time.

"No, Municipal Court," Bradley responds, correcting her. In another text from January 7, 2024, Bradley provides Merchant with names of several people who he believed had firsthand knowledge of when Willis and Wade's romance began. "Subpoena them all," Bradley says in the text, referring to a list of names that included other prosecutors in the D.A.'s office, members of Willis' security detail, and others close to her.

BRADLEY: I speculated on some things.

VALENCIA (voice-over): In contrast, on the stand, Tuesday, he seemed uncomfortable with the line of questioning for Merchant.

BRADLEY: I do not recall any dates of when the -- of when the relationship started. I'm telling you I did not recall any specific date. At this time, I don't recall -- at this time, I am telling you that I do not have the date.

VALENCIA (voice-over): In the text which spanned months, Bradley assists Merchant from behind the scenes while pushing to remain anonymous. "I really appreciate you keeping me out," he says in a text after reviewing a draft of Merchant's original motion to disqualify Willis. "But I think you need to add me in the Footnote 15 because I had a contract as well. That way it doesn't seem like I was involved." At one point in the text, Bradley calls Merchant a friend, something that failed to come across during his testimony.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you have any reason to lie?

BRADLEY: I don't know if speculation as lying, but --

VALENCIA (voice-over): These texts are now being considered as part of the evidence by the judge on whether Willis should be disqualified.


VALENCIA (on camera): And Anderson, reading through these text messages, it's pretty clear that Bradley intended to remain anonymous. But as the leads he gave Merchant didn't pan out, she pivoted back to him as her best source of information.