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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Judge Denies Trump's Motion To Delay NY Hush Money Trial Until After Supreme Court Rules On Presidential Immunity; Special Counsel Pushes Back Against Judge's Request In Classified Docs Case; World Central Kitchen Founder Accuses Israel Of "Systematically" Targeting WCK Workers; WSJ Poll Finds Close Presidential Race In Battleground States; Florida Six-Week Abortion Ban Will Soon Become Law, But Voters Will Consider A Constitutional Amendment This Fall; Major U.S. Bridges Could Be Vulnerable To Ship Collisions, Including One Just Downstream From Baltimore's Key Bridge; Millions Hope To See Total Or Partial Solar Eclipse On Monday. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 03, 2024 - 20:00   ET



DAN ALEXANDER, SENIOR EDITOR, FORBES: Now, you'd be looking closer to the hundred million dollar figure than you are in any of these billion dollar figures.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you heard that right. As this stock cools down, which almost every analyst says it has to do, it could be worth off a lot, lot less, meaning Trump might make millions off it, but it's far less likely to make the billions everyone's been talking about. Erin?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Tom, thank you very much. And thanks so much to all of you as always. AC 360 with Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, the former president fails again to delay his first of many criminal trials and Special Counsel Jack Smith challenges the Trump-appointed classified documents judge to make a ruling so he can take her to court.

Also tonight, we're live from Taiwan after the worst quake there in decades and millions of people are plotting and planning and gearing up for the total solar eclipse just days away. We have the latest on where you can see it and how you can view it safely.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Major developments tonight in two of the many trials the former president has been trying to delay. In a moment, the one he's largely been successful in slow walking, the federal classified documents case in Florida. We begin, though, with the one that he can't seem to stop, though not for lack of trying, namely the New York hush money trial now just 12 days away,

CNN's Kara Scannell joins us with how his latest delay attempt failed.

So what's the former president been asking for now?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Donald Trump's team had asked the judge overseeing the New York case to delay it until the Supreme Court decides presidential immunity questions in a different federal case in Washington, D.C. related to the election subversion indictment. And then the judge today coming out with a ruling denying this motion, saying, frankly, that Trump has made it too late. He initially filed this motion on March 7th. That was when this trial was scheduled to begin on March 25th. Judge said that was just way too close.

He wrote, "The fact that the defendant waited until a mere 17 days prior to the scheduled trial date of March 25th, 2024, to file the motion, raises real questions about the sincerity and actual purpose of the motion."

He also mentioned that the notion of presidential immunity was something that Trump knew because he was using it in the federal case, but he also tried to use it in this very case to try to move it into federal court. A federal court judge kicked that back to Judge Merchan.

This is just one of a flurry of motions that Trump's team has been making in the past few days and even weeks to try to delay this trial. They've asked the judge to recuse himself because of work his daughter has done with Democratic groups. And they've also asked the judge to postpone the trial because of pretrial publicity, those motions are still up for the judge to rule on, Anderson.

COOPER: Is there anything new, though, to the arguments that Trump has been making to effectively delay the trial? Because, I mean, we talked about this last night, he's trying again to get the judge to recuse himself.

SCANNELL: Right. I mean, in the recusal motion, they're saying that they've done some more homework about some of the money that the company's daughter, Wurster (ph), has made from Democratic groups. On the pretrial publicity one, they took a survey of New Yorkers. I mean, this trial is going to take place in New York County. That is Manhattan. So they produced survey results showing that the market has been saturated with news about this trial, about all the other trials that Trump has been facing.

There were questions about the E. Jean Carroll defamation case, which also took place in New York. And they pointed out that New Yorker's - New Yorks tend to vote for Trump's rivals overwhelmingly. And so their concern there is that now that they have this data presented to the judge to try to persuade him that he needs to do something, I mean, the judge was skeptical of this argument once before asking them, do you really think it's going to be better in May, when he denied it from the bench at one point.

And prosecutors are opposing this because they say no matter when or where this trial takes place, it's the trial of a former president, there is going to be substantial media attention. COOPER: So it doesn't seem likely anything is going to delay this

trial from starting on the 15th.

SCANNELL: It's really hard to imagine that they could come up with some new legal argument to get - convince the judge to move the case. He has been pretty methodical about how he's deciding these motions. I mean, he did grant the delay of 30 days for the trial when Trump's side had raised concerns about misconduct by prosecutors. But he was quickly to - he moved quickly to dismiss that once he realized what the allegations were that Trump's team was making. And he seems pretty set on making sure this trial starts without any further delays on April 15th.

COOPER: All right. Kara Scannell, thank you.

Now, the Mar-a-Lago classified documents trial, which cannot seem to get going, Special Counsel Jack Smith's attempt to kickstart it.

Now, it's a little bit confusing. In a late night filing overnight, Jack Smith all but challenged the judge, Aileen Cannon, to make a binding decision on a central point in the case in time for him to then contest it. Namely, her order for both sides to propose jury instructions, they're centered on the Presidential Records Act, which the former president has repeatedly said will exonerate him.

Now, the special counsel's filing calls that seemingly Trump-friendly order fundamentally flawed and asked for a quick ruling before the trial on how to apply the act.


Quoting now, "It is vitally important that the Court promptly decide whether the unstated legal premise underlying the recent order does, in the Court's view, represent a correct formulation of the law."

Jack Smith adds, "The Government must have the opportunity to consider appellate review well before jeopardy attaches."

That - what that means is that if the issue is not decided before the trial starts and the former president is acquitted on that disputed legal basis, it would be impossible to challenge that acquittal because of the Fifth Amendment's double jeopardy clause.

Now, the Special Counsel is seeking a decision now so he can then ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the judge, which that court has already done twice before. Now, as for the former president's claim, restated in his own filing that the Presidential Records Act's distinction between official and personal records would clear him. Jack Smith's filing calls that "a post hoc justification" that was concocted more than a year after he left the White House. And it's also not like the defendant didn't know what he was taking wasn't personal or that he somehow declassified them before leaving office.

He knew, and what's more, he said he knew it. Here he is at the club in New Jersey, on tape, showing one of them around.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: See, as president, I could have declassified it.


TRUMP: Now I can't, but this is still a secret.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Now we have a problem.

TRUMP: Isn't that interesting?



COOPER: Joining us now is John Jones III, who retired as chief judge for the U.S. Middle District of Pennsylvania, also Senior Legal Analyst Elliot Williams and Karen Friedman Agnifilo.

Judge Jones, can you just kind of explain in layman's terms why you think Judge Cannon is off base here?

JOHN E. JONES III, PRESIDENT, DICKINSON COLLEGE: Yes, unfortunately, Anderson, first of all, it's good to be with you, but I think that she's way off base. I think what's happened is the defense in its argument is turning the Presidential Records Act on its head, and she seems to have bought that.

And in layman's terms, what she's doing is really allowing, via these questions, suggested questions, the jury to make a determination as to whether a record that Trump has taken is covered by the Presidential Records Act as personal. And the absurdity of that, in my view, is that these are classified documents that are in play. They couldn't possibly be personal.

The Presidential Records Act has a very narrow band of exclusions for things like diaries or cards or newspaper clippings.

COOPER: Right.

JONES: What we have here are war plans. We have classified information, and Jack Smith, rightly, wants the judge to determine that before the case goes to trial, in my view.

COOPER: And Karen, the Special Counsel, their team pushed back on this broad reading of the Presidential Records Act. They wrote: "The PRA's distinction between personal and presidential records has no bearing on whether a former president's possession of documents containing national defense information," to the judge's point, "is authorized under the Espionage Act." And they went on to say, "Indeed, based on the current record, the Presidential Records Act should not play any role at trial at all." Do you agree with it?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. They're really conflating different issues. There is a standard jury charge for the Espionage Act, and Jack Smith actually cited to it in his motion, and said, this is the charge you're supposed to give the jury. This is the law they're supposed to determine, because at the end of the case, a judge gives the jury the elements of the crime that they have to find beyond a reasonable doubt. And it doesn't say anything about the Presidential Records Act whatsoever.

This is about the Espionage Act. It's about national defense information. There's no way that these documents made by intelligence officials, by military officials and that they were used to brief the president at the time. These are personal records.

COOPER: So, I mean, so Elliot, is the judge just misinformed? Is she not wanting to see what is facts?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, I have been looking at this issue all day and I'm just mind boggled by what the judge has done here and I mean that. And part of it might be misinformation. Part of it might be being misinformed, rather. Part of it might be trying to test the waters of a potential argument she might confront.

But to pick up on Karen's points, these are two vastly different schemes. One governs where mugs go that foreign leaders give the president, that's the Presidential Records Act. It has nothing to do with classified or sensitive documents, defense-specific information. And she's really mixing up the two in a way that seems like just a misunderstanding.

COOPER: And Elliot, what happens if she refuses to rule on the PRA, whether it applies before the trial?

WILLIAMS: Well, she has an obligation to rule here, because under the rules, the judge has to rule on issues that would take away a party's right to appeal down the road. This is an issue that they, the prosecutors can't appeal later on. So she has an obligation to rule.

Now, if she doesn't, number one, I think they seek to have her removed from the case for failing to avail, to give parties an option to take advantage of a legal pleading - an appeal that they're going to make.


COOPER: But Karen, in regard to all of that, it's going to take time. There's no way this thing is going before election.

AGNIFILO: I don't think so. There's other motions that also haven't been ruled upon. She's slow walking this case, so this is not going.

COOPER: Judge Jones, back in the New York hush money case, I want to get to the former president's delay tactics with Elliot and Karen in a moment, but you've been very vocal about your concerns for the safety of judges and their families. Last year, regarding threats to the judge who signed off on the Mar-a-Lago search warrant, you wrote, "He and judges like him signed up for a job that entails risk. They didn't sign up to be killed." What do you make of the former president's recent social media attacks on Judge Merchan and his daughter? JONES: I think it's scurrilous. Anderson, I spent a number of years on

the Judicial Security Committee of the Judicial Council of the United States, and I'm well-versed in threats to judges. But this now transcends that, we're talking about judges' families, we're talking about prosecutors, prosecutors' families. What I've opined, and what I fear greatly, is we're going to get somebody killed, 99.9 percent of the electorate will not act out, whatever their feelings may be. But you're talking about that fringe element that hears this like a dog whistle and thinks that they're doing the will of their benefactors.

What really worries me, and Judge Merchan is riding the tiger here, but if I were presiding in this case, I'd bring him in personally, have a really pitched discussion, and I think I'd have to tell him that if he continued down this road, the next appearance would be one where he'd bring his toothbrush, because you cannot tolerate this kind of painting outside the lines.

It is not a question of the First Amendment. It's a situation where it's injurious to the administration of justice. And he's really pushing the envelope here, and it's going to be very interesting to see what the presiding judge does in the next couple weeks. And I have no doubt that Judge Merchan is going to try to get this trial convened, like it or not, by the former president.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Karen, what do you - what's your response to the judge not delaying the New York trial, until the Supreme Court rules on immunity?

AGNIFILO: Well, look, the judge knows what Trump is doing. He's actually said it in his decisions. You're trying to delay, you're making motions that have been ruled on already, very last minute things that should have been done a long time ago. Trump has violated this new expanded gag order at least twice since yesterday. So he has been reposting other people's statements attacking the judge's daughter. And that will violate the section of the gag order that talks about making or causing to be made statements about family members.

You are adopting someone else's statement as your own. You're posting it on Truth Social. That's making a statement. I think he's trying to bait the judge because he's trying to bait the judge to get him to delay or he's trying to bait the judge to do something so that he then can ask for recusal.

So far, you haven't seen the DA's office come forward and say he's violated it and you haven't seen the judge do it because the judge is not going to take the bait because he's not going to let this delay. But Trump continues to violate it. And at a certain point, I agree with the judge. He's going to be called in and he's going to be - he's going to be told specifically, you do it again. You're going to be held in contempt.

And at that point, there are several options that can be done, one of which is to put him in to force him to stop, because money doesn't make him stop. Warnings don't make him stop. A court order is not making him stop. COOPER: And putting him in jail, I mean, that - you think that's an

actual option.

AGNIFILO: That's what has happened and does happen to every other defendant and has happened many times. That's where the phrase bring your toothbrush comes from.

COOPER: Right.

AGNIFILO: Right? I mean, that is what judges do and what - if he were anybody else, that's what would happen. Somebody who is flagrantly violates it, as Trump does minutes after he is told not to. He literally will repost statements, whether it's the Fox News interview talking about it or today it was a Laura Loomer. There's some posts right before we came on here today talking about the judge's daughter. He was specifically told not to and Trump is putting that on Truth Social.

He is taunting the judge because he wants to get the judge recused. And the judge is very smart. He's not going to take the bait. But at a certain point, it is dangerous. It does impact the jury pool and they're going to have to do something to stop him.

COOPER: Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Elliot Williams, Judge Jones, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, Chef Jose Andres speaking out about the Israeli strike that killed seven of his rural central kitchen aid workers.

Also later, some polling political watchers believe Florida is now up for grabs after the state Supreme Court upheld a restrictive new abortion law. Our Randi Kaye talks to women voters there to get their take on how abortion could affect the presidential vote.



COOPER: Chef Jose Andres spoke out today about the Israeli strike that killed seven rural central kitchen workers delivering food to people in Gaza. President Biden is about to take it up directly with Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu. We'll have more on that in a moment. But first, I want to tell you what Jose told Reuters television about what he called the systematic targeting of the aid workers.


CHEF JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: We had all the information, obviously, in the first minutes and hours were very clear, the situation began, being very obvious when we began seeing images of these bodies and these passports in the hospital that confirmed these were our people. At the end is what we know, what everybody knows, that seven team members between the specialty security people we have, three British individuals and three international crew plus one Palestinian, that they were targeted systematically, car by car. [20:20:09]

This was not just a bad luck situation where, oops, we dropped the bomb in the wrong place or not. This was over 1.5-, 1.8 kilometers with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs in the top, in the roof, a very colorful logo that we are obviously very proud of, but - that is very clear who we are and what we do.


COOPER: Chef Jose Andres, talking to Reuters.

More now from Jerusalem, with CNN's Jeremy Diamond who's there for us tonight.


COOPER: Jeremy, Chef Jose Andres also wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled "Let People Eat." And part of it, he said, "We know Israelis. Israelis, in their heart of hearts, know that food is not a weapon of war. Israel is better than the way this war is being waged. It is better than blocking food and medicines to civilians. It's better than killing aid workers who had coordinated their movements with the Israeli defense forces. In the worst conditions, after the worst terrorist attack in its history, it's time for the best of Israel to show up. You cannot save the hostages by bombing every building in Gaza. You cannot win this war by starving an entire population."

What are Israeli officials saying tonight?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're hearing deep expressions of regret from Israeli officials, a recognition of the gravity of the situation with the chief of staff of the Israeli military publicly apologizing for this, and the Israeli prime minister expressing deep regrets for the situation. But there are still many questions that remain about exactly how these three vehicles could have been misidentified, mistakenly targeted by the Israeli military, as they claim.

And Chef Jose Andres, in this interview with Reuters, is making clear that the Israeli military, in his view, systematically targeted these vehicles, that they were clearly identified, saying this was not just a bad luck situation. He also said that his team tried to communicate with the IDF as these strikes began to happen, indicating that, as we have seen with our analysis as well from the visual evidence on the ground, that this was not just one strike, as the Israeli military has tried to suggest, not just one mistake, but multiple strikes targeting these individual vehicles, half a mile apart in one case, a mile apart in a second case.

And so clearly there are still many more questions that the military is going to have to answer here as they conduct this investigation.

COOPER: President Biden is expected to talk to Netanyahu tomorrow. What do we know about that phone call? DIAMOND: Yes, this will be the first phone call between these two men

since this deadly strike that has drawn international condemnation, as well as outrage from President Biden himself. One administration official is telling our colleague MJ Lee that President Biden is angry and growing increasingly frustrated, and that he intends to share those frustrations with the Israeli prime minister on this phone call.

And this will not be the first time, of course, that we have seen tensions between these two men boil to the surface. But it comes, of course, as the United States is trying to pressure Israel not to go into Rafah with a ground offensive. And it also comes as the Israeli prime minister is facing not only international pressure, but also pressure here at home.

Tonight, Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli War Cabinet and Prime Minister Netanyahu's chief political rival, for the first time calling for early elections as soon as September. He has also asked the Israeli prime minister directly for those elections. We haven't heard a response from Prime Minister Netanyahu yet, but it comes as this week we have seen a growing number of protests directed at the prime minister calling for elections.

Certainly, a fulcrum moment that we are seeing rising pressure on the prime minister. How he will move going forward remains to be seen, Anderson.

COOPER: Jeremy Diamond, thank you.

Now, the earthquake in Taiwan, which just happened as we were getting off the air last night. At least nine people are known dead, more than 900 injured. Dozens remain trapped still with more than hundred buildings damaged. We have more video to show you.

Some of it is graphic. We don't know if anyone in one of the cars you're about to see is among the nine who've died. It was taken just as the quake triggered a landslide, which the drivers must have seen further ahead because they're backing up when this enormous boulders come crashing down.

Again, we can't say one way or another who was in the car that got hit or what happened. More in the bigger picture now from CNN's Ivan Watson.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Just before 8 AM on Wednesday, the ground in Taiwan starts to shake. The island rocked by the most powerful earthquake to hit Taiwan in a quarter century.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, a big one.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATSON (voice over): In the capital Taipei, CNN photojournalist John

Mees tries to protect his wife and children as the walls of their home lurch back and forth.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language).


WATSON (voice over): "An earthquake has just hit," announces the anchor of this morning news show, as she struggles to stay on her feet.

But the worst damage is at the epicenter, in the rugged mountains of Hualien County on the island's east coast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


WATSON (voice over): The 7.4 magnitude earthquake triggers massive landslides. Authorities say several people were killed by falling rocks. In the town of Hualien apartment buildings on the verge of collapse, emergency workers in action. Experts say they've rescued scores of people from toppled buildings and highway tunnels. But more than 900 people have been injured. And rescue teams are still trying to reach others trapped high in the mountains.

The work has continued in Hualien throughout the night.

"No one's left inside this building," says this firefighter. He adds, people are frightened.




WATSON (voice over): "There are constant earthquakes here," says this woman. I've lived here 50 years and never felt one so big. It's really scary."

People in Taiwan are accustomed to feeling the earth shake, but rarely with this much destructive force.


COOPER: Ivan Watson joins us now. And this pictures are incredible. How strong have the aftershocks been? WATSON (on camera): Enough that the U.S. Geological Society is talking

about, survey rather, has talked about a six magnitude earthquake in the first 12 hours after that initial earthquake, and several that have been of magnitude five. And the authorities here are predicting that it could reach up to seven over the next three to four days.

I think a big part of the story, Anderson, is that even after this mammoth earthquake that shook the capital, Taipei, and you saw that footage that our own photojournalist filmed that him and his family are trying to take cover, I can report they're all okay, thankfully

You can't even see a single bit of broken glass here in the center of Taipei, and I'm surrounded by skyscrapers. The story is different near the epicenter. That's about a hundred miles from here, 160 kilometers away. But there have been a tremendous number of rescues. That said, there are about 140 people that the authorities say they're still trying to rescue, and some 71 of them are minors, believed to be, in two different mines that the authorities are trying to reach. So we'll be watching that very closely and trying to see if the roads can open from here to that stricken town, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Let's hope they get those people out. Ivan Watson, thank you.

Coming up, two critical abortion rulings from Florida's Supreme Court this week, pushing the issue front and center on the ballot this November, 360 went to Florida to get reaction from women voters. Hear what they had to say to our Randi Kaye next.



COOPER: A new poll from the Wall Street Journal could signal an uphill battle for re-election for President Biden. Former president leads Biden in Arizona, in North Carolina, and they are tied in Wisconsin. In Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, the race falls within the margin of error and is too close to call and setting the president -- former president out for obviously a very close rematch. We should know President Biden won all of these states, except North Carolina, in the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, in Florida, a pair of State Supreme Court abortion rulings this week have Democrats hoping it could flip blue again. On Monday, the State Supreme Court decided against halting the 15-week abortion ban, paving the way for a six-week ban to take effect May 1st. But in a separate filing, the court gave Floridians the option to decide whether to enshrine abortion protections in the state's constitution on the ballot this November.

360's Randi Kaye spoke with some Florida women following the ruling. Here's her report.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: United States of America should allow abortion to anybody who wants it. And if you don't have a uterus, you don't have a say.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven months to go before the presidential election and abortion laws are top of mind for women here in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hideous, disgusting, and backwards, women are losing all their rights.

KAYE (voice-over): After Florida's conservative Supreme Court ruled in favor of one of the country's strictest abortion bans, women we spoke with were mainly split across party lines, though a couple of Republicans do feel the ban is too restrictive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think to have a flat over overall rule, not necessary.

KAYE: What do you think about the six-week ban that will be officially in effect May 1st?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not happy about it.

KAYE (voice-over): Republican Haley Barry says she doesn't like the idea of a six-week abortion ban because it is just too early

HALEY BARRY, REPUBLICAN VOTER: Usually it takes about like eight weeks before women even know that they are pregnant most of the time, if it is like an accident or they're not expecting it.

KAYE (voice-over): In fact, we heard that over and over from women, both Republicans and Democrats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Majority of most women do not realize they are pregnant.

KAYE: The six-week ban in Florida includes exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and when it comes to saving the mother's life, but that whole ban could be wiped off the books this fall if voters approve a constitutional amendment, Florida Supreme Court ruled could be added to the November ballot. Amendment IV says, "No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient's health as determined by the patient's healthcare provider," and would clear the way for abortion rights in Florida. At least 60 percent need to vote in favor of the amendment for it to be approved. Some democrats told us that will drive them to the polls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like it is 1950 in 2024 and a woman's right to choose, I think, is paramount.


KAYE (voice-over): The Biden campaign is hoping the ballot measure could give the Democrat an opening in Florida, a one-time battleground state that has backed Republican Donald Trump in the last two presidential elections. JULIE CHAVEZ RODRIGUEZ, BIDEN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, we are clear- eyed about how hard it will be to win Florida. But we also know that Trump does not have it in the bag.

KAYE (voice-over): Despite team Biden's hopes, this Republican voter says regardless of the six-week abortion ban, she is sticking with Trump.

KAYE: Would this impact your vote at all as a Republican?

BARRY: No though, that it -- that it won't.

KAYE: Why not?

BARRY: With everything that is going on with inflation, and jobs, and the border, I -- that is more important to me, honestly, and the Israeli conflict that is going on. So I have to choose that first.

KAYE (voice-over): Same goes for the others.

KAYE: Would this ruling impact your vote in terms of voting Republican?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, not at all. Not after everything Biden has done, not a chance. The country has gone to hell in a handbag quite rapidly and it is not getting any better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would never swing my vote anyway against Republican because of a pro-choice or pro-life decision.


COOPER: And Randi joins me now. So, the six-week ban will be in effect until and unless voters say otherwise in November. How do the people you spoke with feel about that?

KAYE (on camera): Anderson, most of the women we spoke with were pretty unhappy about that. They would have preferred if the ban had just been postponed until they could have voted on that amendment come November. But I did speak with one Republican voter who sort of likes how it sets up. She said this way, she can vote for the candidate that she wants, it would be Donald Trump in her case and then she can also vote yes on abortion rights. So she would vote in favor of that amendment which would, if approved, clear the way for abortion rights here in the State of Florida.

But remember, Anderson, they need 60 percent of the voters here in the state to approve that amendment for it to officially become part of Florida's constitution and override that six-week ban, which would have already been on the books, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Randi Kaye. Randy, thanks. Joining me now is Florida Democratic -- Florida Democratic Congresswomen Val Demings and CNN Political Commentator Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former Trump White House Communications Director. So Congresswoman, is this how you expected the abortion debate to play out in Florida, the state's highest court effectively green-lighting this six-week ban? You'd also -- voters get a chance to overturn it.

VAL DEMINGS, (D-FL) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, Anderson, it is great to be with you and look, I don't believe Florida Protecting Freedom, the organization who really were laser focused on this single issue, they did the work. They raised the funds, and they got more than enough signatures, almost a million signatures. I don't think they left the Florida Supreme Court much of a choice, but to approve this constitutional amendment, to go on the ballot in November.

And what we also know is that Floridians, about 77 percent of them believe that a woman should have the right to choose and that crosses all genders, all races, and all ages. And so look, we are not saying that this is end-all be-all to Florida's election issues, but I really do believe that men and women are motivated about this issue, and we do believe that we will see strong turnout come November.

COOPER: Alyssa, I want to play something that Trump said about Governor DeSantis' six-week ban.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean DeSantis would -- is willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you support that? You think that's (inaudible).

TRUMP: I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.


COOPER: He said he is going to make an announcement about this thing next week. He seems to kind of just stay away from this.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, Donald Trump understands that abortion is a huge liability for Republicans in 2020.

COOPER: He is called it a political loser (inaudible).

GRIFFIN: I think he honestly, more so than probably any other Republican, because he doesn't actually have any core conviction around it. Most of his life and public life, he was actually pro- choice until he decided to run as a Republican. And even in his first campaign, the way he talked about life issues were so out of step with where the pro-life movement is. I expect him to moderate his tone.

I think that he is going to come out and announce a 15-week to 16-week ban, something that the vast majority of the country can support, something in that area. But the -- what the Biden team is going to have to do is be able to communicate. He may be saying that now, but these draconian laws that we are seeing in some of these southern states are a direct result of his Supreme Court appointments. Whether that will break through is an open question.

COOPER: Congresswoman, according to Politico, some Florida Democrats are warning President Biden against politicizing the abortion ballot effort because they are going to need the help of moderate Republicans to get it passed.

DEMINGS: Yeah. And Anderson, certainly those almost one million signatures that we have did involve about 150,000 Republicans. And so, I believe because of the work that was done by Florida Protecting Freedom, the organization that led to this ballot initiative, the way it was written, very clear, I believe that this issue can really stand on its own on the ballot in November.


DEMINGS: And remember, we know that 60 percent threshold is not easy. But Florida has seen it before in 2018, with amendment for that gave citizens -- convicted felons, restored their rights so that they would be able to vote. We cleared that threshold by more than 60 percent. And so I believe if we can continue to work hard for turnout, continue to talk to people who care about this issue, as I said, about 70 percent of Floridians support a woman's right to choose. This is clearly about protecting a woman's right to choose and I believe that Floridians will show up to do just that.

COOPER: (Inaudible) we heard from one Republican woman talking to Randi Kaye, who said she is glad it is not going to be on the ballot because that allows her to vote for Donald Trump, but also voice her opinion on this.

GRIFFIN: That stood out to me because we have seen that play out in a handful of states. So Ohio, Kansas, and Kentucky, all red states had ballot initiatives or constitutional amendments up in the last several months, and Republicans turned out and voted to protect abortion rights, but then also voted for Republicans on the ballot. So, I do believe that there's a bit of a disconnect.

I think that for a lot of Republicans, they identified as pro-life when Roe was the law of the land. And now when they see in their home states, some of these rules being brought back to something like six weeks, which is extreme, most women don't know they're pregnant at that point, they're comfortable kind of parting ways with the party orthodoxy, but they are still going to vote with the top of the ticket.

So I -- this is why I think President Biden cannot bank at all on this abortion issue because there's a disconnect with some voters where they can vote for reproductive rights, but also for Donald Trump.

COOPER: Yeah, Alyssa Farah Griffin, thank you so much. Congresswoman Demings, thank you so much (inaudible) on the program. Still ahead after the devastating collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, experts are sounding the alarm about another bridge nearby that could pose a risk. CNN Investigation on that is next.



COOPER: The collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge last week triggered lasting economic consequences by shutting down America's 15th largest port. But experts are now warning that another iconic Maryland Bridge could be just as vulnerable, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Here's Pete Muntean with a CNN Investigation.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the center of the shipping channel that would have been used by the MV Dali and soaring above is the four-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge between Annapolis and Kent Island. A CNN Investigation finds that it too could be vulnerable to the same kind of disaster that took down Baltimore's Key Bridge.

FRANK CARVER, BOAT CAPTAIN: That's the symbol of the Chesapeake Bay.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Captain Frank Carver showed me the Bay Bridge at close range, its oldest span now more than 70 years old. Multiple experts warned to CNN that the suspension bridge's concrete pilings and aging piers are too exposed to possible collision on this busy shipping route. State figures show that each year cargo ships carry a total of 11 million tons of cargo underneath.

CARVER: Sometimes we do at least four times a day, if not sometimes 10,000 a day, you know?

MUNTEAN: This is the older span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge finished in 1953. The newer span, the westbound span finished in 1972. Both of these combined are critical for the area, about 27 million vehicles pass over these two bridges each year.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Engineering Professor Adel ElSafty of the University of North Florida says the design could be at risk of collapse if the wrong piling was hit.

ADEL ELSAFTY, CIVIL ENGINEERING PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA: If one support goes down, then the whole superstructure will go down as well and it will pull the other piers (ph) as well. It is going to have that kind of catastrophic failure.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The tower piers that support the main spans of the Bay Bridge have protective fenders, but ElSafty points out that is where protections end. There are none of the barriers known as dolphins used to blunt the force of an errant ship.

ELSAFTY: Think that is what we really need to do, is to design and protect, design better and protect our infrastructure.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is operated and maintained by the same agency that oversees the Key Bridge. In a new statement to CNN, the Maryland Transportation Authority says, after the Key Bridge collapse, it is "looking at options with the U.S. Coast Guard on the feasibility of increased pier protections for the Bay Bridge, and what's possible in the navigation channel." Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, no bridge is designed for a direct hit from a ship.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: This is a unique circumstance. I do not know of a bridge that has been constructed to withstand a direct impact from a vessel of this size.

CARVER: I think everybody will definitely be more on guard now, that's for sure.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Just south of the Bay Bridge are the container ships waiting to get into Baltimore, still blocked by the Key Bridge disaster, one Frank Carver says cannot be repeated.

CARVER: (Inaudible) something that has been realized but never happened and all that, and it happened. Now, you can see it just opened up so many more vulnerabilities all around.


COOPER: Pete Muntean joins us now. Where are bridges that are considered adequately protected?

MUNTEAN (on camera): Well, several experts that we talked to said the standout is Tampa's Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Its piers are surrounded by those barriers known as dolphins, 36 of them in total. The design was triggered by a tragedy like what happened in Baltimore. In 1980, a ship struck that bridge, killing 35 people in the process. (Inaudible) crash also highlighted the work being done on the Delaware Memorial Bridge between Wilmington and New Jersey.


MUNTEAN (on camera): The plan there is to install eight dolphins, but it is not all that cheap, Anderson. That project expected to cost $93 million.

COOPER: And what else are Maryland officials saying about the Bay Bridge?

MUNTEAN (on camera): Well, there was an advisory group meeting tonight of a group that is looking at the reconstruction of the Bay Bridge, something that has been talked about for decades. They said that they had seen the CNN reporting that hit the website earlier today, and they said we cannot be sitting ducks and after last week's incident, we have to really look at what happens to the bridge now.

COOPER: Pete Muntean, thanks very much. Still ahead, how Monday's solar eclipse could bring big crowds and big money to some areas of the country. Harry Enten is on eclipse mania duty next.



COOPER: So millions of Americans are hoping for a sunny Monday, of course, to get the best view of the last total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States until 2044. Really?


COOPER: It seems like a lot of parenthetical phrases. They've been planning for the -- on a Sunday. They've been planning for this moment for months, making travel plans, stocking up on crucial eye protection. If the weather cooperates with the celestial event, I hate to say, it could be rainy and cloudy in some locations. I don't want be Debbie Downer. The moon will completely block the face of the sun for just minutes across portions of 13 states, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. Other locations across North America will get a partial view of the eclipse for up to 80 minutes. Our resident eclipse expert Harry Enten --


COOPER: -- joins us now with more. First things first, how can we watch the eclipse safely?

ENTEN: Yeah, how can we watch the eclipse safely? Well, first off, I have my --

COOPER: I can just do it like this, right?

ENTEN: Yes that will work very well. You can do that here. You have to go all the way like that, right?

COOPER: I am having my glasses on.

ENTEN: There you go. I have a gift for you.


ENTEN: Here you go.

COOPER: Are these -- these legit? Or I heard there were like phony ones are going around.

ENTEN: These are legit, my friend. I am going to put them on for you and I can literally see nothing that's going on. I am literally blind, so I am going to take them off.


ENTEN: But the way that you know that these are legit is if you zoom in, you will see the ISO approval. Oh, you're looking fantastic.

COOPER: You really -- you really can't see anything.

ENTEN: You can't see anything.

COOPER: But you can see the eclipse?

ENTEN: You can see the eclipse, right.

COOPER: How is that possible because the eclipse, the sun is blocked out. So how would you be able to seeing it?

ENTEN: Well, you are seeing it when the -- remember, when it is totally blocked out, you won't be able to see it. But as it is sort of falling into the block out, right when you get that partial blockage, you don't want to be looking directly into the sun, do not do that.

COOPER: Can you take them off when it is the full blockage? Just for a second.

ENTEN: Yes, you can. You can. But that will only be for a short period of time. You got be very careful because otherwise, you will get those ultraviolet rays that could hurt your retina.


ENTEN: You are just looking fantastic.

COOPER: I feel like I am in Devo.

ENTEN: You may feel like you are in Devo, but you look awesome.


ENTEN: Let me tell you, you are --

COOPER: All right.

ENTEN: You are picking up the technology, but yes, you -- what you want to look for is the ISO approval. It is on the side of your box here. That means essentially that it has been approved.


ENTEN: And that means you have real sunglasses that can -- real (inaudible) sun glasses.

COOPER: So where is it heading, where can you see it? What is the path?

ENTEN: OK. So, as you hinted at, 13 states, right. So it is going to go up from the southwest in Texas. So I guess, it's more the South Texas and it is going to go upwards northeast-wards. It is going to hit a bunch of states --

COOPER: I was just going to say, we don't have a graphic for this?

ENTEN: We -- of course, we have a graphic for it.

COOPER: (Inaudible) this?

ENTEN: No, we have a graphic for it. My wonderful graphics producer Sidney (ph).

COOPER: Dallas, Little Rock, OK.

ENTEN: There you go.

COOPER: Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo --

ENTEN: Well, 30 --

COOPER: Burlington, I don't see New York City on that.

ENTEN: New York City will only get a partial eclipse. That is why my friend, tomorrow night, I'll be heading up to Buffalo, New York.


ENTEN: Niagara Falls, I'm going to go on the Maid of the Mist on Friday, sort of scout things out for you.


ENTEN: Hopefully, we'll get some video for you. Maybe we will show it on Friday night.

COOPER: What's a Maid of the Mist?

ENTEN: Maid of the Mist --

COOPER: (Inaudible) more like a thing?

ENTEN: Absolutely. My girlfriend went out, she got me some mittens, some boots, and even a rain jacket.

COOPER: Oh, sweetie.

ENTEN: She is far too kind to me, Anderson.


COOPER: You better keep her close.

ENTEN: Don't -- this is the reason we talk about it all of the time. But the fact that you speak about New York City, right?


ENTEN: You will in fact be able to see, I think upwards of about 85 percent of the --


ENTEN: -- sun will be blocked out. So you are still going to get a show in New York. Just because you are not in the --

COOPER: Do I have to get these glasses for my kids too? Are kids fine watching this?

ENTEN: No. I would -- no, kids will not be fine watching the sun. In fact, you might argue they want their site for the rest of their life.


ENTEN: I mean, you are close to the end than they are.

COOPER: I'll give them mine.

ENTEN: You'll give them yours. You fill them (ph), but here you go. I have another pair for you right here.

COOPER: And it's going to -- it is probably going to be a big boom for tourism in those areas.

ENTEN: It is going to be a tremendous boom for tourism. So you know, I have been trying to book the flights going to Buffalo and coming back from Buffalo because afterwards, I want to go on a cross-country ski vacation. And let me tell you --

COOPER: All right. We only got four minutes.

ENTEN: Yeah. I want to share my life with you, Anderson.


ENTEN: I want to be honest with you. And I will tell you that the flight prices have been absolutely ridiculous.

COOPER: They are gouging.

ENTEN: They're gouging.

COOPER: Eclipse gouging.

ENTEN: Eclipse gouging. It is a whole cottage industry, Anderson.


ENTEN: Upwards of 50 -- 500 percent jump in the flight prices.

COOPER: Yeah. Wow.

ENTEN: Look at this.

COOPER: That's crazy.

ENTEN: Yeah, isn't that nuts? That was -- that's just for --

COOPER: Yeah. You ought to get on (inaudible) private plane to Buffalo.

ENTEN: You know what? I heard that he is looking up at the Buffalo Bills. They have a lot of money now given that they got rid of Stefon Diggs.

COOPER: Harry, William Shatner is doing an event, he told me, during the eclipse. He is going to be like narrating the eclipse. I can't remember what college. He said he was doing it at some stadium somewhere. (Inaudible).

ENTEN: I don't know. I will tell you that that would be absolutely awesome because the fact is, if you have the voice of star trek with you --

COOPER: Yeah, why not?

ENTEN: -- then what else --

COOPER: How long will it actually the (inaudible)?

ENTEN: It will only -- it depends on the location, but the whole eclipse will last for a little bit more than three minutes to a little bit more than four minutes, depending on exactly where you are. But of course --

COOPER: Exciting.

ENTEN: Yes, very exciting. You know, you pointed out the weather. At this particular point, it looks like Burlington.