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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump Loses Bid To Dismiss Classified Documents Case; Israeli Official: Cabinet Approves Reopening For Erez Crossing And Use Of Ashdod Port To Allow Aid Into Gaza; Parents Of Hostage Continue To Plead For His Release; Latino Voters Could Prove Vital In Battleground Pennsylvania; Small City Prepares For Big Influx Of Tourists For View Of Total Solar Eclipse. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 04, 2024 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "OUTFRONT": ... walking to cities and towns along that path. So when you look at the map here, it's the exact same line, right? But this is not an artistic version of it. These red dots actually represent where Airbnbs are 100 percent booked. It's really amazing to look at it, right?

In New York State alone, searches for Airbnbs this weekend are up 900 percent from the same time last year. In hotels, well, there's a Super 8 motel in Illinois now advertising rooms for $949. The normal rate is $95, 10 times. Wow.

Well, our special coverage of the eclipse, for those of you who were too late to get off the couch, starts on Monday afternoon. Thanks so much for joining us. Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER:, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Tonight on 360, the judge he appointed says the former president cannot escape prosecution by claiming the highly classified documents he took were personal property. That and her answer to a potentially significant demand by the Special Counsel.

Also tonight, the Biden administration putting Israel on notice, American support now hinging on Israel's treatment of civilians in Gaza.

Plus, countdown to eclipse. Our Gary Tuchman visits a town that's seen better days, but is now looking up, thanks to its location in the path of Monday's big event.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us today.

Aileen Cannon gave Special Counsel Jack Smith a victory of swords but denied him the ruling he wants in the classified documents case. She rejected the former president's claim that he cannot be prosecuted because he converted the highly sensitive material into personal items under the Presidential Records Act. But she refused to do what Special Counsel Smith wanted, which is to officially clarify how she wants that law applied, if in fact it even should be. Smith wants to get her on record so he can ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse her if needed, which the court has done before. Today, Judge Cannon refused to be pinned down, writing: "The Court

declines that demand as unprecedented and unjust."

Now, all this comes after Mr. Trump erupted on social media, yet again attacking Jack Smith and praising the judge he appointed, apparently the only judge he seems to like.

CNN's Evan Perez joins us now with more on Judge Cannon's ruling. So, what else did she say?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, she was pushing back at the Special Counsel Jack Smith. I mean, look, the back and forth between the Special Counsel, between the government and the judge has gotten downright sassy, right? Today, she pushed back (inaudible) ...

COOPER: Is that a legal term?

PEREZ: It might as well be in this case. And look, I mean, things are getting definitely spicy because she definitely realized that the Special Counsel was criticizing her for the way she's handled this case, especially because she's refusing to actually say whether Donald Trump can use the Presidential Records Act, a post-Nixon law, to essentially claim that he had the right to take these documents when he left the presidency, when he left the presidency to take them back to Mar-a-Lago.

And so, by the fact that she's not doing that, it means that that issue is still alive. And so, what she's doing here is she's letting that continue, but she pushes back. Let me point - let me read you just a part of what she wrote in this two-page order.

She says, "The Court's Order soliciting preliminary draft instructions on certain counts should not be construed as declaring a final definition on any essential element or asserted defense in this case. Nor should it be interpreted as anything other than what it was: a genuine attempt, in the context of the upcoming trial, to better understand the parties' competing positions and the questions to be submitted to the jury in this complex case."

Now, look, as you heard from a judge who you talked to just a couple of days ago on your air, Anderson, it's very unusual for the judge to be getting to the question of whether - of jury instructions and whether to use the Presidential Records Act as part of those jury instructions at this stage of the case. And so, the fact that the Special Counsel was pushing her, nudging her to do that in order to be able to at least appeal is quite notable at this point.

COOPER: So, there's still more than a dozen outstanding motions for this judge to decide, including several other motions to dismiss the case. How much could that impact the timing of this trial?

PEREZ: It impacts all of the timing. And here's the other thing, is that from what we can tell, she's planning to do hearings on every one of these motions. And so, those take time and it eats up a lot of the calendar, which, as you pointed out, is already being eaten away. And so, that's part of the beef that is developing between the government and this judge.

Because the fact that every one of these, in normal cases, a lot of judges would just have lawyers brief the various disputes and then make rulings. In this case, she's not doing that. She's having them brief and then bringing them in for hearings, which takes up a lot of time.

And then, in this case, for instance, this is a pretty simple ruling that she did, but it took some time for her to even make this ruling in this case, Anderson.


COOPER: Evan Perez, thanks so much. For more on what to make of the judge's ruling, Judge Cannon's ruling, we're joined tonight by former federal judge Nancy Gertner, also David Kelley, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York during the George W. Bush administration, and another former federal prosecutor from the Southern District, Jessica Roth.

So, Judge Gertner, let me start with you. You've been critical of how Judge Cannon has handled the case so far, particularly how she's dealt with the Presidential Records Act and proposed jury instructions, which you called, and I quote, "very, very troubling." You also said in recent weeks that the judge is "giving credence to arguments that are on their face absurd." So, what do you make of her ruling today?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Well, I want to step back for a second. So, what she did today is to say that the Presidential Records Act can't lead to the dismissal of all charges, right? And that, to some degree, is an easy decision to have made. You can't say, I'm leaving with the nuclear plan of attack because I want to, because I've just sort of decided to.

So, she said it's not going to be the basis to dismiss, but she's keeping it in play for the trial. So, either Trump would be able to say or at least, for now, she's keeping it in play, these were personal records, even though I never told anyone in the White House that they were personal, even though they - on account, on their face, be personal. She's going to keep that in play as a trial - at the trial, rather.

It makes the potential for the trial to be chaotic and dangerous for the special prosecutor. Chaotic because Trump is going to get there screaming that somehow these were things - these are personal records or that he was - these are selective prosecution all sorts of things that he's claiming in these motions.

And dangerous for the special prosecutor because she'll be putting her figure on the scale, putting her thumb on the scale ...

COOPER: But Judge, isn't ...

GERTNER: ... and inviting the jury to decide things that they shouldn't. COOPER: But Judge, isn't any defendant allowed to make whatever

defense they want? I mean, can't - why couldn't the former president argue, well, I think the Presidential Records Act applies here, even if it doesn't?

GERTNER: Because it doesn't. In other words, you can't make - you can't bring defenses that are based on air. You can't bring defenses that have absolutely no grounding in the law, right? I mean, I killed somebody - and I had a right to kill that someone because I'm the Messiah. I mean, there's a limit. And most judges will basically cabin what they can say.

This offers the possibility that this trial is going to be wide open and she's going to not control it at all.

COOPER: David, I want to read another portion of the judge's order declining to dismiss the indictment. She said, "The counts make no reference to the Presidential Records Act, nor do they rely on that statute for purposes of stating an offense."

How - I mean, what do you make of the argument that she is making?

DAVID KELLEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, look, I think, you know, she did this, made it look like it's strictly a legal issue. And I think she's kind of hedging a little bit, leaving the door open for Trump to follow up on what the judge said, to follow up on what she said is - it's kind of like a factual defense for him to assert that, well, I thought I was covered by the Presidential Records Act.

And one of the problems with that is, number one, she could rule that inadmissible. But number two, essentially to do that, I think you'd have to testify, which she ain't going to do.

COOPER: Mm-hm.

KELLEY: So it's, I'm not quite sure what the design was behind the ruling. It's a bit mysterious.

COOPER: Jessica, what do you think Jack Smith's next move is then?

JESSICA ROTH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, this has to be incredibly frustrating to him because, as the judge was saying, this is an issue of law that the judge should have decided. And so I think the next ...

COOPER: So she could have decided, okay, no one's talking about the Presidential Records Act.

ROTH: Yes, she should rule that it's not relevant in the context of this case. She doesn't seem to be willing to do that. And this is part of a pattern of her not only being delayed in issuing decisions, but when she does issue what looks like a decision, it's actually not a committal decision. And she essentially kicks it down the road and say, well, the dismissal is without prejudice to bringing it back later in the case. Here, the real risk is that she's not going to issue a definitive

statement or ruling on whether she's going to instruct the jury on the application of the Presidential Records Act until we get to the point where the jury's been impaneled and Jeopardy would attach. And that's a really dangerous point for the Special Counsel to be at, because once Jeopardy attaches, there's going to be a real risk that he's not going to be able to try this case, if - because he's not going to be able to perhaps get her reversed by the 11th Circuit in time. And he wouldn't be able to retry it because of double jeopardy.

So he's trying to avoid being in that situation where the jury's already impaneled and that's when he finds out how she's going to instruct the jury.

COOPER: So, Judge Gertner, can you - I mean, can you wrap your head around the former president defending Judge Cannon in the social media post earlier today because she ruled against him saying Jack Smith had somehow treated her terribly and that he should be sanctioned all while Trump himself attacks other judges and prosecutors and in some instances their family. I mean, it seems like this is the only judge he doesn't attack.


GERTNER: Well, of course, it's the only judge he doesn't attack. But step back for a moment, the way he has attacked other judges is not in terms of their particular decisions. They didn't rule on this, they didn't rule on that.

It is sort of ad hominem attacks against the judges before they have even opened their mouth, they're Trump haters. With Judge Cannon, he's basically not saying anything and he's attacking Jack Smith as deranged.

What - the notion that human beings are even spending time on this is extraordinary. I mean, what he's saying makes absolutely no sense. The - certainly, Jack Smith's latest filing was much more pointed. There's no basis whatsoever to the Presidential Records Act, he's saying, and make a decision so that we can appeal.

And that was - it was a pointed filing much less pointed than I've seen in my career as a judge. But that's what he needs to do because otherwise, really, this trial, if and when it takes place, will be chaos. Just chaos.

COOPER: David, I mean, what stops it from being chaos? I mean, if it's going down this road.

KELLEY: Your guess is as good as mine. It's really hard. She hasn't put any structure here. She hasn't really - you need to establish who's running the courtroom. And she hasn't done that. And in fact, inviting the parties to do jury charges at this stage, that's like asking them, can you please give me the law for dummies or CliffsNotes on the law, because I don't know what it is. Maybe you can help me figure it out. And so I think that whole package is just kind of sets a tone and he

sees an opportunity there of buttering her up. I mean, the other judges, yes, he's gone after them before they even ruled on stuff. But his expectation is that they're going to be against me. His expectation here, clearly, and it seems to be coming to fruit, is that she's going to be really good for him, so why not keep buttering her up?

COOPER: And he goes to all the hearings in front of her or most of them.

ROTH: She does seem to have a very hard time ruling against him in any definitive way. I have no insight into exactly what's motivating those decisions. But his presence certainly is, I think, something he sees as a strategy in all of his cases, actually, to be there, perhaps for political reasons, but also to be communicating how much he cares and perhaps intimidating.

COOPER: Jessica Roth, thank you. David Kelley as well, good to have you on. And Judge Gertner, always thank you.

Next breaking news out of Israel after a day that saw the Biden administration warning Israel that American support now depends on how civilians in Gaza are treated. We have two live reports.

And later, surprising new presidential polling from a key swing state, Pennsylvania, and the central role Latino voters might play there in the outcome.



COOPER: Some breaking news now, an Israeli official tells CNN that Israel's cabinet has approved the reopening of the Erez crossing into northern Gaza for the first time since Hamas' October 7th attack. This and cabinet approval to use the nearby port of Ashdod would allow more humanitarian aid into the strip. This comes after a day that saw a big change in the Biden administration's approach toward how Israel is conducting the war, apparently triggered by this week's deadly Israeli strike on a World Central Kitchen food convoy.

The President's aide discussed the attack with Israel's prime minister. The White House just tweeted out a photo of him on the call. And speaking from Brussels for the 75th anniversary of NATO, Secretary of State Antony Blinken underscored the line that the president had laid down.


ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: This week's horrific attack on the World Central Kitchen was not the first such incident. It must be the last.

President Biden spoke a short while ago with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The leaders discussed the situation in Gaza. The President emphasized that the strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are unacceptable.

He made clear that U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel's immediate action on these steps. I'll just say this. If we don't see the changes that we need to see, there'll be changes in our own policy.


COOPER: CNN's Kayla Tausche is at the White House for us tonight with more on the administration's apparent new approach. You heard Secretary Blinken there referencing potential changes in U.S. policy. Did the president tell the prime minister what those changes could look like, do we know?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in a word, no. I'm told by a senior administration official that President Biden stuck to broad strokes and generalizations when he was talking to Prime Minister Netanyahu and used pretty much exactly the same language that you heard Secretary of State Antony Blinken use right there, that if there are not changes in Israel's policy, then there would need to be changes in U.S. policy without going into detail about exactly what could change, how the U.S. could shift its policy, or what types of aid could see being strapped with certain conditions.

COOPER: Do we know, Netanyahu, whether he pushed back on the call at all?

TAUSCHE: The call was described to me as direct, as business-like, as forceful at times. And that while the two leaders did have some times of disagreement, which I'm told is not unusual for these two leaders who have known each other for decades, that it was very above board. There was no sparring.

And when I asked about the response of Prime Minister Netanyahu when Biden delivered that message that there could potentially be a change in U.S. policy toward Israel, I asked how he responded, and the senior administration official told me he understood, Anderson.

COOPER: The Israeli security cabinet, as we said, has approved the opening of the Erez crossing with the Gaza Strip for the first time since October 7th in order to let humanitarian aid through. Does the White House believe that there's a connection to today's phone call?

TAUSCHE: Yes. This official tells me that during the call, Netanyahu made specific pledges to open more humanitarian crossings and to announce some procedural changes for the IDF. Now, of course, the White House's position is to trust but verify. They're waiting to see some of these specific changes actually not just get announced but go into effect, take place, and produce results.


But just this evening, Anderson, the White House putting out a statement on the opening of that Erez crossing and calling it a welcome step.

COOPER: Kayla Tausche, thanks so much.

Coming up next into Israel is CNN's Jeremy Diamond with more on the breaking news and how the Netanyahu government is reacting to the Biden administration's apparently tougher new line. So what more have you learned since that call?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the Israeli prime minister's office isn't commenting on the call directly, but instead what they appear to be doing is letting the actions that the Israeli government is taking speak in their place. And this evening, the Israeli security cabinet, as you were just discussing, approving the opening of the Erez crossing for the first time since October 7th. Also approving the use of the port of Ashdod some 20 miles north of that very same crossing to be used to bring in additional humanitarian aid.

Now, this is significant, for a few reasons. First of all, this will allow more aid to be brought directly into northern Gaza, where the looming famine is most acute. More than a million people in Gaza currently on the brink of that famine.

And even as we have watched the ramp up in airdrops, for example, this new maritime corridor to bring in more humanitarian aid, it's very clear and every humanitarian aid agency has said that it is land crossings that are necessary to bring in the scale of humanitarian aid that is necessary. And beyond that, we know the U.S. has been pressuring Israel for months now to open up more land crossings, including specifically this Erez crossing.

And yet, even as Israeli officials for months have said they are doing everything they can to get in enough humanitarian aid, tonight we are clearly learning that they could have done more sooner, but instead it took the deaths of these seven humanitarian aid workers and this massive international pressure, including from the U.S., to actually result in the opening of this crossing.

COOPER: I mean, the other question, of course, Jeremy, is how is it then distributed? I mean, if aid groups are afraid of being targeted as World Central Kitchen's - I mean, those vehicles were clearly targeted for whatever reason, we don't know. And there's - they say there's, you know, an investigation underway. But do we know when we're going to learn the details from this investigation?

DIAMOND: Yes, I mean, first of all, in terms of the humanitarian aid, we don't know a lot in terms of when this Erez crossing will open. And yes, the work of aid workers still remains very dangerous in Gaza, but the Israeli government has signaled it will take more steps to de-conflict further between its military operations and these aid operations happening inside the Gaza Strip by these NGOs.

Now, in terms of this investigation into the World Central Kitchen strike, I'm told that the Israeli military has begun to brief out the findings of this investigation to relevant parties. And tomorrow morning or this morning here in Israel, in a matter of a few hours, we expect that they will actually release the findings of that investigation. We don't know how detailed it will be, whether soldiers will be reprimanded here, but there's no question, Anderson, that this is the most public accounting of any kind of Israeli strike by the Israeli military itself since the beginning of this war.

Of course, part of that has to do with the fact of just the brazen nature of this with two vehicles that were clearly marked as aid vehicles coordinated with the Israeli military. But there's also certainly a part of this, Anderson, that has to do with the fact that six of these seven aid workers were not Palestinians. They were foreigners and that is certainly playing a part in the international uproar and the Israeli response that has followed.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, it took foreigners being killed for this kind of investigation, which says a lot.

Jeremy Diamond, thank you.

Some perspective now on the administration's new position and how Israel is conducting operations in Gaza. Joining us for that, Mark Esper, who served as defense secretary during the Trump administration.

First of all, Secretary Esper, what do you make of the - this warning from the White House if Israel doesn't do more to protect civilians and aid workers there could be changes to U.S. policy?

MARK ESPER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, good evening, Anderson. First of all, it's obviously significant that President Biden had this conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu and said what he did, which was, an ultimatum in many ways. And I think it's also notable that we're seeing some changes already.

As the reporter noted, the Ezra crossing is being opened. We have the port opening as well. I'd like to see them double or increase the number of inspectors to also enhance the throughput of humanitarian aid going through. And then tomorrow morning, we should find out the results of the investigation into the attack on the World Central Kitchen workers. So it looks like there's some movement so far.

COOPER: In terms of distributing aid, I mean, we've obviously seen the issues with that even once the few trucks that have gotten through or the number of trucks that have gotten through, the problems that, in distributing, we've seen people killed and people jumping onto these convoys, all sorts of mayhem trying to get supplies. People are so desperate. Doesn't Israel have some responsibility?

I mean, if the U.S. military was in control of this operation, I mean, I've seen the U.S. military work in situations like this.


There - I mean, isn't the occupying force, isn't the Israeli army, doesn't they have some responsibility for the orderly distribution of aid in areas that they have taken control of?

ESPER: Yes, if they are retaining control of it, I do believe they have some degree of responsibility. This is also where it gets murky on the Palestinian side because, obviously, there were - are reports of looting, looting by hungry people, looting by bandits who are trying to steal the goods and resell them on the black market. And, of course, there are reports that Hamas is in there trying to steal the humanitarian aid for their own militants or to deny the Palestinian people the aid, so it gets really murky there.

But you need some type of force in there because the police force has been dismantled to control that, to prevent whatever of those factions are actually on the ground, preventing the people who needed the innocent civilians from getting that aid.

COOPER: When you have, I mean, I don't know if you've looked at the targeting of these vehicles. It was three separate vehicles over a great distance. It seems quite deliberate - for the reasons are inexplicable at this point. I talked to Barak Ravid who's very well sourced, who talked - who said that a number of the people he's talked to who have served on the ground in Gaza kind of talk about a breakdown between what commanders from the IDF may be saying his policy at their headquarters and how troops on the ground and commanders on the ground are actually executing those policies, that the attitude on the ground is different perhaps than what central command is saying.

If that is true, that seems like a huge issue. Do you have those concerns? I mean, when you look at some of the things we have seen going on in Gaza?

ESPER: Yes, when you look at what happened with the vehicles clearly marked, they identified where they were moving from and when they were going to move and the fact they were still targeted indicates that there was at least a breakdown somewhere or are the commanders on the ground being reckless because they are afraid or because they don't agree with the policy being set forth.

I think this is why the investigation is so very important. And I've argued that maybe we need to put - provide U.S. military experts in there as well to assist to look over their shoulders to help out where they can and to kind of referee some of this. Because I think that is a fundamental question is, is the guidance being ignored from the top? Is this widespread or was it just a local incident where a mistake was made?

And look, in combat, mistakes are made. I know from my service in the Gulf War and then, of course, my subsequent service, these things happen and that's why investigations are important to get to the bottom of it, hold people accountable and then make sure you take corrective actions to prevent any breakdowns or miscoordination or mistaken identity from happening again.

COOPER: How would you compare the - I mean, I've heard Prime Minister Netanyahu in the past sort of talk about the death toll in Gaza and say essentially that the ratio of civilians to what he says are Hamas members, that the ratio of killings between how many civilians are killed per Hamas member are about equal to what the U.S. military would tolerate. Is that - I mean, when you look at the numbers, when you look at the

numbers of wounded, when you look at the numbers of dead, I mean, do you think a U.S. operation would have been handled a lot differently?

ESPER: Yes. First of all, they say of the 32,000 killed, at least a third are militants from the Hamas' - what was 20 battalions of Hamas, of which four are remaining believed to be in Rafah, which is why Netanyahu wants to go into Rafah to get rid of, to disable those remaining four battalions.

And look, I hate to say it, it sounds really cold and methodical, but yes, U.S. experts have said that the ratio of civilians killed to militants killed is roughly on par, if not better, than other Western militaries. Now, every circumstance is different. Obviously, Gaza is highly dense. We know that Hamas is using civilians and civilian infrastructure that they're occupying. They're putting them out there as human shields. That complicates it all, which is all the more reason why the attacking force in this case, the IDF, has to take extra special care and to avoid as much collateral damage and the killing of civilians as possible.

COOPER: I mean, they say they've done that. To you, does it look like they've done that?

ESPER: It's hard to say sitting over here not being on the ground and not looking at each situation in and of itself. I think - as President Biden has ramped up his concerns, one would think that they would limit the use of airstrikes and increase the use of ground forces. Of course, that means that you expose your ground forces to more risk, to more - the likelihood of them being killed or injured.

But that's the risk military takes, that soldiers take when you're undergoing urban combat, because you are trying to avoid civilian casualties. The rule of thumb that we took out of Iraq and Afghanistan is you don't want to create more terrorists that you kill in a military operation.


And clearly at this point, you know, one would believe they are creating more militants, but certainly they've lost, you know, the strategic imperative of global support. And they're now on the cusp of maybe losing some degree of U.S. support as well. And the United States is its greatest ally.

And we got to remember, too, that Hamas isn't the only threat they face. They got Hezbollah in the north, and they're exchanging constant fire with them in southern Lebanon. And given what's happened in recent days with Iran, there is a palpable concern in Israel today that they may see some type of strikes from Iran after what happened Monday in Syria.

COOPER: Yeah, Secretary Esper, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

ESPER: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: This weekend will mark six months since the October 7th terror attack, six months of captivity for the hostages taken on that day by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and others.

Up next, I'll talk with the parents of one of the American hostages, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who are trying to keep attention on the plight of their son and all the others who are in captivity.



COOPER: This Sunday will mark six months since the October 7th Hamas attack. More than 1,000 Israelis were killed that day, the deadliest attack in the country's 75-year history. Hundreds of others were taken captive by Hamas. The Israeli Prime Minister's office recently said there are still around 130 hostages in Gaza. That includes dual Israeli-American citizen Hersh Goldberg-Polin.

I first spoke to Hersh's parents shortly after he was taken hostage. I'd found a video of their son's kidnapping. This is it. His left hand and part of his arm had been blown or shot off. He was being loaded into a pickup truck by armed gunmen. I sent them the video, which they hadn't previously known about.

Joining me now are Rachel Goldberg and John Polin.

Thank you for being here. I'm sorry you are here under these circumstances. 181 days, you have the numbers on your chest. I remember when you started putting those numbers on. I did not expect to see numbers this high. Did you?

RACHEL GOLDBERG, MOTHER OF HERSH GOLDBERG-POLIN: No. I mean, we're living on another planet, so I don't know that we comprehend time the way that you do or normal people do.

COOPER: It feels like you're living on another planet.

GOLDBERG: Oh, without a doubt. It's very unfamiliar.

COOPER: Can you talk about what life on that planet is like?

GOLDBERG: It's staggeringly profound trauma and terror at all times.

JOHN POLIN, FATHER OF HERSH GOLDBERG-POLIN: You know, part of the numbers that Rachel started wearing on day 26 is the conscious effort every day of pulling off a piece of tape, writing a new number. You have no choice but to think about that. We also have a number on our balcony of our apartment in Jerusalem. And I remember on day 40- something, somebody said to us, because it was made for two digits, the sign, and somebody said, what are you going to do if it gets to day 100? And we both thought, that's impossible.

GOLDBERG: We're horrified.

POLIN: Of course, these people are going to be home before day 100. And so, the fact that we're at day 181 is kind of impossible to grasp.

COOPER: To be walking down the street and walking in a mall, you know, to get to a place and seeing people just going about their day and life going on, it's got to be, I don't know if it's infuriating or, I mean, I would think I would want to stand there and scream at people.

GOLDBERG: I don't even really digest the people around me that I'm passing. I'm -- we're too busy strategizing, talking about what are we doing today? What are we going to do? So that I finally had someone explain to me, because I kept feeling we would get into bed at night and say, well, we're failures because he's not home. We've got another day down and he's not home. And I had someone explain to me that I had to switch my inner narrative to, did I do every single thing today that I could to help get him home? So that I stopped feeling like such a failure, that we started to feel like we're trying as hard as we possibly can.

But that's what we're doing all day, is trying as hard as we possibly can. So there's really no time for me to even digest in many ways that the world is being normal.

COOPER: I mean, I'm a failure, the world -- the world is a failure.

GOLDBERG: Correct. And we say that often, that we feel that everybody has failed. Our leaders, all of them, have failed to make this suffering on all sides stop.

We feel that we as parents have failed, because as a parent, your job is to keep your children safe. And if they get in trouble, to save them. I think we feel that the human species has failed to allow this to continue. There are still 134 human beings being held, representing 25 different nations still. There are still Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists there. And the age range is still a range from the youngest, Kfir Bibas is now 14 months old, and the oldest is a grandfather who's 86.

POLIN: You know, on the failure front, what's in some ways even scarier for me than the fact that we've gotten to day 181, is the fact that it sometimes feels to me like day 181 could become day 281, day 381, day 581. We can't allow that to happen. But world leaders don't seem to have that sense of urgency.


There's a complacency. We'll go negotiate for a couple days. We'll go back home. We'll wait a week. We'll talk about whether we should go back.

COOPER: I've asked you this before, and sadly, I think I know the answer. But have you had any word at all about Hersh's condition, about anything? I mean, no?

GOLDBERG: There's an assumption that he was treated on the 7th, because the hostages who were released at the end of November did share that the first stop for everyone, and especially the people who were stolen early, and we know that Hersh was stolen early because of the text that we got and the video that you shared with us, that the first stop was medical treatment, and we understand from surgeons who we've shared the video with that you gave to us that the procedure that Hersh needed, the surgery he needed, was actually not a complicated surgery. And because we can see in the video, he doesn't lose consciousness. He was clearly dazed, in shock, in trauma, but composed. The assumption is that he is alive.

POLIN: You know, after that first hostage release, a young woman named Maya -- this has been reported publicly -- shared that she was operated on, her foot, but it was by a veterinarian. And it's amazing, but we had probably 100 veterinarians from around the world reach out to us to give support and say, don't worry. If Hersh was operated on by a veterinarian, it's fine. The kind of surgery he needs is the most similar surgery between animals and humans, so a vet could do it. And that's the kind of stuff that normally would be disturbing to us, but we're like, OK, great. We hope he got treated by a veterinarian and had his amputated arm somehow surgically addressed. We'll take that news.

COOPER: Rachel and John, thank you.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

POLIN: Thank you.

COOPER: Reminder, you can catch more on the anniversary of the October 7th attack on the Sunday's "The Whole Story." CNN's Bianna Golodryga sits down with family members of those taken captive and speaks directly with some of the released hostages and what they experienced while in captivity. That airs this Sunday, April 7th at 8 p.m. on CNN.

Up next, the key voting bloc that could decide the 2024 election outcome in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state, and the efforts right now by Democrats and Republicans to win their support.



COOPER: In the key battleground State of Pennsylvania, the 2024 race could hinge on a vital voting bloc. Latino voters, whose population has grown more than 40% since 2010. More on that now from CNN's Danny Freeman.


DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every weekday morning, Victor Martinez steps up to the mic, and talks pop culture, news, and politics. His audience, Pennsylvania's fastest growing demographic.

VICTOR MARTINEZ, OWNER & MORNING HOST, LA MEGA RADIO: You see the city of Allentown, where 55% of the city is Latino. You see Bethlehem, where 30% is Latino. You see Reading, Pennsylvania, where 69, 70% is Latino. Well, again, that's happened within the last five years.

FREEMAN (voice-over): From his radio station in Allentown, a once white working-class Rust Belt stronghold, Martinez has watched his Spanish speaking listeners rapidly increase across central and eastern Pennsylvania over the past decade.

Now, Martinez's show has become a must stop for several state and local politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm glad to be with you, Victor.

FREEMAN (voice-over): And just last month, Vice President Kamala Harris called in.

(On camera): What is the potential of Latino voters in this area of Pennsylvania?

MARTINEZ: I think it's huge. I think the Latino vote could be the deciding factor.

FREEMAN (voice-over): In 2020, President Biden beat former President Trump in Pennsylvania by roughly 80,000 votes. Recent polling in the state shows a close race, meaning the estimated 615,000 eligible Latino voters could easily decide the next election here. But while Biden carried the Latino vote handily, in 2024, signs are showing some of that support may be slipping.

(On camera): Do you feel there are more Latinos in your community who are becoming Republican these days?

CYNTHIA MOTA, ALLENTOWN CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: I believe so. I believe. But we still have time.

FREEMAN (voice-over): Cynthia Mota is Allentown's first Latina City Council President and an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. The Democrat is sounding the alarm, urging her party to spend more time and money in Pennsylvania.

MOTA: They have taken things for granted when it comes to the Latino vote. When it comes to an election, we're not really their priorities.


FREEMAN: The Biden campaign just last month launched a pair of TV ads that will run in key swing states, including Pennsylvania, and announced a Latino outreach program, Latinos con Biden Harris. But some Republicans see an opening.

MICHAEL RIVERA, (R) BERKS COUNTY COMMISSIONER: My mother is Pennsylvania Dutch, and my father is Puerto Rican.

FREEMAN: Michael Rivera is a Republican commissioner of nearby Berks County.

RIVERA: I've seen a change, a shift from that mentality that all Latinos have to be Democrats.

FREEMAN: A recent New York Times/Siena College poll shows former President Trump gaining ground among Latino voters. The RNC recently outlined in a memo that they would focus on reaching out to voters who have been habitually missed by the party, but did not release specific plans how it will go after the Latino vote. Rivera knows Republicans have to do more.

RIVERA: We need to understand your local Latino population and have people locally there reaching out to them. And it has to be something that's ongoing.


FREEMAN: While Donald Trump's incendiary language on migrants continues to frustrate many Latino voters.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In some cases, they're not people, in my opinion. They're poisoning the blood of our country.

FREEMAN: Those we spoke with told us other issues will likely be the deciding factor.

(On camera): Why are you supporting Biden over former President Trump?

FERMIN DIAZ, BIDEN SUPPORTER: I think the continuation of the democracy is something important. If we lose election, he will transfer power without problem.

FREEMAN: You like Trump because of what he's done more than what he's said.

ANGIE CHAPMAN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Oh, absolutely, yes. The economy, immigration, we need a change.

JUAN MARTINEZ, UNDECIDED VOTER: His language, you know, it is what it is. I'm blue collar, so we talk rough.

FREEMAN: For Juan Martinez, a small business owner and Dominican immigrant, he says there's still time for either candidate to win his vote.

J. MARTINEZ: We're looking for a candidate that, you know, could put the bull (bleep) away and focus on the people and focus on moving the country forward to help us realize the American dream.


COOPER: And Danny Freeman joins us now from Philadelphia. Has the Trump campaign talked about, you know, targeting Latino voters in Pennsylvania?

FREEMAN: Anderson, frankly, not really. We asked the Trump campaign specifically about their Pennsylvania Latino outreach, they did not respond to the specifics. Instead, they sent us a statement saying, in part, in 2020, crooked Joe Biden's idea of Hispanic outreach was playing Despacito, the song. Now, we truly see how Despacito Biden is, though I should note that Despacito means slowly, so it doesn't quite make sense in that context. The Trump campaign also said that Democrats have been taking Hispanic

voters for granted, though. Now, the Biden campaign, Anderson, is emphatic. They're saying they're out there trying to earn every single Latino vote here in Pennsylvania, and not just in those locations that we visited in, but also here in Philadelphia, the city and the state with the largest number of Latinos. And they point to opening offices here in Philadelphia and also in some of those growing Latino areas like the Lehigh Valley. Anderson?

COOPER: Danny Freeman, thanks so much.

Coming up, a small city hoping for big crowds on Monday. Cairo, Illinois, is in the path of total solar eclipse, and our Gary Tuchman is there to show us how they are getting ready. We'll be right back.



COOPER: The eclipse is coming just four days away. Monday afternoon, for just a few minutes, if the weather cooperates, this will be the view for Americans in the path of the total solar eclipse. Other areas of the country will only see the moon covering part of the sun.

And as always, a reminder that wherever you are, you must wear certified eye protection to look at it. The path of totality will stretch across portions of 13 states, including Cairo, Illinois, a small city preparing for a big influx of tourists. Gary Tuchman is there.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What is it like to be the manager of the only hotel in a city that is about to experience solar eclipse totality? The city of Cairo, Illinois. Well, it's pretty darn good.

(On camera): Today, I think the rate is, what, $80 a night?

ADEEP MEHTA, QUALITY INN MANAGER: Yep, it'll be $80 plus tax.

TUCHMAN: $80 plus tax. The night before the eclipse, how much is it?

MEHTA: It's around $500.

TUCHMAN: $500?

MEHTA: Yeah, $500.

TUCHMAN: And it's sold out?

MEHTA: Yeah.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Cairo, named after the capital of Egypt but pronounced differently, has had a pronounced economic decline over generations. The once-prosperous southern Illinois city sits adjacent to where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet. Cairo has lost almost 90% of its population from a century ago.

This is a look at downtown Cairo in the 1950s. Now, the same exact downtown street is almost abandoned. Rubble from some bulldozed buildings hasn't been touched in years.

Many businesses, including hotels, restaurants, stores, and a hospital have been shut down. There are still some elegant homes and museums of former homes. People we talked to who remain are very loyal.


TUCHMAN: Gabrielle Harris owns G&L Clothing with his wife, Lawanda (ph). Like the hotel manager, they're excited about the tourists coming to see the eclipse and what it could mean for Cairo.

(On camera): Do you feel that this could be -- this could perhaps make things better for your business in the weeks and months to come?

HARRIS: Oh, most definitely, yeah. It's an opportunity to grow, you know. It's an opportunity to expose, you know, the core of what Cairo is.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Shemwell's Barbecue is one of only two sit-down restaurants that remain in Cairo. Brittany Harrell is a proud employee.

BRITTANY HARRELL, SHEMWELL'S BBQ EMPLOYEE: We've been here for 100 years, so I guess we do something right.

TUCHMAN (On camera): And the best thing that you could tell everyone about Cairo right now is what?

HARRELL: That we have good barbecue and we have friendly people.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And Brittany also tells us she has a wish. A wish that the solar eclipse could be a turning point.

HARRELL: I hope that one day we could be that thriving city that we once were.

TUCHMAN (On camera): You have lived in Cairo your entire life?

CAROL CHILDRESS, CAIRO, ILLINOIS RESIDENT: My entire life, 57 years I've been here.

TUCHMAN: We meet Carol Childress and her husband Glenn (ph) in the city's only grocery store that opened about a year ago. After seven years of having no grocery store, they're also looking forward to tourists arriving for the solar eclipse.

C. CHILDRESS: A lot of people don't even know we're here. So people stopping in our little town just because of that, it makes my heart glad.

TUCHMAN: The glory days of Cairo, Illinois have been gone for a long time. But for a few minutes on Monday, in a very different sense, it will be most glorious to be here in Cairo.

HARRIS: So you need five.


HARRIS: One, two, three.

TUCHMAN: Businesses are passing out eclipse glasses. Chairs will be set up in the business district for eclipse viewers who want a comfortable seat. Cairo, Illinois, the city of solar eclipse totality, is getting ready for its day in the sun.

HARRIS: Maybe the next time you come this way you'll see a totally different change.



COOPER: And Gary joins us now. I hope the weather is going to be good for Cairo. Do we know?

TUCHMAN: Great forecast, Anderson. It's supposed to be mostly sunny here on Monday afternoon. Great visibility, warm temperatures in the upper 70s. Perfect for sitting outside.

And as you heard that woman who works at the restaurant say, they have great barbecue here. There are lots of reasons to come to Cairo, Illinois to see the solar eclipse. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, I hope a lot of people come. Gary Tuchman, thanks so much.

That's it for us. The news continues. I'll see you tomorrow. "THE SOURCE" starts now.