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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump Asks Judge To Amend Jury Questions Ahead Of Hush Money Trial; VP Harris On Arizona Abortion Decision: "Trump Did This;" Trump's Co-Defendants In Classified Documents Case Attempt To Get Obstruction Charges Thrown Out; Trump Says He Thinks Speaker Johnson Is "Doing A Very Good Job" As He Faces Ouster Threat From GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene; Inside Chicago's Effort To Stop "Smash-And- Grab" Robberies; Sources: U.S. Sees Iran Moving Military Assets, Including Drones And Cruise Missiles, Could Signal Strike Against Israeli Targets Inside Iran; Biden Expects Iran To Attack Israel "Sooner Than Later". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 12, 2024 - 20:00   ET


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Don't escalate the situation. And that is a message that Iran has been getting from a number of different corners, from the Europeans, from the Arabs. To what extent they will listen remains to be seen. We could expect a very calculated but very significant retaliation by Iran. Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: No question. We know all eyes are watching right now.

Alex Marquardt, thanks so much for joining. And thanks so much to all of you for joining us tonight on "OUTFRONT." AC360 starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, the first former president ever to face criminal trial says he would testify, but that does not mean he will, new filings and new details tonight.

Also, with Arizona now back to 1864 on abortion, Vice President Harris goes there to make - try to make sure that it is a voting issue this year. And an exclusive look at how one big city is fighting a national problem, a wholesale outbreak of retail theft that's costing businesses billions.

Good evening.

We begin tonight with breaking news. Two big items going into Monday's New York hush money trial, the first of four criminal trials that Donald Trump is facing. There's breaking news as well tonight in the federal documents trial, and we'll get to that shortly. First things first, though, late today, the former president was asked whether he would testify in his New York trial and this is what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would testify, absolutely. It's a scam. It's a scam. That's not a trial. That's not a trial. That's a scam. What they're doing is a crime. They are criminals. All I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there's no case. They have no case.


COOPER: So that's item one. He claims he would testify, but would and will are two different things, and it remains to be seen if he actually will sit down on the stand under oath.

Item two is what the judge today ruled on another delay attempt, plus a new request about jury selection. For that, we go to Kara Scannell.


COOPER: So, Kara, can you just talk about this last-minute filing from the Trump team?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So there was a new decision tonight by Judge Juan Merchan, who's overseeing the case, saying that he was denying Trump's motion for pre-trial publicity. Trump was saying that because of all the publicity, he couldn't get a fair trial in New York.

Judge denied that saying that Trump, in fact, has caused a lot of the pre-trial publicity, saying delaying this case is not tenable because it - there will never be a period of time when there isn't publicity. But Trump's team also made a late filing today that is related to this issue. They asked the judge to amend how he is going to question the jury pool when they first come in. The judge said he would ask if anyone could not serve on this jury because they're not fair or impartial or for any other reason.

Trump's team is asking the judge to separate that because they want to try to build data for their appeal. They've been arguing that they should get a change of anyone in this case because of the publicity and because they believe Manhattanites tend to vote Democratic and would be against Trump. So they want the judge to separate it and ask anybody here who can't be fair and impartial, separate from anyone who can't serve in this jury because maybe they have a religious reason or for some other reason, such as travel.

So they're trying to build data for this appeal that they tried to execute earlier this week and also to argue that they should just move this case out of New York City.

COOPER: And did the judge rule on that motion yet? And could the Trump team on Monday still try to come up with another filing?

SCANNELL: So the DA's team will have a chance to respond to this, and the judge has not ruled yet. This is likely to be the topic of conversation when everyone enters into the courtroom on Monday morning before the judge brings the first pool of jurors in. And then it's likely the judge will make his ruling on this. He could amend it to accommodate that or he could stick with what he's done. He previously said he didn't want to individually question these jurors because he said he found that to be unnecessary and didn't really yield a different result. But the question will be before the judge when everyone assembles into that courtroom on Monday morning.

COOPER: Kara Scannell, thanks so much. Joining us now on the law and the politics, former Trump campaign advisor and current CNN Senior Political Commentator, David Urban, Temidayo Aganga-Williams as well who served as senior investigative counsel to the House January 6th Committee and also former Manhattan chief assistant district attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo.

So, Temidayo, I mean, what do you think the former president's trying to basically change the jury selection process at this point?

TEMIDAYO AGANGA-WILLIAMS, FORMER SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: Well, I think he's trying to do is find the basis of an appeal to say that he's not getting a fair jury. He's ...

COOPER: He's sort of trying to get - gather data, as Kara said.

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Yes. He's planning for a potential conviction here because what he's trying to say is that I want to understand all the different bases by which these jurors could perhaps not be fair to me and not be impartial and I want to parse it out. So if I want to highlight specific things to the appellate court, I'm able to have that information from the trial court to send up. He's preparing - like a good lawyer should, his legal team here, preparing for the potential that he's either convicted and wants to challenge this process or if he wants to seek some kind of interlocutory appeal now, meaning he wants to challenge a go up right down the middle, that he has the opportunity to do so.

COOPER: Karen, do you actually think it's likely he would testify?


KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Look, he thinks he's his best spokesperson and he's testified in his E. Jean Carroll case and also in the Arthur Engoron civil fraud trial. So I think he feels he's got nothing to lose because why wouldn't he? He already thinks that people in Manhattan can't be fair and impartial and so what does he got to lose? He really only has to convince one person and then he could get a hung jury. So I think it is likely that he would testify. Why wouldn't he?

COOPER: David, what do you think? Do you think he would? Do you think he should?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Listen to Karen's point, I think that the chance of Donald Trump getting a fair trial in New York City may not be zero, but it's pretty close to zero, right? In the filing that the president's lawyers submitted to the court, they submitted a poll of 2000 Manhattanites that found that 61 percent of people in Manhattan already believe that Trump's guilty in this case. And if you peel back the onion a little bit further and go to the 2020 election, 76 percent of people in New York City and Manhattan in this jury poll voted for Joe Biden. Twenty three percent voted for Donald Trump, so it's going to be pretty tough to find a jury that is not somehow predisposed. If you find that Trump, that pro-Trump juror, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.

And we're hearing all this talk about data and building data. I think in the year 2024. The fact that we're relying on jurors to self-report bias is kind of crazy. Data is available, readily available, you could get - gathered tons of data on every one of these jurors, see what they've looked at on their Internet searches and see if they've voted for Trump or posting anti-Trump messages on social media. It's easy to find whether somebody is pro-Trump or not.

And then when they go and seated this jury, who's going to want to recuse himself from the biggest trial in the history of New York City?

COOPER: David, you want the deep state to be investigating potential jurors?

URBAN: I think relying on - listen, I think relying on people in these instances, right, and jurors to self-report in criminal cases is a little nutty. I do, Anderson.

Listen, I was a jury foreman in a rape trial in Alexandria, Virginia. And I can tell you it's a pretty scary place to be if you're a defendant.

COOPER: Temidayo, I mean, what do you think about the ability to find fair jurors? I mean, even if people have a predisposition or they don't like somebody. I mean, many jurors would say, well, I can still be fair about - based on whatever the evidence presented is.

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Yes. And we see that every day. So I would disagree with David's perspective here. I was a federal prosecutor and I've done trials. And people take this really, really seriously. They treat this like a solemn event. And I think I have a lot of faith in jurors. And I think the fact that someone is from Manhattan or how they voted does not determine whether or not they're going to be a fair juror.

And that's why we have those. I think 40 plus questions that judge - that the judge is going to be asking here, because you do have the opportunity to parse out to answer the question. And then you'll ask them a lot of things. Who did you - what kind of podcast you listen to, what TV shows do you watch, what books have you read, any one of your family's law enforcement.

All these questions give you incredible insight into who a juror is. And it's not merely asking them, can you be fair. All these other data points allow the lawyers to really parse out who these people are. And I think that's why on average, right, our jurors really tend to end up at the right result here if the government can meet its high burden.

COOPER: Karen, what's your experience? Because, I mean, the whole system is based on a juror - jury of your peers and people from all walks of life just coming in.

AGNIFILO: Yes, exactly. It's not like it's a different standard here in Manhattan than it is every - in every other courtroom in this entire country in both state and federal courts. In every single case, you are able to ultimately find fair and impartial jurors. It's not whether - it's whether you can be fair in this particular case.

And as Temidayo I said, there's questions that are designed to ask that. And I think, nobody is pro-murder or pro-rape, yet sometimes there are cases that end in acquittals because it's about making sure that the people prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. And I agree that jurors take that very seriously.

And so I think the process, you have excellent lawyers on both sides of a really good judge here. This is not inexperienced people. They know how to pick a jury. They know how to ask the right questions.

And something to keep in mind is Donald Trump has to be there every single day because it's a criminal case. He's going to be sitting at that jury table - sitting at the council table and he's going to actually have to agree to every single juror. So this is going to be a jury that he picks too, he and his lawyers agree to. But these are the jurors that they want sitting in judgment, so I have no problem with that.

COOPER: Karen ...

URBAN: But Anderson ...

COOPER: Go ahead, David.

URBAN: ... I would just point out - yes, Anderson, I would just point out like the voir dire process, I think, generally works, right, if it's not Donald Trump.


This is a different case. This is a one of one, a former president United States who enrages certain people ...

COOPER: Right, but David what's the answer?

URBAN: ... and who enamored certain people.

COOPER: What's the answer? I mean, you can't - I mean ...

URBAN: Listen, if you could go through everyone in New York, right, go one by one. I don't know. I mean, the two criminal attorneys here could give you a better answer. I'm - I was a public finance lawyer, bond lawyer, not a trial lawyer, but I don't think you get unlimited strikes, right. You don't get unlimited strikes in the jury pool. You have a limited amount of people. You can bounce off a jury.


URBAN: So at some point you've got to accept the folks who are there. COOPER: Yes.

URBAN: Whether they're good or bad.

COOPER: Thanks, everyone. We will see. It starts Monday.

More now on the actual process on Monday and the thought going into it from both sides. CNN's Jessica Schneider has that.



TRUMP: This is election interference.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Donald Trump's outsized personality could present a challenge to lawyers Monday as they set out to find 18 unbiased Manhattan residents to decide Trump's criminal hush money case.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): You have a former president of the United States, someone who is very controversial, how difficult is it going to be to seat a jury based on the defendant here?

DR. LESLIE ELLIS, JURY CONSULTANT: I think it's going to be difficult. It's going to take a long time.


SCHNEIDER (voice over): Dr. Leslie Ellis (ph) has worked as a jury consultant for 25 years. She estimates it could take more than a week for lawyers to settle on 12 jurors plus six alternates. And for both sides, it may be more about weeding out the wrong ones than finding the right ones.


ELLIS: One sort of overriding premise of jury selection is that it's a misnomer, it's jury de-selection. It's sort of finding those two or three people who really sort of scare you for whatever reason and to get rid of them.


SCHNEIDER (voice over): Hundreds of potential jurors will arrive at the Manhattan criminal courthouse Monday morning. Once inside the courtroom, they'll come face to face with Trump. He has the right to sit through jury selection and sources tell CNN he plans to be there. Anyone with conflicts like knowing someone involved in the case or strong biases they can't disregard will likely be immediately dismissed.

Then the work begins.

Each juror will have to answer 42 very specific questions out loud inside the courtroom. They range from where they live to whether they support extremist groups like QAnon, the Proud Boys or Antifa. They'll even be asked to disclose what news organizations they listen to.


JEREMY SALAND, FORMER MANHATTAN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It's really getting to understand who this juror is. What this juror is going to do when he or she gets the evidence. How is this juror going to interact with his co-jurors? It's your only opportunity to get a feel for them as people and not as number one, two, three, et cetera.


SCHNEIDER (voice over): This jury will be very different from the last one Trump faced during the E. Jean Carroll defamation case. That jury was in federal court and the jurors came not only from Manhattan, but also a diverse array of surrounding counties. This jury will only be drawn from Manhattan, where voters overwhelmingly chose Joe Biden in 2020. Nearly 87 percent to 12 percent.


ELLIS: Political affiliation doesn't necessarily mean bias, right? And that's what they're going to have to figure out. There may be lots of reasons for somebody to vote for a candidate that don't necessarily de facto translate into a bias for or against the other candidate.


SCHNEIDER (voice over): The jurors who ultimately get selected will not be known to the public. Their names, images and identities will not be released, even though lawyers on both sides will know their names. Dr. Ellis says Trump's attorneys and prosecutors will have to be on high alert for any potential juror who might hide their true feelings in an effort to ultimately upend deliberations.


ELLIS: I'm not a big believer that stealth jurors are everywhere. But in a case like this, there is definitely a higher risk of a stealth juror, meaning someone who intentionally keeps quiet about an opinion to get on the jury. They're not that common. They're not as common as a lot of people think. But here, that's a real risk.


SCHNEIDER (voice over): Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Still to come tonight and more breaking news, Vice President Harris in battleground state of Arizona telling supporters the former president is at fault for the state's new near-total ban on abortion. And later smash and grab robberies in stores around the country. We'll take you inside a Chicago task force that is trying to fight back.



COOPER: Vice President Harris appeared at a rally in battleground state of Arizona a short time ago. Three days after the state Supreme Court allowed a near-total ban on abortion to become law. She laid the blame for that decision squarely on the former president.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What has happened here in Arizona is a new inflection point. It has demonstrated once and for all that overturning Roe was just the opening act of a larger strategy to take women's rights and freedoms. Part of a full-on attack state by state on reproductive freedom. And we all must understand who is to blame. Former President Donald Trump did this.


COOPER: During his news conference today in Mar-a-Lago, the former president was also asked several questions about his position on abortion, namely, would he sign a national ban and how would he describe his position on abortion now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While you were in office, you said that you would sign a federal abortion ban and Congress sent into your desk. Why should Americans trust your words that you would not do it now if you were re-elected?

TRUMP: Because we don't need it any longer because we broke Roe v. Wade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over the last few decades, Mr. President, you have both considered yourself pro-choice and pro-life. Which one is it?

TRUMP: Well, you know exactly which one it is. And when I was in New York and when I was a Democrat also, just like Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a Democrat, we sort of followed a very similar path.

But if you look at what we've done with Roe v. Wade, we did something that everyone said couldn't be done and we got it done.


COOPER: We should point out he did not actually directly answered the question of whether he is, in the words of the reporter, pro-choice or pro-life.

Camila Bernal is in Arizona tonight at a protest for abortion rights supporters.


So the vice president clearly sees this ruling as both disastrous for women and an opportunity for the Biden campaign. What are folks there telling you?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, they are so glad, Anderson, that the VP was here because they say that they want as much attention to this issue as possible. They've told me "they need visibility" and the VP needs visibility when it comes to this issue and when it comes to what they're fighting for in November, because a lot of these people here, what they're trying to do is sign a ballot initiative to have this be on the ballot in November of 2024 so that they can go out and vote for the right to an abortion to have it be in the state constitution.

So many people of all ages have come out here today. We're outside of City Hall and they're trying to get people involved that are driving by City Hall. There's people of all ages who have told me - some who've said I fought for this in the '70s and I'm fighting for this again now. Others who say this is the first time they're coming out to protest to get involved in issues like this.

But there is no doubt that all over the state, because we've been in Phoenix and in other places, this issue has truly motivated people. It has energized a lot of the voters here in Arizona, and they see this as an opportunity come November. They see this as an opportunity ...


BERNAL: ... to get this - not only - at the national level, but here in Arizona and have a solution to what they see as a very big problem here in the state.

COOPER: Camila Bernal, thanks very much.

Perspective now from Russell Moore, Editor-in-Chief of Christianity Today, Margaret Hoover, Republican consultant and Kate Bedingfield, a former Biden White House communications director.

I mean, Margaret, let's start with you. How much do you think the issue of abortion, particularly what we've seen in the last week, is going to reshape this race or shape this race?

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I think fundamentally it reshapes the race, Anderson. Now you see not just that Arizona has gone back to a 19th century law that is motivated, as you saw, those - all those all those folks to come out in a state that, frankly, Joe Biden was really risking losing, even though he won it by 10,000 votes in 2020.

The polls suggest that Trump really did have the upper hand because of the issue of the border. This has totally turned this on its tables. And it's not just Arizona. I mean, Arizona is now really flipped because of the abortion issue. But if you have a ballot initiative in Arizona, you have a ballot initiative in Florida, you may have a ballot initiative in Colorado, may have one in New York. There are states moving to put abortion on the ballot and all these issues.

And by the way, Democrats aren't dumb. They're doing this because this motivates people to go to the polls. When they're voting for abortion rights, they're also voting for Joe Biden. They're voting against Donald Trump.

COOPER: Russell, I mean, the former president wouldn't even say he's pro-life or pro-choice. He also said a federal ban isn't needed since Roe v. Wade was overturned. I'm wondering what you think evangelical voters out there. And obviously there's a lot of different kinds of evangelical voters will think of the way he's sort of positioning himself now.

RUSSELL MOORE, EDITOR IN CHIEF, CHRISTIANITY TODAY: Well, as someone who's both pro-life and anti-Trump, I was confused by the rhetoric. I think he's trying to make this intentionally murky. The problem is that a pro-life vision requires a moral vision, requires persuasion as to why every human life is valuable. And that requires a particular view of human dignity, of vulnerability and we don't have that here, especially when you look at the Kari Lake Senate ad that sounded exactly like a Planned Parenthood Super PAC ad for pro-choice candidates.

These people seem to be acting as though they're pro-life with three exceptions, rape, incest and declining poll numbers. And that's not a compelling moral vision to persuade the hearts and minds of people.

COOPER: Kate, I mean, former President Trump falsely claimed today that every legal scholar wanted Roe v. Wade overturned. How much - I mean, is the Vice President going to, like, camp out in Arizona? I mean, is this - how much is this going to be front and center for the Biden campaign?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I expect it will be - they have their way, it'll be front and center every single day because it is such a - it does represent such a fundamental threat for women across the country and also as folks have been discussing here, we know that it motivates voters. We know that it turns people out, Democrats, certainly, but also Independents and some moderate Republicans, too.

We've seen that in states across the country. We saw it in 2022. We saw it with ballot initiatives in '23 and there's no reason to believe we aren't going to see it again in twenty four. So, yes, I would expect that you will see Vice President Harris and President Biden out talking about this. I would expect there will be many trips to Arizona because the stakes couldn't be higher and this is an issue that turns people out to the polls. So they would be - they'd be foolish not to, frankly.

COOPER: Margaret, I mean, the - this is an issue that that works for Democrats, obviously, when - it's interesting because Donald Trump clearly thought several days ago when he came out talking about states' rights that this - that was a good way to sort of handle this issue. And then with the Arizona decision, it's - he seems to be searching for what position he should be taking.


HOOVER: Clearly, he doesn't know what - he - I think he has a very good sense of what the polls are. I think he's reading the polls on whole sorts of issues right now. I think FISA and Ukraine, he's also reading polls and saying what the public really wants about that, because this is a general election argument now. He's through the primary, right?

The federalism argument really works for Republicans broadly and it was a unifying - I mean, this federalism argument about overturning Roe v. Wade, right, even pro-choice Republicans who didn't want Roe v. Wade overturned. I mean, you would hear sort of moderate Republicans saying, well, if the states are for it, we'll see what happens. States will have to go to the polls and they'll have to pass protections. And there was this sort of constitutional argument that made it seem reasonable.

When you have throwback laws for the 19th century, when horsehair was used as surgical thread, all right, when women couldn't vote or own property or have bank accounts, be the standard now. And by the way, it has opened up this possibility for really right-wing extremist groups who advocate really lawfare in this area, especially on social conservative issues. It's Alliance Defending Freedom, which was the group that created the argument that won the day at the state Supreme Court in Arizona.

Nobody expected that the floodgates would be open to such extreme legal arguments that have then won the day within the context of the conservative movement. And I defer to Russell Moore in terms of how he predicted it. But I certainly, as sort of a mainstream Republican, didn't expect that the extremes would harness all of the energy and really see their extreme vision implemented so broadly.

COOPER: Russell, I mean, do you think there will be the same level of enthusiasm among evangelicals this time around for the former president? I mean, he's clearly lost you a long time ago.

MOORE: Well, right now I see a difference right now between the Trump enthusiasts for whom this will matter, not at all, the Fifth Avenue law that rule holds. The man is literally on trial next week, criminal trial for hush money to a porn star and nobody flinches. So I don't think that that will affect them.

I think there are a lot of other people who are just exhausted and seem to have a kind of magical thinking, if we don't mention Donald Trump, we won't have to live through the kind of division we went through 2016 and 2020 and seem to be thinking, well, something will happen.

And the problem is that's not true. We're headed into 2024, whether we like it or not.

COOPER: And Kate, you heard Vice President Harris called the Arizona Supreme Court abortion ruling an inflection point. How good of a messenger is she, you think, on this issue?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, she's excellent. I mean, I think this is an issue that she clearly feels very passionately about. And it's not a surprise when a candidate, when an elected official feels really strongly about something, they are an effective messenger. They deliver it with passion. I think you certainly saw that from her - in Arizona today.

And I would note the fact that her team moved so quickly to get her to Arizona. It is not easy and it's not simple to move the vice president quickly to - there's a lot of security logistics existing conflicts on her schedule that make it hard to move quickly. So the fact that she wanted to be so nimble and get there quickly. And really drive this, again, just reinforces what an effective message and issue this is for the Biden-Harris campaign. But also, I think it was a reflection of how strongly she feels about this and so that makes her a powerful messenger.

COOPER: Yes. Kate, thank you very much. Margaret Hoover, Russell Moore as well, thank you so much.

Coming up next, back to the Trump trials. More breaking news in the slow moving documents case and a high stakes hearing for his co- defendants.



COOPER: More breaking news tonight in another Trump trial. As we mentioned at the top, this involves the Mar-a-Lago documents case, which has been bogged down by almost countless pre-trial motions, hearings on motions and pre-trial appeals. The latest development concerns the former president's co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, and their effort to get some of the charges against them dismissed.

CNN's Evan Perez has the latest on that. So, what do we know about the hearing today? What's the latest in the judge's reaction?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this was a hearing that went for more than two hours. And the lawyers for Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira were arguing that the obstruction related charges should be tossed. They said that the government hadn't met its burden to show that they even knew that there was classified documents in those boxes that they're accused of moving at Mar-a-Lago.

They also said they didn't even know that there was an investigation or that there was a subpoena that had been served on the former president. The judge really showed some skepticism to those arguments saying that a lot of what they were saying were essentially things that should be presented to a jury that you should go to trial and argue that for -- before the jury.

So she seems at least uninclined to buy their arguments. We also heard, though, during this hearing something interesting that we hadn't heard before from Jay Bratt, one of the prosecutors on Jack Smith, the special counsel's team. He said that at least some of the documents that were transported from here in Florida to Bedminster, the former president's golf club in New Jersey, he says that the FBI didn't recover all of those boxes, perhaps containing some documents.

And so, the possibility was raised that there might still be documents and there still might be boxes somewhere out there that the FBI never recovered at the end of that raid in Mar-a-Lago. So, we didn't hear a ruling from the judge today, Anderson, and we don't know when she might rule.

COOPER: What's next in the case?

PEREZ: Well, as you, as you've repeatedly pointed out, this is a slow moving case. And so every time we come into court, we think, hey, could this be the day that Judge Aileen Cannon gives us a trial date? Tells us when, if and when this is going to trial. Is this going to happen this year? That did not happen today.


And so we are still waiting. We still have, as you pointed out, probably over 10 motions that are still left to be decided. We don't know whether she's going to call hearings for every single one of those. Donald Trump was not in his -- in court today, but his -- one of his lawyers was there, and so we wait, Anderson, to see whether we get a trial date at the next hearing.

COOPER: Evan Perez, thanks so much.

Joining us now is California Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell who serves on the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees. Congressman, do you think -- I mean, Judge Cannon has obviously gotten a lot of criticism including from retired federal judges about how she's handling this. Does her skepticism or parent skepticism about dropping the obstruction charges against Trump's co-defendants change anything in your view?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), JUDICIARY & HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEES: Well, no, Anderson. Again, this case is largely driven by the facts. And, of course, I don't agree with her rulings. I will respect them. I'll show them the respect that Donald Trump doesn't show when any ruling goes against him.

But the facts in these cases are so clear that even if you were to put aside, like, what was the motive for Donald Trump to take so many of these documents to Mar-a-Lago. He was asked repeatedly to give them back. So if the motive was financial or the motive was, you know, to leverage them in some way, regardless of that, he was asked over and over and over, hey, give us these documents back.

They protect the troops. They protect our national security. And not only did he not give them back, he asked others to hide them and conceal them. So I think the facts are just so damning as to, you know, what did this person do when he was asked. He did the absolute worst thing that a leader should do in that position. COOPER: You're not optimistic, though, that this is going to go to trial before the election, are you?

SWALWELL: The Supreme Court case, you know, on the president's immunity will drive that. And if the justices come back, you know, and say that he does not have absolute immunity, which most folks believe is going to be the case, it could go to trial before the election.

But, by the way, no one in the Democratic Party, no one who wants to make sure Donald Trump is not president should not be counting on Donald Trump's legal cases as some sort of way to keep Donald Trump from becoming president. Like, we have to draw the contrast to the voters. We have to highlight what President Biden has done. But in no plan that I'm aware of, are we counting on Donald Trump's, you know, legal troubles benefiting us in November.

COOPER: I'm wondering your thoughts when you saw former President Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson, two people who attempted to overturn the 2020 election, urging a crackdown today on non-citizens voting in presidential elections, something that is already illegal and extraordinarily rare.

I just want to play a clip for our viewers.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The House Republicans are introducing a bill that will require proof of citizenship to vote. It seems like common sense. I'm sure all of us would agree. We only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections. But there are some Democrats who don't want to do that.

There's so many millions of illegals in the country, that if only one out of 100 voted, they would cast potentially hundreds of thousands of votes in the election. That could turn an election.


COOPER: I'm wondering what you made of his trip down to Mar-a-Lago.

SWALWELL: Spare me, Anderson. I mean, it's too rich that Donald Trump and Mike Johnson are talking to us about election integrity. That's like having to listen to a lecture by Bonnie and Clyde on bank security. I mean, it's absurd considering what they did in the 2020 election to try and overturn it.

But if you want to go ahead, let's accept the argument that, you know, non-citizens are voting, well, it's already illegal for non-citizens to vote. And so, they're going after something that, you know, is already illegal. And, by the way, it's not a thing. Like they're focusing on something that's not a thing.

Something that is a thing is that Ukraine is on the ropes right now. And there's bipartisan support in the Congress to give them the aid they need. The border needs more resources in the way of border agents, as well as judges to adjudicate cases. And gun violence is the number one killer of our children in America, and nothing's being done on that.

So if Speaker Johnson had spent more time in Washington rather than, you know, stoking an issue that's not there, perhaps we could address, you know, those three critical acute issues right now.

COOPER: I also want to play something that Trump said about the flack that Mike Johnson is getting from Marjorie Taylor Greene, who's taking steps to oust him from the Speaker's office.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he's doing a very good job. He's doing about as good as you're going to do. And I'm sure that Marjorie understands that. She's a very good friend of mine. And I know she has a lot of respect for the Speaker.


COOPER: I mean, how do you interpret that? I mean, you know, it's sort of boilerplate of stuff he always says, you're doing a very good job. It's all sort of meaningless. But, I mean, do you think Trump can save him?


SWALWELL: Well, Trump will keep him there as long as he's useful to Trump. And right now, Speaker Johnson is the managing partner of the largest law firm in Washington, D.C. And they have just one client, that's Donald Trump. And so they killed the border security bill negotiated by the most conservative Senator James Lankford, and President Biden because Donald Trump didn't want it.

They tried to kill the, you know, surveillance bill to target terrorists because Donald Trump didn't like it. And only once Trump like Speaker Johnson's version did it pass. So he'll stay there as long as, you know, it's beneficial to Trump.

And, by the way, with Trump, it's always me, me, me. And anytime he says America first, he means Donald Trump first. And then he'll just pull along everyone else in the Congress who's willing to go with him. And they're finding that, you know, America's interests are not necessarily Donald Trump's interests.

COOPER: Congressman Swalwell, thanks very much.

An exclusive look inside Chicago's efforts to fight a national problem worth billions of dollars organized retail theft, those smash and grab robberies next.



COOPER: During his news conference today, the former president once again tried to tie migrants to rates of crime and other problems he says are, quote, "getting worse." FBI crime statistics, however, show that murder, other reported violent crimes, and property crimes all dropped last year.

Murder rates are even down in cities like Chicago, where violent crime became a flashpoint in the COVID years. Still, other forms of crime have been more persistent. Whitney Wild has an exclusive inside look tonight at how Chicago authorities are trying to stop organized retail theft known as smash and grab robberies.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crimes are casual and brazen. Video shared exclusively with CNN by the Illinois Cook County Sheriff's Office shows in less than a minute, a group of people calmly walk into a beauty supply store, clear shelves of high-end products, throw them into trash bags, and stroll out the door as casually as they entered.

Law enforcement calls cases like this organized retail theft when groups band together to steal a high volume of products and then resell them. Nationwide, industry experts say it's a multi-billion dollar problem.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seriously. Get out.

WILD (voice-over): Video shows the crimes are almost always quick. Some cases turn violent.

In January, a Chicago police officer and suspect were shot after police responded to a smash and grab.

LEO SCHMITZ, CHIEF OF POLICE, COOK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Do not kick up. Do not get tight. Stay loose. It's just another day, another job.

WILD (voice-over): Task forces like this one in Cook County, Illinois, home to Chicago, are trying to stop the problem. CNN got exclusive access to the Cook County Sheriff's Organized Retail Crime Task Force. This search warrant yielded two felony arrests and hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen goods from what police say was a crime ring spanning the Midwest.

During the search, police found stolen products ranging from dog leashes to toothpaste, to supplements.

WILD: What struck me was that they actually seem to have security seals.

LT. MICHAEL WARE, COOK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Yes. Still luckily for us, we got them at the day where they were unable to clean the cells.

WILD (voice-over): Police say the operation targeted five locations, the total haul.

WILD: Have you ever seen a search warrant yield this much product?


WILD (voice-over): Almost $500,000.

DART: To get something in one operation, this is a lot and I think this would be a lot for any police department anywhere in the country.

WILD (voice-over): Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart created the team in 2023. High profile smashing grabs in the city have attracted national attention. Dart, a former prosecutor, says in the past, law enforcement didn't prioritize theft and penalties have been too low.

DART: I mean, you'd literally have to be a idiot to think that if you're charged with a misdemeanor, that's going to have any consequence whatsoever.

WILD (voice-over): A 2022 law stiffened the penalty for organized retail theft in Illinois. Coast to coast, officials are proposing similar measures. Governor Kathy Hochul proposed beefed up penalties for retail theft and $45 million to fight the problem.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D), NEW YORK: And as governor, I'm not going to stand by and watch brazen thieves wreak havoc in their shops.

WILD (voice-over): California Governor Gavin Newsom is spreading $267 million among law enforcement agencies and in January proposed felony charges and longer sentences for certain cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've taken this very seriously. We've been very proactive, not just here in Southern California, but throughout the state.

WILD (voice-over): Dart says often the stolen goods are sold online.

DART: We believe this group here is all from Amazon.

WILD: This looks so legitimate.

DART: Oh my God, yes. I mean, there's nothing in here that would lead you to believe this is not on the up and up. Nothing.

WILD (voice-over): Dart says he worries organized retail crime shows no signs of slowing down.

DART: This is very large. Unfortunately, I think this is sort of the tip of the iceberg.


COOPER: Whitney Wild joins us now from Chicago. I mean, what are the biggest challenges for police and retailers trying to stop this?

WILD (on-camera): Well, Anderson, these cases are so complex. They frequently span states and counties. And so the real challenge here is to try to coordinate the law enforcement agencies, again, in different counties, in different states, and then include the private sector businesses that have been affected in those multiple jurisdictions as well.

That's what task forces like this try to do, get all these entities together to work together to combat this issue. Meanwhile, online platforms are also taking a robust approach. In fact, when we reached out to Amazon about this story, they said their crime investigators and their analysts frequently send cases to law enforcement. And those have resulted in arrests, not just in the U.S., Anderson, but all around the world.

COOPER: All right. Whitney Wild, thanks.

More breaking news coming up. President Biden says he expects Iran to retaliate against Israel, quote, "sooner than later" for this attack on its consulate compound in Syria last week. His direct message for Tehran and what sources say is happening there now, next.



COOPER: There's more breaking news. According to two sources familiar with U.S. Intelligence, the U.S. has observed Iran moving military assets around internally, including drones and cruise missiles, and that could signal it's possibly preparing to attack Israeli targets from inside its own territory.

This afternoon, a reporter asked President Biden how imminent an Iranian strike might be. Here's his response.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to get this security information, but my expectation is sooner than later.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your message to Iran in this moment?

BIDEN: Don't.


COOPER: Officials say that Iran's strike against Israel would be in response to this airstrike on Iran's consul in Syria's capital last week, which Tehran said killed three Iranian generals.

Let's get some perspective now from CNN's Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem. Also with us, CNN Military Analyst and Retired General, Wesley Clark. Jeremy, what is the level of concern in Israel tonight?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Israeli forces are certainly on high alert tonight, anticipating an Iranian response to that Israeli strike last week on what was described as a Iranian consular facility in Damascus killing a senior high level Iranian commander.

[20:55:12] The question is, where will that response now come? I'm told that Israeli government officials are preparing for the possibility of an Iranian attack on Israeli facilities inside of Israel. But one thing is clear, Israel's military establishment wants to show that no matter what the response from Iran, no matter where they attack, they say that Israeli forces are prepared to respond.

Already tonight, we've seen Israeli forces responding to a barrage of rockets that were fired by Hezbollah towards northern Israel, about 40 rockets that were either intercepted or fell into open areas. Two explosive drones were also intercepted. But Israeli forces are preparing, of course, for something much more significant, perhaps in terms of an Iranian response.

The question is what type of response, when will it come? That will also determine how Israel chooses to respond going forward.


DIAMOND: An attack on Israeli soil in particular by Iranian forces directly would be something that would escalate the situation considerably.

COOPER: General Clark, what would you anticipate? I mean, would Iran directly strike, or do you think it would more likely be through sort of proxy forces?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I'd be surprised if Iran directly strikes, Anderson. They're very close to getting nuclear capacity. They know that if they strike Israel directly, Israel is itching for a chance to take out their nuclear facilities.

Now, the United States doesn't want a big escalation, so maybe the United States would try to prevail on Israel not to do this. But there's been a continuous debate in Israel for 15 years about what to do about Iran's nuclear capacity.

And as they're getting closer and closer to it, everybody in Israel understands that once Iran is a nuclear power, everything's different in the region. So this would be a big opportunity for Israel if Iran actually does come in and strike them.

COOPER: And General Clark, I mean, the Israeli -- the Iron Dome system, do you think it's capable of handling most of what might be thrown at Israel?

CLARK: Well, it's not only the Iron Dome, but they also have other missile interceptors, including the aero system, which has been proven effective against a Houthi (ph) bombardment coming from Houthi from Yemen up into Israel. So, I think the Israelis are very, very confident that they can handle this.

And that's why they put out the assurances to their people. And so, you know, we've seen, Anderson, the mood was -- they're pretty sly. They're pretty cautious. They're not going to follow their rhetoric in every case. Obviously, we're getting intelligence that says they're preparing to do something. So we're on alert.

But will they make the decision to do it? Or if they come after Israel, they're making a big mistake.

COOPER: Jeremy, I mean, the next level of escalation would also be any kind of targeting of U.S. military assets in the region. What -- I mean, what are the assets in the region right now?

DIAMOND: Well, U.S. forces are positioned all across this region, Anderson, and we've seen them, of course, come under fire in the past from Iranian proxies in the region. At this hour, U.S. officials are indicating that they don't expect this Iranian response to target U.S. forces in the region. But the United States has deployed additional air defense assets in the region in anticipation for this.

Also, because U.S. officials are also saying that they may try and intercept any potential attacks by Iranian proxies headed towards Israel. We've seen them do that in the past as it relates to some of those Houthi attacks being fired from Yemen towards Israel. Some of those have been intercepted by the U.S. Navy.

We've also know, of course, that there are U.S. forces deployed in the region elsewhere that could potentially intercept any missiles or other assets that are fired from Iranian proxies in Iraq as well. So we know that U.S. forces and Israeli forces are closely coordinating that visit earlier today by the head of U.S. Central Command meeting with the defense minister in Israel, meeting with Israel's top general as well, intended to showcase that close collaboration and very much sending a message to Iran. Anderson?

COOPER: General Clark, I mean, what do you think the chances of any kind of wider regional conflict are?

CLARK: I'd say actually they're low right now. We've done everything we could do diplomatically to head this off and have a lot of people pressuring the Iranians. The Iranian economy's a mess. They've had actually soldiers walk off the job because they're not paid.

The Iranians have taken Social Security money from their populace. Inflation's high. People can't get taxis. They can't afford it. They can't afford gasoline. So really, this is the mullahs against the Iranian people in some respect. And were they to get into a shooting war with Israel, they can't count on the support of their own populace in this.

I think they're going to wager that things will look different if they can become a nuclear power and somehow that's going to keep them in place. So, I see them trying to do something, but being sly, clever. Maybe something that's a semi deniable. Not giving Israel a chance to really come in there and take out the drone factories or the nuclear capacity that Iran is building.

COOPER: General Wesley Clark, thank you. Jeremy Diamond as well, thanks.

That's it for us. The news continues. Have a great weekend. "THE SOURCE" with Kaitlan Collins starts now.