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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump Trial: No Jurors Picked On Day 1, More Potential Jurors Will Be Questioned Tuesday; Israel Weighs Response To Iranian Strikes; Iranian Official Says Tehran Will Respond In Seconds If Israel "Makes Another Mistake"; Israel Weighs Response To Iranian Strikes; White House: Biden Focused On Preventing Iran Attack From Spiraling Into Wider Regional War; Trump Criminal Trial: Only 8 Potential Jurors Questioned On Day 1; Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators Snarl Traffic On Golden Gate Bridge, Also In Oakland, Chicago & NYC. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 15, 2024 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thomas is 75. He is the most senior associate justice on the Supreme Court. He missed several arguments in 2022 with an infection. And tonight, the Supreme Court is not responding to our request for additional information about Thomas' leave of absence today, leaving many important questions unanswered.

Well, thank you so very much for joining us. We'll see you here tomorrow. AC360 begins now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Tel Aviv, which is now bracing for what comes next if Israel's armed forces, already at war on a number of fronts, launch this country's answer to Saturday's large-scale but mostly thwarted drone and missile attack by Iran. The first time Iran has directly struck Israel from its own soil. One of two highly significant and potentially history-changing stories that we are following in the hour ahead.

Israel's war cabinet, seen here yesterday, met again today reviewing plans for a potential counter-strike. The leadership here vowing to "exact a price for what Iran did," which in turn was Iran's response for what's believed to be the Israeli strike that killed two Iranian generals in Syria.

What shape the Israeli response takes, the timing of it and Iran's reaction to it, it could transform an already dangerous confrontation into something even harder to contain. Just a short time ago, Iran's deputy foreign minister warned that his country will respond in just seconds if Israel, in his words, makes another mistake.

Also tonight, back in New York, American history being made. Jury selection begins for the first criminal trial ever of a former president, the first of four criminal trials, as you know, for this former president, perhaps the only one to happen before Election Day.

So as you might imagine, our focus over the hour ahead is divided for two good reasons. We - as we closely monitor any moves from Israel, we begin right now with a momentous day in the case against the former president and CNN's Kara Scannell.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is an assault on America. Nothing like this has ever happened before. There has never been anything like it.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Donald Trump speaking out on a day that saw 96 potential jurors pass through magnetometers to enter the courtroom with Trump. They were sworn in and questioning began.

A few minutes later, at least 50 prospective jurors were excused because they told the judge they could not be fair and impartial. Of those who remained, three questioned by the judge listed the New York Times and CNN as their sources of news. None said they had read any books by Michael Cohen or Trump. And none of them said they worked or volunteered for any pro-Trump or anti-Trump groups.

Just nine members of today's jury pool were questioned and not dismissed by the time court adjourned.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg says the former president attempted to cover up payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, trying to stop her from speaking out about the alleged affair with Trump.

Judge Juan Merchan started the day by denying a motion from Trump's lawyers to recuse himself. As attorneys debated, Judge Juan Merchan said he would not allow the infamous Access Hollywood tape to be shown or video of Trump's deposition in the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit that found him liable for defamation.

Karen McDougal, a model who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and was paid $150,000 to keep quiet about it, will be allowed to testify. Attorneys also argued about how much the jury can be told about Michael Cohen crimes.


MICHAEL COHEN, DONALD TRUMP'S FORMER ATTORNEY: I did it at the direction of, in concert with and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump.


SCANNELL (voice over): The credibility of Trump's former fixer, who admitted he orchestrated the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, will be one of the most fought over elements of the case. Trump, for his part, entered very few words into the court record.

He could sometimes be seen leaning back in his chair with his arms folded, and his eyes appeared to be closed for several minutes. When he was introduced as the defendant, Trump turned around and gave the potential jurors a tight-lipped smirk.

Once jury selection began, Trump was active, at times conferring with his lawyer and holding the questionnaire up to read as the judge questioned jurors. Prosecutors also asked the judge to fine Trump for social media posts attacking witnesses involved in the case, saying he violated a gag order.

The judge scheduled a hearing for next week to settle that matter. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks. It may be the only case against Trump to face a jury before the 2024 election. The presumptive Republican nominee complaining about the judge as he walked out of the courtroom.


TRUMP: The judge, of course, is not going to allow us, he's a very conflicted judge and he's not going to allow us to go to that. He won't allow me to leave here for a half a day go to D.C. and go before the United States Supreme Court, because he thinks he's superior.



COOPER: And what's expected tomorrow in court?

SCANNELL (on camera): So, today, they questioned those nine jurors, including an oncology nurse and a bookseller.


Tomorrow, the judge will continue this questioning, going through those 42 questions on the questionnaire until they have a large enough mass that the attorneys then begin to ask these jurors questions, all ultimately with the goal of getting 12 jurors and six alternates. Anderson?

COOPER: Kara Scannell, thanks so much.

Joining us now is Kaitlan Collins, host of The Source, coming up at 9 o'clock, the top of the hour; also a best-selling author and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin; and Richard Gabriel, a jury consultant and author of "Acquittal: An Insider Reveals the Stories and Strategies Behind Today's Most Infamous Verdicts."

So Jeff, as Kara was just reporting, out of 96 potential jurors today, more than half were dismissed because they said they couldn't be impartial. Only nine got through the questionnaire. I mean, is this how you expected things to go?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's actually good progress. Journalists, we have a - we tend to think that everyone out there in the real world, potential jurors, are following these stories closely the way we are and they're not. We are certainly going to get a jury here. This process is underway. I've covered all these high-profile trials. We always think, oh, everybody has made up their mind.

They haven't made up their mind. People are living their lives. They are going to be questioned by the lawyers, questioned by the judge. A group of 12 jurors and six alternates will say they can be fair and this trial will proceed. This trial is now underway.

COOPER: Kaitlan, what are you hearing from Trump World tonight about how they think the first day went?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, they're seizing on a few things, Anderson, that happened at the end of the trial. Two things in particular, one that needs a fact-check, which is that the question of what the schedule of this trial is going to look like.

One thing that the Trump team had raised was his son's upcoming graduation. The judge was essentially saying, I can't make a decision on that right now. Something that's happening in May, that's a decision we'll have to make going forward. That is one thing that you've seen the Trump team really seize on, saying that repeatedly as they've been going after this judge and criticizing him, given he started today's hearing by saying, I'm not going to recuse myself.

That second request that he had gotten from the Trump legal team to do so. And the really the one thing that they are focused on is what's going to happen once the questioning of these jurors gets underway beyond what we saw today, where just a few of them actually had the questionnaire read. Most of them were - left the room over half of that initial pool of 96 people, because they said they could not be fair or impartial.

And that has been the argument that you've been hearing from the Trump team, complaining that they don't believe they can get a fair jury here. But of course, they are going to be ultimately trying to whittle this down to 12 people and a few alternates that they believe will be helpful to them, because all they need is one Anderson here to essentially not agree with the prosecution.

COOPER: Richard, I mean, we heard from Jeff, who said that there will be a jury and that this is the process. I'm wondering what you make of progress that was made today, the volume of potential jurors that have already been dismissed.

RICHARD GABRIEL, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, it's actually a good thing. I mean, the truth is that you're looking for candid responses from jurors. And oftentimes when I'm doing jury selections in court, sometimes it's really like pulling teeth to really pull stuff out of jurors to get them to tell you how you really feel.

So obviously, Donald Trump is one of the most - probably the most high profile defendant ever to go to trial. People are going to have some pretty strong opinions about him. So half the people saying I've got strong opinions about this is a good thing because those people have self-identified as not being impartial and that's what you need in a trial like this.

So I think as Jeff said, this is actually progress being made. It might be slow, but it is progress.

TOOBIN: And what Judge Merchan did was interesting and somewhat different from the way other judges operate. Other judges sometimes don't let people excuse themselves by saying they have strong feelings. He's just letting everyone go.


TOOBIN: He has enough of a pool. He has hundreds of people waiting. He is not going to quarrel with people who say they can't be fair. That's good. That means this process will move along. 40 people making it through essentially half a day because the morning was mostly taken up with legal arguments. This is good progress.

I mean, they are going to have a jury in a week or two here.

COOPER: Jeff, the - I'm wondering what you make of the different evidence that the judge has ruled admissible. Karen McDougal, the former Playboy playmate that the former president allegedly had an affair with, will be allowed to testify. On the other hand, the Access Hollywood tape, which everybody knows about, can't be played for the jury.

TOOBIN: I thought those were very reasonable conclusions by the judge. The Karen McDougal story is very similar to the Stormy Daniels story. It is money paid for silence for women who were allegedly involved with Trump at Trump's behest.

The idea that Trump was trying to keep information from the voters on the eve of the election by paying this money or having his allies at the National Enquirer pay Karen McDougal.


I also thought it was appropriate to keep the Access Hollywood tape out. That is a case - that is a tape about non-consensual sexual conduct. The Donald Trump saying, what everyone knows he said about what he could do with women. That's not what this case is about.

Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal both claim that this was consensual sex, and I thought keeping that away from the jury, even though they probably already know about it, was an appropriate decision for Trump's benefit.

COOPER: Kaitlan, also the Trump team made a request of the judge regarding another hearing in Washington, D.C. next week.

COLLINS: Yes, it just shows you how all of Trump's legal issues are kind of colliding here. I mean, next week is when the Supreme Court is going to hear the immunity arguments for Donald Trump, which is really the ballgame for all of these major cases that he's also facing with - when it comes to the special counsel. That is going to be next Thursday.

And Trump's team, right at the end, after they were done with trying to get jury selection working on that today, they made a request for Donald Trump to be able to attend that next Thursday in Washington. Todd Blanche, his lead attorney, said that he very much wants to attend that.

And the judge was saying, I understand why that's of grave importance. It's obviously an argument that you're making before the Supreme Court, but he noted correctly that Trump is required to be here in New York. That is part of the agreement. He didn't ask for a waiver for his presence. He certainly could.

But the judge said that next Thursday he will see him here in New York because they are trying to keep this on schedule, and I think that speaks to really what today underscores and what it means for how it's changing Donald Trump's day-to-day reality, Anderson. I mean, he is someone who has been in charge of his schedule.


COLLINS: He was the president of the United States. He kind of does whatever he wants, but with this, he is confined to being in the Manhattan courthouse several days a week and will be for the foreseeable future now.

COOPER: Yes. Jeff Toobin, Richard Gabriel, thanks so much. Kaitlan, we're going to see you at the top of the hour at nine on The Source. You have a conversation with a member of the Trump defense team.

Joining us now is New Yorker contributing writer Ronan Farrow, who's written the definitive book on the practice at the center of this trial, the title "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators."

So Ronan, we learned today that several stories that you helped uncover will be allowed to be taken into evidence in this trial, including allowing Karen McDougal to testify. How important do you think her story is to this trial to the larger picture?

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: It's pivotal and it's a pivotal moment in this case that Judge Merchan is saying, look, this is essential material to establishing the narrative. The narrative being that there was indeed a scheme between Donald Trump and the National Enquirer and that these payments had an electoral intent.

And the evidence of a series of payments, not just to Stormy Daniels, which is the central transaction at issue, but also to Karen McDougal, who you mentioned, potentially to the doorman at Trump Tower who was paid off for exclusive rights to a rumor he'd heard about that Trump had an affair and fathered a child with an employee. We don't know whether that rumor is accurate, but we do know that there was a payment from the National Enquirer in order to lock up that doorman in silence.

All of that has figured in legal documents around this case. And the fact that it's now going to figure in front of jurors is significant. It's the crux of it.

COOPER: I spoke to McDougal in 2018. I just want to play some of what she had to say.


COOPER: Once Donald Trump won the Republican nomination ...


COOPER: ... you're saying AMI suddenly came back to you with interest in the story.

MCDOUGAL: Well, to Keith, yes, to us for the story, yes.

COOPER: Why do you think it was that it was after Donald Trump was the Republican nominee that they came back?

MCDOUGAL: They wanted to squash the story.

COOPER: You're saying they wanted to protect Donald Trump?

MCDOUGAL: I'm assuming so, yes.

COOPER: If Donald Trump hadn't been running for president, do you believe this deal would have been made with AMI, knowing what you know now?

MCDOUGAL: Probably not, no. No. Probably not.

COOPER: You're pretty - you're convinced now this was an effort to do a favor for Donald Trump in the last few months of the presidential race?

MCDOUGAL: Unfortunately, yes.


COOPER: How pivotal do you think her actual testimony would be?

FARROW: Well, we don't yet know whether that testimony will be a part of this trial. It was let in, theoretically, but the judge also made a hedging comment saying we don't know whether the probative value of that would outweigh the potential prejudicial effect of it, so we'll see.

What we do know from both of our interactions with Karen McDougal and the way she's behaved with other journalists is she's been willing to turn whistleblower on this matter. She expressed to me multiple times in our interviews that she felt a sense of guilt about having been dragged into a scheme with electoral implications, which wasn't her intention in the first place.


So we have a sense that she's going to be willing to help the prosecution in this case. We also have a strong sense that figures at AMI, the then parent company of the National Enquirer, are going to be willing to help. David Pecker, for instance, has gone in and met with prosecutors around the inquiries into Trump and the hush payments from basically square one. So there's a roster of individuals who can speak to the fact that this was a scheme to influence the election, something that the Trump folks denied to me from the beginning of this reporting and then gradually have had to admit to.

COOPER: We - last time you and I spoke, you said that you weren't sure whether there's a strong case yet given where things stand after today, what do you think? But given that - you'd said that given sort of the unique nature of these charges.

FARROW: So Trump is obviously facing a variety of criminal proceedings around the country. There's these four ongoing cases. It is true that most legal experts regard this as one of the thinner ones. Theoretically, each of these charges in this case could carry a multi- year sentence, but more likely any sentence would be served concurrently with any other sentence in this case. And it's very possible that Trump won't get any jail time for something of this severity. There are other cases ongoing that could be more severe.

However, this case is consequential in part because it's the one that we may see resolution on first before the election. So this is something that is going to have a big effect on the media cycle, a big effect on the election. And I will say that from what we've seen in the early proceedings, this judge pushing back very hard against efforts by Trump's defense to delay things, efforts to force the judge to recuse himself.

All of that does suggest that you have someone in that position who is not a pushover and who is going to go hard on this. He did grant at least one motion that the defense brought forward today. He's clearly making a great show of being even-handed in the face of a lot of broadsides from Trump who's been attacking this judge on social media, potentially in violation of a gag order. There'll be a hearing about that in several weeks. But he's also making it clear that he's not going to fold.

COOPER: Ronan Farrow, thanks so much. Good to talk to you.

Coming up next, all we are learning here about what could come next in Israel's confrontation with Iran. Also a late reporting for the White House on efforts there to contain a crisis which may be about to grow again. We'll be right back.



COOPER: The response to some of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched by Iran at Israel over the weekend. Israel now weighing what more it will do about it. And as we mentioned at the top, Iran's government late tonight warning that any Israeli counter-strike would be answered not in days, but in seconds, they claim.

CNN Chief International Correspondent, Clarissa Ward is here with me. What do we know about the decision-making process going on in Israel right now?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So there was yet another war cabinet session today, the fourth since Saturday. It lasted a few hours. We also heard from the IDF chief saying that really it is not a question of if - rather if - but when. So the question then becomes, what does that response look like?

There are numerous options on the table could be a direct tit for tat going for an Iranian military facility, could be an asymmetric attack focusing on one of Iran's proxies, could be a cyber attack. But against the backdrop, you have these kind of competing political calculations, Anderson. You have allies of Israel who are really urging caution, who are really urging restraint. And then you have political allies, primarily in the form of Benjamin Netanyahu's right- wing coalition, who are urging a tougher stance, a more robust response to reestablish a deterrent. And then across the region, of course, just this broader sense of high alert and tension and anticipation.

COOPER: There's also the question of timing. Is it better to wait and sort of serve revenge cold at a time and place of choosing, or is it imperative that it be quick while there is international support for Israel or sympathy for Israel?

WARD: Yes. The consensus right now seems to be that there is an impetus for movement soon. And that may be because Israel feels that it's enjoying a rare moment of goodwill, that people are less focused on what's been happening in Gaza and the atrocities and failures there, and more focused on this broader issue of Iran. They've talked about wanting to form a regional coalition. We saw Benjamin Netanyahu taking to Twitter again today, saying we've got to stand united against Iran.

But I think there's a sense that there's a limited window that they will be able to do that in, particularly as the world will turn its attention back to Gaza, back to the stalled talks with Hamas about a ceasefire and hostage release.

COOPER: There had been thought - this week there would be an operation in Rafah. It's unclear at this point what the status of that is.

WARD: Unclear what the status is. There are still so many moving parts. You still have one million Gazans who are hunkered down, displaced in Rafah. And Israel has faced a lot of criticism for its actions in Gaza. They know that the world is watching, that they will be expected to launch this operation in some way where we do not see the level of civilian casualties that we have seen before.

We've heard the U.S. being overtly critical and sort of laying down a warning. Again, you come back to these competing political considerations, though, because here in Israel, there is also a lot of pressure on its leadership to deliver some kind of a military victory against Hamas in Gaza, though no one has really articulated exactly at this stage what that would look like, Anderson. COOPER: Clarissa Ward, thanks very much.

Let's go to - next to the IDF Chief Spokesperson and Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.

Admiral Hagari, I appreciate your time tonight.

The IDF Chief of Staff said today that Iran's attack "will be met with a response and that it will - we will do that at the time we choose." What would you hope to achieve from a military perspective in any response?

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, IDF CHIEF SPOKESPERSON: Hi, Anderson. Good to see you again.

On Saturday night, we faced a launch - large-scale launch attack of Iran that launched over 350 ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, rockets, drones towards Israel. This was the largest scale of attack that we saw. And using over a hundred ballistic missiles with one attention to harm Israel, this unprecedented attack met with an unprecedented response and capability of defense response of Israel that fought in the air, in the sea, in the land, but we did not fight alone.


It also met a coalition, a coalition that was formed against Iran, led by the United States and also United Kingdom, France and other partners. This coalition has intercepted 99 percent of the threat and it thwarted the attack by Iran. But it didn't just thwarted the attack by Iran. It also conveyed a strong message to Iran. We will not stand this Iranian aggression.

COOPER: How concerned are you that any response, I mean, you talked about the coalition partners. There was also Jordan. There was also Saudi Arabia involved. Are you concerned that a military response now against Iran might jeopardize future cooperation from those countries and others?

HAGARI: Many countries in the region share the same threat as Israel from Iran. They all share this threat. This is why on Saturday night, it wasn't just a significant moment of this attack that was stopped. Iran failed, but it also revealed the opportunity in the Middle East for coalition, for countries that share the same threat from this Iranian aggression and we will not stand from this Iranian aggression. It will be stopped.

COOPER: I want to ask you about some reporting. A senior Biden administration official confirmed to CNN that Hamas is now telling Israeli - or mediators that they only have around 20 remaining hostages who are in the groups that they are willing to release, women or sick or wounded and elderly men. This is down from the number 40, which we understand has been part of the negotiations over the last several weeks.

Do you believe that Hamas is negotiating with the intent to reach a ceasefire deal? Do you - what do you make of their saying now only 20?

HAGARI: Last time we met, Anderson, was five days after the 7th of October. I met you at the Nova Festival location site where hundreds of young children that came to hear a music festival were slaughtered by Hamas. We stood there together seeing the burned cars, the area that was days before a party of freedom, a party for young people that were looking for music and freedom.

And those young women that were slaughtered over there and those young women that were kidnapped to Gaza are now being held hostages, and those are young women that face sexual violence. Hamas is a ruthless enemy. Hamas is still holding 133 hostages, women, children the elderly. We must do everything to bring them back home as fast as we can.

It's true, Hamas wants its deal in its own condition, but we have to do everything we can to rescue our hostages. There is no time. We're losing time with our hostages. We have to do everything we can to bring them home.

COOPER: Do you believe that the pressure Israel has been under from allies from the U.S., from others in the international community has weakened the ability of Israel to - on the negotiating table? I mean, if Hamas is now backing off from saying 40 and now down to 20 and we want more prisoners and more of those who have been held for life sentences, we want more of them released, does that indicate to you that the leadership of Hamas in Gaza views Israel as weakened at the negotiating table?

HAGARI: I think Israel knows Hamas for many years. It didn't change. When we talked about Gilad Shalit in Gaza, it was the same. When we talked about the late Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, it was the same. This is Hamas. We know them so well. This is Hamas.

He only wants to survive. He only wants his own survival. This is Hamas. He takes - use the hostages for its own survival. He uses the Gazan population for its own survival. And we must do everything we can with the mediators, with the IDF forces to pressure Hamas to bring them back home.


COOPER: You mentioned the young women who have been taken from the Nova music festival today I met you. I should also point out Hersh Goldberg-Polin and others who have been wounded. Hersch had his left hand and arm blown off or shot off in a shelter there.

He, we believe, is still being held. So there are, as you say, many from that Nova music festival still being held.

Daniel -- Admiral Hagari, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

HAGARI: Thank you so much, Anderson. These days we are waiting to see what will happen in the region. But on Saturday night, although the war is very, very tough, we saw the friendship, the ironclad friendship, true strategic friendship of the United States standing beside Israel.

But it wasn't just the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other countries in the region. And it showed the opportunity -- Middle East for the future that this war will end with a different Middle East, a more stable Middle East, a more safer Middle East. Thank you.

COOPER: Admiral Hagari, thank you.

With me now is Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States. So I want to ask you about what the Admiral just said, which is -- which hasn't gotten as much attention. I keep coming back to it is Jordan, Saudi Arabia, some involvement in the coalition that helped stop this attack in Israel. How significant is that? Is that a sign of what could be a changing dynamic?

MICHAEL OREN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Welcome back, Anderson. It's hugely significant. I mean, think about this. I mean, who would have thought about this, you know, 20, 30, 40 years ago that Israel would be joining with Jordan, with Saudi Arabia, perhaps with the UAE as well, and fighting a common enemy.

I mean, it would have been unthinkable. And it is what Admiral Hagari just said, that it's a historic opportunity. It is an historic opportunity. Yes, there's lots of dangers here. But --

COOPER: So if there is, I mean, that's got to weigh into the war council's decision making process of, what -- does a direct attack on Iran, does that hurt that historic opportunity?

OREN: Well, the war cabinet has to thread a very, very narrow needle, OK? You have to create deterrence on Iran without triggering perhaps a regional conflagration and not breaking up this newfound alliance that came into being -- then come into being on Saturday night, but certainly showed its effect, its robust impact on the region Saturday night.

COOPER: I mean, Israel was on the verge of a deal with Saudi Arabia for recognition prior to October 7th. There's many who believe that's one of the main reasons Hamas would have launched when they did --

OREN: I'm one of them, yes.

COOPER: -- to stop that deal.

OREN: Yes, I did, I did. And it's true. And these states are looking to us to stand up. These states face twin challenges. It's Sunni extremism in the form of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Shiite extremism in the form of Iran and Hezbollah. If the United States gets behind this effort to stop both of these extremisms together with Israel, there are tremendous opportunities here.

What's being -- the chance here is to show that the war going on in Gaza, south of here, and what happened in the Iranian attack on Israel on Saturday night is really the same war. And it's a war that's been going on for decades here.

COOPER: So you're not the ambassador any longer, so you can say your opinion.

OREN: I can.

COOPER: If the U.S. is saying, take this as a win, Israel don't militarily retaliate right now, what would you say?

OREN: I would say it was a great achievement for Israel. It's a great achievement for the U.S.-Israel alliance, a great achievement for the region. But a defense is not deterrence. And, you know, in football, basketball, you don't win a game just on defense. You have to win on offense as well.

But you want to view offense in a smart way and in a controlled way that, again, as I said earlier, that will not lead to a wider conflagration in the region and will enable us to retain these alliances, not just with the United States, with Europe and of course with our Arab neighbors.

COOPER: So a response by Israel, you're saying, is, I mean, are you saying that it's most important that it send a message to Iran, that it's kind of loss of face if you don't respond?

OREN: It's not just loss of face. It's giving a message to the entire Middle East. You can shoot 350 projectiles at us. And if one of them had gotten through, it could have killed thousands of people. Those cruise missiles can take down an entire neighborhood, not just a building. We can't do that. We can't live in this neighborhood with that message getting out.

COOPER: So a military response by Israel wouldn't necessarily have to actually have much of a military effect on the ground, but you're saying the value of what would be more psychological or just in terms of sending a message.

OREN: Well, since I'm not ambassador, I'll say the following, Iran is a target rich environment. There is crypto possibilities and Iran is very, very vulnerable to them. There are fuel facilities along the Persian Gulf. There are many areas where Israel could send that message, which wouldn't involve attacking Iranians the way they -- the way the Iranians attacked our people.


And, by the way, we don't have a conflict with the people of Iran. Before 1979, we had a very close relationship with those people. We want to have that relationship again. We don't want those people to rally around the regime. We want those people to conclude that this regime is really, really bad for them because I think they're already there already. And we want to encourage that process.

So, again, it's a target rich environment. Israel has to choose the target that's going to get the message across. Shooting 350 projectiles at us is a really bad idea. It's going to cost you. And it's actually going to cost -- it's actually going to create the region to galvanize around you, against you, together with the United States, Britain, France, other international actors, who knows, perhaps even the Chinese.

COOPER: Ambassador Michael Oren, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much.

OREN: Have a safe evening.

COOPER: Coming up, how the Biden administration is balancing support for Israel with fears of provoking a wider war. Plus, more on how Iran says it will respond to a possible retaliatory strike by Israel.


COOPER: With Israel's government here weighing a counter strike on Iran, more now on the balance the Biden administration is trying to strike between supporting Israel, signaling the limits of that support, maintaining regional alliances, and deterring Iran.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez at the White House for us. So what is the White House saying about the potential for an Israeli response to the attack?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the resounding message today, Anderson, is that they're monitoring all of this very closely and that it is ultimately Israel's decision to make and it steps forward and that the U.S. will not be involved in that process.

Of course, this is an extension of what was discussed over the weekend between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where President Biden advised him to think carefully and strategically here and said that the U.S. will not be involved in a counter strike against Iran.

Of course, the focus for the White House is to contain the risk of this becoming a broader regional conflict. That has been a top concern for months since the October 7 terrorist attacks. It is especially one now. And in a phone call that the president held yesterday with G7 leaders, the focus of that was the diplomatic way forward, the non- military actions they can take, for example, arranging new multilateral sanctions against Iran's missile and other nefarious programs.


Now, of course, the question is whether the Israeli prime minister is going to take president's -- the president's advice, and whether Israel gives any notice to the U.S. before its response. Those are two open-ended questions here at the White House tonight.

Now, the National Security Council spokesperson was asked today whether the president is going to get on the phone again with the prime minister. He didn't have anything to share, but he did say that there would be a call at the appropriate time. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Priscilla Alvarez, thanks very much.

I'm joined now by Norman Roule, he's the former National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the offices of the Director of National Intelligence. Norman, when you hear Iranian officials talk, as one did today, about retaliating to an Israeli strike within seconds, is that, you think, bluster, or do you take them at their word?

NORMAN ROULE, NON-RESIDENT SENIOR ADVISER, CSIS TRANSNATIONAL THREATS PROJECT: Good evening. No, they probably have a capability and the intelligence packages set aside to launch a number of missiles and drones. It's likely, or they may launch a smaller package than they did on April 13th, hoping that the world will say, because it's a smaller package, they are accommodating the new environment or not attempting to escalate the new environment. But some launch capacity is possible.

COOPER: What do you -- I mean, when you look at what is happening here now, what stands out to you? What should our viewers know?

ROULE: What stands out in my mind is we've watched the collapse of deterrence against Iran, be it hostages, piracy against ships, expanding its nuclear program, attacking Israel terrorist operations in the United States and the United Kingdom. It's really difficult to identify what an international red line for collective action against Iran, besides symbolic sanctions happens to be.

COOPER: There had been talk about, you know, increased sanctions. There are already a number of sanctions against Iran. Is -- are there any levers to pull other than an attack?

ROULE: Certainly. And I think we need to comment on number of sanctions. It's very easy to say hundreds of sanctions are in place, but sanctions on individuals with no assets abroad who don't use international financial systems who don't travel abroad. And indeed, the regime doesn't want them to travel abroad. Sound good, but they don't change leadership decision making.

In a perfect world, a sanction would not be issued without a statement to say this is why we believe it will change Iran's behavior. So if we just see from the G7 sanctions against Iran's missile or other related programs, we shouldn't expect that this will change their decision making on future attacks.

COOPER: What do you think of the participation of Jordan, of Saudi Arabia in the defense against this Iranian attack over the weekend? Does it -- I mean, as some of these Israelis here, like to say that this points to kind of a future of a potential sort of change in the dynamic?

ROULE: Well, there are several elements to this too. First, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and all of the regional Arab states have great concerns over Iran. Iran is a common threat. Second, we've watched the United States, particularly Central Command, develop extraordinary relationships with Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and this is paying off.

Next, these countries have an obligation to defend their own airspace from Iraq -- from the transit of Iranian missiles and drones. And last, these countries would feel the impact if this conflict grew into a regional conflict. So it's certainly in their interest to prevent damage by Iran's missiles and drones.

COOPER: Norman Roule, thank you for your time.

Coming up next, we're going to return to the first ever trial of a former president examined this unprecedented event with presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.



COOPER: I want to turn back to the first ever criminal trial. The former president focused on this history making event that's expected to last for weeks to come.

Joining me tonight, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of a number of great bestsellers. Her latest book, "An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History in the 1960s," goes on sale tomorrow.

Doris, I'm wondering, what is going through your mind as the first former president stands trial in a criminal court?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, you know, obviously, everybody's saying it's an historic day, but what really goes through my mind is a sadness as an historian that this is what an historic day is. I mean, if I could time travel, I'd much rather go back to January 1st, 1863, be there when the Emancipation Proclamation was an historic day.

I'd rather be there at D-Day on June 6th, 1944. The idea that what makes this an historic day is that it's the first president who's going to be in a criminal trial just makes me sad in many ways. I think that's what's going through my mind.

In addition, you know, what will really make this an historic day is it depends on what happens. You know, whether or not the verdict comes down one way or another, whether the American people accept that verdict, whether or not it affects the election, that's when we're really going to know -- that's what we never know when sudden things happen.

A whole train of events will be set in motion today. And it's really where it comes out in the election, I think, in November, that will really tell us how historic this day is.

COOPER: It's also when you think about how people witness today through different lenses. You know, those who believe everything the former president says, or even if they don't believe it, they don't really care whether it's true or not and those who, you know, have other opinions.


Can you talk about, I mean, are there other times that really stand out where the population has sort of seen things through such different eyes? I mean, obviously this is a country that's been divided many times throughout our history.

GOODWIN: I think the only other time that really comes close to this are the 1850s, because what happened during that decade was the understanding of what was happening in the country was completely different in the South and the North.

I mean, you look at what happened when Charles Sumner was attacked by a Southern congressman, and -- right in the Capitol, and it was so mobilizing to the north, that they were on street corners. They formed themselves into the Republican Party. In the South, the person who did the attack, Preston Brooks, became a hero.

And everybody was giving him golden canes to replicate the cane that he had used to bludgeon Sumner. And you realize that the same event was being considered in an entirely different way in terms of facts, truth, and emotions about how they felt it. And then people knew, historians have said, that once that happened it was really hard for anything to bring those two sides together.

And that's what we're seeing today. Different truths, different facts, a different emotional set about even this trial itself and what's being said. So that's what's -- that's what makes me nervous as a historian. We certainly don't want the 1850s to be our echo of what's going to happen to us today.

COOPER: Your new book, "An Unfinished Love Story," it is truly remarkable. It is -- it's a memoir of your life with your late husband, Richard Goodwin, who was a brilliant speech writer and adviser to John F. Kennedy, to Lyndon Johnson, to Robert Kennedy, and he remained a man his whole life.

You write about how in the aftermath of the 2000 election, Al Gore reached out to ask for help with both a victory speech and a concession speech, your husband chose to focus on the concession, knowing how important it would be if needed.

You and he came upon that speech while you were researching this book, and you write, quote, "He asked me to read it, closed his eyes, and listened to the description of the peaceful transition of power, the hallmark of our democratic system dating back to George Washington."

And this is what he wrote. "Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession," end quote.

Liz Cheney wrote in her recent book that that was one of the most patriotic speeches she had ever heard. Do you think that the general public better understands in the wake of January 6th how much of a duty that the losing candidate has to help defend democracy?

GOODWIN: I certainly thought so right after January 6th. I mean, that was such an important thing in 2000 because what Gore did was to say that I offer my support because of the strength of democracy. I disagree with this decision, but nonetheless, for democracy, I will accept it. And I know when my husband was working on it, he understood the power that was important at that moment for a president to speak, a presidential hopeful to speak because the election had already been so. We forget about, there were many, many days when all that was going on in Florida. Nobody knew what the decisions were going to be like.

And the most important thing in this country is a peaceful transition of power. It's what a democracy depends upon. You know, democracy is so simple. You know, who wins -- the people can decide who win, they can decide who lose and throw them out.

And if you don't accept that -- and the great thing about that speech was that it went back to Stephen Douglas, who lost the election to Lincoln, and he said patriotism has to trump, in a certain sense, he didn't say that word, but patriotism is more important than party right now.

COOPER: Doris Kearns Goodwin, just again, the book, remarkable, "An Unfinished Love Story, A Personal History in the 1960s," thank you so much.

GOODWIN: Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be with you from far away.

COOPER: Coming up next, a live report from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, one of several locations around the country where pro- Palestinian demonstrators brought traffic to a standstill.



COOPER: In the U.S. from coast to coast today, pro-Palestinian demonstrators made their views known. They blocked traffic on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and nearby along Oakland's Interstate 880. The same in Chicago, leading some travelers headed to O'Hare Airport to get out of their cars and actually walk to the terminal. Another protest on Wall Street in New York.

CNN's Veronica Miracle joins us now from the Golden Gate Bridge with more. So talk a little bit about the protests on the bridge. What happened?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, 26 people were arrested here on the Golden Gate Bridge. Several of those people had actually chained themselves to each other and to cars that were part of the protests that were parked on the bridge, stopping traffic both directions.

This happened during the Monday morning rush hour commute, started around 8 a.m. and did not resolve until about 12:30. It lasted a long time. And the California Highway Patrol says this was part of an organized event, one that happened here, but then also there was a separate protest on another major thoroughfare in Oakland on the I- 880. And there, protesters had actually chained themselves to 55 gallon barrels full of concrete and rebar, making it very difficult for authorities to clear that roadway. Take a listen to what the CHP had to say about these protests.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can protest any which way you want, but it is unlawful to block a roadway and to prevent people from getting to work, emergency personnel from getting to help people, you can't do it.


MIRACLE: And the protesters say this is part of a worldwide movement in solidarity with Palestine. Anderson?

COOPER: There were a number of other protests around the country, yes?

MIRACLE: There were actually across five major cities at least. And in those five major cities, at least 140 people were arrested. Two of the protests were actually around major airports, including SeaTac in Seattle and O'Hare International in Chicago, where travelers were seen having to get out of cars, take their luggage and try to walk in to make their flights.

So a lot of cities impacted today, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Veronica Miracle, thanks very much. That's it for us tonight from Tel Aviv. We'll see you tomorrow.

The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts right now.