Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump Does Not Testify In Hush Money Trial Despite Saying "I'm Testifying"; Prosecution Undercuts Testimony Of Only Major Defense Witness, Robert Costello; Trump Attorneys Found Classified Docs In Trump's Bedroom Months After FBI Search; Giuliani, 10 Others Plead Not Guilty To Charges Of Conspiring To Overturn 2020 Election In AZ; Trump Campaign Deletes Video Referencing "Unified Reich" If Reelected; Investigation Underway After One Killed, 70 Plus Injured After Severe Turbulence On Singapore Airlines Flight; Award-Winning Journalist Sebastian Junger Talks His Near Death Experience And Idea Of An Afterlife In His New Book. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 21, 2024 - 20:00   ET



JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are many in the creative community who feel like their only course of action, their only protection when it comes to AI is to basically to lawyer up.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: But it's amazing she's going through this and spending the money to do it.

CARROLL: And spending the money, yes.

BURNETT: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much. It's an incredible story. And thanks so much to all of you for joining us as always, AC360 with Anderson Cooper starts right now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, the defense of the Trump trial rest, but not without a damaging cross examination of their only witness.

Also, new photos we have never seen before in the classified documents case allegedly showing a Trump aid and co-defendant moving boxes inside Mar-a-Lago before Trump attorneys were to check for classified files.

And severe turbulence on board a Singapore bound plane from London. One dead dozens injured how it happened tonight.

Good evening. The defense of Donald Trump ended today in a Manhattan courtroom. The former president who's made wild accusations outside the court chose to remain silent and not speak to the jury under oath. The one witness the defense did want the jury to hear an attorney named Robert Costello. The defense called him yesterday to try and undermine the credibility of the prosecution's key witness, Michael Cohen.

But today prosecutors badly undermined his. They used emails involving Costello sent within weeks of Michael Cohen's arrest by the FBI in 2018 to show that while Costello was offering Cohen legal advice, his motives seem to mirror then-President Trump's.

In one email prosecutors read to him, Costello writes his law partner, quote, "Our issue is to get Cohen on the right page without giving him the appearance that we are following instructions from Giuliani or the President."

This came a day after Judge Merchan cleared the court over Costello's brusque demeanor toward the judge. And once the defense wrapped their case in the early afternoon today, that left hours of battle between the two sides over the seemingly arcane but absolutely vital charging instructions the judge will give to the jury. These instructions will act like a road map for their deliberations over the former president's fate.

But because of the current court schedule combined with the long Memorial Day weekend coming up means the jury members are headed home for a long layover and will not return to your closing arguments until next Tuesday after which they will begin their deliberation. The judge today said that should begin next Wednesday.

I'm joined now by Robert Ray, the former president's counsel in his first impeachment trial, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, former New York Supreme Court Judge Diane Kiesel, and two people who've been inside the courtroom throughout these long days and hours of testimony, Norm Eisen, former counsel to House Democrats during that first impeachment and CNN's Kara Scannell.

I want to get, Kara, to the jury instructions a little bit. But first let's talk about what happened to Costello, their only witness that they put on the stand on cross examination today.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean he was brought in to undermine Michael Cohen's credibility and prosecutor Susan Hoffinger spent the morning trying to undermine Costello's and she asked him seemingly off the bat a somewhat innocuous question to set things up asking Costello if in that first meeting he had with Michael Cohen, if he had mentioned his connections to Rudy Giuliani who was very close to Trump, not yet on the legal team.

And Costello had said that no, he hadn't. So then she brings up an email and shows it to him and says, "You sent this email, correct?" He says, "Correct. I did." She said, "To Mr. Cohen?" "That's correct." "Two days after meeting him." "That's correct, yes." She said, "I'm going to read this for the jury. 'I'm sure you saw the news that Rudy is joining the Trump legal team. I told you my relationship with Rudy, which could be very, very useful for you.'"

So confronting him with this to get him on the back foot to suggest you did tell this to Michael Cohen in that first meeting, why are you not saying to the jury right now that you did and this all - she - this was a pattern that she used all day asking him questions, then showing him an email. Some knew for the first time that came in before the jury just to show this relationship between Trump's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Robert Costello to undermine his defense that he wasn't trying to pressure Michael Cohen. The prosecution has said that there was a pressure campaign. They wanted to keep Cohen in the camp and they didn't want him to flip on Donald Trump.

COOPER: Norm, why did they put Costello? I mean, Costello is the only witness the defense has called. Was this - do you think it was like client management that Donald Trump wanted him on? He had testified, you know, to a committee before Congress.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: One can only speculate. And there has been some reporting that Trump saw him testifying in Congress and said, put him on. But from a perspective of defending their client, it was a disaster.

COOPER: Not a good way to end.

EISEN: It left a bad taste in the jury's mouth as they go home for a week. The jury could see yesterday that the judge was as angry at Costello as he has been at any point in this trial. And juries grow attached to a judge. Judge Merchan is a very good judge. This jury is very fond of him.


Today, the jury was visibly annoyed with Costello rolling their eyes, shaking their heads. And ADA Susan Hoffinger did a masterful job, not just of impeaching Costello and make him look - looking bad, insinuating that he had tried to manipulate Michael Cohen, but of supporting her own case by using Costello to explain the pressure that Michael Cohen felt and that pressure as a reason for his falsehoods before he started cooperating.

So it was a disastrous decision. And because he was the only substantive witness, there was a document witness, Daniel Sitko, a paralegal, who set up the Costello testimony. Because he was the only substantive witness, Anderson, the risk is that some of that spillover effect is dishonesty, his rudeness, the judge's disdain for him attaches to the defense as these jurors go home for a week. Disastrous move.

COOPER: Jeff, what ...

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. I just have to say, I mean, the idea that this would be the entire defense case. And, you know, the judge - the jury's always instructed the defense is not obliged to put forth any evidence. The burden of proof is always on the government. It is always true that the government calls many more witnesses than the defense. But juries are always interested at the end of the defense - the government's case. What does the defense have to say? What are they going to put forward?

And they put forward this guy who, as far as I could tell, the only thing he accomplished was he showed there was a conspiracy of Trump, Giuliani and Costello himself to get Cohen to keep lying to stay on the team with Trump. That to me is inconceivable as a defense strategy. Ultimately, I think the defense can hope this was just a sideshow. It wasn't really about the core issues in the case.

But as the one defense witness, total disaster. Am I wrong? COOPER: Robert, was (INAUDIBLE) that?

ROBERT RAY, TRUMP COUNSEL IN FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Look, I, you know, do I really know? Ultimately, it doesn't matter what I know. It's what the jury thinks and makes of this. My own sense is it's a lot of atmospherics. The reason this witness was called is because he directly contradicts, which is impeachment of the statements made by Michael Cohen on the stand. Michael Cohen now is giving you a story that implicates Donald Trump, and he told his own lawyer that he didn't have anything on Donald Trump.

Now, I would have asked that in two questions if I had been doing this myself, to be honest with you. I wouldn't have belabored it. Most judges don't like what's referred to as extrinsic evidence of impeachment. It's allowed in. It's kind of narrowly circumscribed.

Usually, I would not have - you know, he comes with baggage, and I knew that, you know, that's the risk of calling this witness. And so I would try to minimize the baggage by leaving it to two or three questions, then I would have been done. I would not have allowed him to meander off into the wilderness as he did with the opportunity to basically, you know, act insulting to the judge and ...

COOPER: Judge, what do you ...

RAY: ... forcing the judge to have to take action, which was not really, I think, beneficial to the defense case.

DIANE KIESEL, FORMER NEW YORK SUPREME COURT JUDGE: Well, I think it's not only what he said, but that demeanor the day before is really deadly for the defense. It's true, jurors start to bond with the judge, especially over a long trial, and you can be sure that when - and by the way, he's sitting a few feet away from the jury. That's the reason the jury box is right by the witness box, because you want to look at the demeanor of the witnesses.

So let me tell you, when he started muttering under his breath, giving the hairy eyeball to the judge, the jury saw that. And believe me, when the judge said, Sergeant, give the jury their break. They knew exactly what was going on and you know they're in the jury room whispering, what's going to happen now, what's going to happen now.

RAY: And if I had been the questioner, I would, you know, at that point, you would just like to strangle the witness and just stay stop.

KIESEL: Exactly.

RAY: But, you know, that didn't happen. But, you know, will we know - we won't know until the end. Will it be subject of some commentary during deliberations? I almost guarantee that it will. How much effect it'll have? You know, look, the jury ultimately has to focus on the evidence of what, you know, what really transpired here.

TOOBIN: One fact worth remembering about this jury is that there has not been one juror who has left the jury in the course of more than a month-long case. We've talked to other judges in that courthouse, very unusual.

KIESEL: Very unusual. (INAUDIBLE) always have.

TOOBIN: Yes, I thought it was inevitable that you would have seen ...

EISEN: And ...

TOOBIN: ... some alternate jurors go on to this jury.

EISEN: ... and that suggests to me, I ...

TOOBIN: You know, again, I don't want to pretend I'm mind reading, but this is a committed jury, a serious jury, a jury that really wants to reach a verdict in this case, doesn't want to have a hung jury. The fact that they are all still there from day one is unusual and important.


KIESEL: Right.

EISEN: And you can see it in the demeanor - Kara and I see it in the demeanor of that jury. They take it seriously. Many of them take notes. They look at the lawyer. They look at the witness. They pay attention to the judge. It's all the more remarkable because we lost two jurors during voir dire, two who had been selected had comments or contacts or felt uncomfortable and we thought, oh, they're going to have to tap that pool of alternates.

Part of the reason, by the way, that the judge is taking this break is if he had rushed through this week and he'd seated the jury and then released the alternates, sends everybody home for four-day Memorial Day, he could have risked losing his jury. So, there is a remarkable bonding as the judge said that has happened.

KIESEL: He's not going to release those alternates until the jury begins deliberating. Then, of course, it's the defense lawyer's call if they want the alternates to remain because you can't seat an alternate once a jury begins deliberation without the consent of the defense.

COOPER: Judge, do you think it favors one side or the other this break of basically a week? I mean, Tuesday is going to be closing argument.

KIESEL: That's hard to tell. I mean, there's a part of me that if I were Susan Hoffinger and her team, I would want the jury to have fresh in their mind this Costello witness because it really does, I think, bolster the people's case. However, you don't want deliberations to begin and there to be a three or four-day break. It's just too dangerous.

You know, the idea that you're going to a barbecue over the holiday weekend, isn't somebody going to say to them, oh, what's going on in the jury room. And, you know, I'd like to think that I don't - I shouldn't say I'd like to think. I know these jurors are going to abide by the instructions of the judge. The law presumes that they will and I've never in my experience had, occasionally you get a rogue juror, but for the most part, they're very attentive in what the judge wants.

RAY: They take seriously that (INAUDIBLE) ...

KIESEL: They do.

RAY: And I also think it's a ...

KIESEL: They do.

RAY: ... it's the right call to have this thing start with summations after the holiday weekend. I wouldn't have tried to rush things along. I think that's the right way to go. Totally agree.

COOPER: The - I want to play something, Judge, that Trump said outside the court. Obviously, he chose not to testify, though he said he would be up for it. I mean, any - everybody we've talked to obviously said there was no way he was going to testify ever, but let's play what he said outside the court.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're already cheating on the election with this and you don't know what's happening because the judge is so biased, so corrupt. He's so corrupt and he's so conflicted that you never know how these things, I'd rather have - I would rather have, I'd rather have honest judges.

But a corrupt judge will far surpass a great case for us. When you have a corrupt judge, lots of bad things happen.


COOPER: First of all, it's so interesting to me how the people position themselves behind him on either sides of the - that you've seen on cameras. What do you, I mean ...

KIESEL: It makes my blood boil. The idea - look, he's not violating the gag order. He's allowed to criticize the judge. It's not the criticism of the judge that in and of itself bad enough. It goes to the heart of our justice system. He is undermining the rule of law. He is saying this man is corrupt with what evidence I don't know. He is saying this man is biased and, you know, whether he gets acquitted or convicted, you know, there are going to be a lot of people out there who are going to think that the New York Supreme Court is corrupt and it's really offensive and it should be to everyone who is concerned about the rule of law.

COOPER: Everyone, thank you. Appreciate it.

The conclusion of testimony and pause in court proceedings means it may be a long while before we again witness the entourage of Trump allies and hangers on who fill the seats behind the former president during the trial and who become mainstays in the sometimes circus-like atmosphere. Today was no different. Omar Jimenez has that story.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A new day in court, a new cast of characters in support of Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, JR., FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: Anyone in America should be embarrassed at the absolute miscarriage of justice that we're seeing here. This cannot stand and it cannot allow to continue.

JIMENEZ (on camera): Don, why did you feel the need to come down here in person?

TRUMP JR.: Because you have no choice. You know, again, I wasn't a political guy my whole life. You have to fight. You have to leave our country to our children in a way that they can recognize.


JIMENEZ (voice over): But it wasn't just Donald Trump Jr. in court today. There were the more staid supporters, like former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.


MATT WHITAKER, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: We demand better. New York City demands better.


JIMENEZ (voice over): And former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, but also politicians like former White House doctor and now Texas Congressman Ronny Jackson, Congresswoman Maria Salazar and even Congressman Troy Nehls sporting a Donald Trump hugging the flag tie.



REP. TROY NEHLS (R-TX): This is five weeks sitting in a courtroom when he should be outreaching the American people and telling the American people what he would like to do for this country.


JIMENEZ (voice over): And then there were a few on the more unexpected side, like Chuck Zito, former New York chapter president for the Hells Angels, which the Department of Justice has called a criminal enterprise and has linked to the Gambino crime family.

Even actor and Trump supporter Joe Piscopo showed up. Famous for his impersonations on Saturday Night Live.


JOE PISCOPO, ACTOR AND TRUMP SUPPORTER: It's time that for all of us to start buying and driving American cars.


JIMENEZ (voice over): Now, the reception for some of those who come to support doesn't always go as planned.




KASSAR: There are haters ...


KASSAR: ... and there are people who love them.



JIMENEZ (voice over): But with closing arguments inside the courtroom ahead, there's no sign Trump's outside supporters are slowing down anytime soon.


TRUMP JR.: The star witness in this case is a what, nine times convicted liar and now an admitted thief. That is who they're hanging the entire case on.



COOPER: Omar Jimenez joins us now. How - I mean, is this organized by the Trump family, by the people around Trump? Is it - do we know?

JIMENEZ (on camera): Well, as we understand, look, when this trial first started back in April, multiple sources familiar with Trump's thinking told CNN that Trump was privately complaining there weren't enough allies either inside the courtroom or outside the courtroom defending him.

Then next thing you know, senators like Rick Scott are coming here after that. Then you have House Speaker Mike Johnson, other Republican allies, sometimes even dressed in similar ways, including red ties, similar suits. We don't know if that's coordinated.

And then, of course, you see the wide range of people that actually come out to support the president. They go inside the courtroom. Then they come outside to where a lot of the press is gathered. They make statements. A lot of what you heard in there calling the trial a farce, saying this shouldn't be happening in the first place. Not so much getting into the facts of the case in specifics, but more so talking about at a large scale, they do not believe this case and trial should be happening.

And look, this is happening on camera, almost knowing that this will be seen at some point. So likely this dynamic is not going away, especially as we make our way to closing arguments next week.


JIMENEZ: And even more so once we get to any verdict time, Anderson.

COOPER: Omar Jimenez, thanks so much.

Still to come, Arizona officials finally found him. Now Rudy Giuliani and 10 more allies of the former president have pleaded not guilty in a trial of alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In that state, we have the latest and a live report from Phoenix.

Also tonight, the latest on this harrowing video. One person dead, dozens more injured after severe turbulence strikes an international flight bound from London to Singapore.



COOPER: More breaking news this time involving the former president's classified documents case. These images were part of a newly unsealed filing late today. They're the first time we see what is clearly Trump aide and co-defendant Walt Nauta moving boxes around Mar-a-Lago. The photos are dated June 1st in 2022.

Prosecutors say that despite a subpoena for documents, Nauta moved these boxes around, keeping them from Trump's attorney, who is required to conduct a search in response to the subpoena. They say it's proof of an alleged conspiracy to conceal classified material from federal investigators. Evan Perez joins us now from Florida with the latest.

So what are you learning from these newly unsealed documents?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, these are hundreds of documents that until now we have not seen. The judge releasing them today and what we're seeing though is more of what prosecutors say is evidence of the obstruction by the former president and by his co-defendants, including of course, Walt Nauta, his close aide.

One of the things we learned from these documents, Anderson, is that there was a search that was conducted in late 2022. And during that search, people working for the former president's legal team, they found a document that appeared to be classified that had labeled classified in the president's, the former president's bedroom in Mar- a-Lago.

The document was - had a title, according to this - it was a mostly empty folder and it said - it read classified evening summary. There were four additional documents that were found in an office also at Mar-a-Lago. And along the lines of that obstruction, we can throw up those images again of Walt Nauta.

That's images that prosecutors say showed Walt Nauta moving boxes again after the Trump team had received a subpoena for them to turn over these documents, moving these documents ahead of a search that was being conducted by Evan Corcoran, who at the time was the former president's attorney.

And all of this, of course, was because prosecutors wanted to force Corcoran to testify to provide testimony and also to provide documents as part of this investigation, Anderson.

There are also some notable comments I understand made by a federal judge in Washington before the former president was indicted. What did she say?

PEREZ: Well, that's right. The - part of the fight here was to try to get approval from the judge for the extraordinary step to force the former president's attorney to come in and provide testimony to the grand jury. And what she said was this, she said that prosecutors had shown sufficient evidence that the former president had used person 18, that's Evan Corcoran, as part of a front person to conceal documents and to obstruct this investigation.

She said that there was strong evidence of the former president's knowledge that there were classified documents being stored in Mar-a- Lago, even though he claimed that he did not know Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Evan Perez, thanks very much.

Now to another legal case, this time involving the former president's allies. Rudy Giuliani and 10 others today pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state of Arizona. It includes Christina Bobb, who now serves as the RNC's top lawyer for election integrity.


Today, arraignment comes after Giuliani appeared to duck attempts by Arizona officials to serve him with a summons, which backfired after they found him based on his podcast. Kyung Lah has more.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's you Mr. Giuliani. Uh-huh, I'm just calling the case ... (END VIDEO CLIP)

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That's how court started for Rudy Giuliani's arraignment in the Arizona fake electors case voting in his not guilty plea. Giuliani represented himself striking a defiant and familiar tone.



GIULIANI: I do consider this indictment a complete embarrassment to the American legal system.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to mute you, but I need to move on.


LAH (voice over): Giuliani was among 11 arraigned in this hearing, 18 overall are indicted in the case, which traces back to this moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and the 2020 electors from Arizona.


LAH (voice over): When fake electors gathered in a room shortly after the 2020 Election, signing documents that Donald Trump won Arizona, even though Joe Biden won. They're now charged in Arizona with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, including former Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward and her husband, and Christina Bobb current election integrity council at the RNC and former personality on conservative outlet OAN all pleading not guilty.


CHRISTINA BOBB, LAWYER: The arraignment went as planned and we'll deal with the case.


What did not go as planned getting Rudy Giuliani to actually appear for the arraignment. Arizona Attorney General, Kris Mayes.


KRIS MAYES, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We had attempted on multiple occasions in multiple ways to serve Mr. Giuliani.


LAH (voice over): The Arizona AG's tried for three weeks. America's mayor who bounces from New York to Florida taunted Arizona's prosecutors behind his podcast microphone.


GIULIANI: That if they're so incompetent, they can't find me. They also can't count votes correctly.


LAH (voice over): Prosecutors say their agents were in New York trying to deliver Giuliani a notice to appear in Arizona court.


NICHOLAS KLINGERMAN, CRIMINAL DIVISION CHIEF, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE: Immediately after the indictment was released publicly, a note was sent down to the doorman not to allow anyone up to his penthouse in Manhattan. My agents attempted to serve the summons there were refused entry into the building to serve that summons.


LAH (voice over): Then Giuliani popped up in Florida.


ALL: Happy birthday to you.


LAH (voice over): Live streaming his 80th birthday party in Palm Beach alongside Trump loyalists posting this selfie surrounded by friends, taunting authorities, writing in part "can't find me."

The former mayor of New York serenading guests left shortly after the song ended, but two agents from the AG's office were waiting outside and served him court papers. The Arizona Attorney General replied to Giuliani's tweet: "The final defendant was served moments ago, Rudy Giuliani, nobody is above the law."


KLINGERMAN: Rudy Giuliani has made numerous statements over the past month discussing the indictment, his co-defendants and quite frankly mocking the justice system in Arizona.


LAH (voice over): Giuliani was ordered by the court to appear in person within 30 days and post a $10,000 bond, despite his arguments in court.


GIULIANI: There is no history ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, sir. GIULIANI: ... of my being a flight risk. Which is the basis for

setting bail. I think it would be outrageous if you set a bond in this completely political case.



LAH (on camera): Prosecutors say there is a notable difference between how Giuliani has acted and approached this entire case versus the rest of the defendants who are named in this indictment. And there are still a handful, Anderson, who have yet to appear for the arraignment that is going to be happening next month. Some notable people: Mark Meadows and Boris Epshteyn. Anderson?

COOPER: Kyung Lah, thanks very much.

Up next, the video posted on the former president's social media site referring to creating a unified Reich. What his campaign is saying about it now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The economy booms ...




COOPER: The Trump campaign is facing questions tonight about a video that was posted on the former president's Truth Social account on Monday while he was in court during his criminal hush money trial. At one point, the 30-second video has the words, "creation of a unified Reich" on the screen, if he's re-elected in November.

Now the word Reich is German, it means regime or empire, but it's of course most closely associated with Nazi Germany and the creation of a third Reich. That caught many people's attention online, but not Mr. Trump or his campaign apparently.

The video was not removed until just this morning. Here's the portion of the video in question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens after Donald Trump wins? What's next for America?


COOPER: There you can see text unified Reich, and you see it again at the end of the video, faintly under the words, MAGA. A Trump campaign spokesperson released a statement today saying, quote, this was not a campaign video, it was created by a random account online and reposted by a staffer who clearly did not see the word."

No explanation why it took them so long to remove the video, and the controversy, of course, is not happening in a vacuum. In November 2022, the former president hosted white nationalists and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago. In 2017, when white supremacists chanted Jews will not replace us at Charlottesville, then-President Trump said this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They showed up in Charlottesville to protest --

DONALD TRUMP (R), THEN-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Excuse me. (INAUDIBLE) and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.


COOPER: And today President Biden posted this response to the new video posted by his 2024 opponent.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A unified Reich? That's Hitler's language. That's not America's.


COOPER: Joining us now, CNN Political Commentators, Van Jones, who works in the Obama White House, and Alyssa Farah Griffin, who is part of the Trump White House. How does something like this happen?


ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it shouldn't happen, but unfortunately it appears there's some sort of epidemic of young staffers who weighed into Nazi languages happened on the DeSantis campaign as well. Listen, Donald Trump's not doing dog whistles anymore. It's a bullhorn when it comes to race.

He also today went after Judge Merchan saying, look at where he's from, referring to him being born in Columbia. There was a long track record. I think the clearest cases you mentioned is dining with a noted neo-Nazi, Nick Fuentes. This, it was the right thing for the Trump campaign to at least try to create distance from this statement.

But here's the thing. Joe Biden is right to call it out. Joe Biden's given strong remarks condemning anti-Semitism in a moment when it's on the rise nationally and globally. But the problem is the moment is very different than 2020. Joe Biden ran after Charlottesville. He said that is what inspired him to run to restore the soul of this nation.

Right now, a lot of Americans in the center see liberal college campuses where anti-Semitism is running rampant and it's not being condemned. And then they see this language. And also today at the courtroom, Trump saying things like Jews need to get their heads checked if they vote for Democrats.

They may not know where to fall. It's a moment that calls for leadership. Joe Biden has a duty to keep calling it out. But if he caters too much to his left, I don't know where voters fall on this issue.

COOPER: Van, what do you make of this post? And do you buy the Trump campaign explanation, the staffer didn't see it?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't buy it just because it happens over and over again. This is not the first time that Trump or the Trump campaign has reposted or retweeted horrific stuff, awful stuff. And often from accounts that have even worse stuff on the accounts.

And so, listen, the first time this happens, maybe it's an oopsie. The second time, maybe it's an oopsie. You've got a strand of people in the Trump orbit who are looking for stuff in the wrong places at best.

There's nothing on my feed or your feed that's referring to any Reich or anything like that. So this is a problem inside the Trump campaign. It's a problem inside the Trump coalition.

Listen if you're Jewish in America right now, you're seeing -- you're uncomfortable. You're seeing signs on the left end of the right of a growing anti-Semitism. That's true. But it doesn't start at the top in our party.

You got some kids on TikTok who might be getting caught up in some stuff. They need to be a lot smarter about how they address these issues. But you're talking about the top of the party. You're talking about Donald Trump himself, his account over and over again, sitting down with Fuentes and all these people. This is a -- it's not even close between the two parties where the real threat is coming from.

COOPER: Manu Raju asked some Senate Republicans today and Trump allies about the video. Here's what they said.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The former president posted something on social media about a, quote, "unified Reich," and that's generated some criticism.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know. See, I don't follow. In case you hadn't noticed, the world's falling apart. Have you all not noticed that?

RAJU: There's also a presidential campaign.

The former president posted on social media calling for a unified Reich. I'm wondering if you have concerns about that.

Do you have any concerns about the former president posting a unified Reich on social media?



COOPER: I mean, obviously, you know, of course, if the Biden campaign had posted this, it would be, you know, they would be stopping and talking.

GRIFFIN: It would be front and center. I mean, listen, it goes further than this video with Donald Trump. And I think that's where it gets more uncomfortable for Republicans to dodge questions. Donald Trump's been using rhetoric on the campaign trail saying that immigrants poison the blood of America. That is literally invoking Hitler esque language.

I think that, well, this video, it deserves to be called out. It's smart of the Biden campaign. There needs to be a more steady effort to just point to this sort of anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic rhetoric that Donald Trump's been leaning into, because it's a moment that calls for leadership, and it's going to need to be beyond just Joe Biden. You need other leaders speaking out.

COOPER: You know, Van, I mean, one -- you know, for President Biden, it's really problematic, I guess, that a lot of people in the country just kind of -- and the media probably just kind of shrug this thing off and say, oh, you know, this is what they do, or, you know, oh, it doesn't amount to much.

JONES: Yes. I mean, part of the problem is you do have in Donald Trump, you know, he survived so many of these things that, you know, it's almost a part of his brand now. It's a -- he has a brand that sort of incorporates really horrific, awful stuff and people don't take it seriously.

And but when you talk to people from countries that have lost their democracy, when we talk to people from Iran and other places, they say, you know what? You have to take stuff like this very, very seriously. Because when you normalize hatred, when you normalize contempt for democracy, when you normalize playing footsie with extremist elements, dangerous elements, violent elements, that sets the stage for worse things later. So people should not ever fail to be outraged by outrageous stuff from Donald Trump.

COOPER: Van Jones, Alyssa Farah Griffin, thank you.

Coming up, the Singapore Airlines flight that left one person dead, several more injured after hitting extreme turbulence. What likely caused the situation, next.



COOPER: Tonight an investigation is underway after severe turbulence hit a Singapore Airlines flight leaving one person dead and at least 71 others injured. According to the airline, the Boeing plane heading from London to Singapore had more than 200 passengers and 18 crew members on board. The flight was ultimately diverted to Bangkok.

CNN's Richard Quest has details


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST (voice-over): Singapore Airlines Flight 321 was nearing the 10-hour mark, and passengers were getting ready to eat breakfast. Suddenly, the plane encountered extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar.

That extreme turbulence left one person dead and dozens of people injured. It led to the pilot declaring a medical emergency and diverting the aircraft to Bangkok. Emergency crews set up triage before passengers arrived. They watched the 777 land smoothly and taxi normally down the runway.


Then the medics carried severely injured passengers on stretchers, while shaken passengers were escorted off the plane by emergency workers. Video from inside the aircraft shows the aftermath of the horror that the passengers experienced at 37,000 feet.

The ceiling broke open. Oxygen masks deployed throughout the aircraft. Luggage compartments collapsed. The food, drinks and other trash were strewn on the floor.

KITTIPONG KITTIKACHORN, GENERAL MANAGER, SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT (through translator): The plane landed at the airport and the medical team was sent to the scene. Many injuries occurred, so the airport had to issue an emergency plan. All our teams went to help and also found one man had died. This kind of incident rarely happens where there is death after a plane is hit with severe turbulence.

QUEST (voice-over): The hospital in Bangkok reported that six people were severely injured. The deceased was a 73-year-old British man who suffered from a heart condition. In a statement, Singapore's president expressed condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased. And the Singaporean authorities are now sending investigators to Bangkok.

Boeing, which manufactures the 777, released a statement saying it's in touch with Singapore Airlines and is ready to support them. Singapore Airlines is one of the world's safest carriers and regularly tops the surveys for best airline in the world. But it proves severe turbulence can happen to any flight.

A recent study found the total annual duration of severe turbulence had increased by 55 percent over the last four decades because of climate change.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION EXPERT: It's becoming more common, and there appears to be a climate change link. As the planet warms, it warms in an uneven manner. Both north and south, clear air turbulence problems happen.


COOPER: Can you explain a little bit more about, I mean, what happened? How can it be that violent?

QUEST (on-camera): The actual altitude changes that took place were not that huge. 75 feet up, 120 feet down, 200 feet up, 150 down. But so, the plane was going -- but it was the ferocity of it. It was what was known as the vertical air speed. It was going up by 1,000 feet a minute, and then down by 800 feet a minute, and then by 700 feet.

So it was these massive, small movements, but with great power behind them, and that's what does the damage. Because if you think about it, a plane coming into land will do several 1,000 feet a minute --

COOPER: Right.

QUEST (on-camera): -- but it's doing it in a controlled, slow, gentle way. This thing was going up and down by several 100 feet a second.

COOPER: Terrifying.

QUEST (on-camera): Yes.

COOPER: Terrifying.

Richard Quest, thank you.

Still ahead, Sebastian Junger joins me. He wrote "The Perfect Storm," among many other bestsellers, and has reported from war zones for much of his life. But now he has a new book out, just today, about a near death experience, his own.


SEBASTIAN JUNGER, AUTHOR: I started to panic that I was going to get pulled into this pit and never come back. And as I panicked, my dead father appeared above me. And he communicated to me, it's OK, don't fight it. I'll take care of you. You can come with me.



COOPER: During years of reporting from front lines of conflicts, best- selling author and filmmaker Sebastian Junger has seen a lot of death. But a few years ago, he had his own medical emergency and came close to dying. He experienced something he had never had before.

He writes about it and the science behind near death experiences in a new book out today called, "In My Time of Dying."

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about loss and death and grief, I found your book extraordinary and it's -- it starts with this pivotal moment. You have an aneurysm. You, I mean, by all rights, should not have survived. I mean, there's very -- you had a very near death experience. And your father came to you. JUNGER: Yes. I mean, I'm an atheist. I'm not mystic in any sense. My father was a physicist and an atheist. And I'm in good health. And when I felt this pain in my abdomen, I just didn't know what -- I was -- I didn't know I was dying. I had no reason to think I was dying, but I was bleeding out into my abdomen and I lost two-thirds of my blood and they barely saved me.

My blood pressure was 60 over 40 when I finally got to the hospital.

COOPER: You were living far away from the hospital.


COOPER: I mean, it was like a long drive to the hospital.

JUNGER: It's a one hour drive to the hospital. I was 60 over 40. I needed 10 units of blood. And while they were putting a large gauge needle into my neck to transfuse me through my jugular, this black void opened up underneath me and I felt myself getting pulled into it.

I had no idea I was dying. Not -- but I knew this wasn't good. And I started to panic that I was going to get pulled into this pit and never come back. And as I panicked, my dead father appeared above me and communicated to me in this sort of weird energy form. It's hard to describe.

COOPER: Like, did you see him?

JUNGER: I mean, see is too clear, right? I mean, he was suddenly -- his presence was there and I recognized it.

COOPER: You felt his presence.

JUNGER: I felt it, I recognized it, I saw it in a sense. My mind, I had -- I lost two-thirds of my blood, but my mind was not doing well, right? But there he was, all of a sudden. And he communicated to me. It's OK. Don't fight it. I'll take care of you. You can come with me.

And I was horrified because I didn't know I was dying and I was like, you're dead. I'm not going with you. We have nothing to talk about, right? And I said to the doctor, because I'm still conscious, right? I said to the doctor, you got to hurry. I'm going. You're losing me. I'm going right now.

And --

COOPER: You knew that that's what that was.

JUNGER: I knew I was going there.

COOPER: Your father being there, you knew that was --

JUNGER: I knew I was going somewhere.


COOPER: You have seen a lot of death in your life.


COOPER: I mean, the work in combat you do. You lost a close friend of you, Tim Hetherington, a photographer. You've seen people die. Did -- how was this different? What did you learn here that you --

JUNGER: I mean, I've almost been killed a number of times and -- but I didn't experience what it feels like to be dying, right? And what it felt like was that I was crossing over into this infinite void and my father showed up to take me.

And I can't tell you, I mean, what a thing to do to an atheist, right? Like, I can't tell you how disorienting it was.

COOPER: Well, I mean, how do you think your father feels?


COOPER: He's an atheist.

JUNGER: Exactly. Like you dragged me into this. What are you, right. And so --

COOPER: He's like, I can't believe I'm doing this.

JUNGER: No, right. And so when I got home, I had a lot of psychological troubles when I got home, among other things, because I'd had a dream 36 hours prior that I had died and that I was a ghost and I was hovering over my family and I like woke up terrified, dismissed it.

COOPER: That was sort of a premonition of --


COOPER: -- what was about to happen.

JUNGER: Yes, 36 hours before. And so I got this paranoid idea. Maybe because my dream was an exactly a sort of NDE, a near death experience, as reported by many, many people. And I thought maybe I actually did die then. And now I'm a spirit and I just don't know it.

Like I really did a head trip on myself. But what I went into was my father's world of physics. And there's some serious questions, you know, the what if parts of my book? What is what happened to me? If is -- what if there were something more that we don't understand, and I'm not talking God, I'm just talking about reality and existence. What if at the sort of quantum level, the subatomic level, there is some enduring aspect of our identities?

COOPER: You mentioned this, you had a post-medical trauma reaction reaction. Is that --


COOPER: What is that? Because I -- that's not talked about very much.

JUNGER: No, it's not. And it's, you know, in the profession, it's a fairly well-known thing. So if you almost die, like I did in a way where your own body sort of betrays you suddenly, like, I mean, I was in good health. I mean, I know -- I'm not going to drop dead of a heart attack or a stroke. I'm just, you know, like, I don't have those risk factors, right?

So out of the blue, suddenly I feel a pain and I'm dying. And when that happens, you don't trust anything. And you think every day, every morning you think this could be an -- this again could be my last day. You just don't know.

And I got so sort of weirded out about it that I said to my wife, can you just tell me I'm alive like that I'm not a ghost? Can you just affirm? And she said, of course, you're right here. I'm here. And my mind, I'm like, that's just the kind of thing a hallucination would say.

Like, I had a -- was just playing games with myself. And so I -- and then after the incredible anxiety of like I could die any day, not all of us could, right. After that, I got out of that and eventually settled into this really crazy depression. I've never been depressed or anxious before.

And I was, it was a talk about a black pit. I mean, I was like, actually worried for myself. And my wife finally said, honey, you're getting a little hard to live with. Like, can you go talk to somebody? And it helped enormously. I mean, I did talk and feel my way out of this thing, but it took a long time.

COOPER: And are you better for having had this experience?


COOPER: I mean, do you -- are you -- I mean, this may sound weird, but I mean, are you grateful for this experience?

JUNGER: Well, but yes. My wife ever wise said to me at some point as I was freaking myself out, she's like, are you -- do you feel lucky or unlucky that this happened? I mean, not that you survived, of course, you're lucky that you survived, but that it happened at all. Like, if you could push a button and have it not happen, would you push that button?

Really, she was asking, like, was this a blessing or a curse in your life? And I didn't know how to answer. And I finally looked up the word blessing, the etymology of the word blessing. And it comes from the Anglo-Saxon word blaedsian, which means blood.

And the idea was that there is no blessing without a sacrifice. That there is no blessing without a wound. And I think, possibly that there -- and I'm, again, I'm saying this as an atheist, but I feel free too, that there's maybe no wound without some sort of blessing. You just have to find it. And when I thought about it in those terms, blaedsian, the old word for blood, when I thought about it in those terms, it sort of released me from this. I was like, that's just how it works. You don't get anything for free and it is a blessing and it came with a wound and here I am. And I'm a lot wiser. I'm a lot calmer.

And frankly, I appreciate everything more. It's such a cliche, but it actually did kind of work that way. It was kind of like taking antidepressants or something. I'm like, oh, I'm back. Like, here I am and I'm really alive now.

COOPER: Sebastian, thank you so much. Sebastian Junger.

The book is called, "In My Time of Dying: How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife" by Sebastian Younger. And the book is available just now starting today.

That's it for us. The news continues. I'll see you tomorrow. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.