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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Florida Hearing In Trump Classified Documents Case Devolves Into Shouting Match; Judge Cannon Skeptical Of Efforts To Dismiss Charges In Trump Classified Documents Case; NY Times; Another Provocative Flag Was Flown At Another Alito Home; Nikki Haley Says She's Voting For Trump In November; Former FBI Director James Comey On NY Times Reporting On Flags Flown At Alito's Homes And Trump's False Claim About Biden; Harvey Weinstein Accuser Speaks Out, Says She Knew She Was Being Silenced; Uvalde Families Reach Settlement With City. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 22, 2024 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, it's been shared millions of times on social media, a photo claiming to be Cricket, the 14-month-old dog that was shot and killed by the South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem. The only problem is this dog is not Cricket. It is a dog named Blue, very much alive. But how did Blue end up as the face of political scandal?

Well, our Donie O'Sullivan looked into it and found the picture came from a Reddit user. It was posted more than a year ago. But then it was picked up on Twitter when the Kristi Noem story went viral, and the dog then was identified as Cricket.

It spread like wildfire, even published by one of the UK's biggest newspapers. Even though it's been debunked, it still popped up today as Cricket.

Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, breaking news, no trial date but already a fight between prosecutors and defense attorneys in the classified documents case. Former FBI director James Comey joins us ahead.

Also breaking news tonight, a New York Times report on a second controversial flag flown at the home owned by Justice Samuel Alito. The reporter on both stories is here.

And Nikki Haley, she called Trump unhinged, but now says she will vote for him. Will the Republicans who voted for her do the same?

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

A shouting match erupted today in a federal court in Florida during the first of a series of pretrial motions in the long-delayed case against the former president for mishandling classified documents. There were two pretrial hearings today, bids by the former president and a co-defendant to throw the case out. The classified documents case no longer has a trial date, as you probably know.

The judge in the case, Aileen Cannon, has allowed a number of pretrial motions to stack up and delay proceedings.

Just last night, we reported on these photos, which we'd not seen before. There are the co-defendant, Walt Nauta, Trump's former valet from the White House, who still works closely with him. The photos show Nauta moving boxes around Mar-a-Lago on June 1st 2022, just before a Trump attorney was supposed to search for those boxes at Mar- a-Lago for classified documents, something he had to do under subpoena.

Prosecutors say that Nauta moved the boxes as part of an alleged conspiracy to conceal classified material from federal investigators. Now, the photos were part of a federal judge's opinion, saying that investigators had strong evidence that the former president intended to hide classified documents. She also noted that an empty folder marked "Classified Evening Summary" was discovered in this bedroom months after the FBI search.

That same filing from last night also included the standard operating procedure for when the FBI conducts a search. Agents, as they always are in such a search, were armed, which has led Trump and some of his supporters to suggest that the agency was out to kill him.

Trump actually posted on his social media site: "WOW. I just came out of the Biden Witch Hunt Trial in Manhattan, the 'Icebox,' and was shown Reports that Crooked Joe Biden's DOJ, in their illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE."

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said the FBI were, quote, "planning to assassinate President Trump." They weren't. Again, the agency was following protocol and Secret Service was made aware of the search in advance, and Trump was not there. There's still no trial date in the classified documents case, and based on today's hearing, no indication of when a date will be set.

Evan Perez joins us from Florida, outside the courthouse.

What was the shouting match about?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this was a hearing in part to hear these arguments by Walt Nauta and his attorney - to Stan Woodward. They were arguing that Walt Nauta is the subject of selective and vindictive prosecution.

And one of the things that Stan Woodward, his attorney, was arguing today was that he recounted an episode where he said prosecutors were essentially trying to pressure him to try to get Walt Nauta to cooperate with this investigation. He said there was this meeting where prosecutors mentioned the fact that he had applied for a judgeship and the chances of getting that judgeship.

Now, that prompted a very sharp reply from prosecutors. David Harbach stood up and said that his interpretation of those events were fantasy. The judge at one point had to tell everybody to calm down because things had gotten so heated during this hearing. These were two hearings, Anderson, that took over five hours for the judge to hear.

Again, she didn't rule from the bench, as she usually doesn't, but she did seem skeptical of these efforts by the defendants to try to dismiss these charges, Anderson.

COOPER: So what is the latest on when the trial might actually happen?

PEREZ: We still don't know. I mean, every time we come down here, we show up thinking that perhaps this is the day we're going to hear of a new trial date. That did not happen today. And look, today's hearing was an example and sort of exemplified why this case is moving so slowly, so ploddingly.


The judge allowed and sort of indulged the defense to go down a number of rabbit holes. There was one point where the defendants was - were arguing that there was a discussion to delete video, if you recall, as part of this case. This is part of the obstruction charges. They said that just having a discussion about deleting surveillance video, including that surveillance video that you showed there, the clips of Walt Nauta moving boxes, that that does not indicate a crime.

Again, the judge indulging a lot of these things over the course of five hours. Again, she did not rule from the bench on any of the motions. And a reminder that we have probably at least another eight motions that the judge is planning to go through with hearings like this one, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Evan Perez, thanks very much.

I want to get some perspective now from former Federal Prosecutor Elie Honig, former U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, former Trump White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci. He's also the author of "From Wall Street to the White House and Back: The Scaramucci Guide to Unbreakable Resilience." Also with us, Karen Friedman Agnifilo, a former Manhattan chief assistant D.A. who is now a criminal defense attorney.

Anthony, I mean, even for President Trump, the idea that he's claiming, you know, the FBI was out to assassinate him or shoot him is bananas.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATES DIRECTOR: Well, it's bananas. Everything was handled appropriately in standard operating procedure, but there is a little projection in that. You see, if he says that about the other side, he thinks it takes a little bit of heat off of him and the unified right rap and all the other things that he's doing on his side to try to galvanize his base.

So that's a typical classic Trump projection manipulation move. I can tell you everything is in the playbook if you have time.

COOPER: Karen, I mean, what do you think of the judge - I mean, what are the chances this is going to happen?



AGNIFILO: It doesn't seem like she is poised to have a trial anytime soon. There's critical hearings that need to happen. Today's hearings were just two of many that have to happen. And the fact that she won't even set a trial date, I don't think she has any plans or any intentions of seeing this case go to trial anytime soon.

COOPER: Judge, I mean, on the search warrants, I mean, you've signed off on plenty of search warrants.

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, FORMER U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: I have. And it's not that hard. You look for probable cause that a crime has been committed. You look for probable cause that material or evidence of that crime will be found in that location. It's presented to you by an agent. If you find it, you sign it.

And if you're wrong, there's still a good faith exception, it's called. So there's no way that this search warrant is going to get suppressed. But that's the way Trump's handling it. They make motions of every kind repeatedly. Don't really expect to win them, but they want to tie her up. That's how I look at it.

If they make 30 motions, then that means 30 more reasons to delay. And, of course, she should be ruling from the bench on some of these. They're just frivolous and there's no reason to hold back on them, just say denied.

COOPER: Explain the - what does that mean ruling from the bench? I mean, she should be able to just make the ruling there.

SCHEINDLIN: Absolutely. They present the arguments that probably letters or briefs, just decide. There's no reason to hold off and reserve on every single motion made.


SCHEINDLIN: Say it again.


SCHEINDLIN: Denied, exactly right. I mean, she should know on some of these that they're frivolous, just frivolous.

COOPER: Why would she not be ruling from the bench? I mean, is it just in light of experience?

SCHEINDLIN: My answer is she's insecure. Absolutely. She's insecure. A secure judge who knows what they're doing, like Judge Kaplan, like Judge Merchan, the two judges who were able to control Trump, they know what they're doing. They're very experienced and they're confident, so they rule. We called it rule and roll, but - we did. And she doesn't rule and roll. She rules and reserves or she reserves and doesn't rule and that's not the way to move a case along.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Let me just vouch. Having been ruled and rolled by Your Honor, Judge Scheindlin does know how to move a case quickly. I think it's important that we call out again this lie that is spreading now alarmingly quickly that there was some effort to - I hesitate to even say, but to assassinate Donald Trump.

It's so ridiculous. But I think the most important way to understand it is if we see where the lie comes from. So in the search warrant documents, in a federal search warrant and I think we have this that we can put up on the screen. There is a standard piece of paper that basically says here: "Law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force is threatening imminent bodily harm or imminent death to another person."

In other words, it is limiting. It says, do not use your gun, cops, FBI agents, unless it is absolutely necessary to save a life. And then the document goes on to say, and here are all the circumstances, you cannot use your weapon if someone's fleeing, if someone's in a car.

So this is a standard form. It correctly states the law. And if anything, it is narrowing to a very tiny sliver ...


SCHEINDLIN: And, Elie ...

HONIG: ... (INAUDIBLE) where you can use your gun.

SCHEINDLIN: And it doesn't happen.

AGNIFILO: And it's boilerplate ...

SCHEINDLIN: Search warrants go down all the time without violence.

HONIG: Right.

AGNIFILO: And it's boilerplate language and they made sure Trump wouldn't be at Mar-a-Lago at the time ...


AGNIFILO: ... they executed the search warrant and they went in wearing shirts instead of uniforms to try to keep it calm.


I mean, they did - they coordinated with Secret Service in advance.

SCARAMUCCI: But we're talking about it, see, and the fact that we're talking about it, Trump is winning because he has a trigger button. And he says, what can I do today on Truth Social that's going to trigger people to talk about this. And it galvanizes his base. It may upset the people that want to vote for Joe Biden, but it absolutely galvanizes his base. The fact that ... SCHEINDLIN: No, his base is fixed.

SCARAMUCCI: In fact, if you look for this channel ...

COOPER: It is ...

SCARAMUCCI: ... they went on this channel (INAUDIBLE) ...

SCHEINDLIN: His base is fixed, but what about - base is fixed, what about those voters who are not yet decided? I don't think this plays well to the independents that Biden is trying to assassinate Trump. That's ridiculous. It's over the top. Nobody's going to believe that who's undecided.

SCARAMUCCI: He need ...

COOPER: But it is one of those conundrums and you know this ...

SCARAMUCCI: Can I just ...

COOPER: Yes, yes, sure.

SCHEINDLIN: Yes, sure.

SCARAMUCCI: But he needs money right now, Your Honor. And so what's happening to him, he's flying around the country. He's landing in places like Texas and he's projecting. He's saying all the things that he's going to do if he were to win. He's not going to win, by the way, but he will do and it galvanizes his base. And they open up their checkbook and they start writing checks, because he's way behind on the money.

SCHEINDLIN: Way behind, right?

COOPER: What if he knows he can't win?

SCARAMUCCI: He knows he can't - he's definitely not going to win, Anderson. I mean, we've got to snap out of the fever that he may win. He's not going to win. There's - he doesn't - he don't have enough money. Number two, he's not going to have the operation set up properly in these swing states. Number three, I want you to identify the people that are going to now vote for Trump. Maybe there's a few on the margin, but there is just not enough to bring him to an Electoral College victory.

And the last thing, I know the guy, he's going to implode himself as we get closer and closer. And we also know that President Biden is way more together than the right wing media is suggesting or even the Trump campaign is reinforcing with Donald Trump.

And I think he gets his clock cleaned in these two debates by President Biden. So, no, he's not going to win, but he needs money. And that's why he's pressing the trigger buttons right now that the President was trying to assassinate him. Even though I wasn't in Mar- a-Lago, there was a threat to my life. COOPER: Karen, just in terms of the document's case, I mean, how -

have you seen judges like this before? I mean, is it - I mean, because Judge Scheindlin was saying, you know, it's an experience essentially. I mean, there is also the other option, which is that it's intentional.

AGNIFILO: She has made a lot of rulings that have caused a lot of people to question her fitness to sit in this particular case. I mean, she has really, even from the beginning, at the time of the search warrant that was signed, she appointed a special master, which is totally inappropriate to do. She got reversed by the 11th Circuit.

So it's hard to know. I've not seen a judge, frankly, this ill- equipped to handle a case such as this. It's really highly unusual.

SCHEINDLIN: She comes up as a rookie. It's insecurity as well as inexperience. You have to be secure to rule promptly and to rule from the bench. You have to believe in your ruling. She doesn't have it. She doesn't have the confidence to do it. She's really the wrong judge for this case.

SCARAMUCCI: Judge, if you were calling me insecure, I'd be going in for life coaching. I mean, the way you say it is very powerful, Your Honor.

COOPER: Judge Scheindlin, thank you very much. Everybody, thank you. Appreciate it.

More breaking news, The New York Times is reporting on a second controversial flag that's become a symbol of the Stop the Steal movement that flew above the home of Justice Samuel Alito.

Plus a 360 exclusive, a Harvey Weinstein accuser speaking out for the very first time about what she says happened to her and why she says her story was silenced.



COOPER: More breaking news, The New York Times is now reporting on a second controversial flag flown above a home owned by the family of Justice Samuel Alito. This flag, known as the Appeal to Heaven flag was seen at the Alito home on Long Beach Island in New Jersey last summer. The Times reports the flag dates back to the Revolutionary War and fell into obscurity until it was resurrected recently as a symbol of support for the former president by a religious faction of the so- called Stop the Steal movement, which falsely claims that Biden lost the election. And this follows a separate New York Times report last week about an upside down American flag flown at the Alito home in Virginia in 2021.

Justice Alito said it was raised by his wife during a clash with a neighbor who had cursed at her. Both stories come as Alito and the Supreme Court are due to rule on cases related to the January 6th riot, including the question of presidential immunity. I'm joined by Jodi Kantor, who reported on both stories for The Times,

and by Norm Eisen, former counsel to House Democrats during Trump's first impeachment.

Jodi, can you just walk us through your reporting about this flag at the beach house, this Appeal to Heaven flag?

JODI KANTOR, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. So actually, it's similar to the Virginia story in terms of I think it's helpful to start with the neighbors. This is, you know, a popular beach destination. There are a lot of voters. The Alito house is in a pretty prominent place.

And last summer, neighbors and voters are just going by and they're saying, well, heck is this flag and they're Googling it. And it turns out it's something called the Appeal to Heaven flag, which as you say, dates back to the Revolutionary War. But in the last decade has taken on a really freighted meaning and became very associated with the Stop the Steal campaign. It popped up a lot in the crowd at the riot.

Now, Anderson, as you know, it's just a baseline kind of bedrock rule that judges are not supposed to have political displays. So the question becomes, what is Justice Samuel Alito doing displaying this flag, which is so politically sensitive, which appears to connote an opinion, although we don't know that much about the particulars of exactly who raised it and why. He didn't want to answer our questions.

But he's doing this, first of all, last summer, as the obstruction case that is so key to the prosecution of January 6th is arriving at the court. And now we're finding out about it just as these opinions are going to come out in a few weeks.

COOPER: And the - I mean, clearly somebody in the Alito household knows enough about, you know, flag, flying - an American flag upside down. They would know the meaning of this flag and the sort of the current incarnation of this flag.


I mean, Norm, with Justice Alito now facing two flag controversies, how much of an ethics problem is this for him and more broadly for the court?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, I think the court is in an absolute ethics crisis. This latest expression of an apparent opinion siding with the far-right activists, including those who flew this flag on January 6th, comes on top of undisclosed luxury vacations by Justice Alito, also Justice Thomas, Justice Thomas's wife, a witness in the January 6th cases.

And now these two flag photographs expressing that opinion under federal law, if there's a reasonable basis to question - just to question, Anderson, the impartiality of a justice, the law expressly mentions justices of the Supreme Court. They are supposed to step aside. And given the situation that we're in, it's not just the coming

decisions. The January 6th case was set for trial at the beginning of March. We know from the questioning that Justice Alito and Justice Thomas are entertaining this absurd idea that SEAL Team 6 is allowed under presidential immunity to commit political assassinations.

We're already in crisis because of the delay of that case. And the chief justice and Congress must act.

COOPER: Jodi, I don't - what I don't understand is, I mean, the first flag, the upside down flag outside the Alito home, he said that was in response to a neighbor using a nasty word to his wife in an argument. Was that an argument about an anti-Trump sign on the neighbor's lawn?

I think we just lost her.

Norm, there are a lot of people who view the Supreme Court from a different lens in recent years because of - I mean, ethics issues like this that keep happening. I mean, has the court faced anything like this before?

EISEN: Justice Abe Fortas during the 1960's Johnson administration, he was a Johnson confidant who was put on the Supreme Court, stepped off the Supreme Court because he had accepted a retainer, about $20,000 from an individual who had been accused of securities wrongdoing.

He - Fortas was not actually accused of wrongdoing himself, but he had a sense of shame, Anderson. This is the Fortas scandal on steroids and the combination of undisclosed substantial luxury vacations from those with interests, ideological or business before the court.

And the spouse's, Alito has pointed to his spouse on that upside down flag, Ginni Thomas, we know, was a witness, and now a second expression of a political opinion constituting apparent bias. We don't have to find bias. The chief judge has the power to investigate. Congress has the power to investigate. It is an ethic crisis.

COOPER: Jodi, can you hear me?

KANTOR: Yes, I can.

COOPER: I just want to ask you, I'm sorry we lost you. I'm sorry for the problem. The upside down flag at the Alito home, that - based on your reporting, that was in response to a neighbor who had put an anti-Trump sign on their lawn, is that correct? And words were exchanged between that neighbor and Alito's wife?

KANTOR: That's what Justice Alito says. But part of what's so interesting about the new flag story is that we have pictures of this flag up in July, in August and in September of last year (INAUDIBLE) was up the whole time, but it appears to be a kind of sustained period.

COOPER: So even after, you know, taking down this upside down flag, this other flag, then - that was there already or then popped up.

Jodi Kantor, appreciate the reporting, Norm Eisen.

Still ahead, after suspending her presidential campaign in March, Nikki Haley has announced she'll vote for former President Trump in November. One of my upcoming guests says he's not surprised. I'll ask him why next.



COOPER: In her first public speech since leaving the Republican presidential primary race more than two months ago today, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley finally announced who she will be supporting in the election.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) FORMER PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I've made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump.

I stand by what I said in my suspension speech. Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me.


COOPER: Well, since leaving the race, Haley, who served as Trump's U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has avoided endorsing him or directly telling her voters to oppose him. She didn't hold back and went after him during the primary campaign.


HALEY: He is unhinged. He is more diminished than he was.

The reason that America keeps losing is because of Donald Trump.

And the most harm he's ever possibly had is getting hit by a golf ball when he's sitting in a golf cart.

Chaos follows him and we can't have a country in disarray and a world on fire and go through four more years of chaos. We won't survive it.

America needs a captain who will steady the ship, not capsize it.

That's the chaos that comes with Donald Trump. That's the offensiveness that's going to happen every day between now and the general election, which is why I continue to say Donald Trump cannot win a general election. He won't.


COOPER: With me now, CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten and CNN Senior Political Commentator and former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger. I mean, Congressman Kinzinger, I saw you tweeted, you know, after

Haley announced she's going to vote for Trump, you said, not surprising, but pathetic. I assume we get the pathetic part. Why not surprising to you?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me first off say she said in the thing you played that we won't survive four more years of Trump. She said, we will not survive four more years of Trump and just endorsed him. Well, technically she didn't endorse him. I'll give her credit for that. She just said she was going to vote for him.

It's not surprising Anderson, because we've seen this playbook over and over again with very few exceptions, that being somebody like Chris Christie, where people will go after Donald Trump. Look at Bill Barr, you know, all these terrible things that Trump is going to do to the country.


But when it comes down to it, party over country. And so, that's why I'm not surprised about Nikki Haley. It's disappointing. She said in another one of those sound bites that Trump needs to reach out to her voters. I'll also say Biden needs to reach out to her voters. I don't know what the Biden Administration or the Biden campaign has been doing, but they're not reaching out to those voters.

COOPER: Congressman, I mean, it clearly seems she wants a future -- some sort of political future, or some sort of future on the lecture circuit in front of Republican audiences. And knows if she's going to do that, she has to at this stage, continue to bend a knee to Trump.


COOPER: I mean, it seems like just purely a political calculus.

KINZINGER: It is, it is. And that's 100 percent true. If she wants a future in the GOP on this trajectory, I happen to believe the GOP will be fixed someday, but she will have to -- the superpower of Donald Trump and frankly, kind of the MAGA call is they welcome anybody back, right? Just like any good church that says if you repent, you can come back. She will be walking back, even if there are some tweets against her for now, and that's the superpower of Donald Trump.

And so, yeah, she knows that if she wants a position in the administration maybe, if she wants to continue to be seen as a Republican in good standing, but as she said in the very clip, four more years of Donald Trump will destroy this country. So, she is putting her career and her interests over the country. I know it sounds dramatic. I'm just so passionate about the fact that Donald Trump would be nothing but terrible for the United States of America.

COOPER: She's -- Haley has continued to do relatively well in races, even though she's not in the race anymore, however number has been.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah. I think it depends on the contest, right? If you go to Kentucky last night, she didn't do so well, she got in the single digits. You go to a place like Maryland, she's getting 20 percent to 25 percent of the vote. But I like to look across the Republican contest and at this point, in the average Republican contest, since she's gotten out the race, she's got about 14 percent of the vote. That's not bad, right?

14 percent of folks voting for someone who's not even in the race anymore is something that obviously both campaigns, both the Biden and Trump campaigns should be interested in going after. But here's the thing, I've heard over and over again people sort of saying, oh, Nikki Haley is getting these large shares of the votes even though she's not in the race. I should point out that four years ago, Bernie Sanders was getting about the exact same vote in the Democratic primaries after he dropped out of the race. So, this isn't something to me that's terribly unusual.

The thing that would have been unusual was if Nikki Haley decided not to throw her support behind Donald Trump, then it would've been very interesting to see what happened to that 14 percent of voters. But at this particular point, this isn't something that's a historical anomaly. It's something well in line with history.

COOPER: Congressman, do you think Haley gives now permission to Republicans who may have been on the fence about voting for Trump? I mean, the people who were voting for her in Maryland?

KINZINGER: Yeah, she does. Yeah. I mean, there's going to be a lot that still either vote third party, don't vote, or vote for Biden. But she does because if you think of it, if you're a Republican and you hold strong to your values, like I do, but you're sitting around saying, gosh, I just can't bring myself to vote for Biden, but maybe I will because Trump's so bad. I really Nikki Haley when she comes out and says, I'm going to vote for Donald Trump, despite everything she has said on the campaign trail, it does give you permission to say, oh, good.

And I got to tell you, Anderson, that's an ease -- that would be a relief like if all of a sudden, I could say, for instance, I'm in I'm on the Trump train now. I'm a good Republican again. It would be a personal relief because it takes that pressure off. So, I think she gives a lot of people license to go for Donald Trump. This is again, the Biden campaign has got to be doing a lot more to go after these kinds of folks. There are so many Republicans that are ready to endorse Biden that haven't heard a thing from the campaign and it's not -- it's political malpractice, honestly.

COOPER: Adam Kinzinger, thank you. Harry Enten as well. Coming up next, one-on-one with former FBI Director James Comey on the breaking news about the controversial flags that were flown in Supreme Court Justice Alito's homes in New Jersey and Virginia, also his take on the former president falsely claiming President Biden tried to have him assassinated during the Mar-a-Lago search, and details on Mr. Comey's new novel, coming up.



COOPER: More now on our breaking news from earlier this hour, "The New York Times" reporting a second controversial fly was found in the home owned by family of Justice Samuel Alito. As we mentioned, the 'Appeal to Heaven' flag was seen at the Alito's New Jersey beach home last summer. According to "The Times," the flag dates back to the revolutionary war and it's become a symbol of the 'Stop the Steal' movement that falsely claims Biden lost the 2020 election.

This follows a separate "New York Times" report last week about an upside-down American flag at the Alito home in Virginia two years ago. Joining me as former FBI Director James Comey, who's the author of a new fictional crime novel called "Westport."

I want to start with Justice Alito. There's reporting out that he flew or his family flew two different flags that are associated with January 6 over his homes at different times. Is that at all acceptable?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Well, no, it's deeply concerning. I don't understand enough about this second flag. I'm no expert in extremist flag waving. But, they're both very concerning for someone in his position because public trust and confidence is everything in the institutions of justice.

COOPER: As you know, Marjorie Taylor Greene and others are now accusing federal agents of seeking to assassinate former President Trump during the search at Mar-a-Lago. They cite this document that was unsealed by Judge Cannon in the classified documents case, it's entitled "Policy Statement: Use of Deadly Force." We're putting it up there. Do you know what this -- can you talk about what this document is?

COMEY: I'm smiling because it's so crazy. If you put this in a novel, it would get rejected by your editor. This is not --

COOPER: You would not write this in one of your novels?

COMEY: -- you would -- I would not. This is the standard FBI protocol that applies to every search and it simply reminds the participants in the search of what the rules are around the use of deadly force. It's not specific to Mar-a-Lago; it is not specific to any --

COOPER: This would be in any search?

COMEY: Any search and every search.

COOPER: With the criminal trial in New York, where do you think this is headed?

COMEY: I think it's highly likely to result in a conviction.

COOPER: You do?

COMEY: Oh, yeah. Some a small possibility I think of a hung jury. I think there's almost no possibility of acquittal. Again, you can't -- I've tried a lot of cases. You can't know a case fully unless you've tried it or been in the courtroom for every second.

COOPER: Hung juries are rare.

COMEY: They're rare, but it only requires one juror to say, I'm not quite there and to hold out. So that's why I say a small possibility, but not a real possibility given my experience -- over I would say 80 percent chance of conviction, given the case they've put together.

COOPER: You think they did their job even with all the weaknesses in some of their witnesses?


COMEY: Yeah. I think they built a case that was not subject to cross- examination, really. It's based on documents and texts and emails in the words of the defendant, and then they presented their most controversial witness, the cooperating bag man. But the case -- I bet they even talked about whether to call him, given the strength of their case before they put him on. I could see why they decided they had to put them on, and look to me like the evidence crossed over, which is a term used by one of my --

COOPER: You think they might not have even needed to call Michael Cohen?

COMEY: I think they probably discussed it, whether that -- whether they'd gotten the case in so smoothly and so many bricks to build conviction, building that they might have hesitated to call him.

COOPER: Do you think if the former president is found guilty, I mean, do you worry about what the response to that might be?

COMEY: No. No, I think it's -- I continue to worry about threats against individual poll workers and counsel people and that sort of thing. I'm not worried about an uprising of violence on Donald Trump's behalf. I don't think you've seen the crowds anywhere he has gone. I think a message was sent after January 6th that your life will be ruined if you engage in that kind of behavior and his crowd are not jihadis looking to die for the orange God. They are people who are attached to him as a cult leader in a way and entertainment figure. But they're not going to lay themselves down for him.

COOPER: Nikki Haley now said she will vote for Donald Trump. What do you think the -- I mean, if there is another Trump term, what does that mean for the Department of Justice, for the rule of law in this country?

COMEY: Dire threat to the Department of Justice's autonomy and independence and to the rule of law generally. And that's why I keep saying to people, I don't know what you're concerns are from left or right about Joe Biden, but a vote for anybody but him is a vote for a threat to the rule of law. That's how serious it is.

COOPER: I mean, isn't -- is the institution not strong enough? Are the pillars of the foundation of justice in this country, I mean, are they strong enough to withstand a Trump term? COMEY: I guess it depends on what you mean by withstand. Yeah, the institution would exist four years. If he left after four years, would still be there, but it would be severely damaged, and maybe a cultural change will have been worked. That would be very difficult to undo.

COOPER: And that would be by what? By filling it with people who are doing his bidding, who are not following the rule of law above loyalty to the president?

COMEY: Yeah, people -- he'll have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to staff the political positions, but there's plenty of scrapees at the bottom of our national barrel. And so, he'll put people in position who are willing to use the power, the investigative and prosecutive power to go after the president's enemies, do after people they don't like. And that's a very dangerous place to be.

COOPER: I want to talk about your new novel. You and I spoke, I think it was about a year ago, you were already writing or had written this book. It's called "Westport." What I liked about it is that it's -- I mean, it's a blend of both financial crimes but also are a murderer for mystery.

COMEY: Yeah. You're right. I had written it -- the way fiction works, I didn't know this before I started doing this is, you write well ahead. I'm writing the third book.

COOPER: It's the same protagonist?


COOPER: -- in the book. You don't need to have read the first book in order to enjoy this one?

COMEY: That's right. Nora Carlton (ph) was a federal prosecutor in the first book and now, she's working in the financial industry, and it's a murder who done it that I think -- that puts Nora (ph) at the center in the cross hairs that I think will be a pretty good summer read for people.

COOPER: And your, the protagonist, the main character Nora Carlton (ph), how did you create her? What was the inspiration?

COMEY: Inspiration is my oldest daughter who's a tall federal prosecutor -- currently, a federal prosecutor in Manhattan and I put in other elements of my four daughters, so that I can -- if they don't like it, I can say that's your sister. But I can close my eyes and picture my oldest girl when I write Nora (ph), and that makes it easy and a labor of love.

COOPER: And is there already a third in the works?

COMEY: Yeah, the third is out for loving but brutal feedback from my family, right now. So, it'll be out this time next year.

COOPER: All right. James Comey, thank you so much.

COMEY: Great to be with you, as always.

COOPER: Coming up next, a 360 Exclusive, you'll hear from a woman who says movie mogul Harvey Weinstein assaulted her nearly a decade ago. As part of an investigation into that alleged assault, she wore a wire and got Weinstein scene on tape, giving an apparent admission to groping her. But the prosecutors never brought charges. Now, she's sharing details about the parallel she sees to the Trump hush money trial, saying she was also targeted by a catch-and-kill operation in "The National Enquirer."



COOPER: Now, a 360 Exclusive. A Harvey Weinstein accuser is speaking out. As the former Hollywood producer waits retrial in New York in a sex crimes case, after his conviction was recently overturned by an appeals court, the court said the trial judge wrongly admitted some testimony and incorrectly allowed prosecutors to question Weinstein about verbal abuse.

Now, the woman you're about to hear from tonight had nothing to do with the case. Prosecutors never brought charges based on her accusations. She says Weinstein assaulted her nearly a decade ago. She also says she was silenced by a catch-and-kill effort by "The National Enquirer" just like the testimony in the former president's hush money trial. Now, she's talking exclusively with CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister.


AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ, WEINSTEIN ACCUSER: Almost like a gut punch, why is that happening?

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ambra Battilana Gutierrez stunned after a New York appeals court overturned the sex crimes conviction against disgraced movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein. The Italian model giving CNN a wide-ranging interview and new details on previous efforts to keep her silent after she worked with the NYPD on a sting operation in 2015, wore a wire, and caught this on tape.

GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touched my breast?

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, FORMER FILM PRODUCER: Oh please, I'm sorry, just come on in. I'm used to that. Come on, please.

GUTIERREZ: You are used to that?

WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.

GUTIERREZ: No, but I'm not used to that.

WEINSTEIN: I won't do it again, come on, sit here.

WAGMEISTER (voice-over): Despite an apparent admission of groping her, New York prosecutors never moved forward with the case, a decision that raised questions, which we'll get to. Adding to her suspicions, someone was leaking her allegations to the press, leading to tabloid headlines like grope gal asked for movie part and secret life of Harvey's shy accuser.

GUTIERREZ: I was 22-years-old and I was put under accusation of not being truthful and to be a prostitute or not a perfect victim because I am a model.


WAGMEISTER (voice-over): Battilana Gutierrez believed then and now the Weinstein machine was behind it all.

GUTIERREZ: Because it wasn't just him. I know there is more people behind him that have positions of power that he was using as well.

WAGMEISTER (voice-over): But who? Battilana Gutierrez believes part of the answer can be found here, at former president Donald Trump's hush money trial. That's where former "National Enquirer" boss, David Pecker testified to paying off sources to protect Trump's reputation by preventing negative stories from ever going public.

While Weinstein's named didn't come up on the stand --

LACHLAN CARTWRIGHT, FORMER EDITOR, THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER: This tabloid news organization became a protection racket for the rich and powerful.

WAGMEISTER (voice-over): Lachlan Cartwright, a former editor for "The Enquirer," who now writes for the "Hollywood Reporter," claims "The Enquirer" protected Weinstein too. Cartwright claims he was instructed by an editor who worked under Pecker to buy Battilana Gutierrez's story, later learning it was to keep it from being told and to protect Weinstein who had a business relationship with "The Enquirer's" parent company.

CARTWRIGHT: Initially, Ambra Battilana was offered $20,000 by "The National Enquirer."

GUTIERREZ: They were trying to say, like, how much you want? And I kept just answering nothing. I wanted to tell my story, but I wanted to trust someone.

WAGMEISTER (voice-over): Cartwright says he was told to raise the stakes to $150,000 for a story that the tabloid could have had for free. Battilana Gutierrez's go-between texted back, she says no, don't ask again.

Cartwright right alleges he later learned that a top lawyer for "The Enquirer" spoke to the Manhattan D.A.'s Office in an attempt to disparage Battilana Gutierrez's credibility.

CARTWRIGHT: And telling them that Ambra Battilana was trying to sell her story was the complete opposite of what was actually going on because we were inducing Ambra Battilana. She wasn't trying to sell her story. I felt sick to my stomach. WAGMEISTER (voice-over): The decision not to prosecute came from previous D.A. Cy Vance, no longer in office. He told CNN, I have no information that I recall presently that "The National Enquirer" or anyone representing it spoke with our office about selling a story to "The Enquirer." Weinstein told CNN through a spokesperson, the D.A.'s office knew all the facts and passed on this case. Had they felt they could pursue it, they would have. Neither Pecker nor "The Enquirer's" new parent company responded to requests for comment. Battilana Gutierrez says she also turned down hush money from Weinstein's lawyers.

GUTIERREZ: They went up to $300,000 to $700,000 to $1 million, and I still turn down every time.

WAGMEISTER (voice-over): And then Gutierrez says her brother back in Italy was approached by someone asking about her.

GUTIERREZ: I got so scared. I remember that I called my lawyer right away and I just said like, whatever they said, just do it. Just do it.

WAGMEISTER (voice-over): She finally gave in and signed a non- disclosure agreement, receiving money and agreeing not to talk. Weinstein told CNN of the NDA. Ms. Gutierrez's lawyers controlled those meetings and set the terms for it, adding his legal team later raised reasonable doubts about various aspects of her story during cross-examination in his Los Angeles sex crimes trial. He never faced charges in Battilana Gutierrez's case, but she did tell her story to a jury in 2022 as a supporting witness in Los Angeles, where Weinstein was convicted on three of seven charges and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

WAGMEISTER: And at the end of the trial, I spoke to one of the jurors and I remember, he said to me, if Ambra was tied to charges, I would have felt that Harvey Weinstein was guilty 100 percent. I see you are getting emotional and if you want to take a moment, it's OK.

GUTIERREZ: I know. Knowing that if maybe I could have just found the right person to release those recordings, you know, I wouldn't lose everything I lost and many people would have not been in the position that they are in right now because I could have just finished everything in 2015.


COOPER: Elizabeth Wagmeister joins us now. So, the current Manhattan D.A. has vowed to re-try Weinstein. Will Ambra Gutierrez be involved in that trial?

WAGMEISTER (on camera): It's a great question, Anderson. And no, she won't. Ambra told me that she is thrilled that they will retry this case, but Ambra testified in Los Angeles as a supporting witness, and these are the exact type of witnesses that are at the crux of why this conviction was overturned. The New York court of appeal says that there was too much evidence, too many women who testified, because their testimony did not directly tie into these charges.


WAGMEISTER (on camera): So, Ambra is actually part of a network of accusers and survivors of sexual assault who are working towards changing these laws because they feel it is important for a jury to hear a pattern of alleged behavior. Now, by the way, Anderson, I do want to let you know that Ambra is still under that non-disclosure agreement, but she broke that $1 million NDA to speak to us in this interview.

COOPER: Elizabeth, thanks so much. Next, it's been nearly two years since 19 children and two teachers were murdered in the Uvalde school shooting. Now, the families of the victims have reached a settlement with the city over the shooting response, details ahead.


COOPER: As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Uvalde mass shooting this Friday, 19 families the victims announced today that they've reached a $2 million settlement with the city. The families also say they're suing 92 officers and the school district over the failed shooting response. Now, this comes just a day after the new Uvalde school district police chief submitted his resignation, the man who held that position during the massacre was fired months after the shooting.

As you may know, 19 children and two teachers were killed in Uvalde's Robb Elementary School after the shooter barricaded himself in a classroom.