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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump Jury Deliberates For 4.5 Hours, Sends Two Notes to Judge; Jury Resumes Deliberations Tomorrow After 4.5 Hours So Far; Trump Allies Believe Certain Jurors Could Deliver A Mistrial; Jury Resumes Deliberations Tomorrow After 4.5 Hours So Far; Justice Alito Refuses Congressional Calls For Recusal In January 6 Related Cases; Nikki Haley's Pennsylvania Voters Aren't All Ready To Fall In Line Behind Trump; Iceland Volcano Erupts Again. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 29, 2024 - 20:00   ET



JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Since her own father and siblings have repeatedly pushed the narrative that this is not a case about seeking justice.


ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: This is political lawfare and it absolutely has to stop.


CARROLL: So if it's politics at play, Trump has said she wants no part of it, saying, "While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena."


CARROLL: And a source telling CNN that both Ivanka and Jared have not ruled out making some sort of an appearance before the verdict is read. But of course, that means they haven't ruled it in either.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Right. And there's not much time ...


BURNETT: ... likely. All right. Jason Carroll, thank you.

And thanks so much to all of you. Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Donald Trump's fate is in the hands of 12 Manhattan jurors, and they have questions.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us. Day one of jury deliberations in the first ever trial of a former president began with the judge reading 55 pages of instructions on what to consider as the jurors weigh 34 felony charges. Now, the day ended with the buzzer, which signals the jury wants to communicate going off once, then again, the first time to say they wanted four pieces of testimony read back to them. The second to ask the judge to reread them his instructions.

Unclear so far whether that means the whole thing or selected portions of it. The testimony they want is from David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and former Trump lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, some of it dealing with the arrangement for Pecker to act as the campaign's eyes and ears for potentially damaging stories.

They'll hear that tomorrow morning. The judge dismissing them, then staying with attorneys for both sides to try to hammer out exactly what will be said. As for the defendant, here's some of what he said coming and going.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mother Teresa could not beat these charges. These charges are rigged. The whole thing is rigged. Nobody knows what the crime is. This is no crime. Nobody knows what the crime is. The DA didn't name the crime. They don't know what the crime is. That's what the problem is. It's a disgrace. This thing ought to be ended immediately. The judge ought to end it and save his reputation.


COOPER: Well, the part about not naming the crime isn't true, and we'll talk about that tonight. As for the late Mother Teresa, she was judged by the Nobel committee, which awarded her the 1979 Peace Prize for her service to the orphans, leprosy patients and terminally ill of Calcutta.

With us tonight, New York criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, CNN Legal Analyst, Norm Eisen, who is in court today along with CNN's Kara Scannell. Also with us, John E. Jones III, former chief judge for the U.S. Middle District of Pennsylvania. He's currently president of Dickinson College.

So, Kara, we just learned the sections of Pecker and Cohen's testimony that the courts decided to read back.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So we learned from the - what parties that they both agreed to. And two of the requests that came from the jury in these questions, they wanted David Pecker and Michael Cohen's testimony as it related to the meeting in Trump Tower. This is the start of a conspiracy, according to the government, April 2015, when Pecker agreed to the eyes and ears ...

COOPER: And this is the meeting where Trump and Cohen basically said, what can you do for - you know, for the campaign?

SCANNELL: Right. What can you do to help the campaign? David Pecker says he'd be the eyes and ears. And Trump says you'd be in touch with Michael Cohen about this. So the portions of the transcript that we know are going to be read back and it's more than just this expert, but this is part of it. This is from Michael Cohen's direct examination where he's questioned by the prosecutor, Susan Hoffinger. "Could you tell the jury, please, what was discussed and what was agreed to at that meeting?" Cohen says, "What was discussed was the power of the National Enquirer in terms of being located at the cash register of so many supermarkets and bodegas, that if we can place positive stories about Mr. Trump, that would be beneficial; that if we could place negative stories about some of the other candidates, that would also be beneficial." Question: "Was there anything else that Mr. Pecker said he could also do for Mr. Trump's candidacy?" "Yes." "What in substance did he say?" Cohen says, "What he said was that he could keep an eye out for anything negative about Mr. Trump and that he would be able to help us to know in advance what was coming out and try to stop it from coming out." "And who did he say he would get in touch with if he was able to identify those types of stories?"

Cohen says, "The answer was: Me, Mr. Trump also. Knowing my relationship with David," this is in quotes, he's quoting Trump: "The two of you should work together. And anything negative that comes your way, you let Michael know, and we'll handle it."

Now, interesting in this is that the prosecution in their closing said, if you don't believe Michael Cohen, look at David Pecker. So they've also asked for David Pecker's testimony on this. And among the portions that they will hear tomorrow, this is on cross-examination, where, A, Emil Bove asked Pecker, "Do you remember that you confirmed that during the August 2015 meeting that there was no discussion of catch-and-kill, correct." Pecker says, "Yes." Question: "And during the August 2015 meeting, there was no discussion of a financial component to any agreement with President Trump and Michael Cohen, correct?"

Pecker says, "There was a discussion about that I was going to be the eyes and ears of the campaign. And there was a discussion that I would be notifying Michael Cohen of any women that were in the process of going - that were in the process or going to be selling stories. And I would notify Cohen that they would be available and they would either have to buy them or take them off the market or kill them in some manner."


Now, another part of testimony they asked for was about David Pecker's phone call with Donald Trump. And on that call, David Pecker recounts how he is talking to Trump about Karen McDougal. Trump asks if it's true that a Mexican company is willing to pay $8 million. He also refers to Karen McDougal as a nice girl.

And David Pecker advises Donald Trump, you should buy this story. Trump says. I don't buy stories, but you'll hear from Michael Cohen.

So it kind of gives you a sense. The jury is very focused on the facts on at least understanding this first part.

COOPER: It's interesting because Todd Blanche in his final arguments, he talked about this meeting and said reiterated that Pecker didn't talk about catch-and-kill. They didn't use the term catch-and-kill. But what Pecker just said in his testimony was catching and killing stories.

SCANNELL: Right. Not using that phrase. David Pecker said on the stand he hadn't used that phrase, but they're talking about buying stories, transferring money. So really underscoring that that is what they were doing.

COOPER: Norm, what stood out to you? What do you think was the most important stuff that we learned today?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the jury instructions were dry. Obviously, it was a lot for that jury to grasp over 50 pages of them. They want - it's another thing they asked for, they want to hear them again. But the law, Anderson, is very unfavorable to Donald Trump. Because the judge has clarified a number of legal issues in ways that really help the prosecution.

COOPER: In what ways? I mean, one of them is that they don't necessarily have to all agree on what the actual crime is.

EISEN: Correct. And he gave them a menu of options. Really, these are low hurdles. And that's clearly where the jury is focused on the conspiracy part of the case. The thing that makes this a felony. If they find that a - and only one juror has to find this, right? That Cohen used documents that had misrepresentations in them when he was setting up the business, his consultancy or his bank records, that's enough to create the crime.

If the tax forms, the 1099s, instead of describing ...


EISEN: ... income, it was at - those sums were actually reimbursements that both creates the misdemeanor document felony that kicks this case up or a separate tax offense and then there is the federal campaign issues that these four requests are focused on, because if there was an agreement, Cohen testified, corroborated by Pecker to benefit the campaign and money was involved. You read those instructions. That's a contribution.

So the judge applied the law, I think, fairly applied the law, but the law is very favorable.

COOPER: Arthur, you (INAUDIBLE) ...

AIDALA: Could we use the word uniquely, though, apply the law only because no one, Anderson, in that courthouse, which has been there, I don't know, a hundred years like no one has given that charge before. Judges have pattern jury instructions. It's a big three ring binder and they go through it and they read what reasonable doubt is, presumption of innocence, burden of proof, credibility of witnesses. And they doctored up a little bit, but this part that Norm's talking about has never been given before.

And the judge really said things that not even the prosecutor laid out. The judge laid out the prosecutor's case in the charge better than the prosecutor did in five hours. And that spells doom for Donald Trump.

COOPER: Judge, what do you think?

JOHN E. JONES III, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Well, I - first of all, I learned today that New York doesn't send their jury instructions out, which is archaic.

COOPER: Right. It's ridiculous. The jurors don't have a copy of the jury instructions.

JONES: It's completely ridiculous. In the federal system where I toiled, we sent the instructions out. It's madness. I mean, even with two lawyers in the jury, how you could possibly retain that. And I think what they want tomorrow and you probably agree with this, is the substantive law, the law of the case. They don't need reasonable doubt.

AIDALA: Reasonable doubt.

JONES: They don't need all the rest of it. But, you know, to Arthur's point, and I'm not the judge protective society because I was one. But the fact of the matter is that he had to fashion a charge a little bit out of whole cloth. There's no pattern. Arthur, you know, I mean, there's no pattern instruction for this.

AIDALA: Not a little bit, out of the whole cloth.

JONES: Right. Right. Exactly.

AIDALA: He created this for the first time ever.

JONES: Well, but, you know, he's adjudicating the case. He had to make a charge out of something and he didn't go to that three ring binder and find the charge. So, you know, he put the charge together as best he could under the circumstance. I agree that this is not good news for the defense, it's not. The first ...

COOPER: Because it makes it easier. Jurors don't have to all agree, okay, this is the crime. Two different jurors can see it differently. They believe a crime was committed, but just see ...

JONES: The bar is lower.


And the one thing that struck me today, the additional thing that struck me was, if you look at the statement of facts that accompanies, the indictment, the very first factual sort of piece that's in that statement of facts is that 2015 meeting among Trump and Cohen and Pecker. That means, it indicates to me, that the jury's going back and they're on the timeline and they're looking to see, did Trump set something in motion at that meeting that he's responsible for.

EISEN: And they're looking for independent testimony corroborating ...

JONES: Yes. EISEN: ... that was the theme, corroborating. So there's the Pecker- Trump phone call in which the conspiracy that prosecutors allege was laid out at Trump Tower is implemented with Karen McDougal. And it's a direct conversation with Donald Trump.

So it was not a great moment for the defense when those particular four questions came back. Also they did not take the model. There were two competing models when we talked yesterday. Todd Blanche said, here's all your off-ramps, the defense lawyer. Start with the documents were not false. Trump didn't have intent on the documents. Just get to the conspiracy as a last resort.

The prosecutor, Josh Steinglass said, no, go chronologically. That's what they're doing and corroboration. That was his magic word.

AIDALA: The one thing, Anderson, real quick, is that what's so odd about this case and why it's always rubbed me the wrong way is I went back and looked at the press conference that Alvin Bragg had when the indictment was announced. And the judge can tell you that a prosecutor in those press conferences lays out the crime. And in that particular press conference, it just said, Trump committed the crime of falsifying documents to commit another crime.

And he's asked several times by reporters to commit what other crimes and he says, the law does not necessarily - it's not necessary under the law for me to tell you. And now we're really kind of finding out what it is in the judge's charge. What this judge will tell you is unheard of that you find out at the end of the case and the judge's charge what the actual crime is, correct?

JONES: Yes. That's correct from the standpoint of what's given to the jury. You can't say that defense counsel didn't know what the crimes were at the beginning of this case, Arthur. They knew.


JONES: They knew very well what the predicate of the crime.

EISEN: And it's in the bill.

SCANNELL: There were motions on that.

EISEN: They requested a bill of (INAUDIBLE) ...

AIDALA: And they didn't get one.

EISEN: They got an answer to the bill of particulars. And it lays out 17152, this election conspiracy.

COOPER: I want to thank everybody. We're going to continue this argument. We're going to take a look at more in preparations for the verdict already well underway. For that, let's turn to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz in Lower Manhattan.

So talk about security preparations. SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: So, Anderson, we're outside the courthouse here in Lower Manhattan. So the barriers have been out here. This is actually the street where Donald Trump - this is where he goes in every morning, through the side door here into the courthouse. And you could see here - we're going to turn around here, Anderson, many of the barriers are out here already.

This barrier here in the middle of the street was just added today in anticipation of the verdict. This is where reporters generally assemble. This is where all the live shots are done. The one of the biggest concerns here is just what goes on opposite here in this park. This is where the protesters will gather where supporters of the former president and then also the people who are against them.

So one of the things that's going to be happening here, once the NYPD, once the city gets word that there is a verdict, we expect them to surge more officers into the location. They're trying to do this quickly as far as we know, but things sometimes take a little time because their concern is the longer once there is a verdict and the longer it takes to announce that verdict, more attention could be brought to this location and more people will gather and so they're trying to avoid that.

So once there is a verdict, they're hoping to be able to get it out and get it read quickly. But right now, the security here certainly is much different than what we see during the day. There's a lot of barriers and there's certainly a number of officers out here. The Secret Service is protecting the former president.

There's also concern for the jurors as they leave once the verdict is rendered. That is the court security. Those are the court officers. They provide security to the jurors and to the court staff. And then the NYPD will be managing all the security out here, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, thanks.

To understand what jurors are going through in the Trump trial, we're going to talk with a juror in another high profile New York case who learned firsthand how hard it can be in that jury room to reach a verdict.

And later, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, he just sent Congress members a letter explaining why a flag that January 6th attackers flew - also flew above his house, making clear he has no plans to accuse himself from ruling in the former president's January 6th case. Reaction tonight from Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who wants him to do just that ahead on 360.



COOPER: We have new reporting tonight on what some supporters of the former president have been doing inside the courtroom, specifically to give the defense insight it might not otherwise have on the jury. CNN's Kristen Holmes has a reporting on that and joins us now along with Washington Post national columnist Philip Bump, who served as a juror in the high profile 2009 trial here in New York for socialite Brooke Astor's son, who was convicted of bilking his mom out of millions of dollars, and with us again tonight is jury consultant Alan Tuerkheimer.

So, Kristen, first of all, what have you learned?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so I just want to be very clear, all of this is reading tea leaves here and the first people who will tell you they don't know anything are Donald Trump's team. They're just hoping for a hung jury right now. But what we do know and have learned tonight is that we saw Donald Trump bring in a series of donors, allies, lawmakers.

And while they were in the courtroom, a lot of them were observing the jury and then relaying their observations back to Donald Trump's team, and they weren't all negative. Some of these various lawmakers, particularly some of the high profile lawmakers said they saw one or two of the jurors kind of acknowledge them, like eye contact.

At one point, someone said they were giving off positive vibes, but could not exactly define what that meant. But they also said that they watched one of the jurors kind of nod along with Todd Blanche at one point, making faces while Michael Cohen was talking, giving his defense or at least answering questions from Blanche during the cross- examination. Now, all of this is not to say that they believe that this leads to a hung jury.


It means that they are holding out hope that some of these people who were more receptive to Donald Trump or the people Donald Trump was bringing into the courtroom might help them get a hung jury, which really is the ultimate goal here. Just a reminder, none of them believe that he's getting acquitted at the end of this. It's either a conviction or a hung jury at this point.

COOPER: Alan, you heard Kristen's reporting and you spent all the time looking at jurors and trying to understand jurors, do you believe that you can interpret what a juror - I mean, do you believe these signs that people are interpreting that they saw jurors make?

ALAN TUERKHEIMER, JURY CONSULTANT: It's pretty difficult to do. I think maybe you can in totality, but one or a few nonverbals here and there aren't going to give you a real indication as to which way a juror is leaning. But if I was sitting in on the jury selection process and listen to the questions during voir dire, looked at the jurors, listened to their responses, and then in my mind thought this could be a pretty fair juror for my side, for the defense. They might be the kind of juror that's that hangs a jury or that argues and argues to keep things going.

And then I saw someone signs, maybe I'd be feeling pretty good about it. But I would say that a few nods or an acknowledgments, a low form of that, I don't think you can read too much into that. COOPER: Philip, it's fascinating. You were a juror on a very high profile trial in 2009 in New York. Brooke Astor, a big socialite philanthropist in New York. Her son had been charged with bilking her out of millions, along with an attorney of his. I mean, it was a long, long trial. Take us inside the jury room, what was it like?

PHILIP BUMP, SERVED ON NYC JURY IN HIGH-PROFILE 2009 ASTOR CASE: Yes, I mean, the - before we got to deliberations, the jury room was the boringest place on earth, right? You just sat there and you waited for the lawyers to do their thing in the courtroom and have the judge resolve issues that we weren't privy to, right?

The important thing, I think, for people to remember is the jurors don't see everything everyone else sees, right? So then when we got to deliberation, we weren't even allowed to talk about the case. Of course, you can't do that until you get to deliberation. So eventually we got our jury instructions, went to the room, the door closed. And that's when it really began for us, right?

And so we spent 11 days hashing out the details of these charges. When I hear people talking about how people were acting in the jury box, you don't know what you're going to do until you get into that jury room. You may go in thinking, you understand what the case is all about. I certainly went in thinking, oh, I think, you know, we can find this way and that way.

And assuming everyone has seen the same evidence and come to the same conclusions, very much not the case.

COOPER: You thought you knew what the other jurors thought, because ...

BUMP: Oh, yes.

COOPER: ... to you is pretty clear. And then once you got in, you realize, oh, wait a minute, everyone - we're not all in agreement.

BUMP: And I realize that I myself had missed pieces of evidence that led me to have a different determination of how I actually felt about the case.

COOPER: You also wrote that while you were sitting in the jury box listening, what was in your mind was, did this person do it or not?

BUMP: That's right.

COOPER: And then once you were in the jury room, that was no longer the question. The question was, is this provable or is this beyond a reasonable doubt?

BUMP: Exactly, yes. So when you're sitting there, jurors can sort of watch the trial in the same way anyone would and be like, yes, he seems like, you know, maybe he's not telling the truth. I think he's probably guilty. But your charge when you get in that jury room is, do you have the evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the letter of the law was violated. It's a very different thing and you have to piece it together like a puzzle.

You have to say, I have this piece of evidence here. And wait, there's actually one charge we had as whether or not Anthony Marshall, Brooke Astor's son, had stolen basically a million dollars from her and we had to piece it together. Well, he got this much from here, and this much from here and this much from here, until we got to that million dollar mark and then we all agreed that he was guilty. But we had to match that evidence to the letter of the law.

COOPER: The other thing you had written about, which is interesting to me, is that had you known that one of the charges that you were wrestling with would have meant a mandatory jail time, the defendant in your case, I think was like 85 years - he's in his 80s, that might have influenced you. You did not know it. That's why the judge in this case was so upset that that Todd Blanche mentioned prison to the juror.

BUMP: Yes, and it was that charge I was just talking about, that million dollar thing had a mandatory prison sentence. We didn't know that. And that was actually one where I came in and had my mind changed on it, had all of us known that that meant this man would be going to prison, I can't say that it would have changed our mind. It was still was the facts versus the law. But it's hard to think that it wouldn't have at least subconsciously influenced us to some degree.

COOPER: Alan, just quickly, what do you make of the jury asking to hear the judge's instructions again on the first day of deliberations and to rehear, you know, certain testimony on David Pecker and Michael Cohen zeroing in on that first meeting in 2015?

TUERKHEIMER: They certainly got to a point where they decided, okay, now we have to focus on the task at hand and the law. Let's face it, they didn't have a copy of it. And 10 of the twelve jurors are totally unfamiliar with it. The two lawyers, maybe they were somewhat unfamiliar with it, but the law is - it's confusing. It's ambiguous. It's new to them and it's complex, so they want to get it right.

The foreperson in one of the Rod Blagojevich trials said it was like giving us the keys to the space shuttle and saying, go fly it. I think they had the copy of the law. So for this jury, it's almost fly the space shuttle. You have a blindfold. So they want to get it right.


They want to really scrutinize the law. They want to look at the words. These are words everyday people don't use. Do you ever use importune in a conversation? I don't. And so they're not going to - back into a verdict, they're not going to make their decision based on emotion or intuition. They want to know the law. They're going to scrutinize it and they want to get it right and so I think that's why they did it.

COOPER: Yes. Alan Tuerkheimer, it's great to have you on, as always. Kristen Holmes, Philip Bump as well.

Coming up next, former Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina's take on the case and how he thinks his ex-client may favor the jury.



COOPER: Not only has this country never waited for a criminal verdict against the former president, it's safe to say that no attorney has ever had a client like this one.

Joining us now, someone with a rare perspective on all of this. New York trial lawyer and former Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina, who's represented over the years Michael Jackson, former New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez and rapper ASAP Rocky among - ASAP, sorry, that's how uncool I am.



TACOPINA: I was like, oh, I'm going to represent ASAP Rocky.

COOPER: I know Rihanna. I don't - anyway. So what are your thoughts? I mean, everybody's just trying to read like tea leaves here.

TACOPINA: You know, that's funny you say that because there is a word, it's called tasseography.

COOPER: Tasseography.

TACOPINA: Tasseography is a serious infliction among even the most experienced trial lawyers in this country, I include myself in that group. And what tasseography is, is a fortune-telling method of interpreting tea leaves. It's a real word. It's a real definition.

COOPER: Even trial attorneys do that and it can help.

TACOPINA: It can help yourself and 95 percent of the time you're wrong.

COOPER: So Kristen Holmes was saying that someone on the Trump team, you know, kind of felt like, oh, some allies felt, oh, that juror seems to be kind of making a good face or sending a good vibe. You've had that and it doesn't pan out.


TACOPINA: I've had it where it's been accurate. I've had it where it's been -- hi, I really like your tie. I can't stand you or your client, but I like your tie. So they'll give you that. There is absolutely no way to say based on a juror's facial reactions or based on body language. Short of them like folding their arms and looking away from you, there's no way to determine what that really means.

COOPER: The judge's instructions to the juror, how concerned are you about that in terms of the -- our last guess, we are saying they seem to make it very easy or easier for the jury to find a conviction. TACOPINA: I don't -- I don't -- I mean, look, they don't all have to agree on what the crime is. Yeah. But the overlapping crime, right, they have to all agree that there's a falsifying of business records.


TACOPINA: And here's what's important, that Donald Trump commanded or requested or caused those false entries to be made. Not that they were just made by someone at the Trump Organization. That's really where I think the battleground is here. If I were still representing him in this case, I would focus my attention on that because there's really been a lack of proof, from my opinion, that he is -- look, he is who he is. He was in the White House at portions of this, that he's asking or instructing or even knowing what some accountant in the Trump Organization is putting in, in the business records.

A check is going out to a lawyer, he could have been writing legal expenses, assuming it was that. I am not suggesting he didn't know about the hush money payments. I think that's not a strong argument, OK? But I think the battleground would really be, did he know about the false entries in the books?

COOPER: In the end, we had a panel on, like a focus type group, Gary Tuchman the other night, and basically broke down along political lines. Folks who've been watching the trial, ultimately, the Trump supporters didn't think he was guilty. The Trump, those who didn't like him, do you think that is possibly how it could break down here?

TACOPINA: I have no doubt that we don't know what these jurors, who they vote for. That's illegal to ask that question and protect potential jurors. It wasn't asked in this case, obviously. But, I will make a strong prediction that any of those jurors who -- if any of those jurors voted for Donald Trump, they are not voting for a conviction here. And conversely, I think any of the jurors who voted against Donald Trump and not even for Biden, but against Donald Trump, will never vote for an acquittal.

So, I think -- I think that's where you're going to have your -- sort of your outcome here.

COOPER: You know, New York jurors, I mean, hung juries are rare, little more in high-profile trials.


COOPER: What do you --

TACOPINA: But this is -- this is -- the mold is crushed here. There is no playbook for this one, right? There's just no playbook. It's not -- look, it's not about the evidence in this case. It's not about the law. Of course, it is, Anderson, but I think, ultimately, there's so much more in the elixir here. People's personal opinions, very strong personal opinions about Trump, one way or another. I mean, one of the jurors who actually stayed on that jury because the defense ran out of challenges, said she really has no sympathy for his conduct, the way he acts, doesn't really appreciate his demeanor. That's a horrible juror to have. She's on the jury.

So again, they have to -- what the defense has to do is make sure the jurors could say, look, I hate this guy but there's a secret time and a place for that. That's called the ballot box. It's not in the courtroom where the rule of law is supposed to reign supreme.


TACOPINA: And that's what the defense really has to hope.

COOPER: Yeah. Joe Tacopina, thank you. Appreciate it. As this trial has proceeded and his other legal challenges mount, the former president has made a point of associating with praise (ph), even promising to pardon some accused criminals and convicts, even as he continues law and order message. Our Randi Kaye has more on that contrast, right now.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump, just last week in the Bronx, inviting two rap artists on stage, but not just any rap artists. They've both been indicted in an alleged conspiracy to commit murder.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here as well is rapper Sheff G. Does everybody know Sheff? Where is Sheff G? Come on up fellows. Rapper Sleepy Hallow.

KAYE (voice-over): Those fellows Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow are alleged gang members who the Brooklyn district attorney named in an indictment. They are accused of conspiracy to commit murder and weapons possession. This is them in a video used as evidence in the case brandishing weapons in a car. Both have pleaded not guilty and from the looks of it, are now on Team MAGA.

SHEFF G, AMERICAN RAPPER: One thing I want to say, they always go whisper your accomplishments and shout your failures. Trump must shout the wins for all of us, make America great again.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. That's what I like, those teeth. I want to find out where you -- I got to get my teeth like that. I want that to happen to me.

ERIC GONZALEZ, BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It was shocking that a presidential candidate would be meeting and having known gang members who have an open indictment for attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, introduce him at a presidential rally.

KAYE (voice-over): Over the weekend, Trump aligning himself with a convicted criminal who is serving life in prison.


At the Libertarian National Convention, promising to commute the sentence of the founder of Silk Road, a now defunct, unregulated, online marketplace where users could buy and sell anonymously. TRUMP: And if you vote for me, on day one, I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht, who is sentenced of time served.

KAYE (voice-over): Silk Road's founder, Ross Ulbricht was convicted on charges including money laundering and drug trafficking, and sentenced to life in prison in 2015, after a prosecutor noted six deaths resulting from drugs bought on his website. Ulbricht was quick to thank Trump on social media, writing on X, "Donald Trump pledged to commute my sentence on day one if re-elected. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

At that same Libertarian event, there's Trump posing for a photo with Rapper Afroman. He pleaded guilty in 2015 to punching a woman at one of his concerts. And then of course, there are the convicted January 6th rioters. Trump almost never let's an opportunity pass to praise them and has promised to part in them if elected to a second term.

TRUMP: When people who love our country protest on January 6th in Washington, they become hostages, unfairly in prison for long periods of time.

KAYE (voice-over): Trump's commitment to those criminally charged also on full display at his hush money trial, as his own former lawyer turned convicted felon Michael Cohen testified against him. Trump's courtroom entourage included former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who served time in prison for fraud before Trump pardoned him. Also in tow, Chuck Zito, an actor and former leader of Hell's Angels New York Chapter, who spent years in prison, a place Trump is currently very much trying to avoid.

Randi Kaye, CNN.


COOPER: Just ahead, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito responds to Democrats in Congress demanding he recuse himself from January 6th related cases. What he's now saying about those flags once flown over his homes and have led to questions about his impartiality, we'll discuss with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.



COOPER: Justice Samuel Alito responded to members of Congress today, saying he would not recuse himself from January 6th related cases before the court. This after reports in "The New York Times" questioning his impartiality. The Times revealed that an upside-down American flag was flown above of an Alito home after the January 6th attack. In today's letter, he says he was not even aware of the upside down flag until it was called to my attention. As soon as I saw it, he says I asked my wife to take it down, but for several days, she refused.

He also responded to a second Times report about this flag flown above another home last summer, the 'Appeal to Heaven' flag dates to the revolutionary war. But more recently, it's been associated with Trump supporters. Today, Alito wrote, "I had no involvement in the decision to fly that flag. My wife is fond of flying flags. I am not."

I'm joined now by Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, one of the authors of a Congressional letter demanding his recusal. Appreciate you joining us Congresswoman. First of all, what do you make of his response, essentially doubling down on blaming his wife?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D-WA): I think it's outrageous, Anderson. This is a supreme court justice, the highest court of the land. He had an obligation to, I believe, recuse himself, but at a minimum to provide response to members of Congress about his actions and he really didn't do that. I mean, this letter is -- it's ridiculous on so many levels to say, well, I didn't know about it. Then I tried to ask my wife to take it down, but she wouldn't take it down. But hey, by the way, none of that matters.

This is a justice who is going to weigh in on cases that are about our democracy, about the press -- the former president's participation in an insurrection. And to say that it has no bearing, that his wife was flying, not just one, but two flags is really disturbing. The reality is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from a case on affirmative action in Harvard because she felt that there was a chance that it could lead to a sense of impropriety.

Justice Alito and I would say, Justice Thomas in the same category are really slashing and burning the integrity of the supreme court and I think it's extremely troubling, and it means that Justice Roberts has to step in and actually establish enforceable mechanism to hold these justices accountable for a code of conduct that, right now, has no such thing.

COOPER: Yeah. I mean, in his letter to you and a number of your House colleagues, Alito wrote, and I'm quoting, "I am confident that a reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or desire to affect the outcome of supreme court cases would conclude that the events that were counted above do not meet the applicable standard for recusal." I mean, he seems to be suggesting that your motives for demanding this recusal are about politics. You want to affect the outcome of cases.

JAYAPAL: Yeah. I mean, he's just wrong. You know, I think if you polled people about whether a supreme court justice should have a flag that happens to be flown by his wife, but who knows that unless he's explaining it, the vast majority of reasonable people would say that that flag is actually belongs to the house of the supreme court justice. And there would be a reasonable assumption that the supreme court justice ascribed to those views.

Now, even the fact that his wife was feeling the need to counter a neighbor's flag and show support for Donald Trump is very troubling. And I think also "The New York Times," I think how to report -- a detailed report that says that even Justice Alito's account, I think it was on Fox News, about why his wife put up that flag, that that was not true based on conversations to the police that were recorded. So, I think there's a lot of problems here. But at the end of the day, it's just outrageous because the supreme court has to have the trust and credibility of the American people. It is already at its lowest level ever and I think the chief justice and of course, Congress, once we have a body that can pass ethics reforms, I have a bill with Senator Warren on this. But, I think the chief justice needs to immediately establish an enforceable mechanism, an independent enforceable mechanism to make sure that the supreme court justices are following this code of conduct that they set out for themselves.


COOPER: Yeah. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up, John King returns with his 'All Over the Map' series, traveling to battleground states, here with voters, they are (ph) thinking. Tonight, he talks to Nikki Haley's supporters in Pennsylvania. Haley recently said she will vote for Trump in November, but the question is, will all of those who voted for her do the same? See what John found out next.


COOPER: The former president's battle in court comes as he continues to wage a nomination fight against Nikki Haley. She dropped out of the race in early March but is still on ballot. She gained double-digit votes in key battleground states like Wisconsin, more recently in Pennsylvania. Eight days goes, as you may know, Haley said she will vote for Trump in November and urged the former president to reach out to her supporters and not take their votes for granted.

As part of his 'all Over The Map' series which examines key issues through the eyes of battleground state voters, our John King went to Pennsylvania to talk to Haley voters.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Pesce's first big political statement came 40 years ago.

MICHAEL PESCE, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I became a Republican when I turned 18 because of Ronald Reagan. Both my parents were staunch Democrats and I -- at the time, they were like we are Democrats, we are not Republicans. And I was like, no, no, no. I'm a Reagan Republican.


KING (voice-over): The Philadelphia suburbs were reliably red back then. Pesce a reluctant piece (ph) of why they are much more blue now.

KING: So in 2016, you voted for?

PESCE: Trump. KING: And in 2020?

PESCE: Biden.

KING: And you've got an election a few months. What are you going to do?

PESCE: If I had my choice, I wouldn't vote for either, but I will vote for Biden. I will vote for anyone but Trump.

KING: Why?

PESCE: Well, so he tried to overthrow our government. And that's a problem with me. I served in U.S. Military. I just have very strong feelings about what it means to be an American.

KING (voice-over): So another big statement this election year, a primary vote for Nikki Haley six weeks after Donald Trump locked up the nomination.

PESCE: I want other Republicans out there saying, like, we don't have to choose this guy. They don't want to hear that. OK. He could be a convicted criminal and a couple of days. They don't want to hear that. Hey, he did all these things.

KING (voice-over): Pesce is hardly alone. Haley won 17 percent statewide, 24 percent here in suburban Montgomery County.

IRMA FRALIC, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: This is a little paradise outside the city.

KING (voice-over): Irma Fralic also wanted to send a message.

FRALIC: I want a country that's normal. I want a country that functions and I want people to be together.

KING (voice-over): Fralic is the daughter of Cuban immigrants, a staunch supporter of Israel, another Reagan Republican, beyond frustrated with her choices.

FRALIC: One is in court, and the other one is, I feel bad for him. If he was my father, I'd say, you know, you might want to reconsider your life. I don't know. And the other one I'd say, you might want to prioritize your personal problems.

KING (voice-over): Rural Berks County is more Trumpy. But even here, 16 percent for Haley. Joan London was a Reagan supporter in her teens, a tea party backer in the Obama years. But after she cast her primary vote for Haley, London left the GOP, registering as an independent.

JOAN LONDON, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: The national party just didn't reflect my values the way it had, and I'm seeing a change in that more towards populism which carries some unpleasant baggage.

KING (voice-over): She won't vote for Biden. London's debate, skip the presidential ballot line or ride in a conservative. KING: This is a county Trump needs. The county he won by eight points in 2020. If you are not Trump, that subtraction hurts him. You get that right?


KING: You think that's important?

LONDON: I believe that we have to send a message that the Republican Party needs to go in a different direction.

KING: And if Biden wins because of that, so be it?

LONDON: It's principle position I need to take.

KING (voice-over): Media is in Delaware County, the Philly suburbs. Linda Rooney, a registered Republican, a Trump voter in 2016, then Biden in 2020. Her Haley vote in April both a protest and a question.

LINDA ROONEY, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: Who are these people in the Republican Party that are shoving this down our throats right now? Like, why can't we be -- why can't we elect someone normal? Rooney serves as a borrow election monitor.

KING: He just said the other day that he won Pennsylvania in 2020.




KING: Yeah, we are laughing about it, but it's not funny.

ROONEY: No. It's not funny.

KING (voice-over): She also says Trump's conduct on January 6th was reprehensible.

ROONEY: So, you know, I just can't -- I can't forgive him for that.

KING (voice-over): But Rooney won't vote for Biden again.

ROONEY: I can't. I don't trust them with the economy. My son's in the army, I don't -- I'm angry about Afghanistan, about that withdrawal. So honestly, I can't vote for him. So, I have two choices. I can ride someone in, or I can hold my nose and vote for Trump, and know that's only going to be four more years.

KING (voice-over): Michael Pesce also takes the only four more years approach, but he arrives at a different answer.

PESCE: If enough of us, Republicans can do the right thing, keep Trump out of office, the next four years aren't going to be perfect, but I think they could be better than what the alternative would be. KING (voice-over): Their Haley vote in April was a protest. Their choice in November could well decide the outcome in a crucial battleground.


COOPER: John King joins us now. How did Nikki Haley do in battleground state primaries after she suspended her campaign?

KING: The math, Anderson, is stunning. Let's start where we just were, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Look, 16 percent, a little more if you round it up, but look at the number, the math, 158,000 votes plus, right. 158,000 plus, remember, in 2020, Joe Biden carried Pennsylvania by 81,000. Nikki Haley gets almost twice that. When Trump won it in 2016, the margin was 44,000 and change. So, her voting block just in Pennsylvania could be decisive and it's not just there.

Come back and look at this Republican map. Yes, Donald Trump swept to the nomination, but look at this primary performance and the Haley factor.


Forgive me, for turning my back. I just want to stretch this out. This is just in the battleground states. We just showed you Pennsylvania. Wisconsin was settled by 20,000 votes last time. She got 13 percent in the primary, well in excess of 20,000 votes. Michigan 27 percent, that was bigger for Joe Biden, but Nikki Haley got nearly 300,000 votes in the primary. Georgia, remember, 11,000 votes last time, she got 13 percent. Arizona 18 percent, that was settled by 10,000 votes last time. So, the president has problems in his family. That's why he was in Philadelphia today trying to court black voters.

So, he -- president, the incumbent has problems too. But for Donald Trump and the Republican family, long after Haley left the race that she is still getting these numbers enough to be a decisive block in these battleground states, that's a bit big math problem.

COOPER: Yeah. John King, thanks so much.

Coming up next, live pictures from a new fiery volcanic eruption in Iceland, details coming up.



COOPER: Looking at live pictures there of a new massive volcanic eruption underway in Iceland, the fifth one since December. Earlier today, before the lava started flowing, officials evacuated the famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, also any residents still in a nearby fishing village were asked to leave, though many fled months ago when the eruptions began.