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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump Ridicules Special Counsel's Gag Order Request In New Court Filing In Classified Documents Case; Trump Celebrating 78th Birthday At Event In Florida; Biden Returns From G7 Trip To Prep For Debate; Judge Approves Liquidation Of Alex Jones' Personal Assets, Rejects Break Up Company To Pay Sandy Hook Victims' Families; Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Discusses About Alex Jones And Sandy Hook Massacre; Catherine, Princess Of Wales, Set To Make First Public Appearance In Months At King Charles Birthday Celebration Tomorrow; Pamela Smart, Serving Life, Accepts Responsibility For Her Husband's 1900 Killing For The First Time; Joey Chestnut Out Of Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest This Year; Will Face Off Against Rival On Labor Day On Netflix. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 14, 2024 - 20:00   ET



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There is no one cause of runway incursions, but it will take more than one solution.


MIKE WHITAKER, FAA ADMINISTRATOR: So we're looking at those layers of safety, are there other layers that we can insert.


MUNTEAN (voice over): As new technology takes aim at avoiding disaster.

Pete Muntean, CNN Hagerstown, Maryland.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And thanks so much to all of you for joining us on this Friday night. Have a great and safe weekend. We'll see you Monday. AC360 starts right now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360 breaking news, it's now in the judge's hands, lawyers for the former president just filed their answer to special counsel Jack Smith's call for a gag order in the classified documents case.

Also tonight what we're learning about how Trump and Biden teams are preparing for the CNN presidential debate less than two weeks from tonight.

And later, new details on the Princess of Wales' first public appearance since revealing her cancer diagnosis. It's going to be tomorrow and what it could say about the state of her treatment.

Good evening, thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with the breaking news on a gag order the Jack Smith says is designed to prevent the former president from making statements that, quote, "poses significant imminent and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case."

A statement such as the former president's false claim that he narrowly escaped death during the search of Mar-a-Lago. His lawyers had until today to file their counter-argument and tonight they did. CNN's Evan Perez joins us now with more.

So, what does the filing say, Evan?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson the president - the former president's lawyers are ridiculing the effort by the Special Counsel to have an - a gag order in place - put in place on the former president. They're calling it an unconstitutional overreach by the by the Special Counsel and they say this is actually a ploy to help Joe Biden in the election. I'll read you some of what this filing said tonight.

It says, "Like Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jack Smith is seeking to restrict President Trump's campaign speech as the first presidential debate approaches at the end of the month." That's, of course, the debate that's going to be here on CNN later this month.

They go on to say the following, they say that the motion is a naked effort to impose totalitarian censorship of core political speech, under threat of incarceration, in a clear attempt to silent presidents silence President Trump's arguments to the American people about the outrageous nature of this investigation and prosecution.

And look, what the former president's lawyers are really homing in on, Anderson, is the part of the gag order request by the Special Counsel for this to be a condition of his release essentially putting it in the hands of the probation office and that really - what that would do essentially is it kind of takes it out of the hands of Judge Aileen Cannon who has ordered a series of hearings beginning next Friday. I'll be down there in Fort Pierce federal court where she'll have a number of hearings including one on this request by the Special Counsel for a gag order on the former president.

And as you pointed out, this is really, you know an extraordinary thing for how to be doing so late after the after the Special Counsel made this request.

COOPER: So, can you just remind people why Jack Smith sought this gag order in the first place?

PEREZ: Well, yes, because he - as you pointed out the former president has been making very inflammatory comments about the 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago. He said that the standard FBI order which had - which oversees all of these searches including the search of President Biden's home when - you know, as part of that classified documents' investigation, it is the standard order for FBI agents to be armed doing their jobs, right? That is part of their requirement for their jobs.

And what the former president has been claiming is that he was put in danger. Keep in mind, he was not present for the search at Mar-a-Lago and so he was never in any danger, Anderson.

COOPER: Evan Perez, thanks very much.

Joining us now is former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and former federal judge Shira Scheindlin.

So Judge, what do you make of this - the legal merits of this filing?

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, FORMER U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: Well, there's something to be said for both sides as always. The government says this is so bad, it endangers law enforcement in general. It endangers the people who took part in this raid, although they have not been in identified, but because it attacks law enforcement. You never know what his followers will do and there was a previous incident in August of 2022 after he made the same comments and somebody attacked an FBI office. So there's a risk of real danger and that's one of the reasons you can't amend the conditions of bail if there's a risk of danger or risk to the community.

On the other hand from the Trump perspective, he is on the eve of the debate.


He's on the eve of the Republican convention and he wants ...

COOPER: And he's running for president of the United States.

SCHEINDLIN: ... and he's running president. He wants to be able to make his classic campaign speech, but I don't know that he really needs to say that Joe Biden is locked and loaded and trying to take me out. And that's really all Jack Smith is complaining about. He'd like him to stop saying that the FBI was trying to kill him and that Joe Biden was trying to kill him.

If you read their papers and I did quickly tonight, those are the two things they're worried about, stop saying the FBI is trying to kill you, stop saying that President Biden is trying to kill you. They're both lies. That's for sure. And they're unnecessary to his point.

He could still attack the raid. He can say the raid is over the top, but as the reporter pointed out he wasn't even there and they did it purposely when he wasn't there and they coordinated with his lawyer. And they coordinated ...

COOPER: So that that is what Jack Smith wants the former president not to be able to say ...

SCHEINDLIN: That's right.

COOPER: ... that the FBI was trying to kill him.

SCHEINDLIN: That's really the two things he's most worried about when you read their brief that he should stop saying the FBI is trying to kill me and that Joe Biden is trying to kill me, because that just incites people. And when people are incited, you don't know what one crazy person could do. It's a danger.

COOPER: Andrew, can you just remind people why you think Trump's false claims about the boilerplate lethal force language in the Mar-a-Lago search warrant are - is dangerous? I mean, again, that warrant was executed when Trump's not there and then the - and the Secret Service was obviously looped in.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. So you have to begin with the understanding that the way that he characterized that language was entirely deliberately misleading to create this impression that the FBI had been given authorization from above to essentially use lethal force against him. That's absolutely not true. The language is just standard language. It's actually an admonishment to FBI agents telling them what to not do when they execute a search warrant. It's in every search warrant operations order.

The reason it creates risk is for exactly the reasons that the judge just mentioned. We know that Trump's most ardent followers listen very closely to everything he says so when he deliberately goes on Truth Social or in his campaign mailings says things that he knows are false and create the impression that the FBI is out to kill him. He - raises the significant risk that someone might act out against FBI agents or an FBI office anywhere. We know that's happened before. There's no reason to think that language like this might not have the same result.

COOPER: Andrew, Trump's legal team is arguing and I'm quoting from their brief, "No FBI agent who participated in the raid has been publicly identified in the court filing or commentary by President Trump. Not a single FBI agent who participated in the raid submitted an affidavit or even an argument claiming that President Trump's remarks put them at risk." What's your response to that?

MCCABE: Well, he didn't - there was no individual FBI agent raised the first time that he complained about the quote-unquote "illegal raid" on his home at Mar-a-Lago. And that very nonspecific language and misleading statements led to Ricky Schifflin (ph) attacking the FBI Field office in Cincinnati, which ultimately resulted in an armed standoff in which Mr. Schifflin died. So that part really doesn't hold much weight for me.

But I will say that there are some things that I think the government could have done better here. They filed this motion requesting what is essentially kind of a - an emergency relief. But they didn't request Emergency kind of handling by the court. They didn't request an expedited briefing schedule. I think they just assumed the judge would go along with it. That was probably a false assumption.

And to be quite frank, I think their application would have been stronger had they actually included an agent or affidavit from an FBI agent kind of bearing witness to these facts that they assert in the application. Nevertheless what they're asking for is reasonable. It is narrowly tailored and it should be approved.

COOPER: Judge Scheindlin, would you be inclined to approve a gag order?

SCHEINDLIN: You know, I was a very practical judge. I would look at Trump's team and I would say, can you assure me that he will stop saying that the FBI is trying to kill him and that Joe Biden is trying to kill him. That's the essence of this. If he would agree to not say, that there's no need for a gag order, because gag orders are hard to enforce and hard to decide who decides whether they've been violated and they do create problems. They can be vague in their language. I understand that.

So to try to work through it, I would try to be practical.

COOPER: It is hard though, I mean, for somebody running to be president that they can't say - I mean if they want to say their opponent wants to kill them ...


COOPER: I mean ...

SCHEINDLIN: ... but here, it's very explicit. This raid shows that he's out to kill me. He's locked and loaded he's sending in armed agents. And as agent or Deputy McCain - McCabe just pointed out, that's exactly contrary. It says you cannot use the weapons unless it's absolutely necessary.


And it couldn't have happened here, it was all coordinated, the lawyers knew, the Secret Service knew and Trump wasn't there.

COOPER: Judge Scheindlin, thanks very much, Andrew McCabe as well. The former president is celebrating his 78th birthday tonight at a 5,000 seat the convention center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Among the lawmakers singing his praises on stage two vice presidential hopefuls, Congressman Byron Donalds and Sen. Marco Rubio.

Sen. Rubio we learned today was on hand when Trump visited Republican Party headquarters yesterday in Washington for what two advisers are calling a policy discussion not a debate prep says his team, but helpful an advisor tells us in the run-up to CNN's first of the election Presidential debate on the 27th.

Joining us now is CNN's Kristen Holmes in West Palm Beach.

So what have you learned about the former president's debate prep so far? Has he been doing it?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is no traditional debate prep when it comes to Donald Trump. And in fact weeks ago when I asked what the prep was going to look like, a senior advisor actually said we don't use that word, that word being preparation.

Now, Donald Trump himself is actually having some versions of debate prep whether they call it that or not. They say things like him taking questions at the turning point event in Arizona as part of debate prep I will let you think about what those questions are and how those might compare to a debate since those are supportive voters that are in that room.

But they view all of this as different ways to prepare him to be on the stage with President Joe Biden. Part of the reason that they don't do a traditional debate prep is because Donald Trump isn't known to sit through or have the patience for that. It's not going to be like what we've seen in past years or past cycles where someone sits in for the moderators in this case, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, sits in for President Joe Biden.

Instead, it is going to be these kind of snippets. One of them being this policy session which we know happened on Capitol Hill right after he met with congressional Republicans. They talked about a various number of topics. Marco Rubio was one of the people in the room, as we said senior advisors as well as Sen. Eric Schmitt of Missouri.

Now on the topics they talked about one that was very critical, because they believe this is going to be inevitable questions in a debate was about democracy, about January 6, how to answer questions about the attack on the Capitol that day, how to answer questions about what Donald Trump has talked about sense which is pardoning the people who were involved in the attack on that day.

Now, obviously, they didn't give us any insight into what those answers might be. But we should expect more of these kind of policy sessions, more of these interviews. They actually said the part of his debate prep would be contentious interviews so far. We haven't really seen that. He's had interviews with Sean Hannity and Dr. Phil, but all of this they say is wrapped into getting him ready to face off with President Joe Biden, Anderson.

COOPER: What's the scene like in Trump's birthday celebration though? They're playing apparently "Macho Man" by the Village People.

HOLMES: I'll tell you that he really embraced the fact that it was his birthday. You know, yesterday it was his team that posted Senate Republicans presenting him with a cake. Today, they sang happy birthday to him on the stage. I say that with surprise because Donald Trump is very much aware that his age is a factor in this race as much as President Joe Biden's age is a factor and that's why when he goes after Biden, he doesn't attack him for his age. He specifically says things like it's about cognitive ability or it's about mental fitness.

HE doesn't talk about age because if Donald Trump is to win in November, he will be the oldest person to be sworn in as president. Something again that he is very aware of. So I was surprised to see how much they embraced the fact that it was a 78th birthday, but he did here today.

COOPER: Playing the greatest hits. Kristen Holmes, thanks very much. President Biden is heading home right now from the G7 summit in southern Italy, capping his trip a private meeting with Pope Francis who made history himself to become the first pontiff to attend a G7 gathering. This was the President's fifth papal audience. Mr. Biden saying Francis told him to keep taking communion. As for advice on the upcoming debate, a Biden campaign official tells CNN he'll be getting help from his former chief of staff Ron Klain.

Joining us now with more on the President's debate prep, CNN's MJ Lee in Bari, Italy. So has the President been able to do actual debate prep? Is he planning to?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, he is up in the air right now heading back to the States. But, yes, the last two weeks he really hasn't been home much and hasn't had that much. Last week, of course, he was in France for the D-Day commemoration in Italy, this week for the G7 and now it really is time for him to focus on trying to get reelected with that first debate only two weeks away.

And we are told that Ron Klain, his former chief of staff is leading the debate prep and that has begun and the strategy really for the campaign is try to focus on ways of holding Trump accountable. So that is really the strategy we've seen from the White House and the campaign over the last few months, trying to draw the contrast on issues like reproductive rights, trying to hit Trump for promoting political violence, undermining democracy.


And I think the campaign is going to see this debate as having been successful if they feel like they have painted Trump on the debate stage as chaotic and divisive. And meanwhile, President Biden standing next to him as sort of the steadier and wiser alternative. A campaign official I spoke to said that President Biden has been a little punchier recently in talking about Donald Trump and we should expect to see that side of the President on the debate stage.

COOPER: Doesn't the President have some sort of like big fundraiser in California on his schedule. I mean, is he actually going to be doing debate prep, I mean, continually or do we know?

LEE: Yes. I mean, his first stop is Los Angeles. He is attending this fundraiser that is going to feature actors like George Clooney and Julia Roberts, former President Barack Obama. And then on Tuesday, he is expected to go to another fundraiser hosted by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

So it is a busy time and the first focus as soon as he gets home is going to be on raising money. But then later in the week he is headed to Camp David and that is when the most intensive debate preparations are expected to take place. Anderson, obviously, this is so different from four years ago when he had a lot more time to do debate prep because he didn't have the day job that he has now.

COOPER: Yes. MJ Lee, thanks very much, Joining us now to CNN political commentators Margaret Hoover the host of "Firing Line" on PBS, former Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield.

Kate, does it concern you the schedule - the President has been - David Axelrod, you know, I talked to him a while ago about President Obama his first debate in - when he was running for reelection and it didn't go well. And Axelrod has talked about how difficult it can be for somebody who's been president for a while to kind of get back into the groove of debating.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it is tough to balance the job of being president the United States with preparing for a high-stakes debate, of course. But I would also argue there's such a thing as over preparing and I think that Joe Biden knows the fundamental arguments he wants to make against Donald Trump and I think prep - a lot of prep will be, you know, working through some of the specifics, but I think, you know, he knows the message he wants to deliver.

And I think, you know, my sense of this is that the person who wins this debate is going to be the person that we're not talking about in the hours after the debate. And so for Biden I think that means being on the attack, trying to make the debate about Trump. You heard him say his team is really, you know, trying to focus on a strategy that holds Trump accountable.

But, I think, you know again the person who comes out of this debate with the attention focused on him will probably be the loser. And so for Biden I think he's got to be aggressive and he's got to have Trump on the defensive and I think he's preparing to do that.

COOPER: Margaret, I mean w should also point out in terms of Trump, I mean, he hasn't debated anybody since 2020 either. And clearly, you know, he probably isn't doing a more standard debate preps given, you know, he's not interested in facts and figures and things like that.

But in terms of strategy, I mean I think back to - you know, his debate against Hillary Clinton back in 2016 where he was - you know, the second debate, he was wandering around the stage. It was very unexpected. How do you think it's - he's going to handle this?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that Donald Trump - and we all know this - sees this opportunity as a very - he sees this as an opportunity to present himself once again to the American people in a state - on a stage, right? I think he's thinking about this not as the policy points he's going to make, the arguments he's going to litigate.


HOOVER: But as a staging opportunity to show that he can be presidential again. I mean, I think he's - he realizes that all the press he's gotten in the last several weeks has been as a criminal defendant, his - the most, you know, frequently his mugshot has been shown. Images of his face have been thrown without - other than his rallies, we have not seen him really commanding the stage in charge of his narrative.

And so I think bringing him to Washington, D.C. having him meet with senators on Capitol Hill, all of this is part of putting him in this position of appearing presidential once again. And I think he sees this as an opportunity very much like you saw the stage of "The Apprentice," to play a role and present himself once again as somebody who can inhabit the weightiness of the office of the presidency.

COOPER: You, you know, Kate, I mean sometimes President Biden publicly speaking is soft-spoken, you know, he's sort of squinting reading off a teleprompter making a speech Then other times he's like he - at the State of the Union where he seems to be kind of, you know, expecting and ready for and more than energetic and engaged and giving back you know combative with those who are being combative with him in the audience.


I'm not sure which, you know, technique works in this kind of a debate format. What do you expect?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, I can tell you he is a game day player. He's somebody who really dials in on the big moments. He really focuses in on the big stage and he knows what the stakes are. So I would imagine that we will see a very energized and aggressive Joe Biden on the debate stage.

And I think if you look at their exchanges in 2020, you know, you see that not only was Biden I think aggressive and successful at pressing his case and presenting himself, you know the voice of stability as compared to Trump's chaos but there were also a lot of moments where he really allowed Trump to just run and essentially destroy himself.

And I think that Biden will be smart about using those moments standing back, letting Trump show the country who he is on the debate stage.

COOPER: Margaret, do you think Trump will just sort of attack, you know, in ways that one doesn't normally see on a debate stage or I mean to your point earlier do you think he will try to subvert expectations somehow?

HOOVER: Look, he is - he's not going to try to subvert, he's going to try to win. It's going to be difficult for him. I mean, we all know Trump performs best in front of an audience, in front of a crowd when he's feeding off the energy that's being fed back to him. This is not going to be that. As we know this is going to be in a CNN studio in Atlanta with very serious interviewers, talking about policy points. And so I actually think the dynamic does not play well to Donald Trump's strengths.

COOPER: Margaret Hoover, Kate Bedingfield, thanks very much.

Coming up next, the Sandy Hook families get one step closer to finally collecting at least some damages from conspiracy pusher Alex Jones. A bankruptcy judge's ruling, the controversy over some of it and a reaction from Connecticut senator, Richard Blumenthal.

Also tonight, a royal return, Kate Middleton will make a public appearance tomorrow. The first since announcing her cancer diagnosis and the latest on the state of her health.



COOPER: This week, our Randi Kaye spoke with two survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre. First graders then, young women and high school graduates now. They talked about all they'd been through over the last 12 years starting with the moment they learned that 20 classmates had been murdered along with six staffers.

Their journey and that of those who lost loved ones has been made immeasurably worse by conspiracy peddler Alex Jones who falsely claimed that Sandy Hook was a hoax. Jones has yet to pay Sandy Hook families any of the approximately $1.5 billion in court judgments that he owes them.

Today, a Texas bankruptcy judge approved the liquidation of Jones's personal assets. The judge rejected a plan to liquidate his company saying it was in the best interest of creditors to let it keep operating and earning money. Our next guest knows the impact of Alex Jones cruelty and lies, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

So Senator, does the judge's ruling make sense to you, I mean, that Alex Jones' personal assets should be liquidated, but that families would be better off if his show basically continued.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Anderson, the families have been through a really tough week, I will say. I've talked to a number of them because their children would have graduated this week from high school and a number of those young people who were classmates and the report that you did was absolutely gripping and heartbreaking and moving would have graduated with them.

But this ruling makes sense in terms of Chapter 11 bankruptcy law in terms of the ultimate effect that Alex Jones can continue broadcasting his bottom feeding, gutter sniping conspiracy theory. Well, he has a right in the First Amendment to express himself. But the Connecticut families whom I know sought to shut down that operation Infowars and free speech systems, and the argument could be made very forcefully and they tried to make it that the bankruptcy judge should have not only liquidated his personal assets, but also stopped him from this kind of continuing right-wing trash.

COOPER: Yes, Free Speech Systems is the name of the company that Jones has. So I mean he can continue to spread lies online until I guess he gets sued again.

BLUMENTHAL: And the families, I think will continue to pursue not only assets but also justice insofar as they are seeking to not silence him necessarily but deprive him of the huge system and set of assets that he uses to broadcast this stuff, to use a euphemism stuff for what he is actually spreading.

COOPER: Yes, I mean he makes a lot of money. I mean the - he's selling supplements. He's selling all sorts of you know products. The Supreme Court today struck down the Trump-era federal ban on bump stocks and it essentially can - that essentially convert a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic rifle that can fire hundreds of rounds per minute. The vote was six to three with all the conservatives voting the majority, did that ruling surprise you because banning bump stocks had a fair amount of bipartisan support particularly after the 2017 Las Vegas concert massacre in which 58 people were killed by a shooter using a bump stock.


COOPER: I'm afraid we lost a connection with you - a technical issue. I apologize for that. We're going to have more coming up tonight.

Up next, a rare update from Catherine, Princess of Wales on her battle against cancer and the surprise announcement about when she'll be seen in public again.

Plus, the world's greatest hot dog eating champ may not be in this year's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July competition. That does not mean though we will not get to see him in action, a big deal on that, more ahead.



COOPER: Tomorrow, Catherine, Princess of Wales, is set to make her first public appearance in months following the announcement of her cancer diagnosis in March. She'll be attending King Charles' official birthday celebration. As you know, the king revealed his cancer diagnosis just a month before the princess.

Today, the princess also gave an update on her health. CNN's Max Foster has details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR & ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a rare update about her battle against cancer, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, shared this picture with a message. Surrounded by trees on the Windsor estate, she tells the world she's not out of the woods yet. In a personal statement shared on Friday, the princess says she's making good progress with her chemotherapy and that she has good and bad days during which she feels weak and tired.

She says her treatment is ongoing and will be for a few more months. The Princess of Wales says she's also focusing on the joys of life, engaging in her children's school life and starting to work from home.


Meanwhile, a much anticipated announcement. In her first appearance since last year, Catherine hopes to participate in Saturday's traditional Trooping the Color, which marks King Charles III's official birthday parade.

FOSTER: A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the king is delighted and looking forward to having the princess join him at his birthday parade. It'll culminate in a balcony appearance. The whole family, including Kate up there at Buckingham palace. People are so excited to catch that first glimpse. They're already camping overnight, but they're being warned, this is not a return to full time duties for the princess.

FOSTER (voice-over): Significant, nonetheless, this will be Kate's first public engagement since Christmas. For months, her absence was the object of much speculation, which grew stronger after a photograph released by Kensington Palace was found to be digitally manipulated. Soon after, Kate released this video dispelling the rampant rumors about her wellbeing by sharing her cancer diagnosis.

CATHERINE, PRINCESS OF WALES: This, of course, came as a huge shock and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.

FOSTER (voice-over): Kate appears alone again, a stark reminder that despite the good news, her journey ahead is still difficult and deeply personal.


FOSTER (on-camera): Every time we see the princess on Saturday, she'll be with her children in the carriage up on the balcony. And that really speaks to everything she's been trying to do this year away from her treatment. And that is make sure they're OK before she's ready to step back into that public role. Anderson?

COOPER: Max Foster, thanks so much.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now. So, what's your reaction to Princess of Wales saying she's not out of the woods yet?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this just sounds like such a tough chapter, you know, going through this, obviously so much in the public eye, young children. I think when she's talking about not being out of the woods, I think it's probably two main things, which is that this chemotherapy. Is it actually doing what they hope it does? Is it really addressing these cancer cells?

But the second thing is, you know, when you're taking chemo, you can have a lot of side effects. I mean, not as bad as they used to be 10 years ago. There's a -- we've gotten -- they've gotten much better, but still you can have significant fatigue, you can have significant impacts on the body. So, you know, mood issues as well.

And these things can fluctuate not just day to day, but even hour to hour. So, it's a long road, still, is what I think she's saying by not out of the woods yet. COOPER: And Kate started what she called preventative chemotherapy in February, and today she revealed her treatment will continue for what she said was months. Is that typical for chemotherapy?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, we don't know still, as you know, Anderson, what kind of cancer this is. And, you know, people -- a lot of people speculating, obviously, about this. But we don't know what the cancer is. We don't know what the stage of the cancer is. So there's cancer and then what stage is it.

Don't know what the medications are that she's receiving. But, if you say, look, is it possible someone could be taking chemotherapy for six months, nine months even? Yes, there are certain cancers that do warrant that, and again, it's dependent on the type of cancer, but also the staging.

COOPER: And as you said, she hasn't revealed the type of cancer. It was discovered during what was described as major abdominal surgery --


COOPER: -- in January. What stands out to you about that?

GUPTA: Yes, and we can put the timeline up here as well. So she had major abdominal surgery in the immediate after the math of that. You may remember they said this is -- was non-cancerous, but then it came back to be revealed as cancer. So, I don't think they expected this initially.

But, you know, when you hear major abdominal surgery again without speculating too much, you -- there's lots of things that that sort of could still be, you know, uterus, colon, liver, ovaries, there's all these different things. But I think we just don't know. We just don't know.

And many of those things could have similar courses of treatment, many months of chemotherapy following the abdominal surgery. So there's still a lot of things that are possible here. But what an amazing picture of her where she looks like she's doing pretty well and we'll see how she's doing tomorrow as well.

COOPER: And, I mean, is it -- are things found during surgeries or is it --


COOPER: -- in the preparation for surgery that, you know, tests are done?

GUPTA: Yes. So, you know, typically what happens is you -- there's some reason for the operation, maybe somebody has symptoms that warrants testing, including scans. And they say, well, there here's an issue. They have the operation and they think it's not cancer either because of the -- at the time of the operation or because of the scans. But then what happens, Anderson, is they look, carefully at this under the microscope, basically saying, hey, look, do we see any cancer cells here?


And it sounds like in this case, they did after the operation. So unexpected. And they also seem to be saying as a result of this chemotherapy, we think we probably removed a lot of these, but we still suspect that there is cancer that is left behind as well. And that's what the chemotherapy is for.

Maybe we can't see it on a scan, but based on what we know of this type of cancer, there could be cells left behind and we have to treat that.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks very much. Good to see you.

Just ahead, major new development. More than three decades later in the case of Pamela Smart, the high school staffer who seduced a 15- year-old and pressured him into murdering her husband. Details on what's happened next.



COOPER: More than 30 years ago, this was one of the country's first high profile televised court cases. Pamela Smart, a New Hampshire high school staff member who seduced a 15-year-old student who himself, with three young accomplices, then murdered Smart's husband. All of it allegedly for the husband's $140,000 insurance policy.

Now the case caused a national sensation. It was thinly fictionalized in the novel and movie "To Die For." Smart, who's serving life in prison, has tried several times over the years to have her sentence reduced or commuted. Now, toward that end, she is finally accepting responsibility for her husband's killing.

Gary Tuchman has more.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gregg Smart was still a newlywed when he was shot to death. This is his widow today.

PAMELA SMART, CONVICTED IN CONNECTION WITH HER HUSBAND'S MURDER: My name is Pamela Smart. I've been incarcerated since 1990. I was convicted of being an accomplice to murder.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The murder of her husband. Pamela Smart was found guilty more than 33 years ago in a courtroom in Exeter, New Hampshire in a trial that captivated the nation. Even inspiring a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix loosely based on the case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the truth. He doesn't deserve to live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That's suppose -- you're right. He doesn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How say you, is the defendant guilty or not guilty of the offense, Charlie?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and has never acknowledged her guilt until now, more than three decades later, on this video to New Hampshire state officials.

SMART: My husband's murder, I had to acknowledge for the first time in my own, you know, mind, in my own heart, how responsible I was. Because I had deflected blame all the time.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gregg Smart was actually shot and killed by a 15-year-old high school student who Pamela Smart had seduced while working as a media instructor at their school in Hampton, New Hampshire.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Bill Flynn and three other boys who helped him were all convicted but accepted a plea bargain to testify against Pamela Smart, who prosecutors said masterminded the murder and wanted her husband dead to collect insurance money. The four collaborators were all released from prison years ago.

SMART: If I was guilty, I would have pleaded guilty and plea bargained with the rest of them.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Pamela Smart has asked for clemency before, despite never acknowledging her guilt. I interviewed her in prison in 2005.

SMART: You might be better off saying, well, I did this and I have remorse or whatever, but that would be lying and that's just not the truth. And I feel like that -- I just don't feel like that would be the right thing to do.

34 years is a very long time.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But in this new video, along with a packet of information sent to the governor and a state executive council that deals with clemency issues, she writes this, quote, "It has taken me decades to come to a place where I can more fully understand and accept responsibility for my inexcusable actions and behavior 33.5 years ago.

I'd lied to myself and rationalized that, because I wasn't there the night Gregg was murdered, because I didn't pull the trigger, I wasn't responsible. I became comfortable in my warped logic because I didn't want to face the fact that Gregg's murder was no one's fault but my own." Mark Sisti has been Pamela Smart's attorney since shortly after her arrest in 1990.

MARK SISTI, ATTORNEY FOR PAMELA SISTI: We're asking the governor and council to grant her eligibility for parole and leaving it to the parole board to determine whether she should return to society.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Regarding her clemency request, the state's governor Chris Sununu has released a statement to CNN saying, "New Hampshire's process for commutation or pardon requests is fair and thorough. Pamela Smart will be given the same opportunity to petition the council for a hearing as any other individual."

Gregg Smart's devastated parents were at the trial and always fought to keep the woman convicted in his murder in prison. His mother, Judy, died in 1998, eight years after her son was killed. I talked to his father, William, in 2005. He called on Pamela Smart to admit her culpability and remained steadfast in his anger.

WILLIAM SMART, FATHER OF GREGG SMART: You're just a wonderful son. Any father would be proud to have him as a son. And I wish to God that he was here, but I can't get him back, so I have to just go forward, and I have to continue to fight her, and I'm going to do it until the day I die.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Five years later, in 2010, William Smart died, never getting the chance to finally hear the woman responsible for killing his son admit that Gregg's murder was nobody's fault but her own.


COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us now. It's so fascinating to see. I hadn't remembered that -- I hadn't remembered this case until we talked about it. When does the bid for clemency come up, or what's the answer?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): Right. So this New Hampshire Executive Council and the governor have regular meetings, usually every month. They discuss state business and they discuss clemencies. But the attorney for Pamela Smart says he doesn't know when they will discuss Pamela Smart. Could be later this summer? Could be sometime next year? But he doesn't know yet.

COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, who knew that eating hot dogs fast would be so controversial? This year, it is. Eating champ Joey Chestnut, as of now, will not be competing in the Nathan Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest this 4th of July. We'll tell you where he will be competing. So, get out the napkins and condiments.

Harry Enten -- it's Friday night, clearly -- has brought some hot dogs and has details next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: A major controversy rocked competitive eating this week. That's a sentence I never thought I'd say. I didn't know competitive eating was really a thing. Joey Chestnut cannot compete in this year's Nathan Famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest on New York's Coney Island. The reason Major League Eating, which -- I guess, there's a thing called Major League Eating, which oversees the annual competition, says that Chestnut signed a deal with one of Nathan's rivals, plant-based Impossible Foods, making him ineligible to compete.

However, he will be eating his way through a Labor Day face off with his arch rival, Takeru Kobayashi. In any case, he's a Nathan's champ 16 times over. Three years ago, he ate a world record 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Our Senior Data Reporter, Harry Enten, joins us. I, first of all, believe maybe he will compete. There may be a little work coming out and that this is some sort of promotional.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: You know, it wouldn't surprise me if there's promotional things going on here.

COOPER: You brought hot dogs.

ENTEN: I did bring hot dogs. Welcome to Enten's slaughterhouse here. We have a load of hot dogs, a lot of different types, different toppings, and we're going to make our way through --

COOPER: I haven't had a hot dog in years.

ENTEN: Well, my friend, you are in for a treat tonight. Let me tell you --

COOPER: Let me ask you, how do sales of plant-based meat products and regular animal products stack up?

ENTEN: Yes, you know, all this got me thinking, OK, the plant-based industry seems to be hot, hot, hot. But how does it compare to the animal eat industry -- animal meat industry? And, you know, who -- I got eating on my mind. We'll get to that in a second.

But it turns out that the animal meat industry, look at that crushing the plant-based meat industry. We're talking hundreds of billions of dollars for animal meat versus just hundreds of millions of dollars for plant-based meat. But, Anderson, I hope that you'll be willing to partake with me --

COOPER: Sure. Yes.

ENTEN: -- and let's some eating here because --

COOPER: I will, yes. ENTEN: -- I want to try a meat and a plant-based and see which one --


ENTEN: So why don't we go for this one, the furthest one away from you right now?

COOPER: What is this? Is this meat or plant?

ENTEN: Well, we're going to try it.


ENTEN: Try it.

How does that taste for you, buddy?

COOPER: Tastes like meat.

ENTEN: OK, let's try the other one. Go ahead. What do you think about that?

COOPER: I don't know. It looks totally -- I mean it looks like a -- it's some -- I don't know what it is. Like this doesn't look real. So, is this --

ENTEN: That is the --

COOPER: Is this the meat?

ENTEN: That's the impossible.

COOPER: That's the impossible. Oh, really? OK.

ENTEN: So you were correct.


ENTEN: So, did you like the beef hot dogs?

COOPER: I do like the beef hot dogs, yes.

ENTEN: See, maybe you should have hot dogs more often.



COOPER: No, it's just like -- it's terrible for you, isn't it?

ENTEN: I mean it's terrible for you, but you got to live life once in a while. Have some water by the way if you need to.

COOPER: Is that the definition of living life?

ENTEN: I think so, nothing like chocolates. COOPER: I'd rather have a chocolate chip cookie or a Big Mac.

ENTEN: How about a Big Mac, a hot dog, and a chocolate chip cookie?

COOPER: I would go for that. What is -- so I've never had coleslaw.

ENTEN: That is my personal favorite.

COOPER: I'm not going to have any coleslaw, I don't want any. And I've never had actual just mustard.

ENTEN: So interestingly enough, mustard is the number one condiment for a hot dog.

COOPER: Is it really?

ENTEN: Yes it is.

COOPER: That blows me away.

ENTEN: There was a Marist poll, there's polling on everything as I like to say --

COOPER: I would have thought ketchup.

ENTEN: No, ketchup is number two at 30 percent. A mustard, number one at 47 percent.

COOPER: And I understand that Joey Chestnut is having a rematch with Kobayashi on, like, Netflix?

ENTEN: He --

COOPER: And that they signed a Netflix deal?

ENTEN: They have, for Labor Day, for Labor Day. The last time that they matched up.

COOPER: I'm going to have this chili dog.

ENTEN: Yes, have the chili dog. Let's eat some chili dogs. Hold on. The last time that they matched up. I'll inform the audience as we eat. Chestnut was able to crush Kobayashi. I believe he's beaten him multiple times in fact.

So this should be a very interesting matchup where we sort of get these arch rivals going against each other. Kobayashi and Chestnut have not faced off in a while. And I think there's a real question about what exactly will occur here. Now, Anderson, I do have to say that --

COOPER: How many hot dogs did they eat, Joe, roughly, do you know?

ENTEN: Oh, yes, they roughly -- they could be eating in the 50s, the 60s, the 70s.

COOPER: All right.

ENTEN: It's a matter of time.

COOPER: Not with buns though.

ENTEN: No. You have to eat the buns as well. You have to dip. And so Kobayashi will absolutely dip the buns and the hot dogs in the water and then stuff them down his mouth.

COOPER: Oh, my son's been dipping stuff in water and I'm -- I keep telling him to stop.

ENTEN: Maybe he can be a -- here's what we're going to do. You have to eat some mustard hot dogs right now because you've never done it before. Anderson Cooper has never -- folks, Anderson Cooper has never had mustard on a hot dog in his life.

COOPER: I mean, what's the point? If you like ketchup, why do you need mustard?

ENTEN: How is that possible?

COOPER: No, why do you need it?

ENTEN: You need it because it tastes good.

COOPER: Ketchup is good.

ENTEN: No, mustard -- how is it possible that you'd never --

COOPER: Why do you need more? If ketchup is good enough, you don't need more things. You don't need what's sauerkraut and I've never had that in --

ENTEN: The more the merrier, Mr. Cooper.


ENTEN: Here, have it. Try it. Let's try it together.

How does that for you?

COOPER: I don't see the point.

ENTEN: You don't see the point?

COOPER: I don't see the point.

ENTEN: Oh, get the heck out of here.

COOPER: I don't see the point.

ENTEN: Could you just at least try a little coleslaw?

COOPER: No, I'm not going to have coleslaw.

ENTEN: Oh, that was my mother's favorite. You're disappointing my mom. You're disappointing Dr. Strassberg.

COOPER: Well, I went -- as soon as Kaitlan's show starts already.

ENTEN: All right.

COOPER: Harry Enten, thanks. Have a great weekend. The Source starts now.