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Cohen On Manhattan DA Sending Hush Money Case To Grand Jury; Moms Of Sons Killed By Police: We Have To "Relive" Over And Over Again; Dallas Zoo's Missing Monkeys Found In Closet At Abandoned Home. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired February 01, 2023 - 07:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Why should anyone believe Michael Cohen? Michael Cohen is a convicted felon.

MICHAEL COHEN, DONALD TRUMP'S FORMER ATTORNEY, AUTHOR, "REVENGE: HOW DONALD TRUMP WEAPONIZED THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AGAINST HIS CRITICS", HOST, "MEA CULPA" PODCAST: Yes, that's true, and I was convicted because the former president got his pecker pulled by a porn star. I was directed to go ahead and to pay the hush money payments, which I was reimbursed. I'm the only one that suffered.

Now, in my book, I go into great length about the improper prosecution that I received. It was 48 hours that either you plead guilty or we file an 80-page indictment that includes your wife. And anyone that knows me -- especially Donald, who was the one I believe set this up with Bill Barr -- everybody knows that I'd give my life for my wife.

LEMON: Well, there -- well, there are two main people in this scenario and that's you and Stormy Daniels basically, right?


LEMON: And then -- but your -- and your testimony in front of Congress was the basis for or a big part of this investigation.

COHEN: Yes. In fact, my House Oversight testimony brought on more than 11 different investigations and many of them have now resulted in the results that many people in America want to see.

LEMON: Is there anything else we should know about the Manhattan -- I want to play this sound bite because --

COHEN: The one where he calls me a stone-cold loser which, by the way --

LEMON: No, just --

COHEN: -- is ignorant in and of itself.


COHEN: You refer to stone cold, you refer to like a stone-cold killer, not a stone-cold loser.


COHEN: It's just Donald deflection.

LEMON: OK. I was talking about Alvin Bragg.

COHEN: Oh, you got it.

LEMON: This is -- we interviewed Alvin Bragg just a couple of weeks ago and here's what he had to say -- watch.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Is that correct that you are looking to jumpstart that criminal inquiry?

ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, so first, I want to take issue with the word jumpstart. As I said --

HARLOW: It's the Times' word, not ours.

BRAGG: I know, I understand. You know, we have been continuously working with rigor throughout the year. And you're going to be maybe displeased with the answer because I'm not going to -- we have not confirmed or denied. As you said, that's the Times' reporting.

Look, we're working on a number of pieces and perspectives of this. Like I said, this is one chapter and an important chapter but there are a lot of tentacles if you will. We're following the facts where they go.

LEMON: You said in -- to The New York Times and also in other interviews I've heard you saying that this was -- this was just a chapter and people shouldn't read ahead in the book. I'm wondering what that means. Is that -- because that sort of looks like people are saying -- like you're saying to people stay tuned. There's something on the horizon.

BRAGG: So what I'm saying is let's pause for the moment as we are. This was -- I think it's very consequential the work that went into this. How ably the people of the state of New York were represented.

But as I said back in April, there's other work going on and we're continuing that. It wasn't paused. We've been doing it.


LEMON: So you've been saying a similar thing since December or maybe even before that you believe that there's more. Is there more even beyond this investigation that -- this reinvigorated investigation as you call it?

COHEN: You know, one thing I can say about Alvin Bragg is he's very tightlipped and his office is very tightlipped. What they're working on outside of my involvement obviously I have no idea and they're certainly not sharing it with me.

What I can tell you is that if you even look back to the Cyrus Vance investigation where you had Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, they believed, as do I, that there's more than enough to immediately indict Donald regarding the campaign finance violation, the hush money payments not just, by the way, to Stormy Daniels but let's not forget there was a second case -- the Karen McDougal case, which I also was charged and pled guilty to, which I didn't pay. That was paid once again by AMI, National Enquirer, and David Pecker. I just reviewed the agreement to ensure Trump was protected. But there's more than one campaign finance violation.


Michael, I've got to let you go. Before you go, Nikki Haley is going to -- it is reported going to throw her hat into the ring for president. Can she beat Donald Trump?

COHEN: I think anybody could beat Donald. I've said it before I still also don't believe he's going to run. I think this is all part of the great Donald grift because this is where he's making his money these days.

LEMON: All right. He is technically running but you don't think he's going to.

COHEN: He filed the one-page form.


COHEN: That's about it, so far.

LEMON: All right.

Michael Cohen, thank you. Appreciate your time.

COHEN: Good to see you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

So, as Tyre Nichols' parents prepare to lay their son to rest we're going to be joined by two women who carry that same burden of grief. The mothers of Eric Garner and Gary Hopkins Jr. whose sons both died at the hands of police, they're going to join us live.




RODNEY WELLS, TYRE NICHOLS' STEPFATHER: Keep fighting for justice for our son and my family.


RODNEY WELLS: Protect my wife because she's very fragile right now.



RODNEY WELLS: We need that for her, trust me, and I need it, too. We've got a long fight ahead of us --


RODNEY WELLS: -- and we've got to stay strong for it. So, justice for Tyre.


HARLOW: That's Tyre Nichols' stepfather calling for strength and justice ahead of his stepson's funeral that is this morning. He says his wife, Tyre's mother, is fragile after her son was brutally beaten by police and died three days later. She is now in a group that no parent wants to ever be a part of -- Black mothers whose sons died at the hands of police officers. Officers who were sworn to serve and protect.

Gwen Carr is also in that group. Her son Eric Garner was unarmed when he -- when he died in 2014 after he was put in an unauthorized chokehold by an NYPD officer. His last words "I can't breathe" became a rallying cry.

Marion Gray-Hopkins is a member of that group, too. Her unarmed teenage son Gary Hopkins Jr. was killed by a police officer in Maryland in 1999. He was attending a dance at a local fire station after losing his father to bone cancer just two weeks earlier. Thank you very much, Gwen, Marion for being with us today.



HARLOW: And Marion, I know you wanted to be in Memphis today for the funeral and you couldn't make it because of weather. And Gwen, you're there. So let me start with you, Gwen, about --


CARR: Yes.

HARLOW: -- why you are there. And then Marion, why you hoped to be there.

CARR: Yes. Well, I'm here to stand in solidarity with the family. We know that the family needs all the support that they can get at this time. We know that they are overwhelmed by the death of their son as I was when it happened to me. And it's so fresh for them -- but for me, it just digs into old wounds and I have to live my son's death over again.

And it's just not fair to us. It's not fair that we have to suffer at the hands of the police that are not doing their job and lose our children.

HARLOW: Retraumatizing every single time.

Marion, what about you? Why were you trying so hard --

CARR: Yes.

HARLOW: -- to be there?

GRAY-HOPKINS: I was trying hard to be there because I have been in the shoes of Ms. Wells and I know the pain, and I know the need to have someone there that understands your pain. I was led to be there and unfortunately, I was unable to get there due to the weather conditions there.

But I wanted to be there just to let that mother know that she's not alone. That there are so many of us across this nation who stands with her.


LEMON: Listen, I've just got to be honest with you. I -- you know, I've interviewed mothers of movement after so many, right, of these awful police incidents. And I just wonder every -- how many more times does this have to happen before something is done.

We sit on television and we do these interviews with the mothers who are in grief -- mothers who have been in grief from years ago from past incidents, and I just wonder how often we have to do this. Because as Poppy said, it's retraumatizing --


LEMON: -- for the country but even more so, especially for the parents and the loved ones of these young men.

Gwen, I'll let you speak first.

CARR: Yes. This has to stop. It seems like they make a mockery and it keeps on happening. And that's why we stand with the mothers who are traumatized because of these unfortunate incidents.

But, you know, we have to keep on fighting. We have to get laws changed. We have to get rid of bad policing.

And a lot of times they say oh, well, we're going to do proper training -- more training. It's not the training, it is the attitudes and the agendas of the police officers who are on duty at that time. The one who commits these heinous crimes. Those are the ones that we have to get rid of so that we will have better action in our society. And we don't need to keep getting victimized by bad policing.

LEMON: Marion?

GRAY-HOPKINS: Well, I will say that this is happening, as you mentioned, over and over again, Don. It's not something that's an isolated incident. I know those cases that go over the national T.V. airwaves.

But we know that this is happening over and over and there's over 1,000 killings every year by police across this nation, so it's not isolated. And we need to address it nationally. We have looked at putting in legislation and laws within individual states but this is a national crisis that needs to be addressed if we are to stop this killing.

We're tired of just hashtags. We're tired of just justice for this loved one, justice for that loved one. But we're asking -- or we are demanding that change be made at a national level if we're going to stop this heinous killing and these egregious killings of our loved ones.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Gwen and Marion, I'm so glad both of you are here because your perspective on this is just -- it's like no one else's, frankly. And I wonder what both of you made of how the city of Memphis handled this. How officials handled -- how the information came out and what they said initially. What we later saw on video and what we heard from officials.

Gwen, I'll start with you. What did you think?

CARR: You know, I just think that the -- here, the police department, the city -- they did the right thing by -- excuse me -- by firing those officers immediately. That should be done in all cases. But no -- like in my case, they put one officer on desk duty, which was still getting paid, still getting raises while he was on desk duty. So what kind of signal does that send to the others?

No. We have to stop that. We have to nip it in the bud. You've got to call it what it is. If they don't belong on the police department -- on the police force, fire them immediately. Don't wait.


If they -- OK, if they find out that well, they deserve to be back on the force -- which you know any time you murder someone unarmed you don't belong back on the force. But then maybe you have a hearing about that. But fire these police officers immediately because there are thousands of cases -- cases that we never hear about. Cases that never hit the airwaves.

And just like these police officers who murdered this young man, do you think this is their first case? You think that this is the first time they did this? No. There's probably plenty of other cases out there too that never hit the airwaves.

But we have to do something about it. Not only do we have to make laws, we have to make the laws be enforced.


LEMON: Marion?

GRAY-HOPKINS: Well, I want to recognize the Memphis chief of police there for firing those five officers and I am happy to see that they are continuing to look at those others that sat there idly and allowed this young man to be beaten to death.

I know that across this nation that they say that there are good police, but when you lay -- when you set aside and you allow what happened to Tyre Nichols and you do nothing, then they are considered in my eye as also bad cops.

We are tired. Enough is enough. My case is 23 years old.


GRAY-HOPKINS: When I listen to some of the footage -- and I know I should not have listened to it and I should not have watched it -- and -- but when I watch it and when I listen to those officers this is scripted information. Many of the things that I heard on that video I heard 23 years ago and it has not changed.

I think we the people need to stand up. One of the things my son said in his last college essay was it takes a village. And to see the uprising across this nation as we've seen in the past with Eric Garner, as we've seen with Michael Brown, and with many, many others, I think we need to stand up and fight back.

But the system is broken. It is working the way it is designed to. It needs to be revamped because training is not enough. They are taught in that blue wall of silence to do exactly what happened.

But I'm happy to see that they moved swiftly. And again, as Gwen has said, this needs to happen in every single -- every single case across this country.

HARLOW: Yes. And so often we hear the last cry being for their mothers, as it was, Marion, for you 23 years ago. There is nothing like a mother's grief and our hearts are with you today. Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, both, Gwen Carr, Marion Gray-Hopkins.

GRAY-HOPKINS: Thank you.

LEMON: We really appreciate it.

CARR: Thank you for having us.

LEMON: And I think it's important to say --

CARR: And I just want to say God bless that family and God bless that mother.


CARR: We are with them.

LEMON: And God bless you guys as well. Important names here -- Gary Hopkins Jr. --

GRAY-HOPKINS: Thank you.

LEMON: -- and Eric Garner. Say their names as they say. Thank you. We appreciate it.

HARLOW: We'll be right back.



COLLINS: All right. This morning, a pair of monkeys are safely back at the Dallas Zoo after they were stolen from their enclosure on Monday. Police found the monkeys, one of them seen here, inside a closet in an abandoned home about 15 miles south of the Dallas Zoo in Lancaster, Texas.

Police have not released any new details about how the monkeys were taken but they did share this surveillance video from the zoo and a picture of a man that they say they want to talk to.

It wasn't the only strange disappearance that happened though at the Dallas Zoo recently because as you'll recall, just more than two weeks ago a leopard was missing for several hours after police say her enclosure was intentionally cut. On that same day officials found a similar cut at another monkey enclosure. None of them had left their habitat, thankfully.

Despite increased security, last week zoo officials also found that one of their vultures had died.

This is not just happening in Dallas though, this is happening everywhere. At a zoo in Louisiana, officials say that 12 of their squirrel monkeys were stolen from the exhibit last Saturday night. At the last check, they still have not been found.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really need to get them back to their habitat because when you take them out of their habitat they're kind of creatures of nature, so they need to be out in their habitats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we've had a wonderful run with our troop of squirrel monkeys. They've been very prolific and they have a very strong family unit. You know, it's a very sad situation. Obviously, we're heartbroken.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: And at a nonprofit animal sanctuary in Florida, Maggie, the exotic toucan, was stolen on Saturday. She has also not been found.

This is just a bizarre trend that you're seeing happening.

LEMON: Yes. I don't know what's going on. Listen, I don't -- I hate to like sort of cast blame but it seems like people with knowledge of these zoos are -- unless they're like casing the places or something is going on where someone who has a lot of information about how animals react because most people would not approach a wild animal --

HARLOW: Well, that's a good point. That's a good point.

LEMON: -- right? Just like a novice, like, out there stealing -- a regular robber, right. Someone who is just -- so something's up. Something's up.

HARLOW: We'll follow it.


HARLOW: We're also following this. Today, in Washington, what we're hearing ahead of that high-stakes meeting between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy. Can the two come together to deal with the debt ceiling?

Plus, this.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Oh, I don't think the Iranians want an all-out war because they'll lose. And I think they're very careful about that.



LEMON: More on Jake Tapper's exclusive interview with Israeli's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


LEMON: Good morning.

The family of Tyre Nichols saying goodbye after his death at the hands of police. The significance of today's funeral site and what we're learning about the police report.

COLLINS: A critical meeting today over the fate of America's economy. And even before it begins, President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy already taking jabs at each other as the clock is ticking.

HARLOW: Russia is preparing for a quote "maximum escalation" of its war in the coming weeks. That is according to Ukraine. This as Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu tells CNN that he'd mediate between the two sides.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): And I know that a lot of people want to create this narrative that I faked my way to Congress, which is absolutely categorically false. I've worked hard. I've built, group up, a career.


LEMON: Except George Santos did fake his way to Congress and he did not build a career that he claimed.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: I would not run if President Trump ran.