Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
Questions About Whether More Classified Docs Could Be Missing After FBI Finds 48 Empty Folders At Mar-a-Lago; Ex-Trump White House Lawyers Go Before Federal Grand Jury; Biden Takes On 2020 Election Deniers: "Threat to Democracy"; CNN Obtains New Video Of Alleged Russian War Crime In Ukraine. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 02, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump stash. New details what the FBI recovered from Mar-a-Lago last month and includes dozens of empty folders marked as classified.
Plus, two former Trump White House lawyers meeting with a grand jury to investigate Trump's efforts to overturn the election. Just how concerned should the former president be?
And first on OUTFRONT, it's become a heated battle over books. One group now demanding hundreds be banned. One problem here, they're looking to ban books that aren't even in the library.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erica Hill, in tonight for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, are all documents accounted for? That's the question tonight after a newly released court filing reveals the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago last month recovered 48 empty folders marked as containing classified information. It's important to note we don't know what was in those folders. What we do know, that they were empty, all four dozen of them.
According to the seven-page inventory unsealed today they also found press clippings, clothes, gifts, 11,000 non-classified documents, 18 documents marked cop secret, 54 marked secret, and 31 documents marked confidential. There were also an additional 42 empty folders labeled "return to staff secretary/military aide."
Now, keep in mind this trove is on top of the 15 boxes Trump's team turned over in January. There were 184 classified documents in those boxes. The former president claims many of the documents are actually protected by executive privilege and therefore said they should be returned.
It's an argument that according to Trump's former attorney general, Bill Barr, holds absolutely no water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: What people are missing is that all the other documents taken even if they claim to be executive privilege, either belong to the government because they're government records even if they're classified, even if they're subject to executive privilege, they still belong to the government and go to the Archives.
People say this was unprecedented, but it's also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put him in a country club, okay? And how long is the government going to try to get that back?
They jawboned for a year. They were deceived on the voluntary actions taken. They then went and got a subpoena. They were deceived on that -- they feel. And they reckon -- the facts are starting to show they were being jerked around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Barr also this afternoon calling Trump's push for a special master, quote, "a red herring and a waste of time."
It's still unclear at this hour whether that request will be granted. The judge has yet to weigh in.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live in Washington tonight.
So, Evan, what more do we know about this newly unsealed document, this inventory of what was recovered last month?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, I think key among the things we learned in this court filing today is the fact that these classified documents were intermingled with all kinds of personal things including clothing, that there were news clippings, magazines that were stacked up in these boxes, and, you know, one of the things that stood out to me was certainly the fact there were seven boxes of items recovered to the inventory list that were recovered from the former president's office.
Keep in mind back in June, the Justice Department, the prosecutors, and the FBI agreed with the Trump team that all items, anything that had classification markings was supposed to be kept in the storage room. That was in June.
So the fact this -- this search happened in August and they recovered not only these seven boxes, there were 27 documents that had various classification levels, seven of them that were top secret all from the office is one reason why you saw prosecutors say part of what is under investigation is the nature and the manner in which some of these items were stored and what is informing the investigation, the criminal investigation that is still ongoing, Erica.
HILL: Evan, stay with us. I also want to bring in now Ryan Goodman, former special council at the Department of Defense, now co-editor in chief of Justice Security legal blog and professor at the NYU School of Law. And Shan Wu, former federal prosecutor and former counsel to the attorney general.
Ryan, I want to start where Evan just let us through really, these 11,000 documents mixed in with classified items, mixed in with press clippings,
And the fact they were found not just in a carton in a storage room, but these documents found intermingled in the president's office. What does that say to you?
RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: So I do think it spells criminal exposure for the president because the fact it's in his office means that's the place he is, it would probably be in his possession personally. The fact it's commingled means it's not just segregated but with his other personal stuff. That's why it was relevant before when we knew it was in the same desk drawer as his passports, all of that where prosecutors would look at.
And then exactly as Evan said, the Justice Department June 8th, sends a letter to Trump and says keep everything in the storage facility. So the fact they go in and find it in the office, that could be another crime to defy a grand jury subpoena, and that looks like what happened.
HILL: Shan, when we look at what else was recovered, 48 empty folders according to this inventory list that were marked classified. I have learned today as I think probably a number of Americans have that oftentimes these folders can be reused. Again, we don't know what was in them, but the fact there were so many empty folders marked classified, what question does that raise for you, Shan?
SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It really increases the pressure on the justice department to expand who they're questioning. We don't know who they're questioning at the moment, but obviously you'd need to talk to people who had seen how the contents of those folders were managed, who was handling them, who they were given to because you're not just going to have -- it's not an office supply room where you have a stack of top secret folders around and you change them out all the time. They shouldn't have been there in the first place.
So, it really raises the question and sensible alarm more who had access and what happened and what was inside those folders.
HILL: Does it also make you wonder, Shan, if all documents were accounted for?
WU: Oh, absolutely. I think if this was anybody except the former president. I mean, in most cases if I was running that investigation as my old prosecutor hat, you'd be looking at more residences than just Mar-a-Lago. You'd be seeking all the devices he might have on him.
They're still treating him with a lot of deference. And I hate to be in a position every agreeing with Bill Barr, but it does seem they've been jerked around some and they've lost patience now. HILL: They being the DOJ who Bill Barr was referring to. Evan, those
48 empty folders marked classified. There were also 42 folders empty marked return to secretary/military aide. How sensitive could materials me inside those folders with those markings?
PEREZ: Well, they're sensitive enough that there's a whole protocol at the White House, Erica, for the handling of those documents.
So the reason why those folders exist and the reason why they're labeled that way is because there are specific people who are authorized who handle them. And when they're handed to the president perhaps during a briefing they're supposed to be handed back and returned back and checked in. You know, they log them in, and they log them out and there's a way to track all these documents specifically because they are so sensitive.
Now, again, you know, there's a lot we don't know. We don't know what ended up happening with those documents, but this is kind of fits into what we know about the Trump White House. There was a very lax system of tracking classified information, and so all of those people are now witnesses.
All of those people are going to be talked to by the FBI to learn exactly what the protocol was and what happened after he left the office of the presidency.
HILL: Ryan, in some of the documents that were taken from Trump's office you can see according to the DOJ's response with the request for an official master in their filing wrote, Trump's counsel further represented there were no other records stored at the premises, all available boxes were searched.
You mentioned the other potential legal implications there. How wide ranging could they be? And what kind of legal implications, too, could this have where the attorneys asserted nothing to see here, we've accounted for everything, we can attest to that?
GOODMAN: So I think they definitely need to get their own defense attorneys. This means -- and it's very specific what you reference in the Department of Justice's filing. They almost go out of their way to say this is what happened. Their counsel told us something that is now we know false and now we know just how false because there are so many classified documents in Trump's office, which they said there weren't any, it implicates them.
And I think it implicates them in so many different ways they might have to flip and have to cooperate with the Justice Department and become witnesses against their current client which happened to Paul Manafort, because Paul Manafort used his lawyers to lie to the Justice Department. And if that's what happened here, I think that's what we'll expect to see in a certain sense if there ever is a trial.
HILL: You know what's fascinating at all with this, too, is, Shan, as we look at this it was the Trump team that's been pushing for all this information to be released, essentially. Perhaps rethinking some of those decisions.
I mean, if you were his attorney and you're looking at all of this, right, and you're looking at how this is playing out and the information being put out there, what are you saying tonight?
WU: I'm probably second guessing myself a little bit. Certainly the normal white collar defense is to stay quiet, try and do things quietly, make it go away. They're certainly dealing with a client who doesn't listen to anybody so they have to factor that in.
But there is some reason behind the madness here, which is that they understand the incredible power of his voice, social media politically. And they're using that as well.
I mean when he's saying something different from them, he's still riling up things and putting pressure on the Justice Department. And even in their request for a special master which is completely unfounded here, nonetheless it is very, very dangerous if that precedent happens and they consistently are trying to expand the potential jurisdiction of that special master to cover executive privilege as well as what they're traditionally used for, which is attorney-client privilege.
So I think they are using his voice and how powerful it is in a legal way as well as a political way.
HILL: It'll be interesting to see how that plays out because we're still waiting to see what the decision is on that special master.
Evan, do you have any indication at this point as to why -- it feels like it's taking so long. Maybe it's because we're all waiting for it, but once this document was unsealed today it sort of felt like we'd be getting a decision from the judge when it comes to a special master. Do you have any insight into when we could get that decision?
PEREZ: We really don't. Look, we're going to be all on guard this weekend, Erica, because obviously one of the surprises was after the former president waited nearly three weeks to file his request for a special master, right, the judge very quickly, frankly, even without hearing from the Justice Department signaled last weekend that she was inclined to grant that request.
And so here's the other thing that I think maybe the Trump team and others are not thinking about. The fact is if she grants this request from a special master, we might be -- we might be having reports from a special master in the coming weeks and months. This is a time that usually the Justice Department tries to be quiet because of the upcoming mid-term elections.
So I'm not sure Republicans are going to be happy that they're going to keep getting reminders of the Mar-a-Lago search and this investigation during a time that the Justice Department typically doesn't do anything in order to avoid interference with the election, and suddenly, you're going to be getting that kind of stuff coming from this Florida court. HILL: September 10th, I believe is 60 days out from the mid-terms.
Even though the former president isn't running he of course has endorsed people.
Ryan, very quickly, if the judge were to grant a special master, could there be some restrictions in terms of those findings? Would they not be released in that 60-day period?
GOODMAN: I suppose there could be restrictions. It's really up to her. She could craft it any way she wants and craft it just respect to attorney-client privilege and be really wide in scope and therefore could last a long period of time. She gets to regulate what happens with that special master.
HILL: There's a lot riding on this.
Good to have you with us tonight. Evan, Ryan, Shan, thank you.
OUTFRONT next, the grand jury investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the election hearing from two former top White House lawyers today. So what do they know, and should Trump be concerned?
Plus, President Biden taking on Republicans refusing to accept the results of the 2020 election saying they're a threat to America's democracy.
And actress Jane Fonda tonight revealing her new battle with cancer.
HILL: New tonight, two former Trump White House lawyers meeting behind closed doors with the D.C. grand jury, investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the election. Sources tell CNN the testimony from Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin comes after weeks of talks with the Justice Department about what they just could discuss specifically which topics were covered by executive privilege. Both men, of course, have also met with the January 6th select committee.
OUTFRONT now, George Conway and Jim Schultz, who was a White House lawyer for former President Trump.
Gentlemen, good to see you tonight.
As we look at this even with these executive parameters in place a grand jury could potentially get more information out of a witness than a select committee. Tonight, how worried do you think Donald Trump should be about this testimony?
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: Well, I think he should be reasonably worried because I think the testimony Cipollone gave earlier before the January 6th committee was pretty substantial and pretty damning of him, even though Cipollone drew this art financial line that executive privilege covered his direct conversations with the president but not his conversations with people around the president.
But still, the message got through he was strongly advising that the scheme to displace the electors on January 6th was not a valid legal scheme, and also he was clear that on January 6th itself, he was -- he and others were urging that -- that the president make a statement to quell the rioters. And so I think the Justice Department is going to get a bit more than that because the Justice Department is the executive branch, and it really doesn't make any sense to assert executive privilege against the executive branch and the Justice Department can go to the White House counsel's office and come back with a statement from them saying we waive the privilege or we instruct you not to invoke the privilege before the grand jury, and they should be bound by that.
But, you know, we can't really know, but that certainly I would expect more to come out than did in public.
HILL: Well, George, you mentioned what we did learn in some of that testimony to the January 6th select committee. He also was very clear in addressing this push by Trump-connected attorney Sidney Powell to seize voting machines.
Take a listen to that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Can the federal government seize voting machines? It's a terrible idea. That's not how we do things in the United States. There's no legal authority to do that, and there is a way to contest elections, you know, that -- you know, that happens all the time. But the idea that the federal government could come in and seize election machines, now that -- that's -- I don't understand why we have to tell you why that's a bad idea. It's a terrible idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: A terrible idea. He knew that in that moment, knew it was also illegal, Jim, and was willing to push back, right, in those days after the election. Picking up on what George was saying about potentially how forthcoming he could be with the grand jury today, based on what you know of Pat Cipollone, how could this be approached differently?
JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: So I think the difference between Congress and the Justice Department is that Congress acts in generalities. These folks don't do this every day, conduct investigations, work in generality. They're going to have facts and evidence probably the January 6th committee didn't and they're going to have information the January 6th committee didn't, and they also are going to ask more specific questions and get that information in before the grand jury.
That's what they do, that's their job. It's much different than a congressional investigation or a congressional hearing, you know, where it's being held by elected officials. These folks are career prosecutors and folks that are trained to do this.
HILL: And it's such an important point.
Let's turn now to these documents, right? Learning more about the documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago last month, I was struck by some of the comments by Bill Barr this afternoon. He was very clear, no excuse for the former president to have these documents. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I can't think of a legitimate reason why they could have been taken out of the government, away from the government if they're classified. I frankly am skeptical of this claim that I declassified everything, you know, because, frankly, I think it's highly improbable. And, second, if in fact he sort of stood over scores of boxes not really knowing what was in them and say I here by declassify everything in here, that would be such an abuse that shows such recklessness that it's almost worse than taking the documents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Right where, so there's that issue. George, we've looked at the documents and what we've learned about and it and how commingled they were, not just the documents from the storage room but documents were commingled in the former president's office. Is there any defense for him to say I didn't pack these boxes, I don't know how they got all mixed up together?
CONWAY: No. And that's why this is all so damning for Trump. And I think the evidence has shown he not only knew that he had these documents, he resisted producing the documents. And his representatives made false statements to the government about whether he had anymore of these documents when, in fact, they were in his office.
So the question is going to be, who told Christina Bobb to make the representations that a diligent and thorough search had been made for response of documents, namely documents that had classification markings on them like the documents we saw laid out on the floor of his personal office? And who was responsible for her making the representation that all such documents had been produced in response to the subpoena that was served this summer?
And you have to think she didn't do that by herself. Somebody told her to make those representations. We heard Michael Cohen yesterday on CNN saying basically he was asked all the time by Donald Trump to make false statements, just tell them this, just tell them that.
And if Donald Trump did that with Christina Bobb and that representation in response to the subpoena, well, then he's obstructed justice.
HILL: Add that to the many list of questions, right, we all have in terms of how all this played out. Jim, when you hear these comments from Bill Barr, DOJ may not need it,
right, but I'm curious do you think they help at all when it comes to this investigation in the court of public opinion, or even with Republicans who have been -- a number of them as we've seen twisting themselves in knots to rail against the investigation, to rail against the recovery of these documents. Does Bill Barr today change any of that?
SCHULTZ: Maybe as to those folks who aren't 100 percent loyal to Donald Trump. The folks who were 100 percent loyal to Donald Trump and believe everything he says are never going to be swayed by what Bill Barr says. So from a political perspective, no, they're not going to be swayed by this at all.
But in the general court of public opinion I think having Bill Barr, former attorney general coming out and saying basically this idea he could, you know, willy-nilly declassify documents is garbage is certainly something that folks are going to, you know, pay attention to, you know, beyond the folks that just are blindly loyal to Trump.
HILL: Jim Schultz, George Conway, good to have you both here tonight. Thank you.
CONWAY: Thank you.
HILL: OUTFRONT next, President Biden sharpening his mid-term message, warning Republicans who refuse to accept the 2020 election results are a threat to democracy. Is that message, though, breaking through?
Plus, it's a story you'll see first on out front. One town at the center over a bitter battle over books. Activists demanding 400 titles be removed. There's just one problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are any of the books in the library?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Not a single one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Tonight, President Biden making clear exactly who he believes is a threat to American democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country. I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, feels the content of violence when it's used, who refuses to acknowledge when an election has been won, insists upon changing the way which the rules you can votes, that is a threat to democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Those comments today come after Biden warned in his speech last night, that, quote, MAGA Republicans are trying to win positions to oversee America's elections and to, quote, undermine democracy itself.
OUTFRONT now, Michigan's Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Good to see you again tonight.
So, President Biden gave his most forceful speech yet it would be seem, talking about the threat he's seen facing American democracy. We have to say these warnings are not new. We've heard it from Democrats and some Republicans, mostly Democrats saying it for more than a year, and yet here you are, you're actually fighting for re-election against a Republican, Kristina Karamu, who's a Trump-backed election denier.
Why is it do you think this message has not broken through? And is there any reason to believe that the president's comments last night would change that?
JOCELYN BENSON, MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: I actually think the message has broken through and I think the president's comments are amplifying as those of us in the trenches as you know have been saying since January 6th and since November 2020.
So I was grateful that the president -- we've been really calling on him to do what he did last night for a long time not just to amplify the issue that fighting for our democracy is the most critical issue of our time, and alongside that our rights and fundamental freedoms all on the line, but this is an opportunity for all of us as Americans to come together and unite in furtherance of protecting our democracy for every voter, Democrat, Republican and independent so that we can all be certain that whoever wins an election, it's a reflection of the will of the people.
HILL: As we watch this, look, as you know folks may not have heard some of these comments, though. Karamo has made baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the election in the 2020 election. I want to play for folks at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTINA KARAMO (R), MICHIGAN SESCRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: It's not right, there are hundreds of thousands of vote allowed to consider lawful votes and we know they're illegal, especially you in the battleground states. You need to stand up and fight back against this grotesque fraud that we have witnessed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Look, an investigation in Michigan, a Republican-led investigation found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020. But the reality is if she wins, she would be in charge of elections in your state. And we're seeing this play out not just in Michigan but other areas of the country. How much is that a conversation that you are having right now?
BENSON: Every day I'd talk about not just because we're just a few months away from an inflection point where Americans all across this country will have an opportunity to reject those who are not telling the truth about our elections in an effort to delegitimize democracy. So I remain hopeful this November will be an opportunity for Americans to speak loudly and clearly and hold accountable those running on lies and proven lies, not just about who won or who lost the 2020 presidential election but about the very sanctity of our elections, the integrity of our process and the precious rights that everyone has to vote.
So, this is an inflection point, truly, the fact the president has now amplified these issues really enables us to state more forcefully than ever that democracy and saving democracy is the most critical issue on the ballot this fall in addition to saving the fundamentals rights and freedom and now it's up to voters to determine what extent they'll work together and across party lines even to reject democracy deniers, those lying to our voters and really support democracy defenders on both sides of the aisle.
HILL: What can be so important for voters leading up to an election obviously is hearing from those candidates directly and hearing from them in a debate.
Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel says she's not debating her Republican opponent who's also an election denier because she says he's not a serious candidate. Now, I understand you haven't reached an agreement yet with Karamu on a debate. Are you committed to debating her? Do you believe it's worth --
BENSON: We have agreed to debate -- the same debate patterns that every single Democrat and Republican candidate that a secretary of state for decades has agreed to in Michigan, appearing on a show "Off the Record" on Michigan public television moderated by a -- you know, someone who has been, Tim Skubick, who has been moderating that program for 50 years.
This is a tradition in Michigan. It's something that I'm eager to do, and we have accepted his offer to host the debate. And my hope is that she'll reconsider her rejection of that offer and we can actually have voters see side by side both of us and the clear choice we'll be making this November.
HILL: Jocelyn Benson, thanks for the time tonight.
BENSON: Always a pleasure. Thanks for having me.
HILL: I do want to note we did invite Kristina Karamo on tonight's program. Her campaign did not respond to that request.
OUTFRONT next, liberals and conservatives in one small town joining forces to take on activists' intent on banning books that aren't even in the town's library.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to force their own ideas and their own religious concepts on everybody else. That's not America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Plus, horrific evidence of a potential war crime committed by Russian forces. Video showing two Ukrainian civilians shot in the back. Tonight, we have an update on one of those believed to be an executioner.
HILL: Tonight, a story you'll see first on OUTFRONT. A small town in northern Idaho is at the center over a heated battle over library books. A group demanding hundreds of books be banned. One problem here, the books aren't even in the library.
Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five years ago, this was anointed the best small library in America. Today, the trustees are facing a recall.
LEE COLSON, TRUSTEE, BOUNDARY COUNTY LIBRARY BOARD: What I hate to see is my community torn apart like this.
WATT: The director just resigned.
Do you feel you've given in? That you've been defeated here?
KIMBER GLIDDEN, DIRECTOR, BOUNDARY COUNTY LIBRARY: Part of me does, yes. But they start showing up at your house, guns on their hips and bible tracks in their hands.
WATT: Activists demanding the library ban more than 400 books.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if we do nothing to you, eventually, if you don't repent of wanting to harm our children with pornography, that's up to god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things need to change. Otherwise, you bring curses upon yourselves, period, form the most high.
WATT: Are any of those books in the library?
GLIDDEN: Not a single one.
WATT: Still, this little library might not survive.
GLIDDEN: Our insurer has decided to not renew for what they're saying are increased risk exposures. We can't operate without insurance.
WATT: We've bumped into one of the people pushing the recall, taking out books to see if they should also be banned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I take someone else's word, that's not good, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go. Exactly.
WATT: She refused to talk to us. In fact, everyone on the other side of the argument we reached out to refused to talk to us, but one of them did complain their motivation at a library board meeting. They are now here because so many people were showing up to the meetings, so many were armed they moved the library board meetings to a bigger building that is also right next to the sheriff's department.
Here is that that one woman's motivation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My job is to protect our kids from sexual deviance, who will be drawn to our library if inappropriate sexual materials is on our shelves and using our kids as prey.
WATT: This week, we showed up with cameras to a board meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was wonderful to not be, like, attacked.
WATT: And the would-be book banners did not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's to boring meetings.
GLIDDEN: So what is going on, Nick, is there is a group of individuals that are moving into the area who are -- they have the intent of turning this into what they call the American redoubt.
WATT: Coined back in 2011 by a Christian survivalist, the American Redoubt, a refuge for self-described, God fearing, liberty-loving patriots.
The store owned by a pastor who moved up from California, here's how he described it back in 2015.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we will put him first, blessed will be the redoubt. By God's grace, we trust that the redoubt we won't see the homosexuality and rampant lesbianism that we see in California.
WATT: There are now so many want to be redoubters, some realtors cater to them. One has this ad on their website.
AD ANNOUNCER: In the days of old, the men would lead, women would nurture.
WATT: The Aryan Nations, for a long, they were headquartered in this part of Idaho and they had a similar plan but for a whites-only homeland up here. Many locals fought against that. Today many locals are fighting against the redoubters and the book banners. BILLIE JO KLANICCKI, BOUNDARY COUNTY RESIDENT: They've been going to
library board meetings and yelling and screaming at people. And we're here being very quiet and very polite. We're having a read-in support of the library.
WATT: The resistance here in Bonners Ferry is a coalition of liberals and conservatives.
This is a pretty conservative Christian community.
DARRELL KERBY, FORMER MAYOR, BONNERS FERRY: Very conservative. Very so.
WATT: And a lot of people here voted for President Trump.
KERBY: Very much so.
WATT: Most folks around here voted for Trump in 2016, even more voted for him in 2020. But --
KERBY: This goes beyond any conservatism and into almost Nazism where they're trying to force their own ideas and their own religious concepts on everybody else. That's not America.
WATT: We spoke to the former mayor, you know, who voted for Trump, and he's on the same side as liberal people here.
VAL THOMPSON, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER, BONNERS FERRY: Well, of course. Yeah. We're neighbors.
WATT: City Councilwoman Val Thompson's family has been here five generations.
THOMPSON: One of my friends had someone tell him the other day that the American redoubt is here and it might be time for you to exit.
WATT: There are politicians like this running and winning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm talking about really raunchy stuff in these books for 7-year-olds. Hopefully, you have secured your local elections.
You need a good sheriff and you need three county commissioners.
WATT: There are claims critical race theory is being taught in schools and --
GLIDDEN: We had one mom come in and say this has Black Lives Matter themes.
WATT: Did it?
GLIDDEN: It was a fairy tale by Chris Colfer so it probably has people of color in that book. WATT: On that list of books that was given to library, I saw who was
WATT: Why is that an issue?
THOMPSON: Well, I haven't read "Who was Frederick Douglass," but I'm assuming that there was something in it that was offensive or made somebody feel guilty for being white. I have no idea.
WATT: As I've said it's not in the library, neither is "Gender Queer." But --
COLSON: The conflict is I cannot say we'll get them because if -- we're a library. If the public comes and requests those books, we'll get those books. That's what we do.
WATT: They say they are not censors and this library must serve everyone.
HILL: And Nick joins us from that library in Idaho right now.
So, Nick, as you noted there nobody from the other side of the argument wanted to speak with you. How are they reacting now to all this attention?
WATT: Well, Erica, just this morning the woman who you just saw in that report here in the library taking out more books to see if they should be banned, she wrote a letter to a bunch of local law enforcement and prosecutors, even to the state attorney general noting this is no longer just a local story, this is national, and she is accusing the library director and the library supporters of trying to silence them, ignoring them and lying to the press and also alleging there's also now some kind of cozy relationship between supporters of the library and local law enforcement.
So she is now asking that an outside body comes in here to investigate what is going on. They are digging their trenches even deeper.
This, Erica, is far from over.
HILL: Far from over and probably we're going to see a lot more of it not just there in northern Idaho as you point out.
Nick, such a great story. Thank you.
OUTFRONT next, an update on the chilling video which CNN first aired of Russian forces appearing to shoot two civilians in the back. Well, tonight we're learning about one of the men who allegedly pulled the trigger.
Plus, actress Jane Fonda tonight revealing she's now battling cancer. The latest on her diagnosis. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: Tonight, one of the most brutal war crimes in Ukraine captured on camera is now leading to charges. Prosecutors in Bucha say never before seen video obtained by CNN actually helped identify one Russian soldier who shot and killed Ukrainian civilians. I do want to warn you the video is violent, and disturbing and important.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukrainian prosecutors say that this is the moment and undeniable war crime was carried out by Russian soldiers. This video clip, obtained by CNN, has yet to be seen by the public. It shows Russian soldiers firing at something alongside a business that they have just overtaken on the outskirts of Kyiv. It turns out their target is to unsuspecting and unarmed Ukrainian civilians who they shoot in the back.
We first reported on this portion of the video in May, showing the business owner dying where he falls, and the guard initially surviving, but bleeding to death after making it back to his guard shack. Both men have just spent the last few minutes speaking calmly with the Russian soldiers who appear to let them go.
But we now see two of the soldiers return and fire on them.
YULIA PLYATS, FATHER KILLED BY RUSSIANS (through translator): My father's name is Leonid Oleksiyovych Plyats.
SIDNER: The guard's daughter, Yulia, told us then she wanted the world to know his father's name. And what the Russians did to him.
Yulia, have you seen the video?
PLYATS: I can't watch it now. I will save it to the cloud and leave it for my grandchildren, and children. They should know about this crime, and always know who our neighbors are.
SIDNER: And now, the Bucha prosecutors' office says that with the help of CNN's story, it has finally identified one of his executioners. The suspect's name, Nikolay Sergeevich Sokovikov.
Ukraine has informed Russia that their pretrial investigation has zeroed in on Sokovikov as the perpetrator of the cold-blooded killing. While prosecutors will not reveal exactly how they identified this particular soldier, we have seen one part of the process being used by Ukrainian officials, facial recognition technology.
It's really fast.
The ministry of digital transformation gets an image, loads it into the program they created, and it scrubs social media, looking for a match. Once they have a match of a soldier, dead or alive, they try to corroborate it with friends and family on the soldier social media sites.
We have identified about 300 cases, he says.
The identification of the latest suspect of war crimes was months in the making. But is at least one step towards justice towards the families who have had something taken from them that they can never get back. The life of someone they love.
HILL: That's so horrible seeing that video again. So they say they have identified this person. Have they found him? Has he been charged?
SIDNER: And therein lies the problem. The Russian soldier that is accused now of this war crime has not been found, but he has been indicted in absentia, so he has been charged and that is what the Ukrainian government has sent to the Russians to say this person is basically wanted and has been charged.
Will he ever face justice? We don't know. The war continues.
HILL: But that does send a message on its own. Sara, great reporting as always. Thank you, my friend.
On this weekend on CNN, don't miss the CNN film "Navalny".
It's the true story of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who took on Vladimir Putin, survived an assassination attempt and lived to expose the truth. That's Sunday night, right here on CNN, 8:00 p.m.
OUTFRONT next, more on Jane Fonda's personal news. She's been diagnosed with cancer.
HILL: Actress Jane Fonda revealing she's battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The 84-year-old actress writing on Instagram this is a very treatable cancer, 80 percent of people survive so I feel very lucky. Adding, quote, doing chemo for six months and handling the treatments quite well. Believe me, I will not let any of this interfere with my climate activism.
This, of course, is not Fonda's first cancer scare. In an interview with "British Vogue" in 2019, she said she had spent a lot of time in the sun and she's now paying for it. I've had a lot of cancer, she said. I was a sun worshipper, when I have a day off, I frequently go to my skin doctor and have things cut off my by a surgeon.
In 2010, she had a noninvasive breast tumor removed. Well, we are hoping that she is doing, wishing her a speedy recovery.
Thanks to all of you so much for joining us tonight. I'm Erica Hill in for Erin Burnett.
"AC360" starts right now.