tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN July 28, 2022 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
those displaced people who don't have friends or family to rely on. i mean, at one point when we were out there today, we saw some folks who were forced to live on a train simply because they had no place else to go. >> sma families suffering. thanks so much. and thanks so much to all of you for joining us. for joining us. "ac 360" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening. there are major new january 6th developments tonight in the house investigation and the justice department criminal probe. first, the select committee and the key members of the administration who are now cooperating with it or could be about to. we're talking about former cabinet level officials with firsthand knowledge of what the former president was saying. last night on the program, we talked about pieces of a puzzle. and these could be significant ones because these are men who could speak if they choose about what the former president was asking their departments to do or even what some of them were
reportedly discussing among themselves about using their own constitutional power to stop the president. what those who talked already have said to the committee and what others might say, we just don't know, but what they could say given the positions they held and what they were privy to is formidable. they include secretary of state mike pompeo, who we first reported last night is expected to sit down with the house select committee, perhaps as soon as this week. also former treasury secretary steven mnuchin, who we learned today has already been interviewed by the committee. negotiations are underway with the former director of national intelligence, john ratcliffe, for a sitdown with him. and finally there's former acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney, who we spoke with earlier this week on the program. he was spotted on his way out, after speaking with the committee today. mulvaney, as you know, was serving as envoy to northern ireland when the attack happened. steven mnuchin was reported to be involved in discussions about
invoking the 25th amount to remove the former president from office. t one of the people mnuchin talked to was then secretary of state mike pompeo. cnn's own report sg that the select committee is especially interested now in learning more about such cabinet level conversations. this is coming in the wake, of course, of testimony of cassidy hutchinson, the top former top aide to the former chief of staff mark meadows. >> from what i understood at the time and from what the reports were coming in, there is a large concern of the 25th amendment potentially being invoked. and there were concerns about what would happen in the senate if it was, if the 25th was invoked. >> cassidy hutchinson, as you know, is now cooperating with the justice department criminal probe as well. and late today, the lawyer for a former department of justice -- former department of justice staffer said his client is also
cooperating. so, it's potentially significant because he worked with jeffrey clark, this guy, who the former president wanted to make acting attorney general to help carry out his election scheme. and clark, according to the reporting, seemed willing. prosecutors are preparing for a court battle to force former white house officials to testify about what the former president said and did on and around january 6th. first, select committee member and california democratic congresswoman zoe lofgren joins us. congresswoman, i know you can't get into specifics. in term of these latest witnesses, can you say the focus on conversations among trump administration officials about possible invoking the 25th amendment, was that the focus? >> well, as we've said pubic wly in our hearings, the 25th amendment was a focus of the committee. it's not the only focus. it's pretty clear from the
evidence that the speech given by the president on the 7th of january was motivated largely because of his concern that the 25th amendment would be invoked and he'd be removed as president. certainly we want to find out more from his cabinet members. and as i think the vice chair said, it's really like a dam has broken and people are coming in to speak to the committee, which is important. there's very much an active investigation. >> it really does feel like that to you, that a dam has broken and people are coming in who previously would not have. >> well, yes. there's a lot of people. and then there's a ton of documents that have come in as well. obviously it's an intensive task to go through documents. some may not be relevant, and some may be highly relevant. so, we're busily working on that as well. >> how cooperative have these
latest witnesses been? and obviously you can't say what they've said, but have they provided anything the committee was unaware of up to this point? >> let me just say, you know, it's a mixed bag. but some have been very, very open and have provided useful information to the committee, and we appreciate that. we -- our mission has been to find out everything there is to find out about the sixth and the events leading up to the sixth. and these witnesses are helping us put pieces together. and in some cases, confirming information we already had. >> sources tell cnn, your committee is negotiate yagt terms for a potential interview with former director of national intelligence, john ratcliffe -- i don't know if you can confirm that. it would be great if you could. but is the committee in the process of speaking with more officials as well? >> as you know, the rules don't allow me to identify the people we're negotiating with.
but broadly, yes, we are reaching out to trump officials, broadly speaking, and we have every expectation that many of them will -- if not all of them -- will respond. >> i'm wondering what your reaction was to attorney general garland's comments this week about the doj's investigation. do you think it's likely the former president may be charged criminally? >> well i -- i have no idea. the department of justice isn't telling the committee, nor should they. so, i'm relying on the same public statements that you are. but it does look like they have broadened their investigation to look at not just the individual rioters in the capitol that day, although they do need to do that, but also what was the plot behind it? who was involved in it? this wasn't just some rioters showing up and assaulting police officers randomly on the sixth of january. there was a plot leading up to
it. and i think that's what the committee has been trying to uncover, and it looks like t department of justice is trying to do the same thing. >> congresswoman lofgren, i appreciate your time as always. thank you. >> thank you. perspective from chief washington correspondent jonathan carl, who wrote about much of this in his book "betrayal: the final act of the trump show." so, there are a lot of details in your book about conversations about invoking the 25th amendment. how serious were they? where did they start? who talked to whom? >> to me, the most amazing revelation was the conversations included the two most senior people in trump's cabinet at the time, treasury secretary mnuchin and secretary of state mike pompeo. these are not only the two senior people left in the cabinet, they were two trump total loyalists. and they, i learned, had a conversation sometime late in the evening on january 6th, where they talked about the 25th
amendment. obviously it was a path that was not taken. but the mere fact that they were even raising this as a possibility -- and think bt what it means. you're removing a president because you are declaring him mentally unfit to be in office. and now we've learned subsequently from the january 6 hearings, testimony of cassidy hutchinson and others, that there was real fear that that option could be pursued. and they were using that as a way to pressure trump to finally come out and give a statement to condemn the riot. >> and sean hannity in a text to mark meadows or maybe kayleigh mcenany, was saying the 25th amendment talk is real. obviously it fizzled out. do you know how serious anybody was about it? >> well, the most serious it got, as i was told, that pompeo actually asked a lawyer to explain how it all worked. so, they got to the point of at
least looking into what the process would be. i think they pretty quickly realized it was not going to work. first of all, you had cabinet secretaries resign. you had devos, elaine chao. so, obviously those would have been two votes for invoking the 25th amendment, and they were now gone. and there was also a problem because the law is not entirely clear about whether or not acting secretaries would be included. would they be included first of all in the total that you need the majority of. would they have the right to vote? and trump had so many acting secretaries, they knew whatever route you chose, it would be subject to legal challenge. if you included the acting, trump could challenge it legally. the process of arguing out in court, he only had two weeks left in office. so, that's why it fizzled out. it was going to take too much time. >> it would be fascinating just to know the details of it. it's the kind of thing -- you know, it's like planning a coup against somebody. you're trying to figure out who's thinking the same thing. >> who's going to rat you out?
>> and who's going to rat you out, yeah. >> yeah. >> the -- it's also unclear now if pompeo talks to the january 6 committee, how forthcoming he might be. >> yeah, that's -- >> given he has his own presidential ambitions. >> which is complicated. first of all, he's got his own presidential ambitions, and he wants to run as the candidate of the trump movement. but, you know, he also wants to run for president. and one person that would stand in the way is donald trump. so, it's complicated. but i'm fascinated to see what pompeo will say assuming they get him to come in, he takes the oath. how does he answer the question? as i was reporting on this, try ied desperately to get him to to ask him about this, and i kept on getting pushed off. i kept on getting pushed you have a. his spokesperson at first said, oh, no, no, no, nothing ever happens. can you tell me that on the record? i'll put it in. give me a denial. i'll put it in. my calls weren't returned for
literally months. my last conversation for the book with donald trump over the phone -- i asked him about this. he said, oh, that's ridiculous, never happened. i said, why has mike pompeo not denied it? >> how did he respond to that? >> oh, you know -- he didn't really -- it's totally nonsense. they all -- and then i got a call within an hour of trump hanging up -- and he did hang up on me in that conversation at the end of the call -- with a spokesperson for mike pompeo who had been avoiding me for months saying, okay, i've got something for you from a spokesperson -- he would not allow me to use his name when it happened -- from a spokesperson, there were no conversations about the 25th amendment. there were. it'll be interesting to see what he says when his hand is on the bible. >> do you think he could offer valuable testimony? >> you know, i think first of all on that, you know, hearing directly from him -- i know they've also spoken to mnuchin. again, they didn't pursue it. so, you know, there's that.
but the mere fact that his two top guys talked about it as a possibility is an amazing insight into how worried they were that trump had completely lost control. so, that will be interesting. but he is a -- he is a total trump loyalist. i think one other thing he can talk about is the concern that the pentagon had gone off the rails. you remember trump had fired the civilian leadership of the pentagon, put in a group of people that he believed were total loyalists. and i know that pompeo -- the only thing i reported in the book is that pompeo at one point called bill barr saying, i'm really worried about what's going on at the pentagon. there was concerns about strikes against iran. what would trump try to do during the lame duck period? how would he create an international crisis as a way to stay in power? there were real concerns. and pompeo at one point called barr and asked him about that. i learned that directly from the other side of that conversation. so, it'll be interesting to see if pompeo will acknowledge that. >> jonathan carl, thank so much.
more on the justice department investigation and how hard they're preparing to get there. kaitlan polands has been talking to her sources, joins us nows. walk us through this court battle over executive privilege. >> anderson, today, we are learning that the justice department is gearing up to get ready to go to court, as they're investigating for possible criminality, january 6 and the presidency. so, one of the things that evan perez, another reporter here and i, were learning today from several sources is that what the justice department prosecutors and p investigators want to get access to now is conversations that donald trump was having in the white house in the days before january 6th and january 6th itself. so, what's happening here, the reason this is arising, is that there are two people who went to the grand jury in recent weeks, marc short, greg jacob, both worked under mike pence in the office of the vice president. and they had certain things that they couldn't talk about.
either they negotiated before going into the grand jury. you know, they think those things might be off limits because donald trump might want to claim prevalent. or they present to the grand jury and they declined to answer the questions. so, now we are seeing the justice department leading up to a moment where they're going to want to challenge these executive privilege claims that donald trump might try to wait to get them wiped away so that they aren't standing in the way from gaining those facts from witnesses like short and jacob. so, this would take it into a new aggressive phase because we haven't seen a court battle like this related to january 6th and the powers of the presidency, the separation of powers. >> the question is, of course, how long that court battle might take. that's always been one of the things when the question would the january 6th committee bring people to court on executive privilege claim. >> that's right. so, right now it could take a long time. the courts move slowly in some instances, fast in others. in a criminal investigation like
this, there are lots of judges out there that would say, yes, we would want to move very fast on something like this. but what this does tell us, as where things stand right now, is that marc short and greg jacob going into the grand jury not answering all the questions, clearly the prosecutors don't have all the answers here and don't have everything they want out of this piece of investigation. so, there would be a ways to go to figure this out and to potentially get more information. we are also learning about a lot of investigative work that the justice department is doing, that they're obtaining the cell phone of john eastman. now, as of july 12th, they're getting to look the contents of that. we're reporting tonight someone working with jeffrey clark, who was working with trump at the justice department, he was searched. and the justice department is nailing down what cassidy hutchinson, that key witness in the house select committee investigation, what she had to say, that she's now also in touch with justice department investigators sochl, ice all
coming together, but we don't really know where it's going or how long it will take. >> finally on the executive privilege things, i'm not sure anybody knows this. but if it's marc short's claims of executive privilege that goes to court and a judge rules one way or the other, does that ruling extend to all other people in the former president's orbit and their claims of executive privilege? or would the justice department have to bring each individuals' claims the court? >> well, we would have to see how this case itself would play out. there's lots of different postures. but in this sort of circumstance, it would be donald trump's claim of executive privilege. and we've been through court cases like this in the past, in the nixon administration, in the clinton administration. there really hasn't been one litigated about a former president trying to make a claim that's different than the sitting president, where joe biden is saying they're not going to assert privilege. but in this particular situation, in the nixon administration, they tried to
keep the tapes of watergate, the watergate tapes, private from the grand jury. the court said, no, there wasn't going to be executive privilege protecting that. and then it came up again twice in the clinton administration. there was a white house lawyer who wanted to claim some privileges. the courts ultimately didn't side with the white house in those circumstances either. >> interesting. >> so, our reporting, anderson, is that there are officials overseeing this investigation who believe that when the justice department brings this and litigates it, they will ultimately win. >> that would be huge. appreciate it. on a very beautiful evening in d.c., there's new economic data released from there this morning, which had everyone asking if we are in a recession already and how bad things might get. i'll talk to the man among first to sound the alarm, former treasury secretary lawrence summers. also a live report from kentucky, where the death toll is rising due to historic flooding.
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or... his nose. it's the washington equivalent of the dead rising from the grave. two weeks ago, the headline read manchin crushing biden's hopes of economic agenda. of talks with senate majority leader chuck schumer, the west virginia democrat signed off on legislation, delivering much of what the president was looking for. now, senate democrats are scrambling to get their members on board for what would be a victory if they can. cnn's jessica dean joins us now with more. now that you've had a chance to dig into the bill, what is in it? >> there's several buckets, anderson, three to be precise, health taxes, health care, and
climate provisions. health care would extend affordable care act subsidies for another three years. it would allow medicare to negotiate drug prices. that was always what we thought manchin would go for, especially when these talks broke down not two weeks ago, as you were just outlining. what was a real surprise to a lot of senate democrats, they were pleased to see the climate provisions. it would be the largest climate investment we have seen come out of capitol hill ever with ambitious goal of lowering emissions. there's some tax provisions there. two key components of that would be a corporate minimum tax of 15%. and then closing the tax loophole on something called carried interest. that's kind of what senate democrats are looking at right now. and those last two buckets, certainly not anybody really here thought they would be getting those with senator manchin. >> senator manchin seems to be
on board. what do we know about senator kyrsten sinema? >> sure, we need all 50 votes, but she's a key vote we're watching closely in the senate. she did not want to talk about this publicly today. her spokesperson did say she's going to review this. she wants to get a look at everything. we know that she has expressed concern over closing that tax loophole on interest, that that is an issue she has been concerned about in the past. we also know she released a statement on corporate minimum tax, essentially saying she was supportive of that. we're reading the tea leaves. it's important to note that earlier today senator manchin said he had not spoken with her. and we know she was not involved in these negotiations. she's going to be a key person to watch in all this. >> jessica dean, appreciate it. more now on where the economy is heading, and what the legislation does. from an economy who's early warnings were spot on and given some of the credit for bringing
joe manchin on with this bill, secretary lawrence sums. it's been reported you spoke to senator manchin to answer his concerns that elements of this could be inflationary. i know you won't say what you spoke to him about because that's private. but can you explain why this bill does not add or would not add to inflation? >> sure, anderson. i actually think this bill will, if anything, reduce inflation in three ways. first, it will reduce deficits and reduce demand because we're raising taxes by more than any increases in spending. that takes money and demand out of the economy, which pulls prices down. second, it increases supply. it supports big increases in the availability of energy and fuels. and that, on net, is going to
reduce their price, which is an input to almost everything else in the economy. and third, it uses the purchasing power of the government to buy pharmaceuticals at lower costs, which means lower health insurance, means lower prices that people are paying for pharmaceuticals. so, in all three ways, pricing power, supply, demand, this is anti-inflationary legislation. >> we learned this morning that the u.s. gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 0.9%, which makes it the second quarter in a row that the u.s. economy has slhrunk. the white house is saying the economy is in a transition. they've indicated the weak economic numbers will get better. i know you've said recession will happen, perhaps in the next 18 months. how bad do you think it will be? how long do you think it could last? >> my guess is we'll see unemployment in the 6% range or a little higher. it's not going to be anything like the great financial crisis.
it's not going to be like the economy falling off a cliff at the beginning of covid. but it's also not going to be a walk in the park. it's kind of the inevitable thing, given how substantially we overheated the economy and got us to, ourselves, to the kind of 9% inflation rate we have. so, i can't say just how long or how deep it's going to be, but i don't think it's right to pretend that there isn't going to be any pain or any dislocation. i think in some ways, anderson, the biggest danger is that we don't do the job. when doctors prescribe antibiotics, they always stress that it's important to take the whole course of the antibiotic because if you just stop the moment you feel better, your illness is likely to recur and
the bacteria are more likely to be resistant. >> which, by the way, most people do. i've done that many times, just stop when i feel better. >> exactly. and that's going to be the temptation -- i've done it too, anderson. and that's going to be the temptation when we start to see the economy soften and we see some declines and slowdowns in the inflation rate. people are going to say, oh, my god, we've just got to stop this and we've got address the potential recession. and that's what they did four or five times in the 1970s. and that's what made the huge mess that caused the country to feel completely out of control with the 21% prime interest rate at the end of the 1970s and caused president carter to be thrown out of office. and if we don't carry through, if we make the kind of mistakes
that, frankly, the fed made last year of just ignoring the inflation threat, we set the stage for more dislocation and more unemployment. >> let me ask you about the fact, they've raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the second month in a row on wednesday in an effort to tame inflation. are they doing enough? >> they haven't done enough so far. they're going to have to keep raising interest rates, as they've recognized. my guess is that they're probably going to have to raise interest rates more than they think they're going to have to raise interest rates. and it worries me that they do not have a realistic economic forecast. they keep telling us that we're going to get inflation all the way down from 9 to 2. and we're going to do that without ever having unemployment rise above 4.1%. >> larry summers, former treasury secretary, i really appreciate you being with us
this evening. it's really great to hear from you. thank you. >> good to be with you. coming up, at least eight people have died, as floods and heavy rainfall destroy parts of eastern kentucky. up next, we'll hear from cnn's joe johns who's in the state as rescue efforts are underway. [whiff] [water s splashes] is it on the green? [goose squawks] i was just looking for my ball. 19th hole, sam adams s summer ale. [goose squawks] (here you go.) (cheers guys!) i typed in grandma's name and birth year... and there she was, working at the five and dime. myad's been wondering about his childhood address for 70 years... and i found it in five minutes. ...that little leaf helped me learn all the names from the old neighborhood... it felt like a treasure hunt. the 1950 census adds vivid new detail to your family story. and it's available now on ancestry.
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governor andy beshear confirmed at least five people have died in eastern kentucky. he said half of the state's counties are underwater in what he called the worst flooding disaster of his lifetime. extreme flooding causes devastation across the nation. in west virginia, the governor declared a state of emergency for six counties. in missouri and arizona, flash flooding prompted road closures for rescues. >> reporter: a race to rescue those still stranded in eastern kentucky in what the governor says will end up being one of the most significant deadly floods in years. >> unfortunately, i expect double digit deaths in this flooding. that's something that we rarely see. >> reporter: the water so high you can only see the roof of this home. many others submerged up to the windows. a relentless stalled storm front
dumped more than 8 inches of rain in the area overnight. raging waters swept away homes and cars. >> i didn't think it would get, you know, that high. >> reporter: this couple barely got out of their home in time. >> i said, you better be getting you some clothes and backpack because we've got to get out of here. by the time we got up to the neighbors, to tony's double wide, it had went from the back of the trailer to the carport. >> reporter: the town is submerged in water. andy beshear declared a state-wide state of emergency and announced the first confirmed death, a woman in her 80s in perry county and at least two others. later in the day, the governor said the death toll had reached at least eight. >> we expect the loss of life. hundreds will lose their homes, and this is going yet another event that it's going to take not months but likely years for many families to rebuild and
recover. >> reporter: flooded, downed phone lines kept residents from getting help immediately overnight. >> i can't get to them. nobody can get to them. >> have you ever experienced anything like this? >> no, this has never been this bad. >> reporter: flood waters rising over the bridge in downtown whiets borrow. many roads in the area are impassable. while the national guard has been mobilized to rescue people and provide aid, hundreds are expected to lose their homes. >> it happens. i mean, it's bad enough the first time. we had insurance. this time we don't. but we'll make it. we always do with god's help. so, just have to pick yourself back up. and that's all we can do, you know? >> joe johns joins me now from eastern kentucky. i know you've been driving through the state. can you just talk more about what you have been seeing? >> reporter: yeah, you know what, anderson, i've got to say, i really wasn't prepared for what i have been seeing.
as you get closer and closer to hazzard, kentucky, you see just miles and miles of roads that have been partially encroached by water. there are houses partially submerged. there are some fully submerged. but i think that the thing that is most concerning is seeing people driving into the flood zone trying to locate family members who lived in some of the houses that are cut off from everybody else. so, it's a very concerning situation for this part of kentucky. frankly, anderson, i worked here years ago right out of college in appalachia and not too far from eastern kentucky. and you've heard stories -- i've heard many, many stories about flash floods and the kind of devastation they cause. but there is nothing like actually seeing what is happening here. the upside, the only upside, is that people are putting their
arms around each other and trying to help. they are blocking off roads to tell others, don't go down there. they're trying to give advice about how to get around. that's the one upside. the rest of this, it's going to be a long process for eastern kentucky, this part of eastern kentucky, around hazzard, to come back, anderson. >> these images we're looking at as you're speaking are just extraordinary, communities just completely underwater up to the rooftops. joe, appreciate you being there. coming up, we're going to have an update on a cnn exclusive we brought you last night, the latest on a proposal to free americans brittney griner and paul whelan. also we'll take a look at the russian arms dealer that the u.s. is offering in exchange, and how he came to be wanted by authorities here. (man) [whispering] what's going on? (burke) it's a farmers policy perk. get farmers and you could save money by doing nothing.
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an update now on our cnn exclusive we brought you last night. the biden administration is expressing frustration over russia's lack of response over prisoner exchange. secretary blinken plans to speak to his russian counterpart about the proposal, to exchange brittney griner and paul whelan for viktor bout. there is no agreement on this issue. talks of the potential prisoner exchange are also prompting people to ask, who is viktor bout, why was he in prison in the u.s., and who did he work
for? nick paton walsh spoke with bout fire ext bout years ago. >> say what you like about war lords and dictators. they always pay their bills on time. >> the merchant of death, per a book about his life. viktor bout has denied being the biggest arms dealers of the '90s. he still never really wanted to be a nobody. >> why did the americans want you so badly? >> i don't know. i have no clue. >> reporter: he gave me his last interview in a thai jail 13 years ago, when he denied the worst charges against him. >> this is a lie.
i never supplied -- and never had any deal with al quaeda. >> reporter: a noisy, packed visiting area. the bit i remember most is his mother interrupting. and he admitted he had worked for the russian government. >> i don't want to say now this. >> have you ever worked for the russian government? sometimes, yeah. >> reporter: in the end, he was not super human and arrested in thailand, after a u.s. sting operation. and while his decades of life in the shadows had left him full afaced, he was always just a pilot courier, he insisted, even as he was led into this bank hall courtroom. today, viktor bout begins to face american justice. >> reporter: the u.s. sting was complex, over many months and countries, catching him offering weapons to u.s. agents pretending to be colombian
terrorists. he was eventually extradited to face a new york trial for conspiring to kill americans. it saw him sentenced to 25 years in prison in a medium security facility in illinois. there, he told me in emails, he was in good spirits, brushing up on his many languages. and in 2019, very glad when his wife and daughter visited. but he was slowly edging towards the end of his sentence, perhaps a reason his role in a swap was more appealing. but the biggest mystery about bout was why the u.s. wanted him so fiercely. yes, he had allegedly dealt arms to a lot of of bad people across africa in the '90s, but that was known and exposed. observers searched for the another weightier reason and wondered if he had served alongside any kremlin insiders in his long past overseas. that remains a huge question mark both over him and any swap. is he a pilot in the wrong place
at the very worse times or, as so many have said, a profiteer and policy tool for moscow? >> nick paton walsh joins me now. why do you think russia hasn't already taken this deal? >> it is extraordinary, isn't it? if you believe the big fish this man has been portrayed and the efforts i saw them put into trying to prevent him from being extradited from thailand into the united states, you would think they would have snapped up the offer made a number of weeks ago privately. instead it is now public and certainly even antony blinken's counterparts. sergey lavrov said he didn't have time to take the phone call between them about this issue. is this because viktor bout isn't as influential, isn't as important to the kremlin now as he was then? has the u.s. overestimated his value to vladimir putin?
that's entirely possible. or is it also, too, that moscow have possible smelled blood in the water here, seeing desperate how the biden administration are to get griner and whelan home. maybe they think they can get some more concessions from the biden administration during these negotiations. either way now, though, the biden administration are essentially in the open doing hostage diplomacy, offering up people in their custody in exchange for americans they believe are being held hostage by the russians. that's a significant departure, and one it seems, for now, that the kremlin is still trying to exploit. anderson? >> nick paton walsh, appreciate it. president trump appears to absolve them from any connection to 9/11. i'll talk to the mother of this man who was killed on 9/11 while trying to save others, the mother of wells crowder, joins us next. started fostering koli i had been giving him kibble. it never looked or felt like real food.
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today, the former president of the united states, donald trump, made a stunning defense of his decision to make a golf tournament funded by saudi arabia. the event beginning tomorrow at his club in bedminster, new jersey. and it's attracted criticism and anger, particularly from those families of those killed on 9/11, who blame the saudi government. >> you're so closely associated with the city of new york. >> yeah. >> you of all people understand the passion surrounding 9/11. what do you say to those family members who protested earlier this week and will be doing so again on friday.
>> nobody's got ton the bottom of 9/11 unfortunately, and they should have. >> he then tried to put some sort of positive spin on the event by touting the, quote, great people who were there, and the, quote, fun they all would have. in 2016, before he won office, a long-classified report about the hijackings of the aircraft was released. and it reads in part, quote, while in the united states, some of the september 11th hijackers were in contact with and received support or assistance from individuals who may be connected with the saudi government. what's more, months before that report was released, the former president gave a completely different answer during the two different events about saudi involvement. >> who blew up the world trade center? it wasn't the iraqis. it was saudi arabia. open the documents. >> it wasn't the iraqis that knocked down the world trade
center. you will find out who really knocked down the world trade center. you may find it's the saudis, okay? >> i'm joined now by a mother whose son was killed on 9/11, alison crowler, who has protested the event. her son, wells crowler, gave his life to save others that day. he became known as the man with the red bandana for the bandana he wore while guiding people to safety. mrs. crowler, thank you for being with us. you hear the former president defending his decision, saying nobody's gotten to the bottom of 9/11. what goes through your mind when you hear that? >> well, the first thing -- and thank you, anderson, for inviting me on your show tonight to speak to this. the first thing that goes through my mind is that, well, he equivocates regularly. so, there's that. but what really goes through my mind is that he should simply look at the documents that have just been released recently
thanks to president biden that actually reports from fbi and u.s. intelligence investigations that have actually identified numerous officials and individuals working within the saudi government, contacting, being in direct contact with the planners and thore terrorists w perpetrated 9/11. this is heavily redacted. our attorneys have seen less of the redaction information -- the redaction information. they've seen more than we have been able to see, but it is finally coming out. and one of the things that enrages us, as 9/11 family members, is that our government, for years, has been keeping under wraps information that has been gathered over the years pointing directly to the saudi
involvement. >> the fact that a former president of the united states, though, who clearly knows of the saudi involvement, who spoke about it years ago, would do this, would host this, clearly just to make money. it's got to be particularly galling. if there were some deep belief he had, that would be one thing. but this is just about him making money for his golf course. >> well, that's right. and that doesn't surprise me. also, i heard -- i've heard people say that it's his way of getting back at the pga tour for cancelling their event there after the events of january 6th. so, you know, you hear all kinds of things. but nothing surprises me about this man now. and what does surprise me is
that professional golfers have been morally compromised, in my view, through greed. >> yeah. >> that's what really surprises me. >> i don't want to just talk about the former president. i want to talk about your son because he just sounds like such an extraordinary person. what was he like? >> oh, wells, was a wonderful person. he was loving and devoted to his family and his friends. he was hardworking. he had this huge work ethic, even from the time he was a very little boy. >> is that right? >> wanted to get out and earn money. yep. and he was very honest, could never, never hide the truth. would always stand up to bullies who would trouble his friends. he just was a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor, and we miss him deeply to this day. >> alison krougter, i appreciate
you speaking tonight. and i really appreciate it and i wish you the best. >> thank you very much, anderson. thank you for inviting me on. >> we'll be right back. when youou have technology that's easier to control... that can scale acrosss all your clouds... we got that right? yeah, we got that. it's easier to be an innovator. so you can do more incredible things. [whistling] (computer keys clicking) (mouse clicks) - shriners hospitals for children is awesome! my favorite people in shriners are the doctors and the nurs because they help people through life. wow, i was a really cute kid! (chuckles) but it's true! shriners hospitals for children is awesome! the first time i went to shriners hospitals for children, i was two months old.
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state. there is more rain in the forecast. we'll obviously continue to follow that story. the people of that state are in our thoughts and prayers tonight and in the days ahead. the news continues. i want to hand it over to laura coates and "cnn tonight." laura? thank you, anderson, those images are devastating. i'm so glad we're continuing to cover and hope everyone will be safe. i am laura coates and this is "cnn tonight." federal prosecutors taking aim at donald trump's own words and deeds. the proof? the court fights they're gearing up for and who may be trying to hide behind privilege. for those of you that thought all the privilege issues had been resolved, think again. cnn has reporting tonight that the doj is prepping for a kind of constitutional showdown over whether there is in fact any applicable privilege that could shield the president or his officials about what? they're communications with him when he was th