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Governor Nikki Haley Responded To Last Night's State of the Union; Chelsea Clinton Hits the Campaign Trail; Officials: U.S. Knew of Actor's Connections to "El Chapo"; U.S. Sailors Freed By Iran; Avalanche Kills 3 In French Alps; Former NFL Player Dead In Suspected Suicide; Armed Occupiers To Give Departure Date; Report: "FRIENDS" Reunion; Powerball Fever; Jackpot For Tonight's Drawings $1.5 Billion; Reports: Arrest In Death Of American Woman in Italy; Nadeau: Italian Press: "Victim Shaming" American Woman Killed in Italy; Cruz Didn't Disclose Wall Street Loan For 2012 Senate Bid. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 13, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us. A very busy night ahead.

Reports of an arrest from the murder of an American woman in Italy.

Exclusive new information about the arrest of Mexican drug lord "El Chapo" after his interview with Sean Penn. What authorities knew and when they knew it and you will only see it here.

And late word, what could be a blockbuster in "The New York Times," the times reporting that the leading Republican, the Iowa caucuses senator Ted Cruz who told a story of liquidating his family's entire net worth to finance his Senate campaign got more than a million- dollar from investments and bankers Goldman Sachs. Money the paper reports he did not disclose. We're getting reaction from the campaign and we are going to bring you that at the top of the next hour.

But first, a big dust up on the campaign trail, a night before the next Republican debate and a night after President Obama and Republican governor Nikki Haley both took thinly veil televised shots at Donald Trump. He is about to address a rally in Pensacola, Florida.

Before we go to it, here is the piece of Governor Haley's state of the union response last night that raised not only Donald Trump's eye but also angered quite a few conservative talking heads including Ann Coulter that said Donald Trump should deport Nikki Haley. Governor Haley, by the way, is a natural born American citizen, the daughter of Indian sick parents. She was raised but identifies as Methodist. She is not an immigrant. In any case, here is what he said.


GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Today we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to fallow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.


COOPER: Well today, she stood by her remarks. Listen.


HALEY: The point is when you get loud, when you get angry, the work stops, things stop moving. And so trying to make sure we lower the volume, listen to what people are saying because if you listen what they are trying to get, you realize a lot of times there is a place to get there.


COOPER: Donald Trump again who is about to speak tonight defended his remarks by phone to "OUTFRONT's" Erin Burnett.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think she's right. I am angry. I'm angry and a lot of other people are angry too on how incompetent our country is being run. I'm extremely angry and upset about it. I think it's ridiculous. And, you know, believe it or not, it is make America great again. It's really mine is a campaign of hope and feature.


COOPER: Well, earlier today, he attacked Governor Haley personally suggesting she was singing a different tune and she was asking Haley for campaign donations asking his words for a quote "a hell of a lot of money." Quite a dustup and dilemma for Republicans.

Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is traveling with the Trump campaign and joins us from the event.

So this is Trump's last prime time rally before tomorrow night's debate and taking hits from Haley, Senator Cruz, two very popular figures in their respective wings of the party. What do you expect from him tonight?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, you can see the crowd behind me here, some 11,000 or more people had gathered here in Pensacola. And to Donald Trump, that is a bit of an energy burst for him. You can expect him to come into this rally tonight with a smile on his face. Once again, he is sort of beaten back this establishment attempt to slow his rise. When he comes to these rallies, he fees off the crowds. He reminds them that he is leading in every poll. So tonight, I expect that he will sort of reiterate what he said, that he is angry. He is angry about immigration. He is supportive of the second amendment of gun control. So we do not see him in this rally sort of take on anyone in particular but he feeds off the crowds. So tonight I think he'll take a victory lap on the eve of all important debate tomorrow in South Carolina. COOPER: Is there a sense you get from the Trump campaign that the

gloves are off and will stay off because every time Trump and Cruz had a chance to go after each other on a debate stage, they basically shied away from that.

ZELENY: Anderson, it has been so interesting. The gloves are off and then back on again. And I believe it is the debate tomorrow night we will see a similar thing. Donald Trump has not shown in any of the debates that he is interested in being the aggressor unless someone comes after him first. So I do not expect that he will talk about the citizenship issue unless he is asked about it. But I cannot fathom that he would not be asked about that.

And I'm actually watching Ted Cruz. Is he going to try and engage Donald Trump? There is no question in Iowa this is having some effect here. Ted Cruz dropped from some ten points to now only having a four-point lead over Donald Trump. So I think the gloves will stay on unless Donald Trump is provoked. And then as we have seen time and time again, he is more than willing to punch back - Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

What is so interesting to hear is how different voices within the party, Republican Party are dealing with all this. The party, as you know, famously did a post-Moore then after their 2012 presidential defeat. They recommended greater outreach to female and non-white voters which leaves the party in an awkward spot right now.

Joining us Sean Spicer, chief strategist and communications director for the RNC also former top Romney 2012 campaign strategists Stuart Stevens.

Sao Sean, you got Governor Haley, one of the most prominent women in the Republican Party from the key primary state herself, someone of minority heritage directly taking on Donald Trump. Is this the Republican establishment trying to take Donald Trump out?

[20:05:30] SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST/COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: No, it's not. I think this is Governor Haley and a lot of voices in her party not taking on anyone. It's talking how to we can better position our party and talk about how our policies will help America move in the right direction and that's talking in a positive way, putting a smile on our faces, talking about why our policies, our party, our vision is better for this country, especially when the choice is Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: You don't think she was referencing Donald Trump?

SPICER: Well, I think as she said earlier today, she was referencing a lot of people. I think tone matters. It is something that the chairman has said before. And I think it's something that we can agree on in the Republican Party is that we don't want to be angry. We want to be positive. We want to extoll virtues that want people to come in to this party and help us grow and win elections and govern from a conservative ideology.

COOPER: Stuart, I mean, you hear what Sean is saying. What do you think Governor Haley was saying last night?

STUART STEVENS, FORMER ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, you know, Anderson, one of the big difference between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump is Nikki Haley has actually won elections and knows how to win election and knows what people want in an election.

I can't speak for her. I take her at her word. She is talking about a lot of people. I think that there is a difference here in approach and approach matters. I think that her approach has proven to be a winning approach. I think Donald Trump's approach is going to prove to be a losing approach.

Ultimately, politics is about winning something so that you can have the ability to govern. And she has proven to be an effective governor. She is wildly popular in her state. And I think that Donald Trump is out there just playing the politics of anger to get a rise out of a crowd. I don't think that's how you're going to win an election.

COOPER: So Sean, when you have a -- go ahead, Sean.

SPICER: I was going to say, I mean, I think that we got to understand that right now the American people in the American electret are upset with how things are going in this country. Mr. Trump, right, we are so taps into that anger, but to kind of dove tail on what Stuart was saying. I think what Governor Haley is trying to point us to correctly so, is that we can talk about and channel that anger into a positive vision for America.

COOPER: I want to play a clip of something that Senator Cruz said to a Boston radio station campaigning in New Hampshire this week. Let's play that.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he may shift in his new rallies to playing "New York, New York" because, you know, Donald comes from New York and he embodies New York values. And listen. The Donald seems to be a little bit rattled. This race is turning more and more into a two-person race, between me and Donald. There is a big separation between the two of us and everybody in the field and what we're seeing is conservatives are uniting behind our campaign.


COOPER: I should also point out Trump tweeted today sadly there is no way Ted Cruz continue running the Republican primary unless he can erase doubts on eligibility.

Stuart, do you think Trump is getting traction with the attacks on Cruz, on where he was born, on his eligibility?

STEVENS: No. I think it's a misfire about Trump. I think it's absolutely crazy. It's not the way to go after Cruz. I'm glad to see that senator Cruz is fighting back, though. Look. Donald Trump Senator Cruz in a very literal sense. I think there are reasons and ways to disqualify Donald Trump. And I think that those that are running against them should get about doing that, prove there are reasons that he is demonstrated and temperament and character and ability and intelligence that he's not qualified to be president of the United States. Let's get it on. That's what this should be about. Show why you should be president and why the other person shouldn't be.

COOPER: Sean, obviously, you're with the RNC, how do you handle these attacks by Trump on Cruz's eligibility?

SPICER: We don't. We leave that handicapping up to Stuart and other pundits and professional operatives. Our job is to create the most transparent level playing field for all these candidates to compete and make their visions. Tomorrow night, they will -- ten of them really amazing candidates, a level of diversity that neither party seen before and make their pitch to voters.

COOPER: Stuart, do you expect, I mean, you talked about Ted Cruz fighting back, do you expect to see that on the stage tomorrow night at the debate.

STEVENS: Well, I think that when you get closer to the end of a race, things get tighter and people should get up there and be more aggressive. Usually the most aggressive people wins a debate. It's been more difficult because you have more people in the debates in the format, but I would hope that's going to happen. I think this is what voters want. They don't want to just hear why you think you're great. They want to hear why you're great and why the other person shouldn't be qualified.

[20:10:10] COOPER: All right, Sean, good to have you on as always. Stuart Stevens as well. Guys, thanks.

Well, coming up next tonight, the Democratic side in what some are seeing as a democratic slide for Hillary Clinton with Iowa and New Hampshire getting closer. Her position against Bernie Sanders appears to be eroding. We got new polling and we look at how her campaign is responding to the challenge including a heavy dose of Bill Clinton.

Also later, exclusive breaking details emerging from the arrest of drug lord "El Chapo" after his interview with Sean Penn. We got new information about how much authorities knew about it in advance ahead on the program.


[20:14:26] COOPER: With momentum in the democratic race seem to just shift to Bernie Sanders, the gloves are coming off of the Clinton campaign. New polling from Quinnipiac University shows a five-point Sanders lead in Iowa. And in New Hampshire, Monmouth University polling has him up by 14 points over Secretary Clinton.

So yesterday daughter Chelsea Clinton hit the campaign trail, took shots on senator Sanders on health care and her father, obviously heavy weight and Democratic politics, he is now at his third campaign event of the day.

Sunlen Serfaty is traveling with the campaign and joins us now from Keene, New Hampshire.

So, you have the former president out campaigning for his wife. What did he talk about today and those poll numbers?

[20:15:03] SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Anderson, Bill Clinton really trying to brush aside these poll numbers for his wife really down playing the notion that this is any sort of the cause for concern for her candidacy and his deployment, though, here in New Hampshire is certainly does come at an interesting, critical, a key time for the Clinton campaign, comes at a time where with Sanders momentum, the campaign is laser focused in on Bernie Sanders now. And now, it's really taking a sharp, much more combative tone and rhetoric and Bill Clinton was asked earlier today at his event here in Keene, if this is indicative of any nervousness on this part of the campaign when said no, it's just where the state of the race should be right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What about your wife and senator Bernie Sanders?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You mean when he went to New York (INAUDIBLE). He has been doing that for some time. All they are doing now, which they should be doing, is talking about the differences in their positions. That's good. That's healthy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What about the polls, does it surprise you?

B. CLINTON: No. I'm surprised it didn't happen 60 days ago.


COOPER: And Chelsea Clinton campaigning yesterday for her mother challenging Sanders on health. I understand both her parents addressed that today. What did they say after - have to say? Because some people were critical of that saying that the Clinton campaign shouldn't have put her out yesterday.

SERFATY: That's right. This is big. Both parents coming out very forcefully defending their daughter today saying that she knows a lot about health care. That was her biggest attack on Bernie and saying she had every right to comment on it. Bill Clinton saying she read his plan and knows his stuff but it certainly was notable early in the week.

Yesterday when Chelsea came out big not only hits on Bernie Sanders on healthcare but also education, policy, as well. Chelsea Clinton really likes to remain above the fray. So very notable that she jumped in and became an attack dog, so to speak, for her family. You know, the Clinton campaign keeps saying this is not a sign they are nervous even though their rhetoric, their tone, their focus right now on Bernie Sanders is telling a much different story -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Sunlen, thanks very much.

I'm joined by CNN political commentators Peter Beinart and Donna Brazile. He is a contributing editor with the "Atlantic" media and senior fellow at the new America foundation. She is a Democratic strategist and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee voter project.

Donna, I mean, you say that the Clinton campaign should be worried about these poll numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire, but do you think that worry is coming late? I mean, is it tightening of the race because the campaign wasn't worried enough two or three months ago.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Anderson, look. As a campaign strategists, you are 18 days out. Of course, you are looking at these polls. Back in the day you had one or two polls, of course, Des Moines Register poll is the one you really look forward to read and understand.

But look. The campaigns, both campaigns, Hillary campaign as well as Bernie campaign, they have a game plan. And both campaigns out there trying to get number threes, you know, you have number one, you are committed to go to caucus for the candidates. Number two, you are wavering, but you're leaning. Number three, you are undecided or no one talked to you.

They are trying to find votes at this hour. Should they be worried? Of course. Should Bernie be nervous that, you know, with 18 days out Hillary could regain the lead and then, you know, two weeks from now before we head to the caucus, you know, there's been some new developments. So this is what politics is all about. This is what primary politics.

I assume from day one, although many people kept saying the race is over. Hillary Clinton is in. I say, no it's not over. There is 30, 40 percent of voters who didn't participate because they were not eligible or they did not -- they were not registered or not even of age. So this is a great time in a campaign for both candidates to make good closing arguments to get whatever response they can from the voters, but it's going to be a little topping in the next couple of weeks.

COOPER: Peter, I mean, Sanders are saying Clinton campaign is in trouble. Do you think they really are because when you look past Iowa, past New Hampshire and South Carolina, Hillary Clinton has a lot of support there?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. They have a backstop. I mean, the reason Barack Obama was able to win was because he won white liberals and he ended up winning the African-American vote.

Bernie Sanders will beat Hillary Clinton with white liberals. But after Iowa and New Hampshire, you go to state to have more conservative white voters, these were moderate white Democrats and a lot of African-Americans. There is not a lot of evidence so far that Bernie Sanders can crash the Clinton's hold on African-Americans. Were he to beat her decisively in both Iowa and New Hampshire? It would at least raise the question, but she has a powerful backstop even if she loses the first two.

COOPER: And Donna, what about a generational divide? I mean, younger voters seem to be enthusiastic about Senator Sanders in a way they don't seem to be about Secretary Clinton.

BRAZILE: I think they are enthusiastic about these two candidates. But look, there is no question that Bernie Sanders - I have been to a couple of his rallies. He is really raising issues that most Americans care about. College affordability, making sure that we have a level playing field. There is no reason to demonize or even somehow another say where Bernie is saying is somehow not in the mainstream of America right now.

He is running a very vigorous, a very dynamic campaign. He is picking up support. He is doing what candidates who are insurgence do, is that they come on strong. He has been taking it directly to the people. That being said, I think Hillary Clinton still has an opportunity to get some of those millennials to connect with them and to assure that they will support her in the long hall.

[20:20:25] COOPER: You know, Peter, Joe Biden with Gloria -- in an interview with Gloria Borger two days ago, you know, kind of raised the authenticity issue saying Bernie Sanders has authenticity on the issue of income inequality. Essentially, by not saying so, saying that Hillary Clinton may not or certainly that she's kind of newer to the table in talking about this, an issue obviously a lot of young people and a lot of Democrats care about, do you think that's part of the problem here for Hillary Clinton?

BEINART: Absolutely. You know, there is a parallel to what is happening on the Republican side. There is a group of Democrats, like Republicans, who want to blow things up. They believe that the political process is fundamentally corrupt and fundamentally predatory and they want a kind of revolution. Those people in the Republican Party are going to Donald Trump. In the Democratic Party, they are going to Bernie Sanders. And Hillary Clinton, whether she likes it or now, like Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, represents a kind of an establishment politics. And the problem is that there, with a lot of is dissatisfaction is a market for somebody who is a real outsider.

COOPER: Donna, sending Chelsea Clinton out of the campaign trail, I mean, is that a sign of fear on the Clinton's part.

BRAZILE: Well, I want to just - I want to first of all say that secretary Clinton was unable and did not participate in politics for several years. And during that time as you know from Elizabeth Warren to Bernie Sanders to several other United States senators and congressmen, I mean, they have championed income inequality. And Hillary Clinton gets it right so I know that this is an issue that's very close to her heart and her politics and she'll do the right thing. In terms of utilizing Chelsea as a surrogate, of course, they are

going to utilize her as a surrogate, I don't know who wrote her message and she probably doesn't need anybody to write down what she should say. She is very smart and able and committed to electing her mother. That being said, look, I don't know if what she did yesterday will be effective long haul but there's no question that Secretary Clinton is going to have to utilize every resource and minimum and enthusiasm that she is seeing from Bernie Sanders.

COOPER: Peter, do you think (INAUDIBLE), you did come under criticism, people on air last night on CNN saying they thought it was sort of inappropriate to have sent Chelsea Clinton out to have him -- her going after Bernie Sanders.

BEINART: Look. I would just say this. People have the right to fire back at her, right. If she is going to dish it out, she has to be able to take it. You can't then say well, she is the child of the candidate, right. Once you actually go from just saying nice things about your own parent to actually attacking another candidate, you should expect that other people will be able to challenge you. And if they are ready for that with Chelsea Clinton, that's fine but there shouldn't be illusions about that.

BRAZILE: That's right.

COOPER: Peter Beinart, we will see. Donna Brazile as well, thank you.

Just ahead, breaking news. Exclusive new information about the arrest of Mexican drug lord "El Chapo" after his interview with Sean Penn. What and when authorities knew about the actor's contacts with the fugitive.

Plus, did Iranian officials force an apology out of one of the U.S. sailor soldier before releasing him and nine others? Details ahead.


[20:27:17] COOPER: Breaking news tonight about the secret meeting actor Sean Penn pulled off in the middle of an intensive manhunt for Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as "El Chapo." As you know, Penn interviewed him in October while "El Chapo" was still a fugitive. A Mexican actress helped arrange the meeting. Penn wrote about it in a "Rolling Stone" article that ran the day after "El Chapo" was captured. He was caught after a deadly raid on his hideout in North West Mexico. "Rolling Stone" went to great lengths to keep the interview secret.

Tonight, though, CNN's Pamela Brown has exclusive information about what Mexican and U.S. officials knew about the actor's plans. She joins me now. So what have you learned?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have learned from law enforcement sources that U.S. law enforcement knew about this connection Sean Penn had with "El Chapo" before his capture, but they suspected that perhaps he was trying to broker a movie deal even before Sean Penn went to Mexico in October. Communications that he had with the actress Kate Del Castillo garnered attention from U.S. law enforcement. Around the same time, Mexican authorities uncovered these text messages between Del Castillo and "El Chapo." And then after that, Sean Penn went to Mexico. Arrived at the airport. The U.S. was alerted to that. But authorities lost track of the actor. It was then suspected he was on his way to meet "El Chapo." The location where an operation was about to take place, and we have learned, Anderson, that that operation was delayed. In fact, I spoke to the attorney general today. She wouldn't comment on that specifically but she made it clear that she wants "El Chapo" back here in the U.S. soil.

COOPER: And the Mexican actress, I understand, you're learning more about her involvement.

BROWN: Well, that's right. So we know she was texting with "El Chapo" leading up to the visit that she had in Mexico with Sean Penn. It seemed like "El Chapo" had some obsession with her. He was a fan of the show that she was on where she was involved with a drug kingpin. And so they were exchanging these text messages. And it appears that she was going to "El Chapo" and saying you should talk to Sean Penn, this actor. He didn't know who he was. But there is a clear tie between "El Chapo" and Del Castillo the actress. And Sean Penn and Del Castillo and when authorities put it together, they made the link between Sean Penn and the drug kingpin -- Anderson.

COOPER: And you said - and I just want to be clear about this, according to your reporting, did this change the timing of any operation to bring "El Chapo" into custody? What are the Mexicans saying or wouldn't have been?

BROWN: Well, what happened was -- so what our law enforcements sources are saying, Anderson, is that Sean Penn sort of vanish the from the airport, they decided to delay the operation in Mexico because of this concern that there were two Americans that were with "El Chapo," so the operation was delayed and you may remember later that month.

[20:30:00] BROWN: There was a failed operations that were with "El Chapo". So the operation was delayed and then you may remember later that month there was a failed operation to get "El Chapo". He escaped and then as we know, they eventually caught up with him and captured him just recently. But the fact that Sean Penn visited the drug kingpin that impacted the operation that was about to take place.

COOPER: So were they monitoring or was it Mexican officials or U.S. officials monitoring this actress' text communications, do we know?

BROWN: So we know the Mexican officials, according to a source speaking to my colleague, Brian Todd, they were monitoring the text messages that she was having with "El Chapo." At the same time, we know that law enforcement, they were aware of these communications that she was having with the actor Sean Penn.

We have been told from sources that Mexican authorities asked the U.S. to gather phone communications where it's unclear if that request was complied with. But clearly, they were tracking the phone communications from this actress, Kate Del Castillo and Sean Penn's visit to the drug kingpin played a key role in his -- in the drug kingpin's capture.

COOPER: Pamela, thanks.

Today, Iran released the 10 U.S. sailors who were detained after entering Iranian waters but not before these images were aired on state television showing the sailors after their capture in the Persian Gulf yesterday, they on route to Bahrain from Kuwait when it happened.

Another video that Iran aired today showed one of the sailors apologizing while President Obama was giving his State of the Union Address last night. He didn't mention any of this. Secretary of State John Kerry was working behind the scenes before the State of the Union and likely after, they secure sailors release.

Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto, tonight, joins us with the latest. So what we learned, Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN'S CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So, Anderson, two of the key questions here have been one, how did those sailors end up on their knees disarmed with their hands over their heads? Was that under duress? Was it at a gunpoint? The second one, was at any point during this episode, was an apology issued from the U.S. to Iran?

Oddly enough, we got what could be an answer to both of those questions from an interview, one of the sailors did with Iranian state television while they were in custody. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a mistake, that was our fault and we apologize for our mistake. The Iranian patrol boat came out when we were having engine issues and had weapons drawn, so we tried to talk to them until more boats came out and took us in.


SCIUTTO: Now on the apology, U.S. officials tell me one, there's no official apology. John Kerry did not apologize to the Iranians. And anything that sailor said would be considered under duress acting saying anything really just to protect his crew.

On the question of whether guns were drawn, that's the first time we've heard that, Anderson. They're still debriefing the sailors. That's going to take place tomorrow in the region. The navy waiting to get their hard answers to those questions as well.

COOPER: And how does all this compare to how the Obama administration has been portraying it?

SCIUTTO: Well, I going to tell you, I mean, you and I, everyone else looks at those images. It's hard to reconcile those sailors on their knees with this story of a diplomatic victory that we've heard from Secretary of State John Kerry from White House even from the Iranian side.

They've seemed to be on point in terms of talking points there, but they're still saying, administration officials, listen, this could have last a lot longer, it could have ended a lot worse if those diplomatic channels weren't open, that being the result of those nuclear negotiations.

COOPER: But again, I mean, the timing of all this, it's a very sensitive time obviously for U.S.-Iranian relations.

SCIUTTO: No question to that. Imagine this, beyond it being the State of the Union last night, Anderson, in the next few days, officials tell me is when they expect the Iran nuclear deal to be implemented and that's when those sanctions, billions of dollars in sanctions on Iran are going be lifted. So, it seems that could have been a big influence on this. But even the hard liners in Iran did not want to lose that.

COOPER: Jim Sciutto. Jim, thanks.

There's a lot more happening tonight. Amara Walker has a 360 bulletin. Amara?

AMARA WALKER, CNN TODAY ANCHOR: Anderson, an avalanche in the French Alps killed at least three people including two French school children. They were skiing on a closed slope where the risk of an avalanche was high. Scores of rescuers worked into the night to find the victims.

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has died in a suspected suicide. He was found unresponsive in his prison cell. He had been serving a 31-year sentence after being convicted of domestic violence and other charges in 2008. He was also awaiting trial on charges of killing his cellmates last year.

The armed occupiers who took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon say they will announce on Friday when they are leaving. For 11 days they've been held up in the cold at the remote refuge in protest of federal land policies.

And according to the Hollywood reporter, the cast of "FRIENDS" is reuniting on NBC. They are expected to take part in a prime time special for the network. It's planning to celebrate iconic T.V Director James Burrows, their long-time collaborator.

[20:35:04] Exciting.

COOPER: Well, it will be interesting to see. Amara, thanks very much.

Just ahead, $1.5 billion up for grabs in tonight's Powerball drawing, $1.5 billion, the highest jackpot ever. People lining up for their shot of being a billionaire. The latest on the lottery fever that's turned into an all out frenzy, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The record-breaking Powerball jackpot has soared even higher. If you can imagine, it's now up to cool $1.5 billion for tonight's drawings. No one has hit the jackpot since early November. 19 drawings with no winner.

The odds say you're more likely to be struck by lightning numerous times while drowning than to win. But, excuse me, that isn't stopping people from lining up to get their tickets.

Miguel Marquez joins me now with more. Penn station, most popular place to purchase Powerball tickets in New York. What's it like there now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the deviled of Penn station here at World Books, everyone a winner here, correct?


MARQUEZ: What are you going to spend your billion on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What am I to spend my billion on? Any and everything.

MARQUEZ: I'm hitching my wagon to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, to me, baby.

[20:40:00] MARQUEZ: Are you guys looking forward to winning a billion dollars?


MARQUEZ: Yes? Now, New York State, this is the busiest place in New York to buy lottery tickets. They have five lanes here that's been busy all day long. This is actually slow right now. At the busiest this afternoon between 6:00 and 7:00 P.M., New York State was selling more than $6 million in tickets an hour. Now, there are about $5 million tickets an hour. Sir, how busy has it been today?

UNDENTIFIED MALE: It's very crazy. This is hard to talk with you now.


MARQUEZ: So busy he can't talk. I wanted to say, though, that all these people can really go home because I have the winning ticket right here, actually. So, it's everyone else is wasting their time. What are you going to spend your billion on?

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Lot of homes and houses.

MARQUEZ: Well, that's -- I might be with hitching my wagon to you then. That sounds like a good time. Incredibly, everybody I think hoping that they will win this thing certainly. The odds of winning it, very, very slim. You have a better chance you're going to hit by lightning, you have a better chance of drowning. You have a better chance of getting hit by lightning while drowning than winning this lottery but we live in hope. Anderson.

COOPER: Miguel Marquez. Miguel, thanks very much. Buy me some tickets too. Getting joining us now is Richard Quest, Anchor of CNN's "Quest Means Business".

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ACNHOR: Poor delusional Miguel Marquez.


QUEST: Because I've got the winning tickets over here.

COOPER: It's like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

QUEST: Absolutely.

COOPER: So, $1.5 billion. So, what would the actual pay out be if you took the lump sum. You can either take the lump sum or have it spread out.

QUEST: $930 million. That's the amount that you would get. It starts at $1.5 billion but because you're going to choose the lump sum and get the benefits of the cash now, not over many years, they have a discount and the discount that they apply to this is 62 percent. So, the lump sum percentage is 62 percent.

COOPER: So, you get $920 billion and the taxes take...

QUEST: ... and then taxes. So, you start at $1.5 billion, whoever said life was fair? You start at 1 .5 billion. You go down to $930 million and depending on which state you're in, if you're in New York State of course with the city and state tax on top of it, that will come down to about $450 to $500 million.

COOPER: I would still take it. What about if you take the annuity? What's the advantage? Because last time, it was, I don't know, $900 billion, you said, "Take the lump sum." Now, is it still better to take the lump sum?

QUEST: Oh, well, the annuity is $22.6 million a year until 2045. So, that's an income of that sizable amount of money. No question about it. But why would you not take it? Which would you prefer, the annuity or do you take the cash value? The answer always the cash value.

For the simple reason, right, the simple reason you can invest that yourself and do better than perhaps the 5 percent that they will do to make your annuity. So overall, you are better off taking the lump sum.

COOPER: I don't know. I think I would go for the smaller amount because I think if you get a lump sum of $900 billion, million dollars, you would go nuts. What would -- I mean I think I would go nuts? QUEST: Right. You don't have to just worry about -- don't worry about going nuts. You don't have to worry just about winning the top number because there are other ways that you can win. If you just get the red power ball, you get $4.

COOPER: Whomp, whomp, whomp.



QUEST: You can have a few more balls. If you get three of the white balls, you get $7.

COOPER: Oh my God, wait a minute. Can you imagine getting three of them and being like, "I'm about to win!" and then you don't and then you see what you won $7.

QUEST: Four balls and you get $100.

COOPER: $100 for four balls.

QUEST: Five balls, $1 million in cash.

COOPER: Why is everyone laughing?

QUEST: And all six. A dirty mind is a feast in this studio. All six, $930 million. But the cool question is, "What happens?"

COOPER: If you win?

QUEST: When Anderson wins? Are you ready?

COOPER: Oh yes, I'm ready. What happens?

QUEST: Anderson.


QUEST: You have just won...


QUEST: .... $930 million. Are you taking the annuity or the lump sum pay out?

COOPER: OK. I'll take your advice, take the lump sum.

QUEST: Congratulating when you check...

COOPER: Congrats, oh, yes. And I tell you what I'll do, I will buy myself a watch, not a crazy watch, just like...

QUEST: That's my next question!

COOPER: OK. Fine. QUEST: What will be your first impulse purchase?

COOPER: My only impulse purchase would be a watch. Because I once bought a nice watch when I signed a contract and I lost it and I feel so guilty I never bought another one and every time I look at it, I would be reminded of it but I would save everything else.

QUEST: That's it. He's going to buy a watch.

[20:45:00] COOPER: What? It makes sense.

QUEST: He's going to buy a watch. Goodness gracious.

COOPER: What would you buy? What...

QUEST: It's great. No. Basically a watch. Thank you. Will you keep the day job?

COOPER: Of course I would keep my day job.

QUEST: Why? You don't need it?

COOPER: What? You're going to sit around with $900 million and you don't think you're going to go nuts? Are you kidding? Without a job? You got to keep your job.

QUEST: Now, the final question.

COOPER: Yeah. I love my job.

QUEST: Have you bought before your tickets yet?


QUEST: Right. Do you want to go halves in this? I need cash. I need cash.

COOPER: I think there's an office for and I was told on minute on it. I would go with on it.

QUEST: $2 and you have tinder box.


QUEST: $2 on it.

COOPER: I'm like the queen of England, I don't carry the cash on me, you know.

QUEST: I think that was a good to not remember to say a picture. Just leave it there. $930.

COOPER: What would you buy?

QUEST: What would I buy?

COOPER: Yeah. What would your first big purchase be?

QUEST: A Rolls Royce.

COOPER: Wait a minute. I didn't even notice you were wearing a money tie. The ugliest jacket I've ever seen. We'll be right back.


COOPER: There's breaking news tonight from Italy reports there's been arrest in the case with American woman who was found strangle to death.

[20:50:00] There's still a lot of questions, Randi Kaye joins me now with the latest. Well, so, what have we learned?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, multiple news outlets in Italy reporting that there has been an arrest that a man was arrested in the murder of Ashley Olson. They're not saying who this man is or not identifying him. They're also not giving details the media about when the arrest was made, where it was made, how it went down.

And I should also point out that police, investigators also are not saying anything about this arrest. They're not even confirming that an arrest took place and CNN hasn't been able to independently verify that an arrest took place, either.

But all of this comes, Anderson, as we are learning more tonight about how police investigators were able to zero in so quickly on this suspect.


KAYE: Ashley Olsen's Facebook post from April 2014, now haunting, "I got a one-way ticket to Italy" it reads. Less than two years later, she was dead. Investigators now saying that the 35-year-old American- born artist was strangled with a rod or belt or scarf and today's bombshell that they know who did it.

Investigators say they've identified the suspect from an image on surveillance footage. They did not release a name. When Olsen was killed is still a mystery. Her pet Beagle Scout was found in the apartment when Olsen's body was discovered on Saturday. He hadn't been taken for a walk in sometime. Suggesting Olsen had been dead for hours.

STACI KELLY, ASHLEY OLSEN'S FRIEND: I can't imagine what she went through, you know, no one deserves to go through that so I just -- whoever did this to her, I hope that they get what's coming to them.

KAYE: Olsen may have met her killer at a Florence nightclub. Investigators say, her friends told them they left Olsen at the club alone sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 A.M. on Friday morning.

Investigators were hoping surveillance camera footage from the club in Olsen's neighborhood would give them answers and it might have led them to who they say is the suspect.

That video is key. It would likely show who Olsen left the nightclub with if anyone or if someone followed her home, stalking her.

And stalking may not be out of the question. Given Olsen bizarre Instagram posting on her page which turns the heading "Live free or die". There are hashtags that read F off and creeper. This photo uses the hashtags stocker alert, creeper in the back and creeper pic. Her friend from Florida where Olsen grew up, says she would talk to anyone.

KELLY: She would meet strangers on the street and she go up and have a conversation with them.

KAYE: Meanwhile, investigators have yet to clear Olsen's friends of being involved or her Italian boyfriend, artist Federico Fiorentini. Police say, he told investigators, he quarreled with Olsen days before but authorities say, "He has a strong alibi on the night of the murder".

Also, Olsen's landlady let him inside her apartment after he couldn't reach his girlfriend. The landlady describing his reaction to an Italian magazine saying, "He threw himself on her to revive her. The body was cold. He kept repeating my little one, my love".

Italian media say investigators are also reportedly looking into the idea that Olsen may have been involved in some type of sex ring and that she may have died as a result of auto erotic affixation.

She was strangled but investigators say, "There was no indication she put up a struggle". Still, no evidence has been made public to support that theory.

It's a familiar pattern of suggestion. When American Amanda Knox was accused of killing her roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy back in 2017, investigators accused Knox of being involved in a twisted sex game.

They suggested Knox taunted Kercher with a knife while Knox's boyfriend and another man sexual assaulted her.

Keep in mind, the same Italian investigator who headed up the Knox case is also investigating the Ashley Olsen case.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, CNN contributor Barbie Latza Nadeau is an American journalist whose been based in Italy for 20 years. She's the Rome bureau chief of the Daily Beast. She's also written a book about the Amanda Knox case called, "Angel Face". Barbie, joins me from Rome.

Barbie, the soon as the authorities they've arrested the suspect in the case. Is there any information on who the suspect is? BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, ROME BUREAU CHIEF, DAILY BEAST: Well, it's really, really sketchy information right now. We understand from a, you know, every Italian media outlet right now that they've arrested an African.

We've got several Italian media outlets saying that he's from Synagogue but there's -- no way to confirm that until he is actually delivered to the police station in Florence. And as we see right now, he still in route, he's being interrogated somewhere else, he's going to be, in some way processed but he is not been brought to the central police station yet in Florence as we know.

COOPER: And earlier this week, you and I talked the Italian press was just starting to paint Olsen as kind of party girl.

[20:55:01] Now that the autopsy report is out, has that changed at all? Are they backing off?

NADEAU: Well, no, in fact, it's actually getting that worse because the autopsy details one by one whether she had sex before she died, whether she had any drugs or alcohol in her system. All those details that come out paint, you know, paint a picture in the eyes of the press but actually they're just pieces of a puzzle that we can't and possibly know what should look like because she's dead. We can't ask her. No one can really know.

I mean, it's very different from the case of Amanda Knox who was accused of a murder in which she had an opportunity to defend herself. Instead Ashley Olsen, her persona is being depicted as a party girl and by the details of this autopsy which aren't really clear if you look at that in pieces.

COOPER: And the investigator who's handling the case is the same one who handled the Knox case.

NADEAU: That's exactly right. This is the investigator who -- when he arrested Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher, he said case close, which we know wasn't the case because that particular incident lasted over seven years before they finally exonerated Amanda Knox definitively.

COOPER: Certainly, let's hope he's learned some lessons there. Barbie Latza Nadeau, appreciate it. Thank you Barbie.

NADEAU: Thank you.

COOPER: Well coming up, another live hour of "360" breaking news reports that Ted Cruz got more than $1 million from Goldman Sachs for his Senate campaign but did not disclose it. We'll have the latest on that.


[21:00:08] COOPER: Good evening. 9:00 P.M. here in New York. Million dollar question time for Ted Cruz.