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CNN Obtains New Bodycam Video of Ronald Greene's Deadly Encounter with Louisiana State Troopers; Rep. Matt Gaetz Ex-Girlfriend to Cooperate with Federal Authorities in Sexual Trafficking Investigation; CNN: Greenberg Told Investigators That Gaetz And At Least Two Other Men Had Sexual Contact with A 17-Year-Old Girl; Doing A Disservice to Their Service. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 21, 2021 - 20:00   ET



MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So far, there's been no hits, but that information is going to be kept so that in the future, if someone is taken into custody and there is a match, leaves family hopes that investigation will go a long way to exonerating Ledell Lee.

As for Debra Reese's family, both families have suffered a painful loss, and that is never going to change -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST; No, but it is such an important and incredible part, Martin. Thank you so much, Martin Savidge.

Thanks to all of you for joining us. Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. A busy night including breaking news the number of people apparently willing to give criminal evidence against Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has now grown from just his former wing man to now include the Congressman's ex- girlfriend. That's ahead.

We begin though with major new developments in the death of Ronald Greene, a black man who was punched, repeatedly Tasered, kicked, dragged by his feet while handcuffed by Louisiana State Troopers two years ago. CNN has now obtained 30 minutes of body cam video from the incident. That's in addition to the shorter clip we had last night.

Here's a portion of that video that we had yesterday, and we do want to just point out, it is terribly difficult to watch, especially in light of all the cruelty that transpires on video throughout the fatal encounter.


COOPER: Well, he had reason to be scared. In a moment, we'll talk with Ronald Greene's mom as well as our law enforcement analyst and Louisiana's Mitch Landrieu. But first, the new video and Randi Kaye's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new video obtained by

CNN is 30 minutes long and offers a different view from a Louisiana State Troopers' body camera than the video obtained earlier by the AP. It shows Ronald Greene following a high-speed chase near Monroe, Louisiana on the ground, face down and struggling to turn over.

TROOPER: Don't you turn over.


TROOPER: Don't you turn over. Lay on your belly.

TROOPER: Lay on your belly.

GREENE: Yes, sir. Okay, okay, sir.

TROOPER: You're going to lay on your [bleep] belly.

TROOPER: Like I told you to. You understand?

GREENE: Yes, sir.

KAYE (voice-over): Greene apologizes and politely calls the officer "sir," even as they continue to berate him. The video shows Greene's leg shackled and his hands cuffed behind his back. When he cries out in pain, even calling on the Lord Jesus, the officers continue to restrain him.

TROOPER: Yes, yes, that [bleep] hurts, doesn't it?

GREENE: Oh, Lord Jesus. Oh Lord.

KAYE (voice-over): Louisiana State Police kept this video under wraps for two years. Greene's arrest and subsequent death occurred back in May 2019. This is what the family says Louisiana State Police initially told them happened.

DINELLE HARDIN, RONALD GREENE'S SISTER: That he was in a car accident and that he hit his head on the stairwell and that's how he died.

KAYE (voice-over): The family says police initially made no mention to them of the arrest or use of force now revealed on the body camera videos.

Another police report said Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with Troopers and that he died on the way to the hospital. His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

D. HARDIN: This has been a cover up from day one. They were out to kill him. He had no chance of living.

KAYE (voice-over): In the video, it is not clear if Greene is offered medical attention as he lay on the ground, moaning and gurgling. At

TROOPER: I was going to sit him up, but I didn't want him spitting blood all over us. KAYE (voice-over): At one point on the new video, a medical technician

arrives, and he is clearly concerned.

PARAMEDIC: He's not getting enough air.

KAYE (voice-over): And when it was over in previously released video obtained by the AP, one Trooper can be heard on his body camera audio boasting about beating Greene.

TROOPER: I beat the ever living [bleep] out of him, choked him and everything else trying to get him under control.

He was spitting blood everywhere. And then all of a sudden, he just went limp.

Yes, I thought he was dead.

KAYE (voice-over): CNN has also obtained the autopsy report. It lists Greene's cause of death as cocaine induced agitated delirium, complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury and restraint.

According to the autopsy, injuries included a fracture of the sternum or breastbone and a torn aorta, the body body's main artery. The autopsy notes that Greene had alcohol and a significant level of cocaine in his system.


KAYE (voice-over): These postmortem photos of Greene released on the NAACP Baton Rouge Facebook page show the extent of his injuries, and the autopsy notes, lacerations of the head inconsistent with motor vehicle collision injury. Instead, finding these injuries are most consistent with multiple impact sites from a blunt object.


COOPER: I mean, Randi, multiple impact sites from a blunt object not compatible with injuries from a car crash. I know the Louisiana State Police had a news conference tonight and they actually made a lot of news, can you just run through some what they said?

KAYE: Sure. That was the Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police speaking late this evening, and really was trying to be transparent about what went on that night and the changes that they're trying to make on that for us.

He said that they do plan to release all of the video from the body cameras from that evening. They're also trying to get rid of bad apples as he called them. They're going to put some new training and policies in place.

The new Troop Commander who he is very excited about, he said that this guy is going to make a lot of changes. He also has mandated that all use of force be reported. They are now banning chokeholds on the force as well and they are going to be increasing diversity training, Anderson. So certainly, he is trying to make some of these changes in light of what has happened with Ronald Greene.

COOPER: But just to be clear, I mean, they've held on to this for two years. They've known about this for two years. It's only that somebody leaked this video out that we even know about this, and so now, they're making changes solely based on the fact that someone leaked this.

KAYE: Right. And as the family says, they've been asking and asking for information and asking for the videotape. They say that they have not been cooperating with them. The media has been asking for it.

So now, we finally have it. But yes, as you said, it wasn't until it was leaked that now we will be getting all of the video.

COOPER: Randi Kaye, I appreciate the report. Thank you.

Joining us now is Ronald Greene's mother, Mona Hardin, also Greene family attorney, Ron Haley.

Miss Hardin, I am so sorry for your loss. And I'm so sorry to be talking to you under these circumstances. As more video surfaces showing the night your son was killed, have you been able to watch these videos? What --


COOPER: I can't imagine.

M. HARDIN: I'm still reliving what I saw last year, the little bit they gave me, but I clearly saw last year that they were planning to kill Ronnie, waited for the car to be stopped. That was their -- that was their goal and they succeeded. They made sure he didn't live to tell anything.

Everything we have shows that. What they say their narrative was a narrative that they used on a lot of the killings that go on. And all I can say is, what we have, what we see, the videos that are shown and they took pleasure in torturing my son. They took pleasure in hurting him, beating and killing him and let him stay on the ground, pulling him in shackles.

What kind of a human? These are these are State Troopers. This is the behavior that the State of Louisiana, they endorse because these Troopers for two years have not been dealt with.

COOPER: What were you told or what were other family members told had happened to your son?

M. HARDIN: That he was there was a high-speed chase. He hit a tree and he died from the head injuries from that car going into the tree, and of course, we saw -- we were there nine days and, in our time, there, we were able to see the car that Ronnie drove and there was no damage to it.

We were on the road where they say that he hit a tree. We have footage on that to where there's no damage. There's no damage there. There was no tore down tree bark, chain link fence was still up. It was -- nothing was damaged as they described.

COOPER: I think we have a picture of the vehicle. They say that that's the car that they say hit the tree and that's the impact on that is what they say killed your son.

M. HARDIN: Yes, there's no impact. The engine, the hood, everything was not dented. There was nothing -- no damage to that. There was that little side scraping where the officers did what they did to block cars in, because on that video you show Ronnie where he is behind the wheel.

He's tortured before he's even allowed to get out.


M. HARDIN: They were toying with him, threatening him to come out while they're torturing him.

COOPER: I've seen videos of people being kidnapped and tortured. Your son, they were torturing him. I mean, you can hear the officer, the enjoyment in his voice in speaking to your son saying, "That hurts, doesn't it?"

M. HARDIN: It's unbelievable. This is two years. This is two years.

It's been a battle from the moment we heard of it, that whole -- all of last year or the year before it. It's absolutely degrading, it is shameful for the State of Louisiana and all those who run that state.

We were told from the very beginning, you're going to have a long -- this is going to be a long battle for you because the State Troopers run the State of Louisiana, not the government. It's the State Troopers.

COOPER: Miss Hardin, the Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police said a short time ago that all video evidence surrounding your son's death will be released tonight. I mean, again, this has been two years that they have had this video.

The idea that, you know -- he used the term bad apples, that these were just some bad apples, and I understand that argument which is made very often. But there's an awful lot of people on that force who knew about these bad apples, and who knew about this video for the last two years.

M. HARDIN: Two years. A cover up from the very beginning, from the top down. It's organized crime within the State of Louisiana, especially --

COOPER: I mean, if this video had not been leaked initially to the Associated Press, we've now received parts of it, 30 minutes or so of it. I mean, if it had not been leaked, there's no telling if any of this would ever have come to light.

M. HARDIN: Well, we were able to have statements and we were able to have house cameras that shed more light on this, not to mention just the volleying back and forth from the fact that no one called us. We called them.

The only initial phone call was to tell us that because of a high- speed chase, Ronnie got killed after his car ran into the tree. That was it.

COOPER: Mr. Haley, just from a legal standpoint, what happens now? Because I mean, it just seems like there's an awful lot of people who have an awful lot of questions that they should be made to answer.

RON HALEY, GREENE FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, what's going to happen and what should happen. What should happen is everyone that put their hands on Ronnie Greene, should be arrested and two minutes after they are arrested, anyone that participated in the cover up should follow them right into the jail cell.

COOPER: And what do you think is going to happen?

HALEY: Listen, we are here for change. You know, George Floyd showed us that he was the exception that the rule is what happens in cases like Ronnie. Well, we're here to make Ronnie's case, the exception in other cases in Louisiana and around this country that involve police cover ups of excessive force, murder and torture that we call them out and that we demand accountability.

Transparency isn't enough. We need to hold folks accountable to make sure things like this do not happen. This is beyond just a Civil Rights violation. This is a Human Rights violation.

What happened to Ronnie Greene was inhumane and the pleasure that these officers took in inflicting unnecessary pain is ridiculous. It is evil, immoral and is illegal.

COOPER: Mr. Haley, have you -- I mean, I often think you know there was a civil rights worker whose last name was Cheney. He was from Meridian, Mississippi, he was killed and buried in a shallow grave in Philadelphia, Mississippi during the civil rights struggle. And I often wonder, you know, he was pulled over by the side of the road at night along with two others. And I wonder often what transpired in those minutes, what people said to him as they were killing him and watching this video, that came to my mind.

And I'm not comparing the two people, but to actually see this, have you ever seen a video like this?

HALEY: What struck me, Anderson, was the inhumanity of it. The fact that he was -- it's not just the physical punishment that is jarring. It's the fact that we had a man begging for his life in the most polite way possible, and just is left there to die.

COOPER: Well, they are joking about wiping blood off their hands. I mean they are literally talking about wiping blood off their hands while he is on the ground, crying for the Lord.


HALEY: It's ridiculous. But guess what, Anderson, the blood is on their hands, and they're not going to be able to wipe this off. We're going to demand justice and justice just isn't a check in this case, Anderson. Folks need to go to jail behind this and not just those who put their hands on him. Who participated in the cover up?

And a bigger, another issue that just vexes me is that the Louisiana State Police is the law enforcement agency that investigates 99 percent of the use of force cases throughout our state. And so when I have families such as Trayford Pellerin's family, Josef Richardson's family, other families in Louisiana who want to know why they can't get answers about their cases, well, the reason why is this: that the folks that are in charge of investigating this, this is what they do within themselves. So what do you think they're doing in cases related to other agencies?

COOPER: Miss Hardin, do you believe that there will be justice for your son?

M. HARDIN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. My strength is my son. My strength are my children. And Ronnie will forever be with us in spite of what they did to him and the horrific way he died. He was he was -- he was such a happy guy. He survived so much.

And I just -- I just hate that. The way he loved people, he was killed at the hands of people who hated the hell out of him and killed him because of that, just for the sheer pleasure of it, because they get away with it.

They weren't even worried about repercussions. They weren't even worried about it because God knows what they got away with before Ronnie. And the fact that these guys was on payroll and still on there, you know, since Ronnie, it says a lot. It says a lot about the damn State of Louisiana.

COOPER: One of the things he said to the police, I couldn't tell if he was still in the vehicle when he said this or not, but you could hear the terror in his voice. But he said, "You're my brother" or "We're brothers."

M. HARDIN: "I'm your brother."

COOPER: And I -- yes, and clearly, he was saying it to people who did not view him as a brother, certainly if a human being at all.

M. HARDIN: But you know --

HALEY: They didn't view him as a human being.

M. HARDIN: It's gut wrenching. I'm sorry.

COOPER: No, it's okay, Miss Hardin. It's gut wrenching.

M. HARDIN: It is. It is so gut wrenching. I don't know if I'll ever be able to see the complete videos because it's hard to sleep with all I have seen last year, and all I can say is the State of Louisiana and all the damn folks that run it continue to let my family suffer. And I'm -- there's no words for how mad I am. I'm disgusted. And the fact that they still hold seats in there, and they continue to

let this run its course and they want it to just let it die away. Even those that retired, you know, because they didn't want to face what they did. Those who have retired, those who have died. You know, they're still part of it.

It's disgusting and there is no rationalizing the murder. It is quite unfair.

COOPER: Miss Hardin, before I let you go, if you could just -- for folks, who, this is all they know of your son and that this is all they have heard of him. That's the only time they've heard his voice. Can you just tell us a little bit about your son?

M. HARDIN: You know, Ronnie was a survivor. Right? He did so much in life, he wanted to do so much in life. I hate that -- his to-do list, his checklist was left incomplete so much.

And through him, we hope to continue his love of the kids, his love for his daughter, the family, his friends. It was undying. It was -- it was unstoppable.

Even folks that he didn't get along with, he went back to speak to say "Hi." There was no bridges burnt, you know. He always went back and everyone out there who knows Ronnie knows what I'm talking about. He is seen as someone that that -- it's horrific what they did to him. It's just horrific.

We'll never get over this. He was such a good guy.

COOPER: Mona Hardin, I appreciate you talking tonight, and I can't imagine how difficult it is and how difficult the last two years have been.


COOPER: And I just -- I appreciate your strength and thank you for your words. And Ron Haley, appreciate it. Thank you very much for filling us in on the legal side.

M. HARDIN: Thank you so much, Anderson.

COOPER: I want to get some law enforcement perspective on what these Troopers did as opposed to what they are supposed to do.

Joining us is CNN law enforcement analyst, Charles Ramsey, who ran police departments at Philadelphia and Washington D.C.; also, former New Orleans mayor and former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Mitch Landrieu.

Chief Ramsey, you said last night in this program that what happened in Louisiana was clearly an excessive use of force. We've now seen even more video. What do you think?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, there's no justification for what took place. It is an excessive use of force, from the excessive use of the Taser, to punching and kicking the individual, leaving him in a prone position for an extended period of time, dragging him by his ankles. I mean, it's just one thing after the other that this is just totally unjustified.

Now, they allege he was in a high-speed pursuit, but even if he was in a high-speed pursuit, there's no excuse for that kind of behavior and that kind of conduct. I don't know if this Superintendent of the State Police was the person in place when this incident took place, but the leadership of that agency has to be held accountable as well.

This may be the first time we're seeing this tape. It is not the first time they saw the tape. And so, my understanding is there's some minor discipline that was handed out. They couldn't do that unless they saw the tape.

And if you look at that tape, there's no way you can think this is anything other than a very such serious, possibly even criminal case that you're dealing with and they need to be held accountable, as well as the Governor's Office who I assume the State Police works for.

COOPER: Mayor Landrieu, you know, as you know, I love Louisiana and I have a lot of friends who are police officers in Louisiana. You served as lieutenant governor there. You love the state. You know how the State Police is structured. When you see this, what do you think and what can be done?

MITCH LANDRIEU, FORMER NEW ORLEANS MAYOR: Well, a couple of things. First of all, to Miss Hardin, I'm profoundly sorry for the death of your son. I mean, there's nothing as profound and as deep as a mother's pain than the loss of a child.

That videotape is horrific. I completely agree with Commissioner Ramsey. There are a couple of things, Anderson, that I'd like to say. First, what we do know, the limited amount that we do know that we saw is clearly an excessive use of force notwithstanding the fact that there was a high-speed chase.

The State Police are really trained to stop high speed chases as carefully as they can. But once that stops, there was nothing necessary about the excessive use of force.

Let me tell you what we don't know. We don't know what they tried to cover up. And we do know that they lied about what they thought the injuries were when they brought him to the hospital.

Here's what we should know, there should be a full-blown open investigation and Chuck Ramsey knows this. He's the best in the country about this. The more open, the more transparent, the quicker you get information out and then you make sure people are held accountable, it is critically important.

That behavior that those police officers use was besmirchment to every other man and woman in law enforcement, and I really do think that the government needs to take a very strong stand on this and actually, basically go through the hiring practices, the training practices, the use of force practices and impose standards for police officers to interrupt the behavior of other officers as well, because this has been going on for a long time. And I don't think anything short of that is really going to suffice in this particular instance because we're two years into this.

COOPER: Well, that's the thing, Mayor Landrieu, is you just think about all the other incidences like this probably that have occurred, and we will never know about them. Because the initial police reports, I mean, we've seen in the George Floyd case, we've certainly seen it here. The initial police reports are lies.

You know, apparently the coroner didn't even have an incident report from the officers that that wasn't forthcoming. It just seems like, this is just -- it goes on and on.

LANDRIEU: Well, think about this. What if there wasn't a body camera? Do you know how many instances you know take place that we don't even capture? That's why one of the reasons why I think every police officer should be wearing a body camera so that we can know.

Also, you remember the initial police report in the George Floyd case. It didn't come close to describing what happened that day. So I think Chuck and I agree on this. We've talked about it before, there has to be really serious retraining of police officers. They have to -- we have to get to a very important point where we actually hire the right people, supervise them in a correct way and then hold them accountable.

And the use of force policies has to be revisited on every department in the country, whether it's in a big city or whether it's in a rural county in the country.

COOPER: Mitch Landrieu, appreciate it. Charles Ramsey, as well.

Still to come tonight. Someone once close, very close to former Congressman Matt Gaetz is now talking with Federal prosecutors. What she is saying and what a former associate has already told authorities investigating the Florida Republican on allegations of sex trafficking.

And later, we're going to keep Ted Cruz on as the Republican senator, well, he used a slur while fawning over the Russian male physique even retweeting right-wing Russian propaganda to disparage women in the U.S. military. Yes, it's a lot.



COOPER: We have breaking news now in the Federal investigation into Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. People familiar with the matter tell CNN that authorities have now secured the cooperation of a key witness, someone who was once very close to Gaetz who may be able to shed light on activities now under scrutiny.

Also, new information about how a former close associate, Joel Greenberg told authorities as part of a recent plea agreement with the Justice Department. Our CNN Washington correspondent, Pamela Brown joins us now with the latest. So, Pamela, what have you learned?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this could potentially be a damaging development for Congressman Matt Gaetz. CNN has learned that his ex-girlfriend, a former Capitol Hill staffer has agreed to cooperate with Federal investigators.

And here's why that matters: she is viewed by investigators as a critical witness who has been linked to Gaetz as far back as a summer of 2017. And as we know, that is a key time period investigator are scrutinizing. She could help investigators understand the relevance of hundreds of transactions that they have obtained as part of the investigation including those involved alleged payments for sex.

The sources said, speaking to my colleagues, Paula Reid, David Shortell and Gloria Borger, so this is a significant development in the Gaetz investigation, and it shows that this investigation isn't over -- Anderson.

COOPER: Also, we are learning, I understand more about Matt Gaetz's former associate, Joel Greenberg, what he has told investigators.


That's right. In recent days, Anderson the Justice Department formally entered into a plea agreement with Joel Greenberg. Now he's the one- time close friend of Gaetz whose entanglement with young women first put the congressman onto investigators radar.

Now, CNN has learned that Greenberg has told investigators that Congressman Gaetz and at least two other men had sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl. That allegation by Greenberg described to CNN by multiple people familiar with the matter is referenced briefly in this 86-page plea agreement that a federal judge accepted Monday. But prosecutors did not include any names of the court filing. So, the sources told us one of the names is Gaetz.

As you know, Congressman Gaetz has repeatedly denied he ever had sex with a minor or paid for sex. A spokesman for Gaetz says, Congressman Gaetz has never had sex with a minor and has never paid for sex. Mr. Greenberg now pleaded guilty to falsely accusing someone else of sex with a minor. That person was innocent. So is Congressman Gaetz. Anderson.

COOPER: So, do we have any sense of when charges could potentially come down and what kind of timeline the Gaetz investigation is on?

BROWN: Well, sources tell us Anderson that the investigation the timeline has actually been elongated, potentially through the summer that even as of this month, they're speaking to new witnesses. They want to get more information on the transactions and communications of Gaetz and other people that they're looking at in this investigation.

Now, of course, ultimately, it will be the public integrity section investigators their prosecutors there at DOJ to decide that they have sufficient evidence to bring an indictment, but we are told that the timeline has been extended as they speak to new witnesses, Anderson. COOPER: Yes. Pamela Brown, appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Perspective now from Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney and CNN senior legal analyst.

So Elie, how big of deal is it that Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend is now cooperating with investigators?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's a huge deal Anderson. Joel Greenberg's cooperation already was bad news for Matt Gaetz. But this could be even worse. This could be truly disastrous. And here's why. Joel Greenberg is a brutal cooperating witness. I've dealt with dozens of cooperators in my career, some really bad guys. But given the conduct that Joel Greenberg has now admitted and been convicted of, he's a really tough witness to bank a case on I mean --

COOPER: When you say brutal, you mean he's --


COOPER: When you say brutal, you mean like he's so sleazy, that his credibility is such a bad issue --


COOPER: -- for prosecutors?

HONIG: Exactly, exactly, Anderson. His cross examination will be a nightmare for prosecutors because he's their witness now. Now, none of that applies to this ex-girlfriend. She hasn't pled guilty to criminal conduct. She hasn't -- she doesn't have any serious credibility issues that we know of like Joel Greenberg has. And if she testifies consistently with Joel Greenberg, she will reinforce and corroborate his testimony. So this is a major development for the prosecutors.

COOPER: So, right if she corroborates claims from Joel Greenberg, even if Joel Greenberg's credibility is, you know, hard to swallow. What would that mean, though, for how prosecutors proceed? I mean, if she does have corroborating information?

HONIG: Yes, exactly, Anderson. They are going to be -- if they are mutually reinforcing. That's a key thing you argue to a jury. You sit stand up and say to a jury, look, Joe Greenberg's a horrible guy, no question about it. Should you take him at his word? Not necessarily. But if he's backed up by someone like the ex-girlfriend, who's reliable or importantly, by documents, by text, by photographs, and those are all referenced in Joel Greenberg's plea agreement, then you can say to a jury, now you can bank on Joel Greenberg as unseemly as he is.

COOPER: And as Pamela Brown reported Greenberg, told investigators that Gaetz and at least two other men had sexual contact with a 17- year-old. How does that impact the overall investigation?

HONIG: This is really important to understand. Once prosecutors are at the point that they're at now with Joel Greenberg. He has signed up as a cooperator. He has pled guilty. They've signed a cooperation agreement. They are all in on Joel Greenberg. That means as a prosecutor, you now have decided you believe, you credit you believe you can support everything he's told you. It's not a case of what we believe 90 percent of what he said, but we don't credit the other 10 percent.

So, if he has told prosecutors that about Matt Gaetz's conduct with a minor, that means prosecutors believe it and are ready to bank on it.

COOPER: And Gaetz obviously has denied any wrongdoing has not been charged with anything at this point. Do you have a sense of how quickly charges could come down as Pamela was saying that it may -- they may be extending the timeline through the summer?

HONIG: Yes, that makes sense Anderson. As I read the Joel Greenberg cooperation papers, they're so detailed. My prosecutorial instinct told me they're getting close. They have a lot of information. On the other hand, investigations have a way of spiraling and expanding, and you may be now cooperate the ex-girlfriend, she may lead to other leads.

So, one of the nice things about being a federal prosecutor is you do have the luxury of time. They're not up against any statute of limitations here so they can build their case up. I think summer, mid- summer, end of the summer sounds to me like a reasonable and likely timeline.

COOPER: All right, Elie Honig, appreciate it. Thanks.


(voice-over): Senator Ted Cruz taking some income fire from veterans after touting a right-wing propaganda video comparing Russian to American troops and seeming to come out on the Russian side. Retired American three-star general joins us, keeping them honest ahead.


COOPER: One of the many perks of this job is being able to highlight the intelligence, compassion, decency and courage of our elected officials. And then there's tonight and Ted Cruz. When last week caught up with the junior senator from Texas, his constituents were freezing, somewhere dying in dark and heated homes during the state's worst winter disaster in recent memory.

As for the senator, he had just hightailed it to a seaside resort in Cancun lying about why he was leaving, and at the same time blaming his 10 and 12 year old daughters, which is kind of amazing still, I still think about that. Then when the outcry got loud enough to hear over the roar of the ocean, he slid the back home with police protection and then made sure to be photographed handing out small water bottles.

Father's Day, by the way, June 20th, these days, the man whose own colleagues don't even bother trying to say anything nice about him has found a new way of showing contempt for the people he serves and who serve us all in uniform. He retweeted a TikTok contrasting a muscled Russian man doing military training with the U.S. Army video aimed at showing a very American notion that our troops in this case a woman raised by same-sex parents come from all walks of life. And then this is a source of strength to which the senator writes quote, holy crap. Perhaps a woke emasculated military is not the best idea.

Now according to a researcher quote in The Washington Post, the video has actually been circulating for some time on far-right anti-American social media. He tells the post that clip appeared repeatedly in channels promoting fascist and anti-Semitic beliefs. So, that's where maybe Senator Cruz got him. But not content to carry water for this country's enemies is the angry replies came in Senator Cruz then decided to go for the old anti-gay slur. Quoting from a subsequent tweet, we have the greatest military on earth but Dem politicians and woke media are trying to turn them into pansies. Or I'm quite sure he's familiar with from his youth.

To which one military mom tweeted a photo replying, my son the pansy is pictured here for this right. Give me a break.

Now, keep them honest that is one photo you'll never see Ted Cruz in because whenever the opportunity presented itself to join the service, he thought about it then thought the better of it.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I did, considered it a number of times and in fact in college thought about doing ROTC. I will say it's something I've always regretted. I wished I had spent time in the circle since it's something I respect immensely.



COOPER: I bet he does wish he served because it would be better for him politically now but spent a lot of time in college imagining himself in a uniform. Well, maybe that but probably not to actually serve. He was clearly too busy in college involved with other manly unpansy like pursuits. In an article in The Daily Beast former classmates recall him wandering the dorm halls in a Paisley bathrobe. And while he didn't join ROTC, ROTC, he did join Princeton University's American Whig Cliosophic Society's debate panel, and he was a member of the Colonial Eating Club. And then when he graduated, he went to Harvard Law School.

Joining us now CNN military analyst, retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. General Hertling, I mean, I always for somebody who, you know, when somebody doesn't serve, I don't know that it's a great idea to be attacking people who did serve, even if you're don't think they should be in the military or don't think that their parents should have had them. He's promoting the Russian military at the expense of the American military. It's -- what do you make of this?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Anderson, you know, my initial reaction when I don't follow Senator Cruz on Twitter, but a couple of soldiers who I served with do and they sent me the tweet, my initial thoughts, I had a visceral reaction. This is Senator Cruz, as you said, using a propaganda video, produced on a dark website using Russian soldiers from a draft army as a model of what real soldiers look like. It's Senator Cruz, insulting what has been a very successful army marketing campaign to recruit new soldiers. When he doesn't understand how those young soldiers think or how those young civilians think who are thinking about coming into the military. It's Senator Cruz, as you just said, who hasn't served in uniform? disparaging the military?

You said right, right, Anderson. You know, when you -- when I hear someone says, oh, you know, I really would have liked to join the army. But, you know, I just didn't get around to it, or, gee, I wish I could have served there with you. You know, that's a tell that they really didn't even think about it when they were younger, because they had better things to do.

But finally, it's Senator Cruz insulting an active-duty Army soldier, Corporal Melana Lord (ph), who has volunteered to defend our country by all rights by everyone who says something about her. So, she's a super soldier, and she serves in a patriot missile battery. And as one of the soldiers who wrote me said, you know, they thought that corporal could likely kick Senator Cruz's ass. They shouldn't repeat that, because that's pretty unprofessional. But it also, as you said, cements what many of Senator Cruz colleagues say about him, and that he has had a very successful personality bypass operation.

COOPER: Yes. I mean he's basically saying that a woman who graduated at the top of her class, who happens to have two moms, somehow isn't tough enough to be in the United States Army. And by the way, is sort of praising Russia's army, which has an atrocious human rights record, not only for how it treats in places it serves, but for the way it treats its own troops. I mean, it is legendarily really awful and torturous for their own soldiers.

HERTLING: Yes, they have. It's interesting, because I spent some time with Russian military units when I was commanding in Europe. And what I found was they had they usually have a one-year commitment. It is a draft army. All of them truthfully -- well I can't say all, but the soldiers I talked to absolutely hated being in the military. They only were there, they only stayed past a year if they didn't have any other way to make money. And it is a military whose discipline is truthfully horrible. That's the assessment that I think most military commanders will make that is ever that -- I've ever dealt with the Russian military.

So yes, it's comparing them to the Russian military. Senator Cruz doing that was not a good idea. Not real cool.

COOPER: Cruz's office in a statement to CNN said, quote, Senator Cruz passionately supports the brave men and women of the United States military and has repeatedly expressed concerns that Democrat politicians, left-wing bureaucrats and the media are politicizing our armed forces to promote a fringe woke agenda based on identity politics, our military should be focused on winning wars, and we endanger our national security and our service members when they focus on anything else.

I mean, certainly the argument for gays in the military, as you know, I remember back in the '90s, those arguments going on and those arguments were being made that this is distracting from the mission, you know, and it's weakening American forces. Has any of that proven true?


HERTLING: No, it has not. And this is the interesting piece because my visceral reaction was focused on the tactical reaction that I had. But when you look at what is the strategy of Senator Cruz, and others of his ilk, it's attacking the diversity and values in the military, which they really don't understand all that well. And which has made us one of the better militaries in the world. And interestingly enough, because of the divisiveness that people like Senator Cruz have seated throughout the country, we are seeing more and more recruits coming in with a radical approach some extremist views, racism and sexism context as they arrive in the military. And one of the things that we attempt to do is build force cohesion and unit cohesion very quickly, because that's what the military needs to do.

So, what Senator Cruz is really doing is he's attacking Secretary Austin and those who were trying to understand how do we better build a force that is cohesive and ready to fight and oh, by the way, also prepared to live by the military values.

You know, Anderson, I have stories from soldiers throughout the years whose service to the nation and what -- why they joined would bring tears to your eyes, their loyalty, their dedication, their selfless service, their respect for others, their courage, all of the things we have seen go by the wayside recently in our society. We are trying to continue to build in the military, but we're doing it in a force that comes from our own society.

So, it takes a little bit more effort to make sure those kinds of views come together in a cohesive unit.

COOPER: Yes. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, appreciate your time. Thank you.

Just ahead --

HERTLING: Thank you Anderson.

COOPER (voice-over): -- attacks on Jews like this attack in New York now being reported in this country, even as a delicate ceasefire between Israel and Gaza appears to be holding. The latest and he's assault in a moment.


COOPER: Short time ago President Biden said he's praying the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will hold, it's by clashes today between Palestinians and Israeli police around the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem after Friday prayers, or at least 20 were injured. The truce does appear to be doing the just that. The violence as you know lasted 11 days. According to the Hamas run Ministry of Health 248 Palestinians were killed by airstrikes including 66 children. Israeli officials say at least 12 people died from (INAUDIBLE) and fire including two children.


The conflict also appears to have led to anti-Semitic attacks here in the United States, including one in New York Times Square and your protests over the Middle East fight. A 29-year-old Jewish man was punched, kicked and pepper sprayed on Thursday. At least five or six people are alleged to be all the anti- Semitic comments and participated in that attack. New York Police Department says one arrest has been made.

Miguel Marquez has the latest and how the violence overseas appears to have fueled attacks here at home.




MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pro Palestinian demonstrations turned violent. In New York City, a 29- year-old man wearing a yamaka, beaten by a group of five to six individuals Thursday some chanting F Jews, F Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean they were just wailing on my head, beating on me my -- I'm like just literally cowering for cover.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): One 23-year-old is now under arrest and facing numerous charges including one related to a hate crime according to a law enforcement source.

In Los Angeles police investigating a possible hate crime after a pro- Palestinian demonstration turned violent with some protesters shouting death to Jews and Israel kills children. One witness telling CNN, pro- Palestinian protesters started throwing bottles and one asking diners seated outside who was Jewish.

A fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas may bring the temperature down here but protests and allegations of anti-Semitism on a sharp rise according to the Anti-Defamation League. In Vegas, Miami, Tucson and Long Island protests and report of hate crimes as tension and violence half a world away continues to incite anger here.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO & NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ADL: We're literally tracking more than a 50 percent increase in anti-Semitic acts over the past week.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The Council on American Islamic Relations says there have been incidents of violence against Muslims as well and condemns anyone on any side of an issue who engages in hate speech, intimidation, or violence. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: The New York Police Department says that in total in New York last night, 26 people were arrested some of them pro-Israel, some of them pro-Palestinian. The hope is if that ceasefire holds in the Middle East, the anger here, the violence here will also come down. Anderson.

COOPER: Miguel Marquez, appreciate it. Thanks.

(voice-over): Coming up, how QAnon is spreading in some churches and how preachers are trying to stop the lies.



COOPER: There's growing evidence tonight that believers in the conspiracy movement known as QAnon have also established something of a foothold with at least some members, the Christian evangelical community. It's reported to be all wrapped up in something called a Christian nationalism. At the same time, some pastors are fighting back saying the QAnon theories have no place in what they preach.

Our senior correspondent Donie O'Sullivan has been investigating filed this report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the flag that went into the Senate, when the doors were broken. The Christian flag.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of Jesus, amen.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They thought they were doing the work of God because pastors and leaders have lied to them.

Nothing in Scripture leads us to claim a political system, in the name of Christ through force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like to get off track and off the Bible, but as a pastor, I do have to guard the flock. And so, the one that I wanted to speak to as far as conspiracies is the QAnon conspiracy --

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Is QAnon compatible with Christianity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, because it's a false belief system, almost a religion, but it's not true Christianity, because true Christianity is that Jesus Christ is our ultimate hope. Not Q, not Donald Trump, not any other person.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Months after the January 6 insurrection, QAnon lives on, and it's more popular among evangelicals than people of other religions.

(on-camera): Do you think particularly for people of faith, that there is a specific appeal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biblical worldview is that there's a God who's in control the whole world, and one day, Jesus is going to come back, he's going to judge the wicked, then you look at my understanding of QAnon's belief is that there's a Q that knows everything, and Donald Trump is going to come back and judge the wicked. It's easier for Christians who already have that belief system to make that jump over into believing that worldview.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Pastors Ben Marsh and James Kendall are sounding the alarm. But other pastors are preaching conspiracy theories from the pulpit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When patriots took back key branches of the U.S. government in 2016, a light was turned on to the vast corruption network that had infiltrated into the highest positions of power across every state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a demonic hedge of protection around Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden is a fake president.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Have you had conversations with any of your flock who have bought into QAnon?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've tried to talk with some of them about some of the issues, but it doesn't go very far.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): They don't want to hear it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of times, they're not really open to hearing my side of things or explanations.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): QAnon ties in with what is known as Christian nationalism.

JERUSHAH DUFORD, GRANDAUGHTER OF BILLY GRAHAM: The term of Christian nationalism ended up itself is ironic, because there's nothing Christian about nationalism. But what it is turned into is basically just Christians believing that their nation is, you know, kind of up with Scripture, and which with the Bible. And the tenants of our nation are up there with the tenants of our faith.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Jerushah Duford drew should do first is the granddaughter of famed evangelical preacher Billy Graham, and niece of Trump's supporting pastor Franklin Graham. She, along with 200, other prominent evangelical signed a letter denouncing Christian nationalism and the role it played in the Capitol attack. (on-camera): You know, for some of these folks QAnon on as a religion.

DUFORD: I think what you're finding from a lot of these people who are, you know, hardcore QAnon believers, this is somewhere where they fit in.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Is there not enough sense of community in churches? What do you think is this appeal?

DUFORD: I think that churches were absolutely designed to be about community. And I don't think that that's what a lot of people find, I think churches have become extremely exclusive. I'm not sure Jesus would be welcomed in an American church today.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Are you concerned at all that by speaking out, that you could be alienating some of your congregation? Or do you think it's just the right thing to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there's always a risk. But as a pastor, my role is to protect my people and teach them to place their hope in Jesus, to obey God's word. And so that's something that when I have to do it, I have to do it and I take the consequences that come. But fortunately, I've received a lot of support from my people for speaking out.


COOPER: That was Donie O'Sullivan reporting.

That's it for us. The news continues. Want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you Coop. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Primetime."


You know, there is more to the stories that you face this week than you get from the coverage.