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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Arizona Audit Results Not Expected Until Late July Or August; Key Senate Vote Tomorrow On Voting Reform Bill; Source: Prosecutors Could Decide Whether To Charge Trump Org. CFO As Soon As Next Month; Dems Vote For NYC Mayoral Candidate Tomorrow; More And More Kids Are Being Caught Up In The Spike Of Shooting Nationwide. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 21, 2021 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: That's who Laquitta was, and our sincere condolences to her family, to her friends, to her whole community for this unspeakable loss.

And thanks to all of you for being with us. Anderson starts now.

[20:00:15]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening and welcome to what could be an important week for democracy.

By this time tomorrow, Senate Republicans will likely have blocked even opening debate on a major voting rights bill, forcing a number of key Democrats to make a tough decision. Will they advance the measure or perhaps a more limited version of it with no support from the opposition, or let it die for want to the kind of bipartisanship no longer seems to exist, no matter how hard the American people might wish it did.

Also, by this time tomorrow or sometime this week, a Judge in the State of Georgia could greenlight a reexamination of 2020 ballots from in and around Atlanta, part of an effort by supporters of the former President to cast doubt on the outcome.

And by Thursday, the company that doesn't actually seem to have an office and calls itself Cyber Ninjas, is expected to be done with a significant portion of their so-called ballot audit in Arizona. The concern is that it and other dubious efforts by election doubters could already be stoking fresh violence. And even barring that, be accelerating the push for legislation restricting the vote in the name stopping nonexistent voter fraud.

Today, former President Obama weighed in in what he sees is a dangerous path for the country.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The violence that occurred in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, just a few months ago, should remind us that we can't take our democracy for granted.

Around the world, we've seen once vibrant democracies go into reverse, lacking in power for a small group of powerful autocrats and business interests, and locking out the political process dissidents, protesters, and opposition parties and the voices of ordinary people.

It is happening in other places around the world, and these impulses have crept into the United States. We are not immune from some of these efforts to weaken our democracy.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, speaking today, along with former Attorney General Eric Holder to members of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the former President voiced support of S. 1, the For the People Act now up for a vote in the Senate tomorrow to begin debate. He said he has been trying to stay out of day-to-day politics since leaving office, but this he said, is different.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

OBAMA: Right now, at least, Republicans in the Senate are lining up to try to use the filibuster to stop the For the People Act from even being debated. Think about this, in the aftermath of an insurrection with our democracy on the line, and many of these same Republican senators going along with the notion that somehow there were irregularities and problems with legitimacy in our most recent election, they are suddenly afraid to even talk about these issues and figure out solutions on the floor of the Senate.

They don't even want to talk about voting, and that's not acceptable.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, keeping them honest, though, there is a strong possibility the Democrats will simply accept what Mr. Obama deemed unacceptable, not because most Democrats want voting rights legislation to die in the Senate, most don't, not because most Americans oppose expanding voter access, most don't according to new polling out today from Monmouth, which shows broad support for key provision of the bill extending early voting to every state.

Even on voting by mail, 50 percent want to make it easier compared to 39 percent who say it should be harder. Still, the poll found one in three believe President Biden won by means of fraud. Again, one in three Americans do not think President Biden was duly elected. And 37 percent say that voter fraud is a major problem, which it's not, and that is just a fact.

But that number gives Republican senators the justification to block legislation expanding voter access, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader clearly intends to use the veto power he has.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, that was early last month pledging unified opposition to

the President's infrastructure bill, action on that is still yet to come. But Senator McConnell has already demonstrated he'll enforce unified opposition even to something like establishing a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the origins of the January insurrection. He has called in personal favors to do that.

So, it's not hard to imagine him killing tomorrow's effort on voting legislation by withholding the 10 Republican votes needed to open debate. And even if he does that, even if any chance of a bipartisan alternative dies with it, there are still plenty at the state level that troubles any serious student of how democracies fail.

[20:05:08]

COOPER: We mentioned the potentially metastasizing, so-called ballot audit at the top of the program. In addition, dozens of Republican sponsored bills to restrict voting are making their way through state legislatures, and local voting officials remain under threat, some even needing round the clock security. It's a lot and the White House knows it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's important to remember that this has been a 60-year battle to make voting more accessible, more available to Americans across the country and our effort, the President's efforts to continue that fight doesn't stop tomorrow at all. This will be a fight of his presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: More now on the so-called audit in Arizona and what could happen with it this week. CNN's Kyung Lah is in Phoenix for us tonight. So, what's the latest?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are learning that this part of this exercise here in Arizona now has a new end date. We were told, Anderson, that it would be ending on Saturday.

Now, let's remind everybody what they're looking at. They're trying to make sure that the ballot paper is actually a ballot, and we are now hearing that it's going to be ending on Thursday. So, that shift has happened.

Now what's going to be happening on Thursday? Will there be a great reveal about what they have found in this weeks' long exercise? No. We are told that that will now take a weeks' long process, that any sort of findings or grand report will now take many more weeks not to be released until sometime in July or early August.

This, Anderson, is the latest timing that we're getting as of today.

COOPER: And I mean, you've been following this for weeks. You actually ended up in Florida last week trying to find more information about this company, they call themselves Cyber Ninjas. The company hired to conduct this so-called the audit. Our Gary Tuchman ended up in Montana, of all places, where voting data from this so-called audit is potentially being analyzed in some guy's house.

It's all murky, to say the least. Just to be clear, there is no way to verify whatever it is they do end up announcing whenever they choose to announce it. There's not any way to actually verify this with legitimate authorities.

LAH: No, that's the answer. No. There is no way to verify this. The process has been changing. What they are doing on the floor has been widely criticized. Senate President Karen Fann has said that all of this would be transparent, but we don't even know who is paying for this.

All of that information, we simply don't know.

So, as far as transparency. No, there's no way to verify this. Whether it comes out in a few weeks from now, everything has changed every single day. So yes, in essence, no.

And I want to remind everybody, that the election here in Arizona has already been certified. This will not change anything other than muddying public confidence in our elections.

COOPER: Well, I mean, when the announcement is made, I mean, what is -- if people actually believe the results of this, and they are claiming that there is widespread fraud, what happens? I mean, is there potential unrest or violence or protests?

LAH: That is what is sending a chill down a lot of people's finds here in this county. I can tell you that the security posture around at least one sensitive building here in Maricopa County has shifted, that there is a lot of discussion about what needs to be done in the security front as we approach late July, early August.

And you know, something really important to mention is that there has been a level of verbal violence and disinformation throughout all of this. There has to be now private security for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, for a Secretary of State, an elections official.

There have been death threats against the people who print the ballots, against the people who work in the elections offices, and the Republicans in Maricopa County who have spoken out in defense of the truth and American democracy, there have been death threats against them.

So yes, there has been an undercurrent of verbal violence, and a lot of concern as these weeks and days start to tick on and this report releases. Anderson, it will be one moment in time, one place, a lot of concern about what happens when that report comes out.

COOPER: Yes, Kyung Lah, I appreciate it. Thank you, as always.

Joining us now, someone Kyung just mentioned, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She is a Democrat, which we mentioned, a candidate now for Governor. Secretary Hobbs, what is your understanding of what will happen after these so-called results are announced from this so- called audit?

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, you actually know more than I do. I think -- I just learned that they're going to wrap up this week, and we certainly didn't anticipate a report right away. So, it sounds like it'll be several weeks down the road before that report comes out.

[20:10:02]

HOBBS: But the bottom line is, and I've said this many, many times that the atmosphere they've created in terms of the lack of adherence to consistent procedures, the lack of security, the lack of transparency really has created an atmosphere that's prime for cooking the books, and that's fully what we expect when the report comes out.

And the previous report talked about just the undermining of people's confidence in the systems and we know that that's what's going to happen, which is why we've fought so hard against this from the beginning.

COOPER: I mean, if a company chooses, you know, if a private company, which seems to -- I mean, our Kyung went down to Florida to try to find their offices, and they don't really seem to have offices. They have kind of, like shells of offices where people are paid to, I guess, to answer a phone for many companies. And some guy in Montana now has some of this data in his house, in his remote house or cabin, I don't know what he's doing with that.

What is just -- and again, we don't even know really where he is it. What is to stop, you know this company or these people from just coming forward and saying, oh, well, these bamboo -- these ballots were made out of bamboo, or we found traces of bamboo from them, because they were shipped from China. Who is to say -- I mean, obviously, it's not the case -- but what do you do in that case?

HOBBS: Yes, I mean, that's a great question. Because we think that's exactly -- there is nothing to stop them from saying any of those things. And so, what our -- what we have seen it to be our job to do is to shed light on what's happening in the Coliseum the best we can. We had to go to court to force them to disclose their procedures, allow independent observers in the room and even allow reporters in the room.

And with that limited transparency, at least we've gotten enough information to be able to say, look, what they're doing here is not an audit. They are not following best practices. And there's nothing going on here that lends any credibility to the outcome that's going to come out of it. And so, I mean, that's what we've been able to do.

But I am concerned about what happens when this report comes out, because we know, number one, the election that we certified, those certified results are an accurate reflection of the will of the voters in Arizona. And number two, there's nothing that can be done now to overturn the election, even if this audit was valid.

And so -- but there are many people, I think you said, one out of three Americans that believe that Joe Biden was not duly elected, what are they going to do when this report comes out? And that's the scary thing.

COOPER: I'm not going to ask you about your security situation because I don't want to cause any problems for you on that front. But the idea that you have received threats is just insane to me. And I don't know what kind of message that -- well, I do know what kind of message that sends to election officials across the country -- Republicans, Democrats, people just doing their jobs, counting votes, overseeing the counting of votes. You know, this is not a joke.

And it is really upsetting about what this means for the future.

HOBBS: It is upsetting. And, you know, I think that we are seeing a trend of people leaving this line of work, not just elected officials, but people that are hired and appointed to do these jobs, and they don't want to deal with this level of threat, and you know -- and just the hostility that's happening. And so we're unfortunately losing really qualified election officials in the process.

And, you know, I'm hopeful that the Cyber Ninjas aren't the people there that are going to try to take their places.

COOPER: Just finally, have you had any conversations with the Governor, Republican Doug Ducey about what he is planning to do if something goes off the rails and there are public safety concerns.

HOBBS: We have not.

COOPER: Lawmakers from at least a dozen states, which again, I shouldn't be surprised by this, but I just find it embarrassing and insulting, frankly, that lawmakers from across the country from at least a dozen states have toured this so-called audit in Arizona, you know, having their pictures taken while they're there very proudly because it sends a message back to the base at home that they're on top of this.

They're on the former President's side, when in fact, they're not -- they're touring with some private company who are doing a sham audit, as if it's real, and these are elected officials who are spending their time doing this.

I don't know who is paying to fly them there and to fly them back, but it doesn't seem a great use of resources. Are you concerned that more of these audits -- bogus audit -- are going to start happening around the country?

[20:15:04]

HOBBS: Yes, I mean, it's been clear that that these folks who want to undermine election integrity across the country were looking for where they could get a foothold to do something like this, Arizona happened to be the place that that happened, but that they're writing the playbook here to take this across the country, or at least to some other states, particularly battleground states. And so, we have to be writing the playbook here of how to stop it, and

it seems like folks are paying attention. And so far, they haven't been able to get another Arizona style -- that's embarrassing to say -- but Arizona style audit off the ground anywhere else.

And so, you know, in the future, we have to find a way to keep this from happening. It is really horrible that -- I mean, people -- voters are concerned that their private information is in the hands of this private company, and we don't know what they're doing with it. That's really concerning and we have to find ways to make sure that we're -- that this is not legally able to happen in the future.

COOPER: Yes, it's a private company that has no actual company it seems or a place where they have, you know, walls with people who work there and no experience from what we understand actually conducting these audits of elections on this kind of scale.

Katie Hobbs, appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

Coming up next, the Manchin factor tomorrow and beyond with the big piece of Joe Biden's presidency at stake.

And later, breaking news on how soon we could learn if the former President's top finance guy will be facing criminal charges.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:54]

COOPER: Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary spoke of democratic unity in the face of what's expected to be a defeat on tomorrow's motion to begin debate on voting rights legislation.

The truth is, even that's a bit optimistic. Senator Manchin, you'll recall hasn't even committed to voting yes. Either way, though, the focus now appears to be on what to do next. CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House with more on that.

So, what is the latest from the White House about the fate of this bill?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, they know what everyone in Washington knows, which is that it is headed for a roadblock tomorrow, unless there is some kind of a miracle where 10 Republicans shockingly get on board, the White House does not see that happening.

And so of course, the only other option would be to blow up the filibuster and move forward that way without having to get those 10 Republicans on board to pass this. And we know that we've heard from people like Senator Manchin and others who say they are just simply not interested in doing that.

So, the White House is trying to look for some kind of a silver lining. And earlier today, Jen Psaki was saying they feel better about where they are today when it comes to unity in the Democratic Party than they were a week ago. That seems to hint that they think that Joe Manchin is actually going to get on board and vote for this.

And so Anderson, what that essentially boils down to is, they are hoping to get a symbolic victory, but they know they're not going to get a legislative one.

COOPER: Does the White House have a backup plan on voting rights?

COLLINS: It doesn't seem that they do. And one interesting thing that came from the White House briefing today is Jen Psaki said they're going to wait and see what happens tomorrow, but they believe that if it does fail, which it's all but guaranteed to do, then maybe that would change the conversation on Capitol Hill surrounding the filibuster.

But that is not what we've gotten any indication from Senator Manchin and others who have voiced opposition to getting rid of the filibuster have said. But one interesting thing is that Senator Manchin did come over to the White House to meet with President Biden today.

And in the White House readout of that meeting in his other meeting with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the White House said that "President Biden conveyed he sees voting rights is one of the most urgent issues facing our nation in his administration." And Anderson, they said that he made clear to mention how important he thinks it is that the Senate finds a path forward on this issue.

So, essentially saying, Capitol Hill, take this, do your job, but of course, that does not give us any indication that that's actually going to happen. It's really just wishful thinking unless something changes and Senator Manchin and others change their mind on the filibuster.

COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Thanks.

I want to get perspective now from CNN contributor and "New Yorker" staff writer Evan Osnos, whose profile of Senator Manchin runs in next week's edition. So, Evan, I mean, your profile of Manchin, it's got a lot of really interesting details, not the least of which is that the senator lives on the Potomac River and a houseboat named after a John Denver lyric.

But you also really get into the leverage he has over this Congress. What do you make of the fact that he is still not committing to supporting this voting rights bill?

EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this is very much true to form. I mean, here we are down to the wire at the last possible moment. You know, over the course of the last few weeks, you've seen him first come out and say emphatically, there's no way he can support this bill because it doesn't have Republican support. He then proposed a compromise which might, in some ways, appeal to some progressives. But Mitch McConnell and Republicans came out immediately and said, absolutely, no way. And here we are down to this last minute.

Look, he is in an extraordinary position. When we look back over the last few years, there really hasn't been anybody in Congress quite like this, meaning that he holds the position as being the most conservative member of the Democratic Caucus, which gives him leverage.

He can, as Kaitlan just described, hold out, as long as he wants, and force his colleagues to figure out how to pick the lock. What can they say? What can they do that might try to bring him around?

COOPER: I mean, obviously, he is also from a state which voted overwhelmingly for President Trump. So, I mean, you know, the pressure he is under politically at home is clear.

OSNOS: Yes, it's a really interesting one. When you go back and you try to figure out what is really driving him. I went to Farmington, West Virginia, a town he is from, you know, population 325. It is really a big part of how he sees himself and how he sees the country.

He often says, he said to me, "The reason I don't change is because of Farmington." So, I said to people in Farmington, what does that mean to you? And now what people would tell me often is that if you live in a tiny town like that, you can only disagree with people so far because you're going to see them on Sunday. You're going to see them at the store, whatever it is -- and so you have to find solutions.

Now, the reality is, that's not the nature of the country today. We are living in a moment of intense division, and Joe Manchin is, you know, that's the part of him that sort of speaks from his sentimental side.

[20:25:17]

OSNOS: The blunt political reality is, he barely won re-election last time. He won by three percent. And so if he is trying to, you know, keep himself politically possible in West Virginia, he needs to speak as much to the Republicans, two-thirds of whom in his hometown voted for Trump, than as he does to Democrats.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, in addition to this writing about Manchin in "The New Yorker," you've also written a great biography of President Biden. Is it clear to you what kind of relationship they actually have? There was this pleasant kind of bland read out of the White House meeting earlier today.

OSNOS: Yes, there's actually a lot going on behind the scenes, interestingly. You know, back in March, Ron Klain, the Chief of Staff of the White House went to dinner with Joe Manchin, one thing I discovered during the reporting -- went to visit him on that houseboat. They had dinner and during the dinner, President Biden called and said, you know, when are you inviting me out there? And Joe Manchin said, we've got to figure out how to get you in by water.

So, there's this real effort to kind of sweet talk and figure out how to do it.

Now one key thing is, as Kaitlan mentioned, they met today at the White House and there is this one thing the President has up his sleeve, which is that if the President makes a personal appeal to Joe Manchin that has a -- it does have some specific leverage.

Manchin said to me once that that was the thing that unlocked it on the stimulus plan, got him to support it. We don't know exactly what was said in that room today, but it may turn out to be significant.

COOPER: Do you have a sense of how much Manchin relishes his place in Congress right now?

OSNOS: He says he hates it, but the reality is, look, he has never been more important when it comes to politics. He is all over everything every day. And look, he spent his first decade in national politics, kind of as a backbench guide, doesn't -- didn't have much significance.

Now here he is at the center of every conversation. Look at us, we're talking about him right now.

What I think he wishes and it's not entirely clear that it is remotely possible is that he could sort of will common ground into being by simply insisting on it. But I think what many of his colleagues say, what they said to me is, none of us can afford to offend Joe Manchin, but we're frustrated, and we're trying to figure out a way to try to get him to a place where he can try to advance this agenda instead of impeding it.

COOPER: I mean, I remember -- I remember covering the Sago Mine, that horrible night at the Sago Mine disaster, and he being there. He was the governor at the time. If anybody knows this, you know, his own state, it is somebody who has been Governor of a state.

OSNOS: Totally. And look, he is somebody who feels incredibly attached to West Virginia. It's where he's from. He was the Governor of the state. He loved being Governor. He actually loved it much more than being a Senator.

He does have this kind of encyclopedic understanding of the place. He remembers people's names. He knows people's parents and grandparents.

And so he has a fingertip feel for what's possible in West Virginia politics. And what you hear people saying to him today is, in fact, there may be more room for progressive change in West Virginia politics than we assume. Yes, it went for Donald Trump overwhelmingly, but there are a lot of young people in West Virginia who voted for instance, for Bernie Sanders, who won the Democratic primary in 2016 in all 55 counties.

So, there is an argument among some people, particularly young Democrats in West Virginia, that if you really know this state as well as you say you do, then try to figure out a way to push it towards change.

COOPER: Evan Osnos, appreciate your time. And the articles in "The New Yorker" coming up, it's great.

Breaking news, up next, how soon we could know if prosecutors plan to charge Allen Weisselberg, the former President's longtime financial advisor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:32:21]

COOPER: There's breaking news tonight, an impossible (ph) charges against Allen Weisselberg, a longtime financial adviser to the former president. CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now with details. So what have you learned about the stage the Weisselberg investigation is at?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Anderson, a source familiar with the investigation says that they're focused on Allen Weisselberg is now in the advanced stages that they're looking into Allen Weisselberg and whether he paid taxes on certain corporate benefits he received, such as a company apartment, a corporate car, and even tuition that may have been paid by the Trump Organization or Donald Trump for his grandchildren's school.

Now, part of this stemmed from information provided by his former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg, her lawyer tells us that she went with prosecutors again on Friday. She's been meeting with them multiple times over the past several months.

Now, source familiar with the investigation says that the investigation, Weisselberg, you know, is advanced and that a decision about whether to charge him could come as soon as next month.

COOPER: The bigger question is, obviously, what if anything this could mean possibly mean for the former president, how much of this is likely to hinge on whether Weisselberg, if he's indicted, cooperates with prosecutors, if in fact, he has anything to cooperate about?

SCANNELL: Yes, I mean, this is the big question still, whether prosecutors have enough evidence in this investigation to bring a case against the company or the former president. And that's why there's so much attention on Allen Weisselberg. Prosecutors obviously have the tax returns.

They have a mountain of records and paper evidence. But someone like Allen Weisselberg who's been there for 40 years could provide information about the intention behind certain decisions. Intent is critical in a criminal investigation.

But he's not the only one. I mean, prosecutors have also brought before the grand jury, the Trump comptroller, Jeff McConney, he reports to Allen Weisselberg. He was questioned according to sources about compensation and benefits is very issue that they are looking at.

And we're learning tonight that another executive is under scrutiny, Matthew Calamari. He began his career with Donald Trump as his security guard. He's now the chief operating officer. Prosecutors are looking at benefits that he and his son received including corporate apartments and cars.

Now a source familiar with the investigation says that that piece of it is not as advanced as the one into Allen Weisselberg, but either way, the clock is ticking here because Cy Vance, the district attorney, has said that he wants to make a decision in this case or shouldn't say, he has said this. His term is up in six months and people familiar with the investigation say that he would like to make a decision before he's out of office. So, six months to go, Anderson.

COOPER: Kara Scannell, it's fascinating. Thank you.

Some perspective now from CNN Legal Analyst, Elliot Williams, a former federal prosecutor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General. So, you hear Kara's reporting, Elliot, I mean, how concerned should Allen Weisselberg be that his ex daughter-in-law apparently met with prosecutors again.

[20:35:01]

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Look, everyone should be concerned when people close to them are speaking to prosecutors. If you're Allen Weisselberg, certainly, you ought to be able to blow your head (ph) up and thinking about what might come. Now look, the question and you asked this a little bit earlier, Anderson, what does this mean for Donald Trump?

And a lot of that hinges on, will Allen Weisselberg, number one, face charges, but also number two, choose to cooperate with law enforcement, if in fact, he does. That is his right not to, but it provides prosecutors -- if he chooses not to -- that provides prosecutors with even less incentive to cut him a more favorable deal if that's where it goes.

COOPER: But, I mean, it's a right to assume that prosecutors don't really care about that, if Allen Weisselberg --

WILLIAMS: Right.

COOPER: -- you know, was -- got a car without paying taxes on it or, you know, the organization paid for his grandchildren to go to school. They want something bigger about the organization itself. Is that a fair assumption?

WILLIAMS: Well, yes and no. Look, it's still unlawful conduct. And I think people have in their minds that the point of prosecution is always to flip an individual and move higher up the chain, when the point of prosecution ought to be to root out unlawful conduct. The question is, what incentive do individuals along the way, lower up the chain or higher up have to, you know, tell the truth, and that remains to be seen.

Now, look, he's still apparently, as this reporting indicated, still going to work. Now, he can still be cooperating with law enforcement and going to work because if anybody is attempting to tamper with his testimony, or figure out what he's saying to prosecutors, they face a potential obstruction charge, and that's, in many respects, easier to prove than a financial crime from years ago.

COOPER: If he was prosecuted for, you know, the things that Kara Scannell mentioned as possibilities, is that something that would lead to jail time or is that a financial penalty?

WILLIAMS: I mean, it could be both, it just depends on, number one, the severity of the crime, number two, the dollar amount, number three, you know, who are victims and history and so on. So there's any number of factors that could play into it. It's -- look, these are serious crimes that -- people like to call these things, oh, it's, you know, these are process crimes or just simple white collar crimes. It's unlawful conduct --

COOPER: Yes.

WILLIAMS: -- whenever you look at it, and taking advantage of other people.

COOPER: Kara mentioned this fella by the name of Matthew Calamari, who apparently was one of the former president's one time security guards, who's now the chief operating officer of the company. What does it tell you that investigators are reportedly looking into him and his son for allegedly receiving subsidized rent and company cars?

WILLIAMS: So what we know is chief operating officer, controllers, chief financial officer are all people who are being talked to that's a suggestion that they're serious financial regularities they're being looked at. Something we should know and be clear about is that the history of prosecution is littered with the carcasses, Anderson, of people who've remained loyal or thought they were remaining loyal to people higher up on the chain than they were.

And, you know, this is, you know, I'm winking and talking about the president here but, you know, narcotics, my God, is the worst instance of this where people get involved in unlawful conduct thinking their boss will protect them. This false (ph) you, all of these individuals who might have information, assuming there's been crimes committed to tell the truth, and it's their choice if -- it's their choice of over whether to do so, but again, as we said a little bit earlier, the penalties could potentially be great.

COOPER: Yes. Elliot Williams, appreciate it. Thanks.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, the Democratic primary for New York Mayor is tomorrow. The end of a race it's often looked like a snapshot of the battles inside the Democratic Party at large. A primer what to expect with so many candidates running when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:42:23]

COOPER: Democrats in New York head to the polls tomorrow to vote in a mayoral primary race that's been a snapshot of the party's inner mechanisms at large. Moderates versus progressives, issues involving policing and a rise in crime. The winner almost certainly the next mayor of the city, but then there's this curveball, a new ranked choice system that has produced a leader but no obvious favorite among a very large field of candidates.

Athena Jones tonight breaks down the race.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the frenetic final days in the race to lead New York City --

ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I've never had a doubt, not one day, that we were not going to win this.

JONES (voice-over): Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who scant public polling suggests, is the front runner in the race, keeping the focus on public safety.

ADAMS: I'm not going back to the days where our babies were waking up to gunshots and not alarm clocks.

JONES (voice-over): Meanwhile, in a last minute twist, two of the other leading democratic mayoral candidates, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, and businessman Andrew Yang, making a series of campaign stops together.

KATHRYN GARCIA (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Today Andrew Yang and I are campaigning together.

ANDREW YOUNG (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: So thrilled to be campaigning with Kathryn Garcia today.

JONES (voice-over): The push coming as voters make their picks under a new voting system that allows them to rank up to five candidates in order of preference. The method allows for instant runoff if, as expected, no one in the crowded field wins more than 50 percent of first choice ballots in the first round. And it means being someone's second or third choice could make a difference.

But while Yang has repeatedly asked his voters to rank Garcia --

YANG: If you support me, please do with Kathryn Garcia also on your ballot.

JONES (voice-over): Garcia has declined to do the same.

GARCIA: So let me be very clear, I'm not co-endorsing.

JONES (voice-over): Still their joint appearance drawing the ire of Adams and his supporters, one likening it to voter suppression. Adams campaign retweeting supporter Ashley Sharpton, daughter of Reverend Al Sharpton, who suggested the apparent alliance was aimed at disenfranchising black voters. And Adams saying --

ADAMS: They're saying that we can't trust a person of color to be the mayor of the City of New York.

JONES (voice-over): Yang responding --

YANG: I would tell Eric Adams that I've been Asian my entire life.

JONES (voice-over): Civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley, who has emerged as the top progressive candidate in the field, also weighing in saying, "Ranked choice voting or alliances formed from it is not voter suppression.

Athena Jones, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's get some perspective on the state of the race. I'm joined now by our Senior Political Writer and Analyst Harry Enten. So Harry, you say this is the most unpredictable New York City mayoral primary since 1977, why is that?

[20:45:06]

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Just look at the polls, the limited data that we have, right? Look at this. Eric Adams up at 24 percent in a recent Marist College poll, but that was taken a few weeks ago. Kathryn Garcia, 17, Wiley 15, Yang 13. That's well, within any predictive margin of error as I look back of a historical accuracy of poll. So any of those four could come out on top.

But also take a look at this. Let's put Adams number in historical perspective, 24 percent for a top choice at this point, in primaries with no incumbents running at the final polls, that is the lowest for any front runner and a Democratic primary dating back all the way to the end of the last century. Someone like Bill Thompson this point was at 49 percent to 24 percent. Awfully weak for a front runner, Anderson.

COOPER: Kathryn Garcia, Andrew Yang, they campaigned together on Saturday, is there anything to be made of that because he's saying, you know, have her on the ticket, if you like me, she's essentially not kind of returning that favor?

ENTEN: Yes, it was very nice of her, wasn't it? Look, here's the situation, you know, if we do this rank choice, and we're jumping all the way ahead in the simulations, this is going to take a really long time, Anderson. What we see here, and this is from the Marist College poll again, we see that Adams at 34 percent, we see Yang all the way down at 19 percent, he gets eliminated. Adams jumps all the way up once we get to around 12 and he has declared the winner.

But here's the thing that makes this also confusing. In this same exact poll, if you look at the folks who Andrew Yang - who decided to choose Andrew Yang as their first choice, who they said was their most common second choice, it was Eric Adams. So now what happens when Yang says you should, in fact, rank Wiley -- excuse me rank Garcia up there, that could change the entire dynamic. So this poll that we have is awfully old. And so right now, I'm just quite confused to be honest with you.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the idea that it's going to be a 12th round sounds exhausting. What is -- is there a history of -- I mean, do people do that? Do people say, oh, previously I wanted Eric Adams, that says second choice of Andrew Yang was the first -- was my first pick, but if Andrew Yang says it should be this other person, then that's what I'm going to do. I mean, is there a history that people actually do that?

ENTEN: I mean, look, in a primary in which voters are really trying to tell the difference between the candidates, ideologically speaking, this type of thing could make a difference. Of course, I should point out in 2001, Peter Vallone endorsed Fernando Ferrer, and none of his supporters went to Fernando Ferrer in the runoff, they went all the mark green. So look, candidates can tell their supporters who necessarily to go for but the voters might not necessarily listen. But this is all very confusing, all very new to voters. As my mother said, I'm just very confused at this point.

COOPER: It also comes at this, you know, strange time in New York history where, you know, the -- we're coming out of the pandemic. You know, crime is going up. It's reminds me of growing up in New York in the '70s. You know, Washington Square Park, there's stuff going on. What are the top issues?

ENTEN: Yes, and I should point out, I grew up in the '90s and it also reminds me of that so, you know. Look, crime is the number one issue and, you know, we can see this in a Marist College poll question again. Look at this, should more police be put on the subway and what did this Marist College poll find, 69 percent of Democratic primary voters agreed with that. That is not a surprise then that Eric Adams is leading in the polls at this point, because that's what he wants to do.

But you know, let me put a whole ribbon around this for you, Anderson. When are we going to actually find out who wins this fricking thing? My guess, we may not know who wins this thing until the week of July 12th, according to the Board of Elections. So pour a cup of coffee, drinking a lot over the next few weeks, I certainly well, and we'll see you around the bend, Anderson.

COOPER: Harry Enten, appreciate it. Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

COOPER: Coming up, that shooting here in New York City caught on camera. It's unbelievable where children were just inches away from bullets intended for a man, look at this. One of many such incidents with children in harm's way as the nation sees an uptick in shootings. We'll be right back more in this.

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[20:52:51]

COOPER: Authorities in Colorado tonight say a police officer in the Denver suburb of Arvada was killed in a shooting which also cost the lives of bystander. The suspected gunman was also killed. The last time the Arvada police department had an officer killed in the line of duty was back in 1979. This is the latest in an increased wave of shootings across the country.

According to a report released by the Association for the Major Cities Police Chiefs, 2020 saw a significant spike in homicides of 33 percent over the previous year. 63 of the 66 largest police jurisdiction saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes last year. And as our Randi Kaye reports tonight, more and more children are being caught in the crossfire.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TERRISSA BARRON, ELIJAH LAFRANCE'S MOTHER: We can't sleep at night, we can't eat. Our life basically stopped April 24th.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's when three-year-old Elijah LaFrance was gunned down. It happened in Miami at his own birthday party. His mother says Elijah's last word was mommy. It happened around 8:00 p.m. as Elijah stood in the doorway of the house. The suspect or suspects fled and police found dozens of shell casings from various semiautomatic weapons. It's unclear who the target was. A reward is being offered for any information, but still no arrests.

BARRON: I lost something that I can never get back. Just please, please, if you know something, please say something.

KAYE (voice-over): This six-year-old girl was shot and killed in Minneapolis last month. Her name is Aniya Allen. She was sitting in the backseat of her family's car when she was suddenly shot in the head during a hail of gunfire.

K.G. WILSON, ANIYA ALLEN'S GRANDFATHER: You murdered a loved one, a six-year-old baby, a precious little girl. You murdered her. I don't want nobody to feel what we feel right now. How can you live with yourself?

KAYE (voice-over): Despite her grandfather's please that the killer turned himself in, nobody has been arrested. Aniya was the 20th child shot in Minneapolis this year, according to CNN affiliate care.

[20:55:00]

The Gun Violence Archive tells us they expect at least 300 children will die as a result of gun violence this year. A slight increase over last year and a 40 percent increase over 2019, in part, because of an increase in gun violence, but also as the temperatures get warmer, violence typically increases. This past weekend the group logged 40 overall gun deaths and 90 injuries in just a three-hour time frame.

In Chicago in April, seven-year-old Jaslyn Adams was killed while sitting in a car at a McDonald's drive-thru. Jaslyn was in the car now riddled with bullet holes along with her father who survived. Investigators say he was the intended target.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). Our kids want to play. My kids can even (ph) go up the door.

KAYE (voice-over): Three suspects are now charged in connection with the little girl's murder.

In Southern California, two suspects are facing murder charges in a road rage incident that left six-year-old Aiden Leos dead. His mother was driving on the freeway when the shooter opened fire. Aiden was strapped into his booster seat and simply on his way to kindergarten.

JOANNA CLOONAN, AIDEN LEO'S MOM: Everywhere we went, he would greet people with a vibrant, Hello, I'm Aiden. What's your name?

KAYE (voice-over): In Detroit, a two-year-old and a nine-year-old were shot in a highway just last week, when a car pulled alongside another an open fire. The two-year-old Brison Christian died. Multiple arrests have been made.

And these two children lucky to be alive after a gunman fired shots within feet of them in broad daylight. It happened last week in the Bronx. The five and 10-year-old somehow avoided getting shot as a masked gunman kept shooting at an adult male, his intended target. Police say the incident appears to be gang related, still no arrests. In light of their bravery, the New York Yankees hosted the children and their parents at a Yankees game over the weekend.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So lucky to be alive. Children in the crossfire.

More news ahead in the wake of that Arizona's so-called audit of votes in the 2020 election. The question is, will Georgia face the challenge to absentee ballots filed in that state's most populous county? That's next.

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