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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  September 21, 2022 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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there and now here they are desperately trying to build a life. they waited those five months for work papers. it is all they want to do is work, and we heard that from many other ukrainians. one woman an accountant in ukraine sitting here waiting on those papers. thanks so much for watching. you can be sure to tune in saturday at 8 p.m. for the champions for change one hour special. it's time now for "anderson." good evening. three big stories tonight. nuclear saber rattling and a military escalation from vladimir putin. a quarter billion dollar civil lawsuit against the former president, three of his grown children and hiscally. and just before airtime a major court victory in the justice department's criminal probe of classified documents from mar-a-lago. that's where we begin with cnn's jessica schneider. so this just happened. what more can you tell us about
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this ruling by the 11th circuit court of appeals. >> anderson, this is exactly what the justice department has been fighting for weeks. they tried to get this result in the district court from judge eileen canon. they didn't get it. now they've had the victory from the 11th circuit. notably this is from a panel of two judges, two of them trump appointees, one obama appointee. and what the 11th circuit is saying tonight the justice department can go back to using the classified documents they'd been restricted from using in their ongoing criminal probe into these classified documents that were seized from mar-a-lago last month. and the appeals court is saying here they're really agreeing with the justice department saying that, yes, in fact national security could be harmed if the justice department can't continue its probe here. they said that, you know, the doj has argued it's a criminal investigation, and the national security assessment is inextricably linked. the appeals court saying, yes, in fact they're saying if we
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don't let the doj continue to use these classified documents there would be real and significant harm on the united states and the public. and notably in this opinion as well, anderson, the 11th circuit is really faulting trump's lawyers for not better explaining what seems to be their argument trump declassified some of these documents. because, remember, trump has repeatedly said this in public as have his lawyers, his allies, but they've not offered any proof in court filings or in person. so the 11th circuit tonight criticizing trump's team for really not being forthcoming here. >> so what does it mean for the special master? >> interestingly this opinion touches on that. because remember the second thing doj was asking for here was to not allow the special master to look at these 100 classified documents. they wanted it kept out of view from the special master and trump's legal team. and they got that tonight with the 11th circuit opinion.
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so what this means is that the special master can continue his review because remember there are 11,000 documents in whole that he has to review before november 30th. however, he is now restricted from looking at those 100 classified documents in the review. so that is like a second win for doj at this point in the night. anderson? >> and can the ruling be appealed? >> it could be. you know, we heard from the justice department in that hearing before the special master yesterday that they would appeal it if they lost. presumably the same goes now that trump's team has lost this. they could potentially appeal, and that means it could go all the way to the supreme court, but for now doj has a win here. they can resume using those classified documents. they'll be kept out of the view of the special master and trump's legal team. trump's team can move to appeal this, but doj's free to go about their investigation and continue it as they had been before the brakes had been put on it previously, anderson. >> there had been some concern
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among some doj and i guess elsewhere about the judges on the 11th circuit. it was considered more conservative or a conservative court. what is the make-up of that court? >> yes, so that was the gamble here because when doj was deciding whether or not to go to the 11th circuit you know six of the 11 judges on the 11th circuit are trump appointees. but it turns out in this case it didn't matter because the three judge panel who ruled in favor two of them appointed by trump, one of them appointed by president obama. they took a gamble here going to the 11th circuit. remember they tried it first at the district court, trying to get that initial judge to overturn part of her opinion. she wouldn't do it, so they had to go to the 11th circuit, and they appealed in a limited way, only asking for two things. and tonight that gamble paid off because they have a victory tonight. >> joining us now paul callan,
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senior political analyst maggie haberman and author of the new book titled "confidence man, the making of donald trump and the breaking of america." david gergen. so, paul, obviously this is a big win for the department of justice. does it surprise you what happens next now that they can continue using these classified documents? >> it really doesn't surprise me because this ruling by judge canon that the doj couldn't investigate what was going on with these classified documents was really kind of shocking. i mean sources and methods, spies that we have in other countries. who knows what are affected by these records. and to say the department of justice couldn't look at them was really a surprising ruling. so i think the appellate court decided that this was the right way to go with it, and they left the rest pretty much alone. >> the three-judge panel of the 11th circuit also really lam basted the prior judge, judge canon. i want to read what they said.
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they said the district court abused its discretion -- explain what that means. >> it's very unusual to get a rebuke like that. the referred reference to equity has to do what lawyers call it injunctive relief. where a judge is ruling that one side has to go to jail but you have to do things affirmatively, and in this case not look at classified documents when the u.s. government has every right to look at its own classified documents. trump derived no right to do that just because he took them to mar-a-lago. and of course his attorneys never even posited the argument with evidence that he had declassified those documents. so i think the appellate court was really disturbed by an egregious overreach by the district judge here and sort of slapped back that decision and said, no, department of justice can have the records. >> maggie, the former president received a string of favorable decisions related to the search of mar-a-lago from that district
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judge. do you expect he's going to try to appeal this to the supreme court? or i mean there's also questions, i guess, about his legal representation because it's been criticized widely even by other justices. >> we don't know, anderson, what their response is going to be, but certainly the former president's strategy in most of these litigations has been to try to drag it. so i anticipate there's a strong possibility they'll try to appeal to a higher court and see how far this goes. you know, this hasn't been a great legal week for them. i know some people around the former president yesterday were insisting the special master hearing yesterday was not that bad and that the special master judge ray dearie did not sound that skeptical. he did sound skeptical. but this decision by this circuit, which is filled with a lot of trump appointees on it, i think is just another setback. however, i will just stress trump's desire is always to drag these thing said out. and dragging it out isn't
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necessarily something he's going to be upset about. >> david, the 11th circuit also wrote the former president suggested he declassify these documents but directly stated, quote, plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents, unquote. what do you make of the fact the former president's legal team continues to refuse to provide any evidence of that claim? >> anderson, i make this what it looks like, prima facie, right? given the opportunity if your lawyers can't produce it, it didn't happen most likely. i believe the judge said you can't have your cake and eat it, too, in this situation. you can't claim it's been declassified and provide evidence of declassification. produce documents and produce the receipts showing it was actually put in the -- you know, in motion, and the classifying authority would declassify it and there'd be actual documents evidencing that. >> paul, do you think the supreme court would take the case of the former president
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appealed it to them? >> i don't think that they will, but you have a former president of the united states here. it's not an ordinary case. they could. there's also another option we haven't discussed tonight. they could ask for what they call an en banc hearing. remember only three judges made this decision. you normally only have the right to ask the entire circuit to hear the issue and then you can go to the supreme court or go directly to the supreme court. i think maggie's right trump delays, delays, delays and tries to overlitigate everything, so he might ask for the full enbonk hearing because that delays things. >> what impact, if any, do you think this would have or do you think it would have any decision on whether or not he would run again? >> you mean the decision in new york? >> in new york, yeah. >> look, anderson, i think you can look at this in two different ways. number one, a lot of people who have talked to the former president say they don't think
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his heart seems to be in politics and running and campaigning the way it once was. that being said the second he says he's not running he loses a lot of attention and loses the ability to fund raise politically, and loses potentially if he were to run the protections that the office affords a sitting president in terms of investigations. and all of that is something that he is aware of. i think that, you know, people i've spoken to close to him were very relieved, still, as they have been over and over that there was no criminal charge related here. there was a criminal referral that was discussed, but this is a civil action. and i think you're going to see them fight it on the same grounds you have seen them fight a lot. i will say there were a couple of very new details related to trump's financial habits in this filing, and there were, you know -- there were certainly a lot of descriptions the attorney general used of his practices. she put together a comprehensive filing a lot of it and this is
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what the trump folks are pointing to repeatedly is stuff that's been largely known. the question is whether it's going to get heard differently in a court this time. >> david, do you think the former president would be less likely to run again given all the news today and just the sheer volume of the drama surrounding it? >> right. so if you stack them up there's potentially five cases going on right now. right, so you have the criminal suit by new york state against the trump organization, which is ongoing. you have this civil suit now. you have the district attorney in fulton county looking at the 2020 election. you have the january 6th committee and the department of justice looking at january 6th. then you have the mar-a-lago incident. so there are five potential lawsuits going on. anderson, if the president doesn't run then he can't claim it's politically motivated. if he's the republican candidate for the presidency he can look at the new york attorney general and say, look, as maggie said this has all been well-known and
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out in public for a long time that this -- all these claims against me inflating my value of my properties and none of the -- we look at the suit none of the financials were certified. the organization didn't sign-off. none of the accountants signed off on it. if the president's not a candidate then he doesn't have that card to play, so i would say it makes him a little bit more likely to run. >> also, david, if he's not a candidate he's a former president but also just the guy in mar-a-lago. and a lot of the energy around him and the sense of being in the center of the storm dissipates and you're just the guy in mar-a-lago who's still at the center of a legal storm but without any of the kind of future potential out here. >> well, you know i agree with that, but don't underestimate the trump fan base. there are a great deal of people who are not going to stop
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following donald trump just because he's a candidate. the notion of the president -- the former president is a king maker still remains very strong. but if he's not a candidate then he can't claim he's being politically victimized, and that's what i think would be important. >> stay with us. thanks to everybody else. coming up next more on that card to play, the former president's legal troubles in new york, a quarter billion dollar lawsuit and the serious blow it could be to the family business. and later how ukrainian and people in russia are reacting to pupten's military mobilization and his veiled nuclear threat over ukraine..
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ all-electric with room for up to seven. it's the suv electric has been waiting for. the all-new eqb from mercedes-benz. ♪ ♪ we touch on this before the break even before the appeals court ruled tonight the former president's legal trouble had already grown considerably today, specifically a threat to his business, his trust fund, his ability to acquire new york real estate and his bottom line to the tune of $250 million. that's just some of what the state attorney general letitia james is seeking in a lawsuit
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naming the former president, ivanga, don jr., eric trump, and others including a former company executive in an alleged decade long pattern of overvaluing his assets by billions of dollars, assets including his trump tower apartment, which the lawsuit alleges he inflated the square footage of by a factor of three -- three times bigger than it really was in order to misrepresent the value of it according to the suit at more than $300 million. and if the notion sounds familiar that's because his former attorney, michael cohen, laid out the exact scheme during congressional testimony back in early 2019. >> it was my experience that mr. trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in forbes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes. >> well, flash forward to today. talk more if you can about this
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lawsuit and the penalties the attorney general is seeking. >> anderson, letitia james, the new york attorney general called this alleged fraud staggering. she said that it -- that former president donald trump and his three eldest children committed this fraud over a decade and that it touched nearly every aspect of its business from its golf courses to some of his highest profile properties. and if you look at some of these examples it's mar-a-lago. there the new york attorney general's office says trump had valued that property at $739 million, when in fact she said the value was closer to $75 million. there's also a number of properties in new york and washington, d.c. as well as the hotel in las vegas. there letitia james in her lawsuit alleges that they undervalued that property in order to obtain a tax benefit. now, she also says she believed she found some examples of federal crimes being violated including specifically bank fraud. she said she was making a referral to the internal revenue
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service and the u.s. attorney's office for the southern district of new york for them to potentially pick up that investigation. we reached out to both of those agencies. neither of them had any comment on whether they will look into these allegations, but she herself is seeking some pretty steep penalties, $250 million fine, a permanent ban on the former president and his three eldest children from doing any business or serving on a board of directors in new york and a five-year ban on them operating their business or essentially not paying rent, not making any loans. it could really potentially cripple the business if the judge approves that. and at this point now, you know, we will go into the next steps here where this will end up in court and before a judge, anderson. >> what's the response been from the former president? >> well, former president trump was out on his social media platform today saying this was politically motivated and a witch hunt. one of his attorneys issued a
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statement saying these allegations were meritless and they'd fight each and every one of them in court. >> joining us now someone who's seen it all when it comes to the former president. investigative reporter david johnson. paul, how strong a case do you think this is? >> it's a case that can be contested, no doubt, because remember the district attorney of manhattan was investigating the same thing on the criminal side and decided not to proceed with the case. but in reading over the allegations, there are a staggering number of allegations. it's a 200-page story of what the attorney general describes as persistent fraud perpetwitted by the trump organization. and she's seeking what's called the corporate death penalty which would be decertification of the trump business in new york so they couldn't do
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business anymore. it's a very serious penalty if the a.g. wins the suit. >> david, does the size, the scope of this lawsuit, the breadth of the alleged fraud surprise you at all or line up with what you've learned over the years about the former president's business practices? >> this lines up perfectly, anderson. this is how donald has behaved his entire life. the a.g. could have gone back a lot further because of the statute of limitations on these matters. what a.g. james does is she puts this right as dawnonald was doi it. she shows where they say kpbl and he does "y." for example a building valued by appraisers at $200 million, and trump said it's $275 million. that's pretty hard evidence against trump. >> as you know one of the arguments made in the past that,
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look, new york real estate there's a history here of inflating values and being fast and loose. is that an argument that would hold up in court this was how business was done in the go-go '80s and i guess enow. >> you're asking me? >> yeah. i'm sorry. >> anderson, it may not hold up in court. to me it answers a different question. our banking systems are clearly operating outside the legal strictures. they hold money in trust for depositors and premium payers. and we're not enforcing the law regarding this. and so the whole scope of big banking in america especially international level big banking is just riven with criminal behavior, and we just have a tiny law enforcement effort we don't really try to go after it. >> well, how does the burden of
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proof in a civil case like this differ from the burden of proof in a criminal case? >> it's much lower. it's by apry ponderance of the evidence, which means one side has more evidence than the other, as opposed to a reasonable doubt which is what we have when someone faces jail time. i think in this case, though, you'll have a very lengthy investigation, and the defense attorneys are going to come in and say where the victims. none of the banks complained to trump and he's been under investigation for a long time. so who are the victims here? and that's what they're going to say and harken back to the what you questioned about. isn't what all these real estate developers are doing in new york and other places? so that's going to be the defense. whether it plays with a judge or jury in the future will remain to be seen. >> the district attorney did say she's referring to the federal investigators in the southern district of new york and to the irs. is that a real possibility of criminal case for the -- >> i don't know.
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why hesitation on that is, remember, the southern district investigated michael cohen, and he was trying to trade his own freedom for this case that he could prove and produce evidence that trump did these things. and the southern district never indicted trump on this. so has the attorney general come up with new material that michael cohen didn't know about, that's a possibility. but it would have to be very, very strong material i think from the southern district to go along with the case. coming up russian president vladimir putin has, again, issued a not so veiled nuclear threat over the war in ukraine, calling up hundreds of thousands more russian troops to join the fight. it's the biggest escalation of the war since the invasion. i'll talk with "the new yoyork times" tom freeman next. [zoom call] ...pivot... work bye.
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well, there are warning signs tonight after the threat russian dictator vladimir putin made today over ukraine while announcing the draft of as many as 300,000 reservests. >> translator: this is not a bluff. the citizens of russia can be sure that the territorial integrity of our homeland, our independence and freedom will be insured. and those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can turn in their direction. >> this is not vladimir putin's
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first time saber rattling or fuel rod rattling. three days into the war you'll recall he put russia's nuclear forces on high alert. these new comments ring differently because he's now got troops in parts of ukraine in retreat. more than 1,000 people have been detained according to one independent monitoring group which also reports some of the demonstrators are being conscripted directly into the military. putin's announcement also setoff a rush for flights out of the country and a sharp spike in the google searches for the term leaving russia. addressing the u.n. general assembly today president biden was blunt. >> let us speak plainly. a permanent member of the unite nations security council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase the sovereign state from the map. again, just today president putin has made overt nuclear
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threat against europe and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of a nonproliferation regime. now russia's calling up more soldiers to join the fight, and the kremlin is organizing a sham referendum to try to annex parts of ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the u.n. charter. this world should see these outrageous acts for what they are. >> joining us now is "the new york times" foreign affairs columnist thomas freeman, also the author of numerous best sellers including from ""beirut to jerusalem." what's the reaction calling up these reversests? >> one is that his military has actual cracks. that's now a real possibility.
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>> when you say cracks -- >> we already saw ukrainians were able to chase them out of 3,700 miles of territory they had occupied. we know people threw down their arms. we know people wrote down what terrible conditions they're living in. winter is coming. when an army loses its morale like that, that can be contagious, and it can happen slowly and then quickly. so i think that option is on the table. >> also the idea that they are forcing protesters who have been arrested, they're putting them into the military. if that is true that's extraordinary. >> and going to jail so often it's a get out of jail free card. so that doesn't speak a war of a great moral clarity. you know, so the first -- i think the first option is that the army could somehow break, in which his threat to use a
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nuclear weapon we should take seriously. the threat since nagasaki was half a percent, it's gone up now. you could knock him out of the ring today but as he falls over the ropes he could plunge the plunger on a bomb. i think that's the first outcome possible. the second is what i would call a dirty deal. i think that's what he's trying to organize here. he's organizing these referendums in areas where he's occupied ukraine. then i think that's annexing them, putting more soldiers there, maybe driving a trunk or missiles and then saying to ukraine, the rest of the world let's have a cease-fire. let's have a cease-fire and if you all agree, you europeans, to lift some sanctions i'll turn the gas on in the middle of the winter. i think a lot of people would resist that but it could be very attempting. that option could fracture the alliance. a third option is a dirty deal without putin, and i think that's what you saw a little bit
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the potential here today. that is you actually offer the russian people if you will get out of ukraine, give up all the territory you've occupied since 2013 we will lift the sanctions. putin would never agree with that because he's lost men, billions in sanctions for nothing. but the russian people they might be interested in that. and that then becomes a threat to him where people say wait a minute this is in our interest even if it's not in his. i think what is new today, anderson, is that the threat of a nuclear event in europe has increased. the threat of instability in russia has increased. and that's why today -- >> has been a fear of vladimir putin's for a long time. i remember being in -- i don't
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know some time in the late '90s and there was concern then about russia possibly breaking -- >> you and i grew up in a world of this really solid thing called the soviet union. then we had the hopeful period of democratization, and then we had the period of what i would call bad boy putin. he was a bad boy but he'd help us after 9/11, and help us with the iran deal and try to hack our elections and he was a sort of bad boy but we could deal with him. the thought of a pariah russia or unstable russia with 5,000 nuclear weapons, we'd never live through that world. >> the second option you gave which is a dirty deal, zelenskyy is in the middle of that dirty deal and he obviously does not want to give up any land. have you seen signs zelenskyy would be willing -- he gave a proposal at the u.n. today but doesn't seem there's any indications. they're on the advance right now. >> just the opposite.
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just came back from germany the day before yesterday. but i'd say i think support from this war is very broad but it's also shally orb that when winter comes if energy prices have spiked, factories are closing, if people are choosing between heating or eating there will be pressure on zelenskyy. how much, i don't know. i think within if ukraine there's real solidarity. i think president biden's been behind him 100%, but it depends if there's a deal on the table you never know. there will be pressure on him at some point. >> you said winter is coming. thank you. coming up some good news, two american veterans captured fighting alongside ukrainian forces are safe tonight after months as prisoners of war. i'll talk to a mom about one of them about how her son was finally freed fromom russian backed forces next. r's value and gives you a real offer in seconds we'll come to you pay you on the spot then pick up your car that's i it at carvanana
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they were held captive for more than 100 days. tonight two american veterans are free. both traveled to ukraine to help fight the russian invasion. both went missing on june 9th and were reportedly captured by russian backed forces. i spoke to the mom and fiance a week after the two went missing. >> i'm trying to remain strong and calm because getting upset won't help alex at all.
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but hearing joy for the first time is difficult because -- because i feel for her. but most of the time i'm really strong because that's what alex would want. >> tonight both men are safe, hopefully coming home soon. for more on how these events played out and how they ended up at the u.s. embassy in saudi arabia i'm very pleased once again to welcome bonny drueke, the mother of alexander drueke. how are you doing tonight? i can't imagine how you feel. >> i need to be weighted down, anderson. i feel like i'm just floating. i'm so happy. >> yeah. when did -- how did you get the news? when do you think you'll see him? >> well, i -- we hope to see him in a few days to be checked out by the medical staff to make
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sure that they're healthy enough to fly. but everything is looking good so far, so we're hoping it'll just be a few days. and this morning i was reading a book to my little 3-year-old grandson, and i got a phone call that said saudi arabia. and i thought i don't know anyone in saudi arabia, but these days i'm just taking it anyways. so i took the call, and it was a woman at the embassy, the u.s. embassy there in saudi arabia. and she verified who i was, and then she said i have your son standing right next to me and he wants to speak to you. >> oh, my gosh. >> and i went alex? and i heard him say, hi, mama, it's me, your favorite child
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because is a joke because he has other siblings. and i said, well, you'd just do anything -- and we had a good laugh. and he said i'm free, and i said what? and he said i'm free. and i said free? and he said, yes, i'm free. and my mind just couldn't comprehend it because there had been no warning. it just came out of the blue. it even surprised the state department how quickly this happened. nobody's complaining. we're all really happy about it, but it was quite a surprise. >> wow. i'm not going to ask if he really is your favorite son or not, but when we spoke in june you talked about staying strong for alex and feeling sorry for andy's fiance, joy. i understand althey were buddies. how important is it that both of
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them are getting to come home together? >> oh, very, very important. we have never talked about one without mentioning the other. and in fact my next question when i realized they were actually freed, alex was, i said what about andy. and he said, yes, he's here with me. and he said he can't call joy because he can't remember her phone number. and i said i have her number, so i gave him the number and andy was able to call joy. it has been since early june she had talked to him, so she just -- i didn't even have time to warn her that he was calling. and it just blew her mind. she's -- i've never seen her smile this much. >> and you met through this horrible circumstance. you are connected for life. so you think maybe a couple days before you see him? >> yeah, i think so.
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you know, i want them to check them out, make sure they're healthy enough to fly. it's a long flight. it's 14 hours, so they want to make sure they're hydrated well, and, you know, we don't think there's anything majorly wrong. they haven't indicated that, just they wanted to make sure they were in tiptop condition. >> well, i bet you are going to hug your son tight. and, bonny, it's such a plaeasue to talk to you and i'm so glad this has resolved the way it has. thank you. >> thank you, anderson. and thank you everybody for their prayers and support. >> a lot of people praying for you. wish you the best. up next how the former president appears to be ramping up his public support for qanon. ♪ you don't have to kekeep tabs on rotating categories... this is the only rotating i care about. ... or activate anything to earn. your cash back automatically adjusts for you. can i get a cucumber water?
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white house in 2024, he appears to be publicly embracing the cult of q, the cult of qanon, that has been around for centuries but with modern twists. donie o'sullivan has a closer look tonight about the implications. >> i don't know much about the movement other than i understand they like me very much. >> reporter: this illustrated meme former president trump reshared last week with qanon slogans and a q on his lapel is a brazen endorsement of the conspiracy theory. >> a guy wearing a q pin, storm is coming. >> reporter: hosts on this radio show celebrating. >> that is the reason you are all here. you all know the truth. you know who donald trump really is. you know who the fight is about and who the players are that want to destroy our country. >> reporter: on trump's social media platform, qanon followers saw the post as a clear sign he
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is with them and with qanon. one post read that any sign is in major denial. another read, donald trump has over 4 million followers yet he seeks out q people to reach out. >> what we've seen recently from trump is different from what we've seen in the past. prior to this, he would say he's heard of these qanon people, he believes them to be great patriots. now the message is directly one-to-one. it's no longer ambiguous. >> certainly we are concerned about the qanon phenomenon. >> reporter: the fbi has warned of the dangers of qanon and its potential to inspire violence. >> what we have is a former president, potential candidate for the presidency of the united states legitimizing, in essence a cult. >> reporter: qanon has been
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associated with bizarre claims about child sacrifice, but the slogans and symbols of qanon have become intertwined the trump's lies about a stolen election. >> i see a lot of people wearing qanon t-shirts. it doesn't mean they're all necessarily violent. >> it does not. that's the mos t
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