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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Trump Says He will No-Show Next Debate after Switch to Virtual Format; Thirteen People Charged for Plot to Kidnap Gov. Whitmer; 13 Charged In Plot To Kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer; Fed: Groups Planned To Try Her For "Treason" Before Election; Bill Gates On State Of Pandemic; Hurricane Delta Strengthens To Category 3. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 08, 2020 - 20:00   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And because it's a special election, if Mark Kelly wins, he could play a role in the nomination process for Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Of course, that assumes she's not confirmed by Election Day, Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, Miguel, thank you very much. And thanks to all of you. Anderson starts now.



The President of the United States is certainly living up to the title of Bob Woodward's book about him. The book, of course, is "Rage" and the President is clearly in one.

Fading in the polls, he is lashing out at perceived enemies, demanding the Attorney General bring charges against his opponent, his 2016 opponent, and the last President, describing Senator Kamala Harris as, quote "this monster."

In addition, he continues to mislead the public about a pandemic that itself is raging, once again has now taken more than 212,000 lives in this country. But the President being the President isn't focusing on them or on their loved ones or any COVID experience, but his own.

As a result, he is floating dangerous ideas about how survivable it is because it was survivable for him. He is hinting that he contracted the virus from the families of fallen U.S. service members because of how much they love him.

On top of that, according to "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman, the President wants to start campaigning again as early as Monday, because how good he feels perhaps because he has been taking potentially mood altering steroids.

And late this evening, the White House physician put out a statement clearing him for return to public engagements as early as Saturday. Is he infectious right now? Unclear from the White House physician.

He is as the Marine Guard outside indicates, back in the Oval Office, putting people around him potentially and their families at risk by not following C.D.C. guidelines and isolating himself.

Is he perhaps kidding himself about his status at the moment? Listen.



MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: ... going to feel that way if you're saying you're ready to go to a rally.

TRUMP: But we still have to wait -- I don't think I'm contagious at all.


COOPER: In fact, unless he is Superman or became COVID positive far earlier than he is letting on, which is almost -- well, which is actually entirely possible. It's almost certainly not true that he is not contagious.

The C.D.C. recommends at least 10 days of isolation for anyone who has had COVID and says it could be as long as 20 days if like the President, they've been hospitalized and needed oxygen.

The President is still treating his own experience as representative, and the lesson he is taking from it when he is not cracking jokes is that COVID is nothing to worry about.


TRUMP: I'm back because I'm a perfect physical specimen, and I'm extremely young. And so I'm lucky in that way.

Look, what happens is, if you're anywhere around this thing, you can catch it. People caught it. And I'm not just talking about this location, I'm talking about many other locations.

Now, what happens is you get better. That's what happens, you get better.


COOPER: Unless you don't -- 212,000 Americans never got better. They are dead. And of the 7.6 million people who have been infected, many of them still haven't gotten better. Thousands are hospitalized around the country. Some continue to suffer debilitating and painful symptoms for months after they have supposedly recovered from COVID.

Hundreds are still dying every day right now, and the latest estimate is that deaths may reach 400,000, past the end of the year. But look, the President right now is saying, "You get better."

He had less to say about his own super spreader event at the Rose Garden two weekends ago or that so many of his senior advisers are infected, as are his campaign manager, his body man, four White House reporters, members of the household staff, three senators, one university President and two military commanders.

And again today, neither he, his doctor nor his spokespeople had anything to say about when he actually last tested negative. They're covering that up for some reason.

Instead, the President today suggested he might have contracted COVID from Gold Star families at a reception the day after the Rose Garden ceremony.


TRUMP: And they come up and they tell me a story about my son, sir, was in Iraq, or he was in Afghanistan. And sir, he did this and he did that. And then he charged in order to save his friends. And yes, sir, he was killed but he saved his friends. He is so brave, sir.

And I can't back up, Maria and say, give me room. I want room. Give me 12 feet. Stay 12 feet away when you talk.

They come -- they come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me, then they do.

And frankly, I'm not telling them to back up. I'm not doing it.

But I did say it's like, you know, like, it's obviously dangerous. It's a dangerous thing, I guess if you go by the COVID thing.


COOPER: Now, ditching the narcissism and the callousness of that, there's also the fact that if you'd worn a mask in those moments, and the people around him had been asked to wear masks, the risk would be reduced as his own C.D.C. guidelines point out.

But when the President suggests he may have been infected by Gold Star families, think about what else the President is suggesting there. He is suggesting he was infected on Sunday evening. That's 48 hours before last Tuesday's debate with Joe Biden, and if he were tested every day as the White House had previously claimed, he might have actually known it when he went to that debate.

It would also mean if he is right that he had COVID when he went to that rally on Wednesday in Minnesota, the same rally when Hope Hicks fell ill and had to isolate inside Air Force One on the trip back.


COOPER: It would mean he had it the next day, Thursday, when he went to his Country Club in New Jersey to meet some high dollar donors. Think of all the people who came in contact with him in that duration, hundreds of people and only now according to late reporting with "The Washington Post" has the C.D.C. been called in to help in contact tracing for the White House.

"New York Times" journalist, Michael Shear who told us he thinks he contracted the virus on the Saturday of that Rose Garden event either while at the White House early in the day or while traveling on Air Force One with the President, he says no contact tracers from the White House have reached out to him. But don't take our word for it that the White House has been unsafe and cavalier about the spread of the virus. Take Mitch McConnell's. That's right. That Mitch McConnell.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I haven't actually been to the White House since August 6th. Because my impression was their approach to how they handle this is different from mine, and what I insist that we do, which is to wear a mask and properly social distance.


COOPER: Hard to hear, but he is saying he didn't go to the White House since August 6th, because he was worried about how they were handling COVID and it was different than the way he was making sure it was handled on the Senate side.

And just think about that for a moment, a close ally of the President, not even willing to come anywhere near the White House because of how unserious he thought the White House was being even about keeping themselves safe, and how unserious, he still believes they are.

It might have been nice for Mitch McConnell to warn others not to go to the White House, but he seems to have kept that one pretty close to the vest.

Now, the President also lashed out today about the Russia investigation on Hillary Clinton's e-mails. He is back to that. He asked why she hadn't been indicted yet and called on Attorney General Barr to indict Joe Biden and former President Obama.


TRUMP: Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we're going to get a little satisfaction unless I win, and we will just have to go because I won't forget it.

But these people should be indicted. This was the greatest political crime in the history of our country. And that includes Obama, and it includes Biden. These are people that spied in my campaign and we have everything.


COOPER: The President also pulled out of the next debate and again falsely compared himself to Winston Churchill after the Debate Commission made the event virtual.


TRUMP: No, I don't want to do a virtual debate because a virtual debate is a -- it is a joke. There is no reason. I'm in great shape. I just -- you know, unlike Joe, I don't have the luxury of staying in a basement all day long. I'm running a country.

You know, when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, he would stand in the top of buildings as Hitler was dropping bombs on London. You know that. You've heard that. And he makes speeches and put his fist up in the air and say, how dare you, you know, the Mad Dog, he called him.

And, you know, I can't stay in a basement. I can't stay in a basement and he can.


COOPER: He said this before. Churchill didn't -- he wasn't the one standing on building tops as German bombs fell. The CBS News correspondent, Edward R. Murrow was famous for doing radio broadcasts during the Blitz.

Churchill, because he was so vital to his country, and he actually was a leader who was leading and making important decisions that actually had ramifications in real time on the battlefield, and was overseeing the defense of the free world. He actually spent much of the Blitz in the basement in a massive bunker complex for his own safety.

CNN's Jim Acosta is at the White House for us tonight. So, I understand the Trump campaign has just issued another statement on the campaign. What are they saying?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, they're saying that because of this letter from Dr. Sean Conley, they came out earlier this evening, saying that the President is essentially clear to get back to what they're saying -- what they are calling public engagement on Saturday, i.e. get back on the campaign trail, that the President could essentially be at the debate next Thursday in Miami, and they're calling on the Debate Commission to reverse course, do away with this idea of a virtual debate and have a face-to-face in-person debate next Thursday in Miami.

Obviously, the Debate Commission is in charge of all of this, not Donald Trump and not the Trump campaign. But that's what they're saying tonight.

COOPER: I mean, I guess, given the fact that this administration is covering up when the President actually last tested negative, why would anybody believe or have any confidence in what the White House is saying about the course of his illness and when he is able to be out in public?

ACOSTA: Well, we can't trust what they've been saying, Anderson, and obviously Dr. Sean Conley even though he has a good reputation inside the White House, people inside the White House have told me they like Dr. Sean Conley. He has essentially been putting out information that the President wants put out to the public. We've said this time and again. He seemed to do that earlier this evening when he gave the President a greenlight to get back out on the campaign trail.

[20:10:10] ACOSTA: I will say, Anderson, we're now into day three of not

independently observing with our own eyes how the President is doing, the White House has put out these propaganda videos. You know, they're starting to rival you know, the propaganda videos that come out of Russia and North Korea, where they put the President out on the South Lawn of the White House and try to show him doing just fine, but we have no way of observing that.

The only thing that we've been able to observe over the last few days is the Marine standing outside of the West Wing and officials telling us, yes, he is in the Oval Office, and he is meeting with officials. And oh, by the way, they're wearing personal protective equipment, but we have no way of independently verifying that because we haven't been able to get close to the situation, thank goodness, because none of us want to get sick.

But Anderson, no, there's no reason to trust what they're saying about any of this at this point.

COOPER: Vice President Pence postponed a preplanned trip to Indianapolis, where he was said to vote early. I think that was supposed to take place tomorrow, do we know why he did that?

ACOSTA: Yes, what the campaign is saying, what Pence advisers are saying is that Mike Pence wanted to get back to Washington and get some rest after his debate being out on the campaign trail that he will be back out on the campaign trail on Saturday.

But you know, make no mistake, they made a last minute decision to return to Washington this evening and instead of going to Indianapolis and the Vice President voting, it also raises questions as to what is going on here. We have no way of independently verifying any of these events and whether or not any of it is related to the President's current condition.

Obviously, you saw what the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was saying earlier today. She suspects that the President is in some sort of altered state because of the medications that he is on right now, but one of the top White House officials over here, who is still working at the White House right now, Alyssa Farah, the Communications Director said no, no, no, that's absolutely not the case that the President is strong.

But Anderson, no question about it. We are flying blind right here -- right now, right here. And you know, we're on the dark side of the moon in terms of what we know about how the President is doing and how the rest of the team is doing at this point.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, appreciate him. Thanks.

Perspective now from CNN senior political commentator and former senior adviser to a man the President wants indicted, David Axelrod; also CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; and CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- I meant, President Obama he wants to indict, not David Axelrod, although time will tell. We will see. David, you tweeted today that the President has basically turned his

own political demise into a, quote, surreal reality show. Do you think this -- I mean, does this get him anywhere? I mean, you know, bringing up the Hillary Clinton e-mail? I mean, it's all the greatest hits from rants of the past, and only -- you know, with sort of infomercials for, you know, remdesivir and other things thrown in and free offers to seniors.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. The short answer is no. The President -- I have to say at this moment, it feels like the President is not well. The kinds of things that he said on that -- sure, they are not unlike things he said in the past, but as you say, it was like a kind of spasmodic burst of resentments, and the resentment, you know, he often appeals to other people's sense of resentment. That's part of his political formula.

But he is really disgorging his own resentments now, and maybe it's because at some level, he recognizes that he is not on course to win this race. But that was a really appalling -- and I think alarming performance today because we don't know what drugs he is on. We don't know what his condition truly is, and we don't really know whether he is of sound judgment right now.

COOPER: Gloria, calling Senator Kamala Harris a monster today; calling her, you know, other things as well, a communist. You know, again, not surprising, not shocking. It's what he does, I guess, it seems, I guess, desperate, given just so kind of ridiculous things. She's a communist.


COOPER: But is this -- is any of this working for him? I mean, I'm not sure. You know, I know, Democrats think they are ahead in the polls. I don't -- you know, I think a lot of people thought Hillary Clinton was ahead in the polls, and she didn't win, so I'm not sure. I mean, should Democrats be confident?

BORGER: Look, Democrats are looking at the polls, too, and so they're confident, but they understand what happened in 2016 and the last thing they want to do is get overconfident. Because what that tells your voters is, oh, you can stay home, you don't have to vote. You don't have to return that ballot.

So they are not doing that. But what we are hearing and seeing from the President, as David is saying, is this kind of desperation, this flailing and the name calling of Kamala Harris as a monster and a communist and everything else is a President who needs enemies. He needs people.

There is real oxygen, Anderson, these enemies and so she is a convenient enemy for him because he says, oh, you know she's the stalking horse for the radical left and oh by the way, he said today, and this was stunning, joe Biden won't last two months. Did you hear that? He said that. And what was that about?

Kamala Harris is a woman of color. Was he telling people, oh, okay, well, you know, she could be President in two months. I mean, it was kind of stunning to me.


COOPER: Sanjay, when the President said today, he said, quote, "I don't think I'm contagious at all," and that he feels perfect. That's not how this virus works. And we have no idea what's going on with him. We don't know how long he's had it. We don't know how much he spread it.

But you know, they're trying to -- they are covering that up successfully. Is there any way to really know how he -- way to know how he is doing?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I mean, you know, we're sort of at the mercy of the doctors who say that they want to brief people and disclose how the President is doing, but then they speak in these very vague sort of ways.

I mean, there is a convention that the medical professions communicates messages back and forth, and these letters, and these statements, and even the briefings have all been, you know, we've had to sort of translate these things. So we don't know.

We do know that he wouldn't be out of his contagious period yet, by, you know, lots of data and looking at the C.D.C. guidelines. But I want you to listen to how Dr. Conley just was talking about this just on Monday, just three days ago.


DR. SEAN CONLEY, WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN: We're in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course. So we're looking to this weekend, if we can get through to Monday, with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.


GUPTA: So that was on Monday, Anderson, and so here we are on Thursday and he is saying we've got to wait at least until the following Monday, so you know, several days from now, four or five days from now.

And here we are, on Thursday, basically saying that, you know, things are basically back to normal. You know, they released this letter today and I don't know if we have a shot of this letter. But you know, again, there is a convention with the way medical professionals sort of communicate.

One thing about this letter right away, you'll notice is that there's not even the temperature on here. It's hard to read, obviously. But I can tell you, there's no temperature on here for somebody who has an infection. And that's key, because that's the -- not having a temperature is one of the criteria for starting to come out of isolation. They don't even mention the temperature here. Instead they say that he has a trajectory of -- he has advanced

diagnostics in the right trajectory. I don't even know what that means.

BORGER: What's that?

GUPTA: I mean, what tests -- are those tests -- so it's purposely vague and it's disappointing, because again, if you want to present information, then do it. Otherwise, you're presenting this stuff that sort of gibberish and hard to translate.

COOPER: It is interesting, though, in that letter, he talked about, it will be 10 -- Saturday will be 10 days from Thursday's diagnosis. He didn't say from the President's first positive diagnosis or the first positive test. He just said Thursday's diagnosis, which is the only diagnosis we've been told about. But the timeline doesn't really seem to match up.

It seems like there may have been -- you know, he may have known before this, we simply don't know.

GUPTA: Yes. No, we don't know. And I still don't -- I'm not clear, obviously, as I pointed out with this letter, are they trying to get serial negative tests for COVID? Is that what they're relying on? And if so, that's not a good strategy, because he has obviously been on all these different medications.

We know when at least we were told he first developed symptoms, but we also know that he was obviously hospitalized. So his duration of his contagious period, maybe longer as a result of that, as you pointed out, Anderson, up to 20 days.

There are there are clear ways to communicate what's going on with the President. We still don't know if he has pneumonia. We don't know when his last negative test is. We don't know what the deal is with these medications or how they are basically monitoring those. If he is still on the steroids that could be masking all these symptoms.

I know we've talked about this before, and I probably sound like a broken record, but they are purposely being vague. I know this, we read lots of these types of letters from doctors. This is not normal what is happening here, and by the way, it sort of fits the pattern of other doctor's letters that we've had regarding President Trump, we just -- we can't really make sense of it. It's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

COOPER: David, there's a certain statement from the Trump campaign tonight about the debate. I've gotten a little just confused on what they're actually now saying based on the President could be there in person. The debate is virtual. He said he won't do a virtual debate. What do you think is going to happen?


AXELROD: Well, I think they're going to try and debate somehow because he is 10 points behind and he desperately needs to do something to try and change the dynamic. But you know, this is the problem. He said this morning, he won't do it. They're changing their tune a little bit tonight. It says the same way that he has dealt with, you know, the issue of the stimulus.

You know, one day he is out. The stock market tanks. By nighttime, he is changing his position and everybody is standing there scratching their heads. And that's the position we're in on this debate. And, you know, maybe they're in a force -- they are in a test of wills with the Debate Commission and the Biden campaign.

But I've got to tell you the truth, Joe Biden is under no pressure to debate at this point. He's got this -- he has got this race well in hand. He said, I'll show up for a virtual debate and the President can take it or leave it.

COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, Gloria Borger, and Sanjay Gupta. Thanks so much. Appreciate it. Coming up next, details of the alleged plot to kidnap the Governor of Michigan and the frightening agenda behind it. Michigan's Attorney General joins us.

And later, Bill Gates joins us to talk vaccines and therapies including the experimental treatment that the President got.


COOPER: Breaking news out of Michigan tonight, the F.B.I. announced they've foiled an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, overthrow several state governments, and according to the federal criminal complaint, quote, "Instigate a Civil War."

Today, Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a statement and brought up President Trump's comments at his last debate on the far right group, Proud Boys to stand back and standby.


GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Hate groups heard the President's words, not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.


COOPER: In a moment, we'll be joined by Michigan's Attorney General, but first, our Randi Kaye with details of the alleged plot.


JOSH HAUXHURST, F.B.I. ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT-IN-CHARGE: The alleged conspirators are extremists who undertook a plot to kidnap a sitting Governor.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That Governor, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. Investigators say the men planned to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home in Michigan before the November election and put her on trial for treason after she shut down the state to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the criminal complaint, the F.B.I. began investigating earlier this year after learning of the scheme through social media. They infiltrated the group using confidential informants.

In June, the complaint says, one of the six main suspects, Adam Fox live streamed a video on a private Facebook group complaining about the State of Michigan controlling the opening of gyms.

The suspect allegedly referred to Governor Whitmer as a "tyrant bitch."


KAYE (voice over): The F.B.I. says it has an audio recording of Fox in July describing the plot as a "snatch and grab," saying on the tape, "Grab the effing Governor. Just grab the bitch."

In August, the complaint says another suspect stated during an encrypted group chat that one person should knock on the door and when she answers, "just cap her."


ANDREW BIRGE, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN: The complaint further alleges that Fox purchased a Taser for use in the kidnapping, and that the group successfully detonated an improvised explosive device wrapped with shrapnel to test its anti-personnel capabilities.


KAYE (voice over): Of the six men at the center of this plot, five are from Michigan; the others from Delaware, according to the complaint, but they enlisted others, members of a Michigan-based militant group called Wolverine Watchmen.

The F.B.I. says this group was planning to assault the Michigan State Capitol using Molotov cocktails to destroy police cars. In all, 13 people have been implicated in the plot against Michigan State officials and law enforcement.

One says, the complaint, the group met in the basement of a business owned by suspect Adam Fox, a basement accessed through a trap door hidden under a rug.

This isn't the first time Whitmer's life has been in danger. She faced multiple death threats after issuing state home orders to help control coronavirus in her state.

In April, protesters gathered at the Capitol causing gridlock and demanding the stay-at-home order be lifted. Later that month, this was the scene inside the Capitol. Protesters demanding an end to the state of emergency, many openly

carrying firearms which is legal in the state. That same month, President Trump tweeted, "Liberate Michigan."

Today after the plot against her was made public, Governor Whitmer called out the President who just last week refused to condemn far right groups.


WHITMER: Hate groups heard the President's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action.

When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.


KAYE (voice over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.


COOPER: And joining us now is Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Madam, Attorney General, appreciate you being with us. What more can you tell us about the size and the scope of this alleged plot against Governor Whitmer? And any concerns you still have about exactly what was in the works?

DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, yes, we're concerned, Anderson. There remains a number of individuals, number of groups that are out there that continue to plan acts of domestic terrorism, not just Michigan, but in a multijurisdictional fashion across many states.

This is not just a Michigan problem. This is now an American problem.

So yes, we have concerns. And unfortunately, it seems as though those who would engage in this kind of behavior, they've been able to use the COVID epidemic, and the civil unrest from the Black Lives Matter Movement to recruit more members.

So we've had an exponential rise in terms of the number of groups in our state and around the country, as well as the membership.

COOPER: In some of the documents, there is some connection, or at least some interest in I think, by one of the people in QAnon as well, which we've seen obviously grow a lot online. How direct of a line, if any, do you believe you can draw from the suspects back to the unrest in Michigan's Capitol earlier in the pandemic?

People obviously remember seeing and hearing, you know, very ugly rhetoric, armed people, you know, at the statehouse yelling at law enforcement and yelling at legislators?

NESSEL: Well, I can tell you that many of the defendants that were charged today, both in the Federal and in the state indictments were there and present at that event, and that that event was also utilized to recruit more members.

So I think it was a pivotal point, like some, frankly, many of the protests that have gone on here in our state, had been used for recruitment, and to further the cause.

COOPER: The President, if I'm memory serves me, the President actually praised those people when the unrest in Michigan, the armed people the statehouse, if -- I don't have it in front of me, but as I recall, he praised them that that was around the time the "Liberate Michigan" tweet.

NESSEL: He sure did. He indicated they were very good people and that the governor ought to actually sit down and negotiate with these armed gunmen, which of course is outrageous, and I am so tired of seeing his perpetual tweets where he tweets, law and order, and the fact is those who believe law and order and who support law and order don't support domestic terrorists.

Those of us who really believe in the premise of law and order, hold domestic terrorists accountable.


COOPER: Because just -- I mean, in the charges against these people, they plan to attack law enforcement personnel. So I mean, that's the whole idea that these are lawn order enthusiasts. They're talking about, you know, having an ID, Molotov cocktails to hit police vehicles.

NESSEL: They do. They're very anti-law enforcement, many of these groups. So, it is so stunning to me, that you will see some of our state politicians actually that will be out at their events, speaking at their events, hobnobbing with these individuals at their events, and then go back and expect to be supported and often are supported by police unions. And yet here they are a fraternizing with literally the enemy of police departments and police officers, and those who wish to execute law enforcement officers. So, it really doesn't make any sense to me. But unfortunately, it's the state of affairs right now, in our state and really, across our nation.

COOPER: There is been so much talk of, you know, fears of civil conflict, fears of society disintegrating. And I mean, I think that's one of the reasons. This is so concerning to people. I'm wondering what your message tonight is not just to citizens of Michigan, but Americans around the country who are hearing this reading about this. And, you know, are afraid of that, are afraid that there may be other folks out there just like, you know, these, you know, want to be weekend warriors, and who knows what they're up to?

NESSEL: Yes, well, I guess my message is this. First of all, I sit on a stage today, and not just myself and the colonel of the Michigan State Police. But we were joined by the FBI, and by the U.S. Attorney's of both the eastern and western districts of Michigan. So this was truly a case of both state and I'm a Democrat, standing on the stage with Trump appointees, who were also, you know, highly engaged in this and pivotal in terms of ensuring that justice is brought against these individuals.

So, there are those of us in law enforcement that are still willing to hold bad actors accountable. And we are watching these bad actors, and we are aware of what they are doing. And we're doing everything we possibly can to protect the public from some of the egregious acts that they have planned. But my other message is this. We can no longer afford in this nation to have our elected leaders like the President of the United States, sending notches winks and nods and I get frequently, you know, hear called a dog whistle. It's not a dog whistle to these folks. It's literally a command to action for domestic terrorists. And it needs to stop we cannot have people in positions of authority like that, who are encouraging the work of people who wish to destroy this country.

COOPER: Yes. Attorney General Nessel. I appreciate your work. Thank you very much.

Up next --

NESSEL: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: -- as the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. I'll speak with Bill Gates. He joins me live co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about what's ahead and how we're going to cope with it.



COOPER: The coronavirus death toll The United States has now more than 212,000 people in this country, total number of cases more than 7.5 million. Staggering numbers of course, there's precious little sign of things slowing down. Add to that President Trump's diagnosis, the high infection numbers, the White House the overall lag and widespread testing, contact tracing, it's certainly recipe for concern as the fall begins, the winter. Bill Gates is joining us, he's co chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. So long put his fortune and talent behind searching for cures for this global health crisis and for other global health crisis. He joins me now.

Bill, thanks for being with us. Looking at where the U.S. is right now in this pandemic, and during the fall and the winter cases on the rise not just in small clusters but across most of the nation. How concerned are you about the month ahead?

BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR, BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Well, I'm very concerned. The forecast showed that the deaths are going to go back up almost to the level they were in the spring. And, you know, it's people are going to be indoors more the compliance with the distancing and the mask use is going down in many areas that never got super good in some areas. And so, except for the innovative tools that I'm sure we'll talk about, this is going to be a very difficult fall because people, you know, the economic effects, the tiredness, the kids not being able to go to school. This continuation is a very difficult thing. COOPER: You've talked about the -- some of the sophisticated tools, the therapeutics that that are coming and that some are here. Can you just talk a little bit -- I mean that let's talk about Regeneron you've been optimistic about it. It got obviously a big endorsement from President Trump because he was able to receive it. He's calling it a cure. He's calling on regulators to give an emergency use authorization. Do you support the idea of the emergency use authorization? And I assume it's not a cure?

GATES: No. Well, the word cure is a bit of an over promise. You know, that makes it sound it looks like works for everyone. And the whole concern about this disease should go away. And that's the last thing we want people think about. The monoclonal antibodies, which is what Regeneron is, that's always been the most promising therapeutic category. The other therapeutic categories, the antivirals, like Remdesivir is only had modest benefit. There may be one more of those, you know, plasma or hyperimmune globulin is still unproven. And that looks like it'll be a fairly slow track. And so the most exciting thing, that for many months, our foundation others have been working on and talking about, are these monoclonal antibodies. There are several companies, Eli Lilly Regeneron, are going to be two of the first later after AstraZeneca and Veer. And so the supply will go up, that early data looks quite good. You know, we saw in the Lilly data that over 60 percent of the people who got it early, there was a 60 percent reduction in the number that needed to be hospitalized. Now as we get to larger numbers our confidence in that will go up. But --


COOPER: So that's something that would be given to people early on after they test positive?

GATES: Yes. So, the Dexamethasone, which is really the only significant intervention drug we have is a late stage. In fact, it's a little confusing why, in the case of President Trump that was given when it when it was. You know, it modulates the immune system, which has a net benefit in late stage. The monoclonal antibodies, if you test positive like he did, and then your oxygen is going down, and you're above 60, that is a perfect target for the monoclonal antibodies. Eli Lilly feels they can help patients with quite a bit less, more like 0.7 grams than the 8 grams that President Trump got. And the lower the dose, of course, that means not just a few people, but lots of people, not just in the United States, but elsewhere could get it.

And so, our foundation reserved factory capacity to make monoclonal antibodies about six months ago. And now with Eli Lilly, we're putting those into the factory. And if everything goes well, the cost of this intervention could be only a few hundred dollars or even under $100 if things went really well. We need to prove that a quite a small dose as low as 0.3 grams is effective.

COOPER: The -- I know the Trump administration had put limits on stem cell research by the federal government and Regeneron, I believe uses embryonic stem cells or the -- it was developed with that, with that use has that been? Is would that be an issue moving forward for widespread use and disparate distribution of it?

GATES: Well, not outside the United States certainly. I don't know the facts on that.


GATES: You know, when there are -- when there's that type, you see chooser cell lines that are usually decades old. So it's not something that's connected to any current controversy activity. You know, and it's very helpful for testing quite a few things, and both in the vaccine area and in the antibody area. But I don't know, in this case, exactly what happened there.

It is ironic that Trump, you know, when I met with him the whole idea of vaccines, he was a vaccine skeptic, and got me talking with people who just didn't believe in vaccines. Now, you know, we need leadership to show that we're really not going to approve something until it's safe. And, you know, the country really depends on getting back to normal on vaccine progress.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, that it's a huge concern about even what if there isn't when there is a vaccine, if there is a vaccine that works and it's able to be distributed, will people actually take it? You know, Kamala Harris was asked about this at the debate. She said, if, you know, Dr. Fauci at the CDC said, take it, she would take it, the scientist said, take it, she would have if President Trump said take it, and the scientists didn't, she wouldn't. What do you look for when deciding to take something or not? I assume you followed science?

GATES: Sure, it was bizarre that the White House was trying to block the FDA from requiring a two-month safety database and very, you know, they claim the companies were pushing that there's no way that's true. And so, it's really novel, that you get political interference with a regulatory agency that has its integrity and independence. You know, we saw that with the plasma announcement where they embarrassed themselves out of the vaccine announcement, I don't think they'll make that mistake again. In fact, they stood up to the White House, and the guidelines were updated, which is a very positive thing.

So, you know, the FDA, including its outside experts, the company's, you know, I think the data will come out, not everyone will be willing to take it right away. But if they see the first 20 or 30 percent, taking it, and they see that they're getting a benefit and you're not reading about a lot of adverse side effects, then I think more people will be willing. And we need to really drive this thing down to get well over 70 percent. So eventually, it's got to be quite properly accepted.

COOPER: Dr. Rick Bright, who is the former pandemic preparedness chief who quit after being moved to NIH and ostracized. He spoke to CNN today about the administration's honesty about the pandemic and what's happening with scientists and I just want to play some of that for our viewers and ask you about it.



RICK BRIGHT, FMR NIH DIRECTOR: He has never told us the truth about the risk of the seriousness of this outbreak. He has not told us the truth about his status and when he was infected, you're right. When you hide the truth, and you're not transparent, you're hiding something much worse. And by hiding that, by lying to the American public and not telling us his full truth, you're actually prolonging the duration and the impact of this pandemic. You're actually allowing more people to die.


COOPER: It's just the reputation of the CDC and other agencies, there's obviously extraordinary people, thousands of them who work at CDC and the FDA, and are experts in their field. And it's the, you know, the gold standard for information on epidemics and the like. How does the reputation of these agencies, I mean, can it bounce back, given all that's been going on to the political pressure that's been put on them?

GATES: We need it to bounce back. And we'll have to do a post mortem. No one expected the politician to grab the microphone in this way. The CDC is trained to talk to the public. Tell them the truth, phrase it in a way that, you know, even though it's somewhat bad news, people get ready for this. And they, you know, they made some testing mistakes early on, but then their voice really how -- where is it? You don't see it hardly at all.

And so, when you listen to a politician who doesn't have the background in these things, of course, you know, that there's a tendency to think, well, what to the people who are expert, what do they think, what are they saying, somebody who's willing to say, hey, we've got a big challenge that we're going to have to work on together, including changing our behavior, wearing masks being at that top of the list. So, it's been amazing that Dr. Fauci has been willing to speak out, and, you know, well admired for the role he's played. You know, thank goodness, that there's at least some expertise getting through the, the bureaucracy.

COOPER: You know, I just talked to Chris Murray, and on some of the projections, and I think the latest one they're looking at is like, 400,000 deaths in this country. I can't remember which, by the end of January, or beginning of February or the beginning of January. But I mean, that's an extraordinary number. Do you think this is worse than the than the so-called Spanish flu pandemic back in, you know, 1918?

GATES: Well, the Spanish flu, we had no ability to make therapeutics or to make a vaccine. And so eventually, that had to develop herd immunity. And it went through two very tough years, even a little bit of a third year before it burnt out. And so, the deaths are of that by the time it was done, are much higher than we've had so far.

COOPER: Yes, it was like 675,000.

GATES: If the vaccine works, we won't suffer the millions of deaths in the U.S. that that the Spanish Flu cause. COOPER: Earlier today, I spoke with a former director of the CDC, Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, for a town hall we're doing airing this weekend, I asked him what life might look like once a vaccine is available. And I just want to play what he said.


JEFFREY KOPLAN, FMR CDC DIRECTOR: The idea that we can just throw everything away and don't need those masks, or the other actions we've been taking and go back to an earlier era of how we live is highly unlikely. Their performance of the vaccines, some of them may be helpful, but not utterly, a preventive or curative, and in which case masks just in saying that everything that we repeat over and over again, will go -- will be part of our life for some time to come.


COOPER: He also made the analogy that when HIV was first identified him 40 years ago, the Secretary of HHS at the announcement said that they would have a vaccine within a year and obviously 40 years later, we still don't have one. Do you think he is right that it's unlikely we go back to a maskless era?

GATES: Well, HIV is a very difficult target that mutates more, and Dr. Fauci actually did tell people who are giving over optimistic projections that he didn't think that was likely. So, this is a very different target. But the statement that was made is quite valid in that for three reasons. First of all, the early vaccines, although they'll meet a threshold of effectiveness, that effectiveness won't be super high, so we might have to wait to a second generation vaccine. Second, you've got to get very big coverage of that vaccine, probably over 70 percent. And third whenever the virus is outside the U.S., we cannot block things so that won't come in.


So you see, countries that actually have done quite well whether Germany or South Korea, Australia, they are having these reinfections. And so the things that are great risks like crowded public events, restaurants, bars, those, we have a lot to do in terms of quality of the vaccine coverage and global before you really are back to normal. Some things as the vaccine starts to roll out. We should be able to use that to let young people go back to school, because that's such a priority.

COOPER: The Gates Foundation put out its annual goalkeepers report last month, and it's always fascinating to read. It showed the effects of the coronavirus that they really stopped 20 years of progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals. And the by nearly every indicator, the world has actually regressed. It's not just directly coronavirus related. It's all the things that aren't being done because of coronavirus, the distribution of other vaccines and other treatments and HIV drugs. I mean, it's an incredibly sobering assessment.

GATES: Yes, sadly, the disruption of the health system broadly in Africa because they're direct coronavirus deaths are still luckily not gigantic outside of South Africa. These disruptions to the health system are accounting for a lot of the deaths. So they number of deficits we've created with this are very large. Our goalkeeper support is mostly well-known for being optimistic because all the years up till now, we document the slow but positive progress to reducing malnutrition and child to death. And so, most of the time you once a year you can say wow, humanity, it's better off today by these key measures, but the pandemic has been a gigantic setback. And even in areas that are very indirect on people might not be fully aware of.

COOPER: Just bottom line, someone watching this tonight, a year from now. Do you think they'll have to still wear masks when they go outside? Or should you still wear masks when they go outside?

GATES: I think if you're -- if theatres are opening, you're going into a theater. If there's some spacing in sports events, I don't think we will have done the elimination that is I think somewhere in the world for the next two years there will be this virus. And so, a lot of the things that can cause super spreading events will be very restricted even a year from now. But I do think that we're likely to have a vaccine, we'll have some coverage and so certain activities like a K through 12 high school, a lot of colleges that we'll be able to get back starting in the summer and even more as we move into the fall.

COOPER: Bill Gates, it's always so great to have you. I've always learned a lot I really appreciate it. Thank you.

GATES: Thank you.

COOPER: A quick programming note there's going to be a special edition of our CNN Global Townhall Coronavirus Facts And Fears, Saturday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Sanjay Gupta and I joined five former directors at the Centers for Disease Control. There'll be on hand to answer your questions about the coronavirus.

There's breaking news now on Hurricane Delta. The National Hurricane Center says the storms continued to strengthen it's now a Category 3 where it's headed and the latest forecast, when we continue.



COOPER: It's breaking news as we end this busy Thursday. Forecasters say Hurricane Delta strength into a Category 3 with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour as it heads toward the Louisiana coast. It's aiming for the same general area hit hard by Hurricane Laura just six weeks ago.

Tom Sater in the weather center for us tonight. What is the latest? When and where is this going to hit?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGST: Well, currently Anderson it's about 300 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, it is growing at only intensity and Category 3, as you mentioned, that's a major hurricane, but it's getting larger. And that's a big concern. It wasn't one time a category for the strongest Greek letter name hurricane just before Cancun where it made landfall, it dropped an intensity to a strong Category 2. Structural damage, power outages throughout the region. The good news is they were able to evacuate everyone, the tourists were given one hour to pack up the things and they flew them out of there, no fatalities there. But now it's growing in its size. The wind field is expanding, which means it's going to affect a larger area. But the models have been in a crazy agreement, all really pretty much confined to the same region. So, we're going to lean into that. And these warnings you see here in red and tropical storm warnings are blue look very familiar to this day. Six weeks ago, it was hurricane Lara. Tropical storm force winds on the coast by morning, they'll move up and notice Houston, you're going to be buffeted by some of these and as well as New Orleans.

So that is a big concern. Strong winds at landfall, we believe about seven, maybe give or take an hour. It could drop to a Category 2 Anderson but it also could stay as a major Category 3.

COOPER: Just -- how historic has this hurricane season been?

SATER: Oh, this -- well, I mean, take a look at this first, the state of Louisiana has had three named storms make landfall, tomorrow will be the fourth that is unprecedented never happened before. Hurricane Laura's path in yellow and Delta could be at landfall within 10 or 15 miles.


SATER: A very vulnerable area. I mean, there are thousands of buildings that have blue tarps. They had 30,000 homes destroyed six weeks ago, another 35,000 that have damage, they're still building the power grid, 20,000 people Anderson. Right now are still living in hotels. So it's extremely vulnerable. And if you look at our season, we have had nine storms that's the record so far, nine storms to make landfall in the U.S. that record goes back to 1960. We're going to break it tomorrow.

Right now, Delta is the 25th name storm of the year, the record is 28.


SATER: From 2005 and we have seven and a half more weeks to go.


COOPER: Tom Seder. Appreciate it. Thank you. We'll be tracking it.

The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris.