Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Donald Trump Records Final Video Media Message, Touts Accomplishments; Eighty-Plus People Facing Federal Charges In Capitol Riot, 300-Plus Investigations Opened; Sources Say Biden Crafting Inaugural Address To Unify Country In Crisis; Dramatic Video From Riot: "We Are Listening To Trump"; U.S. Surpasses 24 Million COVID Cases, Nearing 400,000 Deaths. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 18, 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: Her acquiescence. Thank you very much, Kate. I appreciate your time.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
BURNETT: And thanks to all of you. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. With less than two days until Joe Biden takes the Oath of Office, the city that treats Inauguration Day is at worst, a formality and at best, a celebration of democracy is locked down tight.
Tonight, there was a brief light show on The Mall representing the 50 states and U.S. territories, a celebratory touch, which tonight feels more like a reminder of just how far from normality we are.
Today, the Acting Defense Secretary said there is quote, "No Intelligence indicating insider threat to the President-elect," which in itself would be jarring, even if he hadn't said it with F.B.I. agents now screening thousands of National Guard troops to prevent just such a threat from coming to pass.
And that in turn, well, that's just incredibly sad. It's where we are, though, in large part because the outgoing President has brought us to this point by his words, his actions in these days, by his complete inaction in the wreckage.
As has become typical for weeks now, his official schedule for today contain nothing more than the following boiler plate. And I quote, "President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings." That's what's on his official schedule, which is kind of how a five-year old might describe what a President does.
He works from early in the morning until late in the evening and he makes many calls and has many meetings.
Now, of course, even that ridiculous description is a lie, which of course, is also where the President has brought us. George W. Bush actually woke up early every morning and got to work, so did President Obama; and neither one had as many Americans die in his watch as this President, not by a longshot.
At some point tonight or early tomorrow, deaths from COVID in this country will top 400,000. Earlier today, the case total hit 24 million. Think about that for a moment as you listen to the President last February.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15, within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That's a pretty good job we've done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the President boasting about the job he has done before actually doing the job, which he never did. But nearly 400,000 mothers and fathers and friends and neighbors now gone, think about that or think about how quickly he moved the goalposts just a few weeks later, and how willing he was to claim victory before the fact no less 400,000 or even 200,000 American lives lost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If we could hold that down, as we're saying to a hundred thousand, it's a horrible number, maybe even less, but to a hundred thousand. So we have between a hundred and two hundred thousand. We all together have done a very good job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We've learned since then that he never really took the job of saving lives seriously at all, or uniting the country in a shared purpose the way the Presidents of both parties have, in the face of every single other national crisis since the Great Depression.
The President was not interested before the election or after it and there's no indication he is using any of these many phone calls and meetings to make up for lost time. Nor is he just, for instance, devoting his time to getting more Americans vaccinated, or ensuring the incoming administration is up to speed even on vital national security matters.
No. Instead, he's dumping it all: COVID, a tanking jobs market, a failed rollout of vaccines, a divided country right into Joe Biden's lap. And while the virus will eventually be conquered, and jobs will return, the divisions will linger and no small part because the outgoing President who stoked those divisions with lies about the election has yet to disavow those lies, and he never will, nor have many in his party with some notable exceptions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Our lives were put at risk, because the American people, millions of American people were lied to about the election. Congress had no business, authority or power to overturn the results of the Electoral College and neither did the Vice President, and the President of the United States set the date, the time the location of this event that happened on Capitol Hill and the rhetoric leading up to. It is why all this happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And, again, as best we can tell, none of the President's many calls and meetings if in fact, there actually were any have dealt with what he has unleashed on the Congress and the country, and if there's any doubt that people rioting in the Capitol felt they were acting on President Trump's wishes, there is new video from inside the insurrection taken by a journalist for "The New Yorker."
We're going to let it play for a bit tonight because we think it remains important to show what was really going on there and how dangerous and disgusting the whole episode was and a warning with this video, some of the language is profane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fuck you, police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're outnumbered. There's a fucking million of us out there and we are listening to Trump -- your boss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "We're listening to Trump," that man yelled at Capitol Hill police officer, listening to a lie that again, so many Republican lawmakers simply will not flatly disavow.
You're about to see a question for Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, one of the President's principal enablers, and I guess he probably considers himself something of an attack dog for the President. But he's an enabler and this is his non-answer, answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMES MCGOVERN (D-MA): So my question for you is will you admit the Joe Biden won fair and square, and the election was not rigged or stolen?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): At 4:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 7, when we concluded our business on the floor, Joe Biden became -- Vice President Biden became President-elect Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: See that's the problem right there. He won't answer because I guess, he is scared of his own supporters, the Trump base, no matter how intellectually dishonest and absurd it gets. The two gentlemen went back and forth for some time. Then later, when
pressed by another committee member, Congressman Jordan said quote, "Yes, he won. But there are serious problems with this election that deserve an investigation." He just can't quit that big lie. The big lie the President of the United States will likely go to his grave repeating to anyone who will listen.
CNN political analyst and "New York Times" White House correspondent Maggie Haberman tweets that the President quote, "Has continued to tell advisers and allies he really won the election with less than 48 hours to go before he leaves office." That's according to his -- that's according to aides she says.
In addition, she reports that associates to the President tell her that he continues to rail against House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who by the way has done serious damage to whatever reputation he had by lying so much for the President. But with Donald Trump, no amount of subservience or debasement is enough. He is according to Maggie's reporting using the same vulgarity about McCarthy, a word sometimes used to refer to a cat beginning with the word letter P, that he is also called the Vice President.
And as if on cue on this day dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his vision of healing, but also his call for honest reckoning with what divides us, the First Lady released a farewell video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, OUTGOING FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: In all circumstances, I ask every American to be an ambassador of Be Best, to focus on what unites us, to raise above what divides us, to always choose love over hatred, peace over violence, and others before yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So there's that. There's everything that the President is not doing to live up to those words. And there's perhaps the only thing he is still hard at work on, namely pardons.
Latest now from the White House is CNN's Jim Acosta. So how exactly is President Trump spending his final days in office? Because they actually sent a schedule, I mean, it's just -- it really is a child's description of what a President, you know, what a five-year-old might think a President does?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I should tell you that that the President has been dictating that to aides to put that in the schedule. So your description --
COOPER: Is that really true?
ACOSTA: That is true. So, I think your description is apt.
COOPER: I did not know that. ACOSTA: Now, you do. Yes, that is what has been happening in the last
couple of weeks, several weeks here. As for what the President has been up to, we do know that he recorded a farewell message, a video message this evening at the White House. This was done out of the view of the press, because he's been in hiding, avoiding reporters, like you and me, avoiding our cameras.
But that video message is expected to be released, obviously, before he leaves office. At some point, we're told during that video, he refers to the next administration. You know, he has also been having meetings with advisers and lawyers behind the scenes to work out who he is going pardon in these last remaining hours in office.
He has been getting security briefings because as you know, Anderson, this city has been turned into a fortress, essentially, to protect the American people from the President and his supporters. And you know, as Maggie has been reporting, and I'm hearing the same from my sources, the President continues to lie to the people around him that the election was stolen from him. So this lie that never dies, is one that he keeps repeating right up to the very end.
COOPER: And what's the deal with the farewell ceremony that the President wants for himself?
ACOSTA: Yes. Well, the President obviously he's not going to be at the inauguration of Joe Biden despite the fact that all of the signs out on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House are there to remind him that he is leaving office shortly. He's going to be over at Joint Base Andrews right outside Washington, it is going to be something of a sendoff that you would see for departing head of state. There's going to be a military band and a Color Guard, maybe a flyover, a 21- gun salute.
The President and his team, they've been sending out invites to people to come to this event. And Anderson, we obtained one of those invitations. It says that people who come can bring -- get this -- five guests of their own. They can bring five guests.
I talked to a Trump adviser earlier today who said he wants a big crowd. So Anderson, right up until the very end, it's all about crowd size with this President.
COOPER: Wow. That's how it started.
ACOSTA: That's how it started.
COOPER: Yes, I want to bring in a CNN contributor Benjamin Ginsberg. He served as national counsel to the Romney and Bush presidential campaigns. Ben, even if there are no plans for President Trump to pardon himself. We know he's unpredictable, certainly, so if he were to pardon himself, then what? Do you think it would almost certainly be challenged in court?
BENJAMIN GINSBERG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the way it would work is that the Justice Department, the Biden Justice Department, would need to bring some sort of indictment. Nobody can just take a self-pardon to court.
So there would be an indictment of Donald Trump, and then Donald Trump would have to go in and try and get the indictment dismissed on the grounds it was unconstitutional. That would be a long, convoluted legal process that would cost Donald Trump, private citizen, lots of money is winded its way up to the Supreme Court.
COOPER: And Ben, CNN is reporting that after the insurrection, the President's advisers urged him not to try to pardon himself, because it would make him look like he was guilty of something. Do you agree with that?
GINSBERG: Well, I do agree with that, and I think the other factor in what he is considering about his self-pardon, as well as many other pardons, I suspect, is that it's going to play before a direct jury that will be hearing his impeachment trial.
So if Donald Trump did all the impeachments he probably wants to do, that's going to have a really negative impact on the hundred senators, particularly the 50 Republican senators who feel that they have been put in uncomfortable position after uncomfortable position by what Donald Trump has done.
COOPER: Ben, you know, I want to get your perspective. I mean, you were central to one the most contested elections in history, Bush v. Gore. Yet even after all of that, then Vice President Gore and Governor Bush met during the transition. They were cordial.
President Clinton hosted Governor Bush to the White House. They all went to the Inauguration, as is tradition. Did you ever think you'd see a sitting President treat his successor and more importantly, the office of the presidency and the voters the way this President is treating Joe Biden?
GINSBERG: No, I thought the Florida recount was as close to contentious as any election could possibly be. Al Gore did what was clearly in the best interests of the country, including presiding over the electoral vote count in the joint session of Congress. And that was the way you would expect the American traditions, which made us strong over the years would be carried out.
And that's why this is so distressing. And again, particularly to the 50 Republican senators, who really most of them all know better.
COOPER: Jim, who is left around President Trump? I mean, I read that Kayleigh McEnany has left and gone to Florida somewhere. Who is around the President?
ACOSTA: Not many people, Anderson. I was just walking through the portions of the West Wing that we are allowed into a short while ago and the offices are empty. Most of the staff, the press staff has cleared out.
There are empty walls where there used to be picture frames of the President and the First Lady and so on. And right now, he has, you know, the people who have been feeding him this false information about the election.
These lies about the election, people like Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy, I talked to a source earlier today, familiar with some of the discussions going on inside the President's impeachment team, you know what impeachment team he has at this point, which isn't much.
And essentially, this source was saying that the President has been pushing away advisers and so on, who will not tell him what he wants to hear. And so Anderson, you know, this is not a President who is leaving office busting norms. This is a President who is leaving office, disgracing himself, disgracing his entire presidency. And really embarrassing the United States before the entire world.
What we're witnessing over the next 40 hours or so is something like we've never seen in more than a hundred years, and that's because most Presidents know better and they want to do what's best for the country. Donald Trump is not doing that -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jim Acosta and Benjamin Ginsberg, appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
We'll take a look more now at the security picture for that. Let's go to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, so what's the latest measures in place tonight?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, so Anderson, behind me military police now guarding the Capitol, which essentially has become like a military base. More National Guard troops arriving here today, more Secret Service agents out on the street and more law enforcement just all across Washington, D.C.
Today, being out here pretty much all day, I saw dozens of National Guard troops arriving in buses and also heavy military equipment being brought in.
One of the remarkable things to watch is the Capitol Police as these buses and as the military vehicles were coming in, they were using bomb sniffing dogs to check them out to make sure they were obviously no bombs on them. Certainly, very remarkable to watch as the police are checking on the military -- Anderson.
COOPER: And what the F.B.I. was said to be vetting National Guard troops involved in securing the Capitol during the inauguration. What's that about?
PROKUPECZ: Yes. Yes, so Anderson, one of the biggest concerns is extremism right now, all across the country. The fact that so many people have been consuming a lot of what's been on the internet, on social media. And obviously a lot of what caused the insurrection here.
So officials have been very concerned that some of the people, perhaps there could be an inside threat have been consuming some of this social media. So they've been scouring social media, Facebook for some of the people that they've been bringing in, law enforcement, and also the military concern that some of them have been consuming this.
There's a really big concern over some of the extremism that is going on across the country. It's unprecedented times and it is something that this country has never seen before and there is a lot of concern, obviously that there would be a threat inside from the military or even law enforcement -- Anderson.
COOPER: Shimon Prokupecz, I appreciate you being there. Thank you.
Some perspective now on how far from normal this all is, Jeh Johnson served as Homeland Security Secretary under President Obama. He joins us tonight.
Secretary Johnson, thanks for being with us.
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: You ran the overall security for Trump's inauguration four years ago. When you hear about the extra vetting by the F.B.I. of the National Guard troops. I mean, it's incredibly sad -- is that -- I mean, is that unprecedented? Is that something that would normally be done?
JOHNSON: Anderson, I can't help but note some of the cruel and really tragic ironies here. Four years ago, the inauguration that I had the overall responsibility for securing, Donald Trump stood on the Western Front of the Capitol and talked about American carnage. And a lot of us went wondered what he was talking about. But that's exactly what Donald Trump inspired week before last.
Seven months ago, you'll recall, he threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act and put American troops on the streets of Washington, D.C., in Portland and other cities. But that's exactly what we must do now, because of the violence that Donald Trump himself incited.
So, those insecurity and national security and law enforcement always are concerned about an insider threat. That is the most dangerous thing to look for. I do have a lot of confidence in our National Guard, particularly in our Secret Service, our F.B.I., don't forget that the National Guard in their private life are very often law enforcement officers, first responders, as civilians, and these people in law enforcement, gun carriers with a badge got where they got by going through a certain vetting process.
In the current environment, I do believe that a certain heightened vetting is appropriate here. I'm concerned that we may not be able to accomplish it all in such a short period of time.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, that's certainly, you know, given the number of troops and number of people involved, it's obviously a lot of vetting to do in a very short, short amount of time and it is very close to the event, obviously. JOHNSON: Yes, that's true. We're talking about some 25,000 members of
the National Guard, that's a lot of people. Again, I have a lot of confidence in these people. This event is what we refer to as NSSE, a National Special Security Event. The Secret Service has overall responsibility for it. They work with numerous law enforcement agencies to make the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, virtually impenetrable from land, sea and air.
So this will almost certainly be the most secure domestic event we've seen in a very, very long time.
COOPER: You know, one of the things that when you're running a security operation for a big event, obviously you know, your primary focus is the security, but one doesn't want security to overwhelm an event as well. An event that has, you know, national importance, global importance, you know, that is important just in the history of our nation, and I don't know what message is going to be sent with all the security given, you know, what we're used to seeing on Inauguration Day. I'm not sure what this Inauguration Day kind of looks like.
JOHNSON: That's a good question to ask. When I was in office as Secretary of Homeland Security, we had the 2017 Inauguration, three State of the Unions, three U.N. General Assemblies with a lot of world leaders, a Papal visit, and so forth. There is a balance that needs to be struck.
I recall in particular, when the Pope visited in 2015, we were very concerned about foreign terrorist organizations like the Islamic State, the Pope was determined to be close to the people he was visiting. And so we had to find the right balance there.
This Inauguration because of COVID and the security concerns, I wouldn't be surprised if there's between the attendees and the actual security personnel a one to one ratio. But what we'll see that day is a new President and a new day taking office, the Trump presidency will be over, and hopefully this very, very dangerous, and frankly, reckless experiment that we engaged in four years ago of electing Donald Trump, someone with virtually no qualifications for office and a lot of dangerous inclinations will be over.
COOPER: Before we go, today is obviously Martin Luther King Day. I understand you graduated Morehouse College like Dr. King did and you're a lifelong friend of his son. What message do you think Dr. King would have for the nation right now at this sort of during this crucible?
JOHNSON: I think he would be saying today, if he were alive what he said many, many times during his actual lifetime. We all are part of a single garment of destiny as part of an inescapable network of mutuality, what affects one directly affects all of us indirectly.
And those words now are as relevant as they were, at any point in the 1950s and 1960s. And now, we can rededicate ourselves to that principle, Anderson.
COOPER: Well said, former D.H.S. Secretary Jeh Johnson, I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, what we're learning tonight about what Joe Biden plans to say on Wednesday in his inaugural address, plus author and columnist Tom Friedman joins me, his take on this moment and any potential ways out of it.
COOPER: There is breaking news tonight on the inauguration what vice president elect Joe Biden will actually say. Our Jeff Zeleny has the latest from Wilmington, Delaware. So what are you learning, Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we're learning that this speech is really still coming together. It's in the final stages. And of course, it is one of the most -- it's the most important speech that Joe Biden has given in his life. And it's striking that it is on the very steps of the Capitol where he has delivered volumes of speeches inside, but this speech outside on the West Front of the Capitol, I'm told is still going to strike themes of unity.
He has been talking about that from the very beginning of this campaign, talking about restoring the soul of the nation. But that's not enough.
His advisers realize, and he realizes that is not enough for his task now. So he's also going to talk about themes of competence, really try and reassure Americans that, you know, the government is about to sort of right the ship, if you will, on the pandemic, on the economy, on so many other issues.
But I'm told this is not going to be steeped in details of policy, he is saving that for his first speech to a joint session of Congress in February, but it is going to be steeped in history, and also really answering the call that he has been saying all along that help is on the way.
COOPER: Do you know how much the draft of the President-elect's speech has changed since the attack on January 6?
ZELENY: Anderson, I'm told that some of it has. This is a very closely, very closely guarded speech. Only a few advisers have seen it. He, I am told, has been adding words over the last several weeks when he thinks of something and really over the weekend, he was getting into the final draft of this, but look the overall themes have not changed.
In fact, you know, the events at the Capitol certainly have just underscored and highlighted his call for unity. So he has been calling the rioters thugs. He's called them repeatedly that. We will see if he actually uses that language, you know, during his address. I would be surprised if he does, but certainly it changes, you know, some of the sharpness of it.
But the overall message, remarkably, has been the exact same since he, you know, jumped in this presidential race at the very beginning, trying to restore the soul of the nation. And now that's needed more than ever before, certainly after January 6.
COOPER: And tonight, despite the worsening pandemic, President Trump lifted COVID related travel restrictions for much of Europe, U.K., Ireland, and Brazil effective January 26. Obviously, he won't be President then. Has the Biden-Harris team said anything about that?
ZELENY: They did. They responded pretty quickly, Anderson, and the incoming White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki said, look, now is not the time to be lifting any travel restrictions. So essentially, not so fast.
You know, the Biden administration is almost in charge, they will be in charge by Wednesday, certainly by January 26th. So she says if anything, these restrictions are going to be strengthened because of the deepening pandemic, not lifted at all.
So this is one thing the Biden administration, of course, is able to stop the President from doing and they say they certainly plan to.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much. Whether it's the last minute moves by the outgoing administration or the challenges ahead for the next, it cannot be overstated how far from normal all of this is.
I want to talk about it with "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman, bestselling author of a number of books, among others, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree." Tom, what's it like in Washington?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST: You know, I woke up walk through downtown as much as I could with my daughter and her husband this morning Anderson and look, it's sad. The city is a warren of amazed really of cement blocks, preventing suicide bombers, military vehicles, I was able to get about a mile from the Capitol close enough to hear the band playing. It's just sad that this is going to be the backdrop for Joe Biden's inauguration.
But, we'll get past this. There'll be lifted, I just hope the barriers around the Capitol are permanent, because I just think it's really important not to let a few thugs reshape the face of this beautiful city.
COOPER: I mean, I do think it's going to be one of the extraordinary things about this inauguration is just how different it looks from what we are used to seeing, you know, the First Lady and the President getting out of the vehicle walking for a certain amount of time. And I'm wondering what sort of the message overall is sent because of this backdrop?
FRIEDMAN: You know, Anderson, this has been just such a bizarre year from beginning to end, the combination of a COVID-19 pandemic and a Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE). And we've just seen so much aberrant behavior and unusual things, that I think people are pretty punchdrunk. They just want this over. And when it's over, I think they'll put it in their rearview mirror.
COOPER: What does that say to you that the FBI feels the need to vet potentially up to 25,000 National Guard troops to try and ensure there's no internal threat? I mean, I was talking to Jay Johnson about this earlier. You know it makes sense but it's certainly sad.
FRIEDMAN: You know Anderson I think what we're just realizing now is what happens when you have the power of the presidency, the bully pulpit of the presidency, combined with 80 million Twitter followers and a president who really will violate any norm will just tweet conspiracy theories, lies, attacks on people and just say I'm passing them on. I think what we really saw at the Capitol is how deep that rot went, how many people in the country have been marinated? In these conspiracy theories, QAnon craziness. And it is frightening.
And so, you know, I've been thinking a lot lately, Anderson about what I learned, trying to combat Islamic radicalism after 9/11. And I think there's two things to really keep in mind here. The first is, ideas don't just win, they require power to win. You know, Bin Laden was powerful. When the Soviet Union collapsed, so did communism. When the you know, Nazi Germany collapse, so did Nazi-ism, America stood astride the world our ideas of free markets and free people for the 50 years after World War II, because we were strong.
So, the fact that Trump is leaving the presidency in disgrace, and the fact that his party may fracture, that is really important, because those bad ideas will not be harnessed to the power they had. But the second thing, and this goes to really what Jay Johnson was dealing it that we learned from the Middle East, is that these power -- these ideas, once they are embedded, they really require a war of ideas within.
So what I called first for so many years was the war of ideas within Islam, it was when Muslim leaders and Muslim clerics actually took on these ideas that they began to actually begin to shrink. And what we're going to need here is that is Republicans, conservatives to take on these ideas. There's got to be a war of ideas within conservativism to actually root this out.
You know, one of the things I learned from the Israelis, about after 9/11, I was in Israel in 9/11. And I asked them, what did you learn about suicide bombing? And they said, the most important thing we learned is that it takes a village. That is if the wider community says suicide bombing is martyrdom, then there'll be more suicide bombing.
If the wider as it's murder, then there'll be less. And what we need right now more than anything, is conservatives to call this out for what it is. That this is craziness, this is madness. It has nothing to do with conservativism. There has to be a war of ideas within the conservative movement.
COOPER: And yet, I mean, again, you've written about this a lot, particularly recently, you know, there are QAnon folks in the halls of Congress now, there are all these, you know, House members who still even after the insurrection, you know what, while the there were still rubble around the inside the halls of the Capitol, were voting to overturn the, you know, the will of the vast majority of Americans.
FRIEDMAN: Yes, it's terrifying. But, and there are many things that are necessary to root it out, you know. But I think the most important thing is that that party fracture, because if -- so, the reason these ideas scaled was actually the party was split inside the Republican Party, we've seen that.
But because they had the White House and the Senate, they were able to able to paper over a lot, cement over a lot of those splits with goodies. They will not have the Senate, they will not have the White House, you are about to see, I believe, conflict within that party. I mean, it will be scorpions in a bottle. And that's actually healthy, because that's that that fight has to happen. Because when that happens, if they are out of power for a while, there's nothing that cures crazy ideas in Washington more than being out of power.
COOPER: It's -- that -- it's that makes sense. It's interesting. I mean, like you see somebody like Lindsey Graham, who, you know, the night of the insurrection got up and said, you know, I'm out the this is, you know, I hate that it's ended this way, we had a hell of a variety. The President was a president consequence, which I don't, that doesn't really mean anything. I mean --
FRIEDMAN: A lot of consequences.
COOPER: Right. Exactly, exactly. But, you know, and then he gets, I don't know, if him being yelled at in the airport, which is always unpleasant to have that happen had a big effect. But now he's back on Fox talking to, you know, talking to the President and riding on helicopters to the President down to the border. I mean, you know, it's not exactly, you know, long lists of profiles of courage.
FRIEDMAN: Yes, I mean, you know, there's Lindsey Graham has danced at so many weddings, I simply have no clue who says it. It's just, but he's really typical of the party that has been willing to base itself to be close to power, but what happens when they have no power to be close to. And that's why, you know, for so many, these young men, I watched the video you had earlier updates, so reminded me of people I met in the Middle East, from some of these extremist groups.
All these young men who have never held power, a job or girl's hand, not all of them. But that's what you had young man who sort of had fallen behind, couldn't get married as a result, you know, couldn't even get a house or an apartment. And, and that's the third leg of this stool, which I'm looking forward to.
And that's what Joe Biden does. What he does to lift up the working class, the dignity of people, that that's also part of this story. And it's going to take a weekend party, a war of ideas within conservative movement, and a success by Biden and lifting the economy. And just bringing normal back to the country.
You know, Anderson, we're like abused children. You know, we've had this guy, it's we've never had this before, a president with the bully pulpit of the presidency and 80 million Twitter followers, injecting these terrible ideas into the mainline -- mainlining them into the minds of these people. What's so scary about those people in the capitals, they actually believed?
That's really scary. And so, we didn't get into this in a quick way, we're not going to get out of it in a quick way. But it does take a successful Biden administration. And it's going to take a real war of ideas within the conservative movement. And that's what you, I, the rest of us. Principal Republicans have to hold their feet to the fire for. Lindsey Graham is never going to deliver for you.
He's simply sold out to too many people. But there are people there, the list changes, we have to defend them. We have to protect them, we have to enable them, because they are -- they're taking the risk that they're the Muslims, you know, the Democrats who took a risk and took on Bin Laden and his ideas. We've got to say it.
COOPER: What does -- do -- what? I mean, do you have any sense of what President Trump's afterlife will be? I mean, how long he actually sticks it out in Mar-a-Lago before trying to slink back to New York? I mean, what do you think -- what does he become?
FRIEDMAN: You know, he's right now facing humiliation, liquidation and incarceration. And I think that's one of the reasons we haven't heard much from him. I mean, he must be staring at a really scary future. And, you know, one of the things we just have to tell everybody, OK, the Fox people, the Facebook people, that if you are trucking and if you are amplifying, and you're purveying these conspiracy theories, OK.
You have got to stop. You are really, really hurting this country. Rupert Murdoch, Laughlin Murdoch, Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg, what the hell are you people doing? What do we have to do to get you to realize that these ideas have been mainlined into people now? So far, so deep that we've had to check the National Guard to see who has been infected or not.
And so, every one of us we all have to be on our A game. By the way that includes the liberal press. You are all our institutions. You know, we've been mobilized, but we got to calm down to, we got to get back to separating news from opinion. We got to get back to people wanting to read our papers, watch our cable shows, because they trust it for the news.
And if we are -- because we were so mobilized against Trump, and if everyone's just been just on total edge, we've got to all calm down, but we also got to understand the stakes. If you are purveying conspiracy theories, you are an enemy of the nation. And if I see you on the street, if I see you at a conference, I am going to call you out and business has to do it. Politicians have to do it. Media has to do it.
COOPER: Tom Friedman, appreciate it. Thanks.
(voice-over): As rioters invaded the Capitol, a lot of them screamed out that they had been invited. Next, to look at how some of the President's inner circle helped lay the groundwork for the siege.
COOPER: With the inauguration now only hours away, there's still dark disturbing new images of the rioting coming to light as with those pictures from the New York, we showed you at the top of the program. Here's another excerpt, rioters chanting and screaming about a revolution and taking time to acknowledge Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Defend your liberty! Defend your Constitution! Defend your liberty! Defend your Constitution! Defend your liberty! Defend your Constitution!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1776.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're afraid of Antifa? Well, guess what? America showed up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Cruz would want us to do this, so --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The notion that thousands of these rioters thought they were expressly invited of course is no accident. Here CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The protesters came to Washington D.C. some of them prepared to storm the Capitol, because that's what they were told to do. A CNN analysis finds President Trump's inner circle, just like Trump himself has been spewing ominous lies militant language and helped stoke the flames of an attempted insurrection.
STEVE BANNON, FMR WH CHIEF OF STAFF: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: It has to be vindicated to save our Republic.
ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: We will win this fight or America will step off into a thousands years of darkness.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The battle cries wrapped in their delusional lies about a stolen election, Steve Bannon, who's Twitter and YouTube channels were removed for rhetoric like this.
BANNON: I'd put the heads on pikes.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Spent weeks on a podcast he calls the War Room comparing the Republicans fight to overturn a legitimate election to historic periods in the American Revolution and World War II.
BANNON: I met so many people to my life said man if I was in revolution, I would be Washington and Trenton. Well, you know, this is where -- this is for your time in history.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Ominously, this the day before the siege.
BANNON (voice-over): It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. OK, it's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in. You have made this happen and tomorrow it's game day.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The President's own lawyer, a constant war room guest with nonstop disinformation about election fraud.
GIULIANI: We should have stood up to Hitler. Stand up to these people, it'll stop.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): All the President's liars were all on the same page. January 6 would be monumental.
GIULIANI: Let's have trial by combat.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Roger Stone, the originator of the stop the steal slogan would speak in apocalyptic terms to protesters.
STONE: This is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): What is so frightening according to Heidi Beirich, an international expert on hate groups, is these are not members of the fringe hiding in corners. Bannon, Stone and Giuliani are confidence of an unhinged president.
HEIDI BEIRICH, CO-FOUNDER, GLOBAL PROJECT AGAINST HATE AND EXTREMISM: They're speaking to the President. And he's listening to them and he's then broadcasting these ideas out to as millions of followers. What we end up doing is having a dangerous feedback loop growing a radicalized population in the United States that some of whom are prone to violence.
GRIFFIN (on-camera): Those behind it now say that they were all speaking metaphorically for all these four years. Did you buy that? BEIRICH: I absolutely don't believe that they were speaking metaphorically. This is a social movement that has been building, has been organizing. Since Trump came into office, that we're getting more and more extremist, more and more people angry, and it just exploded on the sex.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It was building for months in social media, podcasts and dozens of stop the steal protests across the country. Ali Alexander, a key stop the steal organizer and Roger Stone ally told followers to prepare.
ALI ALEXANDER, PROTEST ORGANIZER: Haven't I told you this fight would escalate. And I said escalate, always escalate, always.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): On the day of the siege, Alexander was in Washington tweeting to his followers get down to the U.S. Capitol orders from POTUS.
JOHN SCOTT-RAILTON, CITIZEN LAB, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MUNK SCHOOL: I was tracking the stop the steal movement for months. And it began to feel like a cocked rhetorical gun pointed at the Capitol and that day.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): That day, January 6, before a crowd of thousands, many caught in the echo chamber of delusion from Trump's inner circle would hear the President himself pull the trigger.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): John Scott-Railton researcher at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab is concerned the mob is not through.
SCOTT-RAILTON: They're ready. It's what they've been prancing around in the woods playing dress up preparing for. And I'm just terribly worried that they weren't satisfied with what happened on the sixth then they're going to come back for more.
GRIFFIN: Of those mentioned in this story Anderson, Bannon and Giuliani did not respond. Ali Alexander claimed no involvement in the storming of the Capitol. And Roger Stone told us his lawyers will be watching for what he calls are defamatory attempts to say he is somehow inciting violence. Anderson.
COOPER: Drew, thanks very much.
Perspective from Andrew McCabe, the former Deputy Director of the FBI and CNN contributor and Kathleen Belew, author of Bring The War Home The White Power Movement And Paramilitary America.
So, Andrew you hear from that reporting from Drew and that the FBI is trying to vet some of the 25,000 troops in case there's any kind of internal danger to the inauguration. How concerned are you about extremist threats the next 48 hours? Or is it more in the coming weeks and months that concern you?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's really the coming weeks and months, I think the, the FBI and all of their partners across federal law enforcement in the military have done a remarkable job in securing D.C. for this event, I think we're going to have a safe inauguration, you may have isolated acts of disruption here and there. But there's, you know, anybody's chance of really causing a huge problem in the face of this massive force that's been brought in to protect the Capitol, you know, be very, very small.
So, I think they're doing the right thing, the responsible thing by checking, making sure that they're not inviting an insider threat, the concern that there might be somebody in that massive force that harbors extremist views. So there, that's a responsible check to make. But I think that the inauguration will likely be secure. It is the days and weeks that follow when the tail of this extremist movement is still lagging, that we have a real problem (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: And Kathleen, I mean, obviously, any group is aware of all the security precautions that are being taken in state houses now and around the Capitol. But, you know, in the weeks and months ahead, it's not always going to be that way. And there are plenty of other, you know, targets. If, you know, if what somebody is interested in is terrorism, as we all have seen from, you know, terrorism that comes from overseas or Islamic terrorism. We know that, you know, anybody can really do anything, if they're trying to just make a statement.
KATHLEEN BELEW, AUTHOR: Yes, one of the concerning things about white power activism, which is one of the militant rights strands involved in the groundswell we're seeing at the focus of our discussion right now, is that it's really organized around a model called leaderless resistance, which most of us would think of as simply cell style terrorism. But the idea is that one or a few people can carry out an act of mass casualty violence without a whole network of compatriots, and without the kind of deliberate ties that can be easily prosecuted.
Now, what that's meant over the history of this movement, which has been with us since the early 1980s, is that it's been very, very difficult to mobilize our resources and confronting this movement. So, I think the events this week are a notable exception in that, you know, our public discourse is focused on the inauguration, our law enforcement and surveillance operations are focused.
Our journalists are focused, everyone has their eye on this day, and that that may be enough to forestall danger right now. But I agree that the longer question is, what happens afterward? Because I think it's important to remember that the storming of the Capitol on the sixth, although some groups were using it for violent purposes, was not ever intended as a mass casualty attack.
We know that because the body count was so low, even had the bombs exploded. But this movement has carried out mass casualty attacks on infrastructure, on synagogues, on water supply, on gas lines, and on targets that like the Oklahoma City federal building where the death tolls have been quite large.
COOPER: Andrew, you know, as we mentioned earlier, in the video, the instruction captured by the New Yorker and released over the weekend. I mean, have you ever seen a trove of potential evidence and intelligence quite like that? I mean, this is all stuff that I mean, this is from the New Yorker from a journalist who was there, but all these people using their own cameras, and that's what the FBI has been rely on -- relying on in a big way to it.
MCCABE: Yes. You know, in the Bureau, when you're working investigations, you're very familiar with the phrase that sometimes we get lucky. And I think this is one of those times that the amount of video shot by the insurrectionists themselves is truly remarkable. I think many of the statements that were captured on the New Yorker video are going to become particularly problematic for -- could become particularly problematic for the President as he defends himself in an impending impeachment trial.
And you have people saying we are here because the President invited us, we're following the President's orders. He's your boss. It's going to be very hard for him to say that he never had any intention to incite or persuade these people to go do exactly what they did. Certainly, they got a very loud and clear message.
So, those videos are going to be important evidence not in those in -- not just in the individuals, prosecutions, but potentially also for the President.
COOPER: Kathleen with the President out of power and, you know, his bully pulpit are vastly less powerful, you know, assuming he can get back on some sort of Twitter like, network parlor or whatever it may be and you know how Have some radio show or something?
Does this just dissipate or does this just kind of not make the headlines as much? And I mean, the people who did this are still many of them are still out there and still have the beliefs they have, and still have the, you know, the anger they have, and the QAnon is still out there.
BELEW: It's all still out there. And I think more than that, the action on the sixth provided this huge recruitment moment for a lot of these groups. And we see already a concerted effort from the more extremist factions to recruit from the more mainstream people who were there that day. So, even the people who were there perhaps just to defend their First Amendment rights or just to participate in an action they believe they truly love the President might be victims of further radicalizing action by extremists.
COOPER: Kathleen Belew, it's always fascinating to talk to you, Andrew McCabe as well, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Up next, we have more breaking news on the lingering question on the COVID vaccine two full doses or with two half doses, or just as well. A preliminary answer from Dr. Anthony Fauci when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: There's more breaking news. As we mentioned the top of the hour, the United States has suppressed 24 million confirmed coronavirus cases and is nearing 400,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci said today that Americans should stick with two full doses of the current vaccines. Speaking today at Dr. Martin Luther King Day event on COVID-19 in the black community, Fauci said currently the quote, scientifically validated approach end quote for the Pfizer, Biontech and Moderna vaccines is to receive a full dose follow 21 and 28 days later, respectively by another full dose.
Dr. Fauci reveal that experiment on doing half doses each time showed the level of antibodies produced was the same as if someone received two full doses. Whoever he said they don't yet have clinical proof that half doses give it -- give the protection needed only lab data. They have to get that clinical proof and eventually they may get there. But for now, Fauci says stick with full doses if you can get them. (INAUDIBLE) you can.
News continues. Let's hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris.