Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
President Joe Biden Calls Summit With Vladimir Putin Positive; Biden Testy With CNN's Kaitlan Collins After Question On Putin's Behavior; Rep. Gosar's Sister Speaks Out About His Extremist Views; Arizona Ballot Auditors Project To Finish Hand Recount June 26; Former WH Adviser: Dangerous Delta Variant Is "Like COVID On Steroids"; House Approves Bill To Make Juneteenth A Federal Holiday. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 16, 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: All right, thank you very much. Appreciate it, Will. And pretty incredible stat there from Will, only Chinese speaking democracy in the world.
Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. President Biden is airborne heading back from his Summit with Vladimir Putin. He departed Geneva with a distinction not publicly siding with the Russian dictator against his own diplomats and Intelligence Community and allies as his predecessor did.
Apart from that, this was simply a normal meeting between a super power and a far less influential, but still quite difficult adversary.
President Biden's meetings with Putin ran shorter than expected. The President said afterwards, "I did what I came to do."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line is, I told President Putin that we need to have basic rules of the road that we can all abide by. I also said there are areas where there is a mutual interest for us to cooperate, for our people, Russian and American people, but also for the benefit of the world and the security of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, to that end, the President says he warned against further Russian cyberattacks on the U.S. He also promised devastating consequences if the dissident, Alexei Navalny were to die in prison and he brought up the cases of two Americans detained in Russia.
However, he also sought to tamp down the impression that either side is seeking to rerun the Cold War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: I don't think he is looking for a Cold War with the United
States. I don't think it is about -- as I said to him, I said your generation and mine are about 10 years apart. This is not a Khumbaya moment as we used to say back in the '60s in the United States, like, let's hug and love each other.
But it is clearly not in everybody's interest, your country's or mine, for us to be in a situation where we're in a new Cold War and I truly believe he thinks that and he understands that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, for his part, Mr. Putin deflected and denied accusations of Russian misconduct, but also expressed a measure of hope for the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As for the first general appraisal, I think there was no hostility, quite the contrary. Our meeting took place principally speaking many of our positions. We don't share the same positions in many areas, but I think that both of these sides showed a willingness to understand one another and to find ways to bring our positions closer together.
The talks were quite constructive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In other words, about what you'd expect after most ordinary Summits. This one did, however, bring out a testy side of President Biden. He snapped at this question and follow up from CNN's Kaitlan Collins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why are you so confident he'll change his behavior, Mr. President?
BIDEN: You know, I am not confident he'll change his behavior. Where the hell -- what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?
COLLINS: You said in the next months, you'll --
BIDEN: I said -- I said -- what I said was -- let's get it straight, I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them, and it diminishes their standing in the world. I'm not confident of anything. I'm just stating a fact.
COLLINS: But given his past behavior has not changed, and in that press conference after sitting down with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyberattacks, he downplayed human rights abuses. He even refused to say Alexei Navalny's name. So, how does that account to a constructive meeting as President -- President Putin phrased it? BIDEN: If you don't understand that, then you're in the wrong
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: After he said that, he left for the airport and home, but not without saying this to reporters out on the ramp.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I owe my last questioner an apology. I shouldn't have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave. Anyway, thanks for being here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Perspective now from Fiona Hill, the National Security Council Senior Director for European and Russian Foreign Affairs during the last administration. She is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Ms. Hill, having been at the 2018 Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, I am wondering how you think today's events in Geneva compare.
FIONA HILL, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AND RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Well, I think it's very hard to compare with the Helsinki Summit in terms of the optics of it from the outside and the press conference that was, of course, something of a debacle, the press conference after Helsinki.
But in terms of the actual meetings themselves --
COOPER: You think, by the way, you've said that you would wish you could pull a fire alarm or something to kind of stop all of that. It was extraordinary what happened in 2018.
HILL: It was. I think, you know, probably with the exception of the view of the press who obviously, had a lot to report on after that, most people watching it probably wanted to pull the equivalent of a fire alarm or switch the TV off.
I mean, I had colleagues who said they spent the whole time screaming at the television as it was going on.
But you know, it really -- the press conference didn't add up to what had actually happened at the meeting before hand in terms of the substance of the meeting. I think, there you can make some comparison because the desire of both sides in Helsinki was to try to put the relationship, you can't sit on a normal footing because we're in an extremely confrontation relationship with Russia.
HILL: But, at least, on a footing where there wouldn't be hyperventilation every time we were having meetings. Now, there would will always be some drama around meetings of the heads of the state, but where a meeting between the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister counterparts, even the Ministers of Defense at all kinds of other levels of the government wouldn't seem extraordinary because we would then be giving diplomacy a chance to do its work and to try to see if we could find some way of taking down the confrontation between Russia and the United States by a couple of notches.
Well, what happened in Helsinki at the press conference just ratcheted out of all proportion again, but there are some similarities in terms of what has come out of the meeting in Geneva and the meeting in Helsinki in terms of agreeing to have strategic stability talks, some talking about cyber -- although, there was less of that discussion -- Helsinki that has of course become pretty crucial and essential now and there was agreements of more regular meetings between the professional staffs of the U.S. and Russian government.
So, there is a little bit of overlap there with the exception, obviously, of the press conference.
COOPER: When -- you know, there is sort of the hint of talks on cyber issues, obviously, the Russian government is well-aware, I assume and correct me if I'm wrong on the hacking groups, which exist in their territory, and I mean, nobody -- none of the groups could exist, I assume, without the permission of Vladimir Putin.
So, is having talks --
HILL: Well, you're assuming right.
COOPER: Does it matter if they are willing to have talks as long as they are willing to continue to support hacking groups?
HILL: Well, that's what we're going to have to push. I mean, talks are no good unless there are results and there is an awful lot of criticism about talking for the sake of talking and in fact, you know, the previous administration actually tried to avoid having cyber talks beyond the very basic working level because of precisely this problem and you know, I'm sure that this administration is equally aware of it.
And you know, the problem that we have in these ransomware attacks is twofold. First of all, the Russian government can agree with the United States government in a formal context to basically shoo any kind of attacks on critical infrastructure and indeed, President Biden said that a whole list of areas that were completely off limits and where there would be a pretty hash response that have been handed over to the Russian government. I think he said 16 areas.
But you know, your big problem is of course, if hackers and criminals are basically attacking the same systems and so, you know, is there some kind of mechanism within that agreement to have the respective governments go after them?
And I think, you know, President Biden also said, well, look, how would you guys feel if your oil infrastructure, for example, your pipelines were being basically attacked and infiltrated and hacked by some guy sitting I think, he said in Florida or Maine. He was obviously just he plucking a couple places out of the air. But you know, the Russians as he related you know, just sat back
there. I mean, the problem we always we always have with the Russians is they want to tie our hands, but leave themselves with freedom of maneuver and there is one thing that Putin has said in the meetings that I have been in with him that we have to pay careful attention to.
He usually says well, the Russian state didn't do that. Well, yes, okay, the Russian state didn't do it, but what about all of these other non-state actors that you're not reining in? And that is really where we have to pay an awful lot of attention when we go out of this.
You're absolutely right, Anderson, that is going to be the problem area.
COOPER: Leading up to the Summit, I mean, much was made of the tactics that Putin has used to, you know, throw off his counterparts or just irk them or try to show dominance, arriving late being one of his most common plays.
He didn't do that. He seemed to show up on time. Things seemed to go pretty much according to plan. Actually, the meeting was shorter than some expected. Did that tell you anything?
HILL: Well, it did show that he was taking it seriously. I mean, in some respects, he is supposed to be the host of this meeting, so, you know, showing up late to your own party, you know, well, Putin is renowned for this, but you know, I think it was signaling.
I've been at other meetings where he hasn't actually been appreciably late, meetings in the Kremlin for example, where I've gone with delegations and he does appreciate a business-like manner and when there is a full agenda.
So, I think he was signaling there that they did want to get down to business and they did want to get through everything.
That in itself, of course, isn't something you can take home to the bank and the question will be, you know, how did it go afterwards? And of course, we did see in his press conference that he didn't miss an opportunity to turn everything back aground at the United States, particularly on human rights, persecution of opposition and the politics.
He didn't miss a beat at all when he was basically trying to denounce the United States and put a rather dark shadow on the U.S. behavior. So, you know, some things don't change that much.
COOPER: Yes, I feel like they have been doing that since the Soviet days.
In the post-Summit press conference, President Putin was asked about President Biden and I just want to play what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PUTIN (through translator): If you ask me what kind of partner to look
at President Biden is, I would say that he is a very balanced and professional man. It is obviously clear that he is very experienced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In terms of possible praise from Vladimir Putin, was that unusual or is that sort of pro forma and what you expected?
HILL: Well, no, that's not bad. I mean, but it is a signal of basically saying he wants to do business. I mean, if you actually look at the record of Putin's meetings with Presidents now going back to George W. Bush, he has always been quite keen on sitting down with American Presidents and, you know, getting down to it in terms of thrashing out a whole host of issues where he wants to see Russia's interest respected.
You know, other times, of course, it's obviously been more valuable to him to just try to score a cheap political point and to push our buttons. Clearly, that was what was going on at Helsinki. It is often being at other meetings as well, but look, I do think that Putin has reached a point where he may be interested in just taking the temperature down ever so slightly and not getting things out of control.
COOPER: Fiona Hill, I really appreciate it. Thank you.
HILL: Thanks so much, Anderson.
COOPER: More to talk now with CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto and CNN chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward join us from Geneva. Clarissa, so President Biden said he did what he came to do. What were the tangible deliverables, so to speak, that out of this Summit?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the Biden administration was clear from the get-go that tangible deliverables might be few and far between. We heard Putin say that they were speaking the same language and now, the question is, does that translate into something more substantive further down the line?
They issued a joint communique where they talked about this strategic stability dialogue, cooperating on areas of arms control, potentially on Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran, a host of different issues. The big ones, though, obviously reinstating the Ambassadors, which is certainly significant, and the other one is announcing the beginning of a dialogue potentially about a prisoner swap.
This is something, of course, the families of the two Americans who are currently being held in Russia are very, very keen to see transform into something substantive. The Russians are asking a really high price.
They want this sort of infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout released as part of an exchange. Unclear whether the U.S. has appetite for that, but certainly, I would say that was one of the more hopeful moments in that press conference from both of the world leaders giving the sense that that could be something that would translate into a deliverable further down the line.
COOPER: Jim, I mean, if President Biden's mission was to, as I have said, a low drama Summit, put Putin on notice with what the U.S. is unhappy about, without making, you know, having an international incident. Was the goal met?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, by the reduced managed expectations of this Summit, you can make a good argument it was. And by the way, from both sides, right, because both sides were managing expectations going in. No one was advertising, you know, some sort of breakthrough agreement on some of the real tough issues like Ukraine cyberwarfare, et cetera.
But you did have as Clarissa was saying, at least the promise of discussions about a prisoner swap, the exchange of Ambassadors and I don't think we should under estimate the importance of a turn from Biden's predecessor, as well, right?
If you compare Helsinki to Geneva. Helsinki, President Biden's predecessor undermined U.S. interest. He stood next to a Russian President and took his word over the word of U.S. Intelligence Agencies to the criticism, not just of Democrats, but also Republicans.
You had a U.S. President here very clearly state America's positions on core issues, human rights for instance. Biden said definitively, the American people could not have good faith in me as an American President unless I call out this kind of behavior.
Putin is not going to suddenly discover religion, right, on human rights but to have an American President stick to that precedent of saying this is an important issue for us, that's a marked change.
Again, you know, managed reduced expectations at least in that sphere, you can say something of a success for Biden, but also for Putin, right, because Putin gets equal footing with Biden in a Summit and that gives him power both internationally and at home.
COOPER: Yes, and Clarissa, you've obviously covered Alexei Navalny extensively and Putin, again, refused to say his name out loud at his press conference. I just want to play what President Biden said warning the Russian President of the consequences if Navalny were to die in prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia. What do you think happens when he is saying it's not about hurting Navalny, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny, and then he dies in prison?
It is about trust. It is about their ability to influence other nations in a positive way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It is interesting, you know, what he is saying is that, there would be devastating consequences for Russia. It is not necessarily saying the U.S. would act in a devastating way toward Russia. It's just -- he is saying that if Navalny died in prison, for Russia, it could be devastating on the world stage.
WARD: I think you've hit on something really crucial there, Anderson, and the Kremlin appeared to be calling the White House's bluff on this one.
The Kremlin doesn't believe ultimately that the U.S. is going to cross a certain line in terms of punishing Russia for its treatment of Alexei Navalny. They saw the sanctions leveed at the Kremlin and at the FSB as a result of the poisoning, as being not superficial, but let's say symbolic and they understand that President Biden has to stand on that stage and has to take a very serious tone and has to lecture about human rights.
But I don't think they don't believe that fundamentally, the U.S. would go much further than that even in a worst-case scenario where Alexei Navalny to die and we know from Putin's behavior on a host of different issues that how it appears on the world stage is not necessarily something that overly concerns him.
If anything, he appears to have embraced this sort of Machiavellian arch-villain reputation that on the one hand, he denies these things, but on the other hand, he somehow appears to not endorse it, but certainly find it amusing.
When he was asked on that NBC News interview about all the list of political proponents of his who had mysteriously died, he started laughing. So, I don't think there is a sense that anything is going to change in terms of Putin's treatment of Alexei Navalny based on what happened today.
COOPER: Clarissa Ward, Jim Sciutto, thanks so much, appreciate it.
We are going to continue the conversation in a moment with folks on the historical importance of this Summit particularly for President Biden that has built his reputation after decades of foreign policy experience as a Senator and then Vice President.
Later, Republicans trying to rewrite what happened the day of the Capitol riot. You know that, but the attempts continue. One Congressman being condemned now for remarks about Capitol Police saying -- one of those critics, his own sister, will join us when we continue.
COOPER: The Summit is not only a potential reset for the U.S.-Russia relations, it is a capstone for the career of President Biden who spent decades on the international stage, a dozen years as the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. He was obviously picked as President Obama's running mate in part, to help out with some foreign policy experience to the ticket back then.
Well, according to our next guest, Biden thrives on the personal relationship building that he believes is necessary with world leaders and places heavy emphasis on personality as a factor in foreign affairs. I'm joined by Biden biographer and CNN contributor Evan Osnos.
So, Evan, I'm wondering what your sense of what this Summit meant for President Biden.
EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's enormously important, I mean, for exactly the reason you mentioned, Anderson. He made a promise essentially to the American people. He said I am a skilled practitioner of foreign affairs. I am going to lower the temperature, I am going to bring America's position in the world and back into something that you will find more recognizable to what it was before the era of Donald Trump.
So there was a tremendous amount on the line. An event like this, particularly the first trip abroad casts a long shadow.
You know, we all remember when George W. Bush said he looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul. You have to put it in the context of this week, I think, to understand the meaning. You have to remember, he came into this saying that the goal at the G7, at NATO, and ultimately in this Summit with Putin was to basically tell the world that as he put it, the Democratic allies are tight. That was his word.
It was to try to sort of undo the damage of the last few years in which you had this unnerving scenario in which the United States was at odds with its allies and seemingly friends with its foes. So, he was there to try to rebalance the scales and not create an unforced error and I think, by that low standard, by that low expectation, he would probably consider as good enough.
COOPER: You said that when it comes to meetings like these, there are two subjects that President Biden is equally impassioned about. What are they?
OSNOS: Yes, this is an interesting one in this case, because over the years, you've heard Biden return to two big themes. One of them is actually his suspicion of Vladimir Putin, fundamentally. I mean, if you go back to 2014, I remember interviewing him at that point and he said, he didn't think that the United States was paying enough attention to the threat posed by Putin.
This was a time after all, we were paying more attention to Iraq and Syria and so on. Two years before the presidential election at which Russia interfered.
The other point, and this is sort of intentional with his first one is he also believes that personal diplomacy is essential. I mean, we know this, right? It's a big piece of how he thinks he can solve problems.
So, he has this problem. How do you deal with somebody who you fundamentally do not trust, but also, how do you bring that personal element? So, what he was trying to do today was strike a balance where he didn't do something that would indicate as if he has suddenly forgotten everything he has ever said and believed about Vladimir Putin, but also create an apparatus, an opportunity for them to try to produce a relationship.
Let's be blunt, he does not want it to be on the front burner. He wants the Russia relationship to be something that is sort of taking over in the background and not consuming his attention.
COOPER: There was a testy exchange between the President and CNN's Kaitlan Collins. I don't want to play it again because I don't want to make too much of it, but I just thought it was interesting for him to then later come back and address it.
I'm wondering what you made of that? I'm not sure what it says, but I just thought it was interesting.
OSNOS: Yes, it was interesting. Actually, you know, he obviously wished it didn't happen and he apologized for it and so on. It was a window actually into a side of him that people who work with him describe. Something I've written about which is that, he has a prickly side.
We think of him as a very genial figure on the public stage and he is, but in moments that are high pressure, high stakes, he can be very curt with people. He can sometimes be dismissive. He clearly thought he was in this case and tried to clean it up as he said, but you know, I remember once talking to an aide of his who remembered him getting off the phone with a foreign leader and it hadn't gone well and then Vice President Biden said, you know, don't ever put me in that position again.
So, he has a temper and you sometimes see it when the stakes are high.
COOPER: The President also said today that the last thing that Vladimir Putin wants is a new Cold War. It's also clearly something President Biden doesn't want. Is he mindful of his legacy at this stage or, you know, I mean, he is certainly mindful of the high stakes of this moment.
OSNOS: Yes, you know, I paid attention to that line, Anderson. I thought that was interesting because look, on a pure level, yes, Vladimir Putin doesn't want another Cold War. The Russians lost the last one and in fact, that was sort of the signal trauma of Vladimir Putin's adult life.
He was a KGB officer, you know, feeding documents into a furnace when the Berlin Wall fell in Germany. And yet, he seems pretty comfortable with what we could probably call something like a cool war with this chronic tension with the United States. He does not trust the United States. He has not since the fall of
Saddam Hussein. He came to believe the United States will always put pressure on and strongmen leaders like this, and the goal for Biden is to essentially, to figure out not how do you get rid of the challenge posed by Vladimir Putin and not how do you appease it or try to seduce it, but how do you manage it?
How do you make this a part of America's foreign policy portfolio but does not consume everything we are trying to get done in the world and does not ultimately throw us off track.
That's what this was about. It was about trying to create a system in which you can restore Putin to where he wants him to be in his list of priorities.
COOPER: Evan Osnos, appreciate it, as always. Thanks so much.
Coming up next, a congressman who won't even shake the hand of the police officer badly hurt trying to protect him from the mob attacking the Capitol. That and the other congressmen now trying to rewrite the history of that day, he won't talk to us, but we'll speak to someone very close to him who will and as you'll see, she's got plenty to say about the kind of man her brother is.
COOPER: When we left you last night 21 Republican House members had just voted against dishonoring the police who protected them on January 6.
Today, one of them refused to shake the hand of Officer Michael Fanone who was beaten that day, pepper sprayed him with the taser and suffered a heart attack. As for the congressman who wouldn't shake his hand Andrew Clyde is his name.
Despite having helped barricade himself from the angry mob inside the House chamber. He's the same one who subsequently compared the mob as breaching the Capitol to quote, a normal tourist visit. Brilliant (ph) when it was happening, didn't think it was so normal.
Then there is Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar. He's portraying the law enforcement officer who shot and killed one of the Capitol attackers as an executioner. Listen to what he asked FBI Director Christopher Wray at hearings yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Director Wray, do you know who executed Ashli Babbitt?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: No, I don't know the name of the person who --
GOSAR: OK. So, you agree that Ashli Babbitt was on arm? And the Capitol Police officer that did the shooting Ashli Babbitt appeared -- appear to be hiding, lying and wait and they gave no warning before killing her. Question again. Why hasn't that officer that executed Ashli Babbitt been named when police officers around the country are routinely identified after a shooting?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And keeping them honest, there's no point in us refuting the congressman's laws because the facts speak for themselves. Take a look at the photo from the other side of the barricade. Congressman Ruben Gallego's tweeted out saying this is where the Capitol Police Officer face, I took this photo minutes before the insurrection as was shot. He was the last line of defense between us and the insurrectionists.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney weighed in with this tweeting, on January 6 as the violent mob advanced in the House chamber I was standing near @RepGosar and helped him open his gas mask. The Capitol Police led us to safety. It is disgusting and despicable to see Gosar lie about that day and smear the men and women who defended us.
We wanted the congressman's take after e-mailing eight people in his office, texting and leaving messages, we got the following answer back from his chief of staff, thank you. We decline.
His sister Jennifer Gosar could make it however, she and several other siblings have campaigned against the congressman and more recently put out an ad calling out his lies about the insurrection.
Jennifer, first of all, appreciate you being with us. This can't be easy ever. I want to ask you about the comments that we just heard from your brother when you heard him say that. What goes through your mind?
JENNIFER GOSAR, REP. PAUL GOSAR'S SISTER: Well, first, thank you for inviting me to be on your show on giving me a chance to speak about this. What goes through my mind is what has been going through my mind. But, you know, but more intensely, right to have witnessed through, you know, live media on the day that it was happening to see the footage sense.
And now to see that not only does the NBA (ph) have far higher standards for their code of conduct of for sitting members. But then also to see that like our congressmen are actively trying to erase what is a very documented insurrection and does know that my brother is a part of that is not surprising to me, Anderson.
But it's something that it intensifies the frustration about the erasure that they're trying to enact, you know, with us as citizens in a society at the moment and also just stunt at the brazenness of it.
COOPER: The last time you were on CNN with your other brother Tim, you talked about how you believe that your brother Congressman Gosar to be partly responsible for that for the January 6 insurrection. Do you still believe that?
[20:35:02] J. GOSAR: Absolutely. Absolutely. I have no evidence to the contrary and it would be at least, you know, a requirement of our congressional body, the Senate and the House to investigate that, as they have tried, but the Senate has filibustered.
You know, I absolutely believe that. I absolutely hold the people that fund Paul's campaign and have continued to fund it like the American Dental Association PAC, I hold those people accountable for not speaking up, not putting on pressure. And to actually investigate what was a criminal act, and that I do still believe my brother was an organizer of or a part organizer of. And I have no evidence that contrary to suggest anything different.
COOPER: Your brother was a dentist before getting involved in before running for elected office. I mean, is this -- you campaigned against him when he ran for as currency in Arizona, as did other have a number of your other siblings did as well?
Is this just about him appealing to, you know, his conservative base and who are supportive for the president is just -- is this, do you think he knows better? Or do you think this is really what he -- does he really believed the person, you know, who was one of the people who was defending Congress people, it was an executioner?
J. GOSAR: Well, that's a rich question, honestly. Because I mean, the convenience with which Paul find stories to fuel his anger, his hate, and as bigotry, you know, does he believe at all? I think he probably doesn't, but it's so convenient. And he keeps telling himself that, that he's able to find the anger and fuel his rhetoric.
And it's also if, if this or razor isn't, you know, successful, then they have to answer to the American public. And the Congress, you know, in the Congress writ large, has to actually take, you know, make those members that were involved accountable. And all of the organizers and instigators of that insurrection.
COOPER: I think I don't understand is all, you know, people like your brother who are, you know, attacking law enforcement person. And, you know, denying what happened and claiming this was just in any other kind of visit by tourists when it was actually happening.
I mean, when Liz Cheney pointed out, you know, she helped him get out his gas mask, and he scurried off with everybody else to safety, which is the wise thing to do, because they were in danger. He certainly felt in danger at the time. The idea now that now that he's safe, he's changing the story for political reasons. It just seems really appalling.
J. GOSAR: It's despicable. I mean, and does despicable really capture it, you know, those are the best words I can think of. But to be honest with you, I think that it goes to the point of criminal.
And that's why I think the effort is so intense, because if they're not able to erase, and really like gloss over, and if people like, you know, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer, allow this to continue. If there's not a stronger effort to hold them accountable, like our Representative Pramila Jayapal did asking for an ethics investigation.
If efforts like that aren't taken, if measures aren't taken, then this campaign will be successful. And these criminal acts will not be held accountable. I think it's paramount to maintain the stability of our democracy. And I don't think I have to convince you about that. Anderson. I think that's something you probably are well aware of.
COOPER: Yes. Jennifer Gosar, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
J. GOSAR: Thank you very much. And also I just before I wanted to leave I wanted to say Happy Pride Month and I want to honor the celebration of Juneteenth this weekend.
COOPER: Appreciate you being with us. Thanks so much.
Up next, perhaps the strangest new strange twist and the already strange Arizona ballot recount so called. Why some of the voting data from Phoenix may be getting analyzed right now more than a thousand miles away in Montana. Details ahead.
COOPER: We've been following that so-called audit in Phoenix more than 2 million votes from the 2020 presidential election. The ballot examiners project they will finish their hand recount by June 26. There's another significant development which has gone pretty much on reported the so-called the analyzing of some of the votes are being done by a contractor who is taking copies of voting data to a spot in rural Montana.
Our Gary Tuchman has the story.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this piece of property in a remote part of Montana, people may at this very minute be analyzing voting data from the state of Arizona, as part of the so-called Arizona audit run by the Cyber Ninjas, a company whose CEO had previously espoused Trump's style election conspiracy theories.
What does Montana have to do with all this? Ken Bennett is a spokesman for the audit.
KEN BENNETT, AUDIT SPOKESMAN, ARIZONA SENATE: Everything that Cyber Ninjas is doing. They're either doing with their own expertise or the expertise of the people that they're hired.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And a contractor at hired is called CyFIR LLC. Bennett says CyFIR was permitted to take copies of Arizona voting system data on a truck and have driven to Montana where it's being quote, forensically evaluated, and what he described as a secure, powerful laboratory. But nobody is publicly saying what that actually means. And Bennett tells us he doesn't know where the so-called lab is. It is apparently a secret.
(on-camera): So as you might expect, we're left wondering where in the state of Montana are the copies of this voting data being analyzed. Where is the secure, powerful lab? Here's what we found out. CyFIR is a company that's based in Virginia according to its website, but CyFIR was spun off and is a sister company of a company called CyTech. And CyTech according to its website, is based in Montana.
Here we are right now south of the city of Big Horn. More interestingly, CyTech and CyFIR are run by the same exact person. And that person we're told is the man who drove in a truck, the copies of the voting information from Arizona to Montana.
So this property were CyTech according to the website is located also happens to be according to records where the CEO lives, his residents. So could the information be here? We can tell you as we walk up here, the first thing you see this big piece of land is a sign private property. Trespassing for any purpose is strictly forbidden violators will be prosecuted. So we can't cross this area.
We can show you though from this area, what looks like a cabin on this property. Is this the secure powerful laboratory? Is Arizona voting data inside that cabin. We just don't know. But it could be.
BEN COTTON, CEO, CYTECH: And the defense --
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The boss who drove the truck to Montana, according to the audit spokesman is Ben Cotton, who testified in a special meeting at the Arizona Capitol last month.
COTTON: I personally have over 25 years of computer forensics and incident response experience.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We reached out to Cotton to ask him about what kind of analysis is taking place. And this is lab on his property. He did not respond. So we did some further investigating from the air. And we see that in addition to the building, it looks like a cabin. There is on the right, a large house and the clearing. And on the left what looks like a barn and perhaps some trailers, but no people.
A real estate website shows what appears to be that large house and it all sits on 155 acres of land. So there is plenty of space here for a lab and plenty of privacy for the boss.
KATIE HOBBS (D-AZ) SECRETARY OF STATE: You can't make this --
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Arizona's Democratic Secretary of State said she's very concerned about what's going on nearly 1,300 miles north of Phoenix.
HOBBS: If it wasn't happening right in front of our eyes, we wouldn't believe it was happening.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Is there a deadline for finishing this Montana analysis? According to the Arizona audit spokesman, no deadline when it's done, it's done.
TUCHMAN: So normally, Anderson when election recounts an audit to take place outside observers are invited, Republican observers, Democratic observers, independent observers, members of the news media, but here in Montana, there's no indication whatsoever of any outside observers. It all seems rather stealthy. Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, so much for any transparency. Gary, appreciate it.
Up next, a searing reminder that the thread of COVID remains.
COOPER: The coronavirus variant first identified in India is quote, like COVID on steroids. That's the warning today from a former White House Senior Advisor. Right now the Delta variant as it's called accounts for 10% of COVID cases in the U.S. that is expected to rise. Now it's easy to forget, but the threat of COVID does remain. Americans are still fighting to live or bearing loved ones.
Ed Lavandera has more.
MICHELLE PREISSLER, HUSBAND DIED OF COVID-19: They caught all those crabs in that picture. Yes.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The collage from her husband's funeral still covers the kitchen table in Michelle Preissler's Maryland home.
PREISSLER: This is my husband
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Daryl Preissler died of COVID-19. Last month. She says the 63-year-old became sick after a family wedding and was hospitalized for a month.
PREISSLER: Thumbs up. And he's crying. He's scared. I'm scared because now it's getting worse. And he said to me, I'm going to make you a widow at 60. He goes, no, I know it. I know it. I dropped (ph) it two nights ago. I'm going to go to the sixth floor and I'm going to die.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Michelle says she was vaccinated but her husband was reluctant. She says Daryl was nervous, but planned to get the shot eventually.
PREISSLER: That's it. There's no more pictures to come. That's all. That's the hard part.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The decision haunts her now.
PREISSLER: And now I'm mourning, something that could have been avoided if he'd gotten vaccinated.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Josh Garza's medical history made him eligible to be one of the first to get the COVID vaccine. But he says he didn't want to be a vaccine guinea pig.
JOSH GARZA, COVID-19 SURVIVOR: I don't think it was a hoax, but I didn't think I needed to go as far as getting a vaccine for it. I felt like everything I did was enough to read by the recommendations.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): But it wasn't, Garza got sick and COVID-19 ravaged his lungs. The virus filled his chest to the point where you couldn't even see the outline of his lungs in the cloudy x-rays. Garza was in the Houston Methodist Hospital for four months and says he was days away from dying until a double lung transplant saved his life. Now you can see his lungs again. Garza says the vaccine would have spared him from this ordeal.
GARZA: I could do it all over again. I'd get it. No doubt. I wish people at least reconsider or at least listen to what we went through and hopefully you never have to go through that, ever.
LAVANDERA (on-camera): There's an old school summer tech revival, right?
REV. R.B. HOLMES JR., PASTOR, BETHEL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: This is old school summer tech revival.
If you'll hear and go get your life.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): At this point, Reverend R.B. Holmes believes the battle to spread vaccine acceptance will be won in local communities by trusted voices.
HOLMES: If we get five, 10, seven, you know, people fascinated during this revival, a best success story.
A virus, instead of vaccine.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Reverend Holmes leads the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida. For four days he led an outdoor spiritual revival next to the churches mobile health unit. Nurses administered 18 vaccine shots throughout the week.
HOLMES: We got to tell the truth that you have two options to take the vaccine or to take your chances with COVID-19.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Mike Lewis Jr. can't help but wonder if the revivals message could have saved his father's life. His father was known as Big Mike. For 30 years, Michael Lewis was a fixture working security at the front doors of the St. Petersburg, Florida nightclub scene. Big Mike was diagnosed with COVID in early May and died just four days later.
MIKE LEWIS JR., FATHER DIED OF COVID-19: It's tough. Oh, I lost a piece of myself. I feel like. LAVANDERA (voice-over): His son says he was never vaccinated because it wasn't a priority as the 58-year-old juggled multiple jobs, but this loss is a wake up call.
LEWIS: We're making appointments ourselves, my wife and I to actually, you know, get that done.
LAVANDERA (on-camera): This has changed your outlook on the vaccine now, right?
LEWIS: Correct, correct. You know, fears of motivated.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Reverend R.B. Holmes knows that too often it takes stories of pain and loss to motivate a flock, so he'll keep trying to convert the vaccine hesitant.
HOLMES: You're to say thank you Lord.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Into vaccine believers one soul at a time.
COOPER: And Ed Lavandera joins us now from Dallas. I'm wondering what the main reason people aren't getting vaccines and what shots are available for anyone who wants one?
LAVANDERA: Well, you know, in our reporting over the last several weeks for this story, we found a couple different reasons. There's a camp of people who are just politically opposed to it, believe that conspiracy theories, but there are also a number of people who are concerned have -- or anxious about it.
And then there are also a number of people who just said they haven't had time they haven't prioritized it. But, you know, those -- it's kind of a window into the reason why the vaccination rates in this country is starting to slow down. And it's really a sad story, because so many of the people that are dying now are unvaccinated.
So as we're coming out of this pandemic, in so many people are celebrating, there are thousands of families, Anderson suffering and the pain and the loss of family members who have died to COVID who have left wondering, could they have done something and gotten the vaccine to save their lives.
COOPER: Ed Lavandera, I appreciate it. And we encourage everyone to get vaccinated.
Just ahead, a new federal holiday honoring the emancipation of slaves approved on Capitol Hill. Details when we return.
COOPER: Federal holiday honoring the emancipation of enslaved people is expected to soon be law. Just a short time ago, the House passed legislation by a wide bipartisan margin day after the Senate unanimously did the same. Fourteen House Republicans voted against the bill. Once President Biden signs it June 19th will be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.