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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Joe Biden Announces Six-Point Plan to Fight Pandemic amid Delta Surge and Stalled Vaccination Rate; A.G. Garland Announces Lawsuit on Texas Abortion Law; L.A. Unified School Board Approves COVID Vaccine Mandate For Students 12 And Older; Remembering 9/11 Victim Dorothy Morgan. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 09, 2021 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. It is unusual and extraordinary to hear a President and address the nation so obviously frustrated with millions of his own fellow Americans. That was the tone that President Biden struck late this afternoon as he announced a series of new steps to fight the coronavirus surge.

Frustration at Republicans fighting mask mandates in schools, many of whom had been defiant in their response to the new rules and guidance, but also as tens of millions vaccine eligible Americans who remain unvaccinated saying at one point we've been patient, but quote, "Our patience is wearing thin." Unsparing on who is to blame, equally blunt about the difficult road ahead.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact. We're in a tough stretch and it could last for a while.


COOPER: President Biden laid out a six-point program to combat the virus and we'll talk about them with the President's chief medical officer, Dr. Anthony Fauci and whether they can actually help reverse a COVID surge that has put cases and deaths higher than they were one year ago.

First, I want to lay out the basics of the administration's six-part plan. First, new vaccination requirements. Perhaps the headline here, employers with more than a hundred workers will be required to have mask mandates or weekly testing. Although, that testing comes with the requirement that the employer provide paid time off, failure to comply could mean fines.

Also a new mandate for Federal workers and contractors, plus one for healthcare workers at facilities that take funding from Medicare or Medicaid.

The White House is also calling on entertainment venues like football stadiums to require proof of vaccination or testing.

Second, the White House stressed the need to protect those already vaccinated with booster shots. That program is scheduled to begin in 11 days. Third, the White House is also promising to keep schools open. It will mandate vaccines for educators in federally funded programs like Head Start. It also calls on states to adopt vaccine requirements for all school employees.

Plus, the President says the government will restore pay to educators who lose income in state mask mandate fights like the one in Florida.

And fourth, increasing testing and requiring masks, there will be more free testing, also retailers will sell at-home kits at cost; and the T.S.A. is doubling its mask fines.

Fifth protecting the economy. The administration is promising more support for small businesses. Sixth and last, improving care for the already infected that includes more staffing for overburdened hospitals and increased shipments of monoclonal antibody doses.

So, there's a lot to cover. Joining us right now is Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci, you're obviously the President's chief medical adviser. What caused him to decide to try to move what is, you know, clearly aggressively and change his thinking on vaccine mandates?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, Anderson, I think, you can appreciate that by the tone of his voice and how he presented it at the press conference this evening.

He is clearly frustrated, and understandably so. We've done everything we possibly can do to get people to get vaccinated. We have trusted messengers, we've made it easy. It's simple, it's safe, it's free.

The data overwhelmingly show that in those areas that are under vaccinated, you're having a high level of dynamics of virus, and in those areas that are vaccinated, it is much lower. The data are overwhelming to show why it is so important if we want to get this outbreak under control in this country to get vaccinated, and the President is understandably frustrated and that's the reason why he came out with his six-point plan and you very, very correctly outlined each of the six points.

COOPER: You've been very consistent in saying that the country needs to be below 10,000 or fewer new cases a day. Since March of 2020, the country has never been below 10,000 new cases. This past June, we got to 11,000 new cases a day before the delta surge.

So is that a realistic endgame? I mean, what -- can do country get there? And what happens until the country does get there? Why is that a number?

FAUCI: Well, you know, it's an empiric number. I mean, we'd like to see it much lower than that. We'd like it to see it close to zero, Anderson. And the thing that you do is you do everything you can particularly in the arena of vaccination, to get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can and let that number go as low as it can go.

Saying 10,000 is a reasonable number, but you can't just have one number that you hang your hat on. You just want to get it as low as you possibly can.

The one thing we do know for sure, Anderson, that 160,000 cases a day is not where we want to be. And unfortunately, that's where we are right now.


COOPER: I mean, almost immediately after the President laid out his plans, there have been more than a dozen Republican governors condemned the speech, many calling it an overreach, indicating there's going to be legal action. Does the President have the authority to tell companies what to do and all the other mandates he's outlined?

FAUCI: He has the authority when it comes to the Federal government's authority. For example, he can tell through the Department of Labor that any company that has a hundred or more individuals should make a rule that either they're vaccinated or they get tested. He can say that they can get paid leave to get vaccinated. He can certainly, with an executive order, say that members of the executive branch of the Federal government need to be vaccinated.

Those are all things that he can do as President. So, I don't see any issue with their not getting done.

COOPER: There was, as you noted, a clear sense of frustration in the President's voice, are you as frustrated? And who or what do you fault?

FAUCI: Well, I am as a physician, a scientist, and a public health individual, Anderson, I am frustrated and the reason is, we do have the tools to end this. I mean, I've been in situations, in public health situations where you didn't have the tools to end something that was devastating people with regard to illness and death. That is very frustrating.

It's frustrating in a different way when you have the tools and you have the wherewithal to get to the end game of where you want to be, but you don't implement them.

So yes, I am, I believe, equally frustrated. I don't want to see people get sick. I don't want to see them get hospitalized, and I certainly don't want to see them die. But that's what's happening when you don't vaccinate to the fullest extent possible.

COOPER: The President outlined an aggressive new testing plan, but just yesterday, your colleague, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the N.I.H. said that there's still a problem distributing tests, how can that be?

FAUCI: No, what the what the President was saying is that he is going to make -- he is using the Defense Production Act to get literally millions and millions of tests, many of them free for individuals. So, the distribution will come.

Right now, we just need those tests and we are going to be accelerating the testing program as the President outlined in one of his six points.

COOPER: But is there enough testing currently? I mean, you're talking about things that people can buy or get at cost or get for free to test themselves, I assume?


COOPER: I mean, what is the tracking on, you know, do we know in people who are not demonstrably sick, how widespread this virus is?

FAUCI: Well, we start -- well, I think the point you're making, I believe, Anderson, is that are we testing enough people who are without symptoms?

COOPER: Correct.

FAUCI: And the answer is no, we all realize we need to do that more. And the more you test people, you'll get a better grasp of what the penetrance of the infection is. But that's something that is very clear, and we will be doing that and that's one of the things the President is talking about, expanding significantly our testing capability and implementation.

COOPER: The Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second largest in the country voted to -- just this evening -- to mandate vaccines for all eligible students, 12 and older. As you know, the F.D.A. has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine for teens 16 and older. When do you think they'll grant full approval for children and teens between 12 and 15?

FAUCI: Well, I think that's going to be soon. Right now, the data has been submitted, I believe to the F.D.A. They'll look at it and in their typical manner will very carefully examine it and make a regulatory determination as quickly as they possibly can.

COOPER: Dr. Fauci, I want to bring in somebody much smarter than me, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, I know you've got some questions for Dr. Fauci.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hey, Dr. Fauci, good evening. Thanks for being here.

You know, the overall hospitalizations are about two and a half times what they were at this point last year and deaths are about two times; obviously, a terrible situation. A lot of the President's speech was about vaccines. But how long do you think we will actually get the impact of those new vaccine mandates if they happen? Is it going to be in time for what we're dealing with right now? FAUCI: Well, it's certainly not going to be immediate, as you know,

Sanjay, because you're going to have to talk about, you know, a few weeks from the time you get your first dose to the time you get your boost, and then seven to 14 days thereafter.

So, we're talking about what happens today is going to have an impact, maybe six or more weeks from now. So in the meantime, as you well know, we've got to do both. You've got to do mitigation at the same time as you do accelerating the vaccine program and the mitigation has to do with masking, mask mandates, avoiding congregate settings, particularly indoors, all the things that you and I have discussed so many times.

You've got to do both of those things simultaneously because there is that lag of six weeks or more before you get the full impact of a vaccine that you give today.


GUPTA: You know, when it comes to the mandates through the Department of Labor and companies that have a hundred or more employees, my understanding of what the President was saying, Dr. Fauci, was that either you get a vaccine, or you have to be tested regularly. And oftentimes, it seems like these two things are commingled, like, do one or the other.

But in one case, you're preventing it, and in the other case, you're diagnosing it. Why not just do the vaccine mandate and not say that the testing can be sort of this off ramp?

FAUCI: Well, I think the President is, you know, being somewhat moderate in his demand, if you want to call it that. And that there are some people who really don't want to get vaccinated, but they don't want to lose their job, you've got to give them an off lane. And the off lane is if you get tested frequently enough, and find out you're positive, you won't come to work, and you won't infect other people. So, it really is somewhat of a compromise there.

Myself, I would make it just vaccinate or not. But he was trying to be moderate in what his pronouncement was.

GUPTA: And just real quickly, there was a study that came out of Israel about natural immunity, and basically, the headline was that natural immunity provides a lot of protection, even better than the vaccines alone.

What do people make of that? So as we talk about vaccine mandates, I get calls all the time, people say, I've already had COVID, I'm protected. And now the study says maybe even more protected than the vaccine alone. Should they also get the vaccine? How do you make the case to them?

FAUCI: You know, that's a really good point, Sanjay. I don't have a really firm answer for you on that. That's something that we're going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response. The one thing that paper from Israel didn't tell you is whether or not

as high as the protection is with natural infection, what's the durability compared to the durability of a vaccine? So it is conceivable that you got infected, you're protected, but you may not be protected for an indefinite period of time.

So, I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously, because you very appropriately pointed out, it is an issue, and there could be an argument for saying what you said.

COOPER: And where are we on kids below the age of 12 getting -- you know, whenever the trials will be done that kids can get vaccinated under the age of 12.

FAUCI: Yes, well, good question, Anderson. There's a timetable for that. Right now, if you look at the testing that's being done now that we're doing together with the pharmaceutical companies is that Pfizer is a bit ahead of Moderna in the testing of that age group. So, we likely will get enough data to present to the F.D.A. for the possibility of an emergency use authorization, somewhere around the end of September, the beginning of October.

How long it's going to take them if they decide that they want to go the EUA route, it may take a few weeks after that to make the determination.

Moderna is just a few weeks behind, maybe two weeks behind, so they're going to get enough data for an EUA, probably mid to end of October. So within the next several weeks to a month, a month and a half, we should have enough data to make a determination, is it safe? And is it effective to give it to children who are 11 years of age and younger?

COOPER: And Dr. Fauci, more than 100,000 people are hospitalized because of COVID right now, some hospitals are overwhelmed, starting to ration care. Now that people have a choice to prevent COVID illness or serious illness and death and aren't taking it, how should doctors choose? I mean, if it comes to that, who receives an ICU bed? And should, you know, field hospitals reopen in certain parts of the country?

FAUCI: Anderson, if you're asking should you preference it for a vaccinated person versus an unvaccinated person? That's a something that is always widely discussed. But in Medicine, I know that you don't prejudice against someone because of their behavior. Just don't do that in Medicine. There has to be some other medically sound reason on the evaluation of one person versus another whether you're going to give scarce resources to, but not in a punitive way for someone's behavior.

COOPER: And field hospitals?

FAUCI: Well, what is the question? If we have to get -- if it gets to that, fine, you do whatever you can to take care of people. If you get overwhelmed in the hospital system as it exists, you do everything you can to be able to give proper treatment to people even if that is mobilizing a field hospital. If that's necessary, definitely. COOPER: Dr. Anthony Fauci, I appreciate your time Sanjay as well,

thank you.

Still to come, the Attorney General announcing a lawsuit against Texas over its new abortion law that's effectively ended abortions for most women seeking them. We will have an explanation of the government's argument and it chances in court ahead.

And later, something we were just talking about, vaccine mandates in schools, a big victory for those who support them in one of the largest school districts in the country.



COOPER: The other major announcement out of the Biden administration today, it is suing the State of Texas over its new abortion law, which bans abortions after six weeks and essentially deputizes citizens to bring suit to those who provide abortion services or quote "aid and abet" those who seek them.

Since the law went into effect eight days ago, clinics across Texas have stopped offering abortions after six weeks or stopped offering them altogether.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a lawsuit today. He says the law violates women's constitutional rights and that it conflicts with Federal law including the activities of Federal employees in regards to providing abortion services.



MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party should fear.

If it prevails, it may become a model for action in other areas by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.


COOPER: The lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court refused to block the law from going into effect. The Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in the statement, it would defend the law.

I want get perspective now from CNN's chief legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin; and Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator who filibustered for 11 hours against another restrictive abortion law back in 2013.

Jeff, does the Justice Department have a strong case here? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they -- it was

certainly a powerful and persuasive case that this law is outrageous, that it conflicts with the Constitution. The problem is when you dig into the 27-page complaint, the issue is standing.

The issue is: Does the Justice Department under Federal law have the right to bring this lawsuit? Because this lawsuit says nothing about the Federal government. Now, Attorney General Garland tried to make the case that it has an effect on Federal agencies in Texas, that may or may not be a persuasive argument to the courts there.

But the problem with this whole case from the beginning has been procedurally how to get the issue squarely before the court. The Supreme Court of the United States didn't address it when it allowed the law to go into effect. This is an attempt to get the courts to address it. But under the standing rules, I'm not sure it'll be successful.

COOPER: Senator Davis, what do you think?

WENDY DAVIS (D), FORMER TEXAS STATE SENATOR: You know, Jeffrey makes a really excellent point. I was so grateful to see the Department of Justice step up and do what they did today. And you know, this presents a really unique legal question. There are a lot of states, for example, around the country who have passed these, if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, then we are going to immediately prohibit abortions in our state. And those haven't been challenged because they haven't had any kind of an impact yet.

But this law in Texas, even though no one has filed suit yet, as you mentioned in your opening, Anderson, this has shut clinics down and stops the ones that remain open from offering abortion care after six weeks.

And so, we're in this terrible standoff position where no one has filed suit yet to trigger, you know, the ripeness and the standing. And yes, the impacts of this particular law are shrouding the ability for people to receive abortion care in our state, and it is already creating a devastating impact on very real people.

And I'll be interested to see how this particular Federal trial court addresses this question. There are two judges on this trial court, one of whom was appointed by a Democrat, one of whom appointed by a Republican and even the Republican judge, and in fact, most of these anti-abortion cases from Texas have gone through his court.

He has shown absolutely no patience for the state's attempts to get around the constitutional protections of Roe v. Wade, either through targeted regulations of abortion providers, and I'll be really interested to see how he answers this question that Jeffrey raises, while simultaneously of course, understanding that what the state has done here is essentially try to abrogate its role in creating an undue burden on women to these as Lawrence Tribe called them, private attorneys general, these vigilante citizens who don't even have to claim any personal harm in order to bring the suit. COOPER: I mean, Jeff, just the timing of this, how long do you think a

lawsuit like this might take to make its way through the legal system and in the interim, what happens?

TOOBIN: Well, quite some time and that's what's so outrageous about this situation. And frankly, the responsibility is principally with the Supreme Court of the United States, which last week, let this law go into effect without having a constitutional challenge.

I mean, even the State of Texas acknowledges that this law conflicts with binding Supreme Court precedent, Roe v Wade in 1973, the Casey decision in 1992.

No question that this law conflicts with the law of the land as we think it exists. But the Supreme Court in letting this go into effect has created this completely bizarre situation where a plainly unconstitutional law is now in effect, and now denying women their rights in Texas.


TOOBIN: And there is no court at this moment, evaluating whether it's constitutional. I've never heard of a situation like that. But that's what the situation is right now, and it's going to continue for weeks and potentially even months.

COOPER: Yes. Senator Davis, I really appreciate your time tonight. And, Jeff, before we let you go, we saw -- you saw the speech by President Biden obviously this evening on COVID vaccine mandates. More than a dozen Republican governors are already vowed to fight it. Do those states have a good case? Does the President have the authority to do what he said he wanted to do today?

TOOBIN: Well, I have to say this is not an area that is completely clear, because OSHA, the part of the Department of Labor that regulates workplaces does do workplace safety. But as far as I'm aware, they have never issued an order this broad, especially regarding a vaccine. So this will certainly wind up in the courts almost as soon as this regulation is promulgated, but the regulation hasn't happened yet.

I think what the Biden administration is hoping is that they will simply force a lot of employers to make this change, and most people won't bother to wait for a court case. They're just going to try to get people vaccinated and that's really the point.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, thank you very much as well.

Up next, breaking news from Los Angeles where the School Board has voted to mandate vaccines for students aged 12 and older, it is the largest school district in the country to make the move. I'll talk with the President of the School Board next.

And later, a really incredible conversation about the long road of grief. I'll talk with a woman whose mom -- you see her there -- worked in the Twin Towers and disappeared on 9/11. The name is Dorothy Morgan.

For years she hoped her mom, Dorothy Morgan was somehow still alive. A few days ago, her mom's remains were finally identified and how that news has suddenly upended her life. We will talk to her about it.



COOPER: There's breaking news tonight Los Angeles has become the first major school district in the nation to mandate COVID vaccines for students 12 and older. The move comes as COVID cases among children are soaring in parts of the country. And this could pave the way for more school districts across the nation do the same.

Joining me from one that decision is Kelly Gomez, the president of the school board. Ms. Gomez, thanks so much for joining us.

Can you just explain why the board decided to take this action when the mandate is going to be implemented?

KELLY GOMEZ, PRESIDENT & BOARD MEMBER, LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: Sure. Thank you so much for having me, Anderson. So the L.A. school board today voted unanimously to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students 12 and older who are attending in person school. And the mandate goes into effect earlier at the end of October for students who are participating in sports or other extracurricular activities. And then all of our students ages 12 and up must provide documentation of full vaccination by January 10, 2022.

COOPER: And does this apply to teachers and others who work in the schools adult?

GOMEZ: It's a great question. We actually have already passed a vaccination mandate for our employees. So all employees and third parties who do work on our campuses must be fully vaccinated by October 15th.

COOPER: So teachers as well.

GOMEZ: So, this is really integration of our strategies to keep our schools safe.

COOPER: So early in the program, Dr. Fauci was saying that for kids under 12, they'll likely have enough data to present to the FDA the possibility of an emergency use authorization by the end of October, if and when that emergency use authorization happens would this vaccine mandate apply to kids under 12 in L.A. County schools or would have to be voted separately by the board.

GOMEZ: So right now, this mandate only applies to ages 12 and up. I think that we would certainly once those data are available. And once that approval is provided, we'll certainly want to consider what we can do for our students ages 12 and under, because that's a big concern for our families right now. How do we keep our elementary students safe? COOPER: Sure.

GOMEZ: So I think when that steps happens, we will certainly take that into account.

COOPER: The FDA hasn't given full approval for the vaccine for kids from 12 to 15, cylinder emergency use authorization. What do you say to parents who have kids in that age group who say they want to wait for the full FDA approval before getting their kids vaccinated?

GOMEZ: You know, I'm a mom of two young kids myself, so I know how hard it is for our families to know exactly what's the best way to keep their kids safe during the pandemic. And there's also been a lot of intentional misinformation. So in this environment, it is understandable that parents have questions and concerns and we here in L.A. Unified want to be there to help answer those questions, and make sure they get accurate information about the vaccine in a culturally responsive way.

Though the vaccine doesn't yet have full approval for ages 12 and up, all of the health authorities whether they be the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the CDC, Dr. Fauci, the American Academy of Pediatrics, they all recommend that youth ages 12 and up become vaccinated. And we know, you know, millions of Americans have been vaccinated, including youth, and almost none have had adverse reactions and the protection that it offers from COVID is significant.

So, we believe that the risks are significantly outweighed by the benefits of COVID vaccination for all of our students.

COOPER: So the mandate will allow those with quote, qualified and approved exemptions to opt out. What qualifies as an exemption?

GOMEZ: So families may submit a medical exemption, and we will review those through a standardized process. And some students such as foster youth or students experiencing homelessness can also receive conditional admission because we know they might have barriers to accessing immunization and we don't want to bar them from enrollment.

But here in California state law does not recognize religious or personal belief exemptions for existing student immunizations. And we would be consistent when looking at this new vaccine mandate.

COOPER: And once this takes effect, would L.A. County schools keep other protocols in place like masking indoors, outdoors weekly testing because in middle school, for example, unvaccinated kids under 12 will be in the same school obviously as the older vaccinated kids?


GOMEZ: Right. I mean, I think the hope is we know that vaccinations are the single best way to protect our students and keep our schools open and keep them safe for kids to learn and to thrive. I think the hope is, as we implement this, this requirement for both our staff and our students, that we will soon be able to have a day where masks won't be required because all of our students are vaccinated and that we'll be able to reduce testing.

So, I think we look forward to that day. Obviously, we will have to approach those decisions once we get this mandate (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: I mean, it's so complex and school boards have so much to deal with, and I appreciate you talking to us about it tonight. Thank you.

GOMEZ: Thank you for having me.

COOPER: Still to come, a powerful conversation I had just before our time about grief and loss with a woman who lost her mom at the World Trade Center at 9/11. Just recently, her mom's remains were finally identified 20 years later. How she plans to mark the 20th anniversary detects, coming up.


COOPER: Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and across the country memorials will be held to remember the victims. For the families of those laws, grief obviously comes in many different forms for one victim's family this year is already profoundly different. Dorothy Morgan was working as an insurance broker in the north tower in the World Trade Center when it was attacked. Her body was never positively identified, but recently 20 years after she died thanks to new DNA technology in New York City Medical Examiner's Office was finally able to identify Dorothy's remains. She is the 1,646 person identified through DNA testing. Detectives broke the news to Dorothy's daughter, Nykiah last month, was a call she was not expecting. And we asked her to come on and talk about what it's meant.


Nykiah Morgan joined me earlier.


COOPER (on-camera): Nikki, thank you so much for speaking with us. I cannot imagine emotionally what this has been like after all these years.

NYKIAH MORGAN, DAUGHTER OF 9/11 VICTIM: Oh, my goodness, it has been an emotional roller coaster. First, you have somewhat of a calm, and then you get news like this. And then it's all over again. You're in shock. You get your -- you're crying. It's just all over the place, all over the place.

COOPER (on-camera): You know, I mean, obviously, everybody, you know, grief is different for everybody. And everybody deals with loss in a different way. Obviously, you knew your mom was killed that day. She worked as an insurance adjuster, if I'm correct, at in one of the towers, right?

MORGAN: She worked for Washington McLennan. She was in the north tower. I want to say in the 92nd in that area, on that floor. And honestly speaking, I can't say OK, later on I knew yes, she was killed that day. When it was happening, I didn't want to believe that. I didn't want to --

COOPER (on-camera): How long did it take you to come to believe it?

MORGAN: Years.

COOPER (on-camera): Wow.


COOPER (on-camera): So what did you tell yourself?

MORGAN: My mom was out there. She was out there. Maybe had amnesia, and then was released from the hospital. I had a whole story in my head. And she was out there living life happy.

COOPER (on-camera): I understand that.


COOPER (on-camera): The -- to suddenly then discover this. I mean, personally, your mom's name is Dorothy Morgan.

MORGAN: Right.

COOPER (on-camera): And you didn't over the years, you've never been to ground zero. Is that correct?

MORGAN: I have not. I will go for the first time on Saturday.

COOPER (on-camera): Yes. I want to talk to you about that. But the decision, it's interesting to me, again, everybody deals with stuff differently. And, and I don't know how I would deal with this. It's interesting I think to people that for you, you didn't feel a connection to that place that you needed to go to be at the memorials over the last 20 years?

MORGAN: No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't go. September 11 on my calendar didn't exist. It was September 10, September 12. On the 11th I did nothing. If it was a work day, I stayed home. Yes, I didn't answer phone, didn't watch television at all. Nothing. September 11 did not exist for me for many years.

COOPER (on-camera): (INAUDIBLE) my dad died when I was 10 years old. And Father's Day did not exist for me. I -- it was a day I could not, I just pretended it never happened. I pretended it didn't exist.

So detectives come to your house, I understand it was your son called you and said that they're police here and they want to talk to you and it's about grandma.

MORGAN: Yes, yes. That I couldn't imagine what they could have been at my house for, and to speak about my mother. Then the detectives, they spoke to me and said that the city medical examiner reached out to them and I guess the procedures they have to notify someone, the district that covers your area, and they came out and tell me that remains were discovered, my mother 20 years later and gave me the number for this medical examiner and told me to call to get more information.

COOPER (on-camera): Wow. What was your mom like?

MORGAN: My mom was beautiful. I always have my memory that always pops up in my head is watching my mom get ready for work in the mornings, even as a child and standing behind her in the mirror and watching her do her hair and her makeup. And she's just an amazing woman. Everyone that she came in contact would love her. Even just over the phone the client says she had, they never met her. They came to her memorial service, never met her, and just thought she was a wonderful human. And that's how she was with everyone.


COOPER (on-camera): So you'd have a memorial service, you'd put in your mind in your heart, she was still out there.

MORGAN: Yes, it was a, it was a celebratory service for me. I was very emotional then. But it still was not real for me.

COOPER (on-camera): And so, finding out that she's clearly been identified, I mean, is it a disappointment? Is it relief?

MORGAN: It's not disappointment. It -- I really don't know how I'm dealing with it. I'm the -- what's making me deal with it is having to go through the process of obtaining the remains, which I have not begun that process. Because I feel like that is what makes it real, the conversations that I had and everything I asked the questions, but to actually have to go through a funeral director and go to pick up the remains, and discuss with them, what I want to have done if I want to prepare it for a burial or for cremation. I think that may do it for me. That may be OK, this is it. This is final.

I think that's why I've put this off, and especially now dealing with the 20th anniversary and having to deal with that as well. I think I kind of put that off because of that it would be final for me. And I don't know if I'm ready for them.

COOPER (on-camera): Yes, yes. I mean, it's got to feel overwhelming. It's got to feel almost like it's bringing you back to when you first found out.

MORGAN: Exactly, exactly. Exactly.

COOPER (on-camera): And yet you're going, you're going on Saturday to ground zero and you are going to say your mom's name. You're going to read out her name.

MORGAN: I am. I thought about it. I spoke with my grandmother who's my mom's best friend from second grade.

COOPER (on-camera): Since second grade your mom's best friend. Oh my gosh, that she must be like your hand or.

MORGAN: She is flying in tomorrow.

COOPER (on-camera): Wow.

MORGAN: She is going to go and that was --

COOPER (on-camera): She's going to go with you?

MORGAN: Yes. Yes. And she hasn't been either.

COOPER (on-camera): Wow.

MORGAN: Yes. Wow. And you're going to, you're going to say her name aloud. You're going to read her name out?

MORGAN: I have, I have.

COOPER (on-camera): Wow.

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) this is the time to honor my mother. And so say her name aloud. So I'm going to do it.

COOPER (on-camera): Dorothy Morgan.


COOPER (on-camera): Thank you so much for talking to us, Nykiah I know grief is just such a such a long road and I really appreciate you talking about kind of the steps you've been taking.

MORGAN: No, I thank you. I thank you for having me on and allowing me to voice this.

COOPER (on-camera): Yes. And thank you for showing us your beautiful mom and telling us about her.

MORGAN: You're welcome. Thank you.

COOPER (on-camera): I will save her name as I go to bed tonight. Dorothy Morgan. Nykiah Morgan, thank you.

MORGAN: Thank you.


COOPER: Dorothy Morgan.

Still more news ahead, the clock ticking on the California recall election now just five days away. Report from a part of California Governor Newsom is not the favor next week's recall, that's next.



COOPER: The California recall election just five days away and well Democratic governor Gavin Newsom is campaigning to remain in office there's one section of the state that is decidedly not friendly, friendly to him. And what have changed. CNN's Lucy Kafanov now with a report from that Republican stronghold.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one of the country's bluest states, Kern County stands out as a rare bastion of red. It's where you'll find America's last Woolworths luncheonette counter, serving a burgers, shakes and aside of nostalgia.

DENNIS JEFFERS, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: California was once a really nice place. Governor Newsom says a lot of things but he does all bad things.

KAFANOV (voice-over): When it comes to Governor Gavin Newsom, some of the diners here have had their fill.

RON, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: If there's not a change. My wife and I we're out of here.

KAFANOV (on-camera): Really?

RON: We're leaving the state.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Many Republicans here think their voices aren't heard.

JEFFERS: No, I don't think so.


KAFANOV (voice-over): To some degree they're right.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Thank you California.

KAFANOV (voice-over): In 2018, just 41% of Kern County voters went for Newsom.

NEWSOM: The best is yet to come.

KAFANOV (voice-over): But he won the state by a landslide. Now Republicans are hoping to flip the governor's office an uphill battle in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one.

BEST: Sometimes I wonder if it's worth voting. Because you know, my voice may not be heard, or both of us, you know, often feel I can, you know, OK, is our -- is it really going to matter in California, it's always going to be Democrats.

KAFANOV (voice-over): At the current county GOP headquarters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You get that in the mail.

KAFANOV (voice-over): They're trying to change that with phone calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello there. KAFANOV (voice-over): Ballot drop offs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And time for this.

KAFANOV (voice-over): And yard signs.

CATHY ABERNATHY, KERN COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: The outcome is anyone's guess, this is an odd time of year to have an election September 14th. But we've had people pouring in here for the last two weeks.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Kern County GOP member Cathy Abernathy says Republican voters are energized.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There some ballots for you.


KAFANOV (voice-over): And she's hoping for a boost from independence and some Democrats.

ABERNATHY: These extremes produce a switch and parties and I don't believe all the Democrats in California are the same philosophy is the Democrats in that state capitol building.


KAFANOV (voice-over): With just a few days left to convince California to change track Larry Elder is banking on Bakersfield.


KAFANOV: It's Larry Elder his third visit to Bakersfield and there's a good reason for that, a lot of the Republican voters we spoke to say they won't risk mailing in their ballots. They simply don't trust the election system. They're waiting to have their say in person on September 14th, Election Day. Anderson.

COOPER: Lucy Kafanov, thanks very much.

Next as authorities hold another congressional briefing on a possible capital threat later this month, the D.C. police officer became the voice for dozens of officers injured on January 6 returns to work. Details ahead.


COOPER: The U.S. Capitol Police delivered a security briefing to a senior House Republican today where they discuss security preparations for the rally planned for September 18th in support of those arrested during the January 6 insurrection.

Briefing was delivered to Congressman Rodney Davis as similar briefings are already been given to a senior House Democrat. All this as D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone returned to work with the Department said was limited duty. Officer Fanone, you'll remember was zapped with a taser beaten in head called congressman who downplay the riotings both disgraceful and disgusting.


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