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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

New Book Reveals Gen. Milley Conducted October 30 Call to China in Consultation with then-Defense Minister Mark Esper; Three Reports Support Arguments for Booster Doses of Pfizer's COVID Vaccine; Parents on Both Sides of School Mask Fight not Backing Down; Florida Chiropractor Signed Hundred Of Medical Exemptions For Kids In Sarasota County School District. Gov. Newsom: "We Said Yes To Science. We Said Yes To Vaccines". Investigation Opened Into Mysterious Death Of Alex Murdaugh's Longtime Housekeeper. Star Gymnasts Slam FBI's Mishandling Of Nassar Abuse Case. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 15, 2021 - 20:00   ET


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Jean Casarez, CNN, Capitol Hill.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Today, The Pentagon said Capitol Police have requested assistance from the D.C. National Guard as fencing is expected to go up around the U.S. Capitol this week. Both action, security measures ahead of a right-wing rally scheduled for Saturday that's meant to protest the arrest of rioters who stormed the Capitol, January 6.

It is part of the legacy of the former President, spelled out in disturbing detail in "Peril," the forthcoming book by journalists Bob Woodward and his "Washington Post" colleague Robert Costa.

Today, President Biden briefly responded to reporters' questions about revelations in the book regarding General Milley who is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both President Biden and the former President.

According to the authors, General Milley twice called his counterpart in China, once, days before the election, the other two days after the Capitol riot. Both times prompted by U.S. Intelligence suggesting China believes the U.S. was preparing an attack, their fears according to the authors of the book, based in part on the rhetoric toward China coming from the former President.

Asked about General Milley today, here is how the President responded.


QUESTION: Sir, did General Milley do the right thing? Sir? In your opinion, did General Milley do the right thing?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great confidence in General Milley.


COOPER: Now, according to a Defense official who spoke with CNN, these calls were not done in secret without anyone else knowing. They were, according to this official, attended by 15 people including a representative from the State Department.

General Mark Milley is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill later this month. The Woodward and Costa book goes into further details about Milley's concerns about the President, possibly launching an attack, reportedly telling his subordinates that he must directly be involved in any discussions regarding military action or nuclear strike.

Quoting Milley's words as the book describes them, quote: "If you get calls, no matter who they are from, there's a process here, there's a procedure, no matter what you're told, you do the procedure, you do the process, and I'm a part of that procedure."

It is remarkable, but it's also not completely surprising. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis in a statement months before the election compared Trump's divisiveness to the Nazi slogan of "Divide and conquer." And then of course, there was General John Kelly, former Cabinet Secretary and Chief of Staff, he spoke by phone with CNN's Jake Tapper the day after the Capitol attack and was asked whether the Cabinet should remove the President from office.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you support such an action? Should he be removed by the Cabinet?

GEN. JOHN KELLY (RET), FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think, Jake, that the cabinet should meet and have a discussion.

TAPPER: If you were in the Cabinet right now, would you vote to remove him from office?

KELLY: Yes, I would.


COOPER: General Kelly also said in that interview that the Capitol riot was a quote, "direct result" of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds. That poison still evident in a new CNN polling released today when voters are asked whether Mr. Biden legitimately won enough votes for the presidency, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly believe he did, 97 percent and 64 percent, respectively.

But take a look at Republicans, only 21 percent said yes, 78 percent said no. That's what happens when you break the Republican vote down further. Take a look. Twenty one percent said he did win legitimately, 23 percent said he did not, but that's based only on suspicion. But 54 percent of Republicans believe not only did Mr. Biden not win the election, they believe there is solid evidence he didn't. More than half the Republican voters polled still believe a lie.

That's the President's legacy as well. To quote General Kelly again, "poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds."

Joining us with some new reporting tonight is our Jamie Gangel. So, you've read the book, what more context can you give about General Milley's calls with his China counterpart?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's very important to know, Anderson, that these calls are not unusual despite what Donald Trump is saying, despite what some of his loyalists are saying, these kinds of back channel conversations happen all the time.

They were also, as you mentioned, not done in secret. In fact, CNN reporting is now that General Milley consulted with both Defense Secretaries back in October that would have been then Defense Secretary Esper, who wanted this call made, and then with acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller in January.

There were 15 people, there were translators. There were notes given. A State Department representative was there. As one former National Security official said to me, this is someone who is a Republican, General Milley never went rogue. Donald Trump went rogue when he tried to overturn the election.


COOPER: I understand you have new details from the October 30 call.

GANGEL: So, I think what's important here is some of this has been taken out of context. People have not read the book yet. And when you see the details of the conversation, it is very clear that Milley is making these calls because he has sensitive Intelligence. The Chinese think the U.S. is going to make a strike because Donald Trump may pull a wag the dog, and Milley initiates this call in order to reassure his counterpart, General Li.

Woodward and Costa, write in the book, quote, "General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years, if we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise. It's not going to be a bolt out of the blue. If there was a war or some kind of kinetic action between the United States and China, there is going to be a built up, just like there has always been in history."

This quote has been taken out of context and it suggested that Milley is going to give General Li a heads up on a strike. That's not at all what's happening. The next sentence is critical.

Milley goes on, "It's going to be okay. We're not going to have a fight." And General Li says, "Okay, I take you at your word."

The point, Anderson is that Milley is just trying to say, if something was going to happen, you would know about it. There was nothing treasonous going on here. He was simply reassuring the Chinese that the guard rails were up.

COOPER: General Milley obviously has been getting hammered by some Republicans who are calling for him to resign or be fired. President Trump went as far as calling this treason. I just want to play that.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): General Milley needs to answer questions about it, because if this is this true, he should be fired. He should be fired, and should he should have to face military justice for what he's done.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): He needs to resign, and if he won't resign, he needs to be fired.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's treason. And I would think -- I've had so many calls today saying that's treason.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): If true, General Milley has broken some very good laws, and we ought to make sure that there is accountability for that.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): If it is true, absolutely, he immediately needs to be removed.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): If the truth is as alleged, then yes, he should resign.


COOPER: As you pointed out earlier, I mean, few -- I mean, I haven't -- few people have actually read his book, you have.

GANGEL: Right. So, I would say two things. One is maybe they should wait and read the book. The second thing is, there is -- I'm so glad we played that because they are classic talking points.

This began with Donald Trump. What did we see for the last four years of his administration? When he doesn't like what's being said about him, and he certainly does not like the reporting in "Peril" and he does not like what General Milley said, which is that he is unpredictable. He is dangerous. And Woodward and Costa write that Milly believed that Trump was in serious mental decline. And he used the word "treason."

It is no accident that Donald Trump is trying to change the subject. He is accusing Milley of actually what the book says about Donald Trump himself.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the headline could just as easily be, you know that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs thought the President was increasingly mentally unstable. Clearly, the former President wants it to be treason, and that makes it a different headline. Jimmy Gangel, appreciate you reporting. Thank you.

GANGEL: Thank you.

COOPER: I want to get perspective from retired Attorney General Wesley Clark, a CNN military analyst and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander.

General Clark, this reporting that then Defense Secretary Esper apparently knew about the call that General Milley made in late October, should that quell some of the outrage from Republicans toward Milley since the Defense Secretary was aware of it?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think there should be a lot of -- a lot of praise for General Milley for doing what he did. He took the initiative. He reached out. He did the best he could to maintain strategic stability. He did it right by the book.

He informed the interagency, he had people there from various agencies. It was recorded. It was distributed in the U.S. government. There should be no big secret about this, and Congress shouldn't be surprised.

This is what Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are supposed to do. They're supposed to help support strategic stability and U.S. policy goals. That's what he did.

COOPER: Former President Trump is accusing Milley of treason, which probably isn't any surprise. He will try to use this to his advantage, but Senator Rubio is actually calling for Milley to be fired in light of these conversations saying he should have -- he should have to face military justice.

CLARK: Well, I'm really disappointed in Senator Rubio because he has been around for a while. I remember hearing a great speech he made at the 2012 Republican Convention. He is supposed to know better.


CLARK: We need our senior military leaders to be able to talk to their military counterparts around the world. It's a very important component of U.S. policy. It helps shape nations understanding of what is good, what's going on in the United States, and it also gives us early warning of some of their concerns. There's really nothing better we can get in the way of Intelligence and information in those heads of military calls with each other.

So it's very, very valuable. Now, he shouldn't be doing it just, you know, as a hip pocket call. Nobody knew about it, and he didn't. He did it with the full support of the interagency.

COOPER: And that's it -- I mean, is that routine?

CLARK: It is absolutely routine. Now, it's not routine that you'd have a President of the United States, who's so determined to subvert the Constitution that everybody around him is afraid of a right-wing coup occurring as we read in a book that the former Director of the C.I.A. said, that's not routine.

But General Milley's response, his determination to maintain stability to keep people informed to avoid a crisis, that is exactly what General Milley should have been doing.

COOPER: General, it is interesting. I mean, when he testified recently, before Congress, he was asked about critical race theory, and he talked about how he has studied it, you know, and whatever one thinks of it. He just was talking about the importance of understanding, you know, he talked about Mao Zedong or reading, you know, his works, and Karl Marx.

I thought it was interesting to hear a General discuss, you know, the kind of the education of a General and staying abreast of theories and policies.

CLARK: That's exactly what we expect of our senior leadership. We expect them to be conversant with what communism was, what people are reading in the United States. We expect to be able to talk at the political level, the economic level, the social level. We expect them to understand our soldiers and the impact on our soldiers.

That's why we've had a great Armed Forces. That's why America views it as a sort of number one most respected institution, because we have leaders like Mark Milley.

COOPER: To those who look at what Milley has reported to have done and say, well, you know, the military is under civilian control for a reason and General Milley hay have been horrified by President Trump for what he was up to, but perhaps she should have quit or been public about it, rather than not have this be public or do whatever he actually did.

CLARK: Well, there's no reason for him to make these calls public at the time he made them. The military talk -- military to military relations all the time without being public, but it was open within the interagency. It was approved and the Secretary of Defense was informed in both cases.

So I think that Milley is absolutely blameless. And in fact, he is very praiseworthy for having done this.

If it was his initiative, which apparently it was, it was the right call at the right time.

COOPER: General Clark, I really appreciate your time. Thank you.

CLARK: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, still to come tonight, breaking news on booster shots. Three new studies just released days ahead of a critical F.D.A. review of the evidence, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us with details.

And later, a really bizarre new twist in an ongoing murder mystery involving one of the most prominent families in South Carolina. We have details when we continue. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: Breaking news tonight to report days ahead of a highly anticipated F.D.A. review on booster shots, three new reports were released in "The New England Journal of Medicine," all support a third shot to maintain COVID immunity. Let's get perspective now from our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has a new book coming out called "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next."

So Sanjay, one of the reports focuses on what happened in Israel after they actually started booster shots. We've seen a lot of data coming out of Israel making the case for boosters. What's been your main takeaways?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this data is a little confusing still, you know, it sort of makes the case. But let me show you here, Anderson. I think maybe you can talk through this.

They first looked at just how much does the effectiveness of the vaccine sort of wear off over time. So, this bar graph here they look basically, on the far left is people who have vaccinated in January, then it was a month later, and then March and then April. And what you'd expect is that the people who got vaccinated in January would have the least amount of protection, right? It would wane over time.

But look at this, April is actually a little less than March. Why would that be? Right? Why would you have more protection if you got vaccinated in March versus April? And it's that sort of thing that is sort of confusing, I think people as they look at this data -- also those vertical lines in the middle of those bar graphs.

COOPER: To be honest, I don't even understand -- I'm sorry, I don't understand this chart. People who got vaccinated in January, that's on the left hand side, are those the same people in the next month?

GUPTA: No. So the people who got vaccinated in January -- people who finish their vaccination on January are on the left. The people who finished their vaccination in February, the next one, and then March.

COOPER: Okay. Got it.

GUPTA: So what you'd expect is that it would be gradually going up, right? The closer you are -- the more the further you are from your vaccination, you should have less protection. So January should be the lowest right and then it should be going up after that. But instead, what you see is that March is actually the highest and then April goes down. That's a little confusing, and those in those dark lines in the middle, that's what's called a confidence interval.

Anderson, I'm nerding out a little bit here, but that gives you an idea of just how much variation there could be within those bar graphs. And if you look at those black lines, you'll see that, you know, you could sort of -- you could sort of make the case that they're pretty similar across the board. And that's the question, is the protection really going down or not? That's the challenge there.

That's from the Israeli Ministry of Health. That's some of their data there.


GUPTA: In terms of what the boosters have done, let me show you that as well. So they basically were boosting people. This is people who are 60 or 65 and older. And they said that after a period of 12 days, at least 12 days, the rate of confirmed infections was lowered by 11.3 times and the rate of severe illness by 19.5 times.

Now again, that's just 12 days after you got the booster. And some of the critics of the study have said, well, it's not really long enough to make an assessment there. Maybe you're getting a big surge of antibodies right after you get the booster. But does that really last a long time? Is that going to provide long term protection? That's what the F.D.A. is going to be focused on.

I'm getting to sort of the inflection point between, you know, people who are in favor of this and people who are against.

COOPER: Right, and in terms of against, I mean, the World Health Organization, they are against third shots and two top vaccine officials at the F.D.A. announced that their plans to -- they plan to step down in the wake of the administration's announcement about boosters. So again, it adds the confusion.

GUPTA: It really -- it really does add to the confusion. I mean, these -- first of all, when we heard from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, they said boosters are coming. They are going to start September 20th. Too most people that sounds like a done deal, it was sort of preordained.

But then they say the F.D.A. obviously still has to weigh in on it. As you know, career scientists at the F.D.A. weren't all on board with this. And I think that's led to people saying that they're going to leave.

But look at what the F.D.A. is saying ahead of this big meeting on Friday as well. They're basically looking at the data and putting out the statement saying it's not clear at least to them that the boosters are going to make a difference and that the current vaccine regimen really does still afford significant protection against severe COVID- 19.

The vaccines, that's what they were designed to do, to really protect people from getting severely ill. One thing -- you know, you and I have talked about this, Anderson, but if you look at the way the immunity works, most of the immunity is occurring around the lungs. If the virus gets into the lungs and starts to replicate, that's when people get severely ill. A lot of protection around the lungs.

You get less protection in the upper airway, so people could still potentially carry the virus, still test positive, but be very well protected against severe illness and the vaccines have done that well and continue to do that well.

COOPER: That's really interesting. That's a great explanation of why people who are infected are not actually getting as ill because it's actually protecting one's lungs more than it is protecting the nasal passages, right?

GUPTA: Right. And I think it also -- this term breakthrough infection, I think takes on a whole different meaning if you think of it that way, right? I mean, the idea that the virus is in the nose and mouth, and you could test positive, that's not a vaccine failure, that's another indication that the vaccine is doing what it was designed to do, to protect you from letting that virus then get into the lungs.

COOPER: I appreciate that. Sanjay, thanks so much.

Still ahead, why a chiropractor in Florida is signing medical exemptions to get kids out of school mask mandates. Our Randi Kaye went to his office to ask him. We'll find out how that went in a moment.



COOPER: The war over mask in Florida schools is still raging. Parents on both sides of the issue are not backing down.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These doctors that sit up here that was sneering at us, looking at us like we're scumbags, they need to go back to [bleep] Medical School.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, right, right here, right here. So as you can see fists are now flying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to bully him into wearing a mask?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not what we do. We love our students.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't believe that. I don't believe that. I want my child to go to school, free and unmasked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So just sit there civilly and behave yourselves or I'll have you removed. I suggest those of you that have your mask under your noses, put them back where they belong, or I'll have school police remove you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This board is only focused on forced mask mandates, raising our taxes, and making our kids believe they can change their gender.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're the bad guys because we're standing up for our children, like mine, who is at home right now saying "I don't want to wear them."


COOPER: Well, there is new reporting that a chiropractor signed hundreds of medical exemptions for students who wish to opt out of wearing masks in Sarasota County Schools. Dan Busch is a chiropractor. He is not a medical doctor, but it didn't stop parents from lining up at his office to get him to write an exemption for their kids.

Other parents are outraged, calling Busch irresponsible. Our Randi Kaye went to try and talk to him.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's just after sunrise outside this chiropractic office in Venice, Florida when we spot chiropractor, Dan Busch. He's just arrived for work in his pickup, hard to miss the red, white and blue splash and freedom fighters painted on it.

KAYE (on camera): How are you? Randi Kaye with CNN.

DAN BUSCH, CHIROPRACTOR: Yes, I am not interested.

KAYE: I just want to ask you -- are you -- I want to ask you about the exemption forms that you're signing?

BUSCH: Yes, I already --

KAYE: I know.

BUSCH: We already made a statement.

KAYE: Well, why won't you talk to us about it? Are these -- are you examining each and every child that you're writing exemption forms for?

BUSCH: This isn't about me, this is about parents' freedoms?

KAYE: Are you -- about parents' freedoms. Are you examining each and every child? Are you putting children's lives at risk by signing these forms?

BUSCH: Not at all.

KAYE: Why won't you answer a question about it?

BUSCH: Because I don't need to.

KAYE: All right, how do you feel about them not accepting your exemption forms?

KAYE (voice over): And that was the last we saw of Dan Busch.

When we asked his lawyer earlier about speaking with his client, he said Busch had no comment. Still, Busch has become somewhat of a champion here in Sarasota County to parents looking for a way out of the school mask mandate telling local media recently --

BUSCH: It's not a political thing. I'm not an anti-mask person, ant- vaxx person. But I am a pro-freedom pro-choice person.

KAYE (voice over): This was the scene recently outside his office, the Twin Palms Chiropractic Health Center. Hundreds of parents and children all hoping to secure a medical exemption.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's ridiculous to have to wear a mask for eight hours a day.

KAYE (voice over): This mom came to get Busch to sign an exemption form for her child, something he has now done hundreds of times according to the Sarasota County School District.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's great because many doctors are refusing to sign it and this is one doctor that is actually volunteering his time with no pay to sign all of these forms.

KAYE (voice over): Not everyone thinks it's as great as she does.

KAYE (on camera): Do you think Dr. Busch is being irresponsible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Absolutely irresponsible.


KAYE (voice-over): Jules Scholles who has a daughter in kindergarten here in Sarasota County started the group Stop The Spread SRQ. She says one of her friends was handed this medical exemption form from Dan Busch's office without ever meeting him or having his children evaluated. Notice it's blank, no medical or evaluation information, just what looks like the chiropractor signature at the bottom.

SCHOLLES: So just write mask exemptions without seeing a child's is really egregious.

KAYE (voice-over): Dan Busch recently denied to local media that he has signed forms without seeing parents.

DAN BUSCH, CHIROPRACTOR: I have not given an exemption to any parent that I have not met with.

KAYE (voice-over): Meanwhile, partly because of his actions, the Sarasota County School District told us they've updated their mask policy, and now accept medical exemptions only for medical doctors, osteopathic physicians and nurse practitioners. To be clear, chiropractors are not medical doctors, and the district will not accept their signed exemption forms. The school district also told us they've rejected about 650 medical exemption forms and that the majority of the declined exemptions were from Dan Busch's practice.

Yet this past weekend, Dan Busch took part in a mask exemption evaluation event, which more than 1,200 people reportedly attended. The flyer noted medical records helpful, but not mandatory.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And Randi joins us now. So I'm sure you had a lot of questions for it -- for that chiropractor?

KAYE: Yes, yes, Anderson. I certainly did. I wanted to sit down with him for a real interview, I wanted to ask him why he's signing these medical exemption forms, what his evaluation processes for these students, why he thinks he's qualified to sign these exemption forms. But instead of this thoughtful interview, which I was looking for, we had to try and catch up with him in the back alley of his office, which we did.

But I also wanted to ask him about some things that parents have been telling us, for example, we spoke with one woman who didn't want to go on camera, but she told us that she and her son waited for hours for Dan Busch in August to try and get an exemption form. And in just two minutes, they got it. She said that he barely evaluated her son, he looked over, didn't ask for any medical history, didn't check his vital signs or anything but filled out the form. And then she walked away with it in just a couple of minutes.

Now, he wasn't signing those forms at this latest event this weekend. But he certainly has been signing these forms for some time. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Randi Kaye. Randi, thanks.

Still ahead, what does Governor Gavin Newsom's winning California last night tell us about the midterms and more next?



COOPER: Voters overwhelmingly said no to a Republican attempt as Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election in California last night. Governor Newsom claimed the voters were saying yes to a lot more.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians. And I would argue as Americans, economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, our values where California has made so much progress. All of those things were on the ballot this evening.


COOPER: This election was watched nationwide by many we saw it as a glimpse into the mind of the electorate one year before midterm elections that obviously will determine which party controls Congress. Here what lessons they took from the failed recall, we're joined by former Republican presidential candidate and CNN senior political commentator, John Kasich. John is also the author of It's Up To Us 10 Little Ways We Can Bring About Big Change. Also joining us CNN political commentator, Mary Katharine Ham.

So governor Kasich, going forward from the California recall, what do you think some of the lessons are for both Republicans and Democrats?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think there's a lot of lessons Anderson, you know, he started basically at about 60%. And he ended there and you've got to remember a couple things. One is sometimes in recalls, we saw it with Scott Walker in Wisconsin, we see it here. Voters really don't like recall elections. It's sort of like why are we spending this money? Why are we doing this? Although I will say that the guy who wanted to take his place, Larry Elder was certainly out of the mainstream as it relates to Californians. But people that want to draw too many conclusions from this. I think we're making a mistake. And I think most Republican or Democratic experts say that.

I think the race that we really want to keep an eye on is the race in Virginia, because that will determine whether Republicans come out in strong numbers, whether Democrats in Northern Virginia or deflated. That is one that's going to tell us I think a lot more than what just happened to California.

COOPER: Mary Katherine, I mean, do you think there's lessons for Republicans or Democrats?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: (INAUDIBLE) doesn't Governor Kasich know that our job as politico's is to over extrapolate these very weird, racist (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: I'm so glad you pointed that out. Mary Katharine.

HAM: (INAUDIBLE) just project all that out. No, I do think he's correct that the Virginia will be more telling. I think Governor Newsom speech touches on a lot of things that Democrats in California, he's correct fancy about themselves as things that they support, right. But that doesn't exactly mean that you can project those things on the rest of America, or even on a state like Virginia, which is far less blue, although not really a battleground or red, like it used to be far less blue than California. And Glenn Youngkin, who is the Republican candidate will not oblige the left by being as easy to tie to Trump as Larry Elder was. So you got that issue.

I do think there's a lesson here from several recent elections for Republicans, which is that they can in these, sometimes off your elections in a special elections and in general, in ways the Democrats don't expect peel off some minority voters. Over 2020s exit polls, you saw some shift in white college educated voters toward Democrats and you saw black and Hispanic voters leaning a little bit more toward Republican -- toward the Republican answer in California.

So I think that's a path that Republicans need to think about. And they're not good at thinking about how to tackle that, but it's something they need to think about for the future. Also, I would note we got a concession after this loss, so small victories.


COOPER: So Governor, but I guess for Republicans, you know, is there any lesson on allegiance to the former president is, I mean, Trumpism is still the banner of the Republican Party? Does it work to actually win elections?

KASICH: So we're going to have to see in Virginia, but I really at the end of the day, don't think so. I think, Anderson, the problem the Republicans have in Cal -- is not just in California, but in many places around the country. And I know Mary Katharine knows this, if you take a look at Northern Virginia, the issues that Republicans, you know, they're really about were against the other party. And as the suburbs grow as those suburbs grow, you know, what's happening in those suburbs, they're, they're increasingly going blue. And at the same time, in those rural areas, a lot of those rural towns are shrinking.

So, one of the lessons is Republicans better be for something, they better come up with a plan in terms of rising drug prices, what they want to do in health care, what they want to do on energy, what they want to do about the border while talking about shutting people up, but what's the constructive plan for that? And in California, they're just out to lunch, tho Republicans been at the lunch forever. The last great Republican, of course, the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, now, he happened to win a recall election, but there's only one Terminator in all the universe. And if you wonder about that, or question that Anderson, he might come for you.

COOPER: Mary Katharine, I mean, the supporting the former president helps you win a primary in the Republican Party. Again, though, for the general -- for general election, does it work?

HAM: No. And I mean, in a purple state, you have to figure out how to marry these two things, you have to either or the either Democrats in the suburbs in Northern Virginia have to be sort of deflated, or you have to peel off a couple of those formerly right leaning voters who became left leaning during the Trump years. And you have to marry those with rural voters who have different concerns.

I will say, I thought it was helpful in both of these places in California, Virginia, just having an election going on the political pressure of that I believe, helped get public school students back in school, which was something that unions were being very, very stubborn about, and Democratic leaders were not pushing them on. And so you've got kids in school, which I think is a victory for kids and parents.

Obviously, there are obstacles here and there are challenges. But that was something that developed a ton of energy in Northern Virginia continues to these battles over getting schools open for five days a week. And it's not just coming from conservatives because well, there's not that many of the Virginia but a lot of people wanted to (INAUDIBLE).

KASICH: But Anderson --


KASICH: Anderson the other interesting point here is we don't know how many of those Trump Republicans will vote if Trump's not on the ballot.


KASICH: I mean, a lot of them if you take Youngstown for example, you know, they voted strong for Trump. Trump's not there, I'm not sure they turn out for Republicans --

COOPER: Interesting.

KASICH: -- so it's very interesting.


KASICH: It's very, very interesting.

COOPER: Governor Kasich, appreciate, Mary Katharine him as well. Great to see you.

HAM: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next, breaking mews why authorities now looking into the death of this man's former housekeeper. Plus what his lawyer revealed about his client being shot along a South Carolina roadside.



COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. South Carolina authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the mysterious 2018 death of a longtime housekeeper of a disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh and the handling of her estate. The housekeeper died in the Murdaugh home in what was called a slip and fall accident. The coroner requested the investigation today and revealed an autopsy wasn't performed at the time. The coroner also said the death was ruled natural, which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident.

So this comes just hours after Murdaugh's attorney said his client had hired a hitman to shoot and kill him earlier this month, so that his surviving son could collect a massive insurance payout. Did not play out that way.

For more on all of this bizarre stories, CNN's Martin Savidge reporting from South Carolina.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prominent attorney Alex Murdaugh said he was shot in the head on September 4th, after he pulled over to check his tires. But he has now said he asked this man Chris Smith, to do it.

DICK HARPOOTLIAN, ALEX MURDAUGH'S ATTORNEY: Realize that things were going to get very, very, very bad, and he decided to end his life.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): His lawyer tell CNN that 53-year-old suffered a fractured skull and brain bleed, but survived. An affidavit alleges Mr. Murdaugh provided Mr. Smith with a firearm and directed Mr. Smith to shoot him in the head. Smith is charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. It is not clear whether Smith has an attorney or how he intends to plea on the charges.

Murdaugh, who has not been charged, told South Carolina police he was in such a bad financial position. He thought death was his only way to ensure a life insurance payout for his son, his attorney says.

HARPOOTLIAN: He believed that $10 million policy had a suicide exclusion. Suicide exclusions are only good for two years, and he didn't realize that, so he arranged to have this guy shoot him.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): His lawyer says that Murdaugh was in a massive depression for the shocking unsolved double murder of his wife and son three months ago, and that he also has a severe opioid addiction.

HARPOOTLIAN: His father died of cancer that same week. Most people couldn't get through that, he got through it with the use of opioids.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Just one day before the shooting, Murdaugh had abruptly resigned from his law firm after being accused of misappropriating funds, which his lawyer says has been primarily used to purchase drugs. Attorneys for Murdaugh now claim that Smith and others, quote, took advantage of his mental illness and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs.

HARPOOTLIAN: This guy shooting him in the head, did try to persuade him not to do it didn't hesitate at all.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Smith appeared in court today on unrelated drug charges. He'll now be transferred to Hampton County for charges in the Alex Murdaugh case. Record show the connection between Murdaugh and his alleged shooter going back more than a decade when Murdaugh represented Smith in court, first in a personal injury suit and then for a traffic infraction.

Murdaugh's lawyer says he spoke to Murdaugh at a detention center on Monday, and explains why he finally came forward.

HARPOOTLIAN: He didn't want it law enforcement spending more time on this fake crime --


HARPOOTLIAN: -- instead of focusing on solving the murders of Maggie and Paul.


COOPER: Martin Savidge joins us now. This is so bizarre. I mean, so they're now investigating -- he had a housekeeper who died in his house, then his son and wife were shot to death in the house that's still on unsolved. And now he allegedly hired somebody to shoot himself in the head for his one surviving son. Where is he now? SAVIDGE: Well, right now he is said to be in a drug rehabilitation program, but I got a phone call from one of his attorneys and he said that it is their understanding that an arrest warrant has now been issued for Alex Murdaugh and it is for conspiring to commit insurance fraud. As a result of that, the attorney says their client is expected to turn himself into authorities sometime tomorrow.


Now this being South Carolina, it is possible that he could get a bond hearing tomorrow. And if he's given bond, it's very likely he could make that bond and then he would quickly be released. So, it's possible he could be back within that drug rehabilitation program within 24 hours.

However, I will tell you this if there's been one consistency in this case, it's been its ability to surprise us. We'll have to wait and see, Anderson.

COOPER: I feel bad for his remaining son. Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, extraordinary testimony, four U.S. gymnast including Simone Biles rip the FBI over how agents mishandled the abuse allegations against their team doctor with the athletes said and how the FBI Director today responded in a moment.



COOPER: Four U.S. gymnast including Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney slammed the FBI and Senate testimony today for mishandling investigation to abuse allegations against Larry Nassar. He's the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who is now in prison after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he had sexually abused them. Each gymnast spoke about the harrowing abuse. They said they suffered and said the FBI is delay in investigating their allegations allowed Dr. Nassar's abuse to continue or the number of his victims grew.

More from CNN's Paula Reid.


SIMONE BILES, U.S. GYMNAST: How much is a little girl worth?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles fighting back tears testified before Congress today about how the FBI failed her and hundreds of other survivors of sexual abuse by USA Gymnastics team Dr. Larry Nassar.

BILES: I don't want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar (INAUDIBLE). To be clear, sorry. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your time.

BILES: To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.

REID (voice-over): Nassar pleaded guilty in 2018 and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for assaulting hundreds of victims. But not before he was allowed to victimize dozens of girls, because adults in positions of authority failed to act on complaints. According to gymnast's who testified today.

MCKAYLA MARONEY, U.S. GYMNAST: I was molested by the US gymnastics national team and Olympic team Dr. Larry Nassar, and in actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor.

REID (voice-over): McKayla Maroney testified about how the FBI mishandled her complaints.

MARONEY: I began crying at the memory over the phone, and there was just dead silence. I was so shocked at the agent silence and disregard for my trauma. After that minute of silence he asked, is that all? Those words in itself was one of the worst moments of this entire process for me, to have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me.

REID (voice-over): Nassar went on to abuse dozens of other victims after Maroney came forward.

MARONEY: What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer? They had legal legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing.

REID (voice-over): Ali Raisman testified how the FBI also dismissed her allegations.

ALY RAISMAN, U.S. GYMNAST: I remember sitting there with the FBI agent and him trying to convince me that it wasn't that bad.

REID (voice-over): She too said the system failed them.

RAISMAN: Over 100 victims could have been spared the abuse if all we needed was one adult to do the right thing.

REID (voice-over): A report by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General found that the FBI agents who received the complaints did limited follow up with Maroney. The Justice Department has so far not brought charges against either of the FBI agents mentioned in the inspector general's report as having mishandled the Nassar case. Special Agent Michael Langman, identified by the Washington Post was fired by the FBI last week and Langman's supervisor retired before the investigation was complete.

FBI Director Christopher Wray who took over leadership of the agency in 2017, was pressed by lawmakers on how the system could have failed so badly.

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: And I don't have a good explanation for you. It is utterly jarring to me.

I'm sorry, that so many different people let you down over and over again.


COOPER: And Paula Reid joins us now. Is there a chance that any of the FBI agents cited in the inspector general's report and at this hearing could actually face prosecution?

REID: Well, Anderson, despite those stunning allegations of misconduct so far, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute the FBI agents who have been accused of bungling this investigation. Now under the Trump administration and then again under the Biden administration, justice officials reviewed the evidence in this case and decided that they couldn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt and opted not to move forward.

The next month, Attorney General Merrick Garland and his deputy Lisa Monaco, they will both appear before lawmakers and that will be a first chance to ask them about why they are not moving forward with charges. As we heard repeatedly throughout this hearing what these women want is accountability.

COOPER: Yes, Paula Reid, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

The news continues right now. Let's head over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thanks Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "PRIMETIME."

Got a bolo, be on the lookout you need to be where the people calling Milley's head.