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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

New D.H.S. Memo Warns of Potential for Violence Around Justice for J6 Rally in D.C. on Saturday; New Indictment in Special Counsel Probe of Trump-Russia Investigation Origins; Federal Judge Denies DOJ Request To Expedite Proceedings In TX Abortion Case; One-On-One With Florida Chiropractor Who Signed More Than A Hundred Medical Exemptions For Kids. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 16, 2021 - 20:00   ET


ATHENA JONES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Meanwhile, Gabby's stepfather has now travelled to Wyoming to help look for her and he asks anyone who may have been visiting the Grand Teton Yellowstone area and taking pictures or videos to go back through them and see if they see Gabby -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, Athena, thank you very much.

Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. In less than 48 hours, in Washington, D.C., there will be a rally of supporters of the former President who are now trying to rewrite the history of what happened on January 6. It's a rally in support of those now being prosecuted for their roles in the attack and seeks to portray many of those being prosecuted as somehow political prisoners.

According to information obtained by CNN, the Department of Homeland Security is warning about the potential of violence not just on the day of this rally, but the day before as well, which is tomorrow. These warnings based on the threats on social media.

Now there are reportedly no indication of a specific or credible plot associated with the event and the Department of Homeland Security has said it expects far fewer participants than during the January 6 rally. However, the new information CNN obtained also warns about the potential for so-called lone wolves to maybe attempt something.

Well, today, fencing went out to protect the Capitol. The Pentagon says Capitol Hill Police have already requested assistance from the D.C. National Guard. The individuals organizing this rally are supporters of the former President. Some are propagators of his lies about voter fraud.

The former President is also now pushing this notion that those involved in the Capitol riot are being persecuted. He writes, quote: "Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protests concerning the rigged presidential election." By the way, that protest he is talking about is not why people are

being prosecuted. They are being prosecuted for breaking the law, taking part in an attack on the Capitol, an attack in which more than a hundred law enforcement officers were injured.

Officer Brian Sicknick died the day after being attacked during the riot. Four officers died by suicide in the aftermath.

During testimony in July, one Capitol Police officer said he and his fellow officers were punched, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers.

Now, for the record, currently, 608 defendants have been charged, 70 already have pleaded guilty. Six defendants had been sentenced, three of them to prison. So, let's start with our congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles at the site of that fencing near the Capitol.

So, in light of this warning from the Department of Homeland Security, what else do we see in terms of security preparations ahead of Saturday's rally? Because it certainly doesn't -- I mean, there's questions about how many people may actually even show up to this thing?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there is no doubt that the security posture here at the Capitol is like nothing we've seen since the days after the January 6 riot. It is certainly way more than what was up here right before that riot.

As you mentioned, there is now fencing wrapped all around the Capitol Complex. Capitol Police have asked for an increased presence of their own force. Basically, every Capitol Police officer is going to expect it to be up here this weekend. They've also asked for reinforcements from local police departments in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. And they've even asked the National Guard to be on standby.

It is clear that they are not taking anything for granted. They are certainly preparing for a worst-case scenario. I mean, there's really no reason to believe that the situation on Saturday could spiral out of control like we saw on January 6th. There won't be nearly as many people here. The dynamics are much different. Congress isn't even in session.

But there is enough in what they are hearing on online chatter and just the overall mood of the type of protester that's going to be here on Saturday that has driven them to take the precautions that they have this weekend.

COOPER: So, the President now clearly sees a kind of a little groundswell among far right Republicans in support of people who are being prosecuted and having their day in court, and the President has glommed on to that in his statement today.

But it also seems that he is not sure exactly whether or not to be fully behind this rally or not saying it could be kind of a setup. There's other chatter among, you know, some far right groups saying it could be a false flag operation. It seems like the kind of conspiracy theories are like falling in on themselves now.

NOBLES: Yes, you're exactly right, Anderson. And I think it's also pretty startling or not startling, but it's something worth pointing out that in that statement that the President -- former President issued today, he doesn't even mention specifically this rally this weekend. He just talks more broadly about his support for those that have been arrested and are currently in prison as a result of what happened on January 6.

But I think the important part to talk about as it relates to the former President's role in all of this is that the misinformation that he continues to peddle, not just with the statement that he put out today, but just in general, you know, putting out statements almost every single day, still claiming that the 2020 election was rigged, warning that future elections could possibly be rigged and just continuing to inflame the passions of many of his supporters who are just frankly misinformed about what happened in November and then what happened in January.


NOBLES: That's what has law enforcement officials concerned because it is that anger, that angst that is driving many of these protesters, and it is what could lead them to doing something that could hurt other people or just, you know, create an event that spirals out of control here on Saturday.

COOPER: Ryan Nobles appreciate it. Thanks.

We want to turn now to another breaking news story involving the Justice Department, a new indictment stemming from that special probe begun under the previous administration into the F.B.I.'s investigation of the former President.

Now, for the latest in that, I'm joined by our senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez. So Evan, explain what this relates to.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Michael Sussman was a lawyer who worked with a law firm that represented Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and he is charged now by John Durham, the special counsel that was appointed under Bill Barr.

He is charged with lying to the F.B.I. in a meeting that occurred in September 19th of 2016. It was at that meeting that he turned over a thumb drive that contained information that allegedly showed some type of surreptitious communications going on between computer servers at Trump Tower, at Trump Organization and a Russian bank known as Alfa Bank.

Now, the F.B.I. looked into this, investigated, couldn't figure out really much about it and what the importance of that was, but all of that now has resulted in these charges against Sussman according to the special counsel, John Durham, who we believe is wrapping up his investigation. This is something that was material enough that caused the F.B.I. to

dedicate resources to it and that's why he is bringing these charges.

We have a statement from Sussman's lawyer who says -- lawyers who say that this is politics, not facts that this is an investigation that Durham was carrying out essentially trying to pursue a conspiracy theory -- Anderson.

COOPER: So just to be clear because this seems like kind of a blast from the past, this whole Durham probe, we really haven't heard much about it of late. Just to remind people, this was set up under the former administration and the former President had promoted this as though there was going to be some big, huge reveal before the election that would be a game changer.

Bill Barr, the Attorney General that time was involved in the investigation. This investigation is gone on now for a long time. I don't know if it as long as the Mueller investigation was, but it certainly seems pretty long and they've only brought this is, the second of two charges, right?

PEREZ: Right, Anderson. The investigation that John Durham began, this is again, this is what Bill Barr brought him in to do which was, you know, essentially a look into the Trump-Russia investigation. And here we are more than two years later, the investigation of the investigation has gone on longer than the Mueller investigation.

If you want to keep count, Mueller brought charges against 34 people and three companies. And as you pointed out, this is only the second person that has been charged by Durham's investigation. The other one was a former F.B.I. lawyer who similarly pleaded guilty or he was charged with making false statements. You know, again, it is a similar situation, he pleaded guilty in that charge.

And yes, your point is exactly right. The F.B.I. -- I'm sorry, the former Attorney General Bill Barr and the President kept promising that they were was going to be some big reveal. He looked into the Intelligence Community, whether they were some wrongdoing there, Trump kept saying that they were going to be charges against Jim Comey and other officials. None of that has happened.

And it appears that the Durham investigation was more of a dud, not nearly what Bill Barr and Trump promised his supporters.

COOPER: And you said the investigation seems to be wrapping up. You have a timeline of that?

PEREZ: We don't. We don't, but we're told by sources that he has begun to wrap up his investigation. At the end of this, Anderson, he is expected to produce a report to Merrick Garland, the current Attorney General, and at that point, they can make a decision to release some version of that report.

COOPER: All right, Evan Perez. I appreciate it.

I want to get some perspective now from our senior law enforcement analyst, Andrew McCabe, former F.B.I. Deputy Director.

So, Andrew, what does it say that -- I mean, the Durham probe, which I mean, according to Evan has lasted longer than the actual Mueller probe, these two charges, how serious are they and what do you make of it?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, Anderson, look, let's frame this away it really is, right? This is an investigation that was borne of politics.

Former Attorney General Barr not satisfied with the half dozen or so other entities that investigated why and how we opened the case we did to discover -- to uncover whether or not the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia, unhappy with the results of all those, handpicked John Durham as his investigator and they started over again.


MCCABE: They traveled the globe together, they talked to every foreign intelligence agency, they talked to C.I.A. people, the F.B.I. people, and here we are with this indictment of an attorney who voluntarily brought information to the F.B.I. and is now alleged to have misrepresented to the bureau whether or not he was representing a client. I just feel like we've ended in a very political place similar to where we began.

COOPER: So, in terms of this attorney, who was indicted on charges of lying at a September 2016 meeting with F.B.I. General Counsel, James Baker, you were at the F.B.I. at the time. I mean, are these charges concerning to you?

MCCABE: Well, I should say, I don't know Michael Sussman. I don't believe I've ever even met him. I was aware of the information that came -- I was aware at the time that information had come to the F.B.I. about these allegations about this Alfa Bank computer connection to possibly the Trump Organization. So that is what it is. I don't think that's the subject of this indictment, though.

What concerns me about this indictment is many, many people bring information to the F.B.I. every single day, right? And oftentimes, that information is inaccurate or maybe it's not productive. And sometimes it comes to us, you know, for some ulterior motive. You know, people call in the tip line if they're angry with their neighbor, and so they send in some information to make others look bad or to try to initiate investigations. That's not good when that happens, but it happens a lot.

And I've never seen someone indicted under circumstances like this, which just really, is the question as to what is really behind their interest in Mr. Sussman? Is it the fact that he concealed who he was representing? Or is it the fact that he can somehow be connected tangentially to Hillary Clinton?

I don't know. I guess, we'll find out as this goes forward.

COOPER: Do you think any more charges will come before this probe officially ends?

MCCABE: You know, I have absolutely no idea. I don't know what Durham has been doing or what he has in store. I'm sure that we'll see your report at some point, because I think the Special Counsel Statute requires that he submit a report to the Attorney General.

So, that'll be interesting to read, but the whole thing is a little strange.

COOPER: Just finally, I want to ask you about this Department of Homeland Security warning today about the potential for violence from people involved who are opposed to what's been called the so-called Justice for J6 rally planned for Saturday.

They're talking as if the people being prosecuted for being involved and entering the Capitol, being involved in violence and just even entering the Capitol illegally are somehow political prisoners.

From a law enforcement perspective, I imagine one has to prepare for the worst, even though it seems like this probably will not be a hugely attended event.

MCCABE: That's absolutely right. You know, law enforcement leaders have to prevent acts of terror, have to prevent acts of chaos and, and violence from happening. And so, we know, Anderson, just over the last few weeks, we've had two separate incidences of lone wolf type offenders who have shown up at the Capitol, one of whom threatened to set off a bomb, another from a white supremacist who was arrested just a few days ago.

So, we know that there is a population of extremists out there who still see the Capitol and lawmakers and government as a viable target, and so with the intelligence that D.H.S. has access to and the F.B.I. has access to, I think they're taking the appropriate measures. Are they erring on the side of caution? Let's hope so. If the rally goes off without a hitch, that's terrific, but at least we were prepared if it goes south.

ASMAN: Yes, Andrew McCabe, thanks for time. Appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Still to come tonight, the final days of the former President's administration. We have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's response to a new reporting from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa about that phone call between her and General Mark Milley, her concern over the former President's mental stability and control of the country's nuclear weapons, plus two reporters who know the former President very well.

And later, new development in the Justice Department's lawsuit against Texas and its law banning abortions after about six weeks.


[20:18:37] COOPER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has now responded to reporting in

the new book "Peril" from Bob Woodward and his "Washington Post" colleague, Robert Costa. In it, they write about a phone call after the Capitol riot between Speaker Pelosi and General Mark Milley, then and now, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So according to a transcript of the call, the authors say that they obtained, Milley tried to reassure Speaker Pelosi that nuclear weapons were safe. Speaker Pelosi according to the reporting worried that the former President might use them in an attack on another country to forestall his exit.

Well, today the Speaker was in London and was asked about that new reporting.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It wasn't a question of cutting him out of the chain of command, it was a question of what the checks and balances were on that chain of command.

So, yes, you're seeing some things. I can't attest to confirm or deny some of what is being said because it all came out since I've been here. But it is true that there was very grievous concern not just among House Democrats or Senate Democrats, but among those responsible for our National Security.

That finger on the button, war with a country and invasion, anything to take attention away from the fact that we were having a peaceful transfer.


COOPER: Joining us now, "The Washington Post's" Carol Leonnig, co- author of "I Alone Can Fix It" about the former President's final year in office and Michael D'Antonio, biographer of the former President and co-author of "The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence."


COOPER: So, Carol, you've got a lot of reporting in your book about General Milley's concerns about the former President. He actually met with the Joint Chiefs to plan how to handle any illegal orders they feared could come from the Commander-in-Chief. What do you make of this new reporting?

CAROL LEONNIG, NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, Anderson, I think it pulls back and important layer of the onion. These are I have to say, in all candor, these are friends and colleagues of mine, Bob Woodward and Bob Costa, and I think their book has a lot of really interesting new material.

I think this tells us, you know, exactly what Pelosi was describing just there in London, the grievous concern was not just some Democrats, as Speaker Pelosi, and as we reported at the time, said to Milley, you know the President is not stable. You know, he's not stable, right? What are you doing about it?

I think this gives you more detail about how much Milley took her seriously, how much he himself was worried not about somebody pushing the nuclear button, but just wanting to batten down the hatches, make sure everybody in the chain of command understood how this was going to happen. What were the rules of the road? And how are they going to make sure that those rules were followed even with a President who was behaving in a -- you know, let's face it a pretty unhinged way after the election and much more dramatically after January 6.

COOPER: Michael, looking at this new General Milley reporting, you've said that the former President kind of has a way of corrupting those around him, making them or attempting at least to make them into kind of co-conspirators. It is also something James Comey talked about sensing the person was trying to do with him.

General Milley reportedly learned that lesson in that now infamous clearing of protesters in Lafayette Square, which clearly, he regretted badly.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, DONALD TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Well, you could see in his demeanor in the weeks and months after that Lafayette Park incident that he had been burned, but he is also obviously a very strong person who understood his own power, and he was not going to get sucked in as so many people did with Donald Trump into this frame of being a co- conspirator.

You know, a lot of people I think got corrupted by the former President because they did one thing that aligned them with his interests and his corrupt interest and felt that they couldn't self- correct and obviously, General Milley self-corrected.

But I also want to amplify what Carol said about the ongoing revelations, the fact that all of this is sort of confirming what people feared and often experienced around the President. And we know that many people were concerned that the military do the right thing that someone like General Milley stand up and secure the chain of decision making so that something untoward couldn't happen.

And the fact that it came about I think is testament to the President's temperament.

COOPER: Yes, you know, Carol, what's so fascinating is for all the talk about, you know, fake news in the former administration, all the reporting, the deep reporting that has gone on subsequently and has come out, it's not as if there's this -- like your book is an outlier, or Woodward's book is an outlier.

They are, as you said, kind of matching each other from different sources in different people and the more people reporters have talked to and who are now willing to come forward and talk, you realize it was way worse than, you know, we knew at the time.

I mean, we knew it was, you know, a clown car going on and possibly going off the cliff. But I mean, it's extraordinary to see this reporting by you and so many others. Woodward and Costa also report on the former President's mental

faculties where concerns by General Milley that the President was in quote, "serious mental decline," which tracks with some of your own reporting that Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was concerned about the former President after the election.

LEONNIG: You know, I think your word choice is just perfect, Anderson, extraordinary. I mean, I'm a pretty hard-bitten reporter, Phil Rucker and I, my colleague, we thought in real time, we were capturing just how dramatic these moments were in the fall of 2020. A President who in the middle of the night rejected the election results of one of the most carefully watched elections, you know, the most secure careful and monitored.

COOPER: Successful elections in which overwhelming turnout on both sides. I mean, incredible.

LEONNIG: Correct. Correct. And plus, you can't really lose a presidential election if the Republican Senator just down field from you won so well. It's kind of hard to say that it was rigged, but be that as it may, extraordinary is exactly the right word.

And you know, on the mental decline issue, we are not psychologists at "The Washington Post" reporting desk. But it is clear to me that so many people including the people closest to the President, some of his most ardent supporters were genuinely fearful about his state of mind.


LEONNIG: Whether you know that meant mental decline, or whether that meant unhinged, or whether that meant willing to do anything, they were fearful of it. And Meadows confided as we reported in our book that he thought the President was in a bad way, and everybody just needed to simmer down and try to keep him calm. That's not really how you want to be talking about a President who, as Pelosi was worried, has his finger on the button.

What Milley kept trying to tell her over and over again was we've got a process, don't worry, he can't just walk into a room and push it. There is a process. He has to come through me first.

Milley is, as you know, legally, because you've studied this, he is the person who gives the President his best military advice, and no order can be given without Milley knowing it, so he is able and afforded that opportunity.

I think that's really what was going on here. Just so many levels of fear. Democrats, Pentagon, and even again, as I said, some of the closest people to the President, some of his biggest supporters.

COOPER: Michael, the Vice President, Mike Pence, you co-wrote a biography about him. You know, there's this reporting now in the Woodward book that that he may not so much have been a defender of the Constitution on January 6 but was really looking for a way to try to do something of the former President's billing up until really the last moment and according to this book, you know, it's Dan Quayle of all people who is telling him, you don't have any options.

D'ANTONIO: Well, thank goodness there was another Hoosier Vice President for Mike Pence to consult. You know, this actually really confirms what we learned about Mike Pence while we were doing the biography of him. He is a person who is profoundly ambitious. He's always wanted to be President himself, and I think that he saw his pathway to the presidency being with Donald Trump, and to the very last, he really wanted to do the President's bidding.

He wanted to enable this semi coup I guess, you would call it of overturning the election and when he couldn't find a way to do it, he at last capitulated and did the right thing. It was later framed as this idea that Mike Pence saved democracy.

Well, in fact, if he did save democracy, it was with great reluctance.

COOPER: Michael D'Antonio and Carol Leonnig, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

Up next, we've got breaking news in the legal battle surrounding Texas's controversial abortion ban. And here's what happened yesterday when our Randi Kaye tried to talk to a Florida chiropractor who wrote more than a hundred medical exemptions to get kids out of mask mandates, well, see what happened today.



COOPER: Breaking News, the federal judge overseeing the Justice Department's legal challenge to Texas's abortion ban denied the request that he move up a hearing in the case.

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us now. So, what does that mean?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, you have to understand I think people have to understand just how bizarre and really outrageous a situation is. Texas passes a law that everyone including Texas acknowledges is contrary to Supreme Court precedent. It is unconstitutional under the law as it exists now. But here it is several weeks later, and no judge has yet ruled on the merits of this case. And yet again, this judge seems to no hurry to do so. You know, the Justice Department asked for September 21st. He said October 1st for this hearing. But that's only the hearing, who knows when he's actually going to rule?

COOPER: And the rationale I read was, I think you said something to the effect of, you know, there are serious legal questions involved with this, and it deserves time to consider them.

TOOBIN: Well, and this, this is why the fault here really is with the five Justices of the Supreme Court. What the district judge here is, is basically repeating what the five justices who refuse to issue the stay on this law said, which is basically, you know, this is complicated. Let's take some time. It's not that complicated. Everyone acknowledges even Texas acknowledges that this law is contrary to Supreme Court precedent on abortion. And, but they're doing it anyway. And they've set up this procedure, where it's not the state enforcing it, but you have private individuals enforcing it.

But the fact is, abortion is effectively illegal in Texas now, and no judge has done anything about.

COOPER: So, you've mentioned this, this hearing October 1st, what happens at the hearing?

TOOBIN: Well, this is when the Justice Department as well as several other plaintiffs abortion providers, individuals in Texas will ask the judge finally, enjoying this law. It is contrary to Supreme Court precedent. That's the request. It seems like a fairly straightforward thing when everyone acknowledges this law is contrary to Supreme Court precedent. But no court has acted yet. And this judge who has at least been somewhat sympathetic to the plaintiffs in the past, is going to be followed by the Fifth Circuit, which is very conservative, and the five justices on the Supreme Court.

So, you know, it looks like this Texas law is going to stay on the books for some time, if not forever, given the way this law -- the lawsuits is going.

COOPER: Yes. Jeff Toobin, appreciate it. Thanks. We'll continue to follow it.

Now to COVID and a story we first reported last night a chiropractor named Dan Busch signed more than 100 Medical exemptions for students who wish to opt out of wearing masks in Sarasota County Schools. So here's what happened when Randi Kaye tried to talk to him about it yesterday.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): How are you? Randi Kaye with CNN.

DAN BUSCH, CHIROPRACTOR: Yes, I'm not interest.

KAYE (on-camera): I just want to ask you are you -- I want to ask you about the exemption forms that you're signing.

BUSCH: I already.


KAYE (on-camera): I know.

BUSCH: We already made a statement.

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

BUSCH: This was -- this wasn't about me. This is about parents' freedoms.

KAYE (on-camera): Are you? About parents' freedoms. Are you examining each and every child -- are you putting children's lives at risk by signing --

BUSCH: Not al all.

KAYE (on-camera): -- these forms? Why not? Why won't you answer a question about it?

BUSCH: Because I don't need to.

KAYE (on-camera): All right, how do you feel about them not accepting your exemption forms?


COOPER: Well, today Busch agreed to sit down with Randi for an interview. She joins us now from Sarasota. Randi, how did go?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, we stayed in Sarasota overnight, hoping to get an interview with that chiropractor today. So I reached out early this morning to his attorney, they thought about it for a bit. Then he got back to me. And they agreed to sit down with me. So we met at his lawyer's office. And I was finally able to ask all the questions that I wanted to ask him yesterday.

But remember, Anderson, Sarasota schools actually changed their mask exemption policy, in part because of this guy. So now chiropractors can no longer sign those mask medical exemption forms so he can no longer sign those forms. We talked about that today, and much more.


KAYE (on-camera): Why were you signing these forms? Why were you exempting children?

BUSCH: Because as a parent, I felt like they took my rights away and upset me. So find out that I wasn't alone. Many parents felt the same way. They had their rights infringed upon. So, you know, they were upset as well.

KAYE (on-camera): You said this was about freedom.

BUSCH: It's a parental right to be able to choose these things. It's Florida law.

KAYE (on-camera): These choices and freedom that you talk about --


KAYE (on-camera): -- they are putting people in danger. And these statistics show that. So how do you feel about that?

BUSCH: So keep in mind, I'm not making the decision on how a parent should send their child to school. For those kids that qualified or those teachers and administration that qualified, this is nothing more than a permission slip, to give them their choice on how they feel they should go to school.

KAYE (on-camera): But if the freedom is putting people in grave danger, why grant them that freedom?

BUSCH: The Sarasota County School Board made a policy. In that policy I did with what was within my legal right, as a licensed health care provider in the state of Florida. I did I played by the rules.

KAYE (on-camera): Do you say you're pro freedom? But can't you be pro freedom and medically irresponsible at the same time?

BUSCH: I'm sure somebody could be but do I feel that I was absolutely not.

KAYE (on-camera): You don't feel you're medically responsible at all?

BUSCH: Not at all.

KAYE (on-camera): I'm not asking you what you discuss with the child, I'm not asking for names. I'm just curious if you examine a child.

BUSCH: Yes, I mean yes, but it's going to the quality of questions are going to be depend on the age of the child.

KAYE (on-camera): Have you ever signed an exemption form without speaking to a parent about --


KAYE (on-camera): -- that child?

BUSCH: Heck no.

KAYE (on-camera): Have you ever signed an exemption form without meeting with the child?


KAYE (on-camera): Never?


KAYE (on-camera): So every child that got an exemption form you met with?

BUSCH: Everyone that I've done, yes.

KAYE (on-camera): And that's the 100 and something --

BUSCH: Hundred and eighty form (ph).

KAYE (on-camera): And how many of those Do you think were children?

BUSCH: Probably 140, maybe. KAYE (voice-over): But we spoke with a man who did not want to be identified who told us on August 27th, he got two forms for his children at Dan Busch's office. He said he never met with Busch, nor did his two children. We showed Busch the man's form.

(on-camera): Take a look at this form. And see is that your signature at the bottom?

BUSCH: It looks like it yes.

KAYE (on-camera): So you're saying that the fake form?

BUSCH: I think somebody made copies of it? Yes.

KAYE (on-camera): Can you tell me today there are no pre signed forms, blank forms --


KAYE (on-camera): -- that are being handed out at your office or word being handed out?

BUSCH: The first several dozen people that I had met with early on, all had to come back and get new forms. I had already examined those people. I did not need to re-examine those people. So there were forms where we had them ready for those parents. OK. But it wasn't somebody coming in willy nilly without meeting us and being given an exemption form.

KAYE (on-camera): Are you the only doctor in your practice who was signing these exemption forms?

BUSCH: No, ma'am. No ma'am, we had three doctors in my practice. And then several other doctors, chiropractors within the county that were also doing them. I know of at least nine other docs in this community that did them. And again, they did them last year as well.

KAYE (on-camera): The American Academy of PT -- of Pediatrics just said this week, there's been a nearly 240 percent increase in cases among children and children now account for 29 percent of all cases reported nationwide. So when you weigh freedom against that, how do you do that? I mean, what is more important.

BUSCH: The freedom to choose because I am not going to live in fear. It's just not me.

KAYE (on-camera): Even if it's putting others at risk?

BUSCH: Again, I'm not making that decision for them. I'm giving them permission to make that decision for themselves or their own family,


KAYE (on-camera): But you're making it easier for them. So just to be clear, do you believe that masks help stop the spread?

BUSCH: Yes, they help. Yes.


COOPER: So that's interesting, I mean he says they do help stop the spread. Did you ask him what he thinks about the vaccine?

KAYE: I did Anderson, in fact, he had COVID back in December. He told me his whole family had COVID around Christmas time, he said that his wife and his daughter got really, really sick. Those were his words. He said now half his family is vaccinated but Anderson he is not and he does not plan to get the vaccine. He said that he believes his natural immunity is enough to protect him. We know that the CDC does not agree with that, they think even if you've had COVID that you should now get the vaccine. He also says that the vaccine is not in his best interest and if he does get COVID again, he will accept the consequences. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Randi, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Still ahead, what can Democrats across the country learn from Governor Newsom's win in California recall election? I'll talk to strategist James Carville, next.


COOPER: This week's recall election California has watched nationwide by many who saw it as a glimpse perhaps into the mind of the electorate one year before midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom beat the GOP lead -- excuse me, the GOP led effort to oust him by turning the race into a national battle for his party's values and against Trumpism.


So wanted to take a look at what that strategy may tell Democrats about how they might want to run in the future? That we turn to a man who's run more than a few Democratic campaigns, James Carville.

So James, let's start with California. Are there any lessons from Newsom's campaign that you see that Democrats should take into the midterms and elsewhere around the country?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I mean, one of the big lessons, you're going to see it again and again, is they can put Trump on the ballot. And they were very smart. They politicize this is recall effort and call it a Republican effort in a state that was heavily Democratic. So I think they ran a highly competent strategy. And it looks like to me, I'm awake for the clients that come in and that the electorate look more 2018-ish than 2014 to 2010. That is the thing that worries Democrats, if we get a distorted turnout, like 2010 and 2014.

So far, that has not happened. You remember, in Georgia at '92, we lost the runoff after President Clinton won. Well, we want to runoff in Georgia in 2021 actually, and we outperformed in New Mexico, turnout in Virginia primaries was high. The ratio that people are going to be really looking at is Virginia governor.

COOPER: Right.

CARVILLE: This was this certainly was not bad news for Democrats. I don't think it's a definitive outcome for 2022 --

COOPER: I mean, it seems like --

CARVILLE: -- it already is not bad.

COOPER: It seems like in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe is already painting his opponent, as you know, as a Trumpian. Is that the -- I mean, is that the way forward for Democrats in races from here on?

CARVILLE: As part of it, absolutely. Because that that excites Democrats. I mean, Republicans and white high. And, and we know that. And, you know, they work and work in California to some extent. And they're debating right now, Terry, and Youngkin are going to vein down in (INAUDIBLE) in southwest Virginia. And it's going to be interesting, can't wait to read about it and see what the outline (ph) toward that. But I suspect that they're going to run against Trump, it might even run against Florida a little bit.

COOPER: In for -- I mean, for Republicans, it is a challenge because you can't win a primary in the Republican Party unless you show complete loyalty and fealty to the former president. The question is, can you then win in general?

CARVILLE: Right, and there's a huge magnetic pole and Democrats know that. And, of course, Youngkin had to say all kinds of things when he was trying to win his party's nomination. Well, you you're taking your own, again, looked at Republicans ran against Jimmy Carter in 1992. I mean, this is not some new creative strategy Democrats have come up with nothing unique about it. Is, you know, if you have an unpopular guy, and, you know, how long they run against, you know, Nancy Pelosi Democrats, I mean, that that's been done in American politics forever. And it's going to continue to be done. And I think that, you know, people are not looking for a three-point plan or a five point plan. And that nonsense, you know, you got to let people know what's at stake here.

And I think, you know, I think so far, it's worked pretty well. But it's, you know, there's a lot of a lot of football will play nine next November (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: You've been critical of a faction of the Democratic Party and their wokeness. Based on the campaign, the Newsom run painting Larry Elder is a symbol of Trumpism. Just looking at that race, do you still think that that political wokeness is a real concern for Democrats? And what's the future on that?

CARVILLE: Well, we haven't heard, you know, we didn't hear any of that out of California. I don't hear any of that Virginia, none of this defunding the police, Latin action. You know, when I did that piece in Fox, the reaction I got was almost was 97 percent positive. I said, woke people tell me, they're tired of being woke. It's just too hard. People want to get along with each other. They want to be, you know, be friends with each other. And, you know, people are much more interested in their lives and passion, you know, good sound laws that do good things, as opposed to trying to change dictionaries.

So yes, and I think that I think my message was heard, and I don't see my certainly gotten one in New York is anything but woke. Again --

COOPER: And, yes, well that's it.

CARVILLE: -- you know, go ahead.

COOPER: No, no, go ahead.

CARVILLE: I just made it clear. The things that the woke people want, I want 85 percent of that. I mean vigorous agreement, but most of the things that they want, but I think you've got to talk -- if you wanted to get things done, you got to talk the language to people talk, not the language that they're talking faculty lounge in some totally expensive college.

COOPER: Yes. James Carville, it's always great to talk to you. I really appreciate you being on. My best (INAUDIBLE) --

CARVILLE: Well thank you Anderson. It's good to see you again.

COOPER: All right, you take care.

CARVILLE: Absolutely.

COOPER: Up next, what happened in court when a prominent South Carolina attorney charged in a botched assisted suicide insurance scheme faced a judge such a bizarre story. The latest ahead.



COOPER: Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is out of jail on bail tonight after he made his first court appearance on charges related to a botched assisted suicide fraud scheme.

More now in this bizarre story from Martin Savidge.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wearing a jail outfit and shackled at the wrist and ankles. Alex Murdaugh broke down in tears as he appeared before the magistrate judge. The ones powerful and wealthy attorney his lawyer say is no longer a man of means.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has fallen the grave (ph).

SAVIDGE (voice-over): A warrant for his arrest detailed the botched murder attempt that was meant to provide his son millions of dollars of life insurance money, attorney say. According to court documents Murdaugh arranged for Curtis Smith, a former client to shoot and kill him. But the plan failed because the shot wasn't fatal. Smith has been charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery pointing and presenting a firearm insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. So far he's not entered a plea and has asked for a court appointed attorney.

And now another twist, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announcing the opening of another investigation involving the Murdaugh's, the 2018 death of the family's longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in in what was described as a trip and fall accident on the Murdaugh property.


ERIC BLAND, ATTORNEY FOR MURDAUGH HOUSEKEEPER ESTATE: It was Alex Murdaugh, who told the story of that she had tripped and fell down the stairs over his dogs, and so they trusted him.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): At the time her death was said due to natural causes. The Hampton County coroner Angela Topper told investigators in a letter, the decedent's death was not reported to the coroner at the time nor was an autopsy performed. On the death certificate, the manner of death was ruled natural, which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident.

In court filings, the Satterfield family says they reached a partial settlement with Murdaugh for wrongful death. But they say they never received the money. They say they were due.

Eric Bland is the Satterfields family attorney.

BLAND: He hand walked in to his best friend and college roommate to bring a lawsuit against himself on behalf of the estate. Now, you know, as a lawyer, 33 years, I've never heard that where you encourage somebody and take them to a lawyer who you handpick, and then have that lawyer bring claims against you.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): This new development in Satterfield's death as Alex Murdaugh was already struggling with the unsolved murders of his wife and son in June. Allegations that he stole the money from his family's law firm and his own admission of a decade's long opioid addiction. All of this playing out in a very public downfall.


COOPER: And Martin joins us now from South Carolina. So what's the next step for investigators to try to untangle all of these threads?

SAVIDGE: Yes, be foolish to try to guess what's next. But just take a look at all the investigations. You got the insurance fraud investigation that continues, you get the investigation into the murders of his wife and son. They still have named no suspects, no motive. Then you've got the investigation into the death of the housekeeper. The coroner has questions. Then you've got the investigation into Alex Murdaugh allegedly taking millions of dollars from his own law firm. And then you've got the investigation of the death of 19-year-old Steven Smith from 2015 when he was found dead in the middle of the night in the middle of the road. Not that far from here.

Investigators say there was something while investigating the double murders of the mother and son that now has them wanting to open another investigation into the death of Steven Smith. I can't tell you what's coming next. I can only tell you, there is definitely more to come.


SAVIDGE: Anderson.

COOPER: Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Thank you.

Still to come, do Americans need a COVID vaccine booster shot or not? There are different views as you probably know it's confusing and a key FDA meeting about it all on Friday. I'll talk it over Dr. Sanjay Gupta and others, next.