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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
9-1-1 Call On Utah Altercation Between Gabby Petito And Brian Laundrie Released; F.B.I. Says Search Of Brian Laundrie Family Home Has Ended; COVID Deaths Top 675K, Surpassing 1918 Flu Toll; Doctor Says He Broke Texas' Abortion Ban; Now He's Facing At Least Two Lawsuits; GA Secretary Of State Reacts After Trump Asked Him To Decertify Election Results; Member of CIA Chiefs Team Reported Mysterious Havana Syndrome Symptoms On Recent Trip To India. CNN's Champion For Change. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 20, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Rosa, thank you very much for your continued amazing reporting there.
And thanks so much to all of you. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
The anti-abortion law in Texas that turns ordinary citizens into amateur enforcers and offers a bounty for doing it has just seen its first two amateurs emerge. One is -- and you can't make this stuff up -- a Federal convict under home confinement. The other doesn't even live in Texas.
All the details shortly on that breaking story, one of many tonight.
And it just a few moments, crime fighter and victims advocate John Walsh on the hunt for evidence and answers and the fiance of Gabby Petito, a day after investigators in Wyoming found what they believe to be her remains. That fiance, Brian Laundrie is missing after he returned to Florida from their extended Western road trip.
Late this evening, the Sheriff's Office in Grand County, Utah released this 9-1-1 recording.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: Grand County Sheriff's Office.
CALLER: Hi, can you hear me, sir?
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: Yes. I can hear you.
CALLER: Hi, I'm calling -- I'm right on the corner of Main Street by Moonflower and we're driving by and I'd like to report a domestic dispute - Florida with a white van - Florida license plate. White van. Gentleman about -- 9-1-1 DISPATCHER: Where is it at?
CALLER: They just drove off. They're going down Main Street. They made a right onto Main Street from Moonflower.
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: And what were they doing?
CALLER: What did you say?
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: What do you say?
CALLER: We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl.
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: He was slapping her?
CALLER: Yes. And then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her. Hopped in the car and they drove off.
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: Okay, you said, it's a white van.
CALLER: White van and I can give you the license plate if you give me one S.E.C. I took a picture of it.
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: What kind of white van? Like a big one?
CALLER: It was a smaller van with a license plate of, it was white, Florida license plate [bleep]. It was -- the make was a Ford. Model was Transit. There was a black ladder on the passenger side.
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: Black ladder passenger side.
CALLER: White Ford Transit.
9-1-1 DISPATCHER: White Ford Transit.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Our Randi Kaye joins us now. She is now in Moose, Wyoming not far from where the remains were found. But just recently in Utah. Randi, what's the latest?
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, that 9-1-1 call puts Gabby Petito and her fiance, Brian Laundrie in Moab, Utah on August 12th. We know now that they were there.
We also know the police did respond to that call. They actually recorded their response on their bodycam camera. And so we know that that Gabby Petito was visibly upset on that body cam video. We know that she was crying, she was telling the officer that sometimes she does fight with her fiance, that she suffers from OCD.
But the police obviously didn't think it was too serious or serious enough to do much about it. They told them to separate for the night and then they went on their way. So once again, we know they were in Moab, Utah on August 12th. Where they went beyond that was a big question. So we flew to Utah, then we made our way here to Wyoming to try and follow their steps along the way and here is what we've learned about what could turn out to be Gabby Petito's final weeks of her life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABBY PETITO, 22-YEAR-OLD MISSING WOMAN: Hello, hello and good morning. It is really nice and sunny today.
KAYE (voice over): Gabby Petito's social media posts, a roadmap of sorts to where the 22-year-old was headed.
Each post, each stop, a clue as authority scoured miles of terrain from Utah to Wyoming, zeroing in on her final steps.
KAYE (on camera): Gabby Petito was reportedly seen checking out of this Fairfield Inn and Suites here in Salt Lake City on August 24th and a staff member has confirmed to us that the F.B.I. and the police were here recently asking questions as part of their investigation into her disappearance.
KAYE (voice over): The same day Gabby was reportedly seeing checking out of the hotel, she FaceTimed with her mom saying she was leaving Utah and heading to the Grand Teton National Park.
That means Gabby and her fiance, Brian Laundrie would have been heading north. They were driving Gabby's converted white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida plates. Their planned Final Destination reportedly was Yellowstone National Park.
On August 25th, the last post on Gabby's Instagram put her at the Monarch, an arts and entertainment venue.
KAYE (on camera): We found the Monarch and the same mural posted in Gabby's Instagram photo here in Ogden, Utah, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City and about 260 miles south of the Tetons.
The owner of the Monarch tells us that the photo Gabby posted was taken here at the Monarch. He also says he shared security camera video with the F.B.I.
KAYE (voice over): On the Monarch's Facebook page, they posted these three pictures of Gabby Petito at their venue. The post reads in part, "Has anyone seen this beautiful woman? Gabby Petito has been missing since late August."
As the couple made their way from Utah to the Tetons, they could have taken the main interstate, Highway 15. But if they were looking for a slower, more scenic route, they might have turned off 15 and driven west, winding their way through Alpine and Hoback before turning North again towards Jackson, Wyoming.
We know Gabby texted her mom multiple times on August 25th, and by that time, her family believes Gabby was in the Tetons. On August 27th, the family's attorney says there were more texts between Gabby and her mom.
That same day, video bloggers caught a glimpse of a white van parked in an area known as the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, which borders Grand Teton National Park.
Jenn Bethune and her husband Kyle, tell us they believe the van they saw was Gabby's.
KAYE (on camera): What did you think when you saw that van in your footage?
JENN BETHUNE, CAUGHT GLIMPSE OF GABBY PETITO'S VAN: I was just speechless. I mean, the whole world just fell out from under me, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
KAYE (voice over): They say they spotted the van around 6:30 p.m. on August 27th, but it was dark and they didn't see anyone near it. Jen posted the video and also called the F.B.I., then uploaded it to their tip site.
She says she sent it to the Find Gabby Facebook page, prompting Gabby's mother to reach out.
BETHUNE: I got to FaceTime her today. It was very beautiful. We had a good cry. Two moms, one to the other, and she just told me that she loved me and she couldn't thank me enough for finding that footage for her.
KAYE (voice over): Three days after that video was taken, on August 30th, Gabby's family got a final text from her cell phone. It read "No service in Yosemite." Though her family doubts she was the one who wrote it.
KAYE (on camera): In recent days, the search for Gabby was focused here at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area. Law enforcement along with teams from the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, all conducting ground searches here in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, a vast wilderness here in western Wyoming, encompassing more than three million acres.
KAYE (voice over): The F.B.I. had asked anyone to come forward who might have seen Gabby and her fiance around here in the final days of August. Then late Sunday, human remains were spotted in the forest, consistent with the description of Gabby Petito.
COOPER: And do we know when they'll know for sure if the remains that were found are of Gabby?
KAYE: Anderson, they're doing the autopsy tomorrow. So, we hope to have some more answers then, but authorities have already offered their condolences to her family. But of course they want to be a hundred percent sure, but still tonight, Anderson so many questions, not only about the ID of those human remains, but also the gender. Also, we want to know the exact spot in terms of where they were found in that campground. We also want to know exactly how she died if it is her, indeed, if those remains are her. So a lot of questions still tonight.
And of course her last Instagram posts was August 25th, so if investigators were tracking her, we want to know how they ended up in that exact spot. Was it her social media they were following as we were? Was it a great tip that they got to lead them there?
This is Wyoming, a vast wilderness. As I said, millions of acres, so what led them there? We certainly hope to find out and I'm sure her family wants more answers as well -- Anderson.
COOPER: And yes, of course. Randi, thank you.
I want to go next to see CNN's Leyla Santiago from Florida outside Brian Laundries' family home where the F.B.I. just wrapped up a search. Leyla, what have you been seeing? What are you learning?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were here as a caravan of cars with law enforcement arrived. We watched as F.B.I. agents yelled out "Search warrant." Took the parents out of the home, then executed a search warrant and headed back in.
They've taken evidence in terms of we've seen them put paper bags into vans take that away. They towed a Mustang away as well, but also today, we obtained a search warrant from last week that was taken out for the van in which they were traveling and investigators found a hard drive.
And when you read that warrant, the state of probable cause talks about an interesting text from August 27th in which her mother received a text that said, "Can you help Stan?" And she found that odd because Stan is the grandfather and she thought it was odd that she would call him "Stan," and that was a red flag for her enough to become concerned that something was wrong.
COOPER: And authorities were searching this natures over the weekend. Do we know where they are now looking?
SANTIAGO: We don't know, Anderson. We know that the F.B.I. has said tonight that they are done searching the Laundrie family's home. We were there over the weekend as they were searching in this reserve because the parents indicated that he might be there. But ultimately, the local police, the Northport Police and the F.B.I. are still searching for a lot of answers here.
So, they are moving forward with the investigation. Obviously, they have a lot of evidence to comb through that was gathered here. We're also hoping that tomorrow, we can get some more information because the attorney for the Laundrie family is expected to brief the media, make some sort of statement after all the activity that happened here, including the F.B.I. questioning the parents. COOPER: Leyla Santiago, appreciate it. Thank you.
Joining us now is perhaps the nation's best known citizen crime fighter, John Walsh. He is the host of "In Pursuit with John Walsh." It airs Wednesday 10 Eastern, nine central time on Investigation Discovery, it streams in Discovery+.
John, thank you for being with us. So the 9-1-1 caller that we heard that reports of potential domestic dispute between the two with the caller saying that that the man was slapping the girl. When you hear the 9-1-1 call, what do you think?
JOHN WALSH, HOST, "IN PURSUIT WITH JOHN WALSH": It was chilling to hear it today and it made me feel really, really bad. Because I said, how is it that that 9-1-1 operator and they're hard pressed when that phone rings all the time, I've been in a ton of 9-1-1 centers didn't get that information to those two Deputies that stopped them.
I read the Deputies' report and they said he was the victim. I looked at it with an F.B.I. agent friend of mine and I was terrified when I first saw it when it didn't come out that he -- that the wonderful people who made the call said that he was slapping her. And so the two Deputy Sheriffs say that he was the victim.
And she -- we looked at it, this F.B.I. friend of mine and I looked at it and I said this girl is terrorized. This is classic domestic abuse. He has terrorized her not to tell the cops that he was the aggressor. He was the slapper and the puncher, and it's so sad because she might be alive today because that wasn't translated to the two Deputy Sheriffs who pulled them over. They let them go.
And in his report said that she was the aggressor, she was terrified. It just was chilling to see that those cops didn't get the information that the person who called in was so concerned that he pulled over, a tourist, and called 9-1-1 because he saw this guy beating the heck out of Gabby.
COOPER: Yes. Well, I mean, also, how great is it that, you know, we're at a point now where people know to take this kind of thing seriously, and that that person had the presence of mind to photograph the van. You know, there a lot of people might have seen that and said, oh, you know, it's none of my business. It's, you know, it was just a slap or whatever. That person took it seriously, and that matters.
WALSH: You're absolutely right. I've been doing this and you and I've been talking about it since my son was murdered in in the early 80s, my son, Adam. It is the public that will solve this case and I believe the public will catch this guy.
I'm going to put them on my new show. Well, it's our third season "In Pursuit with John Walsh" on Wednesday night because I've learned one thing, just what you said right there, Anderson. It's the public that solves these crimes.
I caught 1,400 fugitives uncatchable by cops, 17 F.B.I. top 10 fugitives in 45 countries. It wasn't me who caught them, it was the people who called into my hotline and lots of people don't want to call the F.B.I. hotline. They think an F.B.I. agent is going to show up at their house. A U.S. attorney will drag them into court, there will be revenge, rebuttal.
But I think people will understand and I'm going to do this on Wednesday night, you can call me, I don't care who you are, where you are, what your name is, whether your legal, illegal or whatever, just give me the name, the place and we'll pick up the guy.
So we're going to put the heat on Brian on Wednesday, and the whole thing is so sad, Anderson because you know this family did not help at all, and this girl lived with them. Brian's fiance, Gabby, live with them.
And when he showed back up with her van, and he laid around the house for 10 days, he could have scrubbed that van. There's no doubt that the F.B.I. didn't find much in that van. They certainly didn't find anything in the house because their parents didn't file the missing person's report until 10 days after he has been there.
And his family has helped him. You know, this roost about and this lawyer here, I hope this Steven Bertolino the lawyer who has had his snuff of his Johnnie Cochran-OJ Simpson 15 minutes of fame starts to do the right thing.
WALSH: They called the cops last Friday and said, well, he left the house on Tuesday, distraught with a backpack and he went out to this reserve so he could meditate. And then we went to see the car, they were lucky to find the car, the parents, they left a note for him in case he was sad and if he needed any help, and then they brought the car home on Thursday, and then this lawyer, this wonderful lawyer call the cops on Friday and said, we're doing the right thing. We're going to tell you that Brian went to that reserve.
You know what it was? It was a red herring. They bought Brian for more days to get away. They bought him for more days to run. It is disgusting.
At some point, this family, this mother and father have to realize that somebody's beautiful daughter was murdered by their horrible sociopathic son and her fiance, and the parents had been helping him. It's just sad. It's just really sad.
COOPER: What steps will investigators be using at this stage, you think to try to track Laundrie down? I mean, obviously, and he would be aware of this as anybody any kind of, you know, electronic devices, I guess, there's some hope that you know, there might be a ping or at least where they had been in the past, they might be able to get more of a sense of it from various tracking electronics. But what are they doing?
WALSH: Well, it seems to me that the lawyer and his parents are giving them a lot of good advice. I'm sure he's bought burner phones, he's not using any phones that are recognizable. They've got to find out where he went into a store and bought a phone with a hundred minutes and they have to keep big, big close eyes on the mother and father. They've been helping them all along the way.
And I've caught hundreds of fugitives whose relatives helped them and I caught a guy who was on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted and his mother has helped him stay out there for five years. He killed his ex- wife in a domestic dispute in front of their children.
But when they caught the mother who had been sending the money to help him cover it up, she is doing five years in a Federal prison right now. So these parents ought to do the right thing for Gabby and her family who are brokenhearted. I'm the father of a murdered son. They're the parents of a murdered girl. They ought to just decide what -- they've got a chance, one chance in life to do the right thing and the lawyer and the parents can tell them everything they know.
Because I'll tell you what, if they want to see their son alive, he might get taken down in a bad capture. So, if they're trying so hard to keep them alive, they ought to say look, son, you did something really horrible. We helped you. We're sorry, it's a terrible thing. But you ought to come in, you ought to come in. And the lawyer didn't give him good advice.
I said that the lawyer should have told him to come on his own in where he could have made a deal. But now there's no deal for Brian. They're going to catch him. He's going to get the books thrown at him and maybe the parents are going to get charged, too. And they're not going to like this guy in prison.
He's this guy that beat a 90-pound girl to death. And they're going to -- they're going to -- we are going to catch him. I'm hoping the public will on Wednesday night start calling my hotline or tonight, Anderson, you and I did a show years ago, that after I did the show, if you remember, you subbed for Regis, and we caught a guy off of that show.
So I'm telling to people tonight, if you don't want to call the cops, if you don't want to call the F.B.I., call my hotline, and we'll pick this creep up.
COOPER: You mentioned Adam, your son who is six years old. It's been 40 years since he was abducted. The agony that a parent goes through obviously is something you understand. For the Petito family, it is compounded, obviously, by the betrayal of the fiance and the family of the fiance who didn't help them at all.
Do you have a message for the Petito family as they go through this ordeal?
WALSH: Yes. My prayers are with the Petito family. I've saddled up. I'm going to do everything I can to help you catch this guy to make sure he faces justice and nobody knows that pain.
The loss of a child -- we're not -- we don't have it in our genes to bury our children, Anderson. You've got kids, you can imagine if somebody killed those kids and you had to go to their funeral. So my prayers are with them and I'm trying to help them in my own way. We're both parents of murdered children, we need -- it's not closure, Anderson, it's justice. We need to see this creep brought in and pay for this.
And my heart is out to them. It just -- it just ended in a horrible, horrible way. But this guy is a coward. This guy is a coward who beat and killed a 90-pound beautiful, wonderful, sweet young lady, so he's going down sooner than later.
COOPER: John Walsh, I appreciate you being with us again.
The program "In Pursuit with John Walsh," Wednesdays 10:00 p.m. Eastern on Investigation Discovery and streaming on Discovery+.
Next, more breaking news. Spelled out in all those white flags near the Mall in Washington, the death toll from COVID now higher than the devastating 1918 flu pandemic, it is extraordinary milestone, that and some hopeful news though on the Pfizer vaccine and how well it seems to be working in younger children.
And later, the question how much longer can the former President keep trying to overturn the election he lost? We'll tell you about his latest effort and the newest example of how far -- well, he can try to carry a grudge.
COOPER: Tonight's breaking news is a tragedy 103 years in the making. Tonight, the death toll from COVID in this country topped 675,000 people, matching and exceeding the number of lives lost in the 1918 flu pandemic.
Looking at the art installation just off the National Mall, white flags, one for every lost father, every mother, each absent friend and neighbor, every grandparent, each child, a sea of sadness with the number of fatalities growing at a rate of nearly 2,000 human beings a day in this country.
Against that drumbeat, which is now almost completely due to people not willing to get vaccinated. There is no other reason for that many people to be dying every single day.
There was also real hope today, Pfizer announcing it'll soon ask the F.D.A. to authorize its vaccine for kids as young as five. Companies citing clinical data showing it is safe and generates a quote "robust antibody response."
I want to talk about that and the process between now and when the doses could start being given, our CNN medical analyst and former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. Dr. Wen is the author of "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey the Fight for Public Health."
Also with us tonight, CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. His new book out October 5th, it is "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One."
So Sanjay, first of all, let's talk about these trials. What more are you learning about Pfizer's vaccine? The effects in kids aged five to 11.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so they've met, you know, went through the process of trying different dosing for children this age and sort of landed on a lower dose, 10 micrograms. The adult dose is 30 micrograms. So, this is you know, quite a bit lower dose and they've been trialing this in about 2200-2300 participants in the trials.
They got two of these doses separated by 21 days, just like we heard, for the Pfizer vaccine for everyone else. What they did was they were looking for any safety signals and they said basically the side effects of this vaccine very similar to older people who may have received this vaccine, and then they looked to see how much in the way of antibodies were being produced.
So what they found was that the neutralizing antibody -- it is a term that most people have heard by now, we're very similar, again, to people who are older that received this vaccine.
GUPTA: So that's what's called a correlative measure. They're basically saying, hey, look, if you're producing that level of neutralizing antibodies, there's a good chance it's going to prevent people from getting sick, just like we've heard before. They still have to collect the rest of that data, but that's where things stand now.
COOPER: So Dr. Wen, what's the next steps in this? Because it's a smaller dose, and people 12 and older are receiving, I guess, some parents are wondering what they do if they have an 11 year old who is about to turn 12. I mean, how close is this that you have to decide?
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's a really good question. And I think there are two things to state about the dosage issue, which many parents have a question about. One is that more is not better when it comes to vaccine dose.
And in fact, as Sanjay was saying, different doses were tried and the lowest dose that produces a strong antibody response is typically what's selected. And so as the next step, I hope that we'll see the Pfizer data. And if in fact, we're seeing that 10 and 11-year-olds are having this robust, very strong immune response after having a lower dose, that would be very good news.
The other thing to remember here, too, is that for vaccines, they are not weight based. And so some parents may be wondering, well, my child, my 11-year-old may be larger than my 13-year-old when it comes to weight or size. But that's not the way that vaccines work.
So there are some medicines that require for there to be a certain level in the bloodstream. That's not the case with vaccines. Vaccines stimulate the immune system that then produces antibodies and B cells and T cells that then go throughout the bloodstream, and so that's the reason why I'm -- if when you go get your flu vaccine, you don't get asked about your weight, you don't get double the flu vaccine if you're twice as heavy as somebody else.
And so I think people who have kids who are 11 years old, should not be waiting until their kids turn 12 to get the vaccine.
COOPER: Sanjay, COVID cases in kids are up 240 percent since July. Once kids under 11, you know, are eligible for the vaccine, how big a difference do you think it will make especially with kids back in school now?
GUPTA: This is a -- it's a really important questions. This is about nine percent of the population we're talking about here. While kids are less likely to get infected and get ill, they can. And so, I think it'll certainly make a difference in terms of reducing the likelihood of not just deaths, we always talk about things in terms of life and death, but reducing illness as well, and possibly some of the long term symptoms that some people develop, also reduce the chance of spread either from kids to unvaccinated adults or children to each other. So, I think it makes a difference.
One thing I do want to point out and this has come up before, Anderson is that, you know, it works if people get it obviously. We know for example, the flu vaccine, I don't know if you remember this, Anderson, we had a conversation, I think two years ago about the fact that less than half the adults get a flu vaccine every year.
For kids at age, it's around 65 percent. So 65 percent. But when you look at recent polling, asking parents of children, ages five to 11, how likely were they to get the vaccine, you have about 40 percent that said that they would wait and see, 25 percent said that they would absolutely not plan on getting it, 25 percent said they absolutely would get it, and nine percent only if required.
So how big a difference will it make? It'll make a difference if people actually get the vaccine for the reasons that I mentioned.
COOPER: Dr. Wen, it's extraordinary to me that the country has now surpassed the estimated death toll from the 1918 flu pandemic. I know you've recently compared being unvaccinated to drunk driving. Why do you think we've just become so numb to this death toll?
Because I remember talking about this, I think Sanjay with you early on in the pandemic and you know, I remember people saying, well, it's -- you know, it's unlikely we're not going to get -- you know that that was an extreme thing. We're not going to get there. We're past there now.
WEN: Right. We just keep on crossing terrible milestones. I mean, we passed the milestone last week of one in 500 Americans who have died from COVID. And when it comes to comparing where we are to the flu pandemic back in 1918-1919, the difference was that they did not have a vaccine that actually could stop the pandemic, and also that our deaths numbers keep on escalating. We're still having more than 2,000 deaths right now. And so we're going to surpass other horrible milestones that could be prevented. I hope people will keep in mind that the choice to remain unvaccinated is not just about the unvaccinated, that the individuals who are unvaccinated, there is also spill over impact to those who are vulnerable, and there could be vaccinated people who are now dying because of the unvaccinated and also, of course, our young children. We really need to stop this pandemic through vaccination.
COOPER: Yes, Dr. Wen, Sanjay, thank you. appreciate it.
More breaking news ahead, the first lawsuits tied to the Texas abortion ban. A doctor violated the law by performing an abortion after September 1st is being sued by multiple people. His attorney joins us next.
COOPER: There's breaking news. The first lawsuits tied to the Texas abortion ban have been filed against the San Antonio doctor, as the law allows to private citizens with no direct connection to the doctor or patient filed the suit. It's the subject of the lawsuits Dr. Alan Braid says he performed an abortion after the law took effect on September 1st. He went public in Washington Post opinion column this weekend, writing quote, I fully understood that there could be legal consequences, but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn't get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is representing Dr. Braid, Nancy Northup of the center's president, she joins us now, along with CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
So Nancy, appreciate you being with us. So why did your client think it was an important step to stand up to this law by violating?
NANCY NORTHUP, ATTORNEY FOR DR. ALAN BRAID: Well, Dr. Braid has been providing health care reproductive health care to women for almost five decades. And he's used to being able to give his patient options. And with the Texas law in place, he is having to turn most of his patients away. The options that he has for them are untenable, needing to travel out of state, which many cannot do, even if there are as means for them to be able to leave the state financial like.
And so, he feels as a doctor who has been providing care for years, that is important to challenge this blatantly unconstitutional law that is creating havoc on reproductive health care in Texas.
COOPER: Could he lose his medical license?
NORTHUP: Well, you know, today, Operation Rescue, which is an anti- abortion rights group, filed a complaint against him with the Texas Medical Board. So, you know, he's putting many things out on the line. Now, that should not prevail. Texas actually took the position in the Supreme Court, that they can't enforce this law by any government agencies, including the medical board, so that should not stand. But the point is, this law creates harassment and it creates intimidation for doctors and it creates pain unable to (INAUDIBLE) guaranteed right to abortion access.
COOPER: So Jeff, what it seems now one of the first legal challenges has come from someone who's on house arrest another from a lawyer who has been disbarred. I mean, can anyone under this log anybody can just make a complaint?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this law in many respects is the worst nightmare of the anti-abortion forces, the people who behind this law because it just underlines how ridiculous it is. When you have this disbarred lawyer in Arkansas under house arrest, filing was law -- one lawsuit, some random person in Chicago filing the other lawsuit. I mean how and why they should be able to San Antonio for doing something that is, at least at this moment, protective under the United States Constitution is just crazy. But it is apparently what this law allows.
And what the advantage that Nancy Northrup and the other people who are defending Dr. Braid have is finally, a judge will be able to say this law is unconstitutional, because of the strange structure of the law so far, including the United States Supreme Court have basically thrown up their hands and said, well, there's not really a challenge here. It's premature. And they haven't ruled on the constitutionality. And this law is now depriving women of the rights that they are guaranteed into its third week.
These lawsuits should finally get the question of whether the law is constitutional before a judge.
COOPER: And Nancy, what how -- what would that mean, a judge would then rule on the constitutionality of it, and would then there be a stay on the law?
NORTHUP: Well, yes, we are fighting hard to get an injunction against this law in Texas, as is the Department of Justice, which filed suit recently as well against the state of Texas. And, you know, we need it is just been way too long, as Jeffrey pointed out, it's been three weeks almost that this law has been in effect. There is no question. I didn't like the fact that Jeffrey said momentarily. The law is obviously been the law for 48 years.
And, you know, it's just past time for the courts to step in. And in fact, Congress needs to step in as well. And the House is taking a vote on the Women's Health Protection Act this week.
COOPER: Jeff, I mean, does it surprise you that the courts are not acting more quickly? Because you and I discussed this last week, a judge, the Department of Justice tried to get a -- I think a ruling much earlier and the judge said no?
TOOBIN: Well, the real fault here, as far as I'm concerned is with the five Justices of the United States Supreme Court who refuse to address the demand for a stay of this law. There is no question that this law is contrary to the Constitution as it has been interpreted, as Nancy said for the past 48 years. Abortion is effectively illegal in Texas, women are being deprived of their rights every day. And five Justices of the Supreme Court said, well, we'll get to it when we get to it. That is (INAUDIBLE) what the Supreme Court did.
But responding to that the other judges in the lower courts have not respond have not ruled on the merits either. That's a shameful thing. And these two lawsuits will at least get the constitutionality of the law squarely before a judge. But again, weeks are going by and women are being deprived of their rights in Texas.
COOPER: Yes, Jeff Toobin, Nancy Northup, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up, the former president sent a letter or new letter, I should point out to Georgia Secretary of State asking him to decertify the results of the 2020 election. He's still yammering on about that. And that's not all in the letter said tonight, Secretary Raffensperger spoke about this for the first time hear his reaction, next.
COOPER: Even though it's been almost a year since the 2020 election, the former president is still lying and refusing to accept that he lost. On Friday he sent a new letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding he decertified the results in that state. The letter also claims that Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp quote, adamantly refused to acknowledge the now proven facts and fight so hard that the election truth not be told. Secretary Raffensperger reacted to letter for the first time a short time ago on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R-GA) SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm a lifelong Republican. But the end of the day, I have to always put, you know, my duty to the constitution and to our country above all. At the end of the day, we've done audits, we've done investigations, and some of those are still ongoing, so I can't comment on those. But Vice President Biden did care of the state of Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, join us now talk about it Wall Street Journal senior White House reporter Michael Bender, author of Frankly, We Did Win This Election, The Inside Story Of How Trump Lost. And CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, host of "STATE OF THE UNION."
So Michael, clearly, the President continues to lie about this, there is no evidence to back up the President's bogus letter to Secretary Raffensperger, which we already knew the fact that he's still clinging to these old lies, and sort of dressing it up as if it's somehow new, quote unquote, evidence.
Did it surprise that the letter -- that he chose to write this letter? What was the point of actually writing a letter and published?
MICHAEL BENDER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, I think it's all part of his, you know, part of his message that he that he did not lose the 2020 election. And he's sticking to that. I mean, it is striking that he's sticking to this message, in the run up to, you know, the riots in the Capitol in January. There were a lot of people around Trump who thought he was going to find his own way to maybe not like concession exactly, but some way to say that he lost and leave office gracefully. But, you know, but he'd been promising something quite different for five years.
My reporting over the last year since he's left office, is that the folks around him have largely said the same not that Trump is necessarily looking to for victories in Georgia, and Arizona and Michigan. But any even a piece of a victory, anything you can call a victory or show some even my new piece that that was that was mishandled or gotten wrong, it can claim victory on it, and hope you can move on from that. But, you know, we see from this letter, that that is just not the case that he's going to be going to stick to his guns on this.
COOPER: Yes. And Dana, I mean, there's there is no moving on for the former president, because this is the only thing he has to try to continue his relevance to try to have as the litmus test of the Republican Party for who to support and who not to support. You either buy into the lie, or you're going to be on his enemies list.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And we're seeing that they're out time and time again, with how he is conducting himself. And, you know, like, Michael, I've heard from people who were around the now former president, who and have been around him for a long time, say who say that he just cannot stand the idea of being called a loser. And so, every move that he makes, and this letter is an exhibit example of that is to try to prove that he wasn't actually a loser.
But I also think that what's important to look at is where we go from here. Because since what happened in 2020, the state of Georgia, just like other states that are run by Republican led legislatures have changed the law. And it's a real open question when whether or not if never mind, 2022 to the midterms, but in 2024, if this kind of thing would happen, if Secretary Raffensperger or whomever has his job, would be able to hold the fort. It probably wouldn't be the case because it sure has a lot more power and that is what looking ahead is most disturbing to a lot of people.
COOPER: And Michael, obviously another person who's filling out the form of presidents wrath in his latest retribution campaign is the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. I know you have some new reporting that the former president wants him to challenge McConnell's leadership position.
BENDER: Yes, that's right. I mean, this, these two tie stories tie very well together, the dispute between McConnell and Trump goes back really, to their Mitch McConnell's refusal to undermine the election along with Donald Trump really. And now Trump is trying to, to oust him, trying to get him out of a leadership position that he's held longer than any other Republican in the history of the party.
The striking thing to me is that, you know, Dana had a very good point here about Trump holding on to this idea that he won the 2020 election because he doesn't want to be called a loser. But he's also -- there's no reason for him to give it up at this point, because he's convinced, you know, 60, 65, 70% of the Republican Party that he did win. So why did he's able to convince all these Republicans that he wanted 2020 what he can't convince anyone he hasn't yet is, is to attack Mitch McConnell. One ally after the next, one Trump ally after the next in the Senate, came to McConnell's defense that this is a, you know, donkeys will fly before they vote McConnell out. Trump's endorsed candidates and some of the, you know, contested primaries in, in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Herschel Walker wouldn't be running without Trump refused to weigh in and say whether or not he would vote for McConnell for another term as leader.
So that'll be definitely something to watch here. In a time really the party should be coming together and figuring out how to take advantage of Biden's poor approval ratings. They're fighting over who's leader of the Senate Republicans.
COOPER: Dana, just quickly. McConnell will hold on his power, doesn't he?
BASH: There's no question about it. No question. Even those as Michael reported, who are as loyal as they possibly can be to Donald Trump seem to be more loyal to Mitch McConnell and they want him as their leader.
COOPER: Dana Bash, appreciate it. Michael Bender, thank you so much.
More breaking news next, what we're learning about another U.S. official overseas apparently falling victim to that mysterious and possibly deliberately inflicted so-called Havana syndrome.
COOPER: More breaking news when maybe a new case of that mysterious illness dubbed Havana syndrome, which has sickened hundreds of U.S. officials over the past few years, causing a perplexing mix of sensory experiences and physical symptoms.
CNN's Kylie Atwood has more. So what's the latest you're learning about this latest incident?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, CIA Director Bill Burns traveled to India earlier this month and someone who was part of his team on that visit reported symptoms similar to Havana syndrome. Now, I'm told that this set off alarm bells within the U.S. government, of course, that there could be an incident this close to the director of the CIA, the nation's top spy, and the director himself, I'm told is fuming with anger over this situation.
Now a CIA spokesperson said they don't comment on specific incidents or on specific personnel at the agency, but did say that there's protocol in place for when these incidents are reported. And of course, that includes medical attention. I know that this reported case this person did receive medical attention.
COOPER: I mean, was his trip known about in advance often he travels in secret to a lot of places, it seems, what more do we know?
ATWOOD: Yes, I mean, Anderson, that's the point here that's really key. The CIA directors schedule is never widely publicized. He's the top American spy. His schedule is kept very tightly held within the U.S. government. So U.S. government officials are very concerned about that reality because there are questions about how the perpetrator would have known that he was going to India in the first place, and how they would have been able to carry out this aggression.
We should also note that this is the second time in less than a month that a senior Biden administration officials international travel has been impacted by reported incidents of these mysterious illnesses. Anderson.
COOPER: Kylie Atwood, appreciate it. Thank you, Kylie.
Still to come, my champion for change a lawyer whose organization make sure inmates get fair hearings. How he helps defend the defenseless, next.
COOPER: All this week in a special series called Champions For Change, we're spotlighting innovative thinkers making bold changes that leave a lasting impact.
For me Alexander McLean is just that. In Kenya and Uganda, thousands of prisoners languish behind bars, many don't know their legal rights and have never had a fair hearing. Don't -- never had an attorney.
McLean's justice defenders program brings legal training into prisons. It's led to law degrees for some paralegal training for many, and freedom for thousands of people who finally got a fair hearing. Justice Defenders hopes to be able to expand their work into American prisons. Here's my champion for change Alexander McLean.
COOPER (voice-over): It's a graduation ceremony few thought possible. In a maximum security prison in Nairobi, Kenya, inmates and guards who attended law school by mail are today getting law degrees from the University of London. It's happening thanks to the work of this man, Alexander McLean, a British lawyer whose nonprofit Justice Defenders provides legal training inside prisons in Africa.
ALEXANDER MCLEAN, FOUNDER, JUSTICE DEFENDER: Good afternoon, brothers.
MCLEAN: Our work is to help people who don't have lawyers to access justice.
COOPER (voice-over): I met Alexander McLean two years ago, while reporting for CBS "60 Minutes". He's one of the most extraordinary people I know.
(on-camera): How are you doing as an organization now?
MCLEAN: As an organization, we've innovated, we've grown. And we've been reminded that the world's crying out for justice.
COOPER (voice-over): Few inmates in Kenyan prisons know their rights, and many have never had a lawyer to defend them. So far, Justice Defenders has trained hundreds of prisoners and prison guards to become paralegals and lawyers, who then helped tens of thousands of other inmates understand the law, and hopefully get a fair hearing.
(on-camera): I can't think of anybody I know who is more about focused on changing the status quo, changing the way things have been done, and the injustice that so many people around the world find themselves facing when they're accused of a crime, and they have no access to an attorney, and no access to a fair hearing.
MCLEAN: I think that that's incredibly important in court, that everyone who is accused of a crime has a chance to tell their side of the story. And so, we're proud to be helping to make that that possible. So far, in 2021, we've helped more than 50,000 attendees at our legal awareness sessions where we're providing information about the law and how it functions.
COOPER (on-camera): And in many of the people that you have in those sessions, they've never seen an attorney before or they've never --
COOPER: -- had an experience in a courtroom. They don't know, even the simplest basic procedures of the law.
MCLEAN: Yes, because we work in prisons that are filled with poor people, prisons that are filled with minorities, prisons that are filled with those who've not had the best education and that's the case in the United States as much as it is in Uganda or Kenya or the Gambia.
JHODY POLK, FOUNDER, LEGAL EMPOWERMENT & ADVOCACY HUB: One on one together --
COOPER: Jhody Polk was inspired by what Alexander McLean is doing in African prisons. Jhody served seven years in a Florida prison for theft and home invasion. She studied the law in prison and helped other inmates with their legal issues. She says learning the law behind bars transformed her life. POLK: When I saw that people were getting their law degrees while incarcerated. It was just like, my dream --
COOPER (on-camera): Yes.
POLK: -- times 10.
COOPER (on-camera): Just learning the law, knowing one's rights that can change people.
POLK: I'll never forget the acceptance that I received when I recognized that my sentence was just. That my judge had sentenced me to a just sentence. And that allowed me to really adopt the understanding that I was here to serve time for a crime that I committed, you know, and that allowed me to come home free.
POLK: You are (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER (voice-over): Jhody continues to help others know their rights, and has begun meeting with Alexander McLean remotely to discuss what Justice Defenders might be able to do in American prisons.
MCLEAN: Jhody, thank you for your role in making these impossible.
COOPER (voice-over): Alexander McLean sees himself as a servant, and believes that everyone guilty or innocent, deserves a fair hearing, and an opportunity to serve others in need.
MCLEAN: For me, I feel really privileged to be part of this subversive community, or people that are challenging the status quo as you put it. And it's a beautiful thing to welcome others like you into it, and ask how do we work together to create communities where each of us has an opportunity to bring our gifts and talents to the fore. And how do we get transformed by each other in the process.
COOPER: Well to learn more about Alexander McLean's work and Justice Defenders, go to their website justice-defenders.org. Again, that's justice-defenders.org. He really is remarkable person.
We're going to continue to share these inspirational stories all this week. You can tune in Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for the "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" one hour special.
The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris.