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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
January 6 Select Committee Subpoenas Four Trump Loyalists; Arrest Warrant Issued for Brian Laundrie for his Activities after Gabby Petito's Death; At Least One Dead and 12 Injured in Tennessee Grocery Store Shooting; Meadows, Scavino, Bannon, Patel Targeted. House GOP Leadership Urges Opposition To Infrastructure Bill Ahead Of Key Vote. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 23, 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: "AC 360" starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. There is breaking news tonight on many fronts. The mass shooting at a supermarket in Western Tennessee, 13 people wounded, at least one person has died, the gunman also dead.
An arrest warrant issued for Brian Laundrie, whereabouts unknown after the killing of his fiance in Wyoming. We'll have a live report, plus perspective from citizen crime fighter, John Walsh.
And authors Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are here to talk about the revelations in their new book, "Peril" and the former President's new reaction to it.
We begin though with the first concrete steps by congressional investigators trying to learn more about how this all led up to the attack on the Capitol. And the first step is a big one.
Subpoenas issued targeting not just close aides, but his very closest. CNN's Ryan Nobles is breaking the story, he joins us now. So, who are the people facing these subpoenas?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Anderson, these are four of the former President's closest aides -- Mark Meadows, his former Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, who is former Deputy Chief of Staff, Kash Patel who served as the Chief of Staff to the Acting Secretary of Defense. And then of course, Steve Bannon, who is one of his closest advisers during his presidential campaign, and then also served in a counselor role during the early portion of the Trump administration.
These are a group of men that not only had Trump's ear on a regular basis, but also were around him, and in conversations with those planning the rally that took place in front of the White House that served as the prelude to the January 6th Capitol insurrection. So it's pretty clear just what the thinking is of this committee in terms of what they are looking for, that they're starting with this group to ask serious questions about what they knew in the events leading up to January 6th, and the reaction and response to it.
COOPER: Do the subpoenas shed light on exactly where the investigation is headed.
NOBLES: It really does, especially when you read the requests that they sent to these four men about what they're looking for in terms of records and the reason that they're asking for these records and for these private interviews.
And I'm going to read from the letter to Dan Scavino, who is of course, the former President's Deputy Chief of Staff, it says, quote: "The select committee has reason to believe that you have information relevant to understanding important activities that led to and informed the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and relevant to former President Trump's activities and communications in the period leading up to and on January 6th."
And that's just one example from the Scavino letter, and the Patel letter, remember, he was at The Pentagon during this period of time. And of course, the select committee has requested, you know, thousands and thousands of documents related to communications from the Department of Defense and the White House as it relates to their response in getting the National Guard to the Capitol on that day.
So it shows that they're building not only a timeline, but also connecting the dots as to who was involved in the lead up to the insurrection, and then the response to it on that day.
COOPER: And has there been any response from these four who were subpoenaed or? I mean, it seems like they would be likely to try to fight this request.
NOBLES: Yes. So we've reached out to all four men to get a response. This information just breaking within the last half hour or so, we've not heard any response from them as of yet. But if past practice is any indication as to how they will respond, it is very likely that they will do everything they can to fight these requests.
And the big question that we have now is executive privilege. Do they attempt to, you know, use executive privilege as a reason to not appear before this congressional committee? Now, the committee would argue that there is precedent for these type of individuals serving in those type of roles to come before Congress because of Congress's oversight responsibilities.
But there's no doubt to, Anderson, even though they've asked for this, and we should point out, they've requested that these records requests be fulfilled by as soon as October 7th. The interviews are scheduled to take place on October 14th and 15th. There is no doubt that there's probably going to be a legal fight before we actually see any of these men come forward.
COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.
I want to get some perspective from CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe. So Andrew, what do you make of this move by the January 6th committee?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Anderson, it sounds to me like they are taking the first steps at conducting what will prove to be a very thorough inquiry. They are starting with trying to develop a specific understanding of all of the events and the people involved in them leading up to January 6th.
So who said what to whom, who met with who, at what place, at what time, and specifically getting to this question of what did the President know? What was his involvement or awareness of those preparations leading up to January 6th? And then of course, on the day of the events.
You know, some of these folks like Kash Patel, specifically, has been rumored to have been on the phone with the President many, many times that day. So there is a lot of ground that the committee could cover here to really peel back the onion on what exactly was the President thinking? What did he know was happening? What did he want to happen? And what did he do to try to affect that result?
COOPER: How likely is it that they would actually provide documents or actually come to appear before the committee?
MCCABE: Well, I think you can say it is highly likely they'll fight it, right? They'll all have the benefit of good counsel, and they will all try to cloak themselves in every possible privilege they can think of, most significantly executive privilege.
I think the consensus of most scholars is that it's going to be hard for the President, and therefore even harder for his associates to invoke, to use executive privilege to completely put a stop to any of this stuff.
As we know, the White House refused to invoke executive privilege to prevent the testimony of Jeff Rosen and his deputy a few weeks ago. So, I think the indicators, certainly from the White House and from the legal side, are that that sort of fight might fail in the long run, but the question is, how long does that take?
COOPER: And I mean, I guess, can the former President try to block the former aides from cooperating?
MCCABE: He can. He can. And as we know, Anderson, and I can tell you from my own personal experience having to testify when I was serving as Deputy Director of the F.B.I., the White House was always very willing and ready to throw the words executive privilege even into situations where it didn't apply.
The Trump White House had a very expansive view on exactly what they could get out of the executive privilege, and I would expect that they will take that same approach to this situation.
Do you think the committee would actually seek to hear from the former President himself?
MCCABE: You know, that's a great question. I think if they are successful in talking to all these folks, at some point, it seems inevitable that they will make a request to hear from the President himself. That's a long way down the road.
They're going to want to know everything they could possibly know before they ever would have a one in a thousand chance to sit down in front of him.
COOPER: Andrew McCabe, appreciate it. Thank you.
COOPER: As we mentioned, there is breaking news as well tonight in the killing of Gabby Petito and the disappearance of her, fiance Brian Laundrie. There is now a warrant for his arrest.
In a moment we'll be joined by crime fighter, John Walsh, who has an army of viewers as you know on the lookout for Laundrie.
First, our Randi Kaye in Venice, Florida where the search for Brian Laundrie just wrapped up for the night. What details are you learning about in this arrest warrant?
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson it was issued by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming and it is for unauthorized use of devices following Gabby Petito's death.
The arrest warrant claims an intent to defraud, and what it alleges is that Brian Laundrie used debit card and pin numbers and charged upwards of $1,000.00, but the dates here are key -- August 30th and September 1st are the dates that they're looking at. We know that he returned home here to Florida to his parents' house where he lived with Gabby Petito on September 1st.
So he would have, it is presumable that he would have been driving from Wyoming from their camping trip back here to Florida around those dates August 30th and September 1st, so if this is true, that's why those dates are key.
But the lawyer for the Laundrie family is saying tonight that hold on a second, this is not about the homicide of Gabby Petito. This arrest warrant is for things that happened after her death, so he is certainly trying to put some distance between those two things -- Anderson.
COOPER: What is latest about the search for Brian Laundrie?
KAYE: Once again, Anderson they were out here all day at the Carlton Reserve searching. They didn't have any dive teams out here today. Yesterday, they had 10 divers, but they did have something else, they had swamp buggies.
They had four swamp buggies because when the search teams can use the swamp buggies, not only do they sit higher, so they can see more from their perspective, but they also can go into the deeper water.
About 75 percent of this Carlton Reserve is marsh, so they need to get through water in their search for Brian Laundrie. They have 75 personnel out here today, 16 different agencies involved, but Anderson, still no sign of Brian Laundrie today. They say they will be back at it tomorrow.
COOPER: And is there new information about the police stop in Moab, Utah?
KAYE: That's the stop that -- there is. That's the stop that took place on August 12th, and now, we know that the City of Moab, Utah is investigating how Moab Police handled that dispute when they came upon Gabby Petito and her fiance on August 12th in Moab.
We know now that they're looking into that because it all started with that 9-1-1 call, somebody reporting they saw a white van and a man slapping a woman. Police responded. They put on their bodycam and we saw the bodycam video, which shows Gabby Petito crying, it shows Brian Laundrie showing them scratches on his hands.
So what police did that night was just separate the two of them. They said they didn't think they needed to do any more. They separated them for the night, but we also now have learned that two National Parks officers responded to that same call, one of them was a woman and she has she told the Utah newspaper that she told Gabby Petito that she believed that relationship was toxic, and that she might want to reevaluate, and we know, Anderson, that just within a couple of weeks after that stop on August 12th, Gabby Petito was dead.
COOPER: Randi Kaye, appreciate it. Thank you.
With us tonight, as he has been all week, John Walsh, citizen crime fighter, host of "In Pursuit with John Walsh." It airs Wednesdays 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Investigation Discovery and streams on Discover+.
So, John, well, first of all, what do you make of this F.B.I. arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie? To what extent, if any, could have that increased the chance of the authorities finding him because it seems to give them a reason to, for law enforcement to really be out looking for him?
JOHN WALSH, HOST OF "IN PURSUIT WITH JOHN WALSH": Well, I'm really surprised that it's taken this long to get the arrest warrant. I mean, there is no other person of interest, there is no other suspect. And you know, they found her body, so I thought it would be issued sooner.
And I thought, you know, I've been a little bit critical, and you know how much I love police, 144 cops died in the line of duty last year. They have the toughest job in America, but I was critical of the police stop. I'm glad to hear their training because most cops don't know how to identify a domestic abuse victim, and I looked at it with some experts and she was shaken, he was dominating the whole thing. And then it probably could have saved her life right there, and I'm
glad to hear they are training them because I've always said on domestic abuse calls, they are the most dangerous. They should have a mental health specialist when they go to somebody's house. That's where a lot of cops get killed.
But anyway, it is about time for the arrest warrant.
COOPER: That's really interesting that in your experience, you feel that there is not enough training to help police officers identify victims in a domestic dispute.
WALSH: She was a battered woman and Anderson, I've ridden with almost every big fugitive squad in America over the last 30 years -- marshals, F.B.I., local sheriff, you name it -- and they go there and the most dangerous are the domestic abuse things where the guy shoots the door, or the cops talk to them, and they get talked out of arresting them and then two days later or later that night, the lady is dead.
So cops for years have been asking for better training to have, when they go on and they serve those warrants or they respond to a domestic abuse call, whether it's out on the highway or whether it's in a house, it is a dangerous situation. And they need better training to say this woman is a battered woman.
I mean, Gabby was crying and shaking. He was dominating. He even convinced those two officers he was the victim. And now, we're finding out that they stopped not only that wonderful citizens that called 9- 1-1 that generated that stop, but at other restaurants where he pushed in hit her, slapped her in the car. Other people saw that. So, I'm all for that police training. Cops need all the training they can get and all the resources.
But the warrant, Anderson, I'm really surprised it took so long. I had been a little bit critical of the F.B.I. and the North Port Police for waiting so long, and you know, I still contend I was right that he came home with that van, and then the neighbors -- I was on FOX News yesterday when those two neighbors came out on the porch, I was waiting to do the interview.
When they said well, we tried to tell police then he bought that camper and he put it on his pickup truck. We saw Brian working in the yard six or seven days out there, and they went away on the weekend and the husband said, I was really surprised that a couple with a tiny little camper top would take a 23-year-old son with them and then when they came back, there was no son, and three days later, the parents filed a missing person's report.
I thought that they covered his butt when they made the call on last Friday.
COOPER: We should just point out that CNN has not confirmed that detail at all.
WALSH: I should do these disclaimers before every night, Anderson, but this is my opinion.
So I believe -- I know your lawyer lawyers are nervous -- but I've been doing this a very long time. I thought that when they you know, said he went to the reserve, the swamp on Tuesday, you know, their great mouthpiece that Bertolino guy that I keep calling the Johnnie Cochran wannabe, so he told the police this fairy tale that he went to the swamp on Tuesday. The parents went out and found the car in the middle of 60,000-acre swamp, they found his car. Put a note in there, dear Brian, if you're going to hurt yourself, we are always there for you.
Then they say -- the parents -- they went and got the car on Thursday, and then on Friday, Bertolino called the police. Now, I believe they aided and abetted, gave him more days. I think he took off before Gabby's parents filed the missing person's report. So they gave him, in my estimation, eight or nine days to get ahead of the cops and definitely when Bertolino called the cops last Friday and said Brian might be in the swamp, I am deadly sure that's a red herring.
And he never was at that swamp and they're never going to find him. He is too much of a coward. He's not going to kill himself.
COOPER: The FBI though has not given any indication that they viewed the parents as suspects, have they?
WALSH: You'll have to wait because before they had -- he was a person, a suspect of interest, and before they had the arrest warrant, you have to respond to the Fifth Amendment. If he doesn't want to talk to the cops, the parents, they're fine. But I think they crossed that line when they took him in the camper, and that's my belief, nine days ago, dropped him off somewhere.
I think it was in North Florida Panhandle, and so he could go across to Alabama, Texas and walk across the Mexican border. I have got so many guys into Mexico, so ...
COOPER: Let me ask you, John, just about that, because I mean, you've searched for fugitives for, you know, for a lifetime, and if this guy, Laundrie isn't in this nature preserve, how far away in your experience does somebody -- can somebody go?
WALSH: Well, I'll tell you, Bertolino covered the tracks and gave him you know, called on the Friday. So I believe he had nine days. Now that's a big, big amount of time to get somewhere.
I think the parents bought them burner phones because everybody knows about, you know, pinging towers. I think the F.B.I., I'm sure they're smart enough to get the mother and father's phones and track what they were doing on that three-day vacation because when they ping those phones and find out how far and where they got, that is where I would start looking for Brian.
But last night on our hotline, Anderson, we got 410 solid tips. So all night, the F.B.I. was going through them with my trained hotline operators. They think 15 of those tips spotted Brian Laundrie on his way on that West Florida Panhandle journey that I think he went on from the Panhandle of Florida, Pensacola area over to Alabama, Louisiana. And with all the chaos going on in the borders, and you can walk across the border. I've ridden that border seven times with Border Patrol on horseback and Blackhawks over the years.
People just walk across into Mexico. You know, that's easy to get into.
But we also had 10 tips saying that people had spotted him on the Appalachian Trail, so he thinks he's a hiker and a survivalist. So, I would be saying for viewers and people listening to this tonight, keep your eyes open on the Appalachian Trail because we've caught a couple murders there over the years, kind of lots of low-lives and a lot of good people go on that trail.
He says he's a survivalist. So he could go in those woods and make it a long way. He's got plenty of resources. I mean, his parents I believe, helped him scrub the van, clean out the house. The F.B.I. didn't find anything of real value in there. But they prepared him for the run and they dropped him off.
My philosophy is, he went west. He went northwest up to the Florida Panhandle, like so many guys do, make that journey across and walk across the Mexican border, then it's going to be a tough search. Mexico is a huge country and people go all the way to Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. I've caught seven guys in Belize, 45 guys in Mexico.
But I've got Spanish speaking operators, so when those phones start ringing, if he is in Mexico, we're going to know he's there, I hope. I hope because --
COOPER: In your experience, how often do you see people end up taking -- dying by suicide? Taking their own life before being apprehended?
WALSH: Those are people with a conscience, those are people that are mentally ill, they did something terrible and they don't want to face it. Brian Laundrie has done -- the dirty Laundrie family and Brian Laundrie have done nothing but evade police. It's despicable.
They prepared him for this run. He's an ego maniacal control freak. Big, big Man, isn't he? He is too much of a coward. He beat to death a 95-pound wonderful young lady. My heart goes out to that family.
It would be great if he killed himself, there'd be no trial. They never have to sit there like I did and look at, you know, morgue photos and I mean, photos of her on the ground and stuff. If he killed himself, it would be great for the family.
You know, I gave this lawyer a tip before it happened. I said to through the media, I said, bring him in, do the right thing and have him show them where Gabby's body is, and then he can make a deal. But now that he didn't bring him in, and now we're going to hunt him down, he is facing the death penalty in Wyoming. So his lawyer, Bertolino, the Johnnie Cochran wannabe didn't give him
good advice, Anderson, because now when they catch him, he's going to be facing the death penalty. And maybe the family will be in the jail at the same time he is because there is no question, when this is all said and done, the lawyer may hide behind lawyer client privilege, but he made that phone call Friday to tell the cops they all thought he was in the swamp.
He's not in a swamp and that was another red herring to add time. I think he's been ahead of the police nine days.
COOPER: John Walsh, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
WALSH: You're welcome, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up next, the very latest on the mass shooting at a grocery store in Tennessee. We'll talk to a woman who was there about what she saw.
Later Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in light of tonight's top story to talk about how it dovetails with their new inside account of the Trump administration's final days.
COOPER: Search warrants are being executed tonight in the wake of today's mass shooting at a grocery store in Collierville. Tennessee just east of Memphis. Police got the call at 1:30 this afternoon. When they arrived just four minutes later and subsequently entered the store, they found multiple wounded victims, 13 in all, one of whom has since died.
The gunman is also dead, apparently, with a self-inflicted gunshot. Police found him at the back of the store. There were 44 employees inside at the time, some hid in freezers or locked themselves in offices. One was rescued from the roof.
This cashier describes the nightmare which unfolded around her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIDGITTA DICKERSON, KROGER CASHIER: He kept on shooting, shooting, and shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and then shot one of my -- one of the customers in the stomach and then, my other customers got kind of like cuts because of the asphalt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In that time, Tawana French was out in the parking lot about to walk into the store. I spoke with Tawana just before airtime.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Tawana, can you just walk us through what happened and what
TAWANA FRENCH, GROCERY STORE SHOOTING WITNESS: I arrived at Kroger during my lunch break, and as I approached the door, before I actually entered the door, a family, a lady with like four children rushed the door, pushing three in front of her, dragging one behind her, falling on the ground and screaming at the children to just run, just run.
And a man out of the door right at the same time that she came out, and in a split second. I hear gunfire, like four shots. That was my key to --
COOPER: And knew right away it was gunfire.
COOPER: So you're standing near the doors. What did you do?
FRENCH: I turn around, go back to towards the parking lot to my car. Before I could get to my car, maybe five or six cars down the parking lot. I hear gunfire again. And it was what seemed like a lot of gunfire in quick succession like pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. And I just wanted to leave that space. I wanted to leave. And at this point I --
COOPER: And that was coming from inside the store still?
FRENCH: Yes, well, I was not inside. I was inside the first doors, and before I actually stepped inside the store, that's when I heard the gunfire. I was on my way inside the store and the gunfire happened, and I immediately turned around, it didn't sound like anything else to me, but gunfire.
COOPER: Given you know, you saw people running out the store, did it seem like the store was crowded at the time?
FRENCH: The store is always crowded. That store is always crowded in a very heavily populated neighborhood. I usually go there a couple of times a week during my lunch break, walk around the store, things like that.
COOPER: How are you doing? I mean, after going through -- coming so close to that, how are you?
FRENCH: Very shaken, very shaken. At that point, when I turned around to leave the store. At first, no one was coming out of the store and then at the other entrance, there were people running out of the store and I heard a lady scream that she believes someone had been hit.
So that was very harrowing as well. And people were just driving haywire, backing out of the parking spaces all to the street. The police had not arrived. I believe, I saw the first police arriving at the store, and by the time I got to the Main Street, I saw police everywhere. Everywhere sirens, I could see tech squad on the corners of, you know
side streets. I saw police cars going up, you know going behind buildings, you know, driving to the back side of the Kroger store.
COOPER: So, from the first time you heard shots when you were on your way to go into the store, to seeing the police, how long do you think that was? A couple of minutes?
FRENCH: Less than?
COOPER: Less than a couple of minutes.
FRENCH: Yes, I feel like.
COOPER: Interesting. Tawana French, I'm so sorry for what you went through. And I'm so glad you're doing okay and shaken, but you know, you're very lucky and I wish you the best.
FRENCH: Well, I thank you very much. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Well, we have much more ahead tonight. Coming up next, the former President's thinking in and around the attack on the Capitol. Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are here to talk about tonight's breaking news on the subpoenas and their remarkable behind-the-scenes reporting in their new book, "Peril."
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The House January 6 committee issuing subpoenas tonight for a quartet of top Trump aides and advisors is one way of trying to get inside the former president's decision making in and around the insurrection. Another is by shoe leather reporting. The Washington Post Bob Woodward and Robert Costa have no subpoena power where they do have or more sources and better sources than most in this business could ever wish for. Those sources saw and heard come together in the pages of a remarkable new book parallel, which we just now learned is actually cited in the subpoenas of Dan Scavino and Steve Bannon.
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, join us now.
First of all, Bob, and Robert, congratulations on the book. It's extraordinary.
BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: Thank you.
COOPER: What is your reaction, Bob to this first round of subpoenas? And how did they square with what these aides and allies of the President were doing on around January 6, based on your reporting?
WOODWARD: Well, the question is, of course, what happened and ultimately, what did Trump know? And we describe the extraordinary phone call between Bannon and Trump right before the insurrection in which Bannon who was the former top aide to Trump, the chief strategist in the White House, tell me he'd been fired by that point, but as you know, in the Trump world, you go and then you come back, and Bannon says to Trump, we will strangle the Biden presidency in the crib. And that is a foreshadowing of course, of the violence that we saw the next day.
So they're trying to and -- they're working around the edges in a very logical way and now abandon what we have in our book, Bannon has publicly confirmed
COOPER: And Robert, I mean Bannon is one of the people, as we said, being subpoenaed. The book reveals how instrumental he was in the final days of the Trump presidency. As, you know, as Bob said, you know it by then it was known that people who once were persona non grata around the President could easily become, you know, his best friends and advisors once again. Were you surprised in your reporting by how much influence Robert that he that Bannon had on the president leading up to January 6?
ROBERT COSTA, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: It's significant that they were in such communication that this was not some kind of outsider occasionally talking to President Trump at the time. You also had Bannon being very close to Giuliani and what you see the committee doing with these subpoenas tonight, and if you read them carefully, they're trying to figure out what was the President doing? There's all this conventional wisdom that's calcified about President Trump watching television somewhat ideally in an empty West Wing on January 6.
But it's clear if you read these documents tonight the committee's looking at January 5th, Bannon, Giuliani at the Willard Hotel steps from the White House talking to the President by phone after he met with Vice President Pence to apply the pressure to try to get him on the 6 to throw out electors. You see in the Scavino subpoena, Scavino is the longtime social media director for President Trump and ever to understand President Trump's efforts later that night, there's a scene in Peril cited directly in the subpoena for Scavino saying that he was there later on January 5th, in the Oval Office as President Trump opened the door to the Oval Office to have the frigid cold air come in. He kept the doors open to hear the cries of his supporters. The committee wants to hear from all of these players.
COOPER: So Robert, just I mean that notion of the President watching TV, is it -- is that accurate in from what you were able to find?
COSTA: It is accurate in terms of action. We have that scene in our book. But the action before the 6 is so critical to understand the pressure being put on Vice President Pence. We revealed in our book and CNN has done great reporting on this as well how John Eastman been the conservative lawyer had a six point memo to try to get Vice President Pence to throw out electors. You had Mark Meadows who got a subpoena tonight, the chief of staff working on January second at the White House, all in our book, all of these scenes show a collective picture of effort on the Trump side to try to get the election to not go to Biden on the 6.
COOPER: Bob, in the wake of you're reporting about senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee examining election fraud claims the President, his legal team were pushing and finding them baseless. The former president now put out a statement saying quote, I spent virtually no time with senators Mike Lee of Utah or Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, talking about the 2020 presidential election scam or as it is viewed by many, the crime of the century. Lindsey and Mike should be ashamed of themselves for not putting up the fight necessary to win, end quote.
So, you know, again, he's attacking some of his staunchest allies, who have debase themselves repeatedly in order to suck up to him and play golf with him. It's a common theme from the book, anyone who didn't support the President's attempts to overturn the election or didn't support them vigorously enough or long enough, essentially gets the President's ire and blacklisted.
WOODWARD: Yes. And but what is significant is Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, two of the most pro Trump Republicans in the Senate, looked at the -- they got the written documentation. Giuliani sent thick packets of material to Lindsey Graham. He then got his chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee to launch a neutral aggressive investigation. Mike Lee, the Senator from Utah is conservative as Republican as they get got this John Eastman memo, which said that there are seven states that have alternative electors alleging that this would be the basis for Pence to say, oh, I can't decide who's won the election.
So, Mike Lee, got on the phone like a reporter and started calling the legislators in those states of Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, then kept where's the alternative slate? Nothing. Absolutely. Zero. He could not believe that. And he talked to Trump and, and said this doesn't hold up at all, but Trump is dismissed anyone who weld face the reality that this was not a stolen election.
COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We're going to pick up the conversation with Bob and Robert about new reporting in the Post and from CNN about what the Biden White House is leaning toward doing, which could help the investigation releasing information where the former president and his aides were doing as the Capitol was being attacked could also trigger major legal showdown about executive privilege.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Again our breaking news, the January 6 Select Committee has subpoenaed for loyalists of the former president as an investigates how the spread of 2020 election misinformation fueled a capital insurrection. Meanwhile, the Biden White House is taking steps to release details on what the former president's aides were doing on that day and that will likely set up perhaps historic legal fight. The House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol requested and I'm quoting all documents and communications within the White House, end quote on that day. And that includes call logs and information on meetings.
Back with us, legendary reporter Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, co- authors of the new book Peril.
So Bob, the fact that the Biden White House is taking this step to release information to congressional investigators are considering it. That's incredibly significant. We were just talking about what the President's allies were doing leading up to January 6. Can you just walk us through what according to your reporting they were doing on that day based on the book?
WOODWARD: Well, a lot was going on, there was an intensity in this period of November, December and January. What's interesting is this discussion in the Biden White House about releasing this material, former President Trump is likely to assert executive privilege. And one of the things that happens in history, one president will say, particularly from another party, oh, let's get out the dirt from the former president. And then the lawyers will come in and say, Mr. President, if you do that, then there's going to be another president, who will come in, and if it serves the moment, either politically or in terms of the evidence will release what goes on in secret in your White House. And often you find the president pulling back, I would not be surprised to see that happen.
COOPER: Robert, you know, I often think it's important to look at what we still don't know or what investigators want to know. There's so much now new detail in your book, what do you still -- what are kind of the moments you would like to know more about? You talked about that meeting the Willard Hotel of Giuliani and Scavino and others, Bannon the day before the insurrection. What are kind of still the unanswered question?
COSTA: The unanswered question, and we tried our best in parallel to answer as many as we could. But the looming question over this committee is, where is the Nexus? Where is the connection between the crowds gathering outside in Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Willard Hotel, the war room set up with Giuliani and Bannon inside the Willard Hotel, and the President and the Vice President just steps away or block away at the White House?
What was the level of coordination? We reveal in Peril, there were direct calls from the White House, President Trump into the Willard war room. This was not just some kind of wall between the two sides. But was there ever an extension into the protest? That's still something that committees likely to look into? What was the communication among those different key pivotal groups on January 6.
COOPER: You know, Bob, I think a lot of people who were sort of exhausted by the four years of the prior administration, perhaps it sort of checked out to enter I'm not as involved in following the permutations of what is going on any given day, as maybe they were during the former administration. The final line in the book is peril remains. Can you just talk about why does peril still remain?
WOODWARD: Well, because as you know, Trump looks like he's running. He's going out and holding these rallies. My partner Bob Costa would always listen to the recent Trump rallies. They're extraordinary. He sounds like Winston Churchill believe that, we will never give up, give up, we will keep fighting it. These are war speeches that former President Trump is giving. But, you know, there are some things if you'll bear with me, that we do know that I think are really important about what went on in this period, Gina Haspel, who was the CIA director, appointed by Trump on November 10th.
Now this is about a week after the election and one of the things Trump did is fire Secretary of Defense Asper and put somebody in who is going to, you know, be a Trump loyalist, and Gina Haspel. This is remarkable because she was 35 years is a case officer very, very tough reputation, said the following, we quote her on November 10th, yesterday was appalling when Esper was fired. We are on the way to a right wing coup. The whole thing is insanity. He Trump is acting like a six-year-old with a tantrum. Then later, when they have a meeting on a Iran and Trump seems interested in conducting strikes, she says, this is a highly dangerous situation, we are going to lash out for his ego.
So you have the professional CIA director, who's in the business of assessing instability unstable leaders saying what I'm quoting.
COOPER: Bob, I'm going to take issue that on from sounding like Churchill, Churchill had a great sense of a turn of phrase, I'm not sure --
COSTA: Well --
COOPER: -- Trump --
COSTA: -- Anderson, I think Bob's saying he taking Churchill's language.
COSTA: He's stealing the rhetorical flourishes of Churchill (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: Well that's interesting. Wow. I got to listen to them, I've been -- I have not. Robert Costa, appreciate --
WOODWARD: Yes, every because --
COOPER: Go ahead, Bob.
WOODWARD: No, no, there's so much nonsense in these rallies that Trump hold. But then he gets to the ending and it truly is. I mean, you should listen to him --
COOPER: I will. WOODWARD: -- it is not something, something to be passive about because it's very inspirational to his supporter.
COOPER: Yes, Bob Woodward, Robert Costa, again, the book Peril. Congratulations. Remarkable work as always.
COSTA: Thank you/
COOPER: Coming up next, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, one of the key players in the struggle by Democrats and among Democrats to pass two central pieces of the Biden agenda affecting potential millions of Americans and the Democrats political future as well.
COOPER: Day after talks to the White House aim to getting Democrats on the same page on the two key bills and the President's agenda. There are signs or at least the sounds and movement. The President as you know wants House Democrats to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, while House and Senate Democrats reach agreement on a larger bill which would be passed on to reconciliation filled with so-called human infrastructure items, childcare, prescription drug prices, climate change, and more.
Now, they've been at it for weeks, as you know, with moderate and progressive Democrats sparring over the timing of the House vote in the contents of the reconciliation bill. Starting this morning, though, we began hearing a change in messaging from the some of the parties. Then this afternoon House and Senate leaders announced that they'd come up with a way to finance whatever is ultimately agreed on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) MINORITY LEADER: The White House, the House and the Senate, have reached agreement on a framework that will pay for any final negotiated agreement. So the revenue side of this, we have an agreement on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you expand what that means a framework. What does that mean?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: That means we're proceeding that we've made great progress, and we're proceeding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: No real details on any of it, though. Joining us now, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Congresswoman, thanks for being with us.
You have said that you'll vote no on the infrastructure bill at the larger reconciliation spending package if it doesn't pass. If Democrats lose at all, because you another stood on principle, will you be glad to have made that choice looking back?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Anderson, it's good to be with you tonight. Let's just remember that this is the President's agenda. And the two bills comprise the bill back better agenda that the President laid out for us in front of Congress. And so, when we met with the President yesterday, he reiterated that he wants both of these bills. And the deal that was passed when the bipartisan bill passed the Senate was that both bills would proceed in the House because we just cannot afford to leave behind childcare, leave behind paid leave, not take on climate change.
And so, that is still our position, we will very happily vote for both bills. As soon as the reconciliation bill is passed, then we will vote for the infrastructure bill and we intend to do that we are this close, we are very close to getting it done. And, you know, we're excited to deliver that to the President.
COOPER: I mean, I understand, look, everything is negotiation, you have to stand, you know, as long as you can, in what you want. But if the only way to get the reconciliation spending package past is to drop the price tag from $3.5 trillion to a lower number. Do you think it's worth it for Americans to have a smaller increase in spending on social programs than no increase at all?
JAYAPAL: Well, let me be clear, we put out our proposal, the people, the very few about nine or 11 people that have said they aren't ready to vote for the reconciliation package have not given us any other offer. So the President yesterday said to that group, and then he reiterated to us when we met with him that he said, if you want to -- if somebody wants to make this number smaller, tell us what you want to cut, right? Ultimately, what are you for, and then let's figure out the price tag from there. But that has to be the beginning of the discussion.
And so far, that has not come at all.
COOPER: So that's the discussion your willing (ph) to pertain?
JAYAPAL: So I believe those -- well, I just think our number is 3.5. If somebody wants to cut something, they've got to tell us what it is they want to cut. And we all understand that we've all got to get on the same page. And there are going to be things that conservative Democrats don't want to vote for, that we're going to have to put in here and that they're going to have to vote for, they're going to be things that progressive Democrats don't want to vote for. But they're going to have to vote for it.
So we're going to have to come together. And I believe we can do that. But we're not leaving part of the agenda behind. And we're not taking the urgency off of things like childcare, paid leave, climate change, health care, immigration.
COOPER: But just -- sorry to interrupt. Just so I'm clear, that 3.5 trillion number, if they come back, if those conservative Democrats come back with a different figure, you are willing to, perhaps negotiate on that. That's not -- JAYAPAL: Well I just don't -- I don't know what there up. Nobody said
anything. So I don't see any reason to negotiate against myself. I met 3.5. That's the number the President was at. That's the numbers the Senate was at. Now, if somebody wants to change that number, you got to tell us what you're going to cut. So, I mean, I just don't see any reason to, you know, negotiate with nothing.
So that's, that's the important thing right now, we all know that we want to get this thing passed, and we're going to get it passed. And it's going to be transformational investments. But we're not leaving anything behind. So we're not passing an infrastructure bill and then saying, oh, there's no urgency to taking on climate change or immigration or any of these other things. We are going to pass the reconciliation bill first, as was agreed upon by the Senate, and then we are going to pass the infrastructure bill and we're going to deliver both to the President and we're going to make changes transformational in people's lives.
COOPER: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, we will continue to watch. Thank you so much for talking about it, appreciate it.
JAYAPAL: Thank you.
COOPER: Right now the news continues, want to hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson.