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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

House Democrats Huddle Over Make Or Break Legislation For Biden Agenda; Dispatch Audio Sheds More Light On What Police Were Told About Mid-August Altercation Between Petito And Laundrie; January 6 Committee Chair Says More Subpoenas This Week; Jan. 6th Committee Chair: More Subpoenas "This Week"; Colorado Investigation Into Election Official Turned Conspiracy Theorist; TX Abortion Providers Go Back To Supreme Court To Expedite Challenge To State's Six-Week Ban; Biden Gets Covid Booster Shot. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 27, 2021 - 20:00   ET


SHAQAIQ BIRASHK, FORMER USAID WORKER IN AFGHANISTAN: It just feels like it's an ongoing nightmare that you know, I haven't been woken up from.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Incredible story.

Thanks so much to all of you. It's time now for Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We got another piece of evidence tracing the journey of Gabby Petito and the disappearance of her fiance who remains at large. Dispatch audio from the day the couple fought and police were called. The letter RP you'll hear stands for the reporting party.


OFFICER: ... do you have a phone number for the RP (reporting party)? Maybe just a landline or a location for where our victim is at?

DISPATCH: Phone number is [bleep] but the female who got hit, they both -- the male and the female both got into the van and headed north.

RP states seeing a male hit a female. Domestic. He got into a white Ford Transit van. Has a black ladder on the back. Florida plate of Quebec Fox Tango Golf Zero Three. The van turned right onto Main Street from Moonflower Market and headed north on to Main Street.


COOPER: So just ahead on the program, how this late piece fights the bigger picture and fits into it in the search for Brian Laundrie.

We begin though with the breaking news from Washington. It is unfolding at the start of a critical week for Democrats to either turn big pieces of President Biden's domestic agenda into law or fail to and deliver themselves and the President into a world of political pain.

They are working against a Thursday deadline to reach agreement on what's in legislation that would if passed greatly expand the social safety net, with items like universal pre-K for kids, paid maternity leave, and Medicare dental coverage potentially in the mix.

But if there is no agreement, which requires support from moderate House and Senate Democrats, House progressives could end up voting against the infrastructure bill, which the President also wants and has already passed the Senate.

With all that at stake, it is getting tense in Washington. House Democrats have been meeting behind closed doors and on top of that, Senate Republicans just blocked legislation to prevent a government shutdown.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is on the Hill for us with the latest. So, what happens next? I mean, is there real danger of a government shutdown?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is, Anderson, at this point, because the government could run out of money as soon as midnight on Thursday, which would mean a partial government shutdown would take place.

So they need to find some way out of this. Democrats have been insistent on putting the continuing resolution that would continue to fund the government along with legislation that would raise the debt ceiling, which the government is scheduled to reach at around mid- October. They want to put those two pieces of legislation together in order to force Republicans to vote for it.

Republicans didn't take the bait and they, you know, put the filibuster in place today that effectively blocked that legislation.

Now, the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voted no on the legislation so that he can bring it back. There is talk of them offering up just a clean, continuing resolution that would be for a short amount of time just to keep the government open.

At this point, though, they have not revealed what those plans are and when they'll take that legislation up.

COOPER: And in terms of the two big spending bills that have divided Democrats, where do things stand.

NOBLES: At this point, they continue to be in a staring contest, Anderson. The House insists that they will vote on Thursday for that bipartisan infrastructure package. But at this point, they may not have the votes. Progressives continue to say that there are as many as 40 progressive

lawmakers who are willing to vote no on this package unless they get some sort of firm agreement on that $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. That's that human infrastructure package that you were talking about before.

Now, there does appear to be a path to getting this done. I talked to a number of progressive lawmakers today who originally said that they were not going to vote for the bipartisan plan, unless the reconciliation package passed the House and Senate. That's impossible by Thursday.

They're now talking about a public framework that everyone agrees to and when they say everyone, they're also talking about those two moderate senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin and also the eight or nine House moderates who have been resistant to endorsing this plan.

So, they are willing to vote yes on the bipartisan deal if they get that firm agreement. The question is, Anderson, can they get that agreement between now and Thursday?

COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us now is John Podesta, founder and President of the Center for American Progress, one of the leading voices warning Democrats the consequences of failure. So Mr. Podesta, what -- first of all, what do you make of the standoff that the White House or the standoffishness the White House has about the scope of the President's involvement in these negotiations? Should he be doing more? Is this the right strategy?


JOHN PODESTA, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, he had a series of meetings on last Thursday and into Friday meeting with different elements of the Democratic caucus to try to forge an agreement. I think the reporting you just heard was exactly right.

I think that if Thursday comes and there is no agreement from -- particularly from Senators Manchin and Sinema, that the Progressive Caucus will hold firm.

I would note that Speaker Pelosi said over the weekend, she won't bring a bill to the floor unless it has the votes to pass. So, I think we're in one of those Washington perils of Pauline moments where you have the continuing resolution, the debt limit, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and reconciliation bill all kind of tangled into a knot.

And my advice to Democrats is, work it out. Spend these next few days figuring out that framework, get the commitments that are necessary, or you'll pay a heavy political price for failing to act on the crisis that we're facing, both with climate and with -- and for working American families. COOPER: Well, I mean, what does working out among the Democrats? What

does that look like? I mean, both sides give something. Give something that they don't want to give?

PODESTA: Well, look, I think that what's interesting is that there are 259 Democrats who agree with the President that $3.5 trillion is the right size of the package. But there are 11 that don't, and with the narrow 50/50 Senate and they can only lose three votes in the House, that number is coming down.

I think people have accepted that the $3.5 trillion cannot pass the Senate. And therefore, there it has to be, the investments have to come in at a lower number that progressives have to give on. And likewise, I think the moderates have to be clear that they are prepared to vote for a substantial reconciliation package and a strategy of trying to just get the bipartisan infrastructure bill is dead, in my opinion.

So they have to come together, work it out. I think there is a very strong support for the basic thrust of this, to invest in clean energy, to create millions of jobs, to support working families through child care, home care, elder care, prescription drug relief. So, there's a lot of unanimity, but you have no margin for error, and that's what your next couple days is going to be about.

COOPER: Yes, you referenced what you called a heavy price that Democrats would pay or could pay if they don't get this done. I mean, if nothing gets accomplished, how do they explain that to voters in the midterms? Because they won't be able to pin it on Republicans, will they?

PODESTA: Yes, I think that's exactly right. But I think the bigger consequences aren't political, they're substantive. This is a Code Red moment for climate. If we don't make these investments, the floods, the fires, the drought, the heat waves that we've seen this summer will get exponentially worse into the future decades.

President Biden realize that and that's why he put such a substantial package forward. It's critical in terms of the global talks. And likewise, I think, for working families who are dealing with the economic effects of delta now, I think they need the relief that's included here. Will they get everything? No. But can they get something substantial? Yes.

If they fail, we have failed that important Democratic moment, and I think there will be dire political consequences from that.

COOPER: Congressman Ro Khanna is a progressive in the House brought up with reporters, the idea that something like two Democratic senators and 10 or so Democratic House members are holding up the agenda of the whole Republican Party. I mean, have you seen something like this? Excuse me, the Democratic Party -- have you seen something like this before? I mean, did you did you think you would see this?

PODESTA: Well, you know, I worked in 1993 in the Clinton White House where the Clinton economic plan which led to the strongest job growth in history passed by a single vote in the House and tie breaking vote by Vice President Gore in the Senate. So, it was right down to the nail biting wire, but it did pass and I think it produced really great returns for the American people with wages growing across the board.

So you know, these things happen, but I think it's time that everyone cinches their belt and gets this done and really, the time is so short. And as Speaker Pelosi said tonight, the vote is on for Thursday. So that's the new deadline and hopefully we'll beat it.

COOPER: John Podesta, appreciate your time. Thank you.

PODESTA: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next, the newly released dispatch audio and more late breaking news in the killing of Gabby Petito.

And later, Anita Hill on the new abortion law in Texas, her confrontation three decades ago with then Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas in her new book in her continuing fight to stop gender violence.



COOPER: As we reported the top of the hour, there's a new piece of the puzzle in the killing of Gabby Petito and the disappearance of her fiance, Brian Laundrie during a cross country road trip.

Audio from the Sheriff's Office in Grand County, Utah. Now, again the initials you'll hear RP stand for reporting party, the person who saw the incident.


OFFICER: ... do you have a phone number for the RP (reporting party)? Maybe just a landline or a location for where our victim is at?

DISPATCH: Phone number is [bleep] but the female who got hit, they both -- the male and the female both got into the van and headed north.

RP states seeing a male hit a female. Domestic. He got into a white Ford Transit van. Has a black ladder on the back. Florida plate of Quebec Fox Tango Golf Zero Three. The van turned right onto Main Street from Moonflower Market and headed north on to Main Street.



COOPER: Remember that RP, that's the man who witnessed Brian Laundrie according to him hit Gabby Petito and called 9-1-1. That makes him the reporting party. This comes as police back in Florida announced a shift in the search for Brian Laundrie. Our Randi Kaye joins us now from there.

So what more do we know about this audio from the Sheriff's Office? Explain the significance of it.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this all goes back to that August 12th, 9-1-1 call when someone called in and said that they had seen a man slapping a woman. So this is key, because this is the dispatch tape to the Moab Police officers telling them that a male was seen slapping a female. That's what they said on that audio.

So, this was key because then the Moab Police were dispatched to find the couple. They found Gabby Petito and her fiance. They turned on their body camera and on that bodycam, you see Gabby Petito visibly upset. She is crying.

Brian Laundrie showing them scratches on his hand. She says they did have a fight, but she does tell the officers that he did not punch her. So, they didn't think this was domestic assault. They told him to separate for the night, which they did.

But now we've learned that there is this investigation by the City of Moab into the handling of this call because we know also that Gabby Petito was dead within about two weeks or so of that police stop -- Anderson.

COOPER: And what's the latest in the search for Laundrie? Are they still focusing on this nature reserve?

KAYE: They are. They are looking at the Carlton Reserve. The F.B.I. has taken over the search and they are really saying now that it is more targeted based on Intelligence, so clearly based on tips, maybe sightings, but they're also waiting for some of the areas of the high watermark to go down so they can access some of those areas.

But also Anderson, media outlets now reporting that investigators have been here to the Laundrie home behind me collecting DNA matching items. These would be used maybe -- we don't know what they took, but it could be something like a toothbrush or a comb. And then they go out to the reserve or perhaps they find something they could find Brian Laundrie dead or alive and match it to him here in Florida or maybe they're using it to work at the Wyoming crime scene where her remains were found.

Maybe the killer left a piece of chewing gum or a wrapper of some sort. They can use the DNA to match that as well -- Anderson.

COOPER: But just to be clear, the reason police are at that nature reserve is because Laundrie's parents told authorities that he had said he was going to go camping there. That's the only reason.

KAYE: That is it. That is where they pointed the investigators and they have been there. And we spoke with a survivalist, Anderson, who his name is Steve Claytor. He is with North Florida Survival, and he has been a survival instructor for seven years. He's been doing search and rescue with Marion County here in Florida for years, and he told me that less than five percent of the people survive the first 72 hours in a survival situation.

He also told me that the tools that they're using to find Brian Laundrie perhaps in this reserve would include infrared. They can see the heat at night. He also said they would be using just the basic eyes on the ground. You want to be looking for things that somebody left behind like maybe batteries or clothing, but also look to see if there's any brush that has been turned over.

He also said that the potential problems for Brian Laundrie could include rain, heat, humidity, dehydration. Also, moving around at night is risky for him because here in Florida, there's a lot of predatory animals -- alligators, bob cats, Florida panthers, so if he is moving at night thinking that he has some cover, that could be a problem as well, and then finally, in order for Laundrie to survive, if he is in that reserve, he said that he would need to find high ground, create a sleeping platform so it's safe for him.

The problem is every time he moves, he would have to take that down so he doesn't leave any evidence and then also rebuild it once again. He also said that he would have to find edible plants and trap animals. He said it's very difficult here in the swamp here in the Carlton Reserve. If he was in the north, perhaps in the mountains, it would be cooler. A lot of squirrels on the move, he said and he would have an easier time trapping something to eat -- Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting. Randi, appreciate it. Thanks.

I want to talk to our senior law enforcement analyst and former F.B.I. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. What does it tell you that authorities first of all, scaling back their search of that -- of that nature reserve whether they say it's targeted or not.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Anderson, it simply tells me that they have determined that doing a traditional grid type search where you employ many people to basically cover a designated area is not proving productive, which is understandable in light of the area that they're trying to search, much of it is under water, some of it is infested with predatory animals and stuff like that.

So, it seems that they are staying away from that kind of traditional approach and likely using technology and intelligence and tracking techniques.


COOPER: Would it seem likely that they would launch the kind of the massive search that they had, or the large search that they had of that area over the last couple of weeks, based solely on the parents saying, well, he said he was going to camp out in in this area? Is that enough to kind of launch the thing? Or would they have to have some other information that kind of corroborated that?

MCCABE: It is certainly enough to get you going in that direction. I think when they go over there, and I think initially, they found his car left in a parking lot area that would also support, you know, your assumption that he might be in that area.

However, I believe strongly that the F.B.I. is likely not keeping a hundred percent of its resources over there, right? They're also doing things to make sure that there are no ways that Mr. Laundrie could have kind of diverted himself and tried to, for instance, engaged in public transportation or mass transit to exit the area.

There are all sorts of resources that the F.B.I. can tap into to track whether or not someone traveling under his identity may have tried to get on a plane or bus or a train out of the area.

Let's also keep in mind that he is highly recognizable right now, and if he is just out there on the economy, trying to get away, he's going to have probably a tough time.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, it seems given the public's interest in this case that, you know, the idea that he is driving around or on the move in, you know, on a public transportation, that seems unlikely. Do you think -- I mean, in your experience, how long do people manage to -- I mean, if in fact, somebody is in a wilderness area, how long do people manage to stay out in these type of areas, if Laundrie is in fact in the reserve?

MCCABE: Not long without a significant level of support and assistance. And so the best example probably is Eric Robert Rudolph, the infamous Olympic Park bomber. He was out allegedly in the North Carolina wilderness for five years. However, when he was arrested, he was wearing clean clothes, new sneakers, and recently shaved and dyed his hair.

So it is assumed that Mr. Rudolph actually had the support of the community in trying to evade law enforcement and that is how he was able to stay away for that long.

Whitey Bulger is another one, right? Twelve years, Whitey was on the run, but Whitey spent years preparing to be on the run, stashing cash in different places, false identity documents, and he was with a woman. And you know, going out into the world as a couple, you attract much less attention than you do as a single, you know, certainly a single man trying to flee.

So you need a plan, you need extensive support, you need a lot of money. It's not clear that Laundrie has any of those things.

COOPER: Investigators also removed according to the media reporting, removed evidence from the Laundrie home over the weekend to assist in DNA matching. I assume that doesn't mean that they have some DNA they want to match it to, I mean, it could but it could also just -- they just want to have it in the eventuality or the possibility that they may at some point come across something that they want to match.

MCCABE: That's right. They want to do that DNA profile now in the lab taking their time so they can have that kind of sitting on the shelf and that way, if they come across some trash in the reserve, or they come across evidence maybe from the crime scene or another crime scene, they have an existing DNA profile that they can compare it to, to determine whether or not it's Laundrie's.

So, I don't think it's indicative of any particular evidence or samples that they have as much as it is just having their ducks in a row.

COOPER: Yes, Andrew McCabe, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: We just have breaking news about new subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot. Also Congresswoman Liz Cheney speaking out about what she called the unforgivable conduct to the Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy.



COOPER: The Chair of the January 6th Select Committee says prepare for more subpoenas this week. Congressman Bennie Thompson did not specify who might receive those, only that it may be individuals associated with the former administration, as well as those already charged with crimes associated with a Capitol riot.

Now, the news comes ahead of the highly anticipated testimony tomorrow involving the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Senators likely to ask about reports in multiple recent books about Milley's fears about the actions of the former President during the final days of his presidency.

Meanwhile, a member of the January 6th Committee, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, airing her concerns about the direction of the Republican Party, its support for the big lie, and Republican leader in the house, Kevin McCarthy.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): What he's done is embrace Donald Trump, and if I were doing what he's doing, I would be deeply ashamed of myself. I don't know how you explain that to your children.

There are people who supported Donald Trump because of his policies, but there is a difference between somebody who voted for Donald Trump and being the Republican leader after an insurrection and setting all of that aside and going to Mar-a-Lago and rehabilitating him, bringing him back in. That to me is unforgivable.


COOPER: I'm joined now by former Republican Senator and Congressman William Cohen, who served as Defense Secretary under a Democratic President, Bill Clinton.

Secretary Cohen, what does it say that it's gotten to this point within the Republican Party where there are really only two avenues? Either you kiss the, you know, former President's ring like Kevin McCarthy and indulge in the big lie or you stand up to it like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and essentially get excommunicated?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, first, let me thank you for having me on your show. I basically support what Liz Cheney has said, and her characterization and that of Adam Kinzinger.

I think we have come to a point now where what is unforgivable is that there are so many Republicans who are willing to turn away to not look at the facts of what the former President did, how he stoked an insurrection, how he sat in the White House and apparently observed what was taking place on television.

And then Anderson, he apparently when called upon to try and intervene, please intervene, he simply laughed at all. But that is what is unforgivable and those members on the Hill, Republican members who think that's OK that I think they're contributing to the dissolution of our democracy. And thank goodness, you have Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and others who are willing to stand up and say, we're conservatives. We believe in the rule of law, we believe in conservative principles.

What President Trump did, a former president was not conservative. That was radical, that was row, that was undermining democracy and trying to overthrow our constitutional government. So, I think we're at a point now where if Republicans continue to simply save their seats, as opposed to saving their honor, they'll have to live with that in the future, because what Donald Trump has done continues to do is to undermine our society and promote more rage, more fear, more peril, as Bob Woodward has written to our system. I think that is what is unforgivable. And those members who are unwilling to speak up to speak out, they really are acting more if I can put it this way more like Fido than fiduciary is.

The United States Congress is a separate institution, it is not part of the executive branch, those members all their obligations to the Constitution, not to the chief executive of the -- a separate branch of government. So I will have to see how it plays out.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. There, Joe Milley testifying tomorrow. I'm certainly going to be a number of I mean, obviously, there's Afghanistan, for him to talk about, he's going to likely be grilled on many of the revelations in the new Bob Woodward, Robert Costa book about the Trump administration's final days, his calls with the Chinese counterpart, as well as the call was Speaker Pelosi by the foreign present state of mind. How do you think this hearing is going to play out?

COHEN: Well, there'll be some who will certainly want to make headway. And there'll be others who want to make headlines. I think for the most part on that committee, most of the members are going to look and try to get to the bottom of what the analysis was. I mean, they're going to ask the questions that Howard Baker asked years ago, what did you know, when did you know it? On what basis, what intelligence that you rest the premise that you could do this and carry this out, assuming that the Afghan military could hold and fold as they did.

There are several other things that I think we have to keep in mind. Number one, I hope that all three, the testimony, we're justifying, tomorrow, all three generals, they will know that they're earning their four stars tomorrow, there's going to be a lot of incoming to them. I would recommend they remain cool and calm and confident and also remain concise not drag out their answers, because the one thing that will alienate members of Congress, if they think you're stonewalling, and not by the -- on the other hand, I would say members of Congress have to take this in mind. Don't be so aggressive that you look like bullies.

We found that out during the Iran Contra committee investigation when Colonel Oliver North was sitting as a witness, and he was sitting in his uniform with all this decorations that he had received, and members of Congress looked they were piling on a patriot. That's something that members of Congress have to take into account. Most people in this country still revere our military, most of them admire those who have gone into battle have sacrificed and been willing to sacrifice life and limb.

So as you examine them, and put them under intense examination as to what happened back in Afghanistan, and what happened on January 6, in terms of your assessment, Mr. Chairman, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, what was the basis of your assessment that you felt that the men president's mental state was deteriorating to the point where you felt you had to involve yourself in a much more aggressive way, to make sure that nothing on board took place?

So I'm just to say, what was the benchmark? What was your benchmark for understanding what's the state of mind was at that time?

COOPER: Well, that's what's going to be fascinating to hear, you know, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs talking about the former president, his concerns about the former president's mental state of mind.

Secretary Cohen, it's a pleasure to talk to you again, thank you.

COHEN: Oh, it's good to be with you Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next, Colorado election official who has peddled similar conspiracy theory, theories, but is now under investigation after accusations. She did more than just baseless, repeating baseless claims. We have new details when we continue.



COOPER: Before the break, we were talking about the big lie and Republican officials ongoing complicity in perpetuating the former president fraud. In Colorado, federal state officials are now investigating the actions of one Republican county election clerk who is alleged to have done more than just peddle fraudulent claims and who also has ties with quite infamous TV pitchman current election conspiracy theorist.

Ed Lavandera has the details.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tina Peters is the Mesa County clerk who oversaw elections in Grand

Junction Colorado until last month, when investigators began looking into her alleged involvement with a reported breach of the county's election system. She's not interested in speaking with CNN.

TINA PETERS, MESA COUNTY CLERK & RECORDER: Why don't I get you in touch with people that can schedule that for you?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Peters, who hasn't been charged with any crimes has teamed up with one of the biggest 2020 election conspiracy theorists, MyPillow CEO, Mike Lindell. In August Peters flew to this symposium in South Dakota where she told an adoring crowd, she's uncovered voting problems. Even though Donald Trump won her county by almost 30 points.

PETERS: Out of 64 counties in Colorado, I'm willing to stand up as the county clerk, one out of 64.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): But in Grand Junction, Peters critics, many of whom are Republicans say her pursuit of voter fraud has turned up zero evidence. One Republican Mesa County commissioner calls her a quote, problem child.


SCOTT MCIINIS, MESA COUNTY COMMISSIONER: She's gone into the election (INAUDIBLE) into the election process and yell fire, get out, get out. And in the panic a lot of people are running over each other and they're running for the exits. And the theaters getting torn up as they're running out. And there's no fire.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The back story of how we got here is a bizarre tale. In May, the Colorado Secretary of State's office was scheduled to conduct a routine software update of the Dominion voting system in Mesa County. Sometime before that visit a lawsuit filed by Colorado Secretary of State alleges security cameras monitoring the county's voting equipment had been turned off, and that someone recorded video of the software update procedure and an image of passwords to get into the equipment.

According to a counterclaim, Tina Peters admits she recorded video of the procedure and also said she brought in a consultant two days earlier to make a forensic copy of the computer data because she was concerned that election results would be destroyed. In August, those images were posted to a website peddling election conspiracy theories. Peters denies she authorized this leak and her lawyer says she was surprised and upset that the information became public. She maintains that close to 30,000 files were deleted during the update.

PETERS: Virtually all electronic data that would be necessary to conduct a full forensic audit of the 2020 election was -- were deleted.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Colorado Secretary of State tells CNN that no election records are missing and that Peters is misleading voters with these baseless accusations.

JENA GRISWORLD, COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE: Either still does not know the type of security breach she has created or she is lying. To try to cover her act.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Peters says she's doing the job she was elected to do. Meanwhile, local state and federal authorities are investigating the breach. Peters has not responded to our repeated interview requests. But she spoke with a Christian advocacy group called the Truth And Liberty Coalition.

PETERS: I'm willing to go, to go as far as it is it takes to do what it needs, what needs to happen. I mean, God's called me, he'll sustain me and he's surrounding me with his people. So I feel very good.

SHEILA REINER, MESA COUNTY TREASURER: This is the tabulation room.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): After the security breach was discovered, county treasurer Sheila Reiner was put in charge of overseeing elections. Mesa County had to spend $300,000 to replace all of the compromised election equipment. But the scandal has revealed a new reality.

REINER: This is a real lesson learned. I don't think that we had any protocols for insider threat before.

LAVANDERA (on-camera): And that's why you see this?

REINER: Yes. I don't think that we ever really considered what if we have a bad actor on our team. What does that do? And then how do we get around that in the future?


COOPER: It's fascinating Ed. I mean, she's lying and believes God is on her side somehow and his people are protecting her in some way. Then President Trump won the county by 30 points, the way she's talking it sounds as if she is from the county in which, you know, Joe Biden won.

LAVANDERA: Right, and that's the question that so many people have is exactly what is she up to? Tina Peters in public statements that she has made in recent weeks, is essentially saying that she's listening to voters who are telling her that they believe something is going on. It really is this unfounded paranoia that continues to exist among so many Trump voters. There are so many people there in Grand Junction who are skeptical of what is she -- what she's saying that perhaps she enjoys the spotlight and the notoriety of being connected with Mike Lindell. But it really is a localized snapshot of what happens when the big election like I'm strolling into town.

COOPER: Yes, she seems to like being on TV except for people are actually asking her real questions. Ed Lavandera, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, one-on-one with Anita Hill. What she has to say about the new Texas abortion law and how it fits into the themes of her fascinating new book.



COOPER: Tonight, Texas abortion providers are still waiting to hear from the Supreme Court after asking the justices late last week to expedite a review of the state law that blocks abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The law went into effect September 1st. But the federal appeals court hearing the challenge is that a tentative hearing for December, the abortion providers are asking the justices to in effect step in and decide a key issue in the case now instead of waiting for the appeals court to weigh in.

And that's one of the issues now that some see is an assault on women's rights. Anita Hill joins us now for her take. She has been fighting for women's since she testified before an all male Senate panel 30 years ago, led by then Senator Joe Biden about then Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas. She's accused Thomas of sexual harassment he denied any wrongdoing.

Hill is now a law and a lawyer and professor writing about that and more in her new book that goes on sale tomorrow. It's called Believing Our 30 Year Journey To End Gender Violence. And Anita Hill joins me now.

Thanks so much for being with us Professor Hill.

Let's first just talk about the term gender violence, for those who aren't familiar with it, can you just talk about the meaning of it?

ANITA HILL, LAWYER & PROFESSOR: Well, the meaning of it is probably best explained by giving you the examples that I explore in the book which includes a range of behavior from bullying, in schools and certainly sexual harassment in schools and colleges to intimate partner violence as well as sexual assault and rape and stalking. So, it's a range of behaviors and basically it's directed at people the cause of their gender and the name of gender very often.

And so, I wanted to explore the totality of it, even though I'm known for people to people because of the issue of sexual harassment. I wanted to move beyond that, because I found such linkages between all of those behaviors.


COOPER: I mean with what's happening in Texas now, in one of the most restrictive abortion laws in really the developed world, the fact that private citizens are now being allowed in Texas to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion, and no exception for rape or incest. How do you see that? I mean, Governor Abbott as you know, his response, when asked about it was said that Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists. And what you thought of those comments as well.

HILL: Well, what I think of the law is that it really is a danger, it sets a dangerous precedent, using private citizens as vigilantes to police women's constitutionally protected decisions about their own lives is truly dangerous. And is -- I'm just thankful that the Justice Department is taking the size of lemon in this case, and doing what the federal government can do to protect their rights.

But it is, to me the issue as it relates to gender violence is that we already have a high rate of gender violence in this country, intimate partner violence especially. And this really is an opportunity for the law to be used to further women and to police women.

COOPER: You've said that the 2020 was a year of clarity is what you called it. And part of the thing that that forced that clarity beyond the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and others, was also the pandemic. Can you talked about how the pandemic and a number of things that happened in 2020 made it clear about gender violence?

HILL: Yes, well, you know, of course, it was the isolation, there were the health challenges that people experienced. But within that pandemic, there was a further burden put on vulnerable populations. So there were, there was economic insecurity, which leads to housing insecurity and food insecurity. And the weight fell heavily, heavily on those who were already vulnerable and living on the edge. And I call it a year of clarity, because for what we could begin to see how disparities in this country that have existed through society will get amplified, and we hopefully could see the need to address them.

And related to that, in terms of the topic of gender violence, you know, during the pandemic, predicted about in March of 2020 or so, various health organizations around the globe started predicting that there would be a high surge in what we call domestic violence, violence that occurs in the homes, they were absolutely right. It resulted in shelters being overflowing, resources, being inadequate to cover all of the victims that were, were -- victimhood that was occurring during the pandemic.

And it just really shows you how close people are to catastrophe in their personal life. Because intimate partner violence, domestic violence is as behavior that impacts families, impacts communities, and impacts our country.

COOPER: And it's not something that people necessarily linked to events like a pandemic. And yet, as you say, you know, it was predicted that it would there be a rise in, you know, attacks in the home and there were.

HILL: Well, there were because people were in the home, locked in the home, they were isolated in the home, and probably, you know, we're still studying it. But very likely what happened was that sentiments just overflowed. Whereas before, when people were out, they able to go to work or go to school, they were outlets, there were ways to get out and connect with other people. There were ways to report bad behavior that didn't cause you to be put in greater risk. That didn't happen during the pandemic when people were together.

And so, we are still trying to figure out what that means. But clearly, what it says to me is that this is a problem that we need to address.


COOPER: Yes. Anita Hill, thank you so much. I'm so glad you wrote this book. It's fascinating. I really appreciate it and I hope to speak to you again. Thank you.

HILL: Well, I just want to say that --


HILL: -- in addition to this, these stories, they're all stories about people who have survived, and their stories about the way that the public sentiment has changed and grown since 1991 when I testify. And there is hope that we can change and we can do better.

COOPER: The book again, is Believing available starting tomorrow. Anita Hill, thank you so much.

HILL: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, President Biden's message for America is he got his booster shot of Pfizer's COVID vaccine.


COOPER: At the White House this afternoon President Biden rolled up his sleeves and received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, his third shot. The President trying to set an example is a new phase of vaccinations gets underway. The President said Equal boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated.


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