Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Virginia Candidates Making Final Pitch In Dead-Hit Contest With Implications For Trump, Biden And Control Of Congress; GA Sec. Of State Raffensperger On New Book, "Integrity Counts;" Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments On Texas Abortion Law; Pilot Under Investigation For Using Anti-Biden Phrase On Flight; 4,900 Incidents Of Unruly Passengers This Year; Mayor: 91% Of NYC Workers Now Vaccinated. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 01, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, to be sure Democrats cursed the former President's name when he was in office, too. But the number of elected officials who are embracing this phrase in very public ways, seems to go beyond what we saw then, and they're not merely tolerating this vitriol among their voters, they are encouraging it -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Yes, absolutely. Tom, thank you very much. And thanks to all of you for joining us, AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: In many ways, tomorrow's election for Governor of Virginia could be one of the most consequential since the last presidential election, especially for what it might say about the next one, as well as the midterms next year.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are the two candidates. They're the ones on the ballot, but Donald Trump and Trumpism might just as well be as might President Biden and his legislative agenda.
The President is now polling about as badly as the former President ever did. So, Terry McAuliffe has that to contend with making tomorrow a test perhaps at the larger Democratic agenda and the President's fading popularity. Glenn Youngkin has the former President who in this hour is expected to take part in a tele-rally on his behalf. Youngkin accepted an endorsement from him and embraced him during the primary, but he is keeping him at arm's length now with a message former Republican strategist Rick Wilson has called running Trumpism through the carwash.
The closing themes of his campaign today were the opposite of MAGA red meat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE FOR VIRGINIA: Friends, this is our moment to recognize that we're going to build together a different Virginia, a Virginia that soars, not one that settles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As for Terry McAuliffe, the former governor, he pointed to a list of achievements in office, but may Donald Trump the focus of his closing argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: There is a difference in this election. I am running against, I like to say Donald Trump in khakis or sweater vest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So with that as the backdrop, CNN chief national correspondent, John King, starts us off tonight at the magic wall.
So what are some key parts of Virginia to keep an eye on as we head into Election Day tomorrow -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's walk through that, Anderson. You mentioned this is a very consequential race for the Commonwealth, but also for the national implications.
Tomorrow, we will fill in this map, -- it is empty tonight -- the candidates even. Let's use 2004 for a little conversation, 2020, excuse me for a little conversation of how we got here. I said 2004 because that was the last time a Republican carried Virginia for President.
But let's look at 2020. Joe Biden won by 10 points. How are we? One year after Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 points, how can the Democratic candidate be in such a close race? A toss up by all accounts and Republican enthusiasm off the charts.
Well, you mentioned this at the top. This is one reason, Anderson, right here. The President's poll numbers are in the tank. Terry McAuliffe is not Joe Biden, but he is a friend of Joe Biden. He is a known national Democrat, part of the Washington establishment. When the President goes down, other Democrats go down with him.
Fifty seven percent approval rating in February. This is the Reuters/Ipsos poll, but if you average them out in our Poll of Polls, it's about the same, 44 percent approval rating now as the Virginia voters prepare for Election Day tomorrow.
Fifty one percent disapproval of President Biden, so what does that mean? It means Republicans are energized. It means Independents are up for grabs, and it means Democrats are discouraged.
So for all the blue in the big areas where the people live in this state, that is why Joe Biden has had to do this in the final days of the campaign. He has brought in the President and the Vice President up here in the Northern Virginia suburbs, the former President down here in Richmond and the suburbs, the First Lady, Richmond and the suburb; Stacey Abrams, African-American voters down in the Southeastern corner of the state. Democrats need to turn voters out. They are nervous in a state again,
they won by 10 points just a year ago. So the Democrats are nervous. Why? Because Youngkin does have a chance here, Anderson.
Let me turn this off and come to it. How does he do it? No room for error. Glenn Youngkin, you mentioned the Trump, he has to get this Trump base. See all this red out here? Trump ran it up out here, hugely. You go through these counties, Trump 71 percent, Trump 71 percent, Trump's 73 percent -- however, they're not as populated
So Glenn Youngkin cannot lose the Trump base. He must have the Trump base. But even if he gets it all, it's not enough to win. He has to do something. Republicans have had a huge problem with in the Trump years, which is deal with Trump's toxicity in the suburbs.
The population shifts in Virginia have been largely up here if you go back to 2004. I'll run your back the last time a Republican won. I'll just show you this is the George Bush win, notice the red in the outer suburbs around Washington, D.C. -- Loudoun County, Manassas, Prince William County. If George W. Bush could do it down there, he did it down around Richmond as well.
But in the Donald Trump age, Republicans are toxic in the suburbs. Glenn Youngkin has got to run it up down here and somehow that's why he has been talking about schools and about parent choice, cutting to what is a huge Democratic advantage there.
COOPER: In terms of timing, when can we expect to start seeing returns -- some are obviously early votes, mail-in ballots could be a big factor.
KING: You're not going home early if that's the context of your question, Anderson. I would expect a very -- I would expect a very long night and I don't say that to be funny. I say that because number one, you have a close race. Number two, we have another unusual COVID era election as well.
You mentioned, the early voting. Virginia does not have a history of early voting, really, until the COVID election of 2020. In the last race for governor, shy of 200,000 votes cast early. We have more than 1.1 million. This is as of Sunday. Monday was the final day of early voting. And so you have -- when early voting closes, 1.1 million votes to be counted.
So what does that mean? Remember 2020 when early on, some of the early votes came in first, right? And you know, in some states that means the Democrats jumped out to a huge early lead. Joe Biden was leading in Ohio, Joe Biden was leading in Texas, Joe Biden lost Ohio, Joe Biden lost Texas. So we're going to have to hang in there tomorrow, Anderson.
Each county can do as it prefers. But here is a very likely possibility. The early votes are counted, in most places counted first. Democrats think they have an advantage there. Joe Biden, I mean, Terry McAuliffe, excuse me, jumps out to a big lead, but then we have to wait.
Normally in every other recent Virginia race, it is the Republican who jumps out early because these counties count first. That could be different tomorrow. The key word here is patience. Hang in there. We're going to have to count them late.
COOPER: All right, John King. Appreciate it. Thanks.
I want to get some perspective now from Democratic strategist, James Carville. Also with us, CNN chief political correspondent, "State of the Union" cohost Dana Bash who was reporting from Virginia just this weekend.
Dana, you've been covering the race closely. Where do you see it headed?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anybody's guess. You know, one of the things that John was pointing to were the suburbs around where I am in Washington, D.C., and the key question is whether or not at Glen Youngkin can change the unbelievable trajectory towards the Democrats in those areas.
And this is just anecdotal, I was 7:30, in the morning, on Saturday, Anderson at the Farmers Market in Alexandria, James Carville knows that well, he used to live I think, not too far from there. And it was packed -- packed -- not for a Terry McAuliffe rally, but for a Glenn Youngkin rally.
And that is an area, Alexandria, where Joe Biden won by 80 percent -- eight zero percent just last year. If that kind of enthusiasm, anecdotally -- I am obviously conceding that and that's very important -- can translate into Election Day, then Terry McAuliffe could have a really big problem, because those are the areas where Democrats are really relying on getting out their vote and doing well.
COOPER: James, you're a McAuliffe supporter. You've helped fundraise for him, many other Democrats as well. How concerned are you? And how important is tomorrow?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I'm very concerned. It's a very important race, I really want to win it bad. If we lose, I'll be profoundly disappointed.
I think John and Dana have done a good job of setting a table about what's going on. I would say -- and I don't know how deterrent this is, but I've seen exhaustive analysis of the early vote and that does not portend for any Republican tide in Virginia.
Now, the Democrats vote earlier more often than Republicans. But there's 1.1 million ballots in that by every analysis, I see that are quite favorable to Terry, but, you know, we've got two million more to go. So we'll see, and Dana and John did a great job and these suburbs are going to be all critical.
COOPER: We should point out that is a live rally that Terry McAuliffe is having there in Fairfax, Virginia. I mean, Senator Manchin's press conference, notwithstanding, all signs
or pointing to the House voting on both of those bills this weekend, if that is more or less resolved very soon, do you think that Democrats can actually unite with a cohesive message for the midterms and beyond, James?
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, John, you point out, I said 47 e-mails on behalf of Terry McAuliffe, I'll probably send more e-mails as much as any three people in the Democratic Party, and I'm not going to send another one or ask anybody for a dollar until they vote on this and pass it.
And I think every Democratic donor ought to say, you know, you give $25.00, tell him, I'll give $50.00, but I'll give it after this has passed. I have no idea who is right or who is wrong in this, but we've got to move this thing and you know, right now, I think this economy is really good. It really favors workers, and we've got to come in and finish this deal and get this thing done.
And that's our way of, of doing this. No more dinero until we get this thing passed and done.
COOPER: Dana, I mean, obviously you can hear some frustration from James there. How much do you think the stalemate on Capitol Hill over the President's agenda, lack of victory in those two major bills is hurting Terry McAuliffe?
BASH: Well, I'll just answer that by telling you what Terry McAuliffe says -- a lot. He has been screaming from the rooftops saying, do this, that the dysfunction among Democrats in Washington is really hurting him.
I mean, he's crystal clear about that, not just in private, but in public. And there are several reasons for that. One of one of which is that because we talked about where Virginia is, it is --- the voters are in Northern Virginia, suburban Washington, so they're very much attuned to it, but it's also just broadly about the notion of Democrats being able to govern.
He is a Democrat asking voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia, allow me to come and govern and if people are not enthused about the idea of Democrats being able to do that -- this is -- again, this is Terry McAuliffe's point of view, clearly, then it is harder for him to get people to say, I'm going to go out there, especially when there is some apathy about just politics in general right now, and this is one of the reasons for the apathy, a lot of people including Terry McAuliffe believe.
COOPER: James, I mean, you've been raising concerns about the Democratic Party being too far left now for quite some time, getting some heat for doing that. Do you see that impacting this race? I mean, is that part of the problem here?
CARVILLE: Yes, a bit more precisely what my critique is -- I consider myself a liberal. I think somebody's language stuff is just silly. And I think people view it as being just silly. And what Terry does, you know, he really focuses on people and their problems and Dana is exactly right. He has expressed the same frustration publicly that he has expressed to me and it just makes me sick.
If we pass this thing next Friday, and we lose Virginia, I certainly think we are in the hunt in Virginia. I see some more favorable signs than other people do, but it's a very, very close race. But my critique is more with language and less with ideology.
COOPER: But I mean, James, this race should not be as close as it is. I mean, if you just look at on paper, President Biden beat President Trump by 10 points in Virginia.
CARVILLE: Well, you know, Anderson, it doesn't line up like that. Since 1965, with the exception of one time, and I was chair in 2013, the party that won the White House loses the Virginia governorship. And you're faced with a little bit of a different electorate and I don't think the Democrats have done near a good enough job of talking about how really good this economy is for workers.
I mean, you look at to quit rate, man, it's staggeringly good and workers have more power now than they had at any time in this century. And I do think that our communications, I think the White House communications have been bad. I'm very critical of people like myself that have access to shows like you that I haven't framed this work well and I blame CNN and "The New York Times" and everybody else, we have focused on -- all we talk about is presidential approval and inflation. We don't talk about wage growth. We don't talk about the power that workers have now.
You know, and we don't talk about sufficiently enough how this economy has paused for a really good recovery. So I'm critical of myself. I'm critical of the White House and I'm critical of the media and I'm not a typical media basher, but there's a lot of good news in this economy and we're not -- we're not getting it out. We've got to do a better job, I think.
COOPER: James Carville, Dana Bash, I appreciate it. Thanks. A lot to watch for tomorrow.
Coming up next, more on the role of the former President playing as a surrogate for one side and object of fear for the other. Also, what he doesn't want us to know about his role in January 6th. Some fascinating details about what we're just learning now about the documents that he is trying to keep away from Congress.
And later, the Supreme Court taking up the Texas six-week abortion law with some surprising statements by two members of the court's conservative wing. We'll talk about what that might mean for challenges to the law.
[20:17:28] COOPER: Looking at a live shot of a Glenn Youngkin rally in Leesburg,
Virginia. We showed you a video of a Terry McAuliffe event before the break. We're talking tonight about the fact that tomorrow's election there could have so much more to say than simply who will be the Commonwealth's next chief executive. To be sure, local issues will factor heavily, but even those are deeply affected by larger matters and all of it by a proxy, pitch a less than popular President against a less than popular former President who tonight is expected to campaign remotely for Glenn Youngkin.
In a statement today, he sought to eliminate the distance that Youngkin has been trying to keep from him saying quote: "This is not true. We get along very well together and strongly believe in many of the same policies."
As for the doubt he has been casting on the electoral process in Virginia and elsewhere that continue, but with one twist, he is no longer suggesting people should stay away from the polls. Quoting again: "I'm not a believer in the integrity of Virginia elections, lots of bad things went on and are going on. The way you beat it is to flood the system and get out and vote."
For more now on the effect it might have tomorrow and beyond, we are joined by two former Republican House members, Barbara Comstock of Virginia and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, also happens to be a CNN political commentator.
Congresswoman Comstock, the former President is saying he doesn't believe in the integrity of Virginia's elections, but that everybody should go out and vote and flood the system. It's a very different approach. It's a smarter approach from when he previously encouraged Republicans not to vote, just honestly saying the system is corrupt.
I mean, is that going to work? Is that going to help this time you think?
BARBARA COMSTOCK, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think the Drudge Report has the correct headline. Today it said, Youngkin is winning without Trump. He is winning despite Trump, and he's winning because he brought diverse parts of the party together.
I think as you know, Charlie and I are not Trump fans, we are anti- Trump. We don't want to see him running again. But Glenn has been somebody who has focused on issues. He is competent, while Washington Democrats look pretty incompetent.
He is serious, while Terry McAuliffe looks kind of light and not heavy on policy, and he is focused on issues like public safety, education, and the economy that are strong for traditional Republicans' wheelhouse. So I commend -- this race isn't about Trump, which Terry tried to make it about and it is -- I think that was a mistake, because people can look at Glenn and see he is not like Trump.
He's an affable, nice person that you'd have over your house. He unites people and he brings people together and he is very serious and competent. So, I think it's going to be a very different approach for Republicans, and I hope others will follow his lead because I think he will be winning tomorrow night and I commend him.
COOPER: Congressman Dent, I mean, was Youngkin -- I mean, to win the primary, was he aligning himself closer to Trump than distancing himself? Or has there -- or how do you see it?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that Youngkin has done a pretty effective job of straddling this fence. Look, he obviously got -- probably got closer to Trump than he wanted to in the primary, but he has certainly put a stiff arm on Donald Trump right now. There is nothing more than Youngkin wants than to keep Donald Trump out of Virginia.
And the truth is, this election is a lot less about Donald Trump. It is much more about the party in power, and that's the Democrats and Joe Biden, with Joe Biden's sinking approval ratings that is depressing Democratic turnout in some key demographics.
That's the challenge for Democrats, and it is pretty hard to paint this guy Youngkin as Trump. I mean, they're just so different in so many ways. So, I think right now that Youngkin is well-positioned.
He needs to -- he just needs to perform at an adequate level in the D.C. suburbs, Richmond area, and Norfolk suburbs. If he does much better than Gillespie did four years ago, he should be well positioned to win. I'm not making any predictions. But he is well positioned. The energy and the enthusiasm is on his side, and McAuliffe and the Democrats are playing defense.
COOPER: Congresswoman, as a Republican who doesn't like the former President, does this give you hope about the future of the Republican Party? I mean, for a lot of folks in your position, there hasn't been a lot to be hopeful for in terms of the power of the former President still looming large over the party. Does someone like Youngkin -- is that going to be a new model for Republicans in swing states going forward?
COMSTOCK: Well, I certainly hope so. And I think particularly with governor's races, it's always about your state and it is a different dynamic. You know, we have Governor Hogan in Maryland. We have Governor Baker, a Republican in Massachusetts.
We have some great governors out there that aren't necessarily getting involved kind of the mess in Washington, and they are displaying competence. And I think that's what, say Governor Ducey in Arizona, he is pretty popular. Now, Trump has attacked him, but I certainly hope Glenn winning will get him to maybe -- Governor Ducey to take a second look at running for the Senate.
You have governors like Governor Sununu in New Hampshire who is his own man, and that's what's important here. Glenn ran as his own man. He didn't bring in a bunch of surrogates. He didn't bring in Trump. He didn't bring in, you know, a lot of other Republicans. He just ran on Virginia, which he is, you know, born and bred here, lived all across different parts of the state, and then ran on issues that people were genuinely concerned about.
And you cannot underestimate the power of Terry McAuliffe's gaffe, talking about parents, you know, shouldn't be involved in their education, particularly in the suburbs, where parents are -- two income parents are paying high, you know, mortgages and paying a lot to have their kids in these good schools. And Terry tells them, hey, you know, stay out of here, why do you need to be involved?
That has resonated. He has unfortunately doubled down on it, and I think while you have all the other problems in Washington, he has had his own mistakes here and it is important to remember back in 2013 when he won under 50 percent, very narrowly, it was when he had the wind at his back and he had a government shutdown.
I was on the ballot, then it was hard to survive what was Republicans shutting down the government and a very unpopular governor candidate that Republicans had that year in '13 when Terry ran before, so I think this is much different, and he had no idea that he was going to have such an engaging, affable, competent candidate who I think is really turning the page from the Trump years.
COOPER: Barbara Comstock, Charlie Dent, appreciate both of your time. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
We're going to have full coverage of the race for governor of Virginia and other races tomorrow night at CNN. Special coverage, live coverage starts tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, I hope you'll join us.
Still ahead, we have new details about documents the former President is trying to keep hidden from the January 6 Committee. Plus, we'll hear from a man who was a direct target of the former President's election lies, Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger joins me ahead.
COOPER: There is new information tonight about the former President's attempts to stonewall the January 6th Committee. According to a court filing from the National Archives, the former President has asserted privilege over more than 800 pages of documents or almost 800 pages of documents related to January 6th.
The documents include phone logs or handwritten notes, which could reveal some of the most closely guarded facts of what happened between the former President and other high level officials on that day. As investigators argue, the former President has no right to keep these documents confidential, citing the Committee's need to reconstruct his efforts to undermine the 2020 election.
Meanwhile, one of the only two Republicans on the Committee, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who announced just last week he is not running for re-election is blasting his fellow Republicans for continuing to go along with the former President's lies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I think the Republican establishment now, whether it's the NRCC, whether it's Kevin McCarthy, have held on to Donald Trump. They have continued to breathe life into him. And so actually, it's not really handing a win as much to Donald Trump as it is to the cancerous kind of lie and conspiracy, not just wing anymore, but mainstream argument of the Republican Party.
This is not on, you know, the 10 of us that voted to impeach, it's not on Liz Cheney and I to save the Republican Party. It's on the 190 Republicans who haven't said a dang word about it, and they've put their head in the sand and hope somebody else comes along and does something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, joining us now is Georgia's Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who was on the receiving end of those lies as well as threats. He's also the author of new book "Integrity Counts."
Mr. Secretary, I appreciate you joining us. So, you heard Congressman Kinzinger there saying it can't be up to him and Congresswoman Cheney to save the Republican Party.
You were one of those people who is a loyal Republican who did stand up when it mattered most. How does integrity get restored into the party whose electoral strategy is now largely still based on this old lie?
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R), GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Good evening, Anderson. Well, first off, I wrote "Integrity Counts" to set the record straight. It's a fact based book. I'm a structural engineer, so I'm good with numbers, so I provide you all the data.
But at the end of the day what it gets down to is personal integrity, walking that line of integrity. Law enforcement does it every day, they walk that thin blue line. Election directors do it, and as Secretary of State, I've walked that line of integrity and made sure we had fair and honest elections in Georgia in 2020.
COOPER: I want to play the portion of your call with a former president on January 2, because I don't think a lot of people can imagine what it's like to be on the receiving end of a phone call from the President of the United States of your own party, where he told you that he wanted to do in Georgia, let's just listen it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: So look, all I want to do is this, I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we want to say --
(END AUDIO CLIP) COOPER: It's -- I mean, you know, it's not new sound, but it's just chilling to read the entire call in the book, you annotate the whole thing. You were very candid about that conversation. At what point did you feel threatened that things were really going off the rails?
RAFFENSPERGER: Well, I knew that we had the data on our side. And that's why on January 6, what I was doing was writing a letter with my general counsel, I sent up to the Congressman a 10-page letter detailing every single allegation. They said that there was 10,000 dead people that voted, it was less than five. They said they're 66,000 under age voters, there were zero. They said there was thousands of felons that voted, there was less than 74. There was no unregistered voters that voted in the state of Georgia, zero.
And so, if you look at all that it just never added up to enough that would overturn their race. But what I'm sharing with people now today, three data points that help them understand what really happened is 28,000 Georgians skipped the presidential ballot, skip the presidential ballot did not vote for anyone, Joe Biden, President Trump or Joe Jorgensen, but yet they voted down ballot. And David Perdue, our senator, he got 20,000 more votes in metro Atlanta, and also in Athens than President Trump did. Our Republican Congressman got 33,000 more votes than President Trump. That tells the whole story right there.
COOPER: And that tells you what, that tells you that President Trump there were people who were loyal Republicans who didn't want President Trump but who were loyal Republicans.
RAFFENSPERGER: It shows you that we did not turn out as Republicans, we did not turn out to vote for the president at the top of the ticket. Now, Secretary State, our job is make sure that we just tabulate the votes that everyone has exercised with their freewill choice. And that's what we did. And then the President Trump did come up short. And I look at it. And that's what's in my book, detail by detail with 10 pages of footnotes, everything can go back and take a look at it. It's the fact.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, you cannot read your book and not come away with any belief that there was fraud in your state. I mean, it's just it's it -- the facts do not lie. The fact that the former president is now trying to block hundreds of pages of documents from January 6 committee, do you think the public should be kept in the dark about what he was doing during the insurrection in the days before and after?
RAFFENSPERGER: Well, that'll probably all come out. But my job is really to make sure that I get out and tell my side of the story and get that out there. We had a maybe 40,000 Twitter followers, he has 80 million. And so, there's so much misinformation, disinformation that got out there, urban myths that are still out there, circling the internet.
And so, we want to make sure that I could answer all those questions. And that's why I did a fact based book. And I'm more than happy that share any detail that people asked me, I'll pull it up, and we'll say, let's talk about that.
COOPER: Has been --
RAFFENSPERGER: President Trump did not carry the state of Georgia.
COOPER: Has the January 6 committee reached out to you about your call with the former president or any other matter?
RAFFENSPERGER: Well, they have, but they, they really don't need to because it's out there in the public domain. Anyone can listen to , it's right out there. Just Google it and it'll pop up and you can listen to the entire, you know, one hour and 10-minute conversation. And every person in America again, they can then make their own determination of exactly what was said and what wasn't said.
But also put that in my book, like you said, and then I made observations throughout that when things were said and corrected some falsehoods that were said during that conversation. Obviously, he had been fed erroneous information. And we want to make sure that they he had no doubt that he came up short, as far as we had the numbers to prove that he was not the winner in the state of Georgia.
COOPER: You know, looking at the future how concerned are you as a as a loyal Republican, loyal American, about election integrity about where we are going as a country just in terms of people's refusal to look at facts, refusal to, you know, to understand people being upset about things and not getting the kind of they wanted, but about basing it on false information?
RAFFENSPERGER: Well, Anderson and that's why I wrote the book also, because this wasn't our first rodeo. When I took office in January 2019, I actually had nine lawsuits from Stacey Abrams and her side and what they said that she would have won, were it not for voters suppression meanwhile we have record registrations, we have record voter turnout and she -- to this day has not conceded that she lost by nearly 55,000 votes.
Roll that forward four years later, two years later, you're talking about voter fraud, voter suppression, voter fraud. It's the same coin, just different sides. But both of it undermines election integrity, confidence in the election integrity process, and also really undermines, you know, our trust and destabilizes society. And both sides need to knock it off. You run your race, heart, and if you come up short, you come up short, accept it, move on, and come back again, and run hard, but just remember that in Georgia, we have fair and honest elections.
COOPER: There's a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, which says that 30% of Republicans believe that violence might be justified code in order to save our country. How concerning is that to you?
RAFFENSPERGER: Very concerning. I back to blue always have, always will. Whether it's riots in Portland or up in Washington, D.C. at the Capitol. I have three family members, two nephews and a brother-in- law. They're in law enforcement. I back the blue ones on city council, State House and Secretary State. I always back the blue.
COOPER: Brad Raffensperger, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
RAFFENSPERGER: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, the surprising comments from conservative Supreme Court justices hearing arguments on the abortion ban in Texas and what their remarks could mean for the future of the law.
COOPER: Two key conservative justices signaled today that they allow abortion providers to pursue a court challenge to a Texas law that that's virtually ended abortion in the state after six weeks of pregnancy. And that would represent an important shift from five to four ruling in September that allowed the law to go into effect. Supporters and opponents of the law gathered outside as the Court heard three hours of arguments today. The justices have to decide whether abortion providers in Texas and the Justice Department have the legal right to challenge the law, which encourages citizen vigilantes to sue anyone involved in an abortion.
Joining us now to make sense of it all CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who's also written several books in the Supreme Court, and former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.
Senator Davis, you listen to the oral arguments, what do you make of what happened today?
WENDY DAVIS (D-TX) FMR STATE SENATOR: Well, I took away from it a glimmer of hope. I think a lot of people in Texas are feeling that way today. It appears as though based on the questions asked by some of the conservative justices, they may allow a federal court review of what Texas has done and kick this back to the district court, the federal district court where of course (INAUDIBLE) health case was originally filed. And we hope that by doing so, that court will be given the opportunity to declare this law violative of the constitutional principles that of course, it does seem to violate.
COOPER: Jeff, I mean, obviously, there's a lot of folks that justices Barrett and Kavanaugh's potential swing votes on this. What did you learn today?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what was interesting was that Justice Kavanaugh, in particular did not seem interested in abortion, as much as he seemed interested in protecting the right to bear arms. Let me explain what I mean. Is that this law, as you mentioned, allows citizens anywhere, anywhere in the United States to sue an abortion clinic in Texas for conducting an abortion after about six weeks. What Justice Kavanaugh asked the lawyer for Texas was, well, let's say a state like New York, a liberal state says that anyone in the United States can sue a gun manufacturer or a gun dealer for a crime that was committed in New York. Would that be permissible under your understanding of the structure of this law? And the Texas lawyer said yes.
And that is clearly concerned judge -- Justice Kavanaugh, because, you know, he this structure is so freewheeling that it really invites states to make laws that we've never seen in this country. And that's what Justice Kavanaugh and Barrett seemed concerned about, as well as the four justices, the three liberals plus the Chief Justice, who have already voted, that this law should not go into effect.
COOPER: Senator David's, Jeff mentioned that Justice Kagan warned that the Texas abortion law could also lead to other states have passed new laws on guns, but same-sex marriage religious rights. Do you think that could actually appeal to both liberals and conservatives?
DAVIS: I think it can, because as Jeffrey pointed out, it applies equally across the board. And basically what allow states to provide citizen enforcement authority to override constitutional authority. And as the U.S. Solicitor General said, today, we can't allow the constitution to be that fragile, and we cannot allow laws that are going to usurp essentially, the courts authority and the statutory authority from other -- from Congress.
And so, I think that that's what they're going to lean into here. I don't think it's the case that we should take away from this that these particular Supreme Court justices, these conservatives have a problem with abortion regulations, but they have a problem with the particular structure of this regulation. And of course, for the question of abortion, we're going to learn much more about how they feel about that on December 1st, when that Mississippi cases argued,
TOOBIN: But Anderson, it is worth remembering that even with this bizarre law, you know, which gives, as you say, a vigilante license to anyone in the United States, you know, something we've never seen. The women of Texas have been denied their rights that have been guaranteed under the constitution for 50 years, going into a third month now. So, even if this law gets struck down eventually and even it gets bent, sent back to the district court, this law has worked in denying women their rights, and that's chilling to think about it.
COOPER: Well Jeff --
TOOBIN: I'm sorry, go ahead.
COOPER: Jeff, Senator Davis mentioned Mississippi, one month from today, the court is going to hear arguments in a Mississippi case asked you to overturn -- turn Roe v. Wade, you predicted that kind of direct challenge would come. Do today's arguments inform anything about what may happen with the Mississippi case?
TOOBIN: You know, I think the honest answer to that is no, this is really a -- this was really about the procedural aspect of the Texas law which is so unusual. The Mississippi law is very conventional in its enforcement. It basically says the state will punish you, abortion clinic, if you conduct an abortion after 15 weeks.
It's worth remembering that, you know that that would be a clear violation of what the Constitution has been understood to mean, since 1973. Viability is about 24 weeks. The law has said you can't ban abortion under a viability, 15 weeks is clearly unviable. So, if they uphold the Mississippi law, Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land.
COOPER: Senator Davis, what do you think the justices will do on the Mississippi case?
DAVIS: I think based on what we know of the history of these new Trump appointees to the court. And of course, Justice Alito, and Justice Thomas, it's very likely that they'll take a hostile position to Roe v. Wade, and find a way to uphold this Mississippi law, even if that means that they will hold the structure of Roe in place. I think essentially, they'll be getting its viability standard, as Jeffrey mentioned, and it's very likely that we're going to see an extreme rollback if not a complete rollback of abortion in states, where states are hostile to that constitutional right.
COOPER: Wendy Davis, Jeff Toobin, I appreciate you both being here. Thank you.
Up next, from a pilot venting politically on the PA system or flight attendant punched in the face. So look at the state of what increasingly seems like are distinctly unfriendly skies, just in time for the holiday travel season.
COOPER: Well heading into the holiday travel season more signs of dwindling civility on airplanes everything from a flight attendant being punched to a pilot under investigation for uttering a anti-Biden catchphrase over the PA system and more.
CNN's Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America's bitter political divide again rears its head on a commercial airline flight, this time in the cockpit. On a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque last Friday, a pilot went on to the public address system. And after discussing visibility and the weather, ended his greeting to passengers with the phrase let's go Brandon. That's according to the Associated Press, which coincidentally had a reporter on board. Let's go Brandon is a tongue in cheek reference to the phrase F Joe Biden. It all started when a reporter at a recent NASCAR race misunderstood a chant from the crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you can hear the chants from the crowd. Let's go Brandon.
TODD (voice-over): Instead she thought it was Let's Go Brandon in support of the driver who just won the race.
Since that moment, the phrase Let's Go Brandon has been openly used by Republican politicians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go Brandon.
TODD (voice-over): Texas Senator Ted Cruz posed with a Let's Go Brandon sign at a baseball game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say it, say it.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Let's go Brandon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go Brandon.
TODD (voice-over): South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan wore a facemask on the House floor with the phrase.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just another example of memes encoded language being used to signal alignment with conservative values.
TODD (voice-over): Southwest Airlines issued a statement on the pilots reported comments saying, Southwest does not condone employees sharing their personal political opinions on the job. Southwest is conducting an internal investigation into the recently reported event. But this isn't the only incident of its kind on a commercial airline recently. The United Airlines pilot union sent a memo to all its pilots last week telling them not to use the emergency frequency which pilots communicate on as their personal pulpit. A spokesman for the union says the memo was in reference to the phrase Let's Go Brandon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't stand up. It's only going to get worse.
TODD (voice-over): Tensions on commercial flights, political and otherwise may never have been higher.
Recently, an American Airlines flight attendant was hospitalized with broken bones in her face following an attack from a passenger. On this recent American Airlines flight, this man chewed on his mask and growled at the flight crew.
With the FAA reporting more than 4,900 incidents of unruly passengers just this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was asked about the idea of a no fly list for violent passengers.
PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I think that should be on the table. Look, it is completely unacceptable to mistreat, abuse or even disrespect flight crews.
COOPER: Brian Todd joins us now. As you mentioned there was an AP report on the flight when the pilot said Let's Go Brandon did she try and speak with him?
TODD: She did, Anderson. That reporter Coleen Long tweeted later that she write that in there asked to see if the pilot could comment on what he had just said. She said that as a result, she was almost kicked off the flight. It was around the time that it landed. But she did admit she was asking them to open a locked cockpit door. Also, not commenting tonight Anderson is the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, their union, we contacted them they didn't want to comment on this incident.
COOPER: Also, just a couple of weeks ago, flight attendants other industry representatives testified about the increasing problems of unruly passengers. Did they have any suggestions on how to stop it?
TODD: They did and they were visibly frustrated Anderson when they were testifying before Congress. What they asked for initially is that Congress do something to curb the sale of alcohol, specifically alcohol to go at airline terminals at these airports. So, they really want that to be a starting step. In this they're just fed up frustrated with drunken passengers who are getting violent.
COOPER: It's amazing. Brian Todd, appreciate it. So, people get kind to one another.
Coming up next, what happens now that several thousand people who think nothing of putting their lives on the line to save others from fire are still refusing to save others from COVID by rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated?
An update on New York firefighters and other city workers, when we come back.
COOPER: New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio says his vaccination mandate is working with 91% of municipal employee he's now vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID vaccine. He also says there's been no disruption to city services. That's despite 2,300 firefighters calling in sick today. A union leader saying many members who got vaccinated for the weekend are taking sick days because their reactions to the vaccine. New York Commissioner though saying quote, irresponsible bogus sickly by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters.
The FDNY still has only a vaccination rate of 77% which is considerably behind many other city agencies. EMTs are now at 88%, 85% of the NYPD is vaccinated. The police commissioner says the remaining 15% unvaccinated are requesting accommodations for religious and medical reasons. And the City Department of Sanitation vaccination rate is up to 83% from 62%.
The news continues. Let's hand it over right now to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.