Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Defense Rests In The Trial Over Ahmaud Arbery's Death; Rittenhouse Jury Wraps Third Day Of Deliberations; House Minority Leaders Says He'd Put Greene And Gosar Back On Committees If GOP Wins House; House Expected To Vote On "Build Back Better" Bill Any Minute; CBO: Spending Bill Will Add $367B To Deficit Over 10 Years; CNN Signal Censored In China Over Peng Shuai Story; Woman Pleads Guilty To Adoption Bribery, Fraud Schemes. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 18, 2021 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: On the day she was to formally die, Bettina woke up. It's incredible. Her son tells us that his mother is slowly improving and that she says she will be vaccinated as soon as she recovers.

That is a miracle of a story.

And thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. On almost every front tonight, including no shortage of breaking news, the stories we'll be bringing you all touch on the big question. Some go back to the very beginning of this country, most deal with how we get along as citizens or neighbors or simply as members of our participatory democracy, which as, we've all been learning, isn't so simple anymore.

In Georgia tonight, the defense rested in the trial of three white men charged with murdering a black man, Ahmaud Arbery. As with the circumstances of his killing, the trial itself, complete with a defense attorney trying repeatedly to exclude black pastors from the courtroom, has made race as central issue in the matter.

Questions of self-defense, policing, vigilante justice and guns all figure highly in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Jurors went home tonight after a third day of deliberations. The Judge today barring an entire cable news outlet from the courtroom.

And showing the degree to which Rittenhouse who is barely even old enough to vote, has already become a figure in right-wing politics. Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz last night all but offered him an internship.

Meantime in a case that goes straight to Congress's power to conduct oversight and constitutional questions dating back to the founding, lawyers for Trump associate, Steve Bannon, were in court today making moves to slow walk their client's contempt of Congress case through the process, perhaps hoping to run out the clock. And Mark Meadows, who like Bannon is also defying a congressional

subpoena appeared on Bannon's podcast touting their old boss as a future House Speaker.


MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I would love to see the gavel go from Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump, as -- you talked about melting down, people would go crazy.


COOPER: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy meantime stoke fresh doubts about whether basic civility can survive in Congress, vowing today that if Republicans retake the House, he will reinstate members Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Green to their committees or even promote them.

He also alluded to retribution against Democrats.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This isn't about threats, but it's about holding people accountable.


COOPER: So just to keep it all straight, Congressman Gosar is the death threat anime guy, Marjorie Taylor Greene is the QAnon-curious Jewish space laser lady. Both have helped turn the body they serve as ugly as it has been since the Civil War. Still, at least one item tonight provides a sliver of hope that the longer arc as Dr. King said still bends toward justice.

In New York, the exoneration of two men wrongly convicted in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X and a remarkable apology from the current Manhattan District Attorney.


CYRUS VANCE, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I apologize for what were serious, unacceptable violations of law in the public trust. I apologize on behalf of our nation's law enforcement for this decades' long injustice, which has eroded public faith in institutions that are designed to guarantee the protection of the law.


COOPER: So lot to talk about tonight starting with the trial of three men charge in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now from Brunswick, Georgia -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the prosecution had rested on Tuesday. That was after eight days and 23 witnesses. The defense rested after just two days and seven witnesses. The primary one being of course, the man who killed Ahmaud Arbery, Travis McMichael.


SAVIDGE (voice over): Travis McMichael taking the stand in his own defense for a second day in the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Lead prosecutor, Linda Danakovski continued to go after him during cross examination.

LINDA DANAKOVSKI, PROSECUTOR: You also could have stepped around the back of the truck and followed him in the path that way. Is that right?

TRAVIS MCMICHAEL, DEFENDANT: Yes, but then he would have open, unrestricted run around the truck and into my open door into my pickup truck and into the truck.

DANAKOVSKI: So you're telling this jury that a man who has spent five minutes running away from you, you're now thinking is somehow going to want to continue to engage with you, someone with a shotgun and your father, a man who's just said, "Stop or I'll blow your [bleep] head off" by trying to get in their truck?

MCMICHAEL: That's what it shows. Yes, ma'am.

SAVIDGE (voice over): The prosecutor attempted to punch holes in his testimony.

DANAKOVSKI: Detective Nohilly, he specifically asked you, "Do you remember if he grabbed the shotgun at all?" And your response was, "I want to say he did. But honestly, I cannot remember. I mean, we were -- me and him were face-to-face the entire time." Do you remember saying that?

MCMICHAEL: Yes. And I was trying to think at that exact moment, trying to give him a -- like I said, trying to give him as much detail as possible under the stress and all this going on. It was obvious that he had the gun from when I was saying in here, re-reading that, he had the weapon the way that I was describing it, but why I said he did not have the gun at that second I don't know why.

SAVIDGE (voice over): Also pressuring him on his self-defense claim.


DANAKOVSKI: And you were right there and you just pulled that trigger immediately.

MCMICHAEL: No, I was struck. And he was -- we were face-to-face and being struck, and that's when I -- when I shot. He started striking. He was on me. He had his shirt or you know, something to that point, I had the gun and I was too close to draw on him.

DANAKOVSKI: He is striking you, you've got the gun up in this thing, and you can't draw down on him. And it's just -- it's a struggle and he's on you and you're going back and forth in front of the truck. Is that what you're saying? MCMICHAEL: Yes.

SAVIDGE (voice over): And the prosecutor calling out his and his father's alleged intent to make a citizen's arrest.

DANAKOVSKI: During your statement to the police, did you say that you and your father we're trying to arrest Mr. Arbery, did you?

MCMICHAEL: No ma'am.

SAVIDGE (voice over): Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, Pastors Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Jamal Bryant, Martin Luther King, III, and attorneys Ben Crump and Lee Merritt joined the Arbery family for a prayer vigil, an event organized by the Reverend Al Sharpton, joining a march afterwards to honor Arbery.

Earlier, Kevin Gough, attorney for William "Roddie" Bryan, Jr. for a third time filed a motion to keep Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson out of the courtroom.

Judge Walmsley once again denied the motion and later on Gough called for a mistrial after objecting to this question for the state.

LARISSA OLLIVIERRE, COBB COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Do you believe that someone Steve stealing is deserving of death penalty?

KEVIN GOUGH, ATTORNEY: Objection, relevance, Your Honor.

SAVIDGE (voice over): The mistrial request was denied. But Judge Walmsley admonished the prosecutor and instructed the jury to disregard the question.

By the end of the day, the defense rested their case.

GOUGH: With that understanding, we rest.

DANAKOVSKI: Acting in rebuttal.

SAVIDGE (voice over): Ahmaud Arbery's mother sounded hopeful after court ended for the day.

WANDA COOPER-JONES, MOTHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: I want to remind you, with 74 days that we went without an arrest, things happen. And now, we're here and I'm very confident that we will get a guilty verdict. We're confident.


COOPER: Martin, what's next in the case?

SAVIDGE: Well, tomorrow, they will go over the charging documents. It sounds like it is just basic boring stuff, but it's not. That's critical because those are the instructions. That's what the jury is going to be told on the charges.

Then the jury comes back Monday, 9:00 a.m., expecting to hear closing arguments. But again, it's not your typical case, three defendants. That means each gets an hour. Three hours for the defense and three hours for the prosecution.

We expect that the jury will get the case on Monday -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us now is Bishop Reginald Jackson, presiding prelate at the Sixth Episcopal District of the AME Church, which covers more than 500 churches in Georgia. He was one of many clergy members outside the courthouse today.

Bishop Jackson, thanks for being with us. What can you tell us about the prayer vigil that you attended outside the courthouse today? Why was it important for you to be there?

BISHOP REGINALD T. JACKSON, PRESIDING PRELATE, SIXTH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT OF THE AME CHURCH: Anderson, first of all, let me say good evening. Second, the prayer vigil today was an awesome experience. It was important for us to be there because the Black church in particular, the Black pastor has always historically been the conscience of the nation, and Black pastors, we stood with Eric Garner's family in New York, we stood with Tamir Rice's family in Cleveland.

We stood have Trayvon Martin's family in Florida. We stood with George Floyd, and we're standing here now with the Arbery family. We encourage, we do all that we can to love and help them know that they're not by themselves. That's what this was about today.

COOPER: You've said that you believe the defense's criticism of Black pastors being in the courtroom was a legal tactic on their part. Why do you believe that and what do you think they were hoping to achieve with it?

JACKSON: First of all, because the statement made no sense. One day, he criticized the Reverend Sharpton for being there. The next day, he apologized for those who he allegedly offended. The next day, he is back attacking Jesse Jackson for being there. So, there was just no consistency.

In addition to that, we believe there is an attempt on their part to get a mistrial, and hoping that Black pastors, I guess, would roam into the courtroom and intimidate the jury and that kind of thing.

So we really think this was a legal tactic that we had no intention of walking into.

COOPER: Benjamin Crump, who as you know, as the attorney for Ahmaud Arbery's father said to CNN that a victim like Mr. Arbery is looked at like a criminal or thug -- those were his words -- and someone like Kyle Rittenhouse, who is white and on trial for first degree intentional homicide in Wisconsin, attract support and benefit of the doubt.

I wonder if you agree with that and if so, how does that disparity ever get fixed in this country?


JACKSON: Well, I do agree with what he said. And the fact of the matter is, this has been an ongoing process trying to correct that perception. And yet, I'm not sure when it is going to end and I think, perhaps that is not something that's coincidental, but perhaps something that is intentional.

I do think it's interesting that whenever it seems like there is a black involved, who is a victim, there's an attempt to go into their past and go into their background to find something that makes them look not as if they're a victim, because in fact, they are the perpetrator. This was done with Ahmaud Arbery. It's been done with black after black after black.

So there is this double standard, but yet we are determined to support and encourage these families.

COOPER: Are you concerned about the jury makeup in this case?

JACKSON: Oh, it's impossible not to be concerned about the jury makeup when you look at Glynn County, 27 percent of the population at least is black, yet, there is only one black on the jury. That raises some troubling concerns. Even the Judge himself raised the issue in terms of racism playing a part.

So I don't think that can be denied. But yet, we're going to be hopeful that this jury will pay attention to the facts, and let the facts guide them in making their determination.

COOPER: Bishop Jackson, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you.

COOPER: Joining us now is CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor as well. So first of all, the makeup of the jury. The defense was able to get a number of potential black jurors stricken from consideration.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, everybody was shocked by this, and they should be because we like juries to be representative of the community. And frankly, if you have almost 30 percent African-Americans in the community, you'd like to see them fairly represented. Instead, you only have one African-American on this jury.

The Judge, though, said that he had questioned the defense attorneys who exercised the challenges knocking the black individuals off, about the reasons for those challenges, and that when he questioned the attorneys, they expressed legitimate reasons for asking them to be excused, such as they knew too much about the case or they had formed an opinion about the case or they had an association with somebody who might be a witness to the case, that sort of thing.

COOPER: Travis McMichael, this is yet another case in which we've seen one of the defendants actually take the stand, which is rare in general, what did you think of his performance on this?

CALLAN: I thought that the prosecutor chopped his head off by the end of the day, frankly. She was criticized a little bit yesterday because she had been very friendly with him in the beginning of the cross examination.

But I thought she really did a marvelous job of tying him into facts that would indicate he wasn't acting in self-defense, and showing that he probably lied on the witness stand today, because he contradicted prior statements that he had made under oath.

COOPER: He also -- I mean, she, you know, walked through the actual circumstances. And no, there was no thought of -- I mean, there were other options this man had calling police, for instance, if he thought that Mr. Arbery was actually, you know, had done something wrong.

CALLAN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you know, his story was that there had been a lot of burglaries in the neighborhood, and that Arbery was a suspect, because he had seen him leave the house in question on one occasion. But one, as you say, he didn't call the police. Now, he claimed he thought his father had called the police. And in fact, the police were only called after the confrontation really was underway.

And then Arbery was really stalked eventually by three people. He was cornered, and then, the prosecutor did a very good job in developing what happened just prior to the shots. Arbery was approaching from the rear of the truck, and the defendant, McMichael had tried to create the illusion that Arbery was coming directly at him, and he had no choice but to pull a gun because he thought he was going to be jumped.

Well, in fact, Arbery came around the vehicle on the passenger side, and Mr. McMichael had ample opportunity to go elsewhere if he thought he was threatened. In fact, then he moved to the front of the vehicle, shotgun in hand and when Arbery came around, he was now confronting a man with a shotgun aimed at him.

You can imagine the terror Arbery must have felt, so Arbery probably felt that there were two or at least three individuals probably armed, hunting him in this neighborhood. He had to be absolutely terrified.

COOPER: I mean, it is sickening when you -- I mean, the videotape itself is just -- it is stunning. The idea that somebody would not call police and jump in a vehicle with, you know, shotguns and think that's a good idea.


CALLAN: Yes, well, let's hunt him down and then they try to say the defense is based on this 1863 post Civil War law that was used to help round up slaves, frankly, by saying, you know, citizens can affect arrests. But he never tells Arbery he is under arrest. He never even tells the police when they first arrived at the scene that this was a citizen's arrest situation.

This whole story has materialized as a defense at this trial, and I think the prosecutor very clearly established that it's an implausible defense.

COOPER: It's so interesting on this day, I mean to have there's the Arbery trial, there's the Rittenhouse trial, the jury is still out on that. You have the Cy Vance, the District Attorney in New York apologizing to two men who had been released after being accused of the assassination of Malcolm X. I mean, this confluence of events.

CALLAN: Well, it's amazing. There are all these huge trials going on. Maybe it had something to do with the pandemic and the cases not -- you know, are all coming out now because we're starting to get back into courtrooms to try cases.

But these are all cases of very great importance for the country because they -- you know, they stand for things that are really important.

I mean, you were mentioning the thing about trying to get the Black pastors out of the courtroom, as if in an American courtroom any American citizen doesn't have the right to walk into that courtroom.

COOPER: Yes. And the allegation by the defense attorney was that they were attempting to influence the one black juror on the jury.

CALLAN: Right, and that's just a complete joke. I mean, it's a central principle that citizens can attend trials. We have an open trial process in this country.

COOPER: Paul Callan, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next, a live report from Day 3 of jury deliberation in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A closer look at the degree to which defendant Kyle Rittenhouse has become the folk hero of sorts for some of the right on the political spectrum.

And later, there is new threats of retribution from Kevin McCarthy if Republicans take the House, how the party of Lincoln and Cheney has become the party of Gosar, Greene, and political vengeance.



COOPER: More breaking news, Day 3 of jury deliberations ended this evening in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and no shortage of headlines including yet more from the Judge. Our Sara Sidner now joins us now from Kenosha. So Sara, what's the latest?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest is that this jury has gone through its third full day of deliberations and still no verdicts; however, one of the jurors did ask the Judge if he can take -- she could take the jury instructions home. There are 36 pages of instructions. The Judge agreed so the jurors can do that as long as they do not discuss the case with anyone or deliberate on their own.

There was also an admonishment from the Judge to one of the national networks that was here, a freelancer for MSNBC, police said was trailing the jury van where the jury was and basically was trying to follow them.

The police said they found that he ran a red light. They gave him a citation and they detained him for some time, and basically said that he was trying to, you know somehow get in contact with the jury or take pictures.

The Judge admonishing MSNBC, saying they are no longer allowed in the courtroom, banned from the courtroom. NBC News came out with a statement saying look, it was our freelancer, but he was not trying to take pictures or gather information from the jurors at the time. The Judge is saying look, they're not allowed in the courtroom if they're going to be trying to go after the jury in any kind of way.

So that's where we are in the case now. We are waiting for the jury to deliberate tomorrow and maybe or maybe not we will have a verdict.

COOPER: I know the city continues to prepare for the possible verdict. The school district gave an update today. What did they say?

SIDNER: Yes, several schools, five schools in fact have gone to virtual learning throughout the rest of this week, and two have decided they're going to do it on Monday as well. One of which, I am looking across here from the court and is very close. And I should also mention that police did detain someone for having a weapon right outside of court because it's within a thousand feet of a school.

There have been a few people out here carrying weapons, everything from AR-style rifles to pistols. The police being very stern with folks saying either put those back in your car or you will be arrested -- Anderson.

COOPER: Sara Sidner, appreciate it. Thank you.

As we've been discussing tonight, none of this is happening in a vacuum. Kyle Rittenhouse at age 18, facing homicide charges and has been kind of a folk hero on the right. Last night on the some right- wing media, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz all but offered him a job.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern. We may reach out to him and see if he would be interested in helping the country in additional ways.


COOPER: And Congressman Gaetz isn't the only one in bracing Rittenhouse. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more.


JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST, JUSTICE WITH JUDGE JEANINE: He's all American and he's trying to just make sure his town is safe. SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He has

become cause celebre for the right.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST, TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT: How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?


SERFATY (voice over): And he has found a faithful following.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've got a little boy out there trying to protect his community.

PIRRO: This kid who was a, you know, a fire cadet, a lifeguard, and a police explorer,

SERFATY (voice over): Knighted by many conservatives as an all- American hero.

PIRRO: This is what happens in our society when police are told to stand down, when no one is there to protect businesses.

SERFATY (voice over): Days after the shooting in 2020, it was then President Trump who refused to condemn Rittenhouse.

DONALD TRUMP, THEN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like and he fell and then they very violently attacked him. He probably would have been killed.

SERFATY (voice over): And liked a tweet supporting him, and it was Rittenhouse's supporters who dollar by dollar collectively paid his $2 million bail and sold t-shirts with his image emblazoned with "Hero."

During his release, he received a hero's welcome in a bar from members of the far right group, the Proud Boys, according to prosecutors. His defense team saying there is no information Rittenhouse knew who they were.


SERFATY (voice over): Rittenhouse posing for photos in a t-shirt same "Free as F" and flashing a hand sign what prosecutors say has been co- opted as the white supremacist okay sign.

Even some well-known conservatives standing by him in court. Conservative darlings, Mark McCloskey and his wife best known for this gun wielding moment supported Rittenhouse in person at the courthouse this month.

All the while, a conservative group producing a glossy video not only to defend Rittenhouse --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kyle Rittenhouse, a lifeguard who risked his safety to protect his community --

SERFATY (voice over): But using him as a rallying cry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not Kyle Rittenhouse they are after. Their endgame is to strip away the constitutional rights of all citizens.


COOPER: Still ahead tonight, one day after he was censured, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy promises to reward Congressman Paul Gosar if Republicans win back the House. We will hear his pledge and reaction from the Congresswoman Gosar showed himself killing in that now infamous video, next.


COOPER: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said today, he'd reinstate Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene on Committees, potentially even better ones if Republicans win back the House after next year's midterms.



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: You'll have committees that the committee assignment they have now they may have other committee assignments. They may have better committee assignments.

I think what Gosar are those are the ones he wants. Taylor Greene, she was just a freshman. I know she was requested other she has the right to serve on committees.


COOPER: Just yesterday, Congressman Gosar was censured removed from two committees after he posted on social media that photoshopped anime video depicting himself killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging a sword of President Joe Biden. Here's what Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez had to say about McCarthy's promise to reverse that punishment.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Well, I would love Leader McCarthy to shout that from the rooftops Please let him communicate to the entire country, that he is deeply supportive of people who are violent towards women, and that he is deeply supportive of members and deeply accepting of members who fundraise for neo-Nazi organizations and placing them on important -- on important committees.


COOPER: Also tonight, in the category of least surprising thing ever, the former president endorse Congressman Gosar making no mention of the controversy, of course, calling him quote a loyal supporter of our America first agenda. Joining us now to make sense of it all, good luck with that, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and senior political analyst Kirsten Powers, author of the lovely new book Saving Grace, which I recommend. I enjoyed it.

Gloria, Kevin McCarthy also hinted that the GOP majority in 2022, may kick some House Democrats off their committee seats. I mean, it's, you know, retribution. It's just, the whole thing is just, this is where we're at. It's really just depressing.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And it's, you know, it's also about Donald Trump, because Donald Trump is all about vengeance. So McCarthy's all about vengeance. I have to tell you, Anderson, what really struck me, after listening to McCarthy yesterday, and then hearing him today, is it yesterday, he took to the floor of the House, and he said what the Democrats were doing was an abuse of power. And then today, he promised that if he were to become speaker, he would do exactly the same thing. So he's effectively saying, well, OK, an eye for an eye, but I accused them of abusing power. But when I do it, it won't be abusing power. It's hard to understand.

COOPER: Kirsten, what does it say about the party itself that, I mean, Republicans, like Gosar and Greene, have become elevated yet, Liz Cheney and 13, who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, some of whom are now getting death threats are shunned and, you know, practically excommunicated?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it shows you where the seat of power is in this party. And I think that you hear Kevin McCarthy saying these things because he is afraid, particularly of Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has made noises about leading a revolt against him. And so, he's saying this, to try to appease her and keep him keep her off of his back. And then, you know, thrilled the base with owning the libs, which is kind of the, you know, basically the mantra of conservatives today, they're sort of guiding light.

And so, you know, I think that the thing about this is, is that, obviously, what, you know, what they're doing to AOC is obviously unacceptable. I mean, this is like a hostile working environment. Right. And this is the U.S. House of Representatives. The question is, does this really matter when you look at what voters are focusing on, I mean, AOC is --


POWERS: -- saying, I hope you shot this from the rooftops. But, you know, the Democrats are losing on the generic ballot now. And there has been a swing.


COOPER: We just lost or her mic [ph]. Kirsten, sorry.

Gloria, Kevin McCarthy also mentioned that he spoke to the former president earlier this morning. You combine that with Donald Trump's endorsement of Gosar tonight, and clearly the former president of McCarthy -- well, McCarthy wants everybody to believe that he is in lockstep with the former president, but other Republicans were sort of putting up with all public, you know, publicly, what are they pricing privately?

BORGER: Well, you know, I talked with one who, a moderate Republican, somebody who voted for the infrastructure bill, somebody who's in a very marginal district for Republicans. And he feels I guess the word I would use is alienated. He's, he's unhappy that now he's going to be targeted. And I think the question is, don't they want him to win his seat back? Does that matter? I think they've taken sides. I think it's no coincidence that McCarthy spoke with Trump this morning, and then immediately comes out, you know, the President, the ex-president endorses Gosar and then McCarthy comes out and said, Yes, I put them back on their committees.

McCarthy said they just talked about other things, but got to believe that this came up in the conversation. And McCarthy's trying to get back in his good graces even though again there's another irony which is that Donald Trump doesn't like McCarthy. And if they take over the House, he'll probably support somebody else to become speaker.


COOPER: It's so pathetic that, you know, that they spoke but Kevin McCarthy had to make sure that everybody knew that they spoke that he got a few minutes to actually speak to the former president. Gloria, stick around.

Up next breaking news, there's on Capitol Hill, Democrats saying they have the votes now to pass the Build Back Better Bill what they're calling it or expecting a vote any minute now. Bring it to you live, next.


COOPER: There's breaking news out of Washington right now after an evening flurry of activity including the release of a summary of the all important score from the Congressional Budget Office. The House is about to vote on President Biden so-called Build Back Better legislation. And because how Speaker Pelosi doesn't bring anything to the floor without enough support to succeed, the odds are it will pass. For President far less popular in the polls and some of the items in the bill this couldn't come at a moment too soon.

CNN's Jessica Dean is at the Capitol, Phil Mattingly is at the White House, and our chief political analyst Gloria Borgia joins us as well.

Jessica Dean, let's start with you. What is the latest word there stands?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well right now Anderson right over my shoulder that way they are debating this bill and then they're going to move into the final vote on the Build Back Better Act. Just to remind everyone it's going to leave the House it's going to head over to the Senate where it's very likely that it will be kind of taken apart and put back together. There's things in the House version of this bill like paid family leave, and other items that are likely going to come out when it goes to the Senate, then it's got to come back to the House.


So there's still a long road ahead. But for tonight, this is the first major step forward. And as you mentioned, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not like to put things on the floor and really doesn't put things on the floor that she doesn't know will pass and just in the last hour or so after that CBO score that you just mentioned, came out. We have heard from some of the holdouts from before these moderates, there were a handful of them, that were waiting to get this score in order to get their support for this bill. And we've heard from a number of them that they said they will be supporting this.

So at this point, it looks like all things are a go. We are watching to see just if there will be any defections, and if so how many again, Pelosi, of course working with a very small margin here. But at this point, Anderson, we're expecting a final vote on this somewhere around 9:15 to 9:45. So we're headed that way.

COOPER: Has the White has been involved in these final negotiations tonight. Do we know?

DEAN: We have seen some of the White House advisors coming in from the Capitol going back to the White House, they have been heavily involved with this. We know that they've been meeting with various members, again, with those moderates trying to make sure that they hammer out these numbers, answer any questions that they might have in order to move forward.

COOPER: And Phil, how concerned is the White House about what comes next in this process in the Senate?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, I think they're clear eyed. They understand that there are a lot of hurdles left and one of them in particular, Senator Joe Manchin has made very clear he wants significant changes to what the House is considering tonight and isn't on board yet, with even the more slimmed down framework President Biden put together. But I think Jessica makes a really good point in terms of what we've seen from White House officials just over the last couple of weeks on the Hill, and why that has kind of bolstered feeling inside this building the building behind me over the course of those last several weeks.

The effort by the President's top negotiators by the President, to some degree by his economic team to really lay the groundwork to move this forward in the House. The word that I was told from a source familiar with how things are going inside the building was vindication, to some degree making sure that all of their estimates on the economic side of things largely lined up with what we saw from the Congressional Budget Office today, which is what's letting this move or looks like it's going to move in the days ahead. A lot of work has been done behind the scenes, I'm told with Senator Manchin with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, over the course of the last several months in this to some degrees serves as evidence that what the White House officials have been laying out to those two central senators will in fact line up in the end.

So they understand that this isn't going to happen tomorrow in the Senate, it's likely going to take weeks into December. But they feel like to some degree success begets success, there will be momentum here without question. And the fact that what they've done on the economic side, what they've done on the projection estimate side has shown up to be mostly true as it relates to the Congressional Budget Office score will only serve to help them as they try and lock in those final two votes in the Senate.

COOPER: Gloria, how big a deal do you think this is?

BORGER: Look, I think it's a very big deal for House Democrats because they've convinced the moderates to come on board, because the deficit doesn't look that terrible. I mean, it's a large figure, but the White House estimate and Phil, you know more about this than I do is that it's not really over 300, it's actually 160 billion and the issue is how much money you get from cracking down on tax cheats.

So, there's a little bit of discrepancy there. But as my colleagues are saying, look, this has to go to the Senate there, there is no margin for error at all, in the United States Senate. And it all depends on these couple of senators. And what arm twisting Biden can do with them, and whether they're going to demand so much being taken out of this bill, that when they send it back to the House, the liberals will bolt. So, it's a, you know, it ain't over till it's over. But obviously, this is a first step that Nancy Pelosi has been really working towards.

COOPER: And Jessica obviously, with all the concerns about the rising, you know, toll of inflation, that I mean, is Manchin's position even what it was previously?

DEAN: Right. So there's a question now if he really like doubles down on, I mean, he did talk about when those inflation numbers came out, he had a very strong statement about how, you know, Democrats need to be paying attention to this. And he has said time and time again, the Medicare expansion Anderson is a good example of this. Bernie Sanders, of course, wants to expand it to include dental, vision and hearing. And Manchin is very concerned about shoring that up, he's afraid that it's going to be depleted and doesn't want to add to it. He's very concerned about these inflation numbers. So, the question kind of becomes like, what kind of negotiations can they get through?

And in terms of Manchin versus Sanders or Manchin versus others, what is he willing to accept? And that is the big question right now.

Now, one thing to keep in mind, we know that the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had said that he wants to get this to the floor by Christmas, Manchin has now kind of said, OK, maybe I might be alright with that. So that is that is a little bit of movement in that direction.

[20:45:01] But it is a long road and there's going to be a lot of back and forth over exactly what gets in this final version in the Senate because they need all 50 of course.

COOPER: And Phil, I mean, it's the President prepared to make further concessions or changes to the bill in order to get Manchin and Sinema on board?

MATTINGLY: You know, my sense from talking to White House officials, the President is willing to do whatever it takes, at this point in time. There are things in this house version that the President isn't necessarily thrilled about, particularly as it pertains to the state local tax deduction, but he understands that this is how you're going to get it through, you have to do it to get 218 votes in the House, and therefore he's on board.

Whatever it takes to get 50 in the United States Senate, the President is willing to agree to and I think that's a huge component going forward. The reason moderates and progressives kind of put a call to detente to their war in the House a couple of weeks ago, was because progressives were willing to trust that President Biden would be able to get those two outstanding centrist senators on board. This now moves from a very team effort Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team, the President's top advisors and the president to very much being the President's ballgame. The President has made clear that he believes he can get Joe Manchin on board that he believes he can get Senator Sinema on board. This is now his chance to do just that, he has to deliver.

I think White House officials are keenly aware of that the President has made clear to lawmakers he's aware of that as well. That moment as soon as this moves through the house is officially the presidents.

BORGER: And, Anderson, can I just add. Their poll numbers, the Democrats poll numbers are tanking. They -- the President's poll numbers are tanking. They know the public didn't like seeing them fighting each other all the time. So, this isn't their own self interest they've got to get something done so they can prove that their governing majority.

COOPER: Gloria Borger, Jessica Dean, Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.

We'll of course be covering it through the evening on CNN, the mystery into the disappearance of a Chinese tennis star is next is literally the story of the government there does not want you to see whenever we tell the government censors their block our signal. The latest coming up.



COOPER: China is once again blocking CNN signal to prevent further reporting on the disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai. Every time CNN covers this story, the Chinese government blocks CNN signal there, there is growing concern for Peng safety from some of the biggest names in the sports and she hasn't been seen in public in weeks. (INAUDIBLE) she accused a former communist leader of coercing her into sex at his home three years ago. The allegation was posted on her social media account deleted within 30 minutes.

CNN's Will Ripley joins us from Taipei with more. So, it's quite telling that just reporting on Peng Shuai is being censored. What does the government -- what doesn't the government want people to know?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm not surprised Anderson. I've been out here in Asia, covering China for eight years. And I've lost count of the number of times that our reporting on CNN has been blocked by Chinese censors is being blocked right now. I think we have a live picture from Beijing. So, every time we talk about something controversial, whether it be women's rights, China -- Chinese censors, essentially canceling the Me Too movement in that country, because anytime there's a controversial posts like this, it's wiped off the internet. They pull any sort of controversial television programs off of streaming services, there was a TV program about gay high school students that was hugely popular in the mainland that was yanked by the government midseason, when you talk about the rights of ethnic minorities.

So, Peng Shuai is just the latest example of how nobody, even an iconic, worldwide tennis champion, who's beloved, inside and outside of China, nobody is immune from these Chinese censors. This is the reality when you have a country that is essentially being run by a bunch of old men, a bunch of old men who believe in traditional Chinese values, and will cancel using their immense power to cancel things on television, to cancel things on the internet, they will cancel anything that they think doesn't somehow fit into traditional Chinese values.

The question is, is traditional Chinese values include a man who is now 75 years old, a former Vice Premier, in a position of immense power, accused of pressuring a woman who's 35 years old, to having sex in his house, forcing her to have sex and using his power, the government's power to now try to cover that up. The fact that the post was removed within 30 minutes means that inside China unless you have a VPN, there's absolutely no way, Anderson that you know about any of this happening.

COOPER: Yes. And that's the signal there in China. That's, that's being there was cut. Is there any update on where she is?

RIPLEY: So there was this e-mail that was sent to Steve Simon with the Women's Tennis Association saying in very, very oddly, almost like legal type language, oh, everything's fine. Everything that I said isn't true. I'm just at home resting. I'm OK. Thanks for caring about me. Most people don't believe that this e-mail was legitimate. Even if Peng Shuai actually was sitting at a computer typing it out. We know that in the case of other people who China detains, sometimes for months on end, they are intimidated, they are coerced into making statements that are misleading or false.

I have talked to people personally who have been detained by Chinese authorities for months. There's a bookseller here in Taipei who had to flee Hong Kong, because he was selling books about alleged love affairs of Chinese President Xi Jinping. He was detained by the authorities in China for eight months forced to make statements that he now says in the freedom of Taiwan, simply were not true. We have no reason to believe at this point that the same thing is not happening to Peng Shuai.

COOPER: Yes. Will Ripley, appreciate it. Thanks. Will in Taipei.

Up next justice for a little girl who authorities say was the victim of an international adoption scam. Follow up to a "360" investigation ahead.



COOPER: An update now an exclusive investigation we brought you back in 2017. That's what we told you about then seven-year-old Mata from Uganda who was adopted by a family in Ohio. The agency they use called European Adoption Consultants, which is based in Ohio told the adoptive parents match his father had died and that her mother neglected her. After Mata has moved in with her adoptive parents Jessica Natum Davis they began to fear that Mata had been trafficked.

Jessica reached out to our producers we did some digging or investigation found that children were being taken from their homes in Uganda on the promise of better schooling, placed into orphanages even though they weren't orphans and then sold for as much as $15,000 each to unsuspecting American families. Our investigation discovered that multiple families were duped this way. Mata thought she lost her birth mom forever but as we told you in 2017, her adoptive mom with help of a grassroots organization got her back to Uganda and her birth mother.

Tonight there is justice for Mata and other children. The U.S. Justice Department says Deborah Parris, who helped run the so-called adoption agency and handled Mata's case and others has pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a fraud and bribery scheme involving adopted children from Uganda and Poland. Parris be sentenced in March as for her to allege coconspirators Margaret Cole, that's her, the owner of the now closed agency faces trial in February on charges tied to Polish adoptions. And prosecutors say a third defendant a Ugandan attorney who helped him the scheme remains at large.


The news continues. Want to hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.