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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

House To Votes On Holding Mark Meadows In Contempt; January 6 Rally Organizer Says The Buck Stops At President Trump; House About To Vote On Holding Mark Meadows In Contempt; Rally Organizer Testifies Before January 6 Committee; CDC Estimates Omicron Makes Up 2.9% Of Circulating Virus, Versus Delta's 96.8%; Murdaugh Agrees To A $4.3 Million Settlement In Housekeeper Case; Biden To Survey Tornado Damage In Kentucky Tomorrow; KY Man Survives Tornado As It Ripped Through His Home. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 14, 2021 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: President Biden will visit the area and meet with victims tomorrow. The White House says the President wants residents to know that the Federal government will continue to help.

Thanks for joining us. AC 360 starts now.



Tonight's House vote is expected shortly to cite former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress certainly speaks loudly on its own. After all, it's not often that a former presidential right-hand man faces criminal charges for anything, let alone obstructing the inquiry into an attempt to overthrow democracy itself. That much is historic.

But like every other development in the 11 months since the former President incited a mob to attack the very site where the vote tonight takes place, there is so much more leading up to and surrounding it.

For instance, in tonight's floor debate, members of the Select Committee reveal more of what was in the documents that Mark Meadows gave the Committee and now refuses to answer questions about.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): We've learned that Mr. Meadows made a surprise visit to a State-run audit in Georgia, which led to the now infamous call in which Mr. Trump improperly asked the Georgia Secretary of State to find votes. We need to talk to Mr. Meadows about that.

We need also to ask him about text messages which he provided to our Committee that show an official in Georgia texting Mr. Meadows during the Trump-Raffensperger call saying that they quote, "Need to end this call," unquote, and emphasizing quote, "I don't think this will be productive much longer," end quote.


COOPER: And to that point, Committee member Adam Schiff unveiled another text we hadn't known about until now. This one to Meadows, Senator Unknown, applauding the Justice Department appointment of Jeffrey Clark, who as you know, was pushing the former President's election lies.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): "I heard Jeff Clark is getting put in on Monday. That's amazing. It will make a lot of patriots happy and I'm personally so proud that you are at the tip of the spear, and I could call you a friend."


COOPER: The former President you'll recall tried to make Clark Acting Attorney General to have someone at the Department of Justice who would do his bidding.

Another new text about precisely what this all was leading to was revealed by committee member, Pete Aguilar.


REP. PETER AGUILAR (D-CA): In one text message to a lawmaker, Mr. Meadows wrote he -- he, presumably being President Trump -- quote, "He thinks the legislatures have the power, but the VP has power, too." End quote.

The power to do what? We could guess the power to overturn the election results, the power to reject the will of the voters. And days later, a violent mob tried to get Vice President Pence to do just that.


COOPER: Well, these texts come on top of others to Mark Meadows reveal last night on efforts by those close to the former President to get him to tear himself away from the television, reportedly pleased at what he was seeing and say something to call off the mob.

Now implicit in this, of course, is their presumption that in fact, it was his mob to call off, not Antifa or the Deep State or anyone else, but his violent supporters. Several are from FOX News figures, one coming from Don, Jr.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): "He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand."

"Mark, the President needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy." Laura Ingraham wrote. "Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished." Brian Kilmeade texted. Quote, "Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol." Sean Hannity urged.


COOPER: Well, these are the same people of course, who quickly pivoted to downplaying the significance of the day which they saw in the moment for what it was, the danger it presented, who could stop it; by implication, who controlled it. He is destroying his legacy, get him on TV, it has gone too far.

These aren't people lamenting the weather and taking a turn for the worse or some other random act of God or nature. They're not speaking as passive observers. They are talking it would appear about something the former President and the people around him, nurtured and incited and set in motion, and was now refusing to rein in. That's what just the last several days of contempt proceedings have lifted the veil on.

As for the consequences beyond what happens to Mr. Meadows, we do know one thing and it is not exactly promising. It is playing out right in front of our eyes, and it is this, rather than being horrified by what happened to America on January 6, Republicans are now running for office on the lie that led to it.

It's good politics for them. People like it.


COOPER: Former Senator David Perdue for instance who is running to replace Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a staunch conservative.

Kemp as you know, went against the former President's plot to overturn the results in his state. Perdue, on the other hand, says he would have gone along with it. That's the tune they are dancing to, because this is the Piper calling saying, this just a few days ago about the Vice President who was fleeing for his life from a crowd threatening to hang him while he tweeted, egging them on.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mike should have said those crooked votes back to the Legislatures to approve and you would have had a different result in the election in my opinion.

I think Mike has been very badly hurt by what took place with respect to January 6. I think he's been -- I think he has been mortally wounded, frankly, because I see the reaction he is getting from people.


COOPER: So that's the tune he is calling today. It's the tone he is setting for the party in the coming midterm elections, not to mention, signaling what he might do in 2024.

The only question, will Don, Jr. or anyone around him then be able to reach him the next time.

So, there is lots of coverage tonight, starting with CNN's Ryan Nobles at the Capitol. Ryan, what is happening on the House floor right now?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Anderson, right now, the House is debating a bill related to Islamophobia that they will pass later tonight. And then after this debate wraps up in the next 35 or 40 minutes that is when we will have the full vote by the entire House on this resolution that will refer Mark Meadows for criminal contempt of Congress.

This comes after the Select Committee voted that out of their Committee in a business meeting last night, it passed out of the Rules Committee earlier today. So that vote we expect to be largely along party lines.

There will be at least two Republicans that vote for it, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who are of course, members of the Select Committee. We expect all Democrats to support it, and outside of those two Republicans voting yes, most Republicans are expected to vote no.

Anderson, that won't matter, it will be enough for the resolution to pass.

COOPER: So if assuming the resolution passes, then what happens?

NOBLES: So now, the next step is that it gets referred almost immediately to the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia will be responsible for taking a look at the report that the Committee has put together, and then deciding whether or not the Department of Justice will prosecute Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress.

That means there will be a trial if they take that step and it could lead to jail time for Mark Meadows if he refuses to comply with the Select Committee and their desire for him to answer questions.

Now, this is not a slam dunk that the Department of Justice could take this step. There is a bit more complicating factors to this claim that the Select Committee has about his defiance of their request. He was the White House Chief of Staff. So he does have some privilege claims.

But the Committee believes they are on firm ground, primarily because he's handed over 6,000 documents that he has already deemed as not being covered under privilege and they want to ask about that. And of course, he did write a book where he talked extensively about his conversations with then President Donald Trump, which those clearly are also not protected by privilege.

COOPER: And former Vice President Pence's former National Security adviser, Keith Kellogg just wrapped up testimony in front of the January 6 Select Committee. I understand, he briefly spoke to reporters a short time ago. What did he say?

NOBLES: He didn't say too much. He and his attorney, Anderson, but it is very significant that we saw Kellogg today appear in front of the Committee. It was behind closed doors, but Kellogg is someone that was close with not only Pence, but with Donald Trump as well. He was in the Oval Office on January 6th, so the fact that he is

willingly cooperating with the Committee, his attorney saying after the fact that he did not cite executive privilege to any of the questions that the Committee asked him is a key sign that they are making progress, trying to get information about what happened in the White House on January 6.

Kellogg is a key factor in all of this kind of a bridge between both the Pence side of this and the Trump side of it. If they are able to get some answers from him, it could signal that the Committee is making serious progress -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ryan, Appreciate it. Thank you. We'll check back with you shortly as the vote draws closer.

Joining us right now CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; CNN legal analyst, Norm Eisen, former Democratic counsel on the first impeachment proceeding and former Ambassador to the Czech Republic; also CNN political analyst, Carl Bernstein, during Watergate he, of course, and Bob Woodward made their bones reporting on the misdeeds of many, including a White House Chief of Staff, Bob Haldeman, who would wind up doing prison time.

So Carl, how significant is this moment?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's hugely significant because what we're seeing is evidence of a conspiracy led by the President of the United States and his chief aides to undermine American democracy, free elections, and to incite am insurrection against the United States of America.

You have to go back to this Civil War to see anything comparable in our history such an attempt by a President of the United States to utterly undo constitutional law and the very fabric of our governmental system.


COOPER: Gloria, I mean, if you look at the text that have come out over the past 24 hours, how damning are they for Mark Meadows?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they are damning. I think they're very troubling. And you know, I want to say that after all, he did hand them over to the Committee, and he is the center of every storyline we've been talking about for weeks and weeks.

First of all, he seems to be the center of the Big Lie storyline, lining up with Donald Trump, trying to talk to election officials to get them to change election results, figuring out what they could do, you know, right there alongside of Donald Trump.

And then on January 6, again, with the President of the United States, getting these e-mails, begging him to please make the President go out there, give a statement, et cetera et cetera, which he told Donald Trump, Jr. he was trying, he was pushing, but he couldn't really get very far. But there he was, again, with the President of the United States.

This is why the Committee wants to hear from him. And it seems that, you know, they have to take this vote tonight, because while he did hand over these documents, and seem to be making an awful lot of progress in terms of working out some things with the Committee, they could not get to yes.

COOPER: Ambassador Eisen, I mean, if the House votes to refer Meadows to the Justice Department, do you believe the D.O.J. would actually prosecute him.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, I do believe that the D.O.J. will prosecute him as they prosecuted Steve Bannon on the prior referral.

Meadows has helped the Department with its case, because he has turned over a plethora of documents, thousands of pages without asserting privilege, and those documents are a legitimate basis for him to show up and testify. So based -- you don't even need to get into the executive privilege argument.

Now, the D.C. Federal Courts have also said that President Trump's executive privilege claims are unavailing. So, that's a weak point, too. Just because his case isn't as much of a slam dunk as Bannon's doesn't mean he has a good one. He is at very substantial criminal risk, I think he'll be prosecuted.

COOPER: Carl, does it make sense to you that the Committee released these text messages from, you know, Sean Hannity and Don, Jr., but they haven't released the names of the lawmakers themselves. Are they hoping to get cooperation perhaps from some of these lawmakers?

BERNSTEIN: I don't know if that's the objective. But seriously, what we see here is that there are some Republicans who understand what has happened here and that they will probably be named in the future. I think that it is inevitable.

There might be some negotiating room here, but I think we need to go back to this larger idea, one of what happened? Who these people are -- Mark Meadows, the President, these acolytes of the President that incited this insurrection, then saw the President's son, saw what was happening and said, the optics of this are terrible. We have to desist.

But also, this is part of a much greater story, and that is, this was a dress rehearsal for 2024. There is an ongoing conspiracy to undermine that election. We have seen the infrastructure right in front of our eyes, at this moment, being built to continue the Big Lie, make it impossible to have an honest and fair election.

There is a great piece written by Barton Gellman in "The Atlantic" Magazine this week that one of the best pieces of journalism to come out of what is happening, and everybody should read it, and we should all be reporting on this ongoing conspiracy that Donald Trump is leading a continuing conspiracy to undermine the United States of America. COOPER: Gloria, after the deposition by the Committee, the former

National Security adviser to Pence, Keith Kellogg told reporters this evening, quote, "Nothing has been said that hasn't been reported."

What does it say that General Kellogg is basically downplaying his testimony?

BORGER: Yes, I think -- I think he is. I think he wants to. He is cooperating and look, this is a man whose National Security adviser to Mike Pence also before had worked for Donald Trump, also was in the White House on January 6th.

This is a man as Ryan Nobles pointed out, who is kind of a bridge between the Pence folks and the Trump folks, and there is a problem between those two folks. And so I think Kellogg going in there volunteering information in what seemed to be kind of a friendly environment, although we really -- we really don't know because we're not inside the room -- is telling.

I'm not quite sure whether it means that he would go in there and criticize Donald Trump or he would go in there and defend Mike Pence. I mean, we don't -- we just don't know. We just don't know because he is close to both men.


COOPER: Ambassador Eisen, I mean, if Meadows suddenly wants to cooperate after likely being held in contempt, what would then happen?

EISEN: Well, Meadows could still cure his contempt by coming in and cooperating. He seems to be determined, Anderson, on a course of non- cooperation.

COOPER: It seems highly unlikely that he would, I mean, after, you know, going -- wavering like he has that he would do it again.

EISEN: Well, he is -- I agree that it's unlikely. He has flip-flopped once. You know, thank goodness for the country. This is the gang that could not shoot straight. Meadows has worsened his own situation so badly.

But Anderson, the more telling thing is, it's not just Kellogg, it's over 300 cooperators. It's the Vice President's former Chief of Staff who has gone in and talked as well, Marc Short, and the theater of what we saw today, the strategic release by the Committee to tell the story of Meadows's culpability.

I mean, this is a very able investigation having been inside of one and that's why I think you're seeing the Keith Kellogg's of the world who are cooperating. They don't want to face the criminal charges that now are confronting Mr. Meadows.

COOPER: yes. Norm Eisen, appreciate it. Carl Bernstein and Gloria Borger, thanks very much.

Coming up next, as we wait for the House to vote, one of the organizers of the January 6th rally on the testimony he gave the Select Committee today and the information he says he is providing to them.

Also infectious disease specialist, Michael Osterholm on the new omicron strain and how fast it is spreading. That, plus hopeful news on how effective the new Pfizer pill is in keeping people out of the hospital.



COOPER: Again, within the House floor, members prepare to vote on a contempt of Congress referral against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. He is, as CNN's Gloria Borger mentioned before the break, at the center of so many storylines in the January 6th narrative.

They are expected to vote on the contempt measure in about 10 or 15 minutes. As you might imagine, that's only our best estimate, these things tend to change.

First, I want you to hear this. It's an interview I did just before airtime with someone who testified today in front of the Committee.

He is Dustin Stockton, one of the organizers of the January 6th rally on the Ellipse in Washington preceding the Capitol attack.

I spoke with him and Josh Ness, his attorney.


COOPER: So Dustin, you were subpoenaed by the January 6th Committee. Just to be clear, today, when you showed up, did you show up at the Capitol because you wanted to help the Committee get to the bottom of the events surrounding the insurrection? Or because you didn't want to be held in contempt like Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon?


COOPER: Or a little bit of both?

STOCKTON: I've given a lot of on-the-record interviews. Yes, probably. I mean, there is a little nuance there. Obviously, the Committee's seriousness with other people made it clear that they wouldn't just be ignored.

But since the event, my fiancee and I have given numerous at length on the record interviews, because we think it's really important to get to the bottom of what happened. And we also want to represent the voice of the vast overwhelming majority of people who answered the call to come to D.C. and didn't do anything wrong, didn't cause any violence, didn't participate at the Capitol, and the people -- anyone who played a part in doing that should be held responsible.

It's torn our country apart, and if there has ever been a time for us to come together as a country, and kind of have a truth and reconciliation moment, I think this calls for it.

COOPER: What are your thoughts about the former President at this point? Obviously, you are a huge supporter of his, and, you know, really instrumental in many things. How do you view him now? Do you feel a sense of betrayal?

STOCKTON: Definitely -- definitely a sense of betrayal. It's really hard like to -- it's been something I've really struggled to come to terms with, because this was somebody who we sacrificed for, we invested our lives and our time. And in a lot of ways, the warning signs were there. We saw other people come forward from his inner circle.

Essentially, he abandons people when the going gets tough for people. And, you know, in some ways, it is embarrassing to think that, in a lot of ways we bought into what essentially turned out to be a bluff or a con.

COOPER: Your attorney Josh, who's with you there said this morning that you have text messages and e-mails with people who are, in your attorney's words, quote, "very senior in the former President's orbit, as well as with Members of Congress" and you had turned those over to Congress today.

You declined to share that evidence with us. Can you give us more specifics?

STOCKTON: Yes, well, so --

JOSH NESS, ATTORNEY: Anderson, can I intervene just for a minute?


NESS: Firstly, I just want to make -- address your first question because I have a very unassuming client, as you could tell. He didn't show up today to comply with the subpoena and to provide testimony out of fear of being held in contempt. He showed up today, because he views this as a civic duty, and his patriotic duty to his country to be fulfilled.

The events of January 6th were a stain in our democracy, a blemish on our Republic. He recognizes that.


NESS: To be clear, he is a witness. That's why he got a subpoena. He was not involved in the events of January 6th, and certainly not involved in the events at the Capitol. And, you know, that's an important and material distinction to make.

COOPER: It's been reported that Katrina Pierson was one of the people that he communicated his concerns to, is that correct?

STOCKTON: Yes, sir. So some of this, we want it to be -- we have to make sure to be extremely accurate. There was a team of us who organized the two bus tours and the rallies, and not just January, but in December, and November. And there were -- as the whole thing played out, there were obvious concerns about a lack of infrastructure, the only rally that happened in D.C. after the election that I didn't have some kind of leadership position in the logistics and security of is what happened at the Capitol.

And I was frustrated leading up to that, because I take the responsibility of making sure that when people come to exercise their First Amendment rights of peaceful protest, that it started in a way that is safe and productive.

I was given no access or control, or even input on the event at the Capitol, and had loudly made my concerns to everyone available. And really the whole team I was working with on the bus tour at the time were voicing those concerns to everybody that we could, hoping to make sure that a potentially volatile situation wasn't going to happen. Unfortunately, it was the worst case scenario.

COOPER: You obviously have a long history with Steve Bannon. You worked on the private effort about the wall for which Bannon was arrested and you were raided as well, never charged I should point out.

In the days leading up to the Capitol riots, some of the former President's, you know, most vocal loyalists, they had set up what they called a Command Center at the Willard Hotel near the White House.

Bob Woodward writes about it in the book, "Peril." The former President called Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon at the Willard on January 5th, according to Woodward's book. I know you were staying at the Willard. Were you in this so-called command center? And can you tell us anything about those conversations?

STOCKTON: Well, so that there were actually several, quote-unquote, "war rooms" at the Willard. Basically, it was the central hub of all of the different organizing efforts. I was not a part of the War Room described in Bob Woodward's book, but I did regularly run into and see a whole host of senior advisers to the Trump Campaign and prominent figures on the right, and in the America First Movement and have occasions, visit many of these different rooms at different points.

But no, I didn't have access and wasn't that specific.

COOPER: So you didn't hear the former President calling in?

STOCKTON: No, I definitely didn't hear the former President calling in.

COOPER: Just wondering, when you -- I know you've said you had communication with Paul Gosar. He has denied those communications. But I want to ask you when you hear what some of, you know, the Paul Gosar and others are saying about what happened on January 6th, the way they characterize, you know, it wasn't -- you know, it was like tourists coming to the Capitol, things like that. I'm wondering what you think.

STOCKTON: Well, so I a lot of what has been printed about Dr. Gosar, I have a long, friendly relationship with him. I also don't believe that he did anything wrong in his interactions with me. I think the way the talk about potential pardon has been this characterized by a lot of the media, so I definitely want just try to clear that part up.

I think one of the most stunning revelations about these recent text messages from FOX News producers and Trump, Jr., and all these other people is that they were doing the right thing as things happened and yet they've continued to mischaracterize it afterwards, which is those text messages make it clear that they knew the violence was unacceptable, that it needed to be condemned in the most serious possible way, and yet, they continued to downplay it and underplay it and I think it's part of the big reason, here we are nearly a year later and there is still no resolution amongst the American people about what happened.


COOPER: Just finally, I mean, ultimately, who do you blame for the attack in the Capitol?

STOCKTON: Well, so I always like to point out that the people who committed violence, the people who attacked police officers, or defaced the Capitol, are responsible for their own actions first and foremost. But press -- the bucks got to stop at President Trump. He knew better and there's no excuse for him sending people down into that situation without having the logistics, the security, the stage and sound system to control the crowd. That stuff could have been in place and should have been in place before he ever sent people down there.

And the fact that he delayed for so long responding, I think really speaks ill of what his intentions were and what he was doing.

COOPER: Dustin Stockton and Josh Nash, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

STOCKTON: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Quick note about the timing around the contempt vote in the House or team on Capitol Hill says it has now been delayed by a few more minutes. So we'll continue to track that as we learn more.

In the meantime, there's new information about how fast the Omicron COVID variant is spreading. Plus some good news about Pfizer's COVID pill. Will tell you how well it works. Next


COOPER: Well there's new milestone to report tonight. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 800,000 people in the United States have died of COVID since the start of the pandemic. Also tonight, new CDC data shows the Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant and has been detected at a rate of about 3% around the country right now.

Here in New York, Cornell University is shut down its campus after more than 900 COVID cases among students this week. According to university officials, quote, very high percentage of those cases are Omicron various cases in fully vaccinated individuals.

There is good news about Pfizer's anti-viral COVID-19 pill according to the company's final analysis they say it is nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high risk patients.

Here's now to talk about it all, Michael Osterholm, the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a former member of the Biden Transition Team COVID Advisory Board.


Professor Osterholm, I appreciate you being with us. So this outbreak at Cornell, what does that tell you? I mean, 900 new infections, university shut down. I mean, more, if not all fully vaccinated individuals. What does that say?

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CIDRAP: Well, frankly, it's a harbinger of things to come. This is a highly infectious virus as we see it move around the world and become established even at a few percent we're starting to see and more and more really large outbreaks developing. And so, I think that we are watching a war right now between the Delta variant and the Omicron variant as to who's going to be become the king of the viral hill. And I think right now, Omicron's transmission potential means that it probably will win.

COOPER: So, you know, professional sports leagues are highly vaccinated, highly tested, the NFL, the NHL are seeing rise in infections. A lead sources telling CNN that 28 players tested positive today after 37 did yesterday. I mean, what does arise in cases among pro athletes tell you about what might be going on in the general population and people who aren't regularly being tested?

OSTERHOLM: Well, you have to realize again, we have a different categories of people who are vaccinated, those unvaccinated of course, which we realize we continue to drive a large part of the serious illness with a Delta situation. But we're also beginning to see more and more people who have not been boosted, meaning that they're six or more months out from their original first two doses of the mRNA vaccines. Right now, only about 30% of the country has actually been boosted of those it could be. Many of the athletes we're seeing right now are actually in that category. And that's why as you heard yesterday, the NFL, in fact, put in place mandatory vaccination for teams, not the players, but everyone else on the teams, because of that very issue.

So, this is why we've talked over and over again, about why boosters are so important. That's what's going to continue to drive this situation.

COOPER: So what do you expect this winter to be like in the U.S.?

OSTERHOLM: You know, Anderson, every morning, when I get up, I tried to scrape the five inches of mud off my crystal ball and be able to predict that and you know, so far, we've done a pretty good job of predicting where this would be. I think the battle between Omicron and Delta is going to be a key one. If in fact, Omicron is not as severe. And I know many people don't want to hear that, because they're afraid that that will give people complacency. But I think the data are so far shows that it's not as severe. But if you have an offset by many, many more people getting infected than we would with delta, then you might still have the same impact on the healthcare system.

And right now, we're watching Delta exploded in this country, particularly in the east and the southern states. Right now we're starting to see some increase. And so, I think that if Delta wins out, then in fact, we're going to see a major increase in severe illness. If Omicron wins out, we may see an increase in severe illness. And we just don't know yet.

COOPER: You know, obviously, look, a lot of people listening right now at home are probably just kind of despairing because it just seems like we're going backwards. It's one step forward, and then we go backwards. And does this just go on and on like this for years? I mean, I, you know, some people have suggested, well, ultimately, the virus will kind of week in, and it's the its ability to spread will weekend. And that's when, you know, and more people will be vaccinated. And that's when we sort of emerge into a new normal.

OSTERHOLM: Well, one of the challenges we have right now is we don't really understand what it takes to be immune as a human. We know that the vaccines we have a remarkable tools, but we're also realizing they may only provide limited long term protection. And so, until we can get a potentially a better understanding of that, the question will come up will we need new boosters in six months from now, we don't know. And we just have to be honest with the public and say that this is a time where science is learning by the day, and then trying to translate by the night to the public.

And so, it's very clear, we are in a confusing situation. I don't think it goes on like this forever. But for the -- most immediate period is not clear what's going to happen over the next few months. We can say no matter what happens, though, you're going to be better off. If you're fully vaccinated first times and get your booster dose, you'll be better off.

COOPER: And what do you make of Pfizer's new pill to treat COVID?

OSTERHOLM: I think it could be a real game changer. I think it's a very important development. My concern is exactly what I've said for the last year around vaccines. You know, I've been saying there's the last mile and the last inch, the last mile is getting the vaccines to the people the last inch is getting the needle in the arm. We've seen that 40% of the U.S. population won't take that needle.

We're already hearing feedback from the street that some people are saying well that that new drug is just part of the Biden administration, a Biden poison pill. We're going to stick with her Ivermectin and that get the drug. These would be the same people I have not yet been vaccinated. If that happens we will waste an incredibly, incredibly important tool in reducing severe illness. And so, time will have to tell on that too.


COOPER: Professor Michael Osterholm, appreciate it. Thank you.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you.

COOPER: Bond for disgrace. South Carolina Attorney Alex Murdaugh was set this week as he faces dozens of new charges with him accused of financial wrongdoing and of setting up a suicidal insurance fraud scheme. Now he's reached a settlement with the family of his former housekeeper who allegedly died after a fall at his house years ago. We have the latest on that, next.


COOPER: The case into disgrace South Carolina Attorney Alex Murdaugh is taking some new turns now that he has agreed to a $4.3 million settlement with a family of his former housekeeper. Now the housekeeper Gloria Satterfield died after allegedly falling in the Murdaugh home in 2018. Murdaugh was arrested in jail without bond in October of this year for allegedly misappropriating funds meant for the housekeeper's family.

Yesterday, Murdaugh's bond was set at $7 million. He now faces a total of 48 charges on the accusations of financial wrongdoing and of setting up a suicidal insurance fraud scheme.

There are still questions also surrounding the mysterious deaths of Murdaugh's wife, son and others and I just touched on. There's also questions about Murdaugh arranging for his own killing in September when he was shot in the head so his surviving son could collect the life insurance payout. It's a bizarre story.

"360s" Randi Kaye has details.


ALEX MURDAUGH, FMR ATTORNEY: I need the police and ambulance immediately. My wife and child have been shot badly.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): June of this year, a disturbing 911 call from the Murdaugh family home in Islandton, South Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they breathing?

A. MURDAUGH: No, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and you said that your wife and your son?

A. MURDAUGH: My wife and my son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what is your name?

A. MURDAUGH: My name is Alex Murdaugh.

KAYE (voice-over): That's Alex Murdaugh on the line. The victims are his wife Margaret, and their 22-year-old son Paul.

(on-camera): The shooting happened here at the family's home. You can't see the house from the road. It's behind this gate, but we're about 90 miles west of Charleston, South Carolina. When Colleton County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the house that night of June 7th, they quickly determined both victims had been shot multiple times.

(voice-over): Alex Murdaugh said he returned home and found his family shot. He's denied having anything to do with their deaths. Six months later, who killed them and why remains a mystery. But what makes this all even more bizarre is that others with connections to the Murdaugh family have also mysteriously died.

ERIC BLAND, LAWYER FOR THE SATTERFIELD FAMILY: Remember, five people died in his orbit. I don't know anybody in my 60 years of life that had five people die in their orb.

KAYE (voice-over): Those five people include 19-year-old Mallory Beach, she'd been out boating with Paul Murdaugh and friends in February 2019, about two years before Paul was killed. At the time of his death, he was facing charges of boating under the influence and causing her death. He allegedly hit a bridge while driving his father's boat drunk and Beach was rejected. The investigation is ongoing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in a boat crash on Archer's Creek. There's six of us and one is missing.

BLAND: Are we going to get answers on that? Or is it going to this die with his death?

KAYE (voice-over): Lawyer Eric Bland filed a lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh on behalf of the children of Gloria Satterfield. She was Murdaugh's longtime housekeeper, who died in 2018 after allegedly falling down stairs at the family's home. Murdaugh's wife and son were both still alive at the time and called 911.

MARGARET MURDAUGH, ALEX MURDAUGH'S WIFE: My housekeeper has fallen and her head has bleeding. I cannot get her up.

PAUL MURDAUGH, ALEX MURDAUGH'S SON: She's cracked her head and there's blood on the concrete and she's bleeding out of her left ear.

KAYE (voice-over): Gloria Satterfield later died in the hospital. According to this letter, the Hampton County Coroner sent the chief of South Carolina Law Enforcement, an autopsy was never done, and her manner of death was listed as natural. The coroner noted that was inconsistent with injury sustained in a trip and fall accident.

BLAND: A natural death is somebody that has a heart attack or is sitting here talking in a seizure or stroke.

KAYE (voice-over): In September, police opened a criminal investigation into the housekeeper's death and the handling of her estate.

(on-camera): Why do you think they've decided to reopen the investigation into Gloria Satterfield's death?

BLAND: Because everything around Alex is a lie or deception, or half answers. It's a family that's cloaked in secrecy.

KAYE (voice-over): Police have also announced they are re examining the puzzling death of 19-year-old Steven Smith, based on information gathered while investigating the double homicide of Margaret and Paul Murdaugh. Authorities have not said what if anything, Smith's relationship was with the Murdaugh family.

(on-camera): In July 2015, Steven Smith's body was found in the middle of a rural road here in Hampton County, South Carolina. The Highway Patrol's incident reports that he suffered from blunt force trauma to the head. A pathologist noted that it appeared he had been struck by a vehicle. But the Highway Patrol said it didn't find any skid marks or any evidence to suggest that was the case.

(voice-over): More than six years later, and not a single suspect or Person of Interest named in his killing. And Alex Murdaugh is in talking.

BLAND: I want to know how is this possible. How did these people die? Is it all just by coincidence? Or was it by design?


COOPER: And this is such a bizarre story. I mean, when it comes to housekeepers death Randi, do we know any more about how she died or why is now a criminal investigation?

KAYE: Well, the lawyer we interviewed for that story Anderson, represents the housekeeper sons. And he told me that Murdaugh told those boys that their mom the housekeeper had actually tripped over the Murdaugh family dogs, and that's how she'd fallen. And this is where things get really complicated, because the lawyer also said that Murdaugh then hired a friend of his who was a lawyer, this is another scheme apparently, hired this friend to represent the boys and to sue Murdaugh. And then because it was his dog's fault, apparently. And then when the insurance money came in millions of dollars, instead of funneling that money to the boys who deserved it, the money went to Alex Murdaugh somehow. So just this week in court, he settled with those boys for $4.3 million, because that money should have gone to them.

I spoke with his lawyer by phone today. He said he has no comment on Alex Murdaugh's case. He has no comment on these death investigations. But I can tell you that the chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has said that his agents are going to work tirelessly to solve these cases, and that he will make sure that justice is served, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Randi, appreciate it. Thank you. President Biden travels to Kentucky tomorrow to toward the damage left by those powerful tornadoes. What do you can expect to see? And incredible story of survival from our Gary Tuchman.



COOPER: We're following new updates out of the devastating tornadoes tore through Kentucky and seven other states last weekend. President Biden is set to visit Kentucky tomorrow to survey the damage. Today, Governor Beshear said of the least 74 people killed 12 of them were children. More than 100 people are still unaccounted for.

Rescue efforts are still underway, with officials saying that some homes will be without power for up to a month. The governor says some survivors are left with just the clothes on their backs. And one of those survivors was an elderly man who's just seconds away from being crushed as his house fell around him.

Gary Tuchman tonight has the story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The tornado tore right through this house in Bowling Green Kentucky when an elderly man lived by himself. This was his living room where he fell asleep Friday night. And it's no wonder hundreds of pounds of rubble. While sleeping on the couch tornado alerts from a smartphone went off and the alerts saved Bob Newman's life.

BOB NEWMAN, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I have a positive attitude about things. I think I can survive most things.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): His home where he lived for more than 50 years is destroyed. Much of the roof no longer there, expensive items and sentimental treasures broken or gone. Bob Newman suffered cuts to his hand. But here is why after hearing the alerts he wasn't seriously hurt or killed.

(on-camera): The winds were increasing and getting louder. Bob realized he was in danger. He had been sleeping right in this couch, but believe this living room would not be a safe place to be. He was certainly right. So he started crawling. He had always heard being the center of your house if a tornado came through, under the center beam, this doorways under the center beam. He crawled, he got on his knees. He put his arms over his head and he says within seconds the tornado came through the house. This doorway survived and so did Bob.

And as the house was being destroyed around you what was going through your mind?

B. NEWMAN: It went so fast. I didn't even think about it. Oh, it was gone.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Bob truly is a survivor. He was leukemia patient, had triple bypass surgery, and sadly lost the love of his life earlier this year. His wife of about 55 years Mabel passed away in March. They have lived in the home for almost their entire marriage. And it's where their son Steve in this picture with his parents was born. Steve frantically rushed up to Kentucky from his home in Tennessee after not being able to get in touch with his dad. He had encouraged his father to get a smartphone in case of a disaster just like this.

(on-camera): Could you believe what you saw when you got here and that your dad survived?

STEVE NEWMAN, SON OF TORNADO SURVIVOR: That was pretty incredible. I was like how in the heck did he survive that with only a couple of cuts? You know, it's one thing to survive but literally only a couple of cuts and he's got a tremendously positive attitude that he was going to make it.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Bob doesn't know if he will build his house, he does know that he's grateful he can go on with his life.

B. NEWMAN: You got to get over things. I'm, I'm already over this, this is, you know, what, what is this? This is just destroying property. It's not life or I survive it and I'm not going to worry about it.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): So it's time for you to move on you're saying?

B. NEWMAN: It's time move on. Yes. You can't let things like this buddy, you know?


COOPER: Wow, that's a great attitude. Where's Bob -- where -- I mean where's he going to live now?

TUCHMAN: Well, Bob's son says he could live with him in Nashville. But Bob is from Bowling Green originally, he was an insurance man for decades, a middle school teacher for 20 years before that he wants to stay. So right now he's in a hotel. Next, he can move into an apartment where he'll make a decision if he can rebuild this house. But he's just glad and we're just glad that he's safe and OK. Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. And that his son was able to get there. It's great. Yes, we wish him the best. Gary, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.



COOPER: The news continues, let's hand over to Michael Smerconish in "CNN TONIGHT." Michael.