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WH: President Biden To Call Out Trump's Responsibility For January 6 Riot; Former President Carter: "I Fear For Our Democracy"; Australian PM Says Djokovic "Didn't Have A Valid Medical Exemption" To Enter Country Unvaccinated. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 05, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give me any names? No?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Jackson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Jackson is coming back?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Jackson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not - he's not dead?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robin Williams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robin Williams is coming back?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robin Williams was at that group, last night.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): None of the predictions from QAnon have actually ever come true. And so, they've embraced other conspiracies, about the election, the Pandemic, and any other topic that fits their agenda. No conspiracy is too wild, no prediction too unlikely, for a movement that continues on.
COOPER: Up next, President Biden, and Vice President Harris, are set to speak, at the Capitol, tomorrow, on the one-year anniversary, of the Insurrection, and what we can expect to hear from them, next.
COOPER: Good evening again, from Washington.
We begin this hour with breaking news, and what the President and Vice President, will say tomorrow, at ceremonies, marking the anniversary, of the worst attack ever, by Americans, on American democracy, since the Civil War.
[21:05:00] As we've been learning, all year, this was not spontaneous. It was not an isolated event. It was part of a larger campaign, to pressure everyone, from county election officials, to state lawmakers, and secretaries of state, to the Vice President of the United States, to overturn the election.
Now, in our last hour, we had the co-authors of "Peril," the best- selling account, of former administration's final days, Bob Woodward, Robert Costa.
Bob Woodward called, what happened, a year ago, "A crime against the Constitution." Robert Costa said, "The more you pull up the rug, the more you see that everyone's fingerprints were on this."
And compounding that, a Republican Party, which started the year, notably, clear-eyed, about the Insurrection, at least for a couple of days, is now gas-lighting the public, instead of searching for answers.
So, there's all of that, and the breaking news. CNN's Kaitlan Collins, joins us now, from the White House, with that.
So, we know President Biden, and Vice President Harris, are going to speak at the Capitol, to mark tomorrow's anniversary. Do we know much about what they're going to say?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think, for President Biden, when he starts to speak, after the Vice President has given her remarks, Anderson, it's going to be pretty blunt. This is a speech that he's been working on, for several days.
He had nothing on his public schedule, today, because this was something he was focused on, given just how big the moment is, talking about the implications not only of what happened that day, but also, as you were saying, just there, how far-reaching they have been, and what we've learned, in the days and the months, since that attack happened.
And so, when it comes to the role that his former predecessor played, in invoking and starting that riot, that is something going - that President Biden is expected to take on, head-on, according to what Jen Psaki told us in the briefing, earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would expect that President Biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol, and the singular responsibility, President Trump has, for the chaos and carnage that we saw.
And he will forcibly push back on the lie, spread by the former President, in an attempt, to mislead the American people, and his own supporters, as well as distract from his role, and what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: I think that was a key line there, talking about how Jen Psaki says that they believe that former President Trump has tried to distract, from the role he played, in what happened that day.
Of course, his rally beforehand, what happened before, and the days, leading up to that, how he denied what had actually happened, in the election. And so, that should be a big focus, of what President Biden says, on Capitol Hill, tomorrow morning.
It's going to be a really significant speech.
And I think, also, looking back, to what President Biden was doing, on that day, a year ago, he was preparing to give a speech, Anderson, on the economy, to talk about that. And, of course, that was a speech that was then delayed, by two hours, as people watched, in basic disbelief, of what was going on, on Capitol Hill that day.
And now, of course, a year later, President Biden himself will be up there, talking about the day, marking it.
One other thing. Voting rights, I think has been a big discussion that has come out of what happened on January 6. And you will hear President Biden mention it tomorrow, but not in any significant way, not in any big way.
The White House says that's because he is going to Atlanta, next Tuesday, to give a speech on voting rights there. That has become something that has been a big push, at the forefront, for Democrats, now, as you've seen.
The legislative part of the agenda has been stalled lately. It wasn't something that was at the forefront, for President Biden, in his first year in office. But they say it is certainly something that's at the forefront now, Anderson.
COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it.
Tonight, the House Select Committee, on January 6, heard from Stephanie Grisham, the former White House Press Secretary.
Joining us now, with the latest, CNN Congressional Correspondent, Ryan Nobles.
So, what do we know about Grisham's meeting, with the committee, tonight?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, what's probably the most remarkable, about Grisham's appearance, in front of the Select Committee, is that she wasn't subpoenaed.
The committee didn't even ask her to appear. But this was born out of a phone conversation that she had with Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, where she was very candid, about her experience, around the Trump family, and the days leading up to, and on January 6.
And through that conversation with Raskin, it was clear that she had a lot of information, to share. That led to this meeting that took place tonight, with the Select Committee.
After Grisham left, she didn't shed much light, on what she told the committee. But she said that she is fully cooperating with them, and is willing to answer whatever question that they have, about her connection, to what happened, on January 6.
COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate it.
Joining us now, CNN's Chief Political Correspondent, and "STATE OF THE UNION" Co-anchor, Dana Bash, CNN's Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, and former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, and CNN Legal Analyst, Carrie Cordero.
All, by the way, testing negative today, for COVID. Yay! Including myself. I assume, right? I didn't actually see your results. But I trust you all!
Dana, so, you heard the reporting, from Ryan Nobles. I'm wondering what most surprised you about how much has changed in this past year.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN CO-ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: How much has changed? And yet, how much--
BASH: --hasn't changed, right?
In the immediate aftermath, as we were watching, and then that night, a year ago, tomorrow, we thought things were finally going to change, after the Republicans, you played last hour, so many Republicans, Republican leaders, from Kevin McCarthy to Mitch McConnell, to others, who are now--
COOPER: Lindsey Graham suddenly seemed to have a spine, for a second.
BASH: Yes. Are now in total, not even just denial. They're just completely ignoring it. Were very out front, in saying, "This is the worst day of - that I have spent here, in Congress." And now, they are not.
And the reason is because of the immense intense pressure that is still, to this day, coming from the Trump base, on these people, who they feel that they elected, to do their bidding.
But their bidding is the bidding of the former President. And that is because the lies continue. And the echo chamber continues to really reverberate. And it's because, not just of the former President, but of the conservative media, who amplify the lies.
COOPER: Well, also, I mean, Carrie, it seems the progress that's been made, isn't so much, in the investigate - though there has been, I guess, some progress, in the information that's come out of the investigation, into this. The progress seems to be made by Republican legislators, around the country, who are putting in voting rights laws, or attempting to have stricter voting rights laws, put in, who are calling, for sham audits, of legitimate elections, and talking about running candidates at, every level, to kind of manipulate the system, in the future.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: That's right.
So, I think there's, as we look at this anniversary, tomorrow, there is the retrospective part, which is the criminal culpability, for those, who attacked the Capitol. The political accountability that we're not yet seeing, with respect to individuals, who may have been involved, in the planning, or the supporting, or the incitement of it.
And then, there's the prospect of peace, which is what does this mean about elections of the future. And that's where what's going on, in the States, with respect to, efforts, to limit access, to voting, efforts, to counter the integrity and the confidence that people have, in the electoral systems.
Despite the fact that 2020 was really secure election, there still are these activities, intended to discredit future elections. And that is the scary part, going forward. The fact that there continue to be politicians, at the federal, state, and local level, who, for political expedience, and for their own purposes, are undermining confidence, in future elections.
COOPER: Andrew, what do you make of what the FBI has been able to accomplish, over the past year, and the Department of Justice? And it concerns, obviously, to a lot of Democrats, who would like to need the Department of Justice doing more.
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. So, I think, on a couple levels, I think the way, the FBI has handled, the immediate aftermath investigation, has been laudatory.
I know some folks are frustrated by the fact that there are so many hundreds of folks, potential rioters, who have left - who have not yet been identified, and certainly not been charged.
That is an incredibly tough process that they're going through. It's an investigation at a scope that we've never seen before. So, for those of us, who've been in the investigative trenches, we're not surprised to see that that's taking some time.
For me, the much bigger question is what has federal law enforcement and, very specifically, the FBI, done, to address the underlying mistakes, and the underlying misses that led to this massive tragedy.
January 6 was absolutely a massive failure, on the part of federal law enforcement. It is the FBI's number one priority, to prevent acts of terrorism, in the United States. We had a massive act of domestic terrorism, on our very Capitol grounds. So, that is a failure by definition. We have not yet heard, from the FBI, or from Director Wray, exactly what they think, led to that failure. I think many of the senior leadership, public responses, and testimony, has been defensive, rather than transparent.
And so, a year, after this attack, we are still left wondering, what happened, inside the FBI, inside DHS that led to this massive oversight. And that is very concerning to me.
COOPER: Do you think that from a law enforcement standpoint that these extremist groups are more closely watched in, or, I mean, or that we know more about the potential threats?
MCCABE: I have - no doubt. I'm quite confident that at least, within the FBI, resources were likely reprogrammed. Strengths and the attention of our analysts and our agents have been trained, much more seriously, on the domestic terrorist threat.
MCCABE: And Director Wray's testified to that effect.
The question is, what were the underlying assumptions? What were the - how did they think about the Intelligence that they had, before January 6? And now, have they changed those assumptions, in that process, and that math now?
COOPER: Dana, you spoke to the Chairman of the Committee, Bennie Thompson, on Sunday. He said, "If there's anything that we come upon, as a committee, that we think would warrant a referral, to the Department of Justice, we will do that."
Do you think the committee is moving forward to referring criminal complaint?
BASH: It certainly seems that way. The question is about whom? Where are they - where are they focusing here? And how high-up are they focusing here?
I think the combination of what Bennie Thompson said to me, about that, that they're not going to basically pull their punches, that, they're really going to be focused, on criminality, if they do find that that is a potential, and what Merrick Garland said today, which is that they don't care, if it's anybody, who was there, or maybe not there, in terms of planning, they're going to focus, on those people? It's an open question.
If you listen to Liz Cheney, she is clearly trying to build a case, for going after the former President, for going after Donald Trump, in a criminal way.
It's really unclear, whether or not, if they actually do make that referral, which would be pretty remarkable, whether any Justice Department can see a former President, as criminally culpable. But it seems like that is where they're headed.
COOPER: Carrie, one of the things that we heard so much, coming out of this, last year, was that, the realization that so many of - so many of the things that we assume about our democracy are really just norms. They're not codified in law.
Has there been progress, or much, to actually codify those norms, and make them more sort of bedrock laws, in this country?
CORDERO: I think our democracy is in a difficult place right now.
And it's in a difficult place, because, at the political branches, there are politicians, and members of Congress, and a political movement that exists in the country that still is unwilling to acknowledge, the legitimate result of the 2020 election, and continues to use that issue, as a way, to undermine democracy. So, I think, from that perspective, it's in a bad place.
The other indication that it's in a bad place, I think, was something that Attorney General Garland spent actually a really significant part of his speech on, today. And it was the middle part of his speech that was not just about the January 6 investigation, but about the part, where he talked about political violence.
And he talked about violence that's going on, all across the country, whether it's threats against poll workers, threats against airline workers, against law enforcement, and against elected officials, both at the local level, and at the federal level.
And what he described, is a lawlessness that is going across the country that, in his words, if we don't get, I'm paraphrasing, but, "If we don't get control of it, it's really going to continue to be a problem." And I thought that was a really important message that he sent. And he spent a substantial amount of time--
CORDERO: --speaking about it.
COOPER: Carrie Cordero, Andrew McCabe, Dana Bash, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
When we come back, we're going to talk more about the threat to democracy, the ongoing threat, with the co-authors of "How Democracies Die."
Also tennis and broadcasting great, Patrick McEnroe, joins us, on Australia's decision, to keep Novak--
COOPER: Djokovic, thank you, I got to - I got to learn sports - out of the country, in the Australian Open, over his vaccine status. This is a huge story. We'll be right back.
[21:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: When a former President of the United States, writes a newspaper column, it generally doesn't include the words, "I fear for our democracy." Yet that is the headline on Jimmy Carter's essay, in "The New York Times," today. "I fear for our democracy," the former President said.
As we go into tomorrow, he's hardly alone in that sentiment. Former generals have said as much, former government officials, also, people, who studied this, for a living, including our next guest, Harvard University's Daniel Ziblatt, and Steven Levitsky, co-authors of the best-selling and deeply-troubling "How Democracies Die."
So Daniel, I'm wondering what your current view is, on the threat, to democracy, in this country. Have things changed, or not changed, in a year, since January 6?
DANIEL ZIBLATT, CO-AUTHOR, "HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE", PROFESSOR, SCIENCE OF GOVERNMENT AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think it's pretty clear that January 6 was really a turning point for us.
It's momentous. I mean, it'll have long-run consequences. It could be an indicator, of democracy, further derailing. It could be a moment, where we rally behind democracy. Or it could also be a moment, where we continue to limp along, kind of careening from extreme to extreme.
If the Republicans retake the house, they might impeach - try to impeach Joe Biden, for instance. And that's a kind of reality that none of us want to live in.
So, I think, in many ways, the answer to that question is really in our own hands, and how we treat, and how we interpret the events that just happened, in the past year.
COOPER: Steven, I want to read again, from former President Jimmy Carter's piece, in "The New York Times," saying, "Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it's too late."
Do you agree with President Carter's assessment?
STEVEN LEVITSKY, CO-AUTHOR, "HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE," PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Yes. I think it's deeply troubling that a former President, and a man, who spent a good part of his adult life, both in the presidency, and after the presidency, defending human rights, and promoting democracy abroad, in Africa and Latin America, across the world, is now worried about, protecting election officials, in the United States, is now worried about getting voters access to the ballot boxes, is worried about losing our democracy, here in the United States.
I think it's just a profoundly troubling column to read. COOPER: And I mean, Daniel, the fact that we don't have a shared view, of January 6, in this country, that there are still, you know, you look at these polls of among Republicans, about the acceptance of the idea of political violence, being justified, in some cases, about who was involved, in January 6, what was actually behind it? It's really, we don't have shared facts. And when that - when you don't have that, it's hard to make compromises.
ZIBLATT: Yes. One of the things that Steve and I are doing in some research that we're doing, we look at other similar events that have happened, in other countries, in France, in the 1930s, Spain, in 1981, where there's been assaults on Parliaments.
And the question is how does, the establishment, or how does the general public, interpret these events, and understand what happened?
And, in some countries, there's a polarized history. And, in those places, democracy later gets into trouble.
In places where citizens, and parties, and politicians, of all stripes, kind of rally around the kind of truth, and try to discover what really happened, democracy can consolidate.
And so, I think interpreting facts correctly, understanding what really happened, getting to the bottom of what really happened, is absolutely critical, to have a shared understanding, of what happened.
Because, if in a way, we give this - have a kind of polarized fake history, of what happened, in effect, what we're doing, is excusing violence. And excusing violence only encourages more violence. So, it's really critical that we get the facts right.
COOPER: And, I mean, here we had, the Republican Party, I think it was in Cobb County, who had planned, tomorrow, to have a vigil, for people, who had - insurrectionists, who are, in prison now, or awaiting trial, in support of them on, the day of the anniversary.
ZIBLATT: Yes. Again, looking at the historical record, there's three kinds of interpretations that often come, defenders of this.
First, people will say, "Well, it wasn't that big of a deal." Then they say, "Well, no, it's a false flag operation." And then, very quickly, after, they say, "Actually, the insurrectionists were the heroes."
And this, of course, is in a kind of upside-down world, where the attack - that those attacking democracy, the peaceful transition of power, are supposedly heroes of democracy. This, again, is building a really counter narrative that is very, very disruptive.
COOPER: Steve, what does it say to you, the former President also intended to have a press conference, tomorrow, filled with the same old crap that he's been spewing out, for this past year, to anybody, who'll listen on television or, at the dining room, in Mar-a-Lago? LEVITSKY: Again, this comes down, to the Republican Party leadership, to Republican leaders.
There is a lot of evidence, in countries across the world that when many, many countries suffer occasional assaults, on democracy, coup attempts, and the like, when political leaders rally behind democracy, forcefully, publicly, denounce the assault on democracy, and line up behind the democratic government? The result is that the public accepts a single history, and accepts that this behavior is beyond the pale.
When the opposition party, when one of the parties kind of poo-poos it, or silent, or even condones the violence, that's when the message is sent to people that "All right, maybe this is acceptable, maybe this is OK." And, as Daniel mentioned, that makes it more likely that it's going to happen again.
And what Republicans have done, by failing to impeach President Trump, after he tried to incite an insurrection, after he tried to steal an election, and by failing to get behind an independent investigation, of what happened, in January 6, Republican leaders are basically telling their followers that "Yes, maybe this was OK." Incredibly dangerous for democracy!
COOPER: And, Daniel, I mean, I was talking about this, in the previous segment.
But, again, if the norms that were kind of highlighted, as being so vulnerable, as so many of the things, we take for granted, about our democracy, are based on norms, not based on law, things that are codified, the fact that it doesn't seem like much has been done, over the last year or two, to kind of try to pour some concrete, around those norms, and make them stronger? That's worrying.
ZIBLATT: Yes. So, there's a couple of key pieces of legislation, in the Senate, right now.
The Freedom to Vote Act, also efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act, which is the set of rules, regulating what happens, when the Electoral College's votes are counted, these things need to be reformed.
I think there's active discussions. And they need to happen immediately. I mean, they need to happen, within the next potentially nine months, if there's a change in government, this coming fall. So, I mean, I think Democrats really have a big agenda. And there's growing pressure.
And I think these events of January 6, are only at the kind of tip of the iceberg. And they're a useful moment, for all of us, to kind of pause, and reflect that we had problems before January 6.
We continue to have problems after January 6. And that the most we can make of this moment, is to use this moment, to do exactly as you described, to fortify our democracy.
COOPER: Yes. Daniel Ziblatt, Steven Levitsky, I appreciate, as always, thank you.
On the same subject, don't miss Fareed Zakaria's documentary, "THE FIGHT TO SAVE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY," which airs, this Sunday, 9 P.M.
Up next, tonight, I'm going to speak with one of Sean Hannity's former colleagues, at Fox, about his invitation, to speak with the January 6 committee, and why they're so eager, to talk with him, after reading so many of his text messages, to top allies, of the former President.
COOPER: Still no response, tonight, from Sean Hannity, to the text messages, released last night, by the House January 6 committee.
The Fox anchor sent the messages, to allies, of the former President, before and after the riot. The committee says they demonstrate an awareness, of the former President's strategy, and tactics, to overturn the election. Also that he was pushing baseless conspiracy theories, to his audiences, while saying something entirely different, off-camera.
In one text, to Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and Congressman Jim Jordan, four days, after the attack, Hannity writes, quote, "Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in nine days. He can't mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I'm not sure what is left to do or say, and I don't like not knowing if it's truly understood. Ideas?"
Joining me now is a former colleague, of Hannity's, at Fox, the former Chief Political Correspondent, Carl Cameron.
Carl, it's good to see you.
CARL CAMERON, FORMER FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
COOPER: Does it say that the public has heard from, neither Sean Hannity, nor the Fox News Channel, since those text messages, were released, by the committee, last night?
CAMERON: I suspect that there's been an awful lot of closed-door conferences, about how to deal with it. And I suspect that a lot of Fox viewers are wondering when they're going to - when they're going to reply.
Bottom line is, it looks like Sean may have been playing both sides of defense, and got caught. So, Fox viewers heard him seemingly gung-ho, for all this, when in fact, he was talking, to both Meadows, and Jordan, saying, "Hey, you know, we got a problem." It's bad. And it's going to get worse.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a proper memorial ceremony. And we'll have a time to think about just how damaging, the last year has been, because of it all. And, frankly, it goes to the very top, the president - former President Donald Trump was the biggest purveyor of all of this stuff.
And Sean Hannity, for all intents and purposes, was an acolyte of Rush Limbaugh, 25 years ago, 30 years ago, as a radio talking head. And he's not a journalist, doesn't profess to be. In fact, he says that himself.
And so, it really is the politicians, who have to be held accountable to this too, particularly the likes of Jordan, and Meadows, and others (ph).
COOPER: Yes, I mean, I was initially stunned at just the level of his free sense of, A, importance, and that he should be communicating, with all these people, and is clearly deeply involved in policy decisions.
And clearly, it sounds like he talked to the White House Counsel, or at least was privy to the White House Counsel's ideas that he's talking to Jordan, that he's talking to Mark Meadows.
And, as you said, he's not a journalist, which obviously would be unacceptable, for a journalist, to be having this kind of a relationship, with the people they're covering.
But it does seem to be count - I mean, I think the hypocrisy of what he's saying on air, versus what he's saying behind-the-scenes, I don't know if any of the viewers will care. But it, to me, that, I guess, is the thing that's most troubling.
CAMERON: Well, and it also perpetuates misinformation, and disinformation, from an anchor, one of the most popular prime time anchors in the country, on cable news.
CAMERON: And much of it isn't news at all.
Much of what you see on most of Fox now are talking heads, spitting out their opinions. And oftentimes, taking the opinions of very dangerous people, out there, in the general public, and making that somehow a reality, when so much of it, is just comes right out of their head, and isn't real. It's really, really important that tomorrow, the country, take a good hard look at this.
And we have to stop beating each other up. There has to be some connection here. It is time for people, families, right down to, kids and grandpas, have to be able to talk to each other. There's generational divides that are coming because of this.
God knows, between the Pandemic and the politics, it is easy for this democracy, to begin to corrode, even faster. We got to start talking to each other, and trying to be a little bit more friendly--
COOPER: Yes. CAMERON: --and seek different (ph) set of fantasies.
COOPER: I agree with that. And, I think, people, all of us, in the public jobs, on television, have a role to play in that. And it's something, I think about a lot, and want to contribute, to the positiveness, of what can be. And there should be a lot of that.
Carl Cameron, I appreciate you joining us, tonight. Thank you.
CAMERON: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Up next, there's more breaking news. We're just days from the Australian Open. And the world's top tennis star has been ordered to leave the country. Details ahead.
COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. The world's number one ranked tennis player, Novak Djokovic, is embroiled in a massive COVID controversy. He may not be able to play in the Australian Open.
After being held in the Melbourne Airport, for several hours, Djokovic was refused entry, into the country, after his visa was cancelled. The Australian Prime Minister says he didn't have a valid medical exemption, for a COVID vaccine.
Djokovic has not publicly revealed his vaccination status. But have spoken out multiple times, against vaccine mandates, in the past.
Now, according to Reuters, in a Facebook Live chat, in 2020, Djokovic said, quote, "Personally, I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn't want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel."
Joining us now, former professional tennis player, and ESPN Tennis Analyst, Patrick McEnroe.
Patrick, thanks for being with us. I'm wondering what you make of everything that has happened, over just the last few hours, with Djokovic's visa.
PATRICK MCENROE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER, ESPN TENNIS ANALYST, PODCAST HOST, "HOLDING COURT WITH PATRICK MCENROE": Well what started out Anderson, as just a firestorm, in the tennis world, has become a firestorm, politically, in Australia. And it's just become a you-know-what show. It's been an absolute disgrace, what has happened, from start to finish here.
Look, Novak Djokovic, I don't agree with the fact that he's decided to make his own decision, not to be vaccinated. But he did follow the guidelines that were presented to him, as far as getting a medical exemption, so that he could go, and play, at the Australian Open.
Now, when he made the trip, to go to Australia, from Europe, which takes well over 24 hours, he released an Instagram picture, Anderson, in which he said, "I've been granted a medical exemption. I'm on my way to Australia. Can't wait to go to try to win my 10th Australian Open."
Well, that created the firestorm, from the Australian public, who, as you know, Anderson, has had to go through six different lockdowns, for over 250 days, in the last just over a year.
So, the citizens of Australia, particularly of Melbourne, not looking too kindly, at someone, coming into their country, unvaccinated, with an exemption, when they themselves were not able to get exemptions, to see loved ones that were seriously ill, in the hospital.
So, that created this firestorm. The Prime Minister got involved. And I think that's where Novak Djokovic became a political pawn in Australia.
COOPER: I mean, over the last two years, he hasn't followed COVID protocols, closely, right?
MCENROE: Not at all. I mean, he had a tournament that early on in the Pandemic, in the summer of 2020, was supposed to help raise money, for people in Serbia, neighboring countries.
That turned out to be an absolute disaster, because he got COVID. His wife got COVID. Numerous other players got it as well. There was videos of their partying, in a bar, and no social distancing, no masks, and so on.
Then he has been very coy, Anderson about the fact that is he vaccinated or not? He's never actually said, one way or the other. He's just said, as you noted, in a Facebook Live post, "I don't believe in vaccines. I also don't believe in mandates, to be able to travel."
Well, guess what? The world has changed. The world is different. You're entitled to have your own personal beliefs, and take your own stands. But you're not entitled to impose them, on other people, all over the world, particularly when you're traveling, from country to country.
So it's his right to say, "I don't want to get vaccinated." But it's not his right to then say, "I can go to any country, I want to, and not abide, necessarily, by their laws."
That's where Australia brought down the hammer. But I don't think it really makes Australian Government look that good either because Novak was able to get on the plane, supposedly with his visa in place.
He gets to Australia. That's where the federal government, Anderson, took over, and said, "We're going to override what the State of Victoria," where it's just where the Australian Open is played, in Melbourne, "We're going to override that decision, because we don't think his medical records deem that he has the exemption, necessary, that he can get into the country, unvaccinated."
COOPER: Yes. Wow! Patrick McEnroe, it's just - it's fascinating developments. As you said, it has just blown up. I really appreciate you being with us. Thank you, Patrick.
MCENROE: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: Ahead, a new GOP legal threat, against Twitter, and social media giants, the same platforms that some of the most vocal conservatives, in Congress, are using, to spread misinformation. Some examples, next.
COOPER: As Washington, and the nation, prepare to remember the failed coup, at the Capitol, the battle over dangerous misinformation, continues, on a number of other fronts.
But the top House Republican is doing nothing, to stop more lies, from his own Caucus. Instead, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is threatening social media giants, days after Twitter closed, one of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's accounts, for repeatedly spreading COVID misinformation.
On Tuesday, McCarthy himself tweeted, quote, "Twitter (all big tech), if you shut down constitutionally protected speech (not lewd and obscene) you should lose 230 protection. Acting as publisher and censorship regime should mean shutting down the business model you rely on today, and I will work to make that happen."
McCarthy was referencing Section 230, the law that limits tech companies' liability for posted content.
Now, in September, he warned, without evidence, that telecom social media companies, complying with the January 6 committee, could be breaking the law.
With no signs of punishment, by McCarthy, against his own members, Randi Kaye, tonight, shows us how they, and Senate colleagues, are spreading some risky falsehoods.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican Senator Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, pushing the false claim, on Twitter that rinsing with mouthwash, can help keep COVID-19 away, and reduce the viral load, in saliva.
There is no scientific evidence, to support this, as an effective solution, to the Pandemic.
A month earlier, Republican Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, falsely claiming in a tweet that natural immunity, from having COVID, is better than either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Keep in mind, the CDC recommends, getting vaccinated, even if you've had COVID, since you may not be protected from other variants, and natural immunity is very unreliable. So, Paul's claim of 99.9982 percent natural immunity is likely 100 percent wrong.
Before she was permanently suspended, from Twitter, for spreading misinformation, Georgia's Republican congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, bizarrely claimed, "Masks are child abuse."
And, in another tweet, doubled down with this flawed claim. "These vaccines are failing & do not reduce the spread of the virus & neither do masks."
That's just not true, according to the CDC.
And what about this tweet, from the Republican House Judiciary Committee, last month, inaccurately asserting, "If the booster shots work, why don't they work?" That was then retweeted by Republican Congressman Jim Jordan.
Remember, the CDC says boosters will help protect against severe illness and death.
(VIDEO - ANIME-STYLE VIDEO TWEETED BY ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR)
KAYE (voice-over): No question, some tweets are more memorable than others, like this controversial animated video, tweeted out by Arizona Congressman, Paul Gosar.
It's since been taken down. But the Republican congressman's video features a giant that resembles himself, appearing to kill Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and attacking President Joe Biden. Gosar, who was ultimately censured, by the House, denied that it was a threat.
Gosar also tweeting nonsense, about the "Big lie," on January 6, "Biden should concede. I want his concession on my desk tomorrow morning."
On that same topic, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, pushing this unsubstantiated claim. "FBI operatives played a role in the January 6 Capitol riot."
Piling on, Marjorie Taylor Greene, with this unfounded and unproven assertion, on Twitter, "There was mass voter fraud on a scale that should terrify every American regardless of political party."
REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): President Trump.
KAYE (voice-over): Republican Congressman Mo Brooks, also falsely claiming, on Twitter, on January 6, "Evidence mounts that fascist ANTIFA infiltrated Trump rally & stormed Capitol," before sowing doubt about it in his own tweet, adding, "I don't know the true facts yet."
(END VIDEOTAPE) KAYE: That's not true, of course. The facts are plain to see. And Twitter is now simply drawing a harder line, on lying, about them. Anderson?
COOPER: Randi, thanks very much.
Up next, a reminder tonight, about what's at stake, for America, told through a life well-lived.
COOPER: Tonight, we remember the oldest known living U.S. World War II veteran, who died a 112-years-old today. And the fight for democracy that he was a part of, decades ago, that takes on powerful meaning, on the eve of the January 6 riot.
According to The National WWII Museum, Lawrence Brooks served in the predominantly African American 91st Engineer Battalion that was stationed in New Guinea, and the Philippines, during the war.
Brooks is survived by his five children, 13 grandchildren, and 32 great grandchildren. His wife died in 2008.
Just four months ago, Brooks was honored, on his 112th birthday, with the drive-by celebration, and parade, at his home, in New Orleans. The City also issued an official proclamation, recognizing Brooks' milestone birthday.
What an extraordinary life! Thank you for your service!
The news continues. Let's turn things over to now to Don, and "DON LEMON TONIGHT."