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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
President Biden Calls For Changing Senate Rules To Pass Election Reforms; Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Interview With Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Dr. Fauci Hits Back At Sen. Paul About Dangerous Consequences Of Ongoing Misinformation In Pandemic; Georgia Voting Rights Advocate Stacey Abrams Raises Eyebrows By Skipping Pres. Biden's Speech On Voting Rights In Georgia; Massachusetts Schools Use Dogs To Detect Covid-19. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 11, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Economists right now expect up to four rate hikes in 2022. It is going to be a dramatic change.
Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
With the omicron surge now in full effect, we're joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who in addition to dealing with that also spent his day hitting back at several lawmakers who have been criticizing him for spreading misinformation about the virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I don't understand why you're asking me that question. My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so, 35 years --
SEN. ROGER MARSHALL (R-KS): Where would we find it?
FAUCI: All you have to do is ask for it. You're so misinformed. It's extraordinary.
MARSHALL: Well, why --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is just a small sample of his confrontations with two Republican senators today and again, he joins us shortly.
We begin at Georgia where all eyes of the country have been ever since the Georgia Bulldogs brought home the College Football Championship last night.
Now tonight, though, all eyes are on Georgia as the place President Biden today chose to go full force behind a pair of bills on voting rights that have enormous meaning in the state in the wake of the 2020 election. Also, of course, nationwide, where a number of states including Georgia have passed laws restricting opportunities to vote.
The two bills in question are opposed uniformly by Senate Republicans, however, at least two key Democrats do not want to change Senate rules, so they can pass by a simple majority.
So today in Atlanta, the President broke with his own reluctance on the matter and issued this challenge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I'm making it clear, to protect our democracy, I support changing the Senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights.
So I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered? A consequential moments in history, they present a choice. Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?
This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, again, at least two Democrats, Senators Manchin and Sinema of course oppose changing the rules. Now, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is vowing to tie the Senate in procedural knots if it happens.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will schedule votes on the two bills on or before Martin Luther King Jr. holiday next week.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins starts us off tonight from the White House.
So how does the White House think the speech was received particularly by grassroots activists, many of whom said they, from the outset didn't want another speech, they wanted action.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And several of the ones in Georgia, Anderson, boycotted the President's visit today not attending. Of course, the White House took that turn to highlight the people who did show up, the Civil Rights leaders who did come and the prominent Democrats as well.
And I think you're hearing from some of them, Anderson, that they are happy that the President brought the bully pulpit that he has to Georgia today to talk about this, to give that speech. But they're also saying this isn't going to be the end of the road here. This isn't enough just having another speech from the President on this, including the President of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, who was on hand for the President's visit today, and he said it was a stirring speech, Anderson.
But he also said that, "It's time for this administration to match their words with actions," and saying that, "Voting rights can't just be a priority, it has to be the priority for this White House."
And we know that it is something that is certainly the priority now, but it hasn't always been. They've had other legislative battles that they were fighting when it came to that COVID Relief Bill; infrastructure, of course, the Build Back Better plan that stalled over the Holiday break. And now, voting rights is the top of priority. But the big question is, where does it go from here?
COOPER: Yes, I mean, they have been talking about this now for, I don't know, for months, obviously and it is doomed in the Senate. I mean, it is clear why the President chose to put so much political capital on the line as this public way, unless they can change the opinion of Manchin and Sinema.
COLLINS: And there is no clear plan for that right now, because they have continued to be holed out. You have heard from Senator Manchin, time and time again, what his opinion on this is and how he thinks this should proceed.
And even today, he was on Capitol Hill repeating that any kind of changes to the Senate rules should be bipartisan.
He wants Democrats and Republicans to be involved in that. You've seen Republicans today saying that they don't want to change the filibuster rules to make a one-time exception for voting rights as President Biden was calling for earlier today.
So this is a serious uphill battle, and I'm not sure if that was the framing, totally portrayed by the White House earlier today where the President was talking about, you know, the dichotomy there saying, these are the options that you have if you're a politician or if you're a Democratic holdout of what decision you're making here.
But I think the big question is, where does it go from here? Because this fight is now moving on to the Senate, but we have not seen those Senate holdouts budging at all and though it is not clear what the backup plan is going to be if they do try to move forward with this legislation, like you said, Senator Schumer is promising.
And then of course, if it fails and doesn't get Republican support, he has said then he will move forward to propose changes to the Senate rules.
But Anderson, he does not have those votes yet. And tonight, Senator Schumer was saying he doesn't want to delude voters into thinking -- Democratic voters into thinking that they have the votes here right now, because currently, they don't.
COOPER: Yes. Finally, Kaitlan, I'm sorry, your tide was destroyed last night. I don't really know what that means, but I'm told that you would. I think it's a sports analogy or a sports reference, isn't it?
COLLINS: Something like that. I'm glad that this got brought up. I have finally recovered a little bit from a devastating loss, and I'm already looking forward to next season.
So please make sure, Charlie Moore knows that.
COOPER: My executive producer from Albany, Georgia. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Georgia is, as we said, just one of many states now that have passed for stricter voting laws. More than that from CNN's Sara Murray.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was a year of cracking down on election problems that didn't exist based on lies peddled by the former President.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They rigged the election.
MURRAY (voice over): After record turnout in 2020, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to the ballot box in 2021 according to the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.
Republicans leading the charge citing concerns about election integrity even as no evidence emerged of widespread problems or fraud in the 2020 election.
In Georgia, Republicans passed a law that cuts the number of drop boxes and heavily populated areas, imposes new ID requirements to vote by mail, and makes it a crime to offer voter snacks or water while in line.
STEPHANIE JACKSON ALI, POLICY DIRECTOR, THE NEW GEORGIA PROJECT: It is all a part of a death by a thousand paper cuts structure to continuously limit people's access to the ballot, people's comfort in being able to vote, and people's ability to vote the way that is best for them.
MURRAY (voice over): In Florida --
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I'm actually going to sign it right here.
MURRAY (voice over): Republicans passed a law limiting drop boxes, adding new ID requirements for voting by mail, and restricting who can return a mail-in ballot.
DESANTIS: We're not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box.
MURRAY (voice over): In Texas, House Democrats fled the state trying to kill a bill reducing access to the ballot box. Their efforts ultimately failed, and Republicans banned drive-thru voting and overnight early voting.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Let's make this final.
MURRAY (voice over): Even in Montana where Trump won by 16 points in 2020, Republicans passed laws imposing stricter voter ID requirements and ending the state's long running practice of allowing voter registration on Election Day.
SAMANTHA HARRINGTON, MONTANA VOTER: It's just not necessarily feasible for all of us to take time out of our workday or take time away from our families between the hours of eight to four Monday through Friday to go and fix our registration.
MURRAY (voice over): Samantha Harrington, one of the parties who sued over the change says it's a blow to working Montanans.
HARRINGTON: It shouldn't be a partisan issue. It doesn't matter who you vote for, you should just be able to vote.
MURRAY (voice over): Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: So with that on the table, I want to turn next to a member of the House Democratic leadership who helped his chamber pass the two voting bills now before the Senate, South Carolina Congressman and House Majority Whip James Clyburn shortly before airtime.
COOPER: Chairman Clyburn, we've heard from voting rights activists in Georgia who are so frustrated with the Biden administration that they refuse to attend today's speech. I'm wondering if you share their frustration? And if so, what you made of today?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, I understand the frustrations. Quite frankly, as you know, I've been advocating now for over 10 months, that there ought to be a carve-out on this issue of the filibuster when it comes to constitutional issues like voting.
We've done that for fiscal issues like raising the debt limit, and whatever is necessary to get a budget passed. And so those frustrations, I understand. And I think that the President, in his speech today, addressed those frustrations, in a way that I think he should have.
He even said that he had been quietly negotiating away from public view on this issue for several months. I knew that and I have said that publicly, but he decided today it was time to break the silence.
COOPER: Do you think that a failure to pass voting rights legislation separate from the effect it will have on voting in America just on enthusiasm among particularly black voters in the 2022 midterm elections, do you think it's going to dampen turnout?
CLYBURN: Well, it could. It all depends on what we do over the next several months. So I don't think that's preordained.
I also think, however, that this is a problem for the entire country, not Democrats, not black voters. This is about democracy.
Will we have free, unfettered votes -- voting in this democracy?
COOPER: I want to get your thoughts on Georgia. I mean, this is a state that's trended toward Democrats for a few years now, the voting laws passed at the State level by Republicans are seen by many as an effort to keep the state red even as its demographics change. If no Federal voting rights laws are passed, do you think that effort will be successful over the long term?
CLYBURN: It could very well be. I'll remind you, however, that the people of Georgia better be very, very careful. I don't think they have consulted their history.
They are the ones that changed several years ago, in an effort to nullify black voters, they made this majority runoff requirement for general elections, and all of that happened. I remember very well when it happened.
And now you see they got caught on their own petard here, when you just saw them lose a Senate seat because of that rule. So, I would say that you have to always be careful what you pray for.
COOPER: Well, Chuck -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised to vote on changing the filibuster to advance voting rights legislation by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is six days from now; at the same time, Senators Manchin and Sinema they've really given no signs publicly, they will consider changing Senate rules.
So if they refuse to budge, is there any value in holding the vote?
CLYBURN: Well, I don't know. You know, I don't get mixed up in the Senate rules. I do know this, that the President came out today with a full throated endorsement of Joe Manchin's bill. The so-called Freedom to Vote Act is Joe Manchin is legislation.
Am I to understand that Joe Manchin is going to protect or subject his legislation to a filibuster? They are filibustering his bill. The House Bill has already been defeated. And the President has endorsed his bill.
Stacey Abrams down in Georgia endorsed Joe Manchin's bill, and so have I. But now, Joe Manchin seems to be walking away from his own bill. So what's the issue here?
COOPER: Have you talked to -- I mean, do you talk to Senator Manchin personally about this?
CLYBURN: Not about his bill, I did talk to him for maybe an hour, some time ago over this issue, and Joe Manchin and I have known each other for a long time. So talking to Joe is nothing unusual for me.
COOPER: Chairman Clyburn, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me. COOPER: Coming up, as mentioned at the top of the program, Dr.
Anthony Fauci on the state of play with the omicron surge in full force, also his confrontation today with Senator Rand Paul and this guy, Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, who wanted to know whether he would disclose his finances, something Dr. Fauci says he had been doing for the last 35 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARSHALL: Where would we find it?
FAUCI: All you have to do is ask for it. You're so misinformed, it is extraordinary.
MARSHALL: Well, why --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dr. Fauci joins us shortly.
And the House Select Committee issues more subpoenas as at least some Republicans are starting to say out loud what they all know to be true in private, the election was not stolen.
Select Committee member and Republican Adam Kinzinger joins us, ahead.
COOPER: We've got breaking news now from the Capitol, the January 6 Committee has subpoenaed three more people: the former White House official who helped draft the speech delivered by the former President during the rally at the Ellipse just before the Capitol riot; also two advisers to Donald Trump, Jr. who the Committee says were communicating with the former President's son and his then girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle about the rally.
Now separately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is supporting fellow Republican -- Minority Leader, I'm sorry -- Senator Mike Rounds after he came under attack by the former President for acknowledging this weekend that President Biden won the 2020 election.
McConnell told CNN off camera today he thinks Rounds told the truth adding quote, "I agree with him."
Joining us now, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the January 6th Committee.
Congressman Kinzinger, I appreciate you being with us as always. The fact that Leader Mitch McConnell -- Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is backing Senator Rounds, at least off camera about the 2020 election, is that significant? Is it -- I mean, obviously, in normal times, it would just be okay, yes, that'd be a normal statement.
But you know, these are not normal times. REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): You know, I guess, any vision of you
know, optimism in telling the truth is good.
COOPER: I'm clutching at straws here.
KINZINGER: I mean, keep in mind we are --
COOPER: We're clutching at straws here.
KINZINGER: I mean, you know, Mitch McConnell from the beginning, he was one of the first to acknowledge Joe Biden's victory. It's interesting, because after the election, I just tweeted something about how Sophia and I congratulated the President-elect and you'd think I just, you know, offended everybody in the world.
Yes, basic truth is that Joe Biden won the election. And I'm glad Senator Mike Rounds said that, we need to encourage that. But it is utterly crazy that we're here saying that that's a big deal.
COOPER: I want to play something Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said recently about January 6. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): The passage of time can kind of soften things, but the facts still remain the facts. There was an effort, there was a concentrated effort and we're learning more day by day through this Commission, I wish it had been a Commission that was wholly sanctioned by the whole Congress rather than just a majority of Democrats, but where we're learning more and more that this was a concerted effort to thwart an election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now getting maybe, again, clutching at straws, but the fact is the majority of congressional Republicans are not saying what Senator Murkowski is saying.
You said, there is a truth crisis in the G.O.P. Can it ever be turned around, as long as the former President is still the standard bearer of the party?
KINZINGER: Well, I don't think as long as he's the standard bearer, but I think it can be turned around pretty easily, which is just simply, you know, we all occupy titles that have leadership in their name to some level in the description or in the word and part of that contract we make with people that elect us is, yes, you've got to do things to get elected.
You know, you've got to win. But at the same time, we also have to lead and part of leading is telling the truth.
Senator Murkowski is great. She always has been. She tells the truth, and she has taken a lot of heat for that. And, you know, for people that claim that basically, they are doing this for religious reasons, or whatever, in terms of trying to overthrow an election, I will remind every one of them that went to Sunday school, one of the first lessons you ever learned, was it telling the truth matters, no matter what the consequence is.
Well, everybody knows in the Republican Party that occupy a position like congressman or senator that Donald Trump lost, they know that, but they won't say it either because they can raise money on the lie, or because they're too scared to say the truth, and they -- or you know, any of those another -- they're cowards, but that's the truth.
And it is very basic, and a self-governance compact cannot last in this country if truth doesn't exist or doesn't matter.
COOPER: Can you shed any light on these three new subpoenas, including a former White House official who helped draft the former President's rally speech on January 6th, also, two advisers to Donald Trump, Jr. I don't know -- I mean, I was surprised he has advisers.
But what information is the committee seeking from them? And is there a way to get closer to the former President's thinking that day?
KINZINGER: I think so. And you know, all of this is part of again, this idea, if you have a puzzle, and you pull all the pieces out, you don't necessarily know what the picture is unless you start putting it together.
So every one of these people we're talking to, and particularly this batch of subpoenas is about what are the pieces of Donald Trump's thinking, of maybe when he was talking about the speech that we can get so that we can make this broader picture?
So are they going to be the silver bullet? Maybe, maybe not. But they can certainly shed light on this broader picture, which is going to be important to present to the American people.
COOPER: Your colleague, Chairman Bennie Thompson told CNN today that the Committee plans to try to seek information from Rudy Giuliani at some point. Would that be in actually calling him to testify?
KINZINGER: It certainly could. I mean, obviously, Rudy was in a lot of those conversations we see in after the fact reporting. He was, you know, actively pressing the President on these conspiracies and convincing him and, you know, worming his way into these meetings. So he'll have some information.
I fully expect he probably won't be super cooperative. But again, Congress has ways to compel that and we have ways to ensure that he's telling the truth under oath. But it for me, it's been sad to watch, you know, Rudy Giuliani go from being America's Mayor after 9/11 to this conspiracy driven power at any cost person. And I certainly want to know what's in his thinking or what he knows about the President.
COOPER: According to "The New York Times," though, there is reporting by "The New York Times" that Vice President Mike Pence is now upset, I guess, about the --you know, reports about cooperation of his allies. There has been reporting of Marc Short and others around Vice President Pence have cooperated.
And do you have any sense of his willingness now to cooperate willingly with the investigation?
KINZINGER: Look, you know, all I know is what has been reported, what you said. You know, all indications, his team has been cooperative and it's not like this is necessarily good on you, although, you know, we can say good for doing it.
But the reality is, you have to cooperate. I mean, that's the law. The subpoena from Congress, for instance, has the force of law. It is the same as if you got subpoenaed from Court.
So you know, if the Vice President is losing the desire to cooperate, I certainly hope that changes, but we'll get the information we need and we will pursue whatever lead we need to pursue.
COOPER: Thank you so much for joining us. I know just on a personal note that that you have a new addition to your family coming very soon, any day now, and I just wish you the best to you and your family.
KINZINGER: Thank you, I appreciate that. Thanks.
COOPER: All right, coming up next, Dr. Anthony Fauci on what it's like to fight viral lies spread by politicians that threaten him and his family even as he is fighting the omicron surge. Hear what he said to two senators today and we'll talk to him about that, and the latest on the pandemic.
COOPER: Anyone who doubts Anthony Fauci who grew up in Brooklyn, need only to stop by the Senate today. There you would have found Dr. Fauci, confronting Kentucky Republican senator and fellow MD, Rand Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: The last time we had a Committee of the time before he was accusing me of being responsible for the death of five -- four to five million people, which is really irresponsible. And I say, why is he doing that?
There are two reasons why that's really bad. The first is, it distracts from what we're all trying to do here today, is get our arms around the epidemic and the pandemic that we're dealing with, not something imaginary.
Number two, what happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there, and I have the life -- threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children will have seen phone calls because people are lying about me.
Now, you know, I guess you could say, well, that's the way it goes, I can take the hit. Well, it makes a difference. Because as some of you may know, just about three or four weeks ago, on December 21st, a person was arrested, who was on their way from Sacramento, to Washington, DC, at a speed stop in Iowa. And they asked the police to ask them where he was going. And he was going to Washington DC to kill Dr. Fauci. And they found in his car, an AR-15, and multiple magazines of ammunition, because he thinks that may be on killing people.
So I asked myself, why would Senator want to do this? So go to Rand Paul website, and you see fire Dr. Fauci with a little box that says, contribute here you can do $5 $10, $20, $100. So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political game.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): You have politically --
FAUCI: So the only thing --
PAUL: -- attack your colleagues, and in a politically reprehensible --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
PAUL: You won't defend it.
FAUCI: No one argue it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In the meantime, at least one in five eligible people in this country remain unvaccinated against COVID. And new cases are averaging close to three quarters of a million a day.
Joining us now Dr. Fauci, President Biden chief medical adviser and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a public servant for decades.
Dr. Fauci, thanks for being with us. The particular thing that sets Senator Paul, apart from many others who have attacked you is that he actually graduated from medical school. He's a medical doctor, which I find remarkable. How do you square that with what is coming out of his mouth? Because, you know, you said what we're all here for today talking about the panel in front of you. Clearly what he is there for and many of those are there for, as I heard many public hearings is to make sound bites that get attention, and again, spur donations on his website.
FAUCI: That is true Anderson. And it really is unfortunate. I mean, putting me aside with all the ad hominems and the things that you showed on that film, the hearing was a very important hearing. And there was a lot of good faith, even though there was disagreement, political and other disagreement on both sides of the aisle. I mean, Senator Murray and Senator Burr, really wanted to get down to the bottom of some of the things that we can improve on. So even the Republican senators, were asking good, tough questions, and we shouldn't be having to respond to tough questions.
And yet, the only thing that came out of Senator Rand Paul, and to some extent, Senator Roger Marshall, were at homonyms, which does nothing but distract from what we really need to be doing. We have a pandemic that everyone knows right now is like a tsunami on us. We're going to have close to a million people a day getting infected. And we have close to a million people who are going to die 850,000 people dying and instead of using it in a constructive manner, they're distracting it with things that are patently untrue.
So I can't explain that Anderson except what I brought up at the hearing, that it clearly is politically motivated. There he is -- He's raising money for his campaign by making me the villain, he calls me a polarizing figure. Well, if you call me a murderer and say I'm responsible for ridiculous, preposterous slanderous statements, responsible for the deaths of 5 million people doing this and doing that. It's not me that's making myself polarizing. It's him. The only thing I'm trying to do is what you look on the record of everything I've ever said, getting people to get vaccinated, to get boosted, to wear masks, to abide by the CDC recommendations. That should not be polarizing Anderson. That's just public health. He's making me polarized by saying things about me that are completely untrue.
COOPER: There -- you know, in courtrooms, lawyers aren't supposed to ask a question of a defendant that they don't already know the answer to. That's a lesson that one senator clearly has not learned is Senator Roger Marshall said something to you today. And I just want to play this for viewers because I again, I -- it was one of the things I found kind of stunning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROGER MARSHALL (R-KS): As the highest paid employee in the entire federal government, yes or no would you be willing to submit to Congress and the public a financial disclosure that includes your past and current investments.
FAUCI: I don't understand why you're asking me that question. My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so 35 years in direct.
MARSHALL: A big tech, where would we find it?
FAUCI: All you have to do is ask for it. You're so misinformed. It's extraordinarily.
MARSHALL: Well, why we look --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sen. Marshall?
MARSHALL: -- forward to reviewing it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Marshall, Dr. Fauci has answered you this public information. And he's happy to give it to you if you were to ask.
FAUCI: What a moron. Jesus Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. So, let me just tell you just as a television as someone who exists on television, I can tell you someone wrote that question for him. And the way I know this is because he's looking down at his piece of paper, just reading this question that has clearly been written for him. Someone has made, unfortunately, a large giant check. And he thought this was going to be this big kind of, you know, extraordinary reveal. That's what whoever prepared that question for him had told him. And then when you answered it, he didn't know what to do, because that there was no follow up for him. And he was unaware that that's public information. And then he just, it just went downhill from there.
That wasn't even about science. I mean, how difficult is it to address the actual pandemic, when it's this kind of questions being asked at a hearing, obviously, with great setup, and this is what his staff has been preparing him to ask.
FAUCI: Well, that's the whole point Anderson which I said it was so counterproductive to what the intent of the hearing is. The hearing is, we're dealing with a catastrophic pandemic, that has already killed over 850,000 Americans. And there was good faith on both sides of the aisle, and many of the Republicans and the Democrats, of course, and it was led by, you know, in a bipartisan way by Senator Burr and Senator Murray. And yet, the only thing he had in mind was ad hominem, which I think that's the real issue here. Forget about attacking me. I've been there. I've been around the block. But what a terrible time to be distracting from what we really should be doing.
COOPER: I want to ask you just about the question about cloth mask, because obviously, this is one of those things that affects us a lot of people. I don't quite know what the answer is. I've heard now we've had people on our air Dr. Wen saying cloth masks are basically kind of useless, better than nothing. But you really want the N95 or the KN95, or just some other kind of medical mask. Do you -- would you -- what do you recommend?
FAUCI: Yes, that well I recommend that you get the highest quality mask that you can tolerate and that's available to you. Right now, it doesn't seem to be any shortage of the masks that some time ago, were not available. If you can tolerate an N95, do it. If you want to get a KN95 fine, and what the CDC has said, and it gets misinterpreted, but they're saying wearing any mask is better than no mask at all. But there is a gradation of capability of preventing you from getting infected and from you transmitting it to someone else.
So, we shouldn't be wearing the best possible mask that we can get. That's a fact.
COOPER: Dr. Fauci, I appreciate your time. Thank you. Coming up, the Georgia Democrat noticeably absent from President Biden's Georgia speech down voting rights and it's our signature issues and they should have been fighting for. We'll talk it over with Van Jones and Dana Bash.
COOPER: More now on President Biden speech today in Atlanta on voting rights. There was one Democrat noticeably missing from the event, Georgia's gubernatorial candidate and voting rights advocate, Stacey Abrams, who cited a scheduling conflict. The President and Abrams have long been close and he noted that today saying we have a great relationship when pushing back on a question about her not attending calling into scheduling mix up.
Now you may recall when then candidate Biden was looking for a running mate, Abrams was among the women reportedly consider.
Joining me for their perspective on this, is CNN political commentator, and former Special Adviser of President Obama, Van Jones. Also CNN chief political correspondent co-anchor of "CNN STATE OF THE UNION," Dana Bash.
Dana, do you buy the idea that Stacey Abrams had a scheduling problem?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, never mind what I think Democrats I talked to in and around Biden world don't buy it, not for a second. And the President was maybe being polite, maybe trying to defuse a pretty bad situation when he said that, when he was going out to the helicopter today, but this is an intra Democratic fight that is so not needed and so unnecessary at a time when they feel talk to people on both sides of this issue, that they feel that they absolutely need to have a united front.
And there's so many layers, I am told to this, it's personal. It is a political and when it comes to personal ambitions, I should say. And there is just frustration on the part of a lot of people in and around Stacey Abrams world that the President didn't do this kind of speech much earlier. But it just changes the subject to what we're talking about, as opposed to the fact that it is Republicans who are putting Democrats in the position of having to argue about whether to change process rules in the Senate as opposed to the substance of voting rights.
COOPER: Well, Van, you know, people stop attending speeches or distance themselves from a president or others when they feel that person is weak, or that they have a separate agenda. Whatever the reason, she wasn't there, what signal do you think it? It sends what's been the mistake here, what are you hearing from people who -- I mean there's certainly a lot of folks on the left who believe the President hasn't done enough?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that, first of all, this is about a grassroots movement that is tired. Don't forget, African-American voters in Georgia in particular put the country on their backs and carry this country out of a real crisis in the 2020 election and have not stopped fighting. They have been under constant attack from the Georgia State Legislature. And there was a hue and cry from groups like Black Voters Matter and others earlier in the year for help from the White House. Biden answered that call privately by trying to get this done behind closed doors, but it left the grassroots feeling exhausted, neglected, et cetera.
So there's a bitterness there. It speaks more to just burnout I think than strategy. And then if you're Stacey Abrams these are the folks that have to carry you into the governor's mansion. So, Stacey Abrams is kind of, you know, caught between Biden trying to get something done, not being able to get it done and a grassroots that's fatigue. So she's not there.
Dana is 100% right. We are missing. We've got the fastest on the wrong syllable here. The big news is President Biden has come out. President Biden has come out, he has called for a constitutional carve out to the filibuster to defend the right to vote. This is what the grassroots movement has been asking for, has been calling for, has been demanded, and they won today. And I think it's a very big deal. There is nobody who respects the U.S. Senate more than Joe Biden. There's nobody who cares more about those rules and cherishes the more.
When a Joe Biden gets to the point of frustration and concern about the state of our democracy, that he is now calling for a constitutional carve out. That is a very big deal. It's a victory for the forward (ph) going process. Unfortunately, we're not talking about that enough.
COOPER: Well, Dana, I mean, let's talk about the forward going process, because even if the President is now calling for that, which he will has been rightly pointed out, that's not something he has been saying here to for. I mean, unless he can suddenly whisper that into Joe Manchin's ears and Kyrsten Sinema's ear it doesn't really matter.
BASH: It matters for historical context, it matters for somebody else when it comes to somebody on the bully pulpit making a very important statement, particularly given as Van said his long history in the United States Senate. But for all practical purposes, no, it doesn't. Because what he has to do is convinced Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. And strategically what the White House was hoping with a speech like this is that it would, you know, get the grassroots up in arms and get them to bang down Sinema's door and bang down metaphorically Manchin's door and say you have to do that.
But as Van said, that has been happening already. They didn't need the President to do that. What they want is for the President to use his chops as somebody who can get things done to do just that and not necessarily make a big speech.
COOPER: Yes, Dana Bash, Van Jones, appreciate it. Thank you. There's new tool in the fight against COVID. And it's got four paws and a fluffy tail. Will tell you how some schools are trying to slow the spread, next.
COOPER: Some schools are taking a new approach and trying to detect COVID by using dogs. I'm sure you're wondering how are canines helping in that effort.
We have the details right now from "360s" Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Huntah. She's a black lab. She's 14 months old, and she's a warrior in the fight against COVID. Huntah receive training to recognize the scent of the coronavirus. If she smells that she will give a signal and then get a toy. Nothing found in this second grade gym class at the LG North Elementary School in Norton, Massachusetts. So she goes on to play with some of the children. But then Huntah is brought into the school library.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good girl.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And while first graders have music class and the other side of the library, Huntah abruptly sits down a signal that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do have some odor presence of COVID odor on this bookshelf. She just she actually just, just that. Good girl. So what I'll do is I'll praise our good girl, let her wait it out a little bit, kind of dial it in try to try to narrow it down.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We know COVID-19 primarily spreads through the air. And Huntah is searching there too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An odor is almost like a cone. If you could picture a cone the source of the odor is strong at the base like it was on the bookshelf. And then the odor goes out into a corner.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This is Duke, he's Huntah's partner in the canine COVID patrol. This is the school cafeteria, he stops abruptly and sits too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just found something.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then two minutes later.
(on-camera): What did he find here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same thing.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): So what happens after Duke and Huntah make their discoveries? JOHN BAETA, SUPERINTENDENT, NORTON PUBLIC SCHOOL: We notify parents in terms of if we have information that a student is specific in that seat. We want parents to have that decision that right to make a decision about do they want to test and stay the student or do they want to pull the student or just keep an eye out for symptoms.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): In addition, after the detector dog makes a hit, the areas are disinfected. The now regular visits of these dogs to Bristol County Schools, police stations, city halls and other locations is a result of research done at Florida International University. Ken Furton is the provost there and a scholar in forensic chemistry.
KENNETH FURTON, PROVOST, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Normally you can train dogs to above 90% accuracy. And when we train these COVID-19 dogs, we did double blind studies and we published them in Peer Reviewed Journal, we actually received a 97.5% average accuracy in double blind trials.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): However, there is acknowledgement that things like density of a space or an unmotivated dog can make accurate canine COVID hits harder to come by. The research is promising, but it's still early.
(on-camera): Are you concerned that parents here and other people here will say that we don't need the mask up all the time. We don't need vaccines, we don't need a test, we have the dogs.
THOMAS HODGSON, SHERIFF, BRISTOL COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS: This is not to replace but CDC and DPH are telling people in the communities about what to do. That's a whole part of the science and what they believe is a preventative measure. So, this is a way for us to enhance that in a very direct way and be proactive to prevent more people from getting sick, but they should continue to do what CDC is recommending.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So basically, the training is the dogs sniff masks that had been positive for COVID-19.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): And that's how they got their training?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): If I take off my mask --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Huntah can smell my mask and tell me if I have COVID.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): OK, let me take it off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. TUCHMAN (on-camera): I'm going to put this other one out in the meantime. All right Huntah, I put it right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, no problem.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): OK. All right in the fact that Huntah has not sat down means I'm negative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Which I knew when the day started. All right, Huntah.
(voice-over): Like many schools, the numbers of students and staff out with COVID are high. The hope here is that conditions can be made safer with the help of these four legged warriors.
COOPER: So, are this kind of dog patrols used elsewhere?
TUCHMAN: Well, Anderson, it is being done in other localities most prominent as Miami Dade County. That's where FIU, Florida International University where the research is taking place is located. Will this grow across the country? I don't know the answer to that. But I do know the sheriff we interview of Bristol County, Massachusetts in the story. He says he's going to start lobbying members of Congress to fund sheriff's departments around the country so they all can afford a COVID canine program. Anderson.
COOPER: Gary, appreciate it. Thanks. We'll be right back.
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