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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Oath Keepers Leader Makes Court Appearance; Novak Djokovic Detained Again As He Awaits Visa Hearings; Michigan Attorney General Refers False Electors Investigation To Federal Prosecutors; Pentagon: "Very Credible" Intel Indicates Russia Is Prepping Operation To Justify Invading Ukraine; Family, Friends Attend Funeral For Bob Saget; "Reframed: Marilyn Monroe" Premieres Sunday At 9P & 10P ET/PT. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 14, 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: Snow and ice warnings in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Iowa as it moves East is already getting clobbered with whiteout conditions. A sign of what's to come for New York, they say. We will have the wind chill maybe in the negative teens.
Snow is forecast for Sunday and Monday.
Thanks so much for joining us. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
When we left you last night, 11 so-called Oath Keepers had been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with January 6. Here they are.
Today, their leader and founder, a guy named Stewart Rhodes made his first Court appearance in Plano, Texas and entered a plea. In a moment, we'll have more on exactly who he is and how his group came to spearhead right-wing extremism's eruption onto the national stage a little more than a year ago and its flirtation before and since with members of one of this country's two mainstream political parties.
First though, all we've learned since last night, which is a lot, some of which have further very false notions about the insurrection that we've all been hearing literally since day one.
For starters, remember, the initial refrain subsequently amplified that these weren't really Trump supporters, but were Antifa? In fact, a lot of the former President's supporters still seem to make that argument.
Well, according to the indictment, Page 22 of the indictment, Rhodes responded on his Signal chat channel to a claim that Antifa had broached the Capitol. According to the indictment, Rhodes, replied quote: "Nope, I'm right here. These are patriots."
So keep that in mind as you think back to how many times over the last year, you've heard lawmakers try to whitewash the insurrection and variations on the theme that the people who stormed the Capitol weren't really the people that we all watched storming the Capitol.
So there's that which plays into this, at least as it relates to lawmakers spreading falsehoods and/or offering misleading answers to straightforward questions about January 6th.
We played this next piece of sound for you last night, but like the Oath Keepers' indictment, we're learning a lot more since then. So here it is, again, CNN's Manu Raju, asking House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy about his flip-flop over whether or not he'd cooperate with the January 6 Committee, which wants to question him. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You battled the creation of an outside commission from the start, you also opposed the Select Committee.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): That's not true.
RAJU: Well, you also said --
MCCARTHY: Go ahead and ask me a question and I'll verify it.
RAJU: Okay, I would. I appreciate that. But you said sure, you'd be willing to testify about your conversations with Donald Trump.
MCCARTHY: What was the date of that?
RAJU: That was in May of last year.
RAJU: And you're now saying you won't agree to voluntarily cooperate. So why should the public now conclude that you're trying to hide something here and hide the facts from getting out?
MCCARTHY: Great question. I hope everything gets corrected at CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "I hope everything gets corrected at CNN," he said yesterday.
Well, we're happy to oblige, using his own words, and keep in mind, as we go through this, one of the reasons the Committee wants to talk to the Congressman, is that they want to know the President's state of mind at the time. They want to talk to people who were talking to the former President when the Capitol was being assaulted, as it was being assaulted.
Here is part of the Q&A yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: You have a unique window into the President on that day, January 6. You were one of the only few people who spoke to him that day? Doesn't the American public have a right to know what the President of the United States was thinking and doing while the U.S. Capitol was under attack?
MCCARTHY: You know, that's a great question. You know, the great thing about that, I didn't wait a year later. On January 6th, I spoke to the American public, not by one network, but by many networks.
My conversation was very short advising the President what was happening here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now keeping them honest, as you know, it has now widely been reported that McCarthy did not, as they say yesterday, merely fill in the former President on what was happening. After all, it was happening on live TV. So the President actually already knew that. That's downplaying it significantly.
According to multiple accounts, including one from a Republican Congresswoman that day, he told him to call off the mob and call in the National Guard only to be rebuffed.
But you don't have to take our word for it. Today, CNN's K-File uncovered a little noticed interview that McCarthy did with a local California radio station just six days after the insurrection when I guess, his memory of that call was a little fresher. So, take it from him.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: I spoke to the President during the riot. I was the first person to call him. I told him to go on national TV.
I say he has responsibility. He told me personally, that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: So those remarks on the 12th of January echo what he said the day before on a private conference call, as we mentioned with House Republicans. CNN today obtained a readout of it from someone who listened to it.
On it, he says and I quote: "Let me be clear to you, and I've been very clear to the President, he bears responsibilities for his and actions. No ifs, ands, or buts."
McCarthy goes on to say then, quote: "I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened if he feels bad about what happened. If he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened, but he needs to acknowledge that."
Well, obviously he never did and McCarthy, as you know, went down to Mar-a-Lago just a couple of weeks later to make nice with him, and has been downplaying the former President's culpability ever since. He has also said he doesn't have any information to add to their investigation.
Now, the sound we played and the transcript we just read would seem to suggest otherwise. But look, that's just us here at CNN trying to get everything correct and stuff.
But wait, there's more. From his answer yesterday to Manu Raju's question, which was about why he was reneging on a promise he made on camera mainly to testify about his conversation with the President, he answered with this misleading characterization of the Select Committee's genesis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: The F.B.I. was doing their own investigation, and you all know the role of Congress. The only role we have is legislative. You asked me that question in May. That was two months before Nancy Pelosi decided for the first time in history by any Speaker to deny the minority to even put their individuals on a Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So that's misleading. Speaker Pelosi did reject two of McCarthy's five proposed Committee members, Congressman Jim Jordan and Jim Banks. Now the reason stated was concerns that they were also potential witnesses. And in fact, since then, the Committee has asked to speak to both Mr. Jordan about the insurrection and his conversations with the former President on the day of the attack, as well as what he might know about the possible planning of it.
And Speaker Pelosi actually did accept the other three Republican McCarthy picks and gave him a chance to suggest another two Republican members. Instead, McCarthy decided to pull out entirely.
And remember, this came after McCarthy had rejected a proposal for a bipartisan commission that would have given equal membership and subpoena power to Democrats and Republicans. Only after all that did House Democrats set up a Select Committee which has two Republican members, the only two who would actually join, one of whom, Liz Cheney was drummed out of the G.O.P. leadership.
So Kevin McCarthy, we hope that corrects the record, just as we hope these latest indictments do the same when it comes to efforts to paint a violent insurrection as something less.
More now from Ed Lavandera who was in Court today in Plano, Texas.
So Ed, what happened in court?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Stewart Rhodes, who is the leader of the Oath Keepers made his initial appearance in Federal Court today here in Plano, Texas, not too far from where he was arrested a little more than 24 hours ago in the Dallas, Fort Worth suburb of Little Elm. Rhodes appeared calm and unfazed by everything that was going on.
Essentially, it was a brief Court appearance, and essentially what his attorneys are now focused on is getting him out of jail.
He remains in custody. There will be a detention hearing next week. Rhodes has pleaded not guilty, but his attorneys are trying to get him out of jail while he awaits for trial.
So that hearing has been scheduled for next Thursday, but there is no comment on all of the details that were unleashed in this 49-page indictment by Federal prosecutors where they essentially accused him of plotting the forceful opposition of the peaceful transfer of presidential power. All of this stemming back to the January 6th insurrection -- Anderson.
COOPER: What do Rhode supporters and his ex-wife saying about all of this?
LAVANDERA: Well, there were two friends of his and another lawyer with the Oath Keepers who showed up at the hearing today. We asked them about the text messages and the communications that Rhodes had with several members of the Oath keepers where he said, "We will have to do a massively bloody revolution against them. That's what's going to have to happen."
We asked about all of that. His supporters say that that is simply overblown, that it was just rhetoric. But his ex-wife spoke or Stewart Rhode's ex-wife spoke with CNN today and she described him as a sociopath, someone who is a dangerous man, very much interested in creating a mythology of being a great leader around himself -- Anderson.
COOPER: Interesting. Ed Lavandera, appreciate it.
More now on who the defendant is, how his group came to be, and what more Mr. Rhodes himself openly said he had in mind for Washington.
CNN's Drew Griffin has that.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Oath Keepers leader and founder Stewart Rhodes has spent nearly a year publicly denying he had anything to do with the violence on January 6th.
STEWART RHODES, FOUNDER AND LEADER, OATH KEEPERS: There were no plans by the leadership -- us -- me and the team leader with -- to enter the Capitol, no instructions by us to do so, and we didn't even know that any of our guys had done it until afterwards.
GRIFFIN (voice over): But this indictment tells a different story accusing Rhodes of seditious conspiracy, a complex months' long plan for a massively bloody revolution if Joe Biden took office.
Prosecutors allege Oath Keepers prepared for battle at Rhodes's direction. Rhodes purchasing thousands of dollars in guns and tactical equipment. Others setting up an armed Quick Reaction Force and communicated as they stormed the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are executing citizens' arrest. Arrest this assembly. We have probable cause: acts of treason, election fraud.
GRIFFIN (voice over): A promoter of the Big Lie, Rhodes constantly and publicly called for Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act over the November 2020 election or else --
RHODES: If he does not do it, we will have to fight a bloody civil war, a bloody revolution.
GRIFFIN (voice over): That fiery language about revolution isn't new for Rhodes. He has been obsessed with fears of a Deep State government for over a dozen years.
Rhodes formed the Oath Keepers in 2009.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama --
GRIFFIN (voice over): After America elected its first black President. His loose military based group swears allegiance they claim to the Constitution and nothing else.
RHODES: I will not obey orders to impose Martial Law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not obey.
GRIFFIN (voice over): Rhodes started out with an Oath Keeper blog, but his messages were soon spread to millions of people by conspiracy theorist and Stop the Steal organizer, Alex Jones.
Rhodes has been a regular on Jones "Info Wars" Show for more than a dozen years.
ALEX JONES, PODCAST HOST: Why did you start Oath Keepers?
GRIFFIN (voice over): Together, Jones and Rhodes would whip up conspiracy theories and talk about government internment camps and plots to confiscate ammunition.
JONES: The Homeland Security Department is buying and has bought 1.6 billion rounds of ammo.
RHODES: They're buying it because they think they might have to use it pretty soon. And so they believe -- almost every gunner I spoke to is very concerned that this is for all the marbles and we're heading for Civil War.
GRIFFIN (voice over): Armed Oath Keepers acting as vigilantes began showing up at civil disturbances, marches, protests, all while Rhodes pushed the idea that a real war would need to be fought to preserve the U.S. from so-called elites and leftists. RHODES: Unless we can deactivate that brainwashing, we're going to
eventually have to fight them. But when we do, it'll be a different ballgame because they don't have the military skills we do.
GRIFFIN (voice over): Just days before Election Night 2020, Rhodes told "Info Wars" viewers the time he'd been predicting was coming.
RHODES: This is Civil War because you have sitting politicians who are part of the enemy's ranks, but it's good news for us though as we have 14 million veterans believe at least, a massive pool of combat veterans who are awake and aware.
GRIFFIN (voice over): After Trump lost the election, the Oath Keepers acted as security at Stop the Steal rallies and Rhodes talked about providing protection for Alex Jones and others.
He also broadcasted Donald Trump, his shadowy army was in position.
RHODES: We have men already stationed outside D.C. as a nuclear option in case they attempt to remove the President illegally, we will step in and stop it. Armed and prepared to go in if the President calls us.
GRIFFIN (voice over): And as the plans for January 6 started in motion, according to Rhodes's attorney, the Oath Keepers were asked by January 6 rally organizers to provide security.
JONATHON MOSELY, ATTORNEY FOR STEWART RHODES AND KELLY MEGGS: They were coming to the Capitol for a permitted demonstration on Lot 8 that Alex Jones and Ali Alexander were going to have, that went off the rails and didn't happen.
GRIFFIN (voice over): Two days before the insurrection, Rhodes posted an alert bulletin on the Oath Keepers' website. "All patriots who can get to D.C. need to be in D.C. Stand now," he wrote " ... or kneel forever."
They came armed in battle fatigues and according to prosecutors, began executing their plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power, including multiple ways to deploy force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took over the Capitol. Overran the Capitol.
COOPER: Well, Drew Griffin joins us now. It is really fascinating to see the background of this person.
You mentioned several people in the report who have not been charged, but seems to have been in close contact with Rhodes and the Oath Keepers so-called in planning for January 6th. Is it possible this is only the beginning?
GRIFFIN: Anderson, that is the big question and what makes these connections so interesting, even going beyond this indictment, if you look at what happened leading up to January 6, you see Rhodes and/or Oath Keepers interacting not only with Alex Jones, that conspiracy theorist and Ali Alexander, that Stop the Steal organizer, but others involved in the rallies, the rhetoric, and threats including Members of Congress.
COOPER: Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Thank you.
The world's number one ranked tennis star is in limbo tonight with a bid for the 21st Grand Slam on the line, Novak Djokovic is being detained again in Australia. We'll have a live report from Melbourne and talk with former professional tennis player, James Blake, next.
And family and friends gathered today for Bob Saget's funeral. All week, there has been an outpouring of love and remembrance for the actor and comedian. We will have that, ahead.
COOPER: There is more breaking news tonight. Tennis star, Novak Djokovic is awaiting another court hearing in Australia after his visa was cancelled for a second time early this morning due to not being vaccinated against COVID.
CNN correspondent, Phil Black joins us now from Melbourne. So what happened in the initial hearing that was just adjourned? And what more did you learn about why his visa was revoked for a second time?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. This morning's hearing was about getting the parties together and preparing them to come back tomorrow to argue the case in detail and to decide whether or not Djokovic's canceled visa should remain cancelled or whether he should be allowed to be free and then ultimately play here in the Australian Open.
That happened after he reported to Australian authorities to be taken into detention. He is now under mandatory detention here because he doesn't have a visa. He is allowed to spend time with his lawyers preparing his case, but tonight, he'll be sleeping in a visa immigration detention center.
The argument here has changed from the start of the week. At the start of the week, lawyers were arguing in court that Djokovic was wrong to think he could come to the country unvaccinated because he had recently recovered from COVID-19.
Now, the government is arguing, we're told from Djokovic's lawyers that he represents a threat according to the government to the Australian public because his skeptical stance on vaccines could excite the other members of the anti-vax community here. That is going to be the focus of the argument, when they all get together in a virtual courtroom on Sunday -- Anderson.
COOPER: What's expected to happen? BLACK: So written submissions, that is the written arguments will be
put in by both sides by the end of today. Then they are going to speak for around -- the lawyers will -- each gets 90 minutes each to make the case, and then the expectation is, you would hope that there would be a decision and certainly Djokovic hopes this, there'll be a quick decision as early as tomorrow evening, tomorrow afternoon, Melbourne time.
And if that timetable follows, and if that decision does come in, then it does leave open the possibility that even after having spent another weekend in immigration detention, Djokovic could walk out onto center court on Monday and play in the opening round of the Australian Open.
COOPER: How are players reacting to him being detained for a second time?
BLACK: Yes, I think it's a mix of some sympathy, but also a lot of frustration. Sympathy that a great player is enduring what is essentially a fairly undignified form of treatment. Even the defending women's champion, Naomi Osaka said a short time ago that it's very sad that he is going to be remembered by many people for this whole saga.
But there is also growing frustration, too from the players because players have all come here to play tennis, talk about tennis, but this is taking all the attention away from the other competitors at the moment, very little talk of what is expected to be some world class tennis here over the coming weeks.
And there is also absolutely an awareness that is expressed here, I think by a lot of the players and that is that what is being experienced here by Novak Djokovic is absolutely a consequence of the decisions that he has made personally in the run up to this tournament.
COOPER: If he loses that appeal on Sunday, does he then have to leave the country?
BLACK: He does. Yes. Possibly pretty quickly. He would remain in immigration detention in that case, and then the government would facilitate his removal from the country as quickly as he could get on a flight. But he would stay in detention until that was able to happen.
And one of the questions that still hasn't quite been answered here is whether or not there would be a further ban on him returning to the country. These decisions from the Minister normally carry a three-year entry ban on entering the country again. That would obviously have a big impact on his ability to come back here in subsequent years and play in the Australian Open.
The government has some discretion in waving that ban, but hasn't indicated yet whether it's prepared to do so.
COOPER: All right, Phil Black, appreciate it, from Melbourne tonight. Thanks. Let's bring in a former professional tennis player, James Blake.
James, good to see you again. What do you make of what we just learned from Phil Black here?
JAMES BLAKE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: So, the last time I was on this -- I appreciate being on this -- the second time this week, but it is sad that I'm not talking about servers and forehands and backhands.
I share the same frustration that I think a lot of the players share in talking about that this isn't -- we're not talking about tennis. This is taking over all the headlines, and it doesn't look good for really anyone.
I think the government doesn't look good in this. I think Novak doesn't look good in this, and it is sad that one of, if not our greatest champion is going to possibly be remembered especially this year for this incident and this situation.
It really -- I wish it had been from the beginning handled a little more clearly, a little more transparency from the government, from Novak as to what was going to happen and how the treatment should be then fair.
COOPER: I mean, how much of this back and forth could have been avoided if this wasn't a huge international star, I mean, for better or for worse?
BLAKE: Yes, I mean, we saw a female player, Voracova, I believe it was, that was deported and there was not much news around her. She feels like she was not treated fairly as well, but there haven't been as many stories about her.
So I think it's a bit of a double-edged sword being the superstar that Novak is and as outspoken as he is with the fact that he did probably have treatment that he was seven days late in his application for the exemption so would a rank and file player have gotten that same treatment. But then would there have been this hoopla around it? With the circus around his detention and this hearing?
And so, it is a bit of a double-edged sword. I don't think we would have been talking about it nearly as much if this was the 100th ranked player in the world, but that's what comes with being the international superstar that Novak Djokovic has become.
COOPER: Also, just from a playing standpoint. I mean, again, he has not been practicing all during this time.
BLAKE: Yes, this is really difficult and I am also a little surprised that Tennis Australia had this draw set up so that he is playing on Monday. I think they could have had the opportunity to play his half of the draw, Tuesday. But playing Monday, him not being able to practice today and
yesterday, being in this detention hotel makes it pretty difficult to be prepared the way he normally would prepare for these matches.
Physically, I think it'll be fine. He's done all the hard work to get there, but you're kind of fine-tuning skills in those last couple of days, that they may not be there and we will see if he is able to -- if he does win his appeal and get back on the court, this would be one of the greatest challenges he'd have to overcome on the court dealing with the crowds and dealing with the rust that he may feel from not having these couple of days of practice.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, did you ever imagine that the tennis community could become kind of a global flashpoint in the fight over COVID-19 vaccinations?
BLAKE: I never thought it would be like this. I mean, so many sports have come together. They've been obviously in the NBA, the Kyrie Irving case, Aaron Rodgers in the NFL, but I really didn't think with tennis. I think we have 97 percent of the men in the top hundred are vaccinated and they've gone through all the protocols. They've done everything that the ATP and WTA had asked.
So it seems like it has been going very smoothly for an international sport, but this one, obviously, I guess, was bound to happen with someone that was extremely anti-vax, and wanted to make his case and stand up for his freedoms and his rights and became very public with one of the countries that is the most locked down.
COOPER: How much pressure do you think there is on Australian authorities to allow him to play since he's the number one player? I mean, again, you know, players who are not as highly ranked as him are gone by now, who you know didn't follow the rules?
BLAKE: Yes. This is so tough, I think on the government, and the reason for me never wanting to be in politics because it's a difficult decision. And these are very high stakes. It's actually really high stakes for Novak because as you heard Phil Black say, if he gets this visa cancelled, he could be out for three years.
So this is a risk that he took getting on this plane coming here with the exemption and not positive he was if he was correct or not. I believe he went in thinking he was correct, but if he had just left immediately, I don't believe he would have had to face this possible three-year ban.
So that is a huge, huge risk for him and for the politicians, I know an election is coming up there soon and they are putting a lot of chips in this basket to say this is what we feel is best for the Australian population. The population has been so locked down, and it could come back to backfire with them in this election soon or it could push them over the edge for being elected.
So I'm not sure how the Australian political system will go, how this election will go, but I think they're taking a big risk with this because it is such a public matter, and it is Novak Djokovic. COOPER: Yes, James Blake, good to talk to you. Thank you very much.
BLAKE: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, the next shoe to drop in the case of the fake presidential electors such -- I mean, it's true, but it is such a weird story. These are some of them in Michigan and now Michigan's Attorney General wants Federal authorities to investigate, she joins us next.
COOPER: A follow up to our reporting and others on Trump allies in seven states whose (INAUDIBLE) electoral certificates the National Archive falsely claiming that the former president won. It this actually happened last night, Michigan's Attorney General now she has referred the matter in her state to federal prosecutors.
As for some of the people claiming to have been electors like the guy we showed you last night from Arizona, well, here's the bunch of Michigan trying to get into their state's electoral vote ceremony in December of 2020.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Capitol is closed and (INAUDIBLE) today, or if you're taking part in the electoral count progress. Anybody else is not permitted to come back (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the office are here (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All 16 electors (INAUDIBLE) by the governor staff and we're going to be heard (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the GOP electors --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But these are, these are the rest of the electors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fair, fair (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Capitol is close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Attorney General, I mean, it's almost laughable, but it's serious because this actually happened. And I mean, this is our democracy. I mean, this false slate of electors was mailed out around December of 2020. Can you walk us through your decision to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney's office now?
DANA NESSEL (D) ATTORNEY GENERAL, MICHIGAN: Yes, well, we received the information about this, actually from the governor's office in January of 2020, late January. And they had it because they have received something from the National Archivist indicating that they had received this false slate of Trump electors. And they were basically rejecting it. And they just wanted us to know about that. And as soon as I saw it, I was really amazed. I knew, of course, that there was this false slate of electors. I was there at the state capitol when they tried to force their way in. I know, in fact that they were not there and they were not counted, because I was in the room where it actually occurred with the actual 16 electors that were, of course, Biden-Harris electors.
But I was amazed and astonished to find out later that these individuals have not only they'd sign this form but they actually had filed it and they sent it to the National Archivists, they sent it to the President of the Senate, they sent it to the chief judge of the Western District of Michigan, you know, and they sent it to the Michigan Secretary of State, which is, those are all the places that that form goes. But it's the legitimate form, not this forgery that they sent.
So, it's a -- it was a very big deal. And we began investigating, we had decided on charges that we thought were appropriate. But then when the January 6 Commission started to investigate, and we saw that really, this was a piece of a much larger puzzle, we thought that it was better situated for the Department of Justice, to put that puzzle together, given now what they've learned.
COOPER: I mean, is it clear to you from your vantage point, who was behind this? I mean, who orchestrated this?
NESSEL: Well, I know who signed the certificate? I mean, their names are on there. We verified of course, with the Secretary of State that --
COOPER: But who recruited --
NESSEL: -- their signatures matched,
COOPER: -- who recruited these people?
NESSEL: Well, I think that's going to be for U.S. Attorney, Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to determine.
COOPER: Yes. What kind of charges could these signers of the docket -- the fake document be facing?
NESSEL: Well, first of all, they can vote, they can still face state charges, at the same time, they're facing federal charges. I'd like the feds to pursue this. But we decided in state, you know, under state law that they had committed forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense. Under federal law, I think there's a variety of charges depending on what's uncovered, certainly forgery of a public record for the purposes of defrauding the United States. That's a tenure felony, conspiracy to commit an offense to defraud the United States is a five-year felony. These are crimes that involve the intent, really to impair the administration of the federal government.
There are a number of other crimes in addition to that, but, you know, the federal authorities will have to make that decision. It seems pretty clear that they're guilty of having committed these crimes, though.
COOPER: Yes. As well as just lastly, as we can see, in a video, we're going to show the Michigan Republicans who signed this fake document, we're not trying to hide it. I mean, they clearly wanted media attention, they engage in this bitter theater at the door of the state Capitol.
NESSEL: They certainly did. But I mean, they have to be held accountable the way same way anybody else would. You know, I, I look at what they did here. And honestly, I just, you know, maybe it wasn't as physically threatening as what happened on January the sixth, but it every bit is much served to undermine the fabric of our system of government.
And, you know, you can't call a political theater when you're committing a crime just because you commit it in front of cameras. It still is something that people need to be held accountable for. And it's really outrageous when you think about the fact that they certainly obviously thought that they could get away with it.
COOPER: I got to say that's a troop -- I don't know if it's just a trooper or Capitol Police Officer very, very, had very good presence of mind and just how he interacted with these people.
Attorney General, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
NESSEL: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are intensifying after new intelligence indicates Russia is planning to escalate the conflict.
COOPER: U.S. official says new intelligence indicates that Russia is planning a so called false flag operation in eastern Ukraine to justify an invasion of Ukraine, and the Pentagon is calling the intelligence very credible. According to the U.S. official, there's evidence that Russia has already positioned a group of operatives trained in urban warfare and using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia's own proxy forces. And today, Ukraine also accused Russia of carrying out a cyber attack on dozens of their government websites with a threatening message saying, be afraid and wait for the worst. This comes just days after the U.S. and Russia held talks aimed at defusing tensions over Ukraine.
Joining us now, CNN national security correspondent Kylie Atwood, who's at the State Department. What is the latest on these alleged Russian operatives?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson this is some really significant information from the Biden administration today. As you said, the Biden administration saying that they have credible information that Russia has put into place operatives to essentially carry out a sabotage campaign. And what that means is that these operatives would go after Russian proxy troops that are in Ukraine, or Russian speakers that are in Ukraine, with the hope, therefore, of creating the pretext, the excuse for potentially invading Ukraine. Essentially saying, because these attacks are happening, we have to go in, of course, the key here being they would be the ones carrying out those attacks.
And we have to consider this information, this piece of information in the context of the larger picture. Of course, Russia also has 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine. They're also carrying out a disinformation campaign. They carried out potentially that cyber attack overnight. The Ukrainians saying that the Russians carried out that cyber attack on their government websites. The U.S. not yet saying who's responsible.
But the context here is key, it's clear that Russia is laying down the foundation for the potential of a multi-pronged approach that would allow them to invade Ukraine. And that is the biggest fear here.
COOPER: Is it clear what kind of action the United States would be prepared to take diplomatic military order?
ATWOOD: Yes, I mean, that's the question, right? You look at this week, and the Biden administration will say we put every effort we could into diplomacy with Russia. We sat down with Russia in three different instances for a tremendous number of hours. We tried to find common ground, the U.S. saying the Biden administration, our hope here is to continue diplomacy. That is the only way out here to find some common ground and essentially to create some incentive for Russia to deescalate the situation with Ukraine. Russia not yet committing to continuing that diplomacy and making some demands we'll have to see where that goes.
And then when it comes to the other options alternative route, that the Biden ministration has been clear that they are willing to pursue these sanctions. The U.S. has been very clear that the will these will be very, very expensive sanctions, essentially trying to take Russia out of the global economy. The question here is, is Europe ready to go alongside the Biden administration? The Biden administration says they were -- they are, but there are some questions about that. And, of course, the military, the U.S. is willing to provide more defensive weaponry to Ukraine. If they are invaded, they've already provided a tremendous amount of that defensive weaponry to date. But of course, what the U.S. is saying they will not do is put U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine to fight against any potential invasion.
COOPER: Yes. Kylie Atwood, appreciate it. Thank you.
Up next, the tribute for actor and comedian Bob Saget, who was laid to rest today.
COOPER: Family and friends gathered today for private funeral in Los Angeles for Bob Saget. A 65-year-old actor and comedian was found dead in his Orlando Florida hotel room last Sunday. He done a scene of comedy show the night before near Jacksonville. It's unclear at this point how he died. It could be weeks before the medical examiner reveals the autopsy findings.
In the days since his death there's been a remarkable outpouring of tributes for Saget. With that, here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To those who knew and loved Bob Saget, he was more than just a TV dad.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST: A word that came up a lot was the sweetest. And Bob was the sweetest, he was the sweetest man.
KAYE (voice-over): An emotional Jimmy Kimmel pay tribute to his friend on his late night show.
KIMMEL: He had something funny to say about everything and nothing bad to say about anyone.
He was very kind to everyone and he had no problem telling you that he loved you and what you meant to him.
KAYE (voice-over): Now his loved ones and friends are sharing what he meant to them, after the actor's sudden death in an Orlando hotel room, Sunday. His close friend and fellow cast member from Full House John Stamos posted this picture of him with Saget on Instagram, writing, I'm not ready to accept that he's gone. I'm not going to say goodbye yet. I'm going to imagine him out there still on the road doing what he loves, with all his heart and humor.
JEFF ROSS, COMEDIAN: Around the 4:05, remembering Bob Saget.
KAYE (voice-over): Saget's close friends musician John Mayer and comedian Jeff Ross are picking up pieces of his life. They made this live Instagram video as they retrieve Saget's car from Los Angeles airport.
JOHN MAYER, MUSICIAN: I was saying I wish, I wish to God I had 100 more things like this to do, because that would be an awesome thing to lean on. You know?
ROSS: Tomorrow we're going to pick up this dry clean.
John brought Bob home, so that means a lot. Thank you for that. There's no windshield wipers for the eyes only for the windshield.
KAYE (voice-over): SNL star Keenan Thompson clearly moved by Saget's death. He told the view he'd seen Saget recently in LA
KEENAN THOMPSON, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: You know, it hurts a lot. He never like put that air on of, you know, in being a diva or anything like that because of his status. He was just a genuinely great person.
KAYE (voice-over): Sirius XM host Rich Eisen stunned by the sudden death of his friend remembered his humor and his big heart.
RICH EISEN, HOST: And he would open his mouth and the filthiest things would come out of it. And that was his style. That was his sense of humor.
He was just so nice and his heart was so big. Part of that big heart and his love of life and family, his sister died of an awful, awful disease called scleroderma. It killed his sister. And he spent his entire public and working life raising money for the Scleroderma Research Foundation.
KAYE (voice-over): Actor Tom Arnold mourn the loss of his friend, and a great comedian.
TOM ARNOLD, ACTOR: He was an amazing, amazing comic. I think being a stand up comic was the most important thing to have. And he certainly has the respect of every one of my business.
KAYE (voice-over): Bob Saget, a friend to so many, a loss to great to comprehend.
COOPER: So many people speaking so much -- so highly of him in his life and how he was. How else are people remembering Bob Saget?
KAYE: Well Anderson, you heard Rich Eisen mentioned the Scleroderma Research Foundation, that was a charity that was very close to Bob Saget's heart, because he lost his 44-year-old sister to scleroderma. It's a very rare autoimmune disease and there has been this outpouring of donations to the Scleroderma Research Foundation as a result of Bob Saget's death. The Foundation says that they've had more than 1500 donations from around the world, totaling more than $90,000.
Also one of the board members who served with Bob Saget on the board for that foundation has donated a $1.5 million grant and that is being used to match any donations that are made in Bob Saget's name. So, certainly a lot of help for that foundation.
But also Anderson, all of his friends, many of his friends who helped him raise money for that foundation, they appeared with him as comedians at some of these fundraisers they have said that they know how much it meant to him and they will continue to support the Scleroderma Research Foundation in his memory. Anderson.
COOPER: Randi, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
OK let's talk about those changes to your financial
COOPER: Well the world knows Marilyn Monroe, is a movie star on a cultural icon and this marks the 60th anniversary of her death this year. Now, after reckoning in Hollywood the new "CNN ORIGINAL SERIES REFRAME MARILYN MONROE" gives us a look at Marilyn Monroe through a more modern feminist lens.
Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilyn Monroe knew that she was more than just a pretty face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wanted control of her own destiny.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's frustrating that people can't think about her in terms of her intellect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilyn challenges what it means to have agency as a woman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To see a woman that is so in charge of her sexuality as extremely empowering.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This woman is so comfortable in her skin. She was rolling the dice with her career in very real terms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilyn would have been the biggest influencer of all time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Creating her own production company, getting films made.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilyn Monroe is a mirror for people's ideas about women's sexuality and women's power.
MARILY MONROE, LATE CELEBRITY: It's hard to know where to start, if you don't start with the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reframe Marilyn Monroe, Sunday at 9:00 on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's fascinating. Be sure to check it out Sunday night at 9:00 p.m.
The news continues. Want to hand it over to Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT." Laura.