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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

President Biden Enters Second Year Of Presidency Looking For A Reset After A Tumultuous First 12 Months; January 6 Committee Requests Testimony From Ivanka Trump; Pope Benedict Responds After Investigation Finds He Knew Of Abusive Priests When He Ran Munich Archdiocese. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 20, 2022 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Last-night Senate defeat of voting rights legislation underscores that the position President Biden finds himself in, a year into office, sort of the Delta and Omicron surges, which had left Americans unsure, of the future, short on consumer goods, angry at school officials, and sour on the President and his party.

Starting off this hour, "New York Times" Opinion Columnist, Bret Stephens, whose latest column is titled "Biden Can Still Rescue His Presidency."

Bret, I appreciate you joining us. I really enjoyed your article. And I want to get into some of the specific points you've written about.

But, just in general, how do you foresee President Biden's next year, in office, based on what, you've heard from him, just in the past 36 hours? Do you think he gets, what's gone wrong, in the first year?

BRET STEPHENS, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Well, my hope is that the press conference, Anderson, was a piece of bravado, so as not to appear weak.

But that he gets the message that if he doesn't change his administration, not just tonally, or in terms of communication, but in terms of substance, the Democratic Party is going to be in great trouble.

It's going to be very difficult to see him winning a reelection, or anyone in the Democratic Party, winning a reelection. And so, I think there has to be some, real sobriety, on his part, about the failures, of his first year in office, because they're quite serious.

COOPER: Often, we hear from White Houses, where people say, when they run into trouble, "Well, it's a communication issue. We just need to tell our story better. We need to get out there, and promote what we've been doing." It's often much deeper than that.

In your column, you lay out a five-point plan, essentially, for the administration, try to turn things around, starting with the change of staff, around the President. Who do you think needs to go?

STEPHENS: Well, one of the striking factors, for me, Anderson, has just been the political incompetence, of the administration.

I mean, you have, as a president, a guy, who has spent basically, close to 50 years, in Washington, making really basic mistakes. And ultimately, the responsibility lies with the President himself. He's not going to go.

But there should be a Chief of Staff, who makes sure that some of these - some of these unforced errors, never happen again. And I think the President has, frankly, been ill-served, by his Chief of Staff, Ron Klain.

Mr. Klain, by all accounts, is a very loyal assistant. But just as George H. W. Bush had Jim Baker, and Ronald Reagan had Howard Baker, I think, the President needs someone, who's a peer figure.

I had suggested Tom Daschle, the former Senate Majority Leader. But there are other senior Democrats, who come to mind. I remember, when Clinton was in trouble, he got people, like Leon Panetta, to come to his - to come to his rescue. And that was an effective step.

So, he needs to surround himself, with staffers, who are willing to stand up to him, when they think he's wrong.

COOPER: How does somebody, who has spent dozens of years, on Capitol Hill, and in Washington, make unforced errors, given that experience?

STEPHENS: Well, that's one of the - one of the mysteries, of this administration.

I mean, I wrote this column, as someone, who voted for Biden, and wishes the President, well. People know, I'm a center-right Never- Trump columnist. And I want this - want this presidency to succeed.

And one of the reasons, I think, many Americans, were hopeful about the Biden administration, is he seemed like a return to business as usual, return to a safe pair of hands, who understood, not just the mechanisms of governance, and the art of politics, but also had an ability, to get along with the other - with the party, not in power, which his predecessor, obviously lacked. And that just hasn't been here.

So, someone has to find, go and look for the real Joe Biden, and bring him out of whatever White House room, he's been hiding in.

COOPER: Well, it's interesting, because, during his press conference, yesterday, almost some two hours, he talked about Mitch McConnell, and how Mitch McConnell is, just focused on opposing everything he does, as if it would be some sort of a surprise.

I mean, Mitch McConnell famously had said that about President Obama. And President Biden had a front row seat to that.

STEPHENS: Well, right. And it's usually the task of the party, in the opposition, in particular, this Republican Party, to oppose the president.

But one of the things that I think the President has misjudged, early on, for a variety of reasons, is he misjudged his mandate. He thought he had a mandate to be a transformational president.

LBJ could be a transformational President, when he had an overwhelming majority, in both houses of Congress. President Obama had a moment to be transformational, during the first two years in office, when he also had a broad majority in the Senate.

President Biden doesn't have that transformational opportunity. So, he misunderstood it. And he went too far.


There are areas - and I think Bill Clinton is a good model. There are actually areas, where the President could reach agreement, with Republicans. The infrastructure bill, which is the biggest drive, for this administration, was a bipartisan bill.

I think, of regulating Big Tech, and maybe going big, on immigration reform, trading border security, for citizenship, for DREAMers, and a path to citizenship, for others, at least that gives him some political direction, and an advantage, which he doesn't have, by doubling down, on Build Back Better.

COOPER: One of the things you wrote, though, surprised me. You said that you think Biden should announce now that he's not going to run for reelection. If he does that, doesn't that make him kind of a lame duck? I mean, doesn't that suck out a lot of his power?

STEPHENS: Well, I mean, this is a column, I actually wrote back in - back in December.

The President, I think, already is a lame duck. I think there is a presumption in Washington that the President is not going to, or is unlikely, to run for reelection, at 82 years of age.

It's a taxing job. I remember, when I was young, people had questions about Ronald Reagan's stamina, when he was much younger than Biden is now.

So, I think the President, in a sense, already is seen as a lame duck. The presidency itself has a great deal of power. And he can rise above the politics, and, at the same time, allow the Democratic Party, and some of the more interesting people, in his own administration, to start looking at their own presidential prospects.

I think of someone like Pete Buttigieg, or Gina Raimondo, or Mitch Landrieu, all of them locked up in the cabinet, who ought to be exciting the Democratic base. Otherwise, I think the Democrats are in an even deeper political hole.

COOPER: But you think he will not run again?

STEPHENS: I think I'm not the only one, who thinks that. COOPER: Right, yes.

STEPHENS: And there's just a question about when it's advisable to announce the fact.

COOPER: Yes. Bret Stephens, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

STEPHENS: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: More prospective now, joining us, CNN Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger, and CNN Contributor, Evan Osnos, Author of "Wildland: The Making of America's Fury."

And we should note, everyone appearing, on the set tonight, has tested negative for COVID, within the last 24 hours, which I'm very happy about.


COOPER: So, Gloria, what you made of--


COOPER: --what Bret Stephens was telling?

BORGER: Well, I think, Joe Biden could run again. First of all, if Donald Trump runs, I think that's more incentive, for Joe Biden, to run. And they'd both be two old guys, so.

COOPER: Should he get rid of some of his staff?

BORGER: Well, I think--

COOPER: Ron Klain?

BORGER: Well, I think that he's not going to. And I think he may do a lot of retooling.

But it's interesting, at what Bret was talking about, was that he shouldn't just be - he thought of himself as transformational, and over-read his mandate. I think that's all true.

When he first started, talking about his candidacy, he was talking about being a transitional president. Remember? "I'm just going to be the bridge to the next generation."

In talking to people, at the White House, I think, what changed all of that was COVID. And he thought there was such a crisis in the country that they had to do more than he could have ever imagined.

And so, you had the American Rescue Plan, and Build Back Better, which was too big. And he became a captive of that, because of the state, the country was in. The irony is--

COOPER: Is he a captive of that, or a captive, of the left wing of the party?

BORGER: Well, he became--

COOPER: He wanted big--

BORGER: That's right. I think he - I think the irony is that instead of being the middle-of-the-road uniter, he became a captive, of the left wing, because he wanted to do so much. And so did, they. And so, instead of looking like he was leading, he looked like he was following.

COOPER: Evan, I mean, you've written the book about Biden, and you've studied everything, he's ever said. What do you make of where he's at now?

EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, AUTHOR, "WILDLAND: THE MAKING OF AMERICA'S FURY": Well, I mean, I think, to Gloria's point, part of what happened was he got elected, across a party that almost was deceptively unified. It really wasn't unified. The Democratic Party has tremendous ideological diversity in it.

BORGER: Right.

OSNOS: And he was elected, on the basis of the fact that let's be blunt, he was not Donald Trump. And I think that gave everybody a bit of a false sense of how much momentum he had going in.

Now, here we are, a year later, and the most important words, in some ways, yesterday, out of that press conference, were the words, frustration and fatigue, which is what he acknowledged, at the outset.

BORGER: Right.

OSNOS: That's what people, really need to hear, from him now, about how they're feeling. And, in a sense, that's the Joe Biden that was elected, the guy who can hear that.

BORGER: I think he's frustrated and tired, too.

OSNOS: Yes. Oh, no question.

BORGER: And you could - you could hear that.

OSNOS: Aren't we all? Let's be honest.

BORGER: Well, right. But he's just sort of like, "Look at what I've done for you. Unemployment is - unemployment is so low. I've created 6.4 million jobs. And nobody - nobody's giving me any credit for it."

COOPER: Well, I mean, it is - I mean, we've heard so many administrations, where they go - they started - they get into trouble, and they start saying, "Well, we're just not selling our message well enough. We got to get out there and sell it."

Is that really what they should be doing, I mean? BORGER: You have to sell it. But also, you have to do more. And you have to say to people, "I hear you. We're worried about the pandemic too. Here's what - here's what we're doing for you."


And when less than a third of the country believes you're on the right track? You are doing something wrong. It is not just the message.


BORGER: It is that the people want to see, "OK. Inflation is really hurting me. And what are you going to do about that? And how are you going to talk about that?"

I mean, the irony here is this is a president, who's supposed to have empathy, as a superpower. And he hasn't been showing it.

OSNOS: He's talked about being in the White House recently as a gilded cage.


OSNOS: I mean, he really is feeling penned up in Washington. And here we are, at the beginning of the year, when he's going to be out. It's a midterm year. He's going to be going around, and talking to people.

COOPER: But I mean, the whole - I mean, I think to - I think it was Bret, making the point that, the whole idea of his administration was competence.

OSNOS: Right.

COOPER: That he's--


COOPER: --been in Washington. He knows these people. He's done deals on Capitol Hill. He's been in those rooms.

OSNOS: I think, in some ways, Joe Biden bet on a Senate, which no longer exists. This is a place he loves. He counted on it. And we saw it yesterday that even Democrats, within his own party, weren't there, in the moments, when he needed them.

But he does have an opportunity. Bret hit on a key point. There are people, in this administration, a rising cohort, people like Gina Raimondo, people like Pete Buttigieg, who do represent something, beyond just Joe Biden's America. They do represent a next generation.

The median American today is 38-years-old. The average member of the Senate is 64. People want us. It's the oldest cohort we've ever had. This as a chance to actually, in this next year, give some voice, to people, who might have a chance to reflect the next generation of Democratic politics. BORGER: But I think what we also heard yesterday was the sort of cry of the midterms, which Biden had, at the press conference, which is talking to Republicans, and say, "What are you for?"

And that signals that maybe he's not going to be able to cut those deals, because he's going to go out, and try and make sure that Democrats don't have an avalanche of losses.

COOPER: What is the logistics, or the kind of how his staff works? I mean, a lot of those people had been with him for a long time.


COOPER: Is that - it can obviously - it's obviously a benefit in that they know him very well. But they also then are beholden to him. And are people speaking truth to power?

BORGER: Well, I think that's Bret's point. And I think it's a very good one. These people are loyal to Joe Biden to a fault. And they've been with him, for decades and decades, as Evan knows.

And I'm sure they say, "Mr. President, you know, maybe you ought to adjust this or adjust that." But he doesn't have anybody, to say to him, "That's just not going to work," who's a peer.

And that's because he's 79-years-old. And maybe it's an old peer. He suggested Tom Daschle, or maybe it's someone from the Senate, whom he knew. But these are people he does trust, who do know him. But I think he's the leader. And, right?


BORGER: I don't think they say "No," to him, very often.

OSNOS: Yes. I wouldn't expect him to start chucking people overboard.

BORGER: Right, not at all.

OSNOS: People, who are ready to go, they'll go. But he's a loyal guy.

COOPER: Gloria Borger, Evan Osnos, appreciate it. Thanks so much.

More now on the question of the President's Chief of Staff, a longtime trusted adviser, Ron Klain. No doubt he has played a central role, in the administration's first year. And that means being part of the victories, and the defeats.

More now from CNN's White House Correspondent, Jeremy Diamond.





DIAMOND (voice-over): To tough setbacks, the story of President Biden's first year in office can't be told, without Ron Klain, the powerful White House Chief of Staff, who has been central to Biden's presidency.

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think we've had a year of historic accomplishment.

DIAMOND (voice-over): A powerful gatekeeper, and top adviser, Klain's fingerprints, are all over Biden's first year in office. He talks daily, with Democratic leaders, and he's been a liaison, to key progressives, like Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, as well as moderate senator, Joe Manchin.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Ron is always responsive, when you call him.

DIAMOND (voice-over): That hands-on approach, earned Klain, credit. But he's also shared blame, as Biden's legislative agenda has stalled.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think he would say, "When you're the Chief of Staff, you get some of the credit. Maybe way too much, at times, you get way too much of the blame, too. You get all of them. And that's part of the deal."

DIAMOND (voice-over): The blame game, intensified last month, after Manchin said he couldn't back the President's Build Back Better plan, painting the blow-up on the staff Klain runs.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): This is not the President. This is staff. And they drove some things, and they put some things out, that were absolutely inexcusable.

CHARLES JOSEPH SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: Why was he so personally insulted, by what happened, before Christmas break?

KLAIN: Well, you'll have to ask Senator Manchin that. Look, we've worked really well, with Senator Manchin. I've really enjoyed getting to know him, this year.

DIAMOND (voice-over): As sinking poll numbers, drive finger-pointing, Klain has found himself in the crosshairs.

One prominent Democrat, who speaks regularly, with Biden, telling CNN, "If I was down, this much, in my ratings, I'd have a new Chief of Staff."

Klain's powerful perch, and the daily dozens of tweets, he often sends, have also made him a favorite target, of Republicans, who paint him as a boogeyman, driving Biden further left.


SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): Ron Klain has an army of Twitter trolls that he's decided are reality, and he's decided, to have President Biden, become something completely different, than the person, who ran for office last year, or who's, served for decades, in the United States Senate

DIAMOND (voice-over): Some Republicans, even labeling him "Prime Minister Klain."

PSAKI: I don't think he's being told what to do, or directed on what to do, by anyone.

The suggestion that things like universal pre K, or investment in addressing the climate crisis, are only the agenda, of the progressive wing of the party, that's just not accurate.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Klain has been at Biden's side, for decades, from the Senate, to the Vice Presidency.

DIAMOND (on camera): How does that longstanding relationship translate to the White House, and his work as Chief of Staff?

PSAKI: Sometimes, in meetings, when we need a translation, of what the President, needs, or wants, or is asking for, Ron knows exactly what he's thinking.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Chris Whipple, an expert on White House Chiefs of Staff, gives Klain, high marks.

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, "THE GATEKEEPERS": Ron Klain has been a really effective White House Chief.

I think if you asked all the former White - living White House Chiefs of Staff, and I have, about Ron Klain, they will tell you that nobody has ever been more qualified, for the position.

DIAMOND (voice-over): And for now, Biden isn't eyeing a staff shakeup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you satisfied, with your team here, at the White House, sir?

JOE BIDEN: I'm satisfied with the team.


DIAMOND: And so, Anderson, there's no staff shakeup, on the horizon. But there is a change in some of the strategies that the White House is employing. Specifically, on passing the Build Back Better plan, the President has talked about breaking that up into chunks.

And Ron Klain himself has talked about a change, in strategy, talking less publicly, about those individual meetings. That was a lesson learned, he said, from some of the issues that have happened, with Senator Joe Manchin.

And also, President Biden himself, he has said that he will be less involved, directly, in some of those negotiations, raising the stakes, for Ron Klain, in the coming year.


COOPER: Well, Jeremy Diamond, appreciate it.

Coming up next, new reporting on what the House Select Committee wants to ask the former president's daughter. In the middle of the week, they saw his legal troubles multiplying, in the federal, state and local level.

Later, a day after Democrats' big voting legislation, was blocked by Republicans, in the Senate, we'll talk about a new proposal, which could get some bipartisan support, aimed at heading off another attempt, at stealing an election.



COOPER: Today's news that a Georgia District Attorney, wants a grand jury, to probe the former President's attempt, to overturn election results there, was only the latest, in a string of developments, today alone.

There was also the January 6 committee, wanting to talk to Ivanka Trump. New reporting on Rudy Giuliani's involvement, in the phony electors' scheme.

And that's on top of a week that also included the Supreme Court ordering the release of President Trump's White House documents, to the House Select Committee. New York's Attorney General suggesting she'd identified significant evidence, of possible fraud, at the Trump Organization.

So, CNN Special Correspondent, Jamie Gangel, joins us now, with her reporting, on why the Select Committee wants to talk to Ivanka Trump.

So, what exactly does the Committee want?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Ivanka Trump is not just his daughter. She's his senior adviser. She is a firsthand fact witness. What was he saying? What was he doing? What wasn't he doing?

We all know that, from past reporting that staffers were asking her, to come in, during the riot, on January 6, to try to get him, to call off the riot. What did he say to her? Well, what was going on?

Number two, the Committee has some intriguing new information that they have put, in this letter. And that is that we know for the first time that Ivanka Trump, was in the Oval Office, the morning of January 6, when former President Trump, is pressuring Mike Pence, on the phone, trying to get him to overturn the election. She is a witness, to his trying, to get Pence--


GANGEL: --to overthrow the election. Finally, this is - this letter is really worth reading. It's eight pages. It's highly footnoted. And there's a lot of new testimony, from Trump loyalists, and new text messages.

And I want to read one exchange. This is from someone outside the White House. Quote, "Is someone getting to POTUS? He has to tell protesters to dissipate. Someone is going to get killed."

Response from White House staff member: "I've been trying for the last 30 minutes. Literally stormed in outer oval to get him to put out the first one. It's completely insane."


GANGEL: And I'm told by sources, familiar with the investigation, what we're seeing in this letter, is the tip of the iceberg.

COOPER: There's a lot more, like this?

GANGEL: There is a lot more.

COOPER: What reason, does the Committee have, to believe she would voluntarily cooperate - voluntarily cooperate, or do--

GANGEL: No reason.

COOPER: No reason?

GANGEL: No reason. Look, I think the chances are slim to none. We discussed this about Kevin McCarthy, Rudy Giuliani.

COOPER: Right.

GANGEL: But they have to go on the record, and ask these people. I think it'll be interesting, to see if they subpoena her, down the road. But this letter lays out. It gives you a glimpse, behind the curtain, of how much they know.

COOPER: We're also seeing, in this letter, new text messages, or previously unseen text messages--

GANGEL: Right.

COOPER: --from Sean Hannity, and another member of the Trump White House.

GANGEL: So, I think what's critical here is I am told these are not from Mark Meadows, these text messages.


GANGEL: This is Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who went in, to testify, and is cooperating. It is--

COOPER: So, they have her text messages?

GANGEL: It is apparent, from this exchange--


GANGEL: --that they have her text messages.

And let me read you part of this exchange. It's interesting, because here is Sean Hannity, once again, giving advice, to the White House.

COOPER: Not just advice, but like a point-by-point?

GANGEL: Five-point plan, of what they need to do. This is January 7, the day after January 6. Here are two of the points.


He says, quote, "No more stolen election talk." That's point number one.

Point number two, "Yes, impeachment and 25th Amendment are real, and many people will quit."

Those are going to be critical points.

In response, Kayleigh McEnany replies, quote, "Love that. Thank you. That is the playbook. I will help reinforce."

I want to add one more.

There's another exchange, where Hannity says, "Key now. No more crazy people." And Kayleigh McEnany says, "Yes, 100 percent."

I think it is fair to say that the--


GANGEL: --crazy people have stuck around, since January 7.

COOPER: I mean, yes, that's - and also, for Sean Hannity, to be saying "No more stolen election talk?" Wow! I mean, that's?

GANGEL: His advice hasn't worked.

COOPER: Well, nor has it been part of programming at a number of, you know?

GANGEL: Correct.

COOPER: These networks.

GANGEL: Correct.

COOPER: These other networks. It's fascinating.

GANGEL: Jamie is going to stay with us.

I want to bring in a CNN Legal Analyst, and former impeachment counsel, Norm Eisen. He's also the former Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Joining us as well, is Senior Legal Analyst, Elliot Williams, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, during the Obama administration.

Ambassador Eisen, what do you make of what the committee is asking about Ivanka Trump?

NORM EISEN, FORMER COUNSEL TO HOUSE DEMOCRATS IN TRUMP'S 1ST IMPEACHMENT, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER OBAMA WH ETHICS CZAR: Anderson, first, this critically-important issue of the 187 minutes, when President Trump, failed to make a statement.

When you have sworn an oath, to defend the country, and your nation is under attack? Inaction legally, morally, is the same as action. The Committee is clearly honing in on that.

Second, the additional details, this is a lagniappe. It's an appetizer. They're building towards the hearing.

COOPER: It's a what?

EISEN: Lagniappe.

COOPER: What's a lagniappe?

EISEN: New Orleans, for appetizer.

COOPER: Wow! OK. All right. All right.

EISEN: They're building--

COOPER: I should know that.

EISEN: You should.

COOPER: I should - I know. I should know.

EISEN: I'm very surprised, Anderson.


EISEN: In all our years together?


EISEN: That's the first time--

COOPER: I'm not a foodie. I'm not a foodie.

GANGEL: First time.

COOPER: And maybe that's why.


EISEN: They are setting the table, for the ramp up, to the bigger confrontations, to come. We went through this impeachment, in the build up to the demand that Trump come and testify. Of course, he didn't do that in impeachment.

And then, the additional information that is going to come out. And, of course, we now have these, about 750 documents, from the National Archives that are very likely going to have startling new revelations.

And then, the third thing that really stands out, to me, about this letter, is the extent of the interviews that they've had. Kayleigh McEnany, Keith Kellogg, the people, from Mike Pence's circle, they have a treasure trove of information.

And these hearings have been very important, in American history, if you think back to Watergate. This is a bigger scandal, because we've never had a president countenance, and incite, an attack, on his own government, before.

COOPER: Elliot, what stood out to you, from this letter?

WILLIAMS: So, number one, the Keith Kellogg, National Security Advisor, the fact that they have the transcript of the conversation that took place, in the White House, they're basically just using Ivanka Trump, to fill in the gaps there. So, whether she comes in, or not, they still have a record of the conversation that happened in the White House. Number one.

Number two, 2:24 P.M., the President sends a tweet, going after Mike Pence, and attacking him, and saying that Mike Pence doesn't have the courage, to do what he needed to do.

And they know that a number of rioters heard that, read that tweet, as "Well, the President is telling us, you know, what we - these are the actions we need to take. He's speaking to us."

They could speak to Ivanka Trump, to fill in the gaps, about what happened before, and leading up to that tweet, to 2:24 P.M.

What was the President thinking, saying, doing? What were other people advising him? What - did he - was he aware that, for instance, the White House Counsel's Office had expressed concerns, about whether the President's actions, were illegal, and so on? So, you can use that testimony, to fill in some very important gaps.

And, again, as Norm had said, this is in excruciating detail here.


WILLIAMS: What they already have.

COOPER: Jamie, we know that the January 6 committee has already begun to receive some documents, from--

GANGEL: Right.

COOPER: --the National Archives. How much material are we talking about?

And also, I had talked to a guy, who'd worked at the National Archives, a long time ago, who said that, that it's not - there's no enforcing people, to hand over documents, or taking documents. It's voluntary. But it's actually?

GANGEL: It's a felony.

COOPER: It's a felony


COOPER: If they don't.

GANGEL: And the committee actually included, at the end of today's letter, a three-page memo, from then White House Counsel, Don McGahn, telling everybody, who works at the White House, "You have to hand this over."

This is a reminder, to Ivanka Trump, particularly. "If you did any business, on your personal cell phone?"



GANGEL: "And you did not hand that over? You better." It's a felony.

I want to just add one thing, on the National Archives. We know about four tranches of documents, about 750 pages. I am told that there is a fifth and sixth tranche that is likely to be as many more documents.


GANGEL: So, all together, we--

COOPER: That's at the National Archives also?

GANGEL: 1,500 pages. That's at the National Archives. It is going through the pipeline. Will Trump try to fight that? The Supreme Court has ruled, if he fights it, I'm told, he's not going to win. But it looks like they're going to have--


GANGEL: --1,500 pages of documents, from the National Archives.

COOPER: I mean, the fact that, if they have this text exchange, about the person, saying, "It's insane," there's no telling what else - I mean, it just sounds like there's going to be a lot of text messages, they already have.

GANGEL: Correct. To your point, they have had people, from Trump's inner circle, who have voluntarily handed over text messages. They do not - that's not - National Archives is icing on the cake.


GANGEL: They already have an incredible amount, from the inner circle, top White House advisers. Donald Trump cannot be happy.

COOPER: Elliot, in Georgia?


COOPER: We've been reporting about what's the grand jury plan? How difficult - I mean, why would they impanel a grand jury to?


COOPER: Is it just to be able to force?

WILLIAMS: So, right, a few things. So, she probably tried to get the testimony, out of some witnesses that just didn't comply. This is a far more aggressive way, of getting information out there.

Number one, you can compel testimony. Number two, she can compel documents. But the bigger thing is that grand juries, Anderson, usually expire, after a certain point, whether it's a couple weeks, or a couple months.


WILLIAMS: This can extend a very long time, and is only focused on one subject, as opposed to lots--


WILLIAMS: --of different little cases, at the time. So, it's focused, targeted and aggressive.

COOPER: Right. Elliot Williams, thank you.

Norm Eisen, as always, thank you.

Jamie Gangel, fascinating, thank you.

GANGEL: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, we are hearing, from President Biden tonight, on the voting rights battle, after his party's stinging loss. Are Republicans ready to offer an olive branch, by changing a pretty obscure law?

Democratic congresswoman, Lisa Blunt Rochester, joins me here, in Washington, next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: A short time ago, on this night, marking his first year, in office, looking ahead, President Biden addressed fellow Democrats, about the defeat, on voting rights, in the Senate.


JOE BIDEN: This is going to be a fight. I know we're disappointed by last night's vote. Kamala and I are deeply disappointed. But we're not deterred. We're going to keep pushing. We're not going to give up.


COOPER: While the President and his party regroup, there is growing bipartisan support, for changes, in how the government oversees, elections.

At stake, the Electoral Count Act. Reforming that law, it's a very old law, would mean limiting Congress' ability, to throw out certified electoral votes. The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, is open to the idea. So is the White House.

"Axios" reports, some Democrats are concerned, it could reduce the urgency of passing the voting rights legislation.

With me now, is Democratic congresswoman, Lisa Blunt Rochester, of Delaware.

Do you share those concerns about - I mean, it's from, like a law from, like 1887, I think, it was.

REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): Right. Well, first of all, Anderson, thank you for having me.

This is a really big day. It being the one year anniversary, of this President. And I can say how proud I am, to have been there, day one.

As you ask the question about the voting rights, and where we go from here, I think all things are on the table. But why those bills, yesterday, were so important, and why we can't give up on those bills, or because the one that we're talking about, the electoral vote piece? That's after people have stood, in line--

COOPER: And that's sort of--


COOPER: That's just focused on certifying those.

BLUNT ROCHESTER: Exactly. And so, while that's important, and that's something we should pursue, we've got to keep all of our pressure, as well, on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, as well as the Freedom to Vote Act. Though it's imperative.

COOPER: But, I mean, given the makeup of the Congress, given what happened, yesterday, how can you be optimistic? BLUNT ROCHESTER: Well, let me just say this. I actually went to the Senate floor. And I sat there, for hours, with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, such as our Chairwoman, Joyce Beatty, and others, the Georgia Delegation, even, John Sarbanes, the person, who authored - co-authored the For the People Act.

We sat there. We took turns. And while it was a day, that was a day of disappointment, it was also a day that was important for us, for people to do something, to be on the record, to vote for something, so that we can continue, to press on.

And so, yes, there was a disappointment. There's frustration. But, for me, that means that we got to redouble our efforts.

And I was so much reminded of John Lewis. I mean, I looked around that room. I looked across the aisle. I listened. And I thought about the fact that a lot of people don't realize that this precious right, as he called it, is so sacred, to so many of us, because we know our power lies, in that vote. And it's the equalizer for us.

COOPER: I mean, you're a big supporter of President Biden. You're from Delaware.

Are you concerned that we had Bret Stephens, on earlier, talking about the, you know, some ideas, for a reset - a reset, some ways that the President could perhaps pivot, to kind of regain some momentum.

Do you think there needs to be changes, at the staff, at the White House? Do you think - what do you think needs to happen?

BLUNT ROCHESTER: Well, I think, first of all, we all need to take a step back, and recognize that this whole country is in the midst of a pandemic.

And I think a lot of times, we have this expectation that somebody's popularity is going to be high, when people are really going through things.

I know, when I decided to run, it was after the unexpected passing of my husband. And, for that whole year, until I decided to run, I was sad. I was mad. I don't care if the sun was shining. I don't care if my neighbor was happy.


And so, we got to, first of all, recognize that people are still going through.

Secondly, we can't forget the incredible accomplishments that did happen. This president came in with dual crises happening, an economic crisis, as well as a health crisis.

And, to me, I thought about it. It was three things. We had to recover financially, and health-wise. He had to help us, and all of us, rebuild. And then we have to restore, our faith and confidence, in each other, restore our standing in the world. So, there was a lot to accomplish.

And he passed the American Rescue Plan.


BLUNT ROCHESTER: And the bipartisan infrastructure bill. And I don't want people to forget that we have a long way to go. But we've come, so far, in such a short amount of time. Historic wins, for this President!

COOPER: Congresswoman, appreciate your time, tonight. Thank you so much.

BLUNT ROCHESTER: Thank you. Thank you.

COOPER: Lisa Blunt Rochester, thank you.

Ahead, new controversy, for retired Pope Benedict the 16th, where a new report shows about him failing to deal with child sexual abuse, at the hands of priests, long before he led the Catholic Church worldwide, and how he is responding tonight, next.



COOPER: Retired Pope Benedict the 16th is expressing his, quote, "Pain and shame."

A new report finds the Pope Emeritus ignored child sex abuse, by priests, when he was Archbishop of Munich, decades ago. The church commissioned investigation, and concludes that Benedict can be accused of misconduct, in four cases.

Now, some of the abusers, remained active, in pastoral care. Yet, Benedict has repeatedly denied claims, over the years that he knowingly covered up abuse.

Our Vatican Correspondent, Delia Gallagher, joins me tonight, from Rome.

So, talk more about this report, and what it actually found.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: So, Anderson, this report is 1,800 pages. It spans 75-year period, in the Archdiocese of Munich.

It was looking specifically at sexual abuse, from that period of 1945 to 2019, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Munich, so the Catholic Church, in Munich, but conducted by an independent law firm.

The principal findings, according to the investigators today, are, as you mentioned, four cases of mismanagement, on the part of the Pope Emeritus, while he was Archbishop, in Munich.

In two of those cases, Anderson, they say that the perpetrators were punished, by civil courts, in Germany, but not subsequently, by the Archdiocese.

Just to give you an idea, of the scale, of this report, and just one of those cases runs 370 pages, including the testimony of the Pope Emeritus, which obviously, he participated in, and gave his written testimony, about what he knew, about the cases, and maintaining that he did not mishandle anything.

But clearly, there is a lot of detail that still needs to be combed through.

Another important finding has to do with the current Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Marx. He is a good friend, and adviser, to Pope Francis. He's the man, who commissioned the report, in the first place. He has also been found to have mishandled two cases, during his tenure.


COOPER: Is Pope Benedict pushing back at all, about what came out in this report? And how is the Vatican reacting?

GALLAGHER: Well, we had a statement, from Pope Benedict, today, by his personal secretary, expressing, as you mentioned, his pain and shame, with regard to sexual abuse, on the part of priests.

And, in particular, with regard to this report, he said that he will be reading it, with due attention, in the coming days. They just received the report, this afternoon.

A similar statement, from the Vatican, today, saying that they will also be giving attention, to the report, and reading through it. So, we are expecting obviously, a more detailed response.

It's important to keep in mind that this report was commissioned by them. So, in other words, they accepted, to put their record, out there. And so, can't be too surprised that now they'll have to respond, to the findings of the investigation.

COOPER: Yes. Delia Gallagher, thank you so much, from Rome, tonight. Appreciate it.

Up next, President Biden isn't the only one, marking the one year, in the White House, so is the first lady. What she hopes, to accomplish, going forward? Next.



COOPER: As President Biden marks his first year, in office, first lady Jill Biden, has also had a busy year, in the White House. And, those, who know her, say she wants to scale up.

According to a - excuse me, according to a source, in the coming weeks, she's going to announce a heightened campaign, to fight cancer. She'll likely, also help, to some degree, with the midterm elections. More on the first lady now, from our White House Correspondent, Kate Bennett.



KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jill Biden, marking one year, as first lady, in a familiar place, on the road.

Thursday, it was New Jersey, to talk up education. And after a lengthy and, at times, controversial press conference, from the President, the day before, supporting her husband.

JILL BIDEN: But I want you to know this. Because, I feel this so strongly.

You were right, to put your faith, in my husband, Joe, one year ago. Because, when he goes to bed, at night, and when he wakes up, every single morning, he thinks about how he can help American families.

BENNETT (voice-over): Being messenger, for the President, and his policies, has been a big part of Biden's busy year, putting her, literally, and figuratively, all over the map, appearing at more than 150 events, talking up everything, from schools, and cancer research, to military families, free community college, the American Rescue Plan, and the importance of getting vaccinated.

Biden has put more domestic miles, on her plane, than even the President, and Vice President, going to a whopping 35 states, this year, to the President's 28.

JILL BIDEN: Can I say something too?

JOE BIDEN: Of course, you can.

The boss is going to say something to you all.


BENNETT (voice-over): When the President isn't on the road, Jill often is.

JILL BIDEN: First lady is not a role that we necessarily choose. And I know what it's like, to have a husband, who has 10 ideas, for how to change the world, before you've even had that first cup of coffee.

BENNETT (voice-over): She has been Joe Biden's hype woman.

JILL BIDEN: I think he's so well-prepared. I mean, he's, you know, we - he's been studying, for weeks.

Joe loves foreign policy. This is his forte.

BENNETT (voice-over): Going to states that did not vote for her husband, like Kentucky, where the first lady, on Friday, visited residents, dealing with the aftermath, of last month's deadly tornadoes.

JILL BIDEN: It will take time, to make this beautiful place, whole again. But what we've seen, what we've all seen, today, is there is faith here too.

BENNETT (voice-over): She's crisscrossed America, urging people, to get the COVID vaccine.


JILL BIDEN: You know, we're going to fight for everyone. So, I'm asking, all of you, who are listening, right now, to choose, to get vaccinated.

BENNETT (voice-over): She's used her easy approachability, her "Call me Jill" attitude, to try to bring together, a divided nation, in a year that even this seasoned political spouse, has found challenging, in an October speech, revealing, the job has not been easy.

Quote, "There are times when the role of first lady pushes you to show up, even when it's uncomfortable. We aren't elected. We have to define this role for ourselves. And we are thrust into a national spotlight in a way that I know none of us could have anticipated."

At 70, Biden is the oldest sitting first lady, in modern history. Not that it has slowed her down. There are more events, more trips, and more messages, to deliver.

JILL BIDEN: Now, I know that we still have a long way to go. And we knew this would be difficult. We knew we wouldn't be able to rebuild overnight.

BENNETT (voice-over): Kate Bennett, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: We'll be right back.