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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

January 6 Committee Subpoenas Bogus Trump Electors; Snow, Wind, and Coastal Flooding to Slam Northeast; Biden Will Move U.S. Troops to Eastern Europe in Near Term; Senate GOP Sets High Bar To Support Biden's Supreme Court Pick; Polls Reveal How Trump, Other GOP Candidates Would Fare In 2024 Election Against Biden; A Rocket Booster Could Crash Into The Moon In The Next Few Weeks. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 28, 2022 - 20:00   ET


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they have a very different take on some of this because they've been doing it and they've been seeing some really good results and we get into all of that as well as talk to a lot of different drivers who have had a lot of issues when it comes to being pulled over, and the majority of them are black -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I am really looking forward to seeing this. And Sara, thank you very much.

And all of you, please don't miss Sara's special report "Traffic Stop: Dangerous Encounters." It's Sunday night at nine.

And it's time now for Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening on a busy night that includes a massive snowstorm about to hit the Eastern Seaboard, we begin with breaking news in the January 6th investigation.

The House Select Committee is now taking direct aim with subpoenas at the former President's scheme to get around the problem of losing the Electoral College by putting forth his own bogus electors.

Listen to senior campaign adviser, Stephen Miller, at the time laying out the game plan.


STEPHEN MILLER, THEN WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: As we speak today, an ultimate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we're going to send those results up to Congress.

This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open.


COOPER: Well, that was December 14, 2020, and sure enough that same day in Michigan, some of those phony electors tried to gain attendance to the State Capitol as you see here as the legitimate electors convened inside. They were blocked from entering by security, by police, so as comical as this might have looked on the surface, it was part of a serious and openly stated plan.

Now, the Committee has issued subpoenas for the two top Republican figures on each of the phony elector slates. There they are, not household names, perhaps but merely junior officers in a failed assault on democracy will have to provide documents to the Select Committee by the 11th of next month in addition to appearing for depositions.

Joining us now is Hector Balderas, Attorney General in one of the states, New Mexico in which Republicans fielded a slate of bogus electors.

Mr. Attorney General, appreciate you being with us. I wonder what your reaction is to news of the Select Committee by virtue of these new subpoenas seems to be on a parallel track with the Justice Department investigation into this fake electoral scam?

HECTOR BALDERAS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW MEXICO: Well, I think it is prudent -- thank you for having me, first of all this evening. I think it's prudent there are multiple investigations in multiple states, both at the State and Federal level, but I also think law enforcement is paying close attention to the Select Committee.

We are watching very closely because we are trying to determine really what the intent was of these electors, and conspiracy seems to be the greatest risk at this point. But at this point, we're just gathering information and evidence. We are thinking about how best to apply the rule of law in a very unconventional and peculiar situation.

COOPER: I mean, New Mexico was one of the states targeted with these fake electors. You were one of the State Attorneys General who referred the case to the Justice Department. What do you think will actually come of it? Do you expect the people involved will be charged and what would charges actually be?

BALDERAS: Well, I want to be clear, these investigations are not targeting lawful auditing, free speech, every American has a right to protest, challenge, litigate, and sue, in a court of law. What is brazen is that there might have been some type of coordinated effort by a small group of individuals and we really believe when we confirmed some of this conduct in each respective state that the D.O.J. was the best positioned to gather the evidence because of the multi-state, multi-jurisdictional challenges in gathering all of this information just to determine what happened.

COOPER: Is it clear to you, I mean, who was on top of this pyramid? I mean, was it -- I mean, can we assume that the President of the United States at the time was in the loop on the scheme?

BALDERAS: Well, first, I want to remind, you know, all Americans, we have a very unique electoral system. It's a combination of State Law and Federal Law, and ultimately, it's intended to bring voters together with poll workers and ultimately to certify a President at the Federal level in front of Congress. And so it's a multifaceted process, and if Americans were just acting

freely and challenging within their own state elections, I believe that would be appropriate. But if there was a coordinated effort by an elite group, involving two or more individuals, and they took overt actions to subvert or commit fraud on the United States, that would be a serious risk to our government and to our democracy and that is worth being -- that is why we need to investigate and we are monitoring the Select Committee as they produce information and evidence.

COOPER: And if that were the case, if it was, you know, an orchestrated thing from an elite group, not just a thing that people were doing in individual states that would be illegal?


BALDERAS: It would be illegal because what we're trying to review now is, were these independent electors acting on their own fruition, independent within their rights, or were they being coerced, forced, or pressured into taking action they wouldn't take otherwise?

And I will remind that our country, the electors, and the rules engaging electors is rather simple. We have winner take all states, and these electors take an oath to certify the elections that is a reflection of the will of the people. And so for some reason, these seven states took a different route and it is important right now to get to the bottom of it to see if there was a conspiracy behind some of this questionable conduct.

COOPER: But that conduct in order -- the wording you're using, I just wanted to drill down on a little bit, that conduct that these individuals in the States took, it would be illegal only if they were coerced by others or pressured? I mean, if they were just asked by others, and you know, jumped at the chance to do this, would that -- does there have to be a level of coercion?

BALDERAS: It doesn't have to be coercion. In order for it to be a Federal crime, there has to be an overt act, and there has to be an agreement or a coordinated effort. I think right now, and this is why I'm being very cautious with our investigation, we are supportive right now of state investigative authorities getting involved in completing their investigation, we have already turned over information to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

But at the end of the conclusion of all the gathering of facts, there absolutely needs to be an application of Federal law to make that determination whether we do think there was a conspiracy or not.

And yes, we're kind of already parsing out facts between you and I, but criminal intent would be required, but what might appear as just a normal, factual, you know, nothing important could be turned into a conspiracy later on. So, it's really important for us to drill down, but it is too premature to determine what level of criminal culpability could exist.

COOPER: If there are not charges or legal repercussions, is there anything to prevent something like this from happening again?

BALDERAS: Well, that's both the beauty and the weakness of our electoral system. The will of the people is a guarantee, and this is why we have the rules and that New Mexico, we had well over a hundred thousand votes cast for the presidential victor, and yet we had these submissions that were an alternative process.

But the subversion of the will of the people, which is just an accounting really could threaten our democracy, and so it's very important. Now, we are looking at penalties both in State and Federal statutes, and you know, they're not very clear.

I think that Congress will at least learn from this incident, and there is any direct correlation to some of the rioting and some of the violence. The other election guarantee is the peaceful transition of power, and clearly that was under duress. So, we are probably going to have recommendations to strengthen these statutes and make these penalties much more clear.

COOPER: Attorney General Balderas, appreciate it. Thank you.

There is a late word as well tonight of another subpoena, this one very high profile, very close to the former President on January 6. CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger joins us now with her exclusive along with CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Gloria, what have you learned?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judd Deere, who is the former Deputy White House Press Secretary has been subpoenaed by the Committee, because he was in the White House, January 5th and January 6th, and they believe that he can shed an awful lot of light about the President's state of mind during those two days.

He was involved in issuing, say, releases from the White House, also about the violence, about the insurrection. I think there is a question about whether he was there when the President taped his infamous video to the American public.

But specifically, one thing they point out, that is so telling is a meeting inside the White House on January 5th. The President called in his staff and you could hear the crowds outside. And the President said to his staff, you know, there's a lot of anger out there right now, and then he also said and asked them, "What are your ideas for getting the RINOs?" That's Republican in name only. "What are your ideas for getting the RINOs to do the right thing tomorrow? How do we convince Congress?"

So this is what he is telling his staff and that speaks directly to what the President was thinking at that moment, which is asking everyone, how can we turn this election around after it's already been had?


COOPER: Jeff Toobin, when you -- I mean, what's the significance of this? How important are these, you know, smaller actors in terms of not known, perhaps widely, but obviously in the room when things were happening?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: What makes someone like Deere very important is that this congressional investigation is fundamentally, I think about Donald Trump and what did Donald Trump do to initiate the riot in the Capitol? What did he do to stop it, if anything? And what did he know about how violent it would become?

So the critical evidence will be people who had some access to him and Deere's is someone who had access to him. It's important to remember also, there are going to be hearings, and the Congress is going to need -- the Committee is going to need witnesses who can tell a story that will be compelling to the American people.

I don't know if Deere is going to be one of those people, but he is certainly a candidate, and we'll see if he agrees to testify. And if he does, he could tell a story that is very important.

COOPER: Gloria. I mean, we know we heard earlier than Mark Meadows -- his right hand was -- had given or was being sought. It seems like people who -- smaller players in terms of where they are in their careers, not well known names, but they don't have the same resources of attorneys and willingness to fight a prolonged battle that Steve Bannon has or even on Mark Meadows may have.

It is interesting, because, you know, that's sort of a weak link in terms of -- if the White House hopes to have a wall of silence, that's kind of some weak bricks in that wall.

BORGER: Sure. And, you know, you talk to people on the Committee and what they tell you is that people have just come in over the transom, voluntarily saying, I want to tell you what I saw at the White House, I want to tell you what I heard at the White House. And it's not just, you know, the bright, shiny objects.

It's not just Mark Meadows, although obviously, his documents have been very important, but it is the people who work for Mark Meadows, it is the people who are in and out of the Oval Office. It is the people who stand in the back of the room when the President is saying something, and the place was insane that day as one person said.

So you can just imagine the kind of testimony they're getting and what they are trying to do is piece it together. So they subpoenaed Judd Deere because he perhaps didn't want to come in voluntarily, but he could provide an awful lot of information about what the President himself as Jeffrey is saying was saying and thinking, and this President thinks out loud a lot and that's what he was doing with the staff that day.

COOPER: Yes, all right, Gloria Borger and Jeff Toobin, thank you.

Coming up next, we'll get the very latest on the dangerous storm about to hit as many as 75 million people from the Carolinas up through Maine. Also breaking news in Ukraine, President Biden talking about sending

American troops to Eastern Europe as the Joint Chiefs Chairman paints a stark picture of the death and destruction Russian forces could bring should they invade.

And later, when it comes to space, Elon Musk, well, he is aiming for the stars. This time though, he is about to hit the moon with one of his rockets. We'll talk about it with Neil deGrasse Tyson who is always looking skyward as well, ahead on 360.



COOPER: Well, there is a winter storm about to hit a big part of the country, harder than one of the speeding seller trains of Amtrak that just canceled because of how bad things could get tonight and through the weekend.

The National Weather Service is talking about a feet of snow and near zero visibility, extremely high winds and flooding. All of this in a massive area affecting about potentially 75 million people.

We have the very latest from CNN's Tom Sater. So, let's talk about what's ahead.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, for days now, about almost five days, we knew a storm was coming. But Anderson we really didn't know how much snow we were going to get.

Now, that the storm has formed on the Southeastern Coast of the U.S., we know it's going to be historic. We've got high confidence. But let's take a look at Boston.

When you look at two-day snow events, the greatest snowfall, 1978, that held the record for decades, and then we beat it in 2003. This is a one day snow event. So let's look at one day totals for Boston. And again, it's at 2003.

You know everybody talks about global warming. How can we have all this snowfall coming? Well, that's just global warming, a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, which falls to the ground as heavier rain or heavier snowfall.

Look at these years, I mean, there, 2015 and 2003, this is going to be an event that is going to be crippling for many, but extremely dangerous and life threatening. We weren't sure what path it was going to take. Was it going to hug the coast and push all that snow to I-95? Or was it going to hang out to sea and really not provide much at all?

It is heading right for the sweet spot, historically speaking, it gives the heaviest snowfall for New England.

Here are some totals, you know, not much Washington, D.C., but it is Ocean City. Yes, you're going to get several inches. Philadelphia, it's still pretty good. You talk about you know, four to eight inches, but it's Atlantic City, you know 12 to 18.

New York, that's a hefty total for you, but it is eastern Long Island. Boston, that's the heart of the storm. We can see easily two to three feet of snow fall, Rhode Island as well. Coastal Maine.

Cold front is moving in, it is bringing the coal there. That is going to play a role later on as well. Light snow or this, this is all you're going to get in areas of probably of Delmarva. The sleet and freezing rain will not fall with this storm on the coast. That's all out to sea. That means, Anderson, this is all snowfall.

So overnight tonight it moves north and it starts to crank. Tomorrow, it really feeds off these warm waters in the Gulf Stream, warmer than they should be, so it's going to create this bombing effect. It's going to have that pressure drop almost like a hurricane. In fact, it'll drop to a Category 2 hurricane pressure.


SATER: With that, it's all snowfall. And again, it's a one-day event, but we're going to see bands of snowfall that are more than one or two inches an hour. We're talking three to four inches an hour, possibly five inches an hour. That's staggering. So, it really depends where these snow bands kind of form and they are convective snow bands.

That means you're going to see lightning, you're going to hear thunder. Thunder and snow. Warnings are in effect, but it's these 10 states with the blizzard warnings. You get a blizzard, you need to get winds up to at least 35 miles per hour. They're going to be even stronger than that. That's going to cause a lot of issues -- Anderson

COOPER: All right, Tom Sater, thanks very much. We'll continue to follow that.

We have breaking news report in the U.S. response and threat of another Russian invasion of Ukraine. Hours after The Pentagon warned a potential invasion would be quote, "horrific," President Biden briefly spoke with reporters about when, not if U.S. troops would be moved into Eastern Europe.


QUESTION: Have you decided how soon you would be moving U.S. troops to Eastern Europe?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will be moving U.S. troops to Eastern Europe in the NATO countries in the near term.


COOPER: Again, the President saying U.S. troops will be moving to NATO countries in Eastern Europe quote, "in the near term," no specific timetable given.

The President's comments came the same day as he and his Ukrainian counterpart now appear to be at least publicly at odds about how imminent the threat may be.

Ukraine's President today pushed back on the idea quoting his translator now: "There's a feeling abroad that there is war here. That's not the case." A senior Ukrainian official tells CNN that a call last night between him and President Biden quote, "did not go well." The White House disputes that account -- and it also sees events differently.

The President's top military adviser said today compared to previous Russian troop movements, this time, quote, "does feel different." He laid out in stark terms what an invasion would look like.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Given the type of forces that are arrayed, the ground maneuver forces, the artillery, the ballistic missiles, the air forces, all of it packaged together, if that was unleashed on Ukraine, it would be significant, very significant.

It would result in a significant amount of casualties, and you can imagine what that might look like in dense urban areas, all along roads, and so on and so forth. It would be horrific, it would be terrible.


COOPER: A lot of seemingly conflicting information to try to get a handle on. We're joined now by retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, former Commanding General of the U.S. Army in Europe and a CNN military analyst; also by Steve Hall, retired C.I.A. Chief of Russia Operations.

So gentlemen, what is your reaction with the President saying he'll send American troops to Eastern Europe, to NATO countries, we should point out in the near term, how significant is that?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I don't think it's very significant at all, Anderson. In fact, I suspected that it would happen. When the early discussions were ongoing, the President and the National Security apparatus were talking about waiting for a NATO call forward for the NATO Response Force.

We don't need that. The United States does not need that. We have alliances and partnerships in many of the Eastern European countries, and what I would say is for the last six years, in fact, even when I was there as Commander of Europe, we were beginning to build bases in many of the Eastern European countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, the Baltics.

So yes, you can move forces to those locations without having them go under NATO control, and we've been practicing that for the last six years.

COOPER: Steve, we've been reporting today or we've seen reports of friction between Washington and Kyiv, the Biden administration describing the Russian invasion as, quote, "imminent," while the President of Ukraine trying to kind of portray this situation as dangerous, but not as dire.

I mean, is this -- I mean, how much of this do you think is actually a disagreement and how much is just sort of different emphasis. Ukraine, obviously has been living with the threat. They've had, you know, Russian forces in Crimea for quite some time now. They've lost thousands of troops over the last several years, and they also don't want the economy ruined as they're waiting for whatever Russia is going to do.

STEVE HALL, RETIRED C.I.A. CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: Yes, Anderson, to a certain extent it might be a bit of, you know, how many angels dance on the head of a pin, some semantics involved. But I think another factor is sort of internal Ukrainian politics.

You know, Ukraine is still a new democracy, and there's a lot of political maneuvering that's going on behind the scenes. You may recall a number of days ago, the former President Poroshenko returned. He's a very nationalistic type of guy. I think that the current Ukrainian President Zelensky is probably aware of that and aware that there are others who are eager to criticize, you know, how he is handling the situation.

So there is some domestic internal politics in Ukraine and of course, you know, he's walking -- it's a fine line he is walking. His country is under threat of invasion. I mean, Our military leadership says you don't mass over a hundred thousand troops, you know for no reason so Zelensky is not correct if he says everything's going to be fine, we just don't know yet.


HALL: But you know, he doesn't want to kill his country's economy, he doesn't want people panicking in the streets, mass exodus, that sort of thing. So, he's in a bit of a difficult circumstance.

COOPER: And how could Vladimir Putin -- I mean, clearly, he is interested in exploiting any wedges that exists between Ukraine and the United States, between NATO countries, between, you know, politicians in the United States?

HALL: Yes, any opportunity that Putin has to point out even the smallest of differences, you know, he will milk for everything, because, of course, you know, from the 30,000-foot level right down to in the weeds, that has always been Vladimir Putin's primary plan, it is to divide the West, divide Western democracies, so as to weaken them and that's what he's trying to do.

He'll take every opportunity, no matter how small whether it's, you know, a difference between allies or whether it's something larger. He will try to stick something in that wedge to make it as wide as he possibly can, and I think he'll use this opportunity as well. It would surprise me if he didn't.

COOPER: General, I want to talk about the Russian troops that are stationed at the Ukrainian border. We've got a troop map there. Ukrainian Intelligence estimates put them about 130,000. More arriving every day.

There's a lot of focus on obviously the troops at the border and when they start or if they started to move. I've heard you say, though, that that's not where entirely the focus should be, in terms of signs of an invasion.

HERTLING: Yes, Anderson, what I'd say is, when you're looking at the Russian way of war, they are not going to roll a shock army across the border in one fell swoop. That's something they used to do back in the 70s and 80s. They had various echelons of forces, they had a huge army. Their resources were strong, but the capabilities were not that good.

But Russia has changed their way of war. They have learned a lot from us and Desert Storm, and in the early days of Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan. They know they have to prep the battlefield in a very different way, and I think what you will see is certainly the use of cyber, if it hasn't already occurred, and I'm banking that some of it already has, but in a growing nature, the potential for other things going on in various cities throughout Ukraine before that army moves.

So anyone that is showing overhead pictures of large tank motor pools and saying look how much stuff they've got on the ground, nothing is going to happen until those start moving. That's not the case. They know, they have to prep the battlefield. And they also could potentially even do it kinetically with long range fires and with air forces.

So you know, when you're talking about how they wage war, it isn't sort of the World War II approach of sending everybody into the beaches and across the borders to try and kill as many as possible. They are going to try and disrupt the society of Ukraine, they've already started doing that with not only cyber, but with also misinformation.

So I think that's what we've really got to take a look at. And by the way, if I can mention this on cyber. You know, we have seen in the past small elements of cyber warfare and what I mean by that is it's limited use of cyber against one type of industry or one part of the government.

When you start unleashing cyber in a very big way, it almost becomes like a nuclear weapon, it can get out of control between countries very quickly, and I think we've got to be very careful in terms of how we address that and what the Russians might do in terms of cyber activity in the near future.

COOPER: Interesting, General Hertling and Steve Hall, I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next, President Biden coming under increasing criticism for openly pledging to name a black woman to the Supreme Court, criticism from Republicans, the question doesn't amount to a litmus test or just him making a promise and keeping it. Also are his critics open to charges of hypocrisy? We'll talk about it

when we continue.



COOPER: The Senate Democrats falling in line today on the new ship quickly confirming a successor to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Brier, a number of Senate Republicans are continuing to criticize President Biden for limiting his choice to a black woman. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, typifies this objection.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do my duty, which is I swear to uphold the Constitution and I'm going to ask whomever Joe Biden since up to the committee, I'm going to see if they are a pro constitution judge actually believe in the Constitution and are willing to follow it. That ought to be the litmus test, not race, not religion, not gender, not anything else. But are you willing to follow the Constitution of the United States?


COOPER: President Biden, as you know, made a campaign promise to name the first black woman to the High Court and now he appears to be keeping it. So does that amount to a litmus test? Are Republicans open to criticism for hypocrisy on this subject is one thing to talk about.

So is this, in a column for The Wall Street Journal Law Professor Jonathan Turley seems to suggest that the President's decision would have been fine if he'd only been a little less forthright about it. He writes, Mr. Biden's use of such threshold exclusions is neither unlawful nor judicially reviewable. It's also unnecessary. Mr. Biden could have selected a black woman for the court while maintaining his universities do, that he would consider all possible candidates on the totality of their records. In other words, do it just don't be entirely honest about what you're doing.

So plenty to talk about, also Senate Minority Leader McConnell suggestion that the President might, in his words, quote, outsource this important decision to the radical left.

Joining us to discuss all of it, two senior political commentators. Former South Carolina Democratic state lawmaker Bakari Sellers, author of the really fun and beautiful children's book, Who Are Your People. Also Scott Jennings, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and a close associate of Senator McConnell.

Scott, I want to play something that former President Trump said at a rally in September 2020 about nominating a woman to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seen on the court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: It will be a woman, a very talented, very brilliant woman, who haven't chosen yet but we have numerous women on the list.


COOPER: So what's the difference between that and what Biden said?


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No difference but I happen to agree with Professor Turley in his op-ed tonight that you referenced that I think Biden is actually doing a disservice to whoever he picks because the list I've seen is full of highly qualified, highly experienced people who could stand on their own, without Biden having backed into this the way he did.

But I have to tell you, I don't think Republicans should really focus on this. What they really ought to focus on, is having full hearts. My heart is full that a an African American woman is going to be on the Supreme Court because there's not been anybody in Washington over the last 36 years, who's fought harder against putting African Americans and Hispanics on the bench than Joe Biden. You look what he did to Clarence Thomas, he used the Jim Crow filibuster their words not mine against Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen and Miguel Estrada. Joe Biden has an atrocious record and I think our hearts ought to be full, that an African American female can finally get past Joe Biden's record. He's after 36 years, he's finally found religion on this issue.

So we ought to question them vigorously, look at their qualifications, look at their experience, and that's perfectly fine. But we ought to rejoice, rejoice that Joe Biden decided to stop trying to prevent minorities from making high federal office in this country.

COOPER: Bakari, I want you to respond to that also, just keep in mind, former GOP South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, recently tweeted, quote would be nice if President Biden chose a Supreme Court nominee, who is best qualified without a race, gender, litmus test. That's what I did when I picked Tim Scott, a senator of South Carolina.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: My Republican colleagues respectfully just full of it tonight, I'm actually glad that that Scott's heart is full. It warms me to hear him say that. However, Turley, his reasoning was rooted in a white male privilege that many times you don't acknowledge you have. Before Thurgood Marshall, it was a given that every justice nominated to the Supreme Court was going to be a white male. Do we look back at that as saying that that is some affirmative action? That is some quota. Given that every president prior to Thurgood Marshall, we knew they were going to select a white male. We didn't look at that as discrimination. The fact is, you played that Trump clip but the Republican savior Ronald Reagan in 1980, even said that he was running on the fact he was going to appoint a woman to the bench.

The fact is now, we have Joe Biden saying and let me just clarify Joe Biden's record for Scott and others, he's actually appointed the most diverse federal judges this country's ever seen and including that has been the most African American women to the bench at this rate. And so, Joe Biden's record on that it needs not even being said. The fact is, I mean, the front runners Michel Childs, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leandra Krueger, I mean, they are the best of the best. You're talking about the Sentencing Commission, you're talking about an expert in labor law, you're talking about a Chief Justice, or justice in the California Supreme Court, who clerked for Justice Stevens, these black women have it all.

And so, I don't want to get into games about discrimination or quotas or affirmative action just because as black women. These black women are bad as hell, regardless of Josh Hawley, or Nikki Haley or anybody else. The fact is, they need to have their voices heard and other 115 justices ever to the United States Supreme Court. All but seven are white men. So tonight, you can save me white men tears. I don't need to hear that.

COOPER: Scott, why wouldn't Minority Leader McConnell's initial reaction be that the first nomination of black woman to the court is somehow going to be tied to the quote, radical left. Is that -- I mean, is that sort of a line that they're testing out to see if that's kind of what they're going to just repeat from now on? Like, why automatically would it be right (INAUDIBLE).

JENNINGS: Look, I think. Yes, great question. Look, I think that I think the Republicans are going to focus on this person's record and experience and stated views, I think there's little doubt that the people Joe Biden is looking at are all highly qualified, highly experienced, and highly liberal. And some might, you might call radical and some of their views. And so that's how the Republicans are going to go after this. They're going to put Mark Kelly and Senator Warnock and the Senator has signed some of these senators who were up in tough reelection fights this year, they're going to put them on the spot and say to the voters in your state, I want you to vote for somebody who's far outside the mainstream of where most voters are in your state. And frankly, they're going to put Joe Biden on the spot saying you campaign as a moderate but you're sending up highly liberal judges. That's how they're going to set up this debate. It's not going to be over race.

I think everybody is going to be very, very pleased that an African American woman is going to be on the Supreme Court. I am a lot of Republicans I know are. I'm not going to agree probably with most any decision this person will ever make, because I think Joe Biden is highly likely to choose a very liberal person, but that doesn't mean we can't be happy about it, but it also doesn't mean we can't have a real conversation here about their views, about Biden's views and about what that means for the voters in some of these says Senate states this fall.


COOPER: Scott Jennings, Bakari Sellers, appreciate it. Thank you.

By the way Bakari, I'm told I didn't see it. We put up the wrong book cover when we introduce you. I don't know how that's possible. But here it is, again, Who Are Your People Bakari Sellers, it's the new children's book out. I read it to my son Bakari just so you know, just the other day and he enjoyed it, although he got a -- you know, it's a little young I think for it, but it's beginning. So, appreciate it.

Up next speculation already rife about which Republican might face President Biden in two years. CNN's Harry Enten has some new data about what the 2024 presidential election could look like and how some of the potential candidates may fare against the current president.


COOPER: With more than two years to go into the next presidential election, it's a little early to talk about potential presidential matchups, but since it's with Harry Enten, we thought it'd be smart and fun and things with Harry usually are. So, some new reporting shows that President Biden's approval rate has declined while also revealing as some of the people entertaining a run for his job would fare in a head to head matchup against the president.

Joining us now CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten. So, Harry by the way first, is it data or data?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I really don't know, and I really don't know why I have a title, you can just call me dude or something. I like --

COOPER: No, I like senior data, I'm going with data.

ENTEN: Sure.


COOPER: You're a data reporter. So, Harry, so the former president is leaving the GOP field obviously in early 2024 polling. Are there any danger signs for him?

ENTEN: I do think there are, you know, Ron DeSantis, who's obviously at this point seen in his main opponent, you can look at their favorable ratings right among Republicans. And what do you see, you see that Trump's rating is at 72 percent, of recent Marquette Law School poll, DeSantis is among Republicans was just 52. But among those who have an opinion of both of them, look at that, Ron DeSantis, has about an 83 percent approval rating versus just Trump at 73. And more than that, are you more of a supporter of Trump or the Republican Party? If you go back to the 2020 election, you see, most Republicans said Trump, but now in fact, most Republicans say a support of the Republican Party. So the ground is sort of shifting underneath them.

COOPER: And as for the 2024, general election, were you seeing their former presidents' numbers in that context?

ENTEN: Yes, right now he's tied with Joe Biden. So if you take a look at the average pollster, both tied around 43 percent. I think that's actually quite weak for the former president. The reason why is if you look at generic candidates, right, you look at a generic Democrat versus a generic Republican. What do you see? You see, the generic Republican is actually leading the generic Democrat this point 47 percent to 43 percent. And I think that really just gets at the deer on popularity of President Trump, of former President Trump at this point. Republicans be better off nominating somebody else lead scoring in these polls.

COOPER: Also, now that I have you, I'm supposed to ask you about the football odds this weekend, even though I don't really know what to who's playing.

ENTEN: Yes. So we, we have a slide up here. And that -- and what's so interesting about it is we actually have the logos for the teams and I'm wondering if you actually know who these teams are. You know, KC, that that that's Kansas City --

COOPER: Kansas City, Kansas City Chiefs. Are they're still called the chiefs?

ENTEN: Yes --


ENTEN: They're still so called the Chiefs.

COOPER: Those are the Bengals --

ENTEN: Very good. The Chiefs are favored --


ENTEN: -- by nine.

COOPER: Giants, San Francisco Giants.

ENTEN: No, San Francisco 49ers.

COOPER: Oh, I should know that of course that's obvious. Yes, yes, yes.


COOPER: I don't know the L.A. Swirl, the L.A. Swirl? The L.A. Yellow Swirl.

ENTEN: That's a Ram, that's a Ram, that's supposed to be a Ram. You know, like the Ram --

COOPER: Are they always been the L.A. Chargers?


COOPER: Or the Rams?

ENTEN: These are the Rams. There's also another team that's called the Chargers but these are the Rams, the Rams used to play in St. Louis before they play in Los Angeles. Before that they play in Cleveland. The Chargers once played in Los Angeles, then played in San Diego, now play again in Los Angeles. But you could see Los Angeles has favored over --



COOPER: -- for a second. OK. All right, good to know. Thank you. I will, I will lay down those odds. I don't know what that means. Harry Enten --

ENTEN: Do whatever you want man. Football is fun. I love football. It's like talking to you --


ENTEN: -- it's a fun time.

COOPER: Enten, thanks very much.

ENTEN: Shalom.

COOPER: Is much like me.

Coming up, an out of control space rocket is under collision course with the moon. World renowned Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells us what to expect next.



COOPER: An all rocket launched into space by Elon Musk SpaceX corporation may soon crash into the moon. SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stage launched the U.S. Deep Space Climate Observatory in 2015 has been floating around for the last seven years. Report said the three to four ton booster could create a 65-foot crater on the far side of the moon when it potentially crashes in March.

Joining us now astrophysicist and author of a Brief Welcome To The Universal Pocket Size Tour, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Neil, thank you so much for joining us. For some reason my eyes are starting to water because I got something my eyes so excuse me while I wiped my eyes as I talked to you. So how high are the odds of this rocket booster actually crashing into the moon?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, ASTROPHYSICIST: I thought you're getting emotional about the universe (INAUDIBLE) --

COOPER: What's going on?

TYSON: I have no reason to doubt the calculations done by others about the trajectory of this booster. And just so that people understand this NOAA satellite that was originally put into orbit by this booster is one of the more important satellites that we have monitoring not only Earth, but also space weather. If there's any explosions on the sun, how we might have to warn the world for what consequences we would have for our how much how dependent we are on electronics.

So it turns out that orbital trajectory, that second stage, did not -- it lost fuel and could not come back to Earth. And so, just adrift in space. And it turns out that there are these sort of fuzzy boundaries between gravitational attractors out there where something can float for a long time, and be tugged slowly in one direction or another. And in this particular case, it drifted towards the moon. And in an arc that will take it to collide with them on the backside of the moon. So we're not going to be able to see this.

But I did a fast calculation and it'll impact with about the energy of 2 percent of a stick of dynamite, if you want to get a sense of what that would be.

COOPER: Oh, wow. That's very small.

TYSON: Yes, yes. So don't think the moon is going to break apart or anything. Moon is going to -- the moon is going to (INAUDIBLE) much worse.

COOPER: Well, I was going to say the moon has been I mean, there's craters on moon there's been hit by a lot satellite.

TYSON: Yes, take a look. Yes, yes.

COOPER: So, is that -- so that's it --

TYSON: Yes, for the moon -- moon shrug this off. Not a problem.

COOPER: Wow. I mean, as the rocket booster I mean, it's -- is it possible that but that might not crash into the moon?

TYSON: Well, these horrible trajectories, you know, as a matter of fact, that is rocket science. So through these calculations, you know, what we know what we're doing when we do that. It's gravity. It's now what makes it a little more interesting is that it's a multi body problem. So there's sort of chaotic pathways within there. But as we get closer to the March 4th, expected collision date, the precise time and the precise art that takes it there will be known. But right now even with the uncertainties being this far in advance the moon is a large enough target, it's not going to miss.


And by the way, there's a whole cottage industry in my field of people observing the unlit side of the moon, to see if you can see a flash from meteors that strike it. So this is -- you got to go the unlit side so that you can notice when the flash occurs. So unlit side, it's happening all the time, you would never notice it.

So, it's too bad. We're not going to be around the other side of the moon to check it out.

COOPER: Yes, Neil deGrasse Tyson, fascinating. I really appreciate it. Thank you. I'm sorry about my watery eyes.

TYSON: Excellent, thank you.

COOPER: All right, just ahead --

TYSON: (INAUDIBLE) San Francisco Giants are baseball, by the way.

COOPER: Yes, thank you. I appreciate it.

Just ahead, New York an extraordinary day in New York. Look at this scene, New York and the nation remember fallen police officer, Jason Rivera, next.



COOPER: Today the city of New York and the country paid their respects to a fallen police officer, Jason Rivera. Thousands of his fellow officers tuned out today -- turned our today for a service to honor Officer Rivera, many came from all around the country. Just want to pause on that scene for a moment a sea of blue, all in appreciation of a man who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Officer Rivera and Wilbert Mora were killed a week ago when a suspected gunman open fire after the officers responded to a 911 call at a Harlem apartment. Rivera's wife whom he married in October also spoke saying, she be lost without him.

That's it for us. The news continues here on CNN with Jim Acosta in "DEMOCRACY IN PERIL." Jim.