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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Trump Says Pence Should have Overturned 2020 Elections; Exclusive Sources Tell CNN Trump Advisers Drafted More than One Executive Order to Seize Voting Machines; CNN Exclusive: Pence's Former Chief Of Staff Testifies Before 1/6 Cmte.; Russia Responds In Writing To U.S. Proposal To De-Escalate Ukraine Crisis; Amy Schneider's "Jeopardy!" Champion Reign Ends With More Than $1.3M In Winnings. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 31, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Yes, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Metropolitan Police are currently investigating and criminal charges are now possible.
Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. We begin tonight with a stunningly simple fact: The former President of the United States has just loudly and proudly confessed the very thing the House Select Committee is hard at work trying to prove.
He has also just dangled pardons in front of the people who attacked the Capitol and leveled veiled threats hinting at potential mob violence at those who would investigate or prosecute him.
Yet, that fact that he did all that in just a single weekend, shocking as it is, also comes with the depressingly familiar corollary. It has always been this way. He has always said the quiet part out loud whether after the fact or before, or both.
He is consciously or not a serial confessor. And yesterday, in a statement, he did it again. The once and perhaps future President of the United States said this about former Vice President Mike Pence, quote: "He could have overturned the election." Now that's as clear a statement as you can find his intent to remain in office by nullifying the results of a free and fair election.
He is even using the language "overturn the election," which is the very thing the January 6th Committee is trying to prove. Now, that statement, that's what it is called, essentially admitting he attempted to stage a coup follows remarks in Texas where he said this about members the violent mob that took part in that very attempt and are now in jail awaiting trial, charged with destroying property, assaulting police officers, weapons possessions, and even conspiring in the words of the criminal statute " ... to overthrow, put out, or to destroy by force the government in the United States."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6th fairly. We will treat them fairly.
And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "So unfairly," he said. That is a former President dangling pardons in front of alleged felons, some of whom might be called on one day to testify against him, yet again, shouldn't be that surprising. He has done it openly before and paid no price for it, back in 2018, when he refused to rule out pardoning his corrupt former campaign adviser, Paul Manafort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think the old Manafort trial is very sad when you look at what is going on there. I think it's a very sad day for our country. He worked for me for a very short period of time, but you know what? He happens to be a very good person and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He would of course, go on to pardon Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, neither of whom in his words or Tony Soprano's "ever flipped on him." So, what he said on Saturday shouldn't be surprising that behavior and intent were out in the open years before, as was going back to his first campaign, his intention to let a foreign power hack American computers and tamper with American democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, five hours later, according to the Mueller report, the Russian hacking began. His subsequent explanation to the Special Counsel's team said it was a joke, quote, "as was apparent to any objective observer."
Now you would think this was perhaps his first lesson in how easy it would be for him to say the quiet part out loud and not face any consequences, except in truth, it wasn't. Six months earlier in what was for him at least a surprisingly self-aware and maybe meta- observation, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody
and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, in this case, thank goodness, he was speaking figuratively, which of course, later gave rise to his handlers and enablers telling us: Oh, we should take the man seriously, not literally, except as it would happen, the best way to predict what he would do or how he felt about something or explained it after the fact would be to take what he said literally.
Want to know if he had a soft spot for white nationalists? Take him literally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now to remind you, this was one of the two sides he was talking about, white nationalist chanting "Jews will not replace us" and the Nazi slogan "Blood in soil." And he didn't need to read behind or between the lines to see where his sympathies lay, you just needed to take his words at face value.
And if there were any doubt at the time about his affinity for thugs, you could take what he said in March of 2019 at face value when he boasted about the bikers who supported him saying, quote: "I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they get to a certain point and then it would be very bad, very bad."
Nobody took that seriously enough at the time nor did many take these remarks in front of tens of millions of debate viewers seriously enough or see them as the foreshadowing they were January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Who would you like me to condemn?
JOE BIDEN (D), THEN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Proud Boys.
TRUMP: Proud boys, stand back and stand by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Again, there they are, words that the former President's enablers did not take either seriously or literally even though the Proud Boys certainly seem to. And again, they too were part of a pattern dating back to then candidate Trump refusing to denounce former KKK leader, David Duke, when pressed repeatedly on it by CNN's Jake Tapper. He subsequently blamed it on a bad earpiece, but it would foreshadow his reluctance of course, to condemn the haters in Charlottesville.
Senator Marco Rubio, his primary opponent at the time did condemn him for that, but then, of course, went on to become one of his staunch supporters and enablers. That was nearly six years ago. Countless indictments of associates ago, two impeachments and one insurrection ago, and so very much of it was openly telegraphed or openly admitted to after the fact.
And even now, even someone who voted to convict him in his second impeachment, and who condemns his pledge to pardon January 6th criminals still cannot completely rule out supporting him in 2024.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): Well, we're a long ways from 2024. But let me say this. I do not think the President should have made -- President Trump should have made that pledge to do pardons. We should let the judicial process proceed.
January 6th was a dark day in America's history.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: It was, and you voted to convict President Trump as well. Why can't you rule out supporting him in 2024?
COLLINS: Well, certainly it's not likely given the many other qualified candidates that we have that have expressed interest in running. So, it's very unlikely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So she voted to convict him in proceedings where a conviction would have barred him from ever holding office again, which she was comfortable with when she voted to convict him, yet, somehow, now, she can't simply say out loud what she said with her vote just a year ago, a year that hardly saw the former President mellow, just the opposite.
Now, her remarks came just a day after he openly tried to make martyrs and heroes out of the mob that terrorized her own workplace and threatened to hang the man presiding over it. And it's not like that threat is receding.
Here is what the man she still might support also said on Saturday about the public servants, sworn officers of the Court who are investigating him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It really is prosecutorial misconduct at the highest level. These prosecutors are vicious, horrible people. They are racists and they're very sick. They're mentally sick.
If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So just take a step back when you hear him say that at the end. That's a former President of the United States, just in a sentence saying our country and our elections are corrupt. The former President of the United States is saying our country is corrupt, our elections are corrupt. Nobody blinks an eye.
I mean, can you imagine for a moment if any other President or former President said those words in previous years? There would be outrage.
The President's words encouraging mobs to rally against public servants prompted the Atlanta area District Attorney Fani Willis to ask the F.B.I. for help in providing security for buildings and staff for security assistance. She is investigating the former President's effort to overturn results in Georgia. She is doing her job.
Whether it comes to the threat he might pose to her office or democracy, she is taking his words and deeds at face value; others sadly still, not so much.
Joining us now Harvard legal scholar, Laurence Tribe, author of "To End the Presidency: The Power of Impeachment." Professor Tribe, I want to read something that you tweeted today I saw. You said, quote: "Mr. Trump's public confession last night all but daring the Attorney General to seek a grand jury indictment against him for seditious conspiracy and for giving aid and comfort to an insurrection to 'overturn the election' is the last straw. The government must call his bluff," end quote.
What do you mean call his bluff?
LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LEGAL SCHOLAR: I mean, indict him.
There is no more confession that we could expect, no clearer admission of guilt than the one that he said out loud. He said that it was his purpose to overturn the election. That he has the right to do that, that he has the right to pardon people who were insurrectionists. He is offering them pardons in the future.
He is threatening those who go after him. He has laid down the gauntlet. And if in the face of all of that, the United States Department of Justice whose Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced several days ago that they were investigating not only the insurrection, but the plot to have fake electors.
Having said that, if the Department of Justice simply turns the other way, if the Attorney General who said we will follow the evidence where it leads turns the other way now, it will essentially give him a red carpet to waltz into the White House with a new coup, and if necessary, a violent insurrection. This cannot be tolerated.
As you said, Anderson, he says the quiet part out loud. He has done it before, but before, we could look the other way. We could say, well, he is not really going to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. But this time, we know what he is planning to do. We know what he has already done. We know what almost succeeded. We know what he's threatening to do.
If we care about this country, about saving it from someone who really asserts the divine right of kings to rule over all of us, we must indict him. There is no longer any need to dot the I's, cross the T's, follow the evidence where it leads. The evidence has led us to the Rubicon and we must now cross it.
COOPER: It is remarkable when you think of the fact that this President stood in front of, you know, encouraged mobs of people to come to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to do something and it's going to be wild, and told them to march on the Capitol that he is now telling, saying he wants mobs to appear in cities throughout the United States, where anybody is daring to actually just investigate him, according to the law.
I mean --
TRIBE: He is basically threatening the police. He is threatening the F.B.I. He is threatening the Department of Justice. What more do we need? For heaven's sake, you know, the January 6th committee has put it all together. As Jamie Raskin said, just yesterday, I think, we don't any longer need to look for the smoking gun. It's right in front of us.
What is he going to say? You didn't give me any Miranda warnings before I confessed on national television in Texas before I issued a public statement saying it was my intention to overturn the election? In a statement he issued the day after, he doesn't need Miranda warnings. He has confessed. It's a voluntary, open confession.
And what I'm afraid of is people are going to say: Jeez, it can't be that bad if he's willing to admit it. That's ridiculous. He's admitted that he tried to overturn the government of the United States. He has admitted that he is going to pardon if he gets into office, the people who when that plot failed, stormed the Capitol, injured and killed people, smeared the walls with feces, carried Confederate flags through the Capitol in a way that wasn't done even in the Civil War, tried to crush people to death, threatened to hang the Vice President, said Nancy Pelosi, "Where are you?" They were looking to kill the Speaker of the House.
We have to wake up. He's has said the quiet part out loud and the quiet part is "I'm going to take over. If I don't win the fair way, whatever that might be, I'm going to take over."
He's obviously going to claim that he won the next election, whether he wins or loses. He is putting apparatchiks in place throughout the country to count the votes in his favor whether they go that way or not. He is encouraging state legislatures to send Trump slates or the slates of whatever Trump substitute might run for President next time, even from states where he loses.
This is extremely serious. No former President has ever committed so grave a crime against the country right in front of our very eyes. The crime of seditious conspiracy, and aiding and comforting an insurrection that he himself fomented and he has threatened to do it again.
I don't think we can afford to wait, and I'm waiting to see what the Attorney General of the United States will do now.
COOPER: Should the Attorney General, who I think -- was he a student of yours at one point?
TRIBE: Yes, Merrick Garland was a wonderful student and I believe he has a spine. I believe that he is not going to let this former President threaten him and say, "Come and get me. I dare you. Make my day." That's what he is saying. And if in the face of that, the evidence that is in front of all of us does not lead, not simply to following the breadcrumbs up that path, but actually bringing an indictment through the grand jury that is now sitting in Washington, effectively, the Attorney General will have been saying something that I don't think Merrick Garland wants to say, and that is, he's being influenced by politics and by threats.
We don't negotiate with terrorists. We certainly don't lay down in front of them and let them walk all over us, and this is domestic terrorism that he is threatening. He is saying, I'll do the coup all over again. And if it has to get violent, it'll get violent.
COOPER: Let me just ask you. I mean, should the Attorney General the United States take into account potential ramifications of charging a former President with something? I mean, in this country, the idea of, you know, one party in power, and the Attorney General investigating a former President that raises all sorts -- many people will see that as political, they might see that as political, should the Attorney General take that into account?
TRIBE: Well, with politics, either way. He should -- he certainly should take into account the fact that if he does not pursue the evidence that is now in front of us, that will be transparently political and cowardly.
Yes, of course, it is not a routine thing to charge a former President. It's also not a routine thing of a former President who openly confesses that he tried to overturn the election in which he lost. It's not a common thing for us to have a former President who wants to turn this into a dictatorship. That's what's unusual.
And of course, we don't want to go after somebody for vindictive reasons. That's not the point. The point is to hold him accountable so that he doesn't do it again, and only convicting him of aid and comfort to an insurrection would disqualify him from ever running again.
COOPER: Laurence Tribe, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
TRIBE: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: Coming up next, we have breaking news on that effort at
overturning the election suggesting that the plan is being discussed by the former President's associates for seizing voting machines, which we've reported on before was actually broader than we thought when the story first broke.
We'll have that ahead.
COOPER: We are talking tonight about the former President and the ongoing threat he may pose to Democracy.
Now, Breaking News on the scope of the threat during his attempt to overturn the election. They are built on a story that was pretty shocking when we first learned a portion of it, namely the draft Executive Order telling the Defense Department to seize voting machines.
Now, it turns out that was only part of the story and only one of the proposed Executive Orders.
CNN's Paula Reid joins us right now with the exclusive. What have you learned?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, sources tell CNN that following the 2020 election, former President Trump's legal advisers drafted two versions of an Executive Order to seize voting machines; one, directing the Department of Defense to seize the machines, and the other, directing the Department of Homeland Security to do so.
Now, we of course previously reported the existence of the draft order tasking The Pentagon for seizing machines. That document has been handed over to the House Select Committee investigating January 6th by the National Archives.
Now, multiple sources tell CNN that a second version of the same document also exists, but it instructs D.H.S. to carry out the same task. Now neither memo was ever issued, but it shows, Anderson, the length these advisers were willing to go to as part of their broader effort to undermine the election results.
COOPER: Do we know who drafted these Executive Orders?
REID: Well, multiple sources tell CNN that the idea of using the Federal government to access voting machines was the brainchild of retired Colonel Phil Waldron and former Trump National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn. Both Army veterans were pushing the narrative that the election was stolen from Trump and Trump's former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was spearheading these efforts to challenge the election results.
We've learned that Giuliani approached Ken Cuccinelli, who was second in command at the Department of Homeland Security at the time about seizing voting machines after the election, and Cuccinelli told him he didn't have that authority.
Now, Cuccinelli tells CNN that his discussion with Giuliani never developed to the point of talking specifically about an Executive Order.
Now, the House Select Committee is now looking into this effort to draft an Executive Order, how it began, and specifically the roles of Giuliani, Flynn Waldron, and former Trump attorney, Sidney Powell.
COOPER: Paula Reid, I want you to stay with us if you can. I want to bring in our chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, former Federal prosecutor.
Jeffrey, what do you make of this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's just worth pausing to consider, you know what it would mean to have the Federal government, especially the military seize our voting machines. This is something that happened in South American dictatorships in the 1960s.
You know, when the party in power didn't like the outcome of an election, they seized the voting machines and figured out a way to count the votes in a way where their favorite candidate would win.
Now, it is true this didn't happen, but the idea that the President was considering this that he got as far as a draft order is just a chilling demonstration of how close we came to something that is literally un-American.
COOPER: And, Jeff, if the former President had actually gone through with these insane Executive Orders at the time, would they have even been remotely legal? I mean --
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, this -- they certainly would have been challenged in some states, but not in every state. I think the one thing they would guarantee -- they would have guaranteed was chaos, which may have been the point. But certainly, the Courts would have gotten involved.
But you know, there are several states that were dominated by Republicans that they wanted to try to figure out a way to make Trump win this election he lost.
So you know, I can't tell you what exactly would have happened, other than this would have been in Court. Several Courts would have struck it down, but I can't say that every Court would have, and I think the only certainty that comes out of a suggestion like this is as I said, would have been chaos.
COOPER: Paula, how does all this factor into the January 6th investigation? REID: Of course, Anderson, there was outrage when people first
learned the Department of Defense Executive Order. Now, that we know there were two, there are going to be even more questions.
Now, as we've noted, look, former President Trump did not sign these. Neither one of these were authorized. So there was clearly a line for the former President and his advisers, but there are so many questions and what was Phil Waldron and Mike Flynn -- what were they doing drafting Executive Orders? Who specifically wrote this? Line by line, who was drafting these?
And in talking to so many sources around this effort, it's clear, they were tossing anything at the wall that they thought could potentially stick and overturn the election, but when the wall they're throwing things at is inside the Oval Office, that's a problem and something investigators in the House Select Committee are absolutely trying to get to the bottom of.
COOPER: Paula Reid, fascinating. Appreciate it. Jeffrey Toobin, as well.
We have more breaking news tonight. The most significant sign yet the former Vice President Pence -- former Vice President Pence's inner circle is cooperating with the January 6th Committee. New information on that. What CNN is learning exclusively about the testimony provided by a top insider who was with the Vice President at the Capitol on the day of insurrection, that's next.
COOPER: Here some breaking news tonight in the January 6 investigation. CNN's learning that former Vice President Mike Pence is then Chief of Staff Marc Short you see there on the right of your screen to quietly testified before the House Select Committee just last week. Short was with Pence at the Capitol on the day of the attempted coup. Of course, Pence defied the 45th president their party to uphold the will of the voters and certifying the election results that night.
Our Jamie Gangel is part of the CNN team that broke this story. So Jamie, what more do we know about Marc Short testifying?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very significant because he is a first hand witness. He was in the room when former President Trump was pressuring Mike Pence, Marc Short was in the Oval Office. He heard everything that was said, when on January 6, he was at the Capitol with Mike Pence when people were chanting, hang Mike Pence, he had to evacuate with him.
He is someone who can speak to the committee and tell them exactly what was said. And I think one of the critical things that we learned is that when he went to testify to the committee, let's remember, it was under subpoena and the documents he handed over are under subpoena. But I'm told he spoke to the committee at length and while many of the interviews have been done virtually because of COVID, Marc Short went in person to do his testimony.
COOPER: That's fascinating. The -- do we know why he went in person?
GANGEL: We don't. But I think that there's no question. Look, we know if someone a witness comes in person. It has a different quality to it. It has eye contact people relate differently. So I think that it speaks to the fact that he's such a critical witness and that he was willing to do it.
COOPER: Yes. We mentioned earlier the statement that the former President released yesterday and I want to read it again, because it's potentially really significant. He said, quote, Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome. He didn't exercise that power, he could have overturned the election, end quote. Given that statement, combined with the fact that Marc Short has testified before the committee, what does it mean for the likelihood of former Vice President Mike Pence actually testify?
GANGEL: Right. We don't know yet if Pence will cooperate, although I'm told that on Friday, Pence is likely to addressed Trump's statement when he speaks in Florida to the Federalist Society. But let's just remember with Pence, Short's testimony comes months after discussions, negotiations between his attorney and the lawyers on the committee, as well as a subpoena. My understanding is that the committee is still contemplating an invitation to Pence. But Pence would like his aides to speak to the committee first as much as possible. There is a political calculation here. We all know, Pence wants to run for president in 2024. It's not a very well kept secret.
So he is walking a fine line between saying that he did the right thing on January 6, and the fact that he somehow thinks he can not alienate Trump anymore or the base. But I want to give you one quote, Republican source who's very familiar with Pence world said about whether or not Pence cooperates quote, this is all a political calculation because he wants to run for president. Somehow he thinks he can straddle and do the right thing but not alienate the base, end quote.
GANGEL: I think that's a heavy lift, and that there are people around Pence, who really want him to testify.
COOPER: And that is quite a straddle. Jamie Gangel, appreciate it. Fascinating reporting.
With me now is Olivia Troye, she was an advisor to then Vice President Pence, she now leads the Republican Accountability Project, a conservative group that opposes the former president.
Olivia, appreciate you being with us. Does it surprise you that Marc Short, testified in front of the committee? And what kind of information do you think he was in a position to disclose?
OLIVIA TROYE, FMR HOMELAND SECURITY & COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER TO VP PENCE: No, actually, I'm not surprised that Marc Short would go in. I mean, at this point, he has nothing to lose, right? They're sort of on the right side of history when it comes to this given Pence's actions on January 6. And so therefore, they should be cooperating because politically, if you look at the political calculus, as your previous guest has stated, it is in Pence's best interest to get this information out there and to cooperate and actually tell the truth about the events that led to the lead up of the election and the aftermath of the election and what led to January 6, and that insurrection that we all saw, that led to the threats against his life, in the life of Pence's family and everyone there who was there that day.
And so I think, you know, in terms of what will happen next, you know, I actually really implore and hope that Pence will be public about what happened. Because really, as much as you can send de facto witnesses in to represent you. It's really his voice that needs to be heard directly by many of these people.
COOPER: He's clearly being very cautious about what he has said publicly. I mean, in the few interviews he's done about this are comments he's made about it. You know, he's clearly figured out a way in his mind to kind of do a head nod to the, you know, his thinking on that day why he acted as he did and at the same time, not alienate Trump supporters. It is that -- can he maintain that or does to your point, you know, him being pumped more public about exactly what happened? Doesn't that risk tipping the balance toward just alienating the Trump base?
TROYE: It does. But look, I don't really understand Pence's strategy right now for 2024. I mean, he really does not have the backing of anyone who continues to support this man, Trump. And I think it's going to be hard for him to garner the space. And so, I really think the bigger thing that Mike Pence could do is actually lead the country in a better direction, because we have Donald Trump sitting down there, doubling down on lies about what Mike Pence could do on the election. He's continuing to sow division across our country, he's inciting potential violence yet again. And at what point are you Mike Pence? And do you finally take a step back and say, what is the better thing for our democracy? What do I want my legacy to be? I'm aiming for that Oval Office. And the odds of me getting there are actually not that great.
But what I can do is actually make a difference for our country, and try to steer us in a different direction, because Donald Trump does not care about the Republican Party, nor does he care about you and me, or any of Americans nor his supporters. That is who he is. He may say that he'll pardon these people in these speeches, and he'll speak on behalf of the insurrectionist. But the fact is, that he has no connection to the people that follow him. He doesn't care. He cares about himself.
And so, that is a role I think, that Mike Pence could play, he could really start to set the record straight, and start to stand with people like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. And really, that is where you make a difference right now. What really matters most of all, is our democracy then that shouldn't be a debatable issue.
COOPER: Yes. Olivia Troye, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
Just ahead, there's breaking news on the latest efforts by the United States to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine. We'll have two reports one from the White House the other from Ukraine miles from the border where Russian forces are gathered, when we return.
COOPER: More breaking news this evening. This time on the effort to avert a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russians now responded in writing to the United States his latest attempt to de- escalate the increasingly tense situation. It's a difficult task in part because the Russians claim they are not threatening an attack. Debate the played out during a UN Security Council meeting today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VASILY NEBENZYA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UN (in translation): We you are almost calling for this. You want it to happen. You're waiting for it to happen as if you want to make your words become a reality. This is despite the fact that we are constantly rejecting these allegations.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: The threats of aggression on the border of Ukraine. Yes, on its border is provocative. Our recognition of the facts on the ground is not provocative. The provocations from Russia not from us or other members of this council.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So we have two reports now on the standoff. Our chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Ukraine near where Russian troops have masked. Also with us, our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
Want to start with Kaitlan on the breaking news. What is the latest in the White House and these negotiations?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Russia has responded to the written response that the U.S. sent to Russia last week. We know that they received this, they delivered this it is also handwritten, but we don't really know Anderson what it has said. The State Department confirmed that they did receive this but they're saying they're going to leave it up to Russia if they want to lay out what was said. And we know when the U.S. responded to the security demands by Russia last week, we didn't really expect any breakthroughs because we were told by sources that the United States was basically going to say in this what they had said publicly, that they were not going to comply with some of these demands from Russia, including ones like Ukraine should never join NATO, which we have told they are on the path to do so but it's going to be a long path to actually get there. And so, we're not expecting any big breakthrough on this. And of course, as you saw today with the Russian representative there at the United Nations Security Council meeting, you heard from Linda Thomas- Greenfield, the differences here have not really changed, they are still very obvious you could hear them basically in this diplomatic brawl happening at the UN today showing just how far apart these two sides still are on who is responsible for what's happening and where this could potentially be going.
COOPER: In terms of sanctions if the Russians invade, is it clear what the Biden administration's prepared to do?
COLLINS: One thing they did today that we have not really heard them confirm publicly, though we had kind of heard behind the scenes was something they were discussing was preparing a sanctions package for these Russian elites, people who were in Vladimir Putin's inner circle, that could be a step that would be significant if they take that, because it's long been rumored that a lot of those people close to Putin, are maybe the ones who are holding his assets. And, you know, President Biden did tell us last week that he would consider personally sanctioning the Russian leader if he did invade Ukraine.
And so, that would be a notable step, because so far, we've only heard from Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser and other top officials talk about going after Russian banks. Now they're talking about individuals, and they didn't give us a list of who those individuals are. But I do think it speaks to the level of the sanctions that the White House is considering, should this happen and trying to come up with really as a form of deterrence here.
COOPER: Yes, Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Now, perspective from CNN's Clarissa Ward on the ground in Ukraine, miles from the border when invasion might occur.
Clarissa, what are people that are saying about the proximity of Russian troops in the prospect of an invasion?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, what's extraordinary Anderson is that if Russian troops do cross this border, the half a million people of this city are going to be some of the first to know about it. Russia is just over 20 miles in that direction. You've got the Sea of Azov to my left, where there are Russian boats. And yet, when you talk to people here, there is no sense of heightened anxiety or alarm. We've been here a couple of days now, people here are anxious a little bit. But largely, they seem to believe that there will not be a war.
And this is in lockstep with a messaging that's been coming from the Ukrainian leadership, they are really trying to project an aura of calm and an aura of control. And when you travel to the frontlines as we've been doing, Anderson, you see that they really haven't changed since I was here two years ago. There's no sense, at least from what we've seen that Ukrainians are bolstering their forces here and their defenses and really preparing for some kind of an onslaught. COOPER: So what does that mean on the ground? How did the forces stack up in terms of equipment and weaponry?
WARD: I mean, from what we've seen, there's honestly really no match. You're talking about on the other side of that border in Russia, heavy weaponry, tanks. Here, you're talking about men in trenches fighting with pretty light weapons of, you know, obviously, we know that the U.S. has been supplying things like javelins most recently. Those are those tank armor piercing missiles. But they don't have a real Air Force even.
So, it's just difficult to see if push really did come to shove. And there was some kind of an invasion. The Ukrainians would be in for a very tough fight. And from what we've seen in just a couple of days, and we haven't been across the entire country, so I can only speak for this area. But as I said before, it doesn't appear yet that the Ukrainians here are really prepared for any kind of major incursion.
COOPER: What's the latest from the Ukrainian government? What are they saying?
WARD: It's interesting. We heard from Ukraine security chief today, basically accusing the west of trying to box Ukraine into a corner and force them to make concessions about the future of what will happen in the pro separatists -- a pro-Russian separatists controlled area known as Donbas.
And again, I think that really gels with what we're seeing overall, which is Ukraine, pushing back a little bit against the U.S. and against what we've heard from the U.S. about an imminent invasion being potentially around the corner, and they're trying to say, no, that's not the case, we're on top of this situation, we're in control, and we won't have anyone tell us that we need to make X, Y or Z concession in order to stop an all out war from taking place.
How long they can keep that up, though, with all the intelligence and all the what we're learning about what's happening on the other side of the border, that remains an open question Anderson.
COOPER: Clarissa Ward in Ukraine, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
It's been a stressful show, so on a lighter note, something we need, "Jeopardy" champion Amy Schneider is going to join us to talk about her legendary winning streak. Give a few pointers to all of us. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back. If you have been watching "Jeopardy" for the past couple of weeks you have been watching an amazing player. Amy Schneider's reign has finally come to an end on "Jeopardy" with some very big winnings, Schneider was defeated finally by a Chicago librarian last week, she won more than $1.3 million on the game show landing her in fourth place on the all time regular season cash winnings list and in second on the all time consecutive wins list just behind legendary and current host Ken Jennings.
Amy Schneider is here with us now. I am so thrilled to actually talk to you in person I've been watching you. Your run has just been awesome. How do you feel?
AMY SCHNEIDER, "JEOPARDY" CHAMPION: You know, I feel a lot of things. It's been pretty overwhelming experience these last few weeks ago. But, you know, mostly, mostly good, mostly excited. It's been a lot of fun.
COOPER: What people don't realize too often about "Jeopardy" is that, you know, you're playing multiple games in a day and it's before -- long before they air oftentimes. So, the people in your life or where you work they don't know I assume what you are going through or how you are doing. So what is the been like to kind of keep that secret and then to suddenly have the air -- the show's airing and have everybody you know become part of it?
SCHNEIDER: It was it was hard, I'm glad it's over, but I don't have any secrets think about it. You know, I was, I was able to tell my girlfriend and my mother and my brother, but that was about it. And it was definitely a strange feeling being at work and knowing that, you know, I done this kind of historic thing, and nobody knew yet.
COOPER: And I read and correct me if I'm wrong. I read that, I mean, your work didn't know. So you were taking all days off that you could. Were you able to say were you why you were taking days off where you're like, you know what, I'm on "Jeopardy" and I need this time off or?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, I mean, I did you know, that, you know, I had to give them a reason. And you know, that it seemed, excuse me, it seemed best to tell them I was going on "Jeopardy" and not that I was just mysteriously missing a bunch of time. But you know, the, the people that knew about it at work weren't people that really watched much "Jeopardy" and didn't really have a sense of what it really meant for me to be going down there that much. So, you know, they knew I'd done fine, but they didn't realize what I think it was going to be.
COOPER: And I understand you practice buzzer I mean, so much is about the buzzer. And I can talk about the buzzer endlessly with you. But you -- I understand you practice as many do with a click pan. I just want to watch some of your work as we discussed this. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: What is Sierra Leone?
KEN JENNINGS, "JEOPARDY" HOST: That's correct.
SCHNEIDER: What does peaches and cream? JENNINGS: Yes.
SCHNEIDER: Word pairs four?
SCHNEIDER: What are property taxes?
JENNINGS: Right, you are.
SCHNEIDER: 1970 is a thousand.
SCHNEIDER: What are panic attacks?
JENNINGS: That's correct.
SCHNEIDER: What are subway stations?
SCHNEIDER: Fan terminology 12.
What is a sturgeon?
SCHNEIDER: Russian 800. What is par for the course?
JENNINGS: And the correct response is par for the course from you. You're at 7,400.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What I love about your play is it's so mysterious, because you're not showing your hand which is so disconcerting. Is that part of your strategy or is that just?
SCHNEIDER: I don't know that it's part of my strategy. I think I didn't, you know, I didn't want to show it just because I think it doesn't look as good to me when I see people, you know, with their hand up on camera. I mean, it's not a big deal. But I just, you know, I didn't want that. You know, frantic clicking going on distracting from my, my cool appearance.
COOPER: What was it -- was it are you a thumb buzzer or areyou an index finger?
SCHNEIDER: I'm a thumb.
COOPER: (INAUDIBLE) she's wearing claims it's faster index finger? I don't know if that's the case. Do you have a feeling on that?
SCHNEIDER: I don't know. But I mean, like, I just always been practicing at home with the thumb. So I wasn't going to switch it up in the studio.
COOPER: What I love also about your play, and I don't want to brag, but I you know, I'm a former, you know, two time "Jeopardy" champion, not real "Jeopardy", just like the, you know, the downgraded celebrity version. But I love that your play is, you play, you pick a category you play down from 200. You play it. And it's, it's so great to root along with you. You know, there's a lot of different people do in different ways. Can you just talk about the strategy, that you -- how you look at this game?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, you know, I, you know, I'm definitely like a, you know, pretty obsessive "Jeopardy" fan. And I follow the debates online about different strategies and things like that. But when it came down to it, I realized that they, I didn't feel like most of those strategies would make enough of a difference to be worth taking up space in my head. You know, I wanted to clear everything out of my head, except just the questions.
And so, having some, you know, elaborate strategy for how I was doing, it was just one extra thing to think about that I didn't need. Because, you know, we were going to get to all the questions eventually. So, you know, might as well just do them in the way that, you know, sort of I grew up watching "Jeopardy" be played and that, you know, I think is more fun for the audience at home.
COOPER: Yes, it absolutely more fun. And I mean, I should have talked more to you about the breadth of your knowledge, because it's just, it's extraordinary and such a joy to watch. And just, I mean, awesome, and so encouraging people to just be smart. And you know, it makes me want to be smarter watching you.
So Amy Schneider, thank you so much for being with us. Congratulations. I'm so thrilled for you.
SCHNEIDER: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
COOPER: All right. More news ahead. Appreciate it Amy. The threats of democracy on full display after the former president meeting over the weekend, he wanted former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results on January 6 last year and that he would seek pardons for the attackers if reelected.
Coming up next, reaction to that from former D.C. police officer and nearly die while defending the Capitol that day.