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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

NY Times Report January 6 Committee Examining Trump's Role In Proposals To Seize Voting Machines; Pfizer And BioNTech Seeking Emergency Use Authorization From F.D.A. For COVID-19 Vaccine For Children Younger Than Five; Pfizer And Biontech Seeking Emergency Use Authorization From FDA For Covid-19 Vaccine For Children Younger Than 5; Two GOP Candidates In Michigan Suggest Observers Bring Firearms, "Unplug" Voting Machines To Protect Election; On Ukraine's Defense Lines; Jewish Communities Train To Survive Anti-Semitic Terror. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 01, 2022 - 20:00   ET


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Erin, that means getting an agreement if anyone could be reached would happen, would need to get agreement from House Democrats, Senate Democrats, Joe Manchin, which makes it all seem very likely that it is, in fact dead -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Dead means dead.

Manu, thank you very much. And thanks to all of you.

Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. We begin tonight with new reporting that shows the former President was more deeply and directly involved in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election than was previously known. Now, this simply put is a first, reporting that for the first time identifies him as the driving force behind one of the most toxic and anti-democracy steps that might have been taken, but thankfully wasn't taken in his effort to overturn the election that he lost.

One of the reporters on this remarkable "New York Times" account, CNN political analyst, Maggie Haberman joins us shortly to talk about the details and new reporting she is just rolling out now on the subject.

The story adds to news that CNN first broke about the existence of a second draft Executive Order on seizing voting machines, which we reported on last night. It also leaves a remarkable impression which, though it's not the lead, underscores just how beyond the pale the entire saga truly was, so inappropriate, so unprecedented that in at least one facet of the former President's search for some agency to seize voting machines in swing states, this guy, the sad sack, once a well-respected spokesman for LifeLock, Rudy Giuliani, may have actually been a voice of reason.

Do you realize how ludicrous an idea has to have been for Rudy Giuliani to have actually been a voice of reason about it? He stood next to the "Unleash the Kraken" lady without a peep of dissent. The same Rudy Giuliani seen on January 6th channeling Braveheart.




COOPER: That Rudy Giuliani, in this case, it seems a voice of reason, the one who reportedly said no, at least to one especially dire option the former President was exploring.

Now, the episode is contained in this new "Times" reporting that as I mentioned, adds to CNN's reporting from last night that there were these two executive orders drafted on seizing voting machines, one involving Department of Homeland Security, in addition to the one we already knew about for the Defense Department.

Now, "The New York Times" citing three sources says that the former President, and this is important, directed Giuliani to call the Department of Homeland Security to ask them if the Department could legally take control of the machines in swing states.

Giuliani did call speaking to Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, who said according to "The Times," that Homeland Security officials could not take part in the plan. Now, both the "Times" and CNN have reported at the time on the call, but not that it came at the former President's direction.

According to "The Times," it came shortly after plans were abandoned to order The Pentagon to do it, plans one of the plotters floated publicly at the time.


LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN (RET), U.S. ARMY: He could immediately on his order, seize every single one of these machines around the country on his order. He could also order -- he could order within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.


COOPER: I mean, that there used to be a respected General. He is talking about the military going into swing states seizing voting machines and rerunning an election under the auspices of the military. That was on December 17th.

The next day, as you know, he, Sidney Powell, businessman Patrick Byrne, and later Giuliani met with the President quoting from "The Times" story: "Mr. Giuliani was vehemently opposed to the idea of the military taking part in the seizure of machines, according to two people familiar with the matter. Even Mr. Giuliani, who'd spent weeks peddling some of the most outrageous claims about election fraud felt that the idea of bringing in the military was beyond the pale." End quote of "The Times" story.

So the former President then turned to Homeland Security. He told Giuliani according to "The Times" to call Ken Cuccinelli, who then said, the Department of Homeland Security officials could not take part. So again, this wasn't just a gathering of crackpots, pitching half-baked ideas, somewhere. It was the Commander-in-Chief methodically pursuing them, soliciting them, ordering people to find out what might work.

According to "The Times," several weeks prior to this, the former President had also pressed then Attorney General Barr on the idea of confiscating voting machines, something Barr dismissed privately at the time, and publicly on December 21st.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I see no basis now for seizing machines by the Federal government and a wholesale seizure of machines by the Federal government.


COOPER: So this seems to be one particular approach to overturning the election, which this new reporting now ties the former President actively and not passively into. And it fits what we already know from his public actions, which also were hands on such as repeatedly and publicly demanding Mike Pence reject electoral votes from swing states, something he confessed in a statement over the weekend was part of an effort not to investigate irregularities, but in his own words to overturn the election.


And that certainly was hands on self-incriminating fingerprints and all, so was his statement today demanding the House Select Committee investigate Mike Pence. That's right. That's right. He suggests they investigate Mike Pence as another Pence aide spoke with the Committee today.

At the rate this is going, we may one day learn that the only instance in this entire sickening affair where the former President truly was hands off was when a violent mob was attacking the Capitol, beating cops and seeking to hang Mike Pence.

We already know the President did nothing to stop it.

Joining us now with her new reporting, "New York Times" Washington correspondent and CNN political analyst, Maggie Haberman.

So Maggie, first of all, you have some new reporting now that the January 6 Committee is looking into the former President's role in all the proposals to seize voting machines. This is just coming out now. You're reporting it. What are your sources telling you? MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So the Committee we reported

last night, as you noted, Anderson, that the former President was directly involved in some of these efforts to explore whether the government, the government that he oversaw, could seize the apparatus of the votes and either hold on to them as evidence or do some kind of an audit.

And now, we know that the Committee is looking into whether this was done, why this was done, and was it part of a broader effort by, you know, some advisers to Trump, these outside advisors to create some kind of a National Security event that would validate him using the military or using government more aggressively.

Now, the D.H.S. component that you just talked about, which we reported on last night, related to an effort that was you know, Giuliani was involved in making a phone call about to try to see if there was a civilian entity or a civilian -- not civilian, excuse me, a civil entity, a non-military entity in the government that could take possession of the machines and audit them or seize them or look through them and so forth. The answer that they got back was no.

But that is all what the committee is looking at, and they're looking at Mike Flynn, in particular, Anderson, as a key witness. The Mike Flynn we know was very involved in pushing this idea of seizing the machines. You played the audio of what he said on Newsmax the night before that Oval Office meeting.

That interview, what he said on Newsmax is further, as I understand it, and as I've understood it for the last 14 months, further than what he actually said in that meeting, but nonetheless, he was still advocating in that meeting that the former President had the power to authorize the government to do this.

COOPER: And what more do you know about Rudy Giuliani's role in all this because he was arguably the most outspoken person when it -- or I mean in a rogue's gallery of outspoken outlandish claims made by people. He was certainly among the top when it came to outrageous claims about election fraud. But you report that at a certain point even he balked at some of this, at least the military component.

HABERMAN: Yes, so Anderson, look, we reported this at the time, too, although I think that we know more details now; others have as well. Jonathan Swan at Axios in particular, at the time, but then, a few months afterwards.

But that Giuliani was opposed to how far Powell and Flynn were going. Giuliani played a key role in trying to get Powell out of the Trump legal team, which had actually happened well before this meeting, and yet, there she was in the Oval Office again.

Giuliani did say no to this. Giuliani absolutely was encouraging a lot of claims of fraud for which he never provided evidence. But on this one, he was saying to the President -- the former President that this was too far.

Part of why it is notable that the former President told him to make this phone call to Ken Cuccinelli, it is that A, it puts the former President there when people have tried really hard to suggest that he was kind of a passive observer, and these things were just being brought to him, you know, as if the Oval Office is some kind of a bus stop and not something that that he sits in and has control of.

But also, Giuliani has been the focal point for a lot of the former President's former aides and current aides says Giuliani is the one who got him in all of these problems, again, as if the former President has no role in in where he ended up and where things ended up, and he did.

COOPER: And when the former President says he wants to investigate former Vice President Pence, who wants the January 6 Committee to investigate, I mean, how much of that is just performance art trying to rile up his supporters? He needs to fill some minutes on a stage? How much of it is -- does the former President actually believe is based in reality?

HABERMAN: So I don't think that he actually cares whether the committee investigates Mike Pence one way or the other, Anderson. I think that honestly my read on that statement, which came out today was that it was some kind of an attempt, and I'm using attempt in air quotes, but it was some kind of an attempt to clean up from a statement that he issued over the weekend where he used the phrase that Mike Pence could have -- and you know, had the power to quote "overturn" the election.

That is what Trump's folks have been saying this whole time was not the goal that they wanted it to be, you know they wanted the election to be right, they wanted it to be done right. That would be acknowledging that the election did not go his way and that they were indeed trying to overturn it. That statement was breathtaking.


HABERMAN: It certainly provides fodder and possible evidence to the committee and to prosecutors and to civil litigants who are suing in relation to the January 6th riot. So I think that's what that statement was about, but it has been a breathtaking couple of days of Donald Trump's statements.

COOPER: But the former President hasn't come out and said: Oh, by the way, yes, I misspoke. Of course, I didn't mean overturn the election, because I mean, that was --

HABERMAN: When does he ever say that?

COOPER: I know. But that's what is fascinating. Right. He is sort of caught between, you know, his pathological, you know, claims that everything he says is perfect. He doesn't make mistakes, and also saying something, which is clearly the quiet part he is speaking out loud. So, it is sort of fascinating to watch.

He has come up with this other diversion, which is: Oh, yes, they should go after Mike Pence. HABERMAN: Right, and look, it is certainly getting attention, right,

that this is what he said and it is a striking statement on its own. But yes, I think that it was in relation to trying to undo what he said two nights ago without, as you say, he never says, whoops, that was an error. Let me undo that. Or, you know, sometimes he will say, you're taking me out of context or the fake news media is doing this or that or the other.

And I think there might have been some of that in the latest statement today. But mostly, I think this was just about trying to undo what he had said.

COOPER: He also floated pardons for insurrectionists.


COOPER: I heard you say yesterday that he's in, quote, "burn it all down mode." Can you elaborate on that?

HABERMAN: I don't -- I don't feel any differently today. I think that --

COOPER: Because he did say -- sorry to interrupt -- but he also said, you know, that speech at the same time, he said, "Our country is corrupt. Our election is corrupt." I mean, he just said the country is corrupt.

HABERMAN: He has been saying iterations of this various pieces of this, Anderson, for many, many months. We have not seen all of them together the way they were. When you put all of it together, not just the dangling of pardons for people who were arrested during the January 6th riot, but also -- and this really does remain to me much more striking, frankly, the pardon thing is a stunning moment.

He also, you know, talks about the investigations into him. He is facing multiple investigations, criminal investigations into his business which has already faced an indictment, and he encouraged his supporters to go have, you know, I forget what his exact language was, but huge protests in Washington, in Atlanta, in New York, if anything improper as he put it, happens to him from prosecutors.

I think that we know that Donald Trump has a pretty low bar for what he considers improper for how prosecutors deal with him, and that was -- that was far more explicit than anything we heard him say ahead of January 6th. It was really quite striking.

COOPER: Yes. Maggie Haberman, appreciate it. Thank you.

Perspective now from CNN political commentator and former Trump campaign strategist David Urban, also CNN chief political correspondent, "State of the Union" co-anchor, Dana Bash.

David, it's lovely to see you. I don't think you've been on for a while. It's great to have you back.

According to Maggie's reporting, the January 6th Committee is now looking into former President Trump's role and the plans to seize voting machines. In addition to that, Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe was on this program last night and said the former President's statements this past weekend that there was, quote: "No clearer admission of guilt than the one that he said out loud." He said that it was his purpose to overturn the election.

Is there any plausible defense for what the former President has said or done here? And I'm sorry, this is your first, welcome back to the program.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I know. Anderson, there's a lot to unpack in Maggie's reporting and the segment you just did there, right? So it is -- it's amazing to me that these outside advisers, these kind of ad hoc advisers, such as Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn, and others were able to kind of get inside the White House and kind of float these really nutty ideas about what should be happening.

You know, as Maggie's reporting says, you know, when Giuliani went to Ken Cuccinelli, it was smacked down. When Attorney General Barr was asked about it, it was smacked down.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody at DoD had ever heard anything about any of this at all. Just kind of just these memos were being circulated in these ad hoc groups and it was just -- it's kind of -- it was -- I don't want to say indefensible, but this is indefensible.

COOPER: But they were being presented to the President. They were being presented -- I mean, the President --

URBAN: No. Exactly.

COOPER: The President was responding to them, and in fact, liked it enough that he had Giuliani approach Cuccinelli, which is amazing.

URBAN: Yes, exactly. So it is amazing, Anderson. There is no other word to say. It's amazing. Right?

I know that the -- I don't know firsthand, but White House Counsel Pat Cipollone I know would have also kind of pushed back on these. I know, because he was omitted from many of these meetings, most of these meetings.

So, there is no real -- there is nothing for me to say to say: Oh, that's okay. That's acceptable. That's in the normal course of things. No, it's outside the norm, but what I think was -- if there was one thing to say, I think that none of this was looking, in my opinion, this was looking to preserve evidence is what you were saying earlier.


URBAN: Maggie's reporting says they're looking to preserve evidence and voting machines in case -- in case -- some of these court cases went the other way, and said that these states, you know, they were going to be further investigation of irregularities and voting patterns and voting booths around the nation, they wanted to preserve evidence.

So that's the best defense that I can give you on that, but not a very strong one.

COOPER: Right. Yes. Yes. I mean, obviously, you know, they can say it is for whatever reason they want, but once these machines have been seized and are being held by the military or Ken Cuccinelli and members of the Homeland Security Department, or Sidney Powell is protecting them.

I mean -- or Mike Flynn, Field Marshal -- Mike Flynn who would have been appointed Field Marshal. You know, who knows? But Dana, what does it say that --

URBAN: But --

COOPER: Go ahead. Sorry, go ahead.

URBAN: I was going to say, but let's just remember, right, like our government is strong. It bent, right? It bent, but it never broke in any of these situations. Right?

So Ken Cuccinelli, Mike Pence, Barr -- none of these folks, I think, you know, anybody on the left would ever say: Hey, great job, guys. But at every instance, they did the right thing. They did the right thing for America. So, you know, the government bent, but never broke.

COOPER: I think there is a lot of folks -- now, I don't speak for folks on the left, but there is certainly a lot of folks of all stripes. So I think, you know, are thankful that Mike Pence did what he did and bar as well.

Dana, what does it say that even Giuliani was on some level against the idea of seizing voting machines by the military?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That it gives you a very good sense of just the level of out outsiders and complete -- frankly, you know, when it comes to the law, sort of legal loons who were in there and around the President, and that's because those are the people he wanted near him.

He didn't want to hear no, he wanted yes people. He wanted people coming up with creative ideas, including somebody who is a veteran who has a distillery in Texas who is sending in all these ideas. And this is the President of the United States talking about an election he lost.

And just the fact that David, who helped get Donald Trump elected in 2016 cannot even find much of a sliver of defense, as it's an indefensible situation tells you everything you need to know.

The last part of "The New York Times" story I thought was really telling that Giuliani said that if this plan to have the military get involved and seize the voting machines goes through, then the President would probably be impeached. It was just a couple of weeks later, not even that there was an

insurrection on the Capitol and Giuliani was involved in the rally beforehand and that did prompt the second impeachment of the President.

So it might not have been that, but it was something that we couldn't even have imagined at the time.

COOPER: I was just going to a reverie about imagining myself running a distillery in Texas and it sounds like a lovely idea actually. That's where I've spent the last 30 seconds imagining. That sounds like a great way of life actually.

David, if the former President does run --

BASH: As long as you're not plotting to overthrow the government, why not?

COOPER: Well, yes. Well, sure, there is that, but you know -- but David, I mean, if the former President does run again, how difficult will it be for law and order Republicans, for, you know, constitutional -- people who support the Constitution knowing that he, you know, is floating the idea at the very least publicly of pardoning, you know, people who may get convicted of violence on the day of the insurrection that he, you know, liked the idea of our Department of Homeland Security seizing voting machines.

URBAN: You know, Anderson, and that is a really interesting point. Right? So why is Donald Trump still incredibly popular in America? I mean, it is an answer that needs to be kind of probed. What's going on in America that people feel so disenfranchised that they feel like Donald Trump, no matter how outrageous, no matter what he does, speaks for them more than anybody else in our country?

You know, it is something that I think really, really, viewers, people in America need to think about, right?

Obviously, very disheartened by the current state of play. They look at what is happening with prices, with inflation with their jobs, and they are not happy.

Look at right track-wrong track in America, 74 percent of Americans roughly think America is headed in the wrong track.

BASH: Yes, but David --

URBAN: So, it speaks to the overall mood in the country.


BASH: If, I may David that that is -- it is true that there is an overall feeling of malaise in the country right now, but that is separate and apart from the fact that not all, but some of the supporters who are ride or die for the former President is because they are being fed a steady diet of the lies that were part of the discussion that we are talking about that happened in the Oval Office when he was President.

And not for nothing, I know that there is a lot of hypocrisy in Washington and we talk about that every day, but does anybody see any irony in the fact that Republicans blocked voting reform? A Federal legislation to reform voting in order to have a national -- nationalized set of standards? And you had the President -- the former President talking about ways to use not one, not two, but three different Federal agencies to overturn an election?

COOPER: Well, David, go ahead.

URBAN: Go ahead, Anderson.

COOPER: No, I know --

URBAN: It's another hour -- that's a whole hour of discussion right there. We could go on forever. I think our segment is wrapping up.

COOPER: Yes, let's --

BASH: It is true, but I mean, come on.

COOPER: A lot to discuss --

BASH: There is no consistency whatsoever.

COOPER: To be continued. Dana Bash, David Urban, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next, a former C.D.C. Director joining us to talk about the breaking news: Pfizer applying for authorization so that parents can finally get their kids as young as six months old vaccinated against COVID. We'll take a look at that on whether it's safe and what the timetable on this might be.

And later, what life is like right now on Ukraine's eastern front lines with the Russian Army a short distance away and tension between Moscow and Washington growing. We have CNN's Clarissa Ward discovering about how Ukrainians are responding to the standoff.



COOPER: There is breaking news that will come as a relief to plenty of parents of young children. Pfizer, late today, said it is requesting Emergency Use Authorization for a two-shot regimen of its COVID vaccine in children as young as six months old, a version was already approved for kids five to 11. It has got a lower dosage of course than the 12 and older shot. This newest one would be lower still. Now, Federal authorities hope to get it approved by late this month.

I am going to talk about now with former C.D.C. Director, Dr. Tom Frieden who just published a piece titled: "Why I'm Cautiously Optimistic about COVID-19." So Dr. Frieden, I want to talk about that cautious optimism. But

first, your reaction to Pfizer seeking Emergency Use Authorization for vaccine children ages six months to five years. If they get it, what kind of safety protocols has that already gone through to get to that point?

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: Right. Well, it's more good news, Anderson, because it means that now parents who want to get their kids vaccinated can get their kids vaccinated, and although kids rarely get severely ill from COVID, it does happen sometimes, particularly kids who are more vulnerable and those kids can spread it to their grandparents or other people in the family.

So it is one more tool in our armor protecting us against COVID. We have good data, the five to 11, we've seen no significant safety signals. Always, you have to say, you know, when millions of people get something, you may see a rare adverse effect. But generally we see this in the older kids. We haven't seen problems in the younger, so it is more good news. It's more strength for our defenses against COVID.

COOPER: What do you think of the fact that Pfizer was encouraged to seek authorization on two doses of the vaccine, instead of three and is saying the parents can start the process of getting their children to doses while waiting for data and Emergency Use Authorization on the third?

FRIEDEN: Yes, I think that's really important. It is absolutely the truth that there was no rushing for any of the vaccines that are authorized in the U.S. to determine do they work and are they safe? They work and they are safe.

However, what the vaccine schedule should be is much more complicated and that may take months or even years to optimize. It's probably a three-dose schedule for lots of people, but we really don't know that yet, nor do we know the right interval between doses. That's going to be with time.

But we do know that vaccines are remarkably effective. In fact, more data out today from the C.D.C. showing stunning high levels of protection against omicron, even against overcurrent infection with vaccinated people even more with boosted people. And that's really quite striking that the vaccines are holding up against severe illness and even to a lesser extent, but still significantly against the infection itself.

COOPER: So, if they get Emergency Use Authorization for six months old to up to five, does that mean that they've already done trials with it in children and they've seen that it's safe? Or is it just sort of the computerized trials that they do?

FRIEDEN: Absolutely. They've given it to kids. They've seen kids not having any adverse events, having an antibody response that is correlated with protection that we are not certain about yet, but the vaccines, all of them that are licensed in the U.S. are highly effective. What's really important is if you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated;

if you're not boosted, and it's time to get boosted five months after your last shot, if you got an mRNA vaccine; two months after a J&J vaccine, get your booster as well.

COOPER: So I want to turn now to your piece, why are you cautiously optimistic? And what is different in your mind about this moment?


FRIEDEN: We are better prepared, better defended than we ever have been. We have multiple lines of defense, lots of immunity from vaccines and also from all of the infections that people have gotten. Better masks, new treatments that can drive down death rates, more tests available, better genomic surveillance, so we're less likely to be taken by surprise, by a new variant or the recurrence of Delta or another variant. We're better prepared than ever. We're better defended than ever, we can save lives more than ever. But we do have another month or two of lots of Omicron, levels are still sky high, the new variant that we've seen in Europe is likely to come here and spread. And that may extend by a couple of weeks, the number of cases, we're still seeing more than 2,000 deaths a day in the U.S. So we're not out of the woods.

But I do think that we're in a better position than we've ever been before. And though we can't be certain there won't be a new nightmare variant, we are better prepared. And I do think 2022 is going to be a lot brighter in terms of our fight against the COVID virus.

COOPER: Obviously people who are still unvaccinated should still get vaccinated though, because they are at risk of dying.

FRIEDEN: Absolutely. And what we're seeing in the hospitals is still a pandemic largely of the unvaccinated and to an extent of the unboosted as well.

COOPER: Dr. Tom Frieden, appreciate your time. Thank you.

Just ahead, two Republican candidates --

FRIEDEN: Thank you.

COOPER: -- for office in Michigan who appear to be following the lead of the former president when it comes to vote counting. Details on that when we return.


COOPER: The New York Times report about the former president's attempts to seize voting machines calm has two Republican candidates for office in Michigan are under fire for their comments about vote counts. Mike Detmer running for State Senate was asked at a campaign event over the weekend, what Republican poll watchers should do if they're not allowed to observe the process. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [20:35:10]

MIKE DETMER (R-MI) STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: The ideal thing is to do this peacefully, that's ideal. But the American people at some point at time, if we can't change the tide, which I think we can, we need to be prepared to lock and load. So, if you ask what can we do, show up armed.


COOPER: Lock and load, show up armed. Again asked what they can do if has happened in Detroit officials limit the number of participants he said to quote, show up armed. Now the second individual Ryan Kelly, who's running for governor was at the same event, he appeared to suggest observers can actually tamper with the vote machines themselves.


RYAN KELLY (R-MI) GUBENATORIAL CANDIDATE: If you see something you don't like happening with the machines, if you see something going, unplug it from the wall.


COOPER: Now, if -- that's what he said, discouraging for governor, if you don't like what you're seeing, then quote, unplug it from the wall. Michigan leaders immediately called for investigation. I'm joined now by the State's Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Attorney General Nessel, appreciate you being with us. So, what does it say about where the country is right now that two Republican candidates for office in Michigan are encouraging people to potentially break election laws?

DANA NESSEL (D-MI) ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I think it's hardly surprising, given who the person is that is the leader of this party. And of course, you know, they are just following through on the same words and really actions of the former President of the United States, Donald Trump, who of course, you know, we have seen him violate law after law. Clearly, there is some sort of an investigation that's ongoing, we hope with the Department of Justice, in terms of whether or not he was involved in a conspiracy to essentially overthrow the United States government and undermine the 2020 election.

And so, you have people like these, you know, one of them is a Trump endorsed candidate, the state senator candidate, Mr. Detmer and, you know, the other individual. Mr. Kelly, I mean, he's been saying these things continually on the campaign trail. And when you have somebody in the type of position of authority that Donald Trump has been in, and he's flouting the law, then of course, you have these people who are begging for his approval, and who are following the lead of their leader.

But these are illegal acts. And it doesn't matter that the encouragement comes from the former president. These are still crimes. COOPER: Right. If someone were to actually try to unplug a voting machine on Election Day at a voting booth, what would happen?

NESSEL: They'd be arrested, and they would be prosecuted, likely by me.

COOPER: What is the prospect of people showing up with guns to a polling place mean for the safety and integrity and who feel emboldened and empowered to unplug voting machines? I mean, are there armed police at most voting stations? I don't recall seeing that.

NESSEL: Well, we're not supposed to be seeing that. And in fact, we encountered this issue during the presidential election in 2020. And we went to great lengths in my department to make sure that voters would be protected, and also that election workers would be protected. I send out a 16 page memo to all of law enforcement in the state, the state police, all the county prosecutors, the municipal police, the Sheriffs Association. And basically what we outlined is this. Now the police are not supposed to be at the polls, they can be a very intimidating force. When we see that in other countries, we don't want that in the United States of America.

But what we did want is for law enforcement to be prepared, so that if there was an incident that the poll workers themselves, we're unable to handle that the police can be called in immediately. And I will say that our Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson did make an effort to issue a directive that would ban open carry at the polls. We were so worried about voters being intimidated and threatened and deterred from their fundamental right to vote. Fortunately, we didn't see any of that on Election Day, but we had a 24-hour hotline that was open at my department just in case we saw that occur.

What we ended up seeing was actually, you know more concerning incidences during the counting of the ballots at the counting board in Detroit at TCF Center that was brought down by the Republicans when the then share woman to the party, asked to have people from all over the state come in and congregate and try to push their way into the counting boards.

COOPER: It's remarkable time. Dana Nessel, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

NESSEL: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Up next, we take you to Ukraine's defense lines not far from Russian troops on the other side of the border. You'll hear from a Ukrainian military commander and residents in the region. Our Clarissa Ward reports.



COOPER: A call between top U.S. and Russian diplomats didn't ratchet down tensions on Ukraine. A senior State Department official says that Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but didn't give any indication that Russia will de- escalate from the Ukrainian border. Meantime, Ukrainian president Zelensky hosted the British and Polish Prime Ministers and announced what he called a format of political cooperation in Europe including all three countries.

While diplomatic efforts continue tonight, we want to take you to Ukraine's frontline, to show you what it actually looks like on the ground. Our chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward got there. Here's her report.


CLARISS WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Ukraine's first line of defense if Russia decides to invade, and it is basic, half a dozen soldiers in snow covered trenches. No sign of heavy weapons. Russian back separatists are just half a mile away.


WARD (on-camera): He's saying that every night there's fighting once it gets dark.

(voice-over): These frontlines have been frozen for years. A Russian offensive would change that in an instant. But the alarm in Washington is not shared here.

(on-camera): What's an amazing to see is that despite the build up of tanks and heavy weaponry on the Russian side of the border which is less than 20 miles from here, here on the Ukrainian side, there's no sense at all that anyone is preparing for an invasion.


(voice-over): The sergeant here as we not give his name, he says he doesn't expect conflict, but he is prepared.

Our commanders told us that we must be alert, he tells us, we are ready to meet guests from Russia.

(on-camera): What kind of weapons do you have at this position? Do you have any heavy weaponry? I don't see any, but I just want to make sure.

(voice-over): You don't need to see and the enemy doesn't need to see he says, but we have everything.

What they don't have here are many layers of defense. Driving from the front we see just a handful of checkpoints. If the Ukrainian army can't hold this area, Russian forces could reach Mariupol, a port city of half a million in hours. Despite the threat, life here goes on much as normal. At the local market stalls are open and the shelves are full.

(on-camera): I'd love to know if you think that there will be war.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE) WARD (voice-over): We don't want war, we have children and grandchildren, Natalia (ph) says and there won't be war. We believe that.

Some like (INAUDIBLE) say that America is exaggerating the threat.

No, there will not be a war, he says. It's only Biden who thinks this.

(on-camera): It's interesting talking to people here nobody seems to be remotely concerned about the prospect of an imminent invasion.

(voice-over): These people are no strangers to war, all around Mariupol the hollowed out remnants of villages destroyed and abandoned by fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists. But whether moved by denial or disbelief, these soldiers and the people they're protecting don't expect history to repeat itself. For now they wait and they watch and they hope.


COOPER: Clarissa, if there is an invasion, how tough a fight would this be for Ukrainians?

WARD: This would be a very tough fight indeed. The Ukrainians are vastly outnumbered on the ground, in the air. And that's part of the reason the U.S. has been sending all these weapons, including these Javelin missiles. These are tank armor piercing missiles. But as part of the ceasefire agreement, which is being breached on a regular basis as we saw, those heavy weapons those Javelin missiles cannot go down onto the frontlines into those areas that we visited. And that could potentially make it very difficult for Ukrainian forces if you saw some kind of a lightning offensive round, Anderson.

So there's no question here. The Ukrainians are potentially facing a very tough fight.

COOPER: Yes. Clarissa Ward, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, hate in America from Nazi rallies on our streets to terror aimed at synagogues. Take you inside a survival training program for when things get far uglier than this disgusting scene. Next.



COOPER: President Biden's nominee for an envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism is expected to get a Senate confirmation hearing next week, comes amid stark reminders and the need to be ever watched fall.

In Orlando, the sheriff's office is investigating violence that came out of this rally among Nazi white supremacists Saturday, the crowd celebrated the Holocaust, they held anti-Semitic slurs and clashed with a protester.

But a street protest is the least of the worries for America's Jewish community. The Anti Defamation League reports that more than 2000 anti-Semitic hate incidents in this country in the year 2020. That's a slight decrease from the year before it is still the third worst year on record.

Already this year, we've seen an hour's long hostage crisis at a Texas synagogue and ended only after a rabbi was able to use training that he had and others had taken to escape with others.

Tonight, our Gary Tuchman shows us how that synagogue and others learn how to deal with such attacks.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you're about to see inside this Dallas synagogue is not a real threat. But it sure looks like it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three to one. Get up, go. Move, move, move.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Scores of people running, the social hub plunging into darkness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have 30 seconds to save your life. Move.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): What are these innocent victims of that approaching gunman in the hallway about to do? What do they need to do? Just a bit earlier in the sanctuary of Congregation Shearith Israel, these members of Dallas's Jewish community, we're told you can't freeze.

STUART FRISCH, NATL. TRAINING & EXERCISE ADVISER, SECURE COMMUNITY NETWORK: If you can get out, get out. If you can't get out, locked down, hard locked down. If you can't get out, and you can't lock down, you've got to fight for your life, you have literally no other choice.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): This is active shooter and active threat training for the Jewish community here. The trainer's from the military, the FBI, the police, all part of the Secure Community Network, or SCN, a nonprofit group that calls itself the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America.

MICHAEL MASTERS, NATIONAL DIRECTOR & CEO, SECURE COMMUNITY NETWORK: The act of hiding prone and playing dead is the last act of a desperate person. It's not something that we can abide by.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The SCN is a command center in Chicago, where it monitors Jewish facilities such as synagogues, schools and camps. It was here where they were in contact with the FBI and DHS during the recent hostage situation in nearby Colleyville, Texas. That synagogue had its SCN training this past August.

MASTERS: I had the opportunity to meet with Jeff Cohen a little bit earlier today who was one of the hostages and he really emphasized what he said on television was that they escaped, they weren't rescued. And they were escaped because of the training they received, exactly the type of training that we're going to go through this evening.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): The classroom instruction is now over. Time to get ready for the drill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to practice hiding, locking down and we're going to -- we're going to talk about what we would do if we had to fight for our life.

TUCHCMAN (voice-over): Pile up furniture against the door, turn off the lights, make it harder for the shooter to kill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The purpose is to lock the room down, to prevent physical access, as well as line of sight access.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And now once again what they learn to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gunshots are coming down this hallway. People are starting to panic. In five, four, three, two, one. Get up. Go. Move, move, move.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The lights purposely turned off by one of the congregants to foil the terrorists division.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have 30 seconds to save your life. Move. Move.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): When the drill ends, furniture is up against the door, the participants did it by the book.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys did fantastic. You guys did fantastic.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And the security expert added this, be creative with how to defend yourself, like hitting a terrorist on the head with a fire extinguisher or spraying it in their eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to pull, aim, squeeze. OK? Pull aim squeeze side of the side. What they can't see, they can't kill. OK? That's why my favorite improvised weapon next to a fire extinguisher is a cup of hot coffee. One of the best weapons of all.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): What happened in Collegeville, exactly 27 miles west of here, of course, is very frightening. But everyone we've talked to who came here tonight feels much more prepared as something like that ever happens to them in the future.

BARBARA STEN, TRAINING PARTICIPANT: I knew nothing coming in. And the fact that they said turn off the light, barricade, run, hide, you know they gave --


STEN: -- a number of things that were --


STEN: -- so crucial to saving your life.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The rabbi of the synagogue also took part in the training.

ARI SUNSHINE, RABBI, TEMPLE SHEARITH ISRAEL: I think that we'll all walk out of this evening that are in better position to, to deal with that any crisis that might come our way.


COOPER: Gary Tuchman is whipping out from Dallas. Is it safe to assume that the organization has received a lot more requests for this kind of training since the latest hostage situation?

TUCHMAN: Absolutely Anderson, a huge number of trending requests over the last couple of weeks. Last year, this company trained about 17,000 people in person and virtually. This year, they expect that number to at least be doubled, maybe tripled and possibly quadrupled. And as you might expect the synagogues and the Jewish community centers and the schools they don't pay for this, the money that's needed comes from donors. Anderson.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, (INAUDIBLE) of the times.

Ahead, tonight's breaking news the January 6 committee reportedly now looking at the former president's personal role in the plot to seize voting machines after he lost the election. Good (ph) answers from a committee member who joins me live, next.