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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Kremlin Worried By U.S. Deploying 3,000 Troops Across Eastern Europe; Trump Had Role In Weighing Proposals To Seize Voting Machines; Former D.O.J. Official Meets With January 6 Committee; Whoopi Goldberg Suspended From "The View" Over Holocaust Remarks; Violence, Bigotry Shake America's Jewish Communities; Thousands Mourn Slain NYPD Detective Wilbert Mora; Police Departments Struggle To Recruit And Retain Officers; William Shatner On Happiness, Communicating. Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired February 02, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: That's ironic and maybe the media attention in a sense, yes, it highlights her, but it also protects her because people are looking.

Thank you so much Desmond, I greatly appreciate your time.


BURNETT: And thanks so much to all of you for joining us tonight.

AC 360 begins right now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Tonight, action and reaction as tension builds in the Ukraine crisis even as our European allies scramble to find a diplomatic way out. Also, the White House grappling with how to characterize the exact state of the conflict, namely whether or not a Russian invasion is imminent, a word officials had been using until now.

As for the action, President Biden today ordered the deployment of 3,000 troops to NATO allies, Poland, Germany, and Romania. Roughly 2,000 would will be drawn from bases in the U.S., the other 1000 would be moved from Germany to Romania.


NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: These are about deterrent and defensive measures.

They are in -- precisely in response to the current security environment in light of this increasingly threatening behavior by the Russian Federation. These troops, as you all know, they are not going to fight in Ukraine, they are going to ensure the robust defense of NATO territory.


COOPER: So that's the action part. As for the reaction, we will go live to Moscow shortly for breaking news on that.

First CNN's chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins. So what are you learning about today's White House decision?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, really the way the White House is framing it, as an effort to reassure NATO allies who are obviously very concerned by the fact that Vladimir Putin has put over 100,000 Russian forces on Ukraine's border, he is also moving forces around in Belarus. And The Pentagon said today, he is not showing any signs of de-escalating.

We heard him yesterday talking about diplomacy, but they say, he is only continuing to escalate things here. He is only continuing to act aggressively. And so when I saw President Biden today, and I asked him about this decision, this calculus that he has made to send these 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe, he said that it's consistent with what he's been telling Putin all along, which is that as he continues to act aggressively here when it comes to Ukraine and what's happening in Eastern Europe, he said he's going to respond in kind with these forces.

And one thing the White House and the Pentagon have said is that there is a chance more forces could be deployed here to Eastern Europe. They didn't put a number on that, or a timeline really. And they also did not say when these troops would come home, what the conditions would look like.

But they said that they will be going there, and they said it will be temporary. It's not going to be permanent. But it is notable in the change of the posture of the fact that they do feel the need to reinforce these NATO allies.

COOPER: And what about the White House no longer using the word imminent to describe the threat?

COLLINS: Well, this is notable, given the White House had repeatedly said that they believed it was imminent that Russia could invade Ukraine, arguing that it could happen at any moment, though they often cautioned they had not heard from Putin himself, of course, and they didn't believe he had made a decision on this.

But I did notice that the Ambassador to the United Nations said she didn't believe it was imminent. And so I asked Jen Psaki, the Press Secretary about this today.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I used that once, I think others have used that once and then we stopped using it because I think it's sent a message that we weren't intending to send, which was that we knew that President Putin had made a decision.

I would say the vast majority of times I've talked about it, we said, he could invade at any time. That's true. We still don't know that he's made a decision.

COLLINS: Okay, so you're not using that word.

PSAKI: I think I used it once last week.

COLLINS: But the decision that was that you're not describing it as imminent anymore.

PSAKI: I haven't in over a week.


COLLINS: And Anderson, she is referencing that unintentional message there. We know Ukrainian officials were not happy with the White House for using the word "imminent" because the President of Ukraine said it was causing a panic among his people, that it was hurting the Ukrainian economy, and they disagreed with the White House's assessment there that it was imminent.

They said that they've kind of been living in this fear of a Russian invasion or aggressive Russian moves for several years now, of course since 2014. And so going forward, you are not going to be hearing the White House use the word imminent, according to Jen Psaki today.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Thank you.

On the diplomatic front, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz today both praised the possibility of traveling to Moscow to meet with Putin. CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is there for us tonight. He has got a new reporting to the troop deployments. So, how is the Kremlin responding so far now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Not well. The Kremlin spokesman says that Russia is worried. They say that they are worried because the United States is pumping up the tensions in Ukraine. This is something that they've said before. They continue to say it is not them raising the tensions with the presence of all their troops, but it is in fact the United States and that's having a destabilizing effect and that's not good.

So that's what the Kremlin is saying there, and interestingly to that point on diplomacy, the French President, Emmanuel Macron had a 45- minute phone call with President Biden this evening and the readout from that was that they were coordinating on diplomacy and sanctions.


And I think, you know, let's underline the coordinating on diplomacy because Emmanuel Macron, yes, he may well be coming to meet the Russian President in the coming days, but tomorrow, he is going to have his third phone call with President Putin in less than a week and that is more than any other leader has had and President Putin just yesterday said that he hoped to be having a face-to-face meeting with President Macron soon.

So there seems to be a diplomatic chemistry maybe being worked out here between Macron and Putin, not clear, but this is a lot of contact relative to what we've seen in recent weeks -- Anderson.

COOPER: And what is the situation at the border? The Russian border?

ROBERTSON: They are continuing to build up the forces, particularly in Belarus, additional forces continue to arrive. The latest satellite imagery out over the last 24 hours, shows that all around Ukraine in the south in Crimea and the eastern side of Ukraine over the Russian border, and to the north, in Belarus, where there's joint military exercises are going on and Russian military hardware is placed. There are now tents appearing.

And the belief would be that in those tents, there are troops. And when you put those troops in with the hardware, some of which has been standing there for a while, then you get closer to the possibility of an incursion or an invasion.

So, the tensions continue to put President Putin in the position of having an option for an invasion, which he says he doesn't -- that he has no plans for, but the capability and capacity seems to be getting stronger at the moment.

COOPER: Nic Robertson, appreciate it from Moscow. Thank you.

I want to get perspective now from Leon Panetta who served both as Defense Secretary and C.I.A. Director in the Obama administration.

Secretary Panetta, I'm wondering what your reaction is to the President's formal deployment of 3,000 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe? Is that the right move?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think it is the right move because what it does is it makes clear to the Russians that whatever they're doing to continue to build up forces along the border area is going to be met by actions between the United States and our NATO allies to continue to support the Ukraine and continue to support NATO. I think that's an important message to get across to Putin.

COOPER: John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary emphasized that the troop moves are not permanent and that the forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. Tonight, obviously, the Kremlin themselves, the Kremlin spokesperson is saying, the deployments give Russia quote, "obvious reason to be worried." Is that just bluster on Russia's part?

PANETTA: Well, we're getting a lot of bluster and counter bluster these days. But it really is important that the United States and our NATO allies do not blink in the face of what Russia is trying to do and that is what Russia is testing.

They're really trying to see whether or not as they continue to try to ramp up an invasion force continue to add additional support for that effort. They are waiting to see whether or not that can divide the United States and our NATO allies. So, it's important that we continue to show Russia that we are unified, and we're going to continue to take steps to support NATO.

COOPER: There is this disagreement of the use of the word "imminent." The White House is now saying it's no longer describing the invasion is imminent. Obviously, that was something that the Ukrainians took issue with.

Do you believe the use of that word impacted how Ukraine has behaved? How Russia has behaved? Was it a mistake?

PANETTA: Oh, I'm not sure. You know, I think this is probably diplomacy trying to stretch a little bit to make clear that Putin has not made a firm decision with regards to the invasion so I can I can understand that nuance.

COOPER: So, I do want to shift gears because there are these recent reports about what was happening in the Trump West Wing between the election and inauguration. We're learning just a lot over the last couple days draft Executive Orders for seizing voting machines.

As a former White House Chief of Staff for the Clinton ministration, when you hear all of this, the President, you know, asking Rudy Giuliani of all people to talk to Department of Homeland Security, after Giuliani even with all his zaniness and ludicrous ideas and lies actually seem to back -- did not back the idea of getting the military to seize voting machines, Is this just crazy town?


PANETTA: I think that what all of this is proving is the value of the January 6 Committee in the Congress doing its investigation, because from the evidence that has been coming forth, it is pretty clear that this President made a deliberate effort to ignore the Constitution and preserve power in the face of a free and fair election. I don't know what other conclusion you can come to.

COOPER: There was, as I mentioned, a report of this draft order tasking the Pentagon was seizing voting machines. You've been Defense Secretary, as Defense Secretary, can you imagine a sitting President or someone in the administration going to the military and apparently never reached this level, going to the military and telling them to seize voting machines? I mean, what would your options be in that case if you're Secretary of Defense?

PANETTA: Well, your responsibility is to abide by your oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and if the President of the United States is trying to get you through Executive Order to do something that would be a violation of your duty to the Constitution, then I think you have every right to say, I am not going to follow that order.

COOPER: These reports obviously comes as the former President is now, you know, going after former Vice President Mike Pence, saying that he should be investigated by the January 6 Committee, which is, I guess, a way of him trying to, you know, have people not pay attention to the fact that he actually just admitted flat out that this whole thing was about overturning the election, not rooting out alleged improprieties.

What does it tell you that the former Vice President's aides are actually speaking to the Committee? What does it tell you about where this may be headed?

PANETTA: You know, Anderson, I think this is kind of a defining moment between autocracy and democracy. We just talked about Putin, and yesterday, Putin made a comment that even though the Ukraine is a democracy, even though it is its own sovereign country, that it doesn't have the right to make decisions about its security, because it's essentially part of Russia.

So here we have Putin, basically ignoring international law and saying whatever he wants, and in this country, we have a former President who essentially is doing the same thing in order to preserve his own power.

I think it is important for all of us can understand how important it is right now to protect our democracy.

COOPER: Secretary Leon Panetta, appreciate your time. Thank you.

PANETTA: You bet.

COOPER: Well, coming up next. There are new developments in the January 6th investigation and the feud over the former President's vow if re-elected to pardon those who attacked, to at least dangle pardons for those who attacked the Capitol. Senator Lindsey Graham has been confronting him on it in a rare moment of vague courage. The question given his record of folding like a bridge table is for how long?

And later, a welcome break from these dark days. My conversation with the irrepressible astronaut, William Shatner, that we can rise above at all and find more joy with no rocket required.



COOPER: Well, two major figures met today with the House January 6th Committee. Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark for one. Now, he is the guy the former President tried to install as acting Attorney General to better help him cast doubt on the election.

His lawyer says he met with Committee for nearly two hours, unknown so far whether he took the fifth as he previously indicated that he would. Also meeting with the committee, Stewart Rhodes, leader of the so called Oath Keepers and one of 11 people facing seditious conspiracy charges. He answered some questions according to his attorney and invoked the fifth on others.

Meantime, Senator Lindsey Graham, who famously declared "I'm out" after the insurrection and quickly scuttled back into the former President's good graces is now declaring himself in so many words out again, sort of. This time on the man from Mar-a-Lago's new promise if elected President again to potentially pardon January 6th defendants.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I don't want to send any signal that it was okay to defile the Capitol. There are other groups with causes that may want to go down the violent path that these people get pardoned.

I think it is inappropriate. I don't want to reinforce that defiling the Capitol was okay. I don't want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future.


COOPER: Well, that was Saturday. He reiterated it today. Now, here's the former President last night.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Lindsey Graham is wrong. I mean, Lindsey' is a nice guy, but he's a RINO. Lindsey is wrong.

Lindsey Graham doesn't know what the hell he's talking about if he says that.


COOPER: Perspective now from CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; also CNN senior political commentator and former Obama senior adviser, David Axelrod.

Gloria, what is your reaction this -- I don't know if it's a fight between Senator Graham and the former President or just the former President, you know, doing what he does.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, those boys, they just can't get along. I look, I think we've moved loyalty to Trump to a different level. It used to be that to be considered loyal to him, you would just have to say: Yes, I think the election was rigged or yes, we've got to look at it. There were some problems.

Now, you have to be pro insurrectionist, and that is what Lindsey Graham is saying he is not. He is not pro insurrectionist. He doesn't think it was a good idea for people to go into the Capitol and deface it and be violent and attack police officers, so he didn't go that far.

But then again, you know Lindsey Graham the other week said well, you know, I'm not going to support Mitch McConnell for leader unless he can get along with Donald Trump.


So, you know, he's trying to thread a needle, except you can't do that with Donald Trump anymore. You have to be all in. And, you know, depending on the day, you just don't know where Lindsey Graham is.

COOPER: David, it's obviously not the first time that we've seen Senator Graham, you know, do this. He seems to want to get close to the former President, then tries to pull away when something bad happens and gets pulled in again, I just want you to listen to this.


GRAHAM: This is a defining moment for the Republican Party. We need to reject this. To all the candidates who think that Donald Trump is telling the truth, I think you've lost your way.

If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump.

He is a race baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.

I'm not going to vote for anybody that can't have a working relationship with President Trump.

When it comes to Syria, do not read the Obama playbook.

Clearly, I mean, President Trump has learned almost nothing from Iraq.

It'd be the single worst decision the President could make.

Withhold judgment as to what's going to happen in Syria until it's all in.

Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way. All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.

We'll play this out. We impeach the President today without any evidence, just sheer hatred.

People who say the things he said will never lead a great nation in my opinion.

He's the most consequential Republicans since Ronald Reagan.

You know how you make America great again, tell Donald Trump to go to hell.

It's his nomination if he wants it, and I think he'll get re-elected in 2024.


COOPER: So that's a lot. I mean, is it --


COOPER: Is it possible -- I mean, it's not possible -- is it possible now in the Republican Party to have even a small amount of independence in Trump's Republican Party?

AXELROD: Well, look, their problem is what it has been, which is, he is dominant within the party, and within the primaries of the party, he is becoming more and more toxic outside of the party. And you know, it seems as if Anderson, he is so desperate for attention, that he is, you know, lighting himself on fire more and more to try and get it, and I think it is making Republicans uncomfortable.

You know, Republicans are sitting there thinking, we've got a pretty good chance to do well this fall if we just keep the focus on the President, on the virus, on inflation, that's where they want the debate to be. They don't want to get dragged back to January 6. They don't want to get dragged back into should we pardon or not pardon insurrectionists, and so and I think that's what Graham was speaking to.

You know, there's the rational Lindsey Graham who says what is obvious and true, and then there is the Graham who wants to stay on Trump's good sides, because that's how Graham saved his career by saddling up to Trump when he was going to have a primary in South Carolina and probably lose it.

But, you know, I think that, ultimately, there's a lot of discomfort right now among Republicans. They can't say it, but this is not where they want to be.

COOPER: Yes, Gloria, the Republican National Committee has its winter meeting this week and a resolution to endorse the removal of Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger from the House Republican Conference. It has more than 50 co-sponsors. They're endorsing a mini purge like this ahead of the midterms. What does it say to you about what a G.O.P. House could look like in 2023?

BORGER: Well, let's see what the Republican National Committee does. Look, if McCarthy -- if Kevin McCarthy become Speaker, he has already told you what he's going to do. He's going to put Paul Gosar back on his committees. He is going to put Marjorie Taylor Greene on better committees as he said. He is going to maybe try -- he's going to get a vote on the House to take Adam Schiff off of the Intelligence Committee.

It is going to be vengeance. And the problem for them is, you know, that might work if they, you know, win control of the House, fine, and McCarthy become Speaker. Fine. But how are suburban voters going to look at that as you head into 2024? Who's going to be the Republican nominee? Who are the people who are going to be controlling the House of Representatives? What districts are they going to come from? And how is that going to hurt when you run for President if the nominee is not Donald Trump?

And there are lots of Republicans and you've seen the polls as I have, there are lots of Republicans who are very nervous about Donald Trump becoming the nominee. They kind of think he is okay for the party, but they want to see somebody else be the nominee and we have to see what happens in that case as well.

COOPER: You know, David Axelrod, we had David Urban, you know, a supporter of the former President on last night, and he was saying, look, you know, this is not what I want the former President to be speaking about, what any Republican should want the former President to be speaking about, and all Republicans to be speaking about is all the things that they think are going wrong with what Joe Biden is doing and that many of the American public feel like is going wrong. [20:25:06]

Instead, you know he is sweating in Mar-a-Lago nursing his grievances and just crying about them and screaming about them continually.

AXELROD: Yes, you look, this is what I was talking about before. I think Urban is voicing the point of view of most rational Republicans who want to win elections in the fall.

But you know, Donald Trump was very effective when he was articulating other people's grievances. Now, he is consumed by his own and he wants to take the Republican Party back to a discussion of his own grievances, which are unpopular.

What it says to people, I mean, they don't want Republicans focused on that. They want Republicans focused on inflation and the virus and supply chains and crime and issues that are touching their lives and every day that they're talking about Donald Trump's fulminations, they are not talking about that. That's not good for Republicans. And I think most rational Republicans know it.


BORGER: You know, and Republicans always say, well, let's move past that. We don't want to talk about 2020 anymore, except it is the person who is the most popular in the Republican Party who wants to talk about only that, and that's their problem.

COOPER: Yes. Gloria Borger, David Axelrod, thank you.

Coming up, he survived the deadliest anti-Semitic attack on American soil, the Rabbi of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh joins me to look at the rise in the anti-Semitic behavior that we've been seeing across the country now. How do we get to a better place? We'll talk to him about that next.



COOPER: Whoopi Goldberg is off the air for the next two weeks after ABC suspended the co-host of "The View." The move comes despite her repeated apologies for comments about the Holocaust that drew swift and the angry reaction from some of the Jewish community and its allies.


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW" I said that the Holocaust wasn't about race, and it was instead about man's inhumanity to man, but it is indeed about race because Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race. Now words matter and mine are no exception. I regret my comments as I said, and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people, as they know and you all know because I've always done that.


COOPER: Now the Anti-Defamation League accepts Goldberg's apology. The controversy whoever comes is the group warns of surge and anti-Semitic attacks nationwide. In Chicago a man is now charged with felony hate crimes. Police say he vandalize two synagogues this weekend along with Jewish schools spray painting swastikas. In Washington the man is under arrest accused of doing the same thing outside Union Station.

Today, the sheriff in Orange County, Florida announced charges against three people after a pro Nazi demonstration turned violent in Orlando on Saturday. The ADL says that state, that state of Florida and five others also saw anti-Semitic fliers left at homes last month. And just weeks ago, of course, a rabbi and hostages escaped hours of terror after gunman held them captive at their Texas synagogue.

Joining me now is Rabbi Jeffrey Myers. He survived the deadliest anti- Semitic attack in U.S. history of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, 11 members, the Jewish community died in that shooting more than three years ago. Rabbi, appreciate you being with us. Welcome back to the program.

JEFFREY MYERS, RABBI, TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE: Good evening. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: I want to get your thoughts on just where we are right now, as a country. I mean, this moment recently, where we've seen people move to act in violent waves against the Jewish community. How are you feeling about where we are as at add as a society?

MYERS: Well, it's easy to reflect upon history and say that in moments of stress, people will reach out and find other groups to blame for their own troubles without taking a look in the mirror and saying, what might I be doing to cause my own misfortune? They'll blame others. But that's a simple response. The basic fact remains that it's a choice. One can choose to be an anti-Semite, one can choose not to be an anti-Semite. Unfortunately, we're seeing far too many people who feel emboldened to make that choice, as though their words and deeds can solve their problems which they don't.

COOPER: When you look at something like this situation that I mentioned, with Whoopi Goldberg, everyone's experience to the world is largely at least initially centered on their own identity if people can get beyond that, of course. How do you bridge the gap to help people understand the impact and legacy of the Holocaust, especially younger people today, and how it still impacts lives and people around the world today?

MYERS: Well, we don't know our neighbors. And I can say that because I live in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. His house is six blocks from mine. When you don't know your neighbors, you don't know their story. You don't know anything about them. That lack of knowledge leads to misunderstandings. Eventually, it proceeds in a negative direction, till eventually reaches what I call the H word.

So we don't do a good enough job just getting to know our neighbors, understanding who they are, what they're about. And this separation, it's like a bridges from people to people, is a serious issue in the United States, because we live in silos.

COOPER: Which is strange, because, you know, one of the promises of the internet and social media was that it would help people connect and would bring people together and you could find communities. I don't know if it's the, you know, the death of local news, the closing down of newspapers around the country, so you don't have much as much of a local identity if it's, you know, people not joining together in community activities as much or but. It does seem like things are more and more disparate, even though we have easier ways to connect online with people theoretically.

MYERS: True, at least when it comes to communication, it is indeed easier. But the natural instinct of people is to associate with those that they're most familiar, those that they have the greatest amount of similarity to. So, the silos that I've spoken over just out in society also exists on the internet. You're going to hang out on the internet whatever social media platform you use with people that you find commonality with. So, it's transformed the internet from a place of cross exchange of ideas to this vast wasteland of silos, again, within the internet itself.


COOPER: When we see also, you know, the Holocaust in the past few years, I feel like especially we've seen it trivialized by comparisons to, you know, the vaccine, to mask mandates, people wearing, you know, yellow stars who are protesting vaccine mandates. I mean, what would your message to those people be, be? How do you break through to people who are doing that?

MYERS: Through education. When people try to compare something that's in their lives to the Holocaust, what they don't get is, there is nothing that you can compare it to the Holocaust, it is incomparable. But there, there are no words to compare it. Education is such a critical thing. And there are plenty of opportunities in ways throughout the United States to learn more about the Holocaust, to understand the roots of it, how it could come to be and how regrettably, there are signs that it can always occur once again, if we don't study it. As George Santayana famously said, if you don't know your history, you're doomed to repeat it.

So it's education. It's learning the root causes and trying to understand more about humanity through the Holocaust. So the Holocaust is not the be all and end all piece of education. It's a place to start to learn to understand.

COOPER: Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

MYERS: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Thousands talking about coming together. Thousands of police officers came together today to mourn the loss of New York police detective Wilbert Mora, just days after morning his partner Jason Rivera. As the nation grieves the loss of another fallen officer it's highlighting a bigger issue with policing difficulties, and that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: Heartbreaking scene in New York today for the second time in less than a week, thousands of officers lined the streets to say final farewell to another New York Police Department Officer William Mora, who was -- Wilbert more I'm sorry, who was shot and killed last month along with his partner Jason Rivera after responding to domestic violence call. Both were posthumously promoted to Detective first grade. The scenes come on the heels of even more violence against police this week. Yesterday, two campus officers were shot and killed at Bridgewater College in Virginia. And late last night an off duty NYPD officer was shot in Queens after two men tried to rob him on his way to work.

The incidents highlight a bigger issue in policing difficulties as FBI data shows intentional killings of law enforcement officers reach a 20-year high in 2021. And across the country, police departments are facing staffing shortages due to COVID. It is a tough time as tough as -- it is always a tough time to be a cop but especially so now.

Ryan Young went on patrol to hear from police themselves. Here's his report.


JOHN MCNESBY, PRESIDENT, PHILADELPHIA FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: I never seen the morale so low. I've never seen the rank so low. I've never seen the level of violence that we're seeing now.

TYRONE DENNIS, RETIRED ATLANTA POLICE OFFICER: Basically, we're one bullet away from death and one mistake away from indictment.

CHUCK WEXLER, EXEC. DIRECTOR, POLICE EXEC. RESEARCH FORUM: So less people want to become cops and more cops wanting to leave the job earlier.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Durham police Chief Patrice Andrews routinely patrols her city and knows firsthand the impact of Officer shortages.

PATRICE ANDREWS, CHIEF, DURHAM POLICE DEPARTMENT: The 911 calls don't stop. So you know people are still having emergencies so the emergencies don't stop. And certainly the emergencies don't care if you know you are 60% staffed or below. And the expectation is that we continue the level of service that we've always done.

YOUNG (voice-over): Maintaining that level of service is difficult when you're down 90 officers and constantly battling against COVID and negative perceptions of law enforcement along with low wages.

ANDREWS: They've got to be able to support their families. You know, we have officers that can't even qualify for apartments because their income doesn't match up with what the apartments require.

YOUNG (voice-over): For decorated officers like newly retired Atlanta police officer Tyrone Dennis, his paid and keep up with his career.

DENNIS: It'd be foolish for me to stay for 48,000 when I have a wife and three kids to feed. With for $48,000 I can almost in a family of with three kids, I can almost qualify for public assistance.

YOUNG (voice-over): To put this manpower crunch in perspective, CNN had reached out to departments across the country. In Seattle, 356 of more than 1,300 officers have left the police force over the last two years. In Austin, they're short 117 officers, 15% less than what their workforce could be. In Phoenix, 411 officers, 13% of their force. And in Philadelphia, that department is short some 440 officers and beat officers are feeling the pressure.

John McNesby, the president of Philadelphia's Police Union says even finding people to apply has never been tougher.

MCNESBY: Just last week, we had a recruitment assessment. They were invited to come in for the initial assessment we had 600 people that were invited, just shy of 200 showed up and out of those 200 only 26 walked away moving on to the next step.

YOUNG (voice-over): Despite the challenges, there are still standout recruits who are eager to join the force.

ALLEN TAYLOR, ATLANTA POLICE CADET: I want to be a change in the community. I want to uplift the community and at the same time, be a positive role models.

YOUNG (voice-over): In Washington, D.C. 21-year-old Medgar Webster Jr. is following in his father's footsteps recently joined the force. He wants to eventually be on the Fugitive Task Force squad and a detective.

MEDGAR WEBSTER JR., DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: Going into the community and talking with people every day and meeting new people. Sometimes you might meet people in their like in the worst times of their lives. Sometimes you might meet them where it's not too bad and you be able to joke with them and, you know, just talk with him just meet new people in general.

YOUNG (voice-over): Webster believes his recruit class will make positive changes in policing.

WEBSTER: Policing has to change to go with the times that society is changing too.

YOUNG (voice-over): The typical police academy takes eight months to finish, meaning it will take years to fill the open jobs at departments across the country.


WEXLER: It's a trying time to be a police officer in this country. And that's the challenge. So police chiefs are wondering who are going to be the cops of the future? And part of that is how do we train the police differently? How do we select differently? All of those challenges.

YOUNG (voice-over): Departments are trying to be more creative in their recruiting, offering bonuses, and traveling the country looking for the next generation of officers.

ANDREWS: This profession is, is something we were all called to do. And not everyone is meant to be a police -- the police and that's fine. But this profession is certainly a noble one.


COOPER: So what are the officers in your piece blamed below recruitment numbers on and what do they think can be done to reverse the trend?

YOUNG: Yes. Anderson, this is a real problem. We were talking to them. A lot of them were pointing to that pay as part of the real issue here. It's even tough to get started being an officer. In fact, we're standing in front of a one of it's kind of kind of a housing complex right behind me. That's for new recruits here in the city of Atlanta. They can stay here until they become officers, that lowers their cost their barrier to get into the enforcement. Every officer we talked about talked about changing the profession. They understand that the public wants to see real change in policing across the country. They want to be a part of it.

But, you know, with through COVID, we could stay home sometimes and kind of not commute they have to go in every single day. They had to face that threat not only from COVID, but from the public in general. It's been a tough few months for officers as well as we start talking about socially changing what's going on in the country, especially with policing. Anderson.

COOPER: Ryan Young, appreciate it. Thanks.

Joining us tomorrow night, I'll speak with New York City Mayor and former NYPD Captain Eric Adams, following his discussions on gun violence with President Biden at the NYPD headquarters.

Still to come tonight, change in tone that we all could use probably the great William Shatner joins us to discuss what keeps him positive even as new data out today suggests the nation this century has never been more miserable.



COOPER: Well, in a little bit, we're going to be talking about the latest news regarding COVID. And why there may be reason for optimism, but where we've all been has taken its toll certainly. A new Gallup poll says only 38% of people are satisfied with the direction of the country. It's a record low this century, 41% said they were happy with it last year and 48% said they were happy the year before the pandemic began. The poll goes on and gets into the specifics of the current gloom. But in order to maybe get out of the gloom instead, we're going to flip things around a little bit and talk for a few minutes about why there may be reasonably optimistic with someone who radiates positive energy even through struggle. And he joins us now, the great William Shatner.

Mr. Shatner, thanks so much for joining me. It is great to see you again. We last saw each other on New Year's Eve. So I wanted to talk --


COOPER: -- I wanted to talk to you about happiness. I recently listened to a podcast that you did, and which was your -- I don't understand podcast, which I really enjoy.


COOPER: And the whole topic was happiness. And it got me thinking a lot about happiness. And this has obviously been a very, you know, dark time with COVID. And obviously the political situation in this country and the (INAUDIBLE) --

SHATNER: Yes, yes.

COOPER: -- you know, with so much going on.

SHATNER: To say, to say nothing of the weather.

COOPER: Please, let's not speak of the weather tonight. It's too painful. So what did you learn about happiness? What interests you about -- I mean, are you are you a happy person?

SHATNER: I am, and especially now, because talking to you gives me great pleasures, that makes me very happy. So my advice would be for you to talk to everybody and make them happy. That's a start.

COOPER: But I mean --

SHATNER: Well, what makes me happy. So I knew that what the subject was going to be so I made some notes. Like last night, I drove an hour and a half, where I met about 50 people and gave a an hour's talk about them contributing to my charity, the Hollywood Charity Horse Show did very well. And a lot of them promise a lot of funds. I got very happy about raising funds for somebody else. I drove down there about an hour's drive, and drove back.

And I had my son-in-law in the car, and we spent a couple of hours with each other first time in long time. And we talked about family and things. And I realized being with him and family made me very happy. I love horses, and I love dogs. And people but mostly dogs and horses. To be with my dogs gives me, it gives me great pleasure.


SHATNER: I sometimes put my head to my dog's head. And I think I'm doing like a brain transplant. I think I'm communicating with my dog.

COOPER: I think you are. You do like a mind (INAUDIBLE) --


COOPER: I believe that.

SHATNER: And with -- and the same with horses. Except horses can nip you and you got to be careful of that, because I've known people to lose their nose when thinking they're communicating with their horse. And there's one other thing that has made me very happy. I got up this morning and I took a couple of deep breaths. And I realized I was still alive.

COOPER: That is, that is a good thing.


COOPER: You know, but it was interesting --

SHATNER: Because --


SHATNER: -- because being alive, can't be taken for granted. As the older you get the less for granted you take it, but even when you're young, you could be hit by a car. Or, you know, some, some untoward thing could happen to you and you lose your life. So that every moment of your life is really very valuable. If you could keep that consciousness --


COOPER: Right.

SHATNER: -- you'd be very happy all the time.

COOPER: So my dad died when he was 50 and I was 10. And I spent my whole life thinking I would die by 50 as well, because that's when my dad died. And when I didn't die at 50, I'm now 54. I have, like, I view all of this as extra. And I take great joy in the fact that I am alive.

SHATNER: That's perfect.

COOPER: Yes. Like I --

SHATNER: That's perfect.

COOPER: -- it made me have an accelerated, I felt like it made me work harder sooner, because I figured I only had that amount of time. And then when I had all this extra time, I feel, I feel joyful. But it was interesting --

SHATNER: And I noticed --


SHATNER: -- I noticed, I noticed your broadcasts aren't quite as good.

COOPER: Well, you know what, there's something to that.

SHATNER: Now you've lost that imperative, now that you lost that imperative. Thank you, you've gotten real soft, man.

COOPER: Do you get down like watching the news and current events? Or do you?

SHATNER: No -- yes, do I get down, oh my god. We know that we're on the lip of the precipice of a terrible event. I mean, global warming is. But there are little signs of like, carbon capture. There -- there's the beginning of carbon capture and buried in the rock. They're the beginnings of fusion, which will require no expenditure of energy to get make the fusion, there are little tiny signs of things happening that could be positive, if they flourish in time.

So, although I'm thinking my god, like, my grandchildren, I don't know how they'll be alive and where could they live and the seas rising (INAUDIBLE). The storm, do you think this terrible storm is bad wait till next year? I mean, it's just, you know, it's just awful. But there lies glimmers like little points of light, that offers some kind of, if we could just join them, if we could all just get behind them. If we all use our energies to, to do what is what we all need to do to make and conserve energy, it's there. We're on the edge of not being able to do it. But we can do it if we do it now. So there's that imperative. But those are things that don't make you happy.

COOPER: That's a good note to end on, though, catching those glimmers of light.


COOPER: I like that. William Shatner, you are a glimmer of light in an otherwise orderly universe. And I appreciate it.

SHATNER: Well, we must talk again.

COOPER: Anytime. William Shatner.

Still to come this evening, reasons for hope after two years of the coronavirus, but also reasons to worry particularly for medical professional sounding alarms that some people very large platforms do not want to hear.