Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

January 6 Committee Issues Subpoenas To McCarthy And Four Other G.O.P. Congressmen; New Video Of Intense Fighting Said To Be At Mariupol Steel Plant In Ukraine; Pres. Biden Mourns One Million U.S. Covid Deaths; Surging GOP Candidate Kathy Barnette In PA Senate Primary Facing More Scrutiny; Shanghai Government Says Its Covid-19 Infection Curve Has Begun To Flatten; Astronomers Capture First Image Of Black Hole At The Center Of Our Galaxy. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 12, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ALEXEY, KYIV RESIDENT: I remain in Kyiv because we are waiting for a great construction, real great Ukraine construction after this war --


ALEXEY: What can I say more? Fellow, Ukrainians.


BURNETT: Alexey's emotion rising unexpectedly, he is ready to rebuild. The day and his child are so beautiful, but there is also a great and painful sadness here.

AC 360 starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It's in a month before public hearings in the January 6 attack are scheduled to begin. The panel charged with investigating the efforts by the President and his allies to overturn the 2020 election has made an unprecedented move.

The Committee issued subpoenas for five sitting Republican Congressmen. They include House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as someone he actually tried to appoint to the Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan.

In response, McCarthy said the Committee's investigation was not legitimate, responses from the others included calling the subpoenas a witch hunt and a charade. None said whether they would comply or not.

Now, as mentioned, the move is unprecedented, so it gets into uncharted waters constitutionally, which we'll get to in a moment with famed White House attorney during the Watergate hearings, John Dean.

Now just as a refresher, here's what some of the congressmen who were subpoenaed were saying leading up to and on January 6.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Americans instinctively know there was

something wrong with this election.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): President Trump won this election.

JORDAN: They changed the rules. They changed the election law and they did it in an unconstitutional fashion.

MCCARTHY: Republicans will not back down, we will not wait to four years from now to change this.

JORDAN: It was just six states who violated the Constitution. What if it's 10 states next time? What if it's 15?

MCCARTHY: Everyone who is listening, do not be quiet? Do not be -- do not be silent about this.

REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): Our ancestors sacrifice their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives.

MCCARTHY: We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.

BROOKS: Are you willing to do the same?

JORDAN: We are the final check and balance. The authority rests with us.

MCCARTHY: We are going to fight this now.

BROOKS: Today is the day American Patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.


COOPER: In addition to that kind of language, previous statements by the Committee give us a window into some of what they are hoping to discover, starting with Leader McCarthy, the Committee has said it wants to know about conversations he had with the former President on the day of the attack, and it specifically mentioned wanting to know about a comment McCarthy made to his conference days after the attack, comments that were later revealed to have been recorded and then published by two reporters of "The New York Times."


MCCARTHY: But let me be very clear to all of you and I've been very clear to the President, he bears responsibilities for his words and actions, no ifs, ands or buts. I asked him personally today because he holds responsibility for what happened, does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he need to acknowledge that.


COOPER: So that's what McCarthy said referring to the former President. He said that he does have some responsibility for what happened. The Committee apparently wants to know more about that.

As for Congressman Jordan, the Committee wants to know about the Congressman's own conversations with the White House and the former President's legal team, something you might remember, Mr. Jordan has had a hard time recalling.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On January 6th, did you speak with him before, during or after the Capitol was attacked?

JORDAN: I'd have to go -- I spoke with him that day after, I think after. I don't know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don't know. I'd have to go back. I mean, I don't -- I don't -- I don't know that -- when -- when those conversations happened, but -- but what I know is I spoke with him all the time.


COOPER: Now, the other members they've subpoenaed are Congressman Scott Perry. Text messages with former President's then Chief of Staff reveal Perry had a key role in trying to overturn the election including trying to get the C.I.A. Director to investigate baseless conspiracy theories and working to replace the U.S. acting Attorney General.

The Committee has previously said they want to ask another member, Congressman Andy Biggs, what he knows about the purposes planning and expectations for that day, and then there's Congressman Mo Brooks, the guy who you saw earlier in that video we played asking the instruction mob if they're willing to sacrifice their blood, and then it was time to kick some ass.

The Committee likely wants to talk to him about that, and they're also said to have interest in the interview he gave in March of this year, where he said the President was still asking him to quote "rescind the election of 2020."

I'm joined by Kaitlan Collins. There is also late word about a subpoena related to a separate investigation. So what are you learning tonight?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're learning that investigators have issued a subpoena to the National Archives to get access to these classified documents that were taken to the former President's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida after he left office.

Remember, the National Archives first found out about these documents back in January and once they were returned to the National Archives, some of them were marked as classified.


And so what we're learning from this subpoena that's been issued now that we've confirmed here tonight at CNN is that this is really the first overt signal that there is some kind of ongoing investigation underway into the handling of this classified information.

And the subpoena is really a formal step that is taken by the Justice Department, by these F.B.I. investigators so they can get access to these documents to see really what was in them.

COOPER: Has the former President responded?

COLLINS: The former President has responded through a spokesperson who said that when he was in office, he handled all documents in accordance with law, with regulation, and that this belated attempt, they say to second guess that is a clear attempt, politically motivated actions by they believe these investigators.

And we should note, Anderson, that something like this, an investigation into the handling of classified information doesn't normally result in criminal charges of any sense. But it does show that there is a higher level of scrutiny on how the former president had handled this classified information.

Remember, there were the reports about when he was in office, he would often rip up documents and aides would later have to tape them together because there is a Presidential Records Act where you can't just destroy documents like that.

But this does show that there are questions about what was taken to Mar-a-Lago, why it was taken there, and of course, who did that, and who handled that.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it.

COOPER: Thank you. More on the Committee's investigation now from CNN's Jamie Gangel. Again, we don't know if any of the five Republican lawmakers actually planning to comply with the committee subpoenas. What more are you hearing tonight?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't, and I would say the chances are slim to none. That said, there has been some suggestion that some of them might negotiate interviews behind the scenes. It's also possible that by issuing these subpoenas, the committee is giving cover to someone, maybe one of them who wants to testify, but that seems unlikely right now.

I think what's important to remember is that today's announcement goes way beyond whether or not they testify, Anderson. The Committee knew this would be a political tsunami. They were laying down a marker, but they felt it was important for history to go on the record and say, January 6th rises to the level of doing something unprecedented -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jamie Gangel, appreciate it. Perspective now from our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, John Kasich, former Republican Governor of Ohio and a CNN senior political commentator, and John Dean, former Nixon White House Counsel and CNN contributor.

Dana, if all five of these Republican lawmakers refuse to comply with subpoena, what then? DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Committee

actually has more tools in its toolbox with sitting Members of Congress then with others, like the former Member who was, of course Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, they could -- maybe the ultimate is to hold them in a criminal contempt and refer that.

They could say that they should be held in civil contempt and make that reference, but my understanding is, the more likely if any, or none of these five sitting Republican Congressmen do not comply with this Committee's request, they could take more administrative punishment, and they have tools like, first and foremost, the Ethics Committee, if you're a sitting Member of Congress, you are still susceptible to the rules governed by the body of the House inside the Ethics Committee.

And by not complying with a Committee subpoena that presumably would violate an ethics rule. Then there are other, as I said, more administrative tools that they could use, like, they could say, well, either the Congressman or even the leader, Kevin McCarthy, there could be a vote, a full House vote to restrict some of their money that they use in their offices. So they do have options at the ready.

The ultimate which I don't think anybody is going to use is something that hasn't been used in over a hundred years, which is actually to try to offer -- to try to vote to put them in jail, which is a possibility, but nobody thinks that that could happen.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Governor. What do you think is going to happen? I mean, just the idea that the person next in line to become Speaker, if Republicans win back to House might defy a subpoena from within his own chamber. Is that -- does that -- has that ever happened before?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, you know, there are a lot of people that watch you people say what about this January 6? Particularly people who are sort of Trump-light or whatever.

Think about this for a second because I'll never forget that day. There was a violent attack on the Capitol to prevent the transfer of power. When I watched this January 6 Committee, I've been impressed with the fact that there have been very few leaks and that tells me one of two things, either they don't have anything or they have something that's very big, and something that could go all the way too damaging Donald Trump we're going to have to see.

In terms of what they're doing here, they are going to do everything they can to get to the bottom of this and, Anderson, we have to get to the bottom of this. This was an unprecedented attack by Americans on our own Capitol to prevent the transfer of power in a legitimate election.


So I mean, you just cannot ignore this or just kind of go easy on it. We've got to get to the bottom.

COOPER: But it seems like, all of these representatives, I mean, these are sitting representatives who were called will ignore it. No?

KASICH: I think, they're probably going to ignore it, and then the Committee as Dana just went through has some options, but at the end of the day, they are going to continue to pursue, pursue, pursue. They've interviewed so many people, they have so many documents.

I think if it's possible, that this whole country may be fixed on those hearings that are going to occur, six days of hearings, and I hope that every -- all the networks -- everybody covers this because Anderson, this is as serious as it gets in our country.

COOPER: Yes. John, we're only about seven months away now until the midterm elections, Republicans do win back the House, the investigations will likely be shut down or vastly altered. Do you think these subpoenaed lawmakers would just run out the clock?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I certainly think they'd try, and it is very difficult to bring a lawsuit in this situation, because it is so narrow what they could do. They can only do what's been tried before, which is to say the Committee is not properly constituted. Every time that's been raised as a defense against a subpoena, it's lost.

They can say that the Debate Clause concludes it, when the language of the Debate Clause actually says they can be interviewed by that body. So there's very little they can do, but that's one of the stalling techniques, it's been pretty standard operating procedure. So I think they will try to run it out somehow.

COOPER: I mean, Dana, all the stuff you mentioned, you know, having their office budgets may be, you know, curtailed or something. I mean, does -- don't we live in an age where people just get away with -- I mean, there is no shame anymore. So why would they respond to -- even though they're sitting Members of Congress, and this is a lawful commission, a lawful subpoena, wouldn't they just not respond at all? And, in the end, what's really going to happen to them? It doesn't seem like anything.

BASH: Yes. It is the question in the modern age. You put things out there, things like a subpoena for a sitting Member of Congress, five of them, which has precedent that we can't find in modern times, and not that long ago, this would have been an earth shattering and a shuddering notion for each of these five members, and if you just think about what has happened before --

COOPER: Now this is a fundraising goldmine. I mean, that's what it is.

BASH: Right. Exactly, exactly. And if you think -- precisely -- and if you think about Kevin McCarthy in particular, he is somebody who they, it looks like they're trying to get information from whereas some of the others, they think that they might have actually been involved in what happened.

But for him, if he defies this, which there is no indication he won't try to, let's say he becomes Speaker of the House, how do you govern a House when you are a constitutional officer, which is the Speaker of the House, when you've just six months ago, or within the last year, defied a subpoena by a sitting Committee?

It's almost hard to wrap your mind around. And yet your point is the exact right one, Anderson, in today's day and age, what do they have to lose?

COOPER: Yes, Governor Kasich, I mean, is ruling really the concern there down the road for Speaker McCarthy or is, you know, getting into that position in the first place, and for that, you need Donald Trump, and for that you need not to testify?

KASICH: Well, you know, Anderson's, it's appearing as though they're just willing to sell their souls in order to have power and that's what's so sad. And that's why this is so important to get to the bottom of this because maybe some Americans, maybe some Americans will wake up.

I'm not sure that no matter what they hear. Some Americans are going to say it was nothing and think about it, I just saw a picture the other day of a couple of security guards who had guns aimed at the front door. I used to go through those doors. Eighteen years I went through those doors, and there they are barricaded in there with pistols aimed at people who wanted to break in that and hurt people and try to stop the transfer of power.

And what Dana just said, I mean, if you were caught -- when I was in Congress, if you were given a subpoena, or you were, you know, faced some sort of a transfer over to the Justice Department, you'd be running out of town. Your people at home would just say, "I can't believe it."

But you know what? It's a different time. But the pendulum is going to swing back. I'm telling you, at some point, this pendulum is going to swing back or the country is in deep trouble.

COOPER: John Kasich, Dana Bash, John Dean, thank you.

Coming up, something we don't get to see often while covering the war in Ukraine. In the last several weeks, up close, candid images of the fight in the east. It is very difficult for a journalist to get access to the frontlines. We'll speak with one photojournalist, Lynsey Addario from "The New York Times" who did. She joins us ahead.

Also later, COVID in Shanghai. If you haven't been following this story, it is just stunning what has gone on. CNN's David Culver was finally able to leave his apartment after living for weeks under the city's incredibly strict lockdown. His story, you have to see this when we come back.



COOPER: I want to show you some video now that provides an important view of the battle for Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. As you know, the plant has been under Russian bombardment for weeks. Most of the images we've seen in that battle are from the air, from drones, but this next video is different and that's why it is important. It is a very up close.

The Ukrainian defense from inside. It was posted today by the Azov Battalion who we know has been fighting there.


Russian forces have largely withdrawn from the area, so we should note the fighting you're about to see is likely not recent though the exact date is unclear. Take a look.


COOPER: So that is said to be the Azovstal Steel Plant. Further east, Ukrainian and Russian forces are engaged in what is said to be nearly constant combat and for that reason, getting images from there has been increasingly difficult. It's very hard to get access to the frontlines by Ukrainian forces.

We have some images tonight, taken by "The New York Times" photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who is with Ukrainian military on the front. Lynsey joins us now.

Lynsey, appreciate you joining us again. You were with Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines in the east in the Kharkiv region. What did you witness?

LYNSEY ADDARIO, PHOTOJOURNALIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I mean, this is a pretty terrifying war because it is artillery. Just getting to the front is -- it is difficult, because it's hard to get soldiers to actually take us up, and when we get there, you know, there's always this preface that we have no idea what will happen. It's all unpredictable. There is shelling constantly.

You know, the position we went to was about less than a mile from the Russian forces. And so yesterday, we went to this position. We had to drive as fast as we could along an open road because Russian shell that road routinely, and they have -- they can see it with tank shells and any type of artillery.

We got to a position, we had to run out of the car, run into this building and into a basement and it was incredible. I mean, the entire position is underground.

You know, the soldiers only go out a handful at a time to go if they have to sort of defend the position, but really, the entire position is underground.

COOPER: In one of the photographs, there is a Ukrainian soldier who is looking at surveillance, drone surveillance images, can you just talk about that a little bit?

ADDARIO: He was a drone operator. They film often the attacks that they do against Russian forces, so they have drones flying like the Russians do. And so he was just going over the footage with, I guess, his guys, because when we walked up, that was exactly the scene that I saw, kind of as I came upon them. They were looking at this explosion that they had performed.

COOPER: In a number of the other photos, it just seems like soldiers are at rest kind of, you know, in a little bit of downtime, and you get a sense of kind of the life inside this, I don't know if a bunker is the right way to call or this position. They are smoking. They're on a cell phone, they're talking with each other.

This battalion is -- it seems like it is a diverse unit with people from a variety of countries as well.

ADDARIO: Yes, I mean, it was interesting, because when we first came up, there was a guy sleeping. You can get the sense that whenever they could like any military at war, when you have the chance to sleep, you sleep; when you have the chance to eat, you eat. And so everyone was sort of cleaning their weapons and relaxing and then at some point, a tank round hit the building and the whole building shook.

And then my colleague, Michael Schwirtz came over and said, there is small arms fire outside and I said that's impossible. Like I haven't heard some alarms fire at all. And in fact, it sounded like it was literally outside like ricocheting off the walls and we were below ground and so, a handful of guys went out, but essentially the entire position is underground.


So, you know, there were soldiers. Everyone put on their flak jackets and helmets and grabbed their weapons, and we're ready to go out if necessary, but it's so dangerous with tank rounds flying around and all the artillery that the Russians are using, that no one goes out unless absolutely have to.

COOPER: I mean, one of the reasons I want to talk to you, because when I saw these pictures, I just think it's so important what you're doing, because I had this feeling that people are no longer as engaged, you know, in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world in what's going on in Ukraine, because they're not seeing images of what is actually happening there.

It's harder and harder to get, you know, images and images that are verified of what it is that you're looking at. And I think it's why, you know, it's just so important, I think what you're doing because these images do give you a sense of being, you know, in that position with those troops.

Do you feel that sometimes when you're in a place, do you feel interest slipping away from back home sometimes?

ADDARIO: Absolutely. I mean, especially now. I mean, you know, when I was here, the first time around, I was here for six weeks and people were so engaged, and I was getting all these messages from, you know, people I know, people I don't know, saying, you know, thank you for your coverage and really sort of engaged with what was happening to Ukrainian people and on the frontline.

And now it's just sort of, you know, I think people have kind of moved on as you said, and I think you know, our job, you know, my job as a journalist, my job as a photographer is to make people care, right, and to give them a sense of what's happening on the ground. Sometimes it's easier with certain wars where we have good access, and sometimes it's just not.

COOPER: Yes. Well, Lynsey Addario as I said, I just think it's so important what you're doing and your colleagues from "The Times." Thank you so much. Stay safe.

ADDARIO: Thank you so much. Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: There is much more ahead tonight including the White House marking a somber milestone today, one million people killed by COVID in this country, one million.

Perspective next with someone who we've talked to more than anyone over the course of pandemic, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.



COOPER: Staggering and somber moment at the White House this morning.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Today, we mark a tragic milestone here in the United States. One million COVID deaths, 1 million empty chairs around a family dinner table. Each irreplaceable.


COOPER: A million lives lost. It's about the population of San Jose, California, or once unthinkable milestone. In May 2020, in the first months of the pandemic, more than 72,000 deaths were projected and some people thought that would never happen. Then just days later doubled to 134,000 projected deaths and kept climbing higher.

President Biden mourns the 1 million deaths as he originally hosted world leaders for a second global summit on COVID. Today's event comes as the president is calling on Congress to authorize $10 billion in new funding to fight the virus. It's a scaled down request after more than $22 billion was stripped from the spending bill. This comes as the White House estimates 100 million people will be infected in a new wave of the virus this fall and winter, though they aren't revealing their models.

Right now, COVID cases are up in 44 states in the past two weeks, only five shown in yellow are steady and just Colorado in green is down slightly.

Joining us now, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

So more than two years ago, Sanjay when they started spreading, I mean the thought of 1 million deaths in the U.S. I mean, were people talking about that? I can't even remember that that far back. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there were, you know, very initially, you know, the idea of just how much mortality this would cause it was at 0.5% mortality. And if that was the case, then you were talking about more than a million people dying. But I think pretty quickly people felt that look, you know, we could certainly try and control things. And after the vaccines came out at the end of 2020, I thought for sure, you know, people thought the models would come way down in terms of deaths overall. But I was just calculating Anderson since the vaccines were authorized, close to 700,000 people have died.


GUPTA: Despite how effective these vaccines are. And I think that that really speaks to the point. I mean, you know, I look at South Korea, only because the first patient was diagnosed in South Korea at the same -- on the same day, the first patient was diagnosed the United States, they've had 23,000 people die over the same time period. They didn't have anything we didn't have. They just did things obviously more quickly and more consistently in terms of testing and masks.

So, it's a gut punch Anderson. And, you know, I know so many of these families who've lost people, and they don't like to hear that, you know, 700,000 deaths (INAUDIBLE) --

COOPER: I mean, that's incredible --

GUPTA: -- preventable.

COOPER: It's incredible that more people have died since the vaccine than before that.

GUPTA: Yes. Exactly. I mean, and we know just how effective the vaccines can be, and remain. And still to this point, we don't have enough people who have enough vaccine acquired immunity. And we're learning more and more that infection acquired immunity can be effective for a period of time, but it wanes. And that's why we continue to see these waves, like the map that you're showing now. I mean, a lot of people are looking at this in the rearview mirror, but 45 states right now are heading in the wrong direction.

COOPER: What do you make the estimate from the White House that without more funding, mitigation efforts, a surge this fall and winter could result in 100 million new COVID infections?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I mean, these are models. And you know, as we've said all along, you know, models are only as good as the assumptions you put into them. But, you know, if you look at Omicron you know, we were blindsided in many ways by Omicron. Delta surprise us, Omicron blindsided us. And I think it was just about 10 weeks, where you had more than 100 million cases probably in the United States. So yes, I mean, I think that it is quite possible that you, you know, within a five month period, four month period, this fallen into the winter, we could have a lot more cases.

I think the big question is going to be Anderson, how much immunity, how much effective immunity will we have at that time? If you look at other countries where you get the huge spikes of infections, you get about three to four months of protection, and then you get another spike. So if people aren't boosted if they don't have enough immunity going into that surge that's going to be the big problem. The virus is contagious and you've probably heard, you know, people who hadn't gotten this infection all along and are now getting it, it's that contagious.


COOPER: I lasted two years without getting it and then got it.

GUPTA: I know it's tough. And, you know, its people, as careful as they may be, they can still get this. I think the big question is going to be, how much immunity do they have at that time? And even if you've had the vaccine, that protection from the vaccine does wane over time. I think that's become increasingly clear. So are people being more judicious about getting boosters, especially going into a possible surge?

COOPER: Yes, Sanjay, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next to the --

GUPTA: Yes, thank you.

COOPER: -- lead surge in the Pennsylvania Republican Senate raised by candidate Kathy Barnette, she's caught the attention of many, including now the former president and his -- and former talk show host, Dr. Mehmet Oz. More on that ahead.


COOPER: The gloves are often Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary set for Tuesday that includes familiar names like Dr. Mehmet Oz, but once unfamiliar names now getting a lot of attention, Kathy Barnette, if the Army Reserves veteran and conservative political commentator is elected, she'd become Pennsylvania's first black senator, and she's a top contender she is facing more scrutiny.

On the campaign trail for us tonight is CNN's Jeff Zeleny.




JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For months, Kathy Barnette campaigned across Pennsylvania drawing attention yet remaining largely an afterthought in the Republican Senate race. From the outside the race played out as a vicious two men brawl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mehmet has flip flopped on every major issue.

Dr. MEHMET OZ (R-PA) SENATE CANDIDATE: Dishonest Dave added, again.

ZELENY (voice-over): Fueled by big money and big names of TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormack, former head of the world's largest hedge fund, but less than a week before the primary election, Barnette's late surge is sending shockwaves across the GOP and provoked this dire warning from former President Donald Trump, who's endorsed Oz.

Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left. Tonight, she gently disagreed.

BARNETTE: And I look forward to working with the President. So thank you so much.

ZELENY (on-camera): It's a sign that you're on the right. Would you agree?

BARNETTE: I would agree.

ZELENY (voice-over): And one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, which Democrats believe offers the best chance to pick up a seat to help hold their majority, a messy Family Feud deep inside the MAGA movement is spilling out for all to see.

BARNETTE: MAGA does not belong to President Trump, MAGA although he coined the word MAGA is actually it belongs to the people. Our values never, never shifted to President Trump's values.

ZELENY (voice-over): A compelling personal story sparked interest in her candidacy.

BARNETTE: I am a little black girl from a pig farm in southern Alabama, who grew up in a home with no running water, no insulation, and outhouse in the back and a well on the side --

ZELENY (voice-over): And her campaign roared to life as she pushed utterly false claims the 2020 election was stolen.


ZELENY: She's linked her candidacy to Doug Mastriano, the front runner in the GOP governor's race here. Suddenly his polls show a three way contest entering the final stretch. Rival Republicans are in a mad scramble to scrutinize Barnette's background in hopes of slowing her surprising rise.

OZ: She is a mystery person we don't know much about it. We have to be able to learn and she's not willing to share.

ZELENY (voice-over): An outside group backing Oz also weighed in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meet crazy Kathy Barnette, Pennsylvania's wackiest Senate candidate.

ZELENY (voice-over): A CNN review found Barnette has a history of making anti-Muslim and anti-gay statements. BARNETTE: All the odds are against --

ZELENY (voice-over): In many tweets, she also spread the false conspiracy theory, former President Barack Obama is a Muslim. It's an open question whether the torrent of criticism will animate or turn off the vibrant grassroots supporters in the party's base. The conservative Club for Growth has her back booking $2 million in ads to promote her candidacy.


ZELENY (on-camera): What drew you to her candidacy?

DAILE: She's an authentic person.

ZELENY (voice-over): Asked about Trump's endorsement of Oz and his blistering words for Barnette, Kristen Daile had this to say.

DAILE: President Trump gets to be wrong and he has this one.


COOPER: And Jeff Zeleny joins us now from Southampton, Pennsylvania. Is there any wing of the Republican Party that isn't going after Barnette?

ZELENY: Anderson, there's not really from the establishment corner of the Republican Party over to former President Trump's side and everything in between. They're all taking aim at Kathy Barnette. They say she's not vetted. They say she simply would not be able to win a general election or there are sufficient questions that they worry. Anderson, this is why it matters. The Pennsylvania seat is an open seat. Senator Pat Toomey Republican is retiring. Democrats see it as their biggest opportunity to pick up the seat in their quest to hold the majority. That's why this seat matters more than anything else.

But she is popular among the Republican Trump base, if you will, talking to voters here tonight. They say they like what she says she's authentic. She's real. Anderson the question for the next four days here, has President Trump unleashed something he cannot control inside his MAGA movement? We'll find out on Tuesday. Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

That is frustration and outrage and chaos for weeks in Shanghai with the city under strict COVID lockdowns, many unable to leave their homes, leave their apartments, some force into government quarantine facilities. CNN's David Culver was just one of those who faces reality for the past seven weeks in his apartment locked in there, he's finally back in the U.S. tonight. His story next, you got to see this.



COOPER: We want to run out of the just incredible story of what's going on in China as it tries to tamp down on COVID outbreak as the White House today marks the loss of 1 million lives to COVID here in the U.S. In Shanghai, many people have been essentially forbidden to leave their homes or apartments for nearly two months. The anger and frustration has been captured in videos across the city within the past day. The Shanghai government has said 18.3 million residents are now allowed to go out of their neighborhoods though some have reported difficulties being able to actually do that another 5 million remain locked down.

CNN's David Culver was stuck for weeks in Shanghai in his apartment in strict lockdowns bringing us reporting on the frustrated residents who were banned from leaving their homes. David was finally leaved this week. Here's the story of his journey.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Leaving Shanghai today is a one time one way journey. I've not had this much freedom in 50 days.

(on-camera): But here we go off to the airport.

(voice-over): Heading out for the first time since mid March, it all feels so strange.

(on-camera): A few people use (INAUDIBLE) most of them are head to toe in hazmat suits as you look on the streets. The ropes are still blocking off a lot of the sidewalks, stores basically all closed.

(voice-over): With a government permitted driver we pass through checkpoints, our documents thoroughly inspected including a letter from the American Embassy. Many expats like me needing diplomatic letters just to leave our apartments. Once vibrant and rich with energy, Shanghai was forced into an induced coma. The rolling lockdowns began in mid March, but by April this city of more than 25 million people was under strict harsh lockdown most of us sealed inside our homes. Community COVID tests after test after test, and in between at home COVID tests.


(on-camera): I've done quite a few of these.

(voice-over): Early into the lockdown I packed to go back for me and for my dog. If I tested positive, I'd likely end up at a government isolation center like this, or worse, like this. Most of us would prefer just to recover in the privacy of our home. But in China's zero COVID world, that is not an option.

Shocking scenes of people shouting We are starving. We are starving. Heartbreaking stories of people being rejected medical care, some of them later dying, all because hospital workers feared breaking unforgiving zero COVID protocols. Witnessing Shanghai's handling or mishandling reminded me of Wuhan. On January 21, 2020, we traveled into the then epicenter of what was a mystery illness.

(on-camera): It's the wildlife and seafood market.

(voice-over): Still fresh in our minds the perseverance of those in Wuhan who lived through the original lockdown. Some losing loved ones to COVID early on.

(on-camera): Just give him a second.

(voice-over): They risked their freedom to share with us their painful stories, furious with their government for not doing more to stop the initial spread.

Chinese officials maintain they were transparent from the start. And in recent days, President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed and praised his country's zero COVID efforts vowing to fight any doubters and critics.

Over the past two years we've lived through China's military like mobilization rapidly building hospitals, mastering mass testing of tens of millions at one time, designing a sophisticated contact tracing system, essentially sealing off their borders to the outside world.

(on-camera): Sure mic check, one, two, three.

(voice-over): Wanting to keep on this story. I have not left China since 2019. Making this departure a long overdue homecoming visit. Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, once among the busiest in the world, is now a lonely experience. On the departures board, only two international flights slated to leave on this day. On the floor sleeping bags and trash were stranded travelers have camped out, they wait here for days or weeks for a flight out.

Outside on the tarmac, strict COVID protocols and sanitation in place, ground crews spraying each other with disinfectant. Boarding the near empty plane and finally starts to feel real.

(on-camera): Now the take off.

(voice-over): The disorder, despair, the chaos, the anger, the exhaustion. All of it feels so distant now, with a sigh of relief and a bit of survivor's guilt, leaving behind a country amidst almost unprecedented changes. I wonder if China's tightening zero COVID restrictions, coupled with rising tensions with the West will keep its shuttered doors from ever reopening.


COOPER: And remarkably David Culver is with me here in New York. I can't believe what you have been through with everyone. I just read in Shanghai now, it's almost getting worse that in some apartment buildings, if one person tests positive for COVID, the whole building has to go into quarantine or the whole floor.

CULVER: I'm on my neighborhood group chats still. And I'm seeing them as they're expressing their frustration. This is another new policy that has come into effect. It's not necessarily been written but this is certainly what's being carried out. Yes, if your neighbor gets it, and even if that neighbor is perhaps three floors up at this point --

COOPER: And has not left their apartment in --

CULVER: Has not left their apartment.

COOPER: -- in two months.

CULVER: Yes, 60 plus days now, the entire building has been taken to (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: And when you say taken to, I mean they were literally kicking down the doors. Take a look at this video of them coming for one family.

CULVER: Yes, right in there. I mean, it's been likened to a scene out of The Shining.

COOPER: I mean, this is like in those zombie films, I mean, your exit if that whole city is truly locked down.

CULVER: What's interesting is you don't hear it here. But the translation of what this officer says is roughly, this is not America, you can't have it the way you want. We have to enforce these policies that were being told have to go into effect. And so, they're doing it physically and they're dragging people in if they have to, and bringing them into these isolation facilities for however long it takes to them to take it.

COOPER: But I mean, what's so insane I kept thinking, OK, well, you're in your apartment, and then you take a test and then you can go outside because you're negative. No, you're still locked in your apartment.

CULVER: And what's changed now is the at home PCR tests or the antigen test you take, you have to take that, has to be negative, you take that to the community test, and you have to have a negative antigen test to then take the PCR test with the community and there's just all these layers that they're adding Anderson, it's baffling. I feel like you look at this and you say where's the common sense of it all and you struggle to find it because they're pushing for.


COOPER: What it is the endpoint and when does it end?

CULVER: We don't know I mean that's where the hopelessness comes into.

COOPER: You're not testing to get out. You're just testing to be still locked in.

CULVER: No, and you're nervous every time you test by the way, because you don't know what's going to happen. But, but there is a sense of hopelessness and it's dark for a lot of these people. And you just don't know where the lights going to come.

COOPER: It's just unbelievable what you've been through and so many people. David Culver, thank you so much.

CULVER: It's good to be back.

COOPER: Yes. It's good to have you.

Up next, something to make you just say wow, the first image of the supermassive black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy.


COOPER: This is really cool. For the first time ever, astronomers have captured an image of the supermassive black hole sitting at the center of our galaxy, its mind blowing. The black hole known as Sagittarius A Star sits in the heart of the Milky Way. It's about 27,000 light years away from our planet. Although black holes don't emit light, the pictures shows he shadow of the black hole surrounded by a bright ring which is light bent by the gravity the black hole. Astronomers say the black hole is 4 million times more massive than our Sun. And if we could see this at night, it would appear to be the same size as a donut sitting on the moon. I don't even know what that means.


It took astronomers more than five years to capture and confirm this image. And it was made possible by a team of more than 300 researchers from 80 institutions working with the Event Horizon Telescope. It's just amazing.

News continues. Let's hand it over Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT." Laura.