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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
New Photo Shows Former VP And Family, In Hiding On January 6; Interview With Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA); Families Speak Out About Two American Fighters They Say Are Missing In Ukraine And Feared Captured; More Than 3 Weeks After Nine-Year Old Daughter Killed In Uvalde, Father Speaks Out About Police Response; South Carolina GOP Congressman Who Voted To Impeach Trump Ousted By Republican Voters In Primary; Severe Flooding Temporarily Closes Yellowstone National Park. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 15, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: There's been significant damage in the town of Gardner according to the Sheriff there where buildings have been swept up by the swells and the images we see. It looked apocalyptic. Local residents there are sheltering in place.
Thanks for joining us. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
When the House January 6th Select Committee reconvenes tomorrow afternoon, the focus will be on pressure Mike Pence may have been under from the former President to do his bidding on January 6th. We begin with a new photo of him from that day under immediate threat from the mob calling for his hanging.
The photo was obtained by ABC News who was taken in his ceremonial office just moments after he and his family were evacuated from the Senate chamber according to ABC.
Along with the former Vice President, you see his brother, Congressman Greg Pence, his daughter Charlotte and his wife, Karen, who is closing the curtains.
According to ABC, the photo was taken after the attackers had already breached the Capitol, some of them chanting "Hang Mike Pence." Again, this comes a day before the Select Committee is set to focus on Mr. Pence and just a few hours after it weighed in on the question of whether some in the January 6th crowd were aided by information gathered during tours they got from Republican House members.
This allegation that these were really reconnaissance tours is not -- repeat not yet substantiated. But today, the Committee released a video of a tour of the Capitol of Georgia Republican Congressman that Barry Loudermilk gave on the 5th of January.
In the video, one man is seen snapping pictures of security checkpoints, staircases and hallways, which in the words of Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson are quote, "not typical of interest to tourists."
This comes just two days after the Chief of Capitol Police said in a letter to Republican lawmakers, and I'm quoting now from that letter: "We do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious." Congressman Loudermilk referred to the letter when asked about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-GA): There is nothing there. The Capitol police looked at it, said there is nothing suspicious because the Capitol Police know, when visitors come, they take pictures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In just a moment, we will be joined by former a police officer who was badly injured in the January 6th attack for his thoughts.
First though, I want to play you another clip from the Committee from January 6th, the voice you hear, the Committee says was the one on Congressman Loudermilk's tour taking those photographs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no escape Pelosi. Schumer, Nadler we're coming for you. We're coming in like white on rice for Pelosi Nadler, Schumer, even you, AOC. We're coming to take you out, and pull you out by your hairs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Loudermilk who has refused to meet with the Committee said today he does not know that man who again, the Committee says is the same one who was taking the photos in question.
When asked by CNN about him, Congressman Loudermilk said that he was taking photos of the trains that run beneath the Capitol, a Golden Eagle sconce in the stairwell. He did not, however, address the part we just showed there of the man photographing the security checkpoint.
We should add that the Committee has not provided evidence that he entered the Capitol on the 6th, only that he was in the crowd marching toward the Capitol, nor has the Committee explicitly accused the Congressman of leading a reconnaissance tour.
It did whoever asked him to voluntarily answer questions about what's seen on the video.
Joining us now CNN law enforcement analyst and former D.C. Metro Police Officer, Michael Fanone, who defended the Capitol and was badly hurt doing it on January 6th.
Officer Fanone, I appreciate you being with us.
We just saw this video of Congressman Loudermilk giving a tour of the day before the insurrection. As you know, the Capitol Police now are saying there was no evidence he led a reconnaissance tour with Trump supporters. I'm wondering what your view is of this.
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Anderson, I read the letter that was signed by Chief Manger, and I found it incredibly irresponsible.
To me, the letter wreaked of outside pressure.
First of all, the U.S. Capitol Police is not the lead investigative agency with regards to the Capitol breach and the insurrection on January 6th. The lead investigative agency is the FBI and the Department of Justice.
So at the very least, the expectation would have been that they would defer any questions to the FBI and the Department of Justice, but they didn't do that, they chose to answer. And when I went through it line by line, it looks to me like Chief Manger was engaging in a game of semantics.
You know, he first refers to the fact that they didn't enter the Capitol Building, when in fact they entered the Capitol Complex, the Cannon and the Longworth House Office Buildings are connected to the Capitol Building, and the fact that you have an individual who is being guided by a Representative of Congress who is photographing infrastructure, things like stairwells, hallways, and security checkpoints. I mean, that absolutely is suspicious activity.
It is suspicious activity on January 5th, and on January 6th, knowing what we know now, it is alarming. It just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.
And I think it was an embarrassing misstep in a line of missteps by the Capitol Police's command staff.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, we also have now seen this video purportedly, you know, in which you hear one of the men on the tour outside of the Capitol, you know, walking toward the Capitol during the attack, shouting threats to Speaker Pelosi, talking about pulling them out by their hairs, as well as other lawmakers.
I mean, he is also just taking photos of weird places. I mean, it's a stairwell. I mean, the Congressman says there is, I guess, a Golden Eagle somewhere in the stairwell, but the stairwell, the security checkpoints, it just seems an odd photograph to be taking.
FANONE: Agreed. I mean, like I said, it's absolutely suspicious behavior. It most certainly warranted some type of investigative follow up, and then again, knowing what we know now that one of these individuals who was pictured there, as part of this group, was then seen on January 6th making threats against Members of Congress brandishing, you know, a homemade weapon, a spear at the end of a flagpole. I mean, had I been a beat cop, I would have arrested that individual
for threats. You know, whether or not he gets prosecuted? I don't know. But you know, is that probable cause? Hell yes, it is.
COOPER: Congressman Loudermilk also denied knowing the man who was seen taking photos of security checkpoints, which contradicts the Congressman's earlier statements. How do you think Capitol Police reached -- you don't think that -- I mean, you said that you think this letter was that there was the influence on it. Why would that be?
COOPER: I mean, listen to, you know, U.S. Capitol Police has the very difficult job of being a police department and in charge of the physical security of the United States Capitol and interacting with politicians on both sides of the political aisle at a time when our politics are extremely polarized.
You know, I don't envy Chief Manger's job, but he is the one that took it. So, you know, he has a responsibility to, you know, not engage in any type of partisanship. And to me, that's what this letter wreaked of.
COOPER: Michael Fanone, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
FANONE: Thank you.
COOPER: The House Select Committee says that tomorrow's installment of their January 6th hearings will focus on what Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney called the former President's relentless effort to pressure former Vice President Pence seen here being hustled to safety to refuse to count lawful electoral votes.
Committee aides telling CNN said Thursday's hearing will highlight how the former President drove that pressure campaign, despite being told by White House lawyers that the former Vice President did not have the authority to unilaterally subvert election results.
With us now, Committee member, California Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar, who will be handling much of the questioning tomorrow.
Congressman, I appreciate you joining us. I want to start by asking you about reporting just out from "The Washington Post." It says that your Committee quote: "Obtained e-mail correspondence between Virginia 'Ginni' Thomas, (the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) and lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Pence to block the certification of President Biden's victory and that the e-mails show that Thomas' efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known," end quote. Can you confirm that?
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): No, I'm not going to talk about specific individuals, but what I can tell you, you know, generally is that the metric that we use when we solicit more information from individuals is a standard barometer as to what they have to share with the Committee, whether it's relevant to the Committee work, and so that's the metric by which we reach out and talk to individuals about January 6th and the lead up to that. COOPER: Before we move on, I do want to ask you just one more
question on this. It does -- this "Washington Post" report says that Committee members are debating whether or not to spend time on Ginni Thomas on her role or alleged role in any attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Do you believe the Committee should spend time on her?
AGUILAR: Well, the Committee will devote a lot of time to the hearings, as well as to continue investigative efforts and conversations with people who know information, including the letter that we sent to Congressman Barry Loudermilk that you just talked about previously.
But the Committee is not going to be shy about seeking additional information from people who have information relevant to the investigation. We're not talking about specifics, but these hearings are pretty well, firm, and locked in and we look forward to piecing this puzzle together for the American public and sharing what we know today.
COOPER: So the Capitol Police investigated this tour by Congressman Loudermilk or they released a letter yesterday that concluded, "We do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious." I'm wondering, why the Committee released this video now? Do you have any more evidence you're planning on presenting regarding this tour or the persons in it?
AGUILAR: Well, I think it was important to release that information because Chief Manger offered a letter that I think was incredibly ill- timed and clearly, didn't have as much information as the Committee had gathered. So we felt it was important to release that information.
But more importantly, to resend that letter to Congressman Loudermilk, my colleague on the House Administration Committee.
Anderson, it's just been frustrating to kind of follow the story here. First, they said there were no tours. There were no MAGA hats. They were very upset about that. Clearly, we know that there were tours, there were MAGA hats. So, I'm just not sure what to believe when Republicans in Congress are talking about tours on January 5th.
COOPER: Why do you think the Capitol Police issued that letter? And do you think they're just flat out wrong about their conclusion?
AGUILAR: Well, I have respect for all of the men and women at the U.S. Capitol Police and I'm entrusted with my colleagues in the House Administration Committee to provide oversight to them.
But I do have more questions about the timing of this letter, and the conclusions that they gathered, and whether they had all of the information that that we have when they issued this letter.
COOPER: Just lastly on Congressman Loudermilk, in regards to the Committee asking him to testify, he told CNN today, quote, "They never sent me a letter asking me. Never called me." Is that accurate? AGUILAR: I don't believe that's accurate. Multiple Members of
Congress received letters. You know, as Members of Congress, we receive letters all the time, and I guess we could always say that someone received the letter and we didn't see it. But I don't think that negates the fact that his office was delivered and received the letter.
COOPER: So you're saying his office was sent a letter?
AGUILAR: My understanding is his office was sent a letter.
COOPER: Congressman Aguilar, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
AGUILAR: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, the fiancee and mother of one of two Americans who volunteered to train people and fight in Ukraine now believed to be missing in action.
Later, a father who begged police to storm the classroom at Robb Elementary talks about the daughter he lost and the answers he has still not gotten from authorities about what happened that terrible day.
COOPER: New development of Russia's attack of Ukraine. Families of two Americans who went to Ukraine to aid in the fight against Russia tonight say their loved ones had been missing for a week and may have been captured by the Russians.
Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh were last seen June 9th. The Ukrainian unit they were with was fighting in a town outside of Kharkiv where the fighting has been intense. A source tells CNN they both went missing during a battle and that search missions had failed to find any remains. A Russian social media channel claims their forces captured the two men, but has not been confirmed. The White House says it's aware of the reports, but can't confirm them.
Joining me now for an exclusive interview Joy Black, Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh's fiance and Bunny Drueke, mother of Alexander John-Robert Drueke.
Joy, what do you know about when and where your fiancee, Andy and Bunny's son Alexander were last seen?
JOY BLACK, FIANCE OF ANDY TAI NGOC HUYNH: As far as I know, it was Thursday. I think that was the 9th and it was during an operation in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine near a town, I think it is called Izbytske. I could be pronouncing that incorrectly, but it's around there.
COOPER: Bunny, both your son and Andy are military veterans. Did Alexander talk to you about why he wanted to go to travel to Ukraine and fight?
BUNNY DRUEKE, MOTHER OF ALEXANDER JOHN-ROBERT DRUEKE: Oh, yes. We talked about it for about a month before he made the final decision. He felt very strongly. First, he is one of the most loyal Americans you would ever hope to meet and he was proud to serve his country. And he said, "Mom, I really need to go and help fight in Ukraine because if Putin is not stopped there, he's not going to be satisfied, he'll become emboldened and eventually Americans will be threatened and he needs to be stopped now."
And Alex didn't go to fight. He said, I have the skills to help train Ukrainian soldiers and help them learn how to use the weapons that America was sending over there.
COOPER: And Joy, when was last time you spoke with Andy?
BLACK: It was also a text message on June 8th. We've been having kind of a normal conversation, a little bit about food and then he told me he loved me very much and that he would be unavailable for two to three days.
COOPER: And did he talk to you about what he'd been experiencing so far?
BLACK: I think he was trying not to worry me. So, he didn't really tell me when he was doing things like that, only news when he was like joining and things like that.
COOPER: And Bunny, I understand you've been in contact with U.S. Embassy, if you can, what are they telling you about where Alexander and Andy might be?
DRUEKE: They are telling me that they are doing everything possible to locate them, that they've had nothing verified yet and for me to -- for Joy and me to remain encouraged and know that they are doing things behind the scenes day and night, 24/7, they're going to find them.
COOPER: And Joy, you're being told the same thing?
BLACK: Pretty much. I haven't had direct, like phone conversations with the embassy, but all the official channels I've gone through have pretty much said the same thing and they've all been very supportive and very helpful and they're all taking it really seriously and I really appreciate it.
COOPER: And Bunny, how are you holding up?
DRUEKE: Well, I'm trying to remain strong and calm because getting upset won't help Alex at all. But hearing Joy for the first time, this is difficult because I feel for her.
Most of the time, I'm really strong because that's what Alex would want. COOPER: Well, you're both really strong. I know, this is just
impossibly hard. Joy, you and Andy are engaged. What do you want people to know about him?
BLACK: He is just so strong and he has such a big heart. He didn't go there for selfish reasons or anything. He just -- he really had this gnawing at his heart and this big burden on him to go and serve the people, however he can.
And just -- I know it's not a great situation, but I'm still very proud of him and I just want to see him back safely.
COOPER: Bunny, is there anything else you want people to know?
DRUEKE: I want everyone to know, first of all, if they're together, Andy and Alex, we don't want one to come home without together. They were best buddies there and we want everybody to remember that it is not just one person there.
And the second thing is for them to know that it was not -- Alex did not go there as a representative of the U.S. military. He went there as a civilian with military training. He went there on his own, he was not sent there by our government.
COOPER: Joy, anything else you want to say?
BLACK: Andy, too, what she just said as well, he went there to volunteer. And he wasn't -- he knew what he was doing wasn't easy, but he was doing what was right and what he truly felt called to by the Lord to do and he just wanted to serve.
COOPER: Joy and Bunny, I'm so sorry for what you both are going through and I'm glad you're in touch with each other, and will continue to be, no doubt and we wish you the best. We will continue to stay in touch with you.
DRUEKE: Thank you so much, Anderson.
COOPER: Just ahead, a father who was outside the Robb Elementary School, the day a gunman killed his daughter and 20 others discusses the child he lost and the accountability he and other parents have yet to receive from Texas authorities.
COOPER: Three weeks and the day since a gunman took 21 lives at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Three weeks and a day, but still no answers to key questions about why police did not immediately storm the classroom with an Active shooter inside and students calling 9-1-1 pleading for help.
For now, I want you to meet one of the parents in search of those answers. He is the father of Jackie Cazares, just nine years old when she was killed, badly wounded when first responders finally reached her.
Her dad, Javier, was one of the people outside the school begging police to go in.
Javier, in the three weeks since your daughter, Jackie, was killed at Robb Elementary, you said that you want to hold people accountable for their actions on that day. After all the changing stories from public officials and all the stuff, nobody has -- the families like yours still don't know and we don't know.
Do you trust what's being said publicly about the law enforcement response that day?
JAVIER CASAREZ, FATHER OF JACKIE, UVALDE, TEXAS SHOOTING VICTIM: It's been really aggravating, and no, I don't believe anything they have had to say at this moment. I mean, it's sad to say, but no, I don't -- I don't trust anybody.
COOPER: That day, that horrific day, you were at the school, you argued with authorities outside saying they should go in. You said that law enforcement didn't do their jobs. They should have gotten in faster. Do you still believe that?
CASAREZ: One hundred percent. Yes. They should have gone as soon as they heard gunshots, you know. The point where I was at, you know, I was a good 45 yards away, and I heard like three to four gunshots at that time.
And all I heard that day was you know, "Move back. Move back." And like, do your job, go in. Like what are you fighting us for? Like, go do your job. And now the thing is, it is sad to say, you know, they didn't go in like they said they did.
They painted a pretty picture at the press conference with Governor Abbott and others said that we were then swift and took this gunman out and that was totally false. And being there, I saw it all.
Not just me, you know, a lot of the parents that were there, you know, saw it firsthand. And no, they didn't do what they say they did.
COOPER: Some of those gunshots that you heard, I'm assuming were the gunshots that took place not in the initial minutes after the gunman got into the classroom, it was in the more than hour -- in the hour or so -- 45 minutes to an hour that the gunman was in there because there were still shooting, according to the police, there was still shooting going on, throughout all that time.
CASAREZ: Yes, I roughly estimate about 12 or 15 around that area. I mean, I'm not a hundred percent accurate. But, you know, from the time I arrived to when I was there at the school, I mean, I heard it and that's when we start, you know, not physically pushing us back, but holding us back, and it was around 12:15 to 12:20 more or less, you know.
I mean, like I said don't quote me on that exactly, but it was from around that area. And I know, they didn't go in like they said they did.
COOPER: The Uvalde Unified School Police Chief, Pete Arredondo, he hadn't spoken to anybody. He said that he was going to wait for the families to quit grieving, in his words.
He finally spoke to 'The Texas Tribune" about his actions that day and some of what he said is that he left his police radios behind on purpose, that he felt they would slow him down, that he didn't believe he was the commander in charge, even though that's what Texas officials have now call them, that the reason he waited so long, he said was because they couldn't find the right key to the door to gain access to the room.
When you heard what he has saying, now, I'm wondering what you thought of that.
CASAREZ: For the first part, when you said, you know, for us, we can do whatever we can after we quit, really, that's not going to happen. We can quit grieving, our babies are dead. They're gone. I mean, there's no way to stop grieving. So that, again, is just BS, you know, we can't stop.
As far as him saying, you know, he left for -- he left his radio other than that, that's total lack of tactics for one. I mean, when do you see military men going in and out of combat without no comms? You know, that case, they'd be fronting fire all the time. It could have been clipped on, they could have, you know, they have these, you know, other double radios where you of course clip on and have the wire, there's different ways. He could have had that and put it down before breach, you know. There's no excuse for that. No, excuse.
COOPER: Your daughter, Jackie, she would have had her 10th birthday last week. I understand. You've been told that, that she still had a pulse when law enforcement finally did go inside. Do you believe and it's a hard question to ask, but do you think a faster response would have made a difference for Jackie?
CAZARES: And her -- as far just talking about Jacklyn, no. I mean, she did. My baby was fine for life. Yes. But I would have made a difference. I mean, I think we're taking a miracle (INAUDIBLE) where she was shot. And then it was in a pretty bad area. But, you know, as far as other people, you know, other victims, you know, that they could have had a fighting chance, you know, they would have gotten a lot sooner.
COOPER: Why do you think more people aren't speaking out like you are? More families? Because there is a sense that, you know, there's a lot of people in the community, it's a tight knit community, a lot of law enforcement, people, the families in the community. Why do you think more people aren't at least speaking out about their concerns?
CAZARES: You know, this - I got to get to my opinion, you know, Uvalde has a close knit community with a lot of hush, hush. What happens with the school, you know, the school things that happen. Even the police department, they tend to cover their, they're behind on certain things. And another one was, I mean, I wish more people were to saved, speak up, you know. I mean, I'm not the ones going to stay silent. I'm hoping people wake them up. And whether they're afraid of losing their jobs or having that type of backlash, you know, I'm OK with having that target on my back, you know.
I'm not afraid of them. I am fighting for my daughter and, and for the rest of the families, you know, babies that were killed. Even the two teachers, you know. My voice will be spoken, my little daughter's name is going to be remembered. And if they're afraid to talk, well, then, you know, I will talk for them.
COOPER: Jackie's teacher is still in the hospital recovering from his wounds. He called law enforcement, really some cowards for waiting 77 minutes to go inside. What do you think of that?
CAZARES: That's 100% true, and then some, you know, they should have done their jobs. And they, for whatever reasons, you know, they held back whether it had been orders or just being afraid, you know, I mean, I don't know. Yes. I mean honestly, I do think you're recovered. And if they had more than one way to go in, you know, there's no, they're making guys in the hallway. You know, do they bother going to the other door? You know, you have a good 30 feet of windows, you know, was there anybody on that side? Technically, that should have been there. You know, seeing what's happening, you know. They have sniper, the sniper didn't get it till 30 minutes later.
The lack of training and lack of courage, you know, that wasn't in there. I just think none of that. And yes, coward, yes, they were, and I believe so.
COOPER: Tomorrow, the state investigative committee into the shooting Robb Elementary, they're meeting Uvalde, you hear from law enforcement and witnesses about that day. Do you think that you will ever hear the full truth of what happened? Do you think there will at some point be a minute by minute second by second account from authorities?
CAZARES: The way Uvalde is, no, I don't think so. I mean, I'm hoping somebody else will, you know, wherever there'll be the Texas Rangers or FBI. I mean that's I feel that are the ones are going to speak out. Uvalde won't.
COOPER: Javier Cazares --
CAZARES: I'm hoping, you know, is that --
COOPER: -- I'm so sorry for your loss.
CAZARES: Appreciate that. And appreciate your time, you know, speaking with us and much appreciate it. And like I said, I'm doing this for my daughter and all the other victims, you know. Just, you know, their voices have to be heard. COOPER: Javier, thank you. Will continue to be in touch. Thank you.
CAZARES: Thank you sir.
COOPER: Well coming up, two House Republicans both from South Carolina fighting for their political survival, both angered the former president with the votes they took in the wake of the January 6 riot. One won their primary last night the other did not. What it takes to survive in the modern Republican Party, next.
COOPER: As the January 6 committee does its work the faction the Republican Party that supports the lie that the 2020 election was stolen is getting a hold on the party head of elections. Tuesday's primary contest notch a lot of wins -- big wins for backers of the former president including the defeat of one of the 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach.
Harry Enten, our favorite and only senior data reporter joins us now. So, how bad did Congressman Rice lose? Or badly I guess (INAUDIBLE).
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: How bad did he lose? I think that -- look I failed seven grammar quizzes in eighth grade. I don't forget it.
Look, I don't know about you but my friends are spreadsheets and Coke Zero. And we decided to do a little work earlier today. And we went in, and I believe we have found something historic. Tom Rice getting less than 25% of the vote was the worst performance for a House incumbent in a primary this entire century.
COOPER: It really?
ENTEN: Really, really, it was really the worst. The closest was I think William Jefferson in Louisiana in 2008.
COOPER: Wait, when you say this century, you're talking about this century and the last century?
ENTEN: No, I'm talking about the 21st century.
COOPER: Oh, OK.
ENTEN: Yes, yes. This century.
ENTEN: Yes, yes, yes. William Jefferson, who was basically a convicted felon or was going to be came the closest with just a little bit more than 25%. But Tom Rice, by far, basically the worst performance for an incumbent. Now, this isn't really surprising to me, though, right? Because if you look at the polling, and you say Republic, should Republicans, you ask them, should the party be accepting of those who voted to impeach Donald Trump? The vast majority say no, the party should not. And this I think is the result that you essentially see, which is Rice going down to truly a historic defeat.
COOPER: So let's talk about Wyoming and Congresswoman Cheney. Well how do things look for her?
ENTEN: Well, if you watch what happened in South Carolina, I bet you can guess not particularly good.
COOPER: Is that your South Carolina accent?
ENTEN: I don't know what that accent is.
ENNTEN: Anything that's off of New York. Sometimes I almost sound like I'm from Minnesota, I say Chicago. So sometimes that's also an accent. I play around with it. Whatever. I voiced it.
COOPER: I say Manhattan because, I can't say two T's together.
COOPER: Yes. Button, Manhattan.
ENTEN: You know, I say a lot of things really strangely. Sometimes I can't say sir, I can't say Quinnipiac University, any event. On Cheney, if you go over to Wyoming, look at her disapproval rating. And essentially, what you see is that it has doubled more than doubled, gone up by 40 points from before she voted to impeach Donald Trump to after voting to impeach Donald Trump.
COOPER: That's amazing.
ENTEN: That is amazing. And she is very much unpopular in the state. And if you look at the betting odds, whether or not she'll win reelection, only about a 10% chance that she will win reelection, according to the betting markets at this point.
COOPER: Wow. I mean, given the political dynasty, she's from the roots in the state. I mean, that's incredible.
ENTEN: It's incredibly low. It's just shows the power of Trump.
COOPER: And does that -- I mean, is that an indication of how prevalent those beliefs are? The beliefs on the big lie are in the Republican Party?
ENTEN: Absolutely. The vast majority of Republicans believe this garbage, that is the big lie. We've seen it in poll after poll after poll, more than 60% believe that the election was a fraud, which obviously we know, is not the case. And if you look at the elections that have been held so far this year, who are the GOP nominee, they are nominating a ton of people who tried to undermine the 2020 election, both for Congress and in state legislative races in key states like Texas and Pennsylvania and North Carolina. And so to me, Donald Trump, the power of Trump is very much in the Republican Party right now.
COOPER: Harry Enten, appreciate it.
ENTEN: And I can't -- I think I made the slides pretty clear now.
COOPER: I think (INAUDIBLE) --
ENTEN: My girlfriend would be very proud of me.
COOPER: We're very, very proud.
ENTEN: Thank you.
COOPER: Prospective from David Urban, CNN political commentator and former campaign strategist to the former president. And David Axelrod, a CNN senior political commentator, who served as Senior Advisor to President Obama.
David Axelrod, if you were advising Congresswoman Cheney and her campaign, and you still had until August, what would you be recommending they do? I mean, is there anything?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, honestly, every time she speaks at these hearings, she's probably making her task even more difficult. And I think the one hope they have is that Democrats reregister and crossover and record numbers to support her. But honestly, I think, you know, you heard Harry's over caffeinated analysis but accurate one, that they, they, you know, she is she's in a world of hurt and nobody, no sensible person in politics would bet on her renomination at this point.
COOPER: David Urban, it's -- I mean, it's fascinating to me, just this her story being now rejected by her own party, the party her father was loyal to for decades, for refusing to go along with this idea that the election was stolen.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, so Anderson, let's just remember, right, like, the Republican primaries are dominated just like Democratic primaries are dominated by the activists in the party, right. So there are a very small number, not a small number, I shouldn't say smaller, but a very vocal number of Republican primary voters who, who embrace this and who are out there fervently, you know, supporting, you know, the opponents of Congressman Rice and Congresswoman Cheney in these matters.
But, you know, you look at the states like in Pennsylvania in past states where there are multiple candidates running and, for example, in Pennsylvania, the governor, the Republican governors nominee, they didn't get the majority of the votes still amongst the Republican primary voters. So, I wouldn't go you know, too far and say that all Republicans believe this, all Republicans.
URBAN: Remember that there is -- there's a wrong portion of it.
COOPER: I mean let me just show you the graphic here. It's -- do you believe that the question was asked, do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 election only 30% said fair and square 61% said, due to voter fraud.
URBAN: Right. Now, and I don't disagree with that.
COOPER: It's not small minority.
URBAN: Yes, I don't disagree with that analysis. But that doesn't necessarily mean they buy into everything that President Trump is saying and that, you know, that they don't believe that he shouldn't. He's the duly elected president, and on and on. I think that, look, Rice got blown out as Harry said, unprecedented. I don't know who those 10% of people are, that are going to bet for Cheney's election. She's toast it's over. You know, it's no, no, no small miracle that any of these people stayed in the run of the 10 that voted for impeachment, they all got smoked.
Nancy Mace, you know, hung on because he was in a very different district last night, and she didn't vote for impeachment, she voted to, you know, for just to certify the election. So, you know, if you crossed the President on this one, you were going to go down? I mean, I think there was no doubt.
COOPER: Do you think -- David Axelrod, I mean, how big a concern is this should this be to everybody, that people who believe the election was fraudulent, who believe the lies that the former president is telling, are now running to be in positions where they will oversee elections in their states?
AXELROD: Listen, I think this was a hugely important issue. Just last night in Nevada, we saw a candidate for Secretary of State when and he ran on the platform that the election was stolen. And he, you know, he is amplifying those lies and essentially signaling that he would govern the election process there with those conspiracy theories in mind. And we're seeing that replicated in many other battleground states in Arizona, Wisconsin, in Michigan. In Pennsylvania, the gubernatorial candidate that that Dave mentioned, has the ability to appoint a Secretary of State and he is the most vociferous trafficker of the big lie maybe in American politics.
And by the way, you know, well, what David says he represents the fringes of the Republican Party or the activist base of the Republican Party, there was a poll out today that showed him running within four points of the Democratic nominee.
COOPER: David, I mean does it concern you? The same question I asked Axelrod? URBAN: Yes, sure. Of course, it does. You know, Anderson, we want everybody I think believes in election integrity, right. We all want election integrity. And so, what does that mean? How what does it mean like in Pennsylvania, right? I participated in this in this recount, right. And when you get down to the, to these county levels, you see, you know, just how our elections are running. And I don't think there's nefarious, you know, actors here. I think it's more of -- you know, just -- it's politics is messy. Government's messy, doesn't really work is nicely as you'd like to see happen.
And so, I think we can improve our elections. I think there are lots of things we can do to improve our election I think people deserve to have (INAUDIBLE) --
COOPER: Right, but there's no widespread voter fraud?
URBAN: No, no, no, no, I agree with you 100%. But you know, what are we doing that people in America believe this? Why do people think that they can go to -- why are people they go to their ATM and deposit their paychecks, but they're without, you know, pause, but they're afraid to vote on a machine? And something's going on in America. We need to get to the bottom of it. So people feel that they're comfortable, you know, going to vote.
COOPER: Right. But the President United States is not telling people that their ATMs are right, screw them and its lying to them.
AXELROD: (INAUDIBLE) be Sherlock Holmes on this one.
COOPER: All right.
AXELROD: You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes on this one, Dave. I mean, the President's told them this. And he has made it stick. And it is now it is a pandemic of mistrust within the Republican Party, and it's infecting our elections right now.
URBAN: What we need Republicans to show up we need Republicans to vote by absentee. We need we need all the people to turn out just like we saw in Georgia that Georgia Senate election when we -- when the President discouraged people to vote it causes the election.
COOPER: David Urban, David Axelrod, good conversation. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Thousands of visitors force at the Yellowstone National Park. Details ahead.
[20:53:25] COOPER: Extreme temperatures put nearly 100 million in America under heat warnings and advisories extreme flooding caused by record rains and rapid snowmelt is now tearing up one of America's greatest national parks, the Yellowstone which extends into three states the Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Bridges, roads, homes being washed away as you see right there in one of the most popular tourist destinations that country parts of the park could be closed for the whole season.
Our Nick Watt joins us tonight from Gardiner, Montana. So Nick, what are we learning about how long these closures Yellowstone could last?
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson The good news is the southern part of the park might open to some visitors, maybe next week. Officials are just trying to work out how they avoid that part of the park just being overwhelmed by tourists. The north it's a very different story. It is going to be the entire summer probably longer before the gate here opens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is insane.
WATT (voice-over): This was a home for park employees obliterated by the Yellowstone River as was the one and only road in from the north entrance. The oldest national park on Earth is now closed.
CAMERON SHOLLY, SUPERINTENDENT, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: I've heard this is 1,000 year events, whatever that means these days they seem to be happening more and more frequently.
WATT (voice-over): Bridges washed out, houses washed away, others balanced on the brink. CNN's Julia Vargas Jones shot these exclusive pictures from a helicopter carrying out a law enforcement shifting in the park has to be by air when there isn't a road left.
JULIA VARGAS JONES, CNN PRODUCER: A lot of the roads and access points to these communities have been cut off. So, the sheriff's office is also taking this opportunity to take a look at what needs to be repaired.
WATT (voice-over): The Montana National Guard has rescued nearly 100 people. All this caused by an unusually late heavy snowfall, then unusually high temperatures melting that snow, plus a lot of rain combining to cut off this gem of the American West. More than 2 million acres, 1,000 miles of trails, 500 geysers, bears, birds.
As much as three months worth of water barreled down this valley in three days. Breaking record high river levels set over 100 years ago, overwhelming infrastructure built for what was normal last century, not for the extreme and unpredictable that is becoming normal in this.
For the benefit and enjoyment of the people says the grand old gate, not right now. This northern entrance likely will not open again this summer. Because that one road in will take months to fix. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nobody here. And there's one hotel that's actually shutting down told all its employees to go home.
WATT (on-camera): You were booked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were booked.
WATT (on-camera): And now you have one person that's leaving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were booked solid for a year. We were booked for a year.
WATT (voice-over): Gartner gateway to the park, now a ghost town. Probably will be four months.
BILL BERG, COMMISSIONER, PARK COUNTY, MONTANA: It's a Yellowstone town it lives and dies by tourism.
WATT (voice-over): There should be more than 10,000 people in the park on a summer's day today, just a few hikers left in the back country and all this might not be over. There's still 12 inches of snow pack up there. And high temperatures are forecast for the weekend. More snow might melt and the Yellowstone River might rise again.
WATT: So just in the past few seconds, we've seen portions of that bank fall into the river. The owners of that house we know are concerned that they are very, very close to the water.
Now Anderson, the U.S. Geological Survey basically predicted last year that this would happen. They published a report saying that there will be increased precipitation here. There will be earlier snow melt and that is going to continue they say for the foreseeable future for decades. Anderson.
COOPER: Just incredible images, what's happening there. Nick Watt, appreciate it. Thanks.
On the eve of the third public hearing by the January 6 committee, new pictures have surfaced that show former Vice President Pence minutes after he was evacuated from the Senate floor as rioters were storming the capitol. That's next.