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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
12 People Killed in California Bar Massacre; Growing Concern in White House Over Reaction to Acting AG; Interview with Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired November 8, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
There's a lot going on tonight. We have breaking news on the fallout to the president firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and there's a lot to tell you about, where the balance of power stands right now, two nights after the midterms. Some changes, some possible recounts.
But we begin tonight with another community that is heartbroken at of mass shooting in America. Another gunman, another town.
For some viewers tonight, it may be just like any other sickening story, but for the families and the friends of the 12 people killed in Thousand Oaks, California, this is not just another mass shooting. It is a nightmare and an outrage that has taken their loved ones and altered the path of their lives forever.
We'll get to the latest on the investigation. A gunman opening fire on college night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. And as is our policy, we'll not say the shooter's name or show his picture. If the shooter wanted attention, or to be remembered for his act of mass murder, he shouldn't get that satisfaction, even in death.
It's been less than 24 hours since the shooting, so we don't have all the names of the victims. But we want to tell you about the ones that we know so far.
Cody Coffman was planning to join the army. He was talking to recruiters. He was the head umpire for a local baseball league. He leaves behind a devastated family and wide circle of friends. We'll hear from his father in a few moments and from a friend of his that was with him at the bar. Cody Coffman had just turned 22 years old.
Sergeant Ron Helus was a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, who's hoping to retire in the next year or so. He was among the first officers who went into the scene to try to stop the shooter. A friend and colleague says he loved spending time fishing with his son and was always quick to respond to those in need. Sergeant Ron Helus.
Alaina Housley was a freshman at Pepperdine University. She wrote on Facebook that she hoped to get into a vocal music program and planned to major in English literature. She was involved in a charity group that donated soccer equipment to young people in the developing world. Alaina Housley was 18. Dan Manrique was a veteran of the Marine Corps and worked with Team
Red, White and Blue, a group that aims to enrich the lives of America's veterans. The executive director of that group said that Dan was dedicated to serving others during his military career and beyond. We will remember.
Justin Meek was a recent graduate of California Lutheran University. The university president said that Meek saved lives in the shooting. Justin Meek was 23.
Noel Sparks was an active volunteer at church. One of her friends from bible study says she was genuinely caring, a gifted dancer and artist who had her whole life ahead of her. Noel sparks.
We're going to show you video now from inside the bar. A witness to the shooting posted this online. We want to tell you, there's nothing visually graphic in the video, but you will you hear the sound of some of the gunfire and get a sense of the confusion inside for patrons, trying to figure out what was happening and how to escape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, run, go! He's coming out this door!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Kyung Lah has more now on the shooting timeline and the investigation.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the scene inside the Borderline Bar, just moments after a gunman opened fire. Terrified patrons took cover, and escaped as soon as they had a chance. Officers were on scene just two minutes after the first reports of the shooting, about 11:20.
POLICE OFFICER: We're making entry.
DISPATCH: We're making entry.
POLICE OFFICER: We have multiple people down, we need lots of ambulances.
DISPATCH: There are multiple shots being fired in the back northwest area.
LAH: The man shooting was a 28-year-old gunman, armed with a .45- caliber Glock handgun. The bar was packed with a crowd of 100 young people who had come for college country night, many of them students from nearby Pepperdine University.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears he walked up to the scene, he shot the security guard that was standing outside. He stepped inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big pops, pop, pop, pop. I saw him point to the back of the cash register and he just started -- he just kept firing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shot the doorman first, and then he turned to the young cashier and he shot her.
[20:05:03] LAH: Victims were carried out one-by-one and desperate life-saving efforts took place in the parking lot. Still, many remained inside.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our friends got the bar stools and they started slamming it against the windows so we could get out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're still missing two people. They were in the bar last thing we knew and we haven't heard anything. We can't find them.
LAH: Ventura County sheriff's deputy Ron Helus was among the first officers to enter the bar. He was shot several times and would not survive.
For 15 minutes, first responders frantically pulled victims away from the club. Inside, the gunfire had stopped. Parents began rushing to the club, searching for their children.
JASON COFFMAN, SON CODY WAS KILLED IN SHOOTING: I am in the dark right now, and it's actually tearing me up.
LAH: Like Jason Coffman, who later found out his son Cody was among the 12 victims.
COFFMAN: Only him and I know how much I loved -- how much I miss you -- oh, god, this is so hard. Oh, son, I love you so much. Oh, heavenly father, just please be with him.
COOPER: The father of Cody Coffman.
Kyung Lah joins us now.
You've been at the gunman's home. I know the FBI has been all day, as well as police. What is the latest on what they're trying to piece together?
LAH: Well, the FBI here is trying to figure out motive and frame of mind of this young man. They have been at this house, the house that he lived at with his mother, it's not that far away from the shooting scene, and we've watched them pull things out of the house.
What they're trying to figure out is why he would have done this. The shooter's mother had been talking with people in the neighborhood. We spoke with one neighbor who said she was very worried about her son, that he might hurt himself. She said he wanted to get help, but he absolutely refused.
This is a man who was in the Marine Corps, he served for five years. When he left, he went to college in the area. He did not graduate. He is someone that did have contact with the police.
The police were called here earlier this year, in April, because of a domestic disturbance. There were mental health professionals when police arrived here. They did clear him -- Anderson.
COOPER: Kyung Lah, a lot to learn still. Thank you very much.
In Kyung's piece, you saw Jason Coffman, his worst fears were confirmed today when he found out his son, Cody, was killed. I want to show you more of what Cody's dad said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COFFMAN: Ever since my son was 3 years old, I coached him all the way up to where he played high school baseball, I was the coach. I did this, I did that. He was my fishing buddy. I fish all the time and that poor boy would come with me, whether he liked it or not, fishing on the boat.
That's the kind of stuff that I am truly going to miss. I talked to him last night before he headed out the door. First thing I said was, please don't drink and drive. Last thing I said was son, I love you. That was the last thing I said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Earlier, I spoke with Cody's friend, Sarah Rose DeSon. She says Cody saved her life last night.
COOPER: Sarah, I'm so sorry for all that you're going through right now. Can you just walk us through what happened? When did you realize something was going wrong?
SARAH ROSE DESON, SHOOTING WITNESS: Well, I was just there for my friend's 21st birthday. We frequent Borderline a lot and I -- I was with my friend, who we've lost.
COOPER: Your friend Cody?
DESON: Yes. I heard the gunshots, I remember looking over, kind of to see what happened, and I turned -- I was near, kind of faces towards the entrance, and I saw the shooter with his gun drawn. At the person at the register, and I was -- I don't -- my friend, Cody, yelled "get down," and I fell to the floor and I hid behind him and I just, like, tucked myself in his back.
And when I -- I was on the floor, I looked back and I see a smoke bomb going off. I just saw, like, a bunch of sparks and then smoke everywhere, and I -- I think it was Cody who yelled or told us, said it's a smoke bomb. And he got up and, honestly, he's such a hero. He stood up and he said to us, "get out."
[20:10:05] And I don't even remember, in this blur, but I ran for my life. I got out, by the grace of God, I got out through the front entrance, where I had seen the shooter. I guess he had gone to the other side of the building, and so he was inside, and I ran out and ran down some stairs. I face planted in the parking lot and I was just laying there and I'm like, is he behind me? I'm gone.
And I got up, and I kept running, but I heard -- when I was inside, I was there for -- the first round of gunshots, and it was -- it's traumatizing. I was able to get to a gas station, and I heard the second round of fire. And I unfortunately found out this morning that my friend, Cody, had -- didn't make it out.
COOPER: I'm so sorry. Tell us about Cody. What was he like?
DESON: Cody was amazing. And -- what me and Cody had was -- something between me and him that I'll never forget. He was -- even though we weren't in each other's life for a very, very long time, we clicked automatically, and I have so much love for him. And I -- he's one of the reasons that I'm here right now.
COOPER: Because he sort of -- he had the presence of mind to say "get out," to tell you what was going on?
DESON: Yes. I didn't know what to do, and I just followed him. I dropped down, and I hid with him, and I know he -- he was put in my life for a reason. And he will always be my hero.
And now, he's my angel, my guardian angel. I'm going to live my life for the both of us, because he was an amazing man and he deserves to have his legacy live on because he did not deserve to die.
COOPER: And, Sarah, obviously, you see this kind of thing in the news, you've seen it happening in the past. Obviously, to be there and to lose, you know, a friend like Cody, is a completely different thing. Did you ever imagine something like this happening?
DESON: I would never have, in my entire life, imagined this happening to me. And it's so real. Like, I -- you hear about it be but you never think you're going to be the one in that position, and you think, what am I going to do if that happens to me?
And honestly, I didn't have time to think, and that was another thing, I just -- I'm grateful that I had, you know, God on my side to help me out, because this was something that you could never prepare yourself for. And I think, like, going out with your friends, you don't expect this to happen. So, I guess it's taught me that life is precious, and it's short, and I'm definitely going to make sure I'm aware of my surroundings from now on and living life to the fullest, because this is absolutely awful.
COOPER: Sarah, I'm so sorry for your loss and for all you're going through and I'm glad you're safe. And thank you for talking to us and telling us about Cody.
DESON: Thank you.
COOPER: He sounds like a remarkable young man. We're going to have more on the shooting later in the program. We'll hear from another survivor.
We also have other news to get to tonight. The latest on the fallout from the president firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We'll hear from the author of a new op-ed who says the appointment of Matt Whitaker is unconstitutional.
And breaking news also about the reaction to Whitaker from the White House.
And later, two days after the midterms, there are some races still in flux. Two in Florida that could be heading for a recount. And one in Arizona, where the Democrat is now in the lead.
[20:19:13] COOPER: In multiple cities across the country, including Washington, Chicago, Atlanta and here in New York, people gathered tonight for protests billed as an effort to protect the Mueller investigation. The marches and rallies were organized after the president fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and named Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.
Now, Whitaker is expected to take over the oversight of the Mueller investigation, despite speaking out against it in the past.
CNN learned from multiple sources that the Mueller team has started writing its final report. We do not have a timeline on when that might be finished.
Meanwhile, there's breaking news tonight from the White House about the reaction to the president appointing Whitaker as acting attorney general.
CNN's senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown joins us now with that.
So, what exactly surprised the White House about the reaction to Whitaker?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, really, it's the negative react to Matt Whitaker being appointed by the president as the acting attorney general.
[20:20:04] This is according to sources speaking to my colleague Kaitlan Collins, Anderson, who say they are sort of caught off-guard by some of the coverage and the fact that he had made these comments publicly on CNN, as well as op-eds, where he called the Mueller probe ridiculous, suggested that it could be a fishing expedition, suggested that Mueller was overstepping his bounds.
Some officials are saying they didn't even know that he had made those comments, which is ironic, because it was those kinds of comments where Matt Whitaker was saying that he was critical of the Mueller probe that caught the attention of Donald Trump. That's exactly what Donald Trump liked.
And we know, Anderson, that those close to Whitaker are telling us that they do not believe he will recuse himself, despite the fact that he's been publicly critical of the probe.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, it seems there's no way he would recuse himself since he's just been appointed by a president whose main criticism of Jeff Session is that Jeff Sessions recused himself.
Is there any concern that you know about it within the White House that his appointment could be in jeopardy?
BROWN: There is concern within the White House, and that is partly because of the negative coverage. As you know, Anderson, the president is sensitive to negative coverage, and he doesn't like it when someone he appoints garners negative attention. And so, in this case, there is concern that because of that, that potentially it could be jeopardized.
But again, he is only in an acting role. At this point, he hasn't been nominated by the president to become the permanent attorney general. And so, it's still in the early stages, but there is concern in the West Wing tonight over the appointment and the reaction to it.
COOPER: All right. Pamela Brown, thanks very much.
More Whitaker reaction right now. My next guest has written an op-ed with George Conway, the Washington attorney who, of course, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. Neal Katyal writes that the president's appointment of Whitaker is unconstitutional.
Neal Katyal joins me now.
Thank you for being with us, Neal.
Can you just explain why you believe the appointment of Whitaker is unconstitutional?
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER U.S. ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: Yes, I mean, the constitution says in it that the Senate is to confirm principled department heads like the attorney general. Indeed, the attorney general is kind of the best example of someone that needs to be Senate confirmed. And Whitaker is effectively a constitutional nobody.
He's not someone the Senate has confirmed, and the whole idea behind our Constitution is to prevent the president from just reaching into the bowels of the Justice Department and picking some nobody, some lackey, who is his friend, to do his bidding. There's a whole reason, why we have Senate confirmation. This is an end run around it and it's flatly unconstitutional. COOPER: You pointed out this is not some lower level position. This
position is vested with the law enforcement authority of the entire United States government.
KATYAL: Exactly. So, the attorney general supervises all the prosecutors who are Senate confirmed, 94 prosecutors, supervises a deputy attorney general, the solicitor general. He literally puts people to death. He seeks that power. It is the most awesome of powers, and the idea that the president could install his own lackey is something that the founders would have rebelled against.
That's why -- Justice Thomas actually just wrote an opinion about this three years ago, saying the whole idea the founders was, you know, a president could become tyrannical or become, you know, corrupt. And the whole idea of a cabinet, and to have Senate confirmation is to prevent and have an independent check on that kind of abuse. This is literally playing out before our eyes right now.
COOPER: We don't know if the president had a conversation with Whitaker about whether or not Whitaker would try to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. Seems hard to believe the president would be putting somebody in who he knew or thought was going to recuse himself.
KATYAL: I mean, even Donald Trump is probably not that stupid to have that conversation. I mean, really, the president doesn't need to have that conversation. Whitaker has told us, he said it on this network, he said it on other networks, what his views are.
And so, the idea that, you know, that there needed to be a conversation -- no, I don't think so. But boy, it sure seems compromised. Both from an ethics perspective but really from a constitutional perspective, this is a really troubling thing, the idea that the president can just install his lackey in.
COOPER: How does this play out then? I mean, the president has made his choice. Is there a legal challenge that could be mounted or might be mounted against the president over this, and if there was, who would do that?
KATYAL: There is. So, I think there's three things that happen.
Number one, which you're already starting to see today, is the people rising up and saying, what in the world is going on? We have a Constitution. It's supposed to govern us. You can't just do an end run around it and impose your own person. That's number one.
Number two, even before the lawsuit, I think we have to think about the election on Tuesday and the House Democrats being in control of, you know, a branch of government.
[20:25:02] And the House can simply say, you know, this is a fake attorney general. This is not someone we will fund the Justice Department with at its head. So, they'll cut its funding, they may stop its funding, they may say, we'll only fund Mueller and not fund anything else until you get a real attorney general. So, that's a second thing.
And then the third thing, absolutely, I expect lawsuit after lawsuit. Because every single day, you know, I served in the Justice Department, there are thousands of cases across the country in which the attorney general is the principle litigant.
So, yesterday, I argued a case in Philadelphia called the City of Philadelphia versus Sessions. By the time we walked out of the courtroom, we literally didn't know what the case was called, because Sessions resigned and we don't know who the new attorney general is. This isn't the way to run a country.
COOPER: Obviously, you've written this for George Conway. I have to ask. I mean, he's not only a prominent Republican and prominent attorney, as you are. He's husband to Kellyanne Conway. Has that come up?
I mean, it's obviously an odd dynamic for outsiders.
KATYAL: Well, I'll let him speak for himself, but I think, you know, I think Mr. Conway and I both have come to this with really just the simple idea that the Constitution is a bipartisan document and you have a president who, last week, it was birthright citizenship, you and I talked about that. This week, it's this.
He is content to set fire to the Constitution, and in a world in which, you know, there's so much cynicism, I think the Constitution is the one thing that really does keep us together and there's a view that Trump has, which is, it's just a political document. It's just a document for the strong.
And what we're trying to do say is, uh-uh, that's not the America that our founders gave us. They gave us this chartering document with certain ideals and it really is something that has to be adhered to.
COOPER: It is interesting, because, Neal, that is the kind of thing one used to hear from Republicans all the time about adherence to the Constitution. And, you know, it's just a change in the last few years is significant.
KATYAL: Yes, no, Mr. Conway is one of, unfortunately a dying breed of Republicans, I feel like. You know, I grew up, I went to law school in the '90s where it was conservatives who often stood up for the rule of law and principles like that. You know, I do think there's a huge appetite in this country for that among Republicans and Democrats. But some of those voices are being drowned out by the powerful.
And one of the things I think we all have to do is think about, how do we come back to our roots and what our Constitution's about and defend it? And sometimes we'll get liberal results and sometimes we're going to get conservative results, but that's the Constitution we live under.
COOPER: Yes. Neal Katyal, I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Earlier, I spoke with Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a member of the Intelligence Committee.
COOPER: Senator, are there constitutional issues with the president appointing someone acting attorney general who has not gone through Senate confirmation? I mean, does the appointment violate the appointments clause of the Constitution?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I'm not a legal scholar, but it's clear that this president is trying to make sure the Mueller investigation doesn't get all its final product out. We've not seen the results of what Mr. Manafort or the president's lawyer, Michael Cohen, or the president's chief financial officer of his business, all folks who started working with the government starting in August, and the president could have avoided even any of these questions if he'd simply appointed the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, to be in this temporary position.
Instead, he picked this individual, Mr. Whitaker who, the best asset I can see is, he's a big-time Trump loyalist. In my mind, I will weigh in on this, that I think he has a clear conflict of interest in terms of overseeing any part of the Mueller investigation.
COOPER: CNN is reporting that Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself and even the department of ethics office at the DOJ does recommend that Whitaker recuse himself, that's just a recommendation. There's no enforcement, no authority there.
WARNER: Well, I've been waiting to hear from the ethics office of the Department of Justice. If they've weighed in and told Whitaker to recuse himself, which is what I would expect, and he chooses not to, that raises more your first point of, why did Trump appoint him in the first place other than the fact that he's a loyalist?
So, I think our only recourse is to go forward with the bipartisan legislation that's already out there, that's been through the judiciary committee that would at least protect the special prosecutor. Every one of my Republican colleagues has said publicly and privately that they think firing Mueller would be a mistake. I think Lindsey Graham said Trump would commit political suicide. I hope they stick to their guns.
I'm reminded of the earlier comments, and my fear is that Whitaker and this current position might not fire Mueller, but could so impede in terms of cutting back funding, cutting back his ability to work with the FBI, or most particularly, cutting back the ability for Mueller to go ahead and issue further indictments.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN is also been reporting that both Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, are being considered to replace Sessions as attorney general. Would you and your fellow Democrats be open to either of them?
WARNER: Listen, they both have interesting backgrounds, particularly the attorney general in Florida, who I've never met, has had a great deal of controversy about her. You know, my hope would be that the President could actually, if he wants to show any level of good faith, would try to appoint someone that is not so far out of the main stream, that he or she would have no chance of being approved going forward.
COOPER: But in truth, I mean, as long as the Republicans in the Senate are, you know, supportive of whoever the President picks, that pick would pass, no?
WARNER: Well, again, that goes -- I think technically, you're right. I think the question that I would ask my Republican colleagues would be to stick to their word, and I've been with a lot of them over the last year. I raised this issue as a constitutional red line a year ago about Mueller. They've all, on private and publicly reassured me that they think Mueller will be able to finish his job.
And my hope would be that those members would stick to what they've said in the past and say that they would not vote for any attorney general nominee of this president that wouldn't allow Mueller to finish his investigation. And my hope is that Mueller is getting relatively close to completion.
And boy, oh boy, there's a lot of information that I believe must be coming out of Mr. Manafort, the President's campaign manager, Michael Cohen, the President's lawyer, the CFO of the President -- of Trump enterprises, a number of others who've been working with the government for some time. You know, we in Congress need to see what Mueller discovered. And frankly, the public deserves to know, as well.
COOPER: Senator Warner, appreciate your time. Thank you.
WARNER: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Up next, we want to tell you more about Mr. Whitaker and perhaps another reason why there's a sense of surprise and concern being reported inside the west-wing over the negative reaction to his new job. We'll look at his ties to a company shut down by the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission last year because it said it was running a scam.
[20:35:48] COOPER: Back to our breaking news in Matthew Whitaker, the new acting attorney general. White House officials say there's a growing sense of concern inside the west-wing over the negative reaction to his new job.
And much of the focus has been on his complaints about the Mueller investigation. But, tonight, we have reporting on the work he did before joining the Trump administration and after serving as a U.S attorney in Iowa that's also under scrutiny.
Now, it turns out Mr. Whitaker was an advisory board member of a company the Federal Trade Commission shut down because it says it was running a scam. Our Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin tonight has the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE U.S.: It's a simple design, but a unique design.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Matt Whitaker before he became acting attorney general of the United States, describing an invention for a company called World Patent Marketing.
Whitaker was a paid member of the company's advisory board. The company was supposed to help budding inventors get patents and charged about $1,600 just to start. They got plenty of clients to pay up. In fact, the company collected $26 million, a lot of money. With, it turns out, little or no return at all.
It was a scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission, one that bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars, which is why the FTC shut it down and slapped it with a $26 million judgment. According to this FTC press release, many customers ended up in debt or lost their life savings with nothing to show for it.
WHITAKER: That's going to help lots of people that have mobility issues get in and use their hot tub in a safe manner.
GRIFFIN: And it turns out Matt Whitaker not only helped promote the company in videos like these, he also used his legal background as a former U.S. district attorney to muscle complaining customers.
Court documents show e-mails from dozens of unhappy inventors, and the company answered those complaints with threats and intimidation. At one point, Whitaker sent a threatening e-mail to a disgruntled customer, in which Whitaker accuses the customer of blackmail or extortion, because that customer said he was filing a complaint with the better business bureau.
"I am a former United States attorney for the Southern District of Iowa," Whitaker writes. "I am assuming you understand that there could be serious civil and criminal consequences for you if the customer filed a complaint."
Whitaker was paid, according to these documents, nearly $10,000 for his services and due to be paid about $7,000 more. In the end, the company settled with the FTC and the owner was ordered to pay nearly $1 million. Whitaker just walked away from the whole thing, and into the bright new future in the Trump administration's Department of Justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Drew, I mean, so being involved in a company the FTC based and called a scam I would think would be a red flag for any new potential new hire. You would think doubly so for someone hired to be the acting attorney general of the United States. GRIFFIN: This is the kind of company that attorneys at the attorney general's office would go after, not recruit from. But this is a different administration. The President himself, with his real estate company, his online school, which was labeled a scam, maybe he has no problems hiring this attorney general -- acting attorney general, accused of ripping off consumers, Anderson.
COOPER: Has there been any comment from Whitaker about this?
GRIFFIN: We tried to reach him through the Department of Justice where he works, and through the Department of Justice we were given a no comment for the story.
COOPER: All right, Drew Griffin, thank you very much.
Time to check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time" at the tope of the hour. Chris?
CHRIST CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's going to be plenty more discussion about the man, his credentials, and whether or not this was done in constitutional fashion, if Nancy Pelosi has anything to say about it.
As we know, the Democratic leader is at the center of most of the main political questions on the table right know. And we have a far- reaching interview with her tonight, my friend, where she gives answers to many of those questions, including what you were just dealing with on the show. And also, the big political question about whether or not she can be speaker.
[20:40:02] You'll hear her give an answer tonight that I've never heard her give before. She talks about her ability to deal with the President, what matters. We talk about the California shooting and the frustration of the inaction. There's a lot here for people tonight.
COOPER: Fascinating stuff. As we're seeing, also election results are still coming in --
COOPER: -- in Florida and also Arizona, now the Democrat in lead. That's about 20 minutes from now. We'll see you then, Chris. Thanks very much.
CUOMO: All right.
COOPER: Up next, breaking news in the midterm elections. As I just mentioned, two key races likely getting recounts. And who has the edge now in a tight race in Arizona? We'll tell you about that as the votes there are still being counted from Tuesday. Also later on, an update on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who's hospitalized after breaking three ribs after a fall in her office.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, as many nights towards these days it's a busy one. We now have breaking news on the midterm elections. Florida Governor Rick Scott has just announced lawsuits over the Senate vote count in Broward and Palm Beach Counties alleging there could be rampant fraud.
He's asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into it. Scott is obviously the GOP candidate in that Senate race with his Democratic contender, Bill Nelson, closing the gap.
Our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger joins us now with more. So, what is going on in Florida? How many times has that question been asked?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know. I'm old enough to remember Bush-Gore. And I'm old enough to remember when there were charges of voter irregularities in Broward and Palm Beach County, and that is exactly what Governor Scott is alleging tonight, so he's filing a lawsuit. He calls in rampant fraud.
[20:45:09] He says they're not being allowed to watch the recount. He has see -- or the count. He has seen his margin decrease and decrease and decrease, and he believes it's because so-called liberals are discovering suddenly more ballots in those counties, and they're counting them, and it's not working for him, so he's decided to stop it and say, "Look, I've got to sue because you guys are doing something nefarious here."
COOPER: And in Arizona, that's no more clear either.
BORGER: No. That is not clear. Kyrsten Sinema has pulled ahead of Martha McSally tonight by --
COOPER: She's Democrat.
BORGER: The Democrat, by 2,000 votes. Now, there's still 500,000 more to be counted, so we'll see how that goes. But in Florida --
COOPER: It's up to 9,000, I think.
BORGER: Oh, it is up to 9,000. But in Florida, I mean, Anderson, you know, this now could continue for a very long time. And I want to add that you have Mayor Gillum and DeSantis locked also in a race here for governor. And you know, you need 0.5 percent margin, less than a 0.5 percent margin for an automatic recount.
So, these things are going to change a little bit, but hearing Scott tonight, he's just not going to sit still. And, of course, Bill Nelson, his Democratic opponent came out and said, "It's a move of desperation, because he's going to lose."
But if you're a voter in Florida right now, you're kind of scratching your head saying, "Haven't we fixed this?"
BORGER: Why does this keep happening? COOPER: It is crazy that it keeps happening.
BORGER: It's outrageous that it keeps happening. And he is blaming the people in charge of the ballot counting in these Democratic places, but we don't know why it really keeps happening.
COOPER: And the Georgia, Brian Kemp resigned as Secretary of State today --
COOPER: -- but votes are still being counted.
BORGER: Right. And, you know, there was a lot of controversy, as you know, during the campaign, that he should have been able to ratify his own victory as Secretary of State, or loss. He finally resigned today to put an end to it and say, "OK, I've got 50 percent of the vote. I'm going to win." But that's not entirely clear right now. Stacey Abrams is challenging this. So this could go to a runoff. And so he's out of that job. He doesn't have the other one yet.
COOPER: All right, Gloria, thanks very much.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 85, was sent to George Washington University Hospital earlier today after suffering three broken ribs in a fall at her office last night. Now, she had fractured ribs before and also has gone through two bouts of cancer. In 2014, she had a stint placed in her coronary artery.
Of course, she's well known for her workout even at her advance age and has been on the bench every day this term, including yesterday. That's her working out with Stephen Colbert, obviously. I don't think they're regular workout partners.
But who better now to discuss what maybe ahead than CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Obviously this is -- I mean, this was huge news when it broke earlier today.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's enormous. I mean, first of all, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a historic figure in all of American law, even if she'd never been on the Supreme Court she is the premier women's rights lawyer basically of the century, if not all- time.
COOPER: At a time when, you know, few women were given the chance that, you know --
TOOBIN: Absolutely. And, you know, so many of the rights that we now take for granted, the equal rights that women have in the workplace, in terms of marriage, are due to the cases that she brought.
In 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court. She is one of the four liberals on the Supreme Court with Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. If she were to leave and give Donald Trump another appointment, it would be six Republicans. And, you know, the Republican advantage, which is already in tact with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, would be expanded. So it's enormously significant.
COOPER: She made it very clear, she has no intention to step -- I mean, prior to this accident that she has no intention of stepping down any time soon.
TOOBIN: She is about five feet tall. I would be surprised if she weighs 100 pounds. You went through the medical ailments she has had. The only thing I can add to that is that this woman is as tough as any NFL line backer I have ever encountered. I mean, this woman has -- is just ferocious and determined to stay on the court so that Donald Trump doesn't appoint her successor. However, 85 is not the new anything, you know? I mean, she's --
COOPER: Very old, obviously.
TOOBIN: 85 is 85. You know, broken ribs are not necessarily, you know, a sign of, you know, a major life threatening disease, but it's a big deal and, you know, we're going to have to see if she rallies back.
She has been, as you pointed out, on the bench. She wrote the court's first opinion of this term. She's always very fast in terms of her opinion writing, vigorous participant in oral arguments, but she's old.
[20:50:00] COOPER: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much.
Coming up, more on last night's deadly mass shooting in the bar in California. More than one person who is at that bar also survived in the massacre (INAUDIBLE) concert in Las Vegas last year. I'll speak with one woman who was at both events.
COOPER: Thousand Oaks, California is heart broken tonight after 12 people were killed in a shooting at a bar. I spoke with one of the survivors, Todd Stratton, just before air.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: Todd, first of all, I'm so glad you were OK. I understand you actually knew the shooter, the man who did this. You went to high school together. At what point did you learn that he was the one involved?
TODD STRATTON, SHOOTING SURVIVOR, KNEW GUNMAN: I learned in the morning -- not in the morning, in the afternoon after I went to sleep really late because I had so much of adrenaline and everything. So, I woke up later in the afternoon and got a lot of messages on, like my Facebook, because I lost my phone at the house that I took people too after I got a border line.
[20:55:07] And they said it was, you know, my friend from high school that joined the marines with my other friend and I saw him like a year and a half ago when he was going to see his son for like a physical therapy degree. And, you know, I -- that's -- then I hear his name today and I'm just in disbelief, you know, because he killed my friends and he was my friend too. And he had some anger issues through the years that I seen him, but nothing that I would imagine that he would do something like this.
COOPER: Did you see him at the bar that night? I mean, were you close enough to actually see him?
STRATTON: He was -- I didn't get a full visual on him. What happened was I was on the other side of the bar. He comes into the front door and just starts popping shots off. And everybody froze for like five or 10 seconds because the music was so loud. We didn't know if it was like something with like the speaker, you know, for the people that have much out of the bar because we weren't right up at him.
And so we just sit there and we hear pop, pop, pop, pop, and it keeps going like a lot. And then everybody realized it's a shooter and I look out and I see the muzzle flashes going up by the front door. And so everybody just takes off in different directions and I went out the back door with another group of people and that's what happened when I got outside.
COOPER: Did all your friends make it out safely?
STRATTON: No. The group I was with me immediately made it out. But a lot of the people that I knew working there that were friends of mine were shot and killed as he came in and, you know, started firing off in security guards and the front desk girl who I knew and others that I'm still learning the names of. Most of us got a way.
I had some off duty cops that were friends of mine that were there as well and there we group of people that took a bar stone and smashed up in the windows so people could jump out in a second story. They have to get escape from the shooter. And so -- I mean, that's what happened with that.
COOPER: It's just got to be such a bizarre -- I mean, I don't even know how to describe it. I mean, to know this person, to have been friends with this person at one point and to know that this person could have killed you and killed people you knew, it's -- what is -- how do you deal with this?
STRATTON: I mean, the thing is its just reality right now and I just have to process it the best I can. That person I knew was a trained marine that knew how to use firearms and I don't think anybody was going to be able to stop him. He hid behind the front desk and started firing off rounds behind covered.
He was -- he served in Afghanistan. He was a well-trained marine. And he was a big dude. He was like 6'2", 6'3", like 210, something like that. Like he -- you know, it's one of those situations where you want to stop the shooter, but you're far enough away that you can't do anything so you just try to save everybody that you can, like save as many people as possibly, to get everybody out of there and make sure that everybody is OK as much as possible. And it's just a matter of chance that, you know, people that were in the line of fire got shot and the ones that weren't, weren't.
COOPER: Well, Todd, I'm glad you're safe. And I'm so sorry for the loss of your friends. And I just -- I wish you strength in the days ahead. Thank you.
STRATTON: Thank you, I appreciate it.
COOPER: We're still learning about survivors and learning about those who lost their lives. We'll have more on them tomorrow.
The tragedy in California was something that a lot of viewers wanted to know a lot about on our program "Full Circle" on Facebook today. You can always watch that. It's a daily interactive newscast on Facebook. You get to vote on some of the stories we cover. You get all the details. It's airs at 6:25 p.m. at Eastern every weekday at facebook.com/andersoncooperfullcircle.
There's a lot of news still ahead. I want to hand things over to Chris Cuomo. "Cuomo Prime Time" starts now. Chris, you've got a big interviewer with Nancy Pelosi.
CUOMO: Yes, sir. Anderson, thank you very much. I am Chris Cuomo, welcome to "Prime Time.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, she smack in the middle of just about every pressing political question on the table right now. And she's gong to give you her answers to many of those tonight.
Will Congress take up mass shootings? The real deal about any real deals to be made with Trump? How much will Democrats go after the President on his taxes and the many concerns with his administration?
She also takes on the Sessions firing and the appointment of Matthew Whitaker that she does not like it. The question there, what did she plan to do about it?