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64 Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus in U.S., Two of Those Now Unknown Origin; Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) is Interviewed About the HHS Whistleblower; Biden Banking On Victory In South Carolina; President Trump To Nominate GOP Representative Ratcliffe For Spy Chief-Again. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired February 28, 2020 - 20:00   ET




It has been a difficult week in the worldwide struggle to contain the coronavirus outbreak and it looks like it will get rougher still. Contrary to the president's notion last night, the cases of Americans infected with the virus might dwindle to zero within days, the number of cases here is growing, with a new patient, number 63, reported today in California.

Now, it's particularly significant because this patient is also the second American infected and no one knows why. Two Americans now with an infection of unknown origin which suggests the virus may be spreading in the community. It is that community spread on a global level, a newly infected person infecting another person and another which is having a chilling effect around the world.

Restaurants in Shanghai closed or taking your temperature before you're allowed to enter, neighborhoods on lockdown, global travel and commerce is beginning to slow. Markets continue falling, and although federal agencies began showing signs of responding better in the face of it, at the very highest levels of government, something else was not happening, which is where we begin tonight with the all-hands on deck response that hasn't happened.

President Trump is in a rally in Charleston, South Carolina, and sure, you might say that's just because the primary there is tomorrow, except there isn't a Republican primary at all. And when asked as he left the airport this evening how much time he was spending on the crisis, here's what the president had to say before bordering the chopper to take him elsewhere.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'm spending a lot of time on it just in coordination. Mike Pence is doing a great job. Dr. Fauci, Dr. Fauci is great. They're all doing really a fan -- Alex Azar is right on top of it. We're all watching it very closely. We don't want any bad surprises.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Now, perhaps you're thinking, well, the president is just taking a well-earned break from a rough few days of coordinating things in the White House, in a sense, you'd be right. But exactly what he is coordinating isn't exactly clear. Last night, he was coordinating with two people who called themselves Diamond and Silk, getting them together at the White House with others to praise him.


TRUMP: They're going to be stars. And they have been just been incredible. And they've been with me for almost before I even announced, they were there right at the beginning. Thank you very much.


TRUMP: It's a great honor.


COOPER: Diamond and Silk all hands on deck.

By the way, we showed you a video of the meeting the president had yesterday in which he said this.


TRUMP: It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear and from our shores it could get worse before it gets better, it could maybe go away. We'll see what happens. Nobody really knows.


COOPER: When we played it last night, I sort of wondered aloud who were the people who were quickly agreeing with the president that it might miraculously disappear, it turns out Diamond and Silk were there, who may have many skills, but epidemiology is not known to be one of them.

For Alex Azar, the health and human services secretary, well, one of the things he was coordinating also or dealing with was that whistle- blower plant alleging the workers he's responsible for were sent into contact with the Americans, potential coronavirus patients who are heading into quarantine without the training or protective gear to stay safe.

Now, his department is facing complaints about the slow pace of testing. So he really does truly have a lot on his plate. And while there were many reports the president has been dissatisfied with him and according to CNN's reporting, considered removing him from coronavirus response efforts, Secretary Azar sure went out of his way to show his loyalty to the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY OF HEALTH: So, just want to report to everybody that thanks to the president's historically aggressive containment efforts, we have really been able to keep the risk to Americans low right now. And so, the president really deserves incredible credit, because he got on this within days and weeks of learning from China about this, and took action that people attacked him for, but it's kept America safe. It's bought us time.


So, thank you, Mr. President.


COOPER: All hands on deck and all hail the president.

As for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who's also got a key role in the crisis, coordinating between affected countries, working with international agencies and so on, did take time to brief lawmakers this morning but there was someplace else he really had to be.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you, in fact, yourself speaking at CPAC at 12:15 today?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you can only give two hours to this bipartisan group of members of Congress, and instead of answering questions on life and death issues from a bipartisan group of America's representatives, you'll talk to a special interest group?



COOPER: CPAC is the conservative political action committee.

Secretary Pompeo was not the only top official there today. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was there as well, talking about the stock market, which suffered its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, something he did not attribute to legitimate concerns over how the outbreak maybe being handled by the administration, or even legitimate concerns about the virus's potential impact on companies and the global economy.


Now, Mulvaney says it's all about the media.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The reason you're -- you're seeing so much attention to it today is they think this is what's going to bring down the president. That's what this is all about.


COOPER: Yes, it's actually about a virus killing people. It really was all hands on deck at CPAC today.

Jared Kushner spoke, so did the president's top economic adviser, sounding more like the cable business channel talking head he used to be.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: I'll say so far, the numbers coming in on the economy have actually been quite good, including today. You might think about buying the dip.


COOPER: As for Vice President Pence, the man appointed to head the efforts combating the virus, he wasn't exactly stuck in coordination meetings all day either, though he didn't speak at the convention today. He spoke there yesterday.

Today, he went to Florida on a fund-raising trip, plus a hastily meeting on the outbreak with Florida's governor. All hands on deck indeed.

More now with the whistle-blower's allegations of workers being put in harm's way without the protection needed to stay safe, California Democratic Congressman Jimmy Gomez has been in touch with her. We spoke shortly before airtime.


COOPER: The whistle-blower at HHS reached out to your office about two weeks ago. You've been in touch with her ever since.


COOPER: Why did they reach out to you and what did they tell you?

GOMEZ: Well, they reached out to me because my -- committee I'm on Ways and Means oversees the Heath and Human Services Department called Administration of Child and Family Services and specifically the program on repatriation of individuals who are coming back from abroad.

COOPER: And the people who this HHS worker said they were set to deal with were the first group of Americans who had been evacuated from essentially ground zero in China?

GOMEZ: Correct. This first group of Americans were sent to the base, Travis Air Force Base, as well as March. And the HHS staffers were sent there to help the CDC bring them back into the country. COOPER: And you asked, I know, Secretary Azar --


COOPER: -- about the idea of sending employees into potentially harm's way without enough training, without protective equipment, he basically dismissed the possibility. Is that right?

GOMEZ: Yes. Well, he didn't know that I knew the situation that actually occurred on the ground. He was speaking from the fact that they're supposed to follow protocols and there's no way they would have been in violation with those protocols.

COOPER: So, he didn't know that you knew about the whistle-blower?

GOMEZ: Correct. And what we wanted to know is have them confirm to us what -- that there's supposed to be protocols, that they have to have what they call personal protective equipment and they're not supposed to be in contact with people that are infected by the coronavirus.

That was really confirming that they were in violation of those protocols.

COOPER: So, I mean, from what I read in "The Washington Post" story, that the HHS person who was the whistle-blower said that when they got there, there were other agencies, CDC and others, who actually had protective equipment that they were using but their employees did not. Correct?

GOMEZ: Yes, that's correct.

COOPER: I mean, that's got to be terrifying to these employees to get there and realize, wait a minute, everyone else is in like Tyvek suits and high level protection?

GOMEZ: Yes, I know that's the situation. And that's why the team that got sent was on the ground raised those concerns to the team leader on site. Then they also raised it to the whistle-blower's attention, and they complained about the lack of protective gear, the lack of protocols, making sure that the staff on the ground was not leaving the containment area. They were deeply concerned and wanted that team tested when they returned.

They didn't test them. They didn't monitor them. Some of them were allowed to fly commercial flights back to their home bases. And it's not just Washington, D.C., across the country.

COOPER: So, let me stop you there because this was also in "The Washington Post" story. And I found that amazing is that this HHS team, and the whistleblower saying they didn't have the gear, they didn't have the training, they had in some cases face-to-face contacts with Americans from ground zero of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, who for all they knew at the time might have been infected, might not have been, but they had to go directly into quarantine, and then they were not only those HHS employees not tested but they were allowed to get on, in some cases, commercial flights going to different parts of the country?

GOMEZ: Correct. That's what alarmed me, not only that they broke protocol, that there's individuals that were flying around the country that were not tested. And what I learned from a briefing today from the CDC is that half of the people on the cruise ship, on the cruise ship who were infected --

COOPER: The Diamond Princess?

GOMEZ: Yes, who were infected showed no symptoms and they were still he spreading the disease.


So, that's the concern is that there wasn't -- they didn't take -- Health and Human Services didn't take this seriously. They didn't start monitoring them. They didn't really give them a follow-up. They didn't test them.

And I still don't know to this day if they've been tested.

COOPER: Do -- I mean, you were part of that briefing. Do you feel like the government and the administration is prepared for this? Is America prepared for this?

GOMEZ: I hope so. Right now, I feel like it was a discombobulated effort. There sometimes one agency doesn't know what the other agency is doing.

But this administration has a fear of experts, of civil servants who have dedicated their lives. They need to let the experts -- the medical experts do their jobs, right, and do it well and give them the resources and equipment that they need.

COOPER: I was really disturbed in something Mick Mulvaney said, the acting chief of staff at the White House, because so many people are acting in the administration, in positions, he said that this is getting a lot of attention from the press because the press thinks it's, quote, going to be the thing that brings down the president.

I mean, not only is that incredibly cynical, which I get, but it's just -- I mean, it's just -- it's wrong.

GOMEZ: No, it's shameful. Yes, no, this is shameful. This is not about the president.

This is about the American people and the public health, right? That's what it's about, trying to make sure that we combat this the best we can. And this administration trying to make it about the president shows where their priorities lie.

COOPER: When you hear the administration has sent out a -- or issued a directive that all messaging from government health officials and scientists has to be approved by Vice President Pence's office, is that the way things are normally done? GOMEZ: No, it's not the way things are normally done. I heard in

previous instances, like in SARS, that they had the head of CDC speaking out regarding what was going on. That's what we need more of.

The public wants to hear not from politicians, you know, including myself. They want to hear from the health experts. They want to hear from people who are meant to keep them safe and that's -- and with no varnish, right?

So, we want to make sure that that starts again. You know, we want to get people the facts.

COOPER: Congressman Gomez, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

GOMEZ: Yes, thank you.


COOPER: We'll have more on the breaking news next, including new details on this second case of transmitted coronavirus and a live update on the first patient. Plus, CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us.

Later, Democratic primary politics just hours away from tomorrow's big vote in South Carolina.



COOPER: Welcome back.

The breaking news tonight was not unexpected. A second coronavirus case that can't be traced to travel or contact to someone who's known to be infected.

Now, according to officials in California's Santa Clara County, the patient is an older woman with chronic health problems who was already hospitalized for respiratory illness. Her test results came back last night.

Now, officials are not saying much more than that due to patient privacy considerations. Again, this is the second such case in the country. Meantime, we're learning more about the first case, a woman now in serious condition on a ventilator who had to wait days just to be tested for the virus. She's being treated at the University California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Our Randi Kaye is there for us tonight.

So, what's the latest?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, that case here in Sacramento that you're just talking about, it is a real mystery because that is as you said the first case of what they're calling community spread coronavirus. They really have no clue how this patient in this hospital here behind me, UC-Davis, got it. What we know about the patient is a she is a woman, she's in serious condition.

She did not travel to Wuhan, China, nor did she come into contact with anyone who did. That's why it's so puzzling to doctors here.

So, what we did is put together a timeline for you, a calendar so you could see how this was all discovered. So, take a look here, on February 15th, "The Washington Post" said the patients went to North Bay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville, California. She was reporting flu-like symptoms. She was not tested for the coronavirus there.

Instead, four days later, February 19th, she was transported by ambulance here to U.C.-D Davis. Finally, Sunday, February 23rd, she was tested for the coronavirus only after the doctors here insisted on that. And then three days later, February 26, it was confirmed that she did indeed have the coronavirus.

If you look at those dates on the calendar, Anderson, 11 days passed between her first hospital visit and when she was diagnosed with that coronavirus, Anderson.

COOPER: Now, I know some people looking would say why wasn't she tested the first hospital? I remember talking to Sanjay Gupta about this, and we're going to talk to him in just a moment as well, but saying that, you know, a lot of people are not going to hospitals saying I've got a cough, want to be tested for the coronavirus. And, you know, they haven't had any travel to China. So, there's not enough tests. They don't give tests to people.

Is that -- I mean, it seems like it's standard procedure not to test someone first off.

KAYE: Right. I mean, certainly in her case, they didn't test her at that first hospital and they weren't going to test her at the second hospital because of the CDC criteria for testing, which means that you would have had to have that recent trip to China or come into contact with someone who has the coronavirus. Now, we know that the CDC has actually changed that criteria since. Now they say testing would include anyone who has been hospitalized maybe with flu-like symptoms or like symptoms like pneumonia or a fever possibly.

But here, in her case, they're now trying to solve the mystery. They're trying to figure out and retrace her steps, trying to see who she came into contact with, who might have begin her this coronavirus, who she may have put at risk as well.

So, at the first hospital, already dozens of staff members, they're staying at home, monitoring their symptoms.


I'm told they may even go into quarantine. And the real concern is that this patient was intubated. And that means that somebody -- she's on a ventilator, as you

mentioned. And so, some of these respiratory droplets and they could have put those people who are treating her at risk.

So, let me bring in representative for the nurses here at UC-Davis, Melissa Johnson Camacho, because you're familiar with treating this patient because you have a patient here with that coronavirus, you're not treating the patient.


KAYE: You haven't worked with this patient. But give me an idea of the mood inside this hospital now. We have a coronavirus patient here.

JOHNSON-CAMACHO: Nurses feel really serious. We're -- there's just a major feeling of wanting to make sure that we're all protected, we're all educated.

It's not our first rodeo. We are an Ebola center, so we've done these trainings, we've had novel viruses.

KAYE: Are people scared?

JOHNSON-CAMACHO: There's always fear with a new virus that you're not sure of transmission. But we really are trying to follow the cautionary principles that our union is putting together, and it's been supportive in making sure we have a lot of information.

But I'm sure any lack of knowledge is going to create some unease. But we're nurses. And we never know what we're going to walk into. So, we're ready to care for people.

KAYE: I want to get to some of the precautions in a second. Where is this patient staying? What kind of security is there?

JOHNSON-CAMACHO: Anytime there's an airborne like this, there's going to be a negative pressure room so it's not in the middle of some throughway where everybody has access to and we always follow really strict precautions with somebody on this kind of isolation. So --

KAYE: And the nurses are all taking precautions, they're wearing the gloves, they're wearing the masks, goggles?

JOHNSON-CAMACHO: Positive. It's purified, air purifiers. It looks like E.T., the mask, kind of scary, but with the shortage of masks globally, we have to use the papers (ph), and all nurses are using all of those precautions.

KAYE: All right. That's great to hear. I'm glad you're taking precautions. Hopefully this patient will recover here.

JOHNSON-CAMACHO: I'm sure they will. We have a great team and we're we've been working close with management to make sure.

KAYE: Thank you for coming by and talking with us.

Anderson, certainly an interesting case here now, we're learning of this second case as well not too far here.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, thank goodness for nurses. They make the world go round. Randi, thanks so much. Please thank her.

In just the last minute, we've learned of number 64, another patient in Solano County, California. According to authorities, the individual is a Travis Air Force Base evacuee and passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Let's get some perspective on that as well, is what Randi Kaye is reporting.

Joining us is CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also CNN's Ivan Watson in another country bracing and dealing with the virus in South Korea.

Sanjay, I want to get your reaction to, first of all, the nurse at UC- Davis just told Randi Kaye. Obviously, this hospital, you know, they're trained on Ebola, they know how to handle something like this.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, no question. But, you know, this does remind me of Ebola, and back in 2014, you know, the health care system was starting to understand the patients with Ebola might come to the United States. You may remember, there was this patient Thomas Eric Duncan (ph) went to hospital in Texas, and had symptoms that, you know, may have been consistent with the Ebola, they weren't clear, and he was sent home with some antibiotics. And subsequently came back to the hospital much more ill.

I bring it up only by way of example to reinforce what you said earlier. Hospital systems are starting to come to this idea that look these patients come in, they have respiratory symptoms, we hadn't coronavirus really wasn't even on our map, you know, two months ago three months ago, and out something we have to think about. So, you know, we are all learning here, including the medical professionals, and the nurses, you know, you may remember with Mr. Duncan, two nurses subsequently became infected as a result of the care for him. So, you know, the idea that health care workers really have to think about in immunization, immediately personal protective equipment, that is part of life now, you know, these considering these new pathogens are circulating around the world.

COOPER: So, this is tricky because on one hand, obviously you don't want to spread fear, or make people more concern than they should be, I knew what I talked about this I think last week, and we're talking about how, you know, a lot of people are probably going to go into emergency room, and if they have a cough, or cold and say, you know, I want to be tested for coronavirus, or can I be tested?

Are there enough tests -- I mean, if there is a surge of people suddenly go into the hospitals with the regular flu, or cough or cold, thinking they have the coronavirus, are there enough tests for something like that?


And what should -- what should hospitals do? Because, I mean, if there's not enough tests, then you can't -- what do you do?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, there is not enough right now. I mean, you know, just for context, you know, in South Korea where Ivan is, they've been testing 5,000 patients a day roughly. Ivan can correct me on that number if I'm wrong. Over here, it's not even been 1,000 tests over several weeks in the United States.

So, we're not there yet, what we are hearing by the end of next week, there should be a testing available, at least in 40 different locations around the country, which may still not be enough.

But one of the things though going back to that example, somebody comes in, they are concerned, they've been in Korea, where Ivan is, or in Italy, they have symptoms and they think, well, is this a coronavirus? I think it's going to happen a lot of these places, is the hospital and clinics they are going to rule out of the things first, common things being common, and even though coronavirus may start to be spreading within the community, it is still exponentially less likely to be coronavirus versus common cold, versus flu.

So, they're going to roll those things out first, and then, you know, judiciously apply these tests. I think the testing is going to be and they are going to increase a number of tests certainly, but we have to scale up and make sure that we can do those tests and we are not there yet. We haven't been there in weeks. We have been on the bottom tier of testing. Sadly in the world as compared to some these other countries that have been doing a lot more.

COOPER: Ivan, what's the situation in South Korea?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the authorities here are predicting that the number of cases, are probably going to go up this weekend. Korea has the most coronavirus cases of any other country outside of mainland China. And the reason they are predicting this is going to get worse because they're waiting for the results of about 1,300 tests, that have been done on members of a secretive South Korean religious group, who have accounted for their members, roughly half of the infections in this country, thus far.

As it stands right now, South Korea's got about more than 2,300 confirmed cases, of coronavirus. And last week and a half has been so dramatic, because coronavirus first appeared here, roughly two months ago, but the Koreans succeeded in keeping the infection cases very low, as recently as Monday of last week, there were only 31 cases in the country, and it has surged in under two weeks, to more than 2,300 cases.

We are not seeing any sense of panic, but there is serious disruption. They had to disinfect the national assembly building, schools are cancelled for the next several weeks, the government doesn't want any large gatherings of people, you've got pop concert cancelled, professional sports games being held in empty stadiums, with no audience.

And perhaps most ominous of all, the infection is spread to the military. There are about 10,000 South Korean military troops, in quarantine, it's spread to the U.S. military, there is one U.S. soldier who is tested positive. And the alliance, the U.S. South Korean military alliance, has postponed joint military exercises here indefinitely.

COOPER: Wow. Ivan Watson, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it. Thanks.

We'll be talking a lot I think in the days ahead.

Coming up next, the outbreak and the president's messaging about the outbreak. I talk with former White House insider, Anthony Scaramucci, about that, ahead.



COOPER: With word of a 64th case of coronavirus in the country, we may be getting a taste of developments and headlines yet to come as the virus spreads, starting to affect the economy and, of course, the markets are showing it. The Dow losing more than 3,000 points this week. In the face of all those realities, there's a question of how the President is framing them and explaining it all to the American people.

Joining us now to talk about it, former Trump White House Communication -- Director of Communications, Anthony Scaramucci. It's good to have you here. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances.


COOPER: Are you at all surprised by the President's response to the coronavirus? Because, I mean, that press conference on Wednesday night of all the times we've heard from him since, it doesn't seem like -- I mean, it's just -- that was a disastrous press conference.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen. I'm not surprised, but I think to defend the President for a second, he's flying in from India. He lands at 6:00 a.m. We learned from his chief of staff he does not sleep on the plane. He doesn't sleep that day. He gets to the press conference around 6:30 and then he begins the process of what he typically does, which is to distort and try to curve the facts to a reality that doesn't exist.

And you have to be very careful with that in this environment, because it's based on science. You can't call it a hoax. It's spreading around the world exponentially. I'm hopeful that it's not super serious, Anderson, and that we'll get it under control. And certainly it's a tragedy that lives are being lost.

But he could have handled it totally differently and he could have put his experts in the front. So by not doing that, clear-eyed, nonpartisan people, market participants -- remember for 31 years I've been in the markets, I'm running about $11 million.

When you're listening to him talk, you're like, OK, he's going to lie about this thing and he's going to try to cover this thing up or try to curve the facts. And once he does that very large-scale market participants, we'll start hoarding cash and start exercising sell operations in the market. And that was literally limited down today.

But of course, it being the last day of the month, you could see the window addressing towards the end of the day with the market rally back. But it's going to be a very sloppy market again next week.


COOPER: I mean, this is a situation, whether its financial markets or, you know, the market of public opinion and citizens who want information where, you know, being accurate and being credible really does matter.

You don't want people -- and people discuss this early on in this administration, you don't want people doubting what the President is saying, and obviously there's a track record of, you know, people having a very good reason to doubt what he's saying.

But in this kind of situation, you're right, let's hope this does dissipate with warmer weather like SARS did. You know, there was a lot of concern, a lot of legitimate, you know, coverage and concern about SARS. It did dissipate as warmer weather got there. Let's hope that happens. But again, this is one of, you know, virus we haven't seen before.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. So I'll take it on faith that a lot of medical experts are saying that. And so the President is roughly getting that right. But what he's getting way wrong is that he's trying to control the situation. And by just even gating information that's going to flow out of the government related to the situation is not only spooking the general public, but it's spooking a very broad group of capital allocator.

So for me, we're in the most offensive position that we've been in, in 31 years. I definitely think the Fed is going to cut rates into this environment now. There will likely be a global coordination of monetary policy by the big central banks. That will be good for the markets. It will certainly help calm things down.

But he may have put a pin in here. You know, my dad was a construction worker, had a very good line in that (INAUDIBLE). Now, if you hit a rock one time it may not break, 50 times it may not. But on that 51st time, Anderson, after 17,000 straight-up lies, you may be caught in the situation where the rock bursts into a million pieces.

And the American people are standing and they're saying, OK, wait a minute, the guy has no clothes on. He's an absolute rank liar and he's in a crisis management position that he cannot control the crisis. And so, I'm very worried about that personally, not only for the country, but for the United States and for the capital markets.

COOPER: You know, we keep hearing from Vice President Pence, from Secretary Azar and others with the message about what a great job the President has been doing handling the virus. And you know, it does seem to always be a top priority in this White House to make sure to praise the President no matter what the situation.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. You know, your hair is not out of place. You look slightly less orange today, sir. You know, life is good. And they are doing that to him every single day. And somebody smart, somebody super responsible would have said to him coming back from India, let's slow it down a little bit. Maybe you need to take a power nap or maybe we need to rethink this strategy.

But certainly, a team-oriented crisis manager would have gotten into that situation and said, listen, I'm going to guide these people, but here are the quarter backs on the ground that experts from the CDC or from Department of Homeland Security or HHS, and this is going to be the group of people. And here are some cautionary things you need to do at home to protect yourself from this virus.

Had he done that that would have probably saved $1.5 trillion, the $2 trillion in the marketplace. I think that that is now a $2 trillion press conference. It will go down as one of the most historic press conferences from a market point of view. And I'll say that it's probably arguably one of the worst press conferences in modern U.S. presidential history.

COOPER: Wow. Anthony Scaramucci, I appreciate talking to you. Thank you.

SCARAMUCCI: Good to be here.

COOPER: Coming up next on politics, former Vice President Biden squaring off against Bernie Sanders once again tomorrow in the South Carolina primary. If Biden prevails, does that scramble the race going forward as the election season kicks into overdrive? More on that ahead.



COOPER: Democratic presidential candidates are making their final arguments as voters in South Carolina are preparing to head to the polls tomorrow. Vice President Biden is obviously banking a great deal on coming in first, first by a significant margin in order to try to stabilize and accelerate his campaign.

Joining me now is "USA Today" columnist and CNN Senior Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, Democratic Strategist and CNN Political Analyst Aisha Moodie-Mills, also CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen. He's been an adviser to four presidents over the years.

Kirsten, I mean, Biden says he's going to win South Carolina. He really kind of has to win South Carolina.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he has to win. He absolutely has to win South Carolina. It's do or die for him. And I think it's not just about whether he wins or not, it's also how much he wins by. I think seeing how he does with the African-American vote in particular, because that is very meaningful in terms of looking at how he does and Bernie does, assuming that Bernie is one of the top finishers, because moving forward, we have to see whether Bernie Sanders is able to expand his coalition beyond what he has, because you're really not going to get very far if you can't be winning over African-American voters.

COOPER: Aisha, how do you see it?

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I actually just came from Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. I was there all week. And what's interesting is that Biden may be polling high, but Bernie Sanders had a rally that had to be moved.

2,000 people came out to see him on Thursday night and they had to move the rally from (INAUDIBLE) to the other because it got so big. I think there's a lot of enthusiasm out there for him. And yes, this is a Joe Biden do or die, kind of its last-ditch effort. Because at this point, even if Joe Biden wins in South Carolina, going right into Super Tuesday, he's not looking so good in most of the big states.

So North Carolina, Texas, California, Virginia, Joe Biden is still struggling to get into that top three. So I mean, I think he lives to see another day, maybe raises a little bit more money so that he can kind of keep plowing ahead. But the truth is that the momentum right now is with Bernie Sanders and I don't know who quells that. Bloomberg's ads don't seem to be doing it.

COOPER: David Gergen, what are you looking for, for tomorrow?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of course, whether Biden wins it or not, I do think that Kirsten is right, a lot depends on how big a victory he gets. I think if it's less than 10 points, if it's a single digit as a victory, I don't think that has much impact on the dynamics for Super Tuesday.

But if it's above 10, you know, if you get him to 10 or 15, then it's going to be -- that's big. And it's -- it will help him enormously. And I disagree somewhat, I think that Biden could be on the front edge of a rebound comeback and it will give him more momentum.


I think he can do -- he's already starting to pick up some steam in places like Virginia, you know, where Tim Kaine has endorsed him, Terry McAuliffe is talking about endorsing him on Sunday depending on what happens in South Carolina. North Carolina, I think also you're going to see some movement there and in Alabama.

What I do think is hard for him is to change the dynamics in the big states like California and Texas, especially among Latinos who are being attracted by Bernie at unusually high numbers.

COOPER: Kirsten, I'm wondering what you make of -- where Bloomberg is now. I mean, he's still there. POWERS: Do you think this is such a good idea? Yes, I think -- I mean, I think it's really -- you know, that first debate was really --

COOPER: That hurt.

POWERS: -- really hurt him, I think. And I think it's hard for him to rebound from that. Look, it's also very hard to get into a presidential race so late in the game.

COOPER: And that debate is such a classic example that where you come into a group who has been debating each other and honing their messages and they are, you know, sharpening their knives against each other for a long time.

POWERS: And he's not known for being a great debater. But even Barack Obama at the beginning wasn't a great debater. It takes time to get into the rhythm of what's going on. And so -- and also I think because Biden does seem to be getting sort of a second wind, we'll see what happens.

You know, that sort of takes away Bloomberg's whole reason for being there, right? The whole idea was, will Bloomberg -- Biden is not really doing well, it's not taking off. So I'm going to come in and I'm going to be that person.

COOPER: Yes. David, do you agree?

GERGEN: Well, I actually think that Bloomberg may actually cost Biden. If Bloomberg stays in through Super Tuesday, and I think he will, it could very easily -- could be that Texas would go to Sanders. If Bloomberg were to go out, I think Biden would have a much -- bigger chance of winning Texas.

But let me say one other thing, Anderson. I think that these town halls have -- CNN has been sponsoring, have actually been more revealing about the candidates and more helpful in figuring this out than these debates have. The conversation you had with Mayor Bloomberg in the town hall in the last few days, that's one of the best appearances I've seen by Bloomberg.

In that same evening, Joe Biden was on and I thought he was more moving that evening in those than the town hall one on one. Then he had been throughout the campaign. So, there's a bit much to be said for these town halls continuing.

COOPER: No, I agree. I mean, it is an interesting format because it does allow the candidate to speak more and, you know, they answer tough questions but they answer audience questions. And, you know, you see a different side of them, and they're not competing for, you know, speak in 45 seconds.

MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, and it's great. And you do a really great job of bringing out the humanity in people.

COOPER: You know it's not about me. I don't need this. I didn't want the conversation turning to this direction. MOODIE-MILLS: You want to see that. But here's the thing, if you're watching, right, if you're watching. And here's what I anticipate. I anticipate that most Americans aren't necessarily paying that deep attention.

I was talking to voters on the ground, and the truth is that people are as emotional and relational about this election as they are informed about the issues, right? Let's say even more emotional.

And so when you're talking about low information voters who aren't necessarily paying attention to every single word a candidate says, I'm not sure that they're paying attention enough to know, oh, well, I got to hear a little bit more about him this time than I did the other.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, I think because of the ubiquity now of cable news, and just so much information and other. Everyone is not just a voter -- I mean, not everyone, but many people are not just voters, they're also sort of pundits in their own right.

And so, they're not only thinking about who they'd want to vote for because they like that person, they're thinking about, well, who is the most electable? And you know, which is a -- I don't know that it's always been that way.

POWERS: It's unusual.


POWERS: Actually, voters are not usually that strategic in the sense of thinking about process the way that they're thinking about it this time. And they're so clearly they say that when you talk to them. You see it in the exit polls. You see it in the -- you see it in all of the polls, basically looking for somebody who can beat Trump.

COOPER: Yes. I got to end it there. David Gergen, thank you, Kirsten Powers, Aisha Moodie-Mills, thanks so much.

Coming up, why President Trump plans to nominate John Ratcliffe again to be the next Director of National Intelligence You may be familiar with him from various hearings, months after congressman -- the congressman withdrew his name from consideration for this position in the face of allegations he embellished his credentials. We'll tell you how he did that exactly and more in that ahead.



COOPER: Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: How you're doing my friend? We're going to be testing on two different fronts tonight. First of all, the idea of that we're not testing. All the other countries that are dealing with this are testing more. Why? Why isn't the White House plan allowing for it? It's fueling fear of the unknown.

This new case in California, once again, deals with the delay in testing. It's helping us from understand what we're dealing with and where. What's the good reason? Good experts Rahm (ph) -- Zeke Emanuel and Ron Klein are on tonight about that.

Also, we have a Republican on to talk about what has changed that makes Ratcliffe a good choice to be the head of intelligence for this government since he was busted for lying about his record just months ago. The answer is scary.

I also got Danny Glover on tonight. Talking to him about backing Bernie Sanders and I want to know about this rumor about a "Lethal Weapon 5."

COOPER: All right. Chris, I want to hear about that too. We'll see.

CUOMO: I'll let you know. I'll shoot you a text.

COOPER: All right. No, I'll be watching five minutes from now. Chris, thanks very much. See you then.

A reminder, don't miss "Full Circle." It's our digital news show that gives a chance to dig in some important topics and and have in-depth conversations. Today, we focused on coronavirus. We talked to all of our correspondents all around the world. You can catch it streaming it live weekdays at 5:00 p.m. Eastern at or you can watch it there anytime on demand. That's how the internet works, amazing.


Up next, more breaking news on Congressman Ratcliffe, Chris were just talking about it, the latest presidential nominee for a vital national security job despite serious concerns about his qualifications. He lied about his qualifications.


COOPER: More breaking news. President Trump has announced not surprising pick to replace his already controversial Acting Director of National Intelligence. In a tweet tonight, the President said he's naming Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe for the job.

Now, the name sounds familiar because he first announced Ratcliffe as his pick last July. The congressman withdrew after reports he embellished his national security credentials and lawmakers on both side of the aisle raise concerns.

According to "The New York Times," he claimed that as a former federal prosecutor in East Texas, he had experience putting terrorist in prison and shaping the George W. Bush administration's counterterrorism policy. "The Times" reporting showed he had no such experience. In fact, there were no significant national security prosecutions at all in that region during his tenure. "Times" also reported that Congressman Ratcliffe exaggerated his role on the crackdown on the employment of undocumented immigrants by a poultry producer when he briefly served as interim U.S. attorney by taking all the credit for what was actually a multi-state, multi- agency operation. Given all of that, how his confirmation hearings will play out remains to be seen.

The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?