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Donald Trump Continues on the Campaign Trail with His Supporters Not Following Health Guidelines Against COVID-19; HHS Spokesman Claims Anti-Trump Resistance at CDC; Nearly 90 Large Wildfires In 10 Western States; At Least 35 People Killed, Millions Of Acres Scorched; Search For Suspect In Shooting Of LA County Deputies; Reward Offered For Information That Leads To Arrest, Conviction Of Shooter Of Two LA Sheriff's Deputies; Hurricane Sally Takes Aim At U.S. Gulf Coast. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 14, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Our top stories tonight are all about what happens when facts and science are shoved aside in the name of power and politics.

We begin with pictures. The President tonight speaking his second straight indoor campaign event in the last 24 hours or so. And as you look at that, understand just how dangerous it is not because I'm saying it or the experts are, even the President's own experts are saying it.

It's what the President himself has said repeatedly, but privately and in no uncertain terms. The President himself as you'll hear in a moment, from a part of his interview with Bob Woodward that you haven't heard before, saying coronavirus is, quote, "a killer."

So the President knows that. He knows it's a killer. It's airborne in his words, and still, he is holding events like these tonight in Phoenix and last night at a mass rally in Henderson, Nevada. Virtually, the only masks were on the people on camera behind him. The rest went without, jammed together for hours, shouting and screaming.

Now perhaps the President's supporters who were there feel like they're just doing what the man they came to see is doing, thumbing their unmasked noses at political correctness and people worried about a virus.

They might think they're all in this together with the President. But let's be clear, the President isn't taking any great risk in that room. Those who actually come in contact with him are tested. He lives in a biological bunker. His security wears masks. Everyone is tested around him.

And last night, at his rally in Las Vegas, the President was asked by a local reporter about what you've been seeing.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) QUESTION: Aren't you concerned about getting COVID though in a closed



QUESTION: What about people here?

TRUMP: I am more concerned about how close you are.

QUESTION: Sorry about that.

TRUMP: Because you know why? I am on a stage, it is very far away and so I am not at all concerned.


COOPER: He's not concerned because he's on the stage far away from those huddled masses yearning to breathe free. That's just the latest example of his apparent lack of concern for the public as you'll hear on this latest recording, he told Bob Woodward what he wouldn't tell the public.

The conversation took place on the 13th of April. By then 29,240 people had already died in this country. This recording follows the one we heard on Friday from the seventh of February when only 11 were dead in which the President also told Woodward how deadly and contagious COVID was.

Which means on two separate occasions more than two months apart in language that only grew more explicit over time, President Trump made it plain. The country was facing almost an unprecedented, but also entirely preventable loss of life. What he did not do is tell the country that or signal Americans with the exception of the biographer, he was sucking up to just how serious this was, and nearly 30,000 Americans died between those two conversations.

As he was privately calling the virus a killer, here's what he was saying that very same week.


TRUMP: We're very close to completing a plan to open our country, hopefully, even ahead of schedule.

Had the W.H.O. done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground, and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death.

We have beautiful pieces, beautiful states with capable governors. They know when it's time to open.

We have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old. Many of them are going to be starting without the fans, so it'll be

made for television. The good old days. Made for television. I think you're going to see quite a few states starting to open.

They've got cabin fever, they want to get back. They want their life back. Their life was taken away from them.

Does it remind you of something? It reminds you of this, right? Once a swab, once a cute tip? It's actually different. It's very sophisticated, actually.


COOPER: Oh, that's what he was saying instead of telling Americans the plain truth, which he knew, but those who listened -- to those who listened to him and believed him, did not know.

Think about that when we play the new recording and think about this and think about all of those people you see there in that room tonight who put their faith in the President, they trust what he says and there's nothing unusual or wrong about that.

What is unusual, what is wrong is when a leader knowingly and flagrantly violates that trust, and the bill comes due in human lives, nearly 200,000 Americans now many of whom supported him, are now dead, and the President continues to act as though what he told Bob Woodward about the virus first in February, the month that many refer to as the lost month because the President wasn't in the forefront of doing anything about the virus at that point.

And then, as you'll hear in mid-April, somehow no longer applies as if facts and science and objective reality no longer apply, except as the administration defines it. It's exactly the kind of Orwellian future that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo actually warned about just today, in a kind of ironic statement honoring tomorrow's International Day of Democracy.

Quoting now from the statement, "Authoritarians of every stripe, meanwhile, remain true to form. Their first priority is not public health, but the protection of their own power. They refuse to answer hard questions. Their proclamation continues. "People suffer when their leaders are accountable only to themselves or to the parties they control."

Joining us now with the latest Trump Woodward audio, CNN special correspondent, Jamie Gangel.


COOPER: So Jamie, the President was telling Bob Woodward back in April that the virus is a killer. What more did he say?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So Woodward's book, Anderson, and these audio tapes show an ongoing pattern by Trump of misleading and playing down COVID to the public, as you said, while privately telling Woodward how dangerous the virus was, and it wasn't just the February call, or the March call, on April 5th, before we get to our audio, Trump tells Woodward. It's a horrible thing. It's unbelievable.

And then a week later on April 13, he tells Woodward this:


TRUMP: This thing is a killer if it gets you. If you're the wrong person, you don't have a chance.

BOB WOODWARD, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, yes, exactly. This monster --

TRUMP: So this rips you apart.

WOODWARD: This is the scourge and --

TRUMP: It is the plague.


GANGEL: And Anderson, that's just the beginning. I know tomorrow night, you're going to have Bob Woodward on live with you for the whole hour. There will be more of that tape. And you're going to hear much more of Trump, in his own words behind the scenes, which is like we've never heard him before.

COOPER: And talk about what the President was also telling Woodward just last month about his overall response to the virus.

GANGEL: So just as a reminder, this was on August 14th, more than 168,000 Americans have died from the virus on that day, and Trump calls Woodward because he knows the book is done. And he's fishing.

He is trying to figure out how he is portrayed. Trump keeps boasting about the stock market. But as you'll hear in this audio tape, Woodward tells him bluntly, the book is tough, and that the focus is the virus.


WOODWARD: It's going to be a contest between you and Biden. It's going to be a contest between both of you and the virus. The virus is -- going it is in real people's lives, you know, all of those tens of millions of people who don't have jobs, who don't have --

TRUMP: I know.

WOODWARD: That in -- listen, I mean, you and I --

TRUMP: But nothing more could have been done. Nothing more could have been done. I acted early.


TRUMP: I acted early. (END AUDIO CLIP)

GANGEL: So we know that's not true, Anderson, so much more could have been done and just what's stunning here is here we are a month later, today is September 14th, that was a month ago and he is still doing the opposite of a responsible public health plan.

We still don't have adequate testing and tracing. He had those indoor rallies, those pictures you showed with thousands of people without masks or social distancing, and as Woodward describes in his book, we still have a failure of leadership. A thousand Americans are still dying every day. I think it's fair to say much more could be done.

COOPER: Yes. And, you know, winter is coming. Jamie Gangel, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Perspective now from CNN political analyst and other half of Woodward & Bernstein, Carl Bernstein, also CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash. Dana, the President is saying this thing is a killer if it gets you.

I mean, he knew how deadly it was. He continued to downplay the virus to the American people and is back to having indoor rallies. It defies understanding. I mean, it just defies any sense of responsibility.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I have given up trying to figure out how to articulate exactly what you were just trying to do, Anderson. And the really key point is that what Jamie just showed what Bob Woodward reports in his book isn't ancient history. It's happening as we speak, literally, as we speak in Arizona, where he is saying, you know, just even last month, there's nothing I could have done. No more could have been done.

More could be done as we speak. He could be not holding a rally like that, or even if he wants to hold a political event, do it outside, have people wear masks. This is happening right now. So this isn't history. This is contemporaneous.

And he could be changing it, but he doesn't want to and he is forcing these events to continue even knowing so full well how dangerous it is for his own supporters.


COOPER: Yes, but not for him because as he says, he is on a stage and he is far away from them.

Carl, I mean, you hear the President's comments to Woodward and then you see the June indoor rally in Tulsa, Henderson last night, and now this roundtable in Phoenix. I mean, it sure it looks like an indoor rally. He is knowingly putting people's lives at stake.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. Let's be very clear what we're looking at here. We are witnessing a homicidal President convening, purposely a homicidal assembly to help him get reelected as President of the United States, instead of protecting the health and welfare of the people of the United States, including his own supporters whose lives he is willing to sacrifice.

Here is this President who has staked part of his presidency on the right to life, particularly of the unborn and every day, he has sacrificed the lives of thousands of Americans because he is unwilling to deal honestly, forthrightly and meaningfully with the greatest domestic crisis in our postwar history in this country.

He has abdicated his responsibility, and the result is the most grievous felony committed by any President in our history, probably. And now, we see it in front of us tonight, this homicidal assembly that the President of the United States has called his supporters to be sacrificial lambs. It's astonishing.

COOPER: Dana, and yet, I mean, you know, people are free to go or not go. He is not twisting anybody's arm, people are choosing to go. You know, on the one hand, part of me thinks people feel like they want to be in the same room with the President obviously, and they feel like they're part of what he's part of and part of a movement that's thumbing their nose at science and those doctors and political correctness. But they're actually really not all in the same room.

I mean, the President is in a biological bunker that moves wherever he is. It's kind of a false -- it is an illusion that, you know, they're all in the same boat. They're braving the virus together.

BASH: You're exactly right, and the tell from the President was what he said to the local reporter in Las Vegas, about just even being that close to that reporter who was wearing a mask that the President realized that that biological bubble, as you describe it could be burst at any time in that moment.

But generally speaking, he is protected. And one of the things that Jamie has brought us in some of the excerpts from Bob Woodward's books, the audio tapes, especially, is the fact that the President understands that at his core, first of all, he is a germaphobe. He's a well-known germaphobe. He has been his whole adult life, maybe even before that.

But he talks about being in meetings in the White House when somebody sneezes, and he gets up and leaves the room. So he is very, very attuned to it.

COOPER: I mean, he told me reporter, you know, what he is worried about is her being too close. If he is worried about -- I mean, it looked like she was a decent distance. Let's look at it. I mean, she seems to be a decent distance away. Let's just listen to the sound again.


QUESTION: Aren't you concerned about getting COVID though in a closed rally?


QUESTION: What about people here?

TRUMP: I am more concerned about how close you are.

QUESTION: Sorry about that.

TRUMP: Because you know why? I am on a stage, it is very far away and so I am not at all concerned.


COOPER: So she's more than six feet away probably or at least six feet away, because that's how it was set up. He's freaked out. I mean, part of it is kidding, but not really.

I mean, he is looking around and saying, you know, I'm a little concerned but how close you are. He is concerned about that. Whereas there's a room full of people beyond that curtain now who are shoulder to shoulder patting each other on the back and talking to each other's faces.

BASH: No, that's exactly right. And as we know now from the scientists who work for the President who work for the government that masks are important, for several reasons.

The first reason is because it protects other people from the virus if you have it, so that was going on there.

Anderson, before coming on with you, I was trying to get a sense from people who know the President well, why he continues to do this, given all of what we just discussed, and I got one response back that said, flatly, narcissism. That's just who he is.

And whether or not it will actually have a political -- a politically damaging effect. The answer was, we'll see how many people get sick because certainly people got sick in Tulsa and he stopped for a little while during the summer, but now he's back at it.

COOPER: Carl, I'm wondering what you thought when you heard the President say that nothing more could have been done to Bob Woodward, you know, in his last, "60 Minutes" interview last night, he said, it almost took his breath away when he heard the President say that.


BERNSTEIN: It's another pathological lie from a President of the United States who is demonstrably a pathological liar, that indeed his own scientists, Dr. Fauci, others have made it very clear his negligence is what has defined this crisis for us.

It is the negligence of the President of the United States looking for half measures, instead of the powers of the Federal government, the powers of the President, the enormous powers of the President of the United States to mobilize this country and order steps to be taken to ensure the public health policies that would have enabled people to understand that the President of the United States wants us to wear masks, wants us to have social distancing, wants us to close down those places that are unhealthy. He has done the opposite.

He has sought time and time again, to put his view of the economy, which is to say the stock market and his reelection chances above the public health concern that all of his chief public health advisers -- another thing that is in Bob's book is what the chief public health advisers were telling him to do. He has done the opposite.

And he endangered the lives of millions of Americans and thousands and thousands are dead because of this negligence and refusal to acknowledge science.

COOPER: Yes. And of course, sidelining the scientists. Dana Bash and Carl Bernstein. Thanks very much. Again tomorrow, as Jamie mentioned, Bob Woodward joins me for the hour. We'll be playing new audio from his interviews to the President and talking about the making of his new book "Rage" as well as his assessment at the end. A first for him that Donald Trump is in his words the wrong man for the job.

Bob Woodward, same time -- Bob Woodward, same time and same place right here tomorrow. 8:00 p.m.

Coming up next, another case of politics trumping political -- public health, I should say. The spokesman who reportedly pushed to make CDC COVID data fit the political narrative better, answering critics by attacking government scientists even accusing them of sedition. Two former directors of the CDC join me.

And on the subject of politics versus science with the West Coast burning up, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti responds to President Trump's climate change denial saying quote, "I don't think science knows actually." That's what the President said. Actually, it does.


COOPER: More breaking news tonight. The top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Service confirms he accused career government scientists of quote, "sedition" in their response to coronavirus.

Michael Caputo also claimed the CDC has a quote, "resistance unit" unquote -- against the President. He said what he said in the wake of reporting that the Trump appointed communications officials at HHS pushed to change language in weekly CDC bulletins, and that Caputo, the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs demanded to see those documents before they were actually released.

The allegation here, a familiar one is that public health is being subordinated to politics.

Joining us now, two former top CDC officials, former Director Dr. Thomas Frieden and former Acting Director, Dr. Richard Besser.

Dr. Besser, is this, I mean the kind of person who should be influencing what Americans hear from HHS and CDC right now? I mean, is this how the Press Office is supposed to work? DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING CDC DIRECTOR: Well, one of the most

important documents that comes out of CDC every week is called the MMWR, The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, and it's got a name that doesn't resonate with the public because its target audience is really people in public health around the nation.

And the idea that there would be political efforts to change this journal, this important means of communication really undercuts trust in public health and hearing this is just another example of where politics is interfering with the path that public health is laying out for us to successfully manage this pandemic and get our economy up and running.

COOPER: Dr. Frieden, I mean, what kind of an impact does the spokesperson for HHS accusing scientists -- government scientists of sedition and you know, floating, unproven conspiracies. I mean, it has the potential, I imagine of having some sort of a chilling effect on everybody who works at all the arms of the HHS.

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: Well, fundamentally here, the enemy is a virus and the virus doesn't respond to spin, it responds to science driven action.

What we're seeing is an attempt to meddle with science, and the somewhat bizarre comments that stating scientific truth is in some way politically motivated. Now, one of the things that's interesting is that despite this enormous and inappropriate pressure, the scientists at the CDC have continued to put out excellent information as recently as last week.

An MMWR, as Dr. Besser mentioned, this is the weekly Bulletin of the CDC and widely respected and copied by public health organizations all over the world. Last week, they put out a bulletin with a very real rigorous scientific analysis of spread of COVID from childcare, proving that it's spread within the childcare to the parents, at least one parent hospitalized and recommending that contacts of people with COVID get tested.

So despite this enormous pressure, the folks at CDC are continuing to do their best to provide good science, and the overwhelming majority of the material on the website continues to be the best place to go for information on COVID.

However, this kind of action by Washington undermines faith in the CDC and makes it much harder for us to get on the same page and stop the virus.

COOPER: Dr. Besser, I mean, we have seen instances of you know, the CDC, caving in to pressure by the President, you know, changing guidelines or weakening guidelines once the President says they're too strong for schools to follow and too expensive. You know, we've obviously, F.D.A. backtracking on denying of an emergency authorization use on plasma and then making the head of the F.D.A. making statements that then had to be walked back and he apologized for it.


COOPER: I mean, we've seen an alarming relationship between, you know, scientists who, as you know, Dr. Frieden said, who just want to focus on science, they are now -- I mean, in many people's eyes, they are damaged.

BESSER: You know, one of the most important powers that that F.D.A. and CDC have is trust, trust by the American public that everything they do is based on the best available public health science and you know, this fall as vaccine trials continue and as those results will be coming in, it is critically important that people have faith that any kind of decision coming out of F.D.A. in terms of approval is based on good science and any recommendations in terms of who should get vaccines by CDC is based on good science.

Because you can have a vaccine that's highly effective, but if no one is willing to get it because they lack trust in the science, you're not going to be able to save lives.

You know, as I talked to former colleagues at CDC, you know, they have their head down, they are doing the work. They are doing hard science.

In terms of the impact on morale, it's devastating to feel that they don't have the protection from on top, that there are political leaders who are trying to undermine the hard work that they're doing to keep people here safe, and to help us get through this.

COOPER: Dr. Frieden, I mean, are you concerned that that administration officials may be editing scientific findings? I mean, why would that -- why would that matter? Explain why that would be --

FRIEDEN: We've already seen a few things that were dictated in Washington and put on the CDC website. That's really dangerous because it undermines trust in CDC and trust in the recommendations. That has far reaching implications for, are we able to control this virus?

There is not a question of opposition politically. The bottom line here is there are scientific facts. If the administration wants to say that kids don't spread the disease, that's wrong. And so it's not insubordinate for a CDC to say that, it's being responsible to science. It's being true to what their responsibility is to the American people, and that's what the professionals at CDC are doing. It's unfortunate that we're seeing behavior that's not along those lines from some in Washington.

COOPER: Dr. Besser, I mean, where did -- what happens now? I mean, obviously, the looming concern is the vaccine and trust in the vaccine, which is already low, according to polls, I mean, why wouldn't the administration try to fast track it to the extent of -- you know, to have it done before and election or for political purposes.

BESSER: You know, it is so important that we all speak up and speak out about the importance of our public health agencies being separate from the political influence that we're seeing, because you're right, Anderson, if that doesn't happen, the faith in any vaccine that comes forward or new drug treatments or control strategies, is undercut.

This is the worst public health crisis in our lives. We see around the globe countries successfully getting this under control and getting people back to work, and public health knows the path to get there. But we're not doing that.

You know, this disconnect between the political conversation and the public health conversation. We can't allow that to continue. We have to come together as a nation across party lines and get this done.

If we don't do that, the same populations that have been hit the hardest, communities of color, lower income Americans are going to continue to get devastated by this pandemic.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Tom Frieden and Dr. Richard Besser, really appreciate it. Thank you very much.

When we return, the latest in the wildfires in the western states. Plus, my conversation with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti about the fires' destruction and his response to the President's comments in California today denying the fires have anything to do with climate change.



COOPER: Thousands of firefighters in the western United States now battling almost 90 active large wildfires. At least 35 people dead with Oregon today saying there have been another 22 reported missing. Health of residents a key concern and air monitoring group today said that three cities Portland, Seattle and San Francisco now have some of the worst air quality of any big cities in the world. The EPA is air quality index tracker says large swathes of Oregon and Washington State are experiencing hazardous air quality. Our Kyung Lah has more.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENION NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reinforcements in the eight day battle in Southern California is Bobcat fire. Choppers are finally in the air pounding the steep hillsides, aided by planes dropping fire retarded helping exhausted ground crews in the hills.

OSCAR VARGAS, DIV. CHIEF, FOREST SERVICE, ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST: As you can see, it's so steep that it's challenging to get the firefighters up on the hill so we rely on the aircraft to put it out or slow it down so we can implement our tactics in front of the fire to keep it from rolling.

LAH (voice-over): This is just one fire of nearly 100 deadly wildfires burning in the West, from California to Oregon.


LAH (voice-over): Half a million of Oregon's residents have been warned they may need to evacuate. Entire neighborhoods and lives already last. Among them, 13-year-old Wyatt Tofte (INAUDIBLE) who died while trying to get his 71-year-old grandmother out of a fire. Those who made it out describe the horror of their escape.


KATHIE TAPIA, FIRE EVACUEE: This is the worst experience scary.

LAH (voice-over): More than 5 million acres across the west have burned including the state of Washington. The state Commissioner visiting the small town of Malden, Washington was overcome by the loss.

HILARY FRANZ, WASHINGTON COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS: I wake up in the morning just pray. (INAUDIBLE) that we will not lose one firefighters life. One citizens life, one home, one community. It is a horrible feeling when you are basing so much on prayer.

LAH (voice-over): The worst part say firefighters a height of fire season is still weeks away.

(on-camera): Are you worried about the fire guys, were out here everybody work with what they're going to look like in November?

VARGAS: Absolutely worried about their safety every day in the long term effects. If (INAUDIBLE) is going to be fire behavior now. We can see the similar or worse conditions later in the year as the fuels vegetation trees continue to dry out.


COOPER: Yes, I mean there's still so much ahead weeks and months. Firefighters got to be exhausted. There's where now in Oregon nearly two dozen people on accounted for.

LAH: Yes, that news in Oregon is absolutely devastating Anderson because the expectation is that the death toll could rise. The hope was that it would not as far as what firefighters are feeling here. They are stretched incredibly thin. They are working 12 hour shifts. They are encouraged by signs like this that the air helicopters are still flying that Mother Nature right now is cooperating. But, you know, it's going to be night pretty soon they can fly partially at night. It does become much more dangerous Andersen and these hills as you saw are extremely rugged. Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Kyung Lah, thanks very much. Appreciate it. Just a short time ago I spoke with the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti about the devastation caused by the fires. Also about President Trump's comments about the fires and climate change during his stop in California today.


COOPER (on-camera): Mayor Garcetti, thanks for joining us, I'm sorry, under these circumstances, how is your city, how's the state doing? ERIC GARCETTI (D), MAYOR LOS ANGELES, CA: We're hanging in there. We're a strong and resilient city and state and been overwhelmed by the love and support from folks around this country and even around this world, who can see our state burning, the West Coast burning who love California, from Yosemite, to our naval bases in San Diego from the Central Valley that feeds the people of this country to Hollywood that produces what we're watching in a pandemic, we've been really overwhelmed by the support from everybody. But these are very, very tough days on top of a pandemic in a downturn, to see our beloved state burn and to feel that in our lungs every day. But we will save lives will protect people and hopefully do the harder work of making sure this doesn't become the new normal that we actually confront the underlying causes of this deep down.

COOPER (on-camera): Well, I mean to that point, you're the President today denying that wildfires have nothing to do with climate change saying on the ground in California, I don't think science knows actually, he was talking about climate change, and then it's going to start getting cooler. You just watch. I'm wondering what your reaction that was.

GARCETTI: It's astounding. I mean, these are the basics of leadership, respond to a fire, tell the truth, support our troops, deal with a pandemic. And he seems to often just get it wrong, get it wrong on the science. And the idea of saying I don't think science knows, is like turning back 2,000 years of human progress. It's like saying the truth doesn't actually know. We know what is causing this. There is consensus there and he's kind of one of the last members of the Flat Earth Society. But, you know, denial doesn't work when it comes to COVID. Denial doesn't come -- doesn't work when it comes to climate. And the cost of denial is that people lose their lives and their livelihood.

So, I would hope that even in these moments when -- by the way, our federal agencies do step up and do help us and do know that we need their assistance, but instead, the leader at the very top continues based on the electoral map to either, you know, put down California for not raking enough. Doesn't say anything like that in a swing state, in the Gulf Coast doesn't assign the blame for hurricanes, anything that they have done, it just seems partisan at the moment that we should be non political, and that we should be finding our common ground in America. It's very disappointing.

COOPER (on-camera): And we're obviously backed out of the Paris Climate accord, rollback, you know, EPA regulations, which he refers to himself, you know, as a great environmentalist. How do you come to terms with asking for assistance? And at the same time, you know, this is the leader of the country who's denying science and ignoring data?

GARCETTI: Well, thankfully, America is made up of more than just one person even when that person is on paper, the most powerful in the United States. I found it climate mayors with two other mayors years and when President Trump said he was going to withdraw from Paris, we got on the phone and talk to Republican mayors and independent mayors and Democratic mayors now over 500 of us in 48 states that said, if he's out we're in, because we know we're on the front lines. We don't take it from a politician, talk to a firefighter and ask him or ask her if climate change is real, who've lost a brother or a sister on the fire line. There's no doubt that this is the reality of our life.


And I think the first responsibility of an elected official, a public servant is to safeguard lives. And if you can't step up for that you're not ready for this job. You're not you're not well suited for this job. And you know, it's almost like there's two Americas right now. One in which people bury their heads, ignore the science don't tell the truth and say everything's going to be OK. Whether it's fires or COVID. And another in which people are struggling to pay the bills are fighting fires, right around their homes, or trying to heal their sick relatives. And unfortunately, the first one is the fantasy of Donald Trump. The second is the reality of life with Donald Trump.

COOPER (on-camera): I want to ask you about the two L.A. sheriff's deputies, a 24-year old-man, a 31-year-old mother who was ambushed shot while in their car of the weekend in Compton. I understand both are now out of surgery. Do you know how they're doing? Where the search stands for their assailant?

GARCETTI: Yes. So, the Los Angeles sheriff's deputies who were our guardians on one of our public transit lines through this cowardly act of a test attempted assassination. There's no other way to put it are amazing. They stepped up -- let me just tell you real briefly, the female deputy after getting shot both of them four or five times for with a broken jaw in the face stepped out gave a tourniquet to her fellow deputy who had been shot in the head as well probably saved his life while calling for help. Thanks to the prayers and the thoughts and amazing doctors who have attended to them. It looks like they will both live which is an absolute miracle. And there is no place in our society for the violence that we saw. You know, bless it be the peacekeepers.

We have a really important discussion to have in this country about public safety and us all owning this, this is not an issue that should be politicized. These are two brave individuals who put their lives on the line who somebody tried to kill, we have to make sure that they are brought that person is brought to justice, and that these folks who have a long recovery but will live thankfully, can once again re- enter protecting all of us in our society.

COOPER (on-camera): Mayor Garcetti, appreciate your time. Thank you.

GARCETTI: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: In a moment we're going to talk more about the shooting the surveillance video of the attack, which is disturbing perspective from two police department veterans, including one former member of the LAPD about the atmosphere in which this happened and whether that large reward can help lead to a suspect and conviction. That's when we continue. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: Before the break, you saw my interview with Mayor Eric Garcetti about the two Los Angeles County deputies shot on Saturday night. He said it appears both will live. A reward of at least $100,000 is being offered in return for information to leech the arrest conviction of the shooter. We warn you, the surveillance video the shooting we're about to show is disturbing. The two deputies, a 31-year-old mom and a 24-year-old man wearing their car when the shooter approached the passenger side raised a pistol shot then ran away. Mayor Garcetti said the female deputy after getting shot four or five times with a broken jaw was able to step out call for help and apply a tourniquet to her fellow deputy who was shot in the head as well possibly saving as long.

As of Sunday, the L.A. County Sheriff's had both are expected to recover long term impact of course of their health unknown.

Joining us is Charles Ramsey, a CNN law enforcement analyst, former police commissioner in Philadelphia and Police Chief in Washington D.C. Cheryl Dorsey is a retired LAPD officer -- police sergeant, author of Black and Blue about her experiences on the LAPD.

Sergeant Dorsey, you're a 20-year veteran with the department you also grew up in South Central. You know the area intimately. What was your reaction when you heard about and saw this shooting?

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD POLICE SERGEANT: Well my first reaction -- let me say this first. Let me offer my sympathies to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and say that I don't condone violence by the police nor against the police. But for the grace of God there go I. When I saw this, my first reaction was sadness, because listen, there's a lot of chatter on social media about an eye for an eye. We know that there are reports of internal gangs within the Compton Sheriff Department particularly they refer to themselves as the executioner. And so I wondered aloud if this wasn't maybe retaliation for the failure to hold officers accountable, not only in the Compton Sheriff's Department, but a nationally when we see instances of officers using deadly force as a first resort rather than a last resort.

COOPER: Chief Ramsey, what is going through your mind tonight, as you think of the deputies, and obviously their families and colleagues?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, I wish the best for the deputies and their families, obviously, but there's absolutely no excuse at all for that kind of, of action taking place is despicable. It's cowardly. It's all those things that people have said. Listen, violence is wrong, no matter who commits that violence. And what you saw today and reminded me of the assassination of New York City officers just a couple years ago. Again, another cowardly act that was committed by an individual and there's just no justification for it. And I don't care if it's about, you know, police reform or anything it has to do with police. You know, taking another person's life like that an ambush is just totally uncalled for.

COOPER: Sergeant Dorsey, the sheriff's department offered $100,000 award for information. The FBI have also now offered resources. How confident are you they'd find the shooter?

DORSEY: Well, I don't know if the money offered is going to have much to do with finding the shooter, I absolutely believe that eventually this person will be identified either because of witnesses because of surveillance and other video that may be gleaned from the area and all of the resources that the Sheriff's Department will bring to bear to help identify and locate this individual.

COOPER: Chief Ramsey, I mean, how do you view this in the context of, you know, the violent protests that we've seen, the obviously, you know, tensions are high, lawns are divided. How does this affect thing?

RAMSEY: This has nothing to do with the legitimate call for police reform. This is an individual a criminal, a killer is what you were looking at. And I hope that your viewers and anyone else who sees this or hears about it doesn't confuse the actions of this person with people who are legitimately trying to change the system. Because there is no comparison at all. This is a criminal offense, he needs to be apprehended he needs to spend the rest of his life in prison period.


And rewards do help. I mean, when I was in DC, we had a standing $25,000 reward for anyone giving information on homicides, in Philly, we do $20,000. It helps, because it keeps the information going out there in the community.

COOPER: Sergeant Dorsey, I mean, how widespread do you think the knowledge is of who isn't involved in the shooting? I mean, in a situation like this in post action reports, what it usually is, you know, how widespread is the circle of people who would know the identity of the shooter?

DORSEY: Well, listen, there's no way to know when there's an assumption somehow that this person is from that community. And we don't know that to be true. You know, this could be nothing more in my mind than a distraction from the real problem, from the real concerns of the angst that the black and brown community has down in South Central with regards to his relationship with the police department. And so, while this happened in Compton, and certainly there are issues on going with that agency, we don't know if this person nor the ones who showed up at the hospital and with, you know, total disregard for those that were under care, they're shouting things that were contrary to, you know, them getting better. All of that distracts from the conversation that needs to be had.

And listen, let's not pretend that there isn't a reason why folks are upset. Officers are not being held accountable police chiefs, sheriffs and listen, the fish rots from the head. I'm talking about the president and it would be nice if he had the same sort of commitment and decisiveness with regards to swift justice in those areas, as he does for the person who committed this crime.

COOPER: Chief Ramsey, it is, you know, if things are so polarized that it does get caught up in politics. It's used by, you know, different groups for different reasons, the president being one of them?

RAMSEY: Well, you know, listen, I don't want to get it. I mean, we had people out here doing crazy stuff, you know, killing each other and so forth long before politics got involved. You got some violent people out here in the world period. You know, they will kill at a drop of a hat. And people need to come to an understanding there are some people who are just incredibly violent need to be taken off the streets. What you saw in that video is an example of one of those people. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for what that individual did. It had nothing to do with politics, the environment, not just a thug would have gone who tried to commit murder, and thank God those two officers are going to live. But what's the long term impact it's going to have on them. Physically and psychologically, you know, all this violence has to end period, no matter who commits it, it has to end.

COOPER: All right, Chief Ramsey, Cheryl Dorsey. Appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

DORSEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Breaking News, Hurricane Sally strengthens as it moves toward the U.S. Gulf Coast. All the latest and where it's headed when we continue.



COOPER: More breaking news, Hurricane Sally bearing down in the U.S. Gulf Coast with what forecasters say are sustained winds of 100 miles an hour. Category two storm and additional strengthening is expected. Meteorologist Tom Sater is in the CNN Weather Center for us tonight. So what is the latest?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know that's a good question Anderson. We're looking at the system about 130 miles offshore from Biloxi. It has been intensifying it's also been slowing down, as we expected. But there's not many hurricanes Anderson, well, we can say everything's in play. We're not exactly sure where or when this will actually make landfall. The warnings remain the same for Louisiana, but they've extended him now over toward just to the east of Pensacola.

So again, with it's stalling so much, it is lost all steering currents. I think it looks better for New Orleans now, but it's worse now for areas such as Biloxi or Gulfport, or even Mobile. In fact, the National Hurricane Center places it right around Pascagoula, which means the worst of it will be to the east.

Now last night, we thought that we would have landfall after the midnight hour tonight, but now that it's slowing down, it can be after the midnight hour tomorrow night or even in the midday Wednesday. So the models we really have to rely heavily on but this is an erratic storm. This puts a pretty bad surge right into areas of Mobile and Mobile Bay.

COOPER: So, it's interesting that by slowing down, it makes it less precise and the ability to predict where it's going to go?

SATER: Right. Yes, and another thing too, it makes the surge worse. Because a lot of times we have these hurricanes move in and when the center moves on shore, you've got a bad surge for a good seven, nine, 10, 12 hours. This surge could go on for over 24. So with each passing hour, and it moves more and more inland for all of the Gulf coastal states, what it's going to do is it's going to impede the rain that's falling from the sky to move back offshore into the Gulf. So everything's just going to build up. Winds are not very strong right now, but we've got ocean waves out on the buoys right now, they're reporting over 21 feet. So we still have a seven to 11 foot storm surge. This will be the worst part for Louisiana, Pascagoula into around St. Bernard Parish. But then you get it over to around Ocean Springs to around Biloxi and Gulfport, as well, and Mobile Bay, where you're still looking at a good nine to six feet. But look at the rainfall, a swath of six to 10 all the way into Atlanta up into the Carolinas, but you get down into this area with that surge. It's going to really start to collect a good 10, 20 maybe even 24 inches of rain. This could be catastrophic flooding


COOPER: Yes. Tom Sater. Appreciate it. Thanks. We'll keep watching it.

The news continues. Want to head over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris?