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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Nearly 200,000 Americans Killed By Coronavirus; Two More GOP Senators Weigh In On Ginsburg Vacancy; Interview With Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Kentucky Family Remembers Frontline Doctor. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 21, 2020 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: "AC360" with Anderson starts right now.

[20:00:05]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, as we come on air, 199,816 people in this country have been killed by coronavirus. Some of their names are on the screen you see next to me.

That number from Johns Hopkins University will rise, on average, about 800 people are dying every day. So within hours, perhaps within this hour or the next several hours, it'll cross 200,000. It makes you want to stop every clock on Earth. Instead, tonight, we remember the first recorded fatalities were back in February, and the projection show many more of us will die in the months ahead.

Mask wearing and social distancing could have saved many of those lives on that list if more of us were willing to wear masks and maintain distance.

The numbers are staggering. The list of names are staggering. It's easy to start viewing them as just numbers, but each is a person with a family and people who love them and miss them terribly.

There are mothers and fathers on that list. There are wives and husbands and sons and daughters and beloved grandparents. There are doctors and police officers and musicians and teachers and nurses. They are as young as five months old, some are more than a hundred years old.

Over the next hour, we're going to show you as many of their names as we can. We pulled them from our own CNN reporting as well as local and national listings from all over the country. That list that we are showing you that's just a fraction of the 200,000 plus people who will have died, in fact to show all their names, even if we knew them all would fill every hour of this program for the next two months.

We wish we could tell you all their stories, show you all their names, but there are simply too many.

Over the course of this program, we will show you what our time allows. We will remember them and as you do, too, I want you to listen how the President started this day, a day that will likely go down in history, 200,000 dead. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we've done a phenomenal job, not just a good job, a phenomenal job. Other than public relations, but that's because I have fake news, I can't you -- know you, you can't convince them of anything. They're fake.

But we have done on public relations, give myself a D; on the job itself, we take an A-plus with the ventilators and now with the vaccines that are years ahead of schedule.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Phenomenal job he says. The list says otherwise. Nearly 200,000 dead, and that number will go up. Other than the 1918 pandemic, the Civil War and World War 2, this is the single largest loss of life in the entire history of the country.

Many if not most of the deaths were preventable using tools and methods that this country, scientists in this country, we ourselves pioneered and taught to the world.

What the President is teaching now to the country and the world is how to spread disease and death. Yet another rally this time in Ohio, the crowd booing when Ohio's Lieutenant Governor tried to encourage them to put on masks. They actually booed the Lieutenant Governor for encouraging them to put on masks.

Months of watching the President has, I guess, trained them well. Seeing him mock the idea, watching him go without a mask. Some perhaps not knowing just how protected he really is inside his biological bubble -- his biological bunker or how unprotected he is willing to let them be.

And it's no accident. CNN has reviewed internal documents detailing a plan by the Department of Health and Human Services to mail out 650 million reusable face coverings, five to a pack to every household in the country. That was the plan. It never came to pass.

An administration official telling "The Washington Post" that the White House squelched the idea out of concern, the official says, about creating a panic. That was back in April and the notion dovetails neatly with what the President told Bob Woodward just a few weeks before that.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.

BOB WOODWARD, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Yes.

TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: When he said that, 3,400 Americans had died. By the end of April, as the mask plan was debated and discarded, the death toll rolls from 6,300 to 65,000, and 165,000 have died since then. So think how different that might have been if the President had gotten behind the plan, had encouraged people to wear masks.

Instead, he was fatalistic. He was already on record as far back as late March talking about deaths in the millions and willing to claim victory for less than 200,000.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If we could hold that down, as we're saying to 100,000 that's a horrible number, maybe even less than 200,000, so we have between 100,000 and 200,000, we all together have done a very good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, I just think that was in March. Think of everything else he has done and not done as the death toll rose. HE has pushed on unproven drugs and pressured the F.D.A. Commissioner to publicly tout a treatment so lavishly that he later had to apologize, the F.D.A. Commissioner, of course, not the President. He doesn't apologize.

[20:05:07]

COOPER: He's leaned on states to reopen against C.D.C. guidelines. The administration has pressured the C.D.C. to loosen guidance for reopening schools and testing people who don't have symptoms, but have been exposed to people who have tested positive. First it was a yes, and then it was no, and then on Friday, it was quietly changed back to yes.

And just today, a new C.D.C. warning was pulled from the agency's website and detailed what many researchers already believe that COVID- 19 lingers in the air in a kind of viral fog.

Well, now it's gone from the website, a Federal official saying that it was posted this site in error. Someone at the C.D.C. pushed the wrong button. It would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. They also said there was no political pressure involved in the change, which would have been easier to believe before this pandemic, before the kneecapping of Doctors Fauci and Birx and the C.D.C.'s Redfield.

Before hospitals were told to bypass C.D.C. and send all their case and mortality data straight to the administration. Before we learned just today that the C.D.C., the F.D.A., and others will now have to submit any new rules to the administration to be signed off on.

And throughout it all, including now with the death toll about to pass 200,000, the President has been giving himself A plus grades, saying he has done a phenomenal job. And of course, always moving the goalposts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's one person coming in from China and we have it under control. Of the 15 people, the original 15, as I call them, eight of them have

returned to their homes.

And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15, within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That's a pretty good job we've done.

But we're going towards 50,000 or 60,000 people.

Eighty or 90, and it goes up and it goes up rapidly.

Look, we're going to lose anywhere from 75,000 to 80,000 to 100,000 people.

If we can hold that down, as we're saying to 100,000, it's a horrible number.

So we have between 100,000 and 200,000. We all together have done a very good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Joining us now CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Craig Spencer, who's been dealing with the consequences of all this on the frontlines at the Columbia University Medical Center here in Manhattan, where he is Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine.

Sanjay, this grim milestone that didn't have to happen. It's horrific and avoidable. When you see those names slow scrolling on the side of the screen. And then as I said, it's just a fraction of those who have actually died. What goes through your mind? Where are we in this pandemic?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, you know, it's really sad to see those names. You know, I talked to some of these people's families who have died. I still stay in touch with them. I'm sure. Dr. Spencer does, too. And I'm -- you know, I just -- it's just a conversation that I want to have and understand that I can still reach out to them, and they can lean on me, but it's tough to see all of those numbers just scrolling. It didn't have to happen.

I mean, it's hard because no one wants to hear that their loved one's death was preventable or avoidable. You know, I mean, no one wants to hear that. And yet, that's what they're hearing over and over again. So that's really tough.

You know, Anderson, I mean, you know, we showed this I think last time, Craig Spencer and I were on together. But if you look at Columbia's modeling, in terms of what was possible, in terms of preventing infections, preventing deaths, this modeling was done back in May. And at that point, they said, had the country just acted a week earlier, 36,000 people's lives could have been saved at that point. That's back in May.

If they had acted two weeks earlier, we can show this, they said over 80 percent to 90 percent of infections and deaths could have been prevented. That was back in May. If you extrapolate that to now. I mean, that's, you know, so many people's lives.

Also, you mentioned this earlier, Anderson, but just look at this. You know, you remember, we all were paying attention to Italy in the beginning. We don't want to become Italy. Italy is sort of the cautionary tale. And we sort of paralleled Italy's trajectory, but then Italy went down. Because what did we do around that middle point in April is that we said, start to liberate the states and open things up and pull back on all the measures that may have worked and may have had an impact.

So, it's awful to hear this number, Anderson.

COOPER: Dr. Spencer, you've been on the frontlines of this pandemic, trying to save lives, day in and day out, the President giving himself an A-plus rating except for public relations.

As someone who is on the front lines dealing with it, how do you -- how do you deal with that?

DR. CRAIG SPENCER, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL HEALTH IN EMERGENCY MEDICINE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Maybe from a political standpoint, this is an A-plus. But from a public health standpoint, it's a failure.

And from my role as a provider, it's been a failure as well. In my last shift, I took care of two patients back to back, one who had a cute COVID was short of breath and was on oxygen and was struggling to breathe.

Just a few rooms over was a patient who would had been infected in late March and was still suffering from the symptoms. That's when it really hit in for me, how long we've been dealing with this.

We've lost 200,000 people. That's the population of Fort Lauderdale, Florida or Salt Lake City or Montgomery, Alabama.

[20:10:10]

SPENCER: We have more deaths in the United States than Brazil, Spain and Italy combined. We're eight months into this pandemic and we're still concerned about having enough N-95 respirators in our hospitals to do our job safely now, and going into the fall and the winter, when we expect there to be more cases.

If he thinks that this is a political A-plus from a public health standpoint, and from the standpoint as a physician and a healthcare provider, every day, it's felt like a failure. And in many respects, I feel like in some ways, we're almost worse off than we were three to four months ago, because we don't have the credibility of the institutions like the F.D.A. and the C.D.C.

Just back then in March and April, no one would have second guessed the guidance coming out on a daily basis from the F.D.A. and from the C.D.C. Now, every time something gets put up, gets posted and gets retracted. We have to wonder, was this for a public health reason? Or was this the political thumb of this administration trying to change guidance that should be based on public health alone?

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Sanjay, the President almost daily basically is saying that we're rounding the corner or you know, bending through, or we're in the turn, you know, he uses a lot of different phrases. But the idea that we are rounding the corner, do you see any sign of that?

GUPTA: No, I mean, I think we've plateaued, really at a really high level of viral spread in this country. And we've plateaued at a time when we're going into colder weather, where people aren't going to have the luxury of being able to be outdoors as much. They're going to be clustered inside and superimposed on top of flu season, maybe it's going to be a milder flu season, as we've seen in Australia and Dr. Fauci has talked about, we don't know, maybe that's just because people were better about wearing masks down there.

But it's worrisome right now. If you go back and look at 1918 even, in the first six months of that pandemic, and the sort of timeframe in the year was sort of similar, 75,000 people died in the first six months, first six to seven months; 195,000 people died in one month alone after that when that second wave started. That's the worrisome thing. That month was October.

So you know, this is what we're trying to prevent. I'm not saying that to unnecessarily scare people. But you know, we keep talking about this, in some ways in the retrospective. There are things that we can do right now to prevent it being that bad in these next few months.

COOPER: You know, I think it's good to look back at the pandemic in 1918, because it is very -- look, I mean, I'm taking this as seriously as I think I know as anyone I know and it's hard day after day to continue to just be vigilant.

And I mean, hearing that number about what happened in October in, you know, in the 1918 pandemic about the second wave is scary. And I'm going to keep that in mind because I think it's important to stay vigilant.

You know, Dr. Spencer, the U.S. Postal Service, they had planned to distribute 650 million facemasks five masks for every household. This is back in April. The White House apparently squashed that. Would that have helped?

SPENCER: I think that would have been crucial. If you remember, at the end of March, we weren't exactly sure the value that facemask could have in getting this virus under control. That science really changed.

And we knew in early April, the C.D.C. itself recommended that Americans wear face masks in public to reduce the spread of this virus. If we had at that time sent out hundreds of millions of face masks to people all over this country, it could have one, sent that public health message saying that this is important. If we had that coupled with this administration supporting this and actually wearing masks at the same time that would have set a really wonderful public health precedent. At that time, we could have increased the amount of people wearing

masks. We could have made it a public health, not a political or a partisan issue. The result would have been fewer people infected and fewer deaths in this country, undoubtedly.

COOPER: Sanjay and Dr. Spencer, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

We have breaking news just ahead. More Republican senators announce their decision on whether to go along with a vote in the next Supreme Court Justice. Details on that coming up.

And as you see the names of only some of those who have died due to the pandemic as we approached 200,000 deaths in the U.S. in the next few hours. I'll talk with the family of a frontline doctor who died after a long battle with the disease.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:17:54]

COOPER: On the right of your screen tonight, we're scrolling through just some of the nearly 200,000 lives that had been lost in the U.S. from coronavirus as we approached that grim milestone we expect sometime in the next few hours to cross over the 200,000 mark. Two hundred thousand dead in this country.

We go to our breaking news now on Capitol Hill. We're getting some late information about a number of Republican senators who until now have been silent on whether they'll go along with a vote in the next Supreme Court Justice before the November election. CNN's Phil Mattingly is at the Capitol for us tonight.

So two more Republican senators going on the record. Where do they stand?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, it's been less than 72 hours since Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed and Republicans are very quickly coalescing behind President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to push forward on her replacement as soon as before the election.

Tonight, Senator Chuck Grassley, the former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, one of the leading proponents in 2016 of Republicans not considering President Obama's Supreme Court nominee at the time, as well as Senator Cory Gardner, one of the most endangered Republicans up for re-election in November, both coming out saying they will support moving forward on a vote on a potential nominee both saying they wanted to get a look at that nominee.

But Anderson, what this all underscores is over the course of the last two or three days, Republicans have rapidly gotten behind the idea of moving forward. At this point in time, Democrats need four of the 53 Republicans to say that they will not move forward, that they will not vote on any nominee.

Right now, they have two: Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, and right now Anderson, there's very little hope, at least according to Democrats that I'm talking to that they'll be able to find two more. Grassley and Gardner were two of the biggest opportunities Democrats thought they had.

Right now, only Senator Mitt Romney is sitting out there as a possible person who will join Democrats.

COOPER: So it appears now, McConnell surely has the votes. So what happens next?

MATTINGLY: Now everything starts to kick into gear. Keep in mind, we don't actually have a nominee yet, and Senate Republicans have made clear over the course of this day, over the course of this evening that they are deferential to the President, although I'm told there is a movement inside the Senate Republican conference for Amy Coney Barrett, obviously somebody who has been top of mind for Christian conservatives over the course of the last several years.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader, I'm told made clear to the President in a private phone call that while he would advocate for whoever the President selected, he believed Amy Coney Barrett would go best with where the Senate Republicans stand right now.

[20:20:15]

MATTINGLY: She has a lot of advocates in the conference. So once you get the nomination, then the mechanisms will kick into gear. Anderson, you're going to have tens of millions of dollars on both sides of this fight from the outside. On the inside, you are going to have both sides trying to figure out every possible way for the Democratic side to try and stall the nomination, even though they don't have many options to block it. And from the Republican's side, to try and speed this as quickly as possible.

While McConnell has not determined whether or not he's going to try and push this before or after the election, make no mistake about it, the President is on the record saying he wants it before November 3rd and Republicans I'm talking to say, well, that is a very tight timeline. It is possible -- Anderson.

COOPER: Phil Mattingly. Phil, thanks very much. That decision by Senator Grassley surely couldn't have come as much of a surprise to key Democratic senators. That of course will make their attempts to derail the vote even more difficult, perhaps impossible.

Joining me now one of the key Democrats, Senator Chris Murphy, of Connecticut. Senator Murphy, it seems that Senator Grassley and Senator Gardner who said they'll essentially be on board with Mitch McConnell. This is over, isn't it? I mean, the Republicans seem to have the votes.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, it's not over in part, because we don't even know who the nominee is. I mean, maybe you can come to the conclusion that the Republican Party has just become a big cult of personality, and so there's no drama as to whether or not they're going to support the President's nominee. But let's be clear what the stakes are. You have noted that today, we

will cross the 200,000 threshold with respect to the number of Americans that have died from COVID. Right now, pending before the Supreme Court is a case that would invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, robbing people, 20 million of them of healthcare in the middle of a pandemic, and raising rates for anybody in this country who has had COVID, or tests positive for the antibodies of COVID.

And so I still am going to make the argument to my colleagues that if they're looking at a nominee that is going to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, they better think twice, especially given that so many of them are on the ballot. I think that this ultimately will end the political career of some of my Republican colleagues. And so I'm just going to keep the fight up to win this on the merits.

COOPER: How would that actually work in terms of -- I mean, if all this did -- you know, if the nominee was selected and confirmed and the Affordable Care Act was ruled unconstitutional in the Senate, how would -- what would that actually look like? I mean, how quickly would people lose their health insurance?

MURPHY: They would lose it immediately. So the case is pending before the Supreme Court asks for the act to be invalidated immediately, the entire act, every piece of it: the Medicaid expansion, the prohibition on discrimination, because you have a preexisting condition, the exchanges.

So if this lawsuit, which is being brought by Republicans and the President, was ultimately won by the plaintiffs, and that's where this would go, if they get this nominee confirmed. You would have the immediate loss of insurance for 20 million Americans and then you would have insurance companies back in the position of being able to increase your rates if you have a preexisting condition and COVID is preexisting condition.

And insurance companies will clearly go back and start using those practices again. So it's a humanitarian nightmare. And it happens, you know, potentially, as soon as this case is reheard by the new court. So maybe beginning of next year,

COOPER: The President keeps saying he has a health insurance plan, but for some reason that it can't be seen at this point. At this point, he has certainly been saying he has a great healthcare plan for four years now, and nothing has been shown. I mean, am I missing something? Is there something out there?

MURPHY: Well, I mean, Republicans have been saying that, you know, since the Act was adopted, I mean, back in 2011, Republicans were crying repeal and replace, but they never ever had any plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

And, you know, what people are figuring out over time is that the Affordable Care Act is a pretty good deal. It provides, as I said, 20 to 25 million people with insurance that wouldn't have it, and it stops these insurance companies from raising your rates if you have cancer. We almost can't remember the time when if your child had a leukemia diagnosis, you couldn't get insurance for them.

And again, this is really scary now because, you know, when we do the antibody tests, it may be that big portions of the American population have actually had COVID. That's a preexisting condition. You might get denied health insurance if this Supreme Court nominee gets on the bench and there is no replacement coming.

The President doesn't have a replacement. Republicans don't have a replacement. If the Affordable Care Act goes away because of the Supreme Court nominee, all that happens is the massive, massive loss of life in this country because people can't afford insurance.

COOPER: What can Democrats do? I mean, obviously, you know you say you want to urge your colleagues, obviously, you want to urge people to vote. Other than that, is there anything to be done legislatively?

[20:25:09]

MURPHY: Well, I mean, I was on the floor of the Senate tonight. Are you with my Republican colleagues about what the stakes are here? Obviously, you know, we sequence this. You know, we haven't given up on trying to convince a few of our Republican Senate colleagues to do the right thing here.

I mean, it's just treachery, by the way for them to deny President Obama's nominee under the rule that you can't confirm anybody in an election year and then just four years later, admit that they were lying in 2016 when they set that rule.

And then we'll argue this on the merits of the stakes of the nomination. We will rally the American people to the cause. I think with an election pending, it's not a guarantee that some of these Republican senators who are in tough races are going to vote for a radical conservative, anti-Affordable Care Act nominee.

But that's up to their constituents. It's up to the American people to help us and rally to the cause to make the political consequences of a bad vote for Republicans, very clear and apparent to them.

COOPER: Yes, Senator Murphy, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

MURPHY: Thank you.

COOPER: We have more next on breaking news, legal analysis from two top court watchers and the answer to the question, how long could the President go without trying to smear the late Justice's memory? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:53]

COOPER: It's a busy night hanging over all of this at the raw factory nearly 200,000 lives lost the coronavirus. The number remains as it was at the top of the hour 199,816 people in this country have so far known to have died. I'm showing you some of their names on the screen beside me all through the hour tonight and will be for the entire broadcast. At some point in the next few hours, perhaps even by the end of this hour. Given the fact, that on average 800 people are dying every day. The number will cross 200,000, 200,000 deaths.

We're talking of course about breaking news on the Supreme Court right now. And given that the President now appears to have the votes he needs to confirm whomever he picks to succeed with Bader Ginsburg, the question now is timing. Late today the President gave his preference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Well, I'd much rather have a vote before the election. Because there's a lot of work to be done and I'd much rather having we have plenty of time to do it. I mean, there's really a lot of time. So, let's say I make the announcement on Saturday, there's a great deal of time before the election. That'll be up to Mitch in the Senate. But I'd certainly much rather have the vote. I think it sends a good signal. And it's solidarity and lots of other things. And I'm just doing my constitutional obligation. I have an obligation to do this. So, I would rather see it before the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: With that CNN's Jim Acosta joins us now from the White House. Oh, what was the White House saying about the timing of all this, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson you heard the President there say he would like to have this done before the election. And just to give you a sense as to how quickly things are moving along. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, one of the President's top contenders on a shortlist met with the President here at the White House earlier today gives you an indication as to how rapidly things are moving along.

But Anderson, you know, there are lots of different ways this could play out. I talked to a source close to the White House this evening, who said one of the you know, prevailing thoughts going on behind the scenes is that perhaps there might be some hearings for a nominee before the election. But the actual vote to confirm the nominee would come after the election. They're gaming, all kinds of strategies, because, frankly, Anderson there's a potential that this could backfire whether or not the President decides to do this before or after the election.

And so, even though you're talking about how the President and the Republicans seem to have the numbers on their side at this point, they're well aware of this could backfire and blow up in their faces.

COOPER: When do we expect to know who his pick is? So far, it seems to be, you know, as usual, teasing out kind of a big reveal.

ACOSTA: Yes, absolutely. And the President has said that he would like to do this on Saturday named somebody on Saturday, that would follow the services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg that are expected to take place later on this week. But Anderson, I mean, you can already see the President, you know, enjoying himself out on the campaign trail this evening, teasing the idea that this -- could perhaps be a man or a woman, even though the President and all of his top advisors have told us that this is going to be a woman that he's going to appoint to the High Court.

But keep in mind, Anderson, you know, this is one of those situations where the President faces a critical test. If he puts forward a nominee that, you know, devolves into a very partisan, very disruptive process fight between now and Election Day, you know, this could drag past the November election. That puts the President in a dangerous position if he loses the election.

And let's say because voters are outraged that this was rammed down their throat before the election. And the Senate goes to the Democrats, then the president in a Republican controlled Senate in a lame duck session face the prospect of going against the will of the American people in the November election. So, even though the President or Republicans appear to have the numbers on their side tonight, it doesn't mean that this is all over yet.

COOPER: That's what you mean by it could blow up in their faces?

ACOSTA: Absolutely. I mean, you know, the, if the President and the Republicans, you know, come up empty on election night, then they face a critical test and that is do they go against the will the American people? And at that point, do they maintain those numbers do people like Cory Gardner, do people like Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney hasn't said where he's going to end up on all of this. But if he comes out tomorrow and says, I'm going with my caucus, I'm going with Republican caucus do those things. Do those minds change in the lame duck?

[20:35:11]

So, you know, this all sounds like it's fait accompli. But as we've seen from previous court fights Anderson, we're not there yet.

COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta. Jim, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

During the President's brief remarks on the South Lawn, he repeated a smear on the lead, Justice Ginsburg and her granddaughter is we got Clara Spera. Ms. Spera says her grandmother dictated a statement to her just days before she died. It says my most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until the new President is installed. The President was asked about it this morning on Fox.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I don't know that she said that or was that written out by Adam Schumer and Pelosi? I would be more inclined to the second. OK, you know, that came out of the wind. It sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe Pelosi or for shifty Schiff. So, that came out of the wind, let's say I mean, maybe she did it. Maybe she did.

(END AUDIO CLIP) COOPER: So that was this morning. Another President might have reflected on it through the day and perhaps backtracked on the remarks. This President added to them he told reporters like today quote, yes, it just sounds to me like it would be somebody else. It was just too convenient.

Perspective now from legal -- from National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, who spoke with Justice's granddaughter, was also close to the Justice. Also CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, whose latest piece in The New Yorker is titled The Legal Fight Awaiting Us after the Election. The aftermath of November's vote has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish. Jeff wrote.

Nina, when you heard what the President said about the late Justice's words. How do you -- what do you think?

NINA TOTENBERG, LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, there were other people in the room when she said that, including the Justice's doctor, who I checked with. So, I don't think anybody made it up. Let's put it that way. And Clara Spera the Justice's granddaughter, was sitting there with her laptop, and she wrote it down. And it was confirmed by others and others in the room. As I said, we're not family members.

COOPER: I mean, the idea of frankly, that family members, even in a highly charged situation like this would make up the last words or the last wishes of somebody like the chief justice or any family member, frankly, is kind of important. The idea of it.

Jeff, regardless of what the President says about Justice Ginsburg, or anybody else, the vast majority of Republicans are on board with pushing a nomination through either before the election or during the lame duck period seems almost impossible that Democrats can peel away two more Republicans, in addition to Murkowski and Collins doesn't it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it certainly looks like Mitch McConnell is going to win yet again, because Mitch McConnell almost always wins when it comes to the United States Senate. But, you know, I think as Jim Acosta was saying, there are still a lot of moving parts here.

And there is no nominee, and the nominee has to go through a hearing and scrutiny about her and presumably it will be her -- our record. And, you know, the timing remains a problem, there are just more than 40 days left, before the election, the average number of days between Supreme Court nominations and confirmations is somewhere between 60 and 80 days.

Now, it is possible they could jam things through. But I mean, it's the Senate is hard to move quickly, not impossible, but hard to move quickly. And the Democrats will be doing their best to try to slow this process down. And if it goes into the lame duck, things could change because we will know the outcome of the election. If Donald Trump wins, this thing will go very smoothly. But if Donald Trump doesn't win, and if the Senate goes Democratic, then there are a lot of imponderables. So, you know, yes, things are looking very good for the President. They're looking good for Mitch McConnell. But this thing is not over yet.

COOPER: Nina, how do you think this might play out?

TOTENBERG: Well, I don't think there's no way to know and I don't even think there's any way to know who has the upper hand right now. In the last election, the President definitely Donald Trump definitely got a big boost by releasing his list of potential nominees and energizing his base.

But this is a different election, a different time a different candidate he's running against. And you can see that the Democratic base is very energized. You can see it by the hundreds over $100 million, I think that they phrased since just since Justice Ginsburg died.

So it's it -- I think it is imponderable, but I definitely think that the Mitch McConnell is the craftiest guy around when it comes to confirmations. There aren't -- none of the old blocks that used to be there and I'm not talking about the filibuster. I'm talking about all kinds of little procedural things that could slow things down. Almost all of those, in fact, every one of those that I'm aware of is gone.

[20:40:18]

So, you know, I think that it's conceivable that they could do this before the election, and then rue the day afterwards. And the country might rue the day because what we're seeing is in not in not just the polarization of the United States, but the wings of the party are driving the party. And there is a -- there is a fairly aggressive movement now on the left to add more justices into offset whatever the President does, if Biden were to win, and they were to control the Senate.

And that would hardly be the first time in American history, but it would be the first time in about a century. It's been done. I think that six or seven times in American history that they've it's just by statute.

But Justice Ginsburg said she thought it would be very bad for the court that it would just lead to swirling back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. But we're not there yet. But it's pretty -- this kind of ugliness breeds worse results than you could even imagine.

COOPER: Jeffrey, I mean, it seems like Vice President Biden, I think, had been on the record in the past as not seeming too enthusiastic. Obviously, this was before the whole Ginsburg thing of enlarging of growing the court the size of the court. What do you make of that idea of by some Democrats?

TOOBIN: I think it's a very realistic idea. I mean, you know, how much do Democrats have to take, and how many seats have to be stolen from them, one stolen from Barack Obama, and now one, you know, in the greatest collective act of hypocrisy in American political history, all these Republicans deciding, oh, it's fine, to nominate, you know, to nominate and confirm someone on the eve of an election while the election is actually going, people are voting now.

But, you know, it's just how much of the past -- how much of a patsy does the Democratic Party want to be? And, you know, how many more seats will they steal before they do something? I mean, you know, I think the filibuster, which is a relic of Jim Crow, and a did anti- democratic institution from the start, that's something that should go immediately. And whether they add more seats, I think it's a very realistic possibility.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Nina Totenberg, I really appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Also, I just want to remind Jeff -- everybody should read Jeff's article in the New Yorker. Nina, I also just reread your piece on Justice Ginsburg, that you wrote the other day, and I know I praised you on it the other day, but I just reread it and it just so lovely. I urge people to go npr.org. It's very good. Thank you so much.

TOTENBERG: Thanks (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: One final word on how the week will unfold and how it will make history. Justice Ginsburg's body will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, so the members of the public can pay their respects. The casket will arrive Wednesday morning, private ceremony with family, close friends and the justices will take place in the courts Great Hall.

Then the casket will be moved under the portico at the top of the building's front steps. Former law clerks will serve as pallbearers. Then on Friday, the late justice will become the first woman ever to line state in the U.S. Capitol. Lying in state is a tribute reserved for the most distinguished government officials and military officers.

As you've been seeing throughout the program, we are showing you a list of only some of those who have died because of the pandemic as the nation approaches 200,000 deaths sometime in the next few hours. Coming up, I'll talk to the family of a doctor who's not only on the front lines and fighting this disease and helping her community cope, but who died because of it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:47:51]

COOPER: Throughout the program tonight, we've been showing you some of the names of the victims of this pandemic as when you're the terrible milestone of 200,000 people killed by the coronavirus in this country. Dr. Rebecca Shadowen was a specialist in infectious diseases and healthcare epidemiology in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

She was a frontline doctor in the battle against COVID-19 and helped establish a coronavirus unit for her local hospital. She was also busy helping her local government deal with a disease when she was diagnosed back in May. She died on September 11. Surely before air time, I spoke with her husband, Dr. David Shadowen and their two children Kathryn and Jesse.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on-camera): David, Kathryn, Jesse, thank you so much for being with us. I am so sorry for your loss. David, you call Rebecca the glue of your family. First of all, how are you all doing? How are you holding up?

DAVID SHADOWEN, LOST WIFE TO COVID-19: We're getting back better today. It's been a struggle.

COOPER (on-camera): Yes. Kathryn, if you could, what do you want people to know about your mom and she sounds like such a remarkable woman. She was a specialist in infectious diseases. She was outspoken I know from the start about wearing masks and taking precautions and it seems like so many people loved her.

KATHRYN SHADOWEN, LOST MOTHER TO COVID-19: She was easily on a smarter semester of people I knew. She kind of taught me part of who I wanted to be as a person. She said too have the grace to let people be who they are and kind of really believed and lived out the idea of treating everyone the way you'd want to be treated.

COOPER (on-camera): And Jesse how about for you?

JESSE SHADOWEN, LOST MOTHER TO COVID-19: She was a person that didn't take a lot of crap. And she knew what she was talking about when it came to her field. And when it came to a lot of other things, and she was someone that I really trusted and I think she's someone that a lot of people trusted.

COOPER (on-camera): And David, how did you two meet?

D. SHADOWEN: Well, we've been in college, and then we got married after our first year of med school.

COOPER (on-camera): Oh wow. Did she always want to be a doctor?

[20:50:09]

D. SHADOWEN: She always did. I sort of fell into it. But she was very good. And she said, we're going to at age 15, in a doctor's office, you know, various things like a medical assistant type job, the X-rays and things like that. And she can wish to be the physician and very dedicated to it.

COOPER (on-camera): That's amazing from the age of 15, that she's sort of had that idea in her mind. Do you know how it was that she got the virus?

D. SHADOWEN: What we think happened is, my mother had been ill, and I said you will stay in our home helping them out. And someone came to her home, and was feeling well, at the time she came in, she had no symptoms or no compliance. And it took her my mother one night, then a few days later, she was

diagnosed with the COVID. And a few days after that, my mother was diagnosed with the COVID. And then that was on the 7th I think of May. And on the 11th of May, me and Katie were diagnosed with COVID and on the 12th, my wife was diagnosed with COVID.

COOPER (on-camera): And how's your mom doing, David?

D. SHADOWEN: It's amazing. She's 90 years old now. And she spent five days in the hospital and a couple of weeks at a rehab facility back home now still with home health media, but get along very well.

COOPER (on-camera): Wow. And Jesse, I understand you're the only one in the family who did not get infected. And yet, you probably exposed as much as anybody else.

J. SHADOWEN: Yes. So the three days prior to my grandma being diagnosed with COVID, my father and I were over there, you know, helping around out around the house. And the day that she was diagnosed that night, you know, she has trouble walking. So we loaded her in the car physically, and took her to the hospital.

And then the day that my mom was diagnosed, I was the one who drove her to the hospital and sat in the car with her for 45 minutes to an hour. And then while they were in their two-week quarantine, you know, I was living in the same house with them. So I had plenty of chances to catch it and never did (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER (on-camera): David, what do you want people to know about Rebecca.

D. SHADOWEN: Just that she lived what she wanted to be. When I retired two years ago, I advised her to retired. But she thoroughly enjoyed taking care of patients and work in the hospital and doing things. And so she stayed on doing just that she knew that being in healthcare was a risk, but that she wanted to do that she very much enjoyed taking care of patients and working with the nurses and the doctors, and she enjoyed teaching medical students and residents.

It was really what you live for was working in the field of medicine. She'll be there and she didn't know that there was risk with COVID out there, and anyone could catch it and have bad things happen. But she still wanted to be part of medicine and are helping people.

COOPER (on-camera): I mean, that's the extraordinary thing, I mean Kathryn is knowing the risks, and yet we're still willing to, you know, to roll up her sleeves and help other people at grade restore herself.

K. SHADOWEN: Yes, she was, I know, she is always like that even before COVID just working in infectious disease and willing to put everyone -- everyone's needs in front of her cells, whether it be her patients or assets or kids. She always -- she took care of everybody that she could.

COOPER (on-camera): Yes. D. SHADOWEN: Even before boundary develop COVID she which, you know, she really want people to wear masks regularly. She wanted people to social distance stay out of crowds. You know, so everything we did kind of focused around that, in spite of those, you know, attempts to stay healthy. Three out of four of us got it.

COOPER (on-camera): Yes.

D. SHADOWEN: And even like our funeral there is social distancing at the visitation at a small funeral service, several large field service just to try and prevent other people catching COVID. It was something that no she would have wanted done that way.

COOPER (on-camera): If she were here, that's the message she would want to get out that people should continue to wear masks.

D. SHADOWEN: Yes, I think if she was here. She would very much encourage people to wear masks, whenever they're in public that they should social distance always, avoid large crowds. And this fall, you know, when the flu vaccine comes out, please take it because you wouldn't want to get those two diseases at the same time. And certainly if ever vaccine for COVID does come out, my son will be first in line to get it if he had a built in. I really hope that that makes a big difference in how we deal with COVID in the future and getting people treated. So we won't catch (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER (on-camera): Yes. Well, David, Kathryn, Jesse again. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

D. SHADOWEN: Thank you. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Up next, some final thoughts about nearly 200,000 people in this country now gone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:58:54]

COOPER: The COVID death toll now 199,818. As we approach 200,000 lives lost our coverage continues in a moment with Chris in "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Before we hand it over some perspective on the names that you see beside me. Collectively, they represent just a fraction of those 200,000 people.

More than the number of Americans killed in World War I and the Vietnam War combined. The equivalent of the population of Salt Lake City, Utah or Huntsville, Alabama, or Yonkers, New York, gone. So many families, so many families' lives forever changed. We remember them. We remember them all and we honor them.