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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Second Night of Protests After No Officer Charged Directly with Breonna Taylor's Death; President Trump Refuses to Commit to Peaceful Transfer of Power if He Loses Election; Second Night Of Protests After No Officer Charged Directly With Breonna Taylor's Death; Dr. Fauci Warns It Would Be "Troublesome" If Pres. Trump Tries To Overrule FDA Vaccine Standards; Pres. Trump Again Refuses To Commit To Peaceful Transfer Of Power If He Loses Election; Mourning Justice Ginsburg. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 24, 2020 - 20:00   ET

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


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I have always put the people of Maine first, and I always will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Completely different opinions, which the people of Maine will have to consider.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Portland, Maine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: A lot of momentous races coming up in November. Thank you for joining us. Anderson starts now.

[20:00:17]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Erin, thanks very much. Good evening. We start with a look at a second night of protests that have erupted in Louisville, Kentucky after the grand jury findings in the death of Breonna Taylor were announced.

Two officers shot last night. Tonight, we understand a group of protesters is facing off with what appear to be militia members. Just a short time ago, the Mayor announced that the curfew tonight which goes into effect in about an hour will be extended through the weekend.

All of this in the wake of a grand jury's decision to charge one of the three officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor. None of those charges actually related to her death directly.

For more on the scene there and an update on the health of those two police officers and the search for a suspect, I want to go to Jason Carroll in Louisville.

So Jason an hour away from the 9:00 p.m. curfew. What's the latest?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're right here at Jefferson Square Park where you saw where we were last night where much of the protesters tend to gather. That's what they're doing here right now.

Just a short while ago, Anderson, a group of about a couple hundred of them marched up West Jefferson Street, just about a few -- just about, I don't know -- less than a half mile from where we are now, where they confronted a group of about 20 white militia.

These are men who identified themselves as white militia men. We've seen them out here before. They say that they're out here to guard Federal property. Last night, they were out here guarding a pawn shop and a gas station.

So these two groups came together. There were some heated words exchanged. As you can imagine some of those saying it's time for you to get out of here. It's time for you to leave. The members of the white militia basically saying, look, we're here to protect everybody, as you can imagine. Those who are black did not believe that.

But at one point, as the two were sitting there talking -- the two groups who were sitting there talking, eventually, one of the organizers here said, hey, it's time for us to go. We've made our point. Let's get back to the park.

So they're back here at the park now and as you say, we're just about an hour away from curfew.

Last night, they marched well into the evening, well past midnight into the curfew hours. They're intending to do the same here tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: Do we have any updates on the shooting that occurred last night and how the two officers who were shot are doing?

CARROLL: Right, and as you know, we were there when those shots rang out last night, just at about 8:30. First, it was a fireworks, then we heard the gunfire start to erupt.

Two officers were hit during that gunfire last night. A suspect is in custody. Both of those officers we are told are doing well. One was hit in the stomach. That officer is still in hospital. The other officer hit in the hip. That officer was treated and released.

And as you can imagine, the Police Commissioner saying earlier today, how thankful he is the situation was not worse. We've seen a number of people out here carrying weapons.

Kentucky is an open carry state. So, technically it is legal to do so. But you can imagine given all of the tension that's here on the ground when you're seeing people here carrying weapons. It just adds to the tension. That's here -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jason Carroll, appreciate you being there. Be careful. Thank you. We are going to bring you more on the story in just a few moments. We'll talk with Ben Crump, the attorney for Breonna Taylor's family. First though, we need to bring you up to speed on what's happened in

the last 24 hours in Washington since President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Mr. President, real quickly, win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election? And there has been rioting a little, there's been rioting in many cities across this country -- red and your so- called red and blue states? Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're going to have to see what happens. You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.

QUESTION: I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that there's a peaceful transferal of power?

TRUMP: We want to have -- get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very trans -- we will have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly, there'll be a continuation.

The ballots are out of control. You know it and you know, who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than everybody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The President doubled down on those comments this afternoon. Since he first said that, we've heard some Republicans on Capitol Hill affirm the need for peaceful transfer of power, but others have claimed they didn't hear what the President said or they brushed it off saying that the President just says crazy stuff or that it was a got-cha question.

Nevertheless, given the importance of the need to push back, regardless of party against what the President said, we contacted all 53 Republican senators today to invite them in tonight's program to talk about the President's comment. All 53 of them you see their names, they're not one agreed to come on to discuss it.

As I mentioned, the President doubled down on those comments this afternoon and not to miss out on the epic hypocrisy in Washington these days, the President also sent out a tweet encouraging voters in Florida to vote by mail.

[20:05:12]

COOPER: He wrote, "Vote by mail ballots in my home State of Florida begin going out today. Make sure to request yours. Fill it out and send it in. Request yours today."

Florida, of course, has a Republican governor who is run almost exclusively by Republicans and traditionally a lot of Republicans in the state vote by mail-in ballot.

As for the President's claims that mail-in voting is a disaster everywhere else and subject to massive voter -- organized voter fraud. Well, keeping them honest, just listen to what F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray said today in testimony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, F.B.I. DIRECTOR: Now, we have not seen historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, and whether it's by mail or otherwise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Never seen it, ever. You know what we also have never seen, a President of the United States intentionally muddy the facts about voting and refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of power -- never.

In fact, in 1981, President Reagan used his first inaugural speech to speak about how precious this peaceful transfer is. After thanking the Chief Justice and several others, these are the first words of the newly installed 14th President of the United States speaking to the American people as well as to his own predecessor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation, it is a commonplace occurrence.

The orderly transfer of authority that is called for in the Constitution, routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are.

In the eyes of many in the world, this every four-year ceremony we accept as normal, is nothing less than a miracle.

Mr. President, I want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition. By your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you have shown a watching world that we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other.

And I thank you and your people, for all your help in maintaining the continuity, which is the bulwark of our republic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Ronald Reagan, cherished a peaceful transfer of power and can thank his predecessor who was sitting there for helping to achieve it. That is what real Presidents do. They fight hard to stay in power, no doubt. But when they lose, they graciously give way to another.

No President is bigger than the office. No president is more important than the continuation of this democracy. Let's go to the White House now. Jim Acosta for the latest. Jim, I

mean, it is just extraordinary the extent to which the President is setting the stage right now to contest the election if he loses.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He really is setting the table for that, Anderson. You heard the President earlier this afternoon when he was leaving for these events in North Carolina and Florida, saying that he does not believe that it will be an honest outcome in the election if certain states conduct their mail-in balloting in ways that he doesn't see fit.

And we heard from the White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, earlier this afternoon saying that the President will accept the results of a quote "free and fair election" but that allows the White House, allows the President Trump campaign to invent any standard that they want.

And if they don't see the election meeting those standards, they are not going to recognize the outcome of the election.

I will tell you, not everybody inside the Trump campaign agrees with this approach, agrees with the strategy. I talked to a Trump campaign adviser earlier today who said he hates this kind of talk coming from the President because it fires up the left in the words of this Trump adviser and if the President refuses to leave the White House come Inauguration Day in 2021, the President essentially becomes -- or the former President, the outgoing President, Donald Trump, if he loses in the election would essentially become a quote "squatter," in the words of this Trump adviser, so not everybody inside the campaign is on board with the strategy.

COOPER: The President is touting an unusual announcement from the Department of Justice about, quote, "discarded ballots" in Pennsylvania. Can you just explain what he's talking about now? And also, I mean, is the Department of Justice basically a part of the Trump campaign now?

ACOSTA: Well, I mean, you know, opinions vary on that front, Anderson, and we're going to have to see how this plays out in the coming weeks. But I don't think this was a welcome sign today just on the face of it.

Earlier in the day, the President was on FOX Radio talking about how ballots for President Trump were found in a trash can and Kaylee McEnany at the White House briefing, was talking about nine Trump ballots in Pennsylvania that were discarded and then all of a sudden, the Justice Department puts out a press release talking about this.

What is unusual about this, Anderson, not that the Justice Department would investigate election fraud or allegations of election fraud or discarded ballots. It's the fact that it was made public to the American people that these were Trump ballots.

[20:10:11]

ACOSTA: It was as if people inside the Justice Department were trying to furnish the President, his team here at the White House, the Trump campaign was sort of an aha, we got them sort of moment, when in fact, these kinds of episodes, these anecdotal pieces of evidence that come across from time to time that there might be election fraud going on, they have to be investigated and that's what the Democratic Attorney General of Pennsylvania was saying was that this was an example of the system working.

They found a case where something needed to be investigated, but Anderson, the fact that the Justice Department would put out a press release, saying that oh, by the way, we found some or we're investigating some Trump ballots that were discarded, I think that raises some alarm bells, and obviously, this is a case that people are going to be closely watching.

One wrinkle we should point out, Anderson, is that the Justice Department initially put their press release on its website talking about this case then had to pull it down, because the number of ballots in question here went from nine to seven and they had to correct themselves in putting out that press release almost seeming as if they were racing out there to get the President some helpful information and then had to go back and correct the record -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks. Perspective now from Colorado's Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, who will oversee elections in her state which mails ballots to every voter, also CNN chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin.

Secretary Griswold, what do you make of the Department of Justice announcing details of an inquiry like this?

JENA GRISWOLD (D), SECRETARY OF STATE OF COLORADO: Well, I think the investigation is still very unclear. And we'll see what happens as the details develop. But what is clear is that the President is using his position as President to try to tilt an election in his favor.

It seems that the use of the D.O.J. is to try to undermine mail ballots even further, because the President believes that at least the use of mail ballots in some states will hurt his political chances.

And I just really, really urge Americans to ignore what the President is saying on vote by mail. He is lying to try to keep power, and what Americans should do is just make sure their registration is up-to- date, voter mail ballot, if it's available in the jurisdiction and make a plan to vote early and make all of our voices heard this upcoming election.

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, is there any precedent for something like this? Well, I mean, what for -- I mean, for a President doing this, for what the Department of Justice is doing?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, no and no, I mean, it's important to realize that one of the bedrock principles of the Justice Department is you don't release partial information about an investigation that is just getting started. This is something every Assistant U.S. Attorney learns that you don't

tell the press that you're looking into subject A, B or C, what you do is you issue a press release when the case is resolved, usually with an indictment or sometimes when you decide not to indict.

But to release that you are investigating, you know, possible tampering or some sort of improper conduct, it is also vague, that that you can't even tell what really went on here. It looks like I think, as you suggested, this was a Trump campaign press release in the form of a Department of Justice letter from a U.S. Attorney. And it is really a tremendous embarrassment that the Justice Department has started to behave this way.

But I think you can see why it's because they are -- the President is trying to undermine the election in general and mail-in ballots in particular.

COOPER: Secretary Griswold, I mean, if seven ballots were found in the garbage, why would that happen? I mean, in your state, what sort of, you know -- I mean, is there -- you know, the claims by the President, obviously, is that this validates the idea that there is widespread organized voter fraud with mail-in ballots and certainly universal ballots.

GRISWOLD: Well, I think it's really important to highlight study after study shows that the rate of any type of voter fraud is extremely low. You can just look at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that puts the rate of voter fraud at 0.00006 percent with mail ballots.

So I really do believe this is a political stunt. This is not the first time that the President has tried to use federal agencies to bolster his crusade against this election.

And I want to underline how dangerous this is for the nation. We have a President who is not committing to respect the outcomes of our elections. We need to make sure that every American is ready to go to the polls and equipped with the information that they need, because every American needs to have their voice heard if they are eligible to vote, and we cannot let the President.

So, so much confusion and discord into our elections that it ends up suppressing turnout come November.

[20:15:06]

COOPER: Jeff, the Department of Justice also, as we mentioned, commented on which candidates having the ballots cast their vote for, is that something that the D.O.J. would usually do?

TOOBIN: Never. And you know, the U.S. Attorney wrote this two-page letter. It is so unclear what even happened here. One of the reasons you don't release preliminary information as a prosecutor is because it is incomplete and sometimes mysterious in what it actually means.

So the idea that there was some sort -- it's not even clear that what went on here and the fact that you know that they mentioned that these were seven or seven out of nine or nine out of nine, again, it's vague Trump ballots underlines that this was not a legitimate law enforcement operation to release this information.

It was simply a stunt to help the President describe discredit mail-in balloting. And this is precisely what the Justice Department should not be doing.

COOPER: Senator Griswold, I mean, your office on the frontlines of this. Where does the State of Colorado stand with the mail-in voting process? And I'm wondering how confident you are it is working in your state?

GRISWOLD: Well, in Colorado, we have the national gold standard when it comes to elections and we mail a ballot to every registered voter. And I am tremendously confident in the ability to have a great election in November. You know, there was a back and forth with the Postmaster General. He has given assurances that the Postal Service is up to the task.

But more importantly, we've won a couple of lawsuits making sure that the postage of mail ballots are delivered in a timely fashion. But I am concerned about the President's rhetoric that we have a President who disrespects the very foundation of our democracy, and unfortunately, we do not have the legal guardrails in place to ensure that our elections go so that every American can have their voice heard.

So what I hope is that after this election, we continue on national conversation, a conversation to make sure that every American's right to vote is respected and that means vote by mail for all early voting, same day voter registration, and access for every American across the nation, just like we have here in Colorado.

COOPER: So are you getting any sense, though, that the President's scare tactics about mail-in voting is giving voters in Colorado any second thoughts about the system's integrity?

GRISWOLD: Well, the President has a huge platform and I think it's just such a shame for the nation and confidence in our elections that he chooses to use it for corruptive purposes.

I will say in our June 30th primary, we set a record turnout 99.3 percent of all ballots were cast using a mail ballot, even with the opportunity to use in-person early voting and Election Day in-person voting, and that a higher percentage of Republican voters chose to use their mail ballot.

We are getting an increased number of calls asking about how the process will work and we're trying the best -- I'm trying my best to push back against the lies and that's why I think it's so important to have these conversations so that Americans know that the President is fueling lies for his own political gain, and that they should continue to make a plan and cast a ballot.

COOPER: Jena Griswold, appreciate all your efforts. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much for being with us.

Coming up, "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman on the President's threats.

And just ahead, more in the second night of protests over the grand jury's decision in the killing of Breonna Taylor, her family's attorney, Benjamin Crump joins us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:22:16]

COOPER: We are following protests in Louisville, Kentucky tonight. You can hear crowds chanting "Breonna Taylor," we want to show you a scenes from just a few moments ago. Demonstrators demanding justice for Breonna Taylor chanting "Say her name."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say her name.

GROUP: Breonna Taylor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say her name.

GROUP: Breonna Taylor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say her name.

GROUP: Breonna Taylor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That chant "Say her name" is part of a movement meant to highlight the names of black female victims of police violence. Tonight, in addition to the demonstrations, we want to focus on the case that has moved so many of the streets in Louisville and elsewhere and discuss why the grand jury decided to charge one officer with wanton endangerment, none of the three involved with any charges related to Taylor's death.

Here to talk about that is attorney for Breonna Taylor's family, Benjamin Crump. Mr. Crump, thanks for being with us. I'm wondering first of all your reaction to the charges and how the Taylor family has been dealing with this.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY: Well, Anderson, Breonna's family was devastated. They were heartbroken and they were outraged. And like me and my co-counsels attorney, Lonita Baker and attorney Sam Aguilar, they were baffled by what Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron actually portended to the grand jury. Did he present any evidence at all of we have for Breonna Taylor?

And if he did, and then he unilaterally made a decision to put his thumb on the scales of justice, to exonerate those police officers that killed Breonna Taylor, and may show that she would not get due process of the law, and that she would not get justice and that's why we are demanding that the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings be released, so we can see if Breonna's voice was ever made put forth before that grand jury.

COOPER: How much of a heads up did the Attorney General give the Taylor family before making the announcement and were the charges clearly explained to them?

CRUMP: Anderson, he notified them about 10 minutes before the decision was announced to the world. And no, there was not much explanation given whatsoever. In fact, my co-counsel had to explain to Miss Palmer that the wanton endangerment charge was not even for Breonna's apartment, but for her white neighbors in the next door apartment. They didn't return wanton endangerment charges for her black neighbors who had a bullet go into their apartment.

[20:25:10]

CRUMP: Nor did they bring any wanton endangerment charges for the bullets that were shot blindly into Breonna Taylor's apartment, and worst of all, Anderson Cooper, they did not bring wanton murder charges for the bullets that went into Breonna Taylor's body.

COOPER: The Kentucky Governor today reiterated his call for the Attorney General to release the grand jury documents to the public. The Louisville Mayor also said the city is working with the Attorney General's Office and the F.B.I. to quote "determine what we can release so it doesn't interfere with any of the ongoing investigations."

I mean, I know you're calling for that. Do you think that's actually going to happen? Because it doesn't happen very often, or does it?

CRUMP: It doesn't happen often, Anderson, but since the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, talking about transparency, then what better way to be transparent than to release the transcripts?

You remember Anderson, they released them in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. So there is a precedence where you can release the transcripts of a grand jury proceeding, because what we really want to know is did he present evidence of the lieutenant who lied on the probable cause affidavit, which was the basis for the judge to sign a no-knock warrant that allowed them to go to Breonna Taylor's house and bust open the door and kill her?

Or did he call the neighbors, the 12 neighbors that our legal team interviewed that said there was no knocking and announcing the presence of the police. Daniel Cameron keeps putting forth this one neighbor who said that he heard the police knock and announce, but they're not telling you that that neighbor on two previous statements said that he didn't hear any police officers not knock and announce themselves.

So did he only present that one person to the grand jury and all this ridiculousness about self-defense? The law is very clear in Kentucky, did he tell them that when you are in third party innocent bystander that the person who is claiming self-defense does not have the right to use violence or injure you or to shoot you if there's another person who used the force against them to imply self-defense.

And everybody, Anderson Cooper, has said that Breonna had no gun. Breonna posed no threat. She was a black woman in her own home in her underwear when her body was mutilated by six bullets shot by the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department.

COOPER: You tweeted today that this is a quote "documented and clear cover up." I spoke to Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor's boyfriend, her attorney -- his attorney last night, who also said there was a cover up. What specifically do you believe that the Attorney General is covering up?

CRUMP: Well, the fact that if he didn't put the context about the probable cause affidavit that show, this was based on a lie in the first place, saying that the United States Postal Inspector said Breonna was getting packages delivered to her house. And then the United States Postal Inspector said, we never made that statement. There were no packages delivered to Breonna Taylor's house.

So if that wasn't communicated in that grand jury proceeding, how isn't that a cover up? I mean, there are so many things when you think about this case, when it first happened. Breonna's mother and sister calling every day to the Police Department to say can you explain to me why you killed my daughter in her own apartment, and for everyday getting no answers, but yet they released a three-page police report, Anderson, that was filled with lies saying that there was no signs of forced entry when we know they busted open the door.

And then they had the audacity to say that there were no injuries yet. Breonna was executed there in the hallway of her apartment and so we do believe it was a cover up from go. They always intended to sweep this under the rug as if Breonna Taylor's life didn't matter.

And it continues a long pattern in America that they disrespect and try to marginalize the lives of black women. But Breonna's legacy will be that black women lives matter to America.

COOPER: There is an F.B.I. investigation still ongoing. Do you have confidence in that?

CRUMP: Well, we have to see because we have to see if they're going to look at this whole no-knock warrant, which we believe was unconstitutional and illegal from the beginning because they lied on the probable cause affidavit, which is a civil rights violation to Breonna Taylor.

[20:30:10]

So are they going to hold people accountable for that? And that's what they should do. Are they going to hold people accountable for shooting bullets and telling this truth in the aftermath of the killing of Breonna Taylor? Because what we continue to say is we want to make sure that there are not two justice systems in America, one for black America one for white America, and the one for black America seems to always and that the police officers did no wrong. And just because they say it's legal, that doesn't make it right.

It's the 65th anniversary today of the legend of Emmett Till, and they said, remember, Anderson, that was legal, but that didn't make it right. So when Daniel Cameron, this Attorney General for Kentucky tries to tell us that it was justifiable, and it was legal what that does not make it right.

COOPER: Benjamin Crump, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you.

COOPER: President Trump claims he could overrule the FDA if the agency tried to put tougher standards in place to approve a coronavirus vaccine. Take a look. If that's possible, I'll talk it over with former director of the CDC to see if politics could interfere with science. Again, when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:35:54]

COOPER: Keeping a close eye on the second night of protests in Louisville of the grand jury's decision in the Breonna Taylor case. We're going to bring you any updates.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. is approaching 203,000. President Trump continues to inject election year politics into the science of any possible vaccine. Yesterday the president claimed the White House could in effect overrule his own FDA if the agency tried to put tougher standards in place to approve a coronavirus vaccine.

Today as part of an online conversation with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Anthony Fauci made it clear that White House override would be a problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: The issue is that the scientists and the FDA have put this forth as what their proposal for the criteria for a EUA. Under normal circumstances, that decision is there, the secretary approves it and that's it. Something that comes from without that is not a scientific consideration would be troublesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Troublesome. Politics and science at a critical juncture. Joining me now is Dr. Tom Frieden, a former CDC director.

You heard Dr. Fauci say, I assume you agree it's troublesome. Is it anything to be done about it? I mean, can the President do that?

TOM FRIEDEN, FMR DIRECTOR, CDC: Well Anderson, if you think about what makes a vaccine work, it has to be safe, effective and trusted. And if they cut corners and stop a trial early to rush something into people's arms, we're not going to know whether it's safe, we're not going to know if it's effective for all groups, such as the elderly. And we're not going to have the trust in it that's needed to get it used. We all want there to be a vaccine available as soon and safely as possible.

But if you look at what this administration has done, whether with masks or when to close, when to open, what to do with schools, what you've seen is a persistent and consistent overruling of science, that has backfired. That's why we have over 200,000 deaths in this country. It's why we've lost so many millions of jobs, that backing science isn't getting in the way of our response, it's the way to get back to a new normal.

COOPER: Clearly, the President doesn't feel the same way. Do you know if he would have the power to override something that the FDA would normally be able to just do?

FRIEDEN: Well, on the one hand, you have an advisory committee that's external, and that's going to meet I believe, on October 22nd to look at data, whether something happens before that date on that date, or after that date. It is possible just as Washington dictated things to be put on the CDC website, or as you had a very politicized set of decisions on emergency use authorizations of hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma, it's certainly possible that the White House could interfere with science. That has a huge risk, not only for COVID, but for all vaccines of undermining trust, and something that's already questioned by many in society.

The risks here are huge. They're not just that we'll continue to have spread of COVID, but that we'll have less trust in many different vaccines. And one thing that's important to keep in mind is as important as a vaccine is, and it's very important, it's only one tool, there's no fairytale ending to this pandemic, even with a vaccine, we're going to need to hold off on large in-person indoor gatherings, we're going to need to track down cases in contact, stop clusters, wear masks, hold off of handshaking, or at least most of 2021, if not beyond.

COOPER: So how does it end? I mean, if the vaccine comes out, or several vaccines come out, and it very, they're able to, you know, have a raid, efficacious rate of, I don't know, 50% or 70%. I mean, is this now just something that's going to exist out there, just like the seasonal flu and some people will die and some people will who would be elderly vaccinated and there'll be better therapeutics and it's just something that'll just be there.

[20:40:03]

FRIEDEN: Well, first off, we don't know what's going to happen. It's had less than a year in the human population. It may change with time, but one thing is certain. There's no one answer here, what we have to do is chip away at the pandemic and each of those chip, each of them is important. The three W's wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands, closing risky indoor places, when there's a lot of spread in a community, better treatment, steroids knocked down mortality by about a third and severely ill people. A vaccine would be the single most important tool but only one tool, contact tracing, strategic testing, rapid isolation, quarantine. These are all tools that will allow us to get to a new normal, and get most of our economy back and have some new ways of doing things even better and more efficiently.

But if any one of these tools is undermined as masks and testing and isolation and contact tracing have already been undermined by politicizing the science, it sets us back. It results in deaths and economic devastation that are avoidable.

COOPER: Dr. Frieden. Appreciate it. As always, thank you very much.

As we mentioned earlier, President Trump continues to pound away on his baseless claim about the election not being honest, as he puts it, and he's refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, which isn't credible to even say that out loud if he loses the election.

Next talk, we'll New York Times Tom Friedman about the tremors that kind of message sends throughout the country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:45:07]

COOPER: We keep an eye on the protests in Louisville stemming from the Breonna Taylor case. This is President Trump's continuing -- continues to claim without basis in fact that the upcoming election won't be honest. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has decades of experience covering leaders worldwide who tried to stay in power. He's also the author of the bestseller Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America. He joins me now.

You know, Tom, we played President Reagan's statement when he gave his first inaugural address and the first thing he addressed was the commonplace nature of the peaceful transfer of power and to praise Jimmy Carter for making it so easy to facilitate that. It is something that in this country is commonplace that overseas where people were presidents' dress up and fake military uniforms, and when they have their families running other, you know, branches of government. They don't have peaceful transfers of power. Were you surprised that the President said this? I mean, you know, a lot of people say that, you know, yes, it's stunning, but not surprising.

TOM FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: I found it stunning and surprising. Anderson, you know, I began my career as a journalist covering Lebanon's second civil war and its history. And I'm terrified to find myself ending my career as a journalist covering America's potential second civil war and its history.

COOPER: You really believe that?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, I think what happened in the last few days is a six alarm fire. I think it's DEFCON 5. The President of the United States has told us either I win the election, or I delegitimize the election. Those are your choices, folks. And he basically is trying to break people's will to really get people to say, what the heck, he wants it so bad. Just give it to him. I think this is this is certainly the most frightening moment in my life. It's frightening because of him. It's frightening because he's backed by a state owned network.

And it's terrifying because the Republican Party has become basically a political brothel, that rents itself out by the night to ever will energize its base, whether it was Sarah Palin or the Tea Party, and now Trump. This is a party that went into its convention with no platform. No platform. Basically said whatever Trump wants, we want. And I -- if you're not frightened, now, if you are not terrified for what could happen? It's not we might have a disputed election. It is we are going to have a disputed election. Almost certainly unless Trump wins, in which case, I shudder to think what four more years of this would be like.

COOPER: It does -- I mean, it certainly kind of is a waving red flag to armed supporters of the President who feel aggrieved to, you know, believe in conspiracy theories who are showing up already to protest to, you know, guard garages and stuff. It's really puts them on notice that the President is up for the idea of not having a peaceful transfer of power.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, I think that you simply cannot count on not only the rules, but the norms. I mean, what really govern this country, the words on paper were important, but we're learning what is so much more important are the norms that people use to apply those words, and that certain things were just simply considered off the table. And what Donald Trump did in the last two days, basically delegitimizing a legitimate form of voting with a virtually 0% case of corruption, as your previous guest noted. Used by Democrats and Republicans, electing Democrats and Republicans, mail-in voting, he is delegitimizing that, because he thinks he is going to lose.

And I think this is just the beginning. That this should be breaking news banner headline on CNN, The New York Times, Washington Post, everyday, this is all we should be talking about. Because I promise you on November 3rd and 4th, this is all we will be talking about. And by then it could be too late.

COOPER: But how do you? I mean, how does this play out in other countries that that you've seen? I mean, again, I can't believe we're having this conversation, frankly, because I just can't believe it.

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, I was before I came on, I was reading up about Bueller (ph). Bueller is, you know, this Russian satellite basically where their president basically cooked the election. He's been in power 26 years saying the country needs me now. We're in a terrible crisis. And you know, the State Department's mails made some mild protests. But as a foreign correspondent that started Do what you do you cover those kinds of elections, and then you call the State Department. And you get some statement hopefully a strong one. You know that stands up for the principles of self-determination and free and fair elections. That's I did all these years as a foreign correspondent.

[20:50:17] Now you have to do it in your own country, only the people you'd want to call the Justice Department. They're not answering the phone. They're in on the joke. Of course, it's not a joke at all. And I just think, you know, one of the most ridiculous statements made by any journalist was after Trump was elected, who excoriated the press for saying, oh, you, you silly reporters, you took him literally. But his supporters only took him figuratively. You never should have taken them literally. That turns out Anderson to be the single stupidest statement anybody ever made. Because everything Trump has literally said he has done or tried to do. This is a man you should definitely take at his literal word when he talks about these kinds of shenanigans.

COOPER: Right. And that is the irony of Trump is that, you know, the only thing transparent about him is, he does say all the stuff that is in his head that he wants to do. He says it on Twitter, he says it out loud. People discounted. They (INAUDIBLE), they say don't take it literally. But he does speak the quiet stuff and people think out loud.

FRIEDMAN: And when you when you have a president without shame.

COOPER: Yes.

FRIEDMAN: Backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity, and by social networks that are marinated in conspiracy theories, behind whom are a lot of armed people. If you aren't frightened by this, you are not paying attention.

COOPER: So what happens? So what do you do?

FRIEDMAN: There's only one thing to do. Vote, go out and vote. Vote for Joe Biden, raise money for Joe Biden, canvass for Joe Biden. Register someone -- help someone registered to vote for Joe Biden, and drive someone to the polls to vote for Joe Biden. This is all about power, Anderson. This isn't you're not going to persuade the Republican Party. I had a good laugh tonight when I saw that Lindsey Graham said, don't worry. If we have -- if Joe Biden wins the election, you have nothing to worry about, will abide by that. The same guy, you know, who said if the Supreme Court situation that that the Republicans ran through before repeated again, he wouldn't be for it. There's only one tool we have, but it is a tool that can work, and that is to overwhelmingly vote. And I've written and I will repeat. I will walk to the polls. I will crawl to the polls. I will slither to the polls. I will bike to the polls. I will hike to the polls, but I will cast my vote for Joe Biden.

COOPER: Tom Friedman, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Up next, what happened when President Trump paid his respects to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:57:22] COOPER: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump paid their respects the Lady Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this morning outside the Supreme Court. This was the reaction.

That's booing. There were -- also some chants from the crowd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Vote him out. Vote him out. Vote him out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The crowd yelling vote him out. They didn't stop there. There's also this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Honor her wish. Honor her wish. Honor her wish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Honor her wish. Shouting a reference to Justice Ginsburg report a request to her granddaughter that her replacement not be confirmed until after a new president was installed. Senior justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joins us now from the Supreme Court. What did the President have to say about the crowd's reaction?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, he was asked about it as he was leaving the White House and really he dismissed those chants of vote him out. He said he could barely hear anything. But it was the White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany who really lashed out calling the chance appalling saying that the President is always greeted with respect in other parts of the country.

Now the First Lady and the President they stayed here for mere minutes. And really Anderson, the President has been very careful to be very respectful to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He has ordered the flags that half-staff but of course, he has also dismissed her dying wish to wait to name her successor because he'll name one on Saturday night Anderson.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, dismissed and claimed she didn't even say it. Tomorrow's Justice Ginsburg, she going to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, making her the first woman in American history to receive that honor. Do we know the protocol for that?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, it is a rare honor. It's been bestowed upon Ruth Bader Ginsburg by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Other women have been honored at the Capitol like Rosa Parks, but she only was lying in honor as opposed to lying in state. So this is a big deal.

Now, Ruth Bader Ginsburg casket will be brought from the Supreme Court over to the U.S. Capitol tomorrow morning. That's when there'll be a ceremony and included in that ceremony, Anderson, will be an opera singer. And of course, we know just how much Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg loved her opera. Anderson.

COOPER: Jessica Schneider. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you, my friend. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to Primetime.

Our president who pledges law and order, who promised on his watch, the carnage would end. Well today he doubled down on the idea that he made defy the law. That he may allow or maybe even cause disorder and indeed invite carnage if this selection is not to his liking.