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No Evidence to Support President Trump's Claims of Widespread Voter Fraud; Battle for Votes in Florida; Report: Single-Shot Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Showing Strong Immune Response; Third Night Protests In Louisville Over Lack Of Charges In Breonna Taylor's Death; Sources: Trump Intends To Nominate Amy Coney Barrett To Supreme Court; Ginsburg Becomes First Woman To Lie In State At Capitol; Helping To Rebuild Lives. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 25, 2020 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: AC 360 with Anderson begins right now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. President Trump today continued his assault on mail-in voting, making a case for which he has no evidence. Let's be clear, the burden of proof is on him and his allies and as you'll see, none exists.

This lie that the President is pushing, it matters because he is now setting the stage to contest an election, based on a claim with no evidence.

Two days ago, the President was asked a very simple question, would he commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election? Any President can answer that question, because any President should be versed in American history and democracy. He would not commit to that, however, he said, quote, "Well, we're going to see what happens." And then he doubled down on that the very next day.

And so now we're seeing the administration's top spokespeople try to justify or alter what the President said or excuse it, and they're using the same phrase to sidestep any question that they're asked about why this guy won't commit to this basic principle of American democracy.


MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: What we want to make sure of is that we have a free and safe and fair election.

KAYLEIGH, MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President will accept the results of a free and fair election.

MEADOWS: We believe he will win on November 3rd, and with a free and fair election.

QUESTION: So yes or no, you will accept the election results if they come down the day or the day after Election Day?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Trump and I will accept the results of a free and fair election.


COOPER: I mean, is there a memo, did they -- I mean, clearly, it's a talking point. You know, is there -- did they have a conference call and they all agree on oh, yes, let's use free and fair election.

Before these apologists started using free and fair election to gloss over what the President himself said, which was quite clear, the phrase free and fair election, it used to have actual meaning. Our government traditionally uses that phrase to discuss what it wants to see from governments in places like Iraq or Russia.

President Trump himself has used it during a discussion of Venezuela one year ago today, in fact. It's not meant to be a wink or a nod or empty rhetoric or something that Vice President Pence can sagely nod his head as though he has really given it a lot of thought, and he really cares about it. It's just empty rhetoric. That's what it's turned into.

It's a phrase that's supposed to mean something and America is in a position to call for others to have free and fair elections, because we pride ourselves on that happening here. But now, that phrase is basically a dodge, trying to answer a dodge for answering a question for which they have no answer.

And it comes down to that burden of proof, and this President has shown no proof, because there's no evidence of widespread fraud, voter fraud, to point to.

That's not stopping members of the administration from trying. It certainly is not stopping the President. But earlier this month, Attorney General William Barr, he tried to push that idea in a conversation with Wolf Blitzer. Listen.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Elections that have been held with mail have found substantial fraud and coercion. For example, we indicted someone in Texas 1,700 ballots collected from people who could vote, he made them out and voted for the person he wanted to. Okay. That kind of thing happens with mail-in ballots and everyone knows that.


COOPER: This guy, keeping them honest, no. Actually everyone doesn't know that and it's not true. Don't take our word for it. Take the word of, I don't know, the Justice Department. Yes, because after that interview, a Justice Department spokesperson acknowledged what Attorney General Barr said was incorrect, and blamed a memo that quote "contained an inaccurate summary about the case," unquote.

So he is there full of righteous indignation, barking at Wolf, when in fact, what he is saying is just not true, and his own Department came forward afterward and said, oh, yes, you know what? We gave him a bad memo.

A short time later, Barr attempted a different defense with Wolf. Listen.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You've said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people that it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?

BARR: I'm basing -- as I've said repeatedly, I am basing that on logic.

BLITZER: Pardon?

BARR: Logic.

BLITZER: But have you seen any evidence that a foreign country is trying to intervene --

BARR: No, I'm saying. No, I'm saying people are concerned about foreign influence.


COOPER: People are concerned about foreign influence. People are concerned about alien life forms coming down and voting, too. I'm sure some people are. What does that mean? People are concerned about it. Okay.

I'm concerned about a lot of things, it doesn't mean, you know, I'm concerned about getting old. It doesn't mean, you know, who cares people are concerned? It's not true.

It actually matters. It's just not true.

This time there is no actual evidence, just logic, William Barr is saying. William Barr's logic. That guy.

I mean, apparently William Barr's logic does not apparently require actual evidence. It's just stuff William Barr thinks.

It's also clear that Barr's opinion is not universally held throughout the Justice Department, the one he is on top of. Here's F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray just yesterday.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, F.B.I.: 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.


COOPER: The F.B.I. has found no evidence. I'll say it again. The same F.B.I. that is part of the Justice Department, allegedly run by Bill Barr has found no such evidence.

This morning, President Trump's Chief of Staff, guess what he did? He goes after Christopher Wray, of course. Watch.


QUESTION: Your own F.B.I. Director says he has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud by mail or otherwise?

MEADOWS: Well, with all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding e-mails in his own F.B.I., let alone of figuring out whether there's any kind of voter fraud.

Perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground, and then he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill.


COOPER: Boom, whoa. That is just weak cheese. He is going to have to do better that to avoid being thrown under the bus by President Trump. Because you know, that's what happens to Chiefs of Staff. President Trump gets reelected, how long is that guy going to last?

Christopher Wray was appointed by the President, and by the way, unlike most of the President's hires, Wray is a person of integrity. He's actually had a long and storied career and he was testifying under oath, which is certainly more than we can say for the President or that guy, Mark Meadows.

He isn't some partisan you can dismiss with a flip answer that you've had to think about and maybe had Kayleigh McEnany's hand in. By the way, I thought that Mark Meadows is Chief of Staff of the law and order President. Remember that? The law and order President?

How come these alleged law and order folks these days are the ones attacking the heads of the F.B.I. and defending treasonous ideas like not committing to a peaceful transfer of power? Is that law and order?

It almost makes you think their definition of law and order might not exactly jive with democratic values. They might not be so much about law and order. And not only are they attacking people they themselves have appointed, they aren't even listening to their own statistics on absentee ballots.

Let's take a look at the first page of a Heritage Study on voter fraud posted to the White House website. You'll notice the symbol in the top left of the part -- the Heritage Foundation, it's a conservative think tank. This is their evidence that they point to. And yet when you go in the voter fraud database on the heritage website, as we did, and you count up what's listed under the category of quote," fraudulent use of absentee ballots," which we did. It's about 192 cases, since the year 2000. Total.

About 192 cases total in the last 20 years, in which hundreds of millions of votes have been cast. Out of or tens of millions of votes. I don't have the exact number, let's say tens of millions of votes over the last 20 years. Or maybe let's pay attention to men like Benjamin Ginsberg, a top Republican election lawyer.

In fact, the person that these guys would normally go to and hire when they want to contest an election, and guess what Ginsberg said? He said the same basic thing in an opinion piece for "The Washington Post" quoting from him, "Republicans trying to make their cases in courts must deal with the basic truth that four decades of dedicated investigation have produced only isolated incidents of election fraud."

And Ginsberg counts himself as a man who has looked for that evidence for years, but it just doesn't exist. Which brings us back to the burden of proof on just what exactly in the President's mind constitutes a free and fair election.

Struggle as his surrogates might to find the answer, the President himself, he gave up the whole game just last month. What's free and fair, it's easy -- if he wins.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only way we're going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. It is the only way we are going to lose this election.


COOPER: So that's a free and fair election for this President, an election he wins. Here with their perspectives, Rick Hasen, a CNN election law analyst, author of "Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust and the Threat to American Democracy."

Also with us is David Laufman, a Department of Justice veteran in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He is also a former Assistant U.S. Attorney.

So David, even though this incident in Pennsylvania that the Trump administration, the Department of Justice were pointing to trying to make a big deal about, turned out to be basically nothing. Is how the D.O.J. handled it in any way appropriate or how they similar to how they normally handle investigations?


DAVID LAUFMAN, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE VETERAN IN BOTH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATIONS: Absolutely not. It couldn't be more disturbing, Anderson. What happened today is just the latest example of how the President of the United States is trying to turn the Justice Department into his personal petting zoo and the Attorney General is acting as his aider and abettor.

It is grossly -- for prosecutors to make public statements about pending investigations, particularly incipient ones that comment on the evidence in those investigations, particularly in a way that is favorable to a candidate for elective office, i.e. here the President of the United States, and to do so in such close proximity to an election. All of those things run directly counter to bedrock principle and policy of the Department of Justice.

The Justice Department needs to act as a bulwark against the types of abuses that you detailed in your opening. And instead, it is acting as a handmaiden to them.

COOPER: And, Rick, what does it tell you that President Trump and his allies started pointing to this in Pennsylvania with an assist from the Justice Department as evidence of voter fraud is real, and by extension, that the legitimacy of the entire election is somehow at risk?

RICHARD L. HASEN, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: I think we're just at the beginning of this, what we're seeing is taking minor administrative errors. This turns out to have been a contract employee who was third day on the job, made a screw up, and all of a sudden the President who was tipped off by Barr apparently before the public even knew about this investigation, claiming that it shows widespread voter fraud.

I think we're going to be hearing this constantly. The idea is going to be that the election is rigged and we're going to keep hearing this unless Trump actually wins the election. And it might be a basis for Trump to say he didn't really lose the election, or it might be a basis to try to have a post-election litigation to try to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, David, what's so ridiculous about them pointing to this incident is this mistake that was made with seven ballots. And the way they went about it is, if that's the best evidence that they can point to, I mean, again, that argues against their very case. I mean, if they had reams of evidence of widespread organized voter fraud, they would certainly use it.

They formed a commission on it because President Trump has been claiming voter fraud for years and they don't find it because it's not there. As someone who worked in the Department of Justice, David, for both Democratic and Republican administrations does what we're seeing from Barr and his relationship with the President, particularly with matters of executive power, rule of law and mail-in voting, I mean, it doesn't -- does it square with your understanding of how things are supposed to work?

LAUFMAN: No, it's directly counter to them. In every administration, there is a memo that the Attorney General abides by that sets out the terms in which the White House and the Department of Justice can communicate on pending criminal investigations. What happened yesterday, is directly counter to that.

This wasn't just a question of coordination between the White House and the Department of Justice. I dare say this is outright collusion between the White House and the Department of Justice and the rollout -- the public rollout of comments about a pending investigation, expressly intended to benefit the President politically.

COOPER: Rick, does -- you know, we had Tom Friedman on the program last night who, you know, was legitimately worried about, you know, civil insurrection. The President encouraging violence if he doesn't get his way on the election, are you worried about what's going on? Are you worried about American democracy?

HASEN: Well, I know that last night on the program, he said it was a six alarm fire. I had a piece yesterday in "Slate" calling it a five alarm fire. So we might have a slight difference.

Here's what I think. I think we face a small risk of a catastrophe. The real question is, are we going to make it through where one candidate has enough of a margin, that it's not going to be plausible to try to contest the election. If the elections really close and it comes down to looking at ballots in Pennsylvania and whether or not the, you know, there were minor problems and how those ballots were counted.

I think we could be in for something much worse than the 2000 Bush versus Gore type of situation, because now we're much more polarized. We have a really incendiary rhetoric coming from the President.

And of course, we have got social media that the President and others are using to spread misinformation and disinformation.

Lots of people believe no matter what the results actually are, that the election is being stolen. So it's really a kind of toxic brew that we're facing as a country right now. And only a large margin, I think, is going to save us from maybe not a Civil War, but from really a difficult period in American history.

COOPER: You know, David, the President has this thing about, you know, back in prior administrations that people around the world were laughing at us, laughing at America, laughing at the government. I don't know if -- I mean, I know some places people are laughing. I think there's also places where a lot of people are shaking their heads out of pity for us.

But among our adversaries, they've got to be loving this. I mean, that a sitting President is spreading baseless conspiracy theories, demeaning all the henchmen around him, who are mouthpieces for him and selling themselves in the process. I mean, it's basically a gift to those who would wish the United States exactly this kind of division.


LAUFMAN: Anderson, if we could have access to Vladimir Putin's secret private wish list, the havoc that he is seeing in the United States, some of which he has contributed to, some of which the President of the United States who appears compromised in some manner by his activities in Russia could not be more ecstatic about what he is seeing.

This is what the Russians hope for not just domestically within the United States, but the disorder in our international alliances, the President's efforts to discredit NATO. All these things are key objectives of the Russian government and other adversaries.

COOPER: Richard and David, thank you very much. Really appreciate it. Important discussion.

Just ahead, more on the President's push for a second term. He went to Florida today where polling suggests it's a close race.

And as the U.S. now passes seven million cases of the coronavirus, there is breaking news in the vaccine front, early results from a clinical trial when we continue.


COOPER: President Trump was again today in Florida State where the polls are incredibly close and the President needs in his win column if he is going to secure a second term.

He spoke to a friendly crowd of Florida's Latino population pushing his record even the some of the more controversial parts of that record.


TRUMP: The people that understand the border better than anybody are the Hispanics, I have had more support when we built the wall -- because they don't want bad people coming into our country. They don't want people coming into the country that are going to take their jobs, and they understand it better. And I always thought it would be the opposite in a way.


COOPER: Just to show how tightly contested the Florida race is, yet again, an initiative by billionaire Michael Bloomberg to help voters with felony convictions in the state is attracting some negative attention from Republican officials in the state. We're now in that contest in Florida from 360's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a state where razor thin election margins are a regular occurrence, every Florida vote counts. Enter billionaire Michael Bloomberg now pouring big money into the Sunshine State to help former Vice President Joe Biden win.

His latest move, more than $16 million raised to pay off debts owed by ex-felons. In 2018, Florida voters approved an amendment restoring voting rights to more than one million people with felony convictions.

Republicans in the state then passed legislation blocking felons from voting unless they paid all fines and court fees. A few years ago, Rosemary McCoy was convicted of illegally occupying a property. She hopes Bloomberg can help.


ROSEMARY MCCOY, UNABLE TO VOTE: I applaud him. I thank him, and I pray that other people join in.


KAYE (voice over): The money Bloomberg raised will go toward helping more than 30,000 black and Latino former felons in Florida cast their ballot. Florida political expert Susan MacManus --


SUSAN MACMANUS, RETIRED PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA: Florida is the perennial purple state with a huge 29 Electoral College votes.


KAYE (voice over): And winning here is expensive. Bloomberg is funneling $100 million of his own money into the state. And in addition to the $16 million to pay off the debts of felons, his money is also backing a TV ad blitz targeting, among other things, President Trump's response to the pandemic.

Bloomberg's cash will also infuse the ground game and get out the vote efforts by black and Latino groups.


MACMANUS: It's like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle with all different kinds of shapes of pieces and yet you have a limited amount of time to do it if you want to win.


KAYE (voice over): No Republican has won the white house without carrying Florida since Calvin Coolidge in 1924. So Florida is crucial for Trump. He is now claiming residency in Palm Beach, and during a recent visit to the state, the President announced a 10-year extension of the ban on oil drilling off Florida's coast after officials voiced concern about how drilling might affect tourism here. All in effort it seems to shore up votes.


TRUMP: This protects your beautiful Gulf and your beautiful ocean.


KAYE (voice over): Both campaigns are making a play for Puerto Rican voters. Tens of thousands of people fled Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017 and resettled in Florida. Mario Rosa relocated and will soon vote in his first presidential election.


KAYE (on camera): What did you make of President Trump's response to the hurricane hitting Puerto Rico?

MARIO ROSA, PUERTO RICAN VOTER: Well, not sufficient, putting it lightly. Inadequate.


KAYE (voice over): Perhaps attitudes like that inspired the Trump administration to suddenly announce $13 billion in aid to help rebuild Puerto Rico three years after the storm.

For his part, Biden is also promising to rebuild the island's infrastructure. He recently visited Florida as well to mark Hispanic Heritage Month.


JOE BIDEN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It's great to be back in Florida.


KAYE (voice over): The campaigns are also flooding the airwaves committed to spending upwards of $70 million each in TV ads with outside groups like Super PACs, throwing another $50 million or so into the mix. According to data from Kantar Media. The Lincoln Project released this ad against Trump about the coronavirus pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 175,000 Americans have died from a deadly virus Donald Trump ignored.


KAYE (voice over): And America first policies, a pro-Trump group is airing this one warning voters that Biden wants to raise taxes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden will raise taxes on all --


MACMANUS: It is the most challenging state to figure out how to win of all 50 states by far.


KAYE (on camera): And in response to Michael Bloomberg looking to help pay the fines and fees for tens of thousands of former felons here in the State of Florida, the Attorney General has asked the F.B.I. and the Florida Department of law enforcement to investigate that citing possible violations of election law. Anderson back to you.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much. Joining us with their perspective, CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson and CNN chief legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, the President is saying today that we may end up in a dispute for a long time after Election Night. You've written about this extensively. How problematic could that be in a state like Florida and frankly other states as well?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Florida is actually one of the exceptions to the rule and one reason why Michael Bloomberg is putting so much money into Florida is that they actually count their votes somewhat quickly and Bloomberg's people feel like if they can get a win for Joe Biden in Florida, that will simply end the election on Election Night, because there's just no way the President can get to 270 electoral votes without Florida.


TOOBIN: However, if Florida is not decided, there are so many possibilities for litigation and disputes about the vote counting. There are 200 lawsuits now -- going on now about how the votes will be counted. So the rules are very much in flux, which means that if there are close elections in these swing states, there's the possibility for litigation afterwards.

There is also the possibility that state legislatures -- state legislators can try to circumvent the entire election and award a state's electoral vote to their candidate of choice. That's the Republican legislature in North Carolina and Wisconsin. It hasn't happened in the modern era, but in the Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, they suggested it was possible. That would be nuclear war like we've never seen.

COOPER: But wait, Jeff, there's already 200 lawsuits?

TOOBIN: That's right. There are 200 lawsuits. The Democrats and Republicans each have websites that chronicle them all. There are multiple lawsuits in many states, Pennsylvania, in particular, probably has a dozen in and of itself.

I mean -- and the thing that is so disturbing about this situation is that the vote counters the Board of Elections people, they don't know what rules they will be applying. A lot of the lawsuits relate to the question of should absentee ballots be counted if they are postmarked before Election Day, but received after Election Day?

The Democrats want those ballots to be counted, the Republicans don't. It varies by state, and it's up in the air in many states at this moment.

COOPER: Nia, President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by just one percent in Florida in 2016. Both parties obviously pouring huge amounts of money. Is it clear to you what the Biden and Trump campaign see as their best chances there?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think they're looking at the same demographics. If you look at what Trump was able to do in 2016, he did very well among Cuban-American voters down there, he won that group. And now he clearly is trying to court Puerto Rican voters down there where about a third of Latinos, all Puerto Rican and some movements. Randi Kaye talked about it in the wake of that hurricane.

You saw President Trump courting that base of voters. Seniors also incredibly important in Florida. So you see Biden going up on the air, talking about the Trump administration, possibly wanting to bankrupt Social Security. I mean, that is the language that somebody like Biden and his allies are using.

And then you have this giant unknown factor, not only the sort of voting, but Bloomberg putting $100 million into that state. If you think about the amount of money in terms of ads that went into Florida, in 2016, it was $133 million combined.

And so you have Bloomberg, really I think, surgically trying to figure out how he blocks Trump from winning the state. It's personal for Bloomberg, right? It's sort of New York billionaire versus quasi-New York billionaire in Donald Trump over there. He is on the one hand wanting to flood the airwaves in the way that we saw him do in the primary where he failed.

But then also a surgically going after these felons. He's on a tight, tight deadline when it comes to those felons. They have to get those folks paying their fines and registering to vote by October 5th, so they are on a tight, tight, tight deadline to do that.

But I do think we know it's going to be close. I think if you're Donald Trump, you're glad that there is a Republican legislature and there's a Republican governor down there, Ron DeSantis, who has been incredibly loyal to this President. And now, of course, the Attorney General, going to bat for this administration in terms of those voting rights and paying those fines for those felons.

So in some ways, I mean, we look at Donald Trump as being behind in a lot of these days, the polls certainly show that but we don't know what's going to happen. We also don't know what length Donald Trump and the Republicans are willing to go to, to win this election in terms of lawsuits, in terms of all sorts of unchartered territory, things we might not have even thought about and seen in American electoral history so far.

So in that way, he has something of an edge because we know that this administration and this President is willing to go to almost any length to win.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, talking about not accepting a peaceful transfer of power. I mean, you can't go to greater length than that.

Nia-Malika Henderson and Jeff Toobin, thank you very much.

Up next. Breaking news as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. top seven million, there is some possible good news on the vaccine front I want to tell you about. That's when we continue.



COOPER: Breaking news on the pandemic tonight is the number of coronavirus cases passes the 7 million mark. There is some possible good news. Researchers at Johnson & Johnson say early results from a Phase 1 and Phase 2 trial of its single shot vaccine show it was well- tolerated and appeared to produce a strong immune response. Need to point out the results have not yet been peer reviewed, which is essential.

Joining me now, Congresswoman Donna Shalala, former head of HHS under President Clinton and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, obviously still very early on the vaccine front though how promising is this potentially?


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it looks promising as you point out, it's very early data. I mean, they're in those Phase 1, Phase 2 trials, you really only have about 800 patients or so, 400 that were under the age of 55 400, over the age of 65. So, you know, we're going to see if that the encouraging results from those early trials actually start to pan out in Phase 3 trials. Can be very large 60,000 people will be in this Phase 3 trials and this is going to be bigger than the other Phase 3trials that we've heard about.

That -- there's a lot of excitement around this. When I talk to the sort of head vaccine manufacturer in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, possibly just a single shot with this vaccine, as opposed to two shots, doesn't need to be frozen, just needs to be refrigerated. So that could make distribution a lot easier. And the type of technology they're using this, what's called an adenovirus technology is a known technology. They've used it for other vaccines such as Zika, for example, Ebola. So they're dealing with more of a known entity here. So those are all promising Anderson.

COOPER: And just Sanjay, do we know -- are there any side effects that we know so far?

GUPTA: Well, you know, and this again, the Phase 1, Phase 2 it's, there were some side effects that were pretty mild, they say well tolerated, arm pain, muscle aches, things like that. What was interesting was that people over the age of 65, had fewer side effects than people under the age of 55. Now, you know, having fewer side effects is obviously good. But that might also suggest that people over the age of 65 weren't developing as strong an immune response. So that's going to be important. You know, does this work as well for older people as it does for younger people? That's what the Phase 3 trials are really going to try and figure out.

COOPER: And Congresswoman Shalala, how concerned are you about this vaccine process and the politicization of it?

REP. DONNA SHALLA (D-FL): Well, I think we all should be concerned, particularly what the President of the United States suggests that he might make the decision. That's scary. We really do want the scientists at the FDA, and they're outside panels to make this decision.

Look, the American people are very nervous about all this politics, whether they should trust the vaccine process or even the COVID management process. So what FDA must do and what the administration must do is to reassure people, by transparency and by a rigorous scientific review process. Only in that way, will we be able to get the number of people through the vaccine process, I saw that the governor of New York said he's going to have his own process. That clearly would undermine the sense that the great scientific agencies of the federal government really should be making these decisions. I don't have any big problem with the kind of review he might set up. But frankly, we've got to have faith in the FDA and the CDC and the NIH. We've invested over the years in world class scientists, and I want the process to be one in which we all trust the vaccine.

COOPER: And yet, Sanjay, obviously, that's, you know, we've seen polls already about people's willingness to even take the vaccine at this point. And this as infection rates are going up in a number of states. And, you know, projections are showing more hospitalizations and potential deaths.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, they say only about half the country right now says that they'd be willing to take this vaccine, despite what they're seeing in terms of the increasing numbers. I think, you know, Congresswoman Shalala is exactly right. I mean, I think part of the strategy right now has to be building that trust. I mean, we talk a lot about the safety and the effectiveness of the vaccine, obviously, and, you know, explaining that scientific process, but there's -- there has been a significant erosion of trust, and some of it, frankly, is deserved. I mean, this FDA gave a emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine with hardly any data, they exaggerated the data around convalescent plasma. I mean, that's, that's why there's this erosion of trust.

I will say, there are a lot of safeguards in place with the vaccine, even more so than with therapeutics. You know, you're giving this to healthy people, the bars for safety and all that have to be higher. There's an independent entity. I spoke to some of the members of this data safety monitoring board today to really understand this process. And look, I'm not saying it's totally objective, but there are a lot of guardrails in place.

COOPR: And Congresswoman Shalala, you know, Florida's Governor DeSantis announced today that the restaurants and bars can now operate at 100% capacity. He also expects Florida hosts what he calls a full Super Bowl. Obviously, you know, does that make sense to you at this stage?


SHALALA: It really doesn't. But, you know, what he's really done is he's overruled local government officials, particularly those in my area of South Florida who have been more careful. He's made it easier for people not to wear masks, for example, by saying there'll be no penalties, his overwrote writing any local government rules about masks. And I just, he's just not paying attention to the science. His advisors are not epidemiologists, they're not great public health experts. And so, he's putting it's really he's putting the state and the people in the state at some risk by overruling a lot of local governments that have really paid attention to the science and tried to be very careful here. COOPER: Sanjay, I mean, did does it make sense to you to have I mean, bars, restaurants at 100% capacity?

GUPTA: Absolutely makes no sense. I mean, you know, the numbers I realize in Florida, have been, you know, relatively level for some time, but you know, we're going into a season now where the numbers are likely to go up to some extent everywhere, because people are going to be increasingly inside more closely clustered together. That's what happens, you know, we've seen this with other outbreaks as well. You know, I -- the idea, there's a few areas that are the worst. If you're inside restaurants or bars, you're not wearing masks because, you know, you're eating or drinking, and that the virus can aerosolized to some extent and spread around. But that is the worst case scenario in terms of viral transmission.

And also, as again, Congressman Shalala pointed out, why not the masks? I mean, at least if you're going to start opening things up, the masks in app help mitigate some of this spread?


GUPTA: He's not even sort of enforcing that.

COOPER: Yes. Congressman Shalala appreciate you being with us. Sanjay, as always, thank you.

We're looking at the streets of Louisville also tonight at third night protesters in the streets or lack of charges and Breonna Taylor's death. Taylor's family won the grand juries transcripts release. I'll speak for the attorney for the family about where they go from here.



COOPER: A third night a protest in Louisville following grand juries decision to bring no direct charges against police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor. At one point Breonna's -- Taylor's mother and other members of her family joined them. The family wants to the grand juries transcripts released the public.

Joining me now is Lonita Baker an attorney for Breonna Taylor's family who just left the protest. Ms. Baker, thanks for being with us tonight. What is the family's message to protesters tonight?

LONITA BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY: The family's messages one, be safe, everyone make it home tonight. But I'll say they truly appreciate the support. That's why they were out there for Porter tonight for half of the march they had another commitment. But they want to show their support to the protesters, just as the protesters have been here supporting them for now over 100 days.

COOPER: Your client, Breonna Taylor's mom wrote a letter that was read on her behalf at our press conference earlier today. And it said and quote in part, I was reassured Wednesday of why I have no faith in the legal system and the police and the law that are not made to protect us black and brown people. How is she doing right now? And where do you -- where do you see this going from here?

BAKER: Yes. So this is supportive, so many is helpful. But Wednesday it was it really was a wound been opened back up for her to hear that Daniel Cameron had elected not to choke to charge the other offices or any of the officers directly with any injuries or death to Breonna. So, the charges that were brought down from the grand jury, we're for one endangerment, for neighbors of Breonna. So there were no direct charges for her. That was very heartbreaking for Ms. Palmer and for the rest of the family.

What we hope from here and, you know, what I said in our press conference earlier today is we want Daniel Cameron to be straightforward. He dodged the questions at the press conference, did he present charges on behalf of Breonna Taylor to the grand jury or to his office make the unilateral decision not to charge these officers with anything related to Breonna Taylor, because that's two different things, Anderson. And if it did not go before a grand jury, that's a true travesty of justice. And we would demand that a special prosecutor be appointed in this -- in that case, and present a case presented to the grand jury.

COOPER: In terms of releasing grand jury transcripts. Who -- I mean, it's rarely done, who makes that decision. Who is it up to?

BAKER: It can be -- the prosecutor can make that determination. We've seen it here done as recently as Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor's boyfriend they released his entire video -- of the recording of his grand jury presentation. In Kentucky typically grand -- jury -- recordings are turned over to the defendant as a part of criminal discovery. Criminal discovery is, you know, part of an open criminal case file which would be available to the public to the press.

So, it definitely can be made apart and it typically is in Kentucky by way of that criminal case (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: I switch to your co-counsel Ben Crump last night, he said there's evidence of a clear cover up. I talked to the attorney for a Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor's boyfriend, as you mentioned, he also thinks it's a cover up. What exactly -- assuming you think the same what exactly do you think Attorney General is covering up?

BAKER: I think that there's a lot of covering up the way that this case was investigated. Their lack of interview in any witnesses prior to this case becoming a widespread media story. There -- so the way that they interviewed Sergeant Mattingly. Again, bullets going into other apartments, there's so much that was not known the police report that indicated that there was no force injury, that Breonna had no injuries, the search warrant that we now know and learned subsequently that contain lies.

So -- it's so much that, you know, the FBI is doing a independent investigation as well. We do hope that there's federal civil rights violations charges brought as well. But again, we're not giving up on state level manslaughter or murder charges. In the case of Breonna Taylor, we think they're warranted here. There's sufficient probable cause here based on the evidence that we've seen. And Daniel Cameron, shame on you if you did not present this case to the grand jury.


COOPER: Well, we'll obviously continue to watch tonight and in the days and weeks ahead, Lonita Baker, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

BAKER: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, a tribute for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dignitaries family and friends gathered to say goodbye.


COOPER: Breaking News, President Trump has repeatedly made his choice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Tomorrow he intends to choose Amy Coney Barrett to be the new Supreme Court Justice, that's according to multiple senior Republican sources with knowledge of the process. All sources caution and until it's announced by the president there's possibility it could make a last minute change. Barrett is a federal judge, law professor at Notre Dame with a conservative record. She's also a former law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. President scheduled to announce his pick on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a trailblazer one last time today as the first woman to lie state in the U.S. Capitol. There was this touching tribute Brian Johnson Ginsburg's personal trainer for more than 20 years did three push ups before her casket. Fitting way to pay his last respects. When Justice Ginsburg held sessions with Johnson she often did planks, squats, and push ups


It has been a week of mourning in Washington across the country and with all the news making headlines tonight. I want to take a moment to reflect on a good thing happening. Tonight, in your Champions for Change series, we show you how an architect is helping to rebuild homes and lives in Puerto Rico.


CARLA GAUTIER CASTRO, KONTI DESIGN BUILD STUDIO: Hurricane Maria changed everything for everyone here in Puerto Rico, there were about 70,000 homes destroyed, some had no roof, and some only just had a toilet left standing. We don't have to live this way.

My mission is to build homes that are earthquake proof and hurricane proof. My company's challenging the way we look at construction, we're using shipping containers as a base structure. I'm a third generation architect. My grandfather and my father are both architects. They've always taught me that being part of a community and helping out that community is actually really important.

Some days after Hurricane Maria, I joined FEMA to work as a construction inspector. I remember this one case, this lady came in to us and we couldn't find the house. And we realized that we couldn't find the house because there was absolutely nothing left. The desperation in that woman's face was just, I'm just never going to forget it.

The name of my company is called KONTI Design Build Studio. In Spanish, it actually combines into many phrases. For example, the word Konti, which means with you, as in, you can take your home with you. These actually look really good. And then we go inside. So there's no holes on the roof. There's no holes on the walls. This is a really beautiful container. It's a really beautiful future home.

Our first KONTI home was built in Vieques, which is an island off the coast of Puerto Rico and was one of the worst off communities after Hurricane Maria.

Hello. Ola. When I come to visit Mildred and Luis who are the owners of this house, it just makes me feel so happy to see that this couple was actually able to get their dream because it was more cost effective and faster. It's probably one of my proudest moments.

LUIS AMADOR, HOMEOWNER (through translation): I open those doors and I'm in paradise. It was her dream that you have something that is ours, and we achieve it. At first, we didn't have a lot of faith. But she fought for us to build.

MILDRED DIAZ, HOMEOWNE (through translation): Vieques lives with their hair standing on end waiting to see if we will get hit by another hurricane. This is the best option.

CASTRO: Almost three years after Hurricane Maria the islands experiencing a string of earthquakes. In the south part of the island this has left. Some homes and businesses uninhabitable. The nonprofit Americas for Conservation + the Arts is using one of our homes as a Health Command Center. In order to be able to distribute supplies and aid to the people that have been affected by the earthquakes. Communities have gathered together and built camps where they're sleeping in tents in open spaces.



VARGAS: (INAUDIBLE). I lost everything. But that's OK, I'm going to get up again. I hope I got it.


CASTRO: The median income in Puerto Rico is about $20,000 when the average home cost about $100,000. The math just doesn't add up. Our county and one model goes for about half the price of the average home in Puerto Rico. We can also make our homes completely off grid. So the ultimate goal is to be able to produce 100 units a month. We can really use these houses for disaster relief. We can use it for refugee camps. But the best part is we want to produce them here in Puerto Rico and ship them all around the world.


COOPER: Making a difference. We'll continue to share these inspirational stories tonight and tomorrow at CNN. Don't miss the "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" one hour special tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m.

We'll be back for a special Sunday night edition of 360. Hope you joining us, previewing the first presidential debate which is on Tuesday. To call the debate anticipated would certainly be an understatement. We'll have all the angles on it. Hope to see you then.

The news continues right now. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Have a good and short weekend, my brother Good to see you. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to Primetime.

Today is day three of this President's active attempt to sabotage this election. This is now his stump selling point.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: No, I don't know. You know, with this ballot situation, it's -- you're not going to.