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Trump Holds Rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Interview with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY); Interview with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D- MN). Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 13, 2020 - 20:00   ET


BURNETT: And thanks to all of you as well. Let's hand it off now to Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good evening, the President is doing it again. There he is, campaigning in Pennsylvania tonight, just like he was in Florida at this time last night letting us know he and his Vice President are going to spend the next three weeks breaking every rule and guideline about what to do in a pandemic.

And in breaking those rules and guidelines, day in and day out as thousands more Americans die, they appear to be counting on all of us to normalize what is after all, deeply, dangerously abnormal.

Now to do that, they are taking advantage of what's best in us, the capacity to adapt to new circumstances. Only, this isn't like Churchill tapping into it to help Londoners get through nightly bombing raids. This is a President who likes to compare himself to Churchill, conditioning Americans to accept a daily assault by him and the Vice President on public health by hosting daily potential super spreader events in places that are right now seeing surges in coronavirus cases.

As you look at these pictures of mostly maskless attendees, except for the people standing behind the President who are given those masks because they are (on camera), not practicing social distancing. Look, how the cases are climbing in that state as you can see, especially in the last several weeks, so is the number of people hospitalized and the positivity rate is between eight and nine percent.

In short, it's a bad place for a large concentrated gathering of non- masked wearing people, nine percent of whom, on average of the people in that room are infected with the deadly virus, or for this President, the new normal that he would like us to accept.

The President goes to Iowa tomorrow where the percentage of tests coming back positive has been in the 15 to 20 percent range for the last seven days. On Saturday, he will be in Wisconsin, where positivity rates are now at or above 20 percent. The headline in today's "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" reads "Wisconsin

surpasses 1,500 coronavirus deaths, reports more than 3,200 new cases in worst day of pandemic yet." Yet, this is where the President will be holding a mass gathering over the weekend. As for the current Vice President and once highly visible leader or alleged leader of the Coronavirus Taskforce, Mike Pence was today.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Can we just take a moment? Can we give a round of applause to the doctors, the nurses, the first responders, and all those in ministry who have come alongside families struggling with loss in the midst of this pandemic? You are heroes all.

And I promise all of you, we're going to keep making sure our doctors and nurses have all the resources they need. We're going to keep protecting the vulnerable and saving lives.

And while Joe Biden is talking about shutting down our economy --


PENCE: Under President Donald Trump, we're opening up America again.


COOPER: Do you think he practices that in front of a mirror because it doesn't come naturally. And I mean, I've got to say, applauding doctors and nurses while simultaneously doing the exact opposite of what doctors and nurses and medical professionals recommend about coronavirus safety guidelines.

That takes something. The Vice President by the way only put on a mask when deplaning Air Force 2. According to reporter on board, no mask wearing by his staffers and the same for all but one Secret Service member. That's how the man in charge whether he likes to squint and bob his head and in that ah-shucks practice voice says, likes to call the whole of government effort against the coronavirus.

Meantime, the President continued today taking potshots at someone who is actually taking it seriously and does actually know what they're talking about, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Quoting from the President's tweet. "Tony's pitching arm is far more accurate than his prognostications. No problem, no masks. W.H.O. no longer likes lockdowns. Just came out against -- Trump was right. We saved two million U.S.A. lives."

First of all, their projection of two million dead was only if no effort at all had been made. So yes, what the President did was better than doing nothing, which is not really a great measure of success, is it? I mean, is that the yardstick we're now using? He did nothing.

And what is exactly his message to the families of the 215,000 Americans who have died? It is what it is? Sorry, your loved one is dead, but at least it wasn't two million? The real death toll, not some hypothetical one is climbing. According

to the latest projection from researchers, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, COVID will kill more than 321,000 American lives by the end of this year.

That same model projects 45,000 fewer deaths, if mask wearing would go up to 95 percent, if 95 percent of people in this country would wear masks, if that man and all the people in that gathering would wear a mask and would do it every day, if 95 percent of us would do it, we could save more than 40,000 lives.


COOPER: I mean, why not do that? You can save 40,000 lives. Why is that not a national priority? Why is that not something we believe as citizens we should do? Why isn't it that man who had the benefit of life saving medication that lot of people don't get, why wouldn't that man use this opportunity to send that message?

We can save -- he can -- in the next time -- however long he is in office, he could save tens of thousands of lives by putting on a mask and encouraging all those folks to listen to him so closely. That's how the President could truly save lives by normalizing mask wearing, not mass gatherings in the middle of a pandemic.

By inspiring people to make shared sacrifices, not parading before them in a three-week virus spreading ego trip, going as David Gergen put on the program last night, "from one obscenity to the next."

The President is due back at the White House at 9:30. CNN's Kaitlan Collins is there for us now. So Kaitlan, what does the President get from this rally and all the others he has planned? I mean, does it -- I mean, obviously he wants to rally his base as much as possible. But it seems like a lot of this is just about his ego. It makes him feel better to be out in front of cheering crowds, because beyond that, he is obviously putting his supporters at risk, drawing more attention to his mishandling the pandemic and his continued recklessness.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's certainly part of it, Anderson, but also the President wants to project strength, because the problem with running this campaign as he has, for the last several months that he's the strong energetic candidate; and his opponent, Joe Biden is weak and too feeble to take office is that the President is the one who was taken by helicopter to the hospital just a few days ago.

And so that obviously messed with that message and stepped on it, and that's what we heard from sources, the President was so worried about when he was in a hospital and that's why he wanted to leave so quickly and left earlier than some of his advisers had recommended.

And now that's why you see him trying to make up for lost time by holding all of these rallies, moving on to several per day, where you see a lot has not changed at these rallies when it comes to mask wearing and social distancing. You see the people behind the President wearing masks, but I was just

looking at the other cameras in the venue, and a lot of people are not wearing masks, and they certainly aren't social distancing.

And so some advisers hope the President would use this as a cautionary tale to relate to people to say, I got COVID-19, I survived. Here's what we're going to do as a nation. But instead, he has used it through the lens of how he does a lot of things, which is himself to project his own stamina and his own strength, which has been a major topic that he has used the last two nights.

COOPER: And I just want to be clear, they are still covering up when his last negative test was before he started showing symptoms of COVID, before he tested positive, right? I mean, they are still refusing to just answer a very basic question that they must have records of, and the very fact that they continue to cover up, I mean, it is hard to have any other conclusion other than the President has been lying and wasn't -- you know, wasn't tested before the debate with Vice President Biden and that they just want to cover up the recklessness?

COLLINS: Well, they also can't explain the logic. What is the logic of being able to release the President's negative test this week, as his doctor did yesterday, on the way to Florida, but they can't release when a negative test result happened just two weeks ago?

So it's obviously clear that something is going on here. Because the logic of it of wanting to protect the President's medical history, as some officials have cited doesn't make sense when you're picking and choosing which negative test results you're releasing.

And so that's why people have raised so many questions about it is because they're happy to release the news they think is good news about the President's health, but they won't release the full news and the complete picture about itself.

COOPER: Maybe that's being audited by the I.R.S. as well. Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Our next guest knows tonight better than most what it's like to watch COVID cases climb and what it takes to bring them under control. It's the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo who presided over the nation's first and worst eruption and oversaw what was ultimately a successful effort to contain it.

He has just written a book about it, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic." And we're glad that the Governor could join us tonight.

Thanks so much for being with us. As you look at the pictures from this Trump rally in Pennsylvania, massive crowd, few people wearing masks or social distancing other than those folks behind him who have been handed masks.

I mean, New York borders Pennsylvania. This could impact New York. When you see these images, what do you think as somebody who is in a leadership position?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Yes. Anderson, you think, this is incredible. I'm in disbelief. I can't believe this is the President of the United States.

The only problem is, this has been the recurring nightmare. Right? We've seen this for the past seven months. Your previous commentary. Yes, the President does not tell the truth. Point A.

Point B, he does not tell the truth about COVID. Point C, he has been in denial from day one. He's been reckless with his own behavior and with the behavior of the country, and he has actually made this COVID pandemic worse.

So yes, it's outrageous. But we've seen outrageous since this began. Really, we've seen outrageous for four years, right?


COOPER: I guess, I'm just stupid or naive, because I just -- I don't understand how knowing you can save 40,000 Americans lives in the next, you know, five months, by most of us wearing masks that just seems like something leaders could rally us all to do. And I know, look, you've been, you know, pushing mass from the get-go, I just don't understand as a citizen, how this is not a national priority. It just seems -- I don't know. I'm just -- I mean, I'm naive, I guess. But it's just it's sad to me.

CUOMO: No, no, no, no, no. Anderson, you are right. The disconnect is, you are logical and you are responsible and you're talking about a person and an administration that is not logical and is not responsible.

New York was the first state in the United States to do a mandatory mask law and the President was vociferous on the other side. One of the main problems I've had all through this is I'm putting forth best practices and good health advice. And the President has been arguing against everything every step of the way.

And this nation is so politically polarized that this back and forth with the President and frankly, his irresponsibility on the issue, some people, a majority of his base believe it and have followed it. And that has actually aided and abetted this virus.

You know, what's tricky with this virus is it just takes one -- it just takes one -- it just takes one person in a crowd, one person at a party, one person at a bar to infect dozens, and when you have the President spreading this message of irresponsibility and the impact of just one or two people actually listening to him, you have this recurring viral transmission, which is where we are now.

COOPER: Let's talk about New York. How confident are you about where New York is right now moving into the fall and winter, which, you know, we've all been warned about and scared about?

CUOMO: Yes, well, okay. You can't be confident in this situation, right, for your points. You have the President of the United States running around sending the exact wrong message. I had COVID, I'm fine. Everybody can get COVID, everybody will be fine.

Sure. Everybody gets in a helicopter. Goes to Walter Reed, has millions of dollars and doctors and experimental treatment. Two hundred and ten thousand people did not have those services, and they're dead.

But he is running around the country with his irresponsible behavior, that's going to make it worse. In the fall, you also have -- it gets colder. People go inside schools, et cetera, so you'll see the viral transmission tick up.

I feel that we are doing everything we can in New York, and we are as prepared as you can be. We have one of the lowest infection rates in the United States right now, actually one of the lowest infection rates on the globe, Anderson, and we are highly sophisticated in spotting flare ups or mini clusters.

Our immune system is highly attuned in New York, because the new normal is you're going to constantly have these flare ups. The trick is going to be, do you have the ability to sense that flare up and get there quickly? Is your immune system, if you will, in the body politic, sophisticated enough, where you can detect it through testing, contact tracing, et cetera and then you can deploy resources there to snuff out the embers before it starts flame -- we have about a one percent infection rate?

COOPER: Yes, how do you how do you actually do that? I mean, you say, you know, I think positivity rate across the state at 1.4 percent, positivity rates in, you know, what they call Red Zone areas, I think jumped from 3.7 to 4.13 percent. How do you then go to those clusters? What do you do there?

CUOMO: Yes. Now, this is interesting, because what we call a red zone is about four or five percent infection rate, right? That is lower than many states' infection rate. But relative to New York, we consider that a flare up.

How do we find it? Hospitalization data, testing data, and we do more testing than any state in the United States. So we get that granular data. We can get it down to the block level now, Anderson. I can look at your block and find out who was sick and when we see a small mini cluster, we call them, micro cluster, then we send in the testing resources, and we do a targeted restrictions, targeted close downs for that geographic area. And that is going to be the new normal going forward.

You know, the analogy to the human body works. The human body gets attacked by viruses, dozens of viruses every week. But the immune system can respond. Can a state's immune system respond quickly enough to those flare ups? That's going to be the challenge.

And in New York, we are very serious with data. We're very serious with testing, contact tracing, et cetera, and we deploy quickly because if you don't snuff it out, you don't camp out that ember, it will be a flame.

COOPER: Your book is about leadership during this crisis you and we're going to talk about it a lot, but I want to ask you, you have gotten criticism for the more than 6,000 people who died in nursing homes in New York from COVID.

Some of your critics have pointed to a directive back in March, releasing COVID patients into nursing homes as the root cause of the high death toll. Given what we now know, is that something you wish you would go back -- could go back and do over again?

CUOMO: No, that was -- that's been seized on by political opponents, frankly. They're doing with all the Democratic states and to all the Democratic governors. But it was wholly non-consequential. And we did a full report. It's by the numbers, it is non-consequential.

People in nursing homes died because this virus preyed on the sick and nursing homes were the feeding ground. When we first met this virus in the State of Washington, it was in a nursing home. And you look at any state, many people in nursing homes passed away because they were the most vulnerable population.

Here in New York, we are number 46, Anderson, out of 50 states in terms of percentage of deaths in nursing homes, 46 out of 50. And we had it worse than anyone, because we were ambushed by this virus because the Federal government kept calling it the China virus. Meanwhile, the virus came here from Europe, and they didn't even know it.

The virus left China. It went to Italy, France, Spain, and came here from Italy, France, Spain, and we never had a warning. So we're number 46 out of 50 in terms of percentage of deaths.

We've tracked what happened in nursing homes and the infection went into nursing homes from the working staff, when there was community spread back before anyone realized anything, when the Federal government was telling us that there was no such thing as asymptomatic spread that you had to have symptoms to spread it. That was wrong also.

So nursing home staff brought it in and that was the result.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. I want to talk about the book and about the some of the leadership lessons you learn during this crisis, and also the politics of this moment on Donald Trump that us, at least New Yorkers knew for years before he came down that escalator more than four years ago.

Later, we will have more day one questioning for the president Supreme Court pick with Senator and vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris had to say. Judge Amy Coney Barrett and the grilling she got from Senator Amy Klobuchar, who joins us tonight as well.


[20:22:08] COOPER: As we look at the President's live gathering in Pennsylvania

tonight, we're talking with the Governor of New York, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, author of the new book, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic."

Governor Cuomo, the President is now claiming he is immune to the disease, saying he received what he calls a cure for COVID. That kind of messaging while certainly untrue, it certainly resonates with people more now because he has had the illness. Do you worry about people believing that? That there is now a cure that. That he is immune, and that everybody will be?

CUOMO: Yes, look, it's not true what he is saying, Anderson. But do we worry about the disinformation? Sure, we do. I mean, look, we are living with this virus and our response is one of the worst on the globe because of his disinformation.

I mean, and it's been consistent from day one, right? It was the virus is going to go away by Easter. It's going to go what way, it's a miracle. This was a Democratic hoax. Then he gets the virus, he says, the Regeneron was a cure. It was not a cure.

So yes, it's all disinformation, except some people believe it. And the way the virus works, the people who believe it and then won't wear a mask and don't do social distancing, they keep spreading it and that's why this country loses more people per day to COVID than many other industrialized nations on the globe, because he spreads disinformation and political polarization has now spread to public health disinformation.

COOPER: What have you learned about leadership in all of this? I mean, you look at the President, he said, look, you don't want to panic people. I think back to, you know, the daily news conferences you would hold, which I found just very kind of honest and raw. And you said what you knew, you said what you didn't know, and I don't know, I think for a lot of New Yorkers, it felt like, oh, we are all part of this. We are all in this together.

CUOMO: Yes, look, I think -- I think that's right. Intuitively, I knew going in, Anderson that credibility has to be earned. You know, institutions have lost credibility. It's not enough to say, I'm the governor, I represent New York State. Even you know, I'm from the media. I'm from this network. People discount that now.

The credibility is more personal than anything else, and you have to earn it, you have to prove it. And this was a unique moment in time, it still is. People are scared. That's what this is about. It's about the emotion. It's not really about the information first. It's about the emotion first.


CUOMO: And you have to connect with that emotion and you have to show the same vulnerability that they were feeling. And I went first, frankly. I communicated 100 percent genuine, authentic, my emotional truth, my personal truth. I was feeling everything other people were feeling with my daughters

and my family and my mother and I was afraid and I didn't know where we were and I felt like we were living in a science fiction movie, but I trusted the people.

I gave them the information. I never sugar coated anything. I don't believe what Trump says, well, I didn't want to panic people. You're not a babysitter for people. You're a representative.

People deserve the truth and the facts. And by the way, they are responsible and they are smart. And if you give them the truth and the facts, they will respond.

And that's what New Yorkers did. You do it in a way that empowers people and unifies people, but our state, Anderson that has so many divisions, Upstate, Downstate, Democrat, Republican, sexual orientation, religions, we were united in a way that I've never felt it. And it actually was inspiring to me and it gave me energy.

And that's what keeps me going. That's what the book is about. When you give people information and you trust them, they respond in kind. I believe that.

And that's the hope that keeps me going with all this President in the White House and all this politics. People are good and people are smart and I'm trying to go right to the people and give them the information because I believe they will act responsibly when they get the information that they believe, unfiltered.

COOPER: I know it's impossible to say, when do you think the next time in New York City anybody can walk into a restaurant, eat inside, not have to wear a mask, just have a normal night out in a restaurant with other people?

CUOMO: It would -- it would have to be you'd have to develop a vaccine, people would have to believe it's a vaccine. You'd have to be able to administer to 20 million people. It would be months and months or a year, at least -- at least, I believe before you get to that full normal, if you will.

COOPER: You mentioned your daughters. In your book, you write about how you tried to make a $10.00 bet with your daughters that President Trump will lose the election, but will then claim voter fraud as the reason he lost and the Attorney General will bring a suit that ends up the Supreme Court, but the court will rule against him.

Your daughter did not take the bet, but you wrote that you put even money on that today. Are you still sure of that today?

CUOMO: Do I see a scenario where Trump loses the election? Yes. Do I believe he will accept loss? No. Do I believe Bill Barr is his political tool? Yes. Do I think they want to confirm this Supreme Court Justice so that they own the court? And do they think that they could bring a case on voter fraud, which they have been talking about for weeks, Anderson, right? Yes. They always -- you always know where they're going if you listen to

them. They've been building this voter fraud case. They go to the Supreme Court, like Bush v. Gore, and I think they think they'll win at the Supreme Court. I think that's their hope. And that's why they want this confirmation now, even though it's a political liability.

I believe that's their plan. I don't believe they think they're going to win on Election Night. I think they are planning to win at the Supreme Court. And my optimistic self says the Supreme Court is going to think about the Supreme Court first and their integrity, and they're not going to want to look like a political shill. But that's what the wager is about.

COOPER: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, appreciate your time. The new book, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic" just came out. We appreciate your time.

CUOMO: Thanks. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Thanks, Governor.

Still to come. A look at the second day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings, which just ended a few minutes ago. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar will join us to talk about what Judge Amy Coney Barrett would and more often wouldn't answer.



COOPER: Just moments ago, the Senate wrapped day two of its Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, two more sessions remaining. Republicans hoping for a quick confirmation as Democrats today stress policy issues presents the November elections. Short time ago senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris spoke about Barrett's potential impact on the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D) VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Republicans are scrambling to confirm this nominee as fast as possible, because they need one more Trump judge on the bench before November 10th to win and strike down the entire Affordable Care Act. This is not hyperbole. This is not a hypothetical. This is happening.


COOPER: Our next guest Senator Amy Klobuchar question Judge Barrett have focused part of her time on voter suppression and intimidation.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Judge Barrett under federal law, is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls? AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Senator Klobuchar, I can't characterize the facts in a hypothetical situation and I can't apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts.

KLOBUCHAR: OK. Well, I'll make it easier. 18 USC-594 outlaws anyone who intimidates, threatens, coerces or attempts to intimidate, threaten or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote. This is a law that has been on the books for decades. Do you think a reasonable person would feel intimidated by the president presence of armed civilian groups at the polls?


BARRETT: Senator Klobuchar, you know, that is eliciting. I'm not sure whether it's a it's eliminating a legal opinion from me because the reasonable person standard, as you know, is one common in the law, or just an opinion as a citizen, but it's not something really that's appropriate for me to comment on.


COOPER: Joining me now, is Senator Amy Klobuchar. I appreciate you being here. I'm wondering what you made of the Judges answers. She obviously is very reticent to give you an answer on voter suppression, election integrity.

KLOBUCHAR: I was actually pretty shocked because this isn't a court opinion that she's being asked, this is a law on the books. And I was just making the point, it's very relevant, because as you know, a contractor from outside of my state was actually trying to recruit outsiders, former Special Forces. That's what they asked for, to come in and stand at the poll places in Minnesota. And by the way, that is illegal. I want to make that clear on your show, even though she wouldn't talk about it is illegal. Under Minnesota law, there's going to have one person in the polling place, you can't intimidate people. There's all kinds of rules that apply. And so, that's why I asked it. And I was very much shocked, as well as the fact that she has a previous opinion that she wrote a dissent, in which she really downplayed voting rights to me talk about them as civic rights as opposed to individual rights.

And, you know, we're losing a seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg here. And I don't want to be filled by someone that doesn't share Justice Ginsburg, profound commitment to voting rights. She's the one that wrote that dissent in the show be case, which was her blueprint for the future, and which she talked about. I mean, she talked about how Congress should have the reigns, how she talked about in that case, how you shouldn't be throwing out the protections from the Voting Rights Act. And as I asked the Judge today, they got thrown out because of the majority, and now over 20 states have enacted laws that suppress the vote. So Ruth Bader Ginsburg was right. But Justice -- Judge Coney Barrett would not agree that she was right.

COOPER: Is it -- I mean, is it fair to assume that that she would go to the mat for President Trump, if he contested the election? I mean, she will have a lifetime appointment. She wouldn't be beholden to him for her job security. You know, there are those who say, give her the benefit of the doubt.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, let's look at what he has said. I mean, he has said that he wants nine justices on the court. After the election, he's made that very clear because of the election. And he actually went as far as to say that they could count the ballot. That was a recent statement that he made. So, it's very clear what he's thinking, and he has set out every sign. And that's why, you know, I think she could should recuse herself. And we asked her that today, but she would not commit to doing that. If there was any kind of an election case that went before the court, unlike some Michigan judges, who had actually done that, when they're -- when a case came before their court. They had been on the Trump list of potential U.S. Supreme Court justices, and they actually recused themselves.

COOPER: We heard from Senator Harris before about the upcoming Supreme Court -- the challenge of the Supreme Court's the Affordable Care Act. Judge Barrett said today that she's, quote, not hostile to the ACA. But she's also criticized Chief Justice Roberts and his rulings on the ACA in the past. So how do you square her answers on that?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, what I said to her today, finally, because she won't commit to where she is on it, I said, you know, in northern Minnesota, where I used to go up there growing up, and my mom would take me on these walks on muddy paths, and we would look for deer tracks, and we would follow those deer tracks and it was always a mystery. Where would they go? I don't think this is a mystery. What we have to do is follow her tracks. When you follow the tracks of her record, what do you see? She criticized Justice Roberts, in one case for upholding the Affordable Care Act, as she was very pointed in her criticism.

Then in another case, in the Burwell Case, she actually said that she thought that Scalia who wrote the design, again, Affordable Care Act case, she said that Scalia had the stronger of a legal argument. I don't think it's that hard. When you look at the fact that she says Scalia is her mentor, where she is on that where, she's been on Roe v. Wade, you can follow those tracks very, very clearly. And they point you in the polar opposite of what Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for her whole life.

COOPER: At this point, though, there's not really a path where the Judge does not get confirmed. I mean, isn't that correct?


KLOBUCHAR: Oh, that's a different path Anderson. So, I made that point yesterday in my opening, and that is that we don't have some clever procedural trick. That's true with the way the rules are. And I don't think you're going to see some incredible cross examination, that's going to change the trajectory of this judge. But one thing can change that your trajectory, and that is the American people. People who have had it and thinks we should be working on a COVID relief package instead of sitting in that hearing room that shows the priorities of the Republican Party. So, people are I know they're doing this calling those Republican senators saying, this isn't what you should be doing right now. You should follow your own precedent, and the people should choose the president and the president should choose the justice and you should be getting a COVID relief package done.

The other thing that people can do is vote. And once they see and I think many of them have, where this judge is coming from, if anything, it should make them want to vote and not just in the presidential race, but in the Senate races, which is really at issue here. We need a different leader of the Senate and we need a different Senate.

COOPER: Senator Klobuchar, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Still to come tonight, a new development, what authority so it was a kidnapping and terror plot focused on Michigan's Democratic governor. The FBI now says a second Democratic governor was potential target. Details when we return.


COOPER: Disturbing development in the case of the 13 men federal and state authorities say plotted to kidnap the governor of Michigan. Today, an FBI agent testified during a preliminary hearing that some of the men also discussed a plot against a second Democratic governor. President Trump tweeted that people should quote liberate, unquote both states. Details now from CNN Brynn Gingras.



BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michigan's governor Gretchen Whitmer wasn't the only sitting governor with a target on their back by a group of alleged extremists. Virginia's governor Ralph Northam was also eyed by the 13 men charged in an alleged domestic terrorism plot foiled by the FBI.

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): We don't work under a cloud of intimidation and I'll continue to serve Virginia.

GINGRAS (voice-over): The new details of the chilling scheme were revealed by an FBI agent during a bond hearing where three of the six men charged federally were denied release, the other men are charged at the state level. The agent testified that in an early June meeting, the group discussed possible targets including taking out a sitting governor, but specifically governors of Michigan in Virginia over shut down orders due to the coronavirus. An informant who attended that meeting flagged the potential violence to the FBI. Withmer and Northam, both Democrats and both criticized for their response to COVID-19 in their states, particularly from the President who said this about Northam in May.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I might, be careful. I might. I'll be there. We're going to -- we're going after Virginia with your crazy governor. We're going after Virginia. They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that right? You'll have -- GINGRAS (voice-over): Trump early on in the pandemic also singled out

the two states in tweets liberate Michigan and liberate Virginia.

NORTHAM: When language issues such as to liberate Virginia, people -- they find meaning in those words, and thus, these things happen and that's regrettable.

GINGRAS (voice-over): The White House said in the statement, the President condemns white supremacists and pass the blame to both governors saying they are sowing division. It's not clear up the group's alleged plans were inspired by the President's tweets. But the agent testified that they did want to carry out the kidnapping of Withmer by Election Day. Their idea in part cold for sending an explosive device to her vacation home. In another option, the agent testified they wanted to quote, take her out on the boat and leave her out in the middle of Lake Michigan by disabling the engine.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I knew this job would be hard. But I'll be honest, I never could have imagined anything like this.

GINGRAS (voice-over): A federal complaint unsealed last week shows the men some recruited from an anti-government group called Wolverine Watchmen connected through rallies, meetings and social media. Together, they planned practice and even conducted surveillance in the hopes of executing their missions, which also included storming Michigan's Capitol building and warding off law enforcement by blowing up their vehicles. According to the complaint.

Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Let's get some perspective now from Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security under President Trump who's endorsed Joe Biden. She says the President's language has helped embolden the threats from white nationalists. Also with us, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, a CNN chief legal analyst.

Elizabeth, are you surprised that the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer allegedly also included Governor Northam and what does it say about sort of the scope of what the suspects were originally interested in?

ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FMR ASSISTANT SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes, I'm not surprised. I was kind of waiting to see what we learned through the prosecutorial process. I'm sure we'll find more tidbits that that draws similar connections. I don't think that what we're dealing here with is causation. But it's more correlation. You had a group of people that were already anti-government in nature, the pandemic increased their antagonism towards their government, they didn't like the shutdowns, they perceived it to be an infringement on their liberties. But then when you add somebody like the President, putting more rhetoric on there that you liberate Michigan liberate, and Virginia and I can appreciate that he probably thinks he's just using political rhetoric. But groups like these, they view that as a call to arms. And so, the caution for all leadership is to realize we're in a very, very tense situation within our country, that pandemic makes it tense, the election period makes it tense. And so every leader has a responsibility to be very cautious with their language and how it might be interpreted by a threat actor.

COOPER: And Jeffrey, I mean, is it weird that the attorney general has not publicly commented on this case, I mean, involves two sitting governors. And it seems like a pretty big deal for the Justice Department in the FBI.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Unfortunately, I'm sorry, we live in a country where it's rare that governors get kidnapped and have violent threats against them. And you would think it would be something that the attorney general would want to call attention to. But, you know, what we've seen with Attorney General Barr is that he only wants to call attention to Donald Trump's enemies. You know, he's happy to talk about Antifa and the violence in Portland in Seattle and those should be prosecuted. But this threat seems much bigger. And it's also, you know, worth mentioning that, you know, the Attorney General silence is revealing in another way.

Today, we learned in the Washington Post that one of his big investigations of so-called unmasking of people that the supposedly that the Obama administration, you know, unmasked people who were in intelligence intercepts and that was supposedly a big scandal. They're not even going to do a report because the whole thing turned out to be so bogus. I mean, that's what the Attorney General is interested in, not the actual threat of these militia groups,


COOPER: When all that -- all the unmasking stuff, which has been talked about on, you know, Fox, on and on and on and on, it's all amounts to nothing.

TOOBIN: John Bash, who was the U.S. attorney who was in charge of that investigation left the Justice Department this week without filing a report, the whole thing went away. We have the President of the United States calling for Barack Obama and Joe Biden to be indicted and prosecuted for their role in this. And it's nothing. It's absolutely nothing.

COOPER: Elizabeth, you know, for the second time (INAUDIBLE) the White House placed the blame on the governors involved accusing them of outlandish allegations for saying that the President's rhetoric is at least partly to blame. Does that echo your experience in this White House? And I mean --



NEUMANN: Yes. Absolutely not answer to Anderson. I thought that their -- even their most recent statement, saying that they condemn white supremacy tells me they're not paying attention. It is possible some of these members also held white nationalist white supremacist views. But these were a different group of threat actors. They're anti- government extremists who associate with militia movements. They had some QAnon adherence had boogaloo boys adherence. So, it was a different group of mix of extremists. And they seem to not be paying attention, even to the case now five days later, more interested in heaping blame on two governors that were subject of a kidnapping plot. So, it's kind of boggles the mind how much they're not interested in doing their jobs and just seemingly answering the mail so that they can get back to running a reelection campaign.


TOOBIN: And it's not, you know, and this is not new. If you listen to their rhetoric, it's Timothy McVeigh, it's Terry Nichols. It is the militia movement from the '90s that has been brought back to life, apparently, because it's been encouraged by the President of the United States.

COOPER: Yes. Elizabeth Neumann, Jeff Toobin. Appreciate it. Thank you.

With the election three weeks from today, Florida's 29 electoral votes, of course are critical. When voting bloc, they're considered essential to victory though 65 and older. Up next, our Randi Kaye with an update from the battleground.



COOPER: Former Vice President Biden spend most of the day campaigning in Florida. President Trump held a rally in the state yesterday and he's returning on Friday. All to say the state is vitally important to both sides, obviously, which Trump won back in 2016 with a lot of help from voters 65 and older. There are signs that voting blocks could change. Our Randi Kaye is on the ground and has been talking with some of Florida seniors.


STEPHEN STARUCH, BIDEN SUPPORTER: Definitely going to vote for Joe Biden. There's nothing that Donald Trump could do at this point in time that would change my mind about that.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's a huge statement coming from this lifelong Republican who voted for Donald Trump in 2016. But Stephen Staruch is 67, a senior citizen and part of the group considered one of the most vulnerable to COVID-19. He's so turned off by Trump. He's now a registered independent and Biden supporter. He says Trump's mismanagement of the pandemic was the final straw, especially his messaging on masks.

STARUCH: So the fact he's not listened to the scientist is really concerning. And the fact that he's ignoring it and in fact, encouraging the opposite. It's just really dangerous. We're taking people's lives and into his hands.

KAYE (on-camera): Do you believe the President when he says that a vaccine is just days or weeks away?

STARUCH: No, he's lied about it several times now. It really affects his credibility. So whatever comes out of his mouth, you just don't believe.

KAYE (voice-over): Florida senior Dave Davidson also supported Trump in 2016, but not this year, even though he's registered Republican.

(on-camera): So what is it about the pandemic that he didn't handle right, in your opinion?

DAVE DAVIDSON, BIDEN SUPPORTER: Starting with the very beginning, not giving me the truth.

KAYE (on-camera): Didn't want anybody to panic?

DAVIDSON: He didn't want anybody to panic. And that's a wonderful thing. However, wouldn't it be nice for us to have all the information and then make our decisions?

KAYE (voice-over): Unlike his neighbor's, Republican John Calandro, is voting Trump just like he did in 2016. At 74 he says it's about personal responsibility that seniors should know how to protect themselves.

(on-camera): When you say the President handled the pandemic. Well, right now we see there's an increase in cases in 33 state, 215,000 Americans are dead. Wisconsin is now opening a field hospital. They're seeing such a spike. Hospitalizations are up once again. How did he handle that well?

JOHN CALANDRO, TRUMP SUPPORTER: We deliver health care in this country, through state and local government. The federal government has a responsibility to support that. We have to look at how those states have handled the pandemic within their own regions. And whether or not they have done a good job --

KAYE (on-camera): So you're saying it's not the President's fault.

CALANDRO: I'm saying the President is not the sole responsible person for how the pandemic was handled.

KAYE (voice-over): Tell that to Florida voter Michele Yeger, who's turning 70 this week. She blames Trump's attitude and lack of action early on for the virus spread and won't vote for him again. She was a registered Republican in 2016 when she voted for Trump. But she since switched to independent and is supporting Biden.

MICHELE YEGER, BIDEN SUPPORTER: had a listen to the CDC and Dr. Fauci and the leaders who are the science leaders, we might have been able to save many, many lives. But because of him and him being having narcissism and being ego driven, he thought it was macho not to wear a mask.


COOPER: Randi joins me now. I'm wondering what the voters told you how that compares to the polling of senior voters.

KAYE: Well, Anderson some of the polls are tighter than others. If you look at a recent CNN national poll for voters 65 and older, Biden has 60% support Donald Trump has 39% support. But there's also this New York Times/Siena College Florida poll, so not a national poll, just very specific to this state for 65 and older, Biden has 47% Trump has 45% so much closer. But we really don't know where this is going to go. One of those Biden's supporters told me today that he has Republican friends, his close friends who he thinks are moving towards Biden, but are afraid to say so. But the Biden supporters also really like him for the fact that he's going to keep that Affordable Care Act intact and keep those -- keep that for the millions of Americans that won't lose their health insurance. Anderson.


COOPER: Appreciate it, Randi. Thanks very much.

The news continues. Want to hand it over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris,