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President Trump Shows No Sign Of Conceding; Biden Names Ron Klain As His WH Chief Of Staff; Arizona GOP Attorney General: It Appears Biden Will Win Arizona; Trump Allies Clash With Top Intelligence Officials In Quest To Declassify More Russia Documents; Source: Trump Wants To Continue Legal Challenges; COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Surge To New Highs; Record 140,000-Plus New COVID Cases Reported Today In The U.S. And More Than 1,200 Deaths. Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired November 11, 2020 - 20:00   ET


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we don't just respect that. We cherish it.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: If they can do it, so can he. Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Today, the President did what all Presidents before him have done. He followed tradition and laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery to honor all those who fought and died for this country.

The Arlington visit was the President's first public appearance since losing the election. He spent most of his time since watching cable news coverage and rage tweeting about that election, leveling charges of fraud without having any evidence that so far at least has held up in any court.

There's also new reporting tonight that says the President has no intention of changing course. There is no sign that he has actually been attending to the business of being President nor has he permitted the government, the People's Government, not his government, to allow President-elect Biden and his transition team to begin their work.

And behind the scenes as well, frightened to say publicly what they really think, Republican senators and others around the President have been throwing around phrases familiar to any parent of a toddler asking us all to just give the President who, after all, is a grown man, a little space to come to grips with his defeat.

One senior Republican official telling "The Washington Post" quote, "What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time?" That's an actual quote, as if George H.W. Bush just needed to cry it all out after his electoral defeat.

He didn't. He gave a gracious speech and pledged support for the man and beat him. So did Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. That is the company President Trump is now in as a one-term President, but he is not acting with even a fraction of the dignity those Presidents did.

So what is the downside of humoring him for this little bit of time as that anonymous Republican official asked? Well, Republican Senator John Thune certainly had this to say about the upside. "We need his voters," Thune said, "He has a tremendous following. He can have a tremendously positive impact on the outcome of the Georgia Senate. We want him helping in Georgia, for sure."

That gives you a sense of the motivation for many Republican senators. They are scared about the Senate, and they're afraid that the President won't support the Republicans running in Georgia necessary to keep the Senate in Republican hands.

As for that downside, well, one answer comes from Republican John Bolton, the President's former National Security adviser, in a new "Washington Post" op-ed, he writes, "This coddling strategy is exactly backward. The more Republican leaders kowtow, the more Trump believes he is still in control, and the less likely he will do what normal Presidents do."

Normal presidents accept reality, and reality is the President now losing by more than five million votes. Reality is Joe Biden is on track to win as many as 306 electoral votes. Reality is, as a "New York Times" headline clear across the entire front page reads, "Election officials nationwide find no fraud."

Reality is Georgia's Republican Secretary of State announcing a hand recount of all ballots, but saying he had not seen any evidence of widespread fraud that would change the results.

Reality is a Philadelphia City Commissioner overseeing the count there, also a Republican, by the way, saying much the same.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What evidence of any widespread fraud have you seen in the count in Philadelphia?

AL SCHMIDT, PHILADELPHIA CITY COMMISSIONER: I have not. If evidence of widespread fraud or evidence of any fraud at all is brought to our attention, we take a look at it and we refer it to law enforcement as we always do in every election.

I have seen the most fantastical things on social media, making completely ridiculous allegations that have no basis in fact, at all, and see them spread. And I realized a lot of people are happy about this election and a lot of people are not happy about this election.

One thing I can't comprehend is how hungry people are to consume lies and to consume information that is not true.


COOPER: "People are hungry to consume lies," he says and sad to say, our current President traffics in those lies. He has done that his whole life. He has done that his whole presidency, and he will continue to for the rest of his life.

He tweeted about it today about the official you just heard there. There's no reason to actually show you the tweets or read to you what he wrote, because it's not news anymore. There's nothing new about it.

He lost an election. He is complaining about nonexistent voter fraud, just like he did before and after he won an election four years ago. And maybe we should have seen it coming because he has been laying the groundwork for this tantrum ever since, condemning mail-in voting, which by the way discouraged Republicans from mail-in voting, which contributed to his loss as well, which he then says was rigged along just as he had warned us that it was.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They even want to try to rig the election at the polling booths and believe me, there's a lot going on.

People that have died 10 years ago is still voting. Illegal immigrants are voting.

And believe me, you take a look at what's registering, folks.

When you see illegals, people that are not citizens, and they're on the registration rolls. Look, well, we can be babies. But you take a look at the registration, you have illegals, you have dead people, you have this.

It's really a bad situation. It's really bad.

I've got so many people voting illegally in this country, it's a disgrace.


TRUMP: There are a lot of people, a lot of people my opinion and based on proof that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally.

A lot of illegal voting going on out there, by the way, a lot of illegal voting.

Voting by mail is wrought with fraud and abuse and people don't get their ballots.

When you do all mail-in voting ballots, you're asking for fraud. People steal them out of mailboxes. People print them and then they sign them and they give them in.

I think it's going to be the greatest fraud ever. I think it's going to be a rigged election.

You're sending out hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots, hundreds of millions. Where are they going? Who are they being sent to?

This election will be the most rigged election in history.

It'll be fixed, it'll be rigged.

I'll tell you who's meddling in our elections. The Democrats are meddling by wanting and insisting on sending mail-in ballots where there is corruption all over the place.

The only way we're going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.

It'll end up being a rigged election, or they will never come out with an outcome.

We don't want to be cheated and be stupid and say, oh, let's transit -- we'll go and we'll do a transition.


COOPER: So what's the downside is that a senior Republican asked "The Washington Post" of indulging the President a little while longer? Well, for starters, the COVID pandemic is raging around us. It's worse than it's ever been in this country. More sick people in the hospitals than ever before.

And by withholding funds to the Biden transition team, the President is potentially hurting the next President's ability to hit the ground running on day one and that could cost people their lives possibly.

Another downside is the 72 million Americans who voted for President Trump who might not be so happy when nothing comes of all these claims being passed around on social media of widespread voter fraud. And the President is telling them that's because it's all rigged and the election is being stolen from even by judges in the courts. And that is a short fuse on a big powder keg, and the President is lighting it.

It's what dictators losing their grip on power do and his enablers are just standing by while he does it. They are standing by while he purges The Pentagon, he reportedly has his sights now on the C.I.A.

Why he is doing that with just a few months left in office is unclear. Perhaps, he just likes to exercise the power he has while he still has it or maybe he is trying to bring loyalists on board to undo or somehow reverse the election or drastically alter America's global alliances and long-standing commitments.

It's impossible to say what goes on in his mind, but the striking fact is, none of the possibilities is good. Even the most benign interpretation is scary that the President is just venting his anger and never mind the National Security consequences.

David Ignatius, "The Washington Post's" well-sourced foreign affairs columnist has another hypothesis based on his reporting. He writes and I'm quoting, "Trump's ceaseless attempts to argue that the Russia investigation was a hoax and to force the Intelligence Community to declassify information he believes would support this view may animate some of his otherwise inexplicable moves."

Ignatius goes on to say that Defense Secretary Mark Esper's resistance to those moves may have led to his firing. He also points the position left vacant by Esper's replacement, Christopher Miller, whose predecessor in that job was fired by the President after letting Intelligence officials brief Congress on Russian support of the President in this election.

And new CNN reporting add to it multiple current and former officials telling us that the President believes this classified material will undermine the Intelligence Community's unanimous finding that Russia interfered on his behalf in 2016.

They say he thinks it'll expose so-called Deep State plots against his campaign and transition during the Obama administration.

Now, if the reporting is right, the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief is willing to put the lives of American Intelligence assets, possibly American operators themselves at risk to soothe his ego about an election he won four years ago and another that he lost four years later.

And what must our allies make of a President who is so petty that their message to President-elect Biden, their messages to Biden are still sitting at the State Department, because the Department on the President's orders will not let the Biden team access that.

Our next guest has written about the stakes of this election and the bitter fruit of it. "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman. He is the bestselling author of countless classics including "From Beirut to Jerusalem." He joins us now.

Tom, you wrote back in September that President Trump made it unmistakably clear that there were only two choices before voters on November 3rd and electing Joe Biden was not one of them. It was either the President is elected or there is fraud, or it is rigged.

Now that we're watching this play out in real time, what are your thoughts? I mean, one Defense official at The Pentagon told Barbara Starr, these are dictator moves?


THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, great question, Anderson. You know, my first reaction is profound sadness for this reason. Anderson, we just had the most amazing election, in the middle of a pandemic that is getting worse by the day, more Americans got up, found a way to vote by mail, in person, 150 million of them basically, in a free and fair election.

This is the most -- and by the way, and their friends and neighbors, because this is how we do it in this country -- went out and counted those ballots freely and fairly, without any major issue of fraud. That's what actually happened.

It was the most amazing expression of a people's commitment to democracy since the election of 1864 when we had an election in the middle of a Civil War and Lincoln defeated McClellan.

We should be celebrating this. Our President should be celebrating this.

If John McCain had been there, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, any other President and rival would have looked at this and said, what an amazing day for American democracy.

And what did we get instead? We have a President, who is only concerned about himself, who puts himself before country, and is only concerned with the fact that he lost narrowly, and therefore is trying to soil what is actually the greatest expression of our democracy since our election in 1864 and that is profoundly sad, and it is so disturbing to see so many members of his party joining in his amen chorus.

COOPER: You know, it was also an election that was actually very good for Republicans. I mean, this -- you know, other than Joe Biden winning, none of the scenarios the Democrats certainly were hoping for and talking about of massive -- a massive victory of taking over the Senate, all of that, that didn't happen.

FRIEDMAN: It was really an expression of the center left, center right core of the country really expressing its will to be governed through some compromise.

And that's what makes the whole thing -- it's just so disturbing, because we can only go forward and do big hard things if we do them together and the country is basically screaming that and we are soiling it.

But you know, what else strikes me, Anderson? You know, the day after the vote or when President-elect Biden was confirmed, church bells rang all over Europe. Wow. People just went out in the streets. Why were they so happy? It's because they knew better, I think, than some Americans what was at stake.

Because they've watched what's been going on in Europe, in Hungary, in Poland, in Russia, Belarus, what have they -- Turkey -- what have they seen? They've seen these right-wing nationalists take power through free and fair elections, and then use the power of the state to ensconce themselves in power, pervert their court system, and basically try to maintain minority rule.

They see it going on everywhere, and they looked across the ocean and they were worried. They were so worried that it was going to happen in America. And it didn't happen. The American people didn't let it happen.

And they went out and they rang church bells, and they hollered, and they danced in the streets. They don't do that when France has an election. They don't do that when the U.K. has an election. But they did it because it happened in America. Because we started the whole thing in 1800, when Jefferson defeated John Adams, and Jefferson went home. We started that moment, the loser goes home. And right now, that thing

we started, that gave birth to democracy all over the world that is now in peril because of this President and the lackeys in his party, who put themselves before country.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, it is the lackeys in his party, as you said that is particularly I guess, surprising. You know, there had been talk, even you heard from some, you know, never Trumper Republicans who, you know, talked about a reckoning that would might take place or should take place in the Republican Party after Trump leaves.

It seems pretty clear, there is not going to be any kind of reckoning because President Trump really isn't going anywhere, even when he ultimately leaves office, which is what is going to happen.

He is going to be ensconced in Mar-a-Lago with a very big microphone and probably a TV camera and the power to raise funds or not raise funds for Republican candidates and he very -- you know, he is talking about coming back. It is stunning to me the extent to which not only has he been remade the Republican Party while he is in office. It seems like he's holding on to it even when he is gone.


FRIEDMAN: Yes, although when he is actually gone, we'll see, you know, because -- but he is always there that these guys, it always seems like they'll never go and they'll always have power.

After he is gone, that party could also turn into scorpions in a bottle as they all go after each other, especially to succeed him. I don't know exactly what will happen. All I know is this Anderson, you and I have talked about it before. We will not have a healthy democracy unless we have a healthy Liberal Party and a healthy Conservative Party.

And right now, we have a deeply disturbed Conservative Party. We have a Conservative Party that basically has been selling itself to the highest bidder of whoever can energize its base: Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, Donald Trump.

And if you can energize the base, so they can continue to hold on to power by any means possible, you're their guy. And until that party goes through an internal reckoning, which you hope, once Trump's defeat sinks in, it still might happen, our country will not be right and we will not be able to govern in the effective way that we need to have.

Anderson, you may have noticed, there's two countries out there who so conspicuously have not congratulated Biden. They're called Russia and China. You know why? Because Xi and Putin are sitting in front of the TV.

I bet they've got their feet up on the sofa, they've popped popcorn, put a little butter on, and they are so enjoying watching America in turmoil because it means America can never organize a global coalition against them, against them, like for China today which just arrested a whole bunch of democracy advocates in Hong Kong, and never against Putin's Russia.

Oh my God, they are so enjoying the show. Thank you very much, Mike Pompeo.

COOPER: Yes. And you talk about profiles encouraging. I mean, Mike Pompeo, or you know, and I say that sarcastically, Mike Pompeo and a lot of Republican senators, it's so clear they are thinking, I mean, clearly they're looking at the race in Georgia. And, you know, they don't want to upset Trump and his supporters and they are afraid.

You know, they feel like they have to coddle the President because they're afraid he will take it out on the two Republican candidates in Georgia, which he is entirely capable of doing.

FRIEDMAN: Oh, absolutely. We saw what he again has done to his own Secretary of Defense. You know, I keep getting in trouble with left and right because, look, I wish we had a balanced government where everyone had some skin in the game, but only if they are ready to play the game, okay?

And Mitch McConnell last time he was in that situation with Barack Obama, did everything he could to undermine Obama's presidency, make it a failure, in hopes that if it failed, that people won't blame him, they would blame Obama.

And, you know, I don't want -- we don't have time for that anymore, folks. I'd much rather trust Joe Biden and his moderate instincts and the message to the American people to get us at least through two years of dealing with climate, dealing with the fact that 60 percent of our population has not had a raise in income since 1980.

Dealing with infrastructure, dealing with these big challenges, because we can't go four more years, Anderson with gridlock, otherwise, we are going to be so much in China's rearview mirror.

And if you think this election was disturbed, wait until the next one. And that's what's troubling.

Anderson, how do you feel about the next election? It really is worrisome if these people will do this when they lose? What would happen if they win?

COOPER: And Joe Biden, the task that his administration faces, you know, it's not just Republicans who -- I mean, maybe they will have a reckoning and decide, gridlock is not the answer.

But even just the left wing of his own party, there's going to be a real issue. I mean, he -- you know, there are a lot of folks who got people to vote and signed up a lot of registered, you know, a lot of Black Lives Matter -- people in Black Lives Matter movement worked very hard to register voters, get new voters in, turn people out in Detroit and other cities.

And yet, you know, Joe Biden is already talking about, you know, ruling from the center. FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, Anderson, I go back always to where it all

started. That's South Carolina. I wish I could travel now. Go to a church in South Carolina, maybe go up to the choir, sit with the ladies in the choir -- black ladies -- and ask them, why did you lift Joe Biden off the mat?

His candidacy was basically dead before he showed up here in South Carolina. And you and Jim Clyburn, you guys lifted him off the mat. The referee was counting him out, one, two, three, you stopped his hand. Why did you do that?

Was it because you want Medicare-for-All? Was it because you want an African-American? You could have voted for Cory Booker, why did you do that? I think it was because they had the wisdom to understand that the country is being torn apart.

And what we needed was someone like Biden to pull it back together again and everybody is going to have to compromise. That's why they did it, and their intuition was right.

We are so indebted to those people, and I say to everyone on the left, the far left, the center left, the right, the far right, and you know that the center right, give the guy a chance. Give the guy a chance before you start making broad claims about what he owes you.


FRIEDMAN: The only people he owes are that folks down in that church in South Carolina. They're the ones who had the wisdom to turn this whole thing around.

COOPER: And simultaneously, the pandemic rages on, and President Trump seems completely checked out from any involvement in this health crisis at all. I mean, it is more people in the hospital now than have ever been in the entire course of this pandemic. He is not even pretending publicly to care about it anymore.

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, Anderson, you really hit on something important. And if you listen to the epidemiologists, our hospitals, there's a very good chance, a lot of them are going to be overwhelmed in the next 60 days.

And I shudder to think about what happens if Trump continues to refuse to cede power until January. If he continues firing people in government, particularly The Pentagon, which we're going to need, I suspect before this pandemic is over it to help public health officials and this virus goes just parabolic.

I just think we're headed for just incredibly unstable time when we need to be coming together.

COOPER: Yes. Tom Friedman, I really appreciate it as always, thank you.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: Coming up next, a senior Biden adviser and top lawyer on what

the next steps are for dealing with a President who just won't deal with them.

Later, the heartbreaking news on COVID, another two milestones: more people hospitalized as I mentioned right now than ever before. New record number of daily cases and the death toll climbing, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us to talk about what we all can't do now, how we can help to stop this from getting even worse, ahead.


COOPER: With the President busy tweeting about nonexistent voter fraud and taking a hammer and sickle to The Pentagon, the votes keep being counted. They continue to confirm a Biden victory and a massive Biden lead in the popular vote.

Right now, he is pulling in 77,444,000 votes or 50.8 percent of the total. The President trails with 47.4 percent and 72,293,000 votes.

Late today, "The Wall Street Journal" published an opinion piece by former Bush political guru, Karl Rove. The headline reads, "This election result won't be overturned."


COOPER: We want to get perspective now from the Biden campaign on the unprecedented position they find themselves in, we're joined by senior adviser, Bob Bauer, who previously served as White House Counsel under President Obama.

Bob, thanks for being with us. President Trump in an Oval Office meeting today with his team gave no indication apparently that he plans to concede. He was skeptical apparently of their legal efforts, but plan to press ahead anyway, according to a person familiar with the matter.

What is the next move for President-elect Biden and the transition team? And where do you see -- how do you see this playing out?

BOB BAUER, SENIOR ADVISER TO BIDEN CAMPAIGN: I don't know that I ever thought I'd say this, but Karl Rove is certainly right. The election will not be overturned.

I'm not surprised to hear either that the President was skeptical about his lawyers, I'm not quite sure if they were telling him what's going on in the courtroom, why he wouldn't be skeptical. They are losing case after case.

Let me give you a sort of brief overview of where we are. In the eight months, up to Election Day, Judges dismissed six Trump suits. In the eight days since Election Day, Judges have dismissed seven Trump suits.

Now, Donald Trump says well, he's only suing in localities or in states where the Democrats control the process. But in fact, he is suing and Republicans are attacking the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia. He is suing the Republican Secretary of State in Nevada, where he did lost those suits as well.

And so it's sort of a bit of a disaster out there to be honest with you. So if he is skeptical about his lawyers, because he was looking for winning, what he is getting from his lawyers is losing because he doesn't have a case.

COOPER: It's interesting, because I get a lot of people reaching out to me on, you know, Instagram or Twitter and they are Trump supporters and a lot of them are, you know, the ones who aren't yelling obscenities at me are, you know, often very thoughtful and rational and love this country and even the ones yelling obscenities at me probably love this country as well.

But, you know, people were looking to have a rational conversation and they genuinely believe what the President has been saying about it being rigged. And, you know, they're passing it around, they send me things of well, look at this video of this person doing this in this place, and here is this person saying this.

What do you say to those people? Because when things are actually presented in court, which is where this has to be decided, as you say, the judges are throwing it out. These are things which do not hold up in court.

BAUER: No, they don't. And there was an interesting exchange in a case in Montgomery County, where the Judge bore very hard down on the lawyer and asked specifically, "Are you alleging fraud?" And the lawyer danced around and said, at present, no, not really. And the lawyer -- the Judge pushed harder still. And the lawyer said, no, we're not alleging fraud. It doesn't matter whether what we're alleging is a big deal or not.

Now, compare that to the propaganda outside the courtroom, where you would think the American electoral process has been rigged from top to bottom, at least as alleged by Rudy Giuliani from the Four Seasons landscaping company parking lot. That's not what's happening in the courtroom.

So I would also say this to people trying to figure out what's going on, it is actually accessible information. What they are saying, for example, at the exclusion of observers is demonstrably untrue, and courts are throwing those claims out as well.

In fact, reporters who have been on location, including, by the way from one network that is not unfriendly to Donald Trump, has said time and again, that what the Trump campaign is saying about the exclusion of observers is completely false.

What the Trump campaign is saying about fraud time and again, has been refuted by the court. There was a judge in Montana, a red state, who said that what they had to say about fraud was a fiction. There's no evidence of it whatsoever.

And very recently, as you probably -- I'm sorry. COOPER: No, go ahead. No, finish your thought.

BAUER: I was going to say, very recently, as you know, with great fanfare, a senior Republican on Capitol Hill produced an affidavit from a Postal worker in Pennsylvania saying he observed horrible regularities, I believe that Trump tweeted out something to the effect that this gentleman was a brave patriot and he has since recanted saying that he executed a false affidavit.

I would say you can't make this stuff up. But the truth of the matter is they are making this stuff up.

COOPER: "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting tonight that the President's lawyers are working what "The Journal" calls a patchwork of legal efforts to try to stop certification of results in certain states. Is there any scenario in which you could see them pulling that off?

BAUER: I see them creating, you know, all sorts of confusion. They're continuing to file lawsuits. The lawsuits are continuing to fail. They'll appeal. They'll file more lawsuits, and their objective is absolutely to introduce disruption and to message in support of President Trump's completely unsubstantiated false claims about fraud.

But in the end, they will not stop the victorious margins for President-elect Biden from being certified. They will not stop him from being the successful candidate here who takes the Oath of Office on January 20, 2021.

COOPER: Bob Bauer, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

BAUER: It's a pleasure. Thank you.


COOPER: There's breaking news on the Biden cabinet. CNN has learned that Ron Klain has been offered the chief of staff position has accepted. The formal announcement is expected tomorrow. Klain has previously served as the president-elect in a variety of capacities including chief of staff in the early days of his vice presidency.

Just ahead, more on President Trump's attempts to obstruct the White House transition. The New York Times Maggie Haberman is going to join us to discuss what if any strategy is -- or cohesive strategy is guiding the President right now.


COOPER: Before the break we heard from the senior advisor of the Biden campaign and talked about President Trump's failed attempts to delay the transition to the courts. I'm quoting Bob Bauer. It's a bit of a disaster out there for him he said.

The President meanwhile is mostly keeping away from the public aside from visit Arlington National Cemetery today to commemorate Veterans Day and a golf outing over the weekend. His main duties appear to be hunkering down in the White House, blasting out baseless claims of voter fraud on social media.

Late word from CNN's Kaitlan Collins, the President is staying in the Oval Office longer than usual, typically gone by 6:30 p.m. for dinner. This week, his departure has come past 7, even past 8:00. That's according to Kaitlan Collins. It's an unusual pattern when the President has no public event schedule.

We're joined now by a New York Times White House correspondent and CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman. Maggie, good see you you've covered the President and his (INAUDIBLE) are thinking more than most. What are yours -- what are you hearing about where he is right now?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What I'm hearing Anderson most everybody that where he actually is, is that he knows that this is over realistically, he knows that these legal challenges do not have a chance of getting him the votes that he needs. Even if they do find, you know, isolated incident of bad behavior with a ballot or an accidental use of a ballot or something, there's just simply not enough to try to make up these margins.

But he wants to march ahead. And I think there are a couple of reasons for that. I think one is, he doesn't want to face the fact that the election is over and that he has lost, he also, there is a part of him. And I know that this is hard to grasp for people, even after all these years, but he sort of just likes watching the show. And he likes seeing what's going to happen and whether it's going to turn out differently for him. Maybe if he just keeps going.


However, I don't hear any sign that he's changing, and that he is recognizing that he needs to say something publicly, if anything he is digging in and plans to keep this going on for several days to come.

COOPER: I mean, is part of it about kind of setting up a post presidents -- post presidency life of, you know, having a radio network and a TV network and, you know, a grievance network and plotting, you know, to continuing his power over the Republican party and a potential return.

HABERMAN: I certainly think that some of it is about retaining his power over the Republican Party base because there is a way for him to frankly, monetize that whether it is through list building, or a book or some kind of a television outlet, or a radio show or all the other options that you just mentioned. But I don't think it's a strategy, Anderson, I think it is just a reaction.

And he is moving in sort of brief increments of time as he does to see what happens until he gets to the next increment of time. I do think he thinks those are things that could be useful to him. I will say, it's going to reach a point where it might stop being as useful to him because as effective as he has been at scaring Republican lawmakers in Congress, in the Senate, governors at going along, at least with him, if not, and by going along with him, I mean, not countering him and not saying no, he is wrong for the most part. There are going to be to Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, that is going to be where the party's focus is, in terms of the next elections, then there's going to move on to elections in 2022. At a certain point, if the President keeps making it about himself doesn't do something to help the party and it starts to see diminishing returns for the party that could hurt him going forward to. He does plan to a question you asked on talking about running in 2024. We'll see if he actually does it.

COOPER: It's so interesting when you say and I mean, you've said it like that before, but I don't know for some reason there. Were you just saying it, he sees things and he's just moving through mote increments. I don't want to get it wrong, increments of time. He's in this increment of time.

HABERMAN: And he increments the time.

COOPER: He wants to see what's in the next increment of time. It's just a series of increments of time. I mean, that's a terrifying idea.

HABERMAN: That's right. It's not there's not some strategy, there is survival until the next minute, and he will get as far as he can and take things as far as he can take them. And he will continue to say that this election, I suspect is invalid in terms of him in various terms, until he's walking out the door. But I believe he will walk out the door.

COOPER: But he will continue to say that I mean for the rest of his life.

HABERMAN: I am confident of it. And in his mind, he thinks that's what and he has said this, that that's what every person who loses an election does.

COOPER: Yes, I would think that we're at a certain point, you know, he's essentially if it is true that, and it seems to I mean, I'm sure, of course, it's true, because it's so obvious that that it's over for him and he knows that he knows these core challenges, which are getting tossed out, won't have any impact. I mean, he's essentially riling up his supporters and kind of playing them for suckers. I mean, he's taking advantage of the fact that they will believe him, even though he doesn't believe it.

HABERMAN: Anderson, this has always been a part of the disconnect with who Donald Trump is and what he wants and intense versus what his supporters see him as. And, you know, this is somebody who ran in 2016. First not expecting to do as well in the primaries as he did and last as long as he did, then not expecting to win the presidency. And he has sort of rewritten history on that.

But that is the reality. His supporters don't realize that there is some aspect of this for him that is just watching to see what happened. They hear him say that this election involve fraud and cheating fraud, by the way, which is a legal term. They hear him say that, and they believe it and they are riled up by it. And that is potentially dangerous. COOPER: It's just sad to I mean, it's amazing, Maggie Haberman --

HABERMAN: Well, he's going to make sure that he's an opposition to Joe Biden, I would just make that point Anderson. He's going to make sure that he is going to sell up Biden's ability to unite the country as much as possible going forward.

COOPER: Yes. What a legacy. Maggie Haberman, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Up next, more breaking news. CNN reports the President Trump's allies are still pursuing efforts to discredit the Russian investigation seeking to declassify sensitive intelligence information. They claim to support the President's contention that it was all in the hoax.


Up next I'll speak with former CIA director John Brennan about the alarm bells. Those discussions are rising.


COOPER: There is more breaking news tonight as President Trump and his allies continue to publicly dispute the outcome of the election. They're quietly seeking to declassify intelligence sources and methods used in the Russia investigation in an effort to boost the President's claim that it was all bogus. CNN is reporting expands and underscores the Washington Post accounts we mentioned at the top of the program that those attempts are being met with strong pushback from some members of the intelligence community.

Joining me now is John Brennan, CIA director under President Obama and author of Undaunted by Fight against America's Enemies At Home And Abroad.

Director Brennan, the CNN reporting that President Trump wants to declassify certain elements of the Russia investigation, even though CIA director Gina Haspel, whose job is reportedly on the line. And career intelligence officials are saying it would compromise national security. What could be at stake here?

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think there are two aspects to this. One, if anything is going to be released, I'm sure it's going to be very selective cherry picking of intelligence or information that might in fact be specious or bogus. And it'll be misrepresented as something that is going to further support his narrative Donald Trump's narrative.

But secondly, I think the concern is that the exposure of this information could seriously compromise, very sensitive sources and methods that the intelligence community relies on, to understand what our adversaries and especially Russia is doing. And so, Gina Haspel, I'm glad to hear at least according to reports that she's standing firm, and she's protecting the integrity and the apolitical nature of the CIA, which is her responsibility. COOPER: I mean, the idea that they would try to do this, I guess, before the President leaves office so that he can, you know, basically use this, you know, to prove his constant refrain that he's had over the last four years about a this all being a hoax, and not really caring about the any potential intelligence blowback on sources and methods.

BRENNAN: I don't think he cares at all about the intelligence mission. And he only concerned about himself. And I think as Maggie Haberman was saying, he lives sort of chapter to chapter, minute a minute. And so, I don't know if he knows exactly what he's going to do for the rest of the 70 days. And I'm hope I am wrong in terms of my concerns that he may have in fact release information that will compromise U.S. national security interests.


But Donald Trump has demonstrated that he is rash and reckless and pursues only those things which are going to advantage him personally, politically or financially.

COOPER: Yes, I'm clearly stating this. He doesn't plan to concede anytime soon. It seems earlier today, you said you're more worried now of what he might do in the next 70 days. And you were during the course of his administration? And what's the worst case scenario in your mind?

BRENNAN: Well, look, what he's done as far as decapitating the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense, he's put in unqualified and inexperienced people and most of them are political hacks. And what might he be contemplating doing on the military front? Is he going to pursue some type of military adventure? We're trying to politicize the U.S. military, on the domestic front?

Or is he going to release intelligence and really, again, compromise our national security interests? So, I think Donald Trump doesn't know yet what he's going to do. But the fact that he's on the way out the door and he realizes that he is a very petty and petulant and bitter individual, and he will seek to settle scores. And I think he's going to try to make it as difficult as possible for Joe Biden to take the helm of the government.

COOPER: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to acknowledge President-Elect Biden's victory, saying, quote, there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. As we're leaders continue to congratulate Biden, you wrote in your new book Undaunted, that Pompeo has succeeded you as CIA director, before becoming Secretary of State, quote, solidified his reputation and putting loyalty to Donald Trump above commitment to country. What message is he now sending to America's friends, and frankly, our adversaries?

BRENNAN: He's basically sending the message that the United States no longer has the moral standing to criticize and condemn authoritarian leaders around the world for trampling their laws, for trampling the rights of individuals. And for what Donald Trump continues to do which is to ignore the Democratic tenets of our country and our government. And so therefore, Mike Pompeo basically is selling out to Donald

Trump, and he is doing it at the great expense of the great reputation of United States for being the world's leading spokesperson against these types of authoritarian abuses.

COOPER: The fact that President-elect Biden isn't getting daily presidential intelligence briefings right now. Does that matter? I mean, as he approaches actually becoming the president, how important is it to get those kind of daily briefings?

BRENNAN: Joe Biden is going to inherit all of the United States national security challenges on January 20th, of 2021. He needs to have as much insight and advanced familiarity with the current state of these challenges.

And the fact that Donald Trump is refusing to allow Joe Biden who had the PDB the president's daily brief, during the eight years of the Obama ministration and continues to have security clearances. The fact that he is refusing to allow that to be provided to Joe Biden just shows that he cares not a whit about U.S. national security interests, and he is going to continue to be a very embittered and angry man.

COOPER: Do you have any doubt that President Trump will leave office, leave it peacefully?

BRENNAN: He has no choice. His powers expire at noon on January 20th. And so, the executive branch of the U.S. government will no longer be responsive to him. So, I do think he's going to leave does he resign and allow Mike Pence to give him apart and on top of his own part, I don't know. But there's no way he's going to be able to stay in office. I am confident with that.

COOPER: John Brennan, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thanks.

COOPER: As President Trump's actions jeopardize the national security potentially in this country. The nation is experiencing the worst coronavirus surge today. Staggering numbers for hospitalization rates and case counts. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us discuss what the future holds when we come back.



COOPER: President Trump's focus on reversing the election comes tonight as the nation sets new records for coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations for the second consecutive day. Also, the White House Coronavirus Task Force today warned of continued accelerating community spread. Case counts today at least 140,543 it's the ninth consecutive day of cases over 100,000. Hospitalizations at least 65,368 both still rising.

In Texas, mobile medical tents are being set up at two hospitals in Lubbock to help fight the surge of hospitalizations. Tennessee hospitals are approaching capacity in northwest Wisconsin, the Mayo Clinic system says its hospitals are now at 100% capacity.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now. Is it possible to predict how long we'll be on this new accelerated climb?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, part of it depends on how we behave. You know, over the next several weeks, we have the capacity to start to stall things. I mean, the numbers are going to continue to go up for some time.

The IHME modelers, you know them well, Anderson, they say basically, we don't do anything different, mask usage stays the same, our current physical distancing guidelines stay the same. We'll go to about 300,000 cases per day. OK. By the end of the year, in fact, on New Year's Eve is what they say.

And then just as you might expect, a few weeks after that end of January is when they think they'll have peak hospitalization. So I think you said 61,000 right now, they think it'll be more than double that 131,000 by the end of January. And then you just saw the numbers on the screen, Anderson, I think 399,000 people they think will have died by the end of January. And that's not the end. I mean, that that's just as far out as they've modeled so far. So, it's tough to hear. But that's sort of it.

And he also, as you know, Anderson, you could see get an idea of how much masks might make a difference versus even easing up some of the mandates. Save a lot of lives with the masks 60 70,000 people.

COOPER: I mean, there's almost 400,000 people by February 1st and you say, you know, that's still going to continue to go on for quite some time. But you're starting to get into numbers like the, you know, the so-called Spanish Flu the epidemic. I mean, that was I think, 675,000 people.

GUPTA: It's exactly right. No, you're absolutely right, it's 675,000 people and even more similar was the first six months of that virus that outbreak in the United States around 200,000 people had died just like here in 100 years later. I've always found that so astounding Anderson, because they didn't have, you know, a lot of the medical care that we have now. They didn't have you know, all the medications. And they could develop so quickly now. And yet human behavior was the cause of so many deaths then and it's still sitting so many cause now.


COOPER: And I mean, you know amidst this surge seems like the administration has basically abandoned trying to tackle this. I mean, there's no televised Coronavirus, Task Force briefings. They're not talking to Fauci or Dr. Birx, the President's doesn't seems pretty checked out on this. It's terrible on top, you know, it's just terrible.

GUPTA: I mean, September, I think 23rd I think was the last sort of Coronavirus Task Force meeting. We know that the -- in July basically the entire tone of those meetings changed. They changed from let's control the virus to how do we open up things in the economy again. It was it was a complete shift in July.

And you see what's happened with the numbers, you know, since then there's been a little dip here and there. But now we're basically going into exponential growth. Everybody knew this was going to happen. I mean, we're talking about these models months ago and seems so far off at that point, you think well, that, I can't pass it. We're getting 100,000 people every day. Yes.

COOPER: That's incredible.

GUPTA: Straight up. And so, they say that will go to 300,000 people per day. Again, this is according to IHME modelers, they say that will happen within the next six weeks Anderson.

COOPER: And, you know, people say, well, OK, well, look, you know, a lot of the people, the vast majority of people who get it are going to be asymptomatic, and it's not going to kill them. They're still learning about what the long-term effects of this are. And we've talked about, you know, so-called long haulers, people who have ongoing symptoms for months and months who are still dealing with symptoms from COVID that they had that they weren't even hospitalized for back in April and March.

GUPTA: Yes, that was one of the things that really surprised me. I know you talked to the to the guys at Sinai as well about the long haulers. They -- I thought it'd be correlated with how severe your symptoms were initially more severe, you would have a higher chance of developing long hauling symptoms, just like you say, even people with minimal symptoms, can have long hauling, they could have these COVID naps, this brain fog, you know, all these strange symptoms that really just linger.

They're not they're functional, you know, they're doing they're living their life, but it really does linger in some people. You don't want this virus, I think to your point. But they're the Anderson the hospitalizations, you mentioned it when you were talking in the beginning, hospitals are going to become overwhelmed.

We're going to run into situations where people are going to call and say, hey, my loved one is having a difficult time breathing. You know, with the need to go to hospital, they said we don't have a bed here. They need to go to another state. North Dakota only has 20 ICU beds 20. They're already, you know, figure out how to send patients to South Dakota and Montana now.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks very much. The answer for all of us, the only thing we can do on that can actually have an effect immediately is wearing mask, social distancing. Sanjay, appreciate it. Thank you.

That Coronavirus Task Force report we mentioned cited quote significant deterioration in the Sunbelt. Florida for instance, reporting more than 5,800 new cases today alone. That's why the governor is new hire to crunch numbers as the virus spreads. A man apparently with limited qualifications is raising so many eyebrows. More now from "360s" Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Ohio sports blogger to data analyst for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Kyle Lamb announced his big career move on Twitter. I will be doing data analysis on several fronts for them including but not limited to COVID-19 research and other projects. But the governor's new data analyst has also been labeled a conspiracy theorist.

During the pandemic, Lamb supported the idea the virus was created by China as a bio warfare test. Lamb has also falsely posted that science never supported masks, stop the spread that hydroxychloroquine is potentially a very effective treatment and that mass lockdowns were not necessary. All of which has been debunked by scientists.

Still, Lamb directed us to his lawyer who told me, Lamb stands by those posts about masks, hydroxychloroquine and lockdowns. So, how did a guy like Lamb end up being hired as a data analyst for Florida's governor? The governor's communications director wouldn't say but told us Lamb was hired as a data analyst to which is an entry level data analyst position, adding, it has nothing to do with COVID-19.

Yet this week, the Miami Herald quoted the same spokesman saying that Lamb's role would not focus exclusively on COVID-19. The governor's office may have been aware of Lamb for some time, his communications director has retweeted posts from this blog that Kyle Lamb contributes to he's also retweeted Kyle Lamb. The governor may also have taken notice after a recent Fox News guest mentioned Kyle Lamb by name

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another Twitter user named Kyle Lamb has been a really good researcher on this stuff.

KAYE (voice-over): Despite that flattery Lamb's qualifications appear thin even by his own measure. Lamb once wrote, I have no qualms about being a sports guy moonlighting as a COVID-19 analyst. Fact is I'm not an expert. I'm not a doctor, epidemiologist, virologist or scientist.

Randi Kaye, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.



COOPER: Oh, the news continues. Want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME".