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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
A.G. Barr Says There Is No Evidence Of Widespread Fraud In Election; Barr Appoints Special Counsel For 2016 Investigation; NYT Reports Trump Has Discussed Pardons For His Three Children, Giuliani And Kushner; CDC Recommendations On Who Gets COVID Vaccine First; Trump Supporters In Georgia Hold Onto Hope; CNN Heroes: Giving Tuesday. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired December 1, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. Two stories dominate the news tonight. One concerns something that exists, and thank goodness for it, at least two effective vaccines against coronavirus. Federal officials met today to work out who gets vaccinated first and all the other important details surrounding their early deployment, and we'll have more on that tonight.
We begin though with tonight's other big story, which is all about something that does not exist and the con game surrounding it.
Now, you might think that President of the United States ought to be concerned that more than 270,000 Americans have now died in his watch and the deaths are now running at a rate of one every minute. You might think that that should be any President's greatest concern right now. Instead, the man who still occupies the White House is focused on what is, I'm sad to say, a con game over the election he lost. How is it a con game?
Well, the President is peddling an idea that is not true to people who want it to be true. In exchange, he's taking their money, about $170 million so far, which his small dollar donors, ordinary folks are being led to believe is going toward legal expenses related to the election. It's largely not.
That is the definition of what a confidence game is. That's what a con man does and that is what the President seems to be doing. But don't take it from us, take it from Republican and Democratic election officials, judges, including judges he appointed have said so.
And now his own Attorney General says there is no there, there. William Barr today telling The Associated Press quote, "To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election." That's coming from William Barr, a guy who has bent over backwards to back up the President's most audacious declarations.
Remember what the Attorney General said back in June on FOX seeming to validate the President's attacks on mail-in ballots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: A foreign country could print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots and be very hard for us to detect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now bear in mind, that wasn't true then, and he of course, offered no evidence whatsoever to back up that statement, but it does show you how willing he was to echo what the President wanted to hear.
And shortly after the election, he took the unprecedented step of authorizing Federal prosecutors to pursue allegations of, quote, "vote tabulation irregularities," even as the votes were still being counted. The move drew widespread criticism. It prompted the head of the Justice Department's election crimes branch to resign in protest.
That said, for all the controversies surrounding them, these investigations must have drawn a blank otherwise Attorney General Barr certainly would have said so. Instead, he told The Associated Press quote, "Most claims of fraud or very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. They are not systemic allegations and those have ran down; they are being run down."
He also dismissed this claim the President makes constantly.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Dominion machines aware of tremendous reports have been put out. We have affidavits on -- from many people talking about what went on with machines. They had glitches. You know what a glitch is, a glitch is supposed to be when a machine breaks down.
Well, no, we had glitches where they move thousands of votes from my account to Biden's account. And these are glitches. So they're not glitches, they're theft. They are fraud, absolute fraud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's made up. And here's what the Attorney General told The Associated Press quote, "There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud. And that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results and the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice have looked into that. And so far, we haven't seen anything to substantiate that."
Nothing. Nor has Chris Krebs, the lifelong Republican who ran Federal election security efforts until the President fired him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER KREBS, FORMER DIRECTOR, CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY: There is no foreign power that is flipping votes. There's no domestic actor flipping votes. I did it right. We did it right. This was a secure election. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And he got fired for that conclusion and got death threats, by the way, and was on the receiving end of this from a member of the President's campaign legal team, Joseph diGenova, who you should know was once actually a widely respected U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOSEPH DIGENOVA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICTS OF COLUMBIA: Anybody who thinks that this election went well like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, the guy that was on "60 Minutes" last night.
DIGENOVA: That guy is a Class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, calling other people a moron. By the way, saying he should be taken out at dawn and shot for doing his job, for telling the truth. Now, of course diGenova who calls other people a moron is saying he was just speaking in jest, just kidding about shooting a public servant for doing his job honestly.
In this environment where people are being told the election was stolen and talking about killing people is not something any responsible or reasonable person should be doing. In Georgia, which the President lost and where two Senate runoffs are being held next month, another public servant, the Republican in charge of voting systems there who is now by the way living under police protection had this to say to the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABRIEL STERLING, SYSTEMS IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't have all the best words to do this because I'm angry. The straw that broke the camel's back today is again, this 20-year-old contract for a voting system company, just trying to do his job, just there.
In fact, I talked to Dominion today and said, he is one of the better ones they've got. His family is getting harassed now. There's a new noose out there with his name on it. It's just not right.
I can't begin to explain the level of anger I have right now over this. And every American, every Georgian, Republican and Democrat alike should have that same level of anger.
Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the State of Georgia. We're investigating, there's always a possibility, I get it, and you have the rights to go to the courts. What you don't have the ability to do and you need to step up and say this is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence, someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, and someone is going to get killed. And it's not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Gabriel Sterling, a Republican now being protected by police just for doing his job. His boss, George's Republican Secretary of State has been getting death threats. The President has called him quote, "an enemy of the people." We've heard that before, again, just for doing his job.
The person who shows no sign of caring whether anyone gets hurt, because of what he says at least not enough to stop. After all, there's money to be made in outrage. So the President continues to gin it up. He's been bombarding supporters with e-mails like this one, which reads in part, "Friend, I can't defend this election alone, I need your help. Please contribute another $5.00 in the next hour and you can increase your impact by 1,000 percent."
The link leads you to a website saying, quote, "President Trump is counting on you to defend the election." In fact, unless you donate more than $5,000.00, none of the money that you send goes to the President's so-called election Defense Fund. Some goes the Republican Party, but most goes to the President's new Political Action Committee. Again, it's raised about and $170 million so far, and because it's set up, it is what's called a leadership PAC and not a candidate committee, there is no personal use prohibition. And that's really important.
In other words, as one former federal election finance official tells "The Washington Post" quote, "If you're talking about a leadership PAC are an independent expenditure PAC, there is no prohibition on how they use that money."
In short, the President is being handed tens of millions, more than a hundred million dollars after losing the election, telling his supporters that he didn't lose the election. He is telling them they can do something about it by sending him even more money, most of which goes to a fund he has wide discretion to spend however he wants.
They don't even get -- the people get money -- they don't even get those old Trump steaks or a worthless diploma from Trump University. This is another con and you have to wonder which of his collaborators are in on it as well.
First, let's go to CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House. Jim Acosta, General Barr's conclusion that there's no evidence of fraud that would change the election. What's the White House saying about that? Is Barr now an enemy of the people as well?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they haven't gone that far yet. But we're waiting to see what the President has to say about this and what the White House has to say about this.
At this point, White House officials are turning us to the Trump Campaign and the Trump legal team and the statement that they put out earlier today. Rudy Giuliani being on that Trump team, saying in a statement earlier today that Bill Barr and the Department of Justice hasn't done what they refer to as a semblance of an investigation into election fraud stemming from the 2020 election.
That is rich, obviously, because Rudy Giuliani and his associates on the Trump legal team haven't put forward any evidence at all that there was widespread voter fraud in this 2020 election. And so Anderson, what we're left with is what you were teeing up just over the last several minutes, and that is a disinformation for dollar scheme that the President is orchestrating right now, to great, I think success.
He is raising a lot of money for his future plans to essentially make Joe Biden's life miserable over the next four years.
COOPER: And I know you have some reporting about associates of the President, including Rudy Giuliani, who may be asking him for pardons.
ACOSTA: That's right. I'm told by my sources that associates of the President have been pleading to him, appealing to him for pardons, what are being called pre-emptive blanket pardons before Mr. Trump leaves office.
According to our sources, those associates who are appealing to the President include his longtime personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who, by the way, as we were mentioning has been leading up these legal challenges across the country.
I'm told by a source who is familiar with some of these discussions that a lot of these associates around the President who are seeking these pardons, friends, allies, people who think that they may be in hot water over the next four years. They fear what an incoming Biden administration means and they see some hostility -- what they view as hostility coming from that incoming administration.
COOPER: Is that a thing? Preemptive blanket pardons?
ACOSTA: You know, I'm not a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV, Anderson. But I think what they're looking for is yes, some sort of blanket immunity from prosecution from here on forward, whether or not that can be tested in the courts we are going to see. We're also seeing, of course, hearing about the prospect of the President pardoning himself, which constitutional scholars will say the President can't do. But of course, he has busted norms before.
My sense is, talking to my sources, he may try that one, too.
COOPER: I mean, I haven't heard about this since like Monopoly with a get-out-of-jail-free card. I understand there is a Trump event being discussed around the time of the inauguration, which is obviously, you know, obviously, designed for a number of reasons. But it's interesting, not the least of which that he's lost, he is not being inaugurated again. So what are they -- what is this idea of an event around the inauguration?
ACOSTA: Well, it is one thing that's under discussion. I mean, there aren't many Trump advisers that you will speak to these days, Anderson who thinks that the President will go out there, the outgoing President will go out there and put his arm around Joe Biden and wish him luck on Inauguration Day. They just don't see that happening.
What they do see happening at this point, and what's been discussed is a potential event on Inauguration Day or around Inauguration Day where President Trump -- outgoing President Trump will announce some kind of intention in terms of what he might do over the next four years that he may hint at a comeback run in 2024.
All of that, of course, is up in the air. It depends on how the President is doing politically and legally, I suppose, over the next couple of years. But it is something that is being discussed and something that would, of course, be an attempt by the President, by the outgoing President to steal the limelight from his successor.
COOPER: So have they clearly said he's not going to go to the inauguration?
ACOSTA: He has not. He has not answered that question. He was asked that question last week. He said he didn't want to answer that question. Obviously, wanting to keep everybody in suspense, keep his supporters in suspense.
But Anderson, if he says he is going to the inauguration, that is in and of itself, an acknowledgment that he is no longer going to be President of the United States, and we go back to those fundraising e- mails we were just showing a few moments ago. They're even more laughable at that point in time, Anderson.
COOPER: You know, the camera is going to be at the inauguration. I think the President is going to be there. But that -- I'm just --
ACOSTA: Some way, shape or form.
COOPER: I am rolling the dice on that one. I don't know. Jim Acosta -- in some way, shape, or form. That's true. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
Another story on pardons now. Documents made public late today by the Chief Judge of the Washington, D.C. District Court are also making headlines. CNN's senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez joins us now. So what did this court filing reveal?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, not a lot, Anderson. It simply says that there's an investigation that has been ongoing that appears to show -- at least according to this document -- appears to show that there was a bribery scheme that someone was trying to essentially funnel money, some kind of campaign donation in exchange for a presidential pardon.
Now, we don't know exactly who the campaign donation was going to. From reading the documents, we can tell that this involved some kind of contact with White House officials. We've talked to White House officials who say they have no idea what this is about.
The names of the people involved, the law firms that were involved, all of this has been redacted and it clearly was released by the Chief Judge here in Washington over the objections of the Justice Department, which wanted to keep these documents secret.
We don't know whether or not this will ever become public in the way of a court filing charges. It appears right now, no charges have been filed with regard to this bribery scheme. But it does raise the question of exactly who it was, was trying to essentially use access to the President, access to the White House in order to get a presidential pardon in exchange for campaign finance donations.
COOPER: Separately today, it was revealed that back in October, the Attorney General Bill Barr appointed a special counsel to investigate whether investigators violated the law in investigating the 2016 Trump campaign. Did Barr give any indication as to why he decided to do this and why it's just coming to right now?
PEREZ: Well, you know, he simply says that he believes it's in the public interest for this investigation to be completed. Keep in mind, if you remember, Bill Barr kept flogging this investigation and kept saying that John Durham, the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut was finding all sorts of really interesting things.
He suggested that there might be crimes involved, and he also suggested that there might be some kind of October surprise something before the November election. The President also kept trying to raise the prospect that this was going to happen. None of it came to pass.
We now know that Durham is not done with his investigation, and according to Bill Barr, he decided that he needed to appoint John Durham as a sort of Special Counsel.
Now, keep in mind that according to the regulations, John Durham cannot serve as a Special Counsel in the way that Robert Mueller did because he is a current government employee. The rules say that you have to be someone from outside of the government.
PEREZ: So what Bill Barr is doing is simply going around those regulations. He is giving John Durham essentially the powers, and he is leaving this essentially to keep going well into the Joe Biden administration. This is something that the incoming Attorney General under Joe Biden is going to have to deal with when they take office.
COOPER: All right, Evan Perez. Appreciate it. Thanks.
Let's get perspective now from someone who knows a bit about D.C. district judges, Presidents and scandals, former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean. He's currently a CNN contributor; also CNN senior political commentator, David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Obama.
So John, if there's in fact, been some sort of, I mean, this whole story on a presidential, you know, kind of rumblings of a presidential pardon bribery scheme. What would it mean legally? I'm not clear if this means that it was somebody who had given donations in the past who was looking for a pardon? Or if it's somebody who was looking for a pardon by possibly giving donations. What do you make of this?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I read the largely redacted document. And as Evan said, it's hard to glean much from it. You can tell that they did get a lot of information from a raid that they were obviously authorized. They had a search warrant, and the result of that search warrant, they got several terabytes of digital material from iPhones and iPads and hard drives and what have you.
In that material were e-mails that were correspondence between the parties involved in this and an attorney. They apparently had to breach or break that privilege and went to court to get an order that they could confront the people that were involved in the investigation with the fact that had this information and not be breaking the privilege, they did so.
And they did that based on the fact that it had been shown to people -- information had been shown to people who are not attorneys, breaching the attorney client privilege and not going to the crime fraud privilege, which nullifies attorney-client as well.
So this is what's happened, and the judge, who is an experienced, seasoned judge, she said, at the very outset, I want these documents made public as soon as possible and put that in the original order. The Department of Justice resisted that to the last minute and filed a request saying we don't want it public, and the judge went back at them and said, please, I want something in a week that we can release.
So she has forced the issue and we got the highly redacted memo today.
COOPER: David, I mean, investigators indicated in court that they plan to confront three people as part of their case. They wanted to keep the court filings confidential because, quote, "individuals and conduct hadn't been charged yet." Can you -- I mean, is there any conclusion to be drawn from this? It just seems very -- it's kind of sketchy?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, I think the real question is, was there any conversation between anyone at the White House and/or the campaign with these people? Did they receive any encouragement? Was there actually discussion about this? We don't know the answer to that.
What we do know is that like many other elements of this White House, the pardon situation is a bit of a cesspool. You know, there was a system set up under the Obama administration, I was very aware of it that you know, pardons were reviewed by the Justice Department. There was a really rigorous sort of system to make sure that it
COOPER: By the way, David, is there such a thing as a preemptive blanket pardon? I mean, is this like a commonly used term?
AXELROD: Well, John Dean can speak to the fact that Gerald Ford provided a pardon for Richard Nixon, but it wasn't for crimes that he may have committed. It was -- I think, John, you can correct me if I'm wrong, it was specific to crimes that were associated with the investigations that were ongoing.
DEAN: Throughout his presidency. From his inauguration to his resignation.
AXELROD: There you go. Yes, but that was -- that was more the exception that proves the rule. It's highly unusual. Also unusual is that Rudy Giuliani is out there flacking, you know, the President's fantasy fraud cases and asking for $20,000.00 a day and is doing it at the same time that he is apparently talking to him about a preemptive pardon? That's catchy, too.
COOPER: Yes. We've got to take a break. We're going to have more David and John. Standby. I want to ask about a new reporting from "The New York Times" another pardon story, this one dealing with the President's three oldest children and Jared Kushner.
Later, our medical team joins us to talk about the vaccine rollout, the timing, the logistics and how soon we all could be seeing a change for the better after what looks to be some very dark times ahead.
COOPER: We are talking tonight about people seeking presidential pardons and the possibility of corruption surrounding the pardon process. The last part is under investigation, and just moments ago, this story hit "The New York Times." Here's the lead: President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant preemptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani and talked with Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter."
Back now with John Dean and David Axelrod. So John, "The New York Times" saying this, I mean, is there any historical parallel you know, to compare this to if this were to happen granting pardons to his kids and his son in law and Giuliani?
DEAN: I can't find any historical parallel for this. The family particularly, certainly, I can't even think of any family that was ever involved in the processes of the presidency, as the Trump family has been. But it's certainly not a surprise. We've all speculated and thought this was going to happen. I think this may be a trial balloon to see what the reaction is, and I'd be more surprised if he doesn't, Anderson, than if he does.
COOPER: I mean, David, if he actually does just like, pardon in advance all his children and Jared Kushner, I mean, it's like, I don't want to cast aspersions on the country, but it is something you would expect to see in, you know, some country where that has a ruling family and they're looking for, you know, a way out without being hauled into prison.
AXELROD: It is, Anderson. But well, I haven't long since been surprised by the behavior of this President. He does not respect the rule of law, laws, you know, rules, norms, institutions, he hasn't from the beginning, that is an old story.
So it is not at all surprising -- I think he'll probably end up probing his ability to pardon himself by the time this is done.
The thing is that he can't pardon for state crimes and there are two active investigations in New York, one by the Attorney General, and one by the District Attorney of Manhattan that is looking into the Trump Organization.
These pardons will not protect his children or himself from those, but you can see what he is setting up in the story. It said, he is concerned that the Biden administration will go after his family in retribution. And that's the kind of thing that he would do. Biden has already indicated that he is not interested in that. But I think that's the rationale that he will use if he goes ahead with these pardons.
COOPER: And John, when it comes to Rudy Giuliani reportedly lobbying President Trump for what essentially would be a preemptive pardon in which Giuliani has denied doing that, there have only been a handful of those in U.S. history. You talked about President Ford pardoning Richard Nixon, which was controversial.
Certainly. I mean, this is a whole other level even from that. I mean, he would be pardoning his disgraced lawyer that is helping launch a fraudulent assault on election integrity.
DEAN: Yes, we got a sample today of his pardon style in the filing by General Flynn for the actual language to that pardon, and it's so loose and so unspecific to really open itself to challenge and even question whether Flynn thinks he has the pardon he got.
As far as Rudy, they'll try to probably give a blanket sort of immunity against all kinds of activities. And, you know, that's been done in the past. But it also raises question, it's never been -- it's been before the Supreme Court. It's never been litigated.
But in our common law, you have to have some specificity in what you're doing and you just can't use these blanket efforts to immunize people. So it could get challenged in court if he gets too loosey- goosey in protecting everybody.
COOPER: So all right, so John, you have to be specific. You can't just say, you know, I hereby on Twitter, I hereby pardon, Rudolph Giuliani, for any activities between the years 2016 and 2020, or does it have to be for anything he may have done in Ukraine and/or Belarus and/or -- you know, wherever he has been traveling to.
DEAN: You have to have some specificity as to what the offenses are, and if you just -- he did with Flynn -- he has just said anything coming out of the grand juries investigated by the special counsel in the District of Columbia or the Eastern District of Virginia.
Now, that's very vague, and all that secret proceeding is unknown, probably even to Flynn himself. So it's hard to tell what's in that pardon. That's just one of several clauses in the pardon that were so loose, you can't tell what they say.
COOPER: You know, David Axelrod, maybe it's that I've been off for a week and hanging out with an infant and not reading Twitter, but I just -- it's suddenly like you wake up like Rip Van Winkle and you come back and realize what -- just a complete shambles this end of this administration is. I mean, this is what we're discussing. This is what they're talking about?
Like they're making up things about election fraud. They're encouraged, you know, one of the President's attorneys is talking about shootings of public official, or that he should be drawn and quartered, and then saying he was kidding. And public official, Republicans are saying, well, you know, Mr. President, please stop, you know, saying that we're enemies of the state. This is just shambles. It's amazing that this is what the President wants his legacy to be.
AXELROD: Well, I don't think he cares really. I think he cares what his base, his supporters think, and he gives them his interpretation of events, but he is going out in a supernova of lies and corruption and it may be the appropriate way for him to end this episode in our history.
COOPER: David Axelrod and John Dean, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
More breaking news. Just ahead, the C.D.C. has released the first priority list for which Americans get the first doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine and there's a date certain for delivery, all of that when we continue.
COOPER: Breaking news on the coronavirus vaccine. A document from Operation Warp Speed says the first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be delivered in just about three weeks from today on December 15th if everything sticks to schedule.
This is vaccine advisors, the CDC voted 13 to one that healthcare workers and residents of long term care facilities be first in line for those vaccinations. And it's more than 2,300 more deaths were reported today. Also, more than 98,000 hospitalizations, which is a new high.
Joining us, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent. Also with us Dr. Ala Stanford, who's launching an organization to ensure that African-Americans get the COVID test they need and Dr. William Schaffner, who's among those advisors to the CDC. So Dr. Schaffner, you're actually on the CDC call today, you didn't vote yourself, but you serve as an advisor to the committee. Can you just tell us a little bit about the decisions that were made how the committee came to the decision?
WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT U. MEDICAL CENTER: Sure, Anderson. This was a combination of actually several months of discussions, very careful discussions of focus groups modeling of illness, and to see which groups ought to go first, second, and third.
And we took that first firm step on a long journey today, by voting for healthcare workers, the people who take care of everyone, we need them there in case we get even more of a surge, which we anticipate. And then also, it was added the residents of long term care facilities were added to that group. That's about 27 million people round about across the United States. And so, that if we can get the vaccine started in that group, that will be a good, a good first step.
COOPER: Sanjay, what do you make of the CDC recommendations today?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think that this was sort of what was expected. I mean, you know, if you look at nursing homes, remember how much we talked about long term care facilities, especially back in the spring, you know, that's where we saw such a significant impact. And even now, if you look back six percent overall of the overall infections were in nursing homes, 40% of the deaths.
So, that seemed, you know, like an obvious sort of place to begin, this is how the numbers Dr. Schaffner is providing, this is how they break him down roughly about 3 million people in long term care facilities and 21 million or so healthcare, folks. It's not enough vaccine by the end of the year to do this. But within the first month or so, a couple months of next year, you should be able to do this.
I also, you know, talking to some folks that Operation Warp Speed, the idea that people who are in long term care facilities, people who are in hospitals, these are these institutions where the vaccine may be able to be given. So there's a pragmatic sort of practical, logistical nature of this as well.
COOPER: And Dr. Stanford, you served on the Philadelphia Public Health Vaccine Advisory Committee, can you explain what role that states and cities will have in making vaccine decisions for their own populations? And how does that square with what the CDC is recommending?
ALA STANFORD, FOUNDER, BLACK DOCTORS COVID-19 CONSORTIUM: Absolutely. So, we've been working hard on this committee since August, September, and prepared for what the ACIP was going to bring forth. And much of what they did bring with the nursing home residents and healthcare workers were where we were. And the fact that they included the nursing home residents and more importantly, the people, not more, but as important. The people who work at the nursing homes is critical, because those
individuals are going home to their families, and they're potentially spreading it in the community. And with the healthcare workers remember 50% of all healthcare workers who died from coronavirus where people of color. Majority of which were African-American.
So, I believe that the committee was on point with the evidence and choosing these two groups in Phase 1.
COOPER: And Dr. Schaffner, the single vote against the CDC recommendations they came from, I think one of your colleagues at Vanderbilt University who said she was worried that the vaccine had not been studied in residents of long term care facilities. Is that a concern?
SCHAFFNER: Well, you know, nothing is perfect at the present time. And it's true by the time we initiate these immunizations, we will not have had information on residents of long-term care facilities, we will have information on people of the advanced stage. There's no doubt about that, but not in long term care facilities, per se.
You know, we would like to have that information going forward. We don't anticipate adverse reactions being more. In fact, they may be somewhat less in this group, according to the preliminary data. And we think that this is a good idea of vaccinating, as Sanjay just said, the nursing home residents, because this has been a group in which there have been large outbreaks of infections, particularly the beginning of the outbreak, but they continue now. And so, reaching out to them is a good idea.
COOPER: Sanjay, CDC vaccine advisors were told that although federal officials expect I think to have 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccine available by the end of December, it's not going to be available all at once. You talked about the timeline and this a little bit, how does that change things?
GUPTA: Yes. I think this is a really important point, I think we're used to sort of thinking about having at, you know, enough stock supply of whatever, you know, therapeutic or vaccine, in this case, we're just used to that so that as they -- you have surge demands, you can meet those surge demands.
That's a very different situation, I was speaking to Moncef Slaoui, the Chief Scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed. And he says, for example, at the time that Pfizer may start, you know, actually vaccinating people, they'll have, you know, closer to six and a half million doses at that point. And they'll be producing about 3 million per week.
The expectation is Moderna may come online with, you know, 10 12 million doses also be producing three to 4 million a week. And that's how you get to the 40 million by the end of the year. But there's really no reserve here. I mean, you know, we're in the middle of a pandemic. So, all the manufactured vaccine is going to be distributed very quickly.
But, you know, we're still making a vaccine here, and they're making this at industrial scale now. There's 20, to 25, quality control checks if something goes wrong, if there's a sterility problem or something you can get behind, you may lose a batch of vaccines. So, this is something that's in the back of their mind. You got the data on the efficacy, you got to make sure you can manufacture and distribute this at the scale that we're talking about as well.
COOPER: Yes. And Dr. Stanford, we're looking at (INAUDIBLE) limited amounts of vaccine in the first couple of months, how do you make sure that even within those first groups being vaccinated, that it's done equitably? Especially in underserved communities?
STANFORD: So we've talked about the sub-prioritization, if you will, even among healthcare workers. And so, it's which folks in the hospital are most in contact. So it may be folks in the ER, people in trauma, certainly ear, nose and throat doctors, but we cannot forget the folks who were transporting patients, emptying the garbage cans, bringing food to patients, those healthcare personnel are equally as important.
And same with the long-term care facilities. And we just again, the 65 and up and I know that's more our Phase 1b and 1c is just to be careful that in the 15,000 people that we've tested, the groups that were most positive were less than 65. And only 22 percent of them had comorbid conditions.
So, we just have to be careful with that criteria, because that's what excluded a lot of people from getting tested before is that as we go through and I know it's dynamic, and it's changing, and we'll keep looking at the evidence is that we don't exclude those underserved groups that are going out.
They are your face current employees that are potentially transmitting it. They're bringing it home and they're most affected, though death is not their endpoint. They can't be productive members back in society with the residual effects of coronavirus.
COOPER: Yes. Well, Dr. Stanford and Schaffner, thank you so much. Sanjay, as always, thank you so much.
A quick programming note, on Friday night with vaccines nearly available. Get your answers or your questions answered. Join Sanjay and me, 9:00 p.m. Eastern for new Coronavirus Town Hall: The Vaccines.
Earlier in the program, you heard warnings from one Georgia State official about the mistruths and outright falsehoods and lies being spread in the wake of the presidential election.
(voice-over): Up next, we'll take you on the ground to one part of the state where the Trump campaign signs still flutter and show no signs coming down. Why he has such a hold on the party when we return.
COOPER: President Trump and his campaign as we noted the top of the program are counting on the devotion and zealousness of his supporters to pay for not only his baseless claims of combating election fraud, but to lay a foundation for any future political battles. If you need any more convincing on his holding those supporters look no further than the reddest parts of Georgia. Whereas our Gary Tuchman found there is an abundance of true believers.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In many American neighborhoods, the beginning of December still looks like the beginning of November, Trump campaign signs flags, banners and houses and barns, on fences, on trees, all left up by Trump voters who in many cases believe giving up on their signs means giving up on their president. Julie Darnell (ph) lives in Cherokee County, Georgia, just north of Atlanta.
(on-camera): You still have a lot of signs and flags for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. The election was November 3rd, how come the signs are still up?
JULIE DARNELL, TRUMP VOTER: And they're going to stay up to the end, to the very end. I think he's going to come through, you know.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): What do you mean to come through?
DARNELL: I think he's going to turn it around. I think he's going to turn around. I think we got cheated down the election and I'm, I'm sticking with him.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Donald Trump has a lot of loyal supporters here. He received 69% of this county's vote. So you will find a lot of signs here that are still up. J.D. Ortega says during the campaign, some of his Trump signs were stolen. So he put other signs, high end trees, and that's where they will remain for now.
J.D. ORTEGA, TRUMP VOTER: Well, they're still up because I'm hopeful. You know, I'm hoping that something is going to come out of these investigations. I'm hoping that something will turn the tide. And I'm just I'm a big supporter.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): And Donald Trump can still be president.
ORTEGA: And I'm hoping that he could still be president. Yes, I absolutely am.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But then there is reality, the formal certifications that the results in battleground states, the Trump attorneys failures in courtrooms throughout the country to prove what the President claims was a fraudulent rigged election.
(on-camera): That's a concern you know that the President and other say there is evidence, but it's not being presented in the courtroom.
ORTEGA: That does concern me. I definitely.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): You definitely is.
ORTEGA: I don't know. I don't know all the ins and outs of what he's got going on. So it does concern me that it hasn't come to light yet.
TUCHMAN: The lack of evidence presented by the Trump lawyers is not comforting to many still flying the Trump flag, including Roger who didn't want his face shown, but didn't want to tell us he nevertheless feels Donald Trump could win the election.
(on-camera): And why other than him saying it.
ROGER, TRUMP VOTER: Just anecdotally. Like I said, it's hard to say. We have so many --
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Maybe -- isn't maybe wishful thinking on your part as opposed.
ROGER: Sure, sure. Absolutely.
DARNELL: America voted Joe Biden. Then Joe Biden should be. But I think it all should be fair. I think it all should be fair.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Does it bother you that that you haven't seen any evidence of it, that it hasn't been presented and that maybe you're being tricked that maybe this man just wants to stay in office so badly, he's going to keep saying it, but not show any evidence proving it.
DARNELL: Bother me. I don't know why he would want the office the way they've done it.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Many people still sporting the signs. Look at post election, Trump is a political martyr.
(on-camera): Each person we've talked to here recognizes that for every day that goes by thing, it's getting more complicated for Mr. Trump. But these are true believers who refuse to stop believing.
Do you think that it's possible that America elected Joe Biden to be the next president? I mean, I know you don't want that to happen.
DARNELL: Possible, possible. Not probable, possible.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Cherokee County, Georgia.
COOPER: Oh, that sort of support and extending across the President's base around the country? What does it mean going forward obviously, for the Trump campaign, that's the question, what is it for shadow for governing under President Biden.
Perspective now from Van Jones, former special adviser to President Obama and a CNN political commentator.
Van, as clearly, some of these neighborhoods, Gary spoke to people who really believe that the President can turn things around?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, they think that because they have a media, a media ecosystem, that reinforces that, and, frankly, they have the President of the United States continuing to insist upon that. In some ways, it's not unusual.
And that, you know, when Obama was president, Donald Trump was trying to deligitimate him and people were saying that he should be president. When Trump was president, you had some bitter enders that were saying that the electoral college shouldn't see Donald Trump.
The difference, you've never had a sitting president or a former president out there, whipping this stuff up is one thing when you have, you know, a grassroots people, when you have marginal media saying stuff like this, never has anyone like Joe Biden coming to office, with a potential kind of president and waiting president in exile, a political martyr out there willing, every single day possibly to try to undermine his ability to govern, it has never happened in the history of the country. Is not unusual for people to have a hard time accepting the results. It is unusual for a president or a candidate to participate in what he's doing.
COOPER: The idea that the President is not even good at would not attend the inauguration, which I mean, you know, who knows, you can also make the argument, there's going to be a lot of cameras there. So he doesn't want to miss out on that. But it's extraordinary that just I'm just stunned. But this is how he wants his legacy to end. You know, David Axelrod earlier said he doesn't care about his legacy. And maybe that's true, but it just, it could have gone a different direction.
JONES: Listen, if Donald Trump fails to appear, it's that will be the first time that you've had that level of rejection of the American people and American democracy and the American system by an American president. We will -- we've been in unprecedented waters since he came down the escalator five years ago, but that's literally a category beyond because then you're dealing with a potential, this loyal movement in the country, led by one of the most famous people in the world, led by someone who can at least access millions of dollars.
It is a dangerous, destabilizing possibility. You have to ask yourself the question, why are people so willing to go along with this? You know, the level of willful, I guess it's a wishful thinking that you're seeing is very, very frightening. And I think it has to do with the fact that we are now in such different media environments.
If you listen to right-wing media, there is a ton of evidence, none has ever been presented in court, but a ton of evidence that they talk about they discuss, you go down this rabbit hole, and then you say, well, geez, it sounds very convincing. And then you ask yourself the question, is that convincing?
Why are not Republican lawmakers, Republican governors, Republican secretaries of state do anything about it? Oh, it's mostly made up. But you have to know that extra piece that has not been presented in court to really get yourself out of it. You know, I try to take this stuff as seriously as I can. It's a deep rabbit hole. You got millions of people down there. It's very dangerous.
COOPER: And again, I mean, the elections that were President Biden is going to be sworn in January 20th. And you hear this reporting from CNN and others that essentially President Trump may hold his own event that week. Perhaps even us taking a step toward announcing a 2024 run, you know. You also wonder how that's going to play with the Republican Party with all these people, you know, who themselves want to be president and they still have to be beholden to him.
We got to leave there Van Jones appreciate it, thanks.
Just ahead, CNN's All Star Tribute, honoring heroes, in a year that we've desperately needed them who, who they are and how you can help that's coming up when we come back.
COOPER: CNN Heroes is in its 14th year of honoring those who make this world a better place. This year, we're celebrating heroes involved with the fight against the coronavirus as well as the battle for social justice. Today is Giving Tuesday the day when we make it easy for you to help by highlighting aid organizations working to help on both fronts.
COOPER: (voice-over): The Center for Disaster Philanthropy provides strategies to help donors increase the impact of their contributions during global crises like COVID-19.
Chef Jose Andres and his role Central Kitchen feed the needy in times of crisis. Using the power of food to heal and strengthen communities.
JOSE ANDRES, CHEF, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: We need to be part of the solution.
COOPER (voice-over): Adopted Classroom advances equity and education by giving teachers and schools access to the resources they need.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I challenge every American family to no longer whisper about mental illness behind closed doors.
COOPER (voice-over): Co-founded by Glenn Close (ph) bring change to mind is working to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, encouraging dialogue, and raising awareness, understanding and empathy.
The Make A Wish Foundation provides life changing experiences for children battling critical illness, restoring in them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
COOPER (voice-over): Sense of childhood and giving normalcy to their families.
The Equal Justice Initiative fights to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States by challenging racial and economic inequity and protecting basic human rights in the prison system.
Water.org has helped change the lives of millions of people have access to safe water and sanitation in 17 countries around the world.
And finally, IssueVoter is increasing civic engagement beyond the voting booth. Helping people share their views on new bills with their elected officials. With just one click.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can create the world that we want to live in through representative democracy by making all of our voices heard on the issues.
COOPER (voice-over): Want to learn more? Go to CNNHeroes.com and click Donate beneath any of this year's organizations to make a direct contribution to their GoFundMe Charity Campaign. You'll receive an e- mail confirming your donation which is tax deductible in the United States.
COOPER: And you can learn more about the organization's including how to help just go to CNNHeroes.com. Don't forget tune into our 14th annual CNN Heroes an All-Star tribute I'll be hosting along with Kelly Ripa. There's a week from this Sunday December 13th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
A reminder, don't miss "Full Circle" our digital news show. You can catch it streaming live at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on cnn.com/fullcircle or watch it there and on the CNN app at any time On Demand.
News continues, let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you Coop. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
Today is Giving Tuesday.