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Trump Has Asked Ted Cruz To Argue Texas Case If It Reaches Supreme Court; U.S. Reports Highest Single-Day COVID-19 Death Toll At 2,939; Key Witness In D.C. Civil Action Deposed Today; First Family Faces High-Profile Probes; Hunter Biden: Justice Department "Investigating My Tax Affairs". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 9, 2020 - 20:00   ET


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That in her post White House life.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Pretty incredible that that inquiry would even happen. Kate Bennett, thank you so much with that reporting that I know so many of you are so interested in.

Thanks to all of you for watching. It's time now for Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. With the final scientific and regulatory hurdle for COVID vaccine just hours away in the pandemic burning across the country, you would think a President, any President, his first priority right now would be preparing for the rollout.

You might also think that a President would be saying and doing all that he or she could to help those at home and on the medical front line stay safe and strong, just a little longer until this vaccine and others become widely available. You might think that that is what a President would do.

By now, you probably know that it's not something this President would consider doing, and is certainly not doing.

The President showed again today that he only cares about one thing and that one thing has nothing to do with what he wants called his solemn obligation.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My first duty as President is to protect the American people and today, I'm taking action to fulfill that sacred obligation.


COOPER: Teleprompter reading. Central to that obligation is protecting people's right to choose who governs them, even if they choose someone other than him, which they have. As of tonight, all 50 states in the District of Columbia have now

certified their election results. Challenges by the President and his allies have been shut down and in some cases nearly laughed out of court after court -- after court after court actually.

We've seen witness after witness in makeshift hearings make claims that are outlandish, in some cases, barely coherent such as here in Michigan.


MELISSA CARONE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITNESS: The poll book is completely off, completely off. That poll --


CARONE: That poll -- I'd say that poll book is off by over 100,000. That poll book -- why don't you look at the registered voters on there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So my question then, is if --

CARONE: That's how many -- wait -- what about -- what about -- what about the turnout rate? A hundred and twenty percent?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's let Representative Johnson ask his question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is why -- we're not seeing the poll book off by 30,000 votes. That's nothing.

CARONE: What did you guys do? Take it and do something crazy to it?


COOPER: See what she did? You know, when Rudy Giuliani is telling you to shh. I mean, that says something.

She made that argument after a court had already ruled that her allegations, quote, "Simply were not credible" end quote. And courts have been doing likewise to other cases now for weeks. Yes.

Yesterday, in a one sentence decision with no dissent noted, the Supreme Court declined an emergency petition to invalidate the results in Pennsylvania, which President Biden won; yet, with experts of all political stripes, saying there is simply no legal path to victory for the President anymore, if there ever was at all, he took yet another day off from his duties in the middle of a pandemic and in the wake of an election he lost to once again exercise his true first duty and sacred obligation, namely to himself.

Late today, he signed on to an effort to get the Supreme Court to hear a case brought by the Texas Attorney General to invalidate results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

You heard that right. It is one state essentially trying to tell other states how to run their elections. Big states' rights state in fact, now apparently not so big on states' rights.

In other words, Texas and the President are now trying to make a Federal case out or something that is not a Federal issue.


GEORGE CONWAY, CO-FOUNDER, LINCOLN PROJECT: For a member of the Supreme Court Bar to do this in the Supreme Court of the United States, absolutely outrageous. They're throwing in all the garbage allegations of fraud and the Trump campaign wouldn't even put in some of their complaints in federal district court.

It's absurd and an embarrassment for a public official, let alone any lawyer, let alone any member of the Supreme Court Bar to bring this lawsuit is atrocious.


COOPER: That is conservative attorney, member of the Supreme Court Bar George Conway who also called the effort quote, "The most insane thing yet." Conway as you know, is a longtime critic of the President.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney, an occasional critic calls it quote, "simply madness" as well as, quote, "dangerous and destructive of the cause of democracy." Not even a kind word from Texas Senator John Cornyn, an ally of the President. He tells CNN's Manu Raju, quote, "I frankly struggle to understand the legal theory of it. Why would a state even such a great state as Texas have a say so on how other states administer their elections?"

Well, that's a very good question. His junior colleague, though Ted Cruz apparently is not concerned by that question. He could be arguing the opposite in the apparently unlikely event that the High Court actually takes this up.

The President has asked him apparently to make oral arguments in the case if it ever gets that far, and Cruz has agreed to do it.

As for the President's written filing, he's got a new lawyer for that, a man named John Eastman, who if his name is recognizable to you at all, it may be because he recently was pushing a racist conspiracy theory about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris not being eligible for the role because her parents were immigrants.


COOPER: It does seem the bench is getting a little thin. The man formerly known as Rudy Giuliani, of course has COVID. So does his cohort, Jenna Ellis, who bills herself as a constitutional law attorney, but who according to a "New York Times" investigation has mostly appeared in state court for clients charged with assault, prostitution, theft and domestic abuse.

She was only added to the Trump legal team after he saw her pop up on FOX. So apparently, with those two out of action, it is now down to this other guy, and I mean, it isn't just a clown show. As Republican and Democratic election officials alike have warned,

this is fueling a threat to democracy and possibly worse. As you know, armed protesters have showed up outside the home in Michigan Secretary of State terrifying her family.

The protesters apparently with real angers stoked by all these phony allegations of election fraud the President is spouting and by the way, making hundreds of millions of dollars by doing so. Michigan state lawmaker, Cynthia Johnson received racist voicemails, death threats after criticizing those claims.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope you were dead by now. You are a piece of [bleep]. You need to be run out of office and hung from a [bleep] tree, you [bleep].


COOPER: And it's not just Democrats in blue states on the receiving end, Georgia's Republican Secretary of State and his top election official Gabriel Sterling, also Republican who warned quote, "Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed." So just consider that from a Republican as the Republican Party allows and encourages this charade to continue.

Asked today if he'll accept Joe Biden as President-elect on Monday when the Electoral College officially cast their vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said, and I quote, "Why would I do that? I'll wait until it's over to find out. Every legal vote has to be counted, every recount has to be finished, and every legal challenge has to be heard." Unquote.

Profile encouraged, right there. It is all funny and a little bit of sad until it isn't.

CNN chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta joins us now. So what do we know about the President's -- I mean, there's no rationale. I mean, the only rationale for making this move to the Supreme Court is to keep the money flowing in.

As long as there's some sort of challenges going on, he can still raise money off this and take his followers for suckers.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And he can't handle the fact that he lost, Anderson. I mean, this is just as the President's COVID denialism is endangering people's lives, the President's election denialism is endangering American democracy.

This is not Bush v. Gore. This is Trump v. America right now. And the President does have his cohorts, people like this attorney, who you just mentioned, who is representing the President in his attempt to insert himself into that Texas lawsuit, the same attorney who is arguing that Kamala Harris was not eligible to be President or Vice President earlier this year, which by the way, the President, President Trump said in the briefing room that he thought that there might be something to that. He was intrigued by the idea.

And now, he is turning to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, as we've confirmed, he has agreed to represent the President and his interest before the Supreme Court if it gets that far.

But remember, Anderson, the President himself has once referred to, and many times referred to Senator Cruz as Lying Ted. So it's come down to this, the President wants somebody arguing before the Supreme Court, an individual he has referred to as a liar and Lying Ted in the past.

COOPER: Who are the people still left in the President's inner circle? I mean, who are telling him -- or is there anyone left telling him this is actually a good idea? Because I mean, serious lawyers, you know, obviously, they have been -- you know, they think this is ludicrous. Judges have -- these things have just not gotten anywhere.

ACOSTA: Right. I talked to a source close to the White House earlier this evening, who said, the only person who believes this anymore is President Trump himself.

Now that might be stretching things a bit, because the President does have his enablers and you just ticked through several of them. But what they say publicly is different from what they say privately, and I've talked to a couple of different Trump advisers who have said, there are attorneys who want nothing to do with the President's case.

Trump friendly attorneys who do not want to be arguing any of this in a court of law, because, by the way, not only does it put them in an embarrassing situation making these ridiculous claims, you know, it could have serious consequences for their legal career.

And putting that to the side just for a second, Anderson, I've also talked to Trump advisers who say what the President is doing is dangerous to the country, dangerous to democracy. And I think it is high time, Anderson, we talked about these anonymous sources all the time, what they're telling us behind the scenes, and so forth.

It's time for one of these advisers to come forward and say this publicly, that what the President is doing is dangerous to the country because as you know, Anderson, we can laugh about these sorts of these claims that he is making in court and so on, but there are millions and millions of people who believe him and will continue to believe him after he leaves office in January -- Anderson.


COOPER: Yes. I mean, it is. It is not a joke. I mean, it is dangerous. Jim Acosta, appreciate it.

More now on the law and politics of the President's seemingly fruitless efforts. Joining us for that, CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, also CNN contributor, former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean.

John, does this Texas lawsuit, I mean, have any merit whatsoever? JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Anderson, I can find none. First of all,

it was filed very late. It was filed after people relied on the law they are now attacking and the court will recognize that. They call it latches and they'll dismiss on that basis.

There's a real question if Texas has standing, notwithstanding the fact this is an original jurisdiction case. They don't like these kinds of cases. So it's hard to believe it takes four justices to get a hearing of the case to bring it in, and often, these types of cases, they have a master, a lower court judge they appoint to hear the case and process it.

So, I just can't see this happening.

COOPER: Dana, I mean you heard would Senators Romney and Cornyn said, the rest of the Republican caucus in the Senate, you know, President Trump wants Ted Cruz to argue the case for him in court. Cruz used to be a Solicitor General of Texas. He has argued cases for the court.

But you know, he also wants to be President. I mean, just the thought process that Cruz must have gone through to, you know, decide whether or not to say he would agree to do this. I mean, I think he probably knows, this is not going to end up getting argued before the Supreme Court. So why not say yes.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. You just nailed it, Anderson. He not only was Solicitor General in Texas and argued cases before the Supreme Court, he was a clerk for a chief way back when and so -- at the Supreme Court -- so he very much understands the law, pretty much more than anybody who is, you know, maybe in the President's orbit at this point.

And when Ted Cruz agreed to try the case, to argue the case in the Supreme Court, there's little question that he doesn't think that it's going to go there.

But that doesn't answer the political question, which is, by it being public, that Ted Cruz with the credentials that you and I just talked about, gives any kind of credence to this lawsuit, you know, allows the political farce to continue in a very real way because it gives it credibility in the eyes of those who want to believe everything that the President says.

COOPER: John, I mean, the attorney who is suddenly spearheading this effort for Trump, as I said, you know, he was best known for arguing the conspiracy theory about Kamala Harris not being qualified to be Vice President because her parents were immigrants, which is obviously, I mean, wrong.

What is the caliber of President Trump's legal team these days tell you?

DEAN: Well, it seems to be pretty well infected right now. And I say that in the ironic sense, in many ways. I know John Eastman, he is somebody who ran for Congress, ran for Attorney General here in California. I happen to debate him on Citizens United, did not find him particularly persuasive in his debate.

He's hard right, and he is a former law clerk. So he knows how it works at the Supreme Court. And it's quite surprising actually to see him on this brief. But again, he likes attention. So I'm sure the President saw him last night on FOX, where he was saying that he thought the court would take this case up.

COOPER: Yes and Dana, when House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy says that, that even next Monday, the day after -- or the day the Electoral College officially votes, he still won't accept the Joe Biden as the President-elect.

I mean, the Electoral College is what kids literally learn about in grade school along with, by the way, good sportsmanship and the concept of winning and losing. Does Congressman McCarthy, I guess, he doesn't care. I mean, to him, this looks fine because to the President's supporters, that looks fine.

BASH: Right. I mean, look, if you just want to have another data point on how politically perilous it is for Republicans to deign to say anything that will make the President mad, that's it.

For the top Republican in the House of Representatives to not say, of course, I'm going to abide by the Electoral College, which is, you know, certifying and cementing all of the states and territories and so forth, that they have presented the election results. And all of the legal processes have already been gone through at that point.

And so the notion that, well, we have to wait for everything to proceed. That will have been in the past. It already is in the past right now, but that will cement the fact that this is a done deal. Most other Republicans privately and publicly have been pointing to that date as a date where they are going to finally under the words, "President-elect Joe Biden."

So you know, it is surprising to hear Kevin McCarthy say that on the merits and the facts, but certainly not given the fact that we know how tight -- tight -- the President's grip is on this party.


COOPER: Dana, what are you hearing behind the scenes from Republicans on Capitol Hill about the next four years? I mean, the idea of the President hanging over their heads saying, you know, that he -- President Trump is saying that, you know, he wants to run again or may want to run again.

I mean, are they happy about that notion? I mean, I could understand why they would be just in terms of getting support for other Republican candidates through the President running again, but at the same time, you know, Ted Cruz wants to run for President. I mean, he has before and failed.

BASH: Yes, and if Donald Trump decides that he is going to run again, it will be very hard for any of those other potential candidates to get any oxygen, they know that. But even if he doesn't run, he is going to be a huge presence. He is,

as we've talked about, a lot of this legal -- these legal shenanigans, frankly, is a way for him to raise money for his own political future, for a PAC that he has already established for that reason. And run or not, he is going to use it.

Never mind the money, just his voice on Twitter, social media, whatever, you know, cable outlet that he chooses to do it, he is going to be a huge, huge presence. And I've heard that time and time again, and especially today, as the President has really glommed on to this Texas lawsuit, and the fact that so many Republicans on Capitol Hill are either silent about it or you know, not saying very much except for the few that you played earlier.

COOPER: And John, I mean, just in terms of sheer audacity and contempt for institutions in this country, how does the lawsuit compare to the legal tactics used during Watergate? I mean, President Nixon's fight over the Oval Office tapes was egregious enough, but this is a sitting President trying to overturn the election that he lost.

DEAN: Anderson, this is also unprecedented, including the way the Republican Party is supporting Trump's action and his refusal to accept the election.

And certainly in my memory and in my reading, I can't recall any President who has ever denied the will of the people, and particularly so blatantly, and so protractedly.

So I don't know how this is going to end. It's very troubling. There are threats of violence rumbling through these arguments and activities and demonstrations. So the fact that the President and his acolytes and his apologists keep escalating it is all the more troubling.

So I just don't know how we defuse this and get on to the business of dealing with the pandemic and other problems, the economy, and the things that are important.

COOPER: Yes, John Dean and Dana Bash, appreciate it. Thanks.

Next, the crucial final step just hours away before the expected greenlight and the scramble to distribute the first COVID vaccine approved for use in this country, that and an epidemic is bad still growing worse.

Later, the legal fights that could complicate the President's post White House life, his family's as well. I'll talk to the D.C. Attorney General who is alleging the misuse of Trump inaugural funds. That and more tonight at 360.



COOPER: Just moments ago, some truly terrible breaking news. The death toll for today now stands at 2,939. That is a new high in this country and the count won't be complete for hours yet. It is the very dark tunnel before some very welcome light. How long the tunnel is, we don't know.

Just hours from now, the F.D.A.'s independent advisory panel will meet to consider Pfizer's COVID vaccine. Now as you know, Britain began giving it out yesterday. Canada approved it today. It is expected the Board recommends the F.D.A. grant Emergency Use Authorization, a massive logistical medical and public education effort is going to get underway.

Pete Muntean is at a Pfizer manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. So Pete, what's the latest you know about preparations there and how fast the company is poised to move if it gets F.D.A. authorization tomorrow?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very quickly, Anderson. You know, this is the spot Pfizer says trucks can begin leaving here carrying the vaccine within 24 hours of F.D.A. Emergency Use Authorization.

It is a key place in the distribution network, Pfizer's largest manufacturing facility, 1,300 acres, a sprawling complex.

We are learning from Operation Warp Speed that the trucks leaving here will go to about 600 individual places. On the move right now, though, are the things physically needed to administer the vaccine, things like alcohol swabs and syringes. Operation Warp Speed says all of that will be in place in only a few days just Friday.

COOPER: And do we know how many doses will be in the first shipments and where they'll go?

MUNTEAN: Well, the Federal government and Operation Warp Speed is saying that to 2.9 million doses will be in that initial shipment. But here's the rub, Anderson, we're learning from states that that will not be enough to cover those who need the vaccine right off the bat, those like frontline healthcare workers and those living in long term care facilities.

States tell us that they will now have to prioritize within that top priority group, and it's not an easy job.

COOPER: And I understand you have new reporting on how the National Guard is going to help facilitate the shipment.

MUNTEAN: You know, this is a really big task, Anderson, and Michigan has now directed the National Guard to support the logistics and the transportation of the vaccine. Just one more way that states are using pretty much every resource at their disposal to help out in this pandemic.

Up until now, here in Michigan, the National Guard was primarily helping out with things like meal distribution and testing.

COOPER: All right, Pete Muntean, appreciate it. Thank you.

Perspective now on all the medical and public health aspects of this including getting people to accept this and other vaccines, joining is our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta also Kathleen Sebelius who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration.

Sanjay, so the news out of the U.K., the two healthcare workers experienced a significant allergic reaction to the vaccine. Can you just explain why they might have had a reaction and whether people who suffer from allergies participated in the vaccine trials?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so first of all, we don't know specifically what they reacted to within the vaccine. I mean, this is a, you know, typically you think of like the flu vaccine, maybe an egg product or something like that. This vaccine is not made that way. There may be certain stabilizers within the vaccine that they may have reacted to. That's part of the ongoing investigation.


GUPTA: Your second question, I think, is very interesting, Anderson. As it turns out, we looked through the exclusionary criteria for the Pfizer trial. And in fact, people who had had significant allergic reactions in the past were excluded from the trial.

So these people who were first receiving this in the general population were probably the first outside of, you know, first people to really get it, who had had a previous history of these anaphylactoid reactions.

The two workers, just to give you an idea of the severity of their reactions, they were people who already had anaphylactoid reactions. They carried an adrenaline auto injector, an Epi-Pen, so to speak. And what the U.K. is now recommending, basically mandating is that people who have a history of these severe allergic reactions in the past, not get the vaccine for now.

This is probably provisional recommendations as they do this investigation. But that's sort of what they are finding, and I'm sure it's going to be a topic of discussion tomorrow at the F.D.A. meeting -- Anderson.

COOPER: Secretary Sebelius, how concerned are you about that reaction?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER SECRETARY OF HEALTH UNDER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Well, I think that news that there is now a reaction among people who are very allergic going into this probably is a good safety warning.

As Dr. Gupta just said, they were excluded from the trial. We now know that this is a population who may need extra precautions. We still don't know a lot. I mean, this is on a very fast track.

We don't know about pregnant women. We don't know about children. This will be decided over a period of time.

But what we do know is that for the vast majority of the population, this still seems to be very safe and very effective. So having transparency as issues come up, excluding people from the initial dosage again, this is a Pfizer vaccine, it may be different in the Moderna vaccine, assuming they both get authorization quickly. So we need to share that with the public as soon as possible and take the steps necessary to protect again, doing no harm is the bottom line.

But if it helps more people than hurts, we need to push it out of the F.D.A.

COOPER: And Sanjay, you know, all the experts' predictions about this being a dark winter are coming to fruition. And sadly, it seems we're just at the beginning of this dark winter, realistically, when do you think the vaccine may provide enough immunity to people to return to some more normal lives?

GUPTA: Well, the thing about the vaccine and I talked to Dr. Fauci about this today for this event, you know, when you get to some 30 percent roughly, initially, you may start to see some impact. So that's, you know, a lot of doses of vaccine, probably 200 million doses of vaccine to vaccinate roughly a hundred million people.

The herd immunity that people talk to, which basically means you have enough people vaccinated in society that the virus just has a hard time finding a home, as it tries to jump around from person to person, that's typically 60 to 70 percent.

And if you know people get the vaccine, if there's not problems with the rollout, and all that sort of stuff, what Dr. Fauci has predicted as well as you know, people like Moncef Slaoui, who is the Chief Scientific Adviser for Operation Warp Speed, you know, end of second quarter is what we keep hearing.

It doesn't necessarily mean that people won't still need to wear masks. As you know, Anderson, we talked about the other day, even if you get the vaccine, you could still get infected, even if you're not likely to get sick. That's the reason you may still continue to see masks for a period of time.

But then you're talking in third quarter end of next year, before you have just a more significant return to normalcy.

COOPER: Well, so Secretary Sebelius, to Sanjay's point there, if one can still get, if it's possible to still get infected with a virus even if you've had the vaccine, it's just not going to have the impact it would have on you without the vaccine, and you can still pass it on to others. Is any talk about herd immunity really valid because I mean, even if herd immunity through the vaccine, because even if people have it and can still get infected and pass it on, that seems as much of a risk for other people as regular.

SEBELIUS: Well, Anderson, I think we all have to recognize we don't know a lot about both this disease, which is relatively new and unfolding before our eyes, and we don't know a lot about the vaccine beyond having a lot of people participate in clinical trials, having an efficacy rate that is significantly higher than people had hoped in the first place, and making sure that this works. [20:30:16]

So, you know, the flu vaccine. This is significantly higher than most annual flu vaccines. And I think what we're looking at is, we're about to have 3,000 people today, today in the United States dies of COVID- 19. We are in a totally unprecedented health crisis in this country. The vaccine, I mean, the disease is everywhere. Midwest, West Coast, East Coast, north south, healthcare workers are exhausted, hospitals are totally full.

So, I think we have to balance some unknowns, still with a vaccine with a notion that this will absolutely save lives, it will absolutely keep people from getting desperately ill. We don't know all the precautions that need to be taken and for how long. But there's some really significant light at the end of the tunnel.

But the short term, the short-term meaning five, six, seven months is heightened vigilance, making sure that people follow the guidance about masking and social distancing. And staying away as much as possible from indoor activities which spread the virus. We've got to take what we've learned in the last eight months and really put it into practice. So we don't continue to have this unthinkable, death toll and disease toll ravaging in this country.

COOPER: Sanjay, similar to the vaccine distribution is going to happen on the state and the local level. Our local health officials around the country, are they prepared? I mean, is there one thing in the distribution chain that concerns you the most?

GUPTA: It's -- it is a little concerned. There's a lot of confusion I think, as we've tried to report on this. First of all, I think Operation Warp Speed getting the vaccine from the site of manufacturing where (INAUDIBLE) was, to the states, I think is you get the sense that there's a pretty good plan around that exactly where which states are going to receive what doses we still don't know.

And then when the states received these doses of vaccines, the triage process that takes place at that point, I think is a little bit still of an open thing. We -- again, we've been trying to investigate this, but you run into situations Anderson where two states, maybe neighboring states could have very different plans within their states.

And some one of the states may gear more of the doses towards long term care facilities, others toward hospitals. So you could run into a situation where someone would qualify for the vaccine in one state across the border and not qualify, at least in this initial dose.

Eventually, I think we'll catch up with the doses. But it is -- there's going to be a little bit of confusion I think in a lot of stories like that, in the first couple of weeks.

COOPER: And Sanjay just Finally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'll be the first take the vaccine in Israel. Do you think President-elect Biden should be one of the first to get it here? GUPTA: You know, it's I think he may make a national security argument for this. And we obviously have heard that three former presidents have also said that they would be willing to go ahead and get the vaccine as a show of public confidence. So, yes, I mean, you know, obviously presidents get treated differently.

They get in and he's coming in contact with lots of people. He is the president. He's 78 years old, I believe. So, I think he would meet a lot of the criteria. Maybe not first in mind, but he's certainly the way up there.

COOPER: Yes. Secretary Sebelius, we appreciate your time as always. Sanjay, as well. Thank you very much.

(voice-over): Just ahead, look at the legal troubles that agree the Trump family when the President leaves office. A D.C. Attorney General pursuing a million dollar civil action against the Trump family. Well join us when we continue.



COOPER: Today, a key witness was deposed and million dollar civil lawsuit that could spell trouble for President Trump and his family trouble that can't be cured with the pardon. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was an event planner for the President.

She's also a former adviser of the first lady who's been sued by the Justice Department over tell all books that she published. She was deposed today as part of Washington D.C. lawsuit involving the President's inauguration and potential misuse of campaign funds. The D.C. Attorney General pursuing this action will join us in a moment to discuss what he's learned.

But first, Randi Kaye on all of the investigations that will greet the president and his family when he leaves office.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Does anybody know more about litigation than Trump? I'm like a PhD in litigation, OK.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Perhaps that expertise will come in handy after the White House when Donald Trump is free game in one high profile probe Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is looking into the inner workings of the Trump Organization.

The investigation first focused on hush money payments to two women who alleged before the 2016 election that they had engaged in sexual encounters with Donald Trump. The President has denied the affairs and knowing anything about the payments. But his former lawyer and then fixer Michael Cohen said last year under oath, there was no doubt that Trump knew. In court filings, Vance signal this probe may also include possible bank, insurance and tax fraud. For two years now, Vance has been trying to get his hands on eight years of Trump's tax returns. Over the summer, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Trump's attempt to keep his returns private.

TRUMP: The same people that failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to New York so that they can try to get me there.

KAYE (voice-over): How Trump valued his assets will also be getting a closer look post presidency. In New York State, the Attorney General opened a fraud investigation focused on whether the Trump Organization inflated its assets to get tax benefits and bank loans and played them down when that no longer suited them.

MICHAEL COHEN, FMR PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR MR. TRUMP: Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.

KAYE (voice-over): For now, this is still a civil investigation, but it has the potential to turn criminal. Trump will also have to answer to the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington D.C. in a lawsuit over the Emoluments Clause brought back in 2017, which forbids profiting from the presidency. They allege Trump has pocketed big money from foreign governments who have stayed at the Trump Hotel in D.C. Trump has appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn't decided whether to hear it.

TRUMP: This thing is costing me a fortune being president. Somebody said, oh, he might have rented a room for to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500. What about the 5 billion that I lose? You know, it's probably going to cost me including upside downside lawyers because every day they sue me for something.


KAYE (voice-over): Citizen Trump will also face lawsuits involving allegations of rape and sexual assault. Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant is suing Trump for defamation related to her claim that he allegedly assaulted her in 2007.

Last year he lost his attempt to have the case dismissed. His deposition was put on hold until after he leaves office. Trump also lost his bid to dismiss a defamation case brought by E. Jean Carrol who alleges Trump raped her in the 1990s. Trump has denied harming either woman saying this about E. Jean Carrol, quote, she's not my type.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.


COOPER: A lot of legal fights for President Trump ahead. The man pursuing the civil lawsuit in a D.C. courtroom joins us now D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.

Mr. Attorney General, thanks for joining us. As we mentioned Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was deposed today I know you aren't able to share details as this an ongoing civil case. Can you share if she was cooperative or not?

KARL RACINE, D.C. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Ms. Winston Wolkoff has been fully cooperative since day one of meeting her and her deposition today. I think, you know, was truthful, honest and fulsome. Though, I cannot talk about the details of the deposition, I can tell you that it strengthens our case. And our cases adjust case because it demonstrates that the Trumps took advantage of the Presidential Inaugural Committee and funneled money a million dollars, essentially into their own pockets and purses through the Trump Hotel.

COOPER: And can you just walk us through how you believe that the Inaugural Committee may have overpaid the Trump family, the Trump family business and what you found after years of collecting evidence. Because I understand part of it is that as they were charging or allegedly charging exorbitant rates for hotel rooms during the inauguration, but don't all hotels in D.C. jack up their prices during an inauguration were during big events?

RACINE: They do. The issue is the proper conduct of the Inaugural Committee, which was a not-for-profit organization that receive certain tax benefits which they didn't pay taxes and expenses were able to be written off. Well, in exchange for those benefits. They're supposed to guard against waste, guard against self-dealing that would lead to monies going into related businesses like the Trump Hotel.

So Anderson, let me give you one example that I think is one of the most glaring examples. We have found evidence that the Trump Hotel charge the Inaugural Committee $175,000 or event space that they charged another not for profit organization $5,000 for.


RACINE: That is wasteful. It's exorbitant. And to be very honest, it's taking advantage of the public to line their own pockets and purses. That's why we're suing.

COOPER: And Ivanka Trump. I know suffered (ph) deposition last week, in which afterwards, she released a statement saying in part, quote, this inquiry is another politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness and waste of taxpayer dollars. She also posted in the e-mail that she claimed shows she had specifically instructed the Trump Hotel to be to charge a quote, fair market rate. You said that her statement was highly misleading. Can you explain why?

RACINE: Sure. Her e-mail was if I'm not mistaken, it was December 14th. I know that because that's my birthday. And sure enough, in that e-mail, she talked about market rate. She didn't talk about what occurred after the seven December 14th, including fire alarms, red flags from Ms. Wolkoff Winston, saying wait a second, we can't charge the Inaugural Committee these exorbitant rates. Instead, they're no e- mails where Ms. Trump put a halt to those kinds of charges. And therefore we know that she was in the loop, but didn't stop it.

Let me go further. Because you mentioned in the opening segment that I guess the President mentioned that he's a PhD in litigation. I can tell you that my colleagues and I on the Democratic AG front have sued the President a lot over 138 times. Eighty percent of those cases, we have won in front of courts that have been judged by Democratically appointed judges and Republican appointed judges.

They have found that the Trumps have no legal claims that their actions are contrary to law. And I'm confident at the end of the day when this inauguration suit, it will be another loss for the Trumps just as their last-minute Hail Mary, with all due respect to the Virgin Mary attempt to overturn this election is the complaint filed by the Texas Attorney General.


And I believe the United States Supreme Court will be rejected by fair minded judges appointed by Republican presidents and Democratic presidents. The heroes in our democracy have been the federal courts.

COOPER: What sort of timeline do you anticipate for the rest of this lawsuit maybe too hard to tell? But and also, what would a fair resolution look like if you want to?

RACINE: You know, a fair resolution in this lawsuit is the return of all the monies that were wasted, and went into the pockets and purses of the Trump family through the Trump Hotel. And we estimate that that's well over a million dollars. In terms of timeline Anderson, you know, unfortunately, sometimes a lawsuit takes time. And so, we'll likely be well into the year 2021 before resolution, and as you mentioned at the outset, the civil case is not pardonable. We're going to litigate this to the end, and I'm confident that justice will prevail. And we will win.

COOPER: Karl Racine, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

RACINE: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER (voice-over): Again, the U.S. has reported the highest single- day COVID death toll and with a battle against the pandemic at a critical stage, one Nevada hospital is set up a field unit in its own parking garage, for some reason and drew the ire of President Trump more than that when we continue.


COOPER: Our breaking news in the epidemic. The U.S. is reporting the highest single-day death toll now more than 3,000 so far. Total daily number won't be known until the overnight hours. As with most of the nation, Nevada is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, number of known cases in the state is about doubling every month.

That's why Hospital in Reno set up a field unit designed to treat COVID patients in the parking garage. There of course, the work is intense and all-consuming and it's not helped in the least by a retweet from President Trump calling the whole operation of fake service.


CNN's Sara Sidner joins us now from the hospital. So, how's the hospital doing in terms of capacity and supplies tonight?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, inside the hospital building is where their ICU unit is. And that is very close to capacity Anderson. But I want to make very, very clear, there is nothing fake about this facility. Just take a look. You can see the signs for the parking garage still up. But you can also see that this is a fully functioning COVID-19 unit.


SIDNER (voice-over): Dr. Jacob Keeperman is mustering all his mental and physical strength as another wave of COVID-19 patients show up in the intensive care unit at his hospital. Everyone here has been going nonstop for months.

(on-camera): What was your worst day?

JACOB KEEPERMAN, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, RENOWN TRANSFER & OPERATIONS CENTER: So, my worst day, this pandemic was actually the day I posted the tweet. Thanking my teammates. I had just finished a seven-day stretch in the intensive care unit. There had been patient after patient after patient who was not surviving this illness.

SIDNER (voice-over): The tweet he sent with a simple selfie showing off their new COVID-19 wing, that wing set up in the hospital parking garage. That fact seemed to set President Trump off who retweeted a tweet calling it fake and a scam that unleashed the Twitter trolls.

KEEPERMAN: I was sad and devastated. And I was angry.

SIDNER (voice-over): Devastated and angry because all of the hard work being done by his colleagues inside this parking garage hospital every single day from the food staff to the CEO.

ANTHONY SIONIM, PRESIDENT & CEO, RENOWN HEALTH: This is not fake. This is as realistic as.

SIDNER (voice-over): The idea was conceived and executed months ago. But during this COVID search patients are now parked in the spaces instead of cars.

(on-camera): The number of coronavirus cases in Washoe County, Nevada that this hospital services has exploded. This week, there are actually 10 times the number of COVID-19 cases than there were just a couple of months ago. So the hospital had to do whatever it takes to find more bed space. And so, here we are on Floor G of the parking garage.

JANET BAUM, NURSING MANAGER, ALTERNATE CARE SITE: It was scary. You know, we don't expect him go to work and be working out of a parking garage. We've made it a hospital. So, we don't even consider it a garage anymore.

SIDNER (on-camera): Did you ever think that in America, they would have to treat people in a parking lot.

ROSALIA MARTINEZ, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: Apologize for what I'm going to say when they start building this, I laugh.

SIDNER (voice-over): Making a dusty dirty parking garage into a sanitary space seemed laughable. But then she ended up hospitalized here.

MARTINEZ: People don't realize how bad this is. The pain they feel. They're not being able to breathe. That's one of the worst things that I ever experienced in my life.

SIDNER (voice-over): A few days later, her husband of 35 years was also hospitalized with COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought, you know, she was going to die.

SIDNER (voice-over): After spending days in isolation with no visitation. They found each other again, parked just four beds apart in the parking garage.

MARTINEZ: He got some nighttime, I can hear him. And if I yell he can hear me. He knows that I'm still alive.


COOPER: Wow. I understand that this facility is particularly meaningful to the man who runs the hospital.

SIDNER: It absolutely is. The CEO and president of Renown Health Systems. Dr. Anthony Sionim, the day that this COVID unit was opened here in this parking garage was his birthday. But it was also the day that he found out that his father had died back in New Jersey where he's from. His father died of COVID-19. Anderson.

COOPER: Sara Sidner, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

(voice-over): More breaking news just ahead. Details on a federal investigation to Hunter Biden, son of the President-elect when we return.



COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. Hunter Biden is under federal investigation. He issued a statement that reads in part, I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel also yesterday that they are investigating my tax affairs. I take this matter very seriously. But I'm confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of Professional Tax advisers.

Evan Perez, our senior justice department correspondent joins us now with the latest. So, what do we know about this?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we know that this is an investigation that began in 2018. And we know that it's been going on with by those led by the U.S. Attorney in Delaware along with the IRS criminal investigation and the FBI. Now they've been taking a look at Hunter Biden's business activities overseas, principally in China and in particular, whether or not there were any violations of tax and money laundering laws.

In specifically they're looking at whether or not he underreported or didn't report his income during part of several years actually is what they're looking at. So, this now an investigation that is picking up as a result of the fact that after the election, they're allowed to issue subpoenas and ask for interviews and do other overt steps.

COOPER: And what possible implications could the investigation have on the Biden administration and the independence of the Justice Department investigating one of the soon to be President's own family members?

PEREZ: Well, you know, it's going to be one of the thorny things that the new Attorney General that Joe Biden picks in the coming days is going to have to deal with, the President -- the President-elect has said that he expects the Justice Department to behave independently. But I've got to tell you today the Biden transition is the one that issued the statement on behalf of the Vice President's son, which is an odd thing to do.

You know, we've just come off to four years of Biden administration that didn't seem to know the difference between the President's personal and official responsibilities. It's not clear how much thought went into the decision for the trial -- the Biden transition to issue, you know, a statement on behalf of the son on a purely personal matter.


COOPER: Yes. Evan Perez, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Reminder, don't miss "Full Circle", our digital news show. You can catch it streaming live at 6:00 p.m. Eastern at or watch it there and on the CNN app anytime On Demand.

News continues. Let's go to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris.