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Sen. McConnell Joins More GOP Lawmakers Acknowledging Biden Victory; Interview with Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Trump Campaign Asks Supporters if the President should Run in 2024. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 15, 2020 - 20:00   ET


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: There is only one word to describe what's happening here. In America, that word is "radicalization."

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Yes, it is. And it's disturbing. It's disturbing that, you know, so many people who know better are willing to go out and say such things on television.

Thank you very much, Brian. I appreciate your time; and appreciate all of yours as always. Anderson is now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good evening, Joe Biden is the President-elect. The President might not want to hear it today, but maybe he will accept it now that two men he admires have finally come out and said so, Vladimir Putin and Geraldo Rivera have both now said it is over, so has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who went public after Vladimir Putin did.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The Electoral College has spoken. So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. The President-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He has devoted himself to public service for many years.


COOPER: So six weeks, dozens of court cases, two Supreme Court rejections, one fascist rally, four stabbings, countless threats against election officials who are just doing their jobs, and more than $200 million in deceptive Trump fundraising since the election, a slow clap, everyone, for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. After all, it's not like he said anything that wasn't obvious the Saturday after the election, five weeks ago when news organizations called the race for President-elect Biden.

And it's not like he said anything to condemn what the leader of his party has been doing to overturn the election he lost even if it means tearing the country apart.

CNN's Manu Raju asked him about it this afternoon.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Your speech this morning about Joe Biden, congratulating him for winning. One thing you did not mention was President Trump's claims that this election was rigged, it was stolen, and the like. Do you have any concerns at all about what the President is saying and should he accept these results.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Look, I don't have any advice to give the President on the subject. I've said this morning for me, and I think on the basis of the way the system works, the decision by the Electoral College yesterday was determined.


COOPER: The way the system works, he said, except of course, this isn't the way the system is supposed to work. It's what happens when the President and his allies exploit that system by toying with baseless and dangerous conspiracy theories.

It's how things work when a cowed party doesn't have the backbone to collectively accept the fact that their guy lost. In reality, what members of the Electoral College did yesterday, some under armed guard, others in secret locations was, and has always been a formality. One that usually comes along after the losing side has conceded.

Yet Senator McConnell, who knows better, has been fiddling out that same kind of let the system work tune for weeks now while the boss abuses the system and pockets hundreds of millions of dollars in a piggy bank he can use however he wants down the road.

Here is McConnell two days after the race was called.


MCCONNELL: Our institutions are actually built for this. We have the system in place to consider concerns and President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.


COOPER: Eight days later, he was pretending that his voice as the highest ranking Republican lawmaker in the land did not even matter.


MCCONNELL: What we all say about it, is frankly, irrelevant. All of this will happen as I laid out a minute ago, diminish the question. All of it will happen right on time and we'll swear in the next administration on January 20th.


COOPER: Well, that was almost a month ago, a month he has been playing the game. In the meantime, the system using Senator McConnell's word has been stretched to the breaking point at the President's direction to be sure, but with the Majority Leader's acquiescence.

He could have helped ease that strain, but he didn't. Hence, the slow clap today. Because as a rare dissenting Republican points out what Mitch McConnell did today was only the bare minimum.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I think a different question, and an important question is how many Republicans will say that what the President is saying is simply wrong and dangerous.

There's been no evidence of substantial fraud of the nature that would be necessary to overturn an election, even the Attorney General said that. And so we need to have people who are strong Trump supporters come out and say that as well, or you're going to continue to have this country divided, which is pretty dangerous.


COOPER: Well, to Senator Romney's question, precious few Republicans will call out the President's post-election misbehavior, and that's on top of the man who still won't even say he lost.

According to CNN's count as of this evening, only 18 Senate Republicans have explicitly recognized Joe Biden's victory. A few others have come close including Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who said quote, "I think everybody realized it yesterday that counting voting of the electors was a pivotal moment and I agree."

On the other hand when we asked Senator Rick Scott of Florida, he would not say whether Joe Biden is the President-elect and when asked yesterday after the Electoral College voted, Wyoming senator John Barrasso called it a got-cha question.


COOPER: With all due respect, something like when did you stop beating your wife? That's a got-cha question. Who won the election? That's not. I believe that would be a gimme.

Just ask the Republican Trump supporting official who oversaw the election in Georgia, a state, which counted the ballots three times and certified Joe Biden the winner.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: If you look at all of our Republican Congressmen the number of votes they had, President Trump got 33,500 less votes, then if you look in the metro region, Senator David Perdue got 19,000 more votes than President Trump did. And so he really had some challenges in those areas.

The job of a political party in this case, the Republican Party is to raise money and get out the vote and they got outworked. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: They got outworked, he says. The other side won, not an easy thing to say perhaps, but it's what people in both parties have been doing for generations when their side loses.

That is unless you speak for a loser who is now grifting his donors out of hundreds of millions of dollars on the promise their money is going toward paying for his legal challenges.


QUESTION: Kayleigh, now that the Electoral College has voted, has the President acknowledged that Joe Biden is the President-elect? Does he have any plans to invite him here at the White House?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President is still involved in ongoing litigation related to the election. Yesterday's vote was one step in the constitutional process. So I will leave that to him and refer you to the Campaign for more on that litigation.


COOPER: More on the President's legal defense fund angle shortly. But first, let's start with Jim Acosta at the White House. So is there any sense of how the President feels about Senator McConnell congratulating the President-elect? What's the status of that relationship?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's a good question, Anderson. He has not weighed in publicly yet and has not tweeted about this yet. I think the clearest indication of how the President feels could be, you know, captured in that White House briefing room earlier today.

Kayleigh McEnany, the Press Secretary was performing for an audience of one. She was asked about McConnell's statements earlier today. She did not want to weigh in on that.

But she did, at one point, incredibly state that the President, the current President, the outgoing President is preparing for whichever scenario emerges, whether it is a transition of power or a, quote, "continuation of power." She used those words, "continuation of power" suggesting that somehow the President might remain in office.

Anderson, that's just a laughable thing to say, considering what we saw take place in the Electoral College yesterday and considering what Senator McConnell said earlier today.

On top of that, I will tell you, Anderson, there are people inside the President's team of advisers who just -- they've just given up on this and they can't understand why the President can't get to conceding that he lost this election.

I talked to an adviser earlier this evening, who said, you know, described it this way. Talking about a "Rolling Stone" song that we used to hear played at the end of Trump rallies, "You Can't Always Get What You Want." And then the words of this adviser, "to Mick Jagger" meaning, this is it. It's the end for President Trump.

COOPER: When Kelly McEnany says the President is still involved in ongoing litigation about the election. I mean, what is she talking about? It reminds me of the President saying, you know, he is being audited.

I mean, he's been shut down at every turn in the litigation, even at the Supreme Court.

ACOSTA: Yes. Apparently, they think there may be some higher legal authority than the United States Supreme Court. I mean, it again, was another example, Anderson of how the White House Press Secretary came into that briefing room and just did not have any answer.

She tried to use the opportunity of having a briefing to lay into the media and accuse members of the press of spreading disinformation. I asked her, aren't you being a hypocrite considering how much misinformation and disinformation you and the President have spread?

They have been the ones spreading the disinformation since the election, Anderson.

One other thing we should point out is, you know, the Trump camp, while the president is refusing to concede defeat and deal with the real world, the Trump Campaign is putting out a fundraising e-mail this evening, saying, "Do you think the President should run in 2024?"

Anderson, if they're talking about the President running in 2024, he's lost this election -- Anderson.

COOPER: And what are you hearing about the possibility that the President makes a sustained public push for his Republican allies to challenge the electoral results during the joint session of Congress on January 6th?

ACOSTA: Yes, I talked to a source close to the White House about this, who's also in touch with Republican Members of Congress. You know, this person described this idea, this prospect as an exercise in futility. Those are the words of this source close to the White House used.

But Anderson, the President is indeed looking to that date of January 6th. I've been told by a couple of different advisers that that is the case. He thinks that these Republican House members are going to be able to go in there and overturn the election results.

Again, Anderson, they're not dealing with the real world. They're not living in the same world that you and I are living in. They're living in the world of OAN and some of these other conservative outlets who are telling the President's supporters what they want to hear, that he has some ability to stay in power, some sort of continuation of power, as Kayleigh put it earlier today, when it's just not the case. It's never going to happen -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta. Appreciate it. Thanks.

More now on the election fight as well as the real work that this baseless battle is distracting from. Joining us now, the House Majority Whip Congressman James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina.

Congressman, I appreciate you being with us. The fact that Senator McConnell took so long to simply acknowledge reality and congratulate President-elect Biden, I mean, you know, maybe it would be laughable if it hadn't, at least in part enabled President Trump's ongoing assault against democracy, which, by the way, McConnell is hardly rebuking, how do you feel tonight about where things now stand?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me, Anderson. You know, when I saw 126, of my colleagues signing on to a brief to ask the Supreme Court of the United States to install an autocracy. That's what they were asking, to, in some way, invalidate the voters in four states and allow us to put in place an autocrat. That to me, it should have been what woke McConnell up. Maybe it did.

I'm pleased to see him come to this conclusion, but it should not have been this hard. I have no idea why it is that he and so many others, on the other side of the aisle have lost faith in the process that made this country what it is today.

So I welcome him to the real world, and hopefully, he remains in here.

COOPER: I found it terrifying that Attorneys General, Republican Attorneys Generals in states across the country also signed on to this. I mean, I'm not -- I didn't go to law school and that was a ridiculous lawsuit.

I mean, anybody with, you know, eyes that can see would know that. I want to play somebody that we just got. It is from CNN's Manu Raju who asked House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, just a few moments ago, if he is willing to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election as President-elect. I just want to show this to our viewers.


RAJU: Now that Joe Biden has won the election, he is the President- elect.


COOPER: I mean, why won't Kevin McCarthy acknowledge reality?

CLYBURN: I don't know. You know, I have really been grappling with this, trying to figure out exactly what would allow independent elected officials to be coopted this way. I can't figure this out.

Donald Trump is one person participating in the process that has been designed to keep this country together for decades, and all of a sudden, elected officials seem to be unable to exert their constitutional responsibilities and recognize what the Constitution has laid out for us. I'm having a real problem trying to figure this out. All I know is

this, I said over two years ago that I saw trending in what this President was doing and on this same network, I said to Don Lemon that I do not believe this man plans to give up this office. I said that back in, I think it was February 2018 and it has come true.

There was just something about the things he was saying that a lot of people laughed that I just took it seriously. And I don't believe he is stopping. I think he's going to make some attempt to have some of his minions pull some shenanigans on the sixth of January.

COOPER: But the fact that so many of your colleagues are cowed in this way that Kevin McCarthy is, you know skittering away from Manu Raju. You know, I'm glad he's wearing a mask. But, you know, he could still talk through that mask.

Is it just -- is it fear? Is it just fear of the President's supporters? Is it fear of the President saying mean things about them and trying to mobilize, you know, the lunatic QAnon conspiracy fringe to go to their homes.

I mean, that's other than fear of, you know, the mob and the President controlling people and telling them what to do. I don't understand why, as you said, duly elected people who are in another arm of government with legislative power would be suddenly so scared.


CLYBURN: Well, fear is probably a part of it, maybe all of it. I don't understand it. I know that kind of fit to me that you tend to respect people in office, you don't fear them. You give them the proper respect and I've always done that even with this President.

But for me to give up my constitutional authority and give up my personhood, in order to help somebody live out their fantasies, not when the country is at stake.

This democracy is very, very fragile, more fragile than I would have thought, when I used to teach it years ago. We have just experienced some things that have brought us to the realization that democracy -- this democracy -- can be brought to an end if we are not careful.

And I do believe that that's what most voters had on their minds when they went to the polls this year. What can I do to maintain this great pursuit -- is what I call it -- the pursuit of a more perfect union.

We've always been on that journey. We almost got off of it this year, and thankfully, at least 80 million voters decided we want to continue the pursuit.

COOPER: I just want to ask you about the ongoing coronavirus stimulus negotiations. You're the House Majority Whip, I know at least some of the congressional leadership is meeting tonight at Speaker Pelosi's office. Do you believe there actually will be an agreement?

CLYBURN: Yes, I do. It will not be all that want or that we want, but I do believe that we are going to leave here later this week with an agreement.

Now the numbers are getting reduced and people tend to look at the top line numbers and not look at exactly what we're doing. The number is going to be reduced because we will cut back on the length of time.

So it takes one number that go for a year is a totally different number, if you do it for only four or five months, and I think that what we're going to do is come up with something that that will allow us to give direct aid to people who need it, and for us to do it for a shorter period of time. And hopefully the new Congress and the new administration will be able to work together in such a way that nobody would fear anybody.

Everybody must respect each other, and then we will come up with some the programs and priorities that would benefit the American people and get us beyond this pandemic.

COOPER: In this new agreement, do you see Americans getting checks?

CLYBURN: Well, I do not know if they'll be getting checks, now what kind of checks? Some people are separating direct payments, as we did in one instance from unemployment checks? Yes, Americans will get checks. It may not be the same checks that they got before, but there will be cash going into people's households.

COOPER: Congressman James Clyburn, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me.

COOPER: Coming up next, more on the President's fundraising and perhaps unsurprising direction of those billions of dollars where they're all flowing.

Later the kind of news we all need as the pandemic deepens and other vaccine taking a final step toward approval.



COOPER: There's breaking news. Jim Acosta reported a moment ago, the President's campaign is sending out a fundraising e-mail with a question: Should President Trump run in 2024? At the same time, he is sending out countless e-mails asking to fund the fight over this election and taking in a lot of money.

Hundreds of millions of dollars from all the donors he is taking in with fundraising e-mails like this one for what's billed as his official Election Defense Fund.

More from our Randi Kaye on where most of the money is really going.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The subject lines tell the story. Fight against chaos. This is alarming, and I concede nothing. All e-mails from the Trump Campaign to supporters asking them to donate to an Election Defense Fund, and it actually started on Election Day, only hours after the polls closed.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a major fraud in our nation.

KAYE (voice over): In all, about 500 e-mails and 170 text messages have been sent, hitting up supporters for cash while hyping unfounded conspiracy theories about a so-called stolen election.

Despite the falsehoods, more than $207 million was raised between Election Day and early December.

TRUMP: That's going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud.

KAYE (voice over): No widespread fraud has been found. Yet, the Trump campaign continues to bombard supporters advertising his Election Defense Taskforce, asking supporters to demand a fair election and contribute $5.00 immediately to defend the election from the radical left.

Meanwhile, campaign finance experts warn much of this money could end up in Trump's pocket. That's because most of the donations are going straight to Trump's leadership PAC, Save America.

BRENDAN FISCHER, FEDERAL REFORM PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER: Save America is a loosely regulated political vehicle that offers Donald Trump a number of different ways where he would personally benefit.

Potentially Donald Trump could use Save America to pay himself a salary, to rent out the Trump Hotel, to put Tiffany or Ivanka on the payroll.

KAYE (voice over): The first 75 percent of each contribution up to $5,000.00 goes to the Save America PAC. A donor has to contribute $5,000.00 to Save America before a single penny goes into Trump's recount account.

FISCHER: Trump is raising millions and millions of dollars for his leadership PAC, Save America and that leadership PAC could be used effectively as a slush fund to benefit himself personally and to benefit his family financially.


KAYE (voice over): The campaign did not respond to our request for comment; but last month the campaign spokesman told CNN, Trump always planned to create a leadership PAC to combat issues like voter fraud. What's still unclear is if they found any.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: At least with Trump vodka, you got a bottle with some liquid,

some vodka distilled as he once told Larry King from various parts of Europe.

Joining us now Bloomberg opinion senior columnist, Timothy O'Brien, author of "Trump Nation: The Art of being the Donald."

So Tim, you heard Randi's piece. When you look at what the President is doing right now, including his campaign tonight, e-mailing supporters to ask whether he should run in 2024? Are you at all surprised, given the tactics he deployed as a businessman? I mean, it seems like this is straight from his playbook.

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, SENIOR COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG OPINION: It's right from his playbook, Anderson. You know, Donald Trump has essentially been a human billboard his entire career, he sold the idea that his name stands for, a series of myths about his business success, about his business prowess, about his wealth, that he had unadulterated success, which he didn't, that he was a shrewd dealmaker, which he wasn't. And that he was a self-made man who didn't rely on his father's wealth, also not true.

I think what's happened in this chapter we're seeing right now is, you know, in the wake of the election, emotionally and psychologically, he couldn't accept the notion that he lost. He grew up in a very binary existence with his father telling him, there were winners and losers and nothing in between.

And I think he couldn't come to terms with that. He is obviously -- when he leaves the protections of the Oval Office -- he is facing financial and legal hurdles that I think are unnerving him, and they're very front of mind.

And so I think he began engaging in this absurdity about the election being rigged, and fraudulent to shore up those things. But what he discovered along the way, was it turned out to be a money making exercise. He turned election fraud making into a grift, and in less than two months, he's raised over $200 million.

And I think any of his supporters who really think that this money is going to be used to wage a war for cleaner elections and to overturn Joe Biden's victory should just close their purses and wallets and pockets because Trump is going to use it for his own purposes, and his own goals, as he always has around these kind of things.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, he reminds one of, you know, what happened with Trump University, which was based on a false promise that was never delivered upon, the idea that he needs money to fight the election in court is ridiculous.

You know, the idea that he is able to convince a lot of decent people who just want to believe in the President and do believe in him. You know, he is allegedly a billionaire, and yet he is able to get people to give them their hard earned money.

O'BRIEN: And then not just Trump University, don't forget about the Trump Foundation, his charitable organization. Other people donated more money to that than he ever did.

He and his children never used the Foundation in the way it was meant to be used. They were sued by the State of New York for this. They were effectively -- not effectively -- they were barred from serving other philanthropies in perpetuity in the State of New York because of how they ran that.

The ethos really, of Donald Trump and his children is to figure out how easy it is to hook suckers, and then part them from their money as quickly as possible. And I bet he's as amazed as anybody that he has raised $200 million in just this brief period of time, by essentially propagandizing a line.

COOPER: You know, the other thing I think is really interesting, I think it was David Axelrod who mentioned this to me and or it might have been someone else, but the notion that he says, you know, considering running in 2024, and there's all sorts of reasons for him to just keep that dangling that out there and keeps his power over the R.N.C. and the Republican Party.

It keeps his potential -- his voters, but also his potential donors engaged. But it also perhaps allows him to raise even more money from overseas. He is not going to be able to borrow money -- he needs a lot of money, he is not going to be able to borrow money from traditional banks probably here, but perhaps from countries overseas who might want to do business with somebody who may be once again a future President.

O'BRIEN: It also, by the way, keeps competitors out of the way as well. It makes it very difficult for the Republican Party or other people in play.


O'BRIEN: Trump won't be able to simply use this money to pay off his business loans. It does -- he has about a billion dollars in debt. $400 million of that is coming due -- more than $400 million relatively soon and he is possibly going to be squeezed in order to pay that money down. But he can't just dip into these PAC funds and use that to pay off business loans.


The guidelines around this require him to use it for political purposes. It can be political travel, he can pay salaries to himself and his children and friends to work for the PAC. He can give the money to other candidates. But it has to have a political purpose. And the money is going to be watched in that regard. You'll have a lot of leeway with it. But he can't just simply give it to a bank to pay off alone.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You mentioned potential legal troubles. I've been a judge ruled say the Trump Organization has a trove of documents related to investigation by the New York Attorney General. Given what we know so far about the investigation, where do you see it going? O'BRIEN: Well, you know, the New York Attorney General and the Manhattan district attorney both have very similar investigations going on Trump right now, Anderson, they involve tax for all possible tax fraud, possible accounting, fraud, other business irregularities, and I think at the Manhattan DAs case, a campaign finance violations.

Tish James's case in your state Attorney General's case is a civil case, it is likely that that will end up in a worst case scenario for Trump with a major fine, but embarrassing public documents and depositions. She is pushing this case hard. She indicated today that the Trump Organization had to turn over more documents to her, she didn't specify what they were. But I think the existential investigation that really worries him is the Manhattan DAs case that could have criminal charges associated with it. If Trump gets charged with a crime, and certainly be found guilty of a crime, he's not going to be able to run again in 2024. And he's going to be in very, very hot water legally.

COOPER: Yes. Timothy O'Brien, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

(voice-over): Still had the man who will be President Joe Biden and the details of what a socially distance inauguration will look like 36 days from now, when the President-elect takes the oath of office.

First, the latest on the hurdles involved in bringing a coronavirus vaccine to hundreds of millions of Americans, that's ahead.



COOPER: Vaccines are now being delivered in the arms of healthcare workers and the nation's most vulnerable. This is more than 2,500 Americans and counting died today. And the U.S. records a new high hospitalizations more than 112,000 with cases and a new weekly high more than 1.5 million.

More in the vaccine rollout now from CNN's Alexandra Field.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first vaccine from Pfizer is going into arms across America. Now a second vaccine is nearly here. Moderna's vaccine proven 94% effective is likely to receive its emergency use authorization later this week. That would trigger the shipment of 6 million initial doses from the company. That's double the number Pfizer sent out in its first batch which is already arrived in all 50 states, 425 more sites are receiving shipments today.

In New York City frontline workers are lining up to get there's. Chicago's first doses administered at a hospital in one of the city's hardest hit communities. California received more than 33,000 doses of vaccine on Monday, nearly the same number of new hospital cases in the state on the same day. MONCEF SLAOUI, CHIEF ADVISER, OPERATION WARP SPEED: I think the biggest concern is accidental loss of temperature control in a cold chain based particularly with the Pfizer vaccine. That's really the biggest concern I think the last mile delivery inoculation of the vaccines into subjects.

FIELD (voice-over): Out of the gate, FedEx and UPS are reporting no problems with the massive undertaking of moving vaccines across the country. A fast moving nor'easter could affect shipments later this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixty million people right now are under some type of watch or warning.

FIELD (voice-over): Along with the challenge of getting vaccines to Americans, there's the challenge of getting Americans to take it. A Kaiser study shows 71% of people are likely to take it. The same study shows black Americans, Republicans and people from rural areas are more reluctant.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence along with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris should all get the vaccine as soon as possible.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: For security reasons I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can.


COOPER: Alexandra Field joins us now. So, while the vaccine is providing certainly people with a lot of hope this week, we're still emits a major COVID serve. What is de Blasio -- what is Mayor de Blasio saying about tighter restrictions in New York?

FIELD: And so Anderson, the mayor is saying that given the trajectory, the city is now on that it's pretty clear that we are headed toward a pause or a shutdown. And he says the natural timing for that would probably be right after Christmas. It's ultimately a decision that rests with the governor. But state officials and city officials have both expressed concerns about the rising number of cases and the possible strain on hospitals. Health officials say it takes about two to four weeks of restrictions to see an impact. So that could be a guide.

As for what else the shutdown could look like. Well, it would look pretty similar to last spring with essential activities continuing, but with one key difference. Anderson this time around, the mayor says he's hoping to be able to keep schools open.

COOPER: Alexandra Field, appreciate it. Thank you.

Perspective now from our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So, Sanjay the second day the vaccine rollout while early seems like the process seems to be going OK. Has there been any reports of allergic reactions? SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, we haven't heard reports of allergic reaction certainly on the lookout for those given what had happened in the United Kingdom. And the rollout seems to be going pretty well so far. I mean, you know, obviously there's a much higher demand than there is supply right now. But in terms of the various sites that Operation Warp Speed wanted to actually target sounds like they were targeted between yesterday and today.


And there's also going to be announcements every Friday now about the upcoming allotments. So, you know, these hospitals and pharmacies can have some idea of what's actually going to arrive. So, that's sort of going to be the plan. Obviously, they're going to try and scale up manufacturing now Anderson to try and try and try and meet this incredible demand.

COOPER: And looking toward the end of the week in the possible emergency use authorization of Moderna's vaccine. What are you learning about how the second vaccine is different than the Pfizer one?

GUPTA: Well, you know, we can show you we pulled some of the most pertinent sort of facts about these vaccines. They're very similar. They're both messenger RNA vaccines. The Moderna one is separated by four weeks as opposed to the Pfizer one by three weeks. The Moderna maternal one does not need to be kept as cold. So that may offer up some wider distribution sort of channels for that. You know, one thing was a big deal last week. Remember, Anderson was the age, Pfizer trialed people 16 and older, the Moderna one is 18 and older, but very similar vaccines.

One thing that is emerging as something that you and I talked about last night Anderson, the vaccine is we know that it prevents illness. Big question is does it also prevent infection? The Moderna paperwork, they released an addendum, after they released the full report that basically said they also swapped people, before they got their first dose, and in between their first and second doses, as well. And what they found was that there were a lot of people who never had these symptoms, you know, they were totally asymptomatic. But the people who got who actually swapped positive, the significant number of them were in the placebo arm far, far fewer were in the actual vaccinated arm. I hope that makes sense.

So basically, these people did not have symptoms, they were just swapped as part of surveillance testing. And they found that the vaccinated group tended to be far less likely to actually have presence of virus. So, you know, we'll see what that means, and obviously doesn't show that it's completely protective against people becoming infected. But it does seem to have some impact on this. And we're looking for that same sort of data out of Pfizer, which they say may come in January,

COOPER: And just ensures the timeline for the authorization of the modern vaccine. Do you expect it to be the same as what happened last week the Pfizer? GUPTA: I think so. I think it's going to be a very similar sort of process. You know, Thursday, we'll watch the advisory committee meetings, it's about nine hours pretty scintillating. Actually, Anderson, I watched most of it this past Thursday, very interesting ethics people, people from industry, the scientists who helped develop the vaccine. So, you get a lot of the sort of background on the vaccine. And then probably, you know, it was authorized on Friday, the Pfizer one was will probably accept a similar timeline here.

We're also expecting that the CDC will tell you that OK, now we know healthcare workers, and people in long term care facilities in the first group. We're also expecting that tell us this weekend, about the second group essential workers means what exactly? What about people over the age of 70 or over the age of 65 when are they going to fall into this? So hopefully, we get more clarity on who's next.

COOPER: Yes. There was also a new survey on the testing from the FDA approved at home tests. Are they reliable?

GUPTA: You know, Anderson that they're pretty reliable. You know, if someone has symptoms is having any kind of symptoms, they seem to be more reliable in terms of actually finding true positives and true negatives. If you're just doing it for surveillance testing, you're totally asymptomatic. It's less reliable, about 91% of the time does it find cases about a 9% false negative rate? I think this is a big deal. Anderson, we've been talking about testing all along, this is an at home test doesn't require a healthcare person to be involved. There's no -- there's a sort of analyzer that connects to your smartphone, and we'll give you a result. But there's no lab or anything. So it makes it really easy.

But the bottom line, if you have symptoms, you should stay home, you get this test and you're negative go out, you can go out but you still got to wear a mask and do everything you'd normally do.

COOPER: And how soon are these available?

GUPTA: I think they're available now I believe $30 a test is my understanding if not immediately available, then very soon.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay. Thanks. Appreciate it.

(voice-over): Just ahead, new report on the potential threat posed by some followers of QAnon the bizarre conspiracy theory group that the President keeps complimenting. And new details about Vice President- elect inauguration and how they plan to hold it during a pandemic.



COOPER: Today, President Trump gave yet another boost to some of the biggest supporters of his election conspiracy theories. He retweeted this comment from a name closely associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, a person named Ron Watkins. Quote soon to be Attorney General Rosen recently wrote an essay on foreign influence in U.S. elections. He then quotes Jeffrey Rosen is saying foreign actors are covertly trying to undermine confidence in our elections. Also, quote, malign foreign influence efforts in our elections has been a perennial problem.

The whole thing is wildly off the mark. The incoming acting Attorney General did not say anything that could be interpreted as supporting election truther as Watkins appears to be appears to claim.

If anything and the former marks Rosen says the opposite. The point is that once again, we see the President and the purveyors of an unhinged hodgepodge of truly bizarre theories -- conspiracy theories using each other to further a mutual agenda.

Tonight, our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin on this relationship. A new report also on the dangerous QAnon may pose and much more.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new report released first to CNN shows what researchers claim is a frighteningly quick pipeline of lies initially pushed by QAnon communities that have become part of the mainstream with help from one big supporter.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I've heard these are people that love our country. Donald Trump has retweeted QAnon followers dozens of times in his presidency, and amplification that brings the diluted and dangerous collection of bizarre conspiracy theories into the highest levels of government. Researchers at the network Contagion Research Institute, which investigates deception and hate in social media found QAnons disinformation operations attack specific pillars of democracy at strategic moments and hijack the national conversation.


JOEL FINKELSTEIN, DIRECTOR, NETWORK CONTAGION RESEARCH INSTITUTE: It's my opinion that QAnon is amongst the most dangerous groups we study, if not the most dangerous.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Joel Finkelstein, who directed the research says the capacity for violence in some of its followers is a public threat. Extremism experts Cynthia Miller-Idriss, who collaborated on the study says much of the alarming spread of QAnon is tied to President Trump.

CYNTHIA MILLER-IDRISS, EXTREMISM EXPERTS: For many of them they do believe that Trump is the Messianic figure, a lot of people start to believe in some components that are promoted by QAnon and disinformation networks without believing the entire conspiracy theory.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Among the beliefs, Trump is fighting a cabal of Satan worshipping elites that practice pedophilia and child sacrifice that George Floyd's death was staged that the pandemic is fake, created solely to inject us with vaccines containing radio frequency identification chips. And perhaps most damaging of all that the election was stolen.

FINKELSTEIN: QAnon is a disinformation network has grown like a virus.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): QAnon conspirators have also learned how to influence the President's thinking. Conspiracy theories started by or pushed by QAnon and its hashtags have been retweeted by the president, including Dominion voting that somehow millions of votes got switched. Obama gate that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. Then there is subpoena Obama. On May 13th, a tweet from @FollowThe17 as in queue, the 17th letter of the alphabet shows just how quickly a conspiracy can go from the dark corner of the internet to the White House.

FINKELSTEIN: If we all put out subpoena Obama as a hashtag. He essentially said good things will happen if we do this.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Use the hashtag everywhere the tweet said and they did. Subpoena Obama went viral at times tweeting 4,000 times an hour. Right-wing media picks it up. One day later, Donald Trump weighed in. In a tweet to Senator Lindsey Graham saying the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime is former President Obama. In other words, subpoena Obama success for the QAnon crowd. @FollowThe17 would retweet Trump's post with a wink. Trump then tweeted, thank you to all of my great keyboard warriors, you are better and far more brilliant than anyone on Madison Avenue.

REP. DENVER RIGGLEMAN (R-VA): I think the technical term is batshit crazy, but that's what it is. But people are starting to believe this.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Outgoing Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman is planning to read the NCRIR report findings into the Congressional record. He's in the minority of Republicans willing to stand up to Trump and QAnon. And says most of his fellow Republicans say nothing because of money.

RIGGLEMAN: They're willing to do it if they want to get reelected. I think some of them think we have to say that this election was fraudulent. We have to go along with President Trump based on the fundraising.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Republicans are raising hundreds of millions of dollars since the election. But Riggleman says at a cost a rapidly spreading movement based on dangerous lies.

RIGGLEMAN: I just can't seem to get people to understand that this is the language of radicalization.


COOPER: And Drew Griffin joins us now. So on their face, these theories are insane. It you and others have found that not only do a lot of average Americans believe them, but so do more and more someone influential people how concerned is the congressman about that? Because as he knows, the QAnon supporter won a congressional seat from Georgia. GRIFFIN: There's actually two incoming members of Congress who have supported QAnon. A couple of retired generals and as soon to be ex- president Anderson with piles of political cash who seemingly supports this. It's the legitimization of this craziness that makes it so dangerous because radicalization experts say that it does lead to homegrown terrorists who act out on a part or some of these theories. And they act out violently thinking they are somehow part of the QAnon army. Anderson.

COOPER: And what can be done to stop it.

GRIFFIN: Well, the authors of this report say -- reports like this can help but they also think much more is needed some kind of a disinformation vaccine, some agency group organization that will fight back against these lies where they live on the internet. Anderson.

COOPER: Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Thanks.

Up next, the breaking news on how the coronavirus pandemic will shape the Biden inauguration next month. What the planners wants you to know when we continue.



COOPER: Just breaking news the team planning President-elect Biden's Inauguration Day is wanting Americans to stay home on January 20th not travel to Washington D.C. due to the coronavirus pandemic. President- elect Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in at the U.S. Capitol. But much like this summer's Democratic National Convention most of the festivities will be online soon.

CNN's MJ Lee joins us now with more. So, what do we know about the plans for the president next inauguration?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, nothing about this election year has been normal and turns out Inauguration Day is going to be no exception. The Presidential Inaugural Committee giving us a little bit of a sense today of what Inauguration Day next year is going to look like. As you mentioned, both Biden and Kamala Harris, they're going to be taking their oath of office on Capitol Hill and Biden will give an inaugural speech. But really everything else will probably end up looking very different from what we are used to, for example, the committee telling us at the ceremony is going to be extremely limited in its footprint.

I'd also say that the parade is going to be reimagined, we don't know exactly what that means, but we will find out. And it also said that the public really needs to stay at home. So do not travel to Washington, D.C. to try to participate in any of the activities.

I will also finally note, the committee has appointed a chief medical advisor. So, really making the point here too, that they're trying to get advice from experts and doctors as they try to do this in a safe way during this pandemic. COOPER: And what about cabinet choices? What's the latest on that?

LEE: Yes. There are a couple of announcements that are expected. The first one is former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. She is expected to be named Energy Secretary. She's somebody who has been steeped in energy issues including renewable energy issues. She's has been a longtime advisor to Joe Biden has participated in a lot of debate prep sessions.


LEE: And the second person is Gina McCarthy. She is the former EPA director. She is expected to be the former -- excuse me, the next so- called Biden's climates czar, she will be overseeing a new office of domestic climate policy. And then we of course saw the announcement that Pete Buttigieg is going to be named Transportation Secretary.


LEE: There should be an event tomorrow here in Wilmington to formally announced that.


COOPER: MJ Lee, appreciate it. Thank you.

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

News continues right now. I want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris.