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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump Explodes at Nixon Comparisons as He Prepares to Leave Office on Wednesday; New Capitol Riot Arrests; Secret Service Director Reminds Employees to be Nonpartisans ahead of Biden Inauguration; Pres.-Elect Biden Proposes $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Plan; Also Calls For Stimulus Checks, Unemployment Help; DC Officer Crushed In Doorway Speaks Out. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 14, 2021 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:00]

KARL RACINE, ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: That's not consistent with the law that is why we're going to pursue that.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Well, Attorney General, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

RACINE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And thanks to all of you, Anderson starts now.

[20:00:17]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. We begin tonight with the contrast between incoming and outgoing administrations at a point in time unlike any of the country has ever seen before.

Just moments ago, President-elect Biden outlined his plan to fight COVID and boost the economy at the end of a week that saw deaths top 4,000 a day and nearly a million more Americans file for unemployment benefits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is real pain, overwhelming the real economy. One where people rely on paychecks, not their investments to pay for their bills and their meals and their children's needs.

It's not hard to see that we're in the middle of the once in several generations' economic crisis with a once in several generations' public health crisis. A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight. There's no time to waste. We have to act, and we have to act now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The President-elect laying out an emergency package which includes $1,400.00 stimulus checks, extending and expanding unemployment benefits, $400.00 supplemental payments, also additional food aid and assistance to restaurants and small businesses and a $15.00 an hour minimum wage, the price tag $1.9 trillion.

Mr. Biden saying the spending will yield greater returns to the economy and society in the long term. Clearly, he is choosing to try to go big tonight.

At the White House meantime, a few signs of normality for a transition such as moving vans and staffers departing, but also a President with just six days left still determined to go small and angry and petty, certainly not doing what his predecessors in both parties have instead of thanking staffers, writing traditionally gracious note for the next President to find inside the Resolute Desk, he is reported to be seating in self-pity mode, our sources telling us.

Advisers and associates telling "The Washington Post" he is quote, "lashing out" at some of those who remain angry that his allies have not mounted a more forceful defense of his incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol. So angry that shortly after we left you last night, we learned he has decided to stiff his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and not pay him for his legal work such as it was, perhaps it was making this post impeachment statement which upset him so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I am calling on all Americans to overcome the passions of the moment and join together as one American people.

Let us choose to move forward, united, for the good of our families, our communities and our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The President reading from a teleprompter, not acknowledging at all his role inciting the insurrection that left five people dead and made him the first President ever to be impeached twice. Calls for unity from the President ring especially hollow because he has not done the one thing that actually could help bring this country together: admit that there was no widespread voter fraud, admit there is no evidence, admit there never was, admit he lost fair and square, and that he made it up, and people are dead as a result.

Now, he won't do that, of course, he would rather the country tear itself apart. There is breaking news tonight on the insurrection itself and some of the people involved in it. I want to show it to you now. So again, you're reminded of the gravity of what happened just a week and a day ago. So you're reminded that it has never happened before and should never happen again.

Specifically, the moment you're about to see which as you might imagine is tough to watch.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]

COOPER: A fire extinguisher thrown at police with such force it bounced off one police officer's helmet and over the heads of others. Today, a newly filed criminal complaint identifies the alleged attackers Robert Sanford, a retired firefighter from the Philadelphia area.

Also today, Federal prosecutors have charged a man named Peter Francis Stager, saying he is the man seen in this video beating a police officer with an American flag. Prosecutors say a video interview he did help lead to the charges. In it, he says this about people in the Capitol, quote, "Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what's in that building."

Additionally, the man with the Confederate flag has also been arrested. A law enforcement official telling us He is Kevin Seefried of Delaware. Charging documents were not immediately available, so we don't yet know how much trouble he may be in.

Also arrested, John Sullivan from Utah taken into custody in Provo. Sullivan took video of insurrectionists trying to break through a barricade -- a barricaded set of doors during which time one of them was fatally shot.

We spoke with him on 360 that night, he said he was a left-wing activist. According to the charging document, he was seen inside the Capitol using a microphone as he told the crowd quote, "We about burn this [bleep] down. We've got to rip Trump out of office, effing pull him out of that [bleep]. We ain't waiting until the next election."

[20:05:10]

COOPER: Meantime, as some of the people involved face accountability, there remains none from the White House. In the President's call yesterday for unity, he was essentially echoing an argument his enablers in Congress are making during the impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): A vote to impeach will further fan the flames of partisan division.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We should be focused on bringing the nation together. Instead, Democrats are going to impeach the President for a second time.

REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Today is a moment for members of Congress to put aside partisan politicking and place people over power.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Increasingly concerned the Democrats are drafting Articles of Impeachment to further divide America.

MCCARTHY: All of us must resist the temptation of further polarization.

REP. JEFF VAN DREW (R-NJ) Let's link arms with one another and begin to heal.

CAWTHORN: I urge that we all vote to finally put America first.

MCCARTHY: Unity is not an option. It's a necessity. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A necessity says one of the 140 House Republicans and seven senators who tried to overturn the election and disenfranchise millions of American voters. Here's what he, Congressman Jordan and Congressmen Cawthorn, Gaetz and so many others were saying before they all suddenly discovered the need for healing just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JORDAN: Americans instinctively know there was something wrong with this election.

MCCARTHY: President Trump won this election. So everyone who is listening, do not be quiet. Do not be -- do not be silent about this.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): The ruling would be that you've got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.

MCCARTHY: Republicans will not back down. We will not wait to four years for now to change this. We are going to fight this now.

CAWTHORN: Get on the phone, call your congressman. And feel free you can lightly threaten them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our 1776 moment.

REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): And I've got a message that I need you to take to your heart and take back home and along the way, stop at the Capitol.

CAWTHORN: If you don't start supporting election integrity. I'm coming after you. Madison Cawthorn is coming after you. Everybody is coming after you.

GAETZ: The Swamp isn't truly drained until we've nailed the hides of the alligators to the wall.

BROOKS: Today is the day American Patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Feeling unified yet? Maybe this will help. The nation's capital is now an armed camp with new concerns about violence this weekend at next week's inauguration.

Today, the President put out a statement praising himself for bringing troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. In it, he said nothing about the men and women being called away from their homes to protect Washington. The other thing that he failed to mention is that The Mall which he wants boasted was filled with overflowing with his supporters for his swearing in is now off limits to anyone.

More now on what the President is seething about tonight. CNN's Jim Acosta joins us from the White House. What's the latest on what you're hearing about the President?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is really unstable right now, Anderson, and what we've been hearing from our sources over the last several days is that he has been ranting and raving about any number of things.

Obviously, he is upset about the impeachment. Obviously, he's upset about the fact that he's going to be leaving office in just about a week from now. And one of the things that we're hearing in just the last several minutes, Anderson, we've been able to confirm that the President has been pushing away advisers who won't tell him what he wants to hear about the election and impeachment and so on.

He's been listening to people like Steve Bannon. We understand that he's been back in touch with his former chief strategist. They've been talking about the President's conspiracy theories about the election. In addition to that, my White House colleagues are also reporting that the President has been having discussions with aides about the prospect of resignation.

Every time that has come up, he has pushed that aside and yelled at his aides when the subject has come up. He has also warned his aides according to my colleagues that any talk of Richard Nixon is not welcome in the Oval Office.

He doesn't want to be compared to Richard Nixon. And one of the reasons why he doesn't want to resign or is even considering the prospect of resigning as he doesn't think Mike Pence would pardon him.

I've also heard that from White House adviser in recent weeks that the President has doubts as to whether Mike Pence would pardon him and so his mind, Anderson at this point is filled with so many things other than the responsibilities and duties that come with running the country.

COOPER: Does he have a legal team assembled for the impeachment in the Senate?

ACOSTA: My understanding, Anderson, is that yes, he does have, I guess the beginnings of an impeachment team. It is nothing like we saw during the first impeachment process when he had sort of a legal Dream Team.

I'm told that you know, he is talking to people like Rudy Giuliani, even though he may not be paying his legal fees. People like more fringy lawyers like John Eastman, but there are some attorneys who are not going to be part of the legal team like last time, people like Jay Sekulow.

And Anderson, what we're hearing at this point is that what the President's legal team is planning to argue is that if he leaves office, he is essentially no longer legally eligible to be convicted and removed from office once he is an ex-president, but that is something that his own legal team will be arguing during this impeachment process and that the President's remarks on January 6th, while incendiary fall into the category of protected speech. [20:10:28]

ACOSTA: Those are the expected arguments that we're planning to hear -- we're hoping to hear, thinking we'll hear from the President's legal team, according to a source familiar with those discussions -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, stay with us. The Nixon comparison part of your reporting is interesting. I wanted to bring in someone who masterfully told the story of Nixon's final days, Carl Bernstein, the investigative journalist is also now a CNN political analyst.

Carl, President Trump lashing out over comparisons to Nixon is particularly interesting, and in many ways, you and I talked about this, I think it was last night, the end to this presidency you were saying is much worse than Nixon.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, Nixon was not a secessionist, seditious President of the United States who inspired and celebrated a riot to burn down the Capitol, which is really what occurred. He encouraged it. Those people went there because of his incitement.

Nixon was in a different category in that regard. He was a real criminal President, who deserved having to leave office and Republicans got him out of office, forced his resignation, very different than what we've seen with Trump, the Republicans have enabled him and allowed him to stay in office.

We saw in the House yesterday how Republicans continued to defend him, don't want to see him impeached and convicted, at least in the House, they don't. Yet at the same time, there's something fascinating in what Jim has just reported, and that's about the pardon question.

But the worst place you can be probably in the world, not just in America is in Donald Trump's head. But you know that when Donald Trump says things about he doesn't want to hear anything about something, often he does want to hear about it. And I hear in there perhaps a little bit that if Pence indeed was willing to pardon him, perhaps he would be willing to take it. But he doesn't trust Pence to do it.

In Nixon's case, President Ford waited a month before he pardoned Nixon. He refused to pardon Nixon in the final days, but a month later decided for the unity of the country, and for him to have his own presidency at a time of great economic crisis in the country and other crisis that he would pardon Nixon.

So there's something quite fascinating in what Jim Acosta is reporting there.

COOPER: Jim, does -- do you think that we -- you know, we've discussed this, do you think the President cares about his legacy as President? Or is it simply the brand, the Trump brand and the potential to make money in business deals down the road?

ACOSTA: My understanding, Anderson, and this is from talking to sources is that the President is basically clueless about what this is going to do to his legacy and that he doesn't fully grasp the magnitude of the fact, I think the very real likelihood that he is going to be placed at rock bottom of the list of Presidents in terms of how they're viewed by historians.

I mean, this is a President who has been more Jefferson Davis than Thomas Jefferson. And you know, to pick up on what Carl was saying a few moments ago. The fact we've never had a President of the United States foment a riot and insurrection and a potential takeover of another branch of government in the way that we saw with President Trump.

And I think the key question that Republicans are going to have to deal with during the Senate impeachment trial, is whether that crime goes unpunished. And I think that that has the potential to take the Trump stain that is on the Trump brand, and really just paint with a broad brush, you know, I guess, another, you know, shameful stroke across members of his own party, unlike what we saw, during the Watergate saga.

Obviously, Richard Nixon was guilty of a great many things, but there were good Republicans who took it upon themselves to make sure that Richard Nixon was not able to get away with what he got -- what he was trying to get away with. It's a very different situation with Donald Trump, because, you know, the Republicans might once again in a second impeachment trial, let them get off scot-free -- Anderson.

COOPER: You know, Carl, Nixon, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, Nixon worked on rehabilitating his reputation. I mean, that was his sort of major post presidency project, wasn't it? To sort of becoming a counselor, a senior statesman to other politicians. It's unclear if that's something President Trump is even capable of.

BERNSTEIN: Well, it's also on unclear the degree to which Nixon succeeded. He wrote some very interesting and remarkable books. But he still was a pariah because of the heart of his crimes, which included very similar in some ways to Trump undermining the very basis of American democracy, the electoral system, through a series of burglaries and trying to engineer the nomination of a particular Democrat through undermining the electoral process.

[20:15:29]

BERNSTEIN: But the real difference in the final days is, Nixon was not a diluted, deranged, out of control President of the United States who has to be restrained in a constitutional straitjacket, which is really what is going on now.

The military won't heed his disorders, we know some about that. The people around him are trying to restrain him, because they think he is dangerous, that he does not have any idea of the national interest of the United States, nor has he for a long time.

Nixon in his final days, though, he was drunk part of the time went to introspection. He summoned Henry Kissinger to the Lincoln sitting room in the second floor of the White House. He got down on their knees. Nixon said, "Henry, you're not an Orthodox Jew, and I'm not an orthodox Quaker. But let's pray," and Nixon started sobbing and pounding the carpet and saying, "What have I done? What have I done?"

And then the next day, remember what Nixon's crimes were? His abuses of power in going after his enemies, seeking vengeance on his enemies, much like Trump does. And the next day at his farewell, he said, the ultimate introspective comment about what he had done, he said, I gave them a sword to destroy him. We'll see nothing like that. That kind of understanding from Donald Trump.

COOPER: Carl Bernstein and Jim Acosta, appreciate it. As we speak, security being tightened in a highly visible way around the Capitol where Shimon Prokupecz is where it's happening, he joins us now. So talk about what you're seeing, what the security is like now.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: So Anderson, these fences now are lining all across here on the East Side of the Capitol. The workers out here have been bolting them down, hammering away here for the last several hours, and the fences stretch all the way down to Pennsylvania Avenue. And then they go all the way to the other direction.

And then I want to show you here behind me, this is the National Guard, the military, surrounding the Capitol with heavily armed weapons. They've been out here all day as well, just surrounding the entire Capitol. And here you can see more fencing that is being brought in.

Anderson, I can tell you that walking here, we parked our cars about two miles away. And basically the entire area around Washington, D.C. is fenced off from the MLK Monument to other monuments all across the D.C. area now is being fenced off, as you see out here.

COOPER: And what's the latest on arrests connected to the insurrection. We talked a little bit about it at the top of the program.

PROKUPECZ: Yes, so there have been several arrests today. The F.B.I. Director saying that they've identified about 200 people now that they are looking to arrest; some they have arrested.

One person specifically that they really wanted to arrest and identify was the man who you mentioned at the top of the show with the Confederate flag, Kevin Seefried, he was arrested today. His son, Hunter also arrested in Delaware. And he was a focus, a big focus of the F.B.I. They were finally able to arrest him. They were arrested, as I said in Delaware.

Interestingly, he told the F.B.I. when he was arrested that the flag -- this was a flag that he kept outside his home, and that he brought here with him to Washington, D.C.

COOPER: And do Members of Congress have any more clarity tonight on whether any of these attackers might have had help from people inside the Capitol that voiced some concerns in recent days? PROKUPECZ: Yes, so certainly, Anderson, that is something that the

F.B.I. and others are investigating and looking at. A lot of Members of Congress certainly have their suspicions that somehow these individuals had help, somehow specifically knew their way inside the Capitol.

Some of them were heard on video saying that they knew their way around the Capitol. They knew where certain rooms were, they seem to know where to go, specifically different members and their offices. So that certainly has a lot of them concerned that they had some inside help.

That is something that the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice are investigating -- Anderson.

COOPER: Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Another sign of the times and of how poisoned the atmosphere now is, notwithstanding all the calls for national unity, we look learned today that the Director of the Secret Service has sent out an agency wide memo reminding all employees to remain professional and act in a nonpartisan manner as they carry out their duties next week. It's something that should go without saying except now, it no longer can.

[20:20:11]

COOPER: Joining us tonight, former F.B.I. Director James Comey, author most recently of "Saving Justice, Truth, Transparency and Trust." Director Comey, thanks for being with us. What concerns you the most about inauguration, you know, knowing that the attack in the Capitol last week has probably only galvanized extremist groups.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER F.B.I. DIRECTOR: The nature of the threat concerns me most. I mean, this is akin to an international terrorism threat, because you have a group of individuals who believe they're on the side of the angels. They believe the lies, they've internalized them that an election was stolen, and it's their mission to take back the United States of America.

They talk about 1776 and they all have guns. And so it's a serious threat. But it's also one that government can lock down as the ability and the expertise to protect against.

COOPER: You know, it's so -- I mean, you know, we've spent so many years reporting on and talking about how people become radicalized into Islamic terrorism. We're now -- this is, you know, this is radicalization of a wholly different sword. And yet, you know, it's still radicalization based on a big lie and based on false information, and based on, you know, a whole host of factors.

COMEY: It's very similar. It's hard to get your head around because this is the United States, right? These are our fellow citizens. They don't look like what we think of terrorist looking like, but they've consumed the same propaganda, the endless preaching of lies that surrounds people in an Al Qaeda terrorist camp in Afghanistan before 9/11 has surrounded these people through social media, through the President of the United States telling them your government has been stolen, you need to fight to get our government back.

That's a frightening thing, and very, very effective as propaganda to a disturbed mind.

COOPER: Do you know of a comparable situation in which the F.B.I. has sent a bulletin warning of armed protests being planned in all states of the Union and Washington, D.C.? I mean, how do you think our current situation ranks in terms of threats we've seen to the U.S.?

COMEY: I don't know that -- I don't know of any similar circumstance. There were times in the 60s and 70s, where we worried about particular groups and using explosives in some cities, but a threat to all 50 states at the same time is unprecedented in my experience.

COOPER: You've said that it would be a mistake to alter our rituals that things should be free, open and safe. When you look at Washington, D.C., I mean, tonight, you know, turn into a fortress, authority shutting down The Mall, is that the right approach?

COMEY: I think so. I had heard people suggesting that maybe we move the inauguration inside or to a secure basement location. And I oppose that because, again, we talked all the time after 9/11 about not letting the terrorists win. That will be a win for a group of terrorists.

Instead, I think it's a healthy balance in an unhealthy situation: protect but don't change in a way that concedes that the terrorists have chased us off the spot.

COOPER: And do you believe President Biden -- President-elect Biden will be safe taking the Oath of Office at the Capitol next Wednesday?

COMEY: I do.

COOPER: It's clear that President Trump, you know incited his supporters and based on this big lie that he has been telling both before the election even happened, and certainly after, before the attack in the Capitol last week, you wrote in your book, "It also isn't the time for the Justice Department to pursue a criminal investigation of Donald Trump no matter how compelling the roadmap left behind by special counsel Mueller or how powerful the evidence strewn across his history of porn stars and financial fraud. Although those cases might be righteous in a vacuum, the mission of the next Attorney General must be fostering the trust of the American people that the institution is not a tool of political playback."

Given the events of the last eight days, do you still believe that, that he shouldn't be prosecuted?

COMEY: I said when I wrote that it was a really hard call back in the fall. It's even harder now. As a private citizen and former prosecutor I'd like to prosecute him myself. The question I'm asking, though, is it in the government, in the nation's interest to have Donald Trump on our screens every single day in the United States versus Trump in the nation's capital as the trial moves along? I think on balance, although it's a very close call, we're better with

accountability through impeachment and conviction, barring from further office and prosecuting him in New York as they're seeking to do for being the garden variety crook he was before he was elected President.

I think that's a healthier place for the nation, and for a new President as he tries to heal our nation, physically through the terrible scourge we're dealing with and spiritually.

COOPER: As we're in this sort of holding pattern waiting for President Trump to pardon more people, including possibly himself, I'm wondering how you felt when he pardoned Michael Flynn? I mean that the whole investigation was central to your -- what happened between you and the President and ultimately, your firing and that whole episode was erased with a stroke of a pen.

COMEY: Yes, in a way it didn't surprise me, Anderson. It was Donald Trump taking a flame thrower to the rule of law which he has been doing almost since the very beginning when he took office, it was just lawless and corrupt. But it's a sad thing to say, I wasn't surprised by it. It was just him acting the type.

[20:25:20]

COOPER: You know, you were certainly a frequent target of President Trump's attacks via Twitter, what was your reaction to his suspension?

COMEY: I think it was a healthy thing. I saw it as like turning off the gas to an apartment building that's on fire. I think we need to have an important conversation in this country about what the role is of private parties now that they own our public square, Twitter and Facebook.

But this was an emergency and this was turning off the gas to a building that was already on fire.

COOPER: Is the F.B.I. set up, and, you know, obviously, there's a long history of right-wing extremism in this country. You know, Ruby Ridge there, you know, in the 90s. We saw an awful lot of this. Obviously, Oklahoma City? Is -- I don't know how it's been under this administration, but has that continued to be a priority for the F.B.I. and law enforcement around the country? Right-wing extremism? I know, there's been a lot of reports saying it's the major threat.

COMEY: I think so. One half of the F.B.I.'s terrorism division, counterterrorism division is domestic terrorism, the other half being international. So when I was Director and I think since hundreds of people woke up every morning worrying about nothing but this, and the current Director said this was the number one threat in the United States. So I'm confident they've been devoting a lot of resources to it, which begs the important question that we have to have answered is so what happened with the attack on the Capitol? Why wasn't it stopped? Why weren't the forces positioned to defend the Hill?

COOPER: Yes, Jim Comey. I appreciate your time. Thank you. COMEY: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Quick programming note. We're going to be taking an hour this weekend to dig deeper into some of the forces behind the attack last week and the ongoing threat that remains. Our CNN special report "The Faces of the Trump Insurrection" airs Saturday night 10 Eastern Time.

Next tonight, to Jim Acosta's question earlier about the stain on the Trump brand such as it is, we'll look closer what's ahead for him and his family. Anthony Scaramucci joins us.

And later, reaction to President-elect Biden's plan for tackling COVID and reviving the economy among other massive challenges.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:57]

COOPER: President in his final days reportedly angry about being compared to Richard Nixon nearly alone in the White House stripped of Twitter who only needs to yell at it something fewer and fewer will have to bear as more staffers depart.

Joining us now someone who knows what some of that must be like former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Anthony, it's good to see you. Thank you, I'm sorry, turn to these circumstances.

So, your President Trump described tonight as solon vengeful lashing out at any comparison to the final days of Nixon. How do you see the next six days playing out?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FMR WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I think the very good news and I think Director Comey said that I think they've got most of this under control. You know, Delta Airlines not allowing guns on planes into D.C., Airbnb, et cetera. So, if he could have one more big insurgency, he would, but I don't think he's going to be able to get that now because he doesn't have the communication, the direct messaging that was going on social media and stuff like that. So, I think it's going to be solid, anger based and somewhat solitary Anderson. I don't see this thing mushrooming the way it could have if we didn't get under control in the last week.

COOPER: Do you think he will go quietly, I mean, that his aides will be able to keep any remarks to something scripted and on the teleprompter that, you know, they've been able to do that the last couple of days.

SCARAMUCCI: Listen, you know, you always get this wrong with President Trump. If you say he's going to go quietly, he'll act like a maniac on the way out, and then he might end up going quietly. I think lawyers, legitimate lawyers are telling him that he's in a lot of trouble. You know, he incited a riot, he incited an insurrection. He's arguably at least in the 21st century, you can say Timothy McVeigh for the 20th century. But he is the domestic terrorist of the 21st century, in terms of the history of the 21st century. And so, you tell me --

COOPER: You think he will be viewed as a domestic terrorist?

SCARAMUCCI: I think, you know, right now, we're all in shock about it, because he's the President of United States. And we always try to normalize that office. You and I, the rest of the world still has an August opinion of the office of the presidency. And so, you're, you're reacting to it like, wow, I can't really have the President be a domestic terrorist. But 50 years from now, a presidential historian will look at the situation and say, my god, he didn't accept the election, he signaled prior to the election that he wasn't going to. And he incited an insurrection where people descended on the Capitol Building calling for the death of his vice president.

So, you got to step back Anderson and look at it objectively and look at it from 2071, not 2021. And yes, I do think he will be known throughout history as a somebody that incited domestic terrorism.

COOPER: Do you think he will be held accountable, either in the Senate or afterward?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, again, I think Director Comey was spot on about the balancing (ph) test. But my personal view is that he has to be held accountable. He has to be convicted in the Senate, the guy who really should go to jail, he's the President of United States. So we're going to be cautious about that. But they've got to make this very punitive on him. As Speaker Pelosi said, there's nobody above the law. And so, if you look at it prime aphasia, yes, something very damaging has to happen to him, which will send a signal to others.

And oh, by the way, if you want unity in the United States, you have to stamp out the venality of Trumpism and the expression of Donald Trump in the last two weeks. You're not going to get unity unless you de Trump defy an element of the country. And so you just have to go to 1946 in Germany to understand that Anderson. And so, yes, he's got to be punished. And my personal opinion, I'd love to see him in jail. That will likely not happen, but taking away the powers of an ex- president through the conviction, I think would be a good start.

COOPER: But you know, it's so startling me, because there are you know, there are a lot of good and decent people, millions of people who support the President who believe his lies about the election. And I guess to me, how does the country move forward with a new administration? You know, and whether you're Democrat or Republican or not. And, you know, we'll see how this new administration does and will report aggressively on them.

[20:35:13]

But how do you move forward if so, many people in the country believe that the election itself was stolen? I mean, unless you have Trump, you know, he's not going to be man enough to stand up and say, you know what, I lied. That was a big lie. You know, it was a free and fair election. How do you move? How does the country move forward?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I mean, you could look to history for how the country moves forward. I mean, in particular, I would go back to what Franklin Roosevelt said in 1940. He was running for an unprecedented third term, he had the America first movement that was really being sponsored by Charles Lindbergh at the time. And in a very great speech, you can find it on YouTube, he talked about creating aspirational opportunity for the average American. And so, people don't agree with me on this. But I think that this is factual, economic aspirational opportunity sues anger, ends tribalism and helps to knit the country back together. And that's why I applaud President- elect Biden, in terms of the stimulus package that he's offering. We need to right size, some of these inequities that have been worsened by the pandemic. And I do think we can get the other side of this with a very healing, optimistic message, but it has to be concomitant with this notion of economic aspiration. And so, I'm optimistic about it.

Remember, when he falls from power at 12:01, on January 20th, he's going to descend very quickly, and you've got 10 or so Republicans that look in the mirror every morning and see a future president. And they'll do everything they can to put him lights out, Anderson. So, there's a lot of forces working against him right now, both legal and political, that will be very good for the country.

COOPER: I mean, I don't know why. I mean, I know why, you know, some Republicans who are zealots and believers in Trumpism, would want him to be hanging over the party for the next four years. But many Republicans obviously don't want that. This seems to be an actual opportunity, in fact, probably their only opportunity to make it so that he will not be able to do that.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, I agree with you. A student of history would recognize that this is the reckoning for Donald Trump. And this would call a healing and a possible reset for the party. But you have to remember, these guys are loaded with fear. You know, they've got a lot of cowardice in that party. They're afraid to be primaried. They're afraid about the donor community, it looks like the corporate donors are fading now on the Republicans because of their actions, and they're looking for those small donors that were tribally tied to President Trump, they're hoping they can cling on to them.

And so, it's a very mixed up group of people. A visionary Republican would say, OK, enough of this nonsense, we have to restore our principles, we have to dial back the anger, we have to open up the tent and make it look more like the beautiful mosaic of the American people, change the demographics, if you will, as well. But they don't -- yet they don't have bold enough leadership standing up and delineating what they need to do to go forward. And so, that's why many of these people are cowardly clutching Trumpism still.

COOPER: How much you do by the argument that there's fear not just a fear you spoke of but also just, frankly, fear of Trump supporters of, you know, Lindsey Graham being, you know, shouted down and Mitt Romney being shouted down, you know, on planes in airports by, you know, people who decide that it's a good idea to get in somebody's face for their political beliefs.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, well, listen, it's very unnerving. But, you know, just go back through the tapes of the president over the last four and a half years, he gives license to that, he gives license that anger. Every once in a while a lawyer will get to them, and he tones it down, and he reads something off a teleprompter in a clumsy manner. But that's what he's done to these people. He's incited them. And so, it becomes very binary for these people. You know, what I would say to those people, it's not America first. Its first we are Americans. We have to stop the nonsense of America first. And think of ourselves as Americans first less tribal, less hyphenated, less state related, more unified as a nation. And then maybe some of that stuff will get knocked off.

Listen, I can tell you, it's unnerving. You know, I've gotten death threats. I've gotten people threatening my family, all of that sort of nonsense. I personally don't care because I grew up in a neighborhood. I know how to take it on. But there's a lot of representatives in the House of Representatives that are telling their friends. They voted with the President because they fear these types of attacks and those types of death threats.

COOPER: Yes. Anthony Scaramucci, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

SCARAMUCCI: Good to be with you.

COOPER (voice-over): Up next, to the challenges facing the President's successor. We'll dig into the details of the agenda President-elect Joe Biden laid out a short time ago tonight, including how he says he'll boost the economy and fight a worsening COVID crisis while Washington devotes its attention to impeachment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:43:30]

COOPER: We want to dive deeper into what we reported the top of the broadcast moments before we went to air, President-elect Joe Biden spoke from Delaware laying out is nearly $2 trillion COVID relief plan to boost the economy and help the struggling vaccine rollout. He also previewed a plan to invest more in infrastructure, manufacturing and clean energy. Certainly big agenda he's talking about in his favor Democratic control of the House and Senate working against him massive challenges that will absorb a lot of his time including the forthcoming Trump impeachment trial. Republicans who deny he won the election of course COVID.

Our Jeff Zeleny is in Delaware joins us now. How achievable is what we heard from President-elect Biden tonight because it certainly was big.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it was very big and sweeping. I mean, the dollar amount alone $1.9 trillion. That of course is going to give heartburn to some Republicans in the Senate. But as you said, Democrats now control the Senate. It's a 50- 50 split, but Kamala Harris when she's vice president can split that but they do still need some Republicans to come aboard. But look, I mean, as Joe Biden framed it tonight, this is the moral obligation of our time. And he talked about breadlines, he talked about the fact that, you know, never mind, the pandemic, the economy is deeply, deeply in trouble here. So he framed it as a, you know, a fight that he believes he can get some bipartisan support. And we saw at the end of last year, we thought President Trump and some Republicans supported these large checks to people. So he is proposing $1,400 more on top of the $600 given late last year for a total of $2,000. Of course that comes with a big price tag.

[20:45:03]

But most importantly he believes all of this is possible and achievable because of coronavirus because of the, you know, the need to fix the vaccination rollout and the need to open schools. So, all of this is one big package he believes can get through. Now, will this whole $1.9 trillion budget get through? Probably not that they believe a big plan is the way to go. And without question is the first big test of his presidency.

COOPER: And is the Biden team expressing concern at all about security threats leading up to the inauguration?

ZELENY: They certainly are following these concerns -- these security reports very carefully. In fact, yesterday, the President-elect himself sat in on a briefing with the FBI with the Secret Service. Others his team has been doing that for weeks, but he heard firsthand himself what these threats are. Now, he is still planning on going forward to accepting his oath of office and delivering his inaugural address outside on the west front of the Capitol. That could always change. We've seen so much change over the past week or so. But that is their plan right now. And but they certainly are adjusting to all this.

But Anderson, one thing not mentioned tonight, in this, you know, pretty sweeping address from the President-elect impeachment. He does not want to dwell on that or talk about that. But the reality is that is what is awaiting him once he takes office. So, of all the things he's inheriting from President Trump, it's the impeachment of him. That certainly will linger in the first days of his administration.

COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Thanks.

Perspective now from our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, political correspondent, Abby Phillip and former senior adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod, who's the CNN senior political adviser.

Abby, listening to person like Biden tonight it is clear economic recovery vaccine rollout are the first priorities, of course anything proposes is against as Jeff just saying the backdrop of the impeachment trial. How does he navigate that?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that he starts with the things that Republicans have already said, some of them that they want, which is $2,000 checks, President Trump actually made that a big deal just before the new year and many Republicans as a result, we're on the record saying that that's something that they wanted, as well. So, I think that that helps Biden in a lot of ways.

But I do think the impeachment is going to hang over all of this. It's going to create an environment in which Republicans are being forced to choose between resisting Biden and showing allegiance to Trump and getting things done. And I'm not sure that many of them are going to choose to get things done under those circumstances, considering how many of them are still living very much in fear of Trump and his supporters, even as he's about to leave office.

COOPER: David, do you know what it's like for a new president trying to get things done? How do you see the challenge ahead?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, they're difficult. It's a difficult environment. I think he's right to strike quickly. This is the crisis that's gripping the country right now, this pandemic, it has led to economic hardship that we see is worsening as the krait -- as the virus versus worsens. So he wants to rally the country around this common cause, rather than focus on the battle over impeachment, and it's the right thing to do. But he's got, you know, just the time consumed on impeachment is going to be difficult, because it's time that's not focused on dealing with his agenda. It's time that we're not talking about his agenda. So, it creates challenges for him --

COOPER: I mean --

AXELROD: -- without question.

COOPER: -- he's dealing with massive economic loss, the impeachment trial, bringing the country together a pandemic. Do you think any incoming president has ever faced more challenges than President-elect Biden?

AXLEORD: You know, when we took over in 2009 Anderson, I'd say this is the worst set of circumstances any president has faced since Franklin Roosevelt. I have to say, I think what Biden is facing is more difficult now, just the array of challenges that he's facing. And the impeachment on top of it, it's going to be very, very difficult.

COOPER: Sanjay, you heard President Biden's plan for tackling and pandemic and the rollout. In his first 100 days he says, well, we'll hear even more tomorrow. What do you make of what he said tonight? The details that he said?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I, he's hitting all the right notes. I mean, these are some of the same issues that we've been talking about for some time. He focused on the vaccines, we've heard a lot about that the idea of 100 million shots in 100 days. But also testing, there was a lot that was discussed about testing, something we haven't heard as much about recently, but $50 billion towards scaling up testing, both the gold standard PCR testing, but also these rapid antigen tests putting those out in locations like schools, which was sort of the third prong of what he really talked about with regard to directly addressing the pandemic, opening up schools. And saying, you know, again, within 100 days, school should be able to open because of testing because of more resources given for things like ventilation and providing more square footage, things like that.

[20:50:00]

So, we'll see, you know, I mean, for example, with the vaccines, there's a lot of money that he's proposing, and that would pay for vaccination fairs and mobile vaccinations units. How will the states and the feds sort of work together on this? One of the big rate limiting steps here just appears to be manpower, enough people to inject the shots? How is that going to be addressed specifically? So, as you said, we're going to we're going to hear more Anderson. But the big the big issues, you know, testing vaccine schools, he hit on.

COOPER: Yes. Excuse me. Abby, you know, President-elect Biden, yes, he has Democratic majority in both chambers. But there's still Republicans who refuse to accept that he won the election. Is the burden on him to find a way to deal with them or them to just accept reality?

PHILLIP: I think the burden is clearly for them to accept reality. Biden is going to be focused mostly on the people that he view of us as reasonable, people he thinks he can work with. You know, it seems as though there are not very many moderates left in Congress, but there are some, and many of them have worked together on other issues. In fact, just getting the last stimulus bill, through Congress was done, because moderate Republicans and Democrats came together to do that. And I think Biden is going to be focusing on those individuals, and trying to leverage them to get a progress made. And then on top of that, leveraging his relationship with Mitch McConnell, which dates back, you know, some 30 years. The two are going to have to figure out a way to trust each other even in this era of acrimony.

And I think Biden seems fairly confident that he can do that considering how often the two have been communicating even through this time of impeachment, though, the riots of last week, they've been communicating through it all.

COOPER: Yes. David, does it help that that Biden has relationships with people in Congress or those days over of, you know, that mattering?

AXELROD: You know, I think it helps somewhat, he was the person who President Obama would send to the Hill during some of the difficult negotiations during that administration. And it was precisely because he had relationships, principally with Mitch McConnell, but others on the Hill, he also understands the process well, but things have changed, there's no doubt I mean, in certain ways, both parties are somewhat prisoners of the base of their parties. Compromise is more difficult. But I think that's in the Senate. That's less true, we saw it, as Abby mentioned, on the negotiation over the stimulus. And I think what Biden's going to try and do is build a coalition of the willing around what the nation wants, which is quick and decisive action to bring this virus to heal and get the economy moving again.

And I think there are some Republicans who would however, they vote on impeachment, and however they feel about Trump are going to want to demonstrate that they're there to try and get things done. And perhaps there enough of them, to join with him to move this forward. COOPER: And Sanjay, I mean, it seems clear that President-elect Biden's transition team was right when they said they didn't believe the Trump administration had fully prepared to roll out the vaccines. When you look at the goal of the new administration has laid out I mean, is it that much different? I mean, I know they're talking about -- well, yes, how different is it?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's interesting, because we're getting close to vaccinating about a million people per day, as it turns out, now, I think 900,000 plus were vaccinated over the last day. So, you know, in some ways, it's not that different. I think the biggest challenge was not really, you know, the manufacturing the vaccine, it was actually taking the shots and getting him actually into people. So, how you address that, specifically, I think, is what we're hearing from this new task force. But, you know, if you bring on the pharmacies, you know, not just vaccine fairs or mobile units, but the pharmacies, I was talking to some people who are sort of responsible for large scale vaccinations. You know, they're capable of doing 100 million doses a month, potentially, within these pharmacies alone.

There's caveats with this particular vaccine, people have to be observed for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on whether or not they've had a history of allergic reactions, medical professionals have to be on site. So, it's not just like a flu shot fair, you know, or something like that at these pharmacies. But yes, in some ways, I would say that 100 million shots and 100 days is sort of under shooting. We could and should frankly, move a lot faster than 100 million shots is 50 million people. We need to be closer to 250 million people to get to that herd immunity. So, we got to be moving very quickly on this.

COOPER: So why not do more than 100 million? I mean, if the (INAUDIBLE) the man or woman power?

GUPTA: I think, you know, when you sort of look and distill it down, what are the various sort of obstacles here there are several but that's a big one. I think that that was sort of under appreciated just how many people you need to actually be delivering the shots and then the medical professionals on standby, you know, to be monitoring patients after they get these shots. All that is really important. That can be addressed. And I think we could get to more than a million shots per day pretty easily.

[20:55:19]

COOPER: Sanjay, Abby Philip, David Axelrod. Thanks very much.

(voice-over): More breaking news. Up next, we'll hear from the D.C. police officer who was crushed in the doorway at the Capitol by a mob of attackers. He'll walk us through what happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: There's breaking news as we enter our program tonight, one of the most searing images among many that we've seen during the Capitol Hill attack is this the police officer was crushed in a doorway. The officers name is Daniel Hodges. This is the first time we're hearing from him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: It was just a double door with glass panes that was pushed out. I was caught in there because I -- at that point that's where I was for to support the defense and just died ended up getting pinned there by the crowd. There's a guy ripping my mask off and he was able to rip away my baton, beat me with it. And now he was practically foaming at the mouth.

So, just these people were true believers in the worst way. That was all I really had to defend myself against the crush, so I was holding on. But eventually he was able to get away from me because my arms are pinned, so I couldn't really effectively defend myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:00:05]

COOPER: Officer Hodges is 32 years old. He says he had a headache for a week after that and may have had a concussion. He says it was his first time at the Capitol.

News continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris?