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Thirteen Plus Million Texans Hit by Water Crisis on top of Power Crisis; Interview with Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); Interview with Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); 6 Capitol Police Officers Suspended, 29 Others Being Investigated For Alleged Roles In Riot; Researchers: One Dose Of Pfizer's Coronavirus Vaccine Provides More Than 90 percent Protection; FBI, U.S. Attorney In Brooklyn Scrutinizing Cuomo Administration's Handling Of Data Surrounding COVID Nursing Home Deaths. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 18, 2021 - 20:00   ET



MIKE MASSIMINO, ASTRONAUT, JET PROPULSION LABS: Rovers traditionally move very, very slowly. If you can get something up in the air and have it look around and look for sites that you might want to explore a little bit more, it is pretty exciting stuff. Great technology that enables science to occur.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Well, thanks very much to you, astronaut Mike Massimino in the Jet Propulsion Labs, by the way, great program over the past five weeks for kids.

Anybody from there watching? We all really appreciated that who participated. Thanks.

And thanks to all of you for joining us. Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Erin, thanks so much. Good evening, everyone. Breaking news tonight on the suffering in Texas and the Texas Senator who decided to leave it all behind for a long weekend at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun.

First though, the impact on millions of Texans not named Ted Cruz of record cold weather and the devastation it has brought on the power grid, gas and water systems in the state. Here's what it means for them.

Gas lines: people driving 50 miles then waiting online for a few gallons of gasoline to power home generators and those are the lucky ones. For some without heat, it means burning furniture.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment when you're trapped inside and you have to destroy your baby gate because it is 10 degrees inside of your house and this is the only way you can stay warm because the power is out.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Others such as Qiana Abrams and her family were forced to

relocate when the power went out then return to find their homes flooded from burst pipes. She says they lost everything.


QIANA ABRAMS, TEXAS RESIDENT: Its water coming from the [bleep] ceiling because somebody's [bleep] pipe burst upstairs. You all, look at the [bleep] water. Look at the [bleep] water.

Our home is [bleep]. Our home is [bleep] apartment. Our whole apartment.


COOPER: According to Texas officials, nearly 800 water systems in the state have been affected by the weather, 13 million Texans are under boil water orders. Two hospitals in Houston have no water service. They've been getting it trucked in and collecting rainwater for flushing toilets.

I mean, imagine that, a major American city spokesperson saying their emergency rooms are backed up because patients can't meet their medical needs at homes without electricity.

They're also dealing with hundreds of cases carbon monoxide poisoning from makeshift heating arrangements. At least 300 cases in the Houston area alone, one local Fire Department transporting 14 victims including seven kids in just 24-hours. Statewide, at least 15 have died of weather-related causes.

As for electricity, officials say about two million customers have seen power restored and the rest are waiting only for lines to be reconnected. They say power plants though not out of danger are back online.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): We hope and anticipate no location will be without power tonight. The good news is, we are starting the evening with every residence in the State of Texas, not lacking the generation of power.


COOPER: So that's Texas Governor Greg Abbott. This is Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz returning home from Cancun escorted through the airport in Houston by police officers.

He flew there yesterday at the height of the crisis, towing a suitcase big enough for a substantial trip yet on his way home today, at the airport in Cancun, he said it was all about his kids and he was only planning to stay a few hours.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Yesterday, my daughters asked if they could take

a trip with some friends, and Heidi and I agreed. So, I flew down with them last night.

I dropped them off here and I'm heading back to Texas and back to continuing to work to try to get the power, what's happening in Texas is unacceptable and a lot of Texans are hurting.


COOPER: Well, he said he was just being a good dad. He also wasn't telling the truth. Back home in Houston, he tried again, and the story was different. You can decide for yourself what to make of version 2.0.


CRUZ: We left yesterday. The plan had been to stay through the weekend with the family. That was the plan.

I started having second thoughts almost the moment I sat down on the plane because on the one hand, all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our kids, take care of our family and that's something Texans have been doing across the state.

But I also have a responsibility that I take very seriously of fighting for the State of Texas and frankly leaving when so many Texans were hurting didn't feel right, and so I changed my return flight and flew back on the first available flight I could take.

I couldn't take a morning flight because the current restrictions require a COVID test. So, I had to get a COVID test this morning before I could get on a flight back. So, I took the first flight I could get after getting the COVID test and testing negative.


COOPER: Hey, listen. We get it, it is hard to get out of Cancun. I mean, you know you've got to get the COVID test. It's hard.

Just to be absolutely clear. He left -- when he left for Cancun, millions of households had no power, so it's not as if this happened while he was away and the C.D.C. was warning by the way and still is on their website that no one -- no one should travel to Mexico because of COVID. Here's the level four warning on their website.


COOPER: But that's not all. Remember Ted Cruz initially saying kind of laying this off on his preteen daughters. He said, "My daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends," and claimed he and his wife are just dropping them off in Cancun.

Well, now "The New York Times" obtained text messages sent from his wife, Heidi Cruz to neighbors and friends on Wednesday and I'm quoting now from "The New York Times" report. "Their house was freezing as Ms. Cruz put it and she proposed a getaway until Sunday. Ms. Cruz invited others to join them at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun where they had stayed 'many times.'" Noting the room price this week, $309.00 per night, "and its good security."

So the whole my daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends. That actually wasn't true. Unless the friends the daughters were referring to were Ted and Heidi Cruz because it seems like they're the ones who planned this.

Now, he is admitting they did plan to spend the weekend there all along as millions of his constituents were freezing and in the dark, that alone would be bad judgment and lying and, you know, using your daughters, that's not -- that's not a good judgment either.

What makes it really hypocritical though is that Senator Cruz just recently tweeted this about the Mayor of Austin, who went to Mexico at a bad moment in the pandemic, quoting now, "Hypocrites, complete and utter hypocrites. And don't forget @MayorAdler, who took a private jet with eight people to Cabo and while in Cabo, recorded a video telling Austinites to stay home if you can. This is not the time to relax."

In a moment, "The New York Times" correspondent who shares a byline on the text message story, but before we do that, we want to keep her focus on the people actually suffering in Texas tonight. You saw a bit of what Qiana Abrams, and her family are going through a moment ago, the water pouring into their apartment. She joins us now.

Qiana, thanks for being with us. The video is terrible. Can you just walk us through what was going through your mind when you saw what it looked like?

ABRAMS: Well, when we initially first walked in, it's like complete shock. It's like one of your worst nightmares. Like you never ever imagined that this is going to happen to you.

So for me to walk in there and just see everything we have, just being destroyed when it could have been prevented. It was -- it was so heartbreaking because how am I going to explain this to my children, that our whole house is gone?

COOPER: So how are you and your family doing? Because -- are you -- and where are you now? Have you -- you're staying in a hotel it looks like.

ABRAMS: Yes, we're in a hotel and we've been in a hotel since Monday since the power has been off there. We haven't had any power, any heat, any water, anything. So now, we just have to stay here until they figure out where they're going to put us.

COOPER: And I know, your son, I understand you tweeted that he is turning six on Saturday, which is two days from now. Your daughter's birthday is also coming up? Do you have any sense of when -- of what comes next?

ABRAMS: We don't have any information. We filed our renter's insurance claim. We spoke with the landlord and it's been crickets ever since then.

So we have no clue when we're going to be able to leave or where we're even going to go after this.

COOPER: I am wondering, did you hear the story on the senator who left down to Cancun? What do you think of that?

ABRAMS: I would like to go, too. I want to be where it's warm. I want to be able to take my kids to the beach and be relaxed and know that I'm going to be eating tonight that they're going to be safe.

But how I'm going to do that? And I'm stuck in Texas. Why is he just doing whatever he wants to do with his family?

COOPER: Qiana Abrams, I really -- I wish you the best and I hope, you know, you get word soon on what comes next? Because I mean, the not knowing with kids, it is a lot you're going through. We appreciate talking to you. Thank you.

ABRAMS: Thank you, guys.

COOPER: More now on the Ted Cruz story, specifically, the details that just broke in "The New York Times." Joining us is Shane Goldmacher, who shares a byline on the story.

Shane, thanks for being with us. Just walk us through these text messages and what you've learned.

SHANE GOLDMACHER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, so what we learned is that on Wednesday, just before their trip, Heidi Cruz was sending messages to a group of Houstonians, basically suggesting maybe it's time to get out of town and that it was really cold.

She wrote in all caps that her house was freezing. She actually had offered at one point to people that she had some gas and could help, you know, keep heat some people if they needed to. They'd spend time in another friend's house. And they put together a trip and they went to the Ritz Carlton in Cancun as a getaway.

Now, the messages that she sent do not match fully with the first statement that Ted Cruz put out there. And, you know, he said that it was a thing driven by their children. That's not something she detailed in these messages. It doesn't mean it wasn't a part of it, but it's not something she was mentioning.


GOLDMACHER: And my colleague, Nick Fandos and I, you know, wrote a story about these messages and more of the backstory that had Ted Cruz, a senator who campaigned for re-election in 2018, very strongly on his record, during a past disaster in Texas, Hurricane Harvey, how he left town and left the country in the middle of this one.

COOPER: I still don't understand. I mean, you know, as you said, his initial story was, you know, his daughters wanted to go with friends to, you know, on a trip, and they -- he and his wife are just dropping them off.

I mean, if that was even true, I don't quite understand why you would need both the parents to drop them off given the emergency that's going on. You would think his wife could have dropped them off if she felt okay leaving, and he would have stayed behind.

So I'm just fascinated that Ted Cruz wouldn't have thought this through and expected this to be the uproar that it's become, especially given his criticism of others for leaving in other situations.

GOLDMACHER: You know, I covered Ted Cruz closely when he ran for President in 2015 and 2016. People forget, he was an outstanding lawyer, he argued before the Supreme Court, and he knows carefully the meaning of language.

And I think that first statement left one impression without saying it. He didn't say he was going for one day to drop off his kids, although you could have taken that impression pretty easily from the statement.

And eventually, when he came back to Houston today, he made clear that he had in fact, intended to stay through the weekend, which is what the text messages that we obtained showed. They were talking about planning on staying through Sunday.

Look, this is a multilayered issue for Ted Cruz. Not only are we talking about leaving his state while it is struggling, and people, millions of people are without electricity. You also have to layer in that there's a pandemic happening.

As you noted earlier, there are restrictions on traveling to places like Mexico. And so, you know, back in the school district that his kids are and he said that, you know, the school was closed this week and we heard from a couple of parents at that school who were unhappy that he was traveling internationally saying they'd been discouraged to do this.

And then if you come back, then you have to quarantine for seven days. So you know? There's a lot of layers to this story.

COOPER: Yes. And not just traveling internationally traveling to Mexico, where the C.D.C. specifically, you know, gives it a high warning of not to go there. It's -- yes, it's fascinating and fascinating reporting that you're able to obtain those messages.

Shane, appreciate it. Shane Goldmacher, thanks so much for the reporting.

Joining us now is Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro.

Congressman Castro, thanks for being with us. Sorry, it's under these circumstances. What are you able to tell us on where repair and recovery efforts stand right now based on what you know?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (R-TX): Anderson, it depends on which part of the state you're talking about. There's some areas including my area in San Antonio that are still in the thick of this disaster.

There was snow up to a few hours ago, and there's still ice on the roads now. Fortunately, most people's power has been restored in San Antonio today. But as you can imagine, there were people that were out of power for days.

At my house, we were out of power for about 55 hours and before that, it was off and on. There are other people who have had their water pipes burst like my mom. I was told that there are about 100,000 households, I think in San Antonio that had water issues.

And so that's just a microcosm of the whole state. Fortunately, the National Guard has been mobilized. F.E.M.A. has been mobilized. And finally, local food banks and others have been able to get more food to people, despite the dangerous road conditions that are still occurring throughout Texas.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, you look at the pictures that we're showing right now. I mean, folks, you know, sleeping in, you know, large venues, just trying to stay as warm; as many clothes as they can standing in line for propane, for gas. So much suffering families in Texas elsewhere have been put in these dire situations.

We just talked to Qiana Abrams, who also had, you know, leaks coming in. Her apartment is ruined she says from water coming in, pouring from the apartment above. What message do you have to Texans tonight?

CASTRO: Well, first, we want to make sure that everybody is safe, reach out to your local governments. Most of them have 311 numbers. If it's an emergency, obviously called 911. But otherwise call 311, which is a city government. Please do everything that you can to stay safe.

And also, we would ask people to check on their relatives and those close to them to make sure that they are okay. And as always, if there's a way that your elected officials can help, whether it's a local County Commissioner or City Council Member, or your Congressman or U.S. Senator, reach out directly to them because we can help cut through a lot of the red tape with these State and Federal agencies. So, most of all, we're here to help.

COOPER: Was this just, you know, it's so unusual to get this kind of weather in Texas and the facility is at -- whether it's a nuclear plant or natural gas plant or, you know, wind turbines that, you know, in a number of states, North Dakota, I was talking to Bill Gates about this earlier today, you know, they are weatherized and they're able to function in a weather like this. And because of the location in the country where this is and not normally getting storms that they just aren't weatherized for really cold weather. Is that the core of the problem?


CASTRO: Yes, this was a case of State agencies, ERCOT and then also the Public Utilities Commission which oversees ERCOT that simply were not prepared. They got caught completely flat footed for this kind of weather event. And a few days ago, Governor Abbott, the Governor of Texas ignited

this debate about fossil fuels versus renewables, by going on one of the FOX shows and blaming everything on the Green New Deal.

The fact is, if you look at what happened, most of the failure was with the fossil fuel production and delivery, some of it was from the wind turbines. But all of it was because the State government never prepared for this kind of weather event. They never weatherized the wind turbines, the instruments to pick up the fossil fuel or any of those things.

And so we're going to have to go back and make sure that we hold everybody accountable who didn't do their job.

COOPER: Right. And frankly, I mean, it is because of fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide that they emit, the greenhouse gases, they emit that there are going to be more and more strange weather events, severe weather events of all kinds in the coming decades.

CASTRO: Yes, that's absolutely right. I think this is a wake-up call in terms of realizing that climate change is upon us for the folks that didn't realize it before, and you've got a lot of people in high places in Texas State government, who are climate science deniers.

And this is a big wake-up call for them, hopefully.

COOPER: I'm wondering what your reaction to Senator Cruz's decision to leave the state was.

CASTRO: I mean, I think he threw in the towel on Texas. You know, this is a situation where it's all hands on deck. I've gotten calls, I've gotten e-mails, Facebook messages, Twitter messages, and Instagram messages from people throughout San Antonio, and even other parts of the state who are asking for help and my office has tried to do -- we've tried to do everything that we can to be helpful.

And it's just -- it was shocking. When I first saw that headline, which I thought, I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a rumor. I thought somebody was trying to defame Ted Cruz about, oh, this guy is going to Cancun, and then it was confirmed.

I was just shocked that any elected official, a City Council Member from their city, or a Senator that represents the whole state would literally walk away from the state they represent, and go on a beach vacation, when you've got millions of people without power, and a lot of people like the family that you interviewed who are very deeply suffering right now.

COOPER: So, you know, bottom line, how long do you think this crisis is going to go on for? Is it just a question of, you know, how long it stays very cold and snow on the ground? Or what can be done?

CASTRO: Yes, I mean, part of it is the weather -- part of it is a matter of the weather and when the weather clears up in a lot of parts of Texas. What was in some ways unique about this event is that the weather hit

-- this bad weather, this deep freeze hit the entire state. So, Texas, of course, is a very huge place and it wasn't just a matter of Dallas getting hit or the Rio Grande Valley or Amarillo, it was most of the state.

And so, it's starting to clear up in many places, or at least by clear up, I mean, it's getting a little bit warmer, which is good. And many people have had their power restored today. So that's a good thing, but there are going to be lasting consequences and damage based on what's happened already.

COOPER: Congressman Joaquin Castro, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

CASTRO: Thank you.

COOPER: More breaking news, just ahead, a major investigation into last month attack of the Capitol. This time, the focus is on Capitol Police officers themselves and their interactions, some of their interactions with rioters as the assault was underway.

Also, more positive news about how effective even one dose of the Pfizer vaccine is. This is some good news. What that could mean for the vaccine supply shortage when we continue.



COOPER: Breaking news to report tonight on the Capitol Hill riot. New actions against, as well as investigations of dozens of U.S. Capitol Hill police officers for their alleged conduct during the assault. Our crime and justice correspondent, Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with details.

So what do we know about this investigation?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, certainly, Anderson, look, this is going to be really tough on the Capitol Police who are already reeling from everything that has happened to them and they are being scrutinized in every way and their internal investigation has now found that at least 35 of their officers, their conduct from that day is questionable.

And as a result, the police there, the leaders of the Police Department have decided to suspend six of those officers with pay. They say that right now, a total of 35 officers are under investigation for not keeping with the department rules of conduct on the day of the insurrection.

Of course, we have seen video, one officer was seen taking a selfie with one of the rioters. That officer we've reported has been suspended.

But again, you know a lot of people have been questioning some of the activity by those officers in a sense that they have given a lot of the rioters a friendly environment. So, a lot of those actions are being investigated by the Capitol Police.

COOPER: So, it sounds like there could be more suspensions ahead. Will it become publicly known like will a report be put out detailing exactly what was learned?

PROKUPECZ: Yes, so you know, there are several investigations ongoing. You have that internal investigation. What the Capitol Police are doing is their internal affairs unit is they are looking at a lot of the video that we see online, but also internal video, and they're watching and seeing what some of these officers did or didn't do on that day.


PROKUPECZ: There's also been reports obviously about this 911-style commission, questions about the officers' activities on that date. It's certainly going to come up during those potential hearings.

And we do expect to see some information eventually, from the Capitol Police on what many of the officers did or didn't do.

And just think about this, Anderson, 10 officers were suspended, were being investigated, I should say, back in January in just the days after the insurrection. We're now up to 35.

So certainly, that number could grow -- Anderson.

COOPER: Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. Thanks.

We are joined now by one of the top-ranking Democrats on Capitol Hill, Congressman and Majority Whip, James Clyburn. Congressman Clyburn, thanks so much for joining us. You've previously raised questions about whether or not the rioters had some sort of assistance from inside the Capitol. I'm wondering what your reaction to tonight's reporting is.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Thank you very much for having me, Anderson.

I'm very concerned about that. I think that all of us who were subjected to this insurrection wondered. Some of us wondered out loud as to why certain offices were targeted. Many of them in a way, from what we would call the normal course of egress and ingress around the Capitol.

And you really get a bit upset when it hit us because I interact with the Capitol Police all the time, as you can imagine. Many of them are people who I -- whose families I know here in South Carolina. I talk to them a lot and I listen to their concerns a lot.

And I have heard from one or two of them in the past that they were a little bit nervous about what may be going on with some people who are on the force. And I suspect this investigation will give us a little bit of an understanding as to what may be going wrong.

COOPER: Can you elaborate? I assume the people would come to you about concern about what was going on in the force. That was before the attack on the Capitol. Can you say what the nature of their concerns were?

CLYBURN: Oh, absolutely. It's been pretty public knowledge that a lot of officers of color have been concerned about promotions and other kinds of treatment. We've had lawsuits galore involving the Capitol Police.

And I've been involved with this, along with some other Members in the Congressional Black Caucus, because we know a lot about these kinds of situation. I was born and raised in the south and I know what this is all about.

And Washington, D.C., it's below the Mason Dixon line, and so we have to know that these kinds of things are of concern.

But I would caution people not to jump to conclusions yet. Investigations could be just: why did you take that picture? And it could be something very much benign when a selfie was taken.

I've seen police officers take pictures with citizens on the street. So, you know, you shouldn't conclude anything nefarious, because of something like that. So that's why you have investigations.

The Capitol Police do a good job. I interact with them. I know many of them, and we ought not -- let's just be careful about painting everybody with a broad brush.

COOPER: Well, also, when you just look at the numbers, I mean, there are large numbers of officers and you know, while there's investigations on, we believe 35. There six -- only six suspended officers, other investigations ongoing.

I mean, you could look at this very easily and say, well, this is a small number of officers compared to the force at large.

CLYBURN: Absolutely, absolutely. All of us have these kinds of problems in our professions. Doctors have -- we have heard doctors, in the legal profession I just read yesterday about a couple of disbarments here in South Carolina.

So we have real good lawyers, we have some that get into the ranks who ought not to be there. So the same thing happen with police officers.

I've been saying forever, when we talk about policing, we are not against police. We want the police to do a better job of policing themselves.


And so, I applaud the Department for taking this action, suspending those people they think need to be suspended, doing investigations against those who need to be investigated. And then we'll come to some conclusions. So, I don't want any of us to go off to get off the handle here.


CLYBURN: And this gave everybody the benefit of the doubt. There's a great Capitol Police that we ought to support.

COOPER: Yes. Congressman James Clyburn, appreciate your time, as always, thank you.

CLYBURN: Well, thank you.

COOPER (voice-over): Just ahead, there's great news about the Pfizer vaccine for COVID and new research on how effective just one dose of the lifesaving drug can be.

Also, the latest on the scrutiny New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing over his handling of nursing home deaths due to COVID.


COOPER: As the White House works to alleviate delays and COVID vaccinations due to extreme winter weather in some parts of the country. New research in the New England Journal of Medicine says even one dose of the Pfizer vaccine carries an efficacy rate of more than 92 percent similar to what one dose in the Moderna vaccine offers. The study is based on the company's own data, the researchers say there's uncertainty about how long a single dose can protect a person. But they argue that overall, this is more evidence that postponing a second dose could help alleviate a vaccine shortage just as more virulent strains of the coronavirus spread across the United States.


Let's get some perspective now from a chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So, Sanjay, first of all, how encouraged should people be about this Pfizer news92 percent sounds pretty remarkable. And regardless of what the first shot does explain why it's so important for people to get both shots?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, you know, first of all, this new study was really just analyzing the data that's been out there for some time. And as you know, Anderson, there's been a lot of people who said, let's just try and get out as many first shots as possible, try and get as many people protected as possible. And then layer in the second shots.

There's a couple points to make. One is that the data, the 92.6 percent that you cited, in between the first shot, and the second shot three weeks, right. So we know that it was protected for at least that long. But in the trial, obviously, people got a second shot at that point. So, how effective would one shot be beyond three weeks? We don't know, I mean, likely common sense would tell you that it would still be protected for a while, but we just don't know, we don't have the data. And that's where the pushback comes from, including from people like Dr. Fauci, who says, you know, you should stick with the data in terms of what we know. But you know what, you're right. You know, we hear about Pfizer and Moderna both having that efficacy that effectiveness for after just one shot. I think this is a debate that's going to continue to come up over and over again.

COOPER: There's also an update tonight on vaccine trials for children and pregnant women.

GUPTA: Yes, this is really interesting. You remember Anderson, and we talked about this and some of the town halls but pregnant women were not part of the initial trials, we know that there were some women who became pregnant during the trials, there was a little bit of data. And since the vaccines have been released, there are pregnant women who went ahead and got the vaccine anyways, under the emergency use authorization about 20,000 women, and there really been no significant side effects. But this is now going to be an actual trial, we can show you, it's several thousand women, usually pregnant women, around 24 weeks of pregnancy, that's when they're, they're starting this, and they're basically going to follow them along. And they're going to follow the babies along as well after the babies are born, looking for exactly what you think safety and efficacy.

But also, Anderson, looking to see if the antibodies that a pregnant woman gets as a result of the vaccine are then transmitted to the baby, and how long -- and how good are those antibodies? How long do they last? So that's pregnant women and babies.

And then kids, you remember, Pfizer's vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older. But now they're going to be collecting data from five years old to 15 years old, over this next year. And for those trials, they basically just have to show that it's safe. So they don't have to go through the whole trial. Again, they show that it's safe, and then they can bridge that trial to the end, and hopefully get some authorizations for young people pretty quickly as well.

COOPER: But if -- how long is that study going to be done for? I mean you said a year but is that the will they wait a whole year?

GUPTA: For the kids?


GUPTA: So, it's typic. So, it's really think of it like this. It's sort of basically a phase 1 study, which would be a few months. But instead of going then through phase 2, and phase 3, because there's good data on how well this works from all the other trials that have been conducted, they can sort of -- they just get the safety data, and then they can bridge it. So, it could be just a few months. I mean, Dr. Fauci says even by the fall, they could have a vaccine authorized for four kids.

COOPER: And just quick, Johnson & Johnson's waiting for emergency use authorization for their one dose vaccine. There was an update today of their two-dose vaccine. What's happening with that?

GUPTA: Yes. So, they started the two dose regimen back in November. So this was always sort of part of their plan. They're 21,000 people in that trial. Now they want to get to 30,000. That the big question is, you know, we've seen how well the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works from their data. The big question is, will a second dose kind of a boost dose if you will, strengthen the antibody response or lengthen it, so that it lasts longer? It may or may be incrementally better and they say look, you know, one shot is still so much easier. We're just going to stick with a one-shot regimen.

So we -- that data will be probably forthcoming over the next few months. What we're waiting for now is, you know, Anderson, next Friday, that's likely when we're going to hear about the proceedings around the emergency use authorization for the one-shot vaccine.

COOPER: All right. We all are writing on that Sanjay, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Now, the embattled Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo. Federal investigators are now involved in what a source calls a preliminary investigation over the reporting of nursing home deaths due to COVID in the state. This after allegations that the governor's office delayed reporting their full scope. It's unclear who exactly is being investigated. There's also a related allegation by a state lawmaker which Governor Cuomo denies that Cuomo told him to help in a cover up or Cuomo would quote destroy unquote him. The state legislature is now working on a bill to curtail Cuomo's expanded powers to deal with COVID.


Our MJ Lee is joining us with the latest. So, what more do we know about what this inquiry into the Governor's administration is going to look like?

MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, this nursing home scandal is certainly not going away anytime soon. What we know right now is that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, they are scrutinizing how the Cuomo administration handled the data about nursing home deaths during this pandemic. It has been described as a preliminary inquiry. And as you mentioned, it's unclear exactly whether the Governor himself is being looked into or whether it's members of his administration.

And all of this has gotten heightened attention ever since his top aide Melissa DeRosa, told state lawmakers that they had delayed sharing full data with the legislature because there were concerns about this federal investigation. Cuomo's office for their part, they are saying they have always cooperated with the DOJ and that they will continue to do so.

COOPER: The New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the Governor today based on the allegation that the Governor threatened the New York lawmaker, where do things stand with that claim and other fallout?

LEE: That's right. This is after CNN's reporting yesterday that according to New York Assemblyman Ron Kim, he says that he had this contentious phone call with the governor last week. This is following on that reporting about that phone call that was so controversial, and that during that phone call, Governor Cuomo had threatened him and threatened that he could destroy him if he didn't put out a new statement.

Now Cuomo's office denies that this threat ever took place. But yes, you're right, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who we should really know. He has never really gotten along well with Governor Cuomo. He was asked about this. And this is what he said. He said, this is classic Andrew Cuomo. He said this is nothing new and that many people in New York, including himself have gotten phone calls like this from Governor Cuomo. He said that he believes Ron Ki.

Just one final thing that I will note too, just in terms of the fallout is that now New York legislators are moving forward with a bill that would rescind some of these expanded emergency powers that Governor Cuomo has had during the pandemic, just one more sign that they are trying to send that they have lost confidence in the Governor's handling of some parts of this pandemic. Anderson.

COOPER: MJ Lee, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

(voice-over): Next, the split shaping up in the Republican Party between those who want to go back and cozy back up to the former president or already have in the few who don't.

And later, some very big news from the planet Mars were long anticipated visitor has finally landed.



COOPER: You see reporting tonight on a prominent Republicans request for an audience in Mar-a-Lago. CNN has learned that the former president has said no to Nikki Haley, his former U.N. Ambassador or impossible 2024 presidential hopeful. She wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal saying that criticizing parts of his record while praising his accomplishments is not having it both ways. This apparently did not sit well.

Meantime, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, a full-time loyalist, he did meet with the former president this week, joining House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who earlier made the pilgrimage. And in so doing taking aside and what is shaping up to be a continuing war within the party.

Joining us is former Republican congressman Charlie Dent, is a CNN political commentator. Also, CNN senior political correspondent, Abby Phillip.

Charlie, do you see this rift between the former president and Nikki Haley as representative of the Republican Party at large?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think Nikki Haley is really -- she really is trying to have it both ways. I mean, her rationale is this. Her take is both Trump's policies were terrific before the election, but since the election, his actions and his behavior were bad. Well, you know, this isn't about policy anymore. This is about principle. It's about support of democracy, rule of law, and frankly, the truth. And I think this is a -- there's a real problem here. You know, I think, you know, we can -- I understand where Adam Kinzinger is, I understand where Liz Cheney is and Mitch McConnell. But I think Nikki Haley, she wants one foot in the Trump camp and one foot out, and it's hard to do both.

And so, this uncivil war, as we're calling it, is just brewing up. There are factions developing, who want a clean break from Trump and Trump-ism. And she can defend the policies all she wants, but maybe she likes to protectionism, maybe she likes all the AG subsidies. Maybe she likes the trampling of Congress's Article 1 authorities, but a lot of us didn't agree with those policies. And so, I think that she's got a lot of explaining to do from my perspective.

COOPER: It's interesting Abby, because it seems like there was this moment, right after the, you know, the attack, that a number of people were kind of seeing which way the wind was blowing. You have Lindsey Graham, you know, suddenly announcing that, you know, he was done with Trump and, you know, sorry for the way it ended, but he just can't do it anymore. And then, you know, that certainly, that was then. And, you know, Lindsey Graham is now saying, you know, the Trump's more important than ever, and he wants the whole Trump family involved in politics.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, the only thing I can gather from the behavior of both Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham because in some ways they had a similar turn. Nikki Haley made her disparaging comments about Trump's conduct after the election to political reporter Tim Alberta, before she went on Fox News saying we should just give the guy a break for the January 6 riot. So she later changed her tune in public on Fox News. And it seems to me that people like Graham and Haley -- and Nikki Haley are coming to the conclusion that Trump really isn't going away and that they can't afford to have a political future without him. That's the only conclusion that you can gather is that maybe for a moment there they thought that that he could be marginalized and they came along to a conclusion that he would not be marginalized and in part because so many Republicans on Capitol Hill have backed him up after his behavior after the election and during and after the January 6 riot.


But Nikki Haley is learning I think the hard way that you really can't do that in Trump world. You know, Trump's allies have already pushed her out, Trump's children Don Jr. and others attacking her on social media. So she's getting absolutely no brownie points for trying to write that Wall Street Journal op-ed and walk everything back.

COOPER: Yes. Charlie, I mean, it's the lesson that every Republican who ran against Trump learned in 2016, you know, of -- they were all trying to figure out how to deal with Trump. Some ignored him, just like Mitch McConnell now, you know, according to reporting has been talking about, you know, that he's just going to ignore Trump. You know, some took him on at his own game and paid the price because nobody will go lower than then or, you know, more shame. No one's more shameless than then Trump is. It seems like they're all still kind of struggling. And now they've doomed themselves, so those with presidential ambitions have doomed themselves. Because Trump is it is still the party of Trump.

DENT: That's correct. And I think every Republican -- most every Republican, I know, believes at the moment that Trump came down that escalator in 2015. That this, that his candidacy, was going to be bad for the party and bad for the country. Too many made their deals, they made their accommodations, knowing that this was not going to end well. But they also knew that a reckoning was coming, that there was going to have to be some kind of an explanation about what had occurred these past four years. And we're not going to be able to whitewash it away. Because Trump never stood for any real principles. He was completely transactional other than on trade and immigration, where he was traders protectionist immigration where he's restrictions.

Other than that he was transactional. And this is a party that for years, has talked about fidelity to principle, and they would accuse guys like me of being a rhino, because I wasn't pure on LGBT issues or abortion. And then here came Trump and it was all about loyalty to the man rather than fidelity to any type of core principle. And so, this is really what the reckoning is about. Some people are not talking about policy anymore. It's about principle.

COOPER: Congressman Dent, Abby, Phillip, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

(voice-over): After all this talk about GOP infighting and deadly weather. Some good news to report next, NASA's Perseverance Rover successfully lands on Mars after a journey of hundreds of millions of miles.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Touch down confirmed. Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars (INAUDIBLE) --


COOPER (voice-over): The details when we return.



COOPER: It was a journey of nearly 300 million miles and when it was over, NASA's Perseverance Rover touched down the surface of Mars, the precise time the engineers had predicted. It's incredible. "360's" Randi Kaye now on the journey and the joy the team back here on Earth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vehicle, I think it's helped, it's in good shape to land, which is a great sign.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That vehicle is the Mars Rover known as Perseverance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are one minute on entry interface.

KAYE (voice-over): Inside NASA's Control Center in Pasadena, California, they are on the edge of their seats. The seven minutes of terror are almost up as the Rover attempts to land itself on Mars, without any help from NASA given a communications delay with earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's about 30 seconds from entering interface. Once there is enough atmosphere, it will start controlling its path to the landing target. This is the fifth and most sophisticated Rover NASA has ever sent to Mars. Its mission, gather data and look for signs of ancient life in a crater that once contained a lake. Oh, something like 3.9 billion years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can see a little bit of that slow down, the atmosphere on the Perseverance entry capsule.

KAYE (voice-over): Perseverance needs to slow down from 12,000 miles per hour to zero in just seven minutes in order to land safely.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The navigation has confirmed that the parachute has deployed and we're seeing significant deceleration and the velocity.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perseverance now has radar lock on the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have timing of the landing engine.

KAYE (voice-over): As Perseverance inches closer to the surface of Mars, the anticipation grows.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Current speed is about 30 meters per second, altitude about 300 meters off the surface of Mars. About 20 meters off the surface. Touchdown confirmed. Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars (INAUDIBLE).

KAYE (voice-over): Relief and now celebration in NASA control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is so exciting. The team is beside themselves. It's so surreal. Stay tuned, we might get some pictures.

KAYE (voice-over): They didn't have to wait long. Perseverance got right to work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: LL3 (ph), I have the target point on the map. When you are ready.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are ready LL3 (ph). Go for it. KAYE (voice-over): And before they call it a day, the Rover sent its first tweet from the Martian surface. It reads simply I am safe on Mars. Perseverance will get you anywhere.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.


COOPER: That is an amazing accomplishment for JPL.

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


That's it for us. The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Perseverance, easy to say, tough to do.