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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Feds Execute Search Warrant At Rudy Giuliani's Home And Office; Biden Motorcade Heading To Capitol; Soon: Biden's First Address To Joint Session Of Congress. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 28, 2021 - 20:00   ET

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


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Our coverage of President Biden's first address to a Joint Session of Congress continues now with a Special Edition of "AC360."

[20:00:08]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We are standing by for President Biden to leave the White House and head to Capitol Hill for his first address to a Joint Session of Congress.

We are learning, he will confront some of his tough challenges head on.

Welcome. I'm Anderson Cooper with a Special Edition of AC360.

About an hour from now, President Biden will enter a House Chamber that looks very different than we usually see. There's a strict limit on the number of lawmakers in the room because of COVID-19. Roughly 200 people will be in the audience without the typical packed crowds with officials and special guests.

The speech will have a historic backdrop as well, for the first time to women will sit behind the President, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

I want to bring in my colleague, Jake Tapper. Jake, President Biden waited until he was on the brink of his 100th day in office to give this critical speech.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's right, Anderson and President Biden will declare that America is on the move again tonight as he touts progress in battling the pandemic and revitalizing the economy.

We're learning that President Biden also will address some of the thorniest challenges of his next hundred days. We're told he will directly appeal to viewers at home to get vaccinated if they have not already, taking advantage of one, if not his biggest TV audience of the year.

The President also will send a message to Republicans in the audience working to block his agenda declaring that he still wants bipartisanship, but he is ready to go it alone with the Democrats to get things done, if need be. As President Biden stares down Trump allies in the Chamber, he will

condemn the deadly Capitol riot in the Halls where it happened just about three and a half months ago. He will call the January 6th insurrection the quote, "worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War," unquote.

On this big night for the current President, we have seen the former President's legacy on stunning display with Federal agents raiding Rudy Giuliani's apartment and office in New York City as part of a lengthy criminal investigation of Giuliani, an investigation that began during the Trump years. Giuliani, of course served as Trump's personal lawyer. We'll have much more on that ahead.

But right now, let's go to CNN senior White House correspondent, Phil Mattingly who has more on the President's speech tonight. Phil, what are President Biden and his aides -- what are they focused on right now? What are they worried about?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jake, President Biden knows the stakes couldn't be higher than in this moment in trying to sell, to lay out his sweeping $1.8 trillion proposal to really dramatically expand the social safety net for families.

That's why two senior administration officials tell me the President has spent much of this day zeroing in on one piece of the speech in particular, the speech laying out the process of the tax increases on the wealthy that will be used to finance this plan.

Now, Jake, if you think back over the course of the last several decades, it's a pretty tremendous political risk to raise tax increases as an agenda item at all. The President is not just doing that, he is proposing to raise taxes to a level that individuals higher -- wealthy individuals haven't seen over several decades.

That is why, he has been working back and forth throughout the course of the day with his chief speechwriter, Vinay Reddy, his close senior adviser, Mike Donilon, to work to bring clarity to that language, understanding that this is a moment, this is the moment to explain to the American people on his terms the specifics of what this proposal will actually do.

Specifically, the idea to make crystal clear that none of the tax increases will apply to any American making less than $400,000.00. The President and his team know that this plan will be attacked relentlessly by Republicans in the days and weeks ahead. They want to try and get out front of that.

They recognize a primetime moment in front of millions of Americans as they roll out a brand new, really kind of seismic proposal in terms of the social infrastructure of the country, this is the moment where a legislative proposal could launch towards potential success, or could completely fall apart.

And Jake, the President as he worked through those key components of his speech tonight, making clear he prefers the latter to be the result -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly at the White House and I'm joined here with Abby Phillip and Dana Bash, and we really can't impress upon our audience enough how different tonight will be from previous events like this.

First of all, the Chamber will be almost empty because of the incredible challenge that President Biden is facing with the coronavirus pandemic. Second, we're going to have two women behind him, Vice President Harris and Speaker Pelosi for the first time.

And then third, he is in a way returning to the scene of the crime, the January 6th insurrection, and there are going to be people in that audience who possibly helped incite that very battle. It is going to be a very, very different night than what we're used to.

[20:05:00]

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No question. Different in terms of all the things that you said but also in terms of the content. The kind of President Joe Biden has already made clear he wants to be and is going to emphasize that at this 100-day mark, and specifically, the notion that they believe inside the White House that the COVID pandemic made people in America understand the need for the government, the need for the government to work and the need for the government to work for you.

And what the President is doing already and is going to continue to lay out in this speech tonight is never mind just fixing the economy and fixing the healthcare crisis, let me tell you how the government is going to work for you with all of the programs that I am proposing, and they believe, whether it is from polling or focus groups, or you know, all the above that that kind of push is going to reach an audience and reach voters who are much more apt to believe it than in the past.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. And it's a tough sell, it's going to be really difficult, which is why as Phil was just reporting, he is reworking the part about the tax increases over and over again, because he has a task tonight of not really speaking to whoever is in that audience in the room, and there might be even fewer Republicans in the room than Democrats.

But he is speaking to the American public. He is going around them to the American public, and trying to convince Americans to do something really hard. You know, I was reading one of our colleagues on cnn.com, talking about Joe Biden's very first State of the Union that he had attended, Richard Nixon's, he critiqued Nixon by saying, we need a Churchill, basically saying, we need someone willing to tell people what it is, like it is even when it's tough and that is what he is trying to do tonight.

It is basically to say, we need to do this for the future of the country, raise taxes. It's hard, and it's unpopular, generally in American history.

TAPPER: Well, not raising taxes on the wealthy. That's pretty popular.

PHILLIP: We shall see.

TAPPER: And that's probably --

PHILLIP: Who counts as wealthy, right?

TAPPER: Well, exactly. We'll hear from him tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jake, thanks very much.

I want to talk with David Axelrod and Gloria Borger. David, you were in the White House with President Obama. Talk about this night, the importance of it, particularly the message that Biden is going to be delivering tonight?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, what intrigues me, Anderson, is the timing of this speech, it's almost May, and is very, very late for a President to be making this kind of a speech, his first speech to a joint session.

This is really intentional. They've been planning this for months, because they wanted to pass this Rescue Act, and they wanted the impact of it to be felt. And they wanted to be able to stand up -- he want -- they want him to stand up in front of Congress and in front of the country and say, this is the progress we've made. We've come a long way.

And he wants -- they want this to be the jet fuel behind the second and third stages of his program. So, this was very intentional and we'll see.

I think the next two stages are harder than the first stage, but they obviously -- they had a strategy. They've been very disciplined about pursuing it. On this issue of tax, I mean, there are two things I think they need to do on spending. The Republicans are going to want to focus on the overall price tag. He wants to focus, the President, on the individual proposals, which are all quite popular. So that's one element of it.

And on the tax rate --

COOPER: You're talking about free community college, free preschool.

AXELROD: Exactly. I mean, much of what he is proposing is very popular. Abby talked about taxes. He is going to emphasize not who is being taxed, but who is not being taxed, which is 99.3 percent of the American people.

So there's this old expression, don't tax you, don't tax me, tax the guy behind the tree. He is going to them, we're going to tax the guys behind the tree who have been doing quite well and they're going to help pay for this.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Now, I was talking to a senior White House adviser today who is very confident that they are proposing things that the public wants, and that the public likes.

So if you want to tax the wealthy, that's fine. You want infrastructure, 70 percent approval, 68 percent to 70 percent approval, that's fine. They're not that concerned with whether he gets any applause in that room tonight. What they're concerned with is that he can make the case that I've been competent. Look what I did for you, I got you shots. I got you checks.

I got you jobs. I've done that in a hundred days, and look at what government can do for you in the future. And I promise you that these are things that will help your family and they're long overdue.

COOPER: We are getting closer to President Biden's departure from the White House. His first big speech to Congress. We will also break down the story that's grabbing some of the spotlight on his big night. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:13:41]

COOPER: We're back with our special coverage. President Biden will be leaving the White House soon, take a short drive to Capitol Hill to deliver his first big address to Congress. I want to take you to Wolf Blitzer in Washington as we await the President's speech -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Anderson, the President is marking 100 days in office, but he can't fully escape the long shadow of Donald Trump.

Now, the other big headline today, a very big headline indeed, Federal agents raiding the New York City home and office of Rudy Giuliani who served as Trump's personal lawyer. It is part of a criminal investigation focused again on Giuliani's activities in Ukraine.

You'll remember that was linked to Trump's efforts to dig up dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter.

Laura Coates, so let's discuss what's going on. The fact that they were able to get a pretty extraordinary search warrant to go ahead into his home and office. That's pretty amazing.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It is. Let's be clear. You don't get a search warrant for a lawyer or the former lawyer of the President of the United States based on a hunch, you have to have specificity.

You've got to be able to say that, look, I have probable cause to believe that a crime has occurred. I can point to the crime that has occurred. And I can tell you, I'm going to find evidence of that crime at the place I'm going to search and so they're going to ask about electronic devices, documents, and I suspect they have some clarity about what they're actually looking for.

You can't just go to a judge, and say, hey I want a fishing license. A warrant is very particular. It is very suit and it has to be because it is trampling on civil liberties, if it is not. [20:15:10]

BLITZER: You know, John, this is what the latest in a rather bizarre turn for Rudy Giuliani. He's had a series of bizarre turns in recent years.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A man who came to national fame as a law and order mayor. He was a law and order prosecutor before that. He was America's Mayor after 9/11. But he will be known for the last four or five years, which is as Donald Trump's personal lawyer, and as part of a circle of people around Donald Trump, who frankly, have created a giant ethical stain on that administration.

Now, Laura is dead right? You cannot get a search warrant to search an attorney's office. It's an incredibly high bar. It's not just probable cause, it's like really do it. And so this also is a test for the Biden Justice Department. You know, Joe Biden does not like rearview mirror recrimination, investigations of political enemies, however, clearly here, and we'll hear from the Attorney General in time, this is all sealed right now.

Clearly, the prosecutors in New York made a compelling case. We have a strong case if this is worth doing. And so, it's a huge stain on Mr. Giuliani, presumed innocent, we'll see where the case goes. But it also comes at a moment of key choice for Republicans.

This is a giant debate in the Republican Party, how much Trump, how much Trumpism do we keep? With Trump comes this crowd, and the Republicans have a giant choice to make. The former President does not want to go away. Rudy Giuliani comes with him.

And so this coming, at this moment, I think, really focalizes the conversations Republicans have to have with themselves about, who are we going forward?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And one thing I was so touched by today, just after four years of covering the Trump administration and seeing how they reacted to certain D.O.J. investigations was their non-reaction to this raid today, of you know, this is the second time a personal attorney to Donald Trump has had their home and office raided. Of course, Michael Cohen being the first and now, we've got Rudy Giuliani.

But yet, you did not see gloating from the White House. You did not see any of that behavior that we saw for so many years from Trump and from his acolytes. And instead, when you were speaking with Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to President Biden earlier tonight, he said, this is why people wanted Joe Biden to be in office. They didn't want him to interfere with the Justice Department. They didn't want him to be involved.

They said, we're not going to comment on that. And of course, we are also told the White House did not get a heads up that this raid was going down before it happened. And so, you are just seeing that return to normalcy. And I do think that's another good point that while this is something

that the White House is not getting involved with, they do say, hey, this really shows the point of what we were trying to make all throughout the campaign and what we've been trying to show throughout -- since we've been in office, which is this is why people put Joe Biden in office and not re-elect Donald Trump.

COATES: I remember what it reminds the American people of. I mean, the ideas about what this investigation for Rudy Giuliani is about, it was the essence of the first impeachment trial, the first impeachment trial of President Trump.

And so it has a clear demarcation between these two different administrations, and it also talks about transparency, because remember, Giuliani is being investigated in part, we are understanding based on his failure to register as a foreign agent on behalf of another nation. The ideas of loyalty, the ideas of to whom you serve, the ideas of whether or not you're going to be transparent, and about serving these two sort of masters is very part and parcel to everything we're talking about.

And so you have a Justice Department, and make no mistake about it. You don't get a warrant against -- for Rudy Giuliani without Merrick Garland, the Attorney General being aware of it. You don't get a warrant without the SDNY having run it up the chain in anticipation of the political optics. And yet, and still, you did not have any pushback in the form of shutting it down.

It's quizzical to think to resolve, is it because there are fresh eyes on this particular case? Or is there fresh information now that led this new Justice Department to decide that whatever was investigated up to two or three years ago was now worthy of having a warrant? That is a question I'm still waiting to answer.

BLITZER: You know, John, let's think about Rudy Giuliani for a moment. He was mayor of New York City during 9/11. Later, he was America's Mayor, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a former top official in the Justice Department, and look now.

KING: Someone who knows the rules, someone who knows the law, someone who knows the do's and don'ts of legal representation. He has every right to have clients and even if -- and every, forgive me, scumbag in the world has the right to a lawyer.

And so he was representing some people in Ukraine who do not have a clean past, if you will. That is his right and that is their right, but not if you're also the personal attorney of the President of the United States at the same time, not if the President of the United States is asking you or you are telling him that you're digging up dirt on your potential political opponent, Joe Biden, from these very same people.

Not if they have business, some of them are under indictment before the Justice Department, some of them have business interests in which the United States government can help them. That is just a conflict of an ethical morass that Rudy Giuliani willingly stated. Now, did he cross the line legally? That's what this investigation is

about. Normally, well, we've covered the White House for a long time, Presidents want this day to be about them. So normally, you would think at the Biden White House would say, this is a distraction.

We did not need to lose time on cable television for Rudy Giuliani, I actually think this helps them because to Laura's point and Kaitlan's points, Joe Biden is President in part because he is not Donald Trump, in part because he said, I'm decent. No morning tweets. I will make government work for you. I will not surround myself with a clown car of characters.

This is a reminder of why Joe Biden is President.

[20:20:16]

BLITZER: It is pretty amazing when we all heard about this earlier today. I was pretty, pretty stunned. I'm sure all of us were, but we'll watch it.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, are arriving right now up on Capitol Hill for a presidential address to Congress unlike any we have ever seen before.

Our special live coverage continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:24:32]

TAPPER: Welcome back to our coverage of President Biden's first address to a Joint Session of Congress. There you see the White House. We are expecting President Biden and First Lady Biden to leave eminently and drive to the Capitol.

This speech of course has been several months in the making. President Biden knew he was going to be delivering it.

Let's get to White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny now to tell us more about preparations for the speech.

Jeff, what can you tell us?

[20:25:03]

JEFF ZELENY, CNN U.S. CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Several months in the making, but also delayed by a couple months.

You'll remember, six days before President-elect Joe Biden took office, he promised he would deliver his first address to a Joint Session of Congress in February. Of course, that did not happen and the White House is not apologizing for that delay. In fact, it was by design.

A senior White House official tells me the pandemic has given the administration some running room, in their words and this is what they mean by that. It's created a bit of a political opportunity they hope. So now, the President will be addressing the nation on his -- on the

eve of his 100th day in office with some of the accomplishments under his belt, trying to use that momentum to go forward to what the White House realizes is going to be an even more difficult second 100 days and beyond.

But they are using this to present his economic agenda, but it is the opportunity they believe the pandemic creates that allows him really to make this argument that this is a time to reshape the American economy.

This is one example: he will be talking about using broadband and spending millions and millions to expand broadband across the country as part of the infrastructure bill. The White House believes they are coming after a year of people working from home realizing that their broadband is indeed infrastructure, as important as the gas line or the water line.

So look for the President tonight, I'm told, to use very specific examples.

Now, yes, he is going to talk about how to pay for these plans, but he is also going to be targeting some of those voters in the middle who voted for him and they may have voted for President Trump last time, but they are the working class voters.

So a variety of messages tonight, but it is one of opportunity that this White House believes it is time to seize now. That's why he is going big -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny at the White House. Thanks so much.

Let's throw it right back to Anderson.

COOPER: Jake, thanks very much. And how much does a speech like this actually matter? I mean, obviously, we give it a lot of coverage. We talk about it a lot, but a week from now.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it matters, certainly the with Democrats.

Look, I think people especially progressives, we underestimated Joe Biden. We were like, Joe Biden, you know, he's just going to, you know, maybe be slightly better than Trump, he's going to maybe walk away from Trump, be nicer than Trump.

He is chasing FDR. Joe Biden is swinging for the fences. This is a -- I mean, you look at speech. It is a once in a century opportunity to reset the American system. You're talking about a free community college. You're talking about childcare. You're talking about family leave.

You're talking about the family economics that are on display here will change people's lives in a real way. So, I think nobody has really put it all together yet. It's kind of the big reveal. You put all this stuff together, you've got a -- you've got the

deferred maintenance, taken care of, for how this country can work for more people. I think it's a big deal.

COOPER: Evan, you wrote the book on Joe Biden, are you surprised by the direction he is moving?

EVAN OSNOS, BIDEN BIOGRAPHER: Well, I think he feels that this moment calls, as Van said, for something larger than an ordinary set of policy items.

You know, in his Inauguration Address 99 days ago, he mentioned the word democracy more than any Inauguration Address in history. And that was not only because we were just two weeks after the, the insurrection at the Capitol, it's because he really sees that there is the risk that if Americans don't believe that democracy can deliver for them, that they'll become more alienated, and it's not just in the eyes of Americans.

You know, tonight, he is also talking to the world. He is making a case in effect, for the idea that democracy can still function and that we can still find ways to solve our problems.

COOPER: And I mean, where did he go from -- how does he sell this beyond tonight?

JONES: Well, I mean, I think that he can rely on the grassroots. You know, there's been a maturation on the progressive left. First of all, Biden learned, I think, from Obama-Biden, don't wait around too long for Republicans. They'll take your time, they won't give you any votes, so I think there's a maturation there.

But the grassroots has not demobilized. You take -- I mean, ordinarily after the election, you know, we're notorious for going to sleep, that hasn't happened, so you've got you know, the Care Can't Wait Coalition has brought together all these people fighting for these policies.

They're still pushing ahead. He didn't have to fight by himself now. He's got a grassroots with him as a governing partner.

AXELROD: But the issue isn't -- the issue is not really rallying the base. The issue is he's got a 50/50 Senate, a very narrow majority in the House. He has got conservative, moderate -- or moderate senators among those in the Senate. He has got some suburban Democrats in the House who are going to be concerned about taxes.

So you know, landing it in such a way that he can command even his own pace in these two chambers of Congress is going to be a complicated test.

BORGER: Plus, he knows he is not going to get everything. So, he wants to put it out there and say, this is what I believe. That's what tonight is about.

COOPER: At any moment, we're going to get our first look at the unusual setup inside the House Chamber for tonight's address, the President speaking at the top of the hour, we're covering it all. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:33:50]

TAPPER: Right now President Biden is on the move heading to Capitol Hill from the White House for his first address to a joint session of Congress.

Let's bring in CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju. Manu, the President is speaking directly to the people. Who is he specifically trying to convince of his priorities and his plans tonight?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not just Republicans, we expect probably will oppose most of his plans. But one very powerful Democrat Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who holds the key vote in the 50-50 Senate and I just spoke to him earlier this evening a couple of times today.

And he is raising some serious concerns about the direction that Joe Biden is taking and spending enormous amount of money to redo the social safety net. He told me earlier today that he's very uncomfortable with a large amount of money to trillions that the President is going to propose tonight.

And he also raised some new concerns in a conversation I had with him earlier. He said that the proposal to raise taxes on capital gains, he said it would be a quote, heavy lift. He said his concern is that it would the economy is about to take off.

He's concerned that we would put the brakes on that. He also was trying to put the brakes on efforts by Democrats to try to essentially cut out Republicans because of concerns or Republicans aren't going as far as they are and to try to essentially prevent them from using a process that would allow Democrats to pass the Biden agenda on just Democratic votes alone.

[20:35:16]

He's saying continue to work with the Republicans exhaust all options before we go this other route and hit that is a very important signal because Joe Biden, the Democratic leaders will need Joe Manchin's vote in order to advance anything to the scale of what's Joe Biden is proposing here.

So they're going to have to listen, the President, Democratic leaders are going to have to listen here to one of the most important voices is raising some concerns about these proposals. Jake.

TAPPER: Right now, viewers are looking at images from National Statuary Hall. And you saw perhaps Vice President Kamala Harris, along with her Senate escort she was towards the front of the line. These are United States senators walking in masked, as is required by the physician of the House, who is setting the rules this evening. And, you know, as we prepare to hear from President Biden, you know, you see these groups walking in Democrats and Republicans, they're mainly sticking with their own party. In the past there was -- has been a tradition, there Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it is her chamber, she will be presiding, and she will be sitting behind President Biden will be the first time in American history that two women are on that day of Speaker Pelosi and of course Vice President Harris.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And the image that we thought before -- well, let's just actually talk about this moment.

TAPPER: Were here is -- and here is --

BASH: The Vice President is walking up --

TAPPER: -- Vice President Harris. Let's listen.

BASH: This is going to be a moment that we're about to see, the Vice President, a female walking up next to the Female Speaker of the House, look at that moment.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: A little bit of a non- COVID issued handshake when --

TAPPER: We were told that we're supposed to do that. But I think it's going to be difficult for a bunch of glad handling politicians to not gladly handle each other's hands and elbows.

BASH: And especially --

PHILLIP: And it's a moment for both of them. Right. Dana, I mean --

BASH: That's a (INAUDIBLE).

PHILLIP: -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi who's been in Congress for so long --

TAPPER: The first and only speaker first --

PHILLIP: The first and only female speaker, I mean --

TAPPER: Right. Famous Speaker of the House with the first and only female vice president.

BASH: And as we look at that those images, I was up on Capitol Hill in the speaker's conference room today with a couple of few reporters. And she was talking about this very moment, talking about how important it is going to be for her for girls, for, you know, everybody across the country to see those images. She also said, guys that her phone was ringing off the hook, that people were calling from all around the globe, because they were excited to see that imagery.

She also, of course, mentioned that the two of them are from California, not just from California, but the Bay Area, she said must be something in the water.

TAPPER: And I remember it was, I believe 2007 when the House went into session, for the very first time with a female speaker, and the gavel being handed to Nancy Pelosi. And what a moment that was. It was such a different era in a way that Republican House members were even allowing themselves to talk about what a great moment it was for their daughters.

I remember former Congressman Putnam talking about his daughters able to look and see that a women that girls could grow up to be the Speaker of the House. And wasn't that a wonderful thing. And there you see the first woman Vice President and the first woman Speaker of the House, for the first time, a real moment in American history Abby.

PHILLIP: I think a lot about Nancy Pelosi and how she's often had to fight to stay in that job and in that chair, and it's perhaps for such a moment like this. I mean, I think a lot of Democrats wanted Hillary Clinton to be sitting where Biden will be tonight or standing where Biden will be tonight.

But to have Kamala Harris Next to her is another huge, huge moment for this country. And as you were saying, Dana, the calls from around the world are probably in part because the United States is a little behind the eight ball --

BASH: Yes.

PHILLIP: -- on this. We are not really leading the world on this one. We are far behind --

TAPPER: We were lagging, yes.

PHILLIP: -- we're lagging even still and but tonight is a really special moment.

BASH: And she said earlier today because she was really dwelling on this moment because it's so historic. She said I was thought it was easier to elect a woman president than a woman speaker because this, this place referring to the Capitol and she trailed off, she paused. And then she caught herself who said, well, there's like a pecking order of over 200 years. I still want to know what she really wanted to say.

[20:40:18]

But, you know, that was a --

TAPPER: Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who is the number three Republican in the House. She is experiencing something of that glass ceiling herself with a number of Republicans rebelling against her for standing up for facts and truth and against the insurrection.

And there was a fascinating article the other day, in which a number of House Republicans were quoted saying things like that she voted for impeachment, Cheney voting for impeachment was like, seeing your girlfriend's sitting in the football stands of the other team. You know, she's not your girlfriend. She's the House Conference, Republican Chairwoman. It's still an old boys club in many, many ways.

There's the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, Mitt Romney, Senator Mitt Romney.

BASH: Yes, it is still an all boys club. But look at that certainly doesn't look that way with those images.

TAPPER: Not on the two shot.

BASH: Not on the two shot. You know, we knew that this was going to happen from the moment. You know, she was picked the moment, I mean, the moment they won, we knew that that was going to be an image that we would see. But to actually see it, it's really powerful.

PHILLIP: Yes. And it will be even more so when Joe Biden comes into the room being flanked by these two powerful women, two of the most powerful women in the entire country.

And, you know, I think that this is one of those moments where, as we often have, in recent years, you have to take a pause and take a moment and even people of different political persuasions, can recognize that there's something very significant about what we are seeing here, a black and South Asian woman, and I know a woman Vice President and a woman Speaker of the House, both of them like you were saying Dana from California, which is really amazing.

BASH: And from the Bay Area --

PHILLIP: And from the Bay Area, which is really amazing politically, considering that that state, you know, very much a Democratic stronghold, but not necessarily one that sends folks to the White House all that often.

TAPPER: The -- there are congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles is inside the chamber and joins us now over the line. Ryan, tell us what you're seeing there. The cameras are picking up some of the images. There's Senator Markey and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was one of the women who ran and tried to become the first one president. What are you seeing Ryan?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, I mean, I think you've pointed out already that they they've gone to great lengths in this room to try and encourage as much social distancing as possible. Every single seat here is assigned.

So when these members of Congress come in the room, they have a special place that they're designated to go to it's not first come first serve, as it normally is with a joint address to members of Congress. And each one of those seats is at least four seats in between them to try and keep them apart.

And as you pointed out those seats along the aisle, which are often the most coveted seats for members of Congress so that they can get close access to the President and the other dignitaries as they come down the aisle. Those are three seats away from the aisle designed to try and prevent people from crowding that space as the president comes in.

But as you saw members of the Senate and the Vice President come in, a lot of those protocols were quickly abandoned. And as I'm looking out on the floor right now, you know, we see a lot of members talking in very tight circles, a lot of handshakes, a lot of hugs, a lot of people happy to see each other.

And we should point out Jake, that, you know, while they're taking every possible precaution that they can to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the lion's share of people in this room have received vaccinations, they are fully vaccinated. In addition to that every single one of us that was allowed into this room ahead of time had to show either some proof of vaccination or that we had taken a negative COVID test within the last 48 hours.

So, you know, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out, especially when the President himself comes in, because they're doing everything they possibly can to try and protect everybody in this room. But it's going to be difficult, especially given you know, the magnitude of this particular event.

TAPPER: We just saw on the screen there the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. Usually, the joint chiefs are there all of them, but or at least almost all of them. Tonight, only one of them, same thing with the Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, all nine justices are invited.

Tonight, it will just be one of the justices the Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts is just one of many ways that this evening is very different from every previous joint session of Congress that you have ever seen before.

Manu Raju on Capitol Hill for us. Tell us about the ways in which they are planning on getting President Biden into that chamber given the power pandemic and also, frankly, given the security concerns we're looking at what was the scene of a crime just three and a half months ago with the January 6 insurrection?

[20:45:08]

RAJU: Yes. And remember, House members actually have to go through security to come into the chamber. This is typically never really been done, members could usually essentially blow past security. But they have to do that here.

And when what Joe Biden walks down that center aisle, this is going to be much different than what we've seen in years past and presidential addresses in which the past members crowd the aisle, they actually wait for hours and sit in that center aisle try just to try to shake the president hands.

This time they are forbidden from doing that. They were told they cannot line the aisle, they cannot make physical contact now, but as you guys were saying is we're seeing and as Ryan was just reporting that members are clearly not abiding by all those physical distancing requirements. So perhaps some may not listen to this, perhaps somebody come up and give them a fist bump or elbow bump, but they're not supposed to be doing that. So, even the presidential entrance will be different. There will be an escort committee that will leave from the House and Senate members from the both chambers, will go and escort the President into the button into the body. And we'll see how the members do react. And if any of them do approach them, as they tried to have some lay down some restrictions here on their interactions with the President.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The joint session will come to order. The chair appoints as members of the Committee on the part of the House to escort the President of the United States into the chamber. The gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Hoyer.

TAPPER: So, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is reading just a kind of boilerplate that is done every time just to describe what is about to happen in terms of the President coming in and the way in which they are supposed to convene. You know, well, the President had some of the anchors from various networks over to the White House today to talk about his speech. And, most of it was off the record. But one thing that was on the record had to do with the way that the President views this moment in time.

And while I think a lot of people voted for Joe Biden thinking that he was going to be the kind of deal making senator and vice president that they're familiar with. And I do think that his personal tendency is to make deals and cut deals. I also think that he is really torn between that persona that he adopted for decades.

And the idea that he wants to be FDR, he wants to be a transformative president. He wants to remake America. And he doesn't only see it in terms of his having a successful administration, or even the United States being successful.

He sees this, he sees the challenge in front of him in the country in terms of whether or not the 21st century is going to be a con -- is going to be essentially defined by democracies, like the United States and/or whether it's going to be defined by autocracies, like China. And that's how he views this.

And I was speaking to a Republican officeholder today who told me he agrees, he agrees with that. And in fact, he said, there are a number of countries throughout the world, especially in Asia that are watching, is this going to be the century of the United States?

Or is it going to be the century of China, because if it's China, if it's autocratic, then they will revert and become more autocratic themselves? And that's -- those are the stakes that Biden sees, it's not just about, can he pass this one piece of legislation, it's how successful is democracy going to be in the 21st century?

PHILLIP: I think a lot of people, maybe we're guilty of this sort of misinterpreted, Biden's strength as a politician, as just being able to go out of hand with folks in that room. But it's also in being able to communicate with regular people out in, you know, for example, in the rust belt, where, you know, David Axelrod used to send him during the 2008 election. And so, I think that's what tonight is going to be about. It's going to be about how he can talk to those people who are not in that room, who he is not glad handling, who's not making deals with, but who in his view are just as important for its agenda.

BASH: No, that's so true. And, you know, think about the fact that he as a senator for 36 years, was in that room, listening to presidential speeches, as a vice president for eight years, went and sat where the Vice President is sitting right now to be there for 10 of President Obama's speeches. And now he's going to be the one delivering that. And it is him who is going to be focused on the issues that you heard about today, Jake, and that you were just talking about Abby.

One quick thing I want to say is that that iconic moment that we all know when the House sergeant-at-arm says Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States, another moment of history, we're going to see a William Walker is now the House sergeant-at-arms, the first African- American, first Black House Sergeant-at-arms ever to hold that job.

[20:50:00]

TAPPER: It's a very different night than what the American people are used to seeing Anderson?

COOPER: It is Jake. You're seeing Elizabeth Warren right there. Gloria, there are a lot of Republicans and maybe even some Democrats who are looking at Joe Biden in a different way, saying he appears as a moderate, but some of his policies are very much in line with Elizabeth Warren (INAUDIBLE) Sanders.

BORGER: You hear Republicans say it all the time, this isn't the guy who campaigned as being bipartisan. This is a different Joe Biden, he's been captured by the left. And when you talk to people in the Biden administration, what they will tell you is, the pandemic changed the world and the pandemic affected Joe Biden.

And what we have seen in Joe Biden is somebody who, at every juncture has come and talked to the American people and said, well, we got 100 million shots. Now we have 200 million shots. Now it's up to 225 million shots. He has been keeping score and telling the American people what he can do.

So, they're saying, you know what, we don't want to hear this, we're going to make the overtures. But this is a moment, and he has to meet it.

One thing I want to say Anderson about tonight is that there are some Democrats who are actually a little concerned that there's not enough energy in the room for the American public to see. And that'll be a little bit more difficult for Biden, to give this kind of a speech.

He's a speaker who likes to rouse people. And there may not be a lot of that this evening, because you only have 200 people in the room as opposed to 1,400. And you may not get the kind of applause you want.

COOPER: David also President Biden benefits from the position that Republicans had put themselves in after going along with the worst excesses of the former president. They don't have much room to stand on in talking about, you know, having control a budget.

AXELROD: No doubt about it. They are definitely seasonal deficit hawks. They, they've been hibernating for four year and they arrived on January 20th at 12:01, to be concerned about deficits again. But one thing I want to say about Biden, one of the things that has served me so well, in these first 100 days is his tone and tenor, is very much open.

He talks about compromise. He talks about -- he doesn't vilify his opponents, he doesn't personalize his disputes. And that has created a sense of a guy who really genuinely wants to work across the aisle, that doesn't mean that he will give them a veto.

BORGER: Right.

AXELROD: And he understands that as between getting something done and working on a bipartisan basis. If he has to make that choice, getting something done is going to be the choice he makes. But he has made it very difficult for them --

KATHLEEN JOYCE, ASSISTANT SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Madam Speaker, the Dean of the diplomatic corps.

COOPER: That's the assistant sergeant-of-arms, Kathleen Joyce, announcing the Dean of the diplomatic corps, the ambassador of the Republic of Palau, His Excellency Hersey Kyota and others.

So, go ahead David.

AXELROD: No, I was just saying that, you know, he speaks the language of compromise of the language of unity. And so, it makes it harder for the Republicans and it is very after Trump that is a huge relief to the American people. And that's worked in his favor in the first 100 days.

BORGER: And I don't think he believes that the drama of conflict necessarily promotes change, or the kind of change that he wants. He's not into that kind of drama.

COOPER: Second gentleman, Douglas Emhoff is being escorted into the executive gallery.

JONES: Yes, I mean, look, that that's history right there. You know, the second gentlemen. And I just want to say, you know, to see Kamala Harris up there. She was my district attorney, when we were young folks in San Francisco, she was my attorney general. And she was my senator.

Now she's my vice president. And just like you saw Joe Biden sitting in the audience, and then sitting in that vice president's chair. Now, given that speech, Kamala Harris may someday be standing in that well. So I just want to point that out. That's a big deal.

COOPER: And Wolf any moment now we expect, First Lady Jill Biden to enter the chamber.

BLITZER: And the Chief Justice of the United States, the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, as well.

You know, John King, this is a historic moment, certainly for the country. But it's also a very historic moment for the President of the United States.

KING: It is a giant opportunity for the President. He's speaking here in Washington, but he's trying to speak to the country again Wolf. Joe Biden first came to the Senate 48 years ago. Let's listen in.

JOYCE: Madam Speaker, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

BLITZER: And normally all, and most, if not all, of the justices, nine justices would be there, but because of the COVID pandemic, just the Chief Justice will be there tonight.

KING: The chief representing the High Court tonight. To the point Joe Biden was elected to the Senate 48 years ago. He first ran for President 34 years ago. People think of him as an old school politician. This is a very ambitious pro-government agenda. He will outline tonight and he banking on the fact that he believes in the first 100 days he has proven.

I told you I was going to turn around the vaccine raw and the COVID fight, I did it. United States was a laughingstock in the COVID fight under Trump. It is the envy of the world down the vaccination rod. He's going to say it is the government that helped get the economy back on its feet. Trust me as I tried to do more, it's a tougher sell now.

[20:55:19]

We're heading toward the midterm election year, but he is on very good ground here, as he tries to again, defy Washington conventional wisdom and say, I can sell this very ambitious plan to a country that he believes is much more open to government than Republicans in Washington believe.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think exactly what we'll see is him touting the progress that they've made over these last 100 days. But he also was going to pretty quickly turn to what he wants to get accomplished in the next 100 days and the 100 days following that.

And so, what we've heard from White House officials is they think it'll take longer to get to those priorities, of course, but he is going to try to sell this infrastructure bill and this American Families Plan, which is childcare, education, paid family leave as well. Of course, there is the First Lady Jill Biden walking in right now.

BLITZER: Interesting, you know, Kaitlan, no guests, at least on the scene with Dr. Jill Biden, or with the second gentleman, right? COLLINS: Yes. There are so many historic first (INAUDIBLE) second gentleman is one of them, but also the First Lady not having her box of guest where typically the President would call them out during his remarks, there would be a round of applause, you always remember that site. And instead, she met virtually with some of them earlier at the White House around 4:00 p.m. None of them are joining her because of the pandemic.

But back to what we want to hear or what we expect to hear from President Biden tonight is talking about those two plants, not necessarily selling them, even to the Republicans there in the room. President Biden's expected to talk about how he wants bipartisanship. But if he's not going to get it, that doesn't mean the train is going to stop is basically what he's expected to say. He's going to be trying to sell it to Republicans and Democrats across the country.

KING: And the urgency is critical. Remember, Joe Biden, yes, he's been around Washington a long time. What he has shaped by on this night is his time as vice president of Barack Obama, your historic first African-American president came in with an ambitious agenda, pass some of it but then lost the House in the first midterm election.

Joe Biden knows he's only guaranteed two years, two years, yes. Now our Democratic majority in the House and evenly split Senate, but at least he has a chance to govern now. He's not guaranteed that after the 2022 midterms, will he is shaped by that, which is why do as much as you can as fast as you can.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Jake, that normally all but one member of the cabinet would be there. Not necessarily tonight, just to and they're about to be introduced.

JOYCE: Madam Speaker, representatives of the President's Cabinet.

TAPPER: That's right Wolf. Usually every member of the cabinet but one is there. And tonight, it is Secretary of State Tony Plank, Anthony Plank right there and Secretary of Defense, Retired General Lloyd Austin. That's it as viewers of the State of the Union address and this annual address.

No, there is a since the Cold War since the John F. Kennedy years, there's been a designated survivor. There's no need for a designated survivor, because so much of the cabinet is not there because of the pandemic, Dana.

BASH: No, that's exactly right. So many different things, including the fact that the Chief Justice of the United States is the only one there, very few members of the diplomatic corps. But, you know, as much as this is going to look different, and it does, you can see there feel different from other speeches, presidential speeches before Congress, state of the unions.

This is a moment for Joe Biden that he understands, maybe more than most of his predecessors, because he has been in that chamber so many times the importance of it, but particularly because of where we are, in this time, in this country. And again, because he feels that he has this very thin sliver of time to convince Americans that he should spend the money that he's talking about, he should raise the taxes in order to spend (INAUDIBLE) talking about to help individual sectors of America.

PHILLIP: I don't know that there's ever been a president, before Joe Biden, who's had as much experience in that room as he's had. He's been more comfortable in that space, as he usually is. I mean, I remember so many, you know, state of the union's past of Joe Biden sitting in the back winking at someone smiling, making faces, all kinds of means. The masks are a different element, but the lack of social interaction which are his bread and butter --

TAPPER: Yes.

PHILLIP: -- is a different part of this as well. And it really highlights not just the COVID factor but the degree to which there's really a chasm now even more so between him and those members who are out there.

[21:00:09]