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Republican Party Sides With Big Lie, Ousts Rep. Cheney From Leadership; Congressional Republicans Continue To Embrace Trump And Downplay Insurrection; Panic Buying Causes Gasoline Shortages In Southeast Following Pipeline Cyberattack; Colonial Pipeline Begins Restart After Cyberattack; CDC Recommends Pfizer Vaccine For Children 12 To 15 Years Old. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 12, 2021 - 20:00   ET


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"AC360" starts right now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. There hasn't been a day in recent memory when the entire charade of what's happening within the leadership of the Republican Party was laid so bare. In three separate events, all of them happening within roughly a one-mile radius of each other.

The first was the vote to oust Liz Cheney from House G.O.P. leadership. That lasted all 16 minutes. It was of course a culmination of events that started with her daring to tell the truth about the election and the insurrection, the lies about both promulgated by the former President.

For more than a week though, Republicans insisted that wasn't why she lost her leadership position that that it was about something else, about making sure everyone in the party was on the same page.

Just hours after Cheney lost her position, at a House Oversight hearing on the January 6th insurrection, that same page was on full display.


REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): There was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie.

Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walk through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures.

You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Outright propaganda and lies are being used to unleash the national security state against law-abiding U.S. citizens, especially Trump voters.

As a result, the D.O.J. is harassing -- harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): There were Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.

REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): When I see this sheet on our timeline, and on the -- let's see -- okay, at 2:07, a mob of Trump supporters breached the steps. I don't know who did a poll that it is Trump supporters. You had the media saying the same thing, just like you had the media saying Officer Sicknick was killed with a fire extinguisher, which he was not.

But I don't know who did the poll to say that they were Trump supporters.


COOPER: Wow. Those are actual Members of Congress, and just to assure you that you're not going crazy, that you did actually see what you remember seeing that day, we're going to play all that of again, but as to what actually happened at the Capitol.


CLYDE: There was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie.

Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walk through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures.

You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

GOSAR: Outright propaganda and lies are being used to unleash the national security state against law-abiding U.S. citizens, especially Trump voters.

As a result, the D.O.J. is harassing -- harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

HICE: There were Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.

NORMAN: When I see this sheet on our timeline, and on the -- let's see -- okay, at 2:07, a mob of Trump supporters breached the steps. I don't know who did a poll that it is Trump supporters. You had the media saying the same thing, just like you had the media saying Officer Sicknick was killed with a fire extinguisher, which he was not.

But I don't know who did the poll to say that they were Trump supporters.


COOPER: These people are completely without shame. Perhaps these Members of Congress should read a letter that a D.C. police officer wrote to all of them last week. It was shared by Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

Here's how that police officer describes the day quote: "I was pulled out into the crowd away from my fellow officers beaten with fists, metal objects, stripped of my issued badge, radio and ammunition magazine and electrocuted numerous times with a Taser."

That is what happened that day. It is just that one officer.

Now, as this hearing was proceeding, just a short walk away from the Capitol Building to the White House, Republican and Democratic leaders were meeting with President Biden about whether compromise was possible on the infrastructure.

Included was House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who just hours earlier, had succeeded in pushing Congresswoman Cheney out of her leadership position. So there he was with a straight face after having pushed her out for saying there was no election fraud, after having himself questioned the legitimacy of the election that's led to 70 percent of Republicans not believing President Biden won enough votes to win the presidency, according to this poll from April.

Now, again, this meeting was going on as that hearing we showed you earlier was blowing up. Afterwards, the leaders exited and spoke with reporters and we want to give you the timing here exactly after that first Congressman you heard claim the Justice Department is going after peaceful patriots.


COOPER: And less than 20 minutes before that second one would claim there was, quote, "no insurrection." McCarthy responded to a question about the Cheney vote this way.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election. I think that is all over with.


COOPER: He says no one is questioning the legitimacy of the election. That's all over with. That's exactly what Republicans are doing.

And first, when you question facts about the January 6th riot, you're supporting rioters who question the legitimacy of the presidential election. So yes, Republicans are still doing that; and not only that, and this is really the capper, the person who McCarthy is supporting to take Cheney's place, Elise Stefanik, she herself after actually being a moderate Republican for most of her life, apparently, or at least her political career, she is now totally on board questioning the legitimacy of the election right now.

Here's what she said recently about that Arizona election audit -- and I use that term extremely loosely -- hoping to show massive voter fraud.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): I fully support the audit in Arizona. We want transparency and answers for the American people. What are the Democrats so afraid of? The voters in Arizona and the State Senate in Arizona pursued this audit, I fully support it.

Transparency is a good thing. We need to fix these election security issues going into the future.


COOPER: These election security issues, other than you know, Russian attempts at hacking, there's not election security issues in the sense that she is talking about. There's not widespread voter fraud.

Even today, Congressman Stefanik is not backing down about the big lie. This is what she told reporters, quote, "I stand by my statement that there are serious issues related to election irregularities in the State of Georgia, as well as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin."

Now, it would be easy to say that maybe Kevin McCarthy didn't know that about Miss Stefanik, but of course he does, and the saddest part is, it clearly doesn't matter.

Perspective now from a conservative attorney who very publicly oppose the former President, George Conway.

So George, I mean, I'm kind of -- I don't know why I'm flabbergasted after all this time, but I mean, Kevin McCarthy is saying that nobody is questioning the legitimacy of the election. Does that make any sense to you?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: Not at all. I mean, you know, he visited the guy in in Mar-a-Lago, Florida at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, who basically has been doing nothing but issuing statements for the last several weeks, challenging the results of the election and claiming fraud didn't --

COOPER: He is not issuing a statement, he is interrupting people's weddings and speaking at banquets about this, I mean, he'll -- it's like, he'll do bar mitzvahs, he'll do brises, he'll do anything where he can talk about this.

CONWAY: No, it's gotten to be completely absurd. And, you know, this is -- well, talk about McCarthy, I mean, McCarthy knows better on January 16th, the day that Trump was impeached, the second time around, he was on the floor of the house and he said that the President -- President Trump bore responsibility for what happened on January 6th because he was making you know, false statements about the election, and that Trump should be censured.

And now, they're trying to memory hole everything that's happened. They're trying to memory hole what happened on January 6th, and they're -- you know, he completely -- they are getting rid of Lynn Cheney becoming -- excuse me, Liz Cheney, because she won't let them do that, and there's good reason for her not to let them do that.

You saw that poll that you just posted that said 70 percent of Republicans believe that the election was stolen, and that's just an incredible amount of deception that has been successful, and it's unhealthy for our democracy.

And Liz Cheney has been saying some things that are absolutely -- should absolutely be totally unobjectionable and uncontroversial that the election wasn't stolen, that Joe Biden was legitimately elected, and that and that to say otherwise, and to perpetuate these lies, and not to contradict these lies is dangerous to our democracy.

COOPER: Also to hear these Congressmen just, I mean, debase themselves with these lies. I mean, the Republican Party used to consider themselves, you know, the President -- the former President considers himself the law and order President and a big supporter of police officers.

I mean, these Congress people who probably claim they are big supporters of law enforcement as well, I mean, they're pretending that law enforcement was not being attacked by the President's -- the former President's supporters at the Capitol that day. I mean, they are --

I mean, it's just shameless what they are doing. They are trying to rewrite history of what happened and it is the -- taking a -- you know, it's a page from the playbook of the former President.

You just -- you repeat a lie enough and people start to believe it.


COOPER: Absolutely. And it's just a complete and utter disgrace. These people all know better. They lived through this. And they saw the violence up close.

They were the ones who had to hide in the basement of the Capitol Building out of fear of being assaulted, and for them to pretend that it didn't happen that that was -- that these people who were breaking and entering and assaulting police officers were simply acting like normal tourists on a walk on The Mall is just too much to bear.

COOPER: I also didn't see any of these Republican congressmen, you know, standing with police officers on the day of the insurrection and saying, you know what, I know, I'm not going to go be escorted out to a secure location, I'm going to go -- because this isn't so bad, I'm going to go and stand with the police officers and talk to these people who are just orderly, you know, meandering around the Capitol.

I mean, it's embarrassing, and it's just -- I don't know, I just --

CONWAY: Right.

COOPER: Again, I don't know why I am speechless about this.

CONWAY: And they did that precisely because they were in danger. They knew that the best place for them, the best chance for them to not be assaulted and not be hurt was to hide, and they expected the police to protect them. It's just remarkable.

COOPER: You're joining more than a hundred former Republican officials who are signing a letter tomorrow to declare that if the Republican Party doesn't break with the former President, change course, then there may be cause for a breakaway Conservative Party. I mean, is that the only kind of solution. Do you still hold out hope for the Republican Party?

CONWAY: I frankly don't hold out much hope in its current form after everything that we've seen over the past several weeks, the big lie has taken hold. The desire to adhere to the big lie not just by Members of Congress and by the former President, but by individual members of the Republican Party throughout the nation is increasingly disturbing.

That said, the fact remains that a significant -- too many people believe in the big lie, but not enough people for the Republican Party to be successful in its new iteration. You put that poll up just a few minutes ago showing the 23 percent of Republicans don't believe in the big lie, and that's a big number. And that's a big number, because the Republicans have very, very little margin for error. They haven't won. They've only won the popular vote in a presidential election once in the last 30 years.

They lost the last -- Trump lost the last presidential election, the popular vote by seven million votes. He lost the House. He lost the Senate, and it's just, you know, they have very little margin for error. They need to hold on to the voters who would in a normal situation want to vote for them.

The people who want lower taxes, who want certain kinds of judges, judges who by the way, voted overwhelmingly last winter to reject Trump's ridiculous claims about voter fraud. You know, there needs to be a home for these people. And I think that's what -- that's what this new group is trying to do.

I don't think I would characterize it so much as a third party, as a coalition. I don't think a third party really necessarily works in the kind of political system we have with a single member districts and first past the post voting. But you know, there is a need for people who have a conservative to moderate point of view and who believe in the rule of law, they need a place to go and a place where they can organize and support candidates that are consistent with that. COOPER: George Conway, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

CONWAY: Thank you.

COOPER: Liz Cheney just gave her first interview since losing her leadership position, what she said and what Cheney may do to keep her fight front and center.

Also tonight, panic buying at gas stations after that ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, how long this could last and the latest on the investigation when we continue.



COOPER: Moments ago, Liz Cheney gave her first interview since losing that House leadership vote discussing at one point her future in the party.


QUESTION: Are you the leader of the opposition in exile right now in the Republican Party?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I intend to be the leader -- one of the leaders in a fight to help to restore our party, in a fight to bring our party back to substance and principles, and in a fight to make clear that we won't participate in a really dangerous effort that's underway.

QUESTION: A lot of people frame this as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party.

CHENEY: This is the, I think, opening salvo in that battle.


COOPER: She also had words for the leader of the House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy.


CHENEY: I think that he is not leading with principle right now.


COOPER: Well, far-right Members of Congress also had words for Cheney, mocking her on social media after the vote this morning. Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted, quote: "Liz Cheney is the masthead for the establishment in Washington, D.C."

North Carolina's Madison Cawthorn tweeted, "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na. Hey, hey, goodbye, Liz Cheney."

And Colorado's Lauren Boebert tweeted, "Liz Cheney is the G.O.P. of the past. We are not going back."

I am joined now by chief political correspondent and co-anchor of "State of the Union," Dana Bash and chief national correspondent, and anchor of "Inside Politics," John King.

Dana, where does Liz Cheney go from here? I mean, she's not some moderate who is going to switch parties. She is a diehard conservative, more so than you know the person who is going to replace her. What happens to her?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: She is going to be out there according to what she has said, according to what people around her have said, trying to, from her perspective, save the Republican Party and put it back where she believes it should be as you said, somebody who believes that it should be based on conservative values, whether it is social conservatism whether it is fiscal conservatism, or more specifically, as she said, in, you know, a number of statements now, conservative values that follow the basic rule of law.


BASH: And that really is what she and the very small band of supporters that she has in the House and elsewhere scattered around the country in her party believe, and, you know, it really is, you know, the question was: is it a battle for the soul of the Republican Party? The answer is, yes, it is. But it's even broader than that.

It's a battle for democracy, because this is a country that really needs a viable two-party system, at the very least, in order to work.

COOPER: Yes. And John, I mean, when Kevin McCarthy says no one is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election, I mean, does he have any priority beyond keeping Trump supporters happy, so they will back him for Speaker someday? Isn't that -- I mean, I don't hear him coming up with a healthcare policy.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He believes the Republicans -- there are Republicans who have policies, however, it does -- Liz Cheney is right that it gets all those policy disagreements they would like to have with the new Democratic President get overshadowed by this because what Kevin McCarthy did today as he walked out of the White House and with the White House behind him, he has done this in the United States Capitol, now with another temple of American democracy behind him, he lied again.

He lied again. Steps out of a meeting with the President of the United States, nobody is talking about the legitimacy of the election. That is simply a bull insert here, just here, Anderson. I just got four of them -- four of them.

I had 10 of them on my desk. These are statements in the last couple of weeks from Donald J. Trump, former President of the United States questioning the legitimacy of the election. These three are from six days ago, including one questioning the results in New Hampshire, a state Joe Biden won by eight points. This one is from two days ago, questioning the results in the State of

Michigan, a state Joe Biden won by 154,000 votes. Not only is he still questioning the election, listen to this -- listen to this, "All Republicans must unify and not let this happen. If a thief robs a jewelry store of all its diamonds ..." he puts in parentheses, " ... the 2020 presidential election, the diamonds must be restored, returned."

He doesn't just question the election, he still wants to be made President if you read this statement, and Kevin McCarthy says no one is talking about this and Kevin McCarthy is now supporting because Trump told him to, Elise Stefanik, for the number three position, you pointed earlier in the program, she still promotes the big lie.

Dana's point is the important one. It's dangerous.

We wish we could say this is a comic farce. It's an oversized toddler who keeps saying things that are ridiculous. He is a former President of the United States and the leader of a party, which is embracing this lie that gets at what they say their party is about the rule of law and the Constitution.

They took an oath to defend the Constitution. They had the process, the rule of law in all these court cases, and they lost. They need to give it up, but they won't.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Dana, it is against everything the Republican Party or conservatives certainly claim that they believed it. I mean forget about the whole family values thing that used to run on before supporting, you know, the former President, but you know, fiscal responsibility. You know, actual patriotism, support of troops and law enforcement, you know, foreign policy. I mean, it is -- they're unrecognizable.

BASH: They are, because it's not about policy right now. It is about the cult of personality, and about lies. And the way that that Leader McCarthy and other top Republicans are trying to twist themselves into pretzels is trying to argue, well, Liz Cheney needs to be gone from the leadership because when she's there, she is talking about this too much.

And therefore, that endangers our moderate Republicans or her incumbents or moderate Republican candidates who we think could be really well suited to beat Democrats in order to get the House back and it really hurts us. Instead of saying, you know, no, she is just answering questions that are asked, and she is trying to stand by, you know, fundamentals, of again, of truth.

So that is when you asked about whether or not it's power, the answer is yes. Because they are looking at this in a very specific, calculated way about how to find the path back to the majority and that path goes through and not around, but through Donald Trump and how he reacts or acts, vis-a-vis his candidates.

COOPER: Well, yes, John, I mean, is the path for them -- I mean, is the plan for the G.O.P. basically have the former President run again and, you know, pass as many restrictive voter laws so that there is not a lot of mail-in ballots and a repeat of how people were able to vote, which was an awesome turnout, both for Republicans and for Democrats.

KING: There are many of these same Republicans, Anderson, who would tell you privately, they hope Trump goes away, that they see that he is not good for the party in the long run, and they hope he either goes away or something happens that takes him off the battlefield in 2024.


KING: But this is about 2022. Remember, Nancy Pelosi has a six-vote majority in the House of Representatives. It is 50/50 in the United States Senate. In his first midterm, Barack Obama lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives. In his first midterm, Donald Trump lost 40 seats in the House of Representatives. Joe Biden can only afford to lose a handful.

Kevin McCarthy thinks if I break with Trump now, there is too much dissonance in the party. I can't be Speaker. If I stick with Trump, maybe I can be Speaker then I'll worry about everything else.

COOPER: Well, John King and Dana Bash. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, what a top Biden administration official is saying about the threat of domestic extremist groups, as many Republicans still try to turn history on its head in the aftermath of the Capitol attack.


COOPER: At the top of the program tonight, we played some remarkable comments by Republicans saying none of us should believe our eyes after witnessing what happened in the Capitol on January 6.

They're worth repeating and worth reminding that these are actually elected public officials serving in Congress in the United States of America right now.


CLYDE: There was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie.

Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walk through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures.

You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

GOSAR: Outright propaganda and lies are being used to unleash the national security state against law-abiding U.S. citizens, especially Trump voters. As a result, the D.O.J. is harassing -- harassing peaceful patriots

across the country.

HICE: There were Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.

NORMAN: When I see this sheet on our timeline, and on the -- let's see -- okay, at 2:07, a mob of Trump supporters breached the steps. I don't know who did a poll that it is Trump supporters. You had the media saying the same thing, just like you had the media saying Officer Sicknick was killed with a fire extinguisher, which he was not.

But I don't know who did the poll to say that they were Trump supporters.


COOPER: Rhetoric like that goes hand in hand with the rise in extremist groups across the country and today, a senior Biden administration official told senators when words turn to violence, in the words of Attorney General Merrick Garland quote, "Those acts can be the most dangerous crimes we confront as a society."


I'm joined now by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who was at that Senate hearing today. Senator Murphy, appreciate you being with us.

You were obviously in the Capitol January 6, what do you say to your Republican colleagues we just played who are it's not just continuing to try to rewrite history but coming up with new ways to kind of rewrite the history of that awful day.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Yes, I mean, there's this nuclear grade bananas. I mean, the fact that they think they can rewrite the absolutely 100% crystal clear history of that day. Remember, they came to the Capitol with a very specific mission, they just weren't engaged in some general protests that went wrong.

They came to the Capitol on the day of the certification of Joe Biden's when to stop that certification. They were breaking into the Capitol, looking for members of Congress, going straight to the House and the Senate chamber, in order to try to stop Joe Biden from becoming president to try to frustrate that count from being completed. So that they both keep Donald Trump in offices by the fact that he lost the election.

They were carrying Donald Trump flags. They were chanting his name, they were following his instructions. And the fact that Republicans have constructed this alternative reality in which they were just tourists, taking a look at the pretty statues and portraits in the halls of the Capitol is just frightening. It's frightening.

And what we know from our hearing today is that that threat is not dissipated. That the primary threat to the security of the United States today into the U.S. Capitol remains these domestic extremist groups, many of which were very much part and parcel of the insurrection on January 6.

COOPER: And do you think your Republican colleagues believe that domestic extremism is actually a concern? Because again, if you know, it's one thing if everybody has some sort of sense of what the big threat is, but if half of the government doesn't believe it, that's worried.

MURPHY: Yes, listen, I worry that Republicans are not taking this seriously. And I think I have reason to worry today at our hearing in the Senate. The ranking Republican on our committee started his remarks by trying to claim that the primary security threat to the United States was the southern border.

A fact that is, was contradicted by our witnesses today, who explained how, you know, terrorist groups are not using the southern border, to try to reach the United States as defenses. In fact, these terrorist groups have enough recruits coming from the ranks of American citizens to be able to present a serious security threat.

So, it's pretty clear that Republicans right now understand that the majority of their party believes Donald Trump's lie about the election, increasingly believes this fiction about the nature of January 6. And in order to retain power within their party, they have to fall in line behind that lie and they have to try to distract the American public to make them believe that the primary threat to the United States are immigrants rather than these domestic terrorist groups.

COOPER: And the Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas told Congress today the white supremacy extremists are quote, the most persistent lethal threat to the country, the Attorney General Merrick Garland said quote, I've not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the Capitol.

There, the Republican senators, I mean, they're obviously not really seemed like they're just refusing to believe this. What is to be done? I mean do you feel like the arm of law enforcement Department of Justice, the FBI are focused on this issue?

MURPHY: Well, they are. I mean, there's no doubt that law enforcement is focused on this issue. I guess what really worries me is what would happen if Republicans returned to power? What would happen if they won the White House four years from now or eight years from now?

Would they essentially neuter law enforcement and tell them to stand down against these domestic extremist groups, these militias? What really worries me is not what's going to happen over the next four years because Joe Biden's FBI and Justice Department is going to go after these extremists.

What worries me is that as this denial of reality of this sort of embrace in some ways of domestic terrorist groups occurs within some elements of the Republican Party, it may ultimately affect the decisions that the next Republican president makes. COOPER: Just lastly, CNN's reporting the Colonial Pipeline the pipeline that was stripped down by hacking is caused a run on gas and a spike in prices is looking like it'll come back online without having to pay the ransom.


Every time something like this happens, it's labeled a, you know, a wake up call, not much seems to change. What do you think it's going to take and what lessons can we take from an attack like this, like this, these ransomware attacks?

MURPHY: Well, listen, what we know is that right now, we don't have enough fealty to best practices in the private sector, especially in the energy sector. We think the private industry has been resistant to enforceable government standards around cyber security. Right now, the measures that they implement to protect themselves against random ransomware are voluntary, and clearly not enough of these companies are taking it seriously.

Second, these companies are not sharing enough data with the federal government. The federal government needs to collect all the information that exists about threats so that they can then try to pass along best practices to the industry. So we have to have a lot more cooperation between the private sector and the public sector.

And I think we have to, you know, take a look at, you know, maybe implementing an enforceable national standard, especially for critical infrastructure like pipelines because the private sector doesn't seem to be doing enough by themselves.

COOPER: Yes. Senator Chris Murphy, appreciate it. Thank you.

MURPHY: Thanks.

COOPER (voice-over): We got breaking news next, is lines for grass grow in parts of the Southeast. What Colonial Pipeline is saying tonight about a restart and new details about the ransom demanded in exchange for return to normalcy. That when we return.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight and that cyberattack that halted operations of a pipeline causing gasoline panic buying and shortages throughout the Southeast. Colonial Pipeline says it's restarted operations but will take several days to get things back up to speed. There are also new details now about the ransom that was initially demanded by the hackers who caused the shutdown.

CNN senior justice department correspondent Evan Perez has more. So, did the company get the pipeline up and running without paying the ransom?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: They did Anderson. The group known as Dark Side the cyber attackers that were trying to hold ransom some of the data from the company was demanding as much as $5 million, nearly $5 million in Bitcoin cyber -- sorry cryptocurrency in order to unlock some of the data.


Now, the issue is that the company with the help of some cybersecurity professionals and the government, were able to get back some of that data before the hackers were able to lock it away. And it appears that the company won't have to pay the ransom in order to reconstitute some of those computer systems.

So, again, it's still a work in progress, but they were able to turn back on the pipeline without paying the ransom.

COOPER: You're also learning about exactly why Colonial decided to proactively shut down the pipeline upon learning about the attack.

PEREZ: Right. You know, when initially it seemed like this the attackers, the hackers, were able to get to the systems that control the pipeline. But it turns out, what really happened according to sources we've talked to is that the company was concerned that its billing systems essentially were compromised, that it would not be able to figure out how to get payment for the fuel that he was sending to customers, it wouldn't be able to figure out how to get paid. So, it was more a financial concerns that appear it appears than safety of the pipeline that prompted them to shut down the systems.

Now, we asked the company about this they said essentially that, you know, this was an effort to try to contain the threat and they took down everything just to make sure that there was -- that they that they could contain the cyber attack. But again, because of the way how this was done you see the gas lines around the south, and it's all because of the way the company handled the initial shutdown.

COOPER: Evan Perez, appreciate the reporting. Thanks very much.

As I mentioned, they're growing lines of gas at some locations throughout the southeast with stations saying they are flat out of fuel. Local officials are blaming panic buying with drivers worrying about the pipeline cyber attack.

Gary Tuchman tonight has more.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In unseasonably cool spring day in Georgia, in unreasonably long line to get gas. More than 100 cars buying to get to the 12 pumps at this Costco gas station in Sandy Springs, Georgia. But at least it's open. Here in Georgia and in states including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, many cities so more than 70% of the gas stations without gas because of panic buying.

Gregory Harris is driving his truck through Georgia.

GREGORY HARRIS (PH): Everybody's in a frenzy that we drive trucks and I will both say we need to make sure we have a half a tank, you know. So it's just crazy right now man. You just got to pray. And this bring love back you know it was just crazy out here right now sir.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And this from a gas station employee in Charlotte, North Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like the coronavirus. You know how when they the coronavirus first hit, everybody started stocking up on toilet paper and paper towels. This is just like that. Everybody's stocking up on guys. They don't know when they go get gas next time.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Images of people hoarding gas rocketing around the internet like this from North Carolina. Prompting pleas from leaders like North Carolina's attorney general who tweeted in part, please do not hoard. Let's not have a run on gas like we did on toilet paper last year. And from industry experts.

PATRICK DE HAAN, HEAD OF PETROLEUM ANALYSIS, GASBUDDY: Park your car, alleviate the situation leave the fuel to those that absolutely need it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But this gas customer in Virginia is worried.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, it's a little scary that somebody can tap into our system and kind of cause this ripple effect.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Meanwhile, the prices of the gas are being pumped up at some stations like this one in Virginia to ridiculous amounts. Compare this to one of the prices we saw exactly a year ago, near the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had a half a tank of gas. So when they got to $25 I started looking to see what was going on. And after I got to $30 I was like, oh my god.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Prices are sky high supplies that many stations in the southeast are exceedingly low. But countless motorists like this woman in Tallahassee Florida have the same thing to say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want to miss out you don't want to be the one that doesn't get gas.


COOPER: And Gary, around (ph) motors you talked to aware the pipeline is now starting to reopen.

TUCHMAN: Yes, I've been telling people Anderson they're happy to hear that but doesn't help people very much who are desperate for gas tonight who have nothing in their tanks and something extraordinary is happening in a large metropolitan area. Here in Atlanta, Georgia, I drove 25 miles a short time ago passed at least 20 gas stations. Every single one of them shut down out of gas I finally found this place this Valero in Roswell, Georgia suburb of Atlanta. There are only four pumps here.

And right now there is a line of at least 50 cars that goes down this very busy street, this is Holcomb Bridge Road. This is a traffic lane but not anymore. This is the lane to get gasoline. The manager of the gas station says he could run out of gas at any time. These people will be quite angry if they do run out of gas. So you can see the situation here right now.

One thing I want to mention to you Anderson that Costco Gas Station I talked to you about or talked about in the beginning of the story that had about 100 cars waiting for 12 pumps. Well, that shut down about two and a half hours ago, ran out of gas. Anderson.

COOPER: Gary, I hope folks behind you get their guys. Thanks very much, appreciate it.


(voice-over): Coming up, another major step in the effort to get more people vaccinated, 12 to 15-year-olds are now eligible. Talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about it, next.


COOPER: Another potential step toward normalcy most states will start to offer Pfizer's COVID vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 starting tomorrow. The CDC is recommending the two shots for that age group after an advisory board voted 14 to zero with one recusal in favor of expanding use of the vaccine.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with more. So, how did the CDC's Advisory Committee come to the conclusion? And what are the risks and benefits of 12 to 15-year-olds receiving the vaccine?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, they looked at the data, there's trial data now, a few thousands children of that age range were trial, they found that there were no significant adverse events when people got this vaccine, nothing like the anaphylaxis even that we heard what the adults, you know, initially getting the vaccine. So, a very safe vaccine and effective. They -- in the placebo group, they had 18 people who got sick and severely ill nobody in the vaccinated group.

And there's benefit as well. Anderson. Well, one thing to point out is I want to show you this graphic, if you remember H1N1 back in 2009, just to give some context here that was a virus that primarily affected younger people. So, yellow is COVID, blue is H1N1 back from 2009.

Take a look at the point here is that hospitalizations from COVID even among this age group are greater than they were with H1N1 which was something that obviously we took very seriously. You remember H1N1 Anderson you actually had it.

COOPER: I did --

GUPTA: You got it in Afghanistan. I got it too.

COOPER: Yes. We were in the Marines in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. Just last week, the CDC warned that childhood vaccinations for other infectious diseases have plunged since the start of the pandemic for the first time say an expert with the CDC said it's OK to receive more than one vaccine at once. Is that a big deal? And will that help parents, I mean the idea that you can get multiple vaccines all at once?

GUPTA: Yes, I think so. I mean, this is a really interesting point. So, at the beginning of the vaccine rollout the general guidance was wait at least 14 days before you get any other kind of vaccine.

We don't know what the adverse effects will be. But take a look at what has happened, you know, over the year, we've seen drops and all sorts of different vaccination rates among young people. The tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine down was 19%, HPV, meningococcal. That's a problem. I mean, these are preventable diseases.


Now, so many of these 12 to 15-year-olds are going to be going in to get their shot. If they qualify for one of these other vaccines at the same time, they can get it at the same time since they're going to be at the doctor's anyway.

COOPER: And I mean, some adults have had side effects after getting vaccinated. Is there any reason to believe that, you know, the kids in this age group won't experience the same?

GUPTA: No, I think you have to anticipate that there will be a lot of the same sorts of side effects among the 12 to 15-year-olds, as you saw among adults. And we could show you in fact, they broke this down to show like what percentage of kids got the various side effects, and oftentimes it was greater among the 12 to 15-year-olds versus the 16 plus. So soreness, for example, occurred in 91%, of 12 to 15-year- olds, and I think closer to 70% of 16 plus year olds.

But here's the way to think about it, the stronger your immune system, probably the more significant side effects, you are stimulating the immune system. So older people, Anderson, for example, tended to have fewer side effects, 12 to 15-year-olds, slightly more than 16 plus year olds.

COOPER: Also one of the points made during the call today with the Advisory Committee, they don't fully know the development and mental health impacts this past year has had on kids. I'm wondering your take on that. Is that just a question of it hasn't been studied enough? I mean because I think people can, you know, families can kind of see what kind of an impact it's had.

GUPTA: Yes, that was quite striking, Anderson, about half of in the surveys, half of parents say that their children's mental health is worse now than at the beginning of the pandemic. Kids who were in virtual school, solely in virtual school tended to have even worse outcomes than those who had either hybrid or in person learning. So, it's affected everybody.

The answer your question is yes. We don't know what the long term impact of this is how long it's going to last. There's not a lot of precedent for this. But I'll tell you, Anderson, I think it's another reason the vaccine is of benefit. So the physical benefit, but I think opening up doors for kids to be able to do things again, I think I'll have a mental health benefit as well.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks very much.

Coming up, CNN's Jake Tapper on a new political thriller involving Frank Sinatra and John F. Kennedy. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Funny political drama these days. But if you want to escape reality, Jake Tapper has written a new novel a sequel to his 2018 bestseller the Hellfire Club. It's called the Devil May Dance. I spoke to Jake earlier.


COOPER (on-camera): Jake, thanks so much for being with us. Congratulations. There was an amazing review of the book in Janet Maslin in "The New York Times." And it's, I feel like it's a movie waiting to happen. I mean, it's got Bobby Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., the whole Rat Pack.

And it's such a fascinating period of American history in the 1960s. Your last book was in the '50s, with the same set up with the same characters, the martyrs explain what how you decided to kind of move it into the 1960s. And the plot is really intriguing and interesting.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (on-camera): Well, it's based on and inspired by a real story, which as soon as I heard the story, as soon as I read it, I thought, oh, this has to be the second book, which is, obviously Sinatra and the Rat Pack did everything they could to help get JFK elected in 1960.

And in preparation for a presidential trip to California, Sinatra in real life, had his Rancho Mirage estate, the compound built up and in preparation for a presidential visit, rooms were added telephone lines, he had a helipad built.

But at the same time, Attorney General Robert Kennedy had real misgivings because he was going after organized crime, including a very horrific mobster named Sam Giancana that he had fought with publicly. And Sinatra was buddies with Sam Giancana. So it became this real life situation behind the scenes where Bobby Kennedy was saying, I don't know if that I can have my brother stay there.

So, that premise is real. And what I just did is say, why don't have Bobby Kennedy take Charlie and Margaret Marder, my fictitious characters and have them go out and investigate.

COOPER (on-camera): It's -- I mean, the research, though, must have been incredibly fun. Because I mean, you have conversations between public conversations and nightclubs with Sammy Davis, Jr. which are kind of stunning?

TAPPER (on-camera): Yes, I mean, a lot of the real life that's in this book is just as shocking as the stuff that I made up in terms of the actual conversations that took place by the mobsters, in terms of the way that the how really racist and awful The Rat Pack could be about each other in public jokingly.

So, I mean, one of the things Janet Maslin noted in her review, was I have a Vegas show, and you'd think, wow, this is really awful. Well, I just took it from an actual Vegas show. I mean, that was that -- those were actually the jokes that they made at the time.

COOPER (on-camera): And I mean, it underscores not only the racism, but the sexism that was very prevalent at the time.

TAPPER (on-camera): Yes. And that, you know, one of the things while writing this book that I decided to do was, you know, with all this talk of me too and what's going on in Hollywood, and how women are treated in entertainment, just to tell the truth about what happened with women in the business in 1961, 1962. It's really not all that different from what you read about today, in terms of how women are regarded, in terms of the way that stars and directors treat them.

So, I mean, there's a lot of resonance to what life is actually like now, still, unfortunately.

COOPER (on-camera): You also, I mean, you explore the relationship between Frank Sinatra and John F. Kennedy. Did you learn anything new about their relationship while writing the book?

TAPPER (on-camera): Yes, I did, which is, I think, just based on reading a lot of biographies of Sinatra, including one by his valet, George Jacobs. I think that John F. Kennedy really broke Sinatra's heart. It was platonic, but I think he really was infatuated with John F. Kennedy.

And I think that's one of the reasons why years later, you have Frank Sinatra who was legitimately ahead of his time when it came to the Crusade for civil rights. I mean, he did a lot of really good things, Sinatra in the '40s and '50s and '60s for African-Americans.


But by 1980, he's a Republican. He's campaigning with Reagan, and I think he really shifted and I think part of that is this essentially breakup with John F. Kennedy.

COOPER (on-camera): Well, Jake, congratulations, the Devil May Dance is the book. I'm really, really excited about it. Thank you.

TAPPER (on-camera): Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: The Devil May Dance. That's it for us. The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.