Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Biden Rebuilding Alliances Ahead Of Scheduled Putin Meeting; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Visits Holocaust Museum And Admits COVID Rules Comment Was A Mistake; Interview With Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN); House & Senate Judiciary Launch Investigations Into Secret Subpoenas By Trump Dept. Of Justice; FBI Warns Lawmakers That QAnon Conspiracy Theorists May Become More Violent; Vote Recount Nears An End In Phoenix. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 14, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And thank you so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime. You just have to go to CNNgo.
"AC360" starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. There is breaking news from President Joe Biden who is overseas about what he thinks the consequences of his predecessor's hold on the Republican Party and a fascinating, a very public back and forth he is having with Russia's President Vladimir Putin before the two meet face-to-face in less than two days.
Ahead of that meeting, the President today talked about the threats to democracies around the world, sometimes from within in what he called phony populism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... prove to the world and to our own people that democracy can still prevail against the challenges of our time and deliver to the needs of our people.
We have to root out corruption that siphons off our strength, guard against those who would stoke hatred and division for political gain as phony populism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Biden would return to that phrase "phony populism" just minutes later, while delivering a blunt reply to a reporter's question about allies who may still be rattled by the Capitol riot and the hole the former President still has on his party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: It is a shock and surprise that what's happened in terms of consequence of President Trump's phony populism has happened, and it is disappointing that so many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate who I know, know better have been reluctant to take on, for example, an investigation because they are worried about being primaried.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The President also gave his assessment of what he sees as the current political calculus that the Republican Party has, quote, "vastly diminished in numbers" end quote. Also, that party leadership is, in his words, fractured.
But while the President spends much of his days with allies, sources tell CNN, his mornings are spent in preparation for his meeting Wednesday in Switzerland with Russia's Vladimir Putin. Just another of the many differences between how this President and the predecessor handled their duties in office.
Also different, the importance that President Biden placed on the survival of human rights in other countries. In this case, Russian dissident, Alexei Navalny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Navalny's death would be another indication that Russia has little or no intention of abiding by basic fundamental human rights. It would be a tragedy, it would do nothing but hurt his relationships with the rest of the world, in my view, and with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: While the words the President used may be striking commentary, it is imagery from the meeting that may send the greater message, embracing allies, strengthening old bonds, talking about the importance and the history of the NATO Alliance.
And again, a far different scene than we saw with the previous president who also, months into office, shoved past the Prime Minister of a small European country at a meeting of NATO, sending an unmistakable message to allies and adversaries alike.
I'm joined now by our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward. So, it's hard to overstate just how different all of this seems. I mean, the United States role in NATO, President Biden warning about phony populism, as he called it, his criticism of Vladimir Putin.
I'm wondering what the reaction has been among U.S. allies.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The reaction has been exceptionally positive from those 29 other NATO member states. The Spanish Prime Minister calling Joe Biden's election an inspiration saying that he is starting to deliver on some of what he promised. The Secretary General of NATO saying in a very sort of typical Scandinavian understated way that it felt very different from how it did under President Trump, who of course, was frequently denigrating NATO.
President Biden making it very clear today that the U.S.'s commitment to the Northern Atlantic Treaty was, in his words, unshakable rock solid that that mutual defense treaty, Article V as well, was a sacred obligation. So, a lot of people are very pleased to hear that -- Anderson.
COOPER: Also, talk more, if you can about what President Biden revealed and didn't reveal tonight about how he is approaching this Summit with Putin.
WARD: So, he said that he doesn't want to telegraph to the world's media exactly what his strategy is in terms of negotiating with President Putin, but he did also seem to be sort of laying down the gauntlet or making it very clear, certain key issues that he would be raising with the Russian President that he already knows are going to ruffle feathers.
And particularly, of course, I'm talking about Alexei Navalny, who you mentioned, the Russian opposition leader who was poisoned with Novichok back in August, who has been sentenced to two and a half years in a Russian Penal Colony.
WARD: In an interview with NBC News, President Putin said, he didn't really have any way of guaranteeing whether Navalny lives or dies, while he is in custody. You heard there, President Biden's response to that, vowing to really hold feet to the fire and make it clear to President Putin that if he wants to be part of the international community, he needs to abide by international norms.
COOPER: Is there any indication that Putin cares what U.S. thinks when it comes to Navalny, or cyber hacks, or ransomware, or anything really?
WARD: I don't think there's an indication that he cares what the U.S. thinks. But he is very strategic and very shrewd, President Putin, and he certainly, I believe, does not want to see this relationship deteriorate further. It's been very costly for Russia, particularly this last raft of sanctions.
And so, I do think that that's part of why both leaders are having this Summit that they do believe there are certain avenues, limited and narrow, though they might be in scope, where potentially the two countries could work together, collaborate on these issues that would hopefully prevent a further degradation of the relationship.
I don't think anyone is expecting anything hugely positive to come out of it in terms of tangible deliverables. But the hope is that it will avert a crisis.
COOPER: Clarissa Ward, appreciate it. Thank you. Perspective now on the President's first trip abroad from our Fareed
Zakaria, author of "Ten Lessons for a Post Pandemic World." So. Fareed, if President Biden's goal was to vanquish the imprint the former President has made on NATO on the global stage, was he successful?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, I think in that, he was very successful. Look, Anderson, he came to the Summit with two things that were extraordinary. One, America's can do reputation as a superpower was restored.
Don't underestimate the degree to which people are impressed by the vaccine drive. The United States has gone from being the laggard in the world on vaccines with over 65 percent of the country vaccinated. We are really first into the post pandemic world. That has been an impressive display of America's government. The second was 500 billion vaccines donated to the world. That was an expression of American generosity.
So that whole -- you know, if you put those two together, it's such a different atmosphere from Donald Trump, who came to NATO, complained about the cost of the new NATO headquarters, complained about the fact that other people weren't paying enough, threatened that he might even get out of NATO.
In those broad terms, Anderson, it's night and day.
COOPER: I'm wondering what you made of his return to the phrase "phony populism."
ZAKARIA: I think he has been careful not to say very much about the domestic side of this. But I think you can tell, he is getting frustrated by the fact that none of those Republican senators who he knows so well have been willing to break with Trump.
And I think that it infects, you know, the negotiations going on over infrastructure, it infects everything else and it is a reminder that, you know, while Joe Biden is President, he is trying to be a kind of bipartisan figure in some ways. The country is still very polarized and the Republican Party is still a wholly-owned subsidiary of Donald Trump.
COOPER: What is an attainable goal for this President when he sits down with Vladimir Putin? I mean, how much -- what is the bargaining power?
ZAKARIA: Yes, let's be clear what the goal is, because this is -- I think, it's important to remember, NATO is an alliance between the United States and major European countries. You have had in Europe, the annexation by one country of another country, Russia's annexation of Crimea, and in a sense, de facto annexation of other parts of Ukraine.
This is the first time you have had that since World War II. The last state that did that was Nazi Germany. So this is a big, big deal, and that should be the central focus of Biden's efforts. I understand his, you know, he said he wants to try and make nice with
Putin in some sense, have a constructive relationship, all to the good. But the central focus of NATO has to be that Russia must continue to pay a price for this. There must be support for Ukraine and for Poland, and those other countries.
I mean, it strikes me as, you know, all the other stuff, the rise of China, all this is real, and these are long term trends. But we have a huge challenge here with a country that has annexed another country that is engaging in massive cyber hacking and cyber war, and he needs to be tough on this one.
COOPER: The idea that Putin will be on the level in his dealings with the United States, is there any evidence of that? I mean, if he is not an honest broker, not necessarily going to change his ways, why even have an audience for the President of the United States?
ZAKARIA: Well, you know, you negotiate with your adversaries, most of the time. You're not -- you know, you're not negotiating with your friends. So, I certainly think it's worth meeting with him, but your general point is right. Putin is not going to suddenly say, oh, you got me. We're going to stop doing all this cyber hacking, you know, or, okay, I'll get out of Ukraine.
What has to happen is he has to understand that the cost remains high that the, you know, NATO is and the European Union are not going to throw in the towel. I know this, Anderson, because I actually talked to him about this very specific issue, which is his -- this is I'm talking about Vladimir Putin, I've had the opportunity to meet -- his goal, his strategy is that the West will tire of these sanctions against Russia.
He believes European countries like Italy, like France, are desperate to do business with Russia, and they want to -- you know, as they fuel their recovery. What Biden has to convince him is that the West is united in this, and that as long as he continues to occupy Ukraine, he is not going to be able to do and have business as usual with any of Europe's great economies.
COOPER: There was this interview with NBC the other day, Putin laughed off the idea that President Biden once called him a killer. Our colleague, Jeff Zeleny asked President Biden about that today, he essentially doubled down though he didn't use the word killer. How fraught is the relationship between our two countries, especially compared to, you know, how it was under the former President?
ZAKARIA: I think in some ways, what we have now is a more adult relationship, which is to say, we have real differences with Russia. As I said, Russia is the principle kind of spoiler, rogue, great power on the world stage. It's a -- you know, if you look at Ukraine, if you look at Syria, if you look at cyberspace, we need to have, I wouldn't say a confrontational, but a tough relationship with Russia that makes clear that these behaviors at all levels are unacceptable. I think that under Trump, we had a bizarre relationship where the
government of the United States, for example, in providing arms to Ukraine was being fairly tough on Russia. The President of the United States, meanwhile, was literally siding with the successor to the KGB, in its Intelligence analysis versus America's own Intelligence Agencies.
So you just had to look at that and say, "What the hell is going on?" So, we don't have that kind of weird cognitive dissonance in dealing with Russia. What we have is a more adult relationship, tough, formed determined.
I mean, I myself wish we didn't get into the name calling with you know that Putin is a killer and such but Biden is trying to convey correctly that he has no illusions about Putin or Russia, but he still has to talk to him. He still wants, as he says, stable and predictable relations with.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, appreciate it.
Still to come, tonight Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene facing the fallout from her comments comparing a House mask mandate to the Holocaust. I'll tell you what she is saying now and what she didn't.
And later, a Democratic Member of Congress whose records were obtained in a still mysterious Justice Department leak investigation by the previous administration joins us to talk about the latest revelations and how much we still don't know.
COOPER: There is breaking news from Washington tonight. The Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia apologized tonight for her statements comparing House mask mandates and vaccination passports to the Holocaust. This, after she toured the Holocaust Museum in Washington late today.
CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us now from the Capitol. So, not much was known beforehand about her trip to the Holocaust Museum. What did she say afterwards?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. This came as a big surprise, particularly because Marjorie Taylor Greene doubled down on these comments shortly after she made them about a month ago. So, the idea that she would tour the Holocaust Museum and then apologize about making those remarks were something that we just didn't expect and she was very contrived.
But we should also point out that there were some other controversial comments that she refused to take back. Let's take a listen to a little bit of what she said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Anti-Semitism is true hate and I
saw that today at the Holocaust Museum, and I think it's something that we should all remember and never forget.
So, I just wanted to come here today and say that I'm truly sorry for offending people with remarks about the Holocaust. There is no comparison. There never ever will be.
You know, socialism is extremely dangerous, and so is communism. And anytime a government moves into policies where there's more control, and there's freedoms taken away, yes, that's a danger for everyone. And I think that's something that we should all be wary of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So, the second part of that answer, Anderson, was in response to a question about whether or not she would also take back her comments comparing the National Socialist Party of the Nazi era to the modern Democratic Party. You could see that she refused to take that step.
So, while she was very contrite said you should never compare anything to the Holocaust. There were several other controversial statements that she wasn't ready to apologize for today.
COOPER: So, I mean, I was about to say I give her props for apologizing, which is not something you hear a lot from, you know, the QAnon types of the world of which she has been a supporter in the past. But she is still not backing away or apologizing for comparing, you know, one of the two main political parties in the United States comparing them to Nazis.
NOBLES: Yes, that's exactly right, Anderson. And you mentioned the QAnon conspiracy which she has in the past endorsed and has been, you know, consorting with folks that believe that conspiracy theory, I specifically asked her about that.
There are QAnon supporters who deny the Holocaust and she repeatedly said that the Holocaust happened, and I asked her to denounce that group to say that their disinformation that they spread, not just having to do with people of the Jewish faith, but in general, that that should be something that she should disassociate herself from, and she claimed she knew nothing about the QAnon conspiracy, which is clearly not true.
COOPER: I mean, and also, I mean, QAnon is based on age old anti- Semitic tropes, anti-Catholic tropes, you know, this idea of cabal of -- a global cabal, in this case of pedophiles, the Nazis talked about a global cabal of you know, Jewish bankers. I mean, it's ridiculous of her to claim that.
So, I just want to remind people what she originally said, which she is now, at least sort of partially backing away from, although maybe not really. Let's take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREENE: You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Why was that anchor, by the way, nodding his head in a sense to what she is saying there? Any idea what prompted this? I mean, you know, I guess, is she getting flack and maybe even hearing it from some of her supporters, and that's why?
NOBLES: Well, the Republican leadership condemned her remarks at the time. And so it's clear that there were a lot of Republicans that were uncomfortable with those statements. She claims it was just after a reflection on her own that she looked back at those comments and decided that she needed to make amends.
But Anderson, there is a big coincidence here in terms of the timing. Representative Ilhan Omar, she is a Congresswoman from Minnesota. She made comments last week comparing the United States and Israeli governments to the Taliban and Hamas.
She has been roundly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans. And we know that Republicans have plans this week to attempt to censure her, they may even attempt to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
So, it is convenient that Marjorie Taylor Greene is attempting to remove herself from her own anti-Semitic controversy to maybe allow Republicans to then go on the attack against Ilhan Omar. She was actually asked about Ilhan Omar during this press conference and took the opportunity to condemn her and say that she did not agree with what Omar had to say.
Now, Omar did clarify her remarks. Democratic leadership has also said that they were unhappy with what she had to say. Democrats say they are ready to move on, but it is clear that there are Republicans hoping to create a divide in the Democratic Party.
COOPER: Ryan Nobles, I appreciate it. I want to get some perspective now from Tennessee Democrat Congressman, Steve Cohen.
Congressman, thanks for joining us. When we spoke about this last month, you said that Marjorie Taylor Greene didn't understand history and has got a, quote, "real problem" with Jewish people. Did anything she said tonight change your opinion?
REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Not really. I mean, I do think it was good that she did apologize and she went to the Holocaust Museum, and she might have learned something. But she didn't learn a lot.
The National Socialist Party is nothing at all like the Democratic Party. The National Socialist Party, the Nazis were about anti- Semitism. They were about killing all the Jewish people. They were about prejudice. And that's not anything the Democratic Party is for.
She didn't learn much about really the experience of the Holocaust. She sounded like she had some phrases that she saw, maybe someone that told her about the worst genocide ever or something that will never happened again, or never forget. But it didn't sound like it came from the heart, and to go on an attack against Ilhan Omar's wrong, too.
There are two extremes -- extremes in each party, the Democrats, the Republicans -- and people grasp on to that and use that to attack either party. That's not what we need now. We need to come together. We need to realize that the enemy is not the Democrats, it is not the Republicans. It's the people who try to bring about an insurrection and turn our government over on January the 6th.
That's something that Miss Green and most of the Republicans, not all, can't get their arms around and their heads around that this was a revolution. This was an insurrection that cut out proper processing, a rule in processing of the transfer power and Joe Biden's election.
And that's what Marjorie Taylor Greene and other Republicans need to tell their people is that Joe Biden won the election. It was honest, it was clean, one of the most honest and clean, if not the most ever. And that Joe Biden is the President and he won in a landslide, and to get over this stuff and the fact and the idea that Donald Trump is the President. Donald Trump is not the President. He is a golfer.
COOPER: You know, the -- I don't know how we step back. I mean, I'm talking about all of us, step back from this brink, where people who have a different point of view and you know, serving in Congress now seem emboldened to view somebody with a different point of view as not just somebody with a different way of looking at something, but you know, an American patriot, whatever. But they look at it as an enemy.
COOPER: There are a lot of people in this country now who view somebody on the other side of the political aisle as an enemy, as un- American, as unpatriotic, and I don't know how we move forward as a country when that is the go-to position for so many people now.
COHEN: It's very difficult because that is what's going on, Anderson. It makes it difficult to serve in Congress to see people -- mostly the extreme. Most of the Republican members are good men and women and they're friends of mine, and we get along great.
But there's a handful that find every opportunity to try to compare Democrats to something that's just off the wall. The claim that Democrats as a party are for defunding the police, which is not true; which has called the Democrats the Socialist Party of America, which is not true.
I saw one of my friends, Dana Rohrabacher who is a friend of mine, still is, I consider him a friend. I saw him on TV in December speaking at Huntington Beach saying that the Nazis and the communists were taking the vote and taking it away, and it was a steal the vote situation. NAZIS and communists, they were doing it and implying that there were Nazis and communists in Congress that were doing it.
That does not help. People listen to that. They hear it from a Congress person, they tend to believe it. It makes things worse.
COHEN: I have had some people telling me, it was Antifa that did the January 6th insurrection. They were dressed as Trump people and it was all a scam. These people believe it.
We need -- the Republicans need to come straight and let their people know that Joe Biden is president and the election was clean and get over it and we need a commission to study what happened on January 6th and how the police were attacked, and called all kinds of names, and over a hundred of them were injured and several died and we need to come to grips with that. That's the most important thing we've got right now.
And all this stuff about the Holocaust is just, I think, it is ignorance on the part of some people who don't understand what happened. The Holocaust was horrific. Being Jewish, of course, I think about it.
My ancestors came from an area that is now Poland and had been Poland that had been Austrian and Hungarian Empire. I think that many might have died in Auschwitz and it is just is horrifying to me to think that somebody would minimize the Holocaust and I understand she said the Christians died in the Holocaust. But the Christians weren't part of a Holocaust that killed all Christians. The Nazis were Christians.
COOPER: Now, Congressman Cohen, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
There is breaking news ahead what the House and Senate Judiciary Committees say they will do after the disclosure of secret subpoenas by the former President's Justice Department. I'll talk with one of those Democratic lawmakers who had his information targeted, next.
COOPER: There's breaking news tonight on those subpoenas issued by the former president's Justice Department into members of Congress in the news media. The House and Senate Judiciary committees will investigate the entire episode even as Attorney General Merrick Garland says, the Justice Department will strengthen rules regarding seeking congressional records. The Department Inspector General has also begun an investigation. The whole affair, of course raises a slew of questions. One of those members of Congress targeted was California Representative Eric Swalwell, who saw who sits on both the House Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee, and he joins me now.
Congressman Swalwell, there's still a lot we do not know at this point. Have you gotten any more answers in the last few days? I mean, what more do you know exactly?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): No, Anderson, I have not I would like to I've put in a request to speak to the department. I think it's fair to say they know how to get a hold of me at this point. But, you know, frankly, I would like to know, you know, just how wide this investigation was.
And, you know, what's concerning to me is that, you know, presidents, they set a tone for the country and Donald Trump from the very beginning, set a tone for bullying, and a phony tough guy image. And we see that reflected in everyday life today, whether it's people throwing bottles at NBA players, insulting healthcare workers, the breakdown of decency on the House floor and in campaigns, and the ultimate manifestation, of course, being the insurrection at the Capitol.
And Donald Trump went even beyond that he treated the law as a nuisance and weaponized the Department of Justice.
And so, the concern is not just the targeting of his political opponents, but the trickledown effect, our local elected officials feeling emboldened by this, and are they targeting their political enemies locally? And so, we need to find out just how far this might.
COOPER: I mean, do you -- by the former Attorney General Sessions and Barr and former Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein didn't know this activity was happening within the Justice Department? Because Sessions. I mean, I was reading back on this he was bragging about the number of leak investigations. Is there any realistic scenario in which those three or some of those three would not know that this was going on?
COOPER: You're sure that?
SWALWELL: Yes. My knowledge of how the department works, sensitive matters involving members of Congress or any, any person, you know, who may -- you may not want to investigate, you know, unless you have a really good reason to because of political fallout, that would go to the Department of Justice.
And I want to say this, Anderson, I'm not above the law. If I or anyone else does something wrong, I should be surveilled and so should anyone else. But a number of leaks occurred while I was on the Intelligence Committee, prior to this, and I was in a small group of people who knew about the classified information that was out there. I was not a part of that, and therefore I was not targeted. Here, the only difference was that Donald Trump was President and I and Mr. Schiff and others, you know, were loud voices against Donald Trump's corruption. And so, it feels pretty damn targeted by the department and should be investigated.
COOPER: Again, we don't know the exact reason for, you know, these particular cases. But I mean, to your point, if it were, you know, it was you, Adam Schiff, even Don McGahn, who clearly was, you know, the President had ire toward based on some of the decisions that McGahn made who was in the White House, who was the White House Counsel. That seems to be the only commonality on the face of it, that these are you and the other are people who, you know, were you had to ire -- the ire of the President directed toward you all.
SWALWELL: That's right. And then Anderson again, Don McGahn was a part of the Mueller investigation. So, maybe there was a good reason to look at his records, except this investigation into his records went all the way up until this May, when the Mueller investigation as we all know, closed back in the spring of 2019.
So again, it feels really political. And this is a president who would reward his friends remember, he reduced the sentences for Roger Stone, made the Flynn case go away, pardoned Manafort, and then would weaponize the department against his enemies. So this feels pretty on brand for Donald Trump.
COOPER: Your colleague on the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler just announced a formal investigation if Barr, Sessions, Rosenstein are subpoenaed by the committee. Is it realistic that they would testify anytime soon? I mean, couldn't they just resist and have their lawyers try to delay things?
SWALWELL: Of course, and that's right out of the Donald Trump legal terrorist playbook that we saw during his administration. And so, I hope our congressional subpoenas still mean something, we did get Don McGahn to testify just a couple weeks ago.
But also, I hope, the public pressure really comes down on these individuals to be held to account, because this isn't going away. And it's not because it's personal for us. It's because if we allow this to occur, a future corrupt President may not be so patient to wait for a grand jury investigation, they may just call for them to be locked up and skip any intermediary step that would be required.
COOPER: The fact that the Inspector General at the Department of Justice is investigating, doesn't that allow the Justice Department now and Merrick Garland, the current Attorney General just to say, well, look, I can't comment on any of this, because it's an ongoing investigation.
SWALWELL: Well, it certainly allows them to interview current officials at the Department of Justice who may have been involved, but Barr, Sessions, Whittaker, Rosenstein they've left the department and they can't be compelled to talk to the Inspector General. So that's where Congress does have an ability to do that.
And whether that's us working, you know, to make sure we don't compromise the investigation, but still deal diligently doing our job. We have to do that. Because again, we can't let a future more corrupt, more competent president come along, and do this.
COOPER: I do just want to reiterate, we don't know exactly what is behind this. The Republican Senator Chuck Grassley recently said, and I'm quoting, he said investigations into members of Congress and staff are nothing new, especially for classified leaks. If this was just concerned over leaks, and that's where they were, you know, that led them to you and to Adam Schiff, and Don McGahn. Is that OK?
SWALWELL: Again, I'm not above the law Anderson, But what I think is unique here is that it wasn't everyone on the committee who had their devices, you know, surveilled, because we all heard the same information that's allegedly been leaked. It's the two people that were the loudest critics of the President.
And again, I know that I did not leak anything. So, I'm really wondering what predicate, you know, what evidence did you have to go into my phone? They didn't have any.
And so, my concern is that, you know, there's much more to this, and there's others who were targeted that we may find out about.
COOPER: Congressman Swalwell, I appreciate your time. Thanks.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
COOPER: Just ahead, a new threat assessment from the FBI on QAnon and the possibility of attacks by some of its members. Details on what is in the report when we continue.
COOPER: We have the details of a new FBI report recently delivered to lawmakers about the potential for acts of violence from followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Our senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt joins us now with the latest. So what have you learned about this assessment?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Anderson, there's a growing fear of violence from the more extreme members or followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, who of course, are already quite extreme. But the FBI says they're seeing is that some of these followers are saying, enough is enough.
And they want to move from being what they call digital soldiers into actually carrying out acts of violence, that they are disenchanted with a lack of progress. They're seeing that what was predicted hasn't come true. So many things, so many crazy things Anderson, of course, have been predicted that haven't come true. One of them is that President Donald Trump is still actually president and that he would reassume the office on March 6th, after President Biden had already been sworn in.
So this is an unclassified report two pages from the FBI was obtained by our colleague, Zach Cohen, and I want to read part of it for you. It says that, some domestic violent extremist adherence of QAnon likely will begin to believe they can no longer trust the plan referenced in QAnon posts, and that they have an obligation to change from serving as digital soldiers towards engaging in real world violence, including harming perceived members of the Cabal, such as Democrats and other political opposition, instead of continually awaiting Q's promise actions which have not occurred.
Now that cabal, as you know Anderson as a reference to the global elites of the deep state that they call these people who they believe are pedophiles and have a -- an international child sex trafficking ring. So there is a fear that this could turn into violence. And of course, we've already seen that happen Anderson, there were at least 20 according to the FBI adherence of QAnon who participated in the January 6 insurrection.
COOPER: What is the assessment say about the actual number of people involved with QAnon? Because I mean, there was a lot of talk when the former president left that there was a lot of dissatisfaction among some followers of Q, because as you said, everything that this, you know, shadowy Q figure or whoever it is, or group it is, none of it has come to pass. And yet they just kind of change their beliefs and pretend like they're not being deceived.
MARQUARDT: Well, they do say the FBI says that some could fall away, because there's a new administration because they realize that President Biden is actually the president. Reality is setting in, those predictions, as I mentioned, aren't coming true, and perhaps most importantly Anderson is because so much of the material, so many of these followers, so much of this content are being removed from the main social media sites. So that is no longer there.
So, the combination really of those things, means the FBI believes that some will fall away, but at the same time, you do have that more extremist element that could grow even more radicalized. One of the things that they mentioned that's very important is that if you're hearing some of this QAnon content being espoused by politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene, you've been discussing on your show, that that will have a real impact.
COOPER: Yes. Alex Marquardt, appreciate it. Thanks.
Programming note, the "CNN SPECIAL REPORT, ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY: THE ROOTS OF TRUMP'S INSURRECTION," airs Sunday night. CNN's Drew Griffin has new details about what happened during the attack. Again, that airs Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. Up next tonight, the so-called fraud it in Arizona where Republicans they're recounting more than 2 million votes cast in last year's presidential election. It is finally nearing the finish line we're told but does it foreshadow earlier efforts in other states. The latest from Phoenix, next.
COOPER: Well, whatever you want to call it a sham a pointless exercise or just plain sad that Arizona hand recounted more than 2 million votes in the state's most populous county is just about at the finish line for this phase. But the end and Phoenix just may be the beginning of something similar in other states. So our Kyung Lah who's been watching every twist and turn since it began has this report.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the day, the so-called Arizona audit announces it has essentially completed a hand review of Maricopa County's 2020 ballots. Senate President Karen Fann toured the Coliseum floor for the first time. While this looks like an official visit by the most powerful senator in Arizona, don't believe it says the Brennan Center for Justice's Liz Howard.
(on-camera): So what's happening in here? Is this an audit?
LIZ HOWARD, SR. COUNSEL, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: No, this is not an audit. This is a partisan review. If the consequences of this event weren't so scary, it would be funny. When you were on the floor, what you're seeing is reminiscent of Lucy and Ethel at the Chocolate Factory.
LAH (voice-over): Howard is one of the observers for the Arizona Secretary of State on the floor and watching as the big lies spreads before her eyes. In the last two weeks, lawmakers from about a dozen states have made the pilgrimage to the so-called audit floor from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, many of them from key battleground states, the visitors proudly posing with Arizona's most vocal critics of the 2020 election.
And now, this exercise shifts to paper evaluation of the ballots still chasing ridiculous conspiracies like whether photocopied ballots were mysteriously inserted.
KEN BENNETT, AUDIT SPOKESMAN, ARIZONA SENATE LIASON: One microscope is trained on the oval of the president race. And there's lights from the side so that you can see that there's that it's filled in by a handwritten or handheld writing device. It can even sense the -- that there's indentation in the paper. And then there's a couple that are looking at paper fibers. So, it's everything in general related to the authenticity of the paper.
LAH (voice-over): That paper evaluation has already been rife with problems. Observers have noticed software taking photos of the ballots got out of sync, producing distorted ballot images, a problem occurring frequently everyday noted observers.
Another problem workers examining ballots click a green button if they determine the ballot was marked by human, red for not human and observer noted workers got confused, mislabeling a few dozen ballots. And persistent lack of training. An observer heard an audit worker say, I have never done this. Can someone show me how to take a photo. The audit spokesman called the observer complaints untrue and overblown.
This exercise has been widely criticized by election officials from both parties. But more signs that this is not over.
HOWARD: She is going to try to add legitimacy to this process, which is sorely lacking in legitimacy. The auditors lack actual elections, auditing experience, lack actual chain administration experience, and are obviously very biased.
COOPER: And Kyung joins us now from Phoenix. I know you're hearing that nearly all the ballots have been hand counted per the audit spokesman. We don't know if this true or not. But what's happening now?
LAH: Well, there are Braille ballots involved, there are about 50,000 of them that have yet to be counted. And this is something Anderson that we've known about basically since November when Maricopa County originally did their count. And now they're in the process of trying to count them, but they need to find somebody to read Braille. So that's what the holdup is. The surprising thing is that this wasn't a surprise.
COOPER: And Kyung, the woman we saw on the floor in your piece State Senator Karen Fann, you had an exchange with her a few weeks ago, and I just want to play part of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN FANN (R) ARIZONA STATE SENATOR: It's gotten a little slower than we expected. But all in all, it's gone pretty good. This is a first of its kind, never been done in the United States. And, you know, so this is all a brand new process that we're all having to work through.
LAH (on-camera): There's a lot of national concern about the process being done, about why it's being done. But what do you think about the concerns of election officials in this country who say that this is unnecessary, and is creating (INAUDIBLE)?
FANN: So, I can tell you exactly why we're doing it. And here's a prime example in Arizona, and it was actually reported in the Arizona Republic, a local paper, one of our largest ones in the state, where it said there was a poll done a few weeks ago by high ground, where they polled people across the state of all parties. And the polling came out that 55 percent of all the people that were polled, the average is that they believe that there was no serious fraud, quote, unquote. Now and the article goes on to say that, see, we don't need to do the audit because there's 55% said there isn't.
COOPER: So I mean, I don't quite understand her logic here. But do we know what her plans are to announce the final results of this audit, because I mean, this is some private company doing this. And they've hired people who are clearly politically motivated. And so now this officially is just going to take whatever they say. And she's going to announce it like it's real.
LAH: Exactly. I mean, you nailed it, Anderson, you're right. This is a audit that we don't know what the rules are. We don't know how she's going to announce it. You can see there that it's a chicken before the egg. So it's, it's very difficult to know exactly what is real, what you've used is real.
COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah, thanks very much. Continuing reporting, I appreciate it.
Up next, a message of support to our friend and colleague Christiane Amanpour.
COOPER: Tonight, we send her love and support to our friend and our colleague, Christiane Amanpour. She made this announcement today on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTAINE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Like millions of women around the world, I have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I've had successful major surgery to remove it. And I'm now undergoing several months of chemotherapy for the best possible long term prognosis. I'm fortunate to have health insurance through work and incredible doctors were treating me in a country underpinned by the brilliant NHS.
I'm telling you all this of course in the interest of transparency, but in truth mostly as a shout out to early diagnosis, to urge women to get all the regular screenings and scans you can to listen to your bodies and of course to ensure that your legitimate medical concerns are not dismissed or diminished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Christiane, we love you and we offer all our support to you and your family. Courage defines you. It has your entire career and it does now and as you face this battle, we have no doubt you will fight and win. We love you. The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.