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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

F.D.A. Warns Of Potential Rare Complication With J&J COVID Shot; Texas Democrats Land In D.C. After Leaving State To Try To Block Republican Voting Bill; Interview With State Rep. Chris Turner (D-TX); Trump Goes All-In On Insurrection; Judge Questions If Pro-Trump Lawyers' Actions In Election Lawsuit Is "Sanctionable Behavior"; The Next Phase Of Ballot Farce; Eric Adams On Biden's Plan To Curb Gun Violence. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 12, 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: Keep moving forward. Our deepest sympathies to Pablo; his brother, Alex, and their family.

Thanks very much to all of you for joining me tonight. "AC360" with Anderson begins right now.

[20:00:14]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, a lot happening tonight including a new warning about another very rare, but serious condition now associated with the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID vaccine.

Also, there's new word on whether a booster shot is called for given the spread of the delta variant.

Later, the former President going all in on the insurrection, a day in which he says there was -- and these are his exact words this weekend -- love in the air.

We begin though right now with the lengths that Texas Democratic state lawmakers have just done to try to block Republicans there from passing restrictive new voting law. They've left the state entirely and are just minutes away from touching down at Washington's Dulles Airport.

We're expecting to hear from them shortly and talk to one of the top Democratic lawmakers as well seen, CNN's Dianne Gallagher is there for us right now.

So first of all, what is the latest on this flight in both meanings of the word to D.C. and what Texas lawmakers hope to accomplish?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the first of those two private planes that is carrying the Democrats who are breaking quorum by leaving the state just landed about two minutes ago, and the second one should be landing before I finish talking to you tonight.

They are on those flights because they feel the only way that they can prevent legislation that they think will restrict voting rights and be harmful to their citizens is to break quorum because they told me that they simply don't think that the Republicans are playing fair.

There are two separate bills that were introduced in the special session, that's H.B. 3 and S.B. 1, and both do contain a whole slew of restrictions to the voting processes and different kinds of criminal penalties added to the voting process specifically for election officials.

Now, the decision to break quorum is not an easy one, because it does come with a great risk. By law, they have to respond and have to be there at the Capitol, meaning that the Department of Public Safety could have been ordered to come and essentially bring them back to the Capitol. Much of this was kept very secret up until they began leaving.

Here's the key. This is a 30-day special session. They are going to have to wait it out most likely outside of the state until that ends. And then Anderson, the Governor can simply call another 30-day special session, and another 30-day special session.

I asked one of those lawmakers who was on the plane, Representative Trey Martinez Fischer how long they're going to wait this out. Anderson, he told me that they have every ounce of fight in them, they're going to put into this and that it's going to be one session or 10 sessions. But in his words, "Democracy is in jeopardy and we must do whatever we can to save it."

They're going to lean heavily on speaking to Democrats here in Washington, D.C. One of the Democratic lawmakers told me, "We're in the minority and we are taking great personal risk in doing everything we can to stop voting rights restrictions and stop voting rights from being taken away from citizens. The democrats in D.C. are in the majority, and we want to see them do the same thing that we are trying to do in Texas."

COOPER: Is it clear who is footing the bill for all of this?

GALLAGHER: So, Anderson, I'm told that right now, it is the House Democratic Caucus who is funding this trip, but they're already soliciting donations, many of the members, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke has been doing the same, to try and extend the trip out because like I said, this is a 30-day special session. It ends the eighth of August, so they're going to have to stretch it out and that's just that one session.

If they truly are committed to doing this potentially all summer into the fall, well, that's going to take a lot of money and being up here in Washington is not going to help. They've already got some support from Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris saying that they support what they're trying to do to protect voting rights.

Now, here's the other key, Anderson. We saw them do this in late May. This is how the Democrats ended the regular session. They killed S.B. 7, of course, then they just walked out of the building. Now, they're flying to the nation's capital, and they don't know when they're going to be able to go back home to the Lone Star State.

COOPER: Dianne Gallagher, thanks very much.

We're going to be joined in a moment by CNN's Paul Begala, political commentator, and Democratic strategist, also Texan, not necessarily in that order. But first, we're going to be talking to one of the lawmakers who has just fled the state.

Actually, let's go to Paul first and then we'll go to the lawmaker. Paul, so fleeing the state when you don't like the bills the Republican majority is pushing through, is that what -- I mean, that's what these -- I mean, isn't that what these Democratic lawmakers were elected to do to actually, you know, argue their cases, to be in the Statehouse, but I mean, they are fleeing what their job is?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It seems like -- it seems like it is the only option that they have. They have argued it. They have debated it. They just don't have the numbers.

They contested the election and lost. By the way, there was no fraud in that election even though the Republicans won it, the Democrats aren't alleging fraud. So, this is the one weapon they have and it is a bit of a Texas two-step if you will.

[20:05:08]

BEGALA: If they can hold off passage of this bill, until Congress restores the Voting Rights Act. There's the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that Congress is debating. If they can hold that off, then they believe that the Justice Department reviewing this new Texas law, if it becomes a law, under a Voting Rights Act, would find that it is racially discriminatory, but maybe it wouldn't, but that's their argument. It is that, just give us a chance to let this be reviewed the way the Voting Rights Act was used to review racially discriminatory laws for generations.

COOPER: But I mean, you said they had no choice. They do have a choice. They could -- you know, I mean, whatever you think of what the Republicans are doing and the bills they put forward, I mean, does our system work if the losing side just decides, "You know, what? We're not going to stick around. We're going to -- we're going to just leave every time we don't like something." I mean, is that -- does our system work that way?

BEGALA: It literally does in Texas. The Constitution says that there's not two-thirds of the body there, they can't vote on things. And this is the only way they can --

COOPER: No, I know, I know, it's illegal. But I mean, is it just -- is it the right thing to do?

BEGALA: I think it's the only thing to do. If you believe as they do, as I do, that voting rights are foundational. If you believe as they do, and I do that this bill is racially discriminatory, then they've got to do with everything they can.

I think the reverse argument is the more powerful one. What if they just sat there and let the Republicans steamroll through a law that discriminates against black and brown Texans, and didn't do every single thing they could do to try to stop that? I think that that's the more compelling argument.

And I know that they are getting paid to be in Austin. It's not very much money, but they should be there voting on bills, I get that.

But this is the only way that they can try to save their democracy is what they view it, and I have to say, I'm completely on board with that. It's the only option they've got.

COOPER: All right, but generally, every side argues that what they believe is the absolute truth. And there's, you know, this is a question of democracy hanging in the balance. I mean, voters in the end are the ones who decides and elections do have consequences.

Now, one of those consequences is that the majority controls the legislative process, whether you agree with it, whether I agree with it, whether you know, people agree with the policies or not, don't lawmakers of both parties have to respect that process?

BEGALA: Well, I think so, and that's why I am so frustrated by the big lie, which is what is the predicate for this Texas bill. The elections in Texas were won by the Republicans, and by all accounts, they were fair and accurate and honest.

And yet, the Republicans have put forward this big lie that somehow, there is all this fraud. If you talk to Texas politicians and I have, they can't cite a single example of fraud in the very actions that they're going to outlaw. In other words, Houston did 24-hour voting, and it worked great. They did drive-by voting, you could drop off your ballot in a drop box, it worked great. No fraud whatsoever. None even alleged.

The Texas Attorney General spent 22,000 staff hours -- 22,000 hours -- chasing down allegations of voting fraud, found 16 cases, every one of which was a case where somebody used a fraudulent address when they filled out their form. And those 16 people, not a one of them got a day of jail time.

So, what they are trying to do is divide black and brown Texans against white Texans, so they can distract from the fact that they can't keep the lights on, they can't keep the hospitals open. They can't keep people on their healthcare.

COOPER: Yes, Paul Begala, I appreciate it.

We're going to update our viewers on all this when we hear from those lawmakers once they land and get off the plane.

We also have breaking news now from the F.D.A. on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine about a rare neurological disorder that could actually be triggered in some rare cases by the injection. This, as the Biden administration moments ago ended a late afternoon meeting with officials from Pfizer about the possibility of a booster for its vaccine in the wake of the company's announcement about such a shot being needed, perhaps in the next few months. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us -- we

just lost Sanjay. We'll try to get him back. We're going to take a short break. We're going to continue our coverage, as we said, we're expecting to hear from some of the Democratic lawmakers from Texas who have charted two private jets and are landing in Dulles Airport just outside Washington to -- and you can see a lot of reporters there waiting to talk to them. We'll hear from them, coming up as well.

Also, the former President's tightening embrace on the attack on democracy and what it means for preserving democracy. Attorney George Conway joins me, keeping them honest.

And later, one of the President's most outspoken liars facing sanctions though as a lawyer for spreading conspiracy theories in Michigan. Remember that whole Kraken thing? We'll talk to the State's Attorney General.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:14:01]

COOPER: Again, we're waiting to hear from one of the Texas Democratic lawmakers who has fled the state to stop a voting bill.

Right now, the breaking news that the Johnson & Johnson COVID shot and a meeting on boosters, CNN's chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta joins me now.

So, let's start with Johnson & Johnson's warning. I understand there have been about a hundred preliminary reports of this rare neurological complication out of the 12.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson shot that's been given. So, what do we know about this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so that's about 10 in a million people. So, just to give you some context here. This is a safety signal that they noticed. You know, what happens is you get millions of people, you have 12.5 million people receiving the shots and they are monitoring very closely to see, are there any problems? That's how they found those clots. You might remember, Anderson, a few months ago, this sort of thing came up as well.

What we're talking about here is something known as Guillain-Barre syndrome, and what that is, is it's a neurological disorder. It's an inflammatory disorder where essentially, the coating around the nerves becomes inflamed, and you're not conducting the nerves -- they are not conducting the activity as well.

[20:15:09]

GUPTA: So, people may develop weakness, may develop numbness -- almost always gets better over time, over weeks. But that's the condition they've noticed, again, about 100 people out of, you know, over 10 million. They now have a warning, basically saying, this is something that can happen.

A little bit more context, it's more likely to happen, for example, just from getting the flu or getting other types of infections. So, this is part of the reason you vaccinate, but this is something that they're going to be keeping an eye on.

COOPER: That's interesting that actually not getting vaccinated for the flu, you have a higher chance getting this thing than getting this one shot from Johnson & Johnson. It's an important point.

So, Pfizer called this meeting with Federal officials this evening productive, while another source told CNN quote, "Nothing has changed." Can you just explain where you think things are with Pfizer? Because, I mean, the Pfizer CEO as I remember, was saying for a long time now that it would ultimately be necessary to get a third, you know, to get a booster? What's changed, if anything?

GUPTA: No, nothing has really changed. That's the thing. I mean, you know, ultimately, you know, you want to have data to show that you need to have something like this. What kind of data are we talking about?

Well, we know that the vaccine is really good at preventing people from getting severely ill and being hospitalized. We don't really have upticks in people who have been vaccinated who were then getting severely ill and being hospitalized. So, the vaccine is continuing to do its job.

I received my vaccine in the middle of December last year, you've had people who've had this now for months, they still have good protection. So, if there's evidence -- data that shows that people who have been vaccinated are no longer getting the protection that they once got that would be a signal, that would be an important signal, and you want to stay ahead of that.

So, people who are coming to the hospital with COVID, checking their vaccine status, seeing did their antibodies wane over time? Might they be a candidate for a booster? That's what's going to be necessary.

One thing I will point out is that, there are people, Anderson, who because their immune systems are weakened in the first place, they don't generate the same sort of antibodies to the vaccine. So, in those cases, there's been some data recently saying, those people may benefit from a third shot just to basically give them another sort of stimulus to their immune system to create more of those antibodies.

When I was talking to Dr. Walensky about that, she said, maybe that's not even really a booster as much as it is another priming sort of shot of the vaccine. But there's just not data that we need these boosters as of right now.

COOPER: So, with the rising cases in the U.S., particularly in a couple of areas, what precautions do you think -- I mean, is there something different vaccinated people should be doing?

GUPTA: You know, I don't think so. I mean, this is one of those things where it's a little bit of science meets art, and what I mean by that is that, you know, if you look at the data, and now you have lots of data, because the vaccines have been given to hundreds of millions of people all around the world, they remain very protective.

So, the idea that you're not likely to get severely ill or require hospitalization, the idea that you're not likely to develop an infection and that even if you do develop an infection, you're not likely to be contagious -- that all holds up.

Again, when I was talking to Dr. Walensky, the head of the C.D.C. about this, she made this point that look, she lives in Boston, very high vaccination rates, very low viral transmission rates, feeling very comfortable there.

If you go to places where you don't have as many vaccinated people and you have higher viral transmission, then even though you're not likely to be a source of spread as a vaccinated person, you know, the statistics are still very much in your favor. But in those cases, people may start wearing masks more often.

COOPER: Sanjay, appreciate it. Thanks.

More now on our other breaking news, Texas Democrats have just landed in D.C. leaving their home stage during a special legislative session to try to prevent passage of a Republican voting bill.

Joining us now by phone, Texas House Democratic Caucus Chairman, Chris Turner.

Chairman Turner, appreciate it. Can you tell us what your objective is, and how long -- I mean, how long are you going to stay away from your state from?

CHRIS TURNER (D), TEXAS HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Good evening, Anderson. We just landed in the Washington, D.C. area. I hope you can hear me, it's a little loud here.

COOPER: Yes, we've got you.

TURNER: But, good, okay. But more than 50 Democrats in the Texas House has left the state to block passage of the latest anti-voter legislation that Republicans are trying to pass impacting the election voting process, late night, all night, weekend hearings this past weekend.

And our objective is very simple, it is to kill this bill for this session for this 30-day special session and use that time to deliver a very clear message to the U.S. Congress, you have to act and you have to act now.

There's no more waiting. There's no more -- there is no more chances here. We need Congress to enact strong Federal voting rights legislation to save our democracy because these Republican attacks will continue to occur over and over again in Texas and across the country. So, that's why we're here. That's why we're doing what we're doing.

[20:20:22] TURNER: And I can tell you, these Democratic members are so

courageous. They've uprooted their lives to do this, and it is hard work, and they are in it for all the right reasons in it to save our democracy.

COOPER: How much of this though, I mean, is for publicity? And I ask that not to be disrespectful in any way, but you're what you're saying is, essentially, you're sending a message to Members of Congress that they need to act because that's the only thing that can really stop this in Texas, is Federal legislation.

Remember, Democratic Members of Congress, they know that. There's just the filibuster. They passed it in the House, they can't get a passed in the Senate unless they change the filibuster.

So, I mean, you're not going to be able to change the folks who need to be changed on the filibuster, are you?

TURNER: Well, that's our goal. The filibuster is that obstacle right now, because you really have 50 Democratic senators who are in favor of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which will be filed soon. But if Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are going to block those measures to allow Greg Abbott and the Republicans in Texas to continue passing both suppression laws, then what our message to Senate Democrats is, we need you to do everything you can to pass Federal voting rights legislation.

The Texas House Democrats can do everything we can with what we're doing is to block passage of Republican efforts in Texas, we need Senate Democrats to respond in time and help save our democracy.

COOPER: So, have you booked hotel rooms for 30 days, because I think there's 27 days left in the session.

TURNER: So, you know, our plan is to stay out until the end of the session right into the 30-day session, so August 7 will be the last day. And, you know, we're taking it a few days at a time, but we plan to spend a week here in Washington, working in Capitol Hill, and pressing the case with our Federal leaders that we need their help and we need their help now, and we'll stay flexible and continue to develop our plans as we go.

COOPER: All right, Chairman Turner, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

TURNER: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, Attorney George Conway on the former President's new and tighter embrace of the January attack on democracy, keeping them honest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:26:29]

COOPER: We're keeping them honest tonight in a place we'd frankly rather not be, reporting on things the former President said. It is familiar territory and a familiar dilemma, debunk it and risk amplifying his lies or ignore him and risk letting them spread.

Tonight, due to the nature of his remarks, we are giving them some scrutiny even at the time -- even at the risk. I shouldn't say I've been giving him the attention that he so desperately craves. That's because in what he said at a gathering of conservatives and on FOX News over the weekend, he has opened a new and dangerous chapter in our post insurrection world. It's one in which he fully embraces, not just lying about it, or downplaying it, or fighting any investigation of it.

He is now openly affectionately, almost, embracing the worst attack on democracy by Americans since the Civil War, and the incident that made him the first President ever to be impeached twice.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You had over a million people there. They were there for one reason, the rigged election. They felt the election was rigged. That's why they were there and they were peaceful people.

These were great people. And they are military people, and they are police officers and they are construction workers. And they are, tremendous, in many cases, tremendous people -- tremendous people.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Former President yesterday on FOX News. "Tremendous people," he says, not on both sides, as he said about Charlottesville in which he offered praise for those who marched with neo Nazis, as well as those who marched against them. Nope. Now, he is only praising one side -- this side.

The people, some of whom went to his rally heard him give what he now describes as a, quote, "mild mannered speech." Then there's something else, lying about the size of a crowd there that day because he has to lie about the crowd size. Of course, this is what he has always done.

Not noting the irony, of course, that bragging about or lying about the number of people trying to undermine democracy, that's not really a great look. But there's another place he took it that you have to hear for yourself to believe.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: You had over a million people there which the press doesn't like the report at all, because it shows too much -- too much activity, too much -- too much spirit and faith and love. There was such a love at that rally.

The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love -- the love in the air, I've never seen anything like it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Again, the idea that there were a million people is not true, and it's hard to articulate how depraved it is to describe a day that ended with more than 140 members of law enforcement hurt, wounded, some maimed. "The love," the love, he says as if he is serenading himself and maybe he is, as you consider that so-called love. Just take a look at this new video we got today of the attack and we're playing it in its violent, profane entirety, because that's precisely the way it was.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]

COOPER: So loving. "Patriots," that's what he calls those people. Twenty seven seconds of what must have been the longest day of those officers lives. One, as you know, died the next day and many, many others now living with debilitating injuries, not to mention the memories.

The former President only sees love. He also repeated the lie that no one was armed. Several weapons charges have been filed. A lot of folks just were allowed to leave without being searched or arrested.

[20:30:11]

Functional pipe bombs were of course discovered at several locations as was an alleged weapons cash at a nearby hotel. And also, people made weapons out of things you wouldn't ordinarily think of as weapons flagpoles. They took batons, they had stun guns, they use whatever they could to attack law enforcement, to attack democracy.

It's what else though the former president said that that pushes this beyond his typical dishonesty that we all are used to. He's now fully invested in making a martyr out of a QAnon fanatic who was part of a mob trying to break into a secure part of the Capitol.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: And by the way, while you're at it, who shot Ashli Babbitt? Why are they keeping that secret? Who is the person that shot and an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman right in the head, and there's no repercussions.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: That's not the first time he's misattributed where Ms. Babbitt was fatally wounded. According to the coroner's report, she was hit in the left shoulder and it's a tragedy that her life was taken. The disrespect though for the person's family is stunning to be so in love with the way that last line sound shot in the head, that he just keeps saying it regardless.

Do you think he actually cares about Ashli Babbitt? Do you think he actually knows about her life? I don't think so. As you know the mob she was part of was trying to better their way into the speaker's lobby of the House. And the other side of that door members of Congress being evacuated. What would have happened if the she had gotten through in the mob had gotten through, you can figure it out. In other words, the mob was a direct and immediate threat to their lives, or at least that's what the officer thought who was trying to protect them. Then after praising her almost as a martyr, he calling for the officer who shot her to be named, even though he's already allegedly gotten death threats. The President -- former president went on to suggest the officer was assigned to protect a specific Democratic official.

Today, law enforcement source said otherwise. The former president also neglects to say the shooting was investigated and the officer cleared of legal wrongdoing, which to him, I mean, it's hardly the point he wants a martyr, not a rioter.

He wants the outburst of rage to be seen as the Summer of Love, just as he wants a free and fair election to be solid, a free and fair election in which there was -- massive turnout on both sides. It was actually a remarkable election and Republicans did very well. He didn't the form -- the President at that time did not do well, he lost.

We've seen all the threads, we now we're seeing them all come together. And that is what is different tonight.

Joining us now conservative attorney, George Conway.

George, does this feel like an escalation from the former president or part of I guess the next kind of the next stage in rewriting history? Not just, you know, the lies themselves, but the danger of it now.

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: I think there's an escalation. But there's also a coming of coming full circle. Trump amidst the blizzard of lies that we've seen from him over the past few days, but on that Fox interview and in the CPAC speech. He actually is uttering one fundamental truth. He's telling the truth in one fundamental way, which is about how he feels about January 6.

He did say how he felt on January 6, when he said, we love you, I love you. And he said that. Remember this day forever, he tweeted, and he said that, he said that these people were wonderful people. He said all of that on January 6, and as Mitch McConnell said in his floor speech on February 13th, Trump loved this.

He loved what happened on January 6, because it was all about him. These people were fighting for him, and were fighting against democracy and against free elections, to be sure, but they were fighting for him and that's what he cares about. And he's gone right back to that in by claiming that, that Ashli Babbitt was innocent when in fact she was in the middle of committing a bunch of federal felonies when she was shot in the shoulder and not in the head.

She -- he's continuing to lie about the election, lying about the crowd sighs. He's now back, you know, there's no remorse and it was never any remorse. He held it back a little bit after a -- after the criticism that that the torrent of criticism that fell upon him on January 6, and seventh and his social media deplatforming, but he's out there on the loose now. COOPER: And you know, because he is shameless, I mean a shameless figure and willing to say anything and to repeat it endlessly, I mean he's been repeating it, you know in the dining room in Mar-a-Lago by the pool at Mar-a-Lago anywhere he wonders in Mar-a-Lago or anywhere else. He's been repeating it to anybody who will listen and probably boring people silly with it over time.

[20:35:14]

But because he's willing to repeat it, well, much longer than anyone else is willing to even want to think about it. In the end, he's able to convince people, because he just repeats the lie over and over and is so shameless. He kind of exhausts everybody.

CONWAY: Right, shameless, remorseless, you can call it any number of things. And the problem is at this point is even if he shut up tomorrow, even if even if you went away tomorrow and never, never spoke about this, again, which is not going to happen, it's all out there now. He's created basically, this cultish ad, you know, adherence to the big lie, that's going to be almost -- could almost be kind of a generational thing, like the stab in the back theory that that prevailed in Germany in the Weimar Republic. It's a dangerous, dangerous, scary thing.

COOPER: Also, that he has turned what was and Tom Freidman has written about this, what he has turned, you know, a remarkable election day in which in the midst of a pandemic, you know, at great risk of themselves, people came out and voted, and yes, states around the country made it easier for people to get to the polls, to mail-in ballots to have -- in some cases, 24-hour poll opens to have drive-in voting.

And there wasn't widespread voter fraud. And that's actually -- it's actually, and there was huge Republican turnout and huge Democratic turnout in the midst of a pandemic, the idea that he managed to turn that into this election that in the minds of his supporters was rigged, and why with widespread voter fraud, and now that Republicans in state houses across the country are actually passing restrictive, you know, changes based on that lie, is, it is -- it's a, it's just stunning, that he has done this.

CONWAY: Right, it -- this should be the aftermath of last year's election should have been a celebration of democracy, that so many people chose to participate, and that they chose to participate, as you say, in the middle of a pandemic. And they, they had so many ways to cast their votes and did vote. And that was basically it went rather smoothly, except for the fact that we had these baseless challenges that were made in Congress on January 6, and then the attack on Congress on January 6.

The fact of the matter is there were, you know, he brought 60 odd lawsuits, and he only won a piece of one of them on narrow grounds that didn't involve fraud. Which is the handful of absentee ballots. And the question was, you know, how many days do people get to cure mistakes that they went from on things that they wrote on the, on the envelopes? And, you know, all these courts, including many Republican judges, judges appointed to the United States Courts of Appeals, for example, and the United States District Courts by Donald John Trump, they rejected these claims and said, hey, where's the evidence, and the fact that that, that there was no evidence of fraud should have been something that was celebrated.

Instead, they've chosen to lie Rudy Giuliani's probably going to lose his license to practice law because he told so many lies about the election and lies that Trump continues to repeat. And today in Michigan, a hearing was held by a federal judge where other lawyers are probably going to get into trouble, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell for filing baseless claims.

COOPER: George Conway, I appreciate you being on Thank you.

CONWAY: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, we're going to talk more about what George was just mentioning Sidney Powell, Lin Wood in the legal crackin. They promised to unleash to overturn election results in Michigan. What happened to that cracking?

Somebody said to Donie O'Sullivan this weekend at CPAC, the only Republican actually he talked to I think, who actually believes that Biden is the legitimate president said, where's the friggin cracking? We'll talk about the court sanctions they're now facing with Michigan's Attorney General.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:42:33]

COOPER: So, lawyers are not supposed to file groundless lawsuits. When they do the worst that usually happens is the case gets dismissed and the losing side has to pay court costs. Now in rare instances, though, when a civil action is frivolous enough or filed in sufficiently bad faith or under false premises, the court can sanction the attorneys involved.

Well today, Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and other lawyers who sued to get election results thrown out in Michigan faced a federal judge. By most accounts, it did not go well for them. Judge Linda Parker, asking the attorneys as some of their assertions, quote, should have been obviously questionable. Just to remind you of some of those assertions, here's a small sampling of Sidney Powell statements about the 2020 election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNEY POWELL, ATTORNEY: What we are really dealing with here and uncovering more about the day is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China.

I think the Justice Department has known about this issue for a long time and turned a blind eye to it. The software that goes in other computerized voting systems here as well, not just a minion were created in Venezuela, at the direction of Hugo Chavez.

As far as I know, this is the first case of abject fraud and obtaining a coup of the United States of America.

I wonder how much the CIA actually had a role in starting this kind of program to begin with.

President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it.

It should be that he can simply be reinstated that a new inauguration data set and Biden is told to move out of the White House. And --

(CROSSTALK)

POWELL: -- and President Trump should be moved back in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I was trying to read the patches on her motorcycle vest.

Joining us now Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Attorney Genera Nessel, thanks for being with us. What is your reaction to what went on in court today?

DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, let's just say that I don't think the legal futures are very bright for any of the attorneys that were the plaintiffs lawyers on the case in Michigan, and I think they face a similar fate and various other states as well.

COOPER: In addition to several other Michigan officials, you asked the judge in this case to levy sanctions including financial penalties against the attorneys who filed this baseless lawsuit. Based on the comments from the judge today, do you have a sense of where you think gets headed.

[20:45:01]

NESSEL: I think that we're likely to be successful but I think the takeaway for me from today is this, you know, you heard each and every one of those attorneys double down on their assertions, right. There was no contrition. There was no recalcitrance, there was no apology. They were unrepentant about the same lies that they had initially told, during the course of this case, all the which had been wholly and entirely debunked.

So, what I think is important is not just that these attorneys be sanctioned, because they've already made God knows how much money off of disseminating these lies, but that they be disbarred that they be stripped of their law licenses, because what they've learned, if anything, is that, you know, profiteering off of election conspiracy theories can be very rewarding. And that's why these lawyers need to know that if they try to do this,

again, that they're going to be unable to. Because otherwise, if they're not, if they're not disbarred, they'll do it again in 2022 and 2024. And soon we'll have no faith in the integrity of our electoral system anywhere in America.

COOPER: It also -- I mean, if they're not disbarred, it emboldens who knows how many other, you know, attorneys who want to get on television and want to make a name for themselves to figure, you know, what I'll roll the dice on it the next time, and I'll you know, get on the bandwagon.

NESSEL: Yes, I mean, if anything, what we need to be able to say is this, even if these attorneys can go on television and say what they'd like, or go on social media and lie or even, you know, go to CPAC or some other friendly audience, they cannot go into a court of law and make these flagrant misrepresentations. And if they do, they're going to suffer consequences, and that if there is one place where facts and truth still matter, it is in our system of justice.

COOPER: In February, Michigan attorney working with the Republican plaintiffs argued that your office had attempted to and I quote, chill free speech, in your push for sanctions, the argument has obviously been a common refrain for anyone, from anyone really showing the big lie. Do you think people truly don't understand that a court of law has higher standards than, you know, say, a group of conspiracy theorists protesting in a public sidewalk?

NESSEL: Well, that's the thing about being an attorney, you know, you take an oath. And that's why when you go into court, you say to the judge, Your Honor, as an officer of the court, I make the following representations. And you don't have to be sworn the way that other witnesses do that are lay people, because you have already taken an oath, when you become an attorney.

And that oath is not to make misrepresentations to the court, not to mislead the court to make certain than any representations you've made you have adequately vetted to ensure that they are accurate, and that you're not just making ridiculous statements. And that's what you're relying upon.

And it was clear during the course of the proceedings today, that none of these attorneys made even a minimal effort in order to ensure the accuracy of the affidavits that they submitted, or any of the other claims that were made in the course of this complaint, or these briefs. And it was pointed out that even in some cases, you know, a 32nd inquiry onto a website would have disproven some of the allegations that they were making.

COOPER: Yes. And again, continue to make, as you said unrepentant. Dana Nessel, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

NESSEL: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: More now and the election lies it's playing out in Arizona. By now you know about this, you know, so-called the audit that we've been covering. By now you've seen the reporting on valid data being flown out of state and all the other unexplainable rituals being performed on the ballots themselves in the name of ferreting out fraud and election that has long been certified, not to mention litigated. While it's not over.

More now from CNN's Kyung Lah.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The so- called Arizona audit was supposedly over, but really, it just moved to this on air conditioned storage facility. Not recommended for use in Arizona summer. Cooled by fans and a network of portable coolers. The white hoses hanging all over the facility. This is now home to Maricopa County, Arizona is 2020 ballots.

A handful of workers began the day with the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America with some YMCA dancing. The song Donald Trump use that as rallies leading up to the 2020 vote.

Why is all of this happening? The Arizona audit spokesman says the numbers they have asked are a hand count don't match with Maricopa County's.

[20:50:03]

RANDY PULLEN, SPOKESMAN SENATE AUDIT: Sometimes we counted more, you know, so it's both but there's variations in the account and we're just trying to get to a number that we believe is accurate.

LAH (voice-over): Whatever they do find it won't impact the 2020 election because Arizona's vote was already certified. Also, two previous audits by Maricopa County did not find any widespread fraud, but Pullen maintains they could find enough gaps to continue to question the election.

PULLEN: As soon as possible, I'm not saying it did. I'm just saying that it raises questions. And that's why you have to do an audit to see what -- what's been done.

JENNIFER MORRELL, THE ELECTION GROUP: It was dangerous to begin with. I think the fact that it's dragging out continues to make it even more dangerous.

LAH (voice-over): Jennifer Morrell is a former elections official and now expert in election audits. She was brought in by Arizona secretary of state as an observer when the audit was on the floor of the Coliseum. She says a new machine count is part of a legitimate audit. But it should be the first not the last step of an audit. I showed her the warehouse from my laptop camera.

MORRELL: I don't know it's hard to know what to say at this point, right? Because from day one, every day was concerning, every day we sort of saw new things or heard new claims. And we thought this is absurd. This is just so bizarre. It's so unprecedented. It's hard to know at this point. (END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: So the machine count that was supposed to start today, well, two of those machines that prepare the count didn't show up. So, all of this is just going to have to wait until tomorrow. Anderson.

COOPER: Kyung Lah, appreciate the reporting. Stay on it. Thanks.

Just ahead, Eric Adams, the man who won the New York Democratic mayoral primary was at the White House event today on curbing gun violence. What he says he and President Biden discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Amid a stark increase in gun violence across the country, President Biden met with state and local leaders of the White House today as he began outlining his strategy to try to combat the surge. Although saying there was quote no one size fits all solution, the President did say he had a number of things in mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And includes cracking down on holding rogue gun dealers accountable for violating the federal law and includes the Justice Department creating five new strike forces to crackdown on illegal gun trafficking, and McCarter supplying weapons to cities of New York from New York to the Bay Area.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Among those in attendance was Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams who was declared the winner of the Democratic primary for New York City mayor and who's heavily favored to win the election this fall. I spoke with him just shortly before airtime.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on-camera): Mr. Adams, thanks so much for joining us. You met with the President. How did that go?

[20:54:59]

ERIC ADAMAS (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL NOMINEE: It went well. And I was really excited with his just his energy and as, you know, Anderson, this is something I've been talking about for so long. And just to see the chief executive, the commander-in-chief finally realize how important it is that we deal with issues of gun violence, hand gun violence, that is really saturating the inner cities.

COOPER (on-camera): You had a long and fascinating career in the New York Police Department. You ran on being tough on crime, you did well, very well in parts of New York that are less affluent as well and more and no one more for crime than you did in some very liberal and affluent parts of Manhattan. What does it say to you about priorities of Democratic voters? ADAMS: So true. And when you communicate with people who are closest to the problem, they know when they hear someone that's closest to the solutions, and an analysis of those votes show you those areas who are dealing with poverty, high crime, lack of adequate education, high unemployment is clear that they heard something in my voice and in my tone, and then he looked at my life, a person who was arrested and beat by police officers, who laws of forensic violence out during the mid '80s, going on to become a police officer fighting for reform.

They heard and saw that I lived the life that many New Yorkers are living, and they say this is the person we want to lead us into the next four years.

COOPER (on-camera): Do you think there's a lesson in your primary victory for Democrats nationwide? I mean, you don't hear a lot of progressive Democrats, you know, talking about policing in the way that you did?

ADAMS: Well, you know, what it is, we've allowed, I believe the numerical minority of the part of the party, to hijack the entire conversation. And when you engage in real talk with real New Yorkers, you have, you'll find that what people are saying the loudest is not what the majority of Democrats want. And it doesn't mean that we don't want to hear voices from all ends of the party. So we can come with a real solution to the problems we are facing.

But to not deal with those issues that I like to say, the kitchen table the bread and butter issues is a big mistake. People want safe streets, they want our children educated, they want a real issue around housing. And they want us to be pragmatic as we approach these things. I consider myself to be a progressive. But I don't want to only close Rikers Island, I want to close the pipeline that feeds Rikers Island, and you do it by being a more proactive and just not just reactive.

COOPER: You've said that you're the face of a new Democratic Party, is -- what does that party to you look like? And what is your message out there to other Democrats?

ADAMS: Well, there's a party where we embrace proper policing, where we talk about making sure that we redefine the ecosystem of public safety, to find the role of police officers in our ecosystem. And they make sure our officers are doing the job that they're supposed to do go after violent offenders and criminals, they shouldn't be dealing with mental health individuals who are experiencing mental health crises, unless it's a dangerous situation.

Our police offices should be focused on not doing clerical duties, but being on patrol, but we want to have the trust back in policing, and back in the communities that they serve. And then most importantly, we want to become more proactive and not reactive.

Fighting crime is both intervention and prevention. Many people talk only about the preventive aspect of it. But we must deal with the crime that we're facing now. And many of my colleagues throughout this country, they were reluctant to talk about it. And even in the city of New York, they were reluctant to talk about the crime that we were facing on our streets, and I refused to do so.

Anderson, my son won't grow up in a city that I grew up in, filled with crime, graffiti and violence. That is unacceptable.

COOPER: Eric Adams, pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.

ADAMS: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, there's more breaking news this evening. The DEA tell CNN that several suspects in the assassination of Haiti's president were previously informants for U.S. law enforcement, and that's one of the suspects at times was a confidential source to the DEA. Video of the attack appears to show suspects claiming to be DEA agents. The DEA denies any connection to the killing.

In the statement, the agency also says the suspect reached out to his contacts at the DEA following the assassination and that a DEA official urged him to surrender to local officials. The agency also says that he assisted in the surrender and arrest of another individual.

Tonight's news comes the same day the State Department says they became aware of a third American involved and one day after Haiti arrested a man they say help orchestrate the killing to become president himself. The man Haitian national and doctor living in Florida.

[21:00:06]

That's it for us. The news continues. We're going to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.