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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  December 15, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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good evening. what we have learned just this week about january 6th is pretty remarkable. more useful information in just the last three days perhaps than in the 11 months since a violent pro-trump mob assaulted the capitol. hard facts to rebut more than 11 months now of distortions and apparently willful mischaracterizations of what happened that day. and all that led up to it. three days of the house select committee's contempt presentation against former white house chief of staff mark meadows have done all that. and there is breaking news tonight on one of the committee's revelations and all the text messages that meadows has provided. texts forwarded by a lawmaker to meadows on january 5th.
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outlining an unproven legal theory on throwing out votes in states the former president lost. >> i want to display just a few of the messages he received from people in congress. the committee is not naming these lawmakers at this time as our investigation is ongoing. if we could cue the first graphic. this one reads, on january 6th, 2021, vice president mike pence as president of the senate should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all. you could see why this is so critical to ask mr. meadows about. >> congressman adam schiff read that, we did not know who sent that message to meadows. late today, we learned it was ohio republican congressman jim jordan. the one who downplays the insurrection and defends the big election lie. the result of the message cites federalist paper 78 and a federal case from 1915, which
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might or might not be relevant. but remember, this notion that the vice president could simply toss out electoral votes was already being pushed at the time by the former president himself. he was already leaning on mike pence in private and on social media. so, it's hard to imagine the congressman jordan's text by the 5th of january was all that new to the chief of staff. but it is remarkable that a sitting member of congress was texting this bunk to aid in the attempted undermining of a free and fair election. but the committee has done so comprehensively in these last few days has been to not only raise serious questions about the possibility of mr. meadows and the likes of mr. jordan aiding in the insurrection. the three days have also exposed fox news -- and i use the word news in name only -- as being completely a part of the fraud. their biggest stars, we now know, were sending texts to meadows begging him to get the former president to call off the mob. suggesting, of course, that this was the president's mob to call off. they knew it and what's more,
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they knew that meadows knew it, as well. here is committee vice chair liz cheney. >> multiple fox news hosts knew the president needed to act immediately. they texted mr. meadows and he has turned over those texts. quote, mark, the president needs to tell people in the capitol to go home. this is hurting all of us. he is destroying his legacy, la laura ingraham wrote. >> he is destroying his legacy, she writes. clearly understanding what the moment is about and the former president's culpability in it. she is writing as though she believes a the rioters will listen to him and follow his instructions. that's what she is writing privately. that these are his people. publicly, that very same night, she is saying explicitly to all her viewers that these are definitely not his people.
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>> i have never seen trump rally attendees wearing helmets -- black helmets, brown helmets, black backpacks. the uniforms that you saw in some of these crowd shots. >> well, that was the very same night. as for her plea about not destroying one's legacy, well, she clearly didn't heed her own advice, because she descended from there, repeatedly downplaying the attack until, by july, she was mocking the testimony from police officers who nearly lost their lives that day. >> pelosi's january 6th committee held its first hearing today and because of her actions leading up to today, the whole thing turned into in the eyes of many, nothing more than performance art. there was certainly a lot of violence that day, but it was not a terrorist attack. wasn't 9/11. it wasn't the worst thing that ever happened to america. it wasn't an insurrection. god save us from these third-rate theatrics. >> several law officers dead, some maimed, more than 140 injured in all.
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or, as she describes it, third-rate theatrics. as i mentioned, she was not alone. several other fox personalities also texted meadows their concerns during the attack. personalities who like her also went on to downplay it publicly. if nothing else, the committee this week made it impossible for anyone to overlook their hypocrisy, and frankly, contempt for their viewers. but it wasn't just the committee's revelations these last three days that have greatly expanded our body of knowledge. we also learned a great deal more to dispel the big lie about election fraud, which stoked the flames of january 6th and continues to have fallout today. the associated press reviewing every potential case of voter fraud in the six states disputed by the former president. guess how many they found? 475 out of 25 million votes cast in those states. fewer than 475 cases, actually. not even of fraud. of potential fraud. most never resulting in fraudulent ballots being cast. in georgia, for example, the ap
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found 64 instances of potential fraud. representing about half of 1% of president biden's winning margin there of 11,779 votes. a margin, you'll recall, the former president seemed to believe should all belong to him, plus one for good measure. >> so, look. all i want to do is this. i just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state. >> the former president on that call to georgia election officials told a number of lies about voting there and elsewhere, which the ap survey is only the latest to debunk. he also said this about pennsylvania, which is also not true. >> in pennsylvania, they had well over 200,000 more votes than they had people voting. and that -- that doesn't play too well. >> the fact that this and countless other election lies
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have been debunked, that hasn't stopped the former president, of course, from repeating them on and on and on. nor has it stopped republican lawmakers in pennsylvania and nationwide from trying to restrict voter access and/or relitigate the election. in a pennsylvania courtroom today, no decision in the effort by republican senators seeking personal voter information to use in a partisan audit of the 2020 general election and 2021 primary elections. joining us now is pennsylvania's attorney general, josh shapiro. attorney general shapiro, appreciate you joining us. can you just explain in layman's terms what happened in court today and how this could fit into efforts by the former president and his allies to undermine democracy nationwide? >> sure. state senate republicans apparently at the behest of the former president launched an effort to try and audit the vote here in pennsylvania. i use air quotes, of course, when i say audit because it's not a real audit. in fact, we've had two legally required audits that show that
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we had a free and fair, safe and secure election that joe biden won here in pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes. in the attempt to go forth and conduct this sham review, the senate republicans demanded the private information of 9 million pennsylvania voters, including social security numbers, driver's license numbers, and the likes. in my capacity as the attorney general of the commonwealth of pennsylvania, i sued to stop them. to protect the privacy interests of pennsylvanians, who indeed we have both a statutory and a constitutional right to privacy here in the commonwealth. today, we finally had the hearing. today was the first time that the senate republicans couldn't rely on just the rhetoric that they keep spewing on other networks, but rather, they had to present facts and evidence in a court of law. and we learned two important things from counsel to the senate republicans. one, they acknowledge that there
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is a risk in turning this private information over to a third party. they said that it's worth the risk. i don't think 9 million pennsylvanians would agree to that. and second, they were asked to define by the court what the purpose was of demanding this private information, and they could not state a purpose in court. that's what we learned today and now it will be up to the judges to rule as to whether or not the private, personal information of 9 million pennsylvanians will be turned over. >> how quick do you expect a ruling? >> you never know, but i think the court recognizes the importance here. i'm sure they'll take their time and do what they need to do. i think they're also being forced to consider the fact that the senate republicans are trying to take this information and give it to a third party. >> yeah. >> a third party, anderson, that has absolutely no credibility. they didn't exist a year ago. i believe they have two employees last we checked. and they have absolutely no experience doing this type of
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oversight or review. and so, i think the court will be weighing that as well. >> well, also, one of the leaders of the push for this audit, a republican state senator, said about vendors for the audit, quote, i'm not going to be hiring political activists to become investigators, unquote. i mean, i have read some of the stuff about this vendor. do you think he kept his word? >> no, of course not. he has made very, very clear that he is doing this at the behest of others. he's clearly trying to undermine our democracy, and he continues to chase a lie. listen, i'm the chief law enforcement officer of the commonwealth of pennsylvania. you want to talk about voter fraud, anderson? i heard that in your leadup. we had a handful of cases of voter fraud that were prosecuted here in pennsylvania and in those cases, by the way, they were trying to cast an extra vote for donald trump. none of the widespread voter fraud that the senator leading this panel or any of the other
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weak-kneed politicians that continue to pander here in pennsylvania are demonstrating that there was any type of widespread voter fraud at all, and i think it's also important to note that we had two legally required mandated audits that were done. again, they confirmed the results of this election. >> i mean, pander is a good word because it's, you know, we all saw what happened in arizona. much ballyhoo about, you know, cyber ninjas coming in and using their alleged expertise to find out. and nothing -- there was no finding. there was no fraud. just as there isn't any nationwide -- widespread voter fraud that would impact results of the election. folks from pennsylvania, i believe you and i discussed, i believe, after folks from pennsylvania went down there from the legislature to kind of look it over. they are basically pandering either to the hardcore republicans who believe the former president, or pandering to the former president hoping he will, you know, send them an attaboy message.
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>> i think that's exactly right. i would go maybe a step further. i think they are pandering out of a profound personal weakness. what i mean by that is they are willing to trade our democracy, to trade the oath of office that they're required to take, to try and achieve some sort of short-term political gain or attaboy as -- as you called it. that is -- that demonstrates, i think, a character flaw and a real weakness on these individuals' parts. and what it really does as well is not just cost taxpayer dollars here in pennsylvania, but denies us on opportunity to deal with the serious challenges we face. that people talk to me all the time about what they worry about. how they educate their kids, how they go forth and deal with this changing economy. and right now, people are worried about that. they shouldn't have to also worry about the fate of our democracy. >> yeah. attorney general shapiro, appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you. >> perspective now from margaret
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talev and also cnn anchor jim acosta. >> jim, you heard the pennsylvania attorney general. how does what is happening in pennsylvania reflect what is going on around the country? >> anderson, what we are seeing not only in pennsylvania but around the country is a fraudulent effort to find voter fraud. is the way this is -- is shaping up. and i think it -- it goes back to, you know, we are talking about old texts and -- and so on. i went back through some old reporting of mine just right after the november election in 2020. when we reported at the time that trump and some of his allies and associates were having conversations just in the weeks after the november election about whether electors could go rogue in various battleground states. and for weeks after that, anderson, there were discussions going on behind the scenes not only involving trump but mark meadows but lawmakers up on capitol hill, republican operatives, people like rudy giuliani, about whether or not alternate slates of electors could be sent to vice president
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mike pence to be counted on january 6th. and so, there was just this steady effort that was going on for weeks to essentially overturn the election results and overturn the will of the american people. and, anderson, you know, the way you teed that up at the beginning of the program, i mean, i just think it captures it so perfectly. republicans have been on a crusade. trump republicans have been on a crusade to find voter fraud all this time. it turns out, the fraudsters are many of them. they just need to look in the mirror. >> margaret, while the former president was in office, he would often keep endorsements to national or statewide races. how is the strategy different this time around? >> well, we are seeing, anderson, the former president and his team playing in multiple states at multiple levels of government right now. everything from endorsements in governor's races and congressional races which we see every day down to the state
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level. state offices. secretary of state. and a parallel effort through thinktanks and other groups to try to mash machinate around boards of education in jurisdictions around the country. so, it's a whole of government effort from top to bottom. last count about a week ago was he had made around 80 endorsements. many more are coming and this is not just shoot from the hip, off the cuff, you know, enemies list kind of stuff. this is is a strategic effort to try to ensure that there are loyalists installed at all levels of government who can shape laws, appeals, ultimate decisions, legislation, policy, leadership, and elections throughout the country between now and the primaries and now and november 2022. >> do you think that can actually impact the way future elections are run? i mean, in -- at local levels, at state levels? >> i mean, yes.
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i think inherently, it can. it will -- it will be a test case or -- or many test cases for how. for example, secretaries of states races have never drawn the kind of money that they're already starting to draw and will draw this year. it's kind of the -- i can't think of a better word than politicization of an office that, yes, at times, has, you know, senacretaries of state ar constantly balancing their party allegiances with their job. but ultimately, it is their job to administer fair, impartial elections and this would become a much more political effort in school boards. certainly, that's the case. i look at this in three parallel things. what is going on with the january 6th committee right now and the efforts to stonewall testimony. a concerted effort by the president, former president, and his allies to diminish mitch mcconnell's leadership in the senate, and to have people -- have candidates take stances against mitch mcconnell as part of their primary candidacy. and then, of course, this broader effort of trying to
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install loyalists throughout government. >> jim, we talked about this earlier. ohio congressman jim jordan today confirmed that -- or spokesman for him confirmed jordan was the source of one of the much talked about text messages to mark meadows, saying on january 6th, 2021, vice president mike pence as president of the senate should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all. jordan's spokesman is claiming the text was part of a larger chain, was actually a forwarded text. i mean, does that make it any less egregious you think in the committee's eyes? >> no, there's no putting lipstick on this pig, anderson. i mean, listen. keep in mind, jim jordan was one of kevin mccarthy's picks for the january 6th committee. so can you imagine the embarrassment that -- that would have been on jim jordan's face when they started reading texts, and then looked over at jim jordan and said, oh, by the way, i think that was your text. i mean, we are starting to get into the -- >> i'm not sure -- i'm not sure that shame or embarrassment is any -- is something that he feels a lot of.
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>> well, yeah. this is turning into the spider-man meme where you got two guys dressed up as spider-man pointing at one another, saying, no, you're the fraudster, you're the fraudster. this is getting to be almost comical. but the sad reality in all of this, anderson, is that what we are looking at and this is a difficult reality to get our heads around but we are going to have to get comfortable with it, is that there appears to have been a vast conspiracy involving trump, involving people working under trump, and potentially, and it looks like members of congress up on capitol hill, who were attempting to overturn election results, who were attempting to prevent a constitutional process that was supposed to take place on january 6th. and i think that is why it is so critically important what liz cheney was saying in the last 48 hours. she was hinting that a violation of u.s. code may have occurred. now, that goes way beyond what we talked about up until this point, in terms of getting to the bottom of january 6th and getting the truth out there and so on. what we're talking about is a potentially criminal conspiracy
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to overturn the 2020 election. and i think that is -- that is why you have a lot of republican members up on capitol hill right now, i think, quaking in their boots. >> jim, margaret, thank you. next, our randi kaye and author stuart stephens on congresswoman liz cheney who has taken center stage in all of this and is facing the wrath of her party and the former president. later, dr. sanjay gupta on boosters and how effective they can be in keeping us all healthy, even against this new strain. to support a strong immune system your body needs a routine. centrum helps your immune defenses every day, with vitamin c, d and zinc*
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♪ i'm a reporter for the new york times. if you just hold it like this. yeah. ♪ i love finding out things that other people don't want me to know. mm-hmm. [beep] i just wanted to say... ♪ find yourself in these situations and see who you are. and that's just part of the bargain. ♪ in addition to everything else the house select committee has done in service of the facts, it's also provided a reminder of what true bipartisanship looks like. the kind that was taken for granted during the watergate hearings, but now only exists in
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the person of two republicans who chose to serve in the current proceedings. one, wyoming congresswoman liz cheney, who co-chairs the committee. our randi kaye tonight takes a look at what drives her. >> reporter: love her or hate her, there's no doubt this is liz cheney's moment. >> for 187 minutes, president trump refused to act. when action by our president was required, essential, and indeed compelled by his oath to our constitution. >> reporter: republican congresswoman liz cheney, squarely putting the blame on trump for january 6th. >> he did it in an effort to steal an election. >> reporter: cheney was one of ten house republicans who voted to impeach trump for his part in the attack. and it cost her politically. in may, she was stripped of her gop leadership role, but she was only more emboldened. >> instead of stopping the attack while it was underway, he was busy calling up senators trying to get them to delay the count. >> trump has called cheney a horrible human being. insults which only seem to fuel her determination. it's why she's breaking with her
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own party. serving as the face a democratic-led committee. it was liz cheney who read those damning text messages during the recent contempt hearing, exposing the former president, fox news hosts, and others as frauds. and cheney wasn't afraid to suggest trump may have committed a crime. >> did donald trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede congress's official proceedings to count electoral votes? >> reporter: liz cheney's fortitude may come from her father. >> there is one man in particular we all know who certainly has taught me what it means to have the courage of your convictions. >> reporter: that was cheney back in 2010 talking about her father, dick cheney. and how the former vice president shaped her political views. >> everything about liz cheney is baked into what her father did before her.
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>> reporter: liz cheney was born to dick and lynn cheney in 1966 in madison, wisconsin. she attended colorado college as an undergraduate. then, before going to university of chicago law school, she worked for the state department for five years. later, she ran for the senate. >> today, i am launching my candidacy for the united states senate. >> reporter: in her 2014 run, she spoke out against same-sex marriage, despite the fact her younger sister mary married a woman. >> i do believe in the traditional definition of marriage. >> reporter: she has since changed her position. >> i was wrong. i was wrong. i love my sister very much. >> reporter: liz cheney ended up dropping out of that senate race. but in 2016, she won wyoming's house seat and quickly became the most powerful woman in the house leadership. her place in history is still being written, though. she is vowing to keep her house seat, despite trump's endorsement of her key opponent. and the wyoming republican party
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calling for her resignation. >> there is nothing liz cheney loves more than a good fight. >> reporter: randi kaye, cnn, palm beach county, florida. >> someone else who doesn't mind a fight joins us now. he is political consultant, former republican and writer stuart stevens, author of eight books, most notably in this context, "it was all a lie: how the republican party became donald trump." stuart, congresswoman cheney obviously one of the very few republicans standing up to the big lie. do you think what she is doing is resonating with republican voters in her district or anywhere across the country? i mean, can she break through the polarization? >> well, i think liz cheney will be re-elected. i think she will be re-elected easily. people follow courage in the same way they follow cowardness. i mean, that's how mobs are started and that's how mobs are stopped. this is an extraordinarily courageous moment of hers, and it's also a very conservative moment. you know, when william buckley launched the national review, he
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said that sometimes conservatism should play the role of standing athwart history and saying stop. and that's what liz cheney's doing here, to what used to be a party that -- that i belonged to that said if it believed in anything, the constitution, and it's become an anti-constitutional movement. >> it is -- i mean, as somebody who grew up interested in politics in the 1980s, you know, coming of age in the age of ronald reagan, it is stunning to see the republican party essentially -- the republican party that was is really represented now by two holdouts in the house. i mean, liz cheney and adam k kinzinger. >> yeah. i don't really think we've seen a collapse of a moral center of a party like this in certainly modern american history and probably not american history. you know, i think there's always been these two strands of the republican party in post-world war ii.
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there was an eisenhower strand, which was governing, boring, sane. and a joe mccarthy strand, paranoid, often racist, conspiratorial, nongoverning. a lot of us, certainly i felt that we were the dominant gene. that we belonged to the eisenhower wing. that's what compassionate conservatism was all about. but i don't know any conclusion to come to, anderson. and on a personal level, it's incredibly painful that i was wrong. and that we were the recesssive gene. and that this crazy gene that you see represented now by the republican party is what the republican party wants to be. >> well, it's also, you know, there have always been marjorie taylor greenes or lauren boebert or paul gosars. but the fact is that they have now been elevated by their peers, not condemned by house leadership and liz cheney, you know, agree with her or disagree with her on her politics, truth,
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she is, you know, telling a truth. and essentially been excommunicated. >> yeah. you know, i -- i would give a lot if i could say with any kind of honesty that liz cheney was the future of the republican party versus marjorie taylor greene. but i don't know how you can look at the party today and say that. >> you know, you wrote awhile ago, and correct me if i'm wrong, that we would be lucky if liz cheney was the leader of the rep republican party. you wrote, it was in a book about the 2000 bush campaign you wrote called "the big enchilada" and you said if republicans are lucky, someday liz cheney will run for president. that was in 2000. >> yeah. you know, i worked closely with liz cheney in debate prep for her dad and she was incredibly impressive. and i wrote that because it was true. it's rare that you run across someone that impressive. and now, maybe it's said to me
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that in 2000 that liz cheney would be voted out of the republican party by the wyoming republicans? i would have said this is insane. but we are at that moment where the unimaginable tends to become inevitable. and we have to just accept this. >> you have said that if republicans win in 2022 and 2024, there is every reason to believe that democracy will no longer exist as we know it? i mean, you -- you really believe that? >> yeah, i think it's a truism. i mean, look. you -- how many republicans have denounced the power point to stop the peaceful transition of power? in fact, we really didn't have a peaceful transition of power, because people died in an attempt to stop it. all of these efforts that the republicans are trying to change these laws and are changing these laws in these states -- pay attention. i mean, they are these buffoonish characters out there that we're talking about like the marjorie taylor greenes. that's not who represents the -- the real core of this movement. and it is an autocratic
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movement. and it is driven by the fact that the republican party exists now in an america that is rapidly changing, and it has failed on a widespread level to be able to attract nonwhite votes. so, that's their reaction to it. if you can't change demographics, which they can't. if you can't change who is americans, we can try to change who -- which americans can vote. and that's what this is about. and they're very comfortable with this. they admit it. they say it. listen to them. believe them. and it's up to the rest of us to fight it, because if we don't fight, they will win. >> stuart stevens, i appreciate you joining us. thank you. >> thank you. more colleges and universities are making changes to the end of their fall semester due to rising covid cases and the spread of the omicron variant. plus, we'll have more on that, plus new data on the effectiveness, good news, of booster shots when it comes to omicron.
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the rise in covid cases and concerns over the fast spreading omicron variant is forcing at least two more colleges and universities to cancel -- four more, excuse me -- to cancel end of the year events and recommend or call for final exams online. princeton university, nyu, and middlebury college are among those making the announcement just as cornell university did yesterday. meanwhile, new data from the national institutes of health shows a third dose of moderna's vaccine offers protection against omicron that's 20 times greater than the two-dose regimen. and pfizer's booster shot is 75% effective against symptomatic infection. so, there's a lot to discuss with our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. sanjay, just tonight, dr. fauci said he thinks omicron surge is, quote, almost inevitable. i often ask you this near the
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beginning of our covid town halls. where do you think we are now in the course of this pandemic? >> well, we are still very much in the middle of a -- of a delta surge here and anderson, we knew as we were going into the cooler, drier months, the spread, the numbers were going to increase, always. it was just a question of how much. let me show you this graph we put together, sort of give you an idea. this is looking at england looking at omicron and delta. what we're seeing here is sort of how these both started. so, the blue line is how delta started. you can see it was -- it grew pretty quickly, but it took a little bit of time to get there. with omicron, just a few days after the first case was identified, you can see it's a much more upward trajectory. that line looks like it may be plateauing a little bit there, but there's no indication of that overall in terms of the numbers, so, omicron is certainly growing a lot. if you look more specifically at the country as a whole, we knew a couple of weeks ago that if you looked at all the new cases that were being diagnosed, omicron made up about 0.4% and now it's closer to 3%.
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within two weeks. in new york and new jersey, where you are, anderson, over that same two-week period, from 2% to 13%. so, that's sort of where we are. it's still very much about delta. but those graphs sort of paint the picture about why omicron's a concern. >> what do you most want to know about omicron that you don't at this point? >> you know, i think that there -- there's still three main questions here. you know, we are getting -- it's coming into clearer focus, but really, will this outcompete delta? i just showed you the graph that shows just how much faster it potentially is growing at least at the start. the severity of this -- you know, how severe is it? this is still an open question. if you look at south africa, for example, you find that the risk of hospitalization was about 29% lower than with previous strains so that's good. and then, i think the final thing is ultimately how well do -- does the immunity work? the graph you are looking at the on the screen now, anderson, still paints the picture of
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vaccinated versus unvaccinated. so as much as we talk about omicron outcompeting delta and everything, the red line, you know, is the unvaccinated. if you have covid, you end up in the hospital. it is not even close. >> that's startling. i mean, that is incredible. >> it -- yeah. i mean, you know, we should talk about boosters. we should talk about omicron. but what is happening still in the united states is that picture on the screen. that the unvaccinated are still largely accounting for the most severely ill in this country. >> how critical do you think -- i mean, i know a number of people who have not had boosters, who have now contracted it, just in the last week or so. i spoke with infectious disease expert michael osterholm last night. he warned that even if omicron causes more mild illness, the reality is huge numbers of infection would still strain the health care system. >> yeah. i mean, that's the thing. you know, i think sometimes people have a hard time getting the proportionality of things here. so if you look again at that
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graph that we're talking about, if you start to extrapolate that and, say, okay, omicron is so contagious that it's -- everyone is going to be touched by this at some point. if you're vaccinate and boosted, the likelihood you're going to have significant symptoms is much lower. but the idea that you have such a significant percentage of vulnerable people in the country still, even with milder illness. if you get 0.5% or 1% even of those people becoming ill, ill enough to see their doctor or go in the hospital, you are going to severely tax hospital systems all over the country at some point. >> and just very briefly, i mean, someone who's already had two vaccines and thinks getting boosted is just, like, icing on the cake. it's -- i mean, is that true? or this really -- it is necessary? i mean, i have been boosted. it's necessary, isn't it? >> i have been boosted, as well. well, let's just put up that graph, again. i can just show you. again, we have pulled these numbers for you, anderson, to make the case, because i think the numbers do tell the story. if you look at the effectiveness of omicron versus delta in the first several weeks, two to nine weeks. really good, right, against getting sick with covid-19.
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any kind of illness -- mild or severe. went down significantly for omicron by week 14 and even more so by week 19. but if the booster is given and within two weeks after that booster, it really does restore that protection. we don't know how long that still lasts. >> right. >> but i think it's important to point out, anderson, we are still trying to control -- if we can get the numbers under control and keep people relatively safe during that time, hopefully the boosters will last long enough to make that happen. >> sanjay, appreciate it. thank you. millions of americans under weather alerts tonight as extremely high winds and potential tornadoes threaten parts of the u.s. our meteorologist tom sater tells us what we should expect, next. get help managing your money for the life -- and years -- ahead. with fidelity income planning, we'll look at what you've saved, what you'll need, and help you build a flexible plan for cash flow designed to last.
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right now, across parts of the u.s., millions of people are facing threat of severe storms, high winds, potential tornados, even wild fires as kentucky and several other states still recover from last weekend's devastating tornados. tonight, more than 80 million people in the central u.s. are under threat of hurricane force winds and according to the national weather service, it's been an historic day after a moderate severe storm risk was issued for parts of the upper
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midwest. first time those risks in these locations have ever been issued in december. cnn meteorologist tom sater is monitoring it all, joins us now. so how many states are seeing rough weather and how bad might it get? >> well, it started just 24 hours ago, anderson, in california. it dropped into the desert southwest across central rockies all the way to the great lakes. two-thirds of the country. i ever been doing this 30 years and we are seeing things today in the cnn weather center we have never seen, before. how bad could it get? the u.s. could be looking at it its second billion-dollar weather disaster in less than a week. let me break it down. starting with an atmospheric river, a fire hose of rainfall in california. best rain they have seen all year and heavy snowfall, but got too much in southern california. we had debris floes. six to eight foot snow amounts in the sierras with avalanche warnings. 91-mile-per-hour winds brought this snow in toward bolder and it looked like a sandstorm. oh, and we had that, too. four states in the southern plains, texas, up toward nebraska, zero visibility with a dust storm that was blowing tractor trailers over. behind that, numerous wildfires. they never see this time of
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year. then, we are going to get into the mess up to the north which we have never seen. take a look at winter storm watches and warnings in areas of north dakota and minnesota. that's to come later on. but when you look at this system right now, we've had 82-mile-per-hour gusts in sioux city. 91 in boulder as i mentioned. numerous tornado warnings. already we are up to 70 tornado warnings and on friday's event, we had 100. so, we're on our way there. notice, in red, a tornado watch until 11:00 central time. this is the first time in history we have ever seen a tornado watch in the state of minnesota. in fact, going back over 100 years, they have only had one warning and that was a severe thunderstorm warning. the tower at the airport in kansas city had to be cleared. there was debris. they were able to come back. once this line moves through, people are going to see the wind still pick up. it won't be severe like we had on friday in mayfield when they had two rounds of this. this is the first tornado warning ever in the history of minnesota that runs november and february. it's never happened before in history.
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if we get a tornado, that will be the first time. on a grand scale, we had severe wind reports from the desert southwest with power outages all the way to the great lakes. so it's going to take a while to go through all the damage assessments, but this is unprecedented. a critical level. extreme for fire damage. we talked to a number of the offices yesterday. they've never seen this and there have been a number of fires that have been scorching buildings. in oklahoma, they had to evacuate a town as the winds were picking up and of course they were hosing down their buildings. but this is unprecedented. but never before level four out of five in the upper midwest, anderson. >> amazing. tom, appreciate it. thank you. many parts of the nation are under severe weather threats right now. president biden traveled to kentucky today, surveyed the damage from last weekend's storm. he announced that the federal government would cover 100% of the emergency work costs for the first 30 days of recovery. he also promised to do, quote, whatever it takes as long as it takes to support kentucky. officials in the state revised the death toll downward today to 71 people, and as of yesterday,
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there are still 18,500 power outages in the state and the people of that region, they remain in our thoughts. up next, former police officer derek chauvin has changed his plea in the federal civil rights case over the death of george floyd. details ahead.
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monday, after being convicted of murder, chauvin pleaded guilty to violating floyd's civil rights. josh campbell has the story. >> for the first time since the murder of george floyd last year, derek chauvin is admitting responsibility, pleading guilty to federal sufficiently rights charges that he violated floyd's civil rights by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. in addition to the more than two decades here sentenced to, three years were added to his sentence. "you kept your knees on mr. floyd's neck and body even after mr. floyd became unresponsive, correct? correct, chauvin said. when asked if agreed that it resulted in floyd's death, he gave the same one-word response. floyd's brothers had mixed reaction. >> i wanted to hear that at the
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very beginning. right now it don't mean nothing. it don't hold weight. >> to me a blue wall fell and it never falls. it's opening up and they all say it was wrong. "you kept your knees on mr. floyd's neck and body even after mr. floyd became unresponsive, correct? correct, chauvin said. when asked if agreed that it resulted in floyd's death, he gave the same one-word response. floyd's brothers had mixed reaction. >> i wish it would have happened when we had the state trial. i wanted to hear that at the very beginning. right now it don't mean nothing. it don't hold weight. >> to me a blue wall fell and it never falls. it's opening up and they all say it was wrong. >> reporter: anderson, it was a powerful day in court today. we saw the coming together of
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multiple people impacted by the actions of this former officers. there was also a juvenile who derek chauvin pleaded guilty to assaulting. at the end of the hearing, george floyd's brother turned to this boy and said "it's a good day for justice." >> thank you. appreciate it. we'll be right back. when heartburn hits, fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast heartburn relief in every bite. crunchy outside, chewy inside. ♪ tums, tums, tums, tums ♪ tums chewy bites as a professional bull-rider i'm used to taking chances. but when it comes to my insurance i don't. i use liberty mutual, they customize your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. wooo, yeaa, woooooo and, by switching you could even save 665 dollars. hey tex, can someone else get a turn? yeah, hang on, i'm about to break my own record.
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oh no. for the gifts you won't forget. the mercedes-benz winter event. a quick note before we go, if you ever missed the show, you find the show on search for anderson cooper 360. let's hand it over to michael smerconish. anderson, thank you. i am michael smerconish. good evening. the strongest evidence yet that the 2020 election was fair and square. and we'll learn how the election denialism is sticking around and