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CNN "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees" - Transcript: Interview with Senator Amy Klobuchar



COOPER: Our next guest Senator Amy Klobuchar question Judge Barrett have focused part of her time on voter suppression and intimidation.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Judge Barrett under federal law, is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls? AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Senator Klobuchar, I can't characterize the facts in a hypothetical situation and I can't apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts.

KLOBUCHAR: OK. Well, I'll make it easier. 18 USC-594 outlaws anyone who intimidates, threatens, coerces or attempts to intimidate, threaten or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote. This is a law that has been on the books for decades. Do you think a reasonable person would feel intimidated by the president presence of armed civilian groups at the polls?


BARRETT: Senator Klobuchar, you know, that is eliciting. I'm not sure whether it's a it's eliminating a legal opinion from me because the reasonable person standard, as you know, is one common in the law, or just an opinion as a citizen, but it's not something really that's appropriate for me to comment on.


COOPER: Joining me now, is Senator Amy Klobuchar. I appreciate you being here. I'm wondering what you made of the Judges answers. She obviously is very reticent to give you an answer on voter suppression, election integrity.

KLOBUCHAR: I was actually pretty shocked because this isn't a court opinion that she's being asked, this is a law on the books. And I was just making the point, it's very relevant, because as you know, a contractor from outside of my state was actually trying to recruit outsiders, former Special Forces. That's what they asked for, to come in and stand at the poll places in Minnesota. And by the way, that is illegal. I want to make that clear on your show, even though she wouldn't talk about it is illegal. Under Minnesota law, there's going to have one person in the polling place, you can't intimidate people. There's all kinds of rules that apply. And so, that's why I asked it. And I was very much shocked, as well as the fact that she has a previous opinion that she wrote a dissent, in which she really downplayed voting rights to me talk about them as civic rights as opposed to individual rights.

And, you know, we're losing a seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg here. And I don't want to be filled by someone that doesn't share Justice Ginsburg, profound commitment to voting rights. She's the one that wrote that dissent in the show be case, which was her blueprint for the future, and which she talked about. I mean, she talked about how Congress should have the reigns, how she talked about in that case, how you shouldn't be throwing out the protections from the Voting Rights Act. And as I asked the Judge today, they got thrown out because of the majority, and now over 20 states have enacted laws that suppress the vote. So Ruth Bader Ginsburg was right. But Justice -- Judge Coney Barrett would not agree that she was right.

COOPER: Is it -- I mean, is it fair to assume that that she would go to the mat for President Trump, if he contested the election? I mean, she will have a lifetime appointment. She wouldn't be beholden to him for her job security. You know, there are those who say, give her the benefit of the doubt.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, let's look at what he has said. I mean, he has said that he wants nine justices on the court. After the election, he's made that very clear because of the election. And he actually went as far as to say that they could count the ballot. That was a recent statement that he made. So, it's very clear what he's thinking, and he has set out every sign. And that's why, you know, I think she could should recuse herself. And we asked her that today, but she would not commit to doing that. If there was any kind of an election case that went before the court, unlike some Michigan judges, who had actually done that, when they're -- when a case came before their court. They had been on the Trump list of potential U.S. Supreme Court justices, and they actually recused themselves.

COOPER: We heard from Senator Harris before about the upcoming Supreme Court -- the challenge of the Supreme Court's the Affordable Care Act. Judge Barrett said today that she's, quote, not hostile to the ACA. But she's also criticized Chief Justice Roberts and his rulings on the ACA in the past. So how do you square her answers on that?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, what I said to her today, finally, because she won't commit to where she is on it, I said, you know, in northern Minnesota, where I used to go up there growing up, and my mom would take me on these walks on muddy paths, and we would look for deer tracks, and we would follow those deer tracks and it was always a mystery. Where would they go? I don't think this is a mystery. What we have to do is follow her tracks. When you follow the tracks of her record, what do you see? She criticized Justice Roberts, in one case for upholding the Affordable Care Act, as she was very pointed in her criticism.

Then in another case, in the Burwell Case, she actually said that she thought that Scalia who wrote the design, again, Affordable Care Act case, she said that Scalia had the stronger of a legal argument. I don't think it's that hard. When you look at the fact that she says Scalia is her mentor, where she is on that where, she's been on Roe v. Wade, you can follow those tracks very, very clearly. And they point you in the polar opposite of what Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for her whole life.

COOPER: At this point, though, there's not really a path where the Judge does not get confirmed. I mean, isn't that correct?


KLOBUCHAR: Oh, that's a different path Anderson. So, I made that point yesterday in my opening, and that is that we don't have some clever procedural trick. That's true with the way the rules are. And I don't think you're going to see some incredible cross examination, that's going to change the trajectory of this judge. But one thing can change that your trajectory, and that is the American people. People who have had it and thinks we should be working on a COVID relief package instead of sitting in that hearing room that shows the priorities of the Republican Party. So, people are I know they're doing this calling those Republican senators saying, this isn't what you should be doing right now. You should follow your own precedent, and the people should choose the president and the president should choose the justice and you should be getting a COVID relief package done.

The other thing that people can do is vote. And once they see and I think many of them have, where this judge is coming from, if anything, it should make them want to vote and not just in the presidential race, but in the Senate races, which is really at issue here. We need a different leader of the Senate and we need a different Senate.

COOPER: Senator Klobuchar, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, thanks, Anderson.