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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
May Day Violence in Portland; Trump Invites Admitted Killer to White House; Trump Stands By False Claim that Obama Wiretapped Him. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 1, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.
I want to take you right now to what's happening in Portland, Oregon, breaking news. May Day protests going on right now in several cities, including Los Angeles and Washington state. Things are starting getting violent in Portland, where you're seeing pictures of several disturbances just in the last several minutes.
We should tell you, the official protest there, May Day protest, was actually canceled by police, because, police say, of the presence and the behavior of what they described as anarchists. We've been watching now over the last several minutes, of a group of anywhere from 100 or more people, many of them dressed in black. Some have been setting fires.
There you see police trying to put out some of the fires, that they set through overturning a newspaper boxes, lighting those on fire. We also saw a flare being fired into or being thrown into a police SUV. The police also took that out.
Now, this -- that fire we saw, a few minutes ago, these are live pictures from KPTV in Portland, Oregon. With the official protest canceled, we've seen now just dozens and dozens of these people, basically, just kind of moving freely through the streets, kicking in some windows in several stores.
Our Sara Sidner is at another protest where it's been peaceful, in Seattle. She joins us now, as we continue to look at the protest that is going on now in Portland.
Sara, this protest in Portland, clearly, the official protest was canceled. But clearly, there are a number of people that the police are describing as anarchists, who really seem to be kind of moving down several blocks and just kind of in a uncontrolled way at this point.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, that's what Seattle also worries about, what is happening in Portland. There's a group known as Black Block, or anarchist, if you will, who tend to get quite, you know, rowdy and violent at some times. So, I do want to read you some of what the Portland police have been
saying today. Just a few moments ago, they tweeted out something, saying that the anarchists had destroyed a police car, damaging doors and windows, and properties on fire, attacking police. And they're telling people, if you do not need to go downtown Portland, do not go. They are telling people to stay away from downtown, Portland.
And as you mentioned, they have already canceled the permit for the march because they blamed the anarchists for violent acts. They have deployed some of their nonlethal weapons as well there in Portland. And they are warning people to stay away from downtown where all of this is happening. Fires have been set. There are couple of large fires that we saw burning on social media, as well as the police, talking about that, as well, saying that a police car has now been destroyed.
And so, there is a lot of consternation there, where there are folks here, who are concerned about that same group, the anti-fascists, who call them anti-fascist, who also sometimes call themselves anarchists, sometimes call themselves Black Block.
COOPER: Sara, let me just explain what our viewers are seeing right now. We're actually seeing a police vehicle with tactical units on either -- basically hanging from either side of the vehicle. Actually now, two police vehicles, with heavily armed police officers moving through the streets in Portland. And as Sara was describing over the last really 10 or 15 minutes, we've been seeing this group of about 100 or so people, mostly clad in black, who have basically just been just moving through the streets, seemingly at will.
It's not clear from the pictures because we're only seeing, you know, one or two cameras on the scene. But it's not clear exactly how the police have set up to try to control this crowd. There you see people throwing things. Police have reported Molotov cocktails being thrown. There's flares, I said, put into a police vehicle, that the police moved in and removed from the police vehicle.
I'm not sure that's the vehicle that Sara Sidner said the police described as being destroyed. There you see that occurred just before we went on the air, of some windows in a store being kicked in by one of the protesters. And there you see the flare being set and thrown into the store by one of the protesters as well.
So, we're going to continue to monitor the situation in Portland. We'll bring you any updates throughout the night as warranted. We're going to keep a close eye on that really throughout the next two hours.
But there's been a busy day in U.S. politics. The White House says President Trump stands by his unfounded claim that President Obama wiretapped him. That was after the president seemed to get testy when he was pressed on the fact that he said Mr. Obama was, quote, "bad or sick". More on that coming up.
But we begin with the adjectives the president and his administration are using to describe about two other leaders, phrases like "pretty smart cookie" and "very friendly conversation". The two leaders in question, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
[20:05:02] President Trump has not only complimented the leaders of these two pretty brutal regimes, he has signaled he's open to meeting with them in what would be a break with U.S. policy to put it mildly.
Jim Acosta brings us up to date.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATS: That's why, in the first 100 days --
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 100 days in office, and now, nearly as many new questions for President Trump, after head-scratching comments to reporters. After weeks of tough talk aimed at North Korea, the president told Bloomberg he'd meet with that country's dictator, Kim Jong-un, adding, "If it would be appropriate to meet with him, I would absolutely. I would be honored to do it."
And despite the fact that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said it's not happening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you imagine a place where president Trump and Kim Jong-un sit face to face and have a conversation?
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Not right now. I can't.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you see that?
ACOSTA: Talk of a potential meeting comes after the president spoke favorably about the leader of the rogue regime over the weekend.
TRUMP: At a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people I'm sure tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So, obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie.
ACOSTA: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer acknowledged the obvious -- Kim Jong-un is a brutal tyrant.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've got to see their provocative behavior ratcheted down immediately. Those are -- there's a lot of conditions that I think would have to happen with respect to his behavior and to show signs of good faith. Clearly, the conditions are not there right now.
ACOSTA: Spicer also seemed to echo his boss' praise of Kim Jong-un's leadership qualities.
SPICER: He assumed power at a young age, when his father passed away. And he's obviously managed to lead a country forward.
ACOSTA: The president also raised questions about his glowing comments for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, telling Bloomberg, "You know, he's very popular in the Philippines. He has a very high approval rating in the Philippines."
Human rights groups have condemned Duterte's war on drugs, a crackdown that's led to thousands of people killed.
The White House says, Duterte could help with North Korea.
SPICER: The number one concern of this president is to make sure that we do everything we can to protect our people and specifically, to economically and diplomatically isolate North Korea.
COOPER: And Jim Acosta joins us now.
What's your reaction into the president's comments on Duterte in the Philippines?
ACOSTA: Well, over here at the White House, Anderson, senior administration officials were not all that surprised by the president's comments about Duterte. They understand that he said similar things in the past. They were surprised by the invitation that the president extended to Duterte to come meet with the president over at the White House.
We should point, Duterte has made comments or at least it's been reported that he's not make comments that he's not sure if he has time to meet with President Trump, although it appears they will be able to meet at the ASEAN Summit later on this year in the Philippines.
But, Anderson, I think it's worth repeating and pointing out to our viewers, Duterte and Kim Jong-un, are not the only undemocratic leaders that the president has offered praise for in recent days. He's been praising President Xi of China as, quote, "terrific", and, of course, there's a long history of saying some fairly pleasant things about Vladimir Putin in the past -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
Joining me now is CNN chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, and CNN military and diplomatic analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby.
Christiane, I mean, it's one thing to say you'd be open to meeting with Kim Jong-un or Duterte, people who have -- I mean, they're different leaders. But, I mean, Kim Jong-un, to say he brought his country forward, you can make the strong argument, he's brought his country backward. I mean, there are untold number of people in political prisoner camps. I mean, the horror he's inflicted on North Korean people are pretty well-documented.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and to be honest with you, ever since Kim Jong-un came to power just five years ago almost to these last week or so, he has managed to cement himself in power by unbelievable and almost unprecedented violence even by North Korean dictatorship standards. There's the famous story of how he potentially with the AAA anti- aircraft gun, mowed down the very opponents like the uncle, the military chief, who was sort of kind the strong man behind the scenes and other opponents.
And so, yes, he has -- he has cemented his rule by this incredible fear and violence. And even the president of China, we read, when he was talking to President Trump in Mar-a-Lago had only negative things to say about Kim Jong-un. And Kim Jong-un hasn't been to see the president of China. To be frank, nobody outside of North Korea really knows who he is.
But the idea of meeting with -- well, that's not completely, you know, out of left field. You remember, President Obama did that. At one point, said he would meet this person, that person and the other.
But obviously, every diplomat knows that when you have a major crisis like the one that faces us now, with the nuclear North Korea, they have to be the minimum, actually the maximum of conditions and events and rollbacks by the opponent to get a meeting with the president of the United States.
COOPER: Admiral Kirby, I mean, obviously, carrots and sticks are nothing new in policy. But saying that there can be a major, major conflict with North Korea one day, and then dangling and meeting a few days later and sort of complimenting him as a strong leader, Kim Jong- un, does that make sense to you?
[20:10:10] REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), FORMER STATE DEPT. SPOKESPERSON, OBAMA ADMIN.: No. It doesn't make sense to me. I mean, being generous, one could argue that perhaps he is trying to message President Xi in one shape or another. But it's not going to work with Kim Jong-un. No. I mean, it's all over the map.
And here's the really strange thing. His national security team has actually done a really good job of running a rigorous, deliberate, measured interagency process on how to deal with North Korea. And they've done that since the inauguration. They really put a lot of thought into this, including all of the travel by the cabinet officials and the vice president there recently, all of that makes a lot of sense, and all the right pressure is being brought to bear. I didn't hear much out of Secretary Tillerson the other day at the U.N. that we didn't hear out of the Obama administration. They're beginning to realize how complicated this is.
But all of that is being put at a disadvantage, if you will, by the president's own sort of bellicose rhetoric and his inopportune tweets where just sends out these weird messages. All that is potentially undoing and unraveling the very thoughtful approach that the National Security Council has actually taken this.
COOPER: Christiane, it's also interesting that the White House sort of trumpets the popularity of the leader like Duterte in the Philippines, who has basically unleashed the police force to encourage the killing of -- the extrajudicial killing of, you know, drug dealers, drug addicts. The jails are now full of people. AMANPOUR: We're talking something like 7,500 people have been
slaughtered in the several months, almost a year since Duterte has been president. And, yes, the whole international community, the Western world, the people who care about human rights, have come down very, very heavily on him.
But it is true that his popularity and his approval is sky-high in the Philippines. So, that's one thing.
But you know, somebody like Duterte, possibly wouldn't be allowed inside the United States because of those human rights violations, if he wasn't a president. So, there's a lot to be said about that.
And then the other thing, can he do what the administration hopes? We've been talking to Philippine and East Asian experts today. Duterte doesn't have any influence. If the Chinese president doesn't know Kim Jong-un, then Duterte, literally, has no experience or pressure to put on North Korea.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, Admiral Kirby, to Christiane's point, you know, Sean Spicer today said that the Duterte invite was a way to further isolate North Korea.
COOPER: It's not as if the Philippines have traditionally played any role in the isolation of or impact on North Korea.
KIRBY: No, Christiane is 100 percent right. They have no political, diplomatic or economic or even military throw weight in Northeast Asia. I mean, what they have been able to help us with, what we hope they will continue, is with the tensions in the South China Sea. We have a mutual security alliance with them that dates back to 1951. And they are relevant in that part of the world.
But they have no throw weight at all in Northeast Asia. And so, I thought the argument that the call was about North Korea and about building this international coalition was completely empty. There was nothing there.
I think it was a missed opportunity for the president, if he's going to call Duterte, to call him on the carpet for these human rights violations and make sure he understands that while we do have a treaty alliance we take seriously, that we're not going to look the other way when he continues to enact these depredations on his own people.
COOPER: Yes. Admiral Kirby, thank you. Christiane Amanpour as well.
Coming up, President Trump standing by his unfounded claim that President Obama wiretapped him, despite Republicans, Democrats and the head of the FBI saying there's no evidence of that. Hear what he said when he was pressed on it, next.
Plus, a 360 exclusive. This is a stunning story, about a national security breach that has been keep quiet until now. An FBI staffer who ran away and married the ISIS terrorist she was assigned to actually investigate. We're going to tell you where she is now and what's happened to her. You won't believe it, only on 360, ahead.
[20:16:39] COOPER: Well, President Trump is standing by his claim -- his unproven claim that President Obama wiretapped him. Now, you remember, it's an acquisition that Mr. Trump made on Twitter back in March, that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election.
A series of tweets that include this quote, "How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad or sick guy."
Now, to be clear, the White House has refused to provide any evidence for this and members of both parties, as well as the head of the FBI say there is no evidence to support the claim.
That is no stopping President. Listen to what he said in an interview with John Dickerson just recently on CBS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He was very nice to me. But after that, we've had some difficulties. So it doesn't matter. You know, words are less important to me than deeds. And you saw what happened with surveillance. And everybody saw what happened with surveillance --
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS: Difficulties how?
TRUMP: -- I thought that -- well, you saw what happened with surveillance. And I think that was inappropriate, but that's the way--
DICKERSON: What does that mean, sir?
TRUMP: You can figure that out yourself.
DICKERSON: Well, I -- the reason I ask is you said he was -- you called him "sick and bad".
TRUMP: Look, you can figure it out yourself. He was very nice to me with words, but -- and when I was with him -- but after that, there has been no relationship.
DICKERSON: But you stand by that claim about him?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don't stand by anything. I just -- you can take it the way you want. I think our side's been proven very strongly. And everybody's talking about it.
And frankly it should be discussed. I think that is a very big surveillance of our citizens. I think it's a very big topic. And it's a topic that should be number one. And we should find out what the hell is going on.
DICKERSON: I just wanted to find out, though. You're -- you're the president of the United States. You said he was "sick and bad" because he had tapped you -- I'm just--
TRUMP: You can take any way -- you can take it any way you want.
DICKERSON: But I'm asking you. Because you don't want it to be fake news. I want to hear it from --
TRUMP: You don't have to --
DICKERSON: -- President Trump.
TRUMP: -- ask me. You don't have to ask me.
DICKERSON: Why not?
TRUMP: Because I have my own opinions. You can have your own opinions.
DICKERSON: But I want to know your opinions. You're the president of the United States.
TRUMP: OK, it's enough. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, again, there's no evidence to support the president's wiretapping claims. And for the record, it's not me saying it. It's pretty much everyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: We don't have evidence that that took place. And in fact, I don't believe just in the last week of time, the people we talk to, I don't think there's an actual tap of Trump Tower.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No such wiretapping existed. We've seen no evidence of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been clear that there's no evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This outlandish claim he was wiretapped by his predecessor, it really ought to appall all Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no wiretap activity.
JIM COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever request that your counterparts in GCHQ should wiretap Mr. Trump on behalf of President Obama?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. Nor would I.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With me now, Ryan Lizza, Paul Begala, Kayleigh McEnany and Jack Kingston.
Ryan, I'm curious what you made of -- as a reporter, what you made of that -- of that interview. And the president's refusal to say that -- he says he doesn't stand by anything. And clearly, he's standing by those comments.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, it's interesting because he didn't actually make a case specifically. He just threw out some words about surveillance and said you know what I'm talking about. It's a big deal but didn't actually make a specific claim.
Previously, he said in the original tweet that it was a wiretap. Then, he said, that the British surveillance intelligence services, perhaps, were responsible for this. And then, he said it was actually about incidental collection and unmasking. Remember that whole debate?
So, there were three claims, each one was debunked, and there's no evidence for the original wiretapping tweet or any of the others.
[20:20:06] But he still seems to want to generally to be thought that there's something behind it, without making any specific claim anymore because all of the other ones have fallen apart. So, that's the one -- it seemed like he really gets that frustrated. But he was frustrated he was pressed on it, which is a sign he's given up defending this, but doesn't want to admit that he was wrong and lied in that original tweet.
COOPER: Paul, he reverted to his "everybody is talking about it", which was a common refrain. I mean, it's kind of a verbal tick he uses, at least during the campaign we heard it a lot. He said this should be number one topic of discussion, surveillance.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, and he's the president. If he wants it to be number one, it will be. That's maybe why he raised it. I've been scratching my head about this one because it's demonstrably false. And yet he repeats it.
And I think, usually, the simplest explanation, right, Occam's razor, simplest explanation to be prepared and it's this. Here's my theory, anyway. Joe Lewis, a great prize fighter. He fought for too long.
In the end, they keep asking, Joe, why are you going to fight one more fight? You're washed up. You're through. He said, "Fighters fight. Liars lie."
It's just what he does. He can't help it. It's pathological.
And we just have to -- I had forgotten about that, even. I mean, I was ready to g on to the next issue, the fight over health care, with this apparently big bill coming up soon.
He just can't stop himself. That's the only thing I can think of. It's a very simple thing. He told a lie and he's going to continue to repeat that lie, even when his own head of the FBI, his head of the NSA -- by the way, his of the Senate -- the Republican Senate majority leader says it's false. Republican speaker of the House says it's false.
COOPER: Kayleigh, it's also interesting to hear the president of the United States saying, you know, we ought to find out what the hell -- what the heck or what the hell is going on. I don't want to misquote him, which is what he said about a number of things during the campaign. But he is president of the United States. I mean, he could call in the head of the FBI, the head of the NSA and sit down and say, OK, what the heck is going on with surveillance?
I mean, he has access to all of the information out there about surveillance in the United States. So, the idea that somehow he doesn't know what's going on, or couldn't know seems odd, no?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, you have a point. And I think that the American people deserve to see the documents with regard to unmasking, you know, redact, the classified information, show the American people what is out there. We all deserve that information.
I don't think the president's a liar. I know he's not a liar. I think he's guilty of imprecision if anything.
I think perhaps he saw the Susan Rice unmasking documents. It led him to send that tweet. It was an imprecise tweet. It's one that should have been thought over. It's one that maybe Twitter wasn't the best medium to send them out.
But there are real questions about the surveillance of American citizens, the unmasking of people in the Trump campaign by the Obama administration officials. Perhaps --
COOPER: Unmasking is not what the president was talking about initially. That's not tapping -- I'm asking --
BEGALA: Not surveillance.
COOPER: It's not tapping, but there is a case to be made that wiretapping is a term that's been used since the '80s, even in a Supreme Court case, to mean surveillance in a broader means, a broader way. It can be defined broader than just, you know, Obama --
LIZZA: Just one correction on the timeline. He sent the tweet and called it a wiretap and then later learned from Nunes in a White House meeting about the allegedly controversial unmasking. So, he could not have been sending that tweet out thinking this was a scandal about unmasking, is that he has told us he learned weeks later.
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But let me say this. I was in Congress when we passed the Patriot Act. I was in Congress and got classified briefing on Eric Snowden's frankly treason.
And I think --
KINGSTON: I think there should be a lot of concern, Democrat and Republican, on surveillance of American people, during the metadata debate. It was -- you know, we track your phone calls but we don't listen. Now, we don't track your phone calls.
We got a lot of different answers and mixed signals from the intelligence committee. And I've been in the skids where they talk to you. And you wonder, gosh, how much information do these people really have on us? And what do they do?
COOPER: That was nothing that the president was talking. I mean --
KINGSTON: Well, he talked about surveillance. And I agree with Joe Lewis. He's a fighter. I'm stopping there, Paul. He's a fighter and that's it.
COOPER: But he talked about surveillance now. I mean, he was talking about President Obama wiretapping his phones in Trump Tower. I mean, that's the tweet right there.
"How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones," tap is misspelled, "during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad or sick guy."
KINGSTON: I think a lot of times, we're tweeting, it's horseshoes, close enough, as considered. And this was close enough. I think Kayleigh's right.
And, Ryan, I don't know how we knew what he knew when he knew it.
LIZZA: I'm just saying, by his own timeline, the president sent that tweet out, and several weeks later, Devin Nunes went to the White House and said, sir, I have some information you should see. And then the president, oh, wow, see, I was right about that tweet. By that timeline --
COOPER: Information, by the way, that came from the White House.
LIZZA: That came from the White House.
BEGALA: It came from his own --
LIZZA: Even if you accept that information, this is a whole other story, was somehow scandalous, the president did say, told us that he did not see it until long after.
[20:25:01] COOPER: I mean, we've -- you know, this has been litigated in public for a long time. It's just interesting, and obviously this is something John Dickerson asked him about. The fact he is still sticking by -- you know, he hasn't seemed to in any way be willing to acknowledge any fault or --
LIZZA: Can I say one thing where I think this has serious implications? Let's be the most generous interpretation. Let's accept your interpretation that the original tweet, he really didn't know what he was saying. It's horseshoes. And after he liked actually investigated the thing, what he is really concerned about is collection under 702 of the FISA Act.
And it's sweeping up too many Americans, communications, and he didn't like the fact that White House officials could unmask people. That section is the most important tool to the intelligence agencies. It is the number tool that they use to prevent terrorist attacks in this country. It is up for authorization this summer. There has now been fed to people on the right and Trump supporters a steady diet that 702 and NSA are tapping your phones illegally and they can intercept anything they want.
With the debate he started sacrifices 702 this summer and Republicans started turning against that, that's going to have major implications.
KINGSTON: But, Ryan, that debate started I'd say when the Patriot Act was passed originally.
KINGSTON: And Eric Snowden has become a college campus icon because --
KINGSTON: Edward, excuse me.
LIZZA: I'm saying that Trump has aligned himself --
LIZZA: What I'm saying that Trump has aligned himself with Snowden on this issue. And he's got to make a decision.
MCENANY: Something more specific, is when you have Susan Rice, an Obama administration official, admitting on national television, I can't deny or confirm whether --
COOPER: But Republicans and Democrats have looked at that, and according to the reporting by CNN, there's no there there.
MCENANY: That's what the American citizens need to see the documents.
KINGSTON: And I think it will come out. I would say -- I'll go back to Joe Lewis' quote on Susan Rice. I think he was accurate. This is a woman who said there was no genocide in Rwanda.
BEGALA: Oh, God.
KINGSTON: Eric Bergdahl --
BEGALA: The president of the United States -- the president of the United States of America has accused his predecessor of violating the law and the Constitution by wiretapping him. That is a -- it's a prevarication. He has congenital prevarication syndrome, OK? CPS, that's what Trump -- COOPER: We've got --
LIZZA: The outcome is if they lose this tool, that's going to be a big deal.
COOPER: All right. We have to leave it there.
The new Republican health care plan is on the verge of failure on Capitol Hill. In the moment, where the whip count stands tonight. Paul referenced this. And why GOP Congressman Charlie Dent says the list of no votes actually could be longer than expected.
And we're keeping an eye on May Day protests in several cities, after some arrests in Portland and protesters destroying property.
[20:30:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The Republicans reports to repeal and replace Obamacare are in trouble again. The White House was optimistic. The House capacitor revised bill this Wednesday weeks after the first bill failed in March.
But the CNN whip count shows there are now 21 House Republicans on record as no votes, two more no votes and the bill fails. Now 17 House Republicans remain officially undecided. Among the issues, an amendment, the critic weakens protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
Short time ago I spoke with Congressman Charlie Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican and the leader of the centrist Tuesday Group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Dent, you have said you're currently a no on the new version of President Trump's health care bill. What needs to happen for you to get to yes and do you believe the legislation is going to pass the House in the current form?
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, again, Anderson, thank you for having me on the program. First, let me say this, the bill in its current form is problematic for a few reasons, one, the Medicaid provisions are challenging. In fact, the bill does not provide soften up landing for states like mine that have expanded Medicaid. That's the first issue.
Governor's Kasich, Sandoval, Snyder, Hutchinson offered a plan and I think this need to be taken seriously and make sure there isn't so much of a cost shift to the states on Medicaid. Also I would tell you too that the states aren't given enough flexibility or resources to deal with Medicaid.
Second the tax credits are not sufficient for many people who will transition from Medicaid on to the exchanges. May low and moderate and income people will not be able to afford insurance therefore they will go naked or bare. I mean that far too many Americans will be uncovered in the current version of the bill. The amendment that has been proposed I believe makes a situation more difficult because it does potentially remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
And I don't know if this bill is going to pass this week or not that we brought up but the votes are there.
COOPER: Yes, I mean the whip count, CNN's whip count early this evening currently 21 nos. Do you think that's accurate or do you know more nos and no vote out there that maybe or not on everybody's list?
DENT: I suspect it's a little -- there are probably a few more no votes than 21 at the moment. I don't know what the exact number is. I've heard number saying it's within, you know, two or three votes or as many as 10. So I would suspect it's probably closer to 10 than two or three.
COOPER: So you know some people who are planning to vote no who right now are not being counted?
DENT: Yes, pretty much, that's correct.
COOPER: One of the biggest sticking point, besides the Medicaid issue which you talked about is the fight over pre-existing conditions. Today, President Trump told Bloomberg News that the bill is "not in its final form" now and it will be every -- he said, it will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare. Do you think that's true?
DENT: Well, not with the amendment that was offered last week, that amendment in my view would remove protections for people with pre- existing conditions or it could potentially remove them because the state would have the option to wave out of providing those essential health benefits. So, in its current form, I would have to say that the protections simply aren't there for people with pre-existing conditions. And as Republicans, we stood up and said, we intend to protect people with pre-existing condition. So, the bill does not match some of the rhetoric we're hearing right now.
COOPER: You said earlier today that health care should be a bipartisan effort. Would there be a higher chance of getting Democrats on board if this (INAUDIBLE) effort to repair Obamacare rather than repeal and replace it? I mean should it be a repair rather than a replacement?
DENT: Well, I think the mistake that was made by the Democrats in 2010 is that they muscled Obamacare through Congress on a partisan basis and we've been fighting about ever since. We Republicans shouldn't make same mistake. We should try to work this bill from the center out. We are -- look, (INAUDIBLE) our rhetoric right. There are parts of the health care law, Obamacare, that need to be repaired, parts need to be replaced, parts need to be repaired, reformed and overhauled and parts need to be retained. And I think we need to enter this debate from that perspective.
COOPER: What you're saying sounds, you know, reasonable, it's a very moderate position, moderation is not something that a lot of -- I mean the lines are clearly drawn on this right now.
DENT: That's true. But I have I said, you know, since we the Republicans have taken the majority of the House for the last six or seven years, in order to do anything in a durable and sustainable way, to make any real reforms, we need to do it on a bipartisan basis.
Anderson, we're going to have a vote on Wednesday on Appropriations Bill. There not going to be 216 Republican votes to pass that bill. We will need Democrats to help us. And that has been the case for hurricane relief, disaster relief, budget agreements, appropriations bills, debt ceilings, that has been the case for the last few years, and I suspect it will be the case going forward. We will need to assemble bipartisan coalitions to deal with infrastructure and I would argue tax reform. So I think we should do this because the Democrats health care law Obamacare is not as durable or sustainable as it should be because it was done on a partisan basis, we as Republicans should not make that same mistake.
COOPER: Congressman Dent, appreciate your time. Thank you.
DENT: Thank you, Anderson. Great to be you with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:35:15] COOPER: We just have time on the violence at May Day protest in Portland after the official protest was cancelled, vandalism erupted. Police are calling the vandals anarchist or many peaceful May Day protest as well today around the country. We'll go live to Portland and talk to Jorge Ramos, ahead.
COOPER: Our braking news tonight May Day protest going on right now in several cities including in Los Angeles and Seattle. There has also been at least three arrest in Portland where protesters have destroyed a police car and damage of the property. That's the video you're seeing right there setting at least one fire.
Joining me on the phone is local freelance journalist in Portland, Mike Bivins. Mike explain about how many protesters that were police are describing them as anarchist. We saw video of fire being set on some newspapers and flares being thrown, the windows kicked out. What was like?
MIKE BIVINS, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: It was pretty intense. I mean at one point the police explained all. They've got a slingshot and so, I mean, that was rock flying around, right, as you saw in the newsstand set on fire. I will say there was definitely more than three arrests. I mean I want to say like eight or nine. Yes, there was a fewer. It more than few arrests.
COOPER: And my understanding is that the permit for the protest was revoked because -- the police said because of the actions of what they described as the anarchist. It did seem like that -- these people, men and women were in fact were basically kind of moving relatively freely through the streets. Is that -- I was looking -- from the air and a few cameras on the ground. Was there much control of where they were going?
BIVINS: I mean police have try to cut them off. Like for example they would have the bridges out of downtown blocked up because that's, you know, a target of protest. But, yes, what had happened was, is they had kind of like mixed in with the permitted annual May Day protest.
[20:40:06] And so, you know, they were having a deal with the -- the police having deal with few protest. They (INAUDIBLE) excluded and mixed together. And then once the rock started flying and the smoke bombs in, people throwing this (INAUDIBLE) as police spoke and shoot that.
For once that started happening, the police in the city, they just cancelled the entire thing and urged everyone to go home then kind of follow the protesters state through downtown behind. There are maybe like 80, 90-ish Black Lives protesters. And then they were all, you know, throwing, I don't know what do you call them. Flash bangs or noise, very loud noise and, booms, and then eventually they cracked down outside the City Hall and they started tackling people.
COOPER: So at this point, is that or those protesters that would the police were describing as anarchists, right, is that pretty much done now?
BIVINS: In most like it. You know, the riot police actually maybe about soon have driven, you know, the riot police are droved away and the -- (INAUDIBLE) some people are recognized here as protesters. So, who knows it's something, you know, (INAUDIBLE) from this. I mean, the legal observers are still here. They have the local media (INAUDIBLE) along this corner.
So, maybe will something. It's all we know there could be a roving band of protesters out there, right now who broke away from this protest. Who knows?
COOPER: Mike Bivins, we'll continue to follow and I appreciate you, you being with us. Thanks Mike.
The rally is being staged by labor unions and civil rights group mostly have been peaceful as we should say protesting President Trump's immigration policies among other things, from his promise to build a wall, the U.S.-Mexico border to his crack down in sanctuary cities. His immigration ban has now caught up in the courts.
All these actions and threats was part away of opposition that's on this plains some cities. Earlier, I spoke with Univision Jorge Ramos since with -- before the disturbances in the Portland protests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Jorge the May Day protest, protesting among other issues the president's immigration policies which are obviously central to the campaign or surprised the president hasn't been able to enact more of his immigration policies, whether it's funding of the wall or the travel ban or defunding sanctuary cities? JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Well, not really surprised, but really for the Hispanic community and the immigrant community, it's been horrible. It's been very difficult. It's been 102 days of fear. Don't hold your breath on getting a check from Mexico. The check is not in the mail. Mexico won't pay for that. And I'm not surprised that the new budget does not include money for the wall. It's really absurd. As we've discussed in the past, almost 45 percent are low, undocumented immigrants they come by plane or with a visa.
And it would be as absurd as if I want to be the fence on my property and then I ask my neighbor to pay for that. So in that sense the wall, I don't think it's going to work. I think a good immigration policy, emphasizing legal immigration now the wall would be good. But on the other hand, fear is still present.
COOPER: Just in terms as the wall, the White House is standing by. Sean Spicer, again, just today said the wall is going to get built. Do you believe it will ever get built in a way that President Trump described it?
RAMOS: Not the way he described it. And -- so look there's a 9,200 border between Mexico and the United States. There are already fences or walls in about 700. So we still have like 1,200-mile wall that President Trump wants to build. I don't know how he's going to do it. The estimates that I've seen suggest that it could cost from $20 billion to $50 billion. I don't think it going to -- and it's completely useless.
Let me just say, it's completely useless. Again, when almost half of all immigrants come by plane or with a visa, why do you need a wall? And as long as you have about 20 million Americans in this country using drugs and paying for drugs, there's always going to be a drug traffic in Latin America willing to take the risk in crossing that wall.
COOPER: For those that who support the president's ideas of stopping undocumented immigrants from coming over, I mean there have been successes that the White House can point to. If you look at the numbers in December of last year, there are more than 43,000 apprehensions by customs and border agents, in March, just over 12,000. So there has been, I mean, there's so much of the 68 percent decline in apprehensions of people crossing over that is something the White House can point to as a success.
RAMOS: Yes, but -- correction (ph) other numbers, Anderson. For instance in the first two months of the Trump administration, the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants went from about 16,000 in the Obama years, a year before to about 21,000. And what I'm really concerned is about the number of undocumented immigrants with not criminal record. We're talking about motors and that's -- and people who are only here working and no rapist or criminals or members of any gang.
So, the concern is that the new policy, the Trump policy is emphasizing the arrest of people really who have done nothing, absolutely nothing wrong in this country. [20:45:07] Yes, they broke the law by coming here illegally but we're all complicit whenever we're eating food, whenever we live in a house or an apartment. It was built by immigrants. We're all complicit. So my concern is what Trump is doing and terrorizing the immigrant community.
COOPER: So, even -- you don't believe that even deporting those who have not committed a crime and whether it's -- whether they're actually going out and actively seeking those people, whether those people --
COOPER: -- you know, under the Obama administration, many of them would come and check in yearly. It seems like the people are even now checking -- have had to check in yearly in safety under the Obama administration, those people now when they check in, in many cases, they are being apprehended and deported out.
COOPER: It clearly creates fear. I understand that in the community. But do you think it actually does prevent others from coming over?
RAMOS: As a deterrent, yes. I think it's a deterrent, there's no question about it. Fear, fear works. But I think when we're talking about undocumented immigrants, we're talking about human beings, and we're talking about people who are here because of us. We have to take responsibility for that. They are here because they are working for us. Millions of Americans, you and me and those who are watching, benefit from that and there are thousands of American companies who are hiring them for a reason. It's simply a matter of is then and economy (INAUDIBLE) supply and demand. So, yes, fear works but I think we're talking about human beings and if Donald Trump has a big heart like he has then I think we can do something. He controls the White House. He controls both chambers of Congress. He can do something. If he wants to be like Reagan, be like Reagan.
Like, 19 -- in 1986, he did something about it. He legalized more that three million. Now if we can legalize 11 million, do you have a big heart Mr. Trump? Show it. He hasn't show it yet.
COOPER: Jorge Ramos (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.
RAMOS: Thank you, Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, it's not a secret that President Trump was a fan of Andrew Jackson, he give support to the seventh president U.S. president in the Oval Office including (inaudible) to being compared with the populist Democrat but what he said about Jackson in the civil war in a SiriusXM radio interview surprised a lot of people.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They said my campaign is most like, my campaign and win was most like Andrew Jackson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
TRUMP: With his campaign and I said, "When was Andrew Jackson? It was 1828. That's a long time ago." I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart, and he was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said "There's no reason for this." People don't realize. You know, the Civil War.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but--
TRUMP: If you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: The Civil War of course started 16 years after Andrew Jackson died. The reasons the war broke out have been started to extensively countless book have been renowned the subjects. Slavery is most grade school students learned. It was the central issue and the fight over the stage rights that ultimately led to the civil war. And for the record, President Jackson was himself was a slave owner.
Those are facts. I'm going to discuss with senior and political commentator Charles Blow and Jeffrey Lord.
Charles, these comments by the president, what do you make them?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As usual it's hard though. It's kind of hard to figure out what he's saying, what we believe he's saying is not historically accurate, both the idea that Andrew Jackson was not alive during the civil war so he could not have been upset about what was happening during the civil war. But, I think even more importantly than that was that his belief that Jackson could have worked something up. Why would have been his work out? The only acceptable resolution for the Civil War was the abolition of slavery. What would Jackson's compromise position would have been some semi- slavery?
COOPER: Jeff, I mean, for the president -- I mean, there's a lot to touch on here. But I mean, A, I mean, as Charles said for the president to say Ander Andrew Jackson was alive during the civil wars odd. You got a minute of nothing else. The president got it wrong in that account, no?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here is the thing with Andrew Jackson. I think the president identifies with his economic populism. But when it comes to race, I don't want my friend Charles to fall over, but I not only agree with him. I'm vehemently agree with him and I would add not simply was an economy built on the backs of slaves. The Democratic Party was built on the back of slave and race. And my argument is that that culture of race and racism and obsession with race has never left the party and is still present there today. And that is part of the legacy -- the racial legacy of Andrew Jackson which is terrible.
[20:50:05] COOPER: Charles is slavery the brain child who wants political parties?
BLOW: Jeffrey Lord knows that if you walked into any room in America a hundred years ago and asked the African-Americans in that room whether or not they were Republicans or Democrats, almost all of them would have said that they were Republicans, because the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln. It was the -- it was the -- it was that party until the decades leading up to the '60s and the '60s in particular.
And even this -- into the '70s and '80s, when the Republican Party decided that it wanted to attract the people who hated black people rather than keep the black people that it had. And explicitly said that they wanted to attract the Negro folks, that's the word that they used not black people. And that betrayal of black people and black voters in America who had stuck by the Republican Party their entire life for generations and to be betrayed by that party, to be turned away and told that they -- the party then wanted to attract the people that hated them was a betrayal that black people have never forgiven.
COOPER: Jeff, I mean, for the president also, you know, kind of question why the Civil War happened in the first place, asking why couldn't it have been worked out, you know, just last week in a Reuters interview he made a similar question about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, saying, "There's no reason, there is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians -- none whatsoever." I don't quite get the, you know, the idea of those comments as if these are simple issues that could just kind of be worked out.
LORD: No, I think in truth that he looks at all of these kind of things as he looks at many other things that are not related to these issues. I mean, particularly, I say this as a northerner, you know, slavery was not negotiable. I mean in the day had I been around I would have been an abolitionist. And I just think that that's -- that was the problem there. And President Trump sees himself as a dealmaker and I think probably wonders had he been around could he have done it better -- American casualties.
COOPER: I guess how could Andrew Jackson who, you know, owns more than 100 slaves or enslaved people, how could Andrew Jackson have worked that out?
LORD: I think what appeals to President Trump is that he was tough as nails. And I suspect he is thinking here that maybe being tough as nails he could have gotten a better deal as it were for America. But if that's hard to see in retrospect how we could have avoided this if people were intent on keeping slaves.
BLOW: Let's give our viewers a little bit more history lesson in how tough as nails Andrew Jackson was. Andrew Jackson is also the person responsible for the Indiana removal program in --
BLOW: -- the south that forcibly removed Indians from their lands and included the trail of tears when thousands of Indians died being marched west of the Mississippi. This man was a white supremacist among white supremacist. He believed that white people in the south had the right to forcibly remove those people and take their land, had the right to forcibly enslave other human beings because of race.
This is not the man who could have solved the slave issue in a way that would been amenable to people who look like me. Trump has it wrong because he doesn't know anything about history and refuses to read the history of the presidents that came before him. That's his words, he didn't read those books. This is what you get when you have a president who doesn't read.
COOPER: Charles Blow, Jeff Lord, thank you guys, appreciate it.
COOPER: Up next, a story you have to see to believe. It's incredible story by rogue, FBI translator with top secret security clearance who married an Isis terrorist, married that guy. She was assigned to investigate that person, the forbidden relationship remained hidden for years until our investigative team started asking questions seeking the facts. Stories stunning. We're going to hear where the ISIS bride is living right now. The 360 exclusive in a moment
[20:57:56] COOPER: Tonight we have a story that's never been told publicly before. A tale of intrigue, breached national security, terrorism and lies. And it's also involving a wedding. It's a story about an FBI translator who ended up marrying the ISIS terrorist she had been assigned to investigate in Syria. It's got more twists and turns and any episode of "Homeland." a true story that's hard to believe. Our senior investigator correspondent Drew Griffin tonight reports.
DREW GRIFFIN, SENIOR INVESTIGATOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is known by ISIS as the German. Abu Talha Al-almani, a notorious ISIS fighter and recruiter. A former German rapper who intents in disturbing videos called for violent jihad and proudly held the severed head of an ISIS victim. Denis Cuspert is his real name. A German national targeted by the United States as a specially designated global terrorist who survived a U.S missile strike in 2015 and is believed to be still alive somewhere in ISIS controlled Syria.
What has not been disclosed until now is that an FBI employee with top secret clearance lied to her bosses, secretly travelled to Syria and Cuspert for a short time. Becoming the ISIS bride of the very terrorist she was assigned to investigate. That now former employee is Daniela Greene.
Her face obscured due to concerns for her safety. Having the violated the public trust and endangered our nation security according to federal prosecutors. Greene served just two years in prison and is now free. She wouldn't answer CNN's questions saying, "If I talk to you, my family will be in danger".
The information about her case comes from previously sealed court documents. The records unsealed only after Greene finished cooperating with authorities. And after prosecutors asked the judge to make them public, unsealing these documents they write will allow appropriate public access to this case. Greene who was already married travelled to Syria in the summer of 2014 and not only spent time in the company of members of ISIS but ended up marrying an infamous ISIS terrorist.
GEORGE HEIL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: He is calling upon his followers to commit attacks inside Europe. He says, I quote," Europe is in new battle ground".