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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
TV Hosts: White House Used Tabloid Story to Threaten Us; The Enquirer's Trump Ties. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 30, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:01] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
If you were worried that the president of the United States, the most powerful person in the planet, might go a day without lashing out at a morning cable news talk show host, you can rest easy.
Today, the president continued his feud with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. For their part, they accused him of trying to use the power of his office and his influence on a supermarket tabloid, "The National Enquirer", to get them to back off unflattering coverage of him. They did not present evidence, but say they have phone records and text messages and kept their employer, MSNBC, aware of what was going on at the time.
The president claims it was Joe Scarborough who sought out his help with "The National Enquirer", and in a tweet seemed at least to confirm that he has sway over what a supermarket tabloid does and does not cover. If it sounds something like a president should not be getting involved in, let alone launching misogynistic tweets about it, plenty of lawmakers agree.
Lawmakers from the president's own party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a tweet not even becoming of a city councilmen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's beneath the stature of the president and it's a distraction. We should be talking about our strategy on dealing with North Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It causes members of the House and Senate to talk about something and their focus on something other than what I think is so important in people's lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is maddening. It's maddeningly frustrating, because this is beneath the dignity of the president of the United States, or at least it should be, and it's a distraction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A distraction from any number of truly important things -- the president's pledge on health care legislation, the North Korean nuclear threat, the revised travel ban, staffing the State Department, how to handle the Russians. Those are just a few of the issues confronting the president.
And like any president, his time and attention are limited. Yet, with all that, he chose again to devote some of it to cable anchors, facelifts, supermarket tabloids and who called whom. More from our Jessica Schneider.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new allegation from the MSNBC hosts engaged in a war with the White House. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough claimed they were threatened by the White House this spring.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: We got a call that, hey, the "National Enquirer" is going to run a negative story against you guys. They said, if you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story. Three people at the very top of the administration calling me.
SCHNEIDER: Brzezinski and Scarborough first lobbed the accusation in "Washington Post" column Friday morning.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: He appears to have a fragile, impetuous child-like ego that we've seen over and over again, especially with women. It's like he can't take it.
SCHNEIDER: This was the story the "National Enquirer" ultimately ran in June, accusing the couple of cheating on their spouses. Brzezinski said the tabloid hounded her family to get the story.
BRZEZINSKI: They were calling my children. They were calling close friends.
SCARBOROUGH: You're talking about the "National Enquirer"?
SCHNEIDER: The president has close ties to the "Enquirer", which endorsed him during the 2016 campaign and has relentlessly attacked his political adversaries.
President Trump and a "National Enquirer" publisher David Pecker are close friends and allies.
The "National Enquirer's" editor-in-charge Dylan Howard issued this statement: At the beginning of June, we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.
After the explosive accusation from the couple on air, the president responded, tweeting: watched low rated @MorningJoe for the first time in a long time. Fake news. He called me to stop a "National Enquirer" article. I said no. Bad show. Scarborough quoted the president's tweets and called him out: yet
another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months.
NBC confirmed to CNN that Scarborough told NBC News executives about the threats and calls from the White House as they were happening.
But the White House is putting out a different spin. An official says it was Joe Scarborough who called Jared Kushner about the upcoming "National Enquirer" story. Kushner then told Scarborough to call the president, but official denies there was any indication that the president would help kill the "Enquirer" story in exchange.
COOPER: Jessica joins us now.
To your reporting that Joe Scarborough tweeted he has texts and call logs to prove White House officials contacted him, does he or does NBC plan on actually releasing them?
SCHNEIDER: Well, Anderson, so far, Joe Scarborough has not released any of those texts or the call logs that he says proves the White House contacted him multiple times. In addition, Joe Scarborough, he's not responded to CNN's request for him to detail and expound upon his version of events, and as for NBC, so far today, Anderson, they have not issued any official comment -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, thanks.
More now from the White House, and a very brief press briefing today.
[20:05:01] A bit more than 15 minutes long. Our Joe Johns is there for us.
So in that off-camera briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was she asked about -- I mean, I'm guessing she must have been asked about the whole Scarborough/Brzezinski dust-up.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there was one substantive question on it, John Gizzi, a reporter for Newsmax, a conservative Web site, did ask Sarah Sanders if the president had read an article in "New York" magazine alleging that the president had used his connections with the "National Enquirer" to sort of aid in an attack on Brzezinski and Scarborough.
And she said she simply did not know if the president had actually read that article. By the way, in a pool spray in the Oval Office today with the South Korean president, I did ask the president more generally a question about what he had any regrets on the tweet involving Mika Brzezinski. He did not answer that question either.
COOPER: Kellyanne Conway also spoke out about this. What did she say?
JOHNS: She did. Generally, her argument is that attacks on the president like this are counterproductive, because his policies don't get covered. But that sort of ignores the fact that it's the president's own tweets that create the media storm.
But listen to part of what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: If you go back and you look at what is said about this president, a lack of policy coverage, there are personal attacks about his physicalities, about his fitness for office. He's called a goon, a thug, mentality ill, talking about dementia. Armchair psychologists all over television every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Anderson, the significance of all of this is this was a very important day at the White House when the South Korean president was here, and all of the focus could have been on the global challenges that come out of the Korean peninsula right now, including North Korea. There's also a major health care issue that the country has unresolved. And instead, we spent a couple of days talking about the president's tweets.
COOPER: Yes. Joe Johns, thank you very much.
The story broke shortly after CNN senior legal analyst and "New Yorker" staff writer Jeffrey Toobin published a profile of the "National Enquirer" and its publisher, David Pecker, who is you just heard has been close friends with Donald Trump for years. The article is running in the "New Yorker's" July 3rd edition. It's titled "The National Enquirer's" fervor for Trump.
There's certainly no question that Jeff Toobin found plenty to write about.
COOPER: Jeff, we could spend the next two hours talking about your article about the "National Enquirer", which the timing could not be more kind of amazing. It's fascinating on multiple levels. Though, briefly, just explain the relationship between President Trump and the publication.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, David Pecker is the chief executive of American Media, which is the parent company of "The National Enquirer." And Pecker and Trump have been very close friends for decades, going back to when Pecker ran a sort of a publication for Trump called "Trump Style."
And in a very open way, Pecker told me when I was reporting my story that he believes "The National Enquirer" is going to support Trump because Trump is a close friend of his, and because he thinks that's what his readers want.
COOPER: I mean, the fact that it's now merged as a flashpoint between Trump and Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, does that surprise you? TOOBIN: Well, I mean, everything surprises me, Anderson. But, I
mean, it does not surprise me that when "The National Enquirer" was getting ready to write a critical story about someone Trump regards as an adversary, Trump might be recruited as someone who could slow that down. And that appears to be what at least some people thought was going to happen here, because the Trump/Pecker alliance is really a really strong one. And among people who follow these things, it's actually pretty well known.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, you were in a meeting at "The National Enquirer" where they were discussing stories that happened that week and brought up the idea of reporting on Melania Trump sort of slapping Donald Trump's hand away and Pecker, who was on a conference call at the time, just said, oh, I didn't see that, I didn't see that, and everyone kind of got the message, just keep moving along. This is not a story "The Enquirer" is going to run with.
TOOBIN: Right. I mean, I think all of us who follow the news were quite aware of that viral video where Melania Trump slapped her husband's hand away.
But at this meeting, David Pecker said he wasn't aware of it. He said it twice. And his subordinates got the message that this was not going to be in "The Enquirer." And, you know, that is completely consistent how "The Enquirer" has covered Trump for the last two years.
[20:10:04] It is always heroic. It is always bathing him in this glow of success. And that's' been -- and similarly, his coverage of Trump's rivals, especially Hillary Clinton, has been totally savage.
COOPER: Just be clear, I mean, based on your reporting, does President Trump have the ability to kill a story in "The National Enquirer", or for that matter, get something published? Because, I mean, in the president's own tweet today responding to this, he did seem to say or imply that he could have gotten it killed but he chose not to.
TOOBIN: Well, my experience has been in David Pecker killing stories that are possibly damaging to Trump, going so far as to pay the "Playboy" playmate of the year from 1998 $150,000 to stay silent about a relationship that she had alleged she had with Donald Trump. I have not seen evidence of Trump acting to create or suppress stories. But given the relationship, it is entirely within the realm of possibility.
COOPER: Can you go into more detail about that? David Pecker paid, what, a playmate to stay silent?
TOOBIN: Right. This is a woman named Karen McDougal. She was Playboy's playmate of the year in 1998. And a little more than a year ago, she was starting to shop a story to tabloids and anyone who might pay her regarding what she says was an affair she had with Donald Trump after he was married to Melania.
Now, let me emphasize that I don't know if any such affair took place. But what David Pecker did was he required McDougal as a columnist for his fitness magazines. He also runs fitness magazines and he paid her $150,000 on the condition that she'd say nothing about any relationship she may have had with Donald Trump.
And I said -- and I said to Pecker when I interviewed with him, you know, why did you do that? And he said because Trump is a personal friend of mine.
And I think that tells you much of what you need to know about Pecker's agenda for his publications, which is to help Trump by running positive stories, and if possible, as with the McDougal matter, suppressing those stories that might be damaging to him.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, fascinating piece with "The New Yorker" -- thanks so much.
COOPER: Well, just ahead, we'll be joined by the panel, including a presidential historian for some perspective on the president's social media habits and whether it could end up consuming his presidency.
And later, what we're learning about how a doctor tried to turn this place of healing into a killing ground. New details on the mass shooting at a New York City hospital ahead on "360."
[20:16:44] COOPER: The idea that a president could be annoyed with a member of the press certainly is not new, nor is the notion that a president might be friendly with a supermarket tabloid publisher, gossip columnist, nor even is it novel that presidents have axes to grind and grudges and obsessions with people or things that pull their attention from the people's business.
That said, what happens when all those things seem to coalesce into a kind of a vortex that have nothing else sucks all the oxygen out of public life, and what happens when instead of reining it in, the president's surrogates and spokespeople blame the press for reporting on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: It doesn't help the American people to have the president covered in this light. I'm sorry. It's neither productive nor patriotic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Maggie Haberman joins us now. So does presidential historian Tim Naftali and Jason Miller and Kirsten Powers.
Maggie, I mean, you know, we were on last night talking about the misogyny of the tweet about Mika Brzezinski with alleged bleeding about facelifts. It just gets weirder today.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there are -- as you said, there are a bunch of different threads that are all sort of coming together and converging into one and I do think you sort of need to pick them apart. I think "The National Enquirer" issue where Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski claim that the White House threatened them with publication of a story unless they gave them more favorable coverage, and the White House is -- the president seemed to confirm some piece of that, but suggested it was the other way around, this is the downside to the White House constantly saying things that are not true, is that they don't get the benefit of the doubt, the same way they might otherwise because nothing has been shown to prove this.
But it does shed some light on how this president, more than I think others we've seen because of his history in a business, in a private, family, in real estate company, he had a penchant for sort of back room avenues. He was said to use private investigators. You know, he had all kinds of different ties in New York City and news outlets. So, that's one window.
I do think that we are at the point now where I think that the tweet, what the president did in that tweet was, it was condemnable and I think it's not presidential, and I think you've seen critics on both sides say that. But I also think that everyone has a habit with Trump in particular of, A, trying to act as if he's not been this way the whole time. He has been this way for two years. This is nothing different than we've seen.
And, in fact, I remember back to November 2015 when he mocked my colleague, Serge Kovaleski, appeared to do it physically over a movement restriction that Serge was born with. And I saw that video aired on "Morning Joe," and I don't think that Joe Scarborough knew there was a physical impairment at issue, but Joe Scarborough was laughing at that video of Trump, you know, mocking somebody.
And so, I think everybody finds this funny until it's aimed at them. And I think that is a bit of a problem here.
COOPER: I mean, Kirsten, the other question, of course, is, you know, if this happened months ago, just from a journalistic standpoint, you know, if they felt they were being pressured or blackmailed in some way, should they have mentioned it at the time? And they allegedly were informing MSNBC people, but what was the decision process in not talking about that alleged pressure from the White House?
KRISTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well -- I mean, I think in their defense, it would have been a little awkward because of the content of what the story was going to be about. It was about their relationship. So, I'm not sure how, you know, they would have disclosed that without raising all sorts of questions about their relationship at that time.
[20:20:02] So, you know, I don't know that you're obligated necessarily to disclose every single thing that happens. And in this case, I could understand why they might be uncomfortable. I think the person who has behaved badly here is the president. I mean, if this is true, the idea that you would be trying to extort good coverage out of people by threatening, you know, a story about their personal lives is reprehensible.
COOPER: Jason, you know, it does seem like the president, in his tweet today, responding to this did seem to acknowledge that he has some leverage to get a story pulled from "The National Enquirer," because he tweeted out about Joe Scarborough.
He called me to stop a "National Enquirer" article, said no.
Which sort of implied he could have said yes and stopped it.
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Anderson, my interpretation of that is that Joe Scarborough was reaching out and trying to contact the president and sensed that the president could do anything. I have no idea if that's the case. And certainly, tht would be the first I've ever heard about that, and I worked for the president for six or seven months or so, and never once was there any indication that the president or anyone surrounding him on his team had any influence with this organization.
But, you know, Anderson --
COOPER: You don't think the president has any influence with his old friend David Pecker, who has run very favorable stories and negative stories about other Republicans who are running against him?
MILLER: During the period that I worked for the president, I never got that sense and I was never given any direct inference or anything to make me think that was at all the case.
COOPER: So when he was running stories about Ted Cruz, about Carson, about even I think Katrina Pierson, if memory serves me -- I mean, women who were running campaigns or involved with campaigns of other Republicans, "The National Enquirer" was running stories about them, you didn't hear any negative stories about Donald Trump. Does that seem like a coincidence to you?
MILLER: I can't speak for "The National Enquirer". Certainly, that's a little bit outside of my responsibilities. But the point that I was talking to is the fact that I never saw or was -- got any sense that there was any influence there.
You know, Anderson, yesterday, I made the comment when I was on TV and we were talking about the tweet storm that started up here, and I said that Mika missed an opportunity to take a high road yesterday. I would also say the same thing to the president today, where I think there was a real opportunity for him to take the high road here and just let this go. I think we've seen the back and forth now for two days. I don't think it's been productive.
I think that most Americans are just glad that it's the Fourth of July weekend or the weekend leading into the Fourth of July. And quite frankly, I think it's a little bit absurd that we're spending so much time talking about this. But, look, I understand this is where it is when we have such high profile and high spirited folks. But, look, I think this is the time where we need to let this go and start moving ahead talking about the agenda and other things.
COOPER: Tim, you used to run the Nixon Library. Nixon certainly had an enemy's list, obviously felt attacked by the press constantly, so did his vice president. How do you see all this, given your experience?
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, every president is exasperated with the press. But few presidents grow to hate the press. And what we see with Donald Trump is that he's putting his hatred of the press and making it public.
Richard Nixon fumed about the press all the time. John F. Kennedy fumed about the press, though he didn't hate them. But he didn't like them all the time.
Nixon acted on his hatred. He used the FBI to try to humiliate members of the press. He had some of them wiretapped. He abused power to go after the press, very bad stuff. We don't know what Donald Trump is doing secretly, but what we do know is what he's saying publicly.
And he is poisoning the atmosphere between the presidency and the press in a way that Richard Nixon did it behind the scenes, Donald Trump does it in front of everyone and he does it gleefully. That's the difference. There's a shamelessness to the behavior -- to suggest that he believes he's bigger than the job.
Most presidents recognize the job is bigger than them, that they're carrying a burden that is historic and important. One gets the sense with him that his id is so strong, he believes he's bigger than the job and can do what he wants.
COOPER: We're going to continue this discussion in just a moment. We've got to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
[20:28:16] COOPER: We're now into the allegations being made by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski about the president and "The National Enquirer." The TV hosts addressed on their morning show today.
Here's the allegation they made.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: We got a call that, hey, "The National Enquirer" is going to run a negative story about you guys. If you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story. Three people at the very top of the administration calling me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, shortly after that, president Trump called it fake news in a tweak. He said that Scarborough called me to stop a "National Enquirer" article, I said no.
Back now with the panel.
I mean, Maggie, just the idea of a president, again, we don't know if -- whose version is correct, but the president's tweet, you could read as he does seem to acknowledge he called me to stop a "National Enquirer" article, I said no. If he said yes, would the article have been stopped?
The idea of a president using, you know, a tabloid like "The National Enquirer" with its, you know, reach is pretty incredible.
HABERMAN: It's pretty -- we are living in extraordinary times. And that would be yet another example of it. Look, during the campaign when "The National Enquirer" ran a story that seemed to insinuate that Ted Cruz's father had somehow been linked to the Kennedy assassination, Ted Cruz was pretty pointed and went out and said publicly, that this was, you know, David Pecker who runs "National Enquirer" doing something for his friend, Donald Trump.
We have -- and now, Donald Trump is in the White House. We have a president who is very used to a certain kind of media coverage. This all comes from the New York City tabloid domain and realm that he was part of. He sees everything in terms of good/bad. It is all transactional. And that is how he looks at it. He does not look as anything as an objective piece of news. And so, when he felt like he was getting quote/unquote, nice treatment from "Morning Joe", he was fine with them.
When they became critical and they have indeed been very personal in some of the criticism, particularly of Kellyanne Conway, but then the President got upset. And so you see this sort of sliding scale with him, where I think it is of concern is the idea that, first of all, that the President could exert that kind of influence with what is supposed to be a news outlet is disconcerting. But it also goes to his penchant for sort of, I was saying before that he had a history in New York City of hiring private investigators in or was said to that he has a history of sort of looking at the back room aspect of things. That becomes a very concerning thing when you talk about somebody who has the power of the federal bureaucracy at their disposal.
COOPER: Tim, to you, it's a question of judgment.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes.
COOPER: -- for the President?
NAFTALI: This morning, I looked back to see what Ronald Reagan was doing on June 30th, 1981. And in the morning he was having breakfast with Nancy Reagan, and then he had a full day.
The idea that Ronald Reagan would be watching television, OK, to note how people -- what people were saying about him so that he could make an immediate attack of course it wasn't social media event, is unheard of. To my mind, the greatest concern I had about what happened this morning, was not that he didn't apologize. I didn't expect President Trump to apologize. But that he doubled down. After Republicans had criticized him, he decided that he didn't care about the tweet storm that he had created. And so that raises questions about his judgment. He forgot that what was most important was the credibility of his word as President of the United States. A credibility that is important not just at home, but with North Korea, for example right now. And he didn't care. What he wanted to do was to keep playing the small bore game with people who were on MSNBC, and he forgot about the larger purposes of his administration.
COOPER: You know, Jason, you talked earlier about it's time to move on. You wish the President hadn't responded in this way. But it's harder, because on the one hand, the White House keeps staying how great the President's tweets are, that it's a way for him to directly connect with people to bypass the media, which they clearly don't like. And then when, you know, we actually do report on what the President is actually tweeting about, then they say oh, you shouldn't pay attention to his tweets.
JASON MILLER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it's important to keep in mind the context with his tweeting. If you take a look at his tweets for the month of June, less than 20 percent of them had anything to do with criticizing the media or going after the media. And so most of the vast majority of the President's tweets are specific to policy items or initiatives that he wants to push ahead.
COOPER: There are also (INAUDIBLE) also thinks like "Make America Great Again." I mean, they're not all substance. It's not like as if like every one is a policy issue. And then we're just focusing on the one that's not.
MILLER: Well, they don't have to all be talking about, you know, H.R. 1922, the legislation that we're going through. I mean, they don't have to be that specific every time. But I think there's also a misperception out there about what the percentage of tweets of the President are, say criticizing the media. But I mean -- but the fact that he has this ability to chat with folks directly I think really is central to his brand and makes some a lot of who he is. I mean, people like that, they like the fact that he's not controlled by a bunch of suits and bunch of people in D.C. who are trying to guide him in one direction. Now, does that mean that Trump supporters agree with or endorse every single tweet that he does? No, not at all, he wouldn't go and put words in folk's mouth like that. But I do think that his ability to communicate with people is part of what makes him unique and unlike anything we've ever seen. And that's a good thing.
COOPER: Kirsten, I mean, is it hypocritical for the White House to say, you know, these tweets are great and it's a great communication, and yet you shouldn't report on them?
POWERS: Of course we have to report on them. I mean, they are straight out of the horse's mouth. I mean, there is -- this idea also that reporters want him to stop tweeting, it's absurd. I think people like having access to what he's thinking about. But some of the tweets obviously cross the line. I mean, Jason, you just said less than 20 percent are about the press. So I'm going to say it's probably around 20 percent. That's pretty high, to be tweeting about reporters, to be tweeting about people covering you. I think anything above one percent is probably a little too high for the president of United States. And the personal way that he makes these attacks against individual reporters, and then also news organizations that he's obsessed with, you know, it does seem like somebody who is unable to handle criticism. Everything he's complaining about is not actually a personal attack. He is just complaining about bad coverage. And you have to understand -- I mean, the problem is, I don't understand, and I don't think anybody understands why he cares so much. Most Presidents don't like the media. They find them nuisance, but they're not obsessed with them. They're not obsessed to the point that they would try to extort someone to get good coverage.
[20:35:10] COOPER: Jason, what's your last response?
MILLER: Well, and I would say this is where -- have to agree to disagree one this one when we talk about the President pushing back. I mean, I personally like the fact when the President is pushing back on erroneous news reports or what he sees is biased coverage, and a lot of times Trump supporters do. And again, that's something where supporter see his pushback and like it. And so you might view this being too much, I don't think that most of us as Trump supporters do. And we're fundamentally going to have to agree to disagree on that one.
COOPER: All right, I want to thank everybody. When we come back, is President Trump undermining Senate GOP leaders' attempts to make a deal on the health care replacement bill by tweeting that he's considering just repealing Obamacare and figuring out the rest later. That was another tweet from today.
Also a workplace shooting at a New York City hospital is at least one dead, multiple people wounded. We're at the latest on what we know when we come back.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight from the Bronx here in New York, where a doctor went on a shooting rampage at a hospital, killing one person, wounding six others before killing himself. The shooter had previously worked at the hospital according to law enforcement officials. Polo Sandoval reporting from out the hospital joins us now. So what is the latest how all this happened?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's incredible. Almost six hours after the sound of gunfire echoed through the halls of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. This facility is open again, again taking those patients after what investigators describe as a disgruntled former employee at this hospital, arrived here earlier this afternoon, went up to the 16th and 17th floors and then opened fire. We know about this individual is that he used to practice medicine here before he came here and shot and wounded several people, before turning the gun on himself, in fact, practiced medicine here for a relatively short stint between 2014 and 2015 before he resigned under unknown circumstances at this point.
[20:40:05] But what I can tell you, Anderson, after being here this afternoon it was a fairly chaotic scene. I saw at least one patient still in his hospital gown fleeing the area. I spoke to one family who was here trying to get their newborn after a doctor's followup visit, obviously followed by a happy reunion there. But as one doctor put it for me, Anderson, this is a place usually a peace of place where people come for shelter or for treatment that turned into how he described it, as a war zone. Anderson.
COOPER: I understand, there was a woman who was killed. Do we know much about her?
SANDOVAL: All we know is that she practiced family medicine at this facility. Six people are still at this point wounded. Five of those are doctors, most of them actually young medical students. People just starting their medical career, and then the sixth individual we're told, the only patient who was injured was shot in the leg. According to doctors who I just spoke to just few moments ago, that patient is expected to pull through. So that really is the focus right now, on this hospital community that came together amid the chaos to save people's lives. There was one a pretty incredible story, a wounded doctor that was essentially put into an elevator, and then the staff upstairs, as the active gunfire was still happening, they pushed the elevator button and sent that doctor down for treatment. So again, that is the focus at this hour, not on what appears to be a disgruntled employee here at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. And of course this -- those five doctors (INAUDIBLE) in critical condition. So really a prayer is what this hospital community is asking for right now, Anderson.
COOPER: Polo, Thank you very much.
After Senate GOP leaders spent the week on successfully scrambling and make a deal on health care, President Trump took to tweeter this morning and shoot thing up. He said, "If Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date." Now, for the record, President Trump has said over and over again that the repeal and replace would happen at almost the same time. It's a promise he repeated frequently on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going do it simultaneously. It will be just fine. We're not going to have like two-day period and we're not going to have a two-year period where there's nothing. It will be repealed and replaced. Repeal it and replace it.
Repeal and replace. Repeal and replace. Repeal it, replace it. Get something great.
It will be repeal and replace. It will essentially simultaneously. It will most likely be the same day or same week but probably the same day. It could be the same hour. So we're going to do repeal and replace.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Ryan Nobles joins us now, live from Capitol Hill. So how exactly did President go from repeal and replace the same bill to repeal and replace at a later date?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: As you illustrate there pretty well, Anderson, an about face for this President. And this idea was really hatched by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who is been in contact with the White House as Republican senators are trying to come up with that deal that would repeal and replace simultaneously. And essentially Sasse in a letter to the President this morning suggesting that he encouraged the Republicans in the Senate to vote repeal now and think about replacement later. The President thought it was a good idea. He tweeted about it this morning, and then Sasse went and talked about it on Fox News Channel this morning. But it's important to point out, Anderson, that even though the President has floated this idea out there, not too many senators that are buying it at least at this point.
COOPER: Yes. It's also not clear if there's just something to kind of motivate them to actually, you know, to grab some sort of a deal. Do we know what kind of a timeline they would be looking at for this idea of repealing and then replacing later?
NOBLES: Well, that's a key part of this proposal by Ben Sasse. His idea would be to pass the repeal immediately and then set a one-year deadline for the Congress to come up with the replacement plan. Almost forcing them into a position where they have to come up with something. You know, this is something that Republicans had an opportunity to do shortly after they took office and they wrongly rejected that proposal. So it is really just complicating their efforts to try and come together and come up with a repeal and replacement that they can do immediately.
COOPER: Ryan Nobles. I appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Coming up, just how much T.V. does the President watch every day? You might be surprised to find out and how it reflects his long standing focus on his own image. That's next.
[20:47:38] COOPER: Where we find ourselves here at the end of the week is with the President of the United States in a fight with two cable news hosts whose coverage he does not appreciate. It's surreal you could say, it's strange, it's just the latest symptom of a larger issue. The President's concern over his image and what people are saying about him. It long predates his time at the White House certainly and despite the enormous pressures and responsibilities of the job of president. His eagerness to watch and listen to what people on television are saying about him is certainly has not lessened not at all. Randi Kaye has more.
RANDI KAYE: You could say President Donald Trump is always plugged in with flat screen TVs throughout at White House. T.V. comes first in the morning, notably "Fox & Friends" and it's one of the last things he does before bed.
TRUMP: I watched this morning a couple of the networks, and I have to say "Fox & Friends" in the morning, they're very honorable people.
KAYE: Trump loves seeing himself on T.V. too. He's been known to shush others so he could hear taped interviews he did and what's being said about him on T.V. It's a television obsession like no other president before him.
TRUMP: You're all better than that.
KAYE: Nurtured by his own experience in television, as a reality T.V. star on The Apprentice.
TRUMP: We've never had a team lose so badly. You're all fired. All four are fired.
KAYE: It's a useful tool for him, too. Early on during the campaign, he turned to TV to brush up on the military.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you talk to for military advice, right now?
TRUMP: Well, I watch the shows. I mean I really see a lot of great, you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals.
KAYE: According to The Washington Post the President is known to hate watch, tuning in to networks and shows that are anything but complementary of him.
TRUMP: Every network you see hits me on every topic, made up so is like Russia.
KAYE: The President watches so much T.V., reportedly hours a day, that some members of congress have started using it to get his attention.
ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (R) MARYLAND: I know you're watching.
KAYE: Representative Elijah Cummings appealed directly to the President on "Morning Joe." A day or so later, "The Washington Post" reports Trump called Cummings to talk about prescription drugs.
KAYE (on camera): As his adviser, Kellyanne Conway, put it Donald Trump comes to the White House with a sophisticated understanding of how the power of television, the power of imagery, the power of message all worked together.
[20:50:05] Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Maggie Haberman is back. Joining the conversation is Brian Stelter and Michael D'Antonio. Maggie, I mean do you have a sense of exactly how many hours a day he watches? Yes. You mentioned last night he has an enormous T.V. in a room right next to the Oval office. HABERMAN: Yes in the little dining room. I mean I think that -- I don't want to put a hard number on it but that five-hour number in aggregate doesn't sound wildly off. I mean you can also just look at his tweets and look at the time when he's clearly watching television.
COOPER: He also TiVos stuff or recorded.
He TiVos stuff and he records it and plays it back later. There was some issue around the Comey testimony where there were some staff members trying to get him to not watch it in real time. Although -- then they were concerned that if he TiVoed it that would be even worse.
I mean look, his staff is really projecting out just a lot of what he is seeing and feeling. But what happens when people get very close to this President in his circle is they start to just take on certainly some of his characteristics but also his sense of grievance. And that's what's happening here. I don't think -- I can't think of another president who has watched this much T.V. himself. I mean I think that we've had presidents whose staff members have watched T.V. Certainly, you know, President Obama's team was pretty attuned to the morning shows. But this is a different level of it and it is it is true that he comes into office with the knowledge that "The Apprentice" the show that he start on did help get him elected. The number of people that I spoke to in Iowa before the caucuses who would talk about how, you know, him in huge grand terms as if he was one of, you know, the great business leaders in history. And it was really the image form that show of him in the later back chair and at the board table. That was real for him.
COOPER: Brian, it's interesting because I mean it's, you know, he mentions NBC, and CBS and ABC but it's really cable news that seems to be the focus of much of his attention, I mean, whether it's "Fox & Friends," "Morning Joe," CNN obviously. That seems to be what he's watching mostly.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely. It's reflective of broader media trends. As this President has an anti-media attack on daily basis. He cares deeply. He loves a lot of what he sees as long as it's positive. We know that from "Fox & Friends" in the morning, and Fox "Hannity" at night. But he is tuning in much like an average American. I think we should know, the average American watches 4.5 hours of T.V. a day. You said may be five, may five hours a day for the President. The average American, his age watches seven or eight hours a day. It is a relatable quality. And I think that's one thing he has going for him. His fans, his base, they're watching right along with him and there is something that's connective about that.
HABERMAN: To a point, I mean except that he's now the President. If everything is a permanent campaign and that is certainly true and that is what his supporters will say is, you know, regular people understand that and I do think that is part of why he won. But he does have other things to do and there is this strange quality where the White House keeps yelling at reporters for covering the tweets. Like, why are you guys covering this? Well, he's saying it. And if he doesn't want us to cover it --
COOPER: Most people are not watching stuff about themselves for seven hours. Watch -- I mean the effect of that is hard to --
HABERMAN: That is true.
COOPER: -- fathom watching stuff only about yourself and that's why he's tuning in. Michael, I mean it's well known that he's always been extraordinarily interested in any coverage of himself to even the point where, you know, according to reports he would pretend to be like a P.R. person for himself and call up reporters, you know, and pretend to give leaks about himself.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Well, what you just mentioned, Anderson, about the fact that he's looking at himself in the morning I think is very true. I think it's almost as if he's gazing in the mirror when he examines what's going on television and that's an extraordinary thing. But it is a habit that he's had for his entire life. He, prior to the advent of high capacity video recording at home he would have videotapes at hand for him to review. He would review the daily press clippings. Now, this goes back to the 1970s and '80s. So this habit is very well ingrained.
The other thing that I think is really fascinating about Mr. Trump is that he's really a child of television. He was born in the late 1940s, grew up with T.V. I think even more than Twitter this is his medium and so he pays close attention. He believes he can master it and in many ways he has.
COOPER: Brian, I mean there's a reason other presidents have avoided watching or reading, you know, endless stuff about themselves. I mean just, you know, the affect it has on a person is hard to measure.
STELTER: I've thought about this week in light of the Mika story. What's it like for this President to turn on the television and hear all the time that he's the biggest loser? And I'm borrowing a different NBC reality show instead of "The Apprentice." But he's hearing this narrative about low poll ratings, failures from the legislative front. A country that does not seem to support him except for the 38 percent to 40 percent that's been studied that continues to support him.
[20:55:02] In some ways, he's coming across like this loser on a reality T.V. show. You could make the case, of course, that he's a huge winner and that he's won the country's affection. But I do wonder what that's like psychologically every day, every night to hear all had this bad news about yourself.
COOPER: Maggie Haberman, Brian Stelter, Michael D'Antonio, thanks. Coming up at 10:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN, we'll bring you a special report called "The Pulse of Orlando: Terror at the Nightclub." It was one year ago this month when 49 people were murdered in the deadly shooting -- mass shooting in U.S. history. What was supposed to be a fun night on the town turned into it terror. We went back to The Pulse Nightclub. I spoke to the owner. Here's a preview.
COOPER (on camera): It's a both -- all these walls were blown out?
BARBARA POMA, ORLANDO BUSINESS OWNER: Yes, they were all blown out.
COOEPR: So this is where SWAT Teams entered?
POMA: Yes. This is where they entered. This is my first time back here, too.
COOPER: It is?
POMA: Mm-hmm, yes.
COOPER: To see this up close too --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Our full special report "The Pulse of Orlando: Terror at the Nightclub" airs tonight at 10:00 o'clock right after 360.
Coming up, the controversy surrounding the President from Washington to his weekend getaway in New Jersey, we'll go there next and get late details on the flap over his feud with two cable news anchors.