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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump, Others in Meeting Offer Different Accounts; Many Republicans Silent on President Trump's "Shithole" Remark; WSJ: Trump Lawyer Arranged $130K Payment for Porn Star's Silence a Month Before 2016 Election; Documents Released On Vegas Shooting; Pres. Trump Has First Official Physical Went 'Exceptionally Well'; Pres. Trump Others in Meeting Offer Different Accounts; CNN Film "Trophy" Explores Big Game Hunting. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired January 12, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:07] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Good evening. Tonight, with toxic fallout spreading from President Trump's racist comments along with a cloud of evasions including yet again from the president himself, we begin keeping them honest with words that would resonate coming from any other president but ring particularly hollow today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: The president reading this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day proclamation just one day after telling a bipartisan group of lawmakers that no, we are not all created equal, at least not if you were born in, as the president put, it a shithole country like Haiti or El Salvador or several countries in Africa. You are not by the president's stated thinking equal to someone born in Norway.
Just to remind you, the president said what he said inside the Oval Office yesterday at a meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers on a possible immigration deal. That's what a source familiar with it tells CNN. It is what several sources tell the "Washington Post," which broke the story. And it is what two participants, one a Democrat and one a Republican, confirm.
The president said, according to our source: Haitians. Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out. Meaning take them out of the immigration deal.
And again, with apologies for the language, he also reportedly said: Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?
By the way, here's what else he was doing yesterday as he heaped scorn on countries where predominantly black and brown-skinned people live. He was recording a Martin Luther king Jr. Day message for this Monday. And keeping them honest, here's what else he did and did not do when the story hit.
For starters, he did not have his spokesman, Raj Shah, deny it last night. What he did do according to a source familiar with his actions is spend the night calling supporters and taking what was characterized as a victory lap over his comments. That's right. A victory lap. I'll just let that sink in.
Just hours after reports that he denigrated Haitians and others and on the eve of the anniversary of the Haitian earthquake no less, the president of the United States was on the phone high-fiving with his friends. By early morning, though, his boasting turned to denials on Twitter.
The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made, a big setback for DACA.
And this about an hour later: Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is obviously a very poor and troubled country. Never said take them out. Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings. Unfortunately, no trust.
Keeping them honest, no tapes are needed. As we said, two participants, one from each party, have weighed in with the facts.
Here is Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I cannot believe that in the history of the White House in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham also weighed in, first telling his colleague, Senator Tim Scott, that the comments reported are, quote, basically accurate. That's according to his hometown paper, "The Charleston Post and Courier."
He then put out a public statement today. And while it did not directly acknowledge the president's use of an obscenity, he did say that he pushed back on the president's remarks.
The president and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I've always believed that America is an idea not defined by its people but by its ideals.
As for the other lawmakers present, it is hardly profiles in courage. We reached out to all of them. Two said they do not recall the president saying what he has reportedly said. They claim they just don't remember.
One other Republican, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, sidestepped the question in a tweet calling it a diversion from his efforts on DACA. Two other leading Republicans who were in that room, Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Bob Goodlatte, have said nothing at all.
House Speaker Paul Ryan did offer some tepid comments calling the president's remarks, quote, "unhelpful."
Republican Senator Jeff Flake, on the other hand, gave no quarter. He is no fan of the president but however he said he is operating on firsthand knowledge, tweeting, quote: The words used by the president as related to me directly following the meeting by those in attendance were not tough. They were abhorrent and repulsive.
And whether you agree with that assessment, one thing is clear: toxic remarks, especially black and brown-skinned people, are nothing new for this president.
[20:05:07] Late last year, he reportedly slurred Haitian immigrants as all having AIDS and Nigerians as living in huts. Something we should say the White House press secretary denies he said at the time.
However, just to remind you, here is a sampling of some of Mr. Trump's other offensive comments starting with what he said about the neo- Nazis and other white supremacists in Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people. On both sides.
Look at my African-American over here.
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
I would like to have him show his birth certificate.
When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists --
This judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall.
You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: These comments are not outliers. They are part of a consistently prejudicial worldview. And as we said, no shortage of fallout from all this, here and especially around the world, including Haiti, where eight years ago today so many lost their lives or saw their lives and their proud country changed forever.
A Haitian-American Republican Party official joins us to talk about why he's just stepped down. Gold star father Khizr Khan are here as well. So are the two Davids, Axelrod and Gergen, with their thoughts on what the slurs are doing to the presidency. Also, yet another bombshell in the "Wall Street Journal." The
headline speaks volumes. Trump lawyer arranged $130,000 payment for adult film star's silence. That will be later in this hour.
Right now, let's go to CNN's Jim Acosta. He's at the White House.
Jim, the president's denial over his comments yesterday -- is the White House offering any explanation as to how that runs counter not just to what Senators Durbin and Graham who were in the room said but also that statement from the White House yesterday which did not deny the comments at all, in fact seemed to defend them?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. And I should point out in just the last few minutes a White House spokesman, Raj Shah, did refer me back to that statement released by Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton in which, and I think you read part of that just a short while ago, they said they don't recall the president making those remarks about African countries and Haiti.
And so, at this point, the White House press office, which was not really denying these comments last night, I suppose for the first time, they are denying them because they're referring us back to that statement from Senators Cotton and Perdue.
But I think it was interesting to note, Jim, what happened earlier today over here at the White House when the president signed that proclamation honoring Martin Luther King Day when our colleague, April Ryan, CNN contributor, shouted out the question, are you a racist?
At that meeting over here at the White House, Jim, the nephew of Martin Luther King, Isaac Newton Farris Jr., was standing right next to the president, and I talked to him right after this event was over. He said to me that the president pulled him aside with Dr. Ben Carson, the HUD secretary, and said, listen, I'm not the person that they're making me out to be in the media. In response to what he saw from the president yesterday, that nephew of Martin Luther King Jr. told us here at CNN that he doesn't believe the president is racist but he believes that the president is racially ignorant.
Those are pretty strong words coming from the nephew of a civil rights icon, Jim.
SCIUTTO: No question. What more can you tell us about how the president is handling this? Is it his feeling based on the people you talked to that he did nothing wrong here, that he's being celebrated? Or is he understanding some of these repercussions?
ACOSTA: Well, he's certainly making phone calls. He's reaching out to people to try to assess what the damage is here. That is in part why he pulled aside Dr. Ben Carson and MLK's nephew earlier today. Apparently, Dr. Carson and the president were talking about how he can handle the controversy, we're told by a person familiar with that meeting.
But the president, we'll have to see what he has to say this weekend. He did not answer those questions from April Ryan and essentially dodged the issue all day long. He is now at Mar-a-Lago tonight, Jim, which we should point out is his ritzy resort down there in Palm Beach, Florida which also, by the way, employs a lot of Haitians -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Goodness. And a lot of Haitians living in Florida, many of them fled that earthquake.
Jim Acosta, chief White House correspondent, thanks you very much.
Again, the president's remarks, including his disparagement of an entire continent of people, is not his first racist verbal attack, certainly not. And sometimes they are aimed not only at an entire race or religion but also individual people.
Khizr khan knows that all too well. As the father of a Muslim army captain who was killed in Iraq, Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Afterward, the president attacked Khan and his wife saying, he delivered the speech because his wife was not allowed to speak. Khizr joins me now.
Mr. Khan, you, of course, have been on the receiving end of offensive comments from the president. When you listen to these comments as quoted, can you interpret them as anything other than racist?
KHIZR KHAN, GOLD STAR FATHER: Jim, there are two reasons and two worries that I have.
One is that being racist, being bigot in personal life is not illegal, is not unconstitutional. But when the holder of the highest office of this nation is a bigot and is a racist, that reflects in the selection of his policies, selection of the laws and implementation of those law laws. That is unconstitutional and that is illegal.
My second concern is this. On behalf of my sons and daughters that served in the armed forces of United States today, they come from various backgrounds. Their parents migrated to United States, to this blessed land from all over the world, from Africa, from Haiti. I am concerned about their morale and their well-being.
SCIUTTO: As you know and you mentioned, there are many immigrants, children of immigrants who have served, continue to serve in the military, the military, one of the most diverse organizations in the country. You, of course, lost your son. Your son lost his life in the service of this country.
Are you concerned that because of these comments they will be less likely to want to serve, risk their lives for the United States?
KHAN: I have been asked that questions many a time in many of my speaking engagements. People have approached me and asked how do you convince us to go and serve in the military of the United States under these circumstances where our heritage, where our well-being is challenged and questioned by this president?
It is, as I said, it may be fine to be a bigot and to be a racist in private life, but when such statements and such actions reflect on your policy, on your illegal behavior, on selecting the people that serve you, then it becomes unconstitutional and illegal.
SCIUTTO: You have said that you would like to see the president visit Arlington National Cemetery, which he's done, but specifically to read the names of those who sacrificed their lives to defend this country, and that he would see there that many of those names are Muslim or of Haitian origin, African origin, the origins across the world.
Do you think that would make a difference for this president?
KHAN: Yes, it will make the difference. I request these three flag officers in his cabinet, instead of sitting -- the disdain on their faces when they sit and he begins to utter such nonsensical statements that brings shame to this nation, accompany him to Section 60 of the Arlington Cemetery. Show him the ages, show him the names of those heroes that have died.
And maybe if they have more courage, invite him to a gathering of the military, gathering of the armed forces somewhere. Let him shake hands with the families of those heroes that are serving. Let him ask -- let him look into the eyes of the people that are sons and daughters of the immigrants from Africa, immigrants from Haiti and other parts of the world.
SCIUTTO: To the people around the world who are hearing, reading about the president's comments, and we've seen enormous reaction. We've had reporters out there. You've heard official reaction.
Will they have their view of the United States dimmed by this, would you say? Would they hold the country beyond the man responsible in part for this kind of sentiment, hearing that from the mouth of the elected president?
KHAN: I need not add to the commentary that has been going on since he uttered those words. Look at his bigotry. Look at his lying again as a bully. This is what bullies do. That when got caught they deny.
He has been denying that he uttered the word. That is another sign of a bully in the highest office of this nation. The world has known, the nation has known about his character and about his nature. He is a pathological liar.
We trust the statement of honorable Senator Durbin versus Donald Trump.
[20:15:00] Mr. Khan, I'm a father as well. I know you made what is perhaps the ultimate sacrifice, losing your son for this country. I thank you for that. And I thank you for joining us tonight.
KHAN: Thank you very much. Good to speak with you.
SCIUTTO: And much more ahead. Next, as Jim Acosta alluded to this earlier, the reaction or conspicuous lack of it from Republicans in Washington. Just ahead as well, as if there weren't enough breaking news already,
there is more new reporting in the "Wall Street Journal" tonight about candidate Trump, his lawyer, and according to the "Journal", a six- figure payout to a porn star.
SCIUTTO: As we mentioned at the top, this is not the first time the president had said something outlandish, offensive, especially about people who, let's be frank, look and talk differently from him. It is also not the first time that Republican lawmakers have scrambled as quickly as they can to avoid confronting the president.
CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us now with what he's hearing and what he's not hearing up on Capitol Hill.
Phil, of course, not the first time the president has made offensive concepts, and Republicans, their responses today not exactly profiles in courage. They fit a pattern in your experience.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's almost become formulaic at this point, Jim. The comments come out or some reports on comments come out behind the scenes. There's frustration, often aides express disbelief but mostly you get silence. Then you get some type of gentle condemnation, they start streaming out slowly one by one.
[20:20:02] A few lawmakers if they're personally affected, if their constituents are personally affected, they might be a little bit stronger. The leadership, they will likely lay off unless they're confronted publicly. And then things will hopefully, at least when you talk to Republican aides, eventually go away.
Now, the calculus here is twofold. First and foremost, Republicans at this point don't see a lot of benefit in picking fights with the president. They understand they have to work with him on the agenda, they have to work with him to move things forward, and people who've picked fights with the president don't always benefit in the end.
But the other one, and I think this is perhaps the most important, was explained to me by a Republican aide earlier today. He said flatly, the point is hunker down until the news cycle turns because, Jim, the news cycle will always turn.
SCIUTTO: Goodness. Unhelpful, one of my favorite words. So electrifying.
The real effect, though, you're finding out there is how Democrats might position themselves with an approaching possibility of a government shutdown. What are your sources telling you?
MATTINGLY: The big question going on for the last couple of weeks is can lawmakers reach a resolution on the DACA issue? And, obviously, Republican lawmakers have said there's no deadline here, we don't have to do this by January 19th. But January 19th is when the government is run out of funding. And that's when Democrats say they want some type of resolution.
Well, when lawmakers come back to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, they will have four days to figure that out. From what I'm told is the concern right now, Republican advisers at least, is that the comments from the president have only hardened the resolve of Democrats to simply give no support to any effort to fund the government on a short-term basis without a DACA deal at all.
And, Jim, as you know quite well, there's no resolution on DACA in sight. On the policy, the only bipartisan proposal that's out there was rejected by the president yesterday, during that Oval Office meeting. There's nothing that's really sitting out there right now. So, the reality is going into next week with just four legislative days left, there is no clear pathway forward, there's a lot of questions, not a lot of answers, and as we currently sit, nobody's really sure whether or not the government is going to be open on January 20th or not, Jim.
SCIUTTO: So you're saying Democrats may have made a political judgment that it's worth it to them to shut down the government, not just over these comments but to get the deal that they want on DACA?
MATTNGLY: Look, the reality is the Democrats are facing a ton of pressure from outside groups, from outside advocates on this issue. When they voted on a short-term funding resolution in December, afterwards they were hammered for this. And not all of them voted for it.
They have decided, and I think the big question is how many of them have decided, that this is the moment to draw the line, they can't keep kicking the can down the road, there is a very real population, these are very real stories, these are 700,000 individuals and their families, and somehow, some way this needs to be addressed.
They're also keenly aware, Jim, that when it comes to the Republican Party this is a very divisive and complicated issue, while Republicans control the House, Republicans control the Senate and Republicans control the White House. The one mechanism of leverage that Democrats currently have is this spending bill, is keeping the government open. That's why they're very wary of just kicking the can down the road just for a short-term process, even a couple of weeks.
The big question right now is, where this all matters right now is in the Senate. Republicans can't move things forward without 60 votes. They only control 51 seats. So, the question is, will Senator Chuck Schumer, will his Democratic colleagues decide to unify in opposition to any type of government funding resolution if there is no DACA resolution?
How it currently stands, at least as far as I was told earlier today, we are currently in the midst of a very high-stakes game of chicken and nobody has any idea who's going to pull off the road anytime soon, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Well, we should expect it, right? There's going to be big news next week. It happens multiple times a day.
Phil Mattingly on the Hill, thanks very much.
Perspective now from two veteran White House insiders, that is David Gergen whose West Wing resume dates back to the Nixon administration. And former senior Obama White House adviser David Axelrod.
David Gergen, you've had varied reactions from Republicans, ranging from outright criticism to more mild, you know, the disappointed category, to silence really here. How do you gauge that across the board?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO NIXON, FORD, REAGAN & CLINTON: Well, it's very hard to defend the indefensible, isn't it? I think there's no natural political reaction when your party leader is in trouble, you either support him fully or you duck. And a lot of people unfortunately are ducking. They're going to be far better off if they embrace a call that Mia Love, the Republican congresswoman, rising star, Haitian-American, called for an apology by the president. I think other Republicans would do well to join in that apology because this is continuing to build.
SCIUTTO: David Axelrod, I have to ask you because we've had conversations about the president's controversial, offensive comments going back to before the election multiple times. And I just want to ask this question. Is this one in your view different, particularly egregious in your view?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think what he did was egregious. But you make an important point. We've seen this movie before. We've asked these questions before.
[20:25:00] Are the Republican leaders going to stand up and rebuke the president?
So let me just say this. I don't think this is the last such outrage we're going to see because I think what's clear after a year of experience with Donald Trump as president and a year before that of him as a candidate is that he does not change his behavior. It's not as if he learns from his mistakes and doesn't learn them again. He repeats his mistakes.
And, you know, the fear is that as pressure builds that these mistakes will become more and more egregious. But what is also true is that as long as the Republican Party feels that their base is sticking with him, they are not going to separate themselves from him generally.
I mean, there are some like Mia Love whose parents come from Haiti, who was deeply offended by what the president said, as she should have been. And she spoke out very forthrightly about it.
But as you point out, most of the leadership has ducked. And as David points out, Paul Ryan had a tepid comment on it today. I don't think we've heard from Senator McConnell on it. So, I'm not very optimistic about the Republican Party responding to this, even though as you asked in the first place this was a particularly egregious thing to say.
SCIUTTO: You even have Senator Cotton who was in the room who said I don't recall hearing those words, which you have to wonder if that's credible.
David Gergen, if I could ask you, we have some reporting from CNN tonight that the president, from a source inside the White House, actually loves this controversy. That he loved this conversation that he started here, he's enjoying it somewhat. Do you believe that?
GERGEN: Yes, I can believe that. Yes, I assume it will be fully reported.
But that was the worst thing I heard all day. I mean, I just was shocked. How can he possibly come out of this and enjoy the controversy when it's bringing almost universal condemnation from around? And because -- I think this is the worst gaffe he's made, if you want to call it that, the most racist kind of thing he's done since Charlottesville. And because it's become a pattern that it's really sinking in now, this high-level bipartisan meeting about something as sensitive as immigration, you know, I just think it makes it worse.
There is a real sense after this incident that what President Trump is doing, he's putting a sign on Lady Liberty, sending a message to the entire world, if you're not white, you're not welcome.
SCIUTTO: Yes. And to hear it on a day the president was reading comments from Martin Luther King talking about how we're all created equal, just the contrast really incredible.
David, I want to ask you because this of course not the only controversy in the last 24 hours. Imagine that. The president backing out of a state visit to the U.K., arguably America's closest ally. This is the reason that he tweeted. He said, Reason, I canceled my trip to London is I am not a big fan of the Obama administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for peanuts, only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2 billion. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon. No.
This is a statement that just doesn't match up with the facts. The plans for the embassy move began during the Bush administration.
SCIUTTO: In fact, there's a statement from October 2008 announcing this move.
What is the president trying to do there? Of course, he knew that he would be called out for that misleading statement.
AXELROD: Well, I don't know -- I don't know what he knows when he says what he says. You said he's not a big fan of the Obama administration. I think he's not a big fan of facts. I think we've discovered that by now. But, look, what is at the bottom of this? He understood, he came to
understand that he was going to be greeted very, very negatively in London. He is deeply, deeply unpopular in Britain. He was going to be greeted with demonstrations and protests and it was going to be a disaster for him.
And you know, Jim, I did an "AXE FILES" television show with Condoleezza Rice that's going to air tomorrow night. She wrote in her book and she repeated on this show that she always thought that if you lose the Brits, you're alone if you're the American leader.
He has lost the Brits. He is alone. This cannot be good for the United States of America.
SCIUTTO: That's the thing, David Gergen, it's a great point, because there's a lot of talk of, well, this stuff all fades away, it's a 24- hour controversy and then it will be in our rearview mirror before you know it.
But here you have -- I mean, the president has had repeated offensive statements about the U.K. going back. Here you have a U.S. ally, the president cannot step foot in the U.K. You've served multiple presidents. Can you imagine circumstances like that?
[20:30:00] GERGEN: Never. Never, ever. Every president, you know, the Brits have been so grateful since World War II and actually going all the way back to World War I for the partnership they have. And they've always welcomed American presidents. You know, people work across the aisle. Tony Blair had work across the aisle, you know, work with the right and with the left in America. That was important.
But this also goes to something else, Jim, that's very fundamental. And that is going back to the founding fathers, when they wrote the declaration of independence they told the world that in creating a new nation they wanted to show "A decent respect to the opinions of mankind." A decent respect to the opinions of mankind. The Trump administration has totally thrown that out the window now and the rest of the world is noticing. It's going to be very interesting to see what kind of response he gets when he goes to this big international gathering in Davos, Switzerland in about two weeks' time.
SCIUTTO: Yes, and listen, none of us would be here had our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers not been welcomed from countries considered --
SCIUTTO: -- s-holes at the time.
SCIUTTO: And you might even say the president's family as well. David Gergen, David Axelrod, thanks very much. Don't forget as David --
GERGEN: Thank you. SCIUTTO: -- Axelrod I mentioned there, "Axe Files" airs tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern time, David's guest former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
And just ahead, our Gary Tuchman goes to the heart of Trump country to gauge reaction over to the furor over the president's offensive language.
SCIUTTO: Even more breaking news tonight, the "Wall Street Journal" reporting that a lawyer for President Trump arrange a hefty payment to an adult film star, why? Because of an alleged sexual affair.
Tom Foreman joins us with more now.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jim --
[20:35:06] SCIUTTO: Tom, let's --
FOREMAN: A new claim in the "Wall Street Journal." A woman was paid $130,000 a month before the election to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Donald Trump. I say a month before the election, $130,000. According to the story, Trump had this counter with an adult film star who goes bit name of Stormy Daniels in 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament. The "Journal" says this new report of hush money comes from people familiar with the matter. But the president's long-time lawyer Michael Cohen is hitting back hard saying "These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence, as has Ms. Daniels."
Cohen did not directly address the idea of a payment, but he did give CNN a statement he says is from Stormy Daniels which says, "My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more. When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional, and a complete gentleman to me and everyone in my presence. Rumors that I've received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn't be reading about it in the news. You would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is these stories are not true." That's what she says about this supposed $130,000 payment.
CNN has tried to reach Ms. Daniels for independent confirmation. We've not spoken to her yet. Trump's lawyer Cohen has not provided contact information for her either. If this alleged event did nonetheless take place, Jim, it would have occurred the year after he married first lady Melania Trump. The White House, however, is calling all this old recycled news, strongly denied prior to the election, as you may recall. Jim?
SCIUTTO: Tom Foreman, thanks. Certainly a story we'll continue to follow. Next, how the president's racist remarks are being received in Trump country?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:40:40] SCIUTTO: Welcome back. There is now new information on the Las Vegas tragedy. CNN has just obtained hundreds of pages of documents on the shooting that took 52 lives there in just a matter of minutes. We along with other media organizations sued in federal court to unseal warrant material related to that massacre. The judge ordered investigators to turn over some 300 pages.
Joining us now is Sara Sidner. What are you learning?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, we're trying to go through these pages. We just got them about an hour ago and we're going through them all. There are a few small details that we have not seen before. And obviously all of us have done a lot of reporting on this.
One is that, you'll remember that the shooter had two houses where quite a bit of ammunition and some 18 guns were found. We are now learning that in one of those homes in Mesquite. Marilou Danley, which is the girlfriend of the shooter said that -- told investigators in these warrants that her prints would likely be on bullets because she sometimes helped load mags or magazines. But she again adamantly denied that she was in any way involved in the shooting.
That is one of the details coming out now that his girlfriend did say she was very much aware of the ammunition, that her fingerprints may be on the ammunition and she offered that up without being questioned about that specific thing. She just sort of offered it up to investigators according to some of these documents that we have now gotten warrants from the FBI that they secured and then they talk about how they interviewed her. Jim?
SCIUTTO: Incredible revelations. I understand we're also learning more about the timeline of exactly when the shooter began preparing for all this.
SIDNER: Yes, there's a note in these warrants that says on July 6th, 2017, you remember this shooting was October 1st. There are e-mails between two accounts. One, that the federal government says definitely belonged they believe to the shooter. Another one that they're not sure whether it's his second account and he's e-mailing himself back and forth or whether it belongs to someone else. And they are very clear in saying if it belongs to someone else, we need to find out who it is.
But let me read you what they say or in those e-mails. The e-mail sent to the shooter says, "Try an A.R. before you buy. We have a huge selection located in the Las Vegas area." Then sends back to him later on that day says "We have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try" and talks about trying out a bump stock. That is the device that makes a gun very close to an automatic weapon. It works very similar to an automatic weapon.
So those are revelations. And it does seem odd that he would be e- mailing that to himself. So investigators clearly looking to figure out who that other person may be. Jim?
SCIUTTO: Goodness. Sara Sidner there, thank you. And after all that talk about bump stocks just after the shooting, there was some talk of legislation, even some Republicans involved, they got punted to the ATF. The ATF if it's in the midst of a process that it may take as long as a year. Just to consider that.
Meanwhile, how many more bump stocks will be purchased? So much happening tonight. This is new to us as well, on the President's first official medical checkup when he was running for president. You may remember Donald Trump received a glowing assessment from his personal doctor Harold Bornstein. In a letter, Dr. Bornstein wrote at the time "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." Certainly sounds a bit hyperbolic.
And CNN's Drew Griffin has asked him about that assessment.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why did you write that letter? Was it a joke? The words you chose, the way you wrote it?
HAROLD BORNSTEIN, PHYSICIAN: I was just rushed at the time. I had people to see.
SCIUTTO: Well, there's no rushing for time now. The President went to Walter Reed Hospital, and the White House doctor says the exam went "exceptionally well" and that the President is in excellent health.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now. Sanjay, there's not a lot from the doctor, no detail that we're seeing tonight. But what do you make of the statement and what do you hope will be released on Tuesday? Because he says that there will be some details published on Tuesday.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a little deja vu. I'll tell you, Jim, first of all, you know, this exceptionally well and in excellent health. It was just two lines. And it was about 4 1/2 hours. The President had at Walter Reed.
[20:45:02] Presumably, they did a pretty thorough exam. But as you mentioned, on Tuesday, hopefully the doctor is going to come out and brief reporters, hopefully take some questions as well, because this was the briefest summary I think I've ever seen with regard to a presidential health exam.
SCIUTTO: Yes, and listen, he's elected and you might say the American people have a right to know. But how much do we actually know about the President's health right now? And how does it compare to what we knew about past presidents?
GUPTA: Well, it's interesting. You know, from his sort of baseline exam, if you will, just before he became president, we know a little bit. We know the basics. We know his height and his weight, and if you do those calculations you'll find his body mass index is -- is overweight, and I'm sure bordering on obese. We know that he takes medications including a statin drug to basically lower his cholesterol and Propecia for hair loss. Those are the sort of basic things we know.
What we really want to know is what has this last year done to him, Jim? I mean, he is, you know, we heard about his diet, you know, cheeseburgers, drinking 12 diet cokes, fish-o-fillet sandwiches, chocolate shakes, all the stuff. Obviously, there's a lot of stresses with being president as well.
The thing you think about with a 71-year-old person first and foremost the doctors are going to focus on the heart.
GUPTA: What are the risk factors for heart disease? Then what are the risk factors for stroke, any particular cancers as well. I will tell you that a primary exam -- a physical exam like this often does include questions like -- about anxiety, about depression, about stress. There may not be any testing accompanying those things, but those are questions that are asked as well.
SCIUTTO: Yes. I'm in my 40s. I got to asked all those questions including about diet last time I went, Sanjay. Sanjay Gupta thanks very much.
Coming up, more on the President's political vital signs after his controversial offensive statements about immigrants.
[20:50:57] JIM SCIUTTO: Now, typically you're deep in the heart of Trump nation, there is still very broad support for the president. No surprise there. That said, the ripple-effect from the president's comments yesterday are giving some people pause. Not a great deal, it seems, but some. Here's 360's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Are you ready?
BOB HOLLINGSWORTH, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Ready. You have a good break.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The Rack and Roll billiards bar is in Aniston, Alabama is in the heart of Trump country, and Bob Hollingsworth, republican who voted for Donald Trump.
(on-camera): Bob, I want to ask you, overall what do you think of the job Donald Trump was doing so far?
HOLLINGSWORTH: I would give him overall a seven over 10.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): He doesn't get a higher grade as Hollingsworth because of some of his personal behavior, including what he just said.
HOLLINGSWORTH: Oh, he used the shithole countries.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So what do you think of the president using that term?
HOLLINGSWORTH: We could have done better there, but I think he talked in more so in terms of voicing that against the leadership of the country more so than the people of the country.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): But the fact he used that word at all to describe the country any way shape or form.
HOLLINGSWORTH: Not presidential, no, not presidential. He shouldn't have done it.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We found that it's a common sentiment in downtown Aniston among people who generally admire the president. Rodney Purser works in this restaurant.
(on-camera): With the president using that word, how do you feel about that?
RODNEY PURSER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He should have been more professional about it. He shouldn't have used that word.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And as far as the restaurant customers go --
TRACY WRIGHT, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think that that was unprofessional, and I would think that that shows a little bit of lack of morals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy, un-presidential.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gene Robinson feels a bit different though. The store owner is a former mayor of Aniston. And isn't even a registered Republican but strongly defends the president.
GENE ROBINSON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think that he would intentionally insult any country, and that just came out of his mouth and that's the way he operates. He operates from the hip.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So you think it's just a mistake that he said that?
ROBINSON: Yes, I do.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): You don't think he's being derogatory towards any country?
ROBINSON: I don't think he is being derogatory towards anyone.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Back at the billiards hall, Bob Hollingsworth rejects accusations the president is racist.
(on-camera): Do you think that he ever would have said that about a country that is mostly white? The countries he said that about are mostly black.
HOLLINGSWORTH: Well, that's a good point.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Could it affect you when you voted 2020, could it make you say maybe I'm not going to vote for Donald Trump this time?
HOLLINGSWORTH: Crude, but I can live with it.
SCIUTTO: Gary, great story there. Remarkable reactions, really, across the board.
TUCHMAN: You know, what's interesting, Jim, is notably, many of the people we talked to here in Aniston knew absolutely nothing about this comments, that has a lot to do with Donald Trump. And that people are used to with Donald Trump regarding controversial comment.
Now, when we told people who knew nothing about this, what he uttered, what was interesting to see, Jim, is that no one was shocked and there was very little surprise, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Gary Tuchman out in the field. Thanks very much.
Coming up, a preview of a CNN film that is airing this weekend. Trophy. Takes a looks at the business of big game hunting and why some hunters say it actually helps endangered species. We'll have a preview and that's next.
[20:58:22] SCIUTTO: Sunday Night, CNN Film presents, "Trophy", a documentary that takes you inside the controversial business of big game hunting. Anderson recently sat down with animal expert, Jack Hanna.
COOPER: Jack, what do you make of the hunters in this film and others who say that the money they pay to kill elephants and lions and other wild animals is helping to conserve them overall?
JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: It's a difficult thing. Yes, they do spend millions of dollars. And a matter of fact, Anderson, the people that's hunting fish throughout the world, especially in the United States of America, you're talking billions of dollars go to the animals. However, in some countries in Africa, I guarantee you, those animals don't see one dime. I'm not saying all of them. I'm saying some of them really, the hunters help keep them alive. That's all.
When there's overpopulation of certain animals we have to be managing the animals. That's the problem we have today.
HANNA: These animals, it's called predator-prey relationship. The good lord put here and we screwed it up. So therefore, with the good hunters, as I'm saying, which most of them are, they will go in there.
And then, a lot of money is given to these folks, as far as trophy hunting, I've never been on one. I don't ever tend to do one and I don't hunt. So I can't sit here and knock the hunters. I can say as far as trophy hunting, I couldn't do it but I know there's billions of dollars have gone into villages. I've been in the village once, you, Anderson, started filming, where some meat was brought in for the animal, and these people almost starving to death. So it came for much trophy hunter thing. I don't know who the guy was. This was 15 years ago.
One other thing, Anderson. About 10 years ago, I don't remember the village or what country because I do a lot. I think a man said, Mr. Hanna, do you want to see what some elephants did to a village last week? I guess, yes. I went in there and I could not believe what I saw. It looked like an atomic bomb went off.
HANNA: I think four people lost their lives. At that point, Anderson, someone has to control the numbers of elephants. Now, elephants as you know, have had a tough time. Some countries are coming back, some aren't.