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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CNN Sources: President Trump Considering Firing Rosenstein; "New York Times:" President Trump Sought to Fire Mueller in December; Sources: Special Counsel Team Met with Trump Lawyers on Day of Cohen Raid; Stormy Daniels Cooperating with Investigators; FBI Raid Targeted Records of Payments To Porn Star and Playboy Playmate; Facebook CEO: "We Have Made a Lot of Mistakes;" Zuckerberg: Facebook is Working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired April 10, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:09] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
President Trump said to be in a red hot rage. We've got breaking news on the focus of his fury -- two items in fact tonight.
One involving the possible firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who OK'd the searches yesterday targeting the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen. CNN has learned the president is not just grumbling about Rosenstein. He's actively discussing getting rid of him and even laying the groundwork for it.
The second breaking story tonight concerns the possible firing of Robert Mueller. First, the Rosenstein news. CNN's Gloria Borger joins us with the CNN exclusive.
So, what are you learning specifically about President Trump and Rod Rosenstein?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what we're hearing is that president is discussing with advisors about whether he actually ought to fire the deputy attorney general. As you know, he's been in his crosshairs for quite some time, but I think the Michael Cohen has taken it to a very different level. And this would all be, of course, firing Rosenstein would allow him to put a greater pressure on the special counsel.
But there are lots of different voices in that room. There are people trying to calm the president down and say, wait, don't do anything yet. Some of his attorneys are telling us that he's not going to fire Rosenstein. Other attorneys are saying, look, it's up to the president.
But some are making the case to the president, look, Rod Rosenstein is conflicted here. He is a material witness in this case and we have a very good case to make against him if we need to -- if we need to do that. And so, they also believe that, you know, he's important to the Mueller case because, of course, don't forget he wrote the memo about the firing of Comey.
And they're saying, look, this is a clear conflict and we can make that case and by the way you've already made a good case about disqualifying the FBI because you think that their investigation has not been credible and has been contaminated. So, the president wants to fire people, we are told. Rosenstein primarily among them, perhaps even Jeff Sessions.
And, of course, there's always a question about, does he want a fire Mueller? Do we know he's going to do any of these things? Nobody does.
COOPER: What are your sources saying about the president's feelings on Mueller himself right now?
BORGER: Well, look, obviously, he's got problems with Mueller too. I was told by a source that right now, his rage is more directed at Rosenstein and at Jeff Sessions. But they believe and the president believes that the raid on Michael Cohen crossed a red line, I was told, that he has run amok, that he is now unchecked because, of course, Rosenstein approved that.
And so, he believes that he is -- he is not checking him the way he should. And therefore, he'd like -- if he had his druthers, I think he'd like to get rid of him too. But there are members of Congress -- you heard Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- say today that it would be political suicide to do that.
So, I think the president is hearing from enough people about the firing of Mueller himself that he may not want to start that fire because it would be very difficult for him to extinguish politically. Firing Rosenstein would not be as difficult.
COOPER: We also got more information about what the FBI was actually seeking in it searches yesterday.
BORGER: Yes, and we talked about this last night, Anderson. We know that a great deal of the search warrant was about Stormy Daniels. The payment to her, the conversations that that Cohen -- that Michael Cohen, the president's attorney may have had with the president about this and the campaign.
We have since learned that there were also issues related to the to the payment to Karen McDougal, the playmate that, of course, the president allegedly had an affair with, also questions about federal election law. And we now know there were also the search warrant was interested in Michael Cohen's personal investments, and the sale of those investments which were Taxi Medallions, which at one point were quite valuable in the city but now, of course, have decreased in value because of things like Uber and Lyft. So, they're not only going into his personal finances but -- you know, but also the questions about these women.
And don't forget that he has represented the president in dozens and dozens of legal cases and presumably, that would all be in his personal financial records which he kept.
COOPER: Gloria Borger, thanks very much.
COOPER: Now, more on the special counsel which is tonight's other blockbuster story. New reporting from "The New York Times" tonight, the headline reads: Trump sought to fire Mueller in December, which makes it now two instances that we know about.
[20:05:03] Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt share a byline on this one. Maggie is, of course, a CNN political analyst as well. She joins us by phone.
So, Maggie, you had reported on the previous incident of the president apparently wanting to fire Robert Mueller and which was stopped by Don McGahn, the White House counsel. Explain how this all played out now again in just this past December.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via telephone): Sure, and, Anderson, this is just one of you know several instances where the president has come pretty close to dealing with discussion with Mueller in some way. This is one of the most detailed. It's the one that's I think the most similar to what we are seeing right now in terms of Michael Cohen and why the president feels like that violated the redline.
In December, there were erroneous news reports that Mueller had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank related to the president's finances. It's not clear that there was something specific that the president actually had at Deutsche Bank. It's not even clear to me that he did have loans current or money currently at Deutsche Bank.
I think that the notion of Mueller getting near his finances drove him to a different degree of anger. He told lawyers and advisors this crosses a red line. He was furious.
His lawyers worked currently to figure out exactly what was going on and got a rare assurance and response from Mueller's folks, no, we did not do that subpoena. That is not correct, and they were able to walk the president back from the ledge.
But it does show you how close he can get himself and I understand how many people in the White House have come to see this as part of the fabric of life there, most of them dismissed this as this is just how he talks, he is blowing off steam.
One White House official said to me today, you know, don't you think that he has suggested firing Rod Rosenstein about 10 times today and there was being sort of sarcastic. But the point being he says this stuff a lot. However -- and at least one instance -- in the case of James Comey, the FBI director, he did fire him. So, it's very hard to dismiss it all as just ventilation of blowing off things.
COOPER: The president was ready to do this I just want to be clear because it crossed the red line that he had said --
COOPER: -- or he talked about with you and your colleagues in an interview.
HABERMAN: Correct. I mean, he -- or he thought it had, it turned out that didn't.
HABERMAN: But, yes, it was that he felt that it had violated the, quote/unquote, red line, which was what he had said in an Oval Office interview with my colleagues, Mike Schmidt and Peter Baker, and myself about the scope of Mueller's investigation that you know that his charge is Russia and the things that are relate to the president, you know, finances or his family's finances would not be applicable there.
COOPER: I'm wondering how all of this -- I mean, the story about the wanting to fire Mueller in December leads us as the moment we're in right now with the president apparently actively considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
HABERMAN: I mean, I think that again I think this is -- this is something that a line that he repeatedly walks up to and in the past and to Gloria's point, they're often or people and they're still are telling him this is a very bad idea, that it's happened before, and often some combination of lawyers, legal advisors, friends, White House advisors, there are fewer of those people now than existed before. And I think that that is part of what makes this more precarious.
Add to that, the fact that everyone I've spoken to and I think the CNN's reporting is similar, everyone I've spoken to thought (ph) this is different, the president's level of frustration and I would use the word helplessness because he has no control here and there are few things that drive him crazier than that are at a peak. He is doing what he always does, which is sitting and watching us talk, he's watching a television, he's watching news and he is getting very, very angry.
The moods are not constant. It is not every second of every day, but it is creating a sense of uncertainty in the White House that is different than the usual churn we have seen.
COOPER: Fascinating. Maggie Haberman, appreciate that.
I want to bring in our panel, legal and journalistic. Josh Campbell is joining us, Jeffrey Toobin and Carl Bernstein.
So, Jeff, this new -- "The New York Times" reporting, did the president -- I mean, he did draw that red line when it came to his finances in Deutsche Bank. Does it make sense to you that -- I mean, just in December, for the second time, he would have been talking about firing Mueller?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Sure it makes sense given what we know about the president and his character. But, you know, let's just step back and you know remember this red line is something of his own invention that he thinks is some line between appropriate and inappropriate. It's 2important to remember that we are talking here about a president who may be firing Justice Department officials and prosecutors for doing their jobs.
Rod Rosenstein has done nothing wrong. He has done his job, yet it seems like and I certainly believe the reporting of our colleagues that he is on the verge of losing his job because he did the right thing.
So, I think it is totally believable that the president is considering firing Rosenstein, that he almost fired Mueller in December and earlier last year. But we can't lose perspective on the fact that this is wrong. This whole approach to being president is wrong, but this is how well things working.
COOPER: Jeff, I mean, the other thing about this reporting is that the president was about to fire Mueller for something that turned out not to even be true.
COOPER: I mean, that there was no subpoena of his bank records at Deutsche Bank, if he even had bank records there. What does that say to you about how sensitive he is about all of this?
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, it says that, you know, he is deeply worried about his personal finances being looked into. He has invented this standard that there is some red line as he said in this interview with "The Times" several months ago.
But this red line is not some sort of legal concept. It is a personal indulgence. It is a personal imagined rule that the president came up with. And, you know, fortunately, I guess for the world, his lawyers checked out that the subpoena never even happened.
So, this crisis was forestalled, but we seem to be heading for another one this time aimed at Rod Rosenstein, at least initially instead of Mueller.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, Carl, just in terms of the reporting that the president, you know, is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, do you feel like we're on the verge of a Saturday Night Massacre here? Because I -- what would be the point of firing Rosenstein if it's not in order to have some sort of impact on Mueller in the investigation?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We're in a constitutional crisis. The president of the United States has made clear to those around him, those who are closest to him in the White House and among his friends that he is determined to shut down this investigation. And the moment, he is chosen to actually act on it apparently is when the special prosecutor and other prosecutors have gotten hold of his lawyer's computers, which have perhaps evidence of real conspiracy between the president of the United States and others, or there could be exculpatory information there if as the president maintains and few even around him believe that there is no there there, and if this is a really a witch hunt.
We have a president of the United States willing to risk a constitutional crisis for this nation so he can avoid legitimate investigation and letting the facts roll out the way they ought to to the end of an investigation. And if it's a witch hunt, there is plenty of time at the end and there'd be hell to pay if Mr. Mueller or anybody else, Rosenstein, we're conducting a witch hunt.
This is no witch hunt. This is about a lawless president of the United States determined to avoid accountability.
COOPER: Josh, would firing Rosenstein necessarily get what the president likely want, which is the ability to contain the special counsel investigation?
JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Well, so, there are two prongs here. I mean, the first is he can set an additional parameter.
So, let's take the example of firing Rod Rosenstein. They put it in someone in place who's actually maybe going to do the president's bidding and further narrow the scope of what Bob Mueller can do. That's one option.
If they dissolve the special counsel completely, that doesn't make the investigation go away. So, you send the FBI agents home, you send the prosecutors back to their districts, the case will still continue because the FBI, if they're in possession of information or allegation of a crime, they're not simply going to stop investigating simply because they don't have that process in place.
TOOBIN: Wait a second. I actually -- I think that's overly optimistic about the work of the FBI.
BERNSTEIN: Sure is.
TOOBIN: If Robert Mueller is fired and this investigation, you know, technically still exists but there's no one in charge of it, Donald Trump wins.
CAMPBELL: I didn't say -- I didn't say he didn't win, but I'm saying is that the counterintelligence agents at the FBI that are working the case, they don't simply go away and you don't shred your files and, you know, case closed. That actually requires a process. And if there's additional information, if there's an allegation that there's a crime, they don't simply stop investigating that --
COOPER: Yes. But if there's nobody like a Mueller --
COOPER: -- running the investigation, with the powers that Mueller has and the team that he has assembled, isn't it effectively over?
I mean, Jeff, it would be effective over?
TOOBIN: Of course, it would be -- it would be over. I mean, you know, I mean, the idea that the FBI could sort of do this on its own is just -- it's not -- it's not realistic, much as much as we admire the good work of the FBI.
I mean, this is why we have independent counsels and special counsels is because they have to lead investigations that are independent of the political superstructure of the president's party.
[20:15:03] COOPER: But, Jeff, in terms of the impact on Mueller potentially of, say, Rosenstein is fired, he would then be I assume replaced by the person under him who would then oversee the Mueller investigation to whatever effect we don't know.
TOOBIN: At the moment -- we -- I mean, the -- we're in some uncharted waters especially because there's no associate attorney general at this point. I think it would be the Solicitor General Noel Francisco, or it could be another person designated by the attorney general to supervise -- to supervise Mueller.
But, you know, at least initially, I don't think there would be any change in the Mueller investigation. But if a new person came in and started restricting what Mueller could do, that would be a very serious limitation on his power.
COOPER: Carl --
BERNSTEIN: Let me cut to the chase here if I may.
COOPER: Senator Grassley, the Republican head of the Judiciary Committee, said today it would be suicidal if Trump were to fire Mueller or try to shut down this investigation. According to people I talk to who talked to Trump, he's willing to take that bet. It is not suicidal from his point of view. What is suicidal perhaps from his point of view is to let this investigation run on and the facts become known to the American people.
So, he may be betting that indeed if he shuts down this investigation, his base is strong enough and his appeal to that base that this has been a witch hunt is resonant enough that it can carry the day. And I would not necessarily bet against him carrying the day with that kind of message in the kind of so cold civil war that's going on in this country right now that's been -- that's been exactly exasperated.
COOPER: Well, he certainly set the scene for the -- I mean, he's been kind of laying the table setting the table for you know an assault against the FBI and assault against the Department of Justice, whatever formed that may take, whether it's firing Rosenstein or Sessions or whomever.
CAMPBELL: It's a campaign. It's a campaign underway essentially to discredit, and this shows you when you have the collision of politics and law enforcement, this is the result. I mean, these are people that do this for a living, conduct these political campaigns.
So, if you look at, you know, all the attacks -- they're simply softening the ground, laying basically for this moment that we're seeing right now. So, if and when they do decide to remove Mueller, to remove Rosenstein, they can look back and say, we told you these folks were corrupt in the beginning, and so now we're going to move on to someone else.
TOOBIN: If Donald Trump runs the Republican Party, you know, if he were to fire Mueller at least in terms of what the Republicans would do, Paul Ryan would say, I'm very concerned and Marco Rubio would issue one of his statements that says, oh, I'm very -- you know, very concerned about this, and nothing would happen.
COOPER: We got to take --
TOOBIN: Nothing would happen.
COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We'll bring the panel back. We'll also bring you even more breaking news they're just now coming to light about what unfolded yesterday on the same day of the FBI raids.
Later, Stormy Daniels attorney joins us to talk about today's developments and how this affects his client in their case, as well as the fact that she is now cooperating with investigators.
[20:21:12] COOPER: There's yet more breaking news surrounding yesterday's raids, which have now triggered the president to contemplating the firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and perhaps Robert Mueller or even Jeff Sessions. CNN's Evan Perez joins us now with new word on a meeting at the White House yesterday involving members of the Mueller team and the president's lawyers.
So, explain what you know about this meeting, the timing of it.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, let me just set the scene real quick. The president's legal team had a scheduled meeting a previously scheduled meeting with Robert Mueller's a team to discuss what they've been talking about which is the president having an interview -- potential interview with Robert Mueller's investigators and the mechanics of how that might happen. And so, in the middle of having all of this these preparations, we're told that they learned that this raid was going on in New York where three locations connected to Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney, were being raided by the FBI.
So, obviously, this we're told was made for a very, very awkward meeting. Obviously, these are very sensitive negotiations that have been protracted for some time trying to decide when and how if President Trump would sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller. And then in the middle of all of this, they learn that the president's attorneys, you know, his residence, in his hotel room and his office were being raided.
And obviously, now, everything changes. We're told that no decision has been made as to whether or not that interview will go forward, Anderson. We got a statement from Jay Sekulow who declined to comment on what we're reporting here. He said, we do not discuss conversations we've had nor have had with the special counsel, Anderson. COOPER: So, it's not clear if the president is reconsidering or considering still, sitting down with the special counsel. Well, I'll tell you, we're told that this raid definitely has upended those discussions I think it people we've talked to have told us that it's certainly making them reassess whether or not anything that came about from this raid, whether that changes the calculations for the president.
After all, Michael Cohen's most important client is president Trump. So, if there's materials that were recovered here by the FBI, that changes the calculations, they're going to have to take that into account, Anderson.
COOPER: Evan Perez, thanks very much.
Let's get right back to the panel, Jeff Toobin, Carl Bernstein and Josh Campbell.
Josh, I saw a tweet you sent out, I think was earlier today. You were saying that you were talking to a former colleague of yours at the FBI about search warrants being issued on an attorney's office and just -- what did your former colleagues say about this?
CAMPBELL: Pointing out how rare it is and what he was saying, you know, and his quip was that, of 20 years in law enforcement, the number of times I've seen when an attorney has had their premises search it's been rare. And then he ended with, all of those attorneys went to prison.
And so, you know, it shows the gravity. Obviously, we've talked at length about how big of a deal it is and how many hurdles you have to go through, how much approval has to be you know in place before you would have that, something like that takes place.
CAMPBELL: It shows it's a big deal, but it also shows, you know, if you look at the government, that a lot of times they're their fruits to these endeavors and sometimes that means jail time.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, I mean, when -- now that 24 hours or so has passed since we've learned about this raid, can you just put into context -- I mean, to Josh point, how unusual this is? I mean, after a while it just seems normal, like oh, yes, OK, the FBI raided the president's attorneys, you know, home, office and hotel room where he happened to be staying. In the big picture, how -- how nuts is this?
TOOBIN: Well, I mean it is just so unusual and Josh, you know, was certainly right and his exchange with his former colleague in the FBI. I mean, it is very difficult to search a lawyer's office in a constitutionally protected way -- permissible way, because so much of what lawyers do is covered by the attorney-client privilege.
[20:25:01] And even if you have a search warrant, you don't have the right to read materials that are covered by the attorney-client privilege. And the way the government usually deals with this problem is they
bring in a separate team called the "taint team" who looks through all this material, decides what's privileged and then withholds that from the actual investigators. So, the investigators who are you know investigating Michael Cohen, they don't see the fruits of the search right away. It has to go through this taint team first, which is a very cumbersome and difficult process, something the government certainly wants to avoid as much as possible. And they do very, very rarely.
I mean, when I was an assistant U.S. attorney, I had situations where I wanted to subpoena a lawyer which is, you know, a much less intrusive phenomenon and that had to go to main justice, the United States -- you know, the Washington headquarters, not in Brooklyn where I was to get approval.
A search warrant is far more intrusive than a subpoena and it happens very, very rarely.
COOPER: Carl, it's also extraordinary when you consider the potential importance of Michael Cohen to everything that Donald Trump essentially has done in the time that Michael Cohen has worked for him. I mean, Michael Cohen has described himself as the fix-it man, his friend has described him as, you know, Donald Trump's fixer.
If it's true that he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000, or as he said facilitated the payment using his own money with no -- without even informing his client, Donald Trump, there's no telling how many other sorts of interesting arrangements he has been involved with whether Donald Trump knew about it or allegedly didn't know about it.
BERNSTEIN: This raid is not about, as Trump would have it, the civil liberties of his lawyer. This raid is about scaring the hell out of the president of the United States because he knows better than anyone what he and his lawyer have discussed, communicated about and this has been Trump's biggest nightmare throughout this investigation.
Has it crossed a line? It has. It crossed the line in which Trump can no longer -- according to people close to him -- can no longer afford to let the factual basis of this investigation go forward.
We now have a president of the United States who is willing to undermine the concept that no one is above the rule of law in this country, including the president. He is willing to throw that away and undermine our national security irredeemably and irrevocably in this country by shutting down this investigation. That's where we are.
TOOBIN: Remember --
BERNSTEIN: -- one thing about that Jeff said and that has to do with this tainted process of looking at the fruits of the raid. If those investigators find evidence of criminality, suggested criminality, and conspiracy between the president and his lawyer, that evidence goes back to the Mueller investigation. It does not stay with the Southern District of New York if it's related to Russia in any way. And that also is a huge factor in this constitutional crisis.
COOPER: Jeff --
TOOBIN: I just I just wanted to make that point that that, you know, remember what the president said, this search was an attack on America. That's what he -- remember, he used that term.
TOOBIN: I mean, that gives you some sense of how he views himself at this point. It is an authoritarian vision of the United States at this point.
COOPER: I want to thank everybody.
Coming up, what some Republican lawmakers are saying today, about whether they think the president will try or should try to fire Mueller. We'll hear from Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of the Judiciary Committee as well.
[20:32:23] COOPER: The breaking news tonight, CNN's Gloria Borger is learning that the President is considering firing Rod Rosenstein, which it would happen, could put the special counsel at risk. There's new reporting also tonight at "New York Times", that the President told advisers just recently in December that Mueller's investigation had to be shut down. It's a question that's loomed over the Russian investigations since the beginning, but it certainly intensify in the past day and half, will the President try to fire Robert Mueller.
As we report it today, Sarah Sanders, said the President believes he has the power to do just that. Here's what some Republicans on Capitol Hill had to say today about that notion.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MAJORITY LEADER: Mueller should be allowed to finish his job. I think that's the view of most people in Congress.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) IOWA: I think it would be suicide for the President to fire him. I think the less the President says about this whole thing, the better off he will be.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINE: I'm not concerned that he will fire Mueller. I don't think he'll fire Rosenstein. I'm confident that would be the beginning the end of this President, and he's not going to do that.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: And that would be a mistake. I think the best thing for the President and for the country is that Mueller be allowed to finish his work.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, (R) LOUISIANA: I'm not going to speculate on something that I don't think will happen. And I think the President is too smart to do that.
SEN. JONI ERNST, (R) IOWA: Honestly, I'm not that concerned. I don't believe the President would do that.
COOPER: Well, joining me now is Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee.
So, Senator Blumenthal. A lot of folks on Republican side said, they don't believe the President would do that. This news now from the "New York Times" the President wanted to fire Mueller back in December. If he want to do and then, is there any reason to believe he would also want to do that now?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: He certainly would have much more reason to do it now. This raid on his lawyer's office is like a nuclear strike with multiple war heads, the audacity of this rate, and the need for demonstrate that his lawyer not only has evidence of a crime, possibly implicating the President. But also, that he was though likely to destroy or conceal that evidence.
Otherwise, the judge would not have granted this warrant. And so the implications for the President are absolutely profound and he is going through internal upheaval and turmoil that obviously is giving rise to these reports from CNN that he is contemplating firing Rod Rosenstein. And remember that warrant had to be approved at multiple levels in the Department of Justice by appointees of Trump himself. And so, the southern district of New York which executed that warrant, it so with expressed permission of main justice and the professionals in that southern district New York office.
COOPER: So, what happens if the President fires Rosenstein? I mean would firing him be more palatable somehow than firing Mueller? Would it cause less outrage, would it be safer politically?
[20:35:09] BLUMENTHAL: That is an excellent question. I think that firing Rod Rosenstein would provoke most of the same reaction from my Republicans, as well as Democratic colleagues, one of outrage, and intense opposition. And I welcome my Republican colleagues saying that it won't happen, it can't happen. He's too smart to do it. But we know that the President can be impulsive and rash and I hope they are not in denial.
In the meantime, I have worked and talked to my Republican colleagues privately behind the scenes, because I think we are gaining momentum for legislation that I've sponsored along with Senator Graham and Senator Tillis and Democratic colleagues to make sure that the President is prevented from firing Robert Mueller. Whatever happens to Rod Rosenstein. And I think we need to pursue that legislation.
COOPER: Well, I mean part of the strategy of the White House (INAUDIBLE) reporting is to reaching out to key congressional Republican leaders to discuss options so they're not, "blindsided". Were you aware these discussions were going on?
BLUMENTHAL: We had heard rumors, we heard those kinds of informal reports, there are a lot of swirling sorts of rumors here on Capitol Hill. And I think there is a sense of intense alarm here that is unparalleled during this presidency. There is a sense of impending catastrophe if the President follows through on some of the threats that he apparently has made privately to his own staff. That communication between the White House and Capitol Hill has been very much behind the scenes.
But I think now is the time for my Republican colleagues to stand up and speak out and say not only that they doubt it will happen, but that firing Rod Rosenstein or Robert Mueller will provoke a constitutional fire storm that would engulf this presidency and would bring it down.
COOPER: Well let me ask you about that, because, I mean there's a lot of folks who have not lived through a constitutional crisis or constitutional firestorm or catastrophe like this as you say, what would actually happen? I mean what does that actually mean, you know, and just in terms of nuts and bolts. What, you know, what happens?
BLUMENTHAL: There are a variety of options, very hard to contemplate or describe with any certainty. But, I think there would be in effect a shutting down of the United States Senate. If the President of the United States embarks on an illegal course of action there would be response on both sides of the aisle. That would meet it. And, let's reflect on where we are right now, the President is talking about firing Robert Mueller directly. That is a (INAUDIBLE) of existing status 28 United States code section 509. He saying, he believes that statute is unconstitutional, therefore he will take the law into his own hands.
And that would be such an abrogation of the rule of law and his responsibility in his oath of office, that I think it would provoke in effect a shutting down of the --
COOPER: Even by Republicans? Do you think there would be enough Republicans that would do that?
BLUMENTHAL: My hope is that we would avoid that outcome and that's why I think Republicans have to stand up and speak up now. But, judging (ph) by their private conversations with me, yes, I do believe that they would take action that might well be regarded as extreme right now.
COOPER: Well, Senator Richard Blumenthal, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, new word that Stormy Daniels is now cooperating with investigators. Her attorney joins us with that and more when we continue. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[20:42:34] COOPER: More breaking news. We learned that the FBI raid on President Trump's lawyer targeted records relating to payments to former adult film stars Stormy Daniels and the deal involving American Media Incorporated and former Playboy playmate model Karen McDougal. Who both claimed they have affairs within citizen Trump. The White House has denied the affairs. There's another development tied to Ms. Daniels, a source tells us she is cooperating with federal investigators who were looking into her 2016 non-disclosure agreement and a $130,000 hush money payment from -- or that was facilitated in Michael Cohen's words.
Joining me now is Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti. First of all, your not be able to talk about it or the specifics, but this idea that she's cooperating with the feds can you say anything about it?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: Well, Anderson, here is what I will say. We were contacted by various attorneys from the government that are looking into this. We're going to cooperate fully. We're going to be as user friendly as possible. We're going to respect the process. We understand the seriousness of this. This took on a whole other level with the last 48 hours.
COOPER: Can you say, when you were contacted?
AVENATTI: I'm not going to get into when we where contacted, I'm not going to get into the content of those discussions. What I will say is we're going to cooperate. And we're going to do whatever we can to assist that investigation. We're not going to require FBI raids to cooperate or to tell the truth. Our entire intent for the last five, six weeks on this case, has been to expose the facts, expose the truth for the American people to learn as much as possible, what happened here and to the extend that we can assist in the investigation and accomplish that, that's what we're going to do.
COOPER: I just learned that, apparently Stormy Daniels has -- is going to be appearing on the cover of Penthouse Magazine in May, gave a link the interview as described to us. Do you know anything about that? Were you aware of that?
AVENATTI: I'm not going to get into what I was aware or not aware. I'm not aware of the appearance of the magazine, as far as the details of the magazine, or what was said or was not said.
COOPER: OK. The -- we heard from Michael Cohen today, who talked with Don Lemon, when asked if he was worry, he said, "I'd be lying to you if I told you I'm, do I need this in my life? No. Do I want to involved in this, no. he said that the agents in the raid were professional, courteous and respectful which is certainly a far cry from the way the President described as the agents breaking into his office. Do you have any belief that what happened to Michael Cohen's office and his hotel room and his apartments or house is linked to what the President said just last week in which he indicated that Michael Cohen was his attorney, but he knew nothing about this. [20:45:17] Essentially saying that some people have suggested that meant that attorney/client privilege would not be involved because Michael Cohen was not acting as the President's attorney in whatever he did with Stormy Daniels.
AVENATTI: Well, let me take couple things. First of all, you know, while it maybe good for CNN for Michael Cohen to be speaking to Don Lemon is moronic under the circumstances. And it will --
COOPER: It (INAUDIBLE) to be saying anything.
AVENATTI: Yes, I mean any experience attorney would tell a client not to be speaking to the press, the day after the FBI executes three search warrants on your homes and your offices. I mean this is just crazy, it's ludicrous. When I heard that he actually spoke to Don Lemon, I didn't believe it, until I saw Don's report, and low and behold I believe that Don that it happened. It's beyond stupid. So that's number one. I don't understand what he is doing. That's first.
Secondly, I still cannot believe that the President made these statements on Air Force One and effectively put his own personal attorney in the cross hairs by way of those statements. Put the way to the world really.
COOPER: How are you saying the President put him in the cross hairs?
AVENATTI: Well, by saying that he didn't know anything about it. And that -- that he basically referred everyone to Michael Cohen. And he said he is Michael Cohen up to be the fall guy in my view. I said this last week. And there is now a false sense of security, I think on behalf of the President that Michael Cohen is going to take the fall for this and that Michael Cohen is going to be able to withstand this amount of pressure and heat.
Look, if you're going to have a fixer, you need -- there's need to be two attributes on that fixer. First of all, he better be really smart or she better be really smart. And secondly, he or she should be able to withstand a significant amount of pressure, a significant amount of heat, and go potentially go to prison for you. That's the best picture you can possibly have. In my view, Michael Cohen doesn't fit either one of those requirements.
COOPER: For all his talk to being incredibly loyal to President Trump, then Donald Trump of being a guy who, you know, is the keeper of all the secrets, the tough guy, you don't believe that in the end he would go to jail for his client.
AVENATTI: I don't. I mean I said this last night.
COOPER: If that in fact, you know, was (INAUDIBLE)
AVENATTI: Correct, I don't. I said this last night, I'm going to say it again. Any guy in my experience who has to constantly tell you how tough he is, or refer to himself as Ray Donovan, is not a tough guy. He is more -- he is closer to a purse puppy than a tough guy. I'm going to stand behind those statements.
The problem is this. And it's been a constant problem I think for Mr. Trump. Over the last 20 years, he has not surrounded himself with the best and the brightest when it comes to lawyers and people around him. And you've seen that even more recently in the last 18 months and now, this is going to come home to roost as it relays to Michael Cohen. He picked the wrong fixer, he trust that too many personal secrets with Michael Cohen. And I think Michael Cohen is going to fold like a cheap deck of cards on Mr. Trump, and the results are going to be very, very bad.
COOPER: Michael Avenatti, appreciate your time.
AVENATTI: Thank you.
COOPER: Thank you very much.
Coming up, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says, he is sorry. We'll have more on what Zuckerberg said on Capitol Hill today, got everything from privacy to the special counsel investigation. We'll also her from Senator Amy Klobuchar on what she thought this testimony, next.
[20:51:40] COOPER: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his company did not do enough to stop fake news and hate speech and foreign election interference and didn't do enough to protect his customers privacy. Zuckerberg was on Capitol Hill today, testifying before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees. In his testimony, Zuckerberg confirmed that his company is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller and its investigation to Russian meddling the election. He also apologizes for mistakes that led to the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.
Senator Amy Klobuchar today asked Zuckerberg about connections between that scandal and one involving the internet research agency which a Russian control group that allegedly tried to disrupt the election.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: You've also estimated that roughly 126 million people may have been shown content from a Facebook page associated with the internet search agency. Have you determined whether any of those people were the same Facebook users whose data shared was with Cambridge Analytica? Are you able to make that determination?
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Senator, we're investigating that now. We believe that it is entirely possible that there will be a connection there.
COOPER: Earlier, I spoke with Senator Klobuchar.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Senator Klobuchar, were you satisfied with the answer that Mark Zuckerberg gave to your question today, I mean do you think he understands the severity, the political ramification of what happened within his platform?
KLOBUCHAR: I think that he does. And I was actually pretty interested that he said that there maybe a connection. I mean that would point directly to the fact that this Cambridge Analytica data off of Facebook is somehow has some major overlap with what the Russian troll factory was doing. And again, I think that what we learned today was that they know they have a major breach of trust with their users, they know that they're going to have to have some privacy regulations in place. And the whole question is going to be what those privacy rules are. But we just can't keep going and pretend they're just a sight for cat videos and recipes.
COOPER: The answers that Zuckerberg gave to the joint committee today, I mean do you think he was forthcoming in general with his answers and do you think this actually did move the ball forward when it comes to any kind of possible Facebook oversight?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think two things. One, he has said that he believes that there should be some kind of rules of the road and regulations which means a law in place. We haven't been doing that. All we've heard from them for years is, well, no, no, we can self regulate, we're fine. And then the second thing is that he supported the Honest Ads Act which is my bill with Senator McCain and Warner which basically said you have to post all of these paid political ads so the press could see them, your opponents could see them and that includes issue ad which is 90% of what the Russians bought. And that you also have to have disclaimers.
So he supported it. Twitter joined them today in supporting our bill. And honestly, Anderson, we were just stuck. We weren't picking up more Republicans. So this makes a difference. And finally they're voluntarily posting all of the ads. So starting in June, we're going to start to be able to see them. So let's say you've got NRA ad, well maybe they would run that in rural and people in the suburbs couldn't see that a candidate was being attacked for gun safety legislation. Now they're going to be able to see it.
COOPER: Based on what you heard today, based on the information that you already knew, how concerned do you think Facebook users should be when it comes to the integrity of the information that Facebook has access to?
[20:54:49] KLOBUCHAR: I think that they should be very concerned. Every week the numbers go up. You know, we started at 30 some million and now we're at 87 million that went to Cambridge Analytica and that's more than the population of California, New York and Texas combined. And now we know there's 126 million people whose information was somehow in the hands of the Russian troll factory.
So this is -- it keeps changing as they do their auditing. So of course everyone should be concerned. I think one of the questions I'm going to ask on the record is, is it possible that every American's data might have been shared and that just can't be and that's why we need rules for data breaches, so there could be notification if that occurs and also rules to make it easier that you can be able to keep your information private.
COOPER: You know, I mean not every senator obviously who asked questions today was part of the Facebook generation and some senators more media savvy or social media savvy, I should say than others. Do you think that disparity got in the way of being able to more of questioning Zuckerberg.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I saw some Twitter feed out there about some of my colleagues, we'll just leave that between you and me and your audience. But, you know, yes -- but there's, you know, senator like Senators Schatz that have come along who has a very good understanding of this. Senator Warner whose been in this business before. And we have a number of us who've been working on this for a long time. And I don't think that's an excuse. You can't use age as an excuse or cluelessness as an excuse to not do something about what is the biggest privacy concern and the biggest breach we've seen in the decade. You just can't do nothing.
And so that's why I think you're going to start seeing bills coming forward. I'm working on one, a bipartisan bill. Your going to start seeing some ideas come forward of how to regulate these companies, but the democracy work, the election work has to begin now.
COOPER: Yes. Senator Klobuchar, appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. It's great to be on.
2COOPER: Coming up, tonight's breaking news, new details on how willing the President may be to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.