Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
ABC Cancels "Roseanne" After Star's Racist Tweet; Pres. Trump Asked Sessions To Retain Control Of Russia Probe After His Recusal, Mueller Team Investigating; Spygate Debunked By GOP representative Gowdy: "The FBI did Exactly What My Fellow Citizens Would Want Them To Do." Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 29, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It reminds me the old fan, Anderson, never tweet, never post. People often times step in it on social media. And this is one of those really, really egregious examples. But Twitter seemed to be showing us the real Roseanne Barr. Time and time again we see what she truly believes. It's not just Barr. I agree with you a little bit Van, on what you said earlier that all of American was with Valerie Jarrett today. There are a lot of fans of Roseanne Barr with her, with Valerie Jarrett and George Soros and Chelsea Clinton and all of Barr's targets today are all evil, are all part of a leftist plot to take away their power and right. There's a lot of them out there, it's not just Roseanne Barr.
I would guess tens of millions of Americans might believe some of Barr's paranoid fantasies. And that's a problem that can selling her show will not fix.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Charles, how do you see what he said and also ABC's response?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think they're paranoid panicky. This is just a blatant form of racism. And it is -- and it's not even -- as she tried to apologize and say it was a joke. It's not really a joke, right? So it's a joke that's rooted in the very long history about what MLK called the dignification (ph) of the Negro, right? You try to reduce a person they're not human as they're in love with another person is. And when do you that, you are able been to do anything to that person that kind of short changes their community. And that joke is rooted in that it says that there is something about people who are clothed in brown skin or darker skin that is less than people who are not. They are less than pathetically, artistically, intellectually, morally.
And that kind of comparison to the ape, to the monkey, it has a very, very long history. It's not just like oh they kind of look alike. That's a part of it. The part of is that they're subhuman. And that subhuman part of it, you can't get away from that. Just no way for her to talk about it and talk about at the joke, none of us can use any kind of euphemistic language about how soft it is, or how -- you, this is about red state America and how they feel isolated or whatever. That's not what that is. America needs to hear this. It's a very important conversation. Stop trying to reduce the humanity of people who are brown and once we start with that, we move away from the idea of modifying behavior and try to modify the underlying belief system because it is that belief system that still existed, all existed in America may always exist. I don't know but I see, not necessarily the underlying belief not going away.
And so we keep saying, well, I can believe this happened in 2018. Well, I have heard people say I can't believe it happened in 2008 and I can't believe it happen in 1998. And back and back and back and my whole life I heard people say I can't believe it happened now. Yes you can. Stop being astonished. Stop being astonished because when you pretend that you are astonished. What that says is that you think that this is not real, that this is not happening all the time that they are rogue people sprinkled all across America.
COOPER: Van, do you think this is -- does this -- will this change anything? I mean, to Charles' point, this is --
VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: First of all, amen to everything you said and I wish you could just be play that a few more times but if I have to say something, I'll say this. It does seem that there's been a moral collapse in the political culture. That we have been in free fall for at least three years since Trump came down an escalator. And it wasn't clear where the bottom was or there was a bottom. And I have to admit with some shame. I thought Roseanne was going to get away with it. I mean, I'm going to say, when it happen, I said bingo for her, she's making too much money, she has got too many people behind and she will not be fired. And I was shock to see it.
Today is an interesting day because you had Starbucks, corporate leaders step forward. People make fun, two hours, whatever. But they brought in some heavy head. They brought in Sherrilyn Ifill, the head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Heather McGhee of Demos to go beyond this one day with a full program. That's important.
And then you have ABC Disney saying some things are more important than money. The biggest corporation in media, something is more important than money. So it could be that the political collapse, the moral collapse with political center is now being counter balanced by this cultural movement that you were talking about and the corporate sector now taking a stronger stance on side. But I don't think you can get away from what you were just saying.
This is the deeper thing, a bluff or a tweet or a joke or a misstatement. That this goes to a very, very deep history that you speak about anybody else and this is touched into that. And that's why it's so powerful.
[21:05:06] ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL Commentator: I think to your point, there are more things than money. ABC stood to take in $40 million in the ad revenue based on the show this year alone, that's a tremendous amount of money. And they said it's not about money. COOPER: Apparently their up front presentation, which is (inaudible) that's one network makes presentations to advertisers, to get people excited, apparently from what I read Roseanne was the first person out before any executive from ABC before any other star from ABC, that's how important she was viewed to this --
STELTER: And that was two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, she was the biggest star on the stage for advertisers. But this was a bridge too far, sir.
BLOW: But I'm not going all the way in this -- this is not about a money thing, right? I applaud them for taking moral standard. I'm sure that is a part of what they are doing but part of what they're doing is about money as well. And I think --
STELTER: Because advertisers caught it.
BLOW: Absolutely. And actual people, the public is -- people are beginning to understand that their power as a consumer is different than their as a voter. A politician can lose 49% of everybody out there and still win and still make policy and still be in power. If a corporation loses even a fraction of their profit, five percent to 10%, the shareholders like wait, we can't have this. This is damage for us. We don't want this corporations must respond in a very different way than a political structure carries that and individual citizens are seeing that they have a power that is in that arena that is a very different power than it is in the political realm.
JONES: I agree with you, here's what different. Usually we have to go out there and make the case. Color change has to fire up the engine. We got to start the -- they just quit. I mean, we human have to do the normal thing --
MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CULTURAL CRITIC/WRITER: Let's take the case of black women again, right, because the history is really important. It is bakes into our fabric this anti-blackness, it is strategy. It has been since the beginning of this country. However, black women centered the argument and also the activism.
Sean is also on ABC, black issues also on ABC. Again Channing is there. So there is a combination of dealing with the history but also dealing with who often sets our moral (inaudible) and often it's black women whether it's the Me Too movement. We have been the burden -- we have been carrying the burden but also now we are leading the torch. So a lot of this activism that is socially based comes out of the voices of black women often. We decide something is a thing, it is and what isn't particularly for social media.
Black tweeter is driven by black women and that activism has caused people to stand up, lose jobs, organize, so there is -- that is the -- there is the core defining factors in this or the connection is there are black women in all of this on the side of the attack and also at the table and so when you diversify the table, you also diversify the response. COOPER: Yes.
STEWART: I think it's -- one thing important, excuse me, we can't just talk about this we have to explain and do something. And I think until someone likes the President or someone with that type of megaphone actually has to put down and says we can't have this kind of behavior anymore, this kind of comments whether it's racism, or sexism or homophobic comments, it has to stop. No more normalizing these disparaging comments and go back to when Roseanne sing the National Anthem and grabbed her crotch and spits, which was awful.
George, the President Bush was asked on Air Force One, what do you think about that, he said it was disgusting and made it important to stand up against this type of behavior. Until the president or someone actually stands up to this and puts their foot down, I don't see any change happening.
COOPER: Rich, I mean, do you see a free line from this to President Trump and sort of the coarsening of the culture or coarsening the political dialogue?
RICH LOWRY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, in general our culture is beginning coarser for about -- I don't know, 60 years or something and the President's reflection of that is also driven it in some ways. But again, Roseanne was a cookie person with wild views before Donald Trump was
President and will be a cookie person I assume with wild views after he is president. And I don't think there is anything unusual about people in American public life getting fired for things they say. It's increasingly common, I prefer to see fewer people rather than more fired for things they say but obviously there is a line. And she crossed it. And you can't be a star of a major national program when you've broadcast such heinous views.
DAVIS: But you can be the president of the United States, right? I mean, that's the elephant in the room. We were at those rallies. We heard people chant, build the wall, kill them all. We've heard people say that at the time Hillary Clinton was the C word. We heard them call our President at the time the N word and tense of millions of people still voted. So we can't pretend that this is a cookie person, right?
[21:10:10] This is a big part of America, it's just now -- it's more popular to come out. She's -- and when we say it's like an outlier or lone wolf or cookie person, you don't get to really deal with what actually happening. Tense of millions of people --
COOPER: I mean, we should point the president's son, I think Donald Trump Jr. retweeted not that tweet but a tweet about George Soros, which is --
BLOW: But also when Trump was speaking about her rating, she says, this show is about us. I mean he didn't try to make any separation between him --
LOWRY: That was about the program. She wasn't saying these things on the program. So I don't think you can't attribute everything that she's ever said in her Twitter feed to Donald Trump because he praised her program, which a lot of people watch and not all those people who watched it, I would say, the vast majority of people who watch it are not --
COOPER: But interesting though that chose to call her -- I mean, again --
LOWRY: I wouldn't have done it.
COOPER: -- a little Google research.
LOWRY: But you can't say because she liked the show that everything stupid she's ever said, you know, 9/11 -- September 11th truth or all the rest of it is suddenly on --
BLOW: I love the dance that people do when they try to separate support for something or acquiescence to it the acceptance of something that is veil, pandemic and in fact, perpetuating the veil. There would be no racism if people did not setback on their time and say, except the fact that it existed. There would be no shootings in the street by police if people didn't say that's OK because they're not in the street saying, this is absolutely unacceptable to me.
LOWRY: What was racist in that show, you are confusing.
BLOW: That was another conversation.
LOWRY: No, I was making that distinction. It sounded like you are objecting.
BLOW: I will make another distinction and that distinction is you are either fighting racism in this world or you are a part of it, and accepting it and promoting it. That is -- there are no middle grounds on issues like this. There is no middle ground on hatred, there's no middle ground on violence. There's no middle ground on racism.
LOWRY: I'm just saying that was not a racist program.
BLOW: That's fine. What I'm telling you is, either you are for or you are against.
LOWRY: Sure. We should be against racism, obviously.
BLOW: Right, absolutely. And so when people go to the polls and they vote for a man who was demonstrated his white supremecism. And they said, that is not me, that is a lie.
LOWRY: It's not about me.
BLOW: That is a lie. It is about you. STEWART: I think it's important to distinguish as Rich said her personal comments on Twitter are separate from the show. I happen to like the show, I love it when it began years ago, because it showed middle class, blue collar, hard working people and a loving family who agree to disagree on many issues and it represented a swath of Americans that didn't get on television because they weren't rich and famous and didn't have all the table manners that a lot of these shows have and represented a lot of America that we don't normally see. That doesn't mean I agree with that she says on Twitter. I think it's vile and disgusting but middle class American, blue color workers are not all violent crap.
BLOW: And they're not all white voters.
JONES: I just want to say something about what ABC did which I think was brave but foolish. ABC was right that red state America was not being represented on air. I'm a red stater. I'm born and raise Jackson, Tennessee, I'm proud of it. And it is true, not enough of those -- voices of the stories are being told. But to pick Roseanne Barr in the first place to try to solve that problem was foolish. And it was inevitable that at some point they were going to be in this situation.
What I hope will happen is that if we continue to fight for voices, including Muslim voices, which are unrepresented and all down the line, that people will say let's do the red state thing with worthy people, and worthy voices not people like Roseanne Barr.
COOPER: All right, as we're talking to President has been speaking tonight, a campaign style appearance in Nashville, Tennessee just wrap up. Our Jim Acosta joins us now from there.
Jim, I assume the President did not say anything tonight about Roseanne's comments, or did he?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, he did not, Anderson. But as you might expect, he made plenty of inflammatory and untrue comments. At one point during this rally he was talking about one of his favorite topics of late the gang MS-13 and at one point during this rally he said that the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is a "Ms-13 lover that she loves MS-13" that's obviously not true and a pretty inflammatory comment.
Then, just as this rally was wrapping up, he just ever so gently touched on the issue of race. He was making a pitch to African- American voters and said that African-Americans have been voting for Democrats for over 100 years.
[21:15:05] Well, Anderson, anybody can just check a history book and understand that's not the case. There was the Voting Rights Act of the 1960s that actually enfranchised African American voters. They have not been able to vote for Democrats for over a hundreds of years. But obviously, Anderson, it's not surprising that President wanted to stay away from the Roseanne issue. This was something he bragged about in recent months and talking about Roseanne Barr's success. The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, she was asked about this on Air Force One earlier today. She said that the President had work more important things to do, that they're not really going to comment on the controversy around Roseanne Barr. But, obviously, that's not necessarily the case as we know, Anderson, over the last three or four day, he's been tweeting one untrue thing after another tweeting about the Russian investigation. He even accused the Special Counsel Robert Mueller of the flooding the middle of a mid-term elections a comment that is just blatantly false.
So, Anderson, once again, we saw Donald Trump here at this rally go after the news media calling us fake news and so on. He didn't really stir the pot on the Roseanne Barr controversy but he didn't hold back and delivered plenty of fake news himself, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta, that's why you can't always get what you want. Much more ahead including breaking news on what the President asked Attorney General Sessions to do in the wake of his recusal in the Russia probe, new information on that tonight, why it could change Special Counsel Mueller's view of the case?
And later, Jim Acosta mentioned this, a new conspiracy theory from the President about the Special Counsel of accusing him of doing in this election exactly what he still can't admit the Russians did in the last.
[21:20:15] COOPER: There's breaking news tonight the New York Times' reporting that President Trump raided his Attorney General Jeff Sessions a year ago in March urging him to reverse himself and regain control of the Russian investigation. This of course after Sessions had recuse himself, and The Times reports that Special Counsel Mueller is now investigating this.
Back to our panel, Paul Callan, Alice Stewart, Van Jones, Rich Lowry, A.B. Stoddard, and Robby Mook.
Robby did it surprise you -- I mean, this is new -- this is the first time we've heard that the President tried to get him to -- I guess unrecuse himself?
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes but I'm not surprised at all. I mean, we've seen it every single step that the President has try to do everything he can to either dismiss to either dismiss the investigation or question it's foundations or just to get it to stop. And so this doesn't surprise at all.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is one of many conversations that he's had either with Sessions or other people trying to scheme somehow to get Sessions back in control. So I'm not surprise this --
COOPER: Paul, I mean, is there anything inappropriate or illegal about this?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there isn't unless Mueller's theory of obstruction is that attempts of obstruction begun by the President at Mar-a-Lago in March of 2017 trying to encourage Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Mueller will say this obviously indicates that the President was very concerned and worried about the Russia investigation and he wanted Sessions back on the case. Now, why would he want Sessions back on the case as suppose to an independent person? So I think it could pull the time line back earlier if obstruction is the special prosecutor's theory.
COOPER: Rich, do you think it expands the timeline for possible obstruction?
LOWRY: So I think, Anderson, we're commencing that part of the evening where I say, a president can't commit obstruction, with unlawful use of his power, never jumps down my throat. I would say, there's not a big mystery here. He hates this investigation. He hates the recusal. All things have been equal. They have total power and no other considerations. He would have shut it down but he didn't shut it down and it's proceeded a phase.
STEWART: And I think -- and this is a great story, a good reporting as always by Maggie and the "Times" but it's really nothing new. We knew that when Session recuse himself from the very beginning, the President didn't like, and he made it quite clear, he's tweeted about it, he has talked about it, he's mentioned that many times. So this isn't anything new. Sessions in my view did the right thing by recusing himself. It would have been a conflict of interest for him to be overstaying on investigation on a campaign and he was part of and that was why he did it. I think it was the right thing to do. In my view the President has not anything new. My view he should just focus on something else, if he wants to focus on North Korea, which I think he should let's do that. And let's not talk about the Mueller investigation and --
COOPER: A.B. I mean, I guess the new -- just the details that, you know, after several days of not talking to Sessions or returning, you know, discussing things with him. Getting him down to Mar-a-Lago for this dinner over which they talked about the unrecusal?
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: He didn't calls right about the timeline because Comey is fired May 9th. We read this interview that Maggie got last July with the President, they forget reading it, when he sort of lashed out publicly about Session's recusal. So there was no special counsel, Comey wasn't fire yet. I mean, it's a pretty strenuous effort to get him to unrecuse, which by the way, Rudy Giuliani has now confirm. He said unrecuse doesn't mean that you've try stop the investigation. So it may be and I'm not a lawyer that this is an appropriate use of his authority but it's certainly means there are probably more conversations with Attorney General Sessions that we don't know about. He is obviously a key witness for Robert Mueller. And what is interesting is that Rudy Giuliani says that he hasn't spoken with the President about, even all these questions about Session and that readout of question --
CALLAN: I'm not even sure if the word unrecuse exists in the dictionary. The reason I say that is because in years as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney I've never seen somebody unrecuse himself. Usually when a prosecutor says I'm out of the case, he stays out of the case because it's a big decision on the first place.
COOPER: Van, I mean, the quote that A.B. was referring to Giuliani told the Times to unrecuse doesn't say bury the investigation, it says on the face of it take responsibility for it and handle it correctly?
JONES: Except the reason that you recuse yourself is because there is a conflict of interest and other words, when you tell somebody to unrecuse himself, and you have to make a word, when you have to make up a work for something you are doing that might mean it's not normal. That's mean that are you in some uncharted territories, settled yet. And so when you say, why do you recuse? He recuse because as a member of the bar you have certain ethical responsibilities and obligations, you've taken oath to be a member of the bar to be an attorney. And you cannot do certain things. You can't and so for the President of United States to try to push the top cop to violate the ethics of the bar to do his biding is just outrageous. And it's so outrageous you have to make up a term to describe it. That's a subtle hint.
[21:25:16] MOOK: Well, and let's remember why Sessions is even conflicted, right? It's because he was meeting with Russians, when he was a member of the campaign and it's an investigation about the campaign potentially colluding with the Russians. I mean, it's not even -- it's not just that he was part of the campaign, that is the subject it's just he was potentially part of what the campaign was doing that was wrong.
And the other thing that's remarkable about this to me is this is like the coverup of the coverup. So there is an investigation into whether there was collusion with Russia and then there is a question of whether they were trying to cover it up, right. That they were meeting with Russian agent. And then they came up with a story to cover up for that.
And now in trying to get Sessions to unrecuse himself, it's the coverup of the coverup of the potential crime. And sometimes with all of these, we have to step back and remember any fraction of this happening to any other politician, we'd be going bonkers. I knew we argued last week on our campaign.
LOWRY: A lot of people are going bonkers. We talk about it a lot, it's not like we're hiding the --
MOOK: Well, because Donald Trump just keeps pushing it along.
LOWRY: The problem is --
CALLAN: When you needed to agree in quantum physics to explain the theory of the case, you know, a coverup within a coverup, within a coverup. It's getting to be a case, which would be very hard to prove if ever got it in front of a jury or for that matter, we know it's --
CALLAN: Congress has to buy into this and impeach the President before he can be pursued.
LOWRY: Right. There may be some horrible smoking gun under there. But if we are really investigating the coverup of the coverup of the coverup, this is a parody of a special counsel investigation which typically get on to obstruction offenses without an underlying crime. And it's not clear what that underlying crime is. And again maybe it's there if I see the facts, I'm change my views. But so far we've seen no evidence of it in Mueller's actual work.
STODDARD: I think it's true that if he has underlying crime like financial crimes, then he is looking for the willful intent -- a corrupt intent on obstruction. And then it becomes more consequential.
LOWRY: It's a matter for impeachment. It's not a crime.
MOOK: But this is really important, impeachment is a political process. That is a decision that law makers make about whether there has been something so bad that the President needs to go, that is totally separate from a question about whether the Trump campaign aided and abetted, allowed, permitted, welcomed assistance. And there is tons of evidence.
You know, let's not forget, Roger Stone said he was talking to Julian Assange. He said he had dinner with him.
LOWRY: But these are --
MOOK: So if he gave permission to WikeLeaks or encourage WikiLeaks as it's implied he didn't. Boom, that's potentially a crime, right there. So I don't like that we sort of say, well, we don't really know, there's a lot of evidence, there is just so dam much of it.
COOPER: Let's take a quick break. When we continue a new conspiracy theory from the president, keeping him honest on that, the possible motivation behind it and the legal consequences of it.
Also, Republican, one of the two who attended the classified briefing debunk the last conspiracy theory.
[21:31:26] COOPER: President Trump today rolled out his latest in long string of conspiracy theories, Keeping Them Honest call this one the gas light at the end of the tunnel. According to President the threat against the 2018 mid-term elections is not as his own intelligence community warns ongoing criminal interference instead he claims it's the probe himself.
The 13 angry Democrats, plus people who work eight years for Obama, working in the rig Russia witch hunt will be meddling with the mid- term elections probably now that Republicans stay tough or take a lead in the polls. There is no collusion expect by the Democrats. By 13 angry Democrats, he probably means 13 members of Robert Mueller's team. According to Washington Post 13 are registered Democrats out of the total of 17 people on the team, nine have made political donations to Democrats. One gave the GOP as well as Democrats. Again, this is according to Post.
Now, additionally, the Special Counsel who is barred from 1978 Civil Service Act from taking political affiliation into account when hiring people is himself a long-term Republican. So as the Deputy Attorney general who picked him. To hear the President say a team of civil servants investigating his last campaign is busy rigging this one which would be new to his own intelligence, who worried about the Russians or the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before he was shown the door.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The point is, if it's their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. And we can take steps we can take but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it's very difficult to pre-empt it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You can say it's even harder when the commander-in-chief is pushing a conspiracy theory. The question is why? And weekend the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani may have provided the answer. To be precise, he provided the answer yesterday, one conspiracy theory ago talking to Dana Bash about what the President called spygate.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: We're defending to a large extent, remember we're defending here, it is for public opinion because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach. Remember the Congress Democrat and Republican are going to be informed a lot by their constituents, so our jury as it should be is the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Which is hard when the facts you put before them have no basis, in fact. Now meantime, just moments ago, President Trump's prior conspiracy theory spygate was just debunked on Fox News by GOP lawmaker, Congressman Trey Gowdy, who attended that classified briefing both of them last on the FBI confidential source, the President calls a spy, he tells Fox, "I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump."
More now from our legal panel former White House Ethics Czar, and ambassador of the Czech Republic, Norm Eisen. Also Harvard University's Alan Dershowitz, author of most recently, "Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy."
Professor Dershowitz, I mean, nothing to support the President's theory that Mueller is meddling in the upcoming elections, is it excusable for him to say that?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: No, I don't think so. I've never thought this was a partisan investigation. I am opposed to it because I think special prosecutors have people with targets on their back and they have to find some criminality. But this is not about Democrats or Republicans, this is about over zealous prosecutors and it's about targeting people. So my complaint is very different from President Trump's.
Let me just correct your previous panel about unrecusal. I had a case from the last two months where a prosecutor recuse himself because of a conflict of interest. And then two months later he unrecuse himself because he realized that maybe the conflict of interest shouldn't have prevented him from dealing with the case.
[21:35:02] COOPER: So it has happened?
DERSHOWITZ: It has happened. Not only that, but Presidents always want to appoint loyalists to the attorney general starting with obviously John Kennedy appointing his brother, Reagan appointing his personal lawyer, William French Smith. President Obama pointing a loyalist. I think what we're missing here is that the President was really upset that Sessions didn't tell him before he was appointed that he would have to recuse himself because then he would have appointed someone else.
COOPER: Yes. Ambassador Eisen, Hillary Clinton famously claims she and her husband were victims of a vast right wing conspiracy. President Clinton himself never made that claim publicly unlike this President who is pushing a number of conspiracy theory, his in commander in chief. Do you think there is a difference?
NORM EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I do, Anderson, because what we've seen from President Trump is a non-stop smear campaign, lies, distortions. The Washington Post has found over 3,000 lies in less than a year-and-a-half in office. But the most consequential ones are the lies he keeps telling about Bob Mueller that Mueller has supposed conflicts, these 13 angry Democrats.
Anderson, when I look at the investigation, I see Jeff Sessions, Republican, Bob Mueller, a Republican, Comey who he fired was a Republican, Bob Khuzami in New York who is overseeing the Cohen investigation, Republican Chris Wray, at the FBI Republican. So the smears, the constant false claims there's no collusion prejudgeing the case. It's shameful. We've never seen anything like it in American history. And it's profoundly undermining to the rule of law. So I think it's wrong.
And on the recusal point, Jeff Session had an affirmative obligation to recuse. This was not a close question.
DERSHOWITZ: -- obligation to tell the President then he had to recuse?
EISEN: Alan, this is not a close question. I'm asking, it was a close -- DERSHOWITZ: -- specific question.
EISEN: Well, let me finish and then I'll answer your question.
DERSHOWITZ: OK, please answer it.
EISEN: I will answer it. The President has no right to tell Jeff Sessions that he should unrecuse. The law is clear that if Sessions was involved in a political campaign, he can't work on the review of that campaign. And yes, I think Jeff Sessions was correct not to tell the President. I'll tell you why Alan. I am answering your question. Don't interrupt me.
I'll tell you why he was correct, because the President would have had the hissy fit that we read about in the "New York Times" tonight. So yes, if the President was going to behave with that disdain for the rule of law, Sessions was absolutely right to make him call.
DERSHOWITZ: The President would have simply said, sorry, Mr. Sessions, you are a good man, but I'm not appointing you as attorney general. I want a full time attorney general who is not recuse, then he would have appointed someone else who was loyal to him just the way John Kennedy, just the way Ronald Reagan, just the way Barack Obama.
COOPER: Are you saying Jeff Sessions is not loyal to the President? I mean, he has been executing --
DERSHOWITZ: He's out of the case.
COOPER: No, but in -- he was one of the President's first campaigners.
DERSHOWITZ: You want somebody who is loyal and he was involved in the case. You don't want an attorney general who can't be involved in the most important case in your administration. I'm not saying that's a good thing I'm just telling you what would have happened.
The President would have said, thank you, but no thank you, you're not going to be my attorney general. I want a full time attorney general.
DERSHOWITZ: And I can't understand, Norm was saying --
EISEN: Alan --
DERSHOWITZ: That the President should have had that information when he appointed him.
EISEN: Alan, what you are saying is shocking. We do not want an attorney general as the President famously as reported to have cried out in the Oval Office, where is my Roy Cohn, one of the most corrupt attorneys responsible in part --
DERSHOWITZ: John Kennedy, back to Ronald Reagan.
EISEN: Let me finish. Alan?
EISEN: Let me finish.
EISEN: We don't want an attorney general whose primary loyalty is like a Mafia consigliere. We want and attorney general who will do what Jeff Session has done. He followed the law on recusal. It was not a close question. It was right to recuse. He's defended the Mueller investigation. We swear an oath. And you know this, Alan. Where our oath to the constitution?
COOPER: You agree that he was right to recuse himself?
DERSHOWITZ: He was right to recuse himself but he was dead wrong to withhold that information from the President. The President is entitled to pick a loyalist. The Senate is entitled to reject that choice. That's the way our separation of far goes. If you want to change the law and have the attorney general like in Israel or in England not appointed by the chief executive but loyal just to rule of law, then change it.
But right now, the attorney general is a member of the President's cabinet. And he is entitled to have loyal people in his cabinet as the secretary of defense.
DERSHOWITZ: --as secretary of labor and has attorney general. And Sessions was dead wrong in withholding that information from the President which would have resulted in not getting the job.
[21:40:06] COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, thank you so much. Ambassador Eisen, thanks very much as well.
Just ahead, checking into the latest swings and round about when comes to that possible summit between the United States and North Korea.
COOPER: There is still a fair amount of doubt tonight in whether there will be a summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un if in fact it comes off, will it be a serious negotiation, or a glorified photo op writ large in world stage?
Joining me to discuss, Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS.
He clearly is wants to have this summit? I mean, he wants to be the first to sit down with Kim Jong-un, he wants that visual of it?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Already, I think in the sense with -- the United States has put itself on the back -- put itself as a disadvantage because clearly we are desperate for a summit. Even after the North Koreans insulted the Vice President, insulted senior administration officials like John Bolton. Made clear that they had no intention of following the Libya model, which was de- nuclearization.
Trump sort of pulled out but then had regrets. And the minute he got a little bit of good news from them said, it's back on track. So he is signaling in many ways he wants the summit, he wants this deal. Look, I'm all for a good deal. But it does seem to be common sense not to seem so anxious, not to tweet every time you seem to get good news.
Trump just twitted that the former spy master of North Korea is coming to meet Pampoe and he said they sent us a very solid response to my last letter. Just let it be. Wait until have you the real good news.
COOPER: Also, I mean this former spy chief. There are reports he may have been involved or behind the Sony hack that he has been sanctions against him because of his connection to the nuclear program. I mean, it's fascinating that he is being allowed in the United States for this?
ZAKARIA: Well, he is being allowed in New York because they have a mission in the U.N. So they are allowed to do. But to your basic point is right. Again, think about how Trump speaks of this man. You think about how he is speaking of the North Korean regime, which is probably the most repressive brutal regime in the world.
[21:45:07] I remember when I was at "News Week" we did a global world ranking of the world's worst countries and we got expose together and the consensus was that North Korea was the most repressive country in the world. It ranked number one. And to hear Trump talk about them, they seem reasonable, honorable, you know, interested in deal. He sees brilliant potential for them. It's a very -- we had way to talk about the last and most repressive Stalinist regime in the world.
COOPER: Yes, I mean the humanitarian aspect of this really hasn't received a lot of attention at this point?
ZAKARIA: No. And it's important to point out that because this is a regime that lies to its own people that in prisons tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands --
COOPER: And they have three generals of punishment, which is if somebody does thing wrong it's not just the person who gets sent away, it's the person's children and possibly their parents, three generations of the family?
ZAKARIA: Exactly. It's one of the questions people often ask is, how can North Korea survive the way it does? You know, the whole world has changed and opened up in the last 30 or 40 years. Well, the answer is North Korea is repressive on a scale that is just beyond belief. I mean, it puts Saddam Hussein into shame. It puts the Taliban to shame. This is repression of a, you know, truly brutal kind -- as you say, monkey generational in that circumstance if you're willing to do that much, yes, you can maintain a prison society as it were? COOPER: It is extraordinary too that, the idea that this some could actually take place still on June 12th. I mean, that's, you know, senior administration officials told CNN, that's in ten minutes, essentially?
ZAKARIA: Well, I think again, you get back to Trump clearly wants this to happen. He -- part of it as I think he loves the drama of it. He loves the theatrics of it. Part of it like many presidents when they confront difficulty in domestic areas, they realize the foreign policies is the one area where the president has almost unilateral authority.
So here is Trump, doesn't have that much to show from a legislative point of view. I mean, the tax cut is really the legislative achievement. The travel ban is sort of been implemented. There is no wall. The tariff talks continue. There is no new deal with NAFTA. There is no new deal with the TPP.
So where can you show some progress? And Trump really does thinks about the optics and maybe he's right about that. Maybe we live in a very visual age. And he views this as -- I mean, this would be the paper view summit, in all summit. Everyone would watch it.
COOPER: Yes, Fareed Zakaria, thanks very much.
ZAKARIA: My pleasure.
COOPER: Coming up the latest from Hawaii where some residents are being warned to get out now before they were trap by flaming lava and now the danger from the fall has reached another island thousands of miles away.
[21:51:55] COOPER: 4,000 miles away from Hawaii, the dangers of Kilauea volcano has now reached Guam, where people are being told to stay inside to avoid volcanic hazes.
Back on the Big Island at Hawaii, fissures continue bubble up the danger from lava ash and volcanic haze is still very real. CNN's Scott McLean reports.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yet another stream of Kilauea's lava slowly loose into the ocean, redrawing the Big Island, Hawaii east coast line.
Here's the expectable of this molten slide seen from our vantage point from a boat as orange glowing lava midst Hawaii in white water.
(on camera) There are boat restrictions in this area and for a good reason. As the lava hits the ocean, it sends up this lava white flumes lava haze or laze, a potentially deadly mixture of gases, and look, which way the wind is taking it back on shore creating potentially more air quality issues for the people who live here. (voice-over) Air quality is still top of mind at the Kilauea summit, Hawaii's Volcano's National Park has been closed for weeks as frequent small scale explosions sent ash thousands of feet into the sky. Kilauea is showing no loss of strength.
A time this fissure shut 200 feet into the air above what was ones a quiet residential neighborhood.
The latest unrelenting lava flow destroyed at least a dozen more homes in Leilani Estates turning this stretch of paradise into a smoldering heat of devastation. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey waited and watched but were powerless to stop the slow motion disaster. Even a veteran wildland firefighter felt helpless.
SCOTT SALTEN, FORMER WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER: This is such a different kind of fire because that kind of fire you can actually fight and do something about it, and this, you're totally out of your control. Mother nature's going to do what she does --
MCLEAN (voice-over): All that lava has to go somewhere. It's already covered two whale head at a nearby geothermal plant. But officials say the plant is secure. Some of the lava headed north, prompting closure of the main highway in ominous warning from civil defense officials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Highway 132 is being shut down between lava trees, state parks to four corners due to a fast moving lava flow approaching the highway.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Officials tried to predict when the lava would cross this major escape route for residence under volcanic haze. Kilauea's fury is the three-pronged devils pitch for residents here, assaulting the Big Island's air, land and sea.
COOPER: Scott, how close were you able to get to the lava as it was going into the ocean?
MCLEAN: Well, Anderson we actually had a special permit that allowed us to get fairly close, about a hundred or so yards offshore but truthfully you would not want to get that much closer that's because the swells in that area are quite big, not to mention the fact that the wind directions can shift in instantly, and with that lava laze or laze in the air it can be potentially dangerous.
In fact, we watched the win direction shift from a northeasterly direction to almost a straight south wind while we were there in just a matter of moments. What's amazing to see out there is just how quickly in just a matter of weeks Kilauea in the lava that has brought has reshaped the coastline down there.
[21:55:02] We were out there with a boat packed, about 50 tourists day are obviously curious to see that information process, the lava up close. But it is really important to point out that for the people who live in this area this is not a tourist attraction. Many of them -- they're holding their breath to see whether the lava will take their homes and cut off the access point. I can also tell you that the novelty of flowing lava has worn off, the 200 plus people who are currently staying in shelter and many more who are staying with family and friends for them. Of course, they just want all of this to end, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, it's incredible. Scott McLean thanks so much I appreciate it.
Well, coming up some of the hopefully make you smile at the end of the day, the story of a true hero saved a little boy's life.
COOPER: At the end of a rough day, we thought we'd end with some amazing pictures of an act of heroism. This is in Paris, a stranger, a 22-year-old immigrant from Mali springs into action when he sees a 4-year-old boy dangled from the balcony. The little boy's father apparently had left him alone in their 6th floor apartment and wondered out balcony and fell one floor. The man scaled the building pull the boy to safety. Now the hero is been offer a job with the Paris fire brigade. He also met with the French president who offered him french citizenship.
Thanks very much for watching 360. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. CNN Tonight starts now.