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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Pres. Trump Continues Attacks On Media; W.H. Rejects Ties Between Pres. Trump's Rhetoric and Violence; Pres. Trump Calls "Fake News Media" The True Enemy Of The People After Pittsburgh Attack; Tom Steyer Reacts To Pres. Trump's Tweet, Bomb Threat; Donors Line Up To Give Blood For Synagogue. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 29, 2018 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Well, many broadcasts tonight may begin by telling you the name of a murderer who killed 11 people in the synagogue behind me earlier this Saturday morning.

[20:00:08] They may show you his pictures and repeat his name so much that it will become as well known as other mass murderers whose names you probably remember. We hope history does not remember this killer's name and we won't be saying it or showing you his photo in the hour ahead.

Instead we want to take a few moments on those who really matter, on the 11 people who lived good and decent lives, who were loved by family, and friends and who leave behind them broken hearts and happy memories.

Daniel Stein was killed on Saturday. He was retired and according to his son didn't require much. His son said he was a simple man. His nephew says he had a dry sense of humor. He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed.

Daniel Stein, we will remember.

Joyce Fienberg was a former researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, who treated her PhD students like family, we're told. Her late husband taught at CMU just down the road from Tree of Life. Those who knew her said she had a huge personality who lit up the room.

Joyce Fienberg, let us remember.

Let us also remember Richard Gottfried. He was 65 and had a dental practice with his wife. He was Jewish, she was Catholic. They counseled other interfaith couples at her church about what to expect.

Bernice and Sylvan Simon were married at Tree of Life 62 years ago. Imagine that. Sylvan Simon was a retired accountant. Bernice was a nurse. A neighbor says that she loved classical music and devoted time to charitable work, charitable causes. They were always ready to help said a neighbor and always with a big smile.

Bernice and Sylvan Simon, they died as they lived, together. We will remember them. Jerry Rabinowitz (AUDIO GAP) doctor who's being remembered for

treating all kinds of patients with kindness and compassion, particularly those with HIV/AIDS, at a time when fear of the virus was running high. The patient wrote, he often held our hands without rubber gloves, and always, always hugged us as we left his office. Another called him the sort of doctor who sent us on your way feeling better in all respects. Reports are he was shot as he rushed to help wounded congregants.

Jerry Rabinowitz, his patients remember and so will we.

Melvin Wax's sister says that she always used to kid him that he should have been a rabbi. Instead. he was a dedicated congregant attending Fridays and Saturdays. He would always be the first to arrive, she said, always in a good mood, always full of jokes.

Melvin Wax, we will remember.

Irving Younger was a greeter with a handshake and a smile he once used as a realtor. He helped people find a seat. A friend says he was the kind of guy who'd walk down the street and say hi to everyone he saw. It served him well at one local cafe where he liked to go. No surprise, perhaps, he made himself the greeter there as well.

Irving Younger, we will remember.

David and Cecil Rosenthal were called Tree of Life's ambassadors because they were always there. Both had special needs. Both were inseparable. Everyone around here knew them, I'm told. A cantor at a nearby temple told Cecil the kindest soul you would ever meet.

She calls him the embodiment of the community. Another acquaintance says his laugh was infectious and David he said was so kind the two he said looked out for one another and in return their community treasured them.

David and Cecil Rosenthal, brothers in life and in death, we will remember.

And last but certainly not least in anyone's thoughts tonight is Rose Mallinger. She was 97 years old and lived her whole life in this state.

I visited her daughter Andrea earlier today. She was wounded and is recovering in the hospital surrounded by family and friends who smiled and laughed and shed tears when they talked about Rose. Bubi (ph) as she was known in her family.

Rose lived for her children and for her grandchildren. She was, they said, a pillar of the community and of the congregation, vibrant, full of life.

Moments ago her family gave CNN this statement. To Bubi, family was everything, they said. She knew her children, grandchildren and her great grandchild better than they knew themselves. She retained her sharp wit humor and intelligence to live last day. We will miss her presence and her company greatly.

Rose, we will remember.

So many people to remember. A writer on this program who grew up just four blocks from here knew many of those names. He went to bar mitzvahs at Tree of Life and scout troop meetings and weddings as well. He remembers what it was like to be a kid in Pittsburgh's biggest Jewish community.

He says it was hard to believe that the whole rest of the world wasn't Jewish too when you're growing up here, wasn't happy as well, didn't also live on tree-lined streets where everyone knew everyone else.

[20:05:03] Squirrel Hill was then and is now a special part of this city in this country not just because of its Jewish population. You walk three blocks from here and you'll come to the local JCC, which is right across the street from the Sixth Presbyterian Church whose members swung into action after the shooting here.

Squirrel Hill is home to members of every major faiths. It's home to medical professionals from all around the world who rushed to the scene to treat the wounded or receive them at nearby hospitals. It's home just two blocks from here to the zone four police station whose officers risked their lives to save others, some were wounded.

It was home just a five-minute walk from here to Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers himself who once said at times like these, we should look for the helpers. This literally is Mr. Rogers neighborhood as the mayor said to me.

Squirrel Hill is a neighborhood of helpers. Tree of Life was and is and will be a congregation of helpers.

Yet, Saturday morning, in the building behind me, one armed man decided that the men and women worshiping inside were instead the enemy. The 97-year-old woman was his enemy. A husband and wife married in 1956 and still in love were his enemy. A doctor reached out to HIV patients when others looked away was his enemy.

It's obvious to ask why someone would think like this, why someone would kill like this. But there is no answer to that question that ever truly makes sense or makes the hurt or the heartache go away.

Today, the alleged killer made his first court appearance and while as we said we were not going to be showing his face or saying his name, we will be taking a close look at what may have motivated him and will do the same as well to the alleged serial bomber who also was in court today even as another of his alleged package bombs turned up again targeting CNN this time in Atlanta. The third bomb sent to CNN.

What both men have in common along with their shared role in these horrible last few days is antipathy for Billionaire George Soros who is a donor to liberal causes and a Holocaust survivor himself. He is Jewish and a frequent target of the far-right, including some members of Congress.

This is an Arizona Republican suggesting that Soros was behind the violence in Charlottesville.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R), ARIZONA: And look at the background. George Soros is one of those people that actually helps him get you know back these individuals. Who is he? I think he's from hungry, I think he was Jewish and I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, keeping them honest, that last bit of course is a lie, a lie and a slur.

More recently, things took on a new dimension when someone it's unclear who came up with the idea of building a different conspiracy theory around Soros, one linking him to the migrant caravan.

Here's a tweet from a Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. Quote: Footage in Honduras giving cash to women and children to join the caravan and storm the U.S. border at election time. Soros? Let's investigate the source.

There's no evidence to support that's insinuation, yet a day later at a rally in Montana, the president seemed to pick up on it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The one thing they stick together, but they wanted that caravan and there are those who say that caravan didn't just happen, it didn't just happen. A lot of reasons that caravan, 4,000 people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It didn't just happen he said, didn't just happen.

A few days later, George Soros got a pipe bomb in the mail and a few days after that, after calling for national unity, the president was chuckling along with calls to lock Soros up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They called globalists. They like -- they like the globe. I like the globe, too. I like the globe, too, but we have to take care of our people. We have to.

Globalist -- lock him up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, the word globalist might not mean anything special to you and perhaps it doesn't either to the president. However, to white supremacist and anti-Semites the word means Jew and has for many years. Presidents have known this, which is why they don't say things like this. It clearly meant something to the alleged synagogue shooter who

actually attacked President Trump for being in his view a secret globalist sympathizer, posting on the social media site "Gab", writing, Trump is a globalist not a nationalist. He then went on to rail against Jews using a slur we won't use in the word infestation. This posting showed an obsession with George Soros with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society or HIAS, and a hatred for the immigrant caravan.

So, whether the president knew what he was saying, the alleged gunman certainly heard something that resonated and this came on top a plenty of other scary talk from the president and others about that migrant caravan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And the Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens into our country. And they want to sign them up for free health care, free welfare, free education and for the right to vote.

[20:10:01] They want to sign up for the right to vote. What's that all about?

(CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was Friday. The president describing a group of people a thousand miles away from the nearest U.S. port of entry in several thousand miles from Pittsburgh, a threat to no one. But for the alleged gunman, it apparently was all too much.

His last post reads, I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in.

Today, with the country's struggling to cope, the president again called for unity. He also attacked the press and weighed in again on that caravan, tweeting this is an invasion of our country and our military is waiting for you.

Now, we hear all the time from the president's supporters to take him seriously but not literally. Maybe for rational reasonable people who aren't anti-Semitic and don't believe the conspiracy theories, that's good advice. Perhaps it's better if we all dial back the heat on the left and the right, to not call as former Attorney General Eric Holder did, for kicking opponents when they're down, to not harass Republicans in restaurants.

And it's true there never is enough civility to go around. That said, when a Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire and Republican congressman, the senator did not control the bully pulpit the president does and he was not filling the airwaves with heated rhetoric, violent imagery and conspiracy theories. The president made shape and not being able to say anything that pops into his head, what he should know is that people are listening and worse, some are acting on what they hear. Joining us now is Tree of Life's rabbi, Jeffrey Myers, also the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto.

Thank you both for being with us. I'm so sorry it's under these circumstances.

RABBI JEFFREY MYERS, TREE OF LIFE CONGREGATION: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Rabbi, you are preparing a funeral tomorrow, the first, of what will be several funerals. What are you thinking about saying? What is going through your heart and your head tonight?

MYERS: It's not a day to show anger. It's not a day to show bitterness. It's a day to celebrate the lives of two wonderful decent human beings and for gratitude that they were in our lives. And that's what this and all the funerals will be about.

COOPER: Tomorrow, it's the brothers who's -- I mean, everybody talks about them as being -- I mean, just everybody seems to have known them here.

MYERS: They were the sweetest, most wonderful people you could know. Not an ounce of hate in them whatsoever. And you know, if you just sit and wonder why this could happen, we're not going to find the answers. We need to just turn to what was good about them and be able to say with gratitude, we're so glad they were in our lives at all.

COOPER: Mayor, how are you -- how are you dealing with this as leader of the community?

MAYOR BILL PEDUTO (D), PITTSBURGH: As best we can. We have priorities that we want to be able to take care of. The first is to the families of the victims. We start with the funerals tomorrow, continue all the way through Friday, making sure that the families have everything that they need. We extend that out to those that have been wounded trying to get them out of the hospitals by the end of this week, making sure their families have everything they need.

It's the way we do things in Pittsburgh. We take care of one another, and then we look at the Jewish community itself and we look there ways to be able not only to show support but to build bonds that will last long after this. And we think ahead about how we can take something that is so horrific and find goodness, and use those few little rays of light to be able to create something here in Pittsburgh that will help to eradicate hate, that will stop the use of terms of hatred and bigotry in the public discourse on a daily basis and put it back into the basement where it belongs.

COOPER: Do you have any doubt that that some rhetoric that has been used over the last -- that has entered public life in a way that we haven't seen in quite a while, that that has had an impact?

PEDUTO: Words matter. If you take a drop of dye and put it into a glass of water, it turns the color of the water. When you put words of hatred out in a place where those words had been hidden and recognized as being words that were not acceptable, and you allow that to become acceptable, then you allow the next steps to occur.

The next steps where there is violence is people walking down the street, the next steps where there's graffiti being written on walls, the next steps where somebody enters into a place that is so sacred where people go to find sanctuary and peace with God and somebody feels that is the way that they will express their hatred with murder.

[20:15:06] Yes, words matter.

COOPER: Rabbi, I don't want to make you relive what happened Saturday morning, but how quickly did you realize something terrible was happening?

MYERS: I'd never heard live gunfire in my life before. Initially, within the first few minutes of our service, starting there was a crash type of sound I thought as did many others that one of the metal coat racks in our lobby had fallen, that perhaps someone it was falling and grabbed onto it and yanked it down.

Then within I'd say another ten seconds, the next volley came, again rapid succession and while I didn't have any experience in it, there was just some gut instinct that told me this is not something good, this is semi-automatic weapon fire. And so, I'd say within fifteen seconds, I knew this is a serious situation.

COOPER: And did you see the -- you saw this person?

MYERS: Never.

COOPER: Never.

MYERS: I never saw the person. I made it out of the sanctuary before my -- I immediately told the congregation to jump on the floor, do not utter a sound and don't move. We have the wooden pews that three inches thick oak, thought it could provide some modicum of protection.

The people who were near the front of the sanctuary -- the several that were near the front, I quickly escorted them up the stairs, out through one of the back doors of the sanctuary into the labyrinth of our buildings that find an exit door, find a closet. If you find a closet lock yourself in and say that to the police come and get you.

I then turned to see about the remaining eight people in the rear of the sanctuary and what could I do. I thought that -- heard at that moment the gunfire the volume was increasing and I knew that if I would move forward, another feet towards the river the sanctuary that there was nothing I could do at that point because it was just too dangerous in situations.

So, I left the sanctuary. One of those people you visited today, she survived. The other seven were slaughtered in my sanctuary and I live with that for the rest of my life because -- well, I know I couldn't have done something I still wonder, gee, could I have done something?

COOPER: You called 911. MYERS: Yes, the minute I got through there, I called 911 and was on the phone with them for 20 minutes as I sought shelter for myself because I -- the exit I had envisioned I knew was not as safe exit because of the proximity of the shooter.

COOPER: As a person of faith, how does one face this? How does -- I mean, how does one make sense of it? As a person of faith, what is it -- I don't know. I --

MYERS: My faith -- my deep faith tells me it wasn't some divine plan with god in the control room pushing buttons saying I'm going to send a shooter into Tree of Life and so all of these people that that God's the one I turn to at moments like this to say give me strength, give me inspiration to help lead my flock through this difficult time.

COOPER: Mayor, I think you'd said something to "The Washington Post" about the president -- that he shouldn't visit a wall burials are still taking place. The president and his wife are planning on coming tomorrow. If you spoke to them, do you have a message to them?

MYERS: Well, we did try to get the message off to the White House that our priority tomorrow is the first funeral. That we'll be using public resources in order to be able to have adequate public safety at the site, to be able to use public safety to -- for the procession and also to be able to make sure that we'll still be at our schools, our synagogues, the JCC, and other large Jewish institutions.

Having that, I do believe that it would be best to put the attention on the families this week and if he were to visit, choose a different time to be able to do it. Our focus as the city will be on the families and the outreach that they'll need this week and the support that they'll need to get through it. Once we get past that, then I think there's the opportunity for presidential visits.

COOPER: Rabbi, I spoke -- as I said, I spoke with Rose's family in the hospital tonight. I mean, what an extraordinary family they are -- just -- they had so many stories about her. Ninety-seven years old, she'd attended this synagogue for I believe was 60 years she said. She's married for 50 years.

She just sounds like an incredible pillar of this community.

MYERS: She was. And we had this really wonderful thing partway through the service and many faith services, they're responsive readings in English.

[20:20:01] COOPER: Right.

MYERS: There was one that was hers that she owned and when we get to that part of the service, I would just announce and just look at Rose and smile, and she would lead. And the ironic thing is the responsive reading that she led was the perfect piece.

COOPER: How -- do you know how it goes? I don't want to put you on the spot.

MYERS: Off the top my head, in English --

COOPER: OK.

MYERS: -- after these past few days, my mind is just a jumble. So I don't think I could remember. You know --

COOPER: It was the prayer for peace.

MYERS: Prayer for peace, I'll remember in the car the minute I leave.

COOPER: Yes. Well, it's fitting and I'll look it up later tonight as everybody else does.

Rabbi, thank you so much.

MYERS: Thank you.

COOPER: Mr. Mayor, thank you so much. I'm so sorry it's under these circumstances.

PEDUTO: We'll get through it.

COOPER: Yes, it's a strong community, incredibly strong.

Coming up next, the CEO of HIAS on what his group really does and what it's done for decades to help immigrants become Americans.

Later, more helpers from this neighborhood, people who saved lives in the crucial moments after the shooting.

More from Pittsburgh. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:25:04] COOPER: Well, to repeat, we're not going to utter the name of the man authorities say was responsible for all that's going on around me, for all the hurt that we have witnessed in the short time that we have been here today. Sadly, he left us a kind of roadmap to the hatred he has inside on the social media website where he posted time and again.

Our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has that for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voce-over): Just before authorities say he entered this synagogue to kill 11 Jews, the killer posted his intentions online.

I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered, he posted. Screw your optics, I'm going in.

Where was that? On a social media site you most likely never heard of but it turns out Gab.com has become an online home for those who love to hate. HEIDI BEIRICH, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: What you find is just an absolute cesspool of the most vile commentary that you can find, extreme misogyny, anti-Semitism racism. There are thousands and thousands of people on there who trade in the ugliest propaganda that mankind can create.

GRIFFIN: Gab is currently not operating. An online statement says the company has spent the past 48 hours probably working with the DOJ and FBI to bring justice to an alleged terrorist. Until now, the site has put few restrictions on its users. A former company official told CNN Gab does ban users who call for violence, child porn or drug trafficking, but not hate speech.

According to the site itself, Gab's mission is very simple: defend free speech and individual liberty for all people.

On Saturday evening after the shooting, Gab users were calling the shooter a hero. On its website, Gab says it's the alleged shooter who holds sole responsibility for his actions. When CNN tried to get more information on the suspect's profile, Gab tweeted: You have our statement. Deal with it.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said it's no surprise to anyone the shooter's online home was Gab.

BEIRICH: It was the first place that we looked actually.

GRIFFIN: The suspect posted about the infestation of Jews. He reposted calls for Jews to get out or leave. He promoted a conspiracy theory that it is Jews helping transport migrants on the migrant caravans in Central America, repeatedly calling the migrants invaders, using language common on Fox News and right-wing radio.

He linked the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, HIAS, an organization that helps resettle refugees to those caravans. HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people, he posted. On Saturday morning when he wrote, I'm going in, he was going into a synagogue that hosted a HIAS service just a week before.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Mark Hetfield, the CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, is with me now.

Thanks very much for being with us. Obviously, sorry. It's under these circumstances.

When you first heard of what this person did and his obsession with your organization, were you -- were you surprised or is this kind of a common trope among anti-Semites in these kind of people?

MARK HETFIELD, CEO, HEBREW IMMIGRANT AID SOCIETY: Well, both. I mean, this is a common trope and there are websites that dedicate an awful lot of space to HIAS, to how much they hate what we do, to how much they hate refugees. Some also hate Jews. Some are masquerading as kind of issue-oriented sites, but they're really hate sites.

So, yes, we were quite accustomed to this. But obviously, it's never ended like this before.

COOPER: Explain what your organization actually does.

HETFEILD: So, HIAS is actually the oldest refugee agency in the world. We were started at the end of the 19th century to help Jews who were fleeing from the pogroms in Russia, and we were bringing them to the United States, feeding them on Ellis Island, helping them get past the immigration authorities and get set up in a new life.

And we've made a transformation over our history from being an organization that helps refugees because they are Jewish to one that helps refugees because we are Jewish. We do this out of Jewish values. We do it out of a sense of history and obligation because we know that the American Jewish community owes its very existence to those times when America opened its doors to refugees.

COOPER: So, you help people -- refugees from all over the world who are recently in the United States, all of whom have been vetted, who have been cleared to come here and you help them adjust to daily life?

HETFIELD: Right. I mean, half of our work is actually overseas, helping refugees be safe where they are. But the other half is here in the United States. We're settling them around the country, including here in Pittsburgh where we work with the Jewish family and community services of Pittsburgh.

COOPER: When you hear the kind of rhetoric about invaders, you know, about this obsession about this caravan, does it make any sense to you?

HETFIELD: It makes no sense to me and we haven't gotten used to it, even though we've been hearing an awful lot of this. I mean, ever since the Paris attacks in November of 2015, when 31 governors said that their states were going to be off-limits to Syrian Muslims as a result of those attacks, never mind that no Syrian refugees actually were implicated in those attacks.

[20:30:00] That's when this hate speech really started to escalate to levels that I've had never seen in my career and never thought I would see in my lifetime.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, this person who has alleged to have committed these murders was basically saying that you're resettling people who are coming to the United States to kill people to, you know, to be terrorists. I mean, that's absurd.

HETFIELD: I mean, refugees are fleeing terror, right? They come here because they need sanctuary, just like people go to synagogue to be in sanctuary. I mean that's what we do, is we provide people with a sanctuary from terror. So to say that these people are bringing terror to this country, it's beyond absurd. It's not back up by anything.

COOPER: Does this make you fearful or make you want to stop your work?

HETFIELD: No, it definitely does not make me want to stop our work. I mean, we've seen this before. I mean, not in my lifetime, but there have been many times when refugees have been conflated with the terror that they're fleeing from. It was one of the reasons Jews were kept out in the 1930s. So we know that this makes it even more important for us to do our work.

COOPER: The same was of Jews, of Irish, of Italian, officially if every refugee group that has come to the United States for time and memorial.

HETFIELD: Right. I mean, it goes to a fear of the other and we have to deal with that fear but it's not a rational fear.

COOPER: Mark Hetfield, appreciate you. Thank you very much.

HETFIELD: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Thanks for being with us.

Coming up, as we reported, the President is continuing to blame the media for the violence and the anger in this country, again, using the phrase enemy of the people today. Today he actually said that. We try to get answers from the White House about which members of the free press are actually in his opinion the enemy of the people. We'll show you how that went, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:35:53] COOPER: Well, as we reported at the beginning of the program, after days of pipe bombs sent to people, the President has attacked and the horror that played out here in Pittsburgh over the weekend, the President continues to complain that it's actually the free press that should change its ways.

In a tweet this morning, the President said, "Part of what's causing great anger in the country is the fake news media," which he again called, and I quote, "the true enemy of the people."

At the White House today, CNN's Jim Acosta asked Sarah Sanders for clarification.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Shouldn't you reserve the term "enemy" for people who are actually the enemy of the United States rather than journalists?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President is not referencing all media. He's talking about the growing amount of fake news that exist in the country and the President is calling that out.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: May I ask a follow-up? May I ask a follow-up, please? May I ask a follow-up?

SANDERS: Go ahead, Jim.

ACOSTA: My -- since you mentioned that, the President said this morning, "The fake news media, the true enemy of the people, must stop the open and obvious hostility and report the news accurately and fairly." Can you state for the record which outlets that you and the President regard as the enemy of the people?

SANDERS: I'm not going to walk through a list, but I think those individuals probably know who they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And Jim Acosta joins us now. Why wouldn't she walk through a list? I mean, if the President of the United States is declaring people and organizations enemies of the people and she's backing that up, I don't understand why they wouldn't get specific.

ACOSTA: That is the question, Anderson. And we gave her ample opportunities to do that. The President has all day long to do that. He apparently still is struggling this evening in terms of putting that out there.

My sense of it, Anderson, is that they just want to lash out. That might have been part of the reason why we were brought into this briefing today. They wanted to get back to their midterms game plan, which is to go after the press and talk about the caravan. And they were able to do some of that today.

But, Anderson, we do know that they're deeply frustrated over how much the President took heat in those last week or so over his rhetoric in response to what happened with the pipe bombs and what happened in Pittsburgh. They're highly frustrated behind the scenes there and I think we saw some of that being vented at our direction today.

COOPER: I mean, it is just kind of amazing just when you look at who the President has verbally attacked and who this pipe bomber sent devices to or tweeted about. I mean, the President goes after Phil Mudd, former FBI and CIA official, who dedicated his life to public service, days later this pipe bomber is tweeting about Phil Mudd.

I mean the names clearly -- it's very clear where this person got names and ideas from, whether it's Jim Clapper or CNN or John Brennan. The fact that the White House or that the President doesn't take a moment of reflection is still surprising to me.

ACOSTA: It really is, Anderson. And when you talk to people who are close to the President, sources close to the White House, they say this fits into his make no apologies, take no prisoners style.

This president is never going to admit that he shouldn't say that the press is the enemy of the people because it goes against what is really a political strategy for him, and that is to demonize his opponents to the point of submission and we're just simply not going to do that. I talked to a top Republican aide up on Capitol Hill who said most of the folks up are just resigned to the fact that the President is going to keep on doing this. And it does make you wonder, Anderson, what is it exactly that is going to make the President stop engaging in this rhetoric. At this point, what we've seen so far apparently from the President is not sufficient, Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, Jim, thanks very much.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also is criticizing the President's response to the deadly shooting. Here's what he told CNN today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: The President's words matter more than anybody else. And his job, I've always thought, is to be a unifier, not to be the leader of the party, but to be a leader of this country. There are consequences to words.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:40:10] COOPER: Well, joining me now is New York Times White House Correspondent and CNN Political Analyst, Maggie Haberman. Also joining us, CNN Political Analyst, David Gregory, author of "How is Your Faith: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey."

Maggie, the story today from the President calling the "fake news media the true enemy of the people," I mean, he clearly understands -- you know, there are some people who have said, "Well, maybe he doesn't understand the impact or the fact that, you know, it hasn't dawned on him that he's President of the United States. He's not just, you know, kind of flashy real estate developer anymore." But you say -- I mean, this is clearly a deliberate strategy on his part.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, first of all, we're two years into his presidency. I think he gets it at this point. He's no longer just a real estate developer, number one. Number two, he is smarter than all of these people like to tell themselves and more aware of what it is that he is doing and that includes his own aides sometimes who want to be able to explain why it's not really that bad that he's saying this.

Look, it is totally fair to take issue with coverage, every president has. No president in the U.S. has done what he is doing, which is single out, you know, political enemies, lump them in with the media and then after a clearly sick individual allegedly sends, you know, pipe bombs to many of those individuals and the news outlet persist in talking about at least three of them and, again, resume this enemy of the people stuff.

It is fine to take issue with the media and with press coverage. It is not fine to talk about enemy of the people. That is the language of despites in other countries. And it is dangerous from the president. He does this thing where continues to act as if his one guy in the crowd just sort of watching everything play out. His words do have much greater weight than anyone else is in this country just by getting into his office.

COOPER: Right. And I think -- I don't know if it was you who tweeted this, but I mean -- and I don't want to misrepresent what you said, but it's not as if he's a guy in a bar yelling at a T.V. anymore.

HABERMAN: Right. I didn't say something like that, but it is the same kind of idea that he's not just --

COOPER: Then I did.

HABERMAN: He's not just -- well, remember, he doesn't drink. He's not just an -- he's not an average social media poster anymore, of course he's not. And he continues to want to be both the story and the color commentator. And as president, he is part of the story. But, you know, the rest of the story is also the country and what is taking place in the country.

And most other presidents, if there had been two incidents of domestic terrorism on their watch, they would be dialing back their rhetoric. This president gave a very forceful denunciation of antisemitism at the beginning of his political rally on Saturday night, but it was a political rally and then he veered back into the same usual stuff, including criticizing Maxine Waters who had received a pipe bomb.

COOPER: And, David, I also wanted to focus -- continuing focusing on this caravan when clearly that was an issue that was foremost in the mind of the shooter here in Pittsburgh.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And that's what's so concerning. I mean, if you look at the President's rhetoric, he's labeling people enemies, making it clear that there are people who are dangers to the country. And he's saying to his supporters and other nationalists, since he uses that term, people who have a sense of national consciousness versus what nationalism means oftentimes feeling superior to other nations, other groups of people around the world.

He is saying to them time and time again, be very worry because those brown people coming from the south are going to invade the country. He's called them vermin before. He's talked about an infestation before. These are the kinds of phraseology that was used against Jews, by the way, in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe, so it's dehumanizing. He talked about elites who go to Ivy League schools as being a danger.

And of course, when he talks about globalists, he is referring, whether he knows it or not, or whether he intends to or not, he is using language that white supremacists used to describe Jews, a Jewish power structure around the world. So he is he feeding this paranoia.

And instead of tamping it down, instead of cooling it, he's doubling down saying tonight in an interview on Fox that he defends the nationalist label, that he thinks that's an appropriate thing for our President to say, to stand up for America.

So all -- everywhere you look, whether it's taking on Lebron James or other African-American athletes, the suggestion is to his supporters, your way of life is under attack from people who don't look like you. And that's what we're seeing time and time again. And even under these circumstances, he won't dial it back.

[20:45:01] COOPER: It's interesting, Maggie, because repeatedly the White House and also the President in the past has used the fact that Ivanka Trump is Jewish and Jared Kushner is Jewish as -- I don't know if it's first day as cover, but it certainly -- they had made mention of that upfront to kind of indicate, well, certainly he is not, you know, in any way saying anything against Jewish people.

HABERMAN: Look, I don't know whether the President is antisemite or not. I get asked that question a lot. I think we all do. And I don't know what's in his heart. I do know and I know that he has said very forceful things against antisemitism. I also know that he has said things that are heard as dog whistles by antisemites and he's been told those are dog whistles over and over and over again. So, you know, whatever his daughter and son-in-law have to do with it, it's not impacting what he then goes out and says in terms of taking away the negatives.

GREGROY: And, Anderson, can I make another point?

COOPER: Yes.

GREGORY: There's a tendency to think about Jews as we often think about other groups as monolithic in their thinking. A lot of the President's defender say, "Oh, who is better for Israel? Bibi Netanyahu says I moved the embassy to Jerusalem, what a great thing that is. I stood up with the Israelis against Iran."

Well, to be a Zionist, to be strongly pro-Israel certainly matters to Jews around the world, including in America. But to be someone as president who vilifies immigrants when the Bible tells us in the Judeo Christian tradition that we should love the strangers as we love ourselves. That's deeply American value, not just a religious value. That matters to Jews as well.

COOPER: Yes. David Gregory, Maggie Haberman, thanks very much.

One of the bombs sent last week was addressed to billionaire Democratic donor, Tom Steyer. On CNN's "State of the Union" over the weekend, Steyer said he blames the President for creating the atmosphere that exists who already calls corruption and lawlessness.

The interview caught the President's attention. He tweeted, "Just watched Wacky Tom Steyer, who I have not seen in action before, he interviewed by Jake -- be interviewed by Jake Tapper. He comes off as a crazed and stumbling lunatic who should be running out of money pretty soon. As bad as their field is, if he is running for President, the Dems will eat him alive."

I spoke with Tom Steyer a short time ago for reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Mr. Steyer, first of all, I want to get your reaction to the President's tweet about you yesterday, a day after the Pittsburgh shooting, and two days after a pipe bomb was mailed to you saying that you come off as a "crazed and stumbling lunatic."

TOM STEYER, PRESIDENT, NEXTGEN AMERICA: Well, Anderson, my opinion about that tweet really had nothing to do with me. It was really a revelation, I thought, of the President not doing his duty as president. That, in fact, he was trying to make a political statement in response to my criticism of him that morning on CNN and his response was political.

Where is, in fact, what I believe he should have been doing, what he should have been concentrating on, what his job is, is to protect the American people and to explain to the American people why we're in this crisis and how we're going to get out of it. And he didn't pay any attention to his real job. He was too involved with himself and too involved with his political machinations to do the right thing.

COOPER: Do you blame the President's rhetoric, at least in part, for the massacre here in Pittsburgh, the attempted bombings?

STEYER: Well, you know, I know, Anderson, that there has been a lot of talked about his violet rhetoric, his calls for lock her up, and CNN sucks, and his divisive attitudes towards different people in American society. But I honestly believe it's much broader than that.

I believe this president is lawless. I believe he's corrupt. I believe he's criminal. And I believe that his behavior and the behavior of the Republican Party in terms of their attitudes towards our democracy and their disrespect for Democratic norms in trying to prevent people from voting, that their behavior has ushered in an atmosphere of lawlessness and has given permission to people who feel as if there are no constraints anymore on decency and what is acceptable behavior.

COOPER: You know, Sarah Sanders mentioned the congressional baseball shooting that occurred last year. Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire gravely wounded Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, of course. Sarah Sanders didn't have a list of specific people he routinely vilified or mocked as the President does, but should Democrats?

I mean, is that example valid? Should Democrats bear some responsibility for the rhetoric writ large? We have heard, you know, Hillary Clinton talking about not being able to, you know, be civil with Republicans. We've heard some things over Maxine Waters and others have said.

STEYER: You know, Anderson, I think what happened to Congressman Scalise is absolutely terrible. I think the person who did it was 100 percent wrong.

[20:50:06] I can't imagine a Democratic elected official doing anything but saying he was wrong and that anyone who think about doing that is wrong, and I think that's the difference. I'm waiting for the President to come out and say that the people who are dealing in this kind of action are 100 percent wrong, that he doesn't want them to support him, that he is looking for fairness and equity in American society, and he's never going to do it.

COOPER: The last week as, you know, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy send out a tweet accusing you, George Soros, and Michael Bloomberg of trying to buy the midterm elections for Democrats. The tweet was deleted the next day and McCarthy spokesperson said last week that he condemns violence or any acts of attempted violence.

But there are some who pointed out that you, Soros and Bloomberg are Jewish or of Jewish descent. Your father, I believe, was Jewish. How do you view that tweet? Or how did you view that tweet?

STEYER: Look, I think that that had to be considered an antisemitic tweet. And I think that there's a reason that Congressman McCarthy took it down. He was obviously embarrassed. He obviously realized that he had done something that was wrong and he was ashamed of it, and he should be ashamed of it.

COOPER: Tom Steyer, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

STEYER: Anderson, thank you for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, just ahead, the broadcast how the city is coming together to help those wounded on Saturday. I'll talk with the first responders who responded to the shooting. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:55:21] COOPER: Well, friends and strangers are helping one another here in Pittsburgh. Volunteers today lined up at the arena where the Pittsburgh Penguins paid to donate blood.

Our Gary Tuchman reports that donors were told to wait would be about two hours because the lines are so long. The wait was often longer. Gary says no one complain at all. People wanted to do their part.

Joining me now is Dr. Lenny Weiss of the UPMC, also the Assistant Medical Director of the City's EMS Department, Mark Pinchalk, Division Chief there. Did I pronounce your last name correctly?

DR. LENNY WEISS, ASST. MEDICAL DIRECTOR, CITY OF PITTSBURGH EMS: Yes, you did.

COOPER: OK, OK. So, Doctor, I understand you were -- you live nearby. You actually heard a commotion.

WEISS: And fortunately we're prepared to respond the situations with our physicians and our EMS normally but I heard it firsthand. I woke up with what I saw -- I thought was gun shots or I thought was construction, realized it was automatic weapon fire. I heard yelling that was very unfamiliar for our neighborhood or any neighborhood. And I immediately try to jump into action, call into dispatch on the radio, cell phone, who ever I could. And next thing I knew I thought there was a safe jump and I put my boots on, went outside and saw my colleagues already taking formation in all of our yards.

COOPER: And, Chief, you were already there? You were in a formation?

MARK PINCHALK, DIVISION CHIEF, CITY OF PITTSBURGH EMS: Yes, I was actually on the road. I had a work at Duquesne that day and then I heard the calls who responded here. I met the supervisor on scene. He assumed I rule EMS command. I talk operation command and we formed up a rescue task force, which is the first time we -- a group of police and paramedics, and we started moving on the site, the search and rescue.

COOPER: And I understand he tried to join in but didn't have --

PINCHALK: Right. We're in, in the line (ph). I didn't know he lived here. And then he wanted to come with us but he didn't have any ballistic protections, so we send him back to (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: You were willing to go in without ballistic protection?

WEISS: Yes, absolutely. I've work with Mark day to day and we're very comfortable with each other, but our safety is first and the safety of our team members. So I was able to establish command just down the block where our command structure staging area was trying to figure out where we're going to put the ambulances, who's going to go where --

COOPER: Right.

WEISS: -- and what's going to happen.

COOPER: What was it like for you at the scene?

PINCHALK: It's chaotic, but we've been doing a lot of training on this for this contingency for the last two years. So -- I mean we formed up. I took five of our people, lot of younger paramedics in the EMS that they jumped right in, linked up with the police. We already have working relationship with them and we started moving to where we thought there were casualties.

COOPER: And you were actually ended up of having to treat some police officers.

PINCHALK: Yeah. So our tactical medics attached to SWAT, we're actually the first ones in, and started finding the deceased unfortunately. We found a couple of live victims that they treated very aggressively and extracted from the building. And they worked their way to the third floor at the SWAT.

And when SWAT came under fire and had a couple of casualties, our tactical medics called us up for additional support. So we moved in and they handed off those patients to us and we started treating and working on evacuating them. COOPER: I think the other people didn't realize, because you also end up -- I mean, in this case treating the shooter as well.

PINCHALK: Yes. After he surrendered, we did have to provide care with them. It was a little harder for some of our younger guys. You know, legally, morally, we have to provide the same standard of care to him as we do anybody else.

COOPER: Yes. What do you want people to know about this community, about what happened here?

WEISS: We are very strong peaceful diverse community here. The biggest thing is that when something happens, we're ready to respond. We have physicians. We have medical professionals, paramedics that are highly trained to deal with his situations. It's just a shame that we would ever have to use this any where in our country let alone our town or neighborhood.

COOPER: Chief, it does seem like if the intention of this killer was to divide people and make people hate each other, we have the opposite impact of this here. I mean, this community seems to have really come together.

PINCHALK: Yes, I think everyone is really on the public safety community people from across the country and then calling us up, you know, providing us support in the community here, too. I think everyone formed a pretty tight bond around us.

COOPER: It must be awesome to see so many people sort of lining up for hours to donate blood. I mean, wanting to do whatever they can.

WEISS: Yes, that's one of my biggest hopes and asked of our citizens of the U.S. If there's a medical problem, any emergency, whether it's trauma, medical, help your neighbor, help your civilian friend because we can only get help fast enough and something bad is going to happen if you don't do something. Start CPR, donate blood that's available, stop the bleed by putting a tourniquet on. We need each other's help.

COOPER: Wow. Well, Doctor, thank you so much --

WEISS: Thank you, sir.

COOPER: -- for all your doing in the daily basis, especially.

PINCHALK: Thank you.

COOPER: Chief, thank you so much, really incredible work.

The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo. "Cuomo Prime Time" starts right now. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you, Anderson, and thank you for being there. I am Chris Cuomo, welcome to "Prime Time."