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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Walks Out of Shutdown Talks with Dems Who Won't Support Border Wall, Calls Talks "Total Waste of Time"; Interview with Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Interview with Sen. Mark Warner (D) Virginia. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired January 9, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:18] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
In just a couple of days, 800,000 Americans will face a Friday without a check. Millions more who rely on federal agencies and services are just the dollars that federal employees spent will continue to face the consequences of the government shutdown.
And judging by what played out today, the stand off that's driving it over the wall that President Trump wants Congress to pay for could drag on for another pay cycle and another. Just last night from the Oval Office, President Trump said it didn't have to be this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, today, they have that meeting. And he walked out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: He asked Speaker Pelosi, will you agree to my wall? She said no. And he just got up and said we have nothing to discuss and just walked out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, the president tweeted. A total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve border security, which includes a wall or steel barrier, Nancy said no. I said bye-bye, nothing else works.
Actually, according to a congressional aide, before he walked out, there was also this exchange with Minority Leader Schumer. Senator Schumer allegedly said, you are using people as leverage, why won't you open the government and stop hurting people. President Trump then responded, because then you won't give me what I want.
Chuck as the president calls him characterized the walkout as a temper tantrum. Republicans who also spoke out disagreed with that assessment of it.
Whatever you want to call it, the president continues to portray his offer of a steel barrier instead of concrete as some kind of a concession to Democrats, which whatever you may think of his position or their position is, as factual matter, it's simply not a concession. This isn't a debate over building materials.
According to another Republican lawmaker in the room, he did bring at least one thing to the negotiating table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We entered the room, the president again calling all the leaders together to solve this problem, even brought a little candy for everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
According to a source familiar and no, I'm not kidding, it was Butterfingers, Baby Ruths and M&Ms.
And after the meeting, his surrogate offered the same lines he employed last night, painting what's happening on the border as a crisis, doing it in a way that doesn't quite fit the facts, suggesting as Congressman Steve Scalise did today that a wall would prevent opioids from coming in when according to customs and border patrol, most heroin is smuggled through legal points of entry and the most powerful, fentanyl, usually comes from China through the mail.
The spin and the fact twisting you saw after that White House meeting was matched by similar stuff leading up to it, including what the president said following his Capitol Hill meeting today with congressional Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Republican Party I can say and I just left an hour meeting. We had a great time, actually. There was no discussion about anything other than solidarity. We want national security and border security for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, keeping them honest on the solidarity front, Lisa Murkowski said she spoke out about the shutdown's impact. She, Susan Collins and Corey Gardner favor reopening the government without a border deal and at least five House Republicans have already vote d with Democrats on their legislation to reopen the government without wall fund.
But the president continues to have considerable support within his own party. He continues to call it a crisis, though the actual numbers of people coming across illegally are down from their high decades ago. If it's not a crisis, is it as the president has also called it, an emergency? He said it was the other day on the White House lawn and said this when asked about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, what's your thinking on -- did you announce it last night and when might you --
TRUMP: Because I think we might work a deal and if we don't, I may go that route. I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want.
REPORTER: What's your threshold?
TRUMP: My threshold will be if I can't make a deal with people that are unreasonable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, Webster's defines the word "emergency" as an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action or an urgent need for assistance or relief. You could argue there are a lot of people waiting in Mexico who are in urgent need of assistance or relief. You could also say the same about the Americans waiting for paychecks and the shutdown to end.
But keeping them honest, if it really is a true national security emergency, why would the president wait? And if he does wait for days or weeks or months, how would it be an emergency then?
More now on where this stands right now, where the president stands with CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.
So what else are we learning about what happened in this meeting because there's different points of view on it clearly here?
[20:05:05] KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There certainly are. We know for sure that meeting was short. It's only about 14 or 15 minutes we are told by sources.
It started out kind of on a lighter note. The president in a good mood passing out the candy, telling the lawmakers they had a copy of the latest budget request from the White House in front of them which essentially laid out their immigration priorities, this that they cobbled together over the weekend with negotiations with Democrats.
But then things went downhill from there as the president and Nancy Pelosi essentially were going back and forth most of the time. It wasn't all Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and the president. It was mostly just the president and House speaker arguing about ports of entry, arguing about the Democratic proposal to the president, opening up the government, and then they negotiate on DHS funding, something the White House has been opposed to because they feel they would lose their leverage if they do that.
But it went back and forth then the president stormed out of the room when Democrats said they weren't going to give him anymore money for his border walls and something they said publicly they wouldn't budge on. But White House officials thought maybe privately they would come off it a little bit if the White House offered some concessions as well. That didn't happen and the meeting ended with the president telling them bye-bye. And no other meeting scheduled in the future right now.
COOPER: In terms of f the president's address last night, did it accomplish what the White House wanted it to accomplish? I mean, what are they saying about it?
COLLINS: So, White House officials feel it went well because there weren't any mishaps. The president didn't stumble. That was a venue he had been uncomfortable with. He had not wanted to do many from the Resolute desk, which is why we've never seen him do that before.
But other than this, they thought it went fine. Of course, the president himself told news anchors, according to "The New York Times" during that off the record lunch, that he didn't think the message last night was going to change any minds of his critics and it certainly doesn't seem to be that way, which is the agreements that neither did the Democratic rebuttal that followed the president.
So neither of those measures really seemed to move the goal posts here for these shutdown negotiations for the White House. And the president also said he didn't think the trip to the border would really do that either.
COOPER: What more do we know about what he's going to do tomorrow at the border?
COLLINS: So, here's what's interesting. He's going to a border patrol station in McAllen, Texas. He's traveling with the DHS secretary and Customs and Border Protection commissioner, two people you'd expect him to go with. But one person that's unusual is the White House counsel. That's Pat Cipollone who took over for Don McGahn.
And sources have told CNN he's going to be there which it's not clear why, but we should note that one thing a White House official did tell me tonight is that declaring this a national emergency is still something on the table and, of course, that's something that the White House counsel would be involved with.
COOPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.
Joining us now is Congressman Will Hurd, a Republican from Texas whose district includes a large stretch of the border.
Congressman, welcome back. Thanks for being with us.
Just on the shutdown, is there any end in sight to this? I mean, how does this get resolved in your opinion?
REP. WILL HURD (R), TEXAS: I think it gets resolved with some rank and file members who understand this topic, who has trust amongst each other to try to negotiate or suggest an alternative plan. One of the problems that we have right now are that the leaders negotiating this lack trust amongst each other. Some have just met each other that are involved in these negotiations and that's unfortunate.
I actually don't believe you should be negotiating on the backs of almost a million workers trying to do the right thing for the country. If this was indeed a crisis, the people that are dealing with this crisis should get paid. So I hope that several of us can talk through some of these issues and suggest an alternative.
COOPER: So, I mean, you were on the border. Your district is on the border. You know it firsthand. You see it firsthand whenever you're there.
Is there a national security crisis on the border as the president and the White House is saying?
HURD: Well, I will say this. There is 400,000 people that have come through this country illegally last year. There's about $67 billion of illegal drugs that come through our ports of entry and through our mail as you alluded to in the opening.
This is an issue and a problem that has existed among multiple administrations. So, it's a problem that has been here for a while. And because previous administrations and other congresses weren't able to put together a plan to actually get operational control of our border, we're in the situation that we're in right now. And --
COOPER: You don't use the word "crisis" though, if it's just in terms of numbers of people being apprehended. I mean, it's record lows compared to what it was in, you know, the '70s and '80s and up to 2000.
HURD: Sure, from 2000 and 2017, there's been an 80 percent drop in the amount of apprehensions at the border, but 400,000 still a high number?
[20:10:01] I think it is and this is something we should address. We should have operational control of our border.
And you have thousands of people that are going on this perilous journey to come to our country, fleeing violence and lack of economic opportunities. And so one of the solutions we should be working on, too, is how we work with our allies in the Northern Triangle, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, to address some of those root causes. So, shutting down the State Department, shutting down the USAID and not having funding for INL, for these programs we're working on with them to address those root causes is one that we're going to continue to exacerbate the problem that we have.
And you know, I think we've talked about this before, Anderson. The only way you solve this problem, only way you make sure you have operational control of our border is to look at all 2,000 miles of the border at the same time. The only way to do that is with technology. And the only way you stop the drugs coming in is to make sure the ports of entry have the drugs you need.
You need additional men and women in border patrol, because guess what? But there's already 2,000 positions that are unfilled. Why are they unfilled? Because there's retention problems within border patrol.
So, these are all the issues that need to be addressed.
COOPER: There's also hiring issues from what I understand with Border Patrol. It's a -- you know, a rigorous standard. You've got to find people willing to live in some cases in remote areas for not lot of pay. It is just -- I can't remember the exact statistic, but the number of people that they actually have to kind of interview and go through the process to actually get one border patrol agent is high.
HURD: It's incredibly high. I think the beginning, the first half of last year, I think it was only a net increase of about 126. That's a pretty incredibly low number.
But again, you know, I've been involved -- my first bill I got signed into law was something addressing border patrol pay. And because of people in the senior leadership in DHS in Washington, D.C., they were going cut the salary of what border patrol was going to make for the same amount of hours. That makes no sense. So, we were able to fix that.
So there were some internal issues. We make sure these men and women are doing things that you know, are being supported for their work. When I -- so I have 820 miles of the border, 29 counties, two time zones. My district is larger than 26 states. Roughly is size of Georgia.
I have five of the top 15 ports of entries within my district, and when I talk to, and four sectors. When I talk to the men and women of board e patrol, I say, OK, if you have $10 million, what would you do? You have and the first thing they always say, put the telephone, the telecommunications infrastructure for my cell phone and push to talk radio to work. That's step one. Excuse me.
COOPER: Seems pretty basic.
HURD: Pretty basic, right? There are some basic needs that they have. They should get paid a little bit more. That's another thing then to have the technology, we're not using the latest and greatest technology along the border, some of the stuff isn't on the border. Some of the stuff requires a PhD in computer science to run.
But they do have an innovative program. It's called actually Innovating Power Initiative that they're using some of the latest. This is where the conversation should go. You can do something like Complete the Secure Fence Act. We all know and it's been, you know, heralded back in 2006 and 2008, the center, a mini version in 2008, the current leadership, and Democrats have voted for it.
HURD: Exactly. That's how you put a deal together in order to make sure we get the government back open and actually secure or border.
COOPER: Congressman Hurd, appreciate your expertise on this. Thanks very much.
HURD: Always a pleasure.
COOPER: I want to get perspective from two individuals who have seen it all, much of it from the west wing. Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who served in the Clinton administration, David Gergen who has served so many presidents over so many years, deserves a better title than CNN senior political analyst, but that's what he's got.
David, all shutdowns are contentious. Are all shutdowns this contentious?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. No. Once again, we're breaking new ground. Republicans ought to appoint Will Hurd as our lead negotiator. He makes more sense than almost anybody you hear because it's become such a charade. And, frankly, it's totally irresponsible for the White House to continue the charade when so many federal workers are about to lose their paychecks and that sort of thing.
I think -- I think it's very, very possible Anderson that the president set this meeting up today with the leadership of the Congress in order to have a PR stunt, to walk out, stalk out. Storm out. Slamming the table. Bye-bye.
You know, setting himself up so he could claim the Democrats are being completely unreasonable, and now, I'm going to invoke the national emergency.
[20:15:00] COOPER: Paul, do you think the president is going to invoke a national emergency? And if he does, besides it going to probably ending up in court, what do you think of it?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm worried that he will. There is no emergency. I echo what David said about Congressman Hurd's comments. Of course, there's issues everywhere in America.
And I do think this was a stunt. This is a guy who in addition to being a real estate developer, was a reality TV star and like I say, last night's speech, it was low energy, it was low impact. It didn't move any voters. It was lower ratings than Nancy and Chuck who followed him.
So, I think he wanted to have a stunt. The problem is there's 800,000 people going without pay then all of the ripple effect of that. And they could do this easily. This is an easy deal to make.
Just a few months ago, the president could have had $25 billion for his border wall if he would have agreed to the Democrat's request to extend the path to citizenship for the Dreamers. He agreed and by the time the senators got to the White House, 2.3 miles away from the Capitol, he reneged. This is a completely self-generated shutdown by this president and he's just going to have to lose. He has to lose then we can try to get back the regular order.
COOPER: David, it's so interesting. You have the president early on o in the intentionally televised meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in which he said held take on the mantle of the shutdown. Clearly, he has backed off that. He's realized that probably wasn't the best thing for him to say.
What would you tell, given the fact you advised four presidents. What would you tell the president to do here, at least politically speaking, is declare a national emergency actually the best option? Does it give him an out?
GERGEN: Well, I think the president declaring a national emergency gives him an out with his base. It's terrible for the presidency. It raises all sorts of questions about whether he's grabbing power and whether he's showing his authoritarian tendencies and that sort of thing. I think it's bad for the country to do.
But it seems to me, I think Paul is right. This is not that hard to figure out negotiate settlement. I felt all along that the Republicans ought to appoint three negotiators who are in power to speak for the president. And the Democrats all have three, pull them together for a week and I think you'd have an answer. I think there are ways that --
COOPER: But is the president locked in --
GERGEN: The Obama administration favored that you could extend.
COOPER: But isn't the president locked in because he campaigned on this big, beautiful concrete wall paid for by Mexico? Isn't that really the core issue? It's not so much about the needs on the border. It's more of a political thing isn't it, for the president's perspective?
GERGEN: It's mostly about avoiding embarrassment at this point on his part, because he did paint himself into a corner and Nancy Pelosi outmaneuvered him in that televised session in the Oval Office, and he took the bait, put himself in the corner and now he's stuck. But that doesn't justify doing things which are not in the national interest.
He's still the president. Not a political hack trying to figure out how the save his skin. There are bigger questions when you're the president. There are bigger responsibilities.
And frankly, he doesn't have the team in there that's willing to stand up to him and say you cannot proceed on this path. Let's find a way, put people back to work. For example, I think if he's really saying I'm going to do a national emergency, I'll give it ten days.
Meantime, then he could say let's open the government. He doesn't need the leverage of keeping the government closed if he's got leverage coming out of the national emergency possibility. Use that as your leverage and let people go back to work.
BEGALA: Where I think this story is going is to Mitch McConnell. Sources I talked to today said he didn't utter a word in that meeting. He sat in there while the speaker and president were going at it. He's the leader of the United States Senate and he said nothing.
He could end this. I'm old enough to remember the 1995 government shutdown which looked like it was Newt versus Bill. You know who ended it? Bob Dole. He used these three words. Enough is enough. He became the adult in the room, restraining Gingrich's more extreme impulses, and putting the country back on an even keel.
COOPER: David Gergen?
GERGEN: That's a good point, Anderson. And it's also true that Mitch McConnell is a master negotiator. He's very, very good at coming up the clever solutions.
COOPER: We'll see. Paul Begala, David Gergen, thanks very much.
Just ahead, more on the president's clash with the new speaker of the House, or Nancy, as he calls her, and what his walkout today says about his negotiating tactics. We'll be joined by someone who's written a book literally on his deal-making, the private sector. Michael D'Antonio joins us, along with CNN's Dana Bash.
And later, Rod Rosenstein, his expected departure from the Justice Department, and where that might lead the Russia investigation that he oversaw and more information on the latest we're learning about Paul Manafort in the Russia investigation.
[20:24:07] COOPER: Wherever you stand on the shutdown, there's no denying it has brought out the fight in people on both sides. The kind of bare knuckle brawl that Donald Trump in public and private has always said that he enjoys. We should point out again that the stakes this time involve 800,000 men and women, many doing vital jobs, none getting paid, which is more consequential than getting a good deal on concrete for a condo.
And whether the president recognizes what's really at stake is an open question. There's no question, though, he recognizes a punch in the face when he takes one and this clearly was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It is so sad that in a matter of hours, just a few days, many people -- federal workers will not be receiving their paychecks and what that means in their lives is tragic in terms of their credit rating, paying their mortgage, paying their rent, paying their car payment, paying their children's tuition and the rest.
The president seems to be insensitive to that. He thinks maybe they can ask their father for more money, but they can't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:25:05] COOPER: Nancy Pelosi. The question is, will the president's own horrible tactics serve him well or poorly here. Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash joins us. Also a Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio, most recently, he's co-author of "The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence".
What, Dana, were your sense of -- were officials surprised at what happened on this meeting today, or was it kind of expected that this was just part of a show and this was what the president wanted to happen.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it's the latter. There is not much surprise left in the people who have now dealt with the president for the last two years and watched him longer than that. It's really interesting. You can probably speak to this better than I.
But just in talking to people who have known Donald Trump for a long time and worked with him in business, this is classic Donald Trump, to have a dramatic scene, to get up, to walk out. But what that usually ends up happening after that is a deal. It usually is because they are close to a deal and that's the way you push it towards the end.
Somebody told me this is actually something that he saw George Steinbrenner doing when he was negotiating for the Yankees. It's not unusual in business. The difference between that kind of scenario and now is they're nowhere near a deal and he's not talking to people who have any desire, any impetus to give one inch on what he really wants, which is the wall.
COOPER: Also, Michael, there's a huge difference between the kind of business deals that Donald Trump used to be involved with and deals involving national security and federal employees and hundreds of thousands of people.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, DONALD TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: There absolutely is. I think in his past, the president actually lost a billion dollar deal on the Upper West Side when he made Ed Koch angry at him. And the mayor wasn't going to go along with this television city project that up until that point had real potential. He did this also with the United States Football League where all the other owners wound up being really angry because he pushed something beyond what was constructive.
But as I've been watching this, I've been thinking about the fact that this is a man who has been having tantrums for 72 years. You know, and what Nancy Pelosi is doing is what a good mother does. She doesn't give in to the kid having a tantrum.
Chuck Schumer may not have that impulse because maybe he wasn't as active a parent as Nancy Pelosi has been. But the last thing you do is give a kid who's having a tantrum what he wants. I think this is perplexing the president. I really do. I think he's met his match in Mrs. Pelosi.
COOPER: Dana, is the president right saying if he gives in to the Democrats on this, he's going to lose Republican support in the Senate?
BASH: There's mixed opinion on the answer to that. I've talked to people who are close to him today who are yes, that he's right. This is one thing he cannot give on.
COOPER: For his base.
BASH: For his base. He cannot give on. They actually would abandon him if he gave on this.
Others say no. I mean, it's the Fifth Avenue -- shooting somebody on Fifth Avenue theory. They're going stick with him as long as he gives a good argument and gives a reason that they're going to believe what he says. So, it's mixed. What's important --
COOPER: I thought Park Avenue.
BASH: Thank you for that. I think probably any avenue in midtown would be applicable.
But the point is, is that, it doesn't matter what people are saying to him. It's what he believes and he is firmly confident that this is the right thing to do for him politically.
And that's what a Republican senator who was in the private meeting with him told me today. It's not that he is necessarily arguing that it's the right thing to do for national security although he has said that. That he is in a good place politically and that is what is really rankling a lot of people and is also helping to entrench the Democrats because they see believes this is a political imperative for him. Therefore, why would they give him a political win?
COOPER: By the way, you were right. It is Fifth Avenue, not park.
BASH: There you go.
COOPER: You think actually gender has an issue here, is an issue in terms of his relationship with Nancy Pelosi.
D'ANTONIO: It absolutely is. He's accustomed to pushing people around and he does try to push women around.
But I think in this case, this is a very tough woman who has actual power and that's a little bit unnerving. In fact, I can't recall time when the president as a businessman ever actually dealt with a female executive who had her own source of power, her own position. So he's in what is for him uncharted emotional territory.
And, you know, we have now been talking for three years since he declared his candidacy about the emotions and personality of this man who's now president. And that I think is really the lens through which we must regard him. HERE
[20:30:00] MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN COMMENTATOR: -- of this man who is now president. And that I think is really the lens through which we must regard him. He is --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Emotion.
D'ANTONIO: It's always about emotion and personality.
COOPER: Michael D'Antonio, Dana Bash, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, the man whose office manages the Mueller investigation is on the way out. A source says Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to leave after the new attorney general is confirmed. We'll have more on that. Plus, the new revelation that one senator calls the closest we've seen to collusion, next.
COOPER: With the President focused on the wall, it's been a little while since he's talked about the Mueller investigation. It may not be top of the list on the President's Twitter feed right now, but the investigation certainly continues with some big news in just the past two days.
Today, we learned that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department soon after the President's new nominee for attorney general is confirmed. That's according to a source familiar with Rosenstein thinking who says that Rosenstein is not being forced out.
This is right on the heels, of course, of the other big development in the Mueller investigation. The court filings showing that former Trump campaign chair, according to Mueller's office, shared polling data with a Russian linked operative.
And just tonight we learned the intended recipients of that data, according to a person familiar with the matter, were two Ukrainian oligarchs who paid Manafort for years for his political worked and still owed him millions of dollars. Our Manu Raju caught up with Senator Mark Warner today who put it like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VICE CHAIR, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This appears as the closest we've seen yet to real live actual collusion. Clearly, Manafort was trying to collude with Russian agents. And the question is what did the President know? What did Donald Trump know about this exchange of information?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:35:02] COOPER: Short time before air, I spoke with Senator Warner about what he said to Manu.
COOPER: Senator Warner, you said this is one of the most significant activities of the whole investigation. Do you believe this is collusion?
WARNER: I believe that clearly Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, shared confidential polling information with a known Russian agent, Mr. Kilimnik. And what we don't know is what did the Russians do with this information.
Was this then used by the Russian services as they used their voter suppression activities over the internet with the so-called internet research agency? Was it directed at some of the efforts to suppress African-American vote? We don't have those answers.
But we know that sharing confidential polling data with a Russian known Russian spy and someone connected to the intelligence agencies, I don't know whether you call that collusion or what you call that, but to me, that is inappropriate and is one of the most significant items of this whole investigation.
COOPER: We've only really gotten a peek at this. We don't know what else is in this document or what else Mueller knows about this. But as of now, there's no evidence that the Trump campaign itself or the President or the candidate knew what Paul Manafort was doing at the time. It's very possible that Manafort was doing this for financial reasons. Clearly, he's a guy who liked a lot of money.
WARNER: Well, listen, that is a legitimate question to ask. What did the President know? When did he know it? We've had this evidence throughout the whole Trump campaign where Donald Trump refused to ever say a bad word about Russia, about Vladimir Putin.
We've seen now a series of meetings that took place between Russian affiliated entities and Trump officials, not just the campaign chair, but the President's son, the President's son-in-law. But those are questions that we need to answer that hopefully Mueller's got the answers, we continue to investigate as well on the Senate committee.
But the question -- Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, sharing confidential information with a Russian agent, you know, I'm anxious to hear what Donald Trump has to say about this. I'm sure he'll conveniently forgot -- forget, but only time will tell the Mueller investigation. Hopefully the ongoing work that we'll do as well.
COOPER: Well, that's what so significant about this in another respect which is that Trump's surrogates and the White House has long been saying, well, all the things that Paul Manafort is accused of happened long before he had anything to do with the campaign. This occurred, if the reporting is accurate, while he was campaign chairman.
WARNER: Absolutely. And this -- the way we got this information, remember this information came because the Manafort lawyers made a mistake in not redacting certain information in their filing last night. So, clearly Mueller has more information than anyone else.
It's one of the reasons why he has to finish his job. It's one of the reasons why I have real concerns about Bill Barr being the attorney general since he seemed to have lobbied for the job by showing that he wants to undermine the special prosecutor and that he feels that the President is not subject to the laws of the land.
COOPER: And speaking of William Barr, Senator Lindsey Graham said that he got an assurance from Barr that he would let the Mueller investigation finish unimpeded. Does that lay any of your concerns about him?
WARNER: Absolutely not.
COOPER: Just finally, the news that the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein intends to leave the DOJ in the coming weeks, do you read anything into that other than there's likely to be a new attorney general and at some point soon he'll want his own deputy or she want her own deputy?
WARNER: I don't know, Anderson. I'm also hearing stories that Rosenstein may continue until the Mueller investigation is finished. So, I'd like to hear from Rod directly. I think it's important. I think he has been --
COOPER: Would you like to see him stay?
WARNER: I would like to see him stay to make sure that there is someone who is vested in Mueller finishing the job, doing it independently and making sure that the American people get the facts.
COOPER: Senator Warner, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.
WARNER: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: With me now, journalist and author, Carl Bernstein, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, and CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeff, on the Rosenstein departure, do you read into that that it's a sign the Mueller investigation is coming toward an end?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Not really. I think you have a bunch of factors involved. It's been two years, that's a sort of normal course for deputy attorney general. A new attorney general does generally pick his own deputy as Bill Barr will probably be the new attorney general. And there is probably a factor that Mueller is certainly closer to the end than the beginning. I don't believe all the stories that he's like just about to be done. But, you know, he could be done in six months and I think the odds are even the Trump administration would be reluctant to fire him at this point.
[20:40:03] We have the whole separate issue of disclosure of his report, which will be a whole separate controversy. But I think in terms of firing Mueller, that risk is probably much, much diminished.
COOPER: Let's talk about that because, Carl, "The Washington Post" tonight is reporting that the White House -- the new White House counsel has recently, in recent weeks, hired 17 additional attorneys. Apparently, basically gearing up for a battle over -- whether the executive privilege and whether some of the President's conversations will be able to be revealed to Congress or in a Mueller report.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think that's to be predicted. This President has tried to obstruct and impede and undermine this investigation at every turn. There may be some legitimate claims of executive privilege as well as I suspect many that are illegitimate, but they are gearing up to fight the Mueller report.
Giuliani has made that very clear, there is no real cooperation with the Mueller investigation by the White House and they want to suppress the findings of what really has happened here. There's been an obstruction of justice, there's no question about that, no question about the President's involvement in that obstruction.
One of the questions that Mueller is trying to answer, I believe, is whether that obstruction itself furthered the interest of the Russians. The obstruction is not separate from the collusion question, but did the obstruction further Putin's aims as well as what happened during the campaign?
COOPER: John, I mean, according to "The Post," the White House strategy is to "strongly assert the President's executive privilege to both Congress and the special counsel." How firm is the ground on which they could make that argument?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there's really more allure to executive privilege than there is law and it's more of a political struggle than our actual legal struggle. It's very remote for these to get their way to courtroom, so what you have are really two bargaining bodies and they may claim it.
They may try to justify the claim, but there's little that Congress can do when the President really clamps down other than try to put political pressure on. The subpoena process is very slow and very cumbersome. So it if goes to that, that's why they may figure they may need lawyers that they're going to try to deny and off a lot of stuff from the House and they'll be fighting a number of subpoenas.
TOOBIN: But ultimately, this is likely to wind up in court. You know, whether -- I mean, you have two issues here. You have the investigations generally of the White House and whether witnesses will be allowed to testify and documents will be produced. And then you have the Mueller report itself.
And Giuliani has told me and he's told to others that they may assert that some of it may not be made public because of executive privilege. That dispute over whether the Mueller report can be public may well wind up in court as well. So, yes, John is right that there's lore here, but it's also law that, you know, could wind up before the Supreme Court.
COOPER: You know, Carl, this Manafort, the lack of r redaction which allowed us just yesterday to learn about these allegations against Manafort, the White House can basically say, look, this had nothing to do with the President. Yes, OK, this happened while Manafort was the campaign chairman, but the President didn't know about it. No one else knew about it.
BERNSTEIN: Well, that's why we need the Mueller report. We need to see how Mueller has put these pieces together. We don't know yet what that polling data represented. We don't know as you suggested whether it was Manafort trying to save himself from the hundreds of millions of dollars it looks like that he was in debt or this was an attempt to do Russia's bidding either for his own financing or for the further ends of the campaign.
COOPER: We also don't know what else was in that document --
BERNSTEIN: That's exactly right.
COOPER: -- the failed redaction.
BERNSTEIN: So as always, what we see is that Mueller has come up with the most enticing bits of information that may clear that Donald Trump and his campaign were pawns of the Russians in the election, whether they, and including Donald Trump, were witting pawns, unwitting pawns, half witting pawns, that's going to be part of what the Mueller story is going to tell. We know that, I think, from what lawyers dealing with Mueller have told us.
One of the recent things that I hear from lawyers dealing with Mueller who are part of the joint defense agreement with the White House is that these lawyers representing others in the case believe that Trump has lied at every step of the way through this whole process and investigation. And that, too, goes to the question of obstruction. How does the obstruction fit with being a pawn?
[20:45:00] COOPER: John, I mean, the argument that's been made by so many Trump surrogates on this air and elsewhere is that all of Manafort's transgressions predated the Trump campaign. Clearly, I mean just based on the little that we learned yesterday, the Mueller team has evidence to the contrary.
DEAN: That appears to be the case, and not only for Manafort, but apparently from Gates that this information was turned over around the 16th of July, was it. Anyway, they had a hard date on it and it was right in the middle of the campaign (INAUDIBLE) after he had emerged as the candidate for the GOP. So, I don't think that's going to work as a defense.
COOPER: We're having technical problem.
TOOBIN: But if I can just -- I want to add one thing about it. Who was Manafort's main client? Who was the -- it was Deripaska. Deripaska, this Russian oligarch. What's happening right now is that the Treasury Department under Secretary Mnuchin is easing the sanctions on Deripaska. So, Putin has won.
I mean, this is the thing. If it's not over, it's not over. It's that, you know, Putin's control, or I don't know about control, but Putin's influence in the Trump administration continues to this day and you can just draw a line from Manafort to the easing of the sanctions today.
BERNSTEIN: Putin is destabilized and continues to destabilize the United States. You know, we keep asking what the hell happened in Helsinki. We still don't know. It's all part of the same story and you can't isolate the Mueller investigation from the rest of what is happening in Donald Trump's inability to govern effectively and what we see happening in terms of the national emergency that is not the boarder, but rather is Donald Trump's conduct to the presidency.
COOPER: Yes. Carl Bernstein, John Dean, thank you, I'm sorry for the technical problem, and Mr. Toobin as well.
Coming up, more on the shutdown's impact on people, including air traffic controllers who keep us safe. We'll be right back.
[20:50:47] COOPER: Senator Chuck Schumer today accused President Trump of using people as leverage, in his words, in the shutdown. He was either unfairly casting (INAUDIBLE) on the President's motivations who are speaking through the power. People can differ on that.
But one thing is hard to dispute, there is a human cost, a large human cost to the standoff, and it goes beyond the government workers who were directly affected, whether its families waiting for the FDA or -- waiting for life saving medical supplies or the millions of people who fly every day.
Our Randi Kaye tonight has a look at a husband and wife who both work as air traffic controllers.
MARC SCHNEIDER, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Give me a kiss.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, family is the only thing Marc Schneider can count on. The 48-year-old air traffic controller from Indianapolis is working. He's considered an essential employee but he isn't getting paid because of the government shutdown.
SCHNEIDER: I'm being paid on an IOU.
KAYE: An IOU he hopes the government will make good on.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many of those people maybe even --
KAYE: When President Trump says that many people who aren't getting paychecks "agree 100 percent" with what he's doing and are fans of what he is doing, don't count Marc in.
SCHNEIDER: I don't know many of those people. It must -- I assume that he's getting his data from somewhere. I don't know many of those people that are big fans of not getting paid.
KAYE: And when asked if he considers a safe border, his safety net as the President has suggested for these unpaid workers?
SCHNEIDER: I can't spend border security, if that's what you're asking me. Border security isn't going to pay my mortgage next month. It's not an immediate need for me right now. I would prefer to be able to pay my bills to take care of my family.
KAYE: None of this is good for Marc's family, and it could be down right dangerous for airline passengers.
(on camera) The system is already stressed. The number of air traffic controllers is at a 30-year low, and many of them are working six days a week and 10-hour shifts. Also, about 2,000 of them are eligible for retirement. If they retire early because of this shutdown, there could be massive delays nationwide.
(voice-over) Delays and distractions. Marc is worried about passenger safety and how his fellow air traffic controllers will handle the stress of not getting paid.
SCHNEIDER: The last thing I want is my air traffic controller worrying about where his next check is coming from.
KAYE: At Marc's house, the shutdown hit twice as hard as some others. Marc's wife isn't getting paid, either.
(on camera) You and your wife are both air traffic controllers. How did it feel to just lose both of your paychecks like that?
SCHNEIDER: It was terrifying. I don't have a plan B. I have my savings account, and then after that I have no idea what we're going to do.
KAYE: Congress is still getting paid, and you're not. Is that okay with you?
SCHNEIDER: Why am I different? What's less valuable about my job? What's less valuable about a TSA employee? What's less valuable about a park ranger? Where's the difference? Why are my bills less important than someone else's?
KAYE (voice-over): Marc was last paid two weeks ago. If he doesn't get a paycheck this Friday due to the shutdown, it will be the first check he's missed as a federal employee. He has some savings, but can't hang on more than a month or so.
SCHNEIDER: Am I upset about it? Absolutely. Do I think it's right? It's not. It's not. Someone should be paid for the work that they do, period. That's what our country has always stood behind, a day's wages for a day's work. RANDI: Randi Kaye, CNN, Indianapolis.
COOPER: Let's check in right now with Chris Cuomo and see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, look, the President officially owned the shutdown with what he did today and what he said about why he was doing it. "I'm not going to end the shutdown because I won't get what I want." He's chosen the wall over the workers like the one you just featured there.
So tonight, we have a man who was in the room where it happened. We have Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. What really happened? What is it really mean? What are the realities going forward?
And then we're going to turn and look at the Mueller situation and what is the exposure here. Is it really just about Manafort and what happened before he worked with this campaign, or does it lead somewhere far more troubling?
COOPER: Chris, we'll join you in about five minutes from now. See you then.
Coming up, everybody is talking about the wall, but not everybody wants to hear about it, including the army chief of staff. What that's all about, next.
[20:58:58] COOPER: Not everyone in Washington wants to talk about the wall or to hear about it. Today, the army chief of staff, General Mark Milley, future chair of the joint chiefs was at Senator Jim Inhofe's office. The senator is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. When General Milley left his office, reporters tried to ask him questions about the wall. Here's how that went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any opinion about the military building the wall?
GEN. MARK MILLEY, U.S. CHIEF OF STAFF: I have no opinion on anything --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how long it might take?
MILLEY: -- except the Red Sox, the Yankees, the Bruins, the Patriots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, do you know how long it might take for the military to build a wall at the southern border?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: CNN's Barbara Starr points out this comes as there is concern by members of the military that the President is making the military part of his reelection campaign by bringing a political agenda to military audiences or maybe General Milley just really wanted to talk about sports to that kind of night.
The news continues right now. I want to hand it over to Chris, "Cuomo Prime Time" starts now. Chris?
CUOMO: All right, thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo, welcome to "Prime Time." "I won't end the shutdown if I don't get what I want." Just like that, the President of the United States has chosen his (INAUDIBLE) wall over hundreds of thousands of workers.