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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Five Dead in Mass Shooting in Aurora, Illinois; In Court Ruling, Special Prosecutors Say They Have Roger Stone's Communications with WikiLeaks; Special Counsel Mueller's Team Interviewed White House Press Secretary; Trump Declares National Emergency; Interview with Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA); First Lawsuits Filed Against Trump's National Emergency Order; Anti-Government Demonstrations Roil Haiti; Mueller Recommends A Very Lengthy Sentence For Paul Manafort. Aired 8- 9p ET
Aired February 15, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
The day began with the president of the United States declaring a national emergency. It ends with a real emergency, which is sadly where we begin tonight -- a mass casualty shooting at a factory outside Chicago.
It's all the horrible things we have learned to expect in moments like these, in early reports of an active shooter, to the growing darkness of the reports that follow. Right now, five people we know have been killed as has the suspected gunman.
CNN's Sara Sidner is on the scene in Aurora, Illinois. She joins us now.
What's the latest, Sara?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we have been hearing detail from police about how this all went down around 1:24 here local time. They talk about the fact that a couple of officers got here very quickly. They engaged. They went into the area. They were shot. And a few more showed up.
And in the end, five officers were hit with gunfire. What they noticed when they got into the building, into the manufacturing area, is that there were people who had been hit by gunfire. And in the end, five victims have been killed in this particular mass shooting.
We should also mention the person who police say is responsible for it, as you mentioned, the shooter, killed. We have heard from police that they believe that he did work inside of the building, that he ended up doing the shooting spree. We have also heard from a witness who was inside as well who said that he was using a gun, that it seemed to have some sort of green laser on that particular weapon and that he was firing at everybody. There was terror. There was panic as this was going on inside of this manufacturing business.
I want to give you a sense of where we are in the neighborhood. This is a hard-working blue collar neighborhood. Lots of families live around here. This isn't just an area for manufacturing. You intersperse in this, also you have homes all around the perimeter as well.
They were all in their homes. They saw and heard all of the emergency vehicles that showed up here. We did notice a chaplain walking around here.
As you might imagine, police on edge. Police terrified in the situation where we are hearing that their fellow officers are being gunned down, but a very, very active scene still happening now. We know that there will be more emergency vehicles. We have not yet seen what has happened to those or know any of the identity of those who were killed. We do know from police that indeed there are numerous civilians who were also hit with gunfire who have been injured as well, Anderson.
COOPER: Do we know much about the victims who are in the hospital tonight?
SIDNER: We know that at least four of them -- that there were at least four. At least four are in an area hospital at this moment. We have not been given more detail than that. Just that there are numerous victims that have been shot, that did survive this at this point.
But all in all, in this area, a lot of surprise, a lot of people trying to figure out what went wrong. But certainly, police engaged quickly. They took the brunt of what ended up happening, where five of their officers injured. Those who were killed inside of this building, many of them likely worked inside this building, according to one of the witnesses.
And the witness that he did -- he did believe he could identify the shooter in all of this as well, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Sara Sidner, appreciate it.
We're going to continue to monitor developments from the scene. News, as Sara said, is still breaking elsewhere.
Late today, a filing from the Russia special counsel signaled fresh trouble for Roger Stone. The president's former campaign associate, a longtime friend and ally, it has to do with Stone's alleged contact with WikiLeaks, which, as you know, published damaging Democratic emails hacked by the Russians. Now, WikiLeaks has denied contact with Stone during that period and Stone denies having been in direct contact with Julian Assange.
However, now for the first time, Robert Mueller is signaling he's got evidence that says otherwise.
Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with the breaking news.
So, what does this filing say?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, Anderson, we are learning a different story from what Roger Stone has led us to believe and others have tried to say that there was no direct communication between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks. Well, for the first time, the special counsel's office in a filing today said that they have evidence that Roger Stone was directly communicating -- they have communications with Roger Stone and WikiLeaks.
Obviously, this is the first time we're seeing this in the indictment that they have filed against them. They've never indicated this. This is the first time certainly in this case that we are hearing that they have actually been investigating this and have been looking at these direct communications.
COOPER: Do we know what form those direct communications took? And also, we should be clear, Stone hasn't been charged either with collusion or conspiracy.
PROKUPECZ: No, we don't know what form they took. But what's interesting, Anderson, is that the special counsel's office says that they obtained this information -- they used search warrants against the case involving the Russians who hacked into the DNC, the Russians who hacked into the Clinton e-mails.
[20:05:09] They did that investigation.
As part of that indictment, they did all sorts of search warrants, and they're saying that the search warrants in that case are common to the search warrants in the Roger Stone case, perhaps leaving clues here that there maybe something more coming, and certainly clues that Roger Stone was part of the investigation into the Russian hackers. No, he hasn't been charged with collusion. He is only charged -- or conspiracy under the law. He certainly has been charged with lying to investigators about this investigation.
But it would seem at the very least that this investigation of the hacked e-mails and WikiLeaks and whether or not there was collusion between the campaign and Roger Stone, it's something that the special counsel's office undertook. It's an investigation that perhaps may still be ongoing.
COOPER: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. Thanks.
That wasn't only the eye-opening Mueller development today. We also learned that the president's top spokesperson, Sarah Sanders, has spoken with the special counsel's team.
CNN's Pamela Brown broke that story. She joins us now.
So, what do you know about this?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a significant development that we previously didn't know about, even though Sarah Sanders was interviewed by Robert Mueller's team late last year. The White House had been keeping this under wraps. But now we have learned from Sarah Sanders herself, Anderson, in a statement exclusive to CNN, that she voluntarily sat down with Robert Mueller, and she says she did so at the urging of President Trump. Sarah Sanders, of course, has been a key person in this White House
from the very beginning. And now, she's press secretary. And so, while we don't know the substance of what the interview was all about, it would make sense that investigators want to know more about the crafting of the statements that she would make from the podium defending the president and the Russia investigation.
We have previously reported Mueller's team is looking at the president and the obstruction of justice probe and whether he may have influenced anyone else to make false statements publicly in an effort to inhibit the probe. Of course, we know Mueller's team has been interested in the air force one statement, the statement about the Don Jr. Trump Tower meeting where Sarah Sanders said from the podium that the president merely weighed in, as any father would do.
Then we found out from the lawyers that, no, he directed the misleading statement. That's potentially one area of focus investigators wanted to ask her about.
COOPER: Do we know why the White House didn't allow her to be interviewed immediately?
BROWN: So, that's one of the questions. We are told -- I'm told by a source familiar with the matter that there was a lot of back and forth with the White House special counsel Emmet Flood, that the White House initially rejected the request, similar in the way they handled the John Kelly -- the former chief of staff interview.
This was a change from before, because as you may recall, before, White House staffers were voluntarily being interviewed by Robert Mueller's staff. The White House wasn't standing in the way. But in this case, under the leadership of Emmet Flood, there was a change.
And, of course, there was concern about executive privilege and those conversations Sarah Sanders had with the president, whether they should be protected. We don't know if there were limitations. But I can tell you in talking to sources, Sarah Sanders, before she would go up on the podium, she would talk to President Trump. He was involved in what she said at that podium. And then he would watch and they would talk about how she did at the podium.
So, it would make sense that the investigators would want to interview her. So, the question is, were there guidelines, parameters, given the executive privilege concerns?
COOPER: Interesting. Pamela Brown, appreciate it. Thank you.
With me now, CNN senior legal analyst, Preet Bharara, who served as U.S. district attorney for the Southern District of New York until President Trump fired him.
What do you make, Preet, first of all, on the Roger Stone news? Over and over again, he denied any direct contact with WikiLeaks.
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's a significant development. We have seen Roger Stone makes a statement, turns out not to be true. He made a mistake of telling untrue statements to officials, including to Congress which has him in trouble, because he has been charged in multi-count indictment.
What I think is interesting is that we're learning this bit of information about potentially direct contact between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks not from a criminal complaint, not from a criminal indictment, not from the guilty plea allocation of somebody who accepted responsibility in court. We hear it in a document that's kind of a procedural filing in which the government is deciding to say to the court that, for interests of judicial efficiency, we think that the Russian hacker case is related sufficiently to the Roger Stone case that the same judge should preside over both.
So, it's an odd sort of way in which we find out this information. I think it brings us closer to the question of whether or not there was coordination, conspiracy between the campaign and people who are operating at the Russian government's behest.
COOPER: Because I mean, this is beyond just lying to federal authorities. There's potential other kinds of legal exposure, right?
[20:10:00] BHARARA: Yes, precisely. I mean, you know, the Roger Stone indictment is very serious, the one on the books. Some people call it process crimes. I don't think they're serious crimes.
But if you are thinking about what the underlying issue is, of whether there was interference on the part of the Russians and whether there was activity on the part of the Trump campaign and knowledge on the part of the Trump campaign that there was going to be coordination with respect to how this damaging information was going to be leaked out on a recurring basis to inflict maximum damage on the Clinton campaign and you have Roger Stone communicating not through intermediaries, as the existing indictments suggest, but directly with WikiLeaks, I think that's a very serious matter for everyone.
COOPER: It's also interesting looking at what we learned from the indictment three weeks ago, it's -- certainly it doesn't seem like that's everything there is to know. There's still stuff out there.
BHARARA: The one lesson we learned is notwithstanding lots of people continuing to say it's wrapping up, it's wrapping up, it's wrapping up, people forget every time you go and do something, like, you arrest somebody, and they may flip. That will lead you down other paths.
In addition, as we have already seen in the case we're talking about in this instant, when you arrest someone and then you engage in searches, we have seen as this document makes clear the searches they did in connection with the Russian officials exploiting various devices, led them to these communications that showed the government that Roger Stone was communicating directly with WikiLeaks.
And what just happened a few weeks ago? Roger Stone was put under arrest. At the same time, a number of search warrants were executed on his properties and his devices. So, I imagine there's a massive exploitation of those devices going on now and you just don't know what that's going to lead to. And I would imagine, depending if you believe Roger Stone, which is a tall order, on some things he may tell the truth, but he says he never deleted anything.
So, there may be a treasure trove of information that may lead to more charges against Roger Stone, corroboration of evidence they have that they haven't thought was sufficient to bring against Roger Stone and/or other people.
COOPER: And the news that Sarah Sanders has talked to Mueller, I mean, what I find so interesting about is, she's literally in the room having discussions with the president about how to craft various messages. We know she has said things which are not true from the podium that the president probably -- the president has probably lied to her about or that she has been concocting lies with the president.
BHARARA: Yes. Look, all of that could be important, depending on what they're looking at. We don't know. Depending on what interactions with the president they asked about and depending whether she thought she could assert executive privilege. It could be very informative.
You know, the fact that a principal like a president decides to lie to the press person or to say, will you lie for me, or decides to keep something from the press person, I have seen those happen in connection with cases we have brought against politicians in New York when I was U.S. attorney. The fact that the spokesperson was either let in on a secret about telling a non-truth, or was not told information, that tells you something about the state of the mind of the principal. So, I imagine that's sort of the kind of thing they were looking at.
But the person who was in the ear of the president and whose ear the president is in on a regular basis, one of those people is the spokesperson.
COOPER: Particularly on the crafting of the message on Air Force One coming back from Europe, about the Trump Tower meeting, and Don Jr.'s involvement, I mean, that -- people have raised that as possible obstruction if he was intentionally trying to mislead. If she's in on the crafting of that, that could be significant.
BHARARA: Yes, or, she was cut out of it. Or she has some information about why it was true that the president decided to draft it on his own and why that was not the first message that was given out to the public and why there was dissembling about it. All of those things are relevant. I think it's only natural for prosecutors to talk to her.
COOPER: All right. Preet Bharara, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, yet another stunning development from the special counsel. His sentencing recommendation for Paul Manafort, it is truly a page-turner, not in a good way for the president's former campaign chairman. We'll tell you how many years -- 24.5 years they say he deserves. Also breaking news in the wake of the president's emergency border
declaration today, the first legal attack on it. That, and a closer look at the remarkable way he unveiled it and pulled the rug out from under it all in a sentence or two.
[20:18:31] COOPER: This next item was the top story until the rest of tonight's breaking news hit. It remains the only story that could leave a legacy for decades to come. This morning in a rambling and frankly at times surreal press event, the president of the United States declared a national emergency to get billions more dollars for a border wall than Congress approved in their bill to head off another government shutdown.
Many of the figures he cited in support of the move, when he actually cited figures, were either questionable or just bogus. And beyond that, some of his words, not to mention the timing and staging of this undermine his case that this problem which truly is a problem is also a crisis demanding immediate, drastic and extra-constitutional action.
Now, the president made the announcement this morning in the Rose Garden, and because time is always of the essence when announcing an emergency, he got right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd like to just say that we have a large team of very talented people in China. We've had a negotiation going on for about two days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. So he didn't get right, right to it. But a national emergency was the very next thing he mentioned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The U.K. and the U.S., as you probably have been seeing and hearing, we're agreeing to go forward and preserve our trade agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. That wasn't it, either. But he is going to get to it. Although, there was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a lot of great announcements having to do with Syria and our success with the eradication of the caliphate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:20:03] COOPER: OK. Remember, this is to announce a national emergency. Keeping them honest, it took the president five minutes and even more
talking about his accomplishments before actually announcing the emergency declaration, which doesn't exactly scream urgency. Nor do his remarks a short time later in which he literally described this emergency as a non-emergency, as something he decided to do for reasons of impatience, not necessity.
That's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everything else we have so much, as I said, I don't know what to do with it. We have so much money. On the wall, they skimped. So, I did -- I was successful in that sense. But I want to do it faster.
I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this. But I would rather do it much faster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I didn't need to do this, he said. I would rather do it faster. Which, keeping them honest, is a little odd given how slowly he has done this. This urgency as it were has now been two years, one midterm election, one 35-day shutdown, endless threats, five minutes of boasting this morning in the making.
And it happened despite facts from his own government departments that fail to show the human invasion from the south the president so often invokes in support of the wall. Something the president was questioned at length about today by a number of reporters, including our Jim Acosta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I wonder if you could comment on this disconnect that we seem to have in the country where you are presenting information about what's happening at the border, calling it an invasion, talking about women with duct tape over their mouths and so on, and yet there's a lot of reporting out there, there's a lot of crime data out there, there's a lot of Department of Homeland Security data out there that shows border crossings at a near record low.
TRUMP: That's because of us.
ACOSTA: Undocumented immigrants committing crimes at lower levels. What do you say --
TRUMP: You don't really believe that. Do you? Do you believe that stat?
REPORTER: So your government stats are wrong?
TRUMP: No, no, I use many stats.
REPORTER: Could you share those with us?
TRUMP: Let me tell you, you have stats that are worse than the ones I use. I use many stats. I also use Homeland Security. Next question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Many stats, better than the ones that reporter uses, bigger, harder to climb than Mt. Everest, which he said earlier this week.
Keeping them honest, the president would not be pinned down on this, so much so that a legal website Lawfare blog today filed a Freedom of Information request for correspondents between the Department of Homeland Security and the White House, regarding data used to justify the president's decision. So there's that. We'll see what comes.
The president, as of yet, not making a full and factual case for his actions, there's a statement which could undermine the case. There's the tone of the whole thing. Listen to this moment the president acknowledging in a unique way the legal obstacles ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The order is signed. I will sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office. And we will have a national emergency.
We will then be sued. They will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there. We will possibly get a bad ruling. Then we'll get another bad ruling.
Then we will end up in the Supreme Court. Hopefully, we will get a fair shake and we will win in the Supreme Court just like the ban. They sued us in the Ninth Circuit and we lost and we lost in the appellate division. We went to the Supreme Court and we won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Kind of sing-songy. Jim Acosta, as you say, tried to pin the president down on the facts. He joins us now from the White House.
Jim, so, the president certainly did not like being pressed by the facts today.
ACOSTA: No, Anderson. It was sort of a truth emergency out there on the Rose Garden South Lawn of the White House where the president was trying to make this case for a wall once again. You saw him trying to really present his own set of alternative facts. He was going against what the data has shown us for some time now.
We have been presenting it over and over again on CNN. He can watch us and see it for himself. That border crossings are on a downward trend, that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a lower level than native-born Americans, and most illegal drugs go through legal ports of entry.
Those are all things that -- those are data points that he skews and warps and twists to try to get this point across that he thinks a wall needs to be built on the southern border. And when you press him on that, you saw what happened, he went after us, called us names again.
My experience, Anderson, covering this president is that when he is calling us names, when he's coming after us like that ,that's when he knows the facts are not on his side and his back is against the wall.
COOPER: I mean, he is obviously aware of the court challenges he could face.
[20:25:01] He sort of sang about that or sing-songed about it. Does the White House have a plan for that?
ACOSTA: They do have a plan for that, Anderson. They say they have their attorneys on standby to deal with all of this and that they understand that this onslaught of legal challenges may be coming. There was one announced tonight by Public Citizen, the government watchdog.
And, Anderson, one of the things that is mentioned in the press release announcing this lawsuit -- it's on behalf of landowners on the border who object to the president using this national security. One of the things that is mentioned in this is the president saying, I didn't have to do it right now. This notion that he said earlier today that perhaps the only motivation that he has for declaring this national emergency is, he wants to speed things up.
And so, these lawsuits that we will see coming out, the first one from Public Citizen, I think we're going to see more, are going to be using the president's own words against him. One can just imagine the face palms going on inside the offices of the Justice Department, the White House counsel's office today as they heard the president talk about this.
Clearly, he was not -- he was not on a teleprompter today. He was off-script, off the prompter. Not dealing with reality.
My guess is that there are plenty of officials in the administration who are wondering if they could have kept him on script, they might have had a better fighting chance. But, Anderson, these lawsuits are coming. It's not going to be a pretty picture for the administration trying to hold off this case.
COOPER: Yes, amazingly, he is undercutting his own message at the same time that he's actually it.
Jim, thanks very much.
We're going to talk to one of the landowners who just filed suit in a moment.
First, though, on Capitol Hill, reactions coming quickly. Republicans, many who had been on record warning against emergency declaration, got on board in favor of the president's decision. House Democrats fired off a letter to the president demanding that the White House's counsel and the appropriate Justice Department officials answer questions in the coming days.
Joining us is Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, California Congressman Ted Lieu.
Congressman, thanks for being with us. What questions do you, does your committee, want answered, exactly?
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Yes. Thank you, Anderson.
Let me say, my heart goes out to first responders and victims of the mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois, today.
Regarding your question, the Judiciary Committee is going to do an investigation of Donald Trump's authoritarian power grab. The Framers of the Constitution are rolling in their graves right now, because they specifically gave the power of the purse to the House of Representatives. There's no way they would allow the president to override that by declaring this fake national emergency.
We're going to interview these witnesses. We want to know what basis they have for the national emergency. What communications they have. We want to request documents, because we believe the president and his staff are acting in violation of the Constitution.
COOPER: In terms of the president's comments that he, quote, didn't need do this, I mean, as you are well aware, the president frequently speaks off the cuff -- how much weight can a comment like that hold in any kind of an investigation?
LIEU: One of the things that makes America great is that our courts as well as Congress deals with facts and certainly statements from the president are things they will consider. There's also a whole host of data that Jim Acosta alluded to that shows there's no national emergency. Based on the Trump administration's own data, Customs and Border Patrol have said that border apprehensions have decreased 75 percent from 2000 to 2018. Based on the FBI's own data, violent crime and property crime are down.
COOPER: As of tonight, has the committee gotten any kind of response from the White House?
LIEU: Not to my knowledge. The letter only went out today because he declared the national emergency today.
But I want to make an additional point. Even if Donald Trump gets through the obstacle of the courts, he still has to raid pots of money from certain accounts. The biggest is military construction that helps military families. I don't remember during the campaign that he said that the wall was going to be paid for by military families.
It was going to be paid for by Mexico. So, he also has a big political problem.
COOPER: That's where some of the money would come from, military construction that's meant to help military families.
LIEU: That's correct. Based on the Republican reporting, there's military construction funds that are raided, as well as funds that are for counter narcotics, which is really quite stupid because when you look at the data, according to Department of Homeland Security, 80 percent to 90 percent of illegal drugs come through our legal ports of entry. And these counternarcotics operations do the rest.
So, to really take money from that is really not a wise thing when you are trying to build a wall that's going to help solve this problem.
COOPER: You know, some Republicans have said, and have said on the show, even just last night, that look, other presidents have declared national emergencies for things that -- somebody used the example of a situation Burundi that President Obama declared a national emergency for, essentially saying, you know, other presidents have done this. Why is this any different?
LIEU: Two reasons. One is all the national emergencies, many of them dealt with a foreign issues. None of it was to actually construct a large construction project. Second, Congress just handed him a bill where we specifically rejected billions of dollars more for building the wall. I don't see how the courts are going to say that somehow Congress intended through a national emergency statute to le let him do this end around the constitution. So that's why I think it's going to fail.
But let's say he wins in court. At the most, what this is going do is give him a one-time shot of about $6 billion to $7 billion. And then that's it. Because from now on, every single appropriations bill that Congress writes, we're going to prohibit him from using the money for the wall. So he's never going to be able to build his $50 billion to $60 billion wall by doing it through this method, which is why I think he never declared a national emergency two years ago.
COOPER: It is interesting though. I mean, you know, so many Republicans who went after President Obama in the past for declaring a national emergency or doing something by executive order, they have now completely just reversed themselves and are allowing this President do that. It's the same thing with the budget. They were all, you know, very concerned about deficit spending. And now there's record deficits.
LIEU: You have seen Republicans engage in this pattern where they will say all sorts of things, telling the President not to do X. And then when the president takes action X, they all come around and support him. And this is particularly supporting when they know in their heart of hearts this is completely unconstitutional. It's weakening the power of Congress. And it's giving the President even more executive power.
And by the way, in two years, there's another election. We could get a Democratic president. If they want a Democratic president to have all this power, then they will look at this day and rue their word.
COOPER: Congressman Ted Lieu, appreciate it. Thank you. Coming up next, I'm going to return to breaking news on this. And as I mention we will talk to one of the landowners who is part of the first lawsuit filed against the president's action. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[30:35:38] COOPER: Well, this certainly didn't take long. The consumer advocacy group public citizen has filed a lawsuit against President Trump to block his declaration of the national emergency on the southern border. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a environmental group in Texas and three landowners who were told by the government it would seek to build a border wall on their property this year. One of those landowner is Nayda Alvarez who joins me on the phone tonight. Nayda, when were you approached? And how did you learn they wanted to build the wall on your property?
NAYDA ALVAREZ, PLAINTIFF IN TRUMP LAWSUIT: Well, sometime in November, I got the first letter saying that they wanted to come into my property so they can do a survey and take some soil samples. Now I did not respond to that. So, sometime I would say -- it was Thanksgiving week, they came in and after they came in September, then they came in November. And said, well, you know, we want to come in and take -- do a survey and so forth. I said, what's this for? They said, border wall infrastructure. You know, they want to build the wall.
And I remember telling the lady, well, you know, a wall doesn't fit in the back of my home. And these people basically at the end said, we're going to squeeze it in there. I said, well, I don't like the words on your contract and so because it was so broad. I was going to give them a signature to anything that was out there.
COOPER: And right now, is there a barrier there at all on the border?
ALVAREZ: There is no barrier.
COOPER: I man the President says, look, this is a national emergency. There's hoards of people streaming across the border. I assume if they want to put a wall up in your location, do you see people crossing from Mexico through your property all the time?
ALVAREZ: No. If I would see people crossing all over the place, I would not even let my grandkids out and play in the yard.
COOPER: Have you ever seen people --
ALVAREZ: No, I have never seen anybody. No.
COOPER: How long have you lived there?
ALVAREZ: About 40 some years.
COOPER: Wait a minute. You lived 40 some years on this property on the border and you have -- where you are, you have never seen somebody cross your land illegally?
ALVAREZ: No. I see border patrol walking, you know, back and forth. You know, I've caught him in my surveillance cameras and stuff. But have I ever caught illegals on my cameras? Not at all.
COOPER: Wow. So you never even seen them on security cameras?
ALVAREZ: No. I got border patrol jumping my fences and stuff. But illegal immigrants, no.
COOPER: So, what's your message to President Trump tonight?
ALVAREZ: You know, my message to President Trump is, you know, I see no emergency. The only emergency that is out there is the man-made emergency created by someone at the White House because he wants to build the wall. He has instilled fear in the people. He has based this fear on fake news and lies. And actually they are overexaggerated lies.
You know, you can go -- come down the border and actually in our county ourselves, there's only one person that wants a wall here. But he wants a free-fence in the backyard or in back of his land. You know, where I'm at, I'm going to lose my home. So walls going to built, maybe about five feet in back of my home and I still need 25- foot, what they call maintenance road in front of that. So I might not have a home after this.
COOPER: So, if they were to build a wall it would be within five feet of your home?
ALVAREZ: Yes, sir. Based on the maps that they showed me when they came over. So you think I was going to sign over something when I'm thinking, what am I going to do knowing that they haven't even compensated people from 10 years ago whose properties were taken over by the law.
COOPER: Did -- I mean I think a lot of people hearing this. Again, I just want to reiterate. How far are you from the actual border? I mean the border is five feet away from your house?
ALVAREZ: I'm about 200 feet from the actual river.
COOPER: OK. And honestly, in the 40 plus years you have lived there, you either with your own eyes or on your security cameras have not even people crossing illegally in that area?
[20:40:07] ALVAREZ: I have not seen anything. If I would, I will tell you. I have a brother who works in law enforcement. I have a father had a just retired a couple of years ago. I could call very easily and say, hey, there's somebody trespassing. And I have not done that.
COOPER: Nayda Alvarez, I'm sorry you are in the situation you're in. We'll continue to follow it with you. Thank you very much.
ALVAREZ: Thank you.
COOPER: By saying he quote, didn't need do this when he declared a national emergency on the southern border. President Trump may have given his critics more ammunition in he bargain for when it comes to the inevitable court challenges ahead. Joining me now to talk about the former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst, Shan Wu, USA Today columnist and CNN political analyst, Kirsten Powers, and former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo.
Michael, what do you make? I mean you hear this woman who has lived there 40 some years may lose her home and hasn't seen the emergency that the President is talking about.
MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: I understand. All my life, we heard stories about highways being built and people losing their homes and the domain, something that really bothers me. But, you know, in areas where she is, perhaps there's not a problem at the border. In other areas, there's a very large problem. And that problem reaches all the way up to where I live when the opioids, you know, are killing people, eight or nine over a weekend.
I believe there's a crisis at the border. But in fact, you know, the President has broad powers under this 1976 State of Emergency Act where, you know, when Congress passed it, they didn't force the President who invokes it to prove there's a state of emergency. So I think this is going to be a very interesting and probably very necessary legal challenge.
COOPER: Shan, I mean it's interesting. This woman lives there. She says she sees no crisis. She's lived there 40 years. And the opioid epidemic, according to homeland security, the vast majority of opioids and heroin and fentanyl and other things comes through legal points of entry.
SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. Ms. Alvarez's testimony seems devastating to me. If I was a lawyer on the other side, I'd be talking settlement after listening to what she said. The problem for the president here -- from a legal strategy point of view, I mean, Michael is right. He can invoke the act certainly. And then the question turns to what does he need to do to prove that he properly has invoked the act? And there's no definition for national emergency. I mean some of that might be common sense, because most people can agree when there's an emergency.
Perhaps the lawyers will be digging through legislative history to look at what kind of debate went on to define that. But the act does allow for Congress to say, no, we disagree with the joint resolution. The President would probably veto that if Congress does that.
And now everything is teed up perfectly for the court battle. And in the court battle, if I were the president's lawyers, I want it to be legal. I don't want any facts. I want to speed through on strictly legal grounds. Get to the D.C. circuit, get to Supreme Court.
However, on the other side, you want those facts. You think the President has no facts and, of course, facts will delay things. Litigation takes time. It could literally take years if they actually go to trial. So that's some of the high level strategy on both sides.
COOPER: Kirsten, how damaging do you think it was for the President to say that he didn't have to do this while making an announcement about a national emergency, which would seem to be the definition of something you have to do?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I know I think that would undermine the idea that it was a national emergency. But I don't know in terms of how that wall affect him in the courts and, you know, Jeffrey Toobin was saying earlier today that he feels like he could possibly be successful.
So, you know, I think this is another example of Donald Trump just having no regard for sort of the norms of society. And so, yes, it's true that it hasn't been defined. But partly because I think we operate on the assumption that people are really going to behave in good faith. The presidents that we elect are going to follow some basic norms. And one of them would be not creating a manufactured crisis and declaring a national emergency.
I think this is something that is really out of bounds, that today when he was pressed on where he gets his facts, he doesn't feel any need to really provide that information. He invoked El Paso as an example and even said, well, I asked people there what they thought if the wall helped and they said it did.
Well, all the statistics show the opposite. The Republican mayor of El Paso has said he needs to stop saying the things he is saying about El Paso. And yet he continues with this. And so nobody is disputing the President of the United States has the authority to declare a national emergency. What people are disputing is that you can just make up a problem, have a policy disagreement and then not get the funding from Congress and then declare a national emergency. Whether it's legal or not, it's highly problematic.
[20:45:05] COOPER: Michael, if, you know, the next president comes around whenever and if that president is a Democrat and declares climate change a national emergency and therefore, you know, wants to allocate military spending and spending from all sorts of region, can you then make the power that he doesn't have the power to do that or she doesn't have the power to do that?
CAPUTO: I think we're going to test this in the courts, I guess. You know, we have had almost 60 of these things sing the act was passed and signed in 1976. I bet nobody among us and none of the viewers could think of any of the other 55 of them, right?
POWERS: I can name a few of them. I mean, certainly, you can name some of them. Iran-Contra.
CAPUTO: First of all, we know George W. Bush and Barack Obama have deployed the military to the border. We had governors down there who declared states of emergency on the border before. This has been done before.
But really in the end, I guess it was Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson who talked about how the president draws his authority from, you know, where their agreement waxes and wanes from disjunction and conjunction with Congress. And they are at their maximum authority when they are in agreement with Congress. And right now the President is at nadir of his authority really because he's up against Congress. And I think it's when at these weak points in the presidency when arguments in the courts are really very important. We're going to find out what a state of emergency really means. And that will mean something to every president in the future.
COOPER: Shan, do you think he can -- he would win down at the Supreme Court?
WU: I think that is in doubt. Because if we're analyzing the Supreme Court from the point of view of their potential conservative politics, this is not a conservative issue in my mind his power. You know, unlike some of the cultural issues that go on.
And I think there's going to be a lot of legal clues as to which way the different courts will go because there's a lot that will lead up to this. For example, right away someone could seek to have a preliminary injunction against it. And that standard is likelihood of success, substantial likelihood of success. Which way a court rules on that is going to start to give hints about which way this is going to go in the future. So there going to be a lot of tests. I mean this is going to be a firestorm for the White House adding to all the other legal troubles they have to defend against. And this is not ending any time soon because there are multiple ways to attack his action legally.
COOPER: And Kirsten, I mean, even if it doesn't pass the courts, there is political advantage in the move. The president he can say to his supporters, look, I, you know, I went to the wall for this. I tried my hardest and, you know, these courts stopped me. But, you know, I did my best.
POWERS: Yes. I mean I think that's something that frankly both the -- the bases of both parties want to see more of that right from the leaders. They feel like they come -- you know, they get elected and then they start sort of following the system and they don't fight for the things that they said they were going to fight for. And so, I think that that -- that is something that will resonate with his base the same with -- and the Democratic base would resonate when you're really fighting.
POWERS: So -- but the substance of this is what's so problematic is that it's just he doesn't have the facts on his side.
COOPER: Kirsten Powers, Michael Caputo, thank you very much. Shan, stick around if you would. Right now, I just want to check on Chris. He's working after Cuomo Prime Time. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: I heard what you did there. Tell his base I went to the wall on this.
COOPER: You know, I'm glad you picked up on it.
CUOMO: Strong, strong. I'm a student of your game bother. I'm a student of your game. So, we have Jerry Nadler here tonight, OK? He's going to be leading the charge for the Democrats against this emergency declaration. I have to tell you, though, I'm not sure that the legal case is going to be that strong. And here is why.
Yes, his six words today, he basically said, I didn't need do it. It's therefore not an emergency. It's never been tested. They never had one of these be tested. And the way the law is written, it's all about allowing the President to do something and then give it right back to Congress and let them deal with it. It's supposed to be a temporary thing.
And I think a court would construe this and see that there is no permanent damage. Now look, I could be wrong especially of what he said today. But it will be a great test for Kavanaugh if it went to the Supreme Court.
CUOMO: This is a man who made his name with jurisprudence about separation of powers. Boy, would he have a hard time not seeing that through this lens. But we're going to take it to Nadler, see what the strategy is and see how this plays out politically.
COOPER: All right. Chris, a lot to look for 11 minutes from now. I'll see you then.
Up next, more breaking news. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office making a recommendation for how much prison time former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort deserves for his conviction on financials crimes. It's in the double digits. The latest on that.
Also the State Department orders all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their families to leave Haiti after more than a week of violence and it turns deadly anti-government protest. I spoke with an American living in Port-au-Prince. What he says about the situation on the ground coming up.
[20:53:42] COOPER: We have more breaking news in a busy Friday night. Special counsel Robert Mueller's office has weighed in with the recommendation for how much time former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort should spend in prison for his conviction for financial crimes. The commendation 19.5 to 24.5 years. They're like quarter century in prison.
Senior justice correspondent Evan Perez joins now with the latest. So did the special counsel make any additional sentencing or commendation beyond that?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: They did not, Anderson. They essentially said that the judge should follow what the recommendations are from the probation offices, is what the guidelines are for this type of crime. If you remember, a jury in Alexander, Virginia found Paul Manafort guilty of financial crimes. Bank fraud, tax fraud. And what the prosecutors said that in the end, they say that Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law and deprived the federal government of various financial institutions of millions of dollars. They say these are serious crimes that Paul Manafort had a choice. And this is all obviously -- these are crimes that happened years ago. But they continued into the time that he was leading the Trump campaign. So they said he had a choice to follow the law and he chose not to.
COOPER: And Manafort is 69 years old. Was his age taken into account?
PEREZ: They said you should not take into account that. And you're right. I mean this is for a man who is about to be 70 years old, this could be a life sentence. And the last time, you know, we seen him in court the last couple of times, he did not look good. He's been wheeled in.
[20:55:12] This is somebody who at the beginning of the case, you know, was coming in tailored suits. So, he does not look good. And they say that there is a risk of recidivism if you take into account his age.
COOPER: And the judge in the D.C. case, I mean what did she have to say just in terms of the importance of communications between Manafort and the (INAUDIBLE)?
PEREZ: Right, exactly. So here is the -- this is a separate case. It's in the District of Columbia where Paul Manafort pleaded guilty. And he was supposed to be cooperating with prosecutors. And the judge has now found that Paul Manafort lied at least in three instances that the Special Counsel had called him out for and blew up the plea deal.
And one of the things that the judge -- there's a lot of time spent in the transcript of the hearing from a few days ago. There's a lot of discussion of Konstantin Kilimnik, the one that Paul Manafort was in business with in Ukraine. And Special counsel says that he is a Russian spy. And the defense says, well, you know, he also provided information to the U.S. government through diplomats in Kiev.
So, in essence, they're trying to make him out to be as if he is a double agent. The judge says it doesn't matter. This goes to the heart of the investigation of the Special Counsel. She says that essentially, the importance of Kilimnik is that he ties the Russian government to the Trump campaign. And this is why lying about him is so key to this investigation, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Evan Perez, appreciate it. Busy day for you.
Back with former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst, Shan Wu. So, special counsel made it clear just how important the interactions between Manafort and Kilimnik their overall investigation. I mean, it's a lot of time.
WU: It's a lot of time, Anderson. And really Manafort and his team they had two ways out of this after that conviction. The amount of money here automatically ratchets up his potential sentence to these high amounts following the recommendation will be a life sentence for him.
The age factor, as Evan was pointing out, they think that doesn't matter. And I have to say I agree with that. Unlike with violent crime, age does not diminish the chances of recidivism. Worse for Manafort now, he sounds like a recidivist because he continued to do improper things even during the pendency of the case. So they have only one option left.
COOPER: I talked with Jeff Toobin the other night. He talked about just how tough these five months have been on Manafort in prison and now he looks like a man who will die behind bars. Again, that's not taken into consideration?
WU: It's not, because the judge here has free to consider his age. But unlike with violent crime, the age won't necessarily -- I mean the statistics are violent crime as you get older, your chances of recidivism go down. So, the legal team doesn't have much to work with at this point, Anderson. And they'll make these usual sympathy arguments.
But I think the real fascinating question will be, what does Manafort say to the judge? Because he'll get a chance to address the judge. And will he try to signal something to the President to get that pardon?
COOPER: I mean it's playing out obviously in front of the backdrop of a possible pardon for Manafort. That could come -- I mean the President could do that at any time.
WU: Yes. And this President has shown he absolutely does not respect the normal process of vetting. So it could come at any time. In some senses, if I was Manafort's attorneys, going for that Hail Mary shot, I want the worst sentence possible. I want it to look terribly burdensome on him and they look in most sympathetic like possible.
COOPER: Shan, thanks very much, Shan Wu. Before we go tonight, a word on the deadly anti-government protests in Haiti. For more than a week now, protesters opposed the current Haitian president have set cars on fire, clashed with police amid reports of wide-spread looting. The United States issued do not travel advisory in the island. And the State Department ordered all non-emergency personnel and their families to leave, and American citizens living in Haiti. Jean-Marc deMatteis described what it's like there on the ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-MARC DEMATTEIS, AMERICAN LIVING IN HAITI (through phone): What's been going on is that usually in the mornings, you are able to get out, grocery stores will open for a couple of hours. So folks have been able to kind of go to grocery stores. But the problem is here, water, gas, fuel, all those things are delivered by truck. And so there's been no deliveries of those things.
In terms of physical safety of individuals, if you just stay at home and you don't go around and try to drive through roadblocks or participate in demonstrations, that's much less of a concern. It's just people protesting out in the streets and kind of trying to block the streets to put pressure on the government not to go after individuals. But there's no one or two major leaders to this. So people are just, you know, putting pressure to see, hey, can something be done with the currency or subsidizing food prices, and that kind of thing. So there's no one leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the Pentagon sent about 10 additional Marines to provide additional security at the American Embassy.
The news continues tonight. Hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time". Chris?
CUOMO: All right, thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo.