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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump: "I Was Never A Fan Of John McCain And I Never Will Be"; Rosenstein At DOJ Until Mueller Report Drops, Wants To See It Through; Twitter, Individuals Sued By California Congressman Devin Nunes. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 19, 2019 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Chris Cuomo's off tonight.

We begin this hour of 360 with President Trump doubling down his attacks on the late Senator John McCain, someone who's no longer alive to speak for himself or refute the President's comments.

What's more? Those continued comments by the President of the United States have unleashed a flood of attacks by every day citizens, apparently, against the McCain family.

His widow, Cindy McCain posted one such comment she said she received from a woman on Facebook Messenger. Not going to read the obscenities in the note.

But it reads, and I'm quoting, "Your husband was a traitorous piece of warmongering S-word," the woman writes, "and I'm glad he's dead. Hope your Miss Piggy looking daughter chokes to death on the next burger she stuffs down her fat neck, too." She concludes with another vile word, which I won't repeat.

Now, this evening, Republican Senator Mitt Romney weighed in, tweeting, "I can't understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain, heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God."

More on all this now from Jim Acosta, joining us from the White House. So--

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

COOPER: --talk about what the President again said about John McCain today?

ACOSTA: Anderson, really, it really overshadowed much of the day. The President met with the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, and with Bolsonaro in the Oval Office, the President once again resurrected this feud with John McCain.

He started it over the weekend when he was tweeting at the Arizona Senator, accusing the late Senator of being behind the -- that dossier of alleged misdeeds about the President's alleged ties to Russia before the 2016 election.

And the President went off, and -- and essentially created a new grievance, one that we've heard before from the President, but he resurrected it again to talk about why he still harbors these negative views towards John McCain, and here's what the President had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He told us hours before that he was going to repeal and replace. And then, for some reason, I think I understand the reason, he ended up going thumbs up.

And, frankly, had we even known that, I think we would have gotten a vote because we could have gotten somebody else. So, I think that's disgraceful. Plus, there are other things.

I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: You know, what's odd about these is--

ACOSTA: Yes.

COOPER: --it's one thing taking issue with statements John McCain made or positions he took. The President isn't actually -- actual -- accurately portraying things in -- in his comments. But even during the campaign, I mean--

ACOSTA: Right.

COOPER: --before the healthcare vote, before anything, he was insulting John McCain for being a POW.

ACOSTA: That's right. I mean who can forget when -- when then candidate Trump said that "I like soldiers who aren't captured." That's what he said about John McCain in July of 2015. People thought that that was the end of Donald Trump's Presidential campaign and his political career. It was far from it.

And in the -- that sound bite you just heard a few moments ago, the President was referring to that -- that famous thumbs down vote from John McCain when he voted against the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

I talked to a former McCain aide earlier today who said the President just has his facts wrong that McCain did not signal to the White House, did not signal to the President's people how he was going to vote that he was not telling the -- the White House one thing and then doing another.

And in the words of this former McCain aide, "Are you surprised that the President lied?" And so, they're -- there're just these terribly ill feelings going on back and forth between this White House, the President, his inner circle, and the McCain family.

There are White House officials like Kellyanne Conway who will say, "Listen, we salute John McCain's service." But that's not the same as the President of the United States, and what he's been doing over the last couple of days.

He was asked the question earlier today, Anderson, whether or not this is beneath the Office of the Presidency. He didn't respond to the -- to the question because he knows the answer is it is beneath the Office, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, Jim, thanks.

ACOSTA: Yes.

[21:05:00] COOPER: I spoke in the last hour with Strategic Analyst and Author, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters. Here's what he said about the President's ongoing attacks on Senator McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RALPH PETERS, RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY LIEUTENANT COLONEL, AUTHOR: John McCain was and in our hearts remains the man Trump could never be, and Trump knows it. It's a classic case of male fears of inadequacy.

I mean it goes along perfectly with his -- his lifelong obsession with having a -- women on his arm that look like teenage boys' fantasies. He wants to show us all how tough he is, but he's not tough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well two more views now from two Republican Strategists, Ana Navarro and Adolfo Franco.

Ana, Colonel Peters earlier just was saying that he believes part of what is the -- is -- is -- is pushing the President on this is frankly kind of an envy or really a -- a feeling that he will never kind of match up to John McCain.

I know you worked with Senator McCain. I'm wondering what goes through your mind when you hear these attacks on him.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, so many things go through my mind.

First of all, I think John McCain would, who had a wicked sense of humor, would actually enjoy knowing that he is still living inside of Trump's head and, you know, would -- would get some sort of satisfaction of knowing that even after death, he is still haunting Donald Trump.

Look, John McCain was everything Donald Trump is not, a man who started serving his country since the age of 17, a man who sacrificed, a man who suffered greatly while Donald Trump was inventing bone spurs. He was a man who believed in a cause greater than himself. He was a man who believed in putting America first. Donald Trump believes on putting Donald Trump first.

COOPER: Adolfo, I mean as a supporter of the President, I'm wondering A, do you think this is appropriate? And do you think there's a strategy behind it? Or is it just his personal animus and he wants to express it?

ADOLFO FRANCO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER ROMNEY/RYAN '12 CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: What is clear, as happened here, and we know the President's style is to, when he is attacked, as he says, "I'll punch -- I'll punch back."

He has been criticized strongly by some members of the McCain family. And, certainly, as he said today, when he -- in his interview about Senator McCain, he made reference to the Obamacare vote. I think that was a -- a huge disappointment to President Trump.

COOPER: I mean I understand the whole counterpunching thing, which--

FRANCO: Yes.

COOPER: --you know, is a line we've heard a lot from the President. He's punching a -- a person who's dead. I mean it -- it -- he's punching a person who can't, you know, fight back because he's dead.

FRANCO: Well that -- that's true. But remember the reason Senator McCain's name has even surfaced has to do with the -- the dossier disclosure in December. David Kramer as a McCain associate--

COOPER: Right, which the President's lying about.

The President is -- in one of his tweets said that, you know, it was revealed that McCain gave it to the media. You know, it was an -- there were -- according to this reporting, it was an associate of McCain who -- who gave it to--

FRANCO: Yes. This was somebody who worked for--

COOPER: --to -- to the media.

FRANCO: --Senator McCain. But I think the President's angst, you're saying it's ancient history, is surfaced because of this story, which you've been covering all week.

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: And that is why the President has been angered.

COOPER: Right. Ana?

NAVARRO: It's OK to disagree with McCain when he was a living Senator, to disagree with him on policy, to not like him if you wanted. But it is not OK to attack a dying man, who had a terminal disease he was battling. FRANCO: Yes.

NAVARRO: And Donald Trump did so over and over again when McCain was laying there sick. And it's certainly less OK to attack a dead national hero, somebody who is still being mourned, just freshly mourned.

Let's remember, it's just six months ago that--

FRANCO: Yes.

NAVARRO: --McCain died. Cindy's mourning him. His kids are mourning him.

FRANCO: I -- I am.

NAVARRO: His grandkids are mourning him.

COOPER: Right.

NAVARRO: And let me just say this, we cannot become a country, and particularly those of us who knew John, people like you, people like Lindsey--

FRANCO: Right.

NAVARRO: --cannot not condemn Donald Trump for these continued attacks on our dead friend, a dead statesman, a national hero, because we cannot normalize, and we cannot accept this kind of behavior from Donald Trump, from the President of the United States, from the Commander-in-Chief, while some of McCain's sons are still serving under his command.

It is abominable. It is inhumane. It is indecent. It is immoral. And everybody--

COOPER: Right.

NAVARRO: --everybody should condemn it.

I don't care if you support Donald Trump or if you don't support Donald Trump. I don't care if you like John McCain or if you couldn't stand John McCain. He is attacking a dead national hero, and that is plain disgusting.

FRANCO: Well, if I can, look, I -- John McCain, I think--

NAVARRO: Don't justify it, Adolfo.

[21:10:00] FRANCO: No. No, no, I'm -- I'm not -- I'm not -- I'm not justifying his -- I regret, and it would not necessarily be my style that somehow this gets to be about other than some of the events that, as you correctly say, Ana, you couldn't have disagreements about.

I think a lot of Republicans, not just President Trump, was -- were disappointed in the Obamacare vote, and the dossier thing is a very sensitive--

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: --issue with President Trump. And we'll see how this evolves.

I do regret, and I do agree with you that, and I'm not going to justify this here because I loved him very much, Senator McCain that we should talk about the events, and not the individual.

COOPER: But let me -- let me, Adolfo--

FRANCO: And I -- and I do agree about his service. I do agree with--

COOPER: Yes.

FRANCO: --Senator Lindsey Graham's tweet--

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: --that nothing can be done to -- to diminish or stain his service--

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: --to this country.

COOPER: Although it's interesting, I mean Senator Graham was obviously a very, very close--

NAVARRO: Neither you nor Lindsey have gone the extra step of condemning Donald Trump, and telling him this is abominable, inhumane, unacceptable behavior from a President of the United States, from any human--

FRANCO: Well--

NAVARRO: --from any human being that has a beating heart and--

FRANCO: Well I--

NAVARRO: --any sense of purpose.

FRANCO: I don't know if that would aid the discourse now to -- to lash out at the President, and -- and hit his style and so forth. Let's just say -- let's just focus in on the issues that, again, I think have been the catalyst for these comments.

COOPER: Although the truth is--

FRANCO: I don't think--

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: --they should have been done. But that's has -- what really has been what motivated the President.

COOPER: I -- I hear your argument, Adolfo, on -- on, you know, that this is--

FRANCO: Yes.

COOPER: --based on, you know, the -- the healthcare vote or whatever.

But it was actually Donald Trump during the campaign, long before the healthcare vote, long before any of this, you know, who went after John, you know, attacked John McCain or -- or made fun of John McCain for -- for being captured, for -- for being shot down, you know, and tortured for -- for six years.

FRANCO: I get it.

COOPER: I mean it was the President who sort of laid down that marker.

FRANCO: Well, yes -- that's true, but -- and that's a true statement. But let me just say this.

Is that any different than some of the comments that the President made during the campaign to regarding other Republicans running for President, and ones that weren't running for President?

COOPER: Yes, I mean, I think--

FRANCO: And that -- that -- that -- that is his style.

COOPER: Yes.

FRANCO: That is his -- his style, and that has been--

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: --consistent. I'm not--

COOPER: Yes.

FRANCO: This is not necessarily well how I would approach things or the way Ana or--

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: --or you would, but to say this is singling out somebody, again, that I revere and respect greatly--

COOPER: Right.

FRANCO: --I think is -- is -- that -- that would be a huge story.

NAVARRO: But -- but let me tell you why it is different.

FRANCO: But this has been--

NAVARRO: But let me tell you why it's different.

FRANCO: OK. NAVARRO: It's different because Donald Trump used his rich daddy's connections and networks and money to dodge the draft, to concoct a cockamamie made-up story about bone spurs that do not exist--

FRANCO: Well--

NAVARRO: --while John McCain was serving since the age of 17, while John McCain had every bone broken. You know because you know McCain, you knew McCain.

FRANCO: I do. I knew him very -- quite well.

NAVARRO: That McCain lived in pain. He lived in pain the rest of his life, in physical--

FRANCO: Correct.

NAVARRO: --pain, and never once complained.

COOPER: Let Adolfo respond, then we have to go.

FRANCO: But I will say this.

Yes, if this were in a vacuum, I would say this would be a -- a much bigger story and a big -- bigger issue. This has been the President's approach with regarding his opponents or those who have opposed his policies.

It is part of the President's character. And it resonates with many people. I'm just trying to be as objective as I can about it.

COOPER: Adolfo, I appreciate you being on, Ana, as well. Thank you very much.

FRANCO: Thank you. Thank you, Ana. Thank you. Thank you both.

COOPER: Well much more ahead tonight, including the Michael Cohen case, the mystery is revealed and the secrets concealed in nearly 900 pages of documents connected to the raids on his homes and office.

And later, what new reporting reveals about President Trump's long- standing business relationship with Deutsche Bank. There are many serious questions surrounding it, including whether the President, as Michael Cohen told Congress, inflates his net -- net worth to get loans.

[21:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It's breaking news tonight in the Russia investigation, a source familiar with the matter telling CNN that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein intends to stay on until Robert Mueller makes his report. The source saying, Rosenstein sees himself as the "Human shield," someone who can take any hits that might be coming when the report comes out.

The news came at the end of a day that saw some big developments in the Michael Cohen case, the release of documents relating to the search warrants for the raids on Cohen's residence and office.

Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with the latest on both those stories. So, this news about Rosenstein, does it speak to anything about the Mueller report and the timing of it that it is not close to being finished or is?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: I mean perhaps, you know, certainly everyone here in Washington has been waiting.

We're prepared for it. We're waiting for it as is everyone else. It does indicate that at least, you know, this report, while it could be coming at any day, we really don't know when.

And Rod Rosenstein is all along had planned to stay on through this report, through the completion of this investigation. He started this investigation. He's the one who decided that Special Counsel should be appointed.

He's been here from the beginning. He's certainly taken a lot of heat for -- for what he's done from the President. And so, he wanted to stay there. He wanted to stay through the end, and that's why they -- they have kept pushing the date that he was going to leave.

We had heard that he would be leaving last week. Then, again, today, you know, we heard a different story that he was staying on. We still don't have any clarity on when this report is coming, but it is really at any day right now.

And, certainly, I think when -- for Rod Rosenstein, from everything we've been told, he has wanted to stay at the Department of Justice to sort of handle anything that will -- the aftermath of this report and see that this -- this investigation to its completion, Anderson.

COOPER: And in terms of the Michael Cohen documents that -- that were released today, what -- I mean did -- did anything new come from that because a lot of the information, I think there were about 20 pages of redacted stuff about campaign finance violations or potential violations?

PROKUPECZ: Right. So, there really wasn't anything new that we had not reported on. But here's the thing. What we did learn was that the Mueller team started looking at Michael Cohen -- Michael Cohen just two months after Mueller was appointed.

And really, the extensive amount of investigative work, I think, is what's most interesting in all those. You know, you don't mistake that this was sort of like how they would operate in a drug case.

They were tracking his GPS on his cell phone. They were looking to see who Michael Cohen was communicating with. There was concern that maybe he was working for a foreign agent, for Russians, perhaps, that he was making money off -- off of some business dealings.

So, the Mueller team was really looking at everything. And then, they had found things that have to do with his New York business, these taxi medallions that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to. [21:20:00] And so, that is how they started referring some of that

investigative -- parts of that investigation to New York. And then, once New York gets the case, they realized, "Oh, well we may have some campaign finance violations here," and then that opens that entire door.

And, obviously, that is where the President has been implicated, others have been implicated.

Those redactions have to do with the 20 pages in the search warrant affidavit have entirely -- entirely to do with the campaign finance investigation, which clearly leads us all to believe that this is very much still under investigation, and that other people could potentially be charged, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.

Given all the drama surrounding the Mueller report, the talk of "Heat Shields" and all the rest, it's worth getting the views of someone who's been there and done that.

Robert Ray succeeded Kenneth Starr as Independent Counsel in the Whitewater Monica Lewinsky matter. He oversaw the agreement with then President Clinton that avoided a possible criminal trial.

Mr. Ray joins us now. Thanks for being with us.

ROBERT WILLIAM RAY, FORMER WHITEWATER INDEPENDENT COUNSEL, FORMER SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: First of all, do you think that the redaction of those things has any -- gives any indication that there are still investigations going on?

RAY: It could be. It's for hard to tell.

And ordinarily, you would expect in the material that was redacted how the Special Counsel's Office got underway vis-a-vis Michael Cohen, in other words, who -- who was talking to them, and who was sort of pointing them in the right direction.

I suspect that that's probably what we'll come to find at some point in the future was redacted. And yes, I think you're -- you're -- it's probably a fair inference that there are certain matters that they want to allow, at least the Mueller investigation to conclude without having to disclose them prematurely.

COOPER: The--

RAY: And it's also -- it's conceivable, impossible, yes, that there might be further prosecutions in the Southern District of New York.

COOPER: Right. The -- this idea of Rod Rosenstein, according to the source, staying to be a "Heat Shield," I'm not sure how to read that. It could mean-- RAY: I think that's a little overblown. I think it's more that he wants to see it to--

COOPER: See it through.

RAY: --to a conclusion. I mean, wouldn't you?

COOPER: Yes.

RAY: You called for it. It's the most significant decision that he made as Deputy Attorney General. It's obviously -- and most people don't even know who the Deputy Attorney General is--

COOPER: Right. Right, yes.

RAY: --in any other Administration. But this one, of course, we all know--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --because he served as the Acting Attorney General for purposes of this investigation. You know, that's a big deal, and one would want to see it to conclusion. I know if I had been in that place, I would have wanted--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --to see it to a conclusion.

And so, the way I read it, I mean people ask me, "Well, when's the Mueller investigation going to end?" And the signal to me was Rod Rosenstein has indicated he's leaving by mid-March.

COOPER: Yes.

RAY: So, now we're at mid-March, and apparently, he's asked for some more time, and the Attorney General has agreed. I mean I don't want to get into the game of predicting--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --how close we are. But I suspect -- it would not surprise me if we saw something before the end of this month, meaning before April 1st.

COOPER: Well so, well it's not--

RAY: It's not--

COOPER: --that's not far away (ph).

RAY: --it's not far away.

COOPER: Yes. You--

RAY: I mean don't beat me over the head if -- if I-- COOPER: Don't worry. Don't worry.

RAY: --if I got that wrong. You know -- you know, every--

COOPER: I won't do that (ph).

RAY: --and -- and every -- and everybody's, you know, reading too, he's trying to figure out--

COOPER: Yes.

RAY: --what's going on here. And so -- there's also some, you know, other indications that might suggest that this may last a little while longer. But I do think, from where I sit, I think we're getting to the end.

COOPER: Do you think, I mean looking at the investigation now, I mean just the -- what we know publicly about the indictments and stuff, and the -- the Independent Counsel that -- that you were, do you think the Independent Counsel was a better system than a Special Prosecutor, because there -- there's certainly some Democrats now who are saying, well maybe this -- this Special Prosecutor, it favors, you know--

RAY: There is no perfect solution. And there were some flaws to the Independent Counsel statute, many of which, obviously, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps.

But Justice Scalia saw them when he was faced with having to deal with the constitutionality of the Independent Counsel statute. And he was the only justice that dissented.

So, now the benefit of the fact that we've had that experience, both parties, since they had both been victims of Independent Counsel's decided that they'd had enough of that, and will allow the statute to lapse.

You know, look, I mean the Special Counsel regulations are not going to be for everybody the perfect solution.

COOPER: Right.

RAY: And Democrats, you know, understandably have pushed back with regard to all this. And we're now in this little, you know, area where there's no final report requirement that is equivalent to what--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --the Independent Counsel statute--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --called for.

But a lot of the same concerns you see bubbling up to the surface like what I noticed today was OK, there's going to be a report. Does the White House get an advance look and access to it? COOPER: Right.

RAY: Well, under the Independent Counsel statute, the answer to that would have--

COOPER: It would--

RAY: --been yes.

COOPER: Oh, it would have?

RAY: Because it would have gone to the Special Division once the report is -- is -- is completed, under seal.

And during that period when it was under seal, the statute required anybody named in the report had an opportunity to review it, and to file written comments, which were done, and then those comments were attached to the report and then published, and published with the Independent Counsel's report, so it all came as sort of a, you know, of a package deal.

COOPER: Do you see -- I mean, you know, there's now a reporting that the White House wants to review the -- review whatever Mueller does come out--

RAY: For Executive privilege.

COOPER: For Executive privilege.

RAY: And I don't know how -- and I don't know how--

COOPER: I mean, legally, he's -- the -- the White House allowed to do that.

[21:25:00] RAY: Well, of course. I mean it's -- it's the Administration, right? And the Justice Department is an Executive Branch department.

COOPER: Right.

RAY: And Bob Mueller is a -- is a -- is a function of -- of--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --of -- of the -- of the Department of Justice. So, it's not inappropriate for the White House to be asking for an opportunity if there's ever going to be an assertion of Executive privilege to at least see it beforehand.

COOPER: Executive privilege (ph).

RAY: Now, I mean if -- and not that the Attorney General needs my advice, but I mean in this situation, I think you have to be careful how this is handled in something that is obviously going to become public in one fashion or another.

COOPER: Right.

RAY: And you might give the White House a limited opportunity to review the report in private, you know, no -- no -- no phones, no electronic devices--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --you know, can--

COOPER: But not the President's personal attorneys at the White House.

RAY: Well, you know, maybe.

But, of course, also, you may want to give the -- the President's personal attorneys an opportunity, if they're going to file a response, in order to be fair to the President, in that capacity, and additionally being fair to the institution of the Presidency--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --and whether or not--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --Executive privilege should be asserted. You know, I don't necessarily agree with the Democrats to say, "Oh, you know, that's totally inappropriate to allow the--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --the White House advance -- advanced access to this or the President's personal attorneys." I know they're preparing a response.

COOPER: Right.

RAY: But you would think it -- you would want to have it tailored to whatever is actually contained in the report.

COOPER: Yes. I mean there is a reason -- there is such a thing as Executive privilege--

RAY: Right.

COOPER: --and it is an important thing too.

RAY: And if I were the Attorney General, I might say to the White House--

COOPER: Right.

RAY: --and to the President's lawyers, "Listen, we'll give you access, but you're not going to comment on this thing until we have a chance to release it publicly to the--

COOPER: Yes.

RAY: --to the Congress."

COOPER: Robert Ray, appreciate you being with us. Thank you very much.

RAY: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

COOPER: We've got some news coming up tonight in the 2020 race. The poll positions are shifting. One candidate in particular seems to be standing out in the Democratic field with some new gains. We'll tell you who and look at what it could mean ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:30:00] COOPER: A new CNN poll shows a lot of movement for one Democratic Presidential-hopeful, California Senator Kamala Harris saw an eight-point jump from December, is now running third behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

There's also this. Former Secretary of State, John Kerry at 4 percent, even though he's not a Presidential contender.

Joining me now is CNN's Senior Political Commentator, David Axelrod, former Florida Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee and Tallahassee Mayor, Andrew Gillum, and CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash.

So, David, what do you make of moving up for Senator Harris? I mean it's obviously, you know, incredibly early. Can you really tell anything from that?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you can tell something. She got out of the gates very well. She had a huge rally in Oakland that was well covered. She had a good Town Hall on CNN. And she's been doing some good campaigning around the country.

But it is very early, Anderson. And we're really just beginning this process. And one thing we should be clear about is it is a process. It begins in Iowa. It moves to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina.

They've moved California back so that people will start voting there, early voting the day the Iowa caucus is. That was to advantage her and that will help.

But Kamala Harris still has to perform well in Iowa and New Hampshire in order to take advantage of the African-American vote in South Carolina, and in some of the Super Tuesday states to follow.

And right now, you know, she is doing fine in Iowa. She's in fourth place behind Elizabeth Warren, Biden, and Sanders. But she's going to have to do well in these early states in order to realize the potential of her candidacy.

COOPER: And, Dana, I mean Harris' rise comes across the board. There's no major--

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

COOPER: --Democratic group -- demographic group in which she lost support since December. I mean is much of this just basically at this point about name recognition?

BASH: I think it's name recognition. But, just as David was saying, she has had a textbook roll-out from the beginning.

Her almost roll-out, you know, the fact that she said she was probably going to run, and then when she did that formal rally that you just showed in Oakland to the TV appearances and -- and so forth.

She also comes across as somebody who, you know, you want to hear more from. A lot of the candidates do.

But, in particular, she seems to have been doing that, maybe the best, and -- and, frankly, for the longest, because she came out early and aggressively on -- on that notion, and unlike Elizabeth Warren who came out the earliest.

Elizabeth Warren is very clearly marketing herself campaigning for the progressive wing, whereas Kamala Harris is trying to get across the board. And that's no small thing in this very diverse--

COOPER: Yes.

BASH: --Democratic electorate.

COOPER: Mayor Gillum, I mean should it come to any surprise that Joe Biden, even though he hasn't announced yet, although he sort of did, but -- but says he's not, because a lot of it, at this stage of the game, again, is -- is name recognition.

ANDREW GILLUM, FORMER MAYOR OF TALLAHASSEE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean Vice President Biden is a well-known entity to every Democrat in the country, frankly, to anyone in the country. And I believe that he will obviously start this thing, as we can tell in this poll, by doing quite well.

The truth is, is I think most Democrats just want to win. Now, I do believe that we're going to be looking for in this -- in this primary process the best candidate who reflects our values.

But at the end of the day, I believe that Democrats are going to unite behind whoever the nominee is, look no further than the evidence of the Des Moines IS -- Iowa Register poll that showed that Bernie Sanders supporters, about 30 percent of them choose Joe Biden as their second choice, actually higher than that, 40 percent.

And in -- and in Joe Biden's case, about 37 percent of his supporters, the second choice is -- is -- is -- is Bernie Sanders.

COOPER: So, Mayor, you don't make as--

GILLUM: So, I think there will be a lot of movement here.

COOPER: You don't make as much about the, you know, divide in the Democratic Party between progressive wing, more moderate wing. You -- essentially, you're saying, people are going to come to support whoever they think can win? GILLUM: Well, no. I think people are going to come to support the candidate that they want to see elevated through the nomination process. But once that process is over, I have every bit of confidence that Democrats are going to unite behind the nominee because we want to win.

COOPER: Right.

BASH: But -- but, Anderson, that's another important--

AXELROD: Anderson, that--

BASH: --takeaway from this poll.

COOPER: Go ahead.

BASH: That -- that the majority, the vast majority of people who answered, you know, the -- the survey did say electability was more important -- was the most important thing, and the idea of being a progressive, and having ideals that a lot of people who are out there may be the loudest support. I mean there was a big gulf there.

COOPER: Right. David?

AXELROD: Yes. No. I was going to say a -- a healthy majority of the people in this poll said they wanted -- they first wanted a candidate that could beat Trump more than the candidate who reflects their ideological point of view.

[21:35:00] And there are -- there's evidence in this poll. Biden does very well, for example, among moderates and conservatives. And people suggest that he would have a better chance than Bernie Sanders, if you read through the numbers on that scale of -- of winning a general election.

That said, what generally tends to happen in these situations, is candidates -- voters choose the candidate they like, and then they rationalize that choice, and say that's the candidate I believe that can beat Donald Trump.

I think it's not going to be a case where people say, "Well I really like that person, but I'm going to vote for this person because I think they can beat Donald Trump." That's generally not the way it works.

COOPER: Mayor, I mean if you're Cory Booker or Amy Klobuchar, and you're both at 3 percent right now, should you be concerned? Do you try to, you know, change something? Or is it just too early?

GILLUM: I have to -- I come down on (ph) the side is it's just too early. I mean if we think back to the primary that Donald Trump was in himself, I think he would have been at what 1 percent right now and--

COOPER: Right.

GILLUM: --over the course of the race made his way to the very top, chip -- chipping off every opponent one by one. And so, I -- I still think there's a lot of running room.

If there's good news here for Democrats and I think there's a lot of good news, but if there's any good news, it is that we've got some exciting choices to choose from, across the ideological spectrum.

And I trust these primary process. I went through one and evolved through it. And we ended up seeing 2 million more voters vote in the general election--

COOPER: Yes.

GILLUM: --than were expected.

COOPER: Yes.

GILLUM: So, I fully believe--

AXELROD: Anderson, the poll though--

GILLUM: --that the process will work.

COOPER: We're -- we're -- we're out of time, David.

AXELROD: The poll--

COOPER: Go ahead, very quickly.

AXELROD: OK. All right, I'm going to hold that thought.

COOPER: OK. Hold the thought.

David Axelrod, Mayor Gillum, thank you, Dana Bash, as well.

Coming up next, why California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes is suing Twitter, and the claim that it's biased against Conservative -- Conservatives.

[21:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Devin Nunes, the Republican Congressman, and former House Intelligence Committee Chairman is suing Twitter and three Twitter users. He's accusing them of defamation for parody accounts that he says attacked him.

The suit also claims Twitter harbors a political agenda against Conservatives, something that President Trump said today he absolutely believes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Things are happening. Names are taken off. People aren't getting through. You've heard the same complaints. And it seems to be if they're Conservative, if they're Republicans, if they're in a certain group, there's discrimination and big discrimination.

I see it absolutely on Twitter and Facebook, which I have also, and others I see, but I've really focused more on the one platform, and I have many -- many different platforms.

It's, I guess, we have 60 million, almost 60 million on Twitter, and if you add them all up, it's way over a 100 million people, and I get to see firsthand what's going on, and it's not good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: With me now two Tweeters, CNN Political Commentator Ryan Lizza, and Republican Strategist, Rick Wilson, Author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."

Ryan, I mean it -- Devin Nunes, I mean, what do you make of this? I mean can you sue Twitter and three Twitter users? It seem surprising to me. I'm not getting that (ph).

RYAN LIZZA, ESQUIRE CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean you can -- you can sue anyone you want. I mean, obviously, the bar for defamation for a public official is quite high.

I imagine Devin Nunes consulted a lawyer before this, and he would have to know that. So, I don't think he seriously believes that Twitter and/or the fake cow account are going to pay him the $250 million he's looking for.

It seems like a publicity stunt, a way to promote this idea among his fan base that, you know, somehow Twitter is shadow banning Conservatives. But it's not a serious lawsuit. You might say it is utterly ridiculous.

COOPER: Rick, it also fits into the whole, you know, "We are victims" narrative that seems to be very popular among some -- well some on the Right wing are (ph).

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST, MEDIA CONSULTANT, "EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES" AUTHOR: Sure. It's -- it's absolutely part of this -- this, you know, all the -- all the forces of society are arrayed against us. It's just us and Donald Trump against the world.

And, look, Devin Nunes is proving himself again and again to be the Fredo of the Republican Party. This guy has made a huge mistake doing this. And -- and the fact is he's inserted (ph) himself to the Streisand effect.

The more you try to cover up something, the more it gets exposed. So, he isn't--

COOPER: Yes.

WILSON: --he has made this thing.

No one knew who Devin Nunes' cow was before this. And now, it's got 250,000 followers. I mean it is just -- it is utterly pathetic, if you -- if I may steal Ryan's prior pun. But, you know, this is a -- this is a guy who has made a huge -- huge mistake. COOPER: I missed the pun. I was -- I think I'm just sleepy. I -- Ryan, I apologize.

LIZZA: You were just moving right along there, Anderson.

COOPER: Oh, Ryan, how long have you been working on that all day?

LIZZA: On my hands (ph).

WILSON: Ryan, you're going to--

COOPER: Oh, my God.

WILSON: --he's going to--

COOPER: Yes.

LIZZA: But -- but let me tell one serious point (ph)--

WILSON: Anderson, Ryan's going to -- Ryan -- Ryan's going to milk that joke all night long.

COOPER: Oh, my God.

LIZZA: One serious point.

COOPER: Go ahead.

LIZZA: I remember interviewing Nunes in 2013 when the gist of the interview was about how the Republican Party was veering into a conspiratorial mindset.

And he told me this great story about how his constituents in the old days would talk to him about policy and send him emails and letters about policy, and they were starting to just send him stuff from like Alex Jones and conspiracies.

And something changed with Nunes where he himself going -- went from being a critic of that movement in his party--

COOPER: Interesting.

WILSON: Yes.

LIZZA: --to being part of it.

COOPER: Right. And, Rick, I mean--

LIZZA: Yes.

COOPER: --Nunes also blames Twitter for not doing anything to people who he says were trying to distract him from his investigation into Russia, which is obviously kind of rich coming from the man who was, you know, caught concocting one of the most false, biggest--

WILSON: Yes, that -- that -- that is-- LIZZA: Yes.

COOPER: --poll sets (ph) on White House involvement.

WILSON: --that is truly one of the most amazing statements here. And I can't wait for that, since he's brought that into this discussion to be part of the discovery of this, because Devin Nunes has done everything he can to obstruct--

LIZZA: Oh, it will never get there though, Rick.

WILSON: Oh, I know. Listen, listen--

LIZZA: Yes.

WILSON: --as a -- as a -- as a very smart attorney said to me--

LIZZA: There'll be a motion to dismiss, and it will be dismissed. Right.

[21:45:00] WILSON: Right. As a very smart attorney said to me today, this will last about 30 seconds in court. Thank you. Thanks for playing, Devin, bye. But -- but he is -- he is--

LIZZA: Yes.

COOPER: But it does work on television and cable news--

LIZZA: Exactly.

WILSON: Sure.

COOPER: --for on -- on long (ph).

WILSON: And that's part of -- that's absolutely part of this. This is part of that, "Oh, we're the victims" narrative.

You know, all these people that are all like these "Screw your feelings crowd" are so delicate when someone puts a meme on Twitter that shows that Devin Nunes is the last person on the human centipede chain or that Devin Nunes is, you know, the Devin Nunes' cow.

These things, you know, send him into an absolute frenzy. Well, you know, toughen up, Devin. It's politics, man. This is not bean bag. This is not for -- this is not for the soft among us. Get in the game.

LIZZA: Yes.

WILSON: You know, he -- he can meme right back if he -- if he had any stones. Good Lord!

COOPER: And, Ryan, I should also point out you were--

LIZZA: Yes.

COOPER: --instrumental in -- in kind of unraveling the whole Devin Nunes thing about the concocting with the White House in your reporting. The whole notion--

WILSON: Yes.

COOPER: --being pushed by the President and his allies that Twitter and Google are conspiring against them, is there truth to that, Ryan?

LIZZA: No, I mean, look, there's -- this issue of shadow banning has been explored and reported on and detailed. And Twitter is not doing that to Conservatives, to Liberals.

It's -- it's a -- it's a lie. It's a conspiratorial lie. And he's pushing this for political reasons as far as I can tell.

COOPER: Ryan Lizza, Rick Wilson, appreciate it. Thank you.

LIZZA: Thanks, Anderson.

WILSON: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, the President's complicated relationship with Deutsche Bank. The reporter who dug into this for The New York Times joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:50:00] COOPER: New reporting from The New York Times reveals that Donald Trump took more than $2 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank before he became President.

Mr. Trump reportedly exaggerated his wealth and promised to reward bankers with a weekend at Mar-a-Lago. The President's unusual relationship with this bank actually goes back more than two decades.

David Enrich wrote about this tangled web for The Times. He joins us now.

The -- the relationship between Donald Trump and Deutsche Bank, it's very complicated. Can you just kind of untangle it for us a little bit?

DAVID ENRICH, FINANCIAL EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I can try. It goes back 20 years.

Starting in the late 1990s, Deutsche Bank was trying to make a name for itself on Wall Street. No one had heard of this German bank. No one knew how to pronounce its name even.

And the way it could win business in the U.S. was by doing business with clients that were considered too risky, too far out there to be touchable by other banks.

And so, they would get in bed with big real estate developers, among others, and throw money at them. And Donald Trump was one such real estate developer.

He was a guy who had repeatedly defaulted on loans, repeatedly, it cost his banks millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars, in fact. And for Deutsche Bank, this was the type of client that they were going after.

COOPER: He had cost other banks hundreds of millions of dollars?

ENRICH: He had repeatedly defaulted on loans to other banks. So, yes, other -- a number of other banks, Citibank, a number of other banks as well had -- had faced huge losses.

COOPER: I mean I think a lot of people will say like, how can somebody who's defaulted on loans to banks in the tune of hundreds of millions dollars actually then get another bank? I mean there -- were they desperate? I mean, they -- they were--

ENRICH: They were desperate.

COOPER: --they saw the red flags, but they just didn't care

ENRICH: That's exactly right. They were desperate. They wanted to win business so badly that they were willing to look the other way. This wasn't like a rogue banker or a rogue division of a bank.

COOPER: Right.

ENRICH: This was a conscious decision throughout the bank, the one that was (ph) at very highest level.

COOPER: And he was -- he was borrowing from different divisions in the bank.

ENRICH: Over time he did. So, he started off in the investment bank borrowing money from them. He defaulted on those loans, and that banks -- that part of the bank stopped doing business with him.

He goes to another part of the bank, they do loans, he defaults on those loans, they stopped doing business with him. And finally, it gets to the private bank, which is the part of the company that caters to really rich people.

COOPER: Right.

ENRICH: And they strike up a relationship with him.

And each time, this is -- there's fierce resistance within the bank from the people who he's previously burned, and yet, they keep going -- they keep doing -- going down this road with him often with the blessing of the CEO.

COOPER: Was part of it -- I mean that banks are drawn to, you know, celebrity and wanting to--

ENRICH: Yes.

COOPER: --I mean give him breaks that they wouldn't give anybody else.

ENRICH: Yes. That is part of it. Deutsche Bank was so eager to make a name for itself that they were

going for clients that were splashy. And Donald Trump was splashy to them. And they would trot him out to their Golf Tournament where he would work the crowd, signing $100 bills.

He would sit down for promotional interviews, basically TV commercials, where he would extol his relationship with Deutsche Bank, how -- how easy they were to work with.

Ivanka Trump would do the same thing. So, this was a very powerful marketing device for the bank.

COOPER: That's -- I've never really heard of that of people who are getting loans from bank out essentially doing commercials for the bank and public appearances.

ENRICH: Yes. It's pretty weird. It's something that I hadn't really heard of until I started digging into this. And it -- it struck people within the bank as weird too. I mean I've talked to some of the people who are doing these interviews.

And -- and they would say, "What's it like to do business with Deutsche Bank?" thinking there're just going to be some platitudes, and Trump would come back and say, "It's amazing. You're so fast. You don't have too many questions."

And the people behind the camera would sit there and say, "Ooh, is this a good idea?" And yet, this was -- everyone knew within the bank that they were really going head over heels into relationships that had the potential to cause problems.

COOPER: It's fascinating that that I mean one sector of the bank would ignore -- one division would ignore what other employees were saying based on their own personal experience that just happened to them.

I understand -- I mean, according your reporting, at some point between the election and the inauguration, Deutsche Bank actually banned its employees on Wall Street from--

ENRICH: Yes.

COOPER: --mentioning the name Trump?

ENRICH: Yes. They -- and around the time that Trump became the Republican nominee for President, people at the bank started realizing that maybe this has the potential to cause some trouble, political and reputational blowback for the bank.

And so, by the time he got elected, they were in full panic mode. And among other things what they said to employees on Wall Street is do not utter the word Trump in internal communications or external communications.

And these being Wall Street traders, the -- that edict inevitably was violated, and people were hauled into the Compliance Department, and given kind of a browbeating. And the explanation they gave was, which I found really interesting is that the bank was very concerned about what would happen if Trump as was his want to do stop paying back his loans again.

And, at that point, the bank would be faced with this very ugly choice between, on the one hand, seizing the President's assets, which is obviously not a very attractive path to go down.

COOPER: Right.

[21:55:00] ENRICH: But on the other hand, not seizing the President's assets, which is the ascent -- essentially giving a very lucrative financial break to the most powerful person in the world, and that's ugly too.

COOPER: Which, it seems like they've been doing anyway for years in different ways.

ENRICH: Yes. I think it's safe to say that without Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump very well might not be President.

COOPER: Because he would have gone out of business long ago.

ENRICH: He would have gone out of business.

He -- he was able, on the campaign trail, to blunt a lot of the attacks about his finances. And Hillary Clinton kept making these kind of flat jokes about how, "I've read the books on Donald Trump. They all seem to end at Chapter 11."

And that, those actually, a pretty good argument in theory because Trump's entire appeal or a large part of his appeal is that he was a successful businessman.

COOPER: Right.

ENRICH: And so Trump was able to brandish his warm relationship with Deutsche Bank as a weapon to kind of beat back those attacks. And he could say accurately, "Look, for all my sins, and all my problems, I have a very good relationship with one of the most powerful banks in the world."

COOPER: It's so fascinating reporting, David, thank you so much.

ENRICH: It's my pleasure.

COOPER: We'd be right back. More ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's all the time we have. Want to turn things over to Don Lemon for CNN TONIGHT.