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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Allows A.G. Barr To Declassify Information Regarding Surveillance Activities Of His 2016 Presidential Campaign; Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Is Interviewed About The Memorandum Signed By President Trump; President Trump Rambles During White House Event, Calls Pelosi "A Mess" After She Says He Needs An Intervention; Howard Stern: President Trump Has Been "Traumatized" By His Childhood; Howard Stern: Trump Called Me Personally And Asked Me To Speak At The 2016 GOP Convention And Endorse Him. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 23, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:22] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Last night after President Trump walked out of a White House meeting with Democrats and gave a rambling, angry defensive and misleading press conference in the Rose Garden, I described it as not normal, as in not normal behavior for a president. After what happened today, though, I've got say I think I was wrong, because tonight, we know that by the standards of this president, that kind of behavior is normal, especially now that it's happened for a second straight day.
It's normal meaning typical. It occurs with regularity and predictability. It happens over and over again. It doesn't seem like he can help himself. Today, at a press event with farmers and ranchers, the president of the United States, the chief commander in forces, let the moment which after all was supposed to be helping the very people his trade policies are hurting, dissolve into another airing of grievances about himself.
Like last time, it was something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that said him off. The event started with the president making what was supposed to be the headline announcement, except it wasn't exactly true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, today, I'm announcing that I have directed Secretary Perdue to provide $16 billion in assistance to America's farmers and ranchers. It all comes from China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Keeping them honest, it doesn't. The money comes from tariffs on Chinese exports which American importers and consumers pay.
In any case, he pretty quickly digressed. And with the farmers and ranchers still standing behind him, returned to yesterday's walkout and the woman who had obviously gotten under his skin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Here is a collection of her remarks from throughout the event as he kept returning to the subject, trying to emphasize that he was very calm yesterday, not upset at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was so calm. You all saw me minutes later. I was at a news conference. I was extremely calm. I was probably even more so in that room.
So I walked into the cabinet room. You had the group Cryin' Chuck, Crazy Nancy. I tell you what, I've been watching her, and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She has lost it.
She reminded me of Beto. She actually reminded me of Beto. Maybe a little worse.
I was extremely calm, much like I am right now. And it was sad when I watched Nancy all moving the movement and the hands and the craziness. I don't want to say Crazy Nancy, because if I say that, you're going say it's a copy of crazy Bernie, and that's no good, because Bernie is definitely crazy.
But I did it because we had this instance at least once before where I was very, very calm on another occasion, and they walked out to the sticks, and they said it was horrible. He was ranting. He was raving. He was pounding the table. The reason I didn't do that is because I didn't want them to say I would do that. But they said it anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This was an event about farmers, the people standing behind him.
Then he went off on the woman who leads a coequal branch of government and the second in line of succession. He suggested is crazy, mocks what he clearly believes are physical disabilities or perhaps signs of aging. He then describes himself like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm an extremely stable genius, OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. Number one, anyone who is an extremely stable genius, whatever that means, would not feel the need to describe themselves as such. I mean, if you're stable, you don't really need to go around announcing it. You're just stable.
Nothing breeds confidence and a sense of stability than the leader of the free world insisting he is stable, and not for the first time, I should add. Oh, and if you're a genius, ditto. Geniuses don't go around with license plates they paid extra to say genius. They don't need to because they're smarter than that.
Number two, anyone who is an extremely stable genius would not rise to take the bait of his opponents every single time. That's not a counterpuncher, that's a sucker.
And number three, if you are extremely stable genius, or even just a stable genius, you would not do what the president then proceeded to do today. He asked his subordinates to publicly proclaim his stable temperament. I imagine it's what a family dinner with Kim Jong-un is like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Kelly, what was my temperament yesterday?
Let me ask you this, Mercedes. You're always a straight talker. You were in that room yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: What was my attitude when I walked in? Larry, you were there. There were many people there, by the way. Many people. We can get you 20 other people to say this.
What was my attitude yesterday at the meeting?
Hi, Sarah. We're just talking about the meeting. Were you there yesterday?
Were you there, Hogan? You know about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Calling on Hogan Gidley.
Now, in fairness, the president, political opposition leaders can be pretty irritating, especially when they do what Speaker Pelosi did this morning, clearly pushing his hot buttons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): But the president, again, stormed out. I think first pound the table, walk out the door. What?
Next time, have the TV cameras in there while I have my say. That didn't work for him either.
And now this time, another temper tantrum. Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. I mean, that's certainly a jab suggesting that the president needs an intervention.
But is it any worse than a member of the opposition shouting "you lie" during the State of the Union as one did to President Obama, or one comparing you to a used car salesman, as many did to Richard Nixon? Presidents have been called all sorts of names by all sorts of
lawmakers for a very long time on both sides of the aisle, and they've all managed to do their jobs in spite of it. Until it seems now.
Late today, Speaker Pelosi took another swipe, tweeting, quote, when the extremely stable genius, end quote, begins acting extremely stable, I'll be able to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.
More on all this from CNN's Jim Acosta, who joins us now.
All right. Jim, I mean, so the scenes today at the White House, it was bizarre, even though it's come to be normal. To go around the room trying to get your subordinates to back you up, it just was weird.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was strange. And if you're trying to demonstrate that Nancy Pelosi is not under your skin, I don't know if the president accomplished that. Obviously, he demonstrated that she has gotten under his skin. I talked to a source close to the White House who advises the president earlier this evening who said maybe she hasn't gotten under his skin, but she has gotten his attention, and that is somebody who is close to the president.
And so, they understand I think inside the president's team of advisers and so on that there does appear to be some sparring going on between President Trump and Nancy Pelosi, and perhaps it's not all going in his direction at this point.
I will say I talked to a couple of people who were in that room earlier this afternoon, Anderson. They don't want to speak on the record. But they're saying, listen, we feel like we were telling the truth, and we told the president he was being calm during that meeting with Nancy Pelosi. One of these officials said, listen, it was Nancy Pelosi who was shell-shocked that the president called her out in front of her team and in front of other people in the room. And that she is the one who should be explaining for her demeanor during that meeting.
But, Anderson, I would tell you, talking to my sources earlier today, there is something else going on here, and I think it's important to note. And that is some of this is tactical. I talked to a source who talks to the president regularly who said that the president is trying to up the rhetoric in this fight with House Democrats in the hope that he'll ramp up the pressure so high that they will essentially put up or shut up on this matter of impeachment. And I think, Anderson, I think that points to a very interesting aspect in all of this.
The president does not like being in this in between no no-man's land that Nancy Pelosi has him right now. Remember, there are a lot of House Democrats who want her to go all the way and gore for impeachment. She has stopped short of that and said I like this place where the president is right now, where he is just under perpetual investigation. The president has shown in the last 48 hours she doesn't like being in
that place, and he has been demonstrating that over and over again in these outbursts in front of the cameras -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
Perspective now from "Axe Files" host and former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod. Also, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot, author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."
Gloria, President Trump wants America to believe that Nancy Pelosi is not getting under his skin, see not doing a very good job, and in this sense he is completely transparent. He is unable to restrain himself.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, he can't. And today was, you know, exhibit A, B and C. This is somebody who is completely reactive. Nancy Pelosi said, you know, I pray -- I pray for the country and I pray for your family and suggest there should be an intervention, and then at an availability on something totally different, he talks about how she is unstable and how she's losing it.
And, you know, Anderson, I went back and looked at the way he talked about Hillary Clinton in 2016, and he used some of that same language against her. He said she was unstable. She's going short circuit, and I don't think she's all there.
And that is exactly what he said about Nancy Pelosi today. He said she's lost it and she is disintegrating. So I think he has found a new way to attack her, but, of course, it's an old trick of his.
COOPER: David, I mean of all his political antagonists on Capitol Hill, why do you think -- do you think it's something about Nancy Pelosi that is particularly rattled by?
[20:10:09] I was talking to Senator Debbie Stabenow last night. She said basically it's because Nancy Pelosi is a smart, strong woman.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it may be. I don't really pretend to understand what it is, but she's got his number, and she gets under his skin, and she knows that she's getting under his skin. And that is a propitious time for her to have a fight with the president because she is trying to hold her caucus together and slow down the march to impeachment which she thinks is not ripe right now.
And the best way to do it is to have these kinds of back-and-forths with the president. He has been totally cooperative. One thing I'd say is you don't look like -- he calls himself a stable genius. You don't look particularly stable when you march out five of your staffers and, you know, like Captain Queeg and the Caine Mutiny, question him about whether he seemed sane.
And you don't seem particularly genius when you call the leaders of Congress together to tell them if they don't stop investigating you, you won't do the people's business. So, you know, she's got him tied up in knots right now. COOPER: Yes. And, Max, it's obviously calculated on Speaker Pelosi's
part. He says the president throws tantrums or an intervention thing. She certainly knows how to push his buttons. What is in it for her other than upsetting him? Is it, as David said, that this kind of puts a stopgap on members of her own party, trying to push for impeachment?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think Speaker Pelosi is masterful in her handling of Donald Trump. Remember, there are a lot of people in the Democratic caucus who thought her day has passed, and clearly that's not the case. Because whether it's on the government shutdown or these investigations, she clearly has his number, and he doesn't know quite how to react. And I think as David suggests, she is trying to walk a fine line between investigating Trump and getting his misdeeds before the American public and not jumping into an impeachment, which could backfire for the Democrats.
And I think right now she basically has the trust of her caucus, and for good reason, because she looks like she is pretty strong and stable, and Donald Trump is basically resorting to his old insults, as Gloria pointed out. This actually kind of reminded me of what happened with Hillary, where remember in that debate where Hillary Clinton said that he was a puppet of Russia. And his reply was no puppet, you're the puppet.
He is doing the exact same thing where speaker Pelosi says he is having a temper tantrum and he replies oh, no, she is crazy and she is coming unhinged. Pretty clearly he is the one who is coming unhinged.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, Gloria, again, the old very stable genius comment, I thought it was a one-off, today was extremely stable genius. It's actually been repeated twice, the president has done this twice. Do his aides, I mean they must know how this sounds. You know, you don't hear Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos saying that about themselves?
BORGER: One would think that they understand that when he calls himself a very stable genius that it sounds ridiculous. But if you look at that scene today, at this press conference he had as David was talking about, he turns to his staff and it was like dear leader.
Why don't you tell everybody how great I am, why don't you tell everybody how I didn't get upset at that meeting with members of Congress? Why don't you tell everyone how smart I am?
It was absurd to watch, and we all had to sit there and watch that. So how could any of these people go into the president and say, you know, Mr. President, you really shouldn't call yourself a very stable genius when they are actually doing the same thing in public?
COOPER: And, David, it reminded me the same time the cabinet was together. I don't remember if it was the first time the cabinet was together, but they had to go around the table and say how amazing it was to work for him.
AXELROD: Yes, Gloria is right. It's all very North Korean, even calling himself an extremely stable genius. Maybe he's just been hanging around with Kim Jong-un too much. But the look is very, very bad, and right now he just looks flustered.
And I'm sure they're going to try and figure out a way to pull out of this because it is -- it is damaging to him. But Pelosi is going to keep pushing those buttons, and my guess is he'll respond in Pavlovian fashion.
COOPER: Max Boot, David Axelrod, Gloria Borger, thanks.
COOPER: We have more ahead including a Democratic senator's take on this and his committee's job looking into possible wrongdoing by the president and his people.
Also tonight, more insight into the potential relationship between the president and House speaker. We'll hear from her former top adviser.
[20:15:01] Plus, my conversation with Howard Stern covering a lot of ground, including his thoughts on one of his regular former guests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: When you see him now in the White House as president, what do you see?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We're talking tonight about what supporters of the president tout as a virtue, but what House Speaker Pelosi clearly sees as weakness, and it depends on how you see it, his willingness to punch back or his inability not to, even if it ends up hurting himself, which is a terrible way of putting it, and it's one I'm not sure our next guest would share.
He is Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, and member of the Judiciary Committee.
Senator Blumenthal, what do you think it is about Speaker Pelosi that so gets under the president's skin?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Speaker Pelosi is a smart, strong woman who clearly has his number.
[20:20:02] Added to her personal effect him is the fact that courts are beginning to start the dominoes falling. And the disclosures ordered by the courts in New York, the New York state legislature requiring additional disclosure of his financial affairs are I think are driving him in this direction.
But beyond the name-calling, there is a profoundly important point here, because Nancy Pelosi went to that meeting prepared to talk about infrastructure, and to try to reach a compromise. So did senator Schumer. And the president said to them you can't legislate and investigate at the same time. That is really holding hostage the needs of the American people and the American system of government.
O'DONNELL: Yes, I get the criticism that a president should be able to, you know, deal with investigations ordeal with criticism and also do the people's business. Does it help, though -- I mean, clearly there is a strategy for speaker Pelosi saying just this morning that President Trump, you know, may have committed impeachable offenses, talked about maybe he needs an intervention from his family or his staff.
Is that helpful, though? Saying that he needs an intervention is clearly something that's going to agitate him.
BLUMENTHAL: Well, saying things that will agitate him really is an unknowable beforehand. There is so much that seems to agitate him. I think Speaker Pelosi is absolutely right that we can do oversight and scrutiny, which is Congress' responsibility under Article I of the Constitution, and at the same time legislate, which we need to do on rebuilding roads and bridges and rail and other infrastructure, on health care, improving the prescription drug costs, which are way too high, on veterans issues, on tax reform.
We need to do both at the same time. And for the president to say he cannot do both, no legislation unless you stop the investigation is fundamentally a betrayal of the American system of government, and it is hostage-taking in the worst sense of the word. The president needs to be held accountable.
COOPER: There are a loft Republicans who say the Democrats don't really want to work with the president on things like infrastructure because they don't want to give the president any kind of, you know, positive thing to run on in 2020. He is certainly making it very easy for Democrats not to work with him because he himself is saying I'm not going to work with you.
BLUMENTHAL: It will be on him if there are no accomplishments because very clearly, he will be the one who is the obstacle. Let me give you a couple of very practical examples. Just today, Anderson, by very bipartisan overwhelming vote, we approved disaster relief and overcame many of his objections, for example, to aiding Puerto Rico. We also did a bill on robocalls that protects the American people against these unsolicited and unconsented calls.
Yesterday in the armed services committee where I serve, we did the National Defense Authorization Act and by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, approved a measure that will provide hundreds of billions of dollars. That measure is not optional for the president of the United States. He can't say I won't legislate or cooperate with you until you stop investigating, and it will be on him very clearly if those measures are not approved.
COOPER: Do you think that either an impeachment inquiry or actual impeachment should go forward at this time?
BLUMENTHAL: I think the American people want accountability, and there will be accountability, either through an impeachment proceeding in the Congress, or through the courts, possibly criminally, or through the court of public opinion at the ballot box.
The important driving principle for me is accountability, and I think we have a responsibility, which we as yet have not fulfilled. We're trying to present the case to the American people. And the Mueller report, which I've read twice is an extraordinary document, but most Americans won't read the book. They will watch the movie through the hearings that are presented, and ultimately, the case has to be presented to them. That's the experience of Watergate.
COOPER: Just lastly, you reintroduced legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion everywhere as a response to the several states now passing laws restricting access to abortion. It's got 42 co-sponsors in the Senate. None of them are Republicans which means the bill isn't going to pass. Obviously, you know that better than anyone.
What is the goal if the bill doesn't right now have a shot at becoming law?
BLUMENTHAL: We introduced this measure because of the absolutely dire danger to women in states like Alabama and Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio where these draconian, demagogic measures have been passed that absolutely eviscerate women's reproductive rights, but also to stop the gradual erosion, the chipping away at Roe v. Wade, and yes, all of the 42 so far are Democrats, but also keep in mind, as has been reported by CNN repeatedly today, more than 70 percent of the American people want roe to be surviving as fundamental constitutional law.
I hope we will have bipartisan agreement eventually on that measure as well to protect women's health care, because ultimately, women's health care affects all of us. Men need to stand up and fight back too.
COOPER: Senator Richard Blumenthal, I just want to ask you if you could stick around for a moment. The White House just made what could be an important move to get testimony from investigators. I want to get your comment on it when we return.
COOPER: There is breaking news just in the last several minutes on a serious move from the president's campaign to investigate the Russia investigators.
CNN's Jim Acosta is back for us on the phone with details.
Jim, what have you learned?
ACOSTA (via telephone): Well, Anderson, what it looks like is that essentially the President has signed a memorandum ordering all agencies and federal government to cooperate with the Attorney General William Barr's investigation of the Mueller investigation essentially.
He wants full cooperation from all the relevant agencies with the attorney general who has pledged to look into these allegations from the President that he was improperly spied on, illegally spied on during the campaign.
You heard the President earlier today, Anderson, in that wild press conference that we saw inside the White House where he was once again accusing certain people inside the FBI who have since left the FBI of what he called treason.
And so he is obviously very serious about this and has signed a memorandum to, you know, various departments of the federal government, Treasury Department, Defense Department, Secretary of Energy and so on, ordering declassification of information, ordering that information be turned over to the attorney general to conduct this investigation.
Now, Anderson, I just want to caution that, you know, this is coming on, you know, an evening after the President has been engaged in a lengthy back and forth, a war of words with Nancy Pelosi and my suspicion is -- my strong suspicion is in the next 12 to 24 hours, you're going hear some of the President's critics wonder whether or not he is trying to shake a bright shiny object in front of folks to take the attention away from an exchange with the speak that many people in Washington feel did not go in the President's direction, did not go well for the President.
And this goes right back to what the President has talked about, the attorney general has talked about, and that is this notion of investigating the investigators, that the Mueller investigation, the FBI investigation, before there was a Mueller investigation was handled improperly.
But, Anderson, as you and I both know, because you talked to many experts on this subject as of I, there are many, many sources who have spoken to us on air, on record, on background and so on who have said, listen, it would have been law enforcement malpractice for people in the law enforcement community, the FBI, the intelligence community, to not investigate what was going on behind the scenes with the Trump campaign and these possible ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, appreciate with the breaking news. I want to good back to Senator Richard Blumenthal. Senator, I mean, is this just trying to distract from a day of very bad news for the President in terms of his own performance? I mean, is the memorandum telling agencies to cooperate with the attorney general, is that really necessary?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): As a former United States attorney and a state attorney general for some 20 years, I am baffled by this memorandum. There seems absolutely no reason for it. Agencies have a legal obligation to cooperate with the attorney general of the United States. And it seems much more like an effort to distract with, frankly, a dull rusty object, not a bright shiny one, and I think that we already have two investigations ongoing into this area.
The Mueller report contains graphic detail about how the investigation got started with credible information about Russian spying, that the FBI began addressing through a counterintelligence investigation. So the need for this memorandum or whatever it is, in fact, seems far from apparent.
COOPER: Yes. Senator Blumenthal, appreciate you sticking around. Thank you very much.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, Nancy Pelosi's former chief of staff joins us. Also coming up, my interview with media legend Howard Stern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Who in the Democratic field do you -- would you want to interview now?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:37:30] COOPER: We're getting back to our top story, day two of Trump/Pelosi feud. Joining us now is Danny Weiss, who was Speaker Pelosi's chief of staff for year and a half, has known her since 1992.
Danny, thanks for being with us. What do you think it is -- is the question kind of -- I mean, I'm trying to get to the bottom of, what is it about Speaker Pelosi that so gets under this President's skin?
DANNY WEISS, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR SPEAKER PELOSI: Good evening, Anderson. The President is overmatched. Speaker Pelosi is an enormously qualified person to lead this country and the President just is clearly overmatched. He is overmatched on policy and he is overmatched in terms of the personality that he has to confront. He's never dealt with a woman of this caliber, and I really don't think he knows what to do.
COOPER: You've been in a meeting with Speaker Pelosi and President Trump. How do they interact? I mean, what is sort of the dynamic when the cameras are not there?
WEISS: Well, she's an enormously gracious person no matter who she's with. I don't think she's ever met anybody with whom she cannot work with or not be willing to work with. She's worked with Republican presidents and Democratic presidents.
And when they're together, they have the normal banter. The President is prone to his own form of banter, as you've all seen, and the speaker can respond in kind with that, but she's always about in the end getting down to business.
And that's -- the problem that we're having now is these temper tantrums, these distractions are getting in the way of getting down to business, and that's her main focus, getting stuff done.
COOPER: And it does seem like today the President sort of has ratcheted this up, you know, with calling -- suggesting she's crazy or, you know, using that nickname, suggesting, you know, her unusual movements that she's disintegrating. I'm wondering what you make of that, because it does echo some of the things he said about Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
WEISS: I think it's a reflection of himself when he says things like crazy and out of it, and he's talking about how he feels about himself and what is taking place. I think he feels that things are unraveling for him and if I were to ever give advice to the President, I would say you have an opportunity to learn from one of the most experienced and talented politicians in this country.
The speaker has so much to do with the President's success. He's aware of that. And I think that unrattles him. But he should use that as an opportunity if he really wants to get something done on jobs, on health care, on cleaning up corruption in government.
[20:40:02] They can work together. They can always get back to the center. The speaker is always willing to get back to square one and start again. They've gone through this many times. They can do it again.
COOPER: It's interesting what you say about what his criticism of her is actually what he thinks about himself. It echoes something actually Tony Schwartz who actually wrote "The Art of the Deal" says about the President's tweets that all his attacks and tweets, the things he attacks other people for are all the things he thinks actually about himself.
COOPER: How do you see all this playing out between them, though? I mean, what is the end game for Speaker Pelosi? Obviously she's got issues, you know, with Democrats and those who want impeachment to move forward.
COOPER: But where do you see this going?
WEISS: Well, it's not an end game, I would say. This is a continuum. She's in it for the long haul. This is a long game. I think what probably comes next is you're going to see a resettling. It's happened many times before as everyone here on the -- who's watches this show knows.
The government was shutdown unnecessarily for a month. During that, the speaker suggested that the President not have the State of the Union Address during the government shutdown. He then reciprocated by cancelling her trip to overseas, which had never been done before to my knowledge.
And then the government shutdown came to an end. The President relented, agreed to reopen the government, and the speaker reextended an invitation for him to come and have the State of the Union.
They can get back to square one, and I believe they will get back to square one. Its incumbent on the President to stay focused on getting results for the country. That is her absolute entire focus. Lower health costs, higher pay, cleaning up government, that's what she's all about.
COOPER: Danny Weiss, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
Just ahead, my interview with Howard Stern, including why he really thinks Donald Trump ran for president.
[20:46:05] COOPER: Before he was president, Donald Trump was a frequent guest on Howard Stern's radio show. What few people knew until recently is that Trump tried to get Stern to endorse him and speak on stage at the Republican convention.
In his fascinating new book, Stern shows the evolution of Donald Trump from brash real estate developer to presidential candidate through his many interviews with Trump. I spoke earlier today with Howard Stern.
Now, the full interview is going to air tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. for the hour right here on CNN. But I wanted to share with you now some of what Stern said about his relationship with Trump and why he believes the President would benefit from something Stern says has changed his own life, psychotherapy.
COOPER: You talk about trauma and you've talked about it in relationship to President Trump.
HOWARD STERN, "THE HOWARD STERN SHOW" HOST: Yes.
COOPER: That Donald Trump is a person who experienced a lot of trauma early on.
STERN: Yes. From what I know of Donald and his relationship with his father, it sounds traumatic. It sounds like the father was very domineering. The father expected a lot of him. And the father, I don't know, there was military school. You know, you read these drips and drabs and you go wow.
I can assure you he's been traumatized. Because, you know, Donald, you know, his level of narcissism is so strong. He has troubled with empathy. We know that. And I wish he'd go into psychotherapy. I'd be so proud of him if he did, and he would flourish.
COOPER: But he never has. I mean, he never would.
STERN: There is no way -- I do not believe he's ever done psychotherapy, because he is demonstrating a lot of the -- a lot of the behaviors that I recognize.
COOPER: And I think as an interviewer, I've noticed this just -- when I used to interview him, I have -- I don't get to interview him anymore because he doesn't do it, but he was very susceptible to flattery. And if you gave -- and I noticed this in your interviews with him, you would throw out something like your poll numbers, you know, I've never seen anything like this. STERN: Well, it's a definite technique.
COOPER: It washes over him.
STERN: Yes, it's a technique, you know. It's like if you meet someone who has a bad self -image, oh, you're very beautiful, you're so handsome, you're this, you're that. With Donald, it always starts out -- notice I call him in every interview, Mr. Trump. Now, this is before he was president, Mr. Trump.
COOPER: That's intentional?
STERN: Oh, absolutely. Someone had asked me, said, "Why do you call him Mr. Trump?" I said, "Because it loosens him up. He feels respected. He feels good about himself, now he's going to roll. He's going to open up to me."
COOPER: When you see him now in the White House as president, what do you see?
STERN: Well, you know --
COOPER: Given your history with him and how you know him.
STERN: Well, first of all, it's unbelievable to me. And I've documented my thoughts about how this whole candidacy even came about. This was a publicity stunt. I happened to have --
COOPER: You have no doubt about that?
STERN: I have no doubt, because I have some inside information. And the thing is that it started out with "The Art of the Deal," the book. And it was, you know, a PR guy's idea. He said, "Donald, what you need to do is we'll make a sort of a rumor that you're running for president." And Donald is like, oh. So all of the sudden he was being interviewed. The book goes right to number one.
When he had a second book came out, that's when he decided to start the rumor that he was going to run for president. And then this time around in the last election, "The Apprentice" ratings were not what they were. NBC was not going to give him a raise. And what's a better way than to get NBC's interest, I'll run for president and I'll get lots of press, and I think that's what happened.
COOPER: Do you think he likes being president?
STERN: I don't think he likes being president at all. I think he liked winning the presidency. He likes to win. And, again, I'm not Donald Trump's psychotherapist and I had many good laughs with Donald.
And in some ways I feel that he has been wronged the way they used my transcripts in a way to frame him. And I'll give you an example. When he said the line about STDs being his Vietnam, that was a very jokey thing on my show.
[20:50:07] If you went back and listen to the tape, you would not take that seriously. He was in the spirit of the program. And then he was, you know, they tried to use that against him, "Hey, he's being -- how dare he compare himself to a veteran of the Vietnam War who served when he didn't serve." All right, everybody take a deep breath and relax.
But having said that, the stuff I put in the book I think is very revealing about our now president and there's something to be learned there.
COOPER: Do you think he's the same person that you interviewed, now?
STERN: Yes. I do. I think he is the same exact person. I think the only way you really change is to do analysis. So, yes, I think he's the same guy.
COOPER: He asked you to speak at the RNC. I think --
COOPER: I had no idea about that.
STERN: He used to call me from the campaign trail and I think he was really desirous of my endorsement because, A, I have a big audience. And, B, he's familiar with that audience and I think it would have been very comforting to him if I had gotten on board.
So, when the -- when he secured the nomination and now he was thinking about the convention, I think he wanted some showbiz there. He picked up the phone and he called me personally and he asked me if I would go to the Republican convention and endorse him.
And I was like, oh, gosh, you know, for about a split second I went, can you imagine if I was all in. I would be the head of the FCC. I could be the Supreme Court -- I could be on the Supreme Court. I think Donald would give me anything I asked.
COOPER: You really believe that?
STERN: Oh, I believe it 100 percent. If Ben Carson could get in there, and -- I think Donald would have appointed me.
COOPER: Because he's transactional or he --
STERN: I think he would have been grateful that I'm on his team, regardless of whether I know what I'm doing or not.
COOPER: Do you think he wants to get reelected? Do you think --
STERN: I don't think -- I think psychologically if he really got under the hood, I think he'd say, "What am I doing? I'm in my 70s."
COOPER: You're going to have more from Howard Stern in a moment. We spoke for an hour. It's really fascinating. Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris? CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This breaking news is a real head shaker. The President says we have to move on from Mueller. I've been saying, "Great, let's get Mueller in the stand and then we can move on." I mean, that is dispositive move.
The President says, "No, I'm going to fully cooperate not with anything that was left open by Mueller, not anything that was given to Congress, we're going to go back to the beginning and look at how the Russia probe was started." It sounds like something out of the onion, but it's just something that's true and also makes you cry.
Are we really going to go back through something was already investigated? How is this not more of a cover up? We're going have Debbie Dingell on. She's part of Pelosi's inner circle of Democratic leadership there about whether or not this toxic state of play attributed to this mad move of the President.
We also have Adam Kinzinger. He's part of this young guard of Republicans in the House. We all know him here. What does he think about this? What does he think needs to happen to go forward? And, also, I'm giving a closing tonight on the case against Julian Assange.
COOPER: Interesting. Chris, see you in about seven minutes. I look forward to it.
CUOMO: Yes, sir.
COOPER: More from my interview with Howard Stern ahead. His thoughts on the 2020 Democratic candidates.
[20:56:41] COOPER: More now from my one-on-one interview with Howard Stern and his new book titled "Howard Stern Comes Again." In it, he talks more on the RNC speech that might have been, but also about how he tried to get Hillary Clinton on his show back during the campaign.
Stern is a supporter of hers and wanted, in his words, to humanize her. Well, Stern, doesn't do a lot of political interviews. There are two candidates who interest him above all the others in the Democratic field right now.
COOPER: If you could interview him now, because you haven't spoken to him since you turned down the RNC.
STERN: No. When I turned down the RNC, it was the last time we spoke and he said to me, you know, what are you doing? And, you know, and I explained to him in the nicest way that it would be difficult for me. I said, I'm not really actually comfortable being a public speaker, which I'm not.
I don't like going up. I never was a stand up comic. I don't like any up in front of audiences. This radio studio suits me just fine. I'm along with Robin and she's my audience. I'm in heaven. It's great.
So, when -- you know, what struck me is even odd. I knew he was a Hillary Clinton fan. He was a supporter of hers. So the whole thing was weird. And I am -- I have been a Hillary Clinton supporter way back before even -- when Obama, when she was, you know, trying to get --
STERN: Yes. I think she's a terrific public servant. I thought her husband was the best president we ever had.
COOPER: Tried to get her repeatedly to come on your show.
STERN: I did everything that I normally don't do, including going to "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" and doing an interview with them, excuse me, and supplying them with my whole game plan with Hillary. And the whole game plan was I wanted to humanize her to my audience.
COOPER: You weren't interesting talking about politics or policies.
COOPER: You were interested in her childhood.
STERN: Her childhood.
STERN: I wanted to humanize her in the same way. There's a couple of people in my book where I interviewed them and the audiences perception changed from one interview.
COOPER: It's interesting that Hillary Clinton -- I mean, she must have given your campaign to get her on and you're giving away your strategy, she must have known that was the idea. It's interesting that she did not see that as a benefit. It says something about her as a candidate.
STERN: It does. And I say this -- and I'm glad we're talking about it, because whoever becomes the Democratic nominee or even if you're fighting for the nomination. I applaud those people who go over the Fox News like Mayor Pete who said, you know what, I want to win this thing. And he got a standing ovation over at Fox News, impressive. And that was my point to Hillary.
COOPER: Who in the Democratic field do you -- would you want to interview now?
STERN: I don't know. You know, I don't do a lot of political interviews. I'm kind of fatigued from it. I'm talking about for my radio show.
COOPER: I assume if you're doing Democratic candidates now, it would be more about their background where they're coming. I mean, just as you want with Hillary Clinton.
STERN: Yes, I would --
COOPER: Do you find any of them, the current crop -- A, do you find any of them kind of interesting in their life story? And, B, do you think any of them can actually beat Donald Trump?
STERN: Yes. Again, I think the best interviews are the ones where I am so engaged. I am curious about Mayor Pete because, number one, an openly gay candidate to me, I salute him. It's not going to be easy. There's still so much of our country that is homophobic.
And, you know, we could sit here in New York and say, "Hey, ride on." But, you know, he's going to catch a lot of hell. And I admire his service to the country. I also find him, when he speaks, incredibly intelligent and knows how to talk.
COOPER: So you'd like to interview him?
STERN: I'd be curious about his life. I really would be in the adversity. But, you know, Biden would be just as sort of interesting to me in a way.
COOPER: Howard Stern is fascinating. My full interview with Howard Stern airs tomorrow night, 10:00 p.m. here on CNN. It goes for the full hour.
Meantime, the news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?
CUOMO: All right. Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Prime Time."