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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Full House to Voter on Impeachment Inquiry Thursday; Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) is Interviewed About Full House to Vote on Impeachment Inquiry. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired October 28, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We start with breaking news tonight. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this afternoon announced the impeachment inquiry is about to enter a new, more public phase, trying to at least in part undercut a key Republican talking point in the process. The speaker informed her colleagues in a letter that the House will hold a vote on Thursday on rules that establish the rights of the public to see the information collected from witnesses during closed-door testimony and how that information will be transferred to the Judiciary Committee which is responsible for recommending articles of impeachment.
It will also establish the rights of the president and his counsel as the lower chamber heads toward a final impeachment vote. Much of her letter was not about the process ahead, though. It was rather why they're holding the vote in the first place. Quoting, she says: We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas or continue obstructing the House of Representatives. Nobody is above the law.
Now, tomorrow will mark five weeks since Speaker Pelosi publicly announced the inquiry, and in that time, the White House's top lawyer said administration officials, quote, cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said his employees can't testify. Rudy Giuliani has refused as well.
Today, Democrats threatened contempt after a witness refused to appear. One of the reasons the president's allies have given for a lack of cooperation has to do with process, that there needed to be a single House vote to establish the inquiry.
But that is not actually true. A federal judge on Friday called those arguments, quote, cherry-picked and incomplete, with, quote, no textual support in the U.S. Constitution.
Then, today, in a bit of a surprise, the president seemed to agree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So one thing I said, I'd rather go into the details of the case rather than process. Process is wonderful. Process is good but I think you ought to look at the case and the case is very simple. It's quick. It's so quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: But it doesn't seem like his allies in Congress agree with him, especially considering so much testimony from multiple officials appear to confirm the original whistle-blower's allegations of a quid pro quo.
Fore more on all of it, I'm joined by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, which is now planning to have open hearings as part of impeachment.
Congressman, why take this vote now? What changed?
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Well, I think that this vote is not necessary for the impeachment inquiry to exist. Indeed, as you pointed out, Judge Howell last Friday in the D.C. District Court said as much.
However, we do need a vote in order to do a few things. One, publish the transcripts of the closed door proceedings. Two, transfer this evidence to the Judiciary Committee for their consideration later. And then, three, among other things we need to have staff-led questioning in the open hearings, something which currently is not the norm in most public hearings.
COOPER: So, in the public hearings it's -- the questions are going to be, what, from attorneys on the staff as opposed to from members of Congress?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think it's going to be primarily led by staff. I think one of the problems that your viewers might notice with our public hearings is that most times, we as members each get about five minutes of questioning and although you can pack a lot into five minutes, there's -- there's kind of an abruptness to the way that they start and end and so, we hope to have lengthier question periods, and also done by folks who are probably going to get into even more details than is normally the case in member questioning.
COOPER: And also, I mean, you know, to be frank, in the five minutes that many members of Congress have, oftentimes a lot of that is eaten up by them making a statement first and sometimes those statements are very long.
How much --
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Oh, I don't know what you're talking about, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, not you. Certainly never you.
How much of this is in response to former National Security Council official Charles Kupperman's failure to show, because afterward, after he didn't show, Chairman Schiff made it clear he doesn't want to spend anymore time litigating this in the courts.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, I actually think these aren't really linked because this had to be done anyway in order to go to the next stage, the opening hearings. The one thing I can say about Mr. Kupperman is he obviously is not complying with the personally directed subpoena, but as you can see, there's been a stream, a parade of witnesses who have come forward.
These are career public servants, oftentimes appointed by Donald Trump's administration, who have come forward at their own expense putting their necks on the line to tell the truth and that's very much to be commended.
COOPER: The House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, he has responded to what Nancy Pelosi put out today, saying -- he tweeted, saying, quote: Today's backtracking is an admission that this process has been botched from the start.
Obviously you don't agree with that, but do you see this as at least in part a desire to sort of meet Republicans -- some Republican's criticism that there should be a full vote on this?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, what I can say, it reaffirms what's already occurred. But I mean, there are claims that the process has been unfair, are totally unfounded. You know, more than 40 Republicans have participated in the closed door proceedings. They've had equal time to question the witnesses. They can question them about any topic they want and they get to make opening statements as well. And they've used that opportunity on an ample basis.
So I think their claims of process are unfounded. Interestingly, they don't want to talk about the substance of the allegations and that's what we really need to consider at this point. So, going to a public hearing will really allow the American people to see the substance of the evidence and really decide for themselves, you know, what they think about where the evidence should lead us.
COOPER: So will all the transcripts of the closed-door meetings, will all of those be released? And what percentage do you think of the people who have come forward so far to be witnesses or to give testimony will be called back to do it publicly?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: The answer is I don't know. I don't think that has been decided. Obviously I don't want to get ahead of my chairman, Adam Schiff, on these particular questions.
But I think that probably short of redacting for certain maybe sensitive or classified information, my hope would be there would be maximum transparency. In my humble opinion, it was very powerful, incredible, compelling testimony such as by Bill Taylor just the other day.
COOPER: Yes, as I mentioned, at the top of the program, Speaker Pelosi says the Democrats are taking these steps to, quote, eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold any documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.
Do you actually expect this will change how the White House responds to your threats?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I'm not sure. I'm not holding my breath based on the obstructionism they've provided up to this point, but at this point, I think that we have to do the right thing. We have to hold open hearings, provide maximum transparency into what's happening and like I said, allow the American people to actually see the witnesses and hear for themselves what they have to say.
It's extremely important for this process to unfold the way it should.
COOPER: Congressman, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Joining me now, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, CNN chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN political commentator and former Trump campaign strategist, David Urban, who is now a Washington corporate lobbyist.
Jeff, does this upcoming vote -- does it put Democrats in a stronger position or is it, as Kevin McCarthy is saying, Democrats backtracking?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I think it puts them mostly in a stronger position. I think what it's really about is that there has been a plan among the Democrats from almost the beginning of this process to make an article of impeachment about failure to cooperate with Congress, failure to answer subpoenas, failure to answer witnesses and documents. And this resolution will eliminate one of the arguments that the administration has used to refuse to produce documents and they will still refuse to produce all that material.
So I think it's really designed to build up the article of impeachment. I don't think it's going to get the Trump administration to yield on the issues of allowing people to testify.
COOPER: Gloria, the idea that the congressman was just saying that it's going to be staff members doing the questioning as opposed to members of Congress, we haven't seen that for a while. That's pretty interesting. You know, there were a lot of -- there was a lot of talk of should not have been done in, you know, the Mueller testimony, in other testimonies, but do you think that's going to make much of a difference in terms of public perception?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know if it's going to make much of a difference in public perception. It may mean that you get more or better information out of the witnesses because, of course, the committee lawyers are really steeped in all of this. And I don't know if that will happen on the Republican side as well or just on the Democratic side. If there are Republican attorneys and Republican members of Congress,
you can be sure they're going to go back to the deep state and the -- sort of the rat hole about, well, these are all Democrats. They're not to be trusted, and, you know, all the rest of that. And I think, however, if you have attorneys with timelines and a long amount of time to question people, not just five minutes, you may actually be able to tell a narrative a lot better than you would if you were moving from member to member to member.
And I think this is all about telling a story to the American public.
COOPER: David, it's interesting because Democrats are saying, well, look, all the things that, you know, Nancy Pelosi has talked about today, that was the plan all along. Transcripts were always going to be released. Witnesses were all going to be -- some of them were always going to be brought back to testify openly.
Do you see this as much of a change or do you see it -- or how do you see it?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, you know, Anderson, I listened to Carrie Cordero earlier on another show kind of opined. This is a tempest in the teapot. The speaker didn't need to do any of this. She could have conducted business in a closed door meeting and not make a lot her vulnerable members kind of walk the plank.
So, I'm not sure what you get out of this except, you know, you give comfort to some folks who are in very safe districts and you make people in swing districts very nervous.
COOPER: Dave, to your point, it's not going to change -- sorry. It's not going to change --
COOPER: -- you know, how the White House handles this or deals with this?
URBAN: No. Just like Jeff said earlier. Just because they vote this way I don't think all of a sudden the White House counsel is going to say, since you've had this procedural vote, we'll turn this information over to you. It will change absolutely nothing.
TOOBIN: I'm sorry. Go ahead. I didn't mean to interrupt.
URBAN: Jeff, it's not going to change anything.
I think, Anderson, I go back to "The Washington Post", January 20th, 2017, you know, the move to impeach President Trump has begun on inauguration day. So, this is a continuation of that. I think the White House sees it as that. CNN has a piece on the website too where polling is upside down in
swing states on impeachment. Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania -- you know, impeachment is not playing so well there. So I think Speaker Pelosi has a timing thing on her hands as well, as has been alluded to. You know, are we going to get this done and wrapped up before Thanksgiving or is this going to drag into 2020?
TOOBIN: Can we talk about this a little bit about the law rather than the polling data? You know, the White House has said we will not cooperate because you haven't passed a resolution. They are going to pass a resolution and the White House still isn't going to cooperate. That's wrong. I mean, that's just something that shouldn't happen.
URBAN: Jeff --
URBAN: Jeff, let's --
BORGER: Go ahead.
URBAN: Go ahead, Gloria.
COOPER: David, respond and then we'll go to Gloria.
URBAN: No, I was going to say -- Jeff, there's a long history of the House and White House not getting along. You go to Fast and Furious, Benghazi, lots of push back from every administration to the Congress on all oversight investigations. This is no different.
BORGER: Well, but the White House at some point and the president said it today, Anderson, you pointed out at the beginning of the show, the president said today, you know, I really want you guys to get into the details here and stop talking about process and start defending me on the phone call because it was a beautiful phone call.
COOPER: He said he wanted to talk to Mueller and he wanted to be interviewed.
COOPER: What one says publicly is not what one wants. But go ahead.
BORGER: Exactly. Now the Republicans have a conflict here, because the president, at least he says, wants them to talk about the phone call and how it was perfect and it was fine for the president to ask another president a political favor for him in exchange for the military aid. And the Republicans are still screaming about the process even though Nancy Pelosi has said, OK, fine, here it is. She called their bluff.
So, there's going to be -- they have to have a meeting of the minds here about what they're going to do during this process. Are they going to go down the dark hole of the whistle-blower as a Democrat? Or are they going to say, what the president is saying, which is, yes, so, I did it, so what?
COOPER: We're going to continue this in just a second. I have to get a break in.
Still to come we're going also to the White House for reaction to Thursday's impeachment vote.
Also, detailed account on the U.S. Special Forces and the one dog that we know about who all risked their lives on the secret mission that killed the leader of ISIS.
COOPER: Reaction tonight from the White House on the breaking news that we've been reporting. A vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday is going to take place that will send the impeachment inquiry into a new, more public direction, involving possible disclosure of witness, transcripts, transfer of evidence and the due process rights for the president.
Jim Acosta joins us now from the White House.
What are they saying about it at the White House, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're not signaling a whole lot of cooperation that's come, Anderson. I will tell you talking to some sources evening, some Republican sources up on Capitol Hill and close to the White House essentially saying this was their objective all along, to force the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have this vote later on this week.
But according to one Republican source I talked to earlier this evening, this does not mean that, all of a sudden, there's going to be all of this cooperation. This one Republican source referred to Pelosi's source as being largely symbolic. The White House press secretary I think signaled this pretty clearly earlier this evening, Anderson, putting out a very lengthy statement calling this process irreversibly illegitimate. That is an indication that the White House is likely to take the posture, Anderson, that although Nancy Pelosi is now trying to create a process that will be voted on in the House, that that doesn't all of a sudden put the impeachment toothpaste back in the tube.
COOPER: And the legal team, have they weighed in?
ACOSTA: I talked to one source close to the legal team aware of what is being discussed inside the president's legal team, and they are saying this evening that they're being much more cautious about what is going to be voted on in the House. I talked to one source who said, listen, we haven't even read what's in the resolution, so at this point they don't want to comment. But, Anderson, if past is prologue, judging by everything that we've
seen so far this White House in terms of the stonewalling, throughout this impeachment inquiry, it is very likely that the White House will have to be dragged into court and forced to cooperate with this investigation no matter what is voted on on Thursday, but we'll have to wait and see what is in the finer details of this resolution. At least the president's legal team is not closing the door on all of this, but they're not signaling a great deal of cooperation tonight.
COOPER: Jim Acosta -- Jim, thanks very much.
Back with us, Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin and David Urban.
David, the timeline here does matter. I mean, it's one -- it is one -- you know, obviously there's an election coming up. If this gets wrapped up in court and moving into the New Year and the Senate takes it on and there's lengthy testimony, that's going to occupy time of some of the front-runners on the Democratic side running for president.
URBAN: Well, not only, but, Anderson, you're exactly correct in that regard. And not only that, but you get more and more of what I see verbatim from voters across America and particularly in swing states that say, look, Congress should get back to doing what they're doing.
There's an election coming up. We have a few months to go. Why don't we make our decision as to who should be president or not and let's not nullify the past election?
So, that becomes more of a problem the closer you get to an election as well.
Jeff, earlier you talked about -- I was going to say Jeff earlier talked about the vote. One of the things the Republicans have a lot of heartburn with is Speaker Pelosi never took a vote to authorize this impeachment process to begin with. Republicans --
BORGER: Doesn't matter.
URBAN: Republicans -- well, Gloria, I think Republicans feel like she should do that. If she's going to have a subsequent vote, let's have a vote to begin the proceedings initially.
TOOBIN: Well, Judge Howell in the district court said that's not necessary.
BORGER: Didn't need it.
TOOBIN: They're going to take that vote anyway at the end of this week.
So, I mean, you know, these procedural objections to how the Democrats are proceeding, they will persuade a certain number of people who I think are already persuaded but, you know, the ultimate issue is, is the president's conduct impeachable? And at some point it looks like the House of Representatives is going to have to make a decision on that and that's a substantive issue, not a procedural one.
COOPER: Gloria, how much of the time line do you think is --
URBAN: Well, it's a political issue too, Jeff.
BORGER: This time line is moving very quickly. This whole thing is fast tracked. The Democrats are well aware that they want this to end, as David points out, they want this to end before January.
And Katelyn Polantz just reported tonight that Judge Richard Leon wants to hear from Charles Kupperman who said I'm not going to testify today on Capitol Hill, former national security person who worked for John Bolton. His attorney and the White House lawyers, the House lawyers about how this should proceed. Kupperman said, I can't figure this out. The White House and the House disagree. He's having them all in on Thursday.
That's pretty quick. Having them all in on Thursday. So, presumably, so he can decide this matter, so Kupperman can testify or not testify. So that gives you an idea of how the courts are even speeding this up.
COOPER: Jeff, think --
URBAN: I think if I'm not mistaken --
COOPER: Go ahead.
Anderson, I think that the House already continues to have depositions scheduled to the middle of November. There are depositions being held out to the middle of November. So, seeing how things are going to move much quicker, if they're not wrapping up by the end -- you know, you get Thanksgiving, you get Christmas, you're in the New Year, pretty quickly here.
So, taking depositions throughout the end of November doesn't seem like you're going to get things wrapped up too quickly.
COOPER: Jeff, the House can structure the rules any way they want in terms of the actual opening hearings. Are you encouraged that it's going to be staff members asking the questions or that's what they say? They said that and then clearly that sort of derailed.
TOOBIN: No, this seems to be different. And I am so encouraged. I think this is good for the Republicans as well as the Democrats.
The congressmen, with all due respect, are such extraordinary blowhards that they are -- A, all they want to do is hear their own voices and, B, don't know how to ask a question to tell a story. Both sides will be able to use this testimony to tell a story.
BORGER: Right. COOPER: The public can then, you know, make up its mind about which
story is more persuasive. But this nonsense of five minutes from each side is a miserable way to extract information. And this is much better, I think, for all concerned.
BORGER: And you're going to be able to read some of the secret testimony because they're going to release -- they're going to start releasing some of these transcripts. We know that the attorneys are up there checking out the transcripts of their clients.
So, you know, the public is going to have a lot of the story before you get the testimony so they're going to be able to tell this narrative one way or another and the Republicans can do whatever they want, either produce a counter narrative or just poke holes in the sources of the narratives, say, for example, that Mr. Taylor is a member of the deep state who's, you know, not a patriot, et cetera, et cetera, after he's had 50 years in public service.
COOPER: David --
URBAN: Gloria -- go ahead, Anderson.
COOPER: Sorry. I wanted to ask you about John Bolton. Obviously, there's a lot of folks wondering would he testify, what would he say? Charles Kupperman who was on the July 25th call didn't appear for the scheduled testimony. The White House had directed him not to.
If the president thought Kupperman or frankly any of these officials could clear the president, wouldn't they want him to testify? Do you have any sense of where Bolton is at?
URBAN: I clearly do not. You know, I think it's going to be important -- we'll hear from Morrison coming up I think on Thursday. His testimony -- his name appears, you know, numerous times in --
COOPER: Taylor referenced him multiple times.
URBAN: Right, right, because he was the firsthand person who was present on the phone call. Taylor was reacting to what he heard from Mr. Morrison. So, I think Mr. Morrison's testimony will be very, very important, to hear what he has to say and that will lay out kind of a roadmap one direction or another for both sides.
And then as you point out correctly, you know, Charlie Kupperman's the deputy national security advisor in John Bolton. Obviously very important to hear what they had to say. I don't know -- listen, we don't know whether Mr. Morse son has exculpatory testimony, what he's going to produce when he comes or not. We'll have to wait and see. That's obviously going to be very important.
COOPER: Yes. David Urban, Jeff Toobin, Gloria Borger, thanks very much. How a military dog and U.S. Special Forces played an important role in
the death of the most wanted terrorist. Up next, exactly what happened and what could happen next.
ANDERSON COPPER, CNN HOST: There are new details tonight on the raid that resulted in the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In a speech in Chicago today, the President said, "It was a tremendous weekend for our country. This afternoon the President also tweeted out a picture of the dog, the military canine that reportedly chased al-Baghdadi down a tunnel. It was injured when the terrorist detonated his suicide vest.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the dog is now back on duty with its handler and doing all right.
That just one of the details that we learned today about a mission that had been in the planning for sometime and was fought with high risks.
COOPER (voice over): 5:00 pm, Saturday evening, eight American helicopters were carrying as many as 100 US special operations forces. They took off from Iraq and flew for 70 minutes across Syria. The pilots flew low to avoid detection but came under fire during the flight, returning fire as they went.
Their destination was a compound in Western Syria. According to President Trump, the area had been under surveillance for a few weeks. We learned today an informant inside ISIS told the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces that the elusive ISIS leader was hiding out at this compound and provided a piece of underwear, and a blood sample that was used in a DNA test to confirm his identity before the raid took place.
MARK ESPER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The aim was to capture Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi and if we couldn't capture him, then, of course, we were going to kill him.
COOPER: When they arrived, the helicopters began firing on the buildings, allowing the soldiers from the Army's elite Delta Force and their canines to land. Believing the front door was booby trapped, they blew holes in the side walls in order to enter the compound. An intense fire fight ensued and a number of ISIS fighters were killed, with at least two fighters captured, and 11 children taken into custody.
Two of Baghdadi's wives were also killed during the operation. They were found with their suicide vests still intact. Baghdadi himself fled into an underground tunnel taking three children with him. A canine member of the Delta Force team went after Baghdadi and that's when the terrorist leader detonated his suicide vest killing himself and the three children with him. It's unknown if they were his children.
ESPER: We tried to call him out and asked him to surrender himself. He refused. He went down into a subterranean area. And in a process of trying to get him out, he detonated a suicide vest we believe and killed himself.
COOPER: President Trump said two American Special Forces members were slightly wounded in the attack. The Delta Force canine was also wounded but is reportedly doing fine.
A short time ago President Trump tweeted out this picture of the dog. His name is still classified. A DNA test positively identified Baghdadi's body soon after he was killed. US Special Forces were in the compound for about two hours and were able to gather what's described as highly sensitive material on ISIS before pulling out and flying back to Iraq.
ESPER: Baghdadi and the thugs who followed him were responsible for some of the most brutal atrocities of our time. His death marks a devastating blow for the remnants of ISIS who are now deprived of their inspirational leader, following the destruction of their physical caliphate earlier this year.
COOPER: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who dreamed of destroying the West and was responsible for the murder of thousands of people around the world was buried at sea by American forces.
COOPER: There's no better book about the rise of ISIS and emergence of al-Baghdadi than "Black Flag", won the Pulitzer Prize for non- fiction. Joby Warrick is the author, he joins us along with the person who figured prominently in his book. Nada Bakos is a the former CIA analyst who for years tracked and targeted ISIS leadership. She is the author of a fascinating book "The Targeter: My Life in the CIA Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House." I welcome both of you.
Joby, first of all, what surprised you about how all this played out, if anything did? I mean, given everything you know about Baghdadi and ISIS. And what kind of an impact does his death have?
JOBY WARRICK, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think it's not a surprise that eventually we would get him, because this is the result of a long effort. It's going back, as we understand it, probably years and a sense of people looking for him very deliberately, very determinately.
But I think what's surprising was where they got him. A few people expected to see him in the northwest of Syria, in an area that's pretty populated with, you know, other groups that are rivals, other Islamist groups that don't like ISIS very much.
And so, he sort of hiding in plain sight in a way and taking some risk in being where he was.
On the other hand, he was extremely close to the Turkish borders, so if he needed to escape quickly, I guess, he had the opportunity to do that. But that's where they found him and just the rest of the story is history.
COOPER: And, Nada, what does his death ultimately mean for ISIS as an organization and for other groups in the region?
NADA BAKOS, FORMER CIA ANALYST: And as we've seen throughout the years, leadership decapitation has sometimes minimal effect, sometimes it can really take the oxygen out of the group. And I think right now, it depends on who the successor might be and whether or not Baghdadi was grooming anybody to come up through the ranks to replace him.
It's going to be hard to pick up that have somebody without his clout and his bonafides. And at the same time, al-Qaeda is looking to take over some of their territory and possibly some of their fighters who are now looking for another home. So it's hard to know at this point really what the future remains for Isis, but at the same time there are tens of thousands of fighters that belong to the organization that are still alive and have the opportunity to coalesce.
COOPER: Joby, how concerned do you think or how much concern should there be in the United States, in Europe, elsewhere about potential retaliatory attacks or even in the region?
WARRICK: I think we can almost guarantee that something is going to happen, because this is a moment when Islamic state is going to have to show that it's still relevant. So whatever is left, whatever core leadership is out there, is going to be urging its followers to do something.
And we're seeing that already online. Just in the last 24 hours, there had been some messages and some posters put out, these very sort of graphic posters, you know, calling on their followers to attack individual cities in the US, to attack Washington or New York, or other places.
And so, they're goings to want be to show themselves as being still relevant. And as NATO points out, this is a group with resources. It's not like al-Qaeda and Iraq was, you know, ten years ago when it was really decimated. With that many fighters, 14,000, 18,000 just in Iraq and Syria, with that much wealth that they still have, with weapons, with, you know, followers around the world including some who don't physically go to the places to fight on the battlefields. They have the potential to do something and I'd be surprised if we don't see some dramatic activity over the next few months.
COOPER: Nada, I want to move-- the pullout of US forces from along the Turkish border, from that part of Syria, what sort of an impact do you think it had on this operation or the timing of it. And, I mean, the thing that struck me is apparently this information, at least in part, came from a source that Kurdish fighters have. BAKOS: I mean, that could have disrupted this operation entirely. I mean, we don't know if it delayed the operation or if they had to rush to conduct the operation. But I think pulling out any of the troops right now is problematic for some of the follow-on information that they're going to gain from this raid because we know they were able to stay in the house for sometime, probably collect some information and in order to act on that, it's hard to launch all of these operations from inside of Iraq or in Turkey.
So I think it's going to have, not only a follow-on impact but it could have disrupted this operation itself.
COOPER: And, Nada, just finally, you spend a lot of time, obviously, of your life tracking ISIS and learning about al-Baghdadi. I just wonder, what it was like for you personally when you learned about the circumstances of his death and that he had been killed?
COOPER: Well, and I spent a lot of time also tracking Zarqawi and al- Qaeda in Iraq. So this succession of that organization and seeing these iterations of these organizations, I mean, it's a relief on one hand given the amount of violence that he's sown throughout the region and everywhere else, and the impact that he has had.
But at the same time, I know just like we saw with Zarqawi, Bin Laden, this isn't the end of this type of extremism, that ideology does still continue to flourish and grow, in addition to the fact that we seemed to not learn some of the lessons that we keep having to relearn every time this happens.
We haven't instituted some of the governance, and the diplomacy, and all of the other tools that we have to be able to counter this.
COOPER: Nada Bakos, I appreciate it. Thank you, Joby Warrick, as well. Great to have you both with us, thank you so much.
WARRICK: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, we're going to talk to a speech writer for former Defense Secretary James Mattis and a look at the reality of being blindsided by a president. Be right back.
COOPER: As we noted earlier in the program, President Trump has spoken a lot about the weekend raid that led to the death of America's most wanted terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He has provided a graphic and dramatic account of how he says the ISIS leader died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: He was whimpering, screaming and crying. And, frankly, I think it's something that should be brought out. So that his followers and all of these young kids that want to leave various countries including the United States, they should see how he died. He didn't die a hero, he died a coward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Neither of the top two officials in the Pentagon could say they heard the same thing. Here's defense Secretary Mike Esper speaking on ABC News Program this week and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley talking with reporters today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS HOST: The president talked about Baghdadi whimpering, and crying, and screaming. How do we know that?
ESPER: Well, I don't have those details. The President probably had the opportunity to talk to commanders on the ground.
I know that President had planned to talk down people on the ground.
MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CHAIRMAN: I know that President had planned to talk down to unit and unit members, but I don't know what the source of that was. But I assume it was talking directly to unit and unit members.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, my next guest says that sort of discordant information was a recurring issue when he was at the Pentagon, serving as the Chief's speechwriter and communication director for former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Guy Snodgrass is the author of the new book "Holding the Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon with Secretary Mattis." He joins me now for this exclusive interview.
Guy, thanks for being with us. The position that the President has put the current secretary of Defense in often with, in particularly, with his comments about the raid, it reminded me of the position that you write about in your book that the President put Secretary Mattis in on more than one occasion, explain how Secretary Mattis navigated that.
GUY SNODGRASS, FORMER COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR FOR FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY. Guy: You bet. Thanks again for having me on.
As you mentioned, that was something that we saw quite frequently. There was a lot of breakdown in communication between the White House and the Pentagon. And it could have been any decisions.
In the book, I recount several such as the creation of the Space Force and the fact that we only received a call notifying us of the creation of the Space Force, about 15 minutes after the President had announced it on live television. And --
COOPER: 15 minutes after?
SNODGRASS: 15 minutes after, that's right. As you looked over at the telephone and you saw who was caller ID of who is actually calling from the White House to give us a heads up, it was Chief of Staff General John Kelly. And, of course, we had even asked about the White House about 15 minutes prior to the speech if there was going to be any news being made. And they confirmed, no, there wouldn't be.
It would be right down the fairway. So that was, of course, one of the many shocks we faced.
COOPER: I want be to read something that you write about the, particularly, that the President put Mattis in the Pentagon in quote. You said, "It would be political suicide to admit Trump was catching us off guard, but anything less than complete honestly with the press would imperil Mattis' reputation as ethically spotless leader."
It's certainly kind of no-win situation for somebody like Secretary Mattis in that case.
SNODGRASS: It's a challenging situation but I thought that the secretary handled those kinds of situations very well. We'd be on international travel. We'd be flying on the E4B, which is the airplane we use, when we go from country to country.
And you would have press goggles, and a lot of times he'd be hit with a challenging question or be caught off guard. And I always liked his response which I also recall on the book, which is if you ask me what's going to happen, if the President says six and I say half a dozen, they're going to say there's a violent disagreement between us. So he just knew to say circumspect to the maximum extent possible.
COOPER: One of the really kind of very telling moments that you chronicle is President Trump's visit to the Pentagon to receive his first briefing on all the locations around the world with US forces and embassies. In a very important meeting, Mattis had been preparing for it very carefully. And he wanted to convey the importance of both allies any strategic presence to national security.
Explain what the President kind of how he reacted through the whole presentation in what he brought up?
SNODGRASS: Well, Anderson, just like you mentioned. This is something that as a team, we had spent weeks preparing for. We understood the importance of this meeting.
This is, you're taking a president who if you think back to July of 2017, very new in the role, did not have a background in governance, did not have a background in national security. And so, Secretary of State Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson, the Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and others wanted to provide the President with a in-depth briefing. And we thought we could reach the President by speaking to him in his own business-granted language.
So in our case, we centered the entire around what we called the return on investment capital. We wanted to show the President that -- that you get great return on your investment when you have say for example, a thousand troops overseas but you have the host nation with tens or hundreds of thousands that are working in partnership with us. So to put that much time and effort into that kind of a briefing, to have President Trump walk in with a scowl on his face, to sit down with his arms crossed. He refuses to look at Tillerson, refuses to look at Mattis. It was something that you just sense in a room that he was not pleased with what he knew he was going to hear, and made the briefing itself very difficult.
And then, we were only three or four minutes into that briefing before he started using non sequitur. So we're briefing about issues of national, international importance. And now, he starts bringing up, for example, that there had been a leak in the Washington Post and he spent ten minutes talking about how that reporter should be sued and the Washington Post should be sued. So it was very jarring.
COOPER: He also then -- that's when he first brought up the whole idea of a parade, right?
SNODGRASS: It is. That is the meeting where we first heard about the parade. It was towards the tail end of the meeting. And, of course, as I note in the book, there were a lot of issues he brought up. He brought up the cost overruns with the newest, the navy's newest aircraft carrier, the USS Ford. And he brought up, as I mentioned previously, the reporter from the Washington Post, as you just mentioned, also brought up the idea of a parade.
And it was something that it was something that I recount in the book where Mattis and others were adamantly opposed to it. Because, first, they didn't like the optics of having a full parade, certainly going down Pennsylvania Avenue, and there's the optics of tanks. It harkens back to Soviet era display of power.
But more importantly, when you have a military that it needed all the funding it could get to continue rebuild and restore itself after decades of war. You wanted to use that funding for building the military and not on some military parade.
COOPER: Guy Snodgrass, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you very much.
SNODGRASS: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, what happened when President Trump went to a public event where was not exactly a friendly crowd for the President.
COOPER: Check in with Chris and see what he's working on for "Cuomo Primetime." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Why did the Democrats decide to have this vote? Is this a proof that it is a procedural step in a direction of imminent articles of impeachment? Is it a capitulation to the Republicans? Is this a win for Republicans? What would that mean either way? We have defenders for the President on tonight to talk about this and the impact of taking out Mr. Baghdadi and what that does for American security. We have our top investigators. We've got McCabe and Baker here, to take us through where we are in the state of play. There's a new round of noncompliance with someone who was supposed to testify today. What does it mean, where does it take us, that's how we're starting the week, my handsome friend.
COOPER: A lot to g et cetera to, all right. We'll see you in about five minutes from now, Chris. Look forward to it.
Up next, President Trump's tough, kind of rough reception of last night's World Series game in Washington, why one of his political opponents is coming to his defense.
COOPER: A Democrat is coming to the defense of President Trump who attended last night's World Series game at Nationals Park, not far from White House. The President got booed loudly. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The President of the United States.
COOPER: Some cheers shifting to boos. The chilly reception came during a salute to US service members, just hours after the President announced the death of the most wanted terrorist, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
It didn't end there. Here's what happened next.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!
COOPER: People chanting "lock him up" obviously, a twist on "lock her up" that chant that's popular with Trump supporters in regards to Hillary Clinton.
One of the president's political opponents disagrees with last night's chant. Delaware Democratic Senator Chris Coons tell CNN, "The Office of the President deserve respect, even when the actions of our President don't.
The White House Spokesman noted today that Washington is pretty liberal town and added that it was a great night for the President and a great night for baseball.
That does it for us. The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Primetime." Chris?