Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
White House Focuses on Leaks Rather than Aide's Comments on John McCain; Chief of Staff John Kelly Says Illegal Immigrants Not Easily Able to Assimilate; Nunberg Called To Appear Before Senate Intel Cmte.; Nunberg: Cohen Holds The Cards; The Long List Of Trump Officials Who've Threatened To Quit; The Trump Cabinet: The Long List Of Who Threatened To Quit Of Did; Anderson, Anthony Bourdain Talk About "Parts Unknown" Newfoundland; "Parts Unknown" In Newfoundland Airs Sunday 9PM; WH Won't Apologize For Aide's Cruel McCain Joke. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 11, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] BOLDUAN: Now I feel like I have no idea what to do with my arms or my hands right now.
Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend. "AC 360" starts now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. John Berman here in for Anderson. We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with a stunningly cruel statement by a White House aide. Eclipsed only by the new stunningly evasive White House response to it, if you can even call it a response.
Kelly Sadler was the White House special assistant who handles surrogate communications. She told staffers during a meeting that Senator John McCain's opposition to Gina Haspel as CIA director doesn't matter because, quote, "he's dying anyway." That is according to a White House official who said she meant it as a joke but that it had fell flat. We would hope so.
Senator John McCain is an American patriot, a war hero, he served this country. He was held in captivity, survived torture, but even if he wasn't any of that, he is a human being battling incurable brain cancer. And as his wife Cindy McCain tweeted to Sadler, quote, "May I remind you my husband has a family, seven children, five grandchildren."
A source said Sadler called Meghan McCain yesterday to apologize, we don't know what her response was. But on "The View" today Meghan McCain said don't feel bad for her or her family. That they're strong, there's much more love generated toward them that anything negative, and that her father is doing well right now which we are very glad to hear. But there is one thing she says she doesn't understand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGHAN MCCAIN, SEN. JOHN MCCAIN'S DAUGHTER: I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in where that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: At the White House today multiple reporters tried to ask this multiple times. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does she still have a job?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to comment on an internal staff meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does the White House not think that you need to condemn these remarks or comments --
SANDERS: Again I'm not going to validate a leak one way or the other out of an internal staff meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you saying she doesn't say this?
SANDERS: Again I'm not going to validate a leak out of an internal staff meeting one way or the other.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does Kelly Sadler still work in this White House?
SANDERS: Yes, she does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So the only thing Sara Sanders would directly answer is that Kelly Sadler does still work at the White House. No condemnation of the remarks, no acknowledgement that they even happened. Sanders seemed more concern that the remarks leaked, that they were said in the first place.
So the problem is not that a taxpayer funded representative of the president said something hateful is that we all know a taxpayer funded representative of the president said something hateful. Not to mention the fact that the press secretary's "nothing to see here" act is hard to swallow given that we've all seen it. John McCain's wife and daughter had talked about it. Kelly Sadler called to apologize.
Why can't this White House do the same? Perhaps because the president also had talked trash about Senator McCain. Remember when he said he liked war heroes who weren't captured? The president's behavior past and present seems to render this White House incapable of apology of any kind. Even when it's obviously the right thing to do.
Again multiple reporters tried to address this today multiple times.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What does the White House believe about Senator McCain and is there a tone set from the top here where it is allowed for an aide to say he is dying anyway?
SANDERS: Certainly, there is not a tone set here. We have respect for all Americans.
ZELENY: Why not apologize to Senator McCain? Wouldn't it be easier?
SANDERS: Again I'm not going to get into a back and forth because, you know, people want to create issues of leak staffing.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does the president set the tone? Does he bear responsibility for the tone that's in the White House?
SANDERS: The president, as I mentioned just a moment ago, supports all Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, according to Sarah Sanders, the president has not set a tone, he respects all Americans, supports all Americans.
Here is just a small sampling of Donald J. Trump respecting and supporting all Americans starting with American war hero, Senator John McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured. OK. I hate to tell you.
Maxine Waters is a very low IQ individual. Rosie O'Donnell is disgusting. I mean, both inside and out. You take a look at her she's a slob. You know what they use to do to guys like that when they're in the a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks. I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.
You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. I moved on her like a bitch. Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. I don't know what I said, I don't remember.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: As the first lady said in the beginning of the week, be best.
Senator John McCain is among the best. We wish him and his family the best.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny was at that White House briefing today, he joins us now.
[20:05:04] Jeff, once again, Sarah Sanders is avoiding answering questions and also standing by Kelly Sadler. Does it seem like there will be any repercussions for these comments? ZELENY: John, I think it's clear there will not be repercussions for
these comments. I mean, and I'm not sure that Sarah Sanders avoid answering questions. She did answer the question saying she's not going to talk about it. That in and of itself is an answer. That was the answer today from the White House. They were not going to apologize, they were not going to give an inch on this which seems something like, you know, an easy thing to do.
Republicans on Capitol Hill I talked to today were a little stunned by this. After a White House briefing watching Sarah Sanders calling this an internal matter, you know, so I was trying to ask a question to get around the apology thing, you know, saying a tone is set for the top, is anyone off limits here? Is there any sort of sense of decency here?
But the reality here is that the president does set the tone from the top and the tone set today was to not apologize. The question here is whether that was a direct order from the president or if people were trying to please the president by not doing so. I don't know what the answer to that question is -- John.
BERMAN: You know, and it does certainly seem, Jeff, that Sarah Sanders was more concerned about the fact that this hateful comment from this taxpayer funded employee leaked than the fact that this taxpayer funded employee said it in the first place.
ZELENY: I was struck by that actually listening to those answers several times, saying this was a leaked comment. Sure, it was leaked but the reality here is that the employee apologized herself. She called Meghan McCain last evening offering a private apology. And she was at work today. She was doing her normal business. She was sending out e-mails. She's surrogate coordinator. What that means is that she sort of tries to get Republicans and supporters on this same message here. She was doing that today as business as usual.
So it was an internal matter that leaked. But I was so struck, John, as we end this week here, the White House treated it as just one more attack on them as opposed to what it actually was, an attack on John McCain.
BERMAN: Jeff Zeleny at the White House, thanks so much and thanks for asking the question.
With me now, Paris Dennard, Tara Setmayer and Gloria Borger.
And, Gloria, you know, Sarah Sanders had multiple opportunities at the podium to simply say that the White House was sorry or the White House sends its thoughts and prayers to John McCain, or say something, anything, yet she chose not to go there. It was very, very apparent, very stark.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No. It was striking. You know, she instead glommed on to the notion that this was a leak of an internal meeting. Well, let me tell you what kind of a meeting this was. This was a meeting that Kelly Sadler had with congressional communications staffers. This was not some internal closed-door White House meeting. This was a meeting where you're trying to get your message straight about X, Y and Z. And that's how John McCain probably came up when she said we didn't have to worry about his vote.
So, first of all, to say that she is not going to talk about internal leaks is actually inaccurate. And then secondly, it's very clear to me that she would have been out there saying something else if the president had directed otherwise. We know the president cares an awful lot about what his press secretary says, and so I've got to believe, and as Jeff said before, we can't prove it at this point, but I have got to believe that she was doing this with the president's assent or even his direction.
BERMAN: You know, Paris, you've got long ties with the McCain family in Arizona. You know, why can't the White House just say sorry? Should it? Should the White House say it's sorry?
PARIS DENNARD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF BLACK OUTREACH FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I do have long ties with the McCain family and I respect the senator's service and pray for his time of recovery right now. But at the same time, I am also very good friends and close to Kelly Sadler and that entire communications team. And as I understand it, Kelly felt that she needed to apologize not only to Meghan McCain, whom she reached out to yesterday, but other people connected to the family. Because she --
BORGER: Good for her.
DENNARD: Because she felt that was the right thing to do. Whether or not it was received well, I don't know. But she did do that. The reason, John, I don't think that the White House meaning Sarah Sanders or the president needs to apologize for something is because this was not something that the president said or did or it's not something that Sarah Sanders or the White House in and of itself in an official capacity did.
This was something that a staffer, a specialist to the president said during a meeting and she felt bad about it and she did the right thing, which was apologized. And I don't think it's a joke, as I understand it, they were talking about the response to the nomination of the new CIA director and what happened was they were bringing up different things from a communications standpoint.
[20:10:02] Someone brought up the fact that the senator had made a comment about not being in support of her nomination. And Kelly made a flippant remark about -- essentially saying well, what difference does it make because he is not coming to D.C. to vote yes or no? So as a communications strategy do not have to worry about responding to the senator.
BORGER: That's not what she said.
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right.
BORGER: That is not what she said.
DENNARD: That is not what she said but that is in a flippant remark is what she meant by that. She did not mean, as I know, any disrespect or as some hateful or hate-filled condemnation about Senator McCain as he lays there in Arizona. That's just not the case.
SETMAYER: OK. So, A, she is paid by you and I, the taxpayers' money. She is a representative of the White House because she is a especially appointed -- she's a special assistant. So she does represent the White House. She represents the White House staff. So to suggest otherwise is disingenuous, number one. Number two, it was callous. And that kind of tone is set from the top. We all know this.
Donald Trump has made multiple comments, disparaging comments about John McCain. He continues to do so. He has no respect for John McCain's service who -- John McCain is an American hero. We cannot say that enough. I as a conservative have had my policy differences with John McCain over the years, but it is unquestioned his service and sacrifice to this country which is something that Donald Trump could never imagine.
Donald Trump is a coward and he doesn't have anywhere close to the level of honor and integrity and courage that John McCain has shown for this country. And for this White House to sit here and just dismiss a comment like that of someone so -- something so disrespectful it really is indicative of how far we've fallen and we should be -- and it's shameful. And Sarah Sanders' response today shameful also.
Where is John Kelly? He is a military guy. He should have fired her on the spot. He knows the level of disrespect that that comment represented for someone like Senator McCain who is a fellow military man. It's disgusting. But then again, this is the same White House that defended a wife beater. They lied to cover for him because they liked him and he did his job well according to them so why are we surprised?
BORGER: Well, you know, look, if the staffer herself felt it was important enough and she was right to do this to apologize to the family, and I think that's the right thing to do, why couldn't the White House just have come out and said, look, she has made her apologies which we think was the right thing to do and now let's move on.
Even if they had acknowledged that, that would have been better than what occurred at the podium today which was effectively trying to brush it off as some leak that they weren't going to address.
DENNARD: Which it was.
BORGER: It was not a leak of an internal White House meeting.
DENNARD: It was a leak. It was a leak.
BORGER: It was -- it was a leak of a meeting with congressional communications people who by the way do not work for the White House.
SETMAYER: That's right.
BORGER: They work for Capitol Hill. She works for the White House. It was a message meeting. But to describe it as an internal White House meeting is not really what that was. And you know that, Paris.
BERMAN: Paris, is part of the problem -- Paris, is part of the problem that if the White House did give a simple, discreet, look, we're sorry this was said, then it would be a juxtaposition to comments that the president has made before, those comments that he made at the kick off of his campaign when he said that Senator McCain wasn't a war hero?
DENNARD: Look, if I say some -- I've said things on the air which I regretted. It is not the responsibility of CNN to go out and apologize because I'm a CNN political commentator, and in fact CNN has never done that. But what has happened is that I took responsibility for my actions. Apologize for something that I said on air to the person right when it happened because that's what you do when you have integrity. That's what you do when you feel you've done something wrong.
I don't believe that it's the responsibility of the White House to go and apologize for every single thing or anything that any staffer says.
SETMAYER: Who does she work for?
DENNARD: She works for the American people.
SETMAYER: And the White House.
DENNARD: And she knows she works for the American people.
SETMAYER: Right. And the White House.
DENNARD: And --
SETMAYER: Who is her immediate boss.
DENNARD: And if somebody offends you, you go straight to the source. She felt that she should apologize and she did that to several people and it was the right thing to do.
SETMAYER: First of all, if you said that CNN does in fact come out -- if a commentator or someone who works for CNN says or does something that brings shame to the organization, they will send out a statement or fire them. It's been done before. So that kills that argument. Secondly --
DENNARD: No, I was talking about myself.
SETMAYER: -- she has a boss at the White House.
DENNARD: I was talking about myself, Tara. BERMAN: Let me --
SETMAYER: If you said something that was -- that brought shame or disgrace to CNN, it's in all of our contract, they can fire you.
BERMAN: Let me --
SETMAYER: So that's not true.
BERMAN: This is --
SETMAYER: The White House should have done it.
BERMAN: This is one of the rare times, guys, that CNN has no part in this. Let me read you --
SETMAYER: Yes, I know but I'm just trying to --
SETMAYER: For the purpose of the argument.
DENNARD: And neither does Donald Trump or the White House. That's just the whole the point.
BERMAN: Hang on, guys.
SETMAYER: They -- she works --
BERMAN: Hang on. Hang on.
SETMAYER: She has a boss.
[20:15:03] BERMAN: Let me read you -- let me read you a statement that came today from former Vice President Joe Biden, who by the way had just spent time with Senator John McCain. Biden says, "People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday."
So, Tara, is this rock bottom?
SETMAYER: I would argue that it happened months before, two years ago when the "Access Hollywood" tape came out and Donald Trump was bragging about grabbing women by the genitals and every other thing and people voted for him anyway. It's kind of been a slippery slope since then.
John, you hit the nail on the head. The reason why the White House would not apologize today was because if they did, if the apologized for this comment that that is an indictment of Donald Trump's comments which were almost as bad when he said that he likes people that don't get captured. That's the only reason why McCain is a hero. That's pretty awful.
Donald Trump has never apologized for that. So I don't blame the McCain family for not wanting him at his funeral.
SETMAYER: He doesn't deserve to be there.
BERMAN: Gloria, quick last word.
BORGER: You know, the White House never apologizes, period. And never says that anything was wrong or never says that anything was inaccurate. And so I think that we, you know, if we anticipated that there might have been an apology which I certainly did on her behalf since she had already done it to the family and said, you know, we are glad she did it, et cetera, you know, we were wrong. And we've been wrong a lot because there is no apology.
And again, I have to come back to the president and say, if he had wanted something to be said about this.
BORGER: Sarah Sanders would have done it.
BERMAN: Gloria Borger, Paris Dennard, Tara Setmayer, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
Coming up the White House chief of staff John Kelly made some fairly stunning remarks about immigrants at an NPR interview. Stunning in the sense that he repeated ideas for which he has already been widely criticized. And later I'm going to speak with former Trump aide, Sam Nunberg, who has been asked to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and talk about Roger Stone, WikiLeaks and the Russia investigation.
[20:20:41] BERMAN: White House chief of staff John Kelly spent a remarkable amount of time discussing immigrants and immigration in a new interview with National Public Radio today. And the return in that investment is controversy.
"Keeping Them Honest," he did say the majority of those who move illegally to the United States are not, quote, "bad people." But then he added this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: They are also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States. They're overwhelmingly rural people in the countries they come from, fourth, fifth, sixth grade education are kind of the norm.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So, "Keeping Them Honest," if I remember my high school American history and I do, America in the midst of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century was built on immigrants. Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, Poles, Jews and Irish, many of whom settled in Boston where John Kelly was born and the signs of the store front surely read "No Irish Need Apply."
Kelly also said immigrants, quote, "don't speak English. That's a big thing," unquote. And not to put too fine a point on it, the National Academy of Scientists, Engineering and Medicines says in a report that, quote, "There is evidence that today's immigrants are learning English as fast or faster than did the waves of immigrants who arrived in the America earlier in the 20th century." As I recall most of those immigrants from the 20th century assimilated pretty well.
Still John Kelly wasn't through with this NPR interview on immigrants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: They're coming here for a reason, and I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Yes, the laws are the laws. But according to the Center for Immigration Studies, the vast majority of illegals in the United States are visa overstays, not people crossing the border as Chief of Staff Kelly seems to imply. And let's remember, these are not the first loaded comments that General Kelly has made about immigrants. You'll remember that in the heat of those discussions back in February about whether to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA, Kelly said this about those eligible to apply for the program but had not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: There are 690,000 official DACA registrants. And the president sent over what amounts to be two and a halftimes that number to 1.8 million. The difference between 690,000 and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn't sign up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's right. Get off their asses, apparently with the not assimilated fifth grade education.
Well, a lot of fodder there for sure. Here to discuss with me, CNN political commentators Ana Navarro and Steve Cortes.
Ana, you were an immigrant to the U.S. at the age of 8 from Nicaragua. So whatever goes through your mind when you hear these comments from John Kelly?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A lot of things. A lot of things because I know John Kelly. Because John Kelly was South Com commander and served here in Miami which a community that's been built my immigrants. Many like me who fled political repression and communism, and many who came here poorly educated and have made themselves Americans, have assimilated, and have built this great and vibrant American city.
BERMAN: You know, Steve, boiling down what John Kelly is saying he seems to be saying that these immigrants are coming to the country with too little education and too few skills. Too little to contribute to American society. But hasn't every immigrant wave into this country been less educated, less skilled, and they get that education, they get those skills and they built there. They build lives. Isn't that the American dream?
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, John, a few crucial distinctions here. And first of all, happy birthday to General Kelly, by the way. It's his birthday today. But a few crucial distinctions. We cannot conflate illegal immigration and legal immigration. We love legal immigrants. I'm the son of an immigrant. So is President Trump, by the way. So is Ana Navarro.
Legal immigration is a treasure to this country. Illegal immigration however is a scourge upon this country and General Kelly is exactly right when he talks about the fact that people who choose to break our laws, and again he was very I thought magnanimous. He said most of them are not bad people. Of course they are not. However, people who choose to break our laws almost by definition are going to have a worst result than people who go through the system and who are filtered and who are vetted, and come into the United States legally, and I think tolerating illegal immigration most of all is an affront to the people who do it right because it's expensive, it's time consuming, it's difficult to become an American.
[20:25:10] And the idea that you can hop the line and that you can cut and cheat is totally unfair, unjust and unsafe for America, economically and in our national security.
BERMAN: Ana, your response? Did you think John Kelly's comments were magnanimous?
NAVARRO: Look, I think that he said some things which h were substantial, and was a discussion on policy. In that same interview he talked about TPS and a path to citizenship and a duty that falls on Congress to make the immigration laws. He is absolutely right about that.
The problem is that, you go from a substantial policy driven discussion on immigration, whether legal or illegal like TPS which is, you know, covers undocumented immigrants, and you then, you know, you tinge it with these remarks that talk about the ability of immigrants to assimilate into this country. Mind you, brown immigrants. Right? He is not talking about Norwegians. He's talking about people that come from places like I do, like Steve's parents do.
CORTES: No. But hold on. That's unfair, Ana.
NAVARRO: But don't interrupt me, Steve. I hate -- look, I don't like to interrupt you, I don't like to be interrupted.
CORTES: OK. Finish. Finish. Just finish.
NAVARRO: So, you know, let me finish my thought and the you can say whatever you want.
NAVARRO: Yes, absolutely, he's talking about people -- do not raise your voice at me, boy.
CORTES: I'm not a boy.
BERMAN: Go ahead, Ana. Go ahead, guys.
CORTES: But go ahead and finish.
BERMAN: Ana, go ahead, then Steve.
CORTES: I'm a grown man. And an American citizen but go ahead.
NAVARRO: Well, then act like one. Then act like one and give me the respect that I deserve when I am speaking.
BERMAN: Go ahead, Ana.
NAVARRO: Of course they're not talking about Norwegians. They're not talking about people like Melania Trump's parents. They are talking of people that come south of the border. People that come from shit hole countries as this president likes to refer to it. And, you know, that's where the difference lies. That it goes into this entire thing, you know, of building, the demonizing of immigrants that immigrants are not as good as other people. And that's just not the John Kelly I know and that I've known.
CORTES: OK. So here we get to the crux of it. What Ana is doing, which is what all the left do when they don't want to talk policy, when they don't want to talk results particularly when the president is having an amazing a week as he's had, is they want to demonize and call us racist. They want to call John Kelly a racist, the president a racist.
Here's the reality, this man, John Kelly, and his family have literally given their lives to the Marine Corps which is the service branch of choice for the Hispanic Americans. So the idea that he is racist or that he wants to cater to racist in his talk is absurd. He has sweated and bled, with racist -- excuse me, with Hispanics and commanded them in battle. And the idea that he himself is a racist is ridiculous on its face.
Furthermore, the idea that we decry illegal immigration and that in and of itself is racist is ridiculous. Whether you come from Norway or whether you come -- whether you're a banker from Great Britain who overstayed your visa, or whether you're a brown person who swims across the Rio Grande if you come here illegally, you are illegal and you should be treated as such. We have the right a sovereign nation to determine who should immigrate to our country and who will most benefit our country, who brings the skills, the love of our nation, the values which will add to this great American experience which is all about legal immigration, and the best way to protect legal immigration is to finally secure our borders which this president and General Kelly are doing.
BERMAN: Ana, quickly.
NAVARRO: OK. I -- you know, I think we're coming to the end of this segment, and I think that we should reflect on what America means, how it was built. It was built by immigrants. Some not even immigrants. Some people that came here not legally or illegally, but came here in shackles as property. People who are bound by a set of American values of patriotism, of service to country, love of what America represents. And it is this diversity, it is this wealth of experience that makes America so strong and so exceptional today. I am a proud American.
BERMAN: Ana Navarro, Steve Cortes, thanks for being with us.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
CORTES: Thank you.
BERMAN: Coming up, the Senate Intelligence Committee has a few things they want to ask former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg, and they want to seize communications with Roger Stone, about Russia and WikiLeaks. Sam Nunberg joins us next. I will ask whether he will comply.
[20:33:25] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: the Senate Intelligence Committee is asking former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg to show up for a closed door interview and turn over his communication with Roger Stone regarding WikiLeaks and Russian hacking. They have set a deadline of May 24th a little less than two weeks from the day. Joining me now is Sam Nunberg.
Sam, I think this is spend out of this. You're going, you're happy to go talk to the Senate Intelligence Committee?
SAM NUNBERG, FMR TRUMP AIDE: Yes.
BERMAN: I guess my question is based on what is out there, the public information already out there about everything -- is there anything new that you have to tell them?
NUNBERG: I don't think so. But I think that I'm glad that they're just checking their I's here. And, you know, there was some issues in the House when particularly Adam Schiff went around saying that they shouldn't have close the House investigation, because I wasn't called. And needless of other witnesses.
I think that the Senate as opposed to the House has acted much more professionally and then bipartisan effort. And I'm happy that they're hopefully looking to wind this up. But I don't think I'm very important to this and this why they're calling me in.
BERMAN: One of the issues that I think that everything goes back to is that Roger Stone at one point told you that he had met with WikiLeaks.
BERMAN: And when he told you that at the time you have said you believed him.
NUNBERG: Correct. When we initially told me that he and that with Julian Assange, I had no reason not to believe him. And in fact asked him and I said this repeated this. I said does Julian have anything new? Does WikiLeak have anything new on Benghazi which is an issue that I thought could have been use against Hillary. He said no. And he has even said this response publicly to the statement that (INAUDIBLE), he said no, it's going to involve the Clinton Foundation. I would say, if you look, WikiLeaks did not produce anything involving the Clinton Foundation or Benghazi, they produce John Podesta's e- mails. I've never spoke into Roger about John Podesta's e-mail. Roger never told me that John Podesta's e-mails were being released.
[20:35:06] BERMAN: But the fact that you have this conversation, that you believe that Roger Stone has spoken the WikiLeaks. You could see why that is a big glaring blinky light for investigative committees. Not to mention special counsel the one that talk to you about.
NUNBERG: Yes 100% and once again, I think that it's good that I was called into the Senate because I was put on a list by Adam Schiff in the House, where he said, I'm on the witnesses that should be called. Yes, fine, I will go because I think in the interest of America, if they don't find any direct collusion which may be there was, I don't believe there was. But if they don't find direct collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, then we should wine this up.
BERMAN: So Michael Caputo whom you know.
NUNBERG: Yes. Very well.
BERMAN: Did seat down with the special counsel --
BERMAN: -- and answer questions again. And he left convinced that they're very much focused on collusion. He said, they have a lot of questions still very, very concise question about collusion and he says they have more information about the Trump campaign that people have work.
NUNBERG: Quite yes.
BERMAN: Inside the Trump campaign. Was that your experience?
NUNBERG: Yes, right. Because in my voluntary interviews, what happened -- the difference between the voluntary and the grand jury.
NUNBERG: Very quickly is, voluntary, the person 90 minutes so they -- I assume 80, 90% of the -- the questions they asked me, they already knew the answer, they want to test your veracity if your truthful. In the voluntary, there was some insight, some opinion by me given. When I went to the grand jury, there were certain -- certain things that I told them which I won't talk about besides the fact that Roger and WikiLeaks was discussed.
They just want facts, facts, facts, what I knew.
BERMAN: Given that Michael Caputo as of a few weeks ago, says that the special counsel is still very much focused collusion --
BERMAN: -- can you rule out the possibility that they didn't find something.
NUNBERG: I can rule out the possibility that I don't know.
NUNBERG: Then we didn't find anything out from me. That I can rule it out. I don't know of any collusion at all. I don't -- and by the way, I don't know how we really define collusion here too, you know, is collusion that the Trump campaign talked to Julian Assange in the Russian --
BERMAN: You don't want (ph).
NUNBERG: -- to release -- I'm saying -- we don't even know what collusion.
BERMAN: You don't know if they didn't though?
NUNBERG: Oh, I have no idea that they did. I doubt that they did. Reason I doubt that they did once again, is because Vladimir Putin would be too smart to directly collude with the Trump campaign.
BERMAN: But, let me ask you something about your view of Donald Trump in this. But he just told the "Washington Examiner" in their interview, and I'm going to make this quote damn we're friendly, you said if somebody's s stinks.
BERMAN: If somebody's s stinks. And the President's s stinks. Donald the hybrid of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, and he's playing Ronald Reagan.
BERMAN: Can you explain to me in relatively PG terms --
BERMAN: -- at least PG 13.
BERMAN: What you mean when you say the President's s stinks.
NUNBERG: Well, what I meant was is that, we have to realize -- I think it was in the context, I remember this interview. The interview -- the inquiry let's just very quickly inquiry was how do I compare Rudy to what I did that day when I was talking about my subpoena. And what I said in general was the one thing that wasn't right initially is that we said there was no reason, we on the right said, there's no reason that -- they had the special counsel. There's no reason that -- there's no reason that the special counsel that Mueller was appointed.
And unfortunately we had to because the President hosted the Russians the day after he fired Comey.
BERMAN: And he said he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation.
NUNBERG: Well, that truthfully that was in there, but let's assume that's correct too. And I would just say, sub-Barack Obama for Donald Trump there. With that said once again was there collusion between the campaign -- to the campaign in the Russians. I don't think so and I don't know of any.
BERMAN: But you think there is reason to investigate given what happen?
NUNBERG: I think there's reason to investigate. But it doesn't mean John that I want them then to start looking into Michael Cohen --
NUNBERG: -- and to anybody.
BERMAN: Let's talk about Michael Cohen. You actually say --
BERMAN: -- about Michael Cohen that I think they need to be careful about what they say about Michael Cohen. Michael holds the cards.
NUNBERG: The Trump people do.
BERMAN: Good. I want you to answer that. So, the Trump people have to be careful about Michael Cohen because he holds the cards and the leverage right now.
BERMAN: What leverage?
NUNBERG: OK, so first of all let me explain that. I -- when I initially started working for Donald Trump, Michael and I were adversaries and at the end we became friends and he was nice to me. And my opinion is that I know Michael wanted a job in the White House and he didn't get one. And for them to just start the way I was fired when they said I was a low level part-time consultant, if they're going to start saying Michael is not a lawyer for Donald, Michael is this, his nothing to us, like the way the President almost, almost did in the "Fox & Friends" interview, that's a big mistake. Michael is under a lot of scrutiny right now, and once again, the only reason Michael is under the scrutiny, let me just very -- but please because Donald Trump decided to have the Russians in the Oval Office after he fired James Comey the day before.
BERMAN: So why do they have to be careful? What leverage does he have?
NUNBERG: Because a possible, I don't know exactly what he knows, but I'm sure that I'm sure the judge said last week in the Manafort case, they are going after Michael's private business practices that are outside that anything connected frankly to the mandate, I don't -- that's a separate issue, because they're trying to put pressure on him to give them information on Donald Trump.
When you also look at the fact the Felix Sater who Michael had talked to about Trump Tower Moscow has already cooperated with Mueller. I don't know what's going on. They really -- what I would say is Donald's knee jerk reaction when he is to push people away that treat them like garbage, he needs to be careful what he does with Michael.
[20:40:02] BERMAN: Sam Nunberg, thanks very much. Seems to me like you think that the Trump people have a lot to be worried about right now.
NUNBERG: No, I don't because I think wasn't any collusion. I think -- and by the way, let me -- if insert (ph) quickly before we run out. I think Mueller is actually maybe doing a favor to the President right now politically by going outside and going after people like Michael or Manafort on financial issues, that really aren't direct.
BERMAN: But by now Sam Nunberg, great to have you here. Thank you.
NUNBERG: It's an honor, thank you.
BERMAN: Up next, after President Trump berated Secretary of Homeland Kirstjen Nielsen in a cabinet meeting this week, she reportedly threatened to quit. She's one of many who have done just that over the last 16 months of the Trump presidency. The details when we continue. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BERMAN: The homeland secretary nearly quit after President Trump blew up at her over immigration enforcement in front of the entire cabinet this week. This is according to the "New York Times" which says, Kirstjen Nielsen drafted a resignation letter but did not hand it in. Now Nielsen is not alone, there are bit plenty in the cabinet who have threatened to resign, some who actually did.
360s Randi Kaye has the names and the details.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaign of the President of the United States.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ever since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from handling the Russia investigation, he's been in hot water with President Donald Trump. Sessions answer, resign which he has reportedly threatened to do a number of times.
[20:45:10] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED: I am disappointed in the attorney general. He should not have recused himself. Almost immediately after he took office.
KAYE (voice-over): Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly also offering at times to walk away especially after he came under fire for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against then White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Kelly has offered to resign the source told CNN, it's the President wanted him to. Though Kelly, denies.
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I am in this for the long haul. It is the most important thing I've done in my life.
KAYE (voice-over): Health and human services secretary Tom Price also left his job after he came under fire for at least $400,000 in travel cost for chartered flights.
TRUMP: I will tell you personally, I'm not happy about it.
KAYE (voice-over): In his resignation letter, Price wrote, I regret the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.
(on-camera): Chief strategist Steve Bannon was forced to resign about seven month into the administration, Bannon had given an interview about North Korea stating, there's no military solution to North Korea's nuclear threats, forget it. Bannon also didn't agree with the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
(voice-over): Later after Bannon gave a bombshell interview to author Michael Wolff, Trump tweeted that Wolff used sloppy Steve Bannon who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Veterans Affair Secretary David Shulkin resigned along with chief of staff Reince Preibus. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly considered resigning following news report last October that he called the President a moron.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: He said he has never once thought of resigning and that he supports the President as much today as he did the day he took his job.
KAYE (voice-over): Just five months after that Tillerson officially called it quits. Among those who sources say have threatened to quit but are still hanging on, Defend Secretary James Mattis and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Though the President denies it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Wray threaten to resign?
TRUMP: No, he didn't at all. He did not even a little bit, no. And he is going to do a good job.
KAYE (voice-over): Wray had reportedly threatened to resign after attorney general Jeff Sessions pressured him to make staffing changes in the FBI senior ranks. Though today he is still ahead of the FBI.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
BERMAN: So, there are growing calls for another member of the Trump cabinet to resign or be fired, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is under scrutiny for a number of suspected ethical issues. The latest being a pricey dinner he had with a Vatican official, a climate change denier who was accused of sexual abuse. The next either Pruitt told the "New York Times" tonight that they intentionally kept the event last year with the Vatican cardinal all of his official's schedule.
Earlier today a reporter asked the President about Mr. Pruitt. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you have confidence today Mr. Pruitt, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Yes, I do. Thank you.
BERMAN: He still has the support to the President.
Now coming up, CNN's Drew Griffin investigates the controversy surrounding this member of the cabinet. A CNN Special Report: Pruitt Under Fire, The Battle at the EPA airs next hour.
Stay with us, we have a lot more just ahead including Anderson's visit with Anthony Bourdain to talk about the latest installment of "Parts Unknown" the destination Newfoundland. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[20:52:44] BERMAN: A busy Friday news night. But let's shift gears. I'll give you a glimpse of Sunday night episode of Anthony Bourdain "Parts Unknown". He takes us to Newfoundland.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, PARTS UNKNOWN HOST: A beautiful lake. Rustic cabins. Where a few friends can hunt and forage and perhaps in between combing the wilds in search of humans of moose, throw together a simple wilderness meal around the campfire. Nothing fancy. Just the bare essentials.
BERMAN: That is actual (ph). Anderson recently caught up with Bourdain at a german restaurant on New York's the Upper East Side where with the talk of food in Newfoundland, there was beer, a lot of beer.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In this episode, you go to Newfoundland.
COOPER: Which I have always wanted to go. And I'm not even sure I'm pronouncing it correctly.
BOURDAIN: I had read like 10 days of practice on scene and I was doing voiceover and I can't do it. It's Newfoundland. Newfoundland. Newfoundland.
BOURDAIN: I've knew it. I'm going to --
BOURDAIN: We're both going to get mail for this.
COOPER: And why -- no of course.
BOURDAIN: Yes, it is now Newfoundland, it's Newfoundland.
COOPER: But it looks incredibly beautiful.
BOURDAIN: It is. It's always beautiful.
BOURDAIN: It's very different than -- it's one of the things cool about Canada, it's big and it's --
COOPER: I gotta say Canada is really cool. (CROSSTALK)
BOURDAIN: -- from each other.
COOPER: I was just up in Toronto. Canada is great. Canadians are great.
COOPER: I really like Canada.
BOURDAIN: My two closest friends in Canada are both crazy (INAUDIBLE) have been pushing Newfoundland on me for a long time. Saying it's an incredible area. Let's go there, we'll hunt moose.
COOPER: Did you go hunting moose?
BOURDAIN: I hunted moose.
COOPER: Did you actually?
BOURDAIN: No moose unfortunately were hurt or killed during the making of this episode to my dismay, because it was like hours of walking around and hiking and drizzle.
COOPER: Did you see any moose?
BOURDAIN: In the supermarket. Where moose is readily available. I mean it's a staple of Newfoundland cuisine. But it's -- you know, it's sparsely populated. Wild. Another hunting and gathering culture. But significantly the whole economy was until very recently built around cod and cod fish.
[20:55:07] Cod is king up there. Until recently when it was essentially a moratorium declared, it had been over fished they seemed to endless, it looked like it would last forever.
COOPER: I don't think I can do that.
BOURDAIN: I would be shocked if you found that yummy. Dude, I mean I like it.
COOPER: Oh, it's a little like hamburger meat. Maybe not.
BOURDAIN: More liver.
COOPER: Actually, it's not.
BOURDAIN: But what happened is they declared a moratorium on cod fishing and that was essentially the entire economy of Newfoundland. So it really had to adapt and figure out new ways to live and fortunately, the restaurant culture is really blowing up there. You're not getting up from the table until that is empty.
COOPER: I'm already actually a little tipsy.
BERMAN: Great, all righty. Must have been a great night. That was in Heidelberg Restaurant here in New York.
Tune for Anthony Bourdain "Parts Unknown" in Newfoundland, Sunday night, 9:00 on CNN.
Coming up, no apology from the White House on a staffer's insensitive remark about the seriously ill Senator John McCain. And no comment from the White House press secretary on an internal meeting.