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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Former DOJ Official Jeffrey Clark Pleaded The Fifth Amendment More Than 100 Times In January 6 Committee Interview; European Diplomats Call Russian Troops In Belarus A Big Worry; Former NY Giants Star Defends Team Against Claims Of Racism. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired February 03, 2022 - 21:00 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, again.
Topping this hour of 360, what the House January 6 committee could be learning, or not, as the case might be, from two close aides, to the former Vice President, as well as the Big-Lie-peddling Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, who the former President hoped to make the nation's top law enforcement official.
Joining us now, with what we know, about today's testimony, is CNN's Ryan Nobles, at the Capitol.
So, Jeffrey Clark testified. What do we know?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he testified, Anderson, meaning that he was in the room, but he didn't answer too many questions. In fact, we're told that for the one hour and 40 minutes that he was in there that he pled the Fifth more than 100 times to the questions that were asked of him, by the January 6 Select Committee.
This doesn't really come as a surprise. Clark has been facing a criminal contempt referral, by the committee. And right before, they were set, to vote on it, by the entire House, he informed them that he was planning to plead the Fifth. The question now is how does the committee handle that criminal contempt referral?
Representative Zoe Lofgren, who's a member of the committee, earlier today, on CNN, suggested that perhaps they offer him an immunity deal that says any question that he answers, in front of the January 6 committee, could then not be used against him, in a criminal prosecution, which would essentially negate the ability to take the Fifth.
That's just one option on the table. But, at this point, Anderson, they're getting no answers from Clark, who they consider to be an important witness, in this investigation.
COOPER: And what about the former aides to Mike Pence, who've talked? NOBLES: So, both Marc Short, who's the former Chief of Staff, to Vice President Mike Pence, and Greg Jacob, who was his Chief Counsel, both met with the committee, for a significant amount of time, between six hours and eight hours.
And unlike the lack of cooperation that they're getting, from Jeffrey Clark, it seems to be that the committee is learning quite a bit from both of these gentlemen.
Now, they did draw some red lines. They said that they were not going to talk about anything that Trump's legal team considered to be areas that could be called into executive privilege. So that meant, like specifically conversations that the President may have had, with the Vice President, or with either of these two, gentlemen.
But the committee believes that that was still a cooperative interview, and that they were able to get a lot of information from both of these men. Obviously, the role that Mike Pence had, on the days, leading up to January 6, on January 6, itself, is so important, to their investigation. And both of these gentlemen, were in that orbit, during that period of time.
Of course, Short, his Chief of Staff, was with him, in the Capitol, on that day, as he was evacuated. So, they really have the potential, to offer up the committee, a lot of information that they're looking for.
COOPER: Yes. Ryan Nobles, appreciate it.
We're going to get perspective now, from someone, who knows what this kind of testimony entails. Former Nixon White House Counsel, and Watergate star witness, and CNN Contributor, John Dean.
So John, the fact that these Pence aides reportedly did not discuss direct conversations, they had, or that the Vice President had, with the then-President, that's, I mean, that could be pretty, I mean, that could - there could be a lot of valuable information and stuff that they're not talking about. Couldn't there?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There can be.
Just let me do a little hairsplitting, on executive privilege. There are two facets of it. There are direct communications, with the President. And there're also what they call deliberative conversations that are may or may - don't necessarily involve direct information, to and from the President.
If they can - in the area of deliberative discussions, they could reveal virtually everything that the committee wanted to know, about what the President was saying, without necessarily revealing the President's conversations. That sounds like what's going on here, to me.
COOPER: So, wait, I'm not a lawyer. So, how do you do that? How do you do? How do you have a talk about a deliberative conversation, and reveal what somebody said to you, directly, without revealing what they said to you directly?
DEAN: Well, let's say somebody had a direct conversation, with the President. And then, they talked about it with others. And it becomes hearsay, in that conversation.
So, they're not directly revealing what the President said. But they're talking about the discussion, of how they made a decision, to advise the President, based on what they believed he wanted, or didn't want.
COOPER: I see. How--
DEAN: So, you could get around, theoretically.
COOPER: Right. How worried - and, they did testify, for many hours, six hours to eight hours. So clearly, they were talking about something.
Whereas, Clark, who, according to the reporting said, he took the Fifth, some 100 times, was there for a little less than two hours. That makes it sound like he didn't really say anything at all.
DEAN: It certainly sounds like that. It sounds like he knows he's under the threat of potential criminal referral. He wanted to show up. A lot of the people who were in - are not testifying, and taking the Fifth, are appearing electronically. So, he did show up. That's a step forward.
But what Zoe Lofgren suggested that he might get immunity could be very telling. They won't do that, however, Anderson, unless they know what he's got.
And that it's very possible, from the Senate hearing, and from the others, in the Justice Department, they know, it'd be worthwhile, to immunize him, and that could force him, to testify everything, he took the Fifth to.
COOPER: And is that something that then the committee would work out, with Clark's attorneys, saying, "Look, we'd consider giving you immunity, if we know - if, you know, you get to tell us, right now, everything you know. And then we'll, you know, without harm, and we'll judge whether we can give you immunity or not."
DEAN: There actually is a formal procedure. The House has a statute. It's a federal statute, for both the House and the Senate. They can immunize any witness they want to, by a vote of the committee, a majority of the committee.
The Attorney General has no choice but to accept it. A district court judge has no - he does the - grants the immunity. But it's not anything he can decide on and deliberate. He is actually, when a committee requests it, the judge grants it. So, that that is the process that's in place. We used a lot, during Watergate. COOPER: We're also learning tonight that the committee members reportedly had a - described as a significant discussion today, about whether to subpoena lawmakers, who won't voluntarily cooperate, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry.
How do you think that they're willing, to go to get - how far would they go to get them to talk?
DEAN: Well, it sounds like the reference, by the Chairman, to wanting to honor the institution, is that they don't want to issue subpoenas. There's not obviously a history of doing this. They're digging out what is in history, right now.
But there is another leverage they probably discussed. And that would be to threaten either censure by the House, or taking them to the Ethics Committee. Either one of those could indeed, if when somebody who's on the fence, and might be able to be pushed over, by the threat of a censure, that would take a vote of the House.
The Democrats control. They could indeed censure. It'd be seen as political, if no Republicans joined. But some Republicans might want to think it's part of the institution that members testify.
Certainly, they agreed to a set of rules that they'll do nothing that doesn't show credibility, or to the credit of the House, under the general ethics rules, every member agrees to.
COOPER: Yes. John Dean, appreciate it. Thank you.
Now, we have some breaking news, in the Ukraine standoff. Earlier this evening, White House Deputy National Security Advisor, Jonathan Finer, said that a Russian invasion, of Ukraine, could come at any time.
There's also growing concerns, about Russian troops, just two hours, from Kyiv. This is at the end of the day that also saw the Biden administration accusing the Russians, of preparing a false-flag pretext, to invade, complete with the graphic propaganda video, depicting a phony attack, by Ukraine, on Russia or Russian personnel.
So, there's a lot to talk about. CNN's Matthew Chance is in the Ukrainian capital, for us, tonight.
You have new reporting, Matthew, from European diplomats, and their concerns. What have you heard?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, European and U.S. diplomats, now expressing their alarm, at the build-up of Russian forces, near the Ukrainian border, inside Belarus.
They're calling it a big worry. They're saying that a massive force like that, building up, in the neighboring country of Belarus, is a crucial piece. If Russia, for instance, decides to carry out a quick strike, against this city, against Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, it's just a couple of hours away.
NATO says that it expects to see somewhere in the region of 30,000 Russian troops, eventually arriving, in Belarus, to take part in what are meant to be military drills.
Significant in itself, but even more kind of alarming, when you consider there are at least another 130,000 Russian troops that have already been positioned, in other areas, mainly in Russia, near to the Ukrainian border, potentially poised to come in.
So, very disturbing new developments, in terms of that ongoing Russian deployments, in the region of forces, and threatening Ukraine, Anderson.
COOPER: What's the response been, to the U.S. claims, about Russia plotting some sort of video - fake video attack, to - as a pretext for invasion?
CHANCE: Yes, a pretext, a provocation. Well, look, I mean, the Ukrainian officials that I've spoken to, including, senior officials at the Interior Ministry here, say that's exactly the kind of false- flag operation that they've been warning of, and they've been sort of disrupting, over the past several weeks, and indeed, over the past several days.
And so, there's a lot of agreement, between the Ukrainians and the United States, on the nature of the kind of provocation, the kind of false-flag operation that Ukraine is facing that could be a pretext, for some kind of Russian invasion, of Ukrainian territory. And so, they welcome that, and they agree with it.
On the other side, of the dispute, if you like, with the Russians, while they've, as you might expect, distanced themselves, from any kind of operation like this, they've also said that they have no plan, they've said this again, and again, they have no plan to invade Ukraine, and certainly wouldn't get involved, in any kind of a covert operation, like that.
So, they're attempting to put as much distance, from themselves, and this allegation, as they can, Anderson.
COOPER: Matthew Chance, appreciate it, Matthew. Thank you.
Coming up next, the raid that took down another ISIS leader. We'll talk about how it was done, and what the longer-term impact of it could be, on the terror organization. We'll talk with CNN's Peter Bergen, and retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
And later, with a Black former coach, now suing the NFL, alleging racism, after being passed over, by the New York Giants, we'll talk with former Giant great, Tiki Barber, who's defending the team.
COOPER: For the second time, in a little more than two years, an ISIS leader is dead, after an American airstrike. In 2019, it was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
This time, his successor, known as Hajji Abdullah, dead, in a risky pre-dawn raid, on a compound, in Northwestern Syria. According to officials, American forces had the building surrounded, when he blew himself up, also killing his wife and children.
Joining us, to talk about the significance, of the latest raid, CNN National Security Analyst, Peter Bergen, Author of "The Rise and Fall of Osama Bin Laden."
Also, CNN Military Analyst, and retired Lieutenant General, Mark Hertling, former Commanding General, of the U.S. Army in Europe and Seventh Army.
Peter, how effective are strikes like these, in actually crippling a group, like ISIS?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, AUTHOR, "THE RISE AND FALL OF OSAMA BIN LADEN": Well, I mean, if you look at the Taliban, Anderson? President Obama ordered a strike, on Mullah Mansour, who was the leader of the Taliban, in 2016. He described it as an important milestone.
Mullah Mansour was killed. They replaced him. And now, they control Afghanistan. So, in that case, clearly, it was very ineffective.
I do think the attack, on Bin Laden, al Qaeda never really recovered from that. It was already in bad shape. They'd taken a lot of hits, from drone strikes, from arrests. The new leader of al Qaeda has not been particularly competent. So, I think it kind of depends on each group.
But I mean, we know that ISIS will appoint somebody else. They appointed somebody else, after they killed - after Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was killed, during the Trump administration. I don't think it's insignificant.
But, of course, the war goes on. The ideology continues. One man's death does not kill this ideology, which appeals to a certain group of people, and failed or failing states, in the Middle East, Central Asia, and also in Africa.
COOPER: General Hertling, I mean, you actually knew this person, from your time, as Commander, in Northern Iraq, or knew of. What can you tell us about him, and his importance, within ISIS, after al-Baghdadi was killed?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), FORMER U.S. ARMY COMMANDING GENERAL, EUROPE AND SEVENTH ARMY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I can tell you, his history, in Northern Iraq, when I was there in 2007, and 2008, is he was one of the deputy emirs of Mosul.
And, as you remember, Anderson, Mosul was, it was spook-central, in terms of what was going on with ISIS, and the evolution of al Qaeda, into ISIS, at the time. He was captured in 2008, by Joint Special Operations Command, interrogated multiple times, and gave actually some false information, back-and-forth, was imprisoned, and then later released, by the Iraqi government.
He then became al-Baghdadi's deputy, and has watched al-Baghdadi, or watched al-Baghdadi, until he was killed in 2019, and then took over.
But he is a theological leader, or was a theological leader, within ISIS. He had a degree from the University of Mosul, in Sharia studies. So, he was a guy, who took sort of a contrary view, of what ISIS could be, from a strategic standpoint, living under Sharia law, and ensuring that it was executed, throughout the globe.
I think - I'd kind of disagree with Peter a little bit, where is, yes, there's a constant whack-a-mole, in terms of killing people, and watching a new one take over. This guy was really trying to centralize the command of ISIS in many different nations, and pull them together. Not as successful. But he was attempting to do that.
COOPER: Yes, Peter, I mean, I'm fascinated by these groups in Africa, which have now popped up, claiming allegiance to, or spiritual allegiance, to ISIS.
Are they actually linked directly to, I mean, are they supported by ISIS? Or is it just an ideological affinity, and they want the name recognition, and so, they pledge allegiance to ISIS?
BERGEN: I think it's the latter. I mean, if you slap on the ISIS patch, and say you're part of ISIS, you are now the biggest, baddest jihadist group on the block.
I mean, there was an example of some group - there was an ISIS group in Libya that United States, inflicted a lot of damage on, which was really a wholly-owned subsidiary, Syria and Iraq.
But a group like ISIS, in Afghanistan, ISIS-K, ISIS-Khorasan, as it's known, really is mostly former Taliban people, who just objected to the Taliban, made peace negotiations, with the United States, in some cases, had other objections, are more anti-Shia, and flat on the patch. And I don't think they take, you know, it's not like they're taking orders from ISIS central, in Syria and Iraq.
COOPER: General Hertling, just a decision to use elite forces, to target someone, like this? I mean, instead of something like a drone, or an air raid of some kind, how much goes into making that call? Because obviously, there's a whole level of risk to it, for U.S. personnel. It's not, a missile being fired, from a great distance.
HERTLING: Well, you want, in these kinds of raids, when the JSOC, Joint Special Operations Command, go out? They do kill our capture. And it's actually capture or kill.
Because when you get a capture, of a leader, within a terrorist network, there is always the probability that you're going to get some Intelligence. When you bomb a facility, you know you're going to get a kill, if the individual is in there, but you can't get the Intelligence associated with it.
So, when you're talking about the leader of, as I said, before, a potential of a global organization, you know there is the probability that there is going to be Intelligence, in a vast amount, at that location.
So, if you bring in the Special Operations fighters, they are going to not only potentially capture or kill the individual, get more information, from him. But they're also going to clear the area, as well, and take out quite a bit of Intelligence.
And from what I understand, in this raid, that's exactly what happened, not just from Al-Kharashi, but also from his courier, who was on the second floor.
So, if you can get that kind of information, to know who the contacts are, if it's written down, or if, like in the Baghdadi raid, there were computers or, the like, then you've got some information that you can actually use, in the next operation, and the next operation.
And you may know who might be next in line, to be the leader, or who the emirs are, of the various agencies that deal with money, or the theological decision-making, or the operative. So, it's pretty important to do that. And it puts people at risk, for sure. But it has a great deal of reward as well.
COOPER: Yes. General Mark Hertling, Peter Bergen, thanks so much. Appreciate it, guys. Thank you.
HERTLING: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, the nation mourning the loss of NYPD officer, Wilbert Mora, yesterday, as New York City, and the nation, battles a rise in violence. We'll talk with a former officer, on the struggles police are facing, in combating crime and morale.
COOPER: The nation was gripped, by a heart-wrenching scene, in New York City, yesterday, after thousands of officers, gathered to grieve, the loss of New York Police Department officer, Wilbert Mora, who died in the line of duty, last month, along with his colleague, Jason Rivera.
And, as the city grapples, with a rise in gun violence, including growing violence, against the police force, President Biden visited New York, today, meeting with the Mayor, and presenting some new initiatives, in an effort to combat gun crime.
Last hour, I spoke with New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, about his solutions. And he had this message. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, (D) NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: But when you do reform, you can't ignore public safety. We witnessed individuals, who only pushed reform, and ignored public safety. Both parties must be in a room. We need to have the justice we deserve, but the safety we need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now, CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, and former Narcotics officer, with D.C. Police, Michael Fanone.
Officer Fanone, thanks for being with us. You heard Mayor Adams, in the last hour.
I'm wondering what you make of the Mayor and then President Biden's efforts, to combat gun violence, and particularly the Mayor's comments, about kind of the pendulum swinging, too far, as a result of protests, in the last few years. And he's sort of, trying to figure out, a way, to kind of build back the morale, and build back the effectiveness, of the police.
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER D.C. POLICE OFFICER: Yes, I mean, I liked the comments that Mayor Adams made. I mean, we need to - we need to learn how to walk and chew gum, at the same time. I don't like the pendulum swinging, one way or the other. I want to rip the pendulum off.
We have a moment now, where we can reengage with public safety, and also have a conversation, about policing and police reform. I like the way that he's going about it. And he seems to be at least trying to tackle both things, at the same time.
COOPER: It's a difficult thing to do, obviously. You've said that in the past that police officers need to be reassured that its leaders stand behind them. Do you think Mayor Adams accomplished that, today? Do you think President Biden made efforts to accomplish that today?
What should you think leaders be doing to show that they stand behind and understand, at least, law enforcement's perspective?
FANONE: Well, I think what we're experiencing, right now, with this rise in crime, is a direct result, of law enforcement, police officers being placed, in this position, where it's like we're in a culture war. We're being utilized or pandered to, by different political entities, and really pitted against members of the community. At least that's the appearance.
But, in reality, I think police officers are getting fed up. We don't want to be pandered to. We just want the resources that we need, to keep communities safe. And citizens are tired of it as well. They just want to live in safe communities.
What I want from politicians, is the ability to do my job, as a police officer, do it safely, do it effectively, have the training that I need, to go into these communities, and keep them safe. COOPER: I read the initial reports, of the killing of these - of the two police officers, one of whose funeral, I know, you attended, last week. And, to me, it was - it's an example of just not only the incredible dangers of the police officers' job, but the difficulty faced.
There was a lot talk, when people were talking - those people, demonstrators, "Defund Police," there were - people, who had a more middle ground, were saying, "Well, look, there's situations that the police don't necessarily want to be the ones, who have to respond to. But there's no one else in society, who does respond to them. So, it's the police officers, who take that burden." People pointed to distress calls, mental health - people in mental health distress.
From what I understand, the call that these officers got, to go to the apartment that they went to, where they were shot, it was not somebody, who was known to have a weapon. It was a mother having a conflict with the son. And when they came, the son came out of the room, with the - with guns, and was firing.
It's just, to me, a reminder of how difficult, even situations that may not seem violent, or may not seem potentially violent, to start with, can quickly, in the blink of an eye, turn deadly.
FANONE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the system is not perfect. We, you know, there are situations which police officers get called, where I think there may be other entities that are better-suited, to deal with those situations. But unfortunately, that's what we have.
And diverting funds away from law enforcement, is not the way to explore other means of tackling some of those issues. I mean, if you want to, explore that? Fine. Create new funding, or find other ways to fund them. But pulling money away from police and police departments creates the situation that we're dealing with right now.
COOPER: As I mentioned, you attended the funeral of Officer Jason Rivera.
And what is - the other issue, I've noticed with police officers, just in the last year, especially in New York City, it seems like morale is really down. And we've heard from a number of police officials, who have said this. How does that come back? How does how does one build that back?
FANONE: Well, first, morale has been circling the drain, for a lot longer, than the past year. I mean, I saw it, till, I guess, probably shortly after 2015. And it's been on a steady decline, ever since then.
I think that what we're seeing, right now, at least in New York, with reengagement, in prioritizing public safety, that's one thing that we can do.
The next step, I think, is to reimagining the way that police officers train, and the way that we prepare them, to be on the street. And that is going to require additional funding, not defunding, divestment, or whatever.
COOPER: Michael Fanone, I appreciate talking to you, as always. Thanks so much.
FANONE: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, we have some new reporting, on the former President's endorsements, for Congress, and why they're causing fractures, within a Republican Party determined to regain majorities, in the House and Senate.
COOPER: Republicans' attempt to take back Congress will rest in part on getting their base out. And that, of course, relies heavily, on appeasing the one man, who's always connected with them, the former President.
Fortunate, for the party, he has his own ideas, about who should be running for office, this year. And those endorsements are sparking frustration, even some fractures, among some Republicans.
Our Capitol Hill Reporter, Melanie Zanona, has the story.
Also with us, Senior Political Correspondent, Anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY," Abby Phillip.
So, Melanie, why are some Republicans not so happy, about the former President's latest round of endorsements?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, first, let me start, by saying, it's pretty rare, to see Trump's allies, pushing back on him, publicly. But that is what we're seeing, in a few cases, where they don't think he's picking the right candidate, because those candidates are not Trumpy enough.
In Tennessee, for example, Trump endorsed Morgan Ortagus. She was a spokesperson in the State Department, under the Trump administration.
But conservatives, and a number of Freedom Caucus members, have issues with her. Because, apparently, she sent an email, in January of last year, saying, "I look forward to serving in the Biden administration." And that rubbed a lot of people, in MAGA-world, the wrong way.
And Marjorie Taylor Greene even told me that she went down to Mar-a- Lago, last Friday, and told Trump exactly why she thought this person didn't deserve his endorsement.
So, it just goes to show the type of frustrations, the rare frustration that is starting to boil up, over some of Trump's endorsements. COOPER: Abby, even if you're a GOP insider, who hates an endorsement, by the former President, how much can one push back? I mean, what are their options?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: I mean, I don't think there are many options, at this point. This is Donald Trump's party. And his endorsement really carries quite a lot of weight.
There is, I think, a phenomenon, that Melanie reported on, in which Trump sometimes endorses the wrong person, in a multi-way race. That rubs some people, the wrong way. That race plays out. And then ultimately, his endorsement is still the thing that matters, at the end of the day, in getting the base out.
So, whether you like it or not, his whims, and whimsies, about these things, and sometimes they can literally be whatever he feels like, as it seems to be with Morgan Ortagus, that determines the situation. And the Establishment, so to speak, has nothing to say, or do about it, at the end of the day.
COOPER: Well, also Melanie, the former President, I mean, he's made no secret. He's raised an enormous amount of money, for a potential 2024 run, and continues to raise an enormous amount of money.
Are the people that he endorses raising similar amounts of money?
COOPER: Or how it--
ZANONA: No. Actually, a lot of the candidates that Trump has endorsed are struggling to raise money. In fact, every single Trump-backed candidate, who is challenging one of the House Republicans, who voted to impeach Trump, are being outraced by their opponents.
And it's even more striking, given the fact that, as you mentioned, Anderson, Trump has amassed this massive war chest of his own.
Now, his PAC has given to a lot of these candidates, and they say, they're planning to give more and do more. But I think it actually raises some questions, about the power of a Trump endorsement. I think there are limits even if he is the most powerful force in the party.
COOPER: Abby, is there a sign at all that the former President is losing, some of his grip, on the party?
PHILLIP: I do think it's really interesting, to see how this plays out.
Because, you're seeing - so, for example, some of the Establishment Republicans, who have bucked Trump, like Liz Cheney, for example, are getting the backing, of established donors, who are circling the wagons, around them. And that might be protecting some of these members, from the financial impact, of being on the wrong side of Trump.
On the other hand, I think we have to ask whether or not the flow of money, is going to reflect the enthusiasm of voters, when they actually go to the ballot box.
We will find out money does matter. But, I wonder, if in this particular environment, the money, and the enthusiasm, might actually be divorced from each other, at least at the onset, and we will start to see the effect of a Trump endorsement, as you get closer to a general election, and - or perhaps the end of a primary.
COOPER: We'd also heard, Melanie, there was a more orderly process, to the former President's endorsement that he had a team, who'd review polling, make recommendations. I mean, is he listening to that team?
COOPER: Or is it still a kind of a jazz solo, or kind of just whatever he wants, whoever shows up at Mar-a-Lago?
ZANONA: Yes, I mean, you're right. There was a process put in place that was designed, to bring more order and thoughtfulness, to his endorsement process.
And Trump wants to pick winners. I mean, he feels burned, by some of his past endorsements, including Sean Parnell, in Pennsylvania, who ended up dropping out, amidst scandal. And so, Trump does want to follow the advice of his advisers.
But, at the same time, as you know, he's very impulsive. Trump is going to do what he wants to do. And, case in point, Morgan Ortagus. She met with Trump. And 24 hours later, he endorsed her, even though she hasn't even officially declared her candidacy, in Tennessee. So, just a perfect example of how he's still, doing what Trump wants to do.
COOPER: And Abby, I mean, if the Republicans take back the House, after the midterms, how much will, where they pick up seats, affect how Washington function? I mean, if a lot of the new members come from moderate suburban districts, versus deep Red, more pro-Trump rural districts?
PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, I think that will make a huge difference, in where the center of gravity is, in the House of Representatives. But I also think that you're seeing a Republican Party that is, is actually accelerating its radicalization, in certain ways, and its allegiance to Trump, in certain ways.
What you're seeing in many of these races is a lot of candidates fighting to be close to Trump. Not so much candidates talking about being in the middle of the electorate. And so, whether or not those candidates can win, general elections is a different story. But within the Republican Party, right now, this is a fight, among people, who want to be more Trumpier than the other guy.
COOPER: Yes. PHILLIP: And, for that reason, I think you're going to see probably, as Republicans pick up seats, in deep Red parts of the country, a more conservative House majority, if they were to win control of the House.
COOPER: Yes. Abby Phillip, Melanie Zanona, appreciate it.
Coming up, former NFL star, Tiki Barber, joins us. We're going to look at the lawsuit, from a head coaching candidate, now suing the League, claiming widespread racial discrimination.
Barber's response, next.
COOPER: Tonight, the New York Giants are strongly rejecting, claims of racial discrimination, by head coach candidate, Brian Flores. Flores, who until recently, coached the Miami Dolphins, is suing the NFL and its teams.
Among his claims that the Giants interviewed him, for the job, under false pretenses, after hiring a White candidate. He cites a text from Patriots' coach, Bill Belichick, congratulating him, in a message, likely meant for the White contender. The Giants snide, Belichick had no insight, into the team's thinking, at that point.
Right now, the League only has one Black head coach.
Earlier, here on 360, sports great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, sided with Flores. We talked about the rule that requires teams to interview diverse candidates for senior roles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA HALL OF FAMER: I think the Giants just checked a box. They - "Did you interview any minority candidates?" And they checked the box. They interviewed one or two minority candidates. And they move on, and do what they've always been doing. And somebody had to call them out on it.
And Coach Flores risks, everything, his own career. But it's bigger than that. It's bigger than coaching. This is about how we live in America. And something should be done about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Former Giants star, Tiki Barber, is among those, pushing back against suggestions, the Giants are racist.
He choked out, during his radio talk show, recalling his visit, to one of the team's owners, on their deathbed, years ago.
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TIKI BARBER, HOST, "TIKI & TIERNEY" ON WFAN, FORMER RUNNING BACK, NEW YORK GIANTS: So, it was our off-day. And I remember this. I get emotional, when I think about this, because why me, right?
I went to his bedside. He's still alive, at this point. And I just tell him, "Thank you for making me a Giant."
And, the fact that the Maras, and I always said this, with the Tischs, as well, like they embraced me, like I was family. You know what I mean? And so, I know them intimately. So, when I say, I don't believe they're racist, is because I know they're not.
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COOPER: And Tiki Barber, is co-host of the "Tiki & Tierney" on WFAN radio. He joins me now.
Thanks so much for being with us. How do you think the Giants have gotten themselves, or found themselves, in the middle of this lawsuit? Obviously, very different experience than you had?
BARBER: Yes. Well, I think it's really hard, to understand the emotions, of Brian Flores, until you see this emotion, like I can't tell him that his truth is not real. He felt like he was going into an interview, where he actually didn't have a chance.
But Bill Belichick is not a member of the New York Giants staff. He has no intimate knowledge. And he was making an assumption, based on something he heard, from somewhere else. I'm assuming.
But I do know that the New York Giants went through the process correctly. Maybe they had a favorite in Brian Daboll, who they ultimately hired, as their Head Coach, who was the White offensive coordinator, from the Buffalo Bills.
But we know for a fact that Jon Tisch, reached out to Brian Flores, right after he was fired, and said, "Don't take a job. We have interest in you."
Is the Rooney Rule somewhat broken? Absolutely. I think it injects candidates, way too late, in the process, three days or four days, before a team has to make a decision. So, it needs to be amended, in some ways.
But to blanket-call generalize that NFL teams, or executives, within those teams, are racist, is a generalization that will always be wrong, because you can't just say that, based on what history has shown us, as far as hiring is concerned.
And you know, this Anderson, because I'm sure you studied it, like everybody else. The Rooney Rule is not working for head coaches. But it is working for other parts of NFL hiring.
A few years ago, there was one Black general manager, in the National Football League. Now, there are seven. And I think the process is working, on the executive level. It still has a lot of work to do on the coaching level. But it's, I think, it's too harsh, and too incendiary, to say that just because there aren't enough Black head coaches that Teams and the League is racist in general. It's just it's too generalized.
COOPER: One of the points that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was making earlier was that he believes the NBA, over the last many years, has done a much better job, of increasing the level of diversity, the higher you go, in organizations, in the executive ranks.
COOPER: Why do you think that - we haven't seen that kind of a rise, in the NFL?
BARBER: I think, in the NBA, I don't want to say it's easier, because that's discounting how hard it is, to be a Head Coach, at any sport, really at any business that you're in.
But, I think, in the NBA, you're seeing a lot of coaches, step right off the playing court, and get into coaching. And not too soon after that, they become head coaches. Ty Lue, who won a national championship, or an NBA championship, with the Cleveland Cavaliers, is a perfect example.
In the NFL, it's a lot more nuanced. It's a lot harder. It's a more diligent - detailed path, to go from a position coach, say, after you step off the field, into a coordinator position, to ultimately a head coach, and becoming one of those hot head coaches.
It's also a more difficult job. Instead of worrying about 15 guys, you're worried about 53 active man rosters, or 16 practice squads, not to mention the logistics of hiring a very diverse, sometimes up to 30 coaches, on your staff. And it's not for someone to just step off the field, and walk into.
So, the NBA has made great strides. They're up to 43 percent of Black coaches. The NFL is not there yet.
But I do think they're starting to make some strides. When you look at the pool, of Black defensive coordinators, and offensive coordinators, and special teams' coaches, and Black quarterback coaches, which used to be none? Now, there's at least four.
It gives you - it gives you the belief that some change is coming. But it might be a little bit more than a one-year or two-year fix. It's probably somewhat closer to generational.
COOPER: It's interesting, because I mean, you look at the corporate world, and many businesses, the media businesses, and others, there's a real issue, of diversity and - a problem of diversity, in newsrooms, and diversities, in the leadership positions, and in the boardrooms, certainly. And we see this around companies, across the United States.
With the NFL, though, I mean, one of the arguments, I guess, made in the corporate world, is that if there's not a pool of employees, diverse pool of employees, at all levels, early on, then it takes - you have less of a pool, to make it up, into boardrooms.
In the NFL, there is a very, you know, the majority of players are Black or some other minority group. And therefore, there is a large pool of people, who theoretically should be able to make it through that hierarchy. I mean, you said, it's a difficult route.
BARBER: Yes, right.
COOPER: And I don't know enough about it, to quibble with that.
COOPER: But it's certainly a pool of potential people, down the road.
BARBER: It is. It is. We talked about this, me and Brandon Tierney, my co-host, on "Tiki & Tierney." We talked about this today.
Because, when I think about, who becomes head coaches, in the NFL, generally speaking, it's the quarterback. For generations, Blacks didn't play quarterback. It just - it was frowned upon. They were asked to change positions.
But two of the last MVPs in the NFL had been Black quarterbacks. When you look at some of them coming out of college, this year, Malik Willis, for example, from Liberty University, most people don't know who he is, but he's going to be a first round draft pick, as a Black quarterback. That wouldn't have happened, a decade ago. So, I think it's starting to change.
And the pool is getting larger for those positions that generally rise into coaches, and coordinators, and things of that nature. It's not perfect, Anderson. We all know that. But I don't think it's as racist as it's being put out there, from some of these - especially, this lawsuit
COOPER: Yes. Tiki Barber, it's really a pleasure, to talk to you. Thank you.
BARBER: Thank you, Anderson, be well.
COOPER: All right. Take care. You too.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Quick reminder. Don't miss Full Circle, our digital news show that gives us a chance, to have in-depth conversation.
Last night's guests had written an article about the insane demands of modern email etiquette, called "What If We Just Stopped Being So Available?" Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: I'm constantly apologizing, on virtually every email, or text, even I send, because I have not responded immediately, or within what the receiver thinks is probably a responsible amount of time.
And I resent the expectation that I am supposed to just immediately respond to stuff. And I resist it. But I'm an anomaly. And literally, I feel like I have friends, who have just given up on me, because they're insulted.
So, am I wrong?
JOE PINSKER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I am totally, completely, with you.
PINSKER: That frustration that you just--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Clearly, I'm very passionate about not responding to emails, right away.
You can catch it, streaming live, 6 P.M., Eastern, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at CNN.com/FullCircle, or watch it there, and on the CNN app, at any time, on-demand.
That's it for us. Let's turn things over to Don and "DON LEMON TONIGHT."