tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 3, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
nobody who had little to do with either his administration or election victory. the book is called "fire and fury: inside the trump white house." the white house disputes much of it. some of the sourcing seems opaque. steve bannon, who may have motives of his own and axes to grind, seems to be fully on the record in the book. here's what he said about the trump tower meeting is promising dirt on hillary clinton with jared kushner don junior. quote, the three senior guys in the campaign, thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside trump tower on the 25th floor with no lawyers? they didn't have any lawyers, even if you thought this was not unpatriotic or treasonous or bad expletive and i happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the fbi immediately. he went on to say "the chance don junior did not walk these jumos up to his father's office on the 26th floor is zero."
as we said, the white house is reacting sharply to this. jeff zeleny joins us now. talk about what the president had to say about steve bannon. it's a fascinating quote. >> reporter: it was a fascinating statement released this afternoon. i'm told the president was very much personally involved in crafting this. he diminished his role in his entire presidency. he said something like this. let's look. he said steve bannon has nothing to do with my or my presidency. when he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. now that he's on his own, steve is learning that winning is not as easy as i make it look. steve had very little to do with our historic victory. steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books." this is requires fact checking. during the access hollywood matter, steve bannon was at the president's side guiding him through all of that. in fact, in the general election
campaign, he was guiding him through all of that. at breitbart before he joined the campaign, he was the biggest cheerleader for the campaign here. in terms of not having one-on-one meetings, i heard from someone inside the west wing earlier who said that simply isn't true. he had walk-in privileges which means he could walk into the white house which he often did and his office was only ten steps or so from the oval office. so the fact that the president and the white house now are trying to diminish steve bannon simply does not compare with the facts of his time here from last january through august. >> it's easy to diminish george papadopoulos or carter page certainly. >> reporter: right. >> a little harder to -- you know, to diminish the guy you called on the stage on the night of your victory and you know, who clearly stood by him when reince priebus was getting weak in the knees after the ""access hollywood" tape. >> no question at all. steve bannon whole populist
rhetoric is something the president was already saying but is he certainly seized upon it. this isn't the first time we've heard the president bristle at the fact that someone else was claiming responsibility and credit for success here. so that is a pattern we've seen. by saying that he lost his mind, then the question is why did the president keep talking to steve bannon after he left the white house? anderson, the big point is this. steve bannon's argument undermines the entire argument the white house has been saying for more than a year, that the russia investigation is a hoax or simply isn't reality. that's why the white house and the president are working so hard in overtime, if you will, to diminish steve bannon and discredit this book. >> that t other thing that was sort of mind boggling in the white house briefing today is that sara sanders said a reporter asked, i forgot which, asked essentially they were -- steve bannon was on equal footing with reince priebus and sara sanders said i wouldn't say he was on equal footing. if you read the press release from when they were both appointed, it actually says that they are equal partners in this.
>> reporter: yes, they were equal partners. and if anyone had higher footing, arguably that was steve bannon during the early months of this administration a year ago. who was it put on the national security council in the first week of the administration? it was steve bannon. the president gave him blessing to that. who approved of the travel ban? that was steve bannon. there's no question now, there can be revisionist history if they would like but it does not meet the facts. steve bannon was along for the ride through all of this, was leading the train in many respects here. the question here though is, will this break remain or will the president want to know what steve bannon is thinking in the months to come, certainly in the midterm election campaign and as this is years go forward here. so that is something we'll have to wait and see. is their friendship, relationship broken or not. but the whole point here also, there's been a feud between steve bannon and members of the trump family. jared, ivanka, everyone. that is what is underlying most of this. >> it reminds me a little bit of the soviet union. they used to have the pictures on a reviewing stand and a
general would lose out of favor and be sent to siberia and they would edit him out of the photo. it's like rewriting history. jeff zelleny, thank you very much. more from the book, especially on russia. steve bannon signals the investigation will walk straight over to the president's money and family. "mueller chose andrew weissmann first and he is a money laundering guy. their path to trump goes right through jared kushner, paul manafort, and don junior. it's as plain as a hair on your face. want to bring in the panel, eliana johnson and jeffrey toobin. jeff, you think that think about deutsche bank and paul manafort, that's major. >> that's really the devastating part of this because you know, the one thing donald trump has said is the one red line that he will not allow paul manafort
to -- i'm sorry, he will not allow robert mueller's investigation to cross is investigating his personal finances other than those related to russia. the deutsche bank accounts presumably relate to all of his finances. and all of jared kushner's finances. and here you have steve bannon who notwithstanding what the president said today is obviously very close to the operations of his campaign. >> and let me put that -- the quote from steve bannon about deutsche bank, he says it goes through deutsche bank and all the kushner explative, the kushner expletive is greasy. they're going to go right through that and roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me. >> in other words, trying to flip people to get to -- to get to the president. and you know, how can anyone at this point say that the deutsche bank records are irrelevant when steve bannon says they're relevant. i mean, this argument now that this was a fishing expedition, that the whole investigation is a waste of time which is an
argument that you hear on fox news every day and you hear from republicans all the time, the response now is, well, steve bannon thinks it's pretty useful. it's a valid investigation. >> i know you're a loyalist to trump, it's been a rough night for you. but how do you, you know, it does sound like a lot of things bannon is saying are things that have come out of the mouths of democrats for months. >> this book is going to be a difficult book for the administration next week. there's a lot of things unpacked from the book. right now, you're looking at the credibility of the author now being brought into question, regarding blind quotes, was he part of this conversation. it's important to have this conversation in the context that this author's integrity has been questioned by major publications in the u.s. let's look at that. talking about steve bannon and the russia investigation, here's the concern i have. hearing this conversation, jeffrey, you talk about deutsche bank. what does that have to do with collusion? you know this is -- this is --
what this proves is what bannon has always believed is that mueller is a fishing expedition. he's going to keep digging and digging. has nothing do with collusion. digging until he finds something else. >> do you want an answer? >> please. >> which is that donald trump had financial interests in russia. >> a decade before he ran for president. >> we don't know. maybe a decade before. >> so you're speculating -- >> we haven't seen his tax return -- >> you've seen it, so you're speculating this is current? >> i know he has accounts at deutsche bank. what i'm interested in are facts. >> how is that related to the russia investigation is the question i'm asking? >> because donald trump has been obsessed with building in russia for 20 years. the russian government helped him win the presidency. the financial interests of the president in russia are highly relevant. >> whether you believe it or not, steve bannon now is talking about it. it goes through deutsche bank and all the kushner you know expletive and kushner expletive is greasy. they'll go right through that. paul?
>> that's -- it's -- i do admire bryan and i've had to defend the indefensible in my life, god knows. but that old dog won't hunt. it has always been about russia with this president and according to bannon and a lot of smart people, the russia story goes through money and money laundering. that is the argument that's clearly where mr. mueller is going. i think bannon's right about that. this is why the president said it's a red line. he's so transparent about this. he will tell you where he's, like the guy in the murder mystery. don't look into the basement. that's where this is. and it's telling that it's not about family. i know he loves his family. but steve bannon attacked the president's daughter a few weeks ago in alabama, took her line, this is a special place in hell for somebody who harms a child, threw it back in her face in public, so there's a special place in hell for you, ivanka. the president was silent. he loves his daughter. it's not about him defending
donald junior or his daughter or son-in-law. it's about russia, it's about money laundering, it's about allegations that bannon believes, knowing the family as he does, that the son took the russians straight to the old man. >> also about the fact, again, bannon's portraying himself correctly as somebody who was basically steering the ship in the trump campaign and trump administration. that's the thing that drives donald trump the most crazy. so this idea, i know the white house is pushing out the story it's really about the kids and the family. but read his statement. it's a four-paragraph statement. there's nothing about how dare you attack my family. it's all about how irrelevant steve bannon was and how easy it is to win if you're donald trump but bannon doesn't know anything about that. >> i'm going to put a happy face on the book. bryan used the word difficult. you know what else is difficult, like when you're addicted to a bad stanubstance and you're try to detox from it, the detox
period is difficult. when you come out on the other side, you feel much better. what they're doing in the white house is detoxing after getting over this bad drug steve bannon. >> like euphoria after throwing up. feel good for a little while. the nausea comes back. >> the detox will be painful but they'll be better off for this. what we learned today is bannon views himself as bigger than the trump family, bigger than the president and bigger than the office. he viewed trump as a vessel. but when the vessel got out to sea, it got its own mind. it became more like what you would expect a republican vessel to do, which bannon hated. why? because he's not an actual republican. he's had a hell of a couple months here on his exit interview he said the administration has no credible military strategy in north korea a strategic disaster for the white house. he promised civil war against the president's allies in the senate, led the president down a disastrous path in alabama. and now, this book, if i didn't know any better, he was on schumer and pelosi's payroll, all the damage he's done to
donald trump. so it's a difficult book, it's a difficult night, but they'll be better off for ridding themselves of this virus. >> leona. >> what are the implications of the book going forward for steve bannon? bannon had an established record of backing outsider candidates before he joined the trump campaign, but when he joined trump who had a national following, as well, trump did make him a national celebrity. he was parodied on "saturday night live" and became a household name. i think, because he had the political background and an established record, bannon did take credit for some of trump's you know, well won victories and that got under the president's skin. they each took credit for each other's successes and the truth is that now that the president has disavowed bannon and bannon has tried to position himself and to cast himself as a tribunal of the trump voter his influence will be greatly diminished among the trump base when he goes out and tries to campaign in the 2018 midterms. that will really hurt him. because what he's trying to do
going forward, in terms of backing anti-establishment candidates, depends on his status among trump voters. so i think he will be greatly diminished by this break with the president. we have to take a quick bre break. we'll have more on this. coming up next, will roger ailes asked steve bannon according to michael wolff and what was said about vladimir putin. later, remember the president's unsubstantiated claim he would have won the popular vote if it weren't for massive voter fraud? and remember the commission he established to investigate it? today it was announced the commission is gone. it's no longer doing anything. we'll have reporting on that. en a morning person. it's when i ponder the deep questions, like which came first, the egg? or the chicken? how would i know? but i do know that first, qualcomm connected the phone to the internet. and now, everyone is posting and scrolling and sharing everything. yessir. qualcomm invents, then the world innovates
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and get your adt starter kit for just $49.00. talking about michael wolff's book and steve bannon's dishing in it. in one excerpt, wolff describes a dinner meeting between roger ailes and bannon. quote, what has he gotten himself into with the russians? mostly said bannon he went to russia and thought he would meet putin but putin couldn't give an expletive about him so he kept trying. back again with the panel. it is hard to grasp, jeff, that steve bannon is now basically trolling the president on russia, which is obviously a subject which he hasn't really spoken of heretofore, and the
white house has denied. i guess the question is, what does steve bannon actually know because he wasn't there. >> he wasn't there, but we're talking about this book in the context of you know, can this marriage be saved between donald trump and steve bannon. my answer to that really is sort of who cares. i don't think that is a particularly important subject. if you read the chapter in new york magazine, you see that the people closest to donald trump, steve bannon, kayte walsh, this very straightforward establishment figure, they all think the president of the united states is entirely unfit to be president. they think he doesn't read anything. they think he doesn't know anything. they think he doesn't care about any policy. he is totally incurious about every aspect of his job. that to me is a lot more important and significant than whether steve bannon is up or down. who cares? i mean, the idea that all these
people who care about the republican party think the president is essentially out of his mind, that's significant. >> i got say, i always feel for bad anybody surrounded by people who have their own agenda and are so disloyal they run to you know, do a book. it seems like that is who the president is surrounded by. >> yeah, i don't know about that. kayte walsh is a good example. i don't think she's somebody necessarily disloyal. first of all, she wasn't necessarily a trump person, more of an establishment person. >> steve bannon with him in the fight -- >> big surprise you get in steve bannon and this happens? should we be surprised? if you look at the things that kayte walsh says, i did find those the most concerning things. she talks about it's like trying to figure out what a child wants, dealing with the president. she asked jared kushner, tell me what his top three priorities are. he said i can't. portrays basically, what we have observed from the outside she really lends credence to the idea that the president is in
over his head. >> kayte walsh has come up tonight. she has completely and flatly denied saying this. >> right, in ax owe, which we talked about the last hour. >> i've been communicating with someone close to her. they believe bannon is saying these things and attributing them to katye for the author. back to bryan's point earlier -- >> we reached out to her. she said what she said to axio -- >> some of these anecdotes is the sourcing correct on this may tear down this author's credibility. >> i will say also, michael wolff did ingratiate himself, i remember he was making very pro president trump statements going after other reporters for the way they were reporting on the white house. what seems to be a way to get himself ingratiated into the white house. >> it's also -- >> i bet that's never happened before. i mean, look, his mission was to try to get in close with the white house. he wound up in a position where he is sitting in the west wing. i'm jealous. i wish i'd had that sort of access. i didn't.
he did. and no one, at least -- other than this kayte walsh thing, which she has not said publically, she said through other people, have refuted what is in the book. certainly bannon has. >> remember people often deny they said things they said when it gets them this trouble. i'm not saying she's lying but sometimes you have to -- i'm not sure i'm ready to say michael wolff has no integrity the way that you said. this is a pretty well respected -- he's a pretty well respected reporter, media reporter. so the idea he was just making up quotes, we need more evidence to support that. >> it's so many people saying the same thing. >> it's consistent with everything else. >> once you get to the eighth, the ninth. it goes back to toobin's point earlier. you have these fights for the soul of the presidency. when i was a kid, ronald reagan was our president and the conservatives had this big movement, let reagan be reagan. they thought he was too
moderated. james baker moderated him. i worked for bill clinton. a lot of the left thought he had moved to the center. big war for the soul of the clinton white house. that was about be ideas. it was about policies. scott wants to make it about policies. bannon is not a republican. this critique is whether this man is fit to serve as president. rupert murdoch quoted calling him a blanking idiot. the secretary of treasury and the chief of staff of the white house also call him an idiot. gary cohen, his chief economic idiot calls him dumb as blank, poop hr mcmasters calling him a dope. we know rex tillerson would not deny when asked whether he called the president a blanking moron. this is not just he's too liberal or conservative. this is people close to him screaming he is unfit to be our president. >> that's what fundamentally distinguishes this white house from previous white houses.
it's difficult to compare the trump white house to the bush or clinton white house. when you talk about the president being surrounded by people who have contempt for him or don't feel loyalty to him, one of the problems is the president isn't loyal to his staffers either. there's not a feeling of mutual loyalty in the white house. when you think about the obama white house or the george w. bush white house, there are people to this day who worked grueling hours because they felt a real sense of personal loyalty and a sense of mission and who still now talk about their deep love and respect for barack obama or george w. bush. i don't think you would find a single person in the trump white house, not even the president's children and it is telling he had to bring his children and his son-in-law into the white house with him, who would say they feel that way about donald trump. i think that is the fundamental distinguishing feature of the trump white house. >> got to take another break. new reporting from dana bash on what has motivated some of the fury the president unleashed in the last 24 hours in tweets. we'll be right back.
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download the xfinity my account app or go online today. tweet, a brutal letter to steve bannon, a threat of nuclear war, these are just a few of the things that have been on the president's to do list in the last 24 hours. according to new reporting from dana bash, it's a storm brewing for a while now. what have you learned what's behind some of the tweets? >> we know enough about the president and his twitter habits at this point to know when he goes on an over the top rant or a series of them in this case, there tends to be something really bothering him. what my colleague kevin and i learned is that this time, according to sources familiar with the president's thinking and what's going on in the white house, it is largely about the russia investigation. his legal team was trying to manage the president, keep him calm for months by assuring him that the probe would be over
soon. they said that in public and in private. here we are and here he is beginning 2018, and it's not over by a long shot. in fact, the president was actually hoping his lawyers could convince robert mueller to announce he is in the clear and that is not happening. > do we know if the president's frustration was also connected to what bannon said in the book? >> the white house was aware this book was coming. but my understanding is that they did not expect it to be as soapy and as salacious as it is or most importantly, they didn't know about the things that steve bannon is quoted as saying on the record, especially about russia. the fact that that came out as the president's nerves are even more raw than usual on the issue of russia was kind of an explosive combination. >> and any idea on the president's -- obviously, the conversation about the white house trying to handle his tweets, is there any sense of how trump's inner circle in the
white house is handling all of this behind the scenes? >> they're trying to do so gingerly and carefully because they know he's not going to stop tweeting. nobody who has any modicum of understanding of the president either from afar or up close knows that's not going to happen. however, with this series of tweets about north korea, pakistan, other hot spots around the world, i'm told some of the white house reached out to others who might have some influence on the president, especially on national security to try to convince him that those tweets are bad for american policy and bad for him personally, make him look unstable. i don't know if the message was actually delivered to the president or in what form. anderson. >> dana bash, appreciate that. back now with the panel. leona, it is interesting how the president's attorneys, from all the reporting, have been telling him that the mueller investigation is in its final phase when there's no public indication of that. >> it was in its final phase
around thanksgiving and then in its final phase at the end of the year and now it appears to be in its final phase once again. this seems to me and senior white house aides tell me this is clearly a management strategy on the part of the president's lawyers to keep his emotions about the investigation in check and to prevent him from tweeting something that would be potentially seriously damaging to the unfolding investigation. the problem with that, the clear problem i think is that the president is not a complete idiot and is going to catch on to the strategy when the investigation doesn't end. contrary to the beliefs of many, he is going to catch on to this at some point. i did speak to a lawyer for another member of the administration who said you know, it's a problem as an attorney when you are misleading your client. so it's not clear to me exactly how the president's lawyers are conveying this information to him. this lawyer said to me, they may just be putting the most positive spin on the information they're receiving. if they're actually telling the president faulty information, it
would be a real violation of legal ethics. >> speaking of treating the president like a 3-year-old, telling him that the investigation is ending when it's not ending is unbelievable. >> i find that hard to believe that attorneys would do that. >> you know, i mean, what you just said has the ring of truth to me. i've been talking to ty cobb who was the main white house lawyer on this. he says, he think it's wrapping up and we -- it's not wrapping up. you can just see that it's not wrapping up. there's a trial scheduled in may. how can it be wrapping up? >> you have a hard time believing attorneys would do that. i have a hard time believing these guys would have lunch on the sidewalk and speak so loudly. i have a hard time believing dowd would write that tweet the other day. i have a hard time believing cobb would put out some of the statements he has. i've worried on this show for weeks and weeks that the president is not being well served at times by this team.
the best thing they can do is tell this man the cold hard truth. it's not wrapping up anytime soon. they need to do everything they can do to protect the president and the institution of the presidency by misleading him, not telling him exactly what's happening, they're not doing that. >> they're following the trump model. in every white house, that's what you do. you follow the boss, you follow his strengths and weaknesses. this president is not strategic. i wish he were. even though i disagree with his agenda. he's not. it's getting through the day. so if you can prevent a trantrum with little charley by saying you're going to get a pony for christmas when you know there's nothing but a pile of bannon coming, you shouldn't make the promise. but you're trying to get through the day and stop the meltdown. >> i think there's a lot of truth to that. >> in this white house, yes with, this president. >> cobb and his attorneys reviewed the facts and had a theory by november this would be complete because this was a year and a half long campaign. there wasn't 20 years of documentation they needed to review.
>> they scheduled a trial for may. >> but the trial is not related to any russia collusion. it's related to manafort and his money laundering issue, has nothing to do with russian collusion. you had a theory that came forward. the president understood the theory. they defended a theory. now the goal post is moving. naturally, the president if it's true he's frustrated by this, he has every reason to be. you should disclose things to the president. you should be transparent. you say he's not strategic. he's sitting in the white house because is he strategic. the whole world thought he was. >> because vladimir putin is strategic and jim comey is unethical. >> the reason putin got involved is because he viewed obama weak. he saw obama whisper in his ear i'll be able to be more flexible. what he saw is he saw weakness in the obama administration and said let me take advantage of this opportunity because there's a president tripping over backwards to accommodate me. he's not going to do anything when we do this. he proved to be right. >> so he wanted to back a
candidate who he felt was stronger than obama? >> any candidate was going to be stronger than obama when it came to russia. putin smelled weakness when it came to russia and obama. every action that russia did, obama did nothing to respond. there wasn't the level of confidence. putin knew he could do whatever he wanted with the united states because there would be no reaction. >> this is why the financial records are so important. and, bryan, i don't think you see the connection. which is many people believe that the russians had their hooks into mr. trump before he was president by virtue of money. that's been alleged many times. when he doesn't release his tax returns and says it's a red line when you start to investigate that, that suggests that's probably the way in. >> what he said about -- >> he has no problem with mueller focusing on the point of collusion but going beyond that it becomes a witch hunt. at what point do we stop the witch hunt? >> let's take a break. we'll get into an excerpt that says one of the reasons likes to eat mcdonald's is because he has a long running fear of being poisoned. more on that ahead.
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talking about excerpts from michael wolff's book "fire and fury" with our panel. one of the exerts gives an insight why the president likes to eat mcdonald's. i want to read in that says in the first -- it's talking about tvs he ordered for his bedroom. in the first days he ordered two screens in addition to the one already there and a lock on the door precipitating a brief standoff with the secret service who insisted they have access to the room. he reprimanded the housekeeping staff for picking up his shirt
from the floor. he said, if my shirt is on the floor, it's because i want it on the floor. nobody touch anything, especially his toothbrush. one reason he liked to eat mcdonald's was nobody knew he was coming and the food was premade. he would let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets done and he would strip his own bed. >> some of it i don't know what to make of. but some of it is, every president has as right to have as many tvs where he wants and that's all fine. he has a perfect right. the white house is -- president clinton used to joke it was the crown jewel of the federal penal system. so anything that makes him feel more at home is great. i'm for that. this notion somehow he's worried his own staff is going to poison him, the people in that white house, particularly the household staff, ushers and domestic folks, have been there for generations. they're the nicest, best people he will ever meet. he doesn't need to worry. he's got a lot of worries and a lot of fears. he doesn't need to worry. >> there's also an excerpt about his -- allegedly about the
evening routine from before bannon was fired. "if he was not having his 6:30 dinner with steve bannon more to his liking he was in bed by that time with a cheeseburger, watching his three tv screens and making phone calls. the phone was his true contact point to the world. a small group of friends characteri characterized by his rising and falling levels of agitation through the evening and compared notes with one another. >> that could be written about someone's 14-year-old child, in bed at 6:30, calling friends, complaining. friends comparing. it's hard to believe this is the president of the united states. this is what they're doing. >> really, what is so terrible about that? i mean, i he actually don't think -- so he calls his friends at night. >> sits in bed at 6:30 eating cheeseburgers? he's the president of the united states. i don't know. >> what's sad is there's legitimate reasons to criticize trump. if he wants to eat a cheeseburger in bed and make phone calls, that seems like a very minor thing.
>> also for people that talk about the bubble of the white house, it is a way to reach out of that bubble and take the temperature of things. >> listen, here's the problem that i have right now with this thing. this book, this bannon stuff. it has become nothing but a bigger distraction of what would have been good last year with tax reform and good focus on infrastructure. you can make the case the economy is revving along. there are actions that the president took. we're talking about mcdonald's and big macs. talking about bannon taking credit for something he doesn't deserve credit for. and that's the president's election. last time i checked, the president's been making these populist comments over 30 years well before breitbart ever became an online magazine. so you know, these distractions are good. we can fill up cable time but i think what the voters want to do and what the american people want to do is how is this affecting the pocketbooks? >> on infrastructure and that he could have been focussing on that, the president yesterday was comparing the size of his nuclear button to kim jong-un and saying huma abedin should be put in jail, a private citizen. >> and this is how he answered that question. he has been using this rhetoric with his twitter on north korea
for a year now. you and i were on tv talking about this. we got a december resolution against north korea as a result of those tweets. so we can speculate that this is dangerous, this is abrupt, this is out of the norm for a president. >> i'm saying it distracts from infrastructure week. >> it does distract but the theme has always been, what is the biggest threat to the this country? and that is, a nuclear north korea which is why his focus is always on that. >> i really don't think it's fair to say that this is a distraction from some larger agenda. trump himself since the day he got into office has produced and manufactured distractions and crises. >> we're talking about big macs. >> it's essentially his expertise and he lurches from one crisis to another. this happens to come from outside the white house, but his tweets. >> but when the president's top adviser who was there with him from the campaign comes out and says all these things which is things democrats have been saying, that's a story. >> steve bannon has a gift for generating headlines.
no different than donald trump. that's why they get along the way they do. they figured out how to manipulate the media. >> when he says the president's son is going to crack like an egg -- >> he already testified for hours. there's not going to be another testimony that takes place. this is hyperbole. >> at best, bannon was a dalmatian on a fire engine. at worst he's a barnacle that deserves to float to the bottom of the ocean. the reality is, this crap cyclone that's been happening for the last 24 hours has not stopped one thing from happening. according to the gallup weekly tracking the president is at his highest number. he's getting close enough to stave off the historical number that the democrats need to take the house for all the so for all of the distraction, he's crept up a few points in the last couple of weeks. >> has he really? >> yes. >> because he's been off the screen. >> because he's been off. he went away and played golf and he got out of our face. now he's back in our face. 16 tweets yesterday. each more psychotic than the previous one. the worst threatening nuclear
war. that's not going to move him back up. he did well because he went to mar-a-lago and played golf. another big headline today, if voter fraud is such a problem, and the president says it is, why did he just dissolve the commission he insisted be set up. searching for answers when we come back. pot... your loose satellite dish... the literal deer in the headlights. but it's a new year and i'm making a resolution. no more mayhem. this year i'm everything that helps keep you safe. like the fuzzy, yellow tennis ball dangling from a string. helping make sure you pull the car in far enough... but not too far. ♪ with expedia, you can book a flight, then add a hotel, and save. ♪ everything you need to go.
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with all that's in the new book on president trump and the pushback from the white house, something else happened there today. something you might have missed. the president dissolved his voter fraud commission he created it back in may. here's what led up to it. last november, just a couple weeks after the election, he tweeted "in addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, i won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." there's no evidence of that, yet the complaining didn't stop. when he took office last january, he tweeted, i will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud including those registered to vote in two states, those illegal and those who are dead and many for a long time. depending on results, we will strengthen voting procedures. several folks in trump's circle backed the president's claims. >> i think the president-elect is absolutely correct what he says, the number of illegal votes cast exceeds the popular vote margin between him and
hillary clinton. >> the president does believe that. he has stated that before. i think he stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign. he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people presented to him. >> i think there's been studies. there's one that came out of pew in 2008 that showed 14% of people who voted were noncitizens. there's other stud dys studies that have been presented to him. it's a belief he maintains. >> having worked before on a campaign in new hampshire, i can tell you this issue of bussing voters into new hampshire is widely known by anyone who has worked in new hampshire politics. it's very real, very serious. this morning on this show is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence. >> some new hampshire leaders disagreed with that. i also spoke to the person who actually did the study that the white house cited who said what they're saying is not true. we never saw any evidence from the white house. the commission request for voter files from every state was met with opposition. so the white house today cited
that and issued a statement saying they were dissolving the panel. one senior white house adviser telling us, quote, it was a poop show, they used a different word. adding that the commission went "off the rails." the president has doubled down on this notion saying there was fraud saying there was substantial evidence. >> i don't know what, look, i think the president lost the popular vote. i think there were instances of voter fraud. i don't think it was enough to up end the margin in this election. i also talked to a white house lawyer tonight, high ranking lawyer who told me if you think donald trump is giving up on the deeply held belief that there are illegal people on the voting rolls, you're crazy. they are actually just moving this over to the department of homeland security because this commission venue became untenable because of the lawsuits. so i don't interpret this as a never mind or a giving up. >> let's be clear what this is. the republican party since
2010 has been trying to disenfranchise poor people and black people by making it harder to vote. by establishing photo i.d. requirements. by limiting absentee voting, by limiting early voting. this is the most important civil rights issue of our time and it's about whether people can vote. it's a concerted effort by the republican party to stop democrats from going to the polls. this fiasco is indicative of what a ridiculous non-problem voter fraud is, but the cure here is to stop democrats from voting. >> and even if there are, as this person at the white house said, even if it was true that there were people who are illegally on voter rolls, i don't even know if that's true, because voter fraud is a negligible problem in this country, that in itself isn't going to change an election. like, you'd actually have to have someone go in, impersonate that person and vote. and that's never been proven. no one's ever attempted to prove that. they've just said, oh, mickey mouse is on the rolls and
therefore, that's something. mickey mouse has to show up and vote, right? even talking, i don't know if it's kris kobach saying, people are bused in. that's not voter fraud. if they're legitimate voters and go to the polls and they're bused in, that's irrelevant. that has nothing to do with anything. this was just an attempt of the president to try to justify not winning the popular vote. that's the bottom line. that's all this was about. >> there has been legitimate research done about the voter rolls in many states that have a lot of people on them that shouldn't be on them, dead people, two states -- >> a member of the trump family has been on two -- >> that's true. but let me take what jeff said. i've been involved in republican politics. my first campaign was the 2000 campaign with president george w. bush. i have never heard a republican political operative, official or anyone else say, hey, let's all get together and disenfranchise people, stop people from voting. >> i have. >> i have never heard it once.
i take great offense at that. the republican political operatives that i know want people to vote and they want people to vote republican. >> so why are they making it harder to vote? and why are that, in alabama, for example, closing the places that you can get a photo i.d. in the black neighborhoods. because they want to stop black people from voting. >> african-american voter participation was up in alabama, jeff. it was up in alabama. >> that's right, because they were so appalled at donald trump that they went -- >> you're arguing simultaneously -- republicans made it hard to vote yet people voted. you can't have it both ways. republicans are not trying to make it harder to vote. republicans want a legal vote. they want a free process. they want free and fair elections. >> in texas, it's legitimate to use a hunter's license to get a -- is a legitimate form of i.d. a pistol permit, but a student syd not a legitimate form of identification. it's because the republicans are using voter fraud -- voter --
the fake voter fraud issue, this nonexistent problem to try to win elections and it's an absolutely disgrace. >> we've got end to it there. thanks, everybody. they're having fun in the snow in south carolina. a zog -- dog named doe knack pulls a woman through the snow on a snowboard. but it could be dangerous in new england when this massive storm strikes tomorrow. we'll get an update from the cnn weather center, next. gather your vikings
dumping snow in the south tonight, threatening to pound the rest of the east coast, all the way to maine. a rare snowy day in savannah, georgia, of all places. a picturesque scene in the historic district there. barely a soul on the streets. tonight, 13 states under a winter storm warning. the storm heading north on thursday. up to a foot of snow expected in parts of long island, new york, and new england with the potential of 40 to 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts in some places. our meteorologist, tom sater, is tracking the storm and joins us now with the latest. tom, let's talk about this storm system moving up the coast. what do the hours ahead look like? >> well, it's going to start to intensify overnight tonight, anderson, and through the day tomorrow. the storm system, which now has a center, we can now track it, looks like it's going to be just far enough off the coast to keep the hurricane force winds away from the shoreline, which is good news. we'll still see hurricane gusts. the snow is ending, of course, after getting its first measurable snow in tallahassee in 28 years. 5 inches fell in charleston.
that's the third highest one-day total they've had in history. this is when it starts to crank up. i think washington, d.c. and baltimore are just too far to the west to get into heavy snow, maybe an inch or two. but things are now changing. new york city has been evaluated to be included in the winter storm warning. boston proper is now included into the blizzard warning. when you look at the snowfall i mean, the kids of all ages were loving this in the south. but now it's going to start to crank up. take the snow out of the equation. with the storm deepening off the coast, we could see even tropical storm force winds knock out power to tens of thousands. but when you toss in that heavy snowfall in the branches, maybe 150, 250,000 people could lose power. now, if you look at the blizzard warnings, 7.7 million now are in the blizzard warnings. so not just zero visibility, but those strong winds and the heavy amounts of snow. when it comes to the snowfall, this is what has already fallen. 5 to 8 inches in a few locations. the outer banks. but in colors of pink in excess of a foot. to break it down just a little more for you, here's
philadelphia, 3 to 6. new york city, 4 to 8. and boston, 10 to 15. the bigger problem, i think, will be the cold that follows. if we have power outages to thousands, anderson, it could be days before it's restored. and the temperatures are going to be extremely cold. in fact, colder than we've seen the last 11 days, east of the continental divide. >> how does a storm like this get so strong? >> a classic nor'easter. i know, yesterday, you were talking about the term has been going around, about this bomb cyclone. all that really means is that when the storm system develops and the pressure drops, the storm gets stronger. the difference between the temperatures on the land and of course, the warmer waters of the atlantic create this extreme strengthening. the jet stream is the highway the storm will take. thank goodness a difference of just 20 to 30 miles closer or away from the coastline means everything as far as how much snow and how strong the winds are going to be. but a classic nor'easter, as it makes its way northward, those northeasterly winds bring in that moisture from the atlantic, dump that snow.
but with this one deepening so low, we think the pressure could be equal to that of superstorm sandy. although this is a big, big difference, we're not going to have that kind of damage with storm sandy. it's not going to make landfall, but it's going to cause a world of problems, no doubt about that. >> tom sater, thanks very much. appreciate it. thanks for watching "360." time to hand it over to jake tapper. "the lead" starts right now. good evening and welcome to a special prime-time edition of "the lead." i'm jake tapper. you know, with all the fire back and forth between president trump and his former chief strategist, steve bannon, washington tonight is starting to resemble the final scene from "reservoir dogs." simmering, long-standing resentments given new life today with release of excerpts from a book offering a brutal look at the administration's first months in office, courtesy of journalist michael wolff and courtesy of the many white house officials who for whatever reason rolled out the red carpet for him and offered him a seat on their west wing couches. excerpts of wolff's new book "fire an