tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 10, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
our next episode. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. one thing you can't question, he blossoms when the cameras are on. thank you so much for joining us. you can watch out-front anytime. anderson is next. good evening, today president trump refused to say whether he is willing to talk to special counsel robert mueller we begin with keeping them honest. it comes down to all the things that even after a your in office the president cannot let go of, namely his election. and his belief that any claims to the contrary or even the mere investigation of such claims are either a hoax, a sham, a democratic excuse for losing for him, or an attempt to undercut his victory. here is a what he told john roberts this afternoon whether he's open to talking with special counsel, with or without
special conditions. >> there has been no collusion between the trump campaign and russians or trump and russians, no collusion. when i watch you interviewing all the people leaving their committees, the democrats are all running for office, but the bottom line they say there's no collusion. there is no collusion. when you talk about interviews, hillary clinton had an interview where she wasn't sworn in, she wasn't given the owes, they didn't take notes, they didn't record, and it was done on the fourth of july weekend. that's perhaps ridiculous, and a lot of people looked upon that as being a very serious breach, and it really was. again, i'll speak to attorneys. i can only say there. there was absolutely no collusion, everybody knows it, i've been in office now for 11 months. for 11 months they've this phony cloud over this administration, over our government, and it has
hurt our government. it does hurt our government. it's a democrat hoax that was brought up as an execution for losing an election that frankly the democrats should have won, because they have such a tremendous advantage in the electoral college. it was brought up for that reason. it's been determined there's no collusion, and by virtually everybody. >> he said the words "no collusion" eight times. i want to play this next on its own so you can better see his reasoning and especially where it would lead. >> certainly we'll see what happens, but when they have no collusion and nobody has found any at any level, it seems unlikely you would even have an interview. >> so that's the bottom line -- why talk when there's nothing to talk about? to begin with, he may have no choice. he could always be subpoenaed. before we go any further here's the webs sister's definition of collusion.
now, keep that in mind so you can decide for yourself whether any of of what we already know is collusion. quote -- through his false statements and omissions defend impeded the fbi's pending investigation. . and the russian government's efforts to interfere. there's that and michael flynn's guilt pleas, and some of the allegations and the other indictments other than the indictments, we do not fully know what if anything the special counsel has uncovered about collusion, nor whether congressional committees looking into this have learned. what we do know is simple. neither of committees nor the special counsel's office have said anything either directly accusing the president or his campaign, or clearing them of anything. back in november dianne
feinstein told jake tapper that she had yet to see any evidence. she did not clear anyone of colluding with russians to interfering in the election. she did say that the investigation continues. so did republican rich afford burr, chairman of the intelligence committee. >> we have more work to do ago it relates to collusion, but we're developing a clearer picture of what happened. >> that sentiment is echoed by senator mark warner. >> we have successfully pressed for the full accounting of russian cyber-efforts to targets our state electoral systems. and despite the initial denial of contacts during the election, this committee's efforts have helped uncover numerous and troubling high-level engagements between the trump campaign and russian affiliates, many of which have only been revealed in recent months. >> so that doesn't sound like the all-clear on collusion, nor
does this just today from michael hayden, who's worked for democratic and republican presidents. >> it's not a hoax, there's now historical record, which we can all agree there were contacts between the campaign and agents of the russian federation, that there was some cooperation, some synchronization of activity between the campaign, the russians and wikileaks. whether it's collusion or criminal, that's a completely different matter, but there is some there there, which struck me about the president's comments. he needs, he wants, he should be pursuing closure, and he doesn't get closure until he talks to bob mueller. >> to that point, just a reminder, none of us knows when this will end. it seems no room for the president to claim vindication until all the facts are known. and adam schiff, i spoke to him earlier this evening.
congress ma'am schiff, president trump's claim that democrats say it's all collusion and there's a phony cloud hanging over his administration. is it your fact that there's no collusion? >> of course not. the president seems to repeat this as a mantra, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. i think in an interview he said it some 16 more times. we found scores the meetings that the campaign said they never had. officials lied about those meetings, and, of course, a pivotal meeting in trump tower with three of the top campaign people that was undertaken with the promise of obtaining dirt from the russians on hillary clinton in part of what was described as the russian effort to help the trump campaign. so, no, the president is certainly wrong, but he's not alone in being wrong on that
issue. >> the fact the president wouldn't say whether he would be willing to immediate with mueller, does that give you any pause just in terms of how cooperative the president wants to be? >> i have to imagine both the president and his team of lawyers are desperately concerned about any interview hi might give under oath to the special counsel. after all this is a president who says one thing in the morning and will say something completely different only hours later and haw made some potential incriminating comments, you know, such as the one he gave to lester holt about his motivation in fire james comey. i can certainly understand the concern, but at the same time i understand the imperative of special counsel in conducting this interview. it's not something you can ask a witness like this to do in writing. if you ask the president to respond in writer, what you're getting are the lawyers' answers, not the president's answers. way back in march, though,
last year, you said you had seen, quote, more than circumstantial evidence that people connect that the president -- where do you stand on that now? have you seen any more than circumstantial evidence? >> yes, i think even if you look at what is in the public domain, you have to be willfully blinding yourselves or accrediting every self-serving explanation to ignore the evidence that is before us. here you have as early as april the russians apromise the george papadopoulos that they have dirt on hillary clinton, that was told to the trump campaign before even the clinton campaign was aware of it. and you have that trump campaign person lying to federal agents about it. you have mike flynn meeting -- or discussion, rather, secretly with the russian ambassador ways to undermine the bipartisan policy of the united states
vis-a-vis sanctions over russia's intervention in the election, and then lying about that. you also have, of course, that meeting at trump tower. you have the connections with wikileaks, the fact that after the trump tower meeting, almost immediately thereafter you see schoolian assange for the first time acknowledging receipt of these stolen e-mails we now know came from the russians. so there's ample evidence in the public record on the issue of collusion. the only issue really is what's the strength of that evidence? what will, for example, george papadopoulos and mike flynn and the other witnesses have to say if we're allow to do bring them in? that will tell us how strong is the evidence. in the absence of that, it's very hard to be able to say this is what i predict the evidence will be at the end of the investigation. >> just to kind of just drill down on that a bit, essentially
you're saying you've seen possible indications of collusion, how real it is, you're not willing to say at this point? >> i think we have seen evidence of collusion. the question is ultimately for bob mueller, is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt, such that he would feel comfortable seeking an indictment or seeking to go before a jury and make the case. for us in congress it's not a question of beyond a reasonable doubt? it's what conclusions can we draw from it, whether or not it amounts to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. >> is there enough evidence so far in the public record? you talk about this not on a legal basis, but a political basis, for congress, for impeachment? >> i'm reserving judgment on what we'll ultimately find. i voted against the impeachment resolution we have in the house. i think we need to fin our investigation, determine the strength of the evidence and the consequences that are to flow from that.
>> the testimony that was released by senator fieinstein, from the founders of gps, does that put around end to the argument that this so-called dossier was the work of hillary clinton? the clinton campaign did pay money after the research was already begun by republicans. >> we'll put an end to it, because this is not really based on fact. this is based on the desire to create a political narrative, to distract attention frankly from what the russians did and the connections between the russians and the trump campaign. i don't imagine that any amount of evidence is going to deter at least some members of the house and some members of the senate from trying to make this all about the government, and anderson, i was a prosecutor for six years. i have seen this gathe problem
the white house is not their client, at least it shouldn't be. we should all be investigators here, but unfortunately that is not the role that i think many of my colleagues are taken on. >> congressman schiff, i appreciate your time. >> thanks, anderson. just ahead, legal views from across of spectrum on the no-collusion claim and noncommitment about talking to robert mueller. and later from california, the death toll rising, we'll have an update on the search for survivors. d-winning geico mobile app, our customers have 24/7 access, digital id cards, they can even pay their bill- (beep) bill has joined the call. hey bill, we're just- phone: hi guys, bill here. do we have julia on the line too? 'k, well we'll just- phone: hey sorry. i had you muted. well yea let's just- phone: so what i was thinking- ok well we'll- phone: yeah-
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so the president suggested today there seems to be nothing to talk about. no collusion, now leave aside the reality he may not have a choice in the matter, that he could be compelled to talk, what the president says today differs from what he said before. >> would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of -- >> 100%. i didn't say under oath. i hardly know the man. i'm not going to say, i want you to pledge allegiance. who would ask a man to do that think of it. i hardly know the man. no, i didn't say that's correct and i didn't say the other.
>> let's get a legal perspective from jim schultz, and norm eisen, and carey cordero, a legal analyst for cnn as well. would you advise resisting from being interviewed? >> i think this is a lot about the president taking advice. he said he would speak with a special counsel. he's said that in the past, and now he's pulling that back a bit, probably at the behest of his lawyers. what's going to happen here the same thing that happened for george w. bush, the negotiation will take about the time, the scope of the inquiry, what questions, what topics can be discussed all of this will be negotiated by lawyers.
>> so you think it would be a negotiation? >> probably at the end there will be a negotiation whether he goes before mueller's team or not, and to the extend, i would expect his lawyers will negotiate that out. >> as much as they can. do you believe the president has grounds to resist being interviewed, and do you think it's part of an opening ga. >> i think the president is helping his lawyers in the negotiation. he does not have ground to resist. it's not just his public statement. mueller can subpoena him. he has no legal grounds after u.s. v. nixon. that was also a subpoena to the president. the supreme court said the president has to answer it. mueller knows he can haul the president before a garage with a
subpoena. so it's not a real negotiation. the president's lawyers have one hand tied behind their back. they've try to get the best deal they can, but that interview with happen, because there's a lot of evidence of obstruction. it can't be resolved without understanding the president's intent. >> carrie, who do you think has the most leverage in this situation? the without or the special counsel. obviously if the president is subpoenaed, one of the problems with that, for the president is his lawyers then would not be present. >> right. in my view, the special counsel has the upper hand in this negotiation, certainly the details will need to be worked out in terms of what the subject matter of a particular interview is, the timing, the location, who is present, all those sorts of things are up for negotiation and will be worked out, but i do think the special counsel, if the special counsel determines
for his investigation that they need to interview the president -- and i don't think that's something they would do lightly. they understand the gravity of interviewing the president of the united states, and all that is involved with that, but if they determine they need to, then they have already -- if what's been reported is they have already communicated to the white house counsel's office and the president's lawyers that they want to interview him. it's just a matter of when. it might be that the president's office wants to delay. i can't imagine that the president is in any rush to want to be interviewed by the special counsel, nor really would any president, so they might want to delay it. they might want to put it off, but at the end of the day, if the special counsel wants to interview him, they will be able to. >> your former boss seems to be caught up in this. do you believe he would put his own if credibility at stake,
because his job is -- he's not the president's personal attorney. he's the attorney for the office of the president. >> don mcgahn has been a stabilizing force in the white house from day one. he's a tremendous white house counsel. the reports of him having a discussion with jeff sessions were entirely appropriate. a white house counsel talking with a member of the cabinet about a legal issue related to a recu recusal. it's much ado about nothing. i think the president has a right to be frustrated. he wants to be back to talking about the 12 circuit judges that he wants to confirm, putting people back to work. he wants to get back to talking about about transportation infrastructure. >> would it have been legal all this time if they were talking about all this? whether it's russian obstruction, making sure their
stories match up, is that technically allowed? >> anderson, that kind of effort to line your stories up and obscure the truth is a classic part of an obstruction of justice pattern. that's why emerging evidence continues to come out about the president himself on air force one, trying to shake don junior's story about the notorious meeting at trump tower between don junior and the other campaign officials and the russians. that's why it's so concerning a tremendous amount of obstruction evidence. my goodness we have evidence the president of the united states asked the fbi director can you see your way clear of letting flynn go? and when he didn't do it, he fired comey. he cried out in the oval office, where is my roy cohen? he seemingly had something to
hide, but there's no way to know for sure without bob mueller sitting him across the table, and gauging his answers, and his credibility. was he intending to obstruct or not? >> carrie, there's the criminal standard that mueller is looking at, that congress has the standard that doesn't have to dovetail precisely with mueller's standard. which standard should the white house be more concerned about? >> they're probably most concerned about legal exposure with the special counsel's case, because the special counsel's investigation star what we know, it looks like it's covering several different areas ranging from potential violations of possibly computer fraud and abuse act, which is the hacking aspect, whether there was any advance nothing of that, to obstruction, so there's a lot of legal exposure. not all of that is directed at the president. some of that is directed to individuals who were involved in
the campaign, others potentially who still work in the white house. so there's a lot of legal exposure here, but, of course, institutionally, for the office of the presidency, and this is what the white house counsel would be most concerned with, is the potential issue for the congress to take it up as a matter of impeachment, but -- so those are two different considerations, both serious in their own way. >> we've got to leave it there. appreciate everybody just ahead after a week of explosive stories, the president says that libel laws ought to be changed. a quick spoiler alert, that's not something he can actually do. we'll have details ahead.
president trump was venting again today, possibly taking a swipe at michael wolff's new book or the recent reporting on the dossier or both. >> our current libel laws are a sham and disgrace and do not represent american values or fairness. we're going to take a strong look at that. we want fairness. you can't say things that are
knowingly false and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account. we're going to take a very, very strong look at that, and i think what the american people want to see is fairness. now, keep in mind this is coming from someone who spent more than a year lying about where president obama was born, and pushed the theory that ted cruz's father was involve in the kennedy assassination. even if he wanted to, not any president can do much about libel laws. it's hardly a new thing for donald trump. before he was president, he his a long history of threatening to take legal action again nearly anything written against him that he didn't like. so david, obviously no president ever likes their press coverage or everything that's written about them. to go so far to suggest changing
libel laws, which is not something the president can unilaterally do is odd or disturbing, to say the least. >> i agree. let's go back to the basics. the laws are controlled by case decided by the supreme court in 1964 called "new york times" versus sullivan. it was a 9-0 decision which said in order for a public figure to sue somebody for libel and succeed, you not only had to prove that the statement -- the critical statement was false, but you also have to prove actual malice, that the personal or the publication making the critical statement knowingly misdescribed, or did it with malice. i must tell you that every president i have known for the last 40 years at one time or another has said in private i wish that case was decided differently. but i can't remember any of them going public with in a kind of -- it's a 9-0 decision, and
it's a bold work of our press freedom, and our general freedom of speech. so "the washington post" has reported today now that as of the -- as of this time since president trump took office, he has issued at least 2001 misleading or false statements. things like crooked hillary, doesn't that sound defaming? when i mention at the dinner table tonight that i was going to talk about president trump calling for a tightening of the libel laws, my wife burst out laughing. >> michael, as a sith sene donald trump, you knew him well as a biographer, he he's been annoyed about press coverage for a long time. >> well, he's been anoticed about it since the 1970s, the first journalist to really investigate donald trump received threatening phone calls from him, and he's threatened
lawsuits and brought lawsuits in every decade since then. so this is a person who is a very aggressive litigator when it comes to the press. and yet he never seems to learn, having lost in these cases, or had them thrown out. he was even once lectured by a judge on the price that famous and powerful people pay in our society for their fame and power. the judge sell, well, this is one of the parts of our system that keeps the powerful honest. yet he doesn't seem to accept that it actually is very american to do this, even though he claims that it's against what most americans would expect from their country. >> david, i want to focus on his wording, he says current libel laws are a sham and disgrace and do not represent american values or fairness. i want to know what you make of
that. it does bear repeating -- this is a president who was a leader of pushing the false idea that president obama was not american. >> absolutely. look, there's nothing more american than our libel laws. we do set a higher standard. we require more of a plaintiff when he's been accused than, say, the united kingdom does. the libel laws are very consistent with our values, we a robust rock 'em/sock 'em democracy, and a freedom of press which has a bulwark of our freedom. look at the whole movie "the post" that's getting so much attention. it's sort of like, i don't know why the president needs to go down this path, when his admanaga administration is not going to change the law. he said he was going to go after
all those women who filed complaints against him. he hasn't filed one sioux. this is more fuel on the fire, to keep us distracted. it's not a serious conversation. and you could argue it's to intimidate or look tough for his supporters, but there's no real follow-through. we're going to end it there. thank you very much. if offshore drilling is not going to happen off the coast of florida, why not other states? the governor of oregon certainly want to know, except no one in trump world is returning her phone calls. we'll talk to her, ahead. (avo) help control cravings
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we all know that it helps to have friends in high places, so when governor scott, a close political ally of president trump, said he positively did not like the trump administration's decision to allow offshore drilling, presto, the decision was quickly reversed. democrats wondered if this had anything to do with the nothing that scott was thinking about running for the senate later this year, or that the president wants to keep republican voters in florida on his side. but other governors of coastal
states are saying, wait a minute, what about us? we don't want drilling here, either. among those governors, the governor of oregon, kate brown. do you have any understanding of why florida was removed from the plan? >> absolutely not. in what universe would this be okay? other coastal beaches are really important to oregonians, they are pushily accessible and have been for over 100 years. they're very much a part of who we are, and ver important for or economy, so i don't know why. >> according to zinke, florida -- oregon's coasts seem incredibly unique to me and obviously a big draw to tourists as well. >> i welcome you come to visit. >> i love oregon.
i love them. >> 362 miles of stunning coastline. last year a $2 billion industry in over 22,000 jobs on the coast. these communities are really struggling to recover since the recession. obviously tourism is key. so are our natural resources industry on the coast. so my question is to secretary zinke, why is this okay for florida and not okay for oregon? in what universe is this okay? >> is this about electoral policy? >> absolutely. what can i think otherwise? is it good the governor wanting to run for the u.s. senate? or is it about president trump wanting to protect mar-a-lago? i don't know the answer to that, because secretary zinke hasn't returned our calls. >> really. you have called, and he hasn't returned them? >> we have not heard from them. there was absolutely no input from governors -- coastal
governors. we had no clue that this was coming, and we had no opportunity to express or outrage. we are outraged. this is absolutely unacceptable. there has been no drilling off the pacific coast for three decades. that's because in 1984, there was a horrible spill in the santa barbara area impacting wildlife and impacting the beaches. this is absolutely not okay. oregonians are outraged, the entire west coast is outraged. this does not reflect our values, and this does not reflect our future. >> secretary zinke has apparently talked to the florida governor. he has said if other governors would like to question meetings, they are welcome to do so. that's something i would say you would like? >> i would certainly be delighted to meet with secretary zinke. we would love to have our input
on this policy. it impacts our economy, our people, our tourism. i would love to share my thoughts and i look from a are the to meeting with him if he'll return our phone calls. >> is this something you would take to court? >> we will look at every single tool we have in the toolbox. like i said, oregon's coastline, as you know is stunning. it is a part of who we are as a people. it's critically important for our economy. it feeds or souls. we want to protect it, we want to make sure that future generations of oregonians can enjoy it. >> governor brown, i appreciate your time. >> thank you. let's check in with chris cuomo on what's ahead. >> anderson coupe earp, fan of the oregon coast. >> i like it. have you been? >> i believe it. i have. >> coos bay? >> i have. i was usually on the job, but
i'll bet you enjoy it had more because i have working. >> aim a beach-goer. we're going to test, go one on one can kelly anne conway. she says she can make the case that the president wants to unite the country and it's the media keeping him from doing it. controversial former sheriff joe arpaio, he says he's the man to represent arizona in the u.s. senate. you'll remember president trump pardoned him. he's ready to make the case to the american people. >> two big interviews. chris, thanks very much. >> all right. up next on "360" a massive wall of mud. tonight the death toll is climbing. the latest from southern california in a moment. [ laughs ] rodney. bowling. classic. can i help you? it's me. jamie. i'm not good with names. celeste! i trained you. we share a locker.
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stories of loss emerging from debris, lives and property are simply heartbreaking. intel vanes led to the disaster in a region already hit by wildfires, and it covers homes and cars in an instant, taking at least 17 lives. ten dogs are looking for survivors and more likely the missing who simply did not make it. our paul vercammen is there. what's the latest? >> reporter: as you pointed out, the death toll has risen to 17. behind me in the blackness, there was a house, but it was literally blasted off its foundation by a raging torrent. in that debris field, you see wood, trees, boulders and more. in all, they say that 100 houses were destroyed, and another 300 damaged. this is an absolute devastating disaster of extreme magnitude.
it spans some 19,000 acres. the wall of mud came in the middle of the night. >> just obliterated this neighborhood, it turns the houses into match does that sticks, blew them off foundations and blew them into trees. >> survivors became heroes. >> we heard a little baby crying, and we dug down and found a little baby. we don't know where it came from. we got it out. got the mud out of its mouth. i hope that it's okay. they took him rite to the hospital. just a baby four feet down in the mud from nowhere. in the rock. i'm gaed be we got him. >> reporter: many more in feed. the youngest survivor, a newborn baby. all five in the family rescued, others still searching for their loved once. we just go down the creek and
see what we can find. >> this man's mother was swept away while clinging to the back of her home. >> i thought she would be all right. she was in the voluntary evacuation. >> reporter: what made this it goes from 3,000 feet to sea level in just several miles. the water came off those ashy hillsides and poured through here. it had a high velocity and you can look here and you'll see where the waters, just a little bit more than a mile from the ocean, took a house right off its foundation. other houses swallowed by mud or destroyed by fire. highway 101, the main freeway connecting los angeles and san francisco, in a moment was turned into a river of mud and boulders. in all, hundreds of homes destroyed or damaged in a natural disaster covering 19,000 acres. and tonight, many families
grieve while others simply hope their loved ones will find their way home. >> paul, if you can hear me -- >> reporter: anderson, i don't know if you can hear me. >> go ahead, you're on the air. >> reporter: i can hear you now. anderson, what i was going to tell you is behind -- >> go ahead, paul. >> reporter: they're hoping to find any victims. sorry about that transmission. there is a but i remember oglim. 13 people are still missing, but as each hour passes in this darkness, the hope starts to fade. we did see behind me rescue crews go through here using all manner of things to search the
rubble. we didn't see any search dogs pull anybody up, but we heard there were three successful rescues today, anderson. >> was there any warning for these mudslides? >> reporter: there definitely was. it's a two-step dance with the devil. first you get the wildfire and then come the slides because those hills have been stripped of vegetabtion. in car pinteria, they got a full inch of rain in one hour, and at one .600 emergency room calls in the middle of the night just too much for everyone to deal with. >> paul, glad you're there. coming up, the president claims he got letters from anchors congratulating him. that's something for the "ridicu-list" smupgt.
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the president showed his understanding of policy by agreeing with democrats until the republicans told him. today the president talked about the coverage of that meeting. >> it got great reviews by everybody other than two networks who were phenomenal for about two hours. then after that they were called by on their boss and said, oh, wait a minute, and unfortunately a lot of those anchors said one of the greatest meetings they've ever witnessed, and they were great for two hours. they were phenomenal. and then they went south on us, but not that bad. it was fun. they probably wished they didn't send us those letters of congratulations, but i'm sure their ratings were fantastic. they always are. >> major kudos to the united states postal service for
delivering those letters so fast, almost not humanly possible. who are these reporters? a normal thing that would absolutely writing. for the record, i didn't write a letter. when i want to do something totally normal i send the president one of those big cookies with icing or those edible arrangements with cantaloupe which i think is a filler fruit. i'll ask my fellow reporters on our next cruise called anchors away. this is how the white house actually responded with a list of two cnn videos and 19 tweets. to be fair, this list does have
words on it, and those words are actually made up of letters, but that's not generally accepted in reality to mean the same thing as, quote, letters of congratulation that anchors sent to the president. as for the white house's list of tweets 18 out of 19 are not actually from anchors and 19 out of 19 are not letters. and the congratulations heaped on the president on this list, here's one from the daily mail editor. that's a text congratulations letter. here's a tweet from a buzzfeed letter. i'm so torn by what's happening on msnbc right now. this is an hour-long meeting, on the other hand that's kind of a good thing this debate is happening in front of cameras. that was on the white house list. as was this from cnn political commentator, patty doyle. i don't know about you, but i'm riveted by this meeting on daca. after the white house used her
tweet as backup for the president's claim, she tweeted this. for the record, i also find the real housewives of new york riveting, doesn't mean he should be running the country. a tweet is not a letter and i'm not an anchor. neither snow or rain or heat nor gloom of night will keep us from our point around on the "ridicu-list." that's it for us. cuomo primetime starts now. your tax dollars at work, by the way. that was government working compiling all those nonletters. anderson, thank you very much. tonight it is time to test. kellyanne conway says she can make the case the president is a uniter, the problem is the media, not him. and joe arpaio, the sheriff convicted of defying a federal judge says he's the right man to represent arizona