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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  July 19, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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good evening. chris cuomo is off tonight. welcome to a special hour of 360. we start with president trump's walkback of his insincere walkback of his performance in north carolina wednesday night. when we went on-air that evening he'd just launched another attack on four nonwhite congresswomen and we'd just seen him watch the crowd chant send her back to congresswoman omar and there the president stood for 13 seconds soaking it all in waiting for the chanting to grow and then eventually die down. yesterday, while falsely claiming that he tried to stop it, he also said he disagreed with the crowd. well, less than 24 hours later, starting with a string of tweets and two television appearances, he renewed his attacks on the women. no more talk about regrets. in fact he went onto level a series of false allegations about two of the women which were quickly debunked. pretty depressing end to the week. cnn's katelyn collins who was at
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the white house joins us now. it's hard not to get whiplash following the president's back and forth on this. walking back his walkback yesterday, and lara trump lying, saying it was a couple people chanting, when clearly it was more than a couple people chanting. >> that's not true. we were there. it was very loud. it was so loud the president stopped speaking for those 13 seconds to let them continue on in this arena that seats about 8,000 people or so. this is the president's art of the deal. he'll say something controversial, it will put his republican allies in a bind and you'll see the president walk it back just enough like he did yesterday when he said he didn't agree with the chant and that reporters should go to north carolina and ask those people while they were chanting it even though he didn't mention the fact about his tweets on sunday. and today he strikes a much more defiant tone, defending those supporters, that they're patriots and focusing on these negative attacks on these women
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instead of that chant that started at his own rally. >> and the other thing that lara trump said, and the other thing that the president said which you just mentioned about you should go there and ask them why they were chanting it. they were chanting it because he brought up this whole idea of her going back as if she, you know -- as if all of these people are not american and lara trump then also before the president went on whipped up the crowd, you know, encouraging people to say, if they don't like america, what can they do, and everyone said leave. they were chanting it because he whipped it up. >> i've been dozens to trump rallies. they've never shouted anything like that before even though these chants are pretty popular at that rallies. and that's what happens to the people around the president. they'll defend something he's saying when it comes to the usa, like lara trump did. before the vice president and president trump got on stage. and when he tries to back off of
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it they'll say it was loud and he couldn't hear or it was only a few people when that simply wasn't the case. it was a big arena. it was a lot of people chanting it and it was loud. >> yeah, and he encouraged it. kaitlan collins, thank you very much. some of the bigger questions including whether democrats have a strategy for opposing this kind of racist behavior. joining us political consultant, cnn political commentator and a recent author, "gaslighting america why we love it when trump lies to us" which a fascinating book and particularly appropriate tonight. and also cnn political commentator karen finny. amanda, you talk about gaslighting in your book. this type of strategy, if that's what this is, a strategy, it certainly worked for the president in 2016. do you think it's going to work for him again in 2020? >> listen, he's been playing in the pandora's box of racism
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since he start would the central park five. but i do think this time it's becoming different. the box is wide open. if you look at what happened in charlottesville, do i think that president trump necessarily wanted heather heyer to get killed and for nazis to be marching on those beautiful grounds? no. but could he stop it? no. it's out there. and so he can't stop it, and he won't stop it because in the end he thinks that it helps him. and i don't know where this is going to go. he's going to keep cultivating this, denying responsibility. but he's diving in. this is where the gaslighting happens. he says other people are saying this. other people were talking about obama's birtherism. other people are talking about the central five. but he's diving right into it and i don't know where it's going to go. >> stewart, again he's tapping into something very danger that we have seen time and time again throughout american history. >> yeah, i disagree with amanda
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it's a strategy. i think trump is a racist so he says racist things. i really don't think it's very complicated. and the question for the republican party is are you going to tolerate this? it's really a moral test that trump keeps putting out there and the republican party keeps failing. i don't think it's smart politics and i think it's horrible for the country. >> karen, how did democrats respond to all of this? earlier this back dana bash reported on a meeting where they reviewed internal polling is making an argument he's ineffective on issues like infrastructure and jobs. that was before this chant. >> right, and that's the thing, right? so even if democrats are going to back off on it, then you had this chanting happen. and then today as the president was leaving for new jersey for the weekend, you know, he went to the microphones and again pulled on that thread. so i think there's a couple of things, anderson. i think democrats ideally should step back and let it reveal the fact that if this is what the
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president thinks he should be focused on rather than infrastructure, whatever happened to that, creating jobs, health care, i think democrats need to do more to highlight the fact that it is the republicans in the senate, it is the president who are blocking things moving forward. unfortunately, there's the other side of this which is you can't let this kind of talk go unsaid. someone like me as a child was told go back to africa and i had no idea what people were talking about, we are a diverse country. these women represent diverse cultures and we're part of the american story. so i think there's also responsibility for democrats to call it out. but i think they have to keep that dual focus of also trying to continue to get the work done as pelosi was frankly trying to do with this debt ceiling conversation. >> it is amazing, amanda, that even when the president was sort of pretending to express some a little bit egret, he called it
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quite a chant and it was loud which goes against what lara trump was saying which it was just a couple of people. and he also lies about how he tried to stop it. it's amazing to me that all his lies -- it's been this way from the beginning but his lies are predicated on the notion we're all just idiots, we can't see video of what he is actually doing or we're all just -- or that his supporters are looking for any reason to forgive him and so yesterday they were all out saying oh, well he's repudiated it. and now today they're kind of quiet. >> this is essential to his gas lighting that he continues to draw the country into it. it's called advance and deny. he advances these narratives but denies responsibility to it. the fact the campaign went out there with this message of love it or leave it which they thought was cute and somehow that's defensible. but that's not what the audience
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heard. the audience heard send her back as if there's some kind of difference there. probably in a few weeks donald trump is going to be out there saying send her back right there with them because he's baiting the audience to get in on this, he wants us all to debate racism. they do have to acknowledge it, and i don't see any reason why the 2020 election should not be a referendum on donald trump's character. a democratic congressman of california, he kind of had an interesting idea. he wanted barack obama to come out and do a speech on race. i think that's interesting. but the democratic candidate who wins this election should be the one to give that speech and show us a higher better way that uplifts people. because donald trump wants nothing more than this to be a negative, negative election that takes us down to the barrel where we are in 2016 and someone has to liftulse out of it.
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>> the next trump crowd, the next trump rally starts chanting send her back, what do you think trump does? >> he's just going to enjoy it and he's going to do it. trump isn't going to change and i think expecting trump to change is just going to be a failure. the question here is what is the republican party going to do? i mean this has been the great failure of the modern republican party with african-american voters. in '56 eisenhower got 39%. and dropped because he opposed the civil rights order and it's never come back. and that's really the great stain on the republican party and it's getting worse now. this is the moment the party has to decide what kind of party it's going to be. >> hasn't that already been decided that, you know -- >> it would seem. >> yeah, i think there's a question would marco rubio go to another rally like he did when he kicked off the president's re-election in florida a couple weeks ago? i mean, what republicans are
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going to sit on stage? i do think some republicans in the senate have probably made the calculation that, listen, we can't stop trump from being a bad character but we can stop bad policy. and so if weave to fight on policy we'll go there. we can't do much else. >> but the republicans have not been willing to stand up to him even very much to make good policy. what we see are things just kind of stalling. and i think, you know, long-term this is disaster for the republican party. i remember -- i'm old enough to remember the realignment that carl rode was trying and george bush was trying to court latinos. this is reality and trump is trying to coalesce around sort of the demographics of the recent past and democrats are trying to focus on the future and i think that will be a matter of turn out in 2020.
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"it's the easiest, because it's the cheesiest" kraft. for the win win. we've seen the president's poll numbers tick down slightly after episodes like the one this week ennorth carolina and then tick back up and until recently it's mainly been academic. with the campaign gearing up, what voters see and hear may start to factor into their decision-making. tonight, randi kaye is in the swing state of wisconsin which went for the president last time. she spoke with two 2016 trump voters who are very much at odds over the president. here's her report. >> reporter: wisconsin voter dave voted for trump in 2016 but now he regrets it. what are you thinking for 2020? do you plan to support president trump again? >> absolutely not. >> why not?
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>> because i don't want to see the embarrassment going on. >> and what we've seen this past week is just another example of that. >> that tweet that everybody is talking about, i would not define that as a racist tweet, but it is a hatred tweet for sure. >> reporter: his co-worker at this plumbing company also voted for trump in 2016. and she sees it differently. >> how is it racist? if you don't like this country, get out. leave. that's all he said. he didn't use any names. they stood up, so that's all they did. they made themselves look like idiots. >> reporter: unlike her coworker dave, carry has no regrets voting for trump. >> he takes no crap from anybody, that's why i love him. he's followed through promises he's made to the american people. >> reporter: like what? give me one. >> taxes. we're back in charge again. he is working with north korea like no other president ever has in the world before. >> reporter: unlike carrie dave
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really regrets his vote. >> i didn't know he was going to act this way, so i am -- i'm embarrassed by him. >> reporter: what don't you like about the president? >> he doesn't act like a president should in my eyes. he in a way i think spreads hatred. it's like a little kid having a temperature tanrotrum however h says it, it comes across. to me it is childish. >> reporter: he says trump should stop taking credit for things like the economy. you don't think he's been good for business? >> i don't think he alone is the reason why everything is booming at this time. it didn't happen as soon as he took office. it was already starting to improve. >> reporter: carrie sees it differently. >> it was ran into the ground for eight years and it's time to bring it back and he's done it. >> reporter: dave argues this country needs immigrants.
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>> dairy products would be so much more expensive. vegetables that are grown around here or anywhere in the united states. everything would be much more expensive if it wasn't for the immigrants. >> but he ran on that pretty much when you voted for him in 2016, right? >> once again i thought he was a better option than hillary. >> so it wasn't necessarily a vote for trump in 2016? it was a vote against hillary clinton? >> exactly. >> is there anything trump can do that can change your mind or are you dug in? >> flow, i'm dug in. i'm behind him 100%. i am in the trump train. i'm in the front car with him pulling the whistle. >> reporter: and she is definitely going to be pulling that whistle. she is super active on facebook. she likes and follows many in fact dozens of pro-trump group, anderson. >> the voter you talked about who won't vote for president trump again. you also talked to him about other voters who feel the same way. what did he say about that?
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>> reporter: he said he himself is embarrassed and he feels regret. he thinks others feel that way, too. he says he even knows other trump voters who won't talk to him about their plans are for 2020 because he thinks they're embarrassed as well. we spoke to another trump voter also not voting for president trump again. we spoke to him by phone and he said people are embarrassed that's why they don't want to talk about it. he even says they feel some guilt for putting president donald trump in office, anderson. >> randy, thanks. and we thank both of those folks for expressing their opinion to us. she may be the most closely watched politician in washington. coming up my "60 minutes" conversation with representative alexandria ocasio-cortez. when you start with a better that's no way to treat a dog... can do no wrong. where did you learn that?
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more now on the president's attacks on four congresswomen including alexandria ocasio-cortez. after days of attacks by the president she tweeted she won't go back in quotes. that's not her only battle. she'll meet next week with house speaker nancy pelosi amid their growing rift. when i spoke with her for 60 minutes in january we saw the roots of a political style that is on full display today. bold, unapologetic and controversial at that. there are people who say you don't understand how the game is plan. do you? >> i think it's really great for
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people to keep thinking that. >> you want folks to underestimate you? >> absolutely. that's why i won the primary. >> winning that primary shocked the democratic establishment and in november alexandria ocasio-cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to congress. just a few days later as soon as she got to washington, she paid a visit to climate change activists who were occupying her party leader nancy pelosi's office. she was the only newly elected member of congress who decided to drop by during the sit in. she called on pelosi to create a select committee on climate change without any members of congress who accept money from the fossil fuel industry. nancy pelosi is incredibly powerful. >> she absolutely is. >> and you're occupying her
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office. >> oh, my goodness, i could have thrown up that morning, i was so nervous. but i kept coming back to the idea what they're fighting for september wrong. and i had also sat down with leader pelosi beforehand and she told me her story. she came from activism and i knew that she would absolutely understand how advocacy can change the needle on really important issues. >> ocasio-cortez and her allies managed to get more than 40 members of congress to support the climate committee. house speaker nancy pelosi agreed to create it, but it's not nearly what ocasio-cortez had in mind. pelosi granted the committee limited powers and did not ban members who take money from the fosilfuel industry. for ocasio-cortez it was an early lesson in congressional politics and another one came when she defied pelosi and voted against the speaker's new house rules. ocasio-cortez told us she's determined to keep fighting for what's being called a green new
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deal, a highly ambitious some would say unrealistic proposal that would convert the entire u.s. economy to renewable sources of energy in just 12 years while guaranteeing every american a job at a fair wage. you're talking about zero carbon emissions, no use of fossil fuels within 12 years? >> that is the goal. it's ambitious. >> how is that possible? are you talking about everybody having to drive an electric car? >> it's going to require a lot of rapid change that we don't even conceive as possible right now. what is the problem with trying to push our tech logical capacities to the furthest extent possible? >> this would require, though, raising taxes. >> there's an element where, yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes. >> do you have a specific on the tax rate? >> you know you look at our tax rates back in the '60s and when you have a progressive tax rate
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system your tax rate, you know, let's say from 0 to $75,000 may be 10% or 15%, et cetera. but once you get to the tippy tops on your ten millionth dollar sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60% or 70%. that doesn't mean all $10 million are taxed an extremely high rate but as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more. >> what you are talking about just big picture is a radical agenda compared to the way politics is done right now. >> well, i think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country. abraham lincoln made the radical decision to sign the emancipation proclamation. franklin del no roosevelt made the radical decision to embark on social security. >> do you call yourself radical? >> if that's what radical means,
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call me a radical. >> she doesn't seem to be viewed as a radical by her constituents. the racially diverse and liberal democrat district that includes parts of queens and the bronx. ocasio-cortez was born in the bronx. her parents had met in puerto rico. her father owned a small architectural business. her mother cleaned houses to help make ends meet. by the time she was ready for preschool her parents made a down payment on a small house in the westchester suburbs. it was 30 miles and a world away from her extended family still living in the bronx. what was it that brought your parents here? >> schools. yeah, my mom wanted to make sure that i had a solid chance and a solid education. >> did you feel like you were living in two different worlds? because you were spending a lot of time in the bronx with your family and also here? >> yeah, and just growing up that way and just my cousins who were that age, too, feeling we all had different opportunities
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depending on where we were physically located. >> she did well in school and with the help of scholarship, loans and financial aid attended boston university. but in her sophomore year her father died of cancer. >> we were really working on the classic american dream. and overnight it was all taken away. my mom was back to cleaning homes and driving school buses to keep a roof over our heads. >> she moved back to the bronx after graduating college and spent the next few years working as a community advisor and advocate for children's literacy. in may 2017 the one bedroom apartment she shares with her boyfriend became her makeshift campaign headquarters as she launched a seemingly improbable run for congress. she was working as a waitress and bartender at the time. like many members of her generation she says she had student loans to pay and no
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health insurance. >> i really understood the frustration that working people had across the political spectrum, you know, when anybody is saying the economy is going great, we are at record levels, there's a frustration that says, well, the economy is good for who? >> unemployment is at record lows. >> i don't think that that tells the whole story. when you can't provide for your kids work aga full time job, working two full time jobs. when you can't have health care, that is not -- that is not dignified. >> a group of bernie sanders supporters who now call themselves justice democrats encouraged ocasio-cortez to run for office and gave her training and support. she built a grass roots coalition that took on the democratic machine by going door-to-door. arguing that she could represent the district better than a ten-term incumbent who spent most of his time in washington. >> please welcome amx
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druocasio-cortez. >> her victory made national news and she soon had a higher media profile than many veteran lawmakers. some saw in her primary victory a craving for change within the democratic party. house democratic leader nancy pelosi drew a more limited conclusion. >> they made a choice in one district so let's not get yourself carried away. >> but president trump rarely missed a chance to suggest all democrats were socialist and would lead the country to ruin. >> venezuela. venezuela, how does that sound? you like venezuela? >> when people hear the word socialism, venezuela, is that what you have in mind? >> of course not. what we have in mind and my policies most closely resemble what we see in the u.k. in norway, in finland, in sweden. >> how are you going to pay for all of this? >> no one asks how we're going to pay for the space force, no
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one skz how we pay for a $2 trillion tax cut. we only ask how we're going to pay for it on issues of housing, education. how do we pay for it with the same exact mechanisms that we pay for military increases for the space force, for all of these ambitious policies. >> there are democrats, obviously, who are worried about your affecting the party. democratic senator chris coons said about left leaning democrats if the next years are about offering proposals it will be difficult about making a credible case we should be allowed to govern again. >> what makes it unrealistic? >> how to pay for it. >> we pay more per capita for education and health care than many other nations. so for me what's unrealistic is what we're living in right now. >> since the election some conservative media outlets have focused on ocasio-cortez with an intensity unusual for a rookie member of congress. >> her views, her policy positions have actually down right scary.
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>> she's been accused of being dishonest about the true cost of her proposals and the tax burden they would impose on the middle class. she's also been criticized for making factual mistakes. >> one of the criticisms of you is that your math is fuzzy. "the washington post" recently awarded you four pinocchios for mistaking some statistics about pentagon spending. >> if people want to blow up one figure here or one word there, i think they're missing the forest for the trees. i think there's a lot of people more concerned about being precisely factually and semantically correct than about being morally right. >> but being factually correct is important. >> it's absolutely important, and whenever i make a mistake i say, okay, this was clumsy and then i restate what my point was. but it's not the same thing as the president lying about
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immigrants. it's not the same thing at all. >> we started the wall anyway, and we're going to get that done. we're going to get it. >> you don't talk about president trump very much. >> no. >> why? >> because i think he's a symptom of a problem. >> what do you mean? >> the president certainly didn't invent racism, but he's certainly given a voice to it and expanded it and created a platform for those things. >> do you believe president trump is a racist? >> yeah. no question. >> how can you say that? >> when you look at the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy. when you look at how he reacted to the charlottesville incident where neonazis murdered a woman versus how he manufactures crises like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders it's night and day.
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>> in response the pres secretary told us congresswoman's ocasio-cortez's sheer ignorance on the matter can't cover the fact president trump covered and passed historic criminal justice reform and has repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry in all forms. one of the few things ocasio-cortez has in common with the president is an active and often combative presence on social media. when a conservative writer tweeted this photo of her saying that jacket and coat don't look like a girl who struggles she called him out for what she said was misogyny. >> would you be taking a creep shot of steny haur's behind and sharing it around? why is there more comfort in doing that to me than there is in doing it to any other member of congress? >> eliminating the influence of corporate money and politics is another one of ocasio-cortez's signature issues. most of her campaign funds came
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from small donations of $200 or less. she did accept some money from labor unions but she refuses to take any contributions from corporate political action committee. she's angered some of her colleagues in the house by urging primary challenges and democrats who accept corporate money or oppose progressive policies. these are politically dangerous tactics you're using. you're heard that. >> yeah. >> do you believe it? >> it's absolutely risky. it requires risk to try something new, but also we know so much of what we've tried hasn't worked either. >> it count down is under way in washington for one of the most anticipated hearings. robert mueller scheduled to testify wednesday before both the house judiciary and intelligence committee. we'll have more ahead. with moderate to severe crohn's disease,
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they are perhaps the most highly anticipated congressional hearings in decades, and they're happening next week. talking about robert mueller's testimony before both the house judiciary and intelligence committees. cnn has learned the democrats on
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the intelligence committee and republicans on judiciary have both held mock hearings in preparation, all preparing for a man by all accounts may pea a reluctant witness after hearings come months after special counsel mueller delivered his report on russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by president trump. i want to navigate what week we can expect next week, joining me now garret graf as well as cnn's chief legal analyst jeffrey toobin. how much can democrats realistically expect, again, if mueller is a reluctant witness and given the constraints? >> they can expect to get something significant. you know, the 448-page report was not read by millions upon millions of people. and if they can get mueller simply to recount some of the episodes described in the report especially the more egregious examples of obstruction of justice, the conversations
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between the president and don mcgahn, his former council, that would be significant and dramatic and important. but if mueller simply says i dealt with that in the report, you can read it in the report, then it could be a really big bust for the democrats. a lot of it's up to mueller. >> garret, devin nunes, you know, the top republican on the intelligence committee told fox news he wouldn't allow mueller to quote either pontificate or embellish. a, is mueller known for pontificating and embellishing, and is it possible for him to say i address that in the report? >> i don't think pontificating or embellishing are words anyone has ever used in talking about bob mueller before. so i don't think that's going to be a problem congressman nunes is going to run into too much next week. i do think jeff is likely correct that mueller is not going to go beyond the four corners of his report. but i think actually that's the
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strength that democrats should be embracing. mueller has given you 448 pages of prepared testimony and your job is to figure out what parts of it you want him to read aloud. point to specific paragraphs, specific pages. most americans as jeff said have not read this. so even getting him to read this out loud would be of incredible value to american people. >> jeff, the judiciary committee has three hours with mueller. the intelligence committee has two hours. they'd all like to make statements, all these congress people which eats up time. and not a lot of time, but hillary clinton was grilled on benghazi for how many hours? >> 11. what's really i think a terrible mistake that's indicative of the egomania epidemic in congress is that when you look at successful hearings in the past, the watergate special counsel hearings chaired by senator sam urban, the iran contra hearings,
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you had lawyers, professional nonpoliticians asking a series of questions that allowed someone to lead someone through a narrative. here we're going to have five minutes of democrats, five minutes of republicans. even if the politicians don't pontificate for their five minutes, how can you develop a narrative in five minutes especially when it's going to be interrupted by an opposing narrative five minutes later? there'll be some interesting sound bites that come out of it. but the idea this is going to pea a transformative experience in public opinion i think is just extremely, extremely unlikely. >> do you see the democrats cooperating? they cooperate with the judges but do they cooperate with mueller, if they trick him into saying something or push him into saying something he doesn't want to say, how would that go down? >> yeah, and i think the democrats should recognize that they're not going to be able to
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trick bob mueller into saying something that he doesn't intend to say. this is someone who has testified before congress 60 times before over many decades and has probably, you know, answered more questions from congress than most members of congress have ever asked in a congressional hearing. and so he's just going to be better at this than they are. he's a professional prosecutor. and unless you match him and sort of work with him on his terms, you know, and if they get all caught up into tricking him into saying would you have indicted the president absent the olc report, i think mueller is highly unlikely to go there. and as jeff says you're going to keep scrambling and confusing people with what the narrative is you're trying to tell. >> it does seem like that's the obvious question which they're all going to want, all it democrats are going to want answered. if he didn't go by the guidelines of the legal counsel
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would he have indicted? he probably wouldn't answer. >> well, look, that is legitimate question. and i doemt know exactly what he will do. i thought that part of the report was very convoluted and confusing about whether we can't exonerate him but we're not convicting him and, you know, what mueller saw his role as. that will be an interesting implication for mueller if hes choos to chooses to do that. but politically what the democrats want is to show all the terrible things donald trump did in office. and that's just going to take asking mueller to recite in his own words what was in the report. if he's willing to do that, that will be enough for a successful hearing. but that again is really up to mueller. >> jeff toobin, thanks very much. when we return, new signs of turmoil. the nra and other top officials out as the gun rights group struggles to regain footing from a string of other departures and
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the pain and swelling.. the psoriasis. cosentyx treats more than just the joint pain of active psoriatic arthritis. it even helps stop further joint damage. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting, get checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections and lowered ability to fight them may occur. tell your doctor about an infection or symptoms, if your inflammatory bowel disease symptoms develop or worsen, or if you've had a vaccine or plan to. serious allergic reactions may occur. get real relief, with cosentyx. i can worry about it, or doe. something about it. garlique helps maintain healthy cholesterol naturally, and it's odor-free, and pharmacist recommended. garlique things apparently aren't settling down in the most powerful gun lobby in america. another top staffer is out in
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the florida. an alleged coup and accusations of financial misconduct. >> reporter: the gun rights group that propelled trump to the white house is now engulfed in turmoil. in april the nra sued its long time ad agency, the same agency that created this iconic second amendment message featuring charlatan heston. the bitter split was broiling in the nra weeks later in indianapolis. >> you are great american patriots. three extraordinary champions for the second amendment. >> but north then the nra president was on his way out. a day earlier the nra ceo wain lupeer told the board of
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directors north was trying to extort him. north was effectively ousted. >> we defend our flag, our national anthem and the heroes they represent. >> reporter: it turns out north was one of the faces of innra that was actually financed through acerman mcqueen. the ad agency also paid spokeswoman's salary. the allegations north warned about emerged online posted anonymously and verified. lapierre makes 1,400,000 from the nra. and 14,000 for an apartment for a summer intern.
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the nra said they were all legitimate business expenses. a letter questioned the spending habits and the $24 million in legal fees they shelled out in 14 months. the nra disputes that sum. all of this dysfunction delighting the nra's critics. >> it's like watching a five alarm fire. but what's amazing about this is the nra itself lit the match. i think this is going to play out day by day week by week month by month leading up 2020 and it will keep them on the side lines. >> reporter: bringing an end to controversial broadcasts like this one mocking diversity in the thomas and friends show by putting kkk hoods on the trains. >> oh, was it because -- i see it. it was the white hoods and the burning train tracks. okay, fair point. i get it. >> reporter: then the nra dropped another bombshell
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accusing chief lobbyist chris cox working alongside north to overthrow lepierre. cox had a warm relationship with trump, too. and he was the chief strategist behind the nra's election efforts. he agitated for more spending on digital, less on the red meat being served up on nra tv, sources told cnn. while the nra scrambles for stability. >> i don't have to fire you up, you already have that fire in your belly. >> reporter: democrats are r readying for a fight. >> i have a d mining voting record from the nra. >> the nra holds congress hostage. >> reporter: the nra says it's happy to be underestimated. we are very focused on 2020, an nra spokesman tells cnn. our members know what's at stake from draconian gun control schemes to gun confiscation to
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registration so they will be out in force and the nra will make sure of it. sara murray, cnn, washington. iran is causing more trouble tonight, setting up a new showdown with the west. we'll bring you up to speed on the aggression and how the president is responding to it. ♪ book now and enjoy free unlimited open bar and more. norwegian cruise line. feel free.
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we're keeping a close eye tonight on some new aggressive moves by iran. the country seized two oil tankers today. one a british ship iran claims it was quote violating international relations. the u.s. military believes it was a preplanned operation. u.s. officials says a libeerian vessel was also seized. iran disputes that account. here was the president's response earlier. >> this only goes to show what i'm saying about iran -- trouble, nothing but trouble. i was right about iran and let's see what happens. >> the news tones. let's turn things over now to don lemon and "cnn tonight."