tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN September 9, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
good evening. thanks for joining us. there is breaking news tonight that a member of president trump's cabinet threatened top level firings at noaa after the national weather service's birmingham, alabama, office contradicted the president's false tweet about hurricane dorian. we've also learned -- and this is a cnn exclusive -- that u.s. intelligence pulled a very high level agent, a spy, out of russia in part out of concern the president might somehow blow this individual's cover. we'll have more on both of those stories tonight. but we begin with the president's invitation, now
revoked, to the taliban. had it come to pass, taliban representatives would right now be at camp david as guests of the president, brought here to finalize a deal for pulling u.s. troops out of afghanistan. they'd be staying at the very same place as congresswoman liz cheney pointed out today that her father, the vice president, president bush, and other top officials gathered just days after new york and washington had been attacked on 9/11 to plan a response. at least that was the idea which the president revealed in a tweet on saturday in which he also rescinded the invitation, citing the suicide attack on thursday that killed an american soldier. now, as you might imagine, the tweet raised a number of questions and criticisms. why would the president invite the taliban to america days before the anniversary of 9/11? and why to camp david of all places? why would he have the president of afghanistan come as well when the taliban has refused to deal directly with the afghan government and has refused to stop attacks against that government? and why reveal anything at all and potentially jeopardize future talks unless, as several
critics have said, it was simply a way for the president to show what an impressive secret this all was? he talked about this afternoon on his way to a political rally in north carolina. >> we had a meeting scheduled. it was my idea, and it was my idea to terminate it. i didn't even -- i didn't discuss it with anybody else. when i heard very simply that they killed one of our soldiers and 12 other innocent people, i said, there's no way i'm meeting on that basis. there's no way i'm meeting. they did a mistake. >> well the soldier was sergeant first class ellis angel barreto ortiz, from puerto rico. the president, however, did not say why this particular killing, as sickening as it is, scuttled the talks. in all, 16 u.s. service members have been killed in afghanistan this year, and this killing was the fourth in the last several weeks. in fact, more than 2,400 american service members have died in afghanistan since 2001. the president didn't mention that, nor did he mention that he
once opposed talking to the taliban at all. of course there's a tweet back from january of 2012. while barack obama is slashing the military, he's also negotiating with our sworn enemy, the taliban, who facilitated 9/11. there are other tweets and sound bites along those lines as the with. but showing what might be called his self-inconsistency over the years is almost too easy. inconsistency about negotiations, about revealing your negotiating position in advance, about becoming sentimental about your negotiating partner, strategic surprise, and more. instead, consider for a minute what this episode shows about the opposite, what it says about how consistent the president is in other ways. the reporting suggests he wanted the camp david talks to be some kind of grand gesture, which it certainly what he sought from kim jong-un and which critics say he debased himself to get. >> he's got a great personality. he's a, you know, funny guy. he's a very smart guy. he's a great negotiator. he loves his people.
he wrote me beautiful letters, and they're great letters. we fell in love. a lot of progress has been made. a lot of friendships have been made, and this has been in particular a great friendship. >> keeping them honest, not only has progress not been made, each week seems to bring another north korea missile test, including two more today, which as you know the president routinely dismisses because as also you know, in addition to accepting love letters without real progress, he is consistent as well in gravitating toward thugs and adversaries over democratically elected leaders and allies. remember this of course from helsinki. >> my people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others. they said they think it's russia. i have president putin. he just said it's not russia. i will say this. i don't see any reason why it would be. >> well, as you know, this was not a one-off. the president has been as consistent with vladimir putin as he's been lately with kim jong-un, at least since the first love letter arrived.
just as he's consistently sided with saudi arabia's crown prince, who reputedly ordered the killing and dismemberment of jamal khashoggi at a saudi embassy. >> they deny it. they deny it every way you can imagine. in the not too disat that point future, i think we'll know an answer. >> the answer appears to be murdering and sawing up an american resident is okay, and so imprisoning and all but killing otto warmbier as the north koreans did. and so apparently is annexing crimea as vladimir putin did. the question tonight, was the president's approach to the taliban part of that kind of pattern, that same pattern, or was he preparing to embrace an adversary, bitter adversary, in pursuit either of some kind of big headline as in the case of north korea or as way to simply get out of america's longest war without any real peace agreement left behind? if that pattern holds, perhaps or as the president him likes to say, we'll see what happens. let's get some perspective now from retired army lieutenant colonel ralph peters.
colonel peters, do you think it was appropriate for the president to invite the taliban, who obviously are the people who gave safe haven to al qaeda and osama bin laden to plan the 9/11 attacks to camp david, especially the week running into the 9/11 anniversary? >> no. indeed it was one of the most repulsive ideas ever raised by an american president. to bring the taliban, to legitimatize, to elevate and dignify them by bringing them to camp david or even to the department of agriculture for that matter, to any federal building, to bring them to this country is absolute madness. can anyone -- can any viewer imagine in the months, the days, the months, even the years after 9/11 having a president invite the taliban to camp david for the express purpose of cutting a back-room deal and essentially handing them
afghanistan? >> what's interesting, i think, is, you know, there have been peace processes which have been worked out at camp david in the past, but really what the u.s. is doing here, though no one is really saying this directly, is that they're trying to negotiate basically withdrawal of american forces from afghanistan. it's not a peace deal for afghanistan. there's no terms about the war -- the violence by the taliban ending. the afghan government isn't even directly involved in these talks. >> yeah, and there are good reasons, and i've argued some of them, to withdraw troops from afghanistan. but i just feel that if we're going to call it quits, if we're going to say, hey, we gave it our best shot. it hasn't worked. the afghans haven't stood up and fought for their own country, it's time to go, we should do it openly and not do it behind the backs of our clients. it's just -- the entire thing
stinks, and the taliban apparently has been they want us to go even faster than we're willing to go. even were they to agree to a treaty that seemed on the surface to make some sort of sense, they wouldn't honor it. for the taliban, this is a jihad. for them at least, it is a religious war, and they do not have to honor promises made to the enemy, to the unbeliever, et cetera. so back to your original point, though, anderson, yes, we've had secret negotiations with hostile forces before, but not with terrorists who have killed thousands of americans and maimed tens of thousands of americans. you don't make -- cobras don't make good pets, and terrorists are not good negotiating partners. >> it is one of the things the president has said is, look, sometimes you do have to, you know, make deals with bad actors or unsavory characters, which is certainly a fair point. i guess i'm just not clear on
exactly what the deal they're going for really is because, i mean, you know, the taliban is still doing suicide attacks. do you believe the president when he said the reason for calling off the talks was the killing of a u.s. service member? >> i don't think at this point any of us can get inside president trump's head. it may have been. it may have been the pushback he was getting from vice president pence and john bolton and others. you just don't know with this guy. but, again, i have to stress that, yes, you have to make deals with bad people sometimes in life, in the life of nations, but not with terrorists. it doesn't work. not with the people who were the arch supporters, not the executors, but the arch supporters of 9/11. and the timing, how could it have been possibly been worse? so i have so many reservations and regrets about our engagement in afghanistan, but dealing with the taliban is not the right way
to get out. and i think what the trump administration wants isn't really a peace deal. they want a fig leaf. >> a fig leaf to get u.s. troops out? >> yeah. oh, we cut a deal, and then the taliban didn't honor it, but we made a deal. this deal maker in chief, it's frightening that he thinks he can get the best of kim jong-un or the taliban or vladimir putin or president xi. anderson, none of his deals have worked out of these major initiatives, not one. and it's not only disappointing, it's frightening. >> do you think this is about -- for president trump, this is about president trump's ego or about politics before the 2020 election, trying to get american troops out before the 2020 election because that seems to be the timetable the u.s. has been pushing for and the president wants, you know, something that seems dramatic at camp david with these, you know, allegedly making some sort of a peace deal, which is really just a withdrawal deal. >> everything from afghanistan
to alabama is about trump's ego. but trump's ego is also involved in the election. so the answer is all of the above. president trump obviously doesn't grasp the principles -- the basic principles of national security. his own government can't trust him. the american people can't trust him, and now he's the man who apparently will lead us out of this long, tragic involvement and will leave it in an odious manner. >> i appreciate your time, colonel peters. thank you. we have much more ahead tonight. if you thought altering a weather map with a sharpie was silly and lying about it for days, it now turns out a member of the cabinet reportedly threatened noaa officials with firings for not backing up with the president got wrong and refused to move on from. also tonight, that cnn exclusive, sneaking a top covert asset, a top spy out of russia, in part according to one source because of concerns the asset might get blown by the president mishandling classified intelligence.
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there's more breaking news tonight. a new sign of how seriously president trump took being publicly contradicted on his false prediction about hurricane dorian hitting alabama, or at least how seriously his commerce secretary, wilbur ross, took it. as you know, just minutes after the president's false alarm, the national weather service's regional office in birmingham issued a tweet reassuring people in alabama they were not in danger. according to "the new york times," secretary ross threatened to fire top employees at noaa if the agency didn't disavow that tweet, in other words, if it didn't disavow a statement of fact affecting hundreds of thousands of people according to three people cited in "the new york times" report, secretary ross called the acting noaa administrator and told him to fix the national weather service's contradiction of the claim. when it was opposed, he was told noaa's political staff would be fired. in fact, noaa did disavow that tweet. the statement was unsigned, which is unusual.
the "times" added to the story reporting that the commerce department's inspector general is now looking into all of this. so that's the backdrop to our conversation with richard painter, who was ethics czar in the george w. bush administration, and monica medina, who -- i spoke to them before air time. can you plaexplain why this matters? why is this so concerning to you? >> this matters because the president's changing of that weather map really crossed a line in terms of the sanctity of the weather forecast. it's important that the national weather service speak with one voice, in unison, because they communicate to all the weather forecasters out there in the country about what's the real forecast, what's the most up-to-date information. and it has to be up to date because the storms can change as we've seen. >> when you saw that statement from noaa that was put out to back up what the president had
said, it wasn't signed. that's significant. >> it was significant because the agency really wasn't willing to stand behind it, and the leaders wouldn't say no that they wouldn't put it out, and it clearly had a chilling effect on the agency, and it made those weather forecasters think twice about whether or not to put out the most up to date information if it was going to look like it contradicted the president. what they did was completely routine. what they did was exactly what we would have expected them to do when i was at noaa, which is to get the most up to date information out to the public as quickly as possible. >> richard, i mean to say this aloud sounds ludicrous, but as you pointed out, we have federal employees getting reprimanded for accurately disclosing scientific truth. >> we do, and this is yet one more instance of the trump administration distorting facts in order to cover for the president politically, presenting alternative facts in kellyanne conway's language.
now it's affecting the weather. it's affected our national intelligence reports. it's affected our approach to climate change and other scientific evidence about environmental degradation from sulfide mining and all sorts of things. and now we even have politicized weather reports. what are they going to come up, tornado watches in certain counties of pennsylvania and ohio on election day? i mean this is crazy, and we tolerate this is crazy. we need to an investigation, a criminal investigation of what happened here in the united states house oversight committee ought to convene a hearing. >> monica, you worked at noaa in the clinton administration and also in the obama administration. would this have happened? has this ever happened before? >> this is completely unprecedented in the modern era, and it's why those rules about -- and the criminal statute was put in place. there's a criminal statute to protect the accuracy of the forecasts so that everyone speaks with one voice clearly.
in the past, that wasn't the case, a long time ago, 100 years ago. and this really was a dangerous situation, caused people to die. so the bureau at the time, the weather bureau set procedures in place, and congress put that law into place to protect the public. >> i mean, richard, you know, there are a growing number of democrats who are already calling for secretary wilbur ross to step down. "the new york times" is reporting the inspector general from the commerce department is going to be taking a look at the noaa statement. do you think he should resign? >> yes, he should. the president of the united states should also resign. he's been lying, you know, right and left about everything. and once again, this is affecting our weather reports, intelligence reports, other scientific data, economic data will almost certainly be distorted before election day. this is a president who has no understanding of the truth. he needs to be impeached, and this is just one more example of it. we can't even get an accurate weather report with donald trump in office. and, yes, people's lives are in
danger. >> for days people have been discussing this and saying, well, this is ridiculous that we're even discussing this, talking about, you know, a sharpie thing on a map and, you know, a false statement the president made and then refuses to correct or even just move past. but if the head of the commerce department is spending time trying to get, you know, and threaten with firings people in noaa, there's no telling what else -- if you're willing to do that for something as meaningless as trying to cover up for the president making an error, there's no telling what else is going on. >> well, exactly. you have no idea what's going on with nuclear weapons in north korea, for example. and you trust this pentagon? do you trust the intelligence services under donald trump to present accurate information about whether there is a nuclear threat from north korea? i certainly don't. and that's just one example.
it's a very dangerous situation where this president lives in a world that consists entirely of his own lies. >> anderson, i agree. and i really worried that this was the kind of thing that the commerce secretary might have done when i saw that statement, it looked like it was under duress. to me it crossed a line, and he should resign. >> monica medina, i appreciate you being with us. richard painter, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, anderson. on this busy monday, a lot more straight ahead, including cnn's exclusive reporting on a covert intelligence source who was secretly smuggled out of russia at the beginning of the trump administration. the secret maneuver began after president trump discussed classified intelligence with former russian ambassador sergey kislyak. we have fascinating new details tonight ahead. at t-mobile,
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beginning of the trump administration, the government secretly extracted a high level covert source inside the russian government. according to a person directly involved in the discussion, bart of the concerns were that president trump and his administration had mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the source. jim sciutto joins us now. explain what you've learned about this because it's fascinating. >> for sure. multiple trump administration officials with direct knowledge tell me that in a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the u.s. successfully extracted from russia one of its highest level covert sources inside the russian government. the person directly involved in the discussion said that the removal of the russian was driven in part by concerns that president trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence, which could then contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy. we should note the decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a may 2017 meeting in the oval office in which trump discussed highly classified intelligence with russian foreign minister sergey
lavrov and then-russian ambassador to the u.s. sergey kislyak. the intelligence concerning isis and syria had been provided by israel. the disclosure to the russians by the president, though not about the russian spy specifically, prompted intelligence officials to renew discussions about the potential risk of exposure. this according to the source directly involved in the matter. at the time, then cia director mike pompeo told other senior trump administration officials that too much information was coming out rafrding the asset. i should noets that the concerns about this source and the safety of this source did not begin at that moment. going back to the obama administration -- >> there was concern even in the obama administration about the source being revealed. >> there was, partly due to length of service there, but also because you remember the 2017 assessment on russian interference in the u.s. election, which concluded that president putin ordered it but also preferred donald trump as the winner of that election. that assessment was based in
part on information from this source. so the concern was that since that intelligence was out there, that that might also contribute to the person's exposure. >> i mean vladimir putin, a former kgb guy, certainly would be aware of this possibility. >> exactly. >> and on the lookout for this. you broke this story. you held back -- >> yeah. >> you decided not to reveal some details out of concern and respect for the individual, that it might somehow affect them, is that right? >> exactly. we made an editorial decision now "the new york times" has confirmed our story, and they put out details about the particular aspects of this source, some of which we have, but we also have additional details. it speaks to how high-level this asset, this russian spy was. it is our understanding that this was a russian national who had been serving as an foefrm ant for the u.s. for more than a decade, so a number of years.
that this person had direct access to the russian president, vladimir putin, including the remarkable ability to take photos of documents. >> that's incredible. >> this person over those years had risen to the top levels of russia's national security infrastructure, again providing remarkable access. we also learned that during the obama administration, senior u.s. intelligence officials offered to extract this source at the time, made the offer to the asset. the asset refused at the time, and it was only months later into the trump administration, when another offer was made, the asset accepted that offer, and the extraction took place successfully. >> what's been the administration's response? >> so the administration's response, a u.s. official suggested that there was media speculation at the time about the covert operative but could not point to any public reporting about it. asked for comment, the cia's director for public affairs, brittany bramell, told me the following, and i'm quoting here. cnn's narrative that the central
intelligence agency makes life or zaekt decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is false. a spokesperson for secretary of state mike pompeo declined to comment for this story. white house press secretary stephanie grisham, said, quote, cnn's reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger. of course that issue is the reason we initially held details about this derby. >> and "the new york times" by the way has now -- >> they have. they put that out there now, so that makes that to some degree moot. i should state this. despite those statements and those denials, i spoke to five officials who served in the trump administration, who served in the intelligence agencies, and served in positions on capitol hill where they had access to intelligence. and they told me that the concerns in the intel community about president trump's handling of intelligence are broad. they're consistent, and they're
not based on just one instance. they're based on a series of instances. in our story, we report an additional one. this was in july 2017 after that oval office meeting with the russians when you'll remember that president trump met with vladimir putin in hamburg, germany. this was during the g20 summit there, when he took the remarkable step of confiscating the translatotranslator's notes >> he had kind of a side meeting with putin. there wasn't anybody else except a translator. >> he took away those notes afterwards. i am told by an intelligence source that the i.c. was concerned that in that meeting as well. >> intelligence community. >> may have shared improperly discussed classified intelligence with the russian president. >> it's fascinating reporting, jim sciutto. thank you very much. obviously this is both important, chilling at the same time. i'm going to talk more about it with steve hall, also rolf larsen.
appreciate you both of us being with us. obviously i know you are both limited in what you can or would say, so i just leave it up to you obviously to answer or not answer. but, steve, i'm wondering what you make of this extraction and also the new details which jump wasn't reporting but the "times" has gone ahead and reported so jim mentioned them tonight. >> well, anderson, as you alluded to, i mean i hate to sound like the cia spokesperson, but i really can't confirm or deny anything that jim has reported. >> sure. >> what i can say, though, is that what he said there at the end with the intelligence community being concerned about how this president handles intelligence writ large, you know, when the president handles the intelligence that is collected by the u.s. government as his own personal coinage, where he handles it as though he can do whatever he wants with it, then you are going to get both foreign intelligence services, allies of ours who cooperate with us, who are going to want to talk less about that because they're concerned it's
going to pop up on twitter or something like that. so this is a concern to anybody who contemplating providing intelligence to the united states government. jim was talking about this. i mean you have the now infamous meeting with the russians in the oval where he talked about israeli intelligence that the israeli service hadn't approved for that. >> talked about it to the russian ambassador. >> yes, to the russian ambassador. you've also got a president who just a couple of days ago put out what looked very much to me like secret overhead, secret classified overhead of iranian launch sites. and then if there were any question as to whether they were secret, he tweeted shortly thereafter, the law says i can do whatever i want with this stuff. i can declassify whatever i want. lastly, jim's point about him disappearing on a regular basis behind closed doors with vladimir putin when we really don't know exactly what is going on and whether there was anybody there to hold imactabhim actabl on. those are concerns to those entities that would be
interested in providing intelligence to the united states government. >> rolf, president trump doesn't have a career in diplomacy or intelligence. if somebody -- doesn't have a lot of experience with intelligence. they can inadvertently reveal information that they shouldn't even if they aren't intending to. i'm wondering again, rolf, i know there's probably a lot you can't say on the details of this. but the removal of a high-level russian asset, i mean if it's true that the person had been in place for ten years, that seems like an extraordinary amount of time, and i imagine the danger just increases with each passing year. does it leave a void if somebody like that, you know, is exfiltrated? >> yeah, of course it would leave a void, anderson. but i prefer to focus on three important successes of this reported exfiltration. and like steve, i can't confirm it because i simply don't know, which is also good news. if someone like i were aware of this operation, that would be a
bad thing. but first the fact that we had a source like this, i sometimes question whether we'd continue to be as successful against russia in the counterterrorism age, and apparently we have been. so i think we have to first salute the success of this operation to go on as long as it did in such extraordinary, difficult circumstances operating in moscow. secondly, the fact we got him out alive. i can tell you from history that doesn't happen all the time, that we successfully exfiltrate our agents. i know that vladimir putin and the fsb right now are very upset about that, and that's another success for the intelligence community. the third thought, though, and i think it's an important part of this where we can look at the success of getting him out successfully from a practical perspective, is that now his information can be more fully exploited. in other words, presumably there were tremendous sensitivities in sharing his information. that's always the problem when you have a uniquely placed asset, is if you share the
information widely, you're going to risk leaks and compromises, which certainly looks like it was a huge factor in deciding to exfiltrate him now. so in this particular case, now that he's out, perhaps he can answer some very big questions for us. for example, what was vladimir's intentions -- vladimir putin's intentions in 2016? what are his intentions in 2020 vis-a-vis the u.s. election? did members of the trump administration collude or conspire with russian intelligence? presumably if this source was as well placed as he sounds, we would know some of the answers to those questions. >> it's fascinating. steve hall, i really appreciate it. rolf larsen, thank you so much. president trump went after the three republicans so far who have said they'll run against him for the republican presidential nomination. coming up, i'll talk to one of those the president went after today, former congressman joe walsh, and explore why the republican party is trying to limit the number of gop primaries next year. i can't believe it.
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informer south carolina governor mark sanford says he'll join two other republicans, former congressman joe walsh and former massachusetts governor bill weld and run against president trump for the republican presidential nomination. on the south lawn today before he left for a campaign rally in north carolina, the president was dismissive of all three. he didn't mention any one of them by name but did refer to walsh obliquely, sarcastically
noting he served only a single term in congress. we'll talk with congressman walsh after we hear what president trump said. >> you know, i don't even know who they are other than i know that -- >> joe walsh -- >> i guess you could say -- no, but i don't know them. i don't know them. i would say this. they're all at less than 1%. i guess it's a publicity stunt. we just got right a little while ago 94% popularity or approval rating within the republican party. so to be honest, i'm not looking to give them any credibility. they have no credibility. one was a person that voted for obama, ran as a vice president four years ago and was soundly defeated. another one got thrown out after one term in congress, and he lost in a landslide. and the third one, mr. tallahassee trail or mr. appalachian trail. he's the appalachian trail.
the tal hlahassee trail is nice. but he wuntd on the appalachian trail. he was in argentina. >> the president also dismissed complaints that republican officials either already have canceled or plan to cancel republican primaries in four states, thereby obviously limiting the exposure of any republican opponents to the president. joe walsh, whom you heard the president say was thrown out after one term, joins me now. congressman, thanks for being with us. i'm wondering first of all your response to the president calling your candidacy a joke and saying you have no credibility. >> hey, anderson, good to be with you. look, i stopped paying attention to anything this president said a hell of a long time ago because virtually everything out of his mouth is a lie. i look at what they do, and if this president -- if he's so popular, anderson, and he's such a big, tough guy, well, then why is he trying to shut down and eliminate primary elections all over this country? >> the president said that you're running as a publicity stunt. obviously you've been a radio
host provocateur. you've said racist things. you said president obama is a muslim, which you recently said you regret. if you said all those things, and if you didn't believe some of them at the time, why shouldn't people think you're running just for publicity now? >> look, i'm running because this guy's unfit for office, and you know it, anderson. i know it. i and i think most republicans know it. look at what happened in the last 24 hours. the president of the united states -- i want to say that again. the president of the united states tweeted last night about an american citizen that she is a filthy-mouthed wife. that came from the president of the united states, the same guy who invited the taliban on american soil, the same guy who probably ordered wilbur ross to fire -- to threaten to fire our national weather service folks because they had the temerity to speak the truth about alabama and the hurricane. he's unfit for office, anderson. that's why i'm running, because
that truth needs to be told. >> i mean the fact that multiple states are canceling their primaries already, what does it say about where the republican party is right now writ large? you know, the same could be asked about, you know, why are no republicans talking about the deficit, which seemed like under obama there were a lot of folks talking about the deficit, you included, and now republicans are just silent. >> they're on their knees, anderson. they're on their knees, prospective traited in front of their king. look, i apologize for my language, this is absolute, undemocratic bullshit. what donald trump and the republican party is doing, south carolina, arizona, nevada and kansas, i mean think about this, anderson. they are denying americans the right to vote. voters -- >> this has been done -- i mean this is rare, but it has been done in the past, i think with george h.w. bush when he was running, pat buchanan was challenging him. i think there were several
primaries that weren't -- never took place because of that. >> never. and it happened with obama in the democrat party when there was no presidential primary opposition at all. you've got right now, anderson, you've got three credible challengers, two former republican governors, a former republican congressman. again, just, look, i know we get numb, and i get numb in this world of trump because every day there's a scandal. every day there's an outrage. every day, anderson, there are attacks on our democracy. but this goes well beyond. donald trump is trying to prevent people from voting. think about that. he's in cahoots with the republican party to disenfranchise voters. every voter in south carolina, arizona, and kansas ought to be marching with pitchforks right now into the -- >> right. the argument the president's supporters will say, look, if you don't have a real chance and
clearly donald trump is going to be the nominee, or that's certainly the way it looks right now, why should a state go through the expense of holding a primary? >> because voters have a say. voters have a say, anderson. and there will be other choices on the ballot. and i know you know this, and i know the president knows this as well. there will be other choices on the ballot. and, again, forget about the money. forget all of that. that's a bunch of b.s. they're doing this because they're afraid. look, the republican party is afraid because this president is imploding every single day. i mean look what's happened the last 24 hours. who knows what trump is going to say next week? they don't want any primary opposition, anderson. >> congressman joe walsh, i appreciate you being on. thank you. >> thank you, my friend. just ahead, live to the bahamas for a report on the search and rescue mission in the places still cut off by hurricane dorian. 134 to be exac.
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politicized weather reports, the taliban almost to camp david, russian spy extractions and three 2020 challenger frs president trump. a lot going on tonight. i want to check with chris, see what he's focusing on tonight. >> that is a lot. a little overwhelming. a little bit, a little bit. tough to keep my wig on. we're going to have tennessee congressman steve cohen on the show tonight. he is one of the people saying it's time to move forward, enough waiting for nancy pelosi, we're going to have a big vote this week, he says. we're going to start this impeachment march with a little bit of a quicker step. why? we're going to test his position, why he thinks it matters, and what he believes the chances anything gets done in this abbreviated session of congress that started today. then get who we have on? valerie plame. want to talk about spy game with her, what's happening in russia, what she thinks is reasonable and not, what happened to her, her run for congress.
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the situation across the bahamas remains dire tonight. the death toll stands now at 45 with hundreds still missing. some 70,000 people are homeless as relief agencies try to rush food and aid there. some residents are trying to free -- or trying leave however. dozens tried to board a ferry to florida were turned back this weekend due to not having visas. >> everybody needs totally proper documentation because the -- look, the bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the bahamas that weren't supposed to be there. i don't want to allow people
that weren't supposed to be in the bahamas to come in to the united states, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers. >> we asked the white house for some specifics about that claim that you heard there. we have not heard back. patrick au patrick otman has spent most of his hours in the bahamas. patrick, i know you went to the place that bahamian officials say over the last 24 hours that officials haven't gotten to yet. what did you find there? >> reporter: absolutely, it was an area that's cut off. the road has been washed out, and we have not heard any word from the people there. so, naturally we wanted to go and visit. and when we got in, there was a bit of a shock that the channel had been completely washed out. so, it was a little dicey getting in. and there were probably 10 or 20
submerged cars. we couldn't see if there were people in the cars when they were pushed into the harbor. but we had to navigate the boat over. we got into this town, the eastern most point, one of the hardest hit areas. the rubble we saw was six feet high at least everywhere we looked and of course there was a stench of things rotting, animals or perhaps people underneath that rubble. it was a total ghost town. when we were leaving, bahamian police officer arrived by boat and he was the first official to reach there. as happens, people ask us for water which we give them and they ask us to borrow or satellite phone and they make a call to their relatives to say they're alive. that's a heart wrenching thing to hear and it's also heart wrenching to realize a lot of these communities will probably never recover. they've been wiped off the map. >> you think of the families waiting for that call. it's stoic. the scale of this thing, i don't
think we know it yet frankly. is there any indication of how or when authorities are going to actually get to an area like this? >> reporter: no. and i'll tell you something amazing, anderson, the first help that arrived came from bahamians are abaco which has been destroyed. how people come in a boat with water and gas from abaco, it's amazing and speaks to the strength of bahamians. why is it that these people are coming first rather than the government. i can we get there but the government can't get there. >> thanks. we want to hear from chris. >> i am chris cuomo. welcome to prime time. look who's finally back. congress. impeachment drums beating again. time to test a yjudiciary membe about this. what about waking on speaker pelosi, what she said