Skip to main content

tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  April 10, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

9:00 pm
internet that puts you in charge. that protects what's important. it handles everything, and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. to save 30% on all the medications we carry. so go directly to now. good evening. attorney general william barr says the fbi spied on the trump presidential campaign, his department is looking into it. his words, spying did occur.
9:01 pm
tonight, keeping him honest, given we know there was a duly approved counterintelligence probe under way at the time and there was russian interference in the campaign, what to those words really mean? are they his way of signaling he's merely ensuring all investigations are conducted properly or do they mean he's embracing the conspiracy theory of the origins of the russian probe? the answer matters because barr is the top law enforcement officer in the country and the person in that role is supposed to serve the country, not the president. he made a judgment call not to pursue an obstruction of justice case against president trump, the one who summarized robert mueller's report in a way that has drawn allegations from inside mueller's own team that he misrepresented their work. he's the one who ultimately decides what we get to see of that report and what we don't, and what congress gets to see and what they don't. his judgment matters and the words he chooses are a big part of it, which is why his testimony today to the senate appropriations subcommittee about the origins of the russia investigation was so striking and why lawmakers kept going back to try and make sense of what mr. barr was saying. first came up when new hampshire democratic senator jeanne shaheen asked about reports that
9:02 pm
attorney general barr has a special group looking into why the fbi opened their investigation of the russian interference in the 2016 election. she wanted to know why. here's what he told her. >> for the same reason we're worried about foreign influence in elections, we want to make sure that during -- i think spying on a political campaign is a big deal, it's a big deal. >> that word spying obviously set off some alarms, so senator shaheen pressed for more. >> so you're not suggesting though that spying occurred. >> i don't -- well -- i guess you could -- i think there is, spying did occur. yes, i think spying did occur. >> well, let me -- >> but the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated and i'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated but i need to explore that.
9:03 pm
>> keeping him honest, attorney general barr is both a skilled lawyer and seasoned washington operator. as such, he chooses his words carefully, yet the word he chose today is certainly a loaded one. webster's definition of it is to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes. spying in this case especially when coupled with his boss' characterization of the probe suggest impropriety or wrongdoing, and brought on this question from senator jack reed, who say democrat from rhode island. >> there was the investigation by director mueller into the 2016 campaign, and other issues. have you any evidence there was anything improper in those investigations? >> i have no specific evidence that i would cite. i have questions about it. >> so this panel you're putting together -- >> i'm not putting together a panel. >> you just have some interest in this. you don't have any events?
9:04 pm
evidence? >> i have concerns about various aspects of it. >> do you believe that the investigation that director mueller undertook was a witch hunt or illegal, as has been asserted by the president? >> as i said during my confirmation, it really depends on where you're sitting. if you are somebody who is being falsely accused of something, you would tend to view the investigation as -- >> well, you're sitting as the attorney general of the united states, with the constitutional responsibility. so if you could answer in that regard. >> i'm not going to characterize, it is what it is. >> it is what it is. so he refused to say whether the probe was as president trump repeatedly said a witch hunt. we know the fbi launched a counterintelligence investigation. we know certain trump campaign figures were the subject of surveillance and also know the surveillance has signed off on by senior fbi and justice department officials and some of that surveillance was done under the aegis of warrants assembled
9:05 pm
by intelligence court judges. spying may be a way of short-handing it but it is uncharacteristically broad. a source familiar with his thinking says he meant spying in the classic sense of intelligence collection and he doesn't view the term as a pejorative and not using the word spy as red meat for conspiracy theorists. that said, whatever he intended he certainly has managed to fan the flames including with his boss and on the other side for other reasons with democrats. house speaker pelosi said today he is going and these are her words, "off the rails." he's the attorney general of the united states, she continued, "not the attorney general donald trump." that is her conclusion. tonight, and it's our open question. democratic senator chris coons of delaware also questioned the attorney general. we spoke just before air time. senator coons, why do you think the attorney general claimed without evidence he believes there was spying on the trump campaign? his claim seems to contradict what congress has been told by the department of justice, right? >> it was a striking assertion by the attorney general.
9:06 pm
i, frankly, think, he should have been more careful with his words because spying has some very negative connotations. ultimately, when senator shotz asked him a follow-up question, he changed it to unauthorized surveillance but i think it was a fairly striking allegation for him to weigh in on at today's hearing. >> a source familiar with barr's thinking told cnn the attorney general didn't mean the word spying in a pejorative sense. he meant it in the classic sense. do you know what that clarification means? >> not at all. >> again, it's a loaded term. >> i think spying implies the elicit and inappropriate use of surveillance technology to benefit one political campaign and disadvantage another. that's how i heard it, that's why i was so struck by it. and was glad that senator shotz asked a follow-up. the attorney general my understanding is did not say that's not what i meant at all. he merely changed the words a little bit. i do think this is an issue where we're going to have to
9:07 pm
follow closely what the attorney general does, as well as what he means. >> he's the nation's top law enforcement officer. do you think he's doing this to appeal to president trump or do you know what his motive would be? >> i don't know what his motive would be. i have to take him at his word that he is simply concerned about protecting the rule of law and ensuring there wasn't unauthorized or inappropriate surveillance of political activity, but you know, as i said, in today's hearing as i've said before in his confirmation hearing, the fact that bill barr, now attorney general barr, chose to send in an unsolicited 18-page memo going against special counsel mueller's theory of obstruction of justice raised concerns for me about how he views the department of justice, although he is an institutionalist with some close ties to the department i'm concerned that he act more as
9:08 pm
the attorney general of the united states and less as attorney for the president. >> how did you interpret barr's answer, whether or not mueller's investigation was a witch hunt "really depends on where you're sitting." that's sort of an extraordinary answer. >> i thought that was an extraordinary answer. i think that was an obvious answer would have been he supported the mueller investigation, thought that it was necessary to the rule of law, and that transparency was important. he did not say that. he said whether or not you view it as a witch hunt depends on where you sit. that was one of several striking things. he also in response to my question about whether or not the president or anyone at the white house had been given a copy of the mueller report or briefed on the mueller report refused to answer it. >> and just last, i know you introduced legislation today to repeal the president's travel ban, there was no republican co-sponsor on it. even if this bill somehow managed to get some republicans supported in the senate and passed, isn't it dead on arrival on the president's desk? >> it is. anderson, as you know, most of the time i engage in very pragmatic legislating, very
9:09 pm
bipartisan legislating. i try to have a republican cosponsor for all the bills i introduce. this is a bill that i think is more prophetic. it's about saying what america we believe we should be in, meaning an america where our president does not make campaign promises to ban muslims or any other specific religious minority from coming to the united states and then use the power of the presidency to carry out that ban through an executive order. every democratic senator running for president is a cosponsor of this bill. we have a very wide number of cosponsors both in the house and the senate but so far, only democrats. you're right, it's dead on ai arrival at the white house. but it should show clearly how we believe we can keep the country safe and still our most fundamental values of a commitment to religious liberty. >> thank you for your time. let's get more from our legal analyst, jeffrey toobin and laura coach, jeff, barr is not someone who
9:10 pm
says something by accident. he's had this job before. had to know using the word spying, echoing president trump would certainly get the president's attention and democrats' attention. what did you make of it? >> well, what i thought was, this is a classic demonstration of the fox newsification of the republican party, that even an establishment figure like bill barr, someone who comes out of the george herbert walker bush administration, talks like sean hannity, this is a completely loaded term, completely false, and by the way, he didn't just say use the word spying. he said he was going to conduct some sort of investigation of whether there was spying that was going to go on. that is a president trump talking point. there's already been an inspector general's investigation, so i don't know what he's going to investigate, but you know, his use of this term shows how much the paranoid
9:11 pm
lunacy of the right wing is now moved right in to the department of justice. he also talked earlier about uranium one, which is another fox news fantasy about hillary clinton. i mean, this is where the republican party is today. >> laura, cnn's reporting that barr used the term spying in the "classic sense" of intelligence collection, not as a pejorative term. i don't know what to make of that. >> no one does, because i don't know how he meant it non-pejoratively speaking about the context he gave. frankly, the reason he said it and why it's raising eyebrows, it killed three birds with one stone. it covered a variety of talking points that largely was echoed and parroted by people like jeffrey is talking about but also the president of the united states. remember, talking about the genesis of the actual investigation implicates conversations about the steele dossier, which is controversial, implicates discussions about george papadopoulos and carter paige, talks about peter strzok
9:12 pm
and it talks about andrew mccabe and of course genesis which was also franchly a loaded frankly a loaded term along with spying, it calls into question whether or not it was legitimate to have the probe in general. without calling it a witch hunt, he essentially described it as a rose by any other name, anderson and that was perhaps the most shocking to have this dog whistle that was audible to all species. >> jeff, by not saying it wasn't a witch hunt, it's as close to coming to saying it is. the fact that the person who is in charge of the department of justice, which is the one who did this investigation, and the guy who's running it won't say it's not a witch hunt or it wasn't a witch hunt is stunning. >> and he repeated the most outrageous thing he said during
9:13 pm
his confirmation hearing, when he was asked that question about a witch hunt, about president's statement that it was a witch hunt, and instead of standing by the department of justice, he said, well, people who are investigated don't like it. i mean, the whole purpose of the rule of law is that it's not about the individual's feeling. it's about the institution of whether it stands for the rule of law or not, and the fact that he would not defend the mueller investigation at least as an independent investigation again speaks to the degree to which the republican party, as personified by donald trump and now william barr has changed from how it used to be, even back in the '80s and '90s. >> barr offered no evidence to back up the spying claim today. he said he has questions about it. it does seem to lend credibility to what is essentially a made up
9:14 pm
point by the president and his allies that they've been pushing for a long time. the amount of gravitas it puts on that particular statement from the attorney general who has all the access to the information. he offers unsolicited advice and commentary without knowing the facts. the 18 or 19-page memo we had no information about obstruction of justice whatsoever. i find a fascinating irony. one of the categories he is saying he will withhold from the public and congress on the mueller report, a redacted portions about things that may be third party peripheral parties that may be prejudicial in some way because it wouldn't be fair to unload all of these allegations on people who ultimately will not be charged because they don't want people tarred and feathered in public square. what do you think it does to people accused of spying as part
9:15 pm
of your underlying intelligence community? it doesn't make a lot of sense to be consistent and to me it points out a greater hypocrisy here. >> thank you. the man at the helm of the american fbi services is james clapper, is spying the appropriate word? his first interview is next, he'll join me live. and later president trump's changing opinion of robert mueller. funny how that happens. we're keeping him honest. steven could only imaginem 24hr to trenjoying a spicy taco.burn, now, his world explodes with flavor. nexium 24hr stops acid before it starts
9:16 pm
for all-day all-night protection. can you imagine 24-hours without heartburn? my lineage was the vecchios and zuccolis. through ancestry, through dna i found out that i was only 16% italian. he was 34% eastern european. so i went onto ancestry, soon learned that one of our ancestors we thought was italian was eastern european. this is my ancestor who i didn't know about. he looks a little bit like me, yes. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at blended with purpose, for fragile hair. with revitalizing ginger, known to recover strength, and golden honey. as a whole blend, it provides twice the breakage protection. to make hair stronger instantly. blended makes us better. whole blends. by garnier, naturally. moving? that's harder now because of psoriatic arthritis. but you're still moved by moments like this. don't let psoriatic arthritis take them away.
9:17 pm
taltz reduces joint pain and stiffness and helps stop the progression of joint damage. for people with moderate to severe psoriasis, 90% saw significant improvement. taltz even gives you a chance at completely clear skin. don't use if you're allergic to taltz. before starting, you should be checked for tuberculosis. taltz may increase risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you have an infection, symptoms, or received a vaccine or plan to. inflammatory bowel disease can happen with taltz, including worsening of symptoms. serious allergic reactions can occur. for all the things that move you. ask your doctor about taltz. one two parts incredible.ribs. steak & ribs starting at $14.99, with your choice of sauce or dry rub. and back again is our 3-point rib bloom, topped with cheese fries and barbecue ribs. but get here fast. these deals won't last. turn up your swagger game with one a day gummies. one serving... ...once a day... ...with nutrients that support 6 vital functions...
9:18 pm
...and one healthy you. that's the power of one a day. omar, check this out. uh, yeah, i was calling to see if you do laser hair removal. for men. notice that my hips are off the ground. [ engine revving ] and then, i'm gonna pike my hips back into downward dog. [ rhythmic tapping ] hey, the rain stopped. -a bad day on the road still beats a good one off it. -tell me about that dental procedure again! -i can still taste it in my mouth! -progressive helps keep you out there. -i can still taste it in my mouth! ♪ pardon the interruption but this is big! now at t-mobile buy any samsung galaxy s10
9:19 pm
and get a galaxy s10e free! whooo! want to take your next vacation to new heights? tripadvisor now lets you book over a hundred thousand tours, attractions, and experiences in destinations around the world! like new york! from bus tours, to breathtaking adventures, tripadvisor makes it easy to find and book amazing things to do. and you can cancel most bookings up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund. so you can make your next trip... monumental! read reviews check hotel prices book things to do tripadvisor today's testimony by attorney general barr about spying but offered no evidence provides evidence for president trump and his allies. it's worth recapping what rhode island senator jack reed said to barr in trying to pin him down. >> there was the investigation by director mueller into the
9:20 pm
2016 campaign and other issues. have you any evidence that there was anything improper in those investigations? >> i have no specific evidence that i would cite right now. i do have questions about it. >> so this panel you're putting together -- >> i'm not putting together a panel. >> so you just have some interest in this. you don't have any evidence? >> i have concerns about various aspects of it. >> one man who was certainly aware of the counter intelligence investigation is retired air force lieutenant general james clapper, director of national intelligence at the time. he's the author of "facts and fears, part truths from life in intelligence." director clapper, when you heard what the attorney general said that spying did occur in the president's campaign, i wonder what your reaction was? >> well, i thought it was stunning and scary. i was amazed at that, and rather disappointed that the attorney general would say such a thing.
9:21 pm
the term spying has all kinds of negative connotations, and i have to believe he chose that term deliberately and i think it's incredible that if he has concerns, he could easily have, on his first day on the job after his confirmation asked his own ig, the inspector general of the department of justice for a briefing on his preliminary findings in the course of his investigation, that is the ig's investigation and whether there was any wrongdoing by the fbi and i think it would have been far more appropriate for him to just defer to that investigation rather than postulating with apparently no evidence. he just has a feeling that there was spying against the campaign. one other big point i want to make to you, we're losing sight of what started all this, the
9:22 pm
russian meddling, the russian interference in our election process, and the russians pose a profound threat to this country, and based on the success that they enjoyed as a result of their meddling in the 2016 election, they're going to continue that. and we're not focusing on that. we're focusing on this circus about you know, whether or not somebody was spying on the campaign, which is i think a gross misstatement. >> as you said, he has access to, he's the attorney general, he has access to all the information at the department of justice. >> exactly. he didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday. he's already been the attorney general. it's not like he had to walk in the department of justice, say what's this outfit do? he knew that. he could easily hit the ground running. >> is this to appeal to the
9:23 pm
president? >> if he had concerns about the conduct of the counter intelligence investigation he could find out about it his first week on the job and not publicly muse about it in a hearing as he did today. >> do you think one option is that he's sending a message to the president or trying to appeal to the president to show he is the president's guy? >> well, yeah, but that's not the -- we're not into abiding by traditional norms. what you expect from the attorney general is some independence and objectivity, not reciting talking points that he's heard from the president and other of his supporters. >> in terms of russian activity and the trump campaign i don't know what you can reveal who knew about that, cnn reports candidate trump was alerted about that in august of 2016. >> well, i do know, i can tell you what i do know. i cannot speak for what the fbi
9:24 pm
may or may not have said to him or anyone in the campaign. i would just point out that philosophically when you're doing a counter intelligence investigation, if you have concerns or suspicions, you're not going to alert people to that until you know exactly who might be complicit and who isn't. i don't know if that played in the fbi decision calculus. but i do know that both candidates as soon as they were -- after their conventions began getting briefings from the intelligence community and one of the topics was the russian interference so i do know that what the russians were doing as we understood it was brief to them. >> the fact the attorney general was talking about looking at essentially how the investigation all began, can you walk us through procedures and protocols just for how surveillance is approved? as barr mentioned, that is one of the things he's allegedly seeking to find out, if any misconduct could have taken place.
9:25 pm
>> well, the operational arms of the intelligence community, and i make that distinction because my office is not operational, is not investigatory as the dni. so the operational arms of the intelligence community, meaning in this case specifically nsa or the fbi, or perhaps even the cia, would -- if they needed to conduct electronic surveillance, which is probably what's in question here, would seek an authorization from the foreign intelligence surveillance court, which i can assure you from watching it over many years is not a rubber stamp. and those requests, and the investigations that ensue from them, are deliberately intended to be discreet. in other words, limit them to as few people as possible. it may turn out that there's no basis for this suspicion.
9:26 pm
but it would be irresponsible not to ring out of those concerns. now, what i was concerned about, and others at the time, going back to, we know a lot more now than we did back then, were the frequency of meetings that we observed by virtue of watching russian, valid russian targets. russians were in this country by definition intelligence operatives. so if you're meeting with them, and we're watching russians and by virtue of that, we see americans u.s. persons meeting with them, that causes the yellow flag to go up. and so the fbi in my view did exactly what it was supposed to do, by running this down. >> general clapper, i appreciate it. thank you very much. >> thanks, anderson. still ahead, president trump's love-hate relationship with robert mueller in his report, the gold standard he said a couple weeks ago when the summary came out or is it an illegal investigation, as he seems to be saying often now. we're keeping him honest, next.
9:27 pm
i'm working to keep the fire going for another 150 years. ♪ to inspire confidence through style. ♪ i'm working to make connections of a different kind. ♪ i'm working for beauty that begins with nature. ♪ to treat every car like i treat mine. ♪ at adp we're designing a better way to work, so you can achieve what you're working for. ♪
9:28 pm
boom! i fell 22 feet. i just remember climbing up the tree. next thing i know, i hit the ground. completely shattered my pelvis, in the middle of the woods. i called my wife, she thought i was jokin'. i said, "man, i'm not... i'm not." i was so lucky that day... saved my life. (vo) there for you when it matters most. get unlimited on the best network, with apple music included. and save big when you switch. only on verizon.
9:29 pm
9:30 pm
to save 30% on all the medications we carry. so go directly to now. mr. barr's testimony comes attempts of russian influence on the trump campaign as we've been discussing. mr. barr's testimony comes as we're waiting for the release of mueller report, a report the president is once again attacking, after initially praising the findings and mr. barr's four-page summary, all of it of course raising the question whether mr. barr said what he said today to give the president cover once the report is released. we'll discuss that in a moment. first here's what the president said this morning. >> it was an illegal investigation, major. it was an illegal investigation. it was started illegally. everything about it was crooked, every single thing about it. there were dirty cops. these were bad people.
9:31 pm
you look at mccabe and comey, and you look at lisa and peter strzok. these were bad people, and this was an attempted coup, attempted take-down of a president and we beat them. we beat them. >> the president of the united states saying the mueller investigation was an attempted coup against him. again, that was today. now listen to what he and members of the administration were saying shortly after the barr summary of the mueller report came out. >> it was a complete and total exoneration. >> i think everyone here and everyone, frankly, across america was happy. >> we had the full fair and thor row investigation, over a million documents. the mueller investigation is the goal standard. >> the mueller report was great. it could not have been better. it said no obstruction, no collusion, it could not have been better. >> i do see some people now
9:32 pm
trying to besmirch the integrity of director mueller and attorney general barr. that is really rich. this the mueller investigation is the gold standard. >> now not so much. she said it was the gold standard and now it's an attempted coup. according to the president. here to talk about besmirching, david gergen, dana bash and carl bernstein. the president has gone from the mueller investigation's gold standard to an attempted coup. i just -- when i heard that this morning i couldn't believe the president of the united states is talking about an attempted coup. >> and talking about treason as well. we've seen the pattern before, it's just more glaring. i think in this instance. and that is -- when the president thinks someone is going to praise him or help him, he's the most wonderful person around and very true patriot, but when he sees trouble across the horizon, that's obviously what he sees, as the mueller report more elements of the mueller report are released,
9:33 pm
he's trashing him. and doing it in a most i think disturbing way because when you start talking about coups and treason, those are words used in authoritarian states. those are not the kind of conversation that occurs, occur in a democracy. >> this is literally the conversation a dictator has when there has been attempted coup and he has retaken the television station and talking to whatever his nation is, and saying this was an attempted coup. this was a witch hunt. >> right. >> language you don't hear in this democracy. >> language you don't hear and it's often used as a prelude to cracking down and doing things in a tougher way. we hear about democratic governments turned authoritarian the strong man gets rid of his opponents in the first term but the second term in office he starts doing pretty authoritarian steps taking to control the government and the behavior of the people.
9:34 pm
and so i think it's just, i so wish the president would drop this kind of language. we can have a reasonable conversation about what's up and down. this kind of language is so inflammatory and so suggestive of authoritarian regimes that it's very damaging to the office of the president itself. >> carl, it comes in the wake of the president saying that the rally he has the military on his side, he has the police on his side, he has construction workers and bikers. again, this is just language of you know, a dictator would be using. >> there is nothing new about donald trump's authoritarian impulse. we've been dealing with it now for two years. what is so astonishing and what happened today is that the attorney general of the united states enabled this authoritarian pronouncement by the president of the united states. here we have been waiting for two years for mr. mueller to deliver this report. there has been no leak whatsoever, and in the space of
9:35 pm
two weeks, since mr. barr's been attorney general, he has managed to undermine the attempt for us to get a straightforward report from mr. mueller. unexper gaited. he has undermined the release of this report. it's a stunning development and goes to the question of his loyalty, is it to the law, the rule of law, the attorney general enforcing the rule of law or is it to donald trump? >> dana, there seems to be two strategies at play. i guess for the president. one for complete vindication. the other to re-up a tax on the mueller report and suggests a counter narrative of a coup, nefarious forces behind his investigation. could you look at it and say the president's covered all his bases? >> you could look at it and say they're completely contradictory messages as you played so well at the beginning. it's very hard to wrap your head around the notion that it's the
9:36 pm
gold standard and it is a long investigation of vindicating the president and at the same time -- >> talking about people besmirching mueller. the president today is besmirching mueller. >> and tried to undermine the investigation. if you look for consistency with the president and his rhetoric on anything, especially the mueller ngs, you just need to stop looking because you're not going to find it. but you are right in that the president has been very adept at trying to define just broadly the mueller investigation, not only as a witch hunt, but as the notion of collusion, which is why to carl's point, the whole idea of the barr letter and something that he continued on his, on the hill in his testimony this week, is that it's all wrapped up and the big question of is there collusion or not, and the answer is no, so let's just move on and there's
9:37 pm
nothing to see here, which is why we do need to see something here, which is the report, which hopefully we will see next week. >> david, it makes me think that the release of this report, we all know it's going to be explosive in one way or another, whether if it's heavily redacted, democrats will go after this. if it says something negative about the president, it will be explosive, so the stakes have just been ramped up, and i mean, again, another way to look at the release of the report, it will be very telling as a look at what attorney general barr's real motives are. >> i totally agree with that. listen, i think the president was clearly signaling he thinks there's explosive, damaging material in that report. preparing the public for it, and preparing his onslaught against mueller. but once again, you know, i think we should be cautious about saying what's coming, because we were surprised the last time so much. >> sure.
9:38 pm
>> i think, i want to go back to a fundamental point, carl's point about barr. i was among those who wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt when he came in. i assumed a man having done this job once at his age, i think in his mid-60s now, he's got a legacy. i just felt he would want to protect his reputation for integrity and want to show he was independent and much the same way mueller won over much of the public, and he's now repeatedly acted in ways which have called all of that into question, whether he is going to turn out to be a toady for trump and that is disturbing. we need one or two people in the government around the rule of law that we can trust as a people, and we're now in a situation there's nobody -- who can we trust? who do we know that is reliable in telling the truth and making the scales of justice balance out? i just, that's very, very disturbing. >> carl, looking at barr's statement today on spying,
9:39 pm
again, what we saw echoed what fox news has essentially saying for years. feels like we're no longer discussing state run tv, we're talking about tv run state. >> it's party line. the attorney general of the united states is arguing the party line coming from the white house, but i like david was one of those who said bill barr would not seek to do something that would hurt his reputation, and i seem to have been wrong, and so i went back and i looked up some things that barr had been reported about barr particularly a series of columns in "the new york times" by bill sapphire, the former nixon speechwriter, great conservative, who wrote in the "new york times" as an op-ed columnist in 1992, especially a column of october 19th, 1992, he called barr then the attorney general the coverup general of the united states, because of what barr had done to obscure a
9:40 pm
number of actions by the bush administration in terms of selling weapons of mass destruction to saddam hussein. it's a very involved tale, but sapphire, in a whole series of columns, goes back to actions by bill barr, in which he did exactly the kind of thing that we're watching barr do now. and all reporters should go back and read those sapphire columns, remembering sapphire's credentials as a republican, as a nixonite, as a conservative. >> dana, quickly, barr was asked by lindsey graham why the trump campaign wasn't advised of foreign interference. graham said it was odd. it's actually not true. cnn says candidate trump was warned in august of 2016 by senior u.s. intelligence officials that foreign adversaries would attempt to infiltrate his team. >> cnn has reported both campaigns, both candidates. there was a briefing. the open question i am told to look for the answer to is how
9:41 pm
detailed was that briefing, and we don't know the answer to that. it might not have been very detailed if the people doing the investigating weren't really sure where it was going to go which is entirely possible. >> just a moment ago. we have to leave it there. dana bash, david gergen, thank you very much. new details coming up about the investigation to hush money paid to two women who allegedly had affairs with president trump. according to "the wall street journal," prosecutors interviewed members of the president's inner circle including his former aide and communications director hope hicks. i'll talk with one of the reporters who broke the story next. t got married. we're all under one roof now. congratulations. thank you. how many kids? my two. his three. along with two dogs and jake, our new parrot. that is quite the family. quite a lot of colleges to pay for though. a lot of colleges. you get any financial advice? yeah, but i'm pretty sure it's the same plan they sold me before. well your situation's totally changed now. right, right. how 'bout a plan that works for 5 kids, 2 dogs and jake over here? that would be great. that would be great. that okay with you, jake? get a portfolio that works for you now
9:42 pm
and as your needs change from td ameritrade investment management. dso should the way you bank.. virtual wallet from pnc bank. just one way pnc is modernizing banking to help make things easier. pnc bank. make today the day.
9:43 pm
when it comes to reducing the evsugar in your family's diet,m. coke, dr pepper and pepsi hear you. we're working together to do just that. bringing you more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all. smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels and reminders to think balance. because we know mom wants what's best. more beverage choices, smaller portions, less sugar.
9:44 pm
as the release of the mueller report or redacted version of it looms over the white house, there are new details about the investigation into hush money payments paid to two women who said they had sexual affairs with donald trump. according to "the wall street journal" federal prosecutors interviewed members of president trump's inner circle including former white house communications director hope hicks last spring. they also reportedly spoke to the president's former security chief keith shiler about his conversations with david pecker, ceo of "the national enquirer's" publisher ami. the inquiry admitted to paying $150,000 to karen macdougall on behalf of the president to keep her from going public with her alleged affair with him. investigators reportedly have a recording of a phone conversation between michael
9:45 pm
cohen, president's former lawyer and fixer and a lawyer who respected macdougall as well as stormy daniels. cohen pleaded guilty to charges that included campaign finance violations and testified before congress about payments he says he made on the president's behalf to both women, nicole hahn is one of the reporters behind "the wall street journal" story. she joins us now. you can walk us through what investigators learned from the interviews? >> sure. we don't know the full scope of what the southern district asked them but we know at the very least they were interested in both hope hicks and keith shiler's communications with david pecker, who is the ceo of "the national enquirer's" publisher. so we can see them -- >> and a close friend of the president. >> exactly. >> a long relationship. >> what this tells us is that the investigation went much deeper in trump's inner circle than we realized. hope hicks and keith schiller worked with him for a long time so it shows us the lengths prosecutors went to build this case.
9:46 pm
>> is it clear whether any of the information provided in the interviews backed up what michael cohen, what he is saying? >> one thing we do know is that they were interested in keith s schiller, they wanted to know if he was handing the phone off to trump. they were interested in sort of that connection with trump. >> when i interviewed karen macdougall, she is claiming a 10 month long relationship. she said that whenever -- she would always call keith schiller to pass messages or to get to -- then donald trump as a citizen. >> right, keith schiller would know about a lot. he was with trump, physically there with him for a lot of meetings and conversations i'm sure would be of interest to investigators. >> and your reporting uncovered this record of a phone conversation between michael cohen, and was it keith davidson, the attorney for stormy daniels and karen macdougall? >> this was in the fall of 2017, mueller had been appointed
9:47 pm
special counsel and already investigating cohen and keith davidson's bank actually flagged the transaction of the funds coming out of his account to stormy daniels. he calls michael cohen and says hey, of all the transactions they could have flagged, they zeroed in on this one. so maybe we should be worried about this being under investigation. and i think the recordings showed that cohen wasn't particularly alarmed by this, and it shows the degree to which he was probably very surprised at the april raid that he was indeed under investigation. >> this is what prosecutors of the southern district of new york, not the mueller investigation. do we know what if anything they plan to do with this going forward? ultimately they report to the department of justice, and attorney general barr. >> so that's a big question, and i don't think they need to make that determination right now.
9:48 pm
we have had no public indication that they do intend to indict trump, even after he leaves office. what we do know about how investigations usually pan out is they're probably going to keep this evidence, and things could change, but right now we just don't know what will happen. >> it's a fascinating article. thank you very much for reporting. >> thank you. pete barrara from the southern district of new york and senior cnn analyst, and if preet, if prosecutors were looking into hope hicks and keith schiller, key people in the president's inner circle and what they knew about hush money payments, would that surprise you or what you expect of this investigation from the southern district? >> it's not surprising me at all. the folks of the southern district are thorough, meticulous. they go through the evidence, and talk to everybody that you would imagine they need to talk to and the other reason why it's not surprising to me is remember, back in the day, michael cohen made a statement in open court in connection with his guilty plea proceeding in which he said he committed those
9:49 pm
crimes in coordination with and at the direction of individual one the president of the united states. i remember thinking at the time the southern district had to be really confident of the truth of that statement, if they were going to endorse it in one of their own legal memoranda they submitted in court and so you would think they would have to have something more than just the word of michael cohen, who has a lot of problems and a lot of baggage, although some people find him credible and some of his things corroborated by canceled checks he provided to the house sub committee when he testified, but now sort of filling in some of the gaps that i think people had in their minds, wondering what was the other evidence about donald trump's knowledge, donald trump's involvement, donald trump's intentions, and clearly this is how they came about their decision to endorse that statement it seems to me. >> how likely, i mean, information like this, that's gathered, you're saying one example is it could have been used to corroborate something that michael cohen was saying, but if ultimately this is under
9:50 pm
the auspices and control of attorney general barr, is that a concern for you? >> well i'm more concerned how bill barr is treating the mueller report, and how much he's going to make public and how much he's going to give to congress. i think it's a very difficult thing to sort of shut down an sdny investigation or tell them to go look in another direction or shut them down. the bigger issue as i think nicole mentioned earlier is the department of justice policy and practice and opinion that you can't indict or prosecute a sitting president. what that means for donald trump if he were to leave office in two years is a completely separate question. i think what the southern district is doing, what they always do, follow the law, follow the facts and at least is acceptable it before you make the decision in the next phase, which is do you make a public accusation? do you not? do you wait for someone who be in a position to be prosecuted or not? but right now i think they're in the mode of collecting evidence and making sure they shore up
9:51 pm
everything that they have so far. >> how likely do you think the information investigators got was perhaps used as leverage to get david pecker, the head of the "national enquirer's" parent company, to cooperate in the hush money case. >> i think prosecutors use lots of different levers. any leverage they can get anyone to cooperate in the case is very important. they have information from sources that support what cohen said. and i think, you know, i think we should be watching this very carefully. >> the president obviously is already known as individual one. you know, in this case, which michael cohen we should point out is going to prison, federal prison for. the president's essentially an unindicted coconspirator. do people seem to care much about that? in a typical administration, that would probably be a big deal. >> well, yeah, now you're asking a political question and there are lots and lots of things that this president has done that seem to be not such a big deal because we've defined deviance down.
9:52 pm
just with respect to the mueller report, about which, you know, through which donald trump says he's been exonerated over and over again, even though the mueller report says no such thing with respect to obstruction, in an ordinary administration the fact that a special counsel seems to have found sufficient evidence of obstruction of justice by a sitting president that it's too close a question for him to call on whether or not a crime was committed is a huge deal and a big deal and would probably fail someone else. it doesn't in this case. so we'll see where all this goes, but this would not be the first time that the scenario described has happened. >> preet bharara, thank you very much. appreciate it. a lot more obviously to come. >> thanks, anderson. >> we expect the mueller report, however much of it to be released, is going to come out next week. i want to check in with chris and see what he's working on for cuomo "prime time" at the top of the hour. >> the intersection of politics and law. it is time for calm. headlines very hysterical because of what the a.g. has said over the last two days.
9:53 pm
if you notice his comfort in the chair, it's because he's been exactly here before. looking at the a.g.'s past, last time around with the bush administration, predicts exactly where we are right now. we're going to look at his legal ability to play by the book with spying as he calls it. what is right, what is wrong. on taxes with the president, why is the treasury secretary involved? these are questions about the intersection of law and politics. a game is afoot. the real battle between the president and congress has just begun. and we'll take you through it tonight. >> all right, sherlock. the game is afoot. >> the game is afoot. >> all right. i'll be watson. chris, thanks very much. i'll see you in a couple of minutes. coming up next, the 45th president's complaint about the first president's home, that's right. what he said about mount vernon and the big mistake george washington made. this is real and it's on the the ridiculist coming up.
9:54 pm
it turns out, they want me to start next month. she can stay with you to finish her senior year. things will be tight but, we can make this work. ♪ now... grandpa, what about your dream car? this is my dream now. principal we can help you plan for that .
9:55 pm
- ( phone ringing )es offers - big button,lized phones... and volume-enhanced phones. get details on this state program. visit right now or call during business hours.
9:56 pm
and accessoriesphones for your mobile phone. like this device to increase volume on your cell phone. - ( phone ringing ) - get details on this state program visit right now or call during business hours. coming up for the ridiculist, tonight's entry comes from president trump's department of anything you can do, i can do better. his latest target, george washington, and, no, this isn't some trivia theme night terror. you are really awake. this is actually happening. politico citing three sources reports president trump while touring mount vernon with french president emmanuel macron last spring said of washington's virginia estate, and i quote, if he was smart, he would have put his name on if. you got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you. i got to say, he has a point. really, who remembers george washington, am i right? i mean, he doesn't have a broadway musical the president
9:57 pm
hates. "hamilton," he's got a musical. washington, he's got, what, that monument in that city. what's it called? oh, yeah, washington. anyway, washington's ratings are low. he's choking like a dog in the street. john hancock, him we remember, am i right? he signed the what do you call it, the declaration of independence. that's branding. washington, drawing a blank. let's stipulate when it comes to naming things president trump does indeed know what he's talking about. >> when it comes to great steaks, i've just raised the stakes. the sharper image is one of my favorite stores with fantastic products of all kinds. that's why i'm thrilled they agree with me. trump steaks are the world's greatest steaks and i mean that in every sense of the word. >> are we wearing the same tie? i mean, who doesn't buy their steaks at the sharper image? i mean, am i right? to be fair, it's not just -- it's not just meat that the president knows how to brand.
9:58 pm
gambling ventures, an airline, even a private yacht. the trump name on each and every one of them, it's like gold. it's probably best not to dwell on how those actual ventures turned out financially. let's just say they're in the file cabinet marked very stable genius. there was also trump university. less of a university, more of a $25 million class action settlement. sure, the virginia country side isn't quite atlantic city, but mount verner has no class, no pizzaz. washington's joint, that would be memorable. now i know what you're thinking. this is a lot to process. i agree. how about a cocktail? >> we launched a vodka called trump vodka. we are considering it and i think it will be the finest vodka anywhere in the world. >> where is it made? >> it's made actually in various parts of europe. >> oh, yeah, the old various parts of europe vodka -- i love to travel in various parts of europe for vodka.
9:59 pm
i don't know about you, but i'd love a trump and tonic right now that may or may not have been distilled from a slovakian canal. i don't know why slovakian canal makes me laugh. that dump mount vernon he should have renamed. and should have put his name on something the family can enjoy. >> my new game is trump, the game. >> trump, the game, where you deal for everything you ever want -- it's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you win. >> yes! >> you got that, kids? if you lose, you're a loser. a loser! loser. now maybe i shouldn't talk. after all i do have my own game i'm marketing. it's called anderson the game. it's got dice, red wine, even a crocodile. kind of like super mario brothers. instead of jumping over toadstools -- jump over chris cuomo doing one handed push ups. washington, his name will not be forgotten, thankfully.
10:00 pm
bargain an executive order signed by giant sharpie, mount verner will remain mount vernon with nary a condo in sight. that's all the time we have for with "cuomo chris." >> i thought i was going to be the crocodile. any way to get in the game. i'll take it. anderson, that was a keeper, thank you very much. i am chris cuomo. the one handed push up -- welcome to "prime time." headlines are full of heat. but this is about what light the law sheds on what we just learned. the attorney general provided us with key insights today into what he is about. and where we are headed. he says spying, knowing the term is an insult to the men and women who work for him. everything he said was calculated and we will show you where it leads. cuomo's court is in session tonight. and a second case for our legal mind