Return to Transcripts main page


GOP Debate Coming Up; Pentagon Blames Russia for Hacking of Joint Chiefs Email. Aired 8-9:00 ET

Aired August 6, 2015 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. Thanks for joining us.

In just about an hour, ten Republicans who want to be president will take the stage in Cleveland for their first chance to persuade he primetime audience that they're ready for the job. And nine of them will get the first primetime shots at the front-runner, Donald Trump if they choose to take shots.

One time 2008 front-runner, Rudy Giuliani today said he has a little Ronald Reagan in him, talking about Donald Trump. Mr. Trump played the part, arriving this corporate version of Air Force One, a Boeing 757, one of several aircraft in the Trump fleet. He walked down the steps, his wife leading the way, talking briefly to the cameras before taking a motorcade into town. We got a preview earlier this evening of what he could be facing shortly on stage when the seven runner-ups including two of the leading 2012 candidates, by the way, had their debate.


RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, when you look at the celebrity of Donald Trump, then I think that says a lot about it. One thing I like to remind people is back in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was leading the polls for almost a year. I will suggest a part of that was celebrity. Fred Thompson was the other one, a man who spent a lot of time on that screen.

I have had my issues with Donald Trump. I talked about Donald Trump from the standpoint of being an individual who was using his celebrity rather than his conservatism. How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single-payer health care? I mean, I asked that with all due respect. And nobody, nobody on either one of these stages has done more than I have done and the people of the state of Texas to deal with securing that border.

We sent our Texas Ranger recon teams, we send our parks and wildlife wardens. I deployed the National Guard after I stood on the ramp in Dallas, Texas, and looked the president of the United States in the eye and said, Mr. President, if you won't secure the border, Texas will. And that's exactly what we did. We need a president that doesn't just talk a game. But a president that's got real results.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, one after another. Governor Perry, and others, grappled with the Trump phenomenon, one way or another. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and the rest will likely do the same.

Tonight, we will all get to see how Donald Trump handles the spotlight. A big night all around, no doubt about it.

A preview our Dana Bash. She joins us tonight from Cleveland.

Obviously, everybody is looking to this top tier debate, the so-called happy hour debate earlier this evening. I'm wondering, which did it live up to its nickname?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was an hour. And that's about all I will say about that. It wasn't -- happy. And it certainly didn't have fireworks. It didn't have a lot of zing to it. It was very subdued. Part of that may have been because the Republican National Committee and FOX for some reason did not have people in the audience to kind of give the debate, and give the people on the panel a little bit of energy. They said they've couldn't deal with getting 4,500 people in and out of the room.

But I think the one answer to that question I think that maybe people are going to be talking about, the buzziest part of this happy hour debate was Carly Fiorina. She is the only woman out of 17 Republican candidate. She was on the early stage, not the later stage because she is so low in the polls. That may change for people really paying attention to this because she performed very well on style, in substance, really across the board.

And in the debate and Afterward, Anderson, in the spin room, she had a two-pronged attack on Hillary Clinton and on her fellow Republican Jeb Bush on the issue of Planned Parenthood and his statements about women's health saying this, he played right into their hands.

COOPER: Yes. And I will play both of the statements she made in a moment.

And also interesting, Dana, she was the most searched candidate on Google, apparently, according to Google after the debate and even during the debate which they felt was sort of an early indication there was a lot of interest or most interest in her out of all of those on the stage in that so-called happy hour debate. What are you hearing in terms of preparations coming up now for this next debate. How the candidates have been getting ready?

BASH: All sorts of ways. You know every one of the candidates seems to have a different method to getting ready. If you are talking about the front-runner, the man who is going to be at the center of the stage, Donald Trump, if you believe him, he says that he is not doing traditional debate prep. He actually just arrived here in Cleveland, just a couple hours ago, Trump style, on his own jet coming in with his whole family. He says that he is going to be Donald Trump. And he insists he has kind of debated his whole life. We will see if that translates to the stage. But other people have been doing it in different ways. The most

interesting thing I heard, Anderson, was Jeb Bush, who of course is going to be, looking at the stage to the right of Donald Trump. He has been looking at clips of how his opponents have been talking about him, kind of locker room sports style to kind of get ready and maybe kind of have his spine stiffened for when people are, or people go after him.

So lots of different plans. But particularly, he also, lastly looked at the people who have most to lose. Those are kind of on the flanks, most directly going after Trump if anybody is.

[20:05:20] COOPER: Yes, Dana. Thanks very much.

Also, I want to point out to our viewers, we are going to be on the air, immediately after the FOX debate in the 11:00 hour and the 12:00 hour we will be going live until 1:00 a.m. with all the debate recap.

I want to bring in our panelists right now, Donna Brazile, CNN political commentator, Democratic strategist and vice chair of the DNC voter project, also, former Reagan White House political director, Jeffrey Lord, contributing editor for "American Spectator," now a CNN commentator, also as well, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, a Jeb Bush supporter and friend of Marco Rubio.

Donna, I'm curious to your thoughts on how Carly Fiorina did. I mean, interestingly that she was the most searched of all of them on Google.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think she did herself well. She went beyond her talking points. She didn't just give her bio which I thought she did at first, but she went beyond that. She started to have a contrast not just with the Republicans in the race, but with the other woman in the race, Hillary Clinton. So, she is using her voice to not just put aside the Republicans but also to raise the fact that she could beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. But as you know she has to win the primary. And also I think she has to work her way up to get at the grownups table next time.

COOPER: Jeffrey, I mean interested in what you think of her and also some of the others. I mean, Rick Perry sort of stumbled off the top. His first statement didn't exactly, wasn't all that sort of coherent in terms of what he was saying. For somebody who has run before that was sort of surprising.

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. I don't mean to be mean to Governor Perry, but I do think there is a reason he didn't make the first primary debate. You know, he also made the whole point of talking about Donald Trump before this and then a little bit tonight. I don't think that's helped him a bit. So, you know to the contrary. I think that's part of his problem.

You know, I thought they all did fairly well. It's sort of polentaish (ph), if you get my drift here, a little bland.

COOPER: Not polensy (ph), polenta. LORD: Polenta, exactly, mushy, bland.

COOPER: I got it.

LORD: And Donald Trump looms over this. I mentioned early, there is a great political cartoon from 1900 when Teddy Roosevelt was picked on the ticket and I choses an enormous Teddy Roosevelt on a horse and tiny little William McKinley on the saddle of, on the horn of the saddle. I think we have got something like that here where there is this enormous public personality who is just dominating this even when he is not in the room.

COOPER: You can feel his absence on that stage?

LORD: Correct.

COOPER: There is no doubt about that.

COOPER: Ana, your candidate, Jeb Bush. A lot of people wondering how he is going to do tonight. Bobby Jindal said in the early debate that Bush represents the establishment, saying the rest of the part, telling the rest of the party, high, conservative principles. I want to play what Carly Fiorina said about his recent comments on women's health care, which I should point out, he said he misspoke. This is what Fiorina said.


CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's going to become an ad. I think it's going to become an ad in a Democratic campaign. Hillary Clinton jumped all over it for a reason because she saw an opportunity. And it is foolish to say that women's health isn't a priority. Of course, it is a priority.


COOPER: Jeb Bush has a big war chest already. Do you think he will get hit hard in the next hour, in this primary debate?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think some people are going to go after him certainly as the supposed front-runner even though the front-runner is Donald Trump. I don't think Jeb Bush is going to go after people proactively. That's not who he is. And he is going to be out there touting his record as governor. I think you are going to see Governor Huckabee do the same thing, tout his record.

So you are going to see a few people that are going to be touting who they are, their records, what they stand for, their positions, and others that are going to be hitting some of the candidates.

I was surprised to see Governor Jindal hit, you know, attack Jeb Bush in the first debate. God knows they used to -- and Donna knows this from Louisiana, God knows they used to agree on practically everything. He has certainly done a 180 in the last 180 days. But OK, I guess people are entitled to evolve. And I do think Carly Fiorina was very effective. She was the most

effective in landing punches. The most articulate. I'm not surprised she is the most searched because she is one of the least known on that first debate, the stage. So, you know, people would have a reason to search for her. And she performed very, very well.

COOPER: Jeff, does Donald Trump try to do anything different tonight? Or does he stick with what has gotten him here?

LORD: Yes. Just be Donald Trump. First of all, he can't do anything else. This is the real Donald Trump. He will continue to be the real Donald Trump. We used to have a saying in the Reagan White House, let Reagan be Reagan. Let Donald Trump be Donald Trump.

One of the other things I would say, Anderson, is one of the problems that Jeb Bush and some of the others may have, is what I call the Reagan-Bush divide in the Republican Party between the Reagan wing and the moderate wing which was represented by the Bushes. I will be very curious to see if that surfaces here tonight, you know, and sort of by name here, with people identifying with Ronald Reagan or the Bush wing of the party.

[20:10:30] BRAZILE: Anderson, don't forget that the candidate on the stage tonight with the most debate practice I think is Mike Huckabee. He did well in the Republican debates back in the bygone years, you know. He is a bible-thumping, you know, evangelical feeling type of candidate. So I -- if I was Donald Trump, I would watch out for Mike Huckabee. Jeb Bush is going to sit there and try not to harm anybody or let anyone harm him. But I think Mike Huckabee is the one that is going to try to land a couple jabs.

LORD: And notably, both of them have television experience.

COOPER: Yes. No doubt about that. Fifty minutes away in the debate. And again, we are going to be live, two hours after the debate is over. So soon as it is done. Come on back and we will got to full analysis. And if you missed any of the debate, we will be playing key moments from it.

Jeffrey Lord. Thank you and welcome to CNN, we should point out.

LORD: Thank you.

COOPER: Anna Navarro, thanks. Donna Brazile. We'll see all of them tonight.

Coming up next, we are going to look closer at what it takes to actually pin Donald Trump down on some specifics. Something that can be a challenge, certainly even one-on-one. The question is, are voters as focused on it as his opponents might hope they will be at this stage?

And later the top brass of the Pentagon hacked, Russia the prime suspect. This is incredible. This one could be big in so many ways. And new details tonight are breaking as we speak.


[20:15:36] COOPER: As Jeffrey Lord mentioned a moment ago, Donald Trump says he is just going to be himself tonight. Although he put out a photo of himself going over notes on the plane. He said he would not cram for the exam. Though, in fairness he is not run a big commanding lead so far by being a policy wonk which may serve him poorly in Cleveland or perhaps not. It may be seen as viewers and voters as a plus. Just him being himself.

Whatever the verdict, here's what I discovered when I tried to get Donald Trump to get specific about some of what he has been saying.


COOPER: Let's talk about ISIS. Last time we talked, you said, you had a plan to deal with them. You would be tougher anybody else. You said bomb the hell out of the --


COOPER: Take their money supply. Get the oil. Send in troops to ring the oil. I talked to a number of folks who have experience on the ground. General Mark Hurtling saying they brought in Exxon in 2007, 2008, Exxon was there two weeks. Said look, we don't want to get involved.

TRUMP: They don't want to be involved politically, but now they'll get involved.

COOPER: You say send in troops and ring around the oil fields. General Hurtling said, they had 30,000 Americans, 60,000 Iraqis, guarding the Kirkuk oil fields during the war, Al-Qaeda was able to get in.

TRUMP: I'm a better general than the general you are talking about, OK. Then I'm a better general.

COOPER: You keep saying Mexico is sending these people across.

TRUMP: Right. Mexico is sending. You said it properly. Thank you.

COOPER: But you offered no proof. And that's what people say about that you --.

TRUMP: You may have some very soon. I think the smart some people know. I think the streetwise people know. And I think border guard know. Well, you are going to find out if I have evidence. I'm not telling you now, but you are going to find out what I have.

COOPER: Look. You talked about building a great wall, on parts of the border, about being tough.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, Mexico is making an absolute fortune. Because the trade deals with the United States are phenomenal for them and horrible for us. They're take our jobs. They're building factories, warehouses. They're building things we are not even thinking about.

COOPER: So you say, renegotiate trade deals and in that put in a price for the wall.

TRUMP: Absolutely. And they will do it. I can do it easy. Mexico is making a fortune off the United States. They will pay for that wall, believe me.


COOPER: Well, more now on the details and the Donald, how it may play out tonight and how it factors into the other candidates' tactics.

Back with us, Jeffrey Lord, also with us David Gergen, former presidential advisor and CNN senior political analyst.

David, what do you think about Donald Trump tonight on the stage? A lot of people saying, Trump is going to have to lay out some specifics tonight. Given the time limitations does he really have to do that? Would that be a mistake?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think he has to start laying out policy positions and reissuing policy papers. That's not what this campaign is about. What I do think, Anderson, is he has got to give us a rational for why he wants to be the president tonight. What is his cause? What mission is he trying to pursue? You know, he remind me of Ross Perot back in 1992, similarly attracted an enormous amount enthusiasm earlier. But Ross kept going because he had a cause he brought. Remember all those charts on "Larry King" about the deficits. That's what at the heart of what his campaign was about.

COOPER: But Trump's theme is "make America great again." That's not --

GERGEN: That's so vague. I mean, make America great in what way? It's got to be -- I assume it is about economic growth, that's where his strength is. That is his natural strength given coming out of corporate America. And I assumed that is where he is going to go. But I think he is going to need to evolve from where he is tonight. Tonight, I don't think he needs to do it very much. Because tons of people are going to tune just in to see him. I have not heard him. They're going to get the full Trump experience tonight if you would.

COOPER: Sounds like a ride at universal, the Trump experience.

GERGEN: Well, you know, but there is one thing, for all these other candidates how to respond to Trump. Trump is making a gift to the candidates tonight. He is going to draw in a huge audience have a chance to see them for the first time. And if they're up for primetime this is a great opportunity just as Carly Fiorina did so well this afternoon. Somebody can step forward tonight and become a magically become a much more serious candidate if they do well.

COOPER: I mean, Jeffrey, can you remember a primary debate at this point in a presidential election that has gotten so much attention? It's incredible.

LORD: Never.

COOPER: I mean, whether you are a Republican, democrat, no matter where you are people are going to be tuning in tonight.

LORD: A five popcorn bagger. There is no question about that. I have never seen anything like this.

[20:19:59] COOPER: Do you think - I mean, all that talk about specifics and Donald Trump. There is a difference talking specifics and, and knowing specifics. You can, you can know specifics and not necessarily feeling you need to go into them. I guess the criticism of Donald Trump or the question does he really know the specifics. Or are his answers designed to mask a deficit of knowledge.

LORD: No. I don't think his answers are designed for that. I think this is who he is. The thing that I would suggest. This is a guy who built this enormous global Trump Empire. You can't possibly do that and not have some executive experience. Know when you need new know details. When you need to appoint people who will do the details and keep you filled in. That's very much what Ronald Reagan's style mean. He was criticized even into his presidency for not knowing details. I mean, I think this used to drive Tip O'Neill nuts. And you know, when he passed away, I think that one of the prominent house Democrats of the period said that well he wished he was more into substance.

COOPER: David, what about that comparison?

GERGEN: To me it doesn't hold much water. I think Ronald Reagan actually had a whole lot of experience for years and years not only as governor of California, but in all of his writings and his radio talks. You know he got deeply into the substance over the years. And say on tax policy and Jeffrey was, you know, worked back in those, in that administration. He knows that Reagan turned out to be a lot smarter about policies and people gave him credit for.

LORD: Yes.

COOPER: People said early on he is an actor, what does he knows? But he actually did.

LORD: I found a great quote from Hamilton Jordan and Pat Kadell in December of 1979, when a Gallup poll said that Carter would beat Reagan 60 to 36 percent. And Hamilton Jordan, White House chief of staff that Carter said the am scan people are not going to elect an almost 70-year-old, former actor who is a right-winger ever to the presidency. And Pat Kadell said I celebrating (ph) over the data on Reagan. There is so much here that we can use to defeat him. As it turned out it didn't work out so well.

COOPER: David, one of governor Kasich's advisers tweeted about tonight's debate saying, it was disregarding Trump. Quote "imagine NASCAR driver mentally preparing for a race knowing one of the drivers will be drunk. That's what preparing for this debate is like."

GERGEN: And all of the publicity, that was the best tweet. And that's what I --

COOPER: And I should point out that Donald Trump does not actually drink.

GERGEN: No, that's true. But that goes to another point, Anderson. The person who may do well tonight against Donald Trump, is not somebody who attacks and finally entered, you know, straight on, hard hitting. It is rather somebody who does it with (INAUDIBLE) with humor.

You know, if we get a funny line out of this, you will replay it time and time again tonight afterwards. And everybody will be talking about it. And the person who can come up with the one-liner that is funny. And yet --.

COOPER: Right. Those kinds of things are harder to fight against. I mean, Trump obviously in a knife fight you don't want to get into a knife fight with Donald Trump because he hits back hard. Humor may be something that, that somebody will want to try. The question is how many folks on the stage, you know have a great sense of humor? We'll see what happens in 30 minutes.

David Gergen, thank you. Jeffrey Lord as well.

Just ahead, we are going to dig deeper into another big question. Who stands to gain the most and who has the most to lose among the contenders tonight?


[20:27:21] COOPER: Presidential debates may not be contact sports. But like athletes candidates have their preferred way of getting into the zone before the big night. Here's what some of them told "the Independent Journal."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before the debate I say a little prayer and drink a diet Snapple iced tea.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like to be mentally focused bud relaxed. So I play solitaire.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I take my new phone thanks to the Donald. I listen to Motown and mellow me up.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Before a debate I go out and run. It is great way to relax. You can't take phone calls. You are not reading e-mails. You are not looking online. You are just out running and that clears your mind.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Before a debate I normally call my mom to get advice. Hey, mom. I can't say that on television.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GERGEN: COOPER: Tonight's debates. The one that happened. The main event coming up at 9:00. Though, the really the first time the 2016 Republican presidential candidates have shared a stage. Fair to say the stakes may not be the same for all of them. That's obvious. So, question is who stands to gain and lose the most tonight.

I want to dig deeper now with our chief national correspondent John King, chief political analyst Gloria Borger and senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.

So John, given that through every mini controversy that's come Donald Trump way over the last couple months, has only emerged stronger is there any scenario under which he actually loses tonight?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's possible. And he could say something that (INAUDIBLE) to the Republican base. So, some of the others might come after him like Carly Fiorina did or like others did in the earlier debate. And as you know, he once said he was for single payer health care system. Will that come up? I don't know. He is actually going to be on stage. It is a little easier for Carly Fiorina or Rick Perry to go after him in the earlier debate because he is not there to defend himself. And you don't get caught in the buzz saw. So that is one thing to watch. Of course, he has the most to lose because he is the front-runner. But most people also think going in, he has the most television experience. If anything he has proven he is a great performer in this race. And all his goal really has to be is hold. If he can hold what he has he is golden at the moment especially in the 17-candidate field. But he doesn't need to grow. If he grows then he is a bigger problem in this race.

Coming into this race, a couple of months ago, this whole race was who will be the alternative to Jeb Bush? The question in Republican politics right now is who will be the alternative to Donald Trump.

COOPER: Right. Who can be the alternative to Donald Trump?

Gloria, Jeb Bush, how much does he have to lose tonight? Because I mean, you know, he has raised an awful lot of money? He stumbled recently. He is struggling in the poll?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Jeb Bush wants to be the alternative to Donald Trump tonight, you know, to John's point. Jeb Bush has lost a lot of altitude because to Donald Trump. And what he has got to do is go on the stage tonight and show that he is not just another Bush who wants to be the next CEO of the family business. People know his name. But to the base of the Republican Party, it's not such a great name. He has got to prove that he is conservative, he has got to show that he is, as one of his aide's put it to me, the adult in the room.

And he also, Anderson, got to show a little bit of passion. Jeb Bush may have raised over $100 million. But he hasn't sort of, he has got a passion gap. And when you are standing next to Donald Trump who is all about passion and drama, Jeb has to show a little bit, a little bit of that. And maybe he can be the candidate to use a little bit of humor to sort of deflect Trump if Trump ends up attacking him. Or the other candidates who might actually go after Jeb.

COOPER: Nia, what about the candidates who - I mean there were a bunch who were getting more support, more attention early on, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio before Trump. I mean I would think for them the pressure is to make some kind of an impression tonight?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL: That's right. I mean it's sort of what Carly Fiorina was really able to do in that last debate? She really was able to break through. So, if you are somebody like Chris Christie, somebody like John Kasich, who are barely hanging on, barely making it into this debate. You really want to show that you belong there, you really want to bring some passion, you really want to show that you are a good alternative to Donald Trump. Bring that passion. And I think one of the things has got to be interesting to see is how well people's personalities sort of transfer to this debate. Donald Trump obviously has a sort of bombastic personality, a lot of the pot shots he has taken at people. I've been on Twitter, had been at forums where the other person wasn't there. Does that really translate into the debate? Does Chris Christie's combative style translate into a debate? Does Rand Paul, does Marco Rubio as well.

So, I think that's going to be really interesting to see. You saw, for instance, in that previous debate. Lindsey Graham who is pretty telegenic, is witty and funny usually. He was pretty flat in that last debate. So I think just this environment is going to be a test for all of these candidates.

COOPER: Yeah, John, how essential is it for Jeb Bush to establish himself, as someone who is his own person to Gloria's point?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think Gloria put it just right. Number one, he knows the conservative base disagrees with him on Common Core education, he knows the conservative base disagrees with him on path to legal status and a kinder, gentler approach, if you will, to the undocumented. So, he has to go back to his record as Florida governor. And say, look at these other things I did. On the whole I have a very conservative record. You should be happy, even if you - with me even if you disagree with me on a couple of things. And he needs to do that with energy, because the establishment of the party is looking at him. They still believe he is their front-runner. Even though Trump leads in the polls. Most Republicans still think Anderson, despite the improving numbers for Donald Trump. And it's not just the horse race numbers. Donald Trump's underlying numbers are improving as well. Despite that the establishment still thinks at some point this is going to flame out. Jeb Bush needs to prove tonight that he is the one-a, if you will. If Donald Trump is candidate number one. That he is one-a. And then the challenge for the rest of those people, Nia Malika mentioned. How many governors can you have? How many other establishment guys can you have? So, if you are Christie, and you are Kasich, and you are walker, and even if you are Marco Rubio, who is a senator, you are trying to make the generational argument you are kind of competing for the same spot.

And we do know, in the past, yes we have Citizens United now. Yes, everybody has a billionaire, or super-PAC. But after a first debate. Just ask Governor Tim Pawlenty last time. If you don't perform strongly your money can start to dry up.

COOPER: Yeah, and - to Scott Walker.

KING: Sure.

COOPER: He appears to be getting some traction, but does he need to prove tonight that he belongs up there with the front-runners?

BORGER: He does, at the big boy table. Yes he does. Look, he is doing really well in Iowa. He's actually a favorite to win Iowa. He is raising a lot of money. He has got a great campaign organization. But he is young. People don't know who he is. And they're kind of looking at this field and say who is this guy? Right? And so this is an opportunity for him to look presidential. Because that's the hurdle by the way that they all kind of have to pass. Including Donald Trump. Whatever looking presidential means, it's different to each person. But they have to look like they can run the country and Scott Walker is one of those people who is kind of an unknown. And I think this is a huge, huge, opportunity for him tonight.

COOPER: Yeah. Gloria, thank you. John King. Nia Malika Henderson as well. Thank you. Just ahead, Donald Trump running an un-orthodox campaign, to say the least. Leading in all the recent polls. The question is what kind of style will he bring to that debate stage tonight? We'll talk about that ahead.



COOPER: Donald Trump supporters like his blunt talk, his brash style, there no question about that. The question is, will it be on full display in Cleveland tonight? Mr. Trump has said he wants this first debate to be civil. He is going to play nice and keep it on a high level. He also said that if he is attacked by any of his opponents he will have to "do something back." And as we all know, he is pretty good at that. Some examples of that now from our Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosie O'Donnell learned what it was like to pick a fight with Donald Trump back in 2006. Here's what she said on "The View" after hearing Trump wouldn't fire Tara Connor after the Miss USA admitted to using drugs.

ROSIE O'DONNELL: He is the moral authority. Left the first wife. Had an affair. Left the second wife, had an affair. Had kids both times. But he is the moral compass for 20-year olds in America.

KAYE: Trump fired back in "People" magazine saying he would likely sue Rosie and that he looked forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie. Trump called her a loser. And later told this to Larry King.

DONALD TRUMP (R ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She came to my wedding. She ate like a pig. And seriously, the wedding cake was, it was like missing in action.

KAYE: At a White House correspondents dinner in 2011, comedian Seth Meyers slammed Trump's expected run for the White House.

SETH MYERS: Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke.


KAYE: Trump sat stone faced. But not to be outdone, Trump fired back on Twitter. After it was announced Myers would host the Emmys. Saying, that "Seth Meyers is hosting the Emmy awards is a total joke. He is very awkward with almost no talent."


KAYE: Marbles in his mouth. This was three years after Meyers had poked fun at Trump at that White House dinner. This man does not forget.

But it is not always Trump playing defense. Sometimes he comes out swinging first. Like he did with the president of the United States. Trump pumped new life into the whole birther movement suggesting President Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen.

TRUMP: I don't care if you had good marks, I would just look to see place of birth. Three colleges. Place of birth. Look to see what -- perhaps it is going to say. Hawaii. Perhaps it is going to say Kenya.

KAYE: The president though hit back at the 2011 White House correspondents dinner.



OBAMA: Now I know that he has taken some flak lately. But no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on issues that matter -- like did we fake the Moon landing?


OBAMA: What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggy and Tupac?


KAYE: Trump's controversial birther views got him in trouble with the singer Cher, too, who like many others wanted the department store Macy's to stop doing business with Trump. Cher ranted, racist cretin who would lie like his rug to get some cheap press. I can't believe Macy's thinks he's the right man to represent their name. Trump, never want to back down, tweeted in response. "Cher, I don't wear a rug. It's mine. And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn't work." Trump says one day he may change his tone, but for now, the gloves are off. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: We'll see what happens tonight at the debate. Fair to say Donald Trump knows what makes good television and certainly a good fight. Joining me again, CNN political commentator, Jeffrey Lord, also CNN political commentator Van Jones who served in the Obama administration. I guess, Jeff, the big question is does Trump go on the attack, repeat some of the things he has said about Jeb Bush and Rick Perry who's not on the stage and others?

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, the message, and that clip that we just saw there. What's the central message of that? And it is that Donald Trump fights. And he fights back. That's the core of all of this. So in some respect tonight, he will fight. I think that's why people respond to him. Because if they think of him as a president dealing with Vladimir Putin or dealing with the (INAUDIBLE) et cetera, they want, you know, his phrases "make America great again." They want a president that's going to fight and stand up. So when they see something like that, they see somebody who is fearless.

COOPER: Right. And I guess, Van, the concern for other candidates on the stage with him is if they can't go toe to toe against Donald Trump, well then how can they deal with Vladimir Putin and others?

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Exactly. And I think actually the real drama is for the other candidates. You already know that even if Donald Trump starts off nice and tries to be, you know polite, at some point he is going to get frustrated, he's going to say something belligerent. I mean it's just a part of his nature, it's a part of his persona. The question is -- who can stand up to the bully? That's the real question here. Who can say, listen, hold on a second. You came here. You are not prepared. You came here to be a bully. I'm not scared of Vladimir Putin, I'm certainly not afraid of you, sir. If you are going to become president of the United States you have to conduct yourself in a different way. Somebody has got to be the person who just stands up and is a grown up and says, you can't be this kind of a guy. And represent our party, represent our country. To the extent you see people afraid to do that, I don't, I am just going to - just talk about my policy points. I want to say something about Iran. I'm going to pretend this guy is not even here. I think you actually are in more danger being afraid to confront the bully than if you confront him and he punches back on you. At least you stood up to him.

COOPER: Jeff, I keep coming - just on the logistical basis. With all those people on stage by debate rules, if you attack somebody, that person gets a 30 second response. And you could end up ping-ponging back and forth between - and that's often like candidates complain, well, I didn't get enough time. Well it is because two candidates have chosen to attack each other. And as a moderator you have to allow response and response. LORD: Right. I mean I think they need to be careful about that.

Because he will fight back. And then you are fighting back about, whatever has just been said. As opposed to policy and all of that sort of thing. So, you do want to be very careful about that. But again, the message here is, he is willing to fight. And these guys, these other folks are going to have to show that they're not just "politicians" here.


LORD: That they're willing - you know, Van talks about being a bully. The other side of that coin is, a lot of Americans see these politicians as just politicians, and they're gutless and they won't stand up, et cetera, et cetera. That's the kind of thing that works to Donald's advantage.

COOPER: Van, look, there are a lot of Democrats that think Donald Trump is somehow great for them. Somehow he's hurting the other Republicans. That it is a great show. And that, you know, when push comes to shove, he doesn't really know the issues. The reality is, though, you are going to hear certainly, a lot of Hillary Clinton coming under attack tonight. There's no doubt about that. And there is going to be a huge audience for this. Isn't there a, a concern or a fear that for Democrats that they underestimate his potential?

JONES: Absolutely. Absolutely. Actually, I was a part of the group saying this guy is a soap bubble. He is a snowflake, he will be done. I was 100 percent wrong. I think Democrats have to look at this as a double threat. First of all, he is, he is bringing the debate to a place where certainly Hillary Clinton doesn't perform well. If he can just turn this whole contest to being about personality and authenticity and entertainment value, that hurts Democrats as much as Republicans. Number one.

And then number two, you know, you could wind up in a situation where a lot of people who just don't ordinarily participate start to participate, because they feel like this guy is interesting. He is entertaining.

I think Democrats have overplayed our hand in saying, hey, great, more, more, more. I think it's bad for democracy to have somebody come up here. If tonight, Donald Trump cannot literally answer a single question coherently, as he has not through any of these interviews and gets away with it, that's bad for Democrats and Republicans. If he just lowered the standard for American politics.

COOPER: Van, we will see. Jeffrey Lord. Thank you. Minutes away from the debate. We'll be on for two hours after the debate, from 11:00 to 1:00 a.m. I hope you join us for that, full analysis. If you missed part of the debate, if you are running out getting more popcorn or something, we will be replaying all the key moments over the course of those two hours after the debate from 11:00 to 1:00 a.m.

Up next, tonight, breaking news, the Pentagon suspects Russia is behind the cyberattack on an e-mail server used by the joint chiefs of staff. This is unbelievable. We have late details. Also, Malaysia is saying more airplane parts have now washed ashore on

Reunion Island. Investigators though aren't so sure. We'll check the facts.



COOPER: Breaking news tonight, Pentagon officials now believe Russia's the prime suspect behind a cyberattack on an e-mail system used by the joint chiefs. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon with more. What are your sources telling you tonight?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, here at the Pentagon they believe the leading theory is that the Russians were behind this cyberattack into the Pentagon. It was an unclassified e- mail system that got the intrusion two weeks ago. They have been trying to clean it up ever since then. They immediately took it offline. They're trying to rebuild it.

Why do they say they think it's the Russians? A very sophisticated spear (ph) phishing (ph) attack. Very stealthy, very difficult to detect. Not the kind of thing the Chinese typically do. They are more into draining data out of the system. This appeared to be very malicious, but so sophisticated that they believe it was the Russians. And they went after an e-mail system of about 4,000 users that work for the joint staff. Even the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. You know, unclassified system. But the belief is they were targeting that system. Message from Moscow just maybe, the Pentagon is pretty unhappy about the whole thing.

COOPER: They're saying it is from the Russians. Do they believe it is the same group that hacked the White House and the State Department last year?

STARR: Well, that is in fact what they are looking at. Is it possible it was the same group? In fact, earlier this year, even the Pentagon had another intrusion into a different unclassified system that they believe was the Russians. This one, the reason this one is slightly different, they tell us it was a level of sophistication that they had not seen before. They had not seen it in any of those other attacks. And they have really been struggling to put it all back together, get it back up online and get it running.

COOPER: Barbara, thank you.

A conclusion tonight in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370. The Malaysian government is saying additional airplane parts have washed ashore on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, including pieces of a window, seat cushions as well. But investigators are saying none of the debris appears to have come from an aircraft. Malaysia has already said the part of a wing that was found was definitely from 370. Investigators though have not announced their conclusion. Andrew Stevens joins us now from Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Andrew, these possible new plane parts. What more have you learned about them? ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we know at this stage,

Anderson, is that officials at the Malaysian Transport Department, the ministry there, are telling us very clearly that they have found debris and they say it is related to an aircraft. They're not saying it is related to MH370, very clearly to an aircraft.

Seat cushion is what they're talking about. Aluminum material. And parts of a window. That is the only details they are giving out at the moment. Now, this surfaced from a briefing of local media. And we checked with the transport ministry itself, and they told us these are the parts. They had been, they're on their way. We don't know they've have arrived in France. But they're on their way to France for further investigation. We also critically don't know when this debris was found. But there is confusion. Others are saying there is no new debris. We are going to be talking to the transport minister himself soon to find out exactly what they have found.

COOPER: And, Andrew, officials in Malaysia are saying they want to expand the search area. Is that going to happen?

STEVENS: It sound like there would be some resistance if the Malaysians are keen to expand this search area. Australia its leading that underwater search. This is in the deep southern Indian Ocean. And they think they are in the right area. That all of the -- the drift modeling, the oceanic drift modeling goes to show that where they're looking is consistent with where that flaperon was found.


It is also, Anderson an expensive business. The Australians are footing the majority of the bill, it's almost $100 million. The Malaysians are also paying out. Malaysia says they want to talk to the Australians, they want to talk to the Chinese, who had most nationals on that flight. It's certain the Australians are not getting any indication that they need that search area expanded. Remember this search is going to end next year after about 120,000 square kilometers have been searched. At this stage, the Australians are still saying after that search is finished, that will be the end of the underwater search in that area.

COOPER: Andrew, appreciate the update. Thank you.

After the Fox News debate tonight, I hope you join us again. We'll be on the air from 11:00 all the way to the 1:00 hour, with full debate coverage. More of 360 when we come back. We'll be right back.


COOPER: See you again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for a live, two-hour edition of "360," extensive coverage of the first Republican presidential debate. The CNN original series, "the 70s," starts now.