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Trump Defends Debate Decision; Make Final Push Before Caucuses; Trump Continues To Hammer Cruz; Trumps Ground Game Rewrites The Rules; Glenn Beck: Trump's A Bully; Glenn Beck: Trump All About Himself; State Dept. Releases Approx. 1,000 Clinton E-mails, Withholds 22. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 29, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:14] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And a good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight with just a weekend to go until the first vote in the 2016 election. There's breaking news involving the candidate who was once considered the far and away favorite to win it all.

Hillary Clinton will be speaking shortly now finds herself battling Bernie Sanders on the ground and in the polls. Even voters who like them both also said they trust her less. Fair or not, the news tonight won't exactly help. Long running controversy about her emails while secretary of state erupted again late today when the state department refused to release nearly two dozen emails from her private server. Messages it did not consider top secret then but now in retrospect does.

However, just before air time state department did release about a thousand others which were now going through. In a moment, a possible political impact of all this. First the story itself and our Jim Sciutto who joins us.

So though, just 1,000 or so emails released. It's the 22 emails that the government won't release that are causing the biggest stir.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Seven email chains, we are told. Thirty-seven total pages of emails which the state department says ewer upgraded to the top-secret level at the recommendation of the intelligence community. Keep in mind we have talked about classified information in emails before, but this is the first time, Anderson, where we have had that highest level of classification top secret involved. And that's what led the state department to refuse to release them tonight.

COOPER: So, I mean, Hillary Clinton is very careful to say she never emailed material that was marked classified. The fact that these emails weren't marked classified when she received or sent them, that doesn't necessarily absolve her of any responsibility, does it?

SCIUTTO: It doesn't. The state department noted again today, listen. They were not marked as top secret at the time, but two open questions here. One, the state department looking into whether the information, even if it was not marked as classified, was classified information at the time that it was sent as opposed to retroactively. That's important because you have heard from Clinton's surrogate. But listen. You now, the intelligence community, they are always retroactively classifying stuff, how would we know. It remains possible the information was in fact classified at the time it was sent. That's something the state department is examining right now.

But beyond that, even if it's not marked, the state department says that employee officials have a positive obligation to protect that information, to look out for it. For instance, if you emailed me something, Anderson it was not marked as classified, but I knew I recognize some classified information in it. It would be on me, my responsibility, to identify it as such and to take action. State department says that is an obligation of state department employees.

COOPER: So lastly, just - I mean, what is next for Clinton and the emails? Is this -- what's the timeline? Is this going to continue all the way to Election Day or beyond?

SCIUTTO: Well, it's possible. Tonight was supposed to be the night. Tonight was the deadline to release all these emails. That, of course, isn't going to happen because several of them cannot be because of the top secret classification. That's one thing. So you will have more emails down the line.

Two, you have an ongoing state department investigation to answer that question we talked about earlier. Was the information classified when it was sent, even if it was not marked as such? But then really the big question is what does the FBI do? It may still recommend indictment for this. It's not certain. We don't know what the chances are. But that still is an open question out there. And you can imagine the political ramifications of that.

COOPER: Do we know the timing of when the FBI might decide and these thousand emails that were released, we are going through those right now, right?

SCIUTTO: We are going through those right now. So far, what we - we have got a big team here at CNN looking. So far that we have seen interesting stuff but nothing that seems obviously damning at this point. We will be reporting that out and distributing it out on and other programs. There is that. As far as the FBI's decision, that lies with the FBI director. It's up to him if and when he makes a recommendation.

COOPER: All right. Jim Sciutto, long night ahead. Thanks very much.

Just a short time ago, reaction from the candidate when asked about it by NBC's Lester Holt.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Why shouldn't people, as they weigh the electability question, worry about this hanging over your head as you march forward?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because the facts have remained the same. There was never any information sent or received that was marked classified to me.

HOLT: For people who are watching this play out and know the Republicans will come at you on this with an open investigation, shouldn't people have some concern?

CLINTON: No, they shouldn't, Lester. I just don't see it as anything that will in any way cause any voter to -- a voter with an open mind -- to have any concerns.


COOPER: Well, today's development another wild card in a very tight democratic race. And there is no shortage of wild cards in that or, of course, the Republican race, including a blizzard that could hit on Monday.

Let's talk first about the emails. John King who is reporting later tonight on the ground. Game joins us now. So does chief political analyst Gloria Borger, senior political reporter Nia-Mallika Henderson and in addition to our political commentators Kevin Madden and Maria Cardona. He is a Republican strategist. She's a Democratic strategist and a senior advisor to 2008 Clinton campaign. Also with us, "Washington Post" opinion columnist and form speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Michael Gerson. Good to have you all.

John, I mean, here we are again, yet another night, talking about these emails. This drip, drip just continues.

[20:05:22] JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And even if several months from now Hillary Clinton is completely exonerated, the issue is what does an Iowa voter do on Monday? And Lester Holt asked exactly the right question in the sense that, you know, Hillary Clinton started as the formidable front-runner. Honesty question is one reason Bernie Sanders has been able to get competitive. Plus, he's run a great campaign. Don't get me wrong.

But, so if you are an Iowa voter and you are looking for change, you are looking for something new and you are thinking about electability, this is another Clinton with a cloud over the head. And it is, you know, and so it raises a doubt. And the last thing you need in a tight race three days before the election is a doubt.

COOPER: And it raises email -- tweets I should say from Donald Trump. This one just tweeted, the new email release is a disaster for Hillary Clinton. At a minimum how can someone with such bad judgment be our next president?

Maria, what do you make of that?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly, that's not surprising coming from Donald Trump. But, look, certainly the timing is not ideal. But I think what the campaign is going to continue to say is reflected in what she just said right there, which is that this really is nothing new from all of the other emails that have been released. They continue to say, and by the way, Dianne Feinstein, Senator Feinstein released a statement. She has seen these 22 emails and she says all of these emails are part of email chains that were not originated by Secretary Clinton. They were originated inside the state department. And, yes, for the voter out there that's gobbly-di- gook (ph), that does make a big difference. We would be having the same conversation, Anderson, if she never had the private server, which she's apologized for.

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Sorry. We live in a world where she did use a private server and that's why there are these inquiries. And I think one of the big risks Hillary Clinton has, too, is that the answers that she gives continue to look very obtuse to the layman. And when they see her saying, well, you know, there's no classified information on these emails that were either sent or received, and meanwhile we hear a report after report about classified emails, it looks like she's out of touch.

COOPER: Well, also, Michael, doesn't it get to sort of the trust issue? The whole use of this server is not just a judgment issue. It's sort of just a basic kind of trust issue. Why was she doing this?

MICHAEL GERSON, FORMER SPEECH WRITER FOR RESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I agree. If this remains at this level of specificity, this charge, it's another problem with honest and trustworthy. Like one more brick in her ethical baggage, right.

But there is the possibility that the director of the FBI will raise this issue and recommend an indictment. It would go to the justice department. They would have to make a choice. If they did not pursue an indictment, the director of the FBI might resign in that circumstance. This could be the biggest issue in this coming election or just another drip in this ethical charge.

COOPER: And Nia, I mean, it's the not knowing at this point which, again, to John's point, about voters, you know, thinking on caucus night, what do they do?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I think that's right. And even if Bernie Sanders isn't bringing this up, and he talked about, you know, sick and tired of your damn emails. His aides say he is not going to bring it up. Marco Rubio is running ads about this in Iowa saying this is disqualifying. He was on television tonight saying the exact same thing. And, you know, you remember at this forum that we have on Monday that young voter stood up and said, listen, you know, people I know don't trust you. I'm a young voter. What do you say? And all she could say in that instance was, well, it was essentially the vast right wing conspiracy answer, right, that's for years and years, people have been going after her.

COOPER: You've been talking to senator Sanders.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And they say we don't care about your damn emails.

COOPER: They still say that?

BORGER: They still say that. However, Bernie Sanders is going to be asked about it. He is going to have to have an answer. And I'm very curious --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will it matter?

BORGER: The answer is going to be and whether --.

COOPER: But also, Bernie Sanders doesn't have to bring it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's already out there.


BORGER: Can I just say that Democratic primary voters overwhelmingly trust Hillary Clinton.


BORGER: It's the rest of the country that has a little bit of a problem, OK?

HENDERSON: But they do trust Sanders more.

BORGER: They do trust Sanders more. It's like they trust him 73 percent and they trust her 70 percent.

CARDONA: Right. And so now, let's remember for a Democratic primary, that's really all that matters.

BORGER: Here's the issue.

CARDONA: Later all she'll have that debate within the general election if she becomes the nominee.

BORGER: But here is the issue. This is something that's her fault. She has admitted it. She says she made a mistake. Now the explanation --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said she was sorry.

BORGER: She said she was sorry. Now the explanation makes it sounds like she is a victim of bureaucratic wrangling, OK. You can't have it both ways and say, wait a minute. It's my fault and oops, now I'm --

KING: I just think that she's lucky and blessed at the moment that Bernie Sanders doesn't want to go there. She is making the experience argument. And what Bernie Sanders has effectively said about experience is, experience is great and in a Democratic primary, he said Dick Cheney had plenty of experience to look. And he said look at her judgment on the Iraq war vote. If he wanted to say look at her judgment on the Iraq war vote and look at her judgment here. Her boss, the president of the United States recommended that people not do this. That they keep it internally.

Maria is right. We would be analyzing her emails no matter what, if she was secretary of state. But if she put them on the government server, we would have been analyzing them months ago because they would have been available to the state department all the time. She would not have to turn them over.

[20:10:32] CARDONA: The same thing would have been an issue, though. Let's talk about that.

KING: Months ago. Not three days before Iowa votes.

CARDONA: But it still would have been an issue. If she had used the government server, had never used a private server and she had handed these emails over, the classification after the fact would still be an issue.

COOPER: Right. But the fact she didn't to do this, the fact that she chose to do this on her private server, again, I mean, to Michael's point, it does get to this untrustworthiness that the rules don't apply.

CARDONA: That's why she said she made a mistake. And that she is sorry.

GERSON: Charges in this type of case always cut hardest when it fits a pre-existing narrative. And there's a narrative of the Clintons.

COOPER: It is a sense saying of why go speak at Goldman Sachs for $600,000? Is she so in need of money that she's - I mean, she knows she's going to run for president. She knows this is going to be an issue. What's that about?

CARDONA: I think also --

COOPER: I mean -- no, I just don't understand. It just seems like a weird judgment. These are too odd judgment calls on her part that seem -- that play directly into this untrustworthy narrative.

But if you look at the voters that she's trying to reach which, again, are primary Democratic voters, they are going to see this whole email brouhaha as a partisan witch hunt and that's what the campaign is looking at.

COOPER: Unless --

CARDONA: That's what a lot of Democratic voters -


COOPER: One at a time. But a partisan witch hunt, but unless the FBI comes forward and suggests --

CARDONA: Well, I think we're getting way ahead of ourselves.


MADDEN: The FBI is -- the FBI is a law enforcement inquiry on this. This is not -- I mean, you can make the argument until you are blue in the face about it being partisan. But in many ways, that is still false. When every single time people start to get information about this, it's about a law enforcement inquiry or a judge ordering the release of the emails.

HENDERSON: And I think the rules don't apply argument as well that I think works well with those Sanders voters. Because that is what his argument is of vis-a-vis Hillary Clinton. That Hillary Clinton and the elite can play by their own rules and get away with it and the regular folks --.

MADDEN: Nia, you know what? Bernie Sanders doesn't have to bring this up. It's happening on his own. So he can stand back with no finger prints on this and doesn't have to look like he is using it to his political advantage and alienating --

COOPER: Right. Best of both worlds for him. By saying --

MADDEN: There is an old saying that if your opponent is about to commit suicide, whatever you do, don't murder him.

CARDONA: The partisan piece is not about -- because you're right. It is the state department, the Obama administration. But it's the selective leaks coming from people on the hill who have seen these and who know that this will be damaging to her.

COOPER: Michael?

GERSON: The Wall Street point is a very good one, too. And that's because she didn't get back to represent Arkansas in the Senate. She went to New York. And the business there like corn in Iowa is financial services. That's her world. If she's fighting this primary on who is tougher on Wall Street, she can't win that fight. She has to --


COOPER: To me, the speech is interesting. Because I mean, look. At CNN we have rules about who we can speak in front of. We would not be able to speak in front of Goldman Sachs and be paid huge sums of money or any money by company like -- or any company in order to --


COOPER: But she's -- but journalists who might report on a financial company, she actually might oversee regulation for financial company but has no problem taking money from them?

CARDONA: But hasn't kept her from regulating them and from trying to pass legislation that will actually protect consumers.

COOPER: Well, we don't really know what impact --


BORGER: In talking to a senior Clinton adviser today, there was also this, we are blaming the inspector general of the intelligence community because this person is going after us. And it kind of brought back to me the old enemies thing.

GERSON: This is not Ken Starr. That's not going to work.

BORGER: This is not Ken Starr. This is a Democrat -- somebody appointed by Barack Obama. They say he was part of an investigation into her when she was a senator and there was some fund-raising issues. So they feel that he is politically motivated.

COOPER: We've got to take a break on this. We are going to continue the conversation. We are on for two hours tonight. A lot ahead.

But coming up next, did Donald Trump's debate boycott actually pay off? He certainly thinks so. That's not all he's saying in a new interview when we come back.

And later, my conversation with Glenn Beck who says Donald Trump is a threat to the country. Evoking even Osama bin Laden to make his point. We will show you what his point is. He's obviously endorsing Ted Cruz. You got to take that in mind. That conversation when we continue as well.


[20:18:53] COOPER: Donald Trump says he made the right choice boycotting last night's debate. Viewers apparently agreed. 12.5 million people watched. A big number, yes, but still the second lowest of the campaign. And at least according to Trump, a win for Trump.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did something that was very risky, and I think it turned out great. I'm on the front page of every paper.


COOPER: He campaigned today in New Hampshire, not Iowa where the front page of the Des Moines Register, all the declared, his leading rival, Ted Cruz, the debate's big loser. It had ail the appearances of a victory lap which he interrupted for a bit to talk about an old friend Paul Steinhauser, political director (INAUDIBLE).

Paul Steinhauser, former political director. And he is also anchor at New Hampshire one news. The interview getting its first national airing here on CNN. Paul joins us now.

So, you caught up with Trump today. What was his move like? Clearly he thinks last night paid off for him.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, POLITICAL DIRECTOR/ANCHOR, NEW HAMPSHIRE ONE NEWS: He sure did, Anderson. He was pretty darn tired. I asked him, how much sleep did he get? He said about two hours. He flew early this morning from Iowa. Did the one event in Nashua and then back to Iowa.

Before he took the stage this morning, he did, he sat down with me for a quick exclusive interview on NH1 News. And I asked him right off the bat about Ted Cruz. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEINHAUSER: With you not there at the FOX debate last night, your main rival in Iowa, Ted Cruz, listen. He was getting pummeled from left and right. Was this maybe by design? Did you think about this all along?

[20:20:14] TRUMP: Well, a lot of things have happened since then, you know, because you saw the result. And he did, he got very badly hurt. And he's going down. Ted Cruz is going down. Plus there is the Canada problem. He has got a huge problem. That problem with Canada. So whether or not he can even run. I think he cannot run. So we will to see what happens.

STEINHAUSER: It wasn't by design?

TRUMP: You know, I would like to tell you it was by design. Maybe it was by instinct, OK. That it wasn't good night for him and it wasn't good for a couple of the other folks. It was not good at all. In the meantime, I had my forum and I had tremendous numbers of veterans and we raised $6 million and it was a good night for us.

STEINHAUSER: Would you say, though, in any way that FOX News did win? A, Megyn Kelly still was the moderator and, B, they did not give you the $5 million you ask for for charity?

TRUMP: Well, I never asked that Megyn be taken off, number one. And I don't care about Megyn Kelly. I couldn't care less. I don't think she's very good at what she does, but I couldn't care less. But I never asked for that. I wanted $5 million for the vets. The vets have been mistreated. The networks have plenty of money. FOX has plenty of money. I said $5 million for the vets. And when they didn't do it, I went out and raised $6 million for the vets. So the vets did even better.

STEINHAUSER: But here in New Hampshire, there's another Republican debate right here in eight days. Are you going to be going to that debate?

TRUMP: I think I will be. I look forward to the debates. As you know and as everybody has been saying, I won every single debate. Every online poll has me winning the debates. I actually like doing the debates. You I have never done it before in all fairness. But I do like during the debates. And I will be here. I love this place. I have special friends. I'm doing really well here. The polls just came out. I'm doing really well here. So I will be in New Hampshire doing the debates.

STEINHAUSER: Do you feel like you were mocked at all the beginning of the debate last night by Ted Cruz and some of your other rivals?

TRUMP: No, I didn't even watch the whole debate. I'm going to watch it later. But, no, not at all. I think Ted look great. Look it was great for me. It was great for the vets that I didn't do it because we end up getting more money than FOX would have paid. STEINHAUSER: Finally, there's a guy here, a tattoo artist here. He's

given away free tattoos for people that want your logo or your photo on their body. And his business is good from what I hear?

TRUMP: So he is a Trump fan? He's -- maybe I'll have to have a tattoo for the first time in my life. Maybe not, though.

STEINHAUSER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I appreciate it. Thank you.


STEINHAUSER: A couple of things. He admitted he asked FOX News for that $5 million donation for charity which he didn't do last night in that great interview Brianna Keilar did on his plane when he arrived. He took every opportunity to mention the $6 million for the vets, right. And I guess most important, Anderson, he said, yes, I will be at that debate coming up eight nights from now in New Hampshire.

And Anderson, what do you think? I can't see Donald Trump getting a tattoo.

COOPER: I don't think that's going to happen at all. But I love to say while you were asking that question, because he was sort of like, where is this going? And he said, he's a Trump fan. OK. Good.

But another thing he said that was really interesting to you about, maybe it wasn't by design but by instinct. I do think so many -- and "the Wall Street Journal" did a great article a couple of days ago kind of showing how he makes decisions. It does seem - I mean, I think his instincts are remarkably attune to certainly his supporters and what they want to hear and what they are willing to hear and where they are willing to go. Trump may be the only GOP candidate campaigning in New Hampshire today. But come Monday that's going to be a different story, right?

STEINHAUSER: It is. And that's interesting to see. John Kasich will be here all weekend campaigning here. He'll be here on caucus day. Also Jeb Bush n Chris Christie start Monday in Iowa. When Iowans go to caucus, they'll be here for Christie. Kasich and Bush, it's about New Hampshire, not about Iowa, Anderson.

COOPER: Just a couple of days. Paul Steinhauser, great interview. Thank you very much.

Back in Iowa, Ted Cruz makes his fifth campaign appearance of the day soon. Sunlen Serfaty is covering the campaign, joins us now from Des Moines.

So the reviews as we have been talking about of Senator Cruz's debate performance have not been great. Has the campaign acknowledged that today on the trail at all?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting, Anderson. They are really trying to put a brave face on this, so to speak on this. Really trying to downplay the rough night that Ted Cruz had last night. Only trying to, you know, cast it aside. But it's very clear that he did have a rough night and he is trying to recover from that today. And as part of that strategy to recovery, he really went on the offense on Marco Rubio. Really went after him. Much harder than we've seen before on immigration.

But the Cruz campaign saying, no, this wasn't a rough night. Saying, you know, that he had a solid debate performance. And that he, you know, sticking to his trail rhetoric going after Marco Rubio. They are now investing much more money going after Marco Rubio, redirecting him, ping pong (ph) from attacking Donald Trump to Rubio. This is likely what we'll continue to see from him on the campaign trail.

COOPER: He's got an event coming up in an hour. Do we know what to expect?

SERFATY: He does. Likely what we'll see from him is what his campaign manager told me today. It is all about this closing message. All about making contrast. We saw that today with Marco Rubio. But specifically with Donald Trump, Trump being a big dominant part of his closing message to voters saying that, you know, if you want to stop Donald Trump, if you want to prevent him becoming this runaway train out there, then you have to vote here in Iowa and stop him. That's a key part of the Cruz campaign message going forward. Something I suspect that we'll hear from him later tonight, Anderson.

COOPER: You know, Donald Trump called Cruz today an anchor baby in Canada. Did the Cruz campaign respond to that?

SERFATY: They did. And this was certainly an escalation in Donald Trump's rhetoric on this issue, of course, laying into Ted Cruz's eligibility issue to be president. The Cruz campaign, of course, wasting no time responding. The campaign spokeswoman coming out with a statement saying quote "the only anchor here is the one being dragged behind the SS New York values causing Donald Trump's campaign to stall out as voters learn about his affinity for Hillary Clinton and the previous statement supporting abortion.

You know, on the trail, it is interesting. We are seeing some signs that these attacks by Donald Trump over Cruz's eligibility are working. A voter last week bringing this up directly to Ted Cruz at a town hall. Also some polls indicating there is some message that's getting to voters and really influencing them there. So this sort of challenge by Trump seems to be working with some here -- Anderson.

COOPER: Anchor dragging behind the "SS New York values"? I think they have to work on the wording of that. Doesn't roll off the tongue, exactly.

Sunlen Serfaty, thanks very much.

Just ahead, some still say it's been a tough 24 hours for Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio targeted him at last night's debate, and Donald Trump renewed those attacks today. We just mentioned, the question is will it make a difference in the final push to the Iowa caucuses? The panel weighs in next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:50] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: As we said, Donald Trump says he made the right call boycotting last night's Republican debate, holding his own event instead, to benefit veterans.

He also insists, what he did is nothing like what happened in 2011 when Mr. Trump cried foul. Here is what he told CBS News.


JOHN DICKERSON, "FACE THE NATION" HOST: In 2011 you were going to participate in a Newsmax debate. And you said of the Republicans who weren't going to show, you said, "We're not seeing a lot of courage here, are we? And a lot of courage. These Republicans, they're supposed to be brave." Why can't that be said about you?

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, they should have showed because there was no reason. I was doing the moderation. I mean it was very Newsmax thing. And I just said, you know, if they asked me -- the owner is a friend of mine, Chris Ruddy, a very good guy. And he said, "Would you do it?" I said, "I've never done it before." I just said, "Do it." I wasn't even ...

DICKERSON: What about the bravery charge?

TRUMP: No, no, but here's the difference. I was treated very unfairly by Fox. I was treated very -- but they weren't treated badly. I was treated very, very badly by Fox. They issued a statement that was an inappropriate statement.

Now what happened is since then they've been nice and they tried very much to get me to do the debate. By that time, the event, my counter event had taken off. And, you know, you saw a thousands and thousands of people standing outside the building. It was amazing.

DICKERSON: What about this charge, though? I mean, it's a press release, like, he can't -- and you know ...

TRUMP: It's OK. It's OK. No.

DICKERSON: ... you know, but you were offended. But, isn't that -- are you being a little too politically correct?

TRUMP: You know what I did? I went out and I raised $6 million for the vets.


COOPER: And Mr. Trump had released a list of 22 veterans groups that will share the money raised last night. As we said, he spent today campaigning in New Hampshire, slamming Ted Cruz's debate performance.

Back now with our panel. It's interesting hearing Donald Trump's on being accused of being too politically correct essentially by Dickerson there. And this is the guy who prides himself on not being politically correct.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, "INSIDE POLITICS": And he prides himself on being the strength in this campaign. The reason he has skyrocketed is we don't have an ideological Republican primary like we often do. It's not a fight about who's going to cut taxes more, who's going to shrink government more. It's become a fight about who's stronger, who's tougher, who's the anti-Obama, if you will. Suddenly, there's no gray there's no nuances. Boom, I'm going to make decisions and people are going to listen to me.

And so with that regard, this was a big turn-about. The tough guy walked away. You can make the case.

Now, he's saying he did it for the right reasons. His opponents are trying to say he's not so tough after all. But, again, well every time Trump has done things that we find contrarian, they have worked to his benefits.

COOPER: Right.

KING: Well, see if this one does.

COOPER: I mean, again, I just think his instincts are pretty extraordinary. Whether, again, as he said, whether it was by design or instinct not to go to that thing but to have everybody ganging up on Cruz essentially and it was very effective in hurting Cruz.

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah, and in the modern age too, often times, in these debates, you can judge the winners and losers based on what the atomized, sort of, sound bites they come out of it are. And what the headlines look like the next day.

And if you looked all across Iowa this morning, the headlines were very bad for Ted Cruz at a very crucial time. And Donald Trump had equal billing. He's sitting there on the front pages of all the newspapers across Iowa saying that Trump raises money for veterans. So in that sense, it really did play to his advantage.

MARIA CARDONA, 2008 SENIOR CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: You're right, Anderson. He is an instinctual guttural animal for these times. And so far, has been incredibly successful.

And the reason why I don't think the charge of his being afraid or, you know, his not wanting to go because he was afraid of tough questions is going to stick is because who has done more interviews ...

COOPER: Right.

CARDONA: ... with more media outlets, right?

MADDEN: It's harder to land that punch.

CARDONA: ... that -- exactly. Is there anybody else? And also, I think he can also make the point that, look, Fox News thinks that they can do whatever they want. They've now become part of the establishment because of what he's done? It's pretty incredible. And I think supporters are responding to that.

MIECHAEL GERSON, PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH FORMER SPEECHWRITER: This is, kind of, his superpower as a candidate, the ability to drill the exposed nerve on his opponents in a way that dominates the next on new cycle. It's a tremendous talent.

But he is proposing a fundamental revision at the heart of Republican Party. Like, you know, the force expulsion of 11 million people, the exclusion by religious belief. This is a major reorientation of the Republican Party in a way that would cause a crisis of identity.



CARDONA: That's very true.

GERSON: That could cause people to split off of the party. This in fact, has huge content to it.

BORGER: But he's doing that, at the same time he's saying that Ted Cruz is an anchor baby, right?

[20:35:02] So there is this kind of great dichotomy ...


BORGER: ... because on the one hand, he is splitting up the Republican Party. He's dividing a Republican Party. There is this civil war in the Republican Party.


BORGER: He's leading one faction of it, we think, although I'm not quite sure which one it is. And on the other hand, he's calling Ted Cruz names because he's a fighter and he understands that Cruz needs to win Iowa.

GERSON: I know which side it is. And it's in fact, much more comparable to a European right wing anti-immigrant populism of UKIP (ph) or the National Front. It does not come out of the Republican ...

COOPER: But let me ask you, because ...

GERSON: This is this something different and ....

COOPER: ... so, all of you have worked with presidential candidates or Michael, with President Bush.

Donald Trump and I again, I go back to this "Wall Street Journal" article that I just found it fascinating. Because the reporter spent three days with him, watching him as he made decisions.

And she was with him and he decided in his plane sitting by himself, his adviser is in the other room, after reading polls and looking at television coverage to, he said, you know what, Cruz has been doing riding up high in the polls too long in Iowa. We're going to take him down and came up with this Canada thing.

And it was this instinctual gut level thing. It wasn't after a big meeting. Is that rare for a presidential candidate or a president ...

MADDEN: Right. It's incredibly rare.

COOPER: ... to make those decisions with the gut?

MADDEN: It's incredibly rare and the question that we're going to the test that this is going to undergo is whether or not, you can actually win the presidency with it.



COOPER: ... and can you be president doing that?

MADDEN: John used the analogy last night. You know, a scrambling quarterback, every once in a while can make some amazing plays and shows up on ESPN the next day, you know, with the highlights.

But is that how you want to run a country? Is that how you can run a party?

Well, particularly, when parties at the heart of organizations, but their organizations of that are designed around ideas. This is a candidacy that is only organized around an individual and his ego. And that is where I think as Michael is right, the danger for the party is in the danger for the country lies.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: But the other interesting thing to me is if he does become president, let's say, I mean, I don't know of any other candidate who watches as much television. I mean, you'll be doing an interview on this show or any other and he will start Tweeting you about what's going on.


GERSON: He doesn't care about Megyn Kelly and then tweets about her at 3:00 in the morning. You know like, that's theory.

COOPER: Right.

GERSON: So, I mean, he's constantly on top of this. If he wins this way, it will be an entirely new way to win the presidency.

COOPER: But then, as president, can he do that? I mean, can he be watching television and reading the polls and tweeting like this, or does ...

GERSON: Well, Lyndon Johnson did. Watched a bunch of televisions and then, you know, I don't know if it leads good decision through out ...

CADORNA: Look, I...

BORGER: Yeah, I think ...

CADORNA: ... I think we would have to relearn I think ...


CARDONA: He had certainly rewritten the rules, but I think these rules right now only apply to him. I don't think anybody that we know right now could get away with what he's done.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: And he talks about this in the art of the deal, right. This is his way. You have to be fast and loose. You can't have a whole lot of structure and he doesn't pack his day with a lot of meetings.

I think the question is could he unlearn that as president or if he could be effective as president, sort of being this improvisational president.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We're going to have more from our panel. It is just fascinating times, a very busy night, three campaign events either under way or just wrapping up.

As we speak, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, the entire Clinton family. Donald Trump in time as we have been discussing has been lining up support from all corners of Iowa.

The question there, will his strategy actually bring people out on caucus night. We'll take a look. Now, Trump is rewriting the rules of the ground game, next.


[20:42:26] COOPER: The Iowa Caucuses are just three days away. We'd mention earlier in the program turnout is a key and the weather may not cooperate. Generally only about 20 percent of registered voters actually show up on Caucus night. This is already an election year and of course like none other. Now the question is will Donald Trump's grounds welled support in Iowa turn into actual votes. John King reports.


KING: It is Iowa's defining question. They'll wait hours in the cold to hear him speak. Will they do what it takes to deliver victory Monday night?

Any questions about the caucus? Where to go to is everyone a registered Republican already?

These are the forms needed to register to vote or to switch to registration to Republican on caucus night.

If you are an independent, it's OK. We'll take you.

Donald Trump is rewriting the Iowa rule book.

TRUMP: By the way I'm totally pro-ethanol.

KING: Big rallies and a coalition that spans the ideological spectrum.

TRUMP: I love the Evangelicals they have been so great to me.

KING: Christian conservatives, moderates, independents, and political newcomers by the dozens. People like Shane Bowman who not only plans to Caucus for the first time but is organizing for Trump in Denver, Iowa, and plans to deliver a speech at his local precinct.

SHANE BOWMAN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Can't stop. Can't quit. You got to keep going, until the end.

KING: Bowman says, he's learned to filter the Trump rhetoric his wife finds obnoxious.

BOWMAN: He's not like verbally correct on things, you know. Banning all Muslims from the United States. I read into a little bit between the lines and, OK. I understand where you're coming from. I do like your point. He didn't come across perfect, but I understand you.

KING: To drive Iowa is to find Trump support everywhere.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm actually volunteering for the Marco Rubio campaign.

KING: This is a Marco Rubio office in Cedar Rapids and this Jeb Bush phone bank in West Des Moines. Both areas were Mitt Romney strongholds four years ago. And as Rubio and Bush fight for those establishment voters, they find plenty of Trump supporters.

STEVE GRUBBS, CHIEF IOWA STRATEGIST, PAUL CAMPAIGN: There's no doubt that Trump has change the dynamic of the campaign for everybody.

KING: Steve Grubbs is Rand Paul's Iowa Strategist this cycle. A Caucus veteran, who says those who doubt Trump's Iowa team don't know them.

GRUBBS: Trump's got good people in Iowa working. And, so, you know, I trust that they are doing the ground work that they need to do.

KINGL: At Marion Avenue Baptist Church is in tiny Washington Iowa, one of the rural towns vital to Ted Cruz. All are welcome here. The Cruz backer, Pastor Joseph Brown, concedes he is exasperated at Trump's success with conservative Christians.

PASTOR BROWN, CRUZ SUPPORTER: God is the God of the second chance but Donald Trump has not had a life transformation moment.

[20:45:01] He has had an idea to become the president of the United States of America. KING: Brown leads a network of nearly 200 pastors crossing for this week to do more to highlight Trump's past support of abortion and gay rights.

BROWN: You know, I'm praying he's going to take a miracle but I'm praying that people wake up to the fact that he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

KING: It's too late to sway Carter Nordman.

CARTER NORDMAN, IOWA DIRECTOR, STUDENT FOR TRUMP: Our entire family loved the apprentice. Love watching it.

KING: His first vote will be for Donald Trump Monday night.

NORDMAN: We need a president to run this country like a business and who better than a very successful businessman.

KING: Carter, high school basketball player, is the state leader of students for Trump, another key piece of the Trump Iowa coalition.

NORDMAN: I'm the caucus leader in my county. And there is -- a movement going on. We have many, many students coming to Caucus for the first time. Teachers say all the time that they've never heard so many students talk about an election before.

KING: Without a doubt Trump dominates the talk here. Now the test. Do the faces and feet that made this a Caucus campaign like no other line up one more time Monday night?


COOPER: Was that a button saying hot chicks for Trump?

KING: It was.

COOPER: OK. All right, lots of variety.

KING: Whatever you want, you can get it.

COOPER: But that is really the question. Will those people who are lining up, spending hours lining will they go to caucus on Monday night?

KING: This was my biggest question when I went out to Iowa last week. And they have every intention of coming. And they are doing in different ways, they have professionals, veterans of the Steve Forbes and Rick Santorum campaign. Remember Santorum went last time. The guy running from his campaign was Santorum's director last time. Kevin can tell you what that felt like on caucus night.

So they have some trained professionals with a lot of Iowa experience. Then they have people like you saw in the piece there who have never done this before. Young kids, older people never participated in a caucus. Who just love Donald Trump? And they are organizing in their neighborhoods. The question is, can they put that together? It's an orthodox, a mix of data a mix of veterans and a mix of newcomers. Can they put it together? It will make the difference. Because if you look at this polling, and I've been I can even look at this private polling that I trust. A big huge example. If you run a model with those new voters, Donald Trump is a little ahead of Ted Cruz every reason he could win in Caucus night.

If you take those new voters out and get back into a traditional environment, somewhere in the ballpark of 130,000 people or so, then Ted Cruz wins quite handily and Donald Trump slips down to just below 20 percent and then that scenario, a traditional scenario. Marco Rubio is testing and challenging Donald Trump for second place.

COOPER: What time do we get an answer Monday night or Tuesday morning?

KING: About 8:00 Eastern time is when they start. You have to be in the door at seven although if your inline to register that will be another question. If the results are late because the caucuses start late because you have so many people lined up ...

BORGER: Oh, no.

KING: ... as long as they are in line by 7:00, to register the vote they have everything to take they have to wait and get them in. And, so if we know there's a lot of new voters and we're waiting a while, that may be a good sign for Trump.

But the Republican Caucuses tend to go pretty quickly. You don't have the rules the Democrats have. And, so they start at 8:00 in the east. We'll start getting some results around 8:30 in the east. But we could if you remember last time, Romney was ahead and Santorum came up. We had this in Carolina on the phone.

COOPER: I'm scheduled until 2:00 a.m. And I don't know what happen Tuesday morning.


COOPER: If it's longer than that. John Kin, thank you. Fascinating. I want to thank everybody in the panels the next three days in Iowa will certainly not be dull. And, so you can get the sharpest look latest film its from John on "Inside Politics" Sunday morning, 8:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

Just ahead tonight, I'm going to talk with Donald Trump's harshest critics, concern to Talk Radio Host Glenn Beck. In his words, Donald Trump says wildly vindictive bully who is all about himself. He also has a theory about why Trump has been so rough on Megyn Kelly. He's obviously a Ted Cruz supporter. The conversation with Glenn Beck ahead.


[20:52:17] COOPER: Donald Trump's rivals and many other Republicans often accuse him of not being a true conservative. Talk radio host Glenn Beck was one of 22 conservatives who contributed to a recent special issue of "The National Review" called "Against Trump". In his statement, he wrote that Mr. Trump was then," A crisis for conservativism to give a laundry list of reasons why".

This week Glenn Beck endorsed Ted Cruz, it's the first time he's endorsed a Presidential candidate. He's also being ramping up attacks on Donald Trump. I talked to Glenn about all of this.


Glenn, thank you really for joining us. I want to read part of something you wrote on Facebook that I found really interesting. You wrote "I have had more than one medical professional warn me that Donald Trump is a pathological narcissistic sociopath" and then you went on to say "I warn you with as much conviction as I warned in 1999 about Osama Bin Laden attacking New York City. People on the right laughed at me. Look at what happened."

I thought the whole Facebook post was really interesting because you really kind of tried to analyze Donald Trump's strategy in going after Fox, going after Megyn Kelly. But just on the sociopath thing, I mean, do you really believe that? What is it that makes -- that you think makes him different as a person, as a candidate?

GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST: This is not about Donald Trump. This is something that you can easily see throughout history. And what I was on Fox, I talked about a pendulum. I had a big pendulum. I said Barack Obama has pulled this pendulum as far over to the right as you possibly can and emboldened the executive power.

And I said warning to both the Democrats and the Republicans. At some point that power swings back and it will swing back just as far and at some point, the farther you bring it back, somebody will grab it in a time of crisis and say, you know, what just stay in here.

And you don't want that. And I warned that there were people like Father Coughlin in the 1930s that was a very dangerous guy who spoke to the economic despair, spoke to the anger, spoke to the fear. These demagogues come along. And unless they are rooted in the constitution, they can become very dangerous. You say he is.

COOPER: And you don't believe he is. You don't believe he truly is rooted in -- at the very least in the constitution. He's not -- he's really rooted essentially ...

BECK: Have you ever heard him talk ...

COOPER: ... in himself?

BECK: He is all about himself. You know, I went back and looked at his speeches. I just wanted to make sure. He doesn't say, "We're going to make America great." He says, "I'll make America great. I'll fix this."

Nobody makes America great. It's the people that make America great. He also talks about how the problem isn't the government itself. He says it's the stupid people in it.

[20:55:00] He talks about executive orders. He says the problem is the President has just done dumb executive orders.

I'll do smart ones. He never talks about the constitution and when he does, he says, "Oh, well, you know, that land, you know, we can pull that land for a casino. It's no big deal. Its better, it's better than these people living like pigs." It's not his decision.

COOPER: You also write about his use of the media and his, I mean, frankly, his skill at it.

I mean, that essentially you kind of wrote, and I don't want to misquote you, but that, you know, he compliments first and then -- which sort of makes reporters feel gratified.

But then, if you ask something he doesn't like, he attacks. He waits for you then to kind of apologize. He gives you an opportunity to kind of be welcomed back into the fold. And if you don't, then you are banished and he relentlessly goes after you like Megyn Kelly.

BECK: Right. He's wildly vindictive. And I will tell you, going after Megyn Kelly. I mean, Anderson, I think there are two really great news people.

Megyn Kelly did a great job at the debate. You've done the best job of, I think, anybody on the debates. You're great at the debates.

Megyn Kelly is a good seasoned journalist. She's not a clown by these stretches of the imagination.

I personally think that Megyn Kelly asked a very fair question. Look, you've got some things that you have said about women that, you know, can you explain some of these things?

How do you expect to be a guy who is going to be looked well by decent women when you've said certain things? I'm not going to repeat on CNN.

So, she asked that fair question. Well, now it's been five months. He hasn't let that go. What's happening with Megyn Kelly is, if you watch Fox, a lot of their hosts are kissing Donald Trump's butt.

I mean, they're slobbering all over him, all over him. But Megyn Kelly is not. So, it doesn't matter that he's got several people who slobber over him, some people who are neutral and Megyn who asks tough questions.

He is making a point. All bullies do the same thing. They find the strongest of the pack. They find the Megyn Kelly of Fox or they find the Anderson Cooper of CNN and they teach them a lesson because that means everybody else who's not as strong, if Megyn Kelly gets in trouble, if Megyn Kelly can't stand it, I certainly can.

So, he's teaching everyone a lesson. "Don't mess with me."


COOPER: I talked to Glenn a lot more about why he endorsed Ted Cruz. Part two of the interview is coming up later in the broadcast.

Plus, the breaking news, the State Department has released another big batch of Hillary Clinton's e-mails from her time as secretary of state.

We are digging through them as we speak. What we're find, we'll let your know and what if anything, it could mean for her campaign. And what she's saying about the nearly two dozen other e-mails, now deemed top secret.