Return to Transcripts main page


Carson Drops Out Of GOP Race; Trump Skipping Conservative Conference; Can Trump Be Stopped?; Cruz: Trump "Embodies Washington Corruption"; GOP War Rages Over Trump; Glenn Beck On The State Of The GOP; LAPD Testing Knife Reportedly Found On Former Simpson Estate; Hayden: Trump Old Torture Stance Contrary To Military Values; Trump's Achilles Heel: "Short Fingers". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 4, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for joining us. Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us. Big night of presidential politics. Not just Donald Trump today giving a top conservative group the brush-off. Not just our conversation with Mitt Romney who is leading the stop Trump effort.

Not just the conversation with America's former CIA and NSA head, who says the military might refuse to follow certain orders from a President Trump and who tells me he in fact is scared of Donald Trump as president.

Also Ben Carson leaving the race and Kevin Spacey on the program and a whole lot more including Los Angeles authorities testing a knife to see whether it's the murder weapon in the O.J. Simpson case.

We begin, though, with Donald Trump, the night before another big day of voting and the night after a debate that was both a little raunchy and very rough.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I learned from my father. He used to say you're too rough, too tough. You don't have to be that tough. He'd probably like me to be a little softer in the debates. Actually, I'm thinking, maybe a little softer on little Marco, little Marco. No?


COOPER: As we said, Trump who decided to skip a scheduled appearance tomorrow as a traditional stop for Republicans, Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, just wrapped up a rally in New Orleans.

Joining us from there is CNN's Sara Murray. So has Trump mentioned anything tonight about skipping CPAC?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Anderson, there was no mention of CPAC, but his campaign did make it clear he changed his schedule to spend more time in places like Louisiana, places that will be voting tomorrow and that's what we saw from him here tonight.

He tried to rally the crowds here in a state where voters (inaudible) -- there was a little rowdier rally than we are used to seeing from Trump. It was interrupted a number of times by protesters.

Even as he's widening the conservative hold in the Republican primaries, there's still a broader electorate, a general election electorate. (Inaudible).

COOPER: We can -- Sara, I apologize. We cannot hear you. So I appreciate you being there. We'll try to get you back later.

Now two candidates who did go to CPAC, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson who just a short time ago dropped out of the race. CNN's Manu Raju joins us from the convention site in Maryland.

So Ben Carson suspending his campaign officially. What did he have to say about that decision tonight at CPAC?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Anderson, he said he really could not win after Super Tuesday and the results came in. He looked at the map and said that there's no way he could actually pull off a victory.

He believed that after he was doing well in the polls last year and a bunch of negative news stories came out about him and his past that really hurt him politically and he said he was never able to recover from that.

Now going forward he talked a little about his political career. He said that he will not seek the U.S. Senate seat that Marco Rubio is vacating. He wants to play a role in Christian voters and get them out to the polls.

He would not say who he would endorse in the presidential race, but he was sharply critical of Mitt Romney's comments about Donald Trump saying they will backfire.

They will hurt the party and that they will end up electing Hillary Clinton. Very strong words on that latter part from Ben Carson today here at CPAC.

COOPER: What's the reaction been to Trump skipping CPAC?

RAJU: Well, not very good, Anderson. A lot of these several thousand convention goers really wanted to hear from the presidential frontrunner. But maybe it's no surprise that he didn't come. This is a really pro-Ted Cruz audience.

When Cruz came out here today, actually he ribbed Donald Trump and said maybe Trump was scared to talk to conservatives. Got a really enthusiastic applause and even at one point, several -- a small pack of pro-Trump supporters started chanting Trump, Trump, Trump and they got booed overwhelmingly by the crowd here. So perhaps Donald Trump did not want to greet a pretty hostile audience before he deals with his own primaries tomorrow night -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Manu Raju, thanks for the reporting.

Now the hard data behind the tough challenge facing Cruz and Rubio and the stop Trump forces. Our chief national correspondent and "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor, John King is here to break it down by the numbers for us -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rubio needs to win. Kasich needs to win. Cruz needs to win. They all need to all win to stop Donald Trump. Let's look at the map and see how that would play out.

Here's where we are after Super Tuesday. Let's just fast forward. This gets us through March 15th. This is a scenario in which Donald Trump runs the board. Wins everything this weekend. Wins everything next Tuesday and Tuesday, March 15th. Likely? Don't know.

But conceivable? Yes. If that happens, game over. Fold your tents, get out. Donald Trump is almost three-quarters of the way to the nomination and would make a convincing case, you guys can't beat me.

But here's the Romney scenario. Let's say John Kasich wins in his home state of Ohio and Marco Rubio wins on the 15th in his home state of Florida. Now there's some contests this weekend and before then you'd think if they'll stop Trump, they'll get a start there.

But let's just take this as the Romney scenario. Just to show that maybe somebody gets momentum, I'm going to give John Kasich Illinois in this scenario here.

[20:05:05]Even if this happens, guys win in their home court. Cruz wins Texas. Rubio wins Florida and Kasich wins Ohio and we'll give him Illinois in this scenario.

Even in this scenario, Trump is well ahead, but what Romney and everyone else in the establishment is hoping for is that somebody gets the hot hand. When they win, Trump comes down and something like this happens.

This plays it out through the convention. This is Rubio I have winning New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, some states out in the west including California. I use Rubio in this scenario. You can make it Kasich or Cruz or split the states between them. Trump wins some. They win others.

But this is what the establishment is hoping for. Something like this. Somebody gets a hot hand. Trump wins some, but not as many as he is winning right now and you get to the convention.

This scenario has Trump at the convention over 1,000. They are hoping to keep Trump in the 800 to 900 range so they think they would have a stronger moral argument to stop him. If he had over 1,000 he'd be more than three-quarters of the way, but then you have Rubio here, Cruz and Kasich. Trump would be in the lead. The other candidates have some. Some stronger than others.

And then, Anderson, the scenario Romney lays out is this is where the negotiations begin. Nobody can win on the first ballot. Nobody has enough and so that what would happen? Nobody knows because this has never happened in our lifetime.

But could Trump negotiate with Kasich? That would get you close enough, a Trump/Kasich ticket would get you close enough to the finish line or would Cruz and Rubio cut a deal which would get them across the finish line with their delegates?

This is the scenario they hope for. They are just hoping to get to a convention and then write rules that they like and cut deals they like. Can they do that? I don't know. One of these guys is going to win the Powerball. We just don't know who if something like this plays out.

COOPER: Donald Trump says he's a good dealmaker. This would certainly be a big challenge for him if this scenario played out. John King, stay with us.

Want to bring in our panel and also start the conversation at the moment from two political analysts, Gloria Borger's interview today with Governor Romney. Here's what he said about why he chose now to weigh in against Trump and whether it will work.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what impact these things have politically. But I do know that when my grandkids say what did you do to stop Donald Trump? I want to do be able to say something. I wasn't going to sit on the sidelines until the very end.


COOPER: We'll have more from that interview a bit later on in the program. Gloria joins us now along with CNN political commentators, Ana Navarro, Donna Brazile, and Jeffrey Lord.

Ana is a Republican strategist. Donna is a top Democratic Party official, and Jeffrey is a Trump supporter and a former Reagan White House political director. And with us as well tonight, Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign strategist, Stuart Stevens.

Gloria, I mean, now more than 24 hours into Romney's war against Trump. Any sign that it's having any kind of an impact?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Not yet, no. We're not sure that it ever will. I think that even when I spoke with Romney today, he was completely open and completely understands the possibility that what he said yesterday could incite Trump supporters to run into his arms even more. And, you know, he understands that. I think what he was trying to do was just kind of, you know, throw something into the race that would kind of rumble it up a little bit and so more people are speaking out. More people on edge. Will it do anything to these Trump supporters?

I don't think so. I think they've been solid and they've been there, but it sure puts more wind behind Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich, for a little bit.

COOPER: It's also interesting, John King, you have now Donald Trump reversing a position he held just less than 24 hours ago and has held now for quite a while about killing terrorist families, which most scholars say that's an illegal order to try to force the military to carry out. Donald Trump doubled down on it last night during the debate saying they will follow my orders.

KING: He did double down on it. He tripled down on it. He was very clear about it, almost macho about it. I'll tell them what to do and they'll do it. As we talked last night, there's a lot of conversation among veterans, some on Trump's side but a lot saying, wait a minute, I can't do that.

He completely reversed course today. You can call it a retreat. You can call it a flip flop. He actually said in his statement, "I realize I'm subject to the laws, and I will follow them." That's nice. OK.

You take the oath of office and he said he would not order the military to do anything that would compromise them or put them in a legal situation. He's in the right place now where any president should be.

Any president who puts his hand on the Bible and takes the oath. You know this is going to come up because he changed his position on H1 visas last night and then says he'd be flexible on other issues.

You can be certain this is an issue going forward. At least when it comes to when a commander-in-chief issues orders for the generals, are those orders within the law?

Donald Trump now says, yes, I understand as president I have to follow the law. I think we should applaud that. We can question the politics of it, but I think we should applaud.

COOPER: Stuart Stevens, how do you see this? Because there are those who say this shows he's flexible and any president has to be flexible. And Donald Trump spoke about flexibility last night as well.

The other flip side of that is people say, look, does he really have core beliefs? Is he just kind of shooting from the hip or whatever comes into his mind and then just reverse himself 24 hours later?

[20:10:11]STUART STEVENS, FORMER ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Look, I think you have to look at the totality of the Trump campaign. Trump has his pattern of degrading everything he touches. He became the first candidate in history last night in a presidential debate to defend his penis and attack the constitution.

On Sunday, he had to research the KKK. On Thursday, he had to research the legality of ordering our United States military to commit war crimes. I mean, on the one hand you can look at Donald Trump and he'd say, look, this is a guy woefully unprepared to be president.

He has these sort of thuggish qualities. He seems barely literate, can't spell, sort of scams he's been running. He's dangerous. History shows that when these sorts of people get elected in other countries, bad things happen and it's just a pattern with him. He's completely unprepared to be president.

COOPER: Jeffrey Lord, when you hear Donald Trump reversing himself, what -- to you, what does it signal?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATORS: Flexibility. I think you're right. Anderson, I keep saying over and over again, he's built this enormous global business organization. You have to be a leader. You have to have vision. You have to have negotiating skills. You have to be flexible.

You have to be able to get things done. You have to have temperament. You have to have judgment. He has displayed all of those things in his professional life. So I'm not in the least surprised about this.

COOPER: But isn't there --

LORD: You'd expect a president to do these things.

COOPER: But Jeffrey, aren't there a lot of conservatives who, one of the criticisms of Washington has been, look, there's been too much deal making. There's been too much back room negotiation and that's the concern they have about Donald Trump that this is somebody who is willing to, you know, be flexible to the point of raising questions about what their core beliefs are.

LORD: Right. Here's the thing. Presidents negotiate. Ronald Reagan negotiated all the time. Ronald Reagan made deals. The question is not are you going to make deals? Of course, you are. That's what the constitution sets up.

It sets up a president and a Congress so you'll be making deals. The question is what kind of deals are you making? What direction are you taking the country when you make the deal? That's the issue.

Making deals themselves is what's normal. Ronald Reagan made deals. He took the country in a rightward direction. I think Donald Trump will do the same.

COOPER: Ana Navarro, what do you make of where Marco Rubio is? Do you see -- he has to win Florida. But even if he wins Florida, do you see a path forward for him or to you is the only -- as somebody who does not like Donald Trump, which you have stated over and over again, are you putting all your hopes on something happening at the convention? ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am going to tell you, I am going to support the last Republican briefing that has half a brain and half a heart that can show me path to the nomination and can show me that they can beat Trump. I hope it's not too late by the time that we figure out who that last person is.

COOPER: But do you believe it has to be at the convention, that there really isn't a --

NAVARRO: It's looking increasingly likely like nobody is going to reach the magic 1,237 number. I think Marco Rubio needs to win Florida. I think if Donald Trump beats Marco in Florida, it is a huge symbolic victory for Donald Trump. It's going to be the media narrative that dominates.

COOPER: John, you say it's over?

KING: It's game over.

COOPER: Unless for Marco Rubio.

KING: It's definitely -- if Donald Trump wins Florida, it is over. Sign, sealed, delivered goodbye for Marco Rubio. And the only way it's not over for Donald Trump is if John Kasich not only wins Ohio, but wins Illinois.

And I would argue that they are all making a mistake. They are essentially ceding this weekend, Rubio is in Kansas trying to get delegates. What about Michigan next Tuesday? Why aren't they fighting for that?

I mean, they are essentially ceding that to Donald Trump. Find a place to take him on. You cannot do this one state at a time. The math doesn't work. You have to start beating him consistently in the big states.

NAVARRO: I agree with you. I think Marco Rubio should be in Florida. I think he has to treat this not as a national campaign. He's going to treat this as a state campaign.


DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think somebody should be in Louisiana. I think somebody should be in Maine. I think every place. They cannot just cherry pick the kind of states that they believe they can run up the numbers against Donald Trump.

NAVARRO: Everything is riding on their home state.

BRAZILE: This is the headline of the "Philadelphia Inquirer." This is a battle ground state. Republicans in turmoil. All across the country today, the headline is Republican Party is in turmoil. When you look at the exit poll numbers, I'm not a Republican. I don't have on my red today, but look at the attributes.

NAVARRO: But some of her best friends are Republican. BRAZILE: You're dog gone right. But they are looking for an outsider, somebody who is not part of the establishment. They are looking for somebody who shares their values. We can talk about Donald Trump and all his flaws. But on all these attributes, they are looking for a Donald Trump.

[20:15:09]COOPER: They are looking for Donald Trump not just a Donald Trump, and they have Donald Trump. Stuart, just finally, do you believe to John's point that these other candidates should be fighting harder over Michigan, some of these states this weekend, not just kind of waiting to Florida and two weeks from now.

STEVENS: Yes. Yes. What you are seeing playing out now is the same mistake that's been made from the very beginning. You've got to take Donald Trump on. They should have taken him on early.

I am completely baffled by this strategy that we're going to see who is going to be -- wait our turn, not attack here. From the very beginning it's been clear this race was going to be about who could beat Donald Trump.

And whoever beats Donald Trump will have the right to be the nominee. Get about the business of beating Donald Trump. Save the Republican Party so that there's a conservative alternative.

COOPER: We're going to continue the conversation throughout the next two hours tonight of our live broadcast.

A quick reminder, the Democrats debate this Sunday night in Flint, Michigan ahead of Tuesday's state primary. Still in the middle of the crisis over lead in the drinking water. That will be one of the themes. I'll be moderating. It all gets underway right here on CNN Sunday evening 8:00 Eastern. I hope you joins us.

Just ahead for us tonight, though, with the GOP divided and the threat of a contested convention hanging over head, Glenn Beck weighs in on the state of the party next.

And later, it would be stunning if true, and we could have answered shortly, has the weapon that killed Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson finally been found? And if it has, could it be used to make a new case against O.J. Simpson?



COOPER: As we mentioned in the beginning of the program, Donald Trump has at the last minute ditched a planned appearance at the annual CPAC conference this weekend opting instead to campaign in Kansas and Florida.

The group says it's disappointed and that sends, quote, "A clear message to grassroots conservatives." Other big names are attending. One of them, conservative radio host, Glenn Beck, who has endorsed Ted Cruz for president. Glenn Beck joins me now. What do you make of Trump backing out -- I'm good. What do you make of Trump backing out at the last minute?

GLENN BECK, FOUNDER, THEBLAZE: I think it sends a really bad message to the conservatives, but one that I talked about last week on my radio program that Donald Trump is not a conservative. He say big government progressive, liberal in most of his ideas.

And he really doesn't have a taste for conservatives and he keeps talking about how many Democrats he's going to bring in to the GOP tent. He's also going to leave the conservatives out in the cold. This was a huge mistake for Donald Trump. Huge mistake.

COOPER: Do you believe that he doesn't -- I mean, he says he has a strong core but that you have to be flexible. I take it you don't believe he has a core and is too flexible.

BECK: I think he has a -- I think he has a core. His core is what's good for Donald Trump at the time. I think he believes the things he says at the time. It's just whatever is convenient for him to get what he wants.

It's the worst kind of narcissism out there, and if we put our country in the hands of Donald Trump, I think we're in trouble. What he said last night about the military, about how w, are to go out a kill families -- kill families of terrorists.

I mean, you and I know each other. We've known each other a long time. I'm a guy who says when you go to war, let's really go to war, but I'm not a guy who says let's go kill families.

That's what the difference between America and England and Germany was. You don't do that. But the disturbing thing from last night was when he two times -- two separate times was told that's illegal.

And he sounded as if he was almost making a threat to the military saying, I will be their leader, and they will follow me. They will obey my orders. That's terrifying.

COOPER: You have been speaking out against Donald Trump for a while now. The candidate you're supporting, Ted Cruz, for a long time, was basically cozying up to him, sort of pushed back in the media when the media would try to raise questions about different positions they had.

He was embracing Trump. I guess with the idea that maybe Trump would somehow implode and he could pick up some of Trump's supporters. Do you think the candidates waited too long to push back?

BECK: Everybody did. I think the media did, too, Anderson. I mean, I would imagine in your circles you are even talking about saying, I can't believe this guy hasn't imploded. This is the craziest candidacy I've seen in my life.

We've been watching with our kids. I'm trying to teach my kids. I've got a 9-year-old and 11-year-old. Trying to teach them about the constitution and about the process. We sat there at home. I'm so glad they weren't with me here in Washington, D.C., to watch it last night. They went to bed. I'm so glad they weren't watching it because I don't know how I would have explained the penis joke that the guy who wants to be president started with.

How do you sit here with your family and explain these things? How do you tell your children, hey, kids, some day you can grow up to be president but don't say anything that this guy is saying. Don't be like this president. Don't be a grotesque, greedy capitalist.

How do we as a conservative capitalist, how do I teach my children that capitalism isn't grotesque when Donald Trump will be the icon of capitalism? He is a grotesque capitalist.

COOPER: Just lastly, there's been some confusion about something you said on your radio show today. I think it was misreported but I want to hear it from you. You were talking about the debate specifically when the candidates were asked if they'd support a Trump nomination.

I want to play what was said and you can explain it. The headlines I saw earlier today have all been walked back. So I want to clarify that. Let's just play that.


BECK: They're all wrong. I don't know what I would have done if were sitting in their shoes. I can't say it that way. If I were on the stage, I would have said, have you been listening to him tonight? Have you been listening to what I say about him? And also --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say some of these things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't sit in their shoes. Does he have gigantic shoes?

BECK: If I were close enough and had a knife -- the stabbing just wouldn't stop.


[20:25:07]COOPER: Now as far as I understand, you were -- you were talking to the guy, Stu, who you often banter with on your show. That's to me what you were saying?

BECK: Yes. He was correcting me. He always does this to me. I says if I was sitting in somebody's shoes. If I was sitting -- if I was standing there on the stage. After this whole monologue about what's I was talking about, he boiled it down to, why would you be sitting in somebody's shoes. And of course, I stand by the fact that I would like to stab him.

COOPER: So but just be clear because earlier there were headlines saying you wanted to stab Donald Trump. Those were incorrect and all the outlets that reported that have walked that back. I'd like to clarify. BECK: I will tell you Anderson, this is the most amazing thing. Since I attached my name to a candidate, you wouldn't believe the stuff that's come our way. These guys for Donald Trump, all of them, have all retracted these stories. Everyone.

I've talked to the Secret Service. Everyone has retracted this. They all know what's going on. They've called the leadership of my church to say I should be excommunicated. They've called my sponsors, radio stations to say I should be taken off.

It doesn't matter. Does the truth matter to anyone who follows Donald Trump? Does the truth ever matter? That's the first principle that we need to restore in America.

COOPER: Glenn Beck, good to talk to you. Glenn, thanks.

BECK: Good to talk to you, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, we'll have more on the political battle taking place, but also what could be a shocker in the O.J. Simpson murder investigation. More than 20 years after his acquittal in the killings of his ex-wife and her friend, the LAPD is testing a knife allegedly found buried on Simpson's former property? The other shocker, wait until you learn who actually had the knife for years.


[20:30:47] COOPER: Here's breaking new and this could be quite a discovery in the O.J. Simpson case so many years after the fact. The Los Angeles police are testing a knife reportedly found at his old Brentwood estate by a construction worker after Simpson was acquitted in 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

The worker allegedly gave the knife to an off-duty police officer years ago that officer now retard as finally handed the knife over to investigator. The question, could it offer new clues in the case?

Dan Simon tonight brings us up to date.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former O.J. Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Despite the acquittal, many if not most believed it was a slam dunk case with incriminating evidence like bloody gloves, bloody shoe prints and a history of alleged abuse. But one key element prosecutors never had was a murder weapon namely the knife used to brutally kill Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Now, 21 years since the infamous trial, could the mystery knife be found at long last?

ANDREW NEIMAN, LOS ANGELES POLICE: It's being treated as we would all evidence so it is been submitted to our lab. They are going to study it and examine it for forensics, including serology and DNA and hair samples.

SIMON: It maybe a stunning twist or a fruitless discovery. Los Angeles police announced they have recently come into a possession of a knife reportedly discovered on the Brentwood property where Simpson once lived. LAPD Captain Andy Neiman said, they learned within the past month that a former Los Angeles police officer received the knife from a construction worker back in the '90s after he allegedly found it on the property outside the home, possibly when Simpson's home was being demolished.

For reasons unknown the officer now retired did not submit the knife to detectives until recently. Police want to talk to the construction worker if they can find him.

NEIMAN: Anytime you were and you come into contact with evidence that you should and shall submit that to investigators.

SIMON: It's unclear why the officer waited nearly two decades to hand over the weapon or if he knew the case was still open. It's now in the hands of crime lab technicians. But even if it turns out to be the murder weapon and incriminate Simpson in the killing, state prosecutors can't charge Simpson again for the same crime due to double jeopardy.

It's unclear if he could be charge federally was civil rights violations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a case.

SIMON: The lack of a knife at trial some believe may have allowed Simpson to walk. Simpson of course is now in a Nevada prison convicted in 2008 in connection with an armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room. Simpson claimed he was just trying to retrieve items that had been stolen from him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Count one, conspiracy to commit a crime, guilty. Count two, conspiracy to commit kidnapping guilty.

SIMON: Many applauded the conviction if for nothing else, seeing Simpson finally get prison time. But he and infamous murder trial remain a source of constant intrigue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ex-wife Nicole Simpson has been killed.

SIMON: With the February debut of a series on F.X., vividly retelling the trial in "The People Versus O.J. Simpson". With today's revelation of a knife, could there be another chapter to add to the O.J. Saga?


COOPER: And Dan Simon joins me now.

So and the officer who claims he got this knife. He says a construction worker gave it to him. Where did that happen?

SIMON: Anderson, it's all a bit strange but this retired cop says he was doing some security for a movie shoot and this construction worker just came up to him and said he found the knife on the property. Police don't know if that's an accurate account but what they do want is for this construction worker to come forward. They have publicly asked that he come forward.

As for the Goldman family, we should point out that they put out a statement today. They don't really want to engage in any discussions about this, they want police to do their job and test everything. And right now, they seem to be approaching this with a healthy dose of skepticism.

COOPER: Yeah, I think as should we all. Dan Simon, thanks very much.

Joining me in CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin that F.X. series about the Simpson case is based on his book "The Run of His Life: The People Versus O.J. Simpson" along -- also join us, Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Geragos.

So, Jeffrey, I mean there's so many unanswered questions here but the lack of a murder weapon has made this investigation so difficult.

[20:35:00] Do you believe this as real, and the significance of it.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I have a lot of skepticism I mean the length of time, the peculiar circumstances of, you know, something disappearing and being found and handed over to a cop.

I think the odds are, that this is the murder weapon, are very low, but I think it's very appropriate that they investigate it, though it is clear to me that it could only be of historical interest. There is no chance of a state prosecution under double jeopardy. And there is no chance, in my opinion, of a federal civil rights case.

Just the facts don't justify it, so. But, look, like all people, like most people, I'm interested, but I think it's really just historical at this point.

COOPER: And, Mark, I mean, the chain of custody of this, you know, this knife, I mean, allegedly went from a construction worker to a police officer, who kept it for years. Who knows who else could have handled it? It's got to make it incredibly difficult to extract anything of significance, even if there was DNA on it after being in the ground for all that time.

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's exactly right, and that's one of the big problems with it. Although, I will tell you, if there is DNA on it, of any kind and they find it, most judges are going to, kind of, not worry about that in terms of admissibility. And if there is nothing on it, then I think we've got to focus on whether or not Toobin has got some back end points on his series and that the timing of this was really -- that has something to do with Toobin. COOPER: I've got to be honest, that was my first thought. I mean, not necessarily Jeff per se. But I was like ...

GERAGOS: I thought Toobin.

COOPER: ... this has got to be -- F.X. has got to be behind this because, I mean, it's just so perfect publicity for what is already, by the way, a very popular and a very good series ...

GERAGOS: Right. And that's why I called Toobin's lawyer today and confirmed that he does have back end points. And so, the more profit participation as if he can juice this up a little in the ratings because that's the only other thing.

COOPER: The cynicism is just so -- is so terrible. It's so hurtful.

TOOBIN: So, but, you know, it is true, though, that, you know, those of us who have been obsessed with this case, one of the great unanswered questions. And I mean, you know, cards on the table, I think O.J. Simpson is guilty. But what did he do with the murder weapon?

You know, there were a lot of investigations of, you know, did he dump it, you know, he went to Chicago the night of the murders, did he leave it at LAX airport?

COOPER: Wasn't there a witness who saw him depositing a bag in the garbage or something at the airport?

GERAGOS: Yes, yes.

TOOBIN: There was a witness who might have seen something to that effect. Remember, this was before 9/11. There we not the same kind of metal detectors so he could have brought it into the plane -- brought it on to the plane. They checked out the garbage in O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Obviously, you know, so much time had passed it was unlikely to be there.

But, you know, this is one of the lingering mysteries of the case, of what happened to the murder weapon. So, obviously there's just a lot of curiosity.

GERAGOS: There were also, Jeff, as I remember, the defense found a knife in the house that the police had missed and actually had submitted that to the judge under seal because under the theory in California law if it was potentially a piece of evidence, they had to turn it over, and they did that ex parte, I think, in a sealed envelope.

TOOBIN: Well, actually, what happened was during the preliminary hearing, the prosecution with great fanfare talked about how O.J. bought a knife in downtown Los Angeles a few days before the murder. And it was insinuated that this was the murder weapon.

What happened during the trial was that Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, his lawyers, they found that knife that he had purchased and it was in pristine condition and it obviously not been used. so they turned it over to the judge. And the prosecution gave up, at the trial, this whole idea that the knife he purchased downtown was the murder weapon. But they never did have a theory that they presented to the jury about what the murder weapon was and what happened to it.

COOPER: So, Jeff, just to remind me and our viewers, like, what is O.J. Simpson's status right now? How long is he in prison for?

TOOBIN: Well, it's a very long sentence. I believe it is 33 years. But he's eligible for parole in 2017. He's 68 years old and by most accounts, not doing very well in prison. He is, you know, there are not many 68-year-olds in prison. So I think it is possible he will get parole.

But this was a very long sentence for what was certainly seemed to me a very marginal case. And I think, you know, most people believe, though the judge didn't say it, that this sentence was really pay back. It was a karma sentence.

[20:40:00] It was not really a sentence for the robbery in Las Vegas.

GERAGOS: I think Jeff is right. But somebody mentioned today, and I think it's interesting if it turns out that there is, in fact, DNA that's extracted, and I think that's a really long shot. But if that's the case and, you know, you cannot re-prosecute him because of double jeopardy on the state side. As Jeff rightly says, even though you may be able to do it federally, it's a real long shot.

Somebody could make the argument in a parole hearing to deny parole if, in fact, they could link the knife, and that's a long shot, to his property and there was DNA on it at the same time.

COOPER: All right, a lot to be discovered. Mark Geragos, thank you Jeffrey Toobin as well.

Just ahead, Donald Trump backing away from a longstanding campaign pledge to do even worse things to terror suspects in water boarding, even targeting their families. We'll get the view of that 180 from the former top Intelligence Official and Air Force General who warned that officers might refuse such orders of a President Trump if he told them to do that.


[20:44:56] COOPER: Well, Donald Trump now says flexibility is a virtue, in the president exercised some of it today with one of these country's former top General and Intelligence Official warning of rebellion in the ranks if asked to carry it out. Trump backed away from a pledge to do worse than waterboarded suspected terrorists and target their families for death.

Now, this reverses three months of Trump promising actions that's many believe would amount to war crimes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: You have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself.

I would be very, very firm with families. And, frankly, that will make people think because they may not care much about their lives but they do care, believe it or not, about their family's lives.

The families know what's going on, Bill. Believe me. The families know what's going on.

O'REILLY: You might arrest them. You aren't going to assassinate them, are you?

TRUMP: I don't know what I'd do. I don't do what I do.

And don't tell me it doesn't work, torture works. OK, folks? Torture, don't you know, I have these guys. Torture doesn't work. Believe me, it works.

BAIER: General Michael Hayden, Former CIA Director and NSA Director and other experts have said when you ask the US Military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorist families, the military will refuse because they have been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.

TRUMP: They won't refuse. They aren't going to refuse me. Believe me.


COOPER: We wanted to know what General Michael Hayden thinks of Donald Trump's change of course. That debate question was just last night and the possibility of Donald Trump as commander in chief. We should mention, he served as an advisor of Jeb Bush campaign., he's also the author of "Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror. I spoke to him by phone just before air time.


COOPER: And, General Hayden, today we saw something rare from Donald Trump about as close as he comes to saying I was wrong. What's your reaction on his reversal on the idea of illegal orders to U.S. Military personnel?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, frankly, Anderson I was very heartened to see it but, you know, less than 24 hours ago, he had a quite different position. He doubled down on the position and now he seems to correct it with a press release on a Friday afternoon. I would like to see the candidate say it. And, frankly, Anderson, I would like to better understand what possessed him to take that other position in the first place.

COOPER: You've been in rooms with a lot of tough people, a lot of leaders for a long time. You, yourself, a leader in the intelligence community, what do you make of somebody who says they are the toughest, they are the strongest, they are going to be the hardest. Do you believe that when he says it?

HAYDEN: People can say a lot of things, Anderson. Performance matters and, frankly, when a candidate goes over the top, as Mr. Trump has done, I don't know what authenticity to attach to that or the other things he's saying. We're not going to kill noncombatants. We are never going to torture people because they deserved it. And so again, I would like to learn more about what was the world view that prompted those statements in the first place?

COOPER: You also have U.S. Military personnel in harm's way overseas in majority Muslim countries in support of governments which are Muslim governments. Does it make their job more difficult? Does it make things more dangerous for them to have a president who is talking about banning or temporarily banning Muslims from the United States? And some of the other things he's said.

HAYDEN: Anderson, absolutely, and it's not just with the G.I.s who are forward. It actually increases the threat to folks like us back in the homeland. Yeah, that the dominant ISIS narrative is something of undying enmity between Islam and the west, that's false. That doesn't exist.

When you have a major presidential candidate act like it was true, that just increases the threat to all of us and move even further away from finally accomplishing our mission here.

COOPER: So, what would happen if, I mean, in your opinion, given your service, if Donald Trump became president, what would happen? Just in terms of the national security apparatus, the military apparatus. What would -- I mean, look, there have been candidates before who maybe, national security wasn't their strong suit. Would it just be a learning curve for him?

HAYDEN: There may be a learning curve and, you know, maybe today's announcement shows if somebody got to the candidate and made him change his mind. But, Anderson, the blanket statement I can give you with confidence is that if a president Trump governed consistent with the language that candidate Trump has used, this should be a far more dangerous world than even it is today.

COOPER: Does the idea of Donald Trump as president scare you?

HAYDEN: Yeah, it does. I mean ...

COOPER: It does?

HAYDEN: You asked. I answered.

COOPER: It does. It actually scares you?

[20:49:56] HAYDEN: Now, again, I don't know that much about the man other than the things he has chosen to say to identify what he would do once in office. And I find with regard to my narrow lane of national security and intelligence most of what he has to say is truly frightening.

COOPER: General Michael Hayden, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.

HAYDEN: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Just ahead at last night's debate, Donald Trump brought up Marco Rubio making fun of his hands. And Trump said as has repeatedly that no one has ever mentioned anything about his hands before. That is not the case, there is actually quite a long history of Trump being kind of weirdly sensitive to this very specific criticism. The back story next.


COOPER: It's got to be one of the hands down most inconsequential issues ever to come up in a presidential debate. But it's clearly resource by with Donald Trump, Marco Rubio mocking on hand size.


TRUMP: I have to say, he hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands. I've never heard of this. Look at those hands, are they small hands?


COOPER: What's weird about this, and many things are weird about it. But what's weird is that Trump likes to claim no one has ever brought up anything about this before. That Rubio just pulled this out of nowhere. The truth is when it comes to the question of short fingers there's a long history of this.

Tom Foreman tonight reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It all started with a decidedly unpresidential joke by Marco Rubio aimed at Donald Trump.

RUBIO: Have you seen his hands? They are like this. And you know what they say about men with small hands. You can't trust them. You can't trust them. You can't trust them.

FOREMAN: It was a not so subtle below the belt punch and Trump is steadily hitting back.

TRUMP: And he referred to my hands. If they're small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee you. Those hands can hit a golf ball 285 yards, right? I've always had people say, "Donald, you have the most beautiful hands".

[20:55:02] FOREMAN: Well, not everyone has said that. And maybe that's why Rubio hit him that way. Knowing it was a sensitive subject. Comedian John Oliver explains.

John Oliver, Back in 1988 Spy Magazine called him a "short-fingered vulgarian." And ever since, the editor Graydon Carter says he receives envelopes from Trump, always with a photo on which he circled his hand to highlight the length of his fingers, usually with a notes reading, "See, not so short."

FOREMAN: At least on that point, Trump appears to be correct. See for yourself. And as for any other part of Trump's anatomy, his wife Melania seems ready to dismiss the whole matter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mrs. Trump, what did you think of that moment?

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: It was a great moment, to say.

FOREMAN: Still for the record, medical researchers in South Korea studied the digit ratio a few years back and found that men who have index fingers shorter than their ring fingers indeed may be more endowed.

TRUMP: It's Rubio.

FOREMAN: Still, Trump has ridiculed Rubio about sweating, about being shorter ...

TRUMP: Don't worry about it, little Marco, I would.

MARCO RUBIO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let's hear, big, big Donald.

TRUMP: Don't worry about it. Don't worry about it, little Marco.

FOREMAN: And neither is extending a hand of friendship, big or small.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.



Up next, the current Republican front runner versus the last Republican nominee, a day after he hit Trump hard calling him a phony and a fraud. Mitt Romney sits down for an interview one on one. What he told Gloria Borger about whether he thinks there's any way to stop Donald Trump with "360" continues.