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Source: Trump Team Struggled Before Tillerson Nomination; Trump Taps Rick Perry for Energy Secretary; Trump's Surprise Meeting with Kanye West; Growing Investigation into Russia Hack; WH Debated For Months over How To Respond To Hacking; CNN Special Report: The Murder of JonBenet. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 13, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:04] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, there's breaking details on how Donald Trump's transition team landed on their pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. That, and two more choices including former Texas Governor Rick Perry to run the department that he once said he wanted to abolish.

Let's get the latest in all of it from CNN's Phil Mattingly. He joins us now.

So, there was a lot of high profile people running for secretary of state, Mitt Romney, General Petraeus. Why did President-elect Trump end up selecting Tillerson? Do we know?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's an interesting back story and one that is informative as it is instructive about why Tillerson ended up being the pick. Look, we've all covered this very, very close. We knew all the players that were in the game. Rex Tillerson was not one of them until a couple of weeks ago.

And here is a reason why. They simply had not found the right candidate and because of that, according to transition officials, a call was placed by Vice President-elect Mike Pence to Steven Hadley and Condoleezza Rice. Steven Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, obviously, his former secretary of state, and he was basically looking for other bias.

Now, Steven Hadley and Condoleezza Rice, according to a source, they sat back and recognized that the profile of the candidate that the Trump transition operation was looking wasn't a traditional one. And so, they thought back to individuals they had worked with in their strategic consulting firm, and Tillerson came to mind for one particularly good reason: his relationships with international communities and international leaders at his time on Exxon.

Again, it is important to note, Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson did not know one another until this call was actually made. He came in for an initial meeting. It went well. There was a level of comfort there. The two really hit it off. Most importantly, they found that their kind of personal profiles

matched up. They were deal makers. They viewed the world through a similar vain, and, Anderson, that's really how this all ended up coming to be. Those endorsements behind the scenes from Condoleezza Rice, from Robert Gates, from Steven Hadley, also from Jim Baker, played an enormous role on getting Rex Tillerson to this point, the point where he is now the selection to be the top diplomat for the president-elect.

COOPER: And when it comes to the choice of Rick Perry, former Texas governor, former secretary of energy, do we know what was behind that, because obviously -- I mean, most famously, he's the guy who once said he wanted to abolish the department that he's now going to lead.

MATTINGLY: Yes. No, there's a level of irony there that I don't think anybody is missing, including the people in the building behind me. Look, management skills were crucial.

You can look back at the 2011 debate moment. You can look back at Rick Perry on "Dancing with the Stars" this year, and you tend to forget, he was the longest serving governor in the history of the state of Texas, a state that has pretty much the equivalent to 11th largest economy in the world, if it were a sovereign nation.

Now, during his time running that state, conservatives loved what he did with the state, particularly on issues like energy. Now, those conservatives with were not only happy with Perry himself but also pushing the administration to try and find a spot for him. The Trump transition operation made sure those meetings were set up. The president-elect met with Rick Perry once behind him in Trump Tower, but also at the Army-Navy game this past weekend, the two, despite Rick Perry calling Trump's candidacy a cancer on conservatism, ended up hitting it off and they found a role there, a manager who could come in and take over and actually work in the bureaucracy.

And it is worth noting, Rick Perry not the only individual sources say will be a cabinet pick. And also keep an eye on the Ryan Zinke, a Montana congressman, an early endorser of President-elect Trump. He will be the selection to run the Department of the Interior. He's an Army veteran. He knows the issues very well from where he's from.

This is also a surprise pick. I've been talking, Anderson, to sources on Capitol Hill who long assumed this pick would go to Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Ryan Zinke is the pick. He'll be something to keep an eye on the days and weeks ahead, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly -- Phil, thanks very much.

More now on Rex Tillerson and those global ties that Phil just mentioned. To borrow from Jeffrey Lord, his nomination is being compared by some to Dwight Eisenhower picking the CEO of General Motors, also with deep global ties to be his defense secretary. Engine Charlie Wilson, as he was know, is remembered for saying, "For years, I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa." He was talking back then about concerns about potential conflicts of interests. Now, some are asking similar questions about Tillerson. Our Tom

Foreman tonight looks at some of the reasons why.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraq, 2011. The central government is struggling to contain terrorism and unify the country, when suddenly, the Kurds up north announce a blockbuster deal for oil drilling on disputed land with one stroke bolstering their claims for independence and infuriating Baghdad and Washington. Behind it all, ExxonMobil and its CEO Rex Tillerson.

But that's no problem say those who know him best. Like John Hamre at the Center for Strategic and International Studies where Tillerson is on the board.

JOHN HAMRE, CSIS CEO AND PRESIDENT: When he was the head of ExxonMobil, he was -- his responsibility was to champion ExxonMobil. He's going champion America now.

FOREMAN: All over D.C., supporters are lining up, including former Secretaries of State James Baker and Condoleezza Rice who called him an excellent choice with broad international inspiration.

[20:05:03] And former Defense Secretary Robert Gates who cites his great integrity. In fact, those three power players actually suggested Tillerson to Trump. They also worked with Tillerson and Exxon as paid consultants.

It's that sort of coziness and the oil giant's vast economic influence that concerns critics, especially the boss's deep ties to Russia.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Anybody who's a friend of Vladimir Putin must disregard the fact that Vladimir Putin is a murderer, a thug, a KGB agent.

FOREMAN: Tillerson's had close relations with the Putin for years, even receiving a Russian Order of Friendship. He created a massive oil partnership with the Russians a few years ago. And as secretary of state, he would be well positioned to push for a rollback of sanctions that derailed the deal. Possibly making millions for his old company in the process and unless he divests his shares, for him too.

Exxon recently granted Tillerson more than 2 million shares of the company, worth an excess of $180 million at current prices.

So, among congressional Democrats, already jumpy over reports of Russian computer hacks, worry is white hot.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: This is a fight for the soul of our democracy.

FOREMAN: Connecticut's Chris Murphy sums up what even has some Republicans troubled. Rex Tillerson has spent his entire career putting oil company profits first and the interest of his country second. "It's fantasy to think he will magically change his stripes once in office."


FOREMAN: Still his fans insist it is not a fantasy. Tillerson they say is the kind of man who can do just that, even if a great money others could not -- Anderson.

COOPER: Tom Foreman -- Tom, thanks very much.

Plenty to talk including new reporting how the Tillerson pick came about.

Joining us, CNN political analysts, Carl Bernstein and Kirsten Powers. Trump supporter Engine Jeffrey Lord. GOP consultant Margaret Hoover, and Democratic strategist, Jonathan Tasini.

Carl, what do you make of the Tillerson nomination? Because it's interesting, the reporting by Phil Mattingly that for Condoleezza Rice and Baker and Gates, it was his relationship with people overseas, with leaders overseas that was one of the selling points.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is why we need hearings. I don't think it is time to cast a final judgment. What we're looking at potentially are the greatest conflicts of interest in a transition that we've ever seen, going to Trump. Not just these nominees. And they all come back to Russia.

The question is, Trump's family's business interest and his interest in Russia as well as Mr. Tillerson's, and whether these tentacles that reach out and the octopus at the head which is Trump, what does it mean? We need to know and these hearings need to tell us about Donald Trump's business in Russia. That's the essential thing.

We need to know his family's business in Russia and how it relates to -- is this going to be a national register for the family? Or is this going to be an unfettered presidency and maybe Donald Trump will divest himself and his family? Those questions all come together and should hinge on these hearings.

COOPER: Kirsten, what do you make of this? I mean, clearly, Democrats are raising all sorts of objections to Tillerson.


COOPER: But he's a CEO. Very much in the making of Donald Trump and obviously some Republicans are raising.

POWERS: Yes, well, it is interesting that the people who recommended him have a very different world view, of course, than Donald Trump does.

COOPER: And in fact, Gates was very critical of him.

POWERS: Critical of him and, you know, were obviously, Condoleezza Rice was very involved in the Iraq war. So, it is interesting that he looks to these people for advice. I think that -- I agree that we have to sort of wait and see for the

hearings. But one of the issues I think to be concerned about with both Trump and Tillerson is they see everything through an economic lens. And so, for them it is about making deals with businesses.

But that's not really what diplomacy is. Diplomacy often governments will work against their economic interests if they have a national interest that overrides it. So, for example, if you go in and try to humiliate the Chinese, they might just walk away even if it is not this their best economic interest.

So, look, there are ambassadors who don't have a lot of -- who come in from business, don't have diplomatic experience and do great jobs. So, it's possible that he can do it. But, you know, I think we need to hear what he has to say about how they plan to implement this kind of policy with somebody who has no diplomatic experience.

COOPER: I mean, Jeffrey, a company like ExxonMobil. They have their own intelligence department. I mean, they have -- they are in some ways a mirror government, just like as CEO, it is not that dissimilar from being secretary of state. You could make an argument.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, what he's very good at is what they call in the diplomatic trade bilaterals, which is to say, he goes into a country and meets with the country's leader or foreign minister or et cetera, to do deals for Exxon. He's now getting out of this.

And one of the things -- I must say I find some amusement here, that in the Reagan era, when Ronald Reagan was tough on Russians, all my liberal friends went crazy about this.

[20:10:01] When he called them the evil empire, when they reserved on themselves the right to lie and to cheat and all these sort of things -- you can't do that. You have got to learn to get along with the Russians. And here they are suddenly saying, don't get along with the Russians.

And you hear the comment about his being murderer and all of this sort -- Putin is a murderer and all this, Senator McCain. Well, Good Lord. Franklin Roosevelt called Joe Stalin Uncle Joe and did all kinds of deals with him and, he makes Vladimir Putin look like an angel here.

COOPER: Is it -- Jonathan, I mean, you're Democrat obviously -- is it fair to be labeling Tillerson as a friend of Vladimir Putin before we've even heard from him? I mean, in any hearings before we've heard him describe what his relationship is?

JONATHAN TASINI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, clearly, there is evidence in tracking back on his relationships with Putin. I think if you Google apparently his name, you find dozens and dozens and hundreds of pictures of them meeting and making business deals. I'm not sure it's about where these close friends, buddy-buddy, we're going to have a beer. But they clearly have a very close relationship that is of concern to other people. What I have not heard is the two words mentioned here which relates to

Tillerson, which is the words of climate change. And my concern, it's not -- I mean, we've talked about Putin. But the reality is you now he somebody who is going to be secretary of state, a very important position, negotiating climate change agreements around the world, someone who's the head of a company, te third largest oil and gas company in the world who's been pumping oil like crazy, who's in for fracking, oil and gas fracking.

And I -- if you match that together with Donald Trump, who's a climate change denier and the head of the EPA who he's nominated, Pruitt, who is hostile to the EPA and does not believe in the EPA's mission, you combine those three together, I think we should be very concerned about whether the United States will actually have an aggressive position on climate change.

COOPER: Tillerson has said, I believe, in the past that he actually believes --

TASINI: Well, it's a nice thing compared to Donald Trump who denies and Rick Perry who denies it, that he actually acknowledges. But it is about the conduct of his company which did not reflect that.

COOPER: Margaret?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, first of all, I think it is really important to note that the reason he was a friend of Russia, right, is that he brought an enormous amount of capital investment to Russia, all right? He had actually, he as the CEO of ExxonMobil had leverage over Putin in these negotiations. Putin wanted Exxon to come.

And let's be clear, as the CEO of ExxonMobil which has operations on every continent on the planet, he has personal relationships with every head of state on the planet where they are doing significant business. And, by the way, Russia isn't even the leading -- I mean, in terms of the barrels per oil that Exxon gets out of each country per day, Russia is like sixth on the list after Africa, after the Middle East, after China, after South America.

So, there is no reason why Rex Tillerson shouldn't be considered as a viable candidate. He's going to have to answer tough questions and he has to be prepared to answer though questions. But he is somebody who has international business experience. Has practices, as Jeffrey said, in bilateral deals, making deals with.

So, tough questions, absolutely, especially with Republican members who really want to understand that he's going to be able to translate his experience to diplomatic --

COOPER: We're going to have more with the panel. We got too take a quick break.

We're also going to focus more on Rex Tillerson's business relationship with the Kremlin, how they're playing out among the senators who'll be voting on the confirmation, not all Democrats. New reporting new on where some influential Republicans now stand.

And later, in a transition full of surprises, here was another one today, Kanye West at Trump Tower, meeting with the president-elect. Details on that and some of his other meetings today, ahead.


[20:16:57] COOPER: We've been reporting on Secretary of State designate Rex Tillerson and the breaking news about how the Trump team was struggling before choosing him. Now come the questions about whether -- to what degree his confirmation might be a struggle.

Before we're going back to our panel, let's get the latest on what the effort may entail and how it is playing out from CNN's Manu Raju, who joins us now from Washington.

So, on Capitol Hill is not on board with Tillerson?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Democrats for one, Anderson. There are 48 of them and none of them today have come in out in support of Tillerson. In fact, several of them are opposed -- outright opposed to his nomination.

And then you add several Republicans who are just concerned right now about Tillerson's views about Russia and his ties to Vladimir Putin, his business deals as well. And that could spell trouble on the floor of the Senate if those Republicans end up voting no.

And then look at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Anderson, which is broken up ten Republicans to nine Democrats, if one Republican jumps ship that could also stall the nomination. Marco Rubio of Florida sits on that committee. He's said he has serious concerns with that nomination.

Now, I should caution, though, none of those Republicans are saying they will oppose the nomination. They just want to hear more about how Rex Tillerson views Russia.

COOPER: I also understand you spoke to Senator Bob Corker who's going to be sharing Tillerson's confirmation hearing. What did he say?

RAJU: You know, he plans a very busy January, Anderson. He wants to get this confirmation done by the time Donald Trump is sworn into office on January 20th. At the same time, he plans to probe into the Russian election meddling.

But on the Tillerson confirmation proceedings, he thinks that Tillerson was very best choice in his words for Donald Trump to choose as secretary of state, even though Corker himself was considered a possible secretary of state choice. But when I pressed him, I said, look, what do you know about his views about Russia, and about Russia's -- about Russian policy, he really didn't have answer. He said that we need to explore that further in the confirmation proceedings.

So, it goes to show you, Anderson, there's a lot of questions members of Congress still have about Rex Tillerson -- Anderson.

COOPER: Manu Raju -- Manu, thanks very much.

Jeffrey, I mean, obviously questions about Russia will be probably front and center in the confirmation hearing.

LORD: Sure. Of course -- and that is fair game. That is totally fair. He's going to be secretary of state. So, it is up to him to present his world view and most importantly represent the president.

One of the things I find interesting here is the fact that he's a businessman and a CEO of a company. How many lawyers do we have in the United States Senate? How many lawyers are there in the Obama cabinet? How many Ivy League graduates? There is a surplus of these folks and yet we get a businessman and they say --


LORD: We get a surplus of these folks. And --

TASINI: You're on politics. It's OK.

LORD: Right. Well, I don't know, seeing this week, just floats your name.

But seriously, I mean, you have to stop and think. Why is it just somebody who's in business that's a problem? When all of these other groups have a more than preponderant?

[20:20:03] COOPER: I get your point, Jonathan, about your concerns about climate change, you know, which many Democrats have. Clearly, this president does not share and the choice seems to reflect, although it sounds like Tillerson himself said he does believe in climate change.

But this is who he feels comfortable with and the president gets to pick the person they want.

TASINI: I'm not denying the reality of the people he's chosen and it the does reflect the fact that in this case, he's a climate change denier, which is -- but I want to step back and make it clear that this is about our children and about our future and about our planet. It's not just about some difference in policy, about defense or economics, whether you are going to have higher interest rates or not. We're talking about the survival of the planet.

And so, this choice, and the fact that Donald Trump is a climate change denier. We're going to get to Rick Perry in a second. You've got Pruitt and you've got Tillerson. I think this should be front and center in the Senate confirmation.

I want to throw one quick other thing, which is on the business side, one of the great concerns that people have had over the last ten years is the corporation stash billions of dollars overseas out of the reach of the U.S. treasury. Apple does it, just to be fair. All big corporations do that. Exxon has $51 billion overseas stashed overseas out of reach with the treasury.

So, one question could be asked of Tillerson before the confirmation, what do you think about that policy of corporations evading taxes essentially? I mean, it's legal.

HOOVER: I support tax reform.



COOPER: We got it. Is it fair, Margaret, I mean, there are plenty of people who have one job once and then switch and take on a different responsibility?

HOOVER: They're perfectly capable. These with perfectly capable individuals. By the way, he's a highly effective individual. He's a CEO of a major multinational corporation.

TASINI: Effective for who, though?

HOOVER: My sweet friend Jonathan and all of his Democrat liberal brethren are really going to have to decide who they are going to narrow their sights on.

TASINI: My guess is Pruitt.

HOOVER: But also, the other thing they need to matrix this against is the calendar, OK? Because Trump is going to be inaugurated and the next thing is they are probably going to try to get a top appointment through, probably Jeff Sessions. And then, guess what? SCOTUS, guys, and all that's off. Are you going to go for the Supreme Court?

COOPER: She makes a good point, which is, don't Democrats have to kind of pick and choose where they want to expend their time? But you can't just oppose everything and say everyone is completely terrible?

POWERS: I think so. But I'm not sure that that's what they're going to do. I think that --at least what I've heard more of the tactic is going to be maybe to outright oppose a few, but also slow roll a lot of them, to do whatever they can to gum up the gears, to try to basically act the way the Republicans did I think is sort of the pressure.

I just want to say, on Tillerson, I think there should be one standard and I guess this is going to be my forever dream. This will someday happen in Washington. When you hear people talking about this relationship with Russia, I feel like we're going back to when everyone was criticizing Barack Obama for wanting to talk to other countries and to talk to bad people, right?

So, it's basically the same argument. The argument isn't, I'm going to be best friends with Russia. The argument is we have to talk to people who we have international and national interests that coincide and we need to be able to talk to them --


POWERS: It's not -- it's actually -- look, Mark Zuckerberg is studying mandarin so he can get close to the Chinese government. Are you under the impression the Chinese government is different than Putin? I mean, they are among the worse human rights abusers in the entire world. They're doing the exact same thing.

COOPER: We've propped up regimes of human rights abusers for decades.


BERNSTEIN: Let me make a suggestion. This should not be about Democratic opposition. There are thoughtful Republicans, one hopes, who are going to use this nomination as the fulcrum to look at Donald Trump and his policies, because Trump so far has not told us much about what he really intends to do.

And this nomination is a chance to look at conflicts of interest, energy policy and perhaps rolling it back in a way that we haven't seen since Richard Nixon created the EPA -- conflicts of interest, energy policy, Russia, hacking. All of it comes together here.

So, I would suggest that this is --

COOPER: Why would Republicans do that though?

BERNSTEIN: Not many of them. But you only need a few like McCain and a couple of other very thoughtful people to make this about policy when we have a president-elect who's not being forthcoming and sends out Kellyanne and his propagandists every day, and we don't know what the hell is really going on.

COOPER: And --

TASINI: I was going to say, there's no doubt here to your point, that Donald Trump is probably going to get most if not all of his nominees. My guess is that Pruitt is probably the superficial lamb that won't go because there are probably maybe two or three moderates, Susan Collins would oppose him on the climate change issue. But I think for Democrats it is also about talking to the base and preparing for the election in 2018 and beyond, which I think most Democratic senators want to say to the Democratic base, we're not going to let these people pass unchallenged.

COOPER: There's a lot more talk to talk about, including more breaking news.

[20:25:00] Donald Trump's pick for energy secretary, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who made it clear in his 2012 presidential run that he'd like to get rid of the Energy Department, which is about to head.


COOPER: Well, more breaking news tonight. As you mentioned earlier, President-elect Trump also announced today that he has tapped former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the Energy Department, an agency Perry actually vowed to get rid off during his 2012 presidential run. Despite what cam to be known as his oops moment during a primary debate.


RICK PERRY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I will tell you. It is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the -- what's the third one there. Let's see.



PERRY: Oh five. OK. So, Commerce, Education and the --


PERRY: EPA. There you go.

DEBATE MODERATOR: Seriously? Is EPA one you were talking about?

PERRY: No, sir. No, sir. We were talking about the agencies of government. EPA needs to be rebuilt, no doubt about that.

DEBATE MODERATOR: But you can't name the third one?

PERRY: The third agency of government that I would do away with. Education. The -- Commerce. And let's see. I can't. The third one I can't. Sorry. Oops.


COOPER: That gap was a pivot moment in his troubled campaign. Now, he's on track to lead the department for securing the safety of America's nuclear weapons.

Back with the panel.

It's an interesting choice. Obviously, there is the irony of a man who wanted to eliminate the department to be head of it.



BERNSTEIN: If he can remember it.

[20:30:02] POWERS: Oh, no, I mean, I don't know if it is ironic. That's the thing. I think if you look at the way he's choosing people who are somewhat hostile to some of the organizations, it may be intentional. Yes, yes, right. Yes.

So, you know, I think if you look at the EPA, or some of these other departments it is -- you know, it is also interesting because it is not -- I think a lot of people think of Energy Department and they think it's oil and gas and climate change is a piece of it but it's also responsible for our nuclear arsenal for non proliferation and things like that that's about 60 percent of their budget. So that's not something he has expertise in.

And I think the last two secretaries had degrees in physics. So, that -- is that and then they work a lot on climate change as well, sort of -- working on the science underlying climate change. So it's not really his area of expertise.

COOPER: Although Carl, I mean if you're Donald Trump and you want to be projecting the idea of less government, of sort of eliminating waste, a guy who wants to kind of eliminate the whole department, maybe makes sense in that way.

BERNSTEIN: It does. And there are six cabinet members so far that fit that description, about eliminating waste and about stripping government down to nothing. That is what this process has been about in part. But I want to come back to this question of Russia in conflicts of interest.

We need to know and I think this nomination, but particularly Tillerson is a way of finding out what Donald Trump's holdings are in Russia. What debts he has in Russia. We need to know that. We need to know about the visits of his sons to Russia on his behalf. These hearings are an opportunity to find that out, including perhaps Governor Perry's hearings. Because the president elect is not going to let us know. This is a way perhaps we can find out what we need to know if we are going to be a country in which the president of the United States is held to reasonable standards and conflicts of interest.

COOPER: Go ahead Jon.

TASINI: We now have the four men of the climate change apocalypse, is what I'm going to call this, we've got Trump, Tillerson, Pruitt and now Rick Perry. Here's what Rick Perry said in 2011. "I think we're seeing it almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man made global warming is what is causing the climate to change." That is a 100 percent false. That is not true. 98 percent of scientists say that climate change is man made. So you have a man who is coming in -- coming into the Energy Department who's a climate change denier.

COOPER: But voters heard this and they voted and they decided and ...

TASINI: I'm telling you people should be concerned about this and should rebel against this and let me make an economic point if a moral point doesn't fly. There is going to be a huge energy industry throughout the world that's going to address climate change. It would be foolish for the United States not to be a part of that and the Energy Department is part of where it's developing.

COOPER: Jeff, as a Trump supporter, what is the message you think Trump is sending by whether it's Pruitt ...

LORD: Right.

COOPER: .... the EPA.

LORD: That he was elected to change policy and he's going to do it. One of the key things here Anderson that is not talked about often enough. I have a column coming out tomorrow for "Conservative Review". The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1833 was put in to get rid of the "spoil system" and professionalize the civil service.

Effectively the wages is worked out is like the American Federation of Government Employees gave -- Union, which represents a lot of federal government employees, gave $700,000 in the last -- in the 2016 election cycle to Democrats in the House, 86,000 to Republicans. My point is these bureaucracies are liberal themselves. And so they have a stake in all of this. So they definitely do not want a Pruitt or any of these people in charge.

COOPER: Let me just show you a picture of basically the selection so far for Donald Trump's cabinet. And Margaret as you look at that, does it concern you? I mean the vast majority white, male ...

BERNSTEIN: Billionaires.

COOPER: ... and politics aside, does it -- is that.

HOOVER: I mean -- look, we always -- look, I want a Republican party that reflects the country, right and I would prefer a Republican cabinet also reflected the diversity in the country. That said I think, you know, diversity is not only what we see sort of physically. It's also sort of an ideological diversity and I think you have -- I think the way I see this cabinet as sort of a mix of sort of drain the swampers and reformers versus people who, you know, maybe don't really represent the message that Donald Trump is running against where you have a Goldman Sachs guy at treasury and you have a big money guy in commerce.

So there is sort of a mix, the loyal people who are, you know, is like Jeff Sessions who's a -- I think you really have a mix. You know, there's something for Republican reformers here. I mean there are a good six of these nominations that really represent changing. The way ...

BERNSTEIN: It looks to me like his cabinet ...


[20:35:04] BERNSTEIN: ... that Donald Trump said he was running against.


HOOVER: If you have Tom Price at HHS he's going to repeal Obamacare, because he is actually the guy who's written all repeal bills, right. If you have Betsy DeVos who desperately wants and it start competition in our education system, and you have people who's lives and legacies have been dedicated to ... (CROSSTALK)

TASINI: No, no, they're not again -- you can't say that these are not elitists. You got billionaires, people from Goldman Sachs ...


TASINI: Hold on a second.

HOOVER: ... reform and really unchanging the way you think about government. Because you think government is can solve everything and these folks really want to reform the way government is interfering.


TASINI: Well, I do actually think for example, that the EPA in trying to limit emissions and trying to prevent kids from getting asthma, yes. I think that's a proper ...

HOOVER: How do you feel about ...


HOOVER: ... that Department of Education trying to make sure ...

TASINI: I think.

HOOVER: ... kids have a chance of a real education, instead of a broken ...


TASINI: If you look at Detroit, look at -- read the Detroit Free Press about the Tobashi (ph) destroy the school system there.

HOOVER: How was Detroit educational system doing before she got involved?


TASINI: I'm sorry, that's not factually correct. Let me finish.


TASINI: No it isn't. Let me finish with the EPA though. You're talking about someone who wants to come in and reform the government on behalf of some crazy ideology that is actually going to harm kids.


COOPER: Kirsten and we got to go.

POWERS: That's -- it's pretty mainstream Republican ideology. So it may not be what you believe. Yes, charter school ...

BERSNTEIN: School choice ... (CROSSTALK)

POWERS: And I would just say that most of these people are, you know, and I've talked to a lot of conservatives who didn't support Trump and they're pretty happy with the people that he's choosing for the most part. You know, that these are people are -- the Republicans are skeptical of the EPA. They are skeptical of the Department of Education. They're skeptic -- but, you know, it's not even people who believe that there is a problem with climate change think maybe the regulations are too much. So, I understand ...


COOPER: Carl, for those who were -- I mean for those Republicans and others who were concerned that Donald Trump was going to completely ...

POWERS: Right, yeah.

COOPER: ... low everything up in Washington. I mean this -- you know, a lot of these choices send a message of stability at least for those ideas.

BERNSTEIN: Surprisingly establishmentarian for a candidate who said he was going to sweep things clean and bring a whole sale kind of change based on non-insiders.

COOPER: Well you can argue there's enough and actually at some of this ...


BERNSTEIN: Right, well some of them are -- some of course. But by and large it is a plutocratic reflection. Rather than what Trump was talking about which I think what Trump was talking about was very refreshing in this instance to even some Democrats.

COOPER: We got to take a break. Just ahead President-elect Trump surprise meetings day at Trump Tower with Kanye West, also with NFL hall of famer Jim Brown, a long time activist who voted for Hillary Clinton, actually what did Jim Brown talk about Donald Trump. I'll talk to Jim Brown ahead in a moment.


[20:41:41] COOPER: President-elect Trump had a full day of meetings at Trump Tower and these are is including some surprises, Kanye West for example, also billionaire Microsoft co-founder and now philanthropist Bill Gates. Plus former Baltimore Ravens linebacker, Ray Lewis and hall of fame running back Jim Brown, who joins me tonight.

How did this meeting come about? What did you want to talk to the president elect about?

JIM BROWN, NFL LEGEND: About the state of black America. And I've been working on that for many, many years. And he said certain things in his early days about wanting to do something about it. We have a lot of violence in our neighborhoods now. We need education. And we need jobs. Is what I'm trying to say.

COOPER: What kind of a response did you get from him today?

J. BROWN: Totally positive. He's almost like two people, you know, he's -- was very receptive. Funny. Cracked some jokes. And understand it very well. And said he was in that he would work with us.

COOPER: During the campaign he talked about reaching out to African- American voters in particular. He talked about inner cities in a way that did offend some people. Lot of Democrats. Some African- Americans of saying what have you got to lose. What have the Democrats ever done for you that your schools aren't working? Can't get jobs. Can't get an education. You know, you get killed on the streets. Did -- during the campaign, did that stand out to you at all? What did you think of that and what did you think of how you saw him today?

J. BROWN: Well, I tell you something, I saw all of it. And a lot of it, I understood because of his personality. He's different. And for years the presidency has been like a smooth ride and nothing really dramatic has happened. But with him every day is full of energy. Things are going the happen. And today when I met him, it was like meeting a different person.

COOPER: You were a Hillary Clinton supporters, is that right?

J. BROWN: Yes.

COOPER: I'm wondering if -- was that, you know, there were a lot of Clinton supporters who are upset obviously about the result of the election or depressed about it. You are willing to give him a chance. You are willing -- this is the president now. This is everybody's president. You're willing to let him -- to try to work with him.

J. BROWN: Well in my opinion, people that go against the election are going against America. We have free elections. Everybody can vote, we fought for that, we brag about that and we know we're going to have a winner and we're going to have a loser.

So my point is, if we respect the winner and approach that person, have access to that person and that person will look at what we are presenting, that is not too bad. And I could have set back and said well Hillary didn't win, I'm just going to sit on my butt and complain. But see the one thing about this country, if you get off your butt and you apply yourself, you can be successful. But if you want to be delivered? You're talk about the wrong country.

[20:45:00] COOPER: In terms of the people that President Trump is going to have around him, the cabinet. Predominantly white, predominantly male. Is that a concern to you at all or do you feel his reaching out to people who ever been involved in the government and it's, you know, your giving them a chance? J. BROWN: You know, that's a tremendous question, you know, and I give an answer and a lot of the people black people in my community might think I'm a sell out by saying this. The three greatest people in my life as a young person were white, my high school superintendent, my high school coach and a -- I graduate in Manhasset High, Kenneth Molloy who's a mentor to yours truly.

And so I'm not a person that really deal in color. I recognize the inequities that certain cultures have to go through. I understand the history of slavery's and all those things. But I'm not a victim. I can vote, I can participant. I can invest my money. I can invest my time. And that's what I'm doing. I'm not working for anybody. I'm not making any money doing what I'm doing. I'm doing it because someone did it for me.

COOPER: And you're making a difference.

J. BROWN: Absolutely.

COOPER: It is an honor talking to you Mr. Brown. Thank you.

J. BROWN: Thank you for having me.

COOPER: The legendary Jim Brown.

Coming up, a ground course and top Republican voices calling for investigation into Russia's interference when the election and why the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee says, "It has to be done." That's next.


COOPER: Another top Republican in Congress is taking action to find out the extend of Russia's hacking of the United States presidential election, Senator Bob Corker chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He says he plans to launch an inquiry. Lawmakers from both party's are signaling that it is crucial to get to the bottom of how Russia might have interfere with the elections.

Now, meanwhile the president-elect is dismissing the findings from the U.S. intelligence committee. Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown joins us now with the latest. So what did Corker say he hopes to achieve with this investigation?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Senator Bob Corker, Anderson, says that he wants his committee to have open hearings and classified sessions to basically get to the bottom of Russian involvement and basically look step by step about what happened and why officials believe Russia is the culprit. Here's what he said.


[20:49:58] SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENESSEE: I think any time we have a country that is attempting to discredit our democracy, it's an important issue for us to pursue that goes, that inures to his benefit. That is what he's tried to achieve. How deep it goes and whether they actually tried to tilt it towards the candidate or not, it's hard for me to discern at present.


P. BROWN: So this would be the third Senate committee to dig into the issue next year, but the three reviews stopped short of a separate standing committee, Anderson who's all task was to investigate the matter similar what you saw with the panel with the 2012 Benghazi attack.

COOPER: I also understand you have details about exactly when the White House found out about the Russian attack.

P. BROWN: Well we've learned that today and my colleague Evan Perez has been talking to officials as well, but for several months, the Obama administration was aware that Russians was likely behind the hacks and Democrats are now asking why didn't the Obama White House more forcibly respond to Russian hacks targeting the Clinton campaign? Apparently targeting the Clinton campaign sooner by July intelligence agencies were told we're sure that Russian Intelligence hackers reached the DNC a month earlier.

So over the next three months there was a debate between the White House and other government agencies about how to respond to Russia in the middle of an election. And three issues popped up. There was concern that calling out Russia could lead to more cyber conflict. There was worry that it could hamper ongoing talks with Russia over Syria and the Obama White House was concerned that calling out Russia like that, saying that it was hurting Hillary Clinton would be seen that it was actually looking like the Obama White House was trying to help Clinton and they didn't want to give Donald Trump any ammunition.

We're told from officials they thought Hillary Clinton would win this election and they didn't want to give him any excuse to call the results into question. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown. Pamela thanks.

So how is the Russian hack sitting with Trump supporters? Gary Tuchman went to Wisconsin, where is the latest stopping the president- elect's so called " Thank You Tour". To find out their thoughts on Russia's interference in the election and the pick for Secretary of State. Take a look.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Single digit temperatures. Not enough to stop the folks at the very front of this line from arriving 15 hours before Donald Trump's arrival. Suffice it to say, the people you're about to hear from are intensely loyal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's freezing.

TUCHMAN: But what made you decide to wait out this long in the cold?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I wanted to support Donald. I feel that he's getting a bum wrap. So ... TUCHMAN: Bum wrap about what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just everybody is picking on him and, you know, I ...

TUCHMAN: You feel sorry for him?


TUCHMAN: A lot of people feel similarly that Donald Trump has every right to believe people are trying to undermine his election victory.

ERICA SMITH, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think there was any kind of hacking. It's all made up.

TUCHMAN: CIA says it believes that Russians did this hacking in order to help Donald Trump.


TUCHMAN: You don't believe the CIA?

BERRY: No. The CIA has been politicized. Obama has politicized just about every agency, Department of Justice, FBI, now CIA.

TUCHMAN: So you think they're out there to help the Democrats to work ...

BERRY: Absolutely.

TUCHMAN: Many people here say they just don't trust the CIA and therefore don't believe that any possible hacking would have been done for Donald Trump's benefit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their reviews are more on their feelings and not necessarily on facts as how the ...



TUCHMAN: Do you think this is not fact based, it's feeling based?


REID MINDEN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't believe that it was necessarily done by Russia. I don't know why ..

TUCHMAN: The CIA says it was. Why don't you believe the CIA?

MINDEN: Well, I don't believe that Russia would hack anything in the United States and leave evidence that it was them.

TUCHMAN: And that leads to the Russian business connections of Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson. There are some who told us let's wait and see. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He may bring a different perspective to it. Obviously Trump likes rich business people in his cabinet. He works well with them. And let's try that maybe, I don't know. I'm not sure.

TUCHMAN: Trump supporter Nina Below is pretty sure.

NINA BELOW, TRUMP SUPPORTER: And I think he'll be pretty good.

TUCHMAN: Does it bother you at all that he has strong connections to Russia?

BELOW: Not in the way he is connected with the business. I think that's it.

TUCHMAN: Can he be a diplomat and be an honest broker with a country like Russia when he's so close to Russia?

BELOW: I think he can.

TUCHMAN: Because?

BELOW: Because he's a smart businessman just like Trump is.



TUCHMAN: Anderson, Donald Trump has been speaking now for about 35 minutes. He hasn't yet mentioned Russia or hacking but he has talked about Secretary of State nominee. He says Rex Tillerson is a strong man, he's a tough man. He says he has a resume like you've never seen before and he also added quote, "He has will reverse years of foreign policy blunders and disasters."

I should tell you, Anderson, a lot of this rally is like it was before the election. He's instigated chance against Hillary Clinton, also instigated large chance against all the news media standing right here. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Gary Tuchman. Gary thanks.

[20:54:58] Coming up, the killing of a 6-year-old girl in Colorado. A case that is still unsolved. Hard to believe 20 years later. The CNN Special Report: The Murder of JonBenet airs at the top of the hour. I got a quick preview, next.


COOPER: Well the story continues to hunt a little girl found dead in her home in Colorado, Christmas time, 20 years later, the JonBenet Ramsey case still unsolved.

In a moment Jean Casarez looks back at the case in a CNN's Special Report: The Murder of JonBenet. Here's a preview.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police were desperate to talk to their prime suspects. After four months of refusing to cooperate, the Ramseys finally sat down in April of 1997. Two more formal interrogations followed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm talking about scientific evidence.

PATSY RAMSEY, JONBENET'S MOTHER: I don't give a flying flip how scientific it is. Go back to the damn drawing board. I didn't do it.

CASAREZ: Despite countless days of heated interrogation, there was no confession and no charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about the theory that this was an accident? Someone was upset over bedwetting.

RAMSEY: Going down the wrong path, buddy.

This $100,000 reward ...

CASAREZ: Then the Ramseys took their case to the public.

RAMSEY: You may be eluding the authorities for a time, but God knows who you are and we will find you.

CASAREZ: The police never did.


[21:00:03] COOPER: The CNN's Special Report, "THE MURDER OF JONBENET", starts now.