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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
WH: Trump Believes Millions Voted Illegally, Offers No Proof; Source: Trump to Act on Visa, Refugee Restrictions. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 24, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
The president believes what he believes. That's what Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said about the president's claim that millions of undocumented immigrants illegally voted and voted for Hillary Clinton.
Now, let's be clear, before we go any further, there is no evidence that happened. If it happened, it would be the biggest voter fraud in modern times, an extraordinary and unprecedented fraud. If it actually happened, you would think there would be calls for a congressional investigation and Justice Department hearings. If the president really believed it'd happen, you would think he himself would be calling for those investigations.
Now, either the president believes something for which there is no evidence and is false, or he doesn't really believe it and is just using this as an excuse to explain why he did not win the popular vote. Either way, the president is spreading a falsehood and is the subject of our "Keeping Them Honest" segment tonight.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny begins it off.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House is standing by President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claim that millions of people voted illegally in the November election.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president does believe that. He has stated that before. I think he stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign. And he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.
ZELENY: Press Secretary Sean Spicer doubling down on the president's claim, but repeatedly unable to point to evidence that backs up the charge that has been debunked by Republicans and Democrats alike.
(on camera): You said the president believes there was voter fraud. I wonder if you believe that. You were with the Republican National Committee at the time and chief of staff Reince Priebus was the chairman of the RNC at the time. Do you believe there was widespread voter fraud?
SPICER: Listen, my job is not, look --
ZELENY: How can he be comfortable with his win if he believes --
SPICER: He's very comfortable with his win.
ZELENY: -- 3 million votes. Maybe he didn't win --
SPICER: No, he's very comfortable with his win. It's an electoral based system. He got 306 votes, 33 of 50 states voted for him. I think, look, Jeff, I've asked and answered this question twice. He believes what he believes based on information he's provided.
ZELENY: What about democracy, though, Sean?
SPICER: Thanks, Jeff.
ZELENY: What does that mean for democracy?
SPICER: It means I've answered your question.
ZELENY: Have you?
(voice-over): The allegations of voter fraud which Trump repeatedly made before taking office surfaced again after the president repeated that claim Monday night while meeting with congressional leaders at the White House.
SPICER: I think he won handily. He's very comfortable with his win.
ZELENY: But he doesn't sound like it. He won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million. He charged millions voted illegally, a claim as unsubstantiated as when he first made it after the election. But now, it carries the weight of the presidency.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said if Trump believes it, he should disclose his proof and ask for an investigation, telling CNN's Manu Raju, such allegations erode the president's credibility.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: So I would urge the president to knock this off. This is the greatest democracy on earth. You're the leader of the free world and people are going to start doubting you as a person.
ZELENY: From the White House podium, Spicer left open the door to launching an investigation, but repeatedly brushed aside questions from reporters.
SPICER: There is no investigation. It's -- I said it was possible. Anything is possible. It was a hypothetical question.
My point to you is that to ask us on day two, he made a comment last night on something he's believed and said for a long, long time.
ZELENY: Even as he gets to work laying out his agenda, Trump is still on a quest to prove his legitimacy. The exchange came on the fourth full day of Trump's presidency, overshadowing his executive actions to revive the Keystone Pipeline and clear the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline, two more reversals of the Obama administration.
The president said today he is closing in on his first Supreme Court nomination to replace the yearlong vacancy of former Justice Antonin Scalia.
TRUMP: We will pick a truly great Supreme Court justice.
COOPER: And Jeff Zeleny joins us now.
We should point out, Sean Spicer, Jeff, did not answer your question about whether Sean Spicer actually believed what the president is saying, given that he was working at the reasons reason and would know I think about that kind of concern. But didn't Trump's -- didn't the president's open attorneys rule this out already, that there was this massive fraud? Didn't they say there was no evidence of fraud?
ZELENY: Indeed they did, Anderson. If you'll remember back to that lawsuit about the potential recount of votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania -- well, in the Michigan case specifically, the Trump lawyers argued this in the court papers. They said that all available evidence suggests the 2016 election was not tainted by fraud or mistake. That was in the court filings.
So, you know, if you ask Republicans privately, they do not believe this. They believe that he won the Electoral College. The question is, why does the president believe this? And if it matters or not?
Now, at the White House tonight they are trying to move beyond this, change the subject as it goes into the second day here. But until the president says it himself, Anderson, I'm not sure this will go away.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff, thanks very much. Again, President's claim when word got out last night overshadowed the other headlines. The same can be said in many ways about Sean Spicer's defense of it today.
[20:05:03] It dominated today's press conference that you saw. Because it contains a number of shaky assertions and muddy arguments, we thought it was worth playing a longer portion of what he said today. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Does the president believe that millions voted illegally in this election? And what evidence do you have of widespread voter fraud in this election, if that's the case?
SPICER: The president does believe that. He has stated that before. I think he's stated his concerns of voter fraud, and -- and people voting illegally during the campaign, and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.
REPORTER: Why not definitely say that he will investigate if he believes and the administration position is that there was massive voter fraud?
SPICER: Well, first of all, the comment he made was he said 3 million to 5 million people, you know, caused -- could have voted illegally. Based on the studies he's seen.
REPORTER: Three million to 5 million people voted illegally, that is a scandal of astronomical proportions. Does anyone ever restore Americans' faith in his ballot system? Wouldn't he want an investigation of this?
SPICER: Well, as I've noted several times, he's believed this for a long time.
REPORTER: I'm asking you, why not investigate something that --
SPICER: Maybe we will.
REPORTER: I just want to be clear about this investigation because it seems like he's opened the door. Have you discussed with the president --
SPICER: Which investigation are you referring to?
REPORTER: Possibly investigating this voter fraud --
SPICER: No, I didn't. I did not -- no, I did not.
REPORTER: You said it's possible.
SPICER: Of course, anything's possible.
REPORTER: What evidence do you have?
SPICER: As I said I think the president has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has. This isn't the first time you've heard this concern of his, right?
REPORTER: It's not, but I think it's worth clarifying whether illegal ballots or illegal immigrants --
SPICER: I think there have been studies, and there's one that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who have voted were noncitizens. There are other studies that have been presented to him. It's a belief he maintains.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: So, you heard Sean Spicer referring to a 2008 Pew Research study. That, in fact, does not exist. Pew, however, did do a study four years later which the campaign cited on other occasion, so we assume that's what he's actually referring to.
We decided to reach out to a man deeply involved in that study. David Becker is his name. He's the primary author of the study and he joins us now.
David, thanks for being here.
So, just to be clear, the Pew study which you authored that's been frequently cited by the Trump camp for months, it found that while there are millions of out-of-date registration records due to people dying or moving, that does exist, there was no evidence that voter fraud resulted from that. Is that correct?
DAVID BECKER, EXEC. DIR., CENTER FOR ELECTION INNOVAION & RESEARCH: Right. There was no attempt to even quantify it in many ways. We were really just trying to quantify the challenges election officials have in keeping their election rolls, their voter lists up-to-date in the course of an election cycle. And, of course, this study came out almost five years ago now.
What we've seen since then is that thanks to the work of many in this space, states and local election officials have done a much better job of using data and technology to keep their voter rolls up-to-date. I think the rolls for the 2016 election were probably the most accurate list we've ever had and they're going to get better.
COOPER: So, when Sean Spicer says that the president believes there's been voter fraud, massive voter fraud, based on studies and evidence -- that's what the phrase that's been presented to him -- to your knowledge, are there any studies, is there any evidence that points to any kind of large scale voter fraud?
SPICER: I don't know of any evidence. I was at Pew and I ran the elections team there. I was there for eight years. I was a lawyer in the Justice Department in the voting rights section there for seven years in the Clinton and second Bush administrations and I study this extensively.
And I don't know of any study that's found significant voter fraud. There's studies that have found 31 cases out of a billion nationwide, virtually non-existent. And election officials across the country, Republicans and Democrats who have looked at this issue, studied in their own states, tried to prosecute people who have allegedly committed voter fraud, have found only a handful of instances.
I think this says something really good about the American people. I think they take their elections seriously. I think fraud is exceedingly rare. And if you look at numbers, you're more likely to get bitten by a shark who's won the Powerball lottery than, you know, find someone who committed voter fraud.
COOPER: Have you ever heard of a shark actually winning the power lottery?
BECKER: No. That would be pretty unusual.
COOPER: So, that study, you kind of said -- I think there was 2000 -- was it 2016 study out of a billion voters, there were 31 provable cases of fraud or attempted fraud?
BECKER: Yes. I think it was 2014, overseen by a professor at -- law professor at the university -- at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. But Republican and Democratic election officials, people like Republican Secretary of State John Huston in Ohio who's worked really hard to make it easy to vote but hard to cheat, has looked into this study extensively and found only a handful, maybe a dozen over many election cycles in Ohio when there are millions of votes being cast.
COOPER: So, based on what you've seen of this past election, you would say there's zero evidence of fraud at this point and certainly fraud on the scale that the president is talking about 3 million to 5 million illegal votes -- is impossible.
[20:10:04] BECKER: Yes. I mean, any claim that suggests that fraud exists, it does exist more than zero. It just doesn't exist much more than zero and any claim beyond that is just false and not supported by the evidence.
COOPER: All right. David Becker, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you
BECKER: Thank you.
COOPER: Digging deeper into how President Trump's recent statements fit into a larger pattern, Winston Churchill famously said, "We will never surrender." What sometimes forgotten is he uttered those words in the context of realistically and clearly explaining the allied retreat at Dunkirk.
President Trump also has no taste for surrender certainly, but by contrast, he shows little appetite for the bitter truth or even mildly inconvenient facts.
And as our Joe Johns reports, that tendency does seem to date back long before he even got into the race.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump repeated false claims despite evidence to the contrary from talking down American democracy.
TRUMP: I'm afraid the election's going to be rigged, I have to be honest.
JOHNS: To questioning whether a faulty debate microphone was somehow rigged to work against him.
TRUMP: I don't know if you saw that in the room but my microphone was terrible. I think -- I wonder was it set up that way on purpose.
JOHNS: To widespread voter fraud.
TRUMP: The only way we can lose in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on.
JOHNS: And even before he was a candidate --
TRUMP: "The Apprentice" is a monster hit.
JOHNS: When his TV show "The Apprentice" slipped in the ratings, Trump still proclaimed it as the number one show on television.
TRUMP: Anybody here knows because you're in the television business, "The Apprentice" is the number one show on NBC, the ratings are through the roof.
JOHNS: Jim Dowd, the show's PR director, telling "Frontline" that Trump became kind of a monster when it came to these ratings.
TRUMP: He's been a very bad judge. He's been very unfair.
JOHNS (on camera): And when his real estate training program, Trump University, was sued, Trump complained the judge was treating him unfairly because of his Mexican heritage, even though the judge was born in Indiana.
TRUMP: I've been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall.
JOHNS (voice-over): And on his other businesses.
TRUMP: I've had some downs but, you know, I've had friends that went out of business, you'll never see them again. I never went bankrupt.
JOHNS: While he never declared bankruptcy, Trump's companies did, four times, in fact, most notably for his Atlantic City casinos.
TRUMP: I had the good sense, and I've gotten a lot of credit in financial pages. Seven years ago, I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered and made a lot of money in Atlantic City and I'm very proud of it.
JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, certainly, a fascinating record, very much part of the larger conversation which we'll have with the panel when we come back. They're I'm sure anxious to get started.
And later on the program, is the new administration cracking down on dissent by censoring tweets? We'll tell you about tweets on climate change numbers that went up and then were taken down. And the administration's explanation for why it asked the department responsible to stop posting. Does it hold water or would Democrats today say Vladimir Putin would be proud?
[20:16:27] COOPER: Well, welcome back.
Our lead story tonight is President Trump's claim about millions of people committing voter fraud. There's also a question of whether the claim is part of a larger pattern, or as Joe Johns reported, no conceding any negative or try to spin it into something, is it the eternal sunshine of positive thinking or something else?
Plenty for the panel. Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker", "New York Times" White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, Trump supporter, "American Spectator" contributor, Jeffrey Lord, Van Jones, former Obama senior adviser and host of CNN's "THE MESSY TRUTH", and Ed Rollins, former White House political adviser to President Reagan, who runs a pro-Trump super PAC.
Ryan, I mean, making claims about widespread voter fraud, this is a lot different than just making unsubstantiated claims about the size of inaugural turnout.
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: Yes, I think so. I mean, look, 5 million people would be about 4 percent of the people that voted in the 2016 election. So, that would be the most massive voter fraud in the history of modern democracies. It would call into question Donald Trump's election. He only won by 80,000 votes in three states in the Midwest. So, if 4 percent of the population was fraudulent, there's a decent chance that by Trump's math, you know, you'd want to investigate.
LIZZA: None of this is true.
COOPER: Congressional election, Senate elections, I mean, there would be a massive investigation.
LIZZA: I mean, look, our adversaries around the world, Iran, China, Russia, what do they when they go and make the case against United States and to other countries? They say, democracy in the United States is not real democracy. You shouldn't be -- you know, other countries where we support democracy -- you shouldn't be supporting this.
This is playing into the hands. This is not just domestic implications and sowing, you know, sowing doubts about democracy in our country. Around the world, where our country is held up as an example of the greatest democracy in history, this is playing into our adversaries who make the opposite case.
So, it's to me completely mystifying why the president of the United States thinks there's any advantage in spreading this false information.
COOPER: Maggie, you've covered the Trump campaign very closely. It is a lot of what we heard during the Trump campaign and yet, now, it's happening in the White House.
HABERMAN: I mean, I think he is incredibly plagued by the criticism that his election was somehow not legitimate, and you've heard this a lot. I mean, he was very bothered by what Congressman Lewis said about him. He said he was an illegitimate president. Obviously, with Trump -- and that's a serious statement to make. With Trump, it's always the size of the reaction and so, the reaction was pretty large.
I think a couple of things. I think that he has not adjusted yesterday, I don't know if he will, to how different it is to say something like this when you were actually in the White House as opposed to when you were on the campaign trail. It should not be OK to say it on the campaign but people are used to it.
It's also really striking to have the White House press secretary say this from the podium, and essentially makes it policy. This isn't just, you know, people whispering on background that the president said XYZ at a meeting and I think Ryan is right. I think people in other countries will look at this and I think there's a desire to denigrate and downplay the U.S. democracy and the foundation of it and the electoral process and this feeds into that.
COOPER: Ed Rollins? I mean, you served in the White House. What do you -- how do you see this?
ED ROLLINS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL ADVISER TO REAGAN: I don't feel good about it. I think at the end of the day, I think he believes this and I think to a certain extent someone should have sat him down and explain to him, here's why you lost to Hillary in the popular vote, California where you didn't campaign, where there's no Republican running statewide, you lost that state by 4.3 million votes. That's the margin.
If you've gone there and spent $100 million, maybe it would have been a 2 million vote difference. No one has explained that to him. So, in his head, how could I have lost by 3 million votes when I was doing so well everywhere else?
[20:20:03] COOPER: So, you're saying he really does believe it?
ROLLINS: I think he does. I think there's a rationale. Jeff and I worked for a president who believed a lot of things he probably shouldn't have.
ROLLINS: The critical thing is -- and I mean no disrespect, it's just the reality. What you have to do is make sure that the system is built around you basically make sure every bit of facts and figures he gets, there's empirical data. Because when a president states something today -- and, you know, you have to understand, this is a guy who kind of lived in a fantasy world, his business, wrestle mania, you know, "The Celebrity Apprentice".
COOPER: Right. There's plenty of real estate developers who trump up numbers.
COOPER: No pun intended. You know, build up numbers, this building is the best building in the city, stuff like that. But --
ROLLINS: I don't think he's out there deliberately lying. I think he believes this and I think to a certain extent, that doesn't diminish it at all. What he doesn't understand, though, and my issue is when you step on your own story, the critical thing about running a White House is you have to basically make sure you communicate all on the same wavelength and you basically -- you know, it's always a battle every day who's going to set the national agenda. Is he going to set the national agenda? Is the national media is going to set the national agenda? Was the Congress going to set the national agenda?
You don't set -- he had a good day today up until this point and when you basically -- now all the stories tonight, while we're sitting here talking about it, is not the pipeline or any of the things he did, it's just --
COOPER: Yes. I mean, Jeff, I think Ed makes a smart point, which is, he has a great story -- I mean, yesterday he had a great story to tell. Today, whether you agree with his policies or not, he had a great story to tell because he did -- there were things being done.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: OK, Anderson, you're going to delight with the fact you're now getting me in trouble with my former boss. Let me just --
ROLLINS: Not boss.
LORD: Let me say, I have no idea how many people voted illegally. But let me say in reference to articles in "The Wall Street Journal", on November 30th of 2016, and in "National Review Online", October 20th of 2014, there are by my count at least nine examples of voter fraud by noncitizens voting.
Now, the author of this, Hans von Spakovsky of -- former member of the Federal Election Committee, stop it, Van, and former Justice Department official and John Fund, formerly "The Wall Street Journal", have said they don't know, but they've made a real study about it. They written a book about it and you can find example -- nine examples --
COOPER: They've made a real study of it and found nine examples.
LORD: There's only so much space in "The Wall Street Journal."
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's nine million --
LORD: What they're saying is they don't know how many. So, what I'm saying is --
COOPER: You're saying there's only so much space in "The Wall Street Journal." So, "The Wall Street Journal" doesn't have space to focus on 3 million illegal voters?
LORD: Anderson, the Obama -- they're saying that the Obama administration blocked efforts by states like Kansas, Arizona, Alabama, a and Georgia to verify the citizenship of their citizens of people turning up to vote.
COOPER: But you just heard the guy who wrote the study that the White House claims to be basing their things on who says --
LORD: I understand, but there are people out here with a different story. I'm saying Senator Graham and McCain, and I've written about this in "The American Spectator", should get off their butts and investigate it.
COOPER: The question is why isn't the president calling for an investigation?
LORD: I think it's great idea and I think he should.
JONES: Jeffrey, I think your genius is worthy of a greater cause than this. This is ridiculous. Yes, in the system where you have 320 million people, 180 million that can vote, there will be some people who do bad things.
LORD: In a key election, Van, it could be anything.
JONES: Hold on a second. Three million to 5 million people is bigger than some of our states. It would be a massive number of people. And you would have to believe some of the worst things possible both about our electors, the -- I mean, it's hard -- it's also -- I didn't want to talk about this.
But as I've been trying to point out, trying to get people to vote when they are eligible to vote is almost impossible. The idea there's 5 million people out there who are not eligible to vote you could somehow get to vote, I don't know --
LORD: Why not find out how many?
JONES: Well, Trump doesn't want to apparently.
But let me say something else. It could be the case that this is the most genius thing that Trump has ever done because we are talking about this and maybe he's glad because all these wonderful things that he's done today are actually awful things from my point of view.
JONES: He's doing terrible things. He's shoving pipelines down people's throats. He's tagging people.
COOPER: By the way, we are going to cover all of that.
JONES: I just want to say --
ROLLINS: The sad thing is he had a brilliant election. He did exactly what any strategist --
COOPER: Right, it was an extraordinary election.
ROLLINS: It was an extraordinary election. He basically executed it perfectly with a lot of missteps along the way and he beat a very viable candidate and campaign that was enormous.
[20:25:03] So, by going this way, he diminishes what really happened.
COOPER: Right. That's what I just don't understand the -- just from a purely political strategic point of view.
ROLLINS: Thank you very much. I'm the president of the United States for the next four years. Get over it.
COOPER: Or eight years.
HABERMAN: But he doesn't want anything go.
COOPER: Yes, a lot more to talk about, a lot of the news that Van is upset about, that Ed and Jeffrey are not.
Right now, I want to go back to the White House with Jeff Zeleny who's got more breaking news.
Jeff, I understand President Trump is expected to announce several executive orders Wednesday dealing with visas and refugees.
ZELENY: Indeed, Anderson.
President Trump is going to go to the Department of Homeland Security tomorrow afternoon and continue signing executive orders that he's been signing. Now, I am told by aides here at the White House and on Capitol Hill, this is going to be a multiday rollout of immigration- type things. Tomorrow, it seems that he's going to be focused on border security. But then later in the week, likely on Thursday, also focusing on some of visa and refugee programs, particularly some country where is he says and this administration says are hotspots for terrorism.
Of course, this is part of a skilled back version if you will of the ban on Muslims. So, this is still being developed in terms of how they will be shaped. For the next couple days, his immigration orders will be focused on immigration. COOPER: So, do we -- I mean, we may not know the details on this yet
and if we don't, then that's fine. Is this -- you know, at one point he talked about a ban on Muslim, temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S., then basically a ban on people from countries that are beset by terrorism.
Do we know what the parameters of this would be, this executive order?
ZELENY: Anderson, we don't know exactly what the parameters are but it is not a full-scale ban on Muslims as he proposed in the December of 2015 in South Carolina. That was his first sort of shot at this.
As the campaign went along he adjusted that. He called it extreme vetting, crafted it somewhat. So, this I'm told is going to be a more limited executive order targeting some countries specifically where there is terrorism, but this is going to be again be part of a multiday rollout.
What it's not going to include are the dreamers and that is something that some conservative, some people who voted for him are wondering why he is the not overturning that action that President Obama signed. In the White House briefing today, Sean Spicer said today president is focused on people who will do this country harm. That means he is going to put off at least for now some of those younger immigrants here, the DREAMers.
But tomorrow and Thursday, when he signs the orders, look for immigration action and those refugee actions coming on Thursday.
COOPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, appreciate that breaking news.
Just ahead, we have more breaking news: a national park goes rogue on Twitter, posting a series of tweets on climate science in the wake of social media blackouts which were ordered by the Trump administration. Details ahead.
[20:31:49] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's more breaking news tonight involving a national park and what has been posting on its official Twitter account. This is unfolding in the wake of the Trump administration enforcing a social media blackout on the EPA and briefly suspending all national park accounts on Friday. The broader concern of course that the administration is putting a lockdown on information it doesn't like. Now what has press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about blackouts today's press conference or briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Interior Department, they have the same kind of thing over the weekend, supposed they were banned from tweeting?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I read that. My understanding is that because they had inappropriately violated their own social media policies, there was guidance put out to the department to act in compliance with the rules they were set forth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, that some of the back stories. CNN's Rene Marsh joins us now with the latest. So, I understand this is over the latest kind of kerfuffle over tweets from Badlands National Park.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The latest news Anderson surrounds that national park in South Dakota and its official Twitter account. It sent out a series of tweets about climate change today that could be seen as defying President Trump, one of the tweets read, "Today the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any other time in the last 650,000 years. #climate."
Now, not necessarily the kind of tweet that the new president might endorse. Trump once called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese. What we shall say that tweet was up for just a few hours before they were deleted. Democrats saying quickly came out to criticize the move. DNC press secretary saying in a statement that Vladimir Putin would be proud.
Of course as you mentioned this all comes after the Trump administration asked the Department of Interior to temporarily stop tweeting. That was after they re-tweeted those images that compared the crowd sizes of Barack Obama's inauguration to Donald Trump's.
COOPER: So why were these tweets deleted? Do we know? Was it from the administration or what?
MARSH: So at this point it literally is a mystery. We reached out to the park. They have not returned CNN's calls. So it really remains unclear. Was this something that the administration told them that they had to do similar to what we saw at the Department of Interior? That at this point is unknown, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Rene Marsh, thanks very much. More to discuss with --
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: 3,000 from the Badlands, that's going to be the great.
COOPER: Yeah. I was like how many people follow the Twitter account of Badlands National Park?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let's try to find it.
COOPER: OK, many more, I know. Van, I mean you're a Democrat. Are you concerned about this? The Democrat certainly were --
JONES: Yeah, and my tweets. No. This is actually, you know, serious stuff and I'm glad we're going to talk about it. You know, you're starting to see a pattern now. Usually there, you know, there's a sense what you have your political appointees and there's a political direction that set, but the civil servants, the people who are just the b-team, they're going to be there, they were there before you got there, they'll be there after you're gone, they just do their job, they don't get interfered with on basic facts and data.
For us to be in a week of what day five or something and we're already down to like the social media intern is getting, you know, bossed around, you know, from the White House is what it looks like, that's frightening and it's wrong-headed. You got to let the facts speak for themselves and you don't want this kind of stuff going on.
[20:35:10] COOPER: Jeff?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Badlands National Park, let me just repeat this for my friend Van, it's a park, it doesn't tweet, right. People tweet.
JONES: Yes, right. And they tweet quotes.
LORD: And now my point here and we saw this with the intelligence community and I said at the time we're going to see this from other bureaucracies, these civil servants, lots of them belong to unions which endorsed the Democratic Party candidates for president --
MAGGIE HABERMAN, NYT WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: But what isn't happening --
LORD: Wait, wait, wait, it's happen --
JONES: It's not you're saying it's not a fact that the carbon dioxide load is greater?
JONES: Is a fact or not a fact?
LORD: Van, what I'm saying to you is these people work for the president of the United States. Whomever that may be. And God forbid that in the Obama administration some rogue person out there in the administration tweeted something that was totally different than --
JONES: How is it -- the administration's policy to deny the fact of science and math?
LORD: Forget the specifics.
COOPER: But wait a minute.
LORD: I'm saying --
JONES: Are you saying that the president of the United States has a policy against facts?
LORD: Van, stay away from --
JONES: From the facts.
LORD: -- this particular issue. The issue is do civil servants, are they politicized? Are they --
JONES: That's political fact, more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a political fact.
LORD: But this is the Department of Housing and Urban Development if they do this, what if it's the intelligence community?
JONES: If they put out facts?
COOPER: Hold on.
ROLLINS: No, I protected you when you worked for me in the White House, but I promised you in bureaucracy which I spend many years is, there's plenty of political people on both sides of the aisle and they are very active and they care very deeply about their issues. And I promise you in the EPA and other places like that, those people are probably more active. One of dangers always in a new administration is and I still used to train the secretaries, don't go and get captured by the natives.
You know, you go out there, and I know nothing, and all of a sudden they take care of you and two weeks later they come back --
JONES: You can't possibly defend --
ROLLINS: The tweets in the Badlands, I don't -- I'm not standing the doors.
JONES: I want to say, when you're one of the greatest people in the American politics. You cannot possibly think that it's great for the Republican Party or for a new administration to be out here deleting tweets that only put out facts. It's not saying all climate change is real. It's just facts.
LORD: They're putting out alternatives.
ROLLINS: I think there are lot better -- bigger issues to deal with and I think the reality is -- what I've learned from the last couple days here, I made a decision a long time ago I never want to be the press secretary. I never watch this poor soul out there the last two days get the crapped out of him, I definitely know that's, you know --
COOPER: I mean I guess the question, you know, Jeffrey is do -- the people who work at the Badlands Park, that you said they work for the president, they don't they work for the American people and doesn't pressure the --
LORD: No, but the president, whomever the president is, is their boss. He runs the executive branch. They're in the executive branch. And no matter who I say this, I would defend President Obama --
COOPER: So it was, so --
LORD: -- it's a rogue conservative out there --
JONES: What rogue?
LORD: -- sending out -- because it's there -- whoever it is --
JONES: It's a fact.
LORD: Again, the park is not tweeting.
JONES: Here's why you're going to be right, let me tell you when you would be right and why you're wrong. You would be right if somebody tweeted and said this amount of carbon in the atmosphere and it is causing climate change to happen because that -- that would be -- this was a fact that said the amount of carbon in atmosphere is greater than it's been. Nobody's arguing against that. And that got deleted.
COOPER: All right, let's -- we're going to come back with more. We're going to take a quick break, talk about the new executive actions President Trump signed today clearing the way for major oil pipelines and his predecessor head blocked. The details on that ahead.
[20:42:27] COOPER: Well the breaking news from the White House, President Trump is expected to sign executive actions tomorrow on visa and refugee restrictions. Today also started with executive actions to advance the stalled Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines overturning decisions obviously made by his predecessor President Obama. Here's what the president said this morning about the move.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: This is with regard to the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Something that's been in dispute and subject to a re-negotiation of terms by us. We're going to re-negotiate some of the terms, and if they'd like we'll see if we can get that pipeline built. A lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And we're back with the panel. Ryan, I mean this is -- shouldn't come as a really as a surprise to say something that President Trump talk about in the campaign trail.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, Republicans have been campaigning on this for years. Just one click fact check, the State Department says that yes there will be tens of thousands created -- of jobs created in the one to two years that it takes to build that pipeline. The number of permanent jobs would be trivial, you know, in the dozens. I've actually been to Trans-Canada headquarters that's the Canadian company that's going to build this pipeline.
Another irony this is of course the first great infrastructure project in America under Trump is actually a Canadian infrastructure project. By the way I've been to Calgary where Trans-Canada's headquarters are is, their entire pipeline operations are done from a control room in Calgary. So it won't create thousands of jobs long term. The construction in the short term, the one to two years it will.
This is -- in terms he made a very interesting caveat there, though. He said it's subject to re-negotiation and I'll be curious to see if Trans-Canada comes back, submits their application to build the pipeline and does the Trump administration say, well wait a second, we need a little bit more to let you guys do this. If he did that, that would be more of a victory for the United States.
COOPER: It's certainly taken on symbolic value for all the sides on this debate.
HABERMAN: Oh, yeah. I mean look, we've been hearing about this issue for years now. I think that if you put it in the context of what President Trump -- every time I trip and start to say President Obama, I'm not used to it still. When you put it in the context of what he's been doing this week, he really -- this is essentially is a week that is about framing the beginning of his presidency on what he promised in his is to do in his first several days when he was campaigning. But I think Ryan is right. I think that when you actually look at the numbers here, I don't know that this is going to bring the kind of boom that he is talking about and I think that overall there is a broader issue where if he's not careful -- and I think he is making certain gains this week, and I think what he's done on trade was very smart politically.
[20:45:05] I do think if he's not careful about expectations he is setting himself up for something of a fall. I thought it was very interesting that Sean Spicer at the podium yesterday refused to say with the unemployment rate is. That actually means that they can kind of move the numbers, how they want later from the podium, not manipulate the statistics, but it means they will say what number they want to rely on. A lot of these manufacturing jobs, a lot of what we're talking about over time, those industries are not coming back. So I think this is potentially problematic.
COOPER: I mean Ed though for a president who's just starting out, I mean something -- a two-year benefit is better than --
ROLLINS: The best part of this drill here is that some of the big issues the Obamacare repeal and replace, the tax programs, was all complicated and it needs the help of the Congress to make that happen and then I quick fixes. What is a quick fix is to basically say President Obama did XY and Z and I'm erasing it. I'm changing that thing today. And he's going to do a whole series of those. And that to his base is a very positive thing.
I said, I thought the speech which everybody else was thought was gloomy, I thought it was an important speech to his base. He stood up there and said this is what I said on the campaign trail, here's I'm sitting in front of 1,600 very most important people in Washington, D.C., and I'm not talking to them, I'm talking to you and these are the promises I make. The executive orders are something he can do. 10,000 jobs, 15,000 jobs right now is very important.
JONES: Look, the Keystone Pipeline has really never been properly understood by either side. First of all, you're talking about 5,000 construction jobs, temporary, you got to multiply I guess up to 30,000 temporary, he add up 30 jobs permanent, most of them in Canada. This is not some big jobs creator. The problem is it's not a pipeline for oil. People say you have oil pipelines all over the place, why are guys upset? It's a pipeline for something called diluted bench man, in other words, they're going to scrape the nastiest, dirtiest stuff in the world off the bottom of everything in Canada, they're going to shove it full of chemicals and shoot it down here.
The last time we did this, we had a spill of that stuff and it ruined a whole city and you have not been able to get it fix. So the problem is there is no insurance for the people who are going to dealing with the spills. And that we've never talked about the fact, this is a lot of spill for few jobs.
COOPER: We got to take a quick break. Much more ahead including President Trump and the CEOs. He's met face-to-face with dozens of business leaders this week. Even since winning the election, Mr. Trump wants them to put America first in his words. The question is Trump's hands on approach, is that good for business? We'll talk it over with Trump critic, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord.
[20:50:09] COOPER: Well, as you certainly know by now President Trump has pledged to put America first and he's calling on U.S. companies to join him, including the CEOs of the big three automakers, G.M., Ford, Fiat Chrysler who all met with President Trump at the White House today. In fact since winning the election Mr. Trump has met with more than two dozen business leaders from some big name companies, you see on your screen, tech companies and many more.
President Trump is pledging incentives such as corporate tax cuts in hopes they'll hoose businesses here at home. He's also warning of a border tax for companies to make goods overseas and not on U.S. soil, but want them to sell them here. Trump's tough approach has some asking if his letting the free market be free or is he using the so- called bully puppet to bully these companies.
Joining us now is former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now UC Berkley professor, author of the book, "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not a Few. And Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord is back as well.
COOPER: Secretary Reich, these meetings, I mean the carrot and sticks that President Trump is dangling in front of the CEOs, if it results in more jobs for U.S. workers isn't that a good thing? ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: More and better jobs. I think more jobs is not the only objective Anderson. We also want higher wages. American workers have not had on balance a raise in 30 years but yes, it is a good thing. The real interesting question here, though, is what is the nature of the deal? Republican presidents for the last three administrations have sat down with CEOs and they promised and often delivered tax cuts and also regulatory relief so- called, but all that results is higher profits and higher share prices and not really better jobs. Not more jobs because most of these companies, in fact, every private sector company is in business to raise shareholder value and not to create more jobs. That's not the nature of -- that's not the purpose of the private sector. So it'll be interesting to know what exactly is the art of this deal here.
COOPER: Jeff, I mean I guess the other side of the coin is, is it a problem if businesses are making decisions not because of their -- of the business climate or some kind of, you know, innovation but simply because they are afraid of the president? They don't want to correct.
LORD: You do have to be careful. But there's plenty of president for this. I mean Democrats of course are big fan of President Kennedy who called in the head of steel industry and said, look, you've just raised prices and -- I mean he pressured them and he is celebrated today for doing that. Teddy Roosevelt I think called in the heads of labor unions and business leaders to broker a solution to a coal strike I think it was in 1901 or 1902. So there's presidential precedent for this kind of thing. You do have to be careful about it. But what's different here.
COOPER: Why do you say you have to be careful about it?
LORD: Well, because you don't want the power of the federal government to just be willy-nilly loosed on whomever there's a private citizen out there in a private company. On the other hand, we've never had a president like Donald Trump. He is gone directly from the private sector which he understands imminently to the presidency. So he's bringing in an approach to this that we have not seen with any other president in that sense who's had that kind of experience. So it's going to be very fascinating to see how he does it.
COOPER: Secretary Reich --
LORD: And --
COOPER: -- if CEOs are worrying about what the president may tweet about their companies at any given time, why shouldn't the president use everything in his arsenal to goad them into making decisions to favor the United States?
REICH: Well, because that use of tweets and that kind of bullying can be very, very dangerous. It's not only anti-Democratic and belitrant (ph), but it is also is anti-ethical to the whole way our organizers -- our markets are organized. It's not a government by law. It's a government of law. It's a government of one person who is basically saying to individual CEOs you better do what I want or else. I'm going to intimidate you. The other point though that's interesting, here is that Donald Trump did not invite in Nissan and Toyota and Volkswagen. I mean these are giant automakers in the United States. They are employing huge numbers of American auto workers. In fact the number one selling car in U.S. last year was the Camry, the Toyota Camry and most of that was produced in the United States. So there's of kind of an odd sense of America first that is both isolationist and it doesn't -- it's very economically unsophisticated. It's kind of a well, somehow the U.S. companies the big three are the only ones I care about when, in fact, G.M. has more employees overseas than it does in the United States. That's true of Ford too. Chrysler is not even an American company totally. It's basically an Italian-American company. It's kind of a bizarre view of companies.
COOPER: It also -- Jeff, I mean this does fly in the face of Republican orthodoxy on free markets.
LORD: It does to some extent. There's no question about it. I mean I have to say I think earlier in the campaign I compared him on occasion to Franklin Roosevelt much it's Ronald Reagan with Franklin Roosevelt who seriously interfered in the American economy. I don't think that's Donald Trump's intent, but I do think his intent -- I do think he believes to borrow a phrase from President Obama that the economy is in the ditch and the structure of the company is in the ditch and he is going to pull it out of the ditch and so this is how he's starting.
[20:55:19] COOPER: And Secretary Reich --
REICH: The cynical way of viewing all this and I hate to be cynical.
REICH: A cynical way of viewing all this is that it's all just symbolic. It's just to create the impression he's going to create or he is generating a lot of jobs when, in fact, these companies are not going to do anything that is not in their interest and is not profitable. Auto sales of U.S. companies have been absolutely static for years. There is overcapacity by many industry analysts view, G.M., Chrysler and Ford to the extend that they have done anything in response to tweets have actually only either accelerated plants that they already have or put aside plans that they had already to close plants. So this is just for show, right?
LORD: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. I mean this is somebody who knows full well that he's going to be judged on action. He's promised action and I think he's going to deliver.
COOPER: We'll see. Secretary Reich appreciate it, Jeffrey Lord as well.
Much more ahead in the next hour of "360", President Trump, "believes what he believes." That's how the White house explains his repeated false claim that he lost the popular vote, because millions voted illegally 3 to 5 million and the White House is offering no proof. We're keeping them on stand. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[21:00:08] COOPER: And this hour of "360". An active secret service agent said, she won't take a bullet for President Trump, that's being investigated, that's coming up. First the continuing follow-up on --