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Secret Service Agent Suggests She Wouldn't Take a Bullet for Trump; WH: Trump Believes Millions Voted Illegally, Offers No Proof; Source: Trump to Act on Visa, Refugee Restrictions; National Park Service: Ex-Employee Posted Tweets on Climate Change; Secret Service Agent Expresses Doubts About Protecting Trump; McCain on Trump & Putin; Trump's Call to Make Iraq's Oil; McCain Worried About "Our Entire Approach to Russia"; What Coal Country Expects from Trump; HHS Nominee in the Hot Seat; Pres. Trump Tweets on Chicago Violence, Border Wall; Nikki Haley Confirmed as U.N. Ambassador; HHS Nominee Pressed on Health Care Replacement Plan; HHS Nominee on Stock Deals: Everything was Ethical Legal, Threat of Repeal Sparks Demand for IUDS. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 24, 2017 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Head on this hour of 360. An active Secret Service agent says she won't take a bullet for President Trump. That's being investigated. That's coming up.

First the continuing fallout from the President's debunked claim that millions of undocumented immigrants cast ballots and supplied Hillary Clinton with her popular vote victory. He said it as Press Secretary defended in and it's dominated the headlines for much of the day. There's that and late word on new executive orders. Jim Acosta has the latest, joins us now from the north lawn of the White House.

So you're learning information about new executive actions. Let's start with that. President Trump is expected telling us tomorrow. What is it?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. We're hearing from our sources up on Capitol Hill that President Trump will make a stop at the Department of Homeland Security tomorrow and begin to sign a series of executives actions aimed at border security and national security.

At the moment, our understanding is that the President will tighten visa restrictions and refugee restrictions for people coming in from a number of hot spots in the Middle East. Then he is expected to turn the border security and sanctuary cities on Thursday.

Now, our sources caution that the sequencing of some of this is not finalize, some of this stuff you could change. But, Anderson, all of this comes as the President has whipped up another firestorm here in Washington, this time with his claim that millions of people voted illegally in the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: It's a lie that won't die. At a reception with congressional leaders at the White House, President Trump once again repeated his false claim that millions of people cast fraudulent ballots robbing him of a popular vote victory in the November election. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed this is what the President believes.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President does believe that. He has stated that before. I think he stated his concerns voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign. He continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.

ACOSTA: Reporters press Spicer to offer proof.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.

ACOSTA: Word of the President's mention of this falsehood spread like wildfire on Capitol Hill, where it was rejected by both Democrats and Republicans.

REP. KEITH ELLISON, (D) MINNESOTA: I think we're going to see more of this. I think we've just got to be very clear that we're on a call. We're going to correct the record and tell the truth to the American people. There's no record of millions of people who are not authorized to vote.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I wasn't there, but if the President of the United States is claiming that 3 to 5 -- 3.5 million people voted illegally, that shakes confidence in our democracy. He needs to disclose why he believes that.

ACOSTA: To back up the President's claim, Trump aides have repeatedly pointed to this 2012 study from the Pew Charitable Trusts. That finds nearly 3 million people have registrations in more than one state and almost 2 million are listed as dead.

But the study's authors have made it clear they did not actually find examples of voter fraud. Trump has made the claim before, tweeting after the election that "in addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

His loss in the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by roughly three million votes is hardly the only insecurity the President is nursing these days. Democrats were taunting the President over the crowd size at his inauguration, at a confirmation hearing for Mr. Trump's pick to run the Office of Management and Budget.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, (D) OREGON: Which crowd is larger, the 2009 crowd or the 2017 crowd?

REP. MICK MULVANEY, (R) BUDGET DIRECTOR NOMINEE: Senator, if you'll allow me to give the disclaimer that I'm not really sure how this ties to OMB but I'll be happy to answer your question which was, from that picture, it does appear that the crowd on the left hand side is bigger than the crowd on the right had side.

ACOSTA: It's yet another controversy overshadowing the early days of the new administration. A time when the White House senior staff would rather focus on the President's executive action resurrecting the Keystone Pipeline.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will build our own pipeline. We will build our own pipes. That's what it has to do with. Like we used to, in the old days.

ACOSTA: The White House insists the President is secure in his win.

SPICER: He's very comfortable with his win.


COOPER: Jim, how much does the White House want to move on from talking about winning the election or at least I should say, maybe, the senior advisors because clearly the President keeps talking about this?

ACOSTA: They absolutely do, Anderson, that's why every day we've seen the President sign these executive orders chipping away at President Obama's legacy whether it's the TPP or today the Keystone Pipeline. They would like to stay on message. The problem is that the boss is going off message and it is really running the risk of throwing everything off course at the very early stages of this administration which as you know, Anderson, it is a very critical time.

Now, of course, tomorrow, they're going to try to get back on message once again with these executive actions on immigration, which, by the way, we should point out do back up a promise that he had out in the campaign trail to crack down on immigration and so they hope that the image tomorrow is that he's delivering on that promise, Anderson.

[21:00:00] COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Joining us now, someone who has done Sean Spicer's job, Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush. And Van Jones is back as well.

So, Ari, I mean -- so we all know Sean Spicer today got a lot of questions about this unfounded claim about 3 to 5 million illegal immigrants or undocumented immigrants voting and voting for Hillary Clinton, that costing him the popular vote. What should a -- you know, Sean Spicer was asked does he believe that? He wouldn't answer it. He basically was saying this is what the President believes. What do you do in a case like that if clearly this is something the President believes or wants to believe and keeps talking about it even though it takes away from his larger message?

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR PRES. G.W. BUSH: Well, if you're the Press Secretary your job is to faithfully and fully represent what the President believes and why. Your own opinion's about this or abortion or equal rights or you name the issue, gun violence, it has nothing to do with your job. Your job is to represent the President. So Sean did his job today and he answered the question from the President's point of view.

COOPER: If though -- if what the President believes is not factually correct, how does one deal with that as senior staff members?

FLEISCHER: Well, that's a good question. And if you asked me sitting here in my comfortable chair not in the employee of Donald Trump and removed from Washington politics, it's easy. I mean I find this whole thing odd. I don't think there's any support for the statement. I don't believe it's a true statement. And so I find the whole thing odd.

I also kind of question, Anderson, whether or not people in the heartland and people who heard about the construction jobs that could be coming from the Keystone Pipeline what's more important to blue collar's workers in America today whether Donald Trump is bragging and boasting about a win or that they may get some jobs because of the executive order. I suspect people in the heartland. I'm much more interested in that story than this story. But in Washington this was the story.

COOPER: I get that point of view. I guess, you know, maybe people start to care when the lies become something about their own lives or when the lies become --


COOPER: You know, so, I guess I'm just wondering from somebody who's been in the White House, I mean it's a tough job Sean Spicer has, do you say, Mr. President, you know -- I mean, is this actually a conversation that advisors tend to have or do you just kind of, you know, take one for the team?

FLEISCHER: Well, it is a conversation you have and I think it depends on the President's willingness to listen. But clearly the President previously tweeted this and then he said it last night at a reception, it got out into the public, it's something he believes.

You know, I just think -- at least I, in my opinion, somebody who is hoping that Donald Trump will be successful and he's keeping an open mind, I want him to be successful. I look at the President and I think when it comes to his winning record, when it comes to the buildings he builds, he has air of braggadociousness to him. Everything has the biggest, everything has the best. Nothing beats when he has done.

I can separate that in my mind from the rest of governing. I don't know that because he bragged that he would have been won by 3 million votes if it hadn't been for this, which I just don't think is true, I don't know that that ties over to anything else that the President is going to do on defense policy or anything else. I'm more worried if he sets a red line that he enforces it. That's the type of his word that I'm much more concerned about. COOPER: It's interesting, Van, because, you know, the other argument is that -- I know you don't like things that the President is doing, but he -- there are a lot of, you know, things he is doing. He's had some very busy days, a lot of his executive actions. That is a story clearly in any other White House that would be something they would want to focus on and clearly I assume some people in the White House do.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: A couple of things. First of all, they're stepping on everybody banana peel right now. You don't have to assume that that will continue. It is conceivable that this is causing enough pain and enough frustration and enough heart burn inside that building that they may -- this may become a big lesson for that White House and the White House may well improve, number one. So you have to, you know -- but if it doesn't improve, I do think it's odd for a Republican Party that has made such a big deal about morals and values and honesty and integrity to then say, "Well, none of that stuff really matters, people just want jobs." I think that is an insult in some ways to the heartland of this country.

The heartland of this country cares an awful lot about economic opportunity and an awful lot about morals and values. And it is one thing to brag and say, "I could have beat her this way, I could have beat her that way." It's something else to say that we live in a country where 4 to 5 million people could come and cheat and ruin our elections and then turn around and say, "But I won't investigate."

So there is -- listen, this is one tiny crack. I don't think people make such a big deal about it. But if this continues as a pattern, I do think he could begin to seep his own people began to get disillusioned.

COOPER: Ari, it was interesting to hear Lindsey Graham today saying that this shakes the confidence in our democracy and has "the most inappropriate thing for the President to say without proof." You clearly disagree?

[21:10:01] FLEISCHER: Yeah, I do. I think that's overdoing it. And I heard a lot of reporters hyperventilating saying the same thing shakes our democracy.

I think it's exactly what I said earlier, Anderson. I think you have somebody when it comes to his own personal things has been a showman for so much of his career and has been, in fact, a salesman for all the things that he represents and the buildings that have his names on him. That's why I can comfortably put this into that safe category of bragging even if you don't have the goods, even if you don't have evidence that there were 3 million people who voted illegally.

I wish he hadn't said it. It's a distraction, not helpful to the rest of his agenda. But I am so focused on the rest of his agenda. And reason is, the country needs to be. That's where he is either going to rise or fall. Does the economy get stronger? Do wages increase particularly for blue collar workers? Do we get more manufacturing jobs here in America? That's going to be the future of his administration's success not whether he's a bragger or not. COOPER: Well, you know, Van, I think to some of the folks you interviewed in recently in pieces you've done in Detroit and Ohio and elsewhere who had voted for Donald Trump after voting for President Obama, and/or candidate Obama, in past elections who said, look, we heard all this other stuff. We didn't like what he was saying, but you know what? That's only part of it and there's more important things, you know, for us for jobs to Ari's point, if he provides jobs, if he makes progress and keeps this country safe there's a lot of people who will say, look, this doesn't matter.

JONES: Look, Donald Trump right now has a winning hand, OK? He has a -- he has the Senate, he has the House. He has his pick -- there's not one pick for his team that's going to get knocked down. So he's set up to succeed. He's not -- he's -- you know, very, very unpopular but, you know, that can change as well.

The problem that you have is, when you start having unforced error after unforced error sometimes what happens is the perception that it's -- it hardens in to too many people that this is the keystone cops and that undermines your ability to get things done.

So, listen, I think you can overreact to some of this stuff and I think there are some people who are overreacting. But I'm going to tell you right now, if you look at all the stuff this President did this week, some of it I think needs to be discussed and debated including, you know, the gag rule, on abortion, services overseas, I think the very big deal. These new pipelines, you know, pushing that stuff forward, very big deal.

We're not talking about that stuff good or bad. It's not healthy for the country to have these kinds of distractions. And, by the way, I talked to top level Democrats who were in those meetings and they were shocked. They went there hoping to be able to talk business and 25 percent of that meeting did go to this silly discussion. Now, that is not good governance when you got the top Democrats in the room and you could be cutting deals around jobs and you're talking about this nonsense.

COOPER: Van Jones, Ari Fleischer, great to have you on the program. Thank you very much.

We've got important update to the reporting tonight and the tweets from the Badlands National Park account citing climate facts clears up the mystery of who posted them and then who deleted them. In a statement just out, the park service blamed, "A former employee who was not currently authorized to use the park's account." As for who ordered them taking it down, it was not the Trump administration. The park service said the decision was made in-house. So that's the latest on that.

Coming up next, the Secret Service agent and the price she could pay for suggesting she'd rather going to jail than protect President Trump. Later, President Trump says he's open to military cooperation with Vladimir Putin. We'll talk to Senator John McCain about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:17:01] COOPER: More breaking news tonight and shattering expectations a big one. Everyone knows a Secret Service agent takes the job knowing that he or she must be willing to put their life on the line and if it comes to that protecting the president of the United States, perhaps the most enduring legacy the service has in a secret trust, that is until now. Tonight, a senior agent is in hot water and CNN justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, has details.

So what happened here, Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this agent's name is Kerry O'Grady. She is a special agent in-charge of the Denver's Secret Service office. And according to the "Washington Examiner", she posted on Facebook back in October, one of several posts but this is one of them where she said, "Despite the fact that I am expected to take a bullet for both sides. But this world has changed and I have changed. And I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be a disaster to this country and the strong and amazing women and minorities who reside here." And she ended that post writing, "I'm with her," which of course was Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan.

The "Examiner" interviewed O'Grady and she told the "Examiner" in this interview that it was an internal struggle for her and she said as soon as she put it up she thought it was not the sentiment that needed to share because I care -- she said, "I care very deeply about this mission." And she went on to say, "I serve at the pleasure of the President but I still have First Amendment rights to say things." And I should mention, I reached out to her tonight and she declined to comment, Anderson.

COOPER: How's the Secret Service responding? Because, I mean, this is really -- I've never heard of something like this.

BROWN: Right. So I'm told actually by an official that she's been ordering back to Washington from her post in Denver to answer questions about this and it's unclear what action will be taken.

I spoke with someone at the Secret Service who tells me the sentiment right now within the agency is extreme disappointment with this agent and that her personal views are essentially overshadowing at least for now a lot of the work the agency did through the campaign and through the inauguration.

And the Secret Service also released a statement that said, "That it is aware of the postings and the agency is taking quick and appropriate action." Says, "All Secret Service agents and employees are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. Any allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and swiftly investigated," Anderson.

COOPER: So could she, actually, be in any kind of legal trouble here or just professional trouble?

BROWN: Well, it's unclear in terms of legal trouble because what's interesting, actually, is that she raised the Hatch Act in one of her posts saying that she struggles not to violate the law which ban some federal employees including Secret Service employees from engaging in political activity while on duty. However they are allowed to express their opinions about politics on social media if it's not in an official capacity, that's according to the Office of Special Council. So we don't know, Anderson, if she was on duty when she posted these comments. A person familiar with the matter I spoke to tonight said that she made the post on her personal Facebook page.

COOPER: All right, Pam Brown, thanks.

Some perspective now from CNN law enforcement analyst and former Secret Service agent, Jonathan Wackrow.

[21:20:01] This is stunning. I mean, are you stunned by this?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely shocked. I mean to have the special agent in-charge of a field office for the United States Secret Service --

COOPER: Right, this is not a low level agent. This is a special agent in-charge.

WACKROW: No. This is someone that, you know, is commanding and leading other agents and for her to make those statements is reprehensible. I mean, you know, she has to be removed from her duties immediately.

COOPER: Because, I mean, one of the things about the Secret Service what makes them so extraordinary just as with our military personnel, our police officers is that they have to do things which may be they don't like the person they're doing it for or believe in their politics but they do it and that's the job.

WACKROW: You have to operate apolitical. You know, there are a lot of times you're putting in environments where you may not like the protectee. The protectee may not like you. But at the end of the day, your job is to ensure their safety, to keep them alive. And for a supervisor to say that they're not willing to execute on one of the core elements of our job is absolutely unacceptable.

COOPER: The fact that this was -- you know, her argument seems to be well, you know, in my own time and I'm allowed -- you know, I have a First Amendment right to express myself.

WACKROW: Absolutely. You know, mindful of her First Amendment rights. She's obviously been struggling with this. She said for 23 years she struggled with in and around the Hatch Act. OK. So this isn't the first time she's been thinking about this.

So my question is, you know, throughout your career, how many other times were you thinking about this? Are you putting the life of our protectees at risk every time that you're working? And that's something that the, you know, senior administration has to take a look at, the leadership, Joe Clancy. Director Clancy has to get ahead of this issue and deal with it right away.

Listen, we're at day five of a new administration. If this new administration feels that there's a shadow of a doubt --

COOPER: Right.

WACKROW: -- on the Secret Service and our ability to execute in a crisis, then we've lost.

COOPER: It also makes it tough for all other Secret Service agents who are, you know, doing their extraordinary job.

WACKROW: Absolutely. And I can just speak specifically to the agents that are there today protecting President Trump. I know that every single one of them would stand up and put their life in danger to protect the sanctity, not only the President but the office of the presidency.

COOPER: Jonathan Wackrow, I appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.

WACKROW: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Just ahead, President Trump says the U.S. should have taken Iraq's oil and suggested there might be another chance. I'll get Senator John McCain's take on that and more.


[21:26:18] COOPER: Well, as we said it's been busy in headline making day in Washington, in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Senator John McCain has been focusing on how foreign policy will play out in this new administration even as President Trump continues to rehash the election and his claim on voting fraud. I spoke to Senator McCain earlier.


COOPER: Senator McCain, I want to ask you about some national security issues and trade issues in a moment. But first, I'd like to get your reaction to President Trump reportedly repeating to congressional leaders last night his unfounded claim that 3 to 5 million illegally cast votes cost him the popular vote victory. Your colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN today, it's the most inappropriate thing for the President to say without proof. Do you agree with Senator Graham?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I obviously have seen no evidence of illegally voting but my focus has been on national security, getting General Mattis in as Secretary of Defense, working with Pompeo, working -- doing those issues in our national security.

A long time ago honestly I've stopped reacting to everything that the President has stated and tried to work on the issues and the people that he's going to surround himself with whom I'm very pleased with as far as national security is concerned.

COOPER: Well, let's talk about that. Let's talk about Russia. You've been very outspoken. CNN's reporting that U.S. investigators are cutinizing late December calls between President Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn and Russia's ambassador. Do you have confidence in General Flynn's ability to do his job?

MCCAIN: I do. I have no information about these phone calls although I don't think it's abnormal. But what I am worried about is our entire approach to Russia and the sanctions which I believe must not only been in place but increased.

Look, this guy is a war criminal. He used aircraft with precision weapons to strike hospitals in Aleppo intentionally slaughtering innocent men, women and children. That's -- that's disgraceful. He's partitioned Ukraine. He has taken Crimea. He continues to put enormous pressure on the Baltic Countries and others and he is our major threat.

COOPER: Do you think President Trump at all shares any of the conviction in Russia? I mean you called Russia a grave danger to the United States.

MCCAIN: I know that General Mattis and now director of CIA, Pompeo, General Flynn I believe but I also know General Kelly, I know they all share my view and so I believe -- I hope that their views and I know that President Trump really respects them will have an effect on his view of Russia.

COOPER: It was just yesterday, Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary, said that the President would not rule out joint U.S.-Russia operations against ISIS. Is that something you would support?

MCCAIN: I would be deeply disturbed if such a thing were happened. Let me just give you an example. They have been bombing and striking the moderate opposition people that we armed and trained, meanwhile ISIS retakes Palmyra and they don't do anything about it. It certainly shows the Russians priorities, which are not ISIS. They are to consolidate Bashar Assad in power and consolidate their now significant, in fact, in some ways the most powerful role in the Middle East. That's a long, long way from when they got thrown out of Egypt in 1973.

COOPER: So do you think -- in a sense, partnering with Russia allegedly against ISIS, are you saying that would be tantamount to partnering with Assad regime and I guess by extension to Iran?

[21:30:04] MCCAIN: Of course. Of course. I mean, does anybody believe now that Bashar Assad is going to willingly lead power? It would remind you that it was then President Obama that said Assad must go. It's not a matter of when he -- but whether it's a matter of when.

And now, there has been tacit accommodation to the realities on the ground. And the realities on the ground are that the Free Syrian Army, in our efforts to assist them have been totally negated because of a total failure of Obama policies and strategies. There has been none and we're paying a very heavy price for it.

COOPER: In Iraq, the President the other day reiterated his thought about taking Iraq's oil. He said we didn't do it before, maybe we'll have another chance to do it or words to that effect. Does that make any sense to you, the notion of the U.S. taking the oil of a sovereign nation that we are allied with?

MCCAIN: No. No. I don't get it.

COOPER: And that's not something you heard from General Mattis or anything else? I mean, I haven't heard any, you know, military personnel actually talking about taking the oil.

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I don't know exactly how you would do it but, no, I have not heard any of his national security advisors mention the topic. In fact, I hadn't heard the President mention it until he sort of did the other day.

COOPER: Right. Yeah, it was the first time I heard him mention it since during the campaign. I'm curious whether it's Russia, or Iran or China, any number of potential hotspots. Do you believe President Trump should be receiving President's Daily Brief, the PDB which is the highest level intelligence briefing everyday? He got it yesterday I understand, wasn't on his official schedule today.

MCCAIN: Well, I don't know if he should receive it everyday, Anderson, because it doesn't change that radically from day-to-day unless there's some kind of emergency. I know that President Obama used to get his briefing online sometimes and I think you miss the give and take with your briefers when you do that. But, I believe that the President, you know, paid close attention. His trip out to the CIA, I think, was symbolic in a lot of ways of his confidence in the CIA and the intelligence agencies.

COOPER: Senator McCain, I appreciate your time as always. Thank you.

MCCAIN: Thank you.


COOPER: Up next, Van Jones returns to the heart of coal country where candidate Trump promised to bring back jobs. What are voters in West Virginia expecting now that he's President Trump? You'll hear from them ahead.


[21:36:39] COOPER: President Trump has set a high bar for himself promising to make a big mark on Washington in his first 100 days. He's doing a lot of executive actions. Since his election win we've been sending Van Jones into the field to talk to people and more importantly to listen to people about their votes. All of his reports, we think, have been incredibly insightful and tonight is no different.

Tonight, Van heads to the coal country in West Virginia, which in this election was solidly Trump country to talk to voters about what they are expecting now from their new president.


JONES: West Virginia is coal country and it has been for generations. But, coal production has been on a steady decline here since the early 1990s. And in the last six years it's taken a complete nosedive. That has led to a loss of jobs and for many a loss of hope. Enter, Donald Trump.

TRUMP: And for those miners get ready because you're going to be working your asses off, all right? Thank you, everybody. Thank you.

JONES: Well, here we are. We are in the heart of coal country also the heart of the collapse of coal. President Trump made a lot of promises to the coal miners. He said he's going to give them a big bright tomorrow. We're here in Mingo County, West Virginia to see what does that mean to the folks who live here.

First of all, I'm just incredibly happy to be here.

I meet up with a group that definitely knows coal. Terry Steele retired after mining for 26 years. Bo Copley has been laid off since 2015. He's sort of a coal mining celebrity for this exchange with Hillary Clinton during the campaign.

BO COPLEY, WEST VIRGINIA MINER: I just want to know how you can say you're going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you're going to be our friend.

JONES: And Allen Lardieri is one of the lucky ones. He's got a job in the mines.

My first question is simply this, what does Trump have to do to deliver, to satisfy folks?

ALLEN LARDIERI, WEST VIRGINIA MINER: My whole reasoning for voting for Trump was not because of policies but the presence of Trump. You know, his unconventional nature will cause a political shake-up somewhat. He got a political gene pool that is entirely inbred. What I mean by that is you had these career politicians, the same individuals that's populate the Capitol Hill for so long they're so disconnected from their base. Trump being such an outsider will make people start to think and realize hopefully that, oh, wait, we could possibly lose our jobs if we don't become more representative.

JONES: Now, some people say that the reason coal is having so many problems is because Obama came in, he overregulated. By looking at the numbers, coal has been declining really since the '90s. Do you feel like that's maybe sometimes overstated the damage that Obama did?

LARDIERI: It was on decline, yes, because there's alternative needs for electric power generation, all the stuff. But when you see the drop happen, they yanked the carpet out from under West Virginia. His regulatory in chief were populated by activists, essentially.

So now you have people that are the polar opposite of that. And that's where you're going to get a lot of positive action on coal with a little bit of scaling back of the overregulation. JONES: You know, you got famous because of the challenge you laid out to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had a different position on coal mining, would you have voted for her?

[21:40:02] B. COPLEY: No, sir.

JONES: Why not?

B. COPLEY: On the very fact alone of pro-life.

JONES: So many pundits have said if she hadn't offended those coal miners they would have voted for her. They don't know your heart. They didn't know that there was something underneath that that you also were concerned about.

B. COPLEY: Everyone always thinks that we're one topic people, you know.

LARDIERI: Like regional, yeah.

B. COPLEY: Yeah. And we're not.

JONES: You guys are Christians and very proud of it. As a Christian couple how can you support a Donald Trump when you know the fear he strikes into the hearts of American-Muslim children, American-Latino children? How do you round that circle?

B. COPLEY: Sorry. We -- it hits kind of close to home to her. Some of her family won't speak to me right now because of my support for Donald Trump. And --

LAUREN COPLEY, BO COPLEY'S WIFE: We have a Muslim-American family.

B. COPLEY: Her sister is married to a Jordanian man. And, you know, they never expressed their fears to us beforehand as far as -- but then --

L. COPLEY: I wouldn't want anybody to think just because someone's in office that -- it's not a dictatorship. This is still America. It is still awesome. God put it here for a reason and it's a country of immigrants. You can't say we're not going to let anybody in but it has to be done the right responsible way. But, I would like to ask Donald Trump, you know, what are you going to say to those people who are scared, kids who think, you know, something might happen to them or to their father or mother because of their descent?

JONES: Maybe some people love Trump, maybe some people don't love Trump. You've been in this region your whole life. What can Trump do?

TERRY STEELE, RETIRED WEST VIRGINIA MINER: When that coal miner is breathing in that coal dust for you to turn a light switch on and get good cheap energy, there's a price to be paid and it was paid for here in such a (inaudible). Now, we've reached the point that we need help here. We need help.

JONES: My last question is this, hope is a fragile thing.

LARDIERI: Sure is.

JONES: And it's hard to get. And when it goes it's devastating. And you got people here hanging by a thread and they're putting their faith in Donald Trump. They're down to nothing. Their jobs are gone. Their pensions are gone. Their healthcare isn't there. They're trying to push that opioid away. They see a man who supposed to be formed. Tell the President what -- speak for them to this president.

LARDIERI: Mr. President, you're the most unconventional candidate that has ever took this office. A lot of things had happened, a lot of mechanisms in place to put you in there. In your own words, if you do not deliver, you're fired.


COOPER: Van joins us now. It's just so great to just to hear from people, not pundits, just hear from people what's in their hearts and what's in their heads. What else do they want to see from this president?

JONES: Well, first of all, what I was just so struck by was the complexity of the political analysis. I think, you know, these guys are, they're coal miners, you know, they're just easily tricked by Republicans. I mean, they were incredibly sophisticated and say, "Listen, I don't know if he's going to be able to do this but he might send a shockwave to the political establishment, might make him listen to us more."

Also, the pro-choice piece was huge for them. You know, they're Christian conservatives before they're coal miners, I have to tell you that. That wasn't really a discussion in understanding why the coal miners rallied the way that they did. But in terms of what they need, we could not get them to say on camera what they need. You cut the cameras off, they are concerned about the healthcare.

That one couple that was sitting there very quiet, one of them is going to surgery on Thursday of this week. Has so much -- so many medical bills. And the pensions and the healthcare promised to them by the coal companies have been thrown under the bus because the coal companies are going into bankruptcy.

The coal miners are saying, they bailed out the bankers but they won't bail out the coal miners. Our pensions are now nothing. Our healthcare is hanging by a thread. We need help. But you couldn't get them to say it on camera because of that pride. And so you miss a lot unless you're there with the people.

I don't -- I think the Democrats and the Republicans should be ashamed of what's happening right now in the coal country. These people have risked their lives and their lungs and their limbs to keep the lights on for the rest of us. And now they can't eat, they're too sick and old to work and they can't see a doctor and nobody's coming to their aid. COOPER: Also, I mean, I was in the -- during the Upper Big Branch Mine which there was a disaster so I talked to a lot of the survivors of it. I mean, just the difficulty of their job working in the coal mine every single day and in a community that it's a good paying job that there's not a lot of other good paying jobs. And so they know -- it's not like they don't know the risk, they go in knowing full well the risk. And that's one of the extraordinary things about them.

[21:44:57] JONES: Incredibly brave, also incredibly smart. The machinery that they run is, you know, the size of buildings.

COOPER: Right, right.

JONES: And they got to be precise with it. These are incredible people. We should do better by them.

COOPER: Yeah. Van Jones, thanks very much. The program, know "The Messy Truth" airs tomorrow on CNN at 9:00 Eastern. Van is going to host another town hall. He'll be joined by Whoopi Goldberg who took part in the women's march in New York over the weekend. A lot to discuss with her.

Up next tonight, breaking news, and a new promise from President Trump on the killings in Chicago. Also, his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services getting grilled again on Capitol Hill. What he said when asked if Americans will be better off with a new revamped healthcare plans.


COOPER: More breaking news. President Trump just tweeted on a number of subjects, including Chicago's murder outbreak. "If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible carnage going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings, up 24 percent from 2016, I will send in the Feds."

Also this, "Big day planned on national security tomorrow, among many other things, we will build the wall."

And as we've been reporting over the last two hours, the President's been saying he'll taking executive action tomorrow on immigration. Unclear if this is what he's talking about if it certainly caps a big day today.

Tonight, the Senate confirmed former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations. She's the fourth member of President Trump's Cabinet to be approved. Confirmation hearings continue on Capitol Hill for the others including Congressman Tom Price, the nominee for Health and Human Services. Manu Raju joins us now from the Hill with more on that.

[21:50:08] Price was grilled on the specifics of what's going to happen with the Affordable Care Act during the hearing today. What did he say?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, he didn't offer a lot of details, Anderson. This was actually a strategic decision by Donald Trump's team and also by Congressman Price to not discuss privately what a replacement plan would look like because they did not want him to get pinned down in the confirmation hearings, exactly what would happen just because the party is not yet united about what a replacement plan would look like.

But Congressman Price also would not discuss some of his own bedrock views, such as how -- whether to turn Medicaid into a grant program for states. This is actually something that's supported by Congressman Price in the past, and is popular among Republicans. Would not say what he would do on that.

And importantly, Anderson, he was pushed by Democrats about how he would implement this new executive order by President Trump that would give the HHS secretary tremendous power to weaken Obamacare. He would not give Democrats an answer on that, and Democrats were frustrated. Take a listen.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D) OHIO: I want you to commit that you will stand firm as the ACA does on this provision of canceling care -- canceling insurance, because they're too expensive.

REP. TOM PRICE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES NOMINEE: As I said, nobody ought to lose their insurance because they get a bad diagnosis.

SEN. RON WYDEN, (D) OREGON: Yes or no? Under the executive order, will you commit that no one will be worse off?

PRICE: What I commit to, Senator, is working with you and every single member of Congress to make certain that we have the highest quality healthcare and that every single American has access to affordable coverage.


RAJU: Now, this nomination actually probably will still be confirmed on a party line vote. Anderson, expect the Senate committee to actually vote to approve it next week, and the Senate -- full Senate soon thereafter. Democrats can delay it, but they probably can't delay the inevitable.

COOPER: And Manu, you reported last week on questions about Price's -- some of the investments of Price has made through a broker while he was in Congress. Did he talk about that at the hearing?

RAJU: He did. He was asked repeatedly by it, but interestingly, by Republicans, giving him a chance to defend this investment, saying that it was done through a broker, it was done -- it was not unusual, something that a lot of members of Congress do by offering legislation on issues that they may be pushing. This is something that has actually hounded and clouded his confirmation because Democrats say that there are ethical problems in Dr. Price's record. But right now, doesn't look like any Republicans are convinced that that is the case, Anderson. COOPER: All right, Manu Raju, thanks very much.

President Trump's pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare has sparked something of a backlash in some quarters. Last night, we reported on efforts across the country to fight its repeal. For millions of women, the stakes include birth control, for some, the threat of losing coverage of contraceptives has compelled them to take agency. CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen tonight reports.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Gabriella Shypula and Riley Sykes have been together for five years.


COHEN: You're only 22. You're not looking to have children?

SHYPULA: Having a baby or starting a family is definitely not in the plan, at least for right now.

COHEN: Shypula was happy taking the birth control pill, but President Trump's win on election night changed everything.

You're getting an IUD because of Donald Trump?

SHYPULA: Yes. I have an appointment for my insertion on February 17th.

COHEN: Here's why Shypula and many women are rushing to get an IUD or intrauterine device. Under Obamacare, birth control is free for most women.

TRUMP: The plan will be repeal and replace Obamacare.

COHEN: President Trump has already issued an executive order reaffirming his calls for dismantling Obamacare. Shypula is worried she won't be able to afford the monthly cost of the birth control pill. That's why she's going for the IUD. While Obamacare is still the law of the land, she'll get it for free and it lasts for several years.

SHYPULA: I want something that's going to outlast Trump, at least for the first -- his first term.

COHEN: Many other women are making the same choice. Here is what the president of Planned Parenthood told CNN's Christiane Amanpour two weeks ago.

CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD PRESIDENT: We've had a 900 percent increase in women trying to get into Planned Parenthood to get an IUD, because they are desperately concerned that they might lose their access to healthcare.

COHEN: Shypula didn't take the decision lightly. She got advice from an unusual source, her father.

SHYPULA: He asked me, you know, what do you think about IUDs? And so, I said -- which is definitely a conversation that you never imagine that you would have with your dad.

COHEN: So even your dad was worried --

SHYPULA: He was.

COHEN: -- that Trump would take away your birth control.

SHYPULA: He was.

COHEN: Did you ever think that you'd be making a decision about your body based on who's in the White House?

SHYPULA: No, I never thought that that would ever be something that I would be doing.

COHEN: Trump has said he might keep parts of Obamacare but hasn't specified what he wants to do about birth control coverage. But his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Representative Tom Price, has voted against access to birth control throughout his career. At his confirmation hearing today, he said women should pay for contraception.

[21:55:08] BROWN: Are you able to set aside any personal political views and protect the doctor-patient relationship by committing to ensure every woman's right to access the form of contraception deemed best for her by her doctor at no cost, as currently provided in the ACA?

PRICE: I think that women -- that contraception is absolutely imperative for many, many women. And the system that we ought to have in place is one that allows women to be able to purchase the kind of contraception that they desire.

COHEN: Comments like those are writing on the wall for Shypula.

SHYPULA: I have to do what I can now, before it's too late to protect myself.

COHEN: And she says she's worried mostly not for herself, but for other less fortunate women.

SHYPULA: I'm just really concerned for folks who don't have as much easy access to healthcare already. And so, the idea of having the thing that helps women stay safe be taken away is really upsetting.


COOPER: How many women are receiving free births control because of the Affordable Care Act provision?

COHEN: You know, the Affordable Care Act free birth control provision covers not just women who are on actual Obamacare policies, but women on most other policies as well. So it's about 55 million women. So it's a huge number.

COOPER: Yeah. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


[22:00:07] COOPER: Hey, and that's it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts now.