Return to Transcripts main page


WH: New Israeli Settlements "May Not Be Helpful"; Sources: U.S. Planning Additional Sanctions on Iran; U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Hits Russia Hard on Ukraine; Diplomatic Phone Call Fallout; Trump: Pray for Arnold, "Apprentice" Ratings; Fallout from Trump's Call with Australian Leader; WH Official Voter Fraud Investigation No Longer a Priority; Trump to Chaplin: I'm Appointing You for Another Year; Trump Pledges to Defend Religious Liberty, Jokes About T.V. Ratings; Uber CEO Not Hailing Travel Ban; Will Pres. Trump's Travel Ban Fuel Extremism?; Steve Bannon's View on Refugees and Muslims; Steve Bannon's Influence on WH Policy. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 2, 2017 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jason Carroll, thanks very much.

In the next hour of "360", more on our breaking news in the White House, President Trump changing his message or at least appearing to change his message somewhat to Israel. Also, how far will the president go to punish Tehran for new missile test? We have some clues on that ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back, topping the headlines in this hour of "360", a late day flurry of action from the White House getting tough on Iran, which is not unexpected and apparently striking, sounds like a different note on Israeli settlements, expanding Israeli settlements, which is surprising. CNN's Elise Labott has all the details, joins us now from Washington.

So, yesterday the Trump administration said they were putting Iran on notice. What happened today?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, today they said that they're going to impose sanctions against Iran. Now these are under existing executive orders on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. And you remember that President Obama did this after Iran launched some ballistic missile tests. So this is more designations against that. But this kind of comes on the heels of Mike Flynn, the National Security Advisor's warning putting Iran on notice yesterday. Today, President Trump doubled down on that.

So, it's a continuation really of what President Obama did, but you can stop and look and see this in the context of this new tough line against Iran, and President Trump said he's not taking anything off the table, you know, including --

[21:05:06] COOPER: Yeah. LABOTT: -- military action. But to be fair, neither did President Obama.

COOPER: The statement released by the White House on new Israeli settlements are extending current settlements is interesting coming from President Trump who until now hasn't in any way questioned Israel's policy.

LABOTT: Yeah, and you remember how vigorously he defended Israel during that controversial U.N. vote on settlements. Talking to Israelis tonight, they don't see it as that bad. And the statement says, "While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlement settlements, the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be that helpful in achieving that goal."

Now, you know, President Obama did call them as impediment to peace. He didn't, you know, want them building even inside those blocks, which -- so basically some Israelis see this as President Trump giving some cover to Prime Minister Netanyahu. You know, Netanyahu, he used to use Obama as a foil against the hard liners on the right in Israel. You know, now the right is excited about Trump. So this is statement kind of allows Netanyahu to keep them in check on settlements.

COOPER: Right.

LABOTT: And it's interesting to note that, you know, the new Secretary of State Rex Ttillerson spoke to Netanyahu today before the settlement has even came out.

COOPER: Elise Labott, thanks very much.

A fast moving day and at least when it comes to Israel and some tough talk for Russia today, the U.N. signs some kind of foreign policy recalibration maybe underway, given that it's good of time as any to talk to CNN's Fareed Zakaria, host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS".

The news on Israeli settlements, it is interesting and particularly the notion that perhaps this is President Trump trying to help Netanyahu get some cover to push back against his own right flank?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Yeah, one can't tell because so far what you notice is a lot of inconsistency. You know, initially there were things done, which seemed to give the signal. What Netanyahu did was he took encouragement from some of the things Trump had said and went forward and very aggressively proposed some of these things and announced them himself.

COOPER: Right.

ZAKARIA: So it's unclear that it's his right wing that's doing it. It's that he's doing it.

COOPER: Right. He'd announced expansion of settlements but also a creation of a new one. ZAKARIA: Exactly. So, there's this issue of, you know, expansion with an existing blocks, which is one thing, new settlements is a more dramatic, more provocative move.

I wonder whether some of the recalibration that you're talking about is the result of some of Trump's team getting more firmly in place. So Mattis is now really acting as Secretary of Defense. He's already on a foreign trip. Tillerson has probably moved in, in a significant way. And perhaps you're beginning to have some of them weigh in and provide some of the professional and historical context. So for example on settlements to point out, every American administration since, you know, for seven, eight administrations has been opposed to settlement. So Trump's statement was in that sense simply consistent with the continuity of American foreign policy.

COOPER: Right. In terms of Iran, you know, there was a White House advisor on Jake Tapper's show yesterday saying, "Look, there's a new sheriff in town" and obviously we heard from Mike Flynn yesterday that the U.S. is putting Iran on notice and now leaning toward new sanctions.

ZAKARIA: It's an odd series of events because Iran has not done something dramatically new. I mean it's important to remember the missiles are not part of the nuclear deal. The nuclear deal is, as the word implies, about the nuclear program. Iran is a country. It has, you know, it has a military program. It has a defense budget. It develops missiles. We don't like that but there was no international consensus that this was so far outside the bail that, you know, Iran was going to be sanctioned for it.

The sanctions were all about the nuclear program. This is Iran having a sophisticated defense program. And so, I'm not quite sure what the, you know, where this leads. You could put in additional U.S. sanctions but you'd hope there's a strategy here because the key gain from the Iran nuclear deal is that Iran's nuclear program by everyone estimate has been frozen. Ninety-eight percent of their defense material was destroyed. You want to maintain that freeze on the program.

COOPER: Right. I want to show our viewers some of what Nikki Haley said today, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, because it did surprise a lot of people. Basically, stating U.S. policy vis-a-vis Russia acting right now in Crimea in which there is on going -- I mean there's attacking, there's advancement. Let's listen in.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. It is unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which United States representatives have needed to do that. It should not have to be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia. However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.


[21:10:00] COOPER: And now, the U.S. saying they will not lift sanctions until Russia basically returns control of the Crimea Peninsula and also the violence now stops in eastern Ukraine.

ZAKARIA: I think this will be perhaps the most important thing to have come out this week from the Trump foreign policy for the rest of the world. It will be very reassuring to Ukrainians, to Polish, to -- that whole belt of Eastern Europeans.

COOPER: Right, because yesterday there was real silence from the White House on, you know, advancement by Russian-backed forces in Eastern Ukraine.

ZAKARIA: Absolutely. And so this was very clear. It was at the United Nations. It was an official statement by the U.N. ambassador. It's also going to be very important to Europeans.

You know, one of the great dangers of the some the flirtation that Trump was having with the idea of deals with Putin was it's been very hard to maintain these sanctions against Russia. After Russia invaded Ukraine, took Crimea, there was a certain amount of pressure and it was possible to put some kind of measures in. People start drifting away. They want to do business with Russia. It's the U.S. that has been maintaining these sanctions along with Germany. The fact that she spoke out will be very important in keeping that coalition.

COOPER: And we'll hear -- we'll see if we hear more from the White House directly. You know, we heard from Mike Flynn directly yesterday on Iran, we did not hear from the White House directly, but it will be interesting to see.

Fareed, thanks very much. Fareed Zakaria.

Coming up next, fallout from a pair of calls between President Trump and two close American allies. And later, the controversy following President Trump's remarks this morning at a prayer breakfast. We'll talk to two people who were there.


COOPER: Australia's ambassador met with top administration officials at the White House today. This comes in the middle of what you think would be the unlikely developments between two old allies, a diplomatic fire storming united by the call between President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the weekend. It's damage control. The likes of which are rarely seen between such close allies and it's not the only one as our Jim Acosta reports tonight.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is doing some clean up down under, offering his praise for all of places, Australia, following the disclosure of a tense phone call he had with that country's leader, Malcolm Turnbull. [21:15:06] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had one instance in Australia. I have a lot of respect for Australia. I love Australia as a country.

ACOSTA: An issue the president says is a deal cut by the Obama administration, taking political refugees currently held in detention centers off Australia who fled from some of the predominantly Muslim nations now barred from sending people to the U.S. under the Trump administration's new travel ban. Refugees the president incorrectly calls illegal immigrants.

TRUMP: We had a problem where for whatever reason, President Obama said that they were going to take probably well over a thousand illegal immigrants who were in prisons and they were going to bring them and take them into this country, and I just said why.

ACOSTA: But sources tell CNN the president was so upset with the prime minister that he abruptly ended their call and sources say the president had another testy phone conversation with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, in which he offered to send U.S. troops to Mexico ot help go after "tough hombres" south of the border. A source familiar with the conversations told CNN the president's harsh language made the faces of White House staffers turn white. "Not to worry," says the president.

TRUMP: Believe me, when you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having, don't worry about it. Just don't worry about it. They're tough. We have to be tough. It's time we're going to be a little tough, folks. We're taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. It's not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen anymore.

ACOSTA: Still, top Republicans were spending the day reassuring a key U.S. ally.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't think Australia should be worried about its relationship with our new president or with our country for that matter.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: This, in my view, was unnecessary and frankly harmful open dispute over an issue which is not nearly as important as United States-Australian cooperation in working together.

ACOSTA: Those worries come as the President said he is weighing his options on how to deal with provocations from Iran which include additional sanctions on Iranian entities.

TRUMP: Nothing is off the table.

I don't know if you're Democrat or if you're Republican but I'm appointing you for another year. The hell with it.

ACOSTA: The president also took a shoot from the lip style to the national prayer breakfast, a typically more solemn affair where he mocked actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

TRUMP: Eric, am I right or am I wrong?

ACOSTA: A replacement on Mr. Trump's old T.V. show, "The Apprentice".

TRUMP: The ratings went right down the tubes. It's been a total disaster and I want to just pray for Arnold if we can for those ratings. OK.

ACOSTA: Drawing this rebuttal from Schwarzenegger.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, HOST, "THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE": Why don't we switch jobs? You take over T.V. because you're such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job and then people can finally sleep comfortable again.


COOPER: And Jim Acosta joins us now. Jim, tell us about the clean-up effort on the calls including, as we mentioned today, White House -- the meeting with the Australian ambassador.

ACOSTA: Right, Anderson. Aids to the president say the Australian ambassador did pay a visit to the White House today. White House official say Ambassador Joe Hockey met with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the Chief Strategist Steve Bannon who conveyed, according to the White House, the president's admiration for the Australian people. But, Anderson, keep in mind, this meeting did not include the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, it did not include the National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. But did include Steve Banno, which is a very big sign as to how much influence he has in this White House, Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

It's become the question to ask after so many reports lately is this the norm or are we in uncharted territory when it comes to customary presidential behavior, phone calls. Not only that, why are we hearing so many normally closely guarded inside details coming out of it seems the White House?

Joining me us is CNN political analyst, Carl Bernstein and Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord, also, CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen.

David, you've been in the Oval Office probably listening on this kind of phone calls with leaders in the past. It's rare that -- I mean, is it rare that so many details come out of them like this?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's almost a rush to get some of these details out and it's very surprising. I don't know whether it's reprisals coming from the civil service, the Intelligence Committee or somewhere like that. They're just angry and upset with the president.

COOPER: Kellyanne Conway saying it's not coming out of the White House, although, I'm not sure how she would know -- GERGEN: Well, you know, because it occurred on Saturday and the leaks came on Monday, probably transcripts got around to various people and then they would get on the desk of some of the civil service. But, you know, we said all along, the way that they were alienating various departments, State Department and others, they're going to -- there's going to be -- somebody's going to bite back. The civil service has a way of retaliating. And I assume these leaks have something to do with that.

COOPER: Interesting. Carl Bernstein, I mean, not only the least coming out but also just the reality of the tense details about the phone calls with the Australian prime minister. It is pretty remarkable for a long-standing U.S. ally.

[21:20:00] CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Absolutely. And if the, you know, if the president's actions and words were more thoughtful, there wouldn't be these leaks. What we've seen is Steve Bannon, the president's counselor telling the press to keep its mouth shut when in fact the person who ought to be choosing his words much more carefully and using the mouthpiece of the presidency effectively and with nuance is Donald Trump and he is undermining himself and the national security in United States through these kinds of conversations with our allies and reckless words and actions.

COOPER: Jeffrey, I get, you know, certainly a lot of Trump supporters will say look, this is exactly why we voted for Donald Trump. We want him to shake things up, we want him to be a disruptor, and we want him to rethink even longly held alliances, I guess, with, you know, countries like Australia. The fact, though, that the White House then has to have the Australian ambassador come to the White House and meet with Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus the next day, doesn't that sort of signal that at least some folks in the White House are concerned about what the president is doing?

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Anderson, there's a piece being left out of this story. On November 22nd, Senator Grassley and Congressman Bob Goodlatte from Virginia, respectively the chairman from the House, the Senate and House Judiciary Committee sent letters to Secretary Kerry and Secretary Jay Johnson about this Australian agreement. They were very upset that it was classified. They wanted to know why. They were very angry about the agreement. They didn't get a response. They repeated the requests on December 2nd in another letter, all of which was released to the public.

So this has been out there long before apparently the president, President Trump is now, you know, has now found out about it. He was not happy about it with reason. So I mean, this has been kicking around for quite sometime in the system.

COOPER: Yeah, but I guess the question is there are ways to address those things and I mean, again, this maybe just be a stylistic thing or maybe it's just too conventional but there are ways to deal with an ally that don't involve, you know, ending a phone call abruptly or --

LORD: I mean, Australia is not exactly a Staten Island. It's a pretty big place. 2,400 refugees. I mean and they're not going to let these people into Australia? They're keeping them on these offshore islands. I mean what is it? And then we're supposed to take --

COOPER: Well, I think they've taken -- I mean, I don't have --

BERNSTEIN: Jeffrey, you don't hang up the telephone on the prime minister of Australia. That's the real question here.

LORD: Yes, you do. Carl, yes, you do if you want to make a point. If you want to make a point, yes, you do.


COOPER: I also think Australia has taken in quite a lot of refugees but, again, I don't have the numbers in front of me but just throughout history. But anyway --

GERGEN: You know, let's be clear. The tradition has been that if one president makes a commitment to another country, the next president is sort of bound by that and you can -- if you want to undo it --

LORD: Which he is.

GERGEN: -- you've got to go back and carefully and use a lot of diplomacy to do that. The Australians on many occasions have sent their soldiers to serve alongside --

COOPER: Vietnam, Iraq --

GERGEN: They spill blood to help America on many occasions. And the Australians, by nature, are so friendly. As a former government official told tonight, it's really hard to make the Australians mad at you, you know. And they have succeed at that and it is a huge --

COOPER: Although, I heard somebody on Twitter say to that, well, they didn't work at "The New York Post".

GERGEN: Yeah, but it's a huge departure from standard procedure. Presidents do not shoot (ph) at all this. I understand that Donald Trump is volcanic and all the rest, but when it comes to diplomacy, it is called diplomacy, it is called state craft.

LORD: David?

GERGEN: It is not called raising hell.

LROD: David?


LORD: You recall when President Regan broke all kinds of presidents by calling the Soviets liars and cheats in his press conference. I mean, Washington was aghast along exactly these lines. You just don't do this.

COOPER: But the Soviet Union -- LORD: That is the line that eventually got us to end the Cold War, win it.

GERGEN: Well, it's a very different situation --

COOPER: I hope the Cold War ends between us and Australia some day.

BERNSTEIN: He said, "Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev," which is very different --

LORD: The State Department --

BERNSTEIN: -- than hanging up the telephone on somebody.


BERNSTEIN: I think this is the reason that we're seeing so many Republicans on Capitol Hill as well as Democrats and those of us in the press keep hearing from our sources that they are questioning the stability, the emotional maturity and stability of this president because one after another of these incidents keeps occurring.

COOPER: All right, we got to leave there. Carl Bernstein, appreciate it. David Gergen, always Jeffrey Lord.

Now, keeping them honest update on a vow that President Trump made a week ago, he was, you'll recall, up in arms over voter fraud or alleged voter fraud making the unfounded claim that millions of undocumented immigrants voted in the election, voted for Hillary Clinton. He was promising a federal investigation into what would be, if true, the biggest case of voter fraud in America's history, again, if true.

[21:25:03] So as we mentioned, that was a week ago. Made headlines subject to, you know, a lot of discussion on news and newspapers which makes tonight seem like a good time to check in on that promise investigation. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has been doing some digging for us on that.

So, Jeff, this executive order that President Trump said he would sign last week opening an investigations to his claim that -- or his claim that millions of people voted illegally in the election. What do we know?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it was a week ago today actually he was supposed to sign it in the Oval Office and it didn't happen. At the time they said he simply was running out of time that day, he was taking his first trip outside of Washington as president to a Philadelphia and then they said he would sign it on Friday and then on Saturday. It didn't happen. But we do know that he was making a big issue last week. His initiative of saying that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally. He tweeted about it, as well.

Take a look at this just to refresh our memories here. He said, "I will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even those who registered to vote are dead, and many for a long time. Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures." So that was supposed to be followed by an executive order or memorandum calling on the Department of Justice to investigate this. Well, simply, it hasn't happened yet so we asked today why that is.

COOPER: And -- I mean did they say anything? Do we know if actions are going to be taken any time soon?

ZELENY: Well, a senior administration official told me that, "Look, it's not the president's priority at this time." And looking into it a little bit, further talking to some other people, quite frankly many Republicans here at the White House and on Capitol Hill have been urging the president to change the subject and stop talking about this. A, they think it's a waste of money and B, they think he won't find anything. So, for the time being, he is not planning on signing this executive order in the coming days.

Now, they won't rule it out entirely because he still believes that there was voter fraud. So possibly when his new Department of Justice is up and running they might revisit it. But, Anderson, many Republicans here, like I said, are hoping he forgets about it.

COOPER: We should also just point out, you know, people registered in multiple states or a dead person being on the rules, that is not voter fraud. It's fraud if somebody goes to vote illegally. And what the president himself has continued to claims that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, that would be the largest voter fraud in America's history, it would be a scandal of massive proportions. The idea that he really believes that and he's not calling for an investigation is kind of amazing or he's -- this is suddenly just kind of disappeared.

ZELENY: Without a doubt. I mean, it's disappeared sort of as quickly as it came up last week. He first mentioned it in a meeting with congressional leaders and then the reporters asked the White House if he really believes this, shouldn't there be an investigation? As he said, this would be an epic scandal in voting in county after county across the country. Well then, the president came out and called for that investigation but he really was being urged by people inside the White House to move on. So yes, he may still believe it but again, no evidence of voter fraud and there are Republicans and Democrats who say it just simply didn't happen, certainly to that extent.

COOPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

ZELENY: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, just ahead in this hour, more on President Trump's approach to the annual national prayer breakfast. What he said in front of a room of religious leaders.


[21:32:17] COOPER: As we said, President Trump spoke at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington this morning, Thursday, he did not follow the usual script. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thank you as well to Senate Chaplain Barry Black for his moving words. And I don't know Chaplain whether or not that's an appointed position. It's that an appointed position? I don't even know if you're Democrat or if you're Republican, but I'm appointing you for another year. The hell with it.

And I think it's not even my appointment, it's the Senate's appointment, but we'll talk to them. Your very -- your son is here. Your job is very, very secure. OK?


COOPER: Among other things, President Trump also talked about his "Celebrity Apprentice" ratings, made fun of his replacement on the show, Arnold Schwarzenegger, asking the audience to pray for better ratings for Arnold Schwarzenegger. It wasn't all jokes though.

Trump vowed to overturn the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity, the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. Repealing of the law would require the approval of Congress.

We wanted to know how this all went over with religious leaders who were listening in the room and elsewhere. Joining now is Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. She was not at the breakfast. Joel Rosenberg, who was there in the room, he's founder and chairman of the Joshua Fund and author of the thriller, "Without Warning".

Joel, thanks very much for being with us and Sister Simone as well. So, president, how did the comments to Chaplain Black and what he said about "The Celebrity Apprentice" and his other comments. How did it play actually in the room?

JOEL ROSENBERG, FOUNDER/CHAIRMAN, THE JOSHUA FUND: People really enjoyed it. There was a real sense of how refreshing it was for somebody to be talking about religious freedom, affirming the values of Christianity, but also other faiths, the importance of coming together and being unified.

And I have to say that if you're judging in on individual moments, yes, there was a classic Donald Trump moments. I can see that.

COOPER: You're talking about "The Apprentice" ratings on --

ROSENBERG: Yeah. I mean, I don't think any of us even (inaudible) expect him not to still be who he is. But I would also say overall, if you read the whole speech or if you watch it more importantly, the tone is actually quite measured. He is being very generous. He's talking about peace-loving Muslims who were been slaughtered and we need to help them. He sys we want to bring people into our country, we just need to be careful and safe about how we do that. It was actually a much better Trump, the type of Trump I would -- I want to see as president with a few moments. COOPER: It's interesting because, you know, when I woke up and was looking and reading stuff all throughout the day, a lot of the coverage online was of course about "The Celebrity Apprentice" line but it's interesting to hear your perspective and other people.

[21:34:58] Sister Simone, I understand you feel differently. You thought some of the president's comments were -- well, what did you think?

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK LOBBY FOR CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE: Well, I must say that I felt like he was off the mark. He really didn't address the issues of faith. And for me at the heart of faith is the Pope Francis' and Jesus' urging to welcome the immigrant. And so at the heart of faith is that dictum for me. And he -- President Trump basically skirted that issue and to have done it just in the face of instituting the Muslim ban, of stopping refugees from coming in, of devastating so many families around the world. Well, that made me think he's totally tone deaf but he also didn't understand what's at the heart of our faith, that we're the best when we are together and when we do welcome in the immigrant.

COOPER: I think a lot of people, obviously, see things through a particular angst, about their feelings of their own religious beliefs, their political beliefs.

Sister Simone, it sounds like some of your thoughts on what he said, though, are based on a disagreement over policies that the president is elaborating on. Is that fair to say?

CAMPBELL: I think that's fair to say but given the one example, the policy example that he did say about overturning the Johnson Amendment. And what's that amendment is, is the prohibition for churches to endorse candidates. And what people may not think about is the fact that if that's overturned, that means that churches can use their charitable contributions, which are tax deductible to the donors for political advertisement. And quite frankly, the issue is, is the fact that churches get this tax benefit then they should be limited in their participation in physically participating in that political process. Individuals can still use their voice but not in their church perspective.

COOPER: Right.

CAMPBELL: And it's that mixing of church and state that I think is problematic.

COOPER: Right. Mr. Rosenberg, I should point out, you actually were kind of a never Trumper until, I think, about a week before the election.

ROSENBERG: Yeah, that's true.

COOPER: And I think it was Mike Pence who sort of finally made you decide to support the ticket. So it's interesting that you felt that early on but the lens to which you're seeing what the president said tonight or this morning was different and clearly, you feel differently about that amendment?

ROSENBERG: Well, yeah, because look, I was. I was a never Trumper, you know, through 16 different candidates. I readily can see that. His choice of Governor Pence to be vice president caught my attention because I've been a friend of Mike and Karen for a long time, or the vice president and the second lady. And I really like his style. And when I watched him more and more sort of embracing the way Pence approaches things and putting more involved than policy, I like that.

Now, to be clear, I think there's a difference between being a cynic and being maybe a skeptic or, you know, look, -- in an even (inaudible) way of looking it, this was a marriage I wasn't sure should happen but now that it's happened, I want the president to succeed. I think cynics are unable at times. I'm not speaking of the Sister, but cynics are unable to even hear anything good that the new president is saying. He is saying we want immigrants in our country. We just need to have a process to do that right and we will fight radical Islam, he didn't actually use that term, but we need to help Muslims who are dying and Christians who are dying. And of course, the King of Jordan was right there in front of him and it was actually an excellent speech overall.

COOPER: Joel Rosenberg, I appreciate your perspective and Sister Simone Campbell as well. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, what Uber CEO is doing in response to President Trump's executive order on so-called extreme vetting, which being called the travel ban. Maajid Nawaz joins us as well and how the order is being received among Islamic communities overseas.


[21:42:29] COOPER: Uber CEO became the latest to break with the Trump administration over its immigration order, today dropping out of President Trump's business advisory council. There's a full born battle raging over the impact of it, not just on the Ubers of the world, either, especially over the question of whether it's counter protective. We wanted to talk about it with Maajid Nawaz, author of "Radical: My Journey out of Islamists Extremism".

Maajid, thanks for being with us. There was an advisor, deputy assistant to the president on Jake Tapper's show yesterday who essentially was saying look, this argument that ISIS, you know, that we shouldn't be upset about this ban or worry about how this ban is being seen or used by ISIS because they want to kill Americans anyway. It's not as if we should be concerned that it's going to be a propaganda tool for ISIS. What do you say to that?

MAAJID NAWAZ, AUTHOR, "RADICAL: MY JOURNEY OUT OF ISLAMISTS EXTREMISM": Well, if we don't control the narrative, and of course, ISIS will be able to use anything we do and anything we don't do as a propaganda tool. They also use Angela Merkel's open door policy as a propaganda tool. But we cannot get away from the fact that they will certainly use this as a propaganda tool and it's being received and heard by Muslims as a Muslim ban because of the way Trump campaigned and called it this in his campaign.

COOPER: So even though this is a -- you know, they're now saying it's not a ban, that this is just temporary to reassess things, although the Syrian part of it seems more permanent at least for the near future, that message still it's being received overseas among Muslim communities you think as this is a ban, this is America against Islam?

NAWAZ: Well, and the reason is because of the incredibly -- look, everyone knows what Trump says he was trying to do but it was an incredibly clumsy way of rolling this out of those seven countries. You know, we've discussed this enough, the seven countries named, didn't mention Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 9/11 hijackers -- 15 out of 19 of them came from Saudi Arabia. It didn't mention Pakistan, where U.S. security says the biggest terrorism threats come from. It didn't mention Britain or France, where we've seen that terrible summer violence last year in France by French citizens, by the way. Or Britain, where Richard Reid, the shoe bomber attempted. He's the reason why we have to take our shoes off at airports.

So it's incredible clumsy. And actually more importantly that there are two prominent voices in America that I know that are challenging extremism from within Muslim communities. One happens to be Somali and the other happens to be Iraqi. Both would have been banned by this -- by Trump's measure.

COOPER: It is interesting because the -- really the -- one of the few people who directly came from overseas who was involved recently in on attack was the wife in the San Bernardino attack and she came from Pakistan, which is, as you said, not on this list.

[21:45:10] NAWAZ: Exactly. And, you know, one of the attackers came from Egypt, the 9/11 attackers, the other two from the UAE. Now, people are wondering why this list was -- why these seven countries in particular were compiled and the answer we're getting from Trump's people is that this happens -- these countries happen to be unstable. We can't vet refugees coming from those countries.

I asked the question, if refugees in asylum (inaudible) and people fleeing war and coming from unstable countries where the rule of law has broken down, where should they be coming from? Stable countries where there's a rule of law and democracy?

COOPER: So, in terms of fighting the narrative, what can the Trump administration do, the narrative being put forth by ISIS and others?

NAWAZ: Well, we do need a very clear understanding that we're engaged in an ideology struggle. We know that, you know, my criticism of the previous administration is being that there's being too much emphasis on military approach and illegal approach. We do need to start engaging in the ideological struggle and that mean recognizing we're dealing with Islamists extremism. You can't challenge an ideology unless you first are able to name it and recognize it, and distinguish it from Islam.

The other thing I'm concerned about, though, having conceded that Trump is relatively OK on naming the ideology is that if he's going to change the countering violent extremism strategy at the State Department and name it challenging radical Islam, where does that leave us with right wing or white supremacist terrorism as well?

You know, we've seen these six who have lost their lives tragically in Quebec by what seems to be a white supremacist. So we've got to use a name for a strategy that includes all forms of extremism and under which comes Islamists extremism as well.

COOPER: Maajid Nawaz to be continued. Thank you very much.

Just ahead, the man who's been so associated with travel ban, how Steve Bannon's views on Islam may be shaping Trump administration policy.


[21:50:57] COOPER: These are early days in the Trump White House but it is already clear that Steve Bannon is a major force field in the Oval Office. "Time" magazine put him on its cover calling him "The Great Manipulator." The story inside as headlined, Steve Bannon, the second most powerful man in the world.

Bannon's actual title is Chief White House Strategist. He's a key member obviously in the president's inner circle who now has a seat on the National Security Council.

Today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Bannon a white supremacist and said, "Putting him on the NSC is making America less safe." Bannon, as we know, is the former chairman of Brietbart News, the far right media outlet that Bannon himself has touted as a platform from the alt-right, which spouses extreme views.

Bannon hasn't spoken much in public since the election, but in the past, he's talked at length about his views on Muslims and refugees and immigrants. Gary Tuchman tonight reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nine months before Steve Bannon joined the Trump campaign, he had this to say about screening refugees from Syria.

STEVE BANNON, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIST: I don't understand, what do you mean vet? Why not just stop, why are you going through all this thing on vetting, the opportunity cost of vetting?

REP. RYAN ZINKE, (R) MONTANA: Vetting is important because we don't know --

BANNON: You know only vet -- Commander, you only vet if you're going to let them in. Why even let them in?

TUCHMAN: His concerns over immigration and Islam apparent in hours of interviews conducted by Bannon for his Brietbart radio show in 2015 and 2016.

BANNON: I think that most people in the Middle East, or at least 50 percent believe in being Shariah compliant.

TUCHMAN: Even harshly criticizing former President George W. Bush for calling Islam religion of peace.

BANNON: Only the dumbest -- the second dumbest comment that one of the dumbest presidents in the history of these United States, that would be Bush 43, "Shrub" as they call him, he made the dumbest being that Islam is religion of peace.

TUCHMAN: Bannon's views on Islam leading the way for his views on what he terms a war against the Judeo-Christian West.

BANNON: People today say, 9/11, they're all sitting there going, "Hey, what happened, what went on, how did this happen? Why do they hate us? I say they've been fighting us for decades, look at the run up. They want to know why guys like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage are on the rise? Because the elites in this country are too gutless, they are too gutless to face the enemy that is trying to destroy us.

Why is it that President Barack Hussein Obama, who went to Harvard Law School, went to Columbia University and has been hailed by the mainstream media as the brightest most brilliant guy ever to sit in the White House, how can he not see that we're fighting a global existential war?

TUCHMAN: And he repeatedly raises a conspiracy theory of an underground group of Islamic supremacists infiltrating American institutions?

BANNON: Do we have a fifth column in this country? In the government, in the media? The President of the United States will not criticize Islam. Mrs. Clinton will not criticize Islam. Do get a sense that the media in the West, and I mean in London and in the United States, is almost working under the precepts of Shariah law right now?

TUCHMAN: Bannon's preoccupation not ending with Muslims in the U.S. he cautions about all immigrants.

BANNON: Don't we have a problem? We've looked the other way on this legal immigration that's kind of overwhelmed the country. When you look and we have 61 million, 20 percent of the country is immigrants. Is that not a massive problem?

TUCHMAN: A problem as he sees it and something the White House where he holds a position of influence has wasted no time in addressing.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Well, joining now is Trump biographer, Tim O'Brien, author of "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald" and executive editor at Bloomberg View.

Obviously, you know, we've just heard Bannon's comments on immigrants, on Muslims, on Islam. Sean Spicer the other day said, "Well, look, the views of Bannon and the president are different when it comes to Islam." But Bannon is his top advisor. I mean it has the president's ear perhaps more than anyone else.

TIM O'BRIEN, AUTHOR, "TRUMP NATION: THE ART OF BEING THE DONALD": Well, and they can try to parse this difference between Donald Trump's view of Muslims and Steve Bannon's view of Muslims, but it all takes place ultimately in policy. And Trump allowed Bannon to roll out an executive order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries and has put that out it in play. So whatever -- if there's any daylight between Bannon and Trump, you wouldn't know through that order and it's an order, in many ways, that's profoundly 11th century. You know, 25 percent of the population --

COOPER: Right. They say it's temporary, but of course remains to be seen what happens.

O'BRIEN: Right, but I mean it's expressing a world view.

COOPER: Right.

O'BRIEN: And I think you can expect things like this to continue to come out of the administration.

COOPER: You know, it's interesting, because one of the criticisms then candidate Trump like to level against Hillary Clinton was that she always would go to adviser, her advisers. She would never, you know, she would always consult advisers first before making any decision. And, in fact, his major selling point was that he was a decision maker. You know, what we're hearing though is this role that Bannon has and all these other senior advisers, seems to fly in the face of that.

[21:54:58] O'BRIEN: Well, you know, he said, "I will come into the White House and I'll be a great manager and I'll be a great deal maker." Those were part of the twin selling points. But the reality is, historically, he's never been a great manager. He's never liked the process. He has a short attention span. He's not intellectually and emotionally disciplined. And we're seeing all this surface now in the White House.

COOPER: Right. He would always talk about his 10,000 employees, but the Trump Organization itself was actually pretty small.

O'BRIEN: It's a very boutique operation. The 26 floor of Trump Tower, it's never been big. The only big thing he ever oversaw was his casino business and he drove that into the ground. And you're seeing the same thing happening in the White House. He's relying primarily on a tight group of advisers. I think Jared Kushner and Ivanka, or Javanka, if you would, are going to be the people that he's going to speak to at the end of every day. And that means a lot of other talented people aren't going to be in the mix, people like Rex Tillerson or General Mattis.

COOPER: You wrote a piece for Bloomberg View that I thought was really interesting because it sort of looks at how Donald Trump does not like other people getting a lot of attention. And maybe it's fine for a little while --

O'BRIEN: Right.

COOPER: -- but after a while, you know, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, they sort of disappeared like somebody (inaudible) Charlie Brown spelling bee thing, they just pop, they've just disappear from the screen. The question is, will that happen to Steve Bannon if his profile -- you know, if he continues to be on the cover of "Time" magazine?

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, Bannon is a survivor. He's clearly stayed in the background. He doesn't like to give interviews for the most part. But he had a coming out of sorts over the last week because of the executive order and because he just got this very powerful role on the NSC. And I think he's now very visible. He's on the cover of "Time" magazine.

Trump likes advocates. He likes loyalists. He likes people who will advocate his viewpoint. He doesn't like people who get more air time and more attention than he does. And that's historically been the kiss of death for anybody who's an adviser to him, who isn't a family member.

COOPER: All right, Tim O'Brien, thanks. Appreciate it.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: We'll be right back.