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Trump's Pick for National Security Adviser Turns Down Job; Trump Slams Media, Denies Turmoil in Marathon News Conference; Trump: Russia is a Ruse, I have Nothing to Do with Russia; Appeals Court Suspends Further Action on Trump Travel Ban; Trump Vows to Issue New Travel Ban Order Next Week; Trump New Executive Order will be Tailored Based on Court Decision; Trump Biographers Size Up President Trump. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 16, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:14] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Topping this hour of "360", breaking news, a presidential press conference unlike any other, the breaking news, President Trump's choice to replace national security adviser Michael Flynn turning down the offer. Retired Vice Admiral Bob Harward, a former Navy SEAL, a friend saying he was reluctant to take the job because the White House seems so chaotic. The friend also telling CNN that Admiral Harward called the offer, "an unmentionable sandwich." He didn't mention unmentionable, though, he used a different word than unmentionable, which I can't mention. In any event, this follows a wide ranging, at times, free form Q&A session at the White House. Here are some of the key moments.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. See what's going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places. Low pay, low wages, mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea. We'll take care of it, folks. We're going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know, I inherited a mess.

They've spread like cancer. ISIS has spread like cancer. What a mess I inherited. I turned on T.V., open the newspapers and see stories of chaos, chaos, yet it is the exact opposite but this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine despite the fact that I can't get my Cabinet approved. The people get it. Much of the media doesn't get it. They actually get it but they don't write it. Let's put it that way.

We've begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It's a disaster. You can say, oh, Obamacare. They fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they're not the Republican people that our representatives are representing. Russia is fake news. Russia -- this is fake news put out by the media.

Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence who's with us today and I was not happy with the way that information was given. He didn't have to do that because it what he did wasn't wrong, what he did in terms of the information he saw. What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves, in this room were given that information. Because that was classified information that was given illegally. That's the real problem.

Well, the leaks are real. You're the one that wrote about them and reported them. I mean the leaks are real. You know what they said. You saw it and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake. The reporting is fake.

Here's the thing. The public is -- you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don't know if it's true or false. Because they are not involved. I'm involved. I've been involved with the stuff all my life. But I'm involved. So I know when you're telling the truth or when you're not.

I just see many, many untruthful things. And I'll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word tone. The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such -- I do the get good ratings, you have to admit that. But the tone is such hatred.

You know what they say, you saw it. The leaks absolutely and so much of the news is fake. You know what it is? The public -- they read newspapers and see. They don't know it's true or false. They are not involved. I'm involved. I've been involved so i know, and i see many, many, upward tone, and the tone, i do get good ratings. Such hatred. This isn't donald trump that divided a nation. He went eight years with president obama and we went many years. We live in a divided nation. I will do everything within my power to fix that.

This isn't Donald Trump that divided a nation.

We went eight years with President Obama, and we went many years before President Obama. We lived in a divided nation, and I'm going to try -- I will do everything within my power to fix that.


COOPER: Well, let's bring in the panel for this hour, Brian Fallon, former Hillary for America press secretary, Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord is back, so as David Gergen. And joining us is conservative talk show host, Dana Loesch.

Dana, let's start with you. President Trump made a big point of saying they're appealing to people beyond beltway outside of New York, Los Angeles. What reaction -- I'm wondering, have you been getting about how this press conference went over? DANA LOESCH, CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW HOST: Anderson, thanks for having me.

This was a pretty epic press conference. It was, I think, everything that Trump's base obviously wanted to see.

COOPER: Right.

LOESCH: This is -- I'm going to bring this tug boat to shore, Anderson, but this is the best way I can put it. Everybody remembers that movie, "A Christmas Story", right? Everybody remembers Ralphie. Everybody remembers Scott Farkus and Ralphie had had it and he just attacked Scott Farkus and he started whaling on him. That is what -- that's what Trump represents to a lot of people in America.

[21:05:10] And Scott Farcus, I'm sorry to say, represents a lot of the media, a lot of the people in the media. And people, they just want to wail. That's exactly what they want to do. So we're in that face of this post election season and this is what they wanted. They want -- they voted for someone to -- what they see as take on the media head on and that's what they got and that's what this press conference was all about.

I got some previous -- even from people that I know who are -- they describe themselves as never Trump. They actually like how this press conference went along. So that was pretty surprising.

COOPER: Brian, I mean, I think Dana raises a really interesting point. This is how President Trump campaigned during the election. He was elected. Why would people be shocked today that he would have ruckus press conference like this and continue the same kind of stuff he did during the campaign?

BRIAN FALLON, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: I agree. They shouldn't be shocked at all. I mean the real news that came out of today's press conference was Trump's inability to give a definitive answer to rule out that any of his associates during the campaign had contact with Russian officials. He -- it took three reporters pressing him with follow-ups to finally get him to engage on that question and even then, he didn't definitively rule it out.

I think the rest of it was a sideshow. It was performance intended to distract and cultivate this preferred narrative of his that was articulated by Steve Bannon several weeks ago when he said that the media is the opposition party. Trump likes to pick a fight with the media. It does animate his base but I don't think it comes without a cause for him. Because right now, his approval, you know, despite him citing this phony Rasmussen Poll today at the press conference, his approval in most polls hoovers around 40 percent. That's a pretty historically low number.

And if it sticks around that level for a long time, I think you'll start to see congressional Republicans, who right now, are holding out hope that through Trump, they'll get tax reform on their terms. I think after awhile, they'll start to worry that the midterms is going to become a referendum on a very unpopular incumbent and days like today do not do anything to grow his support beyond 40 percent of his base.

COOPER: Yeah. David Gergen, though, I mean, part of the strategy of the press conference today, and again, I give the President credit. You know, there are a lot of folks who in the last couple days have been criticizing the President for not taking a wide variety of questions from different kinds of reporters, he certainly did that today, so I think you can give the President credit for that.

If part of the strategy, though, and I don't know what if it was, was to kind of distract from the Russia stuff and, you know, go after the media and get that being the conversation tonight in the coming days, was it successful in that? Because we really don't have any more answer. I mean, for a press conference that went on for some 70 minutes or so, we're really not that much closer to learning anything about any possible connections or did people in the campaign have connections? The President didn't say he's going to look into it that he's asking his staff. He just said he didn't know anything about it.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think it was intended to be a total distraction and he's very good at this and I think he succeeded to a degree by getting us distracted. We have been spending most of our time here, you know, naturally enough talking about his attacks on the press, goes so far beyond reality, you know, that everybody is sort of like him incredulous. I don't think the press is angry I just think they're incredulous about what they see. And I think he did get us distracted.

You know, otherwise, we would be talking again about the Russian story. We would be talking about a story in the "Washington Post" that Flynn told the FBI. He never talked about sanctions, which potentially could be a -- if, you know, the tapes show otherwise, that's a felony to a lot of the FBI and very importantly, this story about the NSE (inaudible) Admiral Harward.

I'd give credit to President Trump for reaching out to Harward, because it showed he looked for a real heavy weight and I think with had he been in place working with Madison, working with Tillerson, the President would have a strong national security team out there. But the fact that Harward turned it down in large -- in significant amount because he couldn't -- he saw dysfunction and he couldn't choose his own team. He couldn't choose his own team, a huge in a White House with so many internal conflicts.

COOPER: Yeah, Jeffrey, I mean, does that concern you as somebody obviously, you know, wants, you know, as, I think, most Americans want to see this White House succeed, does that concern you that, you know, the President's next pick for national security adviser has turned the job down, I mean, for a career military, you know, member who served his country so extraordinary has he has --


COOPER: -- turned down the opportunity to serve the country and the President. It's a big deal.

LORD: It's too bad, Anderson. But, you know, again, I'm not sure that we know all the behind the scenes of this and I just -- I mean, as David well remembers, President Reagan went through six of these people, he fired two of them. The first one and fifth one and there was controversy over another one that was Judge William Clark who had been a Supreme Court Justice in the California State Supreme Court and wound up as the president's national security adviser. You can believe there is controversy over that.

So I tend to take these kind of things with a grain or salt because the long-term effect is how the presidency of that individual turns out and Ronald Reagan is with lot of us seen is one of the great American presidents and these kind of controversies are long gone.

[21:10:08] COOPER: Right. We're going to take a quick break. More with the panel ahead.

Coming up next, a closer look at President Trump's claim that questions about him and Russia, unlike his questions about Hillary Clinton and Russia are as he puts it a ruse. Later, what today reveals about how President Trump thinks, acts and reacts. Has becoming president changed any of that? We'll speak with two biographers who've known him for decades.


COOPER: Well, more breaking news. We've just gotten the White House's take on President Trump's performance today. Spokesman Sean Spicer calling it, "Very good. A direct conversation with the American people." That's from your Michelle Kosinki reporting.

President Trump spent a good deal of it today fielding questions about Russia, including CNN's reporting that during the campaign, senior advisors were in constant communication with Moscow. He said it was a joke. Said he's not aware of any advisers doing that, however, U.S. officials tell us that he and President Obama were briefed after the election, an extend communications between Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign.

When pressed on that, he did not answer directly saying instead that he himself had nothing to do with it. Russia, he said is a ruse. If you recall though during the campaign it was not a ruse. Efforts to get closer to Russia were a weapon used against his opponent.


TRUMP: We have an administration where the Democrats are making it very difficult. The only thing they can do is delay because they've screwed things up royally. Believe me. This is pure delay tactics. Does anybody really think that Hillary Clinton would be tougher on Russia than Donald Trump?

Hillary Clinton tries to reset it fails. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. You know, they say I'm close to Russia. Hillary Clinton gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States. She's close to Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [21:14:57] COOPER: And back now with the panel. Dana Loesch, I mean, do you think President Trump did -- I mean, do you think part of the strategy of this as we talk in the last block, was to distract from the Russian issue and do you think he did a good job of that essentially because we really don't have much more clarity than we did before this press conference?

LOESCH: Well, I mean, no, not really. We know that the FBI, the same FBI that cleared Hillary Clinton also was able to clear General Michael Flynn. So I mean I think that puts that issue to rest, whether or not and why he misled Vice President Pence, I think we'd all agree, is an issue that I'd like to hear more about and the investigation as to where the leaks came from.

But you picked up on something. I think there is so much thrown out at this press conference. I think that one of the reasons why the Trump administration is incredibly open about literally everything that they do down to, I think, somebody sneezing to that point. It's because the more that you put out there, if something else a little bit unpopular comes down the way, people pay less attention to that including the base because there was a lot said in that press conference. There were couple of regulations that were thrown out there.

In addition to that, I mean, he wants to keep the momentum going because this delay tactic that he's talking about in Congress and I said this under former President Obama, I'll say it still, it's -- that's not a bug in the system, that's a feature of the system and they have to get along and figure out how to work with that and get around it. That's something they're going to have to continue dealing with.

But I think that press conferences like this and, Anderson, the rally that he has coming up in Florida, I believe, that is, that's -- I think to keep people's energy going even while it -- some things look like they're stalling out. Conservatives are wondering where the tax cuts are, they're wondering how quickly is the wall going to be built. Will it be a fence or wall? And those questions, I think, having rallies and having press conferences like this sort of stretches the energy out a little bit.

COOPER: Brian, I heard you say the other day, essentially, Donald Trump is president full stop not, you're not disputing that, but the idea of a probe into this campaign's ties with Russia, the White House argues that's an effort to undermine him to try to delegitimize his victory.

FALLON: No, I think that there has been enough serious questions raised that it deserves a bipartisan independent investigation to get to the bottom of it. And, I think, the fact that Trump was making such a clear effort to distract from that issue is proof that he's worried about what any serious level of scrutiny on these set of facts might produce.

And to the extent that people are wondering and debating, you know, is Donald Trump really this out of touch with reality, is his really this insecure that he continues to talk about Hillary Clinton and talk about the scale of his victory or is he crazy like a fox and this is all an intentional effort to try to distract? I think both things are true. He's truly insecure about his victory and worried about the Russian narrative and the extent to which that may delegitimize his victory. But he also recognizes the youthfulness of picking a fight with the media and the Democrats realize that this is all an attempt to distract and they focus like the laser on the facts of the Russia investigation and true things that would put distance between himself and his base supporters, which are him betraying them on the economic populism that he can campaigned on, the better off they'll be.

COOPER: Jeffrey, do you think this is an attempt to distract?

LORD: Well, I will say this, Anderson, Donald Trump came -- I mean, this is a New Yorker's New Yorker. He came up -- he grew up both personally and professionally in the New York media environment. He knows this thing. I think he is probably the most media savvy president we've had in the Oval Office period. So he understands when he is watching the cable shows and he's seeing all the headlines that are going in one direction into a lapse inside the beltway term seeing the narrative, quote unquote, that's being formed that he needs to come out and do something like this to break up the narrative and then address his critics and look the American people right in the eye and just stand there in an unhurried fashion for an hour and a half, I think an hour and 15 minutes to do it.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: I do think that that's part of what he does because he does understand how this works.


LORD: He is not going to be a president who goes into the bunker.

COOPER: We've certainly seen that before. David, I mean, the President also tried to make the argument that he isn't responding to aggressive Russian military posturing, including a Russian spy ship reportedly off the coast of Connecticut in international waters because he wants to get along with Russian, he blamed the media for complicating process for a deal with Vladimir Putin. He also said he wouldn't tell people if he was going to do something about it because that's obviously part of his strategy. Did that make sense to you?

GERGEN: No, I just couldn't believe it. He said -- he could blow that ship up. Oh, come on, give me -- give us a break. But I think -- I think by not telling us what he's going to do, he also won't deal with -- how is he really going to deal with this uranium problem, how are we going to do deal it, what are we going to do about ISIS, which we don't know anything more than we do.

I want to go back to the distraction point, if I might for one moment, Anderson. He clearly is creating a distraction for us. The danger here also is, he's distracting himself. He's distracting himself from the hard work of the presidency. [21:20:03] He needs to buckled in, as Leon Panetta was just saying a moment ago on your program, and begin to do the hard work that is required. How is he going to get tax cuts through, how is he going to create jobs, where are we going on Obamacare, where are we going on these other issues that go to? If he wants to restore the greatness of America, he's going completely in a different direction right now by creating all these distractions and making the White House seem like a place of entrainment, not of serious work.

COOPER: We got to take another break. More on that hard work that David has talked about on Russia and the world, a reality behind what President Trump calls the ruse. Fareed Zakaria joins us, along with the former top CIA operations officer with decades of experience dealing with Moscow.


COOPER: Well, President Trump blamed the media for a lot today, including making it harder for him to deal with Russia. Listen.


TRUMP: Let me just tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible, fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia. And probably Putin said, you know, he's sitting behind his desk, he's saying, you know, I see what is going on in the United States. I follow it closely. It's going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he's got with this fake story.

[21:25:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned the vessel, the spy vessel off the coast of the United States.

TRUMP: Not good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a ballistic missile test that many interpreted as --

TRUMP: Not good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- a violation of an agreement between the two countries and a Russian plane buzzed a U.S. Destroyer.

TRUMP: Not good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I listen to you --

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me, when did it happen? It happened when, if you were Putin right now, you would say, hey, we're back to the old games with the United States. There is no way Trump can ever do a deal with us.


COOPER: Joining me now is Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" and former CIA Russian operations officer, Steven Hall. Steve, what do you make of Donald Trump essentially blaming the media on this, saying that it's the media making it much harder and Vladimir Putin is saying Donald Trump is not going to be able to do anything to get better relationships with Russia because of the media?

STEVEN L. HALL, FORMER CIA RUSSIAN OPERATIONS OFFICER: Anderson, I would certainly agree that there is obviously a lot of chat throwing out there that the President is doing, but with regard to Putin, and the idea of Putin sitting back and what is he thinking. You know, Putin, I think, is probably pretty pleased with what he's thinking and what he's seeing in the United States right now.

Remember that the intelligence community in a rare display of unanimity indicated that their assessment was the Russians had indeed tried to tip the scales of the election towards Trump. So he's got to be happy about that and now what he sees is one of his primary goals for not just the United States, but the West in general, which is the fracturing and the weakening of democracies wherever that can happen.

So, he's beginning to see, I think, the beginnings of cracks in the American democracy when you've got the questioning of the presses we've seen, when you've got questioning of the security services, the intelligence services, the national security infrastructure of the United States, all those things bode very, very well from Moscow and for Vladimir Putin.

COOPER: Fareed, just in terms of, you know, a Russian ship off the coast to Cuba in international waters, the other -- excuse me, Connecticut, obviously, the other moves by Russia recently, how do you interpret that? I mean, is that sort of business as normal or is that a testing at this stage of the Obama -- of the Trump administration?

FAREED ZAKARIA. CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: I think that Putin has always had this view that Russia needs to be the other great power in the world, that it was denied that role by the United States starting with the Clinton administration, you know, then the Bush administration, then Obama and he has been trying to reassert that role and every time he's tried, he's gotten a lot of push back from the United States, from NATO, from Japan. So Russia's efforts here are not unusual.

What's unusual is, you know, frankly the petulant way that Donald Trump is responding to it. When Russia does all the things you're describing, what does Donald Trump's response is to say to the media it's all your fault. We need a serious policy, a serious strategy to deal with precisely this challenge that Russia is presenting both at the geopolitical level, discrediting democracy and the strategic level.

COOPER: One of the things Leon Panetta though -- Secretary Panetta brought up in the last hour is that the national security infrastructure is not in place yet.

ZAKARIA: Well, again, that's part of the problem, that's part of the turmoil. You don't have a national security adviser. The key work of government is done by a committee called the deputy's committee, Deputy National Security Advisor, Deputy Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of Defense and they, in a sense, make the government run and then they push up the big decisions to the Cabinet offices.

Guess what? There's no Deputy Secretary of State. There's no Deputy Secretary of Defense. You know, I think, "The Washington Post" calculate there are 700 key positions that require Senate confirmation. Donald Trump has not named 660 of those posts. So forget about the Senate delay. He hasn't named the vast majority of the people who need to come up before the Senate.

COOPER: You know, Steven, the President was asked repeatedly and I want to make sure I get his words right. He was asked repeatedly about, you know, whether anybody in his staff communicated with Russians during the campaign. I think it took three different reporters to actually get him to answer. The closest he came was saying nobody that I know of. Do you think he was trying to leave himself wiggle room?

HALL: It's certainly -- it certainly sounded that way to me and I think it's because he understands the gravity of the situation. I think the whole thing with Flynn, I think was a little bit of a tempest in a teapot because, you know, really, in terms of his conversations with Russia ambassador, Kislyak, the importance of that pails to, again, what could have happened or what some alleged have happened, notably "The New York Times" between, you know, the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

If that happened, then that really does cast very, very serious doubts on the legitimacy of the election, whereas if it were simply a Russian propaganda -- successful propaganda operation, that simply caused American voters to vote differently, that's kind of not the administration's fault. Unlike the collusion, which would be their fault.

[21:30:14] COOPER: Yeah, Steven Hall, I appreciate it, Fareed Zakaria as well.

Coming up next, new claims the President made about the economic mess, he says, he inherited and how they stand up to the facts. Keeping them honest, ahead.


COOPER: President Trump said multiple times today that he thinks when he took office just a few weeks ago, he inherited a mess. Listen.


TRUMP: I inherited a mess. It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. You see what's going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places, low-pay, low-wages. Mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea. We'll take care of it, folks. We're going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know, I inherited a mess.


COOPER: Well, keeping them honest. Let's look at the numbers on the economy. That -- what President Trump inherited versus, say, what President Obama inherited. In the month before President Obama took office, the unemployment was 7.3 percent compared to the 4.7 percent President Trump inherited. President Obama took office the month after 524,000 jobs were lost versus the 156,000 that were added going into the Trump presidency. President Obama facing negative 6.3 percent GDP. President Trump inherited a 1.9 percent growing GDP. Those are some numbers.

[21:24:58] Joining us is former Clinton Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, the author of "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few" and CNN senior economic analyst and former Trump campaign senior economic adviser, Stephen Moore.

Secretary Reich, I mean the thing is, certainly the big numbers are positive for Donald Trump but there are some indicators that are not so great. Workers with less than a college degree have been losing ground for a while, home ownership's debt, factories have been disappearing as the President mentioned. So, I mean, isn't it understand why some people at least feel like the economy is a mess but how do you -- do you think it's fair that Donald Trump said it's a mess?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: A lot of people still feel that the economy is a mess and those are due to long-term structural changes and problems that have been in place unfortunately for about 30 years. Wages have stagnated. We have a lot of people who are less secure about their jobs, but if you look at just the Obama administration and where we are right now in the economy, almost every indicator is very, very, very high. The longest period of job formation and job creation in history under President Obama.

And even the deficit, I mean, compared to what he started with and where he is now, deficit is down by two-thirds and you've got overall, the best economy transferred to the next president, any president has transferred to the next president with the possible exception of Bill Clinton.

So, I don't know what Donald Trump is getting at. I think that he -- if there's any possibility of blaming somebody else for the mess in the White House and I'm talking about obviously, Michael Pence and the travel ban and the conflicts of interest and all of the other things, if there's anybody --

COOPER: Mike Flynn, I think --

REICH: -- to put all of that responsibility on, the courts or the previous administration or anybody, he will find somebody else.

COOPER: Stephen, do you agree with that assessment or I take it no?

STEPHEN MOORE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, HERITAGE FOUNDATION MOORE: I don't. And look, the simple truth is, Bob, if the economy was as strong as you said it would -- was, then Hillary Clinton would be president today. But the truth is when you go out around the country, people didn't buy into this notion that it was a good economy.

I think some of those statistics, Anderson, frankly are a little bit unfair because it is true. I mean, look, Obama came in when the economy hit at the bottom of a terrible recession. The economy isn't in a recession right now, but we've got slow, very slow stagnant growth for a long time and the problem is -- I mean, Bob is right. We haven't -- when you ask the middle class worker what's going on and you would say gee, do you think we're -- what do you think of this recovery? Anderson, a lot of places, they'll say what recovery are you talking about?

COOPER: Right, yeah.

MOORE: So, I don't agree with that at all. I think that this has been a flimsy economy. And, by the way, you're right, Bob, there are signs of economic recovery. Look at the "Wall Street Journal" today front page, consumer confidence is up. Investor confidence is up. Factory orders in January were as high as they've been in a long time. I think that's a little bit -- wouldn't you agree, Bob, of the Trump effect?

REICH: No, I disagree, completely, Steve. In fact, it seems to me -- I mean, the stock market has been going gang busters for a very long time now and we have also seen --

COOPER: But it did jump a lot after President Trump got elected.

REICH: Well, because people anticipated big. You know, in terms of the stock market, we anticipate a big cut in taxes and a big infrastructure project. And those are both calculated to improve profits but profits don't necessary mean that individuals are going to be better off.

Look, I've been saying for years there are structural problems in this economy. People said, they were not better off under George W. Bush. They said, they were not better off under Bill Clinton. I mean, I remember people complaining that their wages were going nowhere. But the fact of the matter is, it's not a mess that he inherited. Donald Trump did not inherit a mess. Donald Trump inherited a gift in terms of an economy --

COOPER: OK, I just want to give Stephen --


MOORE: By the way, how can you say that a $500 billion a year deficit is some kind of gift? I mean, --

REICH: That's two-thirds less than it was in 2009, Steve. It's two- thirds less than it was in 2009.

MOORE: That's just not true. I mean, the first thing Obama came -- did when he came into office was pass an $800 billion debt gold. It's something --

REICH: And the spending -- wait a minute. Wait a minute. We're just having a -- this is ridiculous. Spending has been increasing by the lowest 3.3 percent on average, it's the lowest since Eisenhower. So don't give me this bologna --

MOORE: OK, so why is the deficit --


COOPER: Stephen, I got to give you the final thought and then we got to go, because we're out of time.

MOORE: The reason that deficit is so high is because the economy hasn't grown. You know, Donald Trump did something very important today, Anderson, that hasn't gotten almost any attention on any of the networks and is maybe the most important thing. He signed an executive order to restrain some of these regulations against the coal industry that's going to put coal workers back into their jobs --

REICH: Wait, coal is our future? Come on, Stephen Moore --


MOORE: -- all-time high.

REICH: That is ridiculous.

COOPER: To be continued. Stephen Moore, thank you. Robert Reich, I appreciate it.

Coming up next, the news President Trump made today about his upcoming rewritten travel ban.


[21:43:38] COOPER: As you remember, President Trump's executive order on immigration cause that we can chaos in the nation's airport before it was suspended. Today, the President characterized the roll out as "very smooth," and said, the only problem was that, the court was bad. At the same time, he said, a new executive order would be written to ensure that it could be legally enforce based on the court's ruling. Pamela Brown joins us with the latest.

So, this new executive order, which will, I guess, supersede the original one, do we know any details about it?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, the government today, Anderson said that it's going to issue a new superseding executive order to "protect the nation security." This was happening as President Trump was reeling his plans to roll out a new travel ban during his press conference today.

He defended the old one, though, pinning the blame on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision to keep the travel ban on hold, but he also said, the new executive order would be tailored based on the Ninth Circuit Court decision. He said, the roll out of the original ban, as you pointed out, was very smooth but people within the Department of Homeland Security in charge of implementing it say, it was not smooth at all.

The details of the original travel ban were closely held and as a result, there was chaos at airports across the country after the President signed that executive order and there were green card holders, as you recall, that were detained at airports and key people involved in the implantation were trying to figure out a real time what the order meant.

Now, with the new executive order, we're told by our sources, it will include clarifying language that legal permanent residents will not be impacted by this travel ban. We'll have to see what else is in the order, Anderson?

COOPER: Well, I mean to say that it was a smooth rollout is factually unbelievable, you know, and the white house had to come out and say oh, this executive order doesn't apply to green card holders, which it did apply to and -- which they clearly hadn't even, you know, consider.

BROWN: And they came out two days after the President signed the executive order to say,, oh by the way, this doesn't apply to green card holders. So clearly, there was mass confusion.

COOPER: Right.

BROWN: The weekend that it was being rolled out.

COOPER: What's the latest on the original order? Where does that stand?

BROWN: So, the Trump administration and it's filing today says that it will not pursue further litigation, which means the Ninth Circuit decision stands and the original travel ban will remain on hold.

The filing says at this time, it does not seek on bank review of the merits of the panel's ruling which means a bigger panel of the Ninth Circuit looking at the case. And called the panel's opinion seriously flawed and even in its preliminary and tentative form, it should not remain circuit president but because administration is appealing -- is not appealing the Ninth Circuit of ruling, that will remain on the books and as we heard President Trump say today, next week he is expected to unveil a new executive order. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

COOPER: Yeah, Pamela Brown, thanks for that.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought the case that led to the travel ban being blocked and Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell argued the case before the Ninth Circuit. I spoke with them both shortly before air.


COOPER: Mr. Attorney General, when you heard that the White House was going to essentially rescind the executive order and write a new one, what did you think? Do you see that as a victory? BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, it's complete perpetuation by the President. There is no other way to read that, Anderson. When you say, you're going to rescind an order that's been challenge court, they're acknowledging the idea, and it's been obvious for awhile, they're suffering defeat after defeat in the courts and that wasn't going to change any time soon.

COOPER: The White House is saying that the new executive order would be tailored based on the court decision for the original order. Do you know what tailored means?

FERGUSON: I think that's hard to predict but the courts have made it abundantly clear, all four judges have looked at this is that we are likely to bring on the merits. I think what they're telegraphing to the administration is the executive order in its current form is fatally flawed in many respects. So, yes, the administration will need to go back to the drawing boards and have to really do a substantial rewrite in order to have a chance of passing constitutional scrutiny by the courts.

COOPER: I mean, it seems like the most obvious thing would be -- I mean, in their reply filing last week, Mr. Purcell, the Department of Justice seemed to offer kind of compromise writing that the ban could exclude what they called previously admitted aliens where temporarily abroad now or who wish to travel and return to the United States in the future.

So basically, the ban would focus, I guess, on, you know, somebody who is living overseas who's never been to the United States who wants to come to the United States for the first time, is that the most obvious shape of the new executive order?

NOAH PURCELL, WASHINGTON SOLICITOR GENERAL: I think probably so. It's sort of shocking in a way that they didn't exclude those people in the first place from the coverage of this executive order. So that would be, obviously, a huge step in the right direction to make those changes.

COOPER: And Mr. Attorney General, I mean, I probably can't even answer this but when the new executive order is signed sometime next week, do you know -- I mean -- I guess it's -- I was going to ask what your response is going to be, but -- I mean, can you say whether you would expect to challenge that as well or you're just going to have to wait and see?

FERGUSON: What I can say, Anderson, is that Noah, myself and our team are ready for that new executive order and I can assure you that we will be scrutinizing every word and every line of it very carefully as soon as it comes out. And, I think, within a matter of hours from that new executive order coming out, I think we'll be in a better position to say what our next move will be.

COOPER: And to challenge a new executive order, would you also need what you had the last time, which was I guess briefs from companies in your state and others or the old ones that you have, can you use those to take the new executive order to court if you wanted to? PURCELL: No. I think a lot depends on how similar it is to the existing order. I mean, one of things that we had for example was declarations from our state universities about faculty who they've sponsored to come teach next quarter or next semester. And some of those people might never have been here before, but the universities are relying on them to teach courses, you know, they've gone through the process of getting visas, and all that, gone through the vetting that's required. And so they are still would certainly be some harms, at least, if the order blocked those sorts of things. So, we have to look at that very carefully.

FERGUSON: That said, Anderson, I think it's fair to say that many businesses in our state, the universities that we represent feel very strongly that this executive order has done great harm to them, to their employees, to their students.

[21:50:05] And I hope that the President and his administration is taking away a very hard-earned lesson from this experience, which is, if you're going to draft an executive order, do it with care, do it with scrutiny, and make sure it's constitutional. If it's not, Noah and I and our team will be watching closely and, frankly, making sure the President upholds the Constitution in his future actions.

COOPER: Attorney General Ferguson and Mr. Purcell, thank you very much.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

PURCELL: Thank you.


COOPER: And just ahead, I'll talk to two Trump biographers about the President's news conference today. What did they make of it? And were they surprised by what they saw and heard?


COOPER: We said at the beginning of tonight's program, and it's worth mentioning here toward the end, if you needed another example that this President is unlike any other, today was certainly it. Today's press conference hit on some of Mr. Trump's well-worn themes, polls, margins of victory, media bashing, and at times, self-congratulation, among other things.

But it was the first time we've seen them in plain view, since Mr. Trump became President Trump. So we want to take some time tonight talking to two men who have been basically studying and writing about Mr. Trump for decades.

Joining me is Michael D'Antonio and Timothy O'Brien. Michael is the author of "The Truth about Trump". Tim is the executive editor of Bloomberg View, and author of "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald". We should also point out, Tim was sued unsuccessfully by Donald Trump for claiming that Mr. Trump's net worth was not as much as Mr. Trump claimed it was. Michael, you wrote a book about Donald Trump, I mean, you spent time with him. What did you see in that press conference?

[21:55:00] MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Well, it was classic Trump. All confidence, all attitude. You know, I think he has --

COOPER: Everything is the finely tuned machined and is going great.

D'ANTONIO: Well, yeah, everything is always as he would have it, rather than as the world observes. And that's the strange thing about this. I think it does work with his base. These are people who appreciate the attitude. They see the confidence as commanding and dynamic.

COOPER: And the media bashing plays well obviously among the base.

D'ANTONIO: Sure, sure, gives him somebody to fight against. The factual basis of much of what he said left a lot to be desired, but I don't think that was the purpose. The purpose was to appear commanding and I think for his base, he did just that.

COOPER: Tim? I mean, you know him as well.

TIM O'BRIEN, AUTHOR, "TRUMPNATION: THE ART OF BEING THE DONALD": Well, I think you had a President who looked very untethered from reality. He was defending some things by not telling the truth. He talked about his electoral win. It was the biggest electoral wins --

COOPER: All right, relitigating the campaign. And he won. It was a great victory.

O'BRIEN: Right, and then he puts himself in this hole where his information is wrong. And when he's challenged on the information, he has to say, well, I don't know, this is the information i was given. And he did it on national security, he did it on Russia. He did it on the management of the federal bureaucracy. And it was very divorced from what's really going on right now. And it was pure Trump. He loves crowds. He loves banter with journalists. He was in his element, but when you get outside of that bubble, I think it will be very interesting to see how that continues to play nationwide, because his other spoke people who've come out and done this over time now, Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Miller, Sean Spicer, their credibility has gotten a little bit ravaged, to say the least.

COOPER: Right. They've sort of -- I mean, in ways small or large, depending on how you look at it, they've imploded at times keeping up with it. Donald Trump is in some ways his best spokesperson, because he's sort of able to keep juggling everything --

O'BRIEN: And he creates the universe in which this behavior exists, because he -- he's a fairly fragrant liar at times. He misrepresents stuff with great frequency. And it enables the people around him to sort of roll that way. But the problem is, long-term, what's the impact of that? You, you know, you can -- people can have different ideological or partisan values, but everyone should deal in fact. And you can prioritize different facts, but you should start with facts. And what he has done is essentially waged this war on the truth. And I think, I think at some point, a certain segment of the American public is going to get very tired the of that.

COOPER: It is interesting that he's going to have, you know, one of these rallies over the weekend, almost like kind of going back to the campaign and kind of reliving that. And I think he -- it seems like he needs that. He wants that -- I mean, just like he likes the give -- I mean, he seems to be enjoying himself later on during the press conference. He likes that, you know, give and take, that rough and tumble. He likes that -- an auditorium full of people, you know, chanting, you know, whatever he wants them to chant.

O'BRIEN: It may be, and I've always felt this way, that chaos is his set point. He dwells in chaos and has dwelled in chaos his entire life.

COOPER: Really? You feel that's true?

O'BRIEN: Oh, yes. He's frenetic in his activities. I think his mind is rarely shut off. This is why he's up at 3:00 in the morning tweeting. So for him, it's almost as if he gets calm amid chaos. And so, this is what we're all experiencing.

COOPER: There's an old Dorothy Parker quote, my mom used to quote to me, which is the, "Those born to the storm find the calm very boring."

O'BRIEN: I think that's true.

Part of his appeal to voters is he's anti-institutional.

COOPER: Right.

O'BRIEN: And voters want Washington to get shaken up.

COOPER: Right, the fact that people are freaked out for a lot of voters may be a good thing.

O'BRIEN: But there's some point at which you have to stop being anti- institutionally and just manage a process.

COOPER: But, you know, for people listening to that, they'll say, look, he's, you know -- I mean, he says $10 billion, Forbes says less, you know, others say less. Whatever -- he's worth billions of dollars. He's run corporations, he's employed, he said, you know, tens of thousands of people --

O'BRIEN: The thing is, he hasn't run a big corporation. He's actually never run a big organization.

COOPER: All right, Trump organization is very small.

O'BRIEN: It's a boutique. The biggest thing he's ever run was his casino business and he ran it into the ground. And that was, you know, that did deploy thousands of people and it was a complex operation and he essentially gutted it. He took cash out of it for himself and gutted it and left it behind as a mess. He's never other than that run anything that was big.

D'ANTONIO: Well, and he's directing now the largest bureaucracy in the history of the world. This does not bode well when we're talking about someone who's failed at managing large enterprises. And he doesn't seem to be willing to enlist and trust the people who know how to do it. You know, who are his friends in the bureaucracy? I'm not sure he has a single one.

COOPER: Tim O'Brien, thanks very much. Michael D'Antonio, thank you.

Hey, that's all the time we have. Thanks for watching.

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