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Govt. Official: DOJ Report Does Not Confirm Trump's Wiretap Claim; W.H. Intruder On Grounds For More Than 16 Minutes Before Arrest; Missing Laptop With Trump Tower Floor Plans, Evacuation Protocol; House Vote On GOP Health Care Bill Set For Thursday; Holocaust Survivor On Bomb Threats At Jewish Centers. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 17, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:20] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Topping this hour of 360, breaking news on day 13 of the White House wiretap dance, a report from the president's own Justice Department that could bring it all to a close, finally. CNN's Manu Raju has been working his sources and he's just learned the bottom line.

Manu, this new DOJ report, I understand we're learning new details.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yeah, that's right. Actually, multiple sources now are telling us, Anderson, that the report that was submitted to Congress just earlier this afternoon, does not confirm what President Trump and the White House have been saying for the past two weeks, that he was wiretapped under the orders of President Obama.

Now, we already told that this report, which is a classified report, does not actually have any corroboration, whatsoever, to what the president has been saying. Now, as members are going in, and we (inaudible) report that they're very skeptical that it would go anywhere near what President Trump is saying.

Even the Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes told me, "I don't think so that this would actually confirm what President Trump is saying." And Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee said he was, "Absolutely confident there was nothing in this DOJ report to Congress that would confirm what President Trump has been saying."

It just shows that even his own Justice Department now is refuting the White House. The question is what will the White House say? And tonight, Anderson, most of the Justice Department is not commenting on what they actually said to Congress.

COOPER: OK. So -- but this was all presented in a classified setting. Is there a possibility here that we may never know the contents of the full report?

RAJU: It is very possible. I mean, that's one area that has caused some frustration among some members. They want to get this out publicly. They don't know why this has to be classified. But, we are told that James Comey is prepared to testify on his Monday hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on this very issue. Adam Schiff telling me just yesterday saying that he believes, from what his conversation with Comey, he is under the impression that Comey will publicly rebut what Donald Trump has been saying.

So, at the very least, we'll get a sense from where the FBI director stands on this central issue. The question is also whether what broader surveillance techniques may have taken place from the Obama administration. We may not get to the bottom of that, but perhaps on the central question that Donald Trump continues to raise that he's been wiretapped by President Obama -- ordered by President Obama, we appear to be getting closer to what the conclusion from the intelligence community is, but there is no evidence there, Anderson. ] COOPER: All right, Manu Raju. Manu thanks.

More now from the White House where they presumably seen the DOJ report, but with the president today essentially restated his original claim. Jeff Zeleny tonight has that.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump did not back down today from his explosive and unproven claim that President Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: As far as wiretapping, I guess might, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps.

ZELENY (voice-over): Meeting with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the president referenced past reports that Merkel's phone that once been tapped by the NSA. The president also did not apologize to the British government for suggesting that British spies were behind the wiretapping.

TRUMP: And just to finish your question, we said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television.

ZELENY (voice-over): Asked by a German reporter whether it was a mistake to blame the British spy agency, the president passed the buck to Fox News Legal Analyst, Andrew Napolitano, who first raised the possibility

TRUMP: I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox and so you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox, OK?

[21:05:08] ZELENY (voice-over): An hour later, Fox News responded.

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now President of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop. ZELENY (voice-over): The wiretapping claim escalated into an international incident after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the president, Thursday. From the White House podium, Spicer repeated Napolitano's suggestion that a British intelligence agency helped Obama agency spy on Trump.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, "Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn't use the NSA. He didn't use the CIA. He didn't use the FBI and he didn't use the Department of Justice. He used GCHQ."

ZELENY (voice-over): That comment infuriated Great Britain, one of the most important U.S. allies. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said, "We've made clear to the U.S. administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored."

A senior administration official said earlier today, Spicer and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster offered what amounted to an apology to the British government. Spicer later disputed that saying the administration had no regrets.


ZELENY: But, Anderson, the question in all of this as the eighth week of the administration comes to an end, how has this damaged President Trump's credibility both here in Washington, but also around the world? That became clear when he was standing side by side with the German chancellor today as she was trying to size him up, try to take a measure of him. Of course, they'll be working together here going forward. But, tonight, the relationship with Britain, of all places, the most important and longest standing ally of the U.S. certainly is in question. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Jeff, thanks very much.

Let's get the panel's take. CNN's Senior Political Commentator and former top Obama White House Adviser David Axlerod, CNN Senior Political Analyst Carl Bernstein, who doubles (ph) an investigative journalism now and then for several decades. Also, a former GOP House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.

COOPER: David Axelrod, I mean, you would think there would be sort of internal White House procedures that are supposed to be in place to insure that the U.S. government doesn't offend its most important ally in such an of off-handed way. Is that (inaudible) checks essentially dormant right now?

DAVID AXLEROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And in a White House that seems to be so assiduous about procedures, it's really shocking that such a thing could happen.

Look, every organization takes on the personality of the person on top. Donald Trump is an improvisational figure. He woke up two weeks ago. He tweeted something, apparently prompted by something that he saw or read and started this incredible brouhaha. It's now been knocked down by every conceivable source.

And so now, he is quoting someone on Fox News who even Fox News disclaims in creating an international incident. There has to be some sort of control, but he has to be willing to be controlled.

And so, no one is going to stop him from doing what he wants to do if he feels like he succeeds by doing it. And so far, he's gotten pretty far doing this. And so, he's kind of unshackled there.

I would, you know, I would love to see them take his Twitter account away from him. I think that would be good for the administration and good for the country. That's not going to happen.

COOPER: Yeah. Chairman Rogers, I mean, how do you see this? You know, does it seem like this administration has caused an unnecessary international incident with the British government?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: One if by sea, two if by land and three by wiretap as it goes. Listen, I think he has just dumped a couple more quarters into the conspiracy meter on this.

I don't -- it is just irrational to me that he thinks -- the President of the United States thinks that this helps his cause on what is a big kafuffle. There is apparently a serious investigation that's going on that may actually lead to some kind of criminal action on somebody that served in the Trump campaign along the way. It doesn't mean they were engaged in it. But, I think that is probably likely to happen.

Now, dragging in the British who are some of our closest allies when it comes to -- our five-eye intelligence partners, including Signals intelligence is really just a head-scratcher.

I mean, again, my argument is they need to apply a little discipline in the White House. He needs to stop talking about this. He needs to be more concerned if our intelligence services are getting the kinds of intelligence they should about what are the intentions in North Korea as that whole situation is ramping up. Instead, we're talking about our British friends may be possibly could be spying on the United States, including a presidential candidate. None of that makes sense to me.

COOPER: You know, Carl, I mean, it seems -- it reminds me of then candidate Trump during the campaign when he used to just retweet, I said this in the last hour, he used to retweet stuff and then you'd call him on it and he said, "Well, I didn't say it. I just retweeted it."

[21:10:08] I mean, he's saying, "Well, I didn't say this. I just saw it on television." And Sean Spicer said it, you know, from the podium of the White House, which does give it some credence, would you think.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, this is Donald Trump's M.O. as we know and it's quite purposeful. And the real story here and it's time for the press to maybe change our coverage a bit and look at what the real story is here, particularly cable television.

The real story is that the President of the United States is a compulsive liar. And along with that that this compulsive lying is taking place at a time when Mike Rogers has just pointed out the most important fact of all, that there is an FBI investigation that is closing in on some of Donald Trump's associates.

We don't know what the result of that investigation is going to be, but those of us who have been following it closely and trying to learn about it know that it is accelerated. It is going to be a major piece of news regardless of what it finds. And Donald Trump is trying to deflect us by making up these fabulous tales.

We need to start covering this president and his lying as a story unto itself. Maybe we need an hour special on presidential lying. Let's look at Bill Clinton and Lewinsky. Let's look at Richard Nixon. Let's look at president who had lie, but we are now in space with this President of the United States where we have never been with a compulsive liar who uses untruth as a basic way of governance.

COOPER: David Axelrod, I mean --

AXELROD: Well, I just wish Carl would stop mincing words. I can't stand that. Look, I think one thing we ought to ask is that no -- whatever investigation is going on, chances are Donald Trump has some sense of what it is and where it might lead. And there is an element of strategy to this, which is to try and sully the investigating agencies beforehand and to suggest that there were some kind of political agenda.

So, if something does surface, you can say, "You see, I've been telling you this all along." But there's tremendous collateral damage to such a strategy, not just in terms of our relationship with allies, this has been pointed out, but, you know, he's completely degrading, not only his own credibility, but his staff.

Sean Spicer is someone I know and I like has gone out and completely discredited himself and twisted himself into pretzels trying to justify the unjustifiable. The White House is like a fantasy island over there. Everybody else in the world knows that what is being said isn't true and yet they keep digging and digging and digging. And I think that's on the orders of the President of the United States.

COOPER: So he's Ricardo Montalban and Sean Spicer is Herve Villechaize?

AXELROD: Well, yes. Yes, he's tattoo.

COOPER: OK, all right. Chairman Rogers, I mean, the other way to look at this is if nothing amount, if there is no -- was no collusion and there is no evidence of this at this point and there is no, you know, there, there in terms of Russian connections to anyone in the Trump orbit during the campaign and that would be a big victory for the White House and for President Trump.

But in the interim, he -- even if that turns out to be the case, he's made so many missteps along the way. It just raised questions it seems even to -- I would imagine some of his supporters about his credibility.

ROGERS: You know, I thought the biggest swing and a miss was they had their appointee, the director of national intelligence for the Obama administration who served for eight years come out and said two important things. One, that there was no collusion. He might probably know that. Yeah, that he would know that. And the second part of that was there was no FISA warrant on anything related to the Trump -- to Mr. Trump himself, the Trump Tower or the campaign, which --

COOPER: Right, and Clapper by the ways before he left that had he seen no evidence.

ROGERS: Yeah. That's right. Yeah. It was Clapper and that's what I was referring to.

COOPER: Oh, sorry. I think Mike Morell.

ROGERS: No, I'm sorry. I mean, Director Clapper may have said that, but it was Director Clapper. And he said very definitively, which to me was the time for the president to say, "There it is. It's done. Let's move on. We have other big important issues."

Senior intelligence official in the Obama, former Obama administration said, "Nothing to see here, move along." But instead, he kind of doubled down on it. So my guess is here, he saw something that he didn't like. I'm going to guess it's incidental collection, meaning that given where one of the players in the Trump administration, at least the campaign may, in fact, have been incidentally.

And, you know, you've heard that term used by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, incidentally collected, meaning that somebody probably did talk to the Russian ambassador. It may or may not have been criminal at all, but it was probably an incidental collection. If they made that phone call from Trump Tower, you could see where the President got a little confused on this and thought, "Well, they're tapping me," in a sense that's just not how it works.

[21:15:06] So, you know, again, my whole argument to them is if he does watch television, Mr. President, please, please, please, stop talking about this. There are so many more important things to move on and concern yourself with.


AXELROD: If he does watch television, Mike -- I think he watch television.

BERNSTEIN: One quick other aspect is the smearing of Barack Obama. This goes along with the birtherism. This is the same person who has been doing this kind of thing. No other president that I think in our history has said the kinds of things about his predecessor that Donald Trump has now said about Barack Obama. A sick man, a bad man, he called him. It's extraordinary. All of this theater, and I think we have to look at this part as theater, is of a piece, which is why I'm suggesting that the press has to find a new way to cover this and look at what the real story is and what the threads are that run through it and that has to do with untruth and that also has to do with trying to deflect attention from what Mike Rogers is talking about, about this investigation.

COOPER: Interesting. Carl Bernstein, David Axelrod, Mike Rogers, thank you so much. Have a good weekend. Appreciate you being with us in this Friday night.

Just ahead, we spoke about Great Britain, but it is not just the U.K. We look closer at the new president's relationship with America's most important ally in the European continent and just how far Germany's chancellor has gone to try to figure Donald Trump out.

Also next, new details on how an intruder got on to White House grounds and this is even more remarkable, but stayed there undetected for more than 16 minutes. How did that happen? Details ahead.


[21:20:11] COOPER: New details tonight about the recent security scare. The White House say that Secret Service said the man who scaled at multiple fences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue last weekend was actually on the ground for more than 16 minutes before he was discovered. Tonight, we know a lot more about how the breach unfolded. Jessica Schneider has details.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A secret service source tells CNN, video surveillance shows 26-year-old Jonathan Tran hopped a fence to the grounds at the northwest corner by the treasury building then cross East Executive Avenue. He jumped a gate near on unmanned guard post and walked along the driveway.

Tran set off several alarms, but continued undetected. Sources say some of the alarms may have failed. Then, Tran moved around to the south side of the White House through the first ladies garden. He went undetected on the south side grounds for more than 16 minutes before finally being caught at the entrance to the residence just below the president's bedroom. President Trump was inside the residence.

JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: There were multiple failures of the security system, whether it was the physical security of the fencing, the technological security means and the human capital means. This absolutely should not have happen.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The source says, Tran was observed looming around Pennsylvania Avenue as early as 6:00 p.m., almost six hours before he was arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go back everybody into the park. SCHNEIDER (voice-over): It's not the first time. This video showing a previous security breach in 2014 when a 42-year-old Iraq war veteran armed with a knife made it all the way inside the White House, into the east room before being tackled, just 29 seconds after he jumped the fence. The day after this most recent White House breach, the president praised the Secret Service.

TRUMP: The Secret Service today have fantastic job. It was a troubled person.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): And Thursday, another security breach, an agent's laptop with Trump Tower floor plans and evacuation protocols taken from the agent's car, Thursday morning, near her home in Brooklyn. Also stolen, lapel pins used by on-duty agents. Secret Service says that laptop is encrypted.


SCHNEIDER: Well, that laptop can't be traced and it can't be erased remotely. As for that White House intruder, he was charged and he's now being monitored by federal authorities while wearing a GPS tracking device.

The Secret Service confirms there is now a comprehensive investigation and adds, the men and women of the Secret Service are extremely angry and disappointed with how this all transpired. Anderson?

COOPER: Yeah, I'm sure. Jessica, thank you very much.

Joining us now in person is CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and former Secret Service Agent Jonathan Wackrow, who -- we just heard from in Jessica's. You said some problems with cameras and obviously some of the personnel as well. I mean, 16 minutes just seems like --

WACKROW: Is forever.

COOPER: Yeah, is forever.

WACKROW: 16 seconds is too long at the White House. 16 minutes is absolutely unacceptable.

COOPER: But we think anybody jump at any fence immediately it would trigger alarms.

WACKROW: Absolutely, and that's the way the systems are set up. You know, whenever you have a security system, you want overlapping forms of mitigation, regardless of whether it is in a government setting or a corporate setting.

So here you had physical barriers, the fence. You had technological, you know, surveillance and detection through alarms and you had your human capital, which are your uniformed division officers, your physical policing force of the White House. They should overlap each other, so you don't have one point of failure.

Unfortunately, here we had three points of failure. Physical security failed. Technology failed. And the human capital failed. To let this individual get back close to the White House --

COOPER: By rattling the door handled, apparently at the Portico, I mean, in the South Portico.

WACKROW: Yeah. Anderson, it's unbelievable that this has happen. Secret Service has to take a look at it real fast at reinforcing defensive posture at the White House, because we've seen right now that the status quo doesn't work.

COOPER: And something like this than, you know, other people who have problems see it and think, "OK, I'm going to give it a try as well." So, I mean, you have no doubt there's going to be a top to bottom review. I mean, this is a wake-up call.

WACKROW: This is an absolute wake-up call. You know, I recommend that, you know, DHS has -- Secretary Kelly has gone to the White House. He's reviewed this. But there's a bigger problem, the Secret Service doesn't have a director right now. They don't have an acting director. So, you know, there is a gap of leadership right now to steward the Secret Service through this time.

COOPER: The stealing of this encrypted laptop and those of the badges, how big a deal is that? I mean, the laptop is heavily encrypted.

WACKROW: It's heavily encrypted. But, listen, any time that you have, you know, stolen property from any law enforcement officer, it's a big deal. Now, for -- this seems like it was a crime of opportunity. It doesn't seem like this was a targeted event, and so that's somewhat of an advantage.

The hard drive is encrypted. There's a dual factor authentication that's needed by, also an I.D. card, a PIV card, so again, that's another layer of mitigation.

[21:25:08] The pins, those are a little bit disturbing. If they are the protective pins --

COOPER: And if they are up-to-date, because --

WACKROW: If they're up-to-date, if they are -- the issued protective pins, that is a little bit worrisome, so I know that that's even more of a concern right now that probably the laptop.

COOPER: The good news is they would at least know what pins they were and although they're obviously not releasing that information, that would be something (inaudible).

WACKROW: Exactly. And listen, you know, that's a point of access control. The Secret Service can easily change that point of access control moving forward.

COOPER: All right. Jonathan Wackrow, appreciate you being with us.

WACKROW: Thanks a lot, Anderson. COOPER: Just ahead, President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arriving at today's meeting with the back drop of Iraqi relationship in the past few months. We'll look at that next. Fareed Zakaria joins us.


COOPER: Well, you see the moment today when President Trump joked with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a gentle icebreaker or cutting remark or something else entirely. It's clear that the overall visit was aimed in part at mending the relationship between the two countries.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): In the period leading up to this visit, I've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another and I think our conversation proved this.


COOPER: Chancellor Merkel is eluding to some of the comment that candidate Trump made about her during the campaign.

[21:30:06] More from CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as the immigrant crisis was surging in Europe he said she was fantastic and probably the greatest leader in the world today. But as Germany's Angela Merkel let more and more migrants into her country and time made her person of the year, Donald trump tweeted, "They picked the person who is ruining Germany."

TRUMP: I was still at Merkel was like this great leader. What she's done in Germany is insane. It's insane.

Merkel did a horrible job when she accepted so many. I think in Germany they don't have problems like you've never seen. They already have. They're having huge problems.

FOREMAN (voice-over): During the campaign, Merkel largely kept her thoughts about Trump private.

MERKEL (through translator): I will not intervene at all during the U.S./American campaign, so we will have to wait.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And when he won, she was magnanimous.

MERKEL (through translator): I offer close cooperation to the future President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But the two now have many sharp differences.

TRUMP: We're talking about the safety of our nation, the safety and security of our people.

FOREMAN (voice-over): As he has tried to slap a travel ban on several Muslim majority nations, she has argued the fight against terrorism --

MERKEL (through translator): Does in no way justify a general suspicion against people of certain beliefs.

FOREMAN (voice-over): As he has applauded at Great Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

TRUMP: I think Brexit is going to be a wonderful thing for your country.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Merkel has promised Germany will stand firmly with Europe and won't be pushed around in any trade deals. They've disagreed on Syria, on NATO, on Russia and Trump appears in no way eager to give the chancellor a pass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you trust more if you talk to them, Angela Merkel or Vladmir Putin?

TRUMP: Well, I start off trusting both, but let's see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But Merkel seems ready to at least give the new president sometime.

MERKEL (through translator): Even there are differing opinions, compromises and possibilities are always best to be made when there is a respectable exchange.


FOREMAN: Some close to Merkel say she prepared extensively for this first meeting with Trump going over his speeches, reviewing his encounters with other world leaders, even looking at old interview in play board, all to make sure that she would understand his position and that he would understand hers. Anderson?

COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.

Joining us now is Fareed Zakaria, host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS." You know, Germany is one of the most important relationship to U.S. has along with Great Britain. Both of those relationships today are under strain, I guess you would say.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": You know, there are two elements to it, I think. One is that Trump is almost pathologically impulsive. Everything he does is just spasmodic, it's spur of the moment, it's emotional. He praises Merkel to the skies when she's up. He kicks her when she is down. You know, it's a momentum play as it were.

Part of it, though, is that Trump really doesn't get the Atlantic Alliance. Ever since he was a real estate developer in the 1980s, he has been on this kick that NATO is useless. All these allies should pay their way. He doesn't understand the achievement of these European countries that after 400 years of work they have come together. He doesn't understand how important America was in creating that peaceful, prosperous Europe. So that piece of it that you can feel that the kind of philosophical gap between Merkel and him.

Merkel, when he got elected she did say something nice as Trump point out, but she finished that statement by saying, "But our partnership rests on shared values alone." Meaning, if you don't share our values, then, you know, there is no point in having an alliance with the United States.

So, I think that we're in an odd situation today, Anderson, where the chancellor of Germany has become, you know, the leader of the Western Liberal Order.

COOPER: Yeah. It's also interesting, I mean, there are opinions on letting immigrants come into the country whether they're migrants or refugees. Germany has let in as many as million people that we were talking about before. You know, many of them are from Syria, from war torn areas, many of them without vetting. I mean, there are people who very cursory vetting at best.

ZAKARIA: Almost none as far as we can tell with anything like the vetting. I mean, American refugees, people need to understand --

COOPER: Two years.

ZAKARIA: Two years, 15 American government agencies, biometric I.D.s.

COOPER: Right.

ZAKARIA: The Germans just let these people in. And one has to say, who knows? You know, things can go wrong, but so far, what is striking is how few problems Germany has had.

COOPER: Relative to a million people coming in.

ZAKARIA: A million people coming into, you know -- I mean, it's extraordinary, it's almost 1 percent of the population suddenly added in one year. And all Trump has to say is set of negative stuff about it. Merkel was trying to deal with a catastrophe on her borders, which is this people were pouring in.

[21:35:06] COOPER: Right. These are the relationships, though, which are supposed to be easy. I mean, you wonder, OK, this is happening with these countries who are our allies, what's going to happen with some of these other countries?

ZAKARIA: Well, you could see the problem with the Chinese, with Trump's relationship with China. Well, again, he began with this impulsive move --

COOPER: Right.

ZAKARIA: -- that he took a call from the leader of Taiwan and he said, "Maybe I'll upgrade relations with Taiwan." And I said that -- on this program actually, if that -- there's a strategy here, fine. That's a useful leverage, but, of course, there was no strategy. It was just -- it was impulse.

And the Chinese president said, "I'm freezing all contact with the United States until Trump essentially apologizes and reverses himself." And Trump had to call Xi Jinping, essentially reverse himself. That -- it strikes me as this pretty humiliating case (ph), but why because the original move had never been thought through.

And what I worry about is in the number of these cases accusing the British government on spying on you. Has anyone thought this through? Has anyone thought about the next time we need the cooperation of the British government? You know, the British government responses in some ways most striking. The British government said of an official White House statement about that they said, "This is ridiculous, it's nonsense, pay no attention to it."


ZAKARIA: I can't remember the last time the British government has said that about a White House, you know, position.

COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, thank you so much. A lot to look for in the days ahead.

Just ahead, Republican leaders have set a date to vote on their bill to replace Obamacare. They have six more days to lock down votes in the House. What they're doing to win over Republicans who are still holding on?


[21:40:40] COOPER: Well, the clock is running. Republican leaders have scheduled the House vote on the healthcare bill for Thursday. They need 216 votes to pass it. As of tonight, 25 House Republicans are planning to vote no or leaning that way, which is more than needed to block the bill, which explains all the arm-twisting that's going on behind closed doors.

President Trump is really doing his part. House Speaker Paul Ryan says they're making good progress now that the original bill has been tweaked. Sunlen Serfaty has more.


TRUMP: We have a lot of yeses coming in. It's all coming together.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, from the White House --

TRUMP: It's going to be passed, I believe. I think substantially and pretty quickly.

SERFATY (voice-over): -- to Capitol Hill.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: We have to have a bill that can pass, that can do this.

SERFATY (voice-over): Confidence in words and in action over a new revised healthcare bill.

REP. KEVIN MCCATRY, (R) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The House will consider several critical pieces of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

SERFATY (voice-over): Republican leaders pushing ahead and setting the date for a full vote in the House on the tweaked bill, Thursday.

RYAN: We're trying to make sure that we address as many of these concerns as possible without destroying the bill.

SERFATY (voice-over): Several top GOP aides tell CNN they believe the new changes with the president's pushing will cobble together enough votes to get a majority and send it to the Senate.

TRUMP: I want everyone to know, I'm 100 percent behind this.

SERFATY (voice-over): Casting himself as they're closer today, President Trump eager to display his deal-making.

TRUMP: All of these nos or potential nos are all yeses. Every single person sitting in this room is now a yes.

SERFATY (voice-over): Huddling with members of the conservative Republican Study Committee in the Oval Office today to hash out their serious doubts.

TRUMP: We made certain changes and very frankly little, although, the block grant is very important, because I want the states to get the money and to run their program if they want to run it, because they can do it better than the federal government.

SERFATY (voice-over): Members emerging from that meeting confident they're asked would be included in the final bill.

REP. MARK WALKER, CHAIRMAN REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE: You're looking at some of the top conservatives in the House. We stand united today to move this forward for the American people.

SERFATY (voice-over): The bill in its initial form was on life support, facing increasing opposition by the day.

RYAN: Improvements are being made as we go through this process making sure that we respect the fact that states can experiment and tailor Medicaid to meet their needs.

TRUMP: We have a plan that's getting more and more popular with the Republican base, with the conservative base and with people, generally.

SERFATY (voice-over): But not everyone is satisfied yet. Even despite today's traction, some hard line conservatives, members of the House Freedom Caucus say they still oppose the bill. Speaker Ryan today, stressing the urgency of the moment.

RYAN: If we do not see this moment in history for what it is, shame on us.


COOPER: Sunlen joins us now from Capitol Hill. So, these proposed changes and the political strong arming doesn't seem to be getting Republicans to fall in line?

SERFATY: But we see a little movement up here in Capitol Hill, Anderson. There was at least one example, Congressman Palmer, he was firmly in the no category leaving into today, but then he went over to the White House as part of the group that went over there this morning and after hearing these proposed changes and tweaks, he announced that he is a yes as it stands right now.

It was unclear how many others, though, will follow a suit here because as we noted, there is significant block of conservatives up here in Capitol Hill who are just not happy with the changes. They want to see more changes made, many people within the House Freedom Caucus. But while you have a lot of members still disgruntled up here on Capitol Hill, you do have this confidence coming from the House Republican leadership, because frankly they would not set a date to bring this bill to a full House vote if they weren't confident that they could not wrangle to votes.

But interesting today, Steve Scalise, who is the House Majority Whip, when he is talking to our reporters earlier today, he says that he believes these changes definitely strengthen their numbers, but he stopped way short of saying that he believes he will be able to get that magic number, 216.

COOPER: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thanks very much.

One of the Republicans who's yet to be convinced to vote yes next Thursday is Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: Congressman, I just want to play for you what the president said a short time ago about closing the deal with some lawmakers on this bill. Let's play that.

TRUMP: We met with 12 pretty much nos in Congress, you saw that little while ago and they went from all nos to all yeses. And we have a lot of yeses coming in. It's all coming together.

[21:45:04] We're going to have great health care. It's going to be passed, I believe. I think substantially and pretty quickly. It's coming together beautifully.

COOPER: The president was talking about his meeting with Republican Study Committee, not a Freedom Caucus, which you're member of. They are your colleagues, however. Is that your understanding of what happened that the president was able to turn 12 pretty much nos to yeses?

REP. TOM GARRETT, (R) VIRGINIA: Well, I mean, that's certainly what we've been hearing throughout the day. I've heard from our representatives of the administration and leadership. Look, I want to be clear, we want to pass a bill.


GARRETT: We want to pass the best bill we can pass and what we know and you know is that this bill will be then sent over to the Senate, they will come back and change. I don't see the impetus to try to ram this thing through overnight. It's too important.

And as I think I said the other night, the job is not to get it done quickly, the job is to get it done right. And so, ideologically, myself and others are going to hold off until we get the best deal we think we can get.

COOPER: The president described that the plan is coming together beautifully. I mean, is that your understanding to where this bill stands at this point in your opinion?

GARRETT: In my opinion, they're not to the threshold they need to be at. The concessions that were made there are wonderful. I don't, at any point, question the good faith nature of Republican leadership or the administration. But it's my job as a conservative, as a guy who understands that 20 trillion in debt, debt that outstrips the annual GDP is unsustainable. To ensure that we get a great health care plan, but one that doesn't blow up our spending and one that we can sustain for perpetuity in the future.

COOPER: So what are the main issues you and your colleagues are asking the president and House leadership to address to the bill as it stands now? I mean, what get to you from a no to a yes?

GARRETT: Well, look, we talked about essentially rewarding (ph) overspending, rewarding states who opted into the easy money with Medicaid expansion that we're getting better on that front. We talked about the largest entitlement program ever passed with the Republican president, Republican House and Senate. There are some tweaks being made around the edges to that end.

You know, I like the work requirement idea. I don't know why it's an optional work requirement idea. It's either good policy or is not. I like the block granting idea. I don't know why it's an optional block granting policy, except that we're continuing to sort of placate people who were fiscally irresponsible, but we're moving in the right direction.

And what I want to be clear that is, this isn't about saying no for saying no sake. It's about holding out to get the best possible deal to send to the Senate where we can negotiate on further. So, you know, I'm optimistic as well. I just have a duty to do what I said I was going to do when I ran for office and that's to be fiscally responsible and look for market-based solutions. COOPER: Kevin McCarty, the majority -- the House Majority Leader announced on the floor today that the vote for the bill will happen next week on Thursday. What do you take from that, because some people are saying it means the House leadership knows they have the 216 votes to pass it?

GARRETT: Well, I mean, you know, ultimately that's what you know, that's what I know and then there's reality. And so, I think we're in a certain point. They may believe one another. I would wedge here that if you watch, you'll continue to see negotiations between thrifty and doctrinal conservative sort of federalist-constitutionalist types and others. And if they're still negotiating, then that won't probably speak more loudly than words as to what they know as it relates to vote count.

COOPER: Congressman Tom Garrett, good to talk to you, again. Thank you.

GARRETT: It's a great talking to you. Thank you and God bless.


COOPER: Up next, a holocaust survivor gives her take on the bomb threats of Jewish community centers across America. Her important message, you won't want to miss, when we continue.


[21:50:] COOPER: This week, there were reports of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in four states. More than 80 JCC facilities have been targeted since January. It's unclear who's doing it. Some of the threats are made by e-mail, others on the phone. Thankfully no devices had been found in any location, but the threats are certainly inciting fear and outrage. Something a Holocaust survivor here in U.S. hates to see in her adopted country of the free and the brave. Barbara Starr has her incredible story and important message for all of us.



BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In auditorium of teenagers listening to 100-year-old, Fanny Aizenberg, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust tale (ph) of unimaginable fear more than 70 years ago.

AIZENBERG: Nine minutes on the clock, 100 people were dead.

STARR (voice-over): The students crowd around, wanting to say hello at Washington's Holocaust Memorial Museum. But now at 100, anti- Semitism is back in Fanny's life.

(on camera): You know that happened and now, today, you see things like the JCC?


STARR (on camera): What do you think about that? What is --

AIZENBERG: It curses me.

STARR (voice-over): More than 80 Jewish Community Centers and schools across the country have received bomb threats in a wave of anti- Semitism.

AIZENBERG: Next door is a JCC. There were-- they got already two warnings about a bomb. That's next door to where I live.

STARR (on camera): Explain to people what you think about all of this.

AIZENBERG: I'm afraid, too, because I'm too honest.

STARR (voice-over): Tell me.

AIZENBERG: No, it hurts me when I tell to all the places in the world.

STARR (voice-over): For elderly holocaust survivors, a struggle once again to understand why.

AIZENBERG: So why do you stop it? If you don't have the authority today and America is still the biggest power in the world, so why don't we do anything about it?

STARR (voice-over): Diane Saltzman works with survivors at the museum.

(on camera): The reaction you're seeing is refusing to give up?

DIANE SALTZMAN, DIRECTOR OF SURVIVOR AFFAIRS, U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM: There's determination and even some defiance that they're not going to stop. Their message is really important.

STARR (voice-over): And Fanny Aizenberg's life is testimony to that. When the Nazis invaded Belgium in 1940, she had to send her daughter, Josiane, into hiding. She wouldn't see her for years. Even now, Fanny says the decision to separate was unbearably hard.

AIZENBERG: How do you put a child away? That's the only thing I had.

STARR (voice-over): She joined the resistance, hiding Jews and working as a courier before she was exposed to the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz, surviving Nazi medical torture, the family eventually reunited and coming to America.

[21:55:17] Today, she and other survivors struggle to understand a simple question, why do people hate?

AIZENBERG: I try to make people understand. You cannot love each other, but you could understand others. You don't have to hate anybody. STARR (voice-over): Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: What an amazing woman. We'll be right back.


COOPER: This Sunday night here on CNN, don't miss our original series, "Finding Jesus." You'll get to look at the sites, some believed to be the childhood home of Jesus. Here a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't this exciting at all? Do you ever think that we are looking at such an important part of human history at this point?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's possible that this house is the real deal, because we have to remember that Mary was alive during much of the period of the early church. And what have passed down the memory of where these places work to the disciples who would then have venerated and pass them down further.


COOPER: The possible childhood home of Jesus, this Sunday, 9 p.m. Eastern Pacific on "Finding Jesus" right here on CNN.

Thanks for watching. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now. Have a great weekend.

[22:00:09] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, the president turns his wiretapping accusation into an international incident. This is CNN --