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Trump Flip-Flops on Russia, Syria, NATO, China; Putin Meets with Tillerson in Moscow. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 12, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome to AC360.

And Donald Trump 180. Today, President Trump making a 180 on so many of the statements he made during the campaign it was enough to give the White House whiplash.

On NATO, Donald Trump said it was obsolete. President Trump today said it no longer is.

Let's look then and now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: NATO is obsolete. It was 67 years or over 60 years old. It is many countries, doesn't cover terrorism, OK? It covers the Soviet Union which is no longer in existence. And NATO has to either be re-jiggered, rechanged -- you know, changed for the better.

The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change. And now, they do fight terrorism.

I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete.


COOPER: For the record, NATO did respond to terrorism and NATO forces have fought and died in Afghanistan.

On China, Donald Trump said China was a currency manipulator and he was going to call them out. Tough talk, got a lot of applause on the campaign trail. Today, he told "The Wall Street Journal" it's not a currency manipulator. Let's look then and now.


TRUMP: China, which has been ripping us off, greatest abuser in the history of this country, China has been ripping us -- and I have many friends in China. They agree with me 100 percent. They can't imagine -- they can't even believe that they can get away with what's happening. President Xi wants do the right thing. We had a very good bonding. I

think we had a very good chemistry together.

I think he wants to help us with North Korea. We talked trade. We talked a lot of things. And I said the way you will make a good trade deal is to help us with North Korea. Otherwise, we're just going to go to alone. That will be all right, too. But going to alone means going it with lot of other nations.


COOPER: Going it alone actually doesn't mean with any other nations.

Donald Trump urged against intervention in Syria over the use of gas by Assad in the past. Today, President Trump called Assad a butcher and holds out the possibility of more strikes.

On Russia, Donald Trump said he had a relationship with Vladimir Putin and could work with Russia. President Trump today said relations with Russia at an all time low. Let's look at then and now.


TRUMP: We're going to have a great relationship with Putin and Russia.

Right now, we're not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russia.


COOPER: In total, the scope of the changes are literally global.

Now, in fairness, when circumstances change, people expect a president to change with them and perhaps what they're hearing reflects that. Still, it is rather breathtaking and it extends to domestic policy, as well.

Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has gone from being a trusted confidant to someone the president won't even defend in public.

We begin, though, with foreign policy. CNN's Jim Acosta joins us from the White House with the very latest.

Certainly, a different tone from the president today than we have heard for -- well, that we've ever heard.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Anderson. This was a pretty big departure from what we heard from President Trump out on the campaign trail when he time and again talked about wanting to have a better relationship between the United States and Russia. And today, as you just played in that sound, he described the relations between the U.S. and Russia as at an all-time low. He even suggested at one point with the NATO secretary general that

Russia might have had prior knowledge of that chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrians last week that prompted those airstrikes that were ordered by the president. But one thing that the president was hesitant to comment on is the subject of Vladimir Putin, perhaps Bashar al Assad's biggest backer, arguably his biggest backer.

Here's what the president had to say about all of that earlier today.


TRUMP: It would be wonderful as we were discussing just a little while ago if NATO and our country could get along with Russia. Right now, we're not getting along with Russia at all. But we're going to see what happens. Putin is the leader of Russia. Russia is a strong country. We're a very, very strong country. We're going to see how that all works out.


ACOSTA: And so, Anderson, you heard there, the president not really willing again to criticize Vladimir Putin even though he was pressed on that point a couple of times during this news conference. But out of the entire time I've covered Donald Trump as both a candidate and president, I've never seen this many reversals especially from a foreign policy standpoint, as you were playing earlier, from NATO to China, on Russia, this is a president who is doing a lot of 180s today.

COOPER: Right. On NATO, it's not that President Trump said, "I was wrong about NATO then, I realize that they aren't obsolete." It's saying -- he's indicating that something major has changed when in fact, you know, you can argue whether NATO was doing enough on terrorism or had the inner structures do it enough, but -- I mean, NATO responded to the 9/11 attacks.

ACOSTA: Were fighting in Afghanistan.

COOPER: Right, as the secretary general of NATO said today in front of the president.

ACOSTA: That's right. I think you heard the secretary general get at why perhaps President Trump was changing his mind, changing his view on NATO.

[20:05:04] You are hearing about NATO partners contributing more of their money, there is supposed to be that 2 percent of GDP.

The secretary general said more nations are meeting that threshold. So, that may be persuading President Trump to change his mind somewhat and the president indicated at one point during the news conference that he sort of takes credit for that because he talked about this railed against NATO so much during the campaign.

COOPER: Right, which is certainly true. He's certainly did and he's been consistent with that, we should say. It's interesting, though. Regarding Syria, I mean, time and time

again, Donald Trump when he was a citizen, you know, was railing against the idea of intervening in Syria today and in the past several days. I mean, not only has he now intervened in Syria, but he seems to be saying that the U.S. should have intervened militarily back when he was prior saying that the U.S. should not be intervening militarily.

ACOSTA: That's right. A lot of contradictions there.

In an interview earlier today on FOX Business, he said, well, you know, if we had done this during the Obama administration, we wouldn't be in this shape right now. But, of course, President Trump when he was citizen Trump was urging President Obama to stay out of Syria. I think there was a tweet that said the exact words "stay out of Syria".

But what you heard from the president today was a shift in his rhetoric about Bashar al-Assad. He's been going off on Bashar al Assad for a while now, but today, he called him a butcher. That's an indication, Anderson, that if Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons again, he will invite another retaliatory strike by the United States.

But when you talk to senior administration officials over here, Anderson, they will tell you that going into Syria is not their priority and that was something that the president about said in that interview earlier today, we're not going into Syria. Their priority over here is ISIS, which, of course, opens the door to cooperation with who? Russia.


COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, thanks.

As all that was playing out in Washington, there was high stakes drama as well in Moscow where Secretary of State Tillerson was waiting, perhaps not, to meet with Vladimir Putin, a meeting finally did transpire, a two-hour sit-down between the secretary of state and the president of Russia.

Michelle Kosinski is traveling with Secretary Tillerson and joins us now from the Russian capital.

So, yesterday, it was unclear if President Putin would meet with Secretary Tillerson. They did, in fact, meet. Do we know how it went? What was discussed?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this was four hours in total of meetings. That's a lot of time to focus on the most urgent problems. Mostly Syria, some North Korea, even the Russian meddling in the U.S. election came up.

But they were looking for any areas that they could find of common ground. I mean, even just re-establish going some constructive dialogue would be a positive.

Here is Tillerson on the relationship. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I expressed the view that the current can state of U.S./Russia relations is at a low point. There is a low level of trust between our two countries. The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.


KOSINSKI: What came out of this was about as much as was likely to. An agreement to keep on talking at the highest levels, a work group to focus on the most critical issues, and reopening the lines of communications that keeps U.S. and Russian planes from getting in each other's way over Syria.

All of those are pluses, but, you know, even in the statements today where they're trying to show, you know, a hope of cooperation, what keeps breaking through are evidence of the deep divisions that are very much still there. It's not clear that those can be resolved or how much time that would even take, Anderson.

COOPER: Secretary Tillerson, as you referenced, also addressed Russia's interference in the presidential election in the United States. How did his Russian counterpart respond?

KOSINSKI: Oh, it was clear that Tillerson didn't want to hit this too hard. He wanted to make his point, but he said that, you know, the fact that Russia meddled in the U.S. election is fairly well- established in the U.S. He did call it a serious issue that could lead to more sanctions.

But that immediately caused the Russian foreign minister to go defensive saying, well, Tillerson never threatened new sanctions and he never brought up any hard evidence. Launching into this speech about how there isn't evidence, show us the evidence, and calling accusations slanderous attacks -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Michelle Kosinski in Moscow tonight -- thank you.

More now on Russia and NATO, the president's shifting views on each and elsewhere, as you heard on the European alliance. Today, he openly admitted to doing a 180, even talking credit for making it possible. In any case, like so much else today, it's a far cry from what he has said before.


BLITZER: Do you think the United States needs to rethink U.S. involvement in NATO?

TRUMP: Yes, because it's costing us too much money.

Number one, NATO is obsolete. Number two, the countries in NATO are not paying their fair share.

It's obsolete and we pay too much money. NATO is obsolete. In my opinion, NATO is obsolete.

Here is the problem with NATO: it's obsolete.

It was 67 years or over 60 years old.

[20:10:02] When I said that NATO, to Wolf Blitzer, is obsolete, I got attacked. Three days later, people that study NATO said, you know, Trump is right.


COOPER: Well, today a different story.

Just before airtime, I spoke about it with our own foreign policy professionals, Tony Blinken, Mike Rogers and Christiane Amanpour.


COOPER: Christiane, I've got to say, it's hard not to have the kind of whiplash with all of this. I mean, obviously, politicians say one thing when running for office. It's something else entirely when they're actually president of the United States. But so many 180s in just a matter of days.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I actually described his epiphany on Syria as a complete 180 and that was just exactly a week ago today. But, obviously, this is a man who had no foreign policy experience and he is in office with all the major issues coming at him almost all at once.

And so, of course, he's grappling with reality of what is in front of him, he has some very good advisers, he has very good national security adviser, very good secretary of defense, secretary of state. He's also new to foreign policy in that regard. But he's evolving as these situations are evolving.

The question is does it evolve into strategy and a real policy, whether it's over Syria, whether it's with Russia, or is it knee-jerk reactions and responses to what's needed at the moment?

COOPER: Tony, I can't help but think, though, of, you know, even the other Republican candidates during the primary who, you know, were listening to then, you know, citizen Donald Trump spouting off, talking about China being a currency manipulator and all these things he's going to do, and then which things that they wouldn't say, but it helped get him elected and now that he's president, he basically reverses himself on them.

TONY BLINKEN, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE, OBAMA ADMIN.: It has to be a little painful for them.

But, honestly, I think Christiane is right. There are two things going on. First, there is the fact that any president to be fair confronts the reality once they're in office that they didn't have to deal with when they were trying to get elected. But with President Trump, there is something else and I think this

puts a premium on three things that he has not been, shall we say, interested in -- people, process, policy. You've got to have the right people in place to deal with all of these incoming problems. You've got to have a process in place and in the case of foreign policy, centered around the National Security Council, to actually develop the ideas and then you've got to decide on a policy, everyone around the same table, and speaking with the same voice and then implementing it.

So, a lot of the things that he's disdained at least to date turned out to be really important when you're dealing with these real life situations.

COOPER: I guess -- I mean, Chairman Rogers, I guess -- I don't know why, but doesn't it seem hypocritical, though, to run in one thing and get yourself elected and then basically take positions which all the people you were running against had but they couldn't say -- they were sort of trying to be presidential as they were running, were they just mistaken to do that?

MIKE ROGERS (R), FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: Well, as a candidate myself, I always think you should stick to what you say you're going to do, you should do that -- certainly worked well for me.

I will tell you this, though, some of these changes I find heartening that when you sit in the first, you know, holy mackerel briefing that the president gets over a period of time, with all of the real time information coming in about the complexities of the international challenges, and by the way, they're ramping up at a pretty hefty pace here, the reality of that starts to sick in. And so, sometimes, you don't get to march in the direction you think you were going to.

Our enemies and our adversaries and even our allies get a vote in this and they're voting a little different way. And what heartened me actually in the last couple of weeks is he took that information, he digested it, he had those people around him like General Mattis, Secretary Mattis now, like McMasters, who walked him through the process of, you know, we can't necessarily get there, but we can get here and it helps you with a bigger puzzle and he took it, he did that.

And, you know, to that send, I was encouraged by that.

COOPER: I get the encouragement. I just -- I mean, you're all very forgiving I guess. But I mean, this is a guy who was calling everybody suckers and idiots and morons for their positions, and attacking people who had very thought out positions and nuance positions and were trying to be responsible in what they said, and would just say pretty much anything and if you challenged him would call you an idiot. And now, suddenly, he's drinking the tea with everybody else.

AMANPOUR: Well, Anderson, you know, you're talking about his domestic opponents during the campaign. Let's go over to Europe and talk about the head of NATO, the chancellor of Germany, all these people, the president of China, all these people who he also launched and hurled huge amounts of abuse at, and nobody could even believe that he would be elected having done that.

[20:15:00] COOPER: But, I mean even the unemployment numbers, they were all fake, they were all rigged, and now, all of a sudden, they're magically -- now, they're real. No one is (INAUDIBLE) hypocrisy anymore.

BLINKEN: This goes to another challenge.

COOPER: Yes, go ahead, Tony.

BLINKEN: There is another problem, Anderson, and it's this. Right now, the president, secretary of state, are trying to rally the world to deal with the Syria CW and to, in particular, deal with the misinformation campaign that the Russians are running and Assad is running to deny responsibility for using chemical weapons.

In a moment like this, your credibility is at a premium. You're trying to convince everyone. And, unfortunately, I think the president's propagation repeatedly of fake new, of misinformation, of distortions, undermines the very credibility he needs at a critical time in dealing with a national security problem.

AMANPOUR: I mean, I think that's absolutely right. And, you know, there is a hashtag, #hoaxchemicalsinsyria, or whatever it actually is. And so, you live by the sword, you die by a sword sometimes in these situations. But, look, we have to hope -- you can call it hypocrisy, somebody could call it a learning curve, whatever, but we have to hope as a country and as a world that the president of the most important country in the world is educatable on the job, you know? That he isn't just so cleaved to his own preconceived ideas that something is not going to move.

Because if he was, it would be a disaster with Russia, it would be disaster in Syria. And it will be a looming disaster in North Korea. And, by the way, we still don't know whether there's any emerging strategy and I think it's very important point.


COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We'll have more of the conversation when we come back.

And later, speaking of reversals, a new development in the story of the guy dragged off the United Airlines flight. See what the CEO of United is promising now.


[20:20:30] COOPER: Watching the president today at the White House, you could be excused for wondering what's become of the Donald Trump who made promises like this on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) TRUMP: I'm going to instruct my treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator, the greatest in the world.

China is a grandmaster, like a grandmaster chess player. They're grandmaster at currency manipulation.

Nobody has ever manipulated currency like China.

Label China a currency manipulator. Label China a currency manipulator.

They are the greatest currency manipulators ever.


COOPER: Well, today, President Trump said he would not do that at all, what he said on the campaign.

I asked Mike Rogers about it, just how he explains the president he'd change of views. Here is part two of our panel conversation.


COOPER: Chairman Rogers, I mean, President Trump said in "The Wall Street Journal" today that after listening to the Chinese president explain the history of China and North Korea for about ten minutes, he, quote, realized it's not so easy.

I mean, is that -- I --

AMANPOUR: Help him.

COOPER: I'm speechless. I don't know why I'm reacting like this.

AMANPOUR: He said the same thing about health care.

COOPER: Well, I know. Yes, of course. It's exactly what he said about health care, that nobody knew health care could be so complicated. But, you know what, actually pretty much everybody knew it was really, really complicated.

I guess as somebody as a Republican, do you worry though that he has no real positions, that basically he bends one way or the other depending on who the last person who gave him a ten minute lecture on the history of some country is?

I mean, the NATO guy was here today and so now NATO is indispensable, but when the my NATO guy leaves, is that still the position?

ROGERS: Well, obviously I cannot speak for the Trump administration.

COOPER: Sorry, I don't know why I'm reacting like this. I just find it amazing.

ROGERS: You know why? Because it's frustrating. It was frustrating for those of us who are serious national security players who in the campaign had different positions than President Trump. But looking at where we are today --

COOPER: Right, but said to him, you can't take an oil, you were called -- I mean, I said to him in the interviews, what do you mean take the oil? He would say you're an idiot, you don't understand or you do understand but you're pretending that you don't. But you know what? You can't take the oil and he now knows that. And he probably knew it then.

Anyway, sorry. I'll let --

ROGERS: I'll tell you where I'm concerned going forward. Obviously, the election happened. He was masterful in touching the frustrations with a lot of Americans about Washington, D.C., and how broken it is and all of that. And I think he was masterful at that.

Now, I worry about this. Because he did come in and I think he was very distrustful of the State Department writ large, and I'm not saying it didn't have reforms that could happen there, but they haven't staffed it up in a way where somebody knows to call in a crisis. And so, yes, we're worried about Russia and so these are big ones, and North Korea.

But there is a lot of other issues out there for a lot of other heads of state who will say, "I don't know who to call."

AMANPOUR: I think it was really important the 180 he did with the secretary general of NATO because to be fair, in his speech to Congress, he did actually say he was a strong supporter of NATO, but his massively important today as they're trying to challenge and face down Vladimir Putin that he stands with the secretary general of NATO who actually he's been sort of compromising in his support. So, if Vladimir Putin can see that we cannot drive a wedge between the United States and its NATO allies, that's very important.

COOPER: Right. He said that about NATO after Vice President Pence went over and also backed up NATO. But, obviously, on the campaign trail it was often a different story.

ROGERS: Can I just one thing that happened in China? This is really important today, too, in this week before, and I think it may have led to the currency manipulation about-face that came out.

You know, China turned around the coal ships from North Korea. That is a big deal. And not getting a lot of play. And they did that -- they didn't do it unilaterally. You know there are lots of conversations behind something like that happened.

That really hurts North Korea significantly. They don't have a lot of exports that they can get cash for. Coal is one of them. China is the big purchaser of them.

Turning those ships around and having the president this week say, well, maybe we'll do it alone if we have to, but we'd like to have you as a part of a coalition to deal with this, I think all of that showed a sense of, hey, you're growing up in this diplomacy department and it's really important. [20:25:0-5] COOPER: Tony, also in fairness to the president, we

should say during the campaign, he talked and he has been consistent about this, about NATO countries paying, you know, their fair share and that is something that the NATO secretary general talked about today and clearly something that has been a through-line he continues to focus on that. So, I don't want to make it sound like he's -- it's -- everything is a 180, but it's certainly been a fascinating, fascinating day.

Tony Blinken -- yes, go ahead.

BLINKEN: You noticed -- you noticed, Anderson, that the president said basically he's fixed NATO in the last couple months that he's been in office. So, now, it's indispensable.

COOPER: Right. Well, he also pointed out today that he actually -- it's not just about now paying their fair share, he wants the back money, too, which I don't know if the NATO secretary general seems a little off-put by that one.

BLINKEN: It doesn't work that way.

COOPER: I'm not sure, yes.

AMANPOUR: And to be slight fair as well to the observers, everybody who is a serious observer of foreign policy was saying that when the president actually becomes president and is inaugurated, if, for instance, he wants help with the Chinese for North Korea, he's not going to be able to threaten a trade war or call them a currency manipulator. People were predicting that the reality of office would as you call it reveal a great hypocrisy, as others might call it, you know, hewing to a greater sense of reality.

COOPER: Tony Blinken, Christiane Amanpour, and Mike Rogers, thank you.


COOPER: Well, coming up, is Steve Bannon the latest persona non grata in the president's inner circle? President Trump was asked if he still has confidence in Bannon. He said something that started with, "I like Steve but". See what you make of it, next.


[20:30:27 ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We've been talking tonight about a day and really a week of foreign policy 180s from the president. This next story is smaller in global scale. It could be big on the domestic front from here on out.

The president when offered a chance to defend his Senior Advisor Steve Bannon, he said in so many words, Steve who? More now from CNN's Brianna Keilar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, publicly dressed down by the boss. "I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn't know Steve," Trump told the New York Post, "I'm my own strategist and it wasn't like I was going to change strategies because of crooked Hillary." Asked if he has confidence in Bannon amid reports of infighting among top aides including Trump's influential son-in-law, jared Kushner, Trump said Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I think the president was sending a very strong message, which knowing him I assume he's also said in private, which is I don't like this bickering and enough already and get your act together.

KEILAR: The review comes just one week after Bannon was dumped from the National Security Council, aside his influence on Trump's foreign policy has diminished.

STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: I happen to believe and I think many others do, he's probably the greatest public speaker and there's large arena since Williams Jennings Bryan.

KEILAR: And early, an ardent (ph) admirer of Trump. Bannon interviewed Trump for Breitbart radio back in 2015, when he was then heading up the far right media conglomerate.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENT: We have to keep our talented people in this country. I think you agree with that, do you agree with that?

BANNON: Well, I got a tougher -- you know, when two-thirds or three- quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think -- on, my point, is country's more like, sessions [ph], a country's more than an economy. We're a civic society.

KEILAR: Less than one year later, Bannon was heading up Trump's campaign, orchestrating some of its most outrageous moments. Like this photo op just before a presidential debate with women who had accused Bill Clinton of assault, Bannon looking on.

In the White House, he was instrumental in Trump's controversial travel ban of several majority Muslim countries.

TRUMP: And I said we would get the criminals out, the drug lords, the gang members, we getting them out.

KEILAR: CNN has learned it wasn't just the infighting that was frustrated Trump. It was also the frequent suggestion portrayed here on "Saturday Night Live" that Bannon was his puppet master.


ALEC BALDWIN, DONALD TRUMP IMPERSONATOR: Yes, of course, Mr. president (inaudible). KEILAR: Donald Trump spoke to the "Wall Street Journal" calling reports of infighting overblown. Now t hat said he also described Bannon as quote, "a guy who works for me and reiterated that he", Donald Trump, "is his own strategist," Anderson.

COOPER: Brianna Keilar. Brianna, thanks very much. Plenty to talk about with the panel, though, to be (inaudible) Brianna I hardly know them. I mean, I like them but -- David Gregory joins us, Matt Lewis, Kirsten Powers, Jeffrey Lord, and Jen Psaki.

David, I mean, it's pretty strong you see Bannon played a critical role for Donald Trump. I think getting -- it's fair to say, getting him into the White House, as did Kellyanne Conway and others. I mean that public -- what the president had said, if I was Steve Bannon I -- that's kind of -- these kind of -- that's stunning.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's stunning and it's also bad because it puts blood in the water which -- I don't have to tell you, you do that in Washington. It's plenty of people --

COOPER: Right, I mean to do this publicly.

GREGORY: Yeah, to do it publicly. Look, it's -- I think any time as an advisor in the White House, if you get too big, bigger than the principal, bigger than the president, you get into trouble, especially if you are the one that's manipulating what's really going on, if you're the Darth Vader, is Cheney who was reputed to be or Bush's brain like Karl Rove. All that stuff it just causes a lot of tension.

In this case, I think it's even more true with Pres. Trump who doesn't like to be upstaged at all, and who doesn't like to be perceived as being managed. But he does get managed. And he gets to managed 17 different ways within this White House. I mean, your previous two segments in the program.

And in this case, I think he's kept Bannon around as kind of the keeper of the flame, of the fringe, in his conservative movement and unfortunately, I think Bannon has made him look bad in some areas and now it's catching up.

COOPER: Matt, I mean, Bannon has a movement of his own from Breitbart and stuff and followers of his own -- if the president jettison him there's a danger in that for this president, isn't there?

MATT LEWIS, SNEIOR COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Absolutely, which is why I don't think Donald Trump with jettison him. And I think that, you know, you don't -- you want Steve Bannon inside the tent.

COOPER: Right --


[20:35:09] LEWIS: -- not outside. I think that we've seen that Steve Bannon has been put in his place. I think that his importance has been minimized. He may, Steve Bannon may choose to leave on his own as he has threatened to do already reportedly, but I don't think you cut him loose. I think you keep him somewhere, you know, even if you curtail his role.

COOPER: It is interesting, Kirsten, because I mean -- we heard so much on the campaign how loyalty was so important to Donald Trump. But it does seem like this White House distances themselves. You know, Paul Manafort was just a guy who seemed to be around for a couple of days, according to the White House, great, I mean -- the guy who managed the campaign.

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Yeah, you know, I mean we saw this wit the Corey Lewandowski when he -- who is, you know, really somebody who helped him the early stages of the campaign and still very loyal to him that he sort of cut him loose.

The loyalty with Donald Trump flows one way, and it's you need to be loyal to Donald Trump, but it doesn't seem that he feels he needs to be loyal the other direction, the family sort of seems to play that role for him. You know, he's very, you know, tight with his family, and anybody outside of it clearly, I think he's one to dispense with when things don't go the way he wants him to.

I think that, you know, (inaudible) right, the big problem is that Bannon sort of got too big and Trump looked too small. But also, I do wonder this is -- a little bit of an ideological shift that's happening because he started to see that a lot of the stuff that Bannon was pushing him to do wasn't working out. It was actually really working badly for him. And he's now moving into people have a little more experience or a little more mainstream. And since, we following (inaudible).

COOPER: Jeff, do you agree with that, that it seems like -- I mean Bannon seemed to have been, you know, behind the executive order on, you know, the travel ban --

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Welcome to the world of the White House staff, Mr. Bannon. I mean, look, a couple of things, let me just address if I can Kirsten's point about loyalty, we were on the air this summer to convention when we learned that Melania Trump's speech had been plagiarized to some degree. And I was, somewhat (inaudible) but Trump and said something mild like I thought whoever was should be taken out to the public square and drawn and quartered. It turned out that the person who is responsible this was a woman by the name of Meredith McIver, who is a long gone staff member for Donald Trump. She had later learned that -- I'm not revealing anything. She went into him, messed up, apologized to him, offered her resignation, he refused to take it and said we all make mistake. I do think it's important -- I do think he has loyalty down as well as expecting loyalty up.

But when you do get in the situation of the White House, and I certainly been there with David was just talking about what is correct, and it's a death blow, I mean, I well remember that time cover of Kirsten in the Clinton era of president powers, and I remember the one for Jed. And you don't go there just -- and if the press wants to put you there, back away.

COOPER: All right, like a beaver in the back of the limo on the phone. I think --

LORD: Yes, yes.


LORD: -- he called and said you made a mistake.

COOPER: I remember that. Yeah.

JEN PSAKI, FORMER WH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRES. OBAMA: Look, I think the other dynamic here is the rise of the Trump family, and what's going to be challenging, even if Bannon doesn't leave, and I agree. I don't think he's going to fire him. Is that, you never want to hire someone you can't fire. And eventually, Ivanka and Jared's roles are expanding dramatically in the White House. So it could become tricky and awkward even with the family dynamics at some point.

COOPER: Yeah, a lot to discuss. I want to thank everybody. Just ahead, a former Trump advisor gives his take on his dealing with Russia and his path to the Trump campaign.


[20:42:38] COOPER: Well, Former Trump foreign Policy Advisor Carter Page is speak out about "The Washington Post" report that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant last August to monitor his communications. The report quotes unnamed officials who said the FBI and Justice Department got the warrant by convincing the judge there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, namely Russia. Jake Tapper asked Mr. Page about it earlier today.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: "The Washington Post" as you know has reported that last year the FBI went to a FISA judge and argued successfully that there was probable cause to believe that you were acting as an agent for a foreign government. So my question is, were you?

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: Of course I wasn't, Jake. It's just such a joke that it is beyond words.

TAPPER: Have you ever conveyed to anyone in Russia that you think Pres. Trump might have been more willing to get rid of the sanctions that were imposed against Russia after they invaded and seized Crimea, which I know are sanctions that you oppose and think are ineffective. Did you ever talk with anyone there about maybe Trump if he were elected then candidate Trump would be willing to get rid of the sanctions?

PAGE: Never any direct conversations such as that. I mean, look --

TAPPER: What do you mean direct conversations? I don't know what that means, direct conversation.

PAGE: Well, I'm just saying no -- that was never said, no. TAPPER: You never said that to anybody that you think -- that Donald Trump won, he might be willing to get rid of the Russians -- the sanctions against Russia.



COOPER: Well, Page, you may recall, has offered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia investigation. In March 2016, candidate Trump named Mr. Page as one of his foreign policy advisors in a meeting with the editorial board of "The Washington Post."

Now, it's unclear, though, exact how much of an advisor he really was because according to him he never actually met Donald Trump or was never in a meeting with him. Randi Kaye has more.


COOPER: You speak Russian?

PAGE: Yeah. Yeah.


PAGE: I get by. I can understand what's happening in meetings.


KAYE: Some of these meetings may be exactly why the FBI and the Justice Department are so interested in communications between Carter Page and Russia. Page is a former foreign policy advisor for Donald Trump's campaign.

PAGE: I was a junior member of the campaign's foreign policy advisory group.

KAYE: That's what he says. But for months now, Pres. Trump's team has been struggling to define his role. Even going so far as to deny he was part of their circle.

[20:45:10] KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: He's not part of our National Security or foreign policy briefings that we do now at all.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Carter Page is am individual the president-elect does not know.

TRUMP: I don't think I've ever spoken to him. I don't think I've ever met him.

KAYE: Carter Page admits he never briefed the president personally, but there's no doubt he was part of the campaign and he looks to be part of the investigation into Trump's associates ties to the Kremlin before the election. Carter Page's history with R goes back to 1991. It's the Soviet Union was breaking up. He had reportedly become interested in the region as a young boy and later enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy. After working in arms control at the Pentagon he moved on to investment banking, landing a job at Merrill Lynch in London, years later he was tapped to open the firm's office in Moscow.

There Page advised executives from Gazprom the Russian controlled energy giant now run by a former associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And even though Page moved back to the New York a few years later to start his own global energy investment firm, he never served ties with Russia. Just month after Page was named as a Trump adviser. He praised Vladimir Putin at this policy meeting in Washington, D.C., even suggesting a Trump presidency would be good for U.S.-Russia relations.

PAGE: Thank you very much.

KAYE: A month later, during a trip to Moscow to give a speech, Page allegedly met with Russian nationals who had been sanctioned by the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you have any meetings last year with Russian officials in Russia, outside Russia, anywhere?

PAGE: I had no meetings. No meetings.

KAYE: What about Igor Sechin a Putin ally and the head of Rosneft, the oil company owned mostly by the Russian government and sanctioned by the U.S. Page denied meeting him. But an unverified dossier later made public claims that Page secretly met with Sechin in Moscow and discussed the deal that Trump would lift sanctions if elected and in exchange, Page would get shares of the oil giant, in effect, profiting for acting as a go between.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was ever an offer that you --

PAGE: Never.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- lift the sanctions you'd get something out of -- was there any offer like that at all?

PAGE: No, no offer whatsoever. No hint of an offer. No pathway to anything resembling an offer or even a discussion on this range of issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'd get something if you got the sanctions lifted?

PAGE: Not something, you know, not something worth a dollar, let alone something worth billions of dollars.

COOPER: Any allegations that you coordinated or colluded with Russians during the campaign you deny it?

PAGE: Oh, I deny it. It's just so false, that is, you know, completely, it's a joke.

KAYE: In fact, despite the Intelligence Community's finding that Russia did try to influence the U.S. election, Carter Page said no one in Russia ever spoke to him about hacking or deal making, he called the allegations a political stunt and wrote a letter to the Department of Justice, alleging the Clinton campaign took part in hate crimes and human rights abuses against him during the election season. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, coming up, a breaking development the United Airlines dragging story, we'll tell you about a new gesture on the part of the airline, plus new video that seemed further contradict the CEO's e- mail to employees that call the passenger belligerent.


[20:52:24] COOPER: The CEO of United Airlines says cops will no longer drag paying customers off its planes when a flight is oversold since (inaudible) policy to have. But it took a viral video to get him say it. Also new tonight, all the passengers on that flight will be reimbursed for their tickets. Two passengers tell CNN United called them last night to apologize and tell them they'd get their money back. And there are the new developments in the trouble nightmare turn public relations disaster for United Airlines. Rene Marsh has details.


RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Day three of the United Airlines fallout after one of its passengers is dragged off of an oversold flight. The airline CEO is now facing the camera.

OSCAR MUNOZ, UNITED AIRLINES CEO: The first thing I think is important to say is to apologize to Dr. Dao, his family, the passengers on that flight.

MARSH: Oscar Munoz said he felt shameful when he saw the viral video of 69-year-old David Dao being pulled down the aisle of United Express flight 3411. Passenger right activists say the apology is too little too late.

CHARLIE LEOCHA, PRESIDENT, TRAVELERS UNITED: It took him three days to finally get religion and realize that this person had been mishandled.

MARSH: Munoz pledged the airline would never call law enforcement to remove a customer who is already seated ever again. And when asked if a passenger was at fault --

MUNOZ: No. He can't be. He was a paying passenger sitting on our seat in our aircraft. And no one should be treated that way. Period.

MARSH: A major shift in tone. On Monday, Munoz described the passenger as belligerent and disruptive. But new video leading up to the incident contradicts that.

DAVID DAO, PASSENGER: No, I am not going. I am not going. I am not going. Well, you can then drag me down. I don't go. I'm not going. I'm staying right there.

MARSH: Dao he was defiant but did not appear disruptive. Meantime, his attorney signaled a potential lawsuit asking a court to require the airline and Chicago airport police to preserve what they call crucial evidence including surveillance video of passengers boarding the flight, the cockpit voice records and personnel records. The incident has sparked a bipartisan call for action.

CHRISTIE: Be seated and then dragged off the plane physically by law enforcement officers at the direction of United? It's outrageous. That's why I've asked the administration -- the Trump administration to say stop the overbooking until we set some more different rules about how the airlines can conduct themselves.

MARSH: Members of Congress sent letters with questions to both the airline and Chicago airport police about the policy and procedures. Senator Menendez, who signed one of those letters says, Congress is prepared to act.

[20:55:11] SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, (D) NEW JERSEY: If we do allow them to overbook, then it seems to me that we have to reign in how they deal with the consequences of overbooking.

MARSH: The Senate Commerce Committee tells CNN, it's considering a hearing on the issue.


COOPER: Rene Marsh joins us. Now, Rene, the officer involved faced a repercussions how they handle the situation?

MARSH: Well, Anderson, we heard from the Chicago Department of aviation today. They announced that two additional officers linked to the incident, they have been placed on administrative leave. Bringing the total officers on administrative leave to three. Also, one of highlight that the airline CEO today in his mea culpa, he blamed himself for not providing the staff with the, "proper tools, policies and procedures that would allow them to use their comment sense." Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Rene, thanks very much.

Coming up, another hour of 360. President Trump does a total 180 on his longtime stance on NATO. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says relations with Moscow are at a low point after meetings in Russia. We'll take a look at some big reversals happening tonight at the White House.


[20:59:58] COOPER: Welcome to 360 and what has been a day of foreign policies 180s for Pres. Trump. Remember what he said as a candidate before that is just another guy with a Twitter account on NATO, China, Syria and perhaps the most vividly on Russia, which is, you know, has not been a quick 180 but a certain, well -- certainly seems complete 180.

On NATO, Donald Trump said it was Obsolete.