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Trump Pulls Out Of Climate Deal; Nunes Intervenes In Russia Probe; Putin Hints At Russian's Election Hack Role; Former FBI Director Comey To Testify On June 8; House Investigators Subpoena Flynn, Cohen. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 1, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:15] ANDERSON COOPER: Well, breaking news tonight, the repercussions here and around the world from President Trump's announcement today that the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris accord on climate change. They are significant.

Democrats and number of key Republicans, portion of 500 CEOs, even the mayor of Pittsburgh, a city that featured in the president's speech when he referenced it, it was a statement heavy on nationalism. Some would say a sense of grievance by an agreement the president frame is unfair to American, America and damaging to the U.S. economy.

Jim Acosta joins us now from the White House. We can't say we didn't see this coming. I mean, this is what the president run on. He talks about this on the campaign trail. He's fulfilling a campaign process, but still --


COOPER: -- a very eventful day at the White House.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And we've seen the president not able to keep some of this campaign promises over the course of the last several months of this administration, Anderson, but he did it today.

In the rose garden of the White House, the president absolutely kept a campaign promise that he repeated time and again that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He framed his decision as a victory for American workers, a defeat for countries that he accused of mocking the U.S. Here's more of what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: At what point does America get demean? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment for its citizens and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers. We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore and they won't be. They won't be. I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.


ACOSTA: Now, you also heard the president today, Anderson, say that he could like to start a new negotiation to somehow broker a new climate agreement with the other countries of the world. Today the president heard from some key U.S. allies like Germany and France, saying no, thanks. They don't want to subject the world's climate to the art of the deal. So there will be no new negotiations as far as they are concern and the president indicated that he can't make that happen, then so be it.

COOPER: You know, the president as a citizen, Jim, had tweeted about climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. Has the White House said whether the president now believes the climate change is real or its cause by human action?

ACOSTA: No. It's incredible. We were shouting that question at the president as he was leaving that speech today in the rose garden. He obviously did not answer the question then.

But, then, senior administration officials, Anderson, held a background briefing with reporters in the briefing room at the White House. They were peppered with questions over and over again. Does the president believe that climate change is real? Does he believe that human activity contributes to climate change? They did not have an answer to that question, Anderson.

So the president pulls out of this major climate agreement, puts the United States in the category of Nicaragua and Syria as not being part of this climate deal. And the American people, the people of the world have no clear answer as to whether the president even believes in climate change or whether he still thinks it's a hoax as he has said time and again.

COOPER: I want to ask you about -- what the president said in the rose garden today before announcing his climate decision. He said the attack in Manila today was terror related. He said it definitively. We now know it isn't -- that is not the case. Local authorities are saying it was not terror related.

It was interesting because it reminded me, I think during the campaign, he would at times go after reporters or news organizations saying that they weren't reporting terror incidents, they didn't want to report it. Generally, we try to wait until we actually know for a fact whether something is a terror incident.

ACOSTA: That's right.

COOPER: It seems like the president just went ahead and kind of freelanced on this one.

ACOSTA: Yeah. He just went and done it, Anderson, as what he did earlier today. But according to the White House -- we got two different explanations on this today. Earlier in the day, they said that the national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, had briefed the president before he came out and made those remarks and said that what happened in Manila was an act of terrorism when it wasn't. So it sounded as if initially they were blaming this on the national security adviser for giving the president bad information.

But just in the last hour, Anderson, we received a new explanation from a senior White House official who said that simply the president was briefed that media reports were initially indicating that what happen in Manila was the work of ISIS. I don't recall that being something that we reported on, Anderson, or other outlets reporting, but that is the explanation -- the latest explanation coming from the White House tonight.

COOPER: So they were basically blaming the media for allegedly reporting this when, again, I don't believe that was actually the case. I mean --


COOPER: -- there have been movements against ISIS elsewhere in the Philippines in recent days that reporters have, you know, reported on because that has happened, but not --

ACOSTA: Yeah. I don't think they can chalk it up to fake news this time, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Joining us now, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. He's the author of "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." Also, Stephen Moore joins us, David Gergen, Jennifer Granholm, Jeffrey Lord and Miles O'Brien.

[21:05:05] David, just put this decision in perspective. The United States, the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world after China, was an early lead on the actual creation of this accord. What message does it send to the rest of the world and to U.S. allies, because, again, to Trump supporters this is fulfilling a campaign promise. This shouldn't come as a surprise.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It did not come as a surprise, Anderson, but it did come as a shock. I think that many of us were sort of believing that he would change his mind that senior heads would prevail and that simply did not happen. And I think this is on a historic moment, unfortunately. It is not a good one to me. In years past --

COOPER: Historic why?

GERGEN: -- we've been told -- well, because, look, I think with some 70 years ago, this country came to the aid of many others, especially in Europe, with a marshal plan and we saw that as one of the noblest acts in our history, which it was. And tonight there's just a sense that we have witnessed now one of the most shameful acts in our history.

We do have 4 percent of the world's population, but we contribute more to the carbon dioxide than any other nation. Almost a third of all the carbon is there now and it is threatening the planet come from the United States. And for us to say, "Well, we take no responsibility for that. We're going to walk away. Let the world solve that. We're going to go on our own." That's selfish.

And to realize too that the countries that are going to be worst hit and worst hurt by climate change are the poor countries. We are the richest country. For us to walk away and say, "We don't give a damn about the poor countries," even though we created a lot of this, that's immoral.

COOPER: Secretary Reich, I mean, the president said that withdrawing was an Americas economic interest. I know you tweeted about that saying it was not an economic decision. Did you think it was politics or what?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: I think it's totally about politics. It's about his base. That's what we all understand. I mean, he couldn't deliver on many of his promises, perhaps any of his promises and he delivered on one of his promises today. Felt that pressure from the base. I don't know frankly why. I don't think the base really knows much about Paris climate. Most Americans don't really know much about the climate accords.

But I would second David Gergen. This is a shameful day. The president seems to regard the world as a zero sum game, as mathematicians we put it, in which either we win and everybody else loses or everybody else wins and we lose. Obviously, it's not that way whether you're talking about trade or you're talking about immigration or you're talking about the climate, especially, because if we see the climate of the word continue to deteriorate, we are going to suffer. Our children and our grandchildren just like everybody else. This is irrational. From a standpoint of economics, it is shameful from the stand point of morality.

COOPER: Stephen, the president said that, you know, the world is not going to laugh at us anymore. I'm not sure what his, you know, constant reference to people laughing at us is about or where that comes from. But, do you believe that this was in any way about politics or was this purely base on economics?

STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I certainly think that Donald Trump should keep the promises that he made, and I was on the campaign trail with him at times when he made this declaration that we were going to get out of the climate change accord and it was one of the strongest applause lines. Americans who voted for Trump in no small part voted for him precisely because of that.

And, look, he was crystal clear about what he was going to do if he was going to get elected. He was going get us out of this climate change deal and Hillary Clinton was very crystal clear that she was going to be all in for it. And so you could make the case that there was almost a national referendum on whether we wanted the climate deal and then voters voted against it.

But I want to address something David said, because I just strongly disagree with it. Yes, David, of course, we produced one third of the carbon that's because we're the richest country in the world. And you get rich by using energy. And the idea that all of these countries in the world should use less energy you talk about poor countries.

I mean, my goodness, what poor countries need, the African countries (inaudible), they need to use energy and it's not going to be wind and solar power. They need to use coal and they need to use natural gas and just tell these countries, "Oh, you shouldn't have access to cheap and abundant energy." I think it's kind of immoral on that regard that they need energy more than they need to worry about, you know, a change in the rise of the ocean that's going to happen a hundred years from now.

COOPER: David, I want you to respond.

GERGEN: Well, listen, I very much respect your views as you know. But when 190 countries, including the poorest countries in the world all are in accord that this is in their interest and they're willing to abide by commitments and we're now in the league -- 190 nations go in one direction, one path. And we're now taking a different path with Syria and Nicaragua. Doesn't that make you feel great again?


[21:10:06] COOPER: I want to bring in -- let me -- I want to bring in Governor Granholm. I mean --

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, (D) FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Let me just -- let me jump in on this because I think what Stephen is saying is totally wrong. And I think Stephen you're using old talking points. Solar and wind are cheaper than coal and natural gas now, unsubsidized, from the Lazar report from December.

The fact that these countries want to have access to wind and solar as one option, and by the way, India and China has canceled their coal plants because coal is more expensive for their citizens than solar.

Let me just say, the president said this was an economic decision. There are 3.1 million people in America who are working in this clean energy industry. In Pennsylvania, you had the mayor of Pittsburgh on. On Pennsylvania, there are 57,000 people who work in Pennsylvania. There are thousands of job providers in Pennsylvania in this clean energy industry. In Michigan, there's almost 90,000 people who work in this clean energy industry. In Ohio, there are 90,000 people who work in the clean energy industry.

All of those states have fewer people working in coal and natural gas. So, to say that it is an economic decision to side with an industry, especially, coal where the numbers are plummeting and not side with an industry where the numbers are growing financially is a (inaudible) economic decision.

MOORE: Wait a minute, you got to put that chart up again because that chart is inaccurate. I think as I read its 500,000 jobs in the oil and petroleum industry, no, it's more or like -- something like 6 million or 8 million people. So there's order of magnitude larger number of people working in --

REICH: Steve, we were not --


COOPER: From the Department of Energy.

MOORE: Yeah. Those figures -- I mean, look, I've seen figures as much as 6 million people are directly or indirectly tied --

COOPER: That is from the Department of Energy.

MOORE: But here's the point -- I want to address something that David made -- just point about why aren't we complying with this when the rest of the word is? And the answer to that, David, is we are. We've reduced our carbon emissions more than any other country in the world over the last seven years among, you know, the major industrial countries.

Meanwhile, the government is simply wrong on this. China -- that "Wall Street Journal" just had an article on this about two week ago. China has doubled down on coal. They're building dozens and dozens of coal plants because coal is a lot cheaper than --


COOPER: Miles, what about the (inaudible)?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, there was a time when China was building a coal plant about once every 10 days, but they have -- under pressure from their own people because of pollution and out of concern of a climate change are moving heavily into nuclear among other things to look at clean alternatives. They also are in many ways leading the world in solar and wind turbine. So, they have -- if they created a so-called hoax, they're obviously playing us for fools here.

REICH: The other point I just want to answer Steve about the developing world. I mean, if the developing world is going to rely on fossil fuels, on oil and coal to the extend that the United States relied on it over the lat 70 years, that's the end of the planet, Steve.

I mean, we can't possibly have a planet that relies and depends that much on fossil fuels. That's one reason that there is so much interest and one reason the United States had been so dedicated to helping developing nations move to wind and solar. It is an oral -- our interest to do so.

MOORE: Except that -- Robert, as you know, I mean, not solar, but natural gas. I mean, what's happened in America is we dramatically reduced our electricity prices because the price of natural gas, thanks to Shell gas, has gone from $12 down to $3 and it's made electricity prices lower, it's made America more competitive.

And the interesting thing about natural gas, I keep hearing folks on CNN all day saying we have to move to clean energy. Anderson, natural gas is a clean energy form. It's what's reducing our power emissions. And why isn't everybody all in on our natural gas (inaudible)?

COOPER: Miles?

O'BRIEN: Well, it's better than coal, but it's still a fossil fuel. Coal has about twice as much carbon, you know, per apples to apples comparison than fracked natural gas. But fracked natural gas is the key component here. No matter what is done in the case of Paris, coal is on its way out because of that, because of automation.

I was recently in West Virginia, Anderson, at a huge mountain top mine, surface mining thousands of acres, literally. I asked them how many people are working there, 23 people. These jobs are not coming back under any circumstances.

COOPER: Jeffrey, under this accord --


COOPER: -- my understanding under this accord, each country sets its own standards. So, couldn't the U.S. have basically just said, look, we're not living -- we can't live up to these standards. Are we going to change our standards?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Certainly it sounds that way to me. They wanted to -- we could do whatever we choose to do.

COOPER: But under the accord we could have done that.

LORD: Well, but my point here, Anderson, I mean, we keep sliding away from this point which I think is critical. The base is mentioned here by several people.

[21:15:03] If Hillary Clinton were elected and did the opposite of this, would we be saying, "Well, she's just doing it to play to her base?" The fact of the matter is I was showing the governor in the green room, the map that commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the 2016 election, Pittsburgh was an island of blue in a sea of red. The Pennsylvania voters in that area, which are economically distressed in a lot of cases, are very upset about this.

COOPER: Do you believe coal is the future?

LORD: I think its part of it. I think everything is the future. For heaven's sakes, go do it. If we could get to what we're talking about here, tomorrow with the wave of a wand, great. The fact of the matter is, we can't. So you do things in --

REICH: Jeffrey Lord, let's be serious. Let's be serious. Do you think coal is the wave of the future?

LORD: No, I said --

REICH: Do you think that's the way the planet is going?

LORD: I said its part of the future not -- you know, eventually, sure, we're going to find it -- REICH: Why is that then that the China and other countries are actually leading the way in wind and solar?


REICH: Why are they moving ahead of us?

LORD: But I have no doubt that at some point we won't need to use coal anymore, but we're not there yet. I mean, this is like trying to fly a jet airplane in 1861.

GRANHOLM: It is not true. I mean, when you look at -- I mean, Bloomberg Clean Energy Finance does all of the analysis of this. They has said very clearly that 60 percent of the new energy installations for the next 25 years are going to be wind and solar, 60 percent.

MOORE: Then, why do we need this agreement for? I mean, look, you can't have it both ways. You can't say, "Oh, the future is wind and solar power," but we need massive subsidies in the government and we need regulations to force people to use it.

COOPER: We got to leave --

MOORE: Why not --


REICH: Yeah, we need this agreement because this agreement symbolizes what we stand for.

MOORE: Robert, why don't we just let the private sector decide? Let the market work and decide what --


COOPER: But did it seem -- it does seem like the private sector has already decided. I mean, they seemed all decided with Shell and kind of go --


GRANHOLM: Then we want to trade, Steven. We want to trade with other people.

COOPER: We have to move ahead. Thank you all. Just ahead, reaction to president's -- the president's decision on the Paris accord both from world leaders and from some of the workers. He says he is doing it for coal miners. We'll talk to them ahead.


[21:20:44] COOPER: As we said, leaders around the globe are blasting President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris accord. The Vatican called it a disaster for the planet. Nearly 200 countries back the agreement. The United States is now one of just three as we reported that have rejected it. Syria and Nicaragua are the others. Nicaragua believes it doesn't go far enough to help the planet which is why they rejected it.

A lot to discuss with Fareed Zakaria, host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS," and retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, CNN's Military and Diplomatic Analyst.

Fareed, you said earlier in the day and I want to get the quote right. You said that the U.S. resigned as the leader of the free world. You really think it's that severe?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": I think symbolically, it's that important because since 1945, the United States has been the leader in organizing coalitions to deal with global problems, global challenges, whether there were security or military or problems of even things like pandemics.

So for the United States to take this signature achievement that took years and years to do and finally got India and China into the tent. You know, that was always the big problem with climate change. You couldn't get the new polluters to agree to get in India and China.

Everybody came into the tent, the 193, 194 countries. And the United States pulls out. It's a pretty big blow and I don't think you can sugar coat it. I have talked to European officials and they all view it very much in that light.

COOPER: Admiral Kirby, I mean, you heard Fareed. How much damage do you think this decision does to America's relationship with key overseas allies? Or what message does send?

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think it will do significant damage, Anderson. And you have to also, you know, remember keep in perspective not just today's decision, but what the president did in Brussels and in Sicily last week. I mean, this is pattern now of aggregating U.S. leadership and U.S. responsibilities on the global stage and this is the next big piece of that.

I do think it's significant. You've already seen comments made by so many European and other leaders around the world saying that regardless, they're going to move on. They're disappointed by this, but they're going to move on and they're going to enact the measures of the agreement going forward with or without us. And I think that really is a sad state of affairs for the United States of America.

COOPER: You know, there has been push back about this, Fareed, saying, look, people said this about the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, the U.S. pulling out of that. People said it was -- the U.S. you know, abdicating leadership and yet there wasn't much fallout from that decision.

ZAKARIA: Well, look, you know, in any one of these cases you can point to the fact that the world is not going to end. But the fact that we were not a leader in Kyoto was -- in many was a lost decade for the United States and countries like Germany move to the lead in green energy.

That's one of the reasons Germany, which is not a particularly sunny country has huge solar industry. It was because the United States stepped back for a while and that's part of the issue here that we need to talk about, which is these are the industries of the future. The world is going to have clean energy. It's absolutely clear. And the fact that we don't want to own it, we don't want to dominate it, it's sad.

COOPER: And, Admiral Kirby, I mean, just more broadly, we're only four months into the president terms. He is rubbing NATO the wrong way. The chancellor of Germany says Europe really can't depend on the U.S. like they use to be able to.

Now with this decision on the climate accords, it is sort of remarkable to have a president who is upsetting the apple cart in such a dramatic way, although, you know, I guess his supporters will say, "Well, look, he came to, you know, to change things."

KIRBY: Right. I mean, that's -- there are people that will support what he's done here and he certainly has played to his base. There's no question about that. I mean, he's already got his own accolades coming in on this.

But I think it fundamentally rejects a simple understanding that every president since the end of World War II has had, which is America has a special responsibility on the global stage. Not just to be a partner, but to be a leader.

When I hear President Trump talk about the United States sometimes, it's like he talks about us like we're just an average country. He talks about unfairness, like he did today in, you know, paying your fair share and all the burdens of just being one of the club.

We never have been -- at least not since World War II, and we shouldn't try to be. We do have special responsibilities because we are a great nation, because we are so powerful. We are the leading technology state in the world, and that needs to stay the course.

[21:25:05] If we give up that lead, if we abdicate this to other nations like China, then not only where our economy suffers, Fareed so rightly points out, but we won't have a say so in the accountability and measurements standards going forward. And I can guarantee you. China is ready and willing to lead on this and they won't do it transparently.

COOPER: It's interesting, because Democrats haven't really made the economic argument on this as much as -- I think some Democrats, Van Jones has talked about that he would like them to, that this is just in terms of the future and having the U.S. being the forefront of this business. This is a loss.

ZAKARIA: So, solar jobs alone in the U.S. are more than all jobs in oil, coal and natural gas put together, already. Solar jobs grew 25 percent last year, and that's just solar. That doesn't include wind. That doesn't include, you know, battery power.

So, you know, you're exactly right. I think we have lost the ability to talk about it just, first of all, objectively as the industries of the future that they are. And the Democrats have lost the opportunity to talk about this as a growth opportunity, as an opportunity to really seize the future.

The environment has always been seen as a little bit like broccoli, you know. And so you have to do these things because it's good for the world. That's not it. The point is at this -- that the reason China wants to go there, the reason India is embracing it, the prime minister of India said it would be criminal to withdraw from the Paris accords because they all see this. They understand they need clean energy for the future.

And in a way if we could be that country, it disempowered the Middle East, it disempowered Russia, it disempowered Venezuela. If you think about it, most of the bad actors in the world are fueled by oil and oil money. If the United States could replace those subsets and become the next energy super power, it also changes not just the economics and provides jobs, but it also changes geopolitics.

COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, thanks very much. Admiral Kirby, as well, thank you.

KIRBY: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, just ahead tonight, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are hopping mad tonight over Chairman Devin Nunes' recusal to step back completely from the Russia investigation after recusing himself supposedly. He's issued subpoenas to three Obama administration officials. The sparks are flying.

Also, Vladimir Putin for the first time opening the door to the idea that Russians might have meddled in the election. We'll tell what he said ahead.


[21:31:23] COOPER: As Washington prepares for former FBI Director James Comey's testimony next week before the Senate Intelligence Committee over on the House side, the investigation is hitting some speed bumps.

They have to do what Devin Nunes, a chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, you may remember him. He recused himself supposedly from the Russia investigation when he came under scrutiny from the House Ethics Committee. It turns out, he hasn't given up his subpoena power and yesterday he issued three subpoenas that have enraged Democrats in the committee. Jessica Schneider joins us now with the latest.

So Jessica, first, what exactly do we know about the subpoenas that were issued by the House Intelligence Committee?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we know that there were seven subpoenas in all, so four of them related to the Russia probe. Those were issued to President Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, as well as his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as well as their businesses. So that was four. But the ones that are really drawing some scrutiny are the other three subpoenas that were issued on these general topic of unmasking, these unveiling of American identities in these intelligence reports and they were issued in relations to the Obama administration officials, several of them, the former CIA Director John Brennan, also former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.

So, there are some question as to why these were issued regarding unmasking and the fact that Chairman Devin Nunes who had supposedly stepped aside from this Russia investigation, you know, he was the one who issued them. Anderson?

COOPER: But -- I mean, what's so fascinating about this is that he said he would be stepping aside back in April from the investigation. These subpoenas, including the ones pertaining to the Russian investigation, were issued and overseen by him, right, that's the Democrats are saying.

SCHNEIDER: Right. And that's, you know, the Republicans in this sense are really mincing some words here. They're saying that Chairman Nunes didn't recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Merely that he said he was stepping aside.

In fact, House Speaker Paul Ryan is defending Chairman Nunes issuing these subpoenas saying that Chairman Nunes is still the leader of this committee. He still has work to do and saying that this didn't -- doesn't pertain to the Russian investigation.

But, of course, the Ranking Member Adam Schiff is pushing back on this saying that this is just destruction and this is exactly the game of the White House wants the House Intelligence Committee and the chairman to play, right, playing right into their hands. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, thanks.

Well, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. I spoke to her earlier.


COOPER: Congresswoman Speier, when Chairman Nunes said that he was "Stepping aside from the Russia investigations," did you believe that that meant he would have no involvement with the Russian investigation?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: That's what I think everyone believed. That's what recusal means. It means that you are no longer associated with anything to do with the Russia investigation.

COOPER: So did he have the authority to go for these subpoenas that he -- were issued yesterday?

SPEIER: So the rules of the House Intelligence Committee required that the chair or the chair in conjunction with the ranking member or that the committee as a whole has to issue this subpoenas by a vote.

In this case, he acted arbitrarily and unilaterally and did not even consult with the ranking member, Adam Schiff. So, he was truly of the reservation when he took the action he did. And it was all for theatrics, because we have the intelligence community come in and we do oversight over their operations on a weekly basis. And there is never a reluctance for them to show up.

So, this was done, I think, purely to entertain the president and to show that once, again, Mr. Nunes was listening for his cues from the president and not doing what he had made a commitment to do, which was to recuse himself.

[21:35:03] COOPER: You know, you said he didn't have the authority really to do this by the regulations. Speaker Ryan's office issued a statement saying that the chairman had "The right and responsibility to conduct oversight an intelligence community." I guess, you know, they're saying he's still the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

SPEIER: Well, he is, but he cannot act -- the rules required him to issue subpoenas in conjunction with the ranking member of the committee. And he did not even inform the ranking member until, you know, very late.

COOPER: So is there any recourse?

SPEIER: I don't believe there is. But I think what it underscores is that fact that he is not a man of his word, that he hasn't really recused himself. He continues to look at highly classified information at the CIA that deals with the Russian investigation.

He continues to participate in the Gang of Eight, which is the speaker -- the leader of the Democrats and then the members of -- the chairs of the two committees, both armed services and intelligence. And -- but, once again, he is sitting on those briefings even when it's about Russia.

COOPER: So -- I mean, I guess the obvious question is, do you believe it's possible to have a fair and uncompromised investigation if Nunes retains subpoena power and continues to involve himself in that way?

SPEIER: Well, that's a very good question. I will say that Congressman Conaway who is the chair of this investigation has worked very closely with the ranking member, Adam Schiff, and the committees have been working together.

Now, if the intention here is for Devin Nunes to actually sabotage the committee investigation, he is on his way to doing that, and that would be very regrettable.

COOPER: President Trump tweeted today, "The big story is the unmasking and surveillance of people that took place during the Obama administration." And you obviously -- you and the rest of Democrats believe the focus should be on the Russian investigation, are those initially exclusive? Can the intelligence committee focus on both or cannot?

SPEIER: Well, of course, the committee can focus on both. I mean -- but if you look to the Senate committee, both Republicans and Democrats are reading from the same page. They are pursuing the investigation of the Russian intervention in our election. That is their, you know, keen interest and should be because, frankly, that's the most critical aspect of this entire shenanigans really that's been going on.

And it troubles me that here our democracy is at risks and we're allowing the president and his sidekick, Mr. Nunes, to try and distract once again.

COOPER: Congresswoman Speier, appreciate your time. Thanks.

SPEIER: Thank you.


COOPER: We have more breaking news ahead. Russia's president changes his tune on whether Russia or Russians were responsible for cyberattacks during the election. Was he fessing up or rubbing in a Russian's face? Some perspective, next.


[21:41:47] COOPER: Well, for months now, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country had nothing to do with the cyberattacks during the election. Today, though, speaking to reporters, he sort of change the story, patriotically minded private hackers, he said, might have been responsible. Hackers he said are like artists who choose their targets depending on how they feel when they wake up in the morning.

We have more on these comments now from CNN's Matthew Chance on the phone from Moscow. So, what more can you say about what Putin said today?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yeah, it was sort of a bizarre comment in many ways, Anderson, because he, first of all, definitely denied again which is what he has done in the past that Russia officially had anything to do with the hacking of the U.S. election or indeed in any other kind of election.

He said that basically, the Russians based don't engage in that kind of activity. But for the first time, he opened up the possibility that Russian citizens could have been involved. He said, the artists paint if they wake up feeling their spirits and hackers do the same. They -- that when they wake up, they read that something is going on and they, you know, kind of react to that.

He said, if they all patriotically minded, they start making their contributions which are right from their point of view, the fights against those who say bad things about Russia, weird. He is saying that basically patriotically minded Russian hackers could wake up on engaging their activity on behalf of their country, but the state officially doesn't engage in that kind of activity.

So, yeah, pretty weird stuff I suppose. But, I guess, it's the first time that Putin has opened up to the possibility that even though the Russian state, he says, wasn't involved. Of course, we -- the Russian security forces are involved -- are accused of being involved.

COOPER: Yeah. It's interesting that he would describe them as patriotically minded.

CHANCE (via telephone): Sorry, say that again?

COOPER: And so that's interesting that he would describe them as patriotically minded.

CHANCE (via telephone): Yeah. And I guess that diminishes I think for many people, the activities that these people have happen to taken. Remember, of course, Russia's security forces, in particular intelligence agencies, are accused of undermining the Democratic process in the west, in the United States and other countries as well. And Putin said that he does not believe that any kind of hacking has the ability to alter the course of an election whether it's in Europe or Asia or indeed in the United States.

COOPER: Matthew Chance from Moscow, appreciates it.

Joining us now is Steve Hall, former CIA senior official in-charge of Russia operations, also Peter Doran, director of research at the Center for European Policy Analysis.

Steve, I mean, when you hear these comments from President Putin, what do you think?

[21:45:02] STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's classic Putin. And, Anderson, there's two important things I think that are important just to focus on. The first is this is a corporate action with the Russian government undertook. And one of the great things about corporate action is this deniability. So regardless of how much evidence comes in, regardless of which intrusions sets were actually found in DNC computers, Putin will always be able to simply deny it.

He did this is 2007, which is Russia's first big foray into cyberattacks in Estonia. The next year, 2008, Georgia, more cyberattacks, more claims. Well, no, these are just, you know, patriotic Russians who are mad at the Georgians. And then, of course, now we have in Ukraine, the same thing. You know, these are -- these not Russian soldiers that are actually working as Russian soldiers. These are Russian soldiers on vacation. So this is a standard thing.

The second thing is that Putin really likes to take into Russians in general, really like to take advantage of western values. Who could argue with a creative hacker like an artist getting up in the morning anywhere in the west and saying, "I think I'm going to do this." The problem is that's not the way it works in Russia.

In Russia, Putin knows where everybody is. There are servers in Russia that they have required if there's Russian sense of information on there that it remain on Russian soil. It's not to protect Russians, it's so that the government can find out exactly who these people are and what they're up to.


HALL: So, Putin wanted to if he could find them immediately and stop it, if he wanted to.

COOPER: Peter, it's also kind of interesting to hear Vladimir Putin saying that, you know, nobody can influence an election in another country, from a guy -- from -- in a country that tries to control the media. I mean, who tries to have influence over and does have influence over reporting in that country, clearly concerned about the spread of information, the free flow of information.

PETER DORAN, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, CENTER FOR EUROPEAN POLICY ANALYSIS: Well, that's right, Anderson. In fact, Putin, he is training in total hogwash. We know that Russia is coordinated as cyber and information campaign against the west is top down, not bottom up, because Russia's own national security documents tell us so. The ministry of defense in Russia now has propaganda soldiers that are dedicated to conducting propaganda war against the west. This is Russia's own wording here.

Vladimir Putin wishes that he had an army of do voters (ph) fighting in a patriotic cause on his side. The fact of the matter is he doesn't and we do. Right now in the Baltic States, there is a movement of individual citizens. They call themselves the elves. They take to social media and they refute and rebut Russia's propaganda campaign against us. If anything right now, Putin is starting to lose this fight and I'd like see that trend continue.

COOPER: Steve, I mean, he also said that hackers could be trying to frame the Russian government, making it look like they were behind it. Again, the U.S. intelligence committee, the FBI seemed to feel pretty confident looking at Russia. They're not saying, they think there's could be anyone else.

HALL: Yeah. I mean, again, the beauty of active measures that the Russia say is they can spend whatever story that they would like to try to fits -- to try to fit into whatever accusations or counteraccusations might be out there, just to muddy the waters.

But, it's an excellent point that the Russians have understood for a number of years now, I would argue since Estonia in 2007, that they need some sort of, you know, conventional warfare is one thing. Nuclear weapons, nobody really wants use them for obvious reasons. They need some sort of alternative. They need a hybrid alternative. They can do significant damage to other democracies, or democracy because Russia is not a democracy, with other countries. And they need a way to do it cheaply and effectively and cyber as was just any kid, it's definitely part of their protocols. It's part of their doctrine making good at that.

COOPER: Steve Hall, Peter Doran, appreciate your time. Coming up, we're going to head to coal mining country in Wyoming to find out what women miners there think about climate change and how they think the president is doing in general, their perspective in our series, "America Uncovered," next.


[21:52:50] COOPER: In tonight's "America Uncovered," how the president's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord is playing in cold countries, specifically in Wyoming and more specifically with women who worked in the mines. Martin Savidge spoke with the group of them to get their thoughts about the president did today and what he's doing overall.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In most of America coal used to be king (ph). In Wyoming, it still is. Wyoming accounts for 40 percent of America's coal production. And the significant number of coal miners here are women.

JODI SAUNDERS, SHOVEL OPERATOR: You start for the obvious reasons that the money and the benefits and the security and it turns into something that you -- eventually you don't know anything else as you just -- you start to love it.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): They work in an industry that's demanding, deadly, and dominated by men.

LAURA DILLEY, SAFETY COORDINATION: It gives you a feeling of strength when you know you can go out there and compete and do what every one else does, like she said, as good if not better than they do.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Strength isn't the only thing they have in common.

(on camera): Who voted for President Trump?

FALLON HOVERSON, EQUIPMENT OPERATOR: I had a little bit of reservations of him as a person in the way that he is, but the voting lies (ph), no.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you think he is being treated fairly?

SAUNDERS: No. I think it's awful.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): What about all those campaign promises Trump made to bring coal mining jobs back?

(on camera): Have you seen that?

DILLEY: Yes. There has been more jobs in the base that open up. There has been -- they're hiring now.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Thousands of jobs? STACEY MULLER, SHOVEL OPERATOR: I wouldn't say thousands. I know 250 have been rehired within the base and within the 10 or 12 mines that we have here.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Jodi, that's not the numbers that he promised.

SAUNDERS: I think it's a process.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): And part of that process, they say, is easing environmental restrictions on coal. Something Trump did by taking America out of the Paris climate agreement. But it's here, these coal miners split.

DILLEY: I wish he hadn't just because it makes us seem as though we're not in with the rest of the world in combating climate change.

MULLER: We're coal miners, but we care about this planet. I mean that's also our -- it's our responsibility to take care.

[21:55:07] SAUNDERS: I was in favor of him pulling out. I think the United States itself is responsible for the United States.

HOVERSON: I think that we need to focus on the United States and first and foremost to making us great again, so.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you believe that climate change is a real thing?

HOVERSON: No, not really?

MULLER: I am not a climate change denier. But, I do believe that we certainly have an impact. But I think we can lessen than in a responsible way that doesn't put entire groups of people out of work.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): For many of these miners, there were only two issues that mattered last November, jobs and energy, nothing has changed.

(on camera): Show of hands who would vote the same?

Martin Savidge, CNN, Gillette, Wyoming.


COOPER: And we'll be right back.


COOPER: That's all the time we have. Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts now.

[22:00:12] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Here's the breaking news, did Vladimir Putin admit to hacking the election?