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Trump Slams Obama Admin On Russia Hacking; WH Responds To Comey Tape Inquiry With Trump Tweet; WAPO: Putin Ordered Hacks To Aid Trump, Damage Clinton; Trump: Comey & Mueller Friendship "Very Bothersome"; GOP Congressman: We Need Plan To Fight Cyberattacks; Michael Bloomberg On The Trump White House; Separated: Saving The Twins. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 23, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:46] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Well, it's been quite a week and it ended today with a first for the network. The first courtroom style sketches, as far as we know, of a White House press briefing. (Inaudible) were not available. These are by the very talented Bill Hennessy.

The day has just ended with the president weighing in on Russian hacking by singling out the prior administration. Quote, in a tweet, "Just out, the Obama administration knew far in advance of November 8th that election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?" The president has also weighed in during a new interview.

CNN Jessica Schneider joins us now. So what else has the president said about this.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, he's not just tweeting about it, it turns out he's talking about this "Washington Post" article, as well. He did an interview today, slated to air on Sunday. This is what he told the interviewer in the wake of this "Washington Post" story about the Obama administration knowing as far back as August of 2016 about these Russian hacks.

This is what the president told the interviewer. He said, "Well, I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it. But nobody wants to talk about that. The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even -- before the election. And I hardly see it. It's an amazing thing. To me, in other words, the question is, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about that. But you don't read that. It's quite sad."

And what's interesting about this Anderson is that, it seems that in both this tweet and perhaps in this interview that will air on Sunday that he taped today, that the president is somewhat now admitting that Russia may have played a role in this hacking during the election. It's something that the president and even the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, have been reluctant or remiss to actually address. President Trump has said repeatedly over the past year. So, he said, perhaps the Russians are responsible. But he also pointed at actors like China, as well. So, this putting a bit of the final point on.

COOPER: And then 400 pound potential blogger.

SCHNEIDER: That's right, exactly, blaming it on several different potential actors.

COOPER: The White House tonight, I understand, they formally responded to the House Intelligence Committee's deadline to produce any evidence of tapes of the president's conversations with Dir. Comey. What'd they say?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they didn't really say much, Anderson. It was essentially a copy and paste from the president's tweet. It was a two paragraph letter. It was to the Intelligent Committee. It came from the administration's top legislative affairs director as supposed to the White House Council. And this is what the letter said in part. It said, "In response to the committee's inquiry, we refer you to President Trump's June 22, 2017 statement, regarding this matter." And then they went on to quote the tweet been themselves it said, "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking, and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make and I do not have any such recordings."

Of course, that was the tweet from Pres. Trump just yesterday. So Anderson, that's probably not the response the House Intelligence Committee was looking for especially since ranking member Adam Schiff had said, he specifically wanted to hear from the White House if there could have been any recordings at all within the White House itself.

COOPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, appreciate it. Thanks very much for the reporting.

Earlier in the broadcast, I spoke with the "Washington Post" Adam Entous who shares the by line on today's Russia hacking story that the president was referencing, saying as a lot of people talk and reacting.

[21:05:07] One of these fascinating passages painted a picture of the Obama White House seemingly paralyzed over exactly what to do, struggling to find a response.


ADAM ENTOUS, REPORTER "THE WASHINGTON POST": They had several different factors that were weighing on them. One was that if they -- if they did decide to put there -- put a statement out there, to call out the Russians, it might be -- they might be accused of being partisan and trying to help Hillary Clinton win.

Another factor for them was that, you know, they weren't sure if they did act, how would Putin respond? One of the concerns was is that Putin intended, potentially, to actually try to affect voter rolls and voting machines on or before Election Day.

And that was, again, something that they were concerned, that if they did something, they might actually make things worse. And so they decided to not respond, except for deterring, sending warnings to Putin, and otherwise, wait until after the election to respond.


COOPER: The level of detail in the "Washington Post" story says a lot. Reads like a spy thriller, sadly come to life. With us now, some real life professionals, former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty, former CIA Head of Russia Operations Steve Hall, the "New York Times" Michael Shear, Shawn Turner our National Security Analyst and former spokesman former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former FBI and CIA Senior Official Phil Mudd.

Steve, as a former CIA officer, what do you make of the CIA's ability to identify that Vladimir Putin actually had a hand in this? Because that seems like part of the delay in the part of the Obama administration, is that they were wanted to make sure the CIA was right and get buy in from other intelligence agencies.

STEVE HALL, FMR. CIA SENIOR OFFICER, RUSSIA EXPERT: Well, Anderson, according to the "Washington Post" reporting, this is somewhat of an intelligence coupe (ph) to get this type of, you know, very concrete information, which sort of put the nail into the coffin is to what we had all pretty much surmised analytically, which is that, you know, Vladimir Putin was definitely involved in this, it's difficult to imagine otherwise.

But this -- according to the "Washington Post," this piece of intelligence sort of confirmed that. But then the fascinating thing about the whole piece in the post is that, you know, that was sort of easy part. The hard part is now to (inaudible) have this information. What does out policy going to be? It's really tough. You can go really hard and go it with cyber warfare or you can go much more conservatively with, you know, with sanctions. And that's eventually what the administration decided to do.

COOPER: Michael, it's interesting, just hearing from the president in his latest interview that we just read that part of a transcript, I guess that'll be on Sunday, him saying that, he's just learned about this for the first time.

How is that possible, that he just learned that the Obama White House knew about this? I mean he's the president of the United States. You would think if he's truly interested in this, he would have been completely debriefed on the whole history of this entire, you know, intervention.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, and you don't even have to assume that he would have gotten secret briefings about this. This has all been public.

COOPER: Right. SHEAR: I mean, the intelligence agencies talked about the Russia meddling in the election and the effects that they thought that it was having in October. Well before the election. It was a public -- mean, it was that covered all the headlines. Your shows -- you get chosen --

COOPER: All right.

SHEAR: -- everybody did. And there have been multiple articles in our paper, in the "Washington Post," and others, about the extent to this and about the Obama administration's debate. The "Washington Post" story today added some interesting and important details.

COOPER: But it's all been out there.

SHEAR: But it's all been out there. It's impossible to think that the president and his people didn't know that. Now, to the point that your reporter made earlier, the president didn't want to acknowledge it, but that's different than not knowing about it.

COOPER: Yeah, Phil, does that make any sense to you, that the president is funny he just learned that the Obama administration knew about this in August?

PHIL MUDD, FMR. FBI AND CIA SENIOR OFFICIAL: Let me give you a technical interpretation. What the hell is the president talking about? In July of last year, a lot of us in my business, several hundred of us, go to the Aspen Security Forum Aspen, Colorado. The Director of National Intelligence spoke about this. That is a public forum that includes journalists.

As we just discussed in October 7th, intelligent professionals discussed this publicly. Every president of the United States through decades, not after they become president, but after they become the nominee of the party, start receiving intelligence briefings on major issues. China, Iran, in this case, a classic intelligence -- classic element of those intelligence briefings for the nominee of the Republican Party would be Russian activity.

Once the president-elect becomes president, he has the authorization to receive daily intelligence briefings from the same people who spoke publicly about Russian meddling. I don't know what to say, Anderson. It was both public, and the president had the right to receive anything he wanted privately, starting when he became the Republican nominee. I don't get it.

COOPER: Yeah. And Shawn, does it make sense to you that the president of the United States would not have, at this point, you know, be given all the high-level concern, one hopes in the White House, but certainly in Congress about future hacking that there would be a complete review of this by the president? It seems like he's just learning of this by the "Washington Post."

[21:10:08] SHAWN TURNER, FORMER SPOKESMAN, OFFICE OF THE DNI: Yeah, yeah, absolutely not. Phil is absolutely right. Look, the president has every -- had every opportunity to understand what was going on here. And I think what's been more startling than anything, from my perspective, and I've talked people in the National Security Space and my former colleagues in the Intelligence Community, you know, the president has not demonstrated a level of curiosity about this.

You know, as I've said many times, the president's most important job is making sure that he can protect this country. That he can defend this country and that he's on top of our national security issues. And without asking about these issues, without looking into what actually happened with regard to Russia's interference. I don't know how he can do that, Anderson. So yeah, I think Phil is absolutely right, there is no way that the president didn't know about this.

COOPER: Jill, I mean to Shawn's point, you know, about the -- if the president is actually interested in Russian interference because clearly this is so wrapped up in the allegations of collusion, the allegations of obstruction of justice that the president takes this personally, that this is somehow, you know -- he's said this -- in the past -- a means of making his election invalid, which it is not. It's a very, you know, he won fair and square. But you can still win fair and square and still have had Russian collusion. Does it, you know, we learned from Dir. Comey that he never discussed this with the president, never asked him about details or for a briefing other than the initial briefing. And Jeff Sessions, as well, never had a briefing with the president about this.

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Yeah. I mean, I think when you look at what the administration is saying, a lot of it has to do with the allegations of collusion. And that's -- I think, not really the issue ultimately. Eventually it will become clear. But the point right now is that it's pretty clear that there was a major operation by Russia. And you had Pres. Putin directing it that information that I think is crucial and probably very worrisome here in the Kremlin is they had source, some type of source, right at the inner workings of the Kremlin telling them that. And the second part that I think the Russians will pick up on, and they are, is that planting this cyber weapon, you could call them, inside the Russian network that could be used in the future. Those are two things that are very serious. So this is the type of thing that should be looked at.

And then also, how this entire operation is not just in a one hacking or two something else. It is an entire spectrum of weapons and approaches and techniques. Including psychological operations in order to affect what was happening in the United States. It's much bigger, much bigger than just collusion.

COOPER: Steve, someone who follows Russia, you know, very closely, obviously, has a long career with the CIA involved with Russia. I mean do you see anything that the president is actually doing about future hacking? Because, you know, other than this Cybersecurity Executive Order, which made no mention of Russia and seemed focused more on sort of updating I.T. Systems in the federal government, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of demonstrable things you can point to, to say, he's taking proactive, you know, action.

HALL: No. I don't see a whole lot of proactive stuff. But in fairness, it is a really tough target sets. It's really tough, difficult thing to get at.

I mean when you think about it, think about where Russia stands, right? Russia doesn't want to get into a nuclear exchange with anybody, nor do we. They can't do anything conventionally because their army isn't big armed forces aren't as big as the west's. So what's left to them is this last battlefield, if you will, the cyber battlefield, which they are extremely competent at, which is as they refer to hybrid warfare. And it something that really-- instead of building more battleships and more tanks, we really need to be focused on this because this is the battlefield of the future. The Russians are definitely coming back and they've proven already that they're absolutely effective at it. They're very good. So we have to have a plan. And it's got to be serious, and it's got to be sort of on war footing, I think, but from a cyber perspective, not necessarily from a battlefield perspective.

COOPER: Michael, it does seem like right now the president's plan, if it is a plan, is basically just go after the Obama administration for not doing enough. And certainly, you know, there's plenty of criticism to go about whether they did enough or what they actually did do.

SHEAR: Right. But the thing that's striking is that he sort of bounces back and forth between on the one hand, suggesting in the tweet today and appears to be suggesting in the interview, that somehow the Obama administration should have done more. And yet, there is no indication, as you went through in the last hour, and as many people have reported on, that this administration has moved to do anything to address the underlying concerns. Put aside for a minute the question of collusion and obstruction of justice and all of those kinds of ancillary investigations.

COOPER: Right.

SHEAR: The question of what is this administration doing to directly address the Russian activities and to prevent them in the future seems to be nothing at this point.

[21:15:21] COOPER: Right. Every intelligence head said, look, it's going to happen again, they're going to do it again and we're already seeing that in Europe and elsewhere.

SHEAR: Here and elsewhere.

COOPER: Michael, thanks very much. Thanks to everybody.

Just ahead, we'll going to hear from a Republican on the House Intelligence Committee get his take on the Russian hacking and the ongoing Russian threat. And does he see any action by the president? And that's -- now that the president said he did not tape conversations with James Comey. We'll talk about fallout with our legal and political panel next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More reaction tonight to the president's interview this morning on FOX. In it, he expanded a bit on the whole question of whether he taped conversations with James Comey, which he said yesterday he did not.

Today, he talked about that and elaborated on why he says he put out the tweet 42 days ago, hinting that he might have, which he now says was his way of keeping Dir. Comey honest.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My story didn't change. My story was always a straight story. My story was always the truth. But you'll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. But I did not tape.

AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX: That was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in these hearings.

[21:20:02] TRUMP: Well, it wasn't very stupid. I can tell you that.


COOPER: The president also said he doubted special Russia Counsel Robert Mueller's objectivity because he and James Comey are "very good friends" in the president's words.

And point of fact is our Randi Kaye reported earlier tonight, they seemed to be have close on a professional but not necessarily personal level. Perspective now from three Harvard guys, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz and two of his performer students Jeffrey Toobin and David Gergen.

Jeff, you hear the president said that the friendship between James Comey and Robert Mueller is very bothersome. Do you agree?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER, FEDERAL PROSECUTION: I don't think it is bothersome. I mean people in Washington know each other. Mueller is going to be responsible to make these decisions. Comey is not the target of this investigation. He's a witness. You know, I think it is working the reps. So I think that's what the president is doing. He's certainly entitled to do that. But I don't think it really is going to have an impact on this one.

COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, should the president be concerned about their relationship, I mean if they are friends, if they talk?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: I think it is a favor to the president because when you're doing a prosecution, that's a political prosecution, you have to be ceases (inaudible) you can't give the other side any kind of argument about an appearance of injustice. And of course, Comey is not the target but he's the victim, to the extent that the crime of obstruction of justice, as Jeffrey is argued, includes the firing of Comey by the president. One can easily understand how upset Mueller would be, by the way, his friend was treated, understandably. His friend was treated terribly. And so, the perception of bias can affect at least the way the public sees this investigation. He can avoid this if he simply does the right thing and says that the firing by the president of Comey is not a crime. And it is not part of this investigation. Then the issue is done.


TOOBIN: Well, I mean, this goes back to the argument Alan and I have been having.


TOOBIN: I think at a minimum, Mueller has to determine what the facts are and not throw up his hands and say, this is not a crime. And that will involve interviewing Comey. I don't think he is going to bend over backwards to help his friend. But, you know, it does provide an avenue of attack, which the president will use. But, you know, if it is not that, it'll be something else. And I do -- there's nothing that can be done about it now. And I really think it's a non-issue. But I don't blame the president for pointing it out.

COOPER: David, when Pres. Trump says Robert Mueller is an honorable man, hopefully, he'll come up with an honorable solution, how do you interpret that?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO NIXON, FORD, REAGAN AND CLINTON: Well, I interpret it that he's -- if he's totally exonerated, it's going to be an honorable conclusion. And that if he's not, it is dishonorable. I think the president is clearly trying to discredit in advance any kind of conclusion which is -- which comes out of Bob Mueller and his team.

COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, at one point in the Fox News interview, the interviewer says to the president that his tweet suggesting there were tapes of Comey was, "A smart way to make sure that he stayed honest in those hearings," that Comey stayed honest. Again, there was a journalist interviewing the president. His reply was, "It wasn't very stupid." I can tell you that. Does that -- can you decipher that? Because I mean, A, there is no evidence Comey ever changed his story in public or private. And the tweet prompted Comey to leak his personal memos on the meeting to a friend on "The New York Times" that spurred the special counsel. So I mean do you see this in any way as helping Pres. Trump?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, the president has suggested that Comey may have changed his testimony. I think he did say that Comey originally, through leaks, and Comey has been disgraceful, how much leaking is coming from Comey and Comey doesn't have the courage to stand in front of cameras doing himself. He launders it through a law professor But the initial leaks deny that the president had asked Comey to announce that he was not under investigation. And then once the statement came out that there might be tapes, Comey did say in his testimony that the president did specifically ask him to announce publicly that he wasn't under investigation.

So, you know, I don't know whether it helped or hurt. And the fact that Comey then leaked the information -- look, Comey was determined to get revenge on the president by getting a special counsel appointed. And he did it surreptitious way which does not were down to his reputational benefit.

COOPER: David Gergen, it is true that Director Comey leaked something because he wanted a special counsel appointed and thought that was a maneuver that would get that. I mean that's a pretty politically stunning, you know, savvy. However, you want to describe it, or alarming move.

GERGEN: It is. And I think Alan is right to say, you know, that he -- certainly one way to read that is he did it out of revenge. But there is another way to read it. And that is he was so deeply worried about the honesty and the professionalism of the people around him in the Justice Department and then the White House, very importantly in the White House, that he felt it was a matter for the nation's putting own protection and to bring things to light to go for a special counsel. That he had more confidence in a special counsel than he did at people who were running the show in the Justice Department and White House.

[21:25:20] DERSHOWITZ: That's a fair point. And why he didn't he just write a letter to the Senate committee or to the public and stand behind it and make the points you so eloquently and articulately made? I wish he would have done that. That would have been for better than to leak it through a surrogate.

GERGEN: I agree with that, Alan. And I think it would have been better to do a letter. And it is possible he was responsible for leaks that occurred before he stepped down. But it is worth noting, again, that the leaks continued after he left. So if Comey wasn't the only person leaking out of this operation -- there have been too many leaks. But it looks like there are a number of people involved.

TOOBIN: Well, as a journalist, I'd like to speak out in favor of leaks. I mean the more, the better, as far as I'm concerned. But the other point to make about these tweets from the president is, I know it's wonderful to talk about, you know, whether James Comey did right or wrong, how about the president lying publicly about the existence or non-existence of tapes? He knew there were no tapes.

DERSHOWITZ: Now you're calling Abraham Lincoln and me liars. Because Abraham Lincoln used the same tactic in a famous case in Illinois, where he led a witness to believe that the almanac showed no moon when he testified full moon. And the president showed him the wrong year almanac. I did the same thing in one of my most important cases. Where I had a cop was lying about what my client told him and I led him to believe I had tapes by reading what appeared to be a transcript. It was a transcript of what my client told me. I didn't have tapes. And I got him to tell the truth just like --

TOOBIN: With all due respect --

DERSHOWITZ: Those weren't lies.

TOOBIN: With all due respect to you and Abraham Lincoln, I think the president of the United States issuing tweets to the entire country that he knows to be false is very different.


TOOBIN: I think it is a troublesome precedent that will haunt Pres. Trump as we read his future leaks -- future tweets and think, hmm, I wonder if that's a false statement that is some tactic, as well.

DERSHOWITZ: You'll enjoy this, particularly both of you, Jeffrey, but we both know who I am talking about. But there is a current Supreme Court justice who I used to play poker with all the time. And when he or she became a justice, they stopped playing poker because they didn't think it was seemly for a justice to bluff. And that may be a lesson that the president should learn also. But, you know, presidents bluff all the time when it comes to international affairs. I think it is a fair point to talk about whether that is presidential.

But, you know, some people including (inaudible) have said it is criminal to bluff. And I think that's, again, just the notion that people are looking and searching for anything that could be a crime, the notion that a president saying that Comey ought to be careful because he doesn't know whether there are tapes constitutes some kind of tampering with a witness goes so beyond the existing criminal law that I think it shows the zealotry that the anti-Trump forces are prepared to invoke, even to change the law to get retroactively a president they don't like.

COOPER: We're going have to leave the conversation there. David Gergen, Alan Dershowitz, Jeff Toobin. The favorite line of the night so far is, with all due respect to Abraham Lincoln and you, Jeff Toobin, thanks for that, all right. See you all later.

Well, still to come, next, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee's take on what the president is doing to prevent Russian hacking.


[21:32:40] COOPER: We've been reporting on it here at CNN throughout the day and tonight throughout the broadcast. The president's willingness, it seems, to talk about everything with respect to Russia in the 2016 election and the prior administration. But really not much of anything about what this administration plans to do or is doing about the next cyber attack. I spoke about it earlier with Republican Congressman Will Hurd, he's a member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees. He's also a former CIA officer.


COOPER: Congressman Hurd, Pres. Trump has spent a lot of time focused on Russia. The vast majority of it seems at least publicly to have been refuting any sort of collusion between the campaign and Russia, which he obviously is very concerned about and (inaudible) denies.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, do you think the president should spends more time making sure U.S. Elections are never hacked again and less time trying to refute any collusion?

REP. WILL HURD, (R) TEXAS: Well, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I'm involved in this investigation and I think the most important thing right now is that the investigation is bipartisan and thorough.

And yes, we should all be concerned with the Russia attempts to influence our elections. This is something an attack on the DNC is an attack on all of us. And this was attempt, a covert influence operation. And we should be making sure that we're talking about, how do we do a counter-covert influence? This is something that we've shown that we're not prepared for. And the Russians are going to do it again. They've been doing it for a couple of decades in Eastern Europe. They did it in our election last time. And we should expect to see them again in '18.

COOPER: You know, maybe there's stuff happening behind the scenes that the public and the president isn't aware of. Are you aware of initiatives by this White House to try to make sure this doesn't happen again?

HURD: The secretary of Homeland Security is definitely concerned with this. I know, there's been conversation with other secretaries of state. The House is looking into how can we potentially fund programs that -- and have a pool of money available for the secretaries of state to gain access to if they need help upgrading some of their voting systems. There are still couples of states that have systems that are old and outdated. This is something that is a major concern when it comes to every single state. So this is -- defending the voting systems is one of the things that a state is responsible for. I know this is a top priority for secretaries of state across the country.

COOPER: Have you ever heard the president talk about this?

[21:35:09] HURD: You know, I haven't, I don't listen to everything or haven't read everything the president may or may not have said on this particular topic. But I do know, I also sit on the Homeland Security Committee, and this is a topic of discussion amongst us and there's been hearings on this. And so when you look at across the federal government, there are a number of entities that are focused on this issue.

COOPER: The deadline of your committee set for the Comey memos to be handed over was today. Can you say if your committee has received those memos?

HURD: The day is not over, and I haven't gotten an update. But today is when we were expected to have some of those resources.

COOPER: If they aren't turned over, what is the next step for your committee to obtain them? HURD: We have to look at, you know, using our subpoena authorities. This is an important piece of the puzzle, and we should be able to have access to review those. And so this is something that Chairman Conway and the rest of us will evaluate and make sure that we proceed in a bipartisan thorough manner in order to collect this information.

COOPER: And just lastly, Hillary Clinton's campaign Chairman John Podesta is said to testify in front of your committee next week. His email account was obviously hacked by Russians as part of the interference from the elections with DNC that clearly lot of folks in the DNC did not take this seriously enough early enough. What do you want to get from or hear from Podesta?

HURD: Well, the chain of events. Who was notified when? Why wasn't this escalated? And also, you know, to understand the practices within the organization. You know, basic digital hygiene should have been used. And we all know that as elected officials are running for office, that we're likely targets not just from Russians but from other organizations, from other countries, excuse me. And so understanding the culture of security and also some of the decisions about whether or not technical information was shared with the federal government to aid in the investigation. These are some of the questions that I'm sure we will explore and get some answers to.

COOPER: Yeah. Because it sounds like -- I mean from reporting, you know, for months ago from "The New York Times" that when the FBI initially called the DNC, DNC wasn't sure they were talking to a real FBI agent and kind of blew it off for a while. So it just seems kind of stunning how they dropped the ball on this. Congressman Hurd, I look forward to the testimony. Thank you so much.

HURD: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: White House staffers are trying to figure out how to handle this crisis. They're also trying to figure out how to handle working for a boss like Pres. Trump. I talked to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about Trump's managing style and more when "360" returns.


[21:41:19] COOPER: It's no secret. There's been more than just a little bit of chaos inside the White House. The start of any administration is difficult, but particularly for a president who's never held elected office and has never worked in government.

I spoke with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about Pres. Trump's management style and how his White House is organized. I began, though, just part of the interview discussing Bloomberg's promise to cover the United States' pledge under the Paris Climate Accord if the U.S. doesn't honor it.


COOPER: You pledged the $50 million that U.S. was suppose to pay. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, I don't know if they're going to pay. I assume they will pay, because the federal government has an obligation. They made a deal that they would pay.

It's hard to believe America is going to renege on a commitment. But I said, if they do, I didn't want the people who are keeping track of all the progress that America and other countries are making. I didn't want them to worry about whether they're going to be funded.

So I said if the federal government does, I will -- Bloomberg Philanthropies will commit it. And a number of people called me and said, "We'd like to help, as well."

COOPER: A lot of the Democrats after the president decided to not follow the Paris Accord said, look, that the U.S. is basically giving up leadership on climate change.

BLOOMBERG: Well, there's no question about that. The COP21 agreement was designed in -- to favor America because the negotiators knew that it would be very hard, if not impossible, to get through an American Congress. So they made a deal that gave America a better break than anybody else. So to walk away from this is just not smart.

COOPER: I want to ask you just about a couple other issues in the news.


COOPER: I know you're not going to criticize the president. I'm not looking for you to do that.

BLOOMBERG: He's got a tough enough job as it is, and I hope he does a good job. I'm an American. My kids live here. My grandkids live here. I want him to be a good president in anything I can do to help him and I think it's wrong to -- for people to say they hope he fails. I criticized Mitch McConnell when he said that about Barack Obama. And I'll criticize anybody -- any Democrat today that says that about Donald Trump.

COOPER: You were critical, obviously, during the campaign. You spoke at the Democratic convention. We all remember that.

BLOOMBERG: I said my piece, yes.

COOPER: Do you still -- do you stand by what you said then?

BLOOMBERG: I haven't gone back and looked at it, but, yes.

COOPER: Does -- I also -- I think I saw on "60 Minutes" you said that the president had given you his cell phone number.


COOPER: Have you used it?

BLOOMBERG: I have not, nor has he called me. COOPER: OK. You know, I talked to NSA Director General Michael Hayden recently, and former Director of National Intelligence General James Clapper. Both talked about concern that the institutions that are the bedrock of the U.S. democracy are under threat.


COOPER: Do you share that concern?

BLOOMBERG: It is a disaster. We have spent decades building trust and relationships, and the benefit of that is lots of people around the world, but Americans, we have not had a World War in 70 years.

The time between the second -- first and Second World War was 20 years. It's been 70 years since and we haven't. That's because of trade relations. That's because of the E.U., I think, has helped in that. We have a lot of our jobs in this country depend on global trade. That comes from relationships as well as treaties.

Terrorism is something we have to fight together. Only if your intelligence services and your governments work together can you do that. The benefits of international cooperation to America are as great as they are for any country in the world.

COOPER: When you look at the White House, the way it's structured, every former chief of staff, whether it's Republican or Democrat, I've talked to all say you can't be structured like this. You got to have people in their lanes. You can't have all these different people with an ear to the president.

BLOOMBERG: I kept getting asked, what's the 100-day question? What'd you do after 100 days? And it was asked of me back in 2002, my first year in office, after 100 days and I kept saying, I built a team. That's what I've done in 100 days. Yeah, that was right, but what did you do? I built a team. Yeah, yeah, but what you'd do? They could never get the concept that I built a team, and it was a team that was going to do all the work going forward.

[21:45:23] Nobody knew at that time that it would be for the next 12 years, but a big part of that team stayed for the whole 12 years in a business where people leave after a year or six months or two years. And it's the team that does everything.

And I've said when I was asked about Pres. Obama -- Pres. Trump, what he did in the first 100 days. I said he focused too much on trying to pass a few bills and not build a team. You have to have people -- that the manager's job is not to do it. It is to pick the people and then support them. Make sure they're funded, adjudicate disputes between them.

When they get in trouble and make a mistake, stand by them so that the rest of your organization knows as long as you really try to make a decision and it's a decision that is made honestly, that a competent person could have made, even if it turns out to be the wrong one, that you don't get penalized for it quite the contrary. You get credit because you are willing to try new things. That's what management is all about. It's not throwing people overboard when they screw up.

COOPER: Or undercutting them.

BLOOMBERG: Well, that's -- you should do that.

COOPER: If they say one thing, you're then changing it in a tweet the next day.

BLOOMBERG: Well, that's -- if one of your staff says something, it puts you in a very difficult position because you can't do that. You have to go and say things like, well, what he meant to say, or it's my fault. I didn't brief him on some other discussions. He was have -- doing the right thing, but he didn't get a chance to participate in the meeting where we made that decision. But he's a good guy doing it, trying, or good woman, and really doing it for the right reasons. You can't throw them overboard, because -- then not only will that person be gone, the rest of your staff is never going to trust you.

COOPER: Mayor Bloomberg, appreciate it. Thank you.

BLOOMBERG: Thank you for having me.


COOPER: Up next, inside the operating room for a very risky surgery to separate conjoined twins who were joined at the head. We'll get a look at Dr. Sanjay Gupta's new Special Report, "Separated: Saving the Twins," which airs in just a few minutes here on CNN.


[21:51:02] COOPER: In just a few minutes, don't miss the CNN Special Report "Separated: Saving the Twins." CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside the operating room for incredible surgery. Two boys, one risky surgery.

The boys twin boys conjoined at the head. You'll meet the medical team who worked non-stop for 27 hours in that operating room to give them a new life. And you'll meet their very grateful family. Here's a preview.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just seven hours after the first incision, we check in with the family. It's 5:00 p.m.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? No. What's weighting in my stomach is for that phone call. OK, we're into -- I call it the land of the unknown. I really were into that area that we just don't know are we going to be separated today or are we not?

GUPTA (voice-over): Around 10:00 p.m., 12 hours since the operation started, doctors hit that land of the unknown.

JAMES GOODRICH, NEUROSURGEON: So I was at a point that I was wondering whether we were going to lose both kids.

GUPTA (voice-over): Goodrich has to stop.

GOODRICH: No, no. Don't do that. The reason why, you'll tear these guys.

GUPTA (voice-over): The dream of separating these boys is about to end.


COOPER: I spoke with Sanjay recently about this special report and how the twins are doing now.


COOPER: You were given extraordinary access during -- to be in the operating room for the surgery. What was it like to be there during that?

GUPTA: I'd never seen anything like it. I mean, you know, even as a neurosurgeon, I mean, these are very, very rare situations. Craniopagus twins, you know, one in two and a half million births and, you know, significant portion don't even survive to delivery or don't survive the first few months after they're delivered.

So, to have this and to actually see the whole process from, you know, literally the beginning through these boys care now after the operation was really remarkable for me.

COOPER: What was the most surprising thing?

GUPTA: You know, there's just so much technology that goes into something like this. I mean, you have --

COOPER: It's a huge undertaking.

GUPTA: It's a 27-hour operation. You had teams of surgeons that were constantly toggling back and forth. You know, literally you had a team of surgeons on one boy, a team of surgeons on the other.

I think one of the most surprising thing is, you know, even though these are two boys and they are conjoined at the head, from simply giving them medications to help put them to sleep, whatever you give one of the boys, you have to anticipate the effect that's going to have on the other boy. So literally like blood is circulating between the two of them constantly and you have to constantly sort of assess for that and predict that.

So that was pretty remarkable, just the anesthesiology, the nurses, all of that. The planning is meticulous. You'd expect it to be, but to see it up front like that, just the hours, you know, of planning ahead of time with 3-D models was really great.

COOPER: And what about these twins recovery? I mean, what's -- can they make a full recovery? GUPTA: Well, you know, they're doing really well. You know, they -- you'll see that they're now in rehab. The operation was in October of last year so they were out of the hospital in December. So it's been some six months now in rehab.

They'd never been upright, right? They'd always been flat on their backs conjoined at the head. So simply getting them to now stand upright is an undertaking. But then their eyes still go up because they're still used to still looking up. They have to sort of recalibrate their entire central nervous system as a part of this.

So it's, as they say, a long road, but, you know, to see where they were and where they are now is just -- those two boys are really cute and they're pretty remarkable.

COOPER: Amazing. Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Yeah, thank you.


COOPER: Watch Sanjay's Special Report "Separated: Saving the Twins" right after "360" tonight on CNN.

But, first, a sneak peek at Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" in Trinidad and Tabago. Anthony says one of them arguably has the best food in the Caribbean. You'll see what he discovered in a moment.


[21:58:50] COOPER: This Sunday night on CNN, Anthony Bourdain takes you to Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago for a mix of music and a whole lot of food. Here's a preview.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: Holy crap. OK. This is a challenge. People keep coming up to me in the street. The first thing they say is, "Have you had doubles yet? Did you eat a doubles yet?" So, I'm eating doubles, all right?

Doubles are a Caribbean take on the Indian chana bhatura, two floppy tender pieces of soft Indian-style bread loaded with a wet heap of curried chickpeas, pepper sauce and mango.

Structurally, I have questions here. I don't want seepage. Seepage is never good. When you use seepage in a sentence, nothing good is going to happen. Oh, stuck to paper. I don't think there's meat, but I still like it. It's really, really good.


COOPER: "Parts Unknown" in Trinidad Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific here on CNN.

Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. The CNN Special Report "Separated: Saving the Twins" starts now.