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Scaramucci Out At WH After Only 11 Days, Breaking Record; Wash Post: Trump Dictated Son's Misleading Statement On Meeting With Russian Lawyer; WH: Trump Felt Scaramucci's Profane Rant Was 'Inappropriate'; WH: Trump Was 'Making A Joke' About Forceful Arrests; White House Looks To Revive Health Care Push>. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 31, 2017 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: -- Anthony Scaramucci, of course, out as White House communications director, we'll get to that in this hour.

[21:00:07] But we begin with another potential bombshell on the Russia-White House watcher report about who actually was behind Donald Trump Jr.'s misleading statement, the initial misleading statement about that meeting with a Russia lawyer Trump Tower. It turns out, according to "The Washington Post", it was the president. "The Washington Post" is reporting when the story of the meeting broke, the president's advisors wanted to tell the truth about the meeting, in case the full details came out. The president seemed wanted to go in another direction. According to Washington Post, the president personally dictated the statement claiming that the meeting was about the adoption of Russian children. That statement turned out to be false because as the e-mails eventually by Donald Trump Jr. showed e- mails he had to release because the "New York Times" had them. The meeting actually was an offer to give the Trump team damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government effort to help the Trump campaign.

Jeff Zeleny joins us now from the White House. Pretty fascinating, Jeff, I mean you were actually on this trip back from Europe, where according to "The Washington Post" this all took place, what more can you tell us?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I was, Anderson, I was on Air Force One that day as the approved reporter flying back from Hamburg, Germany where the G-20 summit had just happened.

And remember the news in that time was the president had just had his first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin, so that was on the top of mind. But as we later learned there was a lot of discussion happening on the flight about this statement, "The New York Times" was going to report some details of that meeting that we've all, you know, been talking so much more about now, that July 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.

And the reality here is that CNN reported a couple weeks ago that White House aides and others involved in that discussion about crafting that statement may be subjected to legal jeopardy here because they were discussing in real time what was going on about that Russian meeting, but this is the first we're learning from this "Washington Post" report that the president dictated this, but it has a ring of the president trying potentially to protect some other, perhaps, members of his family or others. Because the -- just the confines of Air Force One, Anderson, it's pretty hard to believe that the president would be dictating this without his son-in-law or his daughter or anyone knowing about this. I mean they essentially are flying together on this. So that's the question I have tonight. If the president was dictating the statement, if that's true as the "Washington Post" is reporting, who else was involved in that, or involved in that? Because, again, on a plane for probably eight or so hours that day, we landed back at Joint Base Andrews about 8:00 or so in the evening, so interesting now we're learning the president may have dictated that, Anderson, you know, certainly just one more example that everything seems to go back to Russia and the investigation.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Jeff, what's interesting about this is that the president's attorneys have subsequently come out and said, look, the president didn't have anything to do with this, his advisors, this was that initial statement which was misleading was crafted by Donald Trump Jr. and his attorneys, Donald Trump -- or attorneys for Donald Trump Jr. had told our Pamela Brown that, in fact, they were ready and wanted to put out a more fulsome statement, I believe, was their terminology, if memory serves me correct, but that's not what ended up happening. Jeff, thanks very much.

I want to play for you what two people close to president said about this at the time, it is Trump attorney Jay Sekulow and then Sarah Huckabee Sanders at one of the audio only briefings. Let's play this.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: He didn't have anything to do with the statement that Don Jr. put out that was being worked on with his team?

JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP'S LAWYER: No, the statement that Don Jr. put out, are you talking about yesterday's, Chris?

CUOMO: The one over the weekend that the president's team --

SEKULOW: That was written -- no. That was written by Donald Trump Jr. and I'm sure in consultation with his lawyer.

CUOMO: Because "The New York Times" is reporting that the president OK-ed the statement.

SEKULOW: Well, they're incorrect.

CUOMO: "The New York Times" is wrong?

SEKULOW: Yes, I know. Is that shocking that sometimes they make a mistake?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has President Trump had any conversation with his son, Donald Trump Jr. over the last several days and was he involved in helping Donald Trump Jr. craft his statement over the weekend on Air Force One as was reported in "The New York Times"?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not sure about the specific communications and the nature of those conversations. I know that they have spoken at least at some point in the last few days. But beyond that I don't have any further details.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have a response?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Nothing I'm aware of. But -- don't know the answer to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So is that not true?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm telling you I'm just not sure. I don't know the answer. I'll have to check and let you know.


COOPER: With me now is Kirsten Powers, Jeffrey Lord, Gloria Borger, David Chalian, and Bakari Sellers, and Matt Lewis, and on the phone Jeff Toobin. Jeff Toobin, let's start off with you, just legally, does this put the president in some potential -- is this a potential legal issue for the president?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, there is the dispute about the facts. I mean, there is this question of whether the president was involved in drafting the statement, obviously the "Washington Post" said he did. Jay Sekulow in the earlier interview said he didn't. If in fact he did draft the statement, and if he knew at the time that he drafted the statement, that it was false as the statement turned out to be, that definitely could be part of a legal problem for the president, because even though it is not a crime to issue a false statement to the news media, it could be evidence of a pattern of obstruction of justice, along with firing James Comey, and the -- that is at the heart of the Mueller investigation.

[21:05:37] So, you know, obviously the most important thing is to determine what happened here. Did the president actually dictate this statement? And did the president know that it was false when he dictated it? But if he did dictate it and if he knew it was false, you bet it could be part of a legal problem for him.

COOPER: Right, the idea that he didn't know it was false would mean that his son had told him something which was false, his son had told him that this was just about adoption. And that doesn't seem to jibe with what attorneys, I believe, it was for Donald Trump Jr. had told Pamela Brown that they were ready to put out a more robust, a more fulsome statement. And that's what they initially had wanted to do. So the key -- one of the key is, Jeff, for you is -- and for any legal issues is, did the president know it was a misleading statement?

TOOBIN: Absolutely, because it is not a crime or evidence of a crime to make a mistake. You know, a good faith error. If you say something and it turns out to be wrong, that is certainly not evidence of any sort of criminal intent. What makes it a potential problem is what -- if it's determined by a Grand jury or by, you know, other fact finders that the president intentionally put out a false statement, and that's a factual question that Mueller will want to interview a lot of witnesses to determine where the truth lies.

COOPER: Kirsten, does it surprise you that the president would get involved --


COOPER: -- and that his advisors would allow him to get involved in something like this that exposes him?

POWERS: Yes. That's the first thing that you notice about this is that this is not something usually the president would be involved in. It would be exactly as you said. You would protect the president from being involved in this. And for some reason the president was going to be involved, but frankly, I mean, this is true for anybody in the White House, you would get all of the information, there wouldn't be just speculation about what happened. I mean, this was knowable. There were e-mails, right? So they would have gotten all the information. They would look to what actually happen and make sure that no statement went out that actually wasn't true.

What I sort of suggest is that, Donald Trump is involved in a lot of things that he probably shouldn't involved in, this is probably not the only time that he's been dictating things. And I think that his impulse in the story talk about how he uses this as a political problem and not a legal problem. He's not really getting the grab any of these. And that he thinks that can kind of just push back the way that he normally does and it will go away. But this could be putting himself in a legal parallel.


JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Yes. Well, I think Kirsten has a point, I think he probably does view a lot of these in a political light, not a legal light. He's not a lawyer, after all, he's had his own long career, long before this in plenty of episodes where I think he feels and the best -- as we know, the best thing is to go out there and time tends the opposition, et cetera.

So, I suspect that -- I mean, he views this whole episode as, "witch hunt" So to see something like this, I mean, I'm just, I mean, because I don't know what went on. But surely he does see this stuff is just politics.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, there's a line in this story which sort of jump right out at the -- towards at the end. It says that the president's legal team had planned to cast this June meeting as a potential set up by Democratic operatives hoping to entrap Trump Jr. and extension the presumptive Republican nominee. So they already had, according to the post, they already had a cover story going.

LORD: But there was a connection, was there not, with the fusion GPS?

BORGER: Well, right, well, you can --

LORD: Right?

BORGER: -- state that, it's not clear at all, in fact it probably isn't true. But you can believe that, but what I'm saying is that they were going to say that this was an entire set up by fusion GP -- and may decided instead to go with something else that also, I believe, was not the truth. I know you believe him but --

COOPER: David?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And we have to just remember how this meeting came to light inside, it was all through Jared Kushner preparing to go testify before the House and Senate committees, where this meeting reemerged and came to light. And the e-mail came to light. So, --

[21:10:00] COOPER: And Kushner's attorneys realized early on that it was going to be an issue?

CHALIAN: Without a doubt. And is there in this story, the way this is reported out, huddling with Ivanka, huddling with other aides. And Jared Kushner has his own legal exposure that he's concerned about here. There's something here. I'm missing a component to understand how would that from, Jared Kushner is the one that had the meeting, they found the e-mail, they know there's an e-mail detailing the pretense for the meeting and what is to be expected in the meeting. And somehow the president, somewhere there's this guy that president's allowed to dictate a completely false statement like that? There's some piece that's missing.

COOPER: Right. Because at that point Jared Kushner -- a reminder, and at that point, Jared Kushner already was aware of the e- mail chain.

CHALIAN: Of the full story.

COOPER: Of the full story that said, you know, we're -- this is for, for there is Jared under Hillary Clinton.

CHALIAN: Even then remember the media himself, at that point had been presented with.

COOPER: Right. So, then would he have told the president, you know, well, actually this meeting there was this e-mail and the president still said, let's go ahead and say it was about Russian adoptions which, as we all know, Russian adoption is not even Russian adoptions, its ending sanctions.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: So, there are two things, one is something that Jeffrey mentioned, but it's -- if we get this a lot when we talk about Donald Jr. and the president of the United States, it's the standard. I have to go back to this standard often because Jeffrey said, well, he's not a lawyer, and so, he is used to pushing back and sometimes he falls into these legal perils. Or Donald Trump Jr. is cast in this life which is just some bumbling idiot. They can't get out of his own way so we should excuse his behavior.

And I think that's an unfair. I think that's an unfair bar to the president of the United States, first and foremost.

LORD: Do you think they should all be lawyers?

SELLERS: No. I think they should be held to a standard for president of United States and senior adviser. That's first. The second thing is, I think we have to look at this in a complete -- if nothing happens in a vacuum. This is the end of a tumultuous week for the president of the United States.

I think arguably with the addition of this breaking news, we have one of his worst weeks. Now, that doesn't I've been a part of all these stories. This is the end of Donald Trump. This is the worst he can get, because we know that this isn't the worst he can get.

COOPER: I think technically this is the beginning of another --


SELLER: -- of 10 days.


SELLER: I mean, we started with him lambasting Attorney General Sessions, I think that was like last Monday? Maybe, the week kind of ended with Reince Priebus being fired, and then you have Scaramuccici today with this.

LORD: You see the cleverness. We're not talking about Jeff Sessions anymore.

BORGER: Very clever.

COOPER: Well, give it a couple of days. We got to take a quick break. We're going to have more. We'll talk to Matt Lewis about this as well. Also, we're going to hear from one of the "Washington Post" reporters who broke the story.


[21:16:07] COOPER: Well, the breaking news tonight, a report in the "Washington Post" that President Trump himself dictated the misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer during the campaign.

The "Washington Post" is reporting tonight, when the story of the meeting first broke, the president's adviser wanted to tell the truth about it in case the full details came out. But according to post, the president decided to go the other direction and dictated the statement claiming the meeting was about Russian adoption.

Earlier, I spoke with one of the "Washington Post" first reporter who broke the story, Tom Hamburger.


TOM HAMBURGER, THE WASHINGTON POST, REPORTER (via telephone): So, the phrase dictate is was one that my colleagues, Phil Rucker and Ashley Parker who, as you know, covered the White House full time, had picked up from their sources. What we understand is that this was really a decision led by the president and that the statement that was ultimately issued is one that he decided and is often his way, as you know, he's not an e-mailer. He suggested the language, in the statement that was ultimately used and ultimately released to "The New York Times", and to a certain extent had to be walked back or amplified upon in the coming days.

COOPER: It's interesting, I mean, it's not clear to me, you know, that the president's attorneys I believed had previously said that it was Donald Trump Jr., and Donald Trump Jr.'s attorneys who had been the ones crafting the statement and that the president had nothing to do with it. And that they denied the initial "New York Times" story which said that, on Air Force One this has been discussed among the president's advisors and that the president signed off on it.

So, the idea that the president was even more involved in that, that's something that runs counter to what the president's own attorneys had said. Are there any -- did you get any responses from the president's attorney about the discrepancy between your reporting and what their past statements were?

HAMBURGER: We did, you know, we sent quite a lengthy list of -- long list of questions to Jay Sekulow, as you know is one of the president's attorneys and is -- perhaps the most outspoken. And he didn't answer our specific questions but did issue one statement sentenced to us which reads, Anderson, the president's attorney said, "Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent." We went back and asked again for specifics but it didn't receive anything, any guidance beyond that statement that I just read.


COOPER: We're going to have or -- back now with the panel. I don't even know where to go with this. I mean, Matt --



MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, I'm really interested in who the sources on the story.

COOPER: It seems like there's multiple sources.

LORD: So is General Kelly, I bet.

LEWIS: Right. Well, that's one of the things, I mean, Donald Trump hopefully for his own sake and for the sake of the administration. This new hiring will help solve the leak, something that the mood was also vital interested. This was happen when somebody in a pretty high level position to be on Air Force One to know that the president was dictating this. Obviously, they have a major problem. It's not news to anybody else. But, you know, who was the source? And --

SELLER: But is the -- seriously, though, I mean, we'll keep coming back to this. Is the major problem the person who tells this? Or is the major problem --

LEWIS: I'm not saying it's the problem.

SELLER: -- the person who is distorting the truth and misleading the American public and your president of United States?

POWERS: Well, it is interesting. I mean, I think it is an interesting point of also it would suggest that there are people who are trying to undermine the president, right?

CHALIAN: Very close.


COOPER: Or protect themselves.

CHALIAN: -- the president and everyone else is supposed to be the paragon of transparency here.


CHALIAN: Everyone else in the story is described as -- we're trying to get everything out only in one person.

COOPER: But if you're working in a place where lies are common, why would you -- I mean, isn't that kind of environment an environment in which then you want to protect yourself? Or there's not a great sense of, I mean, it doesn't seem like there's a great sense of loyalty in this White House.

[21:20:06] LORD: That's the problem.

COOPER: And I'm talking about -- it goes in all different directions.

LORD: If you remember the other night, Josh Green was here, and he said that the morning that he was on "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, talking with Chris and Scaramucci called in.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: And while they are on the phone, going back and forth on the air, he, Josh is getting texts from people inside the White House dissing Scaramucci, I mean, --

COOPER: Yes. But, but with all -- (CROSSTALK)

LORD: -- my point is it's just the loyalty.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: You should never do that if you're inside the White House.

COOPER: But loyalty also should come from the top down and, you know, the president of the United States, Scaramucci sold his company that, you know, was apparently, I guess, very successful, went finally after being, you know, hung out to dry for quite a while, finally got this gig at the White House communications director from the president, who apparently was praising him for saying all this, you know, unflattering things about other people and the staff just last week. And then, today --

CHALIAN: Help take out his chief of staff.

COOPER: And Anthony is being escorted out of the White House. I mean, is that loyal?

POWER: Well, Scaramucci did do something also in that intervening time. I mean, I do think that --

COOPER: But that's something that the president apparently seemed to like or praised him for.

POWERS: I think he probably liked it initially. But maybe realize later after talking to the people that reflected value on him.

LORD: -- he heard abut.

POWERS: It was a fireball effect.

LEWIS: What about Jeff Sessions?

POWERS: But I think --

LEWIS: Jeff Sessions is the guys who endorse them. And he attacked on Twitter.

POWERS: I think it's one way.

COOPER: But also is executing his policy probably more efficiently than anybody else in the history.

BORGER: But this isn't so much a matter of disloyalty, as it is a matter it seems to me a protection. And it seems to me that you have lawyers here, you know, Don Jr.'s lawyers tell Pamela Brown and, you know, on July 23rd, we were ready to do a whole statement. This is getting to what David was talking about before. We wanted to be completely transparent. And this piece, you know, the Kushner lawyer said, they were ready to do a whole, you know, a whole transparent act on this. They wanted to get it out that well. So, what happened then? And if you're trying to protect your clients, or you're trying to sort to say, well, it wasn't me, no finger prints on this.

You do have some self interest here in trying to establish how this all went down. Even in fact to Jeffrey's point, if it does involve the president of the United States. The question I would ask is with all these smart people around, knowing exactly what would occur which is that it would unravel at some point because these things always do. Why wouldn't someone say to the president, you know, Mr. President we really can't do that.

SELLERS: Who on that plane, one, has the fortitude to say that to the president.

BORGER: Well maybe Jared Kushner because he knew the whole the story?

SELLERS: Jared Kushner has not been -- let's say the moral compass of the White House either.

LORD: Why do say that?

SELLERS: Jared Kushner?

LORD: Yes.

SELLERS: The same person who has been misleading the public about his Russian adoption from the beginning. And he's only transparent after that. It's not transparency if you come out after the lie is told.

LORD: Look, look, I mean, what this is, and listening to Jeff Toobin, I mean, even Jeff Toobin is saying, well, you know, this may not be such a big deal here. And the other thing, this strikes me as yet again --


LORD: Yes, well, if there's some sort of pattern, if Alice in "Wonderland" appears tomorrow night, if Santa Claus comes. This is, it sound to me, already like one more rabbit hole.

COOPER: If only we have Jeff Toobin.

LORD: Oh we do.



LORD: I knew I could bring you back.

COOPER: Toobin, is that what you said?

TOOBIN: I appreciate the --

LORD: Translation.

TOOBIN: -- but I don't think it's quite accurate to what I say.

COOPER: Say again.

TOOBIN: What I said was, if we could be established --

LORD: If it could be established --

COOPER: Let him finish.

TOOBIN: Let me finish. Let me finish. We know, for a fact at this point, that the statement that was put out in Donald Trump Jr.'s name was false. That's a pretty big hurdle to come across. So the only issue is who wrote it, and whether the person who wrote it knew it was false.

Now that's, you know, that hasn't been proven yet. But the "Washington Post" says it was the president who wrote it. Presumably, they have some basis for writing that, because the "Washington Post" is a respectful newspaper with an excellent record, especially on this particular subject.

So, I'm not -- I don't think I view the story -- I don't think it's accurate to say I view this story as in any way exculpatory. But I do think, you know, it calls for more investigation, it calls for people testifying under oath about how this statement was constructed and whether the people who knew that it was false were involved --


TOOBIN: -- in making this statement.

[21:25:00] COOPER: It does seem that if you have people willing to leak to the "Washington Post" the details of what happened, that those same people when talking to a special counsel will probably tell the truth to the special counsel, in order to protect themselves, I would assume.

SELLERS: If they haven't already.

COOPER: If they haven't, yes. A lot to --

TOOBIN: Well, I mean, you know, I think it's always difficult to, you know, assume the motives or assume who told the truth or assume not. I mean I don't --

LORD: Exactly.

TOOBIN: You know, there were obviously a lot of internal rivalries here, and resentments and, you know, I mean certainly, one of the -- you know, speaking of, you know, possible sources for the story, one of the people on Air Force One happened to be Reince Priebus, who was just fired and disgraced and embarrassed and, you know, it would not be completely out of the question that he might go to the "Washington Post" and say, by the way, you know what went on. It's not -- you know, again, I don't know who the source was.

COOPER: They seem to have multiple sources, --


COOPER: -- Tom Hamburger. We're going to take a quick break. We have more breaking news, Anthony Scaramucci in case you haven't heard. The mooch out of the White House as communications director, his tenure was short but unforgettable. What we know about what happened, next.


Anthony Scaramucci is no longer White House communications director after 11 days in the West Wing, he's out. We've learn the new White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly asked him to resign in a face to face meeting. Shortly, after the word came in that Scaramucci was out, Sarah Huckabee Sanders give a White House briefing and tried to answer questions about what happened, and when, and why, basic questions. Here's what she said.


HUCKABEE SANDERS: He does not have a role at this time in the Trump administration and we put out a statement earlier announcing that. And I don't have much to add.

I'm not going to get into the process, tick, tock, I think Anthony wants General Kelly to be able to operate fully, with a clean slate, build his own team. While at the same time the president felt his comments were inappropriate. Both Anthony and General Kelley, also, I think, came to a mutual agreement and we're moving forward.

Look, we also like the pleasure of the president. I think that he wants to work with General Kelly. And the communications team is intact right now and determine what the best course forward is at this point. I don't think that it's complicated to understand that the president felt the comments were inappropriate. I can't really explain it any further than that.


[21:30:13] COOPER: I'm back now with the panel. That's not what she said though, last week, which was essentially that the president thinks healthy competition among, you know, apprentice is a good idea.

BORGER: It's funny how things change overnight. I think she's clearly at a tough position here, but what happened is that the new sheriff is in town, general, not a sheriff. Came into town and said, you know, this is not sustainable and made up his mind and went to the president, and then I was told that the president talked to some friends, and was asked their advice. Friends, I would say allies, asked their advice, did they think he would have get rid of Scaramucci and they answer, you know, the answer was yes.

And he did it and I think this is the first indication, and I was told by one source, the days of tolerating B.S. in this White House are over.


LORD: Then it was a pretty good.

LEWIS: Trump has a lot of weird answer. Trump has a lot of weird affinities for different things and -- but he is sort of fetish for military generals, he loves obviously generals is maybe the one really good, of all his weird --

LORD: I would say respect --

LEWIS: Of all his quirks.

SELLERS: That McMaster.

LEWIS: Well, of all of these quirks, I would say his reverence and respect for military generals may turn out to be our saving grace.

COOPER: Let's take a look at what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week about Scaramucci comments versus what we just heard her say.


SANDERS: You know, I don't know if he has an opinion on what they should do between the two of them. I think the president has always enjoys healthy competition and conversation and he sees that as such.


COOPER: Not so much anymore, I guess.

POWERS: Yes. Well, Rob Costa from the "Washington Post" tweeted out earlier that he had heard that the people on the family, presumably, Jared and Ivanka, maybe Melania had been very upset and that they thought that it was embarrassing, and that reflected badly on the family and the crudeness of the way that he was speaking in this interview, I guess was a line that they felt was shouldn't be crossed.

And so, it could be that the president did like it and then he heard from his family, no, this isn't going to fly. And then I --

CHALIAN: We both know Jared and Ivanka were part of the push --

POWERS: Bring him in. Yes.

CHALIAN: And push Scaramucci.

POWERS: Supposedly they -- brought (ph) reportedly, they brought him in and they hopes that he would get rid of Reince Priebus which of course happens. So they -- and the end, I guess.

LORD: I have to say, I am a little cynical about all this horror in Washington, about this kind of thing (ph). And I worked there a good long while and I heard --

BORGER: You didn't talk like that, Jeffrey?

LORD: No I didn't. But I certainly heard it --


COOPER: It's not the cursing, I mean to every, you know, everybody is an adult, but it's more about what it says that he is public -- was publicly --

LORD: Yes, right.

COOPER: -- bashing the chief of staff. I mean, that's not --

LORD: I agree. I mean, to me, having worked there, you don't trust your colleagues, period, that's it.

BORGER: Well, but the president never said anything after he did, by the way. The president never tweeted anything and said, well, Scaramucci doesn't represent me, he doesn't speak for me. Because the truth of the matter what, that he did represent what Donald Trump wanted.

He did want to get rid of Reince Priebus. He wasn't happy with Steve Bannon. So he may not have like the language and I would presume that in particular, the women in that family were in --


COOPER: Or it can be suddenly very high profile of Scaramucci, did that have an impact --

BORGER: Absolutely.

COOPER: -- on the president of him being like, wait a minute, why he's rising very fast.

LORD: You know, one of the rules that should always be operative in any White House is that staff members are seen but not heard. And I remember -- we talked before about Don Reagan versus Jim Baker, I remember seeing Jim Baker in situations where the president, when I was in the campaign, not yet on the White House staff. Will Jim Baker hang out with staff people? He wasn't right there elbow to elbow with the president. He never did any in that kind of stuff.

By the time Don Regan got there, there were formal announcements in the eastern, ladies and gentlemen, the chief of staff --

COOPER: Who is Baker, Baker is the "velvet hammer", wasn't he?

LORD: The "velvet hammer," exactly.


SELLERS: -- just briefly, I read that Costa Twitter report as well. And I just -- I mean, the level of hypocrisy that the Trump administration and the Trump family get away with has to be a little disconcerting as well. Because, you know, throughout the campaign trail, the level of vulgarity that -- by which the president of the United States spoke out of his own mouth, whether or not it was a tape recording on a bus or anything else. I mean, if that wasn't your red line but this is, I mean, that kind of shows you --

LORD: Before you missed the other night, when I found the CNN story from 2011 or 2010, the 16 most foul mouthed politicians and number one was Barack Obama.

SELLERS: Well, I don't think Barack Obama ever said he --


SELLERS: But while we're on this topic, I mean, I think that the only time that we seen Donald Trump, and this is the plug from our friend, he absolutely hate it (ph), because he don't want to go back at the White House.

[21:35:02] But the only time that Donald Trump actually had a message and actually had like a messaging strategy was when Jason Miller was his communications director. Because he actually had somebody with a background, he actually have somebody with some experienced and some knowledge on how to run a communication stuff. And maybe might want to that instead of grabbing some of your friends.

LEWIS: I don't think it was ever actually at the White House though.

SELLERS: Well --


SELLERS: That was the last time there was strategy though.

BORGERS: Everybody has to agree on what the message is, and that's the problem, they don't agree on the message.

SELLERS: Maybe they don't have --

BORGERS: They disagree on policy, you had competing power centers.

COOPER: And even if the message is, you know, whatever the week is, infrastructure week, it's the president who doesn't agree on carrying that out. Because he is the one who --


SELLERS: It's American dream week this week. You know that?

COOPER: I did not know that.

POWERS: -- General Kelly is going to come in and impose order, right? Well, there's only one person that order needs to be imposed upon and that is the president, right?


POWERS: -- so is -- who will --


LORD: -- all the staff members who were doing all this.

POWERS: But that's not --

LORD: That's order.

POWERS: What's he going to do? Is going to be a private eyes going to be spoofing around, turning people's --

LORD: Well, I thought.

POWERS: I mean, what is he going to be doing? I think when we talk about imposing order, we're really talking about the fact that this is a very chaotic White House, and can there be some sort of order in the way things are handled everyday. But the chaos is coming from the president.

BORGER: But if everything has to go through Kelly, it might help. If you narrow that it's not the open door policy.

COOPER: But the president wanted competing power centers.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: It's the president who wanted this --

BORGER: Everybody.

COOPER: -- people had to have it here.

BORGER: He'll be lonely.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. Yes, we'll se if he actually likes this kind of order.

Still to come, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today, that she thinks the president was making a joke, when he encourage police to be rougher on suspects when they arrest them to put them mildly, not everyone found it funny including the Police Department he was actually speaking to. Well, we got that ahead.


[21:40:25] COOPER: We're three days out from the president's gang violence speech on Long Island. But part of his remarks live on, it was the moment many are saying made it seems the president endorse and perhaps even encourage police brutality. Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them just thrown in, rough. I said please don't be too nice. Like, when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hands of -- like, don't hit their head and they just kill somebody, donate hit their head. I said, you can take their hand away, OK?


COOPER: All right. Today Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about that, she had this to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the President joking when he said this, or did he check his remarks out with the international association of police chiefs or maybe the attorney general?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I believe he was making a joke at the time.


COOPER: Back now with the panel. I mean, a lot of police organizations have come out and said, we're not -- we don't rough up suspects and that's not a good idea.

LORD: I have to say, he's a New Yorker, standing in front of New Yorkers on Long Island. My whole family is from there and that's the way they talk. That's the New York sense of humor.


LORD: Oh, come on.

SELLER: And when he was, and he was choked to death by an illegal choke hold. I mean, police brutality is not funny.


SELLERS: Can you draw a line somewhere anywhere with Donald Trump?

LORD: No. Come on. Come on, I mean, you know, we need to loosen on up here a little bit.

SELLERS: Why, it's not funny.

LORD: Why? Because I mean, we are becoming a humorless society, totally whom I was.s

LEWIS: I don't know. You know, what Jeffrey, I agree with that, and I think there's too much political correctness, and I think that --

LORD: That's the problem.

LEWIS: But this isn't something -- I don't think this is something you --

LORD: Well, he didn't mean it --

LEWIS: Oh, come on.

LORD: Oh come on, you heard of it -- if you heard and you heard the tone on his voice.


LEWIS: -- this is the president of the United States who had should be a moral authority, and his word should matter. He could be signaling to police officers --


LEWIS: -- he literally said, don't be too --

LORD: Oh, come on.

LEWIS: -- it's not the job of law enforcement to render -- to punish, you know, we have judges -- what a punishment is going to be. That's not the job of law enforcement.

POWERS: -- saying, you know, the person just murdered somebody, there's been no trial. Like, what is he talking about? I mean, he is -- this isn't -- if he was joking, which I'm not convinced that he was. But if he was joking, it's just not funny.

BORGER: Right.

POWERS: It's not funny at all.


COOPER: The whole audience did laugh from people over there.


COOPER: Actually some police officers applauded, which raises all sorts of questions.

POWERS: Which is alarming.

COOPER: Yes. Number of police officers just stood there not applauding in the background.

POWERS: It's a major issue in the country right now that people are out in the streets protesting about. You know, the fact that people are afraid of police officers and that he is joking about it.

SELLERS: But why, if that is the case, which I don't give him credit for that at all. And for the police brutality of friends of families like I said, Eric Garner (INAUDIBLE), Walter Scott, the list goes on and on and on. And then they have committed a crime, but the penalty for that crime was not a death penalty by any stretch. And we can talk about black and brown people and how they don't

get the benefit of their humanity when comes to this interactions with law enforcement. Up and down. But let's talk about something else, being presidential. If in fact -- making a joke that -- taste, you know, what would be presidential if he actually came out and apologized. How about just put a tweet up --

COOPER: Or actually spoke about police brutality.

SELLERS: Or put a tweet -- he tweets about everything else, just tweet that. My remarks were indeed -- were in bad taste. I apologize.

BORGER: Well, this is how he hasn't, you know, changed from being a candidate -- this is the kind of thing.

SELLERS: Well, let's go back --

BORGERS: He might have done on the campaign trail.

SELLERS: This is not just about how he hasn't changed from a candidate. This is also about the same Donald Trump who we talked about many nights who took out the op-ed piece against the Central Park Five.

BORGER: Right.

SELLERS: So this is not anything new.

LORD: Oh my.


LEWIS: The other problem I would say to this, though, is that, it also -- I think this makes it a harder on all of us, white, black, police officers even.

COOPER: Right, --


COOPER: -- police officer, the vast majority of whom are working incredibly hard to respect everybody's right and doing incredibly --

LEWIS: And who trained to exactly avoid those kinds of situation.

SELLERS: And we're talking about, we go into these communities. I travel these communities with law enforcement officers. I was just in Ferguson the other day, Friday in St. Louis, talking about how we rebuild our communities and their trust for our law enforcement. Telling young black kids it's OK to grow up and want to be in law enforcement, so we have people in our communities that look like us. And comments like that, regardless of whether or not it's joking or not, it just makes --

[21:45:03] LEWIS: It's contributing to the polarization and the distrust from all sides of the different communities.

LORD: I just -- out in the country side, I just don't think people see it that way, they think if --

BORGER: How do they see it?

LORD: -- that he just -- he told a joke and move on.

BORGER: But it wasn't a joke --

COOPER: The Police Departments didn't really see it that way. I mean the Suffolk County Police Department, where the president once said as a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up prisoners.

LORD: Of course, but real world reaction from the Suffolk County Police Department, we just heard.

COOPER: But did it make you feel good that police officers are standing there applauding the idea of slamming a person's head into the car?


COOPER: And I think someone, they were just carried away, or like nervous or whatever it was but I think --

BORGER: So what kind of judgment do you have if you think that's a joke? I mean, it really isn't good judgment at the very least, Jeffrey.

SELLERS: Well, some people they think it's a practice. I mean, that's the problem, I mean, we're talking about a system that's inherently broken and we see -- and the reason that people are in the street, as Kirsten said earlier, is because when you're trying to change the system, and then you see the leader of the free world who's at the top of this system echoing some of the same fundamental problems that make it broken, that is so disheartening.

COOPER: We got to take a break. When we comeback the fall out from the big health care vote last week, the Senate GOP failure to repeal Obamacare. And now Republicans and Democrats alike are asking what comes next.


COOPER: Well, given all that's going on, may seem like the Senate GOP attempt to repeal Obamacare was weeks ago, but actually we're just a few days out. Republicans say they are not giving up, for that to succeed they'll most likely need to work across the aisle with Democrats. Earlier today, I spoke to Republican Senator Bill Cassidy about the chances that happening.


COOPER: Senator, you have another health care bill proposal that you've been working on with Senator Lindsey Graham. Did Secretary Price or anyone in the Trump administration say today that you would have the support of the White House on it?

SEN. BILL CASSIDY, (R), LOUISIANA: So today, I think you're referring to the meeting we had today.


CASSIDY: I think it's better to say was a listening session with governors. And what would it take for a Governor to be able to implement a successful program in their state? By the way, Anderson, there's an article out the show that the number one driver of people enrolled in the Obamacare system, if you will, was based upon governors, their leadership. So, this was a listening session as to what governors would be, how does Washington meet the needs of the governor to help the governor meet the needs of people in their state?

COOPER: So, what are you looking at, I mean, block grants to the states to allow governors greater power in sort of figure out how insurance is done in their state?

CASSIDY: Yes, flexible block grants, if you will, based upon the successful program temporary assistance to needy families that reformed welfare that really did a lot to both modernize the program but to improve the situation of families who are in the program.

[21:50:06] So similarly, the states are given this flexible block grant, the governors can then approve it, then I think we can get there.

COOPER: There is a group about 40 House Republicans and Democrats found themselves the problem solve. There's caucus. They said they have a plan to fix parts of Obamacare and hope it's going to get support. Their plan hasn't been released yet. In theory, could you support something like that if repeal and replace just isn't possible?

CASSIDY: So, I just haven't looked at their plan in detail yet, so it's hard for me to comment. If it's something that again moves the ball forward, I'll be for that. I do think there's internal contradictions within the Affordable Care Act that makes it hard to sustain long term.

COOPER: If this is something that can't get through Congress, as we've seen thus far, and the president is saying, you know, let Obamacare fail, is letting the president system fail something that would be acceptable to you in any way?

CASSIDY: So simple answer is no, but let's just say that he's speaking specifically of the individual market which is only four percent of those who are insured. It doesn't involve Medicare. Right now it wouldn't involve Medicaid, employer-sponsored insurance, all that is off the table.

It is only the individual market that would be affected. But I am just as concerned about those in the individual market as in every other market. I would not want any of it to fail.

COOPER: The president this week end tweeted, "Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, repeal and replace is not dead. Demand another vote before voting on any other bill." Majority Leader Mitch McConnel said, "Time to move on from health care," which isn't.

CASSIDY: Well, clearly you need one -- at least one of the three Senators to change their mind, no other senator did change their minds. I -- just go back to -- I want -- I think we need a fresh perspective, there needs to be fresh momentum. And I think a better perspective than Washington, D.C. looking across the country to decide what to do next is to ask the governors of our states what they would do next.

COOPER: Senator Cassidy, I appreciate your time, thank you.

CASSIDY: Thank you Anderson.


COOPER: And let's bring back in the panel for couple of minutes, Gloria, is the idea of repeal and replace is it dead for Republicans?

BORGER: Well, if you listen to this senator, no. I think that he is trying, you know, along with Lindsey Graham, to kind of revive something and start fresh. I think it's -- the differences remain. The smart thing, I think, that he was really saying is get the governors on board first.

COOPER: Which usually done Governor Kasich has been talking about all along.

BORGER: Exactly. Exactly. If you can't get the governors on board, their senators might be with you because the governors are the one who really have to deal with Medicaid and understand the importance of it to their constituents in their state. So, they're going to try and give it another shot, but I can't predict at all what would happen.

LORD: As appalled as I was at Senator McCain, I will say, I think I heard him talk a lot about what his governor --

COOPER: Right.

LORD: -- in Arizona was saying about this.


LORD: And so, I do think that's probably the key. I mean, one of the things I think Trump folks that like him, like, a lot, is that he's relentless.

He never takes no for an answer. He just keeps going back and back and back. If ever there is an issue that needs to have that attitude, it's this one. CHALIAN: We need Donald Trump --

LORD: Yes.

CHALIAN: -- he does not -- unfortunately for him, control the calendar on the floor of the United States, --

LORD: No, no, no --

CHALIAN: -- and it does not all yet sound like Mitch McConnel to think that there is --

COOPER: Are you saying it was time to move on?

CHALIAN: -- reason to bring this and to try this one more time. But I do think, yes, of course it makes sense to bring in the governors first. It would make sense to work with the health insurance companies and work with the doctors' groups. To me this reflects just how little the White House did and how little President Trump did in getting all the stake holders to try and actually move forward.

SELLERS: If I may make a suggestion as well, we talked about working with governors, we talk about working the stakeholder groups, you may also want to try working with Democrats. I mean, Democrats want to fix the Affordable Care Act as well. No one was on board with repeal and replace, but when you're talking about having a menu of services, because apparently the health care field is the only field that you know where you can go in and you don't know how much it is that -- what you're purchasing that idea or cost containing the prescription drug prices are stabilizing --

LORD: Or savings account.

BORGER: Democrats are on board with trying to fix the Affordable Care Act, so why not start there, and their ideas to do it.

But now, you have the president and sort of build threat -- threatening to shut down the subsidies to insurance companies, take the money from the insurance companies and that would hurt a lot of people, whether that's what he thinks would drive people back to the table, and remain the thing --


BORGER: But it won't.

SELLER: But it won't, in Ohio today you had more insurance filling out the market in these counties where you only had one provider or no providers. What you're saying is the Affordable Care Act is not going to die. Contrary to the popular believe for the AETNA CEO is not in a dead spiral and what these governors realize, is how important Medicaid is to their respective states.

[21:55:01] LORD: Which anyone -- everybody in you state on Medicaid, do you? SELLERS: What are you talking about? No, but we are trying to

make sure that we have a healthy insurance program for those who are --

LORD: All I'm saying is, politically speaking, Obamacare got us to this point, right? This problem exists because Obamacare change the health care system. So, to the extent that it is collapsing, and it is collapsing, I mean, there's no question about this --

SELLERS: That's not true.

LORD: The head of AETNA is absolutely correct.

POWERS: What problem did it get us too?


POWERS: -- you said just got us to this place with this problem. What's the problem?

LORD: We have this problem because Obamacare exists.

POWERS: But what is the problem?

LORD: Obamacare is collapsing, right?

POWERS: Obamacare because -- that isn't really makes sense, I mean --

LORD: If you push forward a law that whines up collapsing. It's the law's fault, right?

POWERS: Well, the problem is it's not actually collapsing.

SELLERS: This is not true.

POERS: So, there are areas where it needs to be improved and --

LORD: But why? If the law was perfect, why?

POWERS: No one ever said the law was perfect.

LORD: Yes, they did.

POWERS: No, you're fighting against something that didn't -- never happen. I mean, no one ever said the law was perfect and I think people have realized there are areas that it needs to be tweaked which those totally normal thing.

COOPER: We got to take a break. We'll be right back.


COOPER: That's all the time we have for tonight. Thanks very much for watching 360. I'll see you again tomorrow night at 8:00.

A special edition of "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts now. Have a good night.

[21:60:03] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: So how did the first day of the White House's American dream week go? "The Lead" starts right now.

President Trump says there is no chaos in his White House right before more chaos erupts.

Anthony Scarammuci is out before he even start --