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CNN Exclusive: U.S. Government Wiretapped Former Trump Campaign Chairman; NYT: Prosecutors Tell Manafort We Plan To Indict You; NYT: Trump Lawyer "Casually And Loudly" Discussed Russia Probe; Trump's Questionable Tweets Before U.N. Speech; Sean Spicer Makes Surprise Cameo At Emmys; Hurricane Maria Hits Dominica. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 18, 2017 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So Pam, first of all, what have you learned?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, source tell our team that the FBI got permission from the secretive surveillance court to monitor Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, both before and after the election. This is an extraordinary step for the FBI to do surveillance of a high-ranking campaign official. And, of course, Manafort is now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

We're told, Anderson, that there are intercepted communications that raise concerns among investigators about whether Manafort was encouraging Russians to help with the campaign. Other sources cautioned that this intelligence was not conclusive. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has been provided all of these communications that is all part of its investigation that's ongoing, Anderson.

COOPER: And what do you mean by the word encouraging?

BROWN: Well to be clear, there's a lot we don't know exactly on what was said in these intercepted communications. But what we're told by sources is that the FBI has communications between suspected Russian operatives relaying what they claimed were discussions with Paul Manafort, as well as communications involving Manafort himself.

Now, none of this is amounted to what people consider a smoking gun in this investigation, and there was still more work being done to determine whether there's a criminal violation here.

We should also note that we didn't get a comment from Paul Manafort's spokesman, but Manafort has previously denied that he ever knowingly communicated with Russian intelligence operatives during the election and he's also denied helping Russia undermine U.S. interests, Anderson.

COOPER: And Shimon, they monitored him two separate times. Do we know exactly when?

SHIMON PROCUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, we don't know exactly when, but we have a little insight into when this secret order began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party.

Our sources say the surveillance was discontinued, at some point last year, for lack of evidence according to one of the sources. And then the FBI restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new warrant, a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.

Our sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI's effort to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives is unclear when the new warrant started.

You know, Anderson, as part of the FISA warrant, we've learned earlier this year the FBI also conducted a search of a storage facility belonging to Manafort. And then past -- and just past -- this past July, Anderson, as you know, his home in Virginia was raided by the FBI.

COOPER: So that's important. We don't know when the second warrant began. The reporting is that it lasted until the beginning -- earlier of this year. Do we know, Pam, whether the president -- that President Trump spoke with Manafort while Manafort was under surveillance?

BROWN: Well, this is what's interesting, Anderson. We've been told by sources that the President and Manafort were still talking earlier this year, well after they campaigned during the same time frame that the FBI was listening to Manafort's phone. So it is certainly possible that those conversations were collected.

COOPER: So was the President right when he tweeted that, you know, that tweet, now famous tweet early on, that he just learned that Obama had wiretapped or tapped his wires at Trump Tower?

BROWN: Tapped his wire, right. And he was specific to having his wires tapped and the Justice Department has come out and denied that the President's own lines were wiretapped. But as we said, it is entirely possible that he was picked up on the Manafort surveillance, and we should note that Manafort dos have a residence in Trump Tower, though it's not clear if the FBI did surveillance on him there, Anderson.

COOPER: This is fascinating reporting. Pam Brown, Shimon Procupecz appreciates it. I want to bring in the panel, Kirsten Powers, Matt Lewis, Christine Quinn, Scott Jennings, Asha Rangappa, and Joshua Green.

Asha, I will just start with you, someone who (INAUDIBLE). How tough as it to get, not one, but two FISA warrants over the course of time?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So these were pretty difficult to get. There's a statistic out there that, you know, only -- some handful of FISA orders get rejected, but that's because they go through a lot of vetting before they even get to the FISA court. I've gotten this before. They are very lengthy, 70 to 100 pages. You're listing out all of the factual assertions to support your belief, the probable cause that this person is an agent of a foreign power and engaging in clandestine intelligence --

COOPER: So you're writing down all the evidence you believe you have.

RANGAPPA: You already have had to gather through other means, evidence to show that you believe this and that therefore the electronic surveillance will give you additional foreign intelligence information.

And I've been through this as the agent. The DOJ lawyers come back at you and make you support every single statement in that affidavit before they will walk it into a court. So it's -- we're talking, you know, many, many hours that go into this application.

COOPER: It is an unusual though that, you know, the first one would -- I guess it would lapse or they would let it go, or they didn't find any what they were looking for, any evidence, and then get another one down the road.

[21:05:09] RANGAPPA: It's not necessarily unusual. So for a U.S. person, the government have to go back into the FISA court every 90 days and say, "Look, we told you that we thought we were going to get foreign intelligence information, here's what we got in the last 90 days."

If they go in at a 90-check in and they haven't gotten anything in those last three months, the court is going to say, "Well, you need to shut this down until you can justify restarting it."

And it sounds like in this case, you know, they weren't getting something for a period of time. It was shut down. To me this says the system is working the way it should, the checks are there and then they got additional information that he was communicating with the Russians and they were able to put together a new FISA application to restart it.

COOPER: Josh, I mean, there's a lot we don't know obviously, even though the timing on all of this. What do you make of it?

JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR, "DEVIL'S BARGAIN": Well, I mean, this is something that's been an issue of ongoing concern for people around Trump going all the way back to the campaign.

According to CNN's story, what prompted, I think the second FISA warrant was Manafort's connections to a political party in Ukraine connected to former President Viktor Yanukovych. It's worth remembering.

That was also what gotten Manafort push out of the Trump campaign last August that his name showed up on ledgers that seemed to suggest he got millions of dollars in cash payment. So there's been a sense for a long time that this is potentially problematic, and I think this is that same problem rearing its head once again. COOPER: Kirsten, what do you make?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So, I think it's tempting to say that, you know, it looks suspicious, right, if you get -- if you can get a FISA warrant for them to listen on you, that it looks suspicious.

But I do think, you know, to your point of what you're saying about the rigor that they go through, there is the issue of the fact that there is nobody there to represent the person who -- to provide a counterargument against what is being argued, right? I mean, isn't that --


COOPER: There's no one represented that --

RANGAPPA: If you visualized FISA like this --

POWERS: Right.

RANGAPPA:: -- no, there wouldn't be anybody there. But that's why they have the court. Presumably it's the neutral judge does in Article 3 federal judge that's going to hold this to a pretty high standard. And in this case I think knowing that this was somebody potentially associated with the campaign, I think a judge might have hide (ph) it, especially (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Scott, I mean, does this concern you?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, very concerning. I think about the impact on people who may have spoken to Manafort on the phone during these periods. I mean, if you work in the White House or any administration today and you see this news tonight, you're thinking, "My gosh, did I talk to this guy on phone during the period of this wiretapping? I already -- I'm already worried about the massive legal bills that staffers in the white house and the administration are going to run up."

You have to remember, the White House counsel does not represent you as a White House staffer, they only represent the President, the Office of the President. That is a concern. It causes high stress and high anxiety among people who really need to be focused on running the country.

I have concern about the political impact. If it's true what "The New York Times" says tonight and that Manafort is going to be indicted, if others get indicted between now and the midterms, what impact does that have on the Republican Party?

Because I'll guarantee you this, whatever happy memories Donald Trump has with working with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer right now will be distant if they get control of the Congress. The subpoenas will fly. Articles of impeachment will fly faster and you're going to say, hashtag resistance. So all of this is extremely concerning to me tonight. I mean, we've had a number of concerning moments, but this is another one.

CHRISTINE QUINN, FORMER NYC CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: But those things are all of concern, not from a perspective of who's going to win or lose the midterm elections. Everything you just said should be concerning to all of us as Americans regardless of our party or whose party it helps or hurts.

You know, I think you're right. We don't know everything from Mr. Manafort's perspective. But I think it is important to note that a FISA warrant is different than how people might think of their local police department warrants, right? Sometimes rightly, wrongly, we think of those as fishing expeditions. That is not an equivalent comparison to a FISA warrant which are much more specific and as you said, have true checks and balances, which we see working here.

Quite frankly that we have this panel, that we have this reporting, that we have this issue being discussed is a terrible statement about the state of the presidency of the United States right now regardless of what happens. And forget who's going to cut what deals between the House, the Senate, and the White House. This is a moment of real political potential crisis in the core of our democracy.

COOPER: Well, it's also very possible that, you know, they go after Manafort in order to get him to cut a deal. I mean, they indict him on one thing on, you know, being an agent of a foreign government without, you know, registering and then hope he flips if there's something to flip on.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. And you got Michael Flynn out there too. And so you've got the former national security adviser, former campaign manager, both I would say in very vulnerable positions, potentially willing to talk. But I think Scott, you make a valid point. I mean, there is a political aspect to this.

[21:10:02] And Donald Trump, we've been talking about the pivot, maybe he finally did start to pivot. He had John Kelly there as his chief of staff, maybe starting to rein some things in. He was working on bipartisan fashion on the DACA deal. I mean, Nancy Pelosi, he even took either of the two, basically booed off stage in San Francisco today.

You know, Trump handled the hurricanes fairly well and he's speaking at the U.N. tomorrow. So this is a guy who has been -- the bar is low, but on a roll for Donald Trump, he seems like he might have turned the corner and now you have this story coming back and it's not going away.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We have more after the break with the panel, including new reporting on some other top tactics which is got alluded to the Robert Mueller's investigators are taking as well as color -- some pretty colorful color on the raid of Paul Manafort's home. How the FBI got into his house?

Later, the President's U.N. diplomatic debut in a string of tweets that may be strike anything, but at diplomatic tone. Later, tracking Hurricane Maria Category 5 heading straight for Puerto Rico. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're talking about tonight CNN exclusive on Paul Manafort wiretapping Russia and Donald Trump. Also tonight reporting in "The New York Times" underscoring just how aggressively Special Counsel Mueller's team has been pursuing his investigation, most notably, Mr. Manafort.

According to "The New York Times" tonight, when the FBI raided his home they actually picked his lock while he was still asleep, came in and then they got documents and copied computer files. Later, again, according to "Times," prosecutors warn Mr. Manafort we are planning to indict you.

But now with the panel. Is that standard procedure that they would tell somebody, "We are going to indict you," Asha?

[21:15:05] RANGAPPA: Well, they can tell a target of an investigation that they are a target. And if they did -- let him know that he was going to be indicted then, you know, it could be pressure if they do want him to talk. For example, this is coming and, you know, this is your chance.

With the search warrant, I have to admit, I was surprised when I heard that it was a no-knock warrant. That is when they don't, you know, they picked the lock and break down the door. You normally do that, you know, when you think that somebody is going to get rid of their evidence and I never heard of someone flushing their tax return down to toilet in five minutes. But for whatever reason, they believe that he was going to destroy something and a judge did sign off on it. So I think that --.

COOPER: So a judge would have to approve that in advance?

RANGAPPA: Absolutely, yes. You'd have to justify it to a judge that you need to take that extra intrusive step of potentially, you know, using a battering ram to knock the door down. And that's a, you know, a judge is going to have to sign their name to it.

And, again, when we talk about the targets in this investigation, every judge knows that their name is going to be on whether it's a FISA order or search warrant. So I think that they will always be scrutinizing it with extra care.

COOPER: You mean unnoticed. But -- I mean, if they are picking the lock to get in the house, does that mean like the FBI picks a lock and then they open the door and then they announce, "FBI, we're here?" Or do they go in and -- like go into the office and try to get files.

RANGAPPA: Yes. They will announce. They'll go in usually I think what they would do is you'd have a team of agents. So probably the lead agent would go directly to his bedroom. You're going to fine the guy with his pajamas --


COOPER: So they would try to inform him as soon as possible.

RANGAPPA: Yes. And they want to make sure that they secure the location because, you know --


COOPER: OK. So they would be hanging on the house for an hour downstairs while he's still sleeping.

RANGAPPA: They don't want to do that. People react poorly when you barge into their house.

COOPER: I would imagine, yes.

RANGAPPA: You know, if someone's got a weapon.

COOPER: Right, yes.

RANGAPPA: So they're going to go directly to him. They're going to secure anyone else in the house. Sometimes you have screaming children or -- yes, people -- it's a chaotic situation, but they will secure everybody and then go to all the items.

QUINN: But it's really very significant, right?

RANGAPPA: It is. It's a huge step.

QUINN: And it's not -- I would say it's probably less typical in high-profile situations like this.


QUINN: That are kind of corruption and ethics related on the highest level to have this kind of a warrant. It really is very extreme, which is even to think about the cases we think off when you think of high-level government corruption, you don't have these kind of --

COOPER: It is part of that to send a message, I mean, to show that like you're doing tough tactics and all the times used the phrase shock and awe that that's how some people are interpreting how Mueller is going about this?

RANGAPPA: I think people disagree on this. I just don't think so. I don't think of Mueller as someone who needs to do that. He's marine. He got purple heart, (INAUDIBLE). He doesn't -- he's Mueller. And once he's on you, I think you already know that he means business. So I don't think he needs to knock your door down.

POWERS: But it is suggested they just -- that they think he's pretty sophisticated in what he's doing and that he --

RANGAPPA: That's positive.


RANGAPPA: If there's digital evidence that they might have, you know, I'm not a digital -- I'm not a cyber expert, so I don't know how quickly that can be deleted or something.


RANGAPPA: But if they -- they clearly had some concern that something was going to disappear.

QUINN: It means something. It either means that he's trying to make a point, which I tend to agree with you, or it means that they thought that Manafort could get rid of it quickly, but it doesn't mean nothing.

GREEN: Whether or not, you know, the aggressive approach was meant to send a message, the fact is it did send a message. And I spend today calling around just some folks who'd work on the Trump campaign who are in the periphery who spoke with and knew Manafort and they're very worried about the way that this went down and what seems to be this closing in around Manafort and what the "Times" reporter was very likely an indictment.

COOPER: Does this have an impact? I mean to Scott's point, you know, he was talking about the economic impact on a wide circle of people who may just be, you know, happened to have been in a room and all of a sudden they have to get a lawyer and that's very expensive and they can't accept gifts so they're paying for it themselves.

GREEN: And that was exactly my question. But what really, I think, worried most of the people I spoke to was the reputational damage does. If you have to hired a defense lawyer, yes, that's a hit to your pocket, but it can hurt if you're a young staffer. But what it really does is tarnish your name in a way that might make you, you know, radioactive.

COOPER: Does it also impact their ability to get staff on in a White House? I mean, does it make people suspect each other? Does it make people kind of question everything?

GREEN: I asked that question too, coincidentally. And the sort of snide answer I got was, well, you know, there isn't a lot that's getting done in this White House. But I would imagine it would. I mean, we heard stories going back a couple of months now that White House staffers are very nervous about talking to each other. There's been talk that, you know, they might be wired. There's all sort of suspicion that already existed before this story came out.

COOPER: Scott Jennings, I mean, you worked for George W. Bush. You know, you want to trust the people you work with. I mean, like, I can't imagine if in the work, you know, my work environment if I was worried that everybody around was leaking stuff or potentially, you know, being pursued on criminal charges.

[21:20:04] JENNINGS: Yes. I worked in a White House that was being invested. I worked for Karl Rove and he was under investigation after the Democrats took over in November of '06. They launched immediate (ph) investigations. And there is anxiety and stress that goes along with this. I mean, sure, I think there's the possibility you could suspect your coworker is listening in on your conversations, but to me the real impact is on your mental state.

I mean, you have an extraordinarily stressful job anyway. You work in the White House. It's an important place. And when you layer on -- that on top of it, you worry about the mental impact of being able to focus on your job while the anxiety is seeping in about what might -- maybe not is necessarily just happening to you, but to the people around you. You worry about it.

LEWIS: I think there's also a toll. I mean, this is like an obvious point but applies various repeating that this is like an unprecedented situation. And if you're a conservative or Republican and you are skeptical of the deep state, maybe you've been reading too much Facebook, I don't know. This could look like they are trying to go after a candidate who's running for president that they are spying on him, that they are wiretapping either the Trump Tower.

I think that obviously the other side it says, well, Paul Manafort was a pretty sketchy guy who was involved in some very questionable things. But I do think this obviously takes a big toll on the country and I'm pretty sure you can expect with some conservatives saying that that is not, you know --


COOPER: And also getting (ph) President's tweet before about, you know, he just --


COOPER: -- that Obama was tapping his wires. We're going to get a quick break. When we come back, new reporting from "The New York Times" where the President's lawyer was overheard saying at a Washington steak house about the Russia probe. and I guess that some of that paranoia we were just talking about.

And later, it could be the first Category 5 hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since Calvin Coolidge was president. Tracking Maria ahead on "360".


[21:25:20] COOPER: Amid on Russia probe breaking news tonight, we're also learning about the White House response to Special Counsel Mueller's request for documents, thanks to the new reporting from "The New York Times". It's a plotline that would be deem quite too far fetch or ridiculous for T.V. drama.

One of the President's lawyers was eating lunch at a Washington steak house with another prominent lawyer and a "New York Times" reporter says he overheard them casually and loudly discussing the Russia investigation in the restaurant.

The Attorney Ty Cobb was reportedly overheard saying that White House lawyers were disagreeing over how much to cooperate with Mueller's Russia probe and said they have documents locked in a safe. Back now with the panel. I said that Carl Bernstein earlier like how it much easier with Watergate have been if, you know, John Dean and the others were just like eating in a steak house. You know, "Washington Post" sort of talking about, you know, secret recordings. I mean, it's kind of amazing that, you know, you hear people talking on the train like doctors or --

JENNINGS: All the time.

COOPER: -- business people all the time saying inappropriate things. But this level --

POWERS: You would think at this level and you'd also think with lawyers, right?


POWER: You expect lawyers to be a little more circumspect considering the kind of, you know, relationship that they have with their clients, you know, there, really. So they'd be like a psychiatrist sitting there talking openly about, you know, one of their clients.

And the fact that they're recognizable and people know who they are and -- but look -- I mean, this was kind of consistent with Donald Trump. I mean, he's got a lot of people around him that aren't really frankly ready for primetime. And with something so sensitive as this, you know, they're going to get themselves into some real trouble here.

LEWIS: This is amazing. This was like literally if you were trying to get something out in public, you would do it at that place. This is the most, like the worst place possible. And then to be recognized, like if he didn't have that handle bar mustache --

QUINN: Right.


LEWIS: -- they probably wouldn't have -- even noticed that it was him. It's pretty amazing. I would say in defense of the lawyers, though, if you ever like worked on a campaign or like even covered a campaign, you know, you've got nothing else to talk about. Like, if you want to go out to lunch and you want to get out and you have nothing else to say and, man, they could have picked the words.

QUINN: But that's usually why the lawyers don't go out with the field staff, right? They have to go home because they have -- I mean, you know --


COOPER: Or you can ask for a more remote table or o back room or something.

QUINN: Right. He was at a sidewalk cafe. They weren't even in the building. They were on the street next to "The New York Times." It's like standing on 8th Avenue and 40th Street and saying -- screaming things at "The New York Times." It's insane.

GREEN: But the thing that's so shocking about this, these aren't Trump campaign staffers.

COOPER: Right.

GREEN: These are supposed to be Washington wise men lawyers with years of experience who are brought in specifically because they don't do bone headed things like some of the Trump campaign staffers doing and, you know, here they are.

COOPER: Right. Ty Cobb, isn't like Donald Trump secret attorney who they brought down and then suddenly, you know, he'd left. He's back here in New York. I mean, he's an experience Washington guy, Scott.

JENNING: This is the second issue recently, though, because before this it was that he was fooled by an e-mail prankster into answering a whole bunch of questions.

RANGAPPA: So, this is the third incident after he accused a reporter or he asked her if she was on drugs --

JENNINGS: Oh, yes.

RANGAPPA: -- in that extended. I mean --

JENNINGS: But in terms of revealing information, like he revealed it for the e-mail.

RANGAPPA: OK, as opposed to being just incompetent.

POWERS: OK, look, I think if --


JENNINGS: So over, you know, if I'm the president, I'm calling these guys in tomorrow or after he finish with the U.N. and you have to give these guys a good trashing. I mean, this is -- at this level, this is not acceptable.

COOPER: But it's interesting because Jeff Toobin raise it for me and Asha maybe you could think to this. Not everybody is the President's attorney. I mean, some of them -- they're not his personal attorneys, so he doesn't have the same attorney-client privilege with Ty Cobb.

RANGAPPA: That's right. I mean, I don't know --


RANGAPPA: I don't know what kind of clown shoe operation they are running, but I am embarrassed on behalf of my profession as an attorney, OK? You have an ethical duty towards your client.

And here, John Dowd, is the President's personal attorney. He's acting -- he's defending Trump in his personal capacity. Ty Cobb is a part of the White House counsel. Now, they have slightly different jurisdictions and, you know, different privileges that they need to protect. They might have an agreement between them that they can discuss things in private.

However, once you blab it on, you know, a sidewalk in front of "The New York Times" and a third party hears it, that can constitute a waiver of any privilege that is there and it opens the door to it. So, there is that issue. They also disclosed information that's going on inside the White House, that there might be a document inside McGahn's safe. If I'm Mueller, I'm going to see that document and I won't stop until I find it.

QUINN: And you know what this speaks too in all seriousness is a lack of within the Trump administration and from the President himself taking the functioning of government seriously.

[21:30:03] You know, you're saying he should call the lawyers in for a tongue washing. Really, all of these people were hired by the President of the United States, right? He's the head of this organization. Their arrogance and their lack of believing that the legal rules apply to them completely mirror the President of the United States. And what you just talked about is critical to the functioning of government. I know that when I was in the city council, and they have a total disregard for government.

COOPER: Scott?

JENNINGS: Yes, a couple guys screwed up here, no question. But I do think some of the people are acting very professionally. I think Don McGahn, the White House counsel is doing a terrific job, not just handling this investigation issue, but he's got a big full plate of things he's working on, which appears to be going on well. Like judicial appointments is going very well. So I think that these two guys messed up, but I wouldn't --

QUINN: They're not guys. They're significant people.

JENNINGS: -- as soon as they're not all -- everybody is not acting unprofessional, though. I think some people are acting actually very well and I think McGahn is one of them.

QUINN: He's the counsel to the President of the United States and the private lawyer to the President of the United States, these are not two entry level staffers who made a rookie mistake.

JENNINGS: I agree with you.

POWERS: And by the way --

QUINN: They are not just two guys that --

JENNING: They are two guys. They are two guys who made a huge mistake in a very bad level.

QUINN: They are two high-level guys whom I'm sure the President picked to some degree personally who should be at the pinnacle of the legal profession and understand all of the requirements that come to them as officers of the court.

POWERS: And even separate from that, honestly, would any of us sit there and have a private conversation in this restaurant or really any restaurant in this day and age?



POWERS: I mean I wouldn't. I mean, I wouldn't --

COOPER: I've stopped so many conversations with friends --


COOPER: -- in restaurants that do like, this is not happening.

POWERS: There are just people everywhere with them. Twitter feeds and, you know, --


COOPER: And also the fact that he was able too take a photograph of them without realizing like --


COOPER: -- I'm aware of any camera within a 30-yard radius, I mean, at all times, but anyway.


COOPER: We need to take a break. When we come back, President Trump on the world state stage of United Nations after sending some undiplomatic tweets, we'll get to that in a moment.


[21:35:40] COOPER: The President is taking the world stage with the United Nations in New York for the first time. But Sunday morning, on the eve of what would be an important moment for any president, he was tweeting about Hillary Clinton.

The President retweeted this doctored animated gif showing himself hitting a golf ball, which then appear to hit Hillary Clinton in the back as she's boarding a plane. It's a mock up assault to the President's political opponent almost a year after he won the election.

Former Vice President Joe Biden just weighed in on Twitter tweeting, "Just had the chance to see President Trump's golf swing tweet. Enough, this has to stop. Our children are watching."

President Trump also took aimed at North Korea tweeting what appeared to be a poked at Kim Jong-un whom he called rocket man. Of course, there are actual geopolitical shoes at stake at the U.N. this week as well with Iran and Syria and Russia in the mix.

Back now with the panel. You know, I mean, the President's main message at the U.N. is make the United Nations great. He did take his speech as an opportunity to also talk about the large building that he built that was highly successful right across from the U.N., which is going to be U.N. first.

POWERS: Yes, definitely. I mean, I think, you know, everyone keeps expecting him to be presidential, you know, and in certain circumstances, he is. This, you know, this thing that he tweeted about -- all about Hillary Clinton is just repulsive in my opinion.

And I -- it's, you know, it's violent, actually, if you look at it. Its violence against a woman who was the, you know, first nominee, female nominee for President of the United States. I mean, it's just so disrespectful.

And I don't know what to say anymore, you know. You kind of get to this point where you just think, what do you say to this man? Like, how do you get him to stop doing these kinds of things?

COOPER: Because in the past he had said it was a retweet. It is not that he tweeted it. It's just a retweet, which I guess in his mind, there are some difference between retweeting somebody else's --

LEWIS: Retweets do not equal endorsements.


COOPER: I think it does.

POWERS: Yes. It's a tweet from the President of the United States.

COOPER: Because some of this report would say, look --


POWERS: But it's not a joke. It's not funny. You know, it's just -- it's violent. I mean, I look at that as a woman and I see violence, actually, you know. And so when I think, you know, for him to be retweeting something like that, you know, get over it. Grow up, seriously. I mean, when is he going to grow up?

QUINN: I agree. I mean, you know, get over it. And also by the way, you won.


QUINN: So like, really, how much of a bully are you that you can't even be -- you're a sore winner on top of that. It's nasty. It's not funny in any way shape or form. It's violent.

And he's going to the United Nations, right, an entity made up of many, many countries who have had -- who have female leaders and have had female leaders far before we ever, you know, we will have one. And what message does that send to those nations and the women and girls in those nations and the women leaders who have broken barriers in those countries? It makes the -- a former first lady, a former United States senator, a former secretary of state a joke.

POWERS: Well, that's something --


POWER: You don't have to be a Hillary Clinton supporter.


POWERS: This is an accomplished woman who has achieved something very historic, you know, in our country and in the world and just a little respect.

COOPER: Scott, how do you see it?

JENNINGS: I tend to think of words like I think of other commodities, the more of them there are, the less impactful they become, the less valuable they become. And so I think the volume of tweeting he does about things that are not important --

QUINN: The important word is picture.

JENNINGS: -- dilutes the impact of everything else he should be tweeting about.

QUINN: But there were no word.

COOPER: Let him finish. Let him finish. Let him finish.

QUINN: There were no words. So tell us about the pictures.

COOPER: Let him finish. Let him finish.

JENNING: So I tend to think that he should focus on tweeting about the things that do have an impact on us every day, you know, these international situations, hurricanes, tax reform.

You know, we're apparently sitting at 49 votes for a possible Obamacare repeal. I mean, there are a lot of impactful things going on. This is not one of those things. And so the more of them you do, the less impactful the rest of your presidential communications become.

GREEN: This is part of a --

JENNINGS: And so I want them to -- I don't mind him tweeting. I don't mind him communicating via tweets. I want more of the tweets to be on point with serious policies.

QUINN: But, Scott, do you mind him tweeting an image that happened to have no words, as I understand it, of him swinging a golf ball, that golf ball flying through the air into another image and knocking Secretary Clinton onto her face?

[21:40:05] How do you feel about that? I think we all agree he shouldn't focus on world events, there's a national event. He didn't. So what do you think of that?

JENNINGS: No, I don't approve of it.


JENNING: I don't like it. I don't mind the president not taking himself seriously --

QUINN: So do you not mind that?

JENNINGS: -- as some people in Washington. I don't mind if you have levity in your tweets from time to time.

QUINN: Is that funny?

JENNINGS: I don't particularly find it funny.

QUINN: Good.

JENNINGS: But to me and some of those people do find it funny. There's a difference of opinion on that.

QUINN: No, there's not.

JENNINGS: My point is this.

QUINN: No, there's not.

JENNINGS: When you're the president, you could find things to say that might be funny but might not also be offensive at the same time, which a lot of people are certainly offended by this. I just think with the mass amount of serious stuff going on that's on his plate, I want to see more communications of an impactful nature on those.

COOPER: To me not taking yourself seriously is --

QUINN: Right.

COOPER: -- tweeting out an image of, you know, your hat blowing off and your hair going wild and that you look silly or dumb, that's not taking yourself seriously --


COOPER: -- which I don't think this president would ever do something in which people are laughing at him because as we know, that's a common refrain of his, his concern that the world is laughing at us or people are laughing.

QUINN: And he thinks violence is funny. I don't want to be too, you know, dramatic about it, but he said that during the campaign. If I stay -- I'm paraphrasing that if I stand on 5th Avenue and I shoot someone, I'll still be President of the United States. We know he doesn't take violence seriously in the way that it should be taken seriously.

GREEN: But we also that that he's very irked by Hillary Clinton right now, but that has been long, but she's also been add on cable T.V. questioning the validity of his election, whether there was collusion with the Russians.

There's one thing we know about Trump is that if you question his victory, especially if you're a woman, it's going to get under his skin. And I think partly this was a reaction to that. He doesn't seem to be able to help himself.

COOPER: It seems to me there is a difference in how he treats women in sort of this public sphere and men. I mean, I don't know that he would do -- with that same image be tweeted out by him if it was a guy who got hit by the golf ball.

QUINN: I seriously doubt it. I mean, look, he seems obsessed with Hillary Clinton, right, and we can all agree on that. And by her own admission, the other person he's obsessed with is President Obama. And it would worst if he had done this in the former president, but we picked Joe Biden, somebody else, he's not going to do that. He's particularly, as you said, irked by Hillary Clinton because she's a woman, period.

POWERS: It's strong, opinionated women.


COOPER: Strong women.

POWERS: If this is what we see over and over again.

QUINN: And, look, this goes on.


POWERS: -- women who challenge him, whether it's Megyn Kelly or Hillary Clinton, he doesn't like it.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, I want to get your take, the panels take on Sean Spicer back on the podium in a bit for the Emmys making fun of how he lied about the President's inaugural crowd size and now saying he actually regrets doing that.


[21:46:37] COOPER: So the Emmys were last night. There were plenty of jobs with the President, plenty of jokes about the Trump White House. But the most unexpected came from none other than Sean Spicer.


SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Sean, do you know, this will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in person and around the world.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Wow. That really soothes my fragile ego. I can understand why you would want one of these guys around.


COOPER: So there was obviously reference to when Sean Spicer came out and lied about the size of President Trump's inaugural crowd, berating the reporters who are asking questions, basically telling people not to believe their own eyes.

Back now with the panel. Obviously, apparently it was Stephen Colbert's idea to do this. A lot of people took offense out of that, you know, thinking that he sort of -- I get why Sean Spicer would want to do it. They could have -- it's kind of rehabilitate him. He gave an interview to Hannity, I think it was two months ago where he said he had no regrets. He's now apparently told the "Times" that he does regret trashing the press over at the inauguration.

LEWIS: I'm amazed at the -- so first of all, I like it when people make fun of themselves and I think, you know, always advise, you know, if you're a strategist tell them go on at "Saturday Night Live" and make fun of yourself. But he's not making fun of a guff, he's making fun of a lie. So I think that's one point.

The second point is, I'm amazed that the lack of solidarity between the entertainment media and the news media. This is a guy who didn't just lie to the media on a daily basis, he berated the news media by name, in some cases humiliated them. And now they are -- that the entertainment media, you know, our brothers in arms up there in the left coast are helping rehabilitate.

And, look, I know he was sort in a way they were making fun of him, they were also glamorizing him and turning him into a celebrity. And I'm just kind of stunned, actually, that -- I mean, it's also -- he was on Kimmel. He's been on a lot of shows. I'm a little bit surprise that they're helping him rehabilitated him.

COOPER: It's also interesting that he now makes this pivot to tell "The New York Times," oh, I do -- yes, I do regret. But then with Hannity he was like, no, there's nothing regret at all.


POWERS: -- position, you know. I think he's now -- I mean, I guess --

COOPER: He's now on the open market.


COOPER: I mean he needs looking engagements.


POWERS: Look, and I love to criticize Stephen Colbert who I love, but I don' think that he should have done this, you know. I do think -- I think everything you said is exactly right. I mean, this is somebody who just stood up there and lied and screamed and yelled at reporters and berated them.

And, you know, for him to regret it sort of after the fact, I mean, he would have probably kept -- he probably would have stayed there if he hadn't fallen out of favor with Donald Trump, right? So I don't think they should help him rebrand himself.

GREEN: This is about more than Sean Spicer, too. I mean, yes, he made his name as an outrageous liar. That's what made him globally famous. But by kind of welcoming him into, you know, popular culture, it sends a message to future White House officials that you can be an aggressive, outrageous liar, but long term it's not going to do you any damage. You'll be OK and you can still be a celebrity afterwards. And I don't think that that's -- I don't think that's a message that Hollywood should be sending.

JENNINGS: You know, I think this is the natural progression of things. We've seen a rapid merger of politics and entertainment for number of year. We have an entertainment who is a president. We have entertainers apparently who are looking at running for president in 2020, so it's only natural at some political status would be trying to float back towards the entertainment industry.

[21:50:05] I hope Sean succeeds in making a living. And I will tell you, I -- you'll never catch me criticizing anybody with a family and young children trying to do whatever it is they have to do to earn a living. This guy found himself in highly unusual political circumstances. These are the opportunities that are now available to him and so this is what --


GREEN: But then there are a lot of reporters, working reporters who have families. You didn't have to make that decision. Nobody forced him at gunpoint to go out there and lie to the President and reporters. You could just done the honorable thing and resign.


QUINN: I mean, oh, my gosh, he had a job before he went there.


JENNINGS: He is not a wealthy person.


COOPER: No, but if he's now making -- if he's now in the speakers circuit, which is I guess how he, you know, he can make a lot of money that way, he would probably had been more valuable had he actually resigned in protest out of --

JENNINGS: I don't know if that's true. I don't know if that's true. I mean, in the Bush White House we had a press secretary who resigned in protest and Scott McClellan was famous for about 15 minutes and where is the guy today? So I'm not sure you're right there.

QUINN: But can I -- just so -- look, Sean Spicer made a decision. No one forced him to do it. But I think the bigger issue that's being discussed here is Sean Spicer was the mouthpiece for a long time for an administration that didn't just humiliate individual reporters, had a strategic plan to attack journalism repeatedly, repeatedly, even if it resulted in threatening behavior towards reporters, which is well documented. So this is a man who didn't just stretch the truth every now and then, he participated in a well orchestrated campaign to erode the force --


LEWIS: And now liberals in Hollywood --

QUINN: Right.

LEWIS: -- Hollywood are promoting him. And I think -- so I've always had this sort of role that anytime somebody gets a profile done of them, it's inherently glamorous. It's, you know, if somebody -- if Steve Bannon gets a profile done of him and you think that you've ripped him to shreds but he's on the cover of rolling stone, it's glamorized.

QUINN: Right.

LEWIS: It's what they want. And I think that he is beating --

QUINN: I agree.

LEWIS: -- (INAUDIBLE) by people who really --

QUINN: Who should know better.

COOPER: I think you're right about those articles just because so many people just write -- even if they've read the article, what really register is the picture. I've had articles that I thought were awful about me, but like people, like, "Oh, I saw that article and it was great." And then I'm like, "Did you actually read it?" "No, not really but this was the picture and it seemed like it was nice."


COOPER: And I think that's a certainly interesting idea.

JENNINGS: If somebody becomes famous --

COOPER: Right.

JENNINGS: -- and even if they're eccentric, especially if they're eccentric, and so that's what (INAUDIBLE).

QUINN: And it reflects, in my opinion, a very serious trend in America of not taking journalism seriously, and that's a major danger to our democracy. COOPER: Thanks everybody. Up next, we're going to get the latest on the hurricane, Hurricane Maria. The forecast right now, some of the same islands that were hit so hard by Hurricane Irma are directly in its path. We'll get an update e right after a quick break.

[21:57:07] COOPER: There's more breaking news. We've just learned that Hurricane Maria, a Category 5, has just made landfall on Dominica. A prime minister posting to his Facebook page, "My roof is gone. I'm at complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding." A short time later, an update, "I have been rescued."

We're going to get the latest now from Meteorologist Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center. So where is the storm? What's the latest tonight?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So, again, as you mentioned, it has now officially made landfall at 9:15 p.m. Eastern Time as a Category 5 storm, winds 160-mile-per-hour. The storm is moving west northwest at about 9-mile-per-hour. So not very fast, which unfortunately mean this is going to go slowly over the island of Dominica.

But we need to talk about how impressive this storm actually is and how quickly it intensified, OK. This is Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Winds were just at 75-mile-per-hour. So this is when it first became a hurricane. OK? So going at 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. tonight, going from a tropical storm all the way up to a Category 5 storm. Or even this morning, take for example 5:00 a.m., it was still a Category 1 storm. 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., going from a Category 1 to a Category 5 storm.

The unfortunate part about it being a Category 5 storm is it is expected to stay a Category 5 storm. In fact, it's expected to increase up to 165 miles per hour after it gets back out over some open water. It is expected to make landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm.

Now the question is whether or not it maintains that 165-mile-per-hour range or if it weakens slightly just before it hits Puerto Rico. That's important. That distinction is, because the previous Category 5 storm, and there's only been one to ever hit Puerto Rico, that was back in 1928. But it had winds of 160, so if it can maintain winds of 165, it will end up being the strongest storm to ever hit the island of Puerto Rico.

The last time they had a Category 4 was back in 1932. That was the last to strike of a Category 4 or higher. Again, this is going to be an incredibly strong storm as it continues on this track, Anderson.

COOPER: And any sense of what this means for the U.S.?

CHINCHAR: Right. So there's been a lot of comparisons to Irma with this storm as it goes through the Caribbean. So here is what we can show you. This yellow line right here, that was Irma's path. The red line is Maria so you can know. It's starting out a little bit further south. It will cross over a very similar point, the Dominican Republic. And then it's actually going to go a little bit further norths than Irma's path was.

So at this point everybody wants to know what does that mean for Florida and some of the other areas that were impacted by Irma. Here is a look at the model comparison, very good agreement up to the point of Puerto Rico. It's after that that the models split off and they have a pretty good distance between the two of them. The blue dot is the European model. The red dot is the GSS also known as American.

COOPER: Right.

CHINCHAR: You can see it kind of pushes it a little bit closer to the U.S. It's all because of this high. Where that high pressure system ends up, if it stays in place, Anderson --

COOPER: Right.

CHINCHAR: -- it (INAUDIBLE) clockwise and stay in the Atlantic. If it goes to the west --