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Trump: "I Was Ashamed Of What Was Taking Place"; Moore Leads in Alabama GOP Senate Runoff Race; CNN Exclusives: IRS Shares Information with Special Counsel In Russia Probe; Roger Stone Defends Himself To Congressional Russia Investigators. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 26, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:29] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The president versus NFL players kicks off the hour, President Trump tweeting about it today defending his remarks from Friday defending his choice to focus so heavily on the issue of players taking a knee with so much (INAUDIBLE) spreading on the world especially in U.S. soil and Puerto Rico. It's top the (INAUDIBLE) tonight as the subject of a special CNN Town Hall this time tomorrow night it's where we begin right now with CNN Jeff Zeleny at the White House.

So Jeff, can you walk us through the latest in the back and forth between the president and the NFL, because it started with some morning tweets, right?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it did start as things often due here at the White House these days with a round of early morning tweet about the Monday night football game which, of course was last night. The president weighting in almost immediately on the same thing that he been talking about for several days, the national anthem and football players.

This is what he said. Let's take a look at some of these early morning messages. He said this, he said, "The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard. Great anger." Shortly after that, he went to say this, "But while Dallas dropped to its knees as a team, they all stood up for our National Anthem. Big progress being made-we all love our country!"

So, it sounds like the president taking credit for progress being made there but the reality here, Anderson, is that they likely would have kneeled on the first place, had he not injected himself into this controversy, had he not started talking about this, of course last Friday evening at that rally in Alabama. Of course, one of the whole reasons he is talking about is, because there are lot of things going wrong here at the White House.

The heath care bill collapsed today. And there's that primary in Alabama we're watching very closely, yet tonight the White House is worried about the outcome of that. So the president seizing on this a cultural divide here in those early morning tweets.

COOPER: The president also spoke about this today.

ZELENY: He did speak about it. He was in a meeting with Spanish prime minister in the Rose Garden at the White House and he said, look, I've not been distracted by this at all, I've not been distracted by the NFL controversy at all. Of course, a reporter was asking him about Puerto Rico, why he has tweeted 24 times about the NFL, four times about Puerto Rico. This is what he say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To me the NFL situation is a very important situation. I've heard that before about was a preoccupied, not at all, not at all. I have plenty of time on hands. All I do is work.


ZELENY: So he has plenty of time on his hands. All he does is work, but Anderson there was a sense here at the White House today that there was a turn from these tweets as the day move along. The president seeing these images I'm told by advisers on television of Puerto Rico about the humanitarian crisis and other things. He said, he would visit there next week. It can be -- you know, a rush meeting on top advisers in the situation room to talk about Puerto Rico, but still he wants to keep on with the NFL. We'll see if he keeps tweeting about that as the days go on.

COOPER: The president also met with governors at the dinner in New York tonight, did he weight in on the issue again?

ZELENY: He did Anderson. That sort of interesting thing as this, you know, big Republican primary in Alabama is going on, as all this is going on, he did have a fund raiser in New York City tonight, in fact we're expecting him back here at the White House and not too long.

We don't know if he weighted on it yet because it was close press, no cameras where there. So we'll find out as we talk with donors and other things. But last night, at the dinner here, our Jim Acosta reported that the president on a private dinner, he said he was pleased by how all of this was going. He said it caught on. He said, I have said what millions of Americans are thinking. But Anderson I can tell you from the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to others it help the president turns the page and (INAUDIBLE) tomorrow when he goes to Indianapolis to talk about his tax reform plan. We'll see if he talks about NFL football as well.

COOPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it.

The White House Maggie Haberman has just done some great report and the president's motivations for weighting in on Friday. She joins us now. So does Van Jones, Ed Martin, Kirsten Powers, and Kenneth Cuccinelli.

You know, a lot of detail about the president on his way back from the speech in Alabama on Friday. What was he talking about?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He was talking about how well he had gone. He thought that he had really hit on something that matter, he was talking about --

COOPER: Meaning the NFL.

HABERMAN: The NFL Stadium. And that to him was a key moment. I don't think it was his huge takeaway overall in the day. I think he was actually -- at first that he meant Alabama, but he likes the reaction that he got.

As we know, he has this habit, this is not unfamiliar to him, he would do this in the campaign, he would throw out a piece of (INAUDIBLE) see how it play but it didn't do well. He might not repeat it, but he did. He repeated it a lot. This was well received and he decided this was something that he ought to be focusing on. So he did some tweets. And he talked about it some more over the weekend. He talked about at this White House senator.

There are number of White House aides, actually, don't know that John Kelly is among them, but there are a number of other White House aides who would like to see him move on and focus on other issues. But, you know, as we know he has opportunity to make things about himself. And that's what he's been doing for the last few days.

[21:05:06] COOPER: And people you talked to around the president, or -- I won't characterize who they are, just people you talked to, they have very readily said that this is about a culture war, is that correct?

HABERMAN: Correct, I mean, look, they have been pretty blunt about it. I mean, in a White House where on certain issues it can be hard to get an answer, this is an area where people close to him are pretty candid and they say that this is basically -- this is his idea of a culture war issue. You know, he doesn't focus on social issues, particularly, but he does focus on issues that can galvanize his white working class base and other ways. It is again, unusual to hear it spoken about quite so bluntly. But they are very candid that that's where his head as he thinks it works well for him. He thinks that this is where the people who have been with him want to be and this is coming right after he had this, you know, dalliance with bipartisan for a moment.

And I think, especially amidst the Alabama race became concerned about what his voters were thinking. He's not sure that -- I mean, he was talking last night at this White House senator about whether he would get blamed if Luther Strange losses. And I think that was very much on his mind because Roy Moore, the other candidate, is much more a Trump candidate in other ways.

COOPER: Van, I mean, the president -- I mean, to me it's fascinating that people around the president as Maggie talking to a very open about what this is about.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. COOPER: And the president says it's not about race. Do you believe this?

JONES: Well, I do believe it's an unfortunate decision that he has made. You have 3.4 million U.S. citizens who almost got wiped off the map in Puerto Rico. Any other president in a situation like this would be trying to rally not just the country but the world to help what's going on in Puerto Rico. Instead he decides to pick a fight with unfortunately African-American athletes, including Steph Curry. Apparently he didn't get the memo that dads in America created Steph Curry in a lab so our kids would have somebody to look up to. How do you get into a fight with Steph Curry when we're on the verge of a possible nuclear war, right, our 3.4 million Americans into harms way.

And I do think that it plays up this particular kind of a role that is so unfortunate it actually makes it seem like -- now they're saying, these young men are protesting the flag, these young men are protesting the national anthem. That is not what they are protesting. They are protesting the fact that the neighbors they came from, would they go back to every Thanksgiving? Would they get text messages from everyday? There is real pain and suffering and police misconduct. This is not an act of disrespect. It's a distress signal coming from black America. And instead to be listened to by the president, he's turning it, I think, in a very nasty way and I do think it has racial undertones.

ED MARTIN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: You know, I just -- marvel. I mean, it's almost like we're watching two different -- watching the same movie and two different impressions. What I see is a president as Maggie referred to. He loves to test things out and see the reaction. And what we see since that is a real reaction of America. Actually, Van, you said it, we're actually having people say, what is it that Kaepernick meant? What does he care about? The kneeling and the national anthem, and I would say, a lot of America looks up and thinks don't kneel, don't, you know, disrespect the flag and the anthem. How we got there? You know, (INAUDIBLE) this president creates more opportunities for people to communicate on serious issues than we've have in a long time. Obama stayed inside and didn't venture out. I think people criticized him. This president weights right in and I don't see --



JONES: Let me ask you a question, why do you guys see it as so disrespectful? What happened at first, Kaepernick, he was just sitting down. He wouldn't even stand up and then a Green Beret told him that's not right, so take a knee. In sports you take a knee when something is injured. He's saying democracy is injured. He's taking a knee, he's kneeling. He's trying to show respect. Why is it always seen as he's disrespecting it as opposed he's actually, you know, is doing what basically a Green Beret told him to do, take a knee, don't just sit down.

MARTIN: Bottom line, I think Kaepernick said it was a protest. He's saying something is wrong.

JONES: He's not protesting the flag.

MARTIN: Right, but the respond -- when, you know, someone has a response it says, why can't you protest? You are Kaepernick, by the way, I'll point out, Kaepernick was benched, not that it matters, but he's benched when he suddenly decides he wants to, you know, set an example.

My, you know, thing is that, if you want to make a point, but people also get to be upset with that. Look, I think what Trump said, by the way, Maggie is right. In politics, in Alabama, Nick Saban and Bear Bryant, they wouldn't let their guys kneel, bend down, anything. There was a way of it. This is impacted -- and I don't think it's racial as much as it is, you know, kind of who we are as Americans. A lot of them are showing in the polling. Americans are like, don't do that during our anthem and or the flag.

HABERMAN: I don't want to make one point, thought, I think that's what he was doing politically, but I think that's a separate question of whether that is what a president ought to be doing and I think there are understandable criticisms about whether this is something that the president should be weighing into it, the same way that there were criticisms about whether President Obama should be weighing in.

[21:10:00] MARTIN: But the guy that won the election, everyone knew he wasn't going to do the stuff that normal presidents do. We were --

HABERMAN: I don't actually --

JONES: I'm going to tell you. Listen, I worked in the White House for about 37 seconds, OK? I don't want to overstate it. I was there for six months. I was -- when in a hierarchy I was in the lowerarchy. It changed my life being in that building. The weight of the responsibility, I mean it's unbelievable. I've never had experience like that before, I never will again. It'll always be my highest honor. I don't understand why it's not changing the president. It's hard for me --

MARTIN: How do you know -- How do you know?

COOPER: Ken, have you see this?

KENNETH CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, I see a couple things. One, one side of these protests is trying to make a statement about exactly what Van said, it's the problems in the neighborhoods they cam from. So let's frame it that way. But the other said and what people see on television, and I'm an NFL fan. And I watched this weekend, and what I say and what a lot of people see is you chosen a moment where you have a captive audience. And this is, let's face it, this is a game. This is entertainment, and you're going to turn my entertainment into a political statement and force me to pick sides, because if you make it that, then that's what we're doing here. We're voting.

And for the other side, it is about disrespecting the flag, so it isn't -- you don't have two sides saying, arguing about the same thing. You don't have that. So, look, and the NFL has been so hypocritical in this. I mean, they wouldn't let Dallas honor five killed police officers. They punished a Steelers player, William Gay, for wearing purple cleats to bring attention to domestic violence. They wouldn't let Tennessee Titans player honor the victims of 9/11, but this which is in their rules, they let.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm glad you brought up domestic violence because this is more offensive to you, it seems, maybe and certainly to these players than all the domestic violence --

MARTIN: Oh come on.

POWERS: -- "disrespecting the flag." I never saw this kind of reaction when you've had time after time these players accused --


POWERS: -- there was never this level of reaction. And where was Donald Trump's tweet storms about it? I mean, I don't remember that. So I just want to say -- can you just not interrupt me for one second?

MARTIN: Literally, it's literally when did you stop beating your wife? He was --

POWERS: Let me finish.

MARTIN: I mean, literally you just said that.

COOPER: Let her finish.


MARTIN: Go ahead.

POWERS: Can I talk?

MARTIN: Go for it.

POWERS: Yes, I think that the point is that people should matter more than a symbol and that doesn't mean the flag isn't important. The point is there are people that are trying to tell you that something is wrong. And for you to say I just turned on the T.V. and your job is to entertain me, like, that's not very respectful to people.

CUCCINELLI: They can protest whenever they want but not on the job.

POWERS: No, but they need to protest when people are paying attention, and so for that, and this is the place (INAUDIBLE). So if you have any respect for them, just the tiniest bit of respect for them, you should stop and think, these are people I come to watch play and I respect them as athletes but I also respect them as human beings and I want to hear what they have to say. I mean, aren't you curious about --

JONES: And part of thing I -- I'll add that is that -- it's not like the political people are dealing with this issue of police misconduct. In fact, Donald Trump has got the car going in reverse. Obama at least tried to deal with it. Now the Department of Justice under Trump is going backwards. So when are they supposed to speak up, when the African-American folks are marching down the street and it's called Black Lives Matter, that get criticized. When somebody tweets, I guess, criticize. When it's on the air, whether on the field, when they kneel, when they stand -- at a certain point it starts to feel like Donald Trump doesn't want to hear black folks has a period and that is very concerning to people.

COOPER: Ed you can respond and then we got to break. And we'll continue the discussion.

MARTIN: I just don't see that, Van. No, I think that -- look, everybody -- I think Colin Kaepernick is one of the smarter guys you ever seen interviewed and he makes good points about what he was doing. The question is whether we need to have a movement of people that are kneeling or at national anthem. And, by the way, why can't it be that we have a different opinion on that. Why can't we have the kid from Pittsburgh talk about what it's like to be in the army? Why can't we have somebody who says, you know what, I was a foster care kid and I was a product of rape. Whatever the topic is, right, is that what the point is? I think what Ken is saying is Americans are a little bit sick of having the slicing and dicing of the groups that are -- and then shoved at them that you have to understand my point of views at where we are when it's football.

And I don't think the president is wrong. Look, he taps into an emotion that feels like not anti-somebody but for the American experience.

COOPER: Aren't we at an age when you talk about the slicing and dicing and being, you know, having stuff shoved in our faces, you know, for most of American in history those voices were not heard -- those objections where not shoved in anybody's faces. In fact, those people didn't have access to being in the military. There's people, you know, didn't have access to all the benefits that white America has. And so, a few people have been able to rise up and be in a position where you all and me and everybody else is forced to actually hear them, see them kneel, what's wrong with that?

[21:15:19] MARTIN: I know, but -- you just said it. We've made so much progress in this country. People don't want to watch the NFL and think about how bad and wrong and wrong they are. They want --

JONES: What do you mean people don't want to? What people?

MARTIN: American people --


MARTIN: You're the one saying that when they protest they're talking for people in the inner city. Where I come from the St. Louis, the inner city is dominated by --

(CROSSTALK) CUCCINELLI: -- national anthem they stood for. The American --

MARTIN: They should --

COOPER: Let's take a quick break and continue this on the other side. We'll be right back.


COOPER: CNN Analyst Former CIA Director and Former NSA Director Michael Hader has weighed in in the president's focus on NFL protestors, writing in the Hill. The Pittsburgh native and longtime Steelers fan says he disagrees some with Colin Kaepernick on a race relations but disagrees more with President Trump's remarks in Alabama.

"I never imagined myself saying this before Friday," he write, "but if now forced to choose in this dispute, put me down with Kaepernick." Back now with the panel.

Van, I mean, you know, Ed was saying before and, you know, the idea was expressive, you know, you're tuning in to see a game. Why be forced to confront this?

JONES: Well, I mean, here's -- I think first of all, we shouldn't underestimate the heroism of our own cause as Americans. We are trying to make a multiracial, multi-faith democracy work 300 million people. It's never been tried in human history. And we do a pretty damn good job most days. But the reality is I sit here and when I'm watching these games and when I'm going through life, I have a huge platform. Be on CNN.

I feel frustrated that we have to pretend that everything is okie dokie in America. We made some progress. We had a black president, we should suppose to sit down and shut up and not have any complains about anything, when I know for sure the amount of pain and suffering going on in the community. And so, when you get to a point that guys are protesting on their job, and by the way, people say they're rich they shouldn't protest, the rich shouldn't complain, well, Donald Trump is rich he complains all the time. So I don't want to hear that having money means you can't complain. So -- or celebrity they should shut up, well Donald Trump is celebrity.

So, we establish now that celebrities are which people can have an opinion. And these guys get to have an opinion. And I tell you what, it makes me so proud to see these guys taking those risks and sticking up for people who will never be heard from. And if Donald Trump would say, listen guys, I'm handling police brutality, I got a commission on it, you don't have to protest. That would be different. But he's going in the opposite direction. So if they don't speak up, who's going to?

[21:20:21] COOPER: It is interesting, I mean, the president -- has the president spoken about, you know, allegations of police brutality? About issues of --

HABERMAN: In the reverse direction. He had this line at a speech in --


COOPER: -- of course.

HABERMAN: As soon as the day that he fired Reince Priebus and hire John Kelly, where he made what was a, "joke" about how wanted to see police officers not be so nice with the suspects.

COOPER: Not put their hands on --


HABERMAN: -- I mean, look, let me just finish second. He had said things like this during the campaign of similar venue, when you are the president it's very different. And when you are basically leading, you know, millions of law enforcement officers across the country. That can send a real signal. And you saw a lot of pushback including from his own DOJ, people saying this is not how we treat police. And it just -- coming amidst this massive several years long debate, a nationwide debate about police tactics. He has shown an inability to talk about this in a cohesive comprehensive and sensitive way.

COOPER: Do you, I mean, the fact that he did this in Alabama in overwhelmingly white audience, talking about those people, our anthem, you know, saying -- calling them sons much bitches, is that appropriate? I mean, if you want to start a -- you sort of praised him for bringing this issue to the floor.


COOPER: The issue actually is racism, racial inequality, that's the issue that these players are trying to bring to the floor. Do you see any racial component in where her did this, how he did it, and the language he used?

MARTIN: You know, suddenly thinking about how to say this. I mean, you know, when he said on this -- I'm from St. Louis, right, St. Louis where the school system is trapped mostly black and brown kids in a bad life, and poor people. When he came to, wherever it was, on a campaign trail and said to African-Americans, you know, the party, the Democratic Party it's been 40 years supposed to be helping and they haven't helped you. You know, and they haven't -- but what I can't, you know, --

COOPER: What do you got to lose?

MARTIN: -- to lose. When you look up and you see a national anthem and there's lots of people who watch and lots of African-Americans watch football. But a lot of the country is hurting with jobs being gone and no future and all the epidemic of opioid crisis and all this. And that it would become -- if you're a bad person if you don't see that the black problem of police brutality is central to this, that's kind of over the top for someone who watches the NFL. When he says that, people say, aha, he's on our side. Doesn't mean he's not on that their side too? I mean, like Black Lives Matter guy showed up at the Trump rally, have you seem the video? You got to be --I'm anti cop, Black Lives Matter. I'm not anti cop. I'm anti-bad cop.



MARTIN: -- let's get anti-bad cop.

JONES: That's what Black Lives Matter's been saying the whole time.

MARTIN: But my point is that, my point is that when he says this isn't the time to protest and make it a dramatic racial --

COOPER: But has the president ever talked about him being anti-bad cop? I mean, he did tell police officers to bang, you know, their heads on cars on convicted people's head into police cars.

MARTIN: Yes, I mean, but does he have to say what -- on everything. We know this president. He doesn't -- and all these kind of different things he's not for a bad cop, he's not for -- he's not someone who uses --

COOPER: A police officer who bangs a suspect's head --

MARTIN: Come on --


JONES: -- unreasonable and unlawful use of force. But here's a thing --

CUCCINELLI: Also called bad humor.

MARTIN: Yes, right. It's called bad humor.

JONES: But here's what I think we got to be able to deal with. Yes, if somebody wanted to stand up and talk about the opioid crisis, you know, I've been working on that with Newt Gingrich, by the way, a bipartisan base and trying to get something done about that.

There's a lot of these issues that bring folks together. And there are some issues that we've got to listen. You know what me mad today? When the president says, well, I went to talk to the veterans who are hurting and that's why I'm standing up. Hold on a second. You got a bunch of dreamers who are in the military right now. He's not standing up for them. He got transgender, people who are soldiers. He's not standing up for them. When he got the chance to be a soldier, he said his foot hurt. Don't use our soldiers our wounded soldiers, and drag them into the debate to make yourself look better. Let's deal with what is actually the issue.

COOPER: Kirsten.

POWERS: Yes, no, I just think the bottom line is there's never a place where it's appropriate for African-Americans to complain, I mean, whether it's Jamele Hill on Twitter, that's not OK. You're kneeling, you're not even -- you're not creating a scene, you are a respected member of society, it's an establish problem Republicans accept that there's a problem with our criminal justice system. You're just, you know, you just don't want to be shot in the back by a cop. It's pretty basic. And that's not OK. I just guarantee no matter what they do you are going to have a problem with them.


POWERS: Literally.

MARTIN: Come on, Kirsten --


POWERS: Please stop interrupting me.

MARTIN: That's ridiculous.

[21:25:01] POWERS: You demonize Black Lives Matter.

MARTIN: Who does?

POWERS: Conservatives. It's always, however, it's being done.

CUCCINELLI: Any group marching say kill the pigs --


POWERS: -- that is not -- that's just factually total false and debunked. My point is you always find a way to --

JONES: I want to correct that on the record.

POWERS: He never stop and listen to what people are saying. And you complain about how they're saying it.

MARTIN: How can it be never? How can you say we never do that?

POWERS: When did you do it? When did you do it?

MARTIN: Let me ask you a different question. Is there arrive place where it's not OK to protest? Would it be OK for someone to get --

POWERS: A peaceful lawful protest is always OK.

MARTIN: Always OK? On CNN right now I could say I'm here and I want to protest against abortion, I think killing babies is terrible, I'm going to do something dramatic and CNN might say, Ed, wrong time, wrong place, nice gesture, you're fired.


POWERS: Well, I don't know -- actually, I don't --

(CROSSTALK) POWERS: Don't have to do with analogy. And the point is, you distracted from the question. When have you said it's OK? Give me an example when you have been OK with African-Americans who are complaining about something -- .

MARTIN: Anytime that they want to express themselves.

POWERS: Specific example that you're OK with it.

MARTIN: Anytime. Well, anytime, I'm from St. Louis it happens all the time --

POWERS: It's always the complaint is always -- they're not saying it the right way.


CUCCINELLI: Look, the sweeping defamation is really in here. I've worked on criminal justice reform since the 1990s. I worked on it since I left the attorney general's office. This kind of crap --

POWERS: That's what I just said.

CUCCINELLI: -- is not tolerable.

POWERS: I actually just said that learn agreement there's a problem with the criminal justice system --

CUCCINELLI: OK, yes. And you say none of us never do anything about it.

POWERS: No, no, that's not what I said.

CUCCINELLI: -- it's OK to do that.

POWERS: That's not what I said. I said that you -- you never OK with African-Americans protesting.

MARTIN: Never.

COOPER: Van, you --


COOPER: We got to go.

JONES: I just want to say, and I think of people make this mistake. You wouldn't make it on purpose, I know you very well. There was one rally where some people at a Black Lives Matter protest said try them like bacon. It was about seven people at the back of the rally. That happened one time. It's been shown over and over again. I just want to let you know for sure, that is not what 99.9 percent of these Black Lives Matters rallies have been about. And you have -- got a chance to go to some of them, I don't think you'd be very impress with them. I just don't want them to all be tarred forever with those seven --

CUCCINELLI: And I appreciate that. But --


CUCCINELLI: Look, I work with law enforcement legal defense fund. We protect cops who get baloney charges against them.

JONES: But my dad was a cop in the military. I understand what you're saying.

CUCCINELLI: But the flip side of this, they're lives are put on the line every day in the defense of innocent people against evil which exist in every neighborhood in this country --


JONES: We don't have to have this argument. I don't want funerals. I don't want black funerals, I don't want blue funerals. I don't want funerals. And we got to get more funerals if we keep talking past each other. And all I'm saying is, you got a bunch of young kids out there, African-American who are trying to make their country better. Let's not just couple them all in a negative category that's gonan push in a situation for more funerals. I don't want funerals.

COOPER: All right, we're going to take a break. Quick reminder, we're going to be devoting an hour to the subject tomorrow night talking some of the best and brightest on all sides of the issue, taking your question, it's a CNN Special Town Hall the "Patriotism, The Players And The President" 9:00 P.M. Eastern right here. We'll be right back.


[21:30:45] COOPER: More breaking news tonight. We're starting to get some results in the GOP runoff race for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat. A race that's also pinning President Trump against his former chief strategist Steve Bannon. With 40 percent of precincts reporting Roy Moore, Judge Roy Moore leads the president's pick Senator Luther Strange, 57 to 43 percent.

I want to go to Alexander Marquardt who's at Moore headquarters joins us now. The mood there has got to be jubilant.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there's a lot of jubilation here in this room. You can hear the celebrating going on behind me. CNN has not yet called this race but the campaign here is certainly very optimistic that this is the way the race is going, that Judge Roy Moore has indeed won the Senate Leadership Fund which is the super PAC that is affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has conceded that Roy Moore has won.

That is a super PAC that has poured millions of dollars into this campaign. This is a massive below to the Senate Republican leadership and to the establishment. Now, this is so much more than the Republican primary in a Senate race. This is latest battle for the soul of the Republican Party, one that has staunchly divided Republicans into two camps. And on the one hand, you have President Trump who has gone against his natural instincts and has been supporting the establishment candidate, Luther Strange. Someone who is a Washington lobbyist for years, someone who is seen very much as part of the establishment. As I mentioned, he got those millions of dollars from that super PAC.

On the other hand, you have people like former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Trump's former senior adviser and campaign chairman Steve Bannon who have come out for Judge Roy Moore. He is someone who's very much the outsider in this race, has no Washington experience, someone who talks consistently about draining the swamp. He is much more in the mold of Trump.

But at the rally that President Trump headlined on Friday night in Huntsville, Alabama for Luther Strange, he made it very clear that it was a question of loyalty. Now we all know how much the president values loyalty. Strange had shown him loyalty. He said that Strange was a reliable vote in the Senate. He had fought along side the president against ObamaCare, in favor of repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

But in the same -- almost the same breathe of the same event with Luther Strange standing just a few paces away, the president mused aloud whether it was a mistake getting involved in this race at all. He said that Luther Strange stood a significant chance of losing and in that case, it would be a major embarrassment to him.

So that's certainly something that the White House is bracing themselves for tonight. Anderson?

COOPER: Alex, the president will give it and take it away. Back now with the panel. Alex, thanks very much.

Ken, what do you make? What's going on here in Alabama?

CUCINNILI: This is exactly what we expected. Look, the hat I usually wear is the conservative --

COOPER: I'm sorry, I just want to say that CNN is actually now calling the race now for former judge Moore.

CUCCINELLI: Judge Moore has won almost every part of the state that counted votes. And look, this is an establishment versus grassroots battle from the get go. Luther strange is not Susan Collins, he is not Lisa Murkowski. This was really Moore versus McConnell and the Washington establishment.

And Luther made the mistake of arriving in Washington and cozying right up. And despite all the money they could bring in Air Force One and Air Force Two yesterday, the basic anti-establishment fervor going on in Alabama carried the day.

COOPER: Was it a mistake for President Trump to side with Strange?

MARTIN: Yes. Here's the thing I want to point out, Anderson, I think it's kind of unique change (ph) of position. Twice the president in recent memory has said I'll work with the establishment and it we'll all work out. One is Luther Strange, OK, I'll work with him, he'd be my vote.

Two is ObamaCare. OK, you guys will pass repeal. Both went down.

I think what you're going to see is the president is going to realize that idea of working -- well, Bannon said, you know, in an interview with Charlie Rose, we made a decision to work with the establishment. It's not working out.

The base of the party and the base of the country is looking up and saying, yes, we may agree with you on some of your cultural instincts like we talked earlier in the show, but on these elections -- and it's coming. The wave is coming and it's not going to --

CUCCINELLI: Is that why Bob Corker retired?

MARTIN: Yes, Bob Corker retired.

[19:35:00] CUCCINELLI: They knew he was going to lose. He retired today because Judge Moore was going to win. Lindsey graham said if Judge Moore wins, we're all in trouble, and you bet they are. You be they are. They're afraid of their own base.

[21:35:09] JONES: I've never seen people in a kamikaze mission giggle more than these guys. I mean, you think that the Republican Party apparently isn't right wing enough --

MARTIN: No, populist, populist. We want less right-wing cooperatists (ph) and more for populism for the people. Like the Sanders wing is doing that.

JONES: Listen, I admire Senator Sanders a great deal, but I will say is that there is a positive populism that's available to Republicans, and there's a negative populism that's available to Republicans and then same for Democrats. And what I would say is simply this. You're now creating a situation where you will not be able to govern.

If you can't -- you don't have enough votes to pass the ultra populist also right wing stuff you want to pass which means you're not going to get much done. At some point people are going to say we gave the Republicans a chance, they ate their own babies, they can't govern and then we get the ball back.

COOPER: Kirsten, do you think this sends shock waves to Republicans who are on Capitol Hill right now?

POWERS: Yes, I definitely do because I think this is -- I think you're right, this is a rebuke of Donald Trump, it's particularly rebuke of McConnell and Ryan and what's happening on the Hill. But, I think Van is right. I mean, it -- well, first of all, in Alabama if you win the Republican primary you probably are going to win the seat.

If somebody could lose it, this is the person. I mean, this is somebody who, you know, was recently referring to Native Americans as reds and Asians as yellows and, you know, someone who got in trouble for violating the law in terms of, you know, in same sex marriage became legal was telling judges not to issue, you know, same sex --

COOPER: He was suspended for that.

POWERS: Yes, I mean, you know, he's behaving in pretty radical ways. Now, maybe in Alabama it doesn't matter. But if there's somebody who's going to be problematic, it's going to be him.

And Van is right, this is future of the Republican Party. I don't certainly see how you're going to get everything done.

COOPER: But how much damage did the president do to him just by sort of -- I mean, saying I'm for him but then -- I mean, just the other night in Alabama basically --

CUCCINELLI: Look, we supported Mel Brooks in the first round for viewers, this is the second round of a primary where Alabama requires a 50 percent vote. Nobody got that on August 15th. And Mel Brooks was stopped by the president supporting Luther Strange.

Congressman Mel Brooks didn't make the runoff because the president stepped in and stopped his momentum which would have past Luther. So the president came in and changed the outcome in that round, but the things that Congressman Brooks started which was the McConnell comparison and where they were spending all the money attacking Congressman Books, carried into the second round and Moore is a natural candidate for this because he's already defined.

The game that McConnell usually plays is to overwhelm challengers to the establishment with money and define them as, you know, professional politician, et cetera. They couldn't do that in Alabama. Roy Moore was too well noon.

COOPER: We got to take a break. We have breaking news in the Russian investigation. When we come back, the new development that could open the door for the special counsel to get a copy of President Trump's tax returns. We'll talk about that ahead.


[21:41:58] COOPER: Breaking news in the Russian investigation. The IRS and Special Counsel Robert Mueller now working together on the Russia probe. Sources tell CNN the IRS is sharing information that could include tax return data from key Trump campaign officials. This comes up after the two entities clashed earlier this summer for questions about the scope of the investigation.

The question now is whether this move could potentially open the door for the IRS to also share the president's tax returns with Mueller. CNN's Pamela Brown joins us now.

So, what are you learning? What is the reporting?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRENPONDENT: Well, we've learned, Anderson after a summer clash that the IRS is now sharing information with investigators working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And this comes after the two sides were at odds, for months they went back and forth over the scope of Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling we're told by sources.

And Mueller's investigators wanted information on several people associated with the Trump campaign, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. And we're told initially by sources that the IRS has reservations when Mueller's team reached out because of what was seen as far reaching and broad requests for information for Mueller's investigators. In the case of Manafort, the scope includes possible tax and financial crimes that date back to January of 2006, 10 years before the Russian meddling in the presidential election last fall.

It's unclear whether Mueller has obtained the tax returns belonging to the president, but, of course, that is still very much a big question that we all have considering he would not release his tax returns during the presidential campaign, Anderson.

COOPER: Also in your reporting, I understand it indicates that the dispute between the Mueller team and the IRS centers on the July raid in Manafort's home.

BROWN: That's right, there were some tensions between the IRS and the special counsel behind the scene of that FBI raid on Manafort's home in Alexandria, Virginia. Multiple sources tell us that the IRS didn't participate in that July raid because of IRS objections that the search would interfere with the separate IRS investigation in Manafort.

We're told that the IRS and the FBI initially had their own Manafort probe before last year's election and before Mueller was ever appointed. The special counsel's office though went ahead with the search of Manafort's home, Anderson with only FBI agents carrying this raid out. And that is unusual for the IRS to sit out on a certain investigation that centers on tax and financial matters. But all of that aside, that the back and forth, that despite of their clash over this summer, there is information sharing that is now happening with the Russia probe.

COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown, thanks very much.


COOPER: Let's bring back the panel. How significant do you think this is, Kirsten?

POWERS: Well, I think it's significant because of what Pamela reference about whether they get a hold of the president's tax returns. But also just sort of to reinforce this idea that Mueller must think that -- believe that Manafort has something that he can tell him. And that, you know, they're putting a lot of pressure on him I think to try to get in the way that you saw Ken Starr do with the McDougals, it didn't really pan out. But it does seem that they're -- you know, that they really are trying to squeeze them a bit.

COOPER: Ken, do you think that's what -- I mean, that ultimately they're trying to flip Paul Manafort if he is -- has information? [21:45:00] CUCCINELLI: Yes, and I would say that well, what's publicly known would indicate that maybe it's appropriate for Department of Justice prosecutors to investigate its way outside the jurisdiction that's appropriate for Mueller. I don't think it's unusual at all to be seeking IRS information in an investigation that might involve finances. That's pretty standard.

So, for anybody related to it, that doesn't surprise me at all. But there is still the oddity of going back so far with Manafort, who appears to have his own problems well before he came into the campaign. And then some of the e-mails we saw recently via the New York Times and Washington Post where campaign people were questioning certain concerns with Manafort, and Manafort was blowing them off and saying, you know, don't worry about that, don't answer that, don't respond to that. And just kind of walling himself off on this subject while he seems to be getting more walled off now.

COOPER: Do you think this is beyond the scope of the Mueller -- because there are lot of people say that the marching orders for Mueller were actually pretty broad?

CUCCINELLI: Yes. But the only way you count this is within the bounds of the jurisdiction. Now I'm talking about the old stuff with Manafort.

COOPER: We're talking about 2006.

CUCCINELLI: If he's trying to get leverage, well, leverage isn't an appropriate part of an investigation. I mean, you're supposed to try to get truth, not leverage, and that is not what's going on here. And look, I'm someone who has a pretty idealistic view how prosecutors are supposed to operate. This is outside those boundaries.

COOPER: But, isn't this what prosecutors -- I mean, kind of see, you know, sort of skeptical. Isn't this what prosecutors do to people all the time?

JONES: Well, the technical Latin for this is, they do it all day, err day (ph). I think that's a Latin, err day. This is exactly how prosecutors behave. It's exactly what they do. They try to get the kitchen sink and they try to get you to do what they want you to do.

Now, if conservatives don't like that or people think that's a bad thing, there is a move in trying to get prosecutors to act a little bit better across the board but I think it's weird for us to be picking on this one thing.

I think that for a lot of people, this deeper disquiet with the president's silence about this cyber attack on our democracy is going to get bigger over time. I know people think it's a partisan thing. It is partisan thing because everything else is partisan. But I don't understand a lot of things that I'm seeing right now.

If I were the president of the United States and I was in that situation, one way to get ahead of it is you go out there and you lead the charge. I'm going after these Russians (INAUDIBLE). Instead, he's doing the opposite, meanwhile this thing gets bigger.


MARTIN: Well, I thought he was going to say when you said the president, I thought you meant the former President Obama when he didn't seem to do as much when he was in charge on this question. But, look, from the beginning with the last time I was on, I called him the walking dead. Mueller is a zombie lawyer who's going to keep searching until he can devour somebody whether it's 2006 or after.

And look, it's -- the Russia -- the idea of taking the Russia attempt to influence the election whether it's Zuckerberg or (INAUDIBLE) as a way to take down this president has been going on since right after the election when Hillary lost.


JONES: Listen, I said that from the point of view of Democrats who think this is going to be their way to get him out of the White House tomorrow. There's not going to be an impeachment tomorrow and that's what we're talking about.

But let me ask you a question. You are a big old patriot.


JONES: Aren't you concerned about our democracy?

MARTIN: Always.


COOPER: More on the Russian investigation next including details on Roger Stone's testimony on Capitol Hill today. The president's longtime adviser and confidante was there talking about it.


[21:51:51] COOPER: New developments tonight on the Russia probe. The former key insider of the president was interviewed today on Capitol Hill by the House Intelligence Committee, and then of course we have our own breaking news. The IRS now sharing information with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell serves on the House Intelligence Committee. He joins us now. First of all, Congressman, I'm wondering what your reaction to reporting that according to CNN sources the IRS is now sharing information with Mueller's team.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, Anderson, good evening. That is encouraging. I don't think any investigation in Congress or a criminal would be complete without looking at the president's taxes and the taxes of other individuals who had financial dealings with Russia.

We have seen consistently the has president denied any prior financial transactions or dealings with Russia. And only because of media reporting and investigations we've seen that he had an interest in doing business with the Russians in the Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign. And then prior patents that were given to him in Russia, Russians who have bought and invested in real estate in the United States.

So, following the money is a time-tested principle. And I hope that's what they're doing here.

COOPER: So just to be clear, you think that Mueller should be looking at the president's tax returns?

SWALWELL: Yes, absolutely.

COOPER: The closed door interview between your committee and Roger Stone today, after the interview Stone described it as a, quote, frank exchange. He also said it was, quote, an entirely political exercise. I know you don't -- can get him to direct testimony but how would you characterize it. Did you get the answers you were looking for?

SWALWELL: Well, Mr. Stone significance starts and ends with a tweet that he sent telling the world that John Podesta was going to spend his time in the barrel. And then two months later we learned that John Podesta's e-mails were hacked.

And when Mr. Stone was asked, well, who are you talking to at WikiLeaks, he first said Julian Assange publically and then now he's asserting that it was an intermediary and he refused because it was a voluntary interview to disclose who the intermediary is. I hope that he has the same sense for country and duty to get to the bottom of this as we do. And I hope he'll be forthcoming with that.

Otherwise, we'll have to subpoena him and get that information.

COOPER: Your colleague, ranking membership said that one of the key takeaways with Stone's unwillingness to answer questions about his relationship as you just said.

SWALWELL: Principally around who was he talking to? You know, the intelligence community has assessed that it was indeed Russians who he was talking to, who had hacked Secretary Clinton's e-mails and the DNC e-mails and John Podesta's e-mails and then disseminated them.

And so, he was in contact with them. He sent messages asking them to do things on his behalf and he was helping disseminate their hacked e- mails on theirs. So there was a working relationship they had established. So it would be very helpful to know who he was working with.

Also, Anderson, I should point out, in his public opening statement he said that the DNC should have cooperative and been more forthcoming by turning over the server that was hacked. And I think in that same spirit, he needs to be forthcoming.

COOPER: According to CNN's reporting, special counsel investigators could start interviewing current and former White House staff as soon as later this week including Reince Preibus, Sean Spicer, Hope Hicks, the White House Counsel Don McGahn. I know you can't talk about who your committee would like to interview, but generally speaking, how key are those players in the investigation in.

[21:55:03] SWALWELL: Most of them are pivotal, Anderson. Many of them were communicating with Russians during the peak time of Russian interference. And I hope that we're inspired to move as fast in this investigation and as thoroughly as it appears that Bob Mueller and his team are doing.

I think the best thing that we can to do protect against a future attack is to show unity among Republicans and Democrats. That's the best shield. The best way to Russian swords for the next election is disunity.

COOPER: Congressman Eric Swalwell, always appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

SWALWELL: My pleasure, thanks Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up, The RidicuList is next. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time now for The RidicuList. And tonight we have a public service announcement for the good people of Greene County, Tennessee. And I want you to stick with me here because what I'm about to say is going to sound counterintuitive.

If you see a dead body on Chuckey Pike don't call the police. Actually, let me amend that, if you see this particular dead body, with these particularly bloody handprints on the garage door, don't call the police. If you see a different dead body in Chuckey Pike or different set of bloody hand prints, by all means call.

But you don't have to call for this particular one because it's not real. It's just clothes stuffed with newspaper and the blood is food coloring and hair gel. It's an early Halloween decoration. And yes, it has absolutely alarmed some people. At least one of them call 911 last week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there's a guy laying up in his driveway next to the house. There's two big bloody handprints on side of the house, when he was -- he -- looks to me like he's dead.


COOPER: Here's the gentleman who called 911, just a concerned citizen wanting to report what he saw.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was somebody. I thought it was somebody laying up on the driveway and I tell them what happened and they said we'll send somebody to check it.


COOPER: And check it, they did. A sheriff's deputy went and bang on the door of the homeowner slash, the guy who put some grizzly Halloween decorations in the middle of September.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said thank you guys for caring, but I'm doing just fine. When the police came today, they pulled the boot off just to make sure there wasn't a person. I thought it look so real and so fun so -- and I hope people don't take it offense to it.


COOPER: No one really seems to be taking offense, not even the deputy and sergeant who got the call.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes, you get the adrenaline pump, you get -- you don't know what to expect. You don't know if you're going in there with somebody already there. A bad situation that wasn't. It turned out all right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all thought it was funny. It was a good Halloween decoration.


COOPER: Well, the Greene County Sheriff's Department has now posted this on its Facebook page. Quote, attention, everyone, for those who'd be driving on Chuckey Pike and Greene County, this is a Halloween decoration. Do not call 911 reporting a dead body. Instead, congratulate the homeowner on a great display.

Yes, congratulations on a great display. Although the homeowner slash the guy who puts up a grizzly Halloween decorations in the middle of September does have one minor problem. His Halloween surprise pretty much ruined now that it hit the news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was actually starting as a joke because when I had my Halloween party, I was actually going to dress up under there, after everyone seen it for so long, and then when they come out to get drinks or something, pop up out of the garage door and scare everybody.


COOPER: I kind of would like to go to that Halloween party. The best late plans often do go awry, however, and sometimes end up on the RidicuList.

Thanks for watching 360. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. CNN TONIGHT starts now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And here's the breaking news. President Trump's candidate defeated by Steve Bannon's in Alabama. This is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon.

That result in Alabama, a Senate runoff seat as people asking tonight, who's GOP is it anyway.