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Priebus Interviewed By Special Counsel In Russia Probe; Trump Ends Obamacare Subsidies For Lower-Income Families; Trump Decertifies Iran Nuclear Deal but Doesn't End It; Trump Unraveling Obama's Legacy; CNN Exclusive Investigation: Kids For Sale. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 13, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:41] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It was a very big night and before the breaking news. President Trump taking two more shots at President Obama's legacy, and doing a vital piece to the Affordable Care Act and turning thumbs town on the nuclear accord with Iran, more on both in the hour ahead.

But first, there's breaking news at this hour, Reince Priebus, Former White House Chief of Staff talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. Our Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto joins us with details. So what do we know about this meeting?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It shows Mueller's probe now is extending to the senior most advisers to the president. We know this meeting took place today. Priebus' lawyer tells CNN that this was voluntary, that he was happy to cooperate. He's interviewed by members of Mueller's team. This took place at Mueller's offices here in Washington.

I should note that Priebus relevant to this investigation not just due to his position as chief of staff in the administration but remember he was chairman of the Republican National Committee during the campaign, heavenly involved during the campaign when, of course, Russia meddling in the Election began. Russia meddling is the topic, the main topic, the subject of the special counsel's probe.

COOPER: And do we know who else Mueller is interested in interviewing from the president's inner circle?

SCIUTTO: CNN's reporting it extends to a whole list of some of the president's senior most advisers, that includes his current Communications Directors, Hope Hicks, his current General Counsel, Don McGahn, his Former Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. We also know that the Special Counsel has already interviewed the chief of staff for National Security Council that is Keith Kellogg. And the topis he wants to talk about, things like the firing of James Comey, the firing of Michael Flynn, his National Security Adviser, but also that famous meeting on Air Force One when the president and his advisers were crafting the initial misleading explanation of that Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and lawyers who said that they were offering -- Russian lawyer, offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton. So a number of topics, a number of paths that the special counsel going down with these interviews.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Sciutto. Jim, thanks. I want to get the panel's take. Bakari Sellers is here, Alice Stewart, Jeffrey Toobin, Tara Setmayer, and Michael Shear. Michael, how big a concern is this for -- must this be for the people in the White House? I mean if one by one, you know, former folks are being called in.

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So it's kind of a concern on two levels, right, from a political concern about the president and his fate. There's concern that the higher up Mueller goes in the administration, the more serious the investigation looks both in terms of the underlying Russia allegations, but also the obstruction of justice, considerations that Mueller has clearly been looking into. And I think you can underestimate these (INAUDIBLE) which it's a person concern for them as well, right? I mean, you know, these are -- in some cases like young people or people who, you know, aren't necessarily wealthy, they have to get lawyers, they have to, you know, think about their own personal --

COOPER: Right, I mean, it can cause -- tens of thousands of dollars.

SHEAR: -- tens of thousands of dollars. And potentially, obviously, if a federal investigator was investigating you there's, you know, the potential that you could end up in real legal jeopardy as well as the political concerns for your boss.

COOPER: Jeff, what does this mean in terms of where the investigation is?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you can't tell for sure, but it certainly means it's not at the very beginning, because Priebus is -- as we've discussed very high up. And investigators don't start by interviewing the top people. They also -- you know, we always talk in this circumstances about interviews, but the most important thing of any investigation is getting documents, is getting e-mails, memos, and that's what the questioning usually consists of, showing a witness, a document and explaining the context of it. What this mean is that the Mueller team has enough documents that they feel it's appropriate to interview Reince Priebus at this point.

By the way, it doesn't mean this will be the last time they interview him. Repeated interviews are common, but it does suggest that they are pretty far along in their investigation and certainly not at the beginning anymore.

COOPER: But, I mean, you talk about a guy who was in the room when it happened, you know, paraphrase, Hamilton. I mean, you know, he traveled with the president as many people in the president's inner circle, did probably more than most chief of staffs normally would have.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think a lot of that was -- if you call back -- during the campaign and in the beginning of this administration. A lot of times there's a feeling that you needed to be close to the president or the candidate at the time because he would listen to the last person he sought information from, and that's how he would make a decision. And they just wanted to have access to the president.

[21:05:09] Reince Priebus was in that category, he and others in the top echelon of the campaign and the administration did spent a lot of time with the president. So clearly, they have a lot of information that would be helpful and beneficial to Mueller's investigation.

As Jeffrey said, generally they don't start with the top people in these investigations. They start with people that may be a little more on the food chain and the hopes they would provide information people at the top.

I think the good thing with this, Priebus came out willingly and voluntarily and providing information. Others will too. It's amazing how requests from Mueller will get to the volunteer to speak with them. But -- provide information. And as we know I think the best thing for this president and the Republican Party is to put all of this out there. Let's get this behind so we can focus on --

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Let me just chime in quickly. There's nothing, there's no good part of a federal investigation when somebody of a caliber of any FBI agent but let alone. Mueller is kind of going through everywhere. He's going through your underwear. I mean, this is going to be a complete investigation.

And we were talking about the timetable of where this is to Jeffrey's point. We don't know where this administration yet. We will know that it's coming to a conclusion when they interview Donald Trump if they do get that opportunity. I was -- Jeffrey can probably speak to this better than I can.

But we knew back during white water that led to the eventual blue dress when Bill Clinton at the time was interviewed in the map room of the White House and the Grand jury was actually shown via a video screen and you knew then that the investigation was nearing a close. But everyone who's interviewed has exposure.

As a lawyer, I tell my clients every single day that Martha Stewart did not go to jail for insider trading. Martha Stewart went to jail for lying to federal investigators.

And so, when you have someone -- when you have this White House and everyone in it who's been allergic to the truth, this becomes a real problem as they're being interviewed by investigators.

TARA SETMAYER, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, ABC NEWS: The same thing happened with Bill Clinton.


SETMAYER: He didn't get impeached because of anything in particular that they though from the beginning with white water which was -- a stock deal --

SELLERS: Land deal.

SETMAYER: -- that's right, land deal. (INAUDIBLE). And he got in trouble because he lied so -- about an affair.

So anyway, look, none of this is ever good for the president. So I'll be very curious to see how he reacts. He's already begun tweeting tonight about Pakistan and other things. Anytime this investigation starts to get a little closer, a little closer, we start to see Donald Trump start tweeting things out for disinformation purposes. Reince Priebus, we also have to remember, is not one of the necessary Trump loyalists.

COOPER: Right, he came relatively late to the party.

SETMAYER: That's right. And he was not exactly on board in the beginning either. He was part of the establishment. He was reluctant but he recognized for his political survival. But he need to get onboard to Trump train. But if it comes down to it, I don't think he's going to be someone that's going to protect the president.

COOPER: Michael, I mean, Sean Spicer reportedly took very careful notes. And obviously that will be something that's a great interest.

SHEAR: Right, so both Sean Spicer and Hope Hicks, one of the things that we understand that Mueller is looking into is that moment on the plane on Air Force One when the president and his aides are drafting a kind of initial statement in response to reports that there had been this meeting with the Russians where somebody had come and said --

COOPER: For Donald Trump Jr.

SHEAR: That with Donald Trump Jr.

COOPER: Right. And initially the president -- the people around him said, oh no, he wasn't drafting it. It was Donald Trump Jr.'s lawyers. I mean, Jay Sekulow --

SHEAR: Right, where there was that, and they say it was initially about -- the meeting was just about adoption and it turned out it was about, you know, an offer to provide damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

And so, you know, it's things like that where the investigators are going to back to the people who were on the plane who were with the president drafting that initial statement, that includes Sean Spicer, that includes, we think Hope Hicks. And the investigators are going to ask them very detailed questions about how that statement came to be and then compare that to the statements that other people made.

COOPER: Yes. A lot more to talk about including the president's decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, essentially put the next move in the hands of Congress. We're going to be join next by the Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

Also later, kids taken from Central Africa, sold to American families, sold, we thought they were actually adopting orphans. How could this happen? Part two of our exclusive CNN investigation.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you do. What's today?



[21:12:57] COOPER: The president as we said is undoing two major pieces of the Obama legacy and part of the debate concerns whether he's doing it despite the risk to despite to potential human and monitoring cost without a clear plan for what comes next. Primarily because to him these isn't really about any of that instead, say critics, this is personal about negating most things from the Obama administration.

On the other hand this is what the president campaign done what he promised to do.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has more on Iran and Obamacare joins us now. So Ryan just explain the step that President Trump took a regarding Obamacare.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Essentially what he did Anderson was say that the administration was going to say hold the cost sharing reduction payments. And these are payments that are given to insurance companies to stabilize the insurance market under the Affordable Care Act.

Now, this is a provision that was ruled unlawful by a federal court and it's something that Republicans have criticized for some time. But it was something the Obama administration continued to do. And we should point out that the Trump administration continued to do up until this month, and the reason being is that it's very important to stabilize those insurance markets and there are many people, not just Democrats, but Republicans as well who are concerned that if these payments don't stay in place, that the -- that premiums for many Americans could skyrocket.

COOPER: In terms of the Iran deal, the president threaten to rip it up, he stopped short of doing that today though.

NOBLES: No, he did not rip it up by any stretch, Anderson. Instead he sent this provision to the Congress, and now Congress has 60 days to come up with a plan as it comes -- as it relates to Iran. And what he's hoping is that the Congress comes back with something that is a lot tougher on Iran with much stricter sanctions and forcing them to adhere to the letter of the law as it comes to this deal.

But it's important to point out, Anderson, that even the administration admits that Iran has lived up to their end of the bargain. They're just upset that they haven't followed the spirit of the law which is very difficult to understand and put a finger on. And there are members of his own administration including his secretary of state and his defense secretary who have recommended against this. Now it will be in the hands of Congress to decide what's going to happen, and the president said today that if Congress doesn't come up with a plan he likes, he may just pull the United States out of this deal with Iran.

[21:15:07] COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate that. Our next guest is watcher on to nuclear program grow over the years to see the changes since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, joins us now. So Director Clapper, I mean, President Trump today said the Iran was violating the spirit of this agreement.

When you had full access to intelligence was that your assessment as well? And do we know since the president took office has that changed?

LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER, (RET.), CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I don't know exactly what that means. Clearly there are ambiguities in the JCPOA, which we're very sensitive to. And of course the Iranians are probably exploiting those ambiguities.

But in the large measure as others have said, they are in material compliance with the agreement. So I think this has huge implications for us. One, I think with, you know, the other members -- there are five other countries involved in this agreement. The other permanent members, the United Nations Security Council in addition to Germany and all of them aren't going to decertify.

I also think, if the objective here is to, you know, put more pressure on Iran, I think we're going to find great difficulty putting humpy dumpy together again and reassembling the international coalition of sanctions which is what brought Iran to the table in the first place.

And another dimension of this is how this is going to play in Iran domestically. This plays to the hard liners in Iran who were not in favor of any sort of engagement with the United States, and this plays right to their hand.

As well with Korea, I think the notion of negotiation or diplomacy which to me is the only realistic way ahead here, North Koreans are skeptical anyway about the United States, are probably not going to be interested in any negotiating on treaties from the United States.

I do find it in congruous that we're concerned about Iran complying with the spirit of this agreement when the Russians are in object Violahtion of both the spirit and the letter of the INF treaty, the intermediate nuclear forces treaty. And, you don't hear much about that, and that's something the Senate did vote on. And I don't know why we aren't concerned about that if we're concerned about Iran not complying with the spirit of the JCPOA. COOPER: Given that the other signatories to the Iran deal, our allies are not going to decertify. You know, there is some notion from Trump supporters that this is kind of an opening salvo by the president. That this will lead to some sort of re-negotiation of the entire agreement. That -- do you think that's just a nonstarter?

CLAPPER: I do. I think that's going to be very hard starting with the other parties to the agreement, the immediate parties. Let alone the other countries who are also involved in enforcing sanctions. It wasn't just the U.S. imposing sanctions on Iran that brought them to the negotiating table.

And for me, as I said before, if you give me a choice between a state- sponsored terrorism with a nuclear capability or a state-sponsored terrorism without nuclear capability, I think I'd pick the latter. No one in the last administration for a moment who had any illusions about Iran, and it's nefarious behavior, destabilizing behaviors in the region.

But I would have preferred to use what has been negotiated as imperfect as it is as a building block and enforce it, the provisions of this. And I think House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce spoken to this. And force the hell out of the agreement and then use that as a building block for addressing the other things that Iran is doing that nobody likes.

COOPER: I want to ask you just last about Senator Corker who spoke to "The Washington Post" in an interview they posted just tonight. He expressed concern that the president was inviting as he put it binary situations, like choosing between war and North Korea or Iran with nuclear weapons. He probably said that the president has neutered his secretary of state. I believe he said you cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice. Is he right about that?

CLAPPER: Well, I think Senator Corker being a senator can be a lot more colorful about this than I would. I would certainly agree, though, that I think undermining his secretary of state, undercutting him particularly with respect to North Korea. And creating a binary choice where it's either fire and fury or destroying North Korea or nothing. And, of course, the North Koreans obviously find that very threatening, they play that to their domestic audience.

[21:20:01] And so, this is very troublesome where that's the only choice. And the reason it's troublesome for me having served on the current peninsula many years ago. Is that the fire and fury and the destruction of North Korea will not be limited to north of the demilitarized zone. This will necessarily spill over into the south and have terrible, terrible consequences.

COOPER: Yes. I mean potential huge deathly toll, frankly, on both sides of the border.

CLAPPER: Exactly.

COOPER: Yes. General Clapper, appreciate your time. Thank you very much. All this President Trump's decisions on Iran and the executive order on healthcare just the latest instances of President Trump unraveling President Obama's legacy. We'll get (ph) that with our panel next.


COOPER: The second Obama legacy, President Trump took aim that today as the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. Candidate Trump, you'll remember promise to repeal it, replace it, get something better. So far Republican lawmakers have failed to do any of that. So now they put this just taking executive action. As you might imagine opinion differ on what he did just as they do on Iran.

Back now with the panel. It's not only -- I mean, decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, the executive action on the Affordable Care Act, pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, ending DACA. I mean, so much to what President Trump has done, Michael, just in the last nine months is just reversing everything President Obama tried to do.

[21:25:06] SHEAR: Right. When the Obama administration was ending, one of the things that the administration officials, the former administration officials, worried deeply about was the extent to which so much of President Obama's legacy was built not on legislative success, obviously the healthcare bill was a legislative success. But a lot of the other things that he was able to accomplish were executive action because the Congress was reluctant to do anything, the Republican Congress were reluctant to do anything for him.

President Trump has really in his administration really taken advantage of that and they rolled back regulations. They reversed things that they could reverse, and some of that has been easier because of the way President Obama crafted his legacy over eight years.

COOPER: And, I mean, for -- I mean, Donald Trump as a citizen was very critical of President Obama for using executive action so much. President Trump's now used it more than President Obama did.

SELLERS: Nearly twice as much and I mean today was a hell of a day. I mean, all that Donald Trump has done is make insurance more expensive for poor people, destabilizing insurance markets, and make it more likely that Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon. I mean that's the hell of a Friday for absolutely anybody.

And when you think about this, the reason being not that he has a vision for where he wants to go because no one up here, outside of America first, an isolation as then can tell us what, you know, Donald Trump wants to do with the Iran deal. No one can tell us where he wants to go.

He hasn't been able to articulate a clear plan for the healthcare. But what we're going to do now is we're going to see that Republicans now own this. Republicans own the fact that premiums are going to go up 20 percent because of the fact that they are reducing these subsidies. They're going to own the fact that these markets are destabilized. They're going to own the fact that in a few years, I mean if Congress doesn't make a decision on the Iran deal, in 2017, 2018. Iran, then the shackles will come off and will have the ability to resume their nuclear program at a faster pace.

SETMAYER: OK, first of all, a very rarely where you see me actually defend Donald Trump, but today I'm actually going to do that in some respects. What -- first of all, it's not Donald Trump's fault that the insurance markets are going to be unstable or that the premiums are going up. It's Barack Obama's fault because the way that Obamacare was structured.

First of all, the part we need to understand is here, yes, premiums are probably going to go up 20 percent if Congress doesn't authorize these subsidies to stabilize markets in the meantime for a short term plan fix. But that's because of the way Obamacare was set up. It was illegally against the constitution, the way that these payments were given out. That the Obamacare was passed with a section that did not have Congress authorize -- it said that Congress had to authorize the money for these subsidies. Congress did not do that. Tat they have -- just it does, Jeffrey, you know that. In a federal court ruled it was unconstitutional.

So what Donald Trump did today was simply follow what the court said and what constitutionally required which is for Congress to authorize his money.

SELLERS: My only response is that, yes that sounds good. Until you're somebody today who is trying to actually afford not a bronze plan, but maybe even a silver plan, and now your premiums are going to up exponentially. And the most of --


SETMAYER: Bakari, you act like it's happening all of a sudden today.

SELLERS: It's go up to exponentially. But the most amazing part about this, and he's reintroducing junk plans into the system. So, you're going to have plans that don't cover maternity leave. You're going to have plans that don't cover the basic fundamentals.

SETMAYER: What Donald Trump --


SETMAYER: -- is not doing all of that.

SELLERS: It does.

SETMAYER: No, but this is still part of the overall problem with Obamacare that Congress certainly needs to fix, but what happened today was not any of what you're saying. A 116 percent of premiums going up, a 116 percent in Arizona was happening before what happened today. SELLERS: You know, but do you also know what happens on those premiums that are going up in Arizona? The subsidies were also going up. The fact that matter is only three percent of people in the market --

SETMAYER: -- for the government to be paying these subsides --

SELLERS: It's illegal to care for people now?

SETMAYER: No, it's -- take that up with Obamacare. Do you read it Section 1401 and 1402? I suggest you read it.

TOOBIN: That section, one court has held that it is unconstitutional. That is not a resolved legal issue at all. And what -- it's similar to DACA in that the president is saying, well, it's unconstitutional, so I have to get rid of it. That's not settled.

What is settled is that he got rid of it and the fact is that, you know, people will have to live with the consequences rather than letting the legal process go forward.


STEWART: The bottom line is -- I think what many on the left hate to acknowledge is that Obamacare is not working, not only are the costs higher but the choices are lower. We have one-third of the county --

SELLERS: That's such a false script.

STEWART: -- in the state that only have one choice of healthcare.

SELLERS: Such a false script.

STEWART: In 2018, if the health insurance companies continue to bow out as they currently are, one half of the county --


[21:29:55] COOPER: We're going to take a break. We'll have more on this one when we come back. We continue this discussion including the president's latest call for the Democrats to join him to make a deal, what he says. We'll talked about the possibly that happening or the impossible, at least the case may be.


COOPER: We're talking about healthcare. The president scrapping a critical healthcare subsidies that help pay out a pocket calls for nearly 6 million people. Part of his latest effort to do with the executive action of the Republicans led Congress so far has been unable to accomplish legislatively.

And now the president wants to make a deal with Democrats he say, just moments ago, he tweeted this. "Money pouring into insurance companies profits under the guys of Obamacare is over. They have made a fortune. Dems must get smart and deal." Back now with the panel. I mean, is there any chance of that?

SELLERS: Well, yes, actually, but not with this. There is actually a chance because Senator Alexander and Senator Patty Murray are actually working on an Affordable Care Act fix. I mean, the Congress is actually working on something that would fix many of these problems.

STEWART: Just the subsidies.

SELLERS: Well, Donald Trump is not attempting to go down that path. And the fact is, what we know is a fact. Tara and I are arguing over, you know, some politics of the issue. But what we know as a fact is, today, premiums will go up 20 to 25 percent. And the deficit will go up $200 billion because of the actions that Donald Trump took today.

[21:35:00] Last time I check that is not a Republican philosophy. I mean, really it's not a Democratic philosophy and it's not an American philosophy at all even (ph).

STEWART: I think we've made progress just in the fact we have some Democrats even acknowledging that we do need to make some fix with Obamacare.

SELLERS: You said that from the beginning.

STEWART: And I think that Rick Santorum is right, you had him on earlier, I think the plan that Meadows and Johnson have been working on to deal with helping to stabilize the insurance market which will help. I'll set some of the cost from the production and the subsidies that the president wants to do. That is a good short-term fix to get us on the road through this next hump. But then, at the end of the day, Republicans and Democrats need to get to get for a long-term fix.

I think that is a good shortcut measure for getting through to the next step.

COOPER: What is it that you think the Republicans never get -- actually get -- I mean, I know -- again, is working on it.

SELLERS: No. No. No, because it's happened before. Obamacare actually has over 100 Republican amendments even amendments from Orrin Hatch. So let's not act as if this is not something that hasn't happened before.

SETMAYER: That process, I was on Capitol Hill when that was going on, and Democrats were not exactly taking Republicans out to dinner and having drinks over, let's do Obamacare, it wasn't like that at all. It was quite a difficult process for Republicans to actually get anything substantively into these bills and manipulations by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid at the time to get this push through. It was --


COOPER: Michael. I'm sorry.

SETMAYER: -- but here's the -- just really quick, just to finish that. This is the problem with the way that Donald Trump has approached Obamacare and repealing and replacing this and not having all the stakeholders involves early on. It's been a very disjointed -- messaging approach. So Republicans in Congress they have a lot of philosophical differences on certain aspects of this. But without the president being consistent and being a stakeholder on this, it turned into a complete mess politically and Republicans have 30 days to try to get something done here, legislated days left in a year.

SHEAR: And count me as a skeptic on whether something is going to actually get done. I mean, we are marching ever closer to the midterms in 2018. The closer we get to that, there's going to be both sides making not so much a calculation on what can actually be done to get fixed, but who can be blamed for it.

SETMAYER: That's right.

SHEAR: Right. And the kind of discussion that we've had here today is going to be exponentially louder as if you assume that nothing does get done and if you assume that the premiums do go up and that insurance companies do pull out of the markets and there is kind of worsening of the situation at large, it's going to be Democrats fighting to blame the Republicans for it and Trump. And the Republicans and Trump trying to figure out how to deflect that and that's --

SETMAYER: Why would Democrats work with Republicans at this point? A great political midterm --

SHEAR: And the Democrats are not going to be all that eager to hand -- to sort of take back ownership as Bakari said of the issue if it looks like, if the polls are suggesting that in fact, you know, around the country Republicans in districts are taking on water for this.

TOOBIN: And just to emphasize the point how unlikely this for Congress to deal with this, they have to do a budget where the government shuts down. They say they want to do income tax reform which is like their big issue, their big accomplishment they want.


TOOBIN: The president put DACA on their laps. And today, the president put Iran on their plate. All of which suggests that they're not going to do basically any of it, except keep the government --

SHEAR: And maybe in town like 15 days --

SETMAYER: 30 legislative days left.


SETMAYER: -- so I think there is probably going to be some how they --

COOPER: So what -- how did they -- I mean, can they make progress on any of that then?

TOOBIN: Well, I think they have to do a budget or the government shuts down.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: They have to the debt limit or, you know, there's financial chaos. But other than that -- I mean, I will -- and I don't see any of it happening.

STEWART: I think Republicans are truly committed to doing something with regard to Obamacare. They know that they all campaigned many of them for the last seven years --

SELLERS: Where they have been? I know, I don't know what's happening.

STEWART: They have campaign on repealing and replacing Obamacare making changes and many of them up for reelection, they have to get something done.

So I think some of these short-term measures will help, but I think, overall, they realize we need to increase the competition to help lower costs and that will at least show some of the constituents back at home. They're putting in a good faith effort.


SELLERS: The only thing it's --I mean, it's irony. And I think that Donald Trump presidency has been full of irony. I mean, what he's done is he is slash money for advertising for and getting people to enroll on the exchanges. He's actually stopped enrolling people on Sundays. You go to this new cutting back on insuring that individuals with -- low-income individuals can have the subsidies to actually purchase insurance.

And so, it's just full of irony. And you think about his legislative accomplishment, you asked a great question, outside of Gorsuch there hasn't been anything done. I mean, I always go back the conjunction junction how a bill becomes a law.

I mean, you can't see, where he's actually taking something an idea that's gone through process and came out with a signature on the desk. So why would anything change?

COOPER: We got to take a break. Thanks everybody.

[21:39:51] When we come back, part two of our CNN exclusive investigation to what could be child trafficking. Families adopted these little girls, thinking they were orphans in need, when in reality they have been taken from their birth mothers and essentially sold. Our Randi Kaye investigates how this could have happened, next.


ADAM DAVIS, ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UGANDA: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear --

JESSICA DAVIS, ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UGANDA: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear --



COOPER: Last night we introduced you Namata and Violah, the two little girls who were adopted by loving families in the United States who believed they were orphans in need. It turned out the two girls were taken from loving birth mothers and sold in what could be a child trafficking ring. Here's part two of Randi Kaye's exclusive investigation, "Kids for Sale".


A. DAVIS: We unwittingly placed an order for a child. The only trauma this poor kid ever experienced was because we essentially placed an order for a child. She was home and happy with her mother and her family until we -- like I said --

J. DAVIS: They selected her for us.

[21:44:59] RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Selected her, Jessica and Adam Davis say, because they were willing to pay thousands of dollars to adopt Namata from Uganda.

They say, they were told by their adoption agency that Mata had been orphaned. Only to find out later that wasn't the case at all. Mata wasn't an orphan. She and her family were duped. They believe she was pulled from her home and placed in an orphanage after the adoption agency had found the American couple, buyers in a sense with money to adopt the child.

The name of that adoption agency, European Adoption Consultants, headquartered in Ohio. It's the same adoption agency that Stacey and Shawn Wells used. They adopted a young girl named Violah.

Now both families believe the girls were part of wider money making scheme to sell Ugandan children to American families. Both the Davis' and Wells reunited the girls with their families in Uganda.

(on camera): Was it hard to leave her?

STACEY WELLS, ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UGANDA: It was. It was very hard. And I realize at that moment she still felt like my daughter and she still does. To that moment I was -- I knew she was where she was meant to be.

KAYE (voice-over): And both families say all of the heartache and outrage lies squarely at the feet of the European Adoption Consultants or EAC, which CNN has learned is now under investigation by both the State Department and the FBI.

But was EAC part of a scheme to traffic children for profit or perhaps were they simply unaware of what was going on in Uganda. And the questions for the agency don't end there. (on camera): How could Jessica Davis and Stacy Wells have ended up with children who may never have actually been orphaned? That's what we wanted to know and it led us here to Lake Dallas, Texas. Behind these gates lives the head of the EAC's African adoption program. But getting her to answer our questions was a challenge.

I'm trying to find Debra Parris.

(voice-over): Debra Parris is her name. After trying to reach her by phone numerous times, we followed her for more than an hour by car hoping to get answers for these families.

(on camera): Debra.


KAYE (on camera): Hi. I'm sorry. I'm Randi Kaye with CNN. We spoke to some women who adopted children from Uganda and they said that they were lied to. I know you ran the program for European Adoption Consultants.

PARRIS: No, I did not. There was four people.

KAYE (on camera): You were involved in the program for --

PARRIS: I'm not.

KAYE (voice-over): Both Jessica and Stacey say Debra Parris was their main point of contact. The one who called them and told them what turned out to be false stories about the girls' family history. Both describe Parris as aggressive on the phone, demanding an answer right away as to whether or not they take the child. Debra Parris denied having anything to do with the adoptions of children seemingly orphaned for profit.

(on camera): The women in Uganda, the mothers say that they never meant for their children to be adopted.

PARRIS: I didn't.

KAYE (on camera): You help to organize these adoptions. Can you answer that question? Were they lied to?

PARRIS: I did not organize these adoptions.

KAYE (voice-over): Despite her pushback about her role, Debra Parris refers to herself in this e-mail to a reporter as the director of Africa program for EAC.

(on camera): You were the head of the Ugandan adoption program for --

PARRIS: Was not. Margaret Cole was.

KAYE (voice-over): Margaret Cole is the owner of European Adoption Consultants. This is her making a pitch for orphans in Panama.

MARGARET COLE, OWNER, EUROPEAN ADOPTION CONSULTANTS: They need food, they need some medicine.

KAYE (voice-over): Cole started European Adoption Consultants back in 1991. Since then, the agency has handled intercountry adoptions in more than a dozen countries, including Uganda, Bulgaria, Honduras, and Haiti. It's based in Strongsville, Ohio which is where we hoped to find Margaret Cole. So we could ask her some questions too.

Six different addresses and no luck. Calls to various phone numbers also a dead end. This home of hers was raided by the FBI back in February. And so were the adoption agency's offices, investigators left with boxes of evidence.

In 2016, the State Department determined that EAC has exhibited a pattern of serious willful or grossly negligent failure to comply with standards for international adoptions. As a result it debarred the adoption agency ordering it to cease all adoption services for three years. Among the key findings, EAC failed to engage in practices to prevent the sale, abduction, exploitation or trafficking of children.

It said the failure to provide adequate supervision contributed to the many of the violations described above. Also that EAC failed safety procedures that prevent solicitation of bribes and fraudulently obtaining birth parents consent. The State Department determined EAC offered consideration to birth parents to induce them to release their children for adoption.

[21:50:11] WELLS: They are getting the orphans because there's a dollar sign.

KAYE (voice-over): The U.S. State Department also found that EAC failed to take the proper steps to make sure birth parents consented to the termination of parental rights in accordance with applicable laws.

(on camera): Were these mothers lied to?

PARRIS: No. Absolutely not.

KAYE: A women say that they've ended up buying a child instead of adopting a child.

(voice-over): The lawyer who processed the adoptions for EAC at God's Mercy orphanage is this woman, Dorah Mirembe. We spoke with her by phone and she denied any wrong doing by God's Mercy.

(on camera): She also insisted children are not being trafficked in Uganda through orphanages and that neither she nor EAC ever traffic children. She also said that the biological mothers of Mata and Violah did know their daughters were being adopted and taken to America. All of that despite the Ugandan government telling us that it shut down God's Mercy orphanage because it was illegally processing guardianship orders and trafficking children and the Ugandan courts finding that Mata's mother has been lied to.

(voice-over): What's unclear is how widespread the alleged trafficking scheme may be. CNN's investigation found it doesn't end with Violah and Mata. Violah's mother still missing two other daughters who were adopted or soled off to American families. And remarkably, those families are aware they have children that never should have been orphaned, Keren Riley told us. She's an advocate for Ugandan children, who runs a group called Reunite Uganda.

KEREN RILEY, REUNITE: Both families are aware of the truth. They haven't responded back to me. But they can -- they appear to be continuing to live their lives and let the children believe what they've been told and some of which is not true at all.

KAYE (voice-over): The Davis' still speak to Namata via Skype. She is back in school and enjoying her new baby sister. The Wells have kept in touch with Violah too. The two girls are now close friends in their village and have blossomed since returning home.

Meanwhile both Jessica Davis and Stacey Wells have been interviewed by the FBI, which declined to talk about the investigation with CNN.

J. DAVIS: Birth mothers, the most vulnerable birth mothers on the planet are being taken advantage of in this way so that people can profit from adoption.


KAYE: Anderson, Jessica and Adam Davis just figure they spent about $60,000 adopting Mata only to end up bringing her back to Uganda. And now that includes adoption fees and all of their trips. And Stacey Wells told me that she and her husband spent their life saving adopting Violah.

As of now neither family expects to get any of that money back. And also I should note that no charges have been filed against Margaret Cole, Debra Parris, or the European Adoption Consultants. The lawyer in Uganda who handled these adoptions also has not been charged.

Meanwhile, it is possible, Anderson, that the adoption agency was simply negligent here, unaware based on lack of background checks that the children it was getting from Uganda were being traffic. In other words, it could be that EAC is also a victim of this apparent trafficking scheme. We would have the answer to that question if the owner of the EAC, Margaret Cole, would respond to our request for comment.

In the meantime, the investigation is ongoing. Anderson.

COOPER: It's an incredible story. Randi Kaye thanks very much. We'll continue to follow it.

Up next, a preview of Anthony Bourdain's next stop on "Parts Unknown". He takes us to Lagos, Nigeria. We'll be right back.


[21:57:34] COOPER: This Sunday on "Parts Unknown", Anthony Bourdain travels to Lagos, the largest City on Nigeria and all of Africa, home to about 20 million people. A city built on a lagoon and one of the faster growing in the world. I recently talked to Anthony about it over some food here at Chomp Chomp here in New Your City. Take a look.


COOPER: So in this next episode you go to Lagos.


COOPER: Which I've never been -- always wanted to go -- I mean, talk about a chaotic city, that's the way --

BOURDAIN: Incredible. Imagine a city of 20 million people, most of whom provide their own electricity, their own water, often built their own homes, completely unregulated, often with two or three businesses that they've started themselves.

COOPER: What's the food like?

BOURDAIN: Spicy, delicious. They love food. They love to cook. And there's a lot of exciting sweet food and, you know, small businesses.

Most of them completely unregulated and unlicensed, but the government has got to figure out a way to tax them. So the government will basically observe a business and decide an arbitrary number based on what appears to be going on.

I mean, the whole cities are growing up spilling out into the lagoon built out over the water with schools, brothels, hotels, barber shops, businesses.

COOPER: How come I'm the only one sweating eating this?

BOURDAIN: I don't know, man. It's healthy sweat. The people are -- I've never seen a population, a whole population work so hard, whether you're already doing well or whether you're below the poverty line. Everybody is a true believer, you know, if I just work really, really hard and figure out an angle or multiple angles, success will be mine.

COOPER: Right.

BOURDAIN: And there are a loft very successful people. You know, it's an oil rich economy. There's a lot of opportunity, a lot of hustle, a lot of inequity. A lot of great food and a lot of really tremendous music, incredible musical history, you know, which we look into.


BOURDAIN: And a psychedelic rock scene from the '70s that took light --

COOPER: There's a psychedelic rock city in Lagos, Nigeria?

BOURDAIN: They -- in the wake of the African conflict, there was an explosion of psyche rock in Nigeria.


BOURDAIN: And it is some of the tripiest (ph), wildest, most awesome music and we look deeply into that subject.

COOPER: How deeply?

BOURDAIN: Deeply, man.


COOPER: Don't miss "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" in Lagos this Sunday 9:00 P.M. right here on CNN. That's it for us, thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.