Return to Transcripts main page


Firm Used By Trump Campaign Asked WikiLeaks for Access to Clinton Emails; Presidential Claims: Good Salesmanship or False Advertising?. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 25, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:10] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Plenty happening tonight, including the latest on how far Hillary Clinton's campaign went to get dirt on Donald Trump and new reporting breaking news on how far the Trump campaign may have gone to get dirt on her. Trump supporters say the real Russia scandal is what the Clinton side did and a number of key Republican lawmakers appear to be trying to steer their investigations in that direction. However, there's not much evidence so far that special counsel Robert Mueller agrees. We'll talk about both views tonight.

We begin with breaking news on contact between a data-crunching outfit used by the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.

CNN's Pamela Brown has the latest on that. She joins us.

So, what are you learning tonight about this connection between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we've learned that the head of Cambridge Analytica, a data firm working for the Trump campaign, reached out directly to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign, asking him about Hillary Clinton's missing emails. Julian Assange even acknowledged today on Twitter that did in fact happen. He says he rejected the request.

The head of this firm, Alexander Nix, an email to several people, including top Republican donor Rebecca Mercer, relaying that he had emailed Assange but sources tell us, Anderson, that no one from the actual campaign was on that email chain. But for context here, WikiLeaks was responsible for releasing hacked emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's emails last year, not Hillary Clinton's emails which we don't even know if a third party ever obtained.

So, this new revelation establishes the closest known link between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks and, you know, it happened while Donald Trump was on the campaign trail, Anderson, talking about Hillary Clinton's missing 33,000 emails as you'll recall. We should also mention "The Daily Beast" was first to report the email outreach.

COOPER: Has the Trump campaign responded? BROWN: The Trump campaign has responded. Michael Glassner with the campaign clearly trying to distance the campaign from Cambridge Analytica, saying, quote, once President Trump secured the nomination in 2016, one of the most important decisions we made was to partner with the Republican National Committee on data analytics. We as a campaign made the choice to rely on the voter data at the Republican National Committee to help elect President Donald J. Trump, and he claims that voter data from any other source played a key role and the victory are false.

COOPER: I understand CNN has uncovered a few things that seem to refute that statement.

BROWN: Yes, that's right. It's clear that there was more of a relationship there than what is sort of conveyed in that statement, because we've learned that just after Trump won the nomination, his campaign started a series of payments Cambridge Analytica in July, all the way through mid-December that totaled some $5.9 million. This is according to FEC filings.

In addition, Anderson, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, who headed up one of the data operations and is now a senior advisor, said to "Forbes" magazine back in November that just after the president won the election, we kept both data operations going simultaneously and a lot shared between them. And by doing that we could scale to a pretty good operation.

So, it appears there he is giving credit to Cambridge Analytica with their success.

COOPER: Pam, stay right there.

I want to bring in Betsy Woodruff of "The Daily Beast", again who broke the stories as you mentioned. Also, Phil Mudd and Josh Green.

Betsy, as you said -- as we said, you broke the story this morning. As you point out in your piece if all of this is true and as Pam said, this would be the closest known connection between the president's campaign and Julian Assange.

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: Exactly. It's been reported that Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Trump communicated through an intermediary with Assange, but there's no indicators that he was speaking on behalf of the campaign or in any capacity that was official. However, Alexander Nix was and is the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, which as Pam pointed out, was paid almost $6 million for work it did on the campaign. And when Nix reached out to Julian Assange, he was specifically offering, according to my sources, to help Assange release or distribute the 33,000 Clinton emails.

Of course, those emails have not been released or distributed. Any overtures he made were unsuccessful, but as someone who is at the top of a company that worked for the Trump campaign, that's a direct link.

COOPER: Josh, you were reporting inside the data operation in the homestretch of the Trump campaign. You just ran article today, you wrote, called: Inside the Trump bunker with 12 days to go -- you heard what they said about relying on the RNC there in their statement. Is that truth?

JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR, "DEVIL'S BARGAIN": No. I mean, it's almost laughably false and we were invited down in the month before the campaign. Sasha Eisenberg, my colleague and I, in order for them to show off what it was they were doing.

The idea at the time publicly was that the data operation the Trump campaign was really just Trump in his Twitter feed and they wanted to show off, no, in fact, they had three different sources of polling. One of them was Cambridge Analytica.

And not only that, they had a team of Cambridge data scientists embedded in the Trump headquarters in San Diego who were doing very sophisticated modeling work that helped to inform where the campaign was going to send Donald Trump.

[20:05:04] And so in the weeks right before the election when Trump started visiting states like Michigan and Wisconsin that seemed outwardly bizarre nobody thought he was going to win those states, he was there because the Cambridge models told him that's where you can pick up voters.

COOPER: So, when in that statement today, they're saying we only relied on the RNC and any other suggestion is just false. I mean, you're saying that's just false.

GREEN: I'm saying that's wrong. I mean, they showed off their wares. They had a Cambridge tool called the battleground optimizer path to victory that literally they would feed in poll numbers and it would spit out the likeliest path for Trump to get to 270 electoral votes and they would send Trump to those states based on what the model told us.

COOPER: Phil, if you put this into the big picture for me overall in the Russia investigation. If you're Robert Mueller, would you care about this?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Oh heck yes. You've got two basic questions here, Anderson. The first question is whether anybody in the Trump campaign participated in conversations with Russians or people connected with Russians to acquire the data. That's why the conversation between Donald Trump Jr. last summer and a lawyer who is offering information about Hillary Clinton is significant.

Then you have a second question and that's where this issue comes into play today. If you acquire data or participate in an effort to acquire data, how do you get that out? Do you do you participate in the conversation with WikiLeaks again about getting that out? And that's why this is I think so significant.

One more point, when you're investigating their data and there's interviews. This is a goldmine. I want to know every time anybody from the Trump campaign spoke or emailed or texted with Cambridge Analytica, what the content of those text, emails, phone calls were and whether there's any disconnects.

For example, like the disconnect we had when Don Jr. said he was speaking about immigration issues that is adoption and when we learned from the email strain that actually it wasn't about adoption, it was also about opposition research on Hillary Clinton. This is a goldmine for intelligence.

COOPER: Pam, we know that as you said, I mean, as a candidate, Donald Trump was very effusive in his praise of WikiLeaks. I remember giving a speech where he said, WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks. His own CIA Director Mike Pompeo has a very different view of them.

BROWN: Yes. I mean, he sort of changes to once he became the CIA director about WikiLeaks. He held that speech as you'll recall. I believe it was last July where he said that WikiLeaks was a non-state hostile intelligence service that was doing the bidding for U.S. adversaries like Russia, so basically was saying there that in a sense WikiLeaks was like a propaganda arm of the Russians. That's what he was being -- how it was being used during the campaign. And the intelligence community made a direct link between WikiLeaks and the Russians during the campaign with the release of the DNC emails, as well as John Podesta's emails.

COOPER: Betsy, can you just explain -- I mean why would someone from this company reach out to Julian Assange? I mean, was the offer, yes, if you have them give us the 33,000 emails and we'll help distribute them? Because -- I mean, WikiLeaks doesn't have any problem distributing stuff.

WOODRUFF: I can't give more specific detail about the nature of Nix's communications with WikiLeaks, but one thing that we know without any doubt is that those 33,000 missing emails were something of a great white whale for the Republican Party in the lead-up to election day there was a lot of focus. There were Republican operatives specifically looking for those emails. President Trump brought them up in one press conference which he later claims his comment was a joke. Trump said that he hoped if Russia had those emails, that they would release them.

So, the president himself and current president then candidate personally sanctioned efforts to try to obtain those 33,000 missing emails. As a result, it's certainly not surprising that somebody leading a company that was deeply invested in Trump becoming president would be willing to go to ends that now in retrospect seem pretty extraordinary.

COOPER: I just want to play one of the things that then-candidate Trump said on the trail.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Josh, you obviously wrote the book on Steve Bannon. How was -- is he connected to this at all?

GREEN: Well -- I mean, that's the other big connections who are sitting here in plain sight. Bannon was the CEO of the Trump campaign I believe at the time these emails were sent. He had also been not only a stakeholder but a board member of Cambridge Analytica, a very closely aligned with Rebecca Mercer whose family is the majority owner. So, there were all sorts of connections between Cambridge and the Trump campaign.

COOPER: So, there may be -- it's possible there emails -- more emails that are -- that Mueller would have access to.

GREEN: I'm not aware of emails from Bannon, and, you know, I haven't done the reporting that Betsy has that showed the emails from Nix's to Assange.

But Assange was almost like a mascot of the Trump campaign. I was embedded during the second debate in the Trump campaign headquarters as the debate was going on, there's a poster on the wall of Julian Assange and a quote that said I miss reading your emails, Hillary.

So, he was -- he was somebody who was who was actively being cheered on not just by Trump I think but by people in the Trump campaign.

[20:10:04] COOPER: Betsy, do you agree with what Phil said earlier that this would be of interest to Mueller's team?

WOODRUFF: I think that's a very safe assessment to make. This could potentially speak to the intent beyond behind efforts that folks in Trump's inner circle made regarding folks who now Trump CIA director says are related to foreign hostile intelligence agencies. Additionally, the mandate that Bob Mueller has for the investigation that he's conducting is to look at any coordination or links between people who are associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Clearly, Alexander Nix was associated with the Trump campaign. So, he's part of that mandate. The broader question, of course, goes to the work that Assange was doing. How he got his information, how he obtained and then subsequently published the hacked emails that he -- that he ended up putting on WikiLeaks. That's an open question. That's something that's of enormous interest not just to folks following the Trump Russia saga, but to anyone interested in the nature of privacy and the nature of the way that the intelligence community functions in the contemporary world.

COOPER: Yes. Thanks, everybody.

Just ahead, what President Trump today called this fake dossier -- we have new reporting on candidate Hillary Clinton's connection to it, whether her campaign told the truth about it and whether some Republicans today are trying to make the question -- the central question of the entire Russia probe. Also next, examining the president's claim that his party, despite all that you've heard this week, this month and maybe this year, is united -- a lovefest he says. Keeping Them Honest, ahead.


[20:15:17] COOPER: President Trump is in Dallas tonight at a fundraiser. If he makes news tonight, well, of course bring that to you. And it wouldn't be surprising, leaving the White House today, he made plenty. You can decide for yourself how much is just a salesman way of putting the best face on things and how much reflects something else about the president.

Here's what he said about yesterday's lunch with GOP senators which came right after attacks on him by Republican Senator Bob Corker and shortly before Republican Senator Jeff Flake striking condemnation of the president from the Senate floor.


TRUMP: We have actually great unity of the Republican Party. Yesterday I was -- oh, that's OK. Look, you know, they have to do their thing. We have great unity. If you look at what happened yesterday at the meeting, we had I guess virtually every senator, including John McCain. We had a great conversation yesterday, John McCain and myself, about the military.

I think we had a -- I called it a lovefest. It was almost a lovefest. Maybe it was a lovefest. But we -- standing ovations.


COOPER: Now, Mike Allen of "Axios" reports the president did in fact get standing ovations from senators at the lunch. However, you also heard the president cite those ovations as evidence of a party united and united behind him. He blames the press for reporting otherwise.

Keeping Them Honest, though, this isn't about what we're saying, it's about what other Republicans are saying. Here's Senator Jeff Flake this morning on "NEW DAY" about other Republicans who he says have yet to speak out.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Privately, a number of my colleagues have expressed concern about the direction of our politics and the behavior of the president. I think in the coming months, you'll have more people stand up. I think the cumulative weight of all of this, there comes a tipping point where we realize we just can't continue to normalize this kind of behavior. So, I do think we'll have more people stand up in the coming months.


COOPER: And, of course, there's Senator Corker's ongoing critique, Senator John McCain's condemnation and former President Bush speaking out, also not mentioning President Trump by name, of course, but making clear who he was talking about, Ohio Governor John Kasich splitting with the president on health care, the president's running feud with Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on the same issue, though clearly they are putting on a public show of unity.

Now, you could say these people don't represent the Republican Party or President Trump and that is certainly true, but consider this as an indication of party unity as well -- in nine months of a presidency with Republicans running both the House and the Senate, a good sign of party unity might be all the major legislation that's been passed and signed, except there hasn't been any, perhaps soon but not yet. And although there may be many reasons for the party dysfunction, we're just reporting on it. We're a hard -- it's hard not to, so many Republicans on the Hill and in the West Wing leaked about it.

The president blames the media for other things as well.


TRUMP: Well, I think the press makes me more uncivil than I am. You know, people don't understand, I went to an Ivy League college. I was a nice student. I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person.

You know, the fact is, I think -- I really believe -- I think the press creates a different image of Donald Trump than the real -- the real person.


COOPER: What's interesting about that claim is that we probably hear more directly from this president than any other president in American history. We hear from him on camera and on Twitter constantly. The White House likes to say that Twitter allows him to communicate directly with the American people and that's certainly true, but in those tweets, we not only hear from the president, we see who he really is, warts and all.

Here to talk about it, two Republicans, Ana Navarro and Ed Martin.

Ana, when you hear the president say, you know, there was a lovefest, standing ovations, there were standing ovations -- is there a party unity?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I don't know what the standing ovations were for, right? He might have said, God bless America, and gotten a standing ovation.

Of course, there's not party unity. Anybody who watches the news, anybody who's not living under a rock or at the International Space Station realizes that the Republican Party is going through a very hard time, there are factions, there's great division.

We are seeing it play out on the Senate floor. We're seeing it play out in our living rooms. We're seeing it play out in our families.

We're seeing it play out amongst our friends. We're seeing a play out amongst elected officials and we're seeing a play out amongst regular citizens who are just Republican voters.

And our feeling this existentialist question of, is this still my party? Can they still be my party?

It's a very difficult question you know and I think some are like the Jeff Flakes and the Bob Corkers of this world and just say, I cannot stomach doing what I have to do in order to be reelected in this party, in order to get through a primary. Some others like John McCain and I -- you know, I subscribe to his school of thinking, will fight to the death to defend traditional Republican values.

The irony of all of this is that the Republican Party it's -- its soul, its tone, its face has been dramatically changed by a man who until a few years ago was a Democrat.

[20:20:01] COOPER: Well, Ed, I mean are people uniting behind this president? Is this -- this is -- I mean, it seems like this is now the Republican Party of President Trump?

ED MARTIN, AUTHOR, "THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR TRUMP": Yes, I mean, this is -- this is a conversation about the outliers. You know, these guys Flake and Corker, down the stretch that the civil war in the Republican Party was the primary, and Trump won. He won on issues and he united the party.

And when the party came through united, the evangelical Christians voted for Trump. You know, the generic ballot for Republicans was 90 plus percent, otherwise, he doesn't win.

COOPER: And he still has very high numbers among Republicans.

MARTIN: And he has high numbers. So, the Republican Party, what, you know, what -- Flake, by the way, Flake should -- we should do a series on Flake, a profile in cowardice. I mean, instead of staying and fighting, he admitted he voted for Hillary. He admitted today, it wasn't on CNN, sorry, I watched another station.

He admitted he voted for Hillary. He gave up on the party. He doesn't believe in the party's positions. So, he's not a Republican and he quit because he said you can't run and hold the positions I held, you have to hold the position --

COOPER: His voting record though is as a conservative. I mean --

MARTIN: No, his voting record is the old fashioned, an establishment -- voting for trade deals and immigration. The shift in the party, the civil war was over the --


NAVARRO: He got glowing scores on his voting from the American Conservative Union, from Heritage Foundation. Well, until nine months ago when Donald Trump took office, those were the gold standard of what, if you are a conservative or not.

MARTIN: They're not anymore. They're not anymore. COOPER: That's not the Republican Party anymore.

MARTIN: No, it's not the Republican -- obviously, I mean, he lost -- the people that held those positions lost miserably in the primary. They -- the fight was over trade, immigration and the tone of taking on political grudge (ph).

It's -- look --


COOPER: But there's still a lot --

MARTIN: It's Bannon's party, it's Trump and Bannon's party. It's not Jeb bananas party.

COOPER: But -- I mean, Bannon has never been elected to anything.

MARTIN: No, neither has Ana.

COOPER: There's still a lot of Republicans -- there's still a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who are, I imagine, you would say are from the old school.

MARTIN: Yes, and they're adjusting they're either coming along doing standing ovations on these issues and voting for the picks and things that Trump has said or they're going to quit because they can't win their reelection.

NAVARRO: Yes. Let me tell you what the difference -- I mean, obviously, I could spend all night talking about the difference between me and Bannon. But one of the big differences is that as much as disgusting human being as I find them, I would hope to be able to have a Republican Party that's got a huge enough tent so that he can be in one corner and people like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake and Ana Navarro and John McCain can also be under that.

MARTIN: Trump didn't Flake to quit. Trump didn't ask Flake to quit. He has --

NAVARRO: He's been attacking him, calling him Flake the Flake, calling the other guy Little Bob Corker, he can't stand criticism, even if it's constructive criticism.

And here's a problem, if I were looking at this, you know, as a Donald Trump supporter, look, I think this is a short-term victory for Donald Trump on, you know, undeniably. He's got a scalp to show on Jeff Flake. But also, let's remember that he won the Electoral College, yes. But he won many of those states by a very narrow margin.

If you are kicking out of the party, if you are making the Republican Party so that many Republicans who came home to vote for Donald Trump even though they did not like him, now feel unwelcome and leave, how are you going to --

(CROSSTALK) MARTIN: But, Ana, what you're missing is that the movement is growing the Republican Party. The Tea Party started in '09, and it's now added Democrats and working-class folks who are saying, I want a guy who's on our side. I don't want a guy who's for the globalist deals, on the free trade deals.

NAVARRO: And he's got --

MARTIN: And when Flake leaves, you know who's going to get in this place, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a senator from Arizona, that's who I want. I mean, that's what we're going to get. We're going to get fearless conservative who are going to take Flake spot. We're not going to get a moderate. You're not going to get a liberal.

NAVARRO: You might very well get because Arizona is increasingly a purple state is a Democrat.

MARTIN: No chance, no chance.


COOPER: You really want to see Joe Arpaio in U.S. Senate?

MARTIN: Yes, it would be great. Wouldn't it be great?

NAVARRO: I'd like to see him in jail.

MARTIN: Well, he got pardoned, so you're off the hook there. I was --

NAVARRO: Well, he shouldn't have had, which is - you know, it was a huge offense. But that's another -- that's another issue.

Look, the way -- you know, I was not good at math but I know enough about math to know that the way you win is by adding, not subtracting.

MARTIN: Right.

NAVARRO: If you are subtracting to the Republican Party, it is becoming an ever-smaller party.

MARTIN: But let's add a senator who voted for Trump not Hillary, that's a better addition. Let's take somebody who's actually on board with the current Republican Party, that puts American workers before the international guys. That's what Flake was.

And Flake said today, he said he couldn't win. He's not Republican anymore. So, that's OK. Have a great --

COOPER: Well, I don't think he said he's not Republican anymore, you just said -- I mean, he couldn't win --

MARTIN: He said party's position --

COOPER: Where the party is right now.

MARTIN: He said the party's positions. That's the party.

COOPER: Right.

NAVARRO: What he said was he basically could not win without compromising --

COOPER: So, all these people are not Republican any longer?

MARTIN: No, they're welcome. This is like --

COOPER: What are they?

MARTIN: This is like pro-choice. People can -- pro-abortion people can vote Republican, be a part of our party. But they don't get to change our planks. Our planks are no longer for illegal immigration amnesty.

That's what Flake wants. That's what he said in his speech. He said, I hope we get back to a party that gives amnesty to illegals and has trade deals. That's not the Republican Party.

And, by the way, look, it's growing. It's growing in the country. The base of the Republican Party --

NAVARRO: No, it's not. Take a look at his numbers. Take a look at Donald Trump's numbers. I know you don't want to believe in polls --

MARTIN: Same polling.

NAVARRO: -- when they're not -- when they're not advantageous to you. He has got a base that does not budge, but he also does not come out of more of that --


[20:25:06] COOPER: We got to take a break. We're going to continue this in the next hour. You're both coming back. Thank you.

We have a new statement just in from a spokesman for the first President Bush. It concerns an actress's allegations that he touched her inappropriately during a photo op several years ago.

That statement reads: At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke and on occasion he has patted women's rears and what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent, others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he offended -- has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely. That statement just put out.

When we come back, there's breaking news President Trump weighs in on the eight design prototypes for the border wall We'll play you his comments, show the options next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: More breaking news tonight. The president just weighed in on the design prototypes for the border wall with Mexico. Right now, there are eight wall prototypes built by six different companies on display near the border for kind of show-and-tell.

Here's what President Trump said in an interview with Lou Dobbs on Fox Business News.


TRUMP: You think of a wall as a wall.


TRUMP: But, honestly, you do need some see-through ability because you don't know whose -- if you do pure concrete, which is a wall, then you can't see who's on the other side. You know, you have a wall that's this thick and can't see who's on the other side. So we'll going to need some see through ability.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Miguel Marquez visited those photo types near the border. He brings us this report.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump said he wanted a big fat beautiful wall. These are his 30 by 30 foot options.

MARQUEZ (on camera): One of these eight contestants could soon stretch 2,000 miles across the border.

CARLOS DIAZ, SPOKESMAN, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: There's a chance that one of them gets election, eight of them get selected for a mix of their characteristic selected for construction.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): They sit like giant tombstones just east of San Diego in the No Man's Land right on the U.S. Mexico Border. The President has consistently said a wall will be built along the entire border.

MARQUEZ (on camera): He say 2,000 miles a border wall, you say?

DIAZ: We'll put it up when we need to? Well, there's a testimony already out there. There was a testimony by the former --


DIAZ: -- Chief of Homeland Security, which was General Kelly, in which he in testimony said that you won't see a wall from sea to shiny sea. We will put the wall where it makes sense.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Customs and border patrol deferring to the same John Kelly who is now the President's Chief of Staff. The cost for just these test walls, $20 million, building any one of them can cost the entire 2,000 mile border could cost more than $20 billion.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Beyond this, whether the $20 billion to build the entire wall comes that's for another day?

DIAZ: So right now our focus is to complete the process of construction of prototypes.

MARQUEZ: So the prototypes or the contestants for the President's big beautiful wall they're done. But it's going to take another month for the cement to dry and for the walls to settle before they can be tested. And then, they will go with them, seeing whether they can be scaled, climb, dug under or breach.

You will test these walls to their maximum?

DIAZ: Correct.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): On the Mexican side of the border building of the prototypes met with disbelief.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So when you see these what do they represent to you?


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Victor Clark-Alfaro, a Mexican citizen who teaches border issues at San Diego State University says, a 30-foot wall would deter migrates but not everything.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Thirty foot wall, 20,000 miles long stop drugs coming into the U.S.?

CLARK-ALFARO: Well, drugs enter through the U.S. in different way, through port of entries, through sea, by land.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): And tunnels lots of it.

MARQUEZ (on camera): If we could take a picture of the land, of the ground underneath us, what would it look like?

CLARK-ALFARO: Well, there are a lot of tunnels, obviously. And probably in this moment somebody's building a tunnel.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): At least some of those walls come with tunnel deterrents too. Big beautiful walls above and below ground.


COOPER: Miguel, how much do we know will a wall like the President's asking for actually helps stop illegal border crossing?

MARQUEZ: Well, it's not entirely clear, and border protection saying look, we're not going to build this across the entire way. People who say, if there are hole in that wall, migrants will find their way around any 30 foot barrier, the other thing to think off is, you know, the number of illegal crossings have been coming down in recent years from 2009 where there are over 162,000 to this year, which is just 26,000 crossings. That number has been coming down precipitously for several years, Anderson.

COOPER: Miguel Marquez, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.

When we come back President Trump speaks out about revelation that the Clinton campaign and the DNC reportedly funded research to the now- infamous Trump dossier, we'll play you what he said, next.


[20:37:54] COOPER: Today President Trump weighed in on revelations about the Clinton campaign and DNC involvement in funding the research that led to now-infamous dossier of allegation about connections between President Trump and Russian. According to the reporting, that research initially has been funded by an -- as of yet, unknown anti- Trump Republican source.

Here is part of what President said today as he left the White House.


TRUMP: Well, I think it's very sad, what we've done with this fake dossier was made up and understand they paid a tremendous amount of money and Hillary Clinton's always denied it, the Democrats denied it. And now only because it's going to come out in a court case they said yes, I did it. They admitted it, and they were embarrassed by it. But I think it's a disgrace, it's just really very -- it's a very said commentary on politics in this country.


COOPER: And Jim Sciutto joins us now.

Let's just make this clear. The President keep calling it a fake dossier, there are large portions of it that have been corroborated by the U.S. intelligence community, correct?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. CNN's reported that as far back as February. The intelligence community collaborated portions of this specifically that meetings and conversations between Trump's associates and Russians, including Russians known the U.S. intelligence did in fact take place as detailed in the dossier.

There is a demonstration of that just a couple examples, remember the intelligence chief considered it substantial enough to brief then President-elect Donald Trump and President Obama in January. Providing them of the synopsis of this dossier in that briefing in January.

And more recently, CNN reported earlier this month that in fact the intelligence community and law enforcement considered it substantial enough again that they did not include it in the public assessment of the Russian interference in the election released in January as well because they didn't want to led on what exactly they collaborated and how they had corroborated it and more recently I should mention we reported it Robert Mueller has also interviewed the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who put it together.

COOPER: What more are you learning about the Clinton campaign involvement with this dossier?

SCIUTTO: So this is what we told, she was familiar with the matter telling CNN today that the law firm Perkins Coie is part of its representation of the Clinton campaign and the DNC retained the intelligence firm Fusion GPS entered, "into an engagement of research services that began on April 16 and concluded before the election in early November."

[20:40:17] I should know that CNN has previously reportedly that the Fusion effort researching Trump first funded by the Republican foes of the now President, and Democrats begin paying the research firm later on after Trump became the presumptive nominee.

The identity of the Republican client, or clients has not been publicly revealed. I should say that -- I should note that Christopher Steele did not begin working on the dossier until the Democrats began funding that research for the dossier itself -- and that research was being compiled and paid for by Republicans originally.

COOPER: All right, Jim Sciutto, I appreciate that. That is this news that was breaking last night. Kenneth Vogel from the New York Times tweeted this, "When I tried to report this story Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias pushed back vigorously saying you or your sources are wrong."

Kenneth Vogel joins us now. So did the Clinton campaign lie here?

KENNETH VOGEL, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I don't know about lying, they definitely pushed back vigorous against this in way that I find to be somewhat misleading. I told them that I had sources who said that Perkins Coie was the client that Marc Elias had actually possessed the dossier before the election, that he was involved in sort of packing it to try to get media coverage of the content of the dossier.

He responded, you or your sources are wrong. Clearly, the sources were right and that this -- and that Perkins Coie was the client on behalf of the Clinton campaign as well as the DNC.

What they say in their defense is that, well, what we now think of us the dossier was not in that form at the time. In fact, it was just a collection of this memo so they were responding to a question about that dossier as oppose to the contents of their search a little bit a semantic there obviously.

COOPER: It seems to be splitting hairs there. If -- whether it was the dossier or I guess they're saying it was just a bunch of memos not yet collected into the dossier, do we know how widely those memos, or where those memos -- I mean, this law firm is the middle man essentially they are the one who hired Fusion GPS who had been doing going research, Christopher Steele get hire. What happened to those memos? Who saw it?

VOGEL: I mean that's one of the big mysteries here, Anderson. Both the Clinton campaign -- top folks and the Clinton campaign I've talked to as well as folks at the DNC up to an including the chair of the DNC at that time Deborah Wasserman Schultz also they had no knowledge of this.

And in fact, I just reported this evening that Hillary Clinton herself told associates that she had no knowledge of it, when the dossier was ultimately published by BuzzFeed. In fact, she expressed some disappointment that the dossier did not get out before the election.

Well, we now know that her own campaign or at least its representatives at this law firm could have had a hand in pushing this out and may have not done so as aggressively as she potentially would have liked.

COOPER: I mean, is this just, you know, would allow the Democrat for saying, look, this is just opposition research like any campaign does?

VOGEL: I think that's probably right. But then it does beg the question, why would they sort of go to such great lengths to distance themselves from it. Both at that time as well as after the fact, after the election, when I and other reporters were asking about in trying to trace the funding of the dossier.

And even now, you have none of the folks are willing to start to take responsibility and say they were aware of it. And it does sort of stretch (INAUDIBLE) to think that no one at the DNC or the Clinton campaign would have been aware of this.

There are people who are signing off on all the expenditures that a large campaign or party committee makes. And if they're spending all this money at Perkins Coie their -- in fact, their expenditures to Perkins Coie during the election cycle totaled about $12.5 million you'd think they want to know precisely what they're getting for that money including if some portion of it involves this potentially explosive research on their opponent.

COOPER: And for Republicans who are saying, well, this is Hillary Clinton's campaign concluding with Russians, that's based on the idea that Christopher Steele was being fed false information and was passing that on or that Chris -- how can he make that claim?

VOGEL: Well, to get in their head, I'm not sure I want to do that because I think it is sort of a specious claim. But perhaps the idea is that he was paying sources, we've certainly heard that this is a possibility in the way that these types of opposition research arrangements typically work, if you're trying to collect intelligence from inside a foreign country, you might pay sources who might give you that information, particularly with Christopher Steele who was actually barred from entering Russia, after his service in that country as an MI6 agent for the U.K.

So conceivably, I guess there might be payments that would go to Russians for information but I think that's a far cry from saying that's collusion between the Clinton campaign and Russia.

[20:45:05] COOPER: Ken Vogel, I appreciate your reporting. Thank you.

Up next, Republican Congressman Paul Gosar spread a conspiracy theory about the Charlottesville white nationalist rally this past August. Three weeks ago, he claimed there was all left wing plot given him an open invitation to come on the program and explain himself, his office has declined. So today, we send our Randi Kaye to Capitol Hill to find him and see if talk. He did, what he told her, in a moment.


COOPER: Keeping Them Honest tonight an update about a congressman who's spreading a conspiracy theory, not just any conspiracy theory an incredibly insulting one, insulting particular to the memory of Heather Heyer who was killed allegedly by a white supremacist the weekend, and other Neo-Nazis and white nationalists marked in Charlottesville, Virginia in this past summer.

The Congressman in question, here is this man, two-term Republican Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar. He caught our attention a few weeks back because he claimed the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville was some sort of left wing plot, false flag operation. Congressman Gosar talked about this on camera to Vice News correspondent Elle Reeve. Here's exactly what he said to her.


[20:50:11] REPRESENTATIVE PAUL GOSAR (R), ARIZONA: Let's look at the person that actually started the rally. This come to our attention that this is a person from occupy Wall Street that was an Obama sympathizer. So wait a minute, be careful on what you are -- when you start taking these people to and look at the background. George Soros is one of those people that actually helps, you know, back this individuals.

Who is he, I think he's from Hungary. I think he is Jewish and I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis. Be very careful on where we go with those.

ELLE REEVE, VICE NEWS TONIGHT CORRESPONDENT: Do you think George Soros funded the Neo-nazis who marched in Charlottesville?

GOSAR: It would be interesting to find out.


COOPER: Well, Elle Reeve came in on a program strongly reputed the congressman remarks. I started by asking what he said to -- if what he said to her made any sense.


REEVE: Oh, no, of course, not. Some of the people involved in that rally have track records going back five or 10 years. They're non- profits are available online. You can look at who's funding them. They absolutely believe what they say. I presented that to them and I said I've talked to these people. They don't sound like leftists and he just smirked at me.

COOPER: The idea also that the way the Congressman is saying, like, we're learning this or, you know, we're finding this out, as if it's sort of the full weight of his office or the U.S. Congress when, in fact, it seems like he's just getting stuff from Alex Jones.

REEVE: That seems to be where the news is coming from Alex Jones claims to have sources all throughout the government but George Soros did not fund these people, what he's saying is not true.


COOPER: For the record billionaire investor George Soros does back liberal causes but spokeswoman for his foundation has fired back at the accusation made by the Congressman Gosar saying Soros was 14 during the war and didn't collaborate with the Nazis and did not confiscate anybody's property.

He has said in interviews, he witnessed the confiscation of property but there is no evidence he took part in that. As for who actually organized the rally, that would be a former Blogger Jason Kessler who said he voted for President Trump and attended one occupy event but he says he had a change of heart with the Obama administration.

And according to VICE News, he posted a YouTube video railing against what he calls white genocide. Since Congressman Gosar first made the comments, three weeks ago, we've asked him to come on the program, we gave him an open invitation to appear any time. His office has declined. So the House back in session this week today, we sent 360's Randi Kaye to Capitol Hill to find the Congressman. She did and she joins us now with the details.

So you tracked on the Congressman today. What did he have to say?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we caught up with Congressman Gosar after hearing this morning on Capitol Hill. And first, I started asking him about his colleague Jeff Flake deciding to leave Congress and he was more than happy to answer that question.

But when I start to press him on his controversial comments about Charlottesville that conversation got pretty hated. Watch this.


KAYE: You had said that the Charlottesville white nationalist marched was created by the left, carried out by an Obama sympathizer, do you still --

GOSAR: I think you need to go back and recheck that. I say, wouldn't be interesting to find that. I said I didn't [beep]. I did not say that. So go back and retell that.

KAYE: OK. What's makes you think that, though that, that's even possible? What proof do you have if any?

GOSAR: Stay tuned. Check out my website later this evening and you'll find out.

KAYE: No, I'm -- you also said that it's possible George that the billionaire investor George Soros was behind this whole thing?

GOSAR: Like I said, go back and take a look.

KAYE: We've taken a look at your comments and that is what you said.

GOSAR: My proof will be coming. Check my website out.

KAYE: Your proof will be coming, it's all been debunked. There was --

GOSAR: It's not been debunked. Absolutely not debunked and whatsoever. So stay tuned.

KAYE: The conspiracy theory that you put have put out there has been debunked.

GOSAR: It has not been debunked. Look at what CNN has talked about with what's going on with the Clinton administration right now with the dossier. Hardly an aspect in regards to debunked. You're not real news, you're fake news.

KAYE: Sir, everything you've said has been debunked, why are you continuing to put this out there?

GOSAR: You might want to do your due diligence to check out my website. You'll be surprised.

Fake news.


COOPER: So that was something. I know even watching his website eagerly, is there anything there?

KAYE: Anderson, we've been checking it every hour since I met with him this morning, nothing all day until just over an hour ago, this post which I guess he considered proof. In that post there's an interview, a link to an interview on 60 minutes with George Soros and in that he mentions much of what you had just talked about at the top of this -- at the beginning of this segment.

Soros in that says that he never took property from the Jewish, that he only witnessed property being taken from the Jewish. He certainly doesn't paint himself as some sort of nazi sympathizer, the Congressman did.

And in that same posting that we saw just about an hour ago there is a link to a radio show. And in that link it's a far-right Arizona radio host who also pushes out a lot of these alt-right conspiracy theories. In that segment this host says that George Soros did fund groups who then buzzed people into Charlottesville, including people from Black Lives Matter.

[20:55:00] He also says that this radio host also blames Charlottesvilles on the Democrats that much of it was their fall that came money from the left. So he is also pushing out this same conspiracy theory. And all in although if you look at this posting between the 60 minutes interview and this radio link there is no real proof, no hard evidence, none of this even comes close to the proof that the congressman promised us here on Capitol Hill this morning would be coming tonight on his website.

COOPER: Yes, George Soros was 14-years-old when the nazis invaded Hungary. His father got him false identity documents as many Jews did to survive at the holocaust, to survive the Nazis. He actually went to live with a Christian man who was a collaborationist who did confiscate Jewish people's properties. And George Soros was brought along by his own admission wants to witnessed that but says he did not -- in that 60 minutes interview, said he did not confiscate anybody's property.

KAYE: Absolutely. He said that moment changed his life when he realized what was happening. And he said -- if wasn't there, still it would have happened. It had nothing to do with him. He had no roll in that at all.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much. Member of Congress.

Up next, a breaking news on the Trump campaign, how a trampling firm reached out to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange asking for access to Hillary Clinton's private server e-mails and how the campaign is responding to all this when we continue.