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Mueller Probe Lays Out Evidence Of Possible Collusion; Tillerson And Mattis: We Don't Need New War Authorization To Fight Terror; What's Next In Mueller's Russia Investigation? Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 31, 2017 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He didn't pick up the phone and say hey, FBI, somebody's trying to push up on our campaign. They say they have stolen e-mails and that supposedly, a Russian leader --

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Right. We don't know that he did that, you're right. And we don't know whether he did or did not do that.

CUOMO: There is absolutely no indication that he did that and he has never said that he did that. And I think right now, it would be the first thing out of his mouth.

CAPUTO: Right. I mean, we also don't know all the facts of this case, Chris. We don't know all the facts of the case.

I'm going to just go on the -- on the face of this information that Paul rebuffed it and moved on from there. That -- you and I both will do that because we don't have any evidence otherwise.

But at the same time, the fact that this kid was pushed back by the campaign chairman and people around the kid were told to calm him down, and he still went at the campaign five or six times to try and get access to senior leaders for the Russians --

CUOMO: Yes.

CAPUTO: -- tells me that he was up to something bad, this kid. And I think whatever the FBI has determined is going to be his punishment --

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: -- is a fitting punishment.

But if you're counting on him --

CUOMO: If he's so bad, why --

CAPUTO: -- to provide some kind of evidence that --

CUOMO: Why didn't you blow the whistle on him? Why didn't they call the FBI and say you should check on this Papadopoulos?

CAPUTO: I don't know the answer to that. CUOMO: Look, and I think the suggestion is --

CAPUTO: I don't know the answer to that. It could be --

CUOMO: -- you look at -- you find your answer in Don, Jr. Don, Jr., what did he say? I've been seeing solicitation.

CAPUTO: Well, I get that.

CUOMO: Awesome. I want to meet the --

CAPUTO: And, Don, Jr. approached -- Chris, hold up one second. Don, Jr. approached it the same way that the 27-year-old naive kid did and said that's a meeting that we should have and Paul Manafort and others showed up because he was the son of the candidate.

And it was a meeting that shouldn't have happened and devolved very quickly and everybody left. And it's been -- it's been revealed in e- mails and all of the document production that's necessary for these investigations and we'll get to the bottom of it.

I think that the Don, Jr. meeting needs to be looked into in its entirety, just like Papadopoulos needed to be looked into in his entirety.

But unfortunately, for those who really want to see the president go down for this, the wiretap possibility for George Papadopoulos is laughable at best because all you're going to get is tapes of him and his barista talking about what's for coffee.

CUOMO: Well, be that as it may, why would Mueller invest the time and a cooperation agreement with somebody who's so meaningless?

CAPUTO: I can't ascribe anything to it. I'll tell you this, if you don't have --

CUOMO: But I'm saying it defeats your premise, does it not? They wouldn't give this guy a deal and want to work with him if he was nothing.

CAPUTO: All right, but if you don't have anything else you work with what you've got. And, George Papadopoulos is not to be --

CUOMO: They don't have anything else. You've got him on a felony and you just indicted two other guys on a number of felonies. What do you mean you don't have anything else?

CAPUTO: That have nothing to do with Papadopoulos, that has nothing to do with Russians, has nothing at all to do with the Trump campaign. Yesterday's revelations in the indictments didn't show any touch on the president or the president's senior staff.

This is something that we all expected Paul Manafort --

CUOMO: But you're defining it very differently now though, right, because you just said the campaign, but then you said the president or the senior staff. I would include Manafort in that.

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: You've got an e-mail exchange with Manafort, who wasn't looking to blow the whistle on this stuff. It was negotiating whether or not to have a specific meeting. And certainly, you must have --

CAPUTO: And which he pushed back on and said no, we're not having a meeting.

CUOMO: Yes, he did, apparently --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: No, I'm not indicting anybody. Mueller just did that.

What I'm saying is that Papadopoulos was certainly part of the campaign. So to say --

CAPUTO: I push back on that completely. I've never heard of Papadopoulos until his name was in the media. I never saw him in the Trump campaign. He had no role at all in the campaign.

CUOMO: Why is he sitting at the table with the President of the United States and Jeff Sessions?

CAPUTO: He had one meeting with the president -- one meeting with the president. And I can tell, if photographs with President Trump are proof of some kind of collusion there are 500,000 photos for you to look at through the campaign.

CUOMO: But the president knew who he was.

CAPUTO: And, Papadopoulos was just at a drop-by meeting --

CUOMO: He said he's an excellent guy when he reached out with these suggestions? The campaign didn't blow the whistle on him. They didn't call and say this guy is a nobody. He's a fool (ph), get rid of him.

CAPUTO: Well, actually -- No.

What the president was doing when "The Washington Post" asked him was he was reading from a list because all we have is audio of that meeting. He was reading from a list. In that list were many other people the president hadn't met yet, including Papadopoulos.

And to think that a 27-year-old amateur foreign policy analyst is someone who's going to rise to the top of the Trump campaign defies produrally (ph). I have no idea why people would think that a volunteer coffee boy like George Papadopoulos would get to the top of this campaign.

CUOMO: Well, first of all, other than Manafort --

CAPUTO: It's wishful thinking and it's going to be proven wrong. CUOMO: Michael, look, I respect the argument but other than Manafort you had a bunch of nobodies around the president during this campaign. It was part of the success story of how he made it so far against seasoned professionals with a ragtag group of people who had never been at the upper echelons of the game, so I don't know about that argument.

But, listen to the president talk --

CAPUTO: Let me add foreign policy analysts, like Stephen Miller, at the campaign who were much more and had a much higher level of strategy.

CUOMO: That's true, but he wasn't more in handle to the campaign strategists. You know, those are outside strategists. I'm not -- look, I love Stephen. We have him on the show all the time. I'm not hitting his credentials.

I'm saying the idea that you only had the best that the upper echelons of this campaign is an arguable fact. What I'm saying is this.

[07:35:05] CAPUTO: But, Chris --

CUOMO: Listen to the president, Michael.

CAPUTO: The idea --

CUOMO: Listen to the president talk about this guy. I want the audience to hear it and then you make your point.

CAPUTO: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: George Papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now, that doesn't sound, you know, canned to me. It seems like an honest assessment of what he thought at the time.

CAPUTO: Well, he was reading from a list that had his name and what he did for a living, and he had -- and he had a compliment for someone who volunteered at a low-level --

CUOMO: He had excellent guy on this list? That's what you say about Papadopoulos?

CAPUTO: Excellent guy, right, exactly.

And Chris, here's the point, OK? This whole entire team of foreign policy analysts that was put together by the Washington office of the Trump campaign never met again after that proforma meeting with the president on the very rare occasion he was in Washington for a speech at the Mayflower. It never met again. The guy never landed on the campaign. He never had a role, he never

got paid, he was never a staffer, and he never did anything.

CUOMO: So why did Sam Clovis entertain his suggestions and encourage him? Why did Paul Manafort engage with this guy? Wasn't he too busy to engage with a nobody?

CAPUTO: Well, I'll tell you, he engaged with Rick Gates, as we can tell from his e-mails.

He sent a red flag up saying these are not the kind of meetings that we want to have. Get somebody out there from a junior level to tell them we don't want to have them. I would expect that that's Paul's role.

CUOMO: Not to send a signal. What part did that mean?

CAPUTO: That meant that if a denial of a meeting came from a senior level of the campaign that it might offend or do something -- set off another round of negotiations or discussions when all Paul wanted to do was push back and shut it down.

CUOMO: Right, but the fact that he took it seriously proves that this guy wasn't just a coffee boy, as you write him off.

CAPUTO: No, that does not. That's not true, Chris.

CUOMO: He was taken seriously --

CAPUTO: That's not true.

CUOMO: -- otherwise, they wouldn't have dealt with it. They wouldn't have dealt with him.

CAPUTO: Not true. Any entreaty --

CUOMO: Mike, you and I have been around campaigns forever. You don't deal with people who are irrelevant to you. You don't deal with the e-mail. You wouldn't have never --

CAPUTO: And Paul was not dealing with him.

CUOMO: He did. He dealt explicitly with it.

CAPUTO: And this -- with this kind of a suggestion -- Chris, with --

CUOMO: Eleven different times he had back and forths about this with these guys -- 11 times.

CAPUTO: Right, I understand that. But when --

It doesn't matter who the entreaty comes from when it regards a foreign nation trying to get involved in a campaign -- it doesn't matter what -- how junior that person is. It's elevated to a level of a person in the campaign to put their foot on it -- to stomp on it and make sure it doesn't happen. That's Paul Manafort. CUOMO: So you stomp on it, you alert nobody about it, and the next time it comes up with Don, Jr. you actually go to the meeting. You know, it's just so inconsistent in terms of stomping it out --

CAPUTO: Right, I understand. And both --

CUOMO: -- versus fanning the flames.

CAPUTO: Listen, Chris, I'll stipulate here with you and everyone watching that the Russians were trying to get access to the -- to the Trump campaign. Of course, they already had access to the Clinton campaign through the Steele dossier.

CUOMO: How?

CAPUTO: But, you know -- they're trying to get into the Trump campaign --

CUOMO: How? They didn't have any access.

CAPUTO: -- and it was denied each time.

CUOMO: Michael Steele (sic) was a U.K. former British agent. He was working sources -- Christopher Steele.

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: He was a former U.K. intelligence agent accessing sources. This wasn't Russians --

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: -- coming to Hillary and saying we got the goods on Trump and her saying great.

CAPUTO: Chris, I've been in campaigns for 30 years.

CUOMO: You know, you're skipping a few steps here.

CAPUTO: But let me -- let's go step-by-step.

CUOMO: No, just make your one point about this because I don't think it deserves the same level of scrutiny, to be honest.

CAPUTO: Hillary -- hold on. Hold on one second. Give me a chance.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CAPUTO: All right. I know you don't but I'm telling you this.

Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid a cutout lawyer who paid Fusion GPS, who paid a British spy to buy information from Russian spies, which was Russian intelligence material. A lot of that is -- that's a chain of events in an opposition research process that is beyond the pale of what's acceptable in campaigns. Now, listen, I understand that you're concerned about --

CUOMO: That's not true, but continue.

CAPUTO: -- the meeting with Papadopoulos.

It is true. It's absolutely true.

CUOMO: You guys do this all the time.

CAPUTO: They're hiding the expense. You can't hide these expenses.

CUOMO: You paid for dirt on each other all the time. Look, how they accounted for it --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: -- totally separate issue. There's funny money all over the campaign.

CAPUTO: Where do spies get involved, Chris? Here my point. I think that --

CUOMO: Yes, but they didn't go to Hillary Clinton and offer her information. It's such apples and bananas, this situation.

You have Russians going to the campaign --

CAPUTO: Well, I'll tell you that it's still proof. It's still proof, Chris. But it's still proof, Chris, and both of them need to be investigated.

What happened with Papadopoulos --

CUOMO: Fruit of the poisonous tree, Michael Caputo. Fruit of the poisonous tree.

I take your argument. We have to leave it there.

CAPUTO: I want to see both things investigated, Chris.

CUOMO: I'm sure you do. I'm sure you do but we'll deal with them one at a time.

CAPUTO: And I know you don't.

CUOMO: That's not true. I think everything should be investigated that warrants it. I just don't think you get to cry Hillary every time something happens and that makes it OK.

All right, Mike? I've got to jump.

CAPUTO: But when you cry Papadopoulos -- when you cry Papadopoulos --

CUOMO: He was indicted.

CAPUTO: -- it's just not credible.

CUOMO: He was indicted so it was credible to Mueller. Let's go from there.

Mike, you're always welcome back to argue the case. Thank you for being here.

CAPUTO: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Alisyn --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris, let's get the other side.

The legal documents unsealed in federal court lay out evidence that some people on President Trump's campaign were eager to work with Russia to hurt Hillary Clinton.

[07:40:01] Joining us now is former Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. Senator, thanks so much for being here.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You bet, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I know you've been listening in --

KAINE: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- on that.

Before we get to the accusations that he just leveled and that many Republicans are, I just want to know what your thoughts were yesterday as you watched all of this play out. I mean, as someone who was victimized by Russian meddling in 2016, what did you think as you watched these indictments and arrests happen yesterday?

KAINE: No surprise. I mean, look, from the day that Director Mueller was appointed to get into this investigation I knew he would get to the bottom of it, and we haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet.

But it was apparent in a kind of a vague way what Russia was doing even during the campaign and Hillary and I brought it up a lot but people didn't seem that interested in it back then. But now, we know that there were major efforts to attack the American election.

And now the chairman of the campaign has been indicted and another campaign official has been indicted, and another one's pled guilty. So there's no surprise in yesterday. I'm just gratified that Director Mueller is proceeding and this is picking up momentum.

CAMEROTA: But about these -- that Papadopoulos guilty plea --

KAINE: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- and the idea that he was interacting with a Russian professor who was offering up dirt and who knew that Hillary Clinton or the DNC's e-mails had been hacked, and Papadopoulos was trying to alert the campaign and trying arrange some sort of meeting between the Russians. Is that evidence, in your mind, of collusion?

KAINE: Well, you know, I'm going to leave the lawyers -- I am a lawyer but I'm not a criminal lawyer. I'll leave them to decide what equals collusion.

But look, you've got him now pleading guilty to a set of events and then lying to the FBI about them that was -- he was in cooperation with Russia about getting stolen material. And you have other facts as well. You've got the admitted meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and Russian officials.

So look, more and more evidence is coming on the table. Bottom line is Mueller will get to the bottom of it. I have confidence in that.

And the American people need to know it a) because Mueller is looking at charging people criminally, which he should if the -- if the evidence suggests it.

And second, we've got to protect our elections, you know. We have an election in Virginia in 10 days. We have federal elections in a year. We have to protect our electoral system.

CAMEROTA: But you hear the talking points on the other side. We've heard this time and again over the past few weeks it was the Hillary Clinton campaign that wanted dirt from Russians via Fusion GPS, via Christopher Steele. They were looking for dirt on Donald Trump from the Russians.

What's your response?

KAINE: They're trying to change the subject. But look, the good news is hey, Director Mueller can look at all of it, you know.

We want Director Mueller to stay in place. That's why I'm part of efforts in the Senate to limit President Trump's ability to move on Director Mueller. He's got to stay in place.

The investigation has to have the resources it needs to complete the investigation. And I don't care who they run across as long as we get to the bottom of it. We need to get to the bottom of it.

CAMEROTA: But do you see these things, Senator, as equivalent of the --

KAINE: No.

CAMEROTA: -- Hillary Clinton campaign --

KAINE: Not at all.

CAMEROTA: -- with equal dirt from Russians --

KAINE: No.

CAMEROTA: -- and Russians offering dirt to the Trump campaign?

KAINE: If you're asking about the dossier, that was -- that was funded by a conservative online publication in Washington, "The Washington Free Beacon."

CAMEROTA: At first, but then the Hillary campaign.

KAINE: But no, wait, let me finish, let me finish.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KAINE: And they hired a firm that was working with the British secret service agent. And then, when they decided to drop it, apparently we now know that some of the funds to continue the investigation were paid for by the Clinton campaign.

But we all do oppo research. Every candidate does oppo research on their opponent. You can ask any candidate for office -- they do it -- and hiring a friend to do oppo research is pretty common practice. That's not any evidence of collusion, that's what's done.

CAMEROTA: OK. Let's talk --

KAINE: But look, let's get to the bottom of it all. Let's just -- let's all, Democrats and Republicans, agree that Director Mueller will have the complete latitude and resources to get to the bottom of this.

If the -- if the president will say that and Congress -- congressional Democrats say that, then the nation will be well served.

CAMEROTA: OK. Let's talk about something that you have been talking about for a long time and now seems to be reaching sort of fever pitch, and that is the authorization for military force known as the AUMF.

KAINE: Yes.

CAMEROTA: What did you think when you heard Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Mattis basically say that they don't think that a new one is necessary?

KAINE: Alisyn, I trust those gentlemen in their lines of work. Secretary Mattis as sec. def., Secretary Tillerson as secretary of state. They have to do their job but they can't tell Congress how to do ours.

The war powers in the Congress are reserved to Congress in Article One. We don't have to play "Mother May I?" and ask permission to the administration to fulfill our constitutional duty.

[07:45:00] And, Sen. Flake and I have a bipartisan proposal that basically says look, after 16 years of open-ended war all across the globe --

And Americans were surprised when they read the news about four Green Berets killed in Niger. Americans were surprised at news recently that a Green Beret was killed, potentially strangled by other colleagues -- there's an investigation going on to that -- during a special operations mission in Mali.

The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands. I introduced documents at the hearing yesterday to demonstrate that and it's time to have the discussion.

And the good news was I'm really gratified that the foreign relations chair, Bob Corker, is saying you're right, now is the time. We need to move, and mark up, and work on an authorization and it should be bipartisan.

CAMEROTA: Well, I know you don't need their permission but here's what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Mattis want in terms of any new AUMF.

They want no time constraints on it. So in other words, it wouldn't have an end date. They want no geographic constraints, so the U.S. can, you know, obviously litigate war wherever on the globe it need be. And, they want the 2001 AUMF not to be repealed before there is a replacement.

Are you comfortable with those?

KAINE: Alisyn, the last one's easy. I think we should do a new authorization and, at the same time, retire the old one, but we shouldn't leave a gap. I agree with them on that.

CAMEROTA: But, what about the first two?

KAINE: On the other two, look, that the Trump administration wants the ability to wage war anywhere in the world forever -- well, nice try. I don't think that's what the American public wants and that's not consistent with our role.

So what Sen. Flake and I have in is on the geography. We require in our authorization for the administration to notify us where they are the taking the fight to these three terrorist groups and we have the ability to pass a resolution of disapproval.

So they can go ahead and take action in these countries after notice to us but if we disapprove, they have to stop. So that gives appropriate deference to our military leaders.

CAMEROTA: And so, what about the time frame?

KAINE: On the time -- there's got to be a time limit. There has to be a time limit -- at least a forced periodic review because if there isn't you will have what we have now.

We've been at war for 16 years and they've basically said they think this war will take generations. American should not be in a forever war with no vote of Congress. We owe it to the troops, we owe it to the American public to periodically review the extent of military action around the world, else we will be at war everywhere in the world forever. CAMEROTA: Senator Tim Kaine, thanks so much for being on NEW DAY. Nice to talk to you.

KAINE: You bet.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CUOMO: All right. Up next, what do Mueller's indictments of former Trump campaign aides reveal about the scope of the special counsel's investigation?

We have former attorney general Alberto Gonzalez. An important take, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:50:43] CUOMO: All right.

So what do these indictments mean about what the special counsel's doing with this investigation? We now know that three former Trump campaign aides have been charged in federal court, so what could come next and what do we know from what he did already?

Joining us now is Alberto Gonzalez, former attorney general, former counsel to President George W. Bush, and current dean at Belmont University College of Law, and the author of "True Faith and Allegiance." Very good book. People should read it.

Good to have you with us, sir (coughing).

ALBERTO GONZALEZ, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL, FORMER COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, DEAN, BELMONT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW, AUTHOR, "TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE": Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you.

CUOMO: I get choked up when I have you on the show. I apologize for that. I'm back on level now.

So, let's start --

GONZALEZ: I do that to a lot of people, Chris.

CUOMO: So, let's start with the macro here. When you have read through these papers and you see the charges, would you have reached the same conclusions? Do you believe that these indictments are justified?

GONZALEZ: Well again, Chris, I don't have access to the direct evidence and so I have confidence in Bob Mueller and I think he's assembled a pretty strong team. So I think they feel pretty comfortable with their case, otherwise they wouldn't have moved forward in this -- in this fashion.

My sense is, and a lot of people have commented on this. My sense is this is simply the end of the beginning. I think we still -- there's still a lot to learn here and I think Mueller's mandate is very broad.

I know there's a lot of -- there's a lot of angst by Republicans saying that Mueller ought to be investigating in a Russian involvement with the Clinton campaign or the ties to the Clinton campaign. That very well may happen.

I think we need to be patient here and I think Bob Mueller's going to utilize this mandate and make sure that it -- to the extent that any Americans were involved in criminal activity they're going to be held accountable for it.

CUOMO: Help me understand the analogy of Clinton and Trump here on one, just on the face of the facts.

With Trump, you have Russians coming to his people and saying we have dirt, all right? In one case with Papadopoulos, who just pleaded guilty, they were coming to him with the e-mails that were stolen by Hillary Clinton before they were even made public, OK, and we have their, at least, openness to those suggestions.

On the other side, you have oppo research, which is a dirty thing. You and I know it very well. But they weren't being solicited by Russians, they were being victimized by Russians. Hillary Clinton was the victim of Russian efforts and they even paid a guy to go out and get some oppo research on this point.

I don't get how these two are similar in any way.

GONZALEZ: Well again, Chris, I think in fairness we don't know all of the facts here. There's a lot of supposition, a lot of so-called explanations or conclusions reached upon what's being said out there in the public by both sides.

All I -- the only point I think is important to emphasize is that Bob Mueller's mandate is, in fact, very broad and I think it's quite possible that not only is he going to look into Russian involvement and cooperation -- illegal cooperation with the Trump campaign but also what may have happened with respect to individuals associated with the Clinton campaign. That's the only thing that I meant to suggest.

CUOMO: Look he should look at everything that's relevant. Obviously, that's what this is all about.

One other quick thing. If you were working in a campaign like this and somebody came to you and said the Russians want to give me this information. They say they have these stolen e-mails.

I'm not saying it's about legality but isn't that something that you should alert the authorities to? Isn't that something that you should alert that this campaign aide that you don't really know, as they're saying right now, is coming, trying to solicit this kind of information? Isn't that what should have been expected in that situation?

GONZELEZ: Well certainly, someone of my experience and background, I would certainly know better and I would know that that would be a very serious situation. And, of course, I would have contacted the appropriate parties, including the -- including the authorities.

Whether or not this individual had that level of experience or expertise would make -- you know, I just don't know whether or not -- he should have, at least, to talk to someone senior in the campaign and then that person should have taken appropriate action.

So --

CUOMO: Right, and that's why Manafort --

GONZALEZ: -- if you're asking me what --

CUOMO: That's why having that question about Manafort.

GONZALEZ: Yes, but if you're asking me what I --

CUOMO: Right. What would you have done --

GONZALEZ: Exactly.

Well, I would have -- I probably would have had a conversation with some -- with someone in the law enforcement arena. I don't know whether or not I would have had a conversation with the principal -- with the candidate in this particular case. But based upon my experience and expertise, I would have notified someone with -- in the law enforcement arena.

[07:55:12] CUOMO: Right. I think it's a big and neglected fact probably not to Mueller. I would imagine that he and his guys, when they looked at that, they were like why didn't they? And it shows an openness to these solicitations that obviously are feeding their curiosity.

Let's feed curiosity on another very important point. You understand authorizations of use of military force very well, both legally and practically. You worked on them in your assistance of the White House.

What do you think is the reality about today? Do you think a new AUMF is justified?

GONZALEZ: I certainly would say that it's helpful. I think it's always helpful for the American -- for the American people to have both the Congress and the Executive Branch working together when you're talking about committing men and women into harm's way. And I think this debate is not very helpful, quite frankly.

You know, when we -- I helped negotiate the 2001 authorization to use military force our view was that we were -- we were negotiating authorization to use force against al-Qaeda, the group that had attacked the United States on 9/11. The notion that today the Executive Branch is still relying upon that authorization to use military force quite frankly, to me, makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I just think that the White House would be in a stronger legal position if, in fact, they could to go Congress and work with Congress and get an authorization to use military force to deal with the threats that exist today.

I'm not in any way suggesting that if the -- the national security of our country is threatened, the president has the authority, clearly, of the constitution to protect this country in self-defense. But with respect to the things that we do around the world today and the threats that exist today, I think the United States -- the presidency would be in a stronger position with the approval of Congress.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, the executives have been usurping power because it's been given to them actually by Congress, administration after administration. It is time for Congress to do its duty under the constitution and give statutory authority if so warranted.

Alberto Gonzalez, always value added. Thank you for helping us on NEW DAY this morning.

GONZALEZ: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Be well -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, so here's a big question this morning. Was former Trump aide George Papadopoulos helping prosecutors for months? Maybe even recording conversations.

We bring you up to speed, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)