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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Steve Bannon Joins Roy Moore At Campaign Rally in Alabama; Lawyer for Former Trump Aide: More Charges Could Be Coming. Aired 8- 9p ET
Aired December 5, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:17] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
You're looking at a live picture of a campaign rally in Fair Hope, Alabama, where Roy Moore is expected to speak tonight with the election exactly one week away.
It's where we begin our broadcast, keeping them honest, with an evolving message from the White House that's ended with an unmitigated endorsement by the president for a man accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers, including initiating sexual conduct with a 14-year-old girl, sexually assaulting a 16-year-old, and pursuing relationships with teenagers while he was in his 30s. Moore has denied all allegations from his multiple accusers. It's been a long and winding road for the president, certainly, to get to the full-throated endorsement. Sarah Sanders reiterated today from the White House podium.
And one of the main complicating factors, according to CNN's reporting, was that there was concern that it was too risky for the president to weigh in, since he, himself, has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least a dozen women. So, trying to thread the needle, here's what Sarah Sanders said on November 11th, right after those accusations against Moore started coming out.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case, one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: At the time, the president was in Asia. Sanders said he would remain focused on that trip.
But then there was that tweak in the message. Five days after first commenting on it, the White House started using a different law and repeating it over multiple days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: The president believes this is a decision for the people of Alabama to make. The people of Alabama should make the decision. The people of Alabama should be the ones to make the decision. The decision that the people of Alabama need to make.
It's up to the people of Alabama to make the decision. The president, as I've said about seven or eight times now, thinks that this is a decision for the people of Alabama to make. It's up to the governor and the state -- the people in the state of Alabama to make a determination.
I've addressed it quite a few times. The position of the White House hasn't changed. It's up to the people of Alabama to make the determination on who their next senator should be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ivanka Trump also weighed in around this time with a different message, saying she had no reason to doubt Moore's victims' accounts and that there's a special place in hell for people who prey on children.
Shortly after that, however, the president started moving closer to Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can tell you for a fact, we do not need somebody that's going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment.
REPORTER: Mr. President, is an accused child molester better than a Democrat? Is an accused child molester better than a Democrat?
TRUMP: Well, he denies it. Look, he denies it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was two weeks ago.
As Moore has continued to deny any inappropriate behavior, the president has made a political calculation, it seems, to back Moore all the way.
Here's how Senator Orrin Hatch described the president's decision. He said, I don't think he had any choice but to do that. You know he needs every Republican he can get, so he can put his agenda through. So, that's, you know, the only Republican you can possibly get down there at this time.
Senator Hatch also brought up the things that Moore is accused of happened decades ago, another spinning plate that Moore supporters have used.
At the White House today, CNN's Jim Acosta asked Sarah Sanders if this was about more than political positioning, given what Moore is accused of. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Isn't there a moral decision that you're making here?
SANDERS: As I've said, that's something for the people of Alabama to decide. And --
ACOSTA: Is that something --
SANDERES: That's up to them.
As I said, we find the allegations very troubling. And again, this is up to the people of Alabama to make this decision. I'm not a voter in Alabama and can't make that decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, if there was any doubt left about where the president stands today, the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think he's going to do very well. We don't want to have a liberal Democrat in Alabama, believe me. We want strong borders. We want stopping crime. We want to have the things that we represent and we certainly don't want to have a liberal Democrat that's controlled by Nancy Pelosi and controlled by Chuck Schumer. We don't want to have that for Alabama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A definitive answer from the president to that question, first shouted two weeks ago. Is an accused child molester better than a Democrat?
Gary Tuchman is at the Moore rally in Fair Hope, Alabama, tonight. He joins us now -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, behind me on a rainy, windy night, a political barnstorming, literally taking place inside a barn, an event space on the gulf coast of Alabama. It is a Roy Moore rally, but a lot of the Alabamians who are inside and there hundreds of people packed inside this barn are here to see a guest star barnstormer, and that is Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist in the White House.
He will shortly introduce Roy Moore. He has been with Moore this entire time. There's been no separation between the two, even with these accusations against him. Bannon has been loyal. We are told he will breathe fire at this event.
Another person being talked about is someone who is not here, and that is the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who has not been with Roy Moore the whole time, but explicitly endorsed him yesterday.
[20:05:07] Many of the people inside are grateful about that. We talked to the people as they were going and asked them about these
accusations against the people they are voting for, Judge Roy Moore, many people say they need proof beyond a reasonable doubt, even though that's a legal standard, not a political one. Others people say there's no truth at all. They don't believe it at all.
And when we asked them why, they say it's a plot. These women have been trotted out by Democrats, establishment Republicans and members of the media. When we ask how that would practically happen, we don't get any answers, just like we haven't gotten any answers from the Roy Moore campaign, how it's going to practically happen also, all these false accusations -- Anderson.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman, thanks very much.
With me now is Ed Martin, Amanda Carpenter, and Van Jones.
Van, I mean, the White House's answer for the president's endorsement is essentially that Moore is better to a Democrat. Is that, to you, acceptable?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's certainly not. And I was down in Tennessee over the past Thanksgiving break and immediately there afterward. And you saw this thing beginning to build, where the just turned into a tribal issue of us against them. You know, "The Washington Post," "The Washington Post", the fact that these women were coming forward on local television and were talking to local reporters, all that got washed out. And so, we're seeing now just a complete tribalization of American politics.
As long as somebody is in my party, I don't care anything about, you know, who they are or what they've done. It's just us against them. And I think it's very, very shocking to see this get this far.
I had hoped that the president would at least stay where he was and stay out of it. It's clear, now, that he's going to go in full force to support someone who I think in any other era would be beyond the pale of acceptability.
COOPER: Amanda, are you surprised at all that the president did give up ending Moore this full endorsement? It's been, you know, a couple weeks' journey to this point.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, nothing surprises me about Donald Trump, because I think the unpredictability is the feature, not the bug.
But here is what is confusing. He constantly undermines people who want to help him. He turns them to stooges.
He turned his daughter into a stooge. She was out there saying that there's no -- there's a special place in hell for people like Roy Moore. And apparently Donald Trump thinks that's the U.S. Senate, because the party is not about principles or even legislative accomplishments anymore. It's about whatever Trump thinks and feels at the time is best for him. And I think this is best explained by Corey Lewandowski and David
Bossie, who are former Trump associates who are shopping a book. And one of the big reveals that they are selling is that Donald Trump said after the "Access Hollywood" tapes, these Republicans will support me or I will take down the party with me.
You know, I don't like to work with bullies, but apparently, there's a lot of people who do. And this is the fear mentality that I think a lot of weak people in leadership positions in the Republican Party have. Like RNC chair, Ronna Romney McDaniel, who is a woman, who is out of that race. They all made the right decision, because they could see the allegations and they said, we don't want to support this man.
Then Donald Trump changed his mind. And now she's back in the race.
And I want to see the Republican Party chairwoman go out and explain to me the decision making for why she stands by the president in doing so, because if she's going to be the person that sends somebody down there, I want her to get up on that stage and show her face instead of hiding.
COOPER: Ed, the endorsement from the president, is it anything but politics of convenience?
ED MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't know, with Anderson. I would say this. I'm really gratified today, because I had the same position a month ago when this happened, and I said at the very beginning, I think, Van, we've talked about this before. America's greatness comes in its rule of law and the way we live.
And in this case, I said from the beginning, a political hit job that came late with Gloria Allred and others. And at least, I've never said we shouldn't honor the people who made accusations, but we should understand what the moment is.
And the president said, very early, was clear, he was clear -- he thought they were troubling accusations. I agree. But he didn't believe them, if Roy Moore denied them, I'm the same way.
Once you say that, you say, okay, let's go forward with an election. Let the election happen. That's what I've said from the beginning. And when it does, we will have the same situation after the election with Senator-elect Roy Moore that we do with Al Franken and any other member of Congress that has been accused of major significant violations of the code of the Senate. And then let's have at it, because America's greatness is not that we become a lynch mob that runs around and says, we know you, we believe them. Therefore, you're out of business.
We have a system that operates and churns and it's working great. And the Alabama --
CARPENTER: And we have a system where Republican Party leaders have an obligation, I think, to step in and give Alabama voters a better choice. What is so confusing about what the RNC is doing, is that they pulled out once allegations started coming forward. Since then, we've only gotten more allegations, more evidence.
[20:10:01] And all that the Roy Moore campaign has done is go out and smear the women, attack the press, and say, well, you have to vote for Roy Moore if you care about abortion.
I'm sorry, I don't know if you can trust this man -- let me finish, and you will have your turn.
MARTIN: OK. All right.
CARPENTER: If you can trust this man to stand up for great issues of character in the United States Senate, when he can't answer questions about the relationships that he's clearly had with so many young women. At least has he acknowledged on one? One yearbook inscription? No.
MARTIN: Amanda, you know, you've observed it, you've seen people make accusations and try to slur people all the time. And part of it is you have to -- if you have to respond to every one on the other terms, it hurts. But, Anderson --
CARPENTER: He hasn't responded him finish.
MARTIN: Amanda, you asked me to let you finish and I did.
Anderson, I served on the RNC, and let me put a point on this. It was a very cynical play by the RNC, I agree with Amanda on that. They should not lurched in and out. It makes them look feckless and leaderless.
But here's why they're back in. They're back in because they're trying to cover their tail, because either he's going to lose by a small amount or win, and they want to claim a piece of it.
So, you're right, they shouldn't have rushed to judgment, they shouldn't have joined the mob rule. They should have stood tight and assess what was going on.
They thought they could force him out by playing the game, a political hit, and the RNC did too. And they lost, Amanda. And the people Alabama are going --
CARPENTER: Well, you're wrong, because they're following Trump's direction. Trump was out and got back in and everybody looks like fools in the process.
COOPER: Let me bring Van back.
Van, you talked poignantly about the tribalization of American politics. Do you see the same on the side of the Democrats right now with Conyers, with Al Franken? People basically just rallying around their tribe?
JONES: Well, what I do see, at least with the Democrats, people are acknowledging some wrongdoing. I think Conyers has actually, you know, stepped down.
But this is much bigger that Democrat versus Republican. There's something that's happening now -- you know, Steve Bannon is somebody who has been playing footsie with Nazis and everything else, and he's gloating tonight.
And he, I mean, he decided that this was going to be something that he was going to be able to prove to the country, that he could stand -- that somebody like him could stand with a Roy Moore and ultimately prevail. And Steve Bannon, this has gone from being the party of Lincoln to the party of Steve Bannon. He's been able to somehow swing the president of the United States, the White House, the RNC, behind a candidate that in ordinary circumstances would just be unacceptable to any political party.
So, there's something happening in America that I think we should be very, very concerned about. And frankly, the description we just heard was the most cynical description of politics I've heard in a cynical year. Sir, you've stood up here and talked about the main problem was that they were trying to play a game and they lost a game, et cetera, et cetera. I just think that whole thing is a part of the problem. This is not a game for the people who are involved.
COOPER: All right. We've got to take a break. Van, Amanda, Ed, thank you.
Coming up, could be new charges coming from Robert Mueller's investigation. We'll tell you which lawyer says his client may be facing superseding indictments. We'll explain what that exactly means, next.
Also, one month ago, tragedy came to Sutherland Springs, Texas. More than two dozen people killed in a church shooting including the pastor's daughter. I spoke with the pastor and his wife about how they are coping. That conversation, coming up tonight.
[20:16:56] COOPER: There's breaking news on the investigation, where CNN is learning there could be more charges coming against at least one of the four people already charged in the Mueller investigation. A lawyer for Rick Gates said in court that federal prosecutors have told him more charges could be coming. Gates was deputy to former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Both were charged with 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States.
With me now is CNN political analyst and "New York Times" White House correspondent, Maggie Haberman, and CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
So, Jeff, first of all, what is a superseding indictment and how significant could it be in this case? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, an indictment, as I
think most people know, is when the grand jury issues first charges against someone. But a superseding indictment is when the same grand jury issues more charges. It basically takes the indictment and supersedes it with another one. Almost always, it adds charges, so what this appears to be is an attempt by Mueller to squeeze Gates, even more, and try to get him to plead guilty to something and cooperate.
You know, he is obviously the less-significant target. He wasn't chairman of the Trump campaign. And so, he is someone who could potentially plead guilty and cooperate. And this is an advertisement to him that, look, if ewe don't plead guilty, you are going to face even longer time in prison than you're facing now.
COOPER: Maggie, I mean, when Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were first indicted, the president's allies were quick to say, look, this has nothing to do with the campaign. The indictments had to do with their business, their business things. If there's more charges, I wonder if there's more concern that it could be something beyond just their finances.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And look, it's hard to know, but a couple of things just to add to what Jeffrey just said. Rick Gates is a lesser target in the sense that he wasn't the chairman, but he was essentially the deputy to Manafort in all things.
So, it's not like he knows very little or would have been shielded from a lot of things. He will know a fair amount. So, it's understandable why Mueller would be squeezing him the way he is.
In terms of the White House explanation of, oh, this has nothing to do with us, and the president has said it to me on the phone, to almost everyone publicly, the White House has said the same thing from the podium and the briefing room. That has unraveled as the last couple of weeks have gone on. It isn't just Gates and Manafort. There was also it will guilty plea by George Papadopoulos, who was -- yes, he was not a senior person on the campaign, but he clearly has some information that Mueller's investigators consider of value, or they would not have gone along with these plea deal, and then you have Michael Flynn where none of those explanations can apply.
2With Paul Manafort, you saw Trump do what he often does, which is I barely know this person. Michael Flynn was latched at the hip with Jared Kushner during the transition. He was very close to the president during the campaign. The president personally floated his name for vice president at one point. It's extremely hard to keep up that argument now.
COOPER: You know, the thing with Flynn is -- I mean, the lingering question is, you know, what the president knew about Michael Flynn and kind of at what point did he know it. And -- do you have any sense of if the president's team is actually rattled by this?
[20:20:02] HABERMAN: Well, I think they were certainly not pleased about the Flynn guilty plea, although the lawyers, at least -- and I think the president, to some extent, had some sense this was likely coming. There was a split between the lawyers in terms of conversations. Flynn's lawyers stopped having discussions with the broader group of lawyers. So, they've known for roughly, at least, I think it was nine days that something was coming.
But, certainly, this is of concern to the president. You can see it in terms of just how he's acting. On Twitter, you can see it in terms of, he is keeping up a veneer of calm, I'm told, in these private conversations with people, at fund-raisers over the weekend in Manhattan, this discussion with his aides, but there is clearly something eating at him. I think that only a small group of people know what the president actually knew about Flynn.
And they complicated that when the president did this tweet over the weekend, that they then blamed on his lawyer, John Dowd, where he seemed to suggest he had known Flynn lied to the FBI when he fired him. That was not what they said at the time. So this raised all kinds of questions.
COOPER: Do you -- I mean, do you believe that tweet is from the lawyer?
HABERMAN: I don't -- I think that that's what they say. And I think that, you know, I -- you could see either version of this. I could see Dowd having done a tweet where he was doing something to try to calm the president down, when the president was upset or wanted to tweet personally. And then provided something to Dan Scavino, the social media director and up it went, or I could see the president having dictated that tweet into the phone to Dan Scavino and any of those things are possible, either.
COOPER: Jeff, right now, ways the most innocent explanation you could plausibly assign to the president, vis-a-vis Flynn?
TOOBIN: Well, that the only thing Flynn has pleaded guilty to is lying to the FBI. The president had nothing to do with him lying to the FBI. There has been no charge of any underlying criminal conduct involving the campaign.
So, you could -- the explanation is, this has nothing to do with the president. That this was a crime that Flynn committed on his own and as for collusion, the crime that -- or the issue that is at the heart of Flynn's -- of Robert Mueller's investigation, no charges have been filed, no claim has been made so far by Mueller, that anything illegal went on in the campaign itself. That's an innocent explanation. We'll see if it's true.
HABERMAN: That's right.
COOPER: Yes. That's --
HABERMAN: No, I think that's possible. Look, I think there is a case to be made that insulates the president. But to Jeffrey's point, it depends on what's true and what's not true. We know what they have shown so far, the special counsel, in terms of showing their hand has not shown collusion. We also know that the special counsel's office kept a guilty plea from
George Papadopoulos quiet for something like five months. So, we don't know what else they have that we're not aware of.
COOPER: Yes. Well, Maggie Haberman, thanks very much. Jeff Toobin, as well.
A lot more to cover. We are waiting for Steve Bannon to take the stage at the Roy Moore rally in Alabama. We'll keep an eye on that.
When we come back, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski joins me with an inside look into the campaign. Also his take on the latest breaking news, potentially more charges from the Mueller investigation.
[20:27:24] COOPER: More on our breaking news tonight, that more charges can be coming against Rick Gates, the deputy to former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Already, Gates was charged with 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States.
Joining me now, former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. He co-authored a new book, "Let Trump Be Trump."
First of all, congratulations on the book, obviously.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you.
COOPER: There's a lot to get to.
You write about how tough President Trump -- candidate Trump could be at times. There was a time that I think you were sick, you fell asleep. He basically said to you, look, if you can't handle it, we'll find somebody else. There was a lot of shouting and arguments going on within this tight knit group which you were.
How do you reconcile that with his standing by publicly Michael Flynn? Because Michael Flynn is obviously a guy who has put the president in legal trouble, has put the president in political trouble. Who lied to the vice president, clearly, you know, admits lying to the FBI, which the president tweeted or the president's attorney tweeted that they knew about.
How do you account for a guy who is yelling at people during the campaign, but is standing publicly, can't seem to say enough nice things about Michael Flynn?
LEWANDOWSKI: You know, Anderson, in this book, what I talk about is, the campaign was about two things, I would like to say -- Trump's loyalty to the staff and the staff's loyalty to Trump, particularly in the early parts of it. And what you see with candidate Trump and now with President Trump, is he is exceptionally loyal to the people who have been there for him, when nobody else was going to be.
And so, what -- you know, what that means -- look, we talk about this a lot in the book, is he stood by me in a tough time. And we stood by him in his tough times, when no one thought he was going to be a real candidate.
And Mike Flynn came on to the campaign a little bit after I left the campaign, and was a steadfast supporter of candidate Trump, right until the very end, right until election day. He was given an opportunity to work in the in the White House and then he was dishonest. He lied to the vice president about his conversations and what we now know is he lied to the FBI, it sounds like, and has pled guilty to a felony of lying to the FBI.
But that doesn't mean he didn't serve his country honorably. He was a three-star army general who served honorably.
COOPER: Right. But, I mean, Paul Manafort he has distanced himself from. I get his loyalty to you and your loyalty to him, I totally understand that. But for a guy who, you know, he has put the president in legal jeopardy.
The other way of looking at it, besides him just being a loyal guy, is Mike Flynn, as you said, had a very close relationship with him during the campaign, spent a lot of time, was out there on the campaign trail. They had a lot of conversations. We don't know what the nature of those conversations was.
You might look at it the other way and say, Mike Flynn knows stuff that President Trump is concerned about, and wants to keep him close.
LEWANDOWSKI: I don't think so. You know what I think the biggest problem that I have with the Flynn issue is there's two separate sets of rules for two different types of individuals. Mike Flynn has admitted to lying to the FBI, which is a felony. He's now a convicted felon because of that. When you saw an FBI agent that had to be removed from the Mueller investigation, the same one who changed the wording in the Clinton investigation, the same one who interviewed Huma Abedin, the same one who interviewed additional people from the Clinton campaign, not under oath, never charged. Look, we have a problem. There are bad people, sometimes, in the FBI, and if any of those other individuals lied to the FBI, they should be brought up on charges.
And what we know right now, Mike Flynn is convicted felon today, admittedly, for lying to the FBI, but that has nothing to do with anything he did for Donald Trump. It has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You don't think it speaks to -- I mean, if he's -- why would Mike Flynn lie? I mean --
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, that's a question for Mike Flynn. I'm not an attorney.
COOPER: Does that make any sense to you, though?
LEWANDOWSKI: What I know is, if you're going to go talk to the FBI and you lie to a federal agent, that's a crime. It's a felony. And what we do know is Hillary Clinton has changed her story many times in front of the FBI, this particular FBI agent who was removed from the Mueller case, recommended changing language so Hillary Clinton wouldn't be prosecuted, the same FBI agent who interviewed Huma Abedin.
COOPER: But we don't know if Flynn lie had anything to do with President Trump --
LEWANDOWSKI: Or the campaign.
COOPER: Right, or the campaign. We don't know, but --
LEWANDOWSKI: That's right.
COOPER: -- he is now cooperating. Does it concern you that he is cooperating?
LEWANDOWSKI: No. Look, I think everybody should cooperate. I think what the best thing to do with the Mueller investigation would be -- and we saw today, the numbers have come out for the first time. I think we're 7 million in, 3.5 million to the Mueller team.
Look, I think the American people deserve two things, an amount of money that's going to be spent on the investigation and reasonable timeframe to come up with the resolution. Now, that resolution can be in three months from now. We need to continue moving forward, and here is the evidence of why or needs to say, we've done our due diligence over the last 18 months and I'm going to bring this to a close.
But either way, I think there has to be some parameters. Because all government employees are accountable somewhere and there should be a point at the end that is either, we're going to end this or we're going to keep moving forward.
COOPER: I want to ask you about Paul Manafort. Obviously, you had some tough words for him in the book, obviously. There were clashes. And he now, it seems, was ghost writing an Op-Ed on Ukraine with a Russian national who has ties to Russian intelligence. Does it surprise you that the guy you know would do that, even though he's on bail -- even though he's under house arrest?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I think what we've learned about Paul Manafort, since he left the campaign, public reports say he was under a FISA warrant prior to coming to the campaign, so the government was very concerned about him. He's now been charged with I think about a dozen felony counts, from activities that he perpetrated a dozen years ago, long before we ever came to -- alleged.
COOPER: And in your book you write, when the President heard what he had done with the Ukraine, one of the -- I think it was a story, I guess it was in The New York Times or The Washington Post, the President said, a crook is running my campaign.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, that's right. Because -- and, you know, the President is very concerned about the way we spent money. We were nimble, we were agile, we were smaller, more efficient, more lean. And what was the story today that I saw was -- and I don't know if it's true, but Paul Manafort was trying to coordinate the writing of an Op-Ed against a judge's gag order.
Now, I'm not an attorney. That's going to be for a judge to determine if what he did violated his bail conditions. And if so, that judge will implement a rule or a recommendation that they see fit. I'm not here to judge Paul Manafort. That's a judge's job.
COOPER: When Paul Manafort came on board, it seemed like the Trump kids, or at least, some of them, kind of came into his orbit, kind of turned towards him against you. Do you think -- why did that happen?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, when we brought Paul into the campaign, he was the person who was supposed to be coordinating the delegates, right? And we talk about this very extensively in the book. The last time there was a contested convention on the delegates for Republican was 1976, before the invention of the fax machine. So, Paul was the last guy alive that had ever done this.
And so, we bring him into the campaign to make sure Trump has enough delegates to win. And what happened from there was, he had a bigger and bigger role into the campaign, and candidly in the book talks about this, Anderson. A lot of my time was spent traveling with the candidate on Trump force one, on that beautiful bowling 757.
Paul was back in New York cultivating relationships with the family, explaining to them that he could run the campaign differently.
COOPER: He's trying to get the President not to go on Sunday shows but he said that he could go on Sunday shows.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, we saw during the campaign that Paul went down to Florida and said he's going to change the President. The title of this book is, "Let Trump Be Trump." I didn't want to change him. He doesn't want to change. So people who come in and try to change a man who has achieved the success that he has are only going to fail.
COOPER: Why did -- why didn't the President fire you directly? He left it up to I think Donald Jr. to tell you that you'd been let go. I mean, for the guy who is -- the irony is, I mean, people say that all the reporting says he doesn't like to have that personal interaction of when he doesn't like the conflict when somebody say, you're fired. The irony, of course, he's famous for saying, you're fired. Were you disappointed that he didn't do it face to face?
COOPER: You dedicated -- I mean, a lot of your life to that.
LEWANDOWSKI: I did. And look, I'm so privileged and blessed to have been a small part of this amazing campaign. And the way we changed history.
[20:35:05] COOPER: And it must have hurt for him not to do it face to face.
LEWANDOWSKI: Anderson, what hurt was, we had won 38 primaries and caucuses. By all accounts, I had done a pretty good job, because I had the greatest candidate, right? So I had a little bit of a role in the success, and not being able to see it at the end. But you know what, it's a blessing, and I didn't know it at the time, I leave the campaign, not by my own volition, on the 20th of June in 2016, and all the crazy Russia stuff happened after I'm gone. So, I didn't know at the time. I didn't thought it was the worst day of my life, maybe turns out to be the best day of my life.
COOPER: Again -- you know, one of the big arguments that that then Candidate Trump, in the campaign on May was that he is a great manager and hires all the best people. There's been a huge amount of turnover, you know, put together lists, Paul -- you, Paul Manafort, Reince Priebus, Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon, Mike Dubke, Sean Spicer, Keith Shiller, Mark Kazowitz, Anthony Scaramucci, Sebastian Gorka, and Tom Price. I may have missed one 2or two. If he's such a great people person and manager of people, home come there's been such huge turnover?
LEWANDOWSKI: The way the President managed for the campaign when I was part of it, he never got involved in personnel decisions -- you know, he hired me to run the campaign, and then he never said to me, Corey, you've got to hire Johnny or Billy or Bobby, right? That was my responsibility.
At the White House, particularly when they stood up the new administration, Reince Priebus was in-charge of bringing those people onboard, and Mike Dubke of the world, Sean Spicer of the world, et cetera. People have the opportunity to perform in Trump world. And if you don't meet that performance expectation, he's going to invite you to do something else. But he doesn't micromanage, other than picking Reince Priebus as the chief-of-staff, Reince, you go and fill out the government the way you want to. And I think that's a fair way to manage.
COOPER: There is an incredible moment in the book, where right after -- it's after the Access Hollywood tape. Reince Priebus has come up for a meeting, and it seems maybe he didn't want to go to the meeting but he does end up going to the meeting. Reince Priebus says, look, you have two choices, either you're going to have the biggest loss in, you know, in history, or you get out of the race. And the President says to him, look, I'm not going to get out of the race, but I'll tell you, if -- you know, if -- I don't want to misquote him, essentially saying, I'll bring the Republican Party down before I, you know, if I go, I'm going to bring the whole Republican Party down. That's pretty stunning for a guy who's the candidate of the Republican Party.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, Anderson, it was such a unique time, right? The campaign was in triage at that moment. And this candidate, Donald Trump, unequivocally knew. And he went around the room that day, and we write about it in the book in "Let Trump Be Trump." What do you think the odds of me still winning are on this? And Steve Bannon stood up and said, 100 percent. And he said, it's impossible because no one going to be 100 percent sure. And there were other people, and Reince's job at that time was not to be a Donald Trump campaign staffer. He was the chairman of the RNC. And he was trying to put it in context of -- and he'd done a very good job as a chairman, and a very good job of prepping Donald Trump for those debates.
We had a huge debate two nights later in St. Louis, you remember it. And what happened that night, I believe that was the night Donald Trump won the campaign. He came back to that debate stage. He's won that debate stage. He was strong as ever. He took it right to Hillary Clinton. The American people said, let's move forward. And they elected Donald Trump a month later.
COOPER: Just finally, I just want to ask you, and I know this is getting a lot of headlines and stuff, but the diet of Candidate Trump. As somebody -- I'm not saying this is as somebody who loves McDonald's, I eat McDonald's all the time, I eat big Mac's all the time, two big Macs, two filet-o-fish and a chocolate malted. I mean, I ask you this to somebody who, you know, is concerned about my own health eating McDonald's. Are you concerned about the President's health with this kind of a diet?
LEWANDOWSKI: No. Look, with the reason -- we also had Kentucky fried chicken, and sometimes we have Chick-fil-A. If we were very lucky --
COOPER: You're not making it any better.
LEWANDOWSKI: But you know why, Anderson? Because we were so busy. He was so busy on the campaign trail doing 18, 19, 20 hours a day. We didn't sit down for meals. Our meals were on the go and it was all that we could do was to get those meals. The Candidate Trump would go 18 hours straight, working, not eating, just focused on talking to the American people about what his vision was. And at the end of the day, when we were flying back somewhere, he'd had a meal. He wouldn't eat the bread. You know, everyone wants to make a big deal of it.
The purpose of this package of the book in, Let Trump Be Trump, was to show that he's ready to do the next thing. He doesn't want to sit down for a meal. He ate quick. There was always something else to do. Look, I have around Candidate Trump, now President Trump, so many times. He's an absolute machine. He works his staff harder than humanly possible because he outworks them all. He's 71-years-old. You would see 20, 30, 40-year-old guys by the way, said they couldn't keep up with him. He has an energy level that I've never seen, and if that's big macs or pizza, he's a blue collar billionaire and he loves what he loves.
COOPER: Corey Lewandowski, I appreciate it. His book is, "Let Trump Be Trump." Thank you.
LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you.
COOPER: Steve Bannon speaking right now at the Roy Moore campaign in Alabama. We'll keep an eye on that. When we come back, more breaking news, U.S. Embassy is on alert. State department warning of violence as President Trump is set to announce his plan to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. We'll speak to Fareed Zakaria about that, next.
[20:42:10] COOPER: Breaking news tonight, the state department is warning of violence and U.S. troops are on alert at embassies in the Middle East after news that President Trump intends to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The idea of moving the embassy to a city already a flash fund in Arab-Israeli relations has already prompted extreme concern from other world leaders.
The President called the Palestinian leader, as well as the leaders of the Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan and explained his plan to each and every single one strongly opposed the idea. Each government released statements against the move, and warning that the decision would undermine regional stability and any hopes of peace in the future. Here's what Sarah Sanders said from the podium today when asked about that.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to get ahead of the President's remarks that he'll make tomorrow. He did speak with a number of leaders this morning and he's going to continue to have conversations with relevant stakeholders, but ultimately, he'll make what he feels is the best decision for the United States.
COOPER: Already, Palestinian factions are calling for three, "days of rage" in Jerusalem, in the west bank, including demonstrations in front of embassies in U.S. consulates, as well as other cities. That prompted the U.S. state department to issue a travel warning for all Americans in the region to avoid crowds in areas would increase police presence. CNN's Fareed Zakaria joins me with more.
This is something that many Republicans on the campaign trail have promised when they're running and then don't really follow through on it. Explain why this is such a big deal for people in the region.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: You know, it really is the central symbolic issue dividing the Israelis and the Palestinians. There's the issue of land. You know, how much of the west bank, how much of Gaza, how do you carve it out, all that.
And that stuff you can figure out. You know, there's various deals you can imagine. But Jerusalem has been the kind of central symbolic issue, because both parties, the Israelis and the Palestinians, believe it is their capital.
COOPER: Right. And if there is to be a peace deal, that has to be figured out.
ZAKARIA: And that's been true since 1940, the United Nations and its original partition plan had a special international status for Jerusalem. Every negotiation has always tried to keep that as the kind of final point you discuss and find somewhere to share sovereignty or the really at the end of the day, what you're doing is, again, honoring the symbolism. The Arabs, you know, would get -- the Palestinians would get a very small part of the suburbs, but they could call it Jerusalem. And they could keep that -- the myth of having Jerusalem as their eternal undivided capital, which is also very important to Israelis.
By doing this, you preclude that final negotiation. You make it impossible to make that concession to the Palestinians. So, you know, whether its right-wingers, it's the left-wingers, every American negotiator has realized that this is a kind of sacrosanct issue, and it's better to leave it for that final division. And some way let both sides be able to declare victory.
[20:45:02] COOPER: Does this clearly put the United States on the side of -- I mean obviously Israel is the closest ally in the region, but in terms of -- in the peace process, I assume the Palestinians will view this as, well, now this just means the U.S. is completely on Israel's side and is not an arbiter of peace here.
ZAKARIA: I think that's exactly right. And remember for the Israelis, the most valuable role the United States can play is as an honest broker. Israel doesn't need, you know, the United States as an ally anymore in the sense that they're the most powerful force on the ground, by far. Israeli is sort of a regional superpower.
And compared to the Palestinians, the disproportion is now just gigantic. What they need is for the United States to have credibility with the Palestinians, so that they can be a meaningful negotiation. If the United States is seen as blatantly one-sided, it doesn't help. And by the way, this is an issue on which the United States would be siding not with Israel, but with the current Israeli government.
COOPER: Is it possible that the Trump administration could say, OK, we're going to move the embassy, but we won't recognize Jerusalem as the capital?
ZAKARIA: They're going to try and fudge it, apparently, in some way. It's unsatisfying, because you will -- you know, you won't -- you won't appease any of the people who you're trying to appease. You'll alienate people.
I don't quite see the point of it. It does, unfortunately, follow a pattern, where so many of the Trump administration's actions, particularly in foreign policy, don't seem to be part of any kind of sustained serious thought-out strategy. They are pandering to domestic bases.
COOPER: That's what you think this is really about?
ZAKARIA: It makes no sense from a strategic point of view. I mean if Jared Kushner is really trying to do the once in three generation peace deal, why would you do this? I think what you're doing here is you're paying off or giving a favor or, you know, showing your loyalty to a group of people in the United States.
And as I said, it's in keeping with many of Trump's -- you know, there's a lot of symbolism in what Trump does. I would wish there would be more serious thought about, what is the actual strategy here? What is the plan? How does this get us to peace? If somebody can explain to me, how does this move would get a peace deal, I would be willing just to consider supporting it, but I don't understand -- I don't even hear anyone making that argument.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria thanks.
ZAKARIA: My pleasure.
COOPER: Up next, today marks one month since the shooting massacre at the Baptize Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The pastor of the church Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri lost their 14-year-old month, Annabelle in the attack as well as more than two-dozen friends and parishioners in their church family. A conversation with the pastor and his wife, next.
[20:50:36] COOPER: Today marks one month since the shooting massacre at First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, it is the deadliest mass shooting at a place of worship in modern American history.
One month ago, a gunman interrupted services and shot and killed more than two dozen people before fleeing, the gunman was chased and cornered by an armed citizen and then police and wounded took his own life. I recently talked with the Church Pastor, Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri in their first in-depth television interview.
They were both out of town that day and not at the church. Their 14- year-old daughter Annabelle was there and was killed.
COOPER: First of all, how are you holding on?
FRANK POMEROY, PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TEXAS: For the most part, I think we're doing fairly well. Now there are things that come into play that will kick us into a tail spin sometimes.
SHERRI POMEROY, LOST DAUGHTER IN TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTING: Just a minute ago that --
F. POMEROY: This morning.
S. POMEROY: Annabelle's school sent a Facebook post out advertising the play that she was supposed to be in. That was going to be her first play.
F. POMEROY: She was so excited because she had got a part in the dancing part in the play. So that kind of sent us into a tail spin somewhat this morning.
COOPER (voice-over): Pastor Frank Pomeroy's faith is stronger than ever. A month after a gunman took the lives of his daughter and 24 parishioners, one of whom was pregnant, his message to the First Baptist Church is to trust in God.
F. POMEROY: Annabelle was God's before she was mine. He entrusted me, allowed me, to raise her those 14 years.
COOPER (voice-over): This faith is what Pastor Frank and his wife Sherri rely on in these difficult days.
(on camera): What was Annabelle like?
S. POMEROY: We had her -- we got her when she was two. And her and her sister, they were six years apart. We weren't even considering adoption. We just met this kid that happened to be up for adoption and God just put them in our path.
F. POMEROY: She was very -- she -- as Sherri eloquently put, she loved deeply, you know, she just loved everybody.
F. POMEROY: Genuine, that's a good word, absolutely.
COOPER: And to me it's telling that even though you weren't here she still wanted to go to church.
F. POMEROY: Absolutely. You know, it was -- that was her family.
COOPER (voice-over): The word family is used over and over by the Pomeroy's as they talk about their church. They grieve not only as parents, but as members of a close community.
(on camera): I think some people, it would -- what happened would make them question their faith. Did -- was there a moment of that?
F. POMEROY: I'm sure some people are. However, myself, I was just sharing this last night with someone it's grounded me 10 times stronger.
COOPER: I had a brother who committed suicide about 30 years ago and I still ask that question why, and I don't know that I'll ever have an answer to that question. It sounds like that's not a question you need to wrestle with.
F. POMEROY: Well, I do ask why sometimes, not so much of God, as much as about the young man. Why would he do something, you know, if he was angry with his mama, mother-in-law and such, why such carnage and why such over brutality. But then I thought, you know, and wish I could say it never crosses my mind, but still occasionally why. But I start and take to try to understand insanity would mean that you're insane I think.
COOPER: I heard you say something and I don't want to get the quote on, but I think you said something in effect of, you know, I may not understand it, but God, but I know God understands it. F. POMEROY: I don't understand his ways, but I know that if I will trust in those ways, just like when I tell one of my children or one of my grandchildren, they can't have 15 pieces of candy, they may not understand why. But when they're older, they'll realize if my grand father had let me have 15 pieces of candy, I would have been sick. I have to trust at the Lord's the same way. He has a plan that he is far out there far further along than I am. And I just have to trust. I don't understand right now, but one day all these mysteries will be made known unto me.
S. POMEROY: And he's made simple little things come to light when you need them the most. Like a new friend of mine told me a story about seeing her dad when she was nine or 10, almost die. And she said she saw him gray and convulsing because he almost drowned. And she saw him in a lot of pain.
[20:55:16] When he told the same story, he told of that same time period that he was at peace, he saw light. He had no pain, no suffering. That gave me such comfort.
COOPER: It gives you comfort because those who lost their lives the way you imagined it may be different than the way they experienced it?
S. POMEROY: Right. I was struggling a lot with Annabelle being there without me. And I've wondered and asked, you know, was she scared? Was she crying? Was she -- she stuck her hands in her mouth when she was scared. And I've wondered, did she have her fingers in her mouth, did she say, mama, mama, mama. And when Christie (ph) told me the story, I felt a peace, because even though she -- Christie (ph) saw her daddy in that physical condition, her daddy didn't feel any of that.
So even if Annabelle had been scared, I believe now after that comfort from my friend that even if Annabelle was -- we saw her physical body as scared or shot, she felt none of that. She was protected and in peace and saw her savior.
COOPER: They are an incredible family. We'll have part two of my conversation with Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri coming up in the next hour. They talk about what they wish they could have done that day of the shooting. And share more memories of their daughter Annabelle.
Also ahead, embattled to Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore holding campaign rally tonight from the White House Strategist, Steve Bannon is there. He took the stage what he said, when we continue.
[20:59:59] COOPER: Former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon speaking to Roy Moore campaign event right now in Fairhope, Alabama. And tonight, there's no doubt that despite Moore being an accused child molester, he has the full support not only with Bannon, there at the White House, the Republican National Committee and the President of the United States.