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Final GOP Tax Bill Released: Corker & Rubio To Vote "Yes"; Pres. Trump On A Flynn Pardon: "We'll See"; Pres. Trump Lawyers To Meet With Special Counsel As Early As Next Week; Omarosa: Pres. Trump Is "Racial But He Is Not A Racist". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 15, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:01] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Republicans released their final version of what would be the president's first major legislative victory if it passes. Lawmakers could vote on the Republican tax bill as early as next week. There are (INAUDIBLE) questions about the latest version of the bill, have a pay for, for one. Phil Mattingly joins us now with the latest.

So, let's talk about what's in the bill.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, OK, it's a $1.25 trillion will completely reshape the U.S. tax code. And there's no question, there's been a focus on the corporate side of things. A massive corporate tax cut from 35 percent down to 21 percent. That's a change that had been set at 20 percent, but as you noted, they need to figure out how to pay for things in this bill. One of those things, the child tax credit and that was boosted from $1000 to $2,000. More importantly, at least from a voting perspective they also boosted the refundbility, essentially what people would give beyond their income liability there from $1,100 to $1,400.

Interestingly enough, the Obamacare individual mandate, that will be repealed through this bill, not through the health care processed that failed earlier, but through this bill. The estate tax, something a lot of Republicans have talked about repealing for years now, that won't be repealed because of that cost issue. Instead, the exemption will be doubled.

Now on the individual side there are cuts across the rates, but there's also a doubled standard deduction, that something Republicans say will be very helpful to people, Anderson, I don't have to tell you, Democrats are unanimous their opposition to this bill. They don't believe it does what Republicans say it will do. But right now it looks like Republicans are on track to get this done.

COOPER: This would obviously be a major victory for President Trump. There's no doubt about it if it passes. Do we know how involved he is and trying to get across the finish line or how involved he's been?

MATTINGLY: This whole process has been interesting, if you look at what happened with health care, there were no shortage of Republicans who privately would tell me and frankly publicly would go on T.V. and criticize how the president handled that entire process. But if you just take a look what happened today, he called Senator Marco Rubio, the spoke about his issues on the child tax credit and that Senator Rubio was going to come around. Throughout the process he's been very helpful with Senators like Ron Johnson.

Now, look, behind the scenes, he's also asked for things that made things a little bit more difficult on the individual side, dropping the individual rate at the top from 39.6 percent down to 37 percent, the president was instrumental in asking for that, frustrating some of his -- Republicans here on Capitol Hill.

But I do think when it all comes down to, whether the administration message this enough or focus on this enough, I don't think any Republican up here would say they were totally satisfied on that front, but they do believe when it came down to getting senators to get their votes in place over the course of the last couple weeks, the president has played a positive role.

The big question right now, Anderson, is this will be a legislative victory for Republicans. If you look at the polling, if you look at where Democrats, or what Democrats say about this, will this politically pay off in the end? That is an open question right now. There are a lot of things -- this bill will need to deliver on. There are a lot of promises.

But as of now, Republicans feel good about the votes, feel good about the policy, at least from their perspective, and they think they're going to feel good about the politics, Anderson.

COOPER: Phil Mattingly, thanks very much. A lot to get to with the panel. Joining us is Rana Foroohar, Dylan Ratigan, Marc Lotter, Symone Sanders, and Jason Miller.

Jason, to that question, will this pay off politically for Republicans, really?

JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. This is going to be a big win for the president. I think we're going to see the continue 3 percent plus GDP growth going forward. And there's been a lot of talk about what this will do to help American families. I think there's also an international competitiveness angle here as well. Obviously, the U.S. corporate tax rate right now is at 35, this will take it down to 21. The whole point (INAUDIBLE) in OECD average. I think you're going to see companies redomiciling into the U.S. I think this is going to make the U.S. a much more attractive place to do business.

And, look, I've been over to Ireland twice in this past year to give remarks and speeches and such. And the first question that comes up after every single time is, is this tax bill going to pass, because folks in other countries know that money that's currently parked overseas is going to come back into the U.S., and so this is going to be a big win for the president. It's going to be a big win for our economy and ultimately I think a big winner for U.S. families and taxpayers. SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It sounds good, Anderson, but, look, the facts are when regular American people find out that their members of Congress when they had the chance to do one thing, Republicans decided to cut their taxes and essentially raise taxes on everyone else. This a tax cut for the wealthy. Parties U.S.A. did some research on this. And there's a survey in 20 different (INAUDIBLE) and Nevada, which is a competitive Senate state.

[21:05:14] And it said, once folks are exposed to what is really in this bill and they find out this is a tax cut for the wealthy, folks are inclined to go against the incumbent House Republicans. That is an issue. And I think this is going to be a 2018 electoral issue because no one has taken to the streets saying "give me tax cuts for the wealthy." People are taking to street saying, "we don't want this bill."

COOPER: Rana, do we know who wins or loses?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: It's absolutely a corporate boondoggle. I mean, the action to bill is really about corporations. And, you know, what's interesting is OK, the tax rate is being lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent. But the average big multinational already pays around 20 percent.

So it's not as though cutting this tax rate is somehow going to change the business environment, create jobs on the industry (ph). I think what's going to happen is the cash that does come back from overseas is going to go straight to the Stock Market. It's going to be great for the top 20 percent of the population that owns 8- percent of stocks. But the average American is not going to see their wages go up. They're certainly not going to have more security. And we're at the end of a recovery cycle, by the way. We're due for the next session.

MARC LOTTER, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRES. TRUMP: The average American family, $73,000 a year, a family of four saving over $2,000. That will in their paycheck starting in February. The IRS is already working. If they get this bill on the president's desk next week you will see the withholding rate adjusted and people will start to see more money in their take-home paychecks -- sorry, --

DYLAN RATIGAN, CHAIRMAN, HELICAL HOLDINGS: Can I tell you what confuses me? And I honestly be interested to get a little bit of an education.

The conservative thesis, which I think has a lot of basis in logic is consolidate more wealth in the private sector so that it could be more reflexibly (ph) and adaptively deployed into industry and development to respond to issues. So the premise will create more capital at the corporate level and with wealthy families what this tax bill does, but there's no actual incentive for that capital to be invested in society to create jobs and enterprise, one. And two, with the salt deduction going away, the price that you're paying -- so in other word you're just saying, I want to have money in the private sector to invest in society, but I'm not going to compel investment and society, one. And two, the price of doing that is the salt deduction which comes at the direct expense of the highest populated, the most economically active states in the country at the expense of the public school system and infrastructure.

So you're saying I'm going to raise the cost of infrastructure in New York and California, I'm going to reduce the budgets for public schools in those places. I'm going to create a warehouse of capital in the private sector which is not a terrible idea necessarily, but I'm not going to incentivize it or compel it to be invested in the actual creation of enterprise and jobs, and that's where the real disconnect for me is. Why not the compulsion to invest the money?

MILLER: So it's there. I have seen the polling data for both the small and medium businesses as well as the investor class. Folks want to go and take that money and expand their businesses and hire more people. I've seen it. It's going to happen.

COOPER: But you're saying they should be compelled to?

RATIGAN: Yes, I'm saying -- this one thing --


MILLER: -- compelled to, by the fact that we're lowering the tax rate --

RATIGAN: That's not true.



FOROOHAR: I got to tell you, if you go back in the last 20 years of history, there is no evidence that tax cuts actually create Main Street growth, and that's true. That's the bipartisan thing. In 2001, 2003, under Bush, post-financial crisis under Obama, you didn't get growth from tax cuts. You've got an asset bubble because wealthy companies have tons of money. They're buying back their own stock, artificially inflating the market. By he way, that has increase of wealth gap in of itself, that's what's going to happen if we give more money the corporations they already have $2 trillion on the balance sheet at the time when the markets are high but we're getting rate out of --

FOROOHAR: I mean, there is something to say about --


LOTTER: -- Reagan, the last time that we had fundamental tax reform, not just tweaking of the rates, and doing nothing on the correspondent side, 15 million jobs were created, and per capita income went up 20 percent in the following year.


LOTTER: -- the government to make people do things. Republicans --

SANDERS: All I'm saying is --


SANDERS: -- Republicans on the Hill are saying that they will compel businesses. One, we've had businesses on the record forum after forum say we're not expecting and injecting this money into the pockets of the American people. They said we're giving this money to our shareholders. But secondly, Democrats put forth an amendment to this bill that would do exactly what you're talking about, and it was shot down.

FOROOHAR: Yes, that's right.

MILLER: -- about the stack holders in such in (INAUDIBLE). I would much rather have that money being paid out if some comes back and it's paid out in dividends --

SANDERS: If they get.

MILLER: -- than sitting in a bank in Ireland or in other countries around the world.

LOTTER: I don't degree with that at all.


MILLER: That's part of it, so great. So let's bring it back here, let's put this money to work in the United States and keep our economy growing.

[21:10:01] SANDERS: But it doesn't trickle down --


SANDERS: -- but the folks are -- if this is --


SANDERS: What I'm saying is, folks are saying that this tax bill is going to be good for middle class Americans --

MILLER: You're going to get a tax cut. You're going to love your tax cut.


COOPER: Clearly for Republicans the calculus was there's greater danger in not passing something than there is in passing something that may be unpopular.

FOROOHAR: I mean, I think there was that. I think it's really hard to go back during the midterm and say, hey, we got a majority. We didn't get anything done but there's another part of this which is that if this tax bill goes through and you get cash coming back, it's going to go straight into the markets. That may keep the markets up until after the midterms. You certainly don't want the marker correction that we all know is coming before that if you're Republican.

RATIGAN: The other thing, again, that confuses me is why they're targeting of salt which is a very much -- which is a huge issue in -- basically all the blue states. I mean it reeds a very political in the sense that basically the salt reduction elimination --


RATIGAN: -- reduction to the back off, fact that you cannot deduct your state and local taxes from federal taxes is at the direct expense of those higher salts, state and local economies which are the densest population, the most economically vibrant, and comes at the direct expense of the infrastructure New York and California where you need the most.

LOTTER: And I'll tell you from someone who comes from Indiana, in the Midwest where we believe in low taxes, responsible spending, we also don't think that our tax valor (ph) should be use to offset bloated out of control spending --


LOTTER: Of this tradition --


RATIGAN: -- one quick, though.

LOTTER: And so that money is being taken out of our pockets.


RATIGAN: -- say that, because actually the blue states -- actually pay two times as much to the red states, than the red state received. So what you said was not actually correct. What you're saying now is, that in addition to taking money from the (INAUDIBLE) to pay for Indiana's infrastructure. You're also going to reduce the tax deduction for blue state tax (INAUDIBLE) their own infrastructure while they still subsidize red state --

MILLER: But Dylan, you know, what's raising the AMT and also keeping the $10,000 threshold and also with the top rate, or all the rates coming down. It's not going to be as that big of an impact on the whole salt. I

think that part is a little bit bloated --

SANDERS: You know, I just want to tell you how we pull people? In 20 House and Republican districts when they found out who was in this bill, when they found out what it did, they didn't like it, and it compelled them to vote against the incumbent Republican. That spells trouble.

COOPER: All right, let's take q quick break. Much more to talk about ahead including the president's answer when asked whether held consider pardoning Michael Flynn who's pleaded guilty and his cooperating with Russia investigation. Also, we had another type of warning, this one another whether Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can actually continue in his job.


[21:16:21] COOPER: President Trump's private lawyers are scheduled to meet with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team as early as next week. Sources tell CNN the president's team hopes to get some understanding of the next steps and that the investigator is almost over.

Meanwhile the president is leaving open the possibility of pardoning Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who's pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian's ambassador.

Flynn as you know is now cooperating with the Mueller investigation. Here's what the president said today when he was asked if he would consider pardoning Flynn.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. Well see what happens. Let's see. I can say this. When you look at what's gone on with the FBI and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry.


COOPER: Earlier tonight I spoke with Congressman Jim Hines, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. I asked him about the president's efforts to undermine the Mueller investigation.


REP. JIM HIMES (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I don't need to tell you about the truly awful effort that is being conducted by the president himself and his allies like Sean Hannity and Janine Perrow to throw mud on the story to American institution, the FBI, all in the service of creating some question about whether Robert Mueller is capable of producing an impartial report. It is a pronouncedly damaging thing, not just today, but to the confidence that Americans should have in their presidency and their government.

COOPER: Is that something you think is being orchestrated by the White House?

HIMES: Well, you know, is it being orchestrated in the sense there's, you know, direct lines from the Oval Office to Fox News? I don't think so, but I did hear the president say that this investigation, he hates it, he wants it to go away and if I recall correctly, he sort of said do something. You know, when people hear that they are doing something.

Look, people need to understand that you don't have a democracy unless you have an impartial, depoliticized Department of Justice and FBI. You know what, FBI agents having political opinions is not politicizing the FBI. There's nobody in the FBI or in the Marine Corps or in the Congress or any army or any air force that don't have political opinions. And when these agents -- when it was shown that they shared their political opinions with each other, Robert Mueller did exactly the right thing and took them off the case.

And so, the American people need to be prepared to respond to the firing of Mueller or to further attacks on the DOJ and the FBI. And the way you would respond to a hostile act against our democracy because that is exactly what that would be.

COOPER: You heard the president leave the door open today to pardoning Michael Flynn, his legal team try to walk that back pretty quickly, obviously, saying there is now such plan in the word, do you think this president could resist using the pardon power whether it's on Flynn or anyone else close to him who gets tangled up in this?

HIMES: Well, who knows? I don't -- I've long since given up trying to predict what this president will and won't do. He obviously pardoned Joey Arpaio. You know, who knows what he would do. And I have no idea what he had in his mind when he made that comment. One thing I do know is that, it looks like Michael Flynn is cooperating with Robert Mueller. And the president just injected sort of a get out -- a potential, I should say, a potential "get out of jail" free card to Michael Flynn. Stop talking because whatever it is that Mueller does to you, whatever indictments are issued, whatever the jeopardy you are in, I will fix that for you. That is not either helpful to the investigation or, Anderson, you know, as parents you get used to innocent behavior and guilty behavior. That is not the behavior of somebody who knows that they are innocent.

COOPER: Congressman Himes, appreciate it. Thank you.


COOPER: Back now with the panel. Joining the conversation, Bianna Golodryga, and Charles Blow.

Bianna, is there reason to believe that Robert Mueller's team is not going to want to interview the president?

[21:20:02] BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, we don't know is the short answer. But it does seem like the door is closing as far as the time that they're going to be allotted with the president and with his legal team. They've interviewed everyone else and we always leave the show, you know, saying can you imagine what they know and that we don't know yet? So I would imagine that he is leaving the door open for a possible interview with the president. And of course, his lawyers are preparing, I would assume for that day.

COOPER: Dylan, do you think this is -- you know, I mean the White House likes to say this is in the final stretch. Did you believe that?

RATIGAN: I do because I believe that the entire thing ultimately is actually not going to get -- in other words, I believe the people in opposition to Donald Trump of which or a section of the people that are in opposition to Donald Trump have high hopes that this is going to lead to him leaving office, --

COOPER: Right.

RATIGAN: -- again, his removal. It's impossible for me to see how that actually is the outcome of this. And so, I think that if anything, the interest in the theater of this is probably peaked and will diminish beyond actually whether they can get to a Jared Kushner -- sort of all this hope that they can flip their way up, but it's hard for me to see how this ultimately continues for too much longer.

COOPER: Charles, do you agree?

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, it's impossible to know. It's hard to even speculate about that subject. On the issue of whether or not they interview Donald Trump himself, it will be impossible not to interview him and say that you have conducted a thorough investigation of this matter. Donald Trump will be interviewed by the Mueller team at some point during this investigation. Hence, now, I have no doubt about that whatsoever.

COOPER: Because any investigation would have.

BLOW: You cannot have spent a year investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russia and not talk to the person who was at the pinnacle of that campaign. It's impossible to do that. Whether or not something comes of that, whether or not Trump -- anybody who gets caught up in it, gets a pardon. I mean, I do believe what was just said before, that he does send signals saying if you are nice to me with your cooperation you might get a favor from me. If you throw me under the bus, you will get no favors from me. I do think that those kinds of signals are being sent when he kind of equivocates in saying whether or not he will pardon someone or not. That is happening as well.

GOLODRYGA: He is in fact making Mueller's job a lot easier in the sense that he starts to answer a question by saying I'm not going to talk about it and then just goes there. And this has happened time and time again. I also wouldn't take off the table the possibility of a Mueller firing.

COOPER: You really think so?

GOLODRYGA: Again, who am I to say that this is going to happen? I just think you can see the wheels turning from not just the administration but also from those that support the president for at least setting up the stage of possibly questioning whether Mueller is capable of conducting a fair and thorough investigation.

COOPER: Marc, do you think he should be fired?

LOTTER: Well, I think you've seen everything from the White House, from Sarah Sanders including a deputy attorney general testifying this week on Capitol Hill. There has been no discussion and no movement about firing the special counsel. So I think this is all just mere speculation where there has been no indication from anyone at the White House that they're considering doing that. COOPER: Right, but there wasn't, you know, discussion about firing Comey until Comey was fired. I mean, most of this does seem to come from the president himself, doesn't it, Jason?

MILLER: With regard to --

COOPER: Yes, firing -- I mean, who he decides to fire at any given day is -- the Comey, it wasn't as if there was a lot of preamble about and public discussion about whether or not James Comey should be fired and then the president fired him.

MILLER: Well, I think they're -- obviously, Comey and Mueller two different situations and I haven't heard anything regarding Director Mueller potential firing there. But I do think the one important point to make here, though, is for all of this talk. And I do think this is starting to wind down. I do think Dylan made a very good point but there might be some folks within the orbit. Clearly, already indicted a couple of people and mainly on the lying aspect or say Paul Manafort made some pretty stupid business decisions that obviously were going to get him in trouble. But they're still nothing regarding the so-called collusion between the campaign and Russia. And so for after this entire year that this gone by, there's absolutely --

COOPER: But there's plenty of Democrat on committees who are saying, well, actually, there's evidence at least attempt of collusion. I mean, Donald Trump Jr. taking meetings with somebody who he believes represents the Russian government with dirt on Hillary Clinton. Now, whether that person did represent the Russian government or not, isn't that at least an intent to collude by its very nature? I mean, --

MILLER: I think, look, I think --

COOPER: Not that that's illegal, not that the collusion --

MILLER: I think Donald Jr. taking a meeting that he shouldn't have taken and even he said that he probably shouldn't taken that meeting. That's not colluding with a foreign government. Clearly, --

COOPER: If somebody says I represent a foreign government and I want to meet with you because we have dirt that we've collected on Hillary Clinton, and you say, yes, let's go for it, that's not attempt to interest in colluding?

[21:25:02] MILLER: I think if somebody says they have information, you know, if you want to go and sit down and listen to what they have to say, I don't think that's colluding with a foreign government.

Now, again, Donald Jr. himself has even said in retrospective wouldn't have taken that meeting. But that's not colluding with a foreign government. We know from intelligence agencies that obviously the Russians have been trying to get involved for years, not just this past election, but going back to 2012, 2008. For years they have been trying to get involve here. But there is not one shred of proof that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign entity in this past campaign. (CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: That we have seen yet. I just want to be clear taking a meeting isn't normal.

FOROOHAR: -- but it's not illegal.


COOPER: Let her finish.

SANDERS: Look, taking that meeting is not normal. Like, it's not actually proper procedure in any kind of campaign if a foreign adversary -- or foreign anyone approaches you was saying I have information, I just don't want to brush this off as something as standard, then it's absolutely not. So I actually think --

MILLER: It's not a way for the Democrats to try to do a do-over on the election.

SANDERS: No one is trying to do a do-over on the election.


SANDERS: I think that while folks are saying, OK, there's no actual collusion. We have maybe seen some hints of obstruction. And obstruction is something that could absolutely take this president down. And again and again, we have seen that Donald Trump brings these things upon himself, just today with those comments. I'm not ready to talk about that yet. He leaves the door open and then causes -- we're up here having a conversation. Think about what Bob Mueller's talking about and what he has -- directing his folks to go back and --

COOPER: Let's take a quick hold. We'll continue this discussion. It's important. We'll be right back.


[21:3042] COOPER: We've been talking about the president leaving open the door to pardoning Michael Flynn. Back now with the panel. Charles, you were about to say something.

BLOW: I think it's really important that we always lay out that there are four pillars to the Mueller investigation. Three are criminal and one is political. The political one is the only one that the president goes back to denying all the time, which is collusion. You can argue there's already evidence of some collusion or attempts to do so. The other three he does not harp on and those are conspiracy, cover-up --

COOPER: -- or obstruction of justice.

BLOW: An obstruction, I'm sorry, and obstruction. It is conspiracy, obstruction, and the cover-up. And those things there is quite a bit, I think, evidence about attempts to cover-up and the firing of Comey. If you believe what Comey says, and there has been little to dispute the actual content of his testimony before Congress, so far. Maybe there will be something. But if it happened as he suggested happened, that does hint at the idea of cover-up. There may be some conspiracy to cover-up. And there may also be some conspiracy among the people who were so desperate and thirsty to get some help from the Russians who were part of the campaign. And then there is the pathological lying and the kind of contagious amnesia that has struck everybody who apparently was part of this campaign.

Somewhere in there Mueller is fishing around. And whether or not we come back to this political point about collusion and whether or not it's an arguable point or not, that's for people on the Hill to debate once they get Mueller's report or whatever he gives to them. These other three points are the criminal points, and that is where people will really face the fire. That is where the four people already who have gotten in trouble.

RATIGAN: Do you think there's any chance that there's enough "there" there with everything you just described that it actually compromises the presidency?

BLOW: Well, I don't -- but this is the thing. So Mueller's --

RATIGAN: It's unknowable.

BLOW: Mueller make the filing that they had like 400,000 pages, 2,000 were, you know, hot or whatever that means. We don't know what that means. One good thing about Mueller he's not leaking the way the people want him to leak. The investigation is kind of tight. And so we have no clue what he knows. We don't -- you know, for a prosecutor, there's a strategy to revealing what you know. He can have damaging thing that he wants to hold off to a later point where can put pressure on someone who he wants to get cooperation from or he -- so there's no pressure right now for him to indict somebody unless he need their cooperation right now.

COOPER: Jason, the argument that -- I mean, the deal he offered to Flynn obviously he knows what -- that Flynn had to proffer something. That he knows what Flynn has. You don't offer, I mean every legal analyst I talked to said you don't offer that sort of the deal to somebody unless they have something on somebody else.

MILLER: So, obviously, not being a lawyer, I call -- spoken with a former federal prosecutor to try to -- and get to the bottom of this and figure out, you know, what could possibly be there. What would be -- you know, what's up with this narrative that saying that Flynn might have something that he (INAUDIBLE). So one of the biggest falsehood that's out there right now is that Flynn has something on other people because if you're a prosecutor, say if you're with Mueller's team, you basically have to go and charge Flynn with anything you have on him or anything he could go and say roll on somebody else, because if you put Flynn on the stand, for example, and all that he has pled guilty to is lying, will then he says that -- obstruction on somebody else, he would get destroyed in a cross- examination. They would come back and say, wait a minute, you pled to lying as opposed to this just to go and try to knock your sentencing down. He would get destroyed in a cross-examination.

And so the fact that he is only pled guilty to lying is extremely telling, and especially then on the flip side. So, you know, all this is doing is essentially knocking down Flynn's sentence. So I think this is a very so important extinction.

COOPER: Do you think they offered him a deal because that's all they could get on him?

MILLER: What I'm saying is, as of right now if they had, say a list of a whole bunch of other things on General Flynn, as of right now, I think they have charged him with what they have right now.


[21:35:01] BLOW: -- the only thing he could do is to testify. I mean the other part of evidence, the more kind of substantial part of evidence is actually documentation. So, you're assuming that all that he could do is (INAUDIBLE) stand and say, he set up (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) or whatever. He could also supply actual proof, which is much harder to refute. I mean, so you have to open the possibility that that is also part of what he can provide.


SANDERS: -- text messages, voice mails.


COOPER: -- things we just don't --

SANDERS: Absolutely.

COOPER: So let's just wrap it here.

When we come back, we're going to try to make sense of former "Apprentice" contestant and now Former Presidential Assistant, Omarosa Manigault-Newman's latest statements on her Post-White House T.V. tour book pitch extravaganza.


COOPER: Omarosa Manigault, Former White House Assistant, reality show contestant and author of "The Bitch Switch" knowing how and when to turn it on and off is speaking out again. Here's part of what she says on night "Nightline".


[21:40:05] OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ASSISTANT: Donald Trump is racial. He is not a racist. Yes, I will acknowledge many of the exchanges, particularly in the last six months, have been racially charged. Do we then just stop and label him as a racist? No.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Let's bring back in the panel. Charles, I know you spent part of the day today reading "The Bitch Switch" (INAUDIBLE) say, I have not.

BLOW: Couldn't that resist.

COOPER: I could not resist. So, what do you make of what she -- I mean, she's clearly pitching a book. She's clearly, you know, sort of trying to come up with a third or fourth or fifth act or whatever it may be. Does that make any sense to you what she's saying or is that just a sound bite --

BLOW: This to me feels like the raft of Omarosa. This is, you know, and she -- Omarosa has this kind of machiavellian genius that allows her to smile in your face and stab you in the back. This is probably one of the most devastating interviews by someone who was in Trump's inner circle that I have read or seen, because she's essentially confessing that he has a race problem.

And, you know, the semantic kind of intellectual art you made that there is delineation between racial and racist is very thin. You know, you might want to frame it as an argument about intent and malice. Well, it's kind of like, you know, murder versus manslaughter. You could make a real argument about whether or not the person was acting with intent and malice, but the other person is still dead. So the effect of it remains the same. And the effect of what Trump is doing remains the same.

And basically, today, she was confessing that is a real feature of the man. And having been at in a (INAUDIBLE) where she was at, (INAUDIBLE), and she defended him then and she basically said to the moderators, she says what do you want me to do, just walk away? Well, that's exactly what she is doing --

COOPER: But, no --

BLOW: -- she says --

COOPER: But don't you have to take into account that she is clearly trying to tease out something, you know, to get a book deal or a reality show project or something based on her experience in the White House. Doesn't that taint what her commentary on?

BLOW: No, I think shift the focus away from the fact that she wants to profit always and forever. But she --

SANDERS: She's always about the coin.

BLOW: She's going to do that. But understand what she's doing in the process. She's throwing him under the bus.

COOPER: Unless it's just a pitch for a book and there's nothing actually --

BLOW: Well, she -- (CROSSTALK)

BLOW: -- under the bus.

MILLER: So having worked with Omarosa on the campaign as did Marc, I mean Omarosa worked very hard for the president on the campaign I got to know her pretty well. And you can definitely see there are a lot of qualities in here and we see why the president likes her. I mean, she's tough. She doesn't back down to anybody. And she was a good teammate, at least I found on the campaign trail.

So all of that binges us to the point where she's obviously had a pretty -- having a pretty rocky departure from the White House. And I would say, as a friend, I would say that there's really a cross roads where I think Omarosa is at right now, where she's going to be approached by people from the left, different media people, folks coming at her saying here's your opportunity to make a quick buck by bashing the president and whether it be going back and getting to politics on the left or he's a reality T.V. project, here's your opportunity. You know, here's maybe something, you know, for a little bit of cash to go and do this, and I would say don't go and sell out and dive into this because it's going to be fleeting --

SANDERS: The left is not out here -- let me just speak for the left.


MILLER: I think it would be, you know, --


SANDERS: No one has to ask Omarosa to do what she's doing. I know Omarosa personally. And look, she is -- part of the reason I think her "Good Morning America" interview was disastrous it's because they have (INAUDIBLE) doing the interview that knew how the politics and the -- just how actually brilliant Omarosa is and manipulating the situation. And she -- she was not going to walk away from that interview looking and glowingly. No one on the left needs to court Omarosa to go out there and do what she's doing. Absolutely, I agree with Charles and that there's validity in what she's saying.

Now, yes, is she trying to get a book deal, possibly, absolutely. If you know Omarosa, she's about her coin, but that doesn't take away from the fact that -- what she's exposing about Donald Trump is something that has been out there, that has ban criticism of him. Now is there also valid criticism of Omarosa? Absolutely. I'm no fan and I wasn't sad to see her go.

GOLODRYGA: Well, but anybody that has followed her career -- her lustrous career over the past 10 years or so, I mean, is this really a surprise that this --

COOPER: It seems like a number of --

GOLODRYGA: Whatever it is, everyone knows her by her first name, right, I mean, and everybody knows her by her temper and her personality and her larger than life personality, so none of this should be a surprise.

[21:45:01] I'm in fact surprised that she didn't have any sort of non disparagement clause written into her initial contract when she started at the White House because I don't know how anyone would have expected a departure other than the one we're seeing right now.

And going back to her issues about the president and being racial and not a racist, again, I hear what you're saying, but I think there would be a little bit more sympathy if we heard this after Charleston (ph), after the Frederick Douglas --

SANDERS: I have sympathy -- again, I have no sympathy for Omarosa. I don't think she's doing anything coming out today or tomorrow or yesterday on behalf of the betterment of black people or -- I don't think there's anything necessarily good and righteous in what she's trying to do, but it does not negate (ph) the fact that she is absolutely rolling that bus back and driving right on -- over Donald Trump.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We will continue this discussion. I know Jason wants to talk more about this after a quick break. We'll be right back.


[21:50:00] COOPER: We have been talking about the curious case of Omarosa Manigault-Newman from reality T.V. to the White House with plenty of interviews before or after and in between.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has being so close to Donald Trump affected any of your personal relationships with friends or family?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Absolutely. There are people who stopped talking to me. It has been a very long, lonely --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You go through your entire life.

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Yes, one of my bridesmaids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of your bridesmaids?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: A woman who was going to be in my wedding in the spring, and I will never forget people who turned their backs on me when all I was trying to do was help the black community. It's been so incredibly hard.


SANDERS: We didn't see the tears. Look --

COOPER: Nobody actually cries anymore. You just sort of like -- you make a face and you're like -- actually they're crying.

BLOW: You try to make us say mean things, but -- COOPER: I'm not --


COOPER: That happens.

SANDERS: We're not talking about, which I think we should be talking about is, why was Omarosa the highest ranking black person in this White House? With Omarosa's exit, there are no high ranking African- American advisers. And I think that harkens back to why folks like (INAUDIBLE) were so angry that literally Omarosa was the face of black people for this administration and she was --

COOPER: Well, Tara also said she basically was trying to block people, --


COOPER: African-Americans who might have been able to contribute.

SANDERS: Absolutely. So when she goes out and does these interviews and said, you know, look, I was just trying to help my community, there's a real conversation to be had about the receipts where that didn't happen. And then, the folks who were very keenly interested in setting up a black agenda for this White House, now I think it's kind of difficult because, you know, I think the president, you know, has some ties to White Supremacy. That's a whole other story. But --

LOTTER: What? Off the rails --


MILLER: Can we get (INAUDIBLE) son art in the White House, though? I mean, (INAUDIBLE) is a great advocate for the president --


MILLER: I know but I'm --


MILLER: -- he's a great supporter.

COOPER: Yes. Yes.

MILLER: -- and ally. And I think he should be in the White House.

COOPER: But it didn't seemed -- I mean, from what he said on the program last night, you know, he obviously has contacts in the White House, he has spent time in this White House, but that she would attempt to block him and others who were trying to do work to help this administration.

MILLER: Look, there's a great opportunity now, you know, folks like (INAUDIBLE) and Bruce LeVell, and Pastor Daryl Scott, folks who are active on the campaign trail, I love to see a whole bunch of folks who were so supportive, part of the national diversity coalition for the president be inside the White House and advising him and being on board with the team. Maybe this is a great opportunity to bring in some folks --


BLOW: It's also important to -- when you want to do outreach with Omarosa's professed title was, person in charge of black outreach who has some roots in the black community and has some affinity within that group. Though, it always baffled me but she's kind of persona non grata in the black community, and that would be the face of the person you want to reach out to.

I mean, even if it's not person on the team or wasn't part of the campaign, at least take audience with people who are -- who have some standing within that community, even when they have the kind of listening sessions for African-Americans, you look around the table, there was no one kind of weight within the African-American community even at that.

MILLER: Is there any scenario --

BLOW: -- well, I'm going to say, that's a problem. And when you look at Omarosa's actual track record, a whole year, the thing she's most synonymous with is this outreach to black college universities trying to get more funding for them. That was a debacle. They showed up, they assume they were coming to plead their case, they got no time to do that, they're rushed in to the Oval Office. The infamous picture with Kellyanne Conway laid up on the sofa and then they re rushed out. And now they are bitter about it. They were coming up back for the annual conference of these college presidents, and they said can you just delay this because of your response to Charlottesville, because we need some time to deal with this. And he refused. What he did instead was to reduce the number, basically shrunk the meeting. If you won't play ball, if you won't kind of like overlook my kind of predilection for these White Supremacists and (INAUDIBLE) of them, and you won't come when I say come, you won't be here. That was his response to them and that was -- this is Omarosa, this is in her wheel house. She has completely failed at the one thing that she said that she was going to do and --

RATIGAN: -- maybe the departure is a good thing I guess was the point that I was making which is -- many a criticism to be had. There's opportunity here, set her celebrity aside, set her personal agenda aside, the fact she is gone can be looked at as a beneficial thing.

[21:55:04] SANDRS: But if this White House going to put other people of color in a position where they can influence the president authentically. I don't know.

COOPER: Thanks, everybody. We'll be right back.


COOPER: This Sunday night at 8:00 P.M. Eastern, I hope you join Kelly Ripa and me for 11th annual "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute". It's a special night, incredibly special night to honor the top 10 CNN heroes of 2017.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are everyday heroes. They inspire and change lives every day.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This Sunday night, CNN presents a very special live event. "CNN Heroes" An All-Start Tribute", live Sunday at 8:00 P.M. on CNN.


COOPER: Thanks very much for watching 360. "Young Wonders: A CNN Hero Specials" starts right now.