Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Says He's "Looking Forward" to Testifying Under Oath for Mueller's Russia Probe; Trump Goes After Andrew McCabe; Pres. Trump on Missing FBI Texts: "It's Disturbing"; Pres. Trump Departs For Davos; Pres. Trump Dives into Immigration Again; NY Times WH Attorney Ty Cobb Walks Back Pres. Trump's Comments on Talk to Special Counsel Mueller. Aired on 8-9p 9ET
Aired January 24, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Any moment, the president will leave the White House, board Air Force One and make his way to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, leaving on a night when there's breaking news in the Russia investigation. And we'll get to that breaking news in a moment.
A short time ago, the president spoke with reporters for 15 minutes covering topics including immigration, his feelings about the FBI, and, yes, the Russia investigation.
Here's what he said about the prospects of speaking with special counsel Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are you going to talk to Mueller?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking forward to it, actually.
REPORTER: You want to.
TRUMP: Just so you understand, there's been no collusion whatsoever. There's no obstruction whatsoever.
REPORTER: You have a date set, Mr. President?
TRUMP: I don't know. No. I guess you're talking about two, three weeks. I would love to do it.
REPORTER: In person?
TRUMP: I have to say, subject to my lawyers and all that but I'd love to do it.
REPORTER: Would you do it under oath, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Like Hillary -- who said that?
REPORTER: I said. Would you do it under oath?
TRUMP: You did say it. You say a lot. Did Hillary do it under oath? I think you have an idea. Don't you have an idea? Wait, do you not have an idea? You really not have an idea?
I'll give you an idea. She didn't do it under oath. But I will do it under oath.
TRUMP: You know she didn't do it under oath. If you didn't know about Hillary, then you're not much of a reporter.
TRUMP: Say it?
REPORTER: You would do it under oath?
TRUMP: I would do it under oath.
REPORTER: You think Robert Mueller will be fair to you in this larger investigation?
TRUMP: We're going to find out. We're going to find out.
REPORTER: Are you concerned --
TRUMP: Here's what we'll say. And everybody says. No collusion. There's no collusion. Now they're saying, oh, well, did he fight back? If you fight back, you --
REPORTER: What is --
TRUMP: You fight back. John? You fight back. Oh, it's obstruction. So, here's the thing, I hope so.
REPORTER: Sir, how do can you define collusion? Maggie asked this earlier during the briefing to Sarah but --
TRUMP: You're going to define it for me, OK? But I can tell you, there's no collusion. I couldn't have cared less about Russians having to do with my campaign.
The fact is, you people won't say this, but I'll say it, I was a much better candidate than her. You always say she was a bad candidate. You never say I was a good candidate. I was one of the greatest candidates.
Nobody else would have beaten the Clinton machine, as crooked as it was. But I was a great candidate. Someday you're going to say that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: The president there saying he's looking forward to speaking with Robert Mueller under oath.
And tonight, we have new reporting on the specifics of the arrangements for an interview between Mueller and the president. Mueller, CNN is learning from sources familiar with the matter, has given lawyers for the president a range of topics he may want to ask about as part of ongoing negotiations regarding an interview. Mueller's team made clear it's seeking a sit-down interview with the president according to the sources.
This is reporting from Gloria Borger and Pamela Brown who join us now. So, Pamela, what do we know about the state of negotiations between the president's team and Mueller team?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're ongoing investigations. Sources tell my colleague Gloria Borger and I that Robert Mueller, special counsel Robert Mueller, has made it clear to the president's legal team that he wants to do a sit-down interview with the president.
You heard there the president say today here at the White House, I was there in the room, he said he would be more than happy to sit down and talk to Robert Mueller, but the lawyers for the president will in ongoing negotiations and sources tell us that an in-person interview would really be a last resort.
Now, we're told that Robert Mueller has also made clear some of the topics he would like to discuss, any potential interview with the president, under the umbrella of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, looking more specifically at the president's reaction to James Comey's May testimony.
You may remember our reporting then that his testimony angered the president and shortly after James Comey was fired. They also want to learn more about what he told James Comey in the Oval Office when he allegedly asked him to let the Michael Flynn probe to go, to drop the probe. And also another topic we're told by sources that Robert Mueller is interested in is when the president reached out to the intelligence chiefs of various agencies, including DNI and CIA, asking them allegedly, reportedly, to intervene in the Russia probe and to come out publicly and say there was no collusion.
As you know, Anderson, we reported that Robert Mueller has interviewed three of the top intelligence officials so far. So, these are some of the things that are on the negotiating table. But it is worth noting that sources tell us most of the topics right now that Robert Mueller has conveyed, he's interested in, his team has conveyed, fall under the obstruction of justice umbrella.
But that doesn't mean Robert Mueller isn't interested in topics under collusion. All this would have to be worked out. That is being worked out as we speak.
COOPER: Yes. Gloria, the president saying tonight he's willing to testify under oath. Is that also the position of Trump's lawyers?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Not necessarily.
[20:05:00] I think what you maybe see going on here is a good cop/bad cop routine. I think the president clearly wants it known that he has nothing to hide, publicly saying I'm willing to testify subject to the advice of my lawyers.
What our reporting shows is that many of his lawyers, most of his lawyers, don't want him to testify in h the way the president would like to testify. There may be -- there may be an outlier or two in that group, but what they're trying to do is say to Mueller, look, isn't there some way we can do written answers to questions, and if that isn't enough, maybe then we could make the president available to you?
And they, of course, point to the precedent of Ronald Reagan during Iran-Contra where he just answered questions in writing.
COOPER: So, that's the advice the president is getting from his attorneys. Do we know about it from his closest friends?
BORGER: Well, I've talked to one of his friends who surprised me. He said, look, the president wants to testify. He says, he believes -- here's the quote -- he doesn't have one ounce of culpability. He says most of his friends are telling him not to testify.
But this one friend said to me, I told him, look, you've done this plenty of times before, what do you have to lose here? He'll tell the truth.
COOPER: Interesting. Gloria, Pamela, Pamela Brown, thanks. Gloria, stay with us.
I want to bring in Jeffrey Toobin, Michael Zeldin and David Chalian as well.
Jeff, I mean, the president's comments tonight about speaking with the special counsel seemed to agree to a lot, then came some pretty big caveats.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, yes, the big caveat, of course, was subject to what my lawyers say, or subject to consultations with my lawyers. It is one thing that agree in theory, to testifying under oath, but when you -- when you say you're going to defer to your lawyers, that basically takes back the whole concession.
There are lots of subjects that need to be settled, issues that need to be settled. You know, how long the interview would be? Would it be under oath or not? What subjects would be covered? Who would present? Would a transcript be taken?
All of these issues need to be resolved, and the president's statement today certainly was designed to make it look like he feels he has nothing to hide. But I don't think anyone should conclude from the president's statement that it's somehow a done deal that he's going to testify in this investigation. I think it's likely he will give testimony in some form, but the parameters of that are very much unsettled.
COOPER: Michael, are the negotiations between the president's legal team and his special counsel affected when the president speaks, you know, off the cuff like this?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I would think so, yes, because it puts them in a very difficult position. They are trying to negotiate all the things that Jeffrey Toobin just outlined. And now, here's the president saying I'm all in, let me have it, I've got nothing to hide.
So, Mueller should say to Ty Cobb and John Dowd, good, your client is all ready to go, we're all ready to go, let's do it in the map room on Tuesday with a court reporter and we'll settle this thing. And I think that the unscripted appearance of the president talking about this had to make his lawyers a bit nuts, because it's very hard to walk this back in a sense because he says I want to do it, Mueller says I want to do it, then he says, well, you know what, my lawyers told me not to do it.
So, the question that that invites is why? Why would you not do it? Why did they tell you not to do it? Because they think that I may put myself in jeopardy if I do that. Well, what is there to be putting yourself in jeopardy to if there's no collusion, and there's no obstruction?
So, it's a bad -- it's a bad outcome for the president to have done this, I think, ultimately.
COOPER: David, what message do you think the president's comments send to his allies? Do they now endorse the idea of the president speak to Mueller under oath or do they kind of say, well, look, it's a good sign that he wants to but he should listen to the lawyers.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I guess it's how we define allies, right? I'm sure his allies on Capitol Hill like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would like him to simply just say, I want this to come do a swift and fair conclusion and be done with it, and not do so much off the cuff talking about it.
We saw in our most recent poll, Anderson, that nearly eight in ten Americans say if Mueller asks for him to testify under oath, that he should do so. Republicans, Democrats, independents, majorities of all across parties think about that. That is different from what we've seen on other questions related to the investigation where partisanship really drives the answer.
Here, it's nearly unanimous with eight in ten Americans agreeing he should testify under oath if he's asked to do so.
COOPER: Gloria, what motivation does Mueller have to giving in to any of these requests by the president's team? Now, ultimately, he has subpoena power, he could play hard ball if he wants to.
BORGER: He could. He could. I think -- I think that they've had a good relationship. You know, the president's attorneys and Mueller's team have been talking for months now. They've handed over all the documents that Mueller has asked for. It's gone pretty smoothly.
[20:10:00] And I think Mueller is not the kind of guy who wants to play gotcha, particularly with the president of the United States.
So I think he would like this to go smoothly, because don't forget, there are all these charges out there about how this investigation is tainted, and I think that's not what Mueller wants. He wants to kind of have conversations that are very much on the up and up. But I do believe, and our reporting, Pamela's and my reporting today, is that Mueller has flat-out said to the Trump team that I want your client in a face-to-face interview.
And now that the client has said that he wouldn't mind doing it, I wonder what the conversations are going to be like tomorrow.
COOPER: Yes, Jeff, I mean, do you agree with that, if Mueller insisted on, you know, on everything he wanted, that that could look, reflect badly on him, it would give ammunition to the president's allies to further attack him?
TOOBIN: Well, the president's allies don't need much ammunition -- you know, much reason to attack Mueller. I mean, this is a very -- a very partisan moment.
But, but, you know, this does seem like, unlike so many problems in American life, a soluble problem. I mean, both sides want to get this whole issue behind them. They want to have him make a statement -- you know, give an interview. It sounds like the president is willing to do it. You know, there are a lot of details to be worked out.
But I don't think a court fight is in the interest of either one of them. Yes, it's true that if they come to loggerheads, the president -- Mueller could just simply give a grand jury subpoena and then they could fight it out in court.
But you know, the president is not just an ordinary witness. He is a constitutional officer. He has certain rights that are different from any other person's rights. And it's a complicated legal question about, you know, how to treat him as a witness.
So I think Mueller recognizes that, yes, he'd probably win in court in some way at some point, but it's in his interest to wrap this thing up --
TOOBIN: -- as well. So, I think this is very likely to come to an agreement about some sort of testimony.
COOPER: You know, Michael, it was interesting to hear the president tonight saying that, look, when you -- when you fight back then they call that obstruction, that he's referring, or kind of, I guess, saying everything he did in terms of, you know, the relations with Flynn or Comey, or any of that, was in some form fighting back.
ZELDIN: Well, so the obstruction of justice statute is a statute that is based on the intentions of the actor. Was the president in doing what he did intending to obstruct justice or was he intending to fight back as is his rights under the constitution? And Mueller will have to evaluate all the things that he did and determine whether this is fighting back or this is obstructionist behavior. That's why you need to look the witness in the eye in a face-to-face environment and ask them these questions and not have anything be a written lawyer response to a question that is propounded by the special counsel.
And I think that if I were Mueller, as we did in our independent counsel investigation, we took Herbert Walker Bush's testimony, we were very differential to his schedule, to where the interview would take place, to when it would take place, whether we need to do it over one day or two days to accommodate his schedule. All of that stuff.
But we wouldn't negotiate the scope of our questioning or our desire to have it be under oath and in person, and I think that Mueller has the easy opportunity here to say, let's do it the way Ken Starr did it with Bill Clinton in the map room, under oath, under, you know, if you will, on your home turf, and be done with it.
COOPER: David --
TOOBIN: Anderson --
COOPER: Sorry. Go ahead, Jeff.
TOOBIN: Well, I just think, you know, you pinpointed a very important point. You know, the president has said a lot of things but the first time he used the term, fight back, was today.
And I think that is a real tell to what the defense to any charge of obstruction of justice is going to be, because he is going to say, I fired James Comey not to interfere with the investigation, but to fight back against a conspiracy of anti-Trump people including the director of the FBI, the deputy director, Andy McCabe. And I was using my powers of the presidency and my First Amendment rights as a citizen to fight back against that conspiracy, I wasn't obstructing justice.
We'll see whether Mueller or anybody else buys that argument.
TOOBIN: But this was the first time we heard that argument.
TOOBIN: And I think we're going to hear it plenty over the next few weeks.
COOPER: David, I know that fighting back comment really jumped out to you as well.
CHALIAN: Yes, it did, also for the reasons Jeffrey states as it's a preview to the defense, perhaps, but also it sounded to my ear like the president is in a PR street fight here instead of a deadly serious investigation.
[20:15:01] He seemed to want toe to shift the terms of this and that's why it perked up my ear. I wondered if he really envisioned himself in more of a PR battle than in a serious legal matter.
BORGER: But you can also fight back and obstruct justice at the same time. I mean, one does not preclude the other. I think what Donald Trump's lawyers are trying to do is get a roadmap. And I got sort of a roadmap from Mueller, according to our reporting, about the general areas. But I think what they would like is the written questions in advance of the test. I don't think they're going to get that.
COOPER: Yes. I want to thank everybody.
Coming up, much more from President Trump's chat with reporters before heading to Davos. The audio recording after her fired James Comey. Did he ask the acting director how he'd vote in the 2016 election? You're going to hear the president's response to that question. And, of course, our reporting.
Also, the president's latest demands for a DACA deal. We'll talk it over with Senator Bernie Sanders who joins us ahead.
COOPER: Well, breaking news tonight, President Trump chatting with reporters about 15 minutes tonight before leaving for Davos, Switzerland. The president asking questions on everything from the Russia investigation to immigration, didn't hold back when he was asked about Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI, he's been at odds with.
Here's the audio of that.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REPORTER: Should McCabe go?
TRUMP: Well, McCabe got more than $500,000 from essentially Hillary Clinton and is he investigating Hillary Clinton?
REPORTER: So, should he go?
TRUMP: You remember, did anybody hear many of my speeches where I talked about McCabe? He was the star of my speech. This is a nap. And I said, a man who was more or less in charge of her got -- the wife got $500,000. I mean --
REPORTER: Do you regret having him as your acting FBI director then? TRUMP: You know what, I keep out of it. You find that hard to
believe. I kept out of it. That's the way it fell. He's been there --
REPORTER: Did you ask McCabe who he voted for? Did you ask him that?
TRUMP: I don't think so.
REPORTER: You don't think you did?
TRUMP: No, I don't think I did.
REPORTER: You did not.
TRUMP: I don't know what the big deal is. I'll ask you, who did you vote for? I don't think it's a big deal. But I don't remember that.
I saw that this morning. I don't remember asking him that question.
REPORTER: Is it possible you did?
TRUMP: I don't remember asking him the question.
REPORTER: You don't remember.
TRUMP: I think it's also a very unimportant question.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me is CNN senior political commentator Jennifer Granholm, the former Democratic governor of Michigan, and the former RNC chief of staff, Mike Shields.
Mike, you heard the president not exactly denial, just saying he doesn't seem to recall whether or not he asked that question. Doesn't recall asking it. Would it be appropriate if he did ask the acting director of the FBI who he voted for?
MIKE SHIELDS, FORMER RNC CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, I don't know -- in some ways, yes, some ways, no. Some ways, we don't ask lots of people who they voted for, but win you have people who are senior people in your administration, I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to figure out who they are, where they stand. You're making decisions on who you're putting in charge of things.
COOPER: Even if they're a career civil servant, not talking about people actually working around the president in the White House.
SHIELDS: Right. But I think, as he alluded to, part of the reason -- he probably thinks he got off easy if that's when he asked him, right, that he could have gone a lot further considering what he knew about, what he suspected about who McCabe was, and what he was and wasn't doing in his partisan investigation.
I mean, let's keep in mind what has not been fully flushed out in the investigation, the entire Clinton foundation and all the money they were taking from people around the world, the e-mails that were deleted as a part of her server, there's a lot of things that were not fully investigated. When you have someone at the FBI that you know, some ties to Clinton, there's some questions that can be raised there.
So him asking a question like that, I think, from his perspective, he's sort of, like, taking a shot at making sure this guy knows I'm paying attention, but, you know, to say that's something you shouldn't do, if it didn't seem to go any further than that. He said, look, I left him there, try to stay out of it. So, I think we're making a lot about a question here.
COOPER: Governor Granholm, is this much to do about nothing?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's totally inappropriate to be asking a civil servant who's hatched, which means he's not allowed to engage in political activity, who he voted for. It just shows that Trump believes the Justice Department are his personal attorneys and not serving the country, serving him. I'm trying to say --
SHIELDS: There have been no evidence of his --
COOPER: Let her finish. Let her finish.
GRANHOLM: Well, there's evidence apparently of him asking it. How else was this question -- how else did it arise? This is another example of Trump all of a sudden forgetting what he probably asked.
But let me just say, this series of questions today, it gave reporters such a huge array of things to chew on, like we're talking about tonight. This is exactly why his lawyers do not want him to be interviewed by Mueller.
Anderson, there was a lawsuit in 2007 where he was deposed, where Donald Trump was deposed. It's 176 pages. He had sued an author of a book he didn't like. So, his deposition was taken.
In that deposition, he had to admit he lied 30 times. He was totally unprepared. He was like in this press conference today all over the map. He does not want to be interviewed by Mueller and, yes, this was an inappropriate question.
COOPER: Mike, certainly reporters like it when the president, you know, speaks like this extemporaneously for 15 minutes.
COOPER: Do you think it's wise for him to do that? And do you have confidence how he would do it if he was under oath speaking with Mueller?
SHIELDS: He's saying he want to take part, saying he wants to be interviewed. Of course, falling back on what the lawyers won't let him, these are all negotiated things. The scope of it, how long it is, whether or not he's getting -- we're now part of a sort of a negotiation.
I think one of the interesting aspects of this is, very recently, the word that came out of the White House was this investigation's wrapping up and pundits jumped on the television and said, no, that's a joke. This thing's going on forever. Now, we realize this thing is starting to wrap up.
And here's what we know. We know that there's not been a single leak or any kind of evidence that have come out of a very leaky investigation, a very well-run press operation, out of the Mueller investigation. There's been no evidence come out of collusion with Russia.
COOPER: You think the Mueller investigation has been very leaky, more so than the White House?
SHIELDS: I think the Mueller investigation -- I look forward to reading the book when this is all over of the kind of press operation they ran with the targeted leaks to get news to force people to talk about certain aspects of it. I think it's been amazing.
GRANHOLM: You don't know that that came from Mueller, though. That might have come from people who had been interviewed by Mueller.
SHIELDS: Right. Yes. Sure.
So, my point is -- just to finish my point, that there has been no evidence of any collusion.
[20:25:04] And I think the reason why the president is so confident saying I will testify is because I've said this many times, Anderson, he was the campaign. He was the campaign manager. He was the strategist. He was the communications director.
And so, in his mind, he didn't collude with Russia, so how could my campaign have colluded with Russia? This whole thing is absurd.
I think he's very confident to go and talk to investigators about that. And now, they're just negotiating what the parameters of that testimony --
GRANHOLM: And the parameters of that testimony really revolving around obstruction of justice, less about collusion. And perhaps --
COOPER: In terms of fighting back.
SHIELDS: That's an important point to say that.
COOPER: Let the governor --
GRANHOLM: I wanted to finish the point and perhaps about his financial dealings with Russia, although that doesn't appear to be in the initial range of questions that Mueller is going to be asking about.
COOPER: But you're talking about the initial range of questions, he's going to get one shot at interviewing the president of the United States, the idea he's going to just have one interview then later on say, oh, id like to talk to him again, that seems highly unlikely, Governor.
GRANHOLM: No, it does seem highly unlikely. This is why they've got to be super careful about letting him go in, because the minute he starts opening himself up to being challenged on the facts, being presented with documents that show that he's, in fact, lying, that opens a whole array of potentially other avenues they can go down. They got to be careful. He 2got to be careful.
COOPER: Governor Granholm, Mike Shields, appreciate your time.
Just ahead, what the president said about missing text messages from two FBI officials who were briefly on the Mueller investigation. That's ahead.
COOPER: There's breaking news tonight in the Russia investigation. You're looking at live pictures of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base. The president headed to Davos, Switzerland, tonight, for the World Economic Forum, made a lot of news in the Russia investigation.
Before he left, the president spoke to reporters about a number of topics including the FBI and an issue that some of his allies in Congress and on Fox News have used to fuel some recent conspiracy theories. The issue is missing text messages between two FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, that were romantically involved, and they sent a bunch of texts during and after the election that included personal feelings about multiple political figures, including Donald Trump.
Strzok was taken off special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation after it was discovered that he had texted some anti- Trump sentiments to Page. Now, the missing months of texts cover December 2016 to May 2017.
Here's the audio of what the president said about that tonight.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: I worry about when I look at all the things you people don't report about, what's happening, the five months' worth of missing texts, that's a lot of missing texts. And as I said yesterday, that's primetime. So, you do sort of look at that and said what's going on. You do look at certain texts where they talked about insurance policies, or insurance, where they say the kinds of things they're saying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you trust the FBI? Do you trust the FBI?
TRUMP: Well what I'm going to say, I mean I am very disturbed as is the general. As this everybody else that is intelligent. When you look at five months, this is leap great Rose Mary Woods, right? With a step, right? Is a large scale version. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 18 minutes.
TRUMP: This is -- that was 18 minutes, this is five months. They say its 50,000 texts and it is prime time. That's disturbing.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Referencing Nixon secretary aside. The president keeps repeating that there are 50,000 missing text messages, keep in mind is that is actually the total number of text messages that the Justice Department inspector general has reviewed on FBI servers. The number of missing text messages that is not known. There is then and there's also new information tonight about those missing messages.
Manu Raju has that, he join me now. So what did you learn?
MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. Law enforcement official tell CNN that a technical glitch results in thousands of FBI phones being affected over that five month period and which as two FBI agents text have gone missing, at that affected a roughly 10% of the FBI phones according to this law enforcement official. Now this has seemed to satisfy some on Capitol Hill including the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr who believes the FBI's explanation. But other Republicans are pushing back saying that they're demanding more information sending letters, the inspector general and the Justice Department saying there may have been something suspicious that was going on.
Now Anderson, this comes as a number of Republicans are seizing on the text messages themselves including one that occurred right after election day which the two FBI agents were discussing a quote "secret society". In reference to Trump presidency having to form one and now Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told me that he spoke to an informant who said that this group was trying to meet off site to discuss some various issues. Now, when I ask what this group was about, he acknowledge he did not know, but he said this was an effort (ph), he want to dig further to understand exactly what this quote "secret society" was about.
Now, the top Democrat on that committee Anderson, tells me tonight she has not spoken to this FBI informative, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and accord to Democrats are saying the Republicans are selectively leaking the context of this text messages in an effort to under cut the Mueller investigation, shows you the parts in tension that remains over the investigations here on Capitol Hill, Anderson.
COOPER: And Manu, I just want to explain to our viewers, they're looking at Marine One there for the president arriving. Going to be getting on Air Force One headed to Davos, Switzerland with his team. Manu, when you talk about secret society, were there multiple references to that or was it only in the one text between stuck and the woman he was saying about stuff, and I believed I don't have the text in front of me, but words to the effect, you know, maybe its time to start up the secret society or something. RAJU: Yes, you know, from what we know is that texts that occurred right after Election Day. We have actually not seen this text message Anderson, this is only being relayed to us by Republican members of Congress who have reviewed these text messages and they are the ones who are saying -- characterizing these contents. And so until we see these documents in full, we don't exactly know exactly what they're referring to. But it's very clear that the Republicans themselves don't know either which is what Ron Johnson acknowledged when I asked him that, this is what he said, he wants to investigate further, Anderson.
2COOPER: All right, Manu Raju, appreciate that.
Joining me now is Congressman Charlie Dent, Republican from Pennsylvania. Congressman, thanks for being with us. You heard Manu's reporting. The Department Justice says, there's text messages are missing because of the archival problem infecting some 10% of phones at the FBI between that period. Do you take the Justice Department at its word or do you share President Trump's suspicions?
REP. CHARLIE DENT, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: No, I accept the Justice Department's explanation. I think, a lot of my colleagues just ought to take a deep breath, be a bit more measured and I think they are step back from some of this conspiracy theories deep state. I mean for heavens sakes sounds like they are talking about the illuminati for heavens sake. So we should be -- I think we should be more measure -- we're the -- we have been the party of law enforcement to state a local level, and we certainly have been supportive of federal law enforcement. We shouldn't be doing things to undermine the American public's confidence and the Justice Department and the FBI at a time like this.
COOPER: It does seem pretty startling to hear this coming from the Republican side. I mean talking about, you know, this idea of a deep state but also, you know, secret societies within the FBI. I mean its not the kind of thing as you point out traditionally Republicans would be arguing.
2DENT: Yes. I mean just two years ago, many of us on the Republican side were appalled by some of the rhetoric being used by some on the left regarding law enforcement in this country. We're mortified about the attacks on police and law enforcement. And, you know, I'm surprised by this 180-degree turn at least in respect to the FBI. And we have to keep in mind that the FBI, that these agents who are in my community, they're up there doing, you know, anti organized crime investigation, certainly counterterrorism investigations.
[20:35:09] And they put their lives at risk. And we have to keep thinking about that and not try to judge them entirely base on this when investigation as it become very politicized. Now tell you, I served as chair as the House Ethics Committee in the last Congress Anderson. And, you know, what I -- when we did investigations we always did them in a bipartisan manner. I couldn't do anything without the consent of my ranking member. I wish the House Intelligence Committee could do the same, and up going many here the same both sides have to get together. The committee operates in secret, just as the ethics committee did and you basically have to inspire confidence in the investigation by working together. And when things become so polarized and partisan, this is what happens. Things break down and there's a lot of blaming and name calling. It's not name was interest.
COOPER: Yes, I mean the president tonight ask point blank if he trust the FBI, didn't really answer the question, didn't say that he did -- or that the confidence in them. Are you worried about long-term potential damage to this law enforcement agency which is, you know, the premiere law enforcement agency if not in the world, certainly in this country.
DENT: Well, I'm not sure what the long-term damage will be. I don't want to predict that. But all I can say is that, you know, is the Republican administration. You know, as this President Trump's director of the FBI Christopher Wray, his attorney general Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, assistant attorney general. I mean these are his people. So to attack he's own government strikes me as, you know, kind of unprecedented. I'm not used to a president, you know, going after his own department. And that's what I find interesting and a bit baffling.
COOPER: The president also tonight defended -- he said he didn't remember asking Andrew McCabe who he had voted for, but said if he had, he didn't think that was really -- there was no problem with that. Do you believe there was a problem with that and if you do, can you explain to people why that, why you might have a problem with that.
DENT: You mean, if asking a civil servant and how they voted?
DENT: Yes, I mean look, I've been in the U.S. Congress for nearly 14 years. I can't remember any time I ever asked a civil servant how he or she voted. Over that matter anybody else who came into my office to talk to you about give an issue. I've never ask and nearly thought it was my business. I guess this speaks to the whole issue of, you know, what are the limits of propriety.
And I remember a few months ago, the president got some trouble, he went to a Boy Scout jamboree and gave it kind of a campaign speech to a lot of boy scouts. And I've been involved with the boy scouts. And just know that spoke a lot of scouts. And that something I never did. There are things you just don't do. Don't cross certain lines. And in this case, I wouldn't ask a civil servant and a career civil servant how he voted. It's just very awkward at the very least and inappropriate.
COOPER: Charlie Dent -- Congressman Dent, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
Ahead on this breaking news, President Trump also talking about immigration speaking specifically about the so-called DREAMERS, saying quote, "it's going to happen at some point in the feature". Question is, does that mean an actual deal, we'll talk to Senator Bernie Sanders in a moment.
[20:40:50] COOPER: Continuing with our breaking news. In his off camera session with journalist tonight, President Trump also talked again about immigrations and those hundreds of thousands so-called DREAMERS. This time it's the House and pass sounding a bit more appliable (ph), I guess you could say, saying he'd accept a pathway citizenship for them but still wants money for his wall. Take a listen.
TRUMP: We're going to morph into it. It's going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does that mean?
TRUMP: Over a period of 10 to 12 years. Somebody does a great job, and work hard. It gives incentive to do a great job, that they've work hard. They done terrifically whether they're have a little company or they work or whatever they are doing, if they do a great job, I think it's a nice thing to have the incentive of after a period of years being able to become a citizen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: how many years Mr. President?
TRUMP: We are looking at 10 or 12.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 10 or 12 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 10 or 12 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to protect them? You going to extent the deadline?
TRUMP: Yes, I might do that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much do you need for your wall Mr. President? $20 billion?
TRUMP: Well, I'm going to do built that way under budget.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
TRUMP: But we're putting down $25 billion for the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should these DREAMERS be concerned that they can deported on March if a deal is not (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: I don't -- not to be concern, OK. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President --
TRUMP: Tell them not to be worry about --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I just clarify --
TRUMP: -- we're going to solve the problems.
TRUMP: Now it is up to the Democrats. But we -- she -- they should not be concerned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we just clarify a bit.
TRUMP: We're going to put it in a fund 25 billion in a fund.
TRUMP: We 25 billion for a wall. We have 5 billion for other security measures. After the DACA is done look at overall in it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you still want chain migration lottery -- I'm sorry --
TRUMP: Let's put in the initial, we're putting chain and negotiated chain, we're putting a replacement for lottery or an end to lottery and it could be a replacement. We bring people in from various countries that come in based on merit and various other reasons. And we are going to build a wall. So those three primary things.
COOPER: Well all of this against the background of that deadline at February 8, when the government again is suppose to run out of money. Senate Majority Leader McConnell indicating he be open some sort of DREAMER legislation.
Senator Bernie Sanders is with me now.
Senator Sanders, you heard the president saying tonight that he's open to citizenship for DREAMERS over the course maybe 10 or12 years, it would morph into that. For and that -- you know, that there -- for any DREAMERS out there, they shouldn't be concerned. Do you think they should take the president at his word at this point? And what you think of what he said --
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Unfortunately Anderson, and sadly most American now, the president says one thing today, another thing tomorrow depending on who got to him last. Sadly, the president lies a whole lot of times. But it is important to understand that we have a moral crisis in front of us. We have 800,000 young people who came to this country when they were two or three years of age. They know no other country. They are working, 20,000 of them are teachers. They're in school, they're in the military. This is their home.
And the idea that they could lose the legal status that Trump took away from them and face deportation would be an incredible moral stain on this country. 80% of the American people think that we should maintain legal status for these young people and the vast majority of Americans think there should be a path towards citizenship. Now the good news is that Senator Durbin and Senator Graham have crafted legislation. Now the -- well I would write, but it was -- it's a decent piece of legislation which provides legal status to the DREAMERS. It has now we think six or seven Republicans who are supporting it, that means we have 56, 57 members of the United States Senate who are supporting it, we think we have a strong majority in the House was supporting it. This is what the American people want and I hope Trump will support that effort.
COOPER: As, you know, the White House said they're going to unveil what they want on Monday of next week. Clearly what they call chain migration is on the table or rethinking, you know, the some sort of lottery or the lottery program, and $25 billion for the border wall. Is that something you and the Democrats would support if many permanent solution for DREAMERS?
[20:45:09] SANDERS: Well, let me just say this, I think the wall made a whole lot of sense in the 15th century when China built The Great Wall. I think what most security experts understand, is that you can protect the border in a much more cost effective way with modern technology. So if we want to save money, if we want to protect the border, there are other ways to do it other than the wall that Trump is proposing. Which the vast majority, the American people by the way do not want and it is in my view a waste of money.
But at the end of the day what is absolutely imperative is that we protect these young people, there'll be a lot of negotiations, and I look forward to seeing the day come sooner than later where these 800,000 young people do not have to live in the kind of anxiety and fear that they're living in today.
COOPER: So for you that's the number one priority in immigration deal for the DREAMERS?
SANDERS: Yes -- yes it is, it is.
But I also want to say and I think sometimes we push it aside when we talk about the budget crisis that we're facing. The United States of America Anderson has a $4 trillion government, $4 trillion. We are now into the fourth continuing resolution, we're going on five months in which a $4 trillion government says, oh we will spend many exactly this year the way we spent it last year. Can you think of a business, think of a large business like Amazon saying oh, we'll do exactly the same that we did last year, same priorities? They would lose tens of billions of dollars, probably go bankrupt. You cannot run a government in an ever changing world, all kinds of crisis. And say, oh we're going to do exactly what we did last year. So one of the reasons I voted against this continuing resolution is that we have major crisis facing this country. We have 27 million people in the Community Health Center program. That program has not been reauthorized what three and a half months. People are going to lose their ability to get health care and dental care. It's a crisis, we have 30,000 vacancies in the veteran administration. Veterans are not going to be able to get the quality and timely care that they need. We have a massive under funding and understaffing in the social security administration. People who are old, people with disabilities --
SANDERS: -- can I get the service they need. We have got to address those problems now.
COOPER: The fact that Minority Leader Schumer says that talks are starting over in his term and that funding for the wall is off the table now, is that helpful. Because the president seems to be very clear that if there is no wall there, is no DACA.
SANDERS: Well, you know, we will see how the negotiations go. I think what Schumer was upset about is that he and Trump sat down and I think Schumer felt that they had reached an agreement and that once again Trump pulled the rug out from underneath him. But bottom line is that there needs to be negotiations. I think there are serious Republicans here who want to do the right thing. And we've got to work together to make sure that these young people get the legal status that they need and have a path towards citizenship.
COOPER: Senator Sanders appreciate your time. Thank you.
SANDERS: Thank you.
COOPER: Ahead, the White House attorney reportedly had a different talk on whether President Trump will do an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller -- different take, I should say. The details on that, reaction to all this from CIA director General Michael Hayden.
[20:51:57] COOPER: President Trump told reporters tonight that he is looking forward to talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, would it be played at the top the broadcast, that he said he'd love to do it and he do it under oath. This didn't take long.
Now according to the "New York Times" a White House lawyer is already walking that back. White House lawyer Ty Cobb told the "Times" that the president was speaking fast and only meant to say he was willing to meet with the Mueller team, not volunteering to testify under oath. Former CI Director Michael Hayden joins us now.
So General Hayden, first off your reaction the breaking news that President Trump said he wanted to talk to Special Counsel Mueller under oath as long as his attorneys were fine with it in. GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FMR DIRECTOR, CIA: Yes. I thought it was not just breaking news, Anderson, but good news. And look, there is a cloud over the presidency. We can debate why there's a cloud, there's no doubt there's a cloud. And both the President and America would be well served by getting out from under this cloud. I see no way that we do that to the satisfaction of most Americans until the President talks to Bob Mueller.
Now, will he do it with the advice of counsel? Of course. No one would -- should talk to the bureau without their lawyer in the room. I understand that, there's jeopardy. But I think the president's instincts, which he seems to suggest today, was that I got to go do this. Those are the right instincts.
COOPER: But is extraordinary when, you know, for those who raised concerns well, if the president is just speaking on the record under oath to the Special Counsel, who knows what he may say if he's, you know, goes off on a tangent? The example being tonight talking to reporters, you know, minutes later, what, some hour later, his attorney is already walking back what the president himself said in just a 15-minute Q & A with reporters. There's really no telling what the president might say under oath.
HAYDEN: No, I understand that. But I also have a great deal of respect for Director Mueller and his team. I think they'll be very disciplined, and they'll demand that the president answer the questions. And what the president says will matter no matter what kind of intervention that the president's lawyers might say. I mean there's an old standing joke in the Air Force. What the captain meant to say is, that's not going to hold water. What the president says is going to matter.
COOPER: In the course of the same interview tonight, the president also cast doubt on the FBI as a whole saying he's, "disturbed", and that these missing texts are worse than Watergate. He was asked point then blank either if he had confidence in or if he trusted the FBI. I can't remember the exact question, and he didn't answer. He didn't say that he did. What do you think, I mean that does eat (ph) to the morale of the FBI, but also just does it do real damage to the FBI?
HAYDEN: That's the real point, Anderson. Morale matters. Personal integrity matters. The feelings of people who go out there in harm's way every day for America matters. But fundamentally, what matters is the health of the institutions on which our democracy relies for both its safety and its liberty. That's the intelligence community. That's the Department of Justice. That's the FBI. And as this circle has tightened, you've seen the president and a lot of supporters of the president almost reflexively attacking the integrity of these institutions. And I fear greatly no matter how this turns out, Anderson, we're going to harm these bodies on which we must rely.
[20:55:13] You know, whatever happens to the bureau right now, we're going to need it again in the future. And so we should be very careful not to damage it.
COOPER: It's also kind of incredible this is coming from the Republican side which is traditionally very strong on supporting law enforcement at, you know, state local and certainly federal level. This is a day after, you know, Senator -- Republican Senator Ron Johnson was spreading rumors about secret societies within the FBI, having off-site meetings and saying that, you know, they had an informer who is confirming -- this is all based on that one text allegedly sent by that FBI agent.
HAYDEN: Yes. Look, I've spoke with Senator Johnson in the past. I've always found him to be a very serious man, very dedicated to the United States. And Anderson, there's a bit of difference in both content and tone from what Senator Johnson said yesterday and what he's saying today.
COOPER: He seemed to back off the idea that there was an informer who confirmed --
COOPER: -- this secret society notion.
HAYDEN: And I was really struck a little bit ago on your show where Congressman Dent, a Republican from Pennsylvania, was really trying to calm the waters here, saying, we all need to settle down here and quit reflexively attacking these institutions. That actually was very heartening coming from a Republican.
COOPER: It is just such a -- I mean, again, if one had heard this rhetoric coming from the left a few years ago, it wouldn't -- perhaps it wouldn't be surprising, you know, about the FBI or about the idea that there was a, you know, cabal within the FBI. But again coming from the Republicans, it just seems we're in uncharted waters here.
HAYDEN: I'm sorry I'm smiling a bit with you, Anderson, because I've actually heard that rhetoric from the left when I was in government. The kind of the presumption of guilt, the presumption that there was some nefarious activity going on from the extreme American left. And we generally got a pass, and that's not always a good thing from the American right. I mean institutions need to be held up to the light of the day. But you're right. Number one, it's a bit unusual coming from the right, and actually the almost viciousness of the attack is really unusual from either right or left.
COOPER: Yes. General Hayden, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
COOPER: We'll be right back. More news ahead.
[21:00:00] COOPER: Thanks for watching 360. It's time to hand it over to Chris Cuomo for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, my friend, thank you very much. Breaking tonight, it is on. In a surprise statement to the media, Trump just said he wants to meet with Bob Mueller under oath. Then, in his next stand --