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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Deputy Resigns After Being Suspended, Sheriff Says He Stayed Outside as School Shooting Unfolded; Pres. Trump Supports Raising Age to Buy Rifle, NRA Rejects That; Mueller Files New Charges Against Manafort and Gates. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 22, 2018 - 21:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to the second hour of "360". There's breaking news tonight as Parkland, Florida lays another victim of last week's shooting to rest. A deputy, a school resource officer forced out for allegedly doing nothing when the shots rang out. Also on the table is arming teachers and paying them bonuses to pack guns, the answer the President thinks so. You'll see what a former top law enforcer thinks.

Also new charges on against Paul Manafort and his former top aide, well, to persuade one or both to flip. And later, why President Trump said today he's thinking about pulling every immigration customs enforcement agent out of California.

We begin with the Parkland story that left Broward County sheriffs at a total loss for words. The fact that a school resource officer stayed outside the building when the shooting began. Martin Savidge joins us now with the latest. Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this school resource officer is a sheriff's deputy. He is in uniform and he carries a gun. This particular deputy, Scott Peterson had been on this campus since 2009. He was on the campus at the time of the shooting. And the question had been where was he during the time of the murders that were taking place?

Today, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that a review had determined something very disturbing, the fact that the officer was right outside the building where the shooting was taking place. He was aware of something awful going on on the inside and he did not go in. In fact, a review finds that he was outside that building for up to four minutes. Remember the entire attack took just six minutes. The sheriff himself was sickened by what he saw. Here's what he said earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I've been to the funerals. I've been to the homes where they're sitting shiver. I've been to the vigils. It's just there are no words.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Remember, Anderson, that ever since Columbine, that was 19 years ago, the protocol for law enforcement has been any armed officer, any officer that first arrives or is there on scene must interact with an active shooter if only to distract, hopefully to engage. The sheriff said he should have engaged, should have killed that shooter. Instead, the officer did nothing. He was put on what was supposed to be suspension, instead the officer said he resigned and immediately went into retirement, Anderson.

COOPER: Martin Savidge, stunning report. Appreciate that. Thanks very much.

A lot more tonight. Perspective now from retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano on the phone, former Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey, also, former FBI supervisory special agent Josh Campbell.

James, I wonder what you make of this. The man tasked with protecting the school either couldn't or wouldn't.

JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Anderson, it's another gut punch. I mean you and I were at the scene in Parkland, Florida in a visceral and emotional pain and talking to the parents there and talking to some of the student survivors. And this is another piece of a failure in the system.

Now, we have to wait till all the facts get in. We have to wait. We have the sheriff the opportunity to dive on this. I know the initial reports on this, they're beyond troubling and unsettling.

And look, I served in the FBI for 25 years. I served in combat theaters. And I can tell you this. Bravery is not the absence of fear. It's the mastery of it. And it -- not everybody is built for this line of work. And there's a reason why it's a profession. It's not a job. And for somebody to be on the outside to hear children screaming, to hear guns going -- rounds going gun range, it's unsettling.

Now listen, there is no panacea here. And if there had been two officers there or three officers or if we had, you know, armed school teachers, I don't think there's any panacea here. I think we need to look at all these things, not alone in a vacuum and try to move forward, some sense and plans to figure this out.

COOPER: Chief Ramsey, I mean a lot of big city police forces in New York City, I know Washington, D.C. as well, they now train for active shooter drills. Every police officer is trained on how to respond, go in, hunt down the shooter, engage them, stop them. Above anything else, you don't wait for the SWAT team things like that. I suppose nobody knows how they're going to react unless they are actually encounter a situation like this. People who think they're going to be heroes turn out to be cowards and people who think they're going to be cowards can turn out to be heroes.

What if anything does this say to you about the argument that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good person with a gun?

[21:05:04] CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, look, and every situation is different. I don't buy into that. Certainly police officers are trained to respond immediately if there's a school shooting. We learn that after Columbine, waiting for SWAT. Ideally, it will be a team of two officers or three. But the bottom line, if you pull up to a school and you hear shots fired, you go in and you confront the gunman. You try to locate him and you neutralize as best as you can, as quickly as you can to avoid further people from dying.

But I've heard all the conversation about arming teachers and so forth. I personally don't think that's the right move. Teachers are there to teach. It is more than just learning how to handle a firearm. You need to understand the law. When can you actually use deadly force against an individual? You know, what commonly occurs in schools is not your school shootings like we're talking about now but just simple assaults that take place.

Teachers-student, maybe an outsider, trespasser comes into the school. I mean what happens when you have an armed teacher now that gets shoved by some 15-year-old kid who's unarmed. I mean how are they going to respond to that? They certainly can't respond with deadly force.

So this is something has to be carefully thought through. It's unfortunate this (INAUDIBLE) did not respond the way you would like him to respond but that doesn't mean you don't need to have school resource officers.

COOPER: Josh, you know, I mean the few times I've been witness to a gunfight or, you know, involved where people are shooting around me, you have no idea how you're going to respond. And adrenaline kicks in to such degree that you don't often think straight at all. To this idea this officer, I don't know if he didn't think straight or if he just made a wrong decision or was afraid or whatever was going through his mind. But to the idea that teachers with some training could be trained to react in the correct way. Do you -- does -- what happened to this officer, does that raise questions about training teachers for this?

JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Well, it's a good point, Anderson. And obviously there are two sides of this debate. I mean there are instances if you look in the past of good people being in the right place at the right time with a firearm to diffuse the situation. So that's one side of the argument.

The other side, I think it's really important for folks to understand what you just mentioning there is, you know, if we arm our teachers, what is the level of training that they're going to receive. You know, in FBI, you know, we fire thousands of rounds, sometimes until our hands literally bled. And the goal was to achieve maximum proficiency, to achieve muscle memory. Because in a real tactical situation, those hormones are going to kick in and they're exponentially going to degrade the level of accuracy.

My fear is that if we arm teachers without being highly trained, the result in, you know, simply sending bullets down range without that precision, I think it only compounds the situation and makes it even more dangerous, even more dangerous.

COOPER: James, I mean again, impossible to know how much could the calculus though have change you think if this man actually did what he was task to do?

GAGLIANO: Well, Anderson, you got to look at it from this perspective too. Generally speak in law enforcement officers, when they're training on a range where, to your point, the rounds aren't coming back at them, the average proficiency, 75%, 80%, 85% maybe good shots from the 90 or 95 percentile.

What studies have shown is that when people have rounds coming back at them, when they're in an adversarial contact and most of these contacts happen within 5 to 7 yards, it drops down to about 18%. So I mean I want you to think about that that's one out of every five rounds may strike the target.

Look, the arming school teacher thing I think is a fool's errand. I think there are other more sensible solutions. However having said that, there are number of retired law enforcement officers that do work in schools and our teachers, I'm a prime example, I teach at St. Johns, and schools are gun free zones. So when you have law enforcement officers that are retired that have concealed carry permits but are restricted from carrying on campus, if I had been there at this high school that afternoon, I would have been unarmed as well.

These are all things we kind of need to think about. To Chief Ramsey's point, none of these things can be solved with one specific thing. We have to look at this whole thing together in concert and try to come to some type of sensible solutions.

COOPER: Yes. James Gagliano, Josh Campbell, Charles Ramsey, appreciate that.

A lot again too with the panel. With me tonight, Asha Rangappa, Rich Lowry, Jen Psaki, Bryan Lanza, Tara Setmeyer and Paul Begala.

You -- Ash, you received firearm training obviously when you were with the FBI. How do you see this?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, I think that James and Josh made some great points. You know, the training is key. We went through four months of daily, thousands of rounds of training to get that muscle memory. And you have to remember that SWAT teams get even more than that. And they're there to not only get the firearms training but also to master that fear as James said.

So this idea that you're going to, you know, give guns to teachers, even if they're adept at a firing range and have them be accurate especially when they're out gunned, if somebody comes in with an assault rifle that is firing more rounds per second than they can and can do damage even when they're not accurate, I think that it's really asking for just even more tragedy.

[21:10:16] Bryan, is arming teachers a good idea?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: You know, what we're talking about is the hardening of our schools. And so you have law enforcement that said on Monday they're going to have, you know, officers with rifles at these campuses.

So there is the belief that hardening of our schools actually does have an impact. Maybe it's a deterrent for somebody who's thinking of doing some negative reaction toward the schools is not so smart. There's going to be a quick response. I don't know if it's teachers but I think what the President is saying if you're looking at the hardening of schools, let's look at the teachers, let's look at all available assets that exist. I think the law -- I think the guest there just talked about, the retired law enforcement who can play a role in there.

I mean there are roles to play, the community can play here but the hardening of schools is something we need to look at and it's a real policy discussion. I'm not sure of it's teachers. I want to see the debate. But it has to be something.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There was of course a reporting, an armed guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. There was an armed guard at Columbine High School. Virginia Tech, which is the worst campus shooting in history, has police force of 50 full-time agents and 12 private security guards on top of that. There was a mass killing at Fort Hood where there's 42,000 soldiers, most of them unarmed on base but then they have the 89th Military Police Brigade. A brigade, a thousands soldiers, armed, trained, patrolling. It still didn't stop it.

What we need to do -- I understand it. I really do. I think what we need to do is learn from our military. When we were losing soldiers to IEDs, we responded with these arm wraps, right, to mitigate the damage. These high armored Humvees. And then the Pentagon said, well, it's just not enough to hope if you were guys get blown up.

And the phrase that used was move left of the boom. So I'm going to say on the time chart, let's get this before they place them. Let's evolve before the terrorists are killing our guys or attacking our guys. And that's what we need to do. Hardening our school, I understand that emphasis. I really do. And I think those SROs in the main school research will do a great job. They're terrific. I'm not against guards or cops. I think arming English teachers is nuts.

But I think if we think hard about how to intervene in somebody's life before he becomes a threat, how to keep guns out of hands of troubled dangerous people, I think that's going to be a more productive conversation.

JEN PSAKI, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: I would just say that, look, I think sometimes we're talking around this issue because the fact is we have a gun violence problem in our country that is obviously keep surfacing with each one of these circumstances.

And what we've seen from other countries, which I think we can very much learn from in how they handled it is when Australia and United Kingdom and other places had mass shootings, many of them in schools, they cracked down and took steps legislatively and through government action to reduce the number of guns out there.

And when we're talking about hardening schools, I think it's very telling that the people on one side of this debate are the NRA who think we should arm teachers and Donald Trump who just got $21 million from the NRA in the last election and the other side are teachers, administrators and law enforcement. I think that tells you a lot about whether that's the right approach.

(CROSSTALK)

RICHARD LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: There's going to be a consensus for hardening schools. That's just going to happen. Parents are going to demand it. And the most ranching statements we heard yesterday both from the White House and that CNN forum where parents of victims saying the schools need to be safer and not even addressing guns. So I think that's going to happen.

But I think Paul's point is correct on getting to the left of boom. This is not a generalized gun violence problem. We have many more guns in our society than we did in the 1990s. Gun crime has actually gone down. These are very specific problem involving people who don't have prior criminal records, who are troubled, deranged or severe mentally -- severely mentally ill, somewhere on the spectrum and the effort should be to stop them from getting guns.

And I think the best idea that I've seen last week is enhanced gun violence restraining orders where family members or people who are close to disturbed people like this horrible perpetrator in Florida can go to a judge and say he should not be able to possess or buy a gun. And there'll be some due process, so you're respecting the right. But if we had that ability in Florida, I'm very confident that people who dropped the dime on him with the FBI and with the police would have gone.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- by I think psychiatrist or mental health worker in the time saying it today or yesterday who said, look, she was confronted with -- a family brought in a young man who had written about shooting up a school, posses weapons, I mean all the hallmarks and there was very little she could actually do to hold this. She could -- he was rational. He said no, that's just talking online. I mean there was nothing she could really do to imprison him essentially and force treatment on him.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the very unpopular reality of this as we try to find solutions is that our constitutional system does not really allow for one blanket solution to this.

[21:15:04] It has to -- we have certain protections, whether it's Fourth Amendment protections or Second Amendment rights to bear arm, there's all kinds of different protections that don't allow for some of the more sweeping ideas from other sides of people just do something. Well, we can't just do something. And there's checks and balances as a result of that in a sweeping way.

I think specific things, Rich's point to the gun violence protection order is a good start. There has to be due process. The idea of the -- of extending Baker Act, I heard that the sheriff at the school last night suggested, you have to be very careful with that. Who's going to make those determinations? But we have to start with, I think, hardening schools, for sure. My home state of New Jersey, that debate has already started of the newspapers. And also fixing the system so that you can catch it beforehand. There were so many warnings signs and that -- and it failed.

COOPER: And we got to take a quick break. More on this, including the President's take now that he's gotten, as we're talking about, teachers and guns. A live report from the White House when we come back.

And later, familiar faces, new indictments in the Russia probe by Robert Mueller's up in the ante by adding new charges against Manafort and Gates.

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COOPER: We're talking tonight about arming teachers as a way of reacting to or even preventing the next school shooting. Now whatever you may think of the idea, the reason we're all talking about it, now is largely because President Trump has been talking about it and seems to support it. CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now for more from the White House.

[21:20:00] How did the President roll out this notion today because he'd also talked about it yesterday?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, he did. For the second day in a row that President at eliciting session here at the White House, today was state and local officials from law enforcement, from schools. And he said point blank, he wants to be the president to end this problem. He said too many presidents have sat around talking about it, not working to end it. Of course talking about arming those school teachers and officials.

But he also talked about video games. He said they're far too violent. He had a variety of things he talked about on social media and in that meeting. But one consensus ran through it all, Anderson, it was more guns are need. Gun free zones, he said, in schools, essentially, you know, create more problems. But, you know, he said student shooters would not come into schools if they knew people were armed. The idea of suicide by cop of course is very familiar. That's what a lot of shooters do. Arming school teachers, Anderson, I guess that would mean suicide by history teacher or something else certainly a controversial proposal he made today.

COOPER: Is there any indication how the White House plans to turn these ideas into action?

ZELENY: That's of course is the open question here. The President said he's been talking to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats. Next week, I'm told, he will convene more of a meeting here with lawmakers once they come back to Washington.

But the question is, will he lead his party beyond any of these discussions? Will he actually confront the NRA? The only divisions between the President and the NRA today was that age limit for buying these type of weapons. He said 21 is a good age. The NRA says no, no. It should stay at 18. But next week he says he will start talk with lawmakers as well as the nation's governors. We'll see if any legislation actually comes of it, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny, thanks.

The President's notion of army teachers certainly controversial, especially among teachers themselves. In the last hours, three educators, each of whom survived the school shooting, one who sheltered students last week, one was from Columbine, one was from Sandy Hook. They all rejected the idea.

Paul, I mean do you believe that the President would take -- would disagree publicly and take on the NRA on the issue of raising the minimum age for being able to buy rifles?

BEGALA: It's a pretty small issue. Yes. He's probably the only person who could do this. The day after the shooting he said -- remember when he said I'm the only one who can fix this. It's usually not the case. It is with him.

In fact, he could go much further. Keep in mind, Ronald Reagan supported the Brady Bill which was a really big gun safety law. It outlawed banned assault weapons, banned high capacity magazines and required this background check that the NRA hated it. Republicans still worship Ronald Reagan. They named airports and waste water factories, everything after him. He's still their hero. Hadn't hurt Reagan's legacy a bit.

But Barack Obama couldn't get anything through. The politics of this are very much mixed with China. And this president is. He could. He could do so much. Not just this thing about the age which would be fine. I think they're playing a game with the bump stock idea which he says, well, we're going to let the Justice Department and the ATF look at it. It's pretty clear I think from lawyers that you need a law. It's a pretty minor law. What he ought to do is go right where Reagan went, which is these assault weapons. If you want to cut down on mass shootings, not all street crime, most street crime not committed with assault.

If you want to cut down into these mass shootings, an assault weapon is built for mass shooting with a high capacity clip, that's how these animals do that and Hillary Clinton could have never got it done but Donald Trump could.

SETMAYER: Well, I also think there's an opening because of senators, including what Marco Rubio suggested when he took lots of money from the NRA. Today, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas who also has taken money, 13th most money in the Senate from the NRA, he came out and supported raising the age limit on AR-15 rifles. However you want to debate that public policy, the issue whether you think the efficacy of that is valid or not, that debate is actually now going to happen as you see more Republicans finding cover on this given the President's position on it.

So, you know, the banning of assault weapons and -- sounds really good but, you know, for Marco Rubio was shouted down about this. He was making a very valid policy point about what happens when you do that. So if you ban -- the way it's currently written, it's about 200 different types of rifles. Well, there's like 2,000 guns and there's only certain modifications. They will make modifications around that. So unless you ban all of them, which is not going to happen nor should it because the majority of gun violence in this country doesn't happen with assault weapons, the FBI doesn't even keep stats of assault weapon crime because it happens so infrequently.

So, again, it goes back to what is efficacy of the policy here and just whether that's actually going to work or not versus what make makes people feel good about it.

PSAKI: There's a danger here I think that our bar is so low because we haven't been able to, as Paul said, Barack Obama, there's nothing he would have wanted more probably than to get gun reform through. And obviously, he was unsuccessful and that was incredibly painful having worked for him at the time.

[21:25:00] But the fact is that raising the age, as Paul said or bump stocks, that is such small ball. It's like giving Advil to a cancer patient saying you cured them. It's tiny. If you actually want to solve this problem, if Donald Trump wants to solve this problem, we can take him at his word, I agree, he is the person who can do this. He should fight for banning assault weapons, semi-automatic weapons. He should fight for registries. He should fight for criminal background checks. Not just background checks. What he's referring to may just be fixing the Nix system, which is very small. There are big specific things he can do. If he wants to be a leader on this and he has the political capital to do it, those are the things he should be doing.

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: You think he should ban handguns too? Because handguns are semi-automatic.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGAPPA: You know, the big rallying cry for the NRA is enforce the laws that are already on the book. Our gun laws are like Swiss cheese. There are three big holes. First is background checks. Federal background checks only require for federally license gun dealers, which means that 60% of gun transfers go to people who have no background check.

The second is that states have to voluntarily provide information to be included in Nix, which is the database that the background check is run against. Only 13 states voluntarily comply. And the federal government can't make them do it.

The third is that only 11 states require the reporting of stolen firearms and stolen firearms are disproportionately used in crime. It didn't happen in this case. We're always talking about the facts of the immediate case. But in general, these are ways that we can enforce the laws on the books without banning anything just as a starting point.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. When we continue, there's new indictments against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his long-time associate Rick Gates. What strategy behind that? We'll look at that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:30:17] COOPER: Special counsel Robert Mueller is back. He's issuing new indictment against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman and his long-time associate, Rick Gates who also worked in the Trump campaign. The new indictments are chocked full in details about millions and millions of dollars being flung around the planet and hidden.

Joining us now is CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. So I mean is the lengthy indictment, can you just cut through the weeds for us, Carrie? Explain what's in it, why it's significant?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure, Anderson. This case, this indictment is about bank fraud and it's about tax fraud. So what Gates and Manafort are alleged to have done which have earned millions of dollars overseas, stash it foreign accounts and then instead of lawfully reporting it as income back here in the United States, they funneled it to different types of vendors, whether it was service providers or clothing providers, or real estate or services for those. And so what they did is therefore they evaded paying millions and millions of dollars worth of taxes. So it's about lying to the government. It's about lying to banks.

COOPER: And I want to be clear about this. The indictment does not mention the Trump campaign. But again Paul Manafort was the -- became the campaign chairman. Rick Gates was on board during the transition. Their face is very serious. Charges if Mueller is trying to get them to flip or agree to a plea deal, this would certainly be more leverage?

CORDERO: Certainly. I mean these charges, 32 different counts carry decades worth -- if they worth a maximum penalties carried decades worth of years in jail for each of them. And so the strategy probably is given their role on the campaign, the fact that Paul Manafort was in that June 2016 meeting with Russian surrogates, given their knowledge about how money moves around the world, if there was any kind of allegation about money coming into the Trump campaign from overseas, if that's one area that the special counsel is looking at, these would be the guys who would know how to do it.

If the special counsel can convince Gates to plead guilty, which has been an ongoing question, whether or not he will do so, Gates therefore would be able to turn on Manafort, and that would provide devastating witness evidence against Manafort in addition to the extensive documentation that's contained in the indictment.

COOPER: I mean, let me ask the reverse. What incentive do Manafort and/or Gates have to resist a plea deal unless they think the government case is just incredibly weak? Jeff Toobin was saying it's a big roll of the dice for either of them especially Manafort, who at his age, if he loses could die in jail.

CORDERO: It really is. I mean they face incredible exposure and given the details that are in the indictment, the documents that the special counsel has. I mean they have dates, amounts of money, locations of where the money went for just pages and pages in this indictment.

So their incentive for not cooperating really is a big question mark. Whether or not they think that they're going to get a pardon, we don't know. Whether or not they think that they could beat this. Obviously, Manafort issued that statement tonight thinking that they could beat it. But there's tremendous amount of evidence and detail laid out in this indictment.

COOPER: Carrie Cordero, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

CORDERO: Thanks.

COOPER: Back now with our panel. I mean is there, Paul, any way to interpret this other than Robert Mueller retching up the pressure on Manafort and Gates to spill everything they know in exchange for plea deal?

BEGALA: Right. It's just spectacular amount of pressure. I think you pointed that out. To me the most interesting thing about this case is the dog that didn't bark. The President hasn't said anything. When is the last time when we said that sentence? Donald Trump has been utterly silent about the Manafort case. This is very smart, very smart. Bryan, you're right. He's probably listening to you.

SETMAYER: No, he's disciplined.

BEGALA: Disciplined. That's a word we don't use with Donald Trump.

SETMAYER: No.

BEGALA: Because if he praises and defends Manafort the way he did with General Kelly for a while, then I think a lot of fair amount of people are going to say, oh he's setting him up for pardon, which even his ally Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina said the end of the Trump presidency if he starts pardoning these guys. But if he attacks him, well, then you might flip him, you know. So he's got to be absolutely silent. This is the only time I think I've ever seen Donald Trump be this disciplined and silent and good for him.

COOPER: Bryan, is that how you see this?

LANZA: No. It's so far from fantasy. It's just -- we are where we are. You know --

BEGALA: I was praising him for once.

LANZA: We've invested a lot of money. We've invested a lot of airtime that this collusion thing took place. We now know that people have been looking into Carter Page since 2014. They've been following his connections. And we're now multi-millions of dollars into this investigation. They've hired more people than the senior management of the Trump campaign to investigate it. This investigation has been going on longer than the Trump campaign has even existed. And we're still at no collusion.

So I think it's great that we can fill up all this cable time, it's great that the Trump haters can sort of pray that something brings him down. But the reality is that it looks like Manafort is the target of this investigation and then Gates is going to flip on him.

[21:35:03] COOPER: You think this is -- that this is -- toward the end of it and Manafort is the actual target?

LANZA: I would say going back to 2014 that they've been monitoring Carter Page who's involved in the campaign and knowing that everything is leaked into D.C., that leaks negatively towards Trump and we haven't seen anything, I think Manafort is probably in target there.

COOPER: But isn't it fair to say we haven't seen much of anything that Mueller has. And we were completely surprised by George Papadopoulos. We're surprised by this searching indictment for the Russians. So we don't know what Mueller has been doing --

PSAKI: We continue to be --

COOPER: -- and all the people have been calling in now.

PSAKI: We continue to be surprised. And we also know that it's not just collusion. It is also obstruction of justice. So it's not just a sole piece of this. And then --

COOPER: And also possible of financial crime -- I mean they --

PSAKI: And some possible financial -- the financial piece is interesting because the question has always been why.

COOPER: Right.

PSAKI: What motivates them? Follow the money.

COOPER: They do have a top money laundering attorney I think Andrew Weissmann. PSAKI: And you look at this and it reminds and then probably we'll put this on social media but when Manafort was so desperate to get onto the Trump campaign and not be paid any money. Why is that? So there is some questions that come up with this.

The fact is we have no idea. We're all guessing about what Mueller has and what he doesn't have. What he's shown is that he's going to surprise us, he's going to chase this to the end. If you're indicted, you may be indicted again. That's what we learn today. So if anything I think it's more that the tail is much longer than we thought it was.

LOWRY: What we definitely know is what we already knew which is that Paul Manafort is a shady operator and we shouldn't have been within 100 miles of the Trump campaign or any presidential campaign and was only there because at that point in time Trump had real trouble attracting any respectable talent.

COOPER: Except for Carter Page.

LOWRY: So my understanding, and you'll know this better than I do, is his sort of tax cases, once you have them on paper they are really hard to fight. You can basically make the case without any argument. You just let people look at the documents. So he -- and I agree with everyone else, he's under major pressure. What we don't know is whether he knows anything about Trump that is pernicious or not.

COOPER: Yes.

RANGAPPA: Well, I think that we know that Mueller is continuing this pressure and he does have a key interest in Manafort. If the idea is to get Manafort to flip, it means that Manafort has somebody higher or Mueller have someone higher up the chain. The other thing that's curious about this indictment Anderson is that this is brought in the eastern district to Virginia.

This is because the crimes were committed in the eastern district of Virginia. And one of the defendants at least did not want to waive venue. They wanted it to happen there. And that's a little curious.

COOPER: Why would that be?

RANGAPPA: Well, one of the things that has come -- that I've been thinking about is that there's some states where if the federal government prosecutes first, the state is precluded from filing state charges. If Virginia is one of those cases and they're angling for a pardon then they are also inoculating themselves from potentially being prosecuted by the state, which --

SETMAYER: Right.

COOPER: All right. We're going to get -- want take a quick break. There's new reaction I should point out from the Manafort camp. That and more of the conversation when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:41:35] COOPER: There's reaction tonight from the Manafort camp to the new charges against him. A spokesman putting out a statement, "Paul Manafort is innocent of the allegations set out in the newly filed indictments and he is confident he will be acquitted of all charges." It continues, "The new allegations against Mr. Manafort once again have nothing to do with Russia and 2016 election interference/collusion. Mr. Manafort is confident that he will be acquitted and violations of his constitutional rights will be remedied.

Back now with the panel.

SETMAYER: Yes. Good luck with that. Anyone who has read the details of this indictment will see that Paul Manafort was engaged in some significant financial crimes. The offshore accounts in Cypress, the people that he worked for in the Ukraine were, you know, pro-Russia. And they were doing all kinds of very shady things there.

COOPER: So why would he have joined the campaign? I mean why would -- I mean --

SETMAYER: He was going through --

COOPER: --with all the spotlight that that would put him on.

SETMAYER: I think it was desperate times call for desperate measures. At the time that he joined the campaign he was not making any money the way he used to. The Ukraine money had dried up. He owed people money. He --

COOPER: He owed some Russians a lot of money.

SETMAYER: Yes. The Russian aluminum magnate who he worked for, for years was something I can -- Paul.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: -- suing him.

SETMAYER: For $18 millions. So, you know, those guys don't exactly just send you a lawsuit in the mail. I mean he had -- he was manipulating money with real estate loans, so were Rick Gates. They were forging financial documents. I mean these are tangible things that the special prosecutor has proving things the fraud that he committed. So good luck with the indictment parts --

COOPER: It's such a sign of desperation. I mean if you were doing all these things, you would think the last thing you would do would be like, oh, I'm going to go for the most high profile job and give interviews and be the face of this campaign for, you know, until they say I'm not.

LANZA: Hubris.

SETMAYER: Yes.

LANZA: That's why you get away with these things. I mean first of all to lie to the FBI.

COOPER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

LOWRY: So he's probably one these guys who figured he can get away, the last to run, you know.

RANGAPPA: Or sell access.

COOPER: So the idea is -- was -- I mean I -- you know, there was all this talk is Rick Gates, is Gates going to flip? If Gates flips on Manafort then that's obviously puts even more pressure on Manafort.

RANGAPPA: That's --

COOPER: And then theoretically --

RANGAPPA: So the question is like if this is the end game and this is the biggest fish that Mueller's going to get then there's nowhere to go. I mean this is just about putting, you know, Manafort in jail until he dies. You know, if he's not willing to plead for something, you know, out.

But to get that sweet deal, Manafort has to be able to give information. And the question is what is that information. As we were talking about before, he was agreeing to work for this campaign for free. He was under foreign intelligence surveillance, which means that the government had evidence that he was likely -- that he was working on behalf of a foreign intelligence service.

We know from the first indictment he was receiving money from foreign intelligence sources. He broke his bail because he was still spying. I mean this guy was the head of the campaign. And whether or not Trump knew about it, we need to be concerned that if he was sent there by the Russians and he was there, you know, that is a huge national --

COOPER: There's also then in on all the conversations with Donald Trump Jr. --

RANGAPPA: Right.

COOPER: -- that meeting and Jared Kushner about whatever, you know, other people have Kushner was meeting.

RANGAPPA: Right. And what was the purpose of that? Does he know, again, maybe these other two people in that meeting were unwitting or innocent. But what was the intent of, you know, Russia if they were connected to intelligence in getting that. What were they trying to obtain from this campaign?

SETMAYER: And they've changed the Republican platform during the convention --

[21:45:00] RANGAPPA: That's right. SETMAYER: -- that became more pro-Russia and Ukraine, which was something that Republicans, had -- weren't normal. That wasn't a normal Republican foreign policy.

RANGAPPA: And Manafort was key to that.

SETMAYER: That was right. And it's the only change they made to the platform. Seems a little suspicious to me considering Manafort worked for the pro-Russian Ukrainians for many, many years, took lots of money for them, why? That seems look very quid pro quo to me.

LANZA: You know, Manafort is going to have to answer for his actions. I mean you talked about he'd been surveillance for number of years. That goes to my point.

They had been following this guy for a number of years. We know the FBI leaks probably more than anybody else during the first six months of Trump's administration before Mueller came on board, zero, nothing. No leak of a direct collusion ties.

What we have is a lot of innuendo. That's great. It adds to a storyline, but we have a lot of fog. People say its smoke, I call it partisan fog. But what we don't have is after years of investigation of an agency that leaks that the way it leaked earlier on against the administration, an intelligence committee that leak in against this administration that has, we don't have that direct tie.

COOPER: Let me ask you.

LANZA: That says something here.

COOPER: We're going to talk to Tom Friedman from the "Times" about this coming up. Why has Donald Trump, of all the people he's criticized, in his own administration, anywhere around the world not said anything negative about Vladimir Putin?

LANZA: You know, I don't know why, but I also look at his actions. Look what he did to Syria. He drew over red line -- he drew a red line when they attacked there with chemical weapons.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- weapons on that little air field.

LANZA: Obviously, look at Ukraine in the engagement. He's giving them weapons. What you see is time after time the president engaging Russia a very proactive American way. That's isn't -- That's contrary to this narrative that people want to play that this a puppet to Putin. That's the real thing. I would say the real --

LOWRY: I don't think anyone really knows the answer to that question. Then maybe there's some deep terrible secret. My guess its Donald Trump being Donald Trump which is that he thinks the whole Russia thing its fake news, its undermining legitimacy of his election and his presidency. And he never gives and inch, he never makes the slightest concession against interest. So he's not going to say anything about this matter. When it would have been better served I think politically just from the beginning to say the Russians hacked the DNC and other e-mails. That's wrong and it should not happen again. It's not hard to say --

BEGALA: It's just -- look at his actions. His actions are very aggressive for that.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Not sanctioning Putin when congress essentially --

PSAKI: Yes.

BEGALA: -- ordered him to do it.

SETMAYER: That's true.

BEGALA: By the way Putin about the 490--

COOPER: Coming up, we got another take ---

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- question to the President of Russia calls no punches? More with "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman who says President Trump is "Either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool." Why he says our democracies in real danger, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:51:45] COOPER: President Trump insists that he has been tougher on Russia than President Obama was. "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman piece about the President and Russia in which he said, "Our democracy is in serious danger" went viral. I spoke with Tom earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Tom, you called this a code red. You write, "Our democracy is in serious danger. President Donald Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.

I mean, I was really stunned by just his tweet, his response alone on the Friday when those indictments came out. It was all about himself. It was nothing about manning the ramparts, how we're going to martial the full resources of the U.S. government to make sure this never happens again.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, AUTHOR, "THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE": Well, that's not surprising nor to you, Anderson, or to me, because let's be clear, Donald Trump is still President of the Trump organization, and Donald Trump fan club, and he moonlights as President of the United States when it is convenient for him.

His reaction is so off that it seems to me very clear now. He is either totally compromised by the Russians, they either have some financial thing on him or some sexual thing on him from his days running Miss Universe in Moscow, or he is a towering fool. A towering fool who actually believes Vladimir Putin, as Trump told us, that when he asked Putin whether he was guilty of this, Putin said, "No, absolutely not."

So why does that so-- why does that so dangerous for us? Because Trump has violated the norms of being a president ever since he's become president, OK? He's a -- with his incessant tweeting, the now several thousand lies and misleading statements he's made in just in his first year. The way he's abuses his own cabinet secretary. We've never seen a president violate the norms of office this way.

But in what he did in failing to react to this clear and present danger of Russia intervening in our elections as defined by his intelligence chiefs, two of whom he appointed, by failing to respond to that, he's not violating the norms of his office, he is violating the oath of his office.

COOPER: The bottom line for you, this goes beyond this President of Russia. I mean, you truly believe the American democracy is at stake here?

FRIEDMAN: Oh, yes. I mean, what are our crown jewels? What is the thing that really distinguishes us most from any other country? And that is that we have free and fair elections and rotations in power. That the winner cedes to the loser in the presidency every four or eight years, and they do so peacefully. What are we seeing all over the world with Erdogan in Turkey, with Putin in Russia, with Xi Jinping or those in China? We're seeing leaders who don't rotate power, who pervert their elections in ways that (INAUDIBLE) them in power.

We are on that road. We will be on that road, if you imagine, imagine, Anderson, in our next election if they don't just, you know, do this on Twitter or Facebook, if they actually get into voting systems in a state or city, what if we cannot trust the actual voting results? That's the end of our democracy. So as I say, what would a real president do right now?

[21:55:04] First of all, in the face of those reports last week, he would have gone on national television and said, my fellow Americans, I need to educate you on the scale of the problem as my intelligence chiefs have been telling me.

Second, he would have called together all the stakeholders, local and state election officials, national election officials, the social networks, the leaders of the two parties and say, we have to put in place defensive measures to make sure this not only stops what the Russians are doing now but prevents them from doing in the future.

And thirdly, he would have called together his national security team and said, look what Putin is doing. Putin is using social networks to spread lies about our democracy. What we're going to do is go on the offense against him. We're going to throw a high fast ball right under his chin, and we are going to use the same systems to spread truth about his autocracy.

How about a little fire, scarecrow? How about few stories about all the money Putin has stole the billions he socked away? How about all the people he has made disappear? Where are we in that? Sitting back and every day twiddling our thumbs and saying, woe is me, the Russians are in here or Trump simply making it all about himself. That is a dereliction of duty.

COOPER: Tom Friedman, thanks very much.

We'll be right back. More news ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)