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Republicans on House Intel Committee End Russia Probe Interviews Without Consulting Democrats; Interview with Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah; Interview with Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired March 12, 2018 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:10] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

It's a very big night of breaking news on many fronts, including the second and third in a series of bombings in Austin, Texas, that police now say may be connected. We're going to have more on that coming up.

But we begin with breaking news in the Russia probe. Republicans who control the House Intelligence Committee say they are shutting it down and issuing a report which committee Democrats have yet to see. It is to say the least White House-friendly on allegations of Trump campaign collusion, even on the underlying question the U.S. intelligence community answered more than a year ago. Did Russians meddle in the 2016 election? If so, on whose orders and to whose benefit?

Again, keeping them honest, America's top intelligence professionals have had no doubt on this for more than a year. Just moments ago, reaffirmed it to CNN's Jim Sciutto. Here's a passage from a report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence back in January 2017.

I want to read this word for word because it tends to get lost in all the claims and allegations and partisan politics.

Quote: We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influenced campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. Democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

Again, this was the intelligence community's assessment a year ago, and as we said, continues to be tonight. In fact, DNI spokesman Brian Hale telling our Jim Sciutto, quote, the intelligence community stands by its January 2017 assessment, assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent U.S. elections. We will review the HPSCI report findings.

So, just let that sink in for a moment. The president's handpicked director of national intelligence still agrees with that 2017 assessment. However, as you'll see the Intelligence Committee Republicans don't buy the conclusion about who the Russian operation was designed to benefit. As you'll also see, they do buy into one of the president's key claims about Russian provided help for Hillary Clinton, which is odd for a number of reasons including the eagerness of Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner to get Kremlin- provided dirt on Secretary Clinton, the DNC hack, and the leaks of hacked materials damaging to the Clinton campaign.

Now, in addition, there's the committee chairman's record of carrying water for the administration and pretty much getting caught doing it. For that, I want to go back to March 22nd last year. Devin Nunes saying he had new and troubling information on allegedly improper surveillance tactics by the Obama administration against team Trump.


REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What I've read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don't know that it's right, and I don't know that the American people would be comfortable with what I've read.


COOPER: So, that's Congressman Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes last March having just rushed to the White House to allegedly brief the president on these allegedly disturbing details. But even from the start, the whole thing just seemed a little off.

Here's Sean Spicer, the press secretary at the time, being asked about it the next day. The first questions had been hard to hear. In case you missed it, the reporters asking, so would you rule out that the White House or anyone in the Trump administration gave Chairman Nunes that information?


REPORTER: Would you rule out that the White House or anyone in the Trump administration gave Chairman Nunes that information?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know what he actually briefed the president on, but I don't know why he would come up to brief the president on something that we gave him.

REPORTER: That's why it was confusing to many of us.

SPICER: Right. I don't know that that makes sense. I did not sit in on that briefing. I'm not -- it just doesn't -- so I don't know why he would travel -- brief the speaker, then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. It doesn't really seem to make a ton of sense.

So, I'm not aware of it, but it doesn't really pass the smell test.


COOPER: Well, yes, there was a certain aroma to it, but it was quite real. As we learn the just a few days later, that is what happened. Here's the headline: Nunes admits meeting with source of Trump's

surveillance documents on White House grounds. Simply put, it seems like a setup. He was play acting. There was no dramatic discovery that he had to take to the White House. The White House gave him the information that he then said he had to rush to the White House to deliver. Now, it might seem odd, but it actually happened, carried out by the head of the committee.

Devin Nunes, who tonight is delivering an extremely favorable report regarding the Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

More now on the decision to end the probe and what's in the GOP report. For that, we go to CNN's Manu Raju.

So, what do we know about, first of all, what's going to be in this report?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this is 150-page classified report that Republicans have drafted. They plan to present to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow. Now, they have released one page synopsis laying out some bullet points and they also had some briefings with reporters. I spoke with Mike Conaway, the Republican running the investigation.

And the upshot is this. They do believe that Russians did meddle in the elections.

[20:05:02] But they believe that the evidence does not support what the intelligence community found in January of 2017, that the Russians tried to help Trump become president. And they say that there was no collusion between Trump associates and the Russians. And when I asked Mike Conaway about that, he said that any contacts that occurred between Russian officials and Trump officials were essentially inadvertent, at least inadvertent on the aspect from the Trump campaign side. They said they investigated all the key meetings that took -- that came about as part of their investigation, including that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Russian officials in which Donald Trump Jr. was initially promised dirt from the Russians.

But Conaway said that there was nothing to that meeting. The person who set up that meeting, a concert promoter, someone who Conaway said was an exaggerator. They do not believe that showed any evidence of collusion. So, suffice to say, Anderson, this report is going to be -- should be sharply contradicted by Democrats, but Republicans believe they've essentially found no collusion.

And key point tonight, Anderson, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told me tonight he also has seen no evidence yet of collusion and he does not believe there is evidence he has seen so far to establish that intelligence community eave assessment from January 2017 that the Russians tried to help Trump, a sign this investigation on both the house and Senate side very well could be breaking down on party lines, Anderson.

COOPER: And what about the Democrats on the committee? What are they saying tonight?

RAJU: Well, they feel blindsided by this. Adam Schiff, the Democrat -- top Democrat on the committee, had actually not even spoken with Mike Conaway today as news -- we were reporting this afternoon that they plan to end this investigation. They have not seen this report, but not surprisingly, Schiff reacting rather strongly to this decision to end the investigation. He says the history is going to judge the Republicans very harshly for their decision to essentially cede oversight on this key issue.

So, they decided not to investigate a number of key matters that are central to this investigation, refusing to issue subpoenas, to go after -- get more information from people from Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, as well as Steve Bannon, who now Conaway said that he will not hold in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions, also not getting information from people like Donald Trump Jr. who said some of his conversations were protected by attorney-client privilege.

And, Anderson, I did ask Mike Conaway, why are you not issuing subpoenas for some of these key documents as the Democrats have demanded? He said this, he said, you can use subpoenas when you think you can actually get something from them. We're not too confident that the subpoena process would actually get us more information than we already have.

So, Republicans are content with the information they have. Democrats got a lot information that they have not yet explored as part of this probe, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks very much.

Joining us is Congressman Chris Stewart, a Republican who's on the committee.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

So, the initial findings said that the committee has found, quote, no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Do you stand 100 percent behind that assertion?

REP. CHRIS STEWART (R-UT), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Absolutely, 100 percent and it's very clear. And, by the way, it's not just this committee that's drawn that conclusion. As Manu said, the senior Democrat or Republican on the Senate side says the same thing. So does Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate committee. So did Director Clapper.

I mean I would invite anyone, tell me the strongest piece of evidence that you have that supports the theory of collusion because, Anderson, there just isn't. And we've been looking at this for going on 15 months now.

COOPER: Let me ask, the committee, as Manu pointed out, didn't interview Paul Manafort, didn't interview Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, didn't subpoena bank records, Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump Jr. They refused to answer a number of the committee's questions.

Given that, how is the investigation complete? How should the American people have confidence that it's complete?

STEWART: There's two groups of people there. The first four individuals that you talked about are under indictment by the special counsel. We cannot interview them now.

COOPER: Right.

STEWART: We will allow the special counsel to continue with his investigation. So, anyone who brings up those four people either doesn't understand the process or isn't being honest about it.

The other individuals you mentioned, many of them have come before the committee more than once. Hope Hicks was with our committee for something like eight or nine hours. I heard the same question asked again and again and again with the same answer given again and again and again. We just at some point come to the conclusion there's just not much more to learn here.

COOPER: Didn't a lot of their answers essentially say, I'm not going to answer that question?

STEWART: No, not at all.

COOPER: A lot of them seemed to claim some sort of, you know, some sort of right not to answer questions based on presidential privilege.

STEWART: Sure. There was actually one individual, and that's Mr. Bannon, who I disagree with and was frustrated and angry with at the time, and expressed that anger and frustration.

[20:10:04] He took a very generous interpretation of executive privilege or some right to protect himself which we didn't agree with, and we forced him to come back.

Mr. Lewandoski, for example, he came back over two questions, and it wasn't that he refused to answer them in the initial nine-hour interview. He just said I want to be careful. I want to prepare to answer that question and he came back and answered those questions.

So, I think the narrative and the story that these witnesses weren't willing to work with us is just not true as I said. Many of them were there for a long, long day and answered the questions we asked them.

COOPER: There were a number of witnesses which Democrats on the committee wanted subpoenas to be issued against that Republicans declined, is that correct?

STEWART: Yes, there are some. But, Anderson, look, this is important. They gave us a list of, I think, 83 witnesses. Some of them are Russians. One of them for heaven's sakes has passed away. He's no longer living. There's no way in the world those Russians are going to come talk to

our committee. So, therefore, do we not issue a report until we talk to them? In that case, we'll never issue a report.

We feel a responsibility to tell the American people what we've learned and there's two things I would say on this. We're coming up on the next election. Let's tell them our initial conclusions. Let's let them see what we've learned.

And the second point is this: if there's more evidence that comes forward, we will pursue that. If there's something dramatic that comes forward, we're not going to turn a blind eye to that. But this is just an initial report to tell the people what we know at this point.

COOPER: So, the former DNI director who you just referenced and who put together the U.S. intelligence community's report on this was asked if there's any chance that the Russians' goal was to sow discord but not necessarily help then candidate Trump. I just want to play what he had to say about that.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DNI DIRECTOR: No, I don't agree. I think their objectives evolved over time, and certainly to start with, they were interested in sowing as much doubt and discord as they possibly could. And because of -- starting with personal animus that President Putin had for Hillary Clinton, they wanted to do everything they could do hurt her. Then when things got serious with then-candidate Trump -- particularly when he became the nominee -- they were attracted to him because they thought that he would be much better for them.


COOPER: Clapper two hours ago saying your committee's findings are wrong and that the current Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which President Trump appointed the head of it, is also standing by that 2017 assessment.

So, what did the Republicans on the intelligence committee see that the FBI, the CIA, and the DNI missed?

STEWART: Yes, you know, I agree and then I disagree with the former DNI. I agree they initially were trying to sow discord to break down the foundations of trust. No question about that.

But I have done something now that he has not done, and that is I have spent a couple days out to the CIA actually reading the raw intelligence, actually reading what we were basing this on. And when we release that report, we're going to be able to show, you know what? The CIA just got it wrong, just like they did by the way in the Gulf War where they said there was weapons of mass destruction that we didn't find.

The CIA is not perfect. They often or at least from time to time will make mistakes, as do I, as do you, as do any agency. We're just going to have to show people they were wrong on this. They just misinterpreted some very key intelligence and drew the wrong conclusions.

That's actually a separate topic, and I look forward to talking about that, because we'll be able to release some of that information to the American people.

COOPER: But isn't that, then a -- aren't we talking about the entire intelligence community having come to this conclusion? If what you're saying is true, that is a massive failure of U.S. intelligence.

STEWART: Well, there's this one thing that's often said, at least it was said initially. All 17 agencies in the I.C. have concluded and that wasn't true at all. It was the CIA, the FBI, and then by extension the DNI. Those are the only ones who draw this conclusion.

And director of NSA said, I agree with it, but not with the same type of high degree of confidence. But once again, some of those individuals -- many of those individuals haven't had access to the raw intelligence like those of us on the committee have. And all we can do, Anderson, is go look at it and then try to report on our conclusions to it and try to do it in a fair manner.

COOPER: So, you're saying people at the CIA didn't have access to CIA raw intelligence or FBI?

STEWART: No, I'm saying that some of the other individuals who have, as Director Clapper did earlier, said that's not my conclusion, but I don't believer that he's gone out and looked at the raw intelligence like some of us on the committee have.

COOPER: As head of DNI, would he not have had access to that intelligence?

STEWART: He certainly would have. It's just the fact if he took the sometime to go to it.

COOPER: The fact that the Republican chairman of the committee, Chairman Devin Nunes went to the White House to give them information the White House had provided to them and sort of seemed to try to cover it up or explain it away, why should people have confidence in these findings? It does seem a very polarized -- I mean, this is traditionally a committee which could be relied upon for bipartisanship. You're handling the most sensitive information.


COOPER: It does seem to have been hopelessly divided really from the get-go.

STEWART: It has been very disappointing for many of us on the committee who enjoyed the bipartisan atmosphere of that committee previous to this. We would like to recapture some of that.

I have to tell you I don't agree with your characterization of those events. I'll let Devin Nunes speak to that. He's capable of doing that.

But I don't believe that -- again, I don't agree necessarily with the way you've described it or characterized it, but let me make another point if I could. You're saying, well, Devin Nunes did something we find kind of unusual or we can't understand. Therefore, the committee and the work of the committee is irrelevant or biased or somehow flawed.

You know, that would be like me saying that some of the things that, look, I could go down a long list of things that the ranking member Mr. Schiff has said that turned out not to be true, or things that he's done. For example, when he was kind joked by a Ukrainian radio station to thinking he was talking to investigators and trying to set up meetings with them. I therefore don't say, well, everything he says then is irrelevant or inaccurate or wrong. I think that would be unfair.

You have to look at this in its totality. If you are disagreeing with Chairman Nunes on some action he took, to be fair, look at this in its totality. By the way, wait until you see the report. Wait until you see our conclusions.

I think once you do, you're going to say this seems reasonable. It doesn't seem partisan. We tried very, very hard not to be partisan. We tried very hard not to accuse people. We tried very hard to provide positive recommendations for how we can avoid this in the future.

COOPER: Just for the record, at the beginning of the interview you quoted Senator Dianne Feinstein as saying there was no collusion. To be clear, she was asked months ago if she'd seen any evidence of and she said not so far.

STEWART: That's right. And if she has anything between now and then, please bring it towards our committee because she certainly has not done that.

COOPER: Congressman Stewart, appreciate your time. Thank you.

STEWART: Thank you, sir.

COOPER: Coming up next, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee joins us for his perspective.

And later, the man who said he would cooperate with the Robert Mueller grand jury then changed his mind. Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg joins us with his thoughts on what the special counsel has and on whom.


[20:20:47] COOPER: Tonight's breaking news, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee pulling the plug on their piece of the Russia investigation, finding no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion and taking issue with the intelligence community's assessment reaffirmed just tonight that Vladimir Putin was trying to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump in the 2016 campaign.

Now, before the break, we heard from a Republican on the Intelligence Committee. Right now, Democratic member Joaquin Castro.

Thanks so much for being with us.

Do you agree, Congressman Castro, with the House Republicans that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I strongly disagree. And, you know, Anderson, this is a real betrayal of the American people and of the public trust for Republicans to close the investigation this way.

COOPER: Have you seen any evidence to suggest there was collusion?

CASTRO: Absolutely. Let me just start with one fact. Roger Stone knowing ahead of time that WikiLeaks would dump e-mails belonging to Hillary Clinton. That's one example.

The meetings that were attempted, the e-mail communications with groups like WikiLeaks, the meeting in June of 2016 between Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., others, Paul Manafort and the Russian operatives -- that's the private stuff that happened that the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign denied until they were caught red-handed.

And then you look at the public statements that were made because Donald Trump cannot wash his public -- cannot wash his activity just by making it public. He actively invited Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton's e-mail system. If that piece of information had been found buried somewhere in an e-mail, that would have been the smoking gun. But because he did it in public, somehow that's supposed to clean it up. It absolutely doesn't.

COOPER: You know, I just talked to obviously a Republican member of the committee who's saying, look, we asked all the questions we wanted to ask and, you know, of Steve Bannon and Hope Hicks and Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump Jr., sure, Steve Bannon, you know, this member wasn't happy with Steve Bannon's refusal to answer some of the questions.

But, you know, Congressman Stewart was saying essentially there was no need to subpoena people. Some people came back for a second interview, and we got the answers we need. Is that true?

CASTRO: And I respect my colleague Congressman Stewart, but I wholeheartedly disagree. This was a take their word for it investigation that simply went through the motions. This was like bringing in a suspect that you suspect of arson or something else, asking them, did you start the fire? They say, I didn't start any fire. And you say, oh, great. Go ahead and go home.

That's what this was.

COOPER: The other thing that Congressman Stewart says is that the U.S. intelligence assessment from the CIA, FBI, and the DNI, that Russian interference in the election was an effort from Putin to help Trump win the election is just flat out wrong.

Congressman Stewart says, look, I went to CIA. I read the raw intelligence, and the CIA just got it wrong. What did they know that the U.S. intelligence community apparently doesn't?

CASTRO: Well, of course, some of that is still classified. But I can say I heard the bit by former DNI Clapper, and I agree that it started off as a campaign to create chaos and to really pour acid on every wound in American politics, to divide people. But I think that as it became clearer that Donald Trump actually had a chance to win, then you saw more efforts for Russians to intervene and actually be helpful. Part of that was dumping Hillary Clinton's e-mails, John Podesta's e-mails -- I should say the Clinton campaign e-mails.

COOPER: Do you believe -- I mean have you had a chance to read the raw intelligence at the CIA? Do you believe the CIA got it wrong, the FBI got it wrong, the DNI got it wrong?

CASTRO: No, I believe our intelligence agencies. I think they got it right. I have had a chance to visit the CIA headquarters as Congressman Stewart said he had as well.

COOPER: Were Democrats on the committee consulted at all about this? The Republicans had finished their report and that the investigation was done?

CASTRO: No. And I've heard that Adam Schiff, our ranking member, he would have been contacted first. I've heard he was not told, and I certainly have not heard anything.

COOPER: So, are Democrats going to issue their own report? And, if so, you know, when can we expect it?

CASTRO: I can't speak, of course, officially for the Democratic members, but my vote is that we issue our own report, and I think that -- I suspect that everybody will agree with that.

[20:25:05] COOPER: Just moving forward, why should anybody have confidence in this House Intelligence Committee moving forward? I mean, whether it's related to Russian collusion or the lack of it or, you know, the next thing that's investigated?

CASTRO: You know, given everything that's happened, that's a fair and also a very sad question that has to be asked. This is a committee that had worked in a very bipartisan way. I'm on two committees in the Congress. I'm on the Intelligence Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee, and I've been very blessed that those two committees are not two of the more acrimonious committees.

And in terms of where we go from here, there's -- you know, besides the Russia investigation, there's a lot of other work within the intelligence realm, and I can only hope that we'll be able to work in the traditionally bipartisan way on those issues.

COOPER: All right. Congressman Castro, appreciate your time. Thank you.

CASTRO: Thank you.

COOPER: Joining me now, Ryan Lizza, Phil Mudd, and Gloria Borger.

Phil, I heard you earlier describing what you would do with this or what value you think this piece of paper had. Explain what you think of the Republican closing the committee essentially.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Look it, we have a responsibility when we look to our Congress, whether they're Democrats or Republicans. They're looking at the same issue that Mueller is looking at, looking in the past and saying whether someone did something wrong.

How many times in the past two hours since this story broke, Anderson, have we heard conversations about the primary responsibility of the congressman you just spoke with in the last 10 minutes? That responsibility, I can capture in one sentence. What are you doing to ensure that we're safe in the next election?

They're legislating the exact same thing that Robert Mueller is doing with one significant difference. They acknowledge, including the Republican congressman you just spoke with, that they can't speak to some witnesses. You mean to tell me an investigation you're saying you're closed, but you can't speak to some of the primary witnesses because they're under indictment?

That's absolutely correct, but tell me how you close the investigation and tell me you're convinced nothing happened?

Second, did they ever say what forensic capability they have like what the FBI has under Director Mueller to look at money transactions, texts, phone, and e-mail over the past years? Did anybody ever say they did an exhaustive investigation of that, interviewing people, looking at things like electrons on finances and texts?

This is a sham. The American people should be ashamed for paying for this, and these guys -- and I include Democrats and Republicans are frauds.

Adam Schiff spent too much time talking to CNN, and his counterpart, Devin Nunes, spent too much talking to the White House.

I want to hear the answer to one question. What are you going to do to protect us next time? Instead, they piss all over each other. That's it, Anderson.

COOPER: Ryan, I mean, it is pretty extraordinary, essentially the Republicans saying the intelligence community got it wrong. The CIA, the FBI, DNI, all wrong.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And, look, the burden is going to be on that Republican report to prove what's -- I mean, just anyone watching what's in the public domain over the last few years. The burden is going to be on them to prove that what we have seen is not true.

I mean just look at what we know without knowing anything that's classified. We know that Vladimir Putin developed antipathy for Hillary Clinton after the parliamentary elections in Russia when she said there was fraud committed, right? That's in the public record. We know that the social media campaign in 2015 and '16 was targeted against Hillary. We know that the Russians were involved in the RNC servers as well as the DNC servers, but they only hacked and leaked DNC material that damaged Hillary Clinton, right?

We know a series of facts showing publicly -- you don't have to know any private intelligence, any classified intelligence to know what the relationship -- what Putin thought about this campaign. I interviewed last year -- I was in Europe and interviewed a former Russian broadcaster who worked for state TV and sort of had essentially defected and talked about how he was personally told by his superiors to cover the American campaign. That was the public state TV, to cover Hillary negatively and Trump positively. He told me that they had a saying among the Russian elite. Donald Trump is our president.

So, this is going to be a very high burden on the Republicans who write this report to show us that the evidence before our eyes is not what we think it is.

COOPER: I mean, Gloria, I mean, the House Intelligence Committee, they've been incredibly partisan for the last year. If Mueller comes out with a report essentially saying something completely different, it's not going to look good for the Republican who's have issued this report saying the I.C. was wrong.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it's not. But this is a political document. What they're doing is they're giving Donald Trump cover. That's what Devin Nunes has been doing when he rushed to say and attack the FBI and the Justice Department in the way they had handled this investigation. So, that's -- you know, that's the way it's gone all along.

And now, you have a committee which it's kind of stunning, which is winding up with a position that is closer to the Kremlin than it is to U.S. intelligence services because --


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: -- so that's -- you know, that's the way it gone all along. And now you have a committee which is kind of stunning, which is winding up with a position that is closer to the Kremlin than it is to U.S. Intelligence Services. Because U.S. Intelligence Services have said, Russia meddled and Putin ordered it, and it was help Trump.

And what this committee is saying Russia meddles but it wasn't to help Donald Trump. So this gives Donald Trump a big boost, is as if it came from his Twitter feed. And now, you know, the Democrats are -- you know, Phil is right, the Democrats are going to issue another partisan report, Congress ought to be in the business of explaining to the American public what has happened. They have not done that. And was -- as with done during Iran-Contra for example. And instead now, everybody is going to have to look to Bob Mueller and suddenly, he becomes even more important because he becomes the great adjudicator here. And it's a -- you know, it's a very difficult position, but now Trump has more than a convenient talking point.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we're going to continue this conversation, have to quick break. Also later, breaking news from Austin, Texas, police say a string of package bombs maybe link to went off just today two people are dead, two injured. The questions whether the victims were targeted by race. The latest when we continue.


COOPER: More now on the breaking news, the House Intelligence Committee's white house friendly conclusion, the Russia probe including something the President never tires of talking about saying at every chance he get sometimes again and again. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: There has been no collusion.

No collusion.

[20:35:03] They all say there's no collusion. And there is no collusion. I can only say this, there was absolutely no collusion. It has been determined that there has no collusion. When they have no collusion and nobody has found any collusion.


COOPER: Back now with the panel. Phil, you know, we heard from Congressman Stewart, he said look, he went over to CIA, looked at the wrong intelligence and they got it wrong and just as -- as the intelligence committee got WMD and Iraq wrong. And does that -- I mean is -- is it probable that in the amount of time he had to read the wrong intelligence, that he got -- he gleans something that the CIA itself missed and the FBI and the DNI?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORIST ANALYST: Well, I got a question about him advising us that what he saw was erroneous intelligence. What the American people deserve is one single document. Like what we got after the debacle on WMD, like what we got after 9/11. If there are differences of opinion about whether the CIA was accurate in those differences are between Democrats and Republicans, surprisingly the Republicans say the CIA got it wrong and the Democrats say the CIA got it right. What we deserve is a single of piece of paper that says, here's why we have a difference of opinion over the intelligence.

Why do you think a Republican congressman who wants to support the President says, the CIA analyst who've been watching this for years are wrong and me, as someone who's never looked at intelligence in this way, the way a CIA analyst has look at it -- that I'm right. Why do you think he says that? I think what we deserve is a single document from Republicans, Democrats it lays out, why do you have differences of opinion. Get off TV, seat down in a conference room and write it together and give it to us. That's what we deserve.

COOPER: But it's also interesting -- I mean Ryan that that, you know, the head of the DNI now who is appointed by the President stands by the IC report from 2017.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely, that report came out of January. And no senior member of the intelligence committee has disputed it. I mean it just defies what we know. Does anyone in their right mind think that Donald Trump -- excuse me, think that Putin did not favor Trump over Hillary? I mean, which just in Russia's national interest of favor Putin over Hillary. We know that from just what their different positions were on the major issues. One was anti NATO, one was anti sanctions and the other wasn't. So -- I mean they have to declassify this report. We only have the unclassified version, if the American people are actually going to understand this issue, they have to put out a fully declassified version of the raw intelligence that the led the intelligence community to make this assessment. That's the only way the public is actually going to have confidence that what Republicans on this committee are saying is true.

COOPER: It's also interesting Gloria, you know, that they say, you know, whether they interview Donald Trump Jr. but he refuse to answer a whole host of questions --


COOPER: -- deciding this kind of interesting idea of privilege, that because he was talking to his father and there was some lawyers in the room that the entire thing is, you know, attorney-client privilege which is start of a new form of privilege and most legal expert say that that's not really the case. And it's not clear to me that they really ain't -- they didn't get answers from him about that Trump power meeting and they said it was unwise in this report. I think that's the word they used or will advise. But the idea that, you know, I'm not sure that they were able to submit a documents, be able to get all of the e-mails, the e-mails from all the people from Manafort, from Kushner, everybody who attended that meeting.

BORGER: Well -- and what we don't know Anderson is if they wanted to whether Bob Mueller would have said, you know, leave that to me, I don't want you to do that, because I'm doing that. But we know from reading what we're reading, that it doesn't seem like they were particularly interested in pursuing bank records and pursuing this kind of subpoenas from the most important witnesses. I think what this involves around, is this sort of conspiracy about the deep state getting it wrong, because what the deep state really wants to do, and by the deep state I guess, it's the FBI and the Justice Department or as Devin Nunes might say is they wanted to delegitimize the election of Donald Trump.

And if the conclusion were to say that Putin had put his thumb on the scale, on the side of Donald Trump, then, Donald Trump would be upset because that would mean that in some way shape or form, he was aided and his election wasn't legitimate. So the only conclusion I think that you draw if you're a Trump supporter is that of course all of the intelligence communities were wrong and Moscow is right.

COOPER: All right, Ryan Lizza, Phil Mudd, Gloria Borger, thanks very much. The former Trump campaign aide who spent hours on cable television last week saying he would not fully comply with the subpoena to testify before grant jury, called the special counsel Robert Mueller, did testify. Sam Nunberg joins me next.


[20:43:12] COOPER: Sam Nunberg is a former aide with the Trump Presidential campaign. He go today, he was on number of cable news broadcast saying he would not fully comply with the grand jury subpoena, the Mueller investigation. Last Friday Nunberg spends several hours inside the District of Columbia Federal Court House with the grand jury. Sam Nunberg joins me now.

Thanks so much for being with us.


COOPER: I want to get first to -- I want get your grand jury appearance.


COOPER: I just want to ask you about the committee shutting down its investigation along party's line. You have said that President Trump should agree to be interviewed by the special counsel. Do you think now this will allow him to either not appear before Mueller or saying essential -- this committee has already rule?

NUNBERG: No. Because -- because it's a -- its two different issues. The committee is investigating. They can do whatever they want in the House, they can do whatever they want in the Senate. But this independent counsel is not going to shut down any time soon unless they have certain answers that they get from the President.

COOPER: Do you think the President might use this as a reason to fire Mueller?

NUNBERG: The President should not fire Mueller, it would be catastrophic at this point.

COOPER: You think he should testify in front of Mueller?

NUNBERG: I -- well not testify. He should meet with Mueller, and they should have -- and I don't think Robert Mueller frankly would be -- the one questioning him but that's a separate issue.

COOPER: Right.

NUNBERG: But if they could come to an agreement, I think would be advantages for everyone, because that way can expedite this process. Do you -- in terms of the -- of the -- the grand jury testimony --


COOPER: -- there's obviously a lot of stuff you can't discuss. Can I ask you just --


COOPER: -- in general what officials asked you about? The general topics?

NUNBERG: What I could say is, I can't talk about it. I don't even feel comfortable at the topics Anderson.


NUNBERG: Because I would be undermining what the government is presenting to the grand jury.

COOPER: Right.

NUNBERG: I can talk about what was -- in my voluntary interview sort of topics (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Right.

NUNBERG: I mean, I think it's pretty obvious that they're asking me about Roger Stone and Julian Assange.

COOPER: Right.

NUNBERG: I think that that's -- you know, that's --

COOPER: Not Michael Cohen, Steve Bannon?

[20:45:03] NUNBERG: They've asked me -- you know, none of the grand jury frankly -- and I really should get into this, but they certainly have a lot of question in -- you know, about my time. Because even though I was barely on the campaign, I was with Mr. Trump, then Mr. Trump now the President for around four years. And I was around even though I was so through that summer, I was around New York and, you know, I could hear certain things that I have a connection with Roger. So --

COOPER: You said in another interview that they asked you about Michael Cohen but you didn't answer, was it because of attorney client privilege? Because you're a lawyer and he's a lawyer.

NUNBERG: Right, there are some things that I feel that I can't necessarily answer about things that I've heard around the office. If it involves the President and involves Michael. Because we're both lawyers. And therefore, you know, it would bring privilege. If it involves something in terms of strategy for instance they -- they -- they what, this is a question they asked me I volunteer interview. Did the President ever take a position that he directly told you because of his business interest and the answer is no. It's absolutely not, never came up.

COOPER: Do you believe that Michael Cohen could be in legal trouble with the Mueller probe based on the totality of whether there's a grand jury or your voluntary interview?

NUNBERG: Not based -- the grand -- my grand jury.


NUNBERG: Or my voluntary interview at all. But just based on recent developments that we're hearing now with this payment --

COOPER: Right, this payment.

NUNBERG: -- alleged payments to Stormy Daniels. I hear you know her. And --

COOPER: I've met.

NUNBERG: -- I've met. And I think that there is a lot of issues that they could be looking into in terms of, you know, financial things, things like that. But I don't know anything about it. I only know once again when I read. What I would tell you is that Michael is extremely loyal to the President and Michael works very hard for the President. And I think he has an attorney-client privilege relationship, but we'll find out.

COOPER: As for Roger Stone, you've been very obviously publicly support him.


COOPER: You called them your mentor. Do you think he's a witness in this investigation or a target?

NUNBERG: He certainly -- so that there's a distinctive between subject and target.

COOPER: Right.

NUNBERG: At the very least he's a subject. I think that's pretty obvious. And look a lot of times when you ask me what questions did they ask in the grand jury, which I won't talk about but viewers can understand what they're asking if you watch the hearings, because they're kind of similar to the questions and they ask in committee hearings in the Congress.

COOPER: So the difference between the -- I'm just curious --


COOPER: -- on a personal level, because it sort you're one of the few people who sort of done them both and its fascinating.

NUNBERG: Sure. COOPER: The difference between sitting in front of -- for the voluntary interview and sitting in grand jury, what's it like just in terms of -- I mean the length the time, they have a lot more time during the voluntary thing.

NUNBERG: Correct.

COOPER: Some people have said it's almost like they've got a checklist, the stuff they're going through --


COOPER: -- checking of boxes.

NUNBERG: Well, first of all two things. So first all, in the grand jury they only meet I believe two times a week. So they have to get as much information in front of that grand jury. And I will tell you to the extent what -- to the extent, I looked at the grand jury because mostly facing the lawyer who was questioning me, these people are taking notes, they're taking it extremely --


NUNBERG: -- very, very attentive.

COOPER: I testified from the grand jury for in a stalker case.


COOPER: And there were people reading the newspaper here. You didn't see that.

NUNBERG: Not at all, no. They were looking at all the exhibits that were presented. For me, the voluntary interview was harder.

COOPER: Because they have more time.

NUNBERG: Not because they have more time, because you walk in and I think that this is just what they do all the time is the first let's say 75 minutes, 60 minutes whatever it is, they go at you rapidly and they want to test whether or not you are going to be truthful. And they're really, really asking all these types of questions that for some of them are pretty hard for me to recall.

COOPER: But some of them -- but that they probably already knew the answer to.

NUNBERG: Exactly. They do know the answer. And as one point they did tell me. Because there was one question where they asked me a couple of times and I said, well thank you for asking that again, because now I recall. And they said Mr. Nunberg, we know these answer. So once again, compared that to the grand jury where -- wherever they're asking me, is -- they're just trying to get this information and a straight facts. But one of the reasons I would say that this was not a witch hunt for my participation was Anderson they never asked me in the grand jury, here's what I can say, what is your opinion, what do you think?

COOPER: They just want facts.


NUNBERG: From what I know directly.

COOPER: So you don't believe that this a witch hunt against the President?

NUNBERG: I don't believe it's a witch hunt against the President, because I don't believe Rosenstein had any choice once they used the Rosenstein memo as a rationale to fire Comey which is fine by May. I think the President couldn't got away with the Lester Holt interview where he says it had to do with Russia, but then, and he was so ill served by his staffed, he had the Russians in the Oval Office. What was he -- what was -- what was Rosenstein suppose to do?

COOPER: Why did you -- I mean obviously every attorney last week was saying, look you have to appear before the grand jury and you said you weren't going to. Why did you decide to?

NUNBERG: So that was something nobody figured out. I can tell you this. I got two subpoenas. I was always going to appear in front of the grand jury. The issue was, was whether or not I had to go through and go through this (INAUDIBLE) onerous process which by the way was very emotional for me, because this is emotional the way I left he campaign. That spend all this time on this. My (INAUDIBLE) I have -- you know, other I have clients, I have things I have to do. So I think that was the issue there. But at the end, I to the best of my abilities I fully cooperated.

[20:50:04] COOPER: Are you glad you did?

NUNBERG: Yes, I'm glad I did. Look, I always intended once again to show up to the grand jury. I went through and I tried to get all the documents they wanted as quickly as I could. And frankly by the way Anderson, it wasn't as onerous as I thought it was going to be.

COOPER: Sam Nunberg, appreciate your time.

NUNBERG: Anderson, thank you.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

Coming up, breaking news tonight, another death and another injury after two new package explosions in Austin, Texas. Say what police are saying about whether they're connected. Next.


COOPER: It's breaking news tonight. One dead, another badly injured in two separate explosions that rocked the Texas capital, Austin. Police say the blast seemed to be linked to another deadly explosion that happened just 10 days ago. Our Nick Watt joins us now from Austin. So what do we know about these explosions? NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, let's start with today. So, early this morning, shortly before 6:45 in the morning, a young African-American male, a 17-year-old high school student, saw a package on the front porch of his house. He, as you would, went out, brought it into the house. In the kitchen, he opened it. It exploded, killing him almost instantly and injuring a woman in her 40s who was in the kitchen at the same time. She is suspected -- she will be OK. She is expected to be okay and survive. But here's where it gets more sinister. Ten days ago, just a little bit further north, about 10 or 11 miles further north, a 39-year-old African-American man also saw a package on the front porch of his house. He picked it up, opened it. It exploded. He survived the initial impact, but he died within the hour.

[20:55:16] Now, today not long after the police were telling us about these incidents and telling us that they believed they were related, there was a third attack on the street behind me. A 75-year-old Hispanic woman picked up a package on her porch. It also exploded. She is in stable but critical condition right now. Anderson?

COOPER: Have police said anything about who they think is behind this?

WATT: Well, they stress this is very, very early in the investigation. But because those first two homes targeted both belonged to African-Americans, the police chief today said -- and I quote -- he said, "We cannot rule out that hate is at the core of this." But, again he stressed we are in the very, very early stages of this investigation.

The FBI is now on the scene. The ATF is on the scene. They are trying to figure out very quickly who might be behind this before another attack happens obviously. Now, listen to what that chief of police had to say about who they think they might be looking for.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an individual that has the ability to construct these bombs and to have them successfully detonate and cause what we've seen so far, serious injury and loss of life. So we are not calling it a serial bomber, but we have a pattern of instances that have occurred in the community that we're very concerned about and that we have brought all of the resources possible to bear. What the community, number one, we want them to be vigilant, but we also want them to understand that there is no stone that will be left unturned.


WATT: Now, they stress be vigilant. That is not a time for panic, they say this is just a time for vigilance. The south by southwest festival is on right now. They do not believe that is connected. These were all delivered to residential homes. So vigilance, Anderson, not panic just yet.

COOPER: Appreciate that Nick Watt, thank you very much. A busy Monday night. So stay with us. More on the House Intelligence Committee wrapping up its investigation of all things Russia without consulting democrats. Details ahead.