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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Judge Orders Government to Turn Over Material to Cohen's Legal Team; Trump Lawyer Cohen Reveals His Secret Client Sean Hannity; President Trump Lashes Out Again at "Slimeball" Comey; Comey Defends Handling of Clinton Email Investigation; WH Walks Back Russian Sanctions Announcement. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 16, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:24] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What happened tonight, a lot of it taking place right here in New York. Earlier today, Michael Cohen in court, the President's attorney shows up for hearing over material seized by the FBI also in attendance, Stormy Daniels.
Mystery client revealed when force to give up the name of Michael Cohen third mystery client, lo and behold, it's Sean Hannity.
And Russia about-face, Nikki Haley said new Russia sanctions would be announced today. They had not been was to hold up, importantly, the President. We begin with that hearing in New York, Brynn Gingras joins us now with latest. So talk about the judges ruling today Brynn?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Anderson, the judge basically gave every party a little bit of what they wanted without making a final ruling about those documents that received in the FBI raid of Michael Cohen's home and his office and his hotel room.
Essentially, the U.S. attorney's office is now going to filter through those documents has to hand them over to Michael Cohen's attorneys and that they are told by the judge to go through them, figure out the volume of how much is protected by attorney-client privilege and then report back. They're also allowed to sit through them and give some of those documents to the Trump organization those that pertain to him.
And then also the U.S. Attorney's Office, again, it can go through the documents as well to figure out how much is they believe is protected by attorney-client privilege and then all the parties are going to reconvene and that's when then judge is expected to make another ruling, the final ruling, hopefully, in this matter. Anderson.
COOPER: And talk about how it came about to Michael Cohen's lawyers were forced to name Sean Hannity as his client?
GINGRAS: Yes, you know, that was really dramatic fashion inside the courtroom, Anderson. We know the judge asked Michael Cohen's attorney to give names of his client. Then we know Trump was one those name and RNC donor was another but then there was this unnamed person and it's not like Sean Hannity's name just came out, you know, out in the open quickly.
Cohen's attorney is really thought and not named him saying that it was embarrassing for this person that there was attorney client privilege that his name shouldn't be revealed even offered to give the judge a letter that was sealed in order to keep his name confidential. So they took a lot of, you know, concerns for Sean Hannity's name before the judge finally said you have to say the name in public and that's how his name came about, of course, Sean Hannity said he only, you know, counted on Michael Cohen for legal advise was never actually a client of Cohen but it certainly bags a lot of question that why so much concern with revealing his name in court today.
COOPER: And based on the judge heard decision today and the ruling that she's going to make about whether or not or how all this information is going to be looked at. How will the investigation move forward?
GINGRAS: Yes and that's the thing. That's where -- there is a lot of a win for the Cohen's attorney, you know, the whole time the U.S. attorney's office has been saying that these orders, these motions that the attorneys have been filing, they have all been stalled tactics for this major criminal investigation, right?
And that where Cohen's attorney is kind of had a little bit of an edge here because it is going to take a while for the U.S. attorney to sift through documents as go and sneak a while for Cohen's attorney to sift the documents as well. And throughout this entire time before the judge makes her final ruling, the investigation cannot continue. Investigators can't look at those seized documents from the FBI raid a week ago. So, it certainly going to stall it a bit but we'll have to see how it plays forward once they all came back to court so that's next hearing.
COOPER: Brynn Gingras, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Joining me now to help sort through all this is former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, along with Jeffrey Toobin and Carrie Cordero.
First of all, I mean, the investigation can go forward, they just can't use these documents that they seized from the raid, correct?
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So the documents that have been seized they cannot go to take from that search for a period of time until this is all figured out by the judge. But presumably, from the information we have, there's been investigations has been going on for period of time.
COOPER: But they got access to his e-mails?
BHARARA: For months, according to representations made in court. They have been investigating Michael Cohen for months. And there are all sorts of other things they can do, they can continue to interview other witnesses, they can issue subpoenas with respect to bank documents and other materials. So all of that continues, the only thing they can't do in the immediate future is look at the take from the search.
COOPER: Is this, Jeff, a stalling tactic by Michael Cohen or, I mean, you know, there are real questions about what's attorney/client privilege?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: One of the iron laws of criminal prosecution is the defense always want to lay in the prosecution, always want to move forward quickly. This is a delay, I mean, this is -- it could be a fairly complicated process depending on how many thousand documents there are. Someone --
COOPER: Ten boxes, I think.
TOOBIN: The 10 boxes, I mean, if the judge ultimately, I mean, it might be a special master that is sort of been outside or appointed first. But ultimately, the -- some of these documents are going to have to be ruled on by the judge about whether they're covered by attorney/client privilege.
[21:05:01] I can imagine this takes a few weeks, you know, in the context of a long investigation probably doesn't make that much of a difference but prosecutors always want to get doing fast. When you search some place in particular, that's a very dramatic to step. You want to get at this stuff as quickly as possible. So to the extent there is a delay involved, that's a win for the Cohen team.
COPPER: Carrie, do you see this as a win for the Cohen team?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the fact that there's a little bit of a delay and the fact that if today's reporting is that his team is going to be able to look at some of the documents to actually do their own review and then be able to come back to the judge and try to get some documents taken out as covered by attorney- client privilege then that potentially is some advantage to either him or to his client and in this case the most important one being the president.
Really it's part of this question is going to come down to what his attorney-client relationships are and with respect to the Sean Hannity issue in particular it's really just unclear there is any kind of legal representation there at all. Hannity tweeted today that Michael Cohen never represented me in a matter. And so that indicates to me that there actually is no representation, there is no attorney-client relationship.
TOOBIN: I'm sorry, Hannity also talked on the radio about his relationship with Michael Cohen. And the way he described it is like we short of shoot the breeze about real estate sometimes. That's not an attorney client relationship. There has to be some sort of formal agreement. You don't have to be paid, pro bono can be an attorney violation.
COOPER: Any conversations with the attorney where you're saying hey, you know, I'm thinking about buying a place in Boca. TOOBIN: Yes or even, you know, do you know anything of Florida law? I mean, you know, cocktail party conversations with attorneys are not attorney-client privilege. There has to be some sort of agreement that you are representing this person and from the description that Hannity gave at least on the radio, it sounded like there is no attorney-client relationship which --
COOPER: Although --
TOOBIN: -- which is peculiar. I don't know why Cohen would mention it in that case.
COOPER: Well, what's odd is that Sean Hannity and his multiple descriptions of this, seem to be having it both ways. On the one hand he said, you know, never paid, never billed. Certainly, he certainly never mentioned it on his show, you know, in the multiple times that that Michael Cohen appeared. And yet he said he did think it was confidential?
BHARARA: Yes, he's finding having it both ways because he does not want the nature of his conversations to be revealed but he also wants to make it seem like he does not have much of a relationship with Michael Cohen because given the trouble that Michael Cohen is in is not a great association to have had.
The other thing I wanted to point out was I think going back to the proceeding from today, I think it's largely a win for the government, my old office. Because remember, the reason they did the search was they wanted to have the first crack at making a determination about what is privilege and what is not privilege. So when the judge today decided that there's going to be a process, it will take some period of time and did not allow the defense to say we want the first crack at looking at what should be turned over and what should not be turned over. The government won because you want to make sure that some independent party maybe a special master at some point or the U.S. Attorney's Office is going to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. And that's the most important thing that I think for purposes of thinking about the proceeding today.
COOPER: Was there any chance that the judge would have said, sure you all who represent the President and Michael Cohen, you can determine what's privilege and what's not?
BHARARA: I don't think so.
TOOBIN: That would never --
BHARARA: But that was the initial request.
BHARAR: The initial request was, you know, and the initial criticism with the government was you should have just issued a subpoena and from my perspective as a lawyer and someone who used to run that office, the fact that the first request by the defense was, you know, we want to have the first crack and we'll tell the government what in our mind is privilege and what is not shows you why the government want to seek a search warrant in the first place because the person who should be assessing that should be someone who's not the person who is being searched.
CORDERO: Part of what's getting lost in this I think a little bit Anderson, is that this is not the first time that a federal prosecutor's office, that the southern district of New York I'm sure has been involved in executing a search warrant against an attorney. It's not the most common thing in the world and this is a high profile case but there are procedures for how this happens. Normally there would be a government privilege team in this case because if the judge decides in her discretion that there should be a special master, somebody even more neutral to protect the integrity and protect any kind of perception of bias, then maybe she'll go in that direction. But it's not like it is the first time something like this has ever happened and it's completely novel in legal practice.
COOPER: If the President was to pardon Michael Cohen, obviously that's not a federal charges -- you know, a lot of people are saying that well the state could pick up the case if there is a case against Michael Cohen if it's bank fraud or if it's wire fraud. Is -- are you all confident of that?
TOOBIN: Not a bit. I think this mythology surrounding like the oldest state can just take it over. The federal government has so much more power to prosecute, particularly in New York. I mean the attorney general of New York barely prosecutes any criminal cases at all.
[21:10:11] The idea that this could just totally be picked up by the Eric Schneiderman, who's the attorney general is not because he's doing a bad job, it is just federal prosecutors have resources and laws that are not comparable to the state.
BHARARA: It depends where the crimes are. We have no idea. A lot of things are over which local prosecutors have joint and concurrent jurisdiction with federal prosecutors. So if it's sort of kind of bank fraud, there might be state crime that's could be chargeable, and also a federal crime that could be chargeable. We just don't know.
At this point, you know, I got to tell you, I am not sure exactly what crimes are being examined. The brief that my old office put into court has various sections redacted. And the reduction to me, the most interesting part of the submission because it tells you the kinds of in fractions that they are looking at.
COOPER: And you could read through those?
BHARARA: Well, I looked carefully and I could not read those.
TOOBIN: They gotten better of the black out stuff.
COOPER: Does it surprise you that -- I mean, Jeff, did that Sean Hannity would any point in this -- I think some 16 times that we have counted that Michael Cohen have been on his broadcast since Donald Trump announced ever say -- oh, by the way, I consult with this person.
TOOBIN: By the way, he represents me as well.
BHARARA: No. He does not represent me.
TOOBIN: No. It's -- but I mean, what makes it peculiar and maybe Hannity was not being fully honest, I mean what he described as the relationship was not an attorney/client relationship. I mean, of course, if he really was being represented by Michael Cohen as a matter of journalist ethics, he should have reported it. But the way he described it, it was just like, well, he's sort of friendly with me and we are all friendly with some people we cover. That I am not sure has to be disclosed. But if he did actually represent him as a lawyer, of course, that should have been --
BHARARA: But in a fraud high stakes, big deal proceedings that occurred today in court when there is a weekend to think about it and the judge wanted to know who Michael Cohen's clients were and he only had three. The representative from Michael Cohen certainly thought that he had to name Sean Hannity as a client so there is a disconnect --
TOOBIN: A total disconnect.
COOPER: Thank you very much. Carrie Cordero, Jeff Toobin, and Preet Bharara.
Just ahead more on Hannity's reaction today's revelation and his client Michael Cohen. And later the former FBI Director James Comey says the President is morally unfit for office. Republicans law makers' reaction to that bomb shell interview is coming up.
[21:16:17] COOPER: Sean Hannity is pretty much denied that he's really a client of Cohen after it was revealed in the New York City courtroom today that his -- the opinion the Cohen name a client, he says it was more of a hey can I have legal advise situation. Although, he also says he assumes their conversations are confidential in an attorney/client way.
He also twitted this, "In response to some wild speculation, let me make clear that I did not ask Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf, I have no personal interest in this proceeding, and, in fact, asked that my de minimis discussions with Michael Cohen, which dealt almost exclusively about real estate, not be made a part of this proceeding."
A lot to talk about with the panel. Joining me tonight Ryan Lizza, Robby Mook, Alice Stewart, Mike Shields, and Brian Stelter.
Ryan, do you have any understanding why Michael Cohen basically teed up this whole unveiling of mystery client, which Sean Hannity basically says he wasn't? RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I mean, this is one of those nights where we have a lot more questions than answers because Cohen and his team last week filed -- made a filing where they suggested that it was very, very important that one of their legal clients not be disclosed.
That suggest that they have some conversations with that client that they were perhaps doing it on behalf of that client and then we have this big dramatic unveiling at the judge's insistent in the court today. And that we find out it's Sean Hannity. And now Hannity basically is saying, well, we didn't really have a lawyer/client relationship that privilege covers, was bing a little unclear about that.
COOPER: Although Hannity assumed it was confidential?
LIZZA: In that tweet that you just read, he is suggesting that he did not tell Cohen to do any of this. He didn't -- you know, he didn't ask Cohen to make this request in the proceeding. Someone must have asked Cohen because if you read the original filing, they made this very serious long-winded request that this client had to stay private.
COOPER: Brian, I mean, is there any reasonably that Fox News sees this as a problem at all? I mean, it's like Sean Hannity is kind of a power into himself there?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: He is but Fox News does see this as a problem. They don't have any answers to any obviously questions right now. I have been asking for the past few hours, did Hannity's bosses know anything about this legal relationship, did he at least disclose it to his bosses ahead of time? Would there be any disciplinary action as a result of this? And Fox is not saying anything.
COOPER: Cohen has been on the program at least as much as or I think at least 16 times that we found since President Trump announced that he was --
STELTER: Right sometimes of campaigns and things like that. I don't think we can judge Hannity based on journalism 101 values. He says, he's not a journalist, expect when he says, he isn't opinion journalist. He goes back and forth and tries to have it both ways.
But at his heart, he's an entertainer. A pro-Trump talk show host who is defending the President at all cost. And maybe now we have a little better understanding of why that maybe his faith is more linked to Michael Cohen than we knew. Maybe his faith more like to President Trump than we knew. Is Hannity's name in these documents that the government seized?
COOPER: Or their conversation that have been recorded -- if Michael Cohen's recording conversations and we just don't know really what the details.
STELTER: But I do think today has really helped us understand how deeply linked the pro-Trump media world is. Not only is Hannity calling the President to give advise, meeting at Mar-a-Lago, not only is Hannity attacking Trump's perceived enemies but he is even sharing the whole counsel.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'll say this, I talked to Hannity the other day about one of the stories he did about the Mueller crime family. And he says these are my ideas, I come up with them, I create the ideas for it. Trump doesn't pass me talking points and I rarely talk to Trump.
Following up to what's going on today, now that he is in the center of this. I text him earlier and he says, "with regards to Michael Cohen, I don't deal with him often. We have talked about legal matters pertaining to real estate and not third party people, i.e. hush money for women." And he says no legal documents have been signed. No money have been exchanged.
[21:20:00] But that being said, he assumed there is attorney/client privilege, I don't see it applying here. And even with that as much as I think a lot of Sean -- he still should have disclose this on his program and his radio. And often times when he is referring to the story because he is very pro-Trump, he is very defensible, Michael Cohen --
STEWART: He should have disclosed it when he talk about it.
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: His brand is Trump and Trump's team and that's why Cohen is on his shoulders so much. It almost looks like this may have been, it's pretty blind sided a little bit.
Last thing he tweeted out, to me it sounds like someone who talk to his own lawyer now.
COOPER: Right. I agree with that.
SHIELDS: And so he's using terminology in there --
SHIELDS: -- suddenly he wants to maybe do solid and his name is the random third client if someone who needs a list of clients and we are close and that's my brand, I want people know we're close, and now he talked to his lawyer, and he is like, wait a minute, this is not -- I don't want to necessarily want to go down this path.
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, and it does not seem like there's a good direction to go here because either he was using Cohen for the reason that President Trump was which is really bad or he was -- as you said having conversations that he does not want to out there and we -- my understanding is Cohen used to regularly record conversations with journalist, I mean, I wouldn't really call him a journalist but he pretends to be one on T.V. The other thing that's remarkable about all of this is -- it's like Trump has the mightiest touch but it is for legal problems, I mean his campaign is a mess in this, the White House is a mess and now the right wing media is getting pulled into this. My question is who's not at some point going to develop into these legal problems, it's incredible.
STELTER: And ultimately, 20 years and 30 or 40 years, are Hannity and his kids are going to be proud of the way he handle this moment in American life? Every night attacking the FBI, attacking Mueller, attacking Comey, attacking Michael Cohen raid, attacking the special -- the southern district of New York. Is he going to be proud of this attempt to tear down our institutions in America? I have to wonder if he's going to look back --
COOPER: Go ahead.
SHIELDS: Yes, he'll be because he represents it.
STELTER: That's disappointing. I think there's a lot more --
COOPER: Let Mike response.
SHIELDS: He's representing a group of Americans that believes we are in cultural fight. There is a group of people right now on the left that believes the justice institution is under attack and there is a group on the right that believes the President is under attack and that people with his believes under attack with the establishment and potentially a corrupt Department of Justice, which is that's where we are splitting into.
SHIELDS: There is a voice for that group of Americans every single night on television, that's who he's representing.
LIZZA: To Brian's question is, how much does he believe what he says?
STEWART: 100 percent.
LIZZA: Does he see himself as an entertainer and he's just feeding a lot of people? Or is he --
STEWART: He believes it is 100 percent and as Mike says there is a large swap of his listeners and Trump's voters and Trump's base that believes this as well. And the key is -- one of the big concerns I have is this Mueller probe and how broad and how expansive it has gotten and they want to rein it in. It started with one thing on Russia collusion, now we're talking about women and paying off hush money to women. He wants to reign in site and scope of this investigation.
The problem is it is up to him or Trump or Rosenstein, it is up to Mueller as to how why this is --
STELTER: When Hannity told me that Trump is a law and order candidate. Hannity told me a lot of things that aren't turning out to be true, and I think you -- to me that's the bigger scandal --
MOOK: The other thing that can be interesting here is what this Fox News believe? Because you know, a younger generation has taken over. And you were saying standards. There is supposed to be journalistic standards in place. If I were Fox News right now and I took myself serious in this organization, I would say, golly somebody here may have broken the rules and what do we do about it. The question getting to your point is, is it more important with them to maintain credibility with that 35 percent of the American electric that watches them, that believes in their stuff that basically pays their bills or does it matter to them to hold that journalistic standards. I think this is really interesting test to Fox News.
STELTER: And this matters because this alternative universal information, this is what supporting the President at all costs, no matter how bad it gets legally, they're supporting the President.
COOPER: All right, we'll take a quick break. Just ahead, James Comey says the President is unfit for office and the President called the FBI director a slimeball. We'll talk to Trump back in Congress, Congressman Jim Jordan about these words and whether he is ever heard a lie from the President. His answer, ahead.
[21:28:17] COOPER: President Trump is not holding back his anger certainly for the FBI director that he fired nearly a year ago. This morning, President fired off another tweet taking aim at Comey. After his first T.V. interview promoting this new book. Here is the tweet. " Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G) then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!"
Mr. Comey does not see it that way. Obviously he says the President is morally unfit for office. Also compared him to a mob boss. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: There's a distinction between a friend of yours and a friend of ours. I felt this effort to make us all. Maybe this was not his intention but it was felt to me, to make us all of Nostra. We're all part of the messaging, we're all part of the effort. The boss is at the head of the table and we're going to figure out together how to do this.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC'S CHIEF ANCHOR: How strange it is for you to sit here and compare the President to a mob boss? COMEY: Very strange. And I don't do it lightly. And I'm not trying to, by the way, suggest that President Trump is out breaking legs and -- you know, shaking down shopkeepers. But instead, what I'm talking about is that leadership culture constantly comes back to me when I think about my experience with the Trump administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the interview got the attention of many on Capitol Hill. Earlier tonight I spoke with Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
So Congressman Jordan, yesterday Speaker Ryan said that Jim Comey is a man of integrity as far as he knows. Is he wrong?
REPRESENTATIVE JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: I don't think James Comey has much credibility, Anderson. I thought he was wrong on July 5th when he did his press conference before the election, I thought he was wrong when he reopened the case in October, 10 days before the election. I thought he was wrong throughout that entire investigation. And I said so both times. When I said so in October, I took a lot of heat from some my Republican colleagues but I thought he screw this thing up from the get-go and I don't think he has a whole a lot of creditability.
[21:30:09] COOPER: Just in terms of the rhetoric surrounding all this, President has refer to his former FBI Director as a "slimeball." Referred to the upper echelon of the FBI a den of thieves and lowlifes, are you at all concern that this can damage the public confidence in the institution of the FBI?
JORDAN: The FBI's confidence is damaged because of the access of Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe for goodness sake. I mean, think about it, Anderson, James Comey was fired. Deputy Director McCabe was fired for lying four times, twice under oath. Chief Counsel Jim Baker was demoted and reassign. Deputy Counter Intelligence Peter Strzok was demoted and reassigned and Lisa Page, FBI counsel was demoted and reassigned.
JORDAN: These are some of the top people at the FBI --
COOPER: They were demoted and reassigned by Mueller himself?
JORDAN: After first being selected to be on the team and we have seen the text messages, just don't show bias they shows animus towards the President that the American people elected. So these are the top people at the FBI. If anyone destroy the credibility at the top is those people. The ranking file agent, Americans have the highest confidence in those folks.
COOPER: You don't think the President calling these people as low lives referring to den of thieves. That shows animus?
JORDAN: How about the report that came out just last Friday on Andrew McCabe. Here is what he did.
JORDAN: Do you want to talk about --
COOPER: I'm just asking, do you the President is showing animus by calling, you know, upper echelon of the FBI den of thieves and lowlifes, I mean these are --
JORDAN: I think he's pointing out the fact that these five people wrap the things, they've all been demoted or reassigned or fired. And I think that's pretty telling.
COOPER: I want to play something that Comey said in his interview last night about the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: I don't think he's medically unfit to be president. I think he's morally unfit to be president.
A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they're pieces of meat who lies constantly about that, big and small and insisting for the American people to believe it. That person is not fit to be president of United States on moral grounds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Did you disagree with him there?
JORDAN: I do think the American people spoke loudly and clearly on election day and they made Donald Trump, the president of the United States. I think in 2017, we did some good things for this country, specifically tax cuts --
COOPER: Do you think the President --
JORDAN: -- like Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, like reducing regulations, like the embassy should in fact, go to Jerusalem, I think a lot of good things happened in 2017.
COOPER: Do you think the President lies a lot?
JORDAN: Excuse me, Anderson?
COOPER: Do you think the President lies a lot? Like Jim Comey says?
JORDAN: I do not. think James Comey has leaked information through a friend to the New York Times for the state of purpose getting a special counsel. I think James Comey took over the investigation and never happened before. It has always been the attorney general who announced the findings, whether they're going to prosecute or not.
So I think James Comey -- as I said earlier --
COOPER: Do you honestly --
JORDAN: -- is gone, because how he handled the Clinton investigation and how he started the Trump administration.
COOPER: I mean, came on, I mean, you got to admit this President has said things, which are just demonstrably not true time and time again. I mean, the list is a very long one, almost on a daily basis?
JORDAN: I think Andrew McCabe said things that are not true and the inspector general --
COOPER: Does it make it right?
JORDAN: -- and was fired because of that.
COOPER: Right. So you are very bold on calling on Andrew McCabe not so bold on the President of the United States.
JORDAN: It was not me calling on McCabe, it was his colleagues.
COOPER: OK. So you have heard the President lie? You haven't heard the President lie?
JORDAN: I not heard the President -- he's always been square with me. That's for darn sure.
COOPER: What about the American people?
JORDAN: The American people elected him President of the United States.
COOPER: OK. But I mean, have you ever the President lie? That's why I'm asking you?
JORDAN: I have not. And the American people feel like what the treatment he's receiving from the top people of the FBI --
COOPER: A, I don't think you can talk about all the American people. But I'm asking you -- just yourself, have you ever heard the President lie?
JORDAN: I have not.
COOPER: Really? So when the Washington Post counts hundreds and hundreds of times, none of those are believable to you.
JORDAN: I have not seen what the Washington Post reported. You are asking me if the President communicated something it wasn't accurate to me, I'm not --
COOPER: No. No, not to you. Has the President publicly said anything that is a lie?
JORDAN: I mean, look, I don't know of it. Nothing comes to mind but look, people who talk as much as you and I do, my guess is probably, Anderson, you may have said something at some point that wasn't a 100 percent accurate.
COOPER: If I have, I apologize for it and I try to correct it as possible.
JORDAN: Fine. That's how --
COOPER: Have you heard the President apologize and correct something?
JORDAN: I don't know that he said something wrong that he needs to apologize for. I just that nothing comes to mind right now. I'm saying that if I would do something like that -- I would, I would say look, something is not accurate, I would deal with it. But I don't know if the President --
COOPER: Let me ask you. Just in terms of what's going to happen obviously with Ryan leaving, are you interested in becoming a speaker?
JORDAN: Look, I said this last week, right now Paul Ryan is the speaker. And he has said, he is going to continue to be the speaker for the remainder of this Congress. If and when there is a speaker race, I have colleagues encouraged me to look at it. And I'm open to looking at it.
But the big focus -- and I said this on the floor of the House last week, much more important than who the speaker is next year is what Republicans do this year. And if we don't start dealing what the American send us here to do, there ain't going to be speaker's race because we won't be in the majority. So let's get focused on what we are supposed to be doing. What they sent us here to do when they -- what they told us to do when they --
[21:35:11] COOPER: You are that concerned about the midterms?
JORDAN: I am concerned of the midterms, yes. And if we don't do what we are sent to do, build the border security wall, deal with welfare reform in the way we need to, make the tax cuts permanent. The policies that we are elected to do, if we don't get focused on that, then we can have some problems. If we do get focused on that, I think we can win.
COOPER: Congressman Jordan, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
JORDAN: You bet, Anderson, take care.
COOPER: Former FBI Director James Comey didn't please either party for his role in the 2016 election. Up next, Comey's explanation on the Hillary Clinton's e-mail investigation reaction from someone who had a lot to lose. Hillary Clinton's campaign manager.
COOPER: More now on James Comey's first TV interview, promoting his new book, you may recall in July of 2016, Comey said he wouldn't recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for the email scandal. Then just days before the election Comey told Congress the FBI was viewing more of Clinton's e-mails. Comey was asked about his motivation for revealing that to Congress. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:40:00] STEPHANOPOULOS: -- wasn't the decision to reveal influenced by your assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to win? And your concern that she wins, this comes out several weeks later, and then that's taken by her opponent as a sign that she's an illegitimate president?
COMEY: It must have been. I don't remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. Because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. And so I'm sure that it was a factor. Like I said, I don't remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That she's going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she'll be illegitimate the moment she's elected, the moment this comes out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, in his new book, Comey makes a similar statement and even mentioned how Hillary Clinton was ahead in the polls.
Back now with our panel, Robby, I was going to start out with you. When hear that, what do you think because critics have -- Comey has been saying, well, wait a minutes this shows how political he was and he's thinking about poll numbers and he is watching polls numbers and thinking about, oh she's going to be president.
MOOK: Well, first of all I'm glad he's talking about it because we cannot go back in time and change what happens. So from my perspective, what matters the most is thinking about the future and what we can do to make things better moving forward.
I think what he did in the election was totally inappropriate, it was contrary to protocol, you can even say that they're legal implications of some of what he did and it should not happen again. And so I hope by him admitting that he believed she was likely to win and probably influenced his thinking. I hope that, that helps us moving forward.
It is interesting watching him just now and, you know, talk about President Trump, watching Jim Jordan there saying how critical he was of Comey, I am just kind of wondering where were all these guys back in the election? If it was so wrong for Comey to do what he did to Hillary, why didn't he say that? Why didn't the Republican say that.
And if Comey was so worried about Trump, why didn't he just present both investigations to the American people?
Again, we cannot go back. And I think it is important to have a mature discussion and not make people good or bad or, you know or evil or heroes, James Comey, I am clad he's going out and saying what he saw and speaking the truth that he saw of who Donald Trump really is. But I also -- we spent some time thinking of the future.
STEWART: I agree in that. It was completely wrong for him to come out this close in the election to do this and violation of protocol for him to do so. That being said, I don't think that would have changed the outcome of the election.
MOOK: I don't know we're hearing it what happened.
STEWART: Yes. And --
MOOK: We don't know.
STEWART: Because you have to consider Donald Trump is also dealing with the Access Hollywood tape at the same time. So he had his own major --
MOOK: And then WikiLeaks came on the same day.
STEWART: He had major road bumps to deal with. But I can see where Hillary and a lot of Democrats would like to take this as Comey admitting he messed up and he screwed up and this was a large part of why she didn't win the election. She didn't win because she did not connect with people. She didn't have the right message, he spike the football and Donald Trump connected with people and actually worked harder. I think --
COOPER: What do you -- Mike?
SHIELDS: Look, I think James Comey did a huge disservice to the FBI and I think it is really serious. I believe that there are a group of Americans who are just talking about this. Who believe that there might be corruption. And you have Andrew McCabe getting thrown out because the inspector general found out that he lied. You have agents texting each other, they're sound like they're trying to slant an investigation.
There are a group of Americans that are starting to question the Justice Department and career people. And now we have the formal head of the FBI in a cookie sort of way saying he reads polls and pays attention to people skin color and tone and how long their ties are. And he tries to hide in curtains and he pays attention to all the sort of political things and he is incredibly vainglorious of himself.
And that's not what we want to see in our law enforcement officials. That's not what we want to see in our media. And I think that he's taking the same bait that some people, unfortunately the media do which is they want to engage on this sort of prove themselves as opposed to being fair law enforcement officers that we want to believe the FBI -- I think most of the FBI people, most of the FBI agents in the country are fair. And this is doing them a huge disservice because it is proving what some people might think about the FBI specially in the era of Trump which is they are out to get them they don't agree with what happened. We just got to fix this someway that we can. And then you see James Comey saying the stuff and it's looks like, wow, I didn't realize FBI leaders could be like this.
LIZZA: There's unique opportunity because I disagree in one way of all three of you.
First of all, the people who is discrediting the FBI and doing more to harm the moral of the FBI these days is President Trump, not James Comey. And I think if you talk to some of the former FBI officials and some of the current ones that have been anonymous that's -- I just with Alice about -- I think -- if you look at the polling, the single most important event in those home strength of the election that tipped the ballot from Hillary to Trump was the action of Comey took. If you look at 538 which is really good on polling. That even, a lot of events during election don't have a big effect, that have been had a big effect. And I think you guys have a good claim to make that affect the things.
But I disagree that Comey should not have done it. I think your best argument is that if Comey was going to reveal this new investigation matter with Hillary Clinton, and he absolutely should have reveal where the FBI was doing with respect to the Trump campaign. That's to me unforgivable.
[21:45:14] But, look, the public had the right to know that one of the candidates in the race was being investigated by the FBI. As a voter, I think everyone would want to know that. That the crime -- or not the crime but what was improper of my view is that we were told by the New York Times and others that the FBI was not looking into Trump and Comey did not correct that. And that's to me is something that unforgivable. But as a journalist and as a citizen voting on these two candidates if one of them is under investigation by the FBI or both of them, we should know about that before we go to the polls.
MOOK: We'll never know. Look, we never going to know what the actual effect was. I saw the polling. I saw a tipping. I think Comey had a big effect. But I also don't want to get bogged down in that because it just gets us back in the 2016.
Look, to your point, I think all or nothing. You know, talk about them both or don't talk about it at all. But I just to me, this just get back to when we start to putting the FBI in a position where if they are looking into something that they have to reveal that. You know, the FBI would literary -- it's almost like they become a super pac in the race. The day the FBI Director just to go out and give a speech, you can just tank someone's race. I think that's a power to Mike's point, they should not be entitled to.
SHIELDS: Well, and by the way, you're saying were Republicans -- Republicans originally were mad at Comey because he essentially exonerated Hillary Clinton early that year and we were furious about it.
You had Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac. You had all these things going on surrounding Hillary's campaign. I don't believe that James Comey won Donald Trump the election because with all due respect, Jim Comey didn't direct one of the chemists (ph) to go Wisconsin and not to go to Wisconsin. There are other decisions in play based on the day, other things that happened in the campaign that lead to Donald Trump's victory. He won the election fair and square.
But I do believe that it is very dangerous for law enforcement and it is almost like during elections, they need to take a step back. And be the fair --
SHIELDS: Yes, absolutely. Don't get involved. I mean that's the problem with this. And you saw the interview he gave, not only he was involved and he was actually saying, yes, I was reading polls and watch what's going on and helping my decision making. That's dangerous and it plays into a narrative right now of people that are defending the President, who believe that back still be doing on and right now they're watching the President and is out to get him.
COOPER: I want to thank everybody in the panel. Still ahead, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley weighing Russian, the new sanctions were on the way. It was going to be announced today. The White House apparently said not so fast. We're going to find out what's going on, Republican Charlie Dent weighs in as well, next.
[21:51:43] COOPER: The White House is backing away from a pledge made by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley over the weekend. She said the United States would be announcing new sanctions against Russia. Today, help with the Assad regime in Syria. Take a look at what she said.
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HALEY: So you will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down, Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn't already. And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message and our hope is that they listen to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, "The Washington Post" is reporting that President Trump is the one who put the brakes on additional economic sanctions on Russia. When he asked White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley about that tonight. He didn't comment on deliberations, but he did say that the administration is looking at potentially more sanctions. Earlier tonight, I spoke about the conflicting message on sanctions with Republican Congressman, Charlie Dent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Dent, I mean, how does something like this happen? You have Nikki Haley saying one thing yesterday, the President putting the brakes on it. Does it make sense to you how the administration seems to be out of step on something of this kind of consequence?
REPRESENTATIVE CHARLIE DENT (R) PENNSYLVANIA: We've seen this before, Anderson. Where the President's staff has said one thing and the President has then later contradicted them. And on Russian sanctions, that's the latest.
Now we're dealing with a President who can be rather mercurial and erratic at times.
COOPER: What kind of a message do you think it sends domestically? I mean, do you worry at all what kind of message this sends to Russia?
DENT: Well, yes. I mean, the issue I've noticed with the Russians is that so many people in the administration, when it was Mattis, McMaster, and Tillerson, had a more traditional, conventional view towards Russia and recognized it as a threat, not a benign actor, that they were trying to undermine our power and influence anywhere they could in the world, and the President always had seemingly conciliatory, relatively kind comments about Vladimir Putin, which he was always bewildering to me, at the same time while in some respects picking fights with friends and allies and partners, whether it would be Canada, Mexico, the British or the Germans.
So this has been a never-ending issue for us. And again, the President seems to contradict his staff on a number of issues, especially on Russia.
COOPER: As you said, the President does seem very reticent to criticize Vladimir Putin and has, you know, really when he launched the attack against Syria the other day, was the first time he sort of directly said to Russia, essentially, the toughest words he said, which was, which sort of a nation do you want to be, what kind of people do you want to associate with? But that's kind of been it?
DENT: I guess what I guess is most troubling of all is that this rules-based order that the United States and our allies worked so hard to build after the Second World War and then doubled down after the end of the cold war is something I think is a crowning American achievement. And that our country has benefited by it.
In many respects, the President talks as if this United States has not benefited by this order that we have led. And countries like Russia, Iran, and North Korea, of course want to undermine that order. And that's why I find this all so troubling. And I guess it's perhaps my greatest policy objection to President Trump, is that his unwillingness to stand up and robustly defend constitutions like NATO, the E.U., the WTO, organization that we spilled a lot of blood for.
And our partners, some of whom are mortal enemies at one time, are now some of our best friends, in Germany and Japan. And I just -- I guess that's what's so troubling. I get it that people on the outside want to take down this order, but I can't understand why the President would want to undermine it from within.
[21:55:11] COOPER: In regards to the Russian investigation, you introduced legislation on a Friday that's written to protect Special Counsel Mueller from being fired. It mirrors the bill introduced by the Senate. Why did you think it necessary to take that step and how much support do you actually have from fellow Republicans on this?
DENT: Well, starting to get some Republican cosponsors for the bill. It's a companion measure to the one introduced by the Senate, by Senators Tillis, Coons, Graham, and Booker. It's the same bill. And I felt that it's important that -- you know, we're actually helping the President here by telling him not to fire Mueller.
We're helping him -- preventing him from hopefully taking a self- destructive act. So that's the most important thing. Also, it would be terrible for the Republican Party and our chances in the midterm elections. It would not be helpful but the most important reason why we should do this is it's good for the country to pass legislation like.
Now I don't expect the President to sign a bill into law if we send to him but I hope it sends a strong message to him that firing Mueller was set up a political crisis the likes of which we haven't see since Watergate, since The Saturday Night Massacre, since Archibald Cox's moment, we don't need to go there again.
COOPER: Congressman Dent, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
DENT: Thank you, Anderson, always great to be with you.
COOPER: We'll be right now. More news ahead.