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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Mueller Raised Possibility of Presidential Subpoena in Meeting with President Trump's Legal Team; Trump's Legal Team Preparing for Showdown with Mueller That Could Go to the Supreme Court; Possible DMZ Meeting Between Trump and Kim Jong-un; Trump: Ronny Jackson Treated Unfairly. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 1, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:33] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight. The possibility of a subpoena for the President, a notion raised by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in at least one meeting with the President's lawyers. CNN has this now from two sources. Evan Perez joins us.
So what have you learned about Mueller raising the possibility of the subpoena with the President's legal team.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're told by a couple of sources that this did indeed happened a few weeks ago in a meeting, in at least one meeting with the special counsel, the President's team heard that they were considering issuing a subpoena if the two teams could not come to terms on an agreement for the President to grant a voluntary interview to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
So the possibility, at least, was raised for the first time, and so, look, I mean, this is what this means is that things are moving a lot more quickly than I think a lot of us have thought.
There's still been this idea that the two sides are having meetings, they're having negotiations as to whether or not the President will sit down formally for voluntary interviews and of course, we saw last night the 49 or so questions that the Mueller team is prepared to ask. But this appears to be now on the table, the idea that a subpoena could be issued to force the President, if he doesn't sit down for a voluntary interview.
COOPER: What was the tenor of this negotiation between Mueller and the President's legal team? Was it cordial or did it become tense?
PEREZ: Well, it appears at least according to one of the sources to talk to my colleague Gloria Borger, said that this was a very tense meeting, simply because John Dowd had a very sharp response to the idea, the idea being that this would interfere with the work of the President, and this is something, obviously, the President's legal team takes very, very seriously, and this is why they believe, that you know, this should never even come to this. Even the idea of an interview, they believe, interferes with the work of the President, because obviously he's preparing for a summit meeting with North Korea. This is something they keep bringing up as one of the many reasons why doing this would interfere with the President's work.
COOPER: Earlier "The Washington Post" was reporting that according to their reporting, that the President is now thinking of not going for an interview, not complying, that he doesn't think it's a good idea. Is that what you're hearing as well?
PEREZ: That is exactly what we're hearing. I think it's become abundantly clear that the President's legal team is getting ready for a standoff, really, on a subpoena because if a subpoena does come, there is, I think, a lot of thought inside the President's legal team that this is a line that the special counsel cannot cross, that this is something that they might fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
In their view, at least according to the President's lawyers, they believe that the special counsel doesn't have the power to force the President to go before a grand jury basically under compulsion.
So I think this is something that if it comes to this, if Mueller does indeed issue a subpoena, then we're going to be looking at perhaps a year of litigation, appeals process, and then all the way to the Supreme Court.
Look, I think it's something that the Supreme Court has previously said Presidents can be subpoenaed, but the circumstances here are a lot different from some of those previous cases.
COOPER: Yes. Evan, thanks very much. I appreciate it. I want to go to now to Jeff Zeleny at the White House.
Jeff, you to talk to a lot of people. The White House obtained a lot of the press briefings where the question about subpoena has come up many times. What exactly is the public stance has the White House has taken on this?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the public stance is that the White House today was actually being more disciplined than I've seen them really any time I can remember. They were referring all questions to the President's lawyers. But the reality here is this.
The President has said repeatedly he would like to sit down with the special counsel. But also competing reality here is that could not necessarily be good for him. So as Evan was just saying there, this is something that the President has said constantly he wants to get this over with.
The White House wants to get this over with, in their view, before midterm elections this fall. If they dig in and resist an interview, a sit-down, this will extend much beyond the midterm elections into potentially next year.
Now, there's a mixed view of thinking here. If the President doubles down, and says that this is a witch hunt, a fake investigation, would that help him with his base? But they know legally speaking, he wants to get this over with.
So in the coming days and even weeks, the President will decide if he wants to sort of, you know, roll the dice and sit down with Bob Mueller's team or not. He said he has wanted to. He wants to -- he says that he has nothing to hide here.
[21:05:07] We'll see if that happens, Anderson, because going on and on and on here, legally there is a lot of peril for him to do that.
COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny, I appreciate it, from the White House.
With me now, Professor Alan Dershowitz, Asha Rangappa, Anne Milgram, and Michael Zeldin.
Professor Dershowitz is author of the new book, "Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy." Professor Dershowitz, do you think this is heading toward a subpoena?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: I do. I think we may be seeing some pasturing now. We may be seeing some attempts of both sides to flex some muscles. We're going to give you a subpoena. Oh, yes? Well, we're going to do this and that, and the other thing. It may still end up with a narrow four-hour or six-hour conversation between the President and the special counsel --
COOPER: You think they could do it in six hours, because those 49 questions seem like days?
DERSHOWITZ: That may be a negotiating position because if you are doing those questions, what's the possible benefit for the President to sit down? The only possible benefit the President gets by volunteering and giving up his rights is that he can narrow the questions, he can refuse to answer questions in certain areas, but if they're going to ask him about everything, might as well take it to the courts and fight.
COOPER: But isn't there a slight advantage also that if he's not in front of a grand jury, his lawyers can be present and involve themselves in this?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right, so he'll have his counsel there, and I think it also, you know, he can still narrow the scope or refuse to answer certain questions as they're asking follow-ups, for example.
The questions that are laid out are big broad brush questions, then each of them will generate follow-up questions. But I think that we need to remember that this presidency is kind of like, choose your own adventure, where every ending ends in a constitutional crisis of some kind. The ideal situation is that he sits down and does it.
I do have to agree with Alan, it's probably not in his interests because he does not have a command of the facts or the discipline to answer in the way that he should.
COOPER: And Jeff Toobin in the last hour suggested, Jeff thinks he would take the fifth, and that would eliminate all these problems. As Professor Dershowitz has said absolutely no way he should do that?
ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't know that I think he takes the fifth, either. I think it 's incredibly perilous for him to take the fifth. I mean, essentially he said, I've nothing to hide, I have the conservation to then, take the Fifth Amendment basically says that he would be incriminating himself if he spoke, and he would be basically saying that he's guilty of a crime.
And so I think that's more of a political question, but I think that is probably the least likely option that he's going to want to go through.
COOPER: Michael Zelden, do you see this heading toward a subpoena?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If they don't reach an agreement, I think that's where Mueller will take it. My time with Bob tells me that he believes that his mandate here is to find out what happened and that he's going to follow the facts to find out whether those facts lead to law violations or not. And that the President is not going to dictate to him the terms under which he does his fact- finding.
Remember that on the team that Mueller has is Michael Dreeben. Michael Dreeben is one of the most accomplished Supreme Court criminal appellate advocates. I expect the issue of whether or not, the President can be subpoenaed to give oral testimony has been well- breath by Dreeben and the Mueller field that he is on solid legal ground to make that request to Dowd at the time known that they will follow that route.
COOPER: Professor, Dershowitz, I mean, to Jeff Zeleny's point, if this does go the way of the courts, this could go on for a year?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, it could go for a year. I suspect first it gets to district court, and the district court splits the difference. And the district court says you must answer questions about your business dealings before you became President. You must answer questions that you may have waived, or other areas, but there are going to be some questions about your motives, your reasons, your intentions that the court will probably say is beyond the power of the grand jury.
Now, the interesting question is whether or not the argument that I've made, that is, you can't call a subject into a grand jury in order to give him an opportunity to commit perjury. You have to do it in order to get information you don't already have, whether that kind of argument will prevail. It could go both ways on that.
COOPER: But Asha (INAUDIBLE) prosecutors all the time ask questions that they know the answers to?
RANGAPPA: That they precisely ask questions that they already know the answer to. And I think that -- I disagree with Alan. They need to get his answers on motive because that is precisely what the obstruction case terms. Whether what he was thinking when he fired James Comey and what happened before and after, and we have this litany of actions including his own tweets and interviews for him to explain. So I don't see how you can shield that?
DERSHOWITZ: Of course it's relevant but it's also privileged. You can't ask a senator or congressman to explain their vote. You cannot ask the judge to explain their vote.
RANGAPPA: It's not privileged if it's not a legitimate policy- decision making or national security related. If there's evidence of a crime, it can be pierced.
[21:10:04] DERSHOWITZ: Would they have asked President Bush why he gave a pardon to Caspar Weinberger? When the special prosecutor said that, pardon to Caspar Weinberger and five others, was motivated by a desire to end the prosecution and continue the cover-up. Everybody agreed to that, but everybody also agreed you can't ask the President that question. The President, if he has the authority to do something, has the authority to do it for any reason. He can pardon, he can fire, he can do all these things. So it's not that it's not relevant, it's that privilege Trumps relevance.
ZELDIN: Well except that privilege really applies here to a very narrow set of questions that we see among the 49. As you say, Professor Dershowitz, anything that predates the President's inauguration is not covered by privilege.
ZELDIN: Anything that is not advice that he receives from his advisers, his senior advisers, is not executive privilege protected. With respect to the question of whether or not he can be asked about his motives in firing people that he has a constitutional right to do, that may be one small area that the courts can, you know, battle over.
But everything else is really not covered by this. And, of course, the issue is in a court setting is one forum. In an impeachment hearing analysis, it's completely different because the Fifth Amendment and all those things do not apply outside the courtroom. And that's another whole aspect of what's going on here, too.
COOPER: And also if the President did receive immunity in order to answer questions, things he says, though, legally he would be fine, but it could be used in impeachment proceedings, correct?
MILGRAM: Yes, that's correct. And think about also the fact that, you know, he would be testifying as well and providing information about other people. So, you know, we're very focused right now on the President being the person that is the target of this -- not using target in the legal sense, but using, you know, the point person for these interviews, but there is a lot in those questions that relate to other people as well. So, you know, immunity doesn't take him off the hook on impeachment, and immunity doesn't, you know, he also doesn't have the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment for other people.
COOPER: And frankly some of those people are family members --
MILGRAM: That's correct. At one point, I think the timing question, I'm not sure it takes years because I think this is such an extraordinary matter that courts would move as quickly as possible.
Now, the parties would still need reasonable time to brief it and get to the court, but I think this is the kind of thing that would move as quickly as humanly possible in the courts.
ZELDIN: I agree. I think it's already briefed. I think on Mueller side, it's already briefed.
MILGRAM: I agree.
ZELDIN: I think Dreeben has briefed this and they're ready to pull the plug if the President resists which the new lawyers Sekulow, the Rankins and Julianne have to realize that.
COOPER: It's interesting, though in the reporting from the "Washington Post," we learned that these 49 questions were not questions that -- these were written down, according to the post, by Jay Sekulow, the President's own attorney.
So if the President who is critical of the stuff leaking out it seems like, if Jay Sekulow is the one who wrote down these 49 questions, it's not as if they were leaked by Robert Mueller, they came from someone in the Trump orbit.
DERSHOWITZ: Absolutely. And not only that, they may have contained privileged information, because they were his characterizations of the questions, and he had a right to give that to the President in a lawyer-client privilege way. If someone in the White House leaked that, they may have breached the privilege, too, but we know this White House just leaks, like we said.
ZELDIN: And that raises the other last question as it relates to whether they would, you know, prevail in a court, which I think Alan Dershowitz raised it earlier, which is waiver.
ZELDIN: And that the President may will have waived that small area of the law that protects him. He has delivered a process, privilege stuff. He may will have waived that and so he sits there pretty legally naked when it comes to trying to resist this subpoena if one is issued.
DERSHOWITZ: I think that overstates it. The President does have the authority to speak to the public. And I think the courts would find waiver only in extreme cases. So I don't think he's completely naked. I think he's partly exposed. I don't want to use that metaphor of Putin. He probably has his shirt off but still has his pants on.
COOPER: All right, let's not go down that metaphor anymore. Thanks everyone. We'll have more breaking news after a quick break.
[21:18:10] COOPER: Breaking news, an intense meeting in March with the President's lawyers, the Special Counsel raised the idea of a subpoena for the President.
CNN has this according to two sources. The story first reported in the Washington Post just a short time ago. One source confirms to CNN the anecdote in the post reporting that the idea of a subpoena prompted a sharper tort from the President's lead attorney John Dowd. Dowd as you know has since left the legal team.
Joining me now Kirsten Powers, Mike Shields, Amanda Carpenter, Paul Begala, Asha Rangappa and Alice Stewart. Before we dive in, I got to mention that Amanda Carpenter's book is hot off the presses, "Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies To Us is our today." So get it. Amanda is very happy to shares with us. Congratulations. It's great.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you, thank you.
COOPER: So Mike Shields, is this heading a subpoena do you think?
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think one of the things we're learning from the last two days of stories is there is a conflict with Trump and his legal team, right? And the Washington Post story tonight, they talked about the subpoena, really talks about John Dowd and he left after this.
And so I think what we know about the President is he goes by his own gut. He made his own company and he doesn't, you know, he's frustrated by the Russia investigation because he was the campaign manager, he's the chief of staff for the White House, he is the communication's director and I think he thinks he's his own lawyer.
And so he wants to testify, I believe. That's what's going on, it that he wants -- he is trying to tell his legal team, I didn't do this. I will defend myself. My gut tells me I can do this, and his team is leaking out questions and trying to talk him out of it saying, you could be in tremendous peril if you do this. He believes that he's innocent and didn't do these things and they had nothing to do with any collusion he wants to talk about it. That's what it looks like.
COOPER: In the "Washington Post," reporting earlier tonight I mean, it seems like they seemed to be saying that he's angry, he doesn't want to testify, and particularly in the wake of the Michael Cohen investigation.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. That's what I would think. I mean, I would assume he wouldn't want to testify. I mean, and everything he's done, frankly, would suggest somebody who doesn't really want to cooperate and doesn't even want to treat this as a legitimate investigation.
[21:20:03] And so I would assume that they would fight it as much as they can. And then ultimately, if he's not willing to do it, then I think they will have to subpoena him. But they're trying to reach some sort of agreement with him, have some deference for the fact that he's President. But in the end they're going to have to get answers to these questions. Only one person has the answers to these questions and it's Donald Trump.
COOPER: Amanda, the political calculation in this is if you fight it in court, and if it goes on for months and months or a year, then you have the midterm elections, I mean there is a lot of different sort of --
CARPENTER: Yes, you can write it out. And, you know, I think the concept of gaslighting applies pretty much almost everything that President Trump does, and that's realize on a concept of permanent ultimate brinkmanship.
I think the truth, forget subpoenas, forget whether he's going to answer all the questions, I think the true is somewhere what you're saying. He wants to clear his name himself but he doesn't want to testify. So where does that lead? I could see a scenario where he sits down in a video deposition and says, forget your questions, this is a witch hunt. And he repeats all the things he was saying. So what if he gets into a perjury trap? Do we actually think that that's the eyes going to haul him out of office?
What he will do, I think, is force a political confrontation. He is the come at me, bro kind of guy and dears other people to back down. Do we think that the Senate, which requires a two-thirds supper majority vote will impeach him over this question if there is not a flaming, smoking gun?
I don't think so because the country, as much as you may hate Donald Trump, and I don't like what he does, impeachment is a very drastic thing. This needs to resolve through the political process and so I think he stairs down that barrel of the Senate chamber.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And that's what -- that follows up with what he's been saying, all along. No collusion, no collusion, no collusion. I've done nothing wrong. Our administration has fully cooperative with the Mueller investigation. If that's the case, I hope it is, then let's put it all out there. Go before Robert Mueller, answer all of these questions, put this behind us, let's focus on the midterm elections.
The problems is we all know he has lose his association with the truth and sometimes tends to embellish things, and there are a lot of these questions he won't want to answer, or he'll answer them in the way he wants to, and he runs the risk of getting into legal jeopardy, and that's the real problem. That being says, it's best politically to get this over with and look to the midterm elections.
COOPER: Paul, how do you see?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a high breed problem that he has. It's both political and constitutional and personal and criminal. And his legal team needs to understand that and separate themselves. That is to say, in the White House, the White House counsel does not work for Donald Trump. He works for the President of the United States. So his job is to forestall impeachment. His private attorneys need to make sure he's not charged with a crime. The best argument is the Justice Department cannot charge a sitting President. He will not be a sitting President all his life.
One day he will walk outside, one glorious day he will walk outside of those 16 acres at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and he will could be then charged with a crime.
And so there is a tension there. Those things which might tend to protect his criminal liability can really hurt him politically, like taking the fifth. It's a really difficult thing, and so far I don't think either he or his legal team have been up to it.
RANGAPPA: Yes. I think we also don't want to forget that Mueller has a lot of evidence already collected, OK? This is not -- the political case against him, the legal case against him is not going to all be built on what he says or doesn't say. He has cooperating witnesses. He's talked to Jeff Sessions. He's talked to people at the CIA, the White House counsel, Reince Priebus, all of these people, and so Mueller needs to do this interview as a good prosecutor, as an investigator, because that is what you do when you are completing an investigation. But make no mistake, he will have a report that has a lot of other evidence there that goes to collusion and obstruction, and the President can't avoid that.
SHIELDS: But we've had two reports saying that he's not the target of the investigation. So he has a lot of other evidence, but why do you want to get someone to sit down and just broadly talk because you don't have something on them that you can jut say, you know what, we already have what we need he is the real target here. We're going to go after him. I think, if you have that you wouldn't need to do this. You're going try and get him to talk because you've kind of wants to trap --
RANGAPPA: How can you do an investigation and have somebody who may later have perhaps even exculpatory evidence. You don't know. You cannot, as an investigator, lead that that person aside. And just to be clear, the line between subject and target is very fine and they can change in a nanosecond. So I would not hang your hat on that distinction.
POWERS: Also doesn't -- I mean, there's a lot of debate on this, but isn't there the intent question? I mean, is there anyone else who can answer that other than Donald Trump?
RANGAPPA: There's no one else that can answer it, and in some ways, it may to -- like, it may actually be his interest to give his own version because it's all of the circumstantial evidence is he knew about Flynn, he wanted it to go away, he wanted Sessions to not to recuse, he tried to get the CIA and NSA, to stop the investigation. This doesn't look good for him. So, you know, if he can be discipline it might help him.
[21:25:14] STEWART: Right. And to your point there's a fine line between subject and target. There is also a fine line between when they told him, you're not a target today but you may be one tomorrow. And the fact that they've delayed the sentencing for Mike Flynn, I think that says they're still gathering information and some of that information may be damaging to the President, so I think more than anything, we're going to find out more information that will bring him more into the loop than the other way around.
BEGALA: Here's a prediction, not my advice, but the way I think is likely to happen, he is going to answer all these questions at a rally in like Mobile, Alabama.
This is going to go on in one of his performance tirades for an hour or an hour and a half. And his lawyers are all just going to die inside because it will be awful for them.
CARPENTER: They're already dead.
BEGALA: He may just tweet 10,000 tweets answering each question.
SHIELDS: This is my point about the conflict within his team. I mean, yes, there may be some reports where he saying, I don't want to talk about this because he thinks there's no collusion and he thinks the investigation from the very beginning is a joke. But I think if you were to put him on the spot and say, should you defend yourself, or be surrounded by staff, which he doesn't like and people tell him what to do and manipulating the way he does things, that's not his instinct. His instinct is to say, I didn't do any of the stuff. I'll explain how I didn't to. Let me go talk to them and they're saying that's bad idea.
And so I think you have a push and pull within his own legal team on this. He believes he's innocent. He wants to make the case to the American people, it looks like.
COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We're going to have some new reporting on the other side of it. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We have more breaking news tonight, new reporting on this notion of a presidential subpoena in the Mueller investigation in general. With the analysis, we have Evan Perez and Pamela Brown.
So Evan, we long heard this would be wrapped up soon by President's lawyers, but as you're hearing, there is some new thinking about that.
PEREZ: Yes, I think, Anderson, the thinking is that this is not going to wrap up any time soon. They're preparing and they're bracing, certainly, for the possibility that this could end up in some kind of long-term legal fight with the special counsel, and especially because they've been talking about doing this voluntary interview, the President sitting down and talking to the FBI and the prosecutors from Mueller's office.
And obviously those talks have been going on and on, and as we saw from the 49 questions that were leaked to the "New York Times" last night, there is a lot left for the special counsel to cover.
And we've noticed the change in their behavior in the last few weeks that really signaled that there was a change in thinking about whether or not this could be over any time soon.
COOPER: Pam, you're also reporting that Mueller himself has raised the idea of subpoenaing the President, so have talks broken down with Mueller at this point?
[21:30:04] PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appears that they have. There has certainly been a change, as Evan pointed out, in posture ever since the raid on the President's personal attorney's home and office. Just that day there was a meeting that was very tense.
We were told that we reported on that time between Mueller's team and the President's lawyers. They were upset about the raid and that they didn't know about it. In a sense talks have broken down, but at the same time you do have new lawyers coming on board including Rudy Giuliani, the Raskins, the husband/wife team as well. And so they bring a fresh layer to all of this.
But certainly, there is a change here Anderson, in terms of what was before, the thinking was, let's wrap this up as soon as possible, let's do whatever we can to wrap this up as soon as possible to now bracing for the possibility of a subpoena and a lengthy court fight.
COOPER: And Evan, we've been talking about this tonight. Couldn't the President just plead the fifth?
PEREZ: Well, he can. I mean, look, he has the same rights as everybody else, but the President's legal team believes that they don't even have to get there. They believe that first they're going to litigate whether the Mueller even has the right to subpoena the President that it interferes with his Article 2 powers. This is the part of the constitution that says what powers the President has, and it interferes with that ability for him to really conduct his powers in office.
And it's one reason why they believe, and the Justice Department has said, in legal opinions that the President cannot be a sitting President cannot be indicted for a crime. So all of that, I think, goes into their thinking that essentially they're daring Mueller to go there.
COOPER: But Pam, wouldn't that drag out the fight?
BROWN: It certainly would, but what's interesting here, according to a source speaking to my colleague Gloria Borger, is the change in political strategy among those close to the President. As I pointed out, initially the thinking was, we need to wrap this up as soon as possible. But now the thinking is, hey, it's OK if this drags out if there is a lengthy court fight. Let's just get through the midterms. We've done enough in their view to discredit the investigators in this case to undermine the Mueller investigation. So let's drag this out. Let's get to the midterms and then we can revisit some of this.
COOPER: All right, Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, I appreciate your reporting. Our panel is back next. We'll be right back.
[21:35:38] COOPER: Before the break we heard the new reporting from Evan Perez and Pamela Brown the President's lawyer is preparing a legal show down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The legal team is bracing for a long fight that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Back now with the panel.
This is a dumb question, but the President does not have to be actually served with a subpoena, correct Asha?
RANGAPPA: Paul says with me and he was with --
BEGALA: Right, and of course --
RANGAPPA: Yes. I just wanted to say that this-- you know, legal showdown that may be coming is both -- it could be a smart thing to do or a really, really, really dumb thing to do. It's smart in the sense that you don't have the facts, and I don't think this administration has the facts, you fight the law.
You fight on the law. And so at least this keeps the battle in some, like, normal, legitimate battlefield as opposed to firing and pardoning. But on the other hand, as Michael Zeldin mentioned before, Mueller's team has briefed all of these constitutional questions. They know exactly every nuance, they're supreme court clerks, they're scholars, they're prosecutors. They will win. So ultimately the President is going to lose, even, I think, on the law.
SHIELDS: I think the legal route, fighting this legally, does help the President, because it just takes it into a place where the public goes. There's some kind of thing going on, had there been some evidence out there that showed real collusion where the President was implicated, that would be bad. Because we don't have that, it just becomes a thing where it becomes like -- the public is going -- you know, experiencing, if you go to Comey, I worked for Newt during the Trump impeachment days.
SHIELDS: Excuse me -- during the Clinton impeachment days -- thank you -- and one of the things we had working against us was that the economy was doing well and people were pretty happy. You know, so the public's desire there to go after him at that level wasn't there. As long as he is keeping this away into some kind of legal fight somewhere the public, there's some legal fight happening, we don't believe he did this and he is probably he was advantage to keep it going.
COOPER: What word would use to describe the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. and the Russians? I mean, Jeff Toobin has said, look that is either evidence of collusion or a desire to collude.
SHIELDS: The word I would use is stupid. And, you know, I've said this to you before. The Trump campaign could barely collude with the RNC. They had no ability to collude with the Russians. The Russians would have had to come over and built a campaign to collude with.
CARPENTER: Maybe they are.
COOPER: But if Russians are saying, Russians who have links with the government and who say they have links with the government, are saying, we can give you dirt on Hillary Clinton and Don Jr. is saying, great, the timing of this would be great a couple months from now, let's meet, doesn't that just seem like at least a desire to collude or cooperate?
SHIELDS: I think it sounds like a really, really bigger error in judgment. It doesn't prove that there was actually collusion when they took anything and use it to try and win the election. And we haven't seen that anywhere and we certainly haven't seen anything that actually implicates the President in this for 14 months. And that's my points.
So the public -- there is not -- the public does not believe that there is evidence so far that the President has colluded. And now we're moving into other issues. We're moving into his businesses. We're moving into, you know, obstruction, we're moving into things that aren't about what this was first about.
So if the Trump team pushes this into a legal fight and keeps it there, that's probably to his advantage because people go there is no there, there.
COOPER: Even if through (ph) the election, passed the election, about midterm?
SHIELDS: Look, I mean, to whatever advantage they can keep it there as suppose to making a political fight on and then talking about this everyday in terms of actual collusion, I think, is better.
POWERS: It's true that polls are showing that the public is sort of moving in the direction of President Trump's point of view of this. But the fact that he's gone on, you're saying, 14 months, I mean, look, Richard Nixon complained that this was going on for a year and they haven't found anything. Well, of course, they did find something.
So just because it's been 14 months doesn't mean that they aren't going to find something. We don't know that. And so I think we have to wait and see what they actually have.
STEWART: And just because something was done and I think most people would agree it was stupid and maybe not very confidence it doesn't mean -- it doesn't put you in legal jeopardy.
STEWART: And unfortunately that's the problem we have here. In addition to the meeting that they had where they knew that they were meeting with people from Russia, Russian leaders during a campaign, they should have known not to do that.
And then follow up with that, getting together in writing the response. The statement that was written on Air Force One, the questions surrounding that, all of that raises just a lot of questions and I think it's very difficult to believe when the President says no collusion, no collusion, when we already have evidence that shows that there was some working at least in some form or fashion with the Russians.
[21:40:15] BEGALA: If he's so innocent, why are he and his team so terrified? I think they even gave him the questions for the test in advance and he doesn't want to take the test. Does he want the answers, too?
SHIELDS: But that's my point, I don't believe he is terrified. I think his team doesn't -- are terrified of him talking, because he doesn't stay on topic. But that's different from being terrified of the actual facts of what he actually did or didn't do.
CARPENTER: But what would he --
BEGALA: He's attacking Mueller --
SHIELDS: I think there very, very different perspective.
BEGALA: He's attacking Mueller and the investigation every day, to no avail, by the way, and the ABC poll a few weeks ago, 69 percent of Americans said they had confidence of Mueller looking into the collusion issues, 64 percent in the non-collusion business issues. So he's losing that, and he's -- that's why he's attacking Rod Rosenstein, he's attacking Mueller, he's attacking the FBI. But he's losing that and he knows that.
CARPENTER: But I think we keep making the mistake, and this gets back to my big theme, gaslighting America is that, we think Donald Trump needs to fight on facts because we're used to that, because it's logical, it's what he's supposed to do. No, he does not fight on facts. He invented a whole counter-narrative about the deep state that is staging the stuff (ph) -- who (ph) against him.
But any time you tune into Fox News, you see this narrative play out again and again and again. And a lot of people believe that. And so it's not just like, oh, well, people don't believe there's collusion, they believe there is an entirely different reality happening that he has created. And so, until we fully understand how that process works, we're going to keep making the mistakes of like, well, what he's going to say in the deposition?
COOPER: So is Robert Mueller the one person you can't gaslight?
CARPENTER: Well, it gets a little tricky because when it comes to that, it becomes a defensive move. Donald Trump is a very effective at gaslighting as an offensive measure when he's creating his own narrative. Gaslighting doesn't work when you're not in complete control. That's why I think everybody has to understand that he is at his best, a master manipulator. He creates chaos constantly as a way of taking control of the media environment, as a way of taking control of the political environment, and that's why you can't ever really predict what he's going to do next because he does things no one else would do because he's seizing that entire terrain at all times.
COOPER: He's little comfortable in chaos which is most people are not.
BEGALA: And that's an advantage.
CARPENTER: Absolutely, especially in a media environment where there are hundreds of outlets to feed, who will seize on any new development. You know, in the past that there is only the Washington Post, the New York Times that you had to win, but, oh my goodness, now there's a million news outlets that now will only will carry your counter narratives but will produce fake news to go along with it.
RANGAPPA: Yes. And to your point, I think this is exactly why the questions -- the interview is dangerous for Trump. Because the FBI and Mueller are going to approach it as open-ended and an opportunity for him to tell his version. And he will see that as an opportunity to create his own narrative.
CARPENTER: And just blow out that completely.
RANGAPPA: And blow it out.
COOPER: I want to think everybody. Amanda's new book is "Gaslighting America".
Just ahead, will that planned summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un be a genuine negotiation or simply well orchestrated photo op. We'll talk with Fareed Zakaria and Ambassador Richard Haass, next.
[21:47:10] COOPER: The idea of a summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is enticing, of course into the president's, so as the notion of a possible Nobel Peace Prize for him. A reporter asked him about that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just think that President Moon was very nice when he suggested it. I want to get peace. That's the main thing. We want to get peace.
That was a big problem and I think it's going to work out well. We'll see. We're setting up meetings right now, and I think it's probably going to be announced over the next couple days, location and date. But I thought it was very generous of President Moon of South Korea to make that statement, and I appreciate it. But the main thing is to get it done, I want to get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me tonight are CNN's Fareed Zakaria, host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS", and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the book "A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order".
Fareed, how much does -- do you think the location of this summit matters? I mean, is the DMZ a good idea, as the president seems to indicating?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Well, you know, there are two ways to think about these summits. One would be a place where you have an extended negotiation. And for that, the DMZ is a terrible idea, because what you really need is a place like Geneva or, you know, Paris where you have lots of hotels, people can re-group, it can go on for a long time. That's the sort of long negotiating process.
This doesn't seem like that. This seems to be more a kind of photo op, a symbolic meeting, which is often the case with heads of state. The DMZ is a great idea. I think Trump is, you know, above all -- I mean, his greatest claim to fame in some ways has been the star of "The Apprentice". He understands how these things works. He's produced boxing fights.
This would be pay-per-view television, I mean, to have it at the DMZ with these two incredibly larger than life figures. Yes, I mean, this is -- it's a very good idea for a photo op summit. It's not a good idea for a negotiating summit.
COOPER: Ambassador Haass, I mean, in your opinion, I mean, is it pressure that the president has placed on North Korea that's behind this movement we're seeing, or is it something to do with South Korea, you know, driving him because they're maybe scared of what can happened as results of, you know, the increased rhetoric?
RICHARD HAASS, AUTHOR, "A WORLD IN DISARRAY": It could be either of those, and let me suggest the third possible reason that we've gotten to this point, Anderson, which is that North Korea has reached a level of development or maturity in its nuclear weapons program where it feels content to essentially pause. The fact that its testing site can't be used for the foreseeable future if ever, again, means they're not in a rush to do anything.
So it's quite possible that this stems from their own state of affairs, and it's not usually exclusive. It's also possible that, as you say, American threats, obviously tighter sanctions and Chinese pressure, all of these things may have played a role.
COOPER: Fareed, do you agree?
[21:50:00] ZAKARIA: I agree, but I think that point Richard makes is very important which is that, the North Koreans have gotten to the point they wanted to get. For 25 years, they have been pursuing a path to a robust nuclear capacity with intercontinental ballistic missiles. They've gotten there. Now, they want to negotiate, and presumably the negotiation would involve further freezes and such.
If Trump can really get them to, you know, massively reverse the program, if he can get them to do what the Iran nuclear deal looks like which is to freeze the country in a pre-weapon stage, that would be a big accomplishment. But they would be then giving up 25 years of what they give -- you know, my guess is going in they wanted to do exactly what Richard said which is keep the games they have and no more tests, you know. They are going to keep going but they want to freeze some large part of what they have.
COOPER: Ambassador, I mean, the new National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that the White House is looking at Libya as an example of, you know, negotiations with North Korea. What do you think the lesson of Libya is?
HAASS: The lesson of Libya, not to mention the lesson of Iraq, not to mention the lesson of Ukraine, is to keep hold of your nuclear weapons. So that's the lesson we're setting ourselves up for a dramatic failure. And by the way, I would expect Kim Jong-un is very familiar with what happened to Muammar Gaddafi after he got out of the nuclear weapons business or Saddam Hussein, or Ukraine losing the Crimea.
So, yes, if the lesson as we see it though is that North Korea has to give up everything. It has to agree to all sorts of intrusive monitoring and verification before they could expect any of the benefits. I think essentially, this is going to be an extremely short summit. The location won't matter and we're going to end up with a diplomatic failure on our hands of the first order.
COOPER: In terms of Iran, Fareed, last night the White House released the statement that said Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program. Obviously they quickly own (INAUDIBLE) change it has to have. Sarah Sanders was asked about that. I just want to play that for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does a mistake like this get made and do you believe that the White House has a credibility problem around the world with this statement like this? Do you take this seriously? SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Absolutely, which is why we immediately corrected it. But, again, I think the biggest mistake is the fact that the United States ever entered into the Iran deal in the first place. That to me seems to be the biggest mistake in this process not a simple typo that was immediately corrected and notified individuals as soon as we knew that it had happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Fareed, I mean, does a mistake like this matter? Does it create some sort of credibility problem?
ZAKARIA: I feel as though with the administration that they play fast and loose with the facts so often that it does produce a credibility problem. They almost seem as though they're so eager to make a partisan point that the truth becomes the casualty. And I think for the president of the United States for the -- you know, they're not nearly as careful as they should be with just sticking to the facts.
COOPER: Ambassador Haass, Fareed Zakaria, thanks.
Up next, the drama here at home over Dr. Ronny Jackson who, as you know withdrew his name as V.A. nominee. He's no longer the president's personal physician but President Trump still supports Dr. Jackson and believes he's been treated unfairly by a ranking Democrat on Capitol Hill. Wait until you hear what the Republican chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has to say about all this when we continue.
[21:57:13] COOPER: Tonight, the Republican chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is speaking out on "360" about President Trump's criticism over the handling of Dr. Ronny Jackson's nomination to head the V.A. And the president may not like what the chairman has to say. Jackson, as you know withdrew from consideration last week, he's no longer the president's personal physician, that's after several allegations against him surfaced around including that he improperly dispense medicine. Jackson has denied doing anything wrong.
Over the weekend, the president went on Twitter and went after the ranking Democrat on the committee, accusing him of leading a smeared campaign against Dr. Jackson. The president wrote, quote, Secret Service just informed me that Senator John Tester's statements on Admiral Jackson are not true. There were no such findings, a horrible thing that we in D.C. must live with just like phony Russian collusion. Tester should lose race in Montana, a very dishonest and sick.
So, does the Republican chairman who works with Senator Tester agreed without assessment. That's the questions. And Gary Tuchman caught up with Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson today, he joins us now.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I did catch up with Senator Johnny Isakson where he'd be speaking at a Rotary Club luncheon in Carrollton, Georgia this afternoon. I asked him if he agrees with President Trump that allegations made about Dr. Jackson are not true. And he said he does not agree with that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R), GEORGIA: Well, fortunately last night, a story broke that made that a false statement. Because part of the allegations made in one of the affidavits was verified by Manu -- what's Manu's name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Manu Raju.
ISAKSON: Yes, Manu Raju, he's a great guy by the way and does a great job. Where the allegations that have been incorporated in some of the complaints that were held against Admiral Jackson were validated in that. So it looks like there's been a story that corroborates the fact that there were some of those allegations which were correct.
I did my job, and every senator has the responsibility if they're presented with accusations to try and seek the truth. And that exonerates everybody who seeks the truth. So if you're seeking the truth, then you're covered. If you're not seeking the truth or if you're fractionalizing the truth or if you're twisting the facts, that's something else. But I don't think that was done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Anderson, Senator Isakson tells us that since he defended Senator Tester yesterday, he has heard nothing negative about that from the White House. And he says that with Dr. Jackson no longer in the running to be V.A. secretary, his committee's investigation is now over.
COOPER: All right, Gary Tuchman. Gary, thanks.
Thanks for watching "360" as well. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts now. See you tomorrow.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Another night of multiple big stories and we're following all of them for you. And our breaking news right now, sources tell CNN President Trump's lawyers are preparing for a show down with Robert Mueller. That's over the special counsel's warning that he could issue a subpoena forcing the president to appear before grand jury.
That is a battle shaping up and we will bring you all of the latest reporting on that.