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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
White House Lawyer Quits As President Trump Faces Potential Mueller Subpoena; President Trump Under Oath Many Times Before Taking Office, Avoiding Details; Ex-Trump Doctor Claims Then-Candidate Trump Wrote His Own Glowing Health Letter in 2015; "Washington Post:" President Trump Has Made Over 3,000 False or Misleading Claims in Office; Military Aircraft Crashes on Its Final Flight. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired May 2, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin tonight with growing signs the White House is now truly on war footing with Robert Mueller and the Justice Department, and news on what could be yet another vacancy on the president's legal team, in addition to the White House lawyer Ty Cobb whose departure was announced earlier.
Now, tonight, we know that Ty Cobb was not just, as the White House statement put it today, retiring at the end of the month, having done, quote, a terrific job. Instead or perhaps in addition to that, a source familiar with Cobb's departure tells CNN that he'd been clashing with the president for weeks. And two sources say he'd taken issue in particular with the president's hostile tweets against Special Counsel Mueller.
Now, he's leaving and Emmet Flood, President Clinton's impeachment attorney, is joining the legal team, which wasn't exactly a surprise. CNN Political Analyst and "New York Times" White House Correspondent, Maggie Haberman reported on that nearly two months ago. And how do you think the president responded when Maggie Haberman reported that story? Well, tonight, it sure appears he lied about it.
Back when Maggie reported this nearly two months ago, the president went out of his way to tell a falsehood about it the very next morning and attacked Haberman as well. Maggie Haberman's lead on the 10th of March read: President Trump is in discussions with a veteran Washington lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during the impeachment process about joining the White House to help deal with the special counsel inquiry, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Now, the president could have simply ignored that story or said something bland but true about how he's got plenty of good lawyers already. Instead, he chose to tweet this and it shows you a lot about his honesty, quote: The failing "New York Times" purposely wrote a false story stating that I'm unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and I'm going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I'm very happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow.
Then he added, the writer of the story, Maggie Haberman, a Hillary flunky, knows nothing about me and is not given access.
So, keeping him honest, the president denied Haberman's accurate report, attacked her and it went on to say she knows nothing about the president has no access. So, first of all, Maggie Haberman was right and we know this because now that lawyer she reported on has been officially hired. The president said he was very happy with his three lawyers.
Let's just point out, two of those three lawyers he was very happy with are no longer his lawyers. As for the claim that Haberman is, quote, not given access and knows nothing about the president, well, that's a pretty familiar refrain from this president. A week and a half ago, the president and another tweet referred to Maggie Haberman as, quote, a third-rate reporter named Maggie Haberman known as a "Crooked H Flunky" who I don't speak to and have nothing to do with.
Now, you can believe the president on that or you can believe your eyes. Oh, look, it's Maggie Haberman and Mr. Trump. They go back years. She's interviewed him many times, spoken by phone with him many times, has had countless scoops about this White House and, yes, posed for photos with the man who says he has nothing to do with her.
More on the president and the truth shortly, but first, new reporting on the ongoing legal shake-up at the White House, the jousting over whether the president will agree to sit down with Mueller and the threat by tweet that's looming over all of it.
Jim Acosta joins us now with the latest.
What more do we know about Ty Cobb's departure?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHIE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, as you were setting it up there, it sounds as though the Trump legal team was getting on a war footing taking on a more aggressive posture and tone for the coming fight with the special counsels office and that Ty Cobb essentially said deal me out, According to a source familiar with his departure I'm told that Ty Cobb was not only not happy with those tweets going after the special counsel Robert Mueller, that he did not want to be part of a mudslinging campaign, that he saw muscling a campaign coming and that it was a path he could not go down any farther.
And so, I think essentially what you're singing at this point, Anderson, is the beginning of the next stage and that is to go to war with the special counsel's office. 2
Now, I will tell you that we're also hearing rumblings that perhaps another member of the president's legal team may be on his way out soon, Don McGahn, the White House counsel. My colleague Ariane de Vogue and I are hearing from a couple of different sources familiar with all of this, saying that McGahn is expected to leave the White House in the coming months, perhaps by the end of the summer and I talked to a source earlier this evening who said McGahn may be going back to the campaign this time for re-election. That would again take somebody who has been intimately involved with the president for months more than a year now on all of these legal matters who will be moving on.
Now, Emmet Flood as you said is joining the president's legal team. But, Anderson, I was told that Emmet Flood was potentially coming in to replace Don McGahn. So, if he does that, then again you have another vacancy inside the president's legal team inside the White House.
COOPER: Ad the president today once again threatened to get involved with the Department of Justice.
ACOSTA: Oh that's right. He issued a tweet earlier this morning and this is one of the tweets that Ty Cobb was objecting to, essentially saying that the president was going to get involved, used his presidential powers to get involved. That's the kind of rhetoric that Ty Cobb really didn't want any part of, that's an indication that the president is thinking about shutting down this investigation.
[20:05:03] Now, obviously, he's boxed in at this point, Anderson. If he tries to shut down Robert Mueller, Republicans up on Capitol Hill have said they may impeach this president. At the same time, he's also thinking about the possibility of not sitting down for an interview with Robert Mueller.
Now, Rudy Giuliani, who is also on the president's outside legal team, told "The Washington Post" they're trying to tailor the number of hours that Robert Mueller can use to question the president from, say, a dozen down to two or three. But, of course, that's if the president decides ultimately this is something that he wants to do.
And earlier this evening, just a short while ago, he put out another tweet quoting John Dowd his outside attorney who left back in March basically saying you were messing with the business of the presidency of the United States by trying to tie him up in all of this. There's the quote right there: this isn't some game, you're screwing with the work of the president of the United States. That's what John Dowd told "The Washington Post" and CNN reached John Dowd this evening and said, you know what, that's what I said and I meant it.
It's not clear, though, whether he can succeed in all of this, Anderson, in terms of not sitting down for an interview. Mueller could subpoena him. And as we know from the Nixon tapes experience back in the 1970s that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The president back then tried to cite executive privilege, the Supreme Court said, no, you have to cooperate with authorities -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, I appreciate from the White House.
ACOSTA: You bet.
COOPER: There's also that. There's also some breaking news involving one former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo who went before Robert Mueller's team today and had plenty to say. It's clear, he tells us, quote, they are still really focused on Russia collusion.
He went on to say, quote, they know more about the Trump campaign than anyone who ever worked there. The Senate and the House are net fishing, Caputo says. Quote: the special counsel is spearfishing. They know what they are aiming at and are deadly accurate.
I want to bring in our own legal team, Jeffrey Toobin, Norman Eisen, and Jim Schultz.
Jeff, when you hear Michael Caputo who I'm going to speak to in the next hour describe the special counsel's team and what sounds like -- you know, sort of awe-filled terms, just about their abilities, their zero -- you know, their focus, how concerned should the president is people in his orbit be tonight? I mean, if I was the focus of that team as described by Michael Caputo, I would be very nervous.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: They should be very nervous. You know, the Mueller investigation is like an iceberg. Three- quarters of it is invisible to all of us. You know, think back I guess it's a couple of months now when Mueller's office indicted Russians for the social media conspiracy. Most people didn't even know they were investigating that subject.
I mean, they are operating with the secrecy that we have never seen in Washington and they're learning a lot. I mean, it's really an A Team that they have there and, you know, I've tried, a lot of journalists have tried to figure out what they know, the witnesses all sound like Caputo in that they are shocked and impressed by the level of knowledge that the Mueller people display.
COOPER: Ambassador Eisen, Michael Caputo made a big distinction. Again, he used the term spearfishing compared to what he said are the congressional committees, fishing with the net. And Caputo knows, he had to testify there too.
How much does that undermine the president's reliance on House Republicans who say their intel committee probe found no collusion?
NORMAN EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Anderson, the House Republicans shot themselves in the foot over and over again, first with the so-called unmasking scandal that turned out to be a nothingburger, the Nunes memo, which was an even bigger disappointment, and then their majority report. The president can't rely on that. Increasingly, he has no cover. Mueller knows what he's doing. He's very experienced. I agree with Jeff. He has got the A- team, the Delta Force in there.
And, you know, it's not a very comfortable feeling for the fish when the spear is coming his way. So, Trump is feeling that discomfort and you see it in the frantic tweets that he's issuing these days.
COOPER: Jim, I mean, the president can obviously tweet all he wants. But if Caputo's experience today is any indication, Mueller's team doesn't seem fazed or cowed at all.
JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Well, I don't know that we know what Caputo knows. I mean, he was on the campaign for a hot minute. So, it's hard to say how much Caputo knows about the campaign and what went on inside the campaign. And there were a lot of folks that came and went from that campaign throughout the process.
COOPER: Right, but even he doesn't know --
So, I think it's all speculative at this point.
COOPER: Right, but I think what's interesting about he's saying, it's not necessarily what he has told Mueller about what his knowledge of the campaign was, it's more about his perception of Mueller's knowledge of the campaign.
SCHULTZ: I guess we'll hear more about it at 9:00. I'm anxious to hear what he has to say. But the fact of the matter is, he himself was not there all that long. So, him saying, well, Mueller knows more about the campaign than the campaign does, I'm not sure how much he knew about the campaign.
COOPER: OK, fair point.
Jeff, when the president threatens via Twitter to get involved with the Department of Justice, what he calls a rigged system, do you believe it just is bluster, that he's actually getting closer to firing Rod Rosenstein?
[20:10:06] Well, how do you read that?
TOOBIN: Oh, I think it's very serious. I think we're that -- we're in a very deadly serious moment now. You know, the firing of top -- not firing. They let the departure of Ty Cobb, the arrival of Emmet Flood. I mean, this is a White House moving to a to a war footing and Rod Rosenstein is the most vulnerable person.
I think Robert Mueller, it is -- it would be too dramatic to fire him. But Rosenstein is clearly hanging by a thread. And remember, the specific controversy he's talking about is that Rosenstein is honoring years of tradition in the Justice Department that they don't turn over to Congress material relating to pending investigations. That is an old established policy that the House Republicans are very upset about because they want to know what's going on.
Rosenstein is holding -- is holding firm on that, but we'll see. I mean, the house is talking about impeaching him, the president's upset. I mean, I think Rosenstein is, you know, they would love to get rid of him. He's not gone yet.
COOPER: Ambassador Eisen, I mean, you know the president's new attorney Emmet Flood. He tweeted, quote, fasten your seat belt, folks. It's war. He's one of the very best. This will be a fight for the ages. Are you referring to a criminal court fight or an impeachment fight or both?
EISEN: Well, Anderson, the fascinating thing and it's a crisis for the country, but one can't avoid the drama of the crisis. This is a battle that is fought in all courts.
There is clearly has been activity. There will continue to be activity in Congress. Should the House of Representatives flip, they'll be an intense new oversight. We could where -- we have a grand jury, so there's a critical criminal
matter pending. There's parallel civil cases that bear upon what's going on. And most of all, it's being fought out in the court of public opinion. So, this is an all fronts war.
Emmet Flood is a pro at fighting those battles. Trump has finally brought in a true general. That's like when Lincoln cycled through all those generals before he finally got Grant to come on board. The only question is, Trump is no Lincoln, and you know is this going to be more like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee? It's pretty tough to have Donald Trump for your client, even if you're as good as Emmet.
COOPER: Jim, I mean, can you explain what leverage do you think Rudy Giuliani has to argue that the president should only have to sit for it's a two to three hour interview with Mueller around a narrow set of questions, which is what Giuliani told "The Washington Post", if the president even agrees to talk at all? I mean, at what point does Mueller just say, look, you know, get it -- we'll get a subpoena?
SCHULTZ: OK. Well, and what's going to happen there is this is going -- that would drag on this investigation longer and longer and longer. No one wants to see a protracted court battle here. I think that's why you see Rudy Giuliani coming in just before prior to the appointment of Emmet Flood to start talking about scope and narrowing the scope and getting the public ready for what's coming, which is, you know, the president's willing to talk but willing to talk within on reasonable topics for a reasonable amount of time, just like prior presidents had done in the past, just like President Bush did in the Scooter Libby.
COOPER: Jim --
TOOBIN: Actually, you know --
COOPER: Go ahead.
TOOBIN: I mean, I think Rudy Giuliani is actually on pretty solid ground in trying to set a time limit. I mean, when Bill Clinton testified in the Monica Lewinsky matter, there was a four-hour time limit, you know, two or three maybe too short.
But, you know, the president is not an ordinary witness. The president is a representative of the -- is the executive branch and, you know, he cannot be expected to testify for two full days. So, the idea of a time limit, whether voluntary or imposed by the courts, is actually something that is likely to happen.
COOPER: Jim, you worked for White House counsel --
SCHULTZ: I couldn't agree more.
COOPER: Sorry. You go ahead, Jim.
SCHULTZ: So, I wanted to say that, you know, bringing Emmet Flood in, he is an experienced professional. He knows the special counsel laws, and on the heels of what Rudy Giuliani has been saying, he's going to effectively be counseling the president as to what he needs to do and what he should be doing and getting ready for these interviews should they come to an agreement on scope.
You know, I think it's important to note that, you know, Ty Cobb was replaced by Emmet Flood. Not Don McGahn, and Don McGahn is going to be in that White House as long as he wants -- as long as he wants to be there.
COOPER: Sorry, I lost Jim. I'm not sure if the audience did or not. I'm sorry about that, Jim. I'm sorry to whatever happened to satellite. Jeff Toobin, Norm Eisen, Jim Schultz, thanks very much.
As I mentioned, I'll talk with former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo who was interviewed today by the Mueller team.
And just ahead, we'll take a look back at what happened when Mr. Trump was deposed in the past when he was citizen. And later, just what is the truth these days, especially when it comes to President Trump. The president, according to "The Washington Post", who has lied three -- who has lied thousands of times while in office.
COOPER: More new information about the president's legal shake-up. Rudy Giuliani, one of the newest members of President Trump's legal team, is speaking out to reporters. He spoke by phone to John Roberts of Fox News about the possibility of the president speaking with special counsel Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, LEGAL COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: What I'm concerned about because I know how when you're in the middle of an investigation, you can lose objectivity is, are they objective about the president's interview? Meaning, do they have an open mind to the fact that he maybe telling the truth and Comey maybe lying? If they have an open mind to that, then this is a something we would consider. If they don't, then given all of the irregularities in this investigation, we would be forced to have them be interviewed.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Of course, it certainly is a big if whether, in fact, President Trump will testify under oath or not. But the president has been in exactly that kind of setting before, giving depositions as a private citizen.
Here's CNN's Randi Kaye with an examination of how some of those depositions turned out.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): December 2007, Donald Trump under oath in a courtroom deposition and if it was a test of honesty, the future president didn't fare well. [20:20:02] Even the simplest of questions turned tough to answer.
Lawyers asked about Trump's boast regarding how much he was paid for a 2005 speech he gave at New York City's learning annex.
Trump, I was paid more than a million dollars. He'd said the same to Larry King back in 2005.
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: You make appearances. They got a million dollars. You got a million dollars for appearance with the learning annex, right?
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: That's true.
KAYE: But it wasn't. What Trump didn't reveal until he was pressed during the deposition was that more than half of the $1 million he claimed he was paid for that speech was actually just his own estimate of the value of the publicity that came along with it. The lawyer asked, how much of the payments were cash? Trump, slight, approximately $400,000.
Trump was also exposed for not coming clean about his stake in a Manhattan real estate project which Trump had claimed for a 77-acre project was 50 percent. The lawyer asked, Mr. Trump, do you own 30 percent or 50 percent of the limited partnership? His answer: I own 30 percent.
After a confusing explanation, he was asked, are you saying the real estate community would interpret your interest to be 50 percent even though in limited partnership agreements, it's 30 percent? Smart people would, Trump responded.
On the subject of his net worth, author Tim O'Brien wrote in his book that Trump was worth far less than the $5 billion to $6 billion Trump had once claimed. Under oath, Trump was asked, have you ever not been truthful about your net worth? His response was non-committal. My net worth fluctuates and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try.
It didn't stop there. In fact, "The Washington Post" found Donald Trump either lied, exaggerated or told falsehoods 30 times during the deposition, 30 times.
On the subject of the number of people working for him --
KING: How many people work for you?
TRUMP: Twenty-two thousand or so, different businesses. Over 22,000.
KAYE: In court, the lawyer asked, are all those people on your payroll? No, not directly, Trump said. It turns out he was factoring in employees of other companies that he'd subcontracted.
(on camera): And on his claim he had zero borrowings from his father's estate, under oath, a different story. I think a small amount a long time ago, I think it was like in the $9 million range, he told the court. (voice-over): And about those fees at Trump's golf courses, Trump had said memberships had been going for $300,000. He was again proven to have stretched the truth when the lawyer questioning him provided an internal document showing the correct figure $200,000 per membership. Trump was cornered. Correct, he conceded.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, there aren't all that many attorneys who have interviewed sitting presidents as part of a government investigation. But Sol Wisenberg is one. He was part of the Whitewater team questioned President Bill Clinton back in the '90s. He joins me now to talk about presidents, depositions and the questions involved.
Thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it. So --
SOLOMON WISENBERG, ONE OF THE ATTORNEYS HOW QUESTIONED PRES. CLINTON: My pleasure.
COOPER: Obviously, still -- I mean a lot up in the air, but if the president were to agree to an interview with Mueller, either before a grand jury or not, and he were to not tell the truth, they knew that he wasn't telling the truth. What happens in real time? How does that actually play out?
WISENBERG: Well, nothing necessarily happens in real time. What a typical prosecutor would do would be to decide later whether or not to prosecute the person for perjury. And, of course, with the case of President Trump, you deal right away with a difficult question of whether or not you can indict a sitting president.
Now, what you will do sometimes in a grand jury, like you would if you were cross-examining a witness at trial, you might try to humiliate him by showing that he's lying. You could certainly do that. But it's not like you can stop a grand jury questioning and say, we think you're lying, we're taking you to the judge. That doesn't happen.
COOPER: But they might be -- an attorney might push -- a prosecutor might push -- puts the person until they actually get to the truth, and they have the person reversed themselves.
WISENBERG: Absolutely, and you can do that. I mean, you can cross it -- you can question someone at the grand jury in whatever manner you want. You can treat them in a friendly way, you can treat it like a direct examination, or you can treat it like a cross-examination.
When I questioned President Clinton, I treated it more like a cross- examination.
COOPER: If the person who originally lies under oath eventually tells the truth after continued questioning, does that original lie still count as perjury?
WISENBERG: Well, it's tricky. There are two different federal perjury statutes and under one of them, if you come in and recant before you're charged, it's actually can be a defense. And also, people at the grand jury are told, you know, if you misremember something or need to change your testimony, you can always contact the prosecutor.
[20:25:05] So, really, people who are -- it's actually difficult to successfully charge and convict somebody for perjury.
COOPER: It's interesting.
WISENBERG: It's got to be -- it's got to be pretty clear-cut. There's a thing called a true but -- a true but misleading statement, something that's literally true even if it's misleading is not perjury and you cannot be successfully prosecuted for that.
COOPER: If a president were to lie to Mueller in a voluntary interview which in and of itself would be a crime, I guess could that end up with the president being compelled to testify before a grand jury.
WISENBERG: Well, I don't think that -- I think the president can be compelled to testify in front of a grand jury as a general matter. I mean, presidents aren't above the law and certainly Mueller could issue a subpoena.
But you've raised an interesting point. I don't think it has anything to do with whether or not he told a false statement first. I mean, the grand has a right to every man's evidence, but there's a very interesting point that I don't think has been stressed enough here.
Everybody talks about U.S. versus Nixon which was the 8-0 Supreme Court opinion that said President Nixon had to hand over tapes to Leon Jaworski who had issued a trial subpoena for them.
WISENBERG: But in U.S. versus Nixon, the Supreme Court thought it was very important that Leon Jaworski, the special prosecutor, had the specific authority under the regulation that governed his conduct to a question -- to litigate the issue of executive privilege and to challenge it. Bob Mueller, as far as I can tell, does not have that authority.
So, what could very well happen here is Bob Mueller issues a subpoena, the president goes into court, claims executive privilege and says, Bob Mueller is my inferior officer. He doesn't even have the right to question me about that, and that's an open question under U.S. versus Nixon.
COOPER: Fascinating. Sol Wisenberg, appreciate your expertise. Thanks so much for being with us.
Coming up next, keeping them honest, the bigger picture of this president, his shaky relationship with the truth, and two views on whether it's even a problem at all.
[20:31:05] COOPER: We began doing keeping them honest report in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Back then the emphasis was on holding elected officials to some of the most basic promises a government can make to its citizens about their safety, their health, their future.
Today, keeping them honest is taking on new dimensions where politicians, including President once shaded the truth changed the subject, of all the questions entirely but really flat out lied.
Today it is different. Today the President of the United States and the people around him regularly and routinely say things that are not true, lies about big things and small, lies amplified by repetition from the bully pulpit spread over the side of bully pulpit from the comments from having 51 million Twitter followers, which is then re- amplified on the Fox News feedback loop.
And keeping them honest every day seems to bring a new one or reveal yesterday's dubious claim as an outright falsehood or concoction. Such as this one revealed just yesterday about candidate Trump's health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If your health is as strong as it seems from your review systems, why not share your medical records. Why not --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I have really no problem in doing it. I have it right here. I mean, should I do it? I don't care. Can I do it?
TRUMP: It is two letters. One is the report and the other is from Lenox Hill Hospital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that letter from Dr. Harold Bornstein sounded outlandish at the time but then again, some much around candidate Donald Trump did. His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary, the letter reads, "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."
And of course yesterday Dr. Bornstein revealed that those glowing words were dictated by Mr. Trump. I'm sure it's tempting to put in the sideshow category colorful, centric the doctor says something colorful, centric about his over-the-top patient, except of course it had to do with the physical and mental fitness of the man who would be commander in chief of the nuclear super power and chief executive of the United States.
Now according to "Washington Post," the President has now made more than 3,000 false or misleading statements in office so far. And it doesn't cover just the last few days, during which for example President claimed none of the 49 questions Special Counsel Mueller reportedly wants to ask him have to do with collusion. In fact 13 do. Or his claim over the weekend that wages arising for the first time in many, many years when in fact they've been raising steadily since 2015.
Now according to the Post fact checkers he has repeated that claim 20 times. But is the Post, CNN and virtually every journalistic outlet has reported there were lies of the campaign trail but they never cease once the President was in office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. It looked honestly like a million and a half people, whatever it was, it was, but it went all the way back to the Washington Monument and I turn on, by mistake, I get this network, and it showed an empty field. Said we drew 250,000 people. Now, that's not bad. But it's a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around -- you know, in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000 people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the President sent his press secretaries, as you remember, out to defend this untruth and repeated it several times just as he repeated the untruth that millions of illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 election. And even formed a Presidential commission to investigate, which no longer exist. The President said and continues to say this about the border wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We started building our wall. I am so proud of it. We started -- we have 1.6 billion. And we have already started, you saw the pictures yesterday. I said what a thing of beauty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, keeping them honest, we sent our Gary Tuchman to check out the claim and he found unsurprisingly that it was false, just a section of the wall being replace and refurbish like it always has been over the years. The President has repeated lied about that. The question is does anybody care? I mean, plenty of the President's supporters don't seem too. They even say they've never heard the President not lie and that is perhaps the biggest lie of all.
Digging deeper now, with former Trump Campaign Strategist, David Urban and Rick Wilson, anti Trump Republican Strategist and author of the upcoming book, "Everything Trump Touches Dies."
[20:35:09] Rich, what does it say about this President and his relationship to the truth that hardly anyone seems to be surprise by the fact that he dictated his own doctor's letter?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think it speaks to both of that, Anderson, and also to this man's incredible vanity. I mean, this is a guy we really know very little about his health status because had to have his image protected by having both his personal doctor and then a navy physician reflect things about him that may or may not be true anywhere else except Donald Trump's own head. I mean, we really do live in sort of a post truth environment even when it comes down to things like the actual medical facts about his actual personal history.
COOPER: David, I mean, as a supporter of the President, does it concern you at all that he dictated this letter to his doctor?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, Anderson, and look -- Rick, you know, with all due respect, we know Rick is no fan of this President so his position here is quite clear where he is coming from.
Look, I think the President may have dictated the letter. If that's true, I don't know. We're taking this gentleman's word who breached this doctor/patient relationship earlier by leaking everybody talking to "The New York Times" and telling "The Times" that what prescription the President took.
So he is the gentleman who is clearly in violation of this fiduciary duty to the President as regards to his own personal information. So if the President did in fact dictate it, what does it say about the doctor, is he telling the truth? The doctor signed the letter. He didn't push back. He is not saying that nothing in the letter is false. Is he I don't believe that is sent to anywhere?
COOPER: But I mean, you are putting it on the doctor. I guess what does it say about the patient, that he go to his lifetime physician is a guy that he can manipulate to do whatever he wants?
URBAN: Anderson, I don't think that is fair. I think what the President -- and again, you know, going with your assertion the President dictated the letter, the President may have said, hey look, this is what I would like to emphasize, if the doctor went and head and wrote it down and signed it and say that the president agree too, I can tell you from firsthand experience, I have run up flights to stairs with this President, with the secret service. This guy is in good shape, I don't know if that's reflected in a letter or not but the President in great physical shape. And it was reflected -- look, not just by this doctor, but by Dr. Jackson, who the Obama administration clearly loved and supported and, you know, so you're saying not the doctor that is previous primary care physician was not telling the truth but also that Dr. Jackson was not telling the truth.
COOPER: David, though -- I mean, if you are telling me if Hillary Clinton had dictated to her doctor or Barack Obama had dictated to his doctor say that, you know, I have the best genes that --
URBAN: Anderson, we all watched Hillary Clinton pass out completely pass out.
COOPER: Right and people's heads exploded.
URBAN: She would pass out and now -- and we were told she had a fainting spell.
URBAN: Everybody seeing that and she was whisked away to some secretive location with the media being around. Nobody, I don't hear to be clamoring about right now about her medical records.
WILSON: She is also not the President.
URBAN: Who are you calling a liar, Rick? Are you calling Dr. Ronny Jackson a liar? Are you calling former doctor a liar?
COOPER: OK. But just honestly, David, I remember broadcasting an awful a lot about Hillary Clinton's fainting at the 9/11 memorial and, you know, there are cameras outside her daughter's apartment when she came out. And we questioned all of this stuff.
So -- but you are telling me honestly, you are telling me if Hillary Clinton, if it turned out that she dictated her doctor's later or the Barack Obama did that Republicans would not be making a big deal about this?
URBAN: No. Look, everyone make a big deal about. I think, look, the bottom line question is this, Anderson.
URBAN: Just wait -- is anybody saying that either those doctors in these instances, either Dr. Jackson or is previous doctor, personal care physician, is anybody accusing them of lying in these cases?
COOPER: You know, let's hold on to that, quite --
WILSON: Lies of omission are still lies.
COOPER: Well, let's just hold on, on that question. I got to get a break in but I just want to continue this right after the break. We'll come back. We'll talk about the larger issue of the President and his relationship, the truth as well. We'll be right back.
[20:42:47] COOPER: Talking about President Trump, the truth, his relationship to it and whether it should matter, with David Urban and Rick Wilson, author of the upcoming book, "Everything Trump Touches Dies."
The issue at hand, the President's health and the doctor's admission yesterday that it was patient and not doctor who wrote the glowing report.
So Rick, David, just before the break was saying, is anybody saying that Dr. Jackson or Bornstein that they are actually lying? WILSON: Well, I think there is a certain degree to which we have to look at lies of omissions being lies as well. And in the ethical construct of whether or not something is the truth, you can have the literal truth written down on paper, you can have an opinion written on the --
URBAN: Is that -- are you saying --
WILSON: Wait a second, David. David, wait a second. You can suborn an opinion from these doctors or you could leave out relevant facts. You can leave out important details and I think there are a lot of reasons to ask whether or not important details have been left out of the medical records that have been provided so far. I mean, this is --
WILSON: This is clearly a situation where the President has been found have lied over 3,000 times in his first year in office. This is not a man who was comfortable person with the truth.
And I think David, once again, I think Anderson's question is relevant. If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton did this, the right would be losing their damn minds, and I would be.
COOPER: Let me ask you, David, I spoke to Congressman Jim Jordan a couple of weeks ago and I ask him if he had ever heard the President lie whether to his face or to American people. Let me put you on the spot. And ask you the same thing, have you ever heard the President ever lie, either to you personally or to the American people?
URBAN: No. The President has never lied to me. And I don't think the President lies to the American people.
Listen, I think there's -- listen, Anderson, I think there's a lot of do with hyperbole in campaigning. I don't think the President lies to the American people. He did not lie to me personally I'll tell you that.
COOPER: OK, when newspapers report that he has lied or misconstrued facts 3,000 times so far, 6.5 times a day, you're saying you've never heard that President say something which is demonstrably false and he knew was false?
URBAN: Listen, Anderson, I have not sat next to the President, where he made a statement --
COOPER: No, no, you're watching on TV. I'm talking about on TV or anything, publicly.
URBAN: Listen, I think the President is prone to hyperbole. Yes, absolutely. I absolutely agree with you that. So I think that he is purposely misleading the American people, no, I do not.
[20:45:07] WILSON: Wow.
COOPER: Wow. OK.
WILSON: I know, wow. You're asking me my opinion.
COOPER: OK. I am not sure I believe you that that is what you really believe.
URBAN: I really believe that. Listen the President is prone to hyperbole. You know that, you've see this --
COOPER: Factually, he has said things, which are not true and which he obviously knows are not true. The millions of illegal immigrants who voted and are the reason to Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. I mean there is --
URBAN: I put that in campaign hyperbole, OK.
COOPER: What is the difference between hyperbole and a lie?
URBAN: Listen, some is I believe during the campaign. Look, listen, Anderson, we got and -- I can play tape from 535 members of Congress and we could slide and dice those and I would promise, you would say is that a lie or is that campaign hyperbole? I mean, this President I don't --
COOPER: I still haven't heard the difference between hyperbole and a lie. But Rick, do you know the difference between hyperbole and a lie?
WILSON: Yes, a hyperbole is an exaggeration that could be truthful or untruthful. A lie is an absolutely misstatement of fact. And Donald Trump is very, very familiar with the statement of fact because he makes them thousands of times a year. And as gone well beyond campaign -- Look, there are things that you know Donald Trump lied about. Donald Trump lied when he said I think President Obama was born in Kenya. That was a lie. That was not campaign hyperbole. That was a lie.
URBAN: Rick, do you know what the state of Iowa (ph) was? You know, the President did not believe truthfully in his mind? I mean, did you know his state of mind at that time?
WILSON: David, it doesn't matter, it was still an untruth. It's an objectively untruth --
URBAN: No, the President -- you are saying you know the President knew that was a lie when he said that? You're making a judgment --
WILSON: Absolutely he knew it was a lie.
COOPER: But the President has been shown the facts on that and still continues to say that at a certainly point, either, you know, I mean, it is a lie. It is just something which is not true and he knows it. He doesn't want to believe it.
WILSON: Call me old fashion, but I would love to have a President that believed the truth mattered. And that even through, put your best spin on something, make your best case for something, but don't say, you know, I have accomplished the following thing when it doesn't happen. I have done the following action when that action is not been performed. The following threat exists when the following threat does not exist. It would be nice to see the President at some point settle down a little bit and stop trying to BS the American people about every single thing he does.
WILSON: And not just play the showman but playing actual national --
COOPER: Yes, I mean, David even stuff like --
WILSON: I think you'd like that too David.
COOPER: David, even stuff like -- they have started to build Donald Trump's border wall I mean that is just not true. The $1.6 billion, the refurbishing existing wall which is something that has happened under every administration, now, you know, maybe that's not a big deal. But I mean, again, the Washington Post analysis makes 6.5 false claims a day, do you not worry that there is a danger of just the American people becoming numb to it. That -- I don't know.
URBAN: Listen, Anderson, you are not going to let him become numb. Trust me, I know, you and Rick will keep pound away at this. I don't think he'll ever going to become numb.
COOPER: Well, I do think lies matter. I mean, whether it is President Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or anybody. I mean, it used to be that lies actually did matter. Doesn't David?
URBAN: Well, I think lies do matter. I agree with you.
COOPER: Let me just ask you, David, one more time. Just first of all, did millions of illegal immigrants vote in California and is that why Hillary Clinton won the popular vote?
URBAN: Look, it doesn't matter what I think, Anderson. You know, you're going --
COOPER: I am wondering if you think that's true or not?
URBAN: No. I don't think it's true.
URBAN: Listen, I don't know --
COOPER: So the President has said that and the commission he set up is now disappeared and they found nothing. So let me just give you one more chance.
URBAN: He is incorrect in that instance, Anderson.
COOPER: Is that a lie? URBAN: No, I don't know if it is a lie or being incorrect. Do you want me to say the President lie, I'm not going to say the President is liar, Anderson, I won't do it.
COOPER: David Urban --
URBAN: I will say, he's incorrect, he's incorrect.
COOPER: David Urban, Rick Wilson, thank you guys. I appreciate it.
WILSON: Sure, thanks.
URBAN: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, new details on a deadly plane crash this afternoon near Savannah, Georgia. Authorities have just had a press conference. We will tell you the latest.
[20:53:25] COOPER: One of the workhorses of the military's aircraft fleet crashed today in Savannah, Georgia. It was a C-130 Hercules transport plane. You can see at the starting in the top center of the screen what appears to be just a steep dive. The four-engine turbo prop with nine aboard was headed to Arizona to be decommissioned when it went down.
CNN's Nick Valencia is there for us tonight. What are you learning about the plane and its crew?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, as you mentioned, this flight was on its way or this plane was on its way to be decommissioned in Arizona in what appears to be its last flight, when it was involved in a deadly crash.
We know that there were nine airmen onboard, nine airmen that have yet to be identified. And according to a Puerto Rican government official who I spoke to, no one appears to have survived. We did speak to the National Guard, as well, earlier until Puerto Rico. They tell me that this specific plane, this C-130 had undergone routine maintenance in the last few days and had been cleared to fly and make that flight to Arizona, where it was going to be decommissioned and put into the boneyard.
It was such a violent crash that when we got here, Anderson, about three or four hours afterwards, there was debris that was still smoldering, smoke was still in the air. In fact, at this hour, the rear portion of the plane is still here on this Georgia highway. Anderson?
COOPER: There were witnesses, I know, to the crash. What did they describe?
VALENCIA: We spoke to one witness who says that the pilot in this case was a hero. This witness claims that the pilot was doing evasive maneuvering and it appears trying to avoid crashing into any cars or any people. And it really is miraculous, when you think that this thoroughfare, it's such a busy thoroughfare, and about 200 feet or so here off camera, Anderson, is a gas station.
And you can imagine what is already a huge and enormous debris field, 600 by 600 feet, would have been a lot bigger and a lot worse had that pilot crashed into that gas station or something else more hazardous. Anderson.
[20:55:10] COOPER: Yes. Just awful. Nick Valencia, I appreciate your reporting. Thank you.
Coming up, we'll going to talk with a frequent guest of ours who today was a guest on Robert Mueller's panel. His take on what the special counsel knows and whether the White House is equipped to cope with it, next.
COOPER: Tonight, someone who just went up against Robert Mueller's team and what he learned about the case that Mueller might already have. Michael Caputo has a lot to say about that and how the special counsel's investigation compares with the House and Senate probes. This caps a day that begun with the President tweeting a threat against the Justice Department and then changes the White House legal team aimed and finally presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani laying down the terms under which he believes his client and Mr. Mueller might talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, LEGAL COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: What I'm concerned about, because I know how when you're in the middle of an investigation, you can lose some objectivity, is, are they objective about the President's interview? Meaning, do they have an open mind to the fact that he may be telling the truth and Comey may be lying? If they have an open mind to that, then this is a -- something we would consider. If they don't, then given all of the irregularities in this investigation, we would be foolish to have him be interviewed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Rudy Giuliani on Fox News.