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Pentagon to be Asked to Approve Plans to Potentially House Thousands of Unaccompanied Children, Families n Two Texas Bases; Pres. Trump Tweets Again on False Claims That Obama Wiretapped Trump Tower Phones. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired June 25, 2018 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:17] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight with breaking news. We learned this evening that this week, the Homeland Security Department will ask the Pentagon to approve plans to potentially house more than 7,000 unaccompanied children and 4,000 migrant family members at two military bases in Texas. That's according to an administration official who stressed that these are planning numbers and it's not clear that many people would actually need to be housed.

Meanwhile, tonight, we're keeping them honest with the president patting himself on the back for taking action regarding a situation he himself created and the White House still not owning up to it. The gaslighting continues, the White House insisting that you should ignore the facts and believe them instead.

Now, as you probably know, more than 2,000 kids have been separated from their parents and placed in detention centers and shelters across the U.S. Now, the president signed an executive order meant to keep migrant families together. This was after he and members of his administration said multiple times that only Congress could end the separations, the separations that he himself initiated under a so- called zero tolerance policy.

Now, the policy was to enforce existing border laws in a way that other presidents have not, which brings us to today. At the White House this morning, the president said he has no regrets about signing that order despite reports that he's questioned it in private.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The executive order was great. It was something that I felt we had to do we want children staying together. The law has been this law for a long period of time. There was a false story -- fake news in "The New York Times". Just the opposite, I wanted to sign that -- in fact, I was saying yesterday before I read this phony story in "The New York Times" said that I was very, very happy that I signed that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Now, again, this is a problem that the president created by adopting the zero-tolerance immigration policy. Now, the president seems to want to take away due process for undocumented immigrants entirely. Over the weekend, he tweeted, quote, we can't allow all of these people to invade our country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately with no judges or court cases bring them back from where they came.

Obviously, Sarah Sanders was asked about this in the White House press briefing today, the very first question was, does the president believe that undocumented immigrants have no due process rights whatsoever?


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thousands of illegal aliens are removed every month without seeing an immigrant judge as a result of procedures in current law, including voluntary removal and an expedited removal. Just because you don't see a judge doesn't mean you aren't receiving due process.


COOPER: Now multiple reporters tried to get clarification but Sanders only repeated that answer and said the president wants secure borders and Congress should step up and work with the White House to fix the system.


REPORTER: So, unless Congress acts, nothing is actually going to change the administration. The administration is not changing anything right now when it comes --

SANDERS: And are walking around making up laws? No, because we're not the Obama administration. We're actually trying to enforce the laws that are on the books, we're actually asking Congress to do their part in the process, and pass new legislation that will fix our immigration system.


COOPER: Now, keeping him honest, the White House can try all it wants to blame past administrations or blame Congress, but that doesn't change the fact that it was this administration's zero-tolerance policy that led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents. They wanted it to be a deterrent. They wanted to send a message. They said so on camera. This was a deliberate choice by the administration.

And they picked up today where they left off last week, saying they actually want to keep families together.


REPORTER: -- that they're working to make families stay together? It was your administration that separated them in the first place.

SANDERS: It wasn't our administration that created these laws but it is our administration's job to enforce it, and we've done that. If someone breaks the law, it's our job to enforce it.


COOPER: Now, true, it wasn't this administration that created these laws, but as we've said, already, multiple times, it was this administration's choice to enforce them in a way that no other president has.

Now, caught in the middle of all this confusion, chaos, of course, are real people, real children and the major question is what happens to them now?

Sarah Sanders was asked about that as well.


REPORTER: The law says you can't keep them together or keep the children, even with parents for longer than 20 days. So, then what happens -- in the next 20 days?

SANDERS: Hopefully, Congress will pass a law and fix the problem. Well, why should it be so hard? They all say that they don't want to separate families, seems like it should be pretty simple to me.


COOPER: So, again, putting this administration made problems squarely on the shoulders of Congress, saying it should be a simple fix, .except remember, just a few days ago, the president tweeted and I, quote, Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congressmen/women in November.

Our Jim Acosta is in South Carolina with the president speaking at a rally for Governor Henry McMaster, joins us now.

So, Jim, we're now learning that the military might need to help house some of these unaccompanied kids. Clearly, this has not been a well- executed plan.

What did the White House have to say about it today?

[20:05:02] JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that's right, Anderson. The Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said earlier today that, yes, there are a couple of bases in Texas that may be used to house potentially up to 11,000 migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied minors. That's the potential if they ever have that need.

But obviously, Anderson, what you saw over at the White House earlier today was another example of how they just try to dodge these questions and provide as little information as possible. You heard this, the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders say, well, we need resources from the Congress, we need resource to do all these things to care for these people.

But at the same time as you just mentioned a short while ago, Anderson, last week, the president was essentially telling Congress, no, what we want to wait until after the midterms to have more Republicans in Congress. There are Republicans up on Capitol Hill, has you know right now, Anderson, who are saying we want to provide those resources for judges and so on.

And, of course, that flies against what the president has been tweeting and talking about over the last 48 hours that he wants to deny due process to migrants coming across the border. So, you're hearing two different things. Conflicting ideas coming from the same party.

COOPER: Jim, CNN is reporting that the president asked Sarah Sanders to lead her briefing not on those children or matters of national security but how she was asked to leave a restaurant this weekend. I'm wondering why the president felt that was so important to begin the briefing on it?

ACOSTA: Well, I talked to his source close to the White House just in the last several minutes who essentially summed it up this way, do as I say, not as I do. The White House obviously wants to emphasize what they believe to be intolerance on the left, while at the same time totally avoiding the question of what happened over the past 18 months when the president time and again has not shown civility and not just the president, but officials at all levels of this administration, and not to mention people who show up at some of these rallies and say unkind things, for example, to members of the press.

You know, this is something that obviously the White House wants to put out there, wants to make sure that the public is focused on when obviously, you know, they could have come out today where they plan for what is going to happen to all these children who have been separated from their parents. We're waiting to hear if the president talks about that at this rally. But as you've seen over the last several days, Anderson, when the president talks about this immigration issue, he tries to pivot and talk about what he feels to be the dangers of illegal immigration and I expect we'll hear more of that this evening, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

A lot to talk about tonight. Joining me now, former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes, Republican strategist Ana Navarro, former White House ethics czar in the Obama administration, Ambassador Norm Eisen.

Ana, let's start with you. I'm wondering what your reaction is to the president's tweet, saying that when people, quote, invade the country, they should immediately with no judges or court cases be brought back from where they came?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, he tweets so many crazy things that it's almost, you know, hard to know what to do and how to react to the things he says. This one is very serious. Look, I'm going to take the president of the United States seriously anytime and every time he tweets. I don't see the things he says as jokes. I see them as deadly serious.

Due process is a pillar, a bastion of our constitutional democracy. This guy swore on the Constitution when he took the oath of office. Republicans, we are supposed to be strict constitutionalists and due process is a key part of that.

So, you know, how do I feel about it? I think it's violating Republican principles. I think it's violating American principles and I think it's something that he cannot do unilaterally.

If he wants to try? Fine. But I can tell you, he's going to get challenged in court and he's probably going to have a very high time defending it.

COOPER: Steve, should somebody who crosses the border illegally, a non-American citizen have a due process?

STEVE CORTES, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Anderson and Ana, I might surprise you, I totally agree with you here, Ana. Case law is settled on this issue once you step foot on American soil, there are due process rights, not the same rights as an American citizen by the way, but there are still due process rights. So, we would have to have new legislation at the least to see changes that the president can't do it unilaterally.

But I think the bigger point that he's getting at, the president, and again, the president speaks in a vernacular that the people understand. He doesn't speak in a in a lawyerly measured way all the time and people actually appreciate that. The point he's trying to get across is, if you come here illegally, you do not have all the rights of an American. Do you have some rights to due process? Yes, I believe you do, but you also should be adjudicated as quickly as possible and our laws should be changed so that your removal is expedited because you have no business being here in the first place.

I think that's the larger point. Let's not major in the minors on the minutia of case law. Let's focus on the principle that's important which is, we have a country, we have a border, that's not racist, it's not xenophobic, it's just common sense.

COOPER: Ambassador Eisen, Sarah Sanders today said, quote, just because you don't see a judge doesn't mean you're not receiving due process. Legally speaking, does that make sense to you?


[20:10:03] I have to disagree with Steve. This isn't something that can be fixed with a statute, Steve. This is the damage that Trump is doing with these tweets. He's even flummoxed you.

The Supreme Court has said that constitution --

CORTES: I'm not flummoxed.

EISEN: You are. You misstated his tweet. He's not speaking in a vernacular. He's lying about our Constitution. He's misstating our most fundamental laws and principles.

The Supreme Court held, for example, in the Zadvydas case in 2001, that once you're here, you're entitled to due process.

CORTES: Norm, I just conceded that.

EISEN: The president directly -- let me finish, Steve. The president directly, it's not -- you said it's a question of Congress fixing it -- no, it's constitutional. That's number one.

Number two, you said the president speaking in a vernacular -- baloney. He's denying our Constitution, the thing that makes us Americans. That is not something that Americans like. That's why this crisis has caused his popularity to plummet and the American --

CORTES: Really? He's popularity is rocketing higher.

EISEN: No, no, it's not.

CORTES: No, that's fake new.

EISEN: No, it is not.

CORTES: His popularity -- yes, it is.


EISEN: When he is -- Steve, let me finish my point. When his tweet says something that's not convenient for you, you misstate the tweet. When the polling numbers are inconvenient, you misstate the polling.

This is wrong. There 2,000 -- here's the last point I want to make. There are 2,000 kids -- over 2,000 have been cruelly separated from their parents. That is a crisis. That is a shame on the Trump presidency. He brought that about --

COOPER: All right --

EISEN: -- and that is what we should be focused on.

COOPER: I mean, Steve, certainly among Republicans, his popularity is just going up.

CORTES: Among everyone is going up. Per CNN polling, 57 percent of Americans in the most recent poll say the country is going in the right direction. That is the highest in a decade in this country. So, the American people you wouldn't know it necessarily from watching mainstream media, but the American people are optimistic and confident and the economy is accelerating and they're happy.

Now, regarding your points though, Norman -- listen, I concede, yes, case law absolutely argued against it. When I say a legislative fix, I mean, expediting the due process which they have to get, expediting the due process so that removal can be much faster, much more efficient, because if you break and enter into our home, you are not allowed, you do have due process rights just as a criminal United States has due process rights when they break and enter into a private residence.

But it doesn't mean that you are allowed to stay here then for months and years and bog down our system. That is the point I think the president's trying to get across there. And it's a point I think the American people agree with.

COOPER: Let me -- I got to get a quick break in. We're going to have more of this discussion. We'll take you also to Texas where families looking -- looking for their kids spoke out today.

And later, the head of the homeland security secretary, Secretary Nielsen, heckled out of a restaurant. Sarah Sanders asked to leave a different restaurant. Has the lack of civility in our political life reached another new low? We'll talk about it with David Axelrod and Doug Brinkley, ahead.


[20:16:38] COOPER: Again, tonight's breaking news: this week, the Department of Homeland Security will ask the Pentagon to approve plans to potentially house more than 7,000 unaccompanied kids and 4,000 migrant family members at two military bases in Texas. This comes as the fate of thousands of children who were separated from their parents still is in limbo. Today, El Paso, Texas, parents looking for their kids spoke out.

Our Dianne Gallagher is there, joins us now.

So, the parents of this news conference today clearly were upset. What do they have to say about being separated from their kids?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, for some of the people, they say that at this point they would rather risk poverty and even death than go through this situation because they don't know where their children are. Thirty-two of them came to this charity, the annunciation house here in El Paso, only three of them have had a direct personal conversation with their child since they were separated. Some of them are finding out at this point that their kids are across the country in New York or maybe in Chicago, and they're not really sure how to reunite with them.

They told stories because that many of them thought that they were going to actually see their children when they were dropped off at the annunciation house. They say they were led to believe that their kids were there. One man said that it's his daughter's tenth birthday today and he was so excited waiting for her, now he doesn't even know where she is. He can't find her.

Another woman says if she just found out that her 4-year-old son is in New York. He -- she can't talk to him on the phone because his caseworker said he was mad at her and didn't want to speak. And so, we're hearing these stories because, Anderson, they say that when they were dropped off at this charity, they were only given a phone number, a piece of paper. No instructions on how to work if you can't get ahold of somebody, the government they say has not been proactive about reuniting them with their kids. And, look, they're desperate right now and they don't know where to turn.

COOPER: So, they're out of custody -- the people who spoke today?

GALLAGHER: Yes. So, they're wearing ankle bracelets, but the charges against them were essentially let go. They were dismissed, the criminal charges. But they still have to go through the immigration proceedings. So, they're allowed out with these ankle bracelets on, they can move around the entire country and basically that prevents El Paso from kind of being a holding area for people that they release indefinitely, and they can go around the country until their day in court, sort of similar to how some of this was working before the zero tolerance policy.

Again though, they don't know where their kids are and they were released and their kids are still somewhere across the country right now.

COOPER: OK. Dianne Gallagher, I appreciate that.

We're going to have more on that whole ankle bracelet program which was used in the past. We'll take a look at how effective that is.

Steve Cortes, thanks for coming back. Ana Navarro as well, and Ambassador Norm Eisen.

And -- I mean, Sarah Sanders today said that the president supports keeping families together. Do you believe that? I mean, do you think the administration at this point wants to keep families together? Because that obviously was not the initial policy and they talked about this as a deterrent, where do you think they are on this?

CORTES: Anderson, are you asking me?


COOPER: I'm sorry, I was asking Ana.

NAVARRO: I have no idea. I'm not a Trump whisperer. I have no idea what happens or what goes through his head.

What we do know is that what his initial policy is. What we do know is that it's been reported that he is having second thoughts and regretting having signed that executive order.

COOPER: Which he denies.

NAVARRO: What we do know is that -- which he denies as he denies so many other things.

[20:20:03] And, you know, it was done because there was enormous national outrage from practically every group and every demographic, including groups that are very important to Republicans, like Republican senators, Republican congressmen, evangelicals, you know, Catholic, every major religious leader, the Chamber of Commerce, and I can go on and on and on.

So, this was not something that he did out of compassion. This was not something he did out of humanity, out of empathy. This was something he did because he was basically forced to do it for the first time.

COOPER: You know, Steve, let me ask you. The one of -- there are a number of Republicans in Capitol Hill who have put forward ideas of hiring more judges because there's backlog like 700,000 cases, there's just a couple of hundred judges. They're talking about hiring a lot more.

That's not something that the administration is supportive of, certainly not the president. Why do you think that is? Because you talked about, you know, expediting removals, expediting the whole process. Wouldn't more judges help in that expediting the process?

CORTES: It might very well, no. I would -- I would advise the president to reconsider that. I think more judges would be helpful. I hate bureaucracy in general, but in this case, we might really need a bureaucracy to expedite the process.

I think long term though and I think this is where the president's going certainly where Trump voters like me and all the people I talked to who are part of the 2016 movement, long term, these are near term fixes. Long term, it's a border wall. That's what we need. That will solve 95 percent of these problems. If it's not easy to cross our sovereign border illegally, we will eliminate the vast majority of these problems.

So, long term, we need a border wall, near-term, I think more judges might be helping.

But you do know, I mean as you well know this because you know this issue very well some, you know, a large percentage of the people who are here illegally have overstayed their visas. So, a border wall won't actually solve the problem of illegal immigration.

CORTES: Of course, no, that alone does not, but it will solve most of the border issues. Legal immigration is a much bigger issue than the border. But the border, too -- I really want to point this out -- having a porous and lawless border which we've tolerated for decades in this country, both Republicans and Democrats, by the way, and I give President Trump so much credit for doing the hard work of trying to take this issue on because Bush didn't, Obama didn't big business loved an open border for free labor, the Democrats love it because they saw votes -- everyone I think was really honestly duplicitous regarding the border except for President Trump.

Tolerating a lawless border leads to all kinds of human misery, including these children for the victims because their parents chose to break the law with them in tow, including traffickers of both contraband and humans including sex trafficking all kinds of awful consequences results from tolerating this kind of lawlessness and a wall will be a great way to reinforce the border and reestablished law and sanity there, quite frankly. COOPER: Ambassador Eisen, I mean, the White House is saying members of Congress are the only ones who have the ability to change the law. Doesn't this ultimately come down to how this administration at least for this latest issue on the border of separating families, it comes down to how this administration is interpreting the existing law.

I mean, they've enforced immigration laws unlike past administrations.

EISEN: That's right, Anderson, and President Trump tried to lie about that too, claiming that this had continued under both Democratic and Republican predecessors, nonsense. There's a settlement agreement. It's known as the Flores agreement, that governs the situation in order -- it's to protect these kids. Everybody recognizes that kids are different from adults and in order to keep the kids safe, both Democrats and Republicans had kept the families together.

President Trump and his administration intentionally tore these children's from these children from their parents' arms. It is inhumane. It is cruel, runs against everything that America stands for and the American people don't like it.

In the Gallup poll, Anderson, last week before this mess, Trump was at 45 percent approved, 50 percent disapproved, 5 percent gap. That's soared to a 14 percent gap in today's Gallup poll, 41 versus 55.

People do not like this. It is not American shame on President Trump. Shame on him.

CORTES: Norm, any American, any American who commits a serious crime and might happen to have their children with them will be separated from their children when they get arrested.

What you're asking for is actually special rights for illegal immigrant criminals over American criminals, and that's just absurd. It's illogical. It's not the law. And the American people I think see through that. They know that.

COOPER: All right.

Steve Cortes, Ana Navarro --

NAVARRO: You know that this is not a serious crime. This is people fleeing for their lives.

CORTES: It's a very serious crime, to break into our country is a very serious crime.

COOPER: It's actually a misdemeanor, isn't it?

CORTES: The first time, it's a felony after that. And it should be a felony the first time.

[20:25:00] EISEN: Steve, all we're asking is that Trump follow the Flores law like both administrations, Republicans and Democrats, did, and show some compassion. These are children were talking about. Shame on you. COOPER: OK, Ambassador Eisen, Steve Cortes --

CORTES: Shame on me. Shame on their parents for committing a crime with them in tow. I didn't do it, they did.

COOPER: -- Ana, Navarro, thanks very much.

Over the past few days, Trump administration officials and their supporters were heckled or denied service while a Democratic congresswoman said they should be harassed in public. The question, of course, whatever happened to decent people disagreeing about issues without trying to harass and ridicule each other on both sides of the aisle? We'll dig into that, next.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: -- asked to leave a Virginia restaurant. The restaurant owner told the Washington Post that she explained to Sanders, the restaurant has certain standards that she has to upholds such as honesty and compassion and cooperation.

Also this weekend, Florida Attorney General, supported of the President Pam Bondi got heckled outside a movie. Here's a look at that and other ties the White House with Pam under fire in public.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would Mr. Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre- existing conditions, Pam Bondi. Shame on you! Shame on you!

CROWD: Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! End family separation. End family separation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday to Major Giuliani.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical, we really do. We sir, we, are of the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us -- our planet, our children, our parents -- or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir.


COOPER: Look at some public outrage aimed the Trump administration recent months. Sarah Sanders addressed this during today's White House press briefing. Here is some of what she said.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Healthy debate on ideas and political philosophy is important, but the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable.

America is a great country, and our ability to find solutions despite those disagreements is what makes us unique.


COOPER: Well, joining me now is CNN Political Commentator David Axelrod, a veteran of the Obama administration and CNN Presidential Historian Doug Brinkley. I mean, David, you say when stability is no more it's actually a "triumph" for President vision of America, what do you mean?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean that -- look, I understand the outrage about how this President behaves and about his policies. He has shredded the idea of civility in our politics from the moment he begun running for president and just the tweet you read reflects that.

But I don't think you defeat that. I don't think you change it by emulating it. I don't think a race to the bottom in terms of civility in our politics is the way to go. And you know, I absolutely believe that people ought to organize, they ought to vote, they ought to donate, they ought to run. But this is not the answer.

And, you know, here is the odd thing about this. It may not the odd thing. The thing that really troubles me about is people somehow think that by doing this, they are actually taking action. They are making a difference. They managed to make Sarah Huckabee Sanders a very sympathetic figure this weekend. They riled up the base and divided further the country. Then that was not the intent. But that was the effect. You want to go out and make change, then make change with the tools that democracy offers.

Now, one last point, Anderson, on Sarah Sanders statement at the press room today, she doesn't have standing to give these kinds of pious homily on the importance of civility in our politics when she works for a president who so gleefully shreds it every single day. She ought to take those remarks and rather than reading it to the country, she ought to march into the Oval Office and read them to the man she works for.

COOPER: Doug, I mean, have you in modern history, I mean, have you seen a time like this? I mean, clearly as David said, look, President Trump and Candidate Trump changed the rhetoric that candidates used and encourage people to, he said he would like to punch somebody in the mouth at one point, or in the face, a protester. So there's lack of civility on both sides. But having people shouted down in restaurant or having Maxine Waters say, if you see them, form a crowd and push back on them. I mean, this doesn't end up in a good place?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It does not. And I agree with David Axelrod's assessment completely. Look, our history's fought with violently moments and anger, I mean, you to have talk about the civil war, look at the way we treated people that were so were socialist or communist during the red scare and the whole civil rights movement. I mean, after all, less dramatics in Atlantic Georgia at a chicken restaurant. He didn't let somebody like Julian Bond, an African-American legislator in which chased them out. You can't eat at my restaurant.

So the mistake made here at the right hand and Lexington, Virginia is the idea of booting Sarah Sanders out, because the history of kicking people out of restaurants or not serving them is usually something done by people who have intolerance. And I think she was trying, the owner, making it a progressive statement. Kicking out Sarah Sanders because I don't like what's happening in the U.S. Mexico boarder but in the end, she looks small and made Sarah Sanders a bit of a martyr.

[20:35:11] COOPER: And David, it's interesting that CNN's reporting that the President actually encourage Sarah Sanders to -- or told Sarah Sanders to lead with this at the briefing today. And it definitely has the opposite impact that who ever these people are, you know, kicking her our or yelling shame at somebody in a restaurant. I mean, we should be able to have a difference of opinion without attempting to accost people in public life?

AXELROD: Absolutely. And look, nobody was happier about these developments than Donald Trump. He was gleeful about it because it allowed him to depict his administration and his people as victims. Even though as you point out he was encouraged-- he'd encouraged crowds and has encourage crowds to attack reporters. And he has said, he wanted to punch a protester in the face and so on.

And every single attack on an opponent is laced with some nasty personal incivility. So -- but this was an opportunity for him to turn the tables. And he seized it and he sent her out there to say it. Despite the obvious point that he and she frankly are in no point to lecture on this, I make this point not because I am trying to defend the Trump administration, but because I am trying to defend civility as a value in our democracy.

And I think those who opposed President, have an obligation not to try and follow him down in this race to the bottom, down the rabbit hole.

COOPER: I mean, you know, we have also seen gay people refused service or refused a service at bakers, and -- because of religious beliefs, I suppose the restaurant owner could say it is my religious belief that I'm opposing Sarah Sanders. It still doesn't -- I mean, again it doesn't have the impact that perhaps anybody things it?

BRINKLEY: No it was a gauche move. What she should have done is said, honey the food is coming. The chicken is coming then have slow service. If she had slow service for a while, then Sarah Sanders could have walked out on her own. But by giving her the boot, she lost the moral high ground. And what both David and I are saying, we need to keep the high ground. And not always take the low road.

COOPER: Yeah. Doug Brinkley --

AXELROD: You historians are so cunning, I never thought of that.

COOPER: Doug Brinkley, David Axelrod, thanks very much.

Up next, President Trump tweets again his claim that President Obama ordered wiretaps on his phone just before the 2016 election. Never proven of course. False, we'll talk to Hills, who actually referenced a former Attorney General Michael Mukasey supporting that assertion. I'll talk with Judge Mukasey, next.


[20:41:38] COOPER: Another keeping them honest report, now President Trump was up early today for reasons unknown unearthed one of his favorite chestnut his accusation that the Obama administration ordered wiretaps on his phone just before the 2016 election.

He wrote, "Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that President Trump is probably correct that there was surveillance on Trump Tower. Actually, far greater than would ever have been believed!"

Now you may recall that last March in a series of four tweets, the President alleged without any basis that President Obama had his "wiretapped" just before he won the election.

Now keeping them honest, then FBI Director James Comey told Congress he had zero information to support those tweets. Though he said, he looked into it. There's also been a lawsuit by a group called American oversight seeking documents from the Justice Department to approved President Trump's claim. Again, no records found and in fact the Justice Department last Friday reiterated in a court filing that neither the FBI nor its national security division had any records related to the alleged wiretaps. So with all that, I am joined now by Former Attorney General, and federal judge Michael Mukasey. Thanks so much for being with us.


COOPER: Do you know what the President is referring to when he referenced to you?

MUKASEY: I know what I said, this was a statement that I made back in March of 2017, which about 15 months ago. And that was in response to his statement at that time that he had been wiretapped in orders of President Obama.

And I think what I said at the time was that there are probably been surveillance but that hadn't been done on orders of President Obama.

COOPER: And you were talking about surveillance through a FISA court?

MUKASEY: Based on two reports at that time, there had been a non- successful application for a FISA warrant, and then a successful one. And based on that there had been surveillance. We've learned a whole lot more since then. But that was what we knew at the time.

COOPER: The -- I'm wondering what you are seeing -- I mean, the recent polling shows that the criticism of Robert Mueller by the President seems to be having an impact. I'm wondering as a former attorney general, what you've make of that, does it concern you that the sort of this drum beat against him is having an impact?

MUKASEY: Having an impact on what?

COOPER: Having an impact on public perception of Robert Mueller and the investigation.

MUKASEY: Does it concern me? Not really. Because Robert Mueller isn't guided by and shouldn't be guided by what the public opinion show, the percentage of his support is.

COOPER: So you don't think that would have an impact on his investigation?

MUKASEY: I should hope not. I mean, if I were in his place, it wouldn't have an impact on mine. And I'd -- and certainly at least stall what as I am.

COOPER: Why do you think the President then is doing it? Because I mean if he doesn't have an impact on him does it have an impact on whatever his conclusion is?

MUKASEY: I'm sorry, I'm not -- I don't have the mind reading both on the midway, I can't tell you what the President intends. But, the fact is, that this investigation has been going on for some time and that to go back to the allegation of surveillance. That surveillance started based on the claim that a man named Carter Page was associated with the Trump campaign was involved in and people lose sight of this, not just was an Asian of foreign power but because he was a U.S. citizen they had a claim that he was involved in a commission of a crime in his involvement with Russia.

He has been charged with anything. And nobody is been charged with collusion. And we've been at this for a long time. So -- I mean, it's a kind of a, just a germ (ph) of basis for the complaint. But as far as wiretapping President Trump, I don't know if there has ever been evidence of that obviously as you pointed, you know, intro that there isn't in.

[20:45:11] COOPER: I want to play just some of what officials formerly of the intelligence community also lawmakers have said recently just in recent months, and I'm going talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm asking you as the future FBI director, do you consider this endeavor a witch hunt?

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said in your confirmation hearing that the Russian investigation was not a witch hunt, then 10 months, is that still your opinion?

WRAY: Yes. Senator as I said to you last month and as I said before, I do not believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt. JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump of course calls all of this a witch hunt, what do you think of that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I wouldn't use the term witch hunt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a witch hunt.

SENATOR JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: No, I mean, I think that, you know, he has got a job to do. We all understand that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it right that it is a witch hunt, do you agree with that?

REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: No I don't. Look, I think Robert Mueller has a lifetime of credibility, and let's let him do his job.


COOPER: Is it important for the public to have confidence in institutions like the Justice Department like Robert Mueller's investigation --

MUKASEY: In general?


MUKASEY: Well, I don't necessarily. I don't bracket those two. I mean, you say the Justice Department, I used to head the Justice Department.

COOPER: Right.

MUKASEY: Yes, it is important that they have confidence in it because the Justice Department is one of those institutions that stands between us and mayhem, so yes, I think it is important. I think it is important that they have confidence in the military and in the executive.

COOPER: Does labeling something a witch hunt erode that confidence?

MUKASEY: Not the confidence of the Justice Department, no. Robert Mueller is not an employee of the Justice Department. Really he is operating under the supervision of the people at the Justice Department but he is sort in but not of.

COOPER: Judge, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. Thank you for being with us.

We are going to check in with Chris to see what's going on in Cuomo Prime Time starting in just about 14 minutes from now. Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "COUMO PRIME TIME: Good for you, having Mukasey on very important because the President was using him as a source and now you have full context of what he meant but this is what the President is so good at. And what we are going to do tonight, Anderson, is try to avoid going down the rabbit hole of the ridiculous.

The President giving a rally speech right now in South Carolina, there's a lot of father in there if you want to chase but instead, we are going to go deeper, past his tweets and the symptoms of what is obviously an illness in our body politic. What is going on? Where is it going to lead us? Axe was on to something, David Axelrod. You have very good interview with him on your show tonight.

We are talking to Antonio Sabato Jr., you remember him from Melrose Place and other things. He is running for Congress. He says it's hard to be a Trump supporter and that the anger is really on the other side, on the left. We are going to talk to him. We're going to talk to Draymond Green from the Golden State Warriors about what he is doing off the court and why the issues surrounding Trump matters so much to him? So we're going to go deep tonight that's how we're getting, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Chris, see you in about 12 minutes from now.

Coming up an alternative to detaining families or separating parents from their kids at the border, with an almost 100% success rate for getting people to turn up for their court date, talking about ankle monitors, our Randi Kaye has the details next.


[20:52:32] COOPER: Breaking news tonight. The Pentagon is going to be asked this week to approve plans to potentially house as many as 7,000 unaccompanied children at an Air Force Base and an additional 4,000 migrant family members at an army base. That's of course one way to keep track of migrants.

Earlier in the program we saw another ankle bracelet. Now figures show practically all those who wear those bracelets do in fact appear as required so we asked Randi Kaye to take a closer look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome. Thank you.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The clock is ticking for Francisco Javier Gonzalez, he is expected to be deported to Mexico next week.

But that hasn't stopped him from working his job as a manager at this popular restaurant in Palm Beach, Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much for this.

KAYE: Trouble for Javier begun long ago back in 2001. He had come to the U.S. at 15 to live with his brother but left his family in his native Mexico. When he returned he was told the visa he used before without any issue wasn't valid. He was refused entry and sent back to Mexico. JAVIER GONZALEZ, FACING DEPORTATION: I basically, you know, grew up in a farm with not much education. They don't really explain to you or they don't have someone next to you telling you what you're signing.

KAYE: Before being sent back Javier signed the documents immigration officers put before him, but he and his lawyers say the paperwork didn't spell out that he was banned from the U.S. for five years so he returned before the five-year mark and was eventually caught.

Javier has now been in Palm Beach for more than a decade. Officials let him stay, and now he wears this, an ankle bracelet so immigration officials can track him, something he still struggles to explain to his three daughters.

KAYE (on camera): What is it like for you to come to work today wearing this ankle monitor?

GONZALEZ: I mean, I honestly don't mind. I would rather be working with this than being arrested.

KAYE: Being in jail?

GONZALEZ: Yes, of course.

KAYE: So this is better.


KAYE: Do you feel like a criminal?

GONZALEZ: Somehow.

KAYE: Despite feeling like a criminal, both Javier and his attorney strongly believed the ankle monitor is the best option compared to detention and a proven success.

RICHARD HUJBER, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: There's no comparison. I mean, you're talking about at least having the free bombing to move around and be with your families and better than detainee people at a huge expense to U.S. taxpayers everyday so they get to track you and they know that you're going appear at the future hearing that you're suppose to go to. It's a no-brainer.

GONZALEZ: Yes. Yes, thank you so much.

KAYE (voice-over): Javier has always showed up for his check-ins with ICE and DHS. For a long time it was every two to three years, but after Donald Trump was elected President checkins were required every two to three months. Then came the deportation order.

[20:55:09] GONZALEZ: I don't want to hide anymore, you know. I want to have -- I want to do everything right.

KAYE: Javier is the breadwinner for his family so he's worried about leaving, but he says his hometown in Mexico is full of drug cartels and too dangerous for his wife and daughters.

GONZALEZ: It's basically over. My kids will grow up without me if they make me return. I go back with like empty hands and leave everything behind. That's why I have to continue to fight.


COOPER: Randi also reports that Javier Gonzalez who you saw there has another one of those meetings with ICE tomorrow. He and his attorney fear he may be taken into custody. We'll continue to follow. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Late last week we brought you the story of the El Salvadorian girl whose cries were heard on an audio recording after being separated from her mother, those cries of course heard across the country and the tape was released. The mother in El Madrid (ph) is still in a detention center in Texas and her 6-year-old daughter, Alison Gemina (ph) is still in a facility in Arizona. There's been no reunion yet and no indication when it may happen. A second phone call between the two is scheduled for Tuesday.

That's it for us. Thanks very much for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night at 8:00. Time to head it over for Chris "Cuomo Prime Time" starts right now. Chris.