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White House Official: President's Press Team Not Coordinating With Giuliani on Message; CA Wildfires So Large It's Creating Its Own Weather System; Source on Coming Bob Woodward Book on President Trump "Most Intimate Portrait of a Sitting President Ever". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 30, 2018 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:30] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our second hour of 360. Chris Cuomo is off tonight. We'll start with the President's TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the confusion he spread today over a very simple question. What did the President know, if anything, ahead of the campaign meeting with Russians? Did he have knowledge of it in advance?

According to our sources as you saw here first, Michael Cohen is prepared to say that he did in fact know about it beforehand which would turn collusion into a premeditated act for the President. It's obviously a serious allegation yet as we saw today, Mr. Giuliani's answer so far has been to cloud the issue, whether it's deliberate or by accident, hard to say. What's clear, it's get plenty of attention.

Joining us now with the latest from the White House CNN's Kaitlan Collins. So talk exactly about how the President's attorney, Giuliani, what he's been saying today?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Anderson, we're seeing Rudy Giuliani shift their defense. They've gone for months now saying there was no collusion to today Rudy Giuliani saying he's been looking and that he doesn't believe collusion is an actual crime. That is certainly not what the President has argued before, that it wasn't the fact that he may have colluded that was a problem. The President has maintained for months now he did not collude at all.

So we're seeing Giuliani make these statements of course that seem problematic for the White House as well as saying that the President didn't attend that meeting with the Russian officials, and Donald Trump Jr., his son, and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser and then Paul Manafort. That's what Rudy Giuliani said today. He wasn't arguing about that statement from Michael Cohen, who is alleging that President Trump did know about that meeting before it occurred.

Rudy Giuliani only said that he could state for the record that President Trump did not attend that meeting with chose Russian officials, which is not something that was in question in the first place. It was whether or not President Trump knew about it, which is something that his aides and President Trump himself have denied for months now, including that President Trump said he just found out about it in July of 2017, a year after it happened. And Donald Trump Jr. testified in front of lawmakers that his father did not know about it before.

So it would be increasingly problematic. That is the question now, Anderson. It is essentially the President's word versus Michael Cohen's. But the White House does not seem to be at all enthusiastic about taking questions about Michael Cohen, including President Trump today, who has been tweeting about Michael Cohen. But when he is not in a structured setting where he can control the narrative, he does not seem eager at all to take questions about Michael Cohen, about whether the Special Counsel Robert Mueller should trust Michael Cohen or anything related to his former lawyer and fixer at all.

COOPER: Has the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if that's a crime, colluding --

COOPER: Sorry. I had a problem with that tape. Has the White House had any response to the claims from Rudy Giuliani this morning on television? I mean, it's not being coordinate. His statements are not being coordinated with the White House, are they?

COLLINS: No, they're not. And the White House has made that pretty clear ever since the President first hired Rudy Giuliani to be his lawyer. His statements have been increasingly problematic for the White House spokespeople because of course Rudy Giuliani will say something on television that contradicts what they have said in the past. You'll think of the Stormy Daniels payment. And if you'll listen to what it was that Rudy Giuliani was saying this morning, you can see why the press secretaries are not eager to speak about it. Here's a little bit of what Rudy Giuliani said today.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: Which I don't even know that's a crime, colluding about Russians.


GIULIANI: You start analyzing the crime. The hacking is the crime. The hacking is the crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That certainly is the original crime, yes?

GIULIANI: The President didn't hack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course not. That's the original --

GIULIANI: He didn't pay for the hacking.


COLLINS: So you see there Rudy Giuliani seems to be shifting the goal post here and the defense of what the White House has said for months. There was no collusion.

COOPER: Right.

COLLINS: Then Rudy Giuliani goes on television. He says collusion's not a crime. It raises all of these questions for the White House, and so far their tactic for dealing with what Rudy Giuliani says on TV has been to refer questions back to Rudy Giuliani. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Kaitlan, thanks very much. Perspective now from someone who had a view for a time from inside the campaign, someone who already talked to Robert Mueller's people about it, joining us, he is former Trump Campaign Aide Sam Nunberg. Great to have you back on.


COOPER: The Trump Tower meeting, is it possible in your mind that Donald Trump Jr. or someone, Paul Manafort or Kushner, would not have told Donald Trump either in advance or after this meeting that it had occurred?

NUNBERG: In the totality during the campaign, I would assume perhaps Donald Trump knew about this meeting. But if we're getting to the specifics here about whether Donald Trump and Don Junior are telling the truth against now Michael Cohen, I believe Donald Trump and Don Junior -- and let me also say for one quick reason, and you'll understand this once we get into the weeds.

[21:05:10] Remember, Goldstone, who works for the Agalarov family, he sent that e-mail directly to Don Junior. And if you look at the e- mails, it was never forwarded to Rhona Graff then Donald Trump's executive assistant, but essentially like his chief of staff.

COOPER: Right. There was, however, a blocked number call made by Donald Trump Jr. both I think before and after the meeting. The Candidate Mr. Trump at the time, not the President, telegraphed that there was going to be some revelation coming out about Hillary Clinton regarding Russia.


COOPER: That he then never followed through on after the meeting took place. It just seems to me that if you're Donald Trump Jr. and you get this e-mail from the Agalarovs or Goldstone representing the Agalarovs, informing you that the Russian government is supporting your dad's campaign, that would seem to be a pretty big deal to not inform your dad about. I mean --

NUNBERG: That the Russians are --

COOPER: Yes, I mean, because that's essentially what the e-mail said --

NUNBERG: It did say that.

COOPER: The Russians are supporting your dad's campaign. That's a major thing. You would think if I'm Donald Trump and somebody in my campaign gets that e-mail, and they don't tell me about it, I would be surprised and angered, I think.

NUNBERG: Really? I don't know. Look, I think that this is where there is an issue where I've seen a lot of campaign associates, consultants they say from both sides of the aisle, we would never talk to a foreign government. You just don't do that.

First of all there's no law about that. The FEC is very vague on it. It seems to me it's very convoluted when they talk about it being an FEC violation. And as I've said, and people can take a moral judgment on me, I would have accepted that meeting because, Anderson, the e- mail said they were talking about a sealed indictment in a Russian court about Hillary Clinton. Sealed indictments have been released in the past during campaigns. As you recall in 2004, there was a state senator from Illinois. He was a Democrat. He was running against a Republican who had a lot of money, and his sealed a -- you know --

COOPER: So you don't see anything sleazy about the meeting?


COOPER: Do you think Rudy Giuliani is doing a good job representing the President in the public sphere?


COOPER: And because it seems to be he's made contradictory statements, confusing statements. Do you think that's part of his job to sort of muddy the waters and have people say, look, I don't know what's going on and throw up their hands?

NUNBERG: So to muddy the waters, one, this is going to get -- this is ultimately going to be fought in the public, and it's a political knife fight for the presidency. We're 99 days out from the midterms. It is essentially, as Steve Bannon has said, Donald Trump's first re- elect.

Look, the Democrats, they don't want to talk about impeachment. Adam Schiff told Michael Isikoff on podcast of his, we don't want to talk about impeachment. I'm not going to talk about impeachment. So when we get into is collusion a crime or not, it's what is the bar that they're willing to say that Donald Trump is responsible for what Vladimir Putin did. That's the bar.

Now, when you look at the Mueller indictment and the Mueller indictment makes a point to say, well, they try to hack Hillary's e- mails when Donald Trump said Russia. I think he said it glibly. I wouldn't have said it, but he said it. If you have Hillary Clinton's 30,000 e-mails, please release them.

Now remember, it's very important. He was talking about the state department e-mails that we have never seen.

COOPER: Right. Mueller is pointing out -- I mean he didn't draw direct parallel, but he did say that same day, later that day, they made the effort. NUNBERG: Look, I think that Mueller has systematically -- is systematically, and in a way we can talk about his bias and his conflict. There is some. But has systematically made the argument to give the impetus to the Democrats and some Republicans who would be very happy to see Donald Trump impeached in the Senate -- he's laying the case out systematically.

COOPER: What do you see as his bias? Are you talking about that some --

NUNBERG: Not bias. Here's what I see. Here's --

COOPER: Because the President -- Giuliani is now raising this specter of he's inherently biased. He should have recused himself because of some conflict between them --

NUNBERG: I don't think it's a conflict between Donald Trump and Robert Mueller on the golf course. That's a side issue. My issue is, is that we have 325 million people in this country, and I think we have a lot of lawyers in this country. I understand why you would want to get the former FBI director in general, objectively, to be the special counsel when you're investigating the President of the United States. But Robert Mueller's argument on obstruction, he's using James Comey. If you look at the questions that have been leaked, even the -- in "The New York Times," right? It was reported in "The New York Times." If you look at the questions, the questions that involve Michael Flynn's firing because that involves what James Comey alleges that Donald Trump said to him.

You look at all of them. They're all interrelated to James Comey, and they're also essentially the same way Michael Cohen was essentially wiretapping Donald Trump, right? He has his iPhone and he's copying it. These contemporaneous memos that James Comey say have probative value, which Mueller clearly does. Then Mueller has this relationship with James Comey that I find to then investigate the firing of James Comey, when you lobbied Barack Obama for him to be your successor, there's something -- there's a problem with that.

[21:10:26] COOPER: It does seem, though, that we don't really know -- I mean it's one thing for us to talk about the Mueller investigation because of little leaks, things that have leaked out or things that have been ascertained because of court documents. We really don't know the vast iceberg that's underneath the surface.

NUNBERG: And that goes exactly to why Robert Mueller, to this point, he's spent a lot of money. He's almost spent more money than Ken Starr has spent in all these years, can issue some kind of report so we can see the nature. And I think that that what's --

COOPER: I mean, as you know, for an investigation, it's not gone on that long. I mean, compared to the Benghazi investigation, compared to Iran-contra investigation.

NUNBERG: I agree exactly from that point. But we should at least get some idea, let's say, so that we know --


NUNBERG: Because --

COOPER: Why give up information about an ongoing investigation?

NUNBERG: About preliminary findings, about whether or not the Trump campaign had some kind of coordination about with these e-mails. And Putin did the hacking. I would like to see where this is going because what we don't know is what is going on. You have people in this country -- you have Americans, and they'll say, Robert Mueller is going to ultimately get Donald Trump impeached. You have other people that say, Donald Trump did not do anything. You know, Mueller this, Mueller that.

3COOPER: Do you know of any investigation in which they give out preliminary stuff halfway through?

NUNBERG: This is an ahistoric investigation. We've never seen something like this. This is -- it have elements --

COOPER: All sorts of legal reasons and investigative reasons, it doesn't make any -- and for political reasons.

NUNBERG: Because you're talking about the investigation in terms of --

COOPER: Right, the sanctity of the investigation.

NUNBERG: No, no, no, the criminal part and these indictments. I'm talking about the political, and this is political. They're building a narrative. This is political, and at the end of the day, 99 days from today at this midterm, Anderson, this is essentially Donald Trump's first re-elect because he will be impeached by Jerrold Nadler out of the House Judiciary Committee if Nancy Pelosi is the speaker. He will.

COOPER: Sam, always good to have you on.

NUNBERG: Thank you very much.

COOPER: I want to broaden that, joining us, Bakari Sellers, Amanda Carpenter, Steve Cortes, and Rich Lowry.

Amanda, what do you make of what Sam just said? I mean, do you think there's a scenario under which Donald Trump Jr. didn't tell his father about this Trump Tower meeting ahead of time?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's unlikely, but I do think we need to focus in much more on Don Junior because we have to ask ourselves why did Rudy Giuliani go into a panic today? They are panicked about what Michael Cohen may say about the Trump Tower meeting. They've all denied up and down that Donald Trump had knowledge about it.

Now Michael Cohen is saying he can place it there. And this is a problem for Don Junior because he has testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee four times under oath that he did not tell his father about the meeting. So that's a perjury problem right there, and I also took note in the interview this morning with Alisyn on "New Day" that Giuliani placed Rick Gates at those meetings. His name came up in the conversation.

Why is that important? It's important because Rick Gates is already a cooperating witness with the Mueller investigation. He pled guilty to charges in early February. And if he can corroborate what Michael Cohen says, you have two people sticking to the same story against the multiple denials even under oath that team Trump has given. That's a huge problem for Don Junior.

COOPER: Steve, do you see this as a problem?

STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, potentially. We'll see. By the way, when I say a problem, I mean the way Giuliani framed this today. I have tremendous admiration for him. I think he was the best mayor in American history.

COOPER: Do you think he's doing his client any favors?

CORTES: I don't know what he was doing this morning quite frankly. I followed this as closely as anybody and he had me thoroughly confused. And I think when he was talking about collusion, is it a crime or not, he almost appeared like a law professor, who was leading some sort of debate in a classroom. But that's not where we are in the realm of theoretical law. Instead, this is about criminal court, this is about a political kangaroo court that the swamp is operating and we need to approach it and fight it like a political fight. This is a political cage match. This isn't about criminal law.

And so I think to me, he confused the issue there, and we need to continue to telegraph what the President has for many, many months. No collusion. And if there's no collusion, then they don't have a political case to usurp what we did in 2016.

COOPER: Bakari, is that what it boils down to, to no collusion? Because again, Giuliani today seemed to move the goal post saying, well, collusion is not a crime. So indicating, well, if there was collusion, it's not a crime.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, and I don't know what theoretical law is. Somebody's going to have to explain that to me. But I will tell you that there are two tracks that the White House is on right now. One, you have the criminal issues that have arisen and will arise out of this investigation. That's one. And, two, they're doing something that the Clinton administration also did, which is play impeachment politics. That is what you see when Rudy Giuliani comes on TV.

You asked a question, is he failing his client? Rudy Giuliani is proving to be an awful lawyer. I mean that is what we're seeing. Collusion is not a crime. That's a fact. As a Democrat, as a lawyer, I can tell you that collusion's not a crime. But mail fraud is, federal elections violations is, bank fraud, wire fraud, obstruction, perjury. [21:15:19] The list goes on and on and on. Conspiracy. All of these things. The e-mails that were received by the Trump campaign, the federal election commission views though as at least having a modicum of value that means there's a conspiracy to do this and usurp those federal election laws, then you've committed a crime.

And so when people say that this isn't a criminal issue, it is. But this is two tracks. Impeachment politics, which they're doing a really good job of muddying the water, but there are issues out there for criminality that Donald Trump Jr. needs to be worried about, Jared Kushner needs to be worried about, and a lot of people who are in the orbit of the President of the United States.

I remember one famous quote. We should not have a president of the United States who is under federal investigation. Well, you have a President and his family that are both under federal investigation.

COOPER: I mean, Rich, a White House official today said the President's press team is not coordinating with Giuliani and what he says on behalf of the President's legal team, nor in the press team control what Giuliani says. Is that a problem considering the gravity of some of his statements?

RICH LOWRY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's actually we're coordinating with Rudy. You'd have to worry about the judgment of the White House press team. Look, Rudy is wild. He's undisciplined. But you have to understand he is not out there to make a classical legal case for the President. He is a public advocate. His job is to throw haymakers every day. And we might gawk. We might scratch our heads. We might snicker, but he's succeeding. And the key metric here as Bakari and other have said, is political.

And are Robert Mueller's numbers going up or are they going down? They're going down. And this is the first stage in a potential impeachment fight. So it's not a legal battle. The President's not going to be indicted. He's not going to be tried. If this goes further, it's going to be ultimately a political question over impeachment fought out in Congress with public opinion --

CORTES: But the whole thing has been -- it's been political from the very beginning. If it were criminal, criminal investigations, a crime is committed and then an investigation commences. This is the opposite.

SELLERS: That's not true.

CARPENTER: Now, the crime that was committed is --

COOPER: One at a time, one at a time.

COOPER: Let Steve for this.

CORTES: This is an investigation in search of a crime, and that is totally --

SELLERS: That's not true. CORTES: -- un-American and unjust. Yes, it is true.

COOPER: OK and Amanda --

CARPENTER: I just feel like we have to keep saying the basic thing and that's the crime was that information was stolen from the Clinton campaign. The question is did members of the Trump campaign knowingly solicit that information for use in an election? And if that is true, that triggers all kinds of crimes. We're acting like this is just something the Russians did. No, that is stolen information. It's like if someone stole a car and then you decided to take it for a joyride and say, oh, I didn't know it was stolen. You can't do that.

CORTES: Which the FBI or Justice Department would be more than empowered to investigate that. We don't need a special counsel. The reason the special counsel was triggered was for political reasons because James Comey and a lot of others --

CARPENTER: Because he fired James Comey, which may be an obstruction of justice case.

CORTES: No. I feel like I'm in the twilight zone.

COOPER: Bakari?

SELLERS: Yes. I mean, this whole talking point about this not being a valid investigation, this being a witch hunt, I mean let's talk about all the people who have been indicted. And you ask about where was the crime that was committed? Let's talk about the people who pled guilty.

CORTES: Let's talk about that --

SELLERS: I mean, you just can't say that --

CORTES: And Paul Manafort --

CARPENTER: And Rick Gates.

SELLERS: You just can't say -- and Rick Gates and Papadopoulos. Paul Manafort, I was with Paul Manafort backstage at the RNC because he ran your -- he ran your convention. He was your campaign manager. This isn't somebody who was just incidental --

CORTES: And the crimes he's accused of --


COOPER: Let him finish. Let him finish.

SELLERS: Yes, Papadopoulos pled guilty.

CORTES: The crimes --

SELLERS: Let me just give you facts because you're in hyperbole land. You have 13 Russian nationals who have been charged with hacking our elections. So you can say what you want to say, but these are all facts. This is a real investigation with real serious consequences.

COOPER: OK. We've got to take a break. We'll going to have more with Steve and Rich and everybody. We'll pick up the conversation. We'll talk more about the President's new attacks on Special Counsel Mueller.

Later, a live report on progress tonight on the fire lines in California as crews work around the clock under some of the worst conditions, imaginable. The pictures incredible. We'll be right back.


[21:22:54] COOPER: We're talking about Rudy Giuliani's defense in the Russia probe as well as the President's ongoing attacks on Robert Mueller, which ramped up over the weekend. The President tweeting, "Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI, one day before appointment as Special Counsel & Comey is his close friend."

Back now with our guests. Rich, I mean the President now saying that Mueller has conflicts of interest. Giuliani was press the on those conflicts today, wouldn't elaborate. I assume he's talking about conflicts about this golf membership stuff.

LOWRY: Right.

COOPER: Giuliani said, I had a good idea what it is. I mean, it seems like the attempts to discredit Mueller have gone from six to a 20 on a scale of 10 in just a matter of days.

LOWRY: Yes, I mean, they're using every means fair or foul to try to undermine the prosecutor, which is what happens in many highly politically charged cases across the United States. This is just very typical. It's not obstruction of justice. I have known any president, except from maybe George W. Bush in the Fitzgerald case against Scooter Libby, who hasn't tried to undermine the prosecutor.

So this is typical politics taken up to 11 because that's the level that Donald Trump is comfortable with on absolutely everything. But this is -- it's just a version of what Bill Clinton did against Ken Starr and what, you know, George H.W. Bush's team did against his special prosecutor investigating Iran-contra. So this is typical Washington politics, that just where the volume and intensity is much higher than usual.

COOPER: Steve, I mean, Giuliani is out here mudding the waters with this interview. The bottom line, the President himself still hasn't answered the questions about the Cohen Trump, why the Trump campaign lied about it, about the knowledge of the deal with AMI and Karen McDougal, his response to the reporting that he knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance. I mean should he answer those questions himself at some point? CORTES: I do. I think he should address those. And I think it would put a lot of these questions to rest. But, you know, for instance, you mentioned the AMI deal. I agree with what Amanda said before the break that, by the way, of course hacking into American citizens and organizations, DNC, Podesta, those sorts of things should be investigated.

If Mueller were only doing that, that would be very proper. But instead he's looking into nondisclosure agreements to women from 10 years ago. I mean how does that have anything to do with Russia? Are we seeing Karen McDougal hacked the DNC? Did American media hack Podesta? I mean, there's no relevance. Instead it's an open-ended investigation into Donald Trump's life to try to find something. Why? To try to nullify our 2016 victory and to try to delegitimize this President because his enemies in media and on the Hill and even within his own Justice Department have been hell-bent since the day he won on trying to delegitimize him and that's --

[21:25:37] COOPER: Amanda, is that what this is about?

CARPENTER: I mean, questioning people's motive and what they think about Trump is not a sound political or legal defense. But I do think we should pay attention to one thing that did come out of the Giuliani interview this morning that I thought was extremely curious. In addition to him saying that collusion is not a crime, he oddly said that Trump was not physically present at the Trump Tower meeting. And to me, that may be where Giuliani was trying to draw a very fine line that Trump may walk. I think that certainly warrants some more follow-up and exactly what Giuliani meant by saying he was not physically present at the meeting.

LOWRY: It's very important to remember about this meeting though, there's no indication that it was anything other than a nothing- burger. The white whale in this case, Amanda, as you referred to before the break is some sort of conspiracy with the Russians to commit a crime and hack these e-mails.


LOWRY: And so far we have zero, zero evidence of that.

CARPENTER: But the timeline is certainly very suspicious, in which Trump says --

SELLERS: Not only that but I mean like --

CARPENTER: -- he would preview a speech about Hillary Clinton that didn't materialize. Then he continues to call on the Russians to hack and reveal a close emails during the Democrat --


COOPER: One at a time, one at a time.

CARPENTER: Nobody knows. I'm just saying the timeline is very suspicious. And that's why we're in the middle of an investigation. LOWRY: Do you think he was openly sending signals to Russian intelligence what to do with his speeches? I mean that's --

SELLERS: I mean he literally said --

COOPER: Bakari, and then we got to go.

CARPENTER: He asked the Russians to hack her e-mails. I mean, just quote him.

LOWRY: But you think Russian intelligence was looking for signal --

SELLERS: He said --

COOPER: Bakari.

LOWRY: -- from presidential candidate Donald Trump what to do?

CARPENTER: I didn't say it. He said it.


CARPENTER: Roll the tape.

CARPENTER: Why is it so hard?

COOPER: Bakari, go ahead. And then we go.

SELLERS: Why are people forgetting facts? The President of the United States when he was a candidate said, hack the 30,000 e-mails. He literally said that. Not only that, but you have somebody who pled guilty. He was the former national security adviser. He was a campaign surrogate. Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying. You started in whitewater with the Clinton investigation. You ended with a blue dress. That's how these investigations work. It's all fair game.

COOPER: All right. We got to end it there. Thank you all. We're seeing a different Rudy Giuliani certainly now than we did after 9/11 when he helped unites the country as America's mayor. We'll trace his evolution, shall we say, when we continue.


[21:31:07] COOPER: When you see President Trump's Personal Attorney Rudy Giuliani on television, you might be confused by what you're seeing and hearing because we haven't always witnessed this sort of thing from a man once held as America's mayor. Randi Kaye tonight traces Rudy Giuliani's evolution in the Trump era.


GIULIANI: What happened to there's no black America, there's no white America, there is just America? What happened to it?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rudy Giuliani at the 2016 Republican national convention. This was not the kid from Brooklyn that America had come to know. Giuliani had earned a reputation for being tough on crime as a young U.S. assistant attorney after landing a job as President Reagan's associate attorney general, he was ranked third at the Department of Justice.

GIULIANI: If the FBI tried to shove the whole matter, "under the rug."

KAYE: At 39, he was appointed U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, zeroing in on organized crime and white collar criminals. He famously prosecuted Wall Street's Ivan Boesky, and Michael Milken. After becoming mayor of New York City in 1993, Giuliani took credit for making Manhattan safe again. Then came 9/11.

GIULIANI: All that we know right now is that two airplanes struck the two large towers of the World Trade Center.

KAYE: Giuliani was the picture of calm and strength, quickly becoming America's mayor. "Time" Magazine named him person of the year.

GIULIANI: That's the kind of leadership we need in Washington. And that's why I'm running for President.

KAYE: Giuliani failed in his own 2008 Presidential bid, but in 2016 he was back on the campaign trail, playing surrogate to Donald Trump.

GIULIANI: And he will be the leader of the change we need.

KAYE (on camera): But this was not the same Rudy Giuliani. He's always been aggressive and unapologetic, but now Giuliani was peddling outlandish conspiracy theories. In one, he insisted that Hillary Clinton had some mysterious illness.

GIULIANI: Go online and put down Hillary Clinton illness. Take a look at the videos for yourself.

KAYE (voice-over): Giuliani mocked Clinton's leadership skills too with this disturbing display.

GIULIANI: He didn't look like Hillary Clinton with one of those long answers.

KAYE: What happened to the old Rudy? It was such a head-scratcher, it prompted this Politico headline. Is Rudy Giuliani losing his mind? At one point on the trail, he even seemed to forget who attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

GIULIANI: Under those eight years before Obama came along, we didn't have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.

KAYE: And later after Beyonce paid tribute to black lives matter at a concert --

GIULIANI: I ran the largest and best police department in the world, the New York City police Department and I saved more black lives than any of those people you saw onstage. KAYE: Whatever is behind this bizarre transformation, it seems to be just what Donald Trump wants.

GIULIANI: Vote for Donald Trump for a safer America and for an America headed in a different direction. Greatness!

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: For more on Rudy's transformation, I want to bring in CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash.

Dana, how different is Rudy Giuliani now from the person who was the mayor of New York, you know, who prosecuted the mob?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, his persona couldn't be any more different, right? I mean he was, as Randi was saying, America's mayor. He was "Time" person of the year. He was beloved by the most liberal of Democrats in New York City and around the country and the most conservative of Republicans.

[21:35:00] And since he joined the Trump world, politically speaking, it's been very different. But I think we've become more used to seeing Rudy Giuliani in the sort of vein of Donald Trump as the ultimate protector, the ultimate loyalist, the ultimate defender. I mean he was pretty much the only guy who would go out and say anything good about Donald Trump after the "Access Hollywood" tape came out at the end of the 2016 campaign. That tells you a lot.

COOPER: I was talking to Maggie Haberman on Friday night. She made the point that the people who get around President Trump tend to take on his personality. Do you think part of that is what Giuliani is doing?

BASH: Maybe. And also he is not just sort of a casual friend or an acquaintance who just met Donald Trump. They've known each other quite well for decades. I mean if you think about the fact that Giuliani's children, particularly his son, Andrew, is somebody who got to know Donald Trump as a young kid and now Andrew is working in the Donald Trump White House and actually gets along in a very personal way with the now President kind of explains a lot and tells you a lot.

And, yes, Rudy Giuliani has kind of become a Trump whisperer. He has kind of rare latitude to go out and say things that he believes that the President will be OK with. A lot of times he OKs conversations that he has with reporters or interviews that he does. But sometimes my sense in talking to him is that it doesn't have to get that specific because he knows what the President wants. And what the President wants right now is what Giuliani is doing.

And that's an attack dog. And that is no holds barred. He wanted to change direction. He wanted to take the gloves off with his -- with how he approached the Mueller investigation and Robert Mueller himself, and that's what he's got.

COOPER: Dana Bash. Dana, thanks.

BASH: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, the President again threatens a government shutdown if he doesn't get what he wants from Congress on immigration. We'll hear from someone who worked in the Trump White House until just ten days ago.


[21:40:53] COOPER: The President's repeating his threat that he'd be willing to shut down the government if he doesn't get the wall he wants or funding for the wall and some other things on his immigration wish list. After tweeting about it over the weekend, the President said this today.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we don't get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown. It's time we had proper border security. We're the laughingstock of the world.


COOPER: Joining me now is CNN's Newest Political Commentator Mark Short, former White House Director of Legislative Affairs who left the White House less than two weeks ago. Thanks for being here. It's good to have you.

MARC SHORT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, thanks for having me.

COOPER: How likely do you think it is that there actually would be a shutdown because right now the shutdown, unless there's a new spending bill, would be before the midterm?

SHORT: Right. So I think in August the Senate's going to stay in session and complete more of the appropriations bills but unlikely to finish all of them. You know, Anderson, it's been 22 years since Congress actually completed appropriation bills on time. So we're likely to face another continuing resolution in September. I think the --

COOPER: In order to get it past the midterms.

SHORT: Exactly, and to complete the appropriations process because it won't be completed. And so at that point they'll give him more time and ultimately he'll probably have another December timeframe. Last year the President signed an omnibus this year. You know, he has indicated he would. He doesn't want to have another $1.3 trillion spending bill plopped on his desk.

COOPER: So -- but the chance of having a shutting down before the midterms that just seems highly unlikely? SHORT: I think it's unlikely but I do think the President is sincere about pushing for his border wall funding. And, you know, honestly it's not just the President it's something the Democrats supported in 2006 with the Secure Fence Acts.

COOPER: I'm sorry, go ahead.

SHORT: No, it's just become more politicized now. I think if you look at the plan the President's put forward by the career officers at Customs and Border Patrol, in some cases these are fences that are see-through, and in some cases it's walls, but it's what they say they need to secure the border. And so it's become a much more politicized issue when in fact there are career professionals saying this is what we need. Democrats have supported it in the past. But it's politicized now because Democrats as they move forward is giving the victory to Trump.

COOPER: They also want a larger deal on immigration issues.


COOPER: And see this as a way to negotiate it.

SHORT: Right.

COOPER: The -- I mean, you work so much with Congress when you were at the White House. It does seem like -- I don't know if it's increasingly or at a certain point it seems like there's a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who just ignore the President's tweets or statements and just plan accordingly to what they think should be done. Do you see that happening because I mean very quickly you had McConnell coming out saying, look, there's not going to be a shutdown essentially?

SHORT: Well, I think McConnell's had a meeting with the President this week and so I think he's on pretty safe ground giving that direction. I think again the question is the timing of when such an occurrence might happen. But I'd say the biggest chance is when we started in the White House, I used to get calls from members of Congress that would say, Marc, it's exciting. We're here. We have control of the House, the Senate, the White House. The agenda is great. Can you just get the President to turn off his phone?

And over time what we now get is Members of Congress calling, saying, hey, Marc, can we get the President to tweet this? So you say they ignore his tweets but in reality more often than not we have Members of Congress calling and soliciting tweets on their behalf from the President of the United States.

COOPER: Right. That's still not saying that they love what he's tweeting out. I mean, he tweeted out that the threat from North Korea was no longer. There's no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. Now we have reporting that just tonight in "The Washington Post," the North Korea is actually moving forward on a weapons system.

SHORT: I think the President's pretty clear as to what's happening in North Korea. I think he's got a great national security team and Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Bolton, Secretary Mattis. Those are great people surrounding him on those decisions. But I think on the tweeting, Anderson, he found a way to make sure he could communicate with the American people directly. And I think it's been a very effective tool for him.

COOPER: I want to ask you about John Kelly. There was an article in Politico. It's the one-year anniversary of John Kelly taking over the office of Chief of Staff. Politico ran this article today. The headline was, "How John Kelly Became Chief in Name Only." Do you think that's fair? Has he been marginalized?

SHORT: I don't think it's fair. I think it's hard to find anyone who has sacrificed more for this country not just personally but with his family than John Kelly. The man is an American hero. And I think --

[21:45:08] COOPER: Right. But none of that means he is --

SHORT: I think that he has helped provide a lot of order to the White House that was missing prior to John Kelly's arrival.

COOPER: That's certainly true. I mean, he certainly seemed to get people in their lanes more, had less people going in and out of Oval Office. Does he still maintain the same level of oversight and power you think that he had eight months ago?

SHORT: I think that General Kelly is revered within the White House. I think the reality is the President very much wants to be involved in all decisions. He's not going to be delegating that to any chief of staff. But I do think that characterization in Politico was unfair.

COOPER: All right, Mark short, I appreciate it. Good to have with us.

SHORT: Anderson thanks for having me on.

COOPER: A deadly wildfire in northern California is so massive and hot, it's creating its own weather system, another hurdle in fighting it. We'll get the latest from Redding, California, ahead.


[21:50:05] COOPER: It's been burning for a week, has now become one of the 10 most destructive wildfires in California history. The Carr Fire in northern California has already killed six people, burned close to 100,000 acres. The weather forecast is not looking good. Nick Watt has more.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of the most destructive fires to ever burn in California, 150 square miles. An area the size of Denver scorched. Almost a thousand buildings destroyed, 38,000 people forced to flee their homes and six lives lost. So far, among them two firefighters, one person who refused to evacuate and three members of a family who are getting ready to flee the flames. Ed Bledsoe spoke to his wife, Melody, and their great grandchildren, Emily and James' moments before the fire reached them.

ED BLEDSOE, LOST THREE FAMILY MEMBERS IN CALIFORNIA FIRE: It's coming at me. The fire's coming in the back door. Come on, grandpa. I said I'm right down the road. He said come and get us. Emily said I love you, grandpa. Grandma says, I love you grandpa, and junior says I love you. Come and get us. Come and get us. I said I'm on my way.

WATT: The fire is so large and temperatures so hot it's creating its own weather system. It can be seen from space. Gale-force winds whipped, towering flames into what firefighters described as fire tornadoes. And the fire actually doubled in size overnight at the weekend. This isn't just a back country blaze, the fire threatening and burning parts of Redding, California, population more than 90,000.

CHIEF ROGER MOORE, REDDING POLICE: This fire is scary to us. This is something we haven't seen before in the city.

WATT: Some were given 30 minutes to evacuate not knowing if they'd ever see their homes again.

JOSH LISTER, FAMILY LOST HOME IN CALIFORNIA FIRE: It looked like an atomic bomb after the fact. We got a few pictures from friends but it was a fire storm when we left.

WATT: For the Lister family their worst fears realized. They lost everything. There are now scattered reports of looting in those abandoned areas. And on the fire lines 17 helicopters, 300 engines and over 3,000 personnel continue to fight for control of this inferno.


COOPER: Nick Watt joins us from Redding. It's incredible Nick, you said it doubled in size overnight over the weekend. I mean, wildfires seem to be more and more common now?

WATT: They do. Listen, right now we have about 90 wildfires burning across this country around a million acres scorched. And of the 12 biggest wildfires ever in California since records began, seven of them have happened since just 2015. Now, the California drought probably had something to do with that. There's still a lot of dead, dry vegetation around, which access kind of 10 bucks. But, you know, after another California wildfire back in December, Governor Jerry Brown said maybe this is now the new normal and he suggested maybe climate change is exacerbating the conditions that lead to blazes like this. Anderson?

COOPER: Nick Watt, I appreciate it on the fire lines. Thanks for being there.

Just ahead, a new book is on the horizon. A source is saying it give a front row seat to the Trump White House and his thoughts and everything from the Russian investigation, white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the author Bob Woodward, of Woodward and Bernstein fame. What we know about the book, next.


[21:57:14] COOPER: For the past eight months we haven't heard much of the Woodward -- part of Woodward and Bernstein. As it turns out he's been reporting and writing a book about President Trump that's set to come out in September, it's called "FEAR". Judging by what we're learning from sources it's going to be a doozy.

CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel joins me now with details. So what do we know about this book?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So Donald Trump is about to get the Bob Woodward treatment.

COOPER: Right.

GANGEL: And what we know is as you said, Bob spent the last eight months and he went back to his Watergate roots. He literally went out at night, unannounced, knocked on people's doors, and went in and interviewed them. And he has dozens of White House officials and firsthand sources who have been in these meetings with Donald Trump. They all spoke to him. They were all recorded. Every interview was recorded, but don't make a mistake by that. They're not on the record. These are deep background. This is not a book of one deep throat. This is a book of dozens of deep throats, and they discussed everything from sort of explosive debates in the White House to really -- it's described as harrowing.

COOPER: Well, I'm curious to know what the "Fear" is, is it a fear that he found in the White House? Fear -- I mean, I guess we don't know the answer to that.

GANGEL: We will hear, but what we're -- it was not just interviews. These sources gave him documents.

COOPER: Oh, really, wow.

GANGEL: He got memos. Notes. Files. Diaries. Notes, I'm told in Donald Trump's own hand. So I'm told it's very authoritative and it's very well documented.

COOPER: Are some of the notes classified? Do you know or?

GANGEL: We don't know yet, but this is what I would say. In the past people have given Bob Woodward classified documents. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these were classified.

COOPER: And do we know where the "Fear" and what the "fear" stems from?

GANGEL: So the "fear" is actually a Donald Trump quote. The last time Bob Woodward interviewed him was in March, 2016. And Donald Trump said real power is -- I don't even want to use the word, fear. And that's where it comes from.

COOPER: Well, I mean, that's often leaders, you know, do they want to be loved, do they want to be feared? That's -- GANGEL: Do they want to be respected?

COOPER: Right.

GANGEL: But in his case, real power, fear.

COOPER: Wow. Well, I look forward to that. And that's coming out in the fall?

GANGEL: Six weeks from almost today, September 11th, right before the midterms.

COOPER: Wow. Fascinating. Jamie Gangel, thank you very much for the preview.

GANGEL: Thank you.

COOPER: A quick reminder, watch "Full Circle" our daily interaction newscast on Facebook. Go to weeknights at 6:25 p.m. Eastern. It's a fan show. The news continues. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN tonight" starts now. Don?