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Mueller's Team: Manafort Lied After Pleading Guilty; Mexico Asks U.S. For Investigation Into Use Of "Non-Lethal Weapons" On The Border; President Trump Says His Administration Has Found The "Magic Wand," FDF Manufacturing On Same Day GM Announces Plants Closures; Nooses Found at Mississippi State Capitol One Day Before The Runoff Election. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired November 26, 2018 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

We begin with breaking news about the man who once ran Donald Trump's campaign who's now in jail awaiting sentencing and has promised to tell Robert Mueller's investigators the truth in exchange for less prison time than he might otherwise deserve. That was the idea.

Paul Manafort was already in a world of trouble. Well, now, tonight, he's in even more. Today, it was the deadline for the Mueller team to tell the judge whether Manafort is telling them the whole truth and tonight, they say no, not even close.

Evan Perez joins us with the latest.

So, what else in this court filing? What does it mean for Manafort's plea deal?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it means that the plea deal still stands but the cooperation agreement under which the government had promised to encourage the judge to show some leniency -- well, that part of the deal is off.

I'll read you what the court filing says. It says, quote: After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel's office in a variety of subject matters which constitute breaches of the agreement.

What the special counsel's office is now saying, Anderson, is that they want the judge to move towards sentencing. They say they're going to provide more information in the latter date about exactly the nature of the lies that Paul Manafort made as part of these lies that apparently he has been telling since he made his plea in September.

COOPER: Did prosecutors indicate what they say Manafort lied about?

PEREZ: They did not indicate exactly what he lied about. But, Anderson, we know that our team there who sits outside of the special counsel's office has seen him show up and spend hours nine times since his September plea agreement. We've also seen more recently his lawyers show up for a couple of very short meetings which perhaps is an indication of the disagreement that was going on behind the scenes.

And one more thing, Anderson, we don't really know what this means for the special counsel. We know this was a big cooperator. This was an important person for the special counsel to have cooperating with this investigation. We don't know whether this hurts their investigation. We don't know what information they may have shared with Paul Manafort and his lawyers and if any of that information could be making its way to other people, including, perhaps, the president's legal team.

All of these are big questions that are now really in front of us as a result of this extraordinary filing from the special counsel's office tonight.

COOPER: Wow. Evan Perez, thanks very much.

Joining me now is former federal prosecutor, CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, who's working for the administration, CNN Legal Analyst, John Dean who served as Richard Nixon's White House counsel and gave evidence against him, also former Federal Prosecutor, Anne Milgram. She's also CNN legal analyst giving us the makings of a law firm tonight.

Jeff, I don't know exactly how to phrase this question, but how frigging stupid is this guy?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Very frigging stupid. To get a cooperation agreement and the chance for a lower sentence was very important to him, especially since he's 70 years old. To throw that away, to throw that benefit away by continuing to lie to the special counsel's office is incredibly reckless and self-defeating.

Now, in the filing today, Manafort's lawyers said they disagree.

COOPER: He said he wasn't lying.

TOOBIN: He wasn't lying. But the fact that Mueller's office blew this agreement up in this way suggests they must have a pretty good reason for thinking he's lying to them.

COOPER: John Dean, I mean, if conventional wisdom is true and the collusion portion of the investigation is nearing an end, why would Manafort mess up a federal plea deal? You obviously have some experience with this. Does it make sense to you?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It absolutely makes no sense, Anderson. In fact, as alluded earlier, it's stupid. He's not going to get this opportunity again, it already appears he gave a lot of hours, nine meetings where he's obviously provided something they can cooperate, he also has sacrificed not only lessening his sentence potential but they're not going to give back the $15 million of forfeited property that he already had been forced to give up. So, this is just dumb is what it is.

COOPER: You know, David, what's interesting about the lies, whether it's -- I mean, Paul Manafort's lies in this case or the lies President Trump often will tell is that they are all dependent on -- for success on everybody else being stupid and they're all dependent on the idea that everybody else who hears them is stupid. Clearly, the Mueller team is not stupid nor are the American people when they hear repeated lies from the president that are easily checked.

I mean, I guess, I just don't understand the kind of low-level of lying that -- just really bad lying. And to get caught time and time again, as Paul Manafort has, lying, it's just incredible to me.

[20:05:05] DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is incredible but I would argue there's perhaps a different way to look at this. And that is Paul Manafort is not stupid. He may be reckless, but he's not stupid.

And I would assume that if he's lying, he's doing it because there is something very big he's trying to hide from the prosecutors. Very big. We don't know what that is, at least we don't on the outside here.

But I would also assume that while his chances of going to jail for a much longer time have definitely gone up, it's also possible that his chances of getting a pardon have gone up if he's doing something to serve the interest of those around the president and we don't know yet what all this is.

I do think the other -- Jeffrey and John could help me with this because they know more about this, but I think there's a chance that in the next brief that Mueller files, he may have to show more of his hand about why he thinks Manafort has been lying so recklessly. And if that's the case, we may have a better understanding of what this is about in the next 24 to 48 hours.

COOPER: I mean, that's a fascinating idea, Anne. I mean, do you think it's likely that Manafort was lying to protect himself or potentially others from something that hasn't been fleshed out entirely or is something that, you know, he's hoping to get -- protect the president from that he's hoping to get a pardon about?

ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, it's hard to tell but it's absolutely possible. And I think it's worth noting that it is rare for cooperators to go south like this, but it does happen and there are people who come in and say I'll tell you the whole truth and not cooperate completely and then they just can't bring themselves to do it. And it's clear that Manafort spent a lot of time with the government.

The government checks everything cooperators say. So, they're going to be fact-checking him left and right on everything and it's clear to me for the government to blow up this agreement that they found something, that they concretely believe shows he's lying and he's not willing to come off of it.

So, it could be that David is correct. It has to do with the president. It could be other crimes that were committed by himself or others. You know, it's really impossible to say.

But what is interesting is that the defense is saying no, he's telling you the truth when it's clear that Mueller's team is confident that he is lying.

TOOBIN: One view of this is that this is good news for Donald Trump because if -- you know, once he pleaded guilty and cooperated, the goal is to get him to tell the truth and become a witness against other people. Now he's useless as a witness because he's lied so much. An alternative view is that the Mueller office has so much on everyone that they can tell whether someone is lying.

But the fact is when you give someone a cooperation agreement, you're hoping they cooperate and they become a useful witness. Manafort is now a useless witness. That's not good for Mueller.

COOPER: John, with the plea deal being breached, is Manafort obligated to testify against anyone else who may be charged by the special counsel? I mean, is any cooperation now all moot?

DEAN: He has breached the agreement according to the prosecutors, so it's no longer a viable agreement. And I suspect also, Anderson, this is a setback for the prosecutors, who are moving along and there's obviously some bit of evidence or multiple amounts of evidence that they knew he was not coming forth on, that they have and still lead. So, this is not helpful to the furthering of this investigation, either.

COOPER: John Dean, what do you think about the theory that David Gergen advanced that it's hoping to get a pardon down the road if it's protecting the president?

DEAN: That's very potential. I think he sort of waited for that up until the time he flipped and, you know, he obviously has ability to communicate probably through his wife and others to send signals that he was going to go to the line and would only go so far. The prosecutors would probably monitor him closely so we don't know how this will go.

David also mentioned that we're going to earn more. We are, in the sentencing document that's going to be filed very shortly.

COOPER: So, Anne, is it -- would it be appropriate for Manafort's attorneys or people connected to Manafort to have connections with people on the Trump legal team or people connected to the president to try to pass along information or pass along some sort of message?

MILGRAM: I mean, it's possible. What's more likely is that people from the Trump team may have tried to communicate with Manafort's lawyers or send messages to Manafort. I mean, this is really hard for us to know at this point.

[20:10:00] I take the view that Manafort had to plead guilty. He'd gone through a long -- what was unquestionably a deep -- a very expensive case to try in the Eastern District of Virginia. The evidence was a strong against him, he was convicted, he's going to do prison time. Facing another trial, and this was a tougher case for him and also, you know, more problematic case for the president and administration. So, I think, you know, he was going to plead guilty, what he was

looking for was a break in sentencing. And I tend to agree now that now the only way to get the break is a pardon or commutation of his sentence.

COOPER: So, Jeffrey, what is -- what are the options for Mueller's team on this?

TOOBIN: Well, it looks like they are simply just going to throw the book at Mueller. Mueller is going to throw the book at Manafort. They are going to say this guy lied to us, he committed crimes, we are giving him no break, he should be sentenced to the full extent of, you know, his multiple convictions and guilty pleas.

That's their goal -- that's their play with Mueller -- sorry, with Manafort. They -- you know, I think they don't have a lot of options in terms of using Manafort against other people. I suppose --

COOPER: Because he's unreliable?

TOOBIN: Because he's unreliable. They could in a further proceeding down the line even if Manafort didn't want to cooperate they could give him immunity since he will have been sentenced to force him to testify again. But since they have said repeatedly he is not reliable and a liar, it's very hard to imagine --

COOPER: So maybe I'm completely off base by saying he's frigging stupid. Maybe this is incredibly smart of him?

TOOBIN: No, but he's going to get a long sentence. Oh, if he's playing for a pardon.

COOPER: If he's playing for a pardon?

TOOBIN: Yes. That -- I mean, obviously, a pardon is the best result he could get.

COOPER: I mean, he was going to get a long sentence anyway, wasn't he?

TOOBIN: Well, not necessarily. I mean, the whole point of cooperating is to get a lower sentence. Now he's even more in need of a pardon because he's obviously not going to get a low sentence.

COOPER: David Gergen, what would you see as the president's -- I mean, if you're the president, is tonight a good night?

DEAN: Yes.

COOPER: David Gergen?

GERGEN: Yes, I think that if you're the president, tonight is a good night in the sense that Jeffrey and John had been talking about and that is that Manafort -- Mueller was likely counting upon Manafort as being the star witness and now he doesn't have that. It's also possible that this will stretch out the time. Now, Mueller

may have to go back and double check. He may have to get to a whole new path for bringing whatever case he's going to bring forward and this may extend the time.

And now, we got Whitaker at the Justice Department. Who the hell knows what will happen in the next few days or few weeks in all of this? I think it's one more reason why the Mueller investigation ought to be protected by Congress because this has become so uncertain and so bizarre.

COOPER: I mean, John Dean, this is like a three dimensional future game of chess. Is this something that you think Paul Manafort would have planned out long ago?

DEAN: It doesn't seem the way it fell that he planned it out. You got to realize also, Anderson, he's got ten more counts that there was a hung jury on that could still be brought by the prosecutor, Mueller, against him. So they could take him back into the courtroom again and give him some more trial time which would cost him money and make us even more painful for it. So they have some options there.

COOPER: Anne Milgram, why do you think that Manafort's attorneys would be arguing no, no, no, he's not -- he hasn't gone back on his word at all?

MILGRAM: You know, they want the benefit of getting the cooperation agreement which is a -- it's a -- Manafort has been in by public reporting nine or ten times, he's provided a lot of information. They want him to get some benefit when it comes to sentencing and I think they rightly know that the judge is not going to give them that benefit.

And, look, the government actually does get to decide whether or not Manafort has provided substantial assistance and the government saying he's a liar is incredibly compelling and that will, I think, carry the day with the judge. But his lawyers want to push back and say, look, he has been cooperating.

The only other thing I'd say about Manafort as we think about what Mueller's team is doing and thinking is that, you know, Mueller's team has known for day one that Manafort has been incredibly, I don't think he's been forced right on anything from day one.

And remember that he was trying to reach witnesses and getting witnesses, to sort of state the story he wanted when the case was being investigated. So, I would argue they've had a deep skepticism of him and we're checking him carefully because of that skepticism. Though I do agree it's a loss to not be able to have someone like Manafort testify particularly if you're looking at the president and wrongdoing by the president, Manafort would be someone close enough to have had that information.

[20:15:08] COOPER: Well, Jeff, though, just because of a witness lies about one thing does that mean they lie about everything? TOOBIN: No. And there is often back and forth with prosecutors and

cooperating witnesses. It is often the case that cooperators don't follow come clean when they start to cooperate and prosecutors have to decide whether their lies are so series that it merits tearing up the agreement.

Obviously, they thought it was serious enough to tear up the agreement. If I can offer one way to disagree with myself that this is good news for Donald Trump, I still think it is basically good news that Manafort is not becoming a star witness. But if I were Trump, I would be unnerved that Mueller's office knows enough about the facts of this case to say you're lying.

How do they know that? Who told them? What documents do they have? What tapes do they have? That's got to be unnerving.

GERGEN: That's a really good point.

COOPER: And, David, it's also important to point out, we don't know what the subject is that he is allegedly lying about, which would be very --

GERGEN: No, it's very important that we be cautious about this. I mean, it could be purely his own misdeeds and his own financial misdeeds, fraud or money laundering or the like, which is what he was charged with, or he could be about some aspect of the Mueller case that we don't know about. Or it could be about -- he's trying to protect someone at the center of this government and that may not be the president. It could be one of his -- it could be a child, it could be a number of things.

I don't -- I think we ought to be cautious but this is a bombshell.

COOPER: It certainly is. Remarkable.

David Gergen, Counselors Dean, Milgram and Toobin, thanks very much.

Coming up next, breaking news from the border. After a weekend that saw migrants rush the border and border patrol fire tear gas into Mexico, including into the areas where women and children were, we'll have a live report from there.

And later, what we and the voters of Mississippi are learning about Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith as tomorrow's runoff election approaches. Allegations of racially tinged remarks and other controversial statements and what could be other complications in what is already a racially charged campaign.


[20:21:26] COOPER: The president said that federal border agents did not use tear gas on children and migrants rushing a checkpoint in Tijuana. Our reporting, which you'll see in a moment, tells a more complicated story.

Accounts also differ about how the chaos erupted. That's, of course, in addition to the larger controversy over the migrant caravan. The president sending active duty troops and the untruths he told yesterday and today about the policy of separating families at the border.

He said the Obama administration did the exact same thing. In fact, it did not. Family separation was at a time a rare exception, not the rule.

In any case, there is breaking news tonight. Mexico's foreign ministry today sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. embassy asking for an investigation of the tear gassing.

More on all of this from Leyla Santiago who joins us now from Tijuana.

So, what have you learned about what went on?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, a lot of folks are still trying to make sense of what happened. We are at a makeshift shelter, a sort of athletic facility turned shelter where many are in tents waiting to see where they make their next move. The city officials tell us there are about 5,000 people, the majority of men here.

And this morning, when we arrived, we saw buses still arriving, still, Central American migrants making their way here to Tijuana, despite the clash at the border over the weekend.


SANTIAGO (voice-over): Despite the tear gas, protect her children, she forgot her phone was still recording. Capturing her struggle to breathe and the screams from her daughter's fear.

A day later, Jessica, who asked us not to use her last name, knows these images will haunt her forever.

(on camera): She said she was -- she said she was holding her child pretty much like her child had fainted from the gas.

She said those tears are for her child.

(voice-over): Her seven-year-old daughter struggles to talk about what happened at the border. Hundreds of migrants, men, women, children, marched in unity from this makeshift shelter to the border Sunday. Many told us they were caught off guard when tear gas was released by Customs and Border Protection on the U.S. side of the fence.

According to CBP, the migrants were the first to throw things, hitting four agents in the U.S. with rocks and that's why they responded with tear gas, something the migrants denied.

MAYOR JUAN MANUEL GASTELUM, TIJUANA, MEXICO: I cannot agree on the use of force. Not even that type of force, that is tear gas or rubber bullets, I cannot be -- I cannot agree on any of those actions. SANTIAGO: For its part, Mexico says it will not tolerate disorderly

conduct. Mexican immigration officials took about 100 people into custody and plans to deport them. The clash is making some reconsider plans.

(on camera): She says she's thinking about staying in Mexico but she can't go back to Honduras because she says if she goes back to Honduras, they'll kill her. That's the threat she faces.

Just outside the sports center turned shelter, we watched as about 20 Hondurans boarded this bus for voluntary deportation but this is a small portion of the group here.

[20:25:00] City officials say more than 5,000 are being housed at this shelter and after the clash at the border, the federal police in Mexico have made their presence known as U.S. military helicopters constantly fly over what has become the latest home of the caravan.


COOPER: Leyla, what's next in the legal process? I mean, how long before people have an opportunity to actually apply for asylum if they're going to have that opportunity?

SANTIAGO: Right. Of those who plan to seek asylum at the port of -- the San Ysidro port of entry here in Tijuana, you're looking at weeks, Anderson, before this caravan arrived, there were already more than 1,600 migrants on this sort of unofficial waiting list just to get into the port of San Ysidro.

Officials tell me the capacity there is about 300. So take a capacity of 300, 1,600 already waiting for their chance to just go to the port and say I want to seek asylum. Add this, 5,000, and you're looking at weeks, possibly months before they get to utter those words.

COOPER: Leyla Santiago, thanks very much.

I want to get more perspective now. Joining us is former Trump Campaign Adviser, Steve Cortes, and Leon Rodriguez, former director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Leon, in terms of protocol, using tear gas on people in which there were women and young children, was that an appropriate response?

LEON RODRIGUEZ, FORMER DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: Yes, I wouldn't be the one to judge that. That's a law enforcement call that Customs and Border Protection had to make. There was already going to be an investigation before the Mexican government requested it this evening.

But you know, I'd like to keep us away from the rights and wrongs of that law enforcement decision and talk about why we're here, which I think is evidence of the failed policies of enforcement only as the way to address what is really a humanitarian crisis.

COOPER: Well, I mean, so just in terms of the asylum process. Is that kind of a weight of weeks or months, is that a normal amount of time? I mean, how would it normally work in past years? Because obviously, they made the asylum process more difficult lately.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, certainly, the way it's been working in past years is that you would actually be able to state your claim for asylum very quickly after the time that either you're apprehended between ports of entry, not at a border station, or you went to a border station, and in fact made your claim of asylum. Now, you're waiting -- you're exposed to waiting much, much more than would have been the case even frankly weeks ago.

COOPER: Steve, is that -- I know you've been critical on some of the immigration policies of this administration, obviously supportive of others. Clearly in making it more -- I think it's fair to say they're trying to make it as difficult as possible to actually seek asylum. Is that appropriate?

STEVE CORTES, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I think it is appropriate and, Anderson, the reason I say that, this isn't about asylum. Let's be honest about this.

The distance from Honduras, for example, to San Diego is almost 3,000 miles. That's like crossing the entire United States. They are crossing the gigantic country of Mexico which offered them asylum which, in fact, offered asylum plus jobs, and they said no.

So what does that tell us? This isn't because they're fleeing for their lives and they just want safety or they wouldn't go all the way across Mexico. It tells us they're economic migrants who want to come to the United States.

Now, I don't begrudge them, by the way, of wanting to come here. I would want to come here, too. But it's not about asylum and in terms of becoming legal immigrants to the United States, they need to get in line and do it by the process by which the United States very rightfully demands of all immigrants and enter this country the way my father did, the way so many millions of our fathers and grandfathers and grandmothers did, and that's reasonable and right for this country. We can't let people game the system by claiming asylum and that's not legitimate.

RODRIGUEZ: With all due respect, the administration has been doing everything it can to eliminate the line, to have there be no line for people who are coming from a country with the highest homicide rate on the planet, with completely broken institutions of public safety and what they have been on a campaign of doing is eliminating every possibility for those people to get in line and seek legal relief in the United States, to actually request asylum as our laws and international conventions provide.

COOPER: Steve, what about that? I mean, if somebody is the victim of domestic violence, if somebody is in fear of their life because of gangs and control their neighborhood and the failure of local law enforcement, shouldn't they -- should they be able to apply for asylum in the United States? Because traditionally, those things would be considered. CORTES: Listen, I think they absolutely should be considered. Also I

think, again, many people are gaming the system so we should be highly skeptical. However, the United States has always been a refuge for the --


COOPER: But if those things are no longer --

CORTES: I think still --

COOPER: Those things are no longer under this administration considered --


COOPER: -- things that worthy of asylum, no?

CORTES: Well, look, coming from a crumby place quite honestly, that is not reason for asylum. If you are being persecuted because of some classification, your race, your religious beliefs, your gender, those are reasons. If you're truly being persecuted because of those issues, those are legitimate reasons for asylum in the United States and we have a process to apply for that.

That process by the way does not include a thousand people waving a foreign flag and firing projectiles, throwing rocks at our customs and border protection agents. The majority of whom, by the way, are Hispanics, I think that's a very important thing that the people out there in the America need to know. That is not the process. It's trying to break and enter into our country.

It's instead getting patiently aligned just as legal immigrants have to do and many cases waiting for many, many years to come to this country legally and that's reasonable of this country to do. A porous open border isn't just bad for us, it's also bad for a lot of these would be migrants because they're unfortunately often sold a false bill of goods that they will easily get into the United States and what they encounter is a whole lot of human misery quite frankly along the way trying.

COOPER: Leon, what do you say to, you know, to Steve who is saying, look, persecution is one thing but -- I mean, clearly I -- you know, according to the administration, domestic violence -- if you're suffering from domestic violence, if you're worried about your child being taken into a gang or your kid has been threatened by a gang, that's no longer reason to get asylum?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. I mean, it has long been the case that if you were victimized in a way -- by private violence in a way that was recognized under the refugee and asylum laws. And law enforcement or public safety officials in your county either were unable or unwilling to protect you, for decades, that has been recognized as a claim for asylum.

What we're doing is taking a humanitarian crisis that has very clear law enforcement ramifications. We can't deny those ramifications and instead treating it as a national security issue that has no humanitarian dimension. What we saw yesterday, and there's no justification for violence, there's no justification for rock throwing or charging the border, but what we saw yesterday is the predictable consequence of a policy that is giving people no possibility of relief from what is an intolerable situation.

COOPER: Leon Rodriguez, Steve Cortez, appreciate both of you being with us.

Coming up next, the President's promises about keeping jobs in Ohio, today's news about big General Motors cuts, job cuts in Ohio and elsewhere and some breaking news, what the President said about jobs this evening that people certainly is talking about it. We'll tell you. We'll also talk to Ohio Governor John Kasich, get his take on all this as well as his thoughts and a few other things when "360" continues.


[20:36:29] COOPER: Presidents live and die politically by the state of the economy. Right now the economy fear strong, which made the news today that General Motors is closing five plants, including four in this country, a potentially serious flow. 14,000 jobs will be affected either by cuts or reassignments, many in Ohio where big assembly line in the town of Lordstown is shutting down. And as you know both as a candidate and later in office, President Trump has had a lot to say about the politically pivotal state.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your jobs are coming back, believe me. Your jobs are coming back.

And Ohio sees it just about better than anybody because you see car companies back, the car companies expanding. Other companies are coming back. Remember, they were all leaving, now they're all coming back, folks. They're all coming back.

About what we've done in less than two years no president or administration in its first two years has done anywhere near what this administration has done and they know it. And they know it.


COOPER: Well, today, the President reacted by saying he was unhappy with the GM news but that he expects the company to bring new business into Ohio in the near future. What's strange is that just a few hours later at a rally in Mississippi he made news by saying this.


TRUMP: The previous administration, they said manufacturing is never coming back, it's gone. You need a magic wand. Well, we found the magic wand and that's actually -- that's actually going to be increasing by a lot in the next short while because we have a lot of companies moving in.


COOPER: Interesting thing to say after 14,000 people learn their jobs are in jeopardy. I want to talk about it now with Ohio governor and former Republican presidential candidate, John Kasich. Governor, do you believe the President has found the magic wand? Do the people of Ohio believe that he has?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I don't think so, Anderson. Look, I mean the problem we have in Lordstown with General Motors is there's now a car there that has very thin profit margins and each people aren't driving these small cars. But when you add to that the question of tariffs, it means that those profit margins are even shrinking even more and more.

And so what we've seen in Lordstown is a car that's not selling and there's no magic way to bring it back. What I hope will happen is that we can work with the people at General Motors to see if perhaps there is another car that we can put in there. Look, we went through this with Chrysler and we had long negotiations in Toledo and things were better as a result of it, more employees.

There was a GM plant that shut in Dayton and our folks went to China and they brought a company, I think it's about 2,400 workers there now with salaries that were greater than what they were doing in the old auto plant.

So there's two ways to look at this. One is -- well, first of all, let's knock off the tariffs, they're not serving anybody's interest because they make the cost of the cars higher and companies either have to eat them or they pass the cost on to consumers who really can't afford, people who are buying that car can't afford to have higher prices on it.

And if that doesn't work, if we can't get a better car in there that can get better profit margins, then we have to think about, can we repurpose the plant. But it's a sad story for an iconic plant in a very special part of Ohio, but you have to work with companies. And this was a case in my opinion where they looked at it and the numbers didn't add up and it wasn't just in Ohio but it's been around the country.

COOPER: Yes. I mean the President today said that he told the CEO of GM that she "better reopened plants in the U.S. soon." Is that how this kind of things work, though? I mean by presidential fiat, essentially?

[20:40:03] KASICH: Well, wait a minute. I think the President challenged Harley-Davidson and got into it and was arguing and yelling at them and they've now building plants overseas. And then there was the famous case of going to Indianapolis trying to save that company and we find out that the promises there were not made.

You don't get this done by just sort of bluster, this is hard work. And I think the President probably knows that, but you've got to be careful with your rhetoric. One thing you don't want to do with people in that part of Ohio or any part of the country is to make a promise to them that you can't keep. False hope leads to big problems. It leads to damaged dreams. Don't false hope.

That doesn't mean we don't have hope. Maybe there can be something that can be worked out with GM. Maybe we can repurpose the plant. We will be in the process of helping the employees look for other work. But as I talked to the Youngstown Vindicator today, I said, look, I'm not going to promise you false things. I can't promise that this thing is all going to work out but we're going to do our level best.

COOPER: You know, I'm not going to ask you the question which everybody always asks you now these days which is, are you going to be running for president or Republican against President Trump, you know, in the primary. I guess how would somebody who wanted --

KASICH: You just asked me. You just asked me.

COOPER: No, no, I'm not. I'm not. I'm not asking you. But just in a general sense --


COOPER: -- do you know or do you think it is known at this point how a Republican would run against President Trump? I mean, obviously, you know, that with the huge --


KASICH: I think it's --

COOPER: -- Republicans you were one of them, each one was eliminated by him. What's been learned?

KASICH: Well, I think, Anderson, that the bottom line is we have to look at the policies and the tone. And I think you have a poll that just come out today that shows that the over -- I think over 60 percent of the public wants a change. I mean some people would say his approval is really low. I look at it another way. I said that there's a vast majority of Americans who have said enough of this.

COOPER: Right. There's Gallup where we find that --


KASICH: Yes. I mean, so that shows you the people are not happy. Now, I think within the Republican Party, you know, he's got high approval but that party has shrunken numbers. So you have to see what happens. You know, what happens with his fortunes? How does he do?

But I also talked about the fact that if the Democrats, you know, who -- we're not sure what they're going to do. They'll be more people on the stage than we had when we run the last time. If they pick somebody like an Elizabeth Warren on the far left and you have Donald Trump over here on the far right, you have a vast ocean of people. And people say, well, third parties never work. Well, you know, this is the 21st century, Anderson. We just landed a vehicle on Mars today, you know. I need -- all kinds of things are possible and what is the status quo should be thrown out and we need to look at different way. So, I'm a Republican. I seriously look at this. I'm not sure what is going to happen, what I'm going to do, but I want to help my country.

I want to have a good message to help my country. Maybe it's running for office, maybe it's not, but I am seriously looking to this fact. I had long conversations with some folks today. I talked to my family, my friends, what can John Kasich do to help? And that's what we explore.

COOPER: Governor Kasich, I appreciate talking to you as always. Thank you.

As you saw, President Trump is campaigning in Mississippi. One the eve of the runoff Senate election there, it's obviously in the national spotlight for a number of reasons, including a race in the president and the past.

Coming up, we'll update you on the latest racially charged symbols found on the grounds of the state capitol there, nooses hanging from trees. We'll talk about that and what it says about the climate for tomorrow's election.


[20:47:07] COOPER: On the eve of tomorrow's Senate runoff election in Mississippi, authorities discovered two nooses on the ground of the state capitol in Jackson. They were hanging from the branch of a tree and only added to the racially-charged nature of the election itself.

This is President Trump made 11th hour campaign speeches in Mississippi to support the Republican incumbent, Senator Cindy Hyde- Smith. Our Martin Savidge is in Mississippi tonight with more.


TRUMP: So we're here tonight to support a truly incredible leader. She's great on tax cuts, tough on the border. She loves our military. She loves our vets. And she always supports our tremendous judicial nominees.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Help from President Trump couldn't come soon enough for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith after a string of damaging disclosures. She supported at least two efforts to elevate Mississippi's confederate history.

CNN's case file (ph) investigative team found she once co-sponsored a resolution that appeared to glorify the confederate cause. And according to "The Washington Post," she backed a resolution in 2001 to rename a Mississippi highway after the president of the confederacy.

This is 2014 images emerged showing Hyde-Smith posing in a confederate hat and holding a rifle. During Hyde-Smith campaign, she remarked she'd attend a public hanging if invited by a supporter. And seemingly endorsed voter suppression in what she called liberal college campuses.

SEN. CINDY HYDE-SMITH (R), MISSISSIPPI: So I think that's a great idea.

SAVIDGE: She offered a partial apology for the public hanging remark.

HYDE-SMITH: For anyone that offended for my -- by my comments, I certainly apologize.

SAVIDGE: But quickly added.

HYDE-SMITH: I also recognize that this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me.

SAVIDGE: It hasn't gone over well in a state that has a history of both, especially when her Democratic opponent, Mike Espy, is African- American.

MIKE ESPY, DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATE: Someone told me that was a gift that keeps on giving. I heard in Washington that they are calling her the hanging senator.

SAVIDGE: Her opponent is using all of this to his advantage in televisions ads.

ESPY: We're better than that. And I know I owe Mississippi more than I can say.

SAVIDGE: Companies including Walmart and Major League Baseball have requested refunds for their contributions to the Hyde-Smith campaign. A move Espy suggests says she's bad for business.

ESPY: So embarrassing, she would be a disaster for Mississippi.

SAVIDGE: If he wins, Espy would become Mississippi's first African- American senator since the end of the Civil War.

ESPY: We've got to get both from everybody. I'm African-American. I'm proud of it.

SAVIDGE: But Hyde-Smith is hopeful a visit from President Donald Trump is a welcomed distraction as she struggles to put a series of racially charged controversies behind her.

TRUMP: She's a tremendous woman. And it's a shame that she has to go through this.


COOPER: Martin, what's the polling been showing ahead of tomorrow's runoff?

[20:50:05] SAVIDGE: Anderson, there hasn't been a lot of polling and that's been one of the surprising things. Usually people are accustomed to hearing polls almost every other day. But in this particular runoff, there haven't been that many because it's considered to be very unusual.

And then on top of that, there's no real baseline when you have a special election like this for pollsters to go back against. And then they had that incredible all stop which was called thanksgiving. That hardly ever happens where both campaigns literally shut down and then have to start up again.

By the way, Mike Espy is attending what's called a "Get Out the Vote Gospel Explosion" tonight, very different from the way that Cindy Hyde-Smith is spending her last night on the campaign trail. She's putting her faith, of course, in a president. Tomorrow, though, it's going to all come down to turning out the vote. Both sides say they need everyone at the polls. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Martin Savidge, we'll be watching. Thanks very much.

I want to check in with Chris to see what he is working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Remember that time we went to that gospel explosion together?

COOPER: No, we never did. I'd be happy to.

CUOMO: Sure, why not, right? Get out, a little change of pace. So what we're going to do tonight is we've been studying your show. You're right to seize on what happened with Manafort, it's important.

We're going to talk about why with a couple of seasoned lawyers, somebody who did this type of work on the government side and former White House counsel to President Trump in terms of what this could mean and then extending this to what we're learning about one of Roger Stone's associates, Mr. Corsi, who is refusing a deal and why. And what is now being assumed about Mueller's reports. We'll piece all that together.

But I think the big guest tonight, Anderson, is we have the head of Customs Border Patrol and, you know, it's the largest law enforcement agency in the country, 60,000 people. There's one person in charge, and that's the person who has the best idea of what's happening on the border and we will test him.

COOPER: Great. We look forward to that. Chris, thanks very much. About eight minutes from now.

Ahead, for us the White House trying to bury a climate report in the post-Thanksgiving (INAUDIBLE) as the President once again shows he doesn't really know the difference between global climate change and looking out the window. The "Ridiculous" is next.


[20:55:38] COOPER: Time now for "Ridiculous." In case you missed it, a federally mandated government study has come out saying the earth's climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization primarily as a result of human activities and the climate change could kill thousands of Americans and cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars. Pretty seriously -- pretty serious.

And you seriously may have missed it because even though the report was supposed to come out in December, the Trump administration released it Friday, this past Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, a day that you may have been, I don't know, spending time with friends and family, taking a break from the news, going shopping. The report is a dire warning about the climate change that's happening right now and what could happen if nothing is done about it. But don't worry, the President says he's on it.


TRUMP: I've seen it. I've read some of it and its fine.


COOPER: I mean its fine, I read some of it. There's no way to know if the President did indeed read some of it, some of the more than 1,600 pages of the report. But what it outlines is definitely not fine. The President was asked about the report's finding that the economic impact could be devastating.


TRUMP: I don't believe it. No, no, I don't believe it. And here is the other thing. You're going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia, and all of these other countries, you know, it addresses our country. Right now we're at the cleanest we've ever been and that's very important to me. But if we had clean but every other place on earth is dirty, that's not so good. So I want clean air. I want clean water, very important.


COOPER: In the face of a report from 13 agencies within the Trump administration, 1,000 people, including 300 leading sciences has suggest a continuation of the President's policy on climate change, namely deny it exist and just talk vaguely about clean air and water.

He's been doing that for years. From January 2014, I quote, "Give me clean, beautiful and healthy air, not the same old climate change, global warming BS." He actually said -- he didn't say BS, he said the whole word. "I'm tired of hearing this nonsense." And this was from December 2015.


TRUMP: So Obama is talking about all of this with the global warming and that and a lot of it is a hoax. It's a hoax. I mean some money making industry, OK. It's a hoax, a lot of it. Look, I want clean air and I want clean water. That's my global. I want clean, clean, clean crystal water.


COOPER: Clean crystal water. So what happens when someone points out to the President that he is denying science, asked Lesley Stahl from "60 Minutes." A spoiler alert he denies. He denies it.


TRUMP: I'm not denying climate change, but it could very well go back. You know, we're talking about all the lenience of news.

LESLEY STAHL, 60 MINUTES, HOST: Well, that's denying it.

TRUMP: They say that we had hurricanes that we're far worse than what we just had with Michael.

STAHL: Who says that?

TRUMP: People say. People say that in the --

STAHL: Yes. But what about the scientists who say it's worse than ever?

TRUMP: You have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.


COOPER: One is in his own administration, find. Look, he doesn't trust scientists. How about his own eyes? So a week and a half ago he went to see some of the destruction from deadly wildfires in California.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, seeing this devastation change your opinion at all on climate change, Mr. President?

TRUMP: No, no. I have a strong opinion. I want great climate. We're going to have that and we're going to have forests that are very safe.


COOPER: Good climate. He wants great climate. It's unclear what, if anything, the President wants to do about it. But I'm not sure he has a robust understanding of the issues or even the most basic grasp of the issues.

Take these tweets for example. "NBC News just called it the great freeze, coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the global warming hoax?" "Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax." Now to be fair or to be generous, those were before he became president. Oh, but we do have one from just last week, "Brutal and extended cold blast could shatter all records, whatever happened to global warming." It's actually in his report.

The President of the United States seems to be honestly believing that global warming means it never gets cold anywhere. NASA has a good explanation of the difference between weather and climate on its Web site, its Web site for children.

So we're just suggesting, Mr. President, if you don't want to believe science or the 1,600-page report your team try to slip (ph) has the American public on Friday, maybe just start with It's - it's a pretty easy read. It's fun. There are pictures. But we're not going to hold our breath because unlike the climate, some things never actually change.

The news continues, I want to hand it over to Chris. "CUOMO PRIME TIME" starts now.