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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Flynn Filing Leaves More Questions Than Answers; Interview with Senator Angus King (I) Maine; Interview with SEn. Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired December 5, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Washington.
Five current and former presidents sat under the same roof today in the same church pew to remember the life of a sixth former president. Today's funeral services for George H.W. Bush provided some rare and welcome moments of majesty and grace and gentle good humor. We'll show you some of the highlights tonight.
But even those few rays of sun light were set against a gathering storm and more action by Robert Mueller and his team. Last night's sentencing memo, Robert Mueller's case against Michael Flynn, raised tantalizing questions, including some questions we didn't even know to ask. Even if it reads a bit like a 13-page mystery novel, there's enough there even in the pattern of what's blacked out that speaks loudly to some very savvy people about major developments ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERRORISM ANALYST: There's about a size 16 shoe going to drop here, and that shoe is not going to be related to lying or just to financial irregularities which we've seen in the past. I think they're centering in on the investigation which is what Flynn and others are saying about cooperation with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Phil Mudd is not alone. Last night on the program, just moments after the memo hit, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said this about a statement, in it, stating, I'm quoting now, senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think that is just filler material. I think that is a statement of how Mueller is going to approach the remainder of his investigation as he starts thinking about the people in the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And the disgraced national security adviser has apparently given the Mueller team plenty to work with, sitting down 19 times with prosecutors, helping in three ongoing investigations.
And right there, you might be saying, three? There's possible collusion, there's possible obstruction, what is number three?
Well, the memo hints at it in several places, most notably in one it talks about the general providing, quote, substantial assistance in a criminal investigation. And take a look at what follows. The rest of the page and some of the next 22 lines in all blacked out. Presumably, they detail the criminal investigation General Flynn is providing substantial assistance with.
What investigation that is and how he's cooperating, we don't know. We only know that it appears to be 22 lines worth of cooperation.
The memo also points to what it calls the timeliness of the defendant's assistance, and I'm quoting again: his early cooperation was particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation by the SCO. That's the special counsel's office.
Now, in other words, he was a person in the room, a direct witness to matters the Mueller team is looking into during the campaign and the transition involving potentially the president's son, Don Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, which, of course, is the portion of the investigation along with obstruction of justice that we already know about. That other third investigation, that came out of left field and suggests there may be yet more we just don't know about, in an operation that could be bigger than we once thought. Not only is it hard to know what to make of that until this memo hit, as I mentioned, we didn't even know to ask the questions.
We'll be digging deeper, much deeper tonight into all the clues contained in the Flynn memo, but first, a key player in the congressional end of the investigation has to say about it.
Senator Angus King, an independent of Maine. He caucuses with Democrats. He serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee. I spoke to him right before airtime.
COOPER: Senator King, the Flynn court filing in its 22 fully redacted lines certainly seems to have left more questions than answers at this point.
SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Well, I -- Anderson, I'm going to answer your question, but you have to understand that whatever I tell you does not relate to anything that I've learned on the Intelligence Committee. I have to lay that --
KING: -- as groundwork, and having said that, I do think it raises a lot of questions, and we understand that General Flynn spent many, many hours, I think something like 19 meetings --
KING: -- with the special counsel's team, and so it raises questions that he, obviously, had a lot to say.
COOPER: It's interesting because the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says he isn't worried, he said that if Flynn had information to share with Mueller that hurt the president, he said you would know it by now. That's not necessarily true, is it?
KING: Well, the one thing we know about the Mueller investigation is they've been very good at keeping quiet what they're doing. I think they know a lot more than we know they know. And so I don't necessarily agree with that, and apparently, General Flynn did not have any kind of information or legal sharing between his defense team and the White House. So -- as I understand it.
So they may well have some information, and I think, you know, until we find out what it is, we're just not going to have a clear picture, but we do know that General Flynn was in Moscow in I think December of '15, sitting in a dinner with Vladimir Putin.
[20:05:00] And he was involved during the campaign. He was a top foreign policy adviser. And the question is, was there some relationship?
And, of course, the real focus is was there some representation made about the sanctions that President Obama applied on the Crimea invasion that we know that Vladimir Putin hated? And, you know, what was that all about? And were there -- what was the relationship between Mr. Flynn and -- General Flynn and the president, or the president-elect at that time?
So, lots of questions, but the answers will be forthcoming, I'm quite sure.
COOPER: There had been a lot of talk and certainly from people on the Trump administration that Mueller was wrapping up, that the end was in sight on this. Do you get that sense just from what we were able to see in the documents released last night? Jeffrey Toobin said, you know, didn't seem to him like this was something that was just in the end days wrapping up.
KING: I don't get a sense one way or another, Anderson. I don't get a sense that it's wrapping up or it's not. It could be.
I think one of the stories, if you will, out of the Mueller investigation, is the nonstory. The fact that they've done a really pretty amazing job in this town of keeping, you know, very quiet and deliberate about what they're doing.
KING: So, I don't think you can draw much conclusion one way or the other.
COOPER: Your colleague, Senator Mark Warner, recently said your committee referred a number of people suspected of lying in their testimony to the special counsel for prosecution. Can you say how many other witnesses you believe lied to you and your fellow senators? KING: I can't. I can't give you a number, but I can tell you that
that was one of the things our committee decided to do if there were references that were appropriate to the special counsel, we were going to make them and have done so.
COOPER: Just lastly, I want to ask you about President Bush. Obviously, he loved your state of Maine, had a place up there. I know you spent time with him at Kennebunkport.
I wonder just what today was like for you, what went through your mind today as you honored his life at the National Cathedral.
KING: Well, it was a fantastic service, and all of the speakers were very poignant and George W., President Bush 43, when he spoke, talked -- he said -- it was a very nice moment where he said in his dad's last years when he couldn't play golf, he was in a wheelchair, his favorite place was on the back deck at Walker's Point looking out at the ocean and sort of absorbing this place that he'd spent every summer of his life except for 1944 when he was in the Pacific in the war.
So, Maine was really the geographic center of his family's life moving around the country, but they always came back and toward the end of his life, they were there, he and Barbara were there from May to October. So they were friends and neighbors and I visited down at Walker's Point. They were real integral part of the community. And it -- it touched us particularly hard.
COOPER: Yes, I can imagine.
Senator King, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
KING: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, we have another all-star team with us tonight. Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, also written a book about much of this, "Russian Roulette: The Inside Story on Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump." It's a great read.
Also with us, CNN legal analysts Carrie Cordero and Shan Wu. Shan Wu was a former federal prosecutor, we should also mention, a former attorney for Paul Manafort associate Rick Gates.
Our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, is here. So are former Obama communications director Jen Psaki and former RNC chief of staff Mike Shields.
Gloria, here we are again with a lot more that we don't know about than what we do know about.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Criminal investigation, what criminal investigation? We weren't aware of this. I think Mueller is so good at dropping these little bread crumbs for
us. I think everything is planned. I think one of the messages we got from last night, while we didn't get as much information as we in the media might have hoped because so much of it was redacted, but I think the clear message that comes out of this is if you cooperate with us, we're not going to punish. Come on in. Jump in.
Flynn has already given us a lot of information and in the statement, it said, you know, he's -- and that helped us immeasurably get other people to testify, but you know, the president's been out there saying don't cooperate, don't jump in. Maybe I'll pardon you. I'm not going to take a pardon off the table for Manafort, whatever. And I think this was the opposite message.
COOPER: Michael, we didn't have a chance to talk about this last night. Were you -- do you expect to learn more from the --
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: I certainly was hoping. It was a bit frustrating to read.
But, look, we are reading tea leaves here and I think having read this over now about 20 times, where some people are reading more into this than is really there.
[20:10:00] If you really parse it, there appears to be a reference to three investigations that Flynn has been cooperating with. Only one of which is the Russia mandate of Robert Mueller, coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The other two are other criminal investigations that it appears Mueller has farmed out to other U.S. attorneys or other prosecutors in the Justice Department.
And if you look at the wording in how Flynn's cooperation is described in each of these three, you see the phrase, substantial assistance in the criminal investigation, non-Russia. That suggests Flynn has provided information about somebody else. He's fingered somebody who they can bring prosecutions against.
When you get to the Russia portion, they don't use the phrase, substantial assistance. They say has also assisted and then in the third matter, they say, has provided useful information. So that tells me that we don't necessarily get from this evidence that Flynn has dimed somebody else on the core Russia investigation. He's fingered others about something else.
COOPER: It's interesting, Carrie, we heard from Rudy Giuliani saying that he has bupkis. I believe bupkis was --
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think there's -- I don't know what to make of that. But I think there are different reasons why this document is so heavily redacted. In part, there's the ongoing related criminal investigations which obviously are so active that they wouldn't want anything about them to be revealed to jeopardize those investigations or compromise them in some way. There's also redacted sections that fall under the portion of the
document that pertains to the overall special counsel's investigation, which I think of as a major enterprise investigation that has both criminal and national security aspects. So, the redacted portions under there I think could relate to additional criminal investigative matters and also there could be some national security related reasons why some of that needs to be redacted as well. It's hard to say at this point because so much of it is in the dark, but there's clearly a lot of active ongoing investigative activities still taking place.
COOPER: Shan, is that how you see the redactions?
SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I was able to hold the paper up to the light.
BORGER: I got it right here.
WU: I think it really goes to show that this investigation, they set the course right from the start. And the beginning of a criminal investigation it's hard to know exactly what you need to do, how to set the course straight. But right out of the block, they made it clear, very generous deals your cooperators and that really set the tone for that.
And I think what we learned so far is that the net was really cast much wider than any of us thought on the Mueller investigation. And now, over a year later, 19 meetings he's had, almost as many days as he was national security adviser. There's just an enormous amount of information he could have provided.
And Mueller's really seeing the fruits of setting that tone early on to say, like the criminal enterprise idea, by cooperating with us, you almost come into a witness protection program. You get a new chance at life, possibly no jail time. De minimis type of (INAUDIBLE)
COOPER: Mike, when you hear Mueller saying senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards, do you read anything into that?
MIKE SHIELDS, FORMER RNC CHIEF OF STAFF: First of all, that's true, of course.
Look, my reaction watching all this today has been watching the media sort of projectile joyfully read all these things like this is -- Mueller's given them, like, an advent calendar this week they can open up and be so happy looking for something. And the way that comes across to the public is something we can get the president on.
And then you kind of go through it and go, wait a minute, well, we still don't know, we still don't know. Where this started was a Russian collusion sort of narrative, which is a conspiracy to work with the Russians to help win the election. And there's nothing in this that says that. So it's worth pointing that out. There's nothing in here that states that.
In fact, to Michael's point, there's nothing in here that really says that's what Flynn's talking about. That doesn't mean this is good news. My point is, it's worth pointing out that once again, the idea that this is Russian collusion is not a part of what we're talking about today.
And I'm -- every time I see these things, I keep waiting -- you know, Nancy Pelosi, a lot of the Democrats are celebrating about how they were able to get through the election. I think very well without talking about Russia. They talked about real issues.
But now they're in control of congress. They have subpoena power. They're going have presidential candidates running around the country. They're not going to be able to withhold their base from overplaying their hand on things like that.
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think -- I have to say from spending eight years if the White House, if I were sitting in there right now, I would be working on my resume and looking for an exit because this is not good news to have another senior official participating. I think it's fair, as Michael said, we don't really know a lot more from these 13 pages, but we know Michael Flynn is cooperating a lot. We know he is a pivotal player.
[20:15:00] Whether there is a conclusion from Mueller' investigation, we don't yet, in the question of collusion. So, I actually think this actually woke a lot of us to maybe there was collusion. I mean, we sort of stopped talking about that for a while because he was a pivotal player there as national security adviser during the campaign, during the transition then into the White House.
SHIELDS: But the transition -- one thing I think -- maybe the experts can speak to this.
PSAKI: The transition --
SHIELDS: It's one thing to talk about the campaign and sort of an accusation of conspiracy that I said to Anderson many times before, the campaign couldn't collude with the RNC. So, I don't know how they had a conspiracy with the Russians.
But once you're a transition official, that's a different issue. Now you're setting up a government. So, those --
PSAKI: I think, Mike, the issue is I think is whether there was sort of a deal-making here, sort of we'll do this if you do that. We don't know that yet. But Michael Flynn had these meetings and he had this call. This is around the timing when the Obama administration that I worked in announced sanctions. There's a lot of connectivity here we don't know yet, but questions.
COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We're going to pick this up as soon as we come back.
Also ahead, the Khashoggi murder. A new rebuke tonight from a -- to President Trump, on the president's instability to say what the CIA believes that Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler is responsible. I'll tell you about the latest bipartisan action on the Hill tonight. And Senator Bernie Sanders will join us shortly.
Later, we'll bring you some of the most touching moments from today's state funeral for the 41st president of the United States.
[20:20:39] COOPER: We're talking tonight about what is the first of perhaps three sentencing documents we'll be getting this week in the Russia investigation, at least in the case of Michael Flynn, there's this, the document heavily redacted that could mean many things. It really represents an investigation that remains a puzzle in many ways. It may also be the best roadmap yet to the coming days and weeks. This could all get even busier very soon.
Back now with our group.
Shan, I heard you talk about this almost as the way a prosecutor would go after the mob. This kind of prosecution. How so?
WU: With the mob situation, you need to sort of start flipping people early to get close to the center, and that's typically mark because there's a lot risk for people in the mob, they're not very incentivized to come forward. You need to offer them something very attractive.
And that's what they did by offering very, very generous deals. I mean, generally speaking here, the initial plea deals were really generous. We talk about the substantial assistance here, he's getting zero jail time.
But let's remember, the plea offer he only got was only zero to six months situation. So, they're already beginning things with a very generous kind of offer. That was an early message, come in from the storm, we'll give you shelter that way. And that's why it's very similar to a mob situation.
And quite a few of Mueller's prosecutors have that experience, prosecutor of organized crime. So, I think there's a real analogy there.
COOPER: Also at this point, Flynn has worked for Mueller longer I think than he worked for Donald Trump.
BORGER: A year. He worked for him for a year.
ISIKOFF: A lot more time.
CORDERO: But he was on the campaign for a long time.
COOPER: A lot.
CORDERO: He traveled. He was out of the campaign trail. He was in a position to observe, listen, interact, with the nerve center of the Trump campaign and the Trump family that was running the campaign. So, he really was in a position to hear a lot of things that were going on at that time. COOPER: He also, when Chris Christie was fired from the transition,
as I understand, Flynn really kind of took a bigger role and, therefore --
COOPER: -- had a lot of contact with the Jared Kushners and Trump Jr.
BORGER: The Kushner -- I mean, it's our reporting that the Kushner -- that Jared and Ivanka were very supportive of General Flynn as was -- as was Donald Trump because he was -- Flynn came in early. He was the first person with brass on his shoulders to endorse Trump and Trump appreciated that and felt it was very important, and national security adviser was the job that he wanted, and Chris Christie did not want him for that job.
Barack Obama warned Donald Trump about this, but he has had a firsthand bird's eye view. So, the question that I'm asking is, as he made this phone call or texted with Kislyak and they talked about sanctions and the U.N. vote, who was directing Flynn? Did Flynn do this on his own?
BORGER: Or was there somebody whispering in his ear saying, you need to do this? And who is that person?
ISIKOFF: Exactly. And I think that much of what Flynn has told Mueller is not reflected in this document at all and is probably part of what is going to become, what we expect to become the obstruction report by Mueller because after all -- I mean, you know, the point that Gloria is raising, you know, was Flynn freelancing when he talked to Kislyak about lifting sanctions? Or was he taking directions from the president?
And more significantly, after he gets fired, did he have communications with President Trump, himself? President Trump tells Comey, I hope you can see to let him go. We had reporting last year that even after that, Trump was communicating to Flynn. Flynn at one point tells colleagues he just got a message from the president, stay strong.
BORGER: Hang in there, yeah.
ISIKOFF: So all that would seem to fit into an obstruction report. Now, why isn't it in here? Because the only target of an obstruction investigation would be the president, himself, under DOJ policy. They can't -- Mueller can't indict the president. All he can do is put it in a report that may or may not end up in the hands of Congress.
Likely, Congress is going to try very hard to get it, but, you know, we'll have to wait and see.
COOPER: Although Mueller has been putting a lot more detail in charging documents and documents that become public in a way -- some have argued he's sort of writing the early outline of a report in some of these documents to get them out of the public sphere.
[20:25:05] CORDERO: I think that's one possibility. There's a lot of commentators who think he's sort of speaking through all these charging documents and he's going to reveal and weave together the whole story in plea agreements and things like that. I'm not 100 percent convinced of that yet.
COOPER: He certainly didn't do that in this.
CORDERO: I think as prosecutors, they're drafting the documents as appropriate for that particular case or that particular matter, and then what's going to happen at the end, one possibility is that all of the matters that perhaps pertain to the president that if they accept the prevailing Justice Department legal opinion that they can't indict the president will be written maybe in a report, maybe in a prosecutive memo that is what a prosecution would look like and then that is something that can be delivered to the attorney general or --
BORGER: And there will be a fight. There will be a fight over that because the White House has said, you know, while all the witnesses were being interviewed, they did not invoke privilege, but they reserved the right to invoke privilege down the line. So, when it comes to whatever Mueller produces, I guarantee you there's going to be, whether it's Matt Whitaker or the White House, there's going be fights over what Congress can know and it could go to the -- it could be a court case that goes all way to the Supreme Court. I mean, who knows.
WU: I think the real smoking gun here is just the permeation throughout the case of all the false statements. When you talk about it's the cover-up, it's the thing, what is it that everyone is trying to hide? There are just so many people trying to hide things here.
COOPER: Yes. I want to thank everybody on the panel.
We have breaking news. A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a resolution blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, this despite the president's unwillingness to hold MBS accountable. We're keeping them honest on that and will hear from Senator Bernie Sanders, next.
[20:30:13] ANDERSON COOOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There's breaking news tonight in the story the White House wishes would just go away. A day after some senators were briefed on the murder of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced a resolution blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for "the abhorrent and unjustified killing."
Senators are also working on a broader measure looking at suspending arms sales with Saudi Arabia and limiting U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which keeping them honest. Along with the resolution will also be a rebuke to the President who's downplayed the murder and expressed doubt about the crown prince's role.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They did not make that assessment. The CIA has looked at it. They've studied it a lot. They have nothing definitive, and the fact is, maybe he did, maybe he didn't.
And they have vehemently denied it. The CIA points it both ways. You know, it's -- and as I said, maybe he did, maybe he didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Secretary of State Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mattis, also deny that there was any smoking gun that the crown prince was involved. And National Security Adviser John Bolton didn't even see the need to listen to an audio recording of the murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: No, I haven't listened to it, and I guess I should ask you, why do you think I should? What do you think I'll learn from it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you're the national security adviser. You might have access to that sort of intelligence.
BOLTON: Yes. How many in this room speak Arabic? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have access to an interpreter.
BOLTO: Well, he wanted me to listen to it? What am I going to learn from -- I mean, if they were speaking Korean, I wouldn't learn any more from it, either.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An interpreter would be able to tell you what's going on.
BOLTO: Well, then I can read a transcript, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: No need to listen to the audio of a man being slaughtered and dismembered. No direct link. No smoking gun. After the senators were briefed by CIA Director Gina Haspel, they had a much different understanding of the situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw. You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi.
Open-source reports show that he had been focusing on Mr. Khashoggi for a very long time. It has zero chance, zero, that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, today, CNN's Manu Raju asked Senator Bob Corker why he thinks the President says the crown prince may or may not have done it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I don't know what presentation he's seen. I don't. But -- I don't know. All I know is, you know, I know they have access to the same intelligence I have. They can have Gina come over at any time. I assume she does daily briefings with them. And there's no question in my mind that the crown prince ordered this and monitored it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, how could these senators come away with such a different understanding of what happened to Khashoggi than the President and some of his cabinet members? Last night on this program, Max Boot said it's simple, in his opinion, he said, it's a cover-up.
Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders, thank you so much for being with us. Why do you think the President won't admit the crown prince was involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, I think the President, sadly enough, has a great fondness for authoritarian-type leaders around the world, whether it's Putin in Russia or Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, or other authoritarian leaders.
Second of all, it is possible that the President, himself, through Trump enterprises may have some financial dealings in Saudi Arabia. But, Anderson, I think I agree with, you know, what the other senators have said, what Graham and the other senator -- Corker have said.
SANDERS: But here is the more important point. What MBS did and what the Saudis did to Jamal Khashoggi is unspeakable and an absolute disgrace. But I will tell you what is even worse which we don't talk about enough is what the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen has done to 28 million people in that country, all right?
Khashoggi's death was terrible, but in the last three years, 85,000 children have starved to death. And according to the United Nations, you got millions of people who are facing imminent starvation. There are 10,000 new cases of cholera breaking out every single week.
And the resolution that I authored along with Senator Mike Lee and Senator Chris Murphy which I hope will come up tomorrow or next week, we got it out of committee, basically says that the United States has got to end its participation in this horrible, destructive war led by Saudi Arabia.
[20:35:18] COOPER: I want to play something else that your Republican colleague, Senator Corker, said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORKER: What I do know is that, you know, the CIA director came in and with some analysts and gave the most precise presentation I've ever heard in 12 years, and I left there, as I mentioned. I had somebody came up today and corrected me on my comments yesterday when I said if he went before a jury, he'd be found guilty in 30 minutes. One of my colleagues came up and said, "No, no, no, 20."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Your bill calls for the end of U.S. support for the war in Yemen within 30 days. We've certainly now started to hear some of the strongest language yet from Republicans over the last few days in terms of taking action against Saudi Arabia. Do you think the tide is it turning here?
SANDERS: Oh, yes, no question about it. Senator Lee and Senator Murphy and I brought this privilege resolution up in March, we got 44 votes. Last week in order to get it out of committee, we got 63 votes. We may lose some of those Republican senators for one reason or another, but I think we have the strong majority of votes in the Senate.
I think it is -- I think the murder of Khashoggi has given the Congress and the entire world a glimpse into the despotic and brutal regime that now has power in Saudi Arabia and all over this country the American people are saying, "No, we should not be following their lead in the destruction of a poor country like Yemen."
And the other issue that I think many senators, Anderson, are beginning to think about, is that the constitution of the United States is pretty clear and it says that it is the Congress, not the president, not a Republican president or a Democratic president, who has war-making responsibility.
And I think more and more members of the Senate understand that over the years, we have abdicated that responsibility, and people want it back. If my colleagues want to go to war in Saudi Arabia, let them vote to go to war, but they cannot continue to turn their backs on what this administration or any other administration has done. They have got to accept their constitutional responsibility.
And lastly, I think it is pretty clear to most Americans right now that we have got to rethink our relationship to the Saudi government in general. So it is the horrible destruction in Yemen, it is regaining our constitutional responsibility as senators, and it is rethinking our relationship to a very despotic and undemocratic government in Saudi Arabia. That's the issue that we're dealing with.
COOPER: Senator Bernie Sanders, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
SANDERS: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, the five living presidents, living U.S. presidents, gathered to honor the one who is now no longer with us. We'll hear some of former President George W. Bush's moving eulogy for his dad and talk about the newest version of the presidents club, next.
[20:42:02] COOPER: Tonight, the casket of the 41st President of the United States is at a church in Houston as the final goodbye nears. President George H.W. Bush lies in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church tonight.
Tomorrow, he'll be laid to rest at his presidential library on the Texas A&M University campus where his beloved wife and their daughter, Robin, who died as a young girl, were also buried. Tomorrow, the family will say their last goodbyes.
Today, it was the country's turn with all the pageantry and grace of a state funeral, a moving ceremony at the National Cathedral. Eulogies referencing everything from the President's war heroism to his dislikes of broccoli, to his friend, James Baker, smuggling vodka and steak into his hospital room. George W. Bush spoke not as a former president, himself, but as a son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: In his old age, Dad enjoyed watching police show reruns, the volume on high, all the while holding Mom's hand. After mom died, Dad was strong, but all he really wanted to do was hold Mom's hand again.
And we're going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever. So, through our tears, let us see the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man. The best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom's hand again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, all five living U.S. presidents attended today's ceremony. Just before it began, just before the current president and first lady arrived, the atmosphere was congenial. The former presidents and first lady is chatting and smiling, but things did seem to change when Mr. and Mrs. Trump arrived.
We saw the current president interacting with and not interacting with some of his predecessors. The president's attacks on not only President Obama and the Clintons, but also the Bushes, made for an arrival that seemed to be somewhat uneasy for everyone. This day was about President George H.W. Bush, however, not President Trump, but it was hard not to notice his place in the presidents club.
Joining me now is CNN Presidential Historian Tim Naftali and Nancy Gibbs, co-author of "The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity."
I mean, Tim, all the things we heard that President Bush eulogized for, his humility, his dignity, his grace, I don't think any of it was meant as a rebuke of President Trump, but it was hard not just simply by all the descriptive, all the words and adjectives that were used to describe President Bush, it was hard not to, for people to make comparisons.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I don't doubt that those adjectives would have been used to describe President George Herbert Walker Bush if Hillary Clinton were president or if he had died during the Obama administration. But it's the fact that we have a president, someone in the White House right now, who doesn't embody these particular adjectives that these comments by the four eulogists were somehow viewed as sub-tweeting.
[20:45:05] But I think it's a sign of the times that we live in. It shouldn't be unusual that we expect a president to be dignified and respectful of the office, but these days it's unusual.
COOPER: And to hold up truth and not lies, dignity, grace, all the things that they talked about.
NAFTALI: But the President really presents himself as an anti- president. He is explicitly disruptive of the office. On the other hand, George Herbert Walker Bush loved the office and understood the office was bigger than himself.
COOPER: And also after a life of public service, I mean, from the time that he was in college, not getting deferments he, you know, volunteered to fight and nearly died in the war.
NAFTALI: Indeed, for him, his life was that of service. And one of the great themes today in all four eulogies was that George Herbert Walker Bush almost died in 1944 and he was spared and he always knew that and he knew that he had to have a life of purpose and that was serving his family and his country.
COOPER: Nancy, it's difficult to overstate just how much the dynamic changed today between the former presidents and first ladies inside the National Cathedral when the President arrived. I'm wondering what you made of that.
NANCY GIBBS, CO-AUTHOR, "THE PRESIDENTS CLUB": Well, this is the first time that they have all been together. And when you think of the sheer amount of history that they all share between, you know, the candidate who he defeated, the presidents that he has tweeted a picture of them behind bars, you know, it would have been surprising and maybe have felt particularly artificial if it had felt warm and fuzzy.
I think what's more important is the fact that he was there and that they were all there and what it meant for us to see all of them in that row, to honor the life of another president. There are important rituals in the sort of national liturgy of this country and one of them is that when presidents die, the country mourns and his predecessors mourn.
And the fact that President Trump honored that protocol and was there and that the Bush family I think went out of their way to make it clear to him that it would not be a horribly uncomfortable experience for him was important, an important piece of the continuity that we saw.
COOPER: Well, Tim, even -- you know, given the comments that Michelle Obama has recently written about in her book about, you know, she can never forgive President Trump for, you know, possibly endangering the lives of her daughters by some of the birtherism comments he made.
I mean, to see her shaking President Trump's hand, Hillary Clinton just sort of nodded without really looking at Mr. Trump, nodded at the first lady. And I think President Clinton may have shaken Melania Trump's hand, but no real acknowledgement of President Trump.
NAFTALI: You know, I think that for most of us mortals, the office of the president is what you are respecting when you shake the hand of the president, even if you don't agree with that person and you didn't vote for him.
I can't put myself in Hillary Clinton's place. I don't know what kind of emotional damage it would have done for her to shake Trump's hand. I will say this, Trump didn't extend his hand to Bill Clinton and he didn't extend his hand to Hillary Clinton. So it seems to me that President Trump didn't want to shake their hands, either.
COOPER: Nancy, I mean, this -- there was a moment in the service that really struck me when the president's pastor was speaking about the final hours and the final day and talked about Jim Baker who was a longtime friend, obviously, of the president beyond also being in the president's White House, and talked about this moment in which Baker was massaging the president's feet. I think it was on the final day of his life.
And Baker, I think we have video of it, Baker broke down crying. I think -- let's just play that. You can see Baker -- it's not a moment -- I mean, it's just something I'd never seen before, certainly of Jim Baker and it was just such an intimate moment for the pastor to be talking about it.
GIBBS: It was, and it was a reminder of, apart from everything else, yes, this is a major public figure that was being mourned, but the affection that people felt for him, I think, was palpable, certainly in the cathedral, in the city, and in so much of the conversation that we've been having since he died.
These friendships were long and deep and profound, and some of the, you know, the toughest most hard-boiled political figures who've had extraordinary roles in our modern history were really, you know, today was really about humanity and about their humanity, the same way it was about family.
[20:50:02] It's very common at a presidential funeral for other presidents to deliver eulogies. It's not common for that president to also be a son eulogizing a father.
COOPER: Yes. GIBBS: And so, as much as we were seeing all of, you know, the pomp and the ceremony today, we were seeing something that was profoundly human and I think Jim Baker's reaction was a real sign of that.
COOPER: Yes, certainly was. Nancy Gibbs, thank you, Tim Naftali, as well.
I want to check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: How are you doing my friend? So, we're going to pickup on what was the message of the day. What was learned today and what was remembered about the president. We'll do that as the closing argument.
But we are going to take a deep dive tonight on where the Mueller memo leads us. For all the redactions, you can read between the bars. And there are suggestions about who should be in Mueller's way and what it could be about and why we understand that.
And, of course, we're going to have a lot of our suggestions answered later this week with the Cohen and Manafort memos that are going to come out. But we spent time looking into what we know, how it applies to what case Mueller seems to be laying out and we'll connect the dots.
COOPER: All right. I look forward to that in nine minutes from now. Chris, thanks very much.
I want to take a look at this. Angry demonstrators at Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison protesting what they see is clear-cut efforts by the Republican dominated legislature to undermine the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general. Details on the sounding fury in Wisconsin.
[20:55:39] COOPER: Well, there's a political firestorm happening right now in Wisconsin, the likes of which have rarely been seen in modern day politics. In short, the Republican legislature is trying to pass laws before they leave office that strip power from the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general. As you might imagine, things have gotten very loud and things have gotten very angry. Our CNN's Kyung Lah has the latest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have -- everybody take their seats, please.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The call to order in Wisconsin's special legislative session would not be heeded. The chants, audible through the walls of the committee hearing room punctuated by pounding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they only win by cheating and that's what they're doing in there right now. They're a bunch of cowards. LAH: She's talking about Wisconsin Republicans. In their last days of GOP control of the top statewide offices in Wisconsin, Republicans began an all-night session on a sweeping plan. The bills strip power from the newly elected governor, Tony Evers, and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats. Protesters outside, Democrats inside fought the Republican majority.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This bill was only written because Republicans are sore losers. They lost statewide elections and they decided as a result to take away power from the governor and attorney general when they had this opportunity for eight years.
LAH: As the full Senate convened, the public continued to object. But after the marathon session, nearly all the proposals passed. The new measures give Republican lawmakers more control over state litigation, taken that power away from the governor and attorney general who had pledged to withdraw Wisconsin from a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number one priority for us is to make sure that we restore the balance of powers between the two co-equal branches of government.
LAH: Republican leadership defended then starkly laid out why they are pushing this bill.
SEN. SCOTT FITZGERALD (R), WISCONSIN: But, listen, I'm concerned. I think that governor-elect Evers is going to bring a liberal agenda to Wisconsin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good.
FITZGERALD: And that --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey. Hey, hey, hey.
LAH: As they were trailed and taunted by protesters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shame, shame.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Republicans inside of that building, our Capitol, refuse to accept the results of the 2018 elections.
TONY EVERS, GOVERNOR-ELECT, WISCONSIN: You know, I'm the next governor and I think there are some legislators that want to reverse that.
LAH: Tony Evers is Wisconsin's governor-elect.
(on camera) Is this about stripping powers?
EVERS: Absolutely. I can guarantee you, if Scott Walker would have won this race, those people wouldn't be across the street making the same decisions that they're making today.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: So, Kyung, what's next? I mean, what are Democrats planning to do?
LAH: Well, what's happening right away is that we are anticipating that the governor, the current Republican Governor Scott Walker, will sign this into law. And at that point, Democrats say that they anticipate that there will be multiple cases in court. They anticipate multiple litigation in multiple courts, that's coming from the incoming attorney general, Anderson.
COOPER: And I understand the same thing may happen in Michigan.
LAH: Almost the exact same thing. It's almost as if it is a carbon copy. It's slightly different in the way those bills are being shaped, but next week Michigan is anticipated to take up another lame duck session, a full vote by its assembly, as well as its Senate.
And what's going to be happening there is there is an incoming Democratic governor as well as an attorney general. Those bills, just like in Michigan, will eliminate and curb some of those powers. And I use the word playbook, Anderson.
In 2016 in North Carolina, almost this exact same thing happened to the governor there, the incoming governor by the Republican legislature and that has been mired in legal challenges ever since. Anderson?
COOPER: Yes. Kyung Lah, thanks very much. We'll follow.
Reminder, don't miss "Full Circle," our daily interactive newscast on Facebook. You get to vote on some of the stories we cover. You can watch it weeknights, 6:25 p.m. Eastern at facebook.com/andersoncooperfullcircle.
The news continues right now. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?
CUOMO: Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Prime Time."