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Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam Apologizes For Racist Photo On 1984 Medical School Yearbook Page; President Trump Signals He Could Declare A National Emergency; Judge Bars Roger Stone From Contacting Potential Witnesses As She Weighs Gag Order, Warns Him Not To Treat Pre-Trial "Like A Book Tour"; Senator Cory Booker Joins Growing Field Of Democratic Contenders; President Trump Suspends U.S.-Russia Nuclear Weapons Treaty. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 1, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: It's a Med - Med - Medical School yearbook photo from 1984. And one of the men in it, either the Klansman or the guy in Blackface is right now the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam.

He admits he is one of the two. He oddly did not say which one he is, and the wave of condemnation has been building by the hour.

A few minutes ago, Governor Northam posted this video on Twitter.


GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: My fellow Virginians, earlier today, I released a statement, apologizing for behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me when you elected me to be your Governor. I believe you deserve to hear directly from me.

That photo and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents does not reflect that person I am today, or the way that I have conducted myself as a soldier, a doctor, and a public servant. I am deeply sorry.

I cannot change the decisions I made nor can I undo the harm my behavior calls then and today. But I accept responsibility for my past actions, and I'm ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust.

I have spent the past year, as your Governor, fighting for Virginia that works better for all people. I am committed to continuing that fight through the remainder of my term, and living up to the expectations you set for me when you elected me to serve. Thank you.


COOPER: Well more now on the story and the reaction to it from CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, who joins us. Let's talk about what we know about this picture.


Well it's really an extraordinary development here because what you have is four hours after this racist photo emerges, the - the Governor faced with this - the ugly reality of what he did for all the public to see, confirming, apologizing, the whole bit here.

This was something that was took place in 1984. He was 25-years old at the time. It was a graduation of Medical School. He had statements following this, talking about his alma mater, as well as drinking, and it really was quite surprising, quite shocking when people saw this.

This had not been discovered before, and something that had emerged in a - in a political environment, if you will. First reaction, swift from Republicans, but now we are also hearing reaction from many corners, including those, Anderson, who are allies and good friends of the Governor.

Both, Virginia Senators Mark Warner as well as Tim Kaine, we've heard from this evening. Neither one of them has gone as far to say that he should resign.

But you can tell this is - the statements are almost coordinated in - in their language here because they both urge him, they say, to take time to listen to those that he has hurt, and to determine what the future should hold for himself, and moving forward and trying to make amends.

So, both of the Senators holding their fire a bit here this evening, not calling for his resignation, giving him a little bit more time perhaps, to come up with that own - his own conclusion regarding his future.

We do have a number of other reactions as well. The NAACP had also responded. They too saying that Blackface in any manner is always racist, never OK. No matter the party affiliation, we cannot stand for this behavior.

The President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, been vocal in her support of the Virginia Democrats earlier in the week, over the abortion controversy, now calling on the Governor to step down.

You've got several of the Democratic Presidential Primary candidates. This from Senator Kamala Harris saying leaders are called to a higher standard and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government.

You've got an editorial that's coming out already, the Richmond Times- Dispatch saying that he is by all accounts a decent and considerate man. And yet, his poor judgment has undermined his standing in ways we believe will permanently impair his ability to act as an effective Governor.

One other group, very important, Anderson, the Virginia Black Caucus here, the Legislative Caucus, they too put out a statement saying that the Caucus has no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. They say we are still processing what we have seen, but they go on to say that we feel complete betrayal.

So, couple things to watch this weekend as this unfolds. Look to the Virginia NAACP press conference to see what they say, and the State Legislature which is going to hold another meeting on Sunday to figure out what these next steps are, and whether or not the government - the Governor rather is going to heed those calls, a growing chorus, growing louder that he should step down.

COOPER: Suzanne Malveaux, thanks very much. We'll see if the video he just released has any impact.

Joining us now, Quentin Kidd, Dean of The College of Social Sciences at Christopher Newport University, in Newport News, Virginia.

Quentin, you followed the Governor's career for decades. He says that this photo is not in keeping with who he is now, with his character. What about his record and whether you think that should matter compared to this photo?

[21:05:00] QUENTIN KIDD, DEAN, COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AT CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, he's - he's actually known for being a very soft-spoken, sort of mild-manner - mild- mannered politician by - by standards of politicians you know that way.

He - he - when he came into politics initially in 2007, he was a part of a small group of - of Democrats that were sort of Blue Dog Democrats, and he was actually courted by the Republicans to switch parties, early in his legislative career. That obviously didn't happen.

And then - and then when - when Governor Terry McAuliffe recruited him to run for Lieutenant Governor, when he stepped on to the statewide stage, his image sort - started - started to evolve. He - he - he talked about his war record. He talked about himself being a pediatrician, caring about children.

And so, his image moved from that of a sort of a conservative - moderate conservative Democrat to more of a mainstream Republic - mainstream Democrat who - who had this sort of soft-spoken pediatrician image, and - and then, that's what he ran on as Governor.

I will say this though. When he was running for Governor this last year, there was a - there was a brush-up on - on race.

In the northern part of Virginia, the Washington D.C. suburbs, there was a flyer that was distributed by the Northam campaign that airbrushed out his Lieutenant - Lieutenant Governor candidate, Justin Fairfax, and it became a - a mini controversy, African-American officeholders and other (ph)--

COOPER: His Lieutenant Governor is African-American.

KIDD: That's right. Justin Fairfax is African-American. And that - that became a - a bit of a controversy during the campaign.

The Governor called it a mistake, said that he did it because the Unions wanted him to do it because Justin Fairfax didn't support something that they were interested in. But that was an issue during the campaign. So, there were racial - some racial issues during the campaign.

COOPER: There are obviously a lot of mounting calls for him to - to resign. Do you expect him to step down or do you think he'll try to hang on as long as possible, because that's seem - that seems right now--

KIDD: So--

COOPER: --he's obviously not saying he's going to resign.

KIDD: Yes. Well, he said he isn't going to resign. He said he wants to serve out the remainder of his term. But we haven't heard from Justin Fairfax yet. I think it's important that the Legislative Black Caucus didn't call for his resignation.

They said they felt very betrayed. And - and then the two senators, Senator Warner, Senator Kaine didn't call for his resignation. We haven't heard from two African-American Members of Congress, Bobby Scott and Donald McEachin on this.

And so, I actually think some of the most important voices in this debate in - in terms of Virginia are going to be whether the Legislative Black Caucus makes an affirmative statement about whether he should resign.

And actually, Justin Fairfax, I'm really curious to hear what Justin Fairfax has to say because Justin Fairfax in some ways could be, you know, could save him in some ways from this scandal because that's the person who would succeed the Governor.

If Governor Northam resigns, Justin Fairfax would become the Governor. And as was noted in your - in the previous segment, he could run for "Re - Re-election." He could run for a full term. And so, he has the most politically to gain here.

But he also, I think, his statement could be an important one in helping Governor Northam.

COOPER: Interesting. Dean Quentin Kidd, I appreciate you - Quentin Kidd, I appreciate you being with us. Thanks so much.

Joining us now is former Obama White House Communications Director, Jen Psaki, USA Today Columnist, Kirsten Powers, The New York Times Columnist, Charles Blow.

Charles, what do you think about this, and should the Governor resign?

CHARLES BLOW, OP-ED COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I'm going to leave it to the - to the people of Virginia to decide whether or not he should design - resign.

I will say this though. Black people proportionally are the biggest supporters of the Democratic Party. What does that devotion buy you? If this is what that devotion buys you, and you do not call it out, then you will live with that repercussion of that for a very long time. You cannot look at Republicans and say this kind of behavior is abhorrent on this side, and we will not stand for it, and stand for it on the other. We have - you have to make a choice. Is - either it's wrong, it's wrong.

I believe that it's wrong. There's a lot of different kinds of racism, right? There's - there's - there's kind of virulent, aggressive racism that impacts your life, and your livelihood, and whether or not you actually continue to live, in cases of some shootings by police.

There's another kind of racism that mocks your pain and your suffering that thinks it - thinks of it as a triviality, and that does not take your history in this country serious, and that is what Blackface always is.

It plays on it and pretend that it is a joke rather than - than as - as an injury. And - and - and - and either - and I think just looking at that photo, I think you have to remember this.

[21:10:00] First of all, I was 14 years old at the time. This - you - you don't have excuse for that. He chose to take that picture either with whoever else it is, and I don't know who he is in the picture, but he chose to take it with the other person, chose to submit it to the yearbook.

This is a public document. This is not like "Oh, we just found out." The people who went to school with him--

COOPER: Right.

BLOW: --had access to that yearbook. If there were only - everybody should've been offended when they saw the photo. Imagine if you're a Black person in that Medical School, and that is part of your yearbook that you keep with you for the rest of your life.

I want to know did the Governor ever, prior to being caught now, try to make amends for what he had obviously done--

COOPER: Right.

BLOW: --on purpose in public? And if now you're just saying, I'm going to do the work, well what happened in the last 30 years when you should have been doing that work?

COOPER: It's he knew.

BLOW: You knew - of course, you knew it's in the--

COOPER: It's in the - it's out there.

BLOW: --it's in the yearbook. You put it in the yearbook.

COOPER: Right.

Jen, do you see any reason why Democrats should urge Governor Northam to stay in Office? I mean both U.S. Senators from Virginia, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, put out statements tonight, you know, criticizing him, stopped short of calling for his resignation.

And to Charles' point, look, if he was a Republican Governor, it's pretty clear they would have made a very - they would have made a statement saying, "This guy's got to resign immediately."

JENNIFER PSAKI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that's true. I agree with that.

I also agree with the point he made about the fact that Democrats can't sit here and accuse Republicans, including President Trump, and others, of being racist while allowing and standing by this kind of behavior.

There's no scenario where wearing Blackface or wearing a Klan uniform should be acceptable. And he was a 25-year old adult at the time, so it's hard to digest.

Now on the pure politics of it, I think that if you are a candidate running for president, we've already seen a number of candidates come out and call for him to resign, you don't want to be standing next to him, when you're campaigning in a competitive state.

If you're a Member of Congress, you don't want to be doing that either. And I think this is a scenario where Democrats really have to decide who we are, as a party, but also as in terms of how we represent the country.

And, you know, this is a state where he's already wounded - I mean fatally, potentially, I think, wounded his ability to do his job, given, just a year and a half ago, there were White supremacists marching through Charlottesville, so there's also unique history here.

I can't see a scenario where Democrats should call for him to stay in Office.

COOPER: I also want to bring in former Trump White House Lawyer, Jim Schultz who joins us now. Jim, Ken Cuccinelli was saying last hour that it's not an easy process to remove a Governor from Office in - in Virginia.

Do you see it even getting to that point? Do you think the Governor will - will heed the calls to resign?


And there's - there's a ton of Democrats taking the stage here. And I think you hit it exactly right that they're not going to want to stand with him. They're not going to be supporting him. They're going to continue to call for him to resign.

And he's going to have to make the decision whether he resigns or not. If it's that difficult to remove him in Virginia, then it becomes his political jeopardy, and he has to - he has to make a decision for himself whether he can govern and lead that state with this in his past, with this - this issue in his past. And I think it becomes very, very difficult for him to get anything accomplished in Virginia in terms of his agenda, and getting political support from anyone in his own party, let alone the other party.

So, you know, I - I think it's going to be very hard for him to sustain this. And he probably shouldn't sustain.

COOPER: Kirsten, last hour you took issue with - with any comparison being made to the - to the Kavanaugh controversy about looking at - at Kavanaugh's yearbooks. Your point was well there was a different reason people were looking at the yearbooks. It was based on how Kavanaugh had portrayed himself at that time.

Do you think, I mean, should yearbooks in general be fair game?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. I don't think the fact that this was in a yearbook makes it not relevant.

I think that one of the things is - first of all, I just want to say I'm really - I've been really happy to hear tonight on this air, and I've also noticed in other places a lot of Conservatives really very upset about racism, and I'm very happy to see that.

And I just want to encourage them to not just be upset about racism in a yearbook in 1984, but actually, maybe look at the racism that's happening with the President of the United States that they're supporting, so they don't just get to come out and condemn this racism, and ignore that racism.

And I would say the same thing about hypocrisy. They're very concerned about hypocrisy tonight with Democrats. And so, you know, they might want to look at themselves, and the hypocrisy, maybe have a conversation with the evangelicals, just for starters.

So, I think that whatever Democrats do, they should do based on the facts in front of them. And I think that, you know, Charles laid it out quite perfectly.

And my one question to Charles would be is, if, let's say that he changed radically since this happened, you know, since this happened a long time ago, and he had a, you know, sort of an - a moment where he became enlightened about race, and he realized that he had done something terrible, and he had done things to show that he was different, does that make a difference?

BLOW: Well--

POWERS: Or is this just something that you just - you just shouldn't be able to recover from? And I - to me, that's really a question that I have.

[21:15:00] BLOW: But here - here - here it becomes the - the - the issue right. I hate when people ask, particularly Black people, for absolution without - no, expect absolute - absolution from Black people without ever even asking for it, without ever repenting--

POWERS: Right.

BLOW: --for the action itself, they say because it has happened a long time ago before - because I've lived my life in a different sort of way, you should just grant it, even though I have never fessed up to it before I got caught, dealt with it--

POWERS: Well so actually what I'm - what I'm saying--

BLOW: Right.

POWERS: --though is that let - let's say he did do that. Let's say he repented. He can point to repenting it that he had actually changed. Does it matter or - or is this just something that you just say, "You know what? This is just - you can't recover from this."

BLOW: But - no, but the change is not the only thing is what I'm saying. The change is one piece of it. There's a thing that was done. Have you tried to correct that in 30 years?

POWERS: Right.

BLOW: And if you have not made any effort to correct that to - to deal with the other people who received that yearbook along with you, some of whom may have been Black people, but it shouldn't even matter if you're Black or not, you - everybody should have been offended by that.

POWERS: Right.

BLOW: And if you have never, in 30 years, dealt with that, and tried to say, "I'm wrong. I'm sorry. And let me just air this out because I have changed. And let me show you America, Virginia, my neighborhood, my neighbors that this is what change looks like. I did a horrible thing but this is - these are all the things that I have done since then to deal with the horrible thing--

POWERS: Right.

BLOW: --I did and also to be a better person."

POWERS: Right.

BLOW: That is what change looks like. I believe that there should be a path for redemption from racism. Otherwise, we're in a whole heck of a lot of trouble. But that path requires action on your part to affirmatively deal with what you have done.

POWERS: Right.

BLOW: And if you have never done that, then don't ask me to grant you an absolution.

POWERS: Yes. Yes, I mean that's - that - that's how I feel. And I don't - I don't think that he's done that. I haven't seen it. Or if he has, he certainly hasn't talked about it.

PSAKI: And even if there is a path to redemption that--

SCHULTZ: And if - and if he have, I think--

PSAKI: --let's hope that's the case. I think it's the question as to whether he should be the Governor of the State of Virginia.

Yes, as a human being, we should welcome compassion, we should welcome his change in view, we should welcome if he is going to try to make amends and - and - and go on that journey.

But - but this - still question remains. Should he be the Governor? And I think the answer is no.

COOPER: Jim, you want to say something?

SCHULTZ: Yes, I think Kirsten hit it right on the head, and I think Charles did as well.

You know, the - the - I - we haven't seen him repent for this or show his - that he had repented for it throughout the years in any way, shape, or form. And that's going to be a real problem for him from - for him being able to stay in Office to continue to do what - to do what he's doing and - as a Governor of Virginia.

And I think his support is going to continue to wane, people are going to continue to fall off. I would imagine the NAACP, when they hold their press conference, it's not going to go very well for him, and it shouldn't.

And - and I think Kirsten hit it right on the head. I think this is a time for Conservatives to really take a look at racism. And - and let's not just point out hypocrisy. Let's have a real discussion about racism.

PSAKI: And if that's the case though, should Cindy Hyde-Smith resign? Should Donald Trump who, you know, supported the White Supremacists resign?

I mean I think there are some real active questions that aren't just about Conservatives speaking out against racism. I applaud that too. But there are some specific examples where they could speak out that I haven't seen evidence of today.

BLOW: Yes, but - but - but I - but I think you - I think you just separate that issue, right? So, Black people are not voting for Republicans 90-plus percent. Black people are voting for Democrats 97 - 90-plus percent.

There should be an expectation among that group of people that I have granted you so much devotion over so many decades that you owe me the - at the very least some sense of decency, and some sense of responsibility.

I know that Republicans are not going to behave in ways that I like. They - they don't count me as among the people that they are courting. But they do count Black people, and he owes and - and Democrats owe Black people a debt.

COOPER: Charles Blow, good discussion, Jen Psaki, Jim Schultz, Kirsten Powers, appreciate it. A lot more on this, no doubt, ahead.

Also, the President saying he's already building the wall. He also says he may declare a national emergency - national emergency to build the wall, the one he said that he's, by the way, already building, which, by the way, he's not. We're keeping them honest and trying to separate the facts from the fictions.

Later, what a Judge tells the newly-indicted Roger Stone, who's certainly never had a loss for words about keeping his mouth quiet for once.


COOPER: Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell is warning President Trump not to declare a national emergency over a Border wall, and face the possibility his own Party will pass legislation overturning it, that, according to new reporting tonight in the Washington Post.

Now, earlier today, the President suggested he might declare an emergency at the State of the Union next week. He also said falsely that wall construction - his wall construction is already underway.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, we're building the wall. People don't understand that. They're starting to learn. We're spending a lot of money that we have on hand.

It's like in a business, but we have money on hand and we're building. I would say we will have a 115 miles of wall, maybe a little bit more than that very shortly. It's being built. Some of it's already been completed.


COOPER: All right, so keeping them honest, what he's saying isn't true. Joining us now is former Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Charlie Dent. He's currently a CNN Political Commentator.

Congressman Dent, do - I mean do you have any sense of how much or how little sway Mitch McConnell's word actually has with the President?

CHARLES DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I actually - I do not, Anderson.

And I just, you know, heard what the President said. You know, the - the Secure Fence Act authorized 700 miles of vehicular and pedestrian barriers in the Southern border, about 650 miles or so has been built.

The President said a 115 miles. I don't know if he's talking about additional barriers, which I don't think he's - he's doing--

COOPER: Right. DENT: --or is he talking about replacing existing barriers.

COOPER: It's replacing existing barriers.

I mean that's what they've been doing and all along, going back to Mulvaney gave a press conference where he showed photos of what they called, you know, the new wall that was being built, and it was just replacing existing fencing.

[21:25:00] DENT: That's - that's - that's my understanding. But the - the bottom line is, you know, the - the President needs to get off this kick of declaring an emergency declaration. That would absolutely trample Congress' Article 1 authority, its Power of the Purse authority.

I mean and - and - and where's he going to take this money from? You know, he - I - I - I wrote the Military Construction bill that's already law. I drafted that before I left Congress.

I mean the Military does not have the authority to build a barrier on the Southern border, but for 37 miles at the Goldwater Range in Southern Arizona. That's it. And that - and, frankly, the Pentagon didn't ask for the money. They didn't ask for it.

So, there's really - I don't know how he's going to do this. Or is he going to take this money out of natural disaster emergencies, taking it from people in Texas and Florida who are trying to reconstruct their lives, or Puerto Rico?

I mean how can he think that this was viable? What Member of Congress would allow such a thing to occur? So, how's he going to - how's he going to proceed on this?

COOPER: Well, I mean, do you think, then it could be a breaking point for Congressional Republicans, if the President does declare a national emergency to build a wall?

Because also Conservatives - some Conservatives made the argument, "Well, if you let a Republican President do this, calling in a national emergency, what's to stop a Democratic President from saying climate change is a national emergency and declaring, you know, powers based on that?"

DENT: Amen! And, by the way, if you're going to declare an emergency, your remedy must address the underlying emergency. So, if you were going to build a wall as an emergency, one, you couldn't build it fast enough.

There would be all sorts of eminent domain issues, taking issues, it couldn't happen. And, by the way, that wouldn't necessarily address the issue of poor, you know, impoverished migrants, you know, traveling up to - to the Border.

You know, if you declare an emergency for a natural disaster, a tornado, and you - and then the government sends food and housing assistance, OK, well that - that relief does address the emergency. I can make a case the wall wouldn't be the answer to this current

crisis. Hey, if the Mexican Army were invading, maybe you want to build a wall, but I don't think our Pentagon would want to do that. They have better ways to - to repel an invasion. But that's not what we're talking about here.

COOPER: Yes. Congressman Dent, appreciate your time as always. Thank you very much.

DENT: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Been quite a week for Roger Stone. He seems to be enjoying the limelight since being indicted by Robert Mueller. He's got a big warning today though from the Judge who'll decide his fate. Doesn't appear to be taking it to heart, yet. We'll explain ahead.


[21:30:00] COOPER: For someone who's just been indicted by the Special Counsel, Roger Stone's been doing a lot of talking, trying to influence the court of public opinion. A judge indicated today that she might order him to stop but he went right back on TV a few hours later.

Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with more. The Judge had some choice words for Stone today. Talk about what she said.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER, CNN: Yes. She is very concerned by his behavior, certainly, some of his antics. And she's saying, she wants to perhaps put this gag order in place because she wants to protect him.

What she said was that this was - she told him essentially this is a criminal proceeding, and not a public relations campaign. She told him that, you know, he's not to treat this like it was some kind of a book tour. And then she told him really that she kind of wanted him to stop going on the talk show circuit.

She is concerned, she says, that the things that he's saying can be used against him once he goes to trial. So obviously, this is what is concerning her. She has not ruled on whether or not she's going to do this gag order.

She's going to wait about a week before she makes that decision. She wants to hear from both his attorneys and prosecutors about it. But certainly, you know, his antics could be coming to an end here.

COOPER: So, OK, so no gag order implemented. And - and - and when did you say the Judge is expected to make that decision like--

PROKUPECZ: So, in a week or so, Anderson.


PROKUPECZ: She's going to have both - both of the attorneys argue as to why. Obviously, Roger Stone, as you said, he has not stopped speaking. He was on Fox News tonight. He did InfoWars.

And he's arguing that he needs to continue to talk because he's trying to raise money. And if the Judge gags him, he's not going to be able to raise money for his defense.

So, but the Judge, you know, look, this Judge is known for doing this. She did it to Paul Manafort--

COOPER: Right.

PROKUPECZ: --in Paul - in Paul Manafort's case. And it is very likely that she's going to do it in this case.

COOPER: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.


COOPER: In a new interview with The New York Times, the President says he never spoke with Stone about WikiLeaks, and the stolen emails published. He also told The Times' Maggie Haberman that he was assured that he himself is not a target of the Russia inquiry by Mueller.


MAGGIE LINDSY HABERMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Has Rod Rosenstein given you any sense over the course of the last year about whether you have any exposure, either in - or there's any concerns, or whether you're a target of the Mueller report?

TRUMP: Well, he told - he told the attorneys that I'm not a subject, I'm not a target.

HABERMAN: He told your attorneys?

TRUMP: Yes. Oh, yes.

HABERMAN: Did he say that about the SDNY investigation, too?

TRUMP: About which?

HABERMAN: The SDNY investigation. Because there's two. There's Mueller, and then there's the Cohen investigation.

TRUMP: I don't know. I don't know about that.


TRUMP: That I don't know about.

HABERMAN: Rod has never said anything to you about whether you're - you had any - you're a target at all in terms of what they were looking for on Cohen? Has that ever come up?

TRUMP: No, I don't. We - we didn't discuss it.


COOPER: Well, want to bring in CNN Legal Analyst, Renato Mariotti, and Shan Wu.

So, Shan, it's certainly interesting the difference between the President's answer on the Mueller investigation, his answer on the Southern District's in - investigation.


And holding aside the question of whether I believe what he said, about what Rosenstein con - conveyed, it's possible he's just too focused on the Mueller, and doesn't really think about the Southern District.

I mean no question to me, the Southern District investigation has posed the greatest threat to him, particularly with Michael Cohen. The - the issue about the subject and target, I'm not sure what Renato will think.

But it's very unusual to have that kind of conversation here, and given the President's position, it's really hard to believe he would not be a subject. I mean he's submitted answers under oath in writing. He's right at the heart of the investigation.

The - the only way he could reconcile that is to say that maybe because they, as a matter of policy, know they won't charge him, maybe they aren't using language like that. But it's - it's a very unusual situation.

COOPER: Renato, I mean is it possible the President wouldn't know if he were a subject or a target of the Southern District's investigation?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It's possible he didn't know or he didn't ask, although that would suggest to me that his attorneys are incompetent. But given the performance of some of them on television, we can't rule that out.

As to whether or not he's a subject or target of the Mueller investigation, I think it's inconceivable that he's not a subject of the Mueller investigation. And I - I doubt that he was told that by Rod Rosenstein.

COOPER: Shan, in terms of Roger Stone, should a gag order be implemented, especially that given, you know, Stone has really never met a microphone he didn't like, and he's still out there now talking?

[21:35:00] WU: Well, the gag order is done for two purposes. One, to eliminate jury taint, and the other actually, not to prejudice either sides. It's important to remember, the Judge doesn't want the United States prejudiced either.

When we were in front of Judge Jackson in the early days of Gates and Manafort, she took almost the identical approach. She told both Gates and Manafort to refrain from trying this case in the public, and she did tell Stone that today.

She also, in Manafort and Gates, asked the sides to brief the issue whether they felt there should be a gag order, and we did not say anything about it, basically acquiescing to that. Stone's not going to acquiesce to that.

And it seems like, from his behavior tonight, he's already in violation of what she told him to do. So, he is really setting up a good fight with her about this.

COOPER: Well Renato, is it - is it a valid explanation from Stone saying, "Well, look, I need to raise money, and I need to be out there to do that?"

MARIOTTI: I - I understand. I mean, frankly, I have clients who at times are struggling in that situation to pay for legal bills, and I've been on the other side of that when I was a prosecutor. I understand that.

I will say that he's hired lawyers that don't appear to have any federal criminal experience. He'd be better off using the federal public defender, saving his money, and keeping his mouth shut.

COOPER: You really think so?

MARIOTTI: Absolutely. He's hurting himself, yes.

COOPER: And you - you think his lawyers have no experience in - in what they're doing?

MARIOTTI: I - I looked at the biographies of them on their web page. They don't seem to have any federal criminal experience at all. They seem to be crisis management lawyers, as far as I can tell.

COOPER: Shan, you - you'd think it would be pretty self-explanatory that Stone shouldn't reach out to potential witnesses or victims. I guess--

WU: Right.

COOPER: --I mean I would have thought that would have been pretty self-explanatory to Paul Manafort as well.

WU: The Manafort situation was a little bit more subtle than what Stone has already engaged in. Manafort was accused of trying to ghost- write some editorials, and then, also later, trying to suggest to people maybe the way that he remembered things.

In contrast, Stone's been indicted for witness tampering. And if you look at the record of what he was doing with Randy Credico, it's pretty blatant material. So, it certainly makes sense the Judge will be very concerned about that.

I think that he will get. I think he'll stay far away from anything like that. But with regard to him speaking out, I think he really wants to speak out, and make this as much of a political spectacle as possible, so he can continue to signal to the President that he's the poster boy for him, and he should be pardoned.

COOPER: And Renato, I mean given that they're talking about the trial starting in either late summer, early fall, it certainly doesn't make it seem like the Mueller investigation is wrapping up anytime soon. Or can we not really read into it in that way?

MARIOTTI: I will say there's no indication that it's going to wrap up soon, other than the bizarre statement by Whitaker. And there's some reporting from another network that has not been corroborated by anyone else.

COOPER: No (ph).

MARIOTTI: So, at this point, I - I have no expectation it'll end soon.

COOPER: All right, Renato Mariotti, thank you, Shan Wu, as well, thank you very much.

Coming up, Senator Cory Booker, joining a growing field of Democrats who are running for president in 2020. I'll speak with former Presidential Candidate, Howard Dean about how he - he sees the race shaping up this early on.


SEN. CORY ANTHONY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm really excited--



COOPER: The 2020 presidential race is getting more crowded. New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker has thrown his hat in the ring with a video released today.

[21:40:00] He joins his colleagues, Senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren, and obviously, growing field of Democratic contenders who've already officially announced or expected to, soon. It's not even counting the many, many more who are considering it.

Joining me now is former Vermont Governor, and former Presidential Candidate, Howard Dean. Governor, thanks so much for being with us.

I'm wondering what you make, first of all, of Senator Booker's entry into the race today? And - and, in general, how much do you think the political climate has changed since - well, since you ran in terms of taking on President Trump?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT, FORMER DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN, POLITICAL CONSULTANT & COMMENTATOR: Well I think it's changed a lot since 2004. I actually I was the only person who was taking on George Bush over the Iraq War in 2004, which was responsible for how well I did early on. This is a very different year. It's very interesting to me. I - I wouldn't say the Democratic Party has moved to the Left. But I would say they've adopted a fair number of - of the much amount of the platform of Bernie Sanders from 2000 - 2016. And so, it's - it's very interesting, I think.

And most people want healthcare for everybody, and so forth, and so on. So, it's a - it's a big change, and having this many candidates is very unusual.

COOPER: Well, unusual, I mean do you think the bigger the Democratic field early on, the better?

DEAN: Well I don't know about the bigger the better. But it's going to be bigger whether we like it or not.

COOPER: Yes, no (ph).

DEAN: So, here were are. I don't - but here - here's the thing. New faces are really attractive. And the party that like so far the candidates running look like the base of the Democratic Party.

Our base is young people who vote - vote overwhelmingly Democratic, women who now vote overwhelmingly Democratic, including White women, which wasn't the case in 2016, and people of color, all those groups have to show up.

And if they do, we win. If they don't, we don't, simple as that.

COOPER: Do - do you think the candidates at this stage or does anyone at this stage know how to run against Donald Trump?

DEAN: I think people have some ideas about how to run against Donald Trump. I - you know, we'll see what they do.

Say, I actually believe that the - the two things we have to have is we have to have somebody who can be measured and actually behave like most Americans expect a President to behave, and somebody who's not going to engage in the sort of the gutter tactics of Trump.

He's got to be or she has got to be strong enough to stand up to Trump without making Trump the issue. Trump will make himself the issue. We don't have to worry about that.

What we need is a positive platform, and somebody who's strong enough to just sort of - sort of do what Obama did, just do that to Trump.

COOPER: Do you - do you want to see your home state senators, Senator Bernie Sanders make a run because there - there does seem to - to be a question of whether Democrats want a candidate, you know, on the far Left like - like Sanders or someone more toward the center?

DEAN: Well let's - let's not forget that Sanders has influenced the debate remarkably.

COOPER: Sure. DEAN: I don't think we'd have every candidate who's declared so far to be in favor of Medicare-for-All if it hadn't been for Sanders. My own view is that we need somebody young. I've said this for six or eight months. I'd like somebody who's 50.

But, you know, the voters get to choose. And I have pretty good confidence in the voters that they're going to choose the best candidate. I think they will over a 35, 40 state battle.

[21:45:00] COOPER: By the way, as someone who is 51, I appreciate your saying that 50 is young. It makes me feel a little bit better. I'm in my - in the midst of my midlife crisis. So what was - so what does that say about a Joe Biden then?

DEAN: Well, you know, I mean everybody has a right to run. They are going to run. The voters are going to decide for themselves. I think we're better off with - with candidates and a ticket that looks like our base. And our base, as I said before, are--

COOPER: Right.

DEAN: --young - young people, people of color and women.

COOPER: Just lastly, I'm sure you know about the controversy swirling around the Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam and - and the Blackface and KKK photos in his Medical School yearbook.

Do you think he should resign? Do you think he can continue as a Governor?

DEAN: You know, I think Charles Blow said everything exactly right. We - we've got to know more about exactly what happened. Northam has to be forgiven, and he has to ask for forgiveness, and he has to show that he gets it.

This is going to be a very uphill climb for him without resigning. But the Black community is actually going to make the decision about whether he does or not.

We don't - there's still a lot we don't know about exactly what went on, but it is pretty shocking. And 1984 was not 1964.

COOPER: Yes. And - and a Medical - you know, a 25-year old is supposed to, you know, a high school student or something.

DEAN: I know.

COOPER: Howard Dean, Governor Dean, it's always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.

DEAN: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: All right, nuclear showdown tonight between the White House and Russia with a Cold War Peace Treaty falling apart.

Ahead, President Trump's message to the Kremlin, and I'll talk to former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.


[21:50:00] COOPER: Tonight, Well tonight, European leaders are standing with President Trump, nervously, now that he's suspending a major Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia, one that goes back to the Cold War. The U.S. believes Russia is breaking the rules on intermediate- range missiles with this weapon system.

Starting tomorrow, the White House has six months to change its mind. The President is leaning towards starting over.


TRUMP: I hope that we're able to get everybody in a very big and beautiful room and, do a new treaty that would be much better but - because certainly I would like to see that. But you have to have everybody adhere to it. And you have a certain side that almost pretends it doesn't exist.


COOPER: While Europe is back in the White House, it's also desperate to save the deal signed by Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. Russia denies it's violating the pact.

Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright served in the Clinton White House. Her best-selling book, Fascism: A Warning is now out in paperback.

Madam Secretary, thanks for being with us. How concerned are you about the decision to pull out of this Treaty?

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I am concerned about it. It's an important treaty. But also, there have been questions about whether Russians have been violating it for some time. So, this is not something new.

But I do think that what would be better is to try to figure out how to renegotiate certain parts of it, and hold the Russians accountable. And then, there's some could - thought that it would be good to get the Chinese involved, because they also have this type of weapon.

And I do think we do know that Arms Control agreements have kept the peace for a long time. There is sometimes cheating on them. They have to be called on that. And I do think that it's important not to just keep pulling out of things.

I think that is not the best way for America to behave, you know, to pull out of the Paris Agreement and the agreement with the Iranians, and TPP, and just kind of decide that whenever it occurs to us, we're going to pull out without trying to figure out what to do to improve the situation.

COOPER: So, even though, I mean that - you - you agree they may - the Russians may not be following this. They may have been violating this for a long time. But even with that, you say stay in it, and just try to renegotiate the terms of the existing agreement?

ALBRIGHT: I think hold them to it more and renegotiate certain parts. But this has been going on.

And I think that they have been called on it. I don't think that just pulling out of it is the best idea because it kind of leaves us - you ran what President Trump said, it's kind of starting over house (ph) all that, especially when we now have a reputation of not living up to agreements that we have made.

And so, I think it's a good idea to acknowledge that there have been violations by the Russians, and try to figure out how to sit down at the table, and work out various parts, and think about bringing the Chinese, and maybe some others into.

COOPER: As somebody who has been on the international stage for - for - for a long time, and - and - and at the level that that you were at, how odd is it that the President of the United States has repeatedly met solo with Vladimir Putin with only a negotiate - with only an interpreter, and then asking for the interpreter's notes?

ALBRIGHT: I think that that has not been seen before because the truth is that these meetings are important. Personal relationships are important. And Heads of State sometimes meet by themselves but then, actually, come out and explain what has happened.

And there is an attempt to try to figure out what decisions were made. It's important to have somebody else in the meeting. It's important to have the notes because, in fact, theoretically, they have decided on something that the rest of the government has to carry out.

So, what are the do-outs from this? And so, this I think - and the number of these meetings that have taken place, I think, are very troubling.

COOPER: Also, the - the President's criticism, and very public criticism, of his own Intelligence community this week, saying that they didn't know what they were - they were talking about in public Congressional testimony, about global threats, then the next day saying that, well they told him they'd been misquoted, and taken out of context, even though they were publicly-made comments, do - does - is there any sensible explanation for a President to be publicly demeaning his Intelligence officials?

ALBRIGHT: I think it's really shocking, because I - I can understand from his perspective that it might have been critical of the people that were in office before. But these are all people that he appointed.

And for him to really embarrass them this way, and then actually say that they were misquoted or that the press put the wrong context on it, when we all saw it on television.

[21:55:00] And so, I - I am beginning to think that he must think we are all so stupid that we can't see what is going on. And I think it is embarrassing for everybody involved in it. And I don't know the - the Intelligence community is essential to making policy.

They may not always agree. There may be nuances in what they say. But this was very clear. And so, I'm surprised at the way that this has been portrayed by the President.

COOPER: Secretary Madeleine Albright, great to talk to you. Thank you.

ALBRIGHT: Good to be with you, Anderson. Thanks.

COOPER: Thanks so much. We'll be right back.


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