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Biden Defends Record After Bruising Debate; Senator Harris Tries to Build on Debate Moments; President Trump Praises Saudi Prince, After Cozying Up to Putin and Pining for Kim Jong Un. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired June 28, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

And today, we saw what appears to be a new campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls which is really what makes any campaign so compelling particularly this one at any point nearly anything can happen and when it does, the entire political landscape can shift.

Tonight, after two nights of Democrats debating each other and in many ways introducing themselves to the voters who watched last night in record numbers, there are signs the tectonic plates are in motion. Viewers saw former Vice President Joe Biden, the overwhelming favorite in the polls, stumble on stage over the issue of school busing and relevancy and in the eyes of some, resiliency and ability to do what he's done in debates in the past, mainly think well on his feet and react quickly in the moment. Though, he retains a loyal and affection following, some of the reviews of his performance have been hash.

"The Boston Globe" column, quoting something he said on stage run under the words, Joe Biden writes his own headline: my time is up, I'm sorry.

The question now, is it? Did the former vice president do so badly it would begin to erode what until now has been a commanding lead in the polls driven by the enormous goodwill he has within the Democratic Party, especially among African-American voters. Did Kamala Harris whose confrontation with the former vice president over his past positions about school busing achieve a breakout moment? And what about night one standout performer, Senator Elizabeth Warren?

We'll talk tonight about what happens next for all the candidates. And as for Joe Biden and the wake of the dustup with Senator Harris over his civil rights record, he spent the day trying to underscore his commitment to the issue speaking to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago, and at the same time, National Public Radio managed to locate a 1975 interview that reporter David did with the young Senator Biden who said he was open to a constitutional amendment to stop court-ordered busing.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): That would clearly do it. We are trying to figure out whether or not we can come up with an innovative piece of legislation which would limit the remedy. I don't know if we can come up with something constitutional and if we can't, I will not in an attempt to eliminate busing violate the Constitution. I don't do that. The only way if I go at it, I'm going to go at it through a constitutional amendment if it can't be done through a piece of legislation.


COOPER: Now, again, Senator Biden there is talking about looking for ways to stop court-ordered busing, something today he said he was never opposed to which clearly isn't entirely true because you heard him saying the opposite. Now, we should point out, busing was enormously controversial in the African-American community and public at large and remains so today as Joe Biden is finding out, we should also point out that Biden has a long history of supporting civil rights measures, including the Voting Rights Act, as he pointed out last night.

CNN's Arlette Saenz spent the day following the former president. She joins us now.

So, Biden is clearly trying to do some damage control today. What is he even saying?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, it's very clear that Joe Biden knows he needed to clean up some of his statements from last night's debate. I was here earlier today when he gave that speech in front of a crowd that was mostly made up of black activists and black voters as he defended his past position on bussing and also his civil rights record overall.

Take a listen to what he had to say earlier today here in Chicago.


BIDEN: I heard and I listened to and I respect Senator Harris. But, you know, we all know that 30 seconds to 60 seconds on the campaign debate exchange can't do justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights. I never, never, never ever opposed voluntarily busing.


SAENZ: But as you noted, Anderson, there were moments, several instances decades ago where Biden was there defending or trying to express his opposition to school bussing. I asked the campaign how they can reconcile his statements today with what he had said in the past and haven't gotten a full explanation.

You also today heard Biden trying to do a little cleanup when it came to comments relating to states' rights. Biden today saying he does believe the federal government does need to be involved when it comes to issues of civil rights and integration but going forward, Biden is going to continue to face questions after that performance last night on the debate stage that was in front of one of the largest audiences he's really seen so far this campaign so far -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, he's used the term voluntarily busing. I suppose the difference in his mind is in that phrase somewhere, however he defines that.

How have Biden campaign officials and surrogates, I mean, how are they reacting behind the scenes to what happened last night?

[20:05:00] SAENZ: I mean, they are very aware, Anderson, that last night was a bit of rocky debate, that wasn't one of the best performances from the former president, and Joe Biden himself is aware he needs to do better going forward. There are a lot of questions now about whether Biden is the candidate who meets the current moments of the Democratic Party.

And so, I think going forward, you're going to try to see Biden trying to make that case that he is. One thing that he was pressing today here in Chicago is that this needs to be a campaign, not looking back at issues from the past but that he wants to make this a campaign about moving forward.

Now, Biden is spending the rest of the weekend doing some fundraisers and neck weekend, we're going to see him back out, next week, I'm sorry, we'll see him back out on the campaign trail in Iowa. He'll actually be marching in a July 4th parade in Independence, Iowa, on Thursday -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Arlette Saenz, thanks very much.

We're going to delve into the history of busing shortly, in case you weren't around for that.

But right now, perspective from a talented campaigner himself, Andrew Gillum, whose campaign for governor in Florida made national headlines, kept us up into the night. Also, CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson.

Nia, you have Vice President Biden's explanation today, saying, quote, he never, ever, ever opposed voluntarily busing. Is he splitting hairs? Because in the '70s, I mean, he clearly said he opposed busing and last night, he said he opposed, you know, with the Board of Ed busing.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, and he was on the leading, you know, edge of the sort of anti-busing movement in the Senate, working with folks like Jessie Helms, working with Senator Eastland, too, two folks essentially segregationist, to push this anti-busing agenda. It's just, you know, these are the facts. They are letters where he's writing about anti-busing and what's wrong with busing and the idea these communities should be able to control their own schools and their own communities and who gets access to the schools.

So, you know, I mean, I don't know -- you know, this is the stubborn Biden that we've always seen, somebody who can't really back off a position, can't really say he was wrong because he's so wedded to the belief that he was right in the issue. And last night, you know, I think even Kamala Harris was a little surprised that you had a person in 2019 essentially saying that making the state's rights argument and saying that the Department of Education, he felt shouldn't have any sort of right in stepping in to push for busing, which of course, was an effort to desegregate schools and to give opportunities to African American children that often went to subpar schools.

COOPER: Mayor Gillum, did the vice president put this issue to rest today or did he just kind of continue it for tomorrow and the next day?

ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, unfortunately, I don't think he put the issue to rest and frankly, Anderson, in your opening comments, you referenced the fact that there were people on both sides of the argument around busing. If the vice president was standing up and sort of making those arguments today that led him to the conclusion that he reached from a public policy standpoint, that would be one thing.

But that's not what he's doing. He's actually speaking in conflict to what is published and demonstrated record has been on this issue.

Now, to Senator Kamala Harris, I thought she was extremely effective particularly at this line of attack because she introduced into the conversation a very, very personal narrative talking about the fact that 20 years after integration, she found herself being bused and integrating into the California school system. I thought that that landed with people tremendously well more than anything.

I got to say what she did last night is she disrupted a little bit of the chink in the armor of inevitability that I think has been really boosting the vice president up to this point, this belief that nobody can compete and win against the Trump presidency other than Biden.


GILLUM: I think she disrupted that largely due to her great performance but also due to his lackluster performance last night.

COOPER: You know, Nia, I think the mayor raised an excellent point using that word inevitability. I mean, you know, how many times have seen the candidate who, you know, was supposedly the inevitable candidate, you know, either implode or just wear away overtime. And again, it remains to be seen if that is what's going to happen to Vice President Trump.

But certainly, Nia, you know, there is nothing inevitable about this race. Donald Trump showed that and I'm not sure that Vice President Biden has really absorbed that lesson if he's, you know, not even working this weekend and he's going to start next week.

HENDERSON: Right. Yes. That's the thing. I mean, he's not exactly having a fire in his belly in terms of wanting to go out there and prove his medal, meeting voters where they live and being out in the hustings all over the country in the way a lot of other candidates are. [20:10:04] In some ways, you saw that rustiness last night. He just

wasn't up to it. He was a little incoherent in a lot of answers, and, you know, I think the other performers very much commanded the stage.

You know, the argument about Joe Biden has always been that he's the only one, really, you know, kind of the argument that could beat Donald Trump. He's the one that's electable. He's the one that can go toe to toe with him --


HENDERSON: -- on the debate stage.

It doesn't look like it last night. That isn't the guy that showed up. We'll see if this is a fleeting part of his campaign for the nomination but my goodness, a lot of folks are worried about that performance.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Mayor Gillum, certainly, you could argue that if you were envisioning Donald Trump on that stage with Joe Biden last night, it would not have gone well for Joe Biden as opposed to Kamala Harris, you could imagine, you know, she hit a few points but she hit them very effectively in that room.

GILLUM: No, she absolutely did, Anderson. The other thing about creating the chink in the armor of Vice President Biden here is that not only did Senator Harris show that she is to the task of debating and to dealing squarely with Donald Trump but there were a couple of other candidates who showed good command. I thought Major Buttigieg showed great command. I think in the first night of the debate, Senator Warren as well as Secretary Castro also demonstrated and turned in really good performances.

Over the two nights, I thought that what we saw is that there are a number of candidates competing for the Democratic primary who are frankly increasingly well-positioned to take on Donald Trump and to be a great standard bearer for what the Democrats believe in.

COOPER: Mayor Andrew Gillum, appreciate you being with us. Nia- Malika Henderson, thank you.

Coming up next, more on the political fallout from last night, and the fact check on what we've been talking about so much tonight and last night, the claims Kamala Harris and Joe Biden made on stage on busing.

And later, President Trump meets Vladimir Putin and turns the issue of Russian interference in the next election into a joke, literally.

Also, more Twitter love for Kim Jong-un and that's not all. It's been quite a day. We'll talk about that and more ahead on 360.


[20:16:20] COOPER: If Joe Biden spent the day reassuring the African- American community that in his words, he, quote, heard and listened to and respects Kamala Harris, last night, Senator Harris spent the day trying to carry over the momentum she gathered last night.

CNN's Kyung Lah was with her today in Miami.

So, Kyung, many breakout moments last night for Senator Harris. How is her campaign feeling today?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, 24 hours in, Anderson, the campaign is truly feeling like they are buoyed by her performance. They say they do believe that she won the night, that she would be a little like Steph Curry scoring 60. That's how it's being portrayed, they feel it is very positive.

And they also point to the fundraising numbers. And they say -- what we're hearing is during the debate, it was going to be the third best night of their entire campaign. I'm getting a little more guidance on it that what they are seeing is a 67 percent boost larger than normal than what they have seen.

Very important, Anderson, because the second quarter is about to close. It's an injection that they needed.

COOPER: We should point out, it was not all out success for Harris last night. She did have a stumble of her own.

LAH: You're absolutely right. The moderator asked who here on the stage -- a question asked the exact same way almost word for word the night before. Who on this stage would be in favor of eliminating private insurance under a Medicare-for-All program? Eliminating all private insurance?

And Harris raised her hand along with Senator Bernie Sanders. Now, Harris says she misheard the question, that that is not her platform, that she does believe in the Medicare-for-All, but that she believes that private insurance should exist as a supplemental income, the procedures that aren't covered.

So, what they spent today dealing with media questions, what does she mean? Is this backtracking? Is she unable to express her platform clearly but what I'm hearing from the campaign is they believe this is noise from the beltway from the press, that overall, they think it is a win that this is not something that's resonating with regular people, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kyung Lah, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

More now on the hard facts behind the debate moment that we've been talking about that landed Senator Harris and Vice President Biden where each is today, the issue of busing. And again, a reminder whether it was in Philadelphia or Mississippi or Boston, Massachusetts, the combination of race and what is best for children hit home at the time and still resonates today.

Tom Foreman looks back tonight to a troubled time for the U.S. and the electorate confrontation on stage last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the sharpest attack of the debate. Kamala Harris lighting into Joe Biden for opposing racial busing decades ago.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. And she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.

FOREMAN: And it brought a quick rebuttal.

BIDEN: It is a mischaracterization of my position across the board.

FOREMAN: So what do the facts say?

Harris was truthful about her childhood growing up on this corner in Berkeley. She was part of the second elementary school class there to experience busing in the late 1960s, the school tells CNN. As she would eventually write, I only learned later that we were part of a national experiment in desegregation.

And while she, a young black girl attending a mostly white school, Joe Biden was becoming a U.S. senator.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Around that same time, then-Senator Joe Biden changed his position on busing and became anti-busing. He joined with Jesse Helms, I don't know if you know this.

HARRIS: I did not know that.

FOREMAN: But it's true. As courts ordered more schools to promote integration by busing kids from predominantly black schools to largely white ones and vice versa, protests often violent broke out coast to coast.

[20:20:05] And Biden, indeed, began pushing back.

Listen to what he said on this date in 1977.

BIDEN: I happen to think that the one way to ensure that you set the civil rights movement in America farther back is to continue to push busing because it is a bankrupt policy.

FOREMAN: And now --

BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.

FOREMAN: That split hair likely wouldn't satisfy proponents. Still, Biden has long promoted civil and voting rights for African-Americans and better housing policies to make sure black families can live and go to school where they wish.


FOREMAN: In short, the record shows Biden has fought for racial equality even as he has refused to embrace the contentious political reality of busing, joining the course of critics who have long argued that the benefits do not outweigh the social upheavals -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Still to come, Tom, thanks very much. I'll speak with legendary newsman Dan Rather about President Trump early this morning joking with Vladimir Putin about election interference in the United States. And moments ago, he praised the Saudi prince tied to the murder and slaughter of a Washington-based journalist and about an hour ago tweeting he's hoping for the moment he can shake Kim Jong- un's hand once again.


[20:25:50] COOPER: Well, when it comes to dictators, President Trump is all praise. Moments ago, at breakfast, during the G20 meeting, President Trump told Saudi Arabia's crown prince and I'm quoting: You've done really a spectacular job.

The president did not mention the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Asked directly whether he would raise that matter, Trump said: Thank you very much. Let's listen.


REPORTER: Mr. President, have you addressed the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, sir?

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.


COOPER: Well, earlier today, he also said he hopes to shake hands with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, saying he would be willing to go to the border to say just hello basically, and when it comes to confronting Vladimir Putin about election interference, don't continue to hold your breath. President Trump has done anything but. He stood next to Putin, defending him publicly. He's talked on the phone with him about the Russia, quote, hoax.

He got irritated on Wednesday when CNN's Sarah Westwood asked the president if he would Putin not to meddle in the 2020 election. He said discussions with Putin were, I'm quoting, none of your business.

But until today, the president has never actually shared a laugh with Putin about election interference at least publicly. We have no idea what they discussed privately in Helsinki for instance.

Today, this is what asked if he would tell Putin not to interfere in the next election. Listen.


REPORTER: Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?

TRUMP: Yes, of course I will.

Don't meddle in the election please. Don't -- don't meddle in the election.


COOPER: The president is in Osaka, Japan, meeting with leaders, extensively fighting for U.S. interest, apparently doesn't consider election integrity one of them. The president was in more of a joking mood. In fact, he also riffed on how terrible the, quote, fake news is, one year to the day after a mass shooting that killed employees at the "Capital Gazette" in Maryland, and he did that joking with a man whose regime according to the Committee to Protect Journalists has seen 25 killed since 2000.


TRUMP: Fake news. You don't have the problem in Russia. We have it. You don't have it.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Yes, we have it. We have the problem.

TRUMP: You still have it?

PUTIN: Yes, the same.


COOPER: It's funny. They're -- they love that fake news stuff.

Joining me is legendary anchorman, newsman, Dan Rather.

I still do not get used to seeing President Trump kind of genuflecting in front of the dictators around the world.

DAN RATHER, FORMER ANCHOR, CBS EVENING NEWS: You know, this is deeply strange. At least borderline bizarre to see what happened today in that meeting with Putin. As you just outlined, that was only the beginning. He praises the leader of Saudi Arabia.

The whole line of things, I think put this in context. We have to understand and whether you're Republican, Democrat, independent, whatever, that under President Trump American foreign policy has become incoherent and amateurish. For example, tweeting to the president of North Korea, meet me at the DMZ, those kinds of things.

COOPER: I thought that was actually a joke when somebody said that there is now this tweet saying you know, I'll swing by the border and just to say hello, question mark exclamation mark.

RATHER: Well, it turns out it wasn't a joke because we know it came directly to the president. The point is that, you know, history is watching through all this. And let's just start but we won't end with whatever is going on with President Trump and President Putin, as I say, deeply strange and dangerous history is watching.

But they are also watching all of this business with American foreign policies being incoherent over the lot. The president himself doesn't seem that interested in learning about foreign policy, which can be complicated. That he doesn't -- he no longer reads the intelligence report just to preview the president's intelligence report every day. He doesn't read them.

So it's hard to say in President Trump's case whether it's more ineptitude, ignorance, or mendacity. But whatever it is, it's dangerous for the country.

COOPER: It's also interesting because, you know, he throws out lines like, you're doing a great job. You're doing --


[20:30:00] DAN RATHER, HOSE OF AXS TV'S, "THE BIG INTERVIEW": -- mendacity, but whatever it is, it's dangerous for the country.

ANDERSON COOER, CNN ANCHOR: It's also interesting because, you know, he throws out lines like, "Hey, you're doing a great job. You're doing, you know, spectacular work." That's the kind of thing he -- I mean, it's one of his go-to lines. I mean, he says that -- I think, you know, at one point he was on my show, I mean years and years ago, and I think he said that to me like as if he'd been watching the show. And I don't know if he had or not. But, it just seems like one of those phrases he throws out.

But when you're President of the United States and throw that phrase out to, you know, Mohammed bin Salman and, you know, and his regime, it has great weight and meaning and, you know, to dissidents around the world, to people who are in prison in Saudi Arabia for speaking up.

RATHER: Well, and there is this. At the same time, the President is praising almost any autocrat he can find. And really sort of -- I wouldn't say genuflecting (ph) to Vladimir Putin, but certainly behaving in a way that many Americans and not all of them Democrats find humiliating and embarrassing.

But at the same time, he's very critical of our friends and allies. So he's -- he has a pattern that he praises the people who are seeking to undermine Democratic platforms around the world, including in the United States.

Praises the leader, Vladimir Putin, who's had the United States under constant attack trying to undermine the public's confidence and even our -- the integrity of our electoral process while he's praising the likes of Putin and almost every other autocrat.

He's criticizing his friends and allies and sooner or later, it may not happen during President Trump's administration, but sooner or later, you know, you need friends and alliances. You can't -- even as strong as we are, we can't do at it alone.

COOPER: And the -- he also does this thing which when face-to-face with somebody like a Putin or like Kim Jong-un, it's -- and frankly an interview, he wants the other person to like him and he seems to do the same thing in front of large crowds.

He wants the crowd to adore him and he will do anything to sort of make that bond, to kind of have a connection with somebody. And in the case of Putin, it's joking about, you know, fake news and reporters and, you know, election interference.

RATHER: Well, again, with autocrats, including Putin and maybe Putin especially, President Trump wants to be a pleaser. He suffers the American disease of wanting everybody to like him, but when it comes again to our friends and allies, different attitude.

COOPER: Dan Rather, always good to have you on.

RATHER: Thank you, Anderson. Thanks for having me on.

COOPER: Really appreciate it. Thanks.

Coming up next, some very strong words, what former President Carter had to say about President Trump today and the Russians and the legitimacy of the 2016 victory?


[20:36:46] COOPER: It's rare that former presidents directly criticize the man who currently occupies the office, so that's what happened today and then some. One former president openly questioned the legitimacy of Donald Trump winning the presidency. Here's former President Jimmy Carter today on "C-SPAN."


JIMMY CARTER, 39TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election. And I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn't actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election, and he was put in office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.

JON MEACHAM, WRITER: So do you believe President Trump is an illegitimate president?

CARTER: Base on what I just said, which I can't retract.


COOPER: Certainly not an ordinary remark. I'm joined by former White House lawyer Jim Schultz, who's a CNN Legal Analyst, and by Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist and author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."

Jim, first of all, I'm wonder what you make of President Carter's comments today? Extremely rare to here that from a former president even kind of, you know, criticizing a little bit a sitting president, not -- I mean, he went all the way.

JAMES SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not sure if former President Carter paid attention to the fact that there was a full investigation here that a 400-plus page report was issued by Robert Mueller and they didn't talk about the legitimacy of the presidency in any of that. Sure, there was some Russian interference, but never anything about the legitimacy of the presidency.

So I think President Carter was a little out of his depth here, lot like he was out of his depth when he was president as related to the economy and the economy during his presidency where he had high inflation, low job growth, low growth in the economy versus the Trump economy now where you have high job growth, high economic growth.

So, you know, I just think its a little odd and a little strange that he would do that and quite frankly I think he was out of his depth today.

COOPER: Rick, I mean, is it -- was it fair for former President Carter to question the very legitimacy of it based on Russian interference?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the former president, you know, is obviously like every American entitled to his opinion on the matter. But I think the bigger question, Anderson, is, you know, if Donald Trump isn't in the pocket of the Russians, how could you tell?

I mean, from G20 -- from the G20 summit today where he sort of joking and joshing with Putin and saying, "Oh, don't interfere in our elections," to Helsinki and other things, he is consistently behaved in a way that has served the needs of Vladimir Putin very frequently well above the needs of the United States. So, I think that question of Russian influence is already moot.

Now, whether it was a legitimate -- whether he's a legitimate president, we don't have solid evidence that the Russians hacked voter files and caused vote changes that elected Trump. But Russia certainly played an active role in electing Donald Trump.

He was their favorite candidate in 2016, there is no dispute about that. And there are awful a lot of parts of the Mueller counterintelligence investigation that have yet to come to light that some of the things that Congress is sort of hinted around about have indicated there was a very deep and persistent Russian intelligence and information war fair program to elect Donald Trump.


WILSON: So, you know, the former president may have been a little over the top, but there's still -- still a big issue.

COOPER: Jim, do you think -- did you find it at all unsettling for the President to be joking that way with Vladimir Putin about, you know, interfering in the next election and, you know, the fake news and agreeing with, you know, Putin that they all have it, it's a problem?

[20:40:16] SCHULTZ: Well, I think going back to the other point, right, where, you know, I think it's good that you did, Rick, talk about the fact that in places like Pennsylvania that in fact there was affirmatively said that there was no hacking. There was no indication of any hacking occurred in Pennsylvania, and he won a state like Pennsylvania that is a state that Republicans hadn't won for the Presidency since Bush 41. But going back to your comment --

WILSON: Jim, what they're hacking -- what they hacked here was people's minds.

SCHULTZ: -- Anderson, the President, you know, frequent --

COOPER: Go ahead, Jim.

SCHULTZ: OK. But there was no interference. There's never any -- there was never indication that voter files were hacked in Pennsylvania and he won a state like Pennsylvania by 40,000 votes. It was close election but, again, in a state where no one expected him to win but he did take it.

And so going back to your question, Anderson, I mean the President has his own style. I mean, he says things sometimes off the cuff and, you know, whether it's appropriate or not, it's his style. He was elected President. How he interacts with foreign leaders is his decision.

COOPER: Rick, it is harder though for the President to make the argument as he does and many of his supporters knew that nobody has been tougher on Russia than he when what we see in front of the cameras is him sucking up to Vladimir Putin in one way or another, whether -- I mean, today we saw a little bit in Helsinki, obviously.

WILSON: I mean, he's there offering to do every -- yes. He's over there offering to do everything to give Vladimir Putin --

SCHULTZ: Yes, but the official actions -- the official actions --

COOPER: Sorry, sorry. Hold on. Let Rick talk and then Jim you'll be able to weigh in. Rick?

WILSON: He's offering to give Vladimir Putin everything but a foot massage. This is a guy who behaves in a way that is strikingly different than other American presidents. It should not be a big lift. I'm sure Jim will agree, no foreign power should attempt to manipulate our elections at any level, none, zero.

And I don't -- I think a lot of Trump folks have troubles saying that because they know that Donald Trump will not say to Vladimir Putin in a stern and serious way, don't do this. He expects Putin to do what he did in '16 and help him be elected again.

He expects Putin to hack people's behaviors, to use their information warfare program they used; to do advertising targeted the Trump supporters in key states. They're looking forward to having that help again and they won't say that they don't want it and they won't say that they won't take it. They will never say it.

COOPER: Jim, the President did say he would look at stuff that was given to him and then maybe turn it over to the FBI. WILSON: Maybe.

SCHULTZ: But let's not forget that it was the Trump Department of Justice that issued those indictments against the Russians. It's the Trump administration that has taken on Russia time and time again with official acts. So, you know, the commentary and the proof, but the proof is in the official actions that have come out of this administration, not so much what the President says off the cuff.

COOPER: Yes, otherwise the Special Counsel's Office which was an office that the President was attacking every chance he could.

WILSON: Right.

SCHULTZ: But no indictments get issued without the attorney general in that case, so let's remember who was in charge there. It was the attorney general of the United States and at that time, the deputy attorney general of the United States, Rod Rosenstein --

COOPER: All right --

SCHULTZ: -- who happen to work for Donald Trump.

WILSON: It was the acting attorney general who signed off on those indictments against Russia. It was Rosenstein who signed off on those.

COOPER: Jim Schultz, thank you, Rick Wilson.

SCHULTZ: Yes, that's what I just said, right.

COOPER: Appreciate it. Thank you.

The ongoing crisis in the city where he is the mayor is forcing Pete Buttigieg to curtail his campaign schedule. Just ahead, background on what's happening and a new interview with the mayor by CNN's Don Lemon.


[20:47:41] COOPER: Well, what stood out to many in this campaign is when Joe Biden's unwillingness to apologize really for anything. Now, in fairness, it's a chronic condition among politicians and has been probably forever, which is why a moment on stage last night from South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg stood out so much.

As you know, he's dealing with the deadly officer-involved shooting back home and last night expressed regret that he hasn't handled it better.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Your community of South Bend, Indiana has recently been in uproar over an officer-involved shooting. The police force in South Bend is now 6 percent black in a city that is 26 percent black. Why has that not improved over your two terms as mayor?

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because I couldn't get it done. My community is in anguish right now because of an officer-involved shooting, a black man, Eric Logan, killed by a white officer. And I'm not allowed to take sides until the investigation comes back.

The officer said he was attacked with a knife, but he didn't have his body camera on. It's a mess and we're hurting. And I could walk you through all of the things that we have done as a community. All of the steps that we took from bias training to de-escalation, but it didn't save the life of Eric Logan.


COOPER: Well, CNN's Jason Carroll has more now on the crisis right now in South Bend.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's time for you to do something and if you can't do it, step your ass down.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is facing a growing challenge at home as he prepared for it last night's first national Democratic debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach today what to do.

CARROLL: Both town halls and community events in Indiana this past weekend erupted in anger over alleged racism in the South Bend Police Department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been fighting this. We've been fighting this all ourselves, folks, but not the racist and the honor for us.

BUTTIGIEG: And what are we going to do about it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you all going to do?

CARROLL: The recent death of black resident, Eric Logan, at the hands of a white police officer highlights a long-standing problem Mayor Buttigieg admitted he has not been able to solve when we caught up with him on Sunday.

BUTTIEGIEG: We've done so many things over the years. Obviously, it hasn't gotten us to the point where there is full trust or even the level of trust that we just need.

[20:50:02] CARROLL: During the eight years that he has been mayor, the South Bend Police Department has slowly grown less diverse. 26 percent of South Bend's population is African-American, but just over 5 percent of the South Bend police force is black, nearly half of what it was in 2014.

And in 2012, just weeks after taking officer, Buttigieg ousted the city's first black police chief following allegations the chief improperly taped officers phone calls.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm sick of these things being talked about in political terms, in theoretical terms. I think it's a show, sometimes. It's people's lives.

CARROLL: The issue highlights a political vulnerability for Buttigieg, a lack of support from African-American voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're running for president and you want black people to vote for you, that's your down fall. That's not going to happen.

CARROLL: According to 2016 exit poll, African-Americans make up 20 percent of all Democratic Party voters, a crucial voting block.

(on camera) How do you think this is going to impact your stand with African-Americans, not just here in South Bend, but nationally as well?

BUTTIGIEG: Right now I'm not really thinking of the politics of it. It's not of any lack of trying. It's a lack of getting to where we need today.

CAROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, South Bend, Indiana.


COOPER: My good friend Don Lemon spent time today with Mayor Buttigieg. He joins us now. How was it?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It was interesting, because he's coming off of a night that he feels very confident that he did well and obviously, you know, the polls are showing at least the, you know, the early polling, not the official once they come out and from public opinion, so he's feeling very confident about that.

But he is dealing with race issues, as Kamala Harris is dealing with race issues, as Joe Biden is dealing with race issues, except his are back home when he was this young mayor who is trying to now become President of the United States.

I spoke to him about that and whether he actually gets, you know, race issues. He was very honest about that. And exactly what he meant when he said, well, I just couldn't get there, specifically what that meant.


LEMON: You said -- this is what you said about South Bend's police force. You say you couldn't get it done. So how are black Americans and all Americans, really, how can they trust that you'll get it done, issues of race and the tensions across this country if you become president if you couldn't get it done in South Bend.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I don't think all of these issues are things that somebody can just claim to have solved. The issues that haven't solved as a mayor are issues that America hasn't solved, that no city has solved, but where we've made progress. Sometimes it's three steps forward and two steps back.

I'm not going to present myself as the person who is going to resolve racial tension or racial inequality in this country, that's not the story I'm telling. What I am saying is that we have addressed these issues in my community. We have learned from that. And I'm passionately committed to bringing about in my lifetime a world where a black person and a white person pulled over by a police officer feels the exact same thing and that that's a feeling not of fear, but a feeling of safety.


COOPER: It's a really, I mean, interesting position he's in. I'm not sure interesting is the right word. But, you know, on the one hand he's running for president. He's clearly got his eye on that prize and yet he has this crisis at home and he -- he's got to deal with that.

I mean, that -- it's not -- and this isn't the first time, as Jason Carroll was pointing out. There was the issue with the police chief, the African-American police chief who was fired and he -- a lot of these issues he says he can't really get into for legal reasons, you know, specific legal reasons, it's an interesting spot for a candidate.

LEMON: It's a conundrum. Don't you think he's in a conundrum? Because here is -- and I asked him this, we went on after that to -- and I challenged him a bit by asking about framing racial issues in the context of police issues and criminal justice and he explained himself. He said I don't want to cast issues about race only at that -- you know, in that frame.

But I do think that he is in a conundrum because he's at the highest point now in his career, someone who is being seriously taken as a candidate for the presidency of the United States. And all of a sudden he has these issues that are clashing, right?

He's got race issues and people are also asking him about being gay, why it took him so long to come out, why at 37 he hasn't dealt with race issues in a way that you would think a mayor who is from a diverse city should be dealing with him.

So, he said at an interesting point, the thing that I get from him now is that he is ripe to answer questions on these issues because they've all clashed together. So he can only be honest about them. There is no talking points when it comes to that.

COOPER: Right.

LEMON: And he was very honest about it. You'll see it a little bit later on.

COOPER: Tonight at 10:00, you're going to have more on the interview.

LEMON: 10:00 p.m.

COOPER: All right. Don Lemon --

LEMON: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: -- thanks very much. Appreciate it.

[20:55:01] Stick around, there's a lot more straight ahead, including the aftermath of that rousing debate for former Vice President Biden and what could happen next with Biden and Kamala Harris.


COOPER: Chris Cuomo is off tonight. Welcome to a special edition of "360." We begin the hour on a Democratic primary campaign trail that just turned uphill for frontrunner Joe Biden. He spent the day explaining what he meant last night on the debate stage in Miami.

Meantime, California Senator Kamala Harris who served up that moment spent the day benefiting from it. The confrontation seen by a record 18 million viewers was over race and school bussing.

Senator Harris who lived through it as a schoolgirl made it personal and in so doing may have exposed not just a political weakness in her opponent, but also some believe shortcomings in his ability to take a punch and gracefully deal with it. We'll talk about all of that tonight.

But, first, CNN's Arlette Saenz in Chicago where the Democratic frontrunner spent the day trying to mend fences. Arlette, so Biden tried to do some cleanup today. Explain where he went and what he had to say.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, Joe Biden was here in Chicago speaking to the rainbow push coalition, a group that was founded by Jesse Jackson and it was there in front of a crowd of largely black voters and black activists where Biden made his case and defended his position on school bussing.

This all comes after those comments that he made last night in that exchange with Senator Kamala Harris at that debate.