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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Adopts More Defiant Tone on Racist Tweets; Interview with Julian Castro, Who Looks for Next Breakout Moment in Democratic Field; President Trump Flip-Flop On Rally Regrets; President Trump Says Melania And Ivanka Didn't Advise Him; Investigator Tracked Epstein For More Than A Decade; New Information After A Ten-Year Probe. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired July 19, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:17] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin tonight keeping them honest with evidence that the president was not honest, not sincere when he expressed what seemed to be a measure of regret for his racist attacks on four non-white congresswomen which culminated in chants of "send her back" at that Trump rally Wednesday night.
Tonight, the president made it clear that yesterday's so-called the attempted walk-back, thin as it was, grudging as it was, was quite simply a crock, as meaningless as you may have guessed it to be at the time and frankly, is anyone really surprised? I mean, seriously. This president says anything he thinks will get him out of a jam in the moment even if he doesn't believe it, even if it contradicts what he previously said.
The very idea that he didn't like his supporters chanting send her back, it's ludicrous. He is the one who started this entire shameful ploy. At this point, his lying is so over obvious, it's almost insulting because it assumes everyone listening is either dumb for looking for any excuse to ignore the president every time he says something racist or bigoted or inappropriate.
So, this was his expression of alleged regret yesterday. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, if I may, when your supporters last night were shouting, chanting "send her back", why didn't you stop them? Why didn't you ask them to stop saying that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, number one, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly, it really was a loud -- I disagree with it, by the way. But it was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it. But I will say this, I did and I started speaking very quickly. But it started up rather fast as you probably noticed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, all right, before we go any further, it should be mention that by Wednesday night, the president had already four days been tweeting these congresswomen should go back to where they came from, never mind three were morning in this country and the fourth, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is an American citizen, a naturalized American. She's a refugee from Somalia.
Now, as for saying, quote, I think I did, when asked the crowd to stop chanting or that, quote, I started speaking very quickly, the guy is just lying. I mean, he's just lying and if you don't believe that, it's all on tape, so just look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Omar has a history of launching vicious, anti-Semitic screeds.
CROWD: Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. You saw that, right? You know what that is. That's taking it all in. That's letting it build. That's savoring it. It's encouraging it.
Now, he stood there for 13 full seconds listening to the crowd chant back the very notion that he himself had been pushing for days leading up to the moment.
He didn't ask them to stop. He didn't rush to move on. He didn't say it's not appropriate and here is why. He didn't stand up to the worse elements of human nature. He stood there soaking in this Greek chorus of racism and later returned to the very same subject launching even more attacks on the congresswoman that night.
And now, I mean, it continues with his daughter-in-law Lara Trump who is on TV this morning lying in a way that even contradicts what the president lied about yesterday. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARA TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: The crowd themselves started chanting. It wasn't the whole crowd. It was a couple of people right there in the front, but he didn't say it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A couple people. He didn't say it.
I mean, I wouldn't even normally bring in the daughter-in-law of the president but she's putting herself out there, she has a role in the campaign and she's just freaking lying. I mean, keeping them honest, the president just yesterday said it was a real loud chant. Quite a chant, he went on to say. Not just a couple people. And he didn't have to say send her back, he's already said it in tweets and the crowd was already primed to chant it by guess who? That's right. Lara Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. TRUMP: If you don't love our country, the president said it, you should leave, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Am I right? Huh? You can leave. What is it they say, the family that hates together.
In any event, factual falsehoods aside, a moment ago, you heard the president said he, quote, felt a little bit badly, unquote, about the chanting. You heard him say he, quote, disagreed with it.
Which might lead you to think the next move might be the usual one after a politician blows the racial dog whistle, in this case, a train whistle.
[20:05:04] As cynical as it is to contemplate, you might think the president would say, you know what? Mission accomplished. I served my purpose. Move on. I tossed out some red meat to the base, tossed out some racism to the, you know, the racists, and the president could pivot as they say in Washington.
Now, of course, you might believe the president saw the urge of his ways and honestly regrets bringing the country to an ugly and dangerous place. You might think having stared into the kind of abyss that leads to a civil war, the standard bearer of the party of Lincoln, might as President Lincoln once said, speak to the better angels of our nature. But who are we kidding?
Here is what the president said today at an event ostensibly honoring the surviving Apollo 11 astronauts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: President Trump, you said you were unhappy with the chant. However, the chant was just repeating what you said --
TRUMP: No. You know what I'm unhappy with?
REPORTER: -- what you said in your tweet.
TRUMP: Do you know what I'm --
REPORTER: Do you take that tweet back?
TRUMP: Do you know what I'm unhappy with? I'm unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. I'm unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things. I'm unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman, in this case, different congresswoman, can call our country and people garbage. That's what I'm unhappy with.
Those people in North Carolina -- that stadium was packed. It was a record crowd. I could have called it ten times, as you know. Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. So that whole thing he said yesterday is -- throw that out.
A whole day of people claiming he has regrets and renounces the chant. That was what was on TV all day yesterday and all the surrogates, they went out there and singing that tune last night. You heard the president, he's repudiated that chant and now, he went back to embracing the chanters as incredible patriots.
Listen, listen to what he said a short time later on his way to a golf club for the weekend, the one among others that routinely hired undocumented immigrants to save money on wages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know what is racist to me? When somebody goes out and says horrible things about our country, the people of our country that are anti-Semitic that hate everybody, that speak with scorn and hate, that to me is really a very dangerous thing.
I think these four congressmen, I can say some worse than others. But if you look at the statements they made where they call the people of our country and our country garbage, when they hit Israel the way they hit Israel so hard and so horrible, I think to me, that's a disgrace and we should never forget it. We're dealing with people that hate our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So again, he's talking about four elected representatives that's who he's talking about, four American citizens, four women of color, four human beings who in his eyes and the eyes of at least the people chanting are the enemy. Not the opposition. The enemy.
A lot to talk about. We're going to dig into the politics of this shortly. First, though, the larger questions and we're especially glad to be joined by Dr. Cornel West, professor of practice of public policy at Harvard University, and professor emeritus at Princeton.
Professor West, I want to talk to you because I find that chant so depressing and I mean, look, we've seen this thing done before, you know, send them back was said to, you know, the Irish, it was said to Italians to the turn of the century, who came in waves, it was said to Chinese, it was said to every wave of immigrants who have come to these shores who were now embraced as immigrants, and their descendants now are saying send her back to this congresswoman.
When you heard that chant, what -- I mean, how do you explain that?
CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I'm like you, brother. I'm very grim and down and out but I said to myself, I've got to be more fortified in the name of moral consistency, spiritual witness and political courage. And I said to myself, I'll make sure I will not stoop so low that when Fred Trump and when Mary Anne Trump and when Melania Trump came as German, as Scotch and as Slovenian, that I would not want to say to them, you need to go back.
I've been here nine generations as a black man, enslaved, Jim Crow, Jane Crow, at the center of the American experiment, at the center of the Democratic experiment, I'm not going to stoop so low to be in the gutter with Trump.
We have to be clear, though. This is not just a matter of Trump as racist and I was sad to see the Democratic Party couldn't just call him a racist but say his words are racist. This is weak for me, but Donald Trump, brother Trump is at this moment becoming the American version of a Hitler and a Mussolini.
[20:10:06] We have created a fascist Frankenstein and I say we, it's not just a decrepit Republican Party with all of the collaborationists and facilitators, I mean, brother Lindsey Graham is just a Donald Duck version of Joseph McCarthy, sad to see him stoop so low, but Kevin Murphy the same way.
Republicans across the board, they have adjusted themselves to a profoundly unjust, proto fascist way of being in the world in terms of being lawless, hiding and concealing, rationalizing this kind of unadulterated raw hatred, and I come from a tradition of people who have been hated for 400 years. (INAUDIBLE) just died 52 years ago. We teach the world about love and justice.
So, the question becomes, how do I become fortified to say that Trump, that you're going to have to create a fascist America over our dead bodies. We don't go down fighting. We won't get in the gutter of hatred but our love of democracy and this country, we will make sure you do not allow for this kind of expansion of fascism.
You read Gustave Le Bon's book on "The Crowd", and you see the ways in which you can manipulate the crowd. You know Madison Grant, Yale graduate 1887, the passing of the great race, the major pseudo scientific rationalization of subordination of black people, red people's, yellow people's, brown people's.
Donald Trump is as American as apple pie just like Martin Luther King Jr. is as American as apple pie, and the question is, what apple pie is going to win? So, in that sense, we have to be fortified. So, we can't get too -- I think the sisters are right. The four sisters are so right in terms of not taking the bait, and I have a great love for those four sisters.
But when you love somebody, brother, you respect, you protect but you also correct. All of us are in the process of needing correction in this regard. But we have to be consistent across the board -- right wing, center, left wing, what have you. I'm sorry to go on so long.
COOPER: No, no.
WEST: But brother, we at a very historic and pivotal moment in the history of this nation, if we don't accent the moral, the spiritual and politically courageous, this democratic experiment will come to an end and it's always been the vicious legacy of white supremacy that could bring down the curtain, but that white supremacy has always been lodged in capitalism.
Racism isn't floating somewhere, it's a rationalization so we don't talk about the bombing of nine countries that going on. We don't talk about the rule of big military in terms of the military industrial complex, and the 60 cent that's already taken before we get to the budget for social programs and other programs, and the rule of Wall Street, the poverty, the decrepit schools and so forth. And Hitler and Mussolini, they did make the trains run on time but they were full of hatred and xenophobia.
You know, Sister Mary Anne Trump, I keep going back to Donald Trump's mother here because she's still a human being. She raised a question, she said, what kind of son have I created? That's the kind of question she raised.
And we have to answer that question. Is it the case the son she created becomes the American version of Hitler and Mussolini in the White House? In the Oval Office? That's the question.
COOPER: But there have been generations of Americans who have stood up and questioned the order of things, the unjustice of things, we have people have died protesting and, you know, questioning the America that exists not as a wanting to destroy America or criticizing the America that exists to make America better. America is the experiment constantly evolving and which always has this vision of being this shining city of a hill.
And for people to say, I mean, people told civil rights marchers, well, you know, if you don't love America, leave it. If you don't go back to where you came from, I mean, as if -- you know, that's an old chant the fact that it is being chanted by thousands of people and the president of the United States is standing there and, you know, nodding to it and soaking it all in -- I hear what you say about not getting, you know, too depressed and down about it but it is -- I mean, it is dangerous current that he is tinkering with in this country.
WEST: Oh, there is no doubt about that, though, brother. There is no doubt about that.
WEST: You know we've had president whose were slave holders and presidents who were defenders of American barbarism, called Jim Crow, we've had presidents who were misogynists and homophobes and trans probes and so forth, but you see, fascism is something else.
[20:15:03] Fascism distracts the people, manipulates their emotions, give them a sense of being a pure community that's threatened by the impure and he becomes the very agent that provides the rescue for those based on that fear. Every despot manipulates fear and lies so that criminality and mendacity go hand and hand, to hide and conceal social structures that are generating more misery, more suffering.
COOPER: Yes. And there has to be -- there has to be an other. There has to be an other that can be demonized. WEST: That's right.
COOPER: That can be attacked. A despot, or a wannabe despot needs that other to focus everybody against.
WEST: That's exactly right.
And the fact that -- I mean, we have to be very clear. Sister Omar, she never said all the American people are garbage. Now Trump talked about American carnage. She never said all American people.
She never said Israel was evil. She said the evil doings of Israel. Every nation in the world has done evil. Every person I know has done evil.
Quite lying on the sister to hide and conceal your own lies. That's part of the challenge here.
But this is true also for the liberals because, you know, we've had our dialogues, brother. I can't stand the liberal's self- righteousness. Oh, I called him a racist. I'm so courageous.
No, it don't take too much courage to call somebody a racist. The question is, what are you going to do to generate action? Don't just articulate a view that becomes part of the in crowd. We need more than just liberal self-righteousness.
We certainly need more than this right-wing drift towards neo fascism where people are willing to adjust themselves based on either certain people on the court, tax cuts for the rich and you lose your country. What does it gain in nation to lose its own soul and gain the whole world with Wall Street and company?
That's the fundamental question of "The Iceman Cometh", the greatest play written by an Irish brother, American play written by Irish brother named Eugene O'Neill.
We need to go back to that. Something I read is biblical, too, but we won't get religious here tonight.
COOPER: You're always welcome to be religious here.
WEST: Keep that smile on your face, brother, because we've got to be fortified.
COOPER: All right.
WEST: This is a moment for fighting. This is a moment for gathering your spiritual and moral and political weaponry because we on a battlefield and -- of course, we all have been on it every day of our lives whether we realize it or not.
COOPER: Dr. West, I appreciate hearing from you. Thank you.
WEST: Love you, though, brother, you stay strong. You know I'm still pulling for you. You know what. COOPER: I appreciate it. Thank you. Dr. Cornel West.
Coming up next, presidential candidate Julian Castro and his take on this.
And later, the politics of what Dr. West called this pivotal moment in this election season.
[20:21:56] COOPER: Tonight, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro is focusing on the crucial early primary state of New Hampshire and if things go his way, he'll eventually be able to focus squarely on facing President Trump.
Julian Castro joins me now.
Secretary Castro, thanks so much for being with us.
These continued attacks obviously from the president, you've described what he's doing as racial priming. Can you explain what that means?
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, this guy is the biggest identity politician out there. And what he's trying to do is to divide Americans along racial and ethnic lines, and I don't think that there has been anybody who has been more successful at building his political career on dividing people on racial and ethnic lines as Donald Trump has, and that's what he's trying to do with his attacks on these four congresswomen of color, trying to make them the other and putting out this siren song to people that might support the idea that really that this is a white America only.
That's what he's trying to do, but I know because I've seen that the values that we have of basic respect for each other, of love of country, of compassion, of hard work, that those no know boundary. And so, the coalition of people who are white, who are black, who are Latino, Asian-American, native American, rich, poor, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, I believe is much stronger than his narrow base of people who support him. And that's why I actually feel that the more he does this, that the better the odds get for Democrats in 2020.
COOPER: Is it -- I mean, this is likely to be a cornerstone of the president's campaign. So how do you (AUDIO GAP) Democratic nomination of president as you are, how do you take on that on the trail without it also derailing you from talking about the issues that, you know, table top issues that people care about and that, you know, you want to discuss?
CASTRO: Well, I keep my eye on the ball. I'm always focused on the trail on what families need to prosper in the 21st century that they have good health care, that their child can get a good education, that they have good job opportunities, whether they live in a small town or a big city. And I also address this -- I address the fact that we need to work together to make our down country stronger.
And I'll tell you, Anderson, you think about how he won last time. OK? He won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by 77,000 votes collectively. In the Trump era, what we're seeing is that the suburbs are clearly moving away from this president. We saw that in 2018 including in those states and in my home state of Texas where Lizzie Fletcher won in the suburbs of Houston, and Colin Allred won in the suburbs of Dallas. In California, where Reagan country, Orange County, is now all blue.
So, I believe the more he does this and turns off those suburban voters in suburban Milwaukee, suburban Detroit, suburban Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, he makes it harder.
[20:25:07] He's also going to drive up the turnout in Detroit, in Philadelphia, in Milwaukee. Some people, you know, they hear what he's doing and they have heart burn. They think well, you know, is he going to be able to get another Electoral College victory? I see the strategy, but I actually believe that he's hurting himself by doing this and that this is a sign not of confidence but desperation of trying to eke out a little bit more from a base that ain't going to go very far for him.
COOPER: Some have said that this is not going to be a race about who has the best plan because frankly, the president got elected not with plans, I don't think anybody can really put their finger on his health care plan. He hasn't had one, even immigration he hasn't had one.
So, is -- I mean, do you have something other than, you know, well- thought out plans? Is there -- I mean, is this going to be a vision election? The vision thing as George H.W. Bush once said?
CASTRO: I think this is going to be about what kind of country we want to become. Do we want to become a country that cuts off opportunity? If you don't look like Donald Trump or do you want to be a country that we can be proud of because we expand opportunity to everybody in our nation.
It's going to be an election about bringing us together versus tearing us apart, about a leader that has demonstrated integrity and honesty in public service or one that is the dirtiest politician that we've seen in generations, and whether we're going to try to make the country something again and go backward, or we're going to make the country better than ever and move forward and I choose to move forward.
And I choose to bring the country together and I demonstrated integrity and honesty in public service where this president has a big ethical cloud, the darkest cloud we've seen hanging over his presidency.
COOPER: Secretary Julian Castro, thank you very much. We'll see you on the debate stage next week.
CNN is going to bring the second round of Democratic presidential debates from Detroit, total of 20 candidates facing off July 30th and 31st at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Just ahead for us tonight, more on the political repercussions from the president's rallies. Two views from two sides of the issue.
[20:31:33] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We're talking tonight about President Trump's brief and evidently insincere flirtation with regret for what unfolded on stage Wednesday night in North Carolina. Twice today on camera and also on Twitter, he renewed his attacks on the four non-white congresswomen.
Here to talk about it, "New York Times" contributing op-ed writer and CNN Contributor, Wajahat Ali, and CNN Political Commentator Scott Jennings who served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush.
Scott, at this point, do we have any reason not to believe that the President is OK with his crowds chanting send her back?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it sounds like he's having trouble deciding how he feels about it. Undoubtly, he's heard a lot of the criticism from across the political spectrum about what happened at the rally and about the tweets over the weekend. And I wrote a piece today for cnn.com because I was responding to this, disavowing it and now I see what he said.
Look, the rubber bull hit the road at the next rally, because I'm sure at the next rally somebody is going to try to start this and he's going to have to decide whether to let it go or not. My sincerest hope is that he puts a stop to it because these folks are Americans. They live under the same constitution and First Amendment that we do. They have as much right to speak and be in politics as any Republican.
We don't have to win ugly. We can debate the ideas and I think win an election on our policies and on our record. We don't have to be ugly to win and I hope the President understands he's got something to run on other than this.
COOPER: Wajahat, I mean, the President doesn't seem to be confused, though. I mean he said one thing in the moment, you know, maybe the last person in the room had been a member of his family or something telling him, you know, he shouldn't say that. But, now, clearly, today he had the opportunity to, you know, talk about why he felt uncomfortable or why it's not good to chant that. Instead, you know, he just fully backed everybody in that room.
WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, racist are going to racist. This is the feature not to bug in. Donald Trump has been a racist since the '70s. I think we should take him literally and seriously.
He is the one who champion the Obama birther conspiracy. He is the one who said Mexicans are rapist and criminals, not sending their best. He is the one for the midterms, Anderson, 2018 midterms, he could have run on the economy and jobs, where did he run on, the caravan of immigrants and rapists and criminals funded by George Soros, a Jewish-American billionaire.
And now he says that four American congresswomen, public servants, citizens, women of color, told them to go back to their country, fix it then come back, even though three of them were born here and one of them is a citizen, who is a naturalized citizen, Ilhan Omar.
And then he says in front of his crowd, he insights them, and then for 13 seconds, Anderson, he bathes as they say send her home, send her home, send her back. You know, I don't know about you, but when I want to stop someone, I stop them. I don't stand there for 13 seconds and bathe in luxury in this racism.
And then finally he kind of walks it back for a second, but then doubles down and this is where the rubber hits the road, because he said that those people chanting a racist nativest chant that has been used against Jews, Italians, Irish Catholics, Muslims and now all people of color, he said that those people are "incredible patriots."
So this is the scene in the movie, Anderson, where the Republicans get to be the hero or the villain. This is a scene on the movie, the crisis point, are you going to step up to Donald Trump's racism? Are you going to be Mitt Romney who's been sassed of, you know, Susan Collins, of Jeff Flakes and do a strongly worded tweet? Or are you going to say this is hateful?
[20:35:00] This is literally the scene in the movie, Anderson, where it's going to decide the future of this country for the next two or three years. I see that without any hyperbole.
COOPER: Scott, I mean it is strange -- I mean, not strange, it's obvious. But when the President did allegedly seem to kind of repudiate it a little bit, he -- I mean, he was clearly lying about trying to stop the chant.
You know, he said he quickly started talking again. He was uncomfortable. He didn't like it. But, I mean, 13 seconds went by and, I mean, just watching him soak it in, allowing the chant to build, you know, if -- not only is he not really sincere, it seems in repudiating it, he's also lying about what he did.
JENNINGS: Yes. Look, he is going to have another chance to get this right and I hope he does get it right. I don't think he got it right in the moment. I don't like the chant. I don't like the fact that it happened at a big rally and that he didn't take the opportunity to put a stop to it.
So, I think -- well, we'll know how sincere he is about it all at the next rally. I mean, that's when we're going to know how he's going to handle this because obviously people are going to want to do it again, which is regrettable because it's rather weak-minded.
If you don't think you can debate people on our record and on the issues on which we're running and the best thing you've got is to send them away and to sensor them basically by sending them away, they doesn't show very much confidence in what the Republicans are running on.
So, I want to see what he does at the next rally. And, look, I'm not going to ascribe racism to a bunch of people I've never met and who -- you know, I'm not going to do that. But what I would say to everybody who believes that's the correct messaging tactic, it is absolutely not the correct messaging tactic. There's a way to win here and a record and a set of issues to run on and that's not it.
COOPER: But, I mean, I'm not -- you know, the idea -- the whole send them back, I mean that is a, you know, racist concept. You know, it's an anti-religious concept and depending on who you're talking about. I mean, it's something that has been used time and time and again over the course of American history and -- I mean it is reprehensible. Yes, you can't say an entire room full of people are racist, but certainly that chant is racist, no? Scott?
JENNINGS: I think that some people are going to interpret it that way. And I'm not -- again, I'm not going to ascribe racism to people I don't know and I've never met. But I would say this, it lead --
ALI: Scott, it's easy, yes, yes. Just say yes.
JENNINGS: They don't -- look, brother, don't interrupt me.
ALI: It's racist.
JENNINGS: I didn't interrupt you, don't interrupt me. I'm not going to ascribe racism to a room full of people. But I will say, it -- some people took it that. It could be taken that way. I don't personally believe that people are chanting that and thinking that, but we have to live in the reality in which we live here and that is that this is not the correct tactic, message, idea, direction for this President's campaign.
COOPER: OK. Wajahat, very quickly.
ALI: Anderson, it's racist because last time I checked Bernie Sanders, who is actually Democratic socialist, was never told to go back to where he came from. But four congresswomen of color were told that by the President. It's racist.
COOPER: Wajahat Ali, appreciate it, Scott Jennings as well. Thank you very much. The President say -- dismissed reports said his daughter Ivanka and wife Melania got him to backtrack on the racist chants at his rally.
Up next, a conversation of the author of a fascinating new piece on Ivanka Trump, it's in the Atlantic. Is she serving the American people or just herself and what is she actually doing? We'll be right back.
[20:41:58] COOPER: With all the President's race baiting this week, an attacks on four women in Congress, a lot of people wondering why one of the most prominent women in the White House has gone silent, Ivanka Trump. Where was she?
There were reports that the first daughter and senior adviser advocated along with First Lady Melania Trump for her dad to repudiate her crowd send her back chant. Today, the President says there is no truth to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did the First Lady and Ivanka advice you about the chants? I know you guys talked about it.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: False information. It was fake news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You never talked about it with them?
TRUMP: No. I talked about it but they didn't advice me. They told me, but I didn't --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, what did they say? What did they tell you?
TRUMP: It's fake. By the way, what you say, fake news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did they tell you about it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. So they talked about it. They didn't advice him. CNN Political Analyst Elaina Plott just wrote a whole article about Ivanka Trump and -- well, we'll talk about it, in the Atlantic. It's a fascinating article. I urge you to read it.
So, Elaina, the President said Ivanka didn't advice him about Wednesday night's chant. Even if she did, certainly doesn't seem to have had much effect. And I feel like there -- I mean, I may have joked about this the other night before all of this, it seems like every time there is something controversial that happens, there is a leak that Ivanka Trump, you know, was whispering in the President's ear her concern which, you know, I don't know if it all comes from Ivanka Trump or her people, but it certainly seems like it does.
ELAINA PLOTT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And there are two things I think that we can into it from that pattern. I also joked too about the source close to Ivanka who just magically appears after any controversial moment takes place.
But the one thing is that why would she not say these things in public if she truly does believe that her father has done something racist or reprehensible as the source close to Ivanka will imply, especially in this case? Why not go on the record and say that?
The second thing would be that the influenced that she would telegraph that she had along the campaign trail as a way to kind of ease moderate's minds in voting for him, she clearly doesn't really seem to have that.
COOPER: Right. I mean, she has enough influence that she can, you know, go to the G20 and try to shoe horn herself into a conversation with world leaders or show up in the DMZ. But when the rubber hits the road and there is something, you know, repulsive or unattractive that the President is doing or racist, she's nowhere to be seen.
Michael Barber of "The New York Times", he tweeted this today, "For the X time, Ivanka Trump spoke with her father about X controversy he touched off, telling him X was problematic according to X people to her who claim that despite mountains of evidence this conversation matter." I mean, it happens over and over again, this narrative.
PLOTT: Right. And I think why it was important for me to report out this piece in particular is because like you said, it did come on the heels of the G20 summit, it did come on the heels of her kind of elbowing her way into the demilitarized zone of all places, the most fraught, you know, tense important negotiating spot probably on this entire globe.
And you have to wonder, if she is willing to step out when there is a historic photo op to be had, but not when the very moral fabric or our nation is called into question as it was this week.
[20:45:02] You know, who is she really in the White House for? Is that for herself, something to tell her grandkids about one day? Or is it to actually, you know, steer the direction of this country in a positive matter?
COOPER: Well, the idea that -- I mean, you know, she portrays herself someone who's fighting for women's empowerment and maybe she is doing stuff. But her father spent the week trying his hardest to disempower four prominent congresswomen, you know, of color.
And, you know, the irony that she is the champion of women with this President and the way, you know, he has spoken about women and, you know, some of the allegations against him, it's ironic if it wasn't, you know, actually important.
PLOTT: Real. Yes. Like an actual thing taking place within the bounds of the leader of the free world. And another point to that too is, you know, comical but also scary is that any time something like this happens, the balance of her portfolio get -- suddenly narrow and narrower.
So, women's empowerment was sort of the umbrella that she came in with. And when something like this happens when the President is, you know, disempowering women as you point out, suddenly it's, no, this is about women's economic empowerment in the Ivory Coast. So the four congresswomen in America don't necessarily fall into that boundary.
COOPER: Right. And I think you quote in your article that on some show that she was confronted about something regarding women's empowerment. She said, "Well, I'm not the president of women's empowerment," or something -- word to that effect.
PLOTT: Right. She said, "I'm not the president of all women's issues," but that's the thing. I mean, it's this like lovely oblique phrase that you can throw out anytime you're questioned about something that you find uncomfortable.
COOPER: Yes. Elaina Plott, again, it's an article in the Atlantic. I urge people to read it. Thank you so much.
PLOTT: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Just ahead a CNN exclusive, some remarkable and disturbing new information from a private investigator about what he heard and saw while tracing the arc of Jeffrey Epstein's involvement with underage girls.
[20:51:08] COOPER: The Palm Beach County sheriff said today that he's ordered an internal investigation into his own office's supervision of Jeffrey Epstein while the registered sex offender was serving a 13- month jail sentence for state prostitution-related charges back in 2008 and 2009.
This, he says, to see if any rules or regulation were violated. Epstein was granted work release privileges during that time, which allowed him to spend 12 hours a day, six days a week at an office.
It's an arrangement that has certainly come under some harsh scrutiny, especially in the light of Epstein's arrest on federal sex trafficking charges, charges to which he's entered a plead not guilty. He's been denied bail.
Tonight, our Drew Griffin brings to light some pretty remarkable new information in the Epstein case. It's the first television interview with a private investigator who's been tracking Epstein for more than a decade. Here's Drew's report.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mike Fisten was a cop for 30 years, homicide detective, worked narcotics. He'd seen it all and thought he would retire to an easy life as a private detective in South Florida. His first case brought to him by an attorney 10 years ago, investigate Jeffrey Epstein.
MICHAEL FISTEN, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I started going out and interviewing witnesses that became victims. I was interviewing one after another, the three girls turned into four girls, turned into five, six, seven and so on. I couldn't help but think that this could have been my daughter or your daughter or my next-door neighbor's daughter.
GRIFFIN: The case is now infamous, a secret sweetheart deal with federal prosecutors, a slap on the wrist jail sentence from the state of Florida.
FISTEN: If you had to see the paint on their faces when they found out about this plea deal, not only that, the fear factor that he was going to be out, was pretty tremendous.
GRIFFIN: Fisten says he and attorney Brad Edwards sought justice through civil suits on behalf of alleged victims, winning settlements against the multimillionaire. Victims were so young. He says it's inconceivable. Those in Epstein's social circles could not have at least suspected the girls were underage.
FISTEN: Once these girls lost their braces and their pubescent look and they started becoming 16 years old or 17 years old, they were too old for him. So then he started using them for recruiters to bring the younger girls.
GRIFFIN: Epstein did plead guilty in 2008 to two state charges, including procuring a person under 18 for prostitution, a charged so demeaning to the children he victimized. Fisten says it silenced many of them.
FISTEN: These were girls that were not of age of consent in the state of Florida. They couldn't be prostitutes.
GRIFFIN: One victim told Fisten she was just 13 when it started.
FISTEN: But she looked like she was nine. And she started telling me the whole story about how, you know, she tried to live a good life. She was blaming herself for what Jeffrey did to her. And she was in such pain, this girl, that, listen, nothing really fazes me after spending like 13 years in homicide, nothing really fazed me anymore. But that really fazed me. I mean, I teared up during this.
GRIFFIN: Court documents obtained by CNN detail how Epstein intimidated, frightened and threatened potential witnesses against him, including the girls he had abused. The U.S. Attorney's Office knew the FBI was investigating but chose not to prosecute. Fisten witnessed that harassment firsthand.
FISTEN: He hired private investigators and all their job was to do was to follow the girls around and intimidate them. They were on their bumpers everywhere they went. They pull into a gas station, they pull up behind them. They pull up to a grocery store, they pull up behind them.
GRIFFIN (on camera): So this is happening while he's supposedly serving his 13 months?
FISTEN: While he's serving it and after he gets out, while he's on probation.
GRIFFIN: You know, if you're looking at this from a law and justice point of view, whatever that prosecution was, it doesn't sound like it sent any message to Jeffrey Epstein.
[20:55:05] FISTEN: Well, it did send a message, that you could do what you want and no one is going to mess with you.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): And Fisten says, anyone watching Epstein during his 13-month jail sentence would have seen Epstein being allowed to leave jail during the day, head to his office where young women would come and go.
FISTEN: They were bringing lavish lunches and food into his office.
GRIFFIN (on camera): And you saw girls going in?
FISTEN: I saw girls going in.
FISTEN: I couldn't tell if they were underage or not.
GRIFFIN: They look young?
FISTEN: They look very young.
GRIFFIN: You have no doubt he's been abusing since his plea?
FISTEN: Absolutely. He can't stop.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Epstein's attorney says Jeffrey Epstein has had a spotless record since he got out of jail in 2010.
(on camera) You mentioned you have proof that just recently he's been abusing girls. What is that proof?
FISTEN: Well, we had some people come forward.
GRIFFIN: And you have their names?
FISTEN: I have their names and we've turned that information over to the federal authorities.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Which is why Fisten says the victims of Jeffrey Epstein known and unknown are rejoicing in his recent arrest.
FISTEN: This is all they ever wanted. They don't want his money. They don't want -- they wanted -- this is what they wanted. This is all they wanted.
COOPER: Drew, in your report, Mike Fisten says there are new victims, recent victims. Is there proof of that?
GRIFFIN: Anderson, according to Fisten, associates of Epstein have come forward alleging that Epstein has been traveling with two young women who have been procuring girls for him in recent years. That's the information, including the names of those women that he says have been turned over to federal authorities, federal prosecutors, not talking, Anderson, Epstein's attorneys deny it.
COOPER: All right, Drew Griffin. Drew, thanks very much. A lot more ahead tonight on this special extended edition of the program, including what's behind President Trump's ramped up attacks on those four Democratic congresswomen a day after he, well, pretended to take things down a bit.
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