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Ex-U.S. Diplomat Testified About Rudy Giuliani's Shadow Diplomacy In Ukraine; President Trump Goes After Whistleblower (Again); A.G. Barr Presses Other Countries To Investigate President Trump's Opponents, Help Discredit Russia Probe. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 4, 2019 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good evening. Chris Cuomo is off tonight. Welcome to a second hour of 360. In this hour, the impact on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, of newly-released impeachment testimony, hours of closed door Q&A with two Career Diplomats.

In it, they describe, what was to them, an alien world where the President's TV lawyer and others scoured a - a besieged ally, Ukraine, for political dirt, and pressured it for political help, a place where Fox News hosts help make policy, allegedly, where Twitter is how you talk to the boss, and where almost everything seems to happen, except for what is supposed to be the job at hand, helping an ally fend off an adversary.

Former Ukraine Ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, testifying that Rudy Giuliani's shadow diplomacy in Ukraine "Cut the ground out from underneath us."

Former State Department Senior Advisor - Advisor, Michael McKinley, saying he chose to resign in part because of what he saw is the use of American foreign policy "To advance domestic political objectives," not fighting corruption in Ukraine, as the President has continued to say.

It adds up the two transcripts released today, adds up to a stinging indictment of the President, who said very little today about the transcripts. However, he did speak tonight at a campaign rally in Lexington, Kentucky. CNN's Pamela Brown is there.

So, what did the President say tonight about the impeachment inquiry, and I - did he mention the transcripts?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well tonight here, at this rally in Kentucky, Anderson, he focused primarily on the whistleblower, continuing to poke at the whistleblower, continuing these escalating attacks that we've seen in recent days, where he's pushed for the whistleblower to be unmasked, even though the law protects his or her identity. And tonight, during the rally, he mentioned how the whistleblower has been quiet ever since the transcript of his phone call with the Ukrainian President has been released.

Now, as you know, Anderson, the whistleblower wants to remain anonymous through all of this. But what was interesting is that behind the President here--

COOPER: Right. The whistleblower is legally allowed to remain anonymous. I mean, it's the law. Right, anyway, go ahead, sorry.

P. BROWN: Right.


P. BROWN: Right. It's the law. The - the - the whistleblower, you know, filed the complaint and - and wants to remain anonymous. And - but - but yet, despite this, the President continues to - to lash out, focusing his ire toward the whistleblower, despite the corroboration from reporting, and the testimony that has come out from current and former Administration officials.

But this crowd here tonight, Anderson, is aware of what's going on behind the President. Several supporters are wearing the - the T- shirts saying "Read The Transcript." You've heard the President say that many times.

He believes the transcript, reading that is - is vindication for him. He said he wants to read it during a fireside chat, even though Republican allies on Capitol Hill feel uncomfortable about this, you know, the - the President saying it's a perfect phone call.

As you know, they - a growing number, actually, are saying that they are concerned by the phone call. It's not something they would do. It may be inappropriate. But it's not an impeachable offense.

And now, you're even seeing the President sort of change his tune a little bit on quid pro quo, saying even if there was quid pro quo, it wouldn't be a big deal, Anderson.

COOPER: I assume their T-shirts, as Jim Acosta pointed out in the last hour, saying "Read The Transcript" is not the new transcripts that have just been released today.

P. BROWN: Yes.

COOPER: It's where the President--

P. BROWN: That's correct.

COOPER: --his fantasy version of the "Perfect transcript," which is anything but. Pamela Brown, thank you very much. Appreciate you being there.

Joining us now to talk more about where all this leaves the President, one-time Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: Why is the President still focused on the whistleblower? I mean, he's out of it or she's out of it. It's been corroborated what they said. It's moved on.

SCARAMUCCI: So, he's--

COOPER: What's the advantage?

SCARAMUCCI: Because he's the best at locking in a crowd, and he's also now got a lot of people that believe in him, and want to believe in him.

And now, they're forced through this cognitive dissonance, and they're - he's moving the goalposts on everybody like he's been doing from day one. And so, by focusing on that at, and they can cling to that.

I mean I - I - I literally just left a personality code exhibition at a university that I won't name. I'm up there speaking, and they're locked in to "Read the transcript," and I had one 20-year-old woman tell me that everything that the President does is perfect.

And so, they - they - they're locked into it. He does a very good job of this, Anderson. And so--

COOPER: So - so by focusing on the whistleblower that - that's--

SCARAMUCCI: --so you're not going to, so--


COOPER: --that ignore what's actually happening but just focus on this.

SCARAMUCCI: Focus on the whistleblower. And, by the way, Anthony and Anderson, they're "Never-Trumpers." They're not rationalists, so they--

COOPER: Yes, which is also now equating to "Human scum."

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, exactly, so you and I are human scum. If you're not a Never-Trumper, good.

If you're a rationalist looking at this, and recognizing that he broke the law, alongside of his cohorts, and that nobody in our system should be above the law, don't focus on that. Focus on the stuff that I'm saying to you.

So, I mean, so he's brilliant at that, OK? David Koresh was brilliant at that. Jim Jones was brilliant at that.

And so, what you're going to have to do is you're going to have to de- layer this thing in a different way than we're currently de-layering it. And we're doing that, OK? And that's why the polling numbers are going down.


SCARAMUCCI: And the impeachment numbers and removal numbers are going up.

COOPER: How important do you think public testimony is? Make a difference? Because everyone said that about Mueller, right?


COOPER: Everyone said that about Mueller though.

SCARAMUCCI: No, no, no, no, right.

COOPER: "Wait till - wait till Mueller testifies, lays it all out."

SCARAMUCCI: Well it's going to be devastating because here's what's going to happen. The - the testimonies are going to come out. It's way worse than Mueller, OK?

You and I were talking at the break, is that he's the O. J. Simpson of Presidents, OK? He got away with the whole Russian collusion situation, but he's not getting away with this, because he's a lawless guy, and there's succession of lawlessness.

And so, I submit to you, and everybody else, 29, 30 months as President, you think this is - this is the only call he had with a foreign leader? There's a 193 nations in the United Nations. You think he had one call like this? I mean, give me a break. There had to be 25 to 50 calls like this.

So, this stuff is going to come out. It's going to come out in the public domain. And then, there will be one, possibly two Republican Senators that will be the Margaret B Chase of the situation.

COOPER: You think there really will be somebody to come out?

SCARAMUCCI: How is it possible - if there - if there isn't, we're not living in the country that you and I grew up in, in our social studies civic course.

If we're - if we're - no one's reading the Constitution, no one's reading what Ben Franklin wrote or what James Madison wrote, no one's reading it, OK, so if we're not, then I don't know what to tell you. You know, we'll have to figure it out from there. But we'll figure it out, because a great nation, we'll figure it out.

But he has broken the law. He's broken the law systematically, and he's using the forces of his communication skills, and his manipulation, to the credit people like - discredit people like you and me, and to reinforce to his people like, "Oh my god, I'd made this decision. I got to stay welded to this guy." Full-blown cognitive dissidence, full-blown demagoguery, we just need a pin in there, Anderson. It's going to be one or two elected officials that are Republicans that were with him the way, frankly, I was with him, and said, "Hey, wait a minute. This is too much for me. I can't take this anymore. This is rank lawlessness. He has to go."

COOPER: But he - but I mean you had, now have, you know, there were four officials from, you know, OMB and the White House who were supposed to testify today, didn't even show up.

SCARAMUCCI: It's obstruction.

COOPER: There's not really any ramifications because the Democrats want to--

SCARAMUCCI: Well that's obstruction.

COOPER: --you know, push forward on this, and not have it tied up in courts, and feel like, you know what, do you think that's a mistake or do you think--

SCARAMUCCI: No. I don't think there's a mistake.

I think the quicker they get this out in the public domain, the greater the likelihood that one or two rationalists that really love the country, and want to go down in history, or something. Somebody going to look back on this period 10, 15 years, think about the way we look at McCarthy now.

COOPER: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: In the bubble of McCarthy, Dwight Eisenhower failed to make a speech to denunciate McCarthy, based on the criticisms that he was giving to his old boss, George Marshall.

He went up to Wisconsin. He had the speech. He was ready to make the speech. And he folded the speech due to political expediency.

Eisenhower said, later on, when he was at the Gettysburg forum that this was one of the biggest mistakes of his political career that he couldn't stand up to McCarthy. He was fearful of McCarthy in his home state.

That's what these Republicans are like right now. One of those Republicans, OK, man or woman, will say, "Hey, you know what? Enough is enough. I'm voting against this guy when it comes time to impeach him."

COOPER: I mean you're talking about, you know, McCarthy. Roy Cohn was whispering in McCarthy's ear, you know, he was his sort of--

SCARAMUCCI: I told you that. If Roy - if Roy--

COOPER: --Tinkerbell and - and that's the President's attorney.

SCARAMUCCI: --if Roy Cohn and Joe McCarthy had a baby, it would be Donald Trump, and he happens to be running the country. I'm just giving the visual, if you can understand how dramatically poesy--

COOPER: I know. The visual of those two actually having a baby--

SCARAMUCCI: --and demagoguery.

COOPER: --is not really something I wanted to think about.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't know. But I mean everyone can have a baby these days. I don't know.

But I'm just telling you that this is a situation that's going to unfold - and there's more lawlessness. There will be more facts that come out that are more damning than the current facts that are out right now.

And I'm going to tell you something. We're doing a very, very good job on the ground in these swing states. Yes, some of those swing states, the President's neck-and-neck with people like Joe Biden, but I'm talking about the impeachment issue. The impeachment issue is creeping up--

COOPER: Do you think he's going to win again?

SCARAMUCCI: --on the President.

COOPER: Well do you have a - do you think--

SCARAMUCCI: Well I think - the President will win again?

COOPER: --President Trump will win again?

SCARAMUCCI: I think if he survives the impeachment, which I predict he will not survive the impeachment, I - I predict--

COOPER: Why do you say "Not survive"? You think--

SCARAMUCCI: But yes, he'll either say "I'm not running for reelection." They'll negotiate something with him to do that or he'll have to leave office due to - due to the rank lawlessness and the capitulation of the Senate.

COOPER: But that requires enough Republicans to come forward.


COOPER: More than one or two.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. It doesn't feel like that right now. But just remember, Nixon seemed safe coming into late July.

COOPER: Right.


SCARAMUCCI: Into early August, all of a sudden, tapes were out, unsafe. That would probably happen. COOPER: But at least with Nixon, you did have Republicans voting to proceed with an impeachment inquiry.

SCARAMUCCI: Different times.

COOPER: Same with - with Clinton, you had a, you know--

SCARAMUCCI: Different time, different personality, you know.

COOPER: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: And weirdly and, you know, if you read Nixon's memoirs, he had a respect for the law, and a respect for the system. He was trying to cover it up.

COOPER: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: But once it was rank found out about it, he did capitulate. The President's not going to do that, OK? So, we're going to have to get him out of there a little bit differently than the way Richard Nixon left, but he's equally lawless, if not worse.

And so - so I predict this will happen. But here's the good news, OK? We went from 43 to 49 on the polling, impeach and remove. We're on our way to 60. When we get to 65, he's done, OK?

So - so one way or another, it's going to happen. Either there will be virtuous and righteous Republicans that will come forward, and say, "OK, enough is enough. This is absolutely berserk," or we'll get him with the polling numbers.

The polling numbers are creeping up. He had a 15 percent move in the polling numbers in a month. Another 15 percent move is very good. I believe in the laws of compounding.

COOPER: Do - do - does - do - does politics go back to whatever it was before, and however broken form, or is this the new normal? I mean is this the - the future of candidates on--

SCARAMUCCI: No. It's definitely not the new normal.

COOPER: --in both parties. Is it--

SCARAMUCCI: This is the personality codes, like I said to you in the summers, like the Night King. The Night King goes out, all the zombies are going to disappear, and they're going to forget about the Night King.

So no, it doesn't go back though because the country's in a lot of pain and a lot of stress. If you look at the economic data, it's strong. The stock market's strong. But there's a disparity in the country--


SCARAMUCCI: --as it relates to wealth. And so, until we can fix that, there'll be a lot of anger and resentment in the country.

And what we need is we need transitional leadership, transformative leadership, sort of like a post-partisan Presidency, where someone comes in, doesn't care about Left or Right, but is more concerned about right or wrong, and closes the gap for Americans, OK, irrespective of special interests, and whatever their party ideologies are, they're like "OK, these are the right policies."

The bad news is those policies, they're 5- and 10-year fixes, Anderson. These guys like two-minutes fixes, you know.

COOPER: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: They like a cable news segment fix.

COOPER: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: And they don't have a cable news segment fix for the problem that the country is in right now. So, you're going to have to start telling the American people that truth as well.

COOPER: Anthony Scaramucci, appreciate it.

SCARAMUCCI: You - you like the analogy with - I mean, did you almost vomit in your mouth a little? A little bit, right? A little bit, yes.

COOPER: It's good to have you.

SCARAMUCCI: All right, good to see you.

COOPER: Just ahead, two veterans to President Clinton's Impeachment War Room, back with us tonight. We'll talk about how the President might react to what will be a rolling wave of testimony, as the week goes on, published testimony at least.

Later, new reporting on Attorney General Barr's role, this is fascinating, traveling the globe, asking foreign governments to help him investigate the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the Russia investigation. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Today's impeachment testimony paints the picture of a President and his associates deeply interested in all things Ukraine, just not the kind of things that actually serve the stated purpose of U.S. foreign policy there.

For Rudy Giuliani, the country seemed to exist as some sort of personal ATM with some conspiracy theories thrown in for his client, just for good measure. The question is how does his client, the President, see Ukraine?

Joining us now are two journalists who have just each done a great reporting on this, Mark Mazzetti, Washington Investigative Correspondent with The New York Times, and Washington Post White House Reporter, Josh Dawsey, who's also a CNN Political Analyst. Josh, I mean, President Trump's distaste for Ukraine is nothing new.

According to reporting, it goes--


COOPER: --far, far back.

DAWSEY: Right. Well back in 2017, the - the President was very skeptical of giving Ukraine aid that many in the State Department wanted him to give, and he kept saying that everyone was telling him to oppose this aid, even though most of his top advisors in the foreign policy framework (ph) were saying to give the aid, and it was quite confusing.

Every time he was hearing from Rudy Giuliani, which has continued over several years, and he believed that Ukraine was essentially a thicket of officials who wanted to bring him down, who were Hillary Clinton supporters, and who he also feared that if he helped Ukraine, it would further aggravate Vladimir Putin, and he didn't see it as worth it.

And our reporting indicated that even though there was vigorous and repeated entreaties from the Ukrainians to try and build a better relationship, the President's vitriol towards Ukraine never really abated.

COOPER: Yes, Mark, I just read. You just have a fascinating report about the Ukrainian President's predecessor, the guy who was the President in Ukraine before Zelensky, who essentially laid the groundwork for a quid pro quo kind of relationship with President Trump.

Can you - can you explain what you found out because it's really interesting?

MARK MAZZETTI, WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. We kind of looked at it from the other side, from the Ukrainian side. And what happens is effectively the Ukrainian government in 2016 kind of bet on the wrong horse. They bet on Hillary Clinton.

They - Petro Poroshenko, the President, met with Hillary Clinton before the election. And, of course, President Trump wins, and the Ukrainian government is incredibly concerned that effectively the new President, President Trump will cut them off.

And, of course, they're particularly worried about this war that they're fighting with Russian-backed separatists, and that, as Josh said, the aid might get cut off.

So, there was this intense campaign that is undertaken to try to win Trump over, and that includes flattery. It includes politically expedient trade deals, like buying coal from Western Pennsylvania, which might help Trump in - for his reelection.

It - it involves kind of embracing Rudy Giuliani, all in aid of trying to get this - this military weaponry, particularly anti-tank missiles that they hope that the President will sell to them.

So it's, as you said, kind of laying the groundwork for this very transactional relationship that Trump then brings to the next President Zelensky, which has gotten Trump into the impeachment inquiry now.

COOPER: And Josh, I mean the President also went so far as to suggest that Ukraine wasn't even a "Real country."

DAWSEY: Right.

COOPER: In what context did he say that?


DAWSEY: Well he was being briefed by Kurt Volker and many others who were looking for a more supportive relationship with the United States and Ukraine.

And the President would continually tell his advisors he did not understand the importance of having a good relationship with Ukraine that he didn't want to frustrate Vladimir Putin that he thought they were out to get him, as I said earlier.

And he said, "Are these even real people? Who are these people?" He had been told they were corrupt. He was told that, you know, the Ukrainians were out to get him. And he essentially said, "What is the point? Why should we even do this?"

COOPER: Mark, Ukraine also was trying to cultivate its relationship with the President through cooperation or lack of cooperation on aspects of the Mueller investigation.

MAZZETTI: That's right. So, if you recall that as the Mueller investigation is going on, there are several parallel cases in Ukraine, relating to the President's former Campaign Chair, Paul Manafort, who of course did work in Ukraine. And there was concern in the Trump White House that these Ukrainian cases might escalate, and create more problems for the President.

What's interesting that happens is President Poroshenko, and his advisors, effectively freeze these cases that were particularly - were potentially damaging to Trump. Now, we don't know - we don't have evidence that they were frozen at the request of President Trump or Rudy Giuliani.

But it's very interesting that as this campaign is going on, to flatter and win Trump over, there is this order to effectively freeze these criminal cases that might hurt the President, and of course, the sale of Javelin missiles gets approved at the end of 2017.

COOPER: They also in--

MAZZETTI: So - yes.

COOPER: They also, according to your reporting, and correct me if I'm wrong here, they - they let - it was Konstantin Kilimnik go back to Russia and not be available for Mueller's, that right?

MAZZETTI: Right. So, Konstantin Kilimnik, who was a suspected so - suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence, worked with Paul Manafort, was indicted in the Russian investigation, the Mueller investigation, he very mysteriously leaves Ukraine, is now living in Russia, the question is how and why was he let go?

So, this is possibly one other thing that the Poroshenko government allowed to happen, possibly--

DAWSEY: Right.

MAZZETTI: --to help Trump.

COOPER: Yes. Mark Mazzetti, Josh Dawsey, both of you fascinating reporting, thank you so much.

MAZZETTI: Thank you.


COOPER: As Pamela Brown told us at the top, the President has - had a lot to say about the whistleblower, less to say about today's testimony, and practically nothing about the substance of it all, not a coincidence probably.

What - I'll talk to Clinton War Room insiders, Paul Begala, and Joe Lockhart, for their perspective when we come back.



COOPER: With deposition transcripts coming out, and public impeachment hearings ahead, the President certainly will have plenty to react to in the weeks to come. His Press Secretary calls him his own War Room on impeachment. Question is, is that a good idea?

Joining us is Democratic Strategist, Paul Begala, and former Clinton White House Press Secretary, Joe Lockhart, both veterans of the Clinton War Room.

We haven't really heard the President, you know, he was sort of throwing out, it seems like there is this spaghetti approach, just throwing out as much stuff as possible, see what sticks, and then - then ride that horse to mix metaphors. But--


COOPER: Yes, exactly, perfect.

He - he today is not saying that the transcripts have been faked because that - I mean it seems like that's a one-day thing you can say because there's plenty of Republicans who were there who would point out and - and witnesses will point out "That's not what I said." BEGALA: It so - yes, not even a one-day argument. It's a one news cycle, one tweet. And - and it's - it's not - it's no way to - to win this thing.

He may win it because we're just irredeemably partisan now, and that - that there's no - the - the Shooter Man on Fifth Avenue prediction turns out to be right. That's sort of where I am. I'm not as optimistic as Anthony Scaramucci about the Senate ultimately finding him guilty, should they come to a trial.

COOPER: Yes. I was surprised that Scaramucci seemed so convinced on that.

BEGALA: Yes. I just I think the partisanship is so - so baked in. And look, frankly, it probably was in the Clinton days too.

COOPER: Although in Clinton, you did have--

BEGALA: Right.

COOPER: --some Democrats.

BEGALA: 31 voted for the inquiry.

COOPER: Right.

BEGALA: But only five or six voted to impeach.

COOPER: Right.

BEGALA: So, they actually had an open mind. They thought let's look at the facts. And, you know, 25 of those 31 said, "It doesn't merit impeachment." They - they actually were on the level.

COOPER: The - the revelation show, I mean, from these transcripts, they're only going to keep coming, at least for the next couple of days. And then, of course, the question is, does Bolton testify on Thursday? And, if so, what, you know, what game is he playing or, you know, what - what is he talking.


And I think the Democrats will release these in a, you know, in a storytelling way, where they'll build up, and the last couple will probably be, you know, Taylor, and Vindman, and, you know, that which really underlines the criminality of what Trump was up to.

You know, whether Bolton testifies or not, you know, I don't think - I don't think he will, because I don't think they'll wait for it. You know, it's - the - the politics are different now than in '98.

In '98, 30-some Democrats voted for this because they thought it was in their interest to show their constituents. That - there isn't a Republican right now who is independent of Donald Trump.

The only people who will speak out on Donald Trump are people who are retiring. And that's--

COOPER: Well Mitt Romney who has, you know--

LOCKHART: Yes. Who's - who's--

COOPER: --tantamount--

LOCKHART: Yes. But - but he's got a stranglehold on them. And I - and they're intimidated by Trump because he has taken a few of them down, and that's different, I think, than '98.

BEGALA: Yes. But and a lot of Republicans representing districts that have a strong military component. I was listening to your interview with Valerie Plame, and she talked about how security is being hollowed out here.


The testimony today that we - was released today, by Ambassador Yovanovitch, talking about how the State Department's been hollowed out that - they need to worry politically.

Tomorrow's Election Day in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Virginia, where I now live, and I've talked to folks running these campaigns. In Virginia Beach, Newport News, which is all Navy--


BEGALA: --deeply patriotic folks, people running those campaigns are telling me, Trump's favorables are dropping there a lot.

I wonder if it's because they understand better than we civilians do how national security could be compromised in this. And it's just - it's just a theory. We'll see with - they have the elections due tomorrow.

But - but they do have to worry, and the Democrats should do their job of saying, "This is how it affects you." It's not just people we've never heard of--


BEGALA: --arguing about places we've never been. This is your security.

And friends of mine have kids in the military, right? We - we - we need to make sure - the Democrats need to make sure that the country understands that our security is being played with here, allegedly, in this case.

COOPER: In the Clinton White House, The - The New York Times, you know, wrote recently that - that aides to the President - to President Clinton, you know, kind of studied Watergate, and studied Nixon to see how, what went wrong, and what, you know, what went right in that, and that one of the less takeaways was that Nixon talked about what was going on constantly. LOCKHART: Right.

COOPER: And that the lesson was "Send the message to the American people that the President is conducting business for them. This is not hobbling the President."


COOPER: And that seems the complete opposite with - with Stephanie Grisham, saying the President is his own War Room?

LOCKHART: Yes. I mean the - the strategy was very straightforward, which is the President doesn't talk about it. And Paul will know he did privately. He - he engaged us as in conversation occasionally.


LOCKHART: On this subject. But he was going to focus on - on the people's business, and he did. I mean he actually did focus on. We got a lot of stuff done during that period.

There are a couple fundamental differences though. And as I've been thinking about this, I think the President's ability to speak on Twitter, and on Fox, without a filter, is something that we didn't have that if they've Bill Clinton--

BEGALA: Thank God.

LOCKHART: --if - yes. Yes, if Bill Clinton wanted to go out and talk every day, he'd have to go through the media filter, and it wouldn't have been pretty.

Trump has these tools, has these platforms that weren't - didn't exist in 1998 or in the form they exist now. And, you know, if he survives this, I think in large part, it'll be because of that, and Roger Ailes will be right, which as he said, "I started Fox News because Nixon would have survived with a Republican ally."

COOPER: A Republican--

BEGALA: I think it's a great point.


BEGALA: I think the most important thing though he needs is an agenda that people like. That's what saved Bill Clinton. And I went back and looked.

During the 1998, the - the year of the Starr scandal, President Clinton doubled funding for Head Start, he passed the child care initiative, a middle-school initiative, a Workforce Investment Act, Child Support, Nursing Home standards, class size, the Wye River Accord - Accords, helping to advance peace in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians, the Good Friday Accords, bringing peace to Northern Ireland, the Kyoto Accord on global climate change, and Operation Desert Fox, where he had to bomb Saddam Hussein. All that happened - by the way, Mr. Trump has a Republican Senate. President Clinton didn't have either, a House or a Senate. He got all of that done, and it made life better for folks. So they - I think they were more forgiving of his personal transgressions.

COOPER: Paul Begala, Joe Lockhart, thanks, fascinating.

Up next, Bill Barr's globe-trotting mission, linked to the Russia probe, America's top prosecutor appears to be trying to rewrite the history of it, why American allies may be clinching their teeth. Be right back.



COOPER: Attorney General William Barr is traveling the world to learn if Russia's meddling in our election really happened. But the world apparently isn't offering much in return that discredits U.S. Intelligence agencies, at least so far, the Senate Intelligence Committee or Robert Mueller for that matter.

From London, Nic Robertson shows us how Barr's domestic probe is creating some irritation among some of our most important global partners.




BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: No, I'm looking - I'm looking - I'm looking - you said--

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Behind the smiles, there's tension in the special relationship. President Trump wants Boris Johnson to investigate his political opponents, figure out if Mueller and others tried to smear him.

A day after his controversial call with the Ukrainian President in July, and just two days after Johnson became Prime Minister, Trump called him. Now parliament wants details.

BEN BRADSHAW, LABOUR MP: Did the Prime Minister, as today's "Times" reports, receive a request from President Trump for help in trying to discredit the Mueller report?

DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The Prime Minister's not going to comment on the discussions with President Trump. They're held in private. But I can - I can give him the assurance that, of course, neither the Prime Minister or as then was the Foreign Secretary, nor any Member of this government would collude in the way that he's described. ROBERTSON (ON-CAMERA): Both the White House and Downing Street published brief notes on that conversation. Neither made any mention of the investigation that Trump is demanding.

ROBERTSON (VOICE OVER): Days after the Trump/Johnson call, Attorney General William Barr was in London for a meeting on Intelligence cooperation and moving Trump's investigation forward.

Veteran U.K. Diplomatic Journalist, Kim Sengupta, says his British sources were shocked at the requests coming from Washington.

KIM SENGUPTA, DEFENCE & SECURITY EDITOR, THE INDEPENDENT: The way that it began to emerge in their eyes was that this was the U.S. government asking for information, not about the Russians, not about the Chinese, not even about the French. You know, it's about their own Intelligence Services.

ROBERTSON: Barr has also been to Australia, and Italy, in what is now a criminal investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia investigation, and intelligence it used from overseas. The Italians had nothing to offer Barr.

On his agenda, likely, the role of this Maltese academic, Joseph Mifsud, who vanished two years ago. Mifsud told acquaintances that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. One of those acquaintances, George Papadopoulos, relayed Mifsud's claim to an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, in London.

Sengupta's sources understand the London focus, but worry about the implications.


SENGUPTA: The apprehension, the impression I got, was apprehension is that they may get drawn into all - they are getting drawn into internal American politics.

ROBERTSON: President Trump's obsession with discrediting Mueller could cost America the trust of its allies.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


COOPER: Want to bring in our Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

The - what the - the gentleman in there in that piece said that that essentially what Barr's looking for is really not information about the Russians, or about hacking, or about the Chinese, but about the United States.


COOPER: The - the Intelligence Services of the United State. TOOBIN: Right. The - Barr has ordered an investigation of the origin of the Mueller investigation, and the - and the whole Russia investigation, Russians' connection to the 2016 election.

There have been many investigations to this, and they have all pointed to the same set of origins that - that - that Alexander Downer, a Australian diplomat went to an American - and went to the U.S. Intelligence Services, and said, "George Papadopoulos, a campaign aide, has inside inform - had inside information that this hacking was going on." That's what has been the origin from the very beginning.

There have been these other conspiracy theories, always refuted, refuted by the Intelligence Committees, even the Republican Intelligence - Republican House Intelligence Committees that there was some other origin, that the Steele dossier had something to do with it.

This appears to be, you know, this incredible investment of U.S. government resources in proving a conspiracy theory that's already been discredited.

COOPER: It's also remarkable that the Attorney General of the United States, with all the things that you would think are - would take priority, he's actually traveling around the world, to our allies, to - to Australia, to Italy, to - to London, seeking out, you know, looking for raw intelligence on - on - to prove this - this theory.

TOOBIN: Because he's pleasing his boss. You know, this--

COOPER: That's what it's all about.

TOOBIN: That's entirely what this is all about. This, I mean, the - the same obsession with finding out dirt on his political enemies that we're seeing - we saw in Ukraine is going on here in a slightly updated version.

Now, there's no quid pro quo. It's - there's we're not giving aid to the - to the British in return for this dirt.

COOPER: You - you're saying - I mean this all stems from the President's belief that this whole Russia idea, which he doesn't really buy into, or at least publicly doesn't buy into it, because he feels it takes away from his legitimate election victory, that that's what really is motivating all of this.

TOOBIN: That - that's exactly right. It's - it's - it discredit - he feels that the Russia investigation discredits what he accomplished in 2016.

He also thinks that raising this issue, raising the specter of some sort of improper conduct on the part of the Intelligence Agencies will help him in 2020 too. So - so it has a double advantage for him if he can keep this story percolating.

COOPER: And I mean this is a criminal investigation. There's an attorney in Connecticut who is in charge of. Why is Barr personally going around and would--

TOOBIN: Well the - he is the Head of the Justice Department. And the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, Durham is - is - is his subordinate. But, you know, the - the U.S. attorneys do a lot of investigations, and they don't have the United States Attorney General traveling around the world for their benefit.

COOPER: With some - yes.

TOOBIN: So the - the - the fixation that Barr is - is showing and the priority that he's assigning to it seems wildly disproportionate, unless you recognize that his boss, the President of the United States, is obsessed with this theory, even though there's no evidence to support it.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, thanks very much. We have more news ahead on this busy Monday. A year out from the - the 2020 election, new polling today shows that President Trump's staying fairly competitive in several battleground states.

Coming up, what voters think in one of those states, Wisconsin.



COOPER: There's new polling that shows President Trump in a relatively competitive position in several battleground states that were key to his victory in 2016.

In Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, according to The New York Times, Siena College - The New York Times/Siena College poll, he's either even with Joe Biden or not behind by very much.

But the President is ahead of Senator Elizabeth Warren in Michigan by 6 points, and even with her in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

President's also behind the former Vice President in Florida and Arizona, but ahead, according to the poll, in North Carolina.

Wisconsin, of course, is one of those all-important states, won barely by President Trump in 2016. CNN's Kyung Lah traveled there to try to gauge voter reaction as the impeachment inquiry ramps up.


SARAH GODLEWSKI, WISCONSIN STATE TREASURER: Let's do this Wisconsin. Let's turn it through (ph).


GODLEWSKI: And we've got a year from now to do that.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The 2020 battle for Wisconsin starts now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, good morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll get you a clipboard and simile.

LAH (VOICE OVER): Democratic foot soldiers fanning out across the Badger State.

LAH (ON CAMERA): Are people talking about impeachment here?

GODLEWSKI: It's not what you're hearing at the coffee shops. It's not what I'm hearing when I'm at the hardware store.

LAH: A year from Election Day, this is a door-to-door mission, find out what matters most to voters here.

TREVOR JUNG, WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT: My name is Trevor. So, what's important to you in this election?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jobs and environment, especially.

LAH: Do you feel that it is a house-to-house battle?

JUNG: It is, completely. You know, here you have a community that is in a county that voted for President Obama and also Donald Trump.

LAH (VOICE OVER): Racine, a swing county in a critical swing state. President Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes. We meet Democrat Bruce Dunn.

LAH (ON CAMERA): How long did you work for Chrysler?

BRUCE DUNN, WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT: 36 years and two weeks. There's not too many jobs like that now.


LAH (VOICE OVER): He's lived Racine's ups and downs. During Trump's term, he's seen some jobs come back. Dunn cares most about the economy and healthcare.

LAH (ON CAMERA): What about impeachment? You didn't - you didn't mention impeachment.

DUNN: Well I kind of - I kind of don't like the impeachment. You know, the people that's on this side, I don't think they're going to jump ship because of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely ridiculous.

LAH: Unlike the Democrats, Wisconsin Republicans are talking about impeachment. This Racine Packers and Politics Party is one of the 150 GOP events in Wisconsin just this week.

KEN BROWN, WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN: These Republican people are very enthused. LAH: Is impeachment then helping you or helping the Democrats?

K. BROWN: I think it's definitely helping the Republican Party right now, as I say, "Go for it. Go - bring it on."

SALLY FRANCIS, WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN: We're just digging in our heels deeper to fight what they're going to do, and we will do it by voting.

ALICIA HALVENSLEBEN, WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT: Hi, my name is Alicia. I'm with the Waukesha County Democratic Party.

LAH: But driving Democrats, the bitter sting of 2016, and the determination to not have it happen again.

HALVENSLEBEN: If I can convince at least one, maybe two, every time I talk, and I take a packet out, that's going to sway an election.

LAH: We're talking and it's snowing out.

HALVENSLEBEN: I'm going to keep doing it through the snow. I've done it through worse. We're a swing state. We've been a swing state. But we can swing back.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Racine, Wisconsin.


COOPER: Let's get some perspective now from Van Jones, former Special Adviser to President Obama, and Jess McIntosh, a - a former Communications Director for Hillary Clinton, both CNN Political Commentators.

Van, is there any surprise for you in these numbers in battleground states?

VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. You know, I think that those national numbers have been looking so good. You know, everybody sees the national numbers, they're like every single Democrat beats--

COOPER: I don't know why anyone pays attention to national numbers.

JONES: I don't know. But they feel so good, you know. Every single Democrat--


JONES: --beats Trump by 30 points, and he's like - and then you look at the battleground states, where we got beat last time, it's like only Biden beats him.

And I do think that you're going to have - you know, we've see this incredible - we have two extraordinary progressive candidates, Bernie and Elizabeth Warren. And - and the enthusiasm's there.

But I think people are going to start to think about what does the country really want? Does the country want peace and normalcy? Or does the - do we want a more of a, I guess, a countered disruption? That's the big question right now.

Is it time to heal from the wounds of the Trump-era? Or is it time to try to fix the system that led to the Trump-era? And I think this party is still working that out.

COOPER: Jess, I mean there certainly seems to be a lot of folks on the Republican side who are energized by - and outraged by the impeachment battle.


And I - I think that, you know, the - the - the candidates are more or less within a margin of error in terms of who beats Trump by one or loses by two. But this should be a really chilling poll for Democrats everywhere. Trump can win this election.


MCINTOSH: I think it's really easy while we're sitting here, in impeachment, looking at the national polls, seeing the incredible turnout of 2017 and 2018, to think that we've got this. But Trump can absolutely win this.

COOPER: It's - it's where - just, you know, in conversations with people in the airports, and wherever I go, you know, I say that all the time like he - he very well might win again, and people - a lot of like Democrats, I don't know if they're living in a bubble, or if they're just delusional--

MCINTOSH: We have to remember.

COOPER: --but they seem shocked by that.

MCINTOSH: We have to remember that we don't just have to win the Electoral College this time.

We have to win despite the racist policies that unfairly suppress a lot of our base, and despite whatever foreign help he's going to solicit during - we - we have a deck that is stacked against us, as Democrats largely, and we have to overcome that with more people.

COOPER: And there's still the debate about, I mean as you point out, centrist--


COOPER: --centrist policies is - is taking away--


COOPER: --it is Medicare-for-All or, you know, fix Obamacare or whatever be they-- JONES: I think for the progressive wing of the party, we just don't want to lose the same way twice. That's the thing.

It's like, "Put up the moderate that can get it done. Don't go with the Bernie's. That's too crazy." It's like if we win - it's like Lucy in the football. If we win this - if we lose the same way twice, we go "Oh, we hate the world and ourselves."

But, on the other hand, these numbers are very, very chilling. I mean, and the reality is, if nothing else, I think, progressives have to be honest, and say, "Look, this is going to be an uphill climb for an Elizabeth Warren or for Bernie Sanders, especially in the - in the battleground states. And if - if we're going to sign up for that, it's going to take a lot more work. It's not going to be inevitable."

COOPER: Well also just - you just look at fundraising, I mean the - the campaign - Trump campaign has been doing great.

MCINTOSH: Oh, yes, obviously, and we're being outspent massively on online right now, and have been for many, many months.


MCINTOSH: We are just starting to catch up to that.

JONES: Which also explains - some of the numbers are, the Trump Organization is doing a really effective job of advertising right now in to those - and while we're fighting each other over, you know, how much opening the Border should we do, and - and - and who's health insurance policy should trump who's, the other side is just relentlessly defending the President online, and elsewhere, in those battleground states.

COOPER: So, who - what's the next step? What should Democrats do?


MCINTOSH: You know, I - I don't actually see this as - as much of a narrative that feeds into the progressive versus moderate conversation that we're having.

I don't think that the solution is winning over Trump voters from 2016. Only 26 percent of the country voted for him in the first place. And Hillary Clinton got 3 million more of the votes that were actually cast.

I think, at this point, what we want to do, the smart strategy, is on building on the success that we saw in 2017 and 2018 with dramatic expansion of the electorate. The margin in Wisconsin that she lost by was smaller than the number of Black voters we now know were unfairly disenfranchised. That should be a focus.

COOPER: Jess McIntosh, appreciate it, Van Jones, always.

At the end of another day for the history books, the President has just spoken out, if you can call it that. We'll show you, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: With all that's going on in the world, with all the heavy stuff we've been talking out, nice to know that some things never change, like President Trump's Twitter machine being laser-focused on the important business of the country.

So, we end our program with his latest tweet, from just within this hour. "Vote for Sean Spicer on Dancing with the Stars. He is a great and very loyal guy who is working very hard! #MAGA"

What more can you say!

The news continues. Let's turn things over to Don Lemon and CNN TONIGHT.