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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President Trump Says He'd Invoke Executive Privilege To Block Bolton Testimony At Senate Impeachment Trial; President Trump Now Claims Soleimani Targeted Four U.S. Embassies, Without Evidence Or Explanation Of "Imminent" Threat; Duke And Duchess Of Sussex "Stepping Back" From Official Duties; Interview with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 10, 2020 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Chris Cuomo is off tonight.

Topping this special late edition of 360, we have breaking news on the former National Security Advisor who's yet to tell his story in the impeachment saga and could have quite a story to tell if he's willing.

But now, President Trump has just said he will take steps to block John Bolton from testifying at the Senate impeachment trial, which could begin sometime next week. He made the statement to Laura Ingraham for an interview airing tonight.

She asked "Why not call Bolton? Why not allow him to testify? This thing is bogus. Why not allow Bolton to testify?"

The President replies, "No problem, other than one thing. You can't be in the White House as President, future, I'm talking about future - any future Presidents, and have a security advisor, anybody having to do with security, and legal, and other things, but especially," then Ingraham interrupts saying, "Are you going to invoke Executive privilege?" to which the President says "Well, I think you have to for the sake of the office."

More now on what it could mean, and how it could play out, want to go to CNN's Phil Mattingly, at the Capitol.

So, the President intending to invoke Executive privilege, or he says he does, if he does, that's obviously a big deal. Could it change the Speaker's thinking in sending over the articles of impeachment?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Anderson, I'm told, at least at this moment, there are no plans to shift the strategy to send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate next week.

But this really does underscore kind of the reality that the Speaker and House Democrats have been facing now for weeks. There is little, if anything, they can do to control the next steps of this process. It's part of the reason the Speaker chose to withhold the articles for

the past three weeks, hoping that with a combination of political pressure, public pressure, that she could try and shape this Senate trial.

Up to this point, that hasn't worked. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has not moved one inch, at least in terms of how the initial stages of the trial are going to work.

There is some hope that the political pressure will help peel off Republicans at some point during the trial.

But the baseline for this next step, for this next stage is Republicans control the United States Senate. And if Republicans stick together, they will dictate how this trial goes. And the same with whatever the President's legal team decides.

Right now, it's more up to public and political pressure than it is anything that the Speaker or House Democrats can do, Anderson.

COOPER: What's Senate Leader Mitch McConnell saying?

MATTINGLY: Yes. I - I spoke to the Senate Majority Leader as he walked out of the Capitol earlier today, and he had two words, unsolicited, as he walked by me, and those were "At last."

And I think what you've seen from the Majority Leader, and what I'm told has been going on behind the scenes, over the course of the last several weeks, is a need to move this forward. They want to move this quickly. They want to move to acquit the President as quickly as possible.

And there's been a significant frustration inside the Republican Conference over on the Senate side, and certainly in the Majority Leader's office that the Speaker has taken this tack.

Now, it's worth noting, he didn't move an inch on the scope of the trial. He didn't move an inch on even releasing the initial rules of the trial that he has drafted that the Speaker requested.

But it's also worth noting that he doesn't necessarily have control over everything when this gets to the United States Senate. Anderson, the number to keep in mind is 51. With 51 Senators, whichever way they go, you can dictate how the next stage of this trial goes.

Now, McConnell controls 53 seats in the Republican Party. But if he loses four of those Senators towards the Democratic side, then Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, all of a sudden has a lot of control.

So, there are a lot of steps to go here, and not everything is in the - the control or power of McConnell.

COOPER: So, how soon could a Senate trial actually start?

MATTINGLY: Yes, despite the impasse and the waiting, seemingly forever, over the course of the last couple of weeks, this will move quickly once the articles are sent over.

The House will vote, we expect, on Wednesday, certainly by midweek to send the articles of impeachment over to the United States Senate.

The Managers that Speaker Pelosi appoints will physically walk them in the hallway behind me, across to the Senate chamber, hand them over. And by 1:00 P.M., the next day, Anderson, the trial kicks off.

Now, the start of the trial, for at least the first couple days, is going to be largely procedural. There'd be swearing-in the Chief Justice, be swearing-in the Senators themselves.

We expect, in a number of days, those opening arguments from the House Managers, to prosecute the case, from the White House defense team, to defend the President, will kick into gear. This is going to move quickly. No question about it, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.

Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono will be one of the Impeachment Jurors. She also sits on the Judiciary Committee. I spoke to her just before airtime.

[21:05:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Senator, what's your reaction to the President saying he'll invoke Executive privilege to block John Bolton from testifying in the impeachment trial?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Oh, this is part of the President's ongoing desire to stonewall that - first, the impeachment inquiry in the House, and basically to throw out a blanket immunity position.

And there's no such - such - there's no such thing as a blanket immunity. And also, you can't invoke Executive privilege or immunity to cover up crimes.

COOPER: I mean, Executive privilege does apply between conversations between the President and - and his National Security Advisor, wouldn't it?

HIRONO: Well one would think if it has actually something to do with national security, but this has everything to do with protecting and covering up the President's crimes.

COOPER: Could Bolton still testify about conversations he had with Gordon Sondland or Mick Mulvaney without even dealing with Executive privilege?

HIRONO: I sure think so. And so, he's perfectly willing to testify should the Senate subpoena him, and that's what the Senate should do.

And so, now that the Speaker is sending the articles of impeachment, the focus is once - once again on what kind of trial will take place in the Senate, and that trial should include relevant witnesses, and relevant documents, neither of which the President is willing to produce.

And so, just as the President was trying to basically rig the election, for himself, by leaning on the President of another country to do his political dirty work, using $400 million of taxpayer money for that purpose, he's trying to rig the trial in the Senate by preventing witnesses, relevant witnesses, and information from coming forward.

COOPER: Given how things are, do you think the Senate will even try to subpoena Bolton and given what the - the President is clearly telegraphing here?

HIRONO: Well one would hope - I would hope that there would be four courageous Senators who want to have a fair trial.

And I'm hearing that perhaps Susan Collins who, during the Clinton impeachment trial, said "Yes, we should have witnesses," so apparently she's having some talks with some other Republican Senators.

But it is going to take four of them to break ranks, and go along with the Democrats, in calling for Bolton, Mulvaney, and the two other witnesses to testify, and production of the documents. I hope they do that.

COOPER: What--

HIRONO: That would be a surprise, frankly.

COOPER: We did hear - we did--

HIRONO: But a welcome one.

COOPER: We did hear obviously from Fiona Hill in - in the House, who obviously worked for - for Bolton, who spoke about his concern about the pressure in Ukraine, his calling it a - a - a "Drug deal."

HIRONO: Mm hmm.

COOPER: Given that if, I mean, if that was all Bolton was prepared to tell the Senate, I guess there's the question of why would the President then try to stop him from appearing, unless the President is concerned A, about precedent of Executive privilege, which is perhaps possible, or some - it concerns something else that Bolton knows.

HIRONO: I think you hit it on the nail. The President is very afraid of what Bolton is going to testify too.

And you have a President who thinks that he can do anything he wants, as President, including shooting somebody on Fifth Avenue. And so, he's invoking blanket Executive privilege.

I think he's very afraid of what Bolton will testify to because Bolton, I don't think, is interested in perjuring himself. COOPER: It's strange some of the other Senators have come up with interesting ideas of what the way that the Senate should operate in this trial.

I - I believe it was Marco Rubio who was saying that only - you should only go in the evidence that other witnesses had already brought up in the House. There should be no new witnesses, as if that's some sort of precedent. That's not - really not a thing. I mean it's a trial.

HIRONO: Actually--

COOPER: Witnesses can be called.

HIRONO: Actually the precedent of all of the impeachment trials that have been conducted in the Senate did have witnesses.

So, I don't know where Marco is coming up with this kind of explanation, except that he's totally supporting the President and the President's desire to cover-up and rig the Senate trial.

COOPER: Even if you know that the President can invoke Executive privilege, and would use - and there were enough Republicans on board, who were willing to subpoena Bolton, would you want Bolton subpoenaed to the Senate chamber, I mean, just to make him relay that claim in person on television, or - or would that just be a waste of time?

HIRONO: Well what I would like to see is the Senate vote to subpoena Bolton's testimony.

And then, the President is going to have to figure out a way to assert his Executive privilege, and have that stick, possibly in court, and the burden will be on the President, at that point, to show that--

COOPER: Senator--

HIRONO: --Bolton shouldn't testify and that Executive privilege applies.

COOPER: Senator Hirono, I appreciate your time, thank you.

HIRONO: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well sometimes lose sight of the fact, but this sort of thing, an impeachment trial it simply doesn't happen that often, only two other times in the country's history, and only once in the modern ever - error - era, I should say.

[21:10:00]

However, as a guest mentioned in our first hour tonight, the concept of Executive privilege, it goes way back, and so does the battle between, of course, the two - the branches of government.

Joining us now, with a long view, CNN Presidential Historian, Tim Naftali.

So, historically, in terms of history, does the President have a case here, in your mind, to evoke Executive privilege, for as he says the - the "Sake of the office?"

TIM NAFTALI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well actually it's untested, believe it or not, given the long history, it's an untested issue. The Supreme Court has never weighed in on the question of Executive privilege in impeachment enquiries.

The famous U.S. versus Nixon case, that was so important in 1974, that was about whether the President could invoke Executive privilege regarding criminal trials. The - this - we don't know what the Supreme Court would say about Executive privilege in an impeachment trial. It's untested.

COOPER: Is there any reason though to think it would be different?

Because, obviously, Presidents have invoked Executive privilege in terms of stopping, you know, National Security Advisors, or whomever, from actually testifying on other issues in front of Congress on - on specific things.

NAFTALI: Well, I mean, in this case, you'd - you'd need a lawyer. But let's just think about the issue involved. Would the Founders be supportive of the use of Presidential power to prevent Congress from assessing whether a President is a threat to the Republic?

COOPER: It's an interesting question.

NAFTALI: I think the Founders - I don't think the Founders would be at all happy that Executive privilege, something they didn't ever write out, by the way, but something they would have understood, that Executive privilege would it be - would be used as a way to stonewall in a constitutional crisis.

COOPER: Would this be like President Nixon trying to prevent John Dean from testifying? Was - was that a possibility during Watergate?

NAFTALI: Oh, it's always a possibility. Now, let's keep something in mind, if people have forgotten this, it's OK. History is hard to remember.

But Richard Nixon allowed his lieutenants to testify before the Watergate, the Senate Watergate Committee. But he expected them to lie. They perjured themselves. Now, John Dean didn't. But H. R. Haldeman, his Chief of Staff, he lied in front of the Senate.

So, we all think about Richard Nixon having sort of cooperated. But he cooperated with the understanding that his lieutenants would not tell the truth about the cover-up because they were implicated.

COOPER: Didn't--

NAFTALI: So - go ahead. COOPER: Sorry. Sorry to interrupt. But I - I was just thinking about what you said before. Didn't George Washington say something about documents, about Congress not being able to look at some diplomatic cables, except if, of course, it was an impeachment?

NAFTALI: Yes. There was a - there was an issue involving the Jay Treaty. It was a treaty with Great Britain.

The House, which was controlled by Jeffersonian Democrats didn't like it. They didn't want to actually implement it. But - and then - so, they requested from President Washington the diplomatic record of the negotiations with the British.

George Washington wrote, in response, "You can't have them. You can't have them because, in our Constitution, the Senate is responsible for advising and giving consent on diplomatic issues, not the House."

"However," he wrote, "My answer would be different if this were an impeachment inquiry," thus giving the impression that the Founding Fathers understood that the House could ask about anything in an impeachment inquiry.

COOPER: It's great to have an Historian you can call up, who actually knows stuff. Tim Naftali, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I love history. Thank you.

NAFTALI: Thanks, you too, thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Just ahead, our political team looks at some potentially big trends playing in - out in the Iowa Democratic prudential - Presidential race and at the center of one big storyline, Senator Bernie Sanders.

Also tonight, the enormous loss being felt in Canada's Iranian community have, all across Canada, frankly, after the downing of that airliner in Tehran, so many Canadian citizens were killed, Iranians, and others, Ukrainians. That, and more, when we continue.

[21:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: President Trump is escalating his claims about how many attacks the killing of Qasem Soleimani prevented.

He is not only offering - he's not offering any evidence to, I should say, to back it up, nor have lawmakers gotten any such evidence in their closed-door briefings, according to a Democratic Senator, who just joined us in the first hour.

He is now saying that killing Soleimani who, we should always point out, had plenty of blood on his hands, was a thug, and a killer, averted attacks on four U.S. embassies. That's the President's newest claim.

Meantime, Secretary of State, Pompeo, continues to say that attacks were imminent without ever really explaining how they were imminent.

For more now on all of it, I want to go to CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.

So, you asked Secretary Pompeo what his definition of imminent was today because earlier he had said he didn't know when the attacks would take place or where.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And the question is how do you know if something is imminent, if you don't know when it's going to happen?

Today, he said that his definition of that word just means that it was going to happen. But, of course, the big question on is when is it going to happen?

And that raises questions about why weren't lawmakers briefed? You've heard the President say they didn't have time to call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and give her a heads-up that this was going to happen.

And that's why it's raised so many questions, but precisely, Anderson, for Pompeo, who was the first person out of the administration, after this strike, to describe the threat as imminent.

And, in recent days, we've heard from Pentagon officials who say that they do not think that's a word he should have been using to describe this attack.

COOPER: And, to some people, it may seem like kind of nitpicking by reporters to be, you know, pressing on this. But the use of the word "Imminent" is important for - for legal reasons to justify, basically an - an assassination strike killing a General from - from another--

COLLINS: Exactly.

COOPER: --from another country.

And it also is not to imply that - I mean, Soleimani, his whole raison d'etre, his whole MO, I mean, his portfolio was planning attacks, planning actions, that are not inter - you know, attacks on U.S. Forces when there were - when we were in Iraq, attacks, wherever possible.

[21:20:00]

So, it's not out of the realm of, you know, it's probably very likely he was planning some sort of attacks, at some point, on somewhere. The question, of course, were they imminent that required this strike then, which is what they're claiming.

COLLINS: Exactly. And that's the question is, you know, when is this going to happen, how imminent was this, why did you strike this night, those are the questions leading up to it.

Of course, Congress is a co-equal branch of government. That's why they've demanded to know that. And you've seen the administration really been reluctant to provide any of those details.

So, when you see the President start to be the one who releases details like saying it was not just one embassy that was targeted, but multiple, and now, today, he's saying four, though declining to say which other three were targeted, he believes, in addition to Baghdad, something he's already said, those are the questions being raised.

And that's why you're seeing lawmakers say we didn't find out any of that during our briefings. And so, if that was the threat, if it was so imminent, why wouldn't you have told us about it.

And Anderson, the other question we've had tonight that we have not gotten an answer to is "Were these embassies warned" because you think if there was an imminent threat on a U.S. embassy overseas that they would get a heads-up about that.

But, so far, the administration has not answered our questions about that.

COOPER: Right. And also, was it four U.S. embassies or other countries' embassies? And if it's other countries', were those countries informed that there really was a threat?

The - the - the - the heart of this problem, of course, is this is a President who has routinely lied or just made stuff up. And a lot of it is meaningless, and just weird that he lies about obviously this has real consequences. And now, there's reason to - to distrust what - what he says.

Kaitlan Collins, appreciate your reporting today on that with Pompeo.

More now, on the larger questions, including what the episode says about how the President conducts foreign policy, Fareed Zakaria, Host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, and author of a compelling new piece, an op-ed in The Washington Post.

Fareed, you wrote in this piece, for The Post, "Trump does not have a foreign policy. He has a series of impulses," can you explain what - what you mean by that?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Well if you look at his policy toward the Middle East, at one level he has kept saying he wants to get out. He keeps talking about how he thinks it's quicksand, it's been madness, to get involved, and that's why he wanted to withdraw Forces from Syria.

But then, last week, he gets us deeply involved in the Middle East, in a very complicated and dynamic, you know, game with Iran. Even while he was withdraw - withdrawing troops from Syria, he was sending 3,000 more troops into Saudi Arabia.

And so, if you look at all these contradictory impulses, you have to ask yourself, what is the strategy here? And what I've come to realize is Trump doesn't think that way. He doesn't have a strategy. He has a series of impulses. He likes, you know, he - he's basically an isolationist, at some level. But he's also a kind of bellicose unilateralist. In other words, he wants to do things his way, and he doesn't like it if somebody disrespects him.

So, spasmodically, he will act in ways that are emotional, impulsive, and therefore, completely inconsistent, often one with the other.

And it makes for a very incoherent foreign policy, which is why it's - it's - it's sad, but sometimes, slightly comical to watch some of his loyal henchmen support, you know, support him in this kind of almost North Korean style of enthusiasm, except that they are supporting something that was the opposite of what they supported three days ago.

COOPER: You know, normally in - in administrations, Republican or Democrat - Democratic, you - you have a sense that even if the President is not talking about it, on any given day, there is foreign policy being negotiated, or talked about, or executed, in some realm.

But with this President, and this White House, it feels like the President lurches from, you know, public big - you know, public event. He wants to publicly meet with Putin, he wants to publicly meet with - with Kim Jong-un. He's focusing on that.

And then, I don't know why - I mean you don't hear much about U.S. policy to North Korea, or negotiations, or discussions that are actually ongoing or - and being carried on by the levers of - of government, and because in many of these departments you don't actually have Secretaries. You have Acting Secretaries.

ZAKARIA: It's a very good point. You - you know, part of what Trump seems to dislike is the machinery of the American government that works slowly, involves consultation with allies, tries to line all departments up in the same direction and, you know, moves in with - with a certain kind of speed and deliberation, but also in a way that kind of includes everybody, makes sure where everyone is on the same page, that's not the kind of foreign policy Trump likes.

And, most importantly, he doesn't like it because it doesn't involve him. So, that is typically the way in which you build toward a summit. That is the way you build toward negotiations with the Chinese.

What Trump wants instead is to have chocolate cake in Mara - at Mar-a- Lago with Xi Jinping, and say, "I have come up with the most wonderful deal. And, you know, this is going to solve everything," or go and meet Kim Jong-un, and propose a deal.

Now, none of these have worked, it's worth pointing out, you know. We have no deal with the North Koreans. We do not have the - the - the complete deal with China that was promised to us.

[21:25:00]

Of course, we have no nuclear deal, no better nuclear deal with Iran. We have a broken relationship with the allies in Europe. So, so far, what you have seen is a lot of kind of histrionics and a - and lot of theater.

But you haven't actually seen the kind of deals that come from exactly what you were saying, which is the machinery of American diplomacy of American government, patiently making sure everything is moving, everyone is on the same page, and then delivering a product.

COOPER: Right. Jared Kushner was the one allegedly working on the Middle East, and all these other issues in China, and - and Mexico, and stuff. And now, it seems that - I think it was in The Wall Street Journal, reading today, he's now focused more on the campaign.

Fareed Zakaria, thanks very much, fascinating op-ed.

ZAKARIA: That's right.

COOPER: Yes.

ZAKARIA: Thank you for - thank you for reminding me we were going to have a peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians.

COOPER: Yes.

ZAKARIA: Good luck.

COOPER: "If anybody could do it, it was going to be Jared Kushner who could do it. And if he couldn't do it, it couldn't be done," according to President Trump.

I don't know why I know that almost as a quote, word-for-word! Fareed Zakaria, thanks so much, appreciate it.

Tonight, new polling, shows why every Democrat running for President will need every vote they can get in the crucial State of Iowa. Latest number and the biggest picture with only weeks before the Caucuses, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:30:00]

COOPER: Only 24 days left until the first votes in the race for the White House. And tonight, there is no clear front-runner among the top tier Democrats in Iowa, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Joe Biden, are all competing close together.

However, the Sanders' campaign is showing signs of momentum. Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang are the only other candidates to receive at least 5 percent support.

Want to bring in CNN Political Commentator, Van Jones, and former DNC Chairman, Howard Dean.

What stands out to you, Van, in - in those numbers?

VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, the Sanders surge is unbelievable. I mean his people complain, all the time, that he doesn't get the

media attention that he deserves. They're probably right. They can complain that he's kind of written off by the establishment. They're probably right.

But he is surging. And the number - he's got more donors than anybody's ever gotten. And I think that he got written off early. I said "Geez, now we're going to do the Sanders thing again." He is a real threat for the nomination.

COOPER: It's so interesting, Governor Dean, how, you know, there was a lot of attention on Elizabeth Warren and, obviously, the Medicare-for- All issue, you know, was a - seemed to be a big stumble on how she handled that.

And Sanders who would - to Van's point, was probably written off by - by folks couple months ago, has just obviously now in - in - appears to be the front-runner though - I mean though it's close.

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. First of all, I - in fairness to the polling and all this, there's four frontrunners. There's no - there's no question that Bernie is surging right now. And the question is, are we - are we going to have one more candidate surge before we get there.

I remember this very well in my own case. I was leading with months to go. And then Kerry came up, and was ahead of me, and then had the primary been a week later, Edwards would have won - I mean the Caucus - Edwards would have won it.

So, we don't really - we do know that Bernie's got momentum for sure. We also have no idea which one of these four is going to win.

The other thing we have to keep in mind is if you don't get 15 percent in the Caucus, you don't get any delegates out of that Caucus. So, if somebody like Joe Biden is at 15, that means he's not going to place for delegates in a good number of these caucuses, and that's even true of Bernie at 20.

COOPER: And Governor Dean, what - I mean, what accounts for that? I mean do - to go back - go back to your case, you're - you're - you're in the lead. You're feeling good. You're feeling like everything's going well. And then, all of a sudden, it's not.

DEAN: Well I mean everybody's different. In my case, it was - there was a lot of stuff that hadn't been done organizationally.

And also, I was the kind of candidate that was incredibly appealing to people until they actually thought of me as standing up against George Bush. And they - you know, they liked me a lot.

But they sort of moved back towards the "Look, we got to get rid of Bush. Let's pick the safer choice." There was some of that too. But a lot of it was organization. I was just not a dis - not a very well- organized candidate. And I think Bernie is well-organized. And, in fact, actually I think all four of these candidates are well-

organized. So, I wouldn't want to bet on this race. But I'd rather be Bernie than Joe Biden right this moment.

COOPER: You know, I mean, Van, Bernie Sanders certainly has the experience of running before and the - having run an organization before.

JONES: Yes. I mean he's - he's incredibly - incredibly well-organized.

The other stuff that stands out for me if - if you had told us a year ago that Pete Buttigieg would be right up there at the top of the pack, you'd have said, "Pete, who? Well what you did? Did you just sneeze? Who are you talking about?" that Andrew Yang would outlast a Kamala Harris, would outlast Governors and Senators, you'd say "Who, Andrew what? What are you talking about?"

So, it just shows that there is a - there's - there's something happening in this Party--

DEAN: Right.

JONES: --that people are trying to find a way forward.

Bernie and Biden, really, in some ways, they're kind of where they were. They - I mean for all the ups and downs, you had Elizabeth come up and down. You've had Pete go up, he's coming down.

You got these two Steady Eddies, on the left, Bernie, the middle, Biden, and then a whole lot of flux and chaos that has made superstars out of Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang when nobody would have expected that to happen.

COOPER: Governor Dean, I mean four in 10 likely voters say that they're locked in on their choice. Did--

DEAN: Right.

COOPER: Is that about what it normally is, you think, less than a month away?

DEAN: Yes. It really is. These - these 24 days is a lifetime in Iowa politics.

JONES: That's for sure.

DEAN: Look, these people see - not only do these folks see these candidates upfront five or six times, and shake their hands more than one time, they don't have to make up their mind. And they actually - a lot of them make up their mind at caucuses.

JONES: The night of.

DEAN: And then, if you don't get 15 percent, there's a whole lot of horse-trading that goes on. So, we don't know what's going to happen.

JONES: And that's why--

DEAN: But as I say for--

JONES: I'm sorry. That's why Elizabeth Warren--

DEAN: I mean it's been, you know, first of all, it was Biden. Then it was Warren. Then it was Buttigieg. Now it's Bernie.

JONES: Yes.

DEAN: There's probably room for one more shift. And God knows who it's going to be.

JONES: But - but - but - but--

DEAN: Could be Klobuchar.

JONES: But I'll tell you, because of the way the Caucus works, Elizabeth Warren is everybody's second choice.

And so, once you get through the - the first round, a lot of people might wind up going with her, and she could wind up surging at the end. So, Elizabeth, don't - don't write her off. She might have another--

DEAN: It's true.

JONES: She might have another run at this the night of, literally the night of, she could - she could pull off an upside.

COOPER: Only 25 percent has said that--

DEAN: That's true.

COOPER: --impeachment was - was an important issue for them. Were you surprised with that?

[21:35:00]

JONES: Not at all because I mean - I spent a lot of time in Red states, and Purple states, and people - and people have already made up their mind on impeachment. They're - they already made their mind on Trump. What they want to know is who can beat Donald Trump. And there are two theories.

DEAN: Right, that's right.

JONES: I'm sorry, go ahead - go ahead, Governor.

DEAN: No, you're absolutely right. Go ahead. You were - I think--

JONES: Yes.

DEAN: --you were about to say what I was about to say.

JONES: Yes. Well, look, there are two theories. One is you're electable if you are more of the moderate. The other is you're electable if you can electrify the base. And we are still fighting it out in this Party.

COOPER: Van Jones--

DEAN: And I'm in the second camp.

COOPER: Go ahead.

DEAN: I'm in the second - second camp. But I'll vote for anybody who can beat Trump.

COOPER: Governor Howard Dean, great to have you on, thank you.

Just a reminder, four days from now, CNN, in conjunction with The Des Moines Register, broadcasts the last Democratic Debate before the Iowa Caucuses. Join us for that, Tuesday, 9 P.M. Eastern.

Still ahead tonight, I'll talk with a former leader of an Iranian group in Canada who knew personally seven of the victims of the flight that crashed after takeoff in Iran earlier this week. Their stories when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:40:00]

COOPER: Today, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said, as quote, likely that Iran shot down that Ukrainian airliner, earlier this week, near Tehran.

Ukrainians say they now have seen the cockpit and flight data recorders, commonly referred to as black boxes, but they don't have access to the information inside them.

While Ukrainian officials said the Intelligence the U.S., the United Kingdom passed them was "Very solid," they also said they're not yet ready to rule out terrorism. 176 people were killed, most of them Iranians or Canadians.

Payman Parseyan is the former President of The Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton, Canada. He knew seven of the victims from the plane crash.

Payman, thanks so much for being with us. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. How are you and - and the community holding up?

PAYMAN PARSEYAN, KNEW SEVEN PLANE CRASH VICTIMS, FORMER PRESIDENT, IRANIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY OF EDMONTON: You know, we're - it's - it's tough.

We - we lost a significant number of our community members here, and really hits close to home when it's such a tight-knit community. There are no words. I think most of the community is still in shock and disbelief.

COOPER: And, as I said, I believe you've lost seven people that - that - that you knew. Can you talk a little bit about - about some of them?

PARSEYAN: Yes, like one family was a husband and wife, both professors in engineering department at the local university. They had two young beautiful daughters, 9 and 14, just bright, really curious kids. The husband and I would often go to the gym together. He was always laughing, such a friendly guy.

The other three that I knew, the mother, she was a obstetrician- gynecologist, very, very well-known in our community, always willing to help wherever she could, her two university age daughters, extremely bright futures. I think one was pursuing a medical degree, and the other, clinical psychology.

So, these are the kind of people that we had in our city, bright, bright minds.

COOPER: And how quickly did you hear about the - about the plane crash, and then realized exactly what plane it was, and that you knew people on it, and - and there were so many Canadians on it as well as Iranians and others.

PARSEYAN: You know, I think most Iranians that were close to a TV at that time would have been glued, watching the ongoing tensions between Iran, and the United States given, you know, they likely had family members in Iran.

And while that news was breaking, as Iran was launching ballistic missiles, this news came breaking that a plane was down. And, as the story developed, we learned that it was an international flight, and then we learned it was the Kiev-bound flight.

And so as soon as the news broke, word spread quickly, and then people started to identify, "Hey, I know this person was on or that person was on," and quickly we realized this was a tragedy unlike anything we've ever dealt with before.

COOPER: How concerned are you about - about the investigation essentially that, you know, obviously Iranians - the Iranian government is in control of it. There have been questions early on. They said they wouldn't cooperate with the manufacturer of the airline, Boeing, or U.S. authorities, perhaps Canadian authorities.

I'm wondering how concerned you are that the investigation will be as fulsome as it should?

PARSEYAN: Well we're never going to get our friends back. So, the why to the community is, you know, not on the top of our priority.

But, as far as the investigation goes, the people in Iran don't trust their own regime after 40 years. So, to have that government heading the investigation on something that they're accused of with, you know, wrongdoing, it just seems inappropriate.

Canada had 63 citizens on that plane. But of the 176, 138 were Canada- bound. And so, we had many future Canadians on that plane as well. The majority of those people, the 75 non-Canadians would have likely

been international students, or permanent residents, and likely the number of visitors would have been much - a minority within that number.

So, it's - it's vital that, you know, multiple nations get together or an independent investigator is selected where Iran is, for example, observing the investigations, rather than leading it, with other countries observing.

COOPER: And what are you hoping to see from the - the governments for the U.S. and the Iranian government just in terms of moving forward? Obviously, it seems like things have sort of stepped back from - from the brink in - in the wake of - of what's gone on, but obviously, the tensions still remain high.

PARSEYAN: Yes, it's unfortunate, because most of the time when the governments escalate things, or disagree, it's the people that will suffer.

The Iranian people likely have nothing against the American people. And the American people likely have nothing against the Iranian people. I mean, it's just two governments that don't seem to understand how to, you know, conduct appropriate diplomacy so that the lives of their people can be made better.

COOPER: Payman Parseyan, again, I appreciate you talking to us, and I'm so sorry for your loss.

PARSEYAN: Thank you very much.

[21:45:00]

COOPER: Coming up next, the announcement from Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, the couple said they will be, quote, stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family. How that is playing out at Buckingham Palace and the United Kingdom when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex has returned to Canada for a few days, according to a spokesperson for both she, and her husband, Prince Harry.

That is the latest development in this, I guess, real-life soap opera that's been churning around the Royal couple since they announced earlier this week that they were, in effect, planning to take some time off from being an official part of the House of Windsor.

360's Randi Kaye has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had enough. So, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are calling it quits as senior

members of the Royal Family, yet they have no intention of giving up their titles. It's all part of the couple's move to step back, become financially independent, and stop having to answer questions from the British press.

The news came as a shock to the couple's 10.5 million followers on Instagram, and to the Royal Family, as well.

[21:50:00]

Buckingham Palace promptly issued a statement. "We understand their desire to take a different approach but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."

It didn't take long before the hashtag "Megxit" was all over Twitter.

And in London, Madame Tussauds Museum even separated the wax figures of Harry and Meghan from the rest of the Royal Family.

The British tabloids got in on it too. The Daily Mirror's front page read "They didn't even tell the Queen." And this from the Daily Mail, "Queen's fury," as Harry and Meghan say "We quit."

KAYE (on camera): So, what does this all mean? Apparently, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to give up the 5 percent income grant they get from the British government.

But what about the other 95 percent of their income, which comes from his father, Prince Charles? They're already reportedly worth as much as 30 million pounds or about $40 million. Book deals, speaking fees, and social media endorsements could also bring in cash.

Leading up to all this, the couple had become more and more private, as their relationship with the British media increasingly deteriorated. Prince Harry called coverage of Meghan relentless and aggressive, saying some of it contained racial undertones.

The Duchess of Sussex talked about the media spotlight back in October.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: You add this on top of just trying to be a new mom, or trying to be a newlywed, it's - yes, well, I guess - and also, thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm OK. But it's - it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE (voice-over): For Prince Harry, this is personal. His mother, Princess Diana died in a car crash while being chased by the paparazzi in 1997.

This latest move means the Duke and Duchess are no longer bound by the rules of a regular pool of British journalists covering Royal events, which includes three tabloids being sued by the couple, one for publishing a private letter from Meghan to her father, and two others for allegedly hacking into Prince Harry's voicemails.

The couple says they plan to tell their stories to credible media outlets, and those stories won't just be told in the U.K.

The Duke and Duchess, along with Baby Archie now say they plan to split their time between England and North America.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Joining me now for more insight into all this, Victoria Arbiter, an expert on the Monarchy and CNN Royal Commentator.

You and I were together for the - the wedding. And there were such talk then of Meghan Markle changing the Royal Family, and being a sign of the future of the Royal Family.

And now to have this development, where essentially, both she and her husband are saying "We want to leave the Royal Family," essentially while still kind of maintaining ties, "We want to step back as senior Royals," they called it.

VICTORIA ARBITER, ROYAL EXPERT, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: There was a real sense of optimism across the U.K., because finally, the Royal Family was representing the face of Britain.

Britain today is a multi-cultural, multi-faith society. And I think there was a real sense that the Royal Family had finally propelled into the 21st Century. So, to find ourselves at this point now is incredibly sad.

And you have to wonder at what point did this all go so horribly wrong? Now, Harry and Meghan were very vocal towards the end of last year about their struggles over the year. The press, of course, they played their part.

But I think Meghan too, she was, without question, at the center of the most controversial media. It didn't matter what she did. She was accused of funding terrorism--

COOPER: Right.

ARBITER: --because of the cookbook. There was an accusation that her favorite fruit, avocados, were causing problems.

COOPER: Right. There's been a - a racial undertone, and frankly, not even an undertone, an - an overt racism in some of the coverage of Meghan Markle from the beginning, sort of linking her to gangs in Compton.

I mean how much of this has to do with racism in - in the coverage of them? ARBITER: I think Meghan has dealt with race as an issue her whole life. She's talked very openly about it. But I don't think she thought it was going to be to this degree.

A lot of it has been unconscious racism. And there are members of the press in the U.K., and around the world, that will say "Absolutely not. There's been no element of racism."

But I'm sorry. Exotic DNA! She was called "Vulgar" when Kate was called "Ethereal" for wearing off-the-shoulder dresses. There is no question race has played an issue.

So, what's happened this week has been very drastic. It's been quite a rash move. Harry has perhaps been a bull in a China shop in terms of presenting his terms on this website without clearing any of it with the Royal Family first. But I think they're saying "Enough is enough."

COOPER: So, they just went ahead and announced this without the Royal Family sign-off?

ARBITER: So, the Royal Family did know that there was going to be a shake-up, and that Harry and Meghan were keen to spend some time in North America. But none of the finer details had been ironed out. And that's, I think, where Harry and Meghan slipped up this week.

[21:55:00]

So, this website came out with effectively nine pages of details of "We're going to do this, and this, and this," none of that had been signed off on. So, it now puts the Royal Family in an incredibly precarious position because they now need to negotiate this on a very public platform.

COOPER: It's also interesting because it just seems so hypocritical the press has hounded Meghan Markle much like, you know, obviously the allegations they handed Princess Diana for - for years, in many ways. And she, perhaps, played the press and used the press in her own way--

ARBITER: She did, yes.

COOPER: --in - in a much - in a much more maybe different way than - than Meghan Markle has.

But they sort of hounded her and with - with racial overtones, and then, now they're saying they're leaving, and now, all of a sudden, it's "Well, wait a minute, what are you talking about?" like what - "You can't leave"--

ARBITER: I think--

COOPER: --like what you're--

ARBITER: --perhaps, Anderson, it's the way it's been handled this week.

COOPER: Yes. ARBITER: So, yes, on the one hand, "What do you mean you're leaving?" because it's so unprecedented, no one's ever done this before.

But I think where some people, some of the negativity perhaps is built is because they feel like the Queen was bulldozed somewhat, having disrespected her wishes, there's been reports that the Queen had said, "OK, Harry and Meghan, I hear you. We'll try and work with you on this. But please don't go public until we've ironed out these details."

COOPER: Yes.

ARBITER: They went public anyway.

COOPER: Victoria Arbiter, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

ARBITER: Thank you very much.

COOPER: We'll be right back with more.

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COOPER: The news continues. Want to turn things over now to Don Lemon and CNN TONIGHT.