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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President Trump: "Totally Consistent" On Intel Ahead Of Soleimani Killing; Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) Is Interviewed About Soleimani's Killing And The War Powers Resolution; Sources: State Department Security Officials Weren't Notified Of "Imminent" Threats To U.S. Embassies; Warren Says Sanders Told Her A Woman Could Not Win In 2020: "I Thought A Woman Could Win; He Disagreed"; Australians Air Drop Food For Starving Animals Impacted By Widespread Bush Fires; Haiti: 10 Years Later. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 13, 2020 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:18]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

A big night. Breaking news on the shape of the impeachment trial, including Republican senators now talking about wanting to hear from witnesses and not wanting to immediately vote to dismiss the charges.

Also, late word that the president's TV lawyer and alleged bag man, Rudy Giuliani, has been lobbying to join the impeachment legal team.

New reporting as well on the president's claim that killing the Iranian general prevented imminent attacks on four American embassies, and big developments as Democrats prepare for tomorrow night's debate here on CNN and lose another contender today.

We close out the hour by marking ten years since an earthquake devastated Haiti.

We begin, though, this hour, right now, with more breaking news. It concerns the Ukrainian company Burisma which is at the center of the impeachment saga. And not only does this new reporting stir memories of Russia's interference of the 2016 campaign, it is also very much in the here and now.

Quoting from the lead of the story. With President Trump facing an impeachment trial over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden, Russian military hackers have been boring into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the affair, according to security experts.

Joining me now is Matthew Rosenberg who shares a byline on the story. He's a "New York Times" correspondent as well as a CNN national security analyst.

Matthew, this is really extraordinary article that you have written. Can you just lay out what red flags this hacking now has raised and exactly what's going on? MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, the Russian

hackers, they're from the GRU, the same unit that hacked the Clinton e-mails. They were detected kind of around November, attempting to kind of do phishing e-mails to get the credentials of people inside Burisma, the company at the center of this scandal, the company that Hunter Biden had served on the board here.

And the fear is what they're looking for is the same kind of dirt that Donald Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed them to open an investigation into Burisma. And that, you know, you're looking at a repeat potentially of 2016, when the Russians will get some dirt like they got on John Podesta's e-mails and weaponize that, use that to create embarrassment, to kind of help their guy, in this case, Trump, and hurt the Democrats.

COOPER: I mean, it's remarkable, it is essentially, according to your reporting, the same playbook that the Russians ran against Democrats four years ago and it's now happening again.

ROSENBERG: It certainly looks like it. And you know, look, I think one of the things we all have to remember here is that disinformation such as it is, is only really effective when it's based on something real. When you put out a fake story, there's an ample amount of evidence that people tend to dismiss it at this point, people aren't dumb.

But when you take something that's real and you spin it, you create an echo chamber to kind of blast it around the Internet and amplify it. That can have an effect. And the Russians know this and it looks like they're looking for that real information to use.

COOPER: You know, we know President Trump asked, you know, China to investigate the Bidens and, obviously, Ukraine, as well. Has he commented on -- or has the White House made any comment about what you're reporting?

ROSENBERG: Not yet. We'll have to see.

COOPER: I mean, it is essentially what President Trump has wanted. I mean, the end result, which is dirt on the Bidens, is that it is the very thing that he pressured Ukraine for.

ROSENBERG: Absolutely. And look, his -- Rudy Giuliani acting as his personal lawyer is running a parallel effort, you know, poking around Ukraine, looking for the same kind of information. Allegedly Russian spies are supposedly doing the same.

I think they all want the same end result, which is something that certainly does raise questions about why they want this and what the aim is here.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, I guess I sort of misspoke, because really President Trump according to the testimony, what he really wanted was just the announcement of an investigation.

ROSENBERG: Yes. COOPER: This is actually, you know -- they are actually now, according to the reporting, trying to hack into the company. Have they been successful?

ROSENBERG: So they have got an in. They were able to get into Burisma's servers. They got credentials from a number of employees and got into the servers. We don't know what they took, if they took anything, and we don't know exactly what they were looking for. What we know here is a pattern.

And, you know, this hacking began in November as the public impeachment inquiry was about to get underway. The scale of it and the fact that they were only targeting, mainly targeting Burisma have kind of led to the conclusion that this looks like they were looking for information on the Bidens.

COOPER: And what's the Biden campaign said?

ROSENBERG: You know, they have held it up as another example of their candidate's strength and the fact that Trump fears their candidate and now, Putin fears their candidate. They're obviously not happy about this.

COOPER: Matthew Rosenberg, appreciate it. Fascinating reporting in "The New York Times" right now. Thank you.

Joining us now is New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Menendez, what does it tell you that the Russians have hacked Burisma or are trying to and have gotten in so far, according to "The New York Times," in a similar way that they hacked Clinton's e-mails and the DNC in 2016?

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Well, it's Russia doing President Trump's dirty work again. Remember, in the last campaign for president, candidate Trump at the time said, Russia, if you're hearing me, you know, get Hillary's e-mails. And sure enough, they did.

And now, the Russians are engaged once again in seeking to interfere in our elections and giving advantage to President Trump.

And one must ask the question, why do they do so? They do so because they obviously have come to the conclusion that President Trump, in terms of their relationships, his potential relationship with Russia and Putin is better than some of these other candidates, including Vice President Biden.

COOPER: Do you -- what would you like to hear from President Trump about this? I mean, he's yet to comment. Hard to imagine that he wouldn't comment at some point. He has called for not only Russia during the last campaign, but China during this campaign to investigate the Bidens.

MENENDEZ: I know what I would like, Anderson. I know what we won't get. We still could not get President Trump, despite all of his unanimous intelligence agencies, including the leaders of those agencies that he appointed, saying that Russia interfered. He says that he accepts President Putin's denial that he did not.

He's happy to have Russia engaged in our elections as long as it's to his benefit. And he will not do something, you know, adverse to Russia in this regard. There are plenty of actions that he could take right now, setting some very severe sanctions, sanctions that are already law that have not been implemented for what happened already. And now, as a preventative, as a deterrence to Russia doing anything more, I would bet my bottom dollar we'll see none of that.

COOPER: This new CNN reporting that Rudy Giuliani is lobbying President Trump to be part of his impeachment legal team and wants to present the president's case on the Senate floor, how do you think that would work or not work?

MENENDEZ: Well, that would be a double "D" -- a delight for the House managers, a disaster for the president. A delight for the House managers, because having Giuliani, who probably should be a witness if anything, much less somebody arguing for the president, would ultimately -- they would be ultimately able to throw his own words at him during the course of an interchange and cross-examination and/or an engagement and remind Giuliani of what he said at any given time, which is overwhelmingly is detrimental to the president. A disaster for the president, because it would turn it into a circus versus the serious legal proceedings that are required of an impeachment trial.

I think the American people want to see a full, fair, honest transparent trial. And that means having witnesses, but serious witnesses, as well as doctrines. Every American who's ever been involved in a trial, as a juror, as a participant, knows that it involves witnesses and documents and they have to be relevant to the issue at hand.

COOPER: A number of Republican senators indicated today that they were not in favor of a motion to dismiss impeachment, with one Republican saying there's almost no interest among all Republicans to do that. We also heard Senator Romney say he wants witnesses to be called at the trial.

Do you think those are actual breaks in the Republican ranks or just, you know, moderate Republicans kind of giving themselves a little wiggle room?

MENENDEZ: I think they're listening hopefully to the polls, where two-thirds of all of the American people want to see, for example, former national security adviser, Ambassador Bolton, testify. People like the president's chief of staff, Mulvaney testify. And there's a difference between wanting to hear from them. They can guarantee, by voting to have witnesses, a small but very definite number of witnesses that can shed real light on what transpired here. So we can come to an honest decision, would be critical.

They have the power in their hands. Either we will get witnesses, because Republicans who are being patriots and not partisans will join us to have witnesses, and if we don't have witnesses, it will be because Republicans wanted a whitewash and not a real, transparent trial. COOPER: There is reporting that Susan Collins, Republican senator, is

working with a small group of Republicans to lock up witnesses at the trial. I'm wondering, I mean, from what you're hearing, from your fellow senators, how much confidence do you have that that might actually happen?

MENENDEZ: Well, without, you know, betraying any confidences, if what several of my colleagues on the Republican side say to me is ultimately what they do, then there will be votes for witnesses. If, however, when the moment comes, where you need a profile in courage, particularly with this president, who abuses all of those who stand in his way, and they collapse, then we won't have witnesses.

[20:10:01]

But I think there is a growing view among several Republicans who understand what an honest, fair, transparent trial is, witnesses and documents, listening to the American people overwhelmingly want certain witnesses, I hope they'll answer the call of the patriot.

COOPER: I'm certainly not going to ask you names, but what you're saying is you have had, and just want to make sure I hear this correctly, you've had Republican colleagues, Republican senators say to you that they would like to see witnesses?

MENENDEZ: Yes, yes.

COOPER: Do you think there are -- what is it? Four is needed. Is that -- are there enough?

MENENDEZ: I think it's within the universe of there being enough. The question is, when it comes time, wanting to see witnesses and voting to have witnesses are two different things. I hope they will vote to have witnesses.

COOPER: Senator Menendez, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MENENDEZ: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, more on the upcoming impeachment trial, including the president's legal strategy, such as it is. Also, keeping 'em honest, the president, as President Trump stated his case for killing Qassem Soleimani unravels, he says it doesn't really matter if the Iranian general was planning imminent attacks, as Mr. Trump has claimed. Why it might matter or absolutely does matter if the president lied to the American people.

We'll be right back on that.

And a new charge about an old meeting between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren has the Vermont senator on the defensive tonight. What Senator Warren is now saying about the encounter, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The president says a source close to him, quote, is never going to have Rudy Giuliani represent him in the Senate trial starting with the problem that he is a potential witness, which says a lot right there. Then, again, this is a president who, of course, seems to improvise and Giuliani is one of the few insider who is seems to know how to sway him. So it is possible, I suppose.

For more now, I want to go to CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House.

So this new CNN reporting that Giuliani is lobbying the White House to get on the president's defense team, what do you know about it?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, I think Giuliani has been pining for this for some time now. It is falling on deaf ears going over like a Led Zeppelin over here at the White House, Anderson. I've talked to a number of sources this evening, so have my colleagues, Pam Brown and Jeremy Diamond.

Yes, Giuliani has been lobbying the president about this idea of joining the president's impeachment trial team, but in the words of one source, yes, Giuliani could potentially be called as a witness. And so, what would Giuliani do? Call himself to the stand? And so, that's why it appears to be a non-starter at this point.

But as you said, Anderson, this president has been unpredictable at times, we talked to a White House official earlier this morning who really threw cold water on the whole idea and said that's one variable the president doesn't need at this point.

[20:15:07]

COOPER: The White House, they want the Senate impeachment trial rules to include a resolution that could dismiss the charges against the president after opening arguments.

Is that -- I mean, wasn't the president for a while kind of wanting a big made-for-TV trial?

ACOSTA: That is -- that is what we were reporting. And that is what the president was saying, late last year, that he wanted this big, splashy trial, wanted witnesses like Hunter Biden and Joe Biden and the whistle-blower and so on.

And you heard top deputies over at the White House saying the same thing when they would go out in front of the cameras. That talk has largely gone away. And now you're hearing the president and some of his people inside the administration talk to a White House official this evening who said, yeah, if they could potentially get away with having a motion to dismiss this trial, they'll take it.

But at this point, the going -- thinking at this point, Anderson, is that they believe that there will be some sort of trial. It might last two to three weeks. And Anderson, listen, one of the things that a White House official told me earlier this evening is that they are not dealing with the House anymore. And while over in the House, input might have been welcomed by the White House, they understand when they're dealing with senators, even Republican senators, it's a different dynamic, and that senators don't like being told what to do. So, you do get the sense talking to sources over here, Anderson, that

they're going to take a bit more of a hands-off approach in dealing with these senators and pressuring for what they want out of this trial.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much, from the White House tonight. Appreciate it.

ACOSTA: You bet.

COOPER: Joining us now, CNN's chief legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN senior legal analyst and former U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara.

And, Preet, what do you make of this? I mean, both Romney and Senator Collins are talking about having witnesses. Do you think there's actually enough momentum for that?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it's hard to say. Romney was very careful to say that he believed in the Clinton model and he believes that one witness -- you know, there are a number of witnesses that the Democrats want to call, but one witness, John Bolton, he would vote in favor of his coming, but not necessarily at the outset. At some point later after initial, you know, arguments have been made and opening statements and presentations have been made. So he's rattling around about that. Collins is -- we know we need two more, maybe Murkowski, maybe one other.

I think partly, it depends on what the public thinks and how much public pressure there is. It seems very difficult. I don't know if Jeff agrees with this. It seems very difficult not to call John Bolton, because he seems to have made it clear that he's prepared to testify. If the Senate issues a subpoena, he's an important witness. He's the most high-ranking witness. He says through his lawyer that he has additional and new information --

BURNETT: The president has said that he would stop that.

BHARARA: Well, we'll have to see how that plays out.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I have -- I have a different view.

BHARARA: OK.

TOOBIN: My view of the United States Senate is, whatever Mitch McConnell wants, Mitch McConnell gets. He doesn't want witnesses. He thinks this thing needs to be shut down very quickly.

And, you know, these moderates, they always talk a good game. You know, Susan Collins is about to do something that she never actually does. And I just don't think they're going to be -- there are going to be any witnesses.

They, they -- how it actually plays out, I don't know. I suspect one way it may play out is that the Republicans put in a poison pill, like they say, the only reason we'll have witnesses is if Hunter Biden is also a witness, or Joe Biden, which will sort of blow up the whole thing.

But I just don't think Mitch McConnell wants witnesses.

BHARARA: But there might be some cost in public perception to not calling at least John Bolton. And look, I agree with Jeff, to the extent that it's impossible to state how much Mitch McConnell is able to withstand pressure and public shaming. Just witness Merrick Garland. If he thinks it's good for his side, he won't do it.

COOPER: What about the notion of dismissing the trial altogether. The president tweeted over the weekend, he said: Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, no pressure impeachment hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat witch hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree.

TOOBIN: Senator Hawley from Missouri has raised the possibility of dismissing the case right away. I think there could be sort of a hybrid situation, where they don't dismiss it right away, but they dismiss it after the presentations of the lawyers, the House managers and the -- Trump's lawyers. The fact that Romney and Collins have said they're not for dismissing it right away doesn't mean they won't ultimately vote to dismiss it.

COOPER: So, your -- I mean, that -- it could -- you're saying after, what, a couple of days?

TOOBIN: It could be after -- after a few days. Yes. I mean, we'll know more about the procedure tomorrow. But I think they are -- McConnell wants this thing over fast, and I think that means it's going to be over fast.

BHARARA: It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, if you're going to hear some testimony or maybe not testimony, but at least presentations. And depending on how invested in that performance, the public is, and how much they're looking forward to having witnesses, to them, move to dismiss at that point.

[20:20:06]

And I guess the way it would work, you agree with me, right, it would go first to the chief justice, and the chief justice would make a decision about dismissing. I don't think that he would.

TOOBIN: No, I mean, he's going to --

(CROSSTALK)

BHARARA: And then people need to be aware of, is to the extent the chief justice has some power, all of it can be overruled. Any decision by the chief justice can be overruled by a simple majority of senators.

I think it looks kind of terrible, and we know that he can withstand terrible appearances, Mitch McConnell, but it looks particularly terrible to move to dismiss, have that denied by the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, appointed by a Republican, not this president, but another Republican, and have that overruled by fiat, by a simple majority of senators. I just -- I don't see that happening.

TOOBIN: The other thing to remember about witnesses is, all of the witnesses will show that the president is guilty, because he is guilty.

COOPER: Well, we don't know what Bolton would say.

TOOBIN: Well, I mean, what could he say that would be not incriminating? I mean, why would he call the interactions with Giuliani a drug deal if he thought this was a wonderful, a wonderful negotiation?

BHARARA: He could give inappropriately a legal opinion and he could say, look, I thought it was a drug deal, I thought it was terrible stuff, I thought he shouldn't have said that stuff, I thought it was not wise, but it's not --

TOOBIN: This drug deal.

BHARARA: Right, but it's not criminal, it's not impeachable. That's the best he could do.

TOOBIN: He could, yes.

COOPER: The White House, how -- I assume you consider them wise for not jumping at the chance to have Giuliani be part of the team, arguing --

TOOBIN: Just because we want Rudy Giuliani for the entertainment factor.

BHARARA: I'm tempted to say I think it would be very wise.

TOOBIN: Yes, I don't think so.

What's interesting is that this controversy about whether House Republicans are part of the defense team, because, you know, the interaction between the two bodies is so interesting. You know, the members of the House all think the senators are a bunch of pompous asses and the senators all think the House members are a bunch of partisan lunatics. Now, both of them are kind of right about that. It is --

BHARARA: Send your letters -- send your letters to Mr. Toobin.

TOOBIN: But it probably does make sense to keep the House members away from the Republican senators.

BHARARA: Look, so I worked in the Senate, not the House. And, you know, there were members of the Senate who had a little bit of that view and thought that we should maybe in the country move to a unicameral system at some point. But look, Trump can have the best of both worlds. He can have, you

know, smart, sober-minded, responsible attorneys who have some -- you know, continue to have some dignity and intelligence in presenting the case in the Senate, but he can also have the House folks, like Doug Collins and others on television to press the case on FOX News and to his base and in public, because I don't know how much people are going to watch of the hearings.

And that's sort of what he's been doing all along, right? He's had some lawyers that nobody has ever heard of who are super smart and are dealing with the niceties of the legal principles behind closed doors, but he has people like Giuliani and others on television pressing the case.

COOPER: Doug Collins apologized

BHARARA: He did. We were wrong.

COOPER: Yes, I was wrong.

BHARARA: The other night, we said he wasn't going to apologize for saying that Democrats were in love with terrorists and he did, although he didn't apologize in the same forum where he made the statement.

COOPER: Well, it's easier to do it just online rather than going on "Hannity" or one of those folks.

BHARARA: Right.

COOPER: Preet, appreciate it. Jeff Toobin as well. Thanks very much.

Still to come, first, it was one embassy, then it was four that were facing some kind of imminent threat of Iranian attack according to the president. Tonight, though, a new CNN reporting on steps that would have been taken if the threats were real. Those steps were not taken.

And there's new line from the president that it really doesn't matter why he ordered the killing of Qassem Soleimani. We're keeping them honest, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: There's new reporting tonight that undercuts the president's stated case for killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, and it's almost as if he saw it coming, like he was expecting his story to unravel, because this morning, he tweeted that it doesn't really matter what he and his top advisers have been telling the Congress and the public.

And I'm quoting now, quote: The fake news media and their Democrat partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was imminent or not and was my team in agreement. The answer to both is a strong yes, but it doesn't really matter because of his horrible past.

Well, keeping them honest, that's not so outlandish to think. A truly bad actor is gone, after all. Why fixate on it?

Well, here's how the president put it late today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We killed Soleimani, the number one terrorist in the world by every account. Bad person, killed a lot of Americans, killed a lot of people. We killed him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, he certainly was bad, just like the president said. The U.S. did kill him. And it doesn't really matter why, says the president.

Except, it does, because there are repercussions to killing a bad guy, reprisals, potential proxy attacks on Americans or American allies, even all-out war hostilities between U.S. and Iran. Had even one of the missiles that Iran fired on American troops in Iraq actually killed anyone, we might right now be launching another long, bloody war in the region. And wouldn't you want that war to not be started on false premises.

So with all due respect to the president, it does matter whether the justification for killing an admittedly terrible guy is B.S. or not. Whether this claim that Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on four American embassies is or isn't so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies. But Baghdad certainly would have been the lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, keeping them honest, State Department officials tell CNN's Kylie Atwood that department personnel involved in embassy security were not made aware of any such threat to four specific embassies and they weren't alone. Neither was the secretary of defense, Mark Esper, who spent much of Sunday morning on the Washington talk shows trying to explain the president's claim.

[20:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ESPER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, the President didn't say that there was tangible -- he didn't cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said is he probably -- he believed --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying there wasn't one?

ESPER: I didn't see one with regard to four embassies.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: So he didn't see imminent attack with regard to four embassies, that was yesterday. Today, the President says it really doesn't matter. The irony is, as CNN Global Affairs Analyst Max Boot writes in "The Washington Post," there actually are a number of legitimate justifications for killing Soleimani the President could have turned to if he weren't so invested in what now appears to be a dramatic, but increasingly questionable one.

Boot writes, "What the administration is doing is legally and perhaps even strategically justifiable. All Trump has to do is come clean with the American people." Instead, the President seems to be doing the opposite. And when that doesn't work, doing this, retweeting a doctored photo of the House Speaker and Senate Minority Leader in front of an Iranian flag dressed as you see them.

Joining us now is Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, who's introduced the War Powers Resolution on Iran. Senator Kaine, the fact that this administration when all else fails is trying to come up with an explanation has now turned to just insulting Democrats in a way that at the same time he claims to be standing with the Iranian people, he is draping, you know, Democrats in garb that is worn by Iranians and that's an insult, according to the President.

SEN. TIM KAINE, (D-VA): Well, look, he's insulting Democrats, but Anderson, the real issue is, he's insulting all of Congress and the constitution. The constitution says we shouldn't go to war without a deliberation by Congress. And when the administration briefers came last week, many days after the Soleimani strike to finally brief us, they were contemptuous of Congress. They acted like we were an annoyance rather than we were part of the constitutional framework.

The reason that Congress is supposed to declare war is A, so we don't rush into it. And B, if we're going to order our best and brightest to risk their lives and risk their health, it should be based upon a debate in full view of the American public, where we end up saying, this is a war that's in the national interests. The President wants to insult not just Democrats with stupid juvenile tweets, he's insulting all of Congress by pretending that Congress doesn't have a role in war making.

COOPER: I mean, do you believe the explanations coming from the White House, specifically the President saying that Soleimani was targeting four embassies or you doesn't believe --

KAINE: No.

COOPER: No, you don't.

KAINE: No, absolutely not. No. I think when the evidence was presented to us last week in the classified setting, I can't talk about the discussions there, but I can tell you this, it added up to far less than an imminent threat. And that's the real key issue.

The President can always defend the nation against an imminent attack without seeking anybody's permission. But if he wants to go on offense and wage war against another nation or a group, he's got to come to Congress for permission. He didn't want to seek permission, so they tried to suggest that there was this imminent threat.

But as you pointed out, it's falling apart. The President makes up this thing about four embassies. We heard nothing about that. And the State Department itself and the embassies affected were not given notice that they were at risk.

COOPER: Soleimani was obviously, you know, a thug, a killer, responsible for the deaths of many Americans --

KAINE: Bad guy. Bad guy.

COOPER: -- and many, many others. What would have been wrong about killing him and just saying, well, you know, in general, he plots attacks and he plots actions against U.S. interests. Would that have been OK?

KAINE: Well, look, here's the situation. It wasn't just the killing of Soleimani, Anderson. It was that they killed him without notifying Congress or seeking congressional approval, when there's never been a declaration of war against Iran, and they killed him on Iraqi soil.

Iraq is an ally of ours and they've objected to the U.S. turning Iraq into -- you know, like a coliseum, where the U.S. and Iran will wage war to the detriment of Iraqis. So what you've ended up doing is nobody is sad that Soleimani is gone. Is Iran a bad actor? Sure. But this President has rushed us to the brink of war, where Iran and the United States are now inflicting battlefield casualties, each on the other without being plain with Congress and with the American public.

We got lied into a war with Iraq in 2002 and now everybody realizes it. The administration said that there were weapons of mass destruction and there weren't. The last thing we need to do is to be lied into another war with claims of imminent threats that didn't exist.

COOPER: The sheer number of inconsistencies that are routinely coming out of the administration, I mean, outright lies, whatever you want to call it, are you concerned about the message it sends to both allies and adversaries?

KAINE: Both. First, the allies begged us, stick with the diplomatic deal against Iran. You curtail their nuclear program and you've maintained all of your ability to sanction the other behavior. So, we have really messed up our relations with our allies by walking out of a deal that we worked on together with them as well as the President's horrible remarks about so many of our allies, now we've threatened our relationship with Iraq.

[20:35:03]

As you know, Anderson, this is a relationship that the U.S. has earned with blood and treasure sacrificed on behalf of the Iraqis, especially in the battle against ISIS. And now Iraq is asking the U.S. to leave the country because we ignored their objections to doing military strikes on Iraqi soil. So, yes, we have made our allies mad. We're emboldening our adversaries. Russia, Iran, and China just did joint naval exercises in the gulf. These are nations that don't have a good history of relationships with each other. But the President's actions are driving our adversaries together.

And this is exactly why the framers of the constitution said, look, war should be deliberated about carefully in front of the whole view of the American public, because we shouldn't be ordering our troops to risk their lives and health unless Congress is willing to put their thumbprint on it. We don't want this President or any president to take us into an unnecessary war on his own.

COOPER: And your War Powers Resolution, when do you think that might come to a vote?

KAINE: We think it's likely this week. Senator Schumer today said it will be voted on this week, so within the next few days. And the resolution is pretty simple. It says the U.S. is engaged in hostilities. We are. There's no previous congressional authorization that suggests we should be at war with Iran. There isn't. And basically, under the War Powers Act, I can then ask that the U.S. withdraw its troops from hostilities against Iran.

The two exceptions would be defending against an imminent attack, if there's real evidence that there is one the President can act on his own, or Congress can pass an authorization or declaration. So under those circumstances, we're going to protect ourselves. But we shouldn't let this President or any president rush us into a war, especially a war based on shifting explanations that are proven to be false.

COOPER: Senator Kaine, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

KAINE: Absolutely, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, 21 days until Iowa, one night before the next debate here on CNN, an old meeting between Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren has grabbed the headlines and put the Sanders campaign on the defensive. We have a new comment from Senator Warren. Details, just ahead.

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[20:41:05]

COOPER: We have more breaking news. Just a short time ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren weighed in on a story that's put a surging Bernie Sanders on the defense just 21 days before the Iowa caucuses and a day before the next Democratic debate. She now confirms the details of a story reported by CNN's MJ Lee about a private meeting the two senators had just over a year ago about their prospective presidential campaigns.

Tonight, Warren says, "Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win, he disagreed." She also said that she has no interest "in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have far more in common than our differences on punditry."

Now, prior to Warren statement, CNN have reported the story according to four sources, including two who had spoken with Warren after the meeting. At that time, Sanders says his words were being mischaracterized, "Staff who weren't in the room are lying about what happened."

Joining us now is CNN Commentator Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina legislator, and CNN Senior Political Analyst and "USA Today" columnist, Kirsten Powers.

Kirsten, now that Senator Warren has confirmed essentially what her aides were saying earlier today or at least what two people who she talked to afterward said, does this become a bigger point of contention between them publicly now?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's a point of contention because he said it didn't happen, right? It's not -- in itself, I don't actually -- I know a lot of people are trying to make it into a really big deal, but it sounds like, especially based on her longer statement, she refers to this as punditry.

So it wasn't Bernie Sanders saying I don't think a woman should be president. It might have been Bernie Sanders just saying, you know, that he didn't think that a woman could win in this climate or something like that.

So, but I think the fact that he has now claimed that it didn't happen and she's saying it did happen, that does turn it into something more than maybe what it would have been if he just would have explained that, you know, that was just his punditry.

COOPER: Bakari, how do you see it?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think Bernie Sanders has some explaining to do. I actually agree with Kirsten on the fact that he probably got -- this probably got discombobulated with his words talking about the fact that misogyny -- because he said it many times over, so has Joe Biden, that misogyny has played a role in Hillary Clinton's election, it may not play a role if Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden is the nominee.

However, I do think that there are many people who believe, including myself, that this falls into the same old tropes and kind of steering away from what Bernie Sanders likes to call identity politics. And the irony in all of this is that he got beat by 4 million votes by a woman and a woman actually beat Donald Trump by 2.8 million votes. So, that's a bit ironic here.

And I think that Elizabeth Warren coming out and clearing this up and saying this the night before a debate is pretty bold. And so we'll have fireworks tomorrow night on the stage.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Senator Sanders in his statement also today -- also said, you know, pointed to Hillary Clinton saying, you know, she won the popular vote. And so, obviously, he says he doesn't believe the comment that's being attributed to him.

I mean, the race, Kirsten is so -- in Iowa is so tight and with the caucus system, it's obviously much more unpredictable. Warren and Sanders, you know, you can make the argument, are competing for the same votes. I know some people will say, you know, that Warren voters won't necessarily definitely go to Sanders.

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: But, I mean, this was sort of -- it was bound to happen at some point, the two of them having to, you know, as they like to say, point out differences between them or --

POWERS: Yes.

COOPER: -- you know, throw elbows.

POWERS: Yes. I mean, the only way it wouldn't have happened is if one of them dropped out. But it was inevitable if they both stayed in the race, at some point they were going to have to draw contrast with each another.

And I do think the media can kind of overstate it when they make contrasts with each other into an attack when they have to make -- they have to criticize each other. They have to make distinctions for people. There's nothing wrong with that.

[20:45:01]

Even how it's been described this script that was being used by Bernie Sanders, you know, people who are canvassing, I guess, you know, as -- she's saying she was being trashed. I mean, I don't think you're being trashed when somebody is just drawing a distinction with you. You can say whether you think it's fair or not true, but at some point, they have to make distinctions from each other and that's completely fair game.

COOPER: And Bakari, a high-level Sanders surrogate, Nina Turner, has written an op-ed criticizing former Vice President Biden's record with black voters. I'm wondering what you made of what she was saying.

SELLERS: I love Nina, but I don't think that op-ed is really worth the paper it was written on. I think that if you look at Joe Biden's record, I've been on this show, I've been very critical of Joe Biden, I've been critical of the crime bill, et cetera. However, you can't point to instances over the past decades that he's been in office in which he has been there and been a champion for civil rights and he's been there and he's been a champion -- he does have blind spots in his record, but so does Bernie Sanders.

I mean, the fact of the matter is that there are individuals like myself who look back over Bernie Sanders' record and simply say, since you marched in the civil rights movement until you ran for president in 2014, 2015, where have you been? And so I do believe that that op- ed piece, although I love Nina, was a bit unfair, more than a bit, was justifiably unfair.

And I think that when you look at, especially black voters in the South and South Carolina and throughout Super Tuesday, what you'll see is that, you know, you have a vice president who worked for Barack Obama, that is going to cleanse a lot of his misdeeds, whether or not you like it or not.

And the fact that Cory Booker got out of the race today, adds another three to five points to his cushion throughout the south. And so, Bernie Sanders is trying to play catch-up. He's firing just kind of willy-nilly against the wall. But as Kirsten said, this isn't tilly- wings (ph). This is politics. This is a contact sport. So, good for all of those who are advocating for those candidates as fiercely as they possibly can. We'll come together at the convention.

COOPER: Yes. Bakari Sellers, Kirsten Powers, thanks very much. A quick reminder, CNN Democratic Presidential Debate, in partnership with the "Des Moines Register," tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. Six candidates will be on the stage. We'll be there in Des Moines covering it all.

Up next on "360" tonight, a special mission to help the animals impacted by Australia's bush fires.

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[20:51:27]

COOPER: There are at least 105 bushfires burning in Australia tonight. Whole towns have had to evacuate in recent weeks, more than 2,000 homes are destroyed and at least 27 people have died, including volunteer firefighters.

There's also special concern for the animals. Take a look at this. Authorities have air dropped more than 2,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and carrots across parts of the country to help wild animals survive.

Among them, the brush-tailed rock-wallabies where it's possible authorities say they'll try to set up remote cameras to monitor the food drop and see that the animals are in fact eating.

I want to check in with Chris Cuomo to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time". Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You know, this is a real litmus pest -- a litmus test for me, this story with the fires. There was a time where you and I, certainly you, would have been in Australia for a long time. There's a time we would have been in and out of Puerto Rico two or three times.

And it's really interesting that with globalization and social media and supposedly the world is getting smaller and smaller, I feel like we just don't care enough about things anymore. There's like compassion fatigue. Oh, the fires, I heard about it, it's terrible. No, it's still ongoing, it's getting worse. Yes, I know, it's in California, I know. What do you think is going on? COOPER: I don't think it's that people don't care. I mean, I think people do care. I just think people are so focused or we're so focused on politics right now that it's hard to get away to go places and actually shoot stuff. I would like to.

CUOMO: I feel -- well, I know you would. You're one in the best in the business, if not the best for doing his job --

COOPER: Blah, blah, blah.

CUOMO: Shut up. So, what I'm saying is, I hope you're right actually. I hope it's that we're just super focused on this right now, and if we weren't, that there would be an audience for that.

COOPER: I have no doubt about that.

CUOMO: I wonder.

COOPER: I don't know if there would be an audience, but we would do it. I mean, I think that's what we're saying --

CUOMO: Oh, no, no, we would definitely do it. When I say us, I don't mean us, I'm saying like, you know, we got to get in to that, we got to start caring about each other --

COOPER: And by the way, we've got, you know, Will Ripley's over there. We've got a lot of people covering these things.

CUOMO: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. No, we put a lot of people in the ground, but I'd love to see that people demand more of that. That would be great. But you are the man, I don't care if you like it or not I said it.

COOPER: So, what are you doing tonight?

CUOMO: I am talking to you. No, we're going to be going through what the state of play is on Iraq. And, I had some drama with my booking tonight. I was supposed to have Danny DeVito (ph). I don't. We're going to go into why tonight --

COOPER: OK, intriguing. Chris, thanks.

CUOMO: -- about Bernie. He's a Bernie Sanders supporter.

COOPER: All right. I'll see you in just a couple of minutes. As you know, the devastating earthquake in Haiti, 10 years ago yesterday, we remember tonight when we continue.

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[20:57:30]

COOPER: I want to end tonight's program marking an important moment. Ten years ago yesterday at 4:53 p.m. to be exact, an earthquake measuring 7.0 struck Haiti. Through a combination of luck and the unparalleled resources of this network, we were able to make it into Port-au-Prince early the following day. These were some of the very first images we saw in our first hour on the ground. Block after block, bodies and cries, stunned people staggering through the rubble. Others digging with bare hands, bare and bloodied hands to find friends or neighbors or strangers trapped beneath collapsed concrete.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It turns out it's a 13-year-old girl who's trapped here. Her name is (INAUDIBLE). She's clearly alive. You can hear her crying out. You can see two of her feet at this point. They've been able to --

(FOREIGN LANGUANGE)

COOPER: She's clearly in pain. They discovered her early this morning, it's now a little past 12:00.

(FOREIGN LANGUANGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Malbi (ph) was lucky, but hundreds of thousands of other Haitians were not. To this day, there's no accurate death toll, 200,000 people, 300,000, estimates vary. The whole number will never be known.

After the quake, governments and aid groups and people all across America and the world donated money, billions of dollars were spent. Doctors and nurses and engineers and volunteers came and helped.

All of that money, all of those people that saved lives and built homes and schools and hospitals gave shelter to more than a million who needed it, and food and medicine, but permanent solutions, those are hard to come by, and fundamental changes are hard to achieve. Ten years ago tonight, we did our first broadcast from Haiti.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Wherever you are watching this broadcast throughout the world, I hope you can hug a loved one close and thank God that you are not in Port-au-Prince tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I had the honor of staying there for about a month and have been going back ever since. There's something about Haiti that calls you back, something about the place and the people. There is a strength in Haiti and you see it right away.

We saw it 10 years ago when a 5-year-old boy named Monley (ph) was brought to a hospital after being trapped under his collapsed house that killed his parents, for more than seven days he was trapped. He survived on rainwater.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What's he saying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants to drink some juice. He wants to drink some juice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Monley is 15 now. And after thinking for a while, he wanted to become a doctor. He recently changed his mind now, wants to become an engineer. He also obviously also likes soccer. Monley is strong and so is his country. Haiti survives. The quakes, the mud slides, the cholera, the mismanagement, the inequality, the unfairness, Haiti endures.

There was a phrase we often heard Haitians say to one another in the days after the quake when they were picking each other up, when they were living together under tarps. Swabrav (ph), they would say, be brave. Brave is what they were 10 years ago tonight and it's what they are still tonight. We who are lucky enough to be there, who were privileged enough to be there and reporting on it, we remember and we will never forget it.

In just a moment, don't miss our edition of "Full Circle," our digital news show. We will talk with actor and activist Sean Penn about his efforts over the past decade in Haiti and what stands out for him. He established a relief organization, CORE, on the ground and has been trying to help Haiti ever since. He's still working there as well as other places. That's in a few minutes at cnn.com/fullcircle or watch it there anytime on demand.

The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?