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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

AG Barr Confirms Justice Dept. Reviewing Info Giuliani Got In Ukraine; Impeachment Witnesses Vindman and Sondland Were Planning To Leave Their Posts, But Pres. Trump Didn't Want Them To Go Quietly. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 10, 2020 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:29]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

In just four hours, midnight Eastern Time, New Hampshirites will start voting in the first primary in the 2020 presidential race. You're looking there at Dixville Notch, the site of the earliest balloting, along with Hart's Location.

And across the state, candidates have been making last-minute pitches. Mayor Pete Buttigieg tonight expected shortly in Exeter. Bernie Sanders speaking soon in Durham. Joe Biden also campaigning tonight.

President Trump, who faces only token Republican opposition tomorrow, speaking tonight as well in Manchester. He is, as you might imagine, at the center of two competing story lines on the Democratic side. One, the Democrats are wilting in the face of him and Joe Biden is in trouble. And two that Joe Biden is hanging on just fine and predicts trouble in November for the president.

Those contrasting notions are reflected in a pair of polls, neither of which are the last word, on tomorrow or the rest of the race, but are both worth mentioning for what they have to say about the momentum right here and right now. One, from CNN's final tracking poll in the state shows Senator Bernie Sanders with a significant lead over Pete Buttigieg with Joe Biden a distant third, followed closely by Senators Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

The other poll is a national one from Quinnipiac. In addition to showing Joe Biden a solid second place, it has all of those same candidates beating the president in a head-to-head matchup. Plus, one at the top, Mike Bloomberg running ahead by the largest margin at all.

Now, bearing in mind that by this time tomorrow night, both the voters will certainly render some of those predictions moot, let's get a late read on what we know and what is happening on the ground in New Hampshire starting with CNN political director David Chalian who's in Manchester for us tonight.

So, obviously, polls, you know, they are what they are. The latest CNN poll is interesting. It shows how the moderate candidates are splitting potential voters.

Do you expect New Hampshire could firm up a Sanders advantage?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it might. I mean, if Sanders does win here, and remember, Anderson, Bernie Sanders won here by 20 points against Hillary Clinton four years ago. Obviously, that was a one-on-one race.

But if, indeed, the result looks like not just our poll, but a bunch of polls showing him with an edge in this state, he'll then have come off a very strong showing in Iowa, a victory in New Hampshire, if that's what happens tomorrow, and he will be the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Something that had sort of been Joe Biden's position for the entirety of last year.

That's going to be a reshuffling of the race, should that happen. And it is going to no doubt cause a lot of hand-wringing inside the sort of establishment wing of the Democratic Party, if, indeed, having a self-described Democratic socialist at the top of the ticket is the best way to move forward and beat Donald Trump. There's going to be a lot of conversation about that, if that's what New Hampshire produces tomorrow night.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the candidates have been all over the state, obviously, today. What's been kind of the gist of their last-minute appeals?

CHALIAN: Yes, I actually caught up with a couple of them, I saw Pete Buttigieg earlier in the day and then Amy Klobuchar. In Buttigieg's closing message, he was aware of the Sanders' position in this state and he was taking on Sanders specifically on the raising of middle class taxes to help pay for his Medicare for All plan, which you know, Buttigieg doesn't support.

So, he was trying to draw that contrast. He also was saying, you know, it can't just be revolution versus status quo. That's the argument he's making. He says most of us don't see ourselves in that picture of revolution versus status quo. He's claiming that's what Bernie Sanders is depicting as the choice here.

As for Amy Klobuchar, I will tell you, it was probably the best I've ever seen her on the campaign trail. This is somebody who is supremely confident in this moment for her. She felt good, obviously, about that Friday night debate performance. You see in these polls over the weekend that she has got a bit of momentum.

Now, we'll see if that translates to actual votes tomorrow. But clearly, being with her in Exeter, New Hampshire, today, you could see a candidate that was ultra comfortable in her skin in this moment. That she thinks that things are gelling for her right now.

COOPER: David Chalian, stay right where you are.

I want to bring in WNHN Radio's Arnie Arnesen. He's a long time observer and player in New Hampshire politics, including as the state's first female nominee for governor. Also, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

Dana, is the expectation that the primary is for Sanders or Buttigieg to lose?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is the expectation. No question about it.

But you know, Anderson, that history shows that New Hampshire likes to surprise everybody. The expectation in 2008 was that it was for Hillary Clinton's to lose.

[20:05:08]

And, you know, it was a -- it was a problem -- excuse me, in 2016, for Hillary Clinton's to lose. And she did. And there were lots of other examples through history of how New Hampshire voters like to surprise the political chattering class and surprise the voters in the later states to try to kind of stir things up and change the way that the race is.

It's not clear that that is going to happen in this case, for lots of reasons, the biggest of which is that Bernie Sanders showed four years ago that he is very popular here in New Hampshire. He is a neighboring senator. And so, that there doesn't seem to be any change in that. He only seems to be gaining support.

And then, of course, the question is Pete Buttigieg. One of the things that I'm looking for is the Joe Biden factor, Anderson. And whether or not the ascent that David described of Amy Klobuchar is going to be so strong that it could put Joe Biden even below and beneath her. And what, if that happens, what that will do for his fund-raising and for the perception of him as somebody who could win later on in the states to come.

COOPER: Yes, and does that affect his alleged firewall in South Carolina? We'll see.

BASH: Yes.

COOPER: Arnie, you've been involved in New Hampshire politics for decades. Have you seen a primary like this? I mean, such a wide field and obviously high stakes? And sort of deep concern in the Democratic Party?

ARNIE ARNESEN, HOST, "THE ATTITUDE WITH ARNIE ARNESEN": First of all, it's not just the wide field. Obviously, Donald Trump has changed the landscape, so there's an anger and a terror going into this choice that we've never experienced before. I mean, you may not have liked George Bush. You may not have liked Ronald Reagan, you may not have liked Bob Dole, but this is so different, because everyone feels more on edge as a result.

And, of course, just the last week it sort of heightened everything, from the chaos coming out of Iowa, where we got no guidance. In fact, what we also got was a lack of enthusiasm. We were being told that there was going to be this incredible turnout, young people were going to turn out, and the numbers were flat, and we didn't even get accurate numbers. So put that out there, take a look at the impeachment, take a look at

the State of the Union, and then look at the choices we have. And there are really two different paths, the moderate path and the progressive path.

But let me say something really important here. Bernie Sanders in 2016 set the agenda for 2020. Because every single candidate that you're seeing, whether it's moderate or progressive, sound a lot like Bernie Sanders. And one of the reasons why we're seeing Amy Klobuchar so excited, even though she came in fifth I think in Iowa, is that for the first time ever, I never really thought that debates matter.

Let me tell you right now that ABC debate really mattered because people really were so undecided and they wanted to see someone who was consistent, unflappable, was able to sort of take it, because they're thinking, who can take it to Donald Trump? And what you saw on that stage, especially for Amy Klobuchar, was that she delivered that message.

And more importantly than that, she and Bernie have something in common. They both have been very consistent, they're very both unflappable, and the two of them do something very interesting. They see the electorate.

Bernie Sanders has a consistency with working folks. They know him, they trust him. They know if he gets elected, he won't forget them. And what was that last line with Amy? It was, "I see you." "I see you," and that is so important.

I know Barack Obama was about hope and change, but he didn't necessarily bring about the change for working folks. And I think what they see in Amy and what they see in Bernie, from two different wings of the party is a message that says, I'm with you and I won't forget you.

COOPER: It's really interesting.

David, the latest Quinnipiac polling, which, of course, you know, doesn't predict, you know, outcomes, it helps to identify trends. Has Sanders leading nationally -- it's got Sanders leading nationally by a decent margin. If you're someone who thinks Sanders is not the best candidate to win in the nomination, will New Hampshire be a way of narrowing down the field?

CHALIAN: You know, it's a good question and perhaps, perhaps we will see out of that non-Sanders wing, the Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, if somebody is able to consolidate that. If that is not sort of split evenly or close to evenly among those three candidates, then perhaps that person emerges and let's see others confirm that, but does New Hampshire consolidate the moderate side, consolidate behind one of those candidates?

I don't know that that's clear. And a lot of the pre-election polling, Anderson, it seems like it is being a little bit more split. But that is what each of them are actually banking on. And, by the way, the reason that Sanders is out there in front now is because he has consolidated that liberal wing, because Elizabeth Warren has fallen back a little bit, clearly, Sanders was able to pick up some of those voters.

So, he's got that consolidated progressive side, while that moderate side has been splitting. I don't know if we're going to get a definitive answer tomorrow in New Hampshire or not, as to who is best positioned to try and stop Bernie Sanders, for that side of the party who would like to stop Bernie Sanders.

COOPER: Well, Dana, Bloomberg is obviously, then, is in that grouping as well. He's the third spot in the Quinnipiac poll. He's not on the ballot in New Hampshire, not been on any what yet.

It's sort of the unknown. I mean, just -- again, we haven't seen to Arnie's about we haven't seen something like this in New Hampshire, we haven't seen something like this nationwide with a person who has unlimited resources.

BASH: There's so many unknowns uncharted territories that Mike Bloomberg is trying to forge. And obviously, the first is the money that he's willing to spend. He has practically unlimited funds and he's using them big-time. But also because he's not competing here in New Hampshire, he's not competing in the early states, but he is competing in Super Tuesday, which is basically, I mean, it is such a delegate-rich state and it goes across the country and it touches so many different demographics.

And he is working that so hard. You know, normally, when we're right here and right now, on the cusp of New Hampshire, we would say, hmm, a national poll doesn't necessarily matter, because it matters more what happens in a state like this or Nevada or South Carolina. But this election year, it could be different, because there's such a delegate- rich day on Super Tuesday in early March, and because you have a candidate who's really working that.

COOPER: Yes.

BASH: And, you know, you can't turn on the television anywhere or look at your social media feed or go shopping online without a Michael Bloomberg ad popping up. And that is, at least appears to be at least in this poll, he appears to be getting something for that money.

COOPER: Arnie, earlier you used the word "terror" to describe what's in the minds, hearts of some voters. And it's a word you don't really hear a lot. But, I mean, it's a really -- is -- I mean, do you think that really -- there is -- do you really see that? A level of terror?

And I'm wondering what your sense is, what matters more in New Hampshire right now? Where the candidates stand on specific issues, or how best equipped they are to go toe-to-toe and defeat Donald Trump?

ARNESEN: Well, I think what we have right now is the authoritarian in chief who's now arrived in New Hampshire. And I think the last week has just added to people's concern. It has now gone beyond fear.

I think we begin to see that this is a tiger unleashed. He's kind of a tyrant. He takes revenge. And that means your choice is so important.

But I want to say something. I brought my technology with me. What you got with Iowa was chaos because you couldn't get an accurate number. Here's the beauty of New Hampshire, we have a pencil.

And one more thing about Mayor Bloomberg -- Mayor Bloomberg may not be running here, but people are talking about writing him.

COOPER: Hmm, interesting.

ARNESEN: Just to let you know, that's his influence.

COOPER: Yes, that's interesting.

Arnie Arnesen, great to have you on. Really fascinating.

Dana Bash, David Chalian, always, thank you.

Still to come tonight, to the point about being a tiger unleashed, Republican senators say that President Trump has learned a lesson from impeachment. The question is, what lesson is that exactly?

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin will talk about that as well as the public attacks he received from the president over the weekend.

Also, what the president's acquittal means for Rudy Giuliani. More access as the guardrails come off. We're keeping 'em honest, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:18:06]

COOPER: President Trump is in impeachment retaliation mode. In addition to firing two officials who testified, and we'll have more on that later tonight, he also focused his rage on U.S. senators who voted against acquittal.

Perhaps the biggest target for the president has been Democrat Joe Manchin. Over the weekend, the president tweeted, quote: I can't say I mind the fact that the great people of West Virginia are furious about their puppet Democrat senator, Joe Manchin. They will never forget his phony vote on the impeachment hoax. All he had to do was read the transcript, sadly, which he wouldn't understand anyway.

He also tweeted, quote: The people of West Virginia will no longer look at weak and pathetic Joe Manchin the same. I got the pension bill approved. Manchin couldn't do it.

And, by the way, that is not true. Senator Manchin actually introduced the bill in the Senate and worked with Senate Republicans to get it passed.

Earlier, I spoke to Senator Manchin about the attacks and whether the president has learned anything from all of this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Senator Manchin, first of all, I want to give you a chance just to address the president's attacks on you over the past couple of days, calling you weak, pathetic, a puppet, other things, as well.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Yes. Well, first of all, Anderson, they're not unexpected. I think it is who he is. There are so many problems we have in our country and my state needs a lot of help, too, and we're looking with the pre-existing conditions and infrastructure. There's so many things that we could be doing right now, and need to do.

We have a big energy bill we could be working on. So I'm not surprised. You know, he wants to call names and this and that. I just hope that he didn't mean to insult my entire state when he said, I didn't understand the transcript.

I understood it very well. Now, is he referring to, he doesn't think in West Virginia that we can read or understand? I hope that's not the case. I can take the insults, just don't insult West Virginia.

COOPER: Yes, for some reason, he was saying that Mitt Romney could understand them if he'd read them, that you couldn't. You think that might have been a dig at the state itself?

MANCHIN: You know, I hope it wasn't. So, I can take it.

[20:20:00]

Go ahead and insult me. It doesn't bother me. But don't be talking about the people in West Virginia. They're the hardest working, most patriotic people you'll ever meet. So, I hope he wasn't doing that.

And also, he called me a munchkin, and I think the definition of munchkin is small. I'm bigger than him. He's much heavier than me, but taller wise, so he might have got that definition a little wrong.

COOPER: You know, it's interesting, you said you expected this. When Adam Schiff during the trial referred to a, I think it was a CBS News report that they had said someone from the White House was telling -- warning senators, you know, people will have their heads on pikes if they went against the president, and when Adam Schiff said that, people -- Republicans in the Senate actually spoke out loud saying, you know, that's not true. And they seemed upset by it. I think Susan Collins was angered by it or indicated she was.

It does seem like essentially that is what has been happening, though, subsequent, once the trial was over. I mean, he is essentially trying to put Mitt Romney's head on a spike. He's going after you.

I mean, he's fired, you know, this guy, Vindman, he's fired Sondland and others.

MANCHIN: Well, first of all, the visual at the time and emotions were running high. I'm sure hindsight being 20/20, it wasn't the right -- it wasn't the right definition or the right thing that could have been said. Adam Schiff could have said, listen, I know people are afraid of losing their jobs and the president will come after and trying to take their jobs away from them or making sure they don't get reflected or making sure that they get a hard primary that will work for the other person. There are so many scenarios that could have been used.

So, with that being said, yes, it is coming to fruition now. When you have -- people basically have the expertise, people who have served with valor in our country and you're throwing them out because they didn't do as you wanted -- they did their job, but it wasn't the way you wanted the job done. That's not who we are. That's not how this country has become the leader of the world.

And we are the hope of the world. If weapon don't get it right, nobody else is going to step to the plate. So, I'm glad there are some real citizens, patriots out there that are willing. And Mitt Romney is not a more sincere person or knowledgeable person that you can work with. And I enjoy him so much. And he's going to speak his mind and vote from his heart.

It was a tough vote for me, a tough vote for a lot of people. We want our president to succeed, Anderson, and we want -- no matter who that president is, we want to work with them. But they have to be able to understand, there's some criticism that has to come and we call it constructive criticism back home.

We want you to be better, we want to help you. Here's what I think is wrong. He doesn't seem to take that very well.

COOPER: Some Republican senators have suggested that the president has learned his lesson after his acquittal. Do you think that's the case?

MANCHIN: Well, if it is, he has to hurry up and start, because right now, since the impeachment and the vote that we had, and we are today, I haven't seen any of that. But I'm still hopeful. I'm very optimistic.

So we'll see, Anderson. It doesn't look like that he's been willing and eager to change his ways.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Attorney General Barr confirmed today that the Justice Department is, you know, has set up procedures to receive information from Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine. I know you said on CNN earlier today that what Rudy has done -- I'm quoting, what Rudy has done is absolutely horrible for our country.

Is there anything to stop the president from calling Rudy Giuliani and say, you know what, go over, let's get Zelensky to launch an investigation, I mean, let's actually now do this?

MANCHIN: Let's see if our Republican colleagues believe that we should not have a rogue proxy, such as Rudy Giuliani or anyone else on behalf of the president or a senator or anyone in an elected position on a federal level, that's able to use the surrogate to go and use the power of the office they're representing and say so-and-so sent me and you tell that person, I'm going to send somebody, and pretty soon, they're going to be submissive of what they ask for. That's not who we are as a country. We can -- we can introduce

legislation that will prevent that from happening and hold that person accountable to the American people and to our laws and to the Constitution. That is wrong.

So, when they said, the justice department -- I'm going to hopefully be able to talk to people in the Justice Department and find out. Is there any special privileges you're giving Rudy Giuliani towards an entreat to stuff he's bringing to you first as any other citizen that has concerns about the well-being of our country and information they may have that could protect us or help us.

COOPER: Senator Joe Manchin, I appreciate your time, thank you.

MANCHIN: Thanks, Anderson. Appreciate it.

COOPER: More next and the question of what the president has or has not learned from impeachment, especially now that we know that one of the central figures, Rudy Giuliani, apparently, has a direct line to the Justice Department for whatever he allegedly gathers on the Bidens. Keeping them honest, when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:29:15]

COOPER: A moments ago, we talked about this notion that some Republican senators expressed before voting to acquit the president that the president has learned his lesson, wouldn't do it again.

Keeping them honest, what if the only lesson he's learned is that the guardrails are all gone, even for continuing to do what got him impeached in the first place, namely working with Rudy Giuliani, who is still looking for dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine.

And as we mentioned, he's now got someone to send it to and they're talking about it publicly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said you talked to Attorney General Barr.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This morning.

Has the Department of Justice been ordered to investigate the Bidens?

GRAHAM: No. The Department of Justice is receiving information coming out of the Ukraine from Rudy to see --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Already?

GRAHAM: He told me that they have created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it's verified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So there it is. They're not even trying to hide it anymore. The president's TV lawyer and former infomercial spokesman for LifeLock, Rudy Giuliani is still digging up dirt on Ukraine and there's now a process, that's the word Lindsey Graham used, a process to get that information directly to the Department of Justice. Graham said that on Sunday. And today, Attorney General Barr confirmed it, saying he has an obligation to, "have an open door to anybody who wishes to provide us information that they think is relevant." He also said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: There are a lot of agendas in the Ukraine. There are a lot of crosscurrents, and we can't take anything we receive from the Ukraine at face value. And for that reason, we had established an intake process in the field, so that any information coming in about Ukraine could be carefully scrutinized by the department and its intelligence community partners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: This applies, apparently, he add, to anything that Giuliani might provide, which certainly sounds more skeptical than Lindsey Graham was yesterday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: Rudy Giuliani is a well-known man. He's a crime fighter. He's loyal to the President. He's a good lawyer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, he is a well-known man. Not sure about the lawyer. He's not a crime fighter. Keeping them honest, it's also reported he may be under federal investigation by the southern district of New York, which has already indicted his two Ukrainian go-betweens, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. He's neither a federal investigator or any kind of official. He doesn't have a badge. He's just some disinterested private citizen. He's not just disinterested, he is the President's personal attorney.

If Attorney General Barr was telegraphing a certain sense of caution about wholeheartedly embracing whatever Giuliani hands him, it's hard to argue he's got no reason for it. By the same token, it's also hard not to wonder how much of what he said there was the same kind of anodyne language he offered up when presenting what later turned out to be a misleading summary of the Mueller report.

He was accused, if you'll recall, of acting more like the President's personal attorney than the country's attorney general. Rudy Giuliani is the President's personal attorney, his client is Barr's boss. The arrangement they apparently have is now raising questions, unless you ask Senator Graham, who don't forget, chairs Senate Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the Justice Department.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you're talking about being asked to do these things and a channel being opened between Rudy Giuliani and the Justice Department, this sounds a lot like this is in some ways a taxpayer-funded oppo research operation against Joe Biden. Isn't this exactly what was at the heart of the impeachment probe to begin with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, maybe the Republican senators are right. The President has learned his lesson. He's learned he can do whatever he wants. That's certainly something to talk about with the CNN legal team of Toobin and Rangappa, Jeffrey Toobin and Asha Rangappa.

Should anyone, Jeff, at the Justice Department may be paying attention to these claims Rudy Giuliani -- I mean for Barr to say, like, well, anybody can give us information. I mean, yes, I guess you can call like 911 if you see something and want to say something, but like should Giuliani have some line to the --

JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I mean, you know, I vow to no one in my criticism of Attorney General Barr. I'm somewhat sympathetic to his position here. You know, it is true that at the Justice Department, people bring them all sorts of accusations, all sorts of information all the time and it gets evaluated. That's -- you can't say Rudy Giuliani can't come in the door anymore with information. I think Barr indicated an appropriate level of skepticism about anything that might come in here.

So, I -- you know, I think this word channel, that they've created a channel, I'd like to know more of what that is, if it's -- if it's something sinister, if it's something like they are setting up prosecutions based on what Rudy Giuliani says, that would be one thing. If it's just a place to deposit information that gets evaluated like any other information, then I don't really have much of a problem with it.

COOPER: Asha, I mean with impeachment now over, what stops the President from having Giuliani, you know, set up shop down the street from the White House and go over to Ukraine and tell, you know, the president of Ukraine, Zelensky, to launch an investigation?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Yes. As Jeffrey said, I think that the question is, who is Giuliani talking to and what's the process? If it is the process that any other person has, which is you call the FBI, you get a call or a visit from some agents and you get the information, they look into it, that's one thing.

The CNN reporting suggested that Giuliani is talking to special prosecutors, which to me is putting the cart before the horse a little bit. You know, where is the FBI in all of this? And also, why is this public? Why is this being made public?

[20:35:00] Because it seems to me that if they're -- they were in taking this information, that they shouldn't be commenting on it al all and it's almost like Ukraine 2.0. Of trying to achieve in some way what President Trump wasn't able to do by getting Zelensky to announce the investigation, now they're announcing that there's this channel where I guess Giuliani is the investigator and providing information to them. I find it incredibly bizarre, at least the way that it's been framed and the fact that it's been commented on at all.

COOPER: I mean they don't really need a special channel. I mean they have Fox News. Giuliani can just go on there and it's like a special channel.

TOOBIN: Exactly. And remember, I mean there are many possibilities for inappropriate behavior on Giuliani's part. I mean, one of the most interesting pieces of evidence that came out of the trial was the letter that he wrote to Zelensky asking for a meeting. Presumably he'll still want to meet with Zelensky. Presumably he will have demands or requests of Zelensky. All of that is wildly inappropriate.

COOPER: And that's OK --

TOOBIN: Well, I --

COOPER: -- I mean under the -- under the fact that -- under the Republican senators' opinions?

TOOBIN: Correct. I mean, you know, the lessons not learned are, you know, already on dramatic display. I mean the firing of the Vindman brothers and Sondland. The --

COOPER: Right. Do you remember -- I mean when -- I talked about this with Joe Manchin, that, you know, when Adam Schiff mentioned the "head on spikes", which was allegedly, according to a CBS News report, you know, someone at the White House was characterizing, that's the message that was being sent to senators about not, you know, breaking ranks and going against the President and just going ahead an acquittal, it does seem like that's what they're doing. And they are -- they're, you know, they're not literally putting people's head on a spikes, but they are like cutting people off at the knees and trying to destroyed them.

TOOBIN: And you remember, when Schiff used that phrase --

COOPER: Right, they got all upset.

TOOBIN: -- they, you know, had to go to their fainting couch because they were so outraged by this, this, you know, dramatic image. But, of course, it's exactly what happened. I mean, look at what Manchin is going through. It's worse for Mitt Romney. The other day, they said that Mitt Romney shouldn't go to CPAC, the big conservative meeting, because they couldn't vouch for his personal safety.

Now, I don't think they were going to put his head on a pike, but I think, you know, when you're talking about people's personal safety, that gives you some idea of the venom that is directed at the President's critics.

COOPER: Asha, I mean if President Trump wanted Rudy Giuliani to be a law enforcement officer of the United States, which Lindsey Graham seems to appear he actually is, though he's not, I mean he could have nominated him to be attorney general. He could nominate him to work with Bill Barr. He could, you know, I mean, Nixon gave Elvis a badge. I guess he could give Rudy Giuliani some sort of a badge.

RANGAPPA: Right, but then also he could no longer be Rudy Giuliani's client, as a lawyer. I think it's worth noting here, Anderson, that we've spent the last three years hearing that anything that's originate as opposition research cannot be -- cannot form the basis of any kind of an investigation. That it is inherently biased and is toxic and is a part of a, you know, witch hunt coup.

Meanwhile, this has originated as opposition research, Giuliani said so on CNN to Chris Cuomo, that he was digging up dirt on Biden. And now there's just this, you know, flow of information where they're happy to receive it. You know, I find it incredibly problematic. And -- but I guess, here's -- this is where we are now.

COOPER: Yes, I mean for those who were upset about the, you know, the so-called Steele dossier, it does seem this is like the Giuliani, you know, manila folder dossier.

TOOBIN: And we'll see. I mean, you know, I -- this channel -- I mean, if it becomes an actual channel leading to prosecutions, then we should be very worried. In the meantime, maybe not.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Asha Rangappa, thanks very much.

We will have more in the retaliation and lessons not learn, the fallout of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and other administration officials, including his brother were fired. We'll look at the President in full retaliation mode, including against decorated war veteran Gold Star parent Khizr Khan joins us as when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:43:03]

COOPER: Republican Senator Rob Portman tells CNN tonight that he would like to see President Trump dial back his post-impeachment retribution. As we reported earlier, the President has publicly attacked U.S. senators voted against acquittal. And on Friday, he began a purge, firing two officials who testified against him, Gordon Sondland, a $1 million inauguration donor and ambassador to the European Union and Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman, an NSC official.

The President also fired Vindman's twin brother, an NSC attorney who played no part in the impeachment procedures. Both of the witnesses are planning to leave quietly, sources tell CNN. But one person familiar with the President's thinking said the President did not want this to happen quietly. On Saturday, the President tweeted that Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient was, "very insubordinate." Joining me now, Khizr Khan. Mr. Khan is the father of Army Captain Humayun Khan who was killed in Iraq in 2004 and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He's currently a surrogate for the Biden campaign.

Mr. Khan, thanks for being with us. When you learned that the President had fired Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother, one White House adviser described it to CNN as, "flushing the pipes." This is obviously two human beings and this is their careers. I'm wondering, what did you think of that?

KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF U.S. CAPTAIN KILLED IN IRAQ: Well, I was embarrassed for our democracy, for the office of the presidency in American democracy, office of the president is symbol of our rule of law, our decency. But this was a shameless act by Donald Trump, one more time proving that he is unfit for the office and he does not know what the service to the country means and how important that is.

COOPER: You don't think he understands the depth of sacrifice, the life of somebody who has dedicated themselves to serving their country?

[20:45:05]

KHAN: Well, he does not. When his turn came to serve, he ran away. On the other hand, look at the life and example of Colonel Vindman and his brother, our heroes. Captain Humayun Khan and Colonel Vindman and his brother and their family came to the United States when all three of them were 3 years old. All was made in United States, all was made with the goodness of this country. They learned the patriotism, service to the nation, and all of them had been true to their oath that they took to uphold the constitution. Vindman's fault is being cited because he abided by the legal subpoena that came from the Congress and he spoke truth.

COOPER: There are those allies of the President who say, you know, any commander in chief deserves to have whomever he wants serving around him. Do you think that's a valid argument in terms of, you know, why shouldn't the President be able to -- you know, if he feels this no longer works, to have Vindman in the office, be able to remove him?

KHAN: Yes, but look at the context, look at the circumstances, look at the consequences. Look at what inspired him to state that the removal of Colonel Vindman. It was because Colonel Vindman spoke truth and abided by the subpoena of the Congress.

This is, Anderson, a typical trait and character of a third-world dictator authoritarian. They have two enemies, one is the free media and the press and our press and thank you for being part of -- and being the voice of democracy. Second enemy is all of those who oppose the authoritarian, he has that dictator, that authoritarian has no room for them around him in his administration. That is what is being proven again and again.

But the good thing is, this time around, the Republican senators that acquitted him are realizing the mistake that they have made, that they have authorized him, that they have given stamp of approval for him to continue to conduct himself in a third world authoritarian manner.

COOPER: There's no evidence to you that he's learned any lesson from the impeachment, which is what some Republican senators were claiming.

KHAN: Well, the facts speak for themselves. That it has gotten worse. He's attacking anyone and everyone. And that is very dangerous. That is anti-democratic. That is not how American democracy works. In the world we had -- our democracy had been a symbol of hope for the rest of the world. This is not the example that we want to set or the president of the United States wants to set for the democracy, for the rest of the world, to follow.

COOPER: Khizer khan, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

KHAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, we go back to New Hampshire, where the candidates are still campaigning. Some voters are at odds over their choices tomorrow. More on the front lines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:52:45]

COOPER: Let's check in with Chris. See what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time" at the top of the hour. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Hey, Coop, I got three interesting guests on tonight. I have Senator Elizabeth Warren who needs a good result in New Hampshire. What does that mean? Does she accept the premise? That will be interesting. Andrew Yang sent out a fundraising letter that he could be done if New Hampshire doesn't go to way he needs it to. Is that for real? What does that mean? And then we have the governor of the state, Chris Sununu, who I know from some documentary work I did in that state, and he is so different from Trump. Why is she supporting him as an outspoken advocate? You know, he's one of the surrogates for the President. Why? What does he share in common for him? So, we'll be taking all of that on.

COOPER: All right, see you in about seven minutes from now, Chris.

Up next, with the candidates still on the trail, you're going to meet a New Hampshire couple married for nearly 45 years who now diverge on who they plan to vote for in tomorrow's primary.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:57:17]

COOPER: With about three hours to go until the first few ballots are cast in (INAUDIBLE), the candidates are still out campaigning in New Hampshire. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg both at late-night events. Also tonight, voters are still hashing out their choices or in the case of one couple disagreeing on them. Randi Kaye tonight has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN SALDOTI, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: I'm voting for Senator Elizabeth Warren.

LINCOLN SALDOTI, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: I'm supporting Pete Buttigieg.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This New Hampshire couple has been happily married nearly 45 years. But clearly, Lincoln and Kathleen Soldati don't always agree on everything.

(on camera): So you're voting for different candidates in the New Hampshire primary. Has this ever happened before in all your years of marriage in a presidential campaign?

K. SOLDATI: Not presidential, no. Never.

KAYE: How would you describe your marriage right now?

K. SOLDATI: A mixed marriage, absolutely. Yes.

KAYE: Mixed politically?

K. SOLDATI: Exactly. My husband and I share a lot of values, I think we just have different opinions about who the best person is that can take our values into the White House and be successful.

KAYE: What do you like about Elizabeth Warren?

K. SOLDATI: She has a vision that the government and the economy can work for all of us.

KAYE: Where's Elizabeth? Oh, here she is.

(voice-over): Kathleen also likes the idea of a woman president. But her husband is more impressed with Pete Buttigieg, who he's met at various New Hampshire events.

L. SOLDATI: It's time for a generational change. I mean, you know, sorry to say this, but we had our shot. We need new people, fresh ideas.

KAYE: They are both registered Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, so to them, electability is key.

(on camera): Can a 38-year-old former mayor of a small city defeat Donald Trump?

L. SOLDATI: Pete Buttigieg can. And I think Donald Trump will have a hard time dealing with him. Because he doesn't respond to the gamesmanship, you know?

KAYE: Do you think your candidate, Elizabeth Warren, could stand up to Donald Trump in the general?

K. SOLDATI: Oh, I think she already has. I mean, she's already been the recipient of quite a bit of abuse by him. L. SOLDATI: Frankly, I'd love to see a ticket with both of them. I'd be very happy with that in either order.

KAYE: And you, would you be OK with any combination of a ticket with the two of your candidates on it?

K. SOLDATI: Well, I think having Elizabeth be at the top of the ticket and Pete number two would be great.

KAYE (voice-over): Despite their differences, they do agree on one thing. They will support any Democrat who wins the nomination.

(on camera): So the marriage holds? We're not in dangerous territory?

K. SOLDATI: Solid.

L. SOLDATI: You know, 45 years, I think we can get past this, yes.

K. SOLDATI: The way that I've always worked with my husband is let Lincoln be Lincoln, right? Just don't try to, you know, take him off his path. So I'm on my path, he's on his. We're holding hands, but we're on our own paths.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: On the same path, holding hands.

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

CUOMO: I know a lot of wives and husbands who may explain their relationship that way, but let Lincoln be Lincoln, that is a really nice way of putting it. Anderson, thank you very much. Great peace.