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Dow Plunges 1,910 Points over Two Days As White House Downplays Realities of Coronavirus Spreading; Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is Interviewed About the Coronavirus Threat; Democrats Intensify Attacks Ahead of South Carolina Primary. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired February 25, 2020 - 20:00   ET




A big night tonight in presidential politics with the gloves coming off in South Carolina and the primary there just a couple of days away.

We begin, though, with a public health history dominating the headlines, cratering (ph) the stock market and potentially reshaping the political landscape.

We're talking, of course, about the novel coronavirus and keeping them honest. There are signs that the federal government might not be here. The president doesn't seem to be playing straight with the public about it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The coronavirus, which is, you know, very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it. The people are getting better. They're all getting better. I think that whole situation will start working out. A lot of talent, a lot of brain power being put behind it. $2.5 billion we're putting in. There's a very good chance you're not going to die. Now they have studied very much. We're very close to a vaccine.


COOPER: There's a very good chance you're not going to die. True, but perhaps not the greatest slogan for a public health campaign.

As for being close to a vaccine, that is not a case, it can take a year, a year and a half in order to develop on, nor is there any evidence the outbreak will die out in the warmer months which happened to SARS, but this is a novel coronavirus. No one can say for sure if it will simply die out as the warmer weather -- as the weather becomes warmer. Certainly, let's hope it does.

A top official at the Centers of Disease for Control has put out a very different message from the president saying it's not a question of if it will spread in the U.S., it's a question of when it will and how bad it will get. But as the president flew back from India, at least one top White

House advisor was sounding optimistic. And his job title may help explain why.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR: We have contained this. We have contained this. I won't say air tight, but pretty close to air tight. We've done a good job in the United States. Hats off to our public health people.


COOPER: That's White House chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow. He was speaking - as he was speaking, the Dow was tanking for a second straight day. It's down 1,910 points for the week.

Now, the president has been quick to take political credit for the market's performance. Critics now accuse him of downplaying a public health threat to keep that record intact.

As we said, the federal government's own leading medical authorities see the threat very differently from this president. This is audio from Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.


DR. NANCY MESSONNIER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR IMMUNIZATION AND RESPIRATORY DISEASES: Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country. It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness.


COOPER: Not, if but when, she said, which raises obvious questions, such as, are we prepared?

Today, however, testifying before a Senate committee, the presidents acting secretary of homeland security was not even able to answer basic questions like this one from Republican senator, John Kennedy.


REP. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): You're head of homeland security, do we have enough respirators or not?

CHAD WOLF, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: For patients? I don't understand the question.

KENNEDY: For everybody, every American who needs one, who gets the disease.

WOLF: Again, I would refer you to HHS on that.


KENNEDY: Mr. Secretary, you are supposed to keep us safe.

WOLF: My budget supports the men and women --

KENNEDY: You are the secretary of homeland security.

WOLF: Yes, sir.

KENNEDY: And you can't tell me if we have enough respirators?

WOLF: For the entire American public?


WOLF: No, I would say probably not.

KENNEDY: OK, how short are we?

WOLF: I don't have that number offhand, Senator. I'll get that for you.

KENNEDY: OK. But I want to be sure I understand. Somebody --

WOLF: Yes, sir.

KENNEDY: -- is doing modeling on how many cases we're anticipating?

WOLF: Yes, sir.

KENNEDY: You're just not aware (ph).

WOLF: You're asking me a number of medical questions that CDC and HHS are focusing on.

KENNEDY: I'm asking you questions because you are secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. And you are supposed to keep us safe.

WOLF: Yes, sir.

KENNEDY: And you need to know the answers to these questions.


COOPER: Well, acting Secretary Chad Wolf there also did not know how many cases his department was anticipating, or how many cases the Department of Health and Human Services or CDC were estimating. The acting secretary also echoed the president's claim that the vaccine is near, something that the HHS secretary was later asked about at the very same hearing.


KENNEDY: The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with keeping us safe, just testified about ten minutes ago a month and a half. Which is it? ALEX AZAR, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: One could not develop a

vaccine in a month and a half. That would -- that's never happened in human history.

KENNEDY: Maybe you ought to talk to the secretary of homeland security before he spreads that too far.



COOPER: So, there is that. That is not encouraging, no doubt about it. There is also the question of whether the money and resources the president was touting would be anywhere near enough.

Question too about budget cuts at agencies like CDC, how will that affect the federal response to what clearly now is a global threat?

Let's have more now on all of this starting with CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House.

What is the president saying about all of this? We know what he's saying publicly. Is there any word what he's saying privately?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, the president has been watching news of the coronavirus generate more and more negative headlines. And we are seeing officials in this administration be sort of caught flat-footed trying to respond to it.

The president is apparently angry and frustrated about this. Specifically, he is angry about a decision that was made several weeks ago to allow several Americans who had tested positive for coronavirus to return to the United States after being quarantined in Asia. The president is apparently furious that he did not have been put in that decision, even calling for the officials who did to be fired.

We're told by sources close to the president that he did not name specific names, we can tell no one has actually been fired yet. We were told he was broadly venting about the situation, but it's clear that he is taking this more seriously now, and as he does, he's become angrier and angrier over this disconnect that he has with his style, his way of approaching this, and the way that his administration officials actually have carried out policy, Anderson.

COOPER: Is there any explanation for the mix messaging on this coming from the White House? I mean, the testimony by the acting homeland security director was pretty terrible.

SANCHEZ: Yes, right. I think there's two aspects to this.

First, it's the idea that the president and members of his administration did not fully appreciate the ramifications of this virus and what it could do, specifically to the economy. The president often touts the strength of the U.S. economy based on how the stock market is doing. For two straight days, we've watched the Dow Jones Industrial Average tank. The president obviously is taking note of that.

Secondly, we also know that this White House simply does not want to rock the boat. Obviously, anything that they say to sound the alarm about coronavirus could further hurt the economy, and as things have headed in the president's direction early on in this 2020 campaign, they certainly don't want to do anything to alarm people or lead to the belief that he is not handling this in the best way possible, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Boris Sanchez, Boris, thanks.

Just before airtime, I spoke about all this with Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono.


COOPER: Senator Hirono, the president is saying that the coronavirus is very well under control. Larry Kudlow is saying it's very contained in his words. A CDC official says a U.S. outbreak is inevitable.

Is the administration taking this threat seriously?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): No. In fact, they are expressing -- no, they're engaging in wishful thinking. Notice that people who are saying everything is OK are the political people. And then you have the people who are actually having to deal with this virus and what could happen, and those would be the people who are actually doing the work.

So, today's briefing, although it was in a classified setting, anything that we learned can be discussed. And, certainly, that is not what we were told.

COOPER: Minority Leader Schumer today said that forwards describe the administration's response to the coronavirus, quoting, towering and dangerous incompetence. Would you go that far?

I mean, the president says, look, we are putting more than $2 billion towards this. He has also said he thinks maybe by April, it may just go down as it gets warmer, which is what happened with SARS, but there's no -- this is a novel coronavirus. We have never seen this kind before.

HIRONO: Yes, it's also very easily transmitted.

So, there are a lot of things about the coronavirus that we do not know about. And so, we need to be prepared. And what we were told today in our briefing is that while the United States is engaged right now in containment of the virus, soon, we need to get into mitigation mode, which means that we should be pushing forward with a creation of a vaccine as soon as possible. Although no matter how much you fast- track it, it will still take a year, a year and a half.

We need to develop a valid test, which we are still waiting for to test whether or not somebody has this virus. And in my opinion, and that of other Democrats, we should have a czar appointed to pretty much coordinate the administration's response to this potential onset of a pandemic virus.

COOPER: It's interesting. I was talking to Dr. Sanjay Gupta earlier today for another show we're doing online, "Full Circle", and one thing he said is that, you know, while there is focused on getting a vaccine for the coronavirus, which is certainly understandable, there is a vaccine already for the flu virus that only about half of Americans get every year, which is really kind of amazing when you think about it.


And, you know, while obviously the coronavirus is a serious concern and easily spread, as you said, some 70,000 I think Americans die every year from the flu.


COOPER: So people don't even get vaccinated with vaccines that already exist.

HIRONO: I think, though, there is a tremendous concern about the coronavirus. And so, I would say if there's a vaccine developed for it, that it will be given to the people who need it -- to have that vaccination.

There's a lot of fear going on regarding the spread of this virus. And so, I know we were told, and I think the president is basically focused on the impact of this virus in the situation on the stock market and the effect it would have on his reelection chances.

That is not where the health professionals are coming from where -- the health professionals are focusing on what's going to happen to the people of our country and what can we do to make sure that this virus does not spread in a way that we lose control. And so, they're focused on what we need to do.

And as I mentioned, as we did for the Ebola crisis, there was a czar appointed so that all of these various agencies involved right now in the coronavirus, we have many of them. You have Homeland Security, you have Health and Human Services, you have OMB, you have CDC, you have DOD.

So, there should be somebody in charge. And right now, there is not any such person. We also spent something in the order of $6 billion during the Ebola situation. And we are only being asked to fund about $1.2 billion of new money to contend with what could be a rapidly spreading disease and illness.

COOPER: Do you think the president's focus on this really is the stock market?


COOPER: The effect the virus may have on the stock market as opposed to effect on lives of Americans? HIRONO: Oh, he said -- he said as much. He is very concerned about

the stock market because he said the stock market is recovering and is doing fine, and this whole thing will be over. You know, everything is under control.

I think it's very clear where the president's head is at, and his head is always all about him, and what he can do to protect himself.

So, I think that -- I certainly not going to take the lead from what the president's pronouncements are, and rhetorical pronouncements. I'm going to listen to the professionals in the CDC and others who have experience with these kinds of diseases.

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



COOPER: Much more ahead tonight, including Democratic primary race in South Carolina, which has now turned into an all-out brawl. We'll hear from the party official trying to keep things under control.

Later, Roger Stone tries to blow up the verdict against him, but the judge in the case fires back hard against President Trump. That and more as we continue.



COOPER: The South Carolina primary politics have a history of being hard-hitting. Just look back at John McCain versus George W. Bush in 2000.

This, though, the punches are being thrown by Democrats, many of them now being aimed at the front runner, Bernie Sanders. The focus on his past writings and past statements and some of the attacks, the kind that could leave scars within the party during the general election campaign.

So, with an eye to that as well as more town halls tomorrow night and voting on Saturday, we just spoke just before airtime with Democratic National Committee Chair, Tom Perez.


COOPER: Chairman Perez, I'm wondering what you make of the turn this race has now taken, the stage we are at. I mean, it was bound to happen sometime, but do you worry it is turning into a circular firing squad that's going to hurt Democrats in the long run? Or is this just -- this is the stage we're at that's inevitable?

TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I look at 2008 when we had Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards. That -- I remember that debate. It was very similar to right now, I think it was in South Carolina. And that was -- that was a prize fight. There was a lot of spirited

discussion there, and at the end of the day, we came together as a party behind then Senator Obama. And I'm confident we're going to do the same here.

And what's even more compelling to be about right now, Anderson, is that everybody understands that Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy. And so, it's not about anyone candidate. It's about making sure we come together.

And so, while you will see differences on the debate stage, we saw differences last week. What unites us far outweighs what our differences are.

COOPER: At some point, if there is to be a serious challenge to Senator Sanders from one of the other Democratic candidates, some folks who are currently in the race are going to have to drop out. Is that something that you get involved with? With the campaigns in terms of having -- and those are tough discussions? Is that just up to the campaigns to come to terms with that? Or do you -- you know, make awkward calls or, you know, knock on the door and suggest -- you know, somebody drop out?

PEREZ: Right. I really -- I think that the voters are going to be the biggest people that helped bring that about. I mean, after this Saturday, and after next Tuesday, I think it will be undeniable that some campaigns, I don't know who, that's going to be up to the voters, but the candidates will have to take a cold hard look in the mirror and say, am I viable for the long haul?

COOPER: I want to play, just quickly, something that Michael Bloomberg's campaign adviser said this morning on CNN's "NEW DAY".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie has all of this loopy stuff in his background, saying things like, you know, women get cancer from having too many organisms, or toddlers should run around naked and touch each other's genitals to insulate themselves from porn.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why has this stuff not being more surfaced? He's written about women's rape fantasies. That's the loony side of Bernie.


COOPER: He is referring to essays the senator published in the '60s and '70s. At least one got some attention I think during his first presidential campaign.

What do you make of the Bloomberg campaign bringing them up?

PEREZ: Well, again, every candidate is going to do what they think is going to help them to win. At the end of the day, it's going to be up to the voters to decide which candidate shares my values. Which candidate can win, and how do we take it to Donald Trump, because this election it is impossible to overstate its importance of this election. And so, I'm going to leave it up to candidates to figure out what they think is in their best interest.

You know, I recall vividly in the past that we have had some very spirited moments at this point in the cycle, but again, I know that everybody understands, because everybody has taken a pledge, and an unequivocal, enthusiastic pledged to support the winner.

And that happened without hesitation, and I'm confident that they will do that.

COOPER: I just spoke to Rahm Emanuel a few minutes ago. He said Tom Perez is going to need a good war room, a good lawyer and a good parliamentarian at the convention, that the nomination fight is going to get really ugly around the convention.

Do you have all those things?

PEREZ: We have a great team. And I'm very confident in our team. And, you know, we -- I know there is a lot of prognostications, predictions, and again I would remind everybody, you need almost -- there's 4,000 delegates almost to the convention. You need 1,991 to win on the first ballot, and we have allocated a grand total of 100 so far.

So, we're in mile two of the marathon right now. South Carolina is the first opportunity at great scale for African-Americans, the backbone of our party, to make their voices heard. That is really, really important as we move through this Democratic primary caucus. We will be prepared for any and every eventuality, make no mistake about it.

COOPER: Chairman Tom Perez, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

PEREZ: My pleasure.

COOPER: More on the South Carolina primary just ahead, including discussion with African-American voters there about who they see as the strongest candidate.

Plus, I talk with former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about what the three former mayors in the race offer voters.



COOPER: With the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday contest just days away, there is something you might have missed. Three of the league candidates have served as mayor during their political career. I'm talking about Bernie Sanders, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg. Bloomberg and Buttigieg in particularly have used their experiences as mayors to show how that has prepared them for the White House. Earlier this evening, I spoke with someone who knows both occupations

well. Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago and chief of staff under President Obama. He is also the author of a new book, "The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World" released for sale today.


COOPER: You said something to Christiane Amanpour recently, that there is panic in -- among Democrats about what's going on. Is that really a panic?

RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Panic, nervousness. I mean, look, here's -- you have to step back. We have had six elections for the Democrats nationally have one. It's the same playbook. It's what I call this metropolitan majority, urban suburban, around issues of health care, education, transportation, environmental protections.

And it has worked for President Clinton in both his elections, President Obama's, both his elections, the '06 and 2018 midterms. It is a center-left strategy, and governing philosophy.

The idea that you're going to go absolutely far-left, ignore moderate to independent voters as part of a coalition, has never been tried in the United States by the Democrats nationally. And you have the presidency, Congress, the ability to take back control of the Senate, governorships -- this is a big role of the dice.

I would say panic accurately captures not just on ideological grounds, more importantly, on political grounds that the notion that you are putting so much at risk, given look -- think of it this way. Three Democrats in the last 100 years have won reelection -- Roosevelt, Clinton, and Obama. Why would you throw something out that you know only three times in 100 years has worked? Why -- two of them they are still around to give really good insight into how to win national elections.

COOPER: No need to essentially reinvent the wheel? Or to go to the most extreme?

EMANUEL: Yes, I mean, just -- look, forget the philosophical, because at the end of the day, getting people health care coverage, making sure that you can send your kids to college and it doesn't financial burden you, we all share the same goals. But you literally are taking a major, major political risk when beating Donald Trump is the singular goal of ours, and also maintaining control, getting control of the Senate, winning more governorships, and this is -- Donald Trump is telling you what he wants, and we are literally leading into this with our chin.

COOPER: I understand that intellectually as an argument, and yet, Bernie Sanders is winning?

EMANUEL: The fact is, ten years ago, three or four of these people would have already dropped out because they have the singular debate and they get $15 million, they will wait around and see of lightning will strike. By this point in 2008, 2004, if you had not finished -- gotten a gold or silver, you're done.

COOPER: I totally get the argument of why for --

EMANUEL: Do you get the argument? Why are you having so much confusion?

COOPER: Right. Well, no, but what -- who fits that argument? I mean, who do you see -- who among the candidates?

EMANUEL: Look, nobody, I mean, nobody's -- obviously, for a lot of reasons, nobody is going to drop for their own --

COOPER: But does of that do any of them --


EMANUEL: They don't have a motivation to drop in that superior problem. So the opposition of going one on one -- look, he's the frontrunner. By Super Tuesday if he keeps going, he's presumptive nominee, full step.

At some point, a lot of people are going to have to have come to Jesus meeting with him, and that's a big thing for a Jewish kid to say come to Jesus meeting. They're going to have to have a real serious discussion.

COOPER: It would be (INAUDIBLE).

EMANUEL: Don't be throwing that around, brother. OK. But if they -- they would have to do that. And they would have to have a discussion, is this really what we want to do?

COOPER: But if this is something that gets decided in some, you know, in some conference room at the convention or --

EMANUEL: No, we'll do it out here on the CNN. Is that OK with you?

COOPER: No. But I mean, the folks who support Bernie Sanders and who have been sweating and in the trenches and going out there, I mean, that's not going to -- if you're going to go out and vote, that is for the Democrat?

EMANUEL: No. Look, I mean, you -- you know, Yogi Bear had a great quote. When you get to a fork in the road, take it. And so there's a challenge here. You know, in 2018 the Democrats made the most gains in the mid-term election since Watergate. That's a big number. Not one member who took a red district and made it blue has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

COOPER: In the book, you say, "Being a mayor these days is the most important job in politics. Mayors and cities all over the world are stepping in where their national governments have stepped back, or even completely turned their backs and walked away. The poison in our national governments has made our politics sick. Mayors are working every day to bring it back to health." What is it you think -- I mean, why mayors are running the world? Why is it you think? EMANUEL: I think there's a couple of factors both economic, social, cultural. The driving force is Washington has abandoned their responsibilities, but the things that you need haven't gone away.

COOPER: Right. If anything, they've only increased.

EMANUEL: They only increased. We have had this period of time where local government ascending and national descending. But what's different in this kind of turn is, one, all the things that government touches that you feel confident about, where you live, how you get to work, the transportation, the schools where you send your children, the parks, the libraries, all of those, that's local government services.

And added on to that has now come who's leading in income inequality both education and minimum wage. Local government. Who's leading on climate change and dealing with greenhouse gases the most? Cities. Who's leading on immigration integrating new citizens into the city?

I mean, in Chicago you have 147 languages spoken in our public schools. All one aspiration for children's dreams that lot of different races and cultures in building a community with all of that diversity. So to me, cities and mayors today not only deal with the fundamentals of what you want from public government, but also taking on new responsibilities.

COOPER: "The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World."

EMANUEL: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Thank you.


COOPER: Saturday's contest in South Carolina rests heavily on the ability of candidates' obviously to attract voters who make up about 60 percent of Democratic primary electorate. The latest poll of likely African-American voters there comes from NBC News and Marist College. It finds Biden winning their vote 35 percent, behind him is Bernie Sanders at 20 percent, and Tom Steyer at 19 percent. No other candidates get double digits.

For better understanding of the contours of this race, our Randi Kaye went to North Charleston, spoke with a group of African-American women about the state of the race and which candidates they believe best represent their interests.


ROXANNE JOHNSON, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: I really feel like Biden is the best candidate and I'd like to convince you that --

DENISE CROMWELL, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: You've got a hard job ahead of you.

JOHNSON: -- that he can move this country forward. BLUNDELL KIDD, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: Really?

JOHNSON: He has the ability to go against Trump.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this North Charleston, South Carolina hair salon, Roxanne Johnson (ph) is trying to convince fellow clients to vote for Joe Biden in the upcoming primary.

JOHNSON: I like his experience, how he knows what's going on in Washington, D.C. He's familiar with policies.

KAYE: Denise Cromwell (ph) was a Biden supporter, but now she's undecided. She says Biden disappointed her with a canned response to an emotional story she shared about her uncle, a veteran taking his life.

CROMWELL: To me it was just a political move, a political response to hear and say what needs to be heard and said publicly.

KAYE: She's also concerned about Biden's health and stamina, though she still considering voting for Bernie Sanders. She also likes Pete Buttigieg, but worries about his electability.

CROMWELL: I just don't think America is ready for a president that's married to a man.

KAYE: Especially here in the Bible belt, she says, where voters may like Buttigieg's policy but because of their religious believes won't vote for a gay candidate. Still, Alyssa Locke is supporting Buttigieg.

ALYSSA LOCKE, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: I think he has some really awesome plan for moving the black agenda, you know, the project Douglass Plan which he has a lot of great points that we really need to be watching. So instead of we watching Bernie Sanders with the free, free, free --


KAYE: She like Buttigieg's honesty and his Medicare for All who want it plan.

LOCKE: If I like my health care plan, I want to keep it.

KAYE: All of the women are concerned about how Sanders would pay for Medicare for All, free colleges and his other promises.

JOHNSON: I just don't see how he's going to do it. I need to have some hard facts. Show me the numbers.

KAYE: Back in the 2016 South Carolina primary, Sanders won just 14 percent of the African-American vote. Most in our groups are still turned off.

KIDD: You have to have more of a way to deal with people without being so gruff. I think he's kind of rough around the edges there.

KAYE: Blundell Kidd (ph) is supporting Biden. KIDD: He worked with Obama for several years and I certainly trusted that administration.

KAYE: As for Mike Bloomberg, none of these women have even considered voting for him.

JOHNSON: I just don't feel like he knows what it's like for us every day Americans and what we're going throughout here in the real world.

KAYE (on camera): What do you make of Bloomberg's apology for the stop and frisk policy?

JOHNSON: I don't know that is genuine.

KAYE (on-voice): Meanwhile as the primary takes closer, those undecided are looking to the heavens for help.

(on camera) So how are you going to make up your mind? You only have a few days left.

CROMWELL: I'm praying. I believe in powerful prayer.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, North Charleston, South Carolina.


COOPER: Well, just ahead, we have breaking news. Roger Stone's attempt to get a new trial and what the judge is saying about Stone's friend. The President attacking her and the jury forewoman.



COOPER: There's breaking news now in the Roger Stone case. Testimony today from the jury forewoman refuting Stone's allegation of jury misconduct. Most remarkable, though, were the comments by Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Quoting from her, "The President of the Untied States used his Twitter platform to disseminate a particular point of view about a juror. Any attempt to invade the privacy of the jurors or to harass or intimidate them is completely antithetical to our system of justice. They deserve to have their privacy protected." That's according to "Politico."

Now during the proceedings, the President again attacked the forewoman, "There's rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case. Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred 'Trump and Stone.' She was totally biased, as is the judge. Roger wasn't even working on my campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch." Well, keeping them honest, Stone was on the campaign in 2015.

Joining me now, former federal prosecutor and CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, former Nixon White House counsel and CNN Contributor John Dean.

Jeff, I mean, have you seen a federal judge ever review a case sitting president like this before?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I never have. But I've never seen one deserve one -- deserve it as much as Donald Trump did. You know, I think it's important to draw distinction here. It's appalling for a president to insult a jury. You know, jurors are not public figures. Jurors are not people who invite themselves -- who invites scrutiny and judges quite properly try to protect them as Judge Jackson is doing now.

On the other hand, I do think it's entirely permissible for judges to -- for presidents to criticize judges. You know, there's this mythology that judges are somehow -- should be immune from criticism.

I don't have a problem with the President criticizing Judge Jackson. I don't have him a problem with him criticizing judge -- Justice Sotomayor and Ginsburg as he did. I think the criticisms themselves are absurd and it is wrong on the merits, but this idea that judges who have life tenure should be off limits is I think wrong.

COOPER: John, I mean, is Judge Berman right? Is what President Trump and others and the conservative media are doing part of a campaign on intimidation, harassment of jurors?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It certainly appears that way, Anderson. This isn't just a one-off with him. It's been consistent and persistent. He's been doing it obviously ever since he's become a prominent public candidate and then as president. So Jeff is right, there's no real reason a judge can't be criticized by a president if it's a legitimate criticism.

And judges are seldom inclined to attack back. There has been a reason bevy, however, of federal judges from the chief justice on down going after Trump for his improper criticism of judicial proceedings or for example in this instance going after a juror is totally out of bounds.

You know, Jeff, I mean, this comes on the heels, of course, of Attorney General Barr, you know, warning President Trump to stop tweeting about cases the Justice Department is handling, saying he's making, you know, Barr's job impossible and the President is clearly not listening.

Whereas -- I mean, do you think Barr is going to actually do anything then? If he can't do his job, which is what he was saying, it doesn't seem like he's taking the steps toward not doing his job.

TOOBIN: No. I think William Barr is a total Bush toad -- total Trump toady. And he is going to keep doing his job, which is doing the President's agenda but pretending that he's outraged by the President's behavior. I don't think there is any chance that Barr will leave. I think that was a show, his supposed outrage of the President's behavior.

And look, look at what he's doing. He's continuing to interfere an individual cases, including the very case that Barr was supposedly so outrage about. I just think Barr is putting on -- was putting on a show and we're seeing that he wasn't serious about it. [20:45:03]

COOPER: I mean, John, it is kind of remarkable if you just step back and think that the President of the United States is reaching down and putting his finger -- pointing his finger at an individual juror who, you know, you can argue she didn't disclose, you know, whatever she was supposed to disclose or that, you know -- but to Jeff's point, she's not a public person. She's not getting paid to be on that jury.

It certainly would seem to kind of make any juror concerned about serving on any jury -- on anything related to President Trump if you're afraid the President of the United States is going to, you know, shine his spotlight on you.

DEAN: Well, he's certainly doing it with no facts. He is purely speculating. It's purely what has been rumored in the conservative media. There is no basis that is known. That was what the hearing was about today. It was a hearing where the judge wisely only had an audio feed, so even the media was not in there to cover the event. So jurors' names were not disclosed and she looked at it and we'll get the results of what that look and see if there's anything improper.

It's very rare you have a judge go into a jury's deliberation like it was done today and that's largely been provoked not just by Trump -- excuse me, by Stone alone filing a motion. He's got the President. He's got his back who is trying to open this thing up and find some excuse to pardon this guy when there is no basis to do so.


TOOBIN: You know, the whole system is dependent on jurors, ordinary citizens being willing to participate. And why would they participate if the President of the United States is going to attack them? It's just awful.

COOPER: Yes. John Dean, Jeff Toobin, thank you very much.

One of President Trump's staunchest supporters has what many people calling unusual idea for the Office of Director of National Intelligence. What he has in mind, when we continue.



COOPER: Busy night, let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: How you doing my friend? I've got to admit, I've been shy on coronavirus. I've been shy on reporting on it because you know how we don't like to spread panics. So many of these things become overhyped, but it seems like in the last couple of days, I don't know if that the politics or the President messing with what's fact versus fugazy, but it seems to have reached a new level of concern. So tonight, we have the experts on to look at the medical aspect. OK. We have experts on to look at the macroeconomic expand -- you know, context of this. And then lastly, it will be what is the politics of this, how is it playing in, how is the President playing his general game of deception making this more frightening?

COOPER: Yes, it certainly is. Chris, appreciate it. Thanks. We'll see you just in about nine minutes from now.

One of President Trump's staunchest allies on Capitol Hill says there's no need for the position of Director of National Intelligence, position created right after 9/11. Just ahead, I'll ask the man who once held that job, what he thinks about eliminating the position.



COOPER: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he'd like to see the Director of National Intelligence job "go away". Graham, who of course is one of President Trump's staunchest loyalists now told reporters today he believes the position is redundant.

It's worth remembering that the job was created in the aftermath of the attacks from 9/11 to try to coordinate all the intelligence agencies under a single umbrella so that they do share information, there's not redundancy, to avoid among other things a single agency failing to communicate what it knows to a different agency.

I want to get some perspective now from the man who once held the job, the Director of National Intelligence, retired Lieutenant General James Clapper, CNN National Security Analysts. He was also the author of "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence".

Director Clapper, you know better than anyone that the DNI post was created after September 11th, after the attacks. What do you make of Senator Graham saying that the job is redundant and should go away?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYSTS: Well, not surprisingly, I completely disagree with Senator Graham and I've never heard him say that during the time I served as DNI.

Apart from the 9/11 commission, there was also a commission on -- that was -- that convened to investigate the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq fiasco. And both of these commissions recommended strongly that there needed to be central leadership direction over the entirety of the U.S. intelligence community.

And I can tell you from my time both as an agency director twice and then serving in the position for six -- almost six and a half years that coordination, integration, and collaboration across the intelligence community between and among the components of the intelligence community is not a natural act. There needs to be a full- time champion and advocate for integration and collaboration across the community. It's not very sexy, but it is crucial. COOPER: And what's interesting too about this idea is that it doesn't really seem that it stems from any, you know, rethinking of intelligence or, you know, any need that's arisen. It seems, if anything, it's about just calling the, you know, what I guess the President believes is a deep state.

CLAPPER: I agree, Anderson. I think to some extent the position of DNI and the staff, the Office of DNI which supports the DNI personally I think has become something of a hood ornament for this deep state fiction. And I think one of the useful purposes that the DNI serves, particularly in the Dan Coats Era was to provide top cover for the intelligence component so they can go about their jobs day in and day out.

COOPER: Just lastly, CNN is reporting that the President is once again considering Texas Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe who's obviously a very vocal and staunch ally of the President to be the next DNI. It's now being filled by an Acting Director Richard Grenell.

It didn't work out for Ratcliffe the first time. The President wanted him last year. There was concern in the Senate about his qualifications. I don't know that there would be anything different this time around. But if that's who the President wants, it certainly is a sign of just wanting somebody who is slavishly loyal to him.

CLAPPER: Well, I think so. I mean, that's certainly the case with Ambassador Grenell. This is a partisan staunch supporter of the President. And I've always said, and I guess I'm biased, but I believe the incumbent in that position should be an intelligent professional or a national security professional and preferably somebody that's had some experience running in large organizations.

I found it to be the toughest job I ever took on in my 50 years in intelligence. And I actually knew something about intelligence and to learn the ABCs of intelligence on the job I think is really, really tough.

COOPER: Why would -- how was it the toughest job? Because I mean you had a lot of extraordinarily difficult jobs in intelligence and in national security?

CLAPPER: Well, it's just the demands that are made on you. For one -- for me, it was time demands, you know, staying abreast of intelligence developments all over the world, and then at the same time managing this large complex globally dispersed enterprise of over 200,000 people with a $60 billion budget.

This is not a trivial undertaking and it's not something that can be done on a part-time basis like, you know, part-time help at the post office at Christmas time. It can't be done that way.

COOPER: Yes. Director Clapper, I appreciate it. Thank you.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, that's it for us. The news continues, though. I'll hand it over Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo.