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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Donald Trump Insinuations about Ted Cruz Citizenship; Republicans Attack Obama Gun Control Measures; NRA Pushes For Police To Re-sell Seized Guns; Was It Really An H-Bomb?; Does North Korea Have The Ultimate Weapon?; Melania Trump: I Am Not Shy; Trump Vs. Cruz On Birther Question. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 6, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us. Busy night indeed.
We begin tonight Donald Trump. He has been making insinuations about Ted Cruz' citizenship while denying responsibility for it saying he is only asking what others are asking him. Senator Cruz, for the record, was born in Calvary, Alberta to an American mother. Trump's thoughts on the subject surfaced when he was asked about it late yesterday by "the Washington Post." He spoke today with "the SITUATION ROOM's" Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: Senator Ted Cruz is your main rival in Iowa according to the polls right now. All of a sudden, this whole issue of the fact he was born in Canada has come up whether or not he is a natural born citizen. You know the constitution says no person except a natural born citizen shall be eligible to the office of president. Do you believe Senator Ted Cruz is a natural born citizen?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know to be honest and I like him a lot and I don't like the issue. I don't like even bringing it up. And, you know, it wasn't me that brought it up. It was "the Washington Post" doing an interview.
BLITZER: They asked you a question.
TRUMP: One of the questions they asked me was this question and, you know, they went with it and I wasn't very aggressive with the answer except one thing. You can't have somebody running if the Democrats are going to at some point and one of them threatened to bring a suit a long time ago. BUT How can you have a nominee running, you know, against a Democrat, whoever it may be, probably Hillary Clinton because she will probably escape the email problem, which is disgusting that she is able to because other people have -- are doing far less had very, very major consequences. It's been terrible, but it is probably going to be Hillary. So how do you run against the Democrat, whoever it may be and you have this hanging over your head if they bring a lawsuit? A lawsuit would take two or three years --
BLITZER: He says he's a natural born citizen because his mother was U.S. born, U.S. citizen and as a result he is a natural born citizen.
TRUMP: I hope he's right. I want to win this fair and square. I don't want to win on this point. What the Democrats are saying, though, he had a passport.
BLITZER: He says he didn't have a pass port.
TRUMP: A Canadian passport.
BLITZER: He says his aides say he didn't have a passport.
TRUMP: Well, I heard --
BLITZER: He may have been eligible.
TRUMP: I think that's wonderful if he didn't and I never understood how he did. But everybody tells me he had a joint passport.
BLITZER: He has a Canadian birth certificate because he was born in Canada.
TRUMP: Well, here is what I think. What I think I would do, I would go and seek and declare it to a judgment, if I was Ted.
BLITZER: What does it mean?
TRUMP: It means you go to court.
BLITZER: Which court?
TRUMP: You go to federal court to ask for what's called a declaratory judgment. You go and seek the decision of the court without a court case. You go right in. You go before a judge. You do it quickly. It can go quickly. Declaratory judgment. It is very good. I have used it on numerous occasions. I have been pretty good with it, actually.
TRUMP: So when there is a doubt because there is a doubt. When Ted doesn't want to happen is he doesn't want to be in there. I mean, I think I'm going to win. I'm leading in every poll by a lot, but I have a lot of friends in the Republican Party. I have a lot of friends all over the place, all right? If Ted should eke it out and I hope that doesn't happen and he has a cloud over his head, I don't think it will be possible for him to do well or the Republicans to let it happen because he'll have this cloud. What you do is go in immediately like tomorrow, this afternoon you go to federal court. You ask for declaratory judgment. You want the court to rule. And once the court rules, you have your decision.
BLITZER: But that could take a long time. Because I don't think the Supreme Court really ruled on what is a natural born citizen.
TRUMP: That's the problem. There is this doubt. People have doubt. Again, this was not my suggestion. I didn't bring this up. A reporter asked me the question. But the Democrats have brought it up. And you had somebody, a congressman say no matter what happens, we're going to be suing on this matter. That's a tough matter for Ted. Again, I didn't bring it up, Wolf. This is brought up and asked of me as a question. It is not the first time it's been asked but it is being asked by a lot of different people to a lot of people that are running.
BLITZER: Because, you know, your critics are saying you are doing to Ted Cruz what you tried to do to President Obama --
BLITZER: No, who knows about Obama.
TRUMP: His mother was a U.S. citizen born in Kansas. So, was he a natural born citizen?
BLITZER: Who knows? Who cares right now? We're talking about something else, OK? I'm going to have my own theory on Obama. Someday I'll write a book. I will do another book. It will be very successfully.
But Ted, he should ask for declare tory judgment because that will clear it up. And I'm doing it for the goodness of Ted. I'm not doing for me because I like him and he likes me. We have a good relationship. This would clear it up. You go into court. You ask for declaratory judgment. The judge will rule. And one the judge rules that he is OK, then, the Democrats can't bring a lawsuit later on.
COOPER: Donald Trump today with Wolf Blitzer. He talked about a lot more than just that. We will bring you the rest of the interview at the top of the next hour when we are live. Here is how Ted Cruz responded today talking with our chief political correspondent Dana Bash.
[20:05:07] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Speaking of the constitution, you may have heard Donald Trump is bringing up the fact that you were born in Canada. And saying that if you're the Republican nominee, it could be held up in the court for two years. You're a constitutional scholar. You've argued before the Supreme Court. Why do you think on the legal basis he's wrong?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, the legal issue is straightforward. The son of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen.
BASH: But it's never been tested. You know full well because you have done it on another issue.
CRUZ: Listen. The constitution and laws of the United States are straightforward. The very first Congress defined the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad as a natural born citizen and by the way, many of those members of the first Congress were framers at the constitutional convention. At the end of the day, this is a non-issue but you know, my response as you and I talked about just a minute ago, I tweeted a link to a video of Ponzi jumping a shark.
You know, I'm not going to engage in this. And the reason is simple. There are far too many serious issues facing this country. Last night North Korea claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb. What the American people are looking for is who is prepared to be commander in-chief? Who has the seriousness? Who has Judgment? Who has the knowledge? Who has the clarity of vision?
BASH: Let me button this up though.
BASH: Just on the issue of the passport.
CRUZ: What passport?
BASH: Donald Trump is suggesting, saying you had a Canadian passport.
CRUZ: It is not true.
BASH: You never had a Canada passport --
CRUZ: No. Of course not.
BASH: You asked your mom, you asked your dad and you're --
CRUZ: Yes. I'm sure.
COOPER: And so it begins. We are joined by pair of CNN political commentators with plenty to say about this all, Amanda Carpenter who once served as Ted Cruz's communications director. Jeffrey Lord, a Trump supporter, veteran to Reagan White House political operations. Also senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is joining us from legal perspective.
Jeffrey, I mean, Trump is saying and you agree that he's just doing some sort of due diligence on behalf of the GOP in case Alan Grayson, who is the congressman who made the, you know, suggestion about possibly suing over this, although Alan Grayson is certainly, you know, questionable on a lot of folk's minds, even some Democrats minds. But clearly it's for than just him saying, you know, I'm trying to help Ted Cruz. I mean, clearly, he says I don't know when Wolf asked him point blank if he believes Cruz is a natural born citizen. He could very easily just say, yes of course he is, but you know, he still should do this.
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. You know, Anderson. What strikes me here, there is two tracks to this. One is the legal and I'm not a lawyer so I'll leave that for Jeff Toobin and lawyers to debate and I've heard different versions of this. I think he is a natural born citizen but I'll leave it to the lawyers.
The second track, though, is quite political. And what is striking here in this is that he is managed for a little bit at least to throw Ted Cruz who is no dummy off message and Ted Cruz is spending his time answering all of this kind of thing and we are now at a point where the countdown is on for Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina. And I assure you, Ted Cruz doesn't want to spend his time answering this thing. So that's number one.
Number two, I have to say the people in the establishment who can't stand either of them, they are looking at this like King Kong battling Godzilla and they are hoping the two of them will wrestle themselves to death and then they can get somebody else in there. So it's very interesting in a political situation here, but he's definitely thrown Ted Cruz off message and we'll see, you know, how long this lasts.
COOPER: Well, Amanda, do you think - I mean, Ted Cruz your old boss, do you think he has thrown off message by this?
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: No, not at all. He answered a silly attack with a silly video which was fitting. But I do agree with Jeffrey. This is all about politics because I think Donald Trump has learned that he can't attack Ted Cruz on the issues.
Donald Trump doesn't want to attack Cruz on the issues because Cruz is pretty rock solid across the conservative spectrum. So what has Donald Trump done over the last few weeks? He has questioned Cruz's evangelical faith and now he is questioning his birth. I think this shows that Donald Trump is really flummox. He sees the primary date is quickly approaching and he needs to find a way to knock Cruz off his game and we are really in the time where he's just throwing the kitchen sink out there to seeing what he can get Cruz to respond to. So you know, we might spend a day or two on this, but I think we'll quickly move on.
COOPER: All right. Jeff Toobin from a legal stand point. First of all, what do you make of this? Is there any merit to questioning Cruz' eligibility?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in 200 years, the Supreme Court has simply never addressed this issue at all. So there is no definitive ruling. However, every indication, every piece of history, every analysis of this issue suggests that Cruz is a natural born citizen. Apparently, what the framers of the constitution meant was that anyone who became a citizen by birth, not someone who went through a naturalization ceremony, so John McCain who was born in the Panama Canal zone, he is a natural born citizen. Ted Cruz son of an American mother did not have to go through a naturalization ceremony. So he became --
[20:10:26] LORD: Right.
TOOBIN: He is a natural born citizen. Arnold Schwarzenegger born in Austria moved to California, went through a naturalization, he could not be president. COOPER: Right.
TOOBIN: But, you know, there is no definitive word but it seems very, very clear that Cruz can be president.
COOPER: And Jeffrey Toobin, when Donald Trump says, well, he should get a declarative ruling from a judge, does that make sense to you?
TOOBIN: No, that makes no sense at all. Under the constitution, there has to be a case or controversy. You can't go to a federal judge and say, please, answer this question for me. You can do that in some states, but you can't do that in the U.S. district court. There has to be something called a case or controversy.
COOPER: So when Trump says he can go to a federal court, that's simply not true?
TOOBIN: It is just wrong. It is just not possible for Ted Cruz to do that. That does not exist in the federal courts so someone would have to sue. As far as I'm aware, no one who has standing who has the legal right to sue is planning to do this to file such a lawsuit but, you know, so I think the issue is never going to be resolved to 100 percent certainty but it is pretty close to 100 percent certainty that Ted Cruz is eligible to be president.
COOPER: Jeffrey Lord, I want to play a clip what Donald Trump told ABC back in September about Cruz's citizenship and what opposed to what he said last night to one of our affiliate. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you think he's ineligible to be president because he was born in Canada?
TRUMP: No, from what I understand everything is fine. I hear that it was checked out by every attorney in every which way and I understand Ted is in fine shape.
All I know is a lot of people are talking about it. I hope it's not so. I hope it doesn't come about. But people are worried if he weren't born in this country which he wasn't, he was born in Canada and he actually had a Canadian passport along with a U.S. passport until just recently, I mean, like within the last couple of years. So I don't know what it all means. I know that people are talking about it. We'll find out I guess. I mean, Ted will be able to answer to answer the question hopefully satisfactory. I hear a couple states have a problem with it, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, it's interesting he once said, you know, according to everything he heard in all the legal experts, there is no problem. Now he hears people talking about it. So he's raising this. I mean, it's a flip-flop, no?
LORD: Well, you know, one of the things that I have discovered in going through this, there was an attempt by a couple of Democrats progressives to throw Ted Cruz off the New Hampshire ballot. Now, it failed. But the very fact they took the time to do this along with the Alan Grayson thing says to me that there are people out there. And it is just, boy, you know, this society is so -- I just can't believe that there's not going to be somebody out there who would try this if Ted Cruz gained steam. Whether that means he's on the -- whether he's on the top of the ticket or if Trump picked him for vice president, I think they would still come after him.
COOPER: Amanda, I mean, to Jeffrey Lord's point, so what if some people, Alan Grayson or whomever, you know, files a court case. People get sued all the time. Presidents of the United States, people want to be president get sued all the time. Does it really matter?
CARPENTER: Well, listen, if any court case should be taken seriously, but I think Ted Cruz is in very good standing. A lot of lawyers are on his side. And listen. It's campaign 101. Don't take advice from people that want to beat you. Ted Cruz is not going to take Donald Trump's legal advice.
LORD: Good advice.
CARPENTER: There is a very good article. You know, the former solicitors general for President Bush and President Obama have written in the Harvard review journal that Ted Cruz - there is no question that Ted Cruz is a U.S. citizen. So although, it has not gone to court, there are very serious legal scholars who have looked at this and have put their thoughts On the Record.
COOPER: Right, as Donald Trump said months ago.
Amanda Carpenter, Jeffrey Lord, Jeff Toobin, thanks very much. It is getting interesting.
When we come back, more on the implications that the ballot box with Iowa and New Hampshire getting closer by the day, as well as both candidates on guns, with our "360" presidential town hall less than 24 hours away.
Coming up later, it was earth-shaking news. The question, though, were the tremors from a North Korean H-bomb test. Does one of the world's most volatile ruthless dictator now have the world's deadliest weapon? The latest when we continue.
[20:18:09] COOPER: Well, there is good reason why Donald Trump has turned his rebel guns on Ted Cruz. The Texas senator has become a serious rival and in Iowa. His the front runner which you might imagine helps explain the Trump attacks and insinuations. However, that is not all he said to Wolf Blitzer today. Here is another moment from their interview.
BLITZER: You heard the president of the United States, 30,000 Americans die each year from gun violence, about half suicides. Who what would you do right now to prevent that kind of slaughter?
TRUMP: OK. The first thing I would do is protect the second amendment. The second thing I would do is wouldn't use executive orders to do this. You got to get people. You know, our country was founded on the basis that you are supposed to negotiate back and forth with different members of different parties and you come to a conclusion through negotiation and compromise. You don't go and just keep signing orders and all he's doing is taking chunks out of the second amendment. That won't happen, you know.
BLITZER: But you don't want convicted felons or mentally ill people to be able to go to a gun - anyplace, online or whatever, and get access to a gun.
TRUMP: When you say anyplace, we have very strong laws on the books --
BLITZER: Gun shows for example. You don't want bad people to get access to guns.
TRUMP: When you get into the gun show, it's a slippery slope. That stops a father from giving his child --
BLITZER: What about out of line purchases?
TRUMP: Let me just go a step further.
BLITZER: Because background checks make sense, right?
TRUMP: We have to protect the second amendment. Have no choice. We have to do that. It's very important. I believe in --
COOPER: Well, Ted Cruz also talked firearms today with CNN's Dana Bash. She joins us now along with CNN political analyst in "New York" and presidential correspondent Maggie Haberman.
Dana, you heard what Donald Trump told Wolf about guns and the second amendment. What did Senator Cruz have to say on the issue?
BASH: On this issue, they sounded very similar. Both saying that the president is way out of bounds, both in how he did this and in what he believes. Listen to what Senator Cruz told me. You posted or your campaign posted on your Web site a men picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:20:11] BASH: You post it or your campaign post it on your website, (INAUDIBLE) picture of President Obama. And the headlines say Obama wants your guns. How is that anything but fear mongering?
CRUZ: It is actually quite accurate. This is the most anti-gun president we have seen. Eric Holder, the first attorney general under Barack Obama said he believed it was his job as attorney general to quote "brainwash Americans against guns." BASH: But that's not the president.
CRUZ: But it's the president's direction. At every instance, the president uses every terrorist attack virtually every criminal --
BASH: So you don't take him at his word he just wants to protect your children, his children, everybody else.
CRUZ: Absolutely, not. And in fact, I'll tell you who I do take at her word is Senator Diane Feinstein who said if I could go to Mr. America, Mrs. America and say hand over your guns, I want all your guns, I would do it. I believe Diane when she said that. And you know what? Barack Obama is in exactly the same boat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Maggie, I mean, it's interesting. We have seen a lot of Republican candidates go after President Obama for the executive action on firearms. As a mentioned, the president is going to have his town hall tomorrow night at 8:00 where we get -- where we are going to be asking him questions, audience members are going to ask him questions as well on all sides of the issue. How do Republican candidates stand apart from each on this? Because they do sound very similar.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: They do sound very similar. You're hearing similar rhetoric and saw the White House, it was interesting. Chris Christie, I would say, is the one person who you have seen Democrats try to single out as being different on guns. You saw Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary making the point that Christie actually has a record as New Jersey governor that is a bit of odds with what he's saying now. I was with Chris Christie the other day in New Hampshire. He repeatedly declined to answer questions about this.
As for the rest, it is basically sound as conservative as you can and as strong as you can on this issue. You saw with Ted Cruz. Just now, you saw with Donald Trump.
COOPER: Dana, I want to go back --
BASH: Anderson, if I could.
COOPER: Go ahead, Dana, yes.
BASH: Just real quick, if I may add, I think Maggie is exactly right. There is not a lot of daylight policy-wise between the Republican candidates. But for the Cruz campaign, it is very clear this was a gift for them because Ted Cruz sees himself as somebody who is different because way back when he was the solicitor general of Texas, he kind of made his name for himself on a national level with conservatives by really pushing for people around the country to play into a very important Supreme Court case. He actually got an award from the NRA from that way before he even ran for the U.S. Senate. So he feels like he's got good credentials on that so this is again a political gift. COOPER: Dana, was Cruz at all rattled by Trump's citizenship, you
know, raising the citizenship by attack when you spoke to him?
BASH: If he is, he is not showing his cards at all. You saw he was a little bit, sort of pointed in our discussion about the way that Trump took it a step further saying well I don't know, maybe he had a Canadian passport, saying no way, just trying to kind of put that part of it to bed.
But I do think that they understand inside the Cruz campaign that they have a lot to lose here. I mean, he is at this point very much the expected winner of the Iowa caucuses. That's what Donald Trump knows, too, which is why he is throwing this and pretty much anything else I think they can think of at him.
So they have got to try to play it cool. Kind of somehow walk that line of not looking like they are responding and taking the bait, but also trying to make clear, look, we just don't think he's right here. And he does have the ability of being, you know, a lawyer, Ted Cruz and somebody who has the understanding of the constitution. So that helps in his argument.
COOPER: Maggie, do you see - I mean, you know, when Trump went after Ted Cruz in the past, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, you know, powerful radio hosts basically said kind of, you know, said back off, do you see that happening here or because we are, you know, we are less than a month away until Iowa, do you see this escalating?
HABERMAN: I think we'll know more in the coming days. I think it is an interesting fact in the last couple of weeks, especially, months especially, the super pacts backing Ted Cruz made advertising investments on a lot of lot of radio shows. They know that that is their target audience. They know that these are Cruz backers.
And to your point, these are host given Cruz antibodies repeatedly when issues have come up but there are a lot of people that also like Trump within this audience. And so, I'm not so sure you will see Trump, if criticized quite the same way. We are entering a different period. Some of it will matter on the audience response for folks like this.
But I think Dana is exactly right. Cruz is walking a careful line. On the hand, he doesn't want to get sucked in to this. On the other, Trump is able to project something in a way that no other candidate has been able to. We have now been talking about this for a day. Trump had made sure of that. It remains to be seen if Trump will talk at his rally tomorrow, but my guess is he will in some way or another and then it just keeps going. It will be interesting to see what happens next week at the debate.
[20:25:14] COOPER: Maggie Haberman, always good to have you on. Dana Bash as well.
Still to come, more on guns in America. What happens to the guns police confiscate from criminals? A lot of police departments want to destroy them. The NRA does not want that to happen. There is lobby coast to coast to force the police to actually resell them. Drew Griffin tonight investigates.
[20:28:56] COOPER: Tomorrow, I'll be questioning President Obama in a town hall meeting we are calling guns in America. Tonight, we have an investigation into a gun battle that you may not be aware of. What to do with the guns that police take away from criminals. Many departments wanted to destroy them, but they are facing major pushback from the NRA. They think that would be wasting perfectly good guns and on a lobbying spree trying to force the police sell the guns they confiscate back to people. It is an idea that has already backfired at least once nearly killing two officers in Minnesota.
CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports tonight.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It happened at a city council meeting in New Hope, Minnesota almost exactly a year ago. A routine meeting captured on the city's in house video. New police officers had just been sworn in when the council took up its very next item.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A resolution authorizing the purchase of an electronic reader board sign.
GRIFFIN: Suddenly shots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down. Get down.
GRIFFIN: Council members diving under desks, one even takes out a gun. Off camera just outside the council chambers, a well-known mentally unstable resident named Raymond Kmetz, decided this was the night he would get back at the city he had been fighting with.
[20:30:12] Those newly sworn officers would be his targets.
Kmetz was waiting for them just as they left the counsel chambers, waiting for them right here with a gun police say should have never been allowed back on the streets.
It was a shotgun. Kmetz fired once. The new police officers made sure he wouldn't fire again. Two officers were wounded, Kmetz killed in a hail of police bullets.
RICHARD STANEK, SHERIFF, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: And again everybody heard this was a shock that an individual could walk into a city counsel meeting where police officers were being sworn in to the next 20, 25 years of duty and service to their community and be victims of gunfire like that.
GRIFFIN: But for Sheriff Richard Stanek, the shock wouldn't end with the crime. The investigation could find kmetz should have never had that gun. He would have never passed a federal background check. He had a history of mental illness and the trouble with the city of New Hope yet Raymond Kmetz was able to buy three guns illegally through a straw purchaser, a friend who is pretending to buy the guns for himself. And in a shocking twist, all three guns were being sold by the police department of Duluth, Minnesota.
STANEK: I was very surprised being a sheriff of a large Midwestern county, one of the largest counties in the country, to learn that a law enforcement agency had actually sold these guns online instead of destroying them or keeping them for their own purposes.
GRIFFIN: Across the country, police chiefs and sheriffs are finding themselves in an ethical dilemma over the same issue. In Hennepin County, Minnesota guns from crimes are seized almost every day. Good guns worth money. Sheriff Stanek doesn't sell them. He keeps them right here never to be on the street again.
2,600 of them and counting inside his gun library under the guys they could help in future criminal investigations and training but other municipalities don't have the storage, have shrinking budgets and are under growing pressure to do exactly what Duluth, Minnesota did -- sell them.
And across the country, one very strong lobbying group is trying to make sure guns seized by police are actually put back on the street. That lobbying group, "The National Rifle Association".
DAVID ROUCHE, CHIEF, THE KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Actually, we weren't seeking it but it was brought to us.
GRIFFIN: David Rouche is the chief of the Knoxville Tennessee department. He also heads up the state wide police chief's association in Tennessee. He says if anything he and his fellow police chiefs were looking for a law that would allow them to destroy the guns they confiscate.
Instead the NRA came to downtown Knoxville and found its own state legislator to push its own legislation. State Senator Douglas Overbey put forth a bill that would ban police chiefs in Tennessee from destroying any gun. The state senator, told us he was too busy to talk to us about his bill today and tomorrow and the next day and according to his assistance, ever.
ROUCHE: The original law that the NRA brought forward would not allow us to destroy any of the firearms.
ROUCHE: Right. And so we certainly, we're not in favor of that.
GRIFFIN: Police in Tennessee were able to water down the NRA's law which went into effect last summer. A police agency can destroy a gun but must first seek permission from a judge to do it. According to a survey conducted by CNN Money, nearly a dozen states have passed new laws in the past five years that ban or discourage police from actually destroying their confiscated guns. And instead, encourages them to be sold.
Each law drafted or suggested by the National Rifle Association. Surprisingly, the NRA so far, is so far refusing to respond to CNN's request for an interview but a spokesman did point out the guns are being sold to law-abiding citizens adding that those are close to police gun sales are just trying to destroy firearms for the sake of destroying them because they want to get rid of all guns.
Art Acevedo, the chief of police in Austin, Texas, says the NRA is simply on the wrong side of the law. Police chiefs don't want more guns on the street and certainly don't want to be the ones who are putting them there.
ART ACEVEDO, CHIEF OF POLICE IN AUSTIN TEXAS: I think it's pretty easy already to buy firearms. That's the problem in the country and the last thing we need is that for the police department to become, police departments to become basically part of the pipeline that ends up in the inner cities and young people are dying every day.
GRIFFIN: Each police chief interviewed for this story admits it is so easy to get guns in the U.S., whether the police departments sell them or not as really not going to change things. For Chief Rouche, it's just a matter of principle and fear that his police gun sales will backfire.
[20:35:02] ROUCHE: You pray hard that none of these firearms that, you know, that we are trying to, again, take care of our community, that none of them end up back in the hands of those who would harm us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Drew, so a lot of -- many police chiefs seemed they don't want to do this. They don't want to sell the guns but the NRA gets these laws passed and gets the decision out of the hands of the local police. Is that accurate?
GRIFFIN: That is accurate and that's what's upsetting these cops, Anderson. You hit it right on the head. This is one of the solutions that didn't have a problem. Police want to be able to destroy the guns or not destroy guns based on what their local community wishes and the local police agency decides is the best route. The NRA is removing that ability with these blanket laws that are now in about a dozen states that you must sell these guns you can't destroy them, period.
COOPER: How does the NRA convince the lawmakers, it's a good idea and police chiefs in the states are saying it's not?
GRIFFIN: First, this is happening in states that lean pretty conservative. This wouldn't be happening where you are right now in New York, it's not happening in California and what the NRA is telling these lawmakers in these states is why throw away a perfectly good gun when you could sell them and then use the money to reinvest into other law enforcement activities?
And that is true, Anderson. Police departments that sold these guns, they have been able to buy bullets for training or ballistic vests for the officers but again it's the idea that the police are being forced to sell these guns that really is infuriating this law enforcement agencies and these police chiefs about what the NRA is doing, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Drew Griffin. Drew, thanks very much. Be sure to tune in tomorrow night when President Obama joins me for a town hall discussion on guns and gun control. The president is going to answer questions for me and from audience members and all sides of this issue. It's called "Guns in America" tomorrow at 8:00 Eastern here on 360.
Just to add, North Korea's reclusive regime says it tested a hydrogen bomb calling it a spectacular success.
Now if the claim is true, not everyone is convinced it is by the way. The question is what comes next?
[20:40:50] COOPER: In the last 24 hours, North Korea stole the geopolitical spotlight by claiming to have tested a hydrogen bomb. On state television their inclusive regime spent the day bragging about it serving up anti-American rhetoric as justification. Now if North Korea did in fact carry out a successful test of the hydrogen bomb, it would mark a troubling milestone to say the least.
U.S. officials though are not convinced the claim is true. The White House said initial analysis of size maker bomb is not consistent with the hydrogen bomb. There is little doubt that North Korea carried out a new nuclear test of some kind.
Today the of U.N. security counsel condemned the test as a clear violation of past security resolutions. Our Paula Hancocks joins us now from South Korea with the latest. What do we know about this test, Paula?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I have yet to hear anybody beyond the Pyung Yang saying that they believe that this was a hydrogen bomb. There is a lot of skepticism here in South Korea. Intelligence agencies briefed lawmakers last night and they in turned briefed us saying effectively that it's difficult to give credibility to North Korea's claim that this was a hydrogen bomb and it gave some specifics. They said that if it was an H-bomb, it would be a destructive force of some 15 mega tons.
Even if it was militarized, which they don't believe the North Korea's have that capability yet, it would be 50 to 60 kilotons. It was 6 kilotons so they say that shows that it is very unlikely it was a hydrogen bomb. Whether there was an element to it, they don't know at this point but of course it may even be difficult to be 100 percent certain given the secrecy in that country of exactly what did happen. Anderson?
COOPER: Right, and the test was done under ground. I mean how did they go about trying to verifying what was detonated?
HANCOCKS: Well, that's the thing, without getting the IEA inspectors on the ground, they've already said they are willing to go in but North Korea will not let them go in without having those inspectors on the ground and going to this site and seeing exactly what the under ground test site looks like, what the casing is like. It is very difficult to know exactly what conditions are like. It's not like previous tests that other countries have done in water for example.
That's much more -- much easier to trace the radio active dust. We do know there have been planes going up, American planes, Japanese planes to try and capture some of these dusts to see what the radio active particles are like. This could take days, it could take weeks to analyze and some have at least to reason saying we may never be 100 percent certain of what the elements of that nuclear test were.
Bear in mind, back in 2015 for the third nuclear test, experts are still split whether or not that was uranium or plutonium. So it's luckily we will never know for sure but certainly at this point, the likelihood of a traditional hydrogen bomb is low according to analyst. Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah, Paula, thanks very much for reporting. Paula Hancocks. Joins me now Mike Chinoy, a former CNN Correspondent, now Senior fellow at the U.S.-China Institute, at the University of Southern California. Also Victor Cha, professor of Government International Affairs at Georgetown University and Korea Chair at the center for strategy and international studies.
Mike, so this test is in fact it was a hydrogen bomb, how worried should the U.S. be? I mean does this put North Korea on a new level when it comes to flexing there power on the international stage?
MIKE CHINOY, FORMER CNN CORRESPONDENT: I f it really was a hydrogen bomb and it would be a game changer. Although the evidence seems to suggest that it was not a full hydrogen test. But it doesn't really matter in the sense that this test is a significant step forward in terms of North Korea's determination to enhance its nuclear capability.
With each test, North Korea's nuclear scientists get more data they are further along the road towards miniaturizing a warhead do they could put it on a missile which could eventually they are in a position to reach the United States. So whether or not it was a full- pledged hydrogen bomb or not, it's still a very worrying development.
COOPER: And Victor, you said that North Korea has actually gone as far as cutting off contact of global powers that before they took part in talks with the nations like the U.S. and China even allowing nuclear inspectors into their country, but that's recently changed?
VICTOR CHA, PROFESSOR, GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL AFFGAIRS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Yeah, Anderson, that's right. When we did the agreement in 2007, there were inspectors from the six-party countries in North Korea actually going into a lot of these nuclear facilities with the assessment of power of this young leader Kim Jong-un a few years ago.
[20:45:14] Since then, there's really been no effort at all by the North Koreans to engage. I think that currently Obama administration has tried on number of occasions to engage with the North Koreans and they're just not interested with us, with the South Koreans, with the Chinese, with the Russians, with the Japanese.
So they seemed very, very focused on establishing a new threshold in terms of their nuclear capabilities and perhaps at that point they want to try to deal from a position of strength with the rest of the world.
COOPER: And Mike, I mean, I guess in terms of leverage, there is the possibility of, you know, more sanctions over North Korea but that really having an effect over North Korea? I mean if this is an factor, this is the fourth and by far the biggest test North Korea has done in the face of such sanctions I think in the 21st century.
CHINOY: Well, we have a pattern that we've seen in all the previous nuclear tests -- international condemnation, the U.N. resolution, new sanctions and no change in North Korean behaviors. So the evidence so far suggests that the sanctions do not lead the regime in Pyung Yang to moderate its behavior.
I think one of the things that's probably going to be on the table now is are there sanctions that could be stepped up or targeted in such a way to make a difference? And there certainly are things that are not being done that could be done but a lot of that involves China because most of North Korea's trade. Those with China it's few and Chinese companies and banks are doing business in North Korea. And when you start targeting Chinese entities dealing in North Korea, then you risk an escalation intention with China.
So it's very problematic and at least because the Chinese themselves even though they are angry about this are unlikely to one to take steps that might really bring the North Korean regime to its knees and force it to change its behavior.
COOPER: So victor, what more can be done?
CHA: Well, I think -- I mean, I agree with Mike in that sense but I do think there are -- there is a new level of sanctioning that both the U.N. Security Counsel can mandate as well as under the President Obama's executive orders after the Sony hack in 2014 that are much more targeted on individuals that call for travel bans. That really put pressure on China to instruct its own companies to seize doing business with North Korea across the board on a variety of commodities related to, not just nuclear weapons but also human rights abuses as well as cybercrimes.
So I think when you compare the sanctioning against North Korea for example to Iran, it's much smaller than what we've done against Iran. So there is some more that could be done and I think that's what we're going to be seeing from both the U.N. and from the United States in the coming weeks.
COOPER: It's interesting to put in perspective in Iran. Victor Cha, thank you very much. Mike Chinoy as well. Just ahead tonight in a new interview with Harper's Bizarre, Melania Trump says she is not shy. Her silence is a strategy. The question is why is she so quiet? What is that strategy and what else did she say about her life with Donald Trump? Find out ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[20:52:02] COOPER: In his interview with Wolf Blitzer today, Donald Trump talked about a lot including his wife Melania. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER: Your wife Melania, she's featured on the new issue of "Harper's Bizarre." You've seen that cover.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right.
BLITZER: Is she going to be actively going on the campaign working for you?
TRUMP: She will be and she's been to a certain extent and we have a young boy baron, she wants to devote a lot of -- and so do I want her to devote a lot of time to Baron. And he's doing really well but she has been quite active very -- has a good political mind, really gets it and will start doing interviews very soon. She'll be amazing.
She's got great heart and she's very smart and, you know, she made a tremendous amount of money. She was a very, very successful person as a model, and I think she's going to be a fantastic first lady, if it cover comes to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Melania Trump has made just a handful of campaign appearances since her husband jumped into the race. For the moat part she's been a quiet presence, striking contrast to Mr. Trump's outgoing attitude certainly. Some assumed her silence stems from shyness but an interview Mrs. Trump says that is not the case at all. Randi Kaye has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Melania Trump, more often seen than heard telling "Harper's bizarre" magazine that is by design. People are curious about me. I'm choosing not to go political in public, because that is my husband's job. I made that choice. I am not shy."
The wide-ranging interview taking place at three-story Manhattan penthouse she shares with her husband GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and the couple's 9-year-old son. For the first Melania shares how the decision was made that her husband would run for President we decided as a family was something we would do she told the magazine explaining to her son, "Daddy will run for President."
In the article which has stunning photos of the former model including one posing in front of an American flag, the magazine's reporter describes the 5 foot 11 Melania as incandescently beautiful sporting a startling 25 carat diamond ring on her left hand given to her by her husband.
Melania is used to posing for pictures. She started modeling as a teenager. It is part of my life being in front of the camera all the time. It's not something new to me she said in someway Melania seems to be enjoying the attention calling this recent portrayal of her on Saturday night live "quote an honor".
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: Yes, please put Donald in the White House. You know he is total package. He is strong...
UNIDENTIFED MALE: I didn't ask her to say that.
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: He is wise.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: This is all off the cuff.
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: He is good in bed.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Those are her words.
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: You know he's the only man who can unite both sides.
KAYE: Melania Trump met her future husband in 1998 at a party in New York City. He was in between marriages and asked for her number. As she tells it, she refused because she says he was with a date but called him days later.
"I was struck by his energy. He has an amazing sense of vitally."
[20:55:00] Two things Melania would not discuss with the reporter was what life in the White House may be like and which first lady she admires most but she didn't shy away from commenting on her husband's often brash tone.
"He is not politically correct and he tells the truth. Everything is not roses and flowers and perfect because it is not. He wants America to be great again, and he can do that.'' Asked why she thinks her husband would make a good president, she said, "He is a great leader, the best leader, an amazing negotiator".
For that reason she says she's put everything on hold so she can care for their son while her husband campaigns. "I have a lot on my plate right now. I don't have a nanny" she explains. "I have a chef and I have my assistant and that's it. I do it myself''.
9-year-old Baron reportedly speaks Slovenian which her husband does not. "That's OK", she told "Harper's". "I'm not that kind of wife who would say, learn this or learn that. I'm not a nagging wife".
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We'll have much more ahead from Wolf Blitzer's interview with Donald Trump that talks about gun control, North Korea, and of course Trump's leading Republican rival Ted Cruz. And typical Trump style, he certainly mincing no words. More on that ahead.
COOPER: Good evening. 9 P.M. Eastern time, 23 hours from the "360" Town Hall with President Obama, "Guns in America".
Tonight Donald Trump is weighing in. He spoke today with the situation with Wolf Blitzer about how he'd make American safer from gun violence. He also trained his verbal fire and it is considerable on his leading Republican rival Ted Cruz with key votes in Iowa, New Hampshire, quickly approaching he is --