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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump Claims 3 to 5 Million Illegal Ballots Cost Him the Popular Vote; Senate Confirms Pompeo as CIA Director; Trump Meets with Congressional Leaders at WH; Deadly Weather; Trump Begins First Full Week in Office; Trump's Transition from Campaigning to Governing; VP Pence Swears in Pompeo as CIA Director; Is He Conflicted?; U.S. Investigating Flynn's Calls with Russian Diplomat; Ethics Lawsuit Filed Against Trump; Sen. Sanders on Trump Protests; Fight to Save Obamacare; Search Underway for 6 People Missing After GA Tornadoes; Nor'Easter Lashing Mid-Atlantic States; At Least 23 Deaths Nationwide Due to Severe Weather; 19 Killed in Tornadoes Across the South. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 23, 2017 - 21:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:00:38] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, another full hour of "360". Breaking news, at the end of an especially full day for President Trump, which continued late as tonight, we have just learned about something that President said during his meeting with congressional leaders that may speak volumes about where his head's go is. That's where we being with CNN's Phil Mattingly, who's got the late details.

So what have you learned?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, in kind of what's being described to me at least by one source as a bizarre and awkward turn during that private meeting with congressional leadership, both Republicans and Democrats, the President recounted the idea, one that he has pushed several times in the past that between 3 and 5 million illegal votes were cast against him during the election. Now, this is something that is just not true, flatly not true. No evidence has been presented by Trump or his top associates to back up this claim that he'd made in the past on Twitter. And it's something we haven't actually heard a lot about from the President since those initial claims on Twitter. But it was brought up in a private meeting.

Now, the context of this is, the President was going through kind of a 10-minute recount of how he won the election, how the campaign all went and the congressional leaders were kind of listening intently. And then this came up. And, as I noted, as one source said it was a bizarre moment and it was a moment that the leaders kind of awkwardly just tried to move past. The same source said, "I can't believe this came up again. It's something that the President, even though he seemed like he gone quiet on this issue in the past, can't seem to get over himself," Anderson. COOPER: It sort of steps on what has been a very busy day and for his board, certainly a very successful day on Capitol Hill for the President's nominees. What's the latest on that?

MATTINGLY: Yeah, that's exactly right. There's -- at least four of those same leaders from the Senate that were in the room today kind of helped to contribute to a very positive day for the administration on nominations. And this is an issue, obviously, that is really kind of cluttered up in the last couple of days behind the scenes, fights between Republicans and Democrats.

The dam at least slightly starting to break today. First, Rex Tillerson, the President's Secretary of State nominee, he was cleared by Senate committee today. And most importantly, Marco Rubio, who was very cautious, very wary of this nomination has decided to support it, almost guarantees he will be confirmed by the full Senate when that vote occurs.

The President also got his CIA director. Mike Pompeo was confirmed tonight by the U.S. Senate, 14 Democrats voting in favor of that nomination. Now, there a lot of fights left to go on the nomination's front, Anderson. But for an administration that has really been clamoring to get its top officials atop the agencies really to kind of get the work kicked off, really start to get things going. This was definitely a positive step in the right direction and a very good step for the Trump administration in terms of their relations on Capitol Hill.

COOPER: There was also a private meeting between President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan. I understand you guys have new information about that.

MATTINGLY: In talking to sources, Anderson, I think this was the most important meeting of the night, not the congressional leadership reception, where everybody I talked to who is at that meeting said it was very top line, not a lot of substantive policy discussion there. That's not the case with the private meeting with Paul Ryan.

Now Ryan -- the Ryan office released a statement saying they talked about a number of different issues, about the agenda, about an ambitious agenda that they want to push through.

But I think it's important to note, when it comes to the relationship with Paul -- between Paul Ryan and President Trump, obviously, it's no secret, it was strained at various points about the campaign. But it is a crucial relationship and is one that is kind of grown over the last couple of weeks. Not only was there a one-on-one meeting today, but there was also a behind closed door meeting with Speaker Ryan, with Vice President Mike Pence, and with several top Capitol Hill leaders after the meeting on Capitol Hill. A real concerted effort right now, not only to get the relationships right, but also to work forward on that policy agenda, Anderson.

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

Let's talk now with the panel. Joining us also this hour is Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" and a CNN political commentator.

Ryan, this reporting that -- President Trump raised this completely, not only unsubstantiated but disproven claim that there were millions of -- 5 million or 3 million illegal votes cast, which is why he lost the popular vote. It's fascinating, as they were -- I mean as we've been talking at the last hour, you know, rescinding TPP, a lot of success on his nominees, he would go down this rabbit hole again.

RYAN LIZZA, THE NEW YORKER WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I don't -- I mean, first of all, welcome to Washington, President Trump. You say something like that in a private setting with a bunch of Democrats and it's going to leak out. And who knows, maybe, you know, some Republicans were astonished by it and gave the information as well. But it leaked out to news organization so I think you had a lot of people in that room anxious to tell the press about this.

[21:05:00] That aside, it's also strange that he would say it in that setting. You know, sometimes I think you could say, "Oh, well, he just makes this stuff up in front of crowds and he does it for political reasons." Well, no. Now, he's actually saying it to the congressional leadership who obviously knows it's not true. And you start to think, "Well maybe he really does believe it. Maybe he's convinced himself of this false information once he has gotten it in his head."

COOPER: Carl, I almost want to replay the tape of you -- we don't use tape anymore, last hour saying he had a great victory. It was a stunning, you know, historic victory. Wasn't a popular vote victory, but, you know, it was an Electoral College victory and it was an amazing thing.

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: We are having too many bizarre moments with this new president, as Phil Mattingly called it. And you want to say to the President of the United States --

COOPER: I think it --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: Right, right. But you want to say to the President of the United States, "Grow up, Mr. President. You have been elected to be our president. You want the big numbers, unite our people and be the leader of all the people of this country." Something very disturbing is going on here. I talked about the tweets being an MRI of his psyche, these remarks are likewise are an MRI of his psyche and it's not a very pretty place --

COOPER: Kayleigh, is this much ado about nothing?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: It is, and it's just so funny because sometimes I feel like I'm in this tornado where we all know Donald Trump tweets, we all know that he talks about his poll numbers, we all know that he talks about his victory that he will question the popular vote. And he does it, and then the media goes into a tail spin, and meanwhile, viewers and the American people watch, it doesn't -- BERNSTEIN: Kayleigh, he's -- he is saying that fraud occurred on the most massive scale on an election in our history. It's not true.

MCENANY: What's interesting is --

BERNSTEIN: It's false.

MCENANY: Well, you say it's false but there's no way to disprove it --

BERNSTEIN: There's no -- it's been disproven. There's no evidence, whatsoever.

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: Well, there's no evidence to the contrary either, you can't disprove --

BERNSTEIN: Yes, there is.

MCENANY: -- the fact that many, many illegals voted.

BERNSTEIN: There is considerable evidence to the contrary.

MCENANY: And there's a 2008 --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: There's considerable evidence to the contrary.

LIZZA: Kayliegh, if Hillary Clinton were out there right now saying Donald Trump's not a legitimate president because his victory was a matter of fraud in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, what would you say to that?

MCENANY: Which she tried to say over and over. Her surrogates said over and over. It was the Russians, then we had to have a recount --

LIZZA: If she was telling people consistently that his election was the result of fraud --

MCENANY: Her surrogates have continually --

LIZZA: No, no. If Hillary Clinton, herself, was saying that trying to delegitimatize the election results, what would you say?

MCENANY: She doesn't have to say it because her surrogates are out there saying it repeatedly that this isn't a legitimate president, we need to have a recount. Now it's the Russians to blame --

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I just want to say something about this whole vetting, which is simply this. I'd done most of my work in, you know, blue cities, blue states, urban areas. It's really, really hard to get people who are eligible to vote to go vote. It's really hard. GOtv is one of the most difficult things you can do. The idea that 3 or 4 million people who aren't even eligible to vote are for some reason in a blue state where it will make no difference go out and vote is absurd on its face. It just flies in the face of what actually happens. I don't need a study on that.

ED ROLLINS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL ADVISOR TO REAGAN: I'd run more campaigns (inaudible). And I can tell you, the points you're making (inaudible). If he wants to reflect back on his campaign, one number, 307. That's the electoral vote.

COOPER: Right.

ROLLINS: There's two numbers he has to focus on the rest of his administration. 218 House members, 51 Senate members and that's his focus from here on out. The highlights of the campaign and all the rest is done. He is the president of the United States. He gets to walk in the Oval Office every day. He gets to move this country forward. He will be measured in two years and four years. And the accomplishments that he gets are going to be because of the Congress and the American public will come behind if he's successful. No matter what he does, if he doesn't successful on those fronts that he's promised, he's not going to be successful.

COOPER: But I mean -- this really goes -- I mean it goes to what we're talking about in the last hour, is this just a personal insecurity on his part that he --

ROLLINS: Sure it is. It's in his head, it's in his head that the idea that he didn't win the popular vote. And not -- and popular vote doesn't matter. We don't -- we're not a democracy, we're a republic.

JONES: Do you know -- the person he's making the happiest in the world right now is Michael Moore. Michael Moore is going around telling everybody call him the minority president, the minority president. Because it just bothers him. And so if he wants to make Michael Moore happy, he will keep saying stuff like this, because it's letting people -- letting Democrats know that it's getting to him that he lost the popular vote.

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: -- look in the mirror when he (inaudible), "I am the president of United States. I am the president of the United States --

COOPER: Right, which is essentially -- that's -- you have the most amazing, powerful job on the planet. You won. You won everything.

(CROSSTALK)

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Yeah. And another thing we've seen now is that he does peddle in conspiracy theories. It's not the first time he's peddles a conspiracy theory, you know, hashtag birtherism, hashtag, you know, Ted Cruz's dad was involved in the JFK assassination. So you know that these things do kind of get stuck in his head and he sort of wants to believe --

ROLLINS: You know what they say about paranoia (inaudible) make it all worthwhile.

[21:10:00] HOOVER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: He's just going to have to learn to keep his mouth shut, right? He's --

BERNSTEIN: He steps on it all the time.

ROLLINS: Carl loves the tweets, as a campaign strategist, I would have taken that machine away from him and thrown it away in the river a long time ago. But we have to live with it. And he likes it, and he communicates it, it's the whole new way we do it and there's going to be good days and bad days. But at the end of the day, a President on message is very, very important and he will get to that point.

COOPER: All right, everyone, thanks.

No shortage of things to talk about in the next hour, developments to bring you up to speed on.

Here now with a quick look at a day that the administration hopes will set the tone. CNN's Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A great thing for the American worker what we just did.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sitting in the Oval Office, President Trump set his ambitious agenda into motion, signing executive orders on some of his key campaign promises, withdrawing the U.S. from former President Obama's Trans-Pacific trade deal, banning taxpayer money from promoting abortions overseas and freezing the hiring of federal workers with one caveat.

TRUMP: Except for the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Except for the military.

TRUMP: Except for the military.

ACOSTA: Meeting with U.S. business leaders, the President warned American companies will pay a new price if they shift jobs overseas.

TRUMP: They're going to have a tax to pay, border taxes, substantial border tax.

Somebody say, "Oh, Trump is going to tax." I'm not going to tax. There is no tax, none whatsoever.

And I just want to tell you, all you have to do is stay, don't leave, don't fire your people of the United States.

ACOSTA: In return, Mr. Trump offered a carrot.

TRUMP: We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more.

ACOSTA: For the White House, this was a day to get back on the rails.

TRUMP: They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.

ACOSTA: After President Trump attacked the media over reports on the size of the crowd at his inauguration, an assault on the press that White Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to back it up with a number of falsehoods.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.

ACOSTA: An attempt at spin that backfired badly.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Sean Spicer, our Press Secretary, gave alternative facts to that.

ACOSTA: And today's White House briefing, Spicer insisted he and the President were merely trying to correct an unfair media narrative.

Isn't that just part of the conversation that happens in Washington?

SPICER: No, it's not. I think --

ACOSTA: Isn't that part of what comes with being President of the United States?

SPICER: No, no. Look. I've been doing this a long time, you've been doing this too. I've never seen it like this. It's a little demoralizing. Because when you're sitting there and you're looking out and you're in awe of just how awesome that view is and how many people are there and you go back and you turn on the television and you see shots of comparing this and that, and it's frustrating for not just him but I think so many of us that are trying to work to get this message out.

ACOSTA: Spicer did tackle matters of substance indicating the White House will not get in the way of any investigation into Russian hacking in the election and he appeared to tamp down expectations that the U.S. would immediately move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And Jim Acosta joins us now this hour from the White House.

You know, Jim, for all the criticism directed at the media from this administration and probably by the media toward this administration, there did seem to be a lot of access today.

ACOSTA: As a matter of fact there was, Anderson. That's right. We counted in total around six photo opportunities today where the cameras were allowed to come in and photograph the President doing a number of different things. There was even a camera present at that reception with congressional leaders that you talked about earlier on in the show.

You're right, Anderson, it sort of raises the question, "Where is this war on the media?" It almost feels like a love fest in terms of the access we had here earlier today, Anderson. But when the President is telling congressional leaders behind closed door, resurrecting this controversy and saying that perhaps illegal ballots were cast and that is what cost him the popular vote.

I can guarantee you, Anderson, at the press briefing tomorrow that is going to be a question that will be front and center. And so it just goes to show you even as this White House tries to manage the message, manage the optics, when the President does something like this on his own, he creates more controversy for himself. Anderson?

COOPER: Yeah, certainly. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Just ahead, insight on all this from someone who has seen a lot from the inside as the White House Chief of Staff. Hear Andy Card's advice for the new administration.

And later, a report from the especially a hard-hit county in Georgia and a look at the punishing windstorm that has just taken its first life in the north east and is threatening many more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:17:23] COOPER: You've been seeing the reporting throughout the day, now, the kind of insight a very few people have into what it takes to get a new administration actually up and running. Andy Card, served as Secretary of Transportation, the first Bush administration and then as Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush. A few people have seen as much from the inside. I spoke to him just before we went to air tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Secretary Card, I -- when I talked to you a couple of days ago you said something that I found really interesting and I've been thinking a lot about it. You talked about in a White House and used the example when you were Chief of Staff under George W. Bush that it's important when you have senior advisers sort of without portfolio, that they have marching orders, that they have areas that they focus on. Otherwise things can get -- a president can get kind of pulled in a lot of different directions. Do you see that at work in the Trump administration right now?

ANDY CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: I think it's too early to tell whether or not the senior advisers and Steve Bannon, Kellyanne, Jared. If they have no portfolio then they don't have any responsibility and they have a tendency to disrupt the process of getting the President ready to make very tough decisions. So, I am hoping that they will be giving specific responsibilities and that people will understand them. I also want them to respect the process of developing policy recommendations. It's important for that to happen because the President should never make an easy decision. That means by definition this shouldn't be a consensus.

And when you're making a tough decision you want to have the best process in place to make sure that you minimize the number of unintended consequences to the decision you make. There are always unintended consequences.

COOPER: One of the things I've also been reading about lately is just the difficulty for any candidate who becomes a president, making that transition early on from candidate to president of the United States.

I'm wondering -- you know, one of the things you said about President Trump is that he needs to make "presidential decisions." Obviously, you know, Saturday, he was at the CIA in a speech that was supposed to be about, you know, building bridges with the CIA and seemed to get sidetracked into a lot of other issues about crowd size and the media and things like that. What do you -- how difficult is that transition, these early days?

CARD: I think it's particularly difficult for someone who has never been in a role of so-called governing. He has been in a role of a leader where he was kind of a dictator as the CEO of his own company. But as president, you're a leader who has to govern, which means you have to get people around your organization that will respect how you made a decision, how it could be understood and then implement it.

[21:20:06] And governing requires partnerships with Congress. It also requires partnerships within the executive branch of government, the vast majority of people who work in the executive branch. And Donald Trump is in charge of the entire executive branch of government.

The people on the Trump team now, many of them, did not vote for him. They're career public servants and they want to take his direction, but they want to feel as if their knowledge, their expertise, their wisdom, has a chance to creep into the discussion of policy so that you don't make decisions that are obviously not going to work.

COOPER: So how do you kind of explain day one, day two for the Trump administration where Donald Trump, you know, went to the CIA, seemed to get sidetracked, you know, then there was the press event with Sean Spicer coming out making a statement to the press that was accurate, that he tried to clean up today. I'm wondering what is your reaction was just to the last couple of days?

CARD: Well, I was impressed with Sean Spicer today. He did a really good job at "first official briefing." I thought he ate a mini bit of crow, maybe an order (ph) of crow rather than a meal of crow about not doing so well yesterday. But I think he recovered well and did a good job.

With regard to President Trump's visit to the CIA, I understand the passion and the excitement that he had but I don't think he appreciated where he was when he was saying it. I know he is excited to be there. Obviously, the people who work at the CIA are excited to see the commander in chief and the President come. So it was less about what he said but more about where he said it.

COOPER: The Trump team still has a lot of Cabinet posts that have yet to be confirmed. Obviously, a lot of Republicans are pointing fingers at the Democrats for delays. Does the delay in the Senate confirming these key positions, does it hamper an administration from getting things done at all, or, you know, or is this just sort of the way politics always happens?

CARD: Well, it's not the way politics has always happened. Usually this kind of a commitment to get most of the President's Cabinet members through, this seems to be a little unusual. I blame the Democrats for this, not the Trump organization or the Republicans. I think the Democrats were over-reaching in some of their objections but hopefully they will get the team in place.

It's very important for the President to have his leadership at the bureaucracies that understands the commitments that he's made. And I say that because the bureaucracies themselves want to know what they're supposed to be doing. And that leadership comes from the secretary, the deputy secretary, the assistant secretaries. And it's very important that the Senate confirmed the President's nominees to start the job.

COOPER: That's fascinating. Secretary Card, good to talk to you. Thank you.

CARD: Thanks for having me on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Secretary Card's point about Senate confirmations, we got some new video just in, Vice President Pence administering the oaths, swearing in Congressman Mike Pompeo as the new CIA director. He was confirmed late tonight. The swearing in took place in the Vice President's ceremonial office.

Just ahead, Donald Trump severing hundreds of business ties. The question is, will that also eliminate any conflicts of interest or even conflicts with the key passage in the constitution. We'll talk with one of the attorneys who's now suing him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:27:16] COOPER: More breaking news tonight, information about an investigation between Trump's national security adviser, Mike Flynn, and Russia's ambassador to the U.S. Conversations, we know, took place in late December. Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, joins us with the latest.

What are investigators looking into here?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, intelligence and law enforcement officials tell me and my colleague, Evan Perez, that they are looking into phone calls between Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in late December.

A couple of key points here. One, the investigation continues. It has not reached a conclusion. Two, they're looking at not only the fact that phone calls took place and who was on but also the content. Some of the content of those phone calls has raised potential concerns. I should add, however though that so far they have discovered no -- or established no wrongdoing by General Michael Flynn.

COOPER: And the focus of -- I mean was U.S. intelligence listening in to the Russian ambassador?

SCIUTTO: It is. I mean, this is routine intelligence gathering, U.S. will listen to Russian and other foreign officials, particularly those based here in the U.S. just as you would expect Russia and other countries to do to U.S. officials posted abroad. So to be clear, it was the conversations from the Russian ambassador, it just happened that Michael Flynn was on the other end of the line. He was not a target of this eavesdropping, but in the course of that eavesdropping, it came across these calls and is still look at those calls, and to be clear, what was said on those calls as well.

COOPER: And Sean Spicer said today that he has spoken to Flynn about this?

SCIUTTO: That's right. In fact he said as recently as yesterday he'd spoken to Flynn about this. And he says Flynn told him that there were only two calls, one on December 29th and one a few days ago, why is December, rather, 29th important? That's the same day that the Obama administration announced new sanctions against Russian, including the explosion of diplomats.

Two, he says that Flynn has said that there were a number of topics discussed on that call exchanging holiday greetings, also discussing setting up a call between President Putin and President Trump. But the Trump team says that those sanctions were not discussed, that of course could be material because if one administration is imposing sanctions and the other administration is talking about those sanctions, perhaps a different view of those sanctions that would be material, we don't know that but the Trump team is saying that was not discussed on those calls.

COOPER: All right, Jim Sciutto. Jim, thanks.

The Trump Organization released documents today saying the President has resigned from positions in hundreds of Trump business entities, some documents as well from a bipartisan ethics watchdog, court documents and a conflict interest (inaudible) who have now in a moment. We're going to speak with one of the attorneys the Republican taking part in the civil action. But first, our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, has more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: My two sons who are right here, Don and Eric are going to be running the company. [21:29:59] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: One day before he was inaugurated, President Trump made that official according to this signed document provided to CNN by the Trump Organization, which reads in part, "I, Donald J. Trump, hereby resign from each and every office and position," and concluding, "My resignation shall be effective immediately." Dated January 19th, 2017.

TRUMP: Again, I don't have to do this. They're not going to discuss it with me.

BASH: It is true that most conflict of interest laws requiring federal government officials to divest from their businesses do not apply to the president. Yet a group of ethics attorneys argues President Trump still has an interest in his companies which violates the constitution. That group filed a lawsuit against the new President.

Why isn't resigning from his companies enough?

DEEPAK GUPTA, CONSTITUTIONAL :LAW ATTORNEY: Because he has a financial interest. I mean -- and it's not even a blind trust. He has his names on these buildings. Everyone knows they're his. Everyone knows that he profits from that.

BASH: At issue, the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says no person holding any office can "accept of any present, emolument office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince, or foreign state."

GUPTA: Founders -- one thing that always amazes me about the constitution is how much impressions the founders had. They understood that it would be a real problem if elected officials had financial entanglements with foreign governments. And so they put a very strict rule in the constitution, you cannot accept presents or payments from foreign governments.

BASH: Their argument is that, when a foreign official stays in a Trump hotel or an embassy uses a Trump ballroom, or rents office space in a Trump property, it may violate the constitution.

Earlier this month, Trump's lawyers said any profits from foreign government payment to his hotels would be donated to the U.S. Treasury, but insisted it's not necessary.

SHEN DILLON: TRUMP ATTORNEY: These people are wrong. This is not what the constitution says. Paying for a hotel room, not a gift or a present and it has nothing to do with an office.

BASH: The reality is, this part of the constitution has never been tested in court. It is still unclear if a federal judge will even hear this case from the plaintiff against Trump, Citizens for the Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning watch dog group. The President himself no stranger to being sued in business responded this way.

TRUMP: Without merit, totally without merit.

BASH: Dana Bash, CNN Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, joining us now, someone who clearly believes there is merit to the lawsuit. He's one of the attorneys attached to the case, Richard Painter, who served as the chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration. He's currently a professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota. Thanks so much for being with us, Richard.

We just show Dana -- President Trump there --

RICHARD PAINTER, WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER FOR PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you.

COOPER: -- officially resigning from his companies. You say that's far from enough. In fact, you're part of the group of ethics lawyers suing the President federal court. Why do you think this has merit?

PAINTER: Well, first of all, I want to clarify that CREW, the plaintiffs is not a left leaning group. I wouldn't have anything to do with it if I was -- if it was.

I think that Americans of all political persuasions ought to be very concerned if the President is taking payments through his businesses in violation of the constitution. And this provision of the constitution prohibits not just presents, but emoluments and they use a lot of Latin phrases back then, it's a word that comes from a Latin root. We don't use the same language today as much, it basically means (inaudible), benefits from dealings with foreign governments.

The president cannot accept these payments, neither can anybody working for the United States government in a position of trust except benefits from business dealing with foreign governments. This includes loans from the Bank of China, this includes a foreign government-owned banks and other corporations, renting space and office buildings. Diplomats staying in the hotels, parties put on by foreign governments in the hotels. None of that is permitted.

We've been talking about this for two months, urging the President to take action to clean the foreign governments out of his business.

COOPER: Right.

PAINTER: No action has been taken other than the very, very minimal step of turning profits from hotels over to the government.

COOPER: Right. Yeah, because that's what President -- I mean he did address some of this (inaudible) constitution never designed the emoluments clause with the idea that paying your hotel bill in someway was making profit from a foreign state. To that, you said this goes well beyond the hotel bills.

PAINTER: And it goes well beyond the hotel bills. We don't even know where the financing is coming from for a lot of the Trump business. They're listed on his financial disclosure --

COOPER: But don't you have to prove injury --

PAINTER: We have no idea where it's coming from.

COOPER: Don't you have to prove injury of some kind for this case to move forward and that your associates have standing as plaintiffs?

PAINTER: Yes, and I think we do have standing. The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has been focusing on corruption for a long time.

[21:35:05] We have spent a lot of time and money addressing the campaign finance corruption, the revolving door, the so-called Goldman-Sachs goes to Washington phenomenon, lobbyists and the rest of it. And now, we are confronted with this new avenue of corruption. It's one anticipated by the founders, but we have not had a serious problem with foreign government payments to U.S. government officials for a very long time. And now we have to confront it and we have a President who is not willing to assure us even that Russia has not put Russian government money into his business enterprises.

COOPER: Yeah.

PAINTER: He has given us no assurances whatsoever about emoluments and this is something we have spent a lot of time and money dealing with.

COOPER: OK.

PAINTER: We feel a judge needs to look at it now.

COOPER: All right, Richard Painter, I appreciate. We'll continue to follow. Thanks very much.

Just ahead, the huge crowds that turned out to protest President Trump across the country and the world, sent a strong message certainly say they are supporters. Senator Bernie Sanders weighs in on that ahead.

Plus, President Trump's pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare has sparked a backlash at the grassroots level, have a fight to save the Affordable Care Act is gearing up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:40:06] COOPER: Again, our breaking news from Washington, President Trump's pick for CIA director is officially on the job, Mike Pompeo, swearing in, happened moments ago shortly after the Senate confirmation.

The first days for the Trump team have been busy, also controversial on Saturday, a day after President Trump has sworn in, protesters turned out in huge numbers and women's marches across the country in the world. He is the first president in 40 years who has not released his tax returns of course and as we've said his business, which he still owns despite calls for him to divest made a point of major controversy.

We talked to Senator Bernie Sanders about all of this. Here's part two of that conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There is a tweet on your official Twitter page questioning whether President Trump is in violation of the emoluments clause of the constitution, which deals with money coming from foreign governments.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Right.

COOPER: In this situation, the questions are about Trump family businesses. And frankly, a lot of it we don't because we haven't seen the tax returns. Do you believe the President is in violation of the constitution?

SANDERS: Well, I think that's exactly what has to be looked at. I mean there is, as you know, a lawsuit filed today, making just that case.

Look, we want a president who is going to make decisions based on the needs of the American people. Not based on foreign investments in the people who own his debt. And I think this is an issue that has to be looked at very, very thoroughly and I do have serious concerns.

COOPER: The President said he has resigned now from more than 400 entities. Is that enough?

SANDERS: No. How many entities is he involved in? This is a multi- billionaire who has far flung enterprises literally all over the world. But the bottom line here is we want a president that concentrates on the needs of the American people, not on profits that may approve to him or his family.

COOPER: Let's talk about where the Democratic Party goes. I mean, you talked about the protesters, the huge turnout, not only in Washington but all over the country and then cities around the world. Where does that go from here? How do Democrats and others try to harness and make that a jumping off point?

SANDERS: I think what those protests and rallies are the beginning of is making Mr. Trump aware that throwing 20 million people off of health insurance, for example, without a replacement is not something that the American people want. Is that de-funding Planned Parenthood and denying two and a half million women the health care that -- quality health care that they're currently getting is not what the American people want.

On issue after issue, Mr. Trump's position is at variance with what the majority of the American people want. And with that demonstrations, those demonstrations yesterday were about telling Mr. Trump listen to the American people and start responding to their needs. COOPER: But the message, you know -- obviously, there was huge attendance, but in a lot of places, Rust Belt states which -- where, you know, white working class women went for Donald Trump. That message doesn't necessarily resonate or, you know, the message of that march -- "The New York Times" had an interesting article essentially in some Rust Bell states where people kind of shrugged off the march, didn't really know much about it. I mean, the Democratic Party clearly has those marchers --

SANDERS: First of all, Anderson, the Democratic Party for better or worse did not organize those marches. Those really were spontaneously had organized by a small group of women who just came together, I think it was just a few weeks ago. It really was extraordinary.

But the bottom line is that what these rallies showed is that there is huge opposition to an agenda, an extreme right-wing agenda of Mr. Trump and of his attacks on women's rights, whether it is de-funding Planned Parenthood, whether it is taking away a woman's right to choose, whether it is not supporting equal pay for equal work.

COOPER: Do you know, though, how to harness that energy, that enthusiasm, that opposition?

SANDERS: Well, I think as I have said many times that the Democratic Party has got to do a whole lot of re-thinking, and they have got to establish a 50-state strategy.

It pains me very, very much that in states where poverty is very high, where wages are very low that working people are voting for right-wing Republicans who will take away or not provide the health care that they need, will not raise the minimum wage to a living wage, will not provide pay equity for women. And I think we've got a lot of work to reach out in those states and in those areas.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, I appreciate your time always. Thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you.

COOPER: Many of the protesters who turned out at those marches to support women's rights carried signs in support of Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act. President Trump vows to de-fund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, triggering a backlash in some parts of the country. Miguel Marquez tonight reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[21:45:02] MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The fight to save Obamacare, starting to look a lot like the fight to kill it six years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can take this bill and shove --

MARQUEZ: Then, conservative anger aimed at legislators nearly derail the bill. Now, nationwide protests over Obamacare is back. This time, in favor of it. In Colorado, constituents flooded a meeting of Republican congressman, Mike Coffman. He met with some of them, then made for the exit. At a Trump hotel restaurant in New York, it was a cough-in. Followed by a protest, followed by police escort out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time we got our national priorities right.

MARQUEZ: Bernie Sanders headlined an Obamacare rally in Warren, Michigan. Thousands showed up.

WENDIE PREVIDI, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: I'm pushing 50, I'm diabetic and I'm scared of what's going to happen.

MARQUEZ: The worry, only generality from the new President on down.

TRUMP: It will be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously.

MARQUEZ: But so far, few details on replacement, even as repeal moves ahead.

RENATE PORE, WEST VIRGINIAS FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: The majority party has refused to fix anything. They have refused to discuss it. All they have done is to say no. Well, now they own the problem.

MARQUEZ: Even in ultra-conservative West Virginia, where Trump got 68.7 percent of the vote in a state that has benefited from Obamacare like no other. The percentage of uninsured here fell a whapping 58.7 percent. The fight for Obamacare in the Mountain States bubbling from the ground up.

DR. JESSICA MCCOLLEY, WEST VIRGINIA PHYSICIAN: I'm sure what this will mean --

MARQUEZ: Dr. Jessica McCauley has seen the health care of her patients, mostly women and children in tiny Belle, West Virginia improve under Obamacare.

MCCOLLEY: People are utilizing their community health centers. They are going to their doctor. They are getting their Pap smear. They're taking their --

MARQUEZ: The stakes for those who rely on Obamacare never higher with its likely demise imminent, the effort to save it getting critical care.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Charleston, West Virginia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Up next, we have breaking news, the search underway for six people, including a two-year-old boy missing after tornado struck out Georgia. Our Gary Tuchman is on the scene. We'll have the latest from him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right there, I think --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that's right there. We need to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Hang on. Maybe just wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can floor it down this road. So it's a not a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:51:48] COOPER: More breaking news tonight. Heavy rain and strong winds are hammering New York and its surrounding areas. All due to a nor'easter, that's the expected tail to dump heavy snow on New England. Authorities now claim 23 deaths nationwide on severe weather today and over the weekend. Most came in Georgia and across the south after at least 41 tornados hit the region. At least six people are still missing in Georgia. Tonight, our Gary Tuchman is there with search and rescue teams and the survivors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is sadly a life or death search. A 2-year-old boy missing after a tornado in South Georgia. Members of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol along with civilians are looking for the little Ditros (ph) Green. Hoping and praying he might still be alive in these woods.

SAVANNAH ERICH, US AIR PATROL: It's my honor to be out here helping these people.

TUCHMAN: The missing boy was with other family members when the powerful tornado plowed through a wide swath in Dougherty County, Georgia on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the family hadn't evacuated their house next to the woods. Ditros' (ph) father is Kevian Green.

KEVIAN GREEN, 2 YEAR OLD SON MISSING: (Inaudible).

TUCHMAN: I understand that you don't want to cry in front of the camera. But, it's OK. It's so sad but there are a lot of people out there who are looking for him right now. They are working hard.

GREEN: I appreciate it, man.

TUCHMAN: And I hope you know how hard they're working. They want to find your boy.

GREEN: Oh, yeah. I appreciate it, man.

TUCHMAN: Multiple people have already been confirmed dead in this county, the damage is widespread and devastating, mobile home parks among the most damaged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like a nuclear bomb went off.

TUCHMAN: The Chairman of Dougherty County Commission shot this video shortly after the tornado came through.

That Commission Chairman is Christopher Cohilas.

CHRISTOPHER COHILAS, CHAIRMAN, DOUGHERTY COUNTY COMMISSION: When you hear a mother screaming for a child and she can't find her child, and when you see someone that has a nail that is shot into the bottom of their foot and you see that kind mayhem, it's -- I mean, it's a lot of pain, it's a lot of hurt. And our folks are really hurting right now.

TUCHMAN: One of those hurting is Fay Sheppard.

I got you. I got you. You're not going anywhere, Fay.

FAY SHEPPARD, DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA RESIDENT: I say, this is the only way that you can get in the house is through the window.

TUCHMAN: That window over there?

SHEPPARD: That window right there.

TUCHMAN: Fay's mobile home was virtually destroyed. She had evacuated, but was afraid her Chihuahua named Girlfriend wasn't going to be allowed in the shelter. So the dog stayed in the house, inside a small alcove that stayed intact.

TUCHMAN: So when you picked her up after the tornado and saw her, what did you say to Girlfriend?

SHEPPARD: You're alive. Thank God.

TUCHMAN: The warnings that the people received here were specific, the bulletins declaring that a large and destructive tornado was on its way with the potential for catastrophic damage.

And that is exactly what happened. Now many like Fay don't know what to do next. She's not even sure if she has insurance to cover this.

SHEPPARD: That's my home. And I don't -- I really don't know yet where I'm going. And then I look at my daughter that's right across the street, and hers is even worse than mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:55:00] COOPER: It's hard to imagine. Gary joins us now from Dougherty County, Georgia just outside of Albany.

What's the latest in the search for that 2-year-old child?

TUCHMAN: Yeah, Anderson, at this hour, the little boy has not been found yet. It's a very difficult search because it's a heavily wooded area. The search was suspended when it got dark tonight but it will definitely resume at first light tomorrow.

This is a relatively small community, Anderson, and hundreds of homes have been devastated, demolished, damaged. People have lost all their personal belongings, and a lot of people are in dire financial straights.

The United Way of Southwest Georgia is helping out people here. And if you would care to donate, we'd like to show you the website address at unitedwayswga, that's Southwest Georgia.org, that's unitedwayswga.org if you'd like to help the people here in Southwest Georgia who have been devastated by this storm. Anderson?

COOPER: I appreciate you giving that address out. And our thoughts and prayers are certainly with all the people there, especially the family looking for their child.

Gary, thanks so much. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We put up a web address in the last segment for those who wanted to help survivors of the tornados that hit Dougherty County in Georgia. We want to show you that address again, there at the bottom of your screen. It's unitedwayswga.org, all one word, unitedwayswga.org. They clearly need a lot of help there right now.

[22:00:03] That does it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Day four of a Trump administration and the President is getting down to business --