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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
FBI Director Confirms Trump/Russia Probe, Refutes Wiretap Claim; Interview with Congressman Adam Schiff of California. Aired 8- 9p ET
Aired March 20, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:02] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening from Washington.
This was by any measure a remarkable day. Two months into his presidency and a little more than two weeks since his Saturday slew of tweets accusing President Obama of spying on him, a sitting president of the United States was rebuked publicly by a sitting FBI director and the head of the NSA -- rebuked in the wiretap claims, rebuked on the suggestion British intelligence was involved, rebuked on the notion that Trump associates are now in the clear on possible ties with Russia during the election.
There's a lot to cover over the next two hours, but one of the oddest aspects of today was how the White House responded to what was by nearly all definitions a pretty bad day for the president. Even while the hearing was unfolding, the White House was selectively live- tweeting the hearings.
But "Keeping Them Honest", one of their tweets describing testimony by the FBI director was flat-out false and they still have yet to correct the record. Here's the tweet, quote, "The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process." That is not however what the FBI and NSA said at all, and Director Comey said so.
And this isn't true either -- what Sean Spicer said today about the campaign's former chairman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's been discussion of Paul Manafort who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sean Spicer trying to minimize Paul Manafort's role.
"Keeping Them Honest", that is not the way he was described at the time by the people close to then-candidate Trump, but also Mr. Trump himself. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have fantastic people. Paul Manafort just came on, he's great.
ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Paul is amazing. He helped us get through the primary process.
D. TRUMP: I brought Paul in because a very, very smart friend of mine who knew him very well has said he is fantastic.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP ADVISOR: Paul Manafort remains as our chairman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Manafort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Manafort.
DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Paul Manafort.
D. TRUMP: Mr. Manafort.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Bringing a professional on like Paul helped us grow the campaign, and we need 10 more of this. Everything that Paul did for the campaign was one less thing I had to do.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
COOPER: That's a small number of the items we could have put together there. Another false claim from the White House.
As we said, an extraordinary day, something we've never really seen happen to a sitting president. Candidate Trump ran on the promise of ending business as usual in Washington, well, whether this is how he intended it or not, he has delivered. What we saw and heard today is not business as usual in Washington, it was extraordinary.
Pamela Brown tonight sets the stage.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): FBI Director James Comey wasting no time dropping this bombshell near the beginning of the hearing.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.
BROWN: And in a rebuke to the president, Comey said there is no evidence to support the president's claim that former President Obama had wires tapped inside Trump Tower. COMEY: I have no information that supports those tweets. And we have
looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components.
BROWN: The head of the NSA, Admiral Mike Rogers, also denying a report repeated by the White House that the Obama administration asked British intelligence to spy on the Trump campaign.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Did you ever request that your counterparts in GCHQ should wiretap Mr. Trump on behalf of President Obama?
ADMIRAL MICHAEL ROGERS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: No, sir, nor would I. That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement that's been in place for decades.
BROWN: Republicans avoided asking about Trump's wiretapping claims, instead focusing on whether laws were broken in reporting about ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador that were caught on surveillance. And even insinuating former Obama appointees could be the source of the leaks.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Do you know whether Director Clapper knew the name of the U.S. citizen that appeared in "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post"?
COMEY: I can't say in this forum.
GOWDY: Would Director Brennan have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen's name?
COMEY: In some circumstances, yes.
BROWN: Congressman Trey Gowdy providing no evidence to back up his insinuations.
Democrats zeroed in on the Russia investigation, from the beginning laying out a circumstantial argument about what they believe may have transpired.
SCHIFF: It wasn't simply that the Russians had a negative preference against Secretary Clinton. They also had a positive preference for Donald Trump, isn't that correct?
SCHIFF: Would they have a preference for a candidate who expressed open admiration for Putin?
COMEY: Mr. Putin would like people who like him.
BROWN: Comey repeatedly trying to go any further on what the investigation has uncovered.
COMEY: I'm not going to talk about any particular person here today, so I can't answer that.
BROWN: Perhaps anticipating outcry from Democrats, Comey sought to explain the difference between today's testimony and when he spoke about the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private server.
COMEY: Some folks may want to make comparisons to past instances where the Department of Justice and the FBI have spoken about the details of some investigations.
[20:05:03] But please keep in mind that those involve the details of completed investigations. Our ability to share details with the Congress and the American people is limited when those investigations are still open, which I hope makes sense.
COOPER: And Pamela Brown joins us now.
Did Director Comey give any indication how long this investigation is expected to continue?
BROWN: Well, he was asked that question, Anderson. And he simply said he doesn't know. He did say that the investigation began this past July.
But one official I spoke with says counterintelligence investigations such as this can take awhile. In fact, there have been cases where it takes years. As one official I spoke to said, it's rare that intelligence is conclusive. It's normally they're dealing with shades of gray. It's not black and white.
For example, there could be a source that claims something but they have a tough time corroborating that information. So, it's unclear, frankly, when this will wrap up. It could be some time, which could mean there will be a cloud hanging over the Trump White House for some time.
But it also could mean, given how these counterintelligence investigations work, that the smoking gun that people, some people, including some Democrats on the Hill, are looking for, may not come to fruition. We just don't know how this is going to play out -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, maybe smoke, no fire.
Pam Brown, thanks very much.
COOPER: The president is in Louisville, Kentucky, right now, speaking at a campaign-style rally.
CNN's Ryan Nobles is there. He joins us.
Ryan, the president speaking right now, has he responded yet to the FBI director's comments?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He has not, Anderson. And that's interesting because he's been speaking now for more than 25 minutes to a very raucous crowd in Louisville, Kentucky. No mention whatsoever about the hearings that took place today in Washington.
And the president himself has not responded directly at all. The only response we've seen to this point has been a series of tweets from the official POTUS account which could have been run by anybody at the White House where throughout the hearing, they were refuting some of the claims made and also taking out of context some of the things that were said as well.
So, as I said before, Anderson, 25 minutes into this speech, no mention by the president at all about the serious accusations that were leveled this morning at that hearing -- Anderson.
COOPER: Right. We should point out that tweet we talked about was from the official POTUS tweet page. And they still have not -- they still have not corrected that tweet. Even though it's been pointed out to them multiple times what they're saying is not true.
Ryan, how's the White House responding to the FBI director's statement that no wiretap evidence has been found?
NOBLES: Well, they're still not backing down, Anderson, which is interesting. You have now both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, now you have the FBI director himself coming out saying that there's no evidence to support this wiretap. But yet the press secretary, Sean Spicer, did not back down.
Listen to what he said today in his briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: He said that there is no information to support the allegations that the president made against President Obama.
SPICER: At this time.
REPORTER: So, is the president prepared to withdraw that accusation and apologize to the president?
SPICER: No, we're -- we started a hearing. It's still ongoing. And then as Chairman Nunes mentioned, this is one in a series of hearings that will be happening. I think there's -- as I noted last week, it's -- there's also a lot of interesting news coming out of that in terms of the activities that have gone on to reveal the information on American citizens that have been part of this, particularly General Flynn. There's a lot of things that aren't being covered in this hearing that I think are interesting, that, you know, since it's ongoing, I'll leave that for now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So, as you heard there, Anderson, not backing away at all from that wiretap claim. But at another part in the press briefing today, they did seem to distance themselves from some of the talk about the interactions with the Trump campaign and Russia, particularly former campaign chairman Paul Manafort who Sean Spicer described as having somewhat of a limited role in the campaign.
That's not true at all. He was the campaign chairman, he helped to organize the convention, he played a major role in this campaign. But perhaps an effort by the White House to distance themselves from someone who played a central role in any interaction that the campaign may have had with the Russian government -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Ryan Nobles, thanks very much.
Obviously, if President Trump talks about the hearings today, we will bring those comments to you.
One note, we should point out, Paul Manafort just put out a statement denying a role in the DNC hack or release of information from it. He said in part, quote, that he's, quote, "never spoken with any Russian government officials or anyone who claimed to have been involved in the attack." As I said, we're going to monitor President Trump's remarks and as soon as he talks about today's events, if he does, we'll go to him live.
With that, joining us now is CNN national security analyst Steve Hall. He's a former CIA senior officer and a veteran of Russian operations. "New Yorker" Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza is joining us. Our CNN political analyst David Gergen, Gloria Borger. As is Trump supporter, "American Spectator" senior contributor, Jeffrey Lord, former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki, Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and "Daily Beast" senior columnist Matt Lewis.
[20:10:07] Gloria, I mean, today, no matter how the White House tries to spin it, it was a tough day for the president.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think you could argue and I would argue that it was the worst day of his 60-day presidency. And that the road ahead is pretty perilous for him because they have this big cloud hanging over the White House.
And today was the day that Donald Trump's own FBI director said the president was wrong. That Barack Obama did not wiretap his phone. And the FBI director also made it very clear that the FBI had this ongoing investigation into Trump officials at -- potentially communicating with Russians about the hacks. So that was not fake news started by Democrats, as Donald Trump says.
So, on both counts, his own FBI director kind of swatted him down and the White House and Sean Spicer maybe saying nothing has changed, or that the hearings are still ongoing. But I think a lot changed today.
COOPER: David, you know, watching is hearings, it was almost like there were two different hearings going on. Republicans asking questions basically about leaks more or less, overwhelmingly, Democrats focusing on relegations of Russian hacking or allegations of cooperation. DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO REAGAN, FORD, CLINTON &
NIXON: Well, I think it was quite intention alternately. They obviously had game plans on each side. I think both sides would have been better off, the Democrats had they given more attention to leaks, to show that they do take it seriously, but the Republicans in turn should have given much more attention to the Russian allegations, because after all, those are foundational in terms of our democracy.
But I agree with Gloria that when the day was over, I think Donald Trump had taken two major hits below the water line. We've never had a president, a sitting president, accused a former president of a high crime, an impeachable offense and do it in such a blunt way. Then have it, that argument, that statement, totally rebuked --
COOPER: By his own Justice Department.
GERGEN: By his own Justice Department.
Yes, thank goodness for checks and balances, because we -- this was another time when the system worked to show us, you know, Mr. President, you've got to stop doing this because you're shredding your own credibility.
But I also agree, this could go on for a long time now. And I do think it greatly complicates the challenges of governing when you've got this cloud over your head. Listen, I was in the White House during Watergate. I can just tell you, that was a much, much bigger -- and this is not Watergate.
But there's that same sense of, you know, we don't even know what the truth is inside the White House, none of us really knows, and we don't know where this goes. It leaves you with a great pit in your stomach about where you're going --
COOPER: And, Ryan, in terms of the cloud hanging over, I mean, the White House continuing to kind of have this line of there's nothing to see, we didn't see anything today, nothing new happened today, oh and, by the way, what Comey said was that there was -- I mean, they're misrepresenting what Comey said, and now they're saying Paul Manafort really wasn't Paul Manafort. The guy we all interviewed and knew and listened to actually wasn't really there much at all.
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: Yes, it was almost as if they didn't see the hearing or watch the hearing that was different than what we all watched. I mean, you know, you say it's not quite Watergate. But I think today is the first day where you have to think, oh, wow, this could be something on that level. You have the FBI confirming an espionage investigation involving the White House.
And when asked -- look, I know we shouldn't read too much into his no comments, but when asked if the president himself was personally under investigation, the FBI director said he couldn't comment on that. So, the gravity of this, you know, can't be understated. And I think the fact that Comey was so reluctant to answer anything suggests the sort of depth of this investigation. If this was a nothing investigation, I think Comey would have been a little more forthcoming.
So I think that -- and the response from the White House to triple down on the original tweets, that now the FBI director, the leadership of both intelligence committees, the Brits, the DNI -- I mean, anyone who knows about the intelligence concerning, you know, Obama and his potential to surveil Trump has now said that that was false. And the White House still won't admit that.
COOPER: Steven, we heard from a lot of Democrats, though, on that committee today who were basically -- you know, they were using stuff from that dossier which we haven't reported any of the details on, trying to get that into the record, some of them weren't even really asking questions. They were just sort of making statements, knowing that the director wouldn't be able to answer.
It's very possible there is nothing there, that this is all just circumstantial or just smoke. But no actual fire. You've been -- I mean, you know intelligence well. This could go on for a very, very long time, yes?
STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA SENIOR OFFICER, RUSSIA EXPERT: This, Anderson, is going to be a counterintelligence investigation. That may or may not lead to criminal follow-up. And the problem with counterintelligence investigations is that they're very, very complicated.
[20:15:01] I would argue more complicated than most normal legal criminal investigations, because they deal with sensitive, secret information obtained in clandestine fashion that has to be dealt with on a multi-agency type of setting because you've got, of course, the FBI has the mandate for domestic collection.
HALL: But in this case we're talking about, for example. So, you're going to have CIA and NSA who are also going to be involved in terms of collecting information to try to get to the bottom of whatever's going on.
Now, we just don't know yet. I mean, it may be counter espionage. It may be as you indicated perhaps a lot of smoke and no fire.
For having been involved in a couple of counterintelligence matters myself, there seems to be a lot more smoke than -- there's got to be something behind it.
COOPER: You really believe that, as someone who's been involved in investigation?
HALL: If I were -- if I were leading this counterintelligence investigation, I would -- I would say, look, I defer to the lawyers as is to how to prove this, and law enforcement as to how to move it forward, but I think there's something here.
BORGER: Were you surprised Comey went as far as he went today?
HALL: I was. I was.
BORGER: I was too.
HALL: I think it would have been easier for him to simply say, this is a very sensitive investigation and, you know, because of all these sensitivities, perhaps we should --
MATT LEWIS, THE DAILY BEAST: I'm going to be contrarian. I think that we are -- we are out of touch. I think that the average person watching -- number one, the average person didn't watch this hearing today.
COOPER: I know. But can we just stop that argument? Because that argument is made all the time. And if you use that argument, then nothing really matters, the only thing that matters is someone's family life and like their day-to-day activities --
LEWIS: I'm not trying to shut down the argument with a phony way to shut it down. I sincerely think that there was a time, 15 years ago if a hearing like this had taken place, you know, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, they would have gone on -- the country would have been in an uproar over these allegations over this smoke. Now, of course, if there ever is a smoking gun that shows that President Trump knew about this and was communicating with the Russians, of course, then it would be a big deal.
But we live in a world now where people -- Donald Trump gets away with so much that there's the death of outrage. I think we're more outraged than the average person --
COOPER: I don't argue with that but that doesn't make it right. There's still facts and things which need to be --
LEWIS: Right. My point is that like that ultimately -- you know, when Richard Nixon, going back to Watergate thing, when Nixon was president, part of what forced him to resign was public pressure and pressure from members of Congress. There was shame. There's no shame.
COOPER: But, David, with Watergate, there were a lot of people who stuck with Nixon all the way through to the end. And, I mean, was it a groundswell? Or was it Republicans in Congress who were holding hearings and finally it became untenable?
GERGEN: It wasn't a groundswell, it was a tide of, you know, public pressure did push. The Republicans to their credit took the lead and going to President Nixon saying, you've got to resign.
JEN PSAKI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But that could still happen here. I mean, I think this is the very beginning. This is going to be a very long process as you've heard a number of people say. There are going to be more hearings. There's going to be more information that comes out. People are going to start to tune into what's happening here. And as
the question is raised whether people associated with the president of the United States were working with a foreign government to do --
LEWIS: If it came out Paul Manafort did this, I could see Donald Trump like, I had no idea.
COOPER: He didn't even work for me!
LEWIS: He's worked for three months.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We'll continue this discussion.
The president speaking now, we're listening for my mention of the hearings. We'll bring to you as they happen.
Coming up next also, we'll hear from Congressman Adam Schiff, some of whose questions you heard in Pam Brown's report.
And later, Republican colleague on the committee as well, Trey Gowdy.
We'll be right back.
[20:21:54] COOPER: And welcome back.
Quite a day. President Trump just finished speaking. He actually did not make any reference to the hearings today. We were listening to that. We were obviously going to bring that to you live if he did.
You heard the two competing storylines about today's House hearing. Democratic members focusing on the criminal and counterintelligence probes into possible contact between Trump associates and Russia. Republicans more or less putting the spotlight on the leaks about the investigations.
In a moment, you'll hear from the leading GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee, Trey Gowdy. I spoke to him earlier this evening.
But, first, something you heard from a bit in Pam Brown's report, the committee's ranking Democrat, Congressman Adam Schiff of California.
Thank you very much.
Before we -- I start asking the congressman questions, though, I want to play a portion of his opening remarks today. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Is it possible that the removal of the Ukraine provision from the GOP platform was a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to tell the Senate about his meetings with the Russian ambassador? Is it a coincidence that Michael Flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same Russian ambassador Kislyak about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke, the U.S. imposition of sanctions over Russian hacking of our election designed to help Donald Trump?
Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack and have his private e-mails published and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself was fully aware his private e-mails would be exposed? Is it possible all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence?
Yes, it is possible but it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected, and not unrelated. And that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they employed in Europe and elsewhere.
We simply don't know. Not yet. And we owe it to the country to find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Congressman Schiff joins us now. Thanks for being with us, long day for you.
SCHIFF: You bet.
COOPER: How did you reconcile Director Comey's testifying that the FBI had no information to support President Trump's accusation against President Obama with the White House today still standing by those claims?
SCHIFF: You know, there's no way to reconcile it. I had hope perhaps naively that once the directors spoke, and you had a source that was very much in position to know of any basis that existed for this, that the president would say, OK, enough. We've traced this long enough and I apologize, I shouldn't have said what I did.
That was evidently too much to hope for. And, you know, there are one of two possibilities here. Either the president is just fundamentally incapable of admitting error, or he just can't discern fact from fiction. And he is so vested in this now he truly believes it. That's probably a more frightening prospect.
COOPER: The other pushback from the White House today via Twitter was they said, I'm putting it up, "The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process." That is not true. The official White House position on this was not true.
[20:25:02] And even -- and a million people responding to them on Twitter saying that's not true, that's not what Director Comey said, that tweet is still up there.
SCHIFF: And here's the problem. We saw this exact scenario played out when the unclassified assessment was published. The president then said, hey, look! I see the I.C., the intelligence community says that there was no impact on the election. Of course, that's not what the report said. That's not what the directors said today.
COOPER: Right. They basically said, look, there's no evidence of Russia hacking into machines, affecting the vote in that sense. But you can't say and the FBI and NSA say it's not our purview to say whether it actually impacted the electoral process, people's decision- making.
SCHIFF: Exactly. And, you know, of course, it had impact on the election in the sense that it forced one candidate to continue to respond to these leaked e-mails. We don't know whether it was decisive and what's more, it's just not the intelligence community's place to try to even figure that out, they made that clear. And for the president to say otherwise is just another falsehood labeled on falsehood.
COOPER: I heard from a lot of Democrats today who said, look, Director Comey talked about an ongoing investigation against Hillary Clinton before the election, based on testimony he gave today, this investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign was ongoing at that time, or before the election, late July. He could have said, oh, and there's this other investigation.
A lot of Democrats are saying, why would he say there's an investigation about Hillary Clinton, he had given testimony on it, and not say that this investigation was under way?
SCHIFF: You know, I think that criticism is perfectly valid.
COOPER: You think he should have?
SCHIFF: Well, yes, I think he should have done it, even-handed manner, if he's going to talk about one, he needed to talk about both. Now, he attempted to distinguish them today, but frankly, I don't buy the distinction. He said, well, the one investigation involving Hillary Clinton was closed, this one was open.
But the fact is that he talked about the Clinton e-mails 11 days and then two days before the election -- was it closed then? No, it was reopened. Or it was in some kind of a twilight stage.
The reality is, there was a double standard employed here. And I don't think it can be justified.
COOPER: Is there a reason you didn't press him on that today?
SCHIFF: You know, frankly I'm not sure there's much value to relitigating that question. I thought that was the wrong judgment call at the time the director talked about that so close to the election. I think that violated Justice Department policy. And I can't reconcile the approach he took there and his unwillingness, for example, to sign the attribution that the other intelligence community leaders signed on October 7th, acknowledging that the Russians were interfering. And that didn't even go necessarily to any Trump campaign involvement.
COOPER: When Congressman Gowdy today began naming former Obama officials, everybody he named was a Democrat, not only President Obama, Clapper, and others, where do you think he was going in that? That was all in relation to his line of questioning about the leak about General Flynn and where it may have come from. I talked to Congressman Gowdy. We're going to play that in the next segment.
He says he was not implying that any of those people were the people who leak the information, he says, you know, could have been -- I said, you know, could it have come from people in the Trump White House? He said, yes, it could have.
Everyone he named was a Democrat. Do you think that's what he was implying?
SCHIFF: Well look, I think that on the -- up to the very last day of the Trump administration, whenever that is, he will be blaming Obama for something. And this is what he wants to do. He wants to say that the Obama administration was responsible for the raid in Yemen if it didn't go well, the Obama administration is responsible for all the leaks.
The reality is, we don't know where the leaks are coming from. They're probably coming from different sources. And some of those sources may be in Trump's own White House.
So, Mr. Gowdy could just as well have said, did Steve Bannon know about this? Did the White House counsel know about this? He could have named anyone in the president's circle who were potentially equally in a position to have leaked this. And maybe this was the product of an internecine fight within the White House of people who wanted Flynn out, I don't know. Mr. Gowdy doesn't know.
And I do think that the committee, GOP needs to be a bit careful because that trail could lead them right back to the White House.
COOPER: Just very briefly, finally, were you pleased with how today went? Because, I mean, just watching it as an observer, it did feel, I've said this before, there were two different committees. One, Republicans focusing on leaks. Democrats focusing on Russia and any possible connections.
SCHIFF: I mentioned this in the opening statement, that there were -- people were likely to hear us focus on different things. And that's perfectly fine. The most important thing is, we have come to agreement that we ought to look at all of these issues. We ought to investigate all of them.
I'm not trying to stop the Republicans from investigating leaks and I take leaks very seriously as well. I need to make sure they don't try to stop us from investigating any issues of coordination with the Trump campaign. And as long as we maintain that bipartisan commitment to looking at all of the issues and the chairman and I have signed a lengthy written agreement about what's within the scope of our investigation, we'll be doing our jobs, we just can't allow one side or the other to wall off any legitimate inquiry.
COOPER: Congressman Schiff, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
COOPER: Thank you very much.
We'd also like to hear from people from different sides of the aisle. Just ahead, we'll hear from Congressman Trey Gowdy.
COOPER: As we said at today's House Intelligence Hearings, Republicans (inaudible) folks on leaks about investigations and took possible content between Trump's associate from Russia. South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy soared (ph) in on unanimous sources side of news report that Michael Flynn, Pres. Trump's former National Security Adviser, discussed sanctions against Russia with Moscow's Ambassador to the U.S.
Their conversations were intercepted by American Intelligence. Congressman Gowdy take (ph) their list of former Obama administration officials who might have access to that classified information. And I just discussed with Congressman Schiff. He started by asking FBI Dir. James Comey about former Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Would he have access to an unmasked name?
JAMES COMEY, DIRECTOR, FBI: In some circumstance, sure. He's the director of National Intelligence. But I'm not talking about the particular.
GOWDY: Would Dir. Brennan have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen's name?
COMEY: In some circumstances, yes.
GOWDY: Would National Security Adviser Susan Rice have access to unmasked citizens' name?
COMEY: I think any -- yes, in general, and any other National Security Adviser would, I think, as a matter of their ordinary course to their business.
GOWDY: Would former White House Adviser Ben Rhodes have access to an unmasked U.S. citizens' name?
COMEY: I don't know the answer to that.
GOWDY: Would former Attorney General Loretta Lynch have access to a name?
[20:35:03] COMEY: In general, yes, as would any Attorney General.
GOWDY: So that would also include acting AG Sally Yates? COMEY: Same answer.
GOWDY: Did you brief Pres. Obama on -- I'll just ask you. Did you brief Pres. Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn?
COMEY: I'm not going to get into either that particular case, that matter, or any conversations I have with the president so I can't answer that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I spoke with Congressman Gowdy just before air time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Gowdy, you put a lot of focus on leaks today, the anonymous sourcing that led to news reports about Gen. Michael Flynn being caught up in U.S. surveillance to the Russian ambassador. Can you clarify if you think that is as important -- less important or more important than the question of whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government or just Russia's role in -- trying to influence the election?
GOWDY: Anderson, it's all important, which is why I asked Chair Nunes to give me additional time at the end. And he did, and I went through all of the other non-leak-related matters. I can't tell you which is more important. I can't tell you which one of my kids more -- it's all really important. I am a former criminal prosecutor so it makes sense that I would be asked to pursue the potential criminality. But I went back and covered all of it with my second line of questioning.
COOPER: At one point you name served high ranking former Obama administration officials. You also named the former president himself raising the idea or suggestion that perhaps that it was one of them who are the source or multiple people who are the source that Gen. Flynn's communications, the leak of Gen. Flynn's communications to the Russia ambassador being revealed. Were you just floating that idea or do you believe it was one of them? Because a lot of, you know, Democrats point, in fact, it could have been somebody from the Trump White House who didn't want Gen. Flynn being the National Security Adviser.
GOWDY: It could have been anyone. So, if anyone thinks I was floating an idea. I didn't ask the question very artfully. Anderson, we'd already savaged 20 different people at the NSA were in the unmasking train. I had established previously with Dir. Comey in another setting, the number at the FBI, I went through the CIA, I went through main justice. And then I'll start it with Clapper, I'll start with -- went to Brennan, Sally Yates who might -- actually, have a French (inaudible).
So, anyone who thinks I was accusing president of the United States of committing a crime is either jointing all the job or wasn't listening to the question very well.
COOPER: Ands just to put a button on this, you said moment ago that you're not suggesting then Pres. Obama committed a crime, that is what Pres. Trump has accused him of in, you know, those early morning tweets he sent out, I think -- I don't know, two weeks ago. Does that make sense to you?
GOWDY: I used to accuse people of crumbs for a living. And I know how serious that accusation is, and it needs to be backed up by probably (inaudible) and a grand jury indictment.
The president o the United States, I don't think can disseminate classified information because (inaudible) is the final arbiter of what is classified. So, I got lots of policy differences with Pres. Obama. I have never accused him of committing a crime. And would never do so unless I was a prosecutor and had a formal charging document. And even now I probably wouldn't do it publicly.
COOPER: In general, about leaks, you know, there is obviously leaks have always gone on I think Comey or the NSA director today talked about reading over the weekend about Washington complaining about leaks, you're a Benghazi committee was accused of leaking your report to certain media outlets, and the Democrats on it, it was accused by the Democrats, some Democrats accusingly leaking other information. Is there a role for four leaks? I mean people point to Watergate and deep throat even, you know, Michael Flynn might still be the National Security Adviser today had that information not ultimately have a link out.
GOWDY: Well, Anderson there's a difference between leaks. That's a moral issue whether or not -- you never heard me compliment weekly to never heard me call complement Julian Assange, in fact, I can't believe Republicans who compliment even one of them or did last summer. That's a moral issue at some level. The leaking of classified information or the leaking of information that was acquired through another crime is a criminal matter. So, I'm -- it's not my job to judge folks in your line of work whether or not you should rely on anonymous sources. I assume you have to for some things, but relying on anonymous sources and relying on classified information for which it is a felony to disseminate or two separate (inaudible) of inquiry in my judgment.
COOPER: Congressman Gowdy, I appreciate talking to you as always. Thank you.
GOWDY: Yes sir. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We have much more to talk about ahead as we've said Pres. Trump's official White House Twitter account was live tweeting selectively the House Intelligence Hearing. One of those tweets was shut down in real time by FBI Dir. James Comey. We'll show you that plate out when we talked to the panel.
[20:43:33] COOPER: As we said at the top of the broadcast. It's been an extraordinary days. Sitting president on day 16 of his administration essentially called out by his FBI director in a public hearing. President Trump's official White House Twitter account @POTUS tweeted some selection from today's House Intelligence Hearing, firing off a string of tweet, one of which became part of the hearing when Congressman Jim Himes read it to FBI Dir. James Comey and asked for a real time fact check.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral -- the electoral process. This tweet has gone out to millions of American, 16.1 million to be exact. Is the tweet as I read it to you the NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process, is that accurate?.
COMEY: It's hard for me to react. Let me tell you what we understand that the state of what we've said is. We've offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it's never something that we looked at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Go the White House, don't lie, tweet something that's fake when there are actually hearing still going on (inaudible) can actually be asked about their tweet.
So, Paul, as a Democrat who, you know, very clearly was working for Hillary Clinton, you clearly wish James Comey and believe -- Comey should have come forward earlier about this investigation.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, or shut out about the investigation about Hillary, turning out both candidates were under FBI investigation, but the FBI leaked endlessly about Hillary. And then, finally, Mr. Comey himself while clearing Hillary put on a 60 or 90-minute infomercial attacking her which was astonishing. Even and today he said. So, we don't talk about investigations. We don't want to smear people.
[20:45:13] So, yeah, there's a lot of bitterness in this. But it was striking that even a guy like Comey stood there and called the president of the United States a liar, he might used a formal terms but our president is a liar. And he lies. It's not about -- yes, sometimes at small things and silly things.
This is about our allies in the U.K., our closest allies in Great Britain. This is about our former president. This is big stuff. And so, we know he's liar. We've learn that today from the FBI director and the NSA director.
And we know he's a liar who is under federal investigation for potential collusion with a hostile foreign power. It gets pretty astonishing stuff. And for it to be coming even from somebody like Comey, who I think did his best to (inaudible) the election, they were company against Hillary, it's pretty extraordinary.
COOPER: Jeff, how do you see it? JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've say I really did see it totally differently. And I'm not getting talking points here, well, actually they do same talking point, but I'm not using them.
Look, I was on a radio talk show in Birmingham, Alabama today, the Richard Dixon show by name. And we were talking about the tweet about wiretapping and all these sort of thing. And a host said to me that he is talking to his audience amnd he says, you know, we speak American in South here and we know what he meant. What he meant was the FBI was from somebody who was surveilling him, that's what he think. He says, we get what do you say. He says -- and all you fancy people -- are, you know, trying to take this in another direction.
And I really do think, Anderson, you know, remember the old Sherlock Holmes business about the curious incident of the dark that didn't bark in the night, this town leaks like (inaudible) if they knew for a fact that somebody had colluded with the Russians and turn (ph) the election. We've known this month ago. This would have been out.
All these leaks that are coming out over this -- and this is not coming out, is because I'm convinced there's no there there.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You think the president didn't mean Barack Obama when he called him sick and, you know, personally kind of attacked him for doing this and said it was McCarthyism and all rest.
LORD: I really do think that the president thinks that he has been under surveillance. And that --
LORD: -- at Trump tower which is in Lititz, Pennsylvania was looked at the by the FBI. He believes there were some former fashion of surveillance.
BEGALA: So he has to fire the head of the FBI and head of National Security and see who today under oath --
BEGALA: -- said no, he's wrong, right?
LORD: Well --
COOPER: And his own Justice Department.
BEGALA: The Justice Department.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
BEGALA: So he's going to fire his attorney general, his FBI director and his NSA --
BEGALA: -- and he said it's not true because maybe it's not.
LORD: No, no, no, no.
BEGALA: This is the problem. Either he's nuts and delusional or he actually was --
COOPER: -- the FBI and the Justice Department on mistaken for taking the president literally, because they don't speak --
LORD: Americanese (ph).
COOPER: Americanese, because they're so part of Washington and that they are actually taking the president of the United States --
LORD: -- and I have tell you, this is such a classic Washington story. I mean --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.
JEN PSAKI, FORMER WH CIMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRES. OBAMA: I think that's totally wrong.
Look, I don't think that every person is following every aspect of the hearings, bu you're under valuing the intelligence of the American people. If you don't think that they care about somebody's credibility, --
PSAKI: -- honesty.
COOPER: -- because that's where the seed of the government is.
COOPER: This is about the government.
LORD: But why is that leak after leak after leak from -- if I may -- former Obama administration officials --
PSAKI: Well, says who?
LORD: -- according to "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" --
PSAKI: Wait a second. You are --
LORD: Well, the story is right there.
PSAKI: -- well, what just happened --
LORD: -- right here.
PSAKI: -- hearing today that we just saw in the last interview is -- what I think was a little bit classless by Congressman Gowdy where he was listing names of people who -- no one has any proof having to do with this.
MATT LEWIS, THE DAILY BEAST, SENIOR COLUMNIST: -- leaking story that was super important, I mean if, you know, if someone robbed a bank, let's say. That's wrong, that's bad. They should be punished. But if the police then don't read the Miranda rights and then abuse that person, we should also be very, very concern about --
LEWIS: -- that.
LEWIS: -- and it's a crime that we shouldn't, you know, dismissed.
COOPER: -- have been arrested in Watergate and send to jail --
LORD: -- classified information?
COOPER: I don't know.
LORD: Yeah, I mean I don't recall that.
LEWIS: We don't want a world where, you know, Intelligence Committee members who are unanimous can leak information to try to change the outcome --
LORD: -- should go to jail for this.
PSAKI: We don't want -- the leaking should be looked at -- there's no question. We can all accept that. But it shouldn't be a tough call and I think for most people have call about whether we should focus more on --
COOPER: And also, certainly the Obama White House, with all due respect, they went after leakers --
[20:50:4] DAVI GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO REAGAN, FORD, CLINTON & NIXON: I just want to go back to this question of the honesty of the president. We're going to be -- it's going to take a long time, you know, to investigate and figure out whatever actually happened between the Russians and the folks around the president.
But, I must tell you, I think we crossed a threshold today. This was so obviously, boom, he wiretapped me. He's a bad guy. He's a sick guy, and the whole world had a chance to watch this unfold, and it was a direct test of his credibility. And the whole world now knows he lied about it, and his White House is continuing to lie about it. And I just can't tell you how important trust is between the American people and the president.
LEWIS: I wish we lived in the world that David Gergen thinks we live at, because I think he would actually -- I wish people --
GERGEN: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
LEWIS: -- people were outrage by --
GERGEN: I'm sorry. One of the reasons people didn't vote for Hillary Clinton was they didn't trust her.
GERGEN: Trust matters.
COOPER: And also the question is, maybe to your point, maybe it's not right now today, but others have made this point that down the road months from now when the president stands up and says, you know, we actually have to go to war or we have launch this attack --
COOPER: -- because this has happened, --
COOPER: -- is there a trust -- enough of a trust deficit --
BORGER: I would argue yes.
GERGEN: Lyndon Johnson went down over this issue. You know, he didn't know (inaudible) gap near Canyon and that's what's opening up here, and it makes a real difference in the capacity of a president. We've seen it again and again.
LORD: Unless --
GERGEN: This is not new when we have a president who is a congenital liar, it really matters --
LORD: Unless, David, and we did have a president for eight years who said if you want your doctor you can keep it.
COOPER: Do you believe this president of the United States is a congenital liar?
COOPER: Do you believe he has lied repeatedly?
LEWIS: I think he's a liar.
LORD: -- that electoral thing that you just mentioned, the electoral tweet, etc cetera.
LORD: I think they are referring to the questions which we all saw where they asked, did this influence -- do you have, you know, information about Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin --
COOPER: But that's not what the tweet said, the tweet said the electoral process.
LORD: That's the electoral process.
COOPER: No, it's not.
COOPER: No, it's not.
COOPER: Come on, Jeffrey.
BORGER: You don't think he's a liar. Do you think he was wrong?
BORGER: Wait a minute on this Obama tweets.
LORD: -- sure.
BORGER: Well, was he wrong in this particular instance?
LEWIS: You know, I think -- Donald Trump --
LEWIS: All of us accept for Jeffrey would agree that he's a liar. But I think is Jeffrey, Jeffrey --
LEWIS: Yes, and that's my point. I think you have a very good point there. Which is we become desensitized. I think that -- sadly, we've arrived at the point of the death of outrage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing -- maybe an optimistic note here. One thing that's good today is we had institutions working to correct a White House that is out of control with misinformation. We had a FBI director that by all counts is doing a serious investigation here. As partisan as that committee was today, you have Republicans who are trying to get to the bottom of a factual issue that with the leaking, and you had Democrats who are trying to get to the bottom of collusion with the Russian.
COOPER: But the question, is there anybody in the White House in the president's orbit who is in that same account of trying to actually get speak the truth as opposed to speak a version of their --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- I'm not as optimistic of their -- about the White House, but today at least the FBI and Republicans --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and Democrats are genuinely trying to get to the bottom of this issue.
COOPER: We got to take a break.
Up next, what Trump supporters have to say about today's hearing on Capitol Hill? Gary Tuchman went to tonight's rally in Louisville, where what Jeffrey calls Americanese is spoken. It's also spoken here to be honest. But we'll be right back.
[20:55:10] COOPER: Just moments ago, as we mentioned, Pres. Donald Trump wrapped up his campaign-style rally in Louisville, Kentucky. He made no mention of wire-tapping of today's House Intelligence Hearing.
Our Gary Tuchman is in Louisville tonight spokes on Trump supporters to get their take on today's Capitol Hill hearings. Here's Gary's report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump wasn't set to arrive until the evening. But that didn't stop these ardent supporters from arriving very early in the morning.
And Mike Carroll was near the front of the line.
MIKE CARROLL, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I've got a copy of March 1990 playboy interview with Donald Trump.
TUCHMAN: Carroll, waited in line for hours in hopes of getting a Trump autograph on that magazine. And while he was waiting, the FBI director was testifying on Capitol Hill.
The FBI is investigating whether there is alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign and whether any crimes were committed. Does that trouble you?
CARROLL: It really doesn't.
TUCHMAN: Why not?
CARROLL: I look at it as a matter of, minor issue that I think is just perpetuated by the media.
TUCHMAN: Also thinking it's minor, this minor.
PAUL MIRACLE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I'm a third generation. My papa was a miner too since the 30s.
TUCHMAN: Paul Miracle says many of the accusations he's heard about Pres. Trump are unfair.
MIRACLE: I think he's doing a great job.
TUCHMAN: You don't think he's getting distracted while this other thing is going on?
MIRACLE: No, I don't think so.
TUCHMAN: Many here think any possible Russia links aren't such a big deal. They have no problem with Donald Trump once asking Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing e-mails.
MIRANDA SEYMOUR, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think that all of our super powers in the world interfere with everybody's elections, and if by bringing out e-mails for someone as evil as Hillary not being president, with all means, please bring it out, because --
TUCHMAN: It's OK that Donald Trump said that, that he wanted Russia to release those e-mails?
SEYMOUR: Absolutely, because it's the truth. And I feel like our media is so liberal in the United States, why not let -- if our people aren't going to do it, let Russia do it for us.
TUCHMAN: Meanwhile, Donald Trump's claim that Barack Obama had his phone wiretapped is still widely believed here.
CODY COMBS, TRUM SUPPORTER: No, he's got.
TUCHMAN: But the FBI director says they haven't seen anything, even his Vice-President Pence, no one's saying -- they said Donald Trump is saying it.
COMBS: Well, when the truth comes out, then what's everybody going to say?
TUCHMAN: So, why isn't he presenting that evidence now?
COMBS: I think there's more to it than the public can know. And they've got to get everything all together.
TUCHMAN: Do you think Donald Trump's involved in preparation to present this at some point?
COMBS: Yes. I do believe that.
TUCHMAN: One of the few Trump supporters we found here who is fine with the disclosure of the investigation is Robert Berry.
ROBERT BERRY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Otherwise there's no legitimacy unless he -- lets himself to be investigated fairly then one is going to keep on saying that is true, and if it turns out to be true, that would be bad, and I would be very disappointed.
TUCHMAN: What people here are not disappointed with, two months into his presidency is Donald Trump's tenacity.
What do you think of Donald Trump's greatest accomplishment has been so far of his presidency?
LANDON WADE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think he's standing up to the pressure that he's received, by the way, so far. I mean he's got a tremendous headwind.
TUCHMAN: So do you think that's his greatest accomplishment goes, dealing with the pressure as opposed to something more specific?
WADE: I think he's delivering on a lot of his campaign promises already --
TUCHMAN: But what's the main one? What's the main one?
WADE: Probably the immigration, the movements he's made on immigration are important.
TUCHMAN: The travel ban has been turned down by courts so far.
WADE: Well, some of that stuff's is out of his hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Gary joins us. Now you've been going to these campaign-style rallies since the president took office. Do you notice anything difference at all and he shared from his supporters given everything at top (ph) in the last two months?
TUCHMAN: Well, as we've traveled around the country, Anderson, since Inauguration Day, we've certainly talked to Trump voters who have the concerns about the presidency. But here at these rallies, you have the most loyal Trump voters, the loyalist of the loyal. And the enthusiasm we saw in here tonight matches or exceeds the enthusiasm I've seen at any rally before or after he became president.
COOPER: Gary, thanks very much, appreciate it. Appreciate all those folks talking to you.
We have much more to tell you about on the next hour of 360, what a day, including more breaking news tie (ph) to air travel. We'll tell you why electronics over certain size are being banned from cabins on some flights to the U.S., things like computers and more. We'll tell you about that ahead.