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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Wash Post: Sessions Discussed Trump Campaign-Related Matters With Russian Amb., Per U.S. Intercepts Of Russian Discussions; Manafort, Trump Jr. Reach Senate Deal To Avoid Public Hearing; Scaramucci Named WH Communications Director; New Snag Could Derail GOP Senate Health Bill; O.J. Simpson Moved To Another Cell Away From Inmates. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 21, 2017 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:02] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: A new story just out in the "Washington Post" says that Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S. told his Kremlin bosses that he did in fact talk about campaign matters with then Senator Jeff Sessions. Current and former U.S. officials telling the "Washington Post" they know from American intelligence intercepts.

No, if true, it's also possible that the Russian ambassador was just boasting to his bosses. But if it wasn't a boast and the information bears out it does casts serious doubt on the credibility of Jeff Sessions, the highest law enforcement official in the land, who denied any having contacts with Russians during the campaign about the campaign. This is what Attorney General Sessions said during his confirmation hearing back in January.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D) MINNESOTA: If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. I've been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communication was the Russians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He said he didn't have communications with the Russians. Then when asked in a written question whether he had been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after the Election Day, Sessions responded no.

Now listen to what he said when he recused himself from the Russia probe back in March.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SESSIONS: Let me be clear, I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign, and the idea that I was part of a "continuing exchange of information" during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government is totally false.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, listen to what the attorney general said in the Senate testimony back in June. Listen to how he's changed what he is saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SESSIONS: I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right. CNN Sara Murray joins us from the White House. First of all, have you reaction to all of this?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've asked the White House for a reaction. We have not heard anything from them yet on this tonight. Obviously, we know that the president has had some concerns about Jeff Sessions recently. He aired them in an interview with "The New York Times," mainly lashing out that Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation, which Sessions was of course told to do by lawyers at the Department of Justice.

And we do have a statement tonight from Justice Department Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores. So I'm going to read that to you. She says, "Obviously I cannot comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that the Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me, but the Attorney General stands by his testimony from just last month before the Senate Intelligence Committee when he specifically addressed this and said that he 'never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election.'"

So that's the statement from the Department of Justice. Still waiting to see if the White House weighs in on it this evening, but clearly a tough week for Jeff Sessions.

COOPER: Well, Sara, I mean what's interesting about that statement is they're saying that he stands by -- his kind of amended statement which was, you know, in his second time testifying under oath where he said never had contacts with Russians about interference in the campaigns or in the elections, whereas previously he said never had any campaign contacts with the Russians, full stop.

MURRAY: Well, right. And that's what's continued to dog this White House, right? The fact that they were so adamant, Jeff Sessions, but so many officials in this White House, adamant there was no contact with any Russian officials and then you find out drip, drip, drip, there was this meeting, there was that meeting. This obviously has to do with Jeff Sessions' conversation in particular with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. So we're seeing this kind of thing continue to trip up other people who oppose to President Trump. Obviously, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, his own son, Donald Trump Jr., it was the reason that Michael Flynn was eventually fired and is no longer serving in this White House, because this is the kind of thing that has come back to haunt the west wing over and over again.

COOPER: And also, Sara, I mean this could not come at a worse time for Jeff Sessions is given what the president just said about him to "The New York Times" the other day?

MURRAY: Well, that's right, essentially a double whammy. Sure, Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the president still has confidence in Sessions, if the president wanted Sessions out, then Sessions would be out. But these were very difficult comments. If you are anyone who is serving for the president, if you are someone who decided to serve in government -- remember, Jeff Sessions gave up a Senate seat that was probably safe for him for quite a long time. He was one of the first people to endorse President Trump, and President Trump repaid that by lashing out in "The New York Times" about how Jeff Sessions was very unfair to him and should have told him at the outset he was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. And if so, the president would have chosen someone else.

COOPER: Right.

[21:05:06] MURRAY: So, yes, like I said, not a great week to be Jeff Sessions.

COOPER: Although at beginning he didn't know he was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because that was all based on his statements anyway. Sara Murray, thanks very much.

I want to bring in CNN contributor and "Washington Post" reporter, Adam Entous, one of the three names in the byline tonight's "Washington Post" story. He joins us along the panel. Margaret Hoover, we should mention has spoken at conferences hosted by White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, for his part he has financially supported her organization, the American Union Fund. Also with us, Scott Jennings, Maria Cardona and Jason Miller.

So Adam, first of all, I just want to focus with you. The report about attorney general, just explain what you are reporting tonight. Yes. What is the story?

ADAM ENTOUS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. So, you know, we reported back in March that when Sessions appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was asked the question about, frankly, Al-Franken didn't really ask him that question, but his answer was that he didn't have any contact -- communication was the Russians. We found out that that wasn't the case, that there was, you know, there was a meeting at the RNC on the sidelines at the RNC that he had a meeting with Kislyak and there was a second meeting in his office in September. We subsequently learn they were, Kislyak and Session, attended the same event in April where Trump gave his first foreign policy speak.

COOPER: -- I recall. ENTOUS: And we were trying to figure out what were the contents of these contacts, what were they discussing. And so, you know, Sessions had specifically said that he did not discuss campaign matters in his March 2nd appearance where he announced his recusal.

COOPER: Right. He was very blunt about that.

ENTOUS: Well, he was blunt about it when referring to the -- you know, I guess the July event. He was a little bit less clear when he was referring to the September event. But the bottom line is we wanted to find out, you know, whether that was true. And so, what we learned is that Kislyak had reported back to Moscow about his two -- about two conversations in 2016 with Sessions, the first one in April, second one in July, in which he reported that he told Moscow that they did discuss campaign issues.

COOPER: And it is possible -- and this is based on intercepts, U.S. Intelligence intercepts.

ENTOUS: Correct.

COOPER: You haven't heard the intercepts but you have spoken to people who have?

ENTOUS: Correct. I don't know if they listened to the intercepts or read intelligence reports that are based on those intercepts.

COOPER: It is possible and you write about this in the article as well, that Kislyak is lying, that he's boasting or embellishing to his bosses to make himself seem more important and connected?

ENTOUS: He could be doing that. He could also be intentionally planning false information in order to throw off U.S. Intelligence analysts, which is a practice. But let me just vouch for Kislyak. In the past his reporting has appeared to be accurate --

COOPER: This is according to what intelligence people you have talked to?

ENTOUS: According to actually U.S. diplomats and other officials that have dealt with him over the years. And not only that, but we did an earlier story that was about a meeting at Trump Tower in December where Kushner, the son-in-law of the president, also met with Kislyak.

COOPER: Right.

ENTOUS: And Kislyak also reported that conversation and the contents of that proved to be accurate.

COOPER: To those who read a conspiracy, that perhaps President Trump is behind this leak because based on what he said, his anger about Jeff Sessions in that article in "The New York Times," you've had this information about the intercepts for sometime?

ENTOUS: Yes, no, and, frankly, it's been rather obvious I think to people who were looking at it when members of Congress, Democrats particularly, started making public calls saying that they believed that there was a third meeting and asking for an investigation of third meeting. Comey testified in early June in which he basically said, you know, there is -- he had reason to believe that Sessions would have had to recuse himself, but he wasn't going to be able to discuss at that session in open session what that information was.

And so, you know, the bread crumbs, if you will, were being left in those June appearances, and so that's when we started to piece this together.

COOPER: Maria, you know, a lot of people could listen to this and say, look, what is the big deal if Jeff Sessions meets with the Russia ambassador and talks about the Trump campaign? He was on the campaign. He was on the top surrogates. It would seem normal that -- I mean, what else he's going to talk to the Russian ambassador about when he said the Republican convention, that's all you talk about is the campaign. And so there's that question.

MARIA CARDONA, 2008 SENIOR CAMPAIGN ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: Sure.

COOPER: The other question, of course, is why then did Sessions not say, yes, I did, I talked to him about the campaign, but sort of have to go twice to amend his testimony and now maybe a third time.

CARDONA: And that's exactly the point, Anderson. If, in fact, it was no big deal, why did he perjury himself then trying to cover it up? If this is true, that's exactly what happened.

So put aside how damaging and damming this is for Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration, this is a big deal and Jeff Sessions could be in big trouble legally because if it is true, you know -- I thought the first time around he perjured himself because he had lied. But this is proof that if these meetings actually did happen he willfully perjured himself before Congress.

[21:10:15] COOPER: Scott, your take in here?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have a hard time believing that a man of integrity like Jeff Sessions would willfully perjure himself in the way you're sitting here discussing.

Look, we sat here for months and we have listened to people say, the Russians are bad, you can't trust the Russians, the Russians are all liars. And tonight we hear, we got to take this Russian's words as the gospel when the story points out that sometimes they lie sometimes they embellish.

Right now, all we know is Kislyak's word versus whatever the Justice Department's statement is, which they deny any wrong doing in this conversation. He raised that point.

And the other critical point you raised, Anderson, is there a big deal here? Wouldn't we expect sort of, you know, conversations like this to be going on? Jeff Sessions says nothing bad happened in these conversations.

CARDONA: Why did he lie about them then?

COOPER: I mean he did in that March, you know, when he recused himself he did say very clearly, never met with any Russians.

JENNINGS: Sure.

COOPER: -- discussed.

JENNINGS: Sure.

COOPER: --, you know, anything going on with the campaign.

JENNINGS: I'm not denying that I wish they had gotten all of the meetings right on the front end, but that doesn't mean somebody willfully lied about it, which is your word.

CARDONA: -- it could have.

JENNINGS: And it doesn't mean he discussed anything that was any big deal.

CARDONA: Pretty damming.

COOPER: Margaret?

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: The content of the conversation is what's relevant and we don't know what the content of the conversation was. If the content of the conversation was talking about the campaign and possible coordination with the Russian government about the campaign, that would be an incredibly big deal. We don't know what it was.

The problem is that Jeff Sessions has lost an enormous amount of credibility --

CARDONA: Yes.

HOOVER: -- for people who want to defend him, right? For Republicans who -- actually, you know, well, I don't agree with many of his policies, I want to think that this long-serving senator actually had the integrity to tell the truth when he's being questioned in front of the United States and the American people. Now I have a hard time defending him because are just --

CARDONA: Yes.

HOOVER: -- too many times he's forgotten.

COOPER: I want to go -- we get the rest of the panel. We got to take a quick break. We're going to continue in the moment.

Also other breaking news, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, say they will speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee, not going to be publicly, n the public on Wednesday. We'll tell you details of that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:15:21] COOPER: Talking about this latest bombshell report from the "Washington Post." Adam Entous from the "Washington Post" is with us to discuss. I want to read the Department of Justice statement to all of you that just came out. It says, "Obviously I cannot comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that the Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me, but the Attorney General stands by his testimony from just last month before the Senate Intelligence Committee when he specifically addressed this and said that he 'never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election.'"

Interesting, I mean, Adam, you tell me your reading of that statement.

ENTOUS: Yes.

COOPER: But they're not standing by his statement from March saying he had no contacts with any Russians during the campaign about the campaign. Now it's to focus on his June statement which was amended about interference.

ENTOUS: Right. So, yes, no, I mean clearly they have decided --

COOPER: They're not saying it's not true. They're just saying your sources are uncorroborated.

ENTOUS: Well, they're not responding to the story.

COOPER: Right.

ENTOUS: What they're basically doing is saying that, you know, there is no communication was the Russians about coordination or about what Russia was doing in the election. And frankly, we have nobody telling us that that was in any way discussed in any of those meetings. What we are reporting is basically that they did discuss campaign matters contrary to what Sessions said in his March 2nd press conference.

COOPER: Right. And that goes to the credibility of Jeff Sessions, Carl?

CARL BERSNTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: You know, there's a move here for the former attorney general -- or the current attorney general of the United States, and that is to look at the president of the United States who has thrown him under the bus and go to Congress and say, "I'm here to tell you everything you want to know about what happened in our campaign with the Russians. Ask me anything you want. I'm going to tell you everything. I'm going to tell you what the president and I talked about. I'm going to tell you what Flynn and I talked about. I'm going to tell you what the Russian ambassador and I talked about," and then we'll have some clarity.

HOOVER: Why would we --

BERNSTEIN: -- well, let's see what he says. I don't know if we'll trust him, but let's listen to him and see if this cover up continues, because he is in a position to tell us a lot, and perhaps now that the president has thrown him under the bus he might have some motivation to let us know what he knows. Is that a radical idea?

CARDONA: It is, and it would make sense, but we know that this is an administration that doesn't listen to common sense. This could have been so much better handled from the get-go. We've all talked about this, right? Just to be straight, to be honest, to be transparent, which is what they always talk, about what actually happened.

BERNSTEIN: Unless --

CARDONA: The fact -- exactly. The fact that they haven't been able to do that each and every time and the fact that we continue to find out nuggets about the Russian either interference or collusion or conversations about campaign --

BERNSTEIN: -- remember, filled out a form straight three times, a number of these people.

CARDONA: Exactly. And everybody seems to have that symptom, right? There seems to be some kind of syndrome when it comes to the Russians of forgetfulness.

JASON MILLER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But also be transparent what we are seeing here. I mean everyone see "Friday night lights." Well, here we have another episode of "Friday night leaks." Another day, another Friday where the president and his team have another excellent Friday and here we go with another leaked report to go and set it up for the weekend and the Sunday shows. So here is what -- so we --

COOPER: But he's been -- they've had this information. They've been working to try to get this information for a long time.

MILLER: Again, for a report that no one at this table has actually seen the transcript of what's actually in this, and we're relying on what supposedly this Russian ambassador said in his communication that he knows would have been monitored going back home.

Look, no ambassador or spy or whatever Kislyak is in the history of mankind is going to go and file a report saying, another completely worthless week here, I learned absolutely nothing. Of course they're going to go --

COOPER: But I will say Jay Sekulow, the president's attorney, when arguing on Donald Trump Jr.'s behalf on this program and everywhere, was taking the word and quoting the Russian attorney's standpoint of what she said in a television interview as a reliable source. So I think -- I totally agree you can't take a Russian ambassador, but I'm not sure --

MILLER: I'm not vouching for any Russian here, but I think that there is a key point to the story as I went through and read it for a second time. Where in the report from the Russian ambassador he made the comment they had a substantive conversation. I think the word substantive was in quotes. I'm not sure if it was a translation issue or why that was in quotes.

[21:20:00] Attorney General Sessions said that there was no meeting. So clearly, there's a disconnect here, because if there was no meeting and there was no substantive conversation, then this is absolutely false on its face. Just period point-blank.

COOPER: Right.

MILLER: Completely debunks it, end of story, if that is a key detail right there. So again,--

COOPER: It doesn't make it false that it never happened. It makes it false that the guy was lying, which is in the "Washington Post" report.

MILLER: I think it makes it very clear that if there is no meeting, I think it makes it very clear this gentleman was lying.

CARDONA: What if there was?

COOPER: Right, yes. That he was --

CARDONA: If there was, that's a big problem for Jeff Sessions in and of itself.

ENTOUS: It's how you define it in first case. The April exchange, I think the question is how you define a meeting. Is a meeting, you know, a 10-minute conversation when everybody is in a greeting line to shake the hand of the candidate Trump? Is that sufficient for Kislyak to ask some questions of Sessions and get some answers and then write a report? Sessions --

MILLER: That wouldn't be substantive.

ENTOUS: Well, that's, you know, I think it's in the eye of the beholder, you know, what substantive means.

CARDONA: -- under definition --

ENTOUS: You know, I'm not sure exactly --

MILLER: So you can see from someone who's a Trump supporter where this would raise serious red flags, literally and figuratively. It's like, wait a minute, you know, this doesn't pass the smell test that there was any there, there.

And again, I can't believe that we're putting this much stock in, you know, the intercepted -- to begin with, you know, cable, or phone call or whatever it was between a Russian ambassador going directly back to his people when, of course, he's going to go and tell a story to, you know, chin it up, to make it sound like --

JENNINGS: And we don't even know what the story is. We don't even know what the story is. We don't know the contents of the meeting. He used the word nugget of collusion. There's no nugget here. There's not even any -- CARDONA: We don't know that.

JENNINGS: Or ketchup packets.

CARDONA: We don't know that.

JENNINGS: We have nothing here.

CARDONA: We don't know that Scott.

JENNINGS: You don't know -- you know the contents of the meeting?

CARDONA: No. I don't.

JENNINGS: Do you now the contents of the meeting? No, so --

CARDONA: But here is the problem. The problem is history, right? It strains credulity that the attorney general of the United States who was supposedly prepared for a -- a briefing, a testimony before Congress -- and I have been in these briefings preparing cabinet secretaries for these. They are meticulous. When the Russia story was front and center, for him to forget these kinds of meetings twice, maybe now three times? I'm sorry, it strains credulity. So the flip side of what you're saying, if you are a Trump critic you can understand why this then feeds into the notion that the Trump administration does not have any relationship with the truth whatsoever.

JENNINGS: All we know tonight is that it's Jeff Sessions' integrity versus some Russian's word on a cable we haven't seen. And until somebody tells me that this Russian is somehow more credible than Jeff Sessions --

COOPER: Right, but --

JENNINGS: -- who I know is credible, --

COOPER: But Jeff Sessions had already --

JENNINGS: -- I'm inclined to believe Jeff Sessions.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: He's already lied.

BERNSTEIN: I'm going to say let's just find out, --

CARDONA: He's already lied.

BERNSTEIN: -- Mr. Attorney General --

JENNINGS: Yes. I'm going to end up answering your questions --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: -- please give us the answers. CARDONA: Yes.

JENNINGS: Don't you think that's where it will wind up?

COOPER: But don't you think after two testimonies --

JENNINGS: Yes.

COOPER: -- under oath that he would have already --

CARDONA: Yes.

COOPER: -- answered that question?

CARDONA: That's the problem.

COOPER: That now it's going to be a third testimony under oath.

JENNINGS: Yes. He's going to have to go back and clean it up.

COOPER: Yes.

JENNINGS: There's no question about that. And this is where it's going to wind up. He's going to go back and answer questions, but that doesn't mean we're going to find out something nefarious happened --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: -- it certainly does not, and it would be a delight to learn what happened, nefarious or even better than nefarious, answers that would show us that nothing happened. That would be good for the country, --

JENNINGS: But we can't --

BERNSTEIN: -- good for the president.

JENNINGS: But, Carl, we can't --

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: We can't rake Attorney General Sessions over the coals every time the Russians want to go and put out information.

BERNSTEIN: -- who is talking about raking him over the coals?

MILLER: He is getting attacked --

COOPER: He is getting attacked by the president.

BERNSTEIN: That's the person who is ranking --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: Slow down, slow down, please. The president of the United States raked the attorney general of the United States over the coals yesterday in a way that no attorney general that I have ever heard of has been raked over the coals by the president. That's where we are.

Where we also are is the reality that so far for six months not a single official in the Trump White House, in the campaign, in the Trump family has come forward and said, I want to be open with you, I want to tell you what happens here.

MILLER: Do you want to --

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: Donald Trump Jr. he gave us his e-mails --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: No, I want --

MILLER: -- understand what you're saying.

BERNSTEIN: No, in fact, I would love to see all of these people say, here's what happened, nothing nefarious happened, here are the meetings, here are the contents of what was disclosed and discussed.

CARDONA: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: End of story.

COOPER: I mean --

MILLER: -- nothing happened, they don't have to come forward to say nothing happened.

COOPER: And this is Trey Gowdy's point, which is, you know, anybody who met with any Russians tell the special counsel, --

CARDONA: Yes.

COOPER: -- don't wait for "The New York Times" or "Washington Post" to drag it out.

BERNSTEIN: I rest with Trey Gowdy.

COOPER: We're going to have more to talk about. We're going to take another break.

Also Russia related, we got details in Donald Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, or how they're going to give it. Not quite shaping up as expected as a public testimony. We'll tell you all the details we know ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:28:29] COOPER: Our other breaking news tonight, an unexpected turn of events in the Senate Judiciary Committees Russia probe. Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort will not testify in public this Wednesday as anticipated. They cut a deal to talk with the senators and their staff in private instead. CNN's Manu Raju joins us from Capitol Hill with more. So, what details do we know about this deal?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, we know that negotiations that happened behind the scene is pretty intensely over the last couple of days. Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort did not want to appear at the Wednesday public hearing even as the Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley threatened to subpoena them for their appearance. Instead, they agreed to provide records to the committee. They agreed to a private interview. A date has not been set for that yet. But they agreed to do it with senators and as well as staff members. And it's notable that Donald Trump Jr., in particular agreed to this.

Remember, Anderson, it was just last week in which he said that he would be willing to tell Congress everything under oath about that meeting that he took at Trump Tower with Russian officials during the campaign season in which he was promised dirt on the Clintons, that both Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner also were at. It was very clear as soon as that invitation came for a public hearing, instead, Anderson, he worked behind the scenes to avoid a public hearing. We'll see if that ever comes to pass, Anderson.

COOPER: So they won't be appearing at Wednesday's hearing in public. It is possible they may still have to appear publicly at some point, is that correct?

RAJU: It is possible. Now, that is a threat that a judiciary committee is continuing to keep out there. Chuck Grassley, the chairman, did tweet after the news was announced about this deal saying that he does expect them to "also appear openly." So there's some expectation that they should appear as well, but, of course, if they decline to do so, that would force the committee to either subpoena them and that could lead to a long process to try to get them to appear that may. So that may never happen if they decide not to.

[21:30:16] And also, Anderson, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in- law coming before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees next week on Monday to the Senate, Tuesday to the House, but also behind closed doors. Unclear if that will ever happen publicly or if we'll learn exactly what happen in that classified session, Anderson.

COOPER: Manu Raju, thanks very much.

Back now with the panel. Carl, earlier, you had a point and I think it's an important one. I mean, these behind closed doors testimony, actually can be much more efficient because you don't have senators or Congress people playing to the cameras and you also have their staff asking questions and so can be much direct.

BERNSTEIN: Yes. And you also have the opportunity as a senator has said to bring them back in a public session and you can issue a subpoena. But also Donald Trump has been talking about a witch hunt. It seems to me that one of the things that the investigators in the House and the Senate want to do is make sure that there is nothing that even could be interpreted as a witch hunt. COOPER: Not of this is spectacle?

BERNSTEIN: Well, first find out what these people have to say. Find out what evidence they have. Ask them, are they going to be forthcoming and go on with a procedure that is normal investigative procedure that enables them to have a hearing in which the most evidence is produced. This is a first step. It puts the onus on Manafort, it puts the onus on Donald Trump Jr., to come up with information. If they don't, there are plenty of evidence left to the investigators to bring them before the full committee.

COOPER: Adam, is it clear how much information the committees will get in terms of e-mails? I mean, Donald Trump Jr. has shown, you know, of photographs of an e-mail chain. We don't know if that's the entire chain, we don't know if there were other e-mails. Do we know?

ENTOUS: No. I don't think we know. We don't know how much also, you know, we have Jared Kushner, who's going to be in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday.

COOPER: Right. Again, privately.

ENTOUS: Right. You know, and, you know, obviously there's been some sharing of information. We don't know how much has actually been shared. How much they have that they're going to be able to cross check with him, that they have from intelligence, for example, like what we're talking about today. They have similar intercepts that Kislyak talking about Jared Kushner. I'm not exactly sure, you know, if those are the kinds of things that they would -- I'm sure that is the kind of thing that they would want to ask about. I'm not sure how much information they can share about that because of the classification of it.

But these are the kind of questions we're waiting to see, you know, whether or not he's, you know, we're going to get versions of these events in ways that are more detailed or possibly conflict with the way it's been reported or the way it's out there currently.

COOPER: Jason, I mean, you know, how these things work. What is the, I mean, is it simply to avoid the public spectacle that someone would want, I mean, who was (INAUDIBLE) I want to do it in private. I wouldn't want to be hauled in front of the cameras. Is that just common sense for anybody trying to get it to be private if they can't?

MILLER: Well, I'm not an expert necessarily on this aspect of the Hill testimony, but I think there are a couple of things or I think this is probably makes sense for both sides. I think, as Carl pointed out, and we actually agree on this matter. I think this is probably smart for the both the members of the House and the Senate because I think if they're playing to the cameras or it's perceived that they're playing to the cameras, particularly if the criticism of the president's son or son-in-law becomes very pointed or if we do see folks who are grandstanding or trying to get themselves a Youtube moment in advance of 2020, that's going to backfire and look really bad. And I think what we need here, everybody I would agree across the board, is to ask some tough questions, get the straight answers and, again, we've seen from Jared Kushner, we've seen from Donald Trump Jr., a very direct statements and willingness to say, you know what, I'm more than happy to come forward, answer completely and honest and get everything out there.

Now, I know Manafort through a spokesperson has made similar type comments in months previous. I will let him do his own speaking, but what we need here are answers. Let's go ahead and get to that point and not make it a big spectacle.

BERNSTEIN: Their testimony could be released also. This session does not necessarily have to remain off the record. That the -- I don't and I'm sure that those terms have been agreed to yet.

HOOVER: A lot of people prefer transparency. They just prefer a public testimony. They prefer to see this all in the sunlight. The one thing I will say is that it doesn't matter what they say, whether it's in private or in public, every single thing they share with the Senate also will be reviewed by Robert Mueller. And everything that Robert Mueller examines will eventually become public. So, this -- even though this particular one --

COOPER: Well, is that true that everything were not necessarily?

HOOVER: Yes. Everything that is relevant will become public to the American people. I mean, that is Robert -- but that's Robert Mueller is charge at end of the day.

COOPER: No. But he's not -- he doesn't have to do a public, I mean Adam, I'm not --

(CROSSTALK)

[21:35:00] HOOVER: All of this will come out eventually. I mean after journalist involves in Watergate --

BERNSTEIN: We're not sure --

HOOVER: --it comes out in the end.

BERNSTEIN: Well, we're not sure that Robert Mueller is going to be there for the duration because the president of the United States is doing everything he can to ensure that Robert Mueller won't be there. So --

COOPER: If -- if -- if --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- Jeff Sessions --

BERNSTEIN: -- keep in mind.

COOPER: -- resigns or is fired. And a new attorney general is appointed, that person then who's no longer has to accuse himself from the Russia investigation, they then overseeing the Robert Mueller investigation, correct?

CARDONA: Presumably. And I think if it does get to that then that is a whole lot kind of worms that the Trump administration opens. But --

COOPER: At least for Democrats.

CARDONA: Right. Well, I don't know.

BERNSTEIN: For the Republicans.

CARDONA: I don't think --

BERNSTEIN: -- because that's a line that the Republicans --

CARDONA: I think Republicans -- right

BERNSTEIN: -- want to cross.

CARDONA: I think with Republicans certainly won't be happy with it. But I think that this -- everything that we're talking about, Jeff Sessions and even these testimonies, whether they're going to be public or private, goes to credibility. And we're talking about this, Anderson, in the shadow of what -- to me has been an astounding 24- hour news cycle. Because this just broke, that Sessions has been just broke before we went on the air. We have two other astounding pieces of journalism from "The New York Times" and I think the "Washington Post" as well.

One of which talks about how the Trump campaign is trying to discredit Robert Mueller. The second one talks about how they're having conversations about whether it's possible for Trump to pardon his aides and whether he can pardon himself.

In the spotlight or in the shadow of those stories, again, the underlying thread here is they have done nothing to convince the American public that they are dealing with them in a straight manner. That everything that has come out of their mouth has been a complete and total lie. And I think that is a huge problem going into in this.

COOPER: Scott, do you --

JENNINGS: I think, we'd talked for several days now. The path out here for Donald Trump Jr. and for Kushner is to go testify. They've agreed to do that, just as they said they would. I think the private testimony is interesting and it doesn't necessarily mean they won't testify in public if that's what the Senate Committee wants them to do.

I would also point out one other issue, the implications of having a serving senior staffer to the president answer questions before the Congress. I believe both the Obama and Bush administrations held in many instances, that assistance to the president should not be forced to answer questions from Congress. What I think is not worthy here is Kushner is going to answer questions, which to me shows a willingness to be more transparent than some other administrations have held you have to be.

COOPER: Yes. We got to take a break as Murray just said, a third busy night after busy week. Much more ahead including the shake-up in West Wing staff, find out who is leaving the Trump administration next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:41:25] COOPER: Well, sorry "SNL" but Sean Spicer is out as a White House spokesman. Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes his place. She will be reporting to the new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci who answered the questions today at the White House briefing that made news for another reason as well, it was actually televised. He enter (INAUDIBLE) into the questions and a plenty kind of words to the man he'll be reporting to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The president is a winner. OK. And what we're going to do is we're going to do a lot of winning. I love the mission that the president has. I love the president. I obviously love the country. He's genuinely a wonderful human being. I love the president and I'm very, very loyal to the president. I love these guys. I respect these guys. I love the president. The president is phenomenal with the press (ph). The president himself is always going to be the president. I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in the history. He's done a phenomenal job for the American people. And he's the most competitive person I have ever met.

OK. I've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I've seen him at Madison Square Garden with a top coat on, he is standing in the key, he said he foul shots and swishing them. OK. He sinks three foot put --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Carl Bernstein, Margaret Hoover back, joining as Doug Heye, Michael D'Antonio and Alice Stewart. I don't know about three foot puts, I don't think --

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm pretty too.

COOPER: OK. All right. Alice I mean, you know, Scaramucci is not a politician. He's got incredibly successful record in the business world. The most difficult thing it seems about this job in any White House is always, you know, planning the communications message, but particularly with this president who often changes the message even if you plan a "Made in America week" that's not what the president is talking about.

STEWART: Right. That was this is, "Made in America week", that's right.

COOPER: Yes. I believe it was.

BERNSTEIN: Only in America.

STEWARD: Look, I mean, you're right exactly. We all had the opportunity to, you know, put such praise on our new boss as he did, we all be in great shape. Look, you can't blame him for what he said today.

Look, President Trump wants people who are loyal to him, who are going to go out there in the podium or on television and be his biggest cheerleader. Clearly, that's what he is going to do and that's what he's there to do.

The problem with that is communications director, their role is to look long-term, define your long-term strategy, plan your work and work your plan and really define how you're going to sell health care, how you're going to convince people in Middle America that this president really is going to repeal and replace Obamacare. And that's a lot of work, and it's sitting down with your policy shop and with your Treasury Department and with your DOJ and plan this out.

Hopefully, Scaramucci realizes that's part of that role because it's a critical part.

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: I mean, the problem all of us are making -- and I am absolutely guilty of this. When I learned of this appointment I thought, this is ridiculous. And then I thought, actually it makes so much sense because we actually aren't in an orthodox administration, right? As we all know I think --

COOPER: And he's but -- I mean he's been on this show. He's a great defender of the president and he speaks very well.

HOOVER: And by the way, I have worked with Anthony Scaramucci. He has supported an LGBT advocacy organization that I run. So I just want to be clear like I have a good working relationship with him, but this is not orthodox, but nothing about this is orthodox.

So, if you take that and put it aside, Trump is a guy who has come to the presidency by being incredibly successful with marketing, on television, in the press. He is polished, all of these things, Anthony Scaramucci as well. And they kind of come from the same soup, right? Anthony Scaramucci is from Long Island. You know --

COOPER: He has a great story.

HOOVER: -- Donald Trump is from Queens. They are sort of raised in a very -- I think similar enough ethos, especially both being in New York City and in Manhattan, in finance and real estate over the last 20 years, and they've known each other.

And so, Trump -- and Trump is comfortable with people he knows and trusts. He likes Anthony Scaramucci.

[21:45:01] COOPER: Scaramucci is more self-deprecating. He did said that he bought all of the copies of his own book in order to make it a best seller, which I don't think -- Donald Trump say.

HOOVER: Which endears him to the press though, right? And --

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: -- and "Mooch" also, sorry, Anthony Scaramucci, "Mooch" as many people call him, has been on T.V. and not -- be he actually don't have relationships with reporters.

DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, he is good at T.V., I think we know that. And we saw him today obviously giving that basically giving a video interview to the president --

COOPER: Right.

HEYE: -- to confirm that he got the job, it was an audition. But that's not the job of the White House Communication Director, it is about planning.

HOOVER: But that's not going to be his job, his job is not going to be planning.

HEYE: Well, who is going to do -- who is going to plan? That's a problem for the White House.

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: -- so many problems, this is not the number one problem. But because they're not --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Doug, I just want to -- I wanted to ask you on Spicer.

HEYE: Yes.

COOPER: Do you known Sean Spicer for a long time and --

HEYE: 1995.

COOPER: The person you know, is that the person who you saw at the podium every day?

HEYE: Quite often, yes. You know, he and I had a lot of very loud conversations over the years. We were somewhat frenemies as much as were friends. But I also know not only his commitment to the country, he serves in reserves still, you know, but he is somebody who was loyal to the president despite getting slings and arrows almost every day.

He had do audition for the job that he rightfully earn. He, you know, he and I go to the same Catholic church on Capitol Hill. Being snubbed at the Vatican visit was really firstly (ph) hurtful for him. But those were personal slights (ph). What happen last night today is a professional slight, for him to even walk away with, you know, graciousness and dignity as he did today. I thought really it says a lot.

COOPER: Michael, it is interesting to the point Doug was making, that Anthony Scaramucci was I mean, talking in the press room, and he is doing very effectively, but he was really talking to President Trump who he knew was watching. I mean all of that -- you know, I love the guy, he's great at this, he's great at this.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.

COOPER: I mean that is all stuff Donald Trump loves to hear, the president loves to hear.

D'ANTIONIO: Right, as I was watching that, I was thinking, this guy separated a lot of very rich people from an awful lot of money. He is a salesperson, and this is the skill that I think Donald Trump values above all others.

He's also I think very comfortable, Mr. Trump, in fighting with somebody in one moment and then embracing them the next if he feels that the other person gave as good as they got. And Scaramucci actually to what you're saying about two fellows from Long Island, Scaramucci actually spoke very derisively about Donald Trump --

COOPER: He called him a hack.

D'ANTONIO: -- Queens background. And he said, well, he's a guy from Queens who inherited all of his money. Well, Scaramucci is a guy from Long Island. Do you know, they're very much the same kind of person who will say something horrible about you today, and then if it's to their benefit, the next day they'll work with you. And I think that's something Trump was comfortable with.

BERNSTEIN: Which is something about the timing of this today, that I think they had a good day at the White House, because yesterday, the day before, the president of the United States spoke on the record in such authoritarian tones that we have never on the record heard from an American president that I know of in our history. And it sounded like, Juan Peron or somebody from a Banana Republic dictator, about how he is going to undermine the judicial system of the United States, how the attorney general of the United States has acted illegally because he's not been loyal to the president of the United States and followed a few procedures that indeed are called for in a legal investigation.

We have never heard anything in our history like what the president uttered in terms of authoritarianism and danger to our judicial process. And today it went away when Scaramucci got up there. And we were all focused and jumping up and down instead of going back to the president's words and what they meant.

COOPER: All right. We got to leave it there.

Before we go the break, we've got some late news on Senate Republican efforts to come up within Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. And this one is a potentially fatal snag (ph). CNN has learned the Senate parliamentarian has ruled the key anti- abortion provisions a major selling point to conserve had been judged not to meet certain budget rules under which the entire piece of legislation is being voted on.

So it is technical, but the bottom line is that this ruling effectively would keep certain abortion-related provisions out of the bill, which would cost it vital conservative support.

Up next, with O.J. Simpson planning for his release from prison in his armed robbery case, we're going bring you never-before heard excerpts from the tapes that rocked his 1995 murder trial.

CNN's Kyra Phillips joins us for the preview for special report, "After O.J.: The Fuhrman Tapes Revealed", when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:53:10] COOPER: Prison officials in Nevada announced today that O.J Simpson was moved to a new cell, away from inmates who might want to hurt or harass him before his release. He was granted parole on Thursday in his Las Vegas armed robbery case.

Meanwhile, tonight on CNN, never before heard excerpt from the tapes that rocked his 1995 murder trial. The special report, "After O.J.: The Fuhrman Tapes Revealed" airs at 11 p.m. Eastern tonight.

The recordings might have changed history. Here's a preview of Kyra Phillips's report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She is Laura Hart McKinny, the writer who recorded conversations with Mark Fuhrman.

MARK FURHMAN, FORMER DETECTIVE OF LAPD: Anything out of nigger's mouth for the first, fix or six sentences is a fucking lie.

PHILLIPS (voice over): Excerpts from the Fuhrman tapes you've never heard, vulgar.

FURHMAN: And then Weinstein, she's a little five-foot Jew, we call her the "Wandering Jew" (INAUDIBLE) she had a big nose.

PHILLIPS (voice over): Sexist.

FURHMAN: How do you arrest a violent suspect? And I yell out, "Have a man do it!"

PHILLIPS (voice over): Disturbing.

FURHMAN: You've got to be a borderline sociopath. You got to be violent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Kyra Phillips joins us with more on her special report. Why did McKinny decide to come forward now, to talk now?

PHILLIPS: A lot of people have asked me that. Look, I tried to get her to talk to me 20 years ago. We've stayed in touch over the years.

Finally, she said she felt comfortable and she was ready because her heart was just telling her so. I mean, she flew under the radar, Anderson, because she felt that these tapes swayed a verdict. And that was a heavy burden for her to carry.

And she got death threats --

COOPER: Yes.

PHILLIPS: -- and people hated her. And people were furious that these got out. And she tried to hold them in a private place and not allow them to be released. But a court decided otherwise.

[21:55:01] COOPER: And I mean, it's impossible to overstate just the impact these tapes had, not only on the trial, but also on the LAPD.

PHILLIPS: Oh absolutely. And this is what you're going to hear of a lot tonight. We heard the N word. It was appalling. It was horrible to hear from Mark Fuhrman said and how he referred to blacks on the force and outside of the force.

And the part you're going to see now is the sexist part. There was an organization called MAW, Men Against Women, and these guys wants to intimidate women and they wanted to push them out. They wanted to do everything they could to bully them.

And that's the part that we didn't hear, the sexism. And it was strong. And it forced the LAPD, these tapes and what was heard and what was investigated force the department to change policy when it came to women and minorities.

COOPER: I can't wait to watch. Thanks so much.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

COOPER: Well, "After O.J.: The Fuhrman Tape Revealed" airs at 11:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN, and again tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. We got to take a break. But first, another quick programming note, "Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies" returns tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's all the time we have for tonight. I hope you have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday. It's time to hand things over to Don Lemon in "CNN Tonight."