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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

CNN: FBI Tracked Suspected Russian Disinformation On Election Day, Including False Stories On Clinton; NYT: Special Counsel Seeks WH Documents On Flynn; Can New Chief Of Staff Tame Wild West Wing?; Jobs Up, Trump Approval Down; Fatal Attraction Or Fatal Mistake: The Carolyn Warmus Story

Aired August 4, 2017 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:0013] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Was the FBI working with the White House on this?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the FBI was in touch with the White House. So you had teams at the FBI, Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence holding conference calls every three hours with the team in the situation room in the White House to discuss any possible problems.

And while there were some minor issues that popped up across the country from Alaska to Georgia, there were no major incidents or disruptions of the vote. And that was really the big focus at the time these conference calls was whether any of the machines could be hacked and the vote could be tampered with and that kind of thing. Anderson.

COOPER: I mean, obviously this raises concerns that the FBI was monitoring what people were reading. But I understand this ended up being important to the investigation that's going on.

BROWN: That's right. It's something that they felt was important, but it also was certainly uncomfortable territory for the FBI given the first amendments free speech protections. And even for fake news stories as one that law enforcement official told me, quote, we were right on the edge of constitutional legality. We were monitoring the news.

But nonetheless, this is still part of the counter intelligence investigation the FBI has been conducting starting last year, last summer into Russian meddling in the election. And because there is a need to understand the effect of this kind of fake news campaign on the election and whether anyone in the Trump campaign might have been involved in that fake news operation. As we know, that investigation continues today. Anderson.

COOPER: What was the reaction from officials when Donald Trump won the election?

BROWN: So, it's really interesting because, as I said before, there was a big -- there was a lot of concern that somehow the vote could be tampered whether it could be hacked. So at the end of the night there were top officials who were relieved and exchanged congratulations with one another because in their view there were no major problems. But it was interesting, we are told that one official in the Obama White House had the opposite reaction sort of saying to everyone, "Are you kidding? What they did worked." Meaning what the Russians did worked. And from this official's viewpoint, the government's response to the Russians in the election during the election was a, "failure of imagination."

Now, of course, we don't know, Anderson, if it had any impact on the outcome of the election and that may be something that we might not be able to answer.

COOPER: Has the FBI made any official statement about this?

BROWN: The FBI has not made any official statement, in fact, for the story the FBI declined to comment.

COOPER: All right. Pamela Brown, thanks very much.

BROWN: Yes.

COOPER: Let's bring in our panel Bianna Golodryga is here, Van Jones, Alice Stewart, Tara Setmayer and Timothy O'Brien.

I mean, it's one thing not only that this was going on during the election obviously but, you know, now there's reporting today that Russian-backed accounts are going after General McMaster, the National Security Adviser.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, ANCHOR, YAHOO NEWS AND FINANCE: Yes. And it speaks to what we found out from former FBI Director James Comey during his testimony that on election night only one campaign was under investigation by the FBI and that was not the Hillary Clinton campaign that was the Trump campaign.

So this speaks to what the Russians were already doing whether it's information dissemination through Facebook ads and what have you, or the fact that Russia switched from wanting to just undermine Hillary Clinton to at some point during the campaign last summer wanting to once again back Donald Trump.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, I think that this is one more step in understanding how handcuffed the government was. We are not prepared for this. That's why the president is saying, who cares? It's not real. It's all fake. It's so dangerous.

We weren't prepared then and we're not prepared now. There's a new context now for us to try to figure out policy. What should the FBI be doing? Should the FBI be looking at this stuff? If they discover that there is a concentrated effort on the part of a foreign adversary to knock out one American and put in another, what's their response? What are they supposed to do? Congress should be debating this. We should be talking about that.

But the president of the United States continues to throw banana peels on the sidewalk not just about his own situation, but about the country and our ability to discuss this rationally. COOPER: This is also only going to worse as technology changes. I mean, there's already, you know, software that you can make somebody look like they're saying something that they're not actually saying.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And that's -- all of this has gotten lost in the bigger spectacle of what's coming this Russian investigation. It's hard to remember today when all this was just about Russian interference in the election and possibly influencing the vote. But it's a bigger picture to them. It's them interfering with the American political process which is a serious, serious allegation and a serious thing to happen.

We also have to remember, though, that the Obama administration was warned about this early on and did nothing about it with regard to pushing this investigation further during the election process because --

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, AUTHOR, TRUMPNATION, THE ART OF BEING THE DONALD: That was tricky because if Obama did anything he would have been accused of politicizing it.

JONES: What was you've been -- I'm curious as a conservative. What would you have been comfortable with the president doing? Because our thing was, if the president came out and said the Russians are messing this up, you might have thought he was trying to throw the election to Hillary. He did nothing, now you're criticizing. What would you have been comfortable with at that time?

[21:05:10] STEWART: Clearly, a more thorough investigation at the time. Look, we all know going back to the --

JONES: It's look like they're pretty thorough -- now they're even -- they have their investigation.

GOLODRYGA: And the social media companies were very defensive at the time. Remember they were crying that they had free right to people to disseminate whatever information. There was no such thing as fake news. So, people like Mark Zuckerberg also, was very outraged when people started saying you should be doing more at the time.

TARA SETMAYER, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, ABC NEWS: That's right. Because at this point about a year ago was really when this Russia story started to elevate after the conventions when we found out this was happening. And then Donald Trump went out and said, oh, you know, if anybody can find the 33,000 missing e-mail, you know, let us know, Russia. I mean, it was -- that's when it started to happen.

But clearly our intelligence community was paying attention to what was going on here. It was very early on, January, when the NSA, the CIA, the FBI came out with the report that listed clearly without unequivocally that the Russians were trying to meddle and they gave the examples. And they said it was with the intent of Donald Trump winning and potentially if they -- when they saw, to beyond this point, when it changed, it was when they saw that Hillary Clinton looked like she was going to win so they were looking to undermine her presidency once she got into office. So this is clearly something the Russians like to do. It's called reflexive control theory. I have mentioned this before. People in the intelligence community know what this is. Russia has engaged in this for years and years and years, which this information is to manipulate opinion and try to influence. That's what they did.

COOPER: To Alice's point though, I mean, the Obama administration clearly believe Hillary Clinton was going to win and I think that was probably part of their calculus as well, knowing not being want to accuse of bringing election but thinking, we'll Hillary Clinton is going to win and then her administration will deal with this.

STEWART: I think most people thought Hillary Clinton was going to win for quite some time. And yes, it puts someone in a difficult situation. What do they do? But it's difficult at this point-- this stage of the game to sit there and say, you know, nothing was done when the administration did know something. I'm not an intelligence expert. I'm just saying it was brought to their attention and nothing was done for whatever reason. And now, unfortunately, we're at this or, you know, looking at it in the rear-view mirror.

O'BRIEN: But you know, wherever we were then, the reality is now there should be bipartisan support for addressing this problem. It's a national security issue. We're in a digital age. We have a country in Russia that is clearly set on penetrating U.S systems in all shapes and sizes. And we have a president who is politicizing anything associated with this to protect his own hide and it's a very complex situation.

COOPER: It's also interesting the idea that Russia would be going after the national security adviser. I mean, that's a very specific, targeted attempt to influence, you know, somebody possibly trying to get them fired which obviously aligns with folks on the alt-right who also seemed to have it out these days for McMaster.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Among some of Russia's Web sites the #firemcmaster is, I think, number five. So, so --

JONES: Well, I mean, if you're a Russian and you say, well, we picked the president, why should we be able to pick the cabinet and everybody else. I mean this is kind of where we are right now.

Here's the thing. It is like in sports. You run a play and you're able to score with that play, you're going to run that play until your defenders figure out a way how to stop you. And the reality is we're arguing among ourselves about all kind of nonsense and they're going to keep running the same kind of play.

GOLODRYGA: -- hash the past. What no one expected was for the president of the United States to not believe his intelligence agencies and what his -- intelligence agency, all of them are telling them about Russia's involvement.

We know that President Obama up until Donald Trump was inaugurated thought. You know what? I'll get a few minutes with him and spent some time with him. Explain to him what I've been told and we'll be on the same page and what we know now from reporting is that it didn't happen.

SETMAYER: And what was the result when Donald Trump came back from the G-20 summit we were going to have a cyber security task force with Russia. I it was an asinine --

O'BRIEN: Partnership.

SETMAYER: -- response or partnership with the culprits, with the Russians on this? I mean, they have to be sitting back and laughing at us and thank God that went away rather quickly. But that was his response to this after everything that's going on.

So, it's very frustrating for our folks in the intelligence community who understand the significance of this to see that the president continues to call it fake news, continues to undermine what our Intelligence Community is trying to explain is an existential threat to our country.

And if the M.O of the Russian, the Australians, they also did a security analysis on what happened with Russia and fake news and thoughts. And, days before on Facebook, there were actually more engagements with fake news than there was real news, just days beforehand. So this was really penetrating our system with people being inundated with this disinformation campaign by the Russians and a third of it was pro-Donald Trump. Only 20 percent was pro-Hillary Clinton.

JONES: One of the big challenges that we have is that free speech is supposed to be for people, not for bots. And I just don't think we know how to deal with it.

[21:10:03] STEWART: We have a lot of that also in the primary process as well. But certainly this is much more serious. We also have to keep in mind, not just virtually the entire Intel community that saying Russia interfere in our election. But many Republican in Washington are saying the same thing. And we have House and Senate panels investigating this and committees investigating this.

O'BRIEN: And the FBI.

STEWART: And the FBI. And that's where I think at some point, sooner rather than later, let's hope that the president does embrace this idea and let this investigation --

COOPER: It's so wrapped up though for him in the idea that, you know, he's being delegitimize in some ways.

STEWART: Right. He's could have --

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. Coming up next, retired General John Kelly's latest battle, perhaps, his toughest yet, imposing some kind of order on a turbulent White House. At least he's toughest political battle will be joined by one of the reporters behind the great profile of the new chief of staff's early days and perhaps the most interesting job in Washington. Later, why former Special Counsel Ken Starr has a warning for current Special Counsel Robert Muler and why his particular concern might surprise you. Think pots and kettles, black ones. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: This Friday there's breaking news in the Russia investigation. "The New York Times" has just reporting that investigators working for Special Counselor Robert Mueller have asked the White House for documents related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Now, according "The Time's" reporting this is the first known instance of the Mueller team asking the White House to hand over such documents.

Back now with the panel, it also according to "The Times" is a clear example that Mueller is looking beyond just the scope of Flynn not registering as a representative for -- as a foreign agent and also beyond just Flynn's dealings with Russia.

[21:15:10] O'BRIEN: Well, it exposed -- Flynn is now exposed to possible felony and fraud charges. You know, if he didn't disclose it, it's a felony. If he used the middleman to hide the payments, it's a fraud. And Mueller and his team clearly think something of that nature occurred otherwise he wouldn't be inquiring about it.

And I think it's yet another example of how at every turn, every stone that gets over to turned in this investigation can lead to something else particularly, financial relationships that will be problematic for everybody circled around this thing.

SETMAYER: And what's unfortunate about this is that Lieutenant General Flynn is a patriot and he has served this country with distinction. And it looks as though he has gotten his political ambitions and the desire to get involved in this area has really -- he's had a lapse in judgment here. And it's going to get him in serious trouble.

And last time, where I was at the convention in Cleveland, sitting in that arena listening to Lieutenant General chant -- the chant of "lock her up", which I thought it was so inappropriate. And I thought to myself, no, what are you doing, you know, this is going to sully your reputation as, you know, as an American hero here and --

COOPER: And a lot of the people he served with, frankly, in the past --

SETMAYER: Yes.

COOPER: -- during that time were also was saying like --

SETMAYER: -- what is he doing, right. So he kind of got stuck in to that vortex of presidential power potentially, and it --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- being paid by, you know, in this case --

O'BRIEN: Turkish.

COOPER: Turkish, you know.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: He is right close with the government. Perhaps, he's also paid by Russians and you can't overstate how dependent Donald Trump was --

STEWART: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: -- on Michael Flynn at one point considering him as a running mate as well. I remember being stunned back in November when Flynn wrote a very sympathetic op-ed about how we should be more closely aligned with Turkey. This is -- as he became more and more dictatorial after that failed coup. And now we know subsequently that he was paid and didn't register as such.

STEWART: And to that point, it's not the fact that he got paid. It wasn't that -- was that he didn't register and he didn't disclose it, and as we found out more or as investigators found out more, or members of the media found out more, then we find out more and more, oh, yes, I actually had that client, I actually had that client.

But, and you also have to remember in terms of his political ambition and his desire to succeed in this administration, his doing in was when he gave inaccurate information to Mike Pence about his meetings with foreign leaders and that was his doing in.

COOPER: What he is doing in was actually reporters discovering that --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- reporters were going to go with that story, that the White House then at the end --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- by Sally Yates some time before and, you know, Sally Yates was the one who got fired.

GOLODRYGA: And the president had warned them and others had warned them on multiple occasions what a loose canon he was and that they shouldn't bring him on to the administration and it obviously fell to deaf ears.

JONES: Well, President Obama had tried to warn President Trump. But this is part of what makes this entire thing so difficult and important. You know, we are so used to everything moving at Twitter speed and in this thing and investigations done thoroughly take time. We're getting a fewer leaks, a few leaks here. But what you're seeing with Mueller is a completely professional job. If it turns out that this piece of evidence leads to another one he's going to go there. Everything that we are speculating about every night, it is all going to come to light. And all of these dots, there is either some machine that makes smoke and has no fire, or with this much smoke there was a fire somewhere.

And, you know, this is just one more thing. My concern about the American people is that we start getting used to all these weird disclosures.

O'BRIEN: And scandal fatigue.

JONES: In any other administration, and scandal fatigue. In any other administration, just one -- just one Flynn would be enough --

COOPER: Well, it's also like fatigue over, you know, the president not being accurate or telling -- or saying things --

JONES: Yes.

COOPER: -- which are not true time and after time, and after a while it just sort of you get numb to it.

JONES: It gets normalize. What I am encouraging especially Democrats and progressive to do is to hold our fire, be patient, let's not go screaming and writing every tweet, something really bad could have happened or if it's not a bad as people thinking (ph), a full line collusion, a lowering of the standard for what we expect from people running for office could have almost slipped through.

Let's give this process, I mean, give Mueller a minute. When he starts to come forward with the real stuff here, I think we need to be in a position where we can honestly say this is not acceptable, it was not.

COOPER: Well, I mean, now we know there are at least, there were two Grand juries --

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: This is real stuff. It has up until now. It's been a lot of tweets and a lot of speculation. You're talking about Grand juries?

SETMAYER: That's right.

JONES: Grand jury is real stuff.

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: -- it was focused on Flynn, as well.

SETMAYER: Right. It's been around for a little while. It was the first Grand jury. Now, yesterday I tweeted I'm like, this just got real-er. OK. But, you know, the issue here also is the president's disposition. If you, you know, a lot of the surrogates are going out there and trying to just say -- and trying to just say, this is not -- this is nothing, this is nothing.

[21:20:09] Kellyanne Conway -- my friend Kellyanne, last night, she was on with Chris Cuomo trying to get really annoyed by how we're making a big deal out of nothing. Well, if that's the case, then just be transparent and let the investigation move forward and nothing will come of it. This is not the disposition of people who are completely innocent. If you have nothing to hide, if the president's finances are on the up and up, then here you go.

O'BRIEN: Just release them.

SETMAYER: Release everything and clear me. But this is not the behavior of someone with nothing to hide.

O'BRIEN: Michael Flynn is not the only one said updated documents repeatedly, Jared Kushner has.

COOPER: Right.

O'BRIEN: You know, his dealings on 666 Fifth Avenue is a vulnerability. We know that Mueller subpoenaed records of the family's dealings recently in China, to raise funds over there. This is touching everybody in this administration.

STEWART: And quite frankly, the best way the administration constantly talks about how this is the media's obsession with this. But the best way to direct the media in another direction or the public in another direction is to stop talking about yourself. Don't call it a witch hunt. Don't call it fake news.

And do it like -- thankfully, his attorney Ty Cobb is saying look, we fully comply, we're going to -- we'll give them all the information. We're going to -- we want this to come to a quick resolution, so we can put this behind us.

And if the administration, as they say, has done nothing wrong, there's no collusion there's no coordination, great. God bless America, but let's get this information out there and let's get this investigation behind us.

JONES: You know, in the hood, as they say, if you have a guy like Donald Trump on your team, you are in deep trouble because, you shut up, man! Lawyer up! Lawyer up! Lawyer up and shut up!

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: -- somebody in your crew like this, everybody is going down. So I'm just saying.

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: You know, he's not even a good cook (ph). If you're going to be a cook, be a good cook.

O'BRIEN: His lawyers have to be pulling their hair up.

COOPER: Yes.

SETMAYER: Well, how many sets of lawyers is he on now? You know, that mean he's kind of a recycled through a couple and now he's had some heavy hitters in Washington --

COOPER: But also they have --

SETMAYER: -- but they can't control his mouth and that is going to be the --

COOPER: -- I mean, it's not clear how much -- how honest he is being with his lawyers. Or I mean, you have Jay Sekulow coming out saying, Donald Trump had nothing to do with that statement that Donald Trump Jr. put out, then low and behold, you know, the story goes away and then it rears up --

O'BRIEN: And then, you know, in that situation, did Sekulow get -- was he misguided by Trump?

COOPER: Right. We don't know.

STEWART: Right.

O'BRIEN: -- or is he knowingly, you know --

COOPER: Right. We have no idea.

O'BRIEN: -- lines up, you have no idea. Again, more stuff from Mueller to look at.

JONES: And the thing is when you lie about little stuff then when the big stuff comes along you don't have the credibility. Who cares? Your kid's in trouble. You give them advice. Nobody is going to mad at you about that. But they say, oh, I had nothing to do with it --

COOPER: Right.

JONES: -- or it turns out, I wrote the statement. Well, OK, dude. And he will go again.

GOLODRYGA: And also this Flynn story shows you that the person is playing the ultimate sacrifice right now is McMaster, because you're reminded as how angry the president was when Michael Flynn had to be let go and obviously McMaster come in to replace him. I think a lot of that and it was has to do less with McMaster and more of Flynn not being there.

COOPER: We're going to take another quick break. (INAUDIBLE) lawyers might not be the only ones with headaches.

Coming up next, the challenge of the Russian investigation and everything else presents for the new White House chief of staff. Fascinating look at John Kelly's first week on the job, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER:

[21:27:14] COOPER: We're at the end of another turbulent week for the president even setting aside all the Russia-related developments that deep in poll numbers, health care fall outs, Scaramucci and all the rest. There's also the leaking especially the transcripts of his phone calls with two foreign leaders, as well as the ongoing talk of in-fighting and sniping among the senior staff.

So into all of these comes the replacement for Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, former Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to congratulate John Kelly, who has done an incredible job of Secretary of Homeland Security, incredible. One of our real stars. Truly one of our stars.

John Kelly is one of our great stars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And he said that before it was publicly known that he was taking over as chief of staff. "The New York Times" Michael Shear and colleagues have just written a great story on how General Kelly has tried so far to bring things under control.

The headline, John Kelly, quickly moves to impose military discipline on White House. Michael Shear joins us now. Military discipline in this White House are two things that you don't normally hear in the same sentence. Just explain what kind of changes General Kelly is bringing to the White House to the details, you know, piece (ph) are fascinating.

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. No, they really are. I mean, so generally, there had for, you know, months in this administration and there's been kind of chaos in and out of the Oval Office, people putting information in front of the president kind of willy-nilly. He's basically in space of a few days, put stop to that. He has closed the door to the Oval Office. He said staff members, even senior staff members can't linger outside and just kind of slip in whenever they want. They have to essentially make appointments. They have to schedule their visits with him. They've said, he said, that they have to -- information has to flow through him in meetings, there's no more sort of rambling on and forever. He cuts -- he has been known to cut aides off and say that's enough, you know, let's get to the point.

And, you know, the striking thing is all of this applies not only to junior staff member, but to the president's most senior people including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, which is interesting.

COOPER: I also found it interesting that Kelly has made it clear to his new employees that he was hired to manage the staff and not the president. I mean, he's not talking about trying to take Twitter away from the president or change the president's T.V. viewing habits.

SHEAR: Right. I mean, look, I think, you know, Chief of Staff Kelly is a realist. The way we've all and he has seen the same thing that we've all seen which, is that you don't take President Trump's Twitter away from him, at least not for long. There's been very short periods of a few days where he is sort of restrained himself.

So I think they're sort of resigned and Kelly is resigned to the idea that that's not going to work, but what you have to do is to kind of build some sense of order and discipline and really a process around him. I mean, I'm reminded of a story of Leon Panetta, who is the former chief of staff to Bill Clinton, who came in right after in a kind of similar period at the beginning of Clinton's first term, and it had been a year, year and a half.

[21:30:10] Clinton brought Panetta in to bring similar kind of order. And Panetta told me the other day when I was reporting the story, that he would go into the Oval Office and there'd be 25 people talking at President Clinton, and he stopped it. He said, this can't happen and it's that kind of -- you have to have an orderly process by which a president makes a decision and that's what they're trying to do for President Trump.

COOPER: So even Ivanka Trump, even Jared Kushner, they go now through, through Kelly?

SHEAR: I mean, look, take all of this with a grain of salt, right?

COOPER: Right.

SHEAR: I mean, so first of all, I think, you know, there's -- you know, there's the short term, that's what you do in the first, you know, few days maybe a couple of weeks. You have a honeymoon. You know, I am highly skeptical that this is all going to work out exactly like General Kelly wants it to work out in the long run. But at least for the moment, and I think one of the things that has struck everybody in the White House is that there seems to be a kind of gelling around the idea that let's all give this a try and see how it works. And then -- the big question is, will it break down? Can it last?

COOPER: Right. And also just the various factions in the White House, on whether it's Kushner and Ivanka Trump or Stephen Bannon, that's always been an issue because it seems like, I remember talking to Secretary Panetta a number of times, and I mean, it seems like they all had their own direct avenues to the president's ears.

SHEAR: Well, and here's part of the problem, right? I don't know that there's ever White Houses that don't have those kinds of factions, right? I'm certain that there were factions in the Obama White House. I'm certain that there were factions in the Bush -- we know there were factions in the Bush White House who didn't get along thought, you know, differently about policies or about procedures or approach of that they thought that president should take. And -- but it's the chief's job to both tamp down the leaking about all of that, so that you keep it inside, so that it's not playing out on our front pages or on your broadcast. And as best they can to say, look, if you got a problem, you know, if one part of faction has a problem with another, Jared has a problem with Steve Bannon or vice versa, come to me, let's figure this out and we can, you know, battle it out internally because the thing that's been so devastating for this White House is seeing it all over the news.

COOPER: Yes. Michael, if you can just stay with us, I want to bring back in --

SHEAR: Sure.

COOPER: --in the panel. It is so interesting, because now for months the White House saying there is no chaos here, the president didn't tweet it out, everything is running incredibly smoothly. This is obvious (INAUDIBLE) acknowledgment, I mean General Kelly come in as acknowledgment that, that has not been the case, that's none truthful. Do you think this is going to last?

STEWART: There's clearly a new sheriff in town and some all those details that Michael pointed out go to show that, yes, Kelly is coming in and restoring discipline and order in there. And other little things we're also hearing about, just moving the senior staff meeting from 8:45 to 8:00 o'clock, that shows who's in charge and who's running the ship and putting in the room where there's no a television, so the staff is not getting distracted.

These kinds of things, the focus should be on the staff and not the chief because the chief is the one that -- the president is going to do what he wants to do. But another key point is also limiting the flow of information into the president's office and into the Oval Office in his desk, that's where he gets his ideas, for these tweets or things that he speaks off-the-cuff that these events that get him into trouble. So, these are phenomenal first steps, hopefully it will last and stick but we've got to start somewhere.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: -- two things that are going to happen -- is that he's not going to control Ivanka and Jared's access to the president. You know, she said, they said that they would report into him the day he was appointed, she tweeted out, I look forward to working alongside him. And secondly, that he might as well be trying to lasso a tornado, if he's going to get Donald Trump to stay off of Twitter, stay on messaging and actually act rationally day to day. That's not who he is and that's still going to be, I think one of the main Achilles heels to these events.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, the source close to the president told the Wall Street Journal that he gives him four months in this job. And the different between Kelly and I even say Reince Priebus is, he doesn't need this job. I think one time, the president lies to him or he sees that he's not listened to or respected appropriately. I think he would leave. SETMAYER: He has -- John Kelly has the probably second worst job in Washington next to Sarah Huckabee Sanders who has actually stand up in front of the public and defend this administration. But I don't envy his job at all. I think a lot of people are hoping for the best and seeing these changes, but just the fact that we're talking six months in, seven months in, about basic operational procedure in the White House, is really remarkable. I mean, we're talking about just staff meetings, we're talking about just a flow of information basically how to keep the president's attention, take, you know, have no televisions there. I mean that is extraordinarily undisciplined fragment, we have chaos.

JONES: This stuff that that you would say, if you're running a basic sandwich shop.

O'BRIEN: A high school.

SETMAYER: Right.

JONES: This is how you would do.

SETMAYER: Right.

JONES: So, it's like Russia say it's phenomenal that we're doing --

SETMAYER: Yes.

COOPER: -- CNBC shows where somebody comes in and redoes your business --

SETMAYER: Yes, but the --

COOPER: -- when you reorganize with the very basic things.

[21:35:05] Michael, I mean, and General Kelly is even listening in on phone calls, I believe, at times.

SHEAR: Yes. Listening in on phone calls, look part of what it's so important for the chief of staff is to know what's going on, right? The worst thing that you can possibly happen and I think this, you know, the sense that this happened to Reince Priebus a lot that he was often in his office, he didn't quite know what was happening around him.

I mean, look, the other thing that I was struck by in my reporting over the last couple of days is that, you know, General Kelly had been in this administration for six months as Secretary of Homeland Security, but he repeatedly clashed with this White House. I mean, part of what he is doing now and the changes that he's making right now are born of his personal frustration because he saw up front and close and personal how the chaos was affecting his own department, the travel ban as a perfect example where it was announced and it really impacted, you know, the entire department that he led.

And so, I think, you know, look, I share all of the skepticism that your panel has. I don't know that this is going to work. But they have to try.

COOPER: You get -- and one really interesting detail among many in your story that I think was from Panetta saying that when Panetta picked Kelly to be the head of his, I guess, military liaison or when he was running the Department of Defense.

SHEAR: The chief military aid, right?

COOPER: The chief military aid and Kelly and he -- and Panetta would give an idea and Kelly would say something to him like, well, you could do it that way and Panetta realized that's Kelly's way of saying that's a terrible idea, is there's a better way to do it.

SHEAR: That was actually Gates. That was actually --

COOPER: Oh Gates, OK.

SHEAR: He works for both of -- he works for both Panetta and Gates at different time and that was Gates who essentially said, you know, when he said yes, that you could do it that way. That was what Kelly said to Gates, and I said to Gates, what would you think that really meant? And he said, well, I think it really meant that's the stupidest idea I've ever heard in my life, which seems relevant in the current situation.

COOPER: It also is -- I mean so fascinating this White House just all these people who you're not sure what their portfolio really is.

JONES: Can I speak to that?

COOPER: Yes.

JONES: I mean, I had this opportunity to work in the White House briefly. It's very, very important for the trains to run on time in that building. The White House isn't an ordinary work environment. After that 10:00 or 11:00 o'clock, after your day isn't even scheduled because you have to leave enough time to the responses, to things that are happening. And so, you're looking up that chain of command for direction. All of your work product has to slow up and slow down. If there's chaos above you, and it's often, you know, conflicts or confusion or drama intrigues, the human institution, it hurts the entire operation. I can't imagine this level of chaos or uncertainty. Because literally, your entire job as you're feeding things up is to help one person be excellent, to help one person serve the country. And if you -- that's a moving target, you got some of the smartest people and most committed people in the country essentially wasting their time all day.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: You know, where else you would experience this behavior was at the Trump organization. Because this is exactly how he run his business for 30 years. It was centered around him. It was willy- nilly. It wasn't strategic. He didn't build the strong team. It was this cult of personality that at times was so radioactive it singed (ph) everybody around him. COOPER: So, all of that talk during the campaign of hiring the best people, running a huge organization that's not --

O'BRIEN: Yes. But there weren't resumes coming in over the Trump some.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: -- so much winning always with us people at --

SETMAYER: Just look to Atlantic City, just look at to the disaster he made of Atlantic City in those dealings there. And, you know, someone who runs things so well doesn't file for bankruptcy four times.

STEWART: And also have to --

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: -- where did we see this kind of activity. We saw it on the campaign trail. It was a limited staff, small scale staff. There is a lot of, I don't know if the chaos is the word but there is a lot similar activity.

O'BRIEN: Yes --

STEWART: I think we could learn in -- their learning is that governing is different in campaigning and I'm encouraged by the fact whether it took six months or a year, they have realized that and they're trying to rein in the troops.

COOPER: Michael Shear, thank you so much. Great reporting. Great article.

SHEAR: Sure.

COOPER: More to talk about tonight new job numbers are out, what it could be from President Trump and his job approval numbers when we come back

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:43:14] COOPER: New job numbers are out today and the president is already taking credit. Under President Trump, 209,000 jobs were added in July bringing the total since Trump took office to more than a million.

The unemployment rate fell from 4.7 percent in February to 4.3 percent in July. The president tweeted early this morning, "Excellent job numbers just released and I've only just began. Many job-stifling regulations continue to fall and moving back to USA."

While the job numbers were positive, others numbers this week, not such good news for the president. New polling out this week from Quinnipiac show President Trump's approval rating at a new low of 33 percent.

Back now with the panel. Van, I mean, look at the numbers, they're good numbers.

JONES: They are good numbers and they continue a trend. That's a pretty remarkable trend that started under Obama.

People forget, President Obama became the captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg, OK. It was under George W. Bush, we had this massive recession. Obama comes in and gets us out of that and you have a historic, you know, job creation, unbroken record throughout almost his whole presidency and that has continued.

What you would want to see from a President Trump and the huge tragedy of the Trump administration is that, he'd come out and say, what we're not going to do to accelerate this trend is we're going to do a big infrastructure plan. We're going to fix American roads and bridges and put people back to work. You have actually seen those numbers go up.

COOPER: It would also been tough for Democrats.

JONES: It had been tough for Democrats, it'd been painful for us to have to vote for or vote against that kind of package. But then he could claim all credit.

All you're doing now is seeing President Trump claim credit for Obama's policy. He hasn't accelerated that trend. He's just maintained it.

COOPER: But clearly -- I mean, look -- stock markets at 22,000 which is a new high and obviously there been a lot of new highs even under President Obama. But, you know, all analysts on Wall Street, you know, I've read, all say that at least some of it is this belief that the president is going to be taking away regulations and that's going to --

(CROSSTALK)

[21:45:10] STEWART: But that hasn't happened yet. I mean, there's encouragement to know 16 years unemployment is an all-time low for 16 years and consumer confidence at a 16-year high. Those are great numbers.

Is it a large part due to the Obama years? Yes, it is. But look, to your point with regard to killing the federal job, killing regulations, those are good start and that will help job creation --

COOPER: I didn't call them federal job killing regulations. But go ahead.

STEWARD: That being said. As well as unleashed American energy and approving the Keystone Pipeline, this will go a long way to creating jobs. And other proposals down the road with regard to repealing and replacing ObamaCare if and when we ever get that done. The tax reform but also infrastructure project would be a phenomenal way to help boost the economy as well as get bipartisan input.

O'BRIEN: But to get infrastructure through, he has to work hard. He can't be out golfing. He's got to go to the Congress and work with the Congress to get a legislative package pushed through.

And what we've seen so far from this administration is that he lacks the discipline and the political savvy to get this kind of stuff done. Whether it's a tax cut, repealing ObamaCare, getting an infrastructure spending plan through.

Again, this is where West Wing chaos comes from the roots.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and Wall Street and the economy basically are just ignoring the chaos in Washington at this point. We've seen 17 million jobs created since the recession which is very impressive. A 180,000 jobs on average added each month.

Again, very impressive, but we have a president who during the campaign was calling this a bubble and calling it the run-up to the stock market. A bubble too that was going to explode at any time so you can't have it both ways.

JONES: And he was saying the whole time that these very same employment numbers under Obama were fake numbers --

COOPER: That's right.

JONES: -- and the day he gets the number --

GOLODRYGA: And Sean Spicer joked about it, right? He said now they're real.

JONES: Now they're real numbers.

(CROSSTALK)

I just want to say one thing though which is that, there are things that the president's proposing that would be helpful and there are some things that are just hype. The idea that the Keystone Pipeline is going to be some big job creator. The reality is, that whole thing turns out it's going to create 50 permanent jobs in the country.

So, you know, some of the stuff I think the country can come together on like infrastructure. There are some things with regard to taxes that we come together on but some of the stuff is just hype.

SETMAYER: I'm going to push back a little bit on how great the economy has been under Obama because if that had been the case then Hillary Clinton would have won and people in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and the Rust Belt would not have been looking to Donald Trump to be their economic savior.

It is true that jobs were created. Yes but a lot of those jobs were part-time jobs. There's a lot of businesses were very upset about the ObamaCare regulations and they didn't want to expand because of all of the mandates with ObamaCare coming down the pike and not quite knowing how that would affect their businesses.

The millions and millions of dollars worth of regulations that were imposed on businesses under Obama hurt small businesses who were the job creators. Growth, economic growth, we didn't have one quarter during the entire Obama presidency where we hit 3 percent growth. That hasn't happened in 50 years. So these are issues --

O'BRIEN: -- to Obama.

SETMAYER: No, no, but I'm just saying let's not paint such a rosy picture that Barack Obama brought us out of something in a way.

GOLODRYGA: But it then it makes --

(CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: -- for this president to say if he's focused on economic growth.

SETMAYER: Right.

GOLODRYGA: We're going to cut legal immigration in half.

SETMAYER: Well, that's another discussion --

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: But Obama did bring us out of something. Obama brought us out of the worse -- no, no. He brought us out of the worst financial crisis since the depression. That was a something.

SETMAYER: Ronald Reagan was faced with an unbelievable economic situation, too, you had over 4 percent rate of growth with a short amount of time than anything that Obama did, and we still we're sputtering along at 1.2 percent to 2 percent, still sputtering along.

JONES: Anderson, can I just say one thing?

COOPER: Yes.

JONES: I mean, we come out of this financial crash which Reagan never have to face. You're going to have slower (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: I want to thank everybody.

Coming up next, a young woman convicted of killing the wife of a man she was having an affair with at the time. It was dubbed the Fatal Attraction Murder. Nearly 30 years later, the woman is hoping DNA evidence is going to exonerate her.

It's all the subject to the CNN special report. Coming up in just a few minutes. We'll have a preview when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:53:05] COOPER: At the top of the hour in CNN, a look at a notorious case that was dubbed "The Fatal Attraction Killing" after the movie that was popular at the time.

In the late 1980s, a young teacher named Carolyn Warmus was having an affair with a man. His wife was found murdered. Warmus was convicted.

Decades later, she's hoping that DNA evidence can overturn that conviction. Kyra Phillips interviewed Warmus and hosts tonight's CNN Special Report. She'll join me in a moment. Here's a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Carolyn Warmus, did you murder Betty Jeanne Solomon?

CAROLYN WARMUS, CONVICTED MURDER: Of course not. Of course not.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): Since 1989, Warmus has never wavered from her story. She has researched and filed for documents and evidence she says would clear her name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is nothing more difficult than being able to show that you're innocent after you've been convicted by a jury. All you can do is try to show that there was serious errors in the trial or you can show maybe that there's new evidence and that new evidence is so important that it might be able to show that you were wrongfully convicted.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): As for parole, she had her shot for the first time earlier this year. She didn't get far with that either.

(on camera): Why not go before the board and say I'm sorry, I show remorse?

WARMUS: Well -- I mean, I just feel so strongly that I want my name back as much as I can get it back. I mean, I was an elementary schoolteacher. I was a good person.

I would at least like to go forward with some sort of a life, and at least hopefully not have a murder conviction on my record for a murder that I didn't commit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And Kyra joins me now. It's a fascinating case. I understand that Carolyn Warmus says she has something that will clear her name.

PHILLIPS: OK. Anderson, I think we were talking about this just a couple weeks ago, a bloody glove. But the bloody glove we were talking about a couple weeks ago was around O.J. Simpson and the fact that that helped acquit him.

[21:55:08] But in her case a bloody glove, she says, if it is tested, she believes that will exonerate her. And that was a big piece of evidence that helped convict her originally in the case.

COOPER: The original evidence that was used to convict her -- I mean, the other evidence, is it still as convincing now as it was back then?

PHILLIPS: Here's what interesting, the DNA testing is so different now than it was back then. And so this could make a huge difference if that glove is tested.

She has also spent 25 years in prison collecting documents. Six hundred pages she has now that she says will prove her innocence. And also, we discovered there were sketchy characters in this scenario, in this investigation. Also, no crime weapon was ever found. No eye witnesses.

It was all based on circumstantial evidence. Also, a questionable crime lab was involved in this case as well. So it'll be interesting to see what happens and if a judge will listen to her appeal.

COOPER: Fascinating Kyra. Thanks very much. Stay tuned for Kyra's CNN's Special Report "Fatal Attraction or Fatal Mistake? The Carolyn Warmus Story." It starts in just a few minutes. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's all the time we have. Thanks for watching. The CNN Special Report "Fatal Attraction or Fatal Mistake? The Carolyn Warmus Story" starts now.