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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Fate Of Senate GOP Tax Bill Uncertain After New Report Shows It Would Add $1 Trillion To Debt; NYT: Pres. Trump Pressed Top Republicans To End Senate Russia Inquiry; Undocumented Man Acquitted In Death Of Kate Steinle; Global Warning: Arctic Melt. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 30, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:35] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the president made her murder the rallying cry of his campaign and her alleged killer, the face of his central issue, illegal immigration Kate Steinle, beautiful Kate as the president calls her.
Tonight, a jury acquitted the undocumented immigrant on all charges related to her death. We'll have much more in the hour ahead.
But first, the tax bill which has sustained a potentially crippling blow in the form of a report from Congress's own scorekeeper on the trillion dollar hole it could put in the country's finances.
Phil Mattingly joins us now with more on the turmoil that's followed. So, this holdup of the tax bill today on the floor of the national debt, what exactly happened?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, what we saw is something that was essentially hours of frustration building up in a single senator boiling wide open in the public view on the Senate floor.
All of the leaders of the Republican Party circling around Senator Bob Corker trying to get him on board just to vote against an amendment that was largely considered pro forma, amendments from Democrats that Republicans had been dispatching with at ease throughout the day, as you noted, the issue, the debt, the deficit.
Senator Corker has never made a secret of the fact that he has a problem with that. But Republicans thought they had a solution, a trigger mechanism that would essentially say if the Republican tax plan didn't create the growth that they're projecting it will, at some point, tax increases would snap into place.
One problem with that, the Senate rules don't allow it. That was the guidance they were given tonight. On top of that, as you noted, the Joint Committee on Taxation releasing a report that showed the dynamic growth in the bill. Now, that is the key issue for Republicans, the idea that their plan, even though it costs $1.4 trillion, would create so much growth that it could pay for itself, it would be deficit neutral.
Not so says the Joint Committee on Taxation, saying it would only create $458 billion of added revenue. Anderson, that means the plan would still cost a trillion dollars. Senator Corker making very clear, he needs a solution and he needs it quickly. That means the Republicans at this point in time just a few hour ago thought they might be on a glide path to passage. They're back to the drawing board, Anderson.
COOPER: So, I mean, where do things stand now?
MATTINGLY: Look. Senators and their staff negotiating behind closed doors as we speak. There are couple of options in play it's worth noting that these options are options that Republican leaders never wanted to go down.
Think about this, the corporate rate dropping from 35 percent to 20 percent, this is (INAUDIBLE) for the president. Republican leaders have said repeatedly they are not willing to come off that number. Well now, they might have to.
One of the ideas, that rate would be in place for six years then they would start stepping it up on a half point basis to try and pay for this other alternatives there as well, and keep an eye on other senators.
Senator Corker wasn't the only senator who's withholding his vote. Senator Jeff Flake was too, his issue, also the deficit. Also there, Senator Ron Johnson. He's obviously been problematic for Senate leaders for a couple of weeks now. His issue is completely different. In fact, it runs headlong into what Senator Corker wants. His would cost a lot more money trying to expand the rate cut for pass-through entities, businesses like partnerships, LLCs that pay through the individual side.
This is what Republican leaders are grappling with right now. They think they can figure out a solution to this, but the reality is they don't have a ton of time. They want to figure this out quickly and on a lot of separate issues right now that are rather complicated particularly on the mathside of things. They have real work to do, Anderson.
COOPER: Phil Mattingly, thanks very much. And Phil, stick around. I want to bring in the panel, Bianna Golodryga, Paul Begala, Ed Martin, Christine Quinn and Mike Shields. Mike, I mean, Republicans are supposed to be concerned about the deficit, how big a deal is this for you?
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, it's interesting to see these scores coming out. When the Bush tax cuts passed, the four years, if you look at this, the four years after they were made into law the government got more money. It got $785 million more per year and the deficit went down 57 percent.
I think it gets lost because at the end of that, the housing crisis happened and a lot of things aren't talked about as for the Bush tax cut. So, that's not how that was scored. And so, I think the Republicans in the Senate need to kind of stick to their guns about what they know about economic policy.
And economic policy is when you take the money, you give it back to the people, you stimulate the economy, GDP goes up, people get jobs, revenue comes back into the government.
That's been proven to be true. It's something we beat Democrats on over and over again. It's why the country trusts Republicans over Democrats on the economy right now and those senators are getting caught up in the sort of scores that are coming up. They need to go back to their principles what they know works (ph) with tax policy.
CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, they are -- in fact, the score exactly that the Republicans asked for. They didn't like the static score. They wanted the dynamic score. And now, they don't like it.
You know, and you kind of laid out a tax cause and effect which we can debate whether that's a true cause and effect, but it doesn't just happen because you do what -- that one action, it's how you do it, how deeply you make the cuts, at what time and in what way.
[21:05:07] And clearly, what we see here is that yes, there may be a half a $500 billion in money -- $500 trillion, excuse me, generated, but you're still down $1 trillion dollars into the deficit. And what I think the Republicans don't like in the new score is it shed light of day on the real truth here.
The Republicans are going to put in big tax cuts that weren't going to pay for themselves, that would then going to necessitate everyone to come back to the table and cut more deeply into social services and catch people off guard.
So, I think the truth is coming out. And again, when the Republicans or President Trump don't like the answer to their question, they go back and change their question.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And that trigger mechanism not being a possibility, could be a real road bump over them.
For Republicans, in particular over the past few weeks, those that are really concerned about the deficit had constantly been going back to this trigger mechanism, saying listen, we're going to have a few years to take a look and see whether or not the economy is going to grow the way the administration is projecting it.
And then if it doesn't, we have a safety backup, we have this trigger mechanism. If that doesn't actually happen to be the case, then --
SHIELDS: Actually, they may have lost votes on the -- trigger mechanism was going to cause tax increases. There was a whole bunch of other Republicans that didn't like the trigger mechanism in the first place. I think it's -- I think the rules actually saved them from that fight (ph). But look, here's the really big difference this year, the Democrats, to borrow a phrase from the '92 Clinton campaign, they have their turn, right?
Their economic stimulus bill was the stimulus bill that President Obama got passed which was a disaster. It blew out the deficit and the debt and it didn't work and we suffered the longest recovery in modern history.
Donald Trump said, no, I want to cut taxes to stimulate the economy, this is his bill to do that, this is how you stimulate an economy and then it's been proven to work before. When you stimulate the economy, things get better with the government.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's just -- as George H. W. Bush says (INAUDIBLE) the entire history saying is when Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich and some on the middle class, the economy boomed.
This is -- what this is a giveaway to their donors. And the Republicans have been pretty honest about that, so we have to do this for our donors. What's amazing to me is I helped Bill Clinton raise those taxes, help balance the budget.
This bill, a tax cut is less popular. It's got 29 percent support, 49 percent opposition and it's supposed to be cutting taxes. This should be easy. This is like giving away candy. Why? Because people know if you leave Republicans in a room with the lights out, they're going to help the rich and CEOs.
So, this is going to raise taxes if you -- the CBO score and the Joint Committee on Taxation both say if you make between 40 and 50 grand, the heart of the middle class, when this is fully implemented in 10 years, those folks are paying 5.3 billion more in taxes. They get a tax increase. People who make over a million, they get 5.8 billion decrease. It's pretty simple --
COOPER: There is -- no one is -- who's going to be voting on this has actually read this. There haven't been any hearings on this, is that the way this should be done?
ED MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, no. Look. I mean, Americans -- I was with the president yesterday when he gave the speech in Missouri on the tax plan. And I went into that having said on this show and other places. I thought it was confusing that the American people were going to be unhappy with it in the long run. I think that still, there's a lot truth to that.
When they look up, they see what is all this stuff, what is happening, we don't really trust you. Here's what the president did and I recommend people watch that speech. I came away saying, he laid out the part about our businesses need to be competitive with China.
By the way, China's corporate rate is 25 percent, it's not 20. So in my mind, going from 20 to 25 or 22 makes good sense. But what the president said was about the cuts and the way -- he acknowledged some of the cuts were swampy. He didn't say swampy.
And -- but the fact is I think what he did say was the vision -- the confidence in his vision what Mike said about where we're headed, people do believe in. And they don't have to -- Ivanka wanted to go lower on some cuts and wanted tax credits, all these kinds of stories. What they see, I think, ultimately is more money for more people and importantly a focus on businesses being able to get money back which means jobs.
COOPER: Phil. Let me just ask you. Nobody has -- am I wrong to be a -- Senator Angus King the last hour, he said, you know, nobody has read this thing and there haven't been any hearings on it. And that's -- is that the way it's done now?
MATTINGLY: Yes. We don't see (ph) the latest iteration and obviously it's changing a lot over time. The Senate Finance Committee did consider the bill last week, but that was actual action on the bill or two weeks ago. That was actual action on the bill. There wasn't full hearing.
There's no question about it. This has moved quicker than anybody expected. I think Republican leaders would tell you that.
But I think the most interesting element that you're seeing right now, you can dig through the various parts of the plan.
And regardless of where kind of Republican senator stand on the analysis on the Joint Committee on Taxation, to Mike's point, the vast majority of Republican senators just brushed off the analysis today, said they didn't believe it, said they believed the modeling was wrong, said they believed the Fed wasn't going to be that aggressive on interest rates.
But the high-wire act Republicans are dealing with right now is it only takes two or it only takes three to potentially sink this plan and it only takes one to cause real problems right now.
[21:09:58] And if one senator believes the Joint Committee on Taxation analysis, if one senator has deficit problems and gets a couple of his colleagues to come with him, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a math problem in terms of his conference, not just in the numbers of the bill.
So, I think there's a lot of issues here and I think the most interesting element maybe over the last month or so, is Republicans have repeatedly been able to brush off what they would normally view as kind of negative analysis, something that Paul was talking about, and yet they still gotten to this point, yet, they're not quite there yet. They've got more work to do. And the reality of that is that work is going to come tonight.
MATTINGLY: Largely tomorrow. And then they're going to vote to pass this, and it's going to move forward. COOPER: I want to take a quick break. When we return, some potential very significant breaking news on the president, the Russian investigation and reported efforts according to a new piece in "The New York Times", the (INAUDIBLE).
Also, the breaking on verdict of Kate Steinle's killing and the reaction when we continue.
COOPER: On a night full of breaking news, we just got more. It comes from our Maggie Haberman, Alex Burns, and Jonathan Martin at "The New York Times". "The Times" has headline, "Trump pressed top Republicans to end Senate Russia inquiry". Alex Burns joins us now on the phone. Alex what have you learning?
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via telephone): Anderson, what my colleagues and I are reporting tonight is that over the summer of President Trump phoned several top Republicans in the Senate including Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, and most importantly Richard Burr of North Carolina, who is the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to lean on and pretty hard and in pretty explicit terms to wrap up the Russia investigation. The words that he used, Burr told several associate at "The Times" are, we're move on.
COPPER: How unusual is that for a sitting president to pressure members in Congress about investigations they're conducting into his campaign?
BURNS: Well Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that this was obviously inappropriate. We are clearly, Anderson, an uncharted of waters just in general here but the senators who heard from Trump did find it surprising, did find it unsettling to their colleague, to their leader and tried not to put themselves after that in situations of the president where he would easily be able to raise this issue privately.
COOPER: And can you just reiterate the sort of the timeline on this, when were these calls being made? Were they all calls and how many senators received them?
BURNS: The calls that we are reporting happened over the month of August. And in addition to calls there was an in-person conversation with Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. He was another member of the Intelligence Committee. He called Burr and McConnell earlier in the month, around the time that Congress was also passing new sanctions on Russia. And that, one Republican senator, Thom Tillis for North Carolina was proposing a new bill that would have limited the president's power to fire special prosecutors, that was an issue and that the president also raised with multiple senators, including Senator Tillis.
[21:15:00] COOPER: I mean the other, I guess obvious question is that, if the president's campaign did nothing wrong, why wouldn't he want hear (ph) investigation to find out what Russia did and with whom and to clear everything? BURNS: Well, the observation that Senator McConnell made at the time, Anderson, and this was around the time the folks to me recall there was bigger breach (ph) between him and the president where they stopped talking for a period of several weeks. When McConnell told folks, in August, was that his sense was that the president really made no distinction between are all the issues touching on Russia, and questions about collusion in the presidential campaign. That if it was a debate about sanctions, you saw it as a debate about his own political legitimacy, and that was frustrating to McConnell, frustrating to other Republicans in the Senate, because their view was -- this is a party that's had a hawkish view of Russia, a suspicious deal with Russia for a long time.
COOPER: And Alex, I mean the fact that these members of Congress, some of them are going on the record with you, that seems significant. What do you -- I mean, a, did it surprise you when you read into it? Do you believe they're trying to send the president a sort of message? Why would they actually go on the record?
BURNS: I know it was surprising, at least with some of them that they were so direct about describing the conversations they had with the president. I should say Anderson, some of the folks who were mentioning right now and on our story, did not goon the record. Senator McConnell did not go on the record to talk about his interactions with the president around this issue.
But I do think, for Senator Burr and for folks who know Senator Burr, this is certainly very on his willingness to go on the record. He feels that his own reputation, his own credibility and legitimacy, and integrity are at stakes. So, if you are asked point blank, did the president call you, that evading that question would be a not a great look for the chairman of that committee.
COOPER: Alex Burns, remarkable reporting, thanks very much. Back with the panel joining us also is CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey, from the legal standpoint, is this appropriate?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's not appropriate. The question is where does it fit into the obstruction of justice investigation that the Robert Mueller is conducting? Because remember, the reason he was appointed was the firing of James Comey, was in one interpretation, an effort to shut down the criminal investigation of Russia. This is an attempt to shut down the legislative investigation.
Now, I don't know if that is obstruction of justice in and of itself but it is certainly evidence of intent on the part of the president to stop the investigations of him.
QUINN: And it's just bad. I mean, it's just bad behavior on the part of a president. I mean I'm not a lawyer so I can't vet out, like you said whether it's fully obstruction of justice. And I bet it's just, it's bad behavior for president to be calling senators and asking them to or pressuring them to stop an investigation. It's just totally --
COOPER: Right. SHIELDS: Look -- I agree it's bad. My advice to the president is, don't do this.
SHIELDS: Right? But this is the Executive Branch asking the Legislative Branch to do something. These people don't work for him, so he can't obstruct something that they -- but they don't work for him. And they said no. So, you said Republican senators saying, respectfully Mr. President --
COOPER: Then why do you think it's bad?
SHIELDS: I think it's bad politically. I think the optics are bit (ph) of bad (ph) for everything that you said. I mean they should want this to -- if nothing happened and I don't believe that it did. I don't think this campaign could have colluded with anybody. They had a hard time colluding with the RNC as I have said before. And they had a hard time colluding with themselves.
And so I think the president gets frustrated because he knows he was the campaign manager, the campaign (ph) director, the finance director, and he doesn't think he did anything. So why don't you guy just stop this stuff, because I didn't do it. And that -- and he gets himself into trouble when he gets frustrated like that that because he says things like this and generates a whole new round of stories.
I just find it hard to believe that's actually obstruction of justice when the Executive Branch asked something at the legislative branch and they say no back to him. I don't know where that would be obstruction.
MARTIN: More importantly though, I mean everybody in America that voted for him and I can go if somebody can yell out not the majority or whoever, knew they were getting a guy that was not a normal politician. He was not a -- and what are you saying to my mouth, when I hear him say is, get this over with. It's overshadowing what I'm doing. Get it over. Not bury it because we did something. That's exactly the opposite of your question, Anderson, when you said if you did nothing, wouldn't you want this to go forward? If you did nothing, if you really, let's presume, let's everyone assume that --
COOPER: But Russia did something.
MARTIN: Well, but if (INAUDIBLE) you say, my -- I'm watching CNN every night, I hope he's watching, you know, it's not, you know, I'm here, and they're watching every night and he's saying, why they're talking about Russia, we didn't do anything. I wish that was over. And when Roy Blunt, who's a pretty sound savvy guy says, I didn't see anything sinister in it, he was just bringing up like let this end. And I'd rather (ph) -- we do have three branches. And the executive has let us say whatever it want or whatever a loud mouth telling I don't want this, I don't want that, and you know what, we've proven this president's proven. He's not a dictator. He's got to live with a Congress and a judiciary and that's a wonderful thing for the people to see. GOLODRYGA: I think he's still trying.
GOLODRYGA: And he clearly didn't learn his lesson from this incident with Comey when he said to him, let the Flynn thing go and look where that got him. He would think that he would say, you know what, maybe I shouldn't ask people to drop an investigation.
MARTIN: That's Executive Branch. Comey works for him. He runs at least --
[21:20:00] BEGALA: It is possible to obstruct a Congressional investigation. There are stats that's against -- I don't know if this crosses that threshold. Could you just can't say it like I don't work for Congress at all, if they were investigating me and I was obstructing it that would be a crime. So you can't just say, Congress doesn't work for me. He can't obstruct them. He can't. He may not have been this --
MARTIN: -- saying you want it to be over --
BEGALA: We have run out of innocent explanations. I see these Republican senators in the piece in "The New York Times", Alexander, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin wrote. And they remind me of the old Saturday Night Live, Phil Hartman sketch the "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer". Oh, I'm just from the place to see here and I don't know your ways. Bologna sandwich, he knows exactly what he's doing.
As Bianna points out, he tried to obstruct, he may -- I think he tried to obstruct the investigation through Jim Comey, leaned on him to stop the investigation of Flynn, didn't work, fired him, and then told us on national television that he fired Jim. So there's no more innocent explanations for 21 meetings with the Russians --
MARTIN: There's a constitution.
BEGALA: And firing it --
COOPER: Ed, if believe it's an innocent explanation. Do you not agree with Mike it just doesn't look good?
MARTIN: I mean, I --
COOPER: Given the history? I mean it's not like this is --
MARTIN: It may not look good to people who watch this stuff like you do and Paul does. To Americans they're hearing a guy say, get this over with. My whole first six months has been overshadowed by something that I didn't think it happened at all.
COOPER: You're saying is the way that the people aren't paying attention?
MARTIN: No. No. No. No, (INAUDIBLE) that'll make a wearing off of making this the topic. Russia. Russia. Russia.
TOOBIN: When people are being investigated and they really believe they are innocent. That's not a reason to stop an investigation. You said -- like he's so frustrated because he knows he's innocent.
It's not up to him to decide whether he's innocent or not. That's why Congress is investigating. That's why Mueller is investigating, because we have independent branches of government that are not subject to his control.
MARTIN: But Jeffrey, you know that we have a system that if a prosecutor investigates someone unfairly. They weren't -- they didn't have enough information or if it goes on too long. It's not the way the system works, the best way it can work.
And in this case, what the president is saying, I've seen you guys talking about this, get it over with. He didn't even say by the way shut it down in multiple. He said, get it over with.
BEGALA: For the thing that the Republican Senate investigating a Republican president --
BEGALA: Not being fair.
COOPER: Just hold on. We're going to continue this discussion because there's an important story breaking out. We'll be right back. More ahead.
COOPER: We're talking about "The New York Times" report which is just out. The president -- President Trump back in December pressured top senate Republicans to end their Russia probe. The White House spokesman telling "The Times" the president had not acted improperly. Mr. Trump he said, "At no point has attempted to apply undue influence on community members." And believes, "There is no evidence of collusion and these investigations must come to a fair and appropriate completion."
[21:25:13] Back now with the panel. Saying, Jeff, that it's got to come to a fair and appropriate completion, that is not the same this saying just end like get this thing over with.
TOOBIN: Well, that's what the White House spokesman said today. The president apparently did not say that. The president just say get it over with. And, you know, I don't know precisely what he said in "The Times" story while excellent is not a, you know, transcript of what the president said. But remember -- I mean this is an investigation for obstruction of justice, for shutting down the FBI investigation, for attempting to shut down the FBI investigation of the Russia situation. Here it is a precisely analogous investigation by the legislative branch. Now it is true that he doesn't have the same kind of control over Congress that he does over the FBI director. But certainly as evidence of his intent it is something that will be relevant to Robert Mueller.
COOPER: Even if you believe that the president is, you know, completely innocent. There was no collusion everything. If you do believe that Russia attempted to influence the election, which -- I mean most the entire intelligence committee believes, wouldn't you want this investigation to continue to figure out exactly what Russia did, and exactly how to stop --
MARTIN: Well, first of all to correct Jeffrey, I don't think that maybe I'm wrong. The Senate committee is investigating whether there was obstruction of justice, they're investigating Russia, there's a Russia question that they have. So --
TOOBIN: That's right.
MARTIN: That's what you were --
TOOBIN: Yes. The question is, is the president obstructing that investigation?
MARTIN: And again, back to that same thing. He's an executive branch and legislative and can he? But again --
COOPER: You know what? So the president can't obstruct by --
MARTIN: No. But the -- Well, you can make the premise that he could do anything, he could do anything. I'm saying is the facts that we've heard, and only some -- there's no transcript, Jeffrey's right. What we've heard is he said, this has been hanging over my head, and we didn't do anything. Get it over with.
COOPER: But you're saying there's no way for the president to exert undue influence?
MARTIN: Not thing the reporting tonight steps right way short of any line saying that they have any transcript or proof that that happened. What they have is the president saying, hey guys this is hanging over my head, get it over with, finish it up. And the White House saying, what he meant was, finish it up.
And what Roy (ph) want to saying is, hey, there was no sinister motive, this was a guy saying this is really suck in the air out of the oxygen. I watch it every night on CNN. I wish she was over. Come out and say what we all know.
QUINN: First of all, what the news covers every night is not a relevant fact to the pace of an investigation or the severity of the investigation. So that the president or anybody else doesn't like what's in the news. When I speak with city counsel I didn't like what was on the cover of "The New York" Post. Be they give me the right to call people to stop doing --
QUINN: -- what you're doing, one. Two, the president -- the investigation is around Russia, which the president is a pivotal figure in. If you are the focus of an investigation, you better think hard and twice with legal council when you're going to pick up the phone and influence people who are running that investigation. Because you run the real potential of obstructing justice and it's not based on how you feel, it's based on the structure of an investigation and the laws and procedures that define that.
MARTIN: Out in places like Missouri, when we look up and see "The Times", CNN, all of them, everybody talking Russia, Russia, Russia. There's a point where when the president says, hey guys, get this over with. If you got something get it over with, figure it out. That sounds plausible. I think that's as plausible as this notion that he was sitting there --
COOPER: The thing, get it over with --
GOLODRYGA: But --
COOPER: -- it does -- I mean --
GOLODRYGA: Wrap it up.
COOPER: -- aren't they trying to get it over with? Aren't they having -- I mean we have an investigation, it's not just like you have it in an afternoon, it takes time, there's lawyers involved --
QUINN: But you know what?
MARTIN: We've seen the things in the Senate and the House can take forever, he's saying get it over with, this is a hassle.
QUINN: But you know what? We in New York look up at those headlines and we want Congress to move judiciously and quickly as well because I want to know the facts and the truth of this investigation. But you know what? The investigations take time.
And if this investigation was to happen like that and find the Trump campaign did something wrong you can bet dollar to doughnuts, Trump would criticize the investigation for being too quick. Americans have standard which is speedy appropriate just.
MARTIN: But nothing more --
GOLODRYGA: And then they have done more self-harm after -- by going after Burr, because Burr as we know was adamant about coming across as independent following the Devin Nunes fiasco. And had said in interviews, right around this time that he thought he was going to be wrapping up this investigation by the end of the year.
COOPER: -- said according to "The New York Times" when we've exhausted this investigation, we will finish. MARTIN: But we just finished. We just established that it wasn't a good move for the president. It wasn't effective. But if he thinks he did nothing, there's nothing improper about saying to someone, another constitutional officer.
BEGALA: -- that someone. If he went to one of his rallies, right, and he said that this is terrible and this should wrap up. I'm all for that, he's a perfect (INAUDIBLE) that's not obstructing Congress.
[21:30:00] He's calling individual senators and leaning on them. That's certainly improper. And here's his problem and frankly yours. Well all of our, because Donald Trump is our president. OK. He's our president in part because of hostile foreign power trying to manipulate the election to benefit him.
MARTIN: No. Come on --
BEGALA: That was has change on his election. If he were in fact and is he would want to remove that -- well.
QUINN: We don't know of it --
MARTIN: That's not -- would you know that?
SHIELDS: -- I mean, this is what --
BEGALA: We know that Russia hide --
SHIELDS: When everything is right, right?
QUINN: He said that at the beginning.
BEGALA: That puts a taint on Mr. Trump's election.
SHIELDS: And this is what president --
BEGALA: He should want if he's innocent --
BEGALA: -- to have that tape removed. Instead he is acting every day like a guilty man, maybe because he is.
SHIELDS: You know, I think this is really the heart of what drives him crazy about this.
MARTIN: Good. Good, me too.
SHIELDS: Exactly, that is the point. It becomes a partisan issue. So I think where he has gotten to is -- and I'm just guessing, right? We're trying to figure this out, but he believes he won because the voters voted for him. Democrats don't want to accept that Hillary could have lost any other way than maybe the Russians had to do it, even though when you look at the number of things he did on Facebook, it's like a pin prick (ph) for what actually you need to do with someone who buys Facebook ads, ridiculously small amount of what was done.
That gets Trump up into this thing. I've see the Russians elected him. And then that's what drives him crazy. But that's actually effective -- Paul, you should -- if you want to go after him, apparently what you're doing is working as you keep saying that, oh, yes, the Russians elected President Trump, and it causes him to --
BEGALA: -- tried to manipulate the election to benefit him, he was at best and unwaiting (ph) and unintended beneficiary of the act of the hospital foreign power. If he were the unintended beneficiary, he should be acting with righteous indignation.
SHIELDS: But there's no evidence that he is actually --
GOLODRYGA: Well it doesn't help --
SHIELDS: It's important to make that distinction.
GOLODRYGA: But it doesn't have --
SHIELDS: There's no evidence that he actually changed a single vote or did anything wrong --
GOLODRYGA: And it doesn't help that the entire campaign including the president have not been forth coming about the relations with Russians and meetings and we're finding out after the fact instead of being, you know, (INAUDIBLE) about it.
QUINN: And let's be clear also on this conversation. Three minutes ago, it was the, you know, elite of Washington, messing everything up by the president, by not moving quickly enough. And that's what had the president annoyed. And now it's the Democrats annoying the president.
SHIELDS: No. I'm actually sort of -- I'm not arguing that the Democrats are causing this. I'm saying, well done for continuing to lie that the Russians elected Donald Trump, because it's clearly frustrating the hell out of him. QUINN: You know what, let the investigations go. And we will get confirmation about the truth. The president doesn't want to let them go, because he wants this smoke screen not confirmation.
COOPER: All right, there's more breaking news tonight also involving the president. Coming up next, the Kate Steinle murder the trial verdict and reaction to it.
[21:35:09] COOPER: As we mentions at the top of the broadcast, the San Francisco jury has acquitted the undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of all major charges in the 2015 murder of Kate Steinle.
Candidate Donald Trump made her killing in his undocumented status a campaign issue. CNN's Dan Simon is at the court house joins us know with the latest. Explains this verdict, how you think it came about?
CAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, first of all, this is really the case that made the term sanctuary city part of the American vocabulary. Before this happened, nobody had really ever heard the term, and they had no idea really what a sanctuary city was.
That all changed on July 1st, 2015, that's when you had 32-year-old Kate Steinle taking a stroll along Pier 14, that's popular tourist spot in San Francisco. She's walking along this pier with her father and a shot brings out. The bullet goes through her back and it severe (ph) a major artery. She dies a short time later.
An hour after the shooting, police had their suspect in custody, 45- year-old, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate. Prosecutor said that was an intentional shooting. But the defense maintained from the start that this was an accident.
Now, the defense had a few things going for them. First of all, the shot was a ricochet shot. So the shot that was fired basically traveled 12 feet, and then travel another 78 feet before hitting Kate Steinle. And they made the argument that had if you not had this ricochet shot that Kate Steinle would still be alive.
The defense also establish the fact that there was no motive here, obviously, Garcia Zarate did not know Kate Steinle and there was no history of violence with the suspect despite the fact that he had been deported five times and had multiple drug convictions, no history of violence.
And the defense also tried to show that this gun. This 40 caliber pistol was prone to accidental discharges. And I can tell you, Anderson the very last thing that this jury did today, they deliberated for approximately 30 hours over six days. And the last thing they did is they all tested the weapon, they all pulled the trigger to see how easily it might fire, and perhaps that influenced their decision. This was basically a full acquittal.
COOPER: Because I know prosecutors were trying to say that this weapon actually it required a certain amount of, you know, power or force in order to actually pull the trigger. What happens to the defendant now, does he remain in the United States? I know he was convicted of a lesser gun charge.
SIMON: He was found guilty of being a felon in position of a firearm that does carry a pretty light sentence here in California, maybe two years in prison. But the fact that he has served all this time, and with prison overcrowding, it's possible that he may not have to do any jail time at all, therefore, he would be deported back to Mexico. Remember, he is coming to this country five times, so some might make the argument that he would attempt to try to come into the country again.
Also, just in terms of where the Steinle family goes from here, we should point out that they do have a wrongful death lawsuit pending against the sheriff's department, and the city of San Francisco for obviously letting Garcia Zarate go free. Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Dan Simon, I appreciate that. No reaction yet from the president. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he did put out a statement, it says in part, "When jurisdictions choose to turn criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put public's safety at risk. San Francisco's decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle." Back now with the panel.
Jeff, I mean prosecutors did -- it wasn't as if they said this has to be first degree murder and the jurors couldn't find enough evidence for that. They said it could be murder. It could be second degree. It could be manslaughter, it seems like they gave the jurors a lot of options.
TOOBIN: They did, but the facts of this case are just so odd, of the death of Kate Steinle are so strange, you know, this long ricochet, the stolen gun, this gun that was wrapped in a towel. It's just a very strange set of facts.
But politically, I mean, you can certainly understand why this had so much resonance around the country, this was a maddening awful case. This man is deported five times. He keeps coming back to the city. He gets arrested and they release him right away? I mean, that is -- it was a maddening situation. And look horrible consequences.
COOPER: So the -- I didn't quite at first understand the importance of the ricochet, it goes to intent on whether he intended to shoot Kate Steinle or shoot somebody in particular.
TOOBIN: That's right. First-degree murder, I mean, there was just no evidence for first-degree murder. The question here, and frankly, I have a question of why he was acquitted of manslaughter.
The issue is, even for manslaughter, you have to have some intent to behave recklessly, and the jury apparently believed that the dropping of the gun which apparently is what set it off, was not enough intent -- it was not -- did not display enough intent even to be manslaughter. [21:40:09] You know, that is as a debate about proposition. I don't know the facts of the case well enough to parse out exactly how they reach that conclusion. But the real question politically is why he was out on the streets at all.
COOPER: Paul, I want you to listen to something that the defense attorney said, let's listen after the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT GONZALEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: For those who may criticize this verdict, there are a number of people that have commented on this case in the last of couple years. The attorney general of the United States, the president, and the vice president of the United States, let me just remind them that they are themselves under investigation by a special prosecutor in Washington, D.C. And they may themselves soon avail themselves of the presumption of innocence and beyond a reasonable doubt standard. And so, I would ask them to reflect on that before they comment or disparage the result in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It seems hard to imagine the president will not say something about this. I mean --
BEGALA: I've been watching his Twitter feed and he has not yet as of this moment. But it is why -- I mean, I work in the White House. This killing took place before Donald Trump was president. So, as you think a politician has a full right to candidate to comment on cases like this.
But once you're the president, you really shouldn't. There's another way these norms that sometimes the president doesn't seem to follow because you don't want to prejudice the jury. You don't want to prejudice the case. You are the chief executive of the federal government.
And I do think he would be wise to hold back. And I thought the attorney general's comment which was about a policy debate was fine. That they don't like sanctuary cities, a lot of law enforcement people say they need them so that they can deal with the immigrant community to prevent crimes and report crimes. That's a debate we can have.
But I didn't think Jeff Sessions was out of line with his statement. And really I'm hoping the president for once will put his old Twitter machine away. And that way this is a terrible tragedy for that family. They have lost their daughter and nothing can bring that back. And everybody's hearts go out to her. And it is -- it's an outrageous set of facts that causes -- I didn't follow the (INAUDIBLE) carefully. But I do hope the president doesn't -- keep continue to weigh-in on criminal trials while he's the president of the United States.
MARTIN: Well, look, I think it's a great -- if Paul's open to the conversation about policy, that if we had a wall, if we had a secure border, these people wouldn't get back in. I think Congress should immediately pass laws that say if you're here illegally, you don't have rights. You don't have rights to protest your detention, you do not have rights to have delays, you don't have right -- noncitizens do not get habeas corpus, they shouldn't. We have set ourselves up where Americans come after people from other places and Kate Steinle is dead.
You guys are saying that this is such a big --
BEGALA: What habeas corpus?
MARTIN: And this guy was not a violent guy. Yes, for noncitizens, you're don't have right? Noncitizens don't deserve any. It should be sent back as fast as we can.
MARTIN: Kate Steinle shouldn't be dead because of our policies. Both parties, by the way. Both parties have fallen for this nonsensical thing that's causing -- and the sanctuary cities fight next. If that judge --
BEGALA: Well, somebody from the legitimate debate I was looking for.
MARTIN: Well, the judge decides he wants to -- do a nationwide ban on the implementation of sanctuary cities laws. That guy, Congress should put up right away, he should be impeached, they should run him off the bench --
BEGALA: And all noncitizens we just label them untermensch, right?
MARTIN: Oh, no, no, we'll label them noncitizens, and when they break the law of coming we'll say you broke the law, you must go back. We don't have --
BEGALA: -- criminal violation. But first --
MARTIN: It's a violation of the law.
BEGALA: -- the other way, you know that, right?
MARTIN: Well, let's make it a criminal violence.
BEGALA: But first can we just deal in fact base in first (ph), more people are leaving to go to Mexico --
BEGALA: Leaving Mexico to come here. This has been going on since Barack Obama not Donald Trump. Second, immigrants --
MARTIN: Kate Steinle's family --
BEGALA: -- immigrants including undocumented immigrants have a lower crime rate than native born immigrants.
MARTIN: Oh, I don't care.
BEGALA: So here (INAUDIBLE) --
MARTIN: No crime. I was -- U.S citizen you're allowed to commit a crime and go to prison. Someone who is not a citizen is not supposed to be here killing people.
QUINN: You don't know what's allowed to commit a crime.
MARTIN: No, my point is citizen has rights when they do a crime. Not noncitizens though.
QUINN: Your point is drama to make distractions of the tragedy here. So, that this woman is dead is a tragedy. And quite frankly, I believe that she became a political football in the campaign was tragic, because her family should have been focused on their mourning, and they're preparing for this case. The ruling in this case is confusing, right? As a lawyer, it is confusing to me that the man was not found guilty of anything. Though I agree first degree murder would have been such --
MARTIN: He was found guilty.
QUINN: Wait. Ed, Ed, Ed, Ed Ed.
MARTIN: No, he was.
COOPER: Of a minor weapon.
QUINN: Of a minor weapon.
MARTIN: Two years in prison.
QUINN: Ed, but -- given your point here Ed, that I think he should have been convicted of something worse. But, let's not take this individual tragedy, and then apply the horrible actions of this man to all undocumented immigrants. The fact is, far fewer crimes are committed by undocumented immigrants.
[21:45:00] COOPER: I have to get us a break.
QUINN: We have no right to break the law.
MARTIN: One crime is one too many. One crime is one too many.
COOPER: I'm sorry. We actually got to get a break in.
An incredible report from CNN's Clarissa Ward, look at the largest ice sheet in the northern hemisphere melting away. What it means for the planet. It is part of her report of "Global Warning: Arctic Melt", that's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: A federal government study released earlier this month, found, "No convincing alternative explanation for the change in climate other than human activities." There were concerns the Trump administration would try to interfere with that report.
The president over the year certainly has called climate change a hoax. He's nominated climate change skeptics to top environmental post. He's pulled out about Paris Climate Accordance and just (INAUDIBLE) climate protections.
Some of the evidence is obvious, warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, more forest fires and heat waves. Other evidence is further away from Washington, but with alarming implications for the planet.
Our Clarissa Ward with Part 1 of her report, "Global Warming: Arctic Melt".
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine a world where you can sail right up to the North Pole, where the largest ice sheet in the northern hemisphere is simply melting away.
JASON BOX, SCIENTIST: The melt is winning this game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've now broken all time records for three consecutive years.
WARD: As oceans continue to rise, flooding the streets of American cities half a world away.
BOX: What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic.
WARD: Imagine a world where hurricanes and heat waves wreak havoc.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right breaking news, as Hurricane Irma continues to show no mercy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a hell storm. The fire just whip --
WARD: Politicians denied the problem as temperatures continued to rise.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a hoax, I mean, I mean, it's a money making industry. OK.
BOX: Epicenter for climate change.
WARD: What if I told you this is already happening. Right here, right now. We are the primary cause and that only we have the power to stop it.
This is Greenland, though you will find very little greenery here. Home to some of the most stunning wildlife on the planet, the world's largest island is more than 80 percent made up of pure ice. [21:50:04] (on camera): It's only from the air that you really get a sense of the scale and the enormity of this ice sheet. What's so staggering to imagine is that in the center of the island beside is two miles thick.
(voice-over): It looks as though time has stood still for thousands of years, but this environment reflects the big changes in our world's atmosphere. As the planet gets warmer, the Arctic is heating up at double the rate, and Greenland in particular is warming even faster.
Jason Box is an American climate scientist, who has been coming to this remote corner of the world for more than 20 years.
BOX: The amount of water that's produced all across this landscape has increased, like doubled in the last 50 years.
WARD (on camera): Doubled in the last 50 years?
WARD (voice-over): Everywhere you go in Greenland you can see and hear the ice sheet melting, sometimes, a drip, sometimes a roar. Its surface is etched with fast-flowing rivers that carry the melt water deep down to the bed.
BOX: This water cascades down thousands of feet and eventually makes its way to the bed. And it's heating the bed of the ice sheet. Everything's kind of stacking up because the ice is going faster than forecast.
WARD (on camera): And no sign of slowing down?
BOX: The melt is winning this game.
WARD (voice-over): And the more Greenland melts, the more it speeds up the melting process. Take the large melt lakes that are forming on top of the ice sheet. Stunning to look at but bad news for the ice.
(on camera): These lakes are deceptively beautiful, because whereas white of the ice actually reflects the sunlight, the piercing blue of the lakes actively absorbs it, heating them up and then accelerating the rate of melt.
(voice-over): Perhaps the clearest example of this vicious melt cycle can be seen in Greenland's many glaciers. A glacier is a mass of thick ice that moves under the force of its own weight like a slow river into the sea. But as melt water moves through the ice, it softens it, draining to the bed where it then lubricates the movement of the glacier.
We've got a rare close-up view of one of Greenland's fastest-moving glaciers, named Hellhime after the Viking realm of the dead, it is vast and unforgiving.
BOX: This is one of the most productive glaciers in Greenland. It's about three golden gate bridges wide. And it drains on the order of like 40 billion metric tons per year. It's like almost an astronomical amount of water that this is delivering from high on the inland ice sheet down into the sea.
WARD: Between August of last year and August of this year, New York University scientists say Hellhime retreated a whopping two miles, the farthest retreat inland they have seen in a decade. You can see vast chunks of it crashing into the water, a process called calving.
(on camera): And what does that mean for the sea?
BOX: There's hundreds of glaciers like this in Greenland, and many of them have like doubled in speed. So the rate that Greenland is decanting into the ocean has really gone up in ways that surprise the science community.
WARD (voice-over): And it's not only scientists who have been surprised. Fifty-six year-old, Tobias has been hunting with his dogs in Greenland his whole life, just like his father and grandfather before him. Only these days, there's far less ice for dog sledding.
TOBIAS: Years ago, all, maybe from here to 500 meter and more, is glacier. So we can start dog sledding from down from sea.
WARD (on camera): Is that something you have seen with your own eyes?
TOBIAS: Yes, I can see this. Now we cannot hunt until a month from dog sledding, only boat.
WARD (voice-over): This year, Tobias has to take his dogs off the ice and back to town for the summer. He doesn't know if his grandsons will become hunters. But if the recent past is anything to go by, the future looks bleak. Warming in the last century has been faster than at any time in the past several million years.
(on camera): How concerned are you by the scientific data that you've collected, by the changes that you've seen here?
[21:54:58] BOX: What concerns me most is this concept of committed loss. So the amount of Co2 excess in the atmosphere due to humans burning fossil fuels, mainly, that commits us to more than one meter of sea level rise.
WARD (voice-over): That's roughly three feet. And this is where the rest of the world comes in. Greenland doesn't play by Las Vegas rules. What happens here doesn't stay here. As temperatures increase and the melt accelerates, Greenland has become the largest source of sea level rise globally.
This year, after decades of decline, the amount of ice lost in Greenland was roughly equal to the amount gained, but Box says this is an anomaly and that even drastic cuts and carbon dioxide emissions won't be enough to stop the continued melting.
(on camera): Some have said that if Greenland is the canary in the coal mine, the canary is dead. BOX: The canary is dead in that it indicates that it's time to get out of the mine. In other words, we have a problem. And now is the time to start developing that response.
WARD (voice-over): At summit station, weather patterns and climate change are the focus of much of the research. A remote American outpost funded by the National Science Foundation, it is perched at 10,600 feet on the very top of the Greenland ice sheet.
The only way to get there is on a U.S. military plane, a two-hour flight from the nearest airport of Kangerlussuaq. It lands on a runway of snow using giant skis. All equipment and personnel have to be flown in at the great expense.
(on camera): It doesn't get much more remote than this. And with the high altitude, the science that is being done here at summit station requires enormous resources and sheer physical effort. But this place is uniquely positioned to answer a crucial question. Has the Arctic reached a tipping point?
(voice-over): Engineer Zoe Courville explains that its isolation is, in fact, its greatest asset.
ZOE COURVILLE, ENGINEER, COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LABORATORY: It's a very pristine site. And it's free from local influences of pollution.
WARD (on camera): Do you think summit is important to the study of climate change, specifically?
COURVILLE: We've been making measurements since 1980 here, but we've also drilled to bedrock. So we have an ice core that extends back 140,000 years --
WARD: 140,000 years?
COURVILLE: Yes, 140. So we're actually standing on two miles worth of ice below us. And we can use the ice cores like you would use tree rings, to get an idea of what past conditions of climate were like. And we can use what happened in the past to try to predict what's going to happen in the future.
WARD (voice-over): But summit's hefty price tag has made it a possible target for proposed budget cuts. The Trump administration wants to slash funding to the National Science Foundation and many fear that summit could be the first casualty.
BOX: I think that's the politics of the short-term game, long-term environmental pain.
WARD: Box says he is frustrated by the White House's lack of commitment to climate change studies and its decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.
(on camera): Some people will say, listen, look back over the history of the planet. There have been ice ages, there have then been huge heat waves. There's a natural extreme fluctuation in temperatures, and that's just part of living on planet earth. What do you say to that?
BOX: It's true that there are natural cycles in climate, but what's happening now is human activity has become the dominant agent of change for about the last 150 years. The climate change we observe today is at least 80 percent due to human activity. We are now a force of nature.
WARD (voice-over): And not a force for good.
For millennia, mankind's presence in Greenland has been dwarfed by the dramatic scenery and by the extraordinary living creatures we share this unique habitat with. But in recent history, the balance of power has shifted and with it, responsibility to do something. Clarissa Ward, CNN, Greenland.
COOPER: We're going to have part II of Clarissa's report, "Global Warning: Arctic Melt", tomorrow night. Thanks very much for watching. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts now.
DON LEMON, "CNN TONIGHT" HOST: This is "CNN Tonight". I'm Don Lemon.
We have some new news on the Russia investigation. President Trump reportedly urged senior Senate Republicans to end their investigation to Russia's interference in the election. That is according to The New York Times. More on that in a moment. I'll promise you, we will get to it.