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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Roger Stone: I Had No Knowledge That Podesta's Emails Were Hacked; One-On-One With Longtime Trump Ally Roger Stone; Roger Stone: My Doctor Believed I Was Poisoned; Roger Stone: Let Trump Be Trump; Roger Stone: I Have Never Met Or Spoken To Julian Assange; Roger Stone: It's A "Perjury Trap" If Pres. Trump Talks To Mueller; Roger Stone: Pres. Trump Has A Strong Support In His Base; Trump Begins Informal Prep For Potential Mueller Interview. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 6, 2018 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER: CNN HOST: Good evening. Tonight my conversation with the political operative and long-time associate of the President, Roger Stone. Just this week, the "Wall Street Journal" reported that Mr. Stone is of interest to Robert Mueller, asking questions about a claim Mr. Stone made which he calls a joke about having quote dined with Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and publisher of so much material benefitting the Trump campaign.

Robert Mueller has been asking questions about Stone. Tonight, he joins us to answer them. But first our breaking news, CNN has learned that President Trump has been taking preliminary steps preparing for a possible interview with the special counsel. Senior White House Correspondent Pamela Brown joins us now with that. So, explain what you've learned.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson we have learned that the preparations between the President and his legal team have been short and informal and included going over potential topics with the President that Robert Mueller would likely raise in an interview. This is according to two people familiar with the situation that I've spoken with along with my colleague Gloria Borger.

Now while the President has not formally agreed to a sit-down with Mueller, these preparations under way are a sign that the President's legal team is intensifying deliberations over whether to allow him to come under Robert Mueller's questioning and it's the clearest sign yet that Trump and his team remain open to the possibility of an interview with Mueller despite concerns from those close to the President that such an interview could expose him to possible perjury charges.

The sources we spoke with though Anderson caution that the more formal lengthier proceedings to prepare for an interview have not begun yet. These are initial steps that are still in their infancy. Both white house lawyer Ty Cobb and the President's attorney, Jay Sekulow, declined to comment for this story. But it is significant in that all of this is entering this new phase with the initial steps of preparation, Anderson.

COOPER: In the past, the President has seemed receptive to sitting for the interview. Do we know if that is that still the case?

BROWN: Well you know sources tell us that the President shows more enthusiastic outwardly then behind closed doors at this prospect of sitting down with Muller. Seeing publicly he says he would love to do the interview under oath. But privately, Trump has been more equivocal about answering Mueller's questions depending on the day. And, Trump has wavered as friends and advisors have cautioned him of the risk of speaking to prosecutors who have already charged 19 individuals with criminal offenses including lying.

Now multiple aides to the President continue to describe him as being obsessed with the Russia probe, becoming increasingly agitated as details about the probe emerge, and Trump feels that this investigation undermines his Presidency and he has grown increasingly bitter that it hasn't concluded yet. His legal team continues to go back and forth with Mueller's team about the possibility of an interview and the scope of what that might be. Those negotiations continue, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Pamela Brown, thanks for the report. And joining us now, CNN Legal Analyst, Carrie Cordero and Anne Milgram. How significant is this in your opinion Anne?

ANNE MILGRAM, PROFESSOR, ATTORNEY, AND FORMER NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL: So it seems to me it could be one of two things. The first is that he is starting to prepare and they're beginning soft questions or getting him comfortable with it. The other option is, they're testing him out to see how he'd do. You would never let someone like the President of the United States walk into an interview without having been prepped for a good amount of time so it really could be either.

But I suspect there may be the possibility that they want to see does he lie? Does he equivocate? How does he respond when he gets questions because there is, as you've stated and Pamela has stated, there is this question of how will he do in an interview and a lot of question of whether he should actually sit for the interview.

COOPER: Carrie, he has been deposed before and some of the supporters of the President say he actually has done a lot better than a lot of people may think. There are concerns that people close to the President that an interview could obviously expose him to possible charges of perjury. So legally speaking, even if he's not under oath for the interview, could he still face perjury charges if he lied?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well he could be liable for 1,001 or making false statements to investigators in the course of an interview even if he's not under oath like he would be in a grand jury type proceeding. The big question for these interviews really is what is the scope of them substantively. Are the interviews going to be limited only to matters pertaining to the Russian influence investigation or is it going to cover obstruction or start covering issues involving money during the campaign or personal and corporate finances. I think the level of risk for him in both preparing and being ready and being able to sit through that interview in a way that he comes out in a way that is positive for him depends in large part on what the substance of the interviews will be.

COOPER: What happens if the President declines to sit for the interview?

CORDERO: I think it is a real possibility. To me it is an open question whether the Special Counsel would issue a subpoena. To me, it is incredibly likely that the Special Counsel will end the inquiry into Trump with a report without issuing criminal charges because there's an existing DOJ policy right now that says you can't charge the sitting President. Mueller is bound by all of the existing DOJ

[20:05:00]

Policies. If that's the case, it seems to me that Mueller needs to get Donald Trump's version of events. It's really not a complete story. It's not the full picture of what happened. It's not the truth of what happened without it. And so I think it is very possible that Mueller will go the next step to issue the subpoena. It's hard to say, given 100% Mueller will want him to come in voluntarily and do everything he can to get there.

But I personally believe that faced with the prospect if we get to the point of no interview or interview with a subpoena under oath and a grand jury, or some modification of that process I think Mueller will want that interview.

COOPER: Carrie, do you think the President is more receptive to the idea of an interview since according to "The Washington Post" earlier this week Mueller told President Trump's lawyers, he is not a criminal target in the Russia probe?

CORDERO: Well, if he is more receptive to an interview based on that fact in particular, then I would say that that is probably a misplaced level of confidence. So according to the report this week, he is a subject of investigation. If that is correct, then really he does have some exposure, again depending on which angle the interview takes. But even if he's the subject of investigation there is still a significant risk for him. Again, sometimes we talk about, is he exposed to perjury? That's only if he doesn't tell the truth and investigators have other evidence that contradicts what his oral testimony or his interview results are.

COOPER: Carrie Cordero, Ann Milgram, I appreciate it, thanks very much. Now a figure who has also reportedly drawn the interest of Robert Mueller. Roger Stone was an early campaign adviser to his old friend, Donald Trump. Then, after a parting of the ways, he resurfaced in the summer of 2016, publicly heralding damaging revelations about Hillary Clinton and Democrats that soon after arrived curtesy of WikiLeaks and a hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 whom U.S. officials believe was a front for Russian military intelligence which stone argues against.

Democrats have been saying Stone's warnings might indicate some form of advanced notice and coordination with WikiLeaks or Russia. Mr. Stone has consistently and vehemently denied any wrong doing. Roger Stone joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Stone. I appreciate it.

ROGER STONE, LONGTIME TRUMP ALLY: Thank you for your kind invitation, Anderson.

COOPER: So, this news, first of all, before we get to the whole WikiLeaks stuff, I want you to ask about this news of the President, that he's begun initial steps of prepping for a possible interview with Mueller. In your opinion, should the President ever sit down with the special counsel?

STONE: I have written and said on Info Wars repeatedly that I thought it was a perjury trap. That there's every possibility the special counsel is looking at some process related crime that doesn't relate to Russia. I obviously believe the special counsel has a political bias, as demonstrated by the FBI text messages and emails that have surfaced, and the political nature of this investigation.

So, I think it is very dangerous for the President to do so. I think Mr. Dowd, who I read, had advised against this was correct.

COOPER: Do you think there'd be a political cost --

STONE: Judge Napolitano at Fox advised against it. I think it's a bad idea.

COOPER: Would there be a political cost do you think for the President if he was subpoenaed by Robert Mueller, if he decided not to go voluntarily?

STONE: I'm not an attorney and I don't really understand the lines of authority. It was interesting to listen to the previous segment. You know, the economy grows --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I'm just really asking about -- his supporters, would they care if the President was subpoenaed? I mean, would that they think that would reflect badly (ph)?

STONE: I don't think it would hurt him. No, I think the President is very, very strong and has intense support in his base. There's been no erosion in his position and in fact, I think his approval rating is moving up as the economy moves up and the prospects of a denuclearized Korea, I think all of those things strengthen the President's hand.

COOPER: Would you like to see the President fire the special counsel? Obviously, you believe he's politically biased.

STONE: No, I actually think that from a political point of view, while there may be grounds to do so, I think it would -- it would allow the President's detractors to argue, oh, well, he sacked Mr. Mueller because Mueller was on the verge of finding Russian collusion or conspiracy or coordination, which I don't believe is the case. No, I've suggested the President should fire Mr. Rosenstein who -- because of his role in approving the surveillance of the Trump campaign on the basis of essentially falsified -- a falsified dossier and I think that the President should direct the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look at both the FISA abuses, and also at Uranium One, which maybe the largest financial treasonous crime in American history.

COOPER: Do you think the attorney general should be placed? Obviously, the President has been publicly -- I don't know if humiliating is the right word, but certainly, you know, has had some tough words for him over the long period of time.

[20:10:00] STONE: I have been deeply disappointed in the attorney general and I have already said again, commentary for Info Wars and at the Stone Cold Truth that I think that the President should dismiss his attorney general.

COOPER: Have you had contact at all with Mueller's office at this point?

STONE: I have -- I have not.

COOPER: Would you agree to sit down for an interview?

STONE: I would need to know a great deal more about what they wanted to talk about. I mean, right now, in the mainstream media, we have -- we have an ongoing story which is not, not new pertaining to this e- mail. And if I didn't know better, Anderson, I'd say that Sam Nunberg was trying to frame me.

COOPER: Sam Nunberg talked Mueller -- saying that Mueller asked him questions about you, about this e-mail that you sent him about dining with Julian Assange. I want to get to all that. We've got to take a quick break, Roger. We'll have more with you in just a moment.

We'll talk much more about Roger's relationship or lack thereof with Julian Assange, and the question the special counsel reportedly wants to know more about, was it face to face, at a crucial moment of the campaign for both candidates and for the hostile foreign power who is trying to shape the outcome. More on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Of all those stories about Roger Stone, political exploits, allegations of dirty tricks, there are few he actually denies. He has over nearly half a century in politics, often relished the role of provocateur. However, there is one piece of alleged campaign maneuvering he has taken pains to disavow, the notion that he has done anything wrong with respect to WikiLeaks, release of hacked emails, or with Russia.

The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting that Robert Mueller wants to know more. I'll ask Roger Stone about it right after Randi Kaye sets the stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have emails late (ph), Hillary Clinton which pending publication, that is correct. RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: The first ever mention of a leak of Hillary Clinton's emails came from WikiLeaks Julian Assange himself, June 12, 2016 in the heat of the President campaign. On July 22, just as he promised and on the very day Hillary Clinton was announcing her running mate, nearly 20,000 emails were released by WikiLeaks. The emails promised to be embarrassing. They included chatter about Clinton's chief rival, Bernie Sanders, and perks provided to party donors.

The following month, August 4, 2016, Trump loyalist Roger Stone sent this email to former Trump advisor Sam Nunberg. "I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last night." That same day Stone gave an interview to the conspiracy driven sight Infowars as reported by CNN's (inaudible).

(BEGIN AUDIO)

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Let's remember at their defense, if all the Clinton Foundation scandals have been not we didn't do it, has been you have no proof, yes but you have no proof. Well I think Julian Assange has that proof and I think he's going to furnish it to the American people.

(END AUDIO)

KAYE: And the next day, August 5, 2016, Stone tweeted, "Hillary lies about Russian involvement and DNC hack. Julian Assange is a hero." Stone would later explain most recently on his website that he also joked about visiting Assange during an earlier phone call with Nunberg. It had been nothing but a throwaway line, pure shtick. The way I talk, the humor I savor, he wrote, when I realize that Nunberg actually believed I had flown to London, I simply milked the joke a little more in a subsequent email. End of story.

Was it all a joke? The conservative website, "The Daily Caller" says Stone showed them a boarding pass from JFK airport in New York to Los Angeles on August 1, 2016. He also provided another boarding pass showing he flew on Delta Airlines from Los Angeles overnight to Miami, Florida, on August 3. He would have arrived just before dawn on August 4, the day he sent the email about dining with Julian Assange the night before.

If he was on a cross-country flight, the reported boarding passes show dinner with Assange would have been impossible. "The Daily Caller" also reports Stone's credit card shows payments at a deli in Santa Monica on August 2 plus hotel and baggage fees for August 3 putting him in Los Angeles thousands of miles away from Ecuador's embassy in London where Julian Assange has been since 2012 under asylum.

Meanwhile Stone publically claimed he had a back channel to Assange, someone he later named to be New York Radio Host Randy Credico even though Credico denied that in "The Daily Beast." Credico refused to talk about it during an interview last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO) Randy Credico, radio Host: So I am not at liberty, courtesy of my counsel, to talk about Roger Stone or to talk about WikiLeaks , or talk about Julian Assange...

(END VIDEO)

KAYE: Amid all these conflicting statements, we know Stone and WikiLeaks have communicated in these private twitter messages now made public. October 13, 2016, Stone messages WikiLeaks that since he's been defending them and Assange, they may want to reexamine the strategy of attacking him. "We appreciate that, however, the false claims of our association are being used by the Democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Don't go there if you don't want us to correct you." Randi Kay, CNN New York.

(END VIDEO)

COOPER: And we're back now with Roger Stone.

So, Mr. Stone, in your testimony on Capitol Hill, which you wanted to be public, they didn't allow that. You testified anyway. You denied any direct communication with Julian Assange.

Back on August 8 2016, you said in a public appearance that you actually have communicated with Assange. There's obviously a difference between direct communication and communication. But just for the record, what has been your communications, direct or otherwise, with Assange?

STONE: What I actually said in my testimony was that I had never communicated with Assange. That is correct. I have never met with him, spoken to him on the phone, e-mailed with him, Facebook -- Facetime, pardon me, Skype, so on.

I am an admirer of him. I think he is a journalist. I think he does what journalists do, get information from whistleblowers and publish it, just like you do here at CNN.

[20:20:00]

My speech before the Southwest Broward Republican Club in which I speak of communication refers as I said under oath to the House Committee, to a confirming source, in this case, I called him a back channel because it was a dramatized in a speech. But back channel intermediary confirming source who told me that yes, indeed -- and this was someone who was close to people on the WikiLeaks legal team -- that indeed what Assange told CNN in June was accurate. That he had substantial and devastating information that would roil the campaign.

COOPER: Yes --

STONE: He did. And it did.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, you have used that term, "back channel" a lot. Back channel communication -- as recently as last night on Fox, I think you referred to him, this radio guy as a middle man, a back channel, an intermediary, a confirming source. Back channel, though, does imply a flow of communication or an intermediary, usually passages, messages or information back and forth. So, was there an actual exchange of information between you and Assange through this back channel?

STONE: Well, look, you -- you can argue that there is some hyperbole, but no more hyperbole than CNN last night saying that my interview with Alex Jones recently unearthed or newly discovered when it's been on YouTube or on their Website for the last eight months.

COOPER: But was there -- I mean, I guess I'm just asking, was there any exchange of information between you and Julian Assange through an intermediary?

STONE: I'm sorry. Yes, let me -- let me answer your question. I had no advance notice of the content source or exact timing of the WikiLeaks disclosures, including the allegedly hacked e-mails. I never received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, anyone associated with them or anyone else, including allegedly hacked e-mails and passed them on to Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, did you ever give anything to Julian Assange?

STONE: No, I did not.

COOPER: OK.

The e-mail that you sent Sam Nunberg where you said you had dinner with Assange, you also said it on the phone to him as we said on Randi's piece as a way to end a lengthy, boring conversation essentially, you said it was a joke. I just -- I'm just wondering, I mean, of all of the things to joke about, why that? How does that get you off the phone faster? If anything, I would think if somebody said to me, I'm having dinner with Julian Assange, I would stay on the phone with them longer.

STONE: Look, Assange and what WikiLeaks did and did not have was being played out in the political media around the edges of the campaign. It was a hot topic.

You have to understand, Sam is somewhat neurotic. He would sometimes call you 30, 40 times a day, often with nothing to say other than what's going on. When you let your -- his phone calls roll over to voice message, he'd become very agitated with you.

It was a throwaway line. My passport, customs records, airline records, the security cameras at the Ecuadorian embassy would demonstrate that no such trip was made. I did produce airline tickets and so on.

Here's the one thing that I got right, Anderson. When I was in West Hollywood, I stayed at the London Hotel. COOPER: Have you been in communication with others who have been in

touch with Assange? I mean, it's known that Nigel Farage visited the Ecuadorian embassy, Pamela Anderson. Have you been in contact with either of them?

STONE: I have not. I would like to be in touch with Pamela Anderson, but I am not.

COOPER: You know what? I knew you were going to say that actually, even -- as I was writing the question, I knew that was going to be the answer.

So, you revealed some public tweets and private direct messages communicating with Guccifer 2.0, which is an entity the U.S. government says was controlled or operated by Russian military intelligence. I know you say you don't really believe that.

The tweets and the D.M.s that have been publicly reported, are they the sum total of all your communications with Guccifer 2.0?

STONE: Yes, absolutely. As you know, this entire communication which I released, although it is interesting that media organizations knew it was there, hard to know since it's supposed to be proprietary, unless, of course, you'd been hacked.

Remember that "The New York Times" reported on January 20th of 2017 that I was a subject of a FISA warrant, along with Paul Manafort and Carter Page. And "The Times" never retracted that. Ed Klein reports it in his most recent book from independent sources. I know that the government is denying that in the back and forth between Manafort and the government.

COOPER: You believe they had been monitoring you?

STONE: Hence, a legal station.

So, what I'm saying is I don't know to what extent all of my e-mails and communication may have been monitored.

COOPER: There is reporting that U.S. investigators trace the Guccifer's computer directly to the GRU headquarters in Moscow. Isn't it a problem to be in contact with Russian agents while they were trying to influence the election?

STONE: Well, the problem is that my communication is completely ex- post facto, it happens weeks after WikiLeaks has already published the allegedly hacked e-mails. Consequently, it makes collusion chronologically impossible -- the context and the timing of this communication. By the way, I was covering this for Info Wars and spoke with hundreds of journalists. It demonstrates that there is no collaboration or collusion.

[20:25:00]

COOPER: A month ago, "The Washington Post" reported that you had a phone conversation in the spring of 2013 in which you said that you'd learned from Assange that WikiLeaks had gotten emails that would torment senior Democrats like John Podesta. If true, that would significant because it was months before WikiLeaks announced as we played there that Assange went on British television, on ITV, and announced that he had information on Hillary Clinton that he was going to release.

Did that conversation occur?

STONE: No, it did not. In fact, 'The Times" piece is flawed. The reporter who called me said they had an email that said this. But by the time their story posted, the e-mail was gone but the alleged contents of the e-mail remained in the lead of the story.

This is hearsay, uncorroborated hearsay. Two sources say Stone said. I had no advanced knowledge of the content or the source of the WikiLeaks disclosure. The idea that I knew about John Podesta's e- mails being hacked in advance is disproved by the wording of my tweet, that says the Podestas.

COOPER: Which I want to --

STONE: It refers to John and Tony.

COOPER: I want to ask you about that, too, because it's often misquoted. But if the conversation -- if that conversation didn't occur, I just want to ask for the record, did you at that time have knowledge that Assange had gotten e-mails on senior Democrats?

STONE: No, I -- no, I did not.

COOPER: So, Democrats --

STONE: So, the source says two things, one, he reiterates the canard that I dined with Assange and that I had advanced knowledge. This is an uncorroborated source.

COOPER: Right.

STONE: The e-mail is alleged disappears from the story.

COOPER: Got it.

So, Democrats have repeatedly said that you predicted the WikiLeaks dump of John Podesta's email and the tweet they keep pointing out, which I got to say, is often misquoted by them, is one that reads, quote, it will soon be the Podestas, plural, time in the barrel, what did you mean by that?

STONE: Well, the Panama papers published in April of 2016, expose the Podesta brothers' extensive business dealings in Russia and --

COOPER: Actually, it talks about Tony, the Panama papers focused on Tony Podesta, not John Podesta, who hadn't worked for the Podesta Group as I understand it for decades, I think like the early '90s.

STONE: My reference is to both brothers. I wrote an extensive piece about John Podesta's banking deal in Russia and how lucrative that was. I had received an opposition research memo from Dr. Jerry Corsey (ph), all from public sources. It was a reference to the subsequent mainstream media focus on the Podesta brothers' various businesses.

COOPER: So, you're saying --

STONE: Nowhere did I predict the -- nowhere did I predict the hacking of John Podesta's e-mails.

COOPER: And you are saying the evidence of that is because you said Podestas, plural?

STONE: Well, people call him or did call him the Donald, but no one has ever called John Podesta the Podesta. Correct.

COOPER: You said over and over and most recently this afternoon that you, quote, never had any advanced knowledge of the content, the source, or the exact timing of the Wikileaks disclosure. You said it actually earlier tonight even.

"The Washington Post" recently pointed out that you seemed to be careful in the words you used. You always say the content, the source, the exact timing. Can you just say categorically that you had no advanced knowledge of the hacked e-mails?

STONE: Yes, I absolutely can, categorically. The reason I say it that way is because I actually believe that Assange would make public disclosures on October 1st which he did not. But on the first, he did announce a subsequent schedule for data dumps, which begin on October 6. That's why I said I was not sure about the date. I was trying to be precise.

COOPER: You've also said, quote, let's be clear, I had no advanced notice of WikiLeaks hacking of Podesta's e-mails.

Again, "The Washington Post" pointing out that you are always very specific with your denial. Can you say that you just simply had no advanced knowledge that the hacked e-mails existed?

(CROSSTALK)

STONE: Yes, I absolutely categorically can.

COOPER: Right, OK, until Julian Assange actually went for it.

So, the special counsel Robert Mueller --

STONE: And yes, and I think we addressed the --

COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.

STONE: And I think we addressed the John Podesta question. Go ahead.

COOPER: Yes. Special counsel Mueller's prosecutors are asking witnesses about you at the grand jury. I know you said you haven't been contacted. Does it concern you that you haven't been called in for an interview yet?

STONE: Well, first of all, let's remember that the source of that is Sam Nunberg.

COOPER: Right.

STONE: To "The Washington Post", to "The Wall Street Journal", to CNN. How reliable a source is he?

I have done nothing wrong. I have very substantial bank of e-mails. Anderson, I'm involved in politics. My e-mails include all kinds of things -- smoke and mirrors, failed initiatives, strategic triumphs, tested ideas. But there is no evidence of treason or collusion with the Russian state or any other violation of the law.

[20:30:00] Donald Trump did not need help from Russia to beat Hillary Clinton. He ran an historic and improbable and amazing campaign and she run with the worst campaigns I have ever seen and I've been in this business almost 40 years.

COOPER: I got to say I spend, you know, full (ph) hours of reading basically every interview you done in the last two -- or two and half years. And you have been remarkably consistent in what you have said in your defense all along. One thing that stood out to me and I just -- I know it's kind of a weird thing, but I just going to ask you about it, in an interview with "Time" Magazine in February 2017, you say you may have been poisoned with polonium. You said you did it, but you intimate that it might have been someone who wants to make it look like Russia did it, saying, "The deep state moves in strange ways". I mean do you have any proof that you would actually release that you were poisoned and possible with polonium?

STONE: I was extraordinarily ill. You can see in the file footage that you use it to beginning of the segment, that I still have lesions on my face from that illness. My doctor believed I was poisoned. They believe that there initially that there was some radioactive element to that. I've never been this sick in my life.

COOPER: Do you have any speculation. Do you any, you know, files that you can release on that or the medical report? That you said there's -- the sample was send to the CDC.

STONE: I don't think my health is of great interest to the American people other than half of them that just wish I could drop dead. Look, I'm the conservative every liberal loves to hate.

COOPER: Yes, but polonium poisoning --

STONE: And I understand --

COOPER: -- there would be a huge thing in United States if -- somebody was poisoned with polonium.

STONE: Well, I -- you can go to my InfoWars reports on it, I believed I was. I was also t-boned in a hit and run that the police said never saw of in a period shortly after that. COOPER: Right. (INAUDIBLE).

STONE: But it's not inconceivable some people would may not want my testimony in this whole matter.

COOPER: I was going to ask about that, but since you've mentioned it. You did leave the scene of that and so there's no record that you were in the car. I know you did look like you had injuries. Why -- why, if you were hit in a hit and run, why leave the scene before the police showed up, I know they were delayed in showing up.

STONE: Because, no one was injured and frankly I waited one hour and it was a workday.

COOPER: All right. If you could stick around, we're just getting a quick break. I just want to get your take on the White House today, how the inter workings of the White House, how you see it. If you'll stick around, that'd be great.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:35:52] COOPER: Talk with Roger Stone long time associate of the President. Former campaign adviser for decades, and observer of him and participate in American hardball politics. Thanks for being with us, sticking around.

So CNN is reporting that the President increasingly believes he is his own best adviser, they're lying less and less and advice of those in the White House. Would you encourage him in that? Do you think that's a wise move for him?

STONE: Yes. I say let Trump be Trump. Look, he is run the most improbable and brilliant political campaign in American history, based on all of the measurements of the things that we think are necessary. He came, you know, he staged an extraordinary come from behind victory. I do think he understands leadership, I do think he understands the need to get the economy growing. You got 100% increase in GDP, were get 3% economic growth. The appointment of Larry Kudlow I think will ultimately help the President make this economy cook. I think that increasingly he has found his sea legs and he is doing what the President is doing. If there is a convoy of illegals heading for our border, he's prepared to use American troops to repel them. That's leadership.

COOPER: It does seem like often though he gets kind of the head of were the policy actually is. I mean he'll say something announce, and it seems like there is a lot of people in his administration having to scramble to suddenly catch up. Is that the right way to lead when you're the President of the United States? Because I get it when you're running a corporation or running a campaign.

STONE: I think he knows his own mind. Look, my only criticism has been to some extent that he surrounded himself with people who don't share his world view. Don't share his agenda, who's a political loyalty is not to him.

COOPER: Do you think his still have his people around him?

STONE: Some, yes, although I think his -- and the appointment of John Bolton is a very positive thing. I think the appointment of Mike Pompeo who is skeptical about the Iran nuclear deal is a positive develop. I think he is -- I think the President is surrounding himself with men and women that he trusts and who share more of his anti interventionist world view.

STONE: But Mike Pompeo though has a very different opinion than you do about WikiLeaks. I mean Mike Pompeo sees them as a --

STONE: Indeed.

COOPER: Yes.

STONE: In fact, I have been very critical of Mike Pompeo about that, because it said verse with what he said about WikiLeaks and assign during the campaign. But that aside, I do think he shares more of the President's foreign policy views on North Korea, on the Iran nuclear deal than his predecessor.

COOPER: What about General John Kelly, do you think he still has a place in the White House?

STONE: Look. Donald Trump cannot be managed, will not be managed. He is his own manager, he is his own word smith, he is his own strategist, and his damn good at it. And therefore, there's got to be a high burnout rate of anyone who tries to get in the way of this man. He is like Theodore Roosevelt in that sense. He is (INAUDIBLE). He is bombastic and he loves America and he has a vision of what he wants to do. For example, he's saying that it's time to get out of Syria, he is right, his advisers are wrong.

COOPER: Just yesterday, he spoke about the payment that was made to Stormy Daniels by Michael Cohen saying that he had no knowledge of it. Was that wise for him to go on the record with that?

STONE: I have not a chance to read exactly what he said, nor in all honesty, am I keeping up on the controversy having to deal with the incoming as I am from the "Washington Post" and the "Wall Street Journal" and others in the fake news business.

COOPER: So, you have no opinion on whether the whole Stormy Daniel's issue, the payment of $130,000 had anything to do with the campaign even though it was made 11 days before the election.

STONE: I will believe the President's version of it when he says he knows nothing about it. But beyond that what amazes me about this whole controversy is the American people don't seem to care. President's approval is going up. I think many see this as an extraneous issue. She also seems to have the little commentary I did see which may have been in CNN, some discrepancies in her claims. I just don't think the American people care about this.

[20:40:16] COOPER: Roger Stone, good to talk to you. Thank you.

STONE: Thank you.

COOPER: A lot to talk about tonight, we'll be right back with the panel, including on the directors of the documentary "Get Me Roger Stone'".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Our conversation with Roger Stone left us with plenty to talk about it with our panel who join us in a moment. But first, let's listen to something Mr. stone said just a moment ago, perhaps the most definitive statement he's made so far about his connection were lack (ph) of one to WikiLeaks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Was there any exchange of information between you and --

STONE: No, no, to -- I'm sorry. Yes, let me answer your question. I had no advanced notice of the content, source or exact timing of the WikiLeaks disclosures including the allegedly hacked e-mails. I never received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, anyone associated with them or anyone else including allegedly hacked e-mails and pass them on to Donald Trump. Donald Trump --

COOPER: So did you ever give anything to Julian Assange?

STONE: No, I did not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Joining me now is Morgan Pehme, one of the directors of the documentary, "Get Me Roger Stone", which you can watch on Netflix, and I recommend. Also CNN chief national correspondent Jim Sciutto, with us again is CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero.

It is when you read all things Roger Stone had said over the last two plus years, is that been doing all day long, he has been remarkably consistent.

MORGAN PEHME, DIRECTOR, "GET ME ROGER STONE": That's absolutely true, Anderson. He's been saying the same thing all along. And as you pointed it's very possible that he got the information from those tweets from the public record. And there's also -- it's also true that his tweets were erroneous to a degree. Our camera crew was with him on the day of his tweet where he said, Wednesday Hillary will be done. And nothing happened he pass that day. You know, we are waiting for something dramatic to happen. Nothing happens. So, you know, he has been remarkably consistent and his also wrong.

[20:45:07] COOPER: To Jim Sciutto, you know, the Democrats often point to his, saying he predicted the John Podesta's e-mails were going to get hacked. And when -- as we talk about, when you actually read the e-mail, he doesn't -- that's not what he says it all. It's the Podesta's time in the barrel, it was around the same time that Manafort was kicked out of the campaign. So, it doesn't -- it doesn't come out of left field that he would have been talking about the Podestas, the one of whom was managing Hillary Clinton's campaign.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No, your right. And listen, he was very categorical there. Because one of the other criticism of Roger Stone, was that he was given, you know, milly mouthed answers or answers that could be misconstrued. But he was categorical. He said, you know, I kept the list kind of the things he was categorical -- quite categorical about it. He said, never communicated, met with or spoke on the phone on any way with Julian Assange, he said he had no advance notice of disclosures, as you just play flip there.

And he also categorically denied any trip to meet with Roger -- to meet with Julian Assange at Ecuadorian Embassy. In London, a lot of these things have been floated out there. And to some except as facts that in part, because of Roger Stone's involvement, because he just -- has often been not the most credible commentator on this. But to you, he was categorical in his denials there. Not now, you also saw the interview, some of the kind of classic Roger Stone claiming that he was poisoned for instance by polonium.

You know, listen, I covered the poisoning with polonium of Alexander Litvinenko in London by Russia in 2006. If you're poisoned it, you die. I mean, this is a tiny spec of that stuff will kill you. So, it reminds you that this also the man who wrote a book claiming that LBJ killed John F. Kennedy, right. I mean there are credible issues going back. One of the questions you ask him, he was categorical and he's been consistent in those categorical denials for some time.

COOPER: Right, I mean there would be medical records that if somebody really wanted to they obviously release.

SCIUTTO: Right.

COOPER: Morgan, have you talked to him about this poisoning.

PEHME: Yes, I mean personally I think it is ludicrous.

COOPER: Right.

PEHME: You know, whenever we're talking about Roger and to win and he, you know, got a new cycle out of that. But in terms of Assange, you know, he had spoken to us in July and August of 2018 about his desire to meet with Julian Assange and for us to film that. And one the things I find striking about all this is why he wouldn't want us to be there if he did meet with Assange and would it pop up his role in the campaign. And those completely consistent with our discussions with him.

COOPER: Carrie Cordero, just -- in terms of, you know, if Robert Mueller has been asking questions about him, to Sam Nunberg to others. Is it -- should it be a concern to Roger Stone that he hasn't been asked to come in and talk to Mueller?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, I continue to be amazed of the number of individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign in some way and even if they haven't been asked to come in subpoenaed or ask to come the interview yet. No, that they are in some way being implicated in the investigation, being at looked in the investigation, they have some indication that perhaps some of their records have been wrapped into the investigation and yet they continue to give lengthy public interviews.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter from the investigator standpoint, Roger Stone or Sam Nunberg or others say on TV. What matters is the documentary evidence and the testimony that is given under oath by the witnesses who are either interviews or called in to testify.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. More with the panel ahead. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:52:45] COOPER: We've been talking about the interview tonight with longtime Trump ally and former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone. Here's something he said about the President, his current advisers and turnover in the administration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STONE: Donald Trump cannot be managed, will not be managed. He is his own manager, he is his own wordsmith, he is his own strategist, and he's damn good at it. And therefore, there's got to be a high burnout rate of anyone who tries to get in the way of this man. He's like Theodore Roosevelt in that sense. He is impetuous. He is bombastic, and he loves America. And he has a vision of what he wants to do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Back now with Morgan Pehme, one of the directors of the documentary, "Get Me Roger Stone", which is fascinating. Also, CNN's Jim Sciutto and Carrie Cordero. You know, Jim, I'm just reminded of every time we're talking about details that we or the "Washington Post, the "New York Times", the "Wall Street Journal" have learned about the Mueller investigation, it is still just a small fraction, just the tip of the iceberg of what we actually know. They know so much more than we do.

SCIUTTO: No question. And let's be frank. I know that the Mueller team has been accused of leaks. I've covered this for more than a year now. That is the tightest black box in Washington. Well I mean, you get sort of secondary ripples of what he's looking into based on what lawyers for witnesses tell you, et cetera. And then you get, you know, sort of indications of lines of inquiry that he's going down. But what evidence he's found down these lines of inquiry, that is very much an open question. We know he's asking about Trump's financial dealings. Has he found financial crimes? We don't know. We know he's asking about -- still asking about the possibility of collusion, foreknowledge of the hacked e-mails, et cetera. Has he found evidence of collusion? We don't know. And that's the thing. When he releases that report, that's really when we're going to know the answer to those questions. COOPER: You know, I mean when you made this film, so you spent a lot of time with him. Clearly it seems like some of the things he has said in the past were to puff himself up, to make himself seem more important to others perhaps in the campaign or around him. And it's very easy to look as some of the things he said as suspicious. You can also look at them as just kind of bragging and made up.

[20:54:59] PEHME: Right. Well, as we show in our film, although Roger has certainly had a pivotal role in historic events of extraordinary consequence, he's also lied about his role and historic events. And that's part of his M.O. here.

I thought it was really interesting when he said to you about his willingness to appear before the special counsel depends upon the scope of the interview. You know, Roger, as we show in our movie, has been by Trump's side for three decades and was once his Washington lobbyist. I think that Roger would be much more reticent to talk about his knowledge of Trump's business dealings than he is about the Russian collusion investigation.

COOPER: They go back that long that he would know a lot about Trump's business dealings?

PEHME: Roger, as we show in "Get Me Roger Stone", is literally the first person to put the idea in Trump's mind to run for the presidency way back in 1987, and he's been representing Trump as his lobbyist, as his political strategist, since the mid-'80s.

COOPER: You know, Carrie, the President's supporters keep saying, who say this, you know, this investigation by Mueller has just gone on too long, keep saying, look, we haven't seen anything come out of it. We -- you know, it's been going on for more than a year. It's an argument, I don't quite understand because generally you wouldn't see anything come out of an investigation until the investigation reaches its conclusion, and obviously we have seen indictments on Russians and obviously the actions against Paul Manafort and others.

CORDERO: Given the scope of this investigation, I think it's moving quickly. I mean they've already launched guilty pleads against several individuals affiliated with the campaign. They have a big pending indictment against the campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. They have a huge indictment against Russian nationals and Russian entities. And so I think actually given the scope of it, it's actually moving quite at a pace.

One other thing on just something that Stone said, so he really doubled down in this interview on his support for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and it's just worth noting. You started to get at this a little bit, Anderson, that the current CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, Trump's CIA director has come out and said that WikiLeaks is a non- state, hostile intelligence service that works with foreign intelligence agencies. And really that is something worth note, that if this is somebody who has been advising the President for decades and to the extent that he may have continue to have his ear -- we don't know -- the fact that he really doubled down on that support for WikiLeaks, even going so far as to compare or try to equivocate it with the work that professional journalists do and seating here at CNN really is notable.

COOPER: When you also Donald Trump join the campaign, of course saying I love WikiLeaks, now saying that.

CORDERO: Right.

COOPER: Jim, did you want to say something?

SCIUTTO: Well, I was just going to say, and it is the view of the U.S. Intelligence Committee that Russia used WikiLeaks as a so-called cutout, a middle man to transfer the stolen, hacked e-mails to the public view, that they were an active participant in the hacking, the interference in the U.S. election.

COOPER: Well, thanks to all. Appreciate on a busy Friday night.

Up next, exclusive reporting in the Russia investigation. Sources telling CNN that President Trump's legal team is preparing him for a possible interview by special counsel Mueller.

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