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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Giuliani's Russia Probe Rebuttal; Polling Numbers And The Midterms; Giuliani Preps Report To Rebut Potential Mueller Findings; New Poll On Pres. Trump's Performance Mueller Probe; Pres. Trump's Week Of Alternate Reality; Remembering Sen. John McCain; Sen. McCains' Reflections On The 2008 Campaign. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 31, 2018 - 21:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:00:44] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Chris Cuomo is off tonight or getting after it somewhere else. So welcome to a second hour of "360." I'm John Berman.

For most of us or for most of you, it was a getaway day for the holiday weekend. For one Washington lobbyist, though, there was no getting away from the facts of the case against him and no escaping his role as the latest notch on Robert Mueller's well grooved belt. Samuel Patten pleading guilty to a charge of failing to register as a foreign agent in a case referred by team Mueller. Patten admitted to making false statements, obstructing the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and funneling money from a Ukrainian oligarch into the Trump inaugural committee. Mr. Patten also agreed to cooperate henceforth with the Mueller investigation.

CNN's Evan Perez did the reporting on this one and has all the details. So, Evan, the details of this plea deal, what can you tell us?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Samuel Patten is a lobbyist here in Washington and according to prosecutors, he got paid over $1 million working for a Ukrainian political party. So today he pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent. This is a case that actually began with the special counsel Robert Mueller and then was referred to the prosecutors here at the U.S. attorney's office in Washington. And one of the more interesting things -- parts of this plea is that Patten admits that he helped funnel money from Ukrainian and Russians to the inaugural committee for Donald Trump, essentially buying tickets to the inauguration of President Trump, which is apparently -- which is illegal under federal law.

BERMAN: So, Evan, this is a fascinating development, and it certainly fills in some of the blanks in the time line. But it may not be the big move from Robert Mueller that some thought that they might see before Labor Day. Of course there are these Justice Department guidelines, not scripture, but guidelines to stay out of a political season. So what's the deal with that?

PEREZ: That's right. Well, you know, that's the general guidance that the Justice Department has. But from what we've learned, Robert Mueller is essentially keeping his own calendar. The special counsel has a bunch of things that are coming up, including taking witness testimony, grand jury testimony from witnesses. So we know that he is not going to have a quiet September. Now, the question is how much longer is this investigation going to go on?

At what point does he go quiet before the midterms? You're right, he does have to keep some silence around the midterms in order to not affect the outcome of any election.

BERMAN: We've seen something like that before, I seem to remember. Rudy Giuliani, I understand, did have something to say about this plea deal today, correct?

PEREZ: That's right. Rudy Giuliani makes the point that they often make whenever they see these indictments or they see any plea -- guilty pleas. They make the point that it has nothing to do with the President. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUDY GIULIANI, DONALD TRUMP'S LAYWER: It turned out to be this irrelevant indictment where I think Mueller has turned into the private prosecutor. I mean what does this have to do with President Trump? Not a single thing. It has nothing to do with collusion. Some guy who donated to the inauguration? My goodness, there are about 500,000 people who donated to President Trump. Every time they get a speeding ticket, the special prosecutor is going to do it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PEREZ: Well look, Rudy Giuliani can minimize this, but what this plea deal today in Washington does is it really does for the first time put some -- you know, some of what we've been hearing from sources that the special counsel was very much interested in whether or not Russians -- Russian oligarchs and Ukrainians were donating money to the Trump campaign, whether there was any illegal contributions to the campaign or to the inauguration. So for the first time day in court papers, we see that someone, an American, is admitting that he helped make that happen. So there's a lot more we do not know about the Mueller investigation, and I think pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together. And so I think we're going to have to just wait and see what else Mueller before we can say whether this is meaningful or not.

BERMAN: Evan Perez, thanks so much. Have a great weekend.

PEREZ: Thanks.

BERMAN: So if you're keeping up with these things, you know that in presidentialese, the Russian investigate has gone from a witch hunt to a rigged witch hunt. And a once obscure Justice Department lawyer has gone from total anonymity to being the President's public enemy number one. His name is Bruce Ohr. And the President wants him fire because by his life, he is part of the real Russia conspiracy by elements of the deep state, Hillary Clinton and others to nullify his election and delegitimize his presidency or similar words to that effect. [21:05:24] Raising suspicions for the President and fair to say many House Republicans, Ohr's relationship of Christopher Steele of dossier fame infusion GPS there was why this week Ohr testified before Congress, and according to a source with knowledge of it, he talked about a breakfast he had with Steele and a bombshell still Steele laid on him. Russian intelligence, Steele said, believed they had candidate Trump, quote, over a barrel. That's something to talk about. So too is the Patten plea deal.

Joining us now is Joan Walsh, Ryan Lizza, Rich Lowry, and Jennifer Rodgers. And Jennifer, I want to start with the Patten plea, Samuel Patten. Maybe not a name we knew before. But this is the first time we've seen formal charges by the government related to an illegal foreign donation to Trump political activities. That's interesting. I should also note that Patten has agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. What do you make of this?

JENNIFER RODGERS, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: Well, it is very interesting. And remember that Rick Gates, who also is a cooperator for the government, of course, was in charge of the inauguration. So it's not a surprise that Mueller and his team and various U.S. attorneys' offices are digging into that. You know, we've been hearing reporting that prior folks in charge of inaugurations have said that the Trump inauguration raised something like double the money but had a quarter of the events and a third of the staff or something, so where did all that money go? Those are questions that people have been asking.

So I don't think it's a surprise that they're digging into that a bit, especially with Rick Gates having cooperated. Now we have Samuel Patten cooperating. Who knows what he knows? So I expect we'll see more a little bit more about what happened around the inauguration, who donated to it, and where all that money might have gone.

BERMAN: You know, Rich, it's always interesting to me. We heard Rudy Giuliani a little time ago. Every time there's a conviction or a guilty plea, Rudy Giuliani says, oh, this isn't a guilty plea by the President, so it's nothing. Well, there's a whole lot of nothing pleading guilty here to different charges that might not have happened had there not been a special prosecutor.

RICHARD LOWRY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, as far as we can tell from this particular one, it's another shady lobbyist engaged in sleazy practices. But --

BERMAN: Isn't it --

LOWRY: --so far we've seen --

BERMAN: Before you go on to the next sentence, isn't it good that you are getting convictions of these, as you put it, sleazy lobbyists?

LOWRY: Yes. My one caveat on that, is there is sort of an unfairness if you're getting people prosecuted only because they had some proximity to Donald Trump. And otherwise, if Paul Manafort hadn't run Donald Trump's campaign, would he be a free man today? That's my one asterisk on this but if you're guilty -- (CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: If the investigation hadn't been going on, they never would have known that he was breaking the law or the eight different laws that --

JOAN WALSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There was concern about possible --

(CROSSTALK)

LOWRY: Apparently the Justice Department was on to him --

BERMAN: OK.

LOWRY: -- years ago and didn't think it was significant to prosecute. So clearly Mueller wants to nail him to the wall, apparently to try to flip him. Now, the question is if he does flip, what does he actually know, if anything? And just so far in none of these indictments or pleas have you seen any indication of a criminal conspiracy (INAUDIBLE) investigation was supposed to be about from the beginning.

So, yes, if you catch dirty lobbyists, by all means throw the book at them. But I think Giuliani's point is sound so far given what we know publicly, that none of this indicates that the big white whale that's supposed to be out there has been near capture yet.

WALSH: But, john, it's so interesting that all of these people have Russian and Ukrainian connections. Can't somebody in this story have like French or Irish connections? It's always the same -- it's the same broad circle. So I understand that Rich is technically correct.

LOWRY: Thank you.

WALSH: But there --

LOWRY: That's the most I'll ever get from Joan.

WALSH: I've said that before, I'm sure, and I'll say it again.

(OFF-MIC)

WALSH: Yes. But I mean it's not irrelevant to the President. This inauguration fund has been a mystery for a while. This is an illegal contribution to it by foreign people. This is the first time we've seen Russians or Ukrainians actually get caught giving money to a Trump entity. We want to know who helped Patten within the transition team or the inauguration committee. I mean I think that there's something here.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And, Rich, I don't think its connection to Trump that's getting all these people in trouble. The connective tissue of all the work that Mueller has done and to a certain degree some of the other attorneys working on this is Russian influence campaign. It's Mueller trying to get to the bottom of all of the money and that Russians and hacking and dumping that the Russians spent to influence the election. Right?

[21:10:00] That's what this is about. He didn't register as an agent the way he was supposed to. He illegally funneled money allegedly to the campaign committee. What I don't understand about comment from Rudy Giuliani is, why doesn't he outreach about that? Why doesn't the White House and Giuliani say --

WALSH: Right.

LIZZA: -- this is great. I'm glad they're going after this guy because he did something illegal.

LOWRY: It's his job to defend the President and he thinks the way --

LIZZA: Why is defending the President minimizing Russian influence?

LOWRY: Because the whole thing was supposed to be about a dastardly conspiracy with the Russians to participate in a crime of hacking these e-mails.

WALSH: And it's still very likely about that.

(CROSSTALK)

LOWRY: Instead we're into Michael Cohen and payments to porn stars. We're into dirty lobbyists who failed to register.

WALSH: We also have Russian intelligence agents who have been indicted. I mean it's not like they haven't done anything with the claim of hacking and interference.

LOWRY: Those are useful in that they gave us more information, but those people will never see the inside of --

WALSH: I know, but still it gave us a lot more information. Why don't we want information?

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: But they weren't indicted for collusion.

BERMAN: If the standard here is to find people who have broken laws and to find Russians who may have been trying to influence the election, then there appears to be some -- some modicum of success here. More than a modicum by the Mueller investigation if your standard of success is throwing the President in jail, which is a pretty high bar, he's not there.

(CROSSTALK)

LOWRY: I think a lot on the left, that is their ultimate standard here. That's what they want to happen. They want to get him tossed from office.

WALSH: I think his caricature in left. LIZZA: This was done at the national security division at the Justice Department. Their job is to protect us from foreign influence. So that's what this is about from the beginning is getting to the bottom of why a hostile adversary to the United States --

LOWRY: What does porn stars have to do with --

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: I'm not talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Than payment to porn stars. So we're going to take a quick break.

Up next, Rudy Giuliani, payments to porn stars, and the pre-buttal he says his team is writing in the case that Robert Mueller puts out a Russia report.

Also new polling numbers on the President that could matter a lot to his party in a couple months. That and more when this special edition of "360" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:15:39] BERMAN: Call it what I did on my summer vacation to rebut Robert Mueller or something like that. The President's TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says his legal team is working on a counter point to any report from the Mueller forcer. Giuliani today says he does not have knowledge of the timing of that report or what might be in it. He says he's working on what will serve as a public relations document as much as a legal one. I'm a lawyer, he said, and I am prepared for any eventuality. So are we

Back with the panel now. Jennifer Rodgers, I want to start with you since you are the lawyer among us right now. Rudy Giuliani's strategy here, this really is a political document much more than a legal document. There's no court here, right? He's arguing to the American people and perhaps to Congress.

RODGERS: That's right. I mean when Mueller issues a report and assuming that Rosenstein agrees that it can be made public, that's a report that's going to be released to everyone to read. So what Rudy Giuliani is doing -- you know, there's not going to be a court filing here. What he's doing is creating a document that's made not for legal consumption but for public consumption. And so whereas if it were in a court, what I would expect to see would be a lawyer-like argument, kind of point by point, taking the evidence that the Mueller team puts forward and trying to rebut that as best they can. This is not going to be that. I expect instead -- and I don't think I'm going out on a limb here, that this is going to be a document that instead of taking on of the evidence, whether the evidence is testimony in the grand jury, testimony by guilty pleas, documents, other physical evidence, et cetera, this is going to be an attack on Mueller himself personally, on his team, on the legitimacy of the investigation even though five separate federal judges have ruled that the investigation is proper and has not gone outside its bounds.

So I expect this document to really be an attempt to manipulate the public's opinion about the Mueller investigation instead of taking on the evidence that the Mueller team will put forward.

BERMAN: In this to me, what we saw today from Giuliani, just seems like one more round in this one-man boxing match. You know, Rudy Giuliani keeps throwing punches, and Robert Mueller doesn't throw anything. In fact, Rudy Giuliani told us today that he hasn't heard back from Mueller in three weeks. He's getting nothing here. So Rudy's just trying to make noise. And I will note, I continue to be fascinated Ryan by the fact that this is the Friday before Labor Day.

LIZZA: Yes.

BERMAN: And we're sitting here. And, you know, the Patten guilty plea but you don't have something major.

LIZZA: It's only 9:15.

WALSH: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I don't think the Mueller team is working past 9:17, but do you think they're done until the midterms.

LIZZA: Well this is why I think what Rudy is talking about is really getting ahead of things, right.

WALSH: Yes.

LIZZA: That where he is with the Mueller team is not, oh, the report's coming. It's is your client going to come in and talk to us or not, right?

BERMAN: Right

LIZZA: So Mueller still has -- they still have to close that loop. Then they have to decide if they're going to subpoena the President or not. And then there will be some back and forth over that and potential litigation. So this idea that Mueller is about to release a report that Giuliani has to be in D.C. to scramble and write a response to seems way ahead of where we are in the process.

WALSH: It's fantasy, and Jennifer's right. It is an attempt to PR. But I find it interesting because it reminds me of the House Republicans making a list of all the things that the Democrats are going to investigate and impeach Trump over. And it's like, oh, wow, that's really a long list. You guys know that there's a lot going on that's shady. And, you know, I also think that this notion that Mueller is going to go dark, I don't expect that. I mean I'm not saying he's coming out with indictments, but first of all, the 60-day limit is September 7th.

BERMAN: But who's counting? WALSH: I just did the math. You know, he's got a few more days. And, you know, you've had guests say this before, John. It's not -- the President is not on the ballot. So the person under investigation is not on the ballot. I mean I can see an argument for not dragging this out right before the midterms. But he gets to do his work. The President is not up for re-election.

BERMAN: So, Rich, we didn't get to Bruce Ohr in the last segment and I did want to touch on the developments today with Bruce Ohr. We learned from, you know, sourcing behind and when he was talking to the judiciary committee that he said Christopher Steele told him that the Russians thought they had candidate Donald Trump over a barrel. So now Bruce Ohr is this walking human Rorschach test either he was this person who had knowledge that the Russians had something on presidential candidate or he's some traitor to the Trump campaign.

LOWRY: Yes. So I mean this goes just to all the allegations Steele had in that dossier. We don't know the source. So, you know, maybe it's number two in the KGB that Steele had a direct line to and those really -- it's damning information and it's -- you know, it's going to blow Trump out of the water.

[21:20:13] Or maybe it's just second, third-removed gossip. We don't know. Steele himself is not the source. He's, in effect, the reporter who has sources that we know nothing about.

BERMAN: And we keep learning drips and drabs of this, and so much of it is redacted. It's hard for us to get the full story on. And Jennifer, you're the lawyer among us here. I do want to get your take on the fact that Robert Mueller hasn't responded to Rudy Giuliani's latest, you know, pitch to him about having the President come testify.

RODGERS: Well, that's what Rudy Giuliani says. I'm not at all certain that Rudy Giuliani is worthy of belief in anything frankly the way that he's been misspeaking over the last few months. But, you know, what he may have gotten is no response. What he may have gotten is a response is a, you know, we can't get back to you on this now. You know, it's not at all uncommon. Mueller and his team are doing their work. If the President and his team are making, you know, suggestions or requests that are non-substantive or just are non- starters completely, I wouldn't be surprised if Mueller and his team just said, you know, we'll get back to you. We don't have time for this or, you know, thank you for your letter. We'll take it under advisement and get back to you later.

So I'm just not sure what Rudy is actually saying happened here, but Mueller and his team are certainly working away.

BERMAN: Or bless your heart, Rudy Giuliani, something to that effect. Jennifer Rodgers, our thanks to you. You go have a holiday weekend. Everyone else stick around. There are some new tough poll numbers out for President Trump, including the nation's view of the Mueller probe. What it means for the White House with midterm campaigning that about to get real. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:25:16] BERMAN: President Trump back on the campaign trail today. What with Labor Day nearing and the real midterm election season about to ramp up, new polling from the "Washington Post" and ABC News defies the White House narrative on many fronts. Barely a third of Americans surveyed approve of the President's job performance, 60% disapprove. That's the highest it's been in the ABC News/"Washington Post" polling.

Perhaps more important to the White House, nearly two-thirds back the Mueller probe. That higher than it's been as well. With that backdrop, the President will soon hit states that are normally a cakewalk for Republicans like Texas, where Senator Ted Cruz finds himself with a single-digit race.

Back with me now, Joan Walsh, Ryan Lizza, Rich Lowry and joining the fun, Bakari Sellers and Michael Caputo, who we want to let you know did sign a nondisclosure agreement in his role with the 2016 campaign, which will not prevent you in any way, Michael, about talking about these poll numbers out today. 36% approval rate is not high. 60% approval, very high. We do not know if this poll is an outlier but this is the first reliable poll from a company that we think does a good job since Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, since the Paul Manafort guilty verdict. Do you think some of that is starting to show?

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FMR TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: Well, it's also I think important to disclose that I was the head of communications for the Russian bank that paid Bill Clinton a half a million dollars just before Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration sold 40% of our uranium to a Kremlin-controlled company. So let's get that out there as well.

At the same time, I've been, you know, in fear of losing the House for quite some time. I believe that this poll, however, is bunk. I believe the methodology is flawed. It's intentionally tilted to give these numbers. ABC/"Washington Post" was among the worst in 2016. And when you run with an outlier poll like this for a whole day on CNN, you're warming up for the same kind of disappointment that you got on November 8th, 2016.

BERMAN: Well, I will only note Bakari, we'll bring you into the conversation, that every time I've discussed the ABC News/"Washington Post" poll numbers, I always note you should look at the average of all polling.

CAPUTO: Right.

BERMAN: And there have been other polls over the last few weeks that among other things show very clearly that support for the Mueller investigation has gone up in a consistent, significant way over the last month or so. What does that tell you?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think for me, it gives some faith in the American people. It shows that the rule of law, not what Donald Trump ran on, not what Attorney General Sessions has been talking about in stump speeches and elsewhere, but the rule of law actually presides in this country, and people want to see Mueller and his investigation play out. I do think, though, that Senator McConnell needs to make sure that he passes a piece of legislation that will protect Mueller.

But this is going to sound strange. I somewhat agree with Caputo in this. Donald Trump's favorability has never been high. He's never scored high ranks in any of these polls, and I think that's the danger for many Democrats and many people who want to change the direction that this country's going in. And so the only way -- he's going to get a core 30% approval, 40% approval. He's going to hover around those numbers for a long period of time. He was before the election. He has been since the election. The trick is are Americans going to come out and vote in November, something that didn't happen at the rate it should have last -- in November of 2016? That is the trick. That is the test.

And the last thing, Berman, one of the things I wanted to point out if you don't mind is that, you know, this trope about the African- American voters supporting Donald Trump and Kanye West, et cetera, et cetera. He got 3% in this poll. Now, I'm not sure that it's 3%, but we're pretty sure it's low in the African-American community.

BERMAN: Joan, you wanted in.

WALSH: Yes. I mean I think that Michael, you know, once again I'm agreeing with a Republican. Michael is right. This is one poll. You've said that. We've got to take the averages. But there are a couple of interesting numbers in this poll, and one of them is that Donald Trump's the strongly disapproved number has always been in the low 40s. It's up to 53%. Again, we might see a poll tomorrow where that changes, but that -- and we do pay attention to good and bad polls. If we're paying attention, pay attention to that.

And then the question that you asked Bakari. I think it's really interesting because the Trump effort to discredit Robert Mueller was working. We saw during the summer, late spring/summer, his poll numbers, his approval ratings were going down. They have been climbing, and now they're up to 63%.

BERMAN: Other interesting number I've seen here, Ryan -- and, Rich, jump in on this -- the impeachment number in this poll. 49% say they went Congress to pursue impeachment here. 46% say no, but, you know, more to say they wanted to not. Who like this number more, Democrats or Republicans?

[21:30:10] LIZZA: That's a good question because a lot of Democrats actually don't want to run on impeachment, right? They want to run on issues. They don't want that to be front and center in a lot of these races, so I'm not sure it's politically necessarily a great thing for Democrats.

But, look, this is an outlier. We all agree this is an outlier, right? Every new trend in polling starts with an outlier.

BERMAN: We don't know -- LIZZA: So we have to see -- because I would object to one thing that

Michael said. I think he said that ABC and "Washington Post" deliberately skewed the poll. This poll, if you look at 538 and some of the other respective polling websites, ABC/"Washington Post" polls is one of the most respected polls in the business. I believe they called the final number in 2016 quite accurately, the national number. So I don't believe that ABC News and "The Washington Post" deliberately skewed the poll to get these results. That would -- they wouldn't do that for one poll. That would discredit their poll which has a very good reputation.

BERMAN: All right. As a 16-year alum of ABC News, I appreciate that.

All of you stick around. We're going to talk about the President's latest confrontation with established facts and even with his own unedited statements on camera. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:35:14] BERMAN: President Trump's counselor famously coined the term alternative facts, and this week the President deployed at least one without evidence. He tweeted that Lester Holt somehow got caught fudging video of his interview with him, the one in which he admitted that Russia was at the front of his mind when he fired James Comey. That interview more than a year ago, he never called it fudged before, and it isn't. He said what he said about Russia in one continuous answer.

The President also tweeted this. "I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the media is. Truth doesn't matter to them. They only have their hatred and agenda. This includes fake books which come out about me all the time. Always anonymous sources and are pure fiction, enemy of the people."

We'll note there's a big book by Bob Woodward about to come out. Maybe that was some foreshadowing there. Who knows?

Rich, I do want to ask you. I think the President's been very successful about taking on the media. That said, when he goes and says that something that he has said out loud that is on videotape in an unedited way didn't happen, that's just crazy.

LOWRY: Yes, it's ridiculous. I do think that interview is often misremembered and misinterpreted. He said he fired Comey because there was nothing to the Russia thing, and he realized that it would probably extend the investigation. So if you're really going to hang an obstruction case on that interview, you have to be -- you know, your X Jesus (ph) has to be very careful. And he didn't say, I fired him to shut down the investigation, which people take it as.

BERMAN: But Lester Holt didn't fudge the interview. The interview is the interview.

LOWRY: Yes, correct.

BERMAN: What the President said in that interview was that, yes, so I thought Russia. He also made it clear that he thought Russia was nothing. The President thought Russia was nothing.

Walsh: Right.

BERMAN: But that perhaps Comey wasn't willing to say that, which is why he fired him. But to say that he didn't say what is out there?

WALSH: And also it's 15 months ago. So if Lester Holt got it wrong, which he did not, you come out 15 months ago and say, what the hell? I mean this clip has been playing almost daily on every network, you know, for 15 months, and no one has ever said there's a problem.

LIZZA: Yes. To me, there's two things. One is it suggests he's very transparent sometimes, Trump, right? He suggests that somebody mentioned that -- oh, this whole obstruction case here, what you said to Lester Holt may be a little bit of a problem, boss. You know, and so just one other point. He can only do this because he thinks it works. And then to me, that's the most frightening thing is he actually believes he can alter reality by saying something --

BERMAN: We'll come back to that point in a second. I hear a disembodied voice. It belongs to Bakari Sellers. Go.

SELLERS: Yes. No I -- first of all, Trump's not transparent with all due respect. Donald Trump's a liar and I think we need to be extremely clear about this. And I think that the dangerous part about this -- and you're correct in the second part -- is that, yes, to tie this and go back full circle with the polling, he tries to just alter reality, and he still gets 30% to 35% to 40% of the American public who stand by him. That is what's mind-boggling. That is what's dangerous. But we have to be very clear in our language. I don't think transparency --

LIZZA: But Bakari what I was saying -- no, no, let me explain. What I was saying is, it's trans -- when he lies, it's very transparent what he is trying to do, what he fears, how he's trying to change the information environment. That's what I mean.

BERMAN: Now that you two have made peace.

SELLERS: You're right. He's an unabashed liar. There we go. I got it.

LIZZA: You have no argument from me on that.

BERMAN: Well, now that you two have made peace on that point.

SELLERS: Yes, perfect.

BERMAN: I do want to bring Michael Caputo into this. And again tie it back to the polls here because one of the things in the ABC News poll, which I know you don't like, but in just about every other poll we've seen as we have been discussing, is that support for the Mueller investigation has started to go back up again since the guilty plea by Michael Cohen, since the conviction of Paul Manafort. And we were wondering here during the break and I'm not sure you can hear music (ph) if it also perhaps has to do with the President and Rudy Giuliani have pushed their arguments too far. When the President is out there saying black is white and night is day and that what's on tape isn't on tape, have the American people begun to say, you know what, that's ridiculous?

CAPUTO: I'm not quite sure that's what it is. I believe as well that the American people are starting to understand that there's a difference between the FBI investigation and the vagaries of main justice before the Mueller investigation. And the Mueller investigation itself, I think if you had to parse the two of them, you have to say what was going on before Mueller is much worse than what was going on during Mueller.

And now that the Mueller team is coming up with some convictions and some sentencing hearings for people who have pled guilty, I think it's showing that there is some fruit coming out of this investigation. But that doesn't mean that there's a bit of Russian collusion or any kind of sniff of anything that's going to get close to the President yet. And also by the way, you're talking about the President's talk about the media. I remember talking with the President in 2013 when we were trying to recruit him to run for governor of New York here.

[21:40:11] And we talked then about how conservatives, since I believe even before Ronald Reagan, but certainly after Reagan, we have been complaining about the media --

BERMAN: Yes.

CAPUTO: -- remember the days complaining about Dan Rather and CBS and Jesse Helms trying to put together a buyers group for CBS. We've been complaining about it for all this time. The President has decided that he's going to try to do, I guess, his own version of a media literacy campaign and try and define the media for what he believes they are.

BERMAN: I remember being a kid in shorts and flip-flops in the early 80s with bumper stickers on cars that said, annoy the media. Vote Republican.

CAPUTO: Right.

BERMAN: Do you remember that?

CAPUTO: We're long way -- enemy of the people is long way to that.

WALSH: No one has ever called us enemy of the people before.

BERMAN: Exactly. I agree.

WALSH: That's a total change.

BERMAN: That also is very different than saying that what's on a videotape doesn't exist.

WALSH: Right.

BERMAN: I also want to know what Michael Caputo said there, there's not even a whiff of collusion, as know there is no crime of collusion. There is a crime of conspiracy. As to what there is a whiff of, there's some pretty smelly stuff that went on at Trump Tower that is still being investigated to an extent with the Donald Trump Jr. Meeting. And there are still questions about that. Is there a Mueller ruling or a Mueller indictment or a Mueller written statement on that? Not yet. Joan, go ahead.

WALSH: No, I'm just saying that e-mail will always stand out. You know, the Russian government is interested in offering the campaign some dirt. If it's what you say, I love it. You're welcoming something that is illegal. Not cash but material assistance from a foreign government to a campaign. That is a conspiracy. I mean I don't know how Don Junior gets out of that.

BERMAN: We'll see if it's a conspiracy.

SELLERS: By not taking anything at all --

CAPUTO: Can I comment?

SELLERS: -- from the Russians.

CAPUTO: Can I comment real quick?

BERMAN: Michael, you have 10 seconds. Then I've got to give Bakari the last word.

(CROSSTALK)

CAPUTO: Does Bakari go now or do I.

BERMAN: You go but now it's 8 seconds and then Bakari.

CAPUTO: I'm going to hand my time over to Bakari because I like him a lot.

BERMAN: All right. Bakari.

SELLERS: So I just wanted to push back on the fact that this has nothing to do and no tie to Russia whatsoever. You had 13 Russian nationals who have been indicted. If all of these things nothing to do with Russia --

CAPUTO: Nothing to do with Trump.

SELLERS: -- nothing to do with Russia, you have to ask why are people lying about it. And to tie this directly to Donald Trump, you've had his campaign manager, you had his national security adviser, you had his deputy campaign manager. The list goes on and on again. This is the most amazing witch hunt I've ever seen in my whole life because it's caught a lot of witches.

BERMAN: All right. Bakari, Michael, Rich, Ryan, Joan, thank you all very much. And thank you for all being agreeable, even sharing time here, it's unprecedented.

WALSH: Yes.

BERMAN: Coming up, as the nation remembers Senator John McCain's life of service, a look back at his reflections on his run for President in 2008.

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[21:46:47] BERMAN: Today at the Capitol Rotunda, friends, colleagues, family, and members of the public paid tribute to Senator John McCain. His casket was carried in under dark skies and heavy hearts. One thing that Senator McCain wanted today was a show of bipartisanship, which was evident, as congressional leader from both parties presented with.

Tomorrow morning, former President Barack Obama will be among those giving eulogies. He and the senator, they were famous rivals in an election that ended in a history-making victory for Obama and a defeat for McCain, a defeat he took with grace and reflected on in a 2014 interview with CNN's Gloria Borger.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The 2008 Republican Presidential nominee should have been on top of the world.

JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA SENATOR: I could do the job. I was prepared to be commander in chief.

BORGER: But John McCain was running against history.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm running for President of the United States of America.

BORGER: Barack Obama had a clear shot at becoming America's first black President.

MARK PHILLIPS, CBS CORRESPONDENT: The 200,000-plus crowd confirmed his rock star status.

OBAMA: Change has come to America.

CROWD: Obama. Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was picked up by some North Vietnamese.

BORGER: So you're a bona fide war hero, a former prisoner of war.

MARK MCKINNON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: McCain has leadership stuff. Tell me a greater patriot than John McCain.

BORGER: But now you're facing a losing battle. What do you do?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I got an idea. We can do something a little different and it would give us a shot. So what do you want? He's a gambler. He's a pilot, all right? They're always going to take the shot. BORGER: Take the shot. The perfect title for the story of John

McCain's run for the White House. Chapter One, pick a vice president.

CROWD: John McCain! John McCain!

BORGER: And he knew exactly who he wanted.

SARAH PALIN (R) GOVERNOR, ALASKA: You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.

BORGER: No, not her. Him.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, (I) CONNECTICUT: John McCain, our next great President.

BORGER: McCain's first love was Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an Independent.

J. MCCAIN: He's honest. He's decent. He lives his religion, and we were very close and dear friends.

BORGER: So you did want him?

J. MCCAIN: Of course, but it was going to cause a problem in the convention because Joe Lieberman was pro choice.

BORGER: So it was no to Joe. Quick, find someone fresh, someone new.

MCKINNON: They didn't manage the process well. McCain didn't manage it well. The clock ran out and they've suddenly were left with limited choices. And in sort of McCain fashion, he threw deep.

J. MCCAIN: She's exactly who I need.

BORGER: It was the definition of a Hail Mary pass.

J. MCCAIN: Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.

BORGER: And so Sarah Palin met America.

PALIN: I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska.

[21:50:06] MCKINNON: This is an outside the box bullet pick. Is it a bad pick? Is it a risky pick? You know, for a while it looked great, it looked brilliant. For a few weeks. And then it went south.

BORGER: Boy, did it ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The level of ignorance is astounding.

PALIN: I don't know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Palin couldn't explain why North and South Korea were separate nations.

BORGER: Palin struggled with the national media. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What newspapers and magazines did you regularly read specifically? I'm curious --

PALIN: All of them.

CHARLIE GIBSON, FORMER "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" HOST: Do you agree the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

BORGER: Comedians like Tina Fey were relentless.

TINA FEY, COMEDIAN: You've got Alaska here and this right here is water and then there's Russia. I can see Russia from my house.

BORGER: Even now, John McCain's answer to all of it? Give me a break.

J. MCCAIN: She did get our base energized.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love her.

J. MCCAIN: She did hold her own against a 35-year number of a Senate Joe Biden.

PALIN: Hey, can I call you Joe?

CINDY MCCAIN, JOHN MCCAIN'S WIFE: What I didn't get was how the media just skewered her. She became fodder for everything and I thought that was terribly unfair.

J. MCCAIN: People in my view are not kind to Sarah Palin.

BORGER: Despite the media frenzy, the McCain/Palin ticket was holding its own until five weeks before the election.

J. MCCAIN: We were, according to our polls, basically running even or slightly ahead the day that the stock market went down 700 points.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crisis on Wall Street. One of the biggest failures in U.S. history.

BORGER: September 29, 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The credit crisis worsened overnight.

BORGER: Economic panic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is absolutely stunning.

BORGER: Big banks were failing.

BLITZER: The House rejects the financial bailout plan.

J. MCCAIN: At the end of that day, we were seven points down. As Americans watched their 401(k)s disappear before their eyes. BORGER: For the second time in his campaign, John McCain threw a Hail Mary.

J. MCCAIN: I'll suspend my campaign and return to Washington.

I'm an old Navy pilot and I know when a crisis calls for all hands on deck.

BORGER: Reporters and analysts were skeptical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The market appears to be melting down. Threatening to bring John McCain's campaign with it.

J. MCCAIN: I would point out that Barack Obama came back to Washington, too.

BORGER: He didn't say he suspended --

J. MCCAIN: Just didn't say it.

BORGER: After a series of intense meetings, nothing was resolved. But now McCain was losing ground.

J. MCCAIN: I knew that we were in serious trouble.

BORGER: He had one last chance. The presidential debates. And he struggled against Obama.

J. MCCAIN: Now, my old buddy Joe, Joe the plumber is out there. If you don't get -- adopt the health care plan that Senator Obama mandates, he's going to fine you.

OBAMA: I'm happy to talk to you, Joe, too, if you're out there. Here's your fine. Zero.

J. MCCAIN: Zero?

OBAMA: You won't pay a fine because -- zero. Because as I said in our last debate, and I'll repeat, John, I except small businesses.

J. MCCAIN: I was not on my game and I have to admit that. And I have no real excuse for it. It was doubly inexcusable because I'd been through so many debates before.

BORGER: And do you know when you mess up like --

J. MCCAIN: Oh, yes.

BORGER: -- you get in the car and your staff is like --

J. MCCAIN: Yes.

BORGER: -- oh, my God. And do you sort of sit around blaming yourself?

J. MCCAIN: Unfortunately, that's my -- one of my character flaws. That do I sometime sit around and say, oh, my God, why did I do that?

BORGER: McCain believes he understands what his biggest mistake was. There's a tug-of-war every candidate shares, between being yourself and sticking to a carefully calibrated message.

J. MCCAIN: You can't become almost totally scripted so that there's no mistake and as you know, my greatest strength is extemporaneous.

BORGER: But sometimes there's a moment.

J. MCCAIN: I will respect him and I want -- no, no.

BORGER: As there was during one town hall where we saw the real McCain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. He's an Arab. He is not -- no?

J. MCCAIN: No, ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about. He's not.

[21:55:02] Thank you.

BORGER: The inevitable happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An African-American has broken the barrier as old as the Republic.

BORGER: John McCain conceded graciously.

J. MCCAIN: I call on all Americans to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe always in the promise and greatness of America.

C. MCCAIN: I've never heard a finer speech out of him, ever. That told me in so many different levels, it told the world what this country was about.

J. MCCAIN: I loved it. I look forward to it. I love the campaigning. My second favorite state is New Hampshire. The town hall meetings, in people's living rooms, the interaction that you get --

BORGER: The bus.

J. MCCAIN: Yes, and the bus. Riding around with jerks like you on the bus.

BORGER: Yes.

J. MCCAIN: I mean, to think really that you could be competitive for president of the United States. It's incredible that sometimes I would literally pinch myself.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: So wonderful to hear him. Tune into CNN tomorrow morning for full coverage of the funeral of Senator John McCain. Our coverage begins at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. We'll be right back.

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