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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President Trump Says Let Mueller Report Come Out, "Let People See It" As He Blasts Credibility Of Probe; President Trump: I Never Got A "Thank You" For McCain Funeral; Justice Department Issues Subpoenas In Criminal Investigation Of Boeing's FAA Certification, Marketing Of 737-MAX Airliners. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 20, 2019 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Chris Cuomo's off tonight.

Topping this hour of 360, the President says he's OK with Robert Mueller's report becoming public. Then, he trashes the investigation in a way that ironically spotlights his own responsibility for its existence.

He spoke on his way to Ohio where he, again, went after the -- the memory of John McCain. Here he is talking about the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General who he himself appointed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Again I say, a Deputy, because of the fact that the Attorney General didn't have the courage to do it himself, a Deputy that's appointed appoints another man to write a report.

I just won an election with 63 million votes or so, 63 million. I had 206 to 223 in the Electoral College, 306 to 223.

And I'm saying to myself, "Wait a minute, I just won one of the greatest elections of all time in the history of this country," and even you will admit that, "and now I have somebody writing a report that never got a vote. It's called the Mueller report."

So explain that, because my voters don't get it. And I don't get it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well Keeping Them Honest, the President's victory was indeed a remarkable upset. It wasn't some kind of historic land siding (ph). Yes, the President is right. No one voted for the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General or Robert Mueller.

That said, the President then glosses over a very important point, he appointed the Attorney General. The President appointed the Deputy Attorney General, who in turn appointed Robert Mueller. Those are the facts. I talked about it earlier tonight with Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro who sits on the House Intelligence Committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Congressman Castro, I mean I thought I'd heard every possible line of attack from the President when it comes to Robert Mueller. The argument though that Mueller is somehow illegitimate because he's never gotten any votes certainly seems to be a new one.

JOAQUIN CASTRO, (D) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FOR TEXAS' 20TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Yes. That was a very strange thing for the President to say. They're different parts of the government and -- and not everybody's elected. But they still have important responsibilities.

That includes, in this case, a prosecutor, the Special Counsel, and his role is to determine what --investigate and determine whether somebody committed a crime, and, if so, to prosecute that person.

So, it has nothing to do with politics or standing for election or getting a vote. That's his role in the government.

COOPER: I wonder how likely do you think it is that the President will actually support releasing the Mueller findings once he knows what's in them? And, again, we have no idea whether they'll be good for the President or bad for the President.

But I mean he -- he'd also said in the past and, you know, that he'd be happy to sit down with -- with Mueller for an interview, which obviously never ended up happening.

CASTRO: Yes. I suspect that the President and his team will read through the report, make a determination about whether they think it's favorable to them or not, and based on that, decide whether it's going to be made public.

You see the tack that they're taking in terms of their relationship with Congress right now, and not responding to subpoenas, not turning over documents that have been requested, and it's a calculation for them.

I think they're going to fight every step of the way if the President thinks that releasing that report to the public will be damaging.

And also, Anderson, it should be noted that, most of all, the Mueller report is owed, of course, to Congress.

But it's a report that's owed to the American people because it's the American people who suffered through having a foreign nation interfere in their elections in 2016. So, this should absolutely be a public report.

COOPER: It's owed, you say, but I mean in terms of the mandate, the mandate isn't for Robert Mueller to -- to decide really how the report is released. CASTRO: That's true. And we're counting on a government that should realize that it should be transparent and accountable. So far, this Administration, on many occasions, has failed that test. But I hope that they will release that report.

COOPER: Do you expect them to -- to -- to cite Executive privilege to try to at least, if the report is released, to at least remove some aspects of it or hide some aspects of it?

CASTRO: Yes. I don't -- I certainly don't put it past this Administration to try to do that, try to redact certain things, or perhaps take out certain things.

COOPER: I mean it's their right to do that

[21:05:00] CASTRO: Yes. I mean that would be within their purview.

But, remember, if they take out something that's significant or substantial, I mean they're really doing a -- an injustice to the American people to try to cover up something significant and meaningful that's in that report.

COOPER: Next week, your Committee is holding a -- a public hearing with Felix Sater. I think it's on Wednesday. He was the point person for the Trump Tower Moscow project.

He, at one point, actually had an office, I think, on the same floor as Donald Trump in Trump Tower. I'm wondering what -- how important you think he is? What questions you want to, or at least what kind of areas you want to discuss with him?

CASTRO: Well he was one of Donald Trump's, perhaps, his main point person in Russia with Russian oligarchs, and was part of the, you know, business with Russia.

And so, we want to get at what kind of business dealings the President had with Russia or Russian oligarchs that were close to Vladimir Putin, and want to ask him exactly, you know, what he knows about all that.

COOPER: I'm sure you're well aware, just lastly, your colleague Devin Nunes suing Twitter allegedly on, well he says he is, and several of its users, accusing them of -- of negligence and defamation.

Do you think he appreciates the irony in that given his deep and ardent support for the most powerful Twitter attacker in the world?

CASTRO: Yes. I think all of us, you know, get riled by Twitter comments every once in a while. But I thought that that was kind of a strange thing for Devin Nunes to do.

COOPER: Yes. We'll see how far it goes. Congressman Castro, appreciate it. Thank you.

CASTRO: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Let's dig deeper -- let's dig deeper now with former Clinton White House General Counsel, Nelson Cunningham, also Garrett Graff, who's written extensively about Robert Mueller, and CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates.

Laura, I mean the President's saying today the report should be made public or he's fine with it, very well tomorrow or the next day, he could decide "I don't really want that," or I mean he said he would testify in front of Mueller, and obviously that didn't happen.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean you have this kind of schizophrenic approach to this report. It's all been a part of this preemptive strike by the President of United States to try to undermine its credibility, to try to gain a foothold in the court of public opinion.

Because the hope is that whatever the report says, and presumably for him, it's going to be negative, that's what he believes, that he wants to be able to say, "Listen, the FBI can't be trusted," being with (ph) Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the idea of everyone has been against him, it's a great conspiracy, it is somebody who's being a sore loser in the Democratic Party, he's trying to have this entire thing launched.

The issue here, however, is if we are to believe that he would like it to come out, he undermines a little bit of the credibility of his own legal arguments later on to say there's no basis to have everything come out, if there is a privilege attached to it.

So, he almost cuts off his own nose despite his face to show, "Yes, bring it on. Let me have it." He may not actually want that fight.

COOPER: Garrett, I mean you say you believe that Mueller may do one more round of indictments, and do his speaking in those filings. If that's so, I mean, do you think Mueller's anywhere close to -- to -- to finishing?

GARRETT GRAFF, JOURNALIST, AUTHOR, FORMER POLITICO MAGAZINE EDITOR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. I mean I think all signs are pointing to this being, you know, more a matter of days or weeks than -- than months, at this point.

And it -- it seems, you know, for all of the reasons that you just went through with Congressman Castro that this -- that Mueller is not going to let his entire two-year investigation hinge on what Bill Barr decides to release when under what Executive privilege etcetera, etcetera.

Bob Mueller, from day one, in this case, has done his speaking through those indictments, through those court filings, through those guilty pleas, through those sentencing documents.

And -- and I think we have every reason--

COOPER: He's added more details than -- than necessary. GRAFF: Absolutely. And I think we have every reason to believe that he's going to do that with one final round of indictments that ties up some of these loose threads, and fills in some of the breadcrumbs that he's left us along the way.

COOPER: Nelson, you recently wrote that that we may be focusing on the wrong report that there could be a second counterintelligence report file. Can you just explain that?

NELSON CUNNINGHAM, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE GENERAL COUNSEL, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY & FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. That's right. It was a piece that I did in The Daily Beast last week.

In addition to working in the -- in the Clinton White House, I was also, for six years, a Federal Prosecutor in New York. In fact, Rudy Giuliani hired me. And I know from that time, the FBI is divided into two parts.

Half is the law enforcement side that we see very visibly. The other half of the FBI is the Counterintelligence Division, which is designed to protect American citizens, the American government from foreign intelligence operations.

When Jim Comey first revealed the scope of his investigation in March of 2017, he said, "As part of our counterintelligence mission, we have begun an investigation into the President and his team. As with other counterintelligence reports, we will, also, look for evidence of crimes."

So, from the -- from the very first, this investigation was a counterintelligence report, not a criminal -- intelligence investigation, not a criminal one. Why does that make a difference?

[21:10:00] Because, as Garrett said, the way that a prosecutor lays out his case is through indictments, cases, guilty pleas. None of those things are designed to clearly tell a comprehensive story.

A counterintelligence investigation on the other hand, which is designed to find out who was trying to spy on us, how and why, is precisely designed to produce a report.

And beyond that, there is a statute. We've all gone over the Special Counsel regulations. You've covered them tonight that limit what Bill Barr can do.

COOPER: Right.

CUNNINGHAM: A counterintelligence report, by statute, goes from the FBI to the Director of National Intelligence, and must be shared with the Intelligence Committees.

COOPER: That's true.

CUNNINGHAM: If it's too sensitive, then it goes to the Gang of Eight, which are the four Heads of the Intelligence Committees and the four Heads of the two Chambers. COOPER: Yes.

CUNNINGHAM: They cannot block it.

COOPER: Laura, when it comes to -- to the White House, I mean they were -- the reporting was that they wanted to look at this before it goes anywhere, and possibly look at it for Executive privilege, obviously, any classified information they have concerns about.

Do they have -- they have the right to do that, don't they?

COATES: They do. And you want the President of the United States to have Executive privilege. You want to encourage candid conversations.

COOPER: Right. There's a reason the President needs Executive privilege.

COATES: There's a great reason for it, the same reason you want to have attorney-client privilege, or perhaps spousal privilege. We -- we acknowledge it all over the law.

The reason it's different, however, is two things. Number one, he actually had to be a part of the Executive at the time the conversations happened to assert the Executive privilege.

COOPER: So, it would only be what anything while he was in the White House, not the transition, not the campaign.

COATES: The transition's a little bit tricky. It hasn't been well established in to figure out if there was some reason to have the privilege attached at the transition period. But things that happen as a candidate, somebody who was vying to be a Member Executive, would not count.

The other aspect of this, of course, is that the communications he had to have had to be with people under the nature of the Executive. They can't just be, because he's the President, every conversation he has is covered under the privilege.

We saw this, of course, in -- in discussions with the Trump Tower meeting, with Natalia Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr. He was trying to go into CYA mode, of course, for his son, perhaps.

That may not be part of the critical inquiry of a court who says the balancing test is the compelling candor we need to have for a President against the public's right to know.

When the Nixon case came up, of course, it was about what a criminal court wanted to look at for privilege. They said, in a criminal context, the President can't just willy-nilly assert the privilege, and hope to avoid having justice.

This is Congress asking for it though. And so, it's not really a settled principle of law at this point.

But, ultimately, if the privilege is the fulcrum, it actually has to deal with the Executive Branch itself with people who he would enjoy the privilege with. That might not be the case for most of the conversations.

COOPER: You know, Garrett, I mean if there is no, you know, collusion conspiracy that Mueller -- that happened or that Mueller was able to -- to get evidence of, the President, regardless of what else may be in the report, the President can -- can very rightly say, "Look, I was right all along. There's no collusion," and see if his strategy of undercutting Mueller and -- and kind of sowing the seeds of that actually work to make people ignore the rest of this stuff.

GRAFF: Yes. And that's where I think it's really important to talk about what Mueller has already found because we -- we have sort of treated a, you know, all of these stunning revelations out of Mueller so far, as if they don't count.

And, you know, you -- you heard the President bragging about his electoral victory today.

Well what we now know that Bob Mueller has uncovered is that there were two separate criminal conspiracies that aided Donald Trump in his 2016 election, one run by the Russian government, and one directed by individual number one, the candidate Donald Trump himself, and that Bob Mueller has brought both of those to light.

He has separately, from both of those cases, shown that this was the most criminal Presidential campaign in American history, where -- where you've had the Campaign Chairman and -- and Deputy Campaign Chairman both convicted of working as an unregistered foreign agent of the Ukrainian government in the midst of a $65 million money- laundering scheme.

The National Security Advisor was working for the government of Turkey in the midst of his own lobbying scheme, and the President's Chief Fixer and Lawyer was engaged in his own tax bank and taxi medallion fraud.

I mean this was a stunning amount of criminality surrounding effectively everyone at a senior level in the Trump campaign in 2016.

COOPER: Nelson, I mean the House Judiciary Chairman Adam Schiff recently said that the -- the counterintelligence investigation looks into whether the President or anyone around him may be compromised by a foreign power, may be more important than the criminal investigation, as you were -- as you were talking about.

But any counterintelligence investigation, it may go to, you know, the Gang of Eight or the Intelligence Committee Members, but that would be classified, wouldn't it? I mean it's not -- it wouldn't be something that the public would see.

[21:15:00] CUNNINGHAM: It -- it would be classified. There is often a non-classified summary, which is produced, which can be shared more broadly with Members of Congress.

I think what -- what a counterintelligence report can do is lay out, without worrying about elements of a crime or without worrying about statute of limitations, and the like, it can lay out the story that is designed to lay out the story.

What did the foreign power do? How did it do it? What were its means and methods? And then, what U.S. assets did they -- did they compromise or did they cooperate with in -- in carrying out their intelligent -- their counter -- their intelligence mission? The whole purpose of it is to tell the story. And why is it shared

with Congress? Precisely so that Congress can -- can consider what action to take.

I'm confident that the Intelligence Committee would find a way to begin to share the findings in an appropriate fashion with their counterparts on the Judiciary Committee.

And that's when both Committees can really dig into what happened during the -- during the campaign--

COOPER: Right.

CUNNINGHAM: --and the transition.

One more thing to note, obstruction of justice, obstructing an investigation could in fact be part of the counterintelligence effort. Why are you -- why are you trying to -- why are you trying to investigate -- block the foreign powers, the investigation? Because you want to protect the foreign powers.

COOPER: Interesting. Nelson Cunningham, thank you, Garrett Graff, as well, and Laura Coates, appreciate it.

Up next, what this -- what -- what this -- oh, was this it?

Has the bottom reached with the President now seeking credit for the funeral of Statesman and former POW, John McCain? Why does the President keep going after the late Senator? Will more members of his party speak out against it?

Also tonight, you'll hear from another 2020 contender only on CNN Town Hall. You don't want to miss it, the former Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper tonight, coming up in Town Hall, 10 P.M. Eastern.

[21:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Even before President Trump's latest attack on the late Senator John McCain, he was already under fire for his prior attacks on the man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON, (R) GEORGIA, VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's deplorable what he said.

I will continue to speak out because there's one thing that we've got to do. You may not like immigration, you may not like this, you may not like that, you may be a Republican, you may be -- be a Democrat, we're all Americans.

There aren't Democratic casualties and Republican casualties on the battlefield. There are American casualties. And we should never reduce the service that people give to this country, including the offering of their own life, to anything but political fodder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's Georgia Republican Senator, Johnny Isakson.

Again, that was before the President spoke out this afternoon at a defense plant in Ohio. President's remarks were unprompted. No reporter asked him a question. It just came from deep within his own mind, and it broke new ground.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I endorsed him at his request, and I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as President I had to approve. I don't care about this. I didn't get thank you. That's OK. We sent him on the way. But I wasn't a fan of John McCain.

So now what we could say is now, we're all set. I don't think I have to answer that question, but the press keeps, "What do you think of McCain? What do you think?" Not my kind of guy, but some people like him, and I think that's great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: No one thanked him for giving John McCain the kind of funeral that John McCain wanted.

Now, Keeping Them Honest, the President neglects to mention that at the time he had to be pressured into flying White House flags at half- staff even as the rest of official Washington did, because that's what you do for a hero. That's gratitude for you, I guess, in the President's mind.

Joining us now is former Nebraska Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey, a Senate colleague of John McCain. And he, like Senator McCain, served incredibly honorably in -- in Vietnam.

Senator Kerrey, thanks for being with us.

BOB KERREY, (D) FORMER NEBRASKA SENATOR & COLLEAGUE OF SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, VIETNAM VETERAN: You're welcome.

COOPER: I mean when you hear the President talking about that he -- not that that he cares about being thanked, but that he wasn't thanked for the funeral of John McCain.

KERREY: Look, I -- it's -- it -- he said he's not his kind of guy. His kind of guy is the guy that showed up and said, "I don't want to go to Vietnam," like he did. He said, "I wasn't eligible to go to Vietnam because I had bone spurs."

You don't grow out of bone spurs. And I call on the President, "Get your feet X-rayed. Let's see those X-rays." I want to see.

While John McCain was flying combat operations in Vietnam, you were, I think, falsifying that you had bone spurs in order not to go to Vietnam. Now, the--

COOPER: He -- he--

KERREY: --I know lots of people who avoided the Draft. I'm -- but this isn't what he's saying. He said, "I physically couldn't go." "Mr. President, get your feet X-rayed, and let's see those bone spurs." I don't think he has them.

COOPER: If he had them then he would have them now.

KERREY: He would have them now. It's, you know, it's -- it's -- everything he's saying is bad enough. But when he says he's not my kind of guy, because he went to Vietnam, because he was flying combat missions, and got shot down, was held as a prisoner, that's not your kind of guy?

Who is your kind of guy? Your friends who falsified their records so they didn't have to go? I think that's the answer. I mean I think he sees all of us who went to Vietnam as fools.

We were the suckers. We were the stupid ones. We were the ones that didn't have the resources to be able to get out of the Draft. He had the resources, and he got out of it.

COOPER: He--

KERREY: So, show us your bone spurs. Let's see those X-rays because I--

COOPER: He--

KERREY: --I think the X-rays will show that he doesn't have bone spurs. And then, he'd have to say, "OK, I didn't want to go to Vietnam. I got out of the war. While John McCain was flying combat missions, I made every single effort I could to avoid the Draft."

COOPER: He -- the President has now been to Vietnam twice, obviously not well after the war and as President, he has never visited the Hanoi Hilton. It's not hard to visit the Hanoi Hilton. If you go to Hanoi, it's one of the places you go.

I always thought it was very telling that that he chose not to actually go there because he would have--

KERREY: Yes--

COOPER: --it would -- he would have to confront the fact--

KERREY: Yes.

COOPER: --that John McCain went through something horrific that he cannot even imagine. KERREY: Look, I -- I -- I -- I wish he hadn't gotten out of the Trans- Pacific Partnership. But I think his trip to Vietnam was enormously important. I think it -- it signaled the Vietnamese that we're with you. I think it was important that he went there.

[21:25:00] I -- I think it signaled as well that we're on their side and kept the Politburo from going to the Chinese and supposed to (ph) lining up with us. So, I, yes, OK, you go to Hanoi (ph), I don't criticize him for what he did going to Hanoi trying to negotiate something with -- with Kim Jong-un.

What I want to say is when he says McCain's not his kind of guy, I think he's saying, "He's a fool to have gone to Vietnam. He's a sucker." "I'm not a sucker," he says, "I didn't have to go. I got out of it. Only the suckers went. And I don't feel like I was a sucker to have signed up and gone to Vietnam."

COOPER: You know, often the strongest people the, you know, the President like says he (ph) went to the great schools that he's incredibly smart, and he certainly portrays himself as the tough guy.

He went to a -- he was sent, I guess, for reasons that I think he was sort of had some issues, and were sent to this military school, a high school where they marched around, and dressed up as soldiers.

KERREY: Yes.

COOPER: He then, obviously, as you say, didn't go to Vietnam. I always find that the people who are actually the toughest people, who've actually risked their lives, sacrificed limbs, done incredible things, they're not the ones saying how tough they are. It's -- it's--

KERREY: Well, I think it's probably true.

COOPER: --people like you. It's people--

KERREY: I think it's probably but I'd just say it again. I mean, your kind of guy avoided the Draft and McCain was a sucker. He said, "My heroes are guys that don't get shot down?" Oh, really? Well, I -- I like to put you up in one of those planes, and see how well you do.

You avoided going up in the planes. You didn't want to go up in the planes. You didn't want to go down in the delta. You didn't want to go to Vietnam. And you did everything possible because you had the money to avoid going.

Now, I have friends who avoided. I have friends who went to Canada. I understand why people in 1968 wouldn't want to go. But please don't tell me that you had bone spurs. I want to see -- if you had bone spurs, you still have them. Let's see the X-rays.

COOPER: Did -- does it surprise you at all that more Republicans have not, I mean, spoken out. I mean Johnny Isakson was very strong.

KERREY: No, it's hard. Look, I mean, the Democrats had the same problem with Clinton. Clinton avoided the Draft. COOPER: Right.

KERREY: It's -- it's not easy to criticize somebody in your own party. I -- I mean I'm -- I'm -- I'm sympathetic but especially now because it's almost become a cult.

COOPER: Right.

KERREY: So, no, I -- I'm very sympathetic why they are behaving the way they're doing. So, I -- I think what Johnny Isakson said was enormously important, and very brave, and I'd like to see more of them do it. But--

COOPER: You understand.

KERREY: I completely understand. But it takes somebody like me who went to Vietnam to say to the President, "Let's see those X-rays."

COOPER: Yes.

KERREY: Your kind of guy is -- is the guy who didn't go to Vietnam. You look at John McCain, you look at Bob Kerrey, and you say, "You suckers went, and I didn't."

COOPER: Senator Kerrey, I appreciate talking to you, thank you.

KERREY: You're welcome.

COOPER: The President had been quite muted for a while in one of his living critics, but no longer. Kellyanne Conway's husband is now a new target, and that feud is getting worse, and just -- it's just bizarre.

We'll -- we'll be right back.

[21:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it's no secret how the husband of the President's Counselor, Kellyanne Conway feels about her boss. George Conway has been publicly trolling the President on Twitter even questioning his mental health.

President Trump has now dubbed him the Husband from Hell, and added a few other colorful words earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Yes, I don't know him. He's a whack job, there's no question about it. But I really don't know him.

He -- I think he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife. Kellyanne is a wonderful woman. And I call him "Mr. Kellyanne." The fact is that he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wife and family. She's a wonderful woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Kellyanne Conway actually took the President's side today. In an interview, she defended him for fighting back against her husband. Want to analyze it all with Rolling Stone Senior Writer, Alex Morris, and Yahoo! News Chief Investigative Correspondent, Michael Isikoff.

Michael, you -- you've known George Conway for quite a while. Does it surprise you at all that this has intensified to this level?

I mean A that -- that he is doing that -- that -- that Con -- I mean why is George Conway doing this against the guy who his wife works for, and does it make sense to you (ph) that the President is responding?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, YAHOO! NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, RUSSIAN ROULETTE CO-AUTHOR: Well, look, I -- I -- I have known George Conway for many, many years. And I mean he's a guy of strong principle, strong Conservative principles.

I, you know, I got to know him during the Bill Clinton days when he played a rather key role in the -- in the events that led to Bill Clinton's impeachment. He drafted the -- the briefs for the Paula Jones' lawyers to the Supreme Court.

He felt very strongly about that. And, you know, the core principles were rule of law, no man, no President is above the law. And, you know, those same principles, I think, have animated what he's been saying about Donald Trump.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, look, I understand the principle side of it. I just think I mean there is a personal side to it that's frankly just hard for me to understand some.

Anyway, Alex, I want to show you something that George Conway tweeted yesterday. He re-tweeted a story that you wrote for Rolling Stone.

"This was the article that first got me to really understand you, @realDonaldTrump. Once someone understands narcissistic personality disorder, they understand you, and why you're unfit and incompetent for the esteemed office you temporarily hold."

I guess some would argue aren't all politicians or even people in public life at some level narcissists?

ALEX MORRIS, SENIOR WRITER, ROLLING STONE: Abs -- yes. I -- I think that to run for President, there has to be some level of that. Donald Trump is certainly not the first narcissistic President we've ever had. But it's -- it's a matter of degree. You know--

COOPER: There's a difference between being narcissistic and then actually having a disorder.

MORRIS: Right. There's a difference between the personality trait and an actual disorder. And so, I think what a lot of mental health professionals are coming out and saying is that this has crossed the line. This is a problem. This person has lost their ability to have reality testing because

their -- because they do have this disorder, because their need to feed their own ego allows them to disregard truth, and to disassociate from truth -- from truth.

COOPER: I think this is something you wrote about for Rolling Stone. I think, you know, some people hearing that there's the Gold -- there was a -- the thing called the Goldwater rule--

MORRIS: Right.

COOPER: --which I want to ask you about, explain to people. But some people hearing that say -- will say, "Look, psychologists who hasn't -- haven't actually interviewed somebody shouldn't be, you know, passing judgment on that they have narcissistic personality."

MORRIS: Right. And I mean the Goldwater rule was instituted during -- for -- during a Presidential election, right?

COOPER: And that was because people were -- were -- psychologists were -- were coming out and analyzing Goldwater?

[21:35:00] MORRIS: Yes. I mean 2,000 -- over 2,000 psychiatrists came out in Fact magazine, and they analyzed Goldwater. They said he had all kinds of issues based on supposed pot --potty training problems, you know, Cold War paranoia.

And he ended up suing Fact magazine, and he won.

And the American Psychiatric Association was so embarrassed by this that they instituted the Goldwater rule, which says that you shouldn't diagnose someone, unless you -- they're under your care, unless you've met with them specifically.

COOPER: Right.

MORRIS: So, I think that that really did keep a lot of mental health professionals quiet for a while, this professional obligation.

And then, about a year or two ago, there -- there started to be this tipping point, where people said, "Well, wait a second. As mental health professionals, we also have a duty to warn."

So, which duty out, you know, which -- which duty wins out?

COOPER: Which one is that, yes (ph)?

MORRIS: And, you know, over 70,000 signed a petition that Donald Trump is mentally ill and unfit for the Presidency. So, obviously, there's a lot of people coming out, and saying, "Never mind the Goldwater rule. I have this other duty. And I'm going to stand by it because--"

COOPER: Well George -- George Conway certainly is -- is listening to it. Michael, you interviewed Conway back in November for your podcast, Skullduggery. In the interview, he said, "If I had a nickel for everybody in

Washington who disagrees with their spouse on something that happens in this town, I wouldn't be on this podcast."

It is one thing to disagree with your spouse and to have strong principles. It's quite another to side with the President against your spouse, especially publicly.

And it's, I mean, from Kellyanne's, you know, side, and it's also another thing to attack repeatedly the President, which may hurt your wife's career, frankly.

ISIKOFF: Right. And, you know, he also said in that interview that, you know, I asked him, "How's this going down with Kellyanne?" And he said, "Not -- not well. She doesn't like it, but I don't like the Administration she works for, so we're even."

And I guess that's, you know, that's the way he views it.

COOPER: It's -- yes. I just found the whole thing bizarre. Michael Isikoff, thanks so much, appreciate it, Alex Morris as well, thank you very much.

Still ahead, breaking news, the FBI and Justice Department are joining the criminal investigation into the certification and marketing of Boeing 737. There's new reporting on that tonight.

Also coming up at the top of the hour, Dana Bash hosts the CNN Town Hall with 2020 Democratic candidate, John Hickenlooper.

[21:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're just about 20 minutes away from the CNN Presidential Town Hall with 2020 Democratic Candidate, John Hickenlooper, former Governor of Colorado. Dana Bash is moderating tonight's event. She joins us now live from the CNN Center in Atlanta.

So, there are obviously a lot of Democratic candidates. We've been seeing a lot of them at Town Halls.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

COOPER: Where does Governor Hickenlooper fit into this race? The--

BASH: Well, Anderson, first you can see, we're already here. We've got a packed house ready for tonight. And to answer your question, he fits in a really interesting place because he's one of two Governors who are running in the Democratic field.

And he was kind of an accidental politician, an accidental businessman, to be sure, because he was a geologist.

He got laid off, Anderson. And he used his severance to start beer companies, and that's how he -- sort of he got started. And then he was Mayor of Denver. And then, of course, he was a two-term Governor of Colorado until he was term-limited out. So, he has a really different perspective than a lot of the Members of Congress who are running, and lots of House Members, mostly Senators, different world view.

COOPER: And our poll that was released yesterday about the 2020 candidates, what -- what kind of support does he have at this point, according to that?

BASH: Not much. He doesn't have very big name ID. And he's in--

COOPER: Right. Which at this stage is a lot of it.

BASH: --he's in good company. Exactly. He's in good company with not having a lot.

And that's, you know, part of the reason why CNN is doing these Town Halls, to introduce these people to the country, to the world and, more importantly, to Democratic voters who are going to vote in primaries and vote in caucuses.

And so, he is not alone. There are a lot of candidates and a lot of them have yet to really had a -- have a get-to-know-you session whether it's on national, international TV, and -- or -- or, you know, knocking on doors.

And we'll see what happens after because--

COOPER: Yes.

BASH: --things have changed since in and after several of these Town Halls that we've had.

COOPER: If I remember correctly, weren't Governor Hickenlooper and Governor Kasich talking about running together at one point?

BASH: You know, they were talking a little bit about it. It was, I think, a lot of people talking about it for them.

COOPER: OK. OK.

BASH: They did a lot of joint -- they're -- they're friends. They did a lot of joint interviews. They are like-minded in a lot of ways just in term -- not necessarily ideologically, but just in terms of wanting to get things done across the aisle.

So, they were governors together. They served at the same time, and they became friendly in doing those. Lot of people were talking about it. But he's running in the Democratic primary, so doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon.

COOPER: All right. Well I'll be watching about 15 minutes from now. Dana, thanks so much.

BASH: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Look forward to it. I'll see you in a few minutes. Up next, there's breaking news on Boeing's troubled 737 MAX jetliners.

The Justice Department has issued several subpoenas as part of a criminal investigation into Boeing's FAA certification process of the planes. This is according to sources briefed on matter.

We'll have more in a second.

[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We have breaking news on Boeing's 737 MAX 8 jetliners tonight. The Justice Department has issued multiple subpoenas as part of a criminal investigation into Boeing's FAA certification process of the planes. Now, that's according to sources briefed on the matter.

Shimon Prokupecz joins us from Washington. So, just, if you can explain what exactly FBI agents are looking for if we know?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER, CNN: Right. So, because this is a grand jury now investigating this, they've been issued subpoenas. FBI agents have been given subpoenas. They've gone out and served these subpoenas.

And really, right now, it's a document gathering process. The FBI is assisting in that. They've asked for information regarding training manual for this plane, safety manuals. They also want to know about the marketing that went into the plane.

Certainly, they're looking at the certification process, and that is the big thing here. How did Boeing go about certifying this plane and, certainly, were there any issues, you know?

Were there issues with how the training manuals were put together? Were there issues with people who working at Boeing, did anyone complain about any of the safety issues with this plane?

And that is sort of some of the information and the gathering that is going on right now by the FBI and the Department of Justice.

COOPER: And -- and in terms of manpower, what kind of resources and support can the FBI lend here?

PROKUPECZ: So, certainly there's forensic experts who could look through documents or financial experts who could look through some of the money that went into constructing this, to building this out.

The training, that is going to be a big part of this investigation, and there are FBI agents that are experts in all of this, and they could review these documents.

But for the FBI right now, their whole point is just try and help the Department of Justice just gather all this information so that the prosecutors, and really the agents and the experts in all this could start going through it, and trying to see really if there was anything wrong here.

COOPER: And, lastly, there is also a Department of Defense Office of Inspector General investigation, involving the Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan of Boeing.

PROKUPECZ: Yes. And this is an ethics investigation. So, Shanahan was a longtime employee of Boeing, some 30 years. He was an Executive there. And they have received complaints, the Inspector General, that he's been favoring Boeing for products. He's been disparaging competitors. And so, complaints have been filed.

[21:50:00] The Inspector General now says they're reviewing those complaints because they want to make sure that Shanahan isn't doing anything unethical, whether he's following the procedures that are in place to protect from this sort of stuff happening.

Certainly, there are conflicts because he was an Executive at Boeing, and they want to make sure that he's not favoring Boeing over other products that the Pentagon was looking to purchase.

COOPER: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it, a lot to cover.

More on this breaking news. When we come back, we'll talk with former Bush White House Ethics Lawyer, Richard Painter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Couple of minutes, the CNN Town Hall is coming up. But we have more in our breaking news right now.

[21:55:00] CNN's Barbara Starr is reporting the Defense Department's Inspector General has begun an ethics investigation into whether the Acting Pentagon Secretary Patrick Shanahan violated procedures by promoting Boeing products while serving in his current role.

Now, Shanahan is a former Boeing Executive who worked for the company for more than 30 years before joining government. Spokesman says, "Shanahan," says, "His boss welcomes the review."

Joining me now is Richard Painter, who is the Ethics Lawyer for former President George Bush. I should point out that he's also an Executive with the watchdog group called CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which filed a complaint with the Inspector General against Shanahan.

So, Richard can you just explain what exactly you believe that the Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan did here when it comes to his former employer?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY & ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: Well we're going to have to find out what he did. But he clearly should not be shilling for Boeing products or saying bad things about the competitors of Boeing at the Defense Department.

I'm shocked that a Boeing Executive is -- a former Boeing Executive is put in charge of the Defense Department to begin with. He's clearly has a bias.

And, apparently, according to these complaints, numerous complaints, he is actually acting through with that bias, and he may very well influence defense spending in a budget that is well over a $1 trillion.

So, this is waste, fraud, and abuse being investigated by the Inspector General, and that's what Inspectors Generals do. But in the Defense Department, with such an enormous budget, we are talking about potential waste, fraud, abuse of an enormous scale due to this conflict of interest.

This is no small potatoes, enormous amounts of taxpayer money that could be spent on other things. I'm here in Puerto Rico where we have close to a million people who may very well lose a lot of their food stamp benefits because the disaster relief is running out.

We need a defense budget in this country, but it should not be run in by Boeing Executives, former Boeing Executives, sitting on top of the Defense Department, shilling for their own company--

COOPER: Right.

PAINTER: --and trashing on the competitors. It's just flat-out wrong.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, that's always one of the things, of course, you know, it's the definition -- I mean, again, if -- if true, it is sort of the definition of a -- of the -- the swamp, of a kind of a revolving door from, you're in a business, and then you go to somewhere in government that relates to that business, and then you leave and ultimately go back to the business, and are rewarded for what you did when you were in government.

I mean if it's true, and I say it's a big if, I mean it is another example of a -- of a Cabinet Secretary, in this case, Acting Secretary, potentially or being accused of using influence either pad their own pockets or do favors for cronies.

PAINTER: Well, it certainly is. I have to say, though, I don't think a former Boeing Executive, someone who's worked at Boeing for 30 years, should be put in charge of the Defense Department at all.

And if he is, he shouldn't be opening his mouth about Boeing or any competitor of Boeing. There's just way too much money at stake. Once again, over $1 trillion of taxpayer money--

COOPER: Do you have confidence in Inspector General--

PAINTER: --going to the Department of Defense.

COOPER: I mean do you have -- do you have confidence in the Inspector General's Office and the Department of Defense?

PAINTER: I do. Inspectors General's Offices are usually very, very well run and independent.

Now, this Administration has done everything it can to interfere with independent investigations, from threatening to fire Bob Mueller to other interference. So, I'm sure there will be plenty of efforts to interfere.

But at this point, I would trust the Inspector General to do the Inspector General's job, which is to hunt down waste, fraud, and abuse. And I can't think of a part of this government that is more important to do that than the Department of Defense.

COOPER: Do you -- I mean I -- I assume you see this as sort of, again, if -- if true, at part of a larger pattern with this Administration.

PAINTER: Well, absolutely. A lot of presidents would not have put a former Boeing Executive in charge of the Defense Department. That's just too tempting. Boeing does enormous amounts of business with the Defense Department.

And if those planes don't work or if there's some other problem or there's overcharging, it's going to cost taxpayers not billions, but tens of billions, potentially hundreds of billions of dollars.

This is a situation that never should have happened to begin with. And the idea that he is not following his Ethics Agreement, if that is true, he needs to be fired. And we need to find out why this happened.

COOPER: How -- how long an investigation do you expect, I mean, in -- in something like -- in a matter like this?

PAINTER: Well, I would hope they could chase this down quite quickly.

If he was running around trashing the competitors of Boeing or shilling for Boeing products at the Defense Department, and people heard that, they report it to the Inspector General. And he may deny that.

COOPER: Right.

PAINTER: But that's an investigation that can -- continue for a week or two. But we -- we deserve answers. The American people deserve answers. We pay for this Defense Department.

COOPER: Yes. Richard Painter, I appreciate it as always. Thanks so much.

The CNN Presidential Town Hall with former Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper starts right now.