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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Nadler: "We Are Now in A Constitutional Crisis"; Senate Intel Subpoenas Donald Trump Jr.; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is Interviewed About Subpoenaing Barr for Counterintelligence Information for Russia Probe. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired May 8, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:15] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. We're in Washington on what has turned into quite a night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): We've talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it. We are now in a constitutional crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A constitutional crisis, says Congressman Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. That message from Nadler just moments after his committee voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for not complying with their subpoena for Robert Mueller's full, unredacted Russia report and its underlying evidence.
Now, the Republicans on the committee decried the vote and defended Barr. All that came just hours after President Trump exerted executive privilege to block Nadler's committee from actually getting the report, and that was on the advice of Barr.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said and I quote: Faced with Chairman Nadler's blatant abuse of power and at the attorney general's request, the president has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege.
That's not the only contentious decision today. Another move was made by Republicans late this afternoon. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. This is the first known congressional subpoena for one of the president's children.
Whether all of it actually amounts to a constitutional crisis yet, that is very -- that's an arguable point. But all sides are now taking extreme positions and making extreme claims. And some of it may just be hyperbole, not amount to more than words, but it is extraordinary. There's no telling exactly where it goes from here.
So, let's get right to the subpoena for Donald Trump Jr. CNN's Manu Raju joins us from Capitol Hill with that.
So explain the significance of the subpoena and what's it about?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, Donald Trump Jr. is fighting with the Senate Intelligence Committee about the subpoena that had been issued. Now, we are told he's considering invoking his Fifth Amendment rights or not appearing at all, which could possibly set up a contempt of Congress if he does go forward with that.
But what the -- this is all about, Anderson, has to do with his past testimony. He came before this committee back in 2017 and this committee wants to re-interview some key witnesses. And Donald Trump Jr. could face some scrutiny about what he has said in the run-up to that Trump Tower meeting that occurred back in 2016.
He said, at the time, after he testified to a separate committee here on Capitol Hill, he said that he only told Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort about that meeting, but we have now learned from the Mueller report that he announced at a morning meeting that he had a lead on dirt on the Clinton Foundation in the run-up to that meeting. Also, he could face questions about his role in the Trump Tower Moscow project, after Michael Cohen provided testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Perhaps they want to ask him more questions about that, as well.
Now, Donald Trump Jr. was not charged with any crime in the Mueller report. They said they could not establish a value for the materials that were offered to him, as part of that 2016 Trump Tower meeting. And also, that he knowingly violated the law.
But, Anderson, the question for the Trump Jr. legal team is the committee is trying to set them up in a perjury trap of sorts. That's what they're telling us. And it's a suggestion that they're willing to fight this, no matter how far the Democrats and Republicans are willing to go in the Senate, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. So, what else did Donald Trump Jr. say about the subpoena itself?
RAJU: Well, they -- the attorney for Donald Trump Jr. actually is declining to comment, but a source close to Donald Trump Jr. is actually taking a shot at the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying that he's, quote, too cowardly to stand up to Mark Warner, who's a vice chairman, the Democrat on the committee, who said this source close to Donald Trump Jr. says that -- calls it a PR stunt and Warner is really the person who's running the committee. They say that Donald Trump Jr. has already spent eight to nine hours back in 2017 talking to this very committee.
But again, Anderson, this committee operating on a bipartisan basis, wants to re-interview witnesses as part of its investigation. And right now, it's unclear where they go from here -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks very much. Earlier, I spoke with Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
COOPER: What's your reaction to this extraordinary move by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee to subpoena Donald Trump Jr.?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, it's impressive that on a bipartisan basis, they want to bring don Jr. back before the committee. And I think it's an indication that they have serious questions about his prior testimony or that new facts have shed light on the need to ask additional questions. Given that Don Jr. refused to testify before the special counsel, I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to obstruct the Senate investigation, as well.
[20:05:06] COOPER: Can you see bringing him before your committee, as well? Or would you like to?
SCHIFF: You know, we are discussing which witnesses we need to have come back. Obviously, we brought Michael Cohen back before the committee. He added a lot of important information, insights we didn't before. He was able to tell us why he was able to testify the last time he came before the committee and gave us a great additional leads. Some of his testimony also did call into question whether or not we needed to bring Don Jr. back, but we have yet to make that decision.
COOPER: Just today, in fact, just very late today, it was announced that your committee has issued a subpoena to the attorney general for essentially all documents relating to the Mueller investigation. Is that correct?
SCHIFF: Yes, our focus is on the counterintelligence and foreign intelligence part of this. And that is that this investigation began not as a criminal probe, but as a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether the people around Donald Trump and Donald Trump himself were acting as witting or unwitting agents of a foreign power, that is Russia.
We still do not know whether that counterintelligence is ongoing, whether it stopped at some point. All we know is that when James Comey got fired, we ceased to get briefings on that counterintelligence investigation. So we want all of that information.
By law, the department is required to give it to us, and they have been stonewalling us, as well as other committees. But what I'm getting is, all of this is a counterintelligence problem, whether it's a crime or not. The fact that you have a foreign power intervening an election, you have a campaign knowing that they're doing so, willing to get the help, that compromises Don Jr., it compromises others, and that can influence U.S. policy because the Russians could have exposed it if we didn't learn about this through our investigation.
COOPER: It's also interesting, because Devin Nunes has also been in agreement with you, probably for different reasons, that he wants to see documentation, the underlying documents from the counterintelligence part of the Mueller investigation. SCHIFF: Yes, it's been a strange irony that after being at
loggerheads for so long, that we're in agreement that the Department of Justice needs to follow the law, they need to give us this information so we can see it, whichever way it cuts.
COOPER: And if they don't, what happens?
SCHIFF: Well, then we travel down the same path that the Judiciary Committee just did. We've issued a subpoena within the last hour or so. We will so to speak to enforce it if they don't comply. And that may mean we head down the road of contempt and litigation.
I would hope that won't be necessary. But if they're going to claim executive privilege over everything, as they're asserting today, that means they're going to stonewall, I think, probably each and every committee.
COOPER: Do you agree with Congressman Nadler, Chairman Nadler, that we're in a constitutional crisis?
SCHIFF: We are, we are. We've never had a president who's so blanketly, uniformly said, Congress, you have no business overseeing what our administration is doing. And what my Republican colleagues don't seem to appreciate is, Donald Trump is not going to be the last president. He may want to be, he's not going to be the last president, which means they'll want to oversee a Democratic president in the future.
They're going to have concerns about corruption and malfeasance. And if they prop up this president and say, no, he doesn't have to yield to any oversight or scrutiny, they're going to be giving a green light to all kinds of corruption and malfeasance by presidents of either party.
COOPER: But, clearly, the strategy from the White House is to stonewall, to stop, try to stop everything, as much as they can. Ultimately, that may not work out through the courts. But, just stonewalling long enough for the election, that may be enough.
SCHIFF: I don't think they're going to be able to stonewall through the election. But, yes, they're trying to buy time, they're trying to draw this out and simultaneously blame Democrats for how long the investigation is taking. That's the strategy they used with Mueller and they had some success. They played rope-a-dope with Mueller over the president's own interview, until Mueller essentially said it would take too long to get this resolved.
We're going to press. We're going to seek expedited briefing schedules. We're going to try to make this happen fast and we're going to explore other remedies, like the use of Congress' inherent contempt power, the use of our power to fence funding, if agencies don't comply.
But at the end of the day, we have to make sure that the oversight work gets done. Otherwise, the country is vulnerable. He becomes a completely lawless president. And there's no way of ferreting out corruption or fraud or abuse.
COOPER: Representative Schiff, I appreciate it. Thank you.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
COOPER: All right. Joining me now is CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero and CNN legal and political commentator, Ken Cuccinelli.
Carrie, is this a constitutional crisis or a political crisis?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think we're at constitutional crisis yet. What we're certainly at is Congress is on one end, they're requesting a lot of different information, and I think one of the challenges they're having is prioritizing and articulating at least to the public what is the most important information that they're trying to obtain from the executive branch that executive branch isn't providing?
[20:10:07] But I still think there's a lot of wrangling that still can take place, whether it's litigation, whether it's more subpoenas, whether it's more threats of contempt before we actually are in a constitutional crisis.
COOPER: Ken, do you agree with that?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I would tend to agree with Carrie. It's easy to throw the term "constitutional crisis" around.
COOPER: It's funny, Nadler said that, he actually said it's overused, but this is it.
CUCCINELLI: Yes, I don't think this is it at all. I think that you've got fighting going on. I mean, Jerry Nadler himself, they issued 81 subpoenas months before the Mueller report came out with no specificity about the legal rationale, is this oversight, is this legislative, et cetera.
And so, he's in a tough position. I thought at the time it was a mistake, because it hurts his own credibility, having exactly the debate that we're talking about right now. And the president's side is going to use that against him and frankly, legitimately so.
COOPER: The president has evoked executive privilege over everything from the Mueller report. Can he -- is that -- can he do that?
CORDERO: It's an overly broad exertion of executive privilege, I would argue. So what's happened, because they weren't able to come to some kind of agreement about the specific things that the house judiciary committee wants, the letter that came from the justice department said, well, we're going to exert a privilege over everything, to reserve the opportunity for the president to exert the privilege over specific things.
And that's where this debate is really getting complicated in the public discussion, because an assertion of privilege is over specific things, specific documents or specific categories of documents or specific witnesses. And what's happening is, everyone's going to barricades and they're just sort of acting as if everything related to the report and everything related to the investigation all falls under, either we get it or we don't.
COOPER: Also, Ken, when you hear Democrats citing contempt, nothing really comes of that.
CUCCINELLI: No, we've seen that even -- you don't have to go back very far in history. You can go back to the Fast and Furious episode.
COOPER: With Eric Holder.
CUCCINELLI: That wrangled on for years, and there was a lot of puffery and puffery and no houses were blown down.
COOPER: And this idea of the inherent -- what is it?
CUCCINELLI: The inherent authority --
CORDERO: The inherent authority of executive.
COOPER: I hadn't heard of that term until recently, and the Democrats have been throwing it around. The idea that they're going to send the sergeant of arms to arrest the attorney general just sounds ridiculous.
CORDERO: Right. Well, there's different ways they can enforce this subpoena. They can go to court and litigate or they can use what you're calling the inherent attempt power, which means they would actually arrest or lock up the cabinet official.
I can't imagine politically that actually would be something that would be desirable for them to do, although they are certainly using it as a threat.
COOPER: All right. We've got to take a quick break. We're going to have more with Carrie and Ken. The rest of our political team joins us after the break with more on today's remarkable events, including the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena of Donald Trump Jr.
Later, a CNN exclusive, Washington legend Bob Woodward joins me live. I'll ask him about the battle between Congress and the White House. Woodward, of course, wrote a best seller on the Trump White House. His insights, ahead.
[20:17:32] COOPER: Again, our breaking news. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son. They're looking for more details on his meetings with Russians in June 2016 at Trump Tower, following the release of the redacted Mueller report and what he has said to Congress already about it. This comes on the same day the Democratic House Committee leader claims we're in a constitutional crisis after his own committee voted on party lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for not releasing the full unredacted Mueller report.
A lot to talk over. CNN political analyst, David Gregory, CNN justice correspondent, Laura Jarrett, CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers, and back with us, our legal experts Carrie Cordero and Ken Cuccinelli.
Kirsten, I mean, you don't have constitutional crisis -- I mean, you do hear it thrown around a lot lately, but Nadler says this time, it's for real.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I'm not sure it's a constitutional crisis at this point, but it's serious, definitely. And I feel like there is this feeling that basically Congress really hasn't been able to do its job. That this is -- you know, that Bill Barr stepped in, made a ruling on something that Democrats don't feel that he should have ruled on. And so they're trying to do the due diligence that they can do on the Hill.
Now, Don Jr., being, you know, subpoenaed or, you know, called to testify, you know, that's bipartisan, actually. So that's an unusual thing that we haven't really been seeing so far that you actually have, you know, a Republican, you know, actually trying to do the investigation.
COOPER: And the idea of subpoenaing one of the children of the president is also actually pretty unique.
COOPER: Is there any doubt, Laura, that this is heading to court?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: No, I think we've seen the writing on the wall for that for a long time. I think Democrats on Capitol Hill knew it, the Justice Department certainly knew it, and I think there was some confusion today about what exactly this assertion of this protective executive privilege was and is, and it was really to preserve the status quo, because they were under the pressure of contempt to produce the fully unredacted report.
And they didn't think they could produce the fully unredacted report. They said, come on over and you can see a less-redacted version of it. But it's really to preserve the status quo until that process plays out in court.
And I think the real challenge for Democrats is, did they do enough to engage in this so-called accommodation process. Because a court is going to look at this and say, the Justice Department gave you an opportunity to come over and look at the report and you said "no thanks."
COOPER: Yes, they were willing to show a less-redacted version of the report, David, which Nadler apparently didn't do.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And I think if you're following in this at home, you probably don't want to be following this at home. It's so processy. And, you know, you kind of strip away and think a couple of things.
I think a couple of things, which is, you know, let's keep working on the accommodation piece of this, because the high-flying rhetoric gets really too much, too fast. And if you get to the bottom of it, you still have a fundamental point, which is that Congress has a role to play here.
I mean, the Mueller report, rather specifically says that the president can't be exonerated for obstruction of justice. He's not going to be charged. Congress has a right to look.
COOPER: He can't be indicted.
GREGORY: Sorry, can't be, right. They have a right to take a look. So they can exercise that authority.
So if they can get closer to the place where they can do that in a way that doesn't seem so politically fraught, then they ought to do that. But we seem like we're so far away from that.
COOPER: So, Ken, I mean, where do you -- where is the room for accommodation here, Ken?
CUCCINELLI: Well, the easy room for accommodation is come actually look at the less-redacted report, and let's be clear, the less- redacted report I would expect to be everything unredacted, except the 6E grand jury material, which is blocked by law until they go to a court and get a court to undo it. And that was offered.
CUCCINELLI: And rejected.
It will be accepted at some point, to the earlier point, because it's a natural starting point. And courts will look. If you won't anything to accept the accommodation, don't come running to us is the way a judge is going to view that.
GREGORY: Well, it is an interesting subplot. You correct me if I'm wrong, isn't Beryl Howell the judge who will oversee this?
So, Beryl -- full disclosure, happens to be a friend of my wife and mine, and worked with my wife for many years. But she worked at the Judiciary Committee for the Democrats. I mean, she would be someone appointed to a position by Obama, if memory serves.
But she's also somebody that comes from Congress that would probably like to see more revealed rather than less. That will be an interesting subplot to see --
COOPER: Where do you -- (CROSSTALK)
CUCCINELLI: You go through the report, 6E material isn't that much.
CUCCINELLI: I mean, of the four categories --
COOPER: This is based on grand jury testimony.
CORDERO: So a lot of the information that was redacted in the report pertained to ongoing investigations. And so that's the type of information that the Justice Department is willing to allow the chairman and vice chair, maybe a staff member, senior staff members to come see. I think the chairman would be -- Chairman Nadler would be in a stronger position for his public arguing with the department, because then he could say, I've seen it. And I think it needs to be public.
I think he's arguing from a weaker position not having seen the information.
GREGORY: I also think to Ken's point, I tend to agree. I think that where Nadler is undermining himself is saying, well, we're in a crisis, because we can't agree, but let's not start talking about impeachment. So he basically says, we want to keep fighting, but we don't want to go all the way, because that would be a political disaster. I think that makes him look bad.
They have -- the critical questions about obstruction of justice are there and there are going to be fights. And I'm not suggesting the administration is right in their position legally, but there is something to proceed. And it seems like the Democrat position is, no, we've -- the Democrats have said, no, unless we get everything unredacted and to everybody, not just in one room, then that's not good enough.
POWERS: But I just -- I think for all of us who have lived through the Clinton impeachment, I mean, it's so dramatically different in terms of the amount of information that was provided to the Republicans. And we can say probably too much information, right? I mean, it went overboard, there was so much information that we didn't really need to know about, Bill Clinton's sex life, that was included in there, intended to humiliate him.
So I think that -- but the fact that all of this was like delivered to them and they were able to go through everything and they were able to render a judgment. And now we're in a situation, in part because the law was changed after that --
GREGORY: Because of the excesses.
CORDERO: That was the point.
POWERS: But it was -- it was still quite clear, I think, at least to me and to a lot of other people, when you look at what Mueller said, was that the intention really was for this to go to Congress. And Bill Barr stepped in.
And so, I think for Democrats, it's very frustrating, when you see how it was handled in one case, with Bill Clinton, and now you have Republicans saying, you don't need any of this.
JARRETT: That's why it's so curious to not put all of their efforts behind, let's say, four different key witnesses. And say, OK, let's drill down on exactly what McGahn said. Let's drill down on exactly what Corey Lewandowski said.
I mean, there's so many people who are outside of the executive branch who wouldn't even be able to claim privilege. And if they had spent time and effort on bringing those in, instead of getting a fully unredacted report when 90 percent of the report is unredacted anyway.
CORDERO: This is where the details matter in terms of who the individual is and what privileges can be asserted. And that's getting lost in the debate between the Congress --
GREGORY: And you two have the expertise, I mean, lawyers that I consult on this, you know, it's hard to assert privilege over something that you've already, you know, released.
[20:25:03] But at the same time, I do think that we have to pull back to your point, you brought up the Clinton impeachment. Let's remember, Bill Clinton said, essentially, at some point, this must end. He said that in his remarks when he admitted his relationship with Lewinsky.
Well, this president has said roughly the same thing.
POWERS: But also a big difference, I heard earlier, you know, Rick Santorum saying, well, the difference was Bill Clinton perjured himself. Well, the difference is Bill Clinton put himself in a position to perjure himself, right? Donald Trump didn't perjure himself, because --
GREGORY: But Mueller could have kept pushing, right?
POWERS: But the point is, had he done it, he almost definitely would have perjured himself, right? So the point is, he wasn't as available. He didn't -- I mean, Bill Clinton is the one who asked for the investigation in the first place. It's such a different situation where you have Donald Trump fighting it every step of the way. CUCCINELLI: Yes, but I would also make one process point. You're
right, it is processy, but when it comes to the congressional subpoenas coming and so forth, the two legal basis for those are legislative and oversight. And oversight doesn't include oversight of investigations, that's not is what is ordinarily thought of as oversight.
Could it be fought out in court? Of course it can. But -- and there's an awful lot we heard in the second part, we heard from Adam Schiff earlier, the second part, volume two, which is the least redacted one, which is about the counterintel --
CORDERO: Other way around.
CUCCINELLI: I'm sorry, about the obstruction, which is really what this fight is about. The special prosecutor didn't proceed, didn't think there was enough or didn't -- wasn't willing to decide to proceed and Barr made a decision, not the Congress that was supposed to make, but that the attorney general was supposed to make. And that was of obstruction.
COOPER: We've got to get a break. A lot more to talk about next with the man who's no stranger to covering a president under investigation, legendary journalist Bob Woodward joins me life live for an exclusive interview, when we come back.
[20:30:47] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it has been a dramatic night in Washington. The House Judiciary Committee is voted to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress. The House Intelligence Committee has just subpoenaed the Justice Department for the entire Mueller report and underlying materials.
The White House is refusing full stop to comply with any House investigations and subpoenas. Now, the Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee is subpoenaing the President's son, Donald Trump Jr. to return to their committee for reasons that are not entirely clear. Any one of those stories would probably worth over "Washington Post" front page. We'll do one better.
Joining us exclusively is legendary "Post" investigative journalist and associate editor, Bob Woodward. His latest book, of course, top of "The New York Times" bestsellers list, it's a fascinating read, "Fear: Trump in the White House." And the paperback will be coming out probably in the fall.
Do you -- this standoff between the executive and the legislative branch, Chairman Nadler calls it a constitutional crisis. Do you think it's -- is that hyperbole?
BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: And I think it's a constitutional confrontation. I don't think it's yet a crisis and this is going to go into the courts.
WOODWARD: And this could take months or a year or more. And what I think is interesting perhaps to look at is what's the impact on a factory worker or a farmer in the Midwest as they look at all of this. It's process.
WOODWARD: It's legalistic. I think in many ways, the most important thing that happened today is "The New York Times" story on Trump's taxes.
COOPER: Why do you think that's so important, because that resonates?
WOODWARD: Because that resonates -- here we have Trump not paying taxes for years.
COOPER: Right, eight out of 10 years. And even in those two years, according to "The Times," it was a small amount.
WOODWARD: And losing $1 billion, this man, who presented himself as so successful. And then Trump's response is, "Well, I was in the real estate business and so avoiding taxes is sport."
COOPER: And -- right.
WOODWARD: And somebody is going to look at that who's been paying thousands of dollars in taxes, who's this worker, the traditional base for Trump and I think they're going to be uncomfortable. And I think they're going to say, "Hey, wait a minute, what's going on here?"
COOPER: Well, also, his response wasn't just that it was sport and that all real estate developers do it. It was that, well, you want to show losses for tax reasons. The implication of that, to me is you exaggerate losses in order to not pay taxes.
WOODWARD: Yes. But that report is great reporting.
COOPER: By "The Times"?
WOODWARD: And it's a wonderful illustration of incremental reporting. They did stuff last year, they get more returns. They haven't answered all of the questions. Of course, the most recent tax return they were citing is 25 years ago. So what happened in this century with Trump's taxes?
And so there's going to be hydraulic pressure in the system, not just from the media, but from Congress, because they do have authority to get Trump's taxes. And it's something he doesn't have in a drawer in the west-wing. It's in the Treasury Department and somebody could potentially force that.
I think that's incredibly significant, but I think we're also in a situation where there are all these balls in the air. And they are being juggled by perhaps the most unsteady hands we've had in the American presidency, ever.
COOPER: You think that's the situation?
WOODWARD: Yes, yes, yes. I think we have a governing crisis. You look at all of the issues --
COOPER: Are you saying it's just from the White House or Congress as well in terms of (INAUDIBLE)?
WOODWARD: Well, Trump's performance as president. We've got a confrontation with Iran, which could spiral out of control. Things with North Korea are not settled. We've got this trade war and all kinds of things going on with China.
[20:35:06] This is a dire situation. We've got all kinds of domestic issues. What about immigration? And so, I found from my reporting in continuing, and I think this is supported by what CNN does, what my newspaper, "The New York Times," that Trump impulsively sets policy in the people who work for him are as bewildered and dazzled by the shifts in the inconsistencies as anyone.
So we have a government that's just not functioning. And that's, in the end, I think, will be the matter that really defines, perhaps, a real constitutional or real crisis.
COOPER: You talked about incremental reporting and the importance of it that it builds momentum, that sources come forward. Certainly in your reporting, we call Bernstein on Watergate was incremental reporting. You didn't have the answers. You're searching for them and it builds and builds.
You also raise the question of, what resonates with people right now out in the heartlands, out in communities. What makes them actually stand up or listen and take notice? What did that in Watergate? Because I imagine from what I, you know, have read and we talked about, initially, there may not -- there wasn't the -- obviously, the interest or the buy-in from the general population.
WOODWARD: No. In fact, it wasn't believed. We wrote all of these stories in '72 and Nixon won a 40-state reelect -- 49-state, I'm sorry, all but one state. And so what happened then is the Congress, the Senate, the House, the special prosecutor really started investigating and the untying of the knot here, the tapes. Because you could listen to the tapes and you could see that --
WOODWARD: I mean, there was no ambiguity about Nixon ordering a cover-up, ordering obstruction of justice.
COOPER: It is so powerful to hear those tapes, and we hear more now than obviously back then. But to hear in the President's voice saying these things, it takes on -- it makes it real.
WOODWARD: Yes. And when you see it time and time again and how it shows issue after issue where the public face is this is -- we really did this and you listen to the tapes and it's clearly criminal.
COOPER: Yes. Bob Woodward, great to have you as always. Thank you so much.
WOODWARD: Thank you.
COOPER: As we've been reporting, according to "The New York Times," President Trump lost more than $1 billion over a 10-year period, we were just discussing that, more than nearly any other U.S. taxpayer. The President's response, he says, as we talked about, was just showing losses so he didn't have to pay taxes. He called it sport. We'll talk to his ghost writer about the art of losing money, next.
[20:41:44] COOPER: Well, tonight, we have some new insight into President Trump's -- President Trump and taxes. As we've been reporting, "The New York Times" obtained 10 years of tax information from Mr. Trump's official IRS tax transcripts and revealed he lost $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994, more than any -- nearly any other individual U.S. taxpayer.
Of course, Mr. Trump ran for president, branding himself as a self- made billionaire. But this quote from "The Times" article certainly tells a different story. "By the time his master of the universe memoir "Trump: The Art of the Deal" hit bookstores in 1987, Donald J. Trump was already in deep financial stress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals according to previously unrevealed figures from his federal income tax returns."
Well, tonight, the man who wrote "The Art of the Deal," Tony Schwartz, had this to say on Twitter. "Given 'The Times' report on Trump staggering losses, I'd be fine if Random House simply took the book out of print or recategorized it as fiction."
We'll talk to Tony Schwartz in a moment. But first, in a move that surprised no one, the President this morning used Twitter to call "The New York Times'" article a "fake news hit job" and also explain away his massive losses, tweeting in part, "You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes, almost all real estate developers did and often renegotiate with banks, it was sport."
A lot to talk about tonight with the person who wrote "The Art of the Deal," Tony Schwartz. Tony, we've talked many times about the supposed size and scope of President Trump's finances. Did you know while you were writing "The Art of the Deal" for him that he was in such dire straits?
TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR, "THE ART OF THE DEAL": I did not, nor I think did anybody around him who wasn't one of the one or two, maybe three people who actually were able to look at his tax returns and his finances. He kept those immensely secret. And you know, he was working on three different casinos, all of which are -- we write about in "The Art of the Deal," and all of those casinos were failing miserably. They were heading towards bankruptcy, where they would eventually land. And his take on them was that he was doing brilliantly with them.
COOPER: I find it really interesting that he could maintain this facade of, you know, huge success and constantly, you know, trumpeting his brilliance when, in fact, there was all of this stuff crumbling. I mean, the pressure of it must have been intense.
SCHWARTZ: If I had to rewrite -- I'm sorry, rename "The Art of the Deal," I would call it the "Sociopath." And I think that's a window into why he doesn't experience the kind of overwhelm and pressure and tension at the level you or I would or most people would, because he has no conscience, he has no guilt. All he wants to do is make the case that he would like to be true.
And while I do think that he's probably aware that more walls are closing around him than ever before, he does not experience the world in the way an ordinary human being would.
COOPER: You're saying he's a sociopath?
SCHWARTZ: Without any question. You know, I encourage people who wonder about that to simply Google sociopath and the first or second entry gives you like nine or 10 descriptive words about what a sociopath is.
[20:45:10] It always includes a kind of pathological narcissism, which is what many people describe him as being, but it adds the element of absence of conscience and that changes everything.
COOPER: For a president who loves superlatives and who loves, you know, calling people a loser, he was literally the biggest loser in the American economy for a number of years. I mean, to be fair, he's now President of the United States, but it's certainly a different picture than he sold himself as a candidate.
SCHWARTZ: He was running a personal Ponzi scheme through the time that I was working on the book. And as I said, it didn't occur to me, as it must not have to all of those made off shareholders or must not have to all those made off shareholders that this whole giant business was thoroughly rotten at the core.
But the second big story here, Anderson, is about tax evasion. Because I'd be willing to bet a lot of money, if I were a betting man, that vast parts of those losses that he claimed, that are part of the $1.1 billion in taxes he avoided were fake, and they were made up and they were created precisely to avoid paying taxes that he legitimately owed.
COOPER: So in fact, what you're saying is, he may not have been the biggest loser in terms of money, he might have just been claiming it for tax purposes to be the biggest loser? SCHWARTZ: Well, you know, only Trump, but I think it's both. I think he did have very, very large losses. But I think he came from a family, we know this from earlier "New York Times" reporting, that was incredibly skilled at creating fake losses and otherwise avoiding taxes.
His father did it and he followed in his father's footsteps. So, yes, there was the fake part of the loss, and then there was the fact that he was just a terrible businessman and he also did have losses.
I'm just saying, I don't believe that they were necessarily $1.1 billion in losses. Look, they could be $100 million of losses over that period, and by any ordinary standard, that would still be astonishing.
COOPER: We should reiterate, he didn't pay any taxes for eight out of 10 years, which may make sense to him. But, again, it's not printed out on any of the, you know, the hats he sells on the website.
SCHWARTZ: Well, here's a guess I would -- another guess I would make. He has never paid taxes. I don't believe you'll find, if these taxes do come out, and they may well now that New York is getting -- moving toward revealing his state taxes, which Trump can't influence the release of. It's going to turn out that he probably has never paid taxes during his adult life.
COOPER: Tony Schwartz, appreciate your time. Thank you.
SCHWARTZ: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, more to learn. Coming up, new details on that shooting at a Denver area school. We'll tell you about the student who died rushing the shooter and saved lives.
[20:52:24] COOPER: There's a vigil tonight for the victims of the school shooting outside Denver. An 18-year-old student died and eight other students were wounded in the attack. Details are now emerging that the student who died had raced to the shooter not away, one of several such instances of heroism in the grim catalog of this event. "360's" Randi Kaye has more details.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Attention all units getting information on a shooting at STEM School.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just before 2:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, a shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. Two shooters opened fire in two classrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two individuals walked in to the STEM School, got deep inside the school and engaged students in two separate locations.
KAYE: Deputies arrived quickly, but before they did a hero emerged, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo rushed the shooter and saved countless student lives.
TUSCANY "NUI" GIASOLLI, STEM SCHOOL STUDENT: Kendrick lunged at him to try and subdue him as soon as he said don't you move, Kendrick lunged. Giving all of us enough time to hide under our desks and the shooter ended up shooting Kendrick.
KAYE: Kendrick had just three days to go until the end of the school year, but died after lunging at the shooter. Others who tackled the shooter after him survived.
GIASOLLI: They are so brave. They all risked their own lives to make sure that 10, 15 of us all got out of that classroom safe and that we were able to go home to our families.
KAYE: Kendrick's quick action meant no other students died. Eight were injured and both gunmen were taken into custody.
JOHN CASTILLO, FATHER OF KENDRICK CASTILLO: Because of what he did, others are alive and I thank God for that. I love him and he's a hero. He always will be, but there is another part of you that wishes he would have turned and ran, retreated, hid.
KAYE: Last weekend in North Carolina, another student hero. When a gunman open fire in a lecture hall at the University of North Carolina, 21-year-old Riley Howell charged the shooter.
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL, MOTHER OF RILEY HOWELL: We are just beyond proud of what he was able to do. While kids were running one way, our son turns and ran towards the shooter.
KAYE: Four other students had already been injured, but Riley knocked the shooter down the shooter, giving police time to rush in and disarm the suspect.
CHIEF KERR PUTNEY, CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG POLICE: You're going to run, you're going to hide and shield or you're going to take the fight to the assailant. He, unfortunately, had to give his life to do so, but he saved lives doing so.
KAYE: He'd been just days away from graduation. Instead, Riley, an ROTC cadet, was remembered at a memorial service with military honors.
[20:55:06] Back in 2017, a student also saved lives in Parkland, Florida. After a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 15-year-old Anthony Borges used his body as a human shield to protect his fellow classmates. Anthony was shot five times.
ANTHONY BORGES, PARKLAND SHOOTING HERO: I think I was going to die.
KAYE: Incredibly, Anthony survived. He's credited with saving as many as 20 lives.
BORGES (through translation): I did it because, if I was going to die, I wanted to give my last minute to the people. So they could themselves and enjoy their lives.
KAYE: Still, Anthony refuses to be called a hero.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: A lot of heroism there. Time to check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Somebody's got to be the hero, right? I mean, the rest of us is just sitting there and watch the problem time after time. We've actually gotten to a place where we have to hope that kids can act like the avengers and save themselves to a problem that nobody wants to take on.
What a shame in that and God bless the families who have to worry about their kids being there that day and obviously their families whose kids made the ultimate sacrifice. We'll be talking about that tonight. We have the parents of Riley Howell on the show.
We're also going to talk about the political problems that we're dealing with. We have one member of the House who is coming on to say how holding the A.G. in contempt will somehow advance the process. And we have a former A.G. on to make the case that the President is right to block oversight.
COOPER: All right. Chris, we'll be watching about three minutes from now. See you then.
Right back with some details of our exclusive CNN Town Hall, next.