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Federal Judge: Justice Department Can't Switch Legal Team in Census Citizenship Question Case; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is Interviewed About the Census Issue, His Presidential Run and More; One-on-One with Megan Rapinoe. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired July 9, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

World Cup champion and captain of the U.S. women soccer team, Megan Rapinoe, joins us tonight for her first one-on-one interview since bringing home the championship in Paris. Clearly, a lot to talk to her about, including the team's win, her pay equality push for women's players, and her comments about not visiting the White House that drew the president's ire.

Senator Bernie Sanders is here as well to react to among other things, the news that's breaking now, a judicial smack-down to the Trump administration efforts to get a question about citizenship into the 2020 census.

On Sunday, the Justice Department, for reasons that are still not fully clear, said it was replacing the entire legal team that argued the case. Well, today, a federal judge in New York said no, they can't just do that.

And that almost never happens, a change of counsel requests are almost always granted but this is not a normal case.

CNN's Jessica Schneider joins us now to explain the latest twist in it.

So, the judge didn't hold back in his order against the Justice Department's request. He didn't say categorically it couldn't happen. But he basically said the explanation doesn't make any sense.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Anderson. This federal judge out of New York, Jesse Furman, he's blasting the Department of Justice and its tactics, telling the DOJ it can't just simply switch out its team of lawyers without adequate explanation. And that's why he's denying the DOJ's request to change up its lawyers, at least until they can provide some reasoning for doing so.

And remarkably here, Anderson, the judge took the onus on these individual lawyers at DOJ, saying that he wants sworn and signed affidavits from each of them, explaining why they're withdrawing. And he also wants assurances that these lawyers were essentially being available as witnesses in any future proceedings dealing with sanctions because New York judge will also be reviewing any request to issue sanctions in this case if it's determined that administration officials weren't truthful when they gave their reasoning for wanting the citizenship question on the census.

So, Anderson, this order for the judge opens up a can of worms for the DOJ, which still hasn't publicly explained why it wants this change of lawyers and all the thoughts are that you can't really have the same team of lawyers who said the census needed to start printing on July 1st. Now saying, well, there's plenty of time to have these questions.

So, it's a big problem for the DOJ.

COOPER: Right, because when the Supreme Court when they ruled, they didn't say, no, you absolutely cannot use -- have these questions on the census. They said we don't buy the government's -- the administration's argument about why they want to have it on. It doesn't make sense, their argument. It's just not truthful essentially, but they didn't use the word truthful.


COOPER: And now, the lawyers who argue that there is a huge time crunch on this and they have to be ruled by a certain point, the fact that now they will have to argue something else that might contradict their whole time argument, it just puts them in a weird spot and they have also been working out for so long to just bring in new lawyers. How would that even work?

SCHNEIDER: Well, that's exactly what the judge is raising question with here. The judge is saying, how can you bring in this new team of lawyers and still stick to this timeline? Because motions are due in just a matter of days, the judge is not only concern that the DOJ hasn't given adequate reasoning for changing up their team of lawyers. But also how will this really mess up the timeline here? Because after all, the DOJ lawyers have consistently said time is of the essence here, and all of a sudden, they want to changeup their entire team.

So, this is really -- the Department of Justice has to kind of work its way out of a real mess here, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.

Joining us now to talk about this, campaign fundraising, his opponents, and the latest moves he's making to combat climate change, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, joins me now.

Senator Sanders, I want to talk about climate change in just a moment, and the latest thing that you are doing, essentially calling for a national emergency. But, first of all, what is your reaction to this setback for the Justice Department and the administration in the census case? Why do you think they really want this question on a census about citizenship?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Anderson, I don't think anybody who has any doubts as to why they want that question. It's to undercount of Latinos so that they can create congressional districts which will not be Democratic, and also make sure that the funding does not go to those under served and often minority communities. I think everyone understands that is their rational and it's based on a very bigoted sense of what has to be done in this country.

COOPER: Today, the president said that he feels very badly for Labor Secretary Acosta. That he's worked hard, he's done a good job. Acosta is obviously now under fire for the plea agreement that he made with Jeffrey Epstein years ago in a case in Florida. Epstein was charged yesterday with having allegedly operate a sex trafficking ring involving dozens of underage girls. Should Acosta resign?

[20:05:04] SANDERS: Yes, he should. He should reside because he was part of a process that really exposes the two tier criminal justice system in America. It's not just Jeff Epstein. It's the crux on Wall Street who destroyed our economy, who paid billions of dollars in fines to the federal government but not one of these people ended up in jail.

Look, the reality of American criminal justice is that if you are poor, if you are a person of color, you get treated in one way. If you are rich and if you can hire all kinds of lawyers and you have friends in high places, you get treated in another way.

And our job is, in fact, to do, to create a criminal justice system which theoretically the Founders of this country wanted. And that is equal justice for all, rich or poor, black or white.

COOPER: I was reading your tweets. You're calling for a national mobilization akin to what the U.S. did after Pearl Harbor. Only this time, the national emergency you're citing is climate change. What is that -- what is the national mobilization on climate change look like in your hopes?

SANDERS: Look, what it looks like is that if we are going to save this planet and if we are going to respond to what the scientists are telling us, and that is that we have less than 12 years before they will be irreparable damage done to this country. And that means more drought, more floods, more acidification of the ocean, more rising sea levels, more mass migrations of people, that unless we stand up by the millions to the greed of the fossil fuel industry who are making billions of dollars every single year as they destroy this planet, what we have got to do is mobilize millions of people and say, you know what? Your short term profits are not more important than the long term health of this planet. We have got to create and leave are kids on her grandchildren a planet that is healthy and habitable.

But, by the way Anderson, you know, it's not just the fossil fuel industry. What we see all across the economy, whether it is Wall Street, whether it's the insurance companies, the drug companies who are charging us by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the insurance companies who will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent us moving to a Medicare-for-All system, what you are seeing is a corporate elite, whose greed is really destroying the middle class and working class of this country. And that is what we have to stand for. Climate change is an integral part of that struggle, but it's not just climate change.

COOPER: You introduced a resolution on this with Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. It is not likely to get passed in the Republican-controlled Senate. Is that just, I mean, really a symbolic effort at this point?

SANDERS: No, it's not-- and Representative Blumenauer of Oregon was involved in it was well. It will I hope pass the House and, I think we got to put pressure on the Senate.

Look, this is what the issue is. Is the future of this planet more important than the short term profits of the fossil fuel industry? Do we tolerate this where we have a president, who is ignoring science, who thinks that climate change is a hoax?

We are fighting for future generations to live a healthy and habitable planet. And the only way I know that real change ever takes place, whether it's economically, whether it is racially, whether it's environmentally, is when millions of people are prepared to stand up and fight back and in this case, take on the greed and the lies of the fossil fuel industry.

Anderson, you know, what I and reminded of when I talk about the fossil fuel industry, is exactly what went on 40 years ago or so with the tobacco industry. You recalled they lied and they lied smoking cigarettes, it's not a health problem, it's fine, doctors on TV ads, smoking is fine, they lied. And millions of people died, including my father as a matter of fact who smoked two packs a day, died as a result of their lies.

And the fossil fuel industry is lying right now. The debate is over. Climate change is man-made. It is causing devastating problems. We have got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, energy efficiency, and sustainable energy.

COOPER: As you know, Eric Swalwell has dropped out of the race. Tom Steyer declared his candidacy for president today. Is he the future of the Democratic Party?

SANDERS: Well, I surely hope not. I know Tom. And Tom is a decent guy. He has done a lot of good things. He's been concerned about the environment. He's put money into voter registration, all of which I think are positive things.

But I think, Anderson, that the American people are sick and tired of seeing the political power of billionaires, whether they are Democrats or whether they are Republicans.

[20:10:02] I am very proud that in our campaign, we have up to this point received some 2 million individual contributions of which I think is some kind of world record. I may be wrong on that but I don't think anyone ever done that at this stage of the campaign, average $19 apiece.

The American people are tired of billionaires making huge campaign contributions.


SANDERS: And, you know, that's my sense of Tom.

COOPER: Just finally, Senator, talk about campaign contributions, Senator Elizabeth Warren's second quarter fund-raising numbers I think eclipsed yours. She raised $19 million, you raised $18 million. You are now neck and neck at the CNN post-debate poll. She's improved her polling compared to the same poll a month earlier.

What are her gains tell you? And where do you see this race right now? How do you feel about it?

SANDERS: Well, we have received, if I'm not mistaken, and I'm sure I'm not, we have received more individual contributions than Senator Warren. They are a smaller amount. I think she was 26 bucks, and I believe we are $18 or $19.

I'm feeling very good. Look, this is a very different situation, political situation than last time around when there were two major candidates. This time, there are 23 candidates. My guess is at, the end of the day, the candidate who gets 25 percent to 30 percent will actually win the state by state.

We have very strong grassroots organization. We have over a million volunteers and strong organizations in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina and Nevada, California. So, we are feeling pretty good about where we are right now and we think we stand an excellent chance not only to win the Democratic nomination but to defeat the most dangerous president in modern American history.

COOPER: Just one final thing. I'm about to interview Megan Rapinoe from the U.S. Soccer Team just won the World Cup. Do you think that they should get equal pay?

SANDERS: First of all, my congratulations for them for their just beautiful effort. And, of course, they should get equal pay.

COOPER: Senator Bernie Sanders, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

Just ahead, one of the biggest sports stars in the world, fresh off her win at a World Cup in France. We have Megan Rapinoe, as I said, in studio, for the whole half hour to talk about that win, her activism, of course, her back and forth with President Trump and all the rest. She'll be here in just a minute.


[20:16:22] COOPER: The big question for Megan Rapinoe right now is, what does an icon do for another encore? She's won her second World Cup. She scored the World Cup gold treble, top scorer, top player and champion. She's also the co-captain of the team.

Basically, she's the best. The world knows she is the best, and they knew it for the second time. So, what is next? A victory with the team obviously, also continuation of the activism that Rapinoe was known for before most people knew her name or the pink hair or -- what colors is now? Sort of lavenderish?



RAPINOE: It's changing daily, for sure.

COOPER: All right. Megan Rapinoe, it's great to have you here. Thanks so much.

RAPINOE: Thank you. Thank you.

COOPER: Are you exhausted? Are you running on adrenaline? Are you -- where are you?

RAPINOE: Combination of all of it. It's like fumes and water and adrenaline and getting to do exciting things like this.

COOPER: This is -- if this is exciting for you, then you need to up your level of excitement (ph).

RAPINOE: It is. I know, yes, it is exciting, maybe a nerd or something.

COOPER: All right. Well, we are all nerds. We work in news. Thank you.

RAPINOE: Exactly.

COOPER: What -- I mean, how do you -- I got -- I asked a lot of viewers for questions and stuff. I got flooded with questions. I mean, one of them which I thought was interesting is just, how do you -- do you phase out all the stuff that is swirling around to, all this stuff with President Trump, all of that when you're on the field and preparing beyond the field, or do you use it as motivation? How do you do what you do?

RAPINOE: That's to do -- I don't know. I don't know how I do it, I don't phase things out. I don't like go into a zone. Like I definitely am on the field at times thinking about all of these things, knowing the kind of impact but then in the same way I'm just free and doing whatever.

COOPER: But you're aware -- if you hadn't won, there would've been a whole other sort of reaction and blowback and --


COOPER: -- you know, who knows what coming out of Washington.

RAPINOE: Right. Yes, no, I'm very, very aware of that. I'm aware of not only sort of my position within the team, but the team and just all of the media and how everything affects each other. I just -- I think it sort of naturally just kind of feel that and have a kind of go with the flow attitude. But, yes, I'm aware that this was a huge win for us in many ways.

COOPER: I want to ask about the stance that you do famously do and what do you call -- is there a name for that?

RAPINOE: I don't know.

COOPER: That was the subject of a lot of discussion. I'm wondering if there was a particular -- where did that come. Is there a name for it?

RAPINOE: I don't know where it came from. I made it up. I actually did it in one game prior to leaving for the World Cup and I hadn't brought (ph) that for a while and I usually change things up a lot. We always talk about, you know, it's obviously the celebrations became a thing as well. I don't know where it came from and I just felt -- I felt the team had so much pressure on it, and obviously, individually, we each have that pressure, but more so as a team.

It was like this -- like moment, it wasn't an F you moment at all. It was a moment I think for everyone to celebrate through that, like you're not going to take our joy from anything. It was just like, we had arrived, sort of.

COOPER: That was the message?

RAPINOE: Something like that. Yes, are you not entertained by all of? Like the circus is here. And we're here for it.


COOPER: It is a sort of very like circus entertainer --


COOPER: -- sort of in the center ring motion.

RAPINOE: Definitely, yes, I definitely see myself as an entertainer. Of course, a soccer player and take the craft seriously and want to do my best on the field, but I also feel like, especially with our team, I do feel like we are traveling circus, we play so many games. You know, obviously, at the World Cup, that's the biggest stage and I feel like I just had that interaction with the crowd and --

[20:20:05] COOPER: Is it something you practice in front of the mirror? Like the Sue at home say like, no, that's not going to work?

RAPINOE: I don't think I did. She would say that, though. She would be -- she would be very honest. She's like, where is this coming from? What is -- she's just -- yes, I don't rehearse a lot of things. I'm probably too off the cuff.

COOPER: So when the lawsuit was announced during the competition that you and your three teams filed against U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay, it's going to head to mediation. You agreed to mediation rather than immediately going to a court.

I want to play just how the crowds reacted after you won the match and the chant of equal pay that they started to say, let's listen.


CROWD: Equal pay, equal pay, equal pay!


COOPER: Is that something you could hear while you were on the field?

RAPINOE: A little bit, yes, I was like -- because we were all getting ready to celebrate and, you know, just won the World Cup again and we're like -- wait a second, is that -- is that really happening?

COOPER: What did it say to you? Because when I first heard that I thought, oh, maybe that's something like you had started that chant for the crowd, but it was actually the crowd who started doing it.

RAPINOE: I mean -- it was just -- I mean, I think we knew that this win, if we were able to win was going to be bigger than soccer, but that moment I think just solidified everything. It was like this World Cup win is so much more than what was on the field. It seems like one of those iconic turning points in history, to be honest.

So that kind of cemented that and kicked off the feeling of like, wow, this is -- this is so much bigger than just these people coming here to watch this game.

COOPER: I don't know if you have seen this yet or heard this, but the legendary women's rights activist Snoop Dogg has weighed in on this, and I just want to play for our viewers a little bit. I'm hoping we bleeped it.


COOPER: This is Snoop Dogg weighing in in support of Megan and the team.


SNOOP DOGG, MUSICIAN: Shout out to the USA women's soccer team for their fourth World Cup. What I want to talk about is they only get $90,000 per player, but the men, if they win, they'd get $500,000 per player.


Pay them ladies, man. Pay them girls what they're worth. The women should be getting 500,000 per athlete. Snoop Dogg says so!


COOPER: Will you bring him to the mediation? RAPINOE: I think that's probably the best strategic move. We have a

good team of lawyers, but we're going to have to put him on the backburner for this.

COOPER: Just as obviously, we can, you know, have fun about it, but it is obviously, incredibly serious issue and a very important issue. How do you think it is going to go for you? I mean, obviously, you have the wind in your back right now and this is obviously -- you couldn't be in a better position going into a mediation, I think.

RAPINOE: Uh-huh.

COOPER: But what do you think the likelihood of actual substantial change? Because it's not just a question of money, it's also a question of, you know, you are forced to play on Astroturf which is more dangerous than the grass which the men are allowed to play in and I understand even the lawsuit, there was an example where you played on a stadium on Astroturf when the guys played their, they rolled out grass on top of the Astroturf, so the guys can play in grass. That seems --

RAPINOE: Yes, it can be safer for them. Yes, yes.

COOPER: It seems surprising to me.

RAPINOE: Yes, it's so much more than the money. Obviously, the money and the compensation part is a big piece and that gets talked about the most, but it's really more about the investment in the game. Is the investment equal? We're talking marketing dollars, and branding, investment in youth, investment in the players, investment in the coaching staff. I don't think that's there and I don't think that's ever been there.

I think the men side of sports just in general is seen as an exciting opportunity, business opportunity that needs to be invested in, and the women is like, how cheap can we do this while, you know, sort of keep them happy, and what sort of incremental changes can we make, you know, at each step to just kind of keep them at bay.

I feel like right now, we are really excited. Obviously, the win is huge for the lawsuit and I don't think we need more public perception on our side, but we obviously have it all. But I think for us, it's like how can we collaborate to make this better?

I don't think the conversation is anymore about, you know, should there be equal pay? Do we deserve it? Is the, you know, the ratings there? Is the money there? Whatever. It's all there.

COOPER: There are people who say, look, the attendance at women's soccer matches is not what it is at men's, that in general, ratings are not as high, or the money that it earns is not as great.

RAPINOE: Yes. I mean, I think it -- what I would say to that is everything that gets the men to those games, is everything equal? And until it is, and until we have equal investment in care, and thought, and brainpower put on both sides, then we don't know what our potential is.

[20:25:0] I mean, right now, I say we would doing pretty good, basically creating this entire business without being compensated, you know, substantially or even fairly.

COOPER: I think you are the first soccer star I have interviewed male or female. So that says something in the fact that you are here right now.

RAPINOE: There you go, exactly.

So, and I think, for us, honestly, we don't want to have this huge public nasty fight. It's not really in the best interest for anyone. We would much prefer having a collaborative approach with FIFA, with the federation, how can we move this forward? How can we go to the next step to create a world that is equal and fair? And -- yes, it's just equal and fair for everyone, and then we can have the conversation like 500 years down the road when everything has caught up.


More of Megan Rapinoe after this. We're going to discuss her activism, why she's also in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, and this.


RAPINOE: Not going to the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) White House. No. I'm not going to the White House. We're not going to be invited.

REPORTER: You're not going to be invited?

RAPINOE: I doubt it.



[20:30:09] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're spending a lot of time tonight talking with World Cup champion, Megan Rapinoe. She's known for running a defender, and as we showed you before the break, for commending a stage both during a match and after it as well. Megan is back.

I want to play something your coach, Jill Ellis, said after the win on Sunday. Well, I think you were, like being drug tested or something, which was totally random. Yes.

MEGAN RAPINOE, CO-CAPTAIN, U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: I did. I got drug tested. It's terrible.

COOPER: Which -- she was talking and apparently you walked in the room and said something like, "I killed that drug test" or --

RAPINOE: I did. I killed it. I killed it. COOPER: You killed it.

RAPINOE: I've peed in like five minutes, not even. I knew as soon as the game was over and then obviously there's a long time. So, I drink a lot of water, got my blood drawn, done and dusted.

COOPER: All right, done and dusted. So this is what your coach said after (ph) the game.


JILL ELLIS, U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM COACH: You know, Megan was built for this, built for these moments, built to be a spokesperson for others.


COOPER: Do you feel like -- I mean, do you feel like you are totally in the zone -- like this is the prime, you're in the zone and this was a moment that you knew you could command?

RAPINOE: I don't think about it in that way. I think my personality just lends to this and it's this incredible, you know, kind of coming together of, you know, obviously the on field play, the activism now taken and just the personality that I have.

I don't know what my parents were doing when they raised me, but they're like, "Oh, my god, what happened? This is crazy." Why -- my mom is like, "Why do you always have to take it all on?" And I'm like, "I don't know, it just feels normal and natural to me."

COOPER: So speaking of that, 2016 was when you knelt during the playing of the national anthem before a game in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. You wrote an essay called "Why I Am Kneeling." And I just want to read part of it.

You said, "It's because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen demonstrate in this way. When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country's ultimate symbol of freedom, because I believe it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country."

And then at another point you said in a tweet, "Being a gay American I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties." People still do not understand and criticize you for bringing -- one person, (INAUDIBLE), bringing politics into the game for, you know, disrespecting the flag, the anthem, the country. That is what their criticism is.

RAPINOE: Yes, it's very much is that. I don't fully understand it either because I think that taking care of others, standing up for yourself and other people, if they don't have the ability to do so is very uniquely American. I think everybody in America would say that. And I think we have a rich history and a pride in saying that in those words and oftentimes in doing that in the world. I don't think anybody can deny the horrors of racism in Jim Crow and mass incarceration and, you know, what's happening on the southern border and gay rights and, you know, women's rights. It's like I don't quite understand, you know, sort of where the miss is because I think a lot of the people that disagree with me would benefit greatly from a world that is better for everyone.

COOPER: You do not see it as disrespecting the flag or the anthem?

RAPINOE: I do not, no. I think that protest is not comfortable ever. It's going to make people uncomfortable. It's going to, you know, force people to look inwards and question, you know, everything they thought that they knew.

It's not convenient. It doesn't feel good really for anyone. Even in those moments, kneeling, those were, you know, some of the most crazy personal moments that I've ever had, but that's what it takes, progress is hard.

COOPER: Those -- the moments kneeling were difficult for you?

RAPINOE: Yes, it was. It was this heavy.

COOPER: Why, because people's reaction or?

RAPINOE: A little bit, yes. Obviously knowing -- you know, especially after the first time that I did it, you know, knowing how angry people were, but it also -- it was difficult and heavy, but I have this immense sense of pride and responsibility in doing that. So I think that's where the strength of doing it a number of times came from.

COOPER: I think I read something you said, I don't have it in front of me, but about being an ally, that being an ally on issues you care about is -- shouldn't feel comfortable. That it should feel --


COOPER: It shouldn't -- if it's easy, everyone would do it.

RAPINOE: Exactly. I think it's supposed to be really uncomfortable. I think the whole point is to put yourself in someone else's shoes or try to or at least just say, "I don't totally understand, but I believe you."

[20:35:06] I think when people, you know, don't take the path of allyship, they're kind of saying that they don't believe what the other person is going through. And I know for myself before the kneeling asking people to, you know, to respect me and my life and the way that I was born and I don't need you to fully understand it, you never could.

But if you don't allow me that space to live, you're kind of saying what I'm saying is lying. And I feel like -- especially with the, you know, police brutality and racial injustice, if you're not down with it, you're kind of disregarding those people's experiences in this world.

COOPER: The U.S. Soccer Federation then passed a rule out not allowing players to kneel. You don't sing the national anthem. You don't put your hand over your heart. If that rule was not in place, would you have kneeled during the World Cup?

RAPINOE: I don't know. Yes, I mean -- I don't know how long the protest would have gone. I don't know how long it would have needed to go. Obviously Kaep (ph), you know, knelt the whole time that he was in the NFL and he's not in the NFL --


COOPER: Can you see a day where you don't -- where you do put your hand over your heart and sing the national anthem?

RAPINOE: Yes, I'm very hopeful for that, absolutely. I mean, I think it's going to take a lot of years and a tremendous amount of work by this country, but I'm absolutely hopeful for that. I think that --

COOPER: But not until there is significant --

RAPINOE: Significant, yes.

COOPER: -- change on the issues that -- on racism and all sorts of issues?

RAPINOE: Yes, yes. It's going to take a tremendous amount and maybe we -- you know, maybe in my lifetime, likely in my lifetime we don't get there, but that hope still persists and I think that if we're not striving for that, then we're sort of just in this dead space.

COOPER: If anything I ask you too personal, please just tell me. But, was coming out to your friends and your family, was that a difficult process for you? Because I understand that you came out during -- in college to friends and family publicly later on. But to friends and family, was that a difficult process for you? Was it being a teenager -- was that difficult knowing you had those feelings?

RAPINOE: It wasn't difficult for me in the moment. I didn't realize it until I got to college. And then as soon as I realized it, looking back on my teenagers, I was like, oh, my god.

COPER: Oh, you didn't realize when you were a teenager?

RAPINOE: I didn't.


RAPINOE: It was kind of shocking. I was like I'm a little embarrassed by this. And I was like, "Mom, really?" Like, "What, we're surprised about this?" The teenagers were a little hard, because I was like --

COOPER: I knew it when I was 6. How can you not know when you're teenager? RAPINOE: I know. I know. It's so embarrassing, actually, because I'm just very gay. But, I don't know how it happened but --

COOPER: Thank goodness.

RAPINOE: -- as soon as it clicked, I was like, she has arrived. She's here. Her life is beginning. So it really was not a difficult process in that way.

COOPER: Was it like, oh, this -- oh, I get it now, like it all makes sense.

RAPINOE: Yes. I was like, why didn't anyone tell me. I was actually upset. I'm like, just someone should have told me.

COOPER: But I mean, did you not -- you knew about gay people?

RAPINOE: Yes, totally. I did. I know. It's like --


RAPINOE: It was -- I couldn't see the forest through the trees. It was crazy. It's embarrassing.



COOPER: This is the funniest thing I've heard.

RAPINOE: Shocking, I know.

COOPER: Shocking.

RAPINOE: It's really shocking.

COOPER: The -- let's see. Where do I want to go after that?

RAPINOE: Yes, I know.

COOPER: That caught me by surprise. But do you -- but being a gay American and having a partner, your partner, Sue, is a very accomplished basketball player. Do you think it does make you look at society in a different way? I've always felt it's made me a better reporter. It's made me an observer or at least growing up feeling like an outsider and observer of things sometimes more than a participant.

RAPINOE: Absolutely. I think that it's shaped my entire world view. My twin sister actually is gay as well and she actually had a very difficult time sort of coming to terms with it herself and obviously a lot of friends that I know and just people that I know and know how much struggle there is and just in my own life.

I'm not -- I feel like I'm not affected by homophobia that much because I'm like, whatever. But it's there and, you know, I feel it in this part of, you know, my every day life and I feel like just having that perspective of not being exactly like everyone else just gives you this boost of empathy and I'm so thankful for that.

I don't know what it would be like if I didn't have that, but I just feel like it puts me in this position to trust and understand and believe people that they're going through whatever they say that they're going through.

COOPER: I agree with you on the empathy thing. I think it is.

RAPINOE: It's huge.

COOPER: Otherwise, I feel like I would be, you know -- I mean, I'm privileged in many ways, but at least it's allowed me something -- a different way of seeing things, which I think has been very beneficial.

Do -- I need to ask you about the President's stuff. So, when -- OK. I just want to play this one (ph) that sort of started all of this in the public mind about the White House thing.

[20:40:03] RAPINOE: OK.


RAPINOE: I'm not going to the (INAUDIBLE) White House. No, I'm not going to the White House. We're not going to be invited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to be invited?

RAPINOE: I doubt it.


COOPER: So that was actually shot awhile ago, I understand. It was just released at that time. It was shot by some crew. Did you know that it would cause a kerfuffle?

RAPINOE: No, I did not know that. And everyone that knows me knows that I use the F word very too much.

COOPER: You had -- you've apologized for cursing in that --


COOPER: -- not for the statement itself.

RAPINOE: Not for the statement, yes. I used it way too much and way too loosely. But, no, I didn't realize that. It was more -- obviously it was at a -- I think our jersey unveil for the (INAUDIBLE) leading into the World Cup and I was kind of in a passing moment. But, I mean, I meant with all the inflection and all of the sort of attitude that I gave with it. I meant all of it and every word of it.

COOPER: So now if you the -- I mean, as far as we know, as far as I know, there is not an invitation from the President to the White House. He had said later on -- well, you know, he'd criticized you, but said that win or lose that he'd said that you should win before you talk, and that win or lose your team would be invited. There hasn't been an invitation publicly yet. Would you go? Would your teammates go?

RAPINOE: I would not go and every teammate that I've talked to basically about it would not go.

COOPER: Everyone that you've talked to?

RAPINOE: Everyone that I've talked to, yes. I don't think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we've worked so hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life, I don't think that we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration.

COOPER: And going to the White House would be, in your opinion, risk co-opting or corrupting your message?

RAPINOE: Yes, I think so. I think it's an opportunity for this administration to sort of put us on display as their, you know, sort of guest for the day and I don't think that that makes sense for us at all. I can't imagine anyone of my teammates would want to be put in that position.

There's so many other people that I would rather talk to and have, you know, meaningful conversations that could really affect change in Washington than going to the White House.

COOPER: There's a good chance the President is watching this interview or will watch this interview. What is your message to the President?

RAPINOE: Message to the President. I think that I would say that your message is excluding people. You're excluding me. You're excluding people that look like me. You're excluding people of color. You're excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.

I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you're saying about make America great again. I think that you're harking back to an era that was not great for everyone.

It might have been great for a few people and maybe America is great for a few people right now, but it's not great for enough Americans in this world and I think that we have a responsibility, each and everyone of us, you have an incredible responsibility as, you know, the chief of this country to take care of every single person and you need to do better for everyone.

COOPER: The idea of make America great again if it means going back to an America from the '40s or '50s, that's an America where you could be imprisoned for being gay or you could be sent by your family to a mental hospital where you could not walk down the street holding hands with your loved one or I could not walk down the street or go dancing or anything.


COOPER: It's interesting how different people view things through a very personal lens and as you said, maybe don't walk in the shoes of other people who, you know, did not have rights in a past policy on America.

RAPINOE: Yes, it was not a great place for a lot of people. It was very oppressive place and that's not to say that it was the worst place in the world. I think that's one of the things that a lot of people go to.

No one is saying that they want to leave America, but I think as one of the great countries in the world and for sure we want to see ourselves as that, we need to constantly look within and challenge ourselves to be better so everyone else can be better around us.

COOPER: Do you -- I know you've been invited by I think Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I think Nancy Pelosi.

RAPINOE: Shout out AOC.

COOPER: So, is that mean -- is that an invitation you're taking up? Nancy Pelosi has said, you know, you'd be welcome to a bipartisan congressional thing. Do you plan in going to Washington in one way or another?

RAPINOE: Yes, definitely. And I think even there's no conversation with the teammates that I've had, I think everyone is interested in going to Washington. I think we've always been interested in going to Washington.

This is such a special moment for us and to be able to, you know, sort of leverage this moment and talk about the things that we want to talk about and to celebrate like this with the leaders of our country is an incredible moment.

[20:45:11] So, yes to AOC. Yes to Nancy Pelosi. Yes to the bipartisan Congress. Yes to Chuck Schumer. Yes to anyone else that wants to invite us and have a real substantive conversation and that believe in the same things that we believe in.

COOPER: By the way, before you came out, you probably didn't hear Bernie Sanders said that you should get equal pay and he want to meet (ph).

RAPINOE: Thank you, Bernie.

COOPER: It's particularly to say hello to you. Just very quickly, a couple of things, and again, if this is too personal, you have -- you tweeted -- your brother tweeted you, you tweeted your brother. He was -- my understanding is he's the person who got you into soccer when you were a little kid, that you really look up to him.


COOPER: He's obviously -- and it's been public, he's had troubles. He's been in and out of prisons and problems with drugs. He was saying how you were his hero. That you always looked up to him and now he looks up to you and that your protest helped him and sort of empowered him.

RAPINOE: Yes. You're going to make me emotional. Yes, he definitely is someone that is very special to me and, you know, I've just seen firsthand, you know, how the sort of prison system has, you know, ruined his life in a lot of ways. At least ruined the first, you know, 38 or -- let's see 39 now, 39 years of his life.

So to be able to share this moment with him and have him be out and doing well is just, yes, it sort of means the world to me. We've had a lot of conversations since he's been out. Our relationship -- we've always been close. It's been sort of up and down over the years.

But I think he sort of had a kind of come to Jesus moment about his life. Like what is he doing? These allegiances or alliances he had in prison, what does that mean? What kind of life is he living? What kind of, you know, legacy does he want to leave as a person? Or what kind of impact does he want to have as a person?

I just feel like probably, you know, seeing me and having all these other people come up to him and say the things that they were, maybe good and bad in prison, I think it just brought this new perspective to his life of like I don't care if I'm, you know, nobody. I still have a life. I can have an impact and I can be better and right now like my life is just -- I'm not doing anything good with it and that's just not someone that I want to be.

COOPER: Just final question, I'm not going to ask you how long you're going to play soccer for, because I don't want to be ageous (ph) and I think you're such a bad ass, you can play for as long as you want as far as I can tell. But I was reading -- and I know nothing about sports by the way. But I was reading -- I read a lot about it to try to understand. I didn't, you know, say that you made a homerun or anything.

RAPINOE: You basically did, though. You basically did. I basically hit it out of the park, pretty much. She hit a grand slam. 3 COOPER: Yes.


COOPER: OK. You can just drop the mic right now and just walk off if you want. I understand that there's never been a World Cup team that won and then went to the Olympics and back to back years and won. Are you aiming for 2020 Olympics?

RAPINOE: Yes, definitely.

COOPER: Definitely?

RAPINOE: Definitely. And it's in Japan. It's going to be incredible. I love everything about Japanese culture.


RAPINOE: I think it's going to be an amazing Olympics. Hopefully I'm lucky enough to be part of it. Obviously our last performance in the Olympics was --

COOPER: But you have your eyes on that?

RAPINOE: Yes, for sure.


RAPINOE: Absolutely.

COOPER: Wow. It's such a pleasure to talk to you.

RAPINOE: Thank you.

COOPER: Yes. I feel like -- yes, everyone wants to hang out with you. I wish I could just like --

RAPINOE: Yes. We can hang. I'll be back in New York next week.

COOPER: OK, cool. I'd like that. That would be fun.

RAPINOE: Yes. I'll be back.

COOPER: All right, Megan Rapinoe, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


[20:52:37] COOPER: It's been quite a night. Chris is here to talk about what he's got coming up on "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Loved the interview that you had on tonight with --

COOPER: I mean, she -- I could talk to her for like -- for long. She's very easy to talk to.

CUOMO: The best of us. Forget about politics. She's the best of us and she put the country on top in a way that really matter to all of us. Awesome.

COOPER: She also just like -- she just did it, like as she said.

CUOMO: She's the real deal.


CUOMO: You know, the greatest in their own areas or genres. It always is something that they're not surprised happens for them. You know what I mean?


CUOMO: And she's done it so much, loved it. Great get, great for the audience. Thank you for letting me watch that.

We have tonight the acting secretary of DHS. They've got new numbers about how many people are being held, how many kids, and what their conditions are, and what is the deal with accountability.

And let's just get to the main point, hopefully tonight we'll get some clarity. When do we get our cameras in there? When do we get to see what's going on? Enough with the anecdotes and the politics, let people see what the hell is going on. So, we have him on at the top.

And then we have Rosie O'Donnell on the show. Not here just to bash Trump. I think she and he have done enough of that in their lifetime, but I want to talk to her about whether or not she thinks her party can beat this President. Who and how? And she wants to get involved with the border as well. She's got a big event that she's going to be a part of this Friday, we'll talk about that.

COOPER: All right, Chris, a lot to look forward to. That's about 6 minutes from now. I'll see you then.

Coming up next, long before President Trump, the first billionaire to run for president, and long before Elizabeth Warren, the first candidate with a plan for just about everything, how Ross Perot changed presidential politics when we continue.


[20:57:15] COOPER: If you're looking for a precursor for better or worse, the 2016 election and Donald Trump phenomenon, the place to look is on television, especially CNN back in 1992.

There you'd find it colorful, very fast-talking Texan, sometimes with his own charge, saying things like if you see a snake, just kill it. Don't appoint a committee on snakes. That Texan was billionaire, former Eagle Scout and IBM salesman named H for Henry Ross Perot.

Well, Ross Perot died today of leukemia. He was 89 years old. He made a huge mark in this world and he leaves a big void and (INAUDIBLE). He lived a life in politics like no other.


ROSS PEROT, SALESMAN AT IBM: If you're that serious, you, the people, are that serious, you register me in 50 states.

COOPER (voice-over): He was by far the most consequential third party presidential candidate in modern U.S. history, the original made for T.V. billionaire with White House ambitions.

PEROT: Number one, I will not run as either a Democrat or Republican because I will not sell out to anybody but to the American people, and I will sell out to them.

How are you?

COOPER: The year was 1992 and incumbent president and fellow Texan George H.W. Bush was besieged by critics, both liberal and conservative. Perot, an Eagle Scout, turned Navy veteran, turned electronics tycoon, saw an opening and leveraged T.V. appearances into one of the boldest political gambits the country had seen. His profile skyrocketed and Perot would ultimately spend $65 million of his own money on his candidacy, including sitcom size commercials on network television.

PEROT: Since we're dealing with voodoo economics, a great young lady from Louisiana sent me this voodoo stick and I will use it as my pointer tonight. And certainly it's appropriate because as you and I know, we are in deep voodoo.

COOPER: And when he wasn't on the debate stage or giving interviews, Dana Carvey at "Saturday Night Live" had him covered.

DANA CARVEY, COMEDIAN: OK, here's the deal on my ears, large oversized lobes, filled with wax and covered with thousands of spiky hairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the ballot.

PEROT: Thank you very much.

COOPER: In the end, Perot received nearly 19 percent of the electoral vote in 1992. And while a statement today from the Bush family told him as a strong patriot, the wounds of the campaign were long- standing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he cost me the election and I don't like him.

COOPER: Perot ran again for President in 1996, though he didn't fair as well as he had four years before. He largely faded from public life and by all accounts was devoted to his family, business and philanthropy. When he died, his political legacy was as relevant as ever. Ross Perot showed that in politics anything is possible. Ross Perot was 89 years old.


COOPER: And he definitely made his mark. The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time."