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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Officials: Senior Russian Officials Celebrated Trump Win; Officials: U.S. Identifies Go-Betweens Who Gave Emails to WikiLeaks; Officials: Intercepted Russian Messages Helped Shape U.S. Intel Assessment. Aired 8-8:30p ET

Aired January 5, 2017 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, on top of breaking news on federal health care money that millions of women benefit from, there's a whole new string of developments and breaking news in the election hacking story. Top intelligence officials testified on Capitol Hill today, you may have seen some of that, President Obama got briefed as well. President- elect Trump gets his briefing tomorrow.

There is breaking news tonight on Russian officials celebrating his election victory and late today, we got another key piece of the puzzle on how investigators believe hacked files from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta got to WikiLeaks. Also, how WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could claim plausibly, but apparently disingenuously, that they did not come from Russian government sources.

CNN's Pamela Brown is working that angle. She joins us now.

What are you learning, so far?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, we've learned tonight, Anderson, the comprehensive report includes intelligence gathered after the election, bolstering the view Russia was behind the hacks and did so in part to help Donald Trump. Included in that new information were intercepted conversations of Russian officials expressing happiness at Trump's win. One official I spoke to described them as congratulatory conversations.

This goes beyond the video that you may recall after the election where you saw government officials in Moscow toasting over champagne. These were actually intercepted conversations, Anderson, and this contributed to this assessment, but which was just one of multimillion indicators we're told to give officials the high confidence about both Russia's involvement and Russia's intention.

You heard today from DNI Chief James Clapper who said multiple motivations will be included in the publicly released report on Monday and also included in that report that was briefed to the president today, Anderson, the identifications of the go betweens the Russians used to provide the stolen e-mails to WikiLeaks.

COOPER: Just to be clear on the congratulatory messages, there was no smoking gun in any of these messages, saying, "Oh, our hacking worked" or something.

BROWN: Right. What we're told from our sources is that while they took on a congratulatory tone, they were happy, they were celebrating, there's no smoking gun where someone is definitively saying, yes, here's exactly what we did, here's how we did it. We helped Donald Trump win.

COOPER: And these go-betweens are, in fact, third parties that somehow get information from Russia to WikiLeaks, allegedly?

BROWN: Right. So, you'll recall the WikiLeaks founder this week, Julian Assange, confirming that the Russian government never gave him the -- never gave WikiLeaks, I should say, the stolen documents. But the way Russia works in covert operations like this would be to have people do the work for them, not connected to the government.

So, these are go-between people. They're also called cutouts. That way the Russian government can have plausible deniability. And as we know, even today, Anderson, the Russian government is strongly denying any involvement in the hacks.

COOPER: All right. Pam Brown, I appreciate the update.

Now, today, a Capitol Hill hearing that at times appeared to be directed at the president-elect. The country's top intelligence officials appearing before the Senate armed services committee. Tomorrow they'll brief President-elect Donald Trump who, as you know, has consistently downplayed their assessment on the hacking and disparaged them.

Today, they gave a strongly worded preview. More now from our Manu Raju.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): The nation's top intelligence officials have no doubt that Russia interfered with the election.

JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think we've ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process than we've seen in this case.

RAJU: In the nearly three hours' Senate hearing, the officials confirmed their October assessment that Russia's senior most officials authorized a cyber attack against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign -- an assessment President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly dismissed.

CLAPPER: We stand actually more resolutely on the strength of that statement that we made on the 7th of October.

RAJU: And they made it clear who is to blame.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You say you think this was approved at the highest level of government in Russia. Generally speaking, is that right?

CLAPPER: That's what we said.

GRAHAM: OK. Who's the highest level of government?

CLAPPER: Well, the highest is President Putin.

GRAHAM: Do you think a lot happens in Russia big that he doesn't know about?

CLAPPER: Not very many.

GRAHAM: Yes, I don't think --

CLAPPER: Certainly, none that are politically sensitive in another country.

GRAHAM: The testimony amounted to an implicit rebuke of Trump, who has repeatedly slammed the intelligence community, praised Putin, and downplayed Russia's role in the election.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Who benefits from a president- elect trashing the intelligence community? Who benefits from that, Director Clapper? The American people, them losing confidence in the intelligence community and the work of the intelligence community?

CLAPPER: I think there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism, which policymakers, to include policymaker number one, should always have for intelligence.

[20:05:06] But I think there's a difference between skepticism and disparagement.

RAJU: And Senator John McCain pushed back on Trump for relying on the word of WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, who said Russia had no role in his group's public release of thousands of internal Democratic e- mails.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The name Mr. Assange has popped up, and I believe that he is one who's responsible for publishing names of individuals that work for us that put their lives in direct danger. Is that correct?

CLAPPER: Yes. He has.

MCCAIN: And do you think that there's any credibility we should attach to this individual given his record of --

CLAPPER: Not in my view.

MCCAIN: Not in your view.

Admiral Rogers?

ADM. MIKE ROGERS, NSA DIRECTOR: I second those comments.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Manu Raju joins us now from Capitol Hill.

I understand that Senator McCain had other things -- said other things about President-elect Trump today.

RAJU: Yes, that's right. I got a chance to ask him specifically, what do you hope that President-elect Trump took away from these hearings? He said, well, I hope he trusts the intelligence community. While they may not get everything right, and this specific instance, they should -- he should listen to them because they are not wrong.

He also said, Anderson, that he wants to push very hard for stiffer sanctions on Russia. I said, are you confident Donald Trump will support that? He said, "I'm not confident about that at all. I have no way of knowing that." He also called the cyber attack an act of war, Anderson.

But in one potentially piece of good news for Donald Trump, he also signaled an interest and potential support for Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state nominee. He expressed reservations in the past about Tillerson's coziness and relationship with Putin. He had a conversation with him. He feels a little bit better with him. Still has some concerns, but a little better could potentially vote for him.

So, that was a positive development in his direction. But other than that, critical about hoping that Donald Trump accepts what the intelligence community is saying loud and clear, Anderson.

COOPER: Manu Raju, appreciate that.

The president-elect just let loose with several tweets on the hacking. And earlier tonight, some reaction, though, to his use of Twitter from Vice President Biden on the "PBS NewsHour".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS NEWSHOUR: The tweets. Just today, he called the Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer the head clown. Last week, he said, he said just -- he -- "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition. NOT" in all caps.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Grow up, Donald. Grow up. Time to be an adult. You're president.

You've got to do something. Show us what you have. You're going to propose legislation. We're going to get to debate it.

Let the public decide. Let them vote in Congress. Let's see what happens. It's going to be much clearer what he's for and against and what we're

for and against now that it's going to get down to actually discussing in detail these issues that affect people's lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, whatever he chooses to make of that advice, he's about to get a grown-up briefing from the heads of the CIA, FBI, and Director of National Intelligence.

CNN's Jim Acosta has details on that and the late tweets, and joins us now from Trump Tower.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

COOPER: So, first of all, tweets from to Trump tonight, what does he say?

ACOSTA: Right, Anderson. Despite that admonishment from the vice president, there are more tweets tonight from Donald Trump and he is going right after this intelligence that is being released by the intelligence community, saying that Russia was behind that hacking in the election last November.

Let's put those tweets on screen. Donald Trump is tweeting, "The Democratic National Committee would not allow the FBI to study or see its computer info after it was supposedly hacked by Russia. So, how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?"

That's actually a little bit inaccurate, Anderson. From what we understand, our reporting from Evan Perez shows that the FBI was actually rebuffed by the Democratic National Committee when they were seeking to look at those computer servers. And so, it appears that the president-elect is sort of behind the news cycle a little bit in terms of what the intelligence community is sharing with members of the news media.

We should also point out that Donald Trump has also tweeted his displeasure with some of those leaks from the intelligence community to various news outlets. And he is suggesting once again that members of the intelligence community are behind some kind of political smear to delegitimize his election victory.

COOPER: The hearing today, as much of it was about the hacking itself, a lot was a repudiation of Donald Trump's comments about the hacking.

ACOSTA: They were. At the start of this hearing, John McCain asked the Director of National Intelligence on his way out, James Clapper, whether he puts any credibility in Julian Assange.

[20:10:03] Remember, Julian Assange was cited by Donald Trump yesterday in a tweet, you know, casting doubt on the intelligence community assessment that Russia was behind the hacking. And John McCain asked Jim Clapper whether he put any credibility on Julian Assange and James Clapper said very honestly, no, he did not. And he was backed by other intelligence community leaders at that table in that hearing room.

We should also point out, as Manu played in that story, the Director of National Intelligence went as far as to say he doesn't mind a healthy skepticism, you hear that all the time from transition officials, the president-elect is just showing a healthy skepticism. He says he has a problem with disparaging intelligence community officers who are in the field -- intelligence community professionals who are doing this very hard and sometimes dangerous work.

That is an extraordinary comment to come from an intelligence community leader directed at an incoming president, Anderson.

COOPER: And as we reported, tomorrow is day he's going to receive his briefing on all this. Do we know when and where that's going to happen?

ACOSTA: It's going to be here at Trump Tower, and we don't have a specific time yet, but we should also point out, Donald Trump is adding somebody to his national security team. We reported earlier today that the retired Indiana Senator Dan Coats is going to be his director of national intelligence.

It's an interesting move, Anderson, because it's an institutional pick. It's one that has been greeted by senators like John McCain with some positive comments. That could go a long way in easing some of these tensions between the president-elect and the intelligence community.

But this is an unprecedented situation where we are where you have the president-elect and the intelligence community really just going after each other and they did it again today -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, appreciate the reporting.

Coming up next, what our panel makes of the hearings, the testimony that Russia's senior most officials approved the hacking and how the president-elect might perceive from here.

Later, the beating of a mentally disabled man, his connection with the suspects, and the charges they are facing.

Also breaking tonight, President Obama speaking out on the incident. That, when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:15:03] COOPER: Joe Biden tells Donald Trump in so many words, "grow up". Today, America's top intelligence officials, all but told him, get real. They'll have their chance in person tomorrow.

Right now, our panel of grown-ups will get real on what we saw today and what we might see tomorrow or hear tomorrow.

Democrat strategist Paul "Big white pants" Begala, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, former Georgia Republican Congressman Jack Kingston, former senior Obama adviser Van Jones, also Trump supporter and contributor to "The Hill, Kayleigh McEnany, and CNN political analyst, Kirsten Powers.

Gloria, first of all, just -- I mean, we're -- this is again in unchartered waters. Unprecedented to see the president-elect openly in tweets disparaging the intelligence community, essentially siding with Julian Assange or at least quoting Julian Assange, which is something Republicans years ago were calling for Julian Assange's head. I mean, this is surreal.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And so was Donald Trump, actually, himself doing that.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: This is -- it's a bit surreal. I mean, we're in a situation where you have a president-elect who's on a collision course with his own intelligence community upon which he's going to have to rely to make decisions about our national security. And on a collision course with senior Republicans in Congress who believe the hacking was real and who want to establish very serious sanctions against Russia. Lindsey Graham said he wants to throw not a pebble at Russia as Barack Obama did, but a rock at Russia, in response to this hacking.

And Donald Trump is saying, prove it to me, still. Prove it to me. Why should I believe it?

I believe his problem is that he believes this is all questioning the legitimacy of his presidency. If I were going in there to brief him tomorrow, I would say to those intelligence folks, put on your political hat and say, nobody is questioning your legitimacy. What we are talking about Russian intent to influence this election on your behalf.

COOPER: Paul, Trump supporters, and we have a number who will hear from, but Trump supporters in the past couple days have said, look, there's nothing wrong with pushing back on the intelligence community.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: In fact, that skepticism is healthy and, you know, making them scrub the intelligence -- look at it twice and three times and look at it hard, nothing wrong with that. That keeps people on their toes.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There would be nothing wrong with that if that's what President-elect Trump were doing. He is not.

This is -- he is legitimating this process of transition in 15 days when he's sworn it. It's the ultimate legitimization. He will be our president. But it's not normal and we will not normalize him on my side of the aisle, by which I mean, it's job of the president to defend America against hostile foreign powers that seek to attack us.

This president is defending the hostile foreign powers and attacking those who have devoted their lives to trying to protect us. At the hearing today, you had three men combined over 100 years experience trying to protect your country. And being disparaged by the person who in a few days will be the most important client of their intel. It is without precedent.

COOPER: Congressman Kingston, do you see Donald Trump as disparaging the intelligence community?

JACK KINGSTON (R-GA), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: No. I think it's a healthy process. And I've got to tell you, I've sat through classified briefings many, many times, and I have respect for them, but they are not the gold standards of purity and the gold standard of -- you know, they're not above politics. In this case for the intelligence community to be talking to the press in my opinion is outrageous, whether they're doing it out the back door or whether they're doing it officially.

The FBI and the CIA has not been on the same page. The FBI has driven the Democratic Party up the wall and I think we would agree, Paul, that the FBI probably contributed toward Hillary Clinton's lack of majority votes as much as anything. They mishandled that. And now, you know, the FBI is being coddled like they're the greatest in the world.

BORGER: But Clapper today said that there was general agreement and that he was more sure about their response to this, about what --

KINGSTON: Why is Clapper talking to the press?

BORGER: He's talking to Congress.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: But I mean, in general, remember, three weeks ago they would not go to the house intelligence community -- committee because they said, we weren't ready to give our report. And yet, we've heard from the press, from the intelligence community for the last three weeks all kinds of things and remember --

COOPER: But there are leaks all the time from all sectors of government for decades.

KINGSTON: The level of discussion, the level of public debate being promoted by the intelligence community is unprecedented.

COOPER: OK. Van, is it unprecedented? Is this an intelligence community trying to delegitimize Donald Trump?

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, I don't think so. I think this is a big problem for the president long term. We want a president who is strong for America, not weak for Russia. That splits his own base if he continues down this pathway.

[20:20:02] I think people have forgotten the real danger here of Putin. Putin is not just a butcher at home. Putin is a major force against our interests in the Middle East, and he has been stirring the pot. He could create a situation in the Middle East where American influence continues to go down, which I think most Republicans don't want to happen, and at some point, he's got to be called to task by his own party.

So, this is -- I -- we've -- I love what you said, we don't want to normalize this. The worst thing that could happen is we start adapting to absurdity. It is absurd for a president-elect to talk this much, period, ordinarily you're supposed to be quiet, do your transition, and let's have one president at a time. The fact that we're having this much discussion about anything is very, very unusual and dangerous.

COOPER: For Donald Trump, Democrats point to and the intelligence community clearly views as a form of disparagement, he tweets out the word intelligence in quotes, talking about the intelligence community, Russian hacking in quotes, does that raise any questions to you?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Sure. He's toeing a fine line. You know, Mike Rogers was on yesterday, former chairman of the Intel Committee, and he said yesterday, I don't feel he's disparaged the intelligence community yet, but he is walking a very thin line of doing so.

And I think he would be wise to take the approach Senator Tom Cotton, a staunch ally of Trump, took today. He began his questioning of the intel community by first saying, "I respect you guys, you guys are heroes, I want you to know that from the outset." And then he proceeded to grill them with tough questions, not about whether Russia did this. I think it's indisputable at this point that Russia did this.

But he pressed the intelligence community on the motive aspect of this. And I think that is the approach the president-elect should take. He should really do what Tom Cotton did today.

COOPER: Which Clapper, by the way, said that they will be talking about motive in the final report that the president --

KRISTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: To me, what he's been doing strikes me as disparagement, I think. And I think Clapper said that today basically. There's a difference between being skeptical and being disparaging.

And I think when you're calling them into question, when you're putting intelligence in quotes, when you're suggesting they haven't briefed you yet because they're trying to build a case, you know, that they have some sort of preordained point of view that they can't back up -- that seems disparaging.

So, it's not that there aren't, you know, to your point, there aren't problems that should be addressed. It's just, how do you address them? And typically, you would do that behind-the-scenes. You wouldn't humiliate the people who are giving you the intelligence. You would behind the scenes try to reform it.

BORGER: I think humiliate is the right word because I think what there's been from the incoming commander-in-chief is really a lack of respect for the work that these people do. And we all know they're not always right. We remember WMD. We remember the mistakes.

So, good, ask the questions, be tough, be probing, get your daily briefs and ask questions during those daily briefs as presidents do. And use that as a kind of a way to challenge intelligence on a daily basis. But don't draw conclusions first.

COOPER: Do you find it odd, this sort of embrace of Julian Assange, or sort of the turnaround in your opinion, some Republicans --

KINGSTON: I do but --

JONES: Even you smile. Look at that smile.

KINGSTON: I think this has boiled down to now it's become a political issue. It was an intel issue but now it's become politics. What it looks like to the folks back home is, well, okay, Obama says he took care of it in October or knew about it, but he didn't do anything about it.

And then in the wake of the election, you had such controversies and such opportunities that the Democrats took to delegitimize the election. And now, this just seem seems like one more chapter of he's not my president, we're going to have riots and --

JONES: I understand, but --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Do you trust Julian Assange?

KINGSTON: I don't think and I don't think anybody does. I agree. Keep an eye on Russia. The infamous words of Ronald Reagan, trust but verify, in this case verify absolutely everything going forward, and any agreement. But still, this whole debate has become a political debate.

JONES: But it doesn't have to be. When you're the president-elect you shouldn't let it be.

You are correct, there are a bunch of Democrats that are throwing marbles on the stairs and banana peels on the sidewalk to stop Donald Trump and they'll say anything and do anything. That's true.

But he's the president-elect and he doesn't have to make that be more important than the country. And it's starting to feel like he can't make a distinction between supporting these protesters he doesn't like and defending America.

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: And you have to parse out, you know, Democrats are politicizing this. The intel community is not politicizing this.

I came on board when the FBI came on board. Jim Comey to me was very good in this election. He upset Democrats, upset Republicans, he did his job in the way I think he should have.

So, when he came on board, someone who I don't see as having any sort of political motive, I think you have to accept that because the 17 branches in the intelligence community, they're not trying to delegitimize the Trump election. Democrats are. And you have to be able to separate it.

COOPER: But, also, can't there be a middle road here, Kirsten, that you can agree that or believe that Russia was behind the hacking and it went to the highest levels of the government and that they released information selectively and they wanted to influence the election, and also believe that Donald Trump won legitimately and is the legitimate president?

[20:25:15] And that it's not -- it wasn't a hacking of the voting machines or anything like that, there's no evidence of that, Democrats early on raised all sorts of the specter of that, that did not occur as far as we know -- so, isn't there a middle ground here?

POWERS: I think so, but I'm not unsympathetic to Donald Trump's feeling in making that argument. It can be construed to mean he wouldn't have won had it not been for the involvement of the Russians, and I think he doesn't want to believe that. He wants to believe that he won this on his own merit and there wasn't any outside interference that caused it.

Now, the fact that I actually don't that was one of the major factors in the election, but perhaps he just doesn't want there to be any question.

JONES: Put the country first. How about that?

BORGER: This election being politicized, John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Republicans who agree about the Russian hack, they're not trying to politicize it. They're trying to get to the bottom of it. They're Republicans.

COOPER: Paul, let me go to you.

BEGALA: Trump knows that Putin and Comey swung the election to him. Not that they manipulated machines, I don't believe that at all, but those two issues. He knows that or he wouldn't be reacting the way he is. He knows that but for 80,000 votes spread across three states, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, he would be at Mar-a-Lago playing golf and Hillary Clinton would be dealing with the crises to come.

So, he's acting like he knows because he does.

COOPER: All right. I want to thank everybody on the panel.

We have more breaking news. Four African-American suspects are charged with hate crimes and kidnapping in the torture of a white special needs teenager that was live streamed over Facebook by the people doing it. How police say it all happened and what President Obama is saying about the video, when we continue. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN'S ANDERSON COOPER 360 ANCHOR: For breaking news tonight in Chicago, four African-American suspects facing hate crime and kidnapping charges in the torture of a mentally- challenged white teen.

As we first reported last night, the bloody beating was streamed on Facebook Live while it was happening. It went on for a long time.

Today, Chicago police called the attack sickening. President Obama, of course a Chicago native, has also weighed in on the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Listen, I came to Chicago in '85, you were there during "Council Wars", right? But I promise you, race relations haven't gotten worse. But what is true is that, in part, because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence, and so forth because of smartphones and the internet and the media, what we've seen is surfacing, I think a lot of the problems that have been there a long time. Whether it's tensions between police and communities, whether it's hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook, I take these things very seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: As for the video we warn you it is tough to watch. Ana Cabrera has the latest op t the investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to watch an 18-year- old with a mental disability tied up and cowering in the corner.

His attackers hit and kicked him, even cut his hair with a knife until his scalp starts to bleed.

The assault is streamed live on Facebook. A woman who's recording laughs, as the victim is tortured.

CMDR KEVIN DUFFIN, CHICAGO POLICE: It appears that he was in that physical position tied up in a corner for about four or five hours.

CABRERA: Two 18-year-old men and two women, one 18, the other 24, are now behind bars. The suspects are all African-American. The victim is white.

The video is full of racially charged epithets, just part of the reason police are calling this a hate crime.

DUFFIN: His diminished mental capacity, the fact that they tied him up, the obvious racial quotes and that they post live on Facebook, I mean, taking the totality of the circumstances, the state's attorney agreed with us. I mean, we sought hate crime charges.

CABRERA: And another disturbing detail. The victim and one of the suspects, Jordan Hill, were friends. In fact, the incident began days earlier at this McDonald's in the suburb of Streamwood, Illinois. The victim's mom dropped him off to meet up with Hill on New Year's Eve. But his parents called stream with police on Monday to file a missing person's report because they couldn't reach their son and he had been without his medication for days.

Police found the victim wandering this street on Tuesday. They say he was bloodied, battered, was wearing a tank top and shorts in freezing weather and he was too distraught they say to even speak.

Investigators say the assault happened about a block away, and the victim managed to escape when a neighbor interrupted the assault and called police.

SUPT. EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE: And thankfully the victim in this incident will recover from his injuries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Ana, what about motive and what have police saying about why all this happened?

CABRERA: Well, investigators believe it may have happened as a result of a playful fight that turned serious. They say based on their interviews with the victim and the suspects that they were hanging out for a couple of days, Hill and this victim, as friends, but then when they linked up with the group at the residence where the attack happened on Tuesday, that's where there was a fight or a confrontation that escalated.

Investigators say it was the women who then tied up the victim allegedly and then the rest of the four that we witnessed unfolded. But they do not believe assault was premeditated, Anderson.

COOPER: Ana Cabrera, I appreciate the update.

Joining me now, two of our legal analysts who are both Former Federal Prosecutors, Jeffrey Tobin and Laura Coates, also a former D.C. assisting U.S. Attorney for Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

Laura, I mean, it's obviously just sickening, unfathomable. And to broadcast it live on Facebook and have -- one of the women talking about why is she not getting enough lights while it's actually happening, it's insane.

[20:35:04] LAURA COATES, FORMER D.C. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, CIVIL RIGHTS DIV. OF THE JUSTICE DEPT: I mean it's so shocking to think that somebody would first do this and then try to, you know, tell the world that they've done it and almost, you know, glorify their actions. And from our human perspective, of course, you're horrified to see this. From a prosecutor's perspective as well, this is great evidence you need to use. It's very difficult in often times to prove hate crimes. You've got to prove bias and the motive and your intent here. Here it's very clear, it's in front of you, because you have this sort of lack of remorse, you have this very clear motive that actually put before us.

COOPER: And Jeff, the -- into hate crimes, it's not a separate category. I mean, its sort a bit -- it basically just adds to a criminal act, adds to a potential sentence, right?

JEFF TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Right. It's an enhancement. This would be a crime regardless of the racial or disability motive. So it's not like they would get away if they didn't also charge hate crimes. It is basically a judgment by the state legislature that says, look, we think that crimes motivated by bias are even worse than crimes that are motivated by jealousy or just anger or craziness. But it certainly will mean that these four are likely to get longer sentences than if this Facebook video did not exist.

COOPER: Laura, is this a slam-dunk? Or in based on what to you police and prosecutors have said?

COATES: I mean, well, from our own eyes, we're looking at it and saying we absolutely see a crime and there's a hate crime element to it. But there's a misconception, Anderson, people have when it comes to hate crimes. There is this misdirection or misbelief that you have to be a racial minority to be as a victim of that crime for it to really be a true slam-dunk.

And that although the theory behind and the acumen of legislation to protect racial minorities when there is a white victim, people have the misconception that it won't be as enforced as vigorously. But here --.

COOPER: Yes. You think jurors might not --.

COATES: Jurors might lead (ph).

COOPER: -- might view it differently than --

COATES: Yes.

COOPER: -- if the victim was African-American --

COATES: They might.

COOPER: -- and the torturers are white.

COATES: They might. But here of course we see a case where that obviously should not be the case and people should be as astounded and disgusted regardless who the victim is, because just because a legislation or law is meant to protect a particular group. It does not immunize that group from prosecution if they commit a crime.

COOPER: That the fact they're using, you know, racial terminology, they're talking about white people, Donald Trump --

COATES: Right.

COOPER: -- view him as a, you know, representing everybody who supported Donald Trump. Is that what is the clearest evidence to the hate crime? I mean --

COATES: Yes.

COOPER: -- otherwise it could -- Otherwise, Laura, it could just be an attack on, you know, somebody with mental impairment.

COATES: Yes, but, you know, the mental impairment also is a classification in Chicago for a hate crime, so the combination of both.

You know, people out there understand, to be a hate crime you need not have one singular motive. It could be also a non-bias related thing and you also have a hate element as well. So it could also be because of what his mental disability may be as well as his race, and the combination most assuredly is a hate crime.

COOPER: Jeff, this is so unique -- Go ahead, Jeff.

TOOBIN: Well, I was just going to say, you know, I don't think a jury is ever going to get this case. This case is going to be pled out. It is so horrific. Any defense lawyer is going to want to keep this from a jury. So I just think given the in evidence this case.

COOPER: What sort of punishment. I mean, if there's a plea bargain, what sort of punishment is it likely?

TOOBIN: Well, it is going to be many -- it is going to be a substantial number of years in prison. I think 10 is not out of the question. You know, fortunately the victim here survived and is not going to have permanent injuries, so it appears, so I think, you know, that will limit the punishment to a certain extent. But given the magnitude, given the publicity, given just how evil this crime is, you know, it could be as long as ten years.

COOPER: Right. We'll follow it closely no doubt. Jeff, thank you very much. Laura, thank you so much. Good to have you with us.

COATES: Thank you.

COOPER: Just to add more breaking news, House Speaker Paul Ryan says Republican lawmakers will defund Planned Parenthood, a group they've long-targeted because it provides abortion services. It also - as Donald Trump himself also pointed as during the election also provides millions of women with many other health care services. We'll talk about that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:41:47] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Breaking news tonight, they could affect lots of millions of women where the Republicans are planning to block all funding for Planned Parenthood. The money now pays for preventative care, birth control, pregnancy test and breast cancer screening and other women's health care services. It does not and by law, cannot, with some very narrow exceptions we should point out, fund abortions, however, because Planned Parenthood does offer abortion services.

Certainly Republican candidates and our Republican lawmakers have made defunding it a priority and now they can.

There's that and laid developments, too, on the fate of Obamacare and a new study just add suggesting that repealing it could jeopardize millions of jobs.

CNN Jeff Zeleny has the latest on all that joins us now.

Let's start with Planned Parenthood. Who's leading that charge and what's the impact? Because Donald Trump actually spoke favorably about some things about Planned Parenthood during the election obviously, not the abortion services.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He did, indeed, Anderson. That will be a clear test for him once he's President. But speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican congressional leaders have wanted to do this for a long time.

In 2015 they actually did, but President Obama vetoed this funding for Planned Parenthood, keeping it alive in the bill. If you'll remember back to that 16-day government shutdown in 2013, it was over funding Planned Parenthood and other things. But Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, said today that Republicans intend to defund that.

We're talking about $400 million or so. But this isn't about money, Anderson. It's about ideology. As you said, Planned Parenthood of course provides abortion services. Federal funding can't be used for that, but it is simply a statement they want to make.

But two key Republican senators to keep an eye on, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, they are both opposed to this. So Republicans would need to get them on board. So this will be one piece of the Obamacare fight playing out this year, Anderson.

COOPER: The democrats have obviously been critical. Republicans were not having a plan to replace Obamacare with if they repeal it. I understand there's one Republican senator who today said there won't be a comprehensive replacement.

ZELENY: He did and that is John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the senate, Republican of Texas, of course. He told CNN today that Republicans have no plans to replace the Affordable Care Act with a big health care bill.

He said instead they will do small bills piece by piece because they believe a big bill like the Affordable Care Act will collapse under its own weight here. So this is just one more piece of the puzzle here of the difficulty Republicans have unraveling this big bill. But if he gets his way, it will not be a big bill replacing it but a series of smaller bills which of course will not please many people here on the Capitol Hill.

COOPER: All right.

ZELENY: Yes.

COOPER: Thanks very much.

Back with the panel, first let's talk about Planned Parenthood. Kirsten, how do you think this plays for Republican voters and clearly for Democratic voters?

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Well, this is something I think, that resonates with conservative base voters. It's not something that resonates with the broader public.

So in a poll that came out last year after these Planned Parenthood videos came out, about 39 percent of people wanted to defund Planned Parenthood. And the thing to understand about the funding is that it goes mostly to reimbursing Medicaid. So it's not actually even going to the day to day running of Planned Parenthood. It certainly isn't going to abortions and it will affect poor women in terms of, you know, where they want to go and get their health care.

Now, Republicans will say and they did this in the bill last time when they repealed or tried to, you know, repeal the funding for is that they want to ship that money to local other services, other community health centers that don't provide abortions.

[20:45:10] COOPER: Kelly, what do you think Donald Trump does here? Because I mean, as we said, he did speak favorably. It surprised a lot of people I think when, you know, pretty during the primary season when some of the candidates on the Republican side were talking about defunding.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is where Donald Trump can push congressional Republicans. Congressional Republicans want to defund, and I agree with that.

However, this is where Donald Trump can come in and say you want to defund, fine, but defunding has to be paired with a bill that says you can still be reimbursed at one of the 1200 federally-funded health clinics. These women who were seeking not abortions, but they're seeking in breast MRIs or screenings or you can go to a pregnancy center, there are 2000 pregnancy centers out there outside of Planned Parenthood, he can say, "I'm with you, I'm on board, I don't like the fact that Plan Parenthood does 300,000 abortions a year." But let's ensure that these women have another place they can go and receive the same sort of health care that they currently get.

COOPER: Then to have this happen so soon, is this something that mobilizes democrats?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. You know, it's weird. Populists usually like to be popular, right? That's a part of being a populist. It's doing thing that are popular.

Planned Parenthood is a beloved organization in the United States. I know it's very hard for people to know that in the deep, you know, passions of the conservative movement, but this is a very popular organization and a lot of people have relied on Planned Parenthood for so many things. And so, I don't think this makes a lot of sense.

And by the way, you're starting to see a new women's movement coming out. Women who've never been political, women who've never been involved in anything, who don't even like the word feminist are starting to feel like they're going to have to speak out now.

I remember in 1992 or maybe it was '91, we got the whole Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill thing, and then right after that, one woman got insulted, offended, sexually harassed, and then you had the year of the women where women came out by droves. That could happen as without those kinds of steps.

COOPER: Congressman Kingston, is this a smart move by --.

JACK KINGSTON, (R) FORMER GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: I think it is. This is a philosophical belief that here's a group that does, as Kayleigh says, 300,000 abortions a year.

In Georgia alone, we have 274 women's health clinics that don't do abortions and they are Medicaid eligible. So for women who want to get a birth-control advice and gynecological advice and anything that they need to get from Planned Parenthood, they can get from one of these 274 clinics and there's no abortion debate.

You know, when we say they don't do abortions, if we build -- if we give them money for building and they build the building which eventually does house abortion operations and procedures, how is that money fungible? You can't make the money non-fungible, I guess, is what I'm saying, so.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We don't give them money for buildings. There is no line item on the federal budget check that says, "Here's money for Planned Parenthood." What we do is through Medicaid reimburse poor women. And it's a bit of a red herring to say, they can go to 200 other clinics in your State of Georgia. 21 percent of the counties which Planned Parenthood operates, they're the only women's health center there. And so, what happen is just so you know, 97 percent of what they do is non-abortion. It is STDs. It is cancer screening. It's --.

KINGSTON: Then why don't they just get out? If it's only to except their budget, why don't they --.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: -- it's birth control. You should run for President of Planned Parenthood and take it over and change the policies.

KINGSTON: Well, I mean that is 3 percent of the budget, get out.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that is the only purpose.

BEGALA: What they're doing is condemning millions of poor women who are having unwanted pregnancies or cancer or STDs. I mean this is a public health crisis (ph).

KINGSTON: But -- Well, let me say this, there's no debate about let's make sure women have access to these important services. We can all agree on that.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: But abortions. The taxpayers should not --.

BORGER: But that's not what they say on abortion first of all.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: But that amendment isn't sufficient. That's what I'm concern about.

BORGER: But that is not --.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: The money is fungible.

BORGER: -- what this amendment says. And I think this could be the first example of Republican overreach because this is now part of the budget which is part of repealing Obamacare. And if they lose this -- Jeff Zeleny was talking at it. If they lose those two women in the senate, they're already losing Rand Paul because he doesn't like the budget. They are putting in jeopardy their biggest issue which is repealing Obamacare over this. And there might be a move, I would think, to extract it if they know they're going to lose.

COOPER: But we got to leave it there. We actually have some new breaking news, a kind of breaking news and give you reflash. We're just now learning about an about face on Donald Trump's repeated promise about building a wall and making Mexico pay for the building. I'm just hearing about this. We'll explain when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:51:51] COOPER: More breaking news tonight, a campaign pledge that you only such watch by campaign appearances all across the country, there would come a moment in Donald Trump's speech when he would ask who's going to pay for the plan boarder wall with Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: We are going to have a strong boarder. We are going to build the wall. It will be a real wall, a real wall.

Who is going to pay for the wall? Who? By the way, 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, now, house GOP officials are telling CNN that the transition team has signaled congressional Republican leaders that the president-elect's preference is to fund the boarder wall through appropriations process as soon as April. In other words the American taxpayers would pay for it. And so, well, the panelists, they're staying up late.

Gloria, I mean, again, that's all we know on this. Not a lot of details, what do you make of it?

BORGER: Well, I think it's kind of astonishing that they're now saying that they want to fund the building of the wall through the appropriations process. And we have heard that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. They want to do it in spending bill, according to the great reporting by Manu Raju and Deirdre Walsh.

And the interesting point here is as I play the few steps forward, is that I'm almost envisioning in my mind the fact that the democrats could filibuster this or could try to shutdown the government over refusing to fund the wall. We could find ourselves in a situation in which the democrats then want to shut down the government not to fund the wall.

COOPER: Kirsten, you see this as a flip -- I mean would this be a complete flip-flop?

POWERS: I mean definitely we want to get more information about it. I think, you know, there was some talk before about using some existing -- not to have to pass a whole new bill that there was already some existing legislation that had passed for funding, you know, under the Obama administration, who actually, believe it or not, was doing quite a bit in terms of the border.

And so I definitely would want to get more information. If he actually does say, we're going to pay for and Mexico is not paying for it, that would be a monumental flip-flop.

COOPER: Although I guess the middle ground would be we'll pay for this way initially and then down the road in Mexico will somehow reimburse.

POWERS: Right.

MCENANY: Something of that nature. And if you ask --.

COPPER: I'm just throwing that possibility out (ph).

MCENANY: If you go on Donald Trump's campaign website, there is actually a rather detailed PDF where he talked about proposing a rule on day one that would allow him to tax remittances. So he's put forth a detailed way in which Mexico will at least partially or wholly pay for this. So, I would fully expect to see part of this implemented. It was a major part of the campaign. So I think more details.

COOPER: Then he got to cut grin on you. JONES: Well, look, maybe it's not a flip, but it is certainly a flop. Okay, this is definitely not what they want to be talking about when this is something that he put his name behind. He put his name behind it. And now you've got people kind of coming around saying, "Guess what, there's something called reality." There actually is not a real way to make "Mexico pay for it not Mexican government," you might just say (ph). Anyway I just -- it's not -- it may not be a flip-flop but it's a flop.

KINGSTON: Let me say this, inside the Republican mind, it is a divisible statement. Build the wall, let Mexican pay for it. 90 percent of the statement is the first part, build the wall.

[20:55:11] The icing on the cake is let Mexico pay for it. But I can say this, Republicans want the wall and they will take the wall if it means paying for it, because the benefits of keeping drugs out and keeping the illegals out and the potential terrorists out --

COOPER: So to you, the Mexico pay for it was only a small percentage of the overall.

KINGSTON: I can tell you people would go in there and weigh both parts to the senates 50-50. I can promise you that.

JONES: It's 50 percent of the work.

KINGSTON: But I can say this -- as Kayleigh say, there's going to be a lot of negotiating and a lot of issues with Mexico in the eight years ahead, and during that period of time, there will be an opportunity to get money back.

But frankly also as an appropriator, I want to say I'd rather start construction now because getting the EPA permits and getting everything else is going to take a long time. If you get the money in this year's budget on a bill, which Hillary Clinton voted for it. By the way, Hillary Clinton, among others, voted for this bill to build the wall back in 2006.

POWERS: How are we going to pay for this?

KINGSTON: So, well, how are we not going to pay for it?

POWERS: There was a bill last year to enhance border security. That was a $10 billion bill that didn't go anywhere.

KINGSTON: Well, one way we're going to pay for it is that amazing rise that we have seen in the stock market and the prosperity that's coming. I mean --.

COOPER: Paul.

BEGALA: MIT technology (ph) where he says board a wall the sort that Trump has proposed with $38 billion. And the Mexicans are going to pay one peso. And by the way, neither am I, I'm getting a big fat tax cut under Donald Trump, because I'm prosperous, right? And so it's the middle class, the American middle class that -- who's going to pay for this wall, which by the way, Jack, as you know, net migration is to Mexico not from them, the wall will only slowdown their departure and perhaps mine.

BORGER: And we pay for it and what is Mexico going to say? Oh, thank you, well, we'll pick up address on his hand (ph).

BEGALA: I'm going to square-pay (ph) Donald.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: I've gone out and seen the wall in San Diego, 13-mile wall which have democrats supported. And they love that wall. I'm talking about on the San Diego side, and call the Mexicans but they're saying it reduced drugs, it will reduce illegal immigration. It's been a good thing. I think the benefits of building a wall are still what Republicans want.

COOPER: All right, much more ahead tonight, we've got more breaking news out of Chicago and the beating suspects accused of a hate crime and streaming it all online. We'll have more on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We'd begin the hour with breaking news. Chicago police announcing hate crime and kidnapping charges against four African-Americans accused of tying up a white special-needs teenager and tutoring him, all while broadcasting it on Facebook Live.

[21:00:04] Now, we want to warn you, the video you're about to watch is disturbing to say the least and is hard to watch.