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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
ISIS Claims "Fighter" Carried Out Paris Police Shooting; U.S. Prepares Charges Against WikiLeaks' Julian Assange; Trump: "We're Doing Very Well on Health Care". Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 20, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:06] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
A fast moving night, breaking news on several fronts, including new efforts to bring WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to this country and bring criminal charges against him.
We begin, though, with a history unfolding now in Paris, where ISIS is claiming responsibility for deadly terror attacks on police.
CNN's Jim Bittermann is there for us tonight.
Jim, what's the latest?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is that police are now looking for accomplices. They believe they have identified the suspect. They haven't told us his name, but it's believed to be a French national who pulled up alongside a police van on the Champs-Elysees just behind me here and got out of his car and started shooting at the police officers in the van. One officer was killed, two others were slightly injured in the attack and a passerby was also injured. The assailant was shot dead on the scene.
And police now say that he's a 39-year-old who was known to police. He has a background in various criminal affairs going back to 2001. What's most damaging, however, if it turns out to be true, is that some intelligence sources say that he was on what is called a fiche S, surveillance dossier here, which is supposed to mean that people that are like him are meant to be kept under tight surveillance. Obviously, he wasn't to pull off the kind of thing he did tonight, Anderson.
COOPER: So, that's a list, what, for known extremists?
BITTERMANN: Yes. And there's about 15,000 people in France that are qualified to be on that list and the police are supposed to have them under surveillance and various degrees of surveillance, various levels of surveillance that they are under. Some are kept under very tight surveillance.
But in this case, once again, I think we're going to hear some complaints by politicians and whatnot that police should have done a better job of keeping track of this gentleman and perhaps others who are also out there, especially given the fact that we're in the midst of an election campaign, which is going to end tomorrow night and elections will be held here on Sunday. They did already foil an attack down in Marseille that was meant to attack the campaign directly. There may be a connection between what happened here tonight and the campaign.
I think that's one of the other things I'll be looking into, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Jim Bittermann, thanks very much. And as we said, ISIS has claimed responsibility for this.
Breaking news as well in Washington, where efforts are well under way to prosecute the founder of the group that candidate Trump said he loves so much, WikiLeaks. The Justice Department is preparing charges against Julian Assange, who's been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for years now.
Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown has details on that. She joins us.
So, what do we know about this?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, U.S. authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and this is according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter. The Justice Department probe of Assange and WikiLeaks dates all the way back to at least 2010 when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former U.S. army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning. And over the years, prosecutors have struggled with what are the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange.
But now, they believe they have found a way to move forward, and the attorney general today was asked by our Laura Jarrett about the focus on getting Assange, here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: You said crime reduction overall is one of your top priorities in the department, and last week, we heard from CIA Director Mike Pompeo discussing the scourge of WikiLeaks and the Chelsea Manning's leaks. Can you talk about whether it's a priority for your department to arrest Assange once and for all? And whether you can take him down (ph)?
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that's gone beyond anything that I'm aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious.
So, yes, it is a priority. We've already begun to step up our efforts and when ever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, has something changed recently? WikiLeaks has been in the U.S. crosshairs for years. But as you said, prior administrations have thought they couldn't bring charges based on First Amendment grounds.
BROWN: Right. This was something looked at during President Barack Obama's administration and Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department at that time determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn't alone and publishing documents stolen by Manning, several newspapers, including "The New York Times" did as well, but the investigation continued. Any possible charges were put on hold.
And then the U.S. view of WikiLeaks and Assange began to evolve and change after investigators, Anderson, found what they believe was proof WikiLeaks played an active role in helping Edward Snowden, the former NSA analyst, disclosed a massive cache of classified documents.
[20:05:07] And then, last week, as you'll recall, CIA Director Mike Pompeo gave a strong hint of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service and has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information. It overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, some strong words there from the CIA director.
In the meantime, Anderson, WikiLeaks continues to defend itself as publishing in the public's interest and compares itself to media organizations.
COOPER: But -- so, I mean, Assange has been hold up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Even if there were arrest charges they can't pull him out of the Ecuadorian embassy.
BROWN: Right. I mean, that is the big question. What's the point of this if he is in the safe haven there in the embassy? But what we're being told by officials is this is more of a political message that he is untouchable, as you say, as long as he remains there at the embassy in Ecuador, it does not change its stands on his extradition.
Now, in recent months, U.S. officials have really been focused on the possibility a new government in Ecuador would take over and expel Assange and then he could be arrested. But the left-leaning presidential candidate who won the recent election in the South American nation has promised to continue to harbor him, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Pam Brown with the latest, thanks for that.
COOPER: President Trump did not speak about the Assange news, but he did talk about Paris at a joint press conference this afternoon with Italy's prime minister. He also touched another foreign crisis, appearing to clash with his secretary of state over Iran.
He spoke of reviving legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act, funding the government and more. His appearance today had a little something for just about everyone.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you for being here.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As President Trump welcomed the Italian prime minister to the White House, he expressed condolences and concern in the wake of the Paris shooting.
TRUMP: It's a very, very terrible thing that's going on in the world today. It looks like another terrorist attack. And what can you say? Just never ends.
ZELENY: About two hours later, the French authorities opened a terrorism investigation.
TRUMP: We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant. And I've been saying it for a long time.
ZELENY: With the 100-day mark of his presidency fast approaching, the White House is eager to show at least some signs of action next week. Asked whether he would like to see healthcare or government funding bill passed, the president answered like this.
TRUMP: OK. I want to get both. Are you shocked to hear that?
ZELENY: Tonight, a new Quinnipiac poll offers a skeptical warning. Only 36 percent of Americans say Republicans controlling Congress should try again to repeal and replace Obamacare, while 60 percent say they should move on. The president made clear he was intent on moving forward regardless.
TRUMP: The plan gets better and better and it's gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot. We have a chance of getting it soon.
ZELENY: Moving to foreign policy, Mr. Trump also had tough words for Iran and the nuclear agreement.
TRUMP: As far as Iran is concerned, I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed. It was a terrible agreement. It shouldn't have been signed.
ZELENY: His words far stronger than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said earlier this week the U.S. will stick with the deal for now.
TRUMP: We're analyzing it very carefully and have something to say about it in the not too distant future. But Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement and they have to do that.
A great welcome --
ZELENY: The first face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni comes one month before the president will travel to Italy, on the first foreign trip of his presidency. He'll attend the Group of Seven summit where the leaders of the world's seven most developed economies will meet.
The president also stoked speculation that he will have another meeting during his visit to Italy.
TRUMP: And I look very much forward to meeting the pope.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny joins us now.
How realistic, Jeff, is it to think that a healthcare bill is going to be passed next week or even get through the house next week?
ZELENY: Well, Anderson, it's only the house they're talking about. The Senate is far, far too complicated. But the House has enough challenges of its own. But the White House is really trying to show action, show progress here. So, they are working on a bill. They are working on changes here, some compromises.
But the challenge here is that Congress generally can't do more than one thing at time. Sometimes they can't do one thing at a time. But they have two big issues next week, the government funding measure that would shut the government down on his 100th day in office. He says he does not want that at all and healthcare.
So, it's an open question. There is optimism at the White House, Anderson. The Republicans I talked to on Capitol Hill said there is skepticism they can get it done. But, of course, next week is only the deadline of 100 days. There are still more time in this administration to try to pass that law.
[20:10:00] COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny, Jeff, thanks.
Next, more on those efforts to do what the president promised so often during the campaign, something you'd think would be easy given the Republican control of Congress, namely replacing Obamacare. Remember, the White House was so confident, they said there was no plan B? Well, tonight, plan B part two.
Later, Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock visited the White House and posed like this in front of a portrait of Hillary Clinton? So, is it a cause for an uproar? Much to do about nothing?
Our panel's take when 360 continues.
COOPER: Before the break, you heard President Trump say he wants to get an Obama replacement bill passed soon. Now, recall, the first bill failed without getting to it the Republican controlled House. And throughout it all, when asked whether there is a plan B, the White House would say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, there's no plan B. I mean, there's plan A and plan A. We're going to get this done.
REPORTER: So, you're confident -- 100 percent confident?
SPICER: We're going to get it done, that's it. Plain and simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, whatever the White House calls what we're seeing now, it looks a lot like plan B or plan C even. Is it an effort to try and save face before the 100-day deadline?
Let's get some perspective from Jeffrey Lord, David Chalian Borger and Paul Begala.
Paul, so, there wasn't supposed to be a plan B. Clearly, there is now a plan B. The president says he wants to do both healthcare and keep the government open next week.
[20:15:00] Is that possible?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. No, it's not. It's just too much all at once for one thing.
And the healthcare plan, at least the last one, was desperately unpopular, 56-17 of the Quinnipiac polled people disapproved of it. When you only have 17 percent support for something, that's not going to pass. And then when you add to it, the funding for the government, which may or may not include de-funding Planned Parenthood, which is a deal breaker for the Democrats, I don't see why he does it. I don't see why he needs to do it this way. Why don't you just like slow your roll, bring both parties together and try to find a compromise?
COOPER: Jeff, I mean, in all honesty, is this about trying to get some legislative accomplishment in the first 100 days?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know about the first 100 days. I'm sure he's determined to get this done ASAP. And it's interesting when you juxtapose healthcare and government shutdown, we've been talking in other times about how he said he would cut off the government funding of insurance because he deliberately wanted to force people to the table and force a crisis. That would certainly force a crisis if people have to choose between the government and healthcare, et cetera. That would force them to do something.
And I think there is a lot of impetus right this minute to do something.
COOPER: Gloria, how much do you think it is about the first 100 days? Because even if it is trying to get some sort of legislative accomplishment, just passing the House on healthcare is not enough obviously. It then goes to the Senate.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I -- look, I think it has everything to do with the first 100 days. It has everything to do with the fact that every Republican ran on repeal and replace. And it was issue number one and they haven't been able to do it.
And I also think it's about a president who told people, when he came into office, who worked for him, give me some wins. That's what I want, I want some wins. He hasn't had them.
And I think he wants to be able to tout some victories. I also think if he wants to do tax reform, he needs to get some revenue from his healthcare reform package. So, you know, I think a lot hinges on this and I think they know that over at the White House.
COOPER: David, I mean, it is hugely politically risky. I mean, risky, I guess not to do anything given all their promises. But the last time they set an artificial deadline on healthcare and put all this, you know, pressure trying to get it done, it failed.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I don't think the artificial deadline helps at all. I don't -- the 100-day mark is not something the White House should consume itself with although they seem consumed by it at the moment.
Anderson, you got to remember, absent the win that Gloria is talking about, what it seems the White House wants to show here, because they're the ones pushing this is the effort. If they can't get the win by 100 days, they really want to show the base that they are fighting for repeal and repeal, because it was a promise, and they want to make sure that the base still stays enthusiastic about Trump because that's what's keeping him at that, you know, 40 percent mark right now.
BEGALA: If you want a win, get it for something they want. Not something that's only get 17 approval --
LORD: Well, they did. The Supreme Court Justice --
BEGALA: His base likes that. That was a big win for president Trump, good for him. I don't support Mr. Gorsuch, Justice Gorsuch, that was a win, absolutely.
But this healthcare bill, again, only at 17 percent support, the reporting is that the new bill will allow states to eliminate the pre- existing condition rule. Center for American Progress think tank took a look at that. That means if your preexisting condition is serious like metastatic cancer your premiums will go up $142,000. If it is minor like an uncomplicated pregnancy, your premiums will only go up $17,000.
This is crazy. It's not -- even if he passes it, it's not going to be a win. It's going to be a catastrophe for the country and for the Republicans.
COOPER: It is interesting, Jeff, because pretty much the only specifics President Trump really had -- Donald Trump had during the campaign what the healthcare bill was going to have wais that preexisting conditions were going to be covered.
COOPER: And that would be a big reversal.
LORD: Right, right.
You know, first of all, he wants the win. I don't think there's any question about that. What interests me is, you know, again, we talked about this. The Republicans had seven years to get their act together, they didn't get it together.
Now, they are doing it. The House Freedom Caucus is really going out there with the two-state, all these kind of thing, to talk about these different things individually. It sounds to me like they are getting there and they will have something, but they are going to have to avoid some of the things that Paul is talking about or they're going to have a problem.
BORGER: You know, Anderson, this doesn't happen in a vacuum either. They've got to next week avert a government shutdown also. So, Congress really can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Are you going to have these two huge political fights resolved within a week or two? It doesn't seem realistic to me at all.
COOPER: I mean, David, when you do look at the details, it seems there is a lowering of the bar, that they're talking about just trying to get something passed, wouldn't be a step towards accomplishment rather than actual legislative accomplishment.
CHALIAN: I mean, there's no doubt that they want something to get to the president's desk and that he can eventually sign.
[20:20:01] This is not going to be that bill.
CHALIAN: Even if they make the changes to get the 216 in the House, this is not the bill that's going to make the way through the Senate. There's no doubt, you're right, Anderson, the bar was lowered when it completely failed and they had to pull the bill from the floor.
And to Gloria's point, you can see today, Democrats are starting to step up the fight over government funding. Chuck Schumer's spokesman out there with a statement saying, you know, this is not going to be so easy if the president is demanding border wall funding in the funding bill. So, this is going to be a big battle about the sort of shutdown
showdown next week. And getting healthcare on top of that seems very, very tricky.
LORD: Remember that old GE motto, "progress is our most important product", this president wants progress.
COOPER: Yes, but what he wants and what he can actually deliver are different things.
LORD: Right, right, right. I mean, the pressure is -- he is going to put the pressure on these people and I think frankly, he's put enough on them already that there is incentive on their part to put pressure on themselves.
COOPER: Although, Paul, I mean, supposedly was putting a lot of pressure on them before the first time around and that didn't seem to have the results he wanted.
BEGALA: Right. And he -- take a step back, think who their voters are. Donald Trump's strongest age core was senior citizens, 65 and over. The proposal would end Medicaid as we know it.
They got a block grant program. It would no longer be an entitlement. It would be capped by the states.
This would hurt older white Trump voters. I'm not for hurting anybody. But it's just bizarre to me, as if they don't understand who their voters are. They seem to be a heat seeking missile going right at the less educated, less affluent, older people who in fact all voted for Donald Trump. I don't understand it. It doesn't make political sense.
COOPER: Paul Begala, Jeff Lord, David Chalian, Gloria Borger -- thanks.
COOPER: Up next, how Sarah Palin explained this photo at the White House. And yet, that is Ted Nugent and Kid Rock with her and that's the portrait of former First Lady Hillary Clinton.
[20:25:50] COOPER: When former vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, visited the White House last night, the invitation of President Trump, she brought along rockers Ted Nugent and Kid Rock. The pictures Mrs. Palin posted on the visit are generating some controversy and questions online about what's appropriate at the White House. This one is probably the most. There they are in front of the portrait of Hillary Clinton. The painting hangs, of course, through the eight years that Mrs. Clinton served as first lady.
Here's how Governor Palin explained her entourage and that one photo to CNN's Jake Tapper earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Jesus was booked, so, yes, I invited my buddies, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent, some bold, courageous, all American dudes who I knew would have good conversation with the president and get to express a lot of good middle class work ethic type of issues and policy proposals that they could all relate to and that's exactly what happened at the dinner.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: There's an interesting picture of the three of you next to the portrait of the former first lady, Hillary Clinton.
PALIN: Yes, yes. The picture says it all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lot to discuss. Joining us are three people who served in the White House, David Gergen, who served in four administrations. And back at the table, Jeffrey Lord and Paul Begala.
David, certainly celebrities visiting the White House, that's nothing new for either party. We have no idea if President Trump knew about the Facebook photo in front of that Clinton portrait. Does it bother as someone who worked in the White House?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I also can understand why people on the conservative side, the Trump side would say, look, you know, after all you guys have done skewering the president and his aides on "Saturday Night Live" and other places. For all this time, you can't take a joke, you can't take a little kidding. But I must tell you, there's another side.
For Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, I think it was a very legitimate point of view, that, look, it's one thing to poke fun but the White House is a special place for all the people. Those pictures are offensive. That's the way a lot of people will see it on the other side.
I personally think they would have been better off if they wanted to play games with pictures, that's fine, but I wouldn't have posted them.
COOPER: Jeffrey, I mean, would Ronald Reagan have approved of that sort of thing?
LORD: Well, I remember he had Frank Sinatra in, who is a friend of his. I would be the first to say that Kid Rock and Ted Nugent are not the same as Frank Sinatra. But I do think -- wouldn't you agree, David, I do think these things aside from whatever humor, there is a cultural point to it. I think I'm correct that Jay-Z and Beyonce were in the Situation Room in the Obama White House and were smiling and having a picture taken, et cetera.
Every president is going to do some version of this. Frankly, in this day and age, they'd be crazy not to because cultural figures -- I mean, we just put a cultural figure in the White House, right?
COOPER: I mean, look, Paul, the Clintons came under a lot of criticism for the way they treated the White House.
BEGALA: Had Steven Spielberg over there and stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom and made a film about Lincoln later.
But I -- this picture, would we put it back up? There we are. It's a white trash Mt. Rushmore, I love it. Look at them. That's perfect.
I will say -- one thing I admire about Governor Palin honestly, is she has spoken out when she has been the target of vicious sexism from the left and good for her. She's defended her children when they have been attacked and she herself has been.
So, it's kind of unfortunate she's buddying up with Nugent. He's a rocker and I won't get all gassed up about it, but he has said the most vile things about Hillary you can't say. Obviously, words you can't repeat on CNN.
I think when those things have been said about Sarah Palin and they have, it was outrageous then, I wish she would hold her friends to the same standard.
LORD: I remember the night before the election, they were all there watching that rally and they had Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. You can bet if Hillary Clinton had been elected, they would be in front of the White House.
COOPER: I don't think it's -- I mean, the question is in front of the portrait.
LORD: Little yanking of chain there, I think.
COOPER: David, go ahead.
GERGEN: Let me go back on the Reagan point, because I think the Reagan example goes the other way. I think Reagan maintained absolute decorum in the White House. He never would have had a photo like this taken. Mike Deaver would have thrown the camera, destroyed the camera.
LORD: I agree with you, right.
GERGEN: You know, and, Jeffrey, as you'll remember, Ronald Reagan never walked in the Oval Office unless he had a coat on.
[20:30:13] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Didn't George W. Bush also insist the people had a tie on in the Oval Office?
GERGEN: George Bush, Sr.
COOPER: I think it was George W. Bush.
GERGEN: I'm not sure -- (CROSSTALK)
JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: No blue jeans.
COOPER: Go ahead David.
GERGEN: But there was -- I think most presidents, especially more traditional presidents like Harry Truman would have gone nuts. I mean, Harry Truman he wouldn't have gone to the White House correspondents there for other reasons. And that is because of the way -- it's, you know, it dismissive of the presidency. Most presidents put the presidency in the White House grounds, you know, on a very high almost sacred plane.
COOPER: Jeff, I'm curious, Sarah Palin was saying that they were there to discuss, I want to get her words right, policy proposals with the president. I'm curious what you'd policy proposals you would like to hear from Ted Nugent and Kid Rock.
LORD: Thank you, Anderson, for that question. Can I come back in a couple years? Let me just say, I do understand, I think I heard somewhere seriously that Kid Rock is thinking at some point of running for office. The notion a cultural figure from rock music or TV could get elected to anything is I know strange but, you know, --
COOPER: Ted Nugent obviously has spoken a lot about, you know, firearms, about weapons.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think before any of us were born, my grandfather was big Ted Nugent fan. So, you know, that's fine. You know, he's got to do something to keep himself in the public eye. I interviewed him once, he came on "crossfire" almost killed him. Not on purpose. He was all gassed up about guns. And I showed him pictures, I am a big deer hunter and I showed him pictures -- served him some sausage we made from that. He started gagging on it.
BEGALA: By the way, I just stepped back, I don't know the heimlich, what am I going to do?
LORD: Well, the --
BEGALA: -- I had my experiences with it.
LORD: I mean, one thing, we don't want to get carried into this (inaudible) thing. And only the right people can go to the White House. Every American citizen has the right to be there --
BEGALA: -- Trump has done a lot.
LORD: So God bless them all.
COOPER: There you go.
Coming up, a new report about what Vladimir Putin and his government did to try to swayed election in favor of the guy who ended up winning. It's the latest installment of the Russia-White House watch next.
[20:36:29] COOPER: Now, the Russia and White House watch and our ongoing look into the investigations into Russia's interference into the presidential elections.
Tonight there's even more evidence of some of the tactics that Pres. Vladimir Putin used to try to sway the election. Now this reporting from Reuters which found that Russia government think-tank controlled by Pres. Vladimir Putin developed a plan to undermine American's faith in electoral system and to swing the election to Donald Trump. Now this think-tank recommended propaganda campaigns on social media including ways to damage Hillary Clinton's reputation and to spread messages about voter fraud.
Three currents and four former U.S. officials spoke with Reuters reporters. One of those reporters, Nate Parker is with us -- excuse me, Ned Parker, is with us tonight, along with David Rohde who also worked on the piece and Steve Hall, CNN National Security Analyst and former CIA agent officer who ran Russia operations.
So David, first of all, this think tank, explain what this think-tank is.
DAVID ROHDE, NATIONAL SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR, REUTERS: It's sort of an in-house. It's funded by the government. The last -- Former Intelligence officials and they are pointed, you know, by Putin himself. The head of it, who was there when they drove these documents, he had a 33 year career in Russia's different Foreign Intelligence services.
So, it's not, you know, an official arm of the intelligence service but it's very close.
COOPER: So, Ned, it's obviously very different than a Washington think-tank like Heritage Foundation or brookings that we, you know, that we think of in the United States.
NED PARKER, ENTEPRISE REPORTER, REUTERS: I mean, it reports to a Pres. Vladimir Putin. He picks the director of the institute. The institute identifies the president of Russia as its founder.
COOPER: ` And so, what did you learn through your reporting? PARKER: We, what we learned is -- essentially this document -- well, two documents came in after the election. And what they did, their internal Russian government documents in writing that describe a strategy to influence the U.S. electorate through regular media platforms particularly one affiliated with Russia like Russia Today and, Sputnik and then social media. So this in writing not only did the U.S. know about hacking by Russia into the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign they had the forensics of that but they had in-writing a Russian policy document talking about how to do this.
COOPER: So, the significance of this is that -- this is a clear line to the Kremlin, I mean with the U.S. Intelligence Community had already said that they believe Russia was involved, this is sort of the clear line?
PARKER: Yeah. I mean, they knew about the hacking but they didn't know the motive. And they also weren't sure. Could someone else have hacked inside the Democratic Party?
PARKER: So having these documents in writing talking about a campaign to influence the U.S. electorate to pick a new president who would not have policies of Barack Obama that were considered hostile to Russia which was written in a document from June 2016, that was, you know, writing on the wall. It iced the cake, it crystallized everything.
COOPER: I want to say -- we should point out CNN hasn't been able to independently verify this story. The director of the think-tank has denied the story, saying they're not qualified to do something like this. And Putin spokesman has said -- I want to get this right, he said he doesn't know anything about it, "seven anonymous sources can't be valued as one real source." Can you -- what do you -- how do you respond?
PARKER: Sure, I mean that's -- you would expect the government of Russia to say that, given the enormity of these documents. But what we do know is we've spoken to seven officials, four former and three current. None of them are political operatives. All of them are public servants and all of them independently have verified the existence of these two documents from June and October of 2016 talking about how to influence the U.S. electorate through a media and social media campaign. That alone with these other aspects, the hacking, and information that U.S. officials said they had before -- I think before even they received these documents, of a spring meeting between the Putin presidential administration and Kremlin-linked media outlets to start promoting the candidacy of Donald Trump for the president in March 2016. All of this paints a picture that seems very hard to deny the reality of it, to explain it away.
[20:40:38] COOPER: Steve, I mean, what do you make of the fact that this report was compiled by an outside think-tank and not a Russian government agency?
STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA SENIOR OFFICER, RUSSIA EXPERT: It's sort of a distinction without a difference, Anderson. I mean, in Russia, you know, there's not a whole lot that Vladimir Putin doesn't control.
This particular think-tank has had guys like, I mean (inaudible) who was the head of the SPR, the external service, and the guy who was leader at the time that these documents were done was sort of the head of analysis for the SPR for a lengthy period of time.
It does sort of point out what the Intelligence Community has been telling us all along which is that the Russians did have an influence propaganda campaign. But there's a really interesting part of this for me as former intelligence professional, which is there's a lesson learned here from the Russians, and that is that if you're going to do covert action you really do have to do it covertly. What's happened here is that the Trump administration now finds its hands somewhat tied vis-a-vis Russia because they can't appear to be too forward leaning vis-a-vis Russia, else they'll, you know, there'll be a political a price they have to pay here.
If the Russians hand had remained clandestine, had remained covert and we've found out that it was the Russians behind this, then the success would have been there. Trump got elected as president, Clinton did not. But Trump would have a freer hand to implement some of the things that he was talking about when he was candidate Trump versus Pres. Trump.
COOPER: And so, essentially, they made a mistake, you're saying they're making it so public?
HALL: You know, again, if you're going to do a covert operation, you need to keep it covert. And somehow that didn't happen. There's been a lot of speculation amongst some of my former colleagues why that happened, and whether or not it was sort of B team operation, maybe the key guys weren't put on it because nobody really thought that Hillary Clinton was going to lose.
There's a lot of speculation out there but clearly this would have been much more effective had it remained secret and Russia's hand not been held. And why that didn't happen is a really interesting question.
COOPER: David, the reporting done from Reuters, I mean, it also -- essentially points out that these documents is what led the Obama administration to their conclusion that Russia did set out to support the Trump campaign and attempt to undermine Clinton.
ROHDE: Yeah, and that's one of the main findings here. There is a shift. The initial finding before the election as if they were trying to undermine the credibility of the vote in general later on, you know, there's a finding in January they're actually helping Trump. Trump's denied that. His supporters say, no, no, no, Russia wasn't trying to help Trump but these documents make it clear that they were.
But the big question here, so we know there's a very sophisticated Russian effort to sway the vote in Trump's favor. Was there collusion? We have found no evidence of that collusion. This is the big question the Congress on investigation, the FBI investigations that's, you know, it's very clearly documented now. They were trying to help Trump. Did any Trump associate collude with Russia?
COOPER: Steve, it does just seem like another day -- another piece of the puzzle comes out. And at this point it's still very hard to have any kind of sense of what the full picture will look like. I mean, to David's point whether or not there was collusion. That's the next piece and it's unknown at this point.
HALL: Yeah, that's, Anderson, that's the key part, is the cooperation collusion piece. Because, you know, when you think about it the Russians ran a successful propaganda influence operation targeting the U.S. electorate and the U.S. electorate fell for it then, you know, we really don't have anybody to blame for the outcome, you know, except ourselves, U.S. electorate. But, if there was indeed some sort of cooperation, obviously, between the Trump camp and Russians that's an entirely different matter and much more serious one.
COOPER: Yeah, Steve Hall, appreciate it. Ned Parker, thank you so much, great reporting, David Rhode, as well. Thank you
Bill O'Reilly gets kicked out of Fox News but he's getting a massive payout. What we're learning about that, we'll find out how much he's getting and I'll speak with one of the women who is accusing him of sexual harassment next.
[20:48:16] COOPER: For Bill O'Reilly just like his old boss at Fox News it seems like it may pay to be accused of sexual harassment, and it pays big. Sources tell CNN he's (inaudible) a staggering amount of money $25 million after being ousted following sexual harassment accusation for multiple women. It's more than five. The five women were paid to keep quiet about their claims against O'Reilly way for this $13 million total according to "New York Times," but it's less than fellow (inaudible) Roger Ailes.
The Fox News CEO resigned into pressure last summer with multiple harasser accusations and more than $40 million. O'Reilly's ousting comes after long history of women accusing him of harassment.
Just before air. I spoke with one of those women someone who came forward very, very recently, (inaudible) and Atty. Lisa Bloom who is representing her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So what happened? When did this first begin?
PERQUITA BURGESS, ACCUSES O'REILLY OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: I would say maybe within a couple weeks when I first started working there. I would see him often in the hall but see all of the personalities. And it began, you know -- when it first began I didn't notice what it was because he made this grunt sound.
COOPER: He wasn't actually speaking words he was grunting.
BURGESS: He grunted as he walked past my desk. Other times he would size me up, you know, look me up and down. And I could -- he would be around my desk and I could tell, you know, he was trying to look maybe down my shirt.
COOPER: You could actually -- I mean, it was that obvious?
BURGESS: It was that obvious.
COOPER: The grunting you described, would he do that around other people?
BURGESS: No. Never.
COOPER: And just to be clear this wasn't like a grunting hello, like a mumbled hello?
BURGESS: No. And -- I really want to say I felt as if it was directed at me. I knew it was. Just -- instinctively, you know. And it was like a primal. It wasn't like a -- or like, you know, I can't stand her. You know, it really wasn't just this primal like -- you know, it was sexual. And I began being very offended by it.
[20:50:20] COOPER: You were vulnerable in that way. It wasn't like you weren't a full-time employee with protections.
COOPER: I understand there was an incident in the elevator.
COOPER: What happened?
BURGESS: We get off the elevator. He goes to holds the door for me to get off and as I walk out he goes looking good there, girl. And, I almost froze, but, you know, I was like why is he talking to me like that. I have never had someone in a position of power talk to me like that.
COOPER: He's never, by the way, introduced himself to you. Does he even know your name?
BURGESS: No. He did not acknowledge me. He never looked at me unless he was leering. With the elevator incident that was like -- to me the straw that broke the camel's back. Because, you know, you're talking to me in what (inaudible) a sexual degrading manner and I don't work with you, but I know you have the power to be like get her out of here or, you know, make up something and say she did this and whatever and get me fired. And then, fast forward a little bit after that is the hot chocolate incident.
COOPER: How did that come about? What happened?
BURGESS: Sitting at my desk, minding my own business. You know, he walks past my desk and I see him coming and at that point I decided -- I had already decided weeks prior just ignore him. If you see him coming, look away. Stay as far away from him as possible because you don't want him to, you know, get you terminated. And that's when he walked past my desk and said hey, hot chocolate, looking good -- hot chocolate. I'm getting flustered.
COOPER: I think for people who have not been through something like that, what does that feel like on a day-to-day basis? Not just on the day it actually happens, but just in that environment knowing it could happen at any moment?
BURGESS: It makes you pensive, you know. You always expect -- you kind of expect it. Because there were times when he didn't -- you know, he ignored me even when there was no one there. It was like he just pick and chose. It seems like he was picking at me, picking at a scab and trying to get me, I don't know, to warm up to him or to respond in some way.
COOPER: Lisa, you know, the company in other allegations against Bill O'Reilly has said, well, there's a hotline, there's an HR system in place, people can contact that. You said the tweets that were sent out around 2010 were actually important because it sort of establishes the timeline.
LISA BLOOM, REPRESENTS SEVERAL O'REILLY ACCUSERS: Right, so, first of all, Perquita knows how honored I am that she reach out to me and trusted me with her story and to help her through this process and I encourage, of course, to speak out over the last week when the company was considering what to do about Bill O'Reilly. And I believe that her story was pivotal in their decision to fire him.
I talked to the Fox News attorneys a week ago and told them I have another accuser. We are not giving up. We are preparing to have her story go public. And I spoke to her three witnesses, the family members, her boyfriend at that time, her best friend, and roommate at that time, and they all corroborate the story that she was very happy person when she started her job at Fox News. As the months went by she would complain almost daily basis about Bill O'Reilly sexually harassing her, and by the end she was depressed and drawn (ph) in word and, you know, a completely different person. And it has a really a long term effect on her.
You know, Fox News said when we first came out a couple of weeks ago with Wendy Walsh nobody's called the hotline. So we decided to use that against them and called the hotline with each of the accusers. And I told them, you know, we have witnesses, we have tweets from the time. I think this is a very credible story. And I told them we have more and I had a third accuser who called into the hotline yesterday just before the news was announced.
You know, women kept coming out and, you know, each woman stood on the shoulders of the woman before her and Perquita has inspired so many other women who look at her and say, if you have the courage to do this, you were a temp at Fox News, this was the guy at the top of the ladder, you were at the bottom of the ladder, if you have the courage to do this, you know what, maybe I have a courage to take a stand against sexual harassment too.
[20:55:00] COOPER: Perquita, what is your message to other women out there, you know, in any company who may be experiencing something like what you went through?
BURGESS: Don't be afraid. I'm a fearless person by nature and for me to have been fearful at the time is very much against, you know, what I believe in. I believe in, you know, if something wrong is being done to you shout it from the mountain tops.
COOPER: Well, thank you for talking to us tonight. I appreciate it.
BURGESS: I appreciate it.
COOPER: Thank you.
BURGESS: Thank you.
BLOOM: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Coming up in another hour of "360" we'll have a live report from Paris with the latest on the shooting that left a police officer dead in one of the most famous area of the city. First, look at the new CNN series on the music that accompanied decades of tragedy and triumph like soundtrack, premiering on CNN one hour from now.