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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Judge Blocks Trump's Money Ban for Sanctuary Cities; House Oversight Leaders: Flynn May Have Broken the Law; Interview with Rep. Jim Himes; Crumbling Border Wall Plan?; Ivanka Trump Heckled For Defending Her Father. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 25, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
There's a lot happening this hour. The White House is now saying they cannot be sure former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn did not break the law over his contacts with foreign governments, including Russia. Now, the implications could be very significant from multiple investigations into the possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. We have a lot of reporting ahead on that tonight.
But we begin with the story that is just breaking, another loss for President Trump, courtesy of a federal judge. A judge this time in California has blocked part of the president's executive order on immigration, the part that threatened to take away federal money from so-called sanctuary cities. This will potentially affect hundreds of cities and counties across the nation that have policies that limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
Los Angeles doesn't let police stop solely to check for immigration papers, for instance. Chicago won't hold back city services depending on citizenship, and so on.
The president's executive order on immigration had ordered Homeland Security and the Justice Department to keep federal money away from cities with those policies, but tonight, a federal judge has blocked that nationwide.
Jessica Schneider joins us with the latest.
So, what exactly does the ruling say?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you said it, Anderson. It's a nationwide halt to President Trump's executive order that sought to block the funding for all of these sanctuary cities. The federal judge in northern California, he is an Obama appointee. And he did say that San Francisco and Santa Clara's claims that this portion of the executive order was unconstitutional. He said it had merit and that's exactly why the judge granted that preliminary injunction.
Interestingly here, this ruling actually looked a lot like the ruling halting the travel ban and the judge's words in this case were reminiscent as well. He pointed to the president's own words writing in this ruling, "If there was any doubt about the scope of the order, the president and the attorney general have erased it with their public comments. The president has called it a weapon to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary has reiterated that the president intends to ensure that, quote, 'counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don't get federal government funding in compliance.'"
So, you remember that the judges in Maryland and Hawaii used President Trump's own words against him in their ruling and this judge in California, Anderson, doing something similar halting this sanctuary city executive order.
COOPER: Has the Department of Justice responded?
SCHNEIDER: The DOJ did just respond. And their response actually dealt less with this ruling and more with their contention that the federal government can prohibit cities from withholding information for immigration officials. The DOJ really putting it this way in part saying, "The Department of Justice previously stated to the court and reiterates now that it will follow the law with respect to regulation of sanctuary jurisdictions."
So, this is really a response to the ongoing legal fight about sanctuary cities in general. What's the DOJ chose to focus on in their response.
COOPER: And the San Francisco city attorney just held a press conference. What he did say?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, he did not hold back. The San Francisco city attorney saying that the first 100 days have been a disaster for President Trump. He said the president was a bully in signing this executive order, and then he praised the judge in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS HERRERA, CITY ATTORNEY OF SAN FRANCISCO: This is why we have courts, to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don't understand the Constitution or choose to ignore it. This is why San Francisco had to stand up on behalf of people everywhere, be they immigrants or native born. As Americans, we all have a duty to confront injustice even when it emanates from the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: So, the city attorney with very strong words there. He also said that the Trump administration would be better advised to move on to other issues and he told the Trump administration, Anderson, to stop targeting these immigrant communities.
COOPER: Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.
Jim Acosta joins us now from the White House.
Has there been reaction from the White House, Jim Acosta?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Anderson. This just came in a few moments ago, the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, told reporters in his office just a short while ago -- and it's a pretty scathing statement. If I haven't put it up on the screen, I'll just read it to you, it says, "The Ninth Circuit, this is an example of the ninth circuit going bananas. We'll take action to appeal this."
Priebus also called this an example of forum shopping, essentially saying that opponents of this executive order were trying to find the most hospitable judicial section of the American justice system to take care of this, and that it was absurd that the administration could not put a reasonable restriction on how this money is being spent. That's from colleague Jeff Zeleny who was just speaking with Priebus along with some other reporters just a few moments ago here at the White House.
But, Anderson, I talked to a senior administration official earlier today who said they believe they'll prevail in all of this. But keep in mind, this is the second time that the Trump administration, that President Trump is seeing one of his main executive orders aimed at immigration tied up in the courts.
[20:05:06] It was earlier in this administration, in the early days of this administration, if you recall, that travel ban was frozen in the courts.
And so, once again, the president trying to use his powers as president of the United States through executive order to do things that he can't get accomplished up on Capitol Hill. And, of course stepping in and stopping him.
It's not the only loss on the immigration front today, Anderson. As you know, Republicans up on Capitol Hill are drafting legislation right now to avert a government shutdown at the end of the week. In that legislation, from what we understand at this point, there is no mention of border wall funding at this point. That's another loss for the president at this point. The White House appears to be able to take this compromise of getting border security money and essentially delaying this promise that the president made out on the campaign trail.
So, on a few different fronts, some big losses, big setbacks for the president on immigration.
COOPER: Yes, particularly in a week where they're coming up to the 100-day mark where they're going to rack up as many accomplishments as they can. It's a big blow for this president.
Jim Acosta, thanks.
Joining me now is Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Mayor Garcetti, first of all, your reaction to the ruling.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: Well, it was a great day for our Constitution. I think it showed that unconstitutional political threats against our cities cannot take away our rights and they certainly can't steal our tax dollars. This was a day in which I hope that everybody sees that the hard work of actually fixing a broken immigration system should be our focus, not the scapegoating and the not the political ideology that clearly is unconstitutional.
This was not the Ninth Circuit going bananas. This is the words of Chief Justice Roberts being echoed back, that the Tenth Amendment is something sacred. And you can't put a fiscal gun to the head of cities and threaten to take out away our tax dollars because you don't like the way we do our business.
COOPER: Does it -- is it clear to you what this administration defines as a sanctuary city in terms of the purpose of their executive order, or is that -- is that unclear?
GARCETTI: No, it's been very unclear to us. It's more of a political term than a legal one. We took part in a meeting with Secretary Kelly and we didn't get further clarification. But today, my colleagues had actually quite productive meeting in Washington with Attorney General Jeff Sessions where he said it was a very narrow definition that they were looking at, whether we comply with section 13.73, that I do believe all cities comply with.
So, it kind of underscores that this is really more about politics than about people. And we should get to the business of making sure we fix our immigration laws, make more Americans, make more citizens, not make more scapegoats.
COOPER: Yes. But it does seem like the Department of Justice is arguing one thing to the courts. A much more narrow ruling, a much more narrow definition of what they expect this executive order to impact, and the White House and President Trump is making it sound like it's much broader, but what the Department of Justice is actually arguing seems more focused.
GARCETTI: That's correct. And in some ways it's a witch hunt in these so-called sanctuary jurisdictions still to be defined. Crime is lower. Unemployment is lower.
There's a lot of success -- and I listen to our police chiefs, including my own, who for four decades we have had police chiefs that have said this is the way to keep our cities safe. And these tax dollars which are out tax dollars. You can't just be willy-nilly taken away.
So, it's a good day for the Constitution, as I mentioned, but it's also a day which reminds us that that Tenth Amendment is here to stay.
COOPER: And your argument why this makes your city safer is that it encourages people who are undocumented to report crimes. It makes them feel comfortable that they can approach the police and not fear for their own status, is that right? GARCETTI: Absolutely. You know, unless we watch too much evening
dramas, most police officers don't solve their cases but putting a successive number of clues together in a back room and suddenly breaking the case. It comes from relationships in people who trust them. It comes from the grandmother who says, hey, maybe you should talk to that person down the street or I witnessed something and here's the clue that you need.
And that's why we have had historically some of the safest years, some of the safest years since the 1950s in our major cities because we have accomplished that trust. And we won't break that trust with all of our residents. That's what keeps us safe in American cities.
COOPER: Is there middle ground to be found in cities like yourselves who don't want their local police to be turning to immigration enforcement and what the Department of Justice wants?
GARCETTI: Absolutely. And I think it's a common mi misconception that we don't want dangerous criminals off our streets that are undocumented. We do, but we have to go to judges to get probable cause request honored by judges as the Los Angeles Police Department. And I should have to do the same.
So, it isn't just on the suspicion of someone looking the wrong way or having something in their past, but an actual evidence-based standard. I also think the other common ground is for President Trump and for others, to do what, you know, past presidents like Ronald Reagan have done, to have a bipartisan consensus to figure out a way to fix this broken immigration system and to find a pathway for the 2 million people in my region and the 10 million people in this country to be able to fulfill their American dreams, instead of being pushed in the shadows which hurts us all.
[20:10:07] It depresses wages. It makes it more difficult for businesses to start and it makes our streets less safe because if somebody doesn't report that rapist, that rapist doesn't care whether somebody is undocumented or not the next time. They're still out there and that makes us all suffer.
So, we know what the solutions are. They're proven, so let's get past politics. I think the court gives us an opening today. And I hope the administration and America's cities can work together to get to the true matter of fixing immigration in this country and making us all safer again.
COOPER: Mayor Eric Garcetti from Los Angeles -- thanks very much.
GARCETTI: Thank you. Good to be with you.
COOPER: Got to take a quick break.
We're going to bring in the panel when we come back. We're also going to hear what Sean Spicer had to say about sanctuary cities just today.
And later today, we learned that President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments from Russia. That's according to both Democrat and Republican members of the House Oversight Committee who have been investigating. The latest in our Russia/White House watch.
COOPER: Well, the breaking news tonight, a federal judge has blocked nationwide part of President Trump's executive order on immigration, the part that's blocked, the threat to keep federal money from so- called "sanctuary cities", jurisdictions that don't follow cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Now, just today at the White House, Sean Spicer was talking about the sanctuary city provision as one of the president's victories in his first 100 days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: All told, he has signed 28 pieces of legislation. And it is not just through legislation that the president has made serious progress on his top priorities. The president promised to enforce our nation's borders. His attorney general, homeland security and their staffs have been working around the clock to fulfill that promise. He has directed a halt of federal funding to jurisdictions who did not comply with federal immigration laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, just hours after he said that, a federal judge in California blocked that part of the executive order.
[20:15:04] Joining me on the panel tonight is Kirsten Powers, Matt Lewis, Laura Coates and Elizabeth Foley.
Kirsten, I mean, it certainly seems another big setback for President Trump in terms of his first 100 days. This was something that Sean Spicer just today was touting as one of great accomplishments.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And this was one of the executive orders that have done when he did the spate of executive orders around the travel ban, which means it was also not vetted in much the way the travel ban wasn't vetted. And if you look at some of the issues that the judge raised in terms of the constitutional issues, these are sort of basic almost constitutional 101 kind of things that probably if he had more, you know, people with expertise pouring over this, may have addressed that.
And so, I think that just the basic one is the separation of powers that basically this is -- the power of the purse belongs to the Congress. And so, this is not actually something that the president can do, you know, as an executive order. Congress would have to pass some sort of law before he could do something like this.
COOPER: Matt, it's also much more limited. I mean, what's interesting is the president announced this great fanfare as an executive order and made it sound like all federal funds would be stopped to these cities. What the Department of Justice in the subsequent months was arguing to this court was basically it's going to be three grants and the judge said you can already under the terms of those grants, you can limit the funding under those grants. So, you know, it -- the judge didn't buy the whole notion that all federal funds would be stopped.
MATT LEWIS, SENIOR COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Right, and I think it's technical and detailed and this will be litigated. But I think the larger question is where I'm with Donald Trump and I think the American people are. I mean, number one, the federal government decides and sets immigration law. Number two, these cities are unilaterally deciding not to enforce federal law. Number three, President Trump is dually elected and has the authority to issue executive orders that deal with the implementation of federal law.
I think it's perfectly reasonable for the federal government to withhold funds from cities and counties that are not following the rule of law and are not complying with federal law.
COOPER: Laura, what do you think about that?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's not unilateral. There is a Tenth Amendment that allows states to say that you cannot commandeer our state and local police officers. And also, the Supreme Court in 2012, when dealt with an issue of an Obamacare/Medicare expansion said, listen, you cannot condition federal funding in a coercive way in a way that's akin to placing a gun to the head of these states.
If they were to condition the funds in advance of the states accepting the money, then it would be about outsides of their power. But here, they're trying to take the rug out of from under the actual states and saying, now that we've changed our minds, you must now comply with what was not required of you when you first took the funding.
And that's the judge's focus here. It's very, very narrow and why the department of justice responded in the way it did. It comes down to the Tenth Amendment and the idea of using it as a weapon. It's a nod to the very conservative justices who already said, you cannot do this. That's a funny thing about precedent. It works both ways.
COOPER: Professor Foley, was this California court right?
ELIZABETH FOLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR: I think he was. This is basically constitutional law 101, as Kirsten said. The power of the purse does belong solely to Congress and not to the president.
Now, having said that, this policy of withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities can be carried out by Congress, but Congress does have to abide by existing Supreme Court precedent, including a case called South Dakota versus Dole, which set a road map as to how Congress can put strings on the receipt of federal funds.
I wrote an opinion editorial in the "Los Angeles Times" a couple months ago that basically told Congress how it can do this. And I think if it abides by that road map and dots its I's and crosses its T's, it can give President Trump a longer term legal victory rather than this short-term ephemeral PR victory he apparently was going for.
COOPER: So, Professor Foley, was this -- I mean, I don't know if incompetence is too strong a word, but just a rush botched job by the White House to get this executive order out without actually thinking it through?
FOLEY: Yes, that's a good question. I mean, I don't want to judge them too much because you always make a lot of mistakes in early days of administration. But I will say I think the Trump administration was getting some political pressure to throw some bones to its base, and that was a short term sort of ephemeral PR victory.
Now, they have to sort of play the game here on a lot of these issues, but it's quite clear that unlike a lot of other administrations, this Trump administration is going to face serious legal challenges to almost every major move it makes. So, it better play the long-term legal game.
COOPER: Kirsten, I mean, it's pretty stunning, if that's the case if a man just like the seven country ban --
[20:20:05] POWERS: Well, I mean, but I think the legal experts can probably speak to this a little bit more, but the judge raised five different constitutional objections to this, which seems like a lot in an executive order. You know, you have the separation of powers. You are violating the spending clause and unduly coercive, which we've heard on the Tenth Amendment.
And then two Fifth Amendment violations, void for vagueness. Meaning that there really was no explanation to the states of how they could not run afoul of this. And then another Fifth Amendment violation was there was no notice to be heard and to basically appeal this. That's a lot of constitutional violations in one executive order.
COOPER: Also, Matt, the White House has said when they put this up that a definition of what a sanctuary city would be forthcoming. It's been three months.
I just talked to the mayor of Los Angeles. He doesn't know what their definition of a sanctuary city is and they've gotten no clarification on it.
LEWIS: Yes, and, obviously, that's them. That's incompetence.
I think it's funny that liberals are now defenders of state rights and keeping the big, bad federal government from overreaching. Look, very clearly, what these cities, these sanctuary cities are doing is unilaterally deciding not to enforce federal law. I agree with Congress --
COOPER: To the argument that the mayor of Los Angeles makes, which is they want people to report crimes, even if they're undocumented, they don't want people not bringing charges against somebody who is abusing them --
LEWIS: That's a perfectly valid argument accept we have something called the rule of law. The federal law says that, you know, you cannot come into this country illegally, and they are choosing not to abide by the Department of Justice's enforcement.
COATES: But you're making a mistake on one issue here.
POWERS: Rudy Giuliani did this. I mean, this is like -- he's a law and order person. Rudy Giuliani had a sanctuary city. He explained for all the reasons that you need to be able to -- for all the reasons we know, that you need people to report crimes.
He did not -- you know, this is not -- the whole this is a liberal thing, this isn't even an -- what I outlined is not an ideological statement. It really is constitutional 101.
LEWIS: I would love to see Congress deal with this because that's how you actually change it long term anyway.
COATES: Well, the thing about it is you're missing a policy perspective, Matt, and that is this, as a former prosecutor, it is not just about reporting crimes. There are prosecutorial priorities that state and local officers have and are trying to abide by. And for the federal government to come in and say we're going to restructure those priorities or order them according to our campaign rhetoric perhaps is really an undermining of what the legal objectives are of a prosecutor's office.
Their goal was not simply to tout or flout the law. Their goal is to enforce the priorities they have about trying to minimize and solve violent crimes. And you can all agree that being an undocumented immigrant in and of itself is by far never a violent crime.
LEWIS: Well, look at the San Francisco case where there was a guy who was deported multiple times and came back and ended up killing -- he was an illegal -- and ended up killing an American citizen.
COATES: You're right. The crime he committed was in fact violent, but the actual policy defense that these states are enforcing and these cities are saying is they're trying to prioritize solving crimes like that do exist. But in and of itself, trying to reallocate their funding and their priorities in order to accommodate the federal government without having funding is going to jeopardize the ability to achieve law and order that you speak of.
COOPER: We've got to take a break. I want to thank, everybody. We're obviously going to be following this as it moves through the courts. And that's obviously where this is heading.
More breaking news. New questions tonight about payments former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn got from Russia and Turkey. The chair of the House Oversight Committee says Flynn failed to disclose the money and may have broken the law. Details on that ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:27:40] COOPER: Well, there's more breaking news tonight. Big news: President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn is facing new allegations tonight that he didn't properly disclose payments he received from Russia and Turkey and may have broken the law. The violation, if proven, would be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
You'll remember, it was Flynn who at the Republican National Convention led the audience on a "lock her up" chant about Hillary Clinton.
The Republican chair and ranking Democrat of the House Oversight Committee announced their findings after reviewing Flynn's application for security clearance, calling the documents they looked at, quote, "extremely troubling".
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about it at today's briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Does the White House belief Lieutenant General Flynn might have broken the law when he filled out SF-86?
SPICER: I don't -- that would be a question for him and a law enforcement agency whether or not he filled -- I don't know what he filled out and what he did or did not do. That all happened -- he filled that form out prior to coming here, so it would be up to the committee and other authorities to look at that. I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, looking into it is actually what congressional investigators are doing tonight.
Pamela Brown has the latest.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, new questions about whether President Trump's former national security adviser broke the law over payments he received from Russia and Turkey.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Do you believe that Michael Flynn broke the law?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law.
BROWN: The revelation comes after leaders of the house oversight committee reviewed classified documents in a private briefing. Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill today, they revealed they've seen no proof showing Flynn, a former top military intelligence official, received permission from the Pentagon or the State department for the foreign government payments he received.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER: He was supposed to get permission and he was supposed to report it and he didn't, period.
BROWN: And they say he didn't fully disclose the more than half million dollars his firm was given for lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he applied to reinstate his security clearance or the $45,000 he received from Russia for a RT TV speaking engagement, money Chaffetz says Flynn might have to pay back.
CHAFFETZ: As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate and there are repercussions for the violation of law.
[20:30:02] BROWN: Flynn's attorney says in a statement, he did comply with the law on the Russian payment, saying, "General Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of DOD, extensively regarding the RT speaking event trip both before and after the trip".
The embattled former National Security Advisor left amid controversy in February after he lied about discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, now the former acting attorney general Sally Yates who alerted the White House about Flynn's conversation with Kislyak will soon testify before the Senate Judiciary committee on Russian's interference in the election.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We will ask her all questions about Russia what she knew about Trump ties. Was it an administration effort to unmask people for political purposes, we're going to get to all things Russia, in terms of what the administration did and what Russia did.
BROWN (voice-over): And the GOP chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says the panel wants to question Flynn.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is there any way you give Flynn immunity to testify?
SEN. RICHARD BURR, (R) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: No, there's no way, no.
COOPER: Pamela joins us now. There are continued calls for an independent investigation into Russian interference, is that looking at all likely at this point?
BROWN: Well it can certainly happen, just today, Anderson the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was confirmed in the Senate, so now he will oversee the Russia probe for DOJ, and he has told senators according to Chuck Schumer -- Senator Chuck Schumer that he will appoint a special prosecutor if in fact it is necessary. In fact a recent poll showed 73 percent of Americans want outside counsel, they want an outside bipartisan commission to look into Russia's meddling in the election and possible ties with Trump campaign associates, beyond what's already going on, which as we know you have the House Oversight Committee Investigation, the Intelligence Committee Investigations as well as the FBI investigation, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, Pam Brown, thanks very much.
Much more ahead, I'll talk to Democratic Congress Jim Himes a member of the House Intelligent Committee about the new allegations, Michael Flynn is facing. Does he committee might call Flynn as a witness and who else have they called to testified. Be right back.
[20:36:08] COOPER: Well, the breaking news tonight on Capitol Hill, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee says Michael Flynn, President Trump's former National Security Advisor failed to disclose payments he got from Russia as well as Turkey and may broken the law. The committee announces findings after viewing Flynn's application for security clearance.
White House won't say if Flynn broke the law, as you know, there are multiple Trump-Russia investigations under way, four congressional committees are conducting probes.
Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, he's a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, so the news that General Flynn may not have complied with law when it comes to disclosing payments from Russia, what do you make of that?
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, I have now -- she seems the SF86 form that's in question Anderson SF86 being the form that anybody fills out who's getting a security clearance. It's the oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz and Congressman Cummings, committee who has seen that.
It is true and I take them at their word that these payments were not disclosed and it is also true that if you knowingly misrepresent information, if you lie on that SF86, it is a felony, so the question becomes now was it a deliberate omission or was it an accident? And that's something that I would expect both the oversight as well as my committee, the Intelligence Committee to look into.
COOPER: So the House Oversight Committee, I mean they're saying that the White House declined to provide them with documents related to Flynn, I wonder a, how significant, how important that is and how surprising it is to you and how much cooperation has your committee gotten from the White House, are you satisfied with their level of cooperation?
HIMES: Well, it's concerning because of course, you know, it is almost always true in these things that cooperating and putting all the information that you have out there is the right way to go. When you say, hey, we're not providing you with information that we have, it raises in the minds of people like me and the minds of the public the question of why not. And so, you know, obviously the questions of whether there was anything more than just inattention to these detail in the omission of these payments and by the way, we should just talk about the very fact that those payments existed our National Security Advisor, you know, getting significant payments from foreign countries, but it is of course something that we will be looking into. Michael Flynn has a lot of testifying to do before a number of committees and recall Anderson, that he did ask for immunity in exchange for that testimony. So I think one way or another we're going to hear more from Michael Flynn.
COOPER: Do you think he should get immunity? I mean would you want --
COOPER: -- to give him immunity, besides finding from your committee?
HIMES: Well I tell you, I would start from the default position that no he shouldn't. As you know immunity is awarded because there's a good reason to award it in the law enforcement context, of course you give immunity usually to smaller fish because you think there might be bigger to go after. So until somebody sat down with Michael Flynn and his lawyers to find out kind of what he has. And by the way of course the question is, you know, what kind of legal jeopardy is he in and that's a question for the FBI and law enforcement, not so much for Congress.
So, you know, those two things, you can't make a judgment on whether it makes any sense at all to give him immunity.
COOPER: And as far, you know, that hasn't happened so far with Michael Flynn, nobody seat from any the committee have sat down with him to find out what he was?
HIMES: On the Congressional side, that has not happen, in other words, you know, when he offered to testify in exchange for immunity, both the Senate and the House Committees didn't take him up on that offer. What the FBI may or may not be doing with Michael Flynn obviously is something that we don't know about it's an ongoing investigation.
COOPER: The Senate Judiciary Committee announced that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates were reported -- will be testifying also former director National Intelligence James Clapper, will be testifying an open hearing, I think they've also been invited to do so before your committee. How important is it to have open hearings versus closed hearings? So obviously, you know, there's lot of folks they say looking, you can learn a lot more from a closed hearing, they can get into classified information that they talk about in an open hearing?
HIMES: Yes, no I think that's exactly right and obviously they'll be constrained from talking about classified information and in their case of course as recent government officials, they may have classified information they couldn't discuss in public. [20:40:00] But I do think it's really important Anderson, it is many of these hearings as possible happen in the open, so that the American public can see what it is that we are seeing as investigators. You know, we can have a situation where six or nine months from now we come out with a report and there's been no lead up to it and, you know, how are people going to know what lines of inquiry we need to follow.
So I think we need to -- we need to have a bias towards this being open. Now, this one I think will be particularly interesting, because you'll recall four, five, six weeks ago before we went through the whole situation with Chairman Nunes' run to the White House, and the way that sort it took us off track for a while. It was precisely this hearing with Deputy Attorney General Yates, and with Clapper and Brennan that was scheduled, we were all set and ready to go, and then boom, it just disappeared.
So, you know, we may learn when they finally do testify, maybe why it was so important that that open hearing be canceled back when it was.
COOPER: Are you satisfied with the pace of things? And we know we learned yesterday some members of the Senate Intel Committee are frustrated with pace their investigation, how is it going on the House side?
HIMES: Yes, well, you know, of course we had that sort of two or three-week kind of carnival when we were sort of wondering what the heck was going on. Since Chairman Nunes has recused himself from the investigation, since Congressman Mike Conaway has taken over that investigation, I think we're back on track, we have agreed on witness lists, we're scheduling hearings. So I do think we're back on track, and it's important -- I caught wind obviously of everything that was said over on the Senate side.
This is a fairly complicated process, I mean before you start interviewing witnesses you've got thousands of pages of documents to review, many of them have to happen in classified spaces, and you have to think very carefully about what order you interview witnesses in as well. So this is not something that can kind of happen in a one, or two-week period. And so I'm satisfied that we're back on track in the House and overall I would say this is something you would rather do right and comprehensively in a good detailed fashion than get it done quickly.
COOPER: Yes, Congressman Himes, good to talk to you. Thanks very much.
HIMES: Thanks Anderson.
COOPER: Up next, President Trump insists a big beautiful border wall as he often calls it will be built. So the question is where is the funding for it on Capitol Hill, and will Mexico eventually pay the bill for it? The new twists and turns, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:46:01] COOPER: Well the big beautiful wall that candidate Trump promised over and over again that he was going to build and somehow make Mexico pay for is looming over budget talks that could shut down the government with a Friday deadline fast approaching. A source says, one Republican proposal does not include funding for the wall, but has money in it for some type of border security. Even the president seems to be getting less urgent on the timing. Here's what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We already preparing, we're doing plans, we're doing specifications, we're doing a lot of work on the wall and the wall gets built.
TRUMP: The wall is very, very important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In your first term?
TRUMP: Well, it's certainly going to -- yes, yes, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In your first term?
TRUMP: We have plenty of time, got a lot of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about timing for the wall today and how the budget for it. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is a national and economic safety issue by having a wall that ensures our country's safety and there's plenty of planning that can be done in FY17, we're going to continue -- our priorities are clear going to FY17, the remainder of budging for that. And we'll continue to ask for more in FY18.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it's delayed for now?
SPICER: No I didn't -- no, no, no. I never -- no one said delay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You'll notice that in neither President Trump's comments nor and Mr. Spicer said the press briefing is there mentioned some place south of the border called Mexico, in the case of Mr. Spicer in fact it was very clear that tax payers that means you and everybody here would be paying for the wall which of course is not what were told on the campaign trail and one of the presidents iniquities (ph) and loudest rallying cries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are going to build a great border wall.
We will build a great, great wall.
We're going to build a wall, don't worry about it.
We will build the wall 100 percent.
I promise, we will build the wall.
And who's going to pay for the wall?
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Mexico!
TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall?
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Mexico!
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Mexico!
TRUMP: It will be a great wall. Mexico is going to pay for the wall.
Mexico is going to pay for the wall
Mexico will pay for the wall.
And Mexico is going to pay for the wall and they understand that.
Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Believe me 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Mexico's foreign minister by the way today said, "In no scenario will Mexico pay for the wall". Joining me now is Jack Kingston and Paul Begala.
Paul, I mean this was surely one of the president's biggest campaign promises. How essential is it that he delivers at least in some way here? Because Sean Spicer is very careful to say, no there's not a delay, but there certainly no funding for it seems like this time around.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's a tough deal, because his base wants it. Rush Limbaugh though like why he went on a radio today and attacked Donald Trump, said that this was a cave. But I think if I go through quickly as at least four reasons why he's doing this. First we don't need it. The flow of Mexicans has for five years if you research set a studied that has gone back home. Those were -- we're loosing Mexicans, they're going home, Mr. Trump's wall will only slow down their departure.
Second is not popular, 64 percent of Americans opposed it in the Quinnipiac poll, third, there's no appetite for them in Hill, every single member of Congress, Republican, Democrat alike whose district that wall would go through opposes it. And finally, maybe most importantly he's got a higher priority, yeah, he said that on the campaign trail, but it was on a con. His higher priority he's already outlined which is a massive tax cut for corporate America. $2.4 trillion he can find for corporate back ads but nothing for his space and so desperately wants that wall. That's his really priority you can tell.
COOPER: Congressman Kingston, I mean first of all the president should get credit because it suggest -- and since he's taking office -- the number of people crossing over into the United States has dropped dramatically according to officials. The softening of the language of, the extension of time lines, I mean are we witnessing the same kind of thing we saw with the president's effort to repeal and replace Obamacare here?
JACK KINGSTON, (R) FORMER GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: No, I don't think so. Number one as you pointed out, those numbers are real, border -- illegal border crossings were down 60 percent last month. We're at a 17-year low in illegal border crossing.
[20:50:02] Enforcing the law works. And then the greater umbrella of immigration control and getting a grip on our illegal crossings, the president is delivering on that. And I want to say this. The policy is --
COOPER: So what about the wall? I mean is it crucial that he has to do that?
KINGSTON: I think it's crucial that he absolutely has to fight for it. But I think the American electorate understands that he is fighting Chuck Schumer, a man who voted for the wall in 2006, along with his Senate colleague Barack Obama.
And, you know, but remember one thing that Paul and I know and we've discussed the off camera a minute ago is that the issue is great for us. And I'm just talking straight politics. This is not good policy. But sometimes a political policy -- party does well when they talk about an issue. And that issue doesn't have to get resolved. If we, Republicans, are the party of border enforcement, then it's a good issue for us.
COOPER: Paul --
KINGSTON: If Chuck Schumer wants to lead the fight against it, I know that's good in Democrat pockets. But I think that's why we won --
COOPER: Paul, what about that? I mean the Congressman is saying, look as long as he is seen as fighting for it, maybe it doesn't actually have to deliver on it.
BEGALA: Well, you know, the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln said you can fool some of the people some of the time. And that's how Donald Trump got to become president. He got fewer votes by 3 million than Hillary Clinton. But he fooled enough people. And I don't fault those people by the way. You fall for a con, it doesn't make you a bad person. It makes the con artist a liar and bad person and that's who Donald Trump is, he conned these folks, many of them really good people, be patriots --
KINGSTON: Paul --
BEGALA: -- very concern about the country with this whole wall thing.
KINGSTON: -- haven't been conned. You know, his approving rating with Republicans is still 80 to 85 percent. It really -- we understand --
BEGALA: The con is working.
KINGSTON: -- he is fighting in Washington. And he's fighting for us. And I think that's what people see.
COOPER: Congressman is Mexico going to pay?
KINGSTON: I don't think Mexico will pay directly. But I think as Jeff Sessions says the other day, there are a number of ways to get money out of Mexico and one of them is the payments that go back for Mexican workers who are in America. There are ways through or through trade, through tax policies to recoup some of the money. But I think --
COOPER: The taxing the money that Mexican workers here in the country send back or just taking the money?
KINGSTON: I think it would be taxing the money they send back. But Anderson, let me say this and I'm speaking as a Republican, 70 percent of this battle is building the wall. We republicans, the line about Mexico paying for it, I know it's a big crowd pleaser. But you could ask them in terms of voter way, the value of that is a lot less than building the wall.
COOPER: All right, seemed pretty popular among those crowds though, the idea of Mexico paying for it. We'll see. Jack Kingston, thank you, Paul Begala as well.
Up next, first daughter Ivanka Trump heckled in Germany. We'll explain why and what led to the rocky reception, how she responded when we continue.
[20:56:34] COOPER: Ivanka Trump got heckled in the world stage today. The first daughter making her first overseas trip in her new role as presidential adviser, spoke at a women's summit in Berlin, Germany. Here's how the crowd reacted when she defended her father's reckon on women's issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: He's been a tremendous (inaudible) of supporting families and enabling them to thrive in the new reality --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hear the reactions on from the audience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ivanka Trump supporting her dad in german Germany facing criticisms, she feel that same role here at home and many other. Here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fashion mogul.
I. TRUMP: White diamonds, planking so another side.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Policy walk.
I. TRUMP: I've been engaged in a long-term campaign to support young professional women.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Or defender-in-chief whether for her father's behavior toward women.
I. TRUMP: Look, I'm not in every interaction my father have, but he's not a groper. It's not who he is.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Or claims of anti-Semitism.
I. TRUMP: He clearly did not think that was the Star of David. So I think that it should have been taken at face value. That was clearly not the intention.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The true nature of Ivanka Trump's role is a mystery. Just as it was throughout the campaign, it still is even as she settles into the White House as an unpaid adviser.
TRUMP: I want to thank my daughter Ivanka who is with us today.
FOREMAN (voice-over): She is shown up in top level meetings with foreign leaders. She has a staff, an office in the west wing and she's expecting security clearance. She's been at the table to discuss American business concerns at her dad's desk to congratulate an astronaut in space.
TRUMP: I'm here in the Oval Office along with my daughter Ivanka.
FOREMAN (voice-over): But again, what is she doing? Ivanka has implied her chief agenda is keeping rights for women and children in the forefront. And indeed, her father brought it up to Congress.
TRUMP: My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Others suggest the first daughter is first a voice of moderation. Off setting conservatives on matters such as gay rights, climate change and abortion. But she won't confirm.
I. TRUMP: And my father agrees with me on so many issues. And where he doesn't, he knows where I stand.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Beyond that, she's supremely cagey. Seldom revealing precisely where she stands or how she shapes her father's positions. Driving critics, crazy.
I. TRUMP: I think most of the impact I have over time most people will not actually know about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh that's convenient. So we should just give her credit when good stuff happens and then blame others when bad stuff happens? That's not a job description of a political adviser. That's a description of an old testimony God.
FOREMAN (on-camera): All of this matters because Ivanka Trump's unique position raises questions about conflicts of interest and accountability and transparency, all of which are difficult to answer if we don't know what her job is. Anderson.
COOPER: Tom Foreman, Tom thanks very much.
Thanks for watching "360", we're out of time. Time to hand things over to Jake Tapper for prime time edition of "The Lead.".
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump said we're going to win so much, you're going to be sick and tire of winning. And then federal courts said, not so fast there, Donald Trump.
[21:00:06] "THE LEAD" starts right now.