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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Flynn Providing Documents to Senate Intel Committee; Sources: Russians Discussed Potentially "Derogatory" Information About Trump & Associates During Campaign. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 30, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest", with a flood of new reporting and late developments in the Trump/Russia investigation and the president's ongoing effort to brand a good deal of such reporting fake news.
Now, this is happening with his son-in-law and a real and growing scrutiny on Russia. It's happening with his former national security adviser and now his corporate lawyer facing questions or requests or demands for information pertaining to the Russia probe. It's happening with new reporting from real former intelligence officials and a real congressional source about Russian officials possibly having derogatory information on the man who would become president, possibly financial in nature. It's happening with a real inside source who speaks to the president, speaking to us about his frame of mind since returning from overseas.
None of these is fake. Yet the president would have the public believe otherwise.
He tweeted over the weekend, quote: It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies by the fake news media.
He goes on: whenever you see the words sources say in the fake news media and they don't mention names, it's very possible those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. Fake news is the enemy.
"Keeping Them Honest", John Miller or John Barron might have something to say about that. Those are the pseudonyms the president then a businessman reportedly used when phoning New York papers to plant flattering stories about himself: fake names, fake sources, fake stories, fake new -- real fake news. The fake news he now objects to is coming from real people talking to CNN and many, many others.
In any case, it's not that the president has exactly not shied away from relying on unnamed sources when it suited him. August 6, 2012, quote: An extremely credible source has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud. Also that day, quote, an extremely credible sources has called my
office and told me that Barack Obama applied to Occidental as a foreign student. Think about it.
What is a source for the goose is apparently not a source for the gander.
Today, pushing back on reports about Jared Kushner's attempt to set up a covert communications linked with Moscow, the president cited a more flattering story on FOX News which happened to be based, quote, on a source familiar with the matter.
Here's what Sean Spicer said when asked about that contradiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The president retweeted an article about that backchannel that was based on an anonymous source that said that there was an effort to set up a back channel, that it was the Russians who suggested that and that it was to talk about Syria. Was the president not confirming that that effort -- that there was an effort in the facts that I just said?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think what I just said speaks for itself.
REPORTER: Right. But he was -- but you said that that first of all, that the article was based on anonymous sources.
SPICER: Which it is.
REPORTER: But the Fox article that the president retweeted was also based on anonymous sources. Why are those sources or the source that they used more credible than the once in "The Washington Post" article?
SPICER: Again, I don't -- I don't think there are two issues at hand. One is the statement that Jared's attorney has provided. Second is whether or not the back -- the dossier that was largely the basis of this was largely discredited in the first place. Most of the publications here refused to even publish it in the first place. So, again, I'm not going to get into confirming stuff. There's an ongoing investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He ignored the whole question about anonymous sources. Part of that effort that he was talking about centers on the dossier that Sean Spicer mentioned. And regardless of the sourcing, it's not accurate to say that dossier has been discredited. We're not reporting on the details of it because some of it has yet to be confirmed or disproven in. To say however that it's been completely discredited in part or in hole is simply not true.
In fact, CNN reported in February, some parts of that dossier have been corroborated. For instance, the U.S. intelligence agencies found that some of the meetings and communications contained in the dossier indeed took place on the dates and into locations as described.
And that's not all Sean Spicer said, as he gave his first press briefing at the White House since before the president's trip.
Jim Acosta joins us now with all of the developments in a very, very busy day.
So, the breaking news tonight about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, what can you tell us?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. Michael Flynn was saying not too long ago that he was not going to be commenting and not testifying, not providing information to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee floated the prospect of holding Flynn in contempt of Congress, and lo and behold, today, Anderson, a source close to the national security adviser is telling CNN that, yes, Michael Flynn will be providing some documents of the Senate Intelligence Committee by June the 6th, about a week or so from now.
We should point out, that's not the only activity today. Former special assistant to the president, Boris Epshteyn, confirmed to CNN through a source that he also has been requested by intelligence committee investigators to provide information to Congress, as well as Michael Cohen. We confirmed through Michael Cohen directly today, he confirmed to CNN that, yes, he's been asked to provide testimony and information to congressional investigators, Anderson.
We should point out, Michael Cohen, who is a personal attorney to President Trump, told us over the phone, he is politely declining to cooperate.
[20:05:03] He says that there's been no evidence to corroborate anything with respect to the Russia investigation and he called it a fishing expedition.
COOPER: Just in terms of the White House, what is the mood like right now inside coming back from the trip facing the, you know, the ongoing Russia investigation?
ACOSTA: Well, I think they certainly feel embattled if you look at the performance from White House press secretary Sean Spicer earlier today. You were playing some of the president's tweets or showing some of the president's tweets talking about fake news. Sean Spicer not too surprisingly during that briefing earlier today slammed reporters for fake news.
I tried to press Spicer on that and he could only refer to some erroneous tweets that the president was not listening to translation at the G7 when in fact I suppose he was. That was Sean Spicer's only example of fake news, not whether Jared Kushner is somehow an interest to federal investigators and that he set up a backchannel or tried to set up a backchannel with the Russians. He would not comment on whether that was fake news, or whether there's a shakeups in the works over here at the White House. We've been reporting for days, Anderson, that they are putting
together this war room, this rapid response operation, both inside the White House and among associates and supporters of the president outside the White House to respond to this daily deluge of stories about the Russia investigation and Spicer did not comment on that, did not say whether or not he deemed that to be fake news. That's an indication of where they are right now, Anderson. If it's a story they like, it's just fine. If it's a story that just about has anything to do with the Russia investigation or a story they don't like, it's not fake news. That is a sign of a White House that's in the bunker -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
More now on the story that Jim mentioned and that CNN was first reported on what Russians may have believed they had on the president and people close to him. It's a potentially explosive story. It also comes with reasons to be very careful about precisely what we're reporting and what we are not reporting.
CNN's Dana Bash has the very latest on that.
So, Dana, what are you learning?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you know we've been reporting for months that the Russians wanted to influence the 2016 election. What we're learning now is that some Russians talked about whether they had leverage over Trump's inner circle. Two former intelligence officials and a congressional source tell CNN that during the 2016 campaign, Russian government officials discussed having potentially, quote, derogatory information about then presidential candidate Donald Trump and some of his top aides. One source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussion centered around whether the Russians had leverage again with Trump's inner circle.
So, the source says that the intercepted communications suggested to U.S. intelligence that Russians believed, quote, they had the ability to influence the administration through derogatory information.
Now, you'll remember, CNN first reported about U.S. intercepted discussions of Russian officials bragging about cultivating relationships with Trump aides, including Trump's first national security adviser Michael Flynn in order to influence Trump.
COOPER: But back then, sources were cautioning that the claims by the Russians could have been exaggerated or even made up. Is that still the case?
BASH: It is. And it's a really important point. And we don't know if that is the case.
One of the things that we have been learning through the course of our reporting on Russia, trying to influence the election is, frankly, how crafty they were and still are apparently in trying to spread disinformation. So, our sources acknowledge it is possible in this case but we do know that financial entanglements of some people associated with Trump are part of the FBI investigation into Russian meddling.
COOPER: What's the White House reaction today?
BASH: Well, as you can imagine, they are not happy with this reporting and they say that this is yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources to smear the president. I should also tell you that the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the FBI are not commenting and the president himself has insisted on multiple occasions that he has no financial dealings with Russia.
COOPER: Dana Bash, thanks very much.
I want to bring in the panel. Matt Lewis is here. Ryan Lizza, Maggie Haberman, Jeffrey Lord, Jennifer Granholm and Steve Hall.
Maggie, I mean, the question of whether the Russians had something on President Trump, again, it is important to point out that it could just be Russians talking to each other and bragging to each other and lying to each other.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT : Right. That is actually very important distinction to make. We still do have innocent until proven guilty.
That having been said, there are a lot of legitimate questions about the president's financial holdings that would have happened regardless of whether those conversations were taking place and he has made pretty clear he's not going to release his tax returns.
COOPER: Right. Those questions could be answered if the tax returns more or less --
HABERMAN: More or less. I mean --
HABERMAN: -- some of them could or they could be answered more fully. There's a lot we don't know. There is a lot that the president has refused to disclose that I think is adding to the questions surrounding this whole thing and it's hard to understand on some basic level why at this point he wouldn't just be more transparent.
COOPER: Steve Hall, I mean, there's certainly a notion that you can't believe everything you hear on intercepted Russian conversations because they know Americans are likely listening. How much, you know, credibility do you give, given your experience?
[20:10:07] STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA SENIOR OFFICER, RUSSIA EXPERT: (AUDIO GAP) is that given the fact that Donald Trump, before he was president of the United States, traveled to Russia, the FSB, Russia intelligence service, has every capability and are very good at collecting all sorts of information that they can on anybody that they deem to be an appropriate target inside of Russia. So, at the time, before Donald Trump became a politician, the Russians would simply have seen him as an American oligarch. Somebody worthy of collection, a rich guy with potential power and who knows what he's going to turn into in the future? And this case, the bet would have paid off.
The real question is whether they obtained anything on Trump which could be used to, in effect, to blackmail him. So, we don't know. There's definitely information that they have on him and, frankly, the only part that has a ring of truth to me is the financial angle of it because some of the salacious stuff that we heard about in the Steele documentation, for example, I'm not sure if that's true or that's even compelling in any way.
But the financial stuff would sort of be a soft underbelly of Trump and if they have it, they have it. It is sort of strange that you have Russians talking about it over open telephone lines and that calls into question a whole bunch. But I think what -- one thing you can't call into question is whether or not they have information on it. They do. The question is whether or not it can be used to blackmail him or not.
COOPER: Ryan, I mean, there's also -- you know, the whole thing of Jared Kushner wanted a back channel or possibly proposed using equipment that was inside the Russian embassy. Does that --
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: Yes, this whole thing is baffling and this story broke on Friday night and we were all very careful in reporting it, saying maybe we need to hear the White House's side of the story. But here we are on Tuesday night and we still don't have a detailed account of what happened in that meeting.
I think it's important to step back and remember what's already been previously reported and that is that before Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner went to that meeting, which was on December 1st or 2nd, they were briefed by Obama's intelligence officials. Be careful of the Russian ambassador.
And if you remember, "The Washington Post" reported that the Obama administration actually gave them a psychological profile of Kislyak from the CIA to say, watch this guy. You don't know who you're dealing with here.
Well, they went into that meeting and not only did they seem to ignore the advice of the intelligence professionals, but they talked about this backchannel on Russian soil, right? The embassy on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington is Russian soil. So, they'd be going to a foreign embassy to talk presumably to Putin.
So, that story, I think, is still baffling. We don't know why they didn't heed the warnings and we don't know why, a few weeks later, Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, asked apparently Kushner to meet with this head of the Russian bank and he went ahead and did that. So, that's a very, very strange series of events and then you have what looks like, if you're looking at this critically, a cover-up. You have Kushner not disclosing these meetings on the form that he was required to disclose them on until after the fact. So, that's a very curious serious of events. COOPER: Matt, I mean, especially the Russian banker, given his past
with Russian intelligence and training with Russian intelligence and also the bank's records, you know, being a sanctioned bank, all of that information, I mean, it's pretty easy to find on Google. It doesn't require a high-level briefings.
MATT LEWIS, SENIOR COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Right. Look, I think that there's a lot of things about this that are -- that raise questions. If this were another country, I don't think it would be that big of a deal.
Part of the -- obviously, this is Russia. Russia tried to interfere with our elections and that I think is the big reason why we're so focused on this.
You know, backchannels obviously happen and even happen during transition sometimes. I don't know if this is a big deal, no deal or just a deal right now. I think that when we put it into the context of all of the things we've looked at the last several months, this could be entirely innocent. It could just be somebody who did a lot of questionable things. Jared Kushner who didn't know what he was doing.
I do think that the fact that it's Russia, you know, Mitt Romney was right. They are a geopolitical foe.
COOPER: And, Jeff Lord, before I go to break, I mean, it is interesting -- none of this was happening in a vacuum. Obviously, it was Russia and at that point, the U.S. intelligence committee had been very opened about their belief that Russia had attempted to influence the election. So, I mean, all of these meetings are taking place with that as a backdrop. It doesn't seem like that was being brought up a lot or even now that that is brought up a lot between the U.S. and Russia.
JEFF LORD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR: I just think this is overblown. By my account, President Kennedy had his brother talking to Georgi Bolshakov, who was a mid-level Soviet back channel for the Kennedy administration.
Jimmy Carter as president-elect sent Averell Harriman to talk to Anatoly Dobrynin and that conversation was written up by Dobrynin himself, it's in the Wilson Center. December 1st, 1976, when Gerald Ford was still president.
[20:15:01] Ronald Reagan used Michael Ledeen when he was president as a backchannel to Iran. And Michael Ledeen defending this process back in 2013 and 2014 in "The Huffington Post" reveals that William Miller, who was a Senate select intelligence committee staffer served Senator Obama as nominee as a back channel to Iran.
COOPER: Governor Granholm --
LORD: There's nothing unusual.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I so admire your persistence, Jeffrey, in the face of what are really unbelievable facts of -- you know, serial facts of covering up.
I mean, we -- this is why we need an independent commission and in fact you even called for an independent commission to look at the full scope of things.
GRANHOLM: But this is not about Jared Kushner being some naive Bambi. He did have Flynn next to him. Flynn certainly knows what's going on.
If you hear the president continue to say fake news, it causes many of us to say, ah, what's underneath this? And we really want to know what is underneath all of this covering up? Why is there such a fear of what the Russians may have?
COOPER: We're going to have --
GRANHOLM: And that story today that CNN -- or last week that CNN uncovered I think is an example of why we have to have.
COOPER: More from the panel after a quick break.
Plus, later, revealing new inside account of the president's state of mind these days and why the long-time Trump watchers think it squares with the man they have made their careers getting to know.
Also tonight, you've seen the Tiger Woods mug shot. He's claimed he was not drinking. Do you know the real story that's emerging behind it? We'll have that.
COOPER: The breaking news, Michael Flynn agreeing to turn over documents to congressional investigators, continuing questions about Jared Kushner's meeting with Sergey Kislyak and a Russian banker, and more.
Back now with the panel.
Maggie, you wanted to put out some -- just some facts here.
HABERMAN: Yes, just a couple of things. I mean, we were talking about how this was a backchannel.
[20:20:00] This was not a backchannel. This was a secret channel that was supposed to be established. The reason for using Russian coms was that so Americans could not intercept it.
HABERMAN: Correct. The communications during the transition and possibly beyond that. That is unusual, because really what you were trying to establish as a back channel, why not just wait a couple more weeks until President Trump was in the White House and you could do anything you want.
LEWIS: But I think the leaks, though-- the leaks that have come from the deep state, the bureaucracy, or whatever, doesn't that confirm, if there was an instinct that says, let's be careful that bureaucrats and our own government might leak information to the press or wherever, that happens. That's happened a lot.
HABERMAN: Sure, but, it's not -- A, this is not the first time this has ever happened in history. B, this is not -- the context for this, again, matters to your point about Russia. This all happened amid allegations by 17 different intel agencies of Russians hacking Democratic committees and staffers. So, that's one point.
The other point is, when "The Times" broke the story about Jared Kushner meeting with this Russian banker Sergei Gorkov back in March, the Russian, we were told that they didn't know he had, Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, had recommended that Jared Kushner --
COOPER: The White House said they didn't know why?
HABERMAN: They said they didn't know why. Since then, they have said -- and they initially said shortly after our story, not to us, or suggested it on background to people, and then since have indicated similarly that this was about establishing a back channel, that Gorkov was believed to be close to Putin and the idea was trying to find -- Jared Kushner was trying to find someone who is as close to Putin as possible so he could communicate directly.
I don't understand why not put it out there right away if that was the case and I don't get the chance --
LIZZA: You know what it reminds of? It reminds me of the Clinton White House in the '90s when anything related to Hillary Clinton, the senior White House aides would walk on egg shells and it was very difficult for them to go to the president's wife and say, hey, there's troubling reporting in the press, we need all the facts. There was this very tense relationship because it's a family member of the president's.
Kushner, for some reason, anything that comes up that's related to Kushner, it just seems like the senior White House staff is scared, doesn't want to talk to him, doesn't want to pressure him.
HABERMAN: A sense of paralysis, I think.
COOPER: Jeff, what do you of the (INAUDIBLE) story?
LORD: I would say that Jared Kushner is the Robert Kennedy of the Trump administration and I would disagree with Maggie about back channels and secret channels because they can be the same things. In the Kennedy era, quite specifically, the knowledge was limited to the two brothers. One was the president, one was the attorney general, and they kept it out of the State Department. They kept everything away from everybody. COOPER: It's a little bit different. I mean, I get the comparison but at that point, there hadn't been, you know, all of the U.S. intelligence agencies saying that Russia had, you know, tried to involve themselves and had deeply involved themselves in the U.S. election.
LORD: I just -- I think that this is vastly overblown.
COOPER: What about the point about the changing story out of the White House, that, oh, we don't know why they had this meeting, or no, actually we do, it was because --
LORD: Well, I think there's some concern about secrecy. So they are not filling out forms saying some of this. I mean, I do think that that's --
HABERMAN: You say that's a legitimate thing to be concerned about?
LORD: Secrecy, sure, in diplomatic relations? Absolutely.
HABERMAN: I'm sorry, you're saying that they're not telling the truth about when they're asked about why they were meeting with somebody because they are concerned about secrecy? I don't understand that at all. I mean, if we're talking to them and they are confirming on the record back in March that they had this meeting, why say we have no idea why it is that Kislyak would recommend that Jared Kushner meet with Sergey Gorkov and then it turns out actually it's because Sergey Gorkov was believed to be close to Putin. Why on earth would you drag that out?
LORD: Because, you know, they are newcomers in the field of diplomacy. They're feeling the way --
HABERMAN: Well, that's a different point. That's a different point.
LORD: Right, right.
HABERMAN: I think a lot of this and I think that is a fair point is you are dealing largely with people who have not been in politics or government.
HABERMAN: And they are not used to seeking outside counsel of any kind. That's a real thing.
LORD: And I think there's a lot of that feeling.
HABERMAN: I think there is --
LORD: -- on both sides of this divide.
On the one hand, you've got people in the White House who are looking at the Washington community and saying, you know, we don't trust you.
(CROSSTALK) HABERMAN: That's not what I'm talking about.
LEWIS: But that's not an absurd instinct either.
GRANHOLM: Spicer was out there and not have an answer for this. If it is not true, then deny it. If it is true, then explain it now so that people can understand.
But the fact that they are still dancing around it is really -- it only causes Maggie and others like her and Ryan to do more --
COOPER: Well, Governor, you know what the White House said in the past on this, is that the president is so -- I can't remember the adjective they used, whether it was active or fast moving that his spokespeople cannot keep up.
GRANHOLM: Well --
COOPER: I'm just telling you what the White House said. You don't buy that, clearly.
GRANHOLM: You know, I'm sure.
GRANHOLM: His moves are too slick. He can't even put his press guy out there to respond to what has been the hot story of the whole week.
[20:25:00] That is just -- that, of course, is ridiculous. But it does beg the question of what all the secrecy is about, underlying it? It's not about a back channel. Something is underneath all of --
COOPER: It could also be that he's incompetent.
HABERMAN: I do think -- I think -- incompetence is a rough word, but I think that a lot of it is certainly --
COOPE: Or naivete or --
HABERMAN: I think it's newness to government.
LEWIS: It could also be, though -- I mean, it looks weird. It smells fishy and all of that, but one thing, is that, clearly, we've known for a long time that Donald Trump viewed Russia very differently than most of us did. I saw them as an adversary. I think he did see them as an opportunity, someone he can work with. The paradigm was that, you know, freedom versus authoritarianism, his paradigm was the Western civilization versus Islamism or radical Islamism.
So, he wanted to work with America and the idea that our bureaucracy would leak information is not a paranoid notion.
LIZZA: Wait a second, our bureaucracy -- you're talking -- this is our fundamental problem here, is why is it that the Trump campaign aides after this election, after all of the American intelligence is telling us what they did during the election, why are they more skeptical and distrustful of American intelligence services than --
LEWIS: American intelligence services have leaked a lot of --
COOPER: Steve Hall, I think --
LIZZA: But Russian intelligence versus American intelligence and --
COOPER: Steve, go ahead, as a career CIA officer.
HALL: The only thing I can talk about that I know that I'm talking about here is secrecy, right? So, the idea that somebody like Kushner or anybody is going to try to protect in a secret fashion from the deep state, which is a crock, by the way, but let's say that it's not. Let's say you want to protect against these leaks.
So, you're going to go to the Russians? You're going to go to the adversarial nation of the world and say, hey, let me enter your communications room because I want to use your communications to keep it from my own government. I'm not sure because I'm not a lawyer whether that's against the law but it ought to be.
I mean, it's ridiculous to say that you're going to go to the Russian government so you can keep a secret from your own society, from your government, from the press. That's ludicrous.
LIZZA: There's a word for it. Collusion, right?
HABERMAN: I don't -- what I do think is that you have this need by the Trump White House to constantly invoke this culture of victimhood of we're being leaked on. This is being done to us and I think that you have seen less energy and concern about what happened in the election in the first place. I think one with -- along with the other --
COOPER: Do we know the example with President Trump actually talking to the Russians about what happened during the election? About -- I mean, as the president saying we're deeply concerned about your attempt to influence the election?
HABERMAN: So, we have a thread of reporting that I -- we don't -- I don't know how solid this is -- but we know that when we reported about the president being in the Oval Office with Russian officials a couple of weeks ago where he, you know, spilled information, intelligence information and then he also trashed James Comey and said I just fired him yesterday, he supposedly did confront the Russian officials in some way and said, you know, this basically -- the meddling caused me a problem or put me in a bad position or something to that effect.
You know, if that is so, that's the only time I know of that happening and I don't know how extensive or thorough that was.
COOPER: All right. A lot more to discuss tonight.
Coming up, a lonely, angry president withdrawing, not happy with anyone. That's the word about President Trump's state from a source who speaks with him. I'll have more on that, next.
[20:32:04] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight's breaking news, former national security adviser Michael Flynn will hand over documents that the Senate Intelligence Committee asked for, according to a person close to Flynn. The first batch will come by June 6th. That's a week from today.
The growing Russia investigation seems to be taking toll on President Trump, according to sources who speak with him. And in a general way, they say being president is not agreeing with the president. He complained that his first trip overseas was going to be too long that he wasn't looking forward to it and he returned to the White House angry. He's gained weight, according to the sources. He doesn't trust people around him. He's withdrawing. Not a good picture. It's the one being painted by those sources.
This is reporting from chief political analyst Gloria Borger who joins me now along with two Trump biographers, Michael D'Antonio, author of "The Truth About Trump", and Timothy O'Brien, author of "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald".
So, Gloria, this is based on sources you've been talking to. What have you learned?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Multiple sources who talk to Donald Trump and whom either he calls or they call him, they've all known him for years and what they see is a president, as one said to me, he now lives within himself, which is a dangerous place for him to be. They say that he doesn't trust anybody. That's nothing new for Donald Trump. I mean he trusts his family but it's different people on different days. And don't forget, they are feeding into this, Anderson, because they're complaining about his staff to him and about some decisions that he has made.
One person said you shouldn't have fired Comey when you did. If you did it on day one, it might have been a better story for you. And they're all kind of wondering whether now that he's back and he's in the middle of this, whether somebody is going to be able to help him get control of this and say to him, here's how you've got to try and fix this.
And I spoke with one source who said, you know, the only time that he really listens, even to his friends, is when he is really down. And they believe that he is really down now and that he is -- perhaps there's a chance that he's going to start listening either to some of his advisers or to his lawyers.
COOPER: Michael, based on what you know about Donald Trump, does any of this surprise you? What do you make of Gloria's reporting?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Well, I read it this morning and I thought it had to be spot-on because everything she described is classic Donald Trump. The one time when I know for sure that he actually listened to some other folks was when he was at his lowest in the moments of his initial bankruptcy back in the early 1990s. And he did listen to some other people because he was desperate. And the idea of him kind of alone and caught between these factions that he doesn't really trust, that rings true to me.
COOPER: Tim, what about you? I mean, you know, for any president going from campaigning or for the regular life to being president, it's a huge adjustment. For somebody who has never held political office, it's amplified.
[20:35:00] TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, AUTHOR, "TRUMPNATION: THE ART OF BEING THE DONALD": And doesn't like structured days and doesn't like to be told what to do and suddenly now he's in the middle of this maelstrom, a large portion of which is his own creation. And he's never really taken outside counsel. He trusts himself above anyone else.
But the reality of it is that he's not a strategic thinker and he's in a moment now it's perilous. He's got investigations swirling around him. His son-in-law is implicated. People from his campaign are implicated and he really needs to have a good outside counsel. He's brought in Marc Kasowitz as an attorney, but Kasowitz has no experience with this kind of thing. McGahn has no experience with it.
So it's going to really hinge on whether or not he's going to listen to smart attorneys and smart political advisers. And it's pretty early in the game for something like this to be already spinning off the track.
COOPER: Gloria, I mean, so many people who have been former chief of staffs or presidents, whether they are Democratic or Republican presidents, all said, you know, just the makeup of his White House staff is not conducive to running an effective White House. You know, there's obviously been talk about changes. The question is, will there actually be changes to get sort of more organization?
BORGER: Well, there might be. We don't know. We don't know whether it's going to make any difference. I mean there is all kinds of talk. Donald Trump should bring in a Jim Baker. Donald Trump doesn't want a Jim Baker. He's his own Jim Baker and his own strategist.
And I had one person who speaks with Trump with some regularity said to me the problem with this White House is that they don't play chess. They play checkers and that they can't see around corners and that they don't know what's coming at them because they don't have a lot of experience in government and, of course, neither does Donald Trump, neither does Jared Kushner. And this is an issue. I mean --
BORGER: -- Reince Priebus who has experience in Washington has never been in the White House before.
COOPER: And, Tim, I mean for -- when he was running his organization, I mean he knew New York, he knew New York media, he knew the organization -- how to run his organization that was the best way for him. The White House is a whole other thing.
O'BRIEN: And it was a small game he was playing in New York. It was essentially self-promotion, it was a licensing game. He didn't run a big organization, he didn't run a global organization, he didn't have to think 24/7 about how to position himself with a lot of different forces that play around him. The Oval Office is a completely different game.
COOPER: Yes. I want to thank everybody.
Coming up, Senator Al Franken says people in the Trump administration aren't acting like people who don't have something to hide. I'll talk to him next about that, his new book and why he thinks Ted Cruz is kind of like the guy who microwaves fish at work. His words. We'll explain ahead.
[20:41:17] COOPER: Senator Al Franken had a unique path to Congress to say the least. He started as a writer and comedian. He now sits on the Judiciary Committee asking tough questions in the Russia investigation, investigation that has new twists and turns every night, including tonight's news that former national security adviser Michael Flynn will hand over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Franken has a new book out called "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate". I spoke with him just before airtime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I want to ask you about your book as it is -- I mean you clearly wrote it. It's really funny. It's great.
SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Thanks.
COOPER: So many political books, I got to say that I have to read are not.
FRANKEN: This is a different kind of memoir from a senator because I came from -- I wrote a lot of these books, you know, and I'm funny. What's happened to me is kind of funny.
COOPER: You're also the first family -- first in your family with a -- who had a pasta maker? FRANKEN: That's right. Yes. Humble background.
COOPER: Humble background, right. So we'll get to the book in a second.
COOPER: I want to ask you about some of the stuff that's obviously in the headlines today. You know, I mean you're very good with language, obviously. The use of the term "back channel" to describe what Jared Kushner reportedly proposed doing for the Russians, is that accurate to you? Is that what it was, a back channel?
FRANKEN: That's trying to put some gloss on it that doesn't sound like what it was. We don't know. We'll find out. But normally a back channel isn't something where you go to the other country's communication system so that your own intelligence can't hear it. That's what it sounds like Kushner thought he was doing. It's also very suspicious that he did not report this meeting. This is the kind of meeting you'd remember, meeting in the Trump Tower with him and Flynn and --
COOPER: A meeting which wasn't on the books at Trump Tower --
COOPER: -- I mean initially.
FRANKEN: So this group isn't acting like people who don't have anything to hide.
COOPER: Does it seem strange to you that the number of people who seem to have neglected to report the meetings that they had with Russians and whether Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner obviously we know about Mike Flynn -- Michael Flynn?
FRANKEN: Yes. That's what I'm saying. This is very suspicious. And we know at that time that Kushner and Flynn met with Kislyak. Trump was denying that the Russians had interfered in the campaign and was kind of at war with our information services, our intelligence services.
COOPER: Do you think they have something to hide?
FRANKEN: My gut tells me they do because they're not acting like people who don't have anything to hide. We will see. We feel like we're in unchartered territory with this president. He is -- and this is something I talk about in the book which is I used to write books about, you know, lies and lying and liars who tell (inaudible) books like that. And it's almost seems adorable that I could sell books about politicians and people like Rush Limbaugh lying.
Now it seems like something that is just constant and then there is the, you know, allegation that you are fake news, right? You're fake news. And so this is very getting in a very different place than we've ever been kind of where it's -- I don't want to compare it to 1984, but there were, you know, wars, peace, that sort of thing. It's getting -- and that's why Mueller has to get to the bottom of this.
[20:45:08] COOPER: You mentioned 1984. Does it feel overwhelming to you?
FRANKEN: A little bit. I don't want to go too far. But we do have -- I mean, that screen right behind you is looking at me. That frightens me.
COOPER: OK. All right, I've got to ask you about the book. You say --
COOPER: -- from page 203, you say, "Actors often claim not to read their interviews. I don't know much about actors other than they are all liars. But I say the most senators do look closely at their press coverage" --
COOPER: -- "and not just out of vanity, it's important for us to know exactly how our constituents and general public see us also vanity."
COOPER: You also have a quote which is from the back cover and I hate to quote something from the back cover because it seems like I didn't really read the book.
COOPER: But you wrote, "Here's the thing you have to understand about Ted Cruz. I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz."
FRANKEN: Yes. Well that's about -- he sort of the exception that proves the rule, he's kind of a toxic dying in office, the guy who microwaves fish, you know, and he just --
COOPER: Smells up the office?
FRANKEN: Yes, yes. And to get things done in the Senate you've got to be able to get along with people. That it's like you're living in a town of 100 people. And frankly, it's good to have a sense of humor. And part of the reason I say I like Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues like him is that he values comedy. He's like a kind of a little bit of a comedy fan.
FRANKEN: Yes. He -- and I remember -- I describe in the book, I'm talking to Jeff Sessions after -- and Jeff Sessions' wife knit a baby blanket for my first grandson and so it's hard to hate a guy for something -- he's not my favorite guy and I would challenge him during the hearings. But I'm talking to Jeff about our -- we've just been away from a week and Ted comes to me and goes, "My friends and I saw Stuart Smalley with Michael Jordan, which is a piece I did on "Saturday Night Live" and we just -- now, I had to explain to Jeff Sessions what recovery is, what public-access T.V. is, what a parody of public-access T.V. is, what daily affirmations are and I'm going -- and, of course, Jeff left.
And then I was -- but, you know, I devote a chapter -- he's -- to Ted. He's the exception that proves the rule. And the rule is that in order to get things done, you've got to be a good colleague.
COOPER: Obviously, you've been asked this question and said you're not interested in running for president for 2020.
COOPER: Obviously that's come up an awful lot.
FRANKEN: It's flattering. It's flattering.
COOPER: If there was a rule that --
FRANKEN: Ask me if I'm going to run.
COOPER: Well, how about -- I know what you'll say. But if there was a rule that only people who had worked at NBC could run, would you consider it?
FRANKEN: Boy, that's -- whew. I don't know. I mean, there's never going to be a rule like that. I'm not running. I want to run --
COOPER: You're not running?
FRANKEN: -- for re-election in 2020.
COOPER: No doubt about it.
COOPER: Senator Franken, the book is "Giant of the Senate".
FRANKEN: Yes. "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate" by Al Franken.
COOPER: OK. Thank you very much.
FRANKEN: Just want to get that. Thank you. Appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Before the break, I want to show you some live pictures from Orlando International Airport. This is in the rental car area. Police are on the scene where a man is believed to have some kind of weapon. We're just getting information coming in a moment ago, the airport authorities tweeted, "Incident ongoing involving man with weapon in terminal Level 1 A-side rental car area. Police on scene, area contained. Minimal impact to operations." Term by airport operations. We are watching the situation. We'll bring you any more information as we learn it. Just ahead, Tiger Woods says alcohol was not involved in the incident that ended with his arrest in a DUI charge. What does the breathalyzer test he took say? We have an answer to that today ahead.
[20:53:09] COOPER: Tiger Woods spent the early hours of Memorial Day in a Florida jail cell after his arrest in a DUI charge. The gold champion said in a statement that alcohol was not involved and says what happened was a result of an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. He took a breathalyzer test at the scene. With the released of his arrest report today, we now know the results. Rosa Flores has more.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The world's most famous golfer making headlines again and it has nothing to do with the sport he is known for. Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charges about 10 miles south of his Jupiter, Florida home at 3:00 a.m. on Monday. Court documents reveal he was in the right lane of traffic alone and sleeping behind the wheel. The engine running. The brake lights on and his right blinker flashing. Wood's mugshot a far cry from the well manicured image known to millions.
Police say his speech was slow and slurred. He was confused. He didn't know where he was and even told officers he was coming back from a golf outing in L.A. Woods hasn't swung a club professionally since February while he recovered from his fourth back surgery.
Record show he told police he was taking several prescriptions and in a statement he said he had an unexpected reaction to the medication. The impact of the drugs on the golfer so heavy he even fell asleep during the encounter with police, records show. Tiger Woods cooperated with officers, giving a breathalyzer test, which he passed, and provided a urine sample. While DUI is a criminal traffic offense in Florida, CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara says Tiger Woods has a good chance of getting off the hook or at least pleading down.
[20:55:04] MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If he had any alcohol in his system, then all of that would have gone out the window, Chris. Drinking with prescription drugs would have put the burden life back on his shoulders. But since he was alcohol free, pulled over to the side of the road or at least fell asleep, was on medications for a surgery we all know he had.
FLORES (voice-over): The police report shows Woods' 2015 Mercedes was damaged on the driver's side, including two flat tires. But the extent of the damage to his reputation, which he has been trying to repair for the better part of a decade, is yet to be determined. He will be arraigned here in South Florida on July 5th.
COOPER: Rosa Flores joins us now. You mentioned a statement from Tiger Woods. What else are we hearing from him? FLORES: You know, in that statement, Anderson, he mentions that he apologizes to his family, friends and fans and that he takes full responsibility for his actions and that he, too, expects more of himself. Now we hasn't been golfing. He has been recovering from his fourth back surgery. What he has been doing is blogging.
And in his latest post he mentioned that he has been feeling better than he has in the past few years. And also saying that his prognosis is positive but that he had to take it day by day and that he can't wait to golf professionally again. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Rosa Flores. Rosa, thanks.
Much more ahead in the Russia probe, breaking news on several fronts, including Michael Flynn's plan to begin turning over documents to congressional investigators and what President Trump's personal attorney says he will do.