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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

NYT: Trump Expresses Anger At Sessions, Comey, And Warns Mueller; Sen. John McCain Diagnosed With Brain Cancer; GOP Senators Meeting As Trump Tries To Revive Health Care Bill; Trump To NYT: Interesting To Talk Adoptions With Putin After Trump Jr. Meeting; Kushner, Trump Jr. & Manafort Scheduled To Testify Next Week In Russia Probe. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 19, 2017 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:07] SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Anderson, I can't speak for anybody else. I can only tell you how I approach a process. If I said something and this is what my conditions were six or seven years ago, the facts have changed. The dynamics have changed. And I have said this, if you can't change your mind, you can't change anything.

Maybe repealing seven years ago is what they really believed and wanted to do. Now that they see an intricate in every framework of our economy and how we're delivering health care, and you have every group that's going to be harmed from AARP all the way to every hospital group, American medical society, everybody. Don't you think maybe you better relook at the facts and say, listen, things have changed?

COOPER: Senator Manchin, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MANCHIN: Thank you Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We are at the top of another very busy hour, full of breaking news. Something from the president who spoke to "The New York Times" and launched about a half dozen headlines especially concerning the Russian investigation. He even had a warning for special Counselor Robert Miller and some tough words for the FBI director he fired, James Comey. He also kind of threw the sitting attorney general, his attorney general of the United States and one of his earliest political supporters under the proverbial bus. We'll have all of that shortly.

First though, sad news that Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain has brain cancer. Our chief medical correspondent, practicing neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports. He joins us now. Sanjay explain what you've learned.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. Just over the last couple of hours I've had a chance to hear exactly what transpired over the last several days. We heard that Senator McCain went to the hospital on Friday, had surgery. But are just now getting the details of what is happening. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA (voice-over): Senator John McCain is recovering well after an operation last Friday to remove a malignant brain tumor known as glioblastoma. With Senator McCain's permission, I spoke exclusively to two of his male clinic doctors about the details of his care.

McCain had come in for a scheduled annual physical early Friday morning with no complaints except intermittent double vision and fatigue, which he attributed to an intense intentional travel schedule over the last several months.

His doctors ordered a cat scan to check for anything from a possible blood collection to a stroke. Upon review of the scan, doctors called McCain, who left the hospital, and asked him to immediately return for an MRI. The scans revealed a five centimeter blood clot above the center of his left eye which appeared to have been there for up to a week. The decision was made to perform an urgent operation.

By 3 p.m., McCain was in the operating undergoing a craniotomy to remove a tumor. Doctors made an incision above his left eyebrow to gain access to his skull where they void (ph) two centimeter hole to remove the clot and the tumor.

A pathology report revealed a primary brain tumor known as glioblastoma. It's the most aggressive type of brain cancer. It is the same type of tumor that Beau Biden and Ted Kennedy had. With treatment, which usually include radiation in chemotherapy, the median survival is 14 months but it can be five years or even longer.

This is not Senator McCain's first health scare. In 2000, he was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R), ARIZONA: I'm having a lot of exposure to the sun when I was very young and having fair skin.

GUPTA (voice-over): Doctors removed a dime-sized melanoma from McCain's left temple. That was the most serious of several other bouts with skin cancer. When McCain was campaigning for president in 2008, I had a chance to review all of his medical records.

Details of his health since then have remained private, until just now. His doctors at the Mayo Clinic who'd been treating him for several years said it was McCain's gut instinct knowing that something just wasn't right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So just in terms of next steps for the senator, for his family, what are they?

GUPTA: Yes. Well, you know, they're just hearing this news now, Anderson, as you might imagine it. Its tough news, so I think, they processing but determining, you know, the type of treatment he'll likely get next, which is typically a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.

Now, that type of treatment typically can't start until his wounds have healed from this operation, three or four weeks. So, he's going to be recovering, he may be able to travel a little back and forth. But as you might imagine with this diagnosis, all attention is going to be on his treatment upcoming.

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, thanks very much for that. And obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the senator and his with his family. And just getting to know him over the last several years, there's really nobody tougher than he is. And so, we wish him the best in this fight.

President Obama has just tweeted, "John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what its ups against. Give it hell, John."

Now, on the President Trump's interview with "The New York Times," fair to say he spoke volumes, CNN's Political Analyst Maggie Haberman is one of three times correspondent on the byline. "The Times" supposed a portion of it -- in it the president weighs in, not especially kindly about attorney general sessions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuse himself. Was that a mistake?

[21:05:04] Well, Sessions should have never recused himself. And if he would, if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job. And I would pick somebody else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He gave you no heads up --

TRUMP: Zero. So, Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have -- which frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said thanks, Jeff, but I can't, you know, I'm not going to take you.

It's extremely unfair, and that's a mild word to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who is a deputy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's a portion of "The Times" interview earlier in the evening. I spoke to Maggie Haberman from "The New York Times" about what the president told her about fired FBI director James Comey.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAGGIIE HABERMAN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: He was very clear that he believes that Mueller has a number of conflicts of interest. One of which is something that Trump aides had talked about for quite sometime, although I'm not sure they have on the record which was that they say that Bob Mueller interviewed for interim FBI director the day before he was appointed special counsel.

They consider that to be a mitigating factor, to put it mildly. The president refused to say, despite us asking him repeatedly, you know, sort of what he would consider a violation of his charge on the part of Bob Mueller. He wouldn't answer it. But he did say, he believes that Mueller's charge is very narrow. He focused on Russia and that he himself is not under investigation.

COOPER: The allegation against Comey, I mean, this goes back to the meeting when U.S. intelligence officials at the time briefed then president-elect Trump in Trump Tower. And as Comey has testified, Comey pulled him aside after the meeting and told him about the existence of this dossier or a two-page summary of this dossier.

The president is now saying he believes Comey did that in order to get leverage over him to keep his job?

HABERMAN: Essentially to Comey, he wanted to keep his job and that was the point in showing it to him. You know, again, the president feels sort of vindicated as, I think, you have seen him say publicly, that Comey had to acknowledge under oath that he had told the president three times that he was not under investigation. He said he would not say that publicly because it might change. The president just doesn't accept that as an answer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll going to have more from the interview shortly. Let's get some quick first impressions from the panel, Paul Begala, Jeffrey Lord, Kirsten Powers, Matt Lewis, Molly Ball, and Jeffrey Toobin.

Matt do you think Jeff Sessions should step down just out of dignity?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. First of all, this is not the first time that this has happened. I remember, there were leaks that Donald Trump was undermining his Attorney General, the media reported. Some of those people think, maybe those stories aren't real. Well, guess what? A couple of months we always find out that they are real.

COOPER: Right, in fact there were plenty of people saying --

LEWIS: Yes.

COOPER: -- oh, that's fake news --

LEWIS: Right.

COOPER.: -- we have total confidence in Jeff Sessions. This is just again --

LEWIS: And just a side note --

COOPER: -- courses.

LEWIS: -- since we're talking media, I think it's interesting that he gives this exclusive once again to the failing New York Times. But no, I say -- I do, I think that Jeff Sessions, who was a really big endorsement for Donald Trump. He showed up, by all rights, he should have been a Ted Cruz guy.

When he supported Donald Trump, that really helped Donald Trump, I think win the nomination. And he did the right thing when he recused himself. He actually did the right thing. And now he is being undermined by his boss. I think most people would quit their job if their boss did this.

COOPER: -- all right Kirsten.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I will just say, I think the dignity ship has sailed.

POWERS: -- Trump administration. I really do. I think, most people have -- you have a lot of people who are there, I think, who try to make peace with a lot of erratic behavior. And I'm not sure why this would be the thing that would send Jeff Sessions over the edge when there so many other things that have happened that are so problematic.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, -- to me, the news today is health care, right? The president's major push has been to repeal and replace Obamacare. It is dead or dying. You would think if he sat down with the -- by the way, Maggie is now the president's psychologist. I mean, she should be paid on the health care plan, not by "The New York Times" and CNN. Unburdening himself --

COOPER: I'm not sure the health care plan is going to cover her.

BEGAL: That's a good point.

COOPER: I have to look at the CBS score.

BEGAL: But no real news about health care. No real news about taxes and other Trump priority, and no news about immigration. No news about the budget. No news about trade. Everything about --

COOPER: I got to say, my initial question, who was going to be instead to Matt was going to be to Jeff. And my question was going to be, why on God's green earth did the president of the United States give this interview today of all days when the focus is supposed to be on health care and this is also, you know, by American week.

[21:10:04] JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Brace yourself, Anderson, I agree with you.

COOPER: Wow.

LORD: I -- OK, look, I mean the story, as I was hearing it through out the day, was this lunch with senators,

COOPER: Right. LORD: And this is -- and that was A plus, and this just --

COOPER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: Jeff Sessions aside, Jeff Sessions aside, it's just another story that should have been a story for another day. That said, he is who he is. And this is part of his --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The grudges.

LORD: This is the way --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vengeance.

LORD: I mean --

COOPER: That's Popeye defense. I am what I am.

LORD: Yes. I am what I am. I'm a blunt spoken New Yorker. And I'm just going to say it to my friend Maggie from -- New York Times.

POWERS: But he keeps saying he wants -- OK.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Just -- It's not just being blunt. It's about thinking that anyone in your orbit, anyone who works for you is -- should be loyal to you, not to the job, not to the constitution, but to you.

But Jeff Sessions recused himself, not because -- what the president left out in what he was saying is that he recused himself because he answered a question to -- from Al Franken in a Senate Committee hearing where he basically said a falsehood about --

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: -- his own contacts with Russia which implicated him in the investigation which meant he had to recuse himself which is the right thing to do.

COOPER: But it's just surprising that the president has the need to have this kind of interview to vent to Maggie and others from "The Times."

LORD: Here's the problem though, if Jeff Sessions resigns then you get into this whole thing about a new nominee for attorney general. There would be one heck of a battle, no matter who it is.

TOOBIN: But who's to resign?

LEWIS: I don't think he's going to resign.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: And I think part of it is, we need somebody to send a message to Trump that there'll be consequences, somebody on this. I think that that so far people are appeasing him and enabling him, as his own team.

LORD: Well, and to one extent, if -- and I'll defend him to this extent. I really do think this is a battle between an outsider and a whole city full of insiders in both parties. And he's never going to become an insider like that in that fashion. So he's going to do things in his fashion, and we're going to be converse -- we've had conversations like this for the last two years, right? We're going to have another 3 1/2, 7 1/2 years of him. So --

POWERS: But he says he wants to move on from Russia, right? I think, he doesn't want us talking about Russia. He want -- And then he rolls out all this information in this interview that he didn't have to offer, right? I mean if --

COOPER: It's also interesting Molly because on the one hand he seems, you know, again to Kirsten's point, that he's, you know, for clearly Russia is, you know, in his role. Maggie Haberman said that he also came off as very amiable and seen in a good place just, you know, kind of voyant (ph).

MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, and I that there is something that that we know about Trump and his personality, having covered him for a while now, is that he believes his own rationalizations, right? He's really convinced himself that all these people are just his enemies and they don't have anything on him. And they have partisan motivations or they have personal motivations.

And that's why he's making this argument. That's why he's saying this thing is because he has convinced himself. And he is very happy with the argument that he has made to himself that he hasn't done anything wrong. And therefore, he feels that must be convincing to everybody else. And he wants to go out and tell us.

COOPER: He told "The Times" he is not under investigation.

TOOBIN: Which -- as far as anyone can tell and certainly as far as I can tell, is not true, I mean, he is under investigation.

LORD: That's not what Comey said to him.

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: -- of course, we can't know that.

TOOBIN: Well, it's not what Comey said but that was long ago. That was before Mueller was appointed --

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: -- for obstruction of justice.

LORD: OK. OK.

TOOBIN: Firing the people --

BALL: Look, we don't that.

COOPER: I'm sorry, you find that amusing Jeff.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But you don't -- and nobody know, I mean, nobody know who Mueller is --

TOOBIN: -- also "The Washington Post" --

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: -- and "The New York Times" have reported, he is under investigation. Why wouldn't he be under investigation? He fired the person who was investigating him.

LORD: He has a legitimate grievance with Mueller. I mean, Mueller is hiring, what? The whole Hillary campaign or donors, et cetera.

COOPER: That's just not true. Hiring people, yes, who are very prominent attorneys, very well respect attorneys, yes.

TOOBIN: Some of whom had given money.

COOPER: The majority of like the first one is hired did give money to Hillary Clinton.

LORD: Did he hire people that gave to Donald Trump?

COOPER: I think one of them had given money to, I think, the RNC or -- I'm not sure to another --

LORD: I mean, let's just say this is -- and it's not just with him in the whole conservative word out there, there's a lot of people that think this is the insider liberal establishment on Mueller's staff out to get him.

LEWIS: I like to point out about sort of the comment of the Senate or whatever where he's apable (ph) and he's happy but he's also vengeful and bitter. This is actually the way he operates. If you look at the lunch today, he was doing a schtick and he was actually being funny as he was simultaneously intimidating various senators and presenting health care.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: -- threats --

[21:15:07] COOPER: Right.

LEWIS: -- under cloaked -- under the guys of being a joke. So I think that that's always there. And so it's hard to tell. I guess he -- as he --

LORD: Part of the deal.

LEWIS: Probably on the book.

BEGALA: He's such an interesting person, obviously, the most private person. Well, he' so interesting. Because to my eyes, (INAUDIBLE), he's like the biggest liar who ever drew breath, right. I mean, he makes Petty Barn (ph) look like Mother Theresa.

And yet, there's an essential honestly about him. He is obsessed with Russia. And that comes through in every sentence in this interview, even though his talking point is oh, the Russia investigation is a nothing burger. It is not. It is one of those 72 ounce steaks you can get at the big Texas State Ranch, an I-40 in Amarillo. That's what this saying is -- I'm not the burger of biggest stink in stake. If you can eat the whole thing in one sitting, you get it free, Mr. President.

BALL: Well, and the thing about the Russia investigation is that he can't control it. And that's why he's obsessed with it. He believes that he is entitled to control everything because he is the boss. He should be able to control his attorney general, the Department of Justice. He supposedly independent investigation. And so the fact is, you can talk about, oh, he's off message. He's stepping on his political message that's bad for him politically. This isn't a communications problem for Donald Trump. This is an actual investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: -- going to go no matter whether it's made in America or not.

COOPER: We're going to continue this conversation. One late note on tonight's lead story, the president has just put out a statement on John McCain, "Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator John McCain, Cindy and their entire family. Get well soon."

We're going to have more for Maggie Haberman on that remarkable interview that president just gave when we come back.

And later, Republican efforts going in to the -- in to the evening to hammer out a deal among themselves for repealing and replacing Obamacare.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:20:18] COOPER: Well, it would be hard to think of a night with more stories breaking all the same couple hours, continuing now with the president's "New York Times" interview. He spoke with Maggie Haberman and Paul Begala before the break, hope to declared the Nation's official Trump's whisperer.

Here's more of my conversation with her earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I understand that the newly reported second meeting with Putin also came up. He says it only lasted 15 minutes, is that right?

HABERMAN: He said I have to get back and check our transcript for what he said because there's a lot

COOPER: Yes, I think he said about -- I just read it. And he said about 15 minutes.

HABERMAN: Yes.

COOPER: Because it's been reported --

HABERMAN: I mean, he --

COOPER: -- by other people who have sources over there --

HABERMAN: It was an hour.

COOPER: -- that it was about an hour.

HABERMAN: Yes. I mean, look, he was adamant in that time frame which was consists of what White House official said yesterday about this second get together. He was clearly not defining it to his mind as an actual meeting. You know, he told a very long and elaborate story about sitting next to Prime Minister Abe's wife of Japan. She didn't speak English. She got up to go see his own wife, who was sitting next to Putin. And then they started talking.

He did mention, this interesting, he said that the topic of Russian adoption came up when he was talking to Putin at this newer meeting. The topic of Russian adoptions as you recall was the supposedly the subject of -- or part of the subject of this meeting that the president's son, Don Jr., had with the Russian lawyer on June 9, 2016, one that was ultimately build as, you know, offensively about dirt against Hillary Clinton. So it was surprising that came up. But -- I accept no reason to believe that it's another coincidence. But the Russian adoption issue also relates to sanctions.

COOPER: Do you know if -- he said it came up. It sounds like he didn't mention it, it sounds like Putin mentioned it. Which if Putin mentioned it, they're not talking about adoption, they're talking about sanctions.

HABERMAN: Right, I mean that is my read. But it was not clear and I don't want to get ahead of what the president actually --

COOPER: Right.

HABERMAN: -- said in his remarks.

COOPER: Right. And just over all how did his demeanor seem compared to other times that you've spoken with him?

HABERMAN: Incredibly up beat. I mean, you know, when I contrast him on Air Force One last week, and today with some of what we saw earlier on the Administration for whatever reason, he seems to be in a pretty good place. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Back now with the panel. Jeff, I mean this coming from the president that, or in answer to a question about, or the Mueller investigation crossing a red line if you got into finances other than Russia. He said, you know, yes, it would. I mean is he right? Can the Mueller investigation go wherever it goes?

TOOBIN: He can. I mean it is true that Mueller can investigate anything that he feels is within his jurisdiction. And it is also true that Donald Trump can order his Justice Department to fire Director Mueller. And I don't think it is at all out of the question that Mueller will get fired at some point.

COOPER: You really think the president might do that?

TOOBIN: Absolutely, I mean we all sit around here and said he'll never fire Jim Comey. He'll never fire the FBI Director who is investigating you. But he believes that this is a unfair investigation. He believes that the -- that anyone who works in the Justice Department works for him, not for any ideal of justice or the constitution. And I don't think it's at all out of the question that he's going to direct Rob Rosenstein to fire Mueller at some point in the future, if some red line, which is his definition of a red line, gets crossed.

COOPER: Jeff, is it appropriate for the president to be talking about Robert Mueller in this way with an active investigation? I mean I know -- Again, he's unlike other presidents, but in the past, I seem to recall president's saying look, there's -- or anybody saying --

LORD: Right.

COOPER: -- look there's an ongoing investigation. I'm not going to comment on that, you know, I'm going to let the investigation go --

LORD: Right. He's not other presidents. And I just think, you know, there are gasps all over Washington, I'm sure g a s p s, about this, and saying exactly that, that it's inappropriate, et cetera. To be perfectly candid, I don't think he cares. And I think if he feels in the need to make them, he'll make them.

BEGALA: Can I point out, again, get your self to tell, he's probably the world's worst poker player, right? Don't investigate my personal fund. Don't, don't do that there's nothing here. I think -- he wouldn't release his tax returns. First time in 40 year a major presidential candidate didn't so. So I don't know. Maybe there's something in the personal finances, Mr. Mueller.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGAL: -- Mueller has a lot smarter lawyer or is it me working on this thing. Jeffrey, as a former prosecutor, if you had a target of investigation say, don't look there, what would you do?

TOOBIN: I would look there. BEGALA: I think so.

LORD: Look, the problem, Paul, and I would think you of all people would identify with this. The criticism of special prosecutors is that they are mandate to do this and it broadens, and broadens, and broadens. Me, I mentioned --

[21:25:02] BEGALA: Absolutely.

LORD: -- we've got from a real estate investigation of the Clinton's to Monica. I mean how did that happen?

BEGALA: Did you see -- and go in TV and say, don't look at extra marital affairs. Whatever you do, right?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But there was a lot of criticism of, you know, of Ken Starr.

BEGALA: I do think it's different. I really do. I think (INAUDIBLE) private life with the FBI is kind of slightly different.

TOOBIN: Well, but I'm not sure of that sir. I mean, you know, I sat in the Brother Begala's office in the west wing where he used to denounce Ken Starr in every possible --

BEGALA: And history proved me right.

TOOBIN: That maybe but the difference is if Bill Clinton, under the law, did not have the chance to fire Ken Starr. I mean the independent counsel law, which no longer exists, took that opportunity away from Bill Clinton. Donald Trump, Director Mueller is not an independent counsel.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: He is a special counsel, who is answerable to the Justice Department, which is answerable to President Trump.

COOPER: So that's also --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- Kirsten, to hear the President say that my previously undisclosed meeting with Putin only last about 15 minutes --

POWERS: Yes.

COOPER: -- when the reporting, you know, from folks over there, or sources over there, said it was almost an hour. And the fact that even if it was just 15 minute that have never even been disclosed it.

POWERS: Yes.

COOPER: And saying that oh, I mean the president said the words effective like, you know, what's interesting, you know -- he said it was interesting that the subject of adoptions came up, because that's what --

POWERS: Yes.

COOPER: -- you know Donald Trump, Jr. was talking about.

POWERS: -- that they care about sanction which is what adoption is about. And so, it's not clear if he still doesn't understand that or, you know, if he's suggesting they were talking about the little babies and Putin says, you know, concerned about --

COOPER: Or just trying to lead that to -- that's what Don Jr. --

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: -- was meeting about, as well.

POWERS: Yes, I do. You know, and I just think this, you know, he's different, he does everything different thing. It's just wearing very thin. Because there has to be some point where you would recognize that he just can't do anything that he wants, right? I mean, is there anything that he can do that you wouldn't respond and say, well, he's just different and he just does it, even if it's completely inappropriate?

I mean even him accusing Comey of basically trying to blackmail him sort of with this dossier. I mean (INAUDIBLE) even get that? That's just something he seems to have made up. And the only thing I can take from it is that's what Donald Trump would have done, maybe. You know what I mean, so he's projecting and he's thinking, well, if I had this information and I didn't want to get fire, this is what I would do.

COOPER: It's also amazingly that -- I mean, this is the very issue, by the way, that the White House or that, you know, all the spokes people that Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway went after CNN for reporting --

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: -- about for breaking the story that --

POWERS: Yes.

COOPER: -- he was -- that the president-elect was briefed on --

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: -- the dossier and briefed by Comey after that meeting. The White House went after CNN saying, you know, this is just fake news. How do you know that?

POWERS: Yes.

COOPER: You know, heads are going to roll when you get this wrong.

POWERS: Yes. Yes, so I mean, Jeffrey, do you think that maybe that's inappropriate just to sort of make this -- I mean does he have any evidence whatsoever that this is what James Comey was doing?

LORD: I don't know.

POWERS: It's a pretty major accusation.

LORD: I don't know. But I do think, listening to you and listening to my friend Paul here, that you guys, meeting in the Clinton administration, set the president for presidential allies, if not the president himself, to go out there and attack special counsel and whomever and fight back. And I think that that lesson has been ingested by, not only the Trump White House but people in talk radio land, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

COOPER: Was Bill Clinton going after Ken Starr publicly back then --

BEGALA: He did on the night he gave his grand jury testimony.

POWERS: Yes.

BEGALA: He criticized investigation. (INAUDIBLE) not often, actually, not often, allies, I did --

LORD: Right.

BEGALA: And I don't regret it at all, but if you think that which worked on Ken Starr, who was in his first prosecution, he should have never been given the job. He never prosecuted a traffic case. He was put in there by some very politicized judges. There was a Republican prosecutor named Robert Fisk, who -- would be perfectly adequate job, very experienced guy in New York. The judges, Republican Judges, fired him and put Starr in there and Starr went on this witch hunt for years, and years, and years. And then ultimate instead of looking at (INAUDIBLE) -- looked at their extra marital affairs. If you think that witch work against Ken Starr, it's been working to Bob Mueller, you're wrong.

TOOBIN: This is '90s memory lane.

COOPER: I know.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Can we talk a little about O.J.? No, I'm kidding.

COOPER: I believe that's tomorrow. We have a busy day tomorrow.

I have more on Russia. Also details on that late-night meeting on Capitol Hill, Republican trying to agree on replacing Obamacare. We'll talk about that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:32:26] COOPER: More now on the Russia probe. The president's son, son-in-law and former campaign chairman are scheduled to testify in Capitol Hill next week. Also, the White House reacted to the uproar over that second undisclosed Putin-Trump meeting we've been talking bout by saying in so many words nothing to see here folks, nothing unusual. For some quick details on that and more let's check in with CNN's Jeff Zeleny who is on the north lawn. So what more -- or do we know about these hearings next week?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we know the Senate Judiciary Committee would like to speak with Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman at the time, and Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son about that Russia meeting, you know, in June of 2016. They have scheduled a hearing for a week from today, next Wednesday for them to appear before the committee.

Now, they have not yet accepted the invitation. Spoke's people and lawyers for both men have said that they are reviewing the invitation, but that would be extraordinary, Anderson. It's the first time that someone from the president's inner circle would be called to publicly testify something like this. And Jared Kushner, the president's son- in-law and of course his senior advisor, who is also in on that meeting, he is scheduled and has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday. That is going to be in a private session, though.

The other two later in the week are scheduled at least I hope is to be in a public session. But, again, they have not accepted that invitation. And they are employees of the government, important to point out, so it's essentially up to them. Of course, they could be subpoenaed, but we're not to that point yet, Anderson.

COOPER: In terms of the second newly disclosed meeting with President Trump and Vladimir Putin, the president told in "The New York Times" it only lasted about 15 minutes, they exchanged, "pleasantries," and quote, he said, you know, surprisingly the issue of adoption came up.

How did the White House characterize the meeting earlier today? Because a lot of the earlier reporting from people who have sources in the room said it was almost an hour.

ZELENY: Right, I mean, there is definitely a discrepancy among how long the meeting actually lasted. I talked to a top administration official last night who said it lasted nearly an hour. That's when there were reports after that was hour. And this official said, look, it was nearly an hour. The president telling "The New York Times" that it was about 15 minutes. I think that the credibility here, though, is a bit up in the air, because the White House did not disclose this meeting at all until 11 days after the fact, after it had already leaked out.

But throughout the day, Anderson, the White House was trying to say, look, this was a normal meeting, a normal -- a course of business, I mean it was dinner with world leaders, they just happened to speak. But the reality here is that other world leaders, you know, were sort of standing by and watching this extraordinary meeting apparently as it was happening here. And this came, of course, the same day they had already talked for 2 hours and 15 minutes but clearly had more to talk about. Anderson.

[21:35:00] COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much. Back now with the panel. And Kirsten, again, it gets to the whole thing of -- if there's nothing to hide, why are you hiding it?

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: I mean there's nothing --

POWERS: Yes. I think that it's -- is it normal? I mean this relationship with Putin is a little unusual, I think, we could say, right? He's sort of seeming fascination with Putin. Putin is an adversary. But should presidents talk to adversaries? Absolutely, and -- but what you're saying is right. We should kind of have some idea what was discussed, usually it would be typical that you would give some sort of readout, at least to the foreign policy reporters who cover the president, you know, so that there would be some sort of accountability for what happened in that meeting.

So, I don't people are necessarily saying you should never meet with Putin, or never talk to Putin.

BEGALA: The phrase about the national security folks use is (INAUDIBLE). The Senate --

POWERS: Yes.

BEGALA: -- meetings. And do the (INAUDIBLE) four sides, so you're supposed to be with 20 but you're really -- for political domestic reasons, maybe you don't want to say you scheduled a meeting with the French President, or Spanish Prime minister. So you have a (INAUDIBLE). That does happen all the time and it's a good thing. But it's a bad thing to exclude any other American. You have your (INAUDIBLE) there for a reason, and here she is at your side. So that someone else from the American government knows what happened and has got your back and can execute on whatever it is that you've discussed. That's what's mind boggling. It's not just that he kept it secret which is problematic. What's appalling is that no one else from the government was there to back him up. He has the entire National Security Intelligence and defense apparatus behind him, and every American wants him to succeed. You can't without those people behind you.

COOPER: Jeff, for the testimony for Manafort, for Donald Trump, Jr., obviously, and Kushner, we're told Kushner is probably going to be behind close doors. I mean that's all under oath. So, all the things that Donald Trump, Jr. has not answered to, because Sean Hannity didn't ask, you know, was -- he theoretically can be asked and he has to answer.

TOOBIN: Not theoretically. I mean the happiest person in Washington to hear this news is Robert Mueller, because here you have people who are at least subjects of your investigation testifying under oath where they -- and they have not demanded immunity. They have not gotten immunity. So if they make any false statements. You don't have to worry about all the arguments, we've been having is that a crime, is that a crime? If they make false statements, that's perjury.

COOPER: How tough are these things for somebody who has never done them before? I think for Donald Trump Jr. who's never gone through something like that.

TOOBIN: The good news for him is the senators who ask questions usually incredibly incompetent asking questions. Senators are much more used to giving speeches, they are to asking questions. So, you know, my most vivid example of this is when John Roberts testified to be Chief Justice, Joseph Biden was given 30 minutes to ask questions. And Biden talked for 24 minutes of the 30 minutes. That's how Senator's often ask questions.

So, you know, there are not many senators who really know how to press a witness. But some of them may and, you know, they better tell the truth because Mueller is going to be listening very carefully.

LEWIS: Yes, that's the thing if anybody is expecting there to be fireworks next week, probably anti-climatic. The game is -- it's a long game, as we found out, not to go back to Ken Starr, but it could be that they say something that sounds perfectly reasonable and plausible during this testimony that later on turns out to have been a lie. And then they're in hot water.

BEGALA: If you are the lawyer for sake Paul Manafort, Jeff, do you let him go and testify under oath with risk of perjury, if you haven't kept your deal with Mueller? Don't you think that if you're his lawyer the first thing you want to do is cough a plea with --

TOOBIN: I'm very surprised that Manafort would be testifying.

BEGALA: Right.

TOOBIN: Because he doesn't have a political imperative to testify.

BEGALA: Right.

TOOBIN: Obviously, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner doesn't want to take the fifth. That would be, you know, politically incendiary. Paul Manafort is not a public official.

LORD: And he believes he didn't do anything.

TOOBIN: That may be, and I suspect it is true. But lawyer's job is to say, you know, you're under investigation. Don't answer questions. But Manafort apparently is going to answer questions.

COOPER: Everyone stay put right now. Several GOP senators are in meetings at Capitol Hill with White House staffers talking next steps for heath care reform. The latest on what is happening behind close doors in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:41:58] COOPER: More breaking news tonight. Republican senators working late on Capitol Hill meeting with the White House staffers, trying to come up with the next plan on health care. This comes as the CBO reports that 32 million fewer people would become insured by 2026 in premiums with skyrocket of Obamacare's repealed. The CBO also says the move would decrease the deficit by $473 billion over decade.

Phil Mattingly joins us now from Capitol Hill. So what's going on at this meeting tonight, what do we know about it?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first and foremost, an interesting element, Anderson, is most senators found out about Senator McCain's diagnosis in this meeting. Lindsey Graham was part of the meeting, came in, and told more than a dozen senators about what are the currents. Senator James Lankford led the group in a prayer I'm told. And one senator came out of the meeting acknowledge that when it came to health care, this made things more difficult. This is a counting issue, this is a vote's issue, and this is problematic.

And I think the big issue now though is that the policy differences are still very real. The point of this meeting, which still going on, at least in a smaller group, was to try and iron. Some of those are trying to see if there was some path forward in the wake of that White House meeting.

The dynamics haven't changed, Anderson. We know where the Medicaid expansion state centers are. We know conservative senators are and regulations.

The question now is that there some new juice in this movement to try and get something done? I'm told that there's new talks about more money being sent over to Medicaid expansion states, and you have billions of dollars to work with on that front. And perhaps, change this to certain amendments related to regulations. But as one senior GOP aide told me before the meeting, be skeptical, be very skeptical, the dynamics here have been the same, they are unchanged and there are very, very real differences and very, very large gaps that we need to be filled in order to get something done in order really to kind of bring replace, which had been discarded just 48 hours ago. It seems like a week ago at this point back on to the table, Anderson.

COOPER: So they are back to repeal and replace because, I mean, they've been all over the map on this just in the last -- it seems like couple of days.

MATTINGLY: To a degree. It's certainly an option. Right, it have been completely discarded, it was going to be repeal only, which is what CBO scored. But they recognize that there's no path forward even on the procedural vote to take up the bill if there is no replace option. Several senators made very clear over the course to the last 24 hours that they simply won't do anything, they won't move forward on this if there's not a replace option there. And so, that is absolutely what they had been working on tonight.

Interesting element of this, Anderson, is staff at one point had been kicked out, White House staff, Senate staff as well. It almost became a senator and administration official meeting only. It's really kind of down the brass tacks trying to figure out if there's something there, anything to grab on to try and move forward, because again, as I said, the votes at this point still aren't there. The path forward still not there and trying to figure out right now, if one exists, if it ever would, Anderson.

COOPER: Phil Mattingly, thanks very much. Back now with the panel.

I mean I remember during the RNC -- during the convention, I think it was then that the president -- you know, candidate Trump at that point said, you know, I alone can fix it. I can't remember if he was talking about health care in particular or just in general. But it seems like they've gone a long way from, you know, as we're talking in general or both. It seems like we've got a long way from "I alone" can fix it to they better do something and they better not leave in vacation.

LORD: Well, he's not alone in this. You mentioned Sean Hannity earlier. Today in his radio show, he spent a considerable amount of time looping the senators, these four senators who had said in 2015 that they wanted repeal and replace so they wanted repeal, et cetera. And replaying their statements, and then giving out there -- I think he gave out their phone numbers and said call them.

[21:45:19] The depth of outrage I think among their conservative base here is pretty big. I mean they're really upset. And it --

COOPER: But upset at --

LORD: Republican senators.

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: Not at the president, right? Which should send alarm bells here, because if your own side is willing to say, why did we elect you, this is the biggest thing -- I mean in one case, I saw somebody said this is the biggest GOP promise since abolition and they, you know, they're backing away from it. I mean, what incentive is there for Republicans to go out there and vote for their Republican senators.

LEWIS: -- abolition, Thomas Jefferson instead of slavers, like having that it was like a wolf by the ears, you can't let go of it, you can't hold on. And that's the problem they're in. They -- this is a quagmire. They can't give it up.

Remember Paul Ryan came out after the House vote and said, well, Obamacare is the law of the land. We're going to move on. That didn't last. Every time they cannot give it up, they cannot abandon it. And I just wonder --

LORD: Right.

LEWIS: -- when do they move on? Like will they ever do a tax reform or infrastructure?

LORD: Well they'll get there I'm sure. But every -- I mean this is a president. I mean one of his personal qualities is when people tell him no, he finds 17 other ways to make it a yes. I mean he was just keep doing this --

POWERS: But they also -- I mean they're going to be held accountable by voters, probably. I mean they kind of can't just let it go.

COOPER: But also the president ran on this. I mean --

LEWIS: No, this was never his top priority. This is not --

COOPER: But wait a minute, we're talking about repeal and replace, I mean --

LEWIS: No, no, no. He talks about a million things. This was never Donald Trump's brand. It was build the wall.

COOPER: Do we have a montage? I know we got a montage --

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: He doesn't believe, he doesn't believe this is his baby.

LEWIS: It's not.

LORD: You see the other day, you know.

COOPER: But he was talking -- he was the one talking about it's going to be so easy. We're going to be repeal, we're going to replace, this can be instantaneous.

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: He was one of the big things he was talking about because raise it just gone up. And it was a huge talking point for that entire last --

LEWIS: It was a means to an end.

BALL: -- when he consolidated the conservative base, we got Republicans behind him. Without which he would not have won --

LEWIS: But it was never his --

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: -- going after Obama --

LEWIS: It was never his vision. It was never important to him.

COOPER: He said it over and over again.

TOOBIN: He said a lot stuff.

BALL: Here's what you're saying. Is that he's having it both ways, right?

LEWIS: Yes. BALL: On the one hand, he's demanding loyalty from these senators to do this for him or else his base will turn on him. On the other hand, he's saying this isn't really my thing and if it doesn't happen, it's not my fault, I don't own it. This will -- I was never really --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Let's just cue the montage. Let's cue the montage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Repeal it and replace it.

Repeal and replace.

Repeal and replace.

Obamacare, we're going to repeal it and replace it, we're going to get something done.

Repeal it, replace it. Get something great!

We're going to repeal and replace the horror that's known as Obamacare. It is a horror.

I will repeal and replace Obamacare, which is a catastrophe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: -- repeal and replace --

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: But he promised.

BALL: -- he has said a lot of things he didn't really mean.

LEWIS: Sure.

BEGALA: But he promised is impossible and voters should have known it. Actually these 63 million people who voted for him believed a lie on health care.

COOPER: But other Republican candidates on the stage in the primary debate. I mean they said that.

BEGALA: I know. I know.

COOPER: They pulled it out and I think John Kasich at one point said like this is --

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: -- they could do it. (CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: -- not just repeal and replace, Jeffrey, he promised you'll cost less and have better healthcare. We'll cover everybody and I won't cut Medicare or Medicaid. Those are for when --

LEWIS: And we're not going to get --

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: -- that's just a lie --

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: -- with people who believe a lie, I fought the liar.

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: It have somebody like Ted Cruz, who has a lot of credibility on this, working his chops off behind the scene to get this. I mean, he's for the most lost his friend Mike Lee on this. And now he's working hard to bring him back. So there are a lot of people behind the scenes working to make this happen.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. In a moment I want to get everybody's take on the president's claim that Democrats have no ideas on how to fix health care. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:52:06] COOPER: Back now, talking about health care, the president blaming Democrats for the Republicans failure to get anything done. Here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The way I look at it, you know, we have no Democrat help. They're obstructionists. That's all they're good at is obstruction. They have no ideas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Democrats of course disagree. I want to bring in the panel for their -- their take. Jeff Lord, I mean should the Democrats be helping to dismantle Obamacare? Is that what Democrats were elected to do?

LORD: Well, I think if the president has a situation on his hands where basically they stop all engines and let the thing crash, they're going to be begging to help fix it. After all, if I may say this, this is their mess. Obamacare is what's at stake here and the premiums are going through the roof, et cetera, et cetera.

COOPER: So if the president -- the president here allows, you know, if he doesn't get anything passed and just allows everything to fail, you think the message is -- (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- it's the Democrats are the ones going to get the blame?

LORD: As they called that -- see, I got in trouble the last time I said this. I'll call this the Ghandi strategy this time instead of the Dr. King strategy. But the strategy --

BEGALA: Ghandi was all about denying health care.

POWERS: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: Ghandi was all about pushing the Brits to crisis, to get independence for India. That's the strategy here is to push to crisis.

BEGALA: Yes. And if I may press the point, it was active persistence. He didn't just say all the (INAUDIBLE).

The president is undermining Obamacare. President Trump is. He is pulling back advertising to try to get young people. And he's threatening to stop these CSR payments to insurance companies, although I just heard word before went on air that the White House approved the next cost sharing reduction payment, which is a very good thing for those of us who support Obamacare.

I will point out we didn't -- it didn't make the news because it was like yesterday. And so that's like two treasons and an extortion ago. But -- Democratic senator from New Hampshire introduced the legislation. That she cost and I wrote it down, the market place certainty act. It's a small bill but it would fix one of the big problems which is this cost sharing reductions. Insurance companies that are losing their shirts on a few particular patients.

She has legislation that would fix, easy fix. The Republicans and Senate would mean the letter bring it up. And that's the thing that should be bipartisan that Joe Manchin was talking about with you. There are several things you could get. You can get 50 votes out of 100, much more easily than you get 50 votes out of 52.

TOOBIN: One thing to keep in mind about this coming crisis with the CSRs and the money that needs to be pushed into Obamacare to keep it alive, the debt limit is going to have to be raised soon and it is going to be a certainty that they're going to need some Democratic votes to raise the debt limit. And I think it's entirely possible the Democrats are going to say "we are only going to fund, keep the government open, if you, Mr. President and the Republican Party, agree to fund Obamacare." So I think that, and they're going to have some leverage there.

LORD: You mean the shut down threat.

[21:55:00] TOOBIN: Yes.

POWERS: There's also when --

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Default threat and the shut down.

LORD: Sounds very Cruz like to me.

TOOBIN: Right.

POWERS: So when he says he's going to let if fail, I think people -- I think what he's meaning to say is like, well I'm just going to sit back and nothing is going to happen. But in fact that's not actually happening. It's what Paul is saying. He's going to make it fail. So that's the difference. Is that the Republicans actually have been invested in making sure that Obamacare fails, whether it's not extending Medicaid or whether it's not, you know, doing the -- offering the funding that Obamacare actually needs to function.

So -- But this is really, I mean, kind of immoral, right? I mean that these are people's lives that we're talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: President Trump as Ghandi, and like a weaving wheel. It seems like doing his own weaving like Ghandi.

BEGALA: Another he's done. One of they key to this thing working is for young agent supposed to sign up for health care, right. And so, in Obamacare there's a mandate. And there's a small penalty that the IRS administers if you don't. The president has ordered to stop enforcing that.

LORD: Yes.

BEGALA: Therefore stopping young invincible from getting into pool which is exactly what we need. That's the whole point of insurance is that I know young invincible people. And what they don't realize is one day they're going to be old.

LORD: -- heavenly mandate by a product.

BEGALA: Nonsense. The founding fathers --

LORD: Oh my god.

BEGALA: And you love history. And the first militia act of 1790 mandated the purchase of a musket and balls by every male in America.

LEWIS: We're for that.

BEGALA: OK. Well, I mean its gone is its OK, but when it's health care its not.

POWERS: Yes.

BEGALA: Totally constitutional. Even Justice Roberts says that. LORD: Justice Roberts says that.

LEWIS: Yes, I think he was wrong on that.

LORD: Yes, I think he was wrong.

BEGALA: But George Washington gets --

LORD: -- if with the CBO, back in 2010, I believe, said that by 2017 there would be $23 million enrolled in Obamacare and I think the actual answer is, nine. So their accuracy in these matters is --

LEWIS: I just can't believe that President Trump would go like, this is the kind of thing you threaten to do like in private, but there is now this amazing sound bite of him saying, I hope it fails. And so, like, if something bad happens, when something bad happens, and people are really hurting, you've got this T.V. commercial already produced of the president saying we're going to let it fail.

COOPER: All right, I want to thank everybody. We'll be right back for more news ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We are out of time. Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night time. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon, CNN tonight starts right now. Have a great night.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight on two huge stories. This is "CNN Tonight". I'm Don Lemon.