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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Sources: Clinton Campaign, DNC Funded Dossier Research; Two Republican Senators Says Trump is Debasing The Country And Threatening Its Institutions; WH Chief of Staff Kelly Vs. Congresswoman; Bill O'Reilly 'Mad At God' Over Sexual Harassment Allegations. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 24, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:03] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And three, in addition to the fact that they briefed him on that. Since then, we know that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, over the summer, interviewed Christopher Steele, the former MI6 officer who is author of the dossier, interviewed him. CNN's reporting earlier this month that, in fact, the Intelligence Community took the dossier seriously enough to not include it in a public summary a public assessment of Russian interference of the election in January, and they did not include the dossier in that because they did not want to make public information in there that had corroborated and perhaps led on how it had corroborated that informs.
So, the Intelligence Community from a very early date took it seriously. Again, to be clear, it's often equated with the more salacious side of what's alleged to be in the dossier, but it goes beyond that. It was really a documenting of these meetings that took place between Trump associates and Russians during and prior to the campaign.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Adam, if the DNC and the Clinton campaign knew about this, I mean, they could have come forward a long time ago?
ADAM ENTOUS, STAFF WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right.
COOPER: But they denied this for a long time, didn't they?
ENTOUS: I'm not sure -- I might be wrong about this, but I'm not aware of them publicly denying --
ENTOUS: -- that they were a source of funding. And again, the way this was structured, it's the lawyer representing them that actually pro-cured, you know, assigned the contract, if you will. You know, they were the ones who were engaging with the Fusion GPS team.
And then again, Chris Steele was being hired as a subcontractor by Fusion GPS. So the degree to which members of the Clinton campaign knew during the campaign that this was going on, that remains unclear to me. Obviously, later on, when we get to November and December, it's pretty clear that they were aware of the work of Chris Steele because as -- some of his reports were beginning to circuit more widely. They became to circulate over the summer. It's not really clear to me -- summer of 2016, but it's not really clear to me to what extent the Clinton campaign people might had visibility into that.
COOPER: All right, Adam Entous appreciate the reporting, Jim Sciutto, as well.
Many of the people we talked to today said they've never seen anything like what took place on Capitol Hill. The deep divide of the Republican Party during this president's administration simply erupted on the Senate floor, on Twitter, in the hall of the Senate office building.
The message from two lawmakers, members of the president's own party. It was clear this president is dangerous. He has trouble telling the truth and world leaders know it and he's debasing the country with his behavior, pretty stunning rebukes from Senator Bob Corker and Senator Jeff Flake today.
Today at the White House try to brush off their comments, Sara Murray joins us now with the latest on that. So what more can you tell us about exactly what transpired between the president and Senator Corker, first of all?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this is remarkable from Senator Corker, I mean, he was chair of the Senate floor relations committee, someone the president spoke to seriously about being his secretary of state during the transition, now in an interview with CNN's Manu Raju saying, look, I wouldn't support him again. He has not risen to the level of the Oval Office.
Today the White House downplayed all of that, basically saying that these were petty comments. They basically tried to distance themselves from the Senator Corker saying, this is someone who is just upset because the president wouldn't back him in re-election. Obviously, Corker sort of team has different view of that saying, of course, the president already said he would be on board but it's a stunning rebuke from a top Republican, and a top Republican who clearly feels unencumbered by the fact that he's not running for re- election in 2018. And he feels like he can speak freely about his views of the president.
COOPER: Do we know what the president's reaction was to Senator Flake's statement?
MURRAY: Well, Senator Flake's statement, obviously, similarly blistering today, but the president was actually pleased with the fact that Flake has decided not to run for re-election. There's no love lost between these two men, and Trump feels like it's another critic who is getting out of Washington. The caveat (ph) out of that is Flake's not getting out of Washington until 2018. President Trump tries to moves forward with big legislative priorities including tax reform. He now had both Bob Corker as well as Senator Flake who can speak freely about their concerns about the president.
COOPER: The president also pay a visit to Republicans on Capitol Hill. What did the White House say about that?
MURRAY: Well, the White House has been quick to point out that while there may be critics of the president, that is certainly not his relationship with everyone on Capitol Hill, they talked about how things went smoothly there. The talked about how the president is trying to move forward with tax reform. This is obviously the biggest legislative priorities on his agenda. That he still have -- have to move forward. He needs something for Republicans to run on in 2018 and it is tax reforms. So they say that he went to the Hill, he went to make his pitch on that, as well as trying to move some of his nominees forward.
But remember, Anderson, when you want to move some of your nominees forward, it helps to have the chairman of those committees on board. And just a reminder, Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.
COOPER: Yes. Sara Murray thanks very much.
A lot to talk about tonight with the panel. We're going to talk about that the dossier. We'll talk about that coming up. But first, this extraordinary day on Capitol Hill. Kirsten Powers joins me, Scott Jennings, Christine Quinn, Alice Stewart, and Matt Lewis.
[21:05:04] I mean, it's been said many times, but have you seen a day like this on Capitol Hill?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, not at all. I mean, I think this is extremely unusual. And one of the things I'm struck by with Jeff Flake in particular is that this is somebody who is actually very conservative. So, and he's not somebody who's necessarily caused problems in terms of a legislative agenda or anything like that. He's just somebody who really never got on the Trump train. He never supported him and it was -- in and out of that lack of support he has watched his numbers go down and they went down even more precipitously when he wrote a book that was very critical of Trump and just the general, I think, Trumpism., right?
And he said in an interview with Jake Tapper today that it's not enough to be conservative, that you have to be angry that the voters want you to be angry. So it's not even really about ideas or policies. It's about the fact that he's not angry enough and he's not engaging in the kind of behavior as Donald Trump is or supporting the kind of behavior Donald Trump is engaging in.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, Scott, what does this mean for the Republican Party?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there's two ways to look at this. Politics and policy. The political implications here may actually be good for Republicans. Jeff Flake was chair to believe dead man walking. He was not going to win his primary. If by some miracle he pulled out his primary, he was like -- we didn't lose a general election.
So now the Republicans can nominate someone, not Kelly Ward, but if they can nominate someone who can hold the seat in November, that's ultimately a good thing for the Republican Party.
He was in a different spot than Corker. I think if Corker had ran for re-election he would have won in Tennessee. Flake chose to do something Corker didn't which is write a book slamming Donald Trump.
The policy implications here, though, are limited when you consider that Flake and Corker are both largely voting with the Trump agenda in the Senate. Unless those two guys join with McCain and they all three decide to block vote "no" on everything for the remainder of this term, then there may not be any policy implications. I expect all three want to vote for tax cuts which is the next thing on the agenda.
So, there's a lot of discussion about this today, but the net return for the Republicans could still be -- we pass a tax cut and tax reform, I mean, maybe we hold a Senate seat in Arizona. So I think what Flake said today bears debate and discussion in the party but the net result may not be what all the rhetoric is cracked up to be today.
CHRISTINE QUINN, PRESIDENT & CEO, WIN: I mean, I think the net result is on a different level. That, in fact, will come down and be relevant to the Republicans and Democrats in both party and politics.
I mean, one of the things we seen growing and growing and growing at the second term of President Obama and certainly this first year of President Trump is just a lack of any civility, a lack of any respect for people in other parties, a lack of any belief in, you know, the kind of bipartisanship that Ted Kennedy brought to the Senate, working with Republicans and no one could have called him anything but an aggressive progressive.
Now we're seeing that kind of screaming and yelling and inability to work together ripping apart the party publicly. Parties always have sides behind close door, but publicly on the floor.
I just think this is bad. Honestly, for the Republicans most, the Democrats too and for government as a whole. And one of things I worry about a lot with President Trump set aside specifics of policy is the erosion of the infrastructure of bipartisan government and what that means across the country and how that may render government at every level kind of frozen and stuck in squabble (ph) and that's bad for cities, counties, and the capitol.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think what we're seeing, you know, so much for Reagan's 11 commandment of thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican. That has gone way, way, way out the window. And furthermore, between what we heard from Corker this morning, it feels like a week ago, talking about how the president is not truthful and a demise of America on the world stage.
In addition to Flake's comments that we saw this afternoon, he's still (INAUDIBLE) with his book, it was critical indictment of President Trump months ago, but that being said the two of them no longer bound by the niceties of a re-election campaign and having to kiss up to the president to win votes. They're going to continue this rhetoric in my view.
But the problem is if they really want to get things done and they want to be strong advocates for the Republican Party in their principles, they're going to have to come together on a lot of these issues that they campaigned on, repealing and replacing Obamacare, tax reform, strong on immigration, Flake said today I can still work with the president on some of these issues, tax reform and even DACA, but they're going to have to put aside all his concerns and their grievances about the way the president does goes about business to get things done. We only have two votes to swing things in the Senate and they really have to work together.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's an old story about a guy going up to Adlai Stevenson and says every sensible person I know is voting for you, and Stevenson says, yes, but I need the majority. And I think that's the problem with the Republican Party and the conservative movement right now. It's not that you have bad applications or even Donald Trump, it's that the public. This is what the Republican base wants.
[21:10:10] And, you know, there was a quote -- I think it was Congressman Massie, a Libertarian congressman recently, where he said, you know, when I ran for office and I was saying all these libertarian things and I thought that the public wanted a hard-core libertarian, but what I learned is no, they were just voting for the craziest sob in the race. And Donald Trump was craziest sob in race. That is the fundamental problem. Donald Trump was a symptom. And what we're seeing right now is that we -- you basically get what you deserve and you get the politicians that represent you.
COOPER: We'll continue this discussion. We got to take a quick break.
We'll also get some reaction from Capitol Hill to the senator's comments.
And later, Bill O'Reilly isn't just blaming "The New York Times" for the latest revelation in his sexual harassment scandal. He's blaming God.
COOPER: Senator Bob Corker says the president has great difficulty with the truth on many issues. Senator Flake says he can't keep quiet anymore and be complicit with this president. Two Republican senators speaking out strongly against the president today. More now what their colleagues think about it. Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill with the latest on that.
So let's start with Senator Flake's statements pointedly about the president. What exactly is he saying as far as why he decided to retire? PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The party left him behind. There really wasn't much more than that, obviously, kind of visceral commentary on the president, on the state of the Republican Party on the direction things have gone. But mostly, that the Republican Party as it currently stands, the Republican Party led by a Republican in the White House, is no longer the Republican Party that Jeff Flake feels like he's a part of. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:15:10] SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: The impulse to scapegoat and threatens to turns us into a fearful, backward looking people. In the case of Republican Party those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful backward looking minority party. We were not made great as a country by indulging in or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorifying the things that divide us and calling fake things true and true things fake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And Anderson, as we're pointing out. This wasn't an issue of policy. Senator Flake votes with the president more than 90 percent of the time. He's a reliable Republican vote. He's a well- known conservative, well-respected conservative lawmaker. This is about the ideology that has now prevailed in the Republican Party that leads the Republican Party. And Senator Flake have made it clear while his prospects back home were certainly dire, this was more of an issue with him no longer recognizing the party that he calls his own.
COOPER: And, Senator Flake and Corker, how are they are colleagues reacting?
MATTINGLY: And the interesting thing as you talked to both Republicans and Democrats very somber, they thought that these were two members of the Senate that were productive, that they can work with on a bipartisan basis. And even when they didn't agree they could certainly at least sit down with them and have discussions. But what was most interesting is Republicans.
The broader question here that everybody wants to know here on Capitol Hill across the board is, is this some kind of tipping point? Are we seeing a shift in the Republican Party from their top lawmakers away from the president? Here's the short answer according to both lawmakers and senior aides I've been talking to about to all day. The answer is no. Take a listen to this exchange I had with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: This morning Senator Corker said that the president had great difficulty with the truth. One, do you agree with that assessment? Tow, are you concerned that his dispute could undercut your efforts in tax reform?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Look, I don't have any observation about that. We're here to try to accomplish things for the American people. We'll all on the same page on the issues that I've mentioned and, of course, front and center is comprehensive tax as my colleagues have described. Try to get the country going again and growing again. And that's what we're going to work on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Anderson, let me take you behind the scenes here from what I've been hearing now for weeks, months even about the tension that exists, tension that you've really seen blown into the open over the course of the last couple of weeks.
Republicans quietly voice a lot of the concerns you heard from Senator Corker, from Senator Flake, from Senator McCain, but they also recognize that in controlling the House, in controlling the Senate and in controlling the White House from a policy perspective they are in a place they haven't been in a very long time, certainly over the course of the last eight years.
So when you see Senate majority leader talk about or Speaker Paul Ryan talk about that these are distractions, that they need to look past the fact that these aren't distractions, these are historic moments that are kind of almost institution rattling, it's because they recognize that as it currently stands they have a conservative agenda that they've been trying to put into law for years and that opportunity still exists. So long as it still exists, don't expect others, at least the majority of others to follow suit. Anderson.
COOPER: Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.
Back now with the panel. You know, Alice, Scott was talking about the Republican agenda. What does may or may not mean for it. Was it just mean (INAUDIBLE) the presidency of Donald Trump? I mean the criticisms being leveled by Senator Flake, by Senator Corker are devastating if you believe them.
STEWART: Sure they are. And I think a lot of Republicans today have been saying we will continue now to agree with the president on substance, we may not agree with his style, but we're going to have to stick with him on substance to get things done.
At the end of the day, the latest CNN poll shows that the GOP base has more faith in President Trump to get things done than Congress, so they can sit there and have this back and forth and call names, but the GOP voters have more confidence in the president to get things done and that should serve as a big wake up call. The problem is they need to really expand the base. But with regard to what happens next, two people taking a large credit for Flake stepping aside, President Trump and Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon has made it quite clear through various people. There are more scouts to come. He's going to continue to go across this country. Incumbent Republicans who are up for re-election in 2018, they need to follow all in line. They need to support the president and has agenda or they will be next.
JENNINGS: -- distinction, I would say. We're all thinking what's his accomplishment? Like his repealing Obamacare and replacing is an accomplishment, passing tax reforms is an accomplishment, right, putting points on the board. For Donald Trump supporters, Jeff Flake retiring is an accomplishment. I think that for most sort of grassroots conservatives right now it's not about public policy, passing bills or legislation, it's about a culture war. So when he goes after the NFL, that's a victory. That's tantamount to passing legislation. When he gets Bob Corker to not run for re-election, that's actually a win.
[21:20:03] POWERS: Why would Steve Bannon say Jeff Flake did, though, other than not sort of cow to Trump, literally like be worshipful to him. What is it that he did that wasn't --
JENNINGS: He supports Mitch McConnell. He doesn't want to get rid of the legislative filibuster.
POWERS: Getting on board. But anything that's actually happened, I mean, he supported the repeal of Obamacare, right? I mean where is he opposed the president in a way that will cost them to -- the need to take him out?
STEWART: His votes of fallen line with the -- that President Trump --
STEWART: The problem is the book, so vocally opposing the president and so vocally calling him out on the way he goes about --
POWERS: But he was already in trouble before the book came out. He was in trouble and he knew when he wrote that book that was probably going to put the nail on the coffin, but he was already because he didn't support Trump.
JENNINGS: No, no. It's not just that. I think you're partially right. But go back to what I just said. It's about the culture war. It's not about legislation. It's irrelevant that Flake votes with Donald Trump 90 percent of the time. He's not with him on the NFL. He's not with him on Charlottesville. He's not with him on changing --
QUINN: So, basically what we're saying now in the rule of Donald Trump, because really the rule of Bannon, and let's be clear, I think you're right about Bannon. But when you make a deal with the devil, the devil always wins in the end. And I think we will see that whether it's a months or year or a two with Bannon and Trump, Bannin being the devil in that scenario.
But the issue isn't what your policy view is. It's not even if you support the president. It's whether you're willing to be as bombastic and nasty as he is and whether you're willing to dislike the people, Mitch McConnell, that he likes with the same voracity that he dislikes.
QUINN: -- that's bizarre and ridiculous. STEWART: And also if you're a member the establishment and you're part of the swamp, you are on the chopping block as well.
QUINN: As defined by however Steve Bannon, who may better be described as a swamp monster. Defined the swamp as that --
JENNINGS: I'm not sure the president and Bannon right now are necessarily on the same page on when it comes to McConnell. I mean, McConnell and Trump appeared in the Rose garden together, McConnell and Trump sure sounded like they were on the same page to me today on tax reform. McConnell and Trump appear to have a 3 point plan, tax reform, more judges, and tackling the opioid crisis. If they were to get those three things done together, that's a pretty good argument to make for re-election.
Let's not forget Trump and McConnell will be on the ballot together in 2020. So their agenda, if they win together, will be what they run on together. And so, it's in both of their best interests to continue to work together. So I'm not entirely sure the president and Bannon are on the same page with McConnell.
QUINN: And let's picture those are points. Saying you're going to solve the opioid crisis when you're cutting into Obamacare which is poor to save (ph) in a crisis isn't a plan, it is three words.
COOPER: Let's get a quick break. We discussed tonight this weekend for the last few months, really, this White House has -- had a hard time admitting when they are wrong or that they misspoke. We'll get into the latest example of that next.
[21:27:02] COOPER: (INAUDIBLE) over White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly and his allegations against Congresswoman Frederica Wilson came up again today. And again, the White House made claims about it that they can't back up. To review how it began, here's what General Kelly said from the podium in that speech last Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And a congresswoman stood up and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. How she took care of our constituents because she got the money and she called up President Obama and on that phone call he gave the $20 million to build the building and she sat down and we were stunned, stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, there's video to show what actually happened. We want to show you that video. It did not happen the way General Kelly said. You can see for yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: Everyone said that's impossible. It takes at least eight months to a year to complete the process through the House, the Senate, and to the president's office. I said, I'm a school principal, and I said it, excuse my French, oh, hell no. We're going to get this done.
Immediately, I went into attack mode. I went to the speaker, Speaker Boehner, and I said, Mr. Speaker, I need your help. The FBI needs your help and our country needs your help and we have no time to waste. He went into attack mode and in two days pulled it out of committee, brought it to the floor for a vote. Representative Curbelo and I presented it and we all voted for it. And I dashed it over to the Senate and put our senators on notice. Put it on your radar. Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio who I believed have representatives here today. They hotlined it to the Senate floor in just two days. And guess what, the president signed the bill into law this past Tuesday, April 7, 2015 with a bang, bang, bang!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders later said that Kelly was referring to other comments made off video, but there's no proof of that, so back to today after talking about the president's mistruths about Senator Corker a reporter asked Sanders about the comments from Kelly and if she would now finally acknowledge that his comments were mischaracterization. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:30:00] SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't believe that General Kelly mischaracterized. He gave his account of what took place. General Kelly and his family have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I think he's led with honor and integrity. I think he's doing a great job as chief of staff and I don't think he has anything to correct or apologize for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Let's bring back in the panel. Kirsten what do you make of this?
POWERS: I mean, this idea that because he sacrificed, I mean, she all -- but to say it again he's a general, so let's not question him. I mean, yes, he's done wonderful things for the country. There's no question. But that doesn't mean he gets a pass on making up something about someone. I think if you look at the video, that was pretty standard politicking. She didn't just take a credit herself. She gave credit to a lot of other people.
And, you know, and he works for probably perhaps the most self- aggrandizing politician literally in the history of the world, Donald Trump. And that doesn't offend him in any way, and yet he was offended by what we just watched and didn't tell the truth about what happened. So it seems pretty obvious that he should apologize, but I guess in the state actually people don't do that anymore. COOPER: It is interesting just the kind of way she brushes aside, well, you know, I don't want to misquote her. But I mean, you know, saying, well, General Kelly gave his characterization and that's it.
QUINN: You know, for me as a former elected official, what's kind of striking is -- if I misstated something, which happened, when I was speaker of the city council, there would be people would rush into my office, the policy staff. You said it's 10 percent. It's 15 percent. And then the press people would back run in and say he misstated the percentage of whatever it was.
And if I said something bigger, there would be a mutiny statements delivered and the press secretary would pull everybody together. And t hat was the New York City council maybe like a percentage of carbon reduction. I freakishly remember having the wrong number on that.
So that mattered. And if we had said something and we didn't realize it, they would come back to us. So is that mattered that the New York City council and the policy people themselves took honor and credit in getting the right facts out there. How does it not matter in the White House of the United States, setting aside the significance of what we're talking about here as it relates to a memorializing a dead FBI officer. And she wasn't talking about getting the money there. She's very clear in other statements that the money was brought in before she was a Congress member. She was talking about renaming the building. And if you listen to the press secretary, she said he relayed his account.
You know, I have memories of things that I wore to make myself look better but they may not be the truth. Your account isn't the truth. And I just don't understand how somebody who is in a press office --
LEWIS: Actually more a relativism. It's more of relativism.
QUINN: It's lying.
LEWIS: It's how you -- you know, the truth is what it feels like to me.
QUINN: You know, not in catholic school. The nuns were pretty damn clear about what was the truth.
QUINN: I know, I know.
LEWIS: But I think -- part of it -- this is also sloppiness. I mean, hopefully General Kelly did not intend to misstate this. He talked for a long time about a very sensitive and important topic, but if you make that one mistake, --
QUINN: Right, everything else --
LEWIS: -- it totally negates everything else and people -- we can look at that. And it really calls into question everything he said.
QUIN: I agree.
STEWART: Well, one of the things you learn in communications. I mean, when you're trying to get out of message, you have to clean up (INAUDIBLE). You grab the map and you go clean it up right then and there and you move on.
Problem is, unfortunately, this was his recollection of what this congresswoman said clearly was a little bit off. There was some facts that needed to be corrected. If they had just corrected the facts right off the bat, we wouldn't be talking about it again today. We would be talking -- let's talk about these four fallen soldiers and what happened to them and how we cannot let this happen again. And I think coming from a president, who I support his policies, who believes that Rafael Cruz was involved in the JFK assassination and continues to hold true to that, they need to accept when they are factually challenged on something, clean it up, correct it, and move on.
POWERS: But there's also, I think, a difference between what you were just talking about, getting a number wrong, and actually making a vicious personal attack on somebody, you know. And maligning them and engaging in character assassination against somebody. And then, turning out -- it turns out it wasn't true and you still won't correct it. There's a lack of decency there. It's beyond to just, yes, you have obligations be honest and you correct yourself. It's like just a decent thing to do to say, I got it wrong.
JENNINGS: I think people misstate and misremember things that happened long ago all the time. That's not uncommon in politics or any other business. What makes me more uncomfortable about this is the concept that someone serving in a civilian position in our government is beyond questioning. And these are people that I support, I support General Kelly, I support the president's agenda. But they're all due to be questions by the press and the citizens.
[21:34:58] So I don't think we should be going down this road of saying this person is beyond questioning because of their resume. That's dangerous. I would also say this. Most presidents and most White Houses are loathe to admit mistakes. This is not a condition that's new. The Obama White House did not admit many mistakes. I don't remember any wippy (ph) apology doers about lying about several things about Obamacare. The Bush 43 White House, and President Bush famously couldn't remember anything he was -- that he had done wrong in a one presidential debate. The Clintons, of course, did not want to admit any mistakes or that they lied to the American people.
So, this is not a new condition. I think sometimes we treat it likes it is, but it is a condition that has playground the last several administrations and we should strive to get out of it.
QUINN: I agree with everything you just said. It's (INAUDIBLE) this administration more. But I think what's shocking --
COOPER: -- is pretty. QUINN: -- exactly, the scale. But it's also shocking to see, even though he's a civilian, a four-star general, a marine, right, people who you -- in your mind they never lie, right? They are the highest moral caliber. They have a misrecollection and then not correct it.
LEWIS: Part of this is that they playing the Steve Bannon game here. This is how politics is played now. What they're doing is actually identity politics. As if we're talking about Weinstein. If I'm a woman, then I have the moral high ground. You can't really argue with me on that. They're (INAUDIBLE) they're saying, we're going to -- let's turn about and be fair play. Let's use what they have. Let's send out the guy who you can't question. He's a Gold Star father, he's a general, in a sense they're playing identity politics the way the left has done it --
QUINN: But, you know what, I don't agree with the left part --
COOPER: We got take a quick break.
QUINN: It's sad to see a general fall for that.
COOPER: We take a quick break. Coming up more breaking news, we're learning tonight that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded research that led that now infamous Russia dossier where Clinton's campaign press secretary saying about all this tonight as well as the White House.
[21:39:54] COOPER: Breaking news tonight, a source confirms to CNN that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that led to the now infamous Russia dossier. "The Washington Post" first broke this story. The dossier was written by Christopher Steele, former British intelligence officer who was hired by company Fusion GPS. The collection of memos detailed allegations of President Trump's ties to Russia and how the Kremlin possibly tried to use the information to influence the Trump campaign in U.S. elections.
Just moments ago, Brian Fallon, the Clinton campaign national press secretary tweeted this in response to news. "I have no idea what Fusion or Steele were paid, but even a shred of that dossier ends up helping Mueller, it will prove money well spent."
I have no idea what Fusion or Steele were paid but if even a shred of that dossier ends up helping Mueller, it will prove money well spent
I want to bring back in the panel. I should also point out that Ken Vogel from "The New York Times" tweeted tonight that when he went to the Clinton campaign lawyer, who was the one going to Fusion GPS, to report the story, he denied any involvement essentially saying the reporting was wrong.
JENNINGS: Why did they spend a year lying about this covering it up? It's not unusual for campaigns to engage in opposition research. But it seems based on the reporting tonight that the Clinton campaign and the Democrats tried to keep everyone from believing that they did this. And so, I think it complicates the Democrat narrative. They want Russia to be bad for Trump, now sullied themselves by essentially lying or covering up their involvement in this dossier. I'm stunned what they're willing to cover up for apparently no reason.
LEWIS: You said to everyone does research and I think that's true. But if you look at this from, let's say, a lot of Americans perspective, the Democrats hired a foreign agent to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. Now, look, that may be -- that happens all the time in politics, but it seems really seedy.
POWERS: He's an ex-foreign agent, though, right?
STEWART: That's correct.
LEWIS: And they actually technically hired a lawyer, but you get my point.
QUINN: But he was not -- I mean, I think, that's an important fact.
LEWIS: -- who is a foreign --
POWERS: He's a British citizen.
LEWIS: Right, he's not an American.
JENNINGS: Again, why cover it up?
QUINN: I don't think the reporting is clear on that, right? The author of the article said that he had not heard that there was denials of it. We have other reporting now, so I don't think what they admitted or didn't admit at any time is completely clear.
Also, as the "Washington Post" author mentioned, that this lawyer outside and how opposition research is done by both parties, new stuff, it doesn't necessarily mean that the people they spoke with at the campaign knew. But -- answer should the question of what was asked and answered, and answered how, will come out in the next few days. But I think the bigger question here, whether it was sleazy op (ph) research whether it was typical op research is things keep leading back to Donald Trump and Russia.
So that to me is the big question. And now there are more facts that need to be firmly answered, but that's the bigger thing. I mean, we can sully the Democrats as much as we want until the op research. It is unpleasant and ugly, but it's a part of the facts of how things are run now. And this may very likely bring more facts to the unpleasant reality of Russia's involvement. STEWART: And here's the truth as Scott said, this happens all the time. Campaigns pay people to dig up dirt on other people and vulnerability studies on themselves to find out where the dirt is on them. There's reporting in the article that this attorney was paid almost $5.5 million. It would be likely to believe that some of that money was used to put together this dossier or this report. The reason the Democrat, the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign had such sanctimonious denial about this for all this time, if it was leaked or known that they funded this report in any way, that would go against their entire narrative of saying that Trump colluded with the Russians and that's how he won this election.
QUINN: Why? Why?
QUINN: But this was colluding. It was research. I mean, not -- for me the bigger question is if there was really good dirt in the dossier, why wasn't it a T.V. commercial? But it wasn't colluding, it was research.
POWERS: I would go against the narrative --
POWERS: -- I mean, this is, you know, if somebody is, you know, let's just -- working in another country, let's just say, and you wanted to find out -- let's just say, that Donald Trump have worked in France, you want to find out what he did when he was in France. Well, it wouldn't make sense you might hire somebody who is French, right, who live in France and speak in French. Whatever, what you wouldn't do is you wouldn't get someone from the French government to do it, right? I mean, you don't work with foreign governments against -- to try to get information. So there's nothing really -- there's nothing wrong here. I mean, it is just --
LEWIS: -- Donald Trump would have owned it.
QUINN: Well, that, we don't know about that.
POWERS: The question why they lie about it, I think, if they did, in fact, lie about it, you know, I'd like to know, but there's actually nothing wrong with this or unusual --
QUINN: And the first question is, did they lie, and the why? And I think that --
POWERS: Yes, I mean --
QUINN: -- they did lie. Why is a valid question. We have to establish one to get the answer to two. But the procedure here is typical. POWERS: Yes.
COOPER: Doesn't it allow now President Trump and, you know, Republicans who support the president to say, look, this is all about nothing. This confirms everything we've been saying all along.
QUINN: Donald Trump' is going to say whatever he wants about whatever he wants and say it's real or fake or made up. So he doesn't need more permission to do that. But in the end this wasn't some report that brought up things that Hillary Clinton had done inappropriately with Russia. It's about Donald Trump and Russia. And so I don't think this in any way -- it may add fuel to Mueller's fire not the opposite.
[21:45:14] COOPER: Right. Up next, Bill O'Reilly is now directing his anger over the sexual harassment allegations against him in a new direction he says he's angry at God. We'll get the panel's take on that in a moment.
COOPER: Seems Bill O'Reilly is mad at a lot of people including God. The former Fox News anchor made that confession last night on his new web series called "No Spin News". He's angry at God for repeatedly being accused of sexual harassment. He's repeatedly made payouts to his alleged victims including the latest one to come to light for "The New York Times" a whopping $32 million to a former colleague who threaten to sue him for alleged sexual misconduct. Here's what O'Reilly told his online viewers last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You know, am I mad at God, yes, I'm mad at him. I wish I had more protection. I wish this stuff didn't happen. I can't explain it to you. Yes, I'm mad at him. If I die tomorrow and I get an opportunity, I'll say, why did you guys work me over like that? Did you know my children are going to punished. They're innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And back to our panel. Joining us as well is CNN's Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter.
[21:50:01] Brian, I mean, it's interesting to see -- his agency dropped him, which I should also just point out as my agency as well. And what else -- I mean, does he have a chance to getting back on television?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Slimmer and slimmer and slimmer. UTA, United Talent Agency, I'm also represented by them from disclosure. The board of the directors of the group decided to drop him yesterday that will take effect at the end of the year. But that's a very public disappointment for Bill O'Reilly, you know. He's the representative for many years by the same person. O'Reilly has been seeking a comeback in television. There have been talks underway in recent months. And you see a major Hollywood talent agency saying we can't be associated with you anymore.
I really think it's a Weinstein effect continuing, Anderson. The charges against Harvey Weinstein are much more serious than we're talking about Bill O'Reilly. There have been rapes alleged by Harvey Weinstein not by Bill O'Reilly. But the O'Reilly story, the Harvey Weinstein story, all of these are sort of taking a moment for corporate America to rethink how it handles these situations. So you see talent agencies, Hollywood studios, and all sort of companies having to make tough decisions.
STEWART: It's really disappointing to see him go where he went into this interview saying that I wish God had given me more protection. Where was the protection for the women that were the victim of his predatory behavior? That's the question I have. And just this week we learned 32 million more reasons why his behavior was harmful to these women, lifelong harmful effects on these women. So for him to go this route I think it's just really inappropriate and wrong but, in all of this, based on what's happened at Fox News and other places, it is shedding a light on a very, very dark problem in our society.
STELTER: And it just makes you wonder are there second chances in this situation? Harvey Weinstein said he wants a second chance. That seems (INAUDIBLE). Bill O'Reilly recently was looking for a T.V. job. He was hoping that Sinclair would hire him. You know, Sinclair has been fine (ph) T.V. station trying to get bigger and bigger. Some believe it may try to rival Fox News someday. That idea that O'Reilly would go to Sinclair seems likely today. But, yes, I talked to head of Newsmax, Chris Ruddy, Newsmax also is kind of a Fox want to be.
And (INAUDIBLE) America is a very forgiving nation. If anybody can have a comeback it's Bill O'Reilly.
QUINN: But, you know what, I think America is a very forgiving country, but the thing about forgiveness, the thing about second chances is you have to earn them. You have to deserve them. They don't just get given out to everyone who asks for them. So the question is there anything Harvey Weinstein has done in his life or since this became clear that has even put him on the path towards earning it.
QUINN: And yes, the same question for Bill O'Reilly, lesser offenses that we know of, and the answer is no. Second chances have to be earned.
COOPER: And second chances also have a lot to do with the acknowledgement of wrongdoing --
COOPER: -- which if, you know, there still a lot of questions. I mean, he said he has all this evidence, never presented really any of it. You know, he said this is a grand conspiracy.
STELTER: Yes, he's the victim. COOPER: Right. Blames "The New York Times," blames the reporting but --
QUINN: Blames God.
JENNINGS: Humility is a better look than anger and since Bill O'Reilly invoked the good Lord, maybe we should consult the good book which tells us, "Be not quick in your spirit to become angry because anger lodges in the bosom of fools," which is what I think Mr. O'Reilly looks like tonight.
COOPER: Does this -- I mean, we talked about this all but -- yesterday, but -- is this really a (INAUDIBLE) change, I mean, do you think this actually leads, not just Bill O'Reilly, Weinstein, there's a big chef I guess down in, I think, in New Orleans who has now stepped down from his --
QUINN: The director --
COOPER: -- right, from his food group of photographer, I think he had his contract -- right, Director Toback, I think, has been accused multiple --
QUINN: I mean I hope so. And it's certainly of significance that these high profile individuals, the chef, the photographer, the director, O'Reilly, Weinstein. So there's two ways we know to see change. One, does it sustain itself in the celebrity industries, right, or does this -- after it get spoken of the academy awards disappear? That's question one. Question two is does it permeate to every day American women's workplaces? Because what we can't come away from is this Hollywood extended has this problem. No. Every workplace in America has this problem. Some addressing it and its lesser, some letting it go unchecked. How far this goes does to comeback up, that's how we define if we see successfully address this.
STEWART: I think what we've already seen is more women coming out and having the courage and the bravery to tell their story. I think that is an important component, the first step to see change. We're also seeing more people coming out saying I'm not going to condole this anymore. Men in Hollywood they have come out and say I knew about this, I should have said something, shame on me for doing that. And giving more poepel to -- not only tell their stories but not let this happen. If you see something, say something. And this is certainly --
LEWIS: I'm going to be anxious to see if Hollywood quits portraying this sort of behavior in a glamorizing way. You know, whenever there's a shooting we talk about does Hollywood, you know, the movie "Taxi Driver" or whatever like that, does that -- someone has already sort of on, you know, sort of not thinking correctly. You know, like the Woody Allen Manhattan movies, like the classic example --
[21:55:12] QUINN: Well, you shouldn't work with Woody Allen in my --
STELTER: He has another one coming. Similar like kind of dynamic, you know, but let's see if there's criminal liability. That's can be the most important part.
STELTR: There are three police department of Harvey Weinstein and this also --
COOPER: Let's take another break. Coming up, something to make you smile at the end of the day, "The Ridiculist" is next.
COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist". And tonight there are literally ain't no mountain high enough to keep President Trump from trying to undo President Obama's legacy.
According to the Anchorage dispatch news, the president in a meeting with Alaska's two Republican senators not on Twitter but one of those old-fashioned meetings or human beings on the same physical space, offered to reverse President Obama's decision to change the name from Mount McKinley to Denali, which was originally and given to it by native Alaskans thousands of years ago. Why President Trump make the offer? Well, there's this tweet from then-candidate Trump back in 2015, "President Obama wants to change the name of Mount McKinley to Denali after more than a hundred years. Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!" How does Ohio get offended in all this you may ask, yes, Denali is in Alaska but President McKinley, who was tragically assassinated was from Ohio. So while we're taking a (INAUDIBLE) down memory lane, the mountain was named from McKinley by a prospector before McKinley was even elected. And McKinley himself never set foot in Alaska.
Now, it's entirely possible President Trump did and still does consider changing the name of an Alaskan mountain to be a great insult to Ohio perhaps just perhaps it's 18 electoral votes. Though Saturday Live certainly thought the president had a great affinity for Alaskan Sarah Palin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you Sarah. You know, a new poll says I'm up by 11 percent. This is really happening people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guess what, America. I don't really think this guy should be president. I'm just here because he promised me a spot in his cabinet. And I belong in the cabinet because I'm full of spice and I've got a great rack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, of course, there are President Trump's critics who will say renaming this mountain is like his approach to have anything that carries a whip for President Obama's -- and David Axelrod's after shave. But this is all just another White House Seinfeld called parody that President Trump is Jerry and Denali is a piece of (INAUDIBLE).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. I'd like to return this jacket.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Certainly, may I ask why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For spite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: But, look, I understand when you get a new job you want to erase reminders of those who shadows loom over you. When I started CNN they gave me Wolf Blitzer's original anchor chair, which I prompted rolled outside in torch.
That said, if President Trump really wants to rename a mountain, it might just be easier to channel his inner anagram enthusiast, rearrange the letters in word Denali and show the world what only someone who has the best words knows how to do.
Thanks for watching 360. Time to turn it over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.