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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Flynn Worried About Son as Russia Probe Intensifies; Interview with Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner; Interview with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 8, 2017 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:17] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

We begin tonight with breaking news in the Russian investigation, news that could determine how much one of President Trump's former top advisers cooperates with special counsel Robert Mueller or perhaps whether he cooperates at all. We're talking about former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the concerns we've learned he has about the legal fate of his son and former chief of staff, Michael G. Flynn.

In a moment, what this could mean, as well as what it says about the special counsel's tactics.

First, CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has the breaking story.

So, what are you learning about these concerns that Flynn has for his son?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we're told by multiple sources familiar with the matter that Flynn has expressed concern about the potential legal exposure of his son Michael Flynn Jr. who like his father is under scrutiny by the special counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn's concern as you mentioned, potentially a factor into decisions coming forward about how to respond to Mueller's ongoing investigation which, of course, covers not only Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, but also the business dealings of key Trump campaign advisers.

I'm told as well, Anderson, that Flynn's wife Laurie shares his concerns about their son's potential legal exposure, something that we could well imagine.

COOPER: Do we know what Mueller's team is looking at when it come -- I mean, we're talking about legal exposure?

SCIUTTO: So, this is revealing. I've spoken to two witnesses who've actually been interviewed by the special counsel, by the investigators, and they tell me that questions regarding Flynn focus on his and his son's business dealings, including their firms reporting of income from work overseas. You remember that the Foreign Agents Registration Act, that's known as FARA, that requires those who do business, they act as agents for foreign companies or governments that they have to publicly disclose those relationships, as well as any financial compensation for such work.

Flynn Jr. to be clear, he was very involved in his father's business. He served as his chief of staff. A top aide actively involved, both in their consulting and lobbying work at their firm, which was known as the Flynn Intel Group, and that included joining his father on some of his overseas trips like the one he made to Moscow in December 2015, that's when Flynn famously dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a black-tie gala hosted by RT, the Russian television network.

Flynn Sr. also under legal scrutiny by Mueller's team for undisclosed lobbying during the campaign on behalf of the Turkish government and Flynn's alleged participation in discussions about the idea of forcibly removing a Turkish cleric who's been living in exile here in the us in Pennsylvania.

I should mention that in the past, a spokesman for Flynn has denied that such discussions took place.

COOPER: It's not clear though that either the Flynns will, in fact, face charges, right?

SCIUTTO: That's -- and that's a very important point. Flynn's business dealings, they've been the subject of an investigation since November, prior to Mueller's appointment in May of this year, so not clear that either of the Flynns will face charges when the investigation is complete.

I should mention Flynn's attorney, he did not respond to multiple requests from me to comment on this story. Flynn Jr.'s lawyer, he declined to comment for this story Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jim, stay with us.

I want to bring in a former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, former CIA senior officer and Russia expert, Steve Hall, also, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, also Michael Zeldin, former federal prosecutor and former special assistant to Robert Mueller and the Justice Department, currently he's a CNN legal analyst.

Michael, we talked about this over the last couple of weeks. What do you make of this report because you've said before that it's very possible Michael -- Mike Flynn could already be a cooperating witness?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. So, this may indicate that he's not yet cooperating though we don't know that. But it does reflect what we talked about last week, Anderson, which is there's enormous pressure on a father to cooperate to protect his son.

And as Jim reported, the charges that he could theoretically face our failure to register as a foreign agent, failure to report foreign income that he has in bank accounts conspiracy to defraud the United States. He also was a government employee remember, so he has the additional charge of SF-86, false declarations on his financial statement, maybe money laundering. There are enormous charges here and, you know, when we talk about well maybe he just sits tight and gets a pardon, there are -- if there are federal tax charges, there are state check tax charges.

And if there are federal money laundering charges, there may be state money laundering charges. The presidents pardon power only extends to federal crimes, not state crimes. So, all of those things take it together leads me to conclude that if he isn't cooperating, he's going to.

COOPER: So, that's a really important point, Michael, that that even if the president chose to pardon Mike Flynn, if, in fact, he was charged or something, that would only apply to federal charges, not state charges.

ZELDIN: That's correct.

[20:05:00] And the president has to make a decision about whether or not if he pardons people, does he do so at the risk of being viewed by the special counsel as abusing his office, leading to a referral to the House of Representatives for an article of impeachment for abuse of his authority.

COOPER: So, Jeff, I mean, a prosecutor exerting control or pressure on one family member to get to another, I mean, that's a pretty common tactic, isn't it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's hardball. I mean, it is not something that prosecutors do every day, but it is something that they do and it is something within the ethical rules. It is just one example of how powerful prosecutors can be. I mean, these sorts of decisions are not subject to any judge's oversight. Prosecutors can just say, you go free, you get prosecuted, and they can do it within a family and everybody knows that parents want to protect their children.

So, the fact that a father and son are both under investigation gives the at least the potential for a lot of leverage. As we've been pointing out here, it may be that they committed no crime, so there's no reason for any plea bargain here. But certainly, that possibility of the use of that leverage exists.

COOPER: John, I mean, this along with the arrest of Manafort's associate Rick Gates, it shows that it's not just the main players here that the special counsel is potentially interested in.

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: That's true. And as everybody is making the point, this is hardball, when you're dealing with the potential conspiracy, when you have a dual set like this as well. I can't think of any historical parallel to this where you've had a father-son combination under investigation by a special counsel. So, it's unique in that regard also.

COOPER: Steve, you've been saying that I'm really from the beginning that Michael Flynn is really the tip of the iceberg, a guy with very close ties to Russia. But how deep is that relationship but what did that mean for the Trump campaign. Those are questions that I assumed would be out, you know, in front of Mueller's mind. STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA SENIOR OFFICER, RUSSIA EXPERT: It's difficult to tell but I can tell you that from the Russian perspective, Anderson, that both the truth of these individuals of Flynn Jr. and Sr., now that we know they're both in Moscow, would have presented excellent targets for the Russians.

And if I was a Russian intelligence officer in Moscow and I've been able to pull them aside after that dinner with Putin, the conversation would have gone something like this -- look, you guys have really interesting access to information, you understand the United States so much better than we do. And by the same token, you also understand Russia so much better than anybody in the United States does. So, is there some way that we can, you know, come to some sort of agreement on this?

We know that both of them were also very interested in money, because of their lobbying campaigns both on the part of Turkey and other countries. So, these guys would have been both really good targets for the Russians and I think you know that's what Mueller was looking into right now, obviously.

COOPER: But certainly, I mean, again, that's a hypothetical, and Flynn you know has experience in intelligence. So, he would -- I mean, he wouldn't be naive about an approach like that.

HALL: Well, you would think so, but you would also think that a guy with his background, his extended background in military intelligence would also -- he would also would have said, geez, maybe it's not such a good idea for me to go to Moscow and accept money from the Russians, from RT, which he must have known was a propaganda element for the Russian government.

So, there's a lot of things that don't make sense in his behavior.

COOPER: Michael --

TOOBIN: Anderson?

COOPER: Yes, go ahead.

TOOBIN: You know, one of the arguments the criminal defense attorneys make in white collar cases all the time is no one could be so stupid as to do x, and you know what, juries reject that argument all the time because people are stupid and they make mistakes and they make it out of greed or out of political reasons.

But the idea that you're smart so you wouldn't commit a crime, that logic does not necessarily follow.

ZELDIN: And in fact, in fact, Anderson, you see the truth of what Jeff said in that it has been reported that the Defense Intelligence Agency told Flynn, don't do that speech, and hadn't did it anyway.

SCIUTTO: And one more point, Anderson, to that, just in terms of the payments. One of the payments in question is money that Flynn's senior received for that visit to Moscow, and there's some evidence that that the money was routed through a company in London to -- it appears intentionally obscure that the money was coming from Russia. So seemingly indicating that there was some awareness that to take this money was not such a good idea and let's route it this way.

And you may remember that, initially, General Flynn denied that any money came from Russia and claimed that it came through his speaking agency when, in fact, of course, the money originally was coming from the Russian government.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Jim, the White House keeps saying that their confident the Mueller investigation is wrapping up. Is there any evidence pointing to that? I mean, if anything, from the outside, it would seem to be the opposite.

SCIUTTO: Well, particularly the events of the last week, Manafort and Gates, this is the beginning of a long -- I mean, that the trial dates not even until next year, right?

[20:10:00] And that's going to be a weeks-long trial at least. So, you have that.

You have a first person who seems to have flipped, right, George Papadopoulos, whether he has information -- valuable information to provide on higher ups and the Trump campaign, we don't know the extent of that.

But folks I talked to don't see this as the end of the tunnel here by any means.

John, can you just speak to personally what it is like to be, you know, the focus of an investigation like this? I mean, just the pressure that one is under?

I mean, you already raised the idea that you know a father-son duo is kind of a unique situation, but just for Flynn Sr. -- I mean, the financial pressure, all sorts of pressure.

DEAN: Well, I wasn't directly in that in that situation myself because I was cooperating very early. I was breaking rank and had a foot in the White House as well as the foot in the prosecutor's office.

But I did experience it through my friends and former colleagues and the pressure they felt, and I also have understand it from listening to countless hours of Nixon tapes that were later released at long after Watergate, and you can see the noose coming down and being squeezed on people and how bad their decisions get, the more -- the greater the loss they seem to be suffering and confronted with. That's the odd thing, is that not that they get smart when the -- when the -- he gets in the heat, but rather they gets stupid.

And that happens repeatedly apparently in lots of crimes. Jeff could probably speak to that better than I, but we have such an internal record with Watergate. That's where I noticed it.

COOPER: That's such an interesting idea. I mean, Jeff, is that your experience as well?

TOOBIN: Well, I mean, you know that the experience of being under criminal investigation is so preoccupying. I mean, imagine, you know, Michael Flynn was someone who was involved -- he was the head of Defense Intelligence Agency, one of the most important jobs in the defense establishment.

Today, he is a professional subject of an investigation. All he has to do all day long is to think about whether he is going to be charged with a crime. It is financially draining. It is psychologically imperiling. It is just a miserable state to be in.

And he has the additional problem of having his son involved as well. It's not just him.

So, it's just a terrible psychological burden to deal with, and you know, some people make some smart decisions and some people don't under those circumstances.

COOPER: Michael, is that your experience? I mean, I thought what John said is so fascinating, the idea that the more pressure under kind of, the more you see the news coming, the worse your decision making gets in some cases.

ZELDIN: Well, my experience on our independent counsel investigation was not quite that. I found that some people's attention was much more clearly focused when they realized that they had criminal exposure and that they sort of sat up straighter in their chair and they answered their questions more directly and that they knew that what they had to do was cooperate because, of course, lack of cooperation means the possibility of further criminal exposure by lying.

The thing that is -- but to John's point, the thing that is most unbelievable to me is the tweet of Michael Flynn Jr., saying that in the end when he doesn't go to jail, the suffering that he's doing now will be well worth watching the -- in pain or embarrassment on the face of the prosecutors. That speaks to John's point that some people get stupider and stupider, and I can't understand that comment or how his lawyer if he knew it was coming could possibly allow that to happen.

COOPER: Everyone, thanks.

Coming up next one of Congress's top Russia investigators weighs in. Senator Mark Warner of the Intelligence Committee joins us.

And later, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on last night's big election win for Democrats, the role he thinks that anti Trump voters played and the work that he still thinks the Democratic Party needs to do to compete, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:17:51] COOPER: Well, before the break, former special counsel Michael Zeldin cited a defiant tweet from Michael G. Flynn. Quote: the disappointment on your faces when I don't go to jail will be worth all your harassment.

You might ask, as Michael Zeldin did, why anyone in Flynn's situation would keep on tweeting? However, this is hardly his first combative or controversial tweet. The son of the President Trump's former national security adviser once been a lot of bandwidth, hyping the baseless pizza gate conspiracy theory which falsely tied Hillary Clinton to a fictitious child's sex ring supposedly operating out of a Washington D.C. pizzeria.

In any case, it is not a bogus conspiracy theory he is confronting now. It is a real investigation. As Jim Sciutto reported, sources tell CNN that his dad is concerned about his son's legal fate.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. I asked him about tonight's breaking news just before airtime.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Senator Warner, this new CNN reporting that the Russia investigation has progressed the point that General Flynn is now concerned about the legal fate of his son. I know you can't divulge specifics. But generally speaking, do you believe the Flynn family is right to be concerned?

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, remember, General Flynn was fired as national security advisor for not being forthcoming on his contacts with Russians. Subsequent to that, there have been plenty of press reports about his failure to also reveal some of his contacts and work on behalf of Turkish interests.

Again, I'm not going to comment on the specifics here but General Flynn and his son have clearly been -- have had a lot of stories written about them in the press.

COOPER: The obvious question is whether the special counsel is trying to put pressure on General Flynn to cooperate by investigating his son. If that is a tactic, would you have any problem with that tactic?

WARNER: Listen, the special prosecutor has a different standard, they've got a criminality standard. He has different tools than we have and our committee -- our committee is to try to find out whether there was collusion and make clear to the American public how we prevent Russia or any other nation from intervening in our elections on a going-forward basis.

Obviously, Bob Mueller's got a different set of abilities and tools and I think he's been moving quite aggressively in his -- in his investigation.

[20:20:01] COOPER: Much like with Paul Manafort, I mean, there -- I guess there are two sort of areas of general questions for General Flynn, Trump campaign contacts with Russians, up to and including his own conversations with the Russian ambassador and what he told the FBI about those, as well as his own business dealings with foreign officials. What incentive would he have not to cooperate?

WARNER: Again, I don't want to comment on the specifics about what General Flynn, who he's talked to, who he's not talked to. But it's fairly unprecedented that you have a national security adviser have to get fired I think 24 days into the job for failing to disclose his contacts with Russians. But as we've seen now with Mr. Papadopoulos and the famous June meeting, there was a concerted effort by the Russians to reach out to officials affiliated with the Trump campaign to give them dirt or emails about Hillary Clinton things that would be helpful to Mr. Trump.

We've still got a lot of questions that remain unanswered and my hope is at the end of the day, whether it's the Mueller investigation or our committee's investigation, end of the day, the Americans deserve the truth.

COOPER: Can you clarify what if any contact your committee has had with General Flynn and/or his son, or you're essentially letting the special counsel run its course?

WARNER: Listen, we've had contacts with virtually all of the key individuals. We have a parallel path separate from special prosecutor Mueller, but it's been our policy not to kind of update where we stand with individual witnesses.

COOPER: Can -- do you have up a sense of -- or I'm wondering, what is your take on the speed with which Mueller is moving? What's your sense of the speed of this investigation from the special counsel?

WARNER: Well, I think special prosecutor Mueller is a consummate professional, that's why he was chosen. That's why I think he has broad bipartisan support. And I think he realizes, you know, that as long as this cloud hangs over the Trump administration, it is a challenge for everyone's ability to fully function.

So, I think he's doing this with all deliberate speed. I hope again that he will do this as fast as possible, but at the same way make sure that he's got all the facts. We've now had two indictments. We've had one guilty plea and I believe there'll be more to come.

COOPER: When the president continues to say that he is not under investigation, is that an accurate statement do you think for him to make?

WARNER: Again, I'm not going to comment on any of the particulars about the Mueller investigation. He, Mr. Mueller, has got his job to do. We've got our job from the committee standpoint to get out all the facts and to see if there was any cooperation or collaboration between either campaign and the Russians and we're still proceeding ahead on that task.

COOPER: Do you have a sense of the timeline for your -- for your committees work?

WARNER: Listen, I'd like to get this done as soon as we can finish all the interviews we need. We still haven't seen, for example, Donald Trump Jr. We still need to bring back Michael Cohen. I believe we need to bring back Mr. Kushner. We've still got one additional person in terms of the famous June meeting where the Russian lawyer came over and offered some information about Hillary Clinton. We want to talk to all of those individuals first before we talk to Mr. Trump Jr.

But suffice it to say, I want this to be done as quickly as possible. But at the same time, the most important thing is, we get the truth out and my hope is that we continue to do this in a bipartisan fashion.

COOPER: Senator Warner, appreciate your time. Thanks.

WARNER: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, when we come back, new CNN polling shows that President Trump's approval numbers down across almost every category, from keeping his campaign promises to telling the truth. We'll get into that next and talk with someone who almost ended up running against him, Senator Bernie Sanders, ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:27:50] COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. New CNN polling shows decline in President Trump's approval ratings, one year to the day after he won the 2016 presidential election.

Sixty-four percent of Americans now say their confidence in President Trump since he took officer has decreased. Only 40 percent of Americans say President Trump is doing a good job keeping his promises. That's down from 48 percent back in April.

The new poll also asked how other companies view President Trump. Only 24 percent of Americans think foreign leaders respect the president. A big drop from 36 percent in April.

And, finally, 68 percent of Americans do not trust most of what they hear from the White House.

These poll results back up what we saw last night as Democrats swept statewide and local elections around the country and what Democrats and some Republicans are calling a referendum on the president.

I spoke earlier about it with Vermont independent senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Senator, the election yesterday, obviously, a good day for Democrats. I wonder what lesions you take away from that and what lessons you think the party should take away from it?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, first of all, I think yesterday's elections were really a referendum on the disastrous Trump administration, on his temperament, on his reactionary policies. It was a referendum on Trump and Trump and the Republicans lost. The American people from coast to coast are frightened of this president, and they tired of seeing the billionaire class get their way. So, I think it was a good night for Democrats.

The other point that I would make, Anderson, is that what impress me is not just winning governors' races in New Jersey or in Virginia, but the kind of grassroots activism we saw all over this country.

Probably, the most interesting aspect of last night in Virginia was the fact that the Democrats may control the House of Delegates, winning I think some 17 or 18 seats. And those seats were won often by young people, people who had not -- ever never been involved in the political process and they got involved and in many cases, they won. And you're seeing that all over this country.

And to me, that is the most important thing the Democratic Party can now do. Open the doors, bring people in. And when they come in with the energy and the idealism that they have, you're going to see voter turnout go up, and you're going to see Democrats win across the board.

COOPER: That's something Van Jones talks about on our L.S. (ph) last night as well, but, you know, lot of people punch back that governor like Northam is central right candidate, someone who voted for George W. Bush twice. Is that the kind of candidate Democrats need to be filling in order to be competitive?

SANDERS: Well, obviously in that case, I personally supported a fellow name Tom Perriello --

COOPER: Right.

SANDERS: -- in the Democratic primary. And I thought Tom would have been a great candidate and great governor, but the people under Democratic primary thought otherwise. Our job now is to come together to defeat Republicans and to move this country in a very different way.

COOPER: You talked about this being a referendum on the President. In Virginia, white working class voters in rural areas again voted overwhelmingly for Republicans. Are Democrats doing enough to reach out to those voters? They were obviously in (INAUDIBLE) terms when?

SANDERS: I think we've got to move forward on all fronts. In other words, this is not black versus white versus Latino. The African- American community, Latino community have particular very legitimate needs that have to be addressed. But every working person in this country is concerned about the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico and to China. Every worker is concerned about how he or she is going to go forward. Healthcare, they are concerned about how that you are going to afford to send their kids to college, which is why in my view we need to make public colleges and universities tuition free.

So this is bringing people together around a progressive agenda that says that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. We don't to have 40 million people living in poverty. We don't have to see a continuation of middle class in decline. COOPER: You made it clear recently, you're not going to run as a Democratic in 2018, you will run once again as an independent, does it hurt the Democratic Party I mean, could it contribute someway to some of the disarray that we've been seeing, the fact the leader, the parties progressive lane isn't --

SANDERS: Anderson, let me be very honest and that's self-serving and say the answer to that is no. And that is we need real reforms in the Democratic Party. And one of the reforms should involve making primaries open, not just limited to register Democrats, in order to reach out to independence. Right now, Republican parties are at a very, very low level. Democrats are a bit higher than that in terms of public approval.

And the largest political grouping in America are now independence. People are not happy with Democrats, they're not happy with Republicans. To say the independence, we don't want you, you're the majority fraction in America, but we want to close the door to you, I think that's politically insane.

COOPER: I think I know the answer to this, but I got to ask to you, if you run for President in 2020, will you be -- will you run to be the Democratic nominee again, or will you pursue a third party of it.

SANDERS: No, I would want the same if I run. And I believe and I have not made any decision on this, not yet, but I would run within the Democratic Party process.

COOPER: The tax bill the Republicans are trying to get through Congress right now, President Trump called a meeting of moderate Democrats senators, told them amongst other things that he'd be a "big loser" if this legislation passed as is. I'm wondering, what do you say about that?

SANDER: Look, you know, it embarrasses me. I'm not happy to say this. He is the President of the United States, but he lies all of the time. This is just one more lie among many other absurd proposals, revisions in the tax proposal is the repeal of the state tax. That repeal would only benefit the top 2/10 of one percent of the American people. The very wealthiest people and the have families in this country, when Trump tells you that this proposal that he is fighting for would not benefit him and his family that is totally absurd and it's just not the truth.

COOPER: And just lastly, the reporting last week the agreement the DNC had with the Clinton campaigns, Senator Warren said it was proof to primary process was rigged Donna Brazile was the source of the story now says it wasn't rigged. Let me ask, was -- in your opinion, was it rigged?

SANDERS: Look, Donna Brazile showed an enormous amount of courage in describing the truth as she swore it when she came into the leadership of the DNC. I don't think there's any same human being who doesn't believe that my campaign was taking on the entire establishment including the DNC. But, Anderson, to be very honest with you, my job, our job is to go forward, is to do everything we can to defeat this white wing agenda of the Republican Party and the Trump administration, not to look backwards.

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

SANDERS: Thank you very much.

[20:34:54] COOPER: When we come back, Van Jones and the rest of panels weigh in on the drop in the President Trump's approval ratings, next

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More now on our breaking news, new CNN polling shows that President Trump's approval ratings fallen across the board in almost category, 64 percent of Americas say their confident in President Trump since he took office has decreased. Only 40 percent of Americans say President Trump is doing a good job, keeping his campaign promise, which is down from 48 percent in April.

Joining us is the CNN Political Director, David Chalian. Also two of our Political Commentators, Van Jones, a former Obama administration official, and Ed Martin author of the "Conservative Case for Trump" and the former Missouri GOP Chairman.

You know, Van, I mean, the Democratic candidate for -- there now governor-elect Northam, central Democratic candidate certainly not from the liberal wing of the party, is that -- is there a message in that for Democrats moving forward?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, I think had he won by two points. Then I think Democrats would say, listen, if you want to have a shot, you've got to moderate, because there's just too much Trump out there, we got to moderate. When you win by nine points, then progresses start thinking, maybe you could have run a time period, rather than winning by nine maybe you wins by two, but would you rather have a progressive. So I don't think this settles a debate.

[20:40:00] But what it does show though, is it's when the Democratic Party comes together, we can win. The big thing that happened, was a Tom Perriello, the progressive who was beaten in that primary went out and work as hard or maybe even harder than the nominee to make sure the Democrats come together. So whichever part of the party gets the nomination this party now knows they come together and win.

COOPER: And David, I mean, was this a Democratic win last night or President Trump loss. I mean, or I guess some combination thereof?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITIAL DIRECTOR: I'll go with option C, Anderson. I do think there was a combination. There were clearly was a Democratic win to advance this talking about. There just was a surge of Democratic voters who showed up at the polls. And it's very clear why they showed up in the polls, in response to President Trump. I mean, this is what it looks like when the so-called resistance goes to the ballot box. And there was a little bit of depression in the Republican percentage of the electorate. While Democrats were enhanced that creates an electorate a shape in electorate that's going to work for the Democrats. But to think as the White House might suggest that this has absolutely nothing to do with Donald Trump is to ignore what happened across the entire country last night. This is clearly was a response to the one year mark of Donald Trump.

COOPER: So, I mean, Ed, there were exit polling --

ED MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

COOPER: -- from Virginia indicated that the President was drag on the Republican ticket. Does the White House privately at least need to acknowledge that or do you think that's just not the case?

MARTIN: No. Well, I think two things. Number one is I think every single expert, not me but David and others who know political science will tell you that when you're in office, when you have power you do experience a sort of drag in general. That's kind of -- that happened to Obama, it happened to Bill Clinton, it happened to George W. Bush. So I think some of that sort of natural.

I think the difference here and I just would prevail especially with -- we lost Virginia, Virginia is not longer --we tried with all -- with Trump to get the base out and get the conservatives out. Puccinelli, you know, four years ago lost by 2.5, three points and now Gillespie losses by more. We've lost Virginia in terms of state wide races.

But I think that that the factor that I would say Anderson that we haven't seen and we will see in '18 is whether Trump base turns out. In Missouri, Trump won by 19. The polling showed he was going to win by four, he won by 19. Nobody's won Missouri by 19 before, it wasn't even close. That's where I'm Trump. So I just don't think we know, I think it's -- Virginia is always an outlier but it's a blue state now in New Jersey certainly. So I'm not too worried about it.

COOPER: So David -- I mean if you're a Republican and you're looking at who to run in future races, do you feel establishment candidates like Gillespie, do you go with full on pro-Trump candidates?

CHALIAN: Yes, Republicans of sort of really tough position, especially those that'll be running uncompetitive districts where here are a lot of suburban voters and a lot of these competitive districts or college educated. But in here's the top position, it's not unlike with some Democrats, Anderson, faced in 2010 with Barack Obama or what some Republicans faced back in 2006 with George W. Bush, when his popularity was at low. You need to sort of grab on and harness the President's energy that he has with the base because it's so strong. And yet you need not turn off the non-Trump Republicans or the independents that you're going to need in the coalition to actually get over the finish line. That is a constant battle that you -- that candidates are going to have to calculate back and forth and it's -- it really is sort of between in a rock and a hard place kind of position for these Republicans.

COOPER: Van, I mean you talk about perhaps they could've run, you know, the gang with a less center candidate given the margin of victory. But I mean, if you want to appeal to some people maybe who are disenchanted with President Trump, wouldn't a more center candidate on the Democratic side be sensible?

JONES: You've identified the big debate inside the Democratic Party that's going to play itself out in primary after primary for -- until the midterms. This is a challenge for us because some people think that it's the passion of Trump is the authenticity of Trump. So we need passionate and authentic people who feel that people's pain and who want to go that's more of the standard argument.

Other people will tell you, listen, Trump is scaring the (INAUDIBLE) out of people, and what the real itch here is was some who can calm things down and be a grown up. And so these things don't have to compete with each other but they will compete with each other as theories of change. The left-wing of the party wants more passion. The center of our party wants more a responsible approach and will to see.

But listen, if you got a wave out there like what we saw last night you can throw a (INAUDIBLE) up there and you're going to have a decent shot because you saw people coming out, you know, who sat out this last thing who were passionate and they're going to stay passionate. I think Donald Trump is stirring up a hornet's nest that he will see in 2018, almost the man who we put.

COOPER: And I know you want to disagree that. But I also want to ask you, Ed.

MARTIN: Yes.

COOPER: Do you think if Gillespie had embraced the President --

MARTIN: Yes.

COOPER: -- and not just Trumpism, but actually, you know, had the President campaign with him if that was an option or --

MARTIN: Yes.

COOPER: -- or really embraced him that he would have done better?

MARTIN: Yes 100 percent. I believe it completely. I think -- look, the energy as everyone point, the energy was on the other side. When you're out of power your fearful, you know, all of the colleague (ph) supports, the energy was what the Democrats saying, oh my gosh. By the way the ad with the pickup truck was an incredible ad. I think it was not very nice ad but it was incredible in terms of motivating with fear.

[20:45:08] And that has the fact people are afraid, there's a bunch of people who are afraid to worry about that. But, I think Ed Gillespie should have embraced the President. And what I would point out to Van and sort of the Republican side that the war we're going on, the fight in our party is are you going to stay with the Trump vision on trade and immigration or you're going to moderate to the old Gillespie position? I think that's going to play out for us.

Now, as Van points out, that gems up our populous edge. The question is whether it turns off others. We're going to see that play out.

But remember in 2018 there're so many gerrymandering districts. I don't see how Nancy Pelosi does the math to flip the House. I just don't see that map.

JONES: At least you admit it. At least you admit it that it's not because the ideas of the Democratic Party aren't popular. You admit just -- you just admit it --

MARTIN: No. No.

JONES: -- it's because of gerrymandering so that even when you got --

MARTIN: Oh no.

JONES: Let me just finish. You can tell me I'm wrong in a minute.

MARTIN: Yes.

JONES: But let me make point. We had more than a million more people in the United States voted for Democrats than Republicans for the congressional race last time. But because --

MARTIN: Right.

JONES: -- of the gerrymandering you guys still got it. So right now you've got one party minority rule of 3 million more Democrats voted for other President, 1 million more voted for Democrats to be in the House and you still have one party rule. That is a very shaking foundation for you guys.

MARTIN: Right. Right. But Van you got sons, you got kids. I have kids I coach the chess club. I wish I could tell the kids that they can win by playing by the rules of checkers but its chess. This is the system we setup under the constitution and then when it comes down to it you're going to win hand to hand, district to district. And right now Republicans are winning, more governor shift, more districts and more congressional district. I don't see that changing. I don't see close --

JONES: It just changed yesterday buddy.

COOPER: All right.

JONES: It just changed yesterday.

MARTIN: Well, not in the Congress.

COOPER: We'll leave it there. Thanks everybody. Coming up, why did the director of the CIA meet with a former NSA employee who circulated conspiracy theory about the DNC hack turns out the President wanted him to have that meeting. We'll hear from former CIA and NSA Director General Michael Hayden about that.

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[20:51:08] COOPER: The director of the CIA Mike Pompeo was sent to a meeting two weeks ago, a meeting that the President wanted him to have with a conspiracy theorist claiming the DNC hack may have been an inside job.

As you probably know by now the Intelligence Community has concluded it was Russian hackers who broke into the DNC system and leaked Democratic Party e-mails. The President has remained unconvinced. And now CNN has confirmed that he sent his CIA director to meet with this former NSA employee with an alternative theory.

Joining me now is General Michael Hayden former Director of the CIA and NSA.

So, General Hayden, is it appropriate for the CIA director to have this meeting?

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN (RETIRED), CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's appropriate for the CIA director to do what the President tells him. So I get that entirely. So I understand why at the end of the day Director Pompeo did this.

But, Anderson, I've got to believe that Mike Pompeo, this was the last thing that he wanted to do because it put him in such a compromising position with his own workforce. I mean, I think the real actor in this isn't Director Pompeo, its President Trump, who directed him to go do this and the act of meeting gave some thruway to this conspiracy theory that it really, really didn't deserve.

And I know in my heart that Director Pompeo knew that his workforce would not look upon this in any happy way.

COOPER: I mean, a meeting like that -- when the President tells you to, if you are the director of the CIA, that's something you have to do.

HAYDEN: Yes. No, exactly. But, again, let me return to the prime actor here. This was done for political purposes by the President. I think he was trying to create some sort of political top cover.

And, frankly, Anderson, the real story here is the President was indifferent with regard to what this would mean for Director Pompeo's relationship with the workforce, just gave him an additional challenge that he did not need. And frankly, the overall health of the American intelligence community being used in this -- frankly, very political way.

COOPER: Do you think it really has a filter down effect into the morale of intelligence officers, analysts? HAYDEN: Look, these guys believe that their job in life is to tell the truth as they know it to be. This was a wackadoodle conspiracy theory over here. That even the barrier of the theory had members of his own group challenging.

And by the way, Anderson, it made full disclosure here. Mr. Binney has accused me of some conspiracy theories as well, so your viewers need to understand that. But even parts of Mr. Binney's own group didn't think this merited this kind of attention. And yet the President pushes this in the direction of CIA.

And, Anderson, you know, the President hasn't been launching the star fleet out there to get to the bottom of this Russian thing. This was a one-off, and the workforce is going to view it as a one-off, for again, for his own political top cover.

COOPER: Just to argue the counterpoint, I mean, is there a -- couldn't you make the argument that, you know, if there is an alternative theory out there, members of the intelligence community should entertain it?

HAYDEN: Yes. But the fact is, Anderson, they knew the alternative theory. Mr. Binney had published a paper that described one very thin thread of evidence that he said he could use then to prove that it wasn't an outside job but an inside job for the DNC hack. It wasn't that he had new stuff. It wasn't that Director Pompeo had to talk to him to learn the facts of the case.

And I'd offer you one additional view, Anderson, I think if Director Pompeo had the freedom of action, even if we were going to engage with Mr. Binney, it would not have been done at his level. But, again, as you suggest, this was directed by the President.

COOPER: Whether it's this or urging the DOJ to investigate Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, do you think the President understands or necessarily cares about maintaining the impartiality, the independence of an agency like the CIA or, you know, the FBI?

[20:55:08] HAYDEN: You know, the CIA, the bureau, the American Intelligence Community lives or dies based upon its impartiality. And just very quickly, Anderson, when you accuse your predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower, you're saying that the American Intelligence Community allowed itself to be used for political purposes by a political actor in the United States. Well, that's untrue. But President Trump appeared to be indifferent to the collateral damage to the Intelligence Community that that unfounded charge would create.

COOPER: And just lastly, I wonder what you make of the new reporting by CNN that the Russia investigation has progressed to the point that General Flynn is now worried about the legal fate of his son.

HAYDEN: Yes, I saw your earlier piece here tonight. Look, I know Mike Flynn, and we don't agree on a whole bunch of things. But Mike Flynn is an American hero. He did wondrous things in the pursuit of Al Qaeda, with Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I, I just look upon this as a great sadness. And I hope Mike and his family can get beyond this as quickly as possible.

COOPER: General Hayden, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, new reporting tonight in the Russia investigation we just talked about involving former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, both of them and with his son, both of them are in scrutiny by the Special Council Robert Mueller. Jim Sciutto joins us with what General Hayden was referring to with the latest after a quick break.

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