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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Speaks at Pensacola Rally; Friend Corroborates Leigh Corfman's Allegations Against Roy Moore; NY Times: FBI Warned Pres. Trump Adviser Hope Hicks; Six Major Wildfires Burning In Southern California; Horses Killed As Owners Race to Save Hundreds from Fires. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired December 8, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:06] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. President Trump is expected to take the stage any moment now at the Bay Center in Pensacola, Florida. The event is billed as a "Make America Great" rally. However, in everything but name, it's expected to be a make Roy Moore senator rally.
Roy Moore, of course, has been accused by several women of sexual abuse and assault, allegations he denies it. The rally is taking place on the border with Alabama in a TV market shared with Mobile. Hundreds of thousands of Alabamians could see this live or on their local news tonight.
And if there were any doubt at all about why this is happening, just four days before the special election in Alabama, before leaving Washington, the president posted a long tweet that ends with, vote Roy Moore. And for the president, tonight began with silence on Moore when the sex abuse and sex assault allegations hit. Silence in part because according to CNN reporting, there was concern by endorsing Moore, the sexual assault claims against the president would resurface.
But that caution was abandoned pretty quickly because the president began defending Moore's denials. Soon after that, Mr. Trump reportedly expressing doubt to confidantes about the veracity of the accusers against Moore.
In the midst of all this, the president's daughter, by the way, said there was a quote special place in hell for people who prey on children. That clearly didn't stop the president from landing where he did today, full-throated acceptance. Vote Roy Moore, he tweeted.
Tonight, the rally. Also ahead, an interview you'll see here, a new voice coming toward confirming one of the central accusers account against Roy Moore.
And later, new reporting tonight that the FBI warned close Trump campaign adviser Hope Hicks about emails from Russian operatives.
We begin tonight with Kaitlan Collins with the president in Pensacola. What can we expect from tonight's speech?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Anderson, these rallies are often where the president is his most authentic self, and as you know, he rarely sticks to the script and often ignores whatever his aides have put in a teleprompter. And we're certainly expecting a lot of that tonight.
Now, the White House has maintained time and time again that the president will not come to Alabama to campaign for Senate candidate Roy Moore. But he is getting about as close as you can get. We are a hop skip and jump away from the Alabama state line, and if the president shout four-door that stage tonight, you could probably hear it in Mobile.
Now, the White House has also maintained the president finds these allegations made against Moore extremely troubling. And they repeated that same argument tonight as they flew here to Pensacola on Air Force One.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY SECRETARY: As he has said and as the White House has said, we find these allegations to be troubling and concerning, and they should be taken seriously. Roy Moore has also maintained that these allegations aren't true. And that should also be taken into account.
Ultimately, his endorsement is about the issues and how he has articulated -- he doesn't want to see Alabama elect a -- you know, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer puppet who's going to be wrong on the issues and not support the agenda.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, Anderson, we know privately sources say the president actually doubts the women who accused Roy Moore of sexual assault. And he's publicly asked why they waited so long to come forward with these accusations.
We also know that the president has compared this situation to his own last year during the presidential election when he himself was accused of sexual assault. Now, Roy Moore will not be in this room tonight. But I've already spoken with a number of people here tonight who are Alabama residents. They are voting in the election on Tuesday. And we know that the Moore campaign, Anderson, is actively encouraging their supporters to attend this rally in Pensacola tonight.
COOPER: And, Kaitlan, one of Roy Moore's accusers spoke out today. What did she say?
COLLINS: Beverly Nelson is a woman who says when she was 16 years old that Roy Moore tried to grope her and squeezed her neck. And today during a press conference, she was talking about that yearbook. Roy Moore signed her yearbook she says.
And that's something that a lot of her critics and his supporters have said is a forgery. Now, her attorney Gloria Allred says a handwriting expert has determined that the signature is Roy Moore's but what really people seized upon today was Beverly Nelson saying that she did add the date and the location underneath that inscription.
She maintained that Roy Moore signed her yearbook. She maintains that the allegations she's made against him are true, but that his campaign and his supporters have seized upon that and saying that it's a forgery and that she admitted she was lying, which she did not, Anderson.
But we have certainly seen that come out of that. And she says although she voted for Donald Trump, she believes that the president is now putting party over these allegations, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much.
Joining us now is CNN political analysts David Bergen, Gloria Borger, also Bill Britt, editor in chief of "The Alabama Political Reporter".
David Bergen, President Trump, I mean, really going in obviously now for Roy Moore. Do you believe his presence is going to have an impact on this race?
[20:05:03] DAVID BERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it might. I think they went in with the expectation that if they could rally people in Pensacola -- this is Trump country that he is in. He'll have a very excited positive crowd there with him tonight. That will rub off in a sense that they have momentum.
So, I think he is making a political calculation. His team is making a political calculation. But you know, whether it's enough to pull the victory out, I don't know. But it is clearly -- I think he is taking a great risk to the party itself with the Democrats like Al Franken going down and then going and endorsing Roy Moore in the midst of all of these accusations by a lot of women, that he is a pedophile and was a predator, and throwing his support to him, you know, only sharpens difference between the parties.
COOPER: Bill, I mean, you know Alabama politics very well. It's where you work and focus on. What kind of an impact do you think the president is going to have tonight?
BILL BRITT, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, the president is very popular here in Alabama. And Pensacola might as well be South Alabama for all intents and purposes. He is very popular when he came here for Luther Strange, it moved the needle a little bit, but not enough.
This will help Roy Moore because it gives those people that are on the fence a reason to vote for Moore.
COOPER: Gloria, I mean if this be -- might as well be Alabama as Bill was just saying, why not just go to Alabama? I mean, I know when they announced this trip, President Trump hadn't fully endorsed Moore but he has now.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He has now. Look, on November 27th, the White House said the president was too busy, that he wasn't going to go to Alabama, and now, of course, they have change their minds. So, they're being kind of cute and you know they're in Pensacola, which is as you guys has pointed out is exactly the same thing.
I think the president now thinks that Roy Moore has a really good shot at winning. And he thinks that the seat is worth more than just about anything, including the Republican Party and the question of how the Republican Party survives generally having embraced -- having a president who embraces Roy Moore given the sexual questions that are confronting him.
And so, I think Trump decided himself to go -- to go all in on this even though it's right across the border.
COOPER; You know, Bill, when you and I spoke last time on the show, you were saying you heard from some Republicans in Alabama who were going to sit it out, who didn't support Roy Moore, they weren't going to vote for a Democrat, they were going to sit on the sidelines, not go out to vote. I'm wondering, do you think the president being all in, in the way that he is, that that will influence any of those Republicans who might have previously decided to sit this one out?
BRITT: I think it does. You know, Roy Moore has always been a polarizing figure in Alabama. I mean, he is not what we would call mainstream Republican here, although he has been a Republican most of his career.
Donald Trump, again, I have to reiterate, he is very popular. There are Republicans we have spoken and some in leadership throughout the state that say, look, I don't want to vote for Moore. They're not voting for a Democrat.
So, this gives them a reason to get up and go out on December 12th and vote because they're saying, the president is behind him, I'm behind the president.
BORGER: Yes, this is about turnout, you know? This is -- usually these kinds of elections don't get a lot of people motivated to go out and vote. That's one thing I think Donald Trump can do. But I got to tell you, there was a Fox News poll in mid-November which had Donald Trump's favorable and unfavorable almost split in the state which kind of surprised me.
COOPER: David, I mean, it's not just Donald Trump who is all in with Roy Moore. The RNC basically reversed themselves. They have stopped funding. Then when once the president came out with the endorsement, they started sending money in back to Roy Moore.
GERGEN: Well, that's absolutely right. What it underscores is the Republican Party is increasingly becoming the Trump party. And it's leaving a lot of Republicans uncomfortable, especially those from other kinds of states outside the South. But I think that Gloria was absolutely right. He thinks getting the seat is worth it.
What I do think is too cute by half is this notion well I'm not going to Alabama but yet right to the border. And, you know, I support Roy Moore, but I really think that we must take the accusations very seriously. You know, I think his supporters don't mind that kind of trickery, you know, but drives people like us crazy, because we see what is obviously, you know, you're obviously going to Alabama country to make the speech, come on, get over it. You know, you're obviously endorsing this guy even though you say -- you find it troublesome.
[20:10:05] COOPER: Gloria -- go ahead.
BORGER: If he is in Alabama he has to have a picture with Roy Moore, because you can't go to the guy's state without the picture. The picture is going to be worth a lot of money to the Democrats. So, what he is doing is he's going to Florida, because he said he wasn't going to Alabama. He doesn't have to be with Roy Moore on stage, but the message is the same. And it gets across.
COOPER: And, Bill, I mean, what about Doug Jones? What about kind of the level of support you see? I mean, obviously, Alabama should go to a Republican in the Senate race. The fact that it's close is very telling. But what do you make of Doug Jones' chances?
BRITT: Well, again, I've spoken to a lot of people, Democrats, Republicans, independents, people on the ground here in Alabama. And while Doug Jones did something heroic 30 some years ago, he has not been a leading political figure in Alabama at any point in recent memory. And so, sadly, I had to say today this was the Democrat that was willing to lose to Luther Strange and then that didn't happen. We know what happened there.
Doug Jones is a nice guy. He is a good liberal Democrat. And liberal Democrats just don't win in Alabama. But he has a real shot here.
COOPER: David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Bill Britt, appreciate it.
We're keeping our eye on the rally, but are going to get a quick break in.
Also when we come back, Gary Tuchman's exclusive. For the first time, an old friend of Leigh Corfman comes forward on camera to tell a story that Ms. Corfman told her when they were both 14-years-old about what Leigh Corfman says happened with Roy Moore.
Later, another report detailing Russian efforts it seems to reach out to the Trump campaign. The target this time: Trump confidante Hope Hicks. We'll tell you how seriously the FBI took it at the time.
[20:15:30] COOPER: President now on stage in Pensacola Florida. We'll be listening in bring you the highlights as they come in.
In the meantime, a new angle on the Roy Moore allegations. First, we should say there are no simple generalizations to be made about survivors of sexual abuse. Each person experiences and processes it in her or in is own way. However, safe to say, anything they've gone through is only compounded
when their account of what after all was their nightmare is questioned -- in the case of Roy Moore's accusers loudly, publicly and repeatedly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN DUPRE, FORMER MOORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Let's look at Leigh Corfman. She's made some serious allegations against Judge Moore to "The Washington Post" and yesterday in a very softball interview on "The Today Show". We reject them as false. And we maintain that Judge Moore did not know Leigh Corfman, nor has he ever known Leigh Corfman.
But what we find interesting is that her story has been told in only the vaguest of terms without deeper investigation by the media. If the liberal media were half as interested in investigating these accusations against Judge Moore as they are in scaring up 1980s era false gossip at the Gadsden Mall, and we would be getting to the bottom of this and moving on. We urge the press to do its job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, now, under the heading of the press doing its job, we have this story tonight. Our Gary Tuchman has located a woman, an old friend of Corfman's, who says she can corroborate her story and is speaking out on camera for the first time tonight.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Betsy Rothberg (ph) Davis lives in California but grew up in Gadsden, Alabama, the hometown of Judge Roy Moore.
BETSY DAVIS, FRIEND OF LEIGH CORFMAN: This is me, and almost below me is Leigh right here.
TUCHMAN: Leigh Corfman, who says Roy Moore sexually abused alleged her when she was 14 years old girl. Roy Moore denies.
Betsy Davis is one of the two friends Corfman has said she told at the time.
DAVIS: Leigh and I grew up together. I have known her since we were babies.
TUCHMAN (on camera): She confided to you about something when she was 14 years old and you were 14 years old.
TUCHMAN: What did she tell you?
DAVIS: She told me she snuck out of her house and went on a date with Roy Moore and he had sexually assaulted her.
TUCHMAN: After she told you this, what was your understanding of who Roy Moore was in the community? What did you think he was?
DAVIS: He was like -- he was a big lawyer. He was a powerful guy. He was supposed to put criminals in jail.
TUCHMAN: And did she tell you, Leigh, how old he was?
DAVIS: I knew he was a lot older. I mean, I don't know that she said that he was 32, but I knew he was like more than twice her age.
TUCHMAN: What did she tell you that he did to her?
DAVIS: I remember her saying that he made a pallet on the floor, maybe with blankets, something like that, and I remember her saying that he came out of his room in nothing but tighty whities, which is what we used to call jockey underwear.
TUCHMAN: And what happened then.
DAVIS: They started to fool around. And he guided her to -- it's like he, you know, he was trying to teach her what to do. And she didn't want any part of it. And she told him so.
TUCHMAN: Is it your memory that when she told you about it, she was scared or didn't understand what was going on?
DAVIS: I wouldn't use scared. But definitely creeped out.
TUCHMAN: So when she told you this, what did you say to her?
DAVIS: I said you cannot see him again. This is not good. He's too old for you. You are too young for him. You got your life ahead of you. You know, you got to go to college and, you got to, you know, live your life.
TUCHMAN: Were you mature enough at 14 to realize how debilitating psychologically, mentally this could be for a 14 year old child to be with a man who's over 30 years old?
DAVIS: I don't think I understood that. But what my mother had already said to me and drilled it into my head was, you know, in terms of sex, men take what they want and it's always the women's fault. And I knew if she went down this path, she was going to be blamed and she was the one that was going to be left. And it wasn't going to affect him at all.
So, I told her she was my friend, get out. This is no good.
TUCHMAN: He was asking her to go out again?
DAVIS: That's my understanding, yes.
TUCHMAN: And she was asking you for advice how she should handle it?
DAVIS: Yes. I was like, just no, absolutely not.
TUCHMAN: After she told you about this, what happened on the floor, on this mattress, or whatever it was, did you discuss at all telling any adults, your parents about what happened?
[20:20:08] DAVIS: I'm not sure that we discussed it. But I know that we knew that we weren't going to tell anybody.
TUCHMAN: Why is that?
DAVIS: We felt like we were equipped to handle it. We had decided that it wasn't a good idea, nobody wanted to get in trouble, and we didn't know if anybody would believe us.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Betsy Davis and her husband Charlie live in Los Angeles and are the parents of two boys. He says he's known about this for a long time.
(on camera): When did your wife first tell you about this?
CHARLIE DAVIS, BETSY DAVIS' HUSBAND: Well, shortly after I met my wife. I met Leigh Corfman on our visit to Gadsden, and from that time on, I knew that she had an incident. But I didn't know who Roy Moore was at the beginning, but that all came out overtime.
TUCHMAN: And how many years ago was that when you first found out?
DAVIS: Nineteen years.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Betsy Davis says she is a Democrat but --
DAVIS: I'm not here to tear Roy Moore down. I'm here to hold my friend up.
TUCHMAN: And regarding unproven allegations that women speaking out are doing it for money?
(on camera): Has anyone paid you to talk to us? Any Democrats?
DAVIS: God, no.
TUCHMAN: Any members of the news media?
TUCHMAN: Any establishment Republicans?
DAVIS: No. And I ran, I cannot tell you how many phone calls I've declined, how many messages I haven't returned.
TUCHMAN: So, why are you talking to us now?
DAVIS: Because at the end of the day, I need to set an example for my kids. And one of those examples is to stand up for the truth and to stand up for my friend.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us now. Betsy Davis says she's known about this for almost four decades. Has
she ever considered speaking publicly about what she said she knew prior to this "Washington Post" article?
TUCHMAN: Well, Anderson, what Betsy Davis tells me is that as Roy Moore has gotten more publicly prominent, she has felt this ethical obligation to speak out. But Leigh Corfman wasn't ready and she realized by her speaking out with an anonymous victim wouldn't do any good. However, this year, when Roy Moore announced he was running for the U.S. Senate seat, she said, I have to do it, I have to speak out. The time has come.
She talked to a close family friend who said you should not do it. This is not your story.
And, then though, when Leigh Corfman spoke out, she realized it was time for her to speak out, too -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman, thanks very much.
Back now with Bill Britt.
Bill, at this point in Alabama, I mean, you know, look, this election is on Tuesday. Do you think people's minds are made up no matter who -- you know, at this point this woman, an old friend of Leigh Corfman is coming forward, no matter who comes forward?
BRITT: Well, I think at this point you're probably right. Minds are fairly set. I mean, one more corroboration, you know I think it helps those who are sitting on the fence. It may help them make a decision.
But I think at this point, the die is cast. We'll know sometime around probably 9:00 your time what's going to happen to the state of Alabama and to Roy Moore and Doug Jones.
COOPER: You know, polls obviously show it's close. But as we know in polls and sometimes where there is controversial candidates, people don't want to say if they are voting for that person. Do you think -- do you think -- do you think it's as close as it looks? Or do you think Roy Moore is -- has good lead?
BRITT: I've talked to some folks a lot smarter than me. And they say it's within the margin of error the way they see it.
However, we have also talked to people who have traveled the state. Our reporters -- we got eight reporters on the ground. They have been going to Republican meetings across the state. And they say that when you go to a Republican meeting, they're voting for Moore.
And the question is much like what Gloria said, who gets up December 12th, right before the holidays and goes to vote? Roy Moore supporters are going to go vote. Now, he's got a die hard 30, 35 percent. They will get up hell or high water and go to the ballot and cast their vote for Roy Moore.
So, it's just too close to call gauging by polls. I mean, you know what we saw with President Trump when he was running. I wouldn't predict right now if I had to. If you held a gun to my head, I'd say Moore's sweet spot (ph).
COOPER: It's interesting point you make about the enthusiasm, who has more enthusiasm on their side? And I guess the question is as you say, Roy Moore supporters are enthusiastic and die hard in believes for him, about 35 percent or so, and they're going out to vote.
The question is, is there enthusiasm on the other side, A, for Doug Jones or enough enthusiasm against Roy Moore?
BRITT: I don't think there is that great enthusiasm for Doug Jones. I mean, I like Doug. But just like me, he is another aging white guy that, you know, somebody wants to go to Washington. And so, there is little enthusiasm.
You know, we've got some powerful young, young progressives down here who if they were in this seat right now, they'd probably kill him because there is enthusiasm.
[20:25:05] You look at what happened in Birmingham with the new mayor there. Look at Selma and the mayor that's just turning that city around.
I mean, we have some great leaders coming out of the South. They just didn't get the shot because they didn't want to take it against probably losing. No one knew this was coming.
COOPER: Yes. Bill Britt, appreciate it again. Thanks very much.
More now from our own political panel. Jack Kingston, Brian Fallon, and Tara Setmayer.
Tara, I mean, the fact that one of Roy Moore's accusers admitted to altering the yearbook entry in which she said he signed, adding the date and location of when and where he signed it, I'm wondering how damaging do you think is that to her credibility if you think it is?
TARA SETMAYER, ABC NEWS POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it just gives fuel for the Roy Moore supporters and those that scream fake news. It's part of the echo chamber of people down there. I don't think it's going to change those who were already suspicious of Roy Moore. I just think it emboldens those who were behind him.
It doesn't change the content of the message or the fact that he actually did write in her yearbook, he signed it, love Roy. I just wish she would have disclosed at the time that she had added the date and the location. I don't think that's an -- an unreasonable annotation to add to a year book signing like that so you have it contemporaneously at the time or whenever she did it so she could remember.
But unfortunately, given the big deal that was made and the very emotional press conference that she had when describing it, I think it -- you know, it just -- it would have been better if they would have admitted it at the time. But I don't think it's going to change the needled either way. It's just giving fodder to the side that's already in Roy Moore's corner unfortunately.
COOPER: Yes. Brian, I mean, to Tara's point, if she is telling the truth, it's kind of a huge oversight for her, but especially for her attorney Gloria Allred not to have raised that initially and just said this other stuff was added in, because any time you make a statement and then you have to come back a second time and kind of alter the original statement you made, it just doesn't help your credibility.
BRIAN FALLON, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY CLINTON'S 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Agreed. That's the unfortunate reality. I agree with everything Tara said.
It doesn't discredit her account in my eyes, but it will certainly used as fuel for Roy Moore's supporters who operate in complete bad faith.
And I'll tell you, another thing that Roy Moore supporters and Donald Trump supporters will probably say should Moore prevails in the election next Tuesday, they'll say that, well, this issue was aired, it was litigated in the course of the campaign. The voters in Alabama have spoken and now, he is going to take his rightful seat in the Senate.
And I'll make a prediction, I don't think that's the case. Even if he should win on Tuesday -- I don't know exactly how close it is down there in Alabama. But should he win, I think he'll come to Washington and he will be a walking talking PR disaster for the Republican Party. He will be stopped in the halls of the Senate day after day. He will be a walking controversy every day.
These Republican senators that have taken positions in the course of the campaign saying he doesn't belong in the Senate and that there should be a an ethics committee process if he gets here will be held to their word. And I think that -- and he is a nut job. Even before these allegations came to light, .he said that people like Keith Ellison shouldn't be in Congress because we shouldn't have Muslim- Americans in Congress. This week, he said that the United States was at its best during the slavery period.
So, he's going to campaign be continuing to add fuel to the fire. I think it's going to be a nightmare for the Republican Party. He should be held to account and Tuesday should not be the final word on Roy Moore as a senator, even if he should prevail.
COOPER: Jack, I know you campaigned for his opponent -- his opponent Luther Strange who did not win. Roy Moore did win in the primary. Do you think it's going to have ramifications for the Republican Party assuming he wins?
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it will. I think Brian is right. There is going to be kind of a double gift. He is a gift to the Democrats as a candidate because he is certainly a flawed candidate. But I think he would a gift if he got elected.
And then I'm just speaking politically here.
KINGSTON: But, you know, if I was the Democrat Party, I would say, oh do you think he has a right to agree to the head of state? Does he have a right to vote on this bill that affects women's rights or children's rights? So, the Democrats are not going to let this go. I don't think Republicans would either if the shoe was on the other foot.
I do want to say something, though, I spoke to people from Alabama today and they agreed with what Bill Britt just said, is that in their opinions, the polls aren't necessarily telling the story. The polls are showing a really strong win for Roy Moore at this time. But I think there are a lot of discerning people having second thoughts about it.
The one of the factors out there is that Mr. Jones is on the TV non- stop, and although the Republican Party has lately put in money. It was a total of $170,000. I think Jones is outspending him three or four to one. In fact, one of my friends say it looks like Ohio or Florida in a presidential election, a swing state with all the ads that Jones is able to run.
So, I don't know. You know if the rural voters get out, it's helping Moore. But we're not certain what that intensity is.
COOPER: Right. We're going to take a quick break. Brian Fallon mentioned some of the things that Roy Moore had said that has cause controversy. We'll talk more about that ahead.
Also tonight the latest reporting the "New York Times" on the warning the FBI gave White House adviser Hope Hicks earlier this year about Russian operatives.
[20:31:44] COOPER: The president talking tonight in Pensacola right by the Alabama border pointing to the improvement in economy, good numbers on jobs today, certainly also rallying as the media, the Washington swamp so far nothing get about Roy Moore. Were just four days from the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, the presidents endorse the Republican contender.
This morning as we mentioned he tweeted vote Roy Moore, as a reminder even before his sexual assault allegations came out against Mr. Moore, he probably held a number of controversial positions. In March 2005 in -- to the interview, Moore said homosexual conduct should be illegal and equated it to bestiality. Just this past February, he suggested 9/11 might have happened because the U.S. had distanced itself from God saying, you know we suffered a lot in this country, maybe just maybe because we distanced ourselves from the one that has it within his hands to heal this land.
Back in September 2016, whether President Obama was born in the United States, he said this -- my personal belief is that he wasn't. And that's probably over and done in a few days unless get something else to come along. In December 2006, Moore argued that the first Muslim elected to Congress, Keith Ellison shouldn't allowed to be sworn into the office using the Koran. Moore wrote, "In 1943, we would never have allowed a member of Congress to take their oath on "Mein Kampf", or someone in the 1950s to swear allegiance to Communist Manifesto. Congress says the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the Congressional oath today."
This past August 14th he told a reporter, "There are communities under sharia law right now in our country." Also this august he told reporter that President Reagan's description of Soviet Union is the "focus of evil in the modern world could be applied to America today, because quote, we promote a lot of bad of things like same sex marriage."
Finally on September 17 in response to a question by African-American at a rally Moore said he thought the last time he thought America was great was, "At a time when families were united, even though we had slavery they care for one another." Moore added, "Our families were strong, our country had a direction."
[20:35:02] Back now with the panel.
You know, Jack, it is interesting given all that Moore has said, and, again, you were campaigning for Luther Strange, so you're not out in front for Roy Moore, but given all that he said it doesn't seem stayed -- he has sort of stayed away, other than that comment on slavery, he stayed away from repeating any of those statements, it seems like in recent months. And every time -- you know, when we had a spokeswoman on just the other day, she either wasn't willing to or was unable to say whether he stood -- or still stood by those statements.
KINGSTON: You know, it was interesting, I saw your interview with her, and I was wondering does she not know or is she staying on message by not saying anything at all. And one of the things that strikes me on these statements is I think most politicians would love to catch their opponents saying outrageous things and just pound them over and over again. I don't think Jones has done that. I think Jones should have been develop in this thing and say, look you have this guy has pedophile issues, but beyond that let me talk to you about other things. And I don't think Jones developed that the way that he could. And instead I think what has happened is Moore stuck with this is about Supreme Court judges. This is about pro life versus pro choice. This is about pro gun versus anti-gun. And I think that unfortunately that's the home turf for Alabama voters. And Jones did not pull them into this area, which I think he should have done and been working on to the months ago.
COOPER: You know, Brian does Roy Moore does win this Tuesday, is paradox the a victory for Democrats, I mean or something that helps Democrats, something if they hang their hat on, because one could see how this could be political fodder for them, at least through the midterm, if not the next presidential election at some point there's going to be a photograph of President Trump, you know, if Roy Moore becomes a senator, there's going to be a photograph of them together?
BRIAN FALLON, FMR SPOKESMAN, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Well, I think I speak for more Democrats when I said much rather win the election next Tuesday and have another Democratic senator in Mr. Jones then try to score a longer term victory by allowing Roy Moore to ascend to a U.S. senate seat. But if he does win, should he win and should he get to Washington, I think that the Democrats will be on strong footing in arguing that this is the mainstreaming of Trump's wing of the Republican Party taking over the GOP.
This is not your father's Republican Party anymore. And a lot of the statements and most controversial things that have come out of Roy Moore are really a lot of Trump position just taken to a logical extreme. When Donald Trump goes out and campaigns on a Muslim ban, preventing Muslims from entering the country and trying to stove that Islamaphobia in the United States, when Roy Moore comes out he's just even more on a bashed and he says he doesn't think that they should be allowed to serve in the United States Congress. So it will be quite easy for Democrats to campaign and even Republican leaning districts in Orange Country, California, in the outer ring suburbs outside Philadelphia, in suburban New Jersey where a lot of this Republicans are in moderate districts and say that, are you going to vote Republican back into Congress so they can carry out the Trump, Roy Moore agenda. That will be a very credible line of attack, and ring true I think even to moderate and Republican leaning voters.
COOPER: Tara, are you surprised the extent to which the president has gone all in on Roy Moore? Because, you know, he was overseas when she's allegations first surfaced, you know, said, look, his people said he was focused on his trip overseas, wasn't, you know, read in on all the stuff that was going on. But once he came back and, you know, some time went by, he clearly became more focused on it and ultimately is all in on more.
SETMAYER: I think they were waiting to see whether Roy Moore pushed back, whether he had a credible defense, which most people outside of Alabama and the White House felt as though he has not. But we have to step back and take a look at this. Am I surprised that Trump ended up endorsing him? No. Because if Donald Trump criticized Roy Moore for what he's accused of, and for how he's handling it, then that would inherently be hypocritical on his point given the accusations against him.
So there would be task (ph) a concession in a way. So there's now way that Donald Trump was going to condemned Roy Moore in any way, because it could be turned around on him.
And let's just think about that, right now we have someone who is a lying lunatic, accused -- credibly accused child predator with the endorsement of the president of the United States and the Republican National Committee. This is a sad day for not only America but fort Republican Party. And no matter what happens on Tuesday, whether Roy Moore wins or not, the stain of this will be on the Republicans, you know, cloth for a long time. And it's not a win for any one.
[20:40:04] And the Republican Party needs to seriously take a look at itself and determine what kind of party we want to be, because I can already see the ads going on in 2018, every Democrat in associate Republicans with the Roy Moore -- with Roy Moore and what we're going to say, what moral high ground do we have. (OFF-MIC)
KINGSTON: But one thing remember, Tara, that will also happened is we'll resurrect all of the crazy thing, lot of your candidates have said. And so --
SETMAYER: I'm a Republican.
FALLON: She's a Republican.
SETMAYER: I'm Republican Jack, what are you talking about?
KINGSTON: I'm sorry, well --
SETMAYER: Yes, you forgot because conservatives and Republicans have lost their freaking minds and don't remember what it means to be Republican and compromise them selves.
KINGSTON: But I'm just saying both parties have their extreme candidates. I would not just say that the lying lunatic's friends belongs to anybody. And I don't believe that that's the case.
SETMAYER: Well right now, those Democrats don't have a child predator on their list. They got -- at least they have taken the high ground and gotten rid of some of their accusers.
KINGSTON: Only because they had to. Tara.
SETMAYER: But at least they did it.
COOPER: All right.
SETMAYER: Better late than never. Right now Republicans like never.
KINGSTON: Conyers was an icon a week ago. Remember that.
SETMAYER: And he resigned.
KINGSTON: Nancy Pelosi --
COOPER: Tara Setmayer, Jack Kingston, Brian Fallon, thanks very much.
When we come back, the breaking news from the "New York Times" about one of president Trump top adviser Hope Hicks what warning the FBI gave her about Russian operations trying to contact her, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We're getting word tonight that the FBI warned President Trump's Communication Director Hope Hicks about Russian operatives who try to make contact with her during the presidential transition. Now these are reporting from the "New York Times". CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joins us more now with more.
So what was the FBI warning?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, this was earlier this year, and senior FBI officials they cautioned Hope Hicks about several introductory e-mails she received after the election from Russian government e-mail addresses. Now FBI agents they met with Hope Hicks twice inside the situation room at the White House and they told her that these e-mails, they weren't what they seemed and that they may have been part of a Russian intelligence operation. All of that is according to the "New York Times".
Now this was a very specific warning. And it shows that law enforcement was really alarmed that the Russians were still trying to establish contacts with the Trump team even after the election.
[20:45:06] And Anderson, we know Hope Hicks she disclosed her meetings with the FBI, the White House Don McGahn and met. And we also know that Hicks met with special counsel's Robert Mueller's team today and yesterday as part of their Russian probe.
COOPER: What more you learn about the case against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates?
SCHNEIDER: Well, prosecutors now disclosing of their findings here. They have 400,000 documents in this case against Manafort, against Gates. They include financial records, e-mails, and they've labeled 2,000 of those documents as, "hot", meaning that they may be particularly relevant. So the government also has disclosed it has 36 electronic devices, those received from Paul Manafort's home.
And investigators in this case have also issued in total 15 search warrants. And Anderson, this part is interesting, in the court filings today, the government referenced that Manafort and Gates, they have also given deposition testimony in another matter. But prosecutors, they aren't saying exactly what that means, but this case is moving full steam ahead. The next status hearing for Manafort and Gates, Anderson, it's Monday.
COOPER: Jessica Schneider, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Joining me now, CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, who is Robert Mueller's special assistant at the Justice Department, with us again is CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
So, Michael, the fact that, according to this reporting by the "New York Times", the FBI briefed Hope Hicks about these efforts by Russians operative to contact her, what does that tell you?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it means that the Russians were, as our intelligence agencies have reported for months, actively engaged with the Trump campaign, or endeavoring to engage with the Trump campaign in order to sway the outcome of the election. And also to, once they were elected, to set, help set policy, and we see that in the Flynn outreach around sanctions, and the settlements in Israel.
And so it just proves, in part, that there was this outreach. I think our reporting is that we had 12 Trump associates with contacts with Russia during the campaign or transition, 19 face-to-face meetings, 51 communications between Russians or Russian representatives and campaign or transition officials. So it's a lot of contact here. And Hope Hicks is just another person who has been reached out to.
We have to say, of course, that we have no indication that she did anything wrong.
ZELDIN: And, in fact, we're told that she went to see Don McGahn, the White House Counsel, to report the FBI briefings, not the communications themselves, but the briefings. So she may be have, you know, a good legal place to land. But I think, Anderson, you can't deny that there was an outreach, and in some respects, there was a reach back by the campaign to these Russians or Russian surrogates and it's something that Mueller's going to have to figure out, whether it was illegal and a conspiracy to impact the federal election commission, or not.
COOPER: Yes. And, you know, Gloria, I think Michael's point is important, I want to stress, that nothing in this reporting by the "New York Times", indicates that Hicks did anything improper at all. It is clear though that these Russian operatives were trying to get as close as they could to the president by reaching out to, obviously, one of his closest confidants.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Look, Hope Hicks is somebody who was in the campaign, in the transition, and her office is right outside the Oval Office. She's close to the she's close to the president. She's a confidant of the president. She's at the center of a lot of meetings. She is somebody who is a trusted adviser. And I think that, you know, it might also indicate, by the way, how clumsy they are, to be honest. I mean, here they were trying to in filtrate through, perhaps, through people like George Papadopoulos, who has been called the coffee boy by people inside the campaign.
And it seems to me, that there was this kind of never-ending effort to try and get inside. I think sending Hope Hicks e-mails is kind of a weird way to do it, as if she would respond in kind to these things, but, you know, we don't know. And, again, as you point out, there is no indication she's done anything wrong, but there is an indication, at least, according to the FBI, that she may have been a target of some Russians trying to get some influence in this administration.
ZELDIN: Yes. I mean, I guess, Anderson, to Gloria's point, though, you wouldn't have expected Donald Trump Jr. to entertain a call from Wikileaks --
ZELDIN: -- nor from Ron Goldstone to get a meeting on dirt. And so, if that's the standard that's been set or if that's the level of the bar, then maybe they reach out to Hope Hicks to see whether she is in the Don Jr. --
ZELDIN: -- camp or some other --
ZELDIN: -- camp.
COOPER: Yes. And you know, Michael, I mean, Hicks was reportedly interviewed today and yesterday by Mueller's team. I would imagine they want to get to the bottom of exactly who crafted that Trump Tower meeting statement since Donald Trump Jr. just told investigators that he communicated with her, and not the president about that response.
[20:50:13] ZELDIN: That's right. And in some sense, if all roads lead to Rome, as the expression goes, in some sense, Hope Hicks is Rome. So much stuff goes through her as the conduit between outsiders and the president that she really sits in a particularly important seat for Mueller. With respect to the Air Force One memo, the testimony that Junior just gave on the 6th of December was that, as they were crafting the response to the June 9th meeting, he was communicating with Hope Hicks, who was communicating with his father, who was then communicating back to Trump Jr. and his lawyer so they can create a statement which, as it turned out, was not truthful.
COOPER: Yes. Gloria Borger, thank you, Michael Zeldin as well.
Coming up, the latest on six large wildfires that are ripping through Southern California. Nearly 200,000 people that had to leave their home so far. We'll get an update, next.
COOPER: More than 5,000 firefighters are trying to get six large wildfires under control on Southern California. The weather, not expected to help matters this weekend. Unfortunately, dry air, strong winds were the forecast through Sunday. The fire has already forced nearly 200,000 people out of their homes. Officials are saying everyone else in the region needs to be ready.
Even a hundreds of thoroughbreds, some of them are elite race horses, are caught up in the flames. These horses were set free from their barn so they can actually escape. Trainers reported hearing the animal scream as they run away. It's hard to imagine
Sara Sidner now joins us live now with more in the fire fight. What's happened where you are, Sara? SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, terrible images here. This is after the fire has burned through the city of Ventura. This particular neighborhood hit so hard. I counted 20 homes around me that have been burned to the ground. There are 400 homes in this fire, homes and structures that have been destroyed, 85 that have been damaged.
[20:55:16] And we have certainly been hearing stories of people running literally for their lives trying to get out of the path of the fire. Some people heeded the warnings. Others decided to wait a bit, and that waiting very, very dangerous. But so far, we have not got a single account of a fatality yet from fire officials. That is the good news, if you will. But for many of the folks here, they are just devastated, looking at their neighborhoods where house after house after house has been burned to the ground.
I can give you some quick numbers. You talked about 5,000 fire personnel across Southern California, 3,200 of that personnel is here in this county alone, 21 helicopters trying to douse these flames that are still raging, Anderson. It is a scary sight when you see the flame rolling down the hill as it has been doing going both down some hills and up others, hitting very, very close to the city, for example, of Ojai today. They were able to battle it back, but that's been extremely dangerous. And there is so much destruction. It will be a huge, costly figure once this is all done. Anderson?
COOPER: Yes. I mean, can you talk about containment? How much of this fire is contained?
SIDNER: Only 10%, and that's the good news. They thought that they were going to be dealing with a 0% again because the Santa Ana winds have been so strong. But today, those winds subsided a bit. But as you know, these fires, because they're so large and so incredibly powerful, they create their own weather systems that can just roll through areas. But they are still at just 10%. They think that this could burn through the end of December, something like the 24th, potentially right before Christmas, Anderson.
COOPER: That's just incredible. Sara Sidner, thanks very much.
Coming up, the latest from Pensacola, Florida, where the president is speaking tonight at a campaign stall rally after endorsing accused (INAUDIBLE) Roy Moore for Senate.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: -- and Republican is a house. We --
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[21:00:00] COOPER: In this hour, President Trump's campaign rally for Roy Moore in everything but name in Pensacola, Florida, just across the Alabama state line, in the mobile Alabama T.V. market, just four days before the election. The president tweeting his support for the man.