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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
"Washington Post:" Muller Told President Trump's Attorneys Last Month Investigation Continues, but He's Not a Criminal Target At This Point; "Washington Post:" Mueller Told President Trump's Lawyers He's Preparing a Report About His Actions in Office, Potential Obstruction Of Justice; Rosenstein Gave Mueller Wide Latitude to Investigate Manafort's Connections to Russian Government Officials; President Trump Once Again on The Attack Against Amazon; At Least Three Wounded, Suspect Dead in Shooting At YouTube Headquarters. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 3, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:01:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news tonight opens a window we have not had until now into what kind of legal jeopardy, if any, the President of the United States could be in from the Russia investigation. If new reporting in "The Washington Post" tonight bears out, the answer is not as much as he could be, but not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.
Now "The Washington Post" citing three sources familiar with discussions between attorneys for President Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The new reporting is they tell "The Post" that Mr. Mueller has described the President as the subject of the criminal investigation but not a target.
We'll talk about the difference in a moment.
Additionally I'm citing the Post directly here, "The special counsel also told Trump's lawyers that he is preparing a report about the President's actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice according to two people with knowledge of the conversations."
Joining us now to talk about all the legal angles on this are Jeffrey Toobin as well as Carrie Cordero. So Jeff, if Mueller does not consider the President a criminal target, rather a subject of the investigation, does that mean that the President's completely out of woods here?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: By no means. There are three categories in federal criminal law. There's target, which means you are almost certainly going to be indicted. There is subject, where you may or may not be indicted. And then there's witness, where you are just someone who has information of interest to the prosecutor.
But being a subject is a very serious thing. That means the prosecutors are determining whether to file charges against you. The President of the United States is a subject of a criminal investigation with FBI agents and federal prosecutors. I mean that is something that an extraordinarily serious thing, and I don't know if that's even been true since Richard Nixon. I don't think Bill Clinton was ever a subject although he probably was, I guess, in retrospect. But I mean this is a very significant designation.
And, you know, remember James Comey was pressed by President Trump, saying, are you investigating me? Are you investigating me? And he didn't want to answer. Now the answer is clear. The FBI and the special counsel are investigating the President.
COOPER: Carrie, I mean according to the Post, Mueller has told the President's attorneys that he's preparing a report about the President's actions as President as well as potential obstruction of justice. What do you make of that? I mean where would that report actually go? Is that a report that might become public?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So I find that aspect of this new report from "The Washington Post" really interesting because there's not actually a requirement in the special counsel regulation that a report, in other words, a comprehensive narrative describing the whole investigation, be made public. The different things that could happen, the special counsel has some leeway. The special counsel's office could write a report or what I tend to think is more likely is that they'll write prosecution memos that they give to the deputy attorney general, and then it's up to him whether or not to make those reports public.
If "The Washington Post" reporting turns out to be correct, that they're actually intending to create a narrative for public consumption, that actually is a little bit different than what I would have expected.
TOOBIN: Carrie is right that there is no clear answer in the statute or the regulations for what kind of report. Another possibility is Mueller may decide that there is evidence of impeachable offenses and may decide to give something to Congress. He has a lot of discretion, and it really is not clear what kind of report, even if any, he'll file.
[21:05:06] COOPER: Jeff, according to the reporting, Mueller is still pushing hard obviously to interview the President, to both determine if the President had any corrupt intent. How would corrupt intent actually be determined?
TOOBIN: Well, that's always, you know, the hardest issue in white collar crime. How do you determine someone's intent? A very key issue here is the press release that was prepared on Air Force One after "The New York Times" was going to report about the existence of the meeting in Trump Tower. If Mueller could prove that the President participated in creating a false narrative, a false story about that meeting in Trump Tower, that would be evidence of criminal intent.
One of the ways prosecutors always show criminal intent is to show that someone lied, that they covered up, because that shows they knew what they were doing was wrong.
COOPER: Carrie, would that argument hold? I mean if the President just said, well, look, I was doing something to try to, you know, help my son?
CORDERO: Well, I think it depends on which angle of the special counsel's investigation we're talking about. If we're talking about the angle that's looking at Russian influence on the election and whether or not there was any potential campaign cooperation in that, then the President's intent speaks more to whether or not he knew meetings were being set up, whether or not, for example, the memo that Jeffrey describes where he was trying to perhaps cover up what happened on Air Force One -- that goes to that side.
The other piece is obstruction of the overall investigation, and for that it goes to his intent as to why he made different derogatory public statements about the FBI director, Department of Justice leaders, the deputy director, other individuals involved in the investigation, the special counsel's team. There have been many prosecutors and investigators that the President has either personally, publicly attacked or fired when it comes to Director Comey, that all could potentially establish a pattern of intent to obstruct, derail, or shut down the investigation.
COOPER: Jeff, we also learned last night more about the scope of Mueller's investigation itself. Based on that filing, do you think Paul Manafort has any shot at prevailing in getting his case thrown out of court because Manafort's argument is that this is government overreach, that Mueller is not tasked with this mission?
TOOBIN: I think Manafort's in desperate, desperate trouble, and Mueller's response not only was persuasive on the grounds of whether he has jurisdiction to bring the case, but there was another part of the filing that was particularly interesting on a very important issue in the case.
Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who was the supervisor of Mueller, there was an excerpt from a memo that he wrote where he said Mueller has the right to investigate whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia in violation of U.S. law.
Now, remember one of the big talking points that the President and his supporters have made is that collusion is not a crime. Colluding doesn't violate U.S. laws. But the memo from Rosenstein says very clearly that there can be collusion that is a crime, and I think that's a really significant development.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Carrie Cordero, appreciate it. Thanks very much. This was not the only news involving the President today obviously. The rest of it he made himself in a string of tweets and public statements as well. CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House for us tonight.
So the President made certainly a lot of headlines in a very short time today, Boris. Explain what he talked about in the meetings he had today.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. Yes, the President making news on a number of issues during some press availability with the heads of the Baltic States. The President talking about American troops in Syria, saying that he wanted to bring them home to, in his words, help rebuild the country.
He further talked about Mexico and the potential to send American military troops to the border to help secure the border with Mexico.
The White House later confirming that there were discussions about the National Guard being sent in. Further, the President talked about Russian leader Vladimir Putin straining at one point to answer a question about whether Putin was a friend or an enemy of the United States, saying, who knows? We'll see. Time will tell.
The President, though, did say that no one was tougher on Russia than he was. He also made some news on Twitter this morning yet again going on the offensive against online retailer Amazon.com, suggesting that Amazon, despite assurances from advisers, we are told, to the President that Amazon is taking advantage of the American post office.
[21:10:06] He even suggested that officials at the Post Office were clueless, Anderson.
COOPER: You know, I mean it's easy to kind of just think, oh, this is normal to have the President talk about -- still talk about crooked Hillary, a term he used today in a meeting in the White House with foreign leaders, talk about cheating Obama, which he talked about in a tweet today. But when you take a step back, even to talk about taking another country's oil, which was a theme he talked a lot about on the campaign trail which we haven't heard him go back to, I mean, I'm wondering if this is part of a larger shift in how the President tends to govern going forward.
SANCHEZ: Well, according to sources within the White House it is. They see this as the President turning to a long held conviction that he has had that he is his own best adviser.
Sources indicate as we've seen what you can call moderating forces either move on from the White House, like Hope Hicks or Rob Porter, who he's fired, or even chief of staff John Kelly, who has apparently lost influence with the President, we're going to see more of this.
Sources have indicated that the President has more and more frequently ignored some of the structural procedures that John Kelly installed when he moved into the role of chief of staff. That is something that has apparently caused confusion within the White House with aides and advisers, and they intimate that we may likely see more impulsive moves like the ones we've seen recently from the President, whether it was I ignoring some of his closest advisers on the issue of tariffs and slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, or on the issue of North Korea, in which we understand the President didn't really consult with anyone when he announced that he would entertain a possible meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. That was certainly a surprise to folks at the Pentagon and even here at the White House, Anderson.
COOPER: Boris Sanchez at the White House tonight. Thank you. Some of what the President said today reflected long held thinking, obviously such as his apparent belief still that NATO members pay dues and haven't paid enough until he pointed it out, which is not true, nor is the claim that Boris Sanchez just alluded to. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, you know, we've been very tough on that. We've been very tough on Russia frankly. But I will say that if we got along with Russia, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing. It's possible we won't. We're going to find out whether or not we do. But nobody has been tougher on Russia. But getting along with Russia would be a good thing, not a bad thing. And just about everybody agrees to that except very stupid people. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He says he's been the toughest President on Russia and that nobody disagrees except very stupid people. Fortunately they could not make the show tonight, stupid people. So joining us instead, former director of national intelligence, James Clapper as well as Fareed Zakaria, host of GPS here on CNN.
So Director Clapper, I mean the President saying that nobody has been tougher on Russia. As director of national intelligence in the previous administration and a career national security official, having been part of the military and the intelligence community since the height of the cold war, is he right?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, he's not, and by the way, put me in the stupid camp. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here when he said that, you know, nobody has been tougher on the Russians than he has. And with specific respect to the number of expulsions, the spies were PNG here he's right. You know, 64 force (ph) everybody else.
But of course also should be remember that Russia probably has more spies in this country than any other western country as well.
Historically, I could argue that others have been tougher on Russia than he has, and he has yet to really dime them out personally, either Russia and its institutional behavior or Putin as its leader. And so I just -- to answer your question, no, I don't agree.
COOPER: Fareed, I mean we learned this week that the President floated a possible White House invitation to Vladimir Putin in that phone call the President made in which he congratulated Putin on winning the rigged Presidential election a few weeks ago. How does that square with President Trump's tough talk today?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: What's striking about the claim is that it doesn't seem to address the central issue that we're dealing with, with Russia, which is Russia has, over the past few years and particularly in 2016, engaged in what it describes as a hybrid war against western democracies, interfering in election campaigns, interfering in referenda, and most partly interfering in the 2016 election and apparently continuing unabated in 2018.
[21:15:05] This, you know, is cyber war. You can call it what you will. It's special ops. The President has never really publicly denounced Russia. As far as we know, he has never brought it up with Putin. I'd be delighted if he were to meet Putin to talk to him about this issue, to explain to Vladimir Putin that he cannot interfere with western democracy. He cannot interfere with western elections. He's never done that. The administration has really never done that. And so, you know, that strikes me as the big issue to be tough on Russia with. Yes, it's nice that we in collaboration with the Brits, because the Brits asked us to, did this cold war tit for tat, which I agree with Jim Clapper. It hurts us much more than it does them. It's much easier to recruit spies in an open society like America.
You lose 60 of your intelligence operatives in Russia, that's a big deal. But, again, the attempted murder in Britain is not the main issue. The main issue is that Russia is trying actively to subvert western and American democracy.
CLAPPER: I might add --
COOPER: Director Clapper -- go ahead.
CLAPPER: I was just going to add to what Fareed said about Something we don't dwell on very much is the aggressive modernization of the Russian strategic nuclear arsenal. And Putin's speech on the 1st of March rolling out five more weapons of vengeance so called. These are done with one adversary in mind, which is the United States. So, yes, the two dimensions of the war that they are waging against us, an active information were campaign, in addition preparing for a much more damaging kinetic campaign as well. And again, in both cases, the United States is a target, and the President refuses to, for whatever reason, to call that out.
COOPER: Fareed, on Syria when pressed on his plan there, the President said -- and I'm quoting -- "I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home." It does seem to contribute what his own special envoy to fight ISIS said actually just a few minutes earlier. It also seemed to go against his own policy which he talked a lot and was very critical of President Obama for of telegraphing military decisions. I just want to play what he said about that idea, about telegraphing, before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't want to tell the enemy how I am thinking. Does that make sense? Surprise. Do you remember they used to call it the element of surprise. I keep saying, whatever happened to the element of surprise? You know I've been saying the element of surprise. We're too predictable. We need to be unpredictable. We have to be unpredictable.
We want to be unpredictable, folks. We want to be unpredictable.
I'm not going to tell you anything about what response I do. I don't talk about military response. I don't want to be one of these guys that say, yes, here's what we're going to do. I don't have to do that. You know why? Because they shouldn't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: I'm wondering what you make, Fareed, of the President talking about withdrawing troops from Syria?
ZAKARIA: He has fulfilled one of his promises. He is certainly unpredictable for the most part. On the Syria issue, what's striking to me is that Donald Trump has ended up pretty much where Barack Obama was, which is to say whatever the strategy, whatever the impulse and the sense that you can't leave these jobs half done, there might be power vacuums created when you leave, the reality that President Trump is reflecting, I think, is that the American public is tired of being engaged militarily in the Middle East.
And so he is giving vent to that view. I think the truth of the matter is it probably doesn't mean that much. President Trump says these things -- you know, I've said it before. His words are weightless often. He just -- this is what he felt he had to say to that audience because it felt right at the moment. It's not clear it's actually going to mean very much. If it does mean the unilateral and rapid withdrawal of American military power in Syria, it would be a bad idea. But I don't know it means that. I think it means he was playing to the crowd as he often is.
COOPER: Director Clapper, A, I'm wondering if you agree with what Fareed is saying. B, if it's true that the President's words are weightless often or interpreted as being weightless on Capitol Hill or elsewhere among his own aides, that's pretty stunning if we're at a point where the President of the United States' words don't really carry much weight because nobody knows whether this is actually going to be policy or whether this just is playing to a crowd.
CLAPPER: Well, I agree. I think that in itself is a sad commentary where what the President says is not taken very seriously. And I think as more time goes on and more and more of, you know, his tweets and these sort of meaningless statements keep coming out, that more and more people in this country and certainly in the rest of the world are just going to kind of ignore what he says. And that in itself is, as I say, a terrible commentary.
[21:20:16] COOPER: General Clapper, Fareed Zakaria, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Coming up next, our political panel weighs in on the news today on whether it's a sign some are saying of a President no longer restrained, you might say, by advisers and feeling more like himself.
Later, the President's attacks on Amazon, the connection to his feud with "The Washington Post," which Amazon's Jeff Bezos obviously owns and the amount of financial punishment he could be capable of inflicting on a corporation in the United States.
COOPER: It was as Boris Sanchez reported quite a day for President Trump and quite a day of headlines generated by the President himself from tweets on crooked Hillary as he said to cheating Obama, another term he tweeted about today, to attacks on Amazon, to claims he's the toughest President on Russia.
A lot to talk about, joining us for that, former Republican Senator and Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum and former neither one of those things, Democratic Strategist Paul Begala.
So but a force in your own right, Paul. Let me start out with you. I mean, do you think if this is the President feeling more comfortable in office, his supporters may say, well, look, this worked for him during the campaign. We're seeing more of -- you know, he's talking about taking the oil again of Syria or Iraq. You know, it seems like almost the candidate Trump in the Oval Office. Is that a good thing?
[21:25:10] PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is what it is. People knew what they were getting when they voted for him. I do recall him telling you, Anderson, July of 2015, oh, I'll change my tone if I become President. I'll be more presidential and he repeated that over and over. I'll be more presidential than Abe Lincoln.
I think actually what's going on here is not that he's more comfortable but less. I think he's terribly worried about the Mueller investigation, and he should be for the reasons you just saw with Carrie and Jeff Toobin discussing earlier, that he is now clearly while not about to be indicted as the target, he's clearly a subject. I think as he feels that pressure, including political pressure, losing special elections in places he won by 20 points, Rick's old home of Southwest Pennsylvania or in Alabama, which he won by 3 million percent I think. He just crash now. I think just lose the Senate seat there.
He feels he's pressures, political and legal, and he retreats to his base. He goes back to the people for whom he said I could shoot a guy on Fifth Avenue and they'll still support me. That's what he's doing here. It seems erratic but I think there's a through line here, which is he's under pressure. He's frightened, and so he's retreating to his base.
COOPER: Senator Santorum, how do you see it?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I don't see it quite that way. I think what the President sees is that, you know, his poll numbers actually are starting to creep up a little bit. The economy is doing quite well. He's getting pretty good plaudits for a lot of his foreign policy, what he did with ISIS, what's going on with North Korea. You know, there's criticism of his trade policies but he's making some trade deals that are looking better for the United States.
I think the President sees a couple of things. Number one, he can go out and say these outrageous things and he knows because he's done it over and over again, he can walk them back and make a deal. But it's a strategy for him. He likes to do it. It liberates him by letting Trump be Trump, but he also realizes that, you know, people don't really hold me to these things, so I can actually say what I want to say, do what I want to do, and still accomplish what is, I think on balance, what a lot of people think are actually pretty good things for the American economy and pretty good things for us from a national security point of view.
COOPER: I get what you're saying, Senator Santorum. Do you worry, though, about, you know, Fareed Zakaria made the point before that the President's words in some cases are becoming weightless, that people just don't believe what he's saying. Your argument is, you know, maybe it's a negotiating thing, and it makes him feel better. But overall do you think it weakens the presidency?
SANTORUM: I wouldn't say they're weightless. I think they show a clear direction of what the President wants to do. And I don't think his comments about rocket man, for example, in North Korea were weightless. I think they actually brought a fair amount of weight and brought the Chinese to do things that the Chinese hadn't done in a long time under Democratic or Republican presidents.
And so, yes, I understand Fareed's point that you can't take the President necessarily literally. But I think you can certainly see that he says things about a direction he would like to take the country. Sometimes over the top, I agree with that. But it clearly dictates that he wants to move in a certain direction like building the wall, and he's not giving up on that, and he's not going to give up on that.
And those are things that I think the American public actually likes. They like him to go out there and, you know, show that tough hand and then come to a reasonable accommodation.
BEGALA: His words are not weightless.
COOPER: Paul, I want to ask you -- go ahead.
BEGALA: I'm sorry, Anderson, but they are -- I'll try to square the circle. They're not weightless. They're weightless to him. He seems to not at all care about fidelity to truth or past statements even of his own. But they're very weighty. The stock market has lost all of its gains since the Trump tax cut. The Trump tax cut came in really designed for corporate special interest and the stock market took off and Mr. Trump thought that was terrific.
His attacks on Amazon, and huge American corporation and his trade war, apparently ongoing with China and threatened against Canada and Mexico -- those by the way are three largest trading partners, Canada, Mexico, and China. And those two things, analysts say, have sent the stock market tumbling. These things matter. You're going to see farmers in the Midwest hit by Chinese retaliatory acts, who are going to lose real income because of Mr. Trump's comments and his actions. And so there are real consequences. I think actually they're negative consequences for our country and even for our President.
COOPER: Senator, I want to ask you about something that the President tweeted out. It was actually just earlier today. He said, "Thank you to Rasmussen for the honest polling. Just hit 50 percent, which is higher than cheatin' Obama at the same time in his administration.
[21:30:00] Do you have any idea, A, what the cheatin' Obama is a reference to, and, again, is it appropriate for a sitting President of the United States to be talking this way or tweeting this way about a former President?
BEGALA: No. I mean I wish the President wouldn't refer to the former President of the United States in that derogatory manner. That's all I can say about that. I wish he wouldn't do it. As far as the poll numbers, I mean the President from the very beginning of his political time has been fixated on polls, and he pays attention to them. He really does try to get a sense of where the American public is and how they're viewing what he's doing.
And I think again, I think he looks at the poll numbers showing that by and large the American -- first off, the economy's doing well. The American public's pretty happy with that. And, you know, he feels pretty good about it.
COOPER: Paul, it is interesting, though. Every now and then I like to step back and realize how strange this is, that the President of the United States is talking about his predecessor as, you know, cheatin', Obama. He's still talking about crooked Hillary. If Mr. Obama had done that or George W. Bush had done that, you just can't imagine former presidents doing that. And now it just seems kind of normal.
BEGALA: It does, and that's a shame. It's part of this President's war on norms, institutions, checks and balances. He goes after his predecessors of both parties. He goes after the free press, attacking this network and others. He's now apparently waging war on Amazon because he doesn't like "The Washington Post's" fearless coverage of him.
He attacks his own justice department, puts it in quotations as if it's not really about justice because they're investigating potential crimes that may have occurred during his campaign.
He attacks his own FBI. Federal judges are so-called judges, unable to rule because they're Mexican-American. He is a wannabe autocrat. That's the problem. He's going after anything that could be a check. So he'll destroy any norm or any standard, and I think that's what the history is going to show about this man when it's all said and done.
COOPER: Paul Begala, Senator Rick Santorum. I appreciate it.
Coming up, more next on those attacks on Amazon. Paul just mentioned. What they could mean and what's really behind them ahead.
[21:35:44] COOPER: We mentioned it before the break. One Presidential attack after another on Amazon, whose founder also happens to own "The Washington Post." No coincidence there, the back story on where this may lead from CNN's Randi Kaye.
TRUMP: I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought "The Washington Post" to have political influence. RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That was President Donald Trump nine months before he was elected President. By then, he already had his sights set on billionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of both Amazon and "The Washington Post."
TRUMP: Believe me, if I become President, oh, do they have problems. They're going to have such problems.
KAYE: At issue is Trump's belief that Amazon is taking advantage of the post office and not paying its fair share in taxes. As far back as December 2015, Trump was tweeting, if Amazon ever had to pay fair taxes, its stock would crash, and it would crumble like a paper bag. Bezos responded with a reference to his space flight company, tweeting, "He'll reserve Trump a seat on the blue origin rocket. #senddonaldtospace."
As President's Trump's anti-Amazon Twitter rant continued. Last July, is fake news "Washington Post" being used as a lobbyist weapon against congress to keep politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly? And since Thursday last week, Trump has tweeted about Amazon at least five times, driving its stock price down. According to Axios, Trump's wealthy real estate friends are telling him that Amazon is destroying shopping malls, and as a result, their businesses. At the White House last year, Bezos seemed interested in saving taxpayers money.
JEFF BEZOS, OWNER, AMAZON: Using commercial technologies wherever possible to leverage those will save taxpayers a lot of money.
KAYE: Still, early Saturday morning Trump was at it again, suggesting the U.S. post offices will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. Again this morning, he doubled down, calling the post office Amazon's delivery boy, saying it's all costing taxpayers massive amounts of money.
KAYE (on camera): About those claims on the post office and taxes, CNN has found Amazon pays the same lower rate that the post office charges other bulk shippers, and it does collect sales tax in every state that charges it. Third parties who sell goods on Amazon can still avoid state sales tax, though that is reportedly changing. And the postal service actually added delivery on Sunday in some cities because Amazon made it financially worthwhile. So why these attacks on Amazon? "Vanity Fair" reports that Trump believes Bezos is using the paper as a political weapon against him.
The magazine says Trump's advisers have reportedly encouraged him to cancel some of Amazon's government contracts, like its multi-billion dollar cloud computing contract with the defense department.
BEZOS: The best defense to speech that you don't like about yourself as a public figure is to develop a thick skin.
KAYE (voice-over): A thick skin indeed and, of course, a Twitter account. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, joining me now is Dylan Ratigan, author of Greedy Bastards. As he points out, he is running for Congress in New York. Also CNN's Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter, host of reliable sources. Brian, this beef of the President's, I mean, is it actually about Amazon, or is it about Jeff Bezos and "The Washington Post"?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: All signs point to "The Washington Post." it smells. It looks. It tastes like a "Washington Post" dispute because of the President's tweets in the past linking Amazon and the post, and his rhetoric about saying the post should love its registered as a lobbyist.
So tonight the Post is out with a new statement saying it's preposterous and disingenuous to say that Bezos' other business, work over at Amazon, has anything to do with "The Washington Post."
But we've seen this pattern before. You know, the President has attacked this channel, CNN. Now his department of justice is suing CNN's parent, Time-Warner, as it tries to be acquired by AT&T. That suit is officially about antitrust, about market competition. But the talk outside the courtroom is all about whether it's premised on the President's political or personal animus towards CNN. Here we are with another case. The President targeting a giant company, but it seems to be all about the newspaper he doesn't like.
[21:40:11] COOPER: Dylan, I mean previous administrations have been very careful not to pick winners and losers among private companies in the United States. I'm wondering how problematic you think is it that this President seems to be doing that very thing and, again, saying that the taxpayers are losing money on the postal service. The postal service doesn't use taxpayer money for their operation?
DYLAN RATIGAN (D), CANDIDATE FOR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NEW YORK: Anderson, you know this as well as I do and Brian does for that matter too. This President is actually remarkable in his ability to identify critical issues like massive technology monopolies that are destroying jobs, taking business, not in a negative way. Amazon is beneficial to us. Amazon is a new world for us. But the reality is the President is really good at identifying the right problem, massive tech monopolies, but always goes to the wrong solution.
The post office, really? The foundation of our country is communication. The post office is in our constitution. It's a pity to watch an issue so important as global networks for things like distribution and product that Amazon represents, literally a modern- day railroad, that really probably should be confronted for antitrust in is way that is rational and thoughtful. And instead of a rational and thoughtful discussion about the impact of a massive tech monopoly, we end up with a personal vendetta and a silly conversation about the post office. It's unfortunate, and we can do better.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, Brian, I mean this notion that President Trump thinks that Jeff Bezos is using "The Washington Post" as a political weapon against him, the post, you know, has made clear he has no editorial influence over the paper. And I got to imagine given all the reporters at "The Washington Post," if there was even a hint that Jeff Bezos was pulling the strings of those reporters, there would be, you know, leaks or just out and out outrage and, you know, people protesting.
STELTER: That's right. Look at what happened with Sinclair this week. Those reporters would be calling me. They'd be calling you. That's the point the Editor, Martin Baron has made over and over gain. He says, Bezos is not involved in the Post. But the President sees it differently. He has friends at media companies like the "National Enquirer" who do meddle in the coverage. So he assumes maybe Bezos is doing the same thing.
I would just say, though, tens of millions of Americans love Amazon. They love the efficiency of Amazon. They love Amazon prime. The President might not be picking the right fight here.
COOPER: Dylan, the President's contention that Amazon -- go ahead.
RATIGAN: Right. I was just going to say we love Amazon. It's changed our lives the same way that the railroads did 100 years ago. We have a new base infrastructure for the way that we live whether it's Amazon or for that matter Facebook. The reason Teddy Roosevelt stepped in with antitrust was not because the railroads were bad. Amazon is not bad. It's incredible. It's something that needs to be shifted in a way such that it's less abusive to parts of our economy, much the way the railroad monopolies were. That's why the President is right to talk about this, and that's why it's tragic that it's lost in the idiocy of these personal vendettas.
COOPER: Dylan Ratigan, Brian Stelter, I appreciate you being here. Thanks very much.
Ohio Governor John Kasich showed up today in a totally not surprising state, in New Hampshire. More on what that could mean for the Presidential race coming up.
[21:47:03] COOPER: Ohio Governor John Kasich was in New Hampshire today. Not really a surprise because during the 2016 Presidential election campaign, he practically made it a second home. The question is will history repeat itself in 2020?
Our Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash joins us now from Manchester, New Hampshire. So I know you sat down with the governor today. I understand he weighed in on the President. What else did he say?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, first a little bit of surprising news, I thought, was that the governor actually complimented the President on his recent handling of Russia, saying that the President did the right thing in expelling Russian diplomats, still said there's a long way to go. But he also weighed in on something you were talking about in the last segment, what the President is saying about Amazon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BASH: Is the President has really been going after Amazon, I'm sure you've seen. He continued to do that today, saying they're going to have to pay much more to the post office.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, look, I've just seen a few of the reports and I don't think that what is being said is accurate. But we don't want to be in a position of where our leaders are just pounding down over and over again to drive their stock down. I don't think that's appropriate for a public official.
BASH: Have you seen -- the President's been talking a lot in the past few days about caravans coming from Honduras and concern about that.
KASICH: I'm not aware of any caravans that are coming. I was very disappointed and upset on Easter Sunday to read these tweets about the fact that no more deal for DACA. All of a sudden on Easter Sunday, we're going to yank hope from them and put them into some sort of a panic? That's not what leaders do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: And Anderson, throughout the day -- and we spent the whole day with the governor here in New Hampshire -- he pounded away at the President for saying what he said about these DREAMers, for not giving them hope. And also more broadly at the President and at Congress for not dealing with these people, saying over and over that is just not what we do as Americans, Anderson.
COOPER: And the governor, I mean, returning to the state obviously where the first Presidential primary votes are tallied, obviously stoked speculation about him running in 2020. He's always in the past, you know, put that off or not said one way or the other. What did he say about that today?
BASH: That's right. This his third trip back to the granite state since the 2016 election. As you said before, he practically did live here back then, and he came in second. He was pretty still far behind Donald Trump, 20 points behind. But he certainly is trying to make sure that he keeps his fingers in the water. No question about it. He won't say exactly how he's going to do it, and that is the big question, Anderson, because challenging an incumbent President in a primary is very difficult, especially when you have Donald Trump, who is still very popular among Republican voters.
[21:50:09] The other option would be to run as an independent, not as a Republican or as a Democrat. I asked him about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: Yes, am I going to run as an independent? I'm not even thinking about it.
BASH: You're not even thinking about it.
KASICH: I'm thinking about nine months of being governor.
BASH: But is that option on the table?
KASICH: You know it's unlikely. But when you have options on the table, all options are on the table, right? My intention is to fix my party. And my intention is not even to fix my party so much as it is to get everybody to say, we can't continue down this road.
BASH: But you will admit that coming here to New Hampshire --
KASICH: All my options are on the table.
BASH: Is part of keeping those options on the table.
KASICH: Yes, I want to keep my options open.
BASH: So this is an insurance policy, is that fair?
KASICH: Well, no, it's an options policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, Anderson, usually when a politician is coy like that, you really think, OK, they actually know what's going on and they don't want to say it. Genuinely, with John Kasich, it seems that he doesn't know. But that is the reason why he's here. He only got nine months left in office as governor of Ohio and then he's wide open and he wants to make sure that he keeps his relationships here in New Hampshire and that's what he spent all day today doing.
COOPER: Interesting. Dana, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, the latest from San Bruno, California, and the shooting at YouTube headquarters.
COOPER: We have an update now on the shooting at YouTube headquarters south of San Francisco. Dan Simon joins us now from San Bruno, California. So, Dan, what's the latest on what happened today?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, what a frightening and chaotic situation for those YouTube employees when the shooting broke out. This is happening just before 1:00 p.m. local time. Police arriving moments later. When they arrived, they did find one shooting victim at the front of the headquarters and then as they searched the entire headquarters, they did find the woman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. That is the shooter.
[21:55:00] Then, according to police, they found a couple more shooting victims at some adjacent businesses, one of whom had gone to the Carl's Jr. Restaurant that is just next to YouTube. She went there apparently to try to get some medical attention. We know some employees there tried to help her and then ambulances arrived and took her to the hospital. I can tell you, as for the three shooting victims, their conditions range from fair to critical. But the good news is according to the trauma surgeon at the hospital, all of them appeared to be alert and talking and were aware of what happened, Anderson.
COOPER: And is there anything known about the motive at this point, that police are saying?
SIMON: Police not saying what they think the motive is. They are saying, at least law enforcement officials telling CNN that the shooter apparently did know at least one of the victims. Ultimately, what that connection is, we don't know. We don't know what her connection is to YouTube, either. But, of course, one of the things that investigators will be looking at is whether or not this may have been some kind of domestic situation, Anderson.
COOPER: Dan Simon, I appreciate the reporting. Thanks. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That's all time we have. Thanks so much for watching tonight. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now. See you tomorrow.