tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN December 20, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
>> reporter: shirt sleeves for speed. >> okay. >> thanks for joining us. ac 360 starts now. if these aren't signs of the season, they sure look like signs of something. perhaps something big. an influential christian voice calls him out for unchristian conduct. there's a new report that says vladmir putin may be responsible for the president's ukraine obsession. the president believes wa he believes in the president's own words because putin told me. it has been that kind of week. the kind of week that sees a president impeached for the only third time ever. week that sees polling numbers
that show despite all the above donald trump is still a political force to be reckonned with. a week like none other. now he heads for his vacation, the fear is we may see one more. we'll talk about it tonight. concerns among people close to the president about what he might do next. jim acosta joins us with the latest. jim, what is the latest on how president trump wants to handle the senate impeachment trial? >> john, i've been talking to my sources. we have been talking to my sources over here at the white house all day long. the latest is it sounds as though the president is coming around to this idea. advance my senate republicans that a lengthy trial filled with witnesses is too dangerous to his political future. he's gone through this impeachment process and as painful as it's been and as much as he wants to be exonerated and bring in witness, he wants the whistle-blower, he wants hunter
biden and so on. mitch mcconnell, lindsey graham, his allies have impressed upon him and his top aides, that's just too dangerous a road to go down. it sounds as though tonight the president is listening. the question is whether or not he's preparing to leave joint base andrews outside of washington in a few moments to head down to mar-a-lago. the question is what happens when he gets down there. he will be meeting with friends, long time outside advisers and so on. the donald trump that emerges from that period of time may be different from the one right now. it sounds as though he's listening to the words of caution right now. >> people don't want mick mulvaney or john bolton there. who knows what they will testify to. the president can get himself worked up into a lather down there. is the public posture what's being said outside the same as what's been said behind closed
doors? >> reporter: the posture is he's not distracted. baloney. the president is obsessed with his impeachment. he's fixated on this. he's angered by this. his own daughter conceded to cbs earlier that he's anxious ri about this. -- he's angry about this. the problem for the president is he is not going to remove the stain from his legacy. he's not going to unimpeach himself and that is why republican, his allies and so on have been trying to say listen get through the senate trial process and you still have a chance and a good chance, according to a lot of his allies in getting re-elected. that is where his allies and his advisers are hoping he will focus his energy on as we head into the new year. no question about it, john. one of the things we have noticed all week long talking to our sources and officials inside
the white house and people who speak to the president is that he is unnerved by this. this is embedded in his skin. he knows history has rendered a very painful judgment and is one that will attached to his name in the history books from here on out. the question is how it all affects him and affects his psyche moving forward. i think at this point he's trying to listen to these advisers saying being cautious. you can make things better. you can make matters worse for yourself if you try to push this too far. >> thapgs nks so much for beingh us. more now on the maneuvering with the house and senate. joining us, a juror, if and when it comes to this. senator richard bloomenthal. thank you so much for being with us. will there be a senate trial? >> there will be. it is required by the constitution. the issue of when the articles
of impeachment will be sent to the senate is a decision for nancy pelosi to make and very understandably she wants some assurance that it will be full and fair. not the shame and charade that mitch mcconnell will give the president. what's striking about the report that you've just heard, excellent reporting by jim acosta is the assumption by the president that he can set the terms of his own trial. mcconnell said there's no chance the president will be removed. he, in effect, is making himself and his republican colleagues complicit in the cover up of documents and witnesses necessary for a full and fair proceeding. that's why we are insisting there be some agreement on those documents and witnesses before,
not during, the trial. >> you're insisting but what if mitch mcconnell does not agree in would you support nancy pelosi holding on the articles indefinitely? >> no one wants an indefinite delay. neither i nor, i believe, nancy pelosi. there will be a trial. there is a court of appeals to this proceedsing. it's the electorate. the court of public opinion. right now the numbers, in your own poll, are absolutely staggering. 71% of the american people want documents and witnesses as they would in any trial. more than 60% of republicans. my colleagues will be going home these next two weeks and hearing those numbers and i believe they will have to think not only about the judgment of history but about their constituents judgment and i really feel they
will be complicit in the continuing threat if they fail to provide a full and fair hearing. >> have you heard from susan collins or senator cory gardener or mitt romney. do you have any indication they would side with democrats in calling for a trial with witnesses? >> there's no question, john. that is the question of the day that they are contemplating, seriously and considering how this trial has to be conducted. mitch mcconnell is nothing without his enablers. he needs those 51 votes and i've been talking to anywhere from five to 10 of my colleagues directly or indirectly who are considering how they will be haunted by this decision if they deny a full fair trial.
i'll be very blunt. there's a saying that courage is contagious. so is cowardice. they need to step forward and i hope they will be hearing from their constituents. >> so far you haven't seen any sign of one of them will step forward and say they want witnesses, have you? >> i have seen signs that one or more will step forward. i hope the courage will be contagious. i've talk directly to a number who are seriously considering, without committing, they will ask there be witnesses and documents. one last point, the witnesses that we have asked to testify have direct knowledge. they have the information and evidence that republicans themselves have said they want to hear. these witnesses and documents were spot by the house. as a prosecutor, i'd say the evidence is overwhelming. i'd rest my case but the american people deserve to hear these witnesses and documents.
>> hope you have a wonderful new year. thank you so much for being with us. >> same to you, thank you. >> more for what is next. >> you really do have two of the preeminent masters. they are at the top of the top. how do you think this ends? >> it's not clear. i think you're right about these two veterans that are both very important. they are strategic and tough. they do not give in. you've seen that this past week. mitch mcconnell hasn't been moved at all and nancy pelosi is hanging in there.
i think there's legitimacy to what nancy pelosi is trying to do is shine a light on the unfairness of not of the people in the democratic side who've never been given access to documents and never before able to interview the key witnesses. this should not be resolved without those people coming forward. i think they have a very good claim on that. it's important for nancy pelosi to know what the process is going to be because as someone pointed out to me today if there will be witnesses, you want managers on the democratic side who are good at cross-examination. if they're not going be witnesses then you want lawyers who can make powerful arguments because the oral argument becomes everything. that's one reason for waiting.
e i think they have sacrificed some of the high ground. couple of weeks to take a breath. >> one of the things we have learned over the last few weeks and months is how few words are in the constitution about how all this is supposed to be done precisely. what if nancy pelosi holds onto the articles of impeachment and doesn't transmit them. what happens then? >> nothing. nothing happens. we live in this limbo that the president of the united states have been impeached. we have seen it with our own eyes but it would not go anywhere and we'd have this hanging over our heads, republicans and democrats, for the next eight, nine months until the election. i think there's a real sense in which neither party wants to have this discussion going forward. the question is if we're boing
to have to rip the band aid one way or the other knowing that donald trump will not be convicted, the question is which direction do you rip it? do you want one that shows the american people what a full trial looks like or do you want one that gets over quickly knowing that the end result will be the same. >> there have been witnesses before. andrew johnson impeachment trial, bill clinton impeachment trial. witnesses on video tape. the pres decedent is there. david, the president of the united states on his way to mar-a-lago. he can get himself worked up down there. what do you think happens to him over these next two weeks as he stares this in the face? >> terrific question. the nixon case and clinton case, the past two cases, the proceeding brought an end to the
controversy. woeped a new chapter in american history. that ended the clinton thing. he will be imbittered for the rest of the time he's in office and that makes it more difficult. he will be doing things and saying go away. i'll do what i like right now. that may be more dangerous. >> that brings me to my last question for you, he's the first impeached president to run for re-election. any sense of how it will play into it? will it be an issue? >> we have to think the american
people will make their decision on who the next president will be or whether trump gets a second term based upon things that happen in september and october. this really does cast a real shadow over the entire election vote. if i could drill down for a second into the question of witnesses which is clearly one that will be coming up as the senate debates what the rules should be. there's a fundamental difference between the witnesses that appear in the clinton case and the witnesses that we're talking about here because in the clinton case every one agreed upon the facts and were there to present the case to the senators in dramatic factio mamatic fash. >> jeffrey, david, fascinating situation we find ourselves in. thank you so much for being with us tonight. >> thank you. >> have a wonderful holiday. next, a rare dissenting voice in the president's base calls for the president's removal from office. that and the backlash including
from the president himself and what it says about the president's political standing. new reporting on how influential vladmir putin may have been thinking about ukraine. that and more when 360 continues. drivers just wont put their phones down. we need a solution. introducing... smartdogs. the first dogs trained to train humans. stopping drivers from: liking. selfie-ing. and whatever this is. available to the public... never. smartdogs are not the answer. but geico has a simple tip. turn on "do not disturb while driving" mode. brought to you by geico. we're portuguese? i thought we were hungarian. can you tell me that story again? behind every question is a story waiting to be discovered. this holiday, start the journey with a dna kit from ancestry. ♪
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president trump spent the day not turning the other cheek. he lashed out several times at a magazine which isn't unusual for him except it wasn't "time" magazine he was targeting for putting someone else on the cover. it was christianity today which is read by his white evangelical base calling for his removal. to use an old cliche it's time to call a spade a spade. we're playinged with a stacked deck. he writes his twitter feed alone with hitss strong of mischaracterizations, lies and
slanders is a perfect example of a human being lost and confused. if on cue, the president responded. a far left magazine, very progressive that some would call it has been doing poorly and involved with a billy graham family for years. christianity today knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript and would have a rather left nonbeliever who want ps to take your religion and your guns than donald trump as your president. no president has done more for the evangelical community. he'll not get anything from those demo on stage. i won't be reading e.t. again. he apparently meant ct, but hey, he was rolling. this afternoon he picked up with this. i guess the magazine is looking for elizabeth warren, bernie sanders or those of the socialist to guard their religion. how about sleepily joe. no president has done what i have done for evangelicals or religion itself. big name leaders are circling
the wagons. franklin graham, tony perkins speaking out in defense of the magazine and denouncing the magazine. mark, you've had one heck of a day. we spoke this morning. i had the pleasure of reading the president's first attack. there's been many more as the day has gone on. what do you make of his response and the reaction? >> well i'm just trying to do my part so he doesn't talk about the failed cnn network. i hope you'll appreciate my work here. seriously -- >> why do you think you got under his skin so much? >> well, i think because he imagines that ct magazine is attempting to speak for all evangelicals. one of the things he's mistaken about is what ct magazine is and who it's read by. for example, it is not a leftist magazine by any stretch. it's a center magazine, center
left and i'm the editor and chief happens to be center right. it's not a political magazine. it's a religious magazine. he was acting like we had a political vendetta against him. the whole point of the editorial was to raise the level of conversation above the political fray to try to talk about this in moral and ethical terms. terms that a magazine like christianity today knows something about. no, we don't enter the political fray when we don't have to. every once in while when the situation is grave and we think we need to speak out, we do so. we're not a political magazine. also just to be clear, we're not a magazine of the evangelical right. the people on the far evangelical right who are pro-trump don't read us either. we don't get read by the evangelical far left or right. we're centrists. we may be worried we will influence the far right. i don't imagine that's going to
happen. i do think -- one thing is clearly happening is i'm encouraging readers in our orbit and around or orbit because they have vaguely sensed some of the things i've said in the editorial and they are glad there's someone in public square saying them. >> it was the ukraine situation. it was the actions that have led to his impeachment that pushed you over the line to call for his removal. why? what about that do you find to be not apolitical but immoral? >> well, first of all, this is a cumulative effect of his presidency and at some point and up to this point, the argument by the evangelical right, many of my good friend who is are sincere believers and this is how they make their political judgment. they say you have to balance things. on the one hand trump is
strongly working for religious freedom especially for christians overseas. he's strongly pro-life and justices he's appointed. we can put up with or ignore his crazy tweets and immoral actions because on balance we're getting someone who is doing some good in the united states, as far as we can tell. for me, the impeachment hearings made that argument no longer valid, in this respect. the mueller investigation, i found very confusing. i'm not a political animal. i had a hard time following what was going on half the time. the impeachment hearings, it became crystal clear, very quickly, that donald trump, president of the united states, had used his authority to influence the leader of a foreign nation to harass and harangue the president's political opponents. that's a violation of the constitution. as such, that's immoral because the president of the united
states is supposed to uphold the constitution. that kind of clear ins stantanc there's been a lot of allegations about how the president uses his authority. they one was unambiguous to me. i felt that turned me from a person who said was sympathetic to the balance argument to the one that said it no longer applies. >> you've created quite a discussion today. i know it's been a very busy and long day for you. we appreciate you being with us. we wish you a merry christmas. >> thank you very much. same to you. the washington post says that president trump conspiracy theory that ukraine interfered in the 2016 election came from a unique source, russian president vladmir putin. been man: sneezes
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. if you're looking for the source of the president's obsession with ukraine, new reporting in the washington post points to vladmir putin. putin told me is how a former senior official says the president put it. some perspective from retired army lieutenant ralph peters. the fact that the president believes this conspiracy theory about ukraine not really surprising but if it's true that one of the reasons he believes it so strongly is because putin told him it was true, putin told him so, what's your reaction to that? >> putin knows what he's doing. putin was an agent handler for the kgb. he's trained in identifying people's vulnerabilities, their weak spots and trump is the
perfect victim. the perfect recruit, as it were. you have somebody who had financial problems, has interesting taste in women, has an ego that's easily played to, that craves praise. putin undoubtedly has been able to work him just brilliantly. if you're in the intelligence world or the espionage game, the best victim is somebody who wants to be a victim. >> best victim is somebody who wants to be a victim. does that explain -- >> somebody who is just susceptible and trump's praise. trump won't listen to the facts. won't is the wrong word. the correct word is can't. once trump has settled on an
idea, a concept or whatever you want to call it, once he's committed himself to something he has no reverse gear. it's impossible for him to admit he's wrong about anything. it's a question of can't. trump has to been the smartest person in the room. in washington where he's dealing with genuine subject matter, experts, people who have committed their entire lives to studying russia or india or china or whatever, he's so far out of his depth that he just can't bear it. that's a guy with an egg shell ego and back to putin. putin knew exactly how to play it. >> any thoughts about why he's so deferential to putin? >> i'm the minority that believes there's probably embarrassing tape, certainly
financial issues. he wants to believe what putin tells him. it's a fundamental issue here where in the beginning of trump's campaign when nobody thought he had a chance, no serious people in washington or in the academic world would bother with him. he gets tied in with people like steve bannon and paul manafort and mike flynn. all of whom were soft on russia or pro-russia and anti-ukrainian. trump's view of the world was shaped by the likes of manafort and bannon and others. he committed to this line of thought that russia's not so bad. russia should be our ally. putin gets bad wrap. ukrainians are the villains here. he cannot go back from there. >> it's interesting, colonel, that talk about the president's allies that they are all in on some of his ukraine theories
given that think might be directly tied to vladimir putin. >> indeed. trump surroundings himself with third raters. he has to be the big cheese. he has to be the smartest guy in the room. if you look at the people that's been around him with a few notable exceptions that didn't last very long, they are people who aren't expert in anything except a bit of wheeling and dealing. people who embarrass the the country every time they open their mouths. at the end of the day, the reason all of this really matters, why it's not just ukraine wasn't perfect or whatever, it matters because the next year we have a presidential election. vladimir putin will pull out all the stops. you'll see wide ranging and often innovative russian strategies. the russians want trump re-elected. >> sobering notions. thank so much for your time. have a happy holiday. >> you too. up next, how wine caves
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pete buttigieg for a lavish fund-raiser at a california wine ri. >> the mayor had a fund raider that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900 a bottle wine. think about who comes to that. he had promised that every fund-raiser he would do would be open door but this one was closed door. >> according to forbes magazine, i'm literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or billionaire. this is important, this is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass. if i pledge never to be in the company of a progressive, democratic donor, i couldn't be up here. senator, your next worth is 100 times mine. >> joining me now for their take
is cnn contributor frank bruney and kirsten powers. >> the piece you wrote min the new york times says does the road to the white house run through a wine cave? i assume you didn't mean that literally. >> that was the big, big moment at the debate was pete buttigieg held a fund-raiser at a wine cave in napa valley. elizabeth warren who is sort of the purity candidate saying you shouldn't be hitting up billionaires to win the democratic primary or to win the presidency. he was making the argument that you don't disarm when you're about to face donald trump. you take every ally you can get. you take money where you can get it. that's the kind of bigger debate than just cash and cabernet. >> i'm not sure this is the issue that will decide the democratic primary. you wrote this in your piece. they were at the top of their game in that exchange. >> they were.
if you like pete buttigieg. you liked him doubly in that exchange. he was under fire. 37-year-old mayor was as cool as a cucumber. if you like her, you liked her because she was pressing the case we cannot have a democracy that privileges people with bo cases sharply. >> owe bijoe biden was sitting watchi inin ining the whole thi. he's not been seen as having strong debate pps a lot of people look at last night saying this was a different joe biden. >> i think he in the past has been criticized for being perhaps too rambling or not seeming enough on his game and last night he was pretty much gaffe free. there have been gaffes in debates. i think he was seen as strong and on his game and couldn't come at a better time. this is really when people are
just starting to focus. i think he's still leading the polls. he's not leading in iowa but he's leading in the national polls. this is the perfect time for him to be turning into a good performance. >> tdid he have that look and feel of a front-runner in. >> i think the fact that he's been also so obviously and he took time to point this out, the person that donald trump seems to be so concerned enough about that he would do the things he did that led to impeachment. that also sort of builds up his position as the front-runner by saying like, look, trump is so concerned about me he would actually get lihimself in this trouble over me. >> you think that joe biden had a strong debate performance as well. who else do you think was a winner in. >> i think amy klobuchar had a great night. i don't know if it will matter enough because she's far back.
i think she made the case sharply and stressed she's won elections in the kind of state and area that handed trump the presidency four years ago. i think she was good with that. i think andrew yang had a good night. he's to far back, i don't think it will be candidacy change. it only matters so much if you're outside of the top four. i think the most meaningful night was joe biden's. he's been a front-runner consistently since he announced in april. we many the media have had this tendency as almost a ha louis that toir front-runner that it will disappear if you get too close or touch it if he had a gaffe. i think it's time especially after this debate to accept that joe biden could be the nominee and if you are a person making conservative bet and putting
money on someone, you'd probably put it on him. >> the polls have been fairly consistent. the new cnn poll shows joe biden up at the top. bernie sanders doing well as -- strongly as well. in the head to head match ups with trump, there's been some slippage. he's still leading outside the margin of error. sanders barely but no one else is. why do you think that is? >> the numbers for what people think of the economy are incredibly high and also in terms of how they feel the economy will be in future. people are not just positive about how the economy is doing now but actually very optimistic about the future. those two things would always mean that the president's approval rating should go up. i would ask why isn't his approval rating higher with an economy like that. with an economy like that you would be seeing stratospheric
numbers. we're talking within four or five points even the people who have lost a ground against him. >> great to have you here. have a lovely holiday. >> you too. still ahead, how a mining company secretly collaborated with a governor to lobby the white house all at the expense of one of country's most beautiful and valuable wild happen habitats. forget about vacuuming for months. the roomba i7+ with clean base automatic dirt disposal and allergenlock™ bags that trap 99% of allergens, so they don't escape back into the air. if it's not from irobot, it's not a roomba™
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we have a piece tonight from drew griffin. we have vicky ward with pick-up reporting on where parnas got his money, what kind of oligarch, where did he get it. my case on this show is giuliani may not have been a subject of having done something wrong but used by people, which could be just as dangerous. i would be remiss if i did not say i love you and i wish you and your family the best for the holy days. you are a model journalist and a model man. i am proud to call you a friend. you're a gift every day. >> happy holidays. you can unwrap me any time you want, chris. thank you very. >> ooh, naughty. >> see you in a few minutes. exclusive new details in a story we've been following o for months, a story of natural beauty, corporate money and the question of political influence. managing type 2 diabetes?
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a president who abuses power. and obstructs justice. the impeachment of donald j. trump. he was supposed to protect our constitution. not trample on it by asking foreign countries to undermine our democracy for his personal political gain. trump broke his oath to america. members of the house and senate must now do their constitutional duty. if you agree, sign our petition at need to impeach.com need to impeach is responsible for the content of this advertising. it's a story that 360 has been investigating and reporting on, the battle over plans to
build a copper or gold mines in one of alaska's most pristine settings. alaska's governor not only has embraced talking points written by the company wanting to build that mine, he's also sent them practically word for word to officials in the trump administration. >> reporter: when the trump administration's epa removed the protections on this pristine part of alaska last summer, locals and environmentalists were shocked. the company that wants to build a copper and gold mine here was overjoyed. documents obtained by cnn reveal the pebble mine company was secretly coaching alaska governor mike dunn levy's office in how to influence the trump administration to make a decision in the company's favor. in e-mail after e-mail pebble provides the governor's office with ghost-written letters, talking points for communications with the epa,
with the vice president's office and to a potential investor in the mine. joel reynolds, with the natural resources defense council says govern governor dunn leavy essentially became a lobbyist for the mine. >> these are the type of activities a company typically pays somebody on their staff to do. in this case they're working directly with the governor and his staff to accomplish the goals of the company. >> most striking of all, this april 26th letter sent by the governor to the army corps of engineers, asking the corps to end a public comment period on an environmental study. pebble's staff wrote it first, here is pebble's ghost-written letter for the governor, right next to the letter the governor actually sent to the army corps. compared side by side, the highlighted sections show the letters are nearly identical.
reynolds, who represents one of many environmental groups suing to stop the mine, is appalled. >> essentially the governor has become a puppet for pebble. >> the documents include two other companies, letters from the governor that appear to have been copied and pasted from language provided by pebble. pebble even dictated the talking point for the governor's staff to use in a meeting with the environmental protection agency. when cnn asked for comment, even their responses were similar, with pebble saying it's not unusual for interested parties to suggest language to elected officials and the governor's office saying it is common practice for an administration to request briefing materials on a specific project. pebble's communication happened at a crucial time. they were desperate to protect one of the world's last and
largest spawning area. the company was so confident it was going to happen. the day before the governor met with president trump aboard air force i, it sent the governor's office this draft press release, which hailed the decision by the environmental protection agency in advance, though pebble says it did not receive any information about a pending epa decision. the governor did meet with the president and they did discuss mining and the epa did make an announcement on june 26th, but not entirely to remove the environmental protection. and in furious emails, a pebble official tells the governor's aide the epa announcements sends the market a screaming message that epa may still kill the project and that pebble can't raise the money it needs. in announcement was worse than doing nothing. pebble asks for immediate intervention, a presidential tweet or try to get the epa to
reverse position, reminding the governor's staff in another e-mail, the epa's lack of cooperation contradicts everything they were promised last week by the president. the very next day, epa trump appointees reversed course, told its top staff in seattle the withdrawal of protections is a now a done deal, one official told cnn, we were told to get out of the way and just make it happen. a month later the epa made that secret decision official, giving the mining company the win it needed. in response alaska's governor, john, didn't answer a single question, only giving us a statement saying he supports mining but the ceo of pebble mine, tom collier, met with us personally to stress two things. first, that he and his company had no advanced knowledge of any decisions made by the epa and, second, that in his view it is
fairly normal to have communications with the governor, even to the point of writing draft letters for the governor to edit and sign. john? >> common. is that so? drew griffin, thank you very much for that. the news ticontinues. we'll hand it over to chris for "cuomo prime time." we have an exclusive tonight, new intelligence on that arrested giuliani associate tied to an oligarch who is tied to putin. there is a troubling money trail reveal revealed. another question. is pelosi right to hold back the articles of impeachment or is it going to back fire on the democrats? hold on, it ain't the holy days yet. let's get after it. all right. maybe i'm wrong. maybe trump isn't teflon after all. one of the top evangelical magazines is now taking the highly unusual step to