tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 31, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
(bell rings) . and the promise of more to come. two have appeared on the "apprentice" and all three have committed crimes team trump might be charged with. president trump pardoned di necessa dinesh d'souza. he said he was also thinking about pardons martha stewart. cnn's gjim acosta joins us now. what can you tell us about these
pardons? >> i feel like i'm on an episode of the "apprentice". >> you would have been fired. >> moving on. it was interesting, the white house tried to turn reality inside out and insist the president is not just considering people because of his celebrity status. i'll tell you in the last several minutes i spoke with a white house official that said come on. you can't ignore the celebrity connections here between president trump and martha stewart and even dinesh d'souza and shares the same lack of friendliness with barack obama. the white house is pushing back officially on camera saying that's not the case, that the president is considering each of these cases on their merits. it makes you wonder who is next. pick any of the celebrities who have appeared on the "apprent e
"apprentice" it raises the question how the president will be using this power. >> it's not the first controversial pardon the president has made or whether he's trying to send a message to paul manafort or michael cohen. >> that's right. a lot of democrats were raising that question as to whether or not the president was trying to send a message that if you don't cooperate with prosecutors, there's a presidential pardon waiting in the wings. i will tell you, anderson, there's another common denominator. look at the president's behavior this week and how he handled the roseanne barr controversy. remember joe arpaio was convicted in arizona of ignoring
a judge's warning to stop racially profiling. an and dinesh d'souza has a log of racially charged tweets. >> thanks very much. i want to bring in our panel. jennifer, do you see a commonality in this? do you think it's trying to send a message? >> i think it is. these are people being prosecuted for the same kind of crimes that the trump circle is facing. there are people the president knows personally and people that are prosecuted by people the president doesn't like, his
enemies, comey, fitzgerald. the question is is it illegal the sending of the message? i don't think we're there yet. >> jason, is a message being sent snc sent? >> no. i think that's silly. jack johnson has been dead for 70 year. >> he's an out liar. >> look at martha stewart who served her time and done with that. trying to say it's sending a message to trump associates is silly. every president pardons people. some of their supporters say great. others will hate him. i have remember when -- >> those are at the end. >> the mark ridge pardon was a mistake. >> even chelsea manning's sentence was a mistake.
>> every president will have their own view. i think for president trump, if he belongs someone is wrongly a persecuted, that's what he does. >> mr. d'souza pled guilty. he said i did it. the president feels it was unfair to mr. d'souza. he used that phrase about sheriff arpaio. he used it about scooter libby. he says it about president trump. scooter libby lied to a federal grand jury. martha stewart lied to fbi investigators. d'souza violated campaign finance laws.
there's no question he's sending a message. his lawyer was dangling pardons which could be legally problematic in front of witnesses and defendants. >> they would not characterize it as dangling. there was a mention. >> there was a big dispute on that as well. >> terry? >> look, there are thousands of worthy people of come ypardons. i worked on an effort when i worked in congress for many years for two border patrol agents who were prosecuted for shooting an illegal drug smuggler. we put in two and a half years of hard work. the president of the united states george bush commute ed their sentences. president trump please pardon
those guys. those are worthy people of pardons. do you think that one of the most corrupt governors in history is worthy of a pardon right now? just so happens he was prosecuted by fitzgerald who is james comey's lawyer. do you think it's a doicoincide that martha stewart who was convicted by james comey? these are not coincidences. president trump is doing this to send a message. no one is disputing the president's power to pardon. it's unconditional and there's even supreme court cases that say congress can't do anything about it. it's a constitutional right. should he be doing this now? there's no reason to give these people pardons now other than to send a message.
>> i want to expound on what jason said. there's something refreshingly transparent about doing them now. most of these things are done on the way out the door when voters can't hold you accountable. >> they do them at christmas and thanksgiving too. >> there are two elections coming that if you don't like it, you can vote. oscar lopez rivera pardoned by barack obama on the way out the door. talk about the clinton pardons, 130 on the last day. no voter can ever hold them accountable. i don't have a problem with the president doing it now. if you don't like it, you can change it. most voters aren't going to care too much come election time. >> donald trump is a very transactional person. he doesn't do things out of the goodness of his heart.
he's sending a message to the people in the mueller investigation. he looked up all the crimes that he and his family and aides could be charged of and found guilty of and found high profile people guilty of those crimes and is talking about pardoning them. he does have the power to pardon. there is a difference when you start abusing that power. the closer that mueller gets to him, the more brazen he is. the more bold he is. >> how is this an abuse of his power? he has the power to pardon. >> he does. what it looks like he's doing, look at the people he's pard pardoni pardoning, like d'souza, he was found guilty of campaign finance violation. who is he sending a message to? michael cohen. it's pretty clear what he's trying to do.
>> that's your interpretation. >> no it's not just mine. >> you don't like the president. >> i don't like -- >> people who don't like -- >> i don't like the president for no reason. there are a list of reasons why i don't like the president. obstruction of justice he's clearly done by firing comey, by getting in the way of the investigation. >> his power is absolute in this. >> there is. there's something else that's going on, the continued attack on d.o.j. there's a reason pardons are done the way they are with a long process that asks the prosecutors to weigh in. that's to let the prosecutors say we put a lot of sweat equity in this. here's why they shouldn't be pardoned. he's completely ignoring that. he doesn't care what his fbi agents think. it's the undermining of the fbi.
he's not a supporter of law enforcement or the rule of law. >> people voted for president trump because he wasn't going to get all this time caught up going through the big long process. >> he also said he was the law enforcement president. >> the process of gathering evidence. >> following the rule of law is not his strong suit. i don't think people voted for him hoping he would flop the rule of law. >> he's been very strong support of law enforcement. >> he said the fbi was like nazi storm troopers. >> we have to understand rod's wife was on fox news going on about how her husband was unfairly sentenced as long as he was on fox news. now he's the in boy on fox. it's a coordinated effort because of who prosecuted him. that's what's going on.
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racial slur. in a morning tweet the president say iger where is my call for my apology? brian ross you'll recall published a report about the president with an error. abc suspended ross. the white house was quick to attack samantha bee. here's what she said. we're editing out the offensive word. ivanka trump post the most oblivious tweet. ivanka, let me say one mother to another do something about your dad's immigration practices you
[ bleep ]. he listens to you. put on something low cut and tell your father to [ bleep ] stop it. >> after criticism began today samantha bee apologized. time warner said airing the remark, we regret it. do you see the double standard that roseanne barr got fired? samantha bee apologized but kept her job. >> it's wild that donald trump would find himself to be a victim about a comment that both sides found incredibly racist and condemned, but he as the president was not able to condemn what roseanne barr put in a tweet. >> you think he should have said something? >> absolutely. in recent history any democrat
or republican wouldn't defend those remarks. he made himself a victim. what samantha bee said -- i'm not going to defend that. those are horrible words. there is a hypocrisy. you've can't condemn samantha bee and have a president on tape saying he grabs a woman by her genitalia and still condemn samantha bee. it was reported he called sally yates the c word. >> terry you see the double standard? >> yeah. there's a fair grievance on the side of republicans where we felt the reaction has been different towards conservatives in entertainment than liberals
because hollywood is more left wing. i think there's a fair argument there. based off the reactions in the past of some people that have said vial things, i'm no fan of donald trump. there have been horrible things said about donald trump, about sa aye sass nating him and move on. let it be on the right, they should be fired. i think what happened with roseanne was the right thing to do. it was racist. if you're applauding roseanne being fired and supporting samantha bee, i think it's hypocritical. you let the free market decide. >> not only are people excusing samantha bee they're excusing what bill maher said on his show and keith olbermann has said
outrageous things. then you have roseanne. one of these things is not like the other. samantha bee has gone after every female related to donald trump or around donald trump. kellyanne conway was called soulless. hope hicks called down a word that rhymes with rich. sar sarahe i don't want the white house to intervene. i want the free market to intervene. two sponsors have already dropped her. >> i say the comment about kelly anne wasn't vulgar or obscene. she's a big gal.
she's the first female successful campaign manager for the president of the united states. the language samantha bee uses is completely unacceptable. we were talking about roseanne barr said, a vicious racist attack on a good woman. many of my friends who support president trump said if the white house were to disavow it then they have to disavow everything else. that's a logical argument. 24 hours later they're disavowing another comment. they're the ones with the double standard. that's really what's at play here. my friend hillary clinton was called that vile word by ted enou nugent and he was welcomed in the white house. it's the president who has the double standard. >> i agree with that.
if we want to have a conversation about race, we should have. i worked for obama the first two years. it was ugly. it was disgusting the things they were saying about the first black president and the first bl black family in the white house. he stayed above the fray. he did what he was supposed to do as president, president for everybody. we don't see that in this president. he picks and chooses who he wants to condemn. he doesn't talk about the real issues of race. >> and makes himself the victim. >> how did trump become a victim? >> jason made the point why should the president say something on this, it's never going to be enough for the left. if he says something about this, then they'll say what about this? it's sort of a no win situation for him. do you think he should have said
something about the actual racist nature of roseanne's tweet? >> i do actually. jason may be right. it may never be enough. when you're the president, you can say things and change the course of the national conversation. had he said something about roseanne, it would have mattered. it wouldn't matter to people who hate him. it would matter to people who want to see how washington re t reacts to this. the president can do better on race issues. i thought president obama's term for eight years was disappointing on race issues. we had a chance to do better and we didn't. we've been failing at pulling this country together for a long time. it's collectively on all of us to do better. it includes a president and other people. i hope we get there. we cannot get there if these double standards continue to
exist when certain people are punished and others aren't. that part of the country that supports this president is going to say there's no way for us to win and get the benefit of doubt. >> was it wrong to host ted nugent in the white house? >> and sheriff arpaio. >> you're making my point. they want to pin the behavior of anyone bad on president trump. >> let's hold this thought. we have to take a quick break. whoooo.
. back now with the panel. we were talking about ted nugent before the break and his invitation to the white house. >> i was saying to remind my republican friend here donald trump started his business career discriminating against black tenants. he started his political career pedaling a conspiracy theory about birthism. he started his presidential career talking about mexicans and rapists. he talked about neo nazis and saying there were fine people on both sides in charlottesville. he has an issue with race and bigotry, not just recently. i grew up in new york city. i know exactly who donald trump is. we had to listen and watch him when i was growing up. this is -- he has a race issue.
honestly the problem isn't roseanne barr. the problem is donald trump. >> i couldn't disagree more. i don't think you know president trump at all. earlier you've said that president trump researched every possible topic that would come up and apply to people in his orbit and that's why they got pardons. there's no way he's doing that. >> he's not a big researcher. that's true. what i listed is true. those are facts. >> this is why the democrats haven't gotten their acts together since 2016. >> we on alabama back. >> everything is triggered on trying to blame everything on president trump. i think that's why the democratic party is lost right now. >> how are we lost? you guys are giving us our message. health care, the tax cut. >> nobody knows anything about
your health care. >> see how jason got off the race issue and went to politics. >> which you're wrong on jason. >> donald trump has a race problem. it is careelear. he has a long history of established bigotry. he was sued for it. we have know comments he made over the years. i grew up in new jersey. i have know what he did in atlantic city. the central park five. >> donald trump did better with aft african americans than mitt romney. >> i don't care. explain to me why donald trump wouldn't apologize taking out full page ads wanting the death penalty for the central park
five. why wouldn't he say he was wrong? >> he felt strongly at the time. >> he was wrong. they were black and latino. >> we're going back to central park five. >> yes. i'm using that as an example. why didn't he condemn david duke right away? >> why don't you give him any credit for the work he's done as far as bringing more african americans -- >> it's 2% more. >> i've had to deal with this and because of republicans like you -- >> republicans like me? >> yes. you're cheering that 5% of african americans voted for him. that's pathetic -- >> don't make it so personal. >> jason you're the one that's trying to justify this. >> i'm cheering that we're doing better under donald trump.
>> there's no proof that -- >> i'm cheering on donald trump's improvement. >> so because a couple percentage more black folks say we'll give donald trump a chance -- >> did the numbers go up or down? >> jason he should have condemned the racist comments roseanne made. he should have condemned charlottesville. >> you want to pin that on donald trump. >> because he has a racial history. >> you're making my point. >> yes i think donald trump created an environment that unearth people -- >> that's not -- >> yes. >> you think donald trump is to blame for roseanne barr and charlottesville? >> no. >> that's what you said. >> own it. >> jason you're trying to twist my words. >> that's what you said. >> i said he created the environment for people to feel
they're emboldened to do it. >> we're going to get into the president's history of why he said he fired james comey and how he's contradicting himself now. half off duty and veterans gt select samsung galaxy phones. you want things done right. that's why we test all of our paints and stains for months. or even years. we dedicate 175,000 square feet to getting it wrong... ...because you deserve paint that's done right. that's proudly particular. benjamin moore. the standard for paint professionals. only at local paint and hardware stores. dray, when he was younger, he loved to smile; and we knew he
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what he said before. not that it matters, i never fired james comey because of russia. the corrupt mainstream media loves to keep pushing that narrative. on may 10th the day after comey was fired and said i just fired the head of the fbi. he was crazy. i faced great pressure because of russia. that was taken off. then he talked to lester holt and said this. >> regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact when i decided to do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> the president saying he was considering this russia thing when he fired comey not the memo
from rod rosenstein. back with the panel. should the president be tweeting about this at all and does it make sense? >> if his lawyers have any hair left, they're tearing it out. there's no other plausible innocent explanation for why he fired comey. he tried this cock and bull story which comey was so mean to hillary which he was. of course he fired comey because of russia. he lobbied comey to go easy on flynn because of russia. he asked his white house counsel to fire bob mueller because of russia. it looks like they fired andy mccabe because of russia. he attacks the fbi constantly because of russia. all roads lead to russia with
this guy. it's the rosetta stone of this presidency. that's what he's fixated on. >> is it not wise legally? >> it's legally not wise. we're not going to end up in criminal court. donald trump's credibility would be shot by these inconsistent statements. what we have here is them, meaning trump and his lawyer, not bracing for criminal court, but this campaign is designed to undermine in the public's view this whole investigation. they're hoping this muddies the waters and everyone thinks it's unfair. so the trump base will put pressure on the republicans in congress not to impeach him. not legal, it's political. >> jason do you see a contradiction as to what the president tweeted and what he said to the russians in the oval office and lester holt?
>> i don't think so. the president said this a number times before about why he fired james comey. in my opinion the only thing the president did wrong is not firing james comey on the first d day. >> you see no contradiction in what he told the russians and lester holt? >> no. i think he's been consistent. he believes the entire comey reign was a complete disaster. democrats hated james comey and when he was attacking the president, then he was great. the single biggest news this week is that trey gaudy said the president is not -- >> the huge headline of that is there was no spy and he's contradicting what the president has been saying about this. let me play so that i don't think i'm going insane. i want to read the president's
tweet today. not that it matters but i never fired james comey because of russia. the corrupt mainstream media loves to keep pushing that narrative but they know it's not true. let's play the nbc sound bite. >> i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact when i decided to do it i said to myself i said this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for losing an election they should have won. >> comey told the president he was not being investigated. i think the president is right to be frustrated with director comey. he made it clear he thought comey's reign was a complete disaster. he did a terrible job for the hillary clinton e-mail disaster.
>> the best answer to this question is because i can. the president can hire and fire the fbi director. sarah sanders has got it right at the podium later. i would caution, it is a slippery slope when we criminalize the lawful executive actions of the authority vested in the president of the united states. we are going down a road i don't think we want to go down. when the democrats have the white house again -- barack obama did a great many things i didn't like. i didn't want to see his lawful actions criminalized. i think it's a very slippery slope. >> we could flip that argument and say i don't think anybody is disputing that the president can fire the fbi director. when the intent behind firing the fbi director is to obstruct justice potentially which is why we have a special counsel in the
first place, that's a slippery slope that i think if we start excusing that and trying to criminalize the special counsel for looking into those actions, then that becomes i think something dangerous that we shouldn't be doing. it should be about the president using his authority properly. >> at the time he did it he had been told by comey you're not under investigation. how can you obstruct an investigation against yourself that doesn't exist according to the man at the top of the fbi? >> wait a minute -- >> we have 20 seconds. >> the entire russia investigation even if he wasn't under investigation, michael flynn and people around him were. he asked comey forget this thing on flynn. that's potentially obstruction of justice. >> coming up the federal government said approximately 11,000 immigrant children have
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when it comes to my grant children in government detention. new figures showing more than 11,000 kids in government shelters. it's a 22% increase from last month. the question is given the zero tolerance policy announced by attorney general sessions are these numbers the end result. earlier i spoke with this from the sheriff in arizona and jorge ramos. >> jorge, you've been krcritica of the president's immigration policy. could this act as a did eterren?
>> what i think we're seeing is cruelty as public policy. we know there are 1,400 kids missing or lost. we have don't know where they are. we know that more than 700 children have been separated from their parents since october. we know that president trump is responsible. no law requires him to do this. this is precisely what is happening right now. is there a deterrent? i'm not sure. i've been talking to immigrants from central america. if you were a mother or father and your son could be recruited by gangs or your daughter could be raped by them would you stay in honduras or come to the united states? i think they'll keep coming. >> the number 1,500 children lost, that's a follow up phone survey that they couldn't tractor account for. >> correct. >> it doesn't mean they're lost.
in some cases it's people not getting back or returning the call. >> and not necessarily separated from their parents. >> sheriff, the president claimed they have to break up families and the democrats are responsible for that law. as jorge said, that's true. the federal government isn't required to do this by law. >> well, it's a broken system. it has been, not just with president obama, but under bush. it's gone on for decades. finally now what we have as you mention zero tolerance. anybody who comes across the border illegal is subject to federal prosecution. nobody should be scratching their heads surprised that donald trump is through his cabinet enforcing the law. the fact that they're being prosecuted. the idea there's 1,400 or 1,500 children, go to the hhs.com
website. it shows a lot of misinformation. >> there are more kids being separated from their parents than ever before. >> correct. >> is that humane? >> you mentioned a zero tolerance. it's a start of zero tolerance. you ask is it human? i think is it more humane to get a hold of the drug activity in the central american countries. we're going to continue to have -- if we have not just tens of thousands, there would be hundreds and hundreds of thousands. everybody has a story. everybody's got an issue. i'm not in disagreement the fact that there's real problems in violence and crimes in central america. mexico in certain parts can make the same case. we as a nation here in the
united states have to decide when is it enough? we already accept a million legal immigrants every year. we are generous. we are compassionate. >> jorge, when is it enough? >> i think we have to decide what kind of country we want to be. if someone is trying to find a secure place and they're hiding, they're fleeing from violence and poverty, are we going to say no? do we want to be known as the country that separates families? i got information from aclu. they published testimony from a mother who was separated. she said my son was crying as i put him in the seat. i didn't have a chance to try to comfort my son. the officers slammed the door shut as soon as he was in his
seat. i was crying too. i have cry when i think about the moment when the border officers took my son away. this is what the united states government is doing. do we want to be known for this? >> i would say yes in response. wait a minute. >> yes? >> if you don't want to be arrested and detained, don't bring your children clear across one or two countries many times by foot walking up here with all kinds of threats to them and then knowingly break the law and then wonder why are we being separated, this is what happens. >> would you say in honduras if they threatened to kill your son or would you come to the states? >> you're saying we should unload everyone in hon duras and
bring them here. >> not everyone. >> i'm submitting to you and the viewers it's far more compassionate for us as a nation, let's reach out with resources to these countries to stabilize these countries to grow their economies to get an environment they want to stay in their own country. >> the violence in central america has to do with drug trafficking. we have 25 million people in this country who consume those drugs. we're partly responsible. so i think when some of them are asking for help from the united states, we should say yes, absolutely. >> jorge ramos, sheriff, i appreciate your time. >> up next steve bannon on the advice he's given his old boss.
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"360" came up. >> i said don't fire comey. it's the c block on anderson cooper. no one is interested anymore. it will be done in ninety days. >> i have to protest that. lots of people watch the c block. >> by the time you get to the c block the energy -- it's not on the a block. i've always said he's a combat marine and great individual. where i have a problem and a huge problem, i was the guy that said publicly that ty cobb should be fired. he gave the president i thought terrible advice. i think he lied to the president consistently about the nature of the investigation and the timing of it. unlike every other president we went and gave a million pages of
documents and allowed -- >> hang on. >> to expedite this which i thought was not wise. >> that and much more tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. eastern. thanks for watching "360." time to hand it over to don lemon. >> this is "cnn" tonight. the president trump sending a bat signal to former aides in the way of the mueller investigation. are his pardons saying i have the power to pardon you like i pardoned dinesh d'souza, martha stewart and scooter libby. so are the president's