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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President Trump: "No Collusion," No Commitment to Talk to Mueller; President Trump Vows to Take a "Strong Look" at "Sham" Libel Laws; After Trump Administration Drops Florida from Offshore Oil Drilling Plan, Oregon Governor Asks What About Us?; Oregon Governor "Appalled" At Plan to Lift Ban on Offshore Drilling; At Least 17 Dead, 100 Homes Destroyed in California Mudslides. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 10, 2018 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Today, President Trump refused to say whether he's willing to talk to Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We begin tonight's Keeping Them Honest with what seems to be his justification whether there's anything to it, it come down to all the things that even after a year in office the President simply cannot let go off, namely the election has defeated opponent, his claim that her campaign collaborated with Russia not his and his belief that any claims to the contrary or even the mirror investigation of such claims or either a hawks, a sham, a democratic excuse for losing to him or an attempt to undercut his victory.

Here is what he told Fox' John Roberts this afternoon when asked whether he is open to talking to the special counsel with or without special conditions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians or Trump and Russians. No collusion. When I watch you interviewing all the people leaving their committees, I mean, the Democrats are all running for office, trying to say this that -- but bottom line, they all say there's no collusion. And there is no collusion.

And when you talk about interviews, Hillary Clinton had an interview, where she wasn't sworn in, she wasn't given the oath, they didn't take notes, they didn't record and it was done on the 4th of July weekend. That's perhaps ridiculous and a lot of people looked upon that as being a very serious breach and it really was

But again I'll speak to attorneys -- I can only say this, there was absolutely no collusion. Everybody knows it. Every committee -- I've been in office now for 11 months. For 11 months, they've had this phony cloud over this administration, over our government. And it has hurt our government. It does hurt our government. It's a Democrat hoax that was brought up as an excuse for losing an election that frankly the Democrats should have won because they have such a tremendous advantage in the Electoral College

So it was brought up for that reason. But it has been determined that there is no collusion and by virtually everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, he said the words no collision, eight times in a bit more than a minute but that wasn't all. I want to play what he said next on its own so you can better see the President's reasoning and especially where it could lead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We'll see what happens, I mean certainly I'll see what happens, but when they have no collision and nobody has found any collision at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So that's the bottom line, why talk when there is nothing to talk about he is saying.

To begin with, he might not have a choice, the special counsel can always subpoena him despite what the President claims there could be plenty to talk about.

Before we go any further, here is the Webster's definition of collision "Secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose as in acting in collision with the enemy."

Now keep that in mind so you can decide for yourself whether any and what we already know amounts to collision such as this from the charging document of the guilty plea of Former Campaign Aide George Papadopoulos, "Through his false statements and omissions, defendant impeded the FBI's ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the campaign and the Russian government's efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election."

So there is that and Michael Flynn's guilty pleas for lying about contacts with Russians and some of the allegations and the other indictments other than indictments. We do not fully know what, if anything, the special counsel has uncovered about collision, nor where the congressional committees is looking into this have learned. What we do know is simple, neither the committees nor the Special Counsel's Office have said anything either directly accusing the President or his campaign or clearing them of anything.

Back in November, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein told Jake Tapper she yet to see any evidence that the Trump campaign receive from the Russians stored (ph) on Hillary Clinton or any hacked emails. She did not clear anyone of colliding with Russians to interfere with the election. She did say that the investigation continues and so did Republican Richard Burr Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD BURR, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRMAN: Have more to do as it relates to collision but we're developing a

clear picture of what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That sentiment is echoed by his Democratic Co-Chair Senator Mark Warner

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK WARNER, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We have successfully pressed for the full accounting of Russian cyber efforts to target our state election systems. And, despite the initial denials of any Russian contacts during the election, this Committee's efforts have helped uncover numerous and troubling high-level engagements between the Trump campaign and Russian affiliates -- many of which have only been revealed in recent months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So that doesn't sound like the all clear on collision nor does this just today from former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden who worked to Democratic and Republican presidents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER NSA AND CIA DIRECTOR: It's not a hoax. It's not all created by Democrats. I mean, there is now historical record on which we can all agree that there were contacts between the campaign and agents of the Russian Federation, that there was some cooperation, some synchronization of activities between the campaign, the Russians and WikiLeaks.

[20:05:04] Now, whether it's collusion or criminal, a completely different matter, but there is some there there. And what struck me about the President's comments is, he needs, he wants, he should be pursuing closure. And he doesn't get closure until he talks to Bob Mueller.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And to that point just a reminder, none of us, not even the President knows when this will end. There are no expiration dates and it seems no room for the President to claim vindication until all the facts were known.

Another view now from California Congressman Adam Schiff, Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I spoke to him earlier this evening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Congressman Schiff, President Trump's claim that Democrats all say there's no collision that the investigation is, "A phony cloud hanging over his administration and Democrat hoax. Is your position that there is no collision and that the investigation is a phony cloud? ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: Of course not, the President seems to repeat this as a mantra, no collision, no collision, no collision. In the interview we did a couple of weeks ago in New York Times, I think he said it, some 16 or more times as if you could simply wish it away. But look, we found s scores of meetings that the Trump campaign said they never had. We've had Trump official after Trump official lie about those meetings, two already plead guilty for lying about these meetings and of course a pivotal meeting in Trump Tower with three of the top campaign people that was undertaken with the promise of obtaining dirt from the Russians on Hillary Clinton as part of what was described as the Russian government effort to help the Trump campaign. So no, the President is certainly wrong but he's not alone and being wrong on that issue.

COOPER: I mean, the fact that the President wouldn't say whether he would be willing to meet with Mueller, grant Mueller in an interview, does that give you any kind of pause just in terms of how cooperative the President really wants to be with the special counsel?

SCHIFF: Well, I have to mentioned that both the President and his team of lawyers are desperately concerned about any interview that he might give under oath to the special counsel, after all this, this is a President who says one thing in the morning and will say something at times completely different only hours later. And has made some -- I think very potentially incriminating comments, you know, such as the one that he gave to Lester Holt about his motivation on firing James Comey.

So I can certainly understand the White House concern at the same time I understand the imperative of special counsel in conducting this interview. It's not something you can ask a witness like this to do in writing. If you ask the President respond to questions in writing, what you're really getting are the lawyer's answers and not the President's answers.

COOPER: Finally, I mean I know the investigation is ongoing way back in Mach though last year, you said that you would seen, "more than circumstantial evidence" that people connect -- the President colluded with Russia in interfering the 2016 election. Where do you stand on that now, have you seen any more than just circumstantial evidence?

SCHIFF: Yes. I think that if you look at even what is in the public domain, you really have to be, willfully blinding yourself or crediting every self-serving explanation of the Trump people to ignore the evidence that is before us. Here you have as early as April, the Russian's approach in George Papadopoulos and informing the Trump campaign through one of his few foreign policy advisers that they have dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form, stolen emails. That was told to the Trump campaign before even the Clinton campaign was aware of it and you have that Trump campaign person lying to federal agents about t. You have Mike Flynn meeting or discussing rather secretly with the Russian ambassador ways to undermine the bipartisan policy of the United States visibly sanctions over Russia's intervention in the election and then lying about that.

You also have course that meeting at Trump Tower. You have the connections with WikiLeaks. The fact that after the Trump Tower meeting almost immediately after you see during (INAUDIBLE) the first time acknowledging receipt of these stolen emails that we now know came from the Russians.

So there is ample evidence in the public director that on the issue of collusion and the only issue really is what's the strength of that evidence, what will -- for example George Papadopoulos have to say, what will have to Mike Flynn have to say, what would these other witnesses have to say when we bring them in if we're allowed to bring them in. That would tell us how strong is the evidence and in essence of that, it's very hard to be able to say, this is what I predict, the evidence would be at the end of investigation.

COOPER: So just to kind of just drill down that a little bit, essentially you're saying you've seen indications of collision, possible indications of collision, how real it is, you're not willing to say at this point?

SCHIFF: Well, you know, I think we have seen evidence of collusion, the question is -- ultimately for Bob Mueller, is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt such that he would feel comfortable seeking an indictment or seeking to go before jury and make the case. For us in Congress it's not a question of beyond a reasonable doubt. It's a question of what evidence do we find on the issue of collusion that we need to present to the American people and what conclusions can we draw from it whether or not it amounts to proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

[20:10:12] COOPER: Is there enough evidence in your opinion so far in the public record? I mean you talked about this not as on a legal basis but on a political basis for Congress for impeachment?

SCHIFF: You know, I'm reserving judgment on what we'll ultimately find and I voted against the impeachment of resolution we have in the House because I think we need to finish our investigation and determine the strength of the evidence and what the consequences are to flow from that.

COOPER: And I know isn't -- finally, but just really a bit final question, the testimony that was released by Senator Feinstein from the founders of Fusion GPS, does that put an end to the Republican argument that this so called dossier, the series of memos was the work of Hillary Clinton, was done at the behest. I mean obviously the Clinton campaign did pay money after this -- research was already begun by Republicans?

SCHIFF: I mean, we'll put an end to it because this is really not based on fact, this is based on the desire to create a political narrative to distract attention frankly from what the Russians did and the connections between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

So I don't imagine that any amount of evidence is going to deter at least some members of the House and some members of the Senate from trying to make this all the government.

And Anderson, I was a prosecutor for six years, I've seen this gambit before when the facts are bad against your client then you try to put the government on trial and that's really what the GOP is trying to do here.

The problem is the White House is not their client, this shouldn't be, we shouldn't be prosecutors, they shouldn't be defense counsel, they should all be investigators here but unfortunately that is not the role I think that many of my colleagues are taking on.

COOPER: Congressman Schiff I appreciate your time, thanks.

SCHIFF: Thanks Anderson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, just ahead, legal views from across the spectrum on the President's no collision claim and his non-commitment about talking to Robert Mueller.

Later, we have breaking news from California. So many people lost their lives in mudslides, the death toll now rising. We'll have a lot of update on the search for survivals.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:15:48] COOPER: So the President today suggested there might not be any reason to talk with Russia's Special Counsel Robert Mueller because the President seems to believe there is nothing to talk about, no collision he says between his campaign and the Russians therefore nothing to say.

Now, living inside the reality that he might not have a choice in the matter he could be subpoenaed that he could be compelled to talk. What the President said today differs from what he said before about cooperating with Mueller. Here is what the President said in June and to be fair he digresses a bit but seems to come back on the point in the end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?

TRUMP: One hundred percent, I didn't say under oath. I hardly know the man. I'm not going to say I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean, think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn't make sense. No, I didn't say and I didn't say the other. I would be glad to tell them exactly what I just told you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, let's get a legal perspective now from former Trump White House lawyer Jim Schultz, former Obama Ethics Czar Norm Eisen and Georgetown University Law School Carrie Cordero. She is a CNN Legal Analyst As well.

Jim, would you advise the President to resist being interviewed by the special counsel?

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I think this is a lot about the President taking advice from his lawyers at this point in time. The President said that he would speak with a special counsel, he said that in the past and now he's pulling that back a little bit probably at the behest of his lawyers because what's going to happen here at the end of the day, the same thing that happened during the Bush administration when George W. Bush was interviewed by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in the Oval Office for 70 minutes and negotiation is going to take place about the time, the scope of the inquiry, what questions, what topics can be discussed. All of this is going to be negotiated out by lawyers.

COOPER: So this may be part of fostering for negotiation you're saying?

SCHULTZ: Yes, I think probably is. At the end it's probably going to be a negotiation as to whether the President goes before Mueller and his team or not and to the extent that he does go before the team. I would expect his lawyers are going to negotiate that out.

COOPER: Right, as much as they can.

Ambassador Eisen, I mean, do you believe the President has grounds to resist being interviewed by the special counsel and to Jim's point, do you think this is kind of an opening gambit or part of a gambit in negotiation?

NORM EISEN, FORMER OBAMA ETHICS CZAR: Anderson thanks for having me back. I think Jim does have a good point that the President now is playing bad cop a little bit to help his lawyers in the negotiation. He does not have grounds to resist. It's not just his public statement. Mueller can subpoena him, he has no legal grounds after U.S. v. Nixon after all that was also subpoena to a president unanimously, the Supreme Court said, the president has to answer it. Mueller knows that he can hull the President before a grand jury with the subpoena.

So it's not a real negotiation. The President's lawyers have one hand tied behind their back. They'll try to get the best feel they can as the scope subject, time, location, but that interviews going to happen, Anderson, because there is a lot of evidence of obstruction and it can't be resolved without understanding the President's intent, was it corrupt or not.

COOPER: Carrie, who do you think has the most --

EISEN: I don't know there's a lot of --

COOPER: Sorry, just who do you think, Carrie, has the most leverage in this situation? The White House or the special counsel, because obviously if the President is subpoenaed, the -- I mean, one of the problems with that for the President is his lawyers then would not be present.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. In my view the special counsel has the upper hand in this negotiation, certainly the details will need to be worked out in terms of what the subject matter of a particular interview is, the timing, the location, who is present, all those sorts of things are up for negotiation and will be worked out.

But I do think the special counsel, if the special counsel determines for his investigation that they need to interview the President and I don't think that's something that they would do likely. They understand the gravity of interviewing the President of the United States and all that is involved with that. But if they determine they need to then they have already -- what's been reported is they've already communicated to the White House Counsel's Office and the President's lawyers that they want to interview him and it's just a matter of when?

[20:20:03] Now it might be that the President's office wants to delay. I can't image that the President is in any rush to want to be interviewed by the special counsel, nor really would any president. So they might want to delay it. They might want to put it off but at the end of the day if the special counsel wants to interview him, they will be able to.

COOPER: Jim, I'd be demystified and ask you about your former boss White House counsel Don McGahn, who seems to be caught up in all of this. What he knows? What he doesn't know? Do you believe McGahn would put his own credibility or integrity at stake to protect the President because -- I mean, his job is -- he is not the President's personal attorney, he is the attorney for the Office of the President.

SCHULTZ: Don McGahn is been stabilizing force in the White House from day one. He is a tremendous White House counsel. He has done a very good job. He added the reports of him having a discussion with Jeff Sessions were entirely appropriate. You had a White House counsel who was talking with a member of the cabinet about a legal issue related to recusal. It's much ado about nothing.

And I think the President has the right to be a little frustrated because he wants to get back about the Russia collusion talk because he wants to get back to talking about the 12 circuit judges they had confirm.

He wants to get back to talk about putting people back to work. He wants to get back to talk about transportation infrastructure. People getting bigger paychecks as a result of tax reform, none of that happens while you're talking about collusion.

COOPER: Ambassador, would it be legal all this time if the President's son Don Jr. Jared Kushner, perhaps others were talking about all this? I mean, whether it's Russian obstruction, making sure their stories match up. Is that technically allowed?

EISEN: Anderson, that kind of effort to line your stories up and obscure the truth is a classic part of an obstruction of justice pattern. And that's why emerging evidence continue to come out about the President himself on Air Force One trying to shape Don Jr.'s story about the notorious meeting at Trump Tower between Don Jr. and the other campaign officials and the Russians is so concerning. There is a tremendous stuff (ph) and other evidence, the tremendous amount of obstruction evidence. My goodness, we have evidence, the President of United States ask the FBI director. Can you see we're clear to letting Flynn go and when he didn't do, he fired Jim Comey.

He cried out in the Oval Office, where is my Roy Cohn?

I mean, this is a president who seemingly had something to hide but there's no way to know for sure without Bob Mueller setting across the table, look at him in the eye, asking him the questions and gauging his answers and his credibility. Was he intending to obstruct or not?

COOPER: Carrie, I mean, there's the criminal standard that Robert Mueller is looking at. Then, Congress has the constitutional standard. It doesn't necessarily have to tell precisely with Mueller standard. What do you think the White House is more concern about or should be more concern about right now, with standard?

CORDERO: Well, I think they're probably must concerned about legal exposure with the special counsel's case. Because the special counsel's investigation as far as we know it looks like it's covering several different areas ranging from potential violations of possibly Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which involved the hacking aspect. And whether there was any advance knowledge of that to obstruction, to financial crimes, to foreign agent's registration. So there is a lot of legal exposure, not all of that is directed at the President, some of that is directed to individuals who were involved in the campaign, others potentially who still work in the White House. So there's a lot of legal exposure here.

But of course, institutionally for the Office of the Presidency and this is what the White House counsel would be must concern with is that potential issue for the congress to take it up as a matter of impeachment. But -- so those are two different considerations, both serious in their own way.

COOPER: All right, we got to leave it there. I appreciate everybody.

Just ahead, after week of explosive stories about the Trump White House, the President says that libel law oath to be change. I want to give a quick spoiler alert, that's not something he can actually do. Details on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:28:11] COOPER: President Trump was venting again today, possibly taking a swipe of Michael Wolff new book where the recent reporting on the so-called dossier or both. Here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace, and do not represent American values or American fairness. So we're going to take a strong look at that. We want fairness. You can't say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account. We're going to take a very, very strong look at that. And I think what the American people want to see is fairness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, keep in mind this is coming from someone who spent more than a year lying about where former President Obama was born. He also push of course the theory that Ted Cruz' father was involved with the Kennedy assassination, which actually happen but anyway. Keep Them Honest, even if he wanted too, there is, not much President Trump, or any president for that matter can actually do about libel laws pouring a new action by the Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment.

It's hardly new thing for Donald Trump before he was president, he had a long history of threatening to take a legal action against nearly anything written about him that he didn't like. It's a history President Trump's biographer Michael D'Antonio knows well. He joins us now, along with David Gergen, adviser of president's Republican and Democrat.

So David, I mean, obviously no president ever likes their press coverage really or everything that's written about them -- to go so far suggest changing libel laws, which is not something the President can actually just unilaterally do is odd or disturbing to say it at least.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree. Let's come to the basics. The libel laws in this country are controlled by a key society, by the Supreme Court in 1964, probably the New York Times versus Sullivan. It was a nine nothing decision, Anderson, which said that in order to -- for a public figure to sue somebody for a libel and succeed not only have the proof that the statement, the critical statement was, you know, false. But you also have to prove actual malice that the person or the publication making the critical statement knowingly, you know, misdescribed or did it with malice.

[20:30:21] I must tell you that every president I've known for the last 40 years as it one time or another, I've heard say in private. I sure with the New York Time-Sullivan case was decided differently. I sure like to change the laws. But I can't remember any of them, going public without -- because it's a nine nothing decision. And it's to bulwark of our press freedom and our general freedom of speech.

So -- and Washington Post has reported today, now that as of this time since President Trump took office, he has issued at least 2011 misleading or false statements, things like -- look at Hillary, it does not sound defaming.

And I must say, finally, when I mentioned the dinner table tonight that I was going to talk about President Trump calling for a tightening and the libel laws, my wife burst out loudly.

COOPER: Michael, I mean, as a citizen, Donald Trump and you know him well as a biographer, I mean, he talked about libel laws, he is been, you know, annoyed about press coverage for a long time.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he is been annoyed about press conference since the 1970s, very first journalist to really investigate Donald Trump, received threatening phone calls from him and he is threatened lawsuits and brought lawsuits and every decade since then.

So this is a person who is a very aggressive litigator when it comes to the press and yet he never seems to learn having laws in these cases or had them thrown out. He was even once lectured by a judge on the price that famous and powerful people pay in our society for their fame and power.

The judge said, well, this is one of the parts of our system that keeps the powerful honest and yet the doesn't seem to accept that it actually is very American to do this even though he claims that it's against what most Americans would expect from their country.

COOPER: David, I want to focus on the President's wording today. He said, current libel laws are, "a sham and disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness." I wonder what you make of that tying (ph) to American values. Because again, I mean, it does bear repeating this is a President who, you know, was a leader pushing the false idea that President Obama was not American.

GERGEN: Absolutely. And look, there's nothing more American than a libel laws. We do set a higher standard. We require more of a plaintive summary who have been accused inside of the United Kingdom it does. But nonetheless, the libel laws are very consistent with our values, a value of free speech. We have robust (INAUDIBLE) kind of democracy. That's who we are. And we also have a freedom of press, which is been bulwark for our freedom for a long time.

Just look at the whole movie suppose now that it's doing so much attention. So, you know, it just sort of like, I don't know why the President needs to go down this path when he is not -- the administration is not going to change the laws. And, you know, he said, he was going to go after all these women and went after them during the campaign.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: He hasn't filed one of those suits. This is sort of just a through away comment meant to put a little more fuel on the fire, keep us distracted and one and another. It's not a serious conversation.

COOPER: Yes, and you could argue, he tells it to intimate or to kind of look tough in order for his supporters but there's no real follow through on it. We're going to end it there. Michael D'Antonio, David Gergen, thanks very much.

Just a question ahead, if offshore dealing is now -- not going to happen off the coast of Florida, why not other states? The governor of Oregon certainly wants to know except she says no one in Trump's world returning your phone calls. I'll talk to her ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:38:05] COOPER: We all know that it helps their friends in high places. So in Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott, a close political alley obviously President said he absolutely positively did not like the Trump administration's decision to allow offshore drilling to begin a new in his state, press though, the decision was quickly reverse.

Democrats wondered if this has anything to with the notion that Scott maybe thinking about running for the Senate later this year against Democrat Bill Nelson. And that President Trump wanted to just got a political favor or that the President wants to keep Republican voters in Florida on his side, nonetheless, spokesman for the interior department, not at all. But other governors of coastal state are now saying, wait a minute what about us? We don't want drilling here either.

Among those governors is Oregon's Kate Brown, who I spoke with just before air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Governor, do have any understanding as why Florida would be remove from the offshore drilling plan and not other coastal states?

KATE BROWN (D), OREGON CONGRESSWOMAN: Absolutely not. And what universe with this be OK. Our coast will be just our really important to Oregonians. They are publicly accessible and have been for over a 100 years. They're very much a part of who we are and they're very important for our economy. So I don't know why it's OK for Florida and not OK for Oregon.

COOPER: Yes, according to Secretary Zinke, Florida is "unique and its coast are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver." I mean, Oregon coast seem incredibly unique to me and obviously our big draw of tourist as well.

BROWN: Well, I welcome you to come visit Oregon and see beaches.

COOPER: I love Oregon. I know them, I love them.

BROWN: 362 miles of stunning coastline, last year at $2 billion industry and over 22,000 jobs on the coast. These communities are really struggling to recover since the recession.

Obviously, tourism is key, so our natural resources industry on the coast. So my question is, to Secretary Zinke, why is this OK for Florida and not OK for Oregon?

[20:40:05] COOPER: Is this politics?

BROWN: In what universe is this OK?

COOPER: I mean, is this about electoral policy?

BROWN: Absolutely, what can I think otherwise, is that about the governor wanting to run for the U.S. Senate? Or is it about President Trump wanting to protect Mar-a-Lago? I don't know the answer to that, because Secretary Zinke hasn't returned our calls. COOPER: Really, you called and he hasn't returned them?

BROWN: Yes. We have not heard from them. There was absolutely no input from governors -- coastal governors. We had no clue that this was coming and we had no opportunity to express our outrage. We are outrage. This is absolutely unacceptable. There has been no drilling off the pacific coast for three decades, that's because in 1984, there was a horrible spill in Santa Barbara area, impacting wild life and impacting the beaches.

This is absolutely not OK. Oregonians are outrage. The entire west coast is outrage. This does not reflect our values and this does not reflect our future.

COOPER: Secretary Zinke has apparently talked to the Florida governor, has -- and he said that if other governors would like to request meetings with the secretary, they're welcome to do so. That something obviously I assume you would want to do if they were going to return your calls?

BROWN: I would be certainly be delighted to meet with Secretary Zinke. We would love to have our input on this policy. It impacts our people. It impacts our economy. It impacts our tourism. And I would love to share my thoughts with Secretary Zinke and look forward to meeting with him if he will return our phone calls.

COOPER: It this something you would take to court?

BROWN: We will look at every single tool that we have in the tool box. Like I said, the beaches Oregon's coast line as, you know, it's stunning. It is really a part of who we are as a people. It's critically important for our economy, it feeds our souls. We want to protect it. We want to make sure that future generations of Oregonians can enjoy it.

COOPER: Governor Brown, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Let's check in with Chris Cuomo with the preview, what's ahead on "Cuomo Primetime." Hey, Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson Cooper, fan of the Oregon coast life.

COOPER: I like the Oregon coast, have you been?

CUOMO: I believe it, I have --

COOPER: Have you been in Coos Bay?

CUOMO: I have. I was usually on the job there, but I'm sure that you have gone there and experienced in a way better than I have.

COOPER: Yes, I'm a big beach goer.

CUOMO: I believe that.

(OFF-MIC)

So tonight, we can't talk about it, Anderson, all the time, although it might help the ratings.

What we're going to do is we're going to test. We're going to go on one with Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway. She says that she can make the case that the President wants to unite this country and it's the media that's keeping him from doing it and the controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He says he is the man to represent Arizona in U.S. Senate. If you remember President Trump pardoned him. He is ready to make the case to the American people. He will get the chance to do that right here, Anderson.

COOPER: Wow, too big interviews. Definitely I'm going to watch that. Chris, thanks very much.

CUOMO: All right.

COOPER: All right. Up next on "360," massive wall of mud striking homes, barring people, cars and an instant. Tonight, the death toll is climbing, the latest from Southern California in a moment.

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[20:47:36] COOPER: The death toll has risen in California mudslides in the stories of lost emerging from the debris of lives and property are simply heart breaking. Intense rain led to the new disaster in a region already hard hit by weeks of wild fires. You can see the mud covered homes and cars in an instant taking at least 17 lives with it. Hundreds are now searching, 10 dogs looking for survivors who were more likely the missing who simply did not make it.

Our Paul Vercammen is there, he joins us now. Paul, what's the latest.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, as you pointed out, that death toll has risen to 17. And behind me in the blackness, there was a house, but it was literally blasted off its foundation by a raging torrent. In that debris field, you see wood, trees, boulders and more. In all, they say that 100 houses were destroyed and another 300 damage. This is an absolute devastating disaster of extreme magnitude. It expands some 19,000 acres.

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VERCAMMEN (voice-over): The wall of mud came in the middle of the night.

MIKE ELIASON, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: It just obliterated this little neighborhood to turn the houses into matchsticks, blew them off their foundation and threw them up against trees. VERCAMMIN: Survivors became heroes.

BERKELEY JOHNSON, MUSLIDE SURVIVOR: We heard a little baby crying and we got down and found a little baby. We got it out, got the mud out of its mouth. I hope it's OK. They took it right to the hospital. But it was just a baby, four feet down in the mud in the middle of nowhere under the rocks. I'm glad we got it but who knows where else is out there.

VERCAMMEN: There were many more in need out there, like the family in this house surrounded by mud water. The youngest survivor, a newborn baby. All five in the family rescued, others still searching for their loved ones.

HAYDEN GOWER, SEARCHING FOR HIS MOTHER: We just, you know, go down the creek and see what we can find.

VERCAMMEN: This man's mother was swept away while clinging to the back door of her home.

GOWER: I thought she'd be all right. She was in the voluntary evacuation.

VERCAMMEN (on camera): What made this mudslide so horrendous, the steepness of the terrain. Look up there, the Thomas fire burns on above Montecito. It goes from 3,000 feet to sea level in just several miles.

[20:50:00] So the water came off those ashy hillsides and just poured right through here. It had a high-velocity, as they call it. And you can look right over here and you'll see where the waters just a little bit more than a mile from the ocean took a house right off its foundation.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Other houses swallowed by mud or destroyed by fire.

Highway 101, the main freeway connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, in a moment, was turned into a river of mud and boulders.

In all, hundreds of homes destroyed or damaged in a natural disaster covering 19,000 acres.

And tonight, many families grieve while others simply hope that their loved ones will find their way home.

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COOPER: Paul if you can hear me, I mean --

VERCAMMEN: Anderson I don't know if you can hear me.

COOPER: Go ahead, Paul, you're on the air.

VERCAMMEN: Go ahead. Go ahead, I can hear you now.

COOPER: Is there hope --

VERCAMMEN: Anderson, what I was going to tell you is this behind --

COOPER: Go ahead Paul.

VERCAMMEN: I think what you're alluding to is their hope to find any victims, and sorry about that transmission.

There is a glimmer of hope. But it's search and rescue and it's now more search than rescue. They know that 13 people are still missing, but as each hour passes, in this darkness, the hopes starts to fade.

We did see behind me rescue crews, go through here using all manner of different implements to sort of move around the rabble. They had their search dogs out. We didn't see them pull anybody out, but we heard that there were three successful rescues today, Anderson.

COOPER: And was there any warning for this mudslide?

VERCAMMEN: There are definitely was. It's Tuesday advance with the Devil (ph). They know that, first you get the wild fire and then come to slide because those hills have been stripped to vegetation. They had both voluntary evacuations and mandatory evacuations. But there was so much rain in a short amount of time. And nearby Carpinteria one point they got basically a full inch of rain in one hour and that just set the story through at 1.600 emergency calls in the middle of the night. Just too much for everyone to deal with.

COOPER: That's incredible. Paul Vercammen, I'm glad your there. Thank you.

Coming up, the President claims he got letters from Anchors, congratulating him on his performance in yesterday's immigration meeting. Sounds like something dealt with under ridiculous. That's next.

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[20:56:24] COOPER: Time now for the ridiculous. And tonight the reviews are in, because really, what is a bipartisan immigration reform meeting other than an episode in The Apprentice without --