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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Administration Abruptly Fires 46 US Attorneys; Top Secret FBI Unit Investigating Russia's Meddling in the US Election; White House Celebrates the February Jobs Report; Undocumented Immigrants Defy Trump, Come Out of Shadows; Expert: North Korea Practicing for a Nuclear War. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 10, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, the Trump administration abruptly firing nearly 50 US attorneys. Tonight, one source saying this couldn't have been handled any worse. And there is one person stunning within this list. We'll tell you about it.
And inside the top secret FBI unit investigating Russia's meddling in the US election, exclusive new details this hour about this elite team that's on walk-down.
Plus, the former US defense secretary warning tonight of a nuclear catastrophe, saying the chances are greater than ever before. Let's go out front.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. On this Friday, we begin OutFront with breaking news. Attorney General Jeff Sessions tonight asking for the resignation of 46 Obama-appointed US attorneys.
There was no warning basically of the firings. A law enforcement source telling us that "this could not have been handled any worse." The source says many prosecutors were not even told that they were fired. They found out through the media that they had no jobs effective tonight.
Among the highest profile of the firings, the man you see right here, the New York Attorney Preet Bharara. And as you see here, he's at Trump Tower. Trump had promised him he was going to keep him on. And Preet is actually known for overseeing cases that include Wall Street and corruption cases involving New York elected officials who are Democrats.
Another source telling CNN the idea of asking US attorneys to clean out their desks immediately is "unprecedented and dangerous." The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein is saying she is concerned, adding she was told by the vice president and the White House counsel that the transition would be orderly.
Our investigative reporter Scott Glover is out front tonight on this breaking story. And, Scott, the way this is handling, how quickly it is happening, some pretty stunning developments this evening.
SCOTT GLOVER, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. I just got off the phone with a former United States attorney who said he's still trying to assess the situation, talk to some folks. But if it went down the way that it's being reported, he said he would just be floored that it's disrespectful. It's outrageous. And he finds it frankly hard to believe.
When he left office, he was given several weeks. He was told thank you for your service. Take your time getting your affairs in order. And it was a very different kind of treatment than what's being described this evening.
BURNETT: And we also understand one of the attorneys on this list from New York, Preet Bharara, a man Donald Trump knows well, a man that after Trump won - Preet Bharara said Trump had personally told him he wanted him to stay on. Jeff Sessions had told him he wanted him to stay on. And yet, apparently, we are learning that that he was shocked, right, he's on this list.
GLOVER: It seems that there are a lot of surprised people around the country this evening. I don't have any particular insight into his case, but he is one of many voices who seem to be expressing surprise and disappointment with the way that things have been handled.
BURNETT: Yes. It is pretty stunning. Obviously, he was in the middle or is in the middle of an investigation into the Democratic Mayor of New York. All right. Thank you very much, Scott. I appreciate it with those breaking details.
Also, tonight, the White House facing some major questions about Trump's wiretapping accusations as top lawmakers say there is still no evidence at this hour on Friday night. Athena Jones is out front at the White House.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump dodging multiple questions about his unsubstantiated claim that President Obama had his "wires tapped in Trump Tower" before the election.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is declining to comment on whether the president is a target of any investigation. And nearly a month after he resigned as national security advisor over his contacts with the Russian Ambassador, questions are now swirling about Michael Flynn's work for the Government of Turkey and whether the president knew.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Just so we're clear, you wouldn't - Gen. Flynn filed with the Department of Justice two days ago. How would anyone know -
JONES (voice-over): White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today arguing Flynn's lobbying activities - worth more than $0.5 million - were a private matter.
SPICER: That's not up for us to determine. That's up for them and their counsel to determine if they engaged in activities in the past or whatever it is.
JONES (voice-over): Spicer unable to answer other key questions about Flynn.
JONES: Gen. Flynn has disclosed he was acting as a foreign agent in the security clearance review before he became NSA.
SPICER: I don't know the answer to that question. That's up to you. You should follow-up with Gen. Flynn on.
JONES (voice-over): The vice president telling Fox News, he only learned of Flynn's business ties to Turkey this week from a news report.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me say, hearing that story today was the first I heard of it. And I fully support the decision that President Trump made to ask for Gen. Flynn's resignation.
BRETT BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: You're disappointed about the story.
PENCE: The first I heard of it - and I think it is an affirmation of the president's decision to ask Gen. Flynn to resign.
[19:00:11] JONES (voice-over): Trump spokesman was also asked about stories swirling around conservative media circles about a so-called deep state of entrenched employees from the Obama era working to undermine the new president.
SPICER: I don't think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and may have believed in that agenda and can want to continue to -
JONES: And while the FBI Director James Comey was on Capitol Hill again this week, this time, to talk with key House and Senate members, a senior White House official says that President Trump and the FBI director haven't spoken all week. Brian?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Athena. Let's talk about the significance of this out front now. Bob Baer, former CIA operative; John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast; and Ambassador James Woolsey, former CIA director and a former advisor to Donald Trump's campaign.
But let's just start, we have a lot of breaking news right now. John, let me start with you, though, the breaking news on the US attorneys.
Just to be clear, when a president comes in, they usually do fire US attorneys. They don't usually do it via the media and give them a few hours to clean out their desks and fire somebody who is one of the most prominent US attorneys in the country. We're talking about Preet Bharara, who Donald Trump had personally said he wanted to stay on. JOHN AVLON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF "THE DAILY BEAST": That's one of the many - the phrase was "unprecedented and dangerous" is what one person said about this up on Capitol Hill.
This becomes a Friday night massacre because while US attorneys are political parties, they are supposed to be beyond politics. And one of the reason Preet Bharara had such authority is that he was - there's an ongoing investigation against the Democratic mayor on charges of corruption. He has been the sheriff of Wall Street.
He was given the personal assurance of the president and the attorney general and now he's on that list as well. One of the open questions is, what happens to all the open investigations. This is not the right way to do this and it's destabilizing an already destabilized environment.
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, yes. And I think rude. It sounds like the initial announcement of the travel restrictions, which seemed to have been done with no staff work, now the second round (INAUDIBLE) maybe they can figure out how to do this a second time and patch up some of the mess that they left.
But that's not the way to let a US attorney go as part of - these are very important figures in the government.
BURNETT: Important figures. Career people who have dedicated their life to the law. It is pretty stunning.
This also comes, Bob, as we're finding out that the president did not speak to his FBI director all week. Now, meanwhile, this is as James Comey was going to Capitol Hill and briefing top Senate and House intelligence committee members on the very latest on the Russia investigation. We're now learning, Donald Trump didn't speak to him all week.
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: It's quite amazing. All he has to do - he should have done it before the tweet is call up the Department of Justice or the FBI and say, hey, was there a FISA on me, is there any reason to believe there was an illegal tap? It's very - it would have been one phone call, one minute at the most.
I didn't think he just threw that. We keep talking about this, Erin, for a distraction, but it's knowledge that he could obtain and no one is going to hide it from him.
So, the chances of actually someone tapping Trump's phone at the Trump center is zero frankly. It's not possible. So, I think he's probably hoping this will just go away. But we're going to wait to see. A congressional investigation is not the place to figure this out.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, John, how this is progressing, we understand, is that there is actually - this is new reporting here at CNN at this hour. So, I'll tell you, we've got a top secret group within the FBI that is charged with this. This group's main job is recruiting and neutralizing foreign spies. Also, do work on weapons of mass destruction.
They are now tasked with the Russia investigation. We understand there are about 15 to 20 people on it. Slightly fewer than were on the investigation to Hillary Clinton's emails because there was a due date on that. That means that was a rush job, I guess, is what they're saying. But 15 to 20 people who are now in a full top-secret capacity, so that they don't have leaks.
AVLON: Look, there's nothing more important than getting to the bottom of this story because it goes to the heart of the integrity of our democratic process. And when the president suddenly keeps being reminded that words have consequences when you're president of United States, that doesn't send a great deal of confidence. But they're key to being more smoke in the story and that we're going to need to get to the bottom of it and there's nothing more serious beneath the day- to-day responsibility.
BURNETT: And Ambassador Woolsey, this does really come back to the issue of the US attorneys, in the sense of Trump administration has developed a deep paranoia for what they call the deep state career employees in the government that they say are out to get them or against their agenda and are working in the shadows against them. Perhaps that's part of the reason they're coming out so suddenly and firing these attorneys. We don't know. But this does seem to be a part of it, doesn't?
[19:10:12] WOOLSEY: It's really kind of hard to say exactly why this is all kind of clumsy and messy. It's not that hard to do, and you do it from administration to administration. Sometimes, there's disagreements about who ought to have more responsibility.
Back when I was in the CIA in the early 90s, we thought the FBI was trying to get too much authority over counterintelligence than we ought to have and they thought we were trying to get too much authority over counterintelligence. So, there are these normal pushes and tugs between different parts of the bureaucracy, but it doesn't have to be like this, like what we're seeing.
AVLON: This smacks of a hunt for the enemy within, right, and that's the problem. There seems to be more paranoia. The fact that the administration is offering up the deep state and all of a sudden its gets labeled with sort of post-truths and alternative fact, as phrases of this administration.
If it starts going down the rabbit hole of a hunt for the enemy within and paranoia about leaks, history would suggest that isn't a sign of stability in an administration.
BURNETT: And, Bob Baer, they're taking it even a step further. Republican Congressman Mike Kelly actually is the one taking it further. He says President Obama is living in Washington for the sole purpose of undermining President Trump. I just want to play for you how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: He's only there for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to run a shadow government that is going to totally upset the new agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Does this take it to a new level, Bob?
BAER: It's not serious. This is an alt-right conspiracy theory that there's such a thing as the deep state. I actually have dealt with deep states in the Middle East with their generals and intelligence officers and they are deep states.
We don't have one here in the United States. There is not a concerted effort - there are leakers, both Republican and Democrats, but they're not organized and there's nobody organizing this. And certainly, the former president, President Obama, is not doing this and this is another distraction.
I think going down the conspiracy theory hole is not to going to get us anywhere and it's just going to wreck the credibility of this administration and we need some adult supervision here.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
And next, candidate Trump called unemployment numbers phony and a hoax today - sorry, in the past. Today, though, he said something totally different. So, can he have it both ways?
Plus, dire warnings. A former defense secretary says the threat of nuclear catastrophe is greater now than ever. Is North Korea really getting ready for nuclear war?
And growing numbers of undocumented immigrants are disclosing their status, coming out publicly with the face and the name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENDA LIRA, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: I think it's time for us to be united, to present a strong front, to actually fight for what we want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:17:04] BURNETT: New tonight, the White House celebrating the February jobs report. It is the first with President Trump in office for the entire month. The Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tweeted "Trump delivers in first jobs report 235,000 new jobs and unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. Great news for American workers."
But this is the same jobs report that Trump has a history of bashing, calling the numbers bogus, slamming every single chance he gets. But, apparently, this month it was all great. Tom Foreman has tonight's big number.
SPICER: Obviously, we're very pleased to see the jobs report that came out this morning. It's great news for American workers.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More manufacturing, more work in healthcare, education and mining, almost a quarter million added jobs have the first unemployment rate report for the new president down to 4.7 percent. The president tweeting "great news" and "much more than expected."
But hold on, Democrats say this is just a continuation of a trend started by Barack Obama, noting ever since the recession ended, the unemployment rate has been pretty steadily dropping. Yet when President Obama spoke just over a year ago of a barely higher unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, listen to what candidate Trump said.
TRUMP: Don't believe those phony numbers. When you hear 4.9 percent and 5 percent unemployment, the number is probably 28 percent, 29 percent, as high as 35 percent. In fact, I even heard recently 42%.
FOREMAN (voice-over): It was a standard part of the Trump stump speech, calling the federal jobless rate misleading, deceptive, fake.
TRUMP: It is such a phony number.
These numbers are an absolute disaster.
The unemployment number, as you know, is totally fiction.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Now, the White House suggests the driving force behind this better-than-expected jobs report is optimism over the president's business, trade, immigration and tax policies, never mind that some analysts say the unusually warm winter weather also deserves credit for enabling more construction work.
And as for all those past claims about phony government figures -
SPICER: I talked to the president prior to this and he said to quote him very clearly. They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now.
FOREMAN: Of course, President Trump has another reason to embrace this report. He has pledged under his leadership voters will see 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years. And with these numbers, at least for now, that promise is on track. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you very much. And out front now, the former economic advisor for the Trump campaign Diana Furchtgott- Roth. She was also the former chief economist of the US Labor Department under President Bush. And the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Austan Goolsbee, now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Thanks to both. Austan, you first. 235,000 new jobs created. This is Trump's first full month as president. That's 45,000 more than expected. He says this was expectations. People got excited he was coming in. He gets the full credit. Does he?
[19:20:13] AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, of course, not. His own NEC director said this morning that they did not have anything to do with this number. This just reflects the growth that comes in.
It's fine. It's a good number. I agree with their statement that it's good for American workers. It's not from any policy that Donald Trump did. And in fact, Donald Trump and Sean Spicer both violated federal rules by tweeting out about the information before the one hour lockup period was through.
BURNETT: What do you say, Diana? Is this all because of leftovers from Barack Obama or is this something Trump can validly say, well, no, people thought - knew I was going to be president and so they changed their hiring, they got more optimistic.
DIANA FURCHTGOTT-ROTH, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ECONOMIC ADVISOR: It's really in line with different people's expectations and we've seen increases in retail sales, we've seen increases in the index of consumer confidence, it's up to 114 now, practically a record high. We've seen increases in the stock market. So these are expectations about future tax cuts that Donald Trump promised, about the rolling back of regulations which he can do naturally, and it's quite right for there to be more confidence, more hiring and the labor force participation rate went up, more Americans moved into the labor force. So, all this is really good news.
BURNETT: OK. The thing is, though, Diana, Trump has bashed the data. Every time he got a chance, when he was running for office - OK, here's just a brief synopsis - so people understand. It wasn't like a one-time bash. It was a constant bash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Don't believe the 5.6 percent. The real number is anywhere from 18 percent to 19 percent and maybe even 21 percent and nobody talks about it because it's a statistic that's full of nonsense.
I hear 5.3 percent unemployment. That is the biggest joke there is in this country.
The 5 percent figure is one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. 5 percent, the biggest hoax in modern American politics, but 4.7 percent completely accurate. Diana, how do you add this up? You heard Sean Spicer. The job reports may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now. That's what the president told him to quote to the press today. He laughed, but that's not funny. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: Well, I have the utmost respect for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having worked at the labor department for two years. They are very professional. They publish several measures of unemployment. And the broadest measure called U6 includes discouraged workers and workers who dropped out of the labor market. That's right now around 9.2 percent. It went down from 9.4 percent. So, if you're looking for a broad measure, you might not want to take the 4.7 percent. You might want to take the 9.2 percent. But the point is that they are all going down in the same direction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics did a great job with collecting data from 400,000 companies and 60,000 households to basically put together the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, the earnings, the jobs created and everything is going in the right direction. It is completely rational for people to spend more, invest more when they have more wealth from the stock market when they're expecting taxes to go down and when they're expecting these regulations, including the Affordable Care Act, to be rolled back.
BURNETT: Austan, do you buy it? You buy that the 5 percent was the biggest hoax in political history and the 4.7 percent is real? I understand Diana's point on different measures of unemployment. But, of course, apples to apples, there's 5 percent versus 4.7 percent.
GOOLSBEE: Erin, you know what, Donald Trump has never made any qualms that he's willing to be hypocritical about the data. Throughout the campaign, if the data were good for him, he would say that it was correct; and if the data were bad for him, then he would say that it was bogus and false.
Let's put it in perspective. Jobs have been growing for 84 straight months. We've added 16 million jobs since the recession ended. OK. So, we had 84 months where we had job creation. And now under Donald Trump, they've had one month. That is the continuation of a trend and a good trend. And he's like the, as I say, the backup quarterback, came in the last 30 seconds of the game, so he could - they put him in, so he could tell his mom that he got to play in the Super Bowl and he's telling everybody that he won the game.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.
FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: So is the rise in the stock market due to Barack Obama too? You're going to say that, Austen?
GOOLSBEE: The stock market was up 218 percent under Barack Obama and now it's up another 14 under Trup. So, yes, I am going to say that.
FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: Yes. But it didn't increase that much in the first two months of Obama or any two months under Obama as it has right now. And it reflects -
GOOLSBEE: Correct. Because were in a horrible recession when Barack Obama - when Barack Obama came in, we were in a horrible recession. I agree.
[19:25:14] BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. And next, Donald Trump sold this Florida mansion, complete with a garage that fits more than 50 cars for a record price. And tonight, new questions about why a Russian oligarch was the one who paid $95 million for it.
And undocumented immigrants daring to come out of the shadows, even going on camera to talk to Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIRA: I am the definition of being American. I am an immigrant -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, undocumented immigrants coming out of the shadows, taking an incredible risk. They're showing their faces. They're going on camera to tell their stories, they say, to stand up to President Trump. Nick Valencia is out front.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIRA: This is the text message that I sent to my friends last night.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Last night, Brenda Lira did something she thought she would never do. She came out to her friends and told them she was undocumented.
[19:30:01] LIRA: I've been living in fear, not only for myself but for my family, for people that I know, fear my parents will be ripped away from me, that I'll be ripped away from them, ripped away from the land that I've called home for the past 19 years.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 21-year-old says simply she was tired of being scared.
LIRA: I think it's time for us to be united, to present a strong front, to actually fight for what we want.
VALENCIA: And she's not alone. Lira is part of a growing chorus of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who are coming out of the shadows.
People Valeria Zamora who lives with her family in New Orleans. Five years ago, she emigrated to the U.S. illegally from Honduras to work in manual labor. She doesn't like it when people tell her she should go back.
VALERIA ZAMORA, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT (through translator): This is my country. This is my country. I came here and I helped rebuild it.
VALENCIA: Valeria and her husband are in the U.S. illegally and took a big risk of being on camera with us. But like Brenda, they say it sends a message to President Donald Trump, we are not afraid. Ironically, they thanked President Trump for giving them a reason to stand up.
JONATHAN RAMIREZ, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: I honestly think he's kind of supporting us in a way. VALENCIA: They're joined by people like Jonathan Ramirez, a 22-year-
old who's in the U.S. illegally. We met recently outside of Atlanta. He, too, is empowered, he says, to fight.
RAMIREZ: He's coming against us, but the people, the community, they are becoming more united in a way, you know, to come towards a plan or towards an action of what's going to happen.
VALENCIA (on camera): So, this is you as a little girl?
LIRA: Yes, that's me.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Back in Tennessee, Brenda Lira knows she's a little more safe than her counterparts in Atlanta or New Orleans. She's a DREAMer and has deferred action or DACA, but she's still nervous about her future. She worries about those who will find out from this interview that she is undocumented.
She hopes one day that they see her as American.
LIRA: I think I am the definition of being American. I'm an immigrant. I worked for everything that I want. I pay my taxes.
A lot of us pay our taxes. We find our way to not do anything illegal. We try to follow all the laws except, of course, coming to this country illegally.
VALENCIA: Unfortunately, to her critics, that's the one thing they may never get past.
VALENCIA: The three cases that we highlighted are all distinctly different, but the one thing they all have in common is that each of them was told by either friends, family members, or members of their community to not go on camera with us out of safety reasons. They decided to come out of the shadows anyway they say to humanize the undocumented community in this country. They say it's a community that is so often dehumanized in the U.S. -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Nick, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, the former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo and Democratic California State Senate Leader Kevin de Leon. Both of you coming back with us.
Senator, let me ask you, these immigrant, are they making a mistake by putting their faces out there? You heard Nick. He said their families told them not to do it because deportation officers may now go after them. Are they making a mistake?
STATE SEN. KEVIN DE LEON (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, Erin, these are three very different cases. One thing is clear: they're very panicked. They're very scared. They're afraid.
I do think it's inhumane. I think it's heartless. I think it's cruel to betray these young DREAMer DACA students.
They are part of our fabric. They were raised in our country. They have American values. And to actually betray them when they provided the information, their personal data on a volunteer basis to the U.S. federal government and to be betrayed by the Trump administration is unconscionable, to be quite frank with you.
The other cases are a little different. With the woman from -- Valeria I believe from Honduras, she's in a very difficult situation. I admire the courage and the moxie, but she's in a tough situation no doubt.
And the other gentleman who's been here close to two decades. The reality is this, he's a legacy of the failure of Tom Tancredo when he was in the member of Congress and not doing his job, because I know that he spent all the time of George W. Bush undermining and sabotaging George W. Bush, a Republican, to secure an immigration reform package.
So, these are three very different cases. But I must say, I do admire the courage and the moxie.
BURNETT: So, Congressman, you heard them. They all say they've done nothing wrong.
You know, Brenda, you just heard her, she says she's a definition of being American. Should they be deported? Now, immigration officials know who they are. They're taking that risk. Is that the right thing to do or is that inhumane?
TOM TANCREDO (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I don't -- well, actually, I don't think it's much of a risk, to tell the truth. I think that the issue has been discussed often times in terms of what kind of priorities you're going the put here and who you're going to go after first in terms of who gets deported. And I don't think these people are going to rise to the top of that list.
However, you know, I was thinking about this today because I know people who at least tell you that they haven't paid taxes in a long, long time. They don't believe it or for whatever, think they get away with it.
[19:35:02] And over years, it's been years that some of them say they've never paid taxes. And they think, you know what, I've gotten away with this long, I probably will, I'm not going to worry about it. But, you know, something happens sometimes. They catch up with you.
You are in this country illegally. And you may work hard. You may do all the things that were just identified as being, you know, a perfect model, you can't be a citizen, but a model individual in the country.
It doesn't matter. You have still broken the law. You still may have to pay a penalty for that. It is the way it works.
That is the law not just for illegal immigrants. It's the law for everybody. When you violate a law, there are problems that you have to encounter.
So, we shouldn't be -- now, I know what kind of face you want to put on it. You know, it's all these horrible people who have lived here and -- but you know what, it all boils down to did you break the law, when you came here and remained on undocumented status? The answer is yes. There is a penalty to pay for that.
BURNETT: So, what do you say to that, senator? Obviously taking away the DACA case, as you said, but what about these other cases? There was a law broken. Congressman Tancredo is right about that.
DE LEON: Let me say a couple things. One is let me dispel the notion that what Tom Tancredo just said with regards to high priority immigrants, say, for example, violent criminal felons, violent gang members.
The reality is this, is the Trump administration through Homeland Security, they're targeting DACA DREAMer students. One was picked up and detained just recently just released today from Mississippi. You had the young DREAMer students in Seattle, Washington, who was detained by ICE agents.
BURNETT: Now, Senator, of course, they say they're not targeting. You're giving examples they have, but I want to make the point they've said they're not targeting DACA. You're making the case they are.
TANCREDO: That's right, they're not.
DE LEON: Yes, but let me say this, let me say this.
DE LEON: One thing is what ICE says and Homeland Security. Let me say one thing. What ICE is saying, communicating publicly is one thing. What is happening out in the field, out in our country, is another thing. And that's why you have so much panic, that's why you have so much anxiety.
Now, Tom's argument when you bifurcate the narrative, which is you're either illegal or legal. Well, there's a lot of gray matter. What happens when you have someone who's been here two, three decades who's been law abiding, who has paid their taxes every single year, and to date because of Congress, again, and it sounds like a broken record, but this is the fact, they haven't been able to get their act together and move forward with comprehensive immigration reform.
This is the legacy of Tom Tancredo because we're dealing with the mess. The taxpayers are on the hook.
BURNETT: Congressman, do you accept Senator De Leon's point that some people are going to need to stay?
TANCREDO: Look it, look it, it's ridiculous that we didn't do -- you know what we didn't do? We didn't do what he wanted the Congress to do, and that was provide amnesty. That's what he considers to be doing our job.
Well, you know what? It's not our job to provide amnesty, and I never saw it that way and I fought with George Bush all the way along, absolutely, and I'm glad we are able to stop him from doing that. But I was doing my job in that case.
Here's the other thing. Look, here's other thing.
DE LEON: Erin --
TANCREDO: You know what? You listen to all these people you bring on here and these, you know, stories that tug at your heart and emotion. I understand why you do it.
But listen, I'd love for you to actually start talking to people who are legal residents, who are legal immigrants, and ask them, did you go have a hard time? How long did you wait? How much money did it cost you? How long did you spend in the queue? But you did it the right way.
Now, how do you tell these people, how do you tell them that the people that you want to give same benefit to came in here illegally, but you're going to give them all of the same status? How do you do that? How do you think that's fair?
BURNETT: Senator, let me give you the last word.
TANCREDO: I will tell you there are emotional stories on both sides of this issue.
DE LEON: Tom, if you could calm down just a tad bit. Erin --
TANCREDO: Listen, I am calm as can be. You're the only one g who gets off on these tangents.
DE LEON: You have so many people --
BURNETT: Go ahead.
DE LEON: Tom, if you're going to calm down a little bit so I can get a few words.
TANCREDO: Believe me, I am calm, buddy.
DE LEON: Let me tell you this.
TANCREDO: Calmer than you are, I'll tell you, because you can't think of another thing to say.
DE LEON: Calm down a tad bit.
(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: You're talking over each other is I can't hear you. Go ahead, Senator.
TANCREDO: That's the way it works.
DE LEON: Tom, I'm going to ask, please control yourself just for a quick second.
TANCREDO: OK. I'll try. Thank you so much.
DE LEON: This is a faulty immigration system.
TANCREDO: Thanks for helping me out here. Yes, OK. No problem.
DE LEON: Tom, Tom spent his whole time --
TANCREDO: Yes, yes, yes.
DE LEON: -- in the Congress undermining other Republicans as well as Democrats, undermining George W. Bush, a president who --
TANCREDO: We're not talking about me.
DE LEON: And I can tell you this --
[19:40:01] TANCREDO: How does this get to me? What's that got to do with it?
DE LEON: We have Republicans --
TANCREDO: You have me on your -- I live inside your brain, you know that?
DE LEON: You know, Tom --
BURNETT: Congressman, if you could be quiet for a moment. Go ahead.
DE LEON: Tom, I'm going to ask you -- thank you very much.
TANCREDO: Go ahead. Go ahead.
DE LEON: We have data that shows Republicans and Democrats support a pathway to legalization. Why this is so important is that it is costing us, the taxpayers, billions of dollars in terms of detentions, detention centers, and this ridiculous notion that we're going to build a wall one day in the future on our southern border.
Now, an MIT study that came out said it's not going to cost $20 billion. These are professional engineers. It may cost $40 billion. Where is that money come from? It comes from our public schools.
Where does the money come from? It comes from lunches for our senior citizens. It comes from investments in technologies and science.
DE LEON: So, this is costing us money because we haven't reached a deal in the Congress to find a pathway for border security as well as a pathway to normalizing the legal status of so many folks who are law abiding, you know, residents of this great country.
BURNETT: All right. We will have you both back because I know this is to be continued as it has been for many days. And I look forward to it. Thank you both.
DE LEON: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: And next, a warning from an expert. North Korea getting ready for nuclear war.
And Donald Trump and the Russian billionaire, questions about a $95 million mansion that links the two together. We have answers OUTFRONT this hour.
BURNETT: Tonight, a dire warning about North Korea. Kim Jong-un is practicing for war. A nuclear expert writing in "Foreign Policy" magazine that recent missile launches are not tests. Quote, "North Korea knows the missiles work, what the military units are doing now is practicing, practicing for a nuclear war."
And he's not alone in sounding the alarm.
[19:45:00] Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
WILLIAM PERRY, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: What we're talking about is no less than the end of civilization.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The end, and it could happen in a flash with a nuclear bomb, warns former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry. North Korea's recent missile test, an aggressive flexing of its growing nuclear power, sounds an alarm. Combined with today's political climate, Perry says, means a ratcheting up of the world's nuclear threat level.
PERRY: The possibility of some kind of a nuclear catastrophe is probably greater than it has ever been, greater than any time during the Cold War.
LAH: Perry served under President Bill Clinton but traces his nuclear knowledge back to the Cuban missile crisis as a CIA analyst during the Kennedy administration when America edged frighteningly close to a nuclear war with Russia. That was the height of the Cold War, when school children rehearsed for a nuclear attack. Today, an aggressive Russia is once again touting its nuclear capability. While North Korea tests the new president, a brash, first-time
politician, the administration promising a strengthening of its nuclear arsenal.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The United States will not yield its supremacy in this area to anybody. Our goal is to make sure that we maintain America's dominance around the world.
LAH (on camera): What is the North Korea piece of this?
PERRY: The danger is not that North Korea would deliberately and consciously plan an attack with their weapons, but they would blunder into some kind of a conflict.
LAH: Is it real? How real is this?
PERRY: Well, first of all, the nuclear weapons are very real. And there are almost 15,000 in the world today, more than enough to destroy the entire planet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the president gave the order we had to launch the missiles.
LAH (voice-over): It's a concern being echoed by Bruce Blair, former nuclear missile launch officer who recorded this anti-Trump ad for the Clinton campaign. Blair says he's speaking not as a partisan but as a scholar. His concern, not just Kim Jong-un but President Trump.
BRUCE BLAIR, GLOBAL ZERO: This person is erratic, impulsive, aggressive, ill-informed. He is the sole authority who can decide whether or not to launch thousands of nuclear weapons in minutes with a single phone call. I just don't have confidence in his judgment. I live in fear that he would make a bad call and that that call could be civilization ending.
LAH: Trump supporters like former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie say despite his fiery rhetoric, the president understands the power of the office.
CARL HIGBIE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Launching a nuclear weapon is far different from launching a tweet. The world is a safer place when America is on top, when America is in power. The world is a safer place if our enemies believe that there is a chance that we may use nuclear power.
LAH: Now, President Trump did tell "Reuters" last month in an interview that he does dream of a world where nuclear weapons simply do not exist, but as long as they do, he wants the United States to be, quote, "at the top of the pack." Well, his critics, Erin, counter that simply does not make the world any safer -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kyung.
And OUTFRONT next, a Russian oligarch, one of the world's richest men, making a real estate deal with Donald Trump for a $95 million teardown. That's next.
[19:52:16] BURNETT: New tonight, questions about the sale of President Trump's Palm Beach mansion as he faces growing concerns about his possible ties to Russia. Trump sold this estate to Dmitry Rybolovlev, I mispronounced that, I'm sorry, a Russian oligarch in 2008. The price tag, $95 million, which is more than double what Trump paid for it.
And "The Palm Beach Post" reporting today that both men's plane shared the tarmac in Charlotte just five days before the election. One of many coincidences?
OUTFRONT now, the business reporter for "The Palm Beach Post", Alexandra Clough.
Alexandra, thanks very much for being with me.
Let's start with what you know. You've done a lot of reporting on this situation. What do you know about this oligarch who bought the property and why?
ALEXANDRA CLOUGH, BUSINESS REPORTER, THE PALM BEACH POST: Well, Erin, he purchased the property back in 2008 at a time when some of the real estate properties in Palm Beach County as well as the rest of the country were starting to decline. Donald Trump had purchased this mansion on Palm Beach at a bankruptcy in 2004 and he had priced it at $125 million, was not able to get his price, cut the price to $100 million, and it went under contract in May of 2008 to Dmitry.
BURNETT: So --
CLOUGH: What we've learned -- I'm sorry. Go ahead.
BURNETT: In terms of what has happened since then with the property? I mean, is he living there or what has happened?
CLOUGH: So, he never lived there and he said at the time he never intended to live in the United States. The property has been now demolished and there's nothing left of it. Even though it was a 62,000 square foot mansion and it's been subdivided into three lots and one lot sold for $34 million to a buyer whom we do not know.
So, he never lived in the property. He said at the time he bought it, it was an investment by one of the companies. It was an investment.
He later said he never actually bought any property in Florida. That was when he was in the process of divorcing his wife. And then just recently, as our article reported yesterday, he said that it was purchased for a family trust.
BURNETT: So --
CLOUGH: So, the stories have been changing over time. BURNETT: The stories have been changing. When you look at this, it
could be saying, oh, OK, it was a random purchase. But you also report, Alexandra, that there have been multiple instances where this Russian oligarch plane has -- private plane and Trump's private plane have been in the same city on the same day.
In fact, you're confirming his plane and Trump's plane shared the tarmac five days before the election when they were both in Charlotte. You've got other places as well -- Nashville, Las Vegas.
Is this all coincidence?
CLOUGH: Well, we're really not sure but we did just post on mypalmbeachpost.com an article for the first time Dmitry Rybolovlev did confirm he was in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the same time that then-candidate Trump was.
[19:55:11] That was November 3rd, five days before the election.
And, in fact, he -- for the first time he acknowledged he had been there and said he was there for business but we're not sure at this point what business he had there in North Carolina.
BURNETT: All right. More questions to be answered tonight. Thanks very much, Alexandra, for sharing your reporting with us. Thank you.
And OUTFRONT next, when kids do the darndest things when you're just trying to do a live television shot.
BURNETT: And now, a bizarre episode of "Modern Family." Wait until you see this. Watch this dad on BBC TV as his children crash a live television interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will it mean for the wider region? I think one of your children just walked in. I mean, shifting, shifting, shifting sands in the region, do you think relations with the North may change?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be surprised if they do. The -- pardon me. Pardon me. My apologies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does this mean for the region?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My apologies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I'm sorry. The kid with the walker is where I really cracked up. Never mind the little one with the belly and the dancing. Feels like my life.
Thank you for joining us. "AC360" with John Berman tonight starts now.