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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Unapologetic Over British Spy Claim; UK Officials Furious; Intel Committee Releases Statement On Trump Surveillance Investigation; Trump Service Laptop With Trump Tower Floor Plans Stolen; WH Fence Jumper Evaded Security For 16 Minutes; Interview with Congressman Will Hurd of Texas; Trump Voter on Healthcare: "In My Heart I Feel that Trump Cares". Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 17, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next, breaking news, the president not backing down from yet another unverified accusation of spying, this one against America's closest ally, the international incident unfolding at this hour.
And the secret service laptop stolen, filled with floor plans for Trump Tower. As we learn a White House intruder was on the ground for 16 minutes before secret service took him down. Is the secret service falling apart?
Plus Trump and Germany's Angela Merkel extremely awkward body language. What did it actually mean? Let's go OutFront. And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront on this Friday night, the president putting his pride above his country. President Donald Trump doubling down on a false accusation against America's closest ally, Trump refusing to apologize for citing yet another baseless claim. The latest allegation that by Britain spied on him at the request of president Obama.
Now the British Spy Agency in a rare public statement called the claim nonsense. Trump, who demands apologies from everyone who crosses him is obviously not capable of apologizing himself. He's admitted that. But in a press conference with German -- to the German Chancellor he actually made a joke about Merkel being spied on and for his claim cited Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: As far as wiretapping, I guess, by, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps. And just to finish your question, we said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox and so you shouldn't be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: By the way, you'll hear what Fox had to say about this. It comes just hours, what Donald Trump just said, after top White House aides had already offered what amounted to an apology to furious government -- British Government officials. Even Trump's lone source of the claim of British spying, Fox News, as I said, not standing by him today. OK? Here is what Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith said very specifically this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS CHIEF NEWS ACNHOR: Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now President of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jim Acosta begins our coverage OutFront at the White House. Jim, the White House, the CNN person in the White House had apologized to the British but now Sean Spicer after Donald Trump did that thing with Angela Merkel is now saying, oh, no, no, there's been no apology, he sort of tripling back against himself.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said to me after that news conference today with Angela Merkel that the Trump Administration is not apologizing for spreading that bogus story about British Intelligence being involved in wiretapping then-candidate Donald Trump over at Trump Tower. Just another sign that this White House is not backing down. They are doubling down.
DENIZ YUCEL, DIE WELT NEWSPAPER JOURNALIST: Are there from time to time tweets that you regret hindsight?
TRUMP: Very seldom.
YUCEL: Very seldom? So you never would have wished not have tweeted something?
TRUMP: Very seldom. Probably wouldn't be here right now, but, so very seldom.
ACOSTA: At a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the president refused to back down, pointing to past reports that Merkel was once surveilled by the U.S. Intelligence Community during the Obama Administration.
TRUMP: As far as wiretapping, I guess, by, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps.
ACOSTA: The White House is digging in even after Press Secretary Sean Spicer sparked a diplomatic uproar defending the president's comments.
SPICER: You also tend to overlook all the other sources, because I know you want to cherry-pick it. But -- no, no, but you do. But where was your concern about the New York Times reporting?
ACOSTA: To back up the president's wiretapping allegations, Spicer cited an unsubstantiated report from a Fox News commentator. SPICER: Last on Fox News on March 14th, Judge Andrew Napolitano said
made the following statment, "three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command, he didn't use NSA, he didn't use the CIA, he didn't use the FBI and he didn't use the Department of Justice. He used GCHQ. What is that? It's the initials for the British Intelligence Spying Agency.
ACOSTA: The British Government was outraged. Utterly ridiculous, should be ignored said the British Signals Intelligence Community, GCHQ. The British Prime Minister's Office added, we've made clear to the U.S. Administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored. We've received assurances that these allegations won't be repeated. But during the news conference, the president said, no apology was necessary.
TRUMP: All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn't be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.
ACOSTA: after the press conference, Spicer told reporters he was just passing on news reports from various outlets. I don't think we regret anything, he said. For the president, the Merkel visit was a chance to mend some fences. In late 2015, he had tweeted about Merkel, I told you Time Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being a big favorite. They picked the person who is ruining Germany. Tensions Merkel appeared to acknowledge.
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY: I've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another and I think our conversation proved this.
ACOSTA: Now, earlier today, the justice department handed over to the House Intelligence Committee some documents that the Trump Administration is saying would bolster the president's claims about wiretapping over at Trump Tower. The chair of that committee, Devin Nunes, Erin, is expected to make a statement on all of this within the next hour. And I should point out I did go back to the British government earlier this afternoon and asked them whether or not they had another comment about what the president had to say today and the White House Press Secretary for that matter because they did not back off of that claim that the British government was perhaps involved in the wiretapping at Trump Tower.
They again used it during this news conference today and the president said, well, you can talk to Fox News about all this. The British Government told me through a spokesperson, Erin, that they're not commenting any further on this matter. Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim. And obviously, should said we're awaiting that statement out of Chairman Nunes. It's going to be crucial? Because the documents from the Department of Justice as understand one paper copy being passed around. He's the one with it,he's the one who's read it. That statement going to be crucial and it could come any moment this hour. So, as we wait that, I want to our Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto. Jim, you heard Jim, you know, talking to British officials. You've also been speaking to your sources in British Intelligence. How were they responding to this accusation? You know, the fact that they were -- we were told to apologize to by Trump officials and now no, far from it, it's a double back, it's a no, we didn't apologize.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: In a word, Erin, apoplectic. I was at GCHQ last week outside of London, and this is a reticent organization. They don't like to comment publicly, certainly on intelligence matters. I've asked them on a number of issues and that tends to be the way they go. But on this one, they went out pretty far. I mean, the words nonsense, calling this an allegation that should be ignored, calling it utterly ridiculous, that's a pretty clear communication of how they feel about it. That was yesterday.
Today as the president given an opportunity to move beyond this or perhaps walk it back and he doesn't take that opportunity, it's mesmerizing to folks in the British Intelligence world, also diplomacy as to why that is between two of the closest allies, right? Hard to pick a closer ally than the U.K. for the U.S. but as Jim is hearing, I'm hearing the same, no immediate plans for further public comment on this. I think their feeling is that they made their feelings very clear yesterday by calling this really utterly ridiculous.
BURNETT: All right. So stay with me. I want to bring in the rest of my panel. Again, we're awaiting Chairman Nunes and this crucial statement. John Avlon is with me, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, David Urban, our political commentator, Trump Campaign Strategist, and Juliette Kayyem also with us, the former assistant secretary for DHS. David Urban, let me start with you. Here's what happened today, right?
Trump went against his own team. His national security adviser had spoken to the British and said one thing. Senior administration official tells us both McMaster and Sean Spicer together had delivered what amounted to an apology to the British. The British told reporters that they were sure these allegations wouldn't be repeated. And when Trump is asked about it, takes it all back. What was he thinking?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: I'm not sure the president took it all back, Erin. I'm not -- I'm not sure exactly what transpired there. And look, all this is about is -- I mean, when this boils down to it is about this president's credibility. Do our allies abroad think this president will stand by them and honor his word when he gives his word? I don't think that the British have anything to fear in that regard. I think they believe that. I don't think that the chancellor sitting next to the president believes that. Listen, let's harked back and think back a year or so ago to President Obama with the red line in the sand --
BURNETT: Hold on, David. I'm just going to interrupt you for one second and -- because what you just said there is something I got to get everyone in on that. But before I do that, I want to go to Manu Raju because we have the statement from Chairman Nunes. And Manu, he obviously had seen these documents from the Department of Justice. What is he saying?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: He's saying that he got them and that's about it. We're not really learning about the contents of the documents according to what Mr. Nunes just said. Now, I'll read you this brief statement from Chairman Nunes just issuing the statement saying the committee is satisfied that the Department of Justice has fully complied with our request for information from our March 8th letter on possible surveillance related to Donald Trump or his associates.
Now, he also said the committee has not received information from the CIA and FBI related to a separate matter. That matter involving the issues of leaks and whether any of his information was mishandled in the way this information was leaked. He said that the NSA had partially met their request regarding leaks. But saying that he is satisfied that the Department of Justice has fully complied with our request for information related to the surveillance of President Trump.
Now, let's unpack that, Erin. What he's saying that he got the information, he's not saying what's in the document and there's one -- probably one reason why -- I'm told that the information that were given was classified. Devin Nunes as he was entering this room where he was going to read this letter told me as he went into the room, said that he -- this is a classified document. I said, do you think this is going to back up what President Trump has been saying, that he was wiretapped under the orders of Barack Obama? He said I don't think so. Those were his exact words. I don't think so.
And Adam Schiff, the top democrat on the committee, I asked him the same thing. He said there's absolutely no way that this would back up what Donald Trump has been saying. He said he's spoke to all the appropriate people and there's no way that it would support what he had to say. Now, Schiff did not review those documents, Erin because they came in the afternoon right as he was leaving town and a lot of members did not get to review it because it was a hard copy they received but there's some frustration they did not get it in time. Nevertheless, this statement saying they got the documents, we'll see what they say and we'll see what James Comey says importantly on Monday when he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Many Raju. Let me go to Juliette Kayyem for a reaction there, Juliette. So we understand obviously this is classified but you heard what the chairman said to Manu going into the room, he doesn't think there's anything in there when he was going and he said that would change his view to the fact that wiretapping had not occurred. What's your take on the statement?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, DHS FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY: I've been in government enough to -- I'll interpret it for everyone -- there's nothing in there to suggest wiretapping occurred. How do I know that? Because if there were the FBI would be investigating it. And therefore the chairman would not be as confident saying what he had said publicly. This tweet investigation is over. The Trump White House, you know, it's certainly like Monty Python, like I'm not dead yet, you know, they keep insisting there's going to be something out there. There's nothing out there. The story is done. The FBI clearly handled over information saying the case is closed, we're not going to bother ourselves with this -- with this tweet madness anymore and let's move on to the real news and it's the Russian investigation.
BURNETT: So Jim Sciutto, do you -- do you agree with that in terms of what to interpret from the chairman?
SCIUTTO: Listen, Devin Nunes is a republican and he told our Manu Raju there that he doesn't think there's something in there to prove it. And the fact is we've heard pretty categorical denials of any evidence from republicans and democrats from the U.S. Attorney General along down. It seems very unlikely.
BURNETT: All right. Of course we'll be joined by Congressman Hurd on that committee in just a couple moments. I want David Urban --
URBAN: Yes. Erin. I just like to finish my point that I was making earlier.
BURNETT: Right. So what you were saying though, I just want to highlight, the headline of what you were saying is what matters is whether our allies believe that our president can be trusted and our government can be trusted to say what it means and means what it's saying. And you are saying that the answer to that is yes, they do believe it.
URBAN: I believe that. I believe the South Koreans believe the president, if he says something, will stand up with them. I believe that Chancellor Merkel will believe that. Today she sat there. If the Russian were to pour across and to full the gap, U.S. would be there. That wasn't the case as I was pointing out with -- in Syria with the red line. You know, we had the president say definitively that -- President Obama definitively said and Jim I'm sure was (INAUDIBLE) said if the Syria regime used chemical weapons on their people the U.S. would result -- it would result in U.S. Military intervention.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. That happened and it didn't occur.
AVLON: Just stop. Like this -- before you descend into the game of what about-ism, let's just acknowledge the fact that what you just said makes absolutely no sense.
URBAN: It's not true.
AVLON: You just said -- you just said that our allies have every reason to take the president at his word. When the president seems doubling down on things that are self-evidently false. So what you said makes no sense and I just take your --
AVLON: I don't need to defend the indefensible. (CROSSTALK)
AVLON: -- no respect for the American people as well as the intelligence and the allies.
URBAN: What evidence -- I'm just simply asking you what evidence you have that they don't?
URBAN: And I'm -- and I'm pointing -- I'm pointing to the fact --
AVLON: -- exactly what the right accused Obama of every time, alienating our allies. He's alienating our allies left and right.
URBAN: We had a president who's told the world --
AVLON: Oh, David --
AVLON: You are dealing with this president right now and he is self- evidently --
URBAN: Listen, I'm giving you -- I'm giving you (INAUDIBLE) we told a bad guy what we are going to do and we didn't do it.
AVLON: This has nothing to do with Assad, this is everything to do with Donald Trump record.
BURNETT: David, OK. So, on the issue of wiretapping more broadly, Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes, Senator Burr, John McCain, Tom Cole, Dent, I mean, I could go on and on, all these guys have said there's nothing there. OK? So that's one thing. The second thing is on this issue specifically of Britain, our biggest ally, he came out today and said you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox. Can I just play again for you, David what Fox said? I think this is important.
BURNETT: Hold on. We've given the opportunity to apologize as his own National Security Adviser and Press Secretary had already delivered what amounted to an apology. This is what his answer was. Here's what Fox News said. I want to play Sheph Smith.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SMITH: Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now
President of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
URBAN: And so -- what are you looking for, Erin? I'm not sure. The question --
BURNETT: He keeps bringing up an allegation that appeared on Fox. Fox is saying there's absolutely no evidence of it. But he's given a chance to apologize today and he does not do so. And you're saying that that doesn't cause any issue with our biggest ally.
URBAN: No. I don't think it does. I don't think it does.
BURNETT: So, Jim Sciutto, let me bring in in here. What -- you've talked to them. Does it?
SCIUTTO: I just went to Europe and I met with leaders and officials from a number of U.S. Allies. And this is the issue they have here. They don't know whose statement holds because they will listen to President Trump, they'll read his tweets and then they'll get a face- to-face with the General Mattis or Secretary Tillerson or others and oftentimes the message is different, even contradictory. So in private -- they won't say this in public because they're allies and they're careful about it.
In private they express deep concerns because they don't know what holds today. And the real concern is when there's a crisis, when those statements really matter. When North Korea launches a missile, right? Or Russia --
URBAN: Or Jim, to your point is the Syrian Government using chemical weapons on their people. We saw it happen to President Obama.
SCIUTTO: I don't do political commentary. I'm just telling you what I heard from officials in Europe about their concerns about what statements they believe from the U.S. and the truth is they're confused. They don't know what to believe.
BURNETT: So David, to this point, right? McMaster calls his counterparts and delivers what amounts to an apology and Trump doesn't back him up. You don't see that as a problem, does that undermine his own national security adviser?
DAVID: As Jim stated, the British and the U.S. obviously have an incredible special close relationship. Historically our closest ally. I'm not quite certain where the president was given an opportunity to apologize and he walked it back or did something that did not support what General McMaster or Sean did at the press conference. I didn't -- I didn't see that or hear that. During when he was asked at the press conference with the -- with the -- with the chancellor. I don't think that he negated what either of those individuals said.
AVLON: He obviously did. I mean, I'm sorry. He obviously did. And look, H.R. McMaster and General Mattis and people who serving their country with incredible distinction, keeping undermined and therefore you get engaged in really surreal game of contain the president and that's a really unusual situation for the country for reasons that, you know, we should not ignore.
URBAN: Where was the question he was asked -- do you -- do you refute or repudiate the statements by General McMmaster and --
AVLON: He said, hey, I'm just a president. Talk to Fox News, that makes no sense to me.
BURNETT: Yes. Let me -- let me play -- let me play -- let me play how he answered it again, OK? He said we said nothing. I'll play it.
URBAN: Let's be -- let's be pretty specific about it. So, let's look at it.
BURNETT: OK. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn't be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
URBAN: But again, Erin, I'm saying I didn't hear the question. Was the question, do you repudiate or refute what General Mcmaster or Sean said?
BURNETT: I'm going to get you the exact question, it was from a German reporter. He had been asked once his response to the British allegations. He didn't answer it. This was in response to the second question. OK. In exact words. But when he says you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox. Is that the way you want your president to answer a question? Right? He's citing up a pundit, that was on Fox who made an allegation. And now he's citing this person again.
URBAN: Again, let's hear the question and I want to hear -- I want to hear the specific question.
BURNETT: All right. I'm going to get to the exact wording of the question. He was asked specifically -- sorry?
KAYYEM: No. I was just going to say that we could do word -- we could do word parsing or whatever David wants at this stage, but let's just -- in a 24-hour period, let's just look at how the world is looking at us because I'm -- as someone in national security I'm just getting tired of talking about Trump the t personality. That's not what the United States is about.
URBAN: But again, you said the South Koreans --
KAYYEM: Wait, no, hold on. Excuse me. Excuse me, sir.
BURNETT: I want to jump in, David, I want to -- I want to read you the question. OK? And I want to be clear it came from a German reporter. All right?
URBAN: I recall.
BURNETT: OK. He goes on about the rejected wiretapping claims and he says, are there other suspects or do you think it was a mistake to blame British Intelligence for this? And by the way, my second question for the time, are there tweets that you regret? Trump says very seldom, very seldom.
URBAN: And he said, I don't regret -- I don't regret tweets and I don't hear -- and I don't hear where he said anything that I refute or negate --
BURNETT: And then he said -- and just to finish your question --
BURNETT: I'm sorry. David. Let me just be very clear. He said, do you think it was a mistake to blame British intelligence? Donald Trump's answer, to finish your question, we said nothing, all we did was quote an expert.
SCIUTTO: Erin, that's no true.
BURNETT: That's a very clear question and a clear answer,
SCIUTTO: It's also not true because Donald Trump tweeted four times two weeks ago himself accusing President Obama. He didn't say Fox News accuses president Obama. Donald Trump accused Obama.
BURNETT: And here we were talking about British Intelligence specifically. But yes, yes, absolutely.
URBAN: So to my bigger point earlier and to continue the point, do you think the South Koreans right now are concerned that the U.S. or that President Trump will not stand behind them? Do you think the Germans, do you think the British think that? And If you do, what's the proof?
AVLON: -- allies have no reason to be concerned, they have no reason to be concerned about the integrity of General Mattis, Secretary Mattis, H.R. McMaster, but unfortunately I think they have very good reason rooted in his own words and comments to be concerned that the very least about how grounded this president seems to be in commonly acknowledged reality.
URBAN: Well, that's your opinion.
AVLON: Yes, it is.
BURNETT: Juliette, where do you think this goes from here in terms of what the British are going to do about it? We know that, you know, tonight when they were asked, Jim's reporting they were apoplectic. Obviously, formally they're not commenting. What are they going do now?
KAYYEM: That's very British of them to be very angry but not comment too much which is good. We like that. They will -- I think they'll stand down. They've made their point clear. And look, you know, there are mechanisms of national security that are working below this level, conversation, so people have known each other for years, intelligence officers and military officers. But I just think it's somewhat e delusional about the world to believe that they're not watching this with a bit of chagrin, nervousness, humor, whatever word you want to put there.
I mean, as I said, in the 24-hour period, we gratuitously dragged British intelligence into this in an attempt to unwind the original lie in the -- in the tweet. We offend the Germans by making a really off-handled joke and clearly in a relationship that is not as close as it was previously between Germany and the U.S. By tweet we suggest that we may be abandoning or we may be heading towards military efforts in North Korea with no statement about what does that mean and I should remind people the tweet actually also mentions China and makes a dig at China.
All of these things. It's 24 hours. And as I was saying earlier, I'm just -- you know, as a national security person, the focus on personality and what he meant and the tweet and whether he was in a good mood or a bad mood or -- it's just -- it's childish at this stage. We are the United States of America. We used to represent something and I think it belies the headlines you see abroad, it belies the reporting from someone like Jim and the rest of your CNN commentators and reporters that this is not having an impact on how the world perceives us. Our credibility is our national security. That is (INAUDIBLE)
URBAN: Let me go back to President Obama. When Obama made a promise to the world about the use of military intervention in Syria, if the Syrian dictator used chemical weapons, there's a real-life example of it right there. And what happened? Did the world cave? The president walked completely away from it, abandoned his statement. Were you outraged then?
AVLON: That's all you've got, David. That's all you've got.
URBAN: I'm asking you. There's a concrete example of somebody, a president who drew a line in the sand. If you use chemical weapons, we will use military force against you. BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.
And next, more breaking news on the intruder at the White House got as close as the front door. He was actually on White House grounds for 16 minutes. The Secret Service has some explaining to do tonight.
Plus people who think any health plan is better than Obamacare.
BURNETT: Breaking tonight. Secret security plans for Trump Tower stolen a secret service laptop stolen out of an agent's car. And on that laptop, the evacuation protocol for Trump Tower and Trump Tower floor plans. And then two senior law enforcement officials are now telling us that laptop cannot be erased or even traced remotely. That's pretty shocking. And this setback for the secret service comes as the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz reveals that the White House fence jumper was able to rattle a White House door handle before he was captured after 16 minutes on White House grounds. Brynn Gingras is OutFront.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A stolen laptop potentially compromising the security at Trump Tower in New York is the latest setback for the secret service. An senior law enforcement source confirms an agent's computer was stolen out of her car in New York City Thursday. On it, floor plans and evacuation protocols for Trump Tower. Sources say the laptop was highly encrypted but it can't be traced or erased remotely. A spokesman for the department says there is no classified information on the computer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It had a really bad week.
GINGRAS: Two agents are also the subject of an internal investigation after being accused of photographing the president's grandson. The entire Trump family and their children receive protection and sources say the agents took pictures of Donald Trump Jr.'s son a he was sleeping while being driven around New York city. This comes as we are learning new details about a security breach at the White House where an intruder spent at least 15 minutes evading security on White House grounds while inching closer to the president.
According to a secret service source, 26-year-old Jonathan Tran scaled a treasury department fence last Friday and set off several alarms but still managed to sneak past a secret service security post before being caught in the inner portion of the White House grounds. A criminal complaint shows he was carrying two cans of mace and was walking close to the exterior wall of the White House while the president was home.
[19:30:05] Trump praised the Secret Service's response.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Secret Service did a fantastic job. It was a troubled person. Very sad.
GINGRAS: But former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow says the breach is disturbing. JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: He was able to beat
the physical security measures at the White House, the technological security measures and the human capital, uniformed guard, and that's alarming.
GINGRAS: Now, a House Oversight Committee wants the breach investigated writing, quote, "If true, these allegations raise questions about whether the agency's security protocols are adequate."
WACKROW: All of these things are an embarrassment to the Secret Service and compounding that problem is that there's no director of the Secret Service right now. Joe Clancy has retired, and there's no acting director. So, really, the onus is on DHS.
GINGRAS: And about that last breach, the Secret Service admits there were lapses in security protocols. It says it conducted its own investigation and interviewed dozens of people, actually reviewed radio transmissions and also surveillance video and said it's actually angry that this even happened and said it's trying to fix the problem right now.
As for the intruder, Erin, he was released from jail with GPS tracking. He's not allowed in the Washington, D.C., area until he's back in court next month -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Brynn, thank you.
And now, let's go to Republican congressman from Texas, Will Hurd, former CIA officer, also sits on the House Intelligence and Oversight committees.
A lot to talk to you about tonight, Congressman.
Let me start with the laptop, extremely sensitive information on it. It can't be erased. We understand it cannot be traced. How serious is a lapse like this?
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX), INTELLIGENCE & HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEES: Well, it's very serious. And when one Secret Service agent shows a lapse like this, it affects the entire organization. We've -- on the House Oversight Committee, I think we've done three or four hearings on the tactics, techniques, and procedures of Secret Service. They have historically been one of the most professional organizations.
And I think President Trump was being incredibly gracious when he was -- when he was complimenting the Secret Service for the person that got near the door. But that's a problem. And we've seen problems in training, we've seen problems in staffing, the levels and the protection of the United States -- the president of the United States is very important. And this is troubling.
BURNETT: All right. You mentioned all of these issues and of course that fence jumper who got to the door there for 16 minutes, also the agents, of course, taking pictures of one of President Trump's grandsons. Will you investigate the Secret Service? You're also mentioning lots of issues here.
HURD: Well, this is -- this has been an issue historically that the House Oversight Committee led by Chairman Chaffetz has looked into. Like I said, I think in the last Congress, we had three or four hearings on the operations and the culture within the Secret Service. And I'm sure that will continue.
BURNETT: And I also want to get to you on the other breaking news, Congressman, this hour, that the Justice Department, obviously delivering those documents today to your committee about President Trump's allegations that the former President Obama wiretapped him. We understand an official is telling us that these documents do not confirm any allegations of wiretapping.
Can you tell us anything else about what's in them?
HURD: I haven't seen the documents but I think it was pretty clear from most of the senior leadership, from both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democratic leadership, about the issue of potential Obama tapping of the Trump Tower. I think it's been pretty clear there's no evidence to suggest that. And so, I'm unaware what's in this DOJ memo, but I'm sure it will be reviewed before the hearing that we're having on Monday.
BURNETT: And let me ask you about that hearing because again I want to emphasize the breaking news at this moment. We are just getting this headline, Congressman. So, I want to make sure I tell everyone.
BURNETT: An official is telling us that these documents, these classified documents that have been delivered to your committee, seen by your chairman, do not confirm Trump's allegations of wiretapping. So, I want to be very clear about that. The FBI director going to be testifying as you say on Monday.
What are you going to be asking him given this?
HURD: Well, it's going to be Director Comey, director of the FBI, as well as the director of the NSA, Admiral Rogers. Those will be the two witnesses at the hearing.
And this is -- this is an unprecedented move of the House Intelligence Committee, having an unclassified open hearing. This shows, you know, the transparency in this review. And this is -- there's going to be a lot of topics. I think it's ultimately going to be must-watch TV. It's going to be talking about Russian involvement and trying to influence our election, time line of the hack of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, talking about status of investigations by law enforcement.
[19:35:10] What will be interesting is what is able to be shared or not shared in that environment. So, this is -- this is going to be probably a long day on the 20th.
BURNETT: I would imagine.
Now, again, given that we now understand from this official that these documents do not confirm any allegations of wiretapping, that obviously fits with what your leadership says, it fits with what Speaker Ryan has said, it fits with what -- we have heard from person after person including the former head of the DNI.
Numerous Republicans have called on the president to retract the allegation that President Obama wiretapped him. Some have gone further. The deputy whip, Tom Cole, said unless there's compelling proof, President Obama is owed an apology from President Trump.
Again, what we understand now is that proof is not there. There is no -- there is nothing that would support this at all.
Do you agree that President Trump should apologize to President Obama?
HURD: Well, I'm going to quote my father, Bob Hurd, something he's told all of my friends when they got married -- it never hurts to say you're sorry. And I think this goes for this situation. It goes for the situation with our British friends.
Our intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and the British is one of the strongest that we have, and it never hurts to say sorry to your friends.
BURNETT: Do you wish he had taken that opportunity today when he was given it?
HURD: Well, he's the president of the United States. He can do what he thinks is in his best interest. But this is something that will probably linger.
And the issue of privacy in the United States is important, is tantamount of protecting civil liberties. Privacy is an issue that's important in Europe. There is -- this debate is going to create unintended circumstances as we discuss future intelligence program, intelligence sharing amongst our allies, and it's important that we -- everyone start being more precise in their language and that's just not the executive branch. It's Congress as well, my friends on both sides of the aisle.
And to be honest, Erin, your colleagues in the press as well. Quoting an unnamed intelligence officials, that's information, not intelligence, because if it's unnamed, I don't know if it's a GS-10 person in some random intelligence organization or the head of the agency.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Congressman. Good to talk to you again.
HURD: Happy St. Paddy's Day.
BURNETT: All right. You too.
And next, Trump supporters who say they don't know the details of the new health care bill but, frankly, they don't care. They have faith in Donald Trump to do the right thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really in my heart feel that Trump cares about the American people. I think he has the best intentions to get people healthy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, the chancellor, Angela Merkel, and President Trump clearly have some issues with each other. What else did their body language reveal?
[19:41:58] BURNETT: Tonight, House Republicans set to vote on the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. That would come as early as next week as President Trump says some Republicans are flipping their votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We met 12 pretty much noes in Congress. They went from all noes to all yeses, sirs and we have a lot of yeses coming in. It's all coming together. We're going to have great health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This comes as Republicans are trying to rework the bill to get more support. CNN is keeping track of the votes and at this moment, 14 Republican are noes, 11 are leaning no. And why this really matters is they can only afford to lose 21. So, you can see how crucial any change might be.
What do voters, though, voters in Trump country, think of this whole debate over Obamacare and the GOP bill?
Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this part of Michigan, breakfast is big.
(on camera): This is a city, a town that just about every American knows mainly because of breakfast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CARTOON CHARACTER: Hi. I'm Tony the tiger.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Battle Creek, the city that Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops and Grape Nuts built, home to cereal giants Kellogg and Post. While these international companies are holding strong, other parts of Battle Creek like many parts of Michigan have seen better days -- from cuts to production lines to jobs, shifting out of state, to finding affordable health care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been depressed.
SAVIDGE: Paul owns the Griffin Grill. He wanted to provide health care coverage for his 30 employees but couldn't afford it. Heck, he says he could barely afford his own. He didn't enroll in Obamacare and claims the health care law still took a toll on his premiums.
(on camera): Just so I'm clear, wasn't you didn't have Obamacare, it was the impact Obamacare had on your private insurance?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Absolutely. It --
SAVIDGE: Did you see it right away, the increase?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you could see it just doubling.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Tax attorney, Chris Micklatcher, in part owes his living to the impact Obamacare has had on his middle income customers.
CHRIS MICKLATCHER, TAX ATTORNEY: People can't afford insurance so they go without it or they buy the insurance but they don't pay their taxes. So, they come into my office as a result.
SAVIDGE: It's safe to say in this part of America, the Affordable Healthcare Act is not very popular. After twice voting for Obama, Calhoun County swung the other way in 2016.
(on camera): Was Donald Trump's talk of replacing Obamacare one of the things that drew you to him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, definitely.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Jim Steer (ph) is self-employed and the Republican county chair. He too says he struggled to pay his family's thousand dollars a month health insurance premiums.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I just ended up just deciding I'm going to go without.
SAVIDGE (on camera): What do you know of the Republican plan put forward so far?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I know what's in the headlines, so I don't know details.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A lot of Trump supporters I talk to admit they don't know the details of the Republican plan to replace Obamacare.
(on camera): Do they know what the change is going to be? MICKLATCHER: They don't know what the change is. I don't know if
they really understand what Trump is proposing and frankly I don't either.
[19:45:05] PAUL CONKEY, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: Yes. You know, it's overloaded because that's all they're talking about so I turn it on and turn it off. But --
SAVIDGE: Do you think it will be better?
CONKEY: Well, I do.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Another reoccurring theme among Trump voters. In their minds, anything will be better than Obamacare, especially if Trump's behind it.
DEB BLACK, TRUMP VOTER: I really in my heart feel that Trump cares about the American people. And when he says he wants to make America great again, I think he has the best intentions to get people healthy.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Donald Trump has sort of implied -- and I know he uses simplistic language, but it's going to be the best ever, going to cost less, you'll get more, those kind of things. Do you believe that?
CONKEY: I think his ability to negotiate and get people from all sides buying into it, I think that they're going to make some improvements.
SAVIDGE: If the president says it's going to be a good plan --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm not sure I'm that trusting. But better, less bad, maybe?
SAVIDGE: There have been some suggestions that the president's swift action to try to replace Obamacare is upsetting crossover voters in places like Michigan. So, I asked that of every Trump voter we talked to here. Their response? Absolutely no -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Martin.
And pretty powerful there, going to the ground to see what the truth is.
Jason Kander joins me now, former Democratic secretary of state from Missouri, and Kayleigh McEnany, contributor for "The Hill" and a Trump supporter.
Jason, let me start with you. You heard what Martin just said. This is -- this is not affecting the crossover voters he talked to and you heard what person after person there said. Obamacare for them is so bad, one person went without health insurance. They to a T say they would prefer an alternative, even a less bad one.
What do you say to these people?
JASON KANDER (D), FORMER MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I say that I hope the president realizes the faith that so many Americans are putting in the promises that he has made. And I emphasize the promises because the promises that he has made include making sure that everybody gets covered, making sure everybody's insurance gets cheaper. Basically he's said it's terrific, he said that he's not going to cut Medicaid under any circumstances.
The problem is, is that his actions, they've resulted in him breaking all of those promises. And a health care bill that causes 14 million fewer people, that health care bill is a really bad idea.
BURNETT: Although, of course, I just want to clarify, the CBO says that's because most people will opt not to have the insurance, which puts them at risk in other ways. Maybe your point --
KANDER: It's also largely because of Medicaid cuts.
BURNETT: Kayleigh, what's your response to Jason?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a few things. Look, the Democrats have put us in a horrible position. They thought it was a great idea to take over 20 percent of the economy, that is the health care industry, and they put forward the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, and it's become the unaffordable care act. It's in a death spiral as we've repeatedly heard and seen on the ground.
And Democrats, the onus is on them to come to the negotiating table because this CBO plan that basically Jason just referred to, the CBO report, doesn't account for the third phase of Trump's plan, and I don't want to get into the weeds here, but basically the third phase is where we cut so much of the cost that voters in that video you just played referred to, Democrats won't come to the negotiating table. They're acting like recalcitrant children and saying, we're going to leave the people out to dry, despite putting them in that scenario.
So, the onus is on the Democrats to come to the table because you have a president who's put forth a very moderate, very palatable plan and Democrats just refuse to negotiate.
BURNETT: Jason, there was one voter in that piece, I don't know if you remember. Her name was Deb Black, and what she said, I'll quote her. "I really in my heart feel that Trump cares about the American people." And then to finish her quote, "He has the best of intentions to get people healthy."
How can you argue with that level of trust? And isn't it pretty incredible? These people, they do truly believe in him right now.
KANDER: Well, look, President Trump has been making huge promises his entire life, and this is no different. In this case, he promised that he would never touch Medicaid, he promised that he would -- you know, he made all sorts of promises in the health care bill. And what has actually resulted is something really different. So, when you talk about Democrats coming to the table, what should
happen is what happens in everybody else's workplace around the country, which is when something is put forward and it's not perfect, you work together to make it better. What you don't do is decide to just throw it out, start all over again in order to keep a political promise. And that is what the Republicans in Congress are doing while President Trump is breaking all his promises.
MCENANY: Jason, here's what I think you're missing. Think back to the primaries. We saw Democratic candidates on one side saying Obamacare is great, we put this in place. You have Republicans on the other side saying, no, we don't need to give any sort of tax credit or entitlement. You know, let's just work a free market system, health care is not a right.
[19:50:03] You have one candidate -- one candidate in the middle, that is President Trump, saying we need to bring the two side together saying yes, we give people some sort of entitlement but, yes, we also bring down costs. I have not seen one Democrat come forward and say here's my plan, President, have you?
KANDER: I haven't seen him do that.
MCENANY: He has, the whole entire campaign.
KANDER: I haven't seen him do any of the things you just described.
MCENANY: He has.
KANDER: President Obama said if President Trump put something forward that would do what he promised and would actually be better than Obamacare, he would support it. I think we all would. But he just hasn't done that. That's the problem --
BURNETT: Kayleigh --
KANDER: He's great at promises. Maybe the best there's ever been. But he's really bad at execution.
BURNETT: Kayleigh, what about -- you know, Martin just showed and I think it was very important -- Trump supporters believe in the president even if they aren't thrilled about this plan, they trust him. There are some Trump supporters, though, very avid Trump supporters that he is going to need who don't feel that way. We've also talked to them.
Here's one of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all want to thrive and make America great again as he would say, you know, but we can't do that if we're struggling to pay bills.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What do you say to her, Kayleigh? She was a Trump supporter and this health care bill she says is not going to be good for her.
MCENANY: Well, the costs have to come down, absolutely. And you have a little bit of cost saving mechanism in the first phase of the plan, but we need 60 votes in order to allow insurance companies to compete across state lines and to get 60 votes that means we need eight Democrats, and if people like Jason, Democrats like Jason, don't want to come together and help these skyrocketing premiums, we can't get 60 votes in the Senate.
BURNETT: All right. I will leave it there. Thank you both. Appreciate your time.
And next, what were Chancellor Merkel and President Trump really saying without speaking a word?
[19:55:40] BURNETT: Tonight, the outspoken between President Trump and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House. What did their body language tell us? It was a rather strange press conference.
OUTFRONT now, Chris Ulrich, the body language expert.
And, Chris, good to have you with me again.
CHRIS ULRICH, LEAD INSTRUCTOR, BODY LANGUAGE INSTITUTE: Hi, Erin. Thanks for having me.
BURNETT: All right. I just want to play a couple moments here because anyone who didn't see it, I think they should see parts of it because it was awkward to say the least at certain moments and it wasn't all due to translation. There was a moment where in the Oval Office where the chancellor and Trump do not shake hands. Let me play it for you.
ULRICH: Right, OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Handshake? Handshake?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
REPORTER: Mr. President, handshake, please?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, Chris, there's one thing we don't see here is a handshake. What do you see?
ULRICH: Right. Well, it feeds into the perception that awkwardness you were talking about between the two of them. If this -- if you're in the White House and this was your hope, to show this was a close relationship, perceptually, this did not do it.
In the moment, you see Angela Merkel, her leg is crossed over and she's leaning and facing toward the president, and the president is giving no acknowledgment, almost like a cold shoulder perceptually. Is it a cold diss?
I don't think so in this. If anything, he seems like he's preoccupied, in a sprinter's pose, at the front of the chair, he's tapping. We saw this when he was sitting with President Obama in the Oval Office. So, it just seems like he's in another place.
BURNETT: I remember with prime minister from Abe from Japan, they're yelling for them to shake hands. He's new to this but he's now been through it before, right?
BURNETT: And obviously there, they still didn't to the handshake.
All right. I want to show you one more moment not from the Oval Office but from the press conference itself.
ULRICH: Great. OK.
BURNETT: In this, as I play it for everyone, this is going to be the look on Trump's face. He's asked the question about wiretapping which obviously he didn't want to be asked. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Government officials in London today rejected White House claims that they unleashed wiretapping on you, on Trump Tower, on Trump Organization, or on members of your campaign, was that British intelligence was either responsible for it or involved in it. After these claims are rejected, what is your take on that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. We'll put up so people can see the still of his reaction. People could watch that on the split screen. What does his reaction say to you?
ULRICH: Several things. Several things, Erin. First, he does this lip pursing, we call it, he'll pucker his lip is almost a way to pause and say something he might want to say, pause for a second. He also -- when we don't like what we see or hear, our lips tend to disappear. This is a moment he doesn't like it.
Also, he'll close his eyes for a second, it's called eye blocking, an indicator of dislike, whether he dislikes the question or the reporter asking the question or the topic. Just a general sign he's not pleased to deal with this question and he shows with that lip pursuing and lip locking and the blocked eyes, blocking his eyes for a second. BURNETT: All right. Which is very interesting, because -- I mean, it
was -- his face was gesticulating I guess what you do with your hands but seems like his face was gesticulating, he was moving it so much.
ULRICH: His face is having a party in that moment. So, it shows a lot of emotion contrasting that with Angela Merkel. She is very calm and does not show a lot of facial response.
BURNETT: No, completely nothing, even when he makes the joke.
So, let me play this because political commentators are focusing on Trump and Merkel's reaction when Trump answers wiretapping question. So, let's look at that part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As far as wiretapping I guess, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What do you see there?
ULRICH: It's a double take moment for her. She'll look over and squint her eyes in a moment of confusion, maybe not sure what he's saying or how to respond to it. Then she returns back to a very calm manner, getting ready for the next question, to be ready for whatever's coming next. She is slightly surprised by that comment.
BURNETT: You can see it when we play it slow-mo.
All right. Chris, thanks so much. Great to talk to you.
ULRICH: Thank you for having me, Erin.
BURNETT: Have a nice night, everybody. Have a wonderful weekend. Happy St. Paddy's Day.
Anderson is next.