Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Defends Son: "Many People Would Have Held That Meeting; Trump About To Leave U.S. As White House Said To Be Paralyzed; Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Ready To Subpoena Manafort; Kushner Initially Omitted Trump Jr.-Russia Meeting From Form; Video Shows Trump With Russian Tied To E-mail Controversy. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 12, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:01] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, President Trump about to Board Air Force One for Paris speaking out moments ago about his sons meeting with the Russian attorney. Saying, quote, I think many people would have held that meeting. Plus, exclusive video of Donald Trump in a very friendly meeting with some of the key players involved in setting up that meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer. And the White House said to be quote, paralyzed, I need a fresh new hell every day. What's going on inside the West Wing? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, the president and Melania Trump are about to take off for Paris to meet with the French president Emmanuel Macron. This will be the first time we have seen president Trump in public in four days. And it comes as Trump speaks out moments ago about the controversy swirling around his son's meeting with a Russian attorney. Trump insists that he, himself, knew nothing about the meeting until a few days ago, telling Reuters that he doesn't fault his son saying, "I think many people would have held that meeting."

Now Trump was also asked whether he believes Putin's denial of Russian meddling in the election. And here's the thing, that was an opportunity for the president to say no, I didn't believe Vladimir Putin, but he didn't say no. He dodged the question saying, "Something happened and we have to find out what it is." Of course, that's news to the intelligence community.

President Trump tonight leaves behind a White House staff paralyzed and rattled by the controversy swirling around Donald Trump Jr. and his meeting with the Russian attorney during the campaign. Trump, himself, described by two administration officials as huddled in the oval office ahead of his trip watching television. Trump is said to be serious, frustrated, but also defiant, saying the controversy is nothing more than an effort by his enemies to discredit his presidency.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT tonight in Paris where the president will be landing obviously in a few hours. Sara, a lot of hunks (ph) inside the West Wing tonight, what are you hearing?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Erin. Of course, you wouldn't guess that by the president's twitter feed. He was tweeting earlier that he's not sitting around watching cable news, that health care and tax reform or moving forward. And he was tweeting tonight about his upcoming trip here to Paris to help celebrate Bastille Day.

But sources inside the White House, other sources close to the White House are painting a different picture. They are saying the president is in fact spending enough a lot of time watching television over these last few days when he hasn't really been seen in public. And that he's fuming that the focus is once again on Russia. One top republican close to the West Wing described this White House as paralyzed, which is a damming assessment considering the huge legislative items that they want to move forward on health care, tax reform and the like.

Now, the president will be taking questions alongside the French president. That will be the first opportunity for reporters to pepper him about this meeting that Don Jr. had with the Russian lawyer. Trump did give a sort of preview of how he's feeling about it. He spoke to Reuters and said that basically anyone would take that meeting. And sources who are close to the White House say that privately the president is offering a similar assessment saying, he's not necessarily mad at his son, but he's frustrated. He doesn't think that Don Jr. did anything to run a foul of the law, but it wasn't necessarily a smart move to take that meeting, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much Sara Murray. And we'll hear more Republican OUTFRONT later this hour who joins many in saying, well, that meeting didn't make sense to take. Let's go to Manu Raju now. Manu, the focus on Capitol Hill tonight is actually not just on Donald Trump Jr. and there's a lot of focus there. But also you're reporting, there is now increasing scrutiny on the two other people in that meeting with that Russian lawyer, Paul Manafort and the campaign chairman and, of course, Jared Kushner, now senior advisor to the president.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, no question about those two men. Already we're of interest to investigators on Capitol Hill. They both had been in contact with the house and senate intelligence committee, with Manafort's team providing records to both the house and senate intelligence committee, and Kushner saying that he would be open to talking to the committees uncertain when that would happen.

But, of course, a lot of concerns particularly from democrats about why Jared Kushner appears to have security clearance still with an interim security clearance and why that would be the case given all of these questions and given his failure to disclose some of these meetings initially. Republicans on the hill, though, Erin, are not calling for Jared Kushner's security clearance, including the Russia on top, investigator on the house side in the Russia, investigation Mike Conaway telling me earlier today that's an issue for the White House, not for Capitol Hill.

And for Paul Manafort now has come under interest from the senate judiciary committee, he chairman of that committee telling me earlier today that he does want to speak with Manafort as soon as next week in a public session. But later they said that they're working with special council Bob Mueller's office to make sure it does not conflict with his investigation. But if it doesn't, we could see Paul Manafort here as soon as next week, Erin.

[19:05:02] BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. Manu, that's a significant development. And now I want to go to a democratic congressman Jerry Nadler who sit on the house judiciary committee. And thank you very much for being with me.

You said way back in April that you think Jared Kushner intentionally left meetings with foreign officials off his security application, right, when he was going for security clearance. Now, he added some of those, and we know he came back and added again. And he only disclosed this meeting that we're talking about now with the Russian lawyer in recent weeks. So he come and edited that disclosure form, put other meetings on it, had to come back again and add this ones. So his lawyers say there's nothing there that was just discovered, that's why it happened. Do you think this one was left out intentionally or do you think could be just an oversight?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Of course, it was left out intentionally. He left it out on several revisions of his disclosure forms. I assumed that he keeps a calendar that as any responsible business person does and this would have been on his calendar. He revealed this only because he had to reveal it, because he knew it was being revealed in the press.

BURNETT: Now, do you think it's possible that he didn't reveal it. He knew about it, but he didn't reveal it because nothing came out of the meeting, but he thought that admitting that he had the meeting would make people think something did happen in the meeting and that's why he left it off?

NADLER: Well, given that interpretation, that would be criminal. He is required to reveal meetings on his disclosure forms for security clearance. And he is not entitled to make judgments so whether they were important meetings or not. And here, this was certainly a relevant meeting, because here you had the representative of a foreign hostile power, namely Russia, offering according to the e-mails that we know he was on and Manafort was on and his brother-in-law publicized.

We know that the Russian agent was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton or alleged dirt on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Jr. said I love it that we want this information. So that's acting for improper purposes to put it mildly.

BURNETT: So on what -- what should happen to Jared Kushner now? I mean you have said his security clearance should be revoked until we get to the bottom of this. Here we are tonight, the White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says, the White House won't comment on the status of security clearances. So do you know, does Jared Kushner have security clearance tonight or not?

NADLER: Well, we've been told that he does. I don't know if he's been revoke, but it ought to be revoked. And furthermore, we've got new information that we found out just in the last few days, and that is that the justice department was conducting a $230 million fraud case against the major Russian company that miss it zone at sky. The same lawyer who offered the information on Hillary was the attorney for that that this was the cause.

This $230 million fraud in Russia was one of the causes of the assassination of Magnitsky. This was the Southsky not only wanted Magnitsky sanctions removed, the act repealed, but he was the attorney on this case when she met with Jared and with Donald Trump. And we know that a couple of days before -- and we know that in May, suddenly this $230 million lawsuit was settled for $6 million. No admission of wrongdoing, two days before going to trial, a few day -- a little while after Preet Bharara was fired. And my question is, was he fired because he was carrying on his lawsuit?

BURNETT: All right, so you raised those questions. There are some who would say, OK, now we're in the range of conspiracy theory, right. The press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't go quite that far, but she did say this with congressman about democrats like you for questioning Kushner and his security clearance and other things. She said you're just playing political games. Here is some other back and forth that she said during the briefing today.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think Democrats are trying to play political games and I think it is ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any concern over the top adviser to the president --

SANDERS: Did nothing wrong? No.


NADLER: Well, you can always --

BURNETT: It was just a political game?

NADLER: -- no. You can always ascribe political games to anybody who is doing something you don't like. The fact is, we were raising certain questions. Certain questions have now been answered. We now know there was an illegal conspiracy involved in seeking from the Russians intelligence on Hillary Clinton. We -- this was denied. Remember, all the denials that there was any contact with the Russians were total. Now we know they were all lying.

We have a lot of other questions. And the fact that the matter is before we went public, we've sent letter after letter. The democrats on the judiciary committee to the justice department, to the White House, 17 letters I think. None of them had been answered over this last few months. They just ignore the letter, so of course, we have to go public with it. BURNETT: So turning to what the president himself knew, because this is a crucial question, right? Even if you were to find out there was wrongdoing on behalf of anybody in that room, nobody in that room was Donald Trump himself who is now the president of the United States, right?

[19:10:00] He was asked by Reuters tonight if he knew that his son was meeting with a Russian lawyer. He responded, no, that I didn't know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this. And his personal attorney, Jay Sekulow came on CNN and denied it as well. Here he is.


JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Let's focus on what the president was aware of, nothing.


BURNETT: Do you believe them?

NADLER: No, I don't believe him. I don't just believe him. We have no information on that as of yet. That's why the investigation is proceeding. I'm sure Mr. Mueller will put Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. and others under oath to ask whether the president knew anything. We don't know. What we -- the only one thing we do know is that the president lies all the time, so you can't give any credibility to this or anything else he says.

BURNETT: Congressman Nadler, before you go, two of your democratic colleagues tonight, Congressman Brad Sherman and Congressman Al Green today introduced an article of impeachment against president Trump. They say they are beginning, and I want to quote them, "The effort to force the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on Obstruction of Justice and Russian interference in our election." OK, that's your committee. Do you support this effort, an article of impeachment?

NADLER: Well, there is certainly -- no. There is certainly ought to be hearings by the judiciary committee in the house as the Judiciary Committee and the senate has announced they will do. We have jurisdiction over Obstruction of Justice, over that whole question and jurisdiction over the conduct of the justice department in the Magnitsky lawsuit. We have jurisdiction over all this. We ought to be investigating this.


NADLER: Election for violation --


BURNETT: So you're saying yes to the hearing, but no to articles in impeachment.

NADLER: It's too early to talk about that. We don't know yet, if there are grounds. We got the long way to go in investigation. It may lead there, but who knows. So I'm certainly not going to support that now. But I am going to support a strict investigation of everything, because we have to get to the bottom goals because it's a direct threat to our democracy.

BURNETT: All right Congressman Nadler, good to talk to you and I appreciate your time.

NADLER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, as President Trump gets ready to take off for Paris, he leaves behind the White House in disarray. Is there a circular firing squad in the West Wing? Plus, CNN's exclusive video of Ben businessman Donald Trump meeting with the key players who set up the controversial Trump Jr. meeting. There was knowledge. You knew them.

And this is the photo more, Jeanne Moos, on the photo that promised to solve the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart. Didn't anybody Google it?


[19:16:18] BURNETT: Breaking news, president Trump making his first public appearance in four days as he departs the White House for Paris. We're waiting, video him leaving the White House. He sat into Air Force One which you can see there waiting on the tarmac going ahead to Paris, all ready for the president and the first lady to board.

The president, of course, has been hunkered down. This is administration struggles to weather a new and significant storm regarding Russia. In an interview today though with THE CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK, the president talks about Russia and why Vladimir Putin, he says would have preferred Hillary Clinton.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So when I keep hearing about that he would have rather had Trump, I think probably not because, when I want a strong military, you know, she wouldn't have spent the money on the military.


TRUMP: But when I want a strong military, when I want tremendous energy, we're opening up coal, we're opening up natural gas, we're opening up fracking, all the things that he would hate, but nobody ever mentions that.


BURNETT: OUTFRON, now Mark Preston, our senior political analyst, Jackie Kucinich, Washington Bureau Chief for THE DAILY BEAST, and Michael Shear, White House correspondent for THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Mark Preston, you know, you hear Trump saying, look, Russia would have preferred Clinton, but of course, we have the e-mails that would show Russian government support for Trump. And we have the conclusion of the United States intelligence community, which is extremely clear on that particular point.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, Erin. And, you know, and this is just one of those instance where just because the president says, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's true or accurate. Let's just go back about 12 hours today and let me read to you something that he tweeted out. He said, "The White House is functioning perfectly, focussed on health care, tax cuts reform and many other things and this is the kick here. I have very little time for watching T.V.."

Now, we all know that that is a false statement. We know the fact that from our folks who are inside the White House, from folks who work very closely or with president Trump, he is constantly watching television, constantly watching cable news. In this case, when it concerns Vladimir Putin, he is clearly trying to deflect what has really become the biggest story of his very, very young administration.

BURNETT: I mean Michael, you know, to this point, top republicans close to the White House telling CNN tonight that this is a White House in their words quote paralyzed. You know, what we have reported in the past, the White House has had moments when they have hunkered down. This time, though, is it different?

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: It does feel a little different. I mean look, I was at the White House when the day that Comey was fired, and that felt different as well. So there are these moments whenever White House are under siege, there are this moments that feel like dramatic and different than you're sort of run of the mill kind of Washington scandal.

But even with that, this does feel like the White House is trying -- Sara Sanders at the briefing today tried to present a source of normalcies. And said, the president had all these meeting with economic and national security advisers. And, yet, we do have the sense that he -- the president hasn't been seen. And, you know, my colleagues, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman today in our paper kind of laid out the sense of kind of foreboding and dread that is sort of seized the staff at the White House as they all point fingers at each other to try to figure out how to respond to this.

BURNETT: Jackie, that is part of the issue here. That when a moment happens, a lot of things come out of this White House that are extremely unflattering to other people in the White House, including the president. You know, for example, just the president himself sitting around watching television. That's not something that makes the boss look good, OK. Even when he comes down and says, he has a very little time for watching T.V.. We know not to be true from multiple people that were there.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Well -- and they also don't know where these attacks are coming from. And this was already an environment, as we know, that was a bit of a pressure cooker like most White House's are, but they also add on the paranoia.

[19:15:06] The fact a lot of these senior people don't trust each other. It is a team of rivals in a lot of ways. Reince Priebus is frequently thrown under the bus. You see that moving to a lot of stories, he's still there. But if you constantly have people undercutting each other and sniping like they do, that doesn't create an environment where if crisis does happen that there is a well functioning machine. In fact, the paranoia there we keep hearing is quite high. And everyone is looking over their shoulders.

BURNETT: So, Mark, on that point of looking over their shoulders, Look Reince Priebus is still there and obviously the Chief-of-Staff. He faces, quote, fresh new hell daily according to one senior administration official. When time get tough -- when times get tough for this administration, Mark, why is it that the guns always point inward, right? Because to Jackie's point, that's a moment where if you really believe in what you're fighting for, you gather together and you can come out of it stronger and more bonded. It seems that the opposite keeps happening here.

PRESTON: Yes, no question Erin. And the reason why is actually really simple. One, there is no loyalty, OK. Though, what you're seeing, back to Jackie's point about war and factions, you --

BURNETT: Ironic given Trump's obsessions with that.

PRESTON: -- I believe, but insists that he is loyal, right? But you have the New York faction which includes his family. OK, then you have the Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, the professional republican establishment faction who are basically running, you know, the trains day-to-day including Sarah Huckabee Sanders in many ways.

And then you have this other faction, the bureaucrats, you know, intelligence folks, mind you, who were kind of over in your own little word. So you have that. The second thing is there is no real bond in the sense that if this was a Ted Cruz, let's say, or Marco Rubio that had won the nomination, went on to win the presidency, there would be this real strong bond of republicanism, this idea that there were shared values.

Donald Trump is still not viewed by a lot of republicans certainly here in Washington as being a true conservative, and they can't necessarily trust him.


PRESTON: And that's what you're seeing. And now I think, quite frankly, Erin, it is unfair for the likes of Reince Priebus and those folks to be getting thrown under the bus all the time when the blame lays directly with the president himself.

BURNETT: Well, that's who sets the tone in any organization. I mean Michael, you know, you were in the room today for Sarah Huckabee Sanders briefing, right?

SHEAR: Right. BURNETT: She was asked on this issue about why people who are close to the president, whatever, whatever words you want to use, have amnesia, lie, whatever it may be when it comes to Russia, I want to play part of her answer, because it's pretty telling. Here it is.


SANDERS: Every single day, we do our very best to give you the most accurate information that we have, and we continue to do that every single day and have offered to be as transparent as possible with all committees and anyone looking into this matter.


BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty stunning I guess, Michael, on one level. I mean she thought like maybe she's being complete as transparent as she can be because she doesn't actually know herself.

SHEAR: Right. Well, look, I mean, so you have two things going on here, right? You have the Trump administration, which comes in not exactly with a stellar record of transparency. They have shut off the visitor logs. They're done a lot of things that they -- and frankly are not having briefings that are televised that today was another one that wasn't televised.


SHEAR: But I -- but the other thing that you have to add into this, and I think it's sort of undergirds, all of what we're talking about is the presence of lawyers. This happens at a White House. When you have a scandal, that's not just a political scandal, but that's a legal scandal, too, then everybody who is involved is at legal risks. And, so, they all lawyer up.


SHEAR: Everybody's lawyers are recommending that they say one thing that might be different from what the other person's lawyer is telling the other person in the White House. And so, it adds to this sense of clamping down, not providing information. And it's the pointing fingers at each other because they're all trying to protect themselves, not only politically but legally and keep themselves out of danger.

BURNETT: Just a really serious point, right. Thank you all very much. And next, a pretty stunning image, let me just give you a quick peek of it. The president bowing his head in prayer in the oval office and all these people sort of touching him, it's is very strange. We're going to tell you what happened there. And then, our exclusive video of a 2013 Trump meeting with some of the key figures involved in the Donald Jr. Russia meeting.


TRUMP: These are the most powerful people in all of Russia, the richest men in Russia. (END VIDEO CLIP)


[19:23:07] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump speaking out, saying he did not know about the meeting between his son and a Russian lawyer back in June of 2016. The president saying he only learned about the meeting a couple of days ago, but as you are about to see in exclusive new video OUTFRONT. Ben Businessman Donald Trump appeared to be quite close to the Russian family at the center of this controversial meeting. Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The behind the scenes video obtained exclusively by CNN Ben Businessman shows Donald Trump in Las Vegas in 2013. At several events during the weekend of the Miss USA pageant hanging out with a man now at the center of the newest development in the Russia controversy, the man Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov and his father arrives. Areal estate developer in Russia were helping Trump hold this miss universe pageant in Moscow later that year.

TRUMP: These are the riches men in Russia.

BROWN: In the video, Trump is seen having dinner with the Agalarovs along with their publicist, Rob Goldstone seen here leaning over to talk with Trump. On Tuesday, Trump's son, Donald Jr. released e-mails from Goldstone pitching a meeting between the president's son and a Russian lawyer. Promising he would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton provided by the Russian government.

According to the e-mails released by Trump Jr., Emin Agalarov seen here between Trump and Goldstone told Goldstone to set up the meeting, "Emin just called and ask me to contact them with something very interesting. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but it's part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump."

The exclusive footage provides a closer look at the friendship between the two families and could help explain Donald Trump Jr.'s willingness to take the meeting arrange by Goldstone. At dinner, Trump could be heard boasting to the men about his work on the Miss Universe pageant.

TRUMP: The women now are beautiful, I (inaudible). When you see Miss Universe you won't even believe it.

BROWN: The next day, in front of reporters, Trumps spoke grandly about the prospect of taking Miss Universe to Russia.

TRUMP SR.: I think it's a great thing for both countries. And honestly, they really wanted it in Russia very badly, politically they wanted it.

BROWN: Trump predicting his pageant could even bring Russia and the U.S. closer. TRUMP SR.: It really is a great country. It's a very powerful

country. It's a country that we have a relationship with, but I would say not a great relationship and I think that this can certainly help that relationship.

BROWN: Investigators plan to examine the Trump Tower meeting and the e-mails.

On FOX News, Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr., who does not appear in the 2013 video, said he had limited knowledge of the Russian family.

DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I met them once or twice and, you know, maintained a casual relationship there. Talked about some potential deals and that's the extent of it. They really didn't go anywhere.

BROWN: But new video and others showed the president's own connections.

TRUMP SR.: What's wrong with you?

BROWN: In 2013, Trump appeared in one of Emin's music videos.

TRUMP SR.: You just don't have a pretty face. I'm really tired of you. You're fired.

BROWN: And wished him happy birthday in a video posted on Emin's Instagram.

TRUMP SR.: Emin, I can't believe you're turning 35.

BROWN: On CNN's "NEW DAY", their lawyer said the e-mails don't add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just fantasy world because the reality is, if there was something important that Mr. Agalarov wanted to communicate to the Trump campaign, I suspect he could have called Mr. Trump directly as opposed to having his son's pop music publicist be the intermediary.


BROWN: And the father of the Russian pop star, Aras Agalarov, spoke out to a Russian radio station in the wake of the e-mail released and said he doesn't personally know Don Jr. and also says he doesn't really know Goldstone either, saying it was a, quote, tall tale by Goldstone asked Trump Jr. to contact him about dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Back to you, Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela.

OUTFRONT now, the former Republican Congressman Jack Kingston, who is also, as you may know, former senior advisor for the Trump campaign, and Hilary Rosen, Democratic strategist. So, Congressman, let me start with you because you see this video.

You see Trump and the Agalarovs appearing at this dinner, talking together, looking very friendly. Put that in context with the president telling "Reuters" he did not know about the meeting between his son and that Russian lawyer, which, of course, was set up by Mr. Goldstone. He was sitting at that table with the Agalarovs, apparently at their behest.

As you watch all this, you realize they knew each other for years. Do you believe the president was unaware of this meeting?

JACK KINGSTON (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Absolutely. And I'll tell you why, Erin, I've been to the headquarters during the campaign many, many times and it was kind of a wide open place. There was a bullpen where lots of people sat at tables and did things. But if you wanted to see Steve Bannon or Kellyanne Conway, it was easy access. People came and went routinely.

And when you are running a presidential campaign in a country of 320 million people, the candidate himself is going to be off in all kinds of different locations. He's not going to worry about who has meetings with whom that day. And there's not -- you know, people think, well, at the end of the day everybody sits down and talks about the events.

That doesn't take place. It is always gunning and running constantly. So the idea that any --

BURNETT: Congressman, so that makes sense. But hold on, can I just jump in? Because the argument you're making makes sense, except for you're saying you can see everybody doing everything, which would lend itself to the president would have seen it happening.

KINGSTON: Well, the president actually wasn't on the same floor as they were, and not to say I'm an expert on the lay-out of it, but you had different floors.

BURNETT: Well, Don Jr.'s office is on a different floor, is on the floor below that of the president. We don't know where the meeting was, of course.

KINGSTON: Yes. But what I'm saying is that people came and went, but there would be no reason absolutely more Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump to know who their campaign staffers were meeting, even if it's family unless something really, really significant happened.

And what we know from this meeting is that nothing happened, that there was a bait and switch. It was naive to take the meeting. It possibly was maybe an accommodation they thought for a friend of a friend and people always claim to be the candidate's best friend, whether they're Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

And so, I think Donald -- for Donald Jr. to take the meeting and as we -- it's been reported by the woman that other people were in there looking at their emails, they were in there seven or eight minutes and they left, and Donald Jr. walked in and said it was about adoptions, I think there is a lot of hyperventilation here by the anti-Trump crowd, and we have heard this about once a month. Something like this supposedly erupts. It is a big, big bombshell, and two or three weeks later, there is nothing to it.

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, we have bombshells once a month because we keep catching the Trump family in lies and people around the Trumps. So, here is why it probably -- the president probably did know.

[19:35:04] Two really big important things. First of all, you had the son, the son-in-law, who was essentially running the campaign basically, and the campaign chairman all going to a meeting. The three most important -- you know, two of the most important people in the campaign and the son going to this meeting. They obviously thought something big was going to happen.

BURNETT: Wait, wait. I want you to finish that thought. But let's listen in to the president here leaving the White House going to France in Air Force One. Let's just listen for a moment.


BURNETT: So, obviously, the president there, people cheering him. I want to let you know that that we saw there as he and Melania Trump obviously approached the helicopter, Marine One, to go to Air Force One, he was yelled a question about Russia. He refused to answer it. He was yelled a question about ISIS, which he did choose to answer. So, just so everyone knows how that happened and he'll be arriving momentarily at Air Force One. We'll show you that.

Hilary --

ROSEN: Let me finish my point, right.

BURNETT: -- you were making the case why you believe the president knew about the meeting. Go ahead.

ROSEN: Well, here is the really interesting piece which has gotten lost today. "The Washington Post" did a time line of watching Donald Trump's speeches against the time line of these e-mails from Don Jr. and this Russian intermediary. It was actually that week that Donald Trump started saying on the campaign trail, we're going to have a lot of dirt coming about Hillary Clinton. In fact, it was just a few days after that e-mail came in that Donald Trump started talking about Hillary Clinton and the fact that there was going to be more investigation.

Now, why was that -- I'm sorry. Jack, I let you talk. Let me finish.


KINGSTON: Come on.

ROSEN: Jack! Jack!

KING: You're filibustering.

BURNETT: OK, finish, Hillary, and then you could jump in, Jack. Go ahead, Hilary, finish your point.

ROSEN: It could be a coincidence that's when he started talking about it, but it was over that period of time that he started talking about it. And then we didn't see that promised information. That's because it didn't come from the Russians. So, the fact that he promised it the very same week that meeting happened, that it didn't get delivered tells us something.

KINGSTON: Let me just say --

BURNETT: Go ahead, Jack.

KINGSTON: There has been dirt, if you will, on the Clinton family for 20 years that's out there publicly. People speculated all along. So, to say that June 9th was some pivot in the campaign is ridiculous. But as you said, Hillary --

ROSEN: Specifically around the Russian investigation. Specifically around e-mails, deleted e-mails, the same thing that we now know the Russians had access to.

KINGSTON: Maybe it was about uranium and Hillary Clinton giving away 20 percent of it.

BURNETT: Just so viewers know at Joint Base Andrews. Just to everyone knows what we're looking at, the president live approaching Air Force One. Go ahead, finish, Jack.

KINGSTON: There is so many things about the Clintons to talk about that I don't think that -- this is probably just one of many, many meetings of people who said, hey, I have something on the Clintons. And the Trump campaign probably would say, hey, stand in line because we have enough.

But don't act like the Clintons weren't out there working with the Ukrainians to get dirt on Paul Manafort, working with Ukrainian government, by the way --

ROSEN: Jack, how many lies do you have to hear from the Trump family and associates before you start saying, oh, my goodness, these people actually aren't really telling the American people the truth?

KINGSTON: Hilary --

ROSEN: When do the Trump surrogates start to say, oh, my god, this is a meeting that maybe people should have known about? Yes, this should have been reported on national security clearances. Maybe we're wrong. Maybe there is more to this.

When he says, oh, give us more, he knows it is from the Russian government. When will you Trump surrogates start to doubt your own facts that don't exist?


KINGSTON: Maybe when you guys come out with one fact -- you have been talking collusion for a year without anything.

BURNETT: All right. I will hit push there, because, Congressman, you got the first word, Hillary, I'll give you the last. They are now boarded on Air Force One and we'll be briefly and momentarily, I should say, taking off for Paris.

We're going to take a brief break.

OUTFRONT next, Republicans not happy with the Russia scandal being back in the headlines.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Sucking the oxygen out of the room. Everybody knows that. There will be more shoes to drop.


BURNETT: And I hate to say I knew it, but the Amelia Earhart mystery appears to have not been solved at all.


[19:43:15] BURNETT: Tonight, Republicans split over how to respond to Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer and the bombshell e- mail chain setting up that meeting.

Here's Speaker Paul Ryan today sidestepping a question about the e- mails.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have an investigation here in the House. We have an investigation in the Senate. I think it's very important that these professionals in these committees do their job so that we can get to the bottom of all of this.


BURNETT: But other Republicans went much further.


REPORTER: I just wonder how much that all this Russia controversy is overwhelming things here for you guys, how much of it --

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It's sucking the oxygen out of the room. Everybody knows that. And there will be more shoes to drop.


BURNETT: Well, Congressman Charlie Dent is OUTFRONT now.

And I appreciate your taking the time, Congressman.

Let me ask you -- do you agree with Senator McCain that this latest controversy in his words is, quote, sucking the oxygen out of the room?

REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I do, actually. I -- this Russia issue has been a big distraction away from legislative business, no question about that. I also agree what Trey Gowdy said, that -- that if you have information or e-mails, about anything having to do with your campaign and Russia, turn them over, you know, to the special prosecutor, turn them over to the committees rather than having the media divulge these things. In this case, I guess it was "The New York Times."

So, yes, I think this is a very big problem. It's not only disturbing and in some cases, it's a bit alarming that this is going on and bottom line is, all of us are -- I think are very concerned about what's happening. And we have to let the special prosecutor do his work and then he'll determine, you know, whether or not to make any criminal referrals.

[19:45:06] BURNETT: And, look, you are giving an honest answer to the question. And I guess the question response I have for you, Congressman, is whether your leader, Speaker Ryan, should be as honest about this and perhaps as strongly condemning this situation or Donald Trump Jr.'s actions as others are.

DENT: Well, the speaker is always in a difficult position. I understand where he's coming from. But I think, you know, when we get beyond the day-to-day news, the drip, drip, drip of the Russia story, I think we have to focus on the broader context and emphasize that Russia is a hostile actor, hostile foreign power. They are really not benign and adversary. They're trying to break up NATO. They want to unravel the European Union.

Russia wants to undermine American power and influence anywhere they can in the world. They're behaving badly in Ukraine, Syria and certainly in our elections as well as in European elections. So, there is nothing good about this. There is not a lot for us to do with Russia right now, other than to try to get them to cease and desist from this bad behavior, and we really can't enter a lot of agreements with them right now until they change their ways.

BURNETT: And, look, you're giving all the context to which this latest story fits, right? In the e-mail chain, between Donald Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone, who, of course, as you know, Congressman, was the man who helped arrange that meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer, Goldstone talks about, and I quote, obviously, you've heard this before as have our viewers, but I think it is important to hear it again for this question.

The e-mail says information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but it's part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump. Donald Trump Jr. responded, if it's what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.

When you hear that, Congressman, are these e-mails to you a smoking gun, proof of collusion?

DENT: Well, I'm going to let Director Mueller determine whether or not this was collusion or conspiracy, whatever the proper legal term might be. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not going to make any presumptuous statements. But it's certainly problematic. If I'm in a campaign and I would just be -- I think anybody in a campaign would be very leery that if the agent of a foreign power or somebody who in this case apparently identified themselves as being part of the Russian government or close to the Russian government, I think you just have to say, no, we don't take a meeting like that and you turn it over to law enforcement if, in fact, that happens.

I mean, again, I have never been in that situation, but it's just something that would strike me as something you wouldn't want to get near.

BURNETT: You would think, sort of the common sense, the common gut check, right, that you would make.

DENT: Yes.

BURNETT: Before you go, Congressman, I want to ask you about something that I know you are intimately involved in and something that's very important when we talk about real legislative action in this country, the health care debate. You bucked your party on the House bill. You voted no.

President Trump is putting a lot of pressure now in a new interview today. Here he is.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It has to get passed. They have to do it. They have to get together and get it done.

PAT ROBERTSON, CBN: What will happen if they don't?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to talk about it because I think it will be very bad. I will be angry about it and a lot of people will be very upset. But I'm sitting waiting for that bill to come to my desk.

ROBERTSON: Mitch McConnell is a tactician of great skill.

TRUMP: He is.

ROBERTSON: Do you think he could pull it off? It's his job.

TRUMP: He's got to pull it off.


TRUMP: Mitch has to pull it off. He's working very hard. He's got to pull it off. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: You heard the president. Congressman, do you think Mitch McConnell can pull this off?

DENT: Look, this is a very difficult issue. We all know that it is. I would simply say that the Medicaid provisions in the bill are very difficult for members who represent expansion states like mine, states that have expanded Medicaid.

And the landing in the House bill and I would also suggest in the Senate bill, the landing is a bit harder. It's a bit too hard. And if you're going to cycle people off of Medicaid into the exchanges, you know, the tax credits have been insufficient for people to buy coverage. And as long as that problem exists, I don't know how one could pass a bill.

There are other provisions in the bill, too, I think are problematic. So, if Mitch McConnell moves a bill too far to the right, he'll lose more from the center. If he moves it too close, closer to the center, he'll lose them on the right.

So, he doesn't have a lot of margin for error, Mitch McConnell. So, yes, he is very skillful and he's capable, but this is tough for anybody. I don't care how skillful Mitch McConnell is in this case. It might be too much for anyone.

BURNETT: Congressman Dent, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

DENT: Hey, thank you, Erin. Good to be with you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, something we don't see every day here and the image coming out of Donald Trump praying in the Oval Office and all of those hands on him. The White House not happy with questions about it tonight.


[19:52:18] BURNETT: Tonight, the White House firing back at critics of the president's meeting with evangelical leaders. It all started when an attendee, Johnnie Moore, posted this photo of the meeting. Trump in prayer with a series of people all with their hands on him.

Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT from the White House.

And, Jessica, take us inside that meeting.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, you know, this was the meeting of the faith advisory board. This was inside the Oval Office on Monday. And you see that picture there, it was taken by Johnnie Moore. He's at Liberty University.

And he took this photo. You can see that people are praying over President Trump. Johnnie Moore said that unlike their relationship with President Obama, they believe that they have this true, real friendship with President Trump.

And Johnnie Moore talked about the meeting, the president's demeanor, of course, in the midst of this Russian investigation. This was the day before Donald Trump, Jr. released those e-mails. But Johnnie Moore saying that the president was in good spirits, he seemed tough and outgoing, and like things were fine.

But, you know, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, was asked about this in the press briefing today. One reporter asked, were these faith leaders gathered around the president in prayer specifically because it seems that this White House is in a political crisis?

Well, Sanders, she issued a stern rebuke to this, essentially suggesting that the question itself was ignorant. Take a listen.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The idea that somebody would only pray when they're in crisis I think makes you miss the entire point of what prayer is about. You should do that every day. And that's -- I think you can do that in the best and worst of times. So I think it would be ridiculous to suggest the only time you might do that is in a time of crisis.


SCHNEIDER: And in that press briefing today, those were the strongest words from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, really lashing out at that reporter, saying that prayer could be used in all sorts of instances, not just as that reporter suggested in a time of political crisis -- Erin.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, obviously when you see the photo, one of the things that stands out is all those people with hands on the president in support of him. You know, he sat down with televangelist Pat Robertson for an interview today, Jessica, as well, and then he had this meeting.

Is he trying to reach out specifically to the evangelical base?

SCHNEIDER: It does seem that way, Erin. You mentioned that sit-down interview with the televangelist Pat Robertson. It's interesting, because when we got some of the clips from that, it does not seem that Pat Robertson asked him any questions about Donald Trump, Jr.'s e-mail release or the meeting with that Russian lawyer.

Of course, evangelicals supported Donald Trump with an overwhelming majority, 81 percent of them. Donald Trump did speak to a meeting of evangelical leaders just last month.

[19:55:02] It was interesting, Erin, he said this, he said: You didn't let me down, and I will never, ever let you down. So, a very close connection there, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jessica. And next, about that Amelia Earhart picture. Jeanne Moos follows up

on the photo.


BURNETT: Tonight's number, two. What do two bloggers and two years have to do with that photo so many people were hoping was of Amelia Earhart?

Jeanne Moos has the answer.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Might as well put this photo in the fun while it lasted file, and it didn't last long. A History Channel special on Amelia Earhart promised to shock us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it's proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

MOOS: Uh-oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are new doubts this morning.

MOOS: Doubts that Amelia Earhart and her navigator were photographed alive in the Marshall Islands after crashing in the Pacific.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Amelia Earhart?


MOOS: No, that's probably wrong.

And her navigator, Fred Noonan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hairline is the most distinctive characteristic.

MOOS: Probably not him either.

As for the blurry hunk of something being towed that was supposed to be the wreckage of their plane, don't count on it. The documentary's theory is the pair were picked up and imprisoned by the Japanese.

But a couple of bloggers uncovered what appears to be the original photo published in a travel logbook in 1935, nearly two years before Amelia Earhart even took off on her final flight.

Matt Holly, an American living in the Marshall Islands, was one of the bloggers who tracked down the photo.

MATT HOLLY, BLOGGER, RESEARCHER: This is one of the magical mysteries of the universe, like where did the dinosaurs go? You know, where is Jimmy Hoffa?

MOOS (on camera): Just last week, I and most of the world's media outlets stood there. As if the latest photo weren't already questionable enough.

Dissecting the photograph that's since been debunked.

(voice-over): Debunked by second Japanese blogger who says he spent half an hour Googling and found the original photo in Japan's national library.

The History Channel says it has a team of investigators exploring the latest developments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to follow the facts where they lead.


MOOS: Just so they don't lead to "Gullible's Island".

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you tomorrow.

"AC360" starts now.