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Interview With New York Congressman Gregory Meeks; Kushner Testifies Behind Closed Doors to Congress; President Trump Pushes Health Care Reform; Trump Speaking to Boy Scout Jamboree. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 24, 2017 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jared Kushner facing Senate investigators, denying wrongdoing and confirming meetings previously dismissed by the Trump camp as fake news.

Beleaguered, that's what President Trump is calling Jeff Sessions, criticizing and humiliating his loyal attorney general again. Could a new administration shakeup be in the works tonight?

Last chance? Mr. Trump uses his bully pulpit to pressure Republicans just hours before a pivotal health care vote in the U.S. Senate. Is it too little too late with the GOP promise to repeal Obamacare hanging in the balance?

And friendly fire. We are standing by to hear from President Trump appearing live with a Republican senator who has defied his wishes. We are following the internal warfare as Mr. Trump slams members of his own party for failing to have his back.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking this hour, President Trump is about to speak live in West Virginia. Looking at live pictures on a day when the Russia investigation may have hit closer to home than ever.

His son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner becoming the first member of Mr. Trump's inner circle to be questioned in the Senate's Russia investigation. Kushner declaring he did not collude with any foreign government or know of anyone else in the Trump campaign who did.

He spoke publicly after his two-hour session with the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, and he released a lengthy written statement offering new details about his Russia meetings and insisting he did nothing improper.

Also breaking, the president warns Senate Republicans there is still time to "do the right thing" and support the party's promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Mr. Trump delivering prepared remarks on the eve of a Senate vote on whether to move forward with some form of health care legislation.

And as tensions escalate between the president and the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump's new communications director tells CNN that the two men need to speak to determine the future of their relationship.

The president is publicly slamming Sessions once again, calling him beleaguered in a new tweet and asking why he isn't investigating Hillary Clinton.

This hour, I will talk about those stories and more with Congressman Gregory Meeks. He's a Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Then, our correspondents and specialists are also standing by.

First, let's go to our senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju. He's up on Capitol Hill.

Manu, tonight, the White House says the president is very proud of his son-in-law. So, what did we learn from Jared Kushner today?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tonight, Jared Kushner revealing four interactions that he had with Russians during the campaign season and during the transition.

He said he did nothing wrong, but tonight Senate -- members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are telling me that they have more questions and some are threatening to call back Jared Kushner for a second round of questioning.


JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: All of my actions were proper. Let me be very clear. I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.

RAJU (voice-over): Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, tried today to put to rest mounting questions about his interactions with Russian officials that are now a key part of investigations into Russian meddling in the election.

Kushner today spent more than two hours behind closed doors with staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and released an 11-page statement providing new insight into four meetings with Russians last year.

KUSHNER: The record and documents I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper, and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign.

RAJU: Kushner revealed his role in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians at the invitation of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr., a meeting now under investigation, since Trump Jr. was promised dirt on the Clinton campaign after being told the Russian government wanted his father to win the presidency.

While Kushner said -- quote -- "I did not read Trump Jr.'s e-mail exchange ahead of the meeting," he acknowledge Trump Jr. contacted him twice about it, and he dismissed the brief meeting as irrelevant with no discussion of campaign issues, saying he e-mailed his assistant 10 minutes after walking into the room saying -- quote -- "Can you please call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting."

Kushner also confirmed sitting down during the transition with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, along with Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who is also under scrutiny in the Russia probes.

The men discussed whether a secure line of communication could be set to transmit sensitive information between Washington and Moscow to discuss the war in Syria, but he said the idea was tabled until after the inauguration.


Kushner said in his statement he did not discuss easing Russian sanctions in meetings with Kislyak and with the head of a Russian bank last December. But some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who did not participate in today's session also want a chance to question him.

(on camera): You want to personally question him?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Oh, yes, I want to be there. Yes, I have questions. We all have questions to ask.

RAJU (voice-over): Yet some senators are holding their fire.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I want to read the transcripts first when they become available and go from there. I think that's what you will see most members say.

RAJU: At the White House, the president continued to focus on the Russia investigation, this time taking aim at his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, calling him beleaguered and questioning why he isn't looking into "crooked Hillary's crimes and Russia relations," this after "The Washington Post" citing classified intelligence reported that Kislyak told his superiors he spoke with Sessions about campaign issues last year, something the attorney general continues to deny.

The president told "The New York Times" last week he would have picked a different attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Today, Trump offered this reaction when asked if Sessions should resign.

QUESTION: Mr. President, should Jeff Sessions resign?



RAJU: Now, Wolf, another committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, had signaled an interest no talking to Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, as well as Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

But they cut a deal last week to have a private interview before any public session as well to get records ahead of this private interview. Now, I just spoke with Chairman Chuck Grassley of the committee and the top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, who cut that deal with Manafort and with Donald Trump Jr.

And both of them are signaling there very well could be a public session. Feinstein saying there will absolutely be a public hearing with those two men. She expects that after the recess. Grassley would not rule that out, but they do expect documents back from those two individuals within the next two weeks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, so the earliest that public hearing could take place would be in September after Labor Day.

Thanks very much, Manu Raju, for that report.

We are learning more about President Trump's very tense relationship with his attorney general.

Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, the president clearly still fuming at Jeff Sessions.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, he is still fuming at his attorney general. Important to point out this is one of the longest and most loyal supporters, but this is how much these relations have broken down, Wolf.

Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, was at the White House today. He was in the West Wing of the White House today for other meetings. He did not meet with the president. They have not yet spoken since that "The New York Times" explosive interview last week. And I am told actually a long time before that interview, they simply have not been speaking to each other.

He was in the West Wing for other senior staff meetings, meeting with the White House counsel Don McGahn. But you get the sense that the president does not want his attorney general to stick around. But the communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, the new communications director, he told our Sara Murray today, this afternoon, this, Wolf, a very interesting comment from him.

He said they need to sit down face to face and have a reconciliation and a discussion of his future, that the president would be the one who would initiate that meeting. And as of now, Wolf, he has not invited his attorney general in to talk about all this.

Now, the reason they are feuding, the reason the president is disappointed in him is because the attorney general recused himself back four months ago from this entire Russian investigation. The president was unhappy, was upset about that and has continued to just fume over that, we are told, over these past four months.

Of course, that recusal ultimately led to the firing of the FBI director, which ultimately led to the special prosecutor, Wolf. So, one thing led to another here, but it is that decision to recuse himself that is still separating these two men who were very close not that long ago.

BLITZER: Yes, it's also very interesting, Jeff, and you're familiar with this, Rudy Giuliani, a longtime supporter of Donald Trump during the campaign, his name surfaced, one report saying he might be the next attorney general. But Giuliani defended Sessions, saying, what, he did the right thing in recusing himself, right?

ZELENY: He did, Wolf. That was so interesting.

Rudy Giuliani was flying here to Washington and CNN caught up with him at the airport actually and asked him about this. And he said, look, he thinks the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, did the right thing by recusing himself. There have been reports and rumors about who would replace Jeff Sessions. That, of course, is the question here.

In this climate, could you get another attorney general confirmed here? Rudy Giuliani's name is often bandied about for this. But the reality is, Wolf, interestingly today, he said he thinks Jeff Sessions did the right thing -- Wolf.


BLITZER: Interesting. If Jeff Sessions were to resign, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, would be acting attorney general until a new candidate could be confirmed.

Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

Let's get to the other breaking news we are following, the on health care and the president's 11th-hour bid to get his Republican Party in line. With a crucial procedural vote just hours away, Mr. Trump is urging Senate Republicans to -- quote -- "do the right thing."

Let's go to you our congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, for the very latest.

What are you hearing, Phil?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we know one thing. There will be a vote tomorrow, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell making that very clear.

Here's what we don't know currently, what the final product will be that senators will be entering debate to vote on tomorrow and perhaps more importantly whether they have the votes at all.

And that is exactly why you saw the president today give his best effort to turn the screws on wary senators.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is still time to do the right thing. MATTINGLY (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump amping up the

pressure on Republican senators in a last-ditch effort to save the Obamacare repeal efforts.

TRUMP: So far, Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare. They now have a chance, however, to hopefully, hopefully fix what has been so badly broken for such a long time.

MATTINGLY: Telling voters to hold every senator accountable just 24 hours before a possible vote to start debate on the bill, after months of congressional complaints that not enough was being done.

TRUMP: Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, which is what it is.

MATTINGLY: This after tweeting if the Senate failed to move forward -- quote -- "The repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand."

The president traveling to West Virginia, where he will be joined by Shelley Moore Capito, a key holdout on the bill. Over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence visited Ohio, another key holdout, Senator Rob Portman. Senate GOP leaders are pushing toward a Tuesday vote, even with no compromise measure in place.

There is general confusion among members about what the next steps would be and no clarity about whether they have the votes at all.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I know many of us have waited literally years for this moment to finally arrive. And at long last, it has. I would urge every colleague to join me.

MATTINGLY: Republican leaders are launching a pressure play of their own to wrangle the holdouts.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: People have campaigned, Republicans over the years, to repeal and replace Obamacare. This is our chance. And I think it's hard to believe somebody who has run and won election could go home and face the voters again and say, I'm not even willing to debate it on the floor.

MATTINGLY: As one GOP aide told CNN, forcing the vote serves as a way to -- quote -- "smoke" members out on their positions and dare to sink an issue they campaigned on for seven years, and making clear that even a failed vote this week may not kill the process overall.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: What will happen if and when that were to occur is we will go back to the drawing board and we will get a bill up. We are going to vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. The question is not a question of if. It's a question of when.


MATTINGLY: And, Wolf, at this very moment, Vice President Mike Pence is on Capitol Hill meeting with Mitch McConnell strategizing on the way forward tomorrow.

Here's how it's all going to work. Senate Republicans will meet behind closed doors for their regular Tuesday lunch. They will start talking about what the amendment process would be going forward if they are able to get the votes to proceed on the bill.

But, again, the big question now is without some final agreed-upon product in place for the end of that amendment process, are senators willing to kind of take that jump into what Senator Bob Corker just called a Wild West-type of scenario?

One former GOP leadership aide, Wolf, characterized it like this. It's like asking a member to jump out of a plane with a 50/50 chance their parachute is actually packed, except this would be more like a 10/90 type of scenario. That's what members are dealing with now and that's why leadership is really ramping up that pressure along with the president ahead of tomorrow's vote -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We will see how they do during the vote tomorrow. Phil Mattingly on the Hill, thank you very much.

Let's get some more on all of this with Congressman Gregory Meeks, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Congressman, thanks very much joining us.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Good being with you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's talk about Jared Kushner while I have you.

Do you believe he would have disclosed publicly all these -- four meetings he had with various Russians if it had not been for the news media reports? He confirmed, yes, on April 27, he met with the Russian Ambassador Kislyak. On June 9 at that Trump Tower meeting in New York, he met with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Once again, on December 1, met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. Then on December 13, he met with the Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin.

He confirmed all of this, even though some of the Trump associates were calling all those reports earlier fake news.


MEEKS: Well, that's exactly the problem, Wolf.

I don't believe -- there could be other meetings I guess he's going to try to reveal now because he knows the facts will come out. The fake news is no longer what he can hold himself on. And that's the problem with the Trump administration and those that are in it, whether it's Kushner, whether it's Donald Trump Jr., whether it's the attorney general, whether it's the former campaign manager.

They all had previously claimed they had nothing to do with Russia and they never met with anyone or they never had any dialogue or conversations. And as investigations continue, then it is revealed that, in fact, they did.

So, what and why did they not speak up then to tell the truth then, and now because, they are compelled to, they have got to talk about the meeting. And, so, we have to figure out -- I would love to have them under oath, so that we can really understand what the substance of the dialogue and conversation was.

BLITZER: It's one thing, under oath, of course, important, but if you lie to congressional investigators or to the FBI, for that matter, that's a crime as well, even though he wasn't sworn in. He wasn't under oath. If he was lying during the two-plus-hours he was answering questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee investigators, that's a crime.

MEEKS: Right. I agree with you.

And I want to know if there is anything else that was left out. And that's why I think there should be more intense questioning. And the fact of the matter is, I believe that many of that staffers from the Senate side said they do have additional questions, as well as I think that he should go before the committees, the Intelligence Committee on both the Senate and the House, and answer questions under oath for a much longer period of time than just the two hours.

I recall, you know, the under-oath testimony of Hillary Clinton, where she stood there for over 12 hours and took and gave on a consistent basis. I think there are questions here, and I think the Republican senators should demand that they have the opportunity to question.

BLITZER: Curious to get your reaction to this feud that's going on, the attack by the president on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, the latest development.

He tweeted this. "So, why aren't the committees and investigators and, of course, our beleaguered A.G., attorney general, looking into crooked Hillary's crimes and Russia relations?"

What is the message the president is sending the attorney general of the United States?

MEEKS: Well, I think the message is, he's telling the attorney general to step down, that he has no confidence in him and he wants to go.

And I think, guess what, the attorney general should step down just because of his own integrity. You know, it seems clear to me that this president does not care about the United States of America. What this president cares about is Donald Trump. And what he would like to have is a regime in the similar fashion that Mr. Putin has and Mr. Erdogan has, where he is an authoritarian and everyone just pledges their allegiance to him, not to the Constitution, not to what -- the right thing to do for this country.

It always comes back to him and loyalty to him, and not about loyalty to the country. BLITZER: Those are strong words in that comparison you're drawing between the president of the United States and the leader of Russia and the leader of Turkey.

MEEKS: Well, listen, you can listen to his own words even during the campaign and thereafter.

He praised Putin and said Putin was a stronger president because of his tactics and the great -- his strong stance. And if you listen to his words each time and the individuals that were fired, any time he says anything remotely against him, it's always about him.

Even in the testimony today by Kushner, he started talking about the president. And it was clear that he knew the president was listening. And so he was saying things to appease the president.

When you look at the testimony of all of the staffers sitting at the table in the White House not too long ago, where they all went around praising the president, that seemed to me just like something that would happen with those individuals who are serving Mr. Putin.

BLITZER: Another tweet. A colleague of yours, Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee, a man I assume you know well, the president tweeted this about Adam Schiff: "Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased congressman looking into 'Russia' spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse."

What was your reaction to that tweet from the president of the United States slamming Adam Schiff?

MEEKS: I'm astonished, because, again, what the president is doing, to me, is demeaning the office of the presidency.

This is not something that a president, any president, should be doing. He is demeaning the office, as well, as I said, trying to be one of absolute authority.

And, so, it concerns me that we have a president who is not putting the country first. He only looks at himself. That is a disturbing position for us to be in, in the United States of America. And our allies are looking at that, and they are questioning what's going on here also.

BLITZER: And he puts Russia in quotes because he still isn't convinced that Russia was indeed meddling in the U.S. presidential election despite all of the intelligence community top chiefs over the past few days, including people he named, saying there's no doubt about that.


All right, stand by. We have a lot more to discuss, including a vote coming up in the House on sanctions and other issues.

We will take a quick break. We will be right back.


BLITZER: We're back with Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York.

We are awaiting remarks by President Trump after his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner was questioned today about his Russia contacts by Senate investigators. Looking at live pictures coming in from West Virginia right there. We will have live coverage of the president's remarks. Stand by for that.

But I want to bring back Congressman Meeks.

I want to get your reaction to this extraordinary exchange that the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, had with our Jake Tapper yesterday on "STATE OF THE UNION."


Watch this.



You know, somebody said to me yesterday -- I won't tell you who -- that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it. You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they're super confident in their deception skills and hacking.

My point is, all of the information isn't on the table yet. But here's what I know about the president.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, wait, wait, wait. Anthony, Anthony, Anthony...

SCARAMUCCI: Let me finish. Let me finish.

All right, go ahead.

TAPPER: Well, you're making a lot of assertions here.

I don't know who this anonymous person is that said, if the Russians had actually done it, we wouldn't have been able to detect it, but it is the unanimous...

SCARAMUCCI: How about it was -- how about it was the president, Jake?

TAPPER: OK. It's the consensus of the intelligence community.

SCARAMUCCI: I talked to you yesterday. He called me from Air Force One.



SCARAMUCCI: And he basically said to me, hey, you know, this is -- maybe they did it. Maybe they didn't do it.


BLITZER: What's your reaction to that?

MEEKS: Incredulous.

I'm almost -- you know, look, every major intelligence agency that was involved in investigating this came back and said, without question, there is no doubt in their mind that Russia got involved in our political system.

Just about every Democrat and Republican other than the president now understands and admits that Russia was involved. And for the president of the United States, and now his new communications director, to try to say that Russia may not have been involved in this matter is incredulous.

And, again, it just shows that the president is not focused on the best issues or the best concern for the United States of America. He should be concerned about Russia getting involved in elections in 2018 and in 2020, and another reason why an independent commission needs to be brought up and put into service, so that we can find out what they did and how to prevent it from happening in 2018 and 2020.

BLITZER: I was at the Aspen Security Forum out in Colorado over the past few days. The president's national director of intelligence, Dan Coats, said there's no question the Russians were involved. The CIA director, Mike Pompeo, nominated by the president, said there's no doubt. The director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers, all said publicly no doubt the Russians did it.

But now the president is still saying he's not convinced. It's pretty startling when you think about that.

MEEKS: It is unbelievable.

And I think that that's why my Republican colleagues need to step up to the plate also and join hands with us with an independent commission, because the integrity of our democratic process is at stake.

And clearly the president of the United States has no interest in the integrity of our democratic process, and that's why he continues saying what he's saying.

BLITZER: Is there going to be a vote on these Russian sanctions? North Korea also added to the list, Iran on the sanctions list. Is there going to be a vote over this? It passed overwhelmingly 98-2 in the Senate. The White House doesn't like it because it limits the president's ability to ease sanctions on Russia.

MEEKS: Yes, I think that there should be a vote this week before we leave. And I think, again, it will be an overwhelming vote in the House.

I think that if you talk to members of Democrats, as well as Republicans, you know, given the president's position on Russia, not looking into their involvement, we don't trust him.

And so, therefore, Congress has to step in to make sure that those sanctions are not removed. When you look at Russia still being involved in Ukraine and the actions they have done there, and our democratic process, we cannot allow someone...

BLITZER: You will vote for this legislation?

MEEKS: I will vote for it.

BLITZER: Congressman Gregory Meeks, thanks for coming in.

MEEKS: Good being with you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, we will have more on Jared Kushner now publicly confirming that some key meetings with Russian officials did happen, even as he denies he did anything wrong.


KUSHNER: Let me be very clear. I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.



BLITZER: All right. Let's go to Glen Jean, West Virginia. The president just started speaking before about 30,000 boycott -- Boy Scouts. Let's listen in.

[18:32:50] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Such a tremendous group. Boy, you have a lot of people here. The press will say it's about 200 people. It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today. You set a record. That's a great honor, believe me.

Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C., you've been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. We're going to put that -- we're going to put that aside. And instead we're going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young scouts can achieve your dreams, what to think of, what I've been thinking about. You want to achieve your dreams. I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts, right?

There are many great honors that come with the job of being president of the United States. But looking out at this incredible gathering of mostly young patriots, mostly young, I'm especially proud to speak to you as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America.




TRUMP: You are the young people of character and integrity who will serve as leaders in our communities and uphold the sacred values of our nation.

I want to thank Boy Scouts President Randall Stephenson, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Jamboree Chairman Ralph de la Vega, and the thousands of volunteers who have made this a life-changing experience for all of you. And when they asked me to be here, I said absolutely yes.

[18:35:10] Finally, and we can't forget these people, I especially want to salute the moms and the dads and troop leaders who are here tonight. Thank you for making scouting possible. Thank you, Mom and Dad, troop leaders. When you volunteer for the Boy Scouts, you are not only shaping young lives; you are shaping the future of America.

The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts. No better. The values, traditions and skills you learn here will serve you throughout your lives. And just as importantly, they will serve your families, your cities, and in the future and in the present, will serve your country. The scouts believe in putting America first.

You know, I go to Washington, and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp; and it's not a good place. In fact, today I said, we ought to change it from the word "swamp" to the word "cesspool" or perhaps to the word "sewer," but it's not good. Not good. And I see what's going on. And believe me, I'd much rather be with you. That I can tell you.

I'll tell you, the reason that I love this and the reason that I really wanted to be here is because, as president, I rely on former Boy Scouts every single day, and so do the American people. It's amazing how many Boy Scouts we have at the highest level of our great government.

Many of my top advisors in the White House were scouts. Ten members of my cabinet were scouts. Can you believe that? Ten. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not only a Boy Scout; he's your former national president. The vice-president of the United States, Mike Pence -- good guy -- was a scout, and it meant so much to him. Some of you here tonight might even have camped out in this yard when Mike was the governor of Indiana, but the scouting was very, very important. And, by the way, where are our Indiana scouts tonight? I wonder if the television cameras will follow you. They don't like doing that when they see these massive crowds. They don't like doing it. Hi, folks.

A lot of love in this big, beautiful place. Lot of love. And a lot of love for our country. There's a lot of love for our country. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is here tonight. Come here, Ryan. Ryan is an Eagle Scout from Big Sky Country in Montana. Pretty good. And, by the way, he is doing a fantastic job. He makes sure that we leave our national parks and federal lands better than we found them, in the best scouting tradition. So, thank you very much, Ryan.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry of Texas, an Eagle Scout from the great state. The first time he came to the national jamboree was 1964. He was very young then. And Rick told me just a little while ago it totally changed his life. So, Rick, thank you very much for being here and we're doing, we're doing a lot with energy. And very soon, Rick, we will be an energy exporter. Isn't that nice? An energy exporter. In other words, we'll be selling our energy instead of buying it from everybody all over the globe, so that's good.

RICK PERRY, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: We'll be energy dominant.

[18:40:48] TRUMP: We will be energy dominant, and I'll tell you what. The folks at West Virginia who were so nice to me, boy, have we kept our promise. We are going on and on. So, we love West Virginia. We want to thank you. Where's West Virginia, by the way? Thank you.

Secretary Tom Price is also here today. Dr. Price still lives the scout oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our secretary of health and human services. And he's doing a great job, and hopefully, he's going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that's really hurting us.




TRUMP: By the way, you're going to get the votes?


TRUMP: He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I'll say, "Tom, you're fired." I'll get somebody. He better get Senator Capito to vote for it. You've got to get the other senators to vote for it. It's time. You know, after seven years of saying "Repeal and replace Obamacare," we have a chance to now do it. They better do it. Hopefully, they'll do it.

As we can see just by looking at our government, in America, scouts lead the way. And another thing I've noticed -- and I've noticed it all my life -- there is a tremendous spirit with being a scout, more so than almost anything I can think of. So, whatever is going on, keep doing it. It's incredible to watch. Believe me.

Each of these leaders will tell you that their road to American -- and you have to understand, their American success -- and they are a great, great story -- was paved with the patriotic American values and traditions they learned in the Boy Scouts. And some day many years from now, when you look back on all of the adventures in your lives, you will be able to say the same: "I got my start as a scout," just like these incredibly great people that are doing such a good job for our country. So, that's going to happen. Boy Scout values are American values, and great Boy Scouts become

great, great Americans. As the Scout Law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal -- we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that. That was good. Very good. That was very impressive. You've heard that before.

But here you learn the rewards of hard work and perseverance. Never, ever give up, never quit. Persevere. Never, ever quit. You learn the satisfaction of building a roaring campfire, reaching a mountain summit or earning a merit badge after mastering a certain skill. There's no better feeling than an achievement that you've earned with your own sweat, tears, resolve, hard work. There's nothing like it. Do you agree with that?


I'm waving to people back there so small, I can't even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please? That is so incredible.

By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible massive crowd, record setting, is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?

The fake media will say, President Trump spoke -- you know what this is. President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today. That's some -- that is some crowd. Fake media, fake news.

Thank you. And I'm honored by that, by the way. All of these people that can't even see you, thank you. I hope you can hear.

Through scouting, you also learn to believe in yourself, so important, to have confidence in your ability, and to take responsibility for your own life. When you face down new challenges, and you will have plenty of them, develop talents you never thought possible, and lead your teammates through daring trials, you discover that you can handle anything. And you learn it by being a scout. It's great.


You can do anything. You can be anything you want to be. But in order to succeed, you must find out what you love to do. You have to find your passion. No matter what they tell you, if you don't -- I love you, too. I don't know, nice guy.


Hey, what am I going to do? He sounds like a nice person. He, he, he, he. Thank you. I do, I do love you.


By the way, just a question. Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?

(BOOS) And we'll be back. We'll be back. The answer is no, but we'll be


In life, in order to be successful -- and you people are well on the road to success -- you have to find out what makes you excited, what makes you want to get up each morning and go to work. You have to find it.

If you love what you do and dedicate yourself to your work, then you will gain momentum. And, look, you have to. You need the word momentum. You will gain that momentum. And each success will create another success. The word momentum.

I'll tell you a story that's very interesting for me. When I was young, there was a man named William Levitt. Levittown. You have some here. You have some in different states. Anybody ever hear of Levittown?

And he was a very successful man, became unbelievably -- he was a home builder. He became an unbelievable success. And got more and more successful and he built homes.

And at night he'd go to these major sites with teams of people and he'd scour the sites for nails and sawdust and small pieces of wood. And they clean the sites so when the workers came in the next morning, the sites would be spotless and clean.

[18:50:04] And he did it properly, and he did this for 20 years. And then, he was offered a lot of money for his company and he sold his company for a tremendous amount of money at the time especially. This is a long time ago. Sold his company for a tremendous amount of money.

And he went out and bought a big yacht and he had a very interesting life. I won't go any more be that that because you're Boy Scouts. So, I'm not going to tell you what he did. Should I tell you? Should I tell you?

You're Boy Scouts but you know life. You know life.

So, look at you. Who would think that this is the Boy Scouts, right?

So, he had a very, very interesting life. And the company that bought his company was a big conglomerate and they didn't know anything about building homes or picking up the nails and the sawdust and selling it and the scraps of wood. This was a big conglomerate based in New York City.

And after about a ten-year period, they were losing a lot with it. It didn't mean anything to 'em and they couldn't sell it. So they called William Levitt up and they said, would you like to buy back your company? And he said, yes, I would.

He so badly wanted it. He got bored with this life of yachts and sailing and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places. You won't get bored, right? You know, truthfully, you're workers.

You'll get bored, too. Believe me. Of course, having a few good years like that isn't so bad.

But what happened is he bought back his company and he bought a lot of empty land and he worked hard in getting it zoning, and he worked hard on starting to develop. And in the end, he failed and he failed badly, lost all of his money. He went personally bankrupt. And he was now much older.

And I saw him at a cocktail party. And it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party. It was the party of Steve Ross. Steve Ross, who was one of the great people, he came up and discovered really -- founded Time Warner. And he was a great guy. He had a lot of successful people at the party.

And I was doing well so I got invited to the party. I was very young. I go in, but I'm in the real estate business and I see 100 people, some of whom I recognize and they are big in the entertainment business.

And I see sitting in the corner was a little old man who was all by himself, nobody was talking to him. I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt of Levittown. I immediately went over. I wanted to talk to him more than the Hollywood, show business, communications people.

So, I went over and talked to him. And I said, Mr. Levitt, I'm Donald Trump. He said, I know. I said, Mr. Levitt, how are you doing? He goes, not well. Not well at all.

And I knew that but he said, not well at all. He explained what was happening and how bad it's been and how hard it's been.

And I said, what exactly happened? Why did this happen to you? You're one of the greats ever in our industry, why did this happen to you?

And he said, Donald, I lost my momentum. I lost my momentum. A word you never hear when you're talking about success when some of these guys that never made 10 cents, they're on television giving you things about how you're going to be successful and the only thing they ever did was a book and a tape.

But I tell you, I'll tell you, it was very sad and I never forgot that moment and I thought about it. And it's exactly true. He lost his momentum. Meaning, he took this period of time off, long, years. And then when he got back, he didn't have that same momentum.

In life, I always tell people, you have to know whether or not you continue to have the momentum. And if you don't have it, that's OK, because you're going to go on and you're going to learn things and you're going to do things that are great. But you have to know about the word momentum.

But the big thing, never quit, never give up, do something you love. When you do something you love as a Scout, I see that you love it. But when you do something that you love, you'll never fail. What you're going to do is give it a shot again and again and again.

[18:55:01] You're ultimately going to be successful.

And remember this, you're not working, because when you're doing something that you love, like I do, of course, I love my business but this is a little bit different. Who thought this was going to happen? You know, we're having a good time. We're doing a good job. Doing a good job.

But when you do something, when you do something that you love, remember this, it's not work. So you work 24/7, you're going to work all of the time and at the end of the year, you're not really working. You don't think of it as work.

When you're not doing something that you like, or when you're forced to do something that you really don't like, that's called work and it's hard work and tedious work. So, as much as you can, do something that you love, work hard and never, ever give up and you're going to be tremendously successful, tremendously successful.


Now, with that, I have to tell you, our economy's doing great. Our stock market has picked up since the election, November 8. Do we remember that date? Was that a beautiful date? What a date.

Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th, where they said these dishonest people, where they said there is no path to victory for Donald Trump? They forgot about the forgotten people.

By the way, they're not forgetting about the forgotten people anymore. They're going crazy trying to figure it out but I told them far too late. It's far too late.

But do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue and that map was so red it was unbelievable and they didn't know what to say.


And you know, we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College. Popular vote is much easier. We have -- because New York, California, Illinois, you have to practically run the East Coast and we did. We won Florida. We won South Carolina. We won North Carolina. We won Pennsylvania. We won and won.

So when they said there is no way to victory, there is no way to 270 -- you know, I went to Maine four times because it's one vote and we won, but we won. One vote. I went there because I kept hearing we're 269. But then Wisconsin came in many, many years. Michigan came in.

So -- and we worked hard there. You know, my opponent didn't work hard there because she was told --


She was told she was going to win Michigan and then I said, well, wait a minute, the car industry is going to move to Mexico. Why is she going to move -- she's there. Why are they allowing it to move?

And, by the way, do you see those car industry? Do you see what's happening? How -- they're coming back to Michigan. They're coming back to Ohio. They're starting to peel back in.


And we go to Wisconsin. Now, Wisconsin hadn't been won in many, many years by a Republican. But we go to Wisconsin and we had tremendous crowds and I'd leave these massive crowds and say, why are we going to lose this state?

The polls. That's also fake news. They are fake polls. But the polls are saying, but we won Wisconsin.

So I have to tell you, what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for make America great again.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. We're going to continue monitoring Donald Trump speaking before 30,000 Boy Scouts at the Boy Scouts jamboree in West Virginia, delivering surprisingly a rather political speech, going through a lot of the issues, the policy issues that he has been promoting lately.

We're going to continue to monitor it. Unfortunately, that's all of the time that we have here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I want to thank all of our viewers in the United States and around the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.