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Trump "Weighed In" On Trump Jr.'s Misleading Statement; W.H. Directly Contradicts Trump Lawyer On Trump Jr. Meeting; Kushner: "We Couldn't Even Collude With Our Local Offices". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 1, 2017 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: -- Burnett "OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OutFront next, did the president knowingly mislead the public on the Trump Tower meeting? Why did he have a direct role in crafting a statement we now know is far from the whole truth?

Plus Donald Trump defending his speech to the Boy Scouts now saying he was told it was the greatest speech ever made to them. So why did the top scout have to apologize for the President's speech?

And working for Donald Trump, why one former top Trump exec says he loves chaos. Let's go OutFront.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, why can't the White House tell the whole truth? So the White House press secretary has a stunning defense of the president tonight, who reportedly dictated his son's misleading statement on his meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Now, that statement read in part, "We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children." We now know that not even is that not the whole story. It doesn't even represent what the story is about. But that did not stop Sarah Huckabee Sanders from saying this today.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The statement that Don Jr. issued is true. There is no inaccuracy in the statement.


BURNETT: OK. Well, that's not true. From Donald Trump Jr.'s own e- mails, we know this. His own e-mails with the man who helps set up the meeting with the Russian lawyer, those e-mails show Trump Jr. was promised, just in case you forgotten, documents that, "Would incriminate Hillary and her dealing with Russia and would be very useful to your father." Trump Jr. was also told the documents, "Part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

The meeting was set up with the promise of dirt unclean. Dirt that was going to come from the Russian government, the Russian government which supported Trump's candidacy for president. Yes, a hostile power.

And yet the White House press secretary with the straight face says it's completely accurate to say that the meeting was just about Russian adoption. It is simply not the whole truth and it's not even close. Another thing the White House is saying today that just doesn't add up is this.


SANDERS: The president weighed in as any father would, base on the limited information that he had.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: He weighed in the way any father would on a statement.


BURNETT: All right. So they clearly picked those words, practiced them and have given them out as talking points, as any father would. But the truth is on that one, of course. It's not as any father would because this father is the President of the United States and the question about his son being raised here is whether Donald Trump Jr. colluded with a hostile government to possibly rig or impact the U.S. election. That's not just a father/son thing.

The other problem for Sanders and Kellyanne Conway is that "The Washington Post" report says President Trump didn't just weigh in, but that he personally dictated that misleading statement released by Donald Trump Jr.

All of this directly contradicts what Trump's own attorney, Jay Sekulow, said on at least three occasions on national television as he looked into television cameras and said, "The President had absolutely nothing to do. Didn't weigh in, didn't dictate, had absolutely nothing to do with the statement."


JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: The President didn't sign off on anything. He was coming back from the G20. The statement that was released on Saturday was released by Donald Trump Jr. and I'm sure in consultation with his lawyers. The President wasn't involved in that.

I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President.

I do want to be clear that the President was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.


BURNETT: OK. It's not the whole truth and not even close. And it's going to be really important whether he lied or someone lied to him.

Jim Acosta is out front at the White House to begin our coverage tonight. And, Jim, the Trump administration, clearly unable to get a straight story here.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is a common problem over here at the White House, Erin. And this was a stunning admission from the White House today after the President's outside counsel, as you said, Jay Sekulow, denied the President was involved in the drafting of that misleading statement for Donald Trump Jr.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the President had indeed weighed in. Sanders went on to say Trump Jr. statement was true and was not inaccurate, that of course as you said is false. Donald Trump Jr.'s initial statements completely left out the e-mails indicating the Russians were prepared to hand over damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Now, that misleading statement from Trump Jr. said the meeting with the Russians would be about adoptions. That story, we should point out, is the same narrative. We went back and look at this, Erin, the President pushed repeatedly last month. He also said this to reporters on Air Force One as well as a news conference in France with the President of that country.

I talked to a top GOP congressional source earlier today whom told me that the President's involvement in the drafting of that misleading statement for his son, Donald Trump Jr., would, "Further implicate him in this Russia investigation," so lots of new questions being raised by all of this.

But one person we have not heard from at this point is Jay Sekulow, the President's attorney who said time and again the President was not involved in drafting that statement.

[19:05:04] Erin, we have reached out to Jay Sekulow for a comment. He has not responded. But he would not be the first person working for this President to have his knees cut out from under him after making statements about the President that later turned out not to be not true, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Acosta. And, again, as I said, it matters and I don't need to say to all of you why it matters, but it matters hugely whether Jay Sekulow lie or the President lied to Jay Sekulow.

OutFront now, Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan, Washington Post Reporter Tom Hamburger, who broke the story on President Trump dictating Donald Trump Jr.'s misleading statement on that meeting and former White House Ethics Lawyer under President George W. Bush Richard Painter.

So, Tom, let me start with you. The White House says, and now you've seen both from Kellyanne Conway and the Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders the President didn't dictate the statement, that he weighed in, that's the word that they're using, weighed in as any father would. You broke the story in "The Washington Post." They say weighed in. You say dictated. Which is it?

TOM HAMBURGER, POLITICS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Erin, thanks. I think the first thing to point out is that the, as you noted earlier, the story and the explanations for it are evolving. What we had yesterday before our story appeared is that the president played effectively no role, quite no role, whatsoever, in drafting the statement. Now we're told that he weighed in.

We have multiple sources that we worked with in developing this story, and I was one of four reporters on it. And our many sources from many walks of life and many aspects of the Trump world tell us that, in fact, this -- excuse me. I just lost my train of thought there.

BURNETT: That's OK. I want to go to April. Let me just get you to jump in here because obviously this is crucial. There's evolving story that they're giving, you know, whether weighed in or dictated. Obviously, they previously said the President had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And on top of this, the press secretary today saying there is no inaccuracy in the statement. I mean, that's frankly just an absurd thing to say, right? Technically maybe the line of statement is true, but it's so completely misses the point that it is an insult to the American people for her to say there is no inaccuracy in that statement.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, let's really look at when you deal with the President there is never an occasion where you want a President to look like he's had his hands involved in something controversial.


RYAN: That's the first thing given. And maybe that's one of the reason why Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the statement that she did. But then you also have Jay Sekulow making that definitive statement that he had nothing to do with it.

So at this point, when you have two sides who are supposed to be representing the same person, it may need to be the case that there is never a definitive statement when it comes to this now because it seems the things are always changing.


RYAN: They say one thing and then the next thing comes.

HAMBURGER: Can I jump back? Can I jump back in for a moment?

BURNETT: Yes, go ahead, Tom. Yes.

HAMBURGER: The White House today did confirm that the President had weighed into this statement, but denied our report that he had, in fact, dictated it. What I wanted to mention is that our multiple -- that our sources used the word dictate and we're confident that we're reflecting the views of those sources and their description of what happened here.

BURNETT: So, Richard, let me ask you on this note. They say weighed in and you hear Tom saying dictated is the word that was used by people who are talking to "The Washington Post" who know what happened, who were there.

Whether it's weighed in or dictated, and there is a big difference between the two, but both of them would show the President's lawyer the statement that he made to be a lie, right? He said the President had nothing to do with it. My question to you, Richard, is could the president be in any trouble legally?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I think so. I mean, I'm sure you might say President Nixon weighed in on obstruction of justice. But this is just an argument over terminology.

But no father in his right mind would knowing that his son is a material witness in a criminal investigation, no father in his right mind would assist, weigh in or get anywhere near involvement in preparing a false statement by his own son, which then, his son would have to repeat to the investigators here Bob Mueller and maybe testimony in court and commit perjury.

The only father who would ever take that risk is a father who knows he has the power to pardon his son if he is convicted of perjury. This makes absolutely no sense. The statement was false. It focused on adoptions. This has nothing to do with adoptions. It had to do with dirt on Hillary Clinton in return for releasing the sanctions.


BURNETT: Well, that's what the intent of the meeting was and I think anybody looking at it objectively would know that that's what a statement would respond to. So as I said, it's an insult to say that the statement has no inaccuracies. Mark --

PAINTER: Well, it's a lie. It's a lie. And Kellyanne Conway and Sanders and all the rest of them are lying too and the American people are insulted by this.

[19:10:04] Sanders is worse than Spicer in terms of lying. It's gone downhill. And the President should have nothing to do with the Russian investigation. He should be focusing on his job, rather than trying to obstruct justice.

BURNETT: So, Mark, on this issue of who's lying because it will say -- in the case of Jay Sekulow, OK, it's going to matter. He came on television and said something that is factually untrue.


BURNETT: OK. Because now -- Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, those things are factually untrue, so he weighed in, right? They're not going as far as dictated, but they're admitting weighed in. OK.

So either Sekulow decided as a prestigious lawyer to go lie on national television again and again and again knowing the truth or the President lied to him. Other people lied to him. Which is more likely?

PRESTON: Wow. I mean, they're both not good options, right? I mean, because the fact of the matter is your word is worth something. And for a person that's all that you have.

BURNETT: A lawyer, yes.

PRESTON: A lawyer, for gosh -- I mean, for god sakes. Look, we don't know. We are going to find out. But the fact is, I think we're talking about the difference between weighing in and dictated. To me, it doesn't matter, OK?

BURNETT: He was involved in something.

PRESTON: He was involved in some way in doing it.

BURNETT: Misleading and untrue.

PRESTON: We would not have found out about it had Tom and "The Washington Post" broke the story. Why did it take to this point for them to actually acknowledge it?


PRESTON: But frankly, when you look at it strategically, like that decision strategically when you look at, at communication strategy and I'm not advocating this, but it's kind of pathetic how they have lied about this, about how they have rolled this out, how they have fumbled it.

And quite frankly, if you're a world leader right now or you're a member of Congress and you see Donald Trump lying this way, OK, or the White House misdirecting this way, how can you ever trust them?

BURNETT: Well, that is the crucial question here. And, Tom, I want to ask you something because I know people may ask this, right, people who either are very concerned about the leaking or just want to know where you got this. I know you're not going to reveal your sources and I would never ask you to do so. It will compromise that in anyway.

But, I am curious if you're able to reveal their motives, right? This is -- you are the one who got them to admit weighed in. You're reporting dictating. It's crucial that the President was involved in this statement. And it didn't happen without you having sources who told you about it.

What is their motive? Why is it that they are choosing, in this case to tell you this, but in general, people in this White House, why are they choosing to tell this information to reporters like you? HAMBURGER: So, Erin, I think it's a good question. And it is one that reveals something about this White House. I, as a reporter and the three colleagues that I worked with on this story can't speak for motivation, but what I can tell you is that we -- there were multiple people working as advisors not just to the President but to his inner circle, meaning the family, who were willing to talk about this and who were concerned enough to speak out.

What their motives were, I can't speak for them. What we do know is that they described to us, and we quoted some of these folks anonymously, saying that they were -- that the President is simply not following advice. He thinks that he is innocent of any collusion and that there is nothing to apologize or be worried about, and so he's going ahead.

And one of the things our reporting showed is that he chose to ignore advice and suggestions from many of those advisors that we talked to, to be more transparent, to be more open, to avoid the very problem that we're discussing tonight, which is that it appears as though the first statement now was an attempt to mislead or perhaps cover up.

BURNETT: So, April, the Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders today, she tried to say that this is a non-story, that the President was involved in this statement, that it's Democrats who are making this a story. Here's how she said it.


SANDERS: The Democrats want to continue to use this as a P.R. stunt and they're doing everything they can to keep this story alive and in the papers every single day.


BURNETT: That would be convenient except for it is not true, again, like a lot of things I guess we're pointing out tonight. Senator Lindsey Graham is a Republican, critical (ph) at the President times, but he's a Republican. That's how he votes. And here is how he reacted to the news that the President was involved in writing the statement.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: If that's true, then that was a bad decision by the President, which will make us ask more questions. When you get caught in a lie about one thing, it makes it hard to just say let the other stuff go.


BURNETT: April, people are not afraid to use the lie word, which is a serious word to use.

RYAN: That's a strong word in Washington, lie. I mean, you know, we use words, you know, the credibility issue, you know, your credibility is lacking. But lie is a very strong word. And for a member of his own party, someone that people look to, to say the word lie, that's saying something.

And when you go back to the briefing today, Erin, you know, what Sarah did, you know, they've been doing since they came here. Any time there is a moment to pin down an answer on a certain question that sheds a negative light on them.

[19:15:07] They divert attention to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to other people instead of answering and dealing with the issue like that. You even had on the sides two journalists who you might say are on the conservative side. They screamed out when she was going through this diatribe. They screamed out, but he's President instead of going to Hillary Clinton.

So you're hearing a lot of uproar, and I'm saying the word uproar, from many Republicans in the President's own party who's very concerned about what it looks like, what it smells like, what it tastes like and what it sounds like.

BURNETT: And, Mark, let me just give you the final point because I think this is important, especially for those out there who frustrated by leaks. And I understand that, right, because that can be an issue. But if it weren't for these leaks, we wouldn't know how many lies there are, because what these leaks are repeatedly exposing is that this White House has lied again and again, misled.

PRESTON: Yes. I mean, there is no question about it. And, look, in Washington as journalists or anywhere as journalists or lawmakers, the one thing that bonds everyone together is your integrity and your honesty. And once you lose that, once you can no longer be trusted, whether it's in politics or in business, then you're done.

And I would suggest that Donald Trump is walking down a dangerous road right now as the President of the United States if his word can't be trusted.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.

And next, was the Trump campaign too disorganized to collude with Russia? Someone in the White House, a very senior person is saying that tonight. We'll tell you who.

Plus, did the President call the White House a dump to his word (ph)? And this contentious exchange between Maxine Waters and the treasury secretary inspired a new song.



REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time.


WATERS: Reclaiming my time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, they --

WATERS: Reclaiming my time.



[19:20:27] BURNETT: Tonight, Jared Kushner's newest defense against possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians, Foreign Policy magazine reporting Kushner told congressional interns that, "They thought we colluded, but we couldn't even collude with our local officers." Now, Kushner thought his comments were off the record. Someone in the room recorded him.

OutFront now, the Democratic Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, also member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I appreciate your time. Let me start, Senator, with this news from Jared Kushner. He says basically the Trump campaign was too disorganized to have colluded with Russia. Your reaction?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, we'll see. That's what Bob Mueller is going to be looking into, the intent to obstruct justice, for instance, or the intent to launder money or the intent to make a false statement is an element of those various offenses, which are probably going to be the core offenses, colluding not by itself obviously a criminal act. So if their defenses were too incompetent to do this, that's a kind of a tough one to make for the White House.

BURNETT: So "The Washington Post," I'm sure you're aware, is reporting that the President dictated the statement issued --


BURNETT: -- by his son about that meeting with the Russian lawyer. The White House now admits that the President weighed in via Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway.

What's your position, the President had a central role in a statement that blatantly did not acknowledge the central truth, which is that Donald Trump Jr., as you point out, had an intent, right? The intent of the meeting was for the Russian government to provide the Trump campaign the damaging information about Hillary Clinton.


BURNETT: What's your reaction that the president was central to that statement?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, three things lead to mind. First, it ties the President into the June 9th meeting in a way that didn't exist before. He's either interested enough in the June 9th meeting to make up stuff about it, or he knew a lot more about it than anybody has led on to date. So it puts the President much more closely into that.

Second, it potentially is another piece of evidence of obstruction of justice. He was well aware, having fired Comey, that there was an ongoing investigation. And it is possible to make false statements to the public with the intent to obstruct an investigation. So, if --

BURNETT: So you think that could be obstruction of justice in and of itself?

WHITEHOUSE: Not on its own, but it could add up to -- I think there's already a prima facie case. It could add to the bits of evidence that a prosecutor would add up until the prosecutor reaches the go point that they feel they've got a solid bomb proof case. And the last thing is, interestingly, you know, they keep bringing up this business of adoption.


WHITEHOUSE: Anybody who knows anything about this knows that adoption means Magnitsky.

BURNETT: The sanctions.

WHITEHOUSE: The Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act means sanctions, and sanction is the reason Russians collude. So keeping continually saying adoptions is putting, I think, all the investigators on the hunt that this ends up with an effort to collude about sanctions.

BURNETT: So, the President's attorney, as you know, repeatedly said the President was not involved in drafting this response. Here is just a brief clip of Jay Sekulow.


SEKULOW: I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President. I'm assuming that was between Mr. Donald Trump Jr., between Don Jr. and his lawyer. I'm sure his lawyer was involved. That's how you do it. And you know that. And so to put this on the President, I think this is absolutely incorrect.


BURNETT: All right. This has proven to be false. So, it's not true. Do you think the President lied to his lawyer, or do you think that Jay Sekulow, his lawyer, lied on his own on national television repeatedly, Senator?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, it's one or the other. There is not a third option. And neither is very good either for the lawyer or for the President. So it almost really doesn't matter which way that breaks. But it's really not good for a lawyer to say publicly things that are proven to be flat-out false.

So most lawyers go out of their way to try to avoid that, so that throws the -- I guess the benefit of the doubt here towards the lawyer and that it was Sekulow who was lied to by the President. But who knows? Maybe he was so overcome with the excitement of working for the President of the United States that he felt he had to take a dive for him. If so, really bad decision. [19:25:08] BURNETT: Before we go, Senator, I want to ask you about the sanctions. I don't know if you know this, but Senior Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway, I just spoke to Bret Baier, she opened the door to the Russian sanctioned bill, which passed through chamber by a vote of 98 to 2, not being technically signed by the President. Here's the exchange.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: August 9th is the last day to sign the bill or veto it and then the 10th, if the President does not veto the bill, the sanctions bill becomes law --

CONWAY: Correct.

BAIER: -- without his signature. Is that a possibility?

CONWAY: It's a possibility, but he intends to sign it.


BURNETT: All right. The fact that she said it's a possibility frankly surprise me. Senator, does it matter to you if the President doesn't sign the sanctions bill, if it becomes law anyway?

WHITEHOUSE: It doesn't really matter to me. It becomes law anyway. And just to be clear, when I was talking about sanctions earlier, I didn't mean America's sanctions under this bill.

BURNETT: Right, I understand.

WHITEHOUSE: I meant the Magnitsky Act sanctions that are the reason that all this collusion or attempted collusion was taking place. The Russians, we have heard testimony in our committee, are desperate to lift those Magnitsky Act sanctions.

BURNETT: But you wouldn't need anything into him not signing this Russian sanctions bill is the bottom line?

WHITEHOUSE: I wouldn't know what to read into it. I mean, it's coming out them anyway. It would seem to me to be the sensible thing to simply sign it, particularly under these circumstances. But I have given up on trying to understand the, you know, workings of Mr. Trump's thinking.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Senator. Thank you.

WHITEHOUSE: Yes. Good to be with you.

BURNETT: And OutFront next, breaking news, Donald Trump says the head of the Boy Scouts called him to say that Trump gave the greatest speech every made to the Boy Scouts. Well, just breaking here in OutFront, the Boy Scouts responding to the President. You'll want to hear this.

And new lawsuit filed today alleging Fox News concocted a story about a Democratic Party staffer. Was President Trump personally involved?


[19:30:19] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news, the Boy Scouts pushing back against the president tonight in a claim he made to "The Wall Street Journal". According to a transcript of an interview with "The Journal" and obtained tonight by "Politico", the president denies there is any mixed reaction to the controversial Boy Scouts speech that he gave.

And the president said, quote, they loved it. There was some laughter in the exchange. He said it wasn't -- it was no mix. That was a standing ovation. And I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was a greatest speech ever made to them and they were thankful, so there was no mix.

OK. Well, it appears someone is not being fully honest here because the Boy Scouts official, of course, apologized to scouting community for the political rhetoric in Trump's speech and moments ago, the Boy Scouts told OUTFRONT issuing this to our show, saying the chief scout executive's message to the scouting community speaks for itself.

They are sticking with their criticism of the political rhetoric in the speech. Just to remind you some of what the president said that caused this whole brouhaha, here he is to the Boy Scouts.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts, right?


We would use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.

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


And, you know, we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College. Popular vote is much easier.

We ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or perhaps to the word sewer.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Paul Begala, former counsel to President Clinton and Jason Miller, former senior communications advisor for the Trump campaign.

So, Jason, the president says the head of the Boy Scouts called him to say this was the greatest speech ever. The head of the Boy Scouts has put a statement saying, quote, I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our scouting family who are offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. That was never our intent and they've just moments ago in response to this interview the president gave reiterated that, saying they standby that message speaks for itself.

Is the president being fully honest here in his characterization?

JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. I mean, obviously, I wasn't on the phone with the president whoever from the scouts called him. I loved the speech. It looked like the folks in attendance, whatever it was, 30,000 or 40,000, I don't know the exact number, but they sure seemed like they were having a fun time.

And, look, I think President Trump was making the jamboree fun again. It was great to have a president there for the first time since 2005. And you saw the kids were pumping their fists and they were having fun. And, look, it wasn't a boring political speech.


MILLER: It was definitely very lively. And I'm absolutely positive that I'm sure somebody called and said that was a fantastic speech, they absolutely loved it.

And, look, any organization like the Scouts, of course, you're going to have people from both sides of the political aisle, and they probably got a little bit of heat. Maybe that's why you have a follow call like that, especially since they have a tax exempt status and things like that. But, look, if President Trump says somebody gave him a call and said it was a fantastic speech, I'm sure that probable happened.

BURNETT: All right. So, Paul, what do you think happened, right? The president saying not only did he get a call, but in the call, the head of the Boy Scouts, he's specific about who called him, told him it was the greatest speech that was ever made to the Boy Scouts. Of course, the Boy Scouts' statement was apologizing to those who were offended by the political rhetoric.

So, if the president is accurate here in what he's saying, then the head of the Boy Scouts appears to be a big hypocrite.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, and, of course, we all know the Boy Scout motto. A Boy Scout is trustworthy, helpful, loyal, brave -- but trustworthy first. Trustworthy, the first attribute Scouts cite about themselves. And I'm a former Scout. We were taught to tell the truth.

So, if you ask me who I believe, that is such a terrible thing to say about my country. Our president or the head of the Boy Scouts, go with the head of the Boy Scouts because you just had 30 minutes about the president's lack of credibility, but this is something different than just credibility. This is his willingness to debase any group he goes before, any event he participates in.

Jason is right about this. It is terrific my president went to the Boy Scouts. I think it's wonderful. He's the honorary president of the Boy Scouts. And, of course, I don't support him on anything, but I love my president went to the Boy Scouts and even there, he debased it.

He stood in front of 175 stars of heroes who gave their lives for the CIA and debased that moment by bragging about his crowd size. He went to the commissioning of the Gerald R. Ford super carrier and he made that political and debased that wonderful event.

I mean, it's just nothing that this guy can't trash.

MILLER: And those in attendance loved it.

BEGALA: It's a 12-year-old boy, Jason. Of course, they got jacked up by a 12-year-old. But he is a 70-year-old boy.

BURNETT: He's the president of the United States.

OK, on this issue, he said he got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts, Jason, saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them. We -- a source is telling us they are not aware, a source is saying they are not aware of any call from National Boy Scouts of America headquarters to the president.

[19:35:02] Now, obviously, you know, there may have been a call. There may not have been a call. I don't know. It does raise the question.

MILLER: I clearly don't work at the Boy Scouts. I'm sure President Trump did get a call from somebody at the Boy Scouts.

BURNETT: From somebody.

MILLER: And again --

BURNETT: Whether it was the head of the Boy Scouts as he said or somebody else.

MILLER: I don't know. Like most Americans, I don't know the exact internal structure of the Boy Scouts, if there's a president, or chairman, or CEO, or however it is. Look, it was a fantastic speech. Those in attendance loved it. I'm sure those watches on TV loved it.

And, look, I think for particularly the Democrats, this is something -- this is all they have to go and harp on probably shows you that -- you know, even -- just how far their Russian rhetoric is falling off and now they're trying to go back to President Trump's speech with the Boy Scouts and take issue with that.

BURNETT: So, I want to ask you what else came out today in "Golf Magazine", OK? "Golf Magazine" today out with an article about Donald Trump's relationship with golf. And we know he loves golf, right? And I don't say that just to be funny. He loves golf.

In the article, they quote members of his Bedminster Club, where we know he's going to be spending his vacation. He loves it there, who say the president said, quote, that White House is a real dump. Paul?

BEGALA: Again, you know, he just trashes everything. The White House, I had the honor, the privilege of spending several years of my life working in the White House. You walk up to that door and a young marine snaps to attention and opens that door.

And, you know, everybody from that young marine's hometown is so proud that one of their own is there as an honor guard at the White House. And you go in there, and that place is beautiful. It's immaculate because there are people who devote their whole careers and sometimes intergenerationally, families whose parents, grandparents and grandsons all worked there to make that the most beautiful wonderful building in America and now, our president even trashes the White House.

I just cannot imagine it. If that doesn't inspire him, if that beautiful perfect building doesn't inspire, what will?

BURNETT: Now, he has said, of course, publicly, Jason, many positive things. He said they used to have a call in this beautiful place. It's a beautiful residence, right? He has said publicly many positive things, but, obviously, (AUDIO GAP) a real dump.

MILLER: And he's talked about how cool it is and how much history there is at the White House. So, he's made a number of positive comments. And so, look, none of us were there when this conversation happened so we don't know the dynamics and certainly compared to some of the Trump properties, it's not quite as fancy.

But, look, President Trump enjoys being at the White House and said a number of positive things about this. So, I don't -- I think this all sounds kind of overblown to me.

BURNETT: All right.

BEGALA: I've got an offer for him. If he thinks it's a dump, I'll raise the money to pay for the U-Haul to get him back to Trump Tower. How's that?

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

And next, an explosive lawsuit against FOX News claims a made up story about a DNC staffer is linked to the White House and the president. We're going to give you everything you need to know about this.

And Donald Trump deconstructed. A man who once took orders from him, a high ranking executive who says why he thrives on chaos.


[19:41:37] BURNETT: The White House fighting back against a new lawsuit that alleges President Trump was personally involved in a false FOX News story about the murder of a Democratic National Committee staffer.

Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a possibility this is a guy who provided to WikiLeaks all those DNC e-mails.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A false story peddled by FOX News could have fingerprints that reach all the way to the White House. A new lawsuit filed in federal court claims FOX concocted a story about the murder of 27-year-old DNC staffer Seth Rich and claims the White House had oversight.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: If it was true that Seth Rich gave WikiLeaks the DNC e-mails, wouldn't that blow the whole Russia collusion narrative that the media has been pushing out of the water?

STELTER: That is part of this pro-Trump conspiracy theory?

Rich's family says his death has been exploited by right wing media. At the center of the story is Ed Butowsky, a wealthy Republican donor. Tuesday's suit filed by Rod Wheeler, a FOX News contributor, claims Butowsky and FOX were in cahoots, contriving a link between Rich and WikiLeaks.

Wheeler worked with Butowsky investigating Rich's death.

ROD WHEELER, LAWSUIT PLAINTIFF: It's very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think, well, perhaps there were some e- mail communications between Seth and WikiLeaks.

STELTER: Rich's family says that's not true and D.C. police believe his killing was a botched robbery, nothing politically motivated. But that didn't stop FOX.

JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: It sure doesn't look like a robbery. It looks like a murder.

STELTER: After days of coverage back in May, the network retracted the story. Now, months later, Wheeler's explosive lawsuit says he was misquoted, defamed by FOX.

And his suit goes further claiming, Butowsky coordinated the phony story with the White House. Why? Quote, to shift the blame from Russia and refute collusion claims.

Butowsky named as a defendant in the suit, strongly denies the allegations.

ED BUTOWSKY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER AND DONOR: The lawsuit is absolute crap. There is nothing to this lawsuit that has any merit whatsoever.

STELTER: This text message from Butowsky to Wheeler is one of the suits most eye popping claims. Not to add any more pressure, but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you, but don't feel the pressure. Butowsky now says he was just kidding around.

BUTOWSKY: I was just joking with the man. And that's all that was.

STELTER: The White House pushing back as well.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president didn't have knowledge of the story. The White House didn't have any involvement in the story.

STELTER: But there is a link to the White House. Butowsky and Wheeler met with then press secretary Sean Spicer a month before the phony FOX story came out. Spicer says it was just a 10-minute courtesy meeting and the White House had nothing to do with his story.

But the suit claimed that Spicer asked to be kept abreast of developments.

As for FOX, it calls the accusation that it published the Seth Rich to detract from the Russia collusion issue, quote, completely erroneous.


BURNETT: So, Brian, I mean, it's pretty amazing. It does seem like the idea that President Trump was personally involved seems pretty farfetched from your report. I mean, is it? Does this lawsuit have credence?

STELTER: Right now, it's only a text message claiming this. If this was to continue forward, the plaintiff has a tough road ahead.

[19:45:04] If it gets to court, maybe more evidence will come out. But in the meantime, what Wheeler does have are text messages and voice mails that point to unethical journalistic conduct at FOX News.

The Trump piece of it, there needs to be more reporting, needs to be more roof. However, the lawsuit does say that Butowsky, this GOP donor has a relationship with Bannon. The lawsuit alleges that Bannon was in touch with him. And most importantly, this is about the two competing universes, the two competing realities. In one reality, Russia is a scandal. In the other reality promoted by FOX, Russia is a hoax.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brian Stelter.

And next, what is Donald Trump thinking about who he fires, fires and defends? We'll ask someone who has some answers, an executive who worked for him is OUTFRONT.

And Jeanne Moos on the song inspired by Maxine Waters and her famous line from a congressional hearing.


REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time belongs to the gentle lady from




BURNETT: Tonight, does President Trump have a gatekeeper? The White House says the new chief of staff, John Kelly, is putting together a structure for how senior staff will get face time with the president.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know that I would say approval is the correct word, but I certainly don't think it's like we're getting permission slips signed.


BURNETT: In other words, nobody just walks into the Oval Office, and that could be a very big change.

OUTFRONT now, Jack O'Donnell was president of the Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City and author of "Trumped!: The Inside Story of the Real Donald, His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall", which, Jack, I think obviously gives your personal point of view here, so people know, right?

[19:50:02] I mean, you're not a fan. You left your job after only three years.

But a question I have for you in that role, obviously, you're president of the Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, right? You dealt with him and you dealt with him in a very direct way. Will he be able to have another person, a chief of staff, fully regulating every single person who comes and goes in his office?

JACK O'DONNELL, FORMER PRESIDENT & COO, TRUMP PLAZA IN ATLANTIC CITY: Well, my experience, Erin, would say no, he won't be able to. I would guess that he's going to make an effort, but I think just the way he operated back then was really on a 24-hour basis. And I think that's probably going to be the problem that General Kelly is going to have with this president. He will be on the phone and walking around 24 hours a day. So, he in essence is not going to be controllable all the time.

BURNETT: And, you know, Ivanka Trump tweeted in response to Kelly's promotion, which obviously she was supportive of. But she tweeted, quote: Looking forward to serving alongside John Kelly as we work for the American people.

The operative word in that tweet appeared to be alongside, right, not reporting to or something (ph), but alongside. And the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has said Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner will report to Kelly. But the tweet obviously doesn't quite sound that way. Will Ivanka Trump report to Kelly and go through Kelly to go to her


O'DONNELL: Well, Erin in fairness, I think she was about 6 years old the last time I saw her, so I don't know her demeanor today.


O'DONNELL: But it certainly, from everything that we've seen, is going to be very difficult for her to not report directly to her father.

BURNETT: So, when you say he works 24 hours a day. He's always on the phone. He's always talking to people. Certainly, that's consistent with what reporters like myself who have dealt with him over many years would also say.

I want to play for something Tom Barrack, who's a longtime friend of the president's, said to me about how he is running this White House back in April. Here he is.


TOM BARRACK, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LONGTIME FRIEND: There's only one president and only one point of view. What happens is he curates different points of view and he encourages confusion amongst them. You're going to have fights inside of the sandbox that are on purpose.


BURNETT: The question for you, Jack, having worked for him is, does having fights and purposely getting people to be confused and doing this all purposefully, purposeful chaos, does it motivate people? Are people missing it with the criticism now and maybe it motivates people to give their all?

O'DONNELL: Well, I think it motivates people early on, when you're around Donald Trump. He sets that stage almost immediately, that this is going to be a very competitive atmosphere, and you're going to either be a winner or you're going to be a loser. I think as time goes on, that really begins to wear on people, because quite frankly in an organization, you have to have some friends.

And it really raises a doubt in everybody's mind what team you're on, or if anybody is on your own team. And I think that's just really poor management.

BURNETT: So, this firing that we've been seeing of the shortest press secretary, the shortest national security adviser, shortest chief of staff in American history, would you expect more of that?

O'DONNELL: Oh, I think there's no question, Erin, that's going to happen. You know, this is a president who has always gotten fascinated with people very quickly, even people that have very limited experience. And consequently, once these people are put on the stage, whether it's in business or at the White House, they just can't succeed.

BURNETT: All right. Jack, thank you very much for your insight. Appreciate it.

O'DONNELL: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Jeanne Moos on Congresswoman Maxine Water's catch phrase that has inspired a tune.


[19:57:44] BURNETT: Tonight's number, how a congresswoman's fiery three words have gone viral and become gospel for some. Seriously.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's her latest reclaim to fame.

WATERS: Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time belongs to the gentle lady from California.

WATERS: Representative Maxine Waters felt Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wasn't answering her question about a letter she sent.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I was going to tell you my response.

WATERS: Just tell me.

MNUCHIN: And that I would have the opportunity --

WATERS: Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time.

MNUCHIN: Perhaps, Mr. Chairman, I don't understand the rules. I thought I was allowed to answer questions.

WATERS: Reclaiming my time. Would you please explain the rules and do not take that from my time.

MOOS: Well, in no time, reclaiming time became a thing.


The dance remix was fun, but it's the gospel version that will be time honored.


MOOS: Broadway performer Mykal Kilgore loves Auntie Maxine and says her reclaiming time refrain sent him over the moon.

MYKAL KILGORE, BROADWAY PERFORMER: It hit me hard and I -- and that's why I couldn't let it go.

MOOS: It took him only 20 minutes to rip this up.


KILGORE: I'm a pastor's son, so singing gospel is like breathing and speaking to me.

MOOS: Conservative critics said Representative Waters interrupted 12 times.

WATERS: Reclaiming my time.

MOOS: Just like a 5-year-old does.

But Mykal was thrilled when Waters personally responded to his video, tweeting, wow, that we would be --

KILGORE: Headed to the Grammys. I was like, OK.

MOOS (on camera): And on that note, I think it's time for me to stop and let you reclaim your time.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Well, now, we'll give some extra time to Anderson as a gift. Thanks for joining us.

Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. Anderson starts now.