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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Admin Official: Puerto Rico Response A "Good News Story"; Pentagon Taps General To Lead Puerto Rico Response; Defense Dept.: 160 Million Meals Will Be Needed For Puerto Rico; FEMA: Nearly 1 Million Meals Distributed So Far In Puerto Rico; Half Of Puerto Rico Without Water, 97 Percent Without Electricity; Famous Chef Lends A Hand In Puerto Rico. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 28, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:02] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OutFront next, a good news story. That's how the Trump administration describes its response to Puerto Rico. So why are millions still without power and don't have water.
Plus, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says he's going to pay back taxpayers for the seats on the private planes he took. But why is he only forking over a fraction of the total cost?
And Twitter says it found 200 accounts linked to Russians. Lawmakers are saying the company's response is deeply disappointing tonight.
Let's go OutFront.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, tone deaf. The Trump administration making a bad situation worse with their choice of words in defending of actions.
Puerto Rico on the verge of unthinkable calamity. Almost half of the island does not have drinking water tonight, 97 percent do not have power. It's been eight days since Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. And millions of Americans on the island still haven't gotten what they need.
I mean, just take a look at this. I mean, thousands of shipping containers filled with supplies appear to be stranded in the port of San Juan not getting to the people who desperately need it. It's taken eight days since the storm for a military point person to be named to coordinate the relief efforts. Eight days.
Well, you see in there, three-star Jeffrey Buchanan, he's on his way there tonight. And his work is cut out for him. But the question is, why did it take eight days to send a general in. Here is Homeland Security Tom Bossert's response to that question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BOSSERT, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: It didn't require a three- star general eight days ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Didn't require a three-star general eight days ago. Well, did the administration not see the same pictures we've all been seeing? Pictures of people standing in line for not existing gas, pictures filling water bottles from an open pipe, pictures of people stranded and sleeping in the airport for days.
Acting Homeland Security Chief Elaine Duke didn't seem to have a better grip on reality or the gravity of the situation when she spoke today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELAINE DUKE, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF: I know it is really a good news story, in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A good news story, in any way and their ability to reach people while people aren't getting things and half the population doesn't have water and 97 percent don't have power. Lives are on the line. But it's a good news story.
Well, only this morning, after the president came under intense pressure that he actually reverse course on that Jones Act allowing non-American vessels to enter Puerto Rican port. Just a day ago of course, the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says that wasn't necessary and Trump, of course, sided with the shipping industry, appeared to be concerned about their view more than that of Puerto Ricans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, today, the administration says they lifted the law and here's the thing, they said they did it in the interest of national defense. Of course they haven't answered the question as to why it wasn't a matter of national defense 18 hours ago.
There are so many questions for the administration tonight and how they are responding to the biggest natural disaster of Trump's presidency. We're going to speak to a top team official but first, all angles of this disaster, I want to start with Leyla Santiago, she is in San Juan at this hour. And Leyla, the containers at that port, what is in them and why are they there?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually depends on who you ask. According to FEMA, there is not a single container at the port right now that contains FEMA aid that is not being moved. FEMA says that it has 11 supply points across this island and it is moving water, it is moving food as well.
But, when you talk to Crowley and when you talk to the Puerto Rican government, they will tell you that there are thousands of containers at this port, right now, with aid that is not being moved. So, a little bit of a discrepancy when it comes to what is happening at the port.
So let me tell you what I saw. I did not see much movement of containers at all while I was at the port today. A minimal amount of trucks moving containers. And even when I stopped some of them, they were commercial trucks, furniture stores and drivers who were not at all aware that there was a need for drivers to get relief aid across this island because that is what the government is saying.
The government in Puerto Rico says that the aid supply-- the aid that is coming in and that is stuck at this port is because they haven't been able to find the drivers. And if they can find the drivers, they don't have the diesel. That is sort of the complexity of what we're seeing at the port.
But let me tell you what else I saw at this port today, Erin. And that is thousands of people in line, trying to get off this island. Those people are now on that ship. That ship that is headed to Florida.
[19:05:01] And as I talked to people, Erin -- I saw one man lift his shirt and show the scar from his surgery to prove that he had a special need, that he needed to get off this island. I saw a woman connected to an oxygen tank. And I want you to listen to the conversation I had with her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I cannot leave without oxygen. I can die if I don't have the oxygen. I have something in the lungs, fibrosis, that I need the oxygen to leave. So it's impossible not to have it. I'll die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: And when you talk to people getting on this ship, on the ship right now, getting ready to leave Puerto Rico, many of them are so upset, not knowing when they will be able to return to the island that they call home, but to the island that is now destroyed in many communities. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Leyla. And tonight, many Americans risking their lives just to get help and supplies. You can see people here, as you see, clinging to a wire. It's a metal wire. They're attempting to cross a river to desperately try to get food and water that they need.
Ivan Watson is also in Puerto Rico live tonight. Ivan, you were there. You saw the desperate things people are doing right now just to get food.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, what's crazy about that, Erin, is that washed out bridge is only about 45 minutes drive from downtown San Juan Twenty-five miles as the crow flies.
And you have a bridge to a small town, a neighborhood called San Lorenzo in Morovis municipality, about a thousand people living in that town. Now, the entire surrounding countryside there is ravaged by Hurricane Maria. So there's no electricity in that municipality. There are long, long lines of people waiting for gas.
And there's no cell phone connection, no telephones either. But it's even worse for that community because for them to get in and out, they basically have to ford this river with water going up to their knees. And then since they can't get their vehicles out across that collapsed bridge area, then they have to hike. As one couple that I met did hike about two hours to the nearest store to buy bread and rice to then hike back two hours, wade across the river and then bring that food to their children.
The wire that was laid across the river was done by locals from the community who say they got one visit from FEMA, several visits from the mayor of the municipality. No aid, whatsoever to the community. They did see military helicopters flying overhead but none of them have stopped in village.
If you have an emergency there, Erin you can't call 911. There are no radios. You have to cross that river and try to get somebody to drive you to the nearest hospital. Erin?
BURNETT: So you're saying, Ivan, they've had a visit from FEMA but no aid from FEMA or anyone else at this point?
WATSON: No. And they were authorized by the mayor of the municipality to go into the school, which is heavily damaged by the storm, the town school and pull out food supplies for the school kids' lunch and then distribute them just ad hoc out to the rest of the community. And I saw many houses there destroyed, particularly the wooden ones completely destroyed, roofs ripped off, walls collapsed. People sleeping on mattresses next to their homes.
Again, no electricity. I met a 95-year-old woman whose granddaughter had come in across the river bringing fresh medical supplies. If -- her family says if she has an emergency, they can't call out. People are having to come by foot to try communicate with the outside world there. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Ivan, thank you very much. And with millions waiting for food, water and other necessities, the Pentagon had now appointed a three-star general to go down there and help sort out logistics. Barbara Starr is OutFront at the Pentagon. Barbara, eight days since Maria struck, it has been eight days of unfolding human calamity. What took them so long?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey Erin, they will tell you the military for its part did start with a couple of ships offshore. The logistical problem that we're all talking about, getting supplies onto the island, getting roads cleared, getting airports open, trying to get some kind of communications going. All of this is now the challenge for Lieutenant General Jeffrey Buchanan.
He will now oversee for the military support, for FEMA and the government of Puerto Rico. He will oversee all the military, air, land, and sea based assistance. But let me give you one statistic that will tell you the staggering challenge ahead.
[19:10:05] Tonight, the Pentagon estimating there will be a need for up to 160 million meals over the next 30 days for both Puerto Rico and still the American Virgin Islands. A 160 million meals.
What they are trying to do is get a military sustainment effort going, if you will. The ability that the U.S. military has to sustain operations 24/7 and get that network of distribution up and running. That is the absolute challenge tonight. Erin?
BURNETT: Barbara Starr, thank you. And I want to go OutFront now to Daniel Kaniewski, the deputy director for FEMA.
And Daniel, I appreciate your time. I know that you have said FEMA, none of your aid has been held up at the port or the airport. You've been able to get your aid where you say it needs to go. You delivered a 1 million meals, obviously not a enough.
There are Americans in Puerto Rico who don't have food and they don't have water. Who is responsible for helping them right now, Daniel?
DANIEL KANIEWSKI, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FEMA: Well, first of all, this is obviously a tremendously challenging response. We were hampered early on in our first step of getting all of that aid to the island. Being 1,500 miles away from here, I assure you is not the same as being here in the continental U.S. It is more challenging to ship this via air and via ship.
Second of all, even in the best case scenario there sort of been challenging the fact that the air traffic control tower went down and is slowly been ramping up thanks to some Herculean efforts by the Department of Defense to get that back online. It's been like trying to push a bowling ball through a straw quite frankly.
This has been a logistics challenge from the very beginning. Now, we're obviously facing -- ironically, you have all those supplies and now we have to get them delivered to those that need them most. And that's the last mile delivery that we all are aware of right now that is challenging us at this moment.
BURNETT: And yes -- I mean, I know you heard our Ivan Watson talking about that. That village right where they put the wire up, they're going through the water. They got a visit from FEMA but they've gotten no aid yet.
Look, when you look at the reality, a 160 meals are going to be needed over 30 days, you all have provided a million. It is clear that the need here is greater than what you've been able to provide, right? There's no question about that.
Whose fault is that? Do you need the government to step in and put a military general in there earlier? I mean, who has created the situation where half the people on the island don't have water?
KANIEWSKI: So, I would say Hurricane Maria created that situation. This is a catastrophe like the island has not seen in nearly a century. We are doing our absolute best. Those federal responders who are seated behind me and the nearly 10,000 on the ground are doing everything in their power.
But please understand, without a functioning airport, this is a very difficult situation to get all of those meals and commodities in. That said, we were prepared for this disaster from the get go. It's not like we just showed up after this all happened. There were commodities staged on that island. There were thousands of personnel staged on that island to respond immediately and we responded to those immediate needs.
Now, what we are moving to is a sustainment operation where we can get a much larger military footprint in. And thanks to -- for example, we just opened another airport that's dedicated just to military operations. I think it was a -- an old naval base. So there's definitely some ingenuity here by the Department of Defense to say we think we can open this airfield and get additional commodities and that's happening.
There are planes landing there right now, carrying helicopters, carrying supplies. And as you mentioned, there's a three-star general that is on the grounds that's going to be coordinating this operation. This takes time.
BURNETT: Which makes sense, right. I think people are trying to understand though why a lot of this didn't happen sooner right. And part of this is because of what members of the administration said today. I don't know if you heard it Daniel but the Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert was asked about the government's response on the humanitarian crisis specifically why did it take eight days to get that three-star general to Puerto Rico. And I just want to play the exchange with our Jeff Zeleny so you could hear it, Daniel. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOSSERT: It didn't require a three-star general eight days ago.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Was it a mistake -- would you acknowledge that it was a mistake looking back, to not have this three-star general on the ground earlier?
BOSSERT: No, not at all. In fact, that doesn't affected the way we stage equipment and the way we handle area command and field operational commands. This is textbook and it's been done well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Has the U.S. Government response, Daniel, been textbook?
KANIEWSKI: So I'll say that again, there were personnel and commodities on the island when the hurricane struck. That provided some immediate supports, some immediate needs. We didn't anticipate the airport not being functioning, the port not functioning. So it was a game of catch up for several days and we acknowledge that.
[19:15:02] Now, the commodities are there. Now, the personnel are there. And we have such a large footprint. It's natural that the military upscales -- you know, from a one-star to a three-star (INAUDIBLE). But similarly, on the civilian side, FEMA has provided many more personnel over the last few days and we have a very large footprint on the ground right now.
And had we not had that challenge of the airports and the ports being closed, we would have loved to have that footprint. We would love that many personnel on the ground as we do right now, and as many commodities that we have on the ground right now from the beginning. That's not realistic.
BURNETT: OK, you have a lot of people I know who are risking their own lives to help other people and I want to make that clear that there are all of those people from FEMA who are doing that. But what I'm trying to understand and I think the American public want to understand is, did you expect, is it textbook, is this what we all should have expected that half of the people in Puerto Rico would not have access to water eight days after the storm?
KANIEWSKI: This storm was one-mile-an-hour short of a category 5 hurricane, striking a country that had infrastructure that is weak and was aging before the hurricane struck. We knew that this hurricane was going to have catastrophic consequences and we did everything we possibly could to prepare in the days ahead of that hurricane.
But the reality is, this is going to be a challenging situation for a long time. We're not going to rebuild the power grid overnight but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, they just have been assigned in the last 24 hours to do just that.
In addition to generators and fuel, we are -- have assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild that nation's infrastructure. So, we're doing everything we possibly can. This is obviously an incredibly difficult situation for those people in Puerto Rico and it's a challenging response for us.
We need to get through this, we can get through this together. And it's very easy for me to sit here in Washington to say for those survivors to be patient. I understand that. We have helicopters overhead, we have the military on the scene and thousands and thousands of people up for this task. Please trust that we are there and we are going help you.
BURNETT: All right, I appreciate your time, Daniel. Thank you very much.
KANIEWSKI: Thank you. BURNETT: Next, a celebrity chef taking matters into his own hands in Puerto Rico helping to feed those who are desperately hungry.
Plus, the secretary of Health and Human Services now paying taxpayers back for part of his private flights. He reported owes about $400,000 but he's only paying $52,000 of them. How does that math work?
And Trump not dropping his fight with the NFL. Tonight, he's about to come to ahead again in Wisconsin. And we are live with fans at the Green Bay Packers/Chicago Bears.
[19:21:21] BURNETT: Almost half of Puerto Rico doesn't have water tonight as the mass humanitarian crisis continues. FEMA said it distributed a million meals, two million liters of water to the more than three million American hurricane victims. But obviously, it's a drop in the bucket. Not anywhere what is needed to bring relief to those who are suffering so deeply and on a matter of life and death.
And one of the hardest hit parts of San Juan, one of the most famous chefs in the world is actually on the ground trying to help now. Bill Weir is OutFront on the ground.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In happier times he'd be barking orders at sous-chefs in one of his 26 restaurants from Spain to Beverly Hills. But today, Jose Andres is in one of the poorest neighborhoods in San Juan, with volunteers from eight to 80 working paella pans and sandwich assembly lines, all in an urgent race to feed as many hungry Puerto Ricans as nearly possible.
(on camera) Which is more satisfying to you as a chef, serving a gastrocreation(ph) in New York or Washington or helping someone now?
JOSE ANDRES, CHEF: I always say that chefs like me, we love to feed the few but I think we love even more feeding the many.
WEIR (voice-over): He's become almost a fixture in disaster zones from Haiti to Harvey, but was most recently in the headlines for a two-year legal battle with the president. After candidate Donald Trump referred to Mexicans and rapists, Andres pulled his restaurant from the Trump hotel in Washington, both sides sued and later settled.
(on camera) You had a rather public feud with President Trump in recent years. What is your reaction to him lifting the Jones Act today?
ANDRES: If only the Jones Act has been one of the bad things that happened to Puerto Rico over many years. (INAUDIBLE) you want to help the island, you need pragmatic, smart, business-like decisions. I would say I will have an import for doing this but we need to make sure that this happening and is used for the betterment of the lives of the people of Puerto Rico.
We know that after situations like Haiti, we had between 25 and 30,000 military onboard. I was there, I watched it. Both are very good operation for a very big disaster. I hear that we have only 5,000 people in this island.
(INAUDIBLE) a long story short, we have great military. We have great nation at work. It's a moment to be using them for the betterment of the lives of so many Americans. And what is the moment? The moment is now.
WEIR (voice-over): He says half of his job here is navigating around the red tape that snarls massive federal projects like this. Some, but not all of the food is donated. And some time after things calmed down, he'll figure out how to pay for it all.
ANDRES: Who has the money, I don't know. I'm sure Red Cross has money. I'm sure FEMA has money and I'm sure they're using that money well. But I can tell you that as the private sector, we can use the money very well.
WEIR (voice-over): It turns out the paella guy is faster than San Juan traffic will allow.
WEIR (voice-over): Today's first sandwich delivery is ready. Bound for the doctors and nurses at the University of Puerto Rico Hospital.
WEIR (voice-over): We race across town and as we arrive at a place where an emergency room is full and the generators are nearly empty. There is a stark reminder of why they're all working with such urgency. Just as the nourishment is wheeled in, a victim of Maria's brutal aftermath is wheeled out.
[19:25:06] BURNETT: And Bill, obviously this is such a matter of life and death, and hospitals literally hours away in some cases of life or death decisions. You have been on the island for five days now Bill reporting. The deputy FEMA director on the show just said people need to trust them. They need to trust that they will deliver. And they miscalculated the port wouldn't be open, they miscalculated the airport, but that they are going to deliver.
Do people have any trust at this point?
WEIR: No. Absolutely not. We have yet to see any federal presence on all our travels across this country. We have dozens of CNN personnel fanned across the island and the sightings are sporadic.
You know, the celebrity chef is getting more done today than we've seen in those five days. We went Vieques yesterday, there is good news that the U.S. Coast Guard tweeted out that they delivered some water this morning. That's just the beginning of the dire needs on that island where people have no fuel and running out of food. And it's on the brink of lord of the flies anarchy there as well.
Some of my colleagues are just back from their days out in Aguadilla in the northwest. People are bathing in the public fountain. It's the only fresh water they have and it's not that fresh. And they're begging for satellite phones.
The mayor of that town is driving to San Juan himself to pick up supplies. The have an airstrip that could take a big cargo plane but the only planes that have showed up are Spirit Airlines and Ponce down in the south central. The Red Cross was spotted setting up satellite phones with four of the 17 hospitals are operational.
Cannot overstate the amount of need on this island, Erin, and the lack of obvious support from those on the mainland.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Bill Weir. Explaining what the reality of the situation is there. Certainly not what Tom Bossert and Elaine Duke are telling us.
OutFront next, breaking news about the Health and Human Services secretary in spending of your money. The total cost now reportedly topping a million dollars. A million dollars, that just change here (INAUDIBLE). We got the breaking details on that next.
And first, Facebook now it is Twitter. The site apparently compromised by hundreds of accounts linked to Russia. So why are we just finding out about them tonight?
[19:30:48] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says he's going to write a personal check for about $52,000 to pay for his seat on private charter planes around the country. This, of course, is far less than the total cost of the flights, which we are just learning, a few hours ago, was about $400,000 with the number being thrown out.
Well, guess what? "Politico" now reports it's more than $1 million, $1 million taxpayer dollars.
Well, moment ago, Price says he hopes that he will be able to regain the trust if not of taxpayers, of his boss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I work with the pleasure of the president. The president is a remarkable leader. I'm incredibly privileged to serve in his cabinet and work on behalf of the American people. I look forward to gaining -- regaining the trust that the American people -- some of the American people may have lost in the activities that I took, and to not only regain the trust of the American people, but gain the trust of the administration and the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sara Murray is OUTFRONT at the White House.
And, Sara, we know the president is angry. He's angry about the controversy. He's angry at Price. At Health and Human Services today also says Price took more trips than he disclosed. And now, you've got this $1 million tab when he says he's paying $52,000 of it when nobody would have been on the planes at all. Is this apology and is personal check going to save his job?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is a great question, Erin, because we do know that this is something the president put thought into, he's been paying attention to. He's upset it. As of right now, obviously, Price is still in his position. The president could choose to ask him to resign at anytime and so far hasn't done so.
But look what Sarah Sanders said today when asked about the controversy and how the president is feeling about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As the president said yesterday, he's not thrilled, certainly not happy with the actions. We are looking at the issues. They are conducting both internal and IG full review going through the process. We are going to conduct a full review and we'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: And, Erin, you could tell when the president was talking about this yesterday, that he was visibly frustrated. This is a guy that ran on draining the swamp and you have one of his cabinet secretaries is spending thousands and thousands of dollars running around on private jets. Obviously, he's making moves to try to remedy the situation or at least improve the optics.
But again, he's paying for his own seat on the charter planes, not the entirety of the tab, the taxpayers would have been stuck with. So, we will see if this is enough to pass by the president.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara.
I mean, it's pretty stunning now. I want to go to former Republican senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, along with former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Bakari Sellers, and the editor in chief of "The Daily Beast", John Avlon.
Bakari, so, we just learned that it's now $1 million in private jet travels for Secretary Price. So, not $400,000, $1 million. So, just more than doubled, according to "Politico" today, according to the count.
The secretary is writing a check for $52,000. Should he be fired? BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He should have never been
hired. Let's not forget between 2012 and 2016, this same person that we're talking about, Secretary Price, traded over $300,000 worth of stock tht were related to 40 companies that he had legislation that he sponsored or co-sponsored that affected these companies.
So, he's had an allergy, a severe allergy to ethics, even dating back to his days in Congress. Now that the tab is over $1 million and he's writing a check for $52,000, the Trump White House are inept at handling crisis. What he is doing is making it worse, because he's only refunding the business class value of the ticket. He's not refunding what the private or charter jet would actually cost.
And so, he pulled the wool over the eyes of the American public once. And the way that he wants to get out of is he pulled over our eyes twice. I mean, the swamp is not being drained, is the alligators are just being replaced.
BURNETT: So, Senator, a GOP senator told CNN that he believes Mr. Trump is mad as hell. Those were his words. Quote, and the senator said that Price and I quote again, what the F was he thinking.
Do you share that sentiment?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. As a matter of fact, I don't. I didn't necessarily share that thinking when Nancy Pelosi was using a lot of government aircraft to go back and forth to her district and spending an enormous amount of money. I don't -- I didn't -- I'm not outraged when President Trump or President Obama used taxpayer dollars to travel and travel in very nice style I might add and probably one trip of a president costs more than all the things that you're talking about with Tom Price.
Tom Price has a travel budget. Is he exceeding that budget or isn't he? He has a travel budget to travel around the country and get to places he needs to get. He is a senior executive. He travels with more than one person. So --
BURNETT: Right, Senator. But we're talking about places like Philadelphia.
SANTORUM: That means you're travelling with multiple people, which means you have to buy airplane tickets for all of those people. You have to buy for security if you have your security people.
When I was running for president, I traveled by myself and I flew commercial. And then I got to be, you know, covered by Secret Service. And I had staff. And so, it was actually cheaper to fly charter than it was to put all those people on an airplane and, by the way, a lot more efficient with my time. So --
BURNETT: But they are not making that argument. They're acknowledging this costs a lot of money. SANTORUM: Well, I think they are wrong in not making that argument. I mean, this is defending, not defending the defensible. And the reality is, I don't know what the circumstances were. Maybe they weren't defensible. But sometimes, you have a meetings here and you have a meeting here and the only way to get there and to do the things you need to do is actually get a charter aircraft and do it.
And again, he has a budget. No one is suggesting he's going to exceed his travel budget. If he is, that's a problem. If he's not, then what's the big deal?
BURNETT: I don't know, I will say this, though, John, when I have -- if we have a travel budget and you don't need to travel, you don't just spend the money on a private jet because you have the budget. You return the money back.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Especially if it's American taxpayer's money, especially if your whole deal in Congress has been railing about fiscal responsibility and profligate spending by people in the government, particularly when they're Democrats.
Look, "Politico's" reporting that it's $1 million since May, OK? I'm going to guess that's exceeded.
BURNETT: That's private jets and --
AVLON: And military aircraft, correct.
BURNETT: Just to be clear, yes.
AVLON: But, you know, I'm going to guess that's exceeding any travel budget. And to the senator's point, you know, you do not need to travel private between Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. You just don't. You know, it's actually easier and cheaper to go Amtrak or train. And that's the whole point here.
If you have the advice of fiscal responsibilities, they got, the situational ethics that washes over our political commentary and the attitudes of people in Congress when they are in power versus an opposition, that what stinks to high hell. And it's right to call them out.
SANTORUM: Where are your situational ethics when Nancy Pelosi was doing it? Look --
SELLERS: That's not true. That's not true.
SANTORUM: Why did you call for her to resign? Did you call, ask for her to resign?
AVLON: I'm not actually calling for Tom Price to resign. I'm talking hypocrisy in politics. In the case of Nancy Pelosi, let be accurate about what that was, she was using the exact same private jet that Dennis Hastert did when he was speaker of house. And the sergeant at arms asked for a larger jet because she lived in California and there were refueling issues. So, it's not parallel at all. So, don't reach for us.
SANTORUM: She's using private jet. That's the point.
SELLERS: No, she's not.
SANTORUM: She could have used (INAUDIBLE) jets to go back and forth to California.
BURNETT: I don't actually think that we have to argue about Nancy Pelosi and what she did or didn't do, because we actually have Tom Price saying what he thought about Nancy Pelosi at the time, which actually brings up what I think is actually the more important thing, which is hypocrisy tonight. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRICE: Don't you fly over our country in your luxury jet and lecture us on what it means to be an American.
Washington does not need to take more from hard working Americans. It needs to start living in its means.
We must constantly asking how we can deploy the precious resources that we have in people and in treasure to the most efficient and effective use on the behalf of the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Senator, that sounds horrifically hypocritical.
SANTORUM: If the issue is Tom Price is routinely using private jets and he doesn't fly commercial and he uses it all the time, I think you've got a story here. If it is on occasion he uses it because of the circumstances of his schedule and the amount of people traveling with him, there's a little more nuance to this story than, OK, he's taking 13 trips. If they are not defending it, well, that's problem.
But for perspective, as someone who is in this position, sometimes it's actually more cost effective for a variety of reasons to take a charter aircraft than pile a bunch of people on an airplane or to disrupt your schedule to the point you can't do your job. And it's a balancing act. All I'm saying is, there's a little nuance here and you are just painting it with a broad brush which I don't think is fair.
BURNETT: Bakari, I want to just, there's some news here crossing right now. A source in touch with staff at the Department of Health and Human Services is saying it's a witch hunt right now in the department going on for leakers. They are hiring lawyers at their own expense, saying that Trump officials is setting all kinds of traps, basically giving information to people and seeing what leaks out so they could figure out what -- you know, who is doing it to figure out who's leaking all this information about Price.
What's your reaction to that?
SELLERS: I mean, the problem is, is not the leaker. I mean, the problem is the actual act and to watch Senator Santorum bend himself in this pretzel, it's just -- it's almost comical, because the fact is, how many times did we have a story like this about any of the secretaries in the Obama administration?
[19:40:13] Zero. Because I was actually at the airport one day when the U.N. ambassador, when the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, was actually getting on a commercial airplane. I saw Tom Perez fly in a middle seat one time on a commercial airplane.
And to bring up Nancy Pelosi, the reason that she was flying on the Air Force plane was because the speaker of the House started flying for security reasons after 9/11. None of those things make sense.
And even when you play his clips, when you talk about these people who are fiscal conservatives, when they are hawks and all they do is use taxpayer dollars, I mean, if DNC was smart, they would run a 30-second repeatedly on FOX News showing the hypocrisy of the Republican Party starting with Tom Price, period.
BURNETT: All right. We are going to hit pause there. Thank you all three very much tonight.
And next, growing frustration with Twitter, executives finally revealing some of the Russian attempts to influence the election. Did the Russians act alone?
And all eyes on the NFL. Tonight, a star quarterback asking fans to link arms during the national anthem. It's less than an hour away. How will fans respond in that?
[19:45:26] BURNETT: Breaking news: the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee slamming Twitter after representatives from Twitter went to Capitol Hill to testify in the Russian investigation. Twitter told Congress they found about 200 Russia linked accounts that they say tried to interfere in the American election.
Senator Mark Warner was not satisfied with Twitter's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Presentation that the Twitter team made to the Senate Intel staff today was deeply disappointing. Their response was, frankly, inadequate on almost every level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Deeply disappointing, inadequate on every level.
Manu Raju was OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.
Manu, Senator Warner did not mince words and he is one that can be diplomatic when he wants to be. He was mad.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: No question about it. And the reason why he did not like the way that they went through this review and what Twitter said they did was that there were 450 accounts that actually Facebook had identified that had some links to Russian actors and Russian troll farms. And of those 450 Russian accounts, 22 were linked to Twitter accounts, corresponding Twitter accounts. And of those 22 accounts, Twitter looked a little bit deeper and found that there were roughly 200 or so that were tied to those 22 accounts.
And they said they suspended some of them and they got rid of some other ones. In addition, they said that RT, that Russian-backed network spent some several hundred dollars in ads during the campaign season. Now, that, according to Senator Warner, is just simply not enough. He said it's not a fulsome review and he's deeply disappointed.
And when I asked him, are you prepared to subpoena the company for more information, he did not rule that out. He wants to hear from them in a public hearing next month. Expect that to get feisty, Erin.
BURNETT: So, Manu, you know, Senator Warner said this is the tip of the iceberg when it even started that there were a few of these Russian ads on Facebook. All right? It's getting bigger and it could be bigger within Facebook, we just don't know. What is the response from Twitter to that?
RAJU: Well, so far, they are saying that they have been cooperative with the committee. They say they are trying to be as transparent as possible. They say that they did conduct a review that they say is continuing will be ongoing. The question is whether or not that's going to be enough, whether or not that's going to satisfy the Republicans on the panel, we have not heard from yet since the staff briefing that occurred this afternoon.
The Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Erin, telling me up until to this point, the social media platforms have been cooperative. The question is, do they still think that after today, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu.
And next, one of the NFL's biggest stars is asking 81,000 fans to take a stand during the national anthem tonight. Will they listen to Aaron Rodgers' request?
And remembering Hugh Hefner, a pop culture game changer.
[19:50:57] BURNETT: Breaking news, less than hour from tonight's NFL football game. It's between the Packers and the Bears. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers urging fans to join the team in locking arms during the anthem in a sign of unity and love and support of equality.
President Trump, though, keeping up his attacks on players who refused to stand in the anthem, saying he believes that the owners are afraid of their players.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have so many friends that are owners. And they're in a box. I mean, I've spoken to a couple of them. They say, we are in a situation where we have to do something. I think they're afraid of their players, you want to know the truth, and I think it's disgraceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Ryan Young is OUTFRONT at Lambeau Field. And, Ryan, what are the fans telling you? Obviously, they're all coming in. This is a big statement they've been asked to make. I guess you can link arms, and you could kneel or stand, or -- we'll see. Are they going to do it?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely. Look, there's a lot of energy here. You see the fans are really excited about this game. Of course, the big conversation, though, is they're about what has been going on all week.
Look, this crowd is not very diverse but they're diverse in ideas and all day long, we've been hearing over and over again how they wanted us to return back to football but more people know about these issues now than they ever had before. And, in fact, we talk to one soldier who explained to us, now, he gets why the players are doing what they're doing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT BRESKA, FAN: I'm going to always have my hand over my heart for the flag. It's just the way I am. I don't disagree wholeheartedly with what they're doing. I do think it's very important, but as veteran, I just won't change what my approach is to the game.
IKE STRASSER, FAN: I'm not here to protest, I'm here to watch a football game. I think we should just eliminate the national anthem. Leave players in the stadium and leave them into the locker rooms and let's get to football. That's what we're here for.
JAIRUS HARPER, FAN: I think it's great idea and I plan to do it to show unity and also to support the troops as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Erin, so you can feel some of this year. Look, this memorial here is for soldiers served in several different wars. So, we talked to people who said, look, they get the idea that players want to do what they want to do, but they want to make sure that the combination happen together, where they can have some kind of conversation while at the same time respecting the flag.
But I will say, whatever this debate has done, it's really changed opinions of lot of people. We talk to one guy today who said he didn't realize it was this bad in the country and he didn't understand why people were kneeling but now he gets it and he says maybe this debate is actually helping change a few things.
So, an interesting conversation. We'll have to see what happens on the inside. It is almost about 60/40 split, with most people saying they're going to join arms tonight.
BURNETT: All right. Well, we're all going to be watching to see what happens where you are. Thanks so much, Ryan.
BURNETT: And next, farewell to an innovator. Jeanne Moos on the death of Hugh Hefner.
[19:57:29] BURNETT: Tonight, Hugh Hefner is being recommended more than six decades after Hefner when he was only 27 years old launched what was a controversial new magazine.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite what he said on "The Simpsons" --
BART SIMPSON: I can't call you Hef, could I?
CARTOON CHARACTER: No.
MOOS: -- he liked being called Hef.
HUGH HEFNER, PLAYBOY FOUNDER: Good evening. I'm Hugh Hefner, your host.
MOOS: Hef the hep cat from the '50s and '60s, who played "Playboy After Dark", before dark and in any light. As someone tweeted, the man wore a robe for a living, every morning was happy hour.
HEFNER: I do.
MOOS: He married three times. His last wife was 60 years younger than Hef. When he turned 80, he was still relevant enough to be serenaded by Paris Hilton.
After making his name founding "Playboy", he appeared as mystery guest on "What's My Line?"
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you part of the sports world?
MOOS: Does sex qualify as sport?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: What's your definition of obscenity?
HEFNER: Racism, war, bigotry, but sex itself, no. What a sad and cold world this would be if we weren't sexual beings.
MOOS (on camera): But even in death, not everyone was feeling warm and fuzzy towards Hef.
The president of the gay rights organization GLAAD tweeted: Hefner was not a visionary. He was a misogynist.
But even if unpopular with some, he was a pop culture icon.
HEFNER: You wanted something?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, thank you.
MOOS: From "Laverne and Shirley", to a Nelly-Justin Timberlake rap video.
And this icon will rest in peace next to another, Marilyn Monroe. Hefner purchased the crypt next to hers. After all, she was his very first "Playboy" cover.
All these bunnies later, Hefner's tale is larger than life. He became not so much a sex symbol as a symbol of sex.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drinking with three blondes, I guess that's just a regular day for you.
HEFNER: A slow one, yes.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And thanks so much to all of you for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. You just need to go to CNN Go. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.
"AC360" with Anderson Cooper begins right now.