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Flake Rips Trump On Senate Floor: "I Will Not Be Complicit"; WH Won't Admit Trump Lied About Senator Corker; Corker Rips Trump: "Absolutely Not" A Role Model; Source: Clinton Campaign Paid for Research Behind Trump Dossier; U.S. Team in Niger Was Collecting Intel on Terror Leader; Heroin Addicts Shoot Up in "Safe" Bathrooms. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired October 24, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OutFront next, the breaking news. A top GOP senator says enough to President Trump. Jeff Flake ripping into the president, calling him reckless, outrageous and undignified. Will more GOP follow?

Plus, more breaking news this hour. The Washington Post reporting the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for the research that led to the now famous, infamous perhaps, Trump dossier.

And the second part of our series, Killing America: Inside the Opioid Epidemic, should there be a safe place for addicts to shoot up? Dr. Sanjay Gupta on this controversial question tonight.

Let's go OutFront.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront this evening, heaven help us. Those are the words of a Republican senator taking on President Trump in a remarkable 17-minute speech from the floor of the Senate. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona passionately calling out the president for being a danger to American democracy.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused in countenance as telling that like it is, when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified. And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy.


BURNETT: Flake challenged members of his own party, quoting Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in a call to conscience, demanding that they give up, quote, blind loyalty, to in his words, a mercurial president.


FLAKE: I'm aware that there's a segment of my party that believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect. The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined, and as the alliances and agreements that insure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters. The notion that we should say or do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is a historic, and I believe profoundly misguided.


BURNETT: Flake's passionate speech coming as he announced he wouldn't run for re-election to the Senate. Of course Flake has long been critical of Trump, never before, though, in a moment like this, Trump has fired back. Before backing flake's potential primary opponent, here's one tweet. This is the president.

"Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against flake Jeff Flake who is weak, all caps, on borders, crime, and a non-factor in the senate. He's toxic!"

And tonight, the White House disregarded flake's big moment as big words coming from a guy who was about to lose his seat anyway.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that based on previous statements and certainly based on the lack of support that he has from the people of Arizona, it's probably a good move.


BURNETT: Sara Murray is OutFront at the White House to begin our coverage. And Sara, the president now reacting to Senator Flake's speech?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We are told that the president is in high spirits tonight about the news that Jeff Flake will not be seeking re-election in 2018. Obviously, there's no love lost between these two men. They've traded barbs in the past, and the president has not held back on openly criticizing the Arizona senator as you saw there. So he is happy to see him leave Washington.

Now, the one caveat to all of this is that you have another very vocal Trump critic. He's going to be around in Washington for at least another year, and this is something that Trump is aware of. You now have Bob Corker, you now have Jeff Flake. Unencumbered by the hassle of re-election, free to speak out about the president any time they feel like it at a time when President Trump still needs to pass some significant legislative accomplishments and of course, in 2020 will be facing his own re-election fight.

But I am told the White House does feel confident about one thing, they think they can keep Jeff Flake's seat in the Republican column when it does come up in 2018 obviously. So that's going to set off its own scramble in Arizona.

BURNETT: Certainly will. All right, thank you very much, Sara, with that reporting tonight.

And OutFront now, David Chalian, our political director, Gloria Borger, chief political analyst, and Tim Naftali, presidential historian.

Gloria, you've covered politics for a long time. Senator Flake's speech today from the floor of the Senate, 17 minutes of the utmost seriousness. Have you seen anything like it?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I never have. I was trying to think back whether I heard anything during the Clinton impeachment or read anything about Richard Nixon during his troubles.

BURNETT: Obviously, we have some audio problems with Gloria. As soon as we get it, I'm going to get your mic back. Sorry there, Gloria.

David, let me give you a chance. Have you ever seen anything like this?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I agree with Gloria wholeheartedly, no, I haven't. And when I say that, Erin, it's not that we're seeing something necessarily that is going to have some huge ramification or that somehow we're going to expect other Republicans to sort of open the flood gates and come out and speak out, and maybe President Trump would change his behavior. I don't expect any of that.

[19:05:10] That doesn't make today any less remarkable or for the history books. I just have never seen in one day a senior statesman from the party and Bob Corker start the day by saying that the president really is sort of failing at his presidency and has given up hope he can turn it around. And then in the afternoon, this remarkable speech where Jeff Flake basically makes a moral plea to his colleagues and grabs the Republican Party by the lapels to say, guys, don't put your head in the sand on this. We need to speak out on it.

BURNETT: And on that point, I want to talk about Senator Corker in a moment, but on this point, Tim, Senator Flake used a word reminiscent to some of Nazi Germany. He used to word "complicit" when talking to others in his own party and getting in that more (INAUDIBLE) as David refers to. Here is Senator Flake.


FLAKE: I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret because of the state of our disunion. Regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics. Regret because of the indecency of our discourse. Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership.

Regret for the compromise of our moral authority. And by our, I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.


BURNETT: But it won't. His will. Right? He's taking a stand, but will others get on board?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, let's see, but I think he said something else that is really troubling and important. He used the word "disunion". And the complicit may remind people of European history but disunion ought to remind people of American history.

And what we're seeing here is the disintegration of the Republican Party. That doesn't mean that the party won't -- a party won't continue. The question is what party? Jeff Flake is not a liberal Republican.


NAFTALI: He is not a marginal Republican who would easily flip over to the Democrats. Jeff Flake is a conservative. He's a committed conservative.

If the Republican Party cannot satisfy committed conservative -- conservatives in 2017, what party is it? And if it becomes a Trumpest party, how many other Republicans are going to stand up like Jeff Flake and say, I can't go there?

I'll tell you, John F. Kennedy when he's a senator, he wrote a book called "Profiles in Courage." That's what we saw today.

BURNETT: And which is an interesting point, right, to make that kind of that comparison, the significance.

Gloria, Sarah Sanders responded to Flake by pointing out that he was going to lose his re-election bid as I pointed out. She also added this priceless nugget that I wanted to play for you. Here she is.


SANDERS: I notice that a lot of the language, I didn't think was befitting of the Senate floor.


BURNETT: The irony, Gloria.

BORGER: Yes, of course. And, you know, I wonder what part of his speech it was. Was it the part where he referred to Madison, Roosevelt, or perhaps Abraham Lincoln? What was inappropriate about a senator speaking from his heart on the Senate floor, addressing his colleagues when he believes that they're doing something wrong? And addressing, in fact, his president, with whom he votes most of the time, saying that he believes the behavior is destructive.

I think that's what the well of the Senate is actually for. And it's a place where members who have been dually elected can speak to the country. And that's why there are cameras there right now. So I would argue that that is exactly the purpose of the United States Senate. BURNETT: Yes, I mean, pretty incredible to say, the language isn't befitting of the Senate floor because I suppose calling people whatever, we can all go through the litany of names which is entirely inappropriate by the president of the United States.

CHALIAN: Little Bob Corker.

BURNETT: So, now you bring up Bob Corker, David. Let me get to something today because obviously, Flake wasn't the only GOP senator to take a stand against the president. Obviously Corker also did in a different way. But here he is.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R) TENNESSEE: I don't know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and debases our country in the way that he does, but he does.


BURNETT: So David, will more Republicans speak out now?

CHALIAN: I don't know. We'll see. Looking in the responses to Senator Flake's speech, to what Senator Corker said earlier today, Speaker Paul Ryan tried to just chalk this up as a Twitter spat between Corker and the president. Not actually addressing the unbelievable claims and indictment of Trump's character that Corker was making while walking the halls of Congress there.

And after Senator Flake's speech, both McConnell and Ryan praised Flake for being the committed conservative that Tim talks about that he is, but there was no indication that they were actually, you know, listening to his words or acting on them in some way differently.

[19:10:13] BURNETT: I mean, lead me to your point, just playing exchange between reporters and McConnell when they were asked about this whole -- this important moment happening today. I mean, this is shocking, Senator McConnell's response or lack thereof. Here he is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At what point do you have an obligation as a leader of this party to weigh in on these very serious criticisms of the president?


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: What I have an obligation to do is to try to achieve the greatest cohesion I can among 52 Republicans to try to achieve for the American people the agenda that we set out to achieve. And tax reform is what we are about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Mr. Leader, what is driving the day today? Think about it. What is driving the news today? The president's feud with Senator Corker. He's feuded with you. I'll give you the whole list if you would like. Senators McCain, Flake, Heller, you know, and --

MCCONNELL: Look, I don't know how many times I have to say the same thing. There's a lot of noise out there --



BORGER: Well -- and don't forget that the president had many ovations when he met with Republicans behind closed doors at their lunch today.


BORGER: And -- but McConnell himself seemed quite emotional on the floor of the Senate after he heard Flake. He likes Flake. It's clear he believes that he's a committed conservative. But he is one of those Republicans, I believe, that Flake was talking about when he said, you know, at what point are you going to learn that there isn't going to be any pivot here, and that there is something larger than even policy that we are talking about the values of our country and the values of the presidency.

And so, you know, we all understand that Mitch McConnell is in a tough place. But there, it's like living in two different worlds in the Republican Party right now. The president gets applause, and Corker and Flake are out there saying that he is unstable and venal and immature and reckless and undignified and even dangerous.

CHALIAN: And Erin, I'll just add, we know from our most recent polling that in those two worlds Gloria is talking about, Republican voters are with the president. They trust him to handle the most important issues of the day 2-1 over trusting Republicans in Congress.

NAFTALI: And until that changes, I don't expect much change from congressional Republicans.

BORGER: That's right.

BURNETT: Right. They will follow, not lead. Follow the lead of the voter which they argue is their job.

NAFTALI: The president's popularity is at 36 percent, as low as it was for Nixon a year after Watergate. So his popularity in the country is low, but among Republicans, it's high. And that's the problem for congressional Republicans.

BURNETT: And thanks to you all.

And next, not coming clean. The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders will not admit that the president lied about Senator Bob Corker because that's what it is. Why is the truth so hard for team Trump?

Plus, breaking news. The Washington Post with a bombshell report tonight, charging that the Clinton campaign funded research into that now infamous dossier alleging Trump's connections to Russia. In fact, a collusion in the dossier.

And Dr. Sanjay Gupta's OutFront into the opioid crisis. One addict's mother pleads for a safe place for her son to shoot up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least there I know that people are watching over him, and if he does overdose, he's not going to die.



[19:17:17] BURNETT: Breaking news, doubling down on a lie, the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisting the president was right when he accused Senator Bob Corker of helping President Obama get the Iran nuclear deal done. Of course, this is blatantly false, but the White House doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good lie.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why are the White House and the president specifically continue to say that Senator Bob Corker helped President Obama on the Iran deal when the facts clearly say that's not true?

SANDERS: Actually, the facts do say that it's true. It was Senator Corker who wrote the INARA legislation that legitimized the Iran nuclear deal.

ZELENY: But he didn't vote for it.

SANDERS: But he allowed it to take place.

ZELENY: If you look through --

SANDERS: Now as I said many times before, I wouldn't use the Washington Post as my source, Jeff. You should know better than that. Jeff --

ZELENY: The White House clearly is not telling the truth on this.

Actually --

ZELENY: Why does the president continue to say he helped President Obama with it?

SANDERS: Because he did.

ZELENY: Actually he voted against it.


BURNETT: By the way, I venture to say they're going to be thrilled to say to Washington Post with its report on the dossier. We'll get to that in a moment but Kaitlan Collins is OutFront at the White House. And Kaitlan, on this issue, Senator Bob Corker, the Iran deal, what are the facts?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: You know, that's exactly right. Jeff Zeleny, my colleague, right there in the briefing room and he was pushing back on the idea that Bob Corker -- that he was in favor of this deal. This is simply not true. He was actually a very fervent critic of this deal. He spoke out against it frequently.

And that's a label of criticism that we've often seen the White House and more specifically the president attach to Bob Corker, saying that he is largely responsible for this deal. But that's actually not true. Bob corker opposed this, and he was actually the one who was responsible for that legislation that required the president to re- certify this deal every 90 days, and put in place this process where if the president chose to decertify it, it had to go back to Congress.

And there's proof of this in an op-ed in the Washington Post, Bob Corker wrote, "For the administration to say there is no other deal than this one is an effort to negate Congress' important role and responsibility. Congress should reject this deal and send it back to the president."

So you can see right there, but this is something that the White House, this current White House has used time and time again to criticize Bob Corker.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Kaitlan, laying out the facts there.

So now, let's go to former Republican Congressman Jack Kingston who was a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and a former counselor to President Bill Clinton Paul Begala.

Paul, look, this isn't actually about the Iran deal. The facts are the facts on that. Kaitlan just laid them out very well. Why is it so hard for President Trump and this White House to tell the truth?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, we all human beings lie, I frankly think. Jack, with all respect, I love you, but politicians probably lie more than normal people.

[19:20:05] What's different about these folks is that this White House, as you said in introducing the story, they double down. When -- normally, when a politician gets caught in a lie, you know, he or she, they recant or at least they stop saying it. They stop repeating it, for goodness sake's. But, you know, President Reagan famously said he didn't trade arms for hostages. He later recanted and apologized, right?

President Clinton falsely said he denied having an affair. He apologized and wept and spent months apologizing to the country. This guy, there's three (INAUDIBLE) I think, there's puffery, very big hands (INAUDIBLE) my crowd was the large in the inaugural history. There's promises, I'll make Mexico pay for the wall. And then there's just flat fabrications saying things that are factually false, like in this case that somehow Senator Corker voted against the Iran deal and was for the deal. He commits all three of those lies, but what's amazing is he keeps doubling down. Truth just does not matter to him. He is not at all (INAUDIBLE) when someone says, look, that's at odds with the facts. He never acknowledge as the facts.

BURNETT: Congressman Kingston, what is the issue here? I mean, this is a factual case, OK? He's wrong, and yet they're doubling down. Why? They think that that wins them some fans?

JACK STRONGER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, 2016 TRUMP CAMPAIGN: You know, I think that they felt that Senator Corker could be a little stronger in opposition to it, that he was involved with INARA legislation which allowed the president to lift the sanctions in Iran without a full Senate vote on it. And so, you know, that's where they're heading with that.

But I think that the difference between what's going on with Senator Corker and the president, I think there's a deep division between the two men that has kind of devolved into a spitting contest, if you will. And, you know, I don't think the Republican Party is necessarily winning from it. But i will say this. I have spoken to three members of the Tennessee deligation, and they said that their phone calls are running 4-1 in favor of President Trump on the Trump versus Corker, and he's still enormously popular in our base.

And I think it's because, as Paul said, politicians can stray from the truth, but are they getting the job done for me? Are they going to cut my taxes, are they going to lower my healthcare premiums, are they going to defend America against terrorism? If they're doing that, I think the base is willing to forgive some of these day-to-day skirmishes.

BURNETT: So, to your point about how this is being received by the base, let me just play when Senator Corker was asked today by our Manu Raju whether the president was a liar, an outright question. Here is how he answer.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Is the president of the United States a liar?

CORKER: The president has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.


BURNETT: I think everyone on this screen right now would acknowledge that to be true. On what level you want to acknowledge that in your heart of hearts, I think everyone would acknowledge that to be true. But I think the point that the congressman just raised is a significant one, Paul, which is that 4-1, those calls are running in favor of the president.

BEGALA: Right. But he is the Liberace of lying. I think that's why he gets away with it. He's so flamboyant and he's so confident in repeating these lies that he's done something actually also very, very clever.

In the eyes of a lot of his voters, he's redefined what honesty is. Honestly no longer for a lot of Americans is no longer fidelity to facts because facts have a liberal bias. Honesty in Trump land for a lot of his voters is being willing to say uncomfortable and politically incorrect truths.

Like the people in Puerto Rico are lazy and they should be responsible for their own cleanup. Right. People like me hear that and think it's racist. A lot of people voted for Trump would say, wow, he's a truth teller because he says bigoted things.

KINGSTON: Well, Paul, I think I don't think he's a bigot at all, but I think that he is taking on the establishment, and it's kind of a messy job, but I think people back home are saying look at the U.S. Senate. Look what they have delivered for me in these nine months in the majority with the White House and the House, and there's not much to brag on it.

But in contrast, President Trump has fought for better trade agreements on his own. He's taken on ISIS, somewhat on his own. I'm not going to say -- you know, I mean, he's led the way.

He stuck in the fight. He's appointed a very conservative judge to the Supreme Court. He's trying to get the wall built. He's taking on tax reform. He's tried his best on repeal and replace.

The U.S. House and Senate have not delivered on those things, and I think people are saying, you know, the old expression -- to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.

BURNETT: I mean, is he hoping that everything fails because it creates a bogeyman and a convenient bad guy that he can slam all the time. And he emerges from the ashes, whether the ashes are healthcare or tax reform? He doesn't care, right? He's emerging as the phoenix.

KINGSTON: But, Erin, actually, I would say he's had a very successful record. I mean, look at the stock market, 23,000 points, $5 trillion in new wealth have been created since January under this president. Something like 1.7 new jobs since he is been president, the lowest unemployment level in 16 years since he's been president.

[19:25:02] And I think our stature abroad has increased. He's being very tough on North Korea and the Middle east And showing real leadership. I think his speech to Warsaw is one that people is going to be studying in decades from now.

BURNETT: All right.

KINGSTON: So, you know, in comparison to the U.S. Senate, the president is on a roll right now. You know, my good friend Jeff Flake, who I had the honor of playing behind third base on the congressional baseball team, his numbers were upside down. And I think his opportunity to be re-elected was -- he had like a 16 percent approval rating. And sometimes when you know you can't win, either in the Republican primary or in a general election, you go out guns blazing.

BURNETT: Are you saying what he said is a lie today?

BEGALA: It's proof that you can't fool some of the people all of the time. President Lincoln was right, he's a good Republican president. Some but not all of the people.

And I think Senator Flake made a point today in his speech that there's going to be a recompense that reality does matter. And for all of -- Jack is very helpful, the president hasn't passed and signed any important legislation. He did put Justice Gorsuch on the Supreme Court which conservatives love, but that's because of Mitch McConnell, who he hates, who Trump hates.

The only reason Justice Gorsuch is on there is because for almost a year, Mitch McConnell refused to have hearings for President Obama's nominee for that seat. So that's not really a Trump accomplishment. He did deliver, I give him full credit for that, but he hasn't passed anything.

The stock market is growing and jobs are growing, actually the more sluggish pace than they were last year, but that's not because of policy he's enacted. He hasn't signed anything except for a bunch of executive orders.

KINGSTON: But Paul, there again, it goes back to the Capitol Hill. It doesn't go back to the White House. The fact he has repealed regulations. He's undone just last week on healthcare across state lines selling and association health plan and short-term policies to compete with the exchanges. Those are all solid accomplishments but he's done it without --

BURNETT: Look, he could have got healthcare done if he decided not to have a personal feud with John McCain. Just an example, right? Personal relationships can make a huge difference here. It's easy to blame but, all right, thank you both very much. We'll hit pause for now.

Next, some major breaking news this hour. CNN is just learning that the Clinton campaign and the DNC funded research for the infamous Trump Russia dossier. It is a huge development this evening.

And U.S. soldiers ambushed in Niger say they think local villagers purposely stalled them for the deadly attack. Was it a set-up?


[19:30:46] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news: CNN learning tonight that Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund the research that led to the controversial and frankly salacious and disgusting in some of its allegations dossier that detailed alleged Russian efforts to help Donald Trump's presidential campaign. "The Washington Post" was first to report this.

OUTFRONT, one of the reporters who just broke the story, Adam Entous with "The Washington Post."

Adam, good to have you back. So, let's just start with the bottom line here. Clinton, the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC -- what exactly did they do?

ADAM ENTOUS, NATIONAL SECURITY & INTELLIGENCE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I mean, they have a lawyer. And that lawyer went about looking to hire research firms. One of the firms that they hired was this company in Washington here called Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS in turn subcontracted out to Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer, to help get information about Trump's relationships in Russia. Those reports that Chris Steele produced were then passed back to the lawyer who was representing the Clinton campaign.

What we don't really know is how that information was then relayed to the campaign. Our understanding from talking to people who were close to the matter is that those actual Steele reports were not directly handed to the campaign. So we don't really quite understand how the information was passed, who got the information.


ENTOUS: And you know, obviously, we want to know what they did with that information after they received it.

BURNETT: Right. Right. And these are -- those are crucial questions. Now, as for the dossier itself, I just want to remind our viewers. Look, it's about 30 pages or something. It's obviously widely available out there.

We don't talk about it because it hasn't been verified, but we have confirmed that some of the conversations as reported in this dossier between foreign nationals did occur. So, some things in it appear to be true. Others are completely uncorroborated at this.

What you're saying, Adam, is that it's unclear whether it was finished and packaged as we now can see it and handed to the Clinton campaign or not, right?

ENTOUS: Well, I think the answer to that is it was not.


ENTOUS: So these reports were being produced on a regular basis, every few weeks, every few months. He would prepare -- Chris Steele would prepare a new report, which he would give to his -- the people who were paying him, Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS would then want to tell the lawyer for the Clinton campaign, who he's representing, what information was being collected. And then that information was then being given to the campaign.

The way that it was being given is what we really don't understand. How high up in the campaign did that information go, we don't really know. But like you said, the point is, is that much of what Steele said or at least some of what Steele said is not that different from what the intelligence community later discloses in January, which was an effort by, you know, alleging that the Russians were working to try to help Trump. That is one of the main findings of Steele's investigation.

So even though, yes, we are revealing here that the Clinton campaign's money and the DNC's money was being used, at least in part, to fund this investigation by Chris Steele, that doesn't mean that what he produced was not accurate --


ENTOUS: -- was not inaccurate or, you know, some of the information was clearly accurate and is born out by what the intelligence community later disclosed.

BURNETT: Right, which is obviously a crucial point. Now, when you say the money, do you have any idea how much money it was?

ENTOUS: No, the people we talked to wouldn't tell us. They told us that the amount of money paid to Fusion GPS was shared between the campaign and the DNC. But we don't know what the dollar figures are. And we don't know exactly how that was broken down between the two organizations.

BURNETT: So, Adam, I want -- you know, the point that you're making here, right, and whatever word you want to use for this, whether it was intelligence or opposition research, right, whoever is paying for it, they -- Christopher Steele, this foreign intelligence agent, went out and got this information, some of which was true, some of which is uncorroborated. You're also reporting, though, that Fusion GPS, this firm that had been doing research on Trump, had already been doing research, opposition research on Trump during the Republican primaries.



[19:35:00] Who was paying for it, was it Ted Cruz?

ENTOUS: No, we don't know. We're not sure who the Republican client was. When Fusion GPS was hired by that client, they did not know that Russia was going to be the main focus.

At that point, they were hired, you know, Trump was a relatively unknown in Washington. You know, he wasn't disclosing his tax returns. You know, he was -- there really wasn't a lot of information out there about his business ties and frankly, his foreign relationships.

So, they were hired along with other firms to do some research. Initially, they were hired by a Republican client who remains secret, has not been disclosed. In March of 2016, according to the law firm for the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS approaches the lawyer representing the campaign and offers to basically have the Democrats continue funding the research that they were already doing on behalf of the Republican client. Right.

BURNETT: Now, did they at that time, Adam -- I want to bring in David Chalian to this conversation, our political director. But at that time, did the Clinton campaign or the DNC say, we want this to focus on Russia? Or did that naturally happen?

ENTOUS: Based on the information that I have, I have no evidence to support what you just said. I mean, I think, you know, I'm not exactly sure.

I think Steele is brought on board, becomes a subcontractor to Fusion GPS after the DNC and the Clinton campaign hire Fusion GPS through this lawyer. So, it's not clear to me at what point Fusion GPS' investigation through Chris Steele focuses narrowly, most narrowly on Russia. But keep in mind that Fusion GPS was investigating outside of what Chris Steele was doing a lot of other things related to Trump, and also providing that through the lawyer, again, to the Clinton campaign and to the DNC. So, it wasn't just Russia-related material.

BURNETT: So, David Chalian, what's your reaction to this?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it is not good news for the DNC and the Clinton campaign to be named and attached to the funding of something that you described in part has born out and in part included a lot of uncorroborated stuff to date.

That being said, we had previously reported, right, that this oppo research process began on the Republican side and then Democrats took over funding this opposition research operation. So, who would those Democrats be if not the DNC and Clinton campaign?


CHALIAN: I think we would expect them to be them come the spring of 2016, the people funding opposition research.

As you know, Erin, oppo research is a staple of presidential campaigns of all kinds of campaigns. In fact, most candidates begin their campaigns by hiring such a firm to do it on themselves and find out all the potential holes that they may have, vulnerabilities that they may have that an opponent might come at them with.

But obviously, this particular document, as Adam was saying, because there is a significant portion of it that the U.S. intelligence communities and news organizations reportings have proven true, it raises obviously big concerns, it is at the heart of the Mueller investigation, the Hill investigations. And having Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC attached to it is certainly going to give Trump supporters a talking point to try to simply add to the mix that this is political theater and this will give them an opportunity to say that.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. Appreciate it.

And next, stunning new details about the Niger ambush in which four American soldiers were killed. And Dr. Sanjay Gupta's OUTFRONT investigation into America's opioid crisis. Tonight, a controversial way that they're trying to stop overdoses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've reversed 25 overdoses for myself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-five, yes.



[19:41:53] BURNETT: New tonight, we're learning what the U.S. Army team was doing in Niger when it was ambushed, leaving four Americans dead. Defense officials telling CNN the unit was gathering intelligence on a top terrorist who had been operating in the area, that the unit was not under orders to conduct a kill or capture mission on the leader, it was reconnaissance.

Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT.

And, Jim, you're learning more tonight.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. We're told they were tasked on a mission to gather intelligence on a known ISIS leader in the area. To be clear, as you said, they were not there to kill or capture him, but on return from that mission, they stopped in another village, it is believed, we're told by a U.S. defense official, that while they were in that village, that someone there tipped off their presence to ISIS. ISIS then came and they set up an elaborate ambush with heavy machine guns, mortars, RPGs. That's when they attacked U.S. forces there, of course, leading to those four deaths.

I should note as well, while the larger unit had had dozens of patrols in that same area, this particular Green Berets team had only been there on one or two missions before, one or two patrols before, so not as experienced as the larger unit. Listen, a lot of questions still to be answered and the military is still looking into, for instance, the question as to why La David Johnson was found a mile away from others, some 48 hours later.

BURNETT: All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.

OUTFRONT now, I want to go to the former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton.

Colonel, thank you for being with me.

So, I mean, you heard from Jim, this is one of team's first missions, first or second patrol. Earlier, we were told it was the 29th. It was the 29th time that U.S. soldiers had done this patrol, but only the first or second for this particular group.

Should the Pentagon have done anything different in terms of giving them support?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): I think so. Now, of course, we don't know everything at the moment. We have still to see what the investigative report actually says, and that's going to take a while, but it really sounds at this early stage, Erin, that what you're seeing here is a new unit, a new group of people first getting to know each other, getting to work in a very austere environment.

They are in an area that is close to the border with Mali. That area apparently did have terrorist activity. The fact that they didn't have intelligence overwatch over this mission is very concerning to me. And that is something that I think will need to be looked at very strongly.

BURNETT: And, obviously, the investigation needs to run its course and be done. It does seem, though, when you look at this, that there are some very basic things that they don't know that as a lay person, you would think they would. Were they wearing body armor? What was the actual mission as it changed?

It was not 30 minutes until the French jets came. It was two hours until the French jets came. It was not their 29th mission. It was their first or second. A lot of these things are very, very basic.

LEIGHTON: There are some significant discrepancies obviously in the first narrative versus the second narrative. Some of it can be excused to the extent that first reports are also erroneous.


LEIGHTON: But these kinds of discrepancies are really not the right kinds of discrepancies. You want to have a much more rigid timeline you present to the American public.

[19:45:03] You want to have a very clear understanding, not only of what happened with these people, but what were they doing at that particular moment in time.

And some of that, of course, will have to await the results of a more thorough look at this. But the real answer to this, I think, is we need not only to know exactly what happened, but also make sure that erroneous information is stopped before it ever gets out to the public.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Colonel. Thank you. Appreciate it.

And next, combating the deadly opioid crisis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta's OUTFRONT investigation into an extremely controversial idea. It could save lives, but is it worth the cost?

And Trump tweets Liddle Bob Corker. Corker alerts the day care staff. Jeanne Moos referees the school yard fight that's gone viral. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, the opioid crisis front and center in President Trump's conversations with GOP senators at lunch. This as he prepares to declare a national opioid emergency.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT for the second part of our series "Killing America: Inside the Opioid Epidemic".


DONNA PRINCE, MOTHER OF A HEROIN ADDICT: It's a living hell. OK. You worry day and night. You try to do other things, but it's always in the back of your mind. You go to bed at night, I say good-bye, Taylor, and I keep him in my prayers. And just hope that I'm going to hear from him.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The story has become a common one. Donna Prince's son Taylor is addicted to heroin. Right now, she's sick with worry because she hasn't seen him in six weeks.

[19:50:00] (on camera): You worry about that?

PRINCE: All the time.

GUPTA: About him dying?


GUPTA: For the last six weeks, I mean --

PRINCE: No, for 20 years.

GUPTA: For 20 years.

PRINCE: Twenty years, my son has been a heroin addict.

GUPTA (voice-over): Donna tells us there's a good chance Taylor is here, at the Corner Project in Washington Heights. It's a needle exchange. But also has this -- one of the most controversial bathrooms in the country. A place where people like Taylor come to use drugs, but are also monitored and can be saved with a medication called Naloxone or Narcan, which can reverse an overdose.

(on camera): When Taylor first told you about the bathroom, what were your first thoughts when you heard about that?

PRINCE: He's going to do it whether he wants to or not. Whether he's going to do it under the bridge where they go or whether he's going to go in my bathroom and do it. At least there, I know that people are watching over him and if he does overdose, he's not going to die because they're going to be able to save him.

LIZ EVANS, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON HEIGHTS CORNER PROJECT: I think there is an acknowledge generally that drug users are using bathrooms all over the place and people are dying in those bathrooms. And so, there's an acknowledgement that as the syringe exchange provider, we have a moral obligation to make sure that people don't die in our building.

GUPTA (voice-over): Liz Evans directs the Corner Project. She moved here from Vancouver, Canada, where she helped found Insite, the home of the only legal safe injection sites in North America.

Over 14 years, there have been over 3 million visits there and not one single death. The rates of overdose in the surrounding downtown area dropped by 35 percent. And Insite users were 30 percent more likely to get addiction treatments.

But here in the United States, this is a very gray area.

(on camera): How does a place like this exist in the sense of the interaction with the legal world, the law enforcement world?

EVANS: There are policies that exist that the state has provided to encourage access to Narcan, clean services and other suggestions for how bathrooms operate in syringe exchange programs.

GUPTA: Hector Mata manages the Corner Project's bathroom program.

HECTOR MATA, WASHINGTON HEIGHTS CORNER PROJECT: This is all actually our clients will do when they come in. They'll sit down, they'll put all their supplies here to make sure they're preparing the cocaine or what ever substance they're going to inject. There's a cooker with can in there for people to use it to filter the heroin, whatever they're injecting.

GUPTA (on camera): You got an intercom in here so you can talk to somebody, check on them.

MATA: Yes.

GUPTA: You got a timer so you can sort of keep an eye on the timer.

MATA: Yes.

GUPTA (voice-over): What you're seeing is a particularly provocative way of trying to reduce death from heroin overdose. Some see it as condoning drug use but others see it as a logical solution to a big problem. In a year, more people in the United States die from drug overdoses than from guns or car accidents.

MATA: When overdoses are happening in our bathroom, people are not dying. I've reversed 25 overdoses in this bathroom myself.

GUPTA (on camera): Twenty-five?

MATA: Yes.

GUPTA: You reversed 25 overdoses?

MATA: In this bathroom, in this space. GUPTA (voice-over): Three of those times, he saved the life of Taylor


Today, at least Donna knows where Taylor is. And on a day we visit the Corner Project, she finally gets to see her son again.


BURNETT: Sanjay, how is Taylor doing right now since you've spoken to him?

GUPTA: Well, he was arrested, ended up in jail for a period of time. He's expected to get out next week. While in jail, he's been on methadone, getting some treatment for his drug addiction.

Talking to his mother Donna, she says that right now, it's probably one of the safest places for him to be. He's in jail. He's safe. He's getting his methadone treatment.

She's worried, as you heard, Erin, when he gets out again what exactly is going to happen to him. Is he going to end up back at the Corner Project? Somewhere else? It's just a constant state of worry for her.

BURNETT: I mean, when you talk about all the lives that had been saved from overdoses, you're talking about Naloxone, you're talking even about the methadone treatment that he's getting in prison, there are some concerns though that the medications, and as you point out, the spaces like those bathrooms could actually enable and prolong addiction. They kind it perpetuates a cycle.

Do you think that that's a fair worry or not?

GUPTA: You know, Erin we've been talking about the position for so long, we are presenting this series for your show. We said, you know, we want to present some solutions to this because everyone agrees that this is a big problem and there have been very few solutions that are, you know, effective being presented.

It's a provocative one certainly, but you know, you look at that insight that syringe exchange program in Vancouver that had some 3.6 million people visit. They've had 6,000, 7,000 people who overdose, not a single death. So, if your goal is to not have people die from heroin overdose, here's something that can work. How is it going to do towards treating their addiction, treating the problem overall, that it's not probably good at treating that root cause.

But right now, you got people dying in staggering, staggering numbers, more than car accidents, and homicides, all these thing even put together in some cases. So, this is a solution, Erin.

BURNETT: And as you point out, it has been shown that case of insight to have people go to rehabs and cut addiction nearby communities, which is -- I mean, that's what it should be all about.

All right. Sanjay, thank you so much. GUPTA: Yes.

BURNETT: Tomorrow, Sanjay's going to be back, third installment special series on the investigation into the opioid crisis in this country and solutions. Thank you to Sanjay.

And next, Jeanne Moos. And this, a much lighter topic, adult daycare in the nation's capital.


[19:57:57] BURNETT: Tonight, daycare workers and dog catchers everywhere are wondering how that I have been dragged into the midst of a bitter political feud.

Jeanne Moos knows.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump has bragged about using tweets to defeat his enemies.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it.

MOOS: Well, now, the president is being binged back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a shame the White House has become an adult daycare center.

MOOS: With a hashtag created by Republican Senator Bob Corker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: #alertthedaycarestaff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: #alertthedaycarestaff.

MOOS: Hashtag of the year, crowed Trump critics. Best hashtag ever. It unleashed a barrage of baby-centric imagery from the president escaping from daycare to a cartoon outfitting him in dog cones to keep him from tweeting.

Pacifiers were plentiful, including a binky adorned with the presidential seal.

Though Trump supporters told Senator Corker to stick a cork in it with pacifier pictures of their own.

Children also came up in a question the senator was asked about the president.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think he's a role model to children in the United States?


MOOS (on camera): But maybe somebody should have alerted the daycare staff last year when Senator Corker was introducing then-candidate Trump.

CORKER: The reason you love him so much is because he loves you.

MOOS (voice-over): And Trump called Corker.

TRUMP: Great guy. Great person.

MOOS: They're hug was a big stiff and their handshake was a classic Trump grab and yank, sort of like this Twitter feud. "The Daily Show" enabled fans to experience Trump's Bob Corker tweet storm the way it's meant to be read in a child scrawl. They call it make Trump tweets aid again while Seth Meyer imagined him tweeting on a typewriter.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. Just go to CNN Go.

Anderson is next.