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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
W.H.: Senator Franken Has Admitted Wrongdoing, President Has Not; Trump Punts On Roy Moore, But Slams Sen. Franken; Alabama GOP Governor: "No Reason To Disbelieve" Moore Accusers, Still Voting For Moore; Roy Moore Accuser Speaks Out, Says He Groped Her; Kushner Testified He didn't Recall Any Campaign WikiLeaks Contact; Mueller's Team To Meet with Hope Hicks Amid Russia Probe. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 17, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: "OutFront" next, Trump slams Franken for sexual assault. The White House denies this is hypocritical. Wait until you hear the reason. Plus, some Moore accusers speak to "OutFront." She says the incident happened in his law office. Moore was already married at the time. You'll hear her story here.
And breaking news on the Russia investigation, Jared Kushner telling Congress he didn't remember any Trump campaign contacts with WikiLeaks. Senate investigators now say, though, he did receive e- mails about WikiLeaks. Let's go "OutFront."
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight a new standard for sexual assault, the White House tonight issuing a whole new standard for judging those accused of sexual assault or harassment. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders making the argument that those who admit to wrongdoing are guilty, but those who simply deny the allegations and say their accusers are the liars are innocent. Listen to this exchange at today's press briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it's fair to investigate Al Franken, and the allegation made by his accuser, is it also fair to investigate this president and the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by more than a dozen women?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I think that this was covered pretty extensively during the campaign. We addressed that then the American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But how is it different?
SANDERS: I think in one case, specifically, Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't. I think that's a very clear distinction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It's a clear distinction. To put it another way, Sanders is saying, take the President at his word, which is problematic. First of all, on the very issue of his word, according to "The Washington Post" fact checker, the President of the United States has made 1,628 false or misleading claims just since taking office. That's an average of 5.2 a day. However, if you do take him at his word on this issue, well then here is his word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (INAUDIBLE). You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So the same man who said that has absolutely no shame in tweeting this about Al Franken. "The Al Frankenstein picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures two, three, four, five, and six while she sleeps?"
Well, this is a picture Trump is referring to in that tweet. It's unacceptable and it is wrong. But let's be clear. Trump's outrage towards Franken isn't about the picture being either unacceptable or wrong. It's pure politics.
Because putting his own past aside, if President Trump was concerned about what's right when it comes to harassment, then he would have called on Roy Moore to step aside as the Republican leaders of the House and Senate and at least 17 other sitting Republicans already have.
But Moore has followed Trump's playbook of casting doubt on his accusers. So by this new standard, it seems Moore is getting a path. Trump's saving his outrage for Democrats like Franken, Harvey Weinstein and Anthony Weiner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I'm not at all surprised to see it.
I know Anthony Weiner for a long time. I knew before they caught him with that bing, bing, bing, right? And he was a bad guy then. It turned out that he was a really bad guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: There's no argument with that. And these men did ugly and horrific things. But where is the President's outrage on Moore? So far he said next to nothing and the White House is feeling the heat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: To suggest that this White House, and specifically that this President, hasn't weighed in is just inaccurate and wrong. He weighed in. He said if the allegations are true, he should step aside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: To be clear, she's right. Trump has only weighed in to say if the allegations are true, Roy Moore will do the right thing and step aside. That was a week ago tonight. When he promised he'd have more comment when he returned to the country. He has punted every single day since. And his endorsement of Roy Moore still stands.
Ryan Nobles is "OutFront" tonight at the White House. And Ryan, the last thing we heard definitively from the President of the United States about Roy Moore was, Moore will be "a great senator and I'm really happy with that." What does Sanders mean that the president has weighed in?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the spin coming from the White House tonight, Erin, is that the President has weighed in on this issue, there's nothing more to say and they want to leave it in the hands of the voters of Alabama.
In fact, Legislative Director Mark Shore said today and pointed out the fact that the President actually campaigned against Roy Moore during that Senate primary, instead supporting Luther Strange.
But listen to this tweet that the President posted shortly after Roy Moore defeated Luther Strange in that primary. He said, "Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to MAGA," which is the acronym for make America great again.
[19:05:11] And then let's go back to this trip to Asia where the President obviously involved in a lot of important foreign policy decisions. But they were asked, he was asked, specifically, on Air Force One about what he thought about Roy Moore and those accusations, and as you put it, Erin, he basically punted.
This is a quote from Air Force One. "I haven't gotten to see too much. And believe it or not, even when I'm in Washington, and New York, I do not watch much television. So I have not seen very much about him, about it. And, you know, I put out a statement yesterday that he'll do the right thing." The question is, Erin, what is the right thing? The White House is still yet to clarify exactly what they mean.
And, in fact, in that press briefing today, Sarah Sanders left open the possibility that perhaps the governor of Alabama could change the date of the special election, delay it, in fact, and that's actually a proposal that's been floated to this White House by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a memo. So far, Governor Ivey says that the election will take place on December 12th. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate it, Ryan. And now, John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of "The Daily Beast" joins us, along with April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, was there in the room with Sarah Sanders today, and Mark Preston, Senior Political Analyst.
So John, Sarah Sanders has offered a totally new standard for sexual assault. If you admit to it you did it, and if you didn't, you didn't.
JOHN AVLON, EDIT-IN-CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. And that's obviously troubling for a thousand reasons beginning with his word as you said. But look, Al Franken in his case, he took responsibility. He blamed himself.
The Trump/Moore playbook seems to blame the women, blame the accusers. And what Sarah Huckabee Sanders is doing is trying to institutionalize that standard. If you play off once against to women who come forward, you're somehow magically exonerated despite a preponderance of evidence, whether it's eight accusers or being caught on tape in Hollywood.
What Sarah Huckabee Sanders is doing clearly is its pure politics. She's trying to avoid the obvious. She's saying the American people have spoken. But it really is kind of institutionalizing some of our worst instincts. It used to be hypocrisy was the unforgivable sin of politics. We've gone a long way from that. Situational ethics is the coin of the realm in Trump's Washington.
BURNETT: And, April, I mean, I want to just play it again, Sarah Sanders on the difference between the President and Al Franken when it comes to sexual assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the President hasn't. I think that's a very clear distinction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So that's what it is, April. He says he didn't do it, so he didn't do it. Forget that there's more than a dozen people. Forget that -- oh, by the way, he said he was going to sue them because they were liars. He hasn't done it.
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, you know, there are several pieces to this. It's do as I say, not as I do, almost. One, this president is pointing at Al Franken because he knows he will never need Al Franken on the Hill for anything. That's one thing.
But, two, you know, this White House said clearly, you know, the people of Alabama will decide. And then the President weighed in and it points the finger back to him. You can't have it both ways.
This President has accusers, and Al Franken came out and said yes he did wrong, but the President has not fully addressed beyond talking to Billy Bush and saying locker room, all these issues that are still looming.
This President is going to have to come out and address it, because the longer and the more stories come out and they keep coming, it goes back to the White House to hear what the White House has to say about it. And it also puts a glaring spotlight on the President's past --
RYAN: -- about his questioners or accusers.
BURNETT: It does. And, Mark, you know, here's the thing. The President has dodged this issue repeatedly, for an entire week here and when he did comment on it on Air Force One when he was asked, he said, quote, and I know Ryan read part of it but I want to read it.
"I haven't got ton see too much." This is his reason for why he doesn't have much to say, right? "Believe it or not, even when I'm in Washington and New York, I don't watch much television, so I've not seen very much about him, about it. And as you know, I put out a statement yesterday that he'll do the right thing. So I'll stick with the statement from now but I'll have further comments as we go down the road. I have to get back into the country to see what's happening."
Well, he's been back for days, Mark, and then he's been asked for days, and he literally just sort of speeds up his walk and continues to walk away from the camera.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's so ridiculous. I mean, the idea that he says he doesn't watch television is ridiculous.
BURNETT: Well, that's 1,629.
PRESTON: Right. Anybody that reads his Twitter feed, that listens to him, in fact, look at this tweet that he put out the morning he got back from Vietnam right now. He went right after us. When he was in the Philippines, he was forced to watch CNN, "Which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad and fake it is. Loser."
And so I guess we're losers. But the fact of the matter is -- and you know what, I'll take it. I'm a loser. I like, you know, I wear that with a badge of honor.
AVLON: There you go.
PRESTON: But the fact of the matter is, is that we know he watches us all the time because he responds in real time when he's upset at us.
[19:10:07] But it's not only that. In that statement, he talked about, that you just read Erin, he talked about how -- when he's overseas that he wasn't really clued into what was going here in the United States. Well that's wrong, too.
If you look at his Twitter feed, he talked about Ed Gillespie's campaign in Virginia. When Ed Gillespie loses, he weighs in on that. He also weighs in on the National Take Drug Back Day where people are encouraged to return prescription drugs so that they're not misused. He also weighs in on his own election anniversary.
So, there's no way that he is not clued in on this. And I've said this before and I'll say it again, if his White House was not telling him what was happening here in the United States then they all should be fired.
AVLON: But he's also been back for the better part of a week. And as everyone can tell, things are going great. Good job, everybody. So, I mean, you know, he's had a week to reflect on it and the best we're going to get is deflection and distraction from the press secretary because they don't have anything else politically.
They want to see if they can river this election, despite the fact 17 Republicans have come forward and said Roy Moore should step down. President Trump is clearly unwilling to do that and that just speaks to the office no longer being primarily about moral leadership, but about pursuit of power.
BURNETT: And, April, you know, you were in the room today as I said. You asked Sarah Sanders about a comment Hillary Clinton just made to you. So Hillary Clinton told you she worries about everything from the President's past, "because it tells you how he behaves in the present and how he will in the future." You asked Sarah Sanders about that. Here's her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I think Hillary Clinton probably should have dealt with some of those of her own issues before addressing this President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Presumably its unclear there, April. How did you take that? As a reference to general issues, a reference to her husband's sexual harassment and assault?
RYAN: I took it as a reference to her husband. I took it as a reference to her husband, but at the same time, again, deflection. Those issues of Hillary Clinton, they're not Hillary Clinton's issues. They're her husband's issues, who was the President. He's been impeached. He -- there's been the investigations and what have you.
And not only that, President Trump brought some accusers in to a debate. And the question for me is, you know, what would happen if someone did that with the accuser of this President for him? But going back to what Sarah Sanders said, it was deflection. She did not address fully --
RYAN: -- what Hillary Clinton said about the past, the present, and the future what has been done in the past and what he said. That Billy Bush tape is very telling. Even though the President says that's locker room, they were not in the locker room. It was a moment before they were going to meet with a beautiful woman. And if we see the whole tape --
BURNETT: Right, who they were discussing that --
BURNETT: -- right, personally. Yes.
RYAN: Yes, right, right.
BURNETT: And the issue here though I wonder, John, is he -- I guess he's trying to wait this out. As we say Roy Moore steps aside, he is stuck in an impossible position because then he's saying he should step aside. He's saying that he believes --
BURNETT: -- a group of women who don't -- who can't provide actual proof from that moment. Well, he has more women who have been completely corroborated by many people, right? So in that case the President of the United States is saying that he himself should step down, which is something he can't say.
AVLON: Of course not. And not even by implication.
AVLON: Roy Moore is using the Donald Trump playbook. If you're confronted with facts you don't like, you say the news is fake. You go after at accusers. So he's going to try to tap dances way through the next, you know --
AVLON: -- two weeks and see if Roy Moore can pull this election out or if the governor will apparently step in and delay it further.
But, look, bottom line, this shouldn't be a partisan issue, folks. I mean the fact that everyone in Washington seems to be projecting their politics onto this and finding selective outrage at one side or the other, too many folks, this clearly is an issue that should transcend partisan politics. In fact, it doesn't speak to a deeper sickness in our politics.
BURNETT: It certainly does. Mark, let me give you the final word. The question is, can the President get away with getting until December 12th without saying anything about this? Is he betting on that on the Thanksgiving holiday and no more accusers or what? I mean, that's a lot of time.
PRESTON: Yes. He can get away with it. But you know what, the door was left open today. And April and the rest of the White House press corps can kick the door down on Monday. When asked about why he has not sued the dozen plus women who have accused him of this, Sarah Huckabee Sanders says, "I've not spoken to him about it. I'll get back to you." Well guess what on Monday, let's get an answer back on that.
BURNETT: Right. He said he was going to sue them and she said, well, I don't know why he hasn't. I'll have to ask him. Well, let see what he says. He said they were all liars and he was going to sue them, hasn't done it. Thank you all very much.
And next, the governor of Alabama says she doesn't doubt the Roy Moore accusers, but -- and this is the crucial thing, she says she will vote for him anyway. So she believes a woman who says that she was 14 years old when he assaulted her and she's going to vote for him anyway. This comes when an accuser tells me Moore groped her in his office when he married. That interview was next. You'll hear story.
Plus the breaking news, Jared Kushner telling Congress he didn't remember any Trump campaign contacts with WikiLeaks. But now Senate investigators say he himself got e-mail about WikiLeaks.
[19:15:08] So, and Trump's communications director, Hope Picks, she's always by his side. About to face Robert Muller's questioning. Could she be key to the investigation?
BURNETT: Breaking news, Republican governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, admitting she has no reason not to believe the women accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. That includes a 14-year-old girl who says Moore initiated sexual encounter with her and another high school girl who claims Moore grabbed her by the neck and tried to force her head onto his crotch. But Governor Ivey also says she will still vote for Roy Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA: I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them. I do believe that the nominee of the party is the one I will vote for. I believe in the Republican Party and what we stand for and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on the things like Supreme Court justices, other appointments that the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kyung Lah is "OutFront" from Gadsden, Alabama. And Kyung, this is sort of painful to hear that logic being worked out comes just hours after Moore's wife, Kayla, spoke at a rally today. And she is defiant that her husband is being wrongly accused, right?
[19:20:05] KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. She was flanked by women and she came out swinging. She repeated very much what we've heard throughout the week, Erin, that despite the number of women who've come out speaking, that these allegations are simply not true. Mrs. Moore echoing candidate Moore that he's not going anywhere. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLA MOORE, WIFE OF ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE ROY MOORE: Even after all the attacks against me, against my family, against the foundation, and now against my husband, he will not step down. He will not stop fighting for the people of Alabama. In his words, and I quote, "I will not stop until they lay me in that box in the ground."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Moore's campaign says that their found raising, because of all of this controversy, has skyrocketed. They say that they have raised more online in the last six days than they have since September 26th that being a total. And, Erin, they also say they've topped six figures several days in a row. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kyung Lah.
Also new tonight, a woman accusing Roy Moore of sexual assault speaking out. Tina Johnson claiming he groped her when she was in her law office. She was there with her mother who was taking custody of Tina's 12-year-old son at the time. Moore was Tina's mother's lawyer. This was in 1991. It is the first allegation against Moore at a time when he was married to his wife Kayla.
Tina Johnson is "OutFront." And Tina, thank you for coming on to tell your story. You know, you are putting your name out there, your face out there, your reputation out there. When you arrived at Roy Moore's office that day, tell me what happened when you walked in.
TINA JOHNSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: The moment we walked in, it was full-on assault. I mean, he was very, very flirtatious. And commenting constantly the whole time and it was not like for five minutes. It was like we were there for a long period of time. It was so uncomfortable. I knew something was up, but I just ignored it. Tried, you know, just what it was. He proceeded to come to the end of the desk, and really close up on me.
BURNETT: You said so close so you could sort of feel his breath?
JOHNSON: Right. Actually, I think his knee might have been touching my knee, you know. He was -- his hands were not on me, just like maybe his knee was brushing mine or something.
And then when it was time for us to leave, my mother had got up and left the room, you know, to go out the front door. Well, when she was going out the door then I proceeded out and he just grabbed me from behind on my buttocks and he just squeezed it really hard. And I remember thinking, I was so ashamed. I felt humiliated in that moment. It took everything out of me.
And a lot of people want to say, well it was just a squeeze. It's not just a squeeze. You take -- you humiliate us, you take every ounce of decency from us. We feel like it's our fault. We feel like we done something wrong. And, you know, I didn't. I did not. BURNETT: One question a lot of people have with these stories coming out now, of course, is why now? Why, Tina, did you choose to speak out now? Why not sooner?
JOHNSON: Because you couldn't. People didn't want to hear it. Your own family members don't talk about that, you know. Sort of, "Why you're bringing that up?" And another thing, my mother was flattered that he was flirting with me. She went back and told the whole family.
And my sister even recalled the conversation that my mother had about it that he was flirting. And at that time I don't think my mother knew that he was married because she had made a comment he was fishing for a wife.
So, I don't think -- and I didn't realize she was married until a few days ago at that time because I was thinking he married his wife after that and I remember hearing that she had a small child, a girl. And I remember thinking, oh, no. I remember that. But I thought that he was not married at that time.
BURNETT: So, you just simply have felt what has changed? The environment, other women came forward?
JOHNSON: Other women came forward.
BURNETT: Did it give you the courage to come out and tell your story?
JOHNSON: Yes. And what really did it for me is when I seen a citizen of Etowah County says that the 14-year-old, it was OK. It was no big deal.
[19:25:04] BURNETT: Someone told you that?
JOHNSON: It was on the news. I mean, I seen it on live T.V. They said that it was OK. That, "She was 14, oh, well, that's OK." That it was fine.
BURNETT: And then you decided you had to speak out.
JOHNSON: I was so angry, a 14-year-old. A 14-year-old child and it was OK. When is that ever OK, ever?
BURNETT: Well, it isn't. It isn't. I mean, we have reached out to the Moore campaign multiple times, Tina, about your story, specifically. They have not responded at this time. As you know, his campaign and lawyers have tried to poke holes in some of the other stories, although he admits to dating some of them, questioning the ages or whatever it might be.
What would you say if his campaign comes out and claims, OK, Tina, you're doing this because you want payback because he was representing your mother on this custody issue. If they come out and say that to try to discredit you, what do you say to that?
JOHNSON: The Lord that I serve is not the one Roy Moore serves because my Lord knows that he did it. He knows it and I know it. He can say whatever he wants to say. The truth will stand when the world wants, and that's the truth.
I understand that people's going to doubt it. I understand that they're not going to understand it. And that's why I'm here to let people know sexual misconduct, when someone gropes you, is not that. It's a sexual assault.
I hate to know that my granddaughter, daughter is going to grow up in a world where she cannot even work or go to a law firm or go to a doctor and not have to worry about getting sexual assaulted. It's time. They don't have this right.
And the men that do this in power, they take our power because I think to be more powerful and they do that. And they talk about that it didn't hurt us. They scarred me for life. Every time that I would think about him or see that, I felt like sick, ashamed, blamed. That it was my fault. I shouldn't have worn that dress. It was my fault.
I can remember the dress. It was black and white. One side was black and one side was white. I never wore it again over a grope. But it wasn't nothing. But it wasn't nothing.
BURNETT: Tina, I really appreciate your telling your story. And I think it is how you feel about it, and how you feel about your dignity being taken away is something that hopefully a lot of people can connect with, and understand, and can help them understand all of this a little bit better. Thank you so very much for talking about it.
JOHNSON: Thank you. Thank you.
BURNETT: And "OutFront" next the breaking news, new questions about Jared Kushner and what he told Congress about WikiLeaks. And a loyal member of Trump's inner circle, she's been there since the beginning, was in on top level meetings. What will Hope Hicks tell team Mueller?
[19:30:20] BURNETT: Breaking news: new questions tonight about Jared Kushner's testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. A source telling CNN that Kushner told lawmakers he did not know of anyone in the Trump campaign who had contact with WikiLeaks during the election.
But as we reported, the Senate Judiciary Committee is now accusing the president's senior adviser of withholding crucial documents that suggest he both received and forwarded e-mails regarding WikiLeaks months before the election.
How could this be?
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.
And, Evan, obviously these are -- these are things you sort of look at him and go, wait a minute, what are you learning about what Kushner told lawmakers?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, Erin.
Well, Jared Kushner told congressional investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and didn't recall anyone in the Trump campaign who did. But we know, as you mentioned from disclosures this week, that Donald Trump Jr. sent an e-mail to Kushner and others in the campaign last year to pass on information that he did learn from WikiLeaks. And that Kushner then forwarded that e-mail to hope hicks, one of the closest aides to then-candidate Trump, and now, of course, the communications director at the White House.
A source from Jared Kushner's interview with congressional investigators told us that he accurately answered questions about his contacts with WikiLeaks, and didn't recall anyone else in the campaign who did have contact. So what this latest revelation does is it turns up pressure on Kushner to go back to Capitol Hill for more interviews and explain himself. We heard yesterday from the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who sent a public letter to Kushner's lawyer saying Kushner had failed to turn over documents that they know exist and that includes, of course, information about WikiLeaks.
The letter from Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Dianne Feinstein said that others had provided documents showing quote September 2016 e-mail communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks which Mr. Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official.
What's clear, Erin, is that members of Congress aren't satisfied with the answers that they've gotten so far from Jared Kushner. We just got an e-mail -- a new statement from Abbe Lowell who is Jared Kushner's lawyer and he says that essentially these were classic gotcha questions from congressional investigators, and he says, Mr. Kushner answered all questions put to him, and demonstrated that there had been no collusion between the campaign and the Russia -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan.
And let's go now to Richard Painter, former White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush and Bob Baer, former CIA operative.
Richard, Jared Kushner testified he didn't communicate with Russia and he didn't know of any such contacts by the campaign. Yet we now know he himself received and forwarded an e-mail from Donald Trump Jr. about contact the president's son had with WikiLeaks. So, what do you make of this?
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, it's obvious what's going on is the Russians stole the documents through computer hacking about Hillary Clinton and then dumped it into WikiLeaks. And the people in the Trump campaign were collaborating. That much we know. How much the collaborating was, and who exactly it was, Robert Mueller's going to find out.
But everybody on team Trump has been denying any contacts with the Russians or with WikiLeaks repeatedly. And then repeatedly, we're finding out that those denials aren't true. And this is yet one more example of that. And then, meanwhile, we got today, the attorney general of the United
States just joking about this Russia thing at a Federalist Society dinner. I sat with him at a table about 10, 15 years ago at one of those Federal Society dinners, and to turn this into a joke, and just not tell the truth about it, it's shameful. This is a very serious investigation and the attorney general, Jared Kushner and the entire team needs to get their act together and start telling the truth and being straight about it.
BURNETT: So, Bob Baer, let me ask you. Let me play what Kushner said after the meeting with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee this summer. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Let me be very clear, I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Bob, then, then you know as we've reported here, he then the Senate says he's withholding e-mails about WikiLeaks, an invite from -- a dinner invite from the Russians, a back door overture and about a source connected to the infamous dossier. So, they didn't get any of that.
Then you hear his lawyer tonight saying he said he didn't know of such contacts by the campaign referring to anything to do with WikiLeaks. It now looks like he both received and forwarded an e-mail. I mean, do you think that this at this point is outright lying?
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: It's perjury, Erin. You know, if the FBI wanted to get tough on Jared, he'd be in handcuffs.
[19:35:02] You know, he's got a security clearance of some sort. He's acting as a diplomat. This investigation, he knows exactly what it's about and not to have gone through his e-mails or have forgotten he was in touch with WikiLeaks, just doesn't happen.
I mean, anybody who's been through one of these investigations knows you have to be totally forthcoming whether it's with Congress or the FBI and he's dragging his feet. It's obstruction of justice from my point of view, from a national security point of view. No doubt about it.
BURNETT: And, Richard, what do you say, obstruction of justice? Perjury? I mean, you know, again let's just make the point of the specific this e-mail from Donald Trump Jr., it was about WikiLeaks. Donald Trump Jr. forwarded it to Jared Kushner who then forwarded it on to Hope Hicks.
Can you make the argument, even the specific case, I just didn't remember it, I didn't think WikiLeaks was a relevant search term to hand over. Or, or is this perjury? PAINTER: He can make that argument. And I don't think I quite go
quite so far as to say it's perjury. It falls in the same category with Attorney General Sessions, repeated testimony in front of Congress where he forgets about contacts with the Russians. It's in that very dubious gray area.
But they shouldn't be behaving this way. These are some of the most powerful officials in the United States government, and this involved contacts with a hostile power that interfered with our election. And to see Jared Kushner just cavalierly not telling the truth about these e-mails, to see the attorney general joking about it in front of a room full of the most prominent conservative lawyers in Washington, D.C., it's an embarrassment and, you know, they need to get their act together. This just isn't right.
BURNETT: Let me just play that bite, Bob, of Senator Sessions, I'm sorry, Attorney General Sessions making that joke about Russia at the Mayflower Hotel, of course, the scene of one of the meetings with the Russia Ambassador Kislyak. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: What I ask you is, is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? Before I get started here. Any Russians? Anybody been to Russia? Got a cousin in Russia or something?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Bob, clearly trying to use humor to completely denigrate and demean the entire process.
BAER: Look, Erin, Russia attacked our democracy in 2016. A lot of people have lost confidence in this administration wondering what the connection is between Donald Trump and the Russians. And the last thing you want to do when your democracy has been attacked by a hostile power is joke about it. You know, this was the equivalent of a cyber attack at 9/11 and we just have to face that and the fact that we've done nothing to prevent further Russian hacking, I just find outrageous. I mean, I do not understand it and I do not understand what's happening in Washington, D.C. where there's not more outrage.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both so very much.
And next, an influential player in Trump's inner circle about to be interviewed by Robert Mueller's team. Is Hope Hicks the key?
And dozens of people have backed the accounts of those who have alleged wrongdoing and harassment from Roy Moore. What will it take for his supporters to believe them? I'm going to ask one of them.
[19:42:28] BURNETT: Tonight, special counsel Robert Mueller's team about to grill one of the top members of President Trump's inner circle. Prosecutors preparing to interview White House communications director Hope Hicks. She's been there since the very beginning. Day one of that campaign, she's been in the room for Trump's most controversial decisions. Could she help Mueller but things together?
Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's really, really talented.
Hope, say a --
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hope Hicks never seems to be very far from the president's side. Thursday on Capitol Hill, at a state dinner in Japan last week, inside the Oval Office, Hicks is one of the only nonfamily members who has remained a critical part of Trump's inner circle since 2014 when the former model joined the Trump Organization. She was a key point person when Trump launched his campaign in 2015.
And the 29-year-old is now White House communications director, working from a desk right outside the Oval Office.
TRUMP: The criminals that we send --
SCHNEIDER: Hicks operates mostly behind the scenes, leaving the public statements to others.
Her prime place on the president's team has made Hicks of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller's team plans to interview Hicks before the end of the month.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO ROBERT MUELLER: What this tells us is, the investigation is moving at a steady pace. They're going from out to in, from less important to more important. I think she's still a witness, not a subject or a target by any means. But she's got critical information that only she possesses.
SCHNEIDER: Sources tell CNN the special counsel is particularly interested in Hicks' role drafting the initial and misleading statement from Donald Trump Jr. about his meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. That statement, drafted on board Air Force One with input from the president, tried to downplay the significance of the meeting, and failed to mention a promise the Russian lawyer would bring damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Hicks was also in Bedminster, New Jersey, days before the president fired FBI Director James Comey. Sources tell CNN the president drafted a memo along with top aide Steven Miller, explaining the reasoning behind the firing. But the letter was never sent. Mueller's team now has that letter. And the president revealed in an interview just after the firing that it was Russia related.
TRUMP: And, in fact, when he decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.
SCHNEIDER: White House lawyer Ty Cobb wouldn't comment directly about Hope Hicks and when she will met with the special counsel's team. Only this: It is my hope and expectation that shortly after Thanksgiving, all the White House interviews will be concluded.
[19:45:02] Mueller also plans to interview White House counsel Don McGahn who is also Trump campaign counsel, and Jared Kushner's spokesman Josh Raffel, who was also on Air Force One when the Trump Jr. statement was drafted.
Hicks is being represented by Robert Trout, a former assistance U.S. attorney who represented President Richard Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell during Watergate, and Monica Lewinsky.
ZELDIN: He's going to tell her, remember, tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and protect yourself and nobody else.
SCHNEIDER: And Mueller's team has are interviewed former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, and former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. That was earlier this month. Right now, there's no clear indication how far along in the process the special counsel's investigation actually is -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jessica, thank you very much.
And next standing by Roy Moore despite the mountain of accusations against him. Will anything change the mind of his staunch supporters?
And yesterday, it was elephant heads. Tonight, it's lion parts. Big game hunters like Donald Jr. and Eric Trump are now able to bring more trophies from their kills back home.
BURNETT: Tonight, a woman accusing Roy Moore of groping her is coming forward.
[19:50:02] She told her story OUTFRONT, speaking to me just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TINA JOHNSON, SAYS ROY MOORE GROPED HER: The moment we walked in, it was full-on assault. I mean, he was very, very flirtatious and commenting constantly the whole -- the whole time. My mother had got up and left the room, you know, to go out the front door. But when she was going out the door, then I proceed out and he just grabbed me from behind on my buttocks. And he just squeezed it really hard. And, I remember thinking, I was so ashamed. I felt humiliated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Stories like Tina Johnson's aren't swaying Roy Moore's most loyal supporters, though, including my next guest.
Amy Kremer is chair of Trump for Women PAC, whose group endorsed Moore and still stands by him and she joins me now.
And, Amy, you and I have talked over the years on a lot of different topics. This is the first time on this particular issue.
You just heard part of Tina Johnson's story. Amy, do you think she's lying?
AMY KREMER, ROY MOORE SUPPORTER: No, I mean, Erin, look, I don't know she's lying. I wasn't there. I'm not here to judge here. That's not what I'm doing.
I'm supporting Roy Moore. The people of Alabama have chosen who they want for their Republican nominee, and the people of Alabama are the ones that should decide who they want in the United States Senate.
BURNETT: So, I do think it's important though, you know to understand where people stand on this issue, right? The governor of Alabama, she says she's believes the woman. She's still voting for Roy Moore but she does believe them. More than 50 people, Amy, have now come forward to corroborate the story of these witnesses, either it's character witnesses, were told about the incidents when they took place and then in the years between then and now.
And earlier today, you spoke at a press conference with Roy Moore's wife, Kayla, and I wanted to play part of what you said, Amy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KREMER: We have a candidate that just walked through the fire, not just this election cycle but over the years as he's campaigned not in just local races but in statewide races for the Supreme Court justice of the state of Alabama, twice, and none of this has come out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Amy, it sounds there that you're questioning, right, that they're doing it for political reasons. So, let me just ask you, why would these women go on the record by name, all of them and lie?
KREMER: Erin, I -- like I said I'm not sheer to talk -- to judge them, judge the women. I'm not saying their lying but it's -- I'm not the judge and juror and neither are you, no one in the media is and neither is anyone in Washington, D.C. It's as if the D.C. media bubble thinks the people of Alabama are not capable of making the decision with the information that's put in front of them. And you got Mitch McConnell saying that should Roy be elected, that they're looking at expelling him from the United States Senate, the Senate. That is subverting the will of the people. The people have a choice here.
BURNETT: Don't leaders like you Amy also have a responsibility to tell people where you stand and what you believer in? Because it sounds like what you said, you said, in local races, statewide races and none of this ever came out? You are implying there that they're doing it for political reasons. I don't --
KREMER: Erin, let me tell you something. Ten years ago I would have never believed people would do such horrible thing for political reasons. But I myself, and my family were accused of horrible things that we're still in litigation over in the state of Georgia, you can go look it up.
And I -- had it not ever happened, I wouldn't have never believed it. But why has this never come forward? I mean, this wasn't local races he was running statewide races and was removed from the Supreme Court. Where were these women then?
BURNETT: OK. So --
KREMER: The last 30 days of the campaign, why weren't they out during the primary? That's -- I mean, where were they then?
BURNETT: Let me ask you -- let me tell you what Tina said to that, because I asked her that question very explicitly. People would say, why are you coming out now and not before. And let me just play for you part of her answer. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: And what really did it for me was when a seen a citizen of Etowah County say that the 14-year-old, it was OK, it was no big deal.
BURNETT: Then you decided you had to speak out?
JOHNSON: I was so angry, a 14-year-old. A 14-year-old child, and it was OK. When is that ever OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Amy, she also said to me when I asked her, she couldn't come out, people didn't want to hear it. They would say, shut up, why are you bringing that out? He was simply a man who had too much power and no one carried until he was running for a big platform. Does all that make sense to you?
KREMER: Erin, he was running for the Senate seat for a number of months now, even back during the primaries. Why is it coming out in the last 30 days?
[19:55:02] We've seen this. It is political. I mean, all of these things that are coming out now, Mitch McConnell --
BURNETT: So, you're saying you don't believe them?
KREMER: I'm not saying -- it doesn't matter if I believe them or not. It absolutely doesn't matter.
(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: It does matter. You are ahead of an important group, you are an influential powerful woman. People look to you. It does matter whether you believe it or not. Even the governor of Alabama has come out and said whether she's believes it or not.
KREMER: Erin, I'm not saying whether they're telling the truth or they're lying. I'm saying is that Judge Roy Moore is the person that the Republicans voted for, not just in the primary, but in the runoff, as their nominee. And he is going to be the one on that ballot.
And if the people of Alabama don't want him as their United States senator, they have another option. And it is those people that should make those closures, not you, not I, not Mitch McConnell, or even President Trump. It is the people of Alabama that should make that choice.
BURNETT: The governor of Alabama says, I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of the women, but she is voting for Roy Moore nonetheless. Obviously, that's pretty clear if she believes that he did what is alleged to have done to a 14-year-old, that pedophilia, that she's still going to vote for him. Is it -- is it honestly, Amy, just too awkward for you say you believe them and that you're going to vote for him, because --
KREMER: I'm not --
BURNETT: -- it would be really hard to say that, or would you say if you believe them and you're going to vote for him?
KREMER: I don't -- I don't live in Alabama, so I don't have a vote. But what I do know --
BURNETT: But you're coming out with an endorsement, you appeared with his wife today and spoke out in his favor.
KREMER: We've endorsed him before, and we're standing beside because the GOP of Alabama has said that they're standing behind him, that he is the candidate that they are standing behind. If I had a choice of a Republican or a Barack Obama liberal who is -- those values of San Francisco with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer of New York, I'm going to go with a conservative. These are not --
BURNETT: A conservative who had sexual assault against teenage girls?
KREMER: Erin, listen, we -- this is much bigger about this race. This is about Mitch McConnell --
BURNETT: It is much bigger than just this race. I agree with you on that.
KREMER: And what we should be talking about is the slush fund, $15 million of taxpayer money being used to cover up all sorts of events that have occurred by people in Congress, not only members in Congress but staffers.
BURNETT: I agree with you on that. KREMER: They need to release those names and release them
BURNETT: I agree with you on that but I'm you are punting the issue, that's all I'm saying. You're punting the issue.
KREMER: I am standing behind the Roy Moore, it's less than 30 days. I mean, it's less than 30 days now, and like I said, I have been a victim of accusations that were not true. And so, you know, at this point, she said, he denies, whatever. I'm not --
BURNETT: It's not -- it's 50 people, including men in their lives, including -- it's the accusers. It's not just a person here. It's not one person versus another, Amy. Let's be honest about that. It is not.
KREMER: Well, at the end of the day, the people of Alabama are going to decide. I mean, what's the other alternative? He's not going to drop out. He said that. Kay Ivey, Governor Kay Ivey is not going to suspend the race. So, the choice is Roy Moore or the lib and the liberal, the Democratic liberal on the ballot.
BURNETT: OK. I just want to play for you, Amy, what Roy Moore said when he was interviewed by Sean Hannity the last time here, because he spent obviously, his campaign manager has come out, his lawyers come out, and his wife is coming out, he really has not as much, but here he is when he answered questions from Sean Hannity.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?
ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Not generally, no. If I did, you know I'm not going to dispute anything, but I don't remember anything like that.
HANNITY: You can say unequivocally, you never dated anybody that was in their late teens like that when you were 32?
MOORE: It's been out of my customary behavior, that's right.
HANNITY: In other words you don't recall dating any other girls that young when you were that old?
MOORE: I've said, no.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Hannity, Amy, obviously thought what Moore said there was unacceptable, issue an ultimatum this week, wanted more information. Even the president has said and, frankly, he's punted this, but he said that if the women are telling the truth, Moore should step aside.
I guess, I just want to really understand, Amy, where you stand, because I do think your voice, your voice is so important, that even if he was a pedophile and molested children, you would prefer him to Doug Jones?
KREMER: Erin, I never would support somebody that is a pedophile and molested children. And if that is the case, then there need to be criminal charges filed and it needs to go through a court of law.
BURNETT: OK. All right. Amy, I appreciate your time, thank you very much. It's always great to talk you and I appreciate your honesty.
KREMER: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. And thank you so very much for joining us as the story continues to develop.
"AC360" tonight with John Berman begins right now.