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Trump Calls Sen. Warren Pocahontas as He Honors Native Americans Navajo Nation Responds Saying Prejudice Exists; Showdown Over Top Post at Consumer Watchdog Agency; NYT: Trump Questions Authenticity of Access Hollywood Tape; NYT: Trump Questions Authenticity of "Access Hollywood" Tape; Roy Moore Holding Rally in Alabama; Speculation Grows that Flynn May Be Cooperating with Mueller. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired November 27, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:02] WOLF BLITZER, CNN SITUATION ROOM HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm wolf Blitzer in the SITUATION ROOM. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN OUTFRONT HOST: OUTFRONT next, President Trump calls Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas during an event honoring Native American war heroes. Tonight, the Navajo nation responds and President Trump reportedly saying the Access Hollywood tape isn't real, not authentic. Yes, that tape. And breaking news, showdown at a government agency, two rival bosses, each saying they're in charge. Is it restraining order in the offing? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett, OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, Prejudice, that's the word, the president of the Navajo nation is using after President Trump's use of the word Pocahontas today. Here's what the president said during an event honoring Native American War Heroes.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I just want to thank you, because you're very, very special people and you were here long before any of us were here, although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago, they call her Pocahontas. But you know what, I like you, because you are special.


BURNETT: Not only he calls her Pocahontas, but the president of course is referring to his long-time Elizabeth Warren, who claimed Native American heritage while she was a professor at Harvard law school.

Let's show you again who was in the room when president used the slurp Pocahontas. The Native American code talkers used their native languages to encode top secret war time communications in World War II, war heroes. And as usual, it fell to the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders to defend the president and of course she said there was nothing wrong with what he said.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPODENT: Why did he feel the need to say something that is offensive to many people while honoring the Navajo code talkers, those genuine American heroes?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: I think what most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career.

KARL: She said it was a racial slur. What is your response to that?

SANDERS: I think that's a ridiculous response.


BURNETT: And then Sanders, as usual, doubled down when pressed, saying she does not think Pocahontas is a racial slur.


KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Why is it appropriate for the president to use a racial slur in any context?

SANDERS: I don't believe that it is appropriate for him to make use of racial slur, or anybody else.

WELKER: Well, a lot of people feel Pocahontas is a racial slur. So why is it appropriate for him use that?

SANDERS: Well, I think like I said, I don't think that it is and I don't think that was not the resident's intent. I think, again, like I said, I think the more offensive, the most thing --


WELKER: Does he see political value in calling people out racially? Why use that?

SANDERS: Look, I think that Senator Warren was very offensive when she lied about something specifically to advance her career.


BURNETT: Of course, Senator Warren has long stood by and still stands by the fact that her parents were forced to elope because her father's family wouldn't accept her mother, because she had Native American heritage. And today, Senator Warren did not stay quiet for long.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Boris Sanchez is OUTFRONT. And Boris clearly, the White House standing firm that what the president said was appropriate today.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPODENT: That's right, Erin, the White House is making no apologies, instead attacking senator Elizabeth Warren. But the president has used that Pocahontas nickname about Elizabeth Warren for some time now dating back to last year's presidential campaign when Warren was campaigning with Hillary Clinton. She was attacked for having made this claim that she has Native American ancestry during her own senate campaign back in 2012. At the time, she was criticized not only by republicans but also by some Native American groups because she couldn't provide any actual documentation.

Sarah Sanders, as you heard, launched that attack again today against Elizabeth Warren saying that the majority of people find that she would allegedly lie about her own heritage for political gain more offensive than the president calling her Pocahontas during this even to honor the Navajo code talkers, these war heroes. And doing it also, we should note, in front of a picture of Andrew Jackson who oversaw the forcible removal of Native Americans from their lands back in the 1800s. So plenty for people to be offended about the White House, though, saying it is Elizabeth Warren who should be ashamed.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Boris. I want to go now to the former special advisor to President Obama, Van Jones, and former Republican Congressman Jack Kingston, who is former senior adviser to the trump campaign as well. Calling someone Pocahontas at an event honoring native American war heroes is what?

[19:05:09] VAN JONES, CNN CORRESPODENT: It's completely unacceptable. People are going to argue it's a racial slur, that it's racially insensitive. It's inappropriate. You have people -- people do not give honor and recognition to Native American contributions to this country enough. But on this issue, the code talkers, it was impossible for our enemies to understand what they were saying, and it let us win that war. They saved possibly hundreds of thousands of lives. Give them a moment of due respect. It's not a time for frat boy jokes, for racially insensitive stuff. And yet he does it. He can't help himself and it was wrong.

BURNETT: Congressman Kingston?

JACK KINGSTON, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESS: Well, let me say this. I don't think it was nearly as offensive as the Trump critics are trying to make it out to be. For example, saying that as a racial term is way off, I don't know where that came from, if I call someone Einstein, I'm not being anti-Semitic. If I say, oh, you're great Picasso, sarcastically, that didn't mean that I'm saying something about Spanish people or you call somebody Flanders --

JONES: Try again, buddy. Come on.


KINGSTON: Don't interrupt me, Van. Let me say this. JONES: Go ahead.

KINGSTON: What the president has successfully done, that was changed the topic, because I did not know, for example, from 1986 to 1995, Elizabeth Warren listed herself in a directory -- in a faculty directory saying she was a Native American. So what you do in politics is you defined your enemy before your enemy can define him or herself. That's what the president has done. A lot of people didn't know about this, now they know. And I think the president probably was deliberative. It could be tied into the CFPBD (ph), Consumer Finance Protection Bureau debate, I don't know. It could be presidential politics.

BURNETT: Wow. And we just point by the way that Senator Warren stands by up for heritage and her family. So I don't want to turn this into a debate.


KINGSTON: But, Erin, not all the time she does it. She absolutely did not. She did it for a period and then she denied it. In 2014, she was yes, no, yes, no. Again, I did not know that but now I did a little search this for tonight.

JONES: Erin.

BURNETT: Go ahead, Van.

JONES: I'm sorry.

BURNETT: Go ahead.

JONES: But this is the tragedy of today. You finally had an opportunity for American heroes to be honored. This is not a time to take a cheap political shot at your opponents, even if you're correct. And by the way your analogy just falls apart to something we're going to have time to talk about it.


BRUNETT: Yes, because you are complimenting all those people as opposed to insulting to the point of the day.


JONES: Even if you're correct that he was using this as a moment to politically attack and to define someone. What does that have to do with World War II? What does that have to do with these people in their '80s and '90s? We have the one last moment to have some recognition. Why is that so important for him to always be an insult comic in the middle of the White House? This is inappropriate.

And the other thing I want to say is, you know, this whole Thanksgiving season and time period is a chance for us to reflect on the true contributions of all American's, including Native American who frankly have given up way too much or way too little for this country. It's a wrong season. It's a wrong tone. It's a wrong temperament. It's just wrong.

KINGSTON: So Van, sometimes when the left over reacts to everything Trump does, then people go back to their own groups and say, "Well, what the heck." And I think that's what we're seeing here. You know, I agree with you. Not a good format at all for this. But it's not nearly as offensive as people are making it out to be. And I think the president has now defined Elizabeth Warren, if she has presidential ambitions, this is going to be an issue. Why did you lie for nine years on a law school directory (ph)?

BURNETT: I simply make the point only that I'll call this out every time. We just don't know whether it was a lie or not. We just simply don't know, all right, on a lot of case, what her family was and what she said. So just to be clear, I'm not trying to litigate whether she is or isn't. It's about whether he did the right thing today.

And I want to play for you, congressman, because this is what it comes down to. As Van said, you know, he sees it is inappropriate. The question is, is it racist, a racial slur, as you heard the reporter question and as you heard Elizabeth Warren say? The president has made ethnic remarks before, and racial remarks playing off stereotypes, okay? We all know them. Let me just play a few of them. These are Mexicans, Jews, African-Americans and we'll start with Asian-Americans.


TRUMP: When these people walk in the room, they don't say, "Oh, hello, how's the weather? It's so beautiful outside. Isn't it lovely? How the Yankee is doing? Oh, they're doing wonderful. Great." They say, "We want deal." Look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest?

You're not going to support me even though you know I'm the best thing that could happen to Israel or you're not going to support me because I don't want your money. Isn't it crazy?

[19:10:01] When Mexico sends its people, they're sending their best, they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapist. And some, I assume are good people.


BURNETT: Congressman, when it all add up, is that all funny or is it racist? And I will include the Muslim ban.

KINGSTON: You know, I don't think it's racist. And again, Elizabeth Warren has been calling him a racist for three or four years now. In fact one --


KINGSTON: Our exact quote was he's a thin-skinned racist. She's already played that card. And what traditionally happens in America, particularly for republican, particularly for white republicans, any time you're called a racist, you're supposed to go cowher in your bunker and be afraid, "Oh, I don't want to be a racist." But, you know, those of us who grew up in integration, those of us who have been mixing and mingling with other races and other groups all our lives, we're not intimidated by that. And I think the president coming from Queens has been brought up in an international city. He said lots of interaction with lots of different groups and I just think he's not afraid to come out and talk in terms that I think some people are bothered by. But I don't think that makes him a racist.

BURNETT: Van, final word.

JONES: Well, listen, I don't want anybody to feel intimidated. If that's in his heart to say, it's in his heart to say. It's unfortunate though because if somebody came out and talk about white people, the way he talks about these other groups, that person would be highly criticized and rightfully so. You can't just go and call every group you want to, whatever you want to, and he always associates by the way, unfortunately nonwhite people with the worst in their group. So the Mexicans are rapists, and the Muslims are terrorists, and you never hear him go and say anything kind about the people in those communities that are doing a good job. And when you put those two things together, I think he's an exceptional case. Are some people called racists who shouldn't be? Absolutely. But if he's not a racist, and if those comments are not racist, then term has no meaning at all.

KINGSTON: Van, he's not a racist. I think his style is what's offensive to you. But I can promise you he's not a racist.

BRUNETT: We will leave this discussion there. Thank you. And next, chaos at a federal agency, rival bosses in a showdown tonight over who has the top job, one of them just appointed by President Trump, the other appointed by the man of the center of this, my guest.

Plus, President Trump's new favorite conspiracy theory reportedly saying that infamous Access Hollywood tape is not real. And the White House tonight cannot seem to spin its way out of this one.

And breaking news, Roy Moore speaking at a rally in Alabama. This is the White House reveals whether President Trump will campaign for Roy Moore.


[19:16:25] BURNETT: Breaking news, chaos and confusion of showdown intensifying inside the nation's top consumer watchdog agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Right now, there are two dueling directors and both are claiming their in charge in charge. One side is even filing a restraining order against the one who was handpicked by the president of the United States.

On the right, Leandra English, she was appointed by the outgoing director Richard Cordray who was central to this. The other is Mick Mulvaney, who the president is sending over to run this bureau to leave the White House budget director position.

Now, Mulvaney showed up today. He brought doughnuts for the staff and a directive saying, "Please disregard any instructions you receive from Ms. English in her presumed capacity as Acting Director."

Now, that's pretty blunt. English have sent her own e-mail to the staff and both her e-mail in Mulvaney's directives were signed "Acting Director". This partisan power struggle is new going to court. It's a stunning development. And now, a judge is delaying a decision as to who is in charge. OUTFRONT now, Richard Cordray. He is the one who picks Ms. English, the Former Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And I appreciate you're being with me.

Richard, let's just get here to the big question about what's happening right now. You have two people showing up to work, sending -- telling the staff what to do, saying that they're the acting director. One of them is trying to get a restraining order against the other one. Not even allowed to show up on the premises. What is going on inside that agency tonight?

RICHARD CORDRAY, FORMER DIRECTOR, CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU: So we have an unsettled question of law, and that's an important question of law of how to handle the succession with agency like this until the president nominates and gets a nominee confirmed by the senate, which everyone agrees is an appropriate way to handle this.

In the meantime, though, we have two laws that are inconsistent with one another, the law that created this agency says there will be a deputy director, and the deputy director shall serve as acting director. There's another general law that provides for succession if there's no specific provision. And the court obviously is finding this a serious issue, is thinking about it overnight and is puzzling over that fact that you have two laws that seemed to be under phase clashing with one another.

BURNETT: So what are the odds that you get, your pick, Leandra English to win here? I mean the judge who is going to rule on this was nominated by President Trump, the top lawyer with your own agency or your own former agency until Friday night says the president has the authority to name its acting director. So do you actually think that you can win this, that Leandra English will win and Mick Mulvaney will not be the director?

CORDRAY: So what I've learned over the years and I both been a clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court and (inaudible) cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals as judges are conscientious, they know they wear the robe and have the authority to make real decisions in these matters. It's not like lawyers who give opinions. And we all have opinions and they disagree with one another as they do here. But it's judges who have to decide this. And I'm sure this judge will consider it carefully. And if either side disagrees with the judge's ruling, we'll presumably go to the Court of Appeals where this may be decided further. And that's the way the rule of law works and it's appropriate.

BURNETT: What's the point though that you're trying to accomplish? Because it's only a matter of time, right? Until he gets the person in that he wants. Mick Mulvaney has made no secret about his views about this agency over the past. He has said that it's voted in favor of actually getting rid of it, right? Let me just play a little bit of what he's had to say about the CFPB in the past.


[19:20:00] REP. MICK MULWANEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It turns up being a joke and that's what the CFPB really has been in a six sad kind of way. It's extraordinarily frightening. Someone is like to get rid of it.


BURNETT: Eventually, he's going to win. I mean the president wants him in there. He's going to him in there. You're admitting that yourself, right? So what is the point in this whole thing?

CORDRAY: No, I'm not. I'm not, Erin. Mick Mulvaney will not be the director of the CFPB over the long-term. He has confirmed to be the director of the office of management budget. It's a big job. That's the job he's doing. This is the interim period we're talking about here. Eventually, someone else, not Mick Mulvaney will be nominated for the slot.


BURNETT: -- that same point of view clearly, which is what the president supports.

CORDRAY: I don't --

BURNETT: Do you think that person could not take confirm?

CORDRAY: I don't take that as a given. If somebody has to go in front of the senate and the senate weighs their points of view and their credentials and so forth, I had to go through that process as you may recall it took two years for me to push my way for that process and they're getting 66 votes from the senate.

Now, one thing I would say about a matter like this, it's a serious legal matter. You have conflicting laws. It's the kind of thing that should be weighed carefully and the judge is weighing it carefully. It shouldn't be the object of name calling or partisan bickering. Parts of Washington approach these issues that way. I don't approach them that way. This is something that should be handled to the courts, handled in a respectful and responsible way. That's the proper way to resolve these disputes.

BURNETT: OK. But your goal here is that you think you'll be forced to nominate someone who is less anti, less wants to destroy this than Mick Mulvaney. That's the point.

CORDRAY: Well, clearly I'm a believer in the Consumer Bureau.


CORDRAY: I help set it up, I run it for six years, I believe we did a lot of good for the American people who simply wants somebody to stand on their side and see that they're treated fairly when they're cheated or mistreated in the market place. We got $12 billion back to 30 million consumers and I think that was good work. We gave people a voice, people who, you know, got cheated out of $20 to $50 and you think it's wrong and you can't do much about it. We gave them a place to go to get their complaints heard, get problems fixed. Those are good things. Americans want that. I really believe that.

BURNETT: So I just want to play for you what the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said today. She took a swipe at you and how you ran the agency, here she is.


SANDERS: We think that a lot of the past practices under the previous director and under the previous administration were used more to advance political ambitions and not about protecting American consumers.


BURNETT: That was Sarah Sanders, the Wall Street Journal even more direct saying you're trying to raise your name recognition to run for the governor of Ohio. What do you say?

CORDRAY: Here's what I'd say, if the argument here is over who's better going to serve consumers, who's going to better serve the interest of consumers and see that they're protected, I'm content to have that argument and we'll have it respectfully.

I think that people have different points of view on how to handle individual issues with the net basket of issues and we can respectfully and civilly disagree about that. But the fact that consumers deserve to have somebody looking out for them, somebody seeing that people are playing fair, that the rules are being enforced evenly, so that the bad players can't crowd out the good players, that's an important thing in our society, that's the way markets work, that's how people are protected and benefited and that's what we stood up for at that agency.

BURNETT: Richard Cordray, thank you for your time.

CORDRRAY: my pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, the Access Hollywood tape. It's back in the news. Because it may be the only thing the president has publicly apologized for. But now, reportedly he says it isn't real. Person who broke that story next and Trump's attacks on the media, even as he's promoting conspiracy theorists.


[19:27:23] BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, President Trump and what could be a brazen lie. Tonight, the White House can't even find a way to say the boss is telling the truth. The president reportedly saying the Access Hollywood tape isn't real. The New York Times tonight reporting, "Trump suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently." And tonight, even his constantly spinning Press Secretary Sarah Sanders can't seem to find a way to back that claim up.


MATTHEW: does the president still accept the authenticity of the Access Hollywood tape that he apologized for during the campaign?

SANDERS: Look this -- the president addressed this. He's made his position clear at that time, as have the American people in his support of him.

JON DECKER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: He apologized for it, which would seem to acknowledge its authenticity. And that position hasn't changed?

SANDERS: No. Like I just said, the president hasn't changed his position.


BURNETT: OK. She says it hasn't changed. So Trump has not changed his position. So in case you're not sure what that was, well, he was very loud and clear about this one. In fact for probably the first time ever this clear. Listen for yourself.


TRUMP: I said it. I was wrong, and I apologize.


BURNETT: That was about a year ago. He admitted that he said it. And now he is saying that it wasn't authentic, so let's just listen to it again.


TRUMP: You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. I just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

BILLY BUSH, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Whatever you want?

TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You can do anything.


BURNETT: So this brazen attempt to say that the tape may not be authentic isn't authentic, left the president's press secretary today in a total tailspin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president acknowledge saying that what was on the Access Hollywood tape?

SANDERS: I said what he didn't like and what he found troubling were the accounts that are being reported now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What accounts are being reported now that weren't reported last year? What accounts are you talking about?

SANDERS: The ones that are current that he's questioning.


BURNETT: What accounts is she talking about? There was a tape on which Trump admits to talking about assaulting and harassing women. Those were the accounts then, those are the accounts now.

And OUTFRONT now, let's go to our panel here which includes Alex Burns, the New York Times political reporter who co-wrote the Times' piece about this, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, and our Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston.

[19:29:57] So Alex, you're with me. You're the one breaking this. You and your colleagues reporting the president says the Access Hollywood tape is not authentic.

[19:30:03] What is that?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's kind of the reaction that the folks who he made the comments to had, in real time, just sort of disbelief and discomfort that why is he saying this, how can he possibly be saying this? Let's try to move on.

In context, it doesn't sound any better than the way you're describing it now, that what the president essentially said is, you know, look, we're not even sure that that tape was real, we're looking into that. As far as our reporting --

BURNETT: That's what he said. We're not sure the tape is real, we're looking into it.

BURNS: That's not a verbatim quote. But that is the effect of his words, that was the paraphrase, that we were given by multiple people who heard him say things, to that effect, casting doubt on something that as you pointed out, he admitted in real time last year, where there's really no question about the factual -- the underlying facts of the matter.


BURNETT: No, there certainly isn't, not even I can't believe we're having this conversation frankly. But Billy Bush, the other person on that tape, admits the tape happened, exactly the way the tape plays out, but it did happen.

April, you were in the room today, even Sarah Sanders could not defend this, saying that he stood by what he said before, but, of course, what he said before is that it was real and he apologized, she had to say there was some new reporting about it.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, current reports, yes. The question is, when she said that, is this to head off something

that could be coming? Or is this to just downplay what's already there, the 12-plus women who are accusing this president in the midst of the president supporting Roy Moore. Sarah looked very uncomfortable in dealing with this, as well as the other big issue today, with the Native Americans.

But it's an issue that is confounding to all of us, when the president acknowledged he said it, not only that, the president even said it was locker room talk, he acknowledged it again. Billy Bush was fired for this. Tic Tac came out and made a statement on Twitter about how inappropriate this was.

You can't change history. This was spoken. We heard the president. We saw them come out of the van or the bus, whatever -- the access Hollywood vehicle, and the president met with a woman who some considered possible prey for the president after he made these comments.

It's a very confusing, confounding issue but the president has acknowledged saying it, and it also could be a smoking gun for those women who are accusing him of sexual misconduct.

BURNETT: I mean, Mark, what do you think the game is here? I mean, you know, Alex is reporting multiple people, the president's ultimate message was, we're not even sure the tape is real, we're looking into that.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, a couple things -- one, can we acknowledge that President Trump never likes to be wrong? He never likes to be at fault? He always thinks that he's right.

I think when he says it over and over and over again, he himself starts to believe it, and he wants others to believe it. Now, this is a term that we use here on TV, very often certainly since President Trump has come into office, it's called gaslighting. And what that is, is you're trying to manipulate, you know, the thoughts and take control over somebody.

And that includes denying ever saying anything, or doing anything, even though there's empirical evidence there that says you do. Constantly lying over and over again, and then really trying to get the recipient of who you're doing this to, to come under your total control. I think that he has been successful in working this kind of strategy so far in his presidency.

BURNETT: And so, Alex, what -- when the sources that you're talking to, who are saying that he's saying this, you know, currently, recently, right? How recently and what do they think his motive is, why is he saying this?

BURNS: Well, it's a comment that he's made a number of times, over a period of months. This isn't just something that he's begun saying over the last few weeks, and at least the interpretation of the folks that we spoke to for our story, it's not that there's a precise political motive at work here. But April made the comment that you can't rewrite history. The

president has a habit of trying to go back and relitigate and rewrite events where he feels like he came out on the losing end. And this is part of that pattern, and I'm not sure that it's more tactical than that.

BURNETT: So, you know, April, this is a case of the president saying something when there's -- look, it's just a fact, OK? It happened, he did it, he's admitted to doing it.

But it's not the first time. Take this example.


REPORTER: You said today you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan with 304, 306, electoral votes. In fact, President Obama got 365.


REPORTER: President Obama, 332, and George H.W. Bush, 426 when he won as president. So --

TRUMP: Well, I don't know, I was given that information. Actually, I've seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory.


BURNETT: All right. There's that, and there's, April, when he said he appeared on the cover of "TIME" magazine, which is obviously similar perhaps to this example.

[19:35:07] Here he is.


TRUMP: I have been on their cover like 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all time record in the history of "Time Magazine".


BURNETT: OK. At the time he said that, April, he'd been on 11 times. You still have Nixon who's had more, Reagan, Clinton, President Clinton and Obama have all had more. He doesn't care about the facts when he comes out and says something like this. And to many people, that becomes their reality.

RYAN: Right. Right. If you say it, perception is reality, reality is perception. You know, this president's take on reality is about his branding, to make himself. He is one of the greatest branders we've ever seen. That brand has taken him to the highest office in the land.

But the question is, can he accept history and really deal with it? He is reshaping history, and the history books say it, we got that. I mean, just look at today, you know, history shows, and I'm just going back to this piece today with the issue with the Native Americans, at the White House.

He had them in the White House and behind the backdrop was Andrew Jackson. Who was Andrew Jackson to Native Americans? Now, that's history, the truth in history is there, you know, yes, he forced the removal of Native Americans in this nation.

History is history, you cannot change it. Some people don't understand history, and, therefore, they may take what he says. When you're a student of history, and you've watched what's going on over and over for decades, and, you know, what's going on in that White House and what's true and what's not.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.

And next, Roy Moore speaking in Alabama now, and Trump coming out and talking about whether he will campaign with the accused child molester.

And, signs Trump's fired national security adviser Michael Flynn could be cutting a deal as the Russia investigation intensifies.


[19:40:28] BURNETT: Breaking news, Roy Moore holding a rally in Alabama. The first time we are hearing directly from the Republican Senate candidate in days. The election is just about two weeks away.

Alexander Marquardt is in Henagar, Alabama.

Alex, Moore's campaign was very clear at the beginning of this event tonight. There would be no questions, no disturbances whatsoever. So, Moore gave his speech and took no questions.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No questions, this was a rally for his supporters and right off the top, he acknowledged the fact that this has been what he called a grueling race, he said that he has been ready for the end for a while. Now, he addressed these allegations by now, eight women head on, calling them false, malicious and a sign of immorality in our time.

And he said the effort to get him out of the race has been led by the establishment. That's a reference to GOP senators and in particular, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who have asked him to step down and leave the race.

Take a listen.


ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: They're aware of my past. They're aware that I'm difficult to manage, which means I've got my own mind. I don't follow the people. And they don't want that. They don't want that in Washington, whether it's Democrats or Republican. They want to do what they've been doing for many years and not get anything done. After that, we've seen malicious and false attacks.


MARQUARDT: That's what we've been hearing from a lot of Moore supporters here, in particular, speaking with a conservative activist today. A Moore supporter who said Alabamians hate it when Washington gets involved, when they are told what to do, when they are told how to vote. She said that the voters are only being fired up, that the base is only being energized.

And I also asked this person, I've asked many people here why they would prefer to have an alleged child molester in the Senate, than a Democrat like Doug Jones. She said because they want to see their conservative agenda advanced. They want to see President Trump's agenda advanced in the Senate. And Doug Jones can't help them do that -- Erin.

BURNETT: And, Alex, thank you.

And let's go to Bill Kristol now. He's with me, editor at large with "The Weekly Standard", former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle.

Your reaction of voters telling Alex, look, we care about the agenda. We don't care if he's a child molester. And you're going to rile up the base with all of these allegations.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I mean, the allegations were made by citizens of Alabama, women living in Alabama, about what happened in Alabama, and no one has credibly challenged, the bulk of all of them really, certainly the original ones, and Moore hasn't. He just says, well, they're lying, but he won't sit down for an interview and explain what happened and maybe explain that he made some mistakes and he regrets it.

I mean, that would have been one way to go, right? That would have given people plausible, I wouldn't have liked it, but people would have had a plausible way to say, you know, look, he's changed, it's 40 years ago, it's a different person. But he hasn't done that, he's just flat out lied. I mean, can we just say that?


KRISTOL: And if people in Alabama, whether they want to feel sorry for themselves that someone like me is sitting in New York with you saying that Roy Moore is a liar, but he has lied about it. It's perfectly evident he's lied about it. That they want to elect someone who's lied about that kind of thing, for what? To give Donald Trump a 52nd vote instead of a 51st vote in the Senate? I mean, what are they talking about even? What are they saying?

BURNETT: So, you know, what is the significance of a long time senator, Richard Shelby?


BURNETT: He has said he voted absentee. He has said he did not vote for Roy Moore.


BURNETT: Presumably, he wrote in somebody else, that's just my assumption. Does that matter, Richard Shelby? He's a long time senator from that state.

KRISTOL: Yes, I think it would. I think someone like him matters more than people from out of state, obviously. I wish more people from Alabama would step up. More people maybe from the region, which would step up. It would be interesting if Shelby really made a pitch to voters there and said, look, really, this is an embarrassment for Alabama if this man represents us in the U.S. Senate.

I'm not for Democrats and I'll fight with Doug Jones on some issues. But it's one thing to have someone you don't agree with on policy. There's something really sick, I mean, honestly, there's something little sick about taking policy differences or party differences. Doug Jones isn't even that liberal a Democrat. But even so, if here, and making those --

BURNETT: They call him an extreme liberal.


KRISTOL: Yes, on some issues he's more liberal than certainly Alabama Democrats would like. But I know he's a tough prosecutor and stuff, but whatever. I mean, there's nothing weird, sort of sick about taking policy differences and letting them Trump fundamental judgments about someone's character.

BURNETT: Using the word Trump, the president, of course, has come out and said, you know, look, Moore says it didn't happen, so I guess it didn't happen.

[19:45:06] He's clearly endorsing him, but he's now saying he doesn't have the time to go campaign for him.

KRISTOL: Still, he's all in really at this point for Moore. He's endorsed him and for me, the question is about people like Mitch McConnell and others. People in Alabama simply said, we don't like Democrats. The fact is, if every Republican senator said, not only we're distancing ourselves from Roy Moore, Republican Senatorial Committee is supporting Roy Moore, that you should vote against -- you should not vote for Roy Moore, you should vote for someone else.

Maybe you don't have to vote for Doug Jones, vote for the write-in candidate, this attractive marine colonel, retired marine colonel, Lee Busby, stepped forward. Don't -- I mean, if they affirmatively say, you really should -- we are Republicans. We carry as much as you do, believe me, about the Republican agenda.

Mitch McConnell does care quite of a lot about -- he's gone to quite a lot of effort to support Trump's nominees and get them through and past attacks and so forth. I care about that and a lot of other senators could step up and say that including Rick Shelby, don't send us Roy Moore. If they send Roy Moore, it's a disaster for the Republican Party, I think.

He's there -- as they're not going to -- I doubt if they'll expel him. Maybe they'll try to. That would itself be incredibly divisive. I hope they do. I think go ahead with hearings, try to consider expelling him. But if they don't do that, he is there, and he becomes the face of the Republican Party for 2018.

BURNETT: Yes. Well, which, of course, is -- would be a very bad thing for the Republican Party coming into midterms.

Thank you.

And next, new details about Michael Flynn and the Russia investigation. Is Flynn cutting a deal with the special prosecutor?

And Trump tweeting out a link to a list of his accomplishments. The problem is that link connects you to a page run by a conspiracy theorist who just days ago peddled the idea of a Hillary Clinton sex tape.


[19:50:06] BURNETT: Tonight, could Michael Flynn be cooperating with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, in the Russia investigation? This is a huge question because there's news Flynn's legal team has stopped communication with President Trump's team, adding to the speculation that the former national security adviser for the president could be eyeing a plea deal. That would be a major move.

And Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the legal fate of Michael Flynn, once both U.S. national security adviser and loyal supporter of President Trump --

MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: For Donald J. Trump to be the next president of the United States.

SCIUTTO: -- is an open question.

Flynn's attorneys have cut off ties with Trump's legal team and other defense lawyers, involved in the ongoing Russia probe, telling them they would no longer share information as they have been doing for months. That change could mean that Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors, or negotiating a deal that could end with Flynn pleading guilty.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: When Flynn notifies the others in the group, I'm no longer aligned. It means he's got something different going on. In this case, it's either plea negotiations or plea negotiations and cooperation agreement.

SCIUTTO: At the same time, President Trump's lawyer is putting new distance between General Flynn and the president, stating: It's important to remember that General Flynn received his security clearance under the Obama administration.

Notwithstanding that it was Donald Trump that named Flynn his national security adviser.

FLYNN: As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.

SCIUTTO: Sources interviewed by the special counsel tell CNN that Flynn is under scrutiny for failing to disclose paid lobbying he performed during the presidential campaign on behalf of the Turkish government. And for failing to report payments he received from the Russian government, including during a trip to Moscow in 2015, in which he appeared alongside Russian president, Vladimir Putin, at a lavish banquet.

Flynn's son, Michael Flynn Jr., was directly involved in his work for both Turkey and Russia, opening himself to legal scrutiny as well. CNN has learned General Flynn is now deeply concerned about his son's potential legal exposure.

In addition, Flynn may be under scrutiny for making false statements to the FBI, while serving as national security adviser, Flynn told FBI investigators that he did not discuss U.S. sanctions on Russia with then Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, a position that Vice President-elect Pence echoed at the time in an interview with CBS.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose a censure.

SCIUTTO: But when investigators pressed him, Flynn changed his answer to say that he didn't remember. That episode led to his ouster from the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your hand, please.

SCIUTTO: Concern that he had lied to the FBI, then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates made this stunning judgment.

SALLY YATES, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: We believe that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians.


SCIUTTO: A key witness to the special counsel's investigation of Flynn, the former CIA director, James Woolsey, who also advised the Trump campaign, actually showed up at Mar-a-Lago this weekend for dinner with President Trump. "Politico" first to report that, and had a lengthy conversation with the president. Woolsey's spokesman would only say that Woolsey has served multiple presidents, Erin, and has never shared the contents of his conversations with them.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And next, Trump touting his many achievements. The problem was that in doing that, he including a link to a Website run by a conspiracy theorist, you know, the one who's talking about a Hillary Clinton sex tape.


[19:56:59] BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump stepping up his attacks on the free press, today tweeting: we should have a contest as to which of the networks, plus CNN and not including FOX, is the most dishonest, corrupt, and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite president, me. They're all bad. Winner to receive the fake news trophy. Yet at the same time, the president I president is endorsing a far-

right conspiracy publication that has peddled deeply anti-Semitic views.

Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump wins tons of praise from his favorite shows on FOX.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: You guys want to start with good news? We do have some good news.

TRUMP: Go ahead.

HANNITY: You don't get a lot of good news in the media.

TRUMP: Well, you don't get so much.

STELTER: But sometimes he wants more. Enter MAGA Pill. It's a website that pushes links to right-wing conspiracies about the Seth Rich murder, pizzagate, and John Podesta's e-mails.

The story starts here on Twitter. Over the holiday weekend, Trump tweeted a promo for FOX and a dig at CNN, and then he apparently scrolled through the replays, where he saw MAGA Pill. That's short for Make America Great Again Pill. The site was cheering him and touting his accomplishments.

Trump was impressed, tweeted in response, wow, even I didn't realize we did so much. Wish the fake news would report.

Oh, really? MAGA Pill was just an obscure, pro-Trump aggregator of articles. But with a presidential thumbs up, its web server crashed.

And the president was criticized for, once again, promoting a source of conspiracy theories.

CLAIRE WARD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FIRST DRAFT: A lot of these sites are powerful, because there's a kernel of truth. When you look at it, a lot of it is conspiratorial and a lot of it is demonstrably false. These conspiracy-laden charts, they are extreme fringe.

Now, we don't know if Trump clicked through to the site or fact checked any of its claims, but promoting a little-known big fan like MAGA Pill has been a theme of Trump's first year in office. He calls real news fake --

TRUMP: You're fake news.

STELTER: While propping up illegitimate sources.

A year ago today, Trump claimed that millions of people had voted illegally. His voter fraud panel has found no proof of that.

And you know his other conspiracy theories: President Obama's birthplace, Muslims celebrating on 9/11, Ted Cruz's father and JFK. Wiretaps during the campaign, with reporters constantly scrutinizing Trump's fact free claims, web entrepreneurs see a market opportunity.

That's why MAGA Pill was tweeting at the president. And today a new assault on the press, Trump tweeting that he wants to hold a fake news contest, complete with a trophy. Hmm, there's a contender for that title living right here.


STELTER: And all of this, the attacks against the real news outlets, the promotion of these random Websites, the suggestion the "Access Hollywood" tape could have been faked, all of it goes to that uncomfortable question that Bob Corker and others have raised, is he fit for office or is something wrong at the White House?

BURNETT: Right. Thank you very much, Brian.

And thanks very much to all of you.

"AC360" begins now.