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Trump Congratulates Putin; GOP Sen. Flake Begs Trump Not To Fire Mueller; Stormy Daniels Mocks Trump In Tweet About Alleged Relationship; Stormy Daniels Polygraph Test Released as Ex-Playboy Model Sues; Washington Post: Trump Warned in Capital Letters "Do Not Congratulate Putin;" Whistleblower: Data Firm May Have Aided Russian Interference. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 20, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:16] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next. The President congratulates Putin for sham election and doesn't confront him for meddling in the U.S. politics.

Plus, Republican warns Trump if he fires Bob Mueller only constitutional remedy is impeachment. That's from the GOP.

And Stormy Daniels passes a polygraph test as a another woman who said she had an affair with Trump fights to tell her story talking about being paid a whole lot of money right before the election. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump congratulates Putin. The President picking up the phone telling reporters today, that he called President Putin to congratulate him on winning his fourth 6-year term as President of Russia.

It was a landslide. It was claims of course of lies spread voting fraud and mass ballot stuffing as you can see there. In this video, you can see what's happening. We have not confirmed its authenticity it is from the Associated Press. But the President says that Putin's win is worthy of congratulations.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future so that we can discuss arms. We can discuss the arms race.


BURNETT: Congratulations and the arms race. But President Trump did not call Putin out for a rigged undemocratic election.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why doesn't the President or the White House believe that's something that they should be discussing with the Russian leader? SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I didn't say we couldn't discuss it with the Russian leader. I say, it didn't come up on today's call.


BURNETT: Didn't come up on today's call, which was a congratulations call about the rigged election. Which is a really big double standard for this administration because consider what the President has said about another dictator closer to home. Here's statement on Venezuela last summer. This is a quote from the President's statement. "The United States once again calls for free and fair elections and stands with the people of Venezuela and their quest to restore their country to a full and prosperous democracy." So free and fair elections is matter incorrect (ph), yes, but not in Moscow.

The President's congratulations call did not sit well with Senator John McCain, who has called Putin a thug and a murderer. Tonight he is reaping in to the President. McCain tweeting, An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators and winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen it was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.

But, wait, maybe there's an explanation. Maybe the President used the phone calls an opportunity to call him out for his current attacks on the U.S. midterm elections or for poisoning former spy who lived in the U.K., America's closest ally. Did he?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Neither the White House readout of that phone call with Putin nor the Kremlin's readout says anything about election meddling. Did the President not raise the issue of Russian election meddling in that phone call?

SANDERS: I don't believe it came up on the specific call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Election meddling didn't come up in the call. I'm curious did the recent poisoning in the United Kingdom come up in the call?

SANDERS: I don't believe that was discussed in today's call.


BURNETT: OK. I don't believe that was discussed. It's a pretty damming admission considering people in Trump's own administration are publicly criticizing Russia for its election meddling and likely poison attack. Here's the President own U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley on the poisoning.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: If we don't take immediate concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used. They could be used here in New York or cities in any country that sits on this council.


BURNETT: So the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Trump's ambassador, says that Putin could use chemical weapons in New York, but President Trump doesn't even mention the poison attack to President Putin. And Trump doesn't bring up Putin's U.S. election meddling even though his own Intelligence Chief say Putin is attacking the U.S. midterm elections right now.


DAN COATS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that it's past efforts has successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.

MIKE POMPEO, DIRECTOR, CIA: We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have impact on the next election cycle here.


BURNETT: So why did Trump congratulate Putin? And not confront him on anything? That gets to the heart of the question facing this country and Trump's presidency. And Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT live at the White House tonight to begin our coverage.

Ryan, the White House is on the defense over this call after Russian released the details of the conversation first before the President even talked about it.

[19:05:03] RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Erin, in fact, the White House didn't officially acknowledge that the call took place until the President was asked about it during the Oval Office pray with the crowned prince of Saudi Arabia.

And as you very smartly point out today, there was so much in this call that was not a part of this conversation between the two leaders. They did not discuss Russia's attempt to meddle in the election in 2016. They did not discuss the nerve agent attack. Instead the White House put out a very brief paragraph statement where they said that the two leaders discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula. They talked about a shared concern about global security and a couple other things. But these big huge issues that seem to be dividing both the United States and Russia were not brought up.

And then when Sarah Sanders talk to the podium at around 2:00 today and pressed on these big issues, she said it was just not brought up and didn't have an explanation as to why. So the big question now is, Erin, you heard the President himself say that he is making plans to sit down and meet face-to-face with Vladimir Putin in the near future. He didn't say exactly when that was going to take place. Will that be the opportunity for him to bring up some of these big, important issues between these two countries? Because at this point, this opportunity had to do it today just did not take place. Erin.

BURNETT: Certainly did not. And it was as good of an opportunity as you're going to get. Thank you, very much, Ryan.

And OUTFRONT now, Phil Mudd former FBI Senior Intelligence Advisor and former CIA Counterterror Official, Juliette Kayyem a former Assistance Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security and retired Rear Admiral, John Kirby who is also the former U.S. State Department's spokesperson and, of course, also was at the Pentagon. Thanks to all.

Phil, so Putin picks up the phone and it's Trump calling him to say, hey, congratulations. And that appears to be about it.

PHIL MUDD, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: You know, there's two pieces to this I found simply baffling. I thought I had seen everything. Let's take the two pieces. That is election meddling and poisoning. Every agency around town, the Treasury Department has sanctions the Russians, including with some tough language.

We had the Department of Justice indictments based on the FBI investigation meddling in elections. We have the State Department, Rex Tillerson now almost gone, was tough on the Russians. All in the Intel chiefs talk about the Russians. You would think the President of the United States had directed them to be tough, but instead it's the oddest thing I've ever seen. He comes out and says nothing about the kind of stuff that his agencies are attacking the Russians on.

The second thing I'd say is, post World War II our best ally is the Brits. Can you imagine having an attempted murder on your soil and your closest ally calling the individual responsible for that attempted murder and forgetting to mention because it didn't come up. Do you think Putin is going to raise it? I mean, it reaches a level of bizarre that I can't figure out. It makes no makes no sense to me.

BURNETT: Admiral Kirby, does that make sense to you? Don't bring up meddling, by the way, we're not even talking about bringing up meddling in the presidential election. The meddling that's happening right now that Trump's own Intel Chief say is happening right now in the midterms that are currently in progress.


BURNETT: And, of course, the poisoning, why not bring them up?

KIRBY: Yes. I don't know. And I agree with Phil. It is absolutely confounding that he wouldn't do this. And can you imagine Prime Minister May didn't make a call today obviously. Can you imagine if the situation was reversed if she hadn't talked about say poisoning of somebody in the United States? Of course she would do that.

But look, every one of these phone calls is not just an obligation and there is no obligation necessarily to call. But they are an opportunity. And this is -- you have you to keep everything in time and space and the context within which this election took place and what's going on here in our country. This was a prime opportunity for him to raise the 2018 elections coming up and what we want Russia to do and do not do. And he missed that opportunity.

And I, you know, I heard Ryan when you first came on with him, Erin, and I got to tell you, I just don't see even when he sits down with Putin, Trump even bringing up election interference or what's going on in the midterms that are coming up. I just don't see it happening.

BURNETT: Juliette, I mean, you know, McCain slammed President Trump for calling Putin, right --


BURNETT: -- from his own party. And the majority leader of his own party who has been is very sort of criticize him on something did criticize him for the congratulatory call. Here's Senator McConnell.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: When I look at a Russian election, what I see is the lack of credibility and tallying the results. Calling him wouldn't have been high on my list.


BURNETT: What does it say to you, Juliette? Members of the President's own party are coming out against the President on this?

KAYYEM: It may be they're losing a little bit of patience. It's also very hard to defend at this stage. Because before you get to the substance of it, what did Donald Trump and his team think was going to happen when they called Putin? Did they really think that Putin was not going to turn around immediately and set the conditions of what the conversation were about and tell the public so that we are now on as the United States, forget the Trump people, the United States citizens, were on defense having to sort of sort of like say, oh, well, you know, that call actually did happen.

[19:10:09] Putin either played him or they just, you know, did not know that or got played by Putin, Trump people, but on the substance of it, it is so important not just about the past, 2016, or even the poisoning which just happened just a couple of days ago. This was a prime opportunity to set the stage for 2018. And I think about this from the Homeland Security perspective as well.

We have a couple dozen states that are now acknowledging that the Russians tried to get into their system or at least Russian affiliated attempts into their systems. We have left the homeland completely exposed.

Now, is it collusion between Trump and Putin? I don't know. But I will say at this stage, Trump is an enabler. He is absolute enabler of what 2Putin is doing to this homeland and democratic processes. And he gets played. And at some stage you got to believe he wants to get played. I mean, Trump just want to get played.

BURNETT: I mean his own Department Homeland Security talked about the U.S grid haven't been completely compromised that the Russians could have turned the whole thing off.

KAYYEM: Yes, that's right.

BURNETT: You know, that they basically chose not to do so. That didn't come up. Even though his own Department of Homeland Security put that report out.

And on this, just basic issue, Phil, about a free and fair election, right, just the most basic part about all of this, the congratulations part. 2Sarah Sanders was pressed on whether Russia's election was actually fair. And she couldn't even answer that question. And I want to play that for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the White House believe that the election in Russia was free and fair?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, in terms of the election, they're -- we're focused on our elections. We don't get to dictate how other countries operate. What we do know is that Putin has been elected in their country. And that's not something that we can dictate to them how they operate.


BURNETT: Phil, it just doesn't add up. The vice president is going to be giving a speech tomorrow on Venezuela calling on them to call free and fair elections. You just read President Trump's own statement calling for free and fair elections in Venezuela.

So the facts are, they're perfectly happy to call for that in that case. But they did not in the case of Putin.

MUDD: It does add up. If you look at what the President has done with strong message (ph) since he came in to office, let me give you some examples, horrific human rights record in Philippines. We don't talk about it. Questionable, at best human right record in Egypt, this is one of our favorite people now. General Sisi, really questionable human rights record in Turkey. President calls him and congratu -- they are the one, the leader of Turkey, and congratulates him on the election.

The message we get is pretty simple, if you can put a thumb on your people and stamp out decent, we don't care about your elections, we're good with you, that's the message from the Oval Office.

BURNETT: I mean, it's -- which is pretty scary when you think about what the United States does and the example of Venezuela is an example what we have traditionally done. Admiral, I have to ask you though, the French President Emmanuel Macron who is loudly called out for the poising which, of course, Trump has not, also called Putin after his win. Now, the French state wasn't congratulation's call, Macron did bring up things like the poisoning, but he did call him.

KIRBY: Right,

BURNETT: And President Obama called Putin after his last win when he was just as much of aristocrat and a dictator as he is now. He did take longer to do it than Trump but he did call. Is it any different?

KIRBY: Yes, it is different. Erin, it's a lot different. So, let's go back to the Obama call in 2012. First of all, if you read his statement he didn't congratulate Putin. He congratulated the Russian people on completing a presidential election, not a free and fair election, just completing an election. And the rest of the statement was pretty carefully worded. But that was 2012. That was before Putin invaded Ukraine. It was before Putin decided to prop up Bashar al-Assad with military weaponry. It was before Putin decided to interfere, not meddle, interfere in the U.S 2016 election. You have to take it in space and time. And the situation in 2018 is radically different in 2012.

In 2012, oh by the way, we were trying to help get the Iran deal negotiated and we needed Russia's help. We're also trying to get a U.N peace process going in Syria, we needed Russia's help. So the situation was radically different.

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

And next, the Republican senator warns Trump of impeachment if he fires Bob Mueller. A Republican, as the White House defends the President's attacks on the investigation.

Plus more legal troubles piling up for the President. That's Stormy Daniels taking a polygraph test and it turns out that it said she is telling the truth.

And another woman, tonight, now suing. So she can talk about her alleged affair with Trump for which she received a whole lot of money just before the election to be quiet about.

And Ben Carson throwing his wife under the bus in explaining that $31,000 table tab.


[19:18:25] BURNETT: Breaking news, Republican Senator Jeff Flake begging President Trump not to fire Bob Mueller. Warning of impeachment if he does. Flake twitting, "We are begging the President not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment. No one wants that outcome. Mr. President, please don't go there."

That coming as the White House defends President Trump's repeated attacks on the special counsel, Bob Mueller while insisting that even though he attacks him, he doesn't plan to fire him.


SANDERS: If he had been attacked mercilessly and continuously, day in, day out, every single second while you're trying to work hard to do good things for this country. And literally every day you wake up to an onslaught of people saying that you're there because of reasons that are completely false, that's frustrating. And certainly I think fair for him to be frustrated.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why doesn't he push for the firing of Robert Mueller, everything is approach that become in the first place, if he things the whole thing is a witch hunt, why doesn't he push for the firing?

SANDERS: Well, we're going to continue to be cooperative and we would like this to wrap up soon. We don't feel like that's the most productive step forward.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, former Federal Prosecutor Glen Donath represented former President Clinton during his impeachment hearings in the Monica Lewinski investigation. He also represents a client who has been before the special counsel in connection with the Manafort gate Ukraine allegations. Also with me former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean.

John, the White House says it would not be productive to fire Bob Mueller, but it's totally OK to, you know, delegitimize his investigation by calling his efforts a witch hunt, how do those two things square?

[19:20:12] JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, I think what we're witnessing, Erin, is the difference between cutting somebody off at the knees which would be firing and slowly choking them, which is what we're seeing here. In other words killing him slowly with withholding information, bad mouthing him, trying to trash him, having surrogates do so. And I think that's the effort here is they don't want to risk the firing, but they're willing to proceed with this slow strangulation, if you will.

BURNETT: It's an interesting analogy. I mean Glen, you've defended a president during impeachment hearings. If Jeff Flake write in his tweet that firing Mueller would cause a constitutional crisis and lead to impeachment.

GLEN DONATH, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR BILL CLINTON: Erin, thank you for having me. It's great to be here. I think so. I hope so. I don't know. I don't know where the Republican leadership is on all this right now. It's hard to say.

I would add to John's comments, you know, I think it was 11 days ago, maybe a week and a half ago where President Trump said he wasn't going to make changes to his legal defense team, and yet yesterday we see new entrance and perhaps Mr. Dowd departing. So, seemingly whatever the White House says on any day is only as good as the next decision. So, I don't know if a constitution crisis would ensue or it should.

BURNETT: So, John, you know, into the point that Glen made. The president is, you know, changing, bulking up his legal team, right? Is Glen's referring to Joe DiGenova who the president we learned hired yesterday? We learned yesterday about. Now we're learning he's reaching out again to Ted Olson, one of the nation's top litigators, former solicitor general for President George W. Bush. But we've learned Olson said no.

So is this a sign Trump is worried about his current legal team, right. I mean, its, you know, because he called "The New York Times" fake news when they report that he was going to add something --


BURNETT: -- and of course he went and did just that.

DEAN: It certainly doesn't give his current legal team a lot of confidence if they have longevity in their jobs. They've already had the experienced the difficulty of a difficult client, which he is. And the addition he's made of Joe DiGenova is interesting.

Joe is always a zealot advocate for any client he represents. And I think he was sort of auditioning for the job on Fox News before he got it by raising this conspiracy theory approach to what's going on now that very little bearing on the facts of what is actually occurring. So, I think his president's legal team, you know, I don't know if they're going to be there tomorrow or not. I would think some of them are be inclined to leave given the treats that they're getting.

BURNETT: Which is an interesting point Glen, I mean, you know Ted Olson. What do you make of the fact that he has said no to joining the president's team?

DONATH: Well, as my understanding from President Ford's, Erin, it's not the first time he said no. I think that, you know, Ted is his career has been characterized obviously he served at the highest level of justice department solicitor general. He's a thoroughly decent civil advocate.

He's a rock Republican, but, you know, I think as John said, he would be confronted with representing a very difficult client here who can't be controlled. I can't imagine the audition of Mr. DiGenova to the team sort of increased the likelihood that Ted would want to join a team where you have somebody who's accused FBI agents and potentially prosecutors of being part after deep state, a group of sort of crooks and liars and traders that's not Ted's style. And I think to John's point to sort of instability of having lawyers on one hand go before the special counsel and try to negotiate terms of interview while somebody else on the --


DONATH: -- legal defense team is calling them crooks and liars doesn't work.

BURNETT: I mean Trump has been getting a lot of criticism for his attacks on Mueller, obviously. But, you know what's interesting, we actually went back and looked at some old interviews from 1998 right back when we're talking about the Clinton impeachment. It's not much different than what Bill Clinton's team was saying about Ken Starr who was investigating. I wan to play Hillary Clinton and former senior counselor to Bill Clinton Paul Begala, here's what they were saying in 1998. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: When we see day after day, leak after leak, lie after lie, which may very well be coming from Mr. Starr's operation. I think it does merit independent inquiry.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain. Is this vast right wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.


BURNETT: I mean, if you switched the names, Glen, it's amazing. May be that's why they hate each other so much. I mean she sounds a whole lot like Trump. I mean is he really just doing what anybody would do? Talk about a vast, fill in the bank, left the right wing conspiracy, or is this different?

DONATH: No, it's a great question and its fair point, Erin. I think it is standard operating procedure when defending against a criminal investigation to sort of try to muddy up the goodwill of the prosecutor in every criminal case and certainly in --


DONATH: -- special counsel investigations.

[19:25:04] It is different here. You didn't see President Clinton sort of tweeting and making public statements all the time about a witch hunt. You didn't see attacks of the nature we're seeing. And importantly nothing has happened yet in this investigation with respect to Mr. Trump. No allegations have been leveled by the Special Counsel. He hasn't been interviewed. Things might well break his way, and yet he's acting like he's about to be indicted.

That signals, I think too many people a consciousness of guilt and at the very least an erratic sensibility that's where this is going. And that's what I think is very different.

BURNETT: Well, it certainly signal that to the Republican ahead of the House Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy, that's for sure. Thank you both very much.

And next, the results of Stormy Daniels lie detector test had been released. There she is while taking it. What did she say about Donald Trump and their alleged relationship? By the way, the polygraph said she's telling the truth.

Plus caught on tape, a data firm executive bragging on hidden camera that his company did essentially everything guarantee Trump's election as President of the United States and met with the President himself.


BURNETT: Breaking news, Stormy Daniels speaking out on Twitter responding to a tweet that she should go away, tweeting, quote, "Technically I didn't sleep with the POTUS 12 years ago. There was no sleeping, hehe, and he was just a goofy reality T.V. star. But I digress. People do care that he lied about it, had me bullied, broke laws to cover it up, et cetera. And PS, I am not going anywhere."

This after Daniels' attorney released the results of a polygraph that she took in 2011 about her story of her time with the President. According to the report, she told the truth about having unprotected sex with Donald Trump in 2006. Now, remember, this is important because she was paid $130,000 just days before the election by the President's personal attorney to sign a nondisclosure agreement to not disclose details about her alleged a fair wit affair with Trump.

But Trump's problems don't stop there. Former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal tonight now suing to get out of the deal requiring her to keep quiet about her own alleged affair with Trump.

Now, this is important, American Media, which is the owner of "The National Enquirer" paid McDougal $150,000 for her story and then squashed it. They didn't run it. It's a practice known as catch, take a story in, and kill it because you don't want anyone else to run it either.

The owner of American Media is David Picker, a long time and close friend of the president. This payment happened just three months before the election.

MJ Lee is OUTFRONT with all of these developments.

And, MJ, obviously, all of this is very crucial as we talk about whether this money was paid to influence the election, which would be a violation of federal election law, the results of this polygraph test when it comes to Stormy Daniels is a big deal.

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It is a big deal because this is the first time that we're actually seeing the details of that polygraph test. And just to remind you, this was for an reminder that Stormy Daniels did with "Life and Style" magazine back in 2011. They interviewed her. And then to try to determine whether she was telling the truth about Donald Trump, they made her take this polygraph test.

Now, two questions that she was asked specifically in this test. One, did you have vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump in July of 2006? Two, did you have unprotected sex with Donald Trump at the same time? And she answered yes to both.

And an according to the person who administered this test, he says that there was no reason to question that she was telling the truth. There is also video of this test being taken. Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, saying that he actually paid $25,000 to be in possession of this video. And he says so this can be kept safely during this litigation so that it's not altered or destroyed.

BURNETT: So, obviously, that's significant because this whole litigation is about her being able to tell her story and the nondisclosure agreement, which we now know was David Dennison, the other signatory is indeed Donald Trump. There is another development for the president today, and this is third one, a defamation suit filed against him by one of the women who is accusing him of sexual assault, not consensual affair, sexual assault, is now allowed to proceed.

LEE: That's right. This is Summer Zervos. She is former contestant on "The Apprentice", and, yes, she did accused President Trump of having sexually assaulted her back in 2007, on several occasions, in New York City, when she says that he kissed her twice on the lips and then another incident in Beverly Hills where she says that he kissed her aggressively and touched her breasts.

Now, remember, she had filed a defamation suit against Donald Trump and the lawyers for Donald Trump wanted this to it be either dismissed or for there to be continuance until Trump leaves office. Well, a New York judge today saying neither of those things is going to happen. The lawsuit will continue. And Donald Trump now has ten days to respond.

BURNETT: All right. MJ, thank you very much.

Obviously significant developments, three of them on this front tonight. Our chief political correspondent Gloria Borger is OUTFRONT, and former prosecutor, Wendy Murphy, also joins me.

Gloria, the polygraph is out, let's start with that. It generates more headlines on this. Stormy Daniels is fighting it back in a tweet, saying, I was bullied, I was threatened, I'm not going to go away. And it does appear this story is going anywhere, because you now even have yet another women saying that she was paid by essentially a close friend of the president and he quashed the story. So, it raises more questions about election law.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And then you have on Summer Zervos, you know, this ruling that there's no presidential immunity which leads me to think back to the Paula Jones case. And this judge, in fact, cited the Paula Jones case saying nobody is above the law which Bill Clinton discovered. And I think that is what Donald Trump is going to discover.

So, suddenly, you have this story which was a Stormy Daniels story which was on a low boil, and then you have these other stories now adding to that boil, and at some point, you're going to have to have a president of the United States who actually addresses not only the behavior -- I mean, put that aside, some people discount it, oh, that's just Donald Trump, not only the behavior, but the question of payoffs, of hush money, of threats.

I think these issues are going to have to become discussed in the political arena, not only by the president himself, but also by the president's political supporters.

BURNETT: I mean, because, Wendy, it would mean now there is going to be some sort of questions the president has to answer if you look at the Summer Zervos case, right? He's not immune. WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. And great news from that judge

to just apply the law correctly against the most powerful man in the world.

[19:35:06] I was so pleased to see that. And I don't have an opinion about the case. I'm just saying I like it when somebody in the position of power is held to account. He can defend himself but he's got to answer the charge. I love that the judge did that.

And this is not a partisan issue. Let's be clear, I'm a nonpartisan. I was just as happy that Bill Clinton was being held to account, and we all had to think about violence against women in that vein because sexual access to women's body in particular has been bipartisan male entitlement. We have to make sure all of these abusive men in position of power are held to account. So, a very good day for women in this country.

BURNETT: When you talk about Bill Clinton, and, Gloria, you raised the point that the judge today in the Summer Zervos case and the president was not immune raise the Paula Jones example. There was an op-ed in "The Washington Post" by Richard Cohen that caught my attention. I thought he had a good analogy. He talked about Ernest Hemingway's "The Snow of Kilimanjaro": and how the character got a scratch, and then, you know, things happened. The plane didn't show up, the jeep didn't show up. It was just one scratch, right, but he got gangrene and died, all right?

And analogy that he's making here is that Stormy Daniels could be the scratch. That could be one becomes the big problem for Trump's presidency? Is Cohen right?

BORGER: Well, he could be. I mean, it's too early. Obviously, the president has a lot of scratches right now. He's got the Russia investigation that's going on which hangs over him and has hung over him. This question of --

BURNETT: I'd say that's more of a cut, right?

BORGER: Right. But that's on a different level. That's a political level. Where politicians can jump in and say don't fire Mueller. That would be the wrong thing to do, et cetera.

The politicians in his own party, they're not talking about this at this point. They're not touching this. Paul Ryan at one point said that's not on my radar. I'm not going to go near it.

At a certain point, if this grows even larger, we have Stormy Daniels being -- you know, the lie detector test. We have her being interviewed by Anderson on "60 Minutes" on Sunday. And the questions from where did the money from the payoff come from? We know that Sam Nunberg has been asked about that by FBI investigators.

So, suddenly, you know, it's a question of how meaningful does this come to the president's political future. We don't know the answer to that.

BURNETT: We don't know.

But, Wendy, what we do know also today, right, Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 days before the election, right, in October of 2016. And now, Karen McDougal says she was paid by "The National Enquirer," which, of course, is controlled by a close friend of the president's $150,000 to basically get her story in exchange for her not telling anybody else.

Do you think that this is a pattern, that there were more payments like this? Because the more there are, the more it raises the question about election violation?

MURPHY: Yes. I mean, I'm sure there are more. Just too many women have already come forward with stories and we don't know the details about how many of them were paid. If so, how much, by whom, what -- you know, how close in proximity to the election is really critical. Because the closer to the election, the greater the chance that investigators will say that's a campaign finance violation.

See, the defense to that would be, and it's fine to assert this, that President Trump or somebody working on his behalf would have made the payments anyway to protect his personal privacy, to protect his family from knowing that he was doing these things. That's a defense.

Even if you make the payments to the benefit of the candidate, if the payments would have been made anyway, defense, might not be any charges.


BORGER: That's what Michael Cohen said.

MURPHY: That's right.

But the more there are, the hardest it is to make that claim.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And, of course, admitting they exist is admitting NDA, which you can't do. So that's a whole level of complexity.

OK. Breaking news on a story we just brought you. This is a very significant development, get ready for this. The president's call with Putin, obviously, remember, we talked about that a moment ago. Well, "Washington Post" has a new report out right now, reporting that the president was given a briefing material before the call. And it was very specific. It had in all capital letters warnings from his national security advisers again in all caps, quote, do not congratulate. Yet that is the first thing the president said he did.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future so that we can discuss arms. We can discuss the arms race.


BURNETT: OK. So, the first thing that he did was congratulate. They had it in all caps not to do so.

The talking points that he was given by his national security team also instructed the president to condemn President Putin for poisoning of the former spy who lived in the U.K. Obviously, the press secretary of the White House has confirmed that did not happen, didn't come up, didn't bring it up.

OUTFRONT now, Josh Dawsey, reporter with "The Washington Post" who broke this story.

Josh, I have to say this was pretty incredible. He was told directly not to do it in all caps before the call, do not congratulate.

JOSH DAWSEY, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Right. Well, the president is given two different things. He was given a written briefing and then he's given an oral briefing. Our reporting indicates in the written briefing, he was told in all caps, as we reported, do not congratulate. In the oral briefing before his call with Vladimir Putin that was not reiterated.

And then when the president got on the phone with the Russian president, he immediately congratulated him on his election. Obviously, inside the White House, it's contentious whether this was a free and fair election. The meeting in the president's national security (INAUDIBLE) do not think so. But the president as he did with the Turkish president, China president, he congratulated him on being able to be president for eternity, and even joked maybe we should try that in the United States. He often does want to deliver these congratulations.

BURNETT: All right. So the other point you report is that the briefing, the written briefing, I believe you are going to say, but please clarify, that the president was told to condemn the poisoning of the former Russian spy on U.K. soil. Obviously the president did no such thing in the call. But tell me more about that and how you learned about that.

DAWSEY: Correct. In the briefing, there was material on condemning this attack. Obviously, world has condemned it, kind of soured relationships between the Russia and Great Britain. The president did not condemn the attack, and the call with Vladimir Putin today. He was also in the briefing. There was material about Syria and North Korea. In the White House official readout, he did mention Syria and North Korea in the call with Vladimir Putin today.

So the two parts we have been able to determine he did not follow obviously the part about not congratulating the president and condemning him for the attack.

BURNETT: So, do you know, Josh, whether he knew that he was told not to do that? I mean, did they tell him verbally or it was in the briefing and didn't bother to read it? Which is pretty obviously pretty bad?

DAWSEY: That's what we don't know. That's what we've been trying to discern. We know it was not brought up in the oral briefing again this morning. But in the written briefing, it was there.

You know, whether the president saw it and chose to ignore it or whether he did not see it, our associates have not been able to delineate that fact for us.

BURNETT: All right. Still incredibly significant. Do not congratulate in all caps. First thing the president mentioned that he did.

Thank you very much, Josh Dawsey, and thanks for your reporting.

Next, Cambridge Analytica under fire now, a new damning expose. The data firm's execs say the company got Trump in the White House and the CEO of Cambridge Analytica met Donald Trump himself many times. The significant new development tonight, you're going to see that.

And Texas officials warning everyone in the state not to take changes with packages. Another bomb going off today. That is five in 19 days. The mayor of Austin is OUTFRONT.


[19:46:21] BURNETT: Breaking news: a new expose about Cambridge Analytics, which is the data firm under fire for accessing the private information of more than 50 million Facebook users in an attempt to influence voters. Cambridge Analytica, of course, is being paid by the Trump campaign and it shows how closely the company worked with the campaign. And now, we are learning with Trump himself.

The company's CEO Alexander Nix who was suspended today says in an undercover video which you'll see that Cambridge Analytica was responsible for Trump's win and that he met with Trump multiple times.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as team Trump suggests Cambridge Analytica had little to do with the big election win, stunning new video out of British TV's Channel 4 shows Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix telling a different story.

REPORTER: Have you met with Mr. Trump?

ALEXANDER NIX, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA CEO: Many times. We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting. We run all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our date informed all the strategy.

FOREMAN: Cambridge Analytica had powerful connections to candidate Trump, including one time top adviser Steve Bannon, and billionaire donor Robert Mercer. So, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and consultant Brad Parscale brought in the company which is now accused of utilizing data from 50 million Facebook users without permission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook was how Donald Trump was going to win.

FOREMAN: Cambridge says the data has now deleted and they're working with Facebook on the issue. But questions are also swirling about a possible link to Russian meddling.

In July 2016, that Cambridge CEO reached out to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, seeking access to emails from Hillary Clinton's private server. There is evidence WikiLeaks had such information.

But WikiLeaks was releasing emails from the computes of other Democrats which authorities say were hacked by Russians. The emails bedeviled the Clinton campaign.

And another Trump advisor, Roger Stone, weighed in.

ROGER STONE, TRUMP ADVISOR: I actually have communicated with Assange.

FOREMAN: He also directly messaged Russian hacker. He says he did nothing wrong. And despite another claim that Cambridge had ties to a Russian oil company, the campaign insists there were never any links to Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you comfortable that the Trump campaign through Cambridge Analytica had a connection to WikiLeaks?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: They didn't have a connection to WikiLeaks.


FOREMAN: Cambridge Analytica says, the comments by the CEO do not represent the values or operations of the firm. And his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.

And the company told the British channel it has never claimed it won the election for President Trump, but also launched an internal investigation into the matter. Erin?

BURNETT: You know, Tom, one of the things that really stands out there I think in that video is when the then CEO of Cambridge Analytica now suspended says, yes, absolutely met with Trump, many times. I mean, that's pretty significant. That means you can't pass it off to some low level somebody. It could go all the way to the president himself.

What kind of legal implications could that have on the Mueller Russia investigation?

FOREMAN: Well, let's think about this, if what he said is true, if investigators found that Cambridge Analytica was working covertly with the Russians and if they prove that the Trump team knew about it, something could be charged with something like unlawfully interfering with operation of the government or obstruction of justice or who knows? But there are a lot of ifs in that scenario, and so far, no proof we know of -- Erin.

[19:50:00] BURNETT: Right. Of course, we know if Mueller has it, it won't have leaked out. So, who knows where they are on that?

Thank you very much, Tom.

And more breaking news at this moment -- millions of Texans on edge after 2fifth bomb explosion. This one is at a FedEx facility outside San Antonio, and one woman was injured. Just moments ago, the ATF confirming that the fifth explosion, along with another package, found that an additional FedEx facility today are connected to the serial bombings in Austin. So, now, you have six of these bombing incidents in Austin.

The mayor of Austin, Steve Adler, is OUTFRONT.

And, Mayor Adler, look, this is terrifying. I think the whole country is watching and on edge what you all have been going through here. I mean, what more can you tell us tonight that we now understand six packages are related, five of them exploded. All of these seem to be connected.

MAYOR STEVE ADLER, AUSTIN, TEXAS: You know, those packages do seem to be connected. And with each additional incident like this, obviously, the anxiety grows and the questions mount. But we have to keep in mind that every time something new happens, there's additional information and data and evidence for this army of investigators to be looking at.

BURNETT: So, Mayor Adler, FedEx obviously now is part of this investigation because one of the packages exploded at one of their facilities or actually more than one at this point, we understand. They are -- they had a video of a person who is sort of dropping off one of these packages.

What more can you tell us about that, is that going to, from what you understand, lead to an individual responsible?

ADLER: You know, at this point, I'm not commenting and I don't think the investigators are commenting on what they have or don't have in that regard. They're being really good about getting information now that could actually impact someone's safety. It's why we went out very quickly with respect to the tripwire information.

But other than that, they're trying to keep the integrity of the investigation as close as they can.

BURNETT: When you mention the tripwire, you know there has been reporting that the kind of sophistication of the bombs is first extremely sophisticated and also has become more sophisticated even just over the six incidents that you have had. Is that fair to say?

ADLER: I think it is fair to say that as the -- the method has changed, the concerns about sophistication are growing.

BURNETT: The president has weighed in on what you are going through in Austin, Mayor Adler. I want to play for you what he said earlier today.


TRUMP: The bombings in Austin are terrible. Local, state and federal are working hand in hand to get the bottom of it. This is obviously a very, very sick individual or maybe individuals. These are sick people, and we will get to the bottom of it.


BURNETT: Mayor, do you have any sense right now whether it is an individual or individuals, or is it too early to say?

ADLER: You know, it's too early to say. At this point, the investigators are not making very many conclusions. They say when they do that, they don't look at everything they would otherwise have looked out, they don't ask all the questions they might should ask. So, at this point, the investigation is not trying to focus down.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Adler, look, we are, everyone, wishing for a very quick success in apprehending this person or people and stopping this terror that has been unleashed an your city. Thank you.

ADLER: We appreciate that. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Adler from Austin.

And next, Ben Carson explaining the furniture fiasco. Remember the dining set that you the taxpayer almost paid $31,000 for? There is a new excuse tonight.


[19:58:05] BURNETT: Tonight, new details in the curious case of the Carsons and the $31,000 dining set. Did Ben Carson just blame his wife?

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary Ben Carson took a seat at the table and ended up explaining a table and seats, an entire $31,000 mahogany dining set. Carson says he was told the old furniture, 50 years old, had to go.

BEN CARSON, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING & URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Because people are being stuck by nails, a chair collapsed with somebody sitting in it. The facilities people felt that the dining room table was actually dangerous.

MOOS: Killer furniture. Twitter went into B.S. alert. If Ben Carson was president, he would defend the Second Amendment so that we could protect ourselves from dangerous dining room sets.

When it came to picking new furniture -- CARSON: I asked my wife to help me with that. I left with my wife, a

style and a color was selected by her.

MOOS: That would be his wife Candy. Ben just threw her under the bus, was a typical Twitter comment. One user posted a caution sign. But Carson didn't pin the price tag on her.

CARSON: If anyone knew my wife they would realize how ridiculous it is. She's the most frugal person in the world.

MOOS: And he said he know the dining set costs 31,000 bucks until the story broke.

CARSON: I said, what the heck is that all about?

MOOS: Online commenters helpfully offered their personal shopping services free of charge.

Maybe Secretary Carson should look at this 100 percent safe dining set, linking to a table and chairs from IKEA for 199 bucks.

CARSON: I'm not really big into decorating. If it was up to me, my office would probably like a hospital waiting room.

MOOS: But even a $7,500 operating table is cheap compared to this dining table set.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Yes, IKEA looks a whole lot nicer than the $31,000 set.

All right. Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.