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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
The President of the United States Named in FBI Search Warrant; Interview with Sen. Mark Warner (D), Virginia; GOP Leaders Meet With Trump Amid Calls to Protect Mueller; Comey's Revenge; A Republican Congressman Unleashes Tirade of Profanity Against President Trump; Interview with Rep. Greg Walden (R), Oregon; White House Says No Decision on Syria After Trump Threatened Strikes. Aired: 7-8p ET
Aired April 11, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:05] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, new details on the FBI raid on President Trump's long time attorney. Agents looking at communications between Trump himself and Michael Cohen regarding the "Access Hollywood" tape. Was there an attempted cover-up?
And growing concern tonight inside the White House about impeachment, heightened fears after Paul Ryan announces he's out.
And what one Republican congressman really thinks of President Trump. It's a profane tirade, and the man who was there for all of it is my guest.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. The president of the United States named in an FBI search warrant. CNN learning that FBI agents raiding the office and home of the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, are looking specifically for communications that then candidate Donald Trump had with Cohen regarding the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape. The tape, in which Trump says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait.
And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, FORMER "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" HOST: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (INAUDIBLE). You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This is important, because it is the first known direct mention of the president in a search warrant. And according to a source, the warrant also referenced an investigation into wire fraud and bank fraud. All developments the president feels are a violation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prosecutors were looking for some sort of documentation that might have been connected with the "Access Hollywood" tape, and as you know came out during the campaign. Would the president consider that to be the Mueller investigation has strayed outside its initial mandate?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president certainly has been clear that he has a very deep concern about the direction that the special counsel and other investigations have taken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Why the deep concern? After all, when it comes to the "Access Hollywood" tape, the president dismissed its importance. You may remember the video apology and the statement he released, which read in part, quote, this was locker room banter. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course, not even close.
And when it comes down to it, the video didn't matter. In the end, people voted for Trump and he won.
So tonight when we know the FBI wants communications with the president about the tape and about payments to both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, why is the president so enraged? Why is he more angry over this Cohen raid than anything else that's come from the Mueller investigation? Why are his aides saying this is a turning point for the president? Why is he threatening to not sit down with Mueller, possibly to even fire him and put his own presidency at risk, all over the Cohen raid?
It doesn't make sense, because the truth is, not only did Trump win the election after the "Access Hollywood" tape came out and we all had heard it, but when it comes to the alleged affairs, the porn star and a playmate, voters still don't seem to care. In fact, the president's favorite barometer of public opinion, polls, show this.
In a new poll, 73 percent of voters say the alleged affair with Daniels is not an important issue. Fifty-nine percent also say the payments themselves are also not important. Even though of course when it comes to breaking the law, they could very well may be. The polls are on the president's side right now. And we all know this is a president who loves when polls are good.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I love polls. I love polls. You know I love polls. I love polls. I'm in love with polls.
I love polls. I love polls. Everybody knows I love polls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, right now the polls back you, Mr. President. So there's really nothing to hide in Michael Cohen's office or his home that could bring your presidency down, why are you so raged?
Could it be this part of the timeline? At 4:03 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the "Access Hollywood" tape emerged. That's when we first heard it. Then, suddenly, half an hour later, not even, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, WikiLeaks posted the first set of e-mails stolen from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, a hack that was blamed on the Russian government.
So we're talking 27 minutes between that tape for coming out and the first WikiLeaks hacked by Russia that hurt Hillary Clinton being released. Coincidence?
Gloria Borger is OUTFRONT. And Gloria, the development tonight stunning. You got FBI agents raiding Trump's lawyer's office, his home for communications about the "Access Hollywood" tape.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And don't forget, Erin, this is part of that larger search warrant that we've been reporting all week which focused in large part on Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and Michael Cohen's investments. And what we learned today was another part of it was this "Access Hollywood" tape, and that as you pointed out, this is the first time the president's name has been mentioned in this.
And what they want to know is, were there any communications between the president, Michael Cohen, other campaign operatives, for example, about anything that could create some kind of negative publicity, like an "Access Hollywood" tape, shortly before the election.
[19:05:18] So, it's the first indication we have that law enforcement may have believe or just suspect that there was some effort to suppress the "Access Hollywood" tape. I mean, we know about McDougal, we know about Stormy Daniels, but we didn't know about this.
BURNETT: Right. And, you know, in this search warrant, not only do you report the president of the United States referred to specifically, explicitly, by name, for the first time, you're also learning some more things about what is in the search warrant tonight?
BORGER: Well, right. I mean, there are references to potential wire fraud and bank fraud. And we also know that the warrant included references to Michael Cohen's business of taxi medallions. And so you'd have to say that this warrant was extraordinary in many ways. First of all, it's extraordinary to search a lawyer's office and Cohen is, of course, upset about this, because he believes he has attorney/client privilege. But also, it's extraordinary because of the breadth of it, and the notion that we get from this that the authorities seem to believe that somebody was trying to hide something and may have been paying to hide it before the election.
BURNETT: Obviously, that is hugely significant, when you talk about the possible suppression in the payments, is where the law could have been broken.
BORGER: And federal election law.
BURNETT: Gloria, thank you so much, with all of those breaking details.
I want to go now to the White House and Pamela Brown who's OUTFRONT there. Pamela, the president, as you've been reporting, angry about this raid from the moment he knew about it. More enraged than he has been about anything else. How is he reacting to these new developments tonight?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can imagine, Erin, he continues to see that -- and is increasingly convinced, Erin, that the raid on his personal attorney's home and office was really about Robert Mueller, the special counsel, going after him personally, as in the president personally. That this was an attempt by Robert Mueller to hurt him. And that is what is behind, according to sources, what we've seen spill out on Twitter, with the president saying that Mueller is conflicted, even though he's a registered Republican appointed by the deputy attorney general.
Behind Sarah Sanders' comments from the podium today that the president has deep concern that the Mueller investigation is going in the wrong direction. And sources I've been speaking with close to the president say the fact that the warrant mentioned the president by name in connection to the "Access Hollywood" video, that is further proof that this is about Trump in their view.
Now, the special counsel declined to comment on the raid at all, but I'm told by sources the idea that this was just a referral from Mueller's team is seen as a ruse by the president and those around him. They don't buy that. They see this as one and the same, which is feeding into this anger and this consideration we've reported to fire the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, or even the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, as sort of retaliation, though those around the president are sort of trying to back him down from that saying, it's bad politics.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Pam.
And now, let's go OUTFRONT to Michael Zeldin, Bob Mueller's former special assistant at the Department of Justice, April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and Chris Swecker, former assistant FBI director for the Criminal Investigative Division.
Chris, let me start with you. The big development, we now know the FBI is looking specifically for communications involving the president himself. The specific reference in the warrant to Trump is the first known direct mention of the president in a search warrant. So, that is a milestone here.
Obviously, we know that mention in connection with the "Access Hollywood" tape. How significant could this be, that he is now in by name?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Well, to be clear, I think this investigation is centered on Cohen and working outwards from there. So, some of the things that we're seeing that are leaking out about this search warrant affidavit, which is a little unusual in and of itself, are that the "Access Hollywood" tape that's, you know, they wanted to get some information about that. That's not a violation in and of itself, but it is a -- it is evidence of some propensity to have a wandering eye.
So if you're moving over to, were there payments to silence people who had embarrassing information, it sort of corroborates that. So I'd look at that as more corroborating information, as you work outwards from Cohen, possibly towards the president.
So, you know, we've got a separate investigation here. This is not the special counsel. I think he's showed a lot of discipline in punting this investigation up to the southern district.
[19:10:03] BURNETT: Now, you know, when you say, this was referred to the southern district, Michael, let me ask you about the timeline that I just shared in part, when they're looking at suppression of the "Access Hollywood" tape and what happened and whether there was anything inappropriate involving the president. The timeline is that the tape came, it first broke by the Washington Post at 4:03 p.m. That's the first time we all heard it. The first of, I don't want know, one million times. At 4:30, so 27 minutes later, WikiLeaks posted the very first e-mails that had been stolen from the Clinton campaign.
Is that timeline, perhaps, part of what is at stake here for Bob Mueller?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, ROBERT MUELLER'S FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: It's very hard to know, is the honest answer. You wonder, in cases like this, what is really at play here? This is a federal prosecutor's office. This is not a state's attorney's office. They have jurisdiction over federal crimes and this is -- the suppression of the "Access Hollywood" tape to me doesn't rise to the level of that which would warrant a search of a lawyer's office. Nor do the, you know, sort of causal or coincidental timings of the "Access Hollywood" leak and the WikiLeaks communications.
Remember, Don Jr. was talking to WikiLeaks, starting around October 3rd. So also, coincidental to this. I just don't see that yet, as rising to that level. To me, this looks more like a financial crimes investigation. Remember, we have banks filing suspicious activity reports --
BURNETT: Right, you got bank and wire fraud also as part of this, as Gloria reported.
ZELDIN: That's right. And you got -- so you got bank filings, suspicious activity reports on the Stormy Daniels transactions. You got the possibility of additional financial crimes related to Karen McDougal. Now you have "Access Hollywood" so if it fits into a narrative of financial crime, then maybe there's something to it.
But right now, I'm still a little bit, you know, flummoxed by what it is that gave rise to such an aggressive action by federal prosecutors, which leads me to believe that we have some reason to think that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg of what it is that really underlies this investigation.
BURNETT: Interesting. The tip of the iceberg. And Chris has told us over the past couple of days, as the head of the FBI Investigative Unit. Chris, you've been saying, it's a no-knock type of warrant. You know, where you think someone is going to destroy information, so you don't give them a second to do that. So it's -- was not done the way a normal thing would be done. It was done extremely aggressively.
April, the question here is, why? You know, we're talking about financial crimes and, you know, you've got this timeline of whether it's significant or not, who knows? But it is a pretty interesting timeline, I think to say the least about the tape and the WikiLeaks leaks. Because the president, when he looks at the polls, people don't seem to care about whether he paid off Stormy Daniels or had an affair with her. Obviously, the "Access Hollywood", voters already went to the polls and it showed that that did not turn public opinion away from him enough for him to lose the election.
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Right.
BURNETT: So, could he really possibly be angrier about this than anything else if he's really just angry about the tape and women?
RYAN: The president is angry that this is continuing and his name is being sullied. His name has now been put in documents, as it relates to these search warrants. And not only that, he's angry because he knows that this investigation is following the trail of money that he does not want to talk about. He has not wanted to release his taxes.
That's something that Mueller could possibly go into. Who knows? He might have it now. But it's about following the trail of money. Things that the president has held dear, kept to his chest, he does not want to release that. And now his name has been mentioned.
And yes, there is a coincidence with the alleged suppression and then the releasing of the WikiLeaks e-mails. But this is not a winning picture for the president and it's getting closer and closer to things that he holds dear, money, and it could even get closer to family as well.
BURNETT: And Chris, you know, when April talks about following the money trail, the question I have here is, we know that they took everything from Michael Cohen, right? They took every file he had, whether it was related to Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, "Access Hollywood" or something else, right? Even though we understand that the focus was perhaps these -- the women and the tapes.
If they find something else in the other material that is completely unrelated to what they think they're looking for, but it is a crime. It is a financial crime, is it fair? Is it now fair game because they have the material?
SWECKER: Absolutely. They could find evidence of money laundering. Every time you have -- if you have wire fraud or if you have bank fraud, now you've got illicit proceeds. And if you're disguising that and moving it through to another transaction or any type of transaction involving those funds, that technically is money laundering. That's a 20-year count. Serious stuff.
SWECKER: You know, the ironic thing is you could follow the special prosecutor here or the special counsel, but this is -- you have to fire Chris Wray, because this is being handled by FBI main out of FBI headquarters, and, you know, the FBI field office in New York.
[19:15:09] So firing the special counsel would do nothing here.
ZELDIN: You know, Erin, one final thing here, this investigation speaks to the need for the president to have good counsel. Because there is no reason why the president should not have already moved for a protective order with respect to those seized documents. If they contain communications between him and his lawyer, they should be seized and quarantined, and a special master appointed by the magistrate to look at these and take out that stuff which is privileged, from that which is not privileged. It's unfathomable to me how they're proceeding in this case. Just unfathomable.
BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much. Of course, we know, he has one personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow representing him. And obviously, many others have refused to do so. So he doesn't have a lot of legal counsel on this.
Thank you all very much.
And next, Republican leaders having dinner with the president as I speak. One topic apparently deemed inappropriate to raise, the possibility that Trump might fire Bob Mueller. They all look pretty happy.
Plus, a Republican defender of the president goes rogue. Why one member of Congress is reportedly calling Trump a bleeping idiot and saying he would vote to impeach him.
And Trump warning Russia that missiles are coming to Syria by tweet. Why did he do it before he even had any plan to do it?
[19:20:12] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump face to face right now with Republican leaders. They're all at the White House. The president just tweeting, quote, honored to have Republican congressional leadership join me at the White House this evening. Lots to discuss as we continue making America great again. And you could see in that picture, they all have the president's trademark thumbs up with their big, wide grins.
If a number two Republican Senator, John Cornyn, all the way on the left, you see him there, backing down. He says he will not bring up whether President Trump intends to fire the Special Counsel Bob Mueller. He told our Manu Raju that to do so would be inappropriate. This as other top GOP lawmakers say they don't see any need to protect Mueller, even as Democrats say that needs to be done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), CHAIRMAN, FREEDOM CAUCUS: I do talk to the president on a regular basis. And I can tell you that he is not talking about firing Bob Mueller.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I have no reason to believe that that's going to happen. I have assurances that it's not, because I've been talking to people in the White House about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But here's what President Trump himself said on Monday.
TRUMP: Why don't I just fire Mueller?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, just fire the guy.
TRUMP: Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's not a "no".
OUTFRONT now, Democratic Senator from Virginia, Mark Warner. He is the ranking member of the Senate intelligence Committee. And senator, I appreciate your time tonight.
Senator Warner, your colleague, John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate is with the president right now. He says it would be inappropriate to bring Mueller up to President Trump at dinner tonight. Do you agree? Inappropriate?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Respectfully, I would disagree with John. I think he ought to take the same kind of advice that so many of my Republican colleagues have said, that if this president fires Mueller, that would be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency. And I hope that someone would have the courage at that dinner to say, listen, this is -- we're a nation of laws. You can't go about simply trying to impugn the integrity of the whole FBI or impugn the integrity of the whole Justice Department, as some of the president's tweets and rants have gone about this week.
I would think, you know, at some point, we may all, as individuals and Americans be tested and are we going to remain a country where no one, including the president of the United States, is above the law?
BURNETT: So I want to just show you. Look, they're all there tonight, they're having dinner, but nonetheless, the president put out that tweet, which I just read, and I believe you can see this picture, Senator. These are the Republicans who are with the president right now. This is the picture they put out. Everybody looks happy, everybody is grinning, and everybody is doing the president's trademark thumbs up.
Does this bother you? Is this just friendly? Or is this clearly not a group of people who's going to challenge the president about anything tonight?
WARNER: I don't have the slightest idea what's going to happen at the White House tonight. I know from virtually every Republican senator that I've talked to, there's huge concern. They wonder about the president's rants, about the fact that his lawyer was being investigated and, boy, you have to reach a pretty high bar. I'm no legal expert, but you had to have Rod Rosenstein approve it. You had to have the southern district of New York approve it, you had to have a judge approve it.
And then the president's kind of ad hominem attack against our whole Justice Department. You have a huge amount of concern about the president who brags about how he keep his military plans secret, almost indicating today with his tweeted warning Syria, warning Russia in advance of potential military action. You worry about a president that tends to like to do things on Friday afternoon when Congress is out of town.
And I would hope and pray that someone, whether as a group or privately would say, people are on edge. We're entering into uncharted waters here. And I believe close to a constitutional crisis should the president act so inappropriately.
BURNETT: So when you say "close to a constitutional crisis," you know, the White House press secretary today was asked if the White House supports legislation which has been put out by a Republican, Chuck Grassley in the Judiciary Committee, right, that would protect Bob Mueller's job. She said that the White House does not have a policy on that right now. That's her quote. We do not have a policy on that right now.
Which was a dodge, but she was a little bit more direct yesterday, because then she was extremely clear that she thinks, and the White House thinks the president has the right to fire Mueller directly. They don't need to have the deputy director attorney general do it, he can do it himself. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I know a number of individuals in the legal community and including at the Department of Justice, that he has the power to do so. But I don't have any further announcements on --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've told me, I've asked. They say that it's Rod Rosenstein who oversees the special counsel and only he has the power to fire the special counsel.
[19:24:58] SANDERS: Again, we've been advised that the president certainly has the power to make that decision. I can't go anything beyond that. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Clearly for that at the least, Senator, you can take away this. They've looked into it, they've spent time, they have lawyers look at it. It matters that much to them. Do you think that this president will fire Bob Mueller?
WARNER: You know, Erin, I gave up predicting this president a long time ago. It feels that as more and more the semi-responsible people around him leave the White House, that it is more Donald Trump being Donald Trump. And that may work if you're on a T.V. show, or it may work even in, you know, kind of a rock them, sock them world of real estate. But it's not the way the leader of the free world ought to operate with so many trouble spots around the world.
And frankly, I cannot think even -- I lived through Watergate. I can't ever remember a president of either party so broadly impugning the integrity of the whole FBI or the whole Justice Department. Because my fear is, that gives license to those people who then start to think, well, maybe if the whole system is not on the level, I can choose which law I want to abide by, and which law I don't want to abide by. And that's not the way our government works.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Senator Warner. Thanks.
WARNER: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, a Republican lawmaker and a defender of the president, publicly, lashing out, saying what he really thinks in private. Details of a profanity-laced tirade in the middle of a Washington, D.C. grocery store.
And Comey's revenge. Details leaked, the fired FBI Director Jim Comey's first interview since he got the boot. Is he comparing Donald Trump to a mob boss?
BURNETT: Growing concerns tonight inside the White House about impeachment. Six White House and congressional sources telling CNN, there's hand-wringing among people in the White House and GOP leaders. The Democrats will immediately move to impeach Trump if they win control of the House.
Fears heightening tonight with exit of the speaker, Paul Ryan, right. He says he's retiring. Adding to the concerns, quotes like one that came out today from an unnamed Republican congressman to conservative writer, Erick Erickson., quoted as saying, quote: I say a lot of bleep on TV defending him, but honestly, I wish the motherf-er would just go away.
We're going to lose the House, lose the Senate, and lose a bunch of states because of him. All of our supporters will blame us for what we have or have not done. But he hasn't led. He wakes up in the morning, bleeps all over Twitter, bleeps all over us, bleeps all over his staff, then hits golf balls, bleep him. Of course, I can't say that in public, or I'd get run out of town.
And that's only part of what he had to say. Erickson says the congressman wanted to remain anonymous and would only talk to him if he met him at a D.C. Safeway grocery store. Talk about cloak and dagger, it's like a scene out of "Homeland," Erick Erickson, who joins me OUTFRONT.
Erick, it's great to have you with me. Look, it's a pretty riveting story, reading this whole tale. This is a congressman who you say district Trump won, who's been a regular supporter on Fox News and elsewhere, publicly defending the president. He would only agree to speak with you, you know, not even on the phone, not even on the street, you had to go walk the aisles of a D.C. Safeway with him, looking at cereal and dairy. Tell me about him.
ERICK ERICKSON, INTERVIEWED GOP REP. WHO PRIVATELY UNLOADED ON TRUMP: So, we've been trying to connect for a while. He's not a friend of mine, but we've had a working relationship for a while. But he didn't want to be seen anywhere near me on Capitol Hill. So, he came over towards a grocery store at my hotel. He had to get stuff anyway, coming back into town for the Facebook hearings and what not.
So we were in the aisle when he went on this tirade about the president, who he's deeply frustrated with the president. He's tired of defending the guy, even though he does, because he doesn't want to win re-election or have a primary challenge. It's indicative of the problems.
But, you know, Erin, I've heard from a lot of people today with the story that, you know, this happens in the green rooms everywhere. Republican congressmen say nice things about the president on TV and only to bash him in the green room. That's been my experience as well, even before this. But I think we're reaching kind of a boiling point with Republican frustration at the president over Mueller, Syria, and everything else.
BURNETT: So, you say the Facebook hearings. What more can you tell me about this congressman? Obviously, he was, you know, one of those at the Facebook hearing from what you're saying. But can you tell us a state or anything else that he's from?
ERICKSON: No, look, I promised him I would keep him secret. We talked. Had a good conversation, and he knew I was going to quote him. But I would prefer to protect him, particularly just given, I think, his voters and others, particularly the congressional leadership would be upset with him for venting.
He is not on the Judiciary Committee. I will tell you that. And he's got concerns about the Judiciary Committee. He doesn't think that there would be impeachment, unless the president fires Mueller. But then he thinks, if you get through the primary season, you probably do have enough Republicans angry enough to take the president out.
That was kind of the anger and genesis of his conversation and rage last night, was, he thinks they're all going down. So take the president with them. BURNETT: And he told you that he would vote to impeach him, which I
thought was pretty stunning.
He also said, it's like Forrest Gump won the presidency. This is what you quote him saying. But an evil, really evil bleeping stupid Forrest Gump. He can't help himself. He's just a bleeping idiot who thinks he's winning when people are bleeping about him. He really does see the world as ratings and attention.
And then again, he went on to tell you he would vote to impeach him. That's a really crucial point, from what you talk about --
ERICKSON: Yes, I think it is.
BURNETT: and I'm going to make this point in a moment. You're not a fan of the president. You're a Republican, but not a fan of the president, right?
BURNETT: But do you really think people you're talking to that are publicly fans that they are going that far, that they would vote to impeach?
ERICKSON: No, I actually don't. And I think that was part of his point, as well, that I would try to capture that. Unless the president fires Mueller, this isn't going anywhere.
And even if he does fire Mueller, if these Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, which would be the initial step, if they're in primaries, they're not going to do anything. There are a series of ifs along the way.
But there certainly is a growing frustration with the president, that this congressman among many others is behind the scenes, starting ting to be more open about.
BURNETT: So, the article got a lot of people talking. Erick, it's a good read, all right?
BURNETT: And it's a pretty incredible thing that you're going to have someone come out and say all this.
BURNETT: One critic said this in response to your piece, honestly, I think there was no vulgar congressman, but instead these are your words, Erick, and you can't let go of that grudge. And this readers was obviously pointing to the fact that you've been harshly critical of Trump.
BURNETT: What's your response? ERICKSON: Well, you know, look, I've got a lot of congressmen that I know and have relationships with. I've got people in the White House who talked to me. I've heard this from a lot of Trump supporters over the years, if you hear anything bad about the president, it must not be true.
I mean, we see this with the stories coming out of the White House and there are concerns, unless you name the person, it's clearly not true. A lot of people don't want to believe there's this angst behind the scenes. They want to believe the public rah-rah about the president and that's simply not true.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Erick. I appreciate it. Good to talk to you again.
ERICKSON: Thank you. You too.
[19:35:00] BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, Republican Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon.
Congressman, thank you very much for your time.
So you've had a chance to hear that profanity-laced tirade. I've been assured it wasn't you in the aisles of Safeway --
REP. GREG WALDEN (R), OREGON: I guarantee you.
BURNET: -- perusing the dairy.
But, you know, one of your Republican colleagues, Erick Erickson is saying, unleashed this tirade of profanity and passionate feeling against the president. Does this sound like anything you have heard from other Republicans in private?
WALDEN: No. No. No. I don't think so.
Look, we're focused here on doing the work of the American people and getting good things done. We work in partnership with the administration on a whole host of policy issues. We'll have a secretary of energy before the committee tomorrow, trying to help unleash America's great energy potential.
I mean, we had five hours today with Mark Zuckerberg before the committee. We're working with the health and human services secretary on opioid issues and the FDA, Scott Gottlieb on opioid issues.
We're busy at work here. Those of us with big jobs are taking them seriously. There's always going to be somebody that, you know, has gotten upset about something and they'll go talk anonymously. That's not very bold, when you're out there anonymously saying things like that.
And then running back to the corners --
BURNETT: No, of course, it would be much better if it were on the record. There's no question about that. WALDEN: Yes.
BURNETT: But the point, the passion that is contained within it, and the fact that it would come from a Republican, an elected Republican in a district that voted for Trump would be hugely significant.
And by the way, that profanity-laced tirade might be the first of that ilk we've heard, but I've heard about a lot of other Republicans and I've heard from some Republicans who have said some pretty darned negative things about this president.
Do you think that when he makes the point, we might as well impeach him, do you think there are Republican votes that would go for that, if the president fires Bob Mueller?
WALDEN: You know, I'm not going to get into hypotheticals. Nobody's talking about that. We are focused on our work. We're not focused on that at all. And yes, we intend to work with the president.
BURNETT: But isn't the president impacting your work?
WALDEN: Well, sure. Any president does. And this one has a unique way on social media to impact everybody, including the media. And so, you know, it is what it is.
My goal is to work with the president, get good policy done, and solve problems for the American people. There are others who want to spend their time, you know, on every tweet and evaluating and spinning it around and doing all of that.
And you know, I've worked with the president, I've worked with him closely. I don't agree with some of the language, I don't agree with some of the tweets. There are things I find offensive.
But I figure, I'm here to represent the people of Oregon as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, deal with these big issues that we're deeply engaged in.
BURNETT: Yes. So, you know, when Paul Ryan today said he's not going to run for re-election, he's essentially retiring.
BURNETT: You know, part of the -- part of it appears to be that he thinks Republicans could lose, right? But also, you know, sources tell us that Ryan didn't want to be part of a minority. He's reportedly had enough of President Trump. And he also felt that after getting the tax bill done, he couldn't think of anything else he could get done.
What does that say to you? Have you had second thoughts? Said, gosh, we don't have any agenda for this year. The president's a problem. I mean, do you share any of those concerns?
WALDEN: First of all, I don't believe those are Paul Ryan's concerns. I haven't heard from him. I'm close to him. I ran the House Campaign Committee the last two cycles, so I spent a
lot of time with Paul Ryan and we were both elected in 1998 together. And there are three of us left from that class.
Me, Mike Simpson of Idaho and Paul Ryan.
WALDEN: People move on.
I would agree with you on this point. I think getting the biggest tax reform since Ronald Reagan was the biggest goal of Paul Ryan, who all he ever wanted to be was the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Remember, he was thrust into the speakership when John Boehner stepped aside.
BURNETT: Yes, sure.
WALDEN: I think maybe that. And, by the way, having three teenage kids and a dad that's been gone their entire life, that weighs on you. That's hard to deal with.
And so, he's not all politics. He is all-American. He's a great big brain who cares deeply about the country and has left big imprints and he's worked hard.
And, you know, if this is his choice, I'm sorry he's leaving because he's a friend and he's a terrific legislator and a great spokesperson for our party, but I wish him well and he's going to be fighting on legislative policy until his term expires.
BURNETT: In terms of legislative policy, obviously, Facebook is a big question. You chaired the hearing today with Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, five hours of testimony. It got heated at the times. Times like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you make the commitment to change all of the user -- to changing all the user default settings to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the collection and use of users' data?
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Congressman, this is a complex issue that I think is -- deserves more than a one-word answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should we trust you to follow through on these promises when you have demonstrated repeatedly that you're willing to flout both your internal policies and government oversight when the needs suit you?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, respectfully, I disagree with that characterization.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [19:40:02] BURENTT: Those are just a couple of the moments, and there were many more of them.
Were you satisfied, Congressman, with Zuckerberg's answers?
WALDEN: Well, there were certainly some questions he did not fully answer. And has agreed to do so in writing in the next ten days, as is the way our committee works.
WALDEN: I would say this, that I think they tried to put as much of the damage behind them before the hearing ever started. They tried to get as much information out as possible. They looked at what went wrong and they put in place both notification of those users who might have been affected as well as new tools to try and prevent this problem from occurring again.
But they've got to rebuild trust not only with the users on Facebook but also the American people. I think they know that, by the way, and they're trying.
But we cannot lose sight of the fact this is an incredibly innovative country. And it's people like Mark Zuckerberg in a hotel room or Steve jobs -- I mean, in a dorm room, or Steve Jobs in a dorm room that gave us Apple, gave us Facebook. Google started -- I mean, you think about, we have to be careful here to protect the consumer. That is my top priority, protect the consumer, make sure privacy is well understood, that the rules of the road are followed and understood and clear and transparent, but also not to overreach with too much government regulation where you snuff out innovation.
There's a reason all of these incredibly important and effective disrupters of social media, communication, shopping, started in America, because we had light touch regulation. Now, they've gotten big, so we have a job to step in, if they don't perform according to the rules of the road.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Chairman Walden.
WALDEN: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And next, the president warns Russia about missiles coming to Syria. He didn't have a military plan, but he said, get ready, it's coming.
And former FBI Director Jim Comey speaking out. Is he really comparing Trump to a mob boss?
[19:45:29] BURNETT: Breaking news: White House confirming that no final decision has been made about a strike on Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have a number of options and all of those options are still on the table. The final decisions haven't been made yet on that front. The president has a number of options at his disposal and all of those options remain on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. That's just hours after the president taunted Russia, suggesting that a strike was imminent, tweeting, quote, Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready, Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart. You couldn't be partners with a gas-killing animal who kills his people and enjoys it.
Trump also roiling the market with that tweet and that threat against Russia, get ready, Russia. The Dow ultimately closing 219 points lower. Investors now worried about a real war as well as a trade war.
Chief National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT.
And, Jim, you know, Sarah Sanders saying, oh, no final decision has been made. There's lots of options on the table. So, let's start with that. What are the options that you know they're looking at right now?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the first category of options is what are the targets here? Is it just the chemical weapon sites? And that's where the chemical weapons are stored? The helicopters that they're dropped from, the airfields that they take off from. That's one category of options.
Then, do they attack larger and actually go after elements of the regime sort of as a punishment for ordering these attacks. That takes you into Damascus military bases there, perhaps where some of these leaders live. That would be a more significant attack.
And in each of those cases, do you use entirely stepped back weapons, right? You know, cruise missiles fired from far away, either from aircraft or ships or submarines far away, or do you also involve U.S. aircraft, which involves greater risk to those pilots, although they could also fire from further away. But you're putting pilots at risk, as well.
And one variable in here, Erin, to consider is that Russia is very present on the ground in Syria. They've got significant air defenses. That puts both the missiles, but more importantly, the pilots at risk.
Do you also choose to take out some of those missile defenses? And how much risk are you willing to take on? And also, how much risk are you willing to take on, in terms of hitting Russian forces on the ground there? Because there are many of them, as well.
Just one final point I would make, Erin, is this, is that the element of surprise in this attack, even before this tweet came out this morning, largely gone. Just look at the air space over Syria right now. All commercial aircraft avoiding that area, they know it's coming. You know the Syrians and Russians know it's coming, as well. You have to expect them to be moving forces, they hope, out of harm's way.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto.
And OUTFRONT now, let's go to former Navy SEAL, Rob O'Neill, who's spent a lot of time in this area and in the region.
So, you're also the author of the book, "The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior".
All right. You supported the president on many issues in the past. Of course, you have a dinner with him. When you saw this tweet this morning, get ready, Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart, in quotes, was that the right thing to do?
ROBERT O'NEILL, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL TEAM SIX MEMBER: I disagreed with this tweet this morning. When I woke up and initially saw it, I thought it was sort of -- it was sent to me. I didn't get it on Twitter. And I thought it was initially one of those memes where they kind of make something up, because something that could have these kind of consequences, I wouldn't think you would say that in that way.
Me being an optimist and wanting to support the country, I don't think he meant to telegraph what he wanted to do. Potentially, it was something that we will use force to hopefully get to some sort of a negotiating table, figure out a way to handle the Assad situation, but there are definitely better ways to do it than with a tweet like that. He doesn't need to say we'll use force. We've proven we'd use force if they use chemical weapons a year ago, in April 2017. We did, and we did strike it.
I did think the tweet was unnecessary and I disagreed with it.
BURNETT: So, you know, when you talk about telegraphing, obviously, the president has criticized others for doing that.
BURNETT: He said, I don't want you, right? President Obama in 2013, Trump criticized him, Twitter, again. Who are our generals that are allowing this fiasco to happen right before our eyes? Call it the plenty of notice of war, it's what he called it with Obama. In war, the element of surprise is so important. What the hell is Obama doing?
And, you know, here's something he said on CNN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the old days, we had generals like Patton and Robert E. Lee and some great ones, General Douglas McArthur and Grant. They must be just spinning in their graves when they see what happened. The element of surprise has turned out to be one of the great jokes of all time. (END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: So you have his tweet and you have what Jim Sciutto said. There was no surprise right now about a strike coming to Syria.
[19:50:01] O'NEILL: You sort of knew it had to come after we were showing the pictures of what happened with the people getting gassed. And I think what President Trump was talking about is the some of the stuff, the imminent withdrawal from places, we will withdraw by this kind of a date and stuff like that.
But, again, with the social media stuff, when I talked to people, when you're dealing with emotions like this, I'll tell people, you know, go ahead and type the e-mail or the tweet, give yourself 24 hours before you hit send, because you might not agree with it. This -- I think this was, you know, a little contradictory.
I want to support what he's doing there. I think there's a very, very serious situation in Syria and it needs to be dealt, with aggressive negotiations and aggressive diplomacy, and not a Twitter war. Even Russia has come back and said, we're not dealing with Twitter. We are going to respond.
But, I think this is -- they know we're serious. They moved 11 of their warships out of their port n Tartus there. We have warships coming, a strike group from a carrier. It can get serious and I think everyone needs to realize the seriousness of the situation.
BURNETT: Right, right. Well, you are closer to a real -- a direct military confrontation between U.S. and Russia.
O'NEILL: There's a big difference between a Twitter war and a real war.
BURNETT: There is.
All right. Thank you very much, Bob. Great to see.
O'NEILL: Great to be back. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, new details on what fired FBI Director Jim Comey is saying about Trump. His first television interview since he has been fired 11 months ago.
And Jeanne Moos on what is in Mark Zuckerberg's cup.
BURNETT: Tonight, former FBI Director James Comey speaking out for the first time. We are learning new details about Comey's first interview since he was fired by President Trump 11 months ago, including this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How strange it is to sit here and compare the president to a mob boss?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick.
And, Harry, you worked with Jim Comey. Obviously, from that, it appears that he compared President Trump to an organized crime leader, to a mob boss, which is something that he and you both dealt with directly here in New York. And the reason I make that point is, he wasn't just using the word casually or in a light-hearted way. Jim Comey knows what a mob boss is.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Oh, absolutely. Well, first, early in his career when he was a line assistant, sort of a newer prosecutor, before he was U.S. attorney, he handled those kinds of cases involving organized crime. Later on as a U.S. attorney, he supervised cases in violent gangs, organized crime, where he would know exactly what a mob boss is.
It's not just he watched "Goodfellas" and knows what people say from the movies. He lived that as a prosecutor.
BURNETT: So, when he says mob boss, you having worked in the Southern District of New York, what does that mean about somebody and what they are capable of doing?
SANDICK: I think it means in this context from what he testified about his interactions, I think the request for loyalty over honesty which is what Jim Comey testified about in Congress, that that made a big impression on him, the notion that you should be loyal rather than following the rules, being honest, doing your job, and that request for loyalty seemed to make a big impression on him.
It also seemed from his testimony that he felt as if he was being asked to sort of make a trade, you know? If you stay loyal to me, I will let you keep your job. But if you're not loyal to me, you're gong to be fired. So the promise of a benefit matched with a promise of a threat essentially.
[19:55:03] BURNETT: It's the mob boss.
Now, obviously, Comey is going to be doing a lot of interviews over the next week, the ABC interview, a long tape, up to five hours. Is all this press going to help him make his case or hurt his credibility?
SANDICK: Well, you know, in a very abstract sense, if you have a witness in a case, you would rather them say less about the case, and it's hard to know whether he is going to be talking very much about the specifics beyond what he has already testified about. I think that the comments that he is going to make about the president will definitely be closely watched by people, and if it's in some sense inconsistent with anything, it could be used to cross examine him if he's ever a witness.
But my prediction is, he'll stay pretty close to his testimony.
BURNETT: All right. Harry, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Good to see you again.
And next, Mark Zuckerberg gets a boost on Capitol Hill. A boost of what? Jeanne Moos is next.
BURNETT: Tonight, the billionaire and the booster seat. Here is Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There he was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the face of Facebook.
MOOS: Face to face with all of those members of Congress.
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, yes. Yes, congressman. Congresswoman. Congressman. Congresswoman. Congressman, I disagree with that assessment.
MOOS: His Senate testimony the previous day had been cushier, propped on an extra thick cushion that added some height to Mark Zuckerberg's 5-foot-7-inch frame. But the cushion was nowhere to be seen during his House committee testimony perhaps because of all the jokes, Mark Zuckerberg in a booster seat looks like he is about to ask the waitress for chicken fingers and an apple juice.
And actually, it was orange juice.
Lots of OJ and even more water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some things are striking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More regulation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside in your dorm room.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A significant increase.
MOOS: There was a significant increase in difficult questions.
ZUCKERBERG: Yes or no -- congresswoman, I believe that we --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes or no?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes or no?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a yes or no question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the answer to that question is yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should they trust you again with their likes,
their loves, their lives?
MOOS: He was even grilled about the ads for opioids on Facebook.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is bad stuff, Mr. Zuckerberger.
MOOS: Zuckerberger? Zuckerman?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for coming before us, Mr. Zuckerman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently, safebook, Facebook --
MOOS: After more than four-and-a-half hours in the hot seat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're almost done.
MOOS: The chairman teased Zuckerberg.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suppose you don't want to hang around for another round of questions. Just kidding.
MOOS: He got teased online for looking like a character from "Star Trek" and on late night for looking robotic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we play the audio from that clip?
MOOS: It's enough to make the face of Facebook what the Zuck.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank the chair.
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: And all I can think is he must have to go to the bathroom.
Thank you for joining us.
"ANDERSON" starts now.