Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Kim Jong-un To Suspend Nuclear And Missile Tests; Wash Post: Sessions Tells W.H. He Might Quit If Rosenstein Fired; DNC Files Suit Alleging Conspiracy Between Trump Camp, Russia; Roger Stone To NYT: Trump Treats Cohen "Like Garbage"; Cohen "Holds the Leverage over Trump"; Trump Accused of Lying about Wealth to Get on Forbes 400 List; Record Number of Women Running for Office in 2018 Midterms. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 20, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OutFront next breaking news, stunning and significant announcement from the North Korea, Kim Jong-un to suspend nuclear and missile tests.
Also breaking, "The Washington Post" reporting Attorney General Jeff Sessions says made it clear if Rod Rosenstein is fired, he's gone, too.
Plus, newly uncovered audio of Trump pretending to be his own publicist, John Barron, lying about his wealth. You're going to hear from the reporter, you're going to hear the recordings. Let's go "OutFront."
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight the breaking news, and this is news -- pretty stunning news breaking at this hour, surprising leaders around the world. North Korea announcing it will stop conducting nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A source telling our Will Ripley that Kim Jong-un now realizes the best path forward is to open up the country and normalized relations. I mean, just imagine what I'm saying about North Korea. The source adding that Kim believes he is finally being recognized by the international community.
And President Trump has just tweeted in response to this announcement, "North Korea has agreed to suspend all nuclear tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the world, big progress. Look forward to our summit."
Now, this announcement is coming just as the administration is finalizing plans for the summit, for the President to possibly meet personally, face-to-face with Kim Jong-un. And that meeting is set to take place by next month and, you know, here we are it's already April 20th.
It also follows the CIA Director Mike Pompeo's secret visit to North Korea earlier this month for preliminary talks with Kim.
Barbara Starr is "OutFront" live at the Pentagon. And Barbara, I mean, it is pretty stunning, you know, that the reporting here that Kim Jong-un has decided the best path forward for North Korea is to normalize relations and open up, I mean, this is a surprise on so many levels tonight.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is. Good evening, Erin. I think it's fair to say here at the Pentagon, officials are cautious and watching. But tonight, U.S. satellites, aircraft, missile defenses and 28,000 troops remain on the Korean Peninsula watching very carefully.
Did you not expect to see the U.S. simply back away from its effort to keep an eye on North Korea, to defend South Korea and Japan? There were still be for sometime a very vigorous effort. The real question, of course, is why is Kim doing this?
U.S. Military Intelligence will tell you he is feeling the pressure of economic sanctions. But opening up his country is offset by one big worry for Kim, how to survive, how to keep himself in power in his regime in power. The U.S. Intelligence Community both continues to believe, at least now, Kim very much driven by his own survival.
So we will have to see how all of this plays out, perhaps most interesting today at the Pentagon, the Japanese defense minister was here and said that he thought the recent missile strike in Syria also was a message that perhaps the North Koreans heard about the ability of U.S. military power to get into airspace of its enemies and enact in military action. If Kim heard that, it may play a role in his decision making.
BURNETT: Obviously it could be the single biggest successful takeaway of what happened in Syria over the long term. If that's true, that's pretty stunning. And of course, it comes before President Trump has even had this meeting with Kim Jong-un, right, the meeting that is apparently supposed to happen in the next few weeks. And of course, the President just days ago vowed to walk out of a meeting if the talks were not fruitful.
Jeff Zeleny is with the President at West Palm Beach, Florida. And Jeff, you know, what are we hearing from the White House because, you know, all he said is "I'll walk if I don't like what I'm hearing." And then you just got a big concession from North Korea, pretty much it seems an exchange for nothing. The President, obviously, extremely happy about this tonight.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, no question. The White House views this as good news. In fact, the President saying that himself just a few moments ago on social media, on Twitter. He said, "I look forward to the summit." Again, hailing this news as good news so that is the early reaction we are getting from White House officials.
But, Erin, if you take stock of the President's tone in his tweet this evening versus really only a few months ago when he was essentially mocking Kim Jong-un as rocket man, he was belittling him. Now fast forward to this, it seems to me that, you know, there's no question there has been sort of a cautious optimism when you talk to White House officials.
Will this summit actually happen? It is looking more and more like it actually will, of course many hurdles up into that point. Where will it be held, you know, exactly what the agenda will be. Will he agree to -- will Kim agree to denuclearize the Peninsula?
ZELENY: But there's no question that the President and the White House believe that they are on solid footing here and there seems to be good reason to believe that.
[19:05:03] This, of course, was a central focus of conversation here this week when the President now with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe here in Florida. So, there's early optimism. The question though, when they sit down face-to-face, can he broker this deal? Certainly the highest stakes gamble of his presidency. Erin?
BURNETT: It certainly will be. And of course if successful, huge achievement for this President. Jeff Zeleny, thank you.
"OutFront" now, former CIA Intelligence Officer David Priess and former Army Commanding General for Europe in the Seventh Army, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
General Hertling, let me start with you. I mean, obviously it's a big announcement from North Korea tonight. How significant is it to you?
LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, FORMER ARMY COMMANDING GENERAL: You used the right word earlier, Erin, when you said stunning. This is a significant development. I would be a little bit more measured right now to see what happens next, a little bit of calm, not so much breathlessness. If it does play out and there's the possibility that it will because there's been a lot of movement.
You know, the President has been with the Prime Minister of Japan. Kim Jong-un has been with the president of China. There's been a lot of discussion about this, a lot of influencers. One of the things we haven't talked about is people are talking about KJU's influence by the missile strike in Syria is the fact that his economy is in tatters.
HERTLING: So I think that's persuading him to perhaps do some things now that he hasn't done in the past and the fact that he does have a missile program. For the first time in a long time, he actually has missiles and potential atomic weapons at work so he can deal a little bit more as we've talked about before from a position of strength. So I think that there's a lot of factors that are coming together in this very interesting inflection point that's occurring right now.
BURNETT: David, what do you read into this? I mean obviously, you know, announcing they're going to immediately stop tests, it's significant. Obviously, you know, they haven't done tests in the past few weeks, you know, and then who knows if they were about to do one.
DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Yes.
BURNETT: But do you believe this a huge breakthrough or are you skeptical?
PRIESS: I was trained as an intelligence officer and skepticism in our blood. We (INAUDIBLE) to the belief that Ronald Reagan talked about, trust but verify. And in this case, we don't even have the trust. We don't have the relationship built up with the North Koreans to trust what he says. He's announced this to the North Korean people, that is big. That is unusual. But what has he announced? He announced he's walking back something that he wasn't doing frequently until 2016 and 2017.
BURNETT: Right, the nuclear test.
PRIESS: There were tests every three years or so. It's only recently that those have stepped up. Now he's saying, "I'm not going to do that," which I wasn't doing a few years ago at this pace. We really need to see what he's willing to do to step up and get that economic relief that he so needs in his country.
BURNETT: Right. And to get the verification because, of course, when you say trust but verify, you think about Iran which the President so resoundingly, you know, criticizes. I'm not even using a strong enough word. But obviously, you know, you could be in a similar position here at the end of this, how are you going to verify.
General, what do you make of this, though, when it comes to what you read into Kim Jong-un and his perception of his own stability, right? Even recently, we had this administration, Pompeo, "No, I'm not worried about regime change."
Look, we all know perfectly well that the United States wants to get rid of Kim Jong-un. But to get a deal done, they're going to have to say, "No, we're going to back this guy who's murdered, you know, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of his own people and let him stay in power in order to let this go forward." That's the way it's going to be?
HERTLING: Yes. I'm with David on this. And being very skeptical, that's why I said we've got to take a more measured tone. We shouldn't get too excited about it just yet, Erin. And I think we have to look at the recent history. This is not a good guy.
HERTLING: I mean he has killed people with chemical weapons and airports. He has starved his own people. He has journalists. He has some of our citizens in jail. So I think, again, we have to let this percolate a little bit and develop. And I shouldn't -- I don't think we should be rushing into this as fast as some people are doing. It's exciting news. There is the potential, but there's a lot to be given and there should be a whole lot of tit for tat on this one. It can't just be, "Hey, he's given things up, let's rush into it."
HERTLING: -- he has disappointed people in the past.
PRIESS: The only build on that, as hard as it is to get inside the President's head, as hard as it is to get inside Donald Trump's head, it's even harder to get inside Kim Jong-un's head. And we don't know how seriously the status of North Korea is affecting him.
To me, the big, big question Mark here is how far is he willing to go once he realizes the consequences of opening up North Korea, letting in investment, letting in South Korean goods and ideas? That's a road he seen before.
Libya decided to give up its weapons of mass destruction and what happened? The west ended up undermining Gaddafi anyway. That's a lesson he sure to have learned.
BURNETT: Right, because General that's the reality back to the point I was making. Everybody knows regime changes the ultimate goal here of pretty much everybody, maybe but Kim Jong-un, maybe China, maybe -- but basically everybody else, including the United States. So they can -- in the interim let say it's not the focus, but does anybody -- is anybody going to believe it?
HERTLING: Well, you know, there's going to be trust and verification on both sides there. And I think you're exactly right, there's a lot that goes into this.
[19:10:08] You know, I'm an old guy. And I was on the border between the East and West Germany when the wall came down and it staggered everybody then in 1989. This seems to be one of those same kind of things where a lot of, there's a lot of stuff happening right now.
HERTLING: In '89, it was a lot different scenario. In this time, I'm not sure we can quite yet trust Kim Jong-un to do exactly what he says he's about to do. He's under a lot of pressure. But he also I think is very worried about some of the things he's seen within the last couple of months.
BURNETT: We've all been to that border, even just that moment of being there. But, I mean, to imagine even the glimmer of possibility of unifying the Koreas in our lifetime I think is something, you know, many of us didn't think we'd even be talking about, whether with skepticism or not. Thank you both so very much. I appreciate your time.
And next breaking news, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly warning the White House, if Trump fires Rod Rosenstein, Sessions could be gone, too. The breaking news ahead.
And a bold prediction from Michael Cohen's attorney as we learn more about what the President really thinks about in how he treats Cohen. Plus, Donald Trump apparently caught on tape acting as his own publicist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN GREENBERG, FORMER FORBES REPORTER: OK. What's your first name, by the way?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John.
TRUMP: John Barron.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The reporter who took that alter ego call is my guest.
[19:15:04] BURNETT: Breaking news, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the White House he might leave his job if President Trump fires his deputy, Rod Rosenstein. According to "The Washington Post," which is breaking the story tonight, Rosenstein of course if overseeing the Russia investigation after Sessions recused himself, Mueller goes into Rosenstein.
Trump has been so angry with Rosenstein since the raid of Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen's office and hotel room, because Rosenstein was the one, you know, who had to prefer it to the Southern District of New York. Sessions made his feelings known in a phone call to the White House Counsel Donald McGahn.
Rosalind Helderman, the Political Investigations Reporter for "The Washington Post" broke this story and joins me now on the phone. Rosalind, so tell me what -- this is basically Jeff Sessions is leveling a very clear threat.
ROSALIND HELDERMAN, POLITICAL INVESTIGATIONS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Well, we were told that the Attorney General was not trying to threaten the White House per se, but just to make clear, that if the President fired his deputy, who he helped select, that his position would become untenable. It would make an enormous amount of public pressure grow on the Attorney General and that he might have to leave his post were that to happen. This came over --
BURNETT: So it's not a threat of quitting, it's a, "I might be forced to do this because of external circumstances." Is that what you're hearing more specifically?
HELDERMAN: That's right where I am or that he might feel forced to do so, that he might, that that set of circumstances might cause him to feel compelled that he had to leave. I think it was a way of conveying that he thought this was a very bad idea.
And, you know, I think the President has come to realized that if he were to fire Mueller, he would be inviting sort of a chaotic moment, if he were to fire the special counsel. And what this shows is really Rod Rosenstein's position has become such that the same would occur were he to fire Rod Rosenstein. That is not a politically easier move for the President.
Were he to do that, he may well lose his Attorney General and he may well lose a series of other important staff members in both the Department of Justice and potentially the White House as well.
BURNETT: The so-called constitutional crisis that some have warned up. All right, Rosalind, thank you so much. Rosalind Helderman, as I said, Investigations Reporter for "The Washington Post" breaking the story tonight.
"OutFront" now, Harry Sandick, former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York along with Laura Coates, former Federal Prosecutor and Renato Mariotti, former Federal Prosecutor.
Harry, let me start with you. So you heard Rosalind. You know, there are sort of Jeff Sessions trying to thread the needle here, according to her reporting, right, to say I would probably leave maybe because I was forced to do so as opposed to I'm threatening to quit, but making his position very clear.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: That's right. He's been a very effective attorney general in terms of advancing the types of things that Donald Trump talked about in the campaign. And at the same time, there are certain things he's not going to do and we've seen that as the Mueller investigation has unfolded.
He recused himself because it was DOJ policy to do it, and he doesn't want to see the deputy attorney general who Sessions views as an honorable person, good in his job, forced to leave for basically doing his job.
BURNETT: So, Renato, why do you think Sessions is essentially, you know, doing this privately. Obviously as Rosalind's reporting, it was a phone call with the White House, but this is leaking out and it's leaking out for a reason because Sessions or someone close to Sessions wanted everyone to know where he stands.
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think this is a power move really by Jeff Sessions to support Rod Rosenstein. Remember, Donald Trump himself, the President of the United States has been attacking Rod Rosenstein. A lot of people in the right-wing media have been attacking Rod Rosenstein. And Jeff Sessions is in a very different position.
He's a former senator. He has a lot of support from GOP lawmakers in Congress. It would be a problem for Donald Trump if he fired Jeff Sessions. I think that's been made clear to him.
MARIOTTI: Remember, if there's impeachment, the jury is the United States Senate. So if you are on Trump's league team giving you advice you're going to say, "Be careful about firing Jeff Sessions or trying to mess with Jeff Sessions."
BURNETT: And yet Laura, the President has made his disdain for Jeff Sessions, and I don't think there's any other word for it, very well- known. Here's some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would pick somebody else.
I'm very disappointed with the Attorney General, but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And that's tame compared with his tweets. I mean, Laura, is this almost what he wants, somehow Jeff Sessions to let just say, get rid of himself?
LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It's not much of a threat for him to say if he goes, I go. If the President of the United States wanted you to go, it's almost a blessing in disguise for the President. But remember, there's been a fixation and assumption that the Department of Justice has solely been focusing on the Russia collusion investigation.
[19:20:07] Deputy Attorney Rosenstein oversees over 100,000 employees, the DEA, the ATF, he oversees the Bureau of Prisons, the day-to-day operations, the idea that he would be somebody who's been pivotal in cybersecurity, crime attacks in the sentinel, pharmaceutical companies, he has a role outside of just the Russia oversight. And in that respect, it would throw the DOJ into chaos and further undermine the credibility of Jeff Sessions to control this entire leg of this very powerful investigative agency.
BURNETT: And Harry, you know, this is coming as we have another legal battle opening up for the President, OK. The DNC is basically -- they're suing. They're suing the Trump campaign and the Russian government, multimillion dollar lawsuit accusing them of collusion.
Now the President just came out and tweeted about this and he said, "Just heard the campaign was sued by obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news and that we will not counter for the DNC server that they refused to give to the FBI, the Wendy Wasserman Schultz servers and documents held by the Pakistani mystery man and Clinton e-mails." Of course, it's Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but whatever.
I guess I say that sort of laughingly, but here's the thing. That -- the lawsuit here is conspiring in the 2016 election. And you know, you got Jared Kushner named in it, you got Paul Manafort named in it. Obviously Trump's completely dismissing it. This happened back during Nixon.
BURNETT: DNC suing over the break into Watergate.
BURNETT: They won three quarters of a million dollars, lot of money then. And they won it on the day Nixon left office.
SANDICK: So, this lawsuit I think is a good idea by the DNC. I think what it does in part is it creates a back up plan. If other investigations are shutdown, this lawsuit will be continuing on. It can't be close by a presidential pardon. It would involve depositions of many people who are close to the President, his son as a name defendant.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, which makes it very significant, Renato and there is president for the DNC in Watergate. I mean, you can dismiss this as political, sure, but whether you want to do that or not, the point is, it's worked before.
MARIOTTI: Well, absolutely and one thing that we do know because the Supreme Court decided this issue in Jones versus Clinton, is that President is not immune from a civil lawsuit when he's in office. All of his associates obviously don't have immunity. There are some legal hurdles to some of the claims, but as long as they can get pass those legal hurdles, there's going to be discovery, there's going to be depositions under oath, there's going to be documents and e-mails and all the things exchanged that could be real problem for the President and his associates.
BURNETT: I would like everyone to know than in somehow an admission of error, which almost never happens in this president, he has corrected his tweet from Wendy to Debbie. This was happened. Hey, there's a first for everything, everyone. Laura, your reaction, not to that.
COATES: Well, that's breaking news, Erin.
BURNETT: Well, that is breaking news by the way as oppose to an apology they're going to get.
COATES: It is. And, of course, part of the DNC claim and suit is actually get admissions of problems, admissions of guilt not from Donald Trump but we're in the right direction if you want admission at this point in time.
But really, this is very similar to what Robert Mueller did when he charged and indicted 13 Russian nationals. It was a talking indictment. There were jurisdictional issues. Could you actually get service over these Russian nationals? Same jurisdiction issues here apply when you talk having -- be able to sue a foreign government.
But what they're trying to do, I think, is also the fail safe approach. A response to the Republicans who were a part of the House Intel Committee who said, "We have not only a hands off approach, we're not going to do anything about it in anticipation to midterm elections."
They are trying to ensure this issue stays prominently positioned and to remind people the similar issue in Watergate to make now of what the power of the DNC (INAUDIBLE) partisan can do to try to force the hand of people to do the right thing.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.
Next, Michael Cohen's attorney warning the President's fixer could be indicted and soon. Could that cause Cohen to turn?
Plus, new audio tonight from a reporter who claims Donald Trump was mass graving as his own publicist, John Barron, multiple identities, to boost about how rich he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'd like to talk to you off the record, if I can, just to make your thing easier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The reporter who recorded that call goes on the record with his real name, next.
[19:28:14] BURNETT: Tonight, an attorney from Michael Cohen says he could be indicted soon in the New York criminal probe as he requests a delay in the case against Stormy Daniels. This as there are growing questions as to whether Cohen, who is a fierce Trump loyalist, would ever turn on the President if there was a crime.
The "New York Times" reports tonight that Trump's legal team has pretty resigned to that happening, detailing the bad treatment that Cohen has reportedly endured from President Trump. Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone saying, "Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage.
"OutFront" now, National Affairs Correspondent for "The Nation," Joan Walsh, and former Senior Communications Adviser for the Trump Campaign, Jason Miller.
Joan, you're with me so let's start with you. Roger Stone with that pretty memorable comment.
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Right.
BURNETT: "Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage." Does that have an effect on Michael Cohen whether he decides to be loyal? I mean, he's a guy, who by the way, I think the way to say it would be that he always "knew his place" and it was OK with it when it came to the President. WALSH: It's complicated, right? That story actually I didn't think
anything would make me feel sorry for Michael Cohen, but it kind of did a little bit. But at the same time, if this is a pattern of treatment and Michael Cohen is always going out and saying I would take a bullet for this guy and continually telling us he's the best and brightest and the loyalist and this and that, I don't know that anything in that story indicates that he will turn.
I think other things might indicate that. I think you talk to Donald Trump's other attorney, Jay Goldberg, last night who indicated that Michael Cohen has a fear of prison, we won't go into the gory details of that. I think -- I don't know the story of Roger Stone's comment really changed anything. He wanted a role with the campaign and he was denied once. He's been treated badly for a longtime. I'm not sure what's changed except the possibility of prison.
BURNETT: And my question is how he feels about that. I mean, Jason, Michael Cohen has been telling people he's loyal to the President. I can tell you he said that as recently as today, loyal, loyal, loyal. Here are just a few examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: Look, Donald Trump is presidential. I think he's a wonderful man. He's actually a tremendous unifier.
He's man of great intellect, great intuition and great abilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Could personal feelings though outweigh that loyalty, Jason?
JASON MILLER, FORMER SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I think someone's always going to deal with what's in their own best interest. I think Jay Goldberg's advice was spot on as far as what he said to the president. However, I disagree with Mr. Goldberg as that's not the kind of thing that you should go running to the "Wall Street Journal" to say and does the big news story because here's the facts. Is that yes, Mueller in his investigation clearly found something that was problematic for Mr. Cohen. And so, he kicks that up to Rod Rosenstein who decides that whatever it is that they found was outside of the scope of this investigation regarding this so-called collusion or coordination of some foreign country. And so, they kicked it to the southern district of New York. The reason why --
BURNETT: Which by the way, they have dove tails here because they've been looking into something for months. Just to point that out. Go ahead.
MILLER: Right. And the reason why it's important, if you talk to any sharp legal person out there, they say most likely, Mr. Cohen had some problems that he's facing probably on the business side, but there's nothing yet that connects him in any way, shape or form to the president. And so, I think, before we start treating this like a legal choose your own adventure book where no matter which ending you turn to, it's bad news for the president. We have to acknowledge the fact that as of right now, Michael Cohen has Michael Cohen problems.
BURNETT: OK, here's the thing though. The president is apoplectic about this. We've all heard it from various people who know him, he is. And one of the reasons I understand, you know, is that he doesn't know what's there and that there could be something there, right? That is one reason. I don't think he can deny it, that there is something that could end up touching. Maybe that's not what they're looking for but they now have everything and there could be something.
When I talked to Jay Goldberg last night, Joan, he - you know made this point about the length in prison term and said that that would be enough to make Cohen - in his words, "turn." Not flip. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY GOLDBERG, LONGTIME TRUMP ATTORNEY WHO WARNED HIM MICHAEL COHEN COULD FLIP: They don't see Michael as taking pressure or a fall for somebody else and if the government requires a certain kind of cooperation or gives out a hint as to what could be necessary.
BURNETT: So accused of weak character basically?
GOLDBERG: I do think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, Joan, let's just make the point as I think you were making. Most anyone would flip on anybody else who committed a crime to avoid jail.
BURNETT: It's not an issue of character. You know, I think most of us would do that. But is this why the president is apoplectic?
WALSH: I think so. I mean, look, Jason is right. Obviously, this was referred here because it was outside of the scope of the Mueller investigation. But the thing about Michael Cohen is he for reasons I don't understand. We haven't put all the parts together. He has had ties to the Russian mob since childhood, literally childhood, childhood friends. His uncle owned a clubhouse. It was a Russian mob clubhouse in Brooklyn, El Caribe, until recently. I believe Michael Cohen owned a share in that clubhouse. He's been investigated for his taxi medallion scandals.
BURNETT: There could be -- we don't know.
WALSH: There could be. And so, once you get to looking around in Michael Cohen's business and all his e-mails and voice mails and all the paperwork that they then got -- you could conceivably make the leap. I'm not ready to make it, but I can understand why the president is nervous.
BURNETT: And you know, the other thing, Jason, here is, "The New York Times" report, you know, they quote, for Tim O'Brien saying quote, "I think his abusive behavior," the his is the president, "is animated by his feeling that Michael is inadequate."
The bottom line there here, Jason, is it appears Cohen could have the upper hand now over the president of the United States, right? I mean, he's the one who has the ability, maybe, to flip on him.
MILLER: Well, again, the earlier point is that people are always going to look out for their own best interest regardless of the situation. But a lot of this also goes to the fact and this is why it's important that Mayor Giuliani and Marty and Jane Raskin have been brought on to the legal team figures out exactly what is there and makes sure that there's a strong defense around the president so we get this all wrapped up and get this completely revolved. And I think that's something that's been lacking a bit in the past. But I think with these new additions, I think the president's in much better position.
BURNETT: Right. Of course, you've got a criminal investigation into a guy who worked with the president, who knows what personal matters, Stormy Daniels aside, for a dozen years. Look, you got people on both sides here who are pretty terrified of the other one I would say.
BURNETT: Thank you. And next, the reporter who says Donald Trump called him, acting as his own publicist, with totally fake name to lie. To say, guess how rich Donald Trump is. Well, guess what? There are the tapes and you'll hear them, next.
Plus, women running for office at record breaking rates across this country, many doing it they say because of Trump.
[19:35:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am the citizen, pediatrician, activist mom with a fire in her belly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That is a resume. Our special series is next.
BURNETT: New tonight, a former Forbes reporter claiming Donald Trump lied to get on the Forbes 400 list posing as quote, a guy named John Barron to claim that he was worth a lot more that he actually was. That reporter, Jonathan Greenberg, is my guest. He'll be with me in just a moment. But this would not be the first time Trump has done this. Alex Marquardt is OUTFRONT with more on Trump's art of deception.
JONATHAN GREENBERG, FORMER REPORTER, "FORBES": OK, what's your first name by the way?
JOHN BARRON, POSSIBLE ALIAS OF DONALD TRUMP: John.
BARRON: John Barron.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Barron, one of the names President Trump has been accused of using over the years to leak information to reporters about himself --
BARRON: Donald's the president and Fred Trump is active. He's an excellent guy, and you know, they're very close, the relationship of the two is, as you know, very close as you've heard or know or perhaps you don't know.
MARQUARDT: In this call from 1984, the so-called Barron is claiming that the assets of Trump's wealthy father, Fred, are in fact Donald's.
GREENBERG: OK, and when you say, you know, in excess of 90 percent of the ownership?
BARRON: I'd say in excess of 90. In fact, well, it's really closer to even the ultimate, but in excess of 90 percent, yes.
MARQUARDT: So, he insists Trump deserves a higher spot on the famous Forbes 400 list.
[19:40:03] BARRON: And it's been pretty well consolidated, OK? So that's one point that you can -
GREENBERG: Is that including the residential units?
BARRON: Yes, everything's been consolidated basically now, over the last couple of years have been working on it.
MARQUARDT: Trump as himself was in regular contact with former Forbes reporter, Jonathan Greenberg, repeatedly arguing he was wealthier than others.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then you mentioned other names and there's no contest, there's no contest.
MARQUARDT: "Forbes" didn't take Trump at his word and listed him at $100 million. Far lower than what he claimed. Greenberg says later research showed Trump was worth under $5 million at that time and didn't come close to belonging on the "Forbes" list.
Trump has long denied that he is John Barron or another alleged alias, John Miller, who would call gossip columnists.
TRUMP: That didn't sound like me though, really. You know, you thing that sounded like me?
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Yes.
TRUMP: I don't. Over the years, I've used aliases. If you're trying to buy a land, you use different names.
KIMMEL: What names did you use?
TRUMP: I would use - I actually used the name Barron.
MARQUARDT: And there it is, Barron, not just a name he used for alias, but of course, naming his youngest child Barron as well. Those were allegations, of course, from the 1980s, but if you fast forward to the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump was of course claiming that he's worth $10 billion, a claim that's very hard to verify, not at least because we have not seen his tax returns. So we have reached out to the White House. They didn't respond. We also reached out to the Trump organization. They said they didn't want to comment.
BURNETT: So it does sound like he's the one who picked the name, Barron. OK. Thank you very much Alex Marquardt.
I want to go now to the former "Forbes" reporter, Jonathan Greenberg. So, Jonathan, you know, when we hear on that tape, first of all, it's the sentence structure, the cadence, the word choice that makes it clear it's Donald Trump. But Alex also played Donald Trump at that time and John Barron at that time. And you could hear that while the president's voice now may have changed a little bit in how deep it is, those two voices are the same. So you decided to go back and listen to these tapes. Why are you releasing them to the public now?
GREENBERG: I didn't go back, Erin, and listen to them until really recently because I didn't realize I had them. I went back -- to listen to tapes of the "Forbes 400" and I saw the name, VP of finance Trump organization, John Barron. I said holy cow, what's in these. And when I listened to them, just few months ago, and I transcribed them and then researched what had been done to date. I realized that it really was an orchestrated multiyear deception that John Barron sort of iced out, you know, over three years and Donald Trump was part of and his lawyer, Roy Cohn was part of, to really create a false narrative and planted in the media that he was worth far more money than he was.
BURNETT: And of course, he was successful at that. All right, I want to play another clip of Trump. John Barron, in this case, talking to you, Jonathan.
BARRON: Let me tell you what the deal is just so you understand.
BARRON: Mr. Trump - first of all, most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump, you know. And I'd like to talk to you off the record, if I can, just to make your thing easier.
GREENBERG: OK, sure.
BARRON: Is that all right? GREENBERG: Yes, that's fine.
BURNETT: You know, the you knows, the OKs. I mean anyone listening of course it's now very familiar. But look, we listen to it now. That all makes sense, but at the time, you were talking to this John Barron dude again and again and you didn't think it was Trump, right? I mean, did you not think that anybody would do what Trump was actually attempting to do here?
GREENBERG: That's the thing. No one could imagine in the media -- Donald Trump. We were doing the "Forbes 400". I started it in '82. I interviewed him in '82 and '83. '84, I got a call from Norma Foerderer, his executive assistant, saying you know, Donald wants John Barron to speak to you as VP of finance. Let's schedule it for this time. And I got this call. And the idea that someone would impersonate themselves, I hadn't spoken to him for a year at that time or met with him for a year. It just never occurred to anyone to do this.
I mean, Donald Trump as you know, as much as anomaly. He is a consummate con man and the way he conned the media about business, including me, that's just how he's conned, you know the media about politics.
BURNETT: So, Trump himself - look, and I mean, Trump - whatever. I mean, I can't even - feels like you're talking about split personalities here. Donald Trump, going by Donald Trump, regularly also brags about what he claims he's worth. OK. Here he is, Jonathan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, "Forbes" says $2.7 billion. I can tell you that's a very low number. It's much more than that.
I built $9 billion worth of net worth. I started off with $1 million and now I'm worth over $10 billion.
I'm really rich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Why do you think he has a need to constantly tell people this?
GREENBERG: This because I don't think he's nearly as successful as he is. And I think it's the smoke and mirrors. The con game is so deep and it's -- his deception is so deep.
[19:45:01] That in 1982, he had me totally change the guide post, Erin. This is very interesting from a journalistic perspective. I went in there thinking is he on the "Forbes 400" or not and he immediately was like, I'm not only on it. I'm at the very top of the list. So then I was like, where did we put him in the list? I fact, he shouldn't have been on it at all because he was worth a subsequent documentation proof under $5 million at that time. Con was so good, Erin, that for 35 years, I didn't know I had been conned. And I was proud of the job that I did on the first "Forbes 400" and the second and third.
BURNETT: Nobody would have - nobody would have guessed at the time that he would have done this. I want to tell you one more exchange. This is actually during the campaign. He's still doing the same thing. I talked to him, he was Donald Trump. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: "Forbes" estimates your wealth at $4.1 billion. I have your disclosure sheet, the one that you released last week when you announced. That obviously puts the number more than double that $8.7 billion. Are you going to release all the backup data to prove that number -- your number, $8.7 billion in net worth?
TRUMP (via telephone): Yes, I have to release tremendous amounts of information. I don't even know what it is, but it doesn't matter because frankly, I'm worth a tremendous amount. "Forbes" doesn't know it. And I think they're very nice people, but they don't know what I have. And I think its fine. By the way, whether it's $4.1 or $10 or more than $10, it doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course it does matter to him. He never released those tremendous amounts of information, Jonathan. He promised me. Never mind his taxes, why?
GREENBERG: Well, I mean, what if, Erin, he just -- I love that quote. If it's four or if it's $10, it doesn't matter. What if it's $400 million? The cut off for the "Forbes 400" was $2 billion. He wouldn't have been on the list at all. That would have been very big news. We believe a lot of us in the journalist community that the reason he's not revealing his taxes is that we base -- people base the assessment of his net worth on a sort of cash flow basis. This is how much these buildings produce and they would be sold on the basis of how much profits they make. And if he release his income statement and you know, his taxes, it would show here's his debt service and here's his positive cash flow. And they would say, well, look at all of this. And it's not going to be the type of cash flow that justifies a $4 billion or a $10 billion you know, valuation.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Jonathan.
GREENBERG: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, a record number of women, running for office this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really having a misogynist in chief, having a president, a man who grabs women's bodies and has been disrespectful all the way through to women, that drives us.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: They're motivated.
And also tonight, mourners lining up to pay their respects to the former first lady, Barbara Bush. We'll go to the touching tribute.
[19:51:37] BURNETT: Tonight, a record number of women running for office in the midterms. Majority of them have never held office, never run for office before. They're doctors. They're moms. They're activists. Many of them say they are doing it because of President Trump. Here is Kyung Lah with our special OUTFRONT series born to run.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From marching to running.
KIM SCHRIER (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: The march was the start. Marching is not enough. And so, citizens just like me became activated.
LAH: Dr. Kim Schrier, Washington state pediatrician marched in 2017. By 2018, she quit her job. Now she is a Democrat running for Congress.
How would you describe yourself?
SCHRIER: I am the citizen pediatrician, activist mom with a fire in her belly.
LAH: Washington Congressional District 8, an open congressional seat where mountains and agriculture meet high-tech towns dotting lakes.
SCHRIER: This is a country that innovates.
LAH: Dr. Schrier, also a type one diabetic talking health care and kitchen table concerns to constituents over coffee.
SCHRIER: We're going to it, a whole community.
LAH: In voter gatherings, many here say the midterms didn't matter before. Why now are women paying more attention in these midterms?
ELISSA SLOTKIN (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: I just felt like this is the time. I can't just sit back and not do anything.
LAH: Will women be the difference makers in 2018?
SCHRIER: I am counting on it, really having a misogynist in chief, having a president, a man who grabs women's bodies and has been disrespectful all the way through to women, that drives us.
LAH: And it's driving a historic number of women to run for office, most of them Democrats. According to records, university, more than 450 women are running for Congress this year, a record breaker. Many of them, like Elissa Slotkin, first time candidates. SLOTKIN: Michigan 8th is mid-Michigan. It's in the middle of the state and middle of the country.
LAH: This is a district that Trump won by a lot. So what makes you think as a political newcomer, that you can win here?
SLOTKIN: First, it is just the energy that's in the system, folks who voted for Donald Trump, folks who voted for the current congressmen who are just fed up. I hear from people who are just sick of Washington not getting anything done.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump.
LAH: For her, it was what Washington did do, the push to repeal Obamacare in the House.
SLOTKIN: I saw my representative in the group there beaming and proud and smiling from ear to ear that he had just voted to repeal healthcare without a replacement, without any plan. And something just broke for me.
LAH: Slotkin's mother had died of ovarian cancer allowing her insurance to lapse, unable to afford it.
SLOTKIN: You just don't get to do this. You don't. So, we desired to do the try and fire.
What do you do? They have you over a barrel.
LAH: The Democrat is a former CIA analyst. She deployed to Iraq and worked at the State Department. Susan voted for the incumbent Republican congressman in 2016.
LAH: Have you ever shown up for a political event before?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not. It's a dream of a lot of things. So, it is time to do something about it.
LAH: Is this the forgotten Midwest?
SLOTKIN: I certainly think that everyone in this town that I talked to you, everyone in my district feels completely unheard, underrepresented and left out of the conversation in Washington. Absolutely.
[19:55:08] BURNETT: Kyung Lah, those are two really riveting stories. Do either of those candidates have a real shot though of winning.
LAH: Those two women you just met, yes, they absolutely do. Elissa Slotkin has outraced the incumbent in the first floor. She is absolutely keeping up with him when it comes to fundraising. Kim Schrier, leads the Democratic field in fund-raising. But those women still face tough races and there are many other women who are running for the House, who also face tough races against the incumbent. But here's the important thing, Erin. At the end of 2018, experts who watched this, believe we will have significant gains in female representation.
BURNETT: Thank you very much Kyung Lah. And we'll be right back.
BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us. Don't forget you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. You just have to go to CNNgo. I hope you have a great weekend. "Anderson Cooper 360" begins right now.