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Trump Distances Himself From Cohen Even as Probe Consumes Him; Trump Admits Cohen Represented Him in Stormy Daniels Deal; Pruitt Contradicts Himself on Issue about Big Raises to EPA Employees; Trump Denies Telling Comey He Didn't Stay Overnight in Moscow; Interview with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Kim Jong-Un About to Arrive at DMZ for Historic Meeting; Jury Convicts Bill Cosby on Three Counts of Sexual Assault. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 26, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:03] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, dissing Cohen. The president says his longtime personal attorney only did a tiny fraction of his legal work. Why is Trump distancing himself from someone who may know so much?

And the president appearing to threaten his Justice Department as the attorney general suggests he wants Mueller's Russia probe to end.

Plus breaking news, Bill Cosby at home tonight after being found guilty of sexual assault. Could prison be next for Bill Cosby?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump turning on his long lifetime lawyer, Michael Cohen. This of course is the president's self-proclaimed fixer who is under criminal investigation by the FBI. The president telling Fox News today that even after 12 years, Cohen is just not all that important.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me just tell you that Michael is in business. He's really a businessman, at fairly big business as I understand it. I don't know his business. But this doesn't have to do with me.

Michael is a businessman. He's got a business. He also practices law --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, how much of your legal work was handled by Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: Well, he has a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things.

(END AUDIO CLIP) BURNETT: A tiny, tiny little fraction as he said it. This appears to undermine the entire argument being made by Cohen's lawyers, that he is Trump's personal attorney, and therefore, you know, they shouldn't get to look at all the stuff that they raided because it's protected by attorney-client privilege. This position of personal attorney is one that Cohen has held for more than a decade. It's why he was in court today arguing that these documents seized from both his home and his office are protected. It's that attorney-client privilege.

Here's the thing, though. If the president is the one telling the truth and it's just not that significant, Cohen did a tiny little fraction of the work, then why is the president so consumed with the FBI raid on Cohen? Apoplectic about it, tweeting, quote, attorney- client privilege is dead, end quote. "Now they do the unthinkable and raid a lawyer's office for information, bad."

So, could it be that Cohen, seen here as you see on your screen just a short time ago today, is more than just a bit player on Trump's legal team? Well, once upon a time, the president himself was very eager to say just that. Let's roll the tape.


TRUMP: Michael Cohen is a very talented lawyer, he's a good lawyer in my firm. Michael is my attorney. So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys.


BURNETT: That is exactly the way Michael Cohen has described his relationship with the president over the years.


MICHAEL COHEN, TRUMP'S LONGTIME PERSONAL LAWYER: I'm going to be the personal attorney to Mr. Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many times a day would you say you're in touch with Donald Trump?

COHEN: A lot. A lot. And most of it is really on business-related matters.


BURNETT: And an anecdote from Cohen's lawyer here OUTFRONT may be worth a million words.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe me, Michael Cohen got calls at 3:00 in the morning, Michael and I would be at dinner, the boss would be calling him all the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: The boss, of course, lest there be any confusion, Donald Trump. Cohen's loyalty to the president may matter to Trump's presidency. And there are questions as to just how many slams from the president Cohen can take. On top of the Fox interview today where the president minimized Cohen, the Wall Street Journal reporting tonight that Cohen complained about being excluded from White House posts. Struggling to get Trump's attention.

And there are other signs of Trump's disrespect of Cohen that go way back. In 2012, the Journal reports the president was late to Cohen's son's bar mitzvah. The Journal reporting that, quote, after Mr. Trump arrived, he gave a speech telling guests he hadn't planned to come but relented after Mr. Cohen had repeatedly called him, his secretary, and his children, begging him to appear.

Pretty humiliating. So could this, the president's latest insult, that Cohen did just a tiny, tiny fraction of legal work for him, be the final straw?

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT live at the White House. And Pamela, what was the reaction at the White House to this frankly freewheeling stream of consciousness interview, it was like out of James Joyce from the president today?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It was really sort of a throwback 2to the campaign when the president would do these types of interviews, Erin. And I can tell you that plenty of presidential aides were watching the interview this morning. One official telling my colleague Jim Acosta that many of the aides winced at some of the president's comments, particularly when he talked about the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller, saying that at some point he'll make changes at the Justice Department.

Some of the aides view those comments as unhelpful. But another official I spoke with tried to put a positive spin on all of this, Erin, saying that it was a good forum for the president. This is something that he wanted to do, that he's his own best messenger, rather than a spokesman talking for him, that he really enjoyed it.

[19:05:05] And you saw that reflected in the tweets just what, in the last hour where he tweeted, I liked -- he said, loved being on Fox and Friends this morning, great show. But just within the several hours after that interview, Erin, it's already created potential legal problems for the president. In the court filing, U.S. prosecutors in New York use the president's own words against him when he said that Michael Cohen has only done a tiny little fraction of his legal work to make the case that the documents seized in that raid, that most of them were not covered under privilege.


BURNETT: All right, Pamela, thank you very much. You know, as Pamela is saying, the president said he had a great time with the interview today, it seems Bob Mueller might have, too.

John Dean is with me now, President Nixon's White House counsel during Watergate, Harry Sandick, former U.S. assistant attorney for the Southern District of New York where of course Cohen is under criminal investigation, and Patrick Healy, politics editor for the New York Times.

I mean, John, will the president's words come back to haunt him today? Or the words today come back to haunt him later?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, as you alluded, they did come back and haunt him today. With the filing in court where they were able to use the interview he gave this morning in court this morning on this issue of appointing a special master. So I think, yes, I think all of this is going to come back and haunt him.

We don't know exactly where Mueller's going or the southern district is going. But he's just putting too much out there. And he's very defensive in the way he's doing it.

BURNETT: You know, Harry, I want to play again, you know, one of the operative lines here, what the president said today about Michael Cohen. Here he is.


TRUMP: Well, he has a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things.


BURNETT: That tiny, tiny little fraction. Literally he said that this morning on Fox News. And then federal prosecutors took it, put it in their filing, and said, well, hey, if it's a tiny, tiny little fraction, then clearly these documents that we seized are, quote, unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents, so I guess we should be able to get them all and there should be no restrictions at all. Did he do damage today?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I think he did do some damage today. He sort of stepped on his lawyers' feet. They've been saying for the last couple of weeks in court over and over again that this raises the serious privilege issues and that they need to go to the unusual, novel procedures to protect the president's rights. And here the president is saying, actually, not so much.

BURNETT: I don't have any rights, he didn't do anything for me.

SANDICK: Exactly.

BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty incredible, Patrick.

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, it was pretty incredible. This is Donald Trump to a "t." He spent decades --

BURNETT: Doubt (ph) his new lawyer Rudy Giuliani would have recommended that he say this in this way.

HEALY: Well, I think that his - but Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump both like to go on television and just believe that whatever they say is obviously the truth and that the base wants to hear it. Donald Trump spent decades calling into radio shows, loved doing Howard Stern, love calling into different networks. You know, when he was running for president, some of the most fun that he had was on the Sunday shows when he never went on like other guests but he would call in from the desk and he would just go on and on and on.

Now he likes to do it with, you know, with a place like Fox and Friends which really doesn't ask any kind of challenging questions. But his ability to step in it and to undermine himself is great here.

BURNETT: Well, he didn't need a challenging question to step in it, that's the amazing thing.

HEALY: But that's the thing, he always trying to argue his own case. You know, he believes he's his best communications director, best political strategist, now even sort of his best lawyer.

BURNETT: Yes. So, you know, John, in this interview this morning, it wasn't just that he said Cohen wasn't that important which puts this whole attorney-client privilege thing in question. He also then clearly said, Cohen represented him on the, quote, Stormy Daniels deal. Let's let the president say his own words.


TRUMP: He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me. And, you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this.



BURNETT: OK, John, look, the president wasn't named in the NDA, wasn't named in the money deal, in fact they said he knows nothing about it so how would he know whether -- what funds were used, in fact the man that on this was David Dennison.

So, did Trump admit today to knowing about the deal at the time? Did he open himself up here or not?

DEAN: I don't think he outright confessed it that he was knowledgeable about the deal. But he certainly implied it in the way he phrased his distancing himself from his lawyer and what his lawyer was doing. You know, these are the sort of things that at some point, a lawyer's going to have a lot of fun cross examining the president on these issues. And there are -- you know, there will probably be more before that day comes and there are probably some we're not even thinking of.

BURNETT: Harry this "crazy Stormy Daniels deal". He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me. We've got a tense change in there, which could end up being significant.

SANDICK: Which is different from what he said and others have said in the days leading up to this.

[19:10:02] There's conventional wisdom if you're in a high-stakes civil litigation, or a target, or a witness, or a subject of a criminal investigation, you don't talk. And that conventional wisdom exist for a reason because people who talk often find themselves in a worse situation, where there are inconsistent statements that you've introduced, and later on a fact finder, a judge or jury, will say, well, was he right then? Was he right this time? Was he right that time? Or maybe I shouldn't believe anything this person says.

BURNETT: You know, Patrick, then the president continued today to basically say, all right, well, if Cohen did something wrong, not my problem.

HEALY: Right.

BURNETT: I didn't vouch for his character or anything, just not my problem, I wouldn't know about it. you know, basically Michael Cohen has his own businesses and that's over there. Here's what he said about that.


TRUMP: He's got businesses and from what I understand they're looking at his businesses, and I hope he's in great shape. But he's got businesses and his lawyers probably told him to do that. But I'm not involved and I'm not involved -- and I've been told I'm not involved.


BURNETT: OK, but Cohen worked for the Trump Organization. In fact, the e-mails that they've seized that he says all of Sean Hannity's communications are, are going to be on the Trump Organization e-mail. Stormy Daniels' case had e-mails on this that. Of course, that was the president's organization.

HEALY: Right, and whenever this gets into deep discovery, there's going to be ability to talk to so many people who've been on the other end of a phone call or an e-mail from Michael Cohen representing Donald Trump. All of us in the media knew that the way to get to Donald Trump, the way to talk about issues, was to go through Michael Cohen, people in business, people in law, people in real estate. Michael Cohen was -- I mean, fixer is a very good word for him.


HEALY: And that is sort of who you, you know, who you really went through.

BURNETT: Yes, he could get the message. I mean, it was, you know, him and Ronner (ph), right?

(CROSSTALK) HEALY: Right, right.

BURNETT: Two people, right?


HEALY: That was the answer.

BURNETT: Yes, yes.

HEALY: But here's the thing -- I mean, what you're seeing with President Trump on this interview, he really -- part of him really does want to talk to Robert Mueller because he thinks that if he can just sort of explain things with this certitude he has, if he can just sort of explain things like everyone will get it, and this is sort of a dry run and it just makes you realize, boy, he's really creating problems for himself.

SANDICK: He's dig it.

BURNETT: And Harry, you know, look, Cohen has said he'll take a bullet for the president, he said that thing. Look, privately to people he has expressed frustration with some of the things the president may have done at times. In the Wall Street Journal tonight, they report -- I want to give this bar mitzvah story and one other.

"After saying he'd attend Mr. Cohen's son's bar mitzvah in 2012, Mr. Trump was late, and the blessings were delayed according to an attendee. After Mr. Trump arrived, he gave a speech telling guests he hadn't planned to come but relented after Mr. Cohen repeatedly called him, his secretary and his children begging him to appear, the attendee said. The guests laughed because everyone knew it was very realistic sounding."

And then, the journal continues with a story from the inauguration itself. "During the inaugural festivities, Mr. Cohen and his guests weren't given priority access to the festivities, the person said noting that the hurt was visible on Mr. Cohen's face. He was always just at the edges."

You've work in the southern district of New York. When you hear stories like this, and this is just a few of many, is this a guy that you could get to turn on that guy?

SANDICK: You would absolutely wrap this into your pitch. Your initial pitch is, you're facing a lot of time and you're going to go to jail. But if there are personal things that you can use to say, hey, this person you're cooperating against, don't hesitate, don't hold back, this person doesn't have you in their best interests, this person pulled you into this mess, and now they're going to abandon you, you need to look out for yourself.

And these kinds of stories, particularly the bar mitzvah and the inauguration that you read, but there are about three or four others in that article, they are very good fodder. HEALY: Well, that's the -- also it's when President Trump -- when Donald Trump needed Michael Cohen on his own terms, on Trump's own terms, Cohen was there like that. I mean, he -- whenever Trump needed to call him, that was it. And now, you know, now you're seeing, well, this is what the guy -- this is what the president thought of me? I mean, that hurts.

BURNETT: Yes. All right, thank you all.

And next, head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, fighting to keep his job, and struggling today to answer some of the most basic questions about a growing series of scandals.


SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I'm not aware. I'm not aware. I was not aware. I was not aware. I'm just not aware.


BURNETT: Plus, President Trump now saying he did stay overnight in Moscow, after telling the former FBI Director Jim Comey that he didn't. And this could matter a whole lot to Bob Mueller. We'll tell you why.

Plus breaking news, history unfolding tonight. Kim Jong-un right now heading south for an historic meeting as we have these new pictures just coming in of Kim meeting with Mike Pompeo, then CIA chief, and tonight the newly confirmed secretary of state.


[19:18:02] BURNETT: Tonight, the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is fighting to keep his job. And the question now is, did he lie about when he learned the fat raises given to two EPA employees? So, he was under oath today, and he appeared before Congress. And he was asked about the $80,000 raises.


PRUITT: I was not aware of the amount, nor was I --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not the amount, were you aware of the raises?

PRUITT: Not aware of the amount, nor was I aware of that -- of the bypassing or the PPO process not being respected.


BURNETT: Not aware of the amount. But it did appear he was aware of the raises. Which flies in the face of what he told Fox News on April 4th.


PRUITT: I found out about this yesterday. And I corrected the actions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you didn't know that they got these large pay raises?

PRUITT: I did not know that they get the pay raises until yesterday.


BURNETT: This comes on the same day Trump's nominee to head the department of Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson, withdrew his nomination after reports he'd been drinking on the job and handing out prescription drugs, including an opioid. And the CIA pick Gina Haspel's nomination is in jeopardy as her critics in Congress cite ties to harsh interrogation techniques after 9/11.

National affairs correspondent for the Nation, Joan Walsh joins me, along with the former economic advisor to President Trump, Steven Moore. OK, thanks to both.

Steve, let's start with Scott Pruitt. You know, these exchanges went on and on, and first, it was, I don't know anything about the raises at all. And then it was, well, you know, OK, fine, but I didn't know about the amount. Obviously, he was much more definitive in his interview before with Fox News.

So which is it? He didn't know about them at all? Or he did know about them but didn't know the amount? Or, do you know?

STEPHEN MOORE, INFORMAL WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I don't know. But I would say this, I think what's going on in Washington, D.C. in the last couple of months has just been disgraceful. I mean, it's basically character assassination of one good person after another. What happened to Ronny Jackson, I think people are just so horrified by this kind of treatment.

[19:20:00] And you know, look, let's be very clear about why liberals are going -- you know, putting up this fight against Scott Pruitt, because he doesn't drink the Kool-aid of climate change. And he doesn't believe in this religion. And because of that, they are trying to destroy him.

Now, look, I don't know -- I do know Scott Pruitt, I knew him when he was in Oklahoma. I think he's a good man, and I think he's an honorable man. People don't like him on the left because he's pro- American energy development. I think -- I truly think that that's what this story is all about.


JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Nobody on the left made Scott Pruitt install a $43,000 phone booth, cone of silence in his office, Steve. Nobody made him travel first class. Nobody made him first tell Ed Henry one story about a set of pretty extreme raises, and now tell a committee the other story.

You had Greg Walden, a conservative Republican today criticizing Scott Pruitt. Nobody on the left is making him do this. I'm surprised you're taking this tack because it's as though you can't find a guy who's tough on climate change or pro-drilling who doesn't have these kinds of ethical problems. He has ethical problems -


MOORE: Joan, how many people in the media even batted an eye when Gina McCarthy was spending millions to go to -- over to Paris for the -- all over the world for these posh places for these climate change, you know, conferences that cost 10 -- hundred times more than the money that is supposed to have been misappropriated by Scott Pruitt. I mean, it's like comparing an ant with an elephant in terms of the money that was misappropriated by the previous administration.

WALSH: I think we've had these sequential revelations about high spending on the taxpayers' dime, about --

MOORE: You didn't answer my question, Joan. What about all the money that was spent in Paris? What about the millions of dollars that were spent in Paris?

WALSH: I'll look that up and get back to you.

MOORE: Millions and millions of dollars.

WALSH: She was doing the people business to my knowledge, she was not flying first class. To my knowledge, she did not sit at $70,000 desks.

MOORE: The EPA spent -- sent hundreds of people to Paris, they went to all these -- every one of these climate change, you know, conferences at these posh resorts --

WALSH: That's completely, completely separate.

MOORE: Why do you have to spend so much money on that stuff? I mean, nobody batted an eye about it.

BURNETT: OK, but hold on because we haven't brought up any of his travel, right. The security in Italy, the trip to Morocco. If you're going to say, let's take travel out, fine, let's take travel out. You got the desk, you got the sound proof booth, you got putting the fake lights on top of his car and saying he has to go faster. You got all of those other things that have nothing to do with it.

MOORE: And all of that adds up to 1/1000th of what Gina McCarthy spent to going to Paris for the climate accord treaties.

WALSH: If Gina McCarthy did anything wrong, I promise you, Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz would have called her in front of their committees for endless, endless hearings.


MOORE: I don't think that this kind of character assassination was going on. You know, look -- (CROSSTALK)

WALSH: Oh my God. Did you pay attention to those committees?



MOORE: Well, look what happened yesterday with - with the V.A. --

BURNETT: Steve, hold on a second. Before we get to that, I want to just say, Pruitt was under oath today OK. So he, you know, look, there's a consequence to lying. And he was asked by Democrats and Republicans all these questions. Money spent. Deals he got on housing, right that ridiculously below market rent that he paid. Other ethics questions that have been raised.


MOORE: Oh, $1,500 a month is below market --

BURNETT: Well, $6,000 is the average in that area, so yes.

WALSH: It's way below average, my God.

BURNETT: OK. But here's the thing. Here's these answers. Let's just play them, and then give you a chance to respond.


PRUITT: I'm not aware of the amount now was I aware of that -- of the bypassing -- I don't have knowledge about that, Congressman. I'm not aware what's you're referring to, Congressman.

I'm not aware of that ever happening. I was not aware of one of those individuals even seeking a pay raise. I was not aware it was $13,000, $8,000, or $43,000. It could have been used in that instant, I'm just not aware.


BURNETT: Is that OK, Steve?

MOORE: I don't -- how many other cabinet secretaries in the Obama administration had to go through this kind of thing? I mean, look, this is a -- this is the head of the EPA. He is doing exactly what Donald Trump wants his EPA director to be doing in terms of promoting American energy, promoting American oil and gas and coal, he's creating jobs. He -- and by the way, he's cleaned up more toxic waste dumps and more superfund sites per year than -- way more than Obama did. The clean air standards have been stringent than ever.

WALSH: I really find that hard to believe.

MOORE: Yes. Because the reason is because all Gina McCarthy cared about was climate change, they didn't care about all these other environmental issues like clean air, clean water, toxic waste dumps, they dare they cared about climate change. They're obsessed with it.


MOORE: Right, OK.

WALSH: First of all, can you say Eric Holder, can you say Hillary Clinton, people were brought before investigative committees for the slightest infraction. So this notion that no one paid attention to the Obama administration is just ridiculous. And the point is right now --

MOORE: They weren't taken from office, though.

WALSH: -- this administration has an ethics problem and earth to, if Scott Pruitt worked for Barack Obama, he would be gone.

[19:25:07] But he is not rising to the level of scandal for this president.

BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much.

And next, the attorney general suggests he wants the Russia probe to end. Is that appropriate from someone who has recused himself from the Russia investigation?

Plus breaking news, the White House releasing new images of the historic meeting between Kim Jong-un and Mike Pompeo. There it is, that's Pyongyang, there they are together. And it comes as Kim is moments away from coming in on the South Korean side of that DMZ. First time in 65 years the North Korean leader has done so. That's moments away.


BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump apparently changing his story about a crucial trip to Moscow. The trip he took to attend the Miss Universe pageant. And that trip of course is at the center of a salacious but unsubstantiated allegation in the Russia dossier which, if true, could make Trump susceptible to blackmail by Vladimir Putin.

Now, the president is now admitting that he did stay overnight during the trip. Even as the former FBI Director James Comey says Trump told him exactly the opposite. And that night could be a very important night. Tom foreman is OUTFRONT.


TRUMP: I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two, because I own the Miss Universe pageant.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president is raging at his former FBI boss insisting James Comey got it all wrong about Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

TRUMP: Russia really wanted it --

FOREMAN (voice-over): Sure, Trump says, I stayed in Russia overnight.

TRUMP: Of course I stayed. Well, his memo said I left immediately. I never said that. I never said I left immediately.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The problem, Comey says he met privately with Trump twice, immediately wrote notes about what was said in each time he, Trump, explained he hadn't stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip., the very night the infamous dossier claims he was cavorting with prostitutes, a dossier CNN has not corroborated.

TRUMP: Look, Comey is a leaker and he's a liar.

FOREMAN: So, between the conflicting accounts, is there any reason for Trump to have apparently changed his story? Yes. A flood of facts has now proved he was in Russia overnight at that time. "Bloomberg" obtained flight logs showing the private plane Trump used landed in Russia on a Friday evening and headed back home very early Sunday morning.

Social media posts show Trump around Moscow the day after his arrival. And congressional testimony by one of Trump's security guards and comments by a pageant host also make it clear the New York billionaire spent at least one full night in Russia. All of that piqued Comey's interest.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: It's always significant when someone lies to you. Especially about something you're not asking about. It tends to reflect a consciousness of guilt as we would say in law enforcement.

FOREMAN: A potential consciousness of guilt that could be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What it opens the door to is what the president does not want, which is further curiosity on the part of the special counsel. That's exactly what's going on in the Mueller team's mind right now, why would the president have been so eager to distance himself from, frankly, a hard to believe circumstance?


FOREMAN: The president has always denied the salacious story about prostitutes, and to be sure, there has been zero public proof that it is true. But when an FBI boss, even a fired one, starts saying that a president is changing his story, in this town, that gets scrutiny -- Erin.

BURNETT: It sure does. As James Comey says, anybody changing their story when no one even asks for the story to begin with, he finds suspect. Obviously these two, no love lost. Thank you very much, Tom Foreman.

And OUTFRONT now, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who's member of the Judiciary, Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committee.

So, look, this inconsistency, whether or not the president spent a full night in Russia, right? We have now Friday night apparently he was there, Saturday he left at 3:48 a.m., that could go either way. But he obviously, according to Jim Comey, said he didn't spend the night there. The records show that he did. 9

You heard the legal analysts who had represented the former deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, say that Mueller will care about this. How significant could this be if this really is a flip-flop, tells one thing to James Comey, and now another?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: It could be significant, as part of the mosaic, a piece in that picture, because it does reflect consciousness of guilt or criminal intent, which is extraordinarily important in an obstruction of justice case. I think there's a credible case of obstruction right now against the president of the United States.

BURNETT: Why do you think the president would have, according to James Comey -- if his version is true, bring it up to James Comey multiple times, and specifically say, I didn't spend the night in Russia? When he did?

BLUMENTHAL: The president has been extraordinarily sensitive about his ties to Russia. That's an understatement. He has minimized the relationship with Putin. He has basically denied that he had any business dealings with Russia, when in fact Michael Cohen went there in an attempt to develop a hotel.

There are allegations. They are as yet unproven that there was money laundering through Deutsche Bank involving Russia. He has refused to place sanctions on Russia, despite Congress overwhelmingly mandating --

BURNETT: Very bipartisan, yes.

BLUMENTHAL: So the ties to Russia are very important in Donald Trump's mind. And that's the reason why consciousness of guilt and potential criminal intent are reflected in this denial without any prompting of spending another night there.

BURNETT: Right. Now, in his interview on Fox News this morning, the president said several times, they might get involved with the DOJ. And, of course, the DOJ, you know, Bob Mueller's investigation resides within the DOJ, right? Mueller reporting into Rod Rosenstein.

Here's the president on Fox News.


TRUMP: I'm very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact that it's going on, and I think you'll understand this, I have decided that I won't be involved. I may change my mind at some point, because what's going on is a disgrace. And our Justice Department, which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won't.


BURNETT: Is there a threat?

BLUMENTHAL: A very ominous and threatening kind of statement to make about his own Justice Department, a threat to the people there, the special investigator.

[19:35:06] And it is one of the reasons, Erin, why the Judiciary Committee today voted 14-7 to report to the Florida Senate favorably a measure that will protect the special counsel. I worked for months on this measure. The president's mounting threats have created a clear and urgent imperative we protect the special counsel.

BURNETT: Clear and urgent imperative, your words. Do Republicans agree with you?

BLUMENTHAL: Some definitely do.

BURNETT: In private?

BLUMENTAL: Because four of them voted for this measure.

BURNETT: Right, in the committee, yes.

BLUMENTHAL: And to his great credit, Senator Grassley in a very thoughtful and reasonable way, negotiated with us to overcome some of his concerns. We worked hard and deliberate in the way the Senate is supposed to do.


BLUMENTHAL: And I think there is a mounting sense of alarm and apprehension on the Republican, as well as the Democratic side.

BURNETT: You're on Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson withdrew his bid today, obviously with the allegations that were out there, unproven, and without name. They were anonymous. But there were more than 23 people who had made such allegations.

The president was asked if he had any idea now who's next, right? Who he's going to nominate? I mean, there are nearly 400,000 people who work for the V.A., the second biggest department in the United States. It matters a lot. Here's what the president said.


TRUMP: I do actually, but I better not give it. Maybe we'll do it on my next call. I do. I think we're going to have somebody great.


BURNETT: OK. So, he has an idea but I'm not going to give it, maybe we'll do it in my next call, we're going to have somebody great. Do you have any idea who it is? He's got somebody ready?

BLUMENTHAL: I have no idea, nor does any one of my Republican colleagues, but it should be someone great, it should be worthy of our nation's heroes, veterans who were served by the second-largest agency facing rear managerial challenge.

Rear Admiral Jackson should never have been nominated. And the White House bungled the vetting and review. And then it fumbled the defense.

What it has to do now is make sure this next nominee has the character and ability, as well as integrity, to be the best possible secretary of the V.A. And, by the way, there was no partisanship among any of those 23 men and women in uniform, and retired military, who came forward. They risked their careers. They exemplify the best of patriotism and --

BURNETT: So, you have no problem with the fact that none of them were named?

BLUMENTHAL: They probably would have come forward had there been a hearing. I actually --

BURNETT: You think they would have?

BLUMENTHAL: I think some of them would have come forward. I believe that their allegations were substantiated by records. The White House refused to provide those records. They rejected our request for some of the I.G. reports.

BURNETT: Interesting.

BLUMENTHAL: And the documents and evidence essentially were denied to us. And I think that reflects the White House's own failures.

BURNETT: Interesting that you thought some of them should have and indeed they would have, had this moved forward.

All right. Thank you so much, Senator Blumenthal. Good to see you.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, breaking news, history in the making. You're looking at it here, moments from now. These are live pictures. This is South Korea. This is usually empty road going up to the DMZ.

Kim Jong-un is traveling there. Historic sit-down. This meeting next.

And breaking tonight, Bill Cosby, he's free tonight, $1 million bail but he is at home. He was found guilty of sexual assault. Is prison next?


[19:42:07] BURNETT: Breaking news: new photos, look at this. Mike Pompeo meeting with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. These are new photos just released from the White House. We are moments away bright now from Kim making history.

These are live pictures of the South Korean President Moon's motorcade heading to the border. It's usually very empty road, four lanes on each side. And now, you can see this giant motorcade heading up. Kim for his part will be the first North Korean leader to cross into the South since the Korean War armistice 65 years ago. It is an incredible moment.

And OUTFRONT, Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group and now author of "Us Versus Them: The Failure of Globalism," or "U.S. Versus Them."

The president today Ian saying this meeting between Pompeo and Kim, we got these pictures coming out tonight with this, you know, history- making moment was not planned. It happened earlier this month, though, Pyongyang. When you see these pictures, what do you see between these men?

IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, EURASIA GROUP: Looks like there's a dove between the two of them in a background. It looked that way from both sides. If that's the case, certainly the North Koreans planned that.

The Americans, the fact that they had Pompeo meet with Kim Jong-un, the fact that Pompeo made no demands of the North Koreans before an actual summit, means that the Americans want this meeting to happen. The North Koreans want this meeting to happen. It's a big plus for their leader to be legitimatized by the Americans. It's a big plus for Trump to be the first leader, American president, ever to meet with a North Korean leader. That's a very big deal.

So I think the meeting's going to happen. And on balance I think the meeting's going to go well.

BURNETT: So, look, Kim's going to walk over tonight in just moments to the South Korean side, right? Of the DMZ. It's incredible to imagine for anyone who's been there, you, me, others, just to imagine the 1950s scene of those blue U.N. houses and actually imagine Kim Jong-un walking over that border. Yet this morning on Fox, the president said that his meeting with Trump, this upcoming meeting you're referring to, he tried to throw out, oh, maybe that won't happen. Here it is.


TRUMP: It could be that I walk out quickly -- with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn't even take place. Who knows?


BREMMER: Well, he has no control over it, obviously. I mean, we don't have any --

BURNETT: His meeting with Kim, though.


BURNETT: You think that's all bluff? BREMMER: No, I think it's going to happen, but if you're Trump right

now, it's smart to recognize that the meeting might not happen, right? I mean, we're talking about the world's only totalitarian state. We call it the Hermit Kingdom. It's not like we have intel on what's going on.


BREMMER: I wouldn't make too much out of that. I will tell you one thing, this meeting, this summit that's about to happen, is the first major piece of unmitigatedly good geopolitical news in the world we've had all year. We should actually do a little victory lap, like something is actually moving in a more positive direction.

BURNETT: And it's incredible. In your book you write about Trump and the populist wave he rode to the White House, right, talking tough on North Korea was one of the things, he continued to do that as president, right, with the fire and fury and little rocket man stuff.

[19:45:04] A recent poll, 66 percent of people, according to Quinnipiac, approve of this meeting between Trump and Kim. Very split Democrat and Republican as you might expect, 89 percent of Republicans approve, only 42 percent of Democrats. Will that change, though? Because as you say, it is a good thing.

BREMMER: Trump's done things that are popular. When Trump decided to bomb the Syrians, the first time around, when Obama didn't hit them for chemical weapons. Second time with the French and the Brits, that's popular. When he says, I want to get 2,000 troops out of Syria, right, that's a populist move that most Americans, enlisted men and women, voted for Trump. Their families did too.

They didn't vote for Clinton, right, because they want an end to these forever wars. So, it's not as if everything Trump is doing is unmitigatedly unpopular. He's not particularly competent as a president on policy, but he's not been a disaster on every national security issue.

BURNETT: All right. And a lot more in your book, "Us Versus Them: Failure of Globalism", of course, as we countdown to this crucial meeting moments away with Kim Jong-un.

And next, breaking news, Bill Cosby guilty, but he is free tonight at home. Will he go to jail? How much jail time?

Plus, Melania Trump celebrating her birthday tonight. The president, of course, woke up this morning and called Fox News and they asked him about her birthday. And here's what he said he got her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to tell us what you got her?

TRUMP: Well, I better not get into that because I may get in trouble.


[19:50:18] BURNETT: Tonight, Bill Cosby guilty. The 88-year-old comedian now at his home in Pennsylvania after being convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sexual assault. The judge telling Cosby not to leave his home or the state as he awaits his sentencing.

Jane Casarez is OUTFRONT.



JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bill Cosby found guilty of three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault after prosecutors argued during the trial that the legendry comedian assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004.

DOLORES TROIANI, ANDREA CONSTAND'S ATTORNEY: I am so happy today that I can say although justice was delayed it was not denied. It took a lot of courage for her to come back and to do this.

CASAREZ: Cosby was on trial for drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004. Cosby who became known as America's dad first faced charges for the attack in 2015 after a deposition from Constand's 2005 civil case against Cosby was unsealed in which he admitted to giving Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. But that trial ended in a hung jury in 2017.

The second trial started just three weeks ago and with it some big changes. And new defense team led by Tom Mesereau who is best known for successfully defending Michael Jackson against child molestation charges in 2005. Also, five additional accusers were allowed to testify against Cosby including former super model Janice Dickinson, instead of just one additional accuser during his previous trial.

District Attorney Kevin Steele brought to tears by his conviction of Cosby.


CASAREZ: Before thanking the dozens of other accusers --

STEELE: Through this whole process has been a lot of other courageous women who are willing to stand up and tell their stories about being drugged or sexually assaulted or raped.

CASAREZ: Cosby's attorneys say they are not giving up.

TOM MESEREAU, COSBY'S ATTORNEY: We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don't think Mr. Cosby's guilty of anything and the fight is not over.

REPORTER: Are you going to appeal, sir? MESEREAU: Yes, yes, very strongly.

CASAREZ: That disappointment also expressed by Cosby in a shocking courtroom outburst. After the D.A. pushed to put the 80-year-old immediately behind bars saying he was a flight risk because he owned a private plane, Cosby shouted he doesn't have a plane, you asshole.

Meanwhile, outside his accusers say justice was finally serve.

LILI BERNARD, COSBY ACCUSER: It is also a victory for womanhood and it is a victory for all sexual assault survivors female and male.

VICTORIA VALENTINO, COSBY ACCUSER: We are not shutting up and we're not going away.


CASAREZ: We are being told that Bill Cosby is spending time tonight with his wife Camille. His sentencing should be at this courthouse in 30 to 60 days -- Erin.

BURNETT: Jeanne, thank you.

And when next when even Fox hosts have had enough of the president.


[19:57:55] BURNETT: Tonight what happens when the stream of consciousness the president calls into his favorite news show? Here's Jeanne Moos.



TRUMP: It's an absolute disgrace and I've been told I'm not involved. That's what came out in the news -- I say that at speeches, remember?

MOOS: The president's stream of consciousness went speeding down the track, but the president was unstoppable.

TRUMP: You know, a lot of people say, oh, it was close, but the unemployment picture is the best it's been. They're all fake news, I've heard that for so long at CNN. You keep your sanity and it works very well. But last night, I did watch -- I did watch a liar leaker.

MOOS: "The Daily Show" described it as when grandpa's telling the same story again and you can't get him off the phone.

The co-host even tried to collectively interject.

TRUMP: Actually gave the questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but don't worry about them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to ask you -- TRUMP: No, no, but think of. I think we're doing very well. Let's

see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we're running out of time.

MOOS: At least no one said.

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me.

MOOS: Though maybe the host should have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's talk about --

TRUMP: Do better than people think --



TRUMP: You know, the economy is so strong.

MOOS: Finally, they resorted to the oldest trick in the book to get the president off the phone, telling him he's too busy to keep talking to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked to you all day but it looks like you have a million things to do, but I hope you could join us again.

MOOS: The president had time to talk but not to shop on Melania's 48th birthday, he admitted --

BURNETT: Maybe I didn't get her so much.

MOOS: Flowers and a card.

BURNETT: You know, I'm very busy but to be going out looking for presence.

MOOS: But who needs to run out for flowers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it turns out I've got a Rose Garden.

MOOS: Still, maybe President Trump better ask his wife to --

TRUMP: Excuse me.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

TRUMP: Excuse me.

MOOS: -- New York.


BURNETT: That's got to hurt.

Thanks for joining us. Don't forget you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. Just go to CNNgo.

"AC360" with Anderson begins right now.