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W.H. Accuses Eagles of "Political Stunt"; Mayor Fires Back At W.H. on Eagles Rift; Sarah Sanders Refuses to Correct False Statement; Press Aide Who Mocked John McCain Gone; First Polls About to Close in Multiple State Primaries; White House Applying Loyalty Test For Midterm Endorsements; Interview with Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California; Designer Kate Spade Dies in Apparent Suicide in NYC Home. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 5, 2018 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the president versus the Eagles. He says it's about patriotism but is it? The mayor of Philadelphia is OUTFRONT.

Plus, the president's loyalty test. A new one to tell you about tonight along with whose being tested.

And the shocking death of fashion designer Kate Spade. What drove her to suicide and what was in her note?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, hiding behind the flag. President Trump replacing an event to honor the Super Bowl champs with what he called a, quote, celebration of America. The president singing along to the national anthem. The U.S. Marine band, the U.S. Army Corps performing for the president's supporters who were in attendance.

Now the president claims he disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles because they would not stand, quote, for the national anthem. Hand on heart. In honor of the great men and women of our military. In other words, they aren't in his view, patriots.

But is that really what this is all about? One heckler at today's event may be on to something. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop hiding behind the Armed Service and the national anthem.


BURNETT: Stop hiding. He may have a point because Trump's tantrum about the Philadelphia Eagles and this whole disinviting scenario may have nothing to do with kneeling or the flag or the military. It actually could be all about him, which is why the president may have been at a loss for words when reporters asked questions at his celebration.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- are you saying that the football players are not patriotic, sir? Is that what you're saying?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you commit to meeting them, sir?

Will you meet with the athletes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you meet with the athletes and talk to them?


BURNETT: We know the president is happy to take questions when he likes the topics. Now here he is just last week. Four times, we spread it out so you could see all four times. He returned to the cameras when talking to North Korea to take more questions. But today, he did not like the questions, so he left.

And maybe the reason he did not like the questions, the reason he disinvited a Super Bowl team for the first time in American history according to ESPN by the way was because he thought he would look bad.

According to the White House, there were only between four and 10 players who were going to attend the event. The White House says 81 were promised to attend a week ago. We all know numbers and optics matter to Trump more than substance. And as we all know this is a man obsessed with crowd sizes and numbers.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had much bigger crowds than he was drawing.

We had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches.

I get the biggest crowds, I get the biggest standing ovations. And I guess you see it in the poll numbers.

The crowds were so big, almost as big as tonight.


BURNETT: If you can't have the biggest crowd, well, maybe he takes his ball and goes home. As he did with the Eagles and as he has done before. You know, one reason the president canceled that meeting with Kim Jong-un the first time, right when he canceled it, was reportedly because he was thinking Kim was going to come out and cancel and he wanted to do it first. Or take Trump's economic counsel which he abruptly disbanded last year not because they weren't meeting, it was because they were dropping out in droves, specifically in response to a white nationalist attack in Charlottesville and his response to that so they started quitting. And then he said, well, you know what, then I don't want you.

And again today, the same thing. Now the White House, Sarah Sanders, was called out for it.


APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Is the president aware that taking the knee is about police involved shootings?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has made his position crystal clear. And that it's about -- I let you rudely interrupt me and your colleague, I'm going ask that you allow me to finish my answer. I would be happy to answer if you would stop talking long enough to let me do that.

The president has made his position crystal clear on this topic. He feels strongly that standing for our national anthem is something that we should do. Something that matters to what makes our country special and unique and what sets us apart. He's not going to waiver on that. He's not going to apologize for it.


BURNETT: Well, he's not going to apologize. In fact, a source close to the White House says far from it. The president is actually going to double down. He's going to pound the NFL in this issue and make it a whole issue in the midterm elections.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT at the White House. And Pamela, I mean, is that what this is really about? I mean, you know, you don't have a lot of people going to show up, he thinks he's going to look bad, so forget it. I'm going to disinvite you and say it's about something else. He's trying to score political points?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, you know, the White House is saying it's really the Philadelphia Eagles trying to score political points saying that they were engaged in this political stunt, and it appears the president was also playing politics by playing up this issue of the national anthem because he knows it plays well with his base, and it doesn't really carry water because no one from the team actually kneeled or stayed in the locker room during the regular-season.

[19:05:17] So that didn't really add up.

And as you pointed out, you know, it's also a way to deflect from the fact that so few of the players were going to show up here because they didn't want to be seen at the White House. In fact I spoke to one White House official who said that if the numbers hadn't been whittled down from 81 to less than 10, they wouldn't have been disinvited. So clearly, it was more about that.

And you're right, the president does care about crowd sizes. He brought it up today during the celebration saying more people than he thought had showed up. We should point out there were Eagles fans here, there were also a number of administration officials here.

The view from in the White House though, Erin, according to officials I've speaking with was that the Eagles were trying to hoodwink them, embarrass them by trying to change the date of coming while the president was in Singapore. Trying -- by whittling down the numbers at the last minute. That they were basically playing games.

And the view within the White House was that this was really about racial injustice, then they would have come to have a substantive conversation. So, that is the view from the White House, but what is clear here, Erin is that the president used it as an opportunity to revive the campaign issue of the national anthem because he believes it works well with his base, and according to officials, he believes that it will help Republicans ahead as we look forward to the midterm elections. And we're told we can expect to hear more about the national anthem issue from the president as we lead up to the election, Erin.

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

OUTFRONT now, the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney. And Mayor Kenney, thanks so much for your time this evening.

The White House says that this is all about respect in the United States. The national anthem, the men and women of the military. Is it?

MAYOR JIM KENNEY (D), PHILADELPHIA: No, it's about respecting the First Amendment. It's also about understanding people's experiences in this country. When I hear the national anthem, I stand at attention, I cover my heart, but I'm a white man with privilege. And a lot of people in this country have not had the same privilege that I have because of their race or because of their ethnicity. Because of their gender, because of their status in life.

And, you know, if everybody reacts differently to what this country has done for them or hasn't done for them. And I think that the right to protest, they put the First Amendment first for a reason and the president wants to ignore the First Amendment and other amendments in the constitution and force people to view things and act and speak the way he tells them to. And that's not what this country is about.

BURNETT: Now, Mayor, of course, the White House claims that, you know, last week, 81 members of the Eagles were scheduled to attend what would have been today's event. Then they say they were told that only 10, fewer than 10 actually, would actually show up. And the press secretary today, Sarah Sanders, says look, that is proof that this was, you know, not at all about what you're talking about, Mayor, but just a political stunt.

Here's how she put it this afternoon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: If this wasn't a political stunt by the Eagles franchise, then they wouldn't have planned to attend the event and then backed out at the last minute.


BURNETT: What do you say to that? Was it a political stunt?

KENNEY: What do you think the percentage of the White House press corps who stands or sits in that room every day listening to Sarah Sanders? How -- what percentage do you think believe her telling the truth? I mean, they -- she lies from that podium every day. So I have no reason to believe she's telling the truth on that one.

The Eagles clearly, the young men who play for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Eagles organization are very much involved in our community. They rebuild parks. They try to get criminal justice reform. They feed the hungry and the homeless. These are really dedicated athletes who have playing high level, but they also have a high concern for our community and I love them all and, you know, I'll stand with them anytime.

BURNETT: So what do you think did happen though -- I mean, to go from, you know, 81 to 10 is a huge decline. And was there something that you're aware of specifically that happened where so many members of the team changed their mind?

KENNEY: Well, no, the premise of -- the premise of your question is based on their assertion that 81 people responded so --

BURNETT: And that's what you're saying, you don't believe it.

KENNEY: You know, I watch -- yes, I don't -- I think that this is all a stunt. And I think that the president is playing NFL like a fiddle and these players are caught in the middle. Not one Philadelphia Eagle took a knee last season. Not one stayed in the locker room during the anthem and he's just -- he's making it up enough as he goes along in an effort to divide this country more than he has already.

BURNETT: Now, obviously, many athletes have political differences with this president as some have in the past with others. Some athletes and managers though, Mayor Kenney, who recently won championships have said going to the White House actually doesn't have anything to do with the person living there. They -- to them, it's actually bigger than that. And here's how three of them put it.


JOE MADDON, MANAGER, CHICAGO CUBS: Whenever you have a chance for the White House, I think it's easy to say yes under respect to the office of the building.

[19:10:01] GEORGE SPRINGER, OUTFIELDER, HOUSTON ASTROS: In our country, it stands for a lot, it means a lot to a lot of people. If the team goes, I'm going. You know, I'm not going to say no.

DAMIEN HARRIS, RUNNING BACK, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: As a team, we decided to go. And like I said, we consider this as a great honor and great accomplishment and we're thankful for the opportunity to visit the White House again.


BURNETT: What do you make of that, Mayor Kenney? Do they have a point?

KENNEY: Well, the -- there's a lot of discussion about respect. But respect is mutual. Respect is two ways.

Donald Trump doesn't respect many people at all. And, you know, this attitude that somehow he deserves respect as a result of the title of his office is fallacious because people deserve respect for the way they act and the way they treat other people or the way they treat war heroes like John McCain. The way they treat the Kahn family, the way they treat women.

And that's really what this is about. And you can't go to a White House that's -- and endorse the president's activities and actions and words. It's almost as if you agree with it.

BURNETT: It is fair to make this about this president as opposed to the office itself and the White House, what it stands for. The many people who have been inside it as obviously those three individuals were asserting.

KENNEY: Then they should have gone. I mean, he can't -- you know, even if he had to stand there with 10 players and coaches, he's the one who canceled it so I think it's on him.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Mayor Kenney, I appreciate your time. Our viewers do. Thank you so much, sir.

KENNEY: Thanks, Erin. Take care. Bye bye.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, breaking news. The shake up at the White House. The aide who mocked Senator John McCain is out and Sarah Sanders facing a credibility crisis, getting defensive.


SANDERS: Frankly, I think my credibility is probably higher than the media's.


BURNETT: Also breaking, polls about the close and the biggest primary night of the year. Eight states voting tonight and John King OUTFRONT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:15:25] BURNETT: Tonight, another credibility hit for the White House press secretary. For the second day running, Sarah Sanders refusing to explain why she gave false information about the president's role in his son's statement about that infamous meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer. She had said he didn't dictate it. Now his lawyers said, yes, well, he did.

So did she lie knowingly? It matters. And today, she wouldn't answer.


JOSH DAWSEY, WASHINGTON POST: Was your statement accurate or inaccurate?

SANDERS: Again, I know you want to get me into a back and forth with you on this conversation.

DAWSEY: You said it back and forth. You said something, we just want to know if it was accurate enough or --

SANDERS: I know your goal is to engage me in a conversation about matters dealing the outside counsel and I'm not going to do that today.

DAWSEY: You said something from the podium. Was it accurate or not? That's all I want to know.

SANDERS: Again, I think you all know I'm an honest person who works extremely hard to provide you with accurate information at all times. I'm going to continue to do that, but I'm not going to engage on matters that deal with outside counsel.


BURNETT: Well, yesterday, she refused to answer as well. And just a reminder of what the issue is here. Don Jr., you know, issued a statement on that meeting at Trump Tower that was at best misleading. It was just frankly completely inaccurate, right? He said, oh, it was just about adoptions. Never mentioned that he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton and that's why he took the meeting.

After that happened, Sanders had this exchange with the reporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you verify that you agreed to which the president weighed in?

SANDERS: He didn't -- he certainly didn't dictate, but you know he -- like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.


BURNETT: He certainly didn't dictate. Of course, we then learned from a letter that that's exactly -- the president's then lawyers, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow wrote to the special counsel that exactly what happened. They say, quote, the president dictated, a short but accurate response.

So, well, what's the truth? When the questions to Sanders continued today about why she said something that appears to be untrue, now the president's lawyers have gone on the record and said so, what it means for her credibility as press secretary obviously is crucial. She chose to not answer that question and instead, she decided to insult the people who were asking her.


SANDERS: Frankly, I think my credibility is probably higher than the media's. And I think that in large part that's because you guys spend more of your time focused on attacking the president instead of reporting the news. I think if you spent more time reporting news instead of trying to tear me down, you might actually see that we're working hard trying to provide you good information and trying to provide that same good information to the American people.


BURNETT: So she's saying she was lied to and what is she supposed to do about it. I don't know. That's the benefit of the doubt that you could give her.

David Gergen is with me. He serves as advisor to four president. Frank Bruni, New York Times columnist. And Joe Lockhart who stood at that podium for President Bill Clinton.

OK, thanks to all of you.

David, here's the question. She's the press secretary, right? She answers questions from the press. That's her job. Her job is to communicate back to the American people.


BURNETT: Obviously, she has done so time and time again. And those facts have turned out to be fiction.

GERGEN: Correct.

BURNETT: Can we trust her? Can the American people trust her at this point?

GERGEN: No. Trust but verify. Listen, I have some sympathy for her because I've been in similar situations. If you're a communication person inside the White House, you depend entirely upon the truthfulness of your colleagues telling you what the facts are --


GERGEN: -- before you go out. If they lied to you, you go out on that podium and you lie to the country and you lose your credibility. I mean, you just get shot down. The only leverage you have frankly is a threat to resign and carry out your threat if they lie to you again. And I think she's in that position now.

I must saw one other thing. There has to be somebody in the White House who protects her, and that is the job of the chief of staff. The chief of staff is the one who's supposed to ensure that the press secretary gets accurate information and goes out there --

BURNETT: Well, he can only pass on what he knows is true, right?

GERGEN: That's true.

BURNETT: I mean, where the lie is coming from.

GERGEN: True. And in this case, the lawyers -- Jay Sekulow didn't know. He was lied to about what happened.

But, the best chief of staff I've known is Jim Baker who was in the Reagan administration. And he always told me look, I'm not going to tell you everything, but what I tell you, you can trust to be true. And that was enormously helpful to have somebody there who was always protecting you before you went out.

BURNETT: I mean, Joe, you've been at that the podium. You stood there. Is Sarah Sanders at this point doing her job or as David says, is she at a point now where she is to say you're destroying my credibility. If you lie to me again, I'm out.

JOE LOCKHART, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes. I think it's a very, very hard job to do. But she's at the point now where it's not even whether she's wittingly lying or unwittingly. She's now complicit in the lie.

And I'd say two things here.

[19:20:00] One is not acknowledging that she made a misstatement for the last two days, completely undermines her credibility and makes her, you know, somewhat useless to the people in the room because they don't believe her.

The second is, one of the things about having the job is you have to take on the role of somewhat of a reporter within the White House. And go out and verify for yourself. And the Eagles thing is a great example principle. Someone told her that 81 people confirmed. If I was in the job and I knew the politics of this, I would have picked up the phone and call the Eagle's P.R. guy and I would have known for myself there's no way 81 people were confirmed.

We knew at the Super Bowl, at least half the team wasn't going to come. They said it and said they said it on the record. But rather than check, she gave false information which she's now complicit in that lie.

BURNETT: And Frank, she -- her answer is to say I'm an honest person. I'm an honest person, and you guys by the way, you have less credibility. Put aside polls which may or may not show that to be true. It's actually beside the point. Her best answer is to say -- well, you, you did this.

FRANK BRUNI, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Well, in that sense -- so part of her job is to be the president's alter ego. In that sense, she's behaving entirely like the president.

BURNETT: Well, exactly, yes.

BRUNI: She's doing exactly what her boss does which is he turns it around. He says I know you were, but what am I? It sort of the I'm rubber, you're glue presidency. It sort of the I'm rubber, you're glue press secretary.

And so she's taking a pitch from her boss. I'm sure the audience who judges her, you know, most importantly in her eyes, Donald Trump is very happy with what he saw today at the podium.

BURNETT: Well, he is but the question is whether she has any tethering to the reality of credibility mattering.

I mean, David, this has happened before. She has -- as I said many times, one of the most with Stormy Daniels on the payment that the president made to Stormy Daniels. Here's what Sanders said about it.


SANDERS: Yes, I've had conversations with the president about this. And as I outlined earlier that this case that already been won in arbitration and that there was no knowledge of any payments from the president and he's denied all of these allegations.


BURNETT: OK. So he had no knowledge, then Rudy Giuliani said that wasn't true.



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC: Oh, I didn't know he did.



BURNETT: OK. So discrepancy, how to explain it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) whether you were in the dark. I think it's a fairly simple question whether you have any information --

SANDERS: I think it's a fairly simple answer that I've given you actually several times now. I give you the best information that I had and I'm going to continue to do that every single day.


BURNETT: How much does it matter at this point if she is lying -- knowing she's lying or lying because someone's lying to her and she doesn't know.

GERGEN: I think Joe Lockhart had the right point at this point. It would be beyond whether she knows or doesn't know. And she really -- she'd be a lot better off if she came clean and said I made a mistake because I was misinformed.

And frankly, she'd be a lot better off if she took that at heart, her job. She has a nasty edge. She doesn't need to be insulting the press. You know, the -- presidents who succeeded the most and with the press have been those who have been straightforward and seen them as professionals. Your fellow professionals, (INAUDIBLE) a lot and just trying to do your job, he's trying to do his. You're going to have disagreements, but put down all this BS politicking that is going on and it frankly hurts the White House.

BURNETT: And Joe, this comes as the -- Kelly Sadler, the press aide who joked about John McCain dying, right? They had -- you know, the sort of never an apology for that just, you know, kind of -- trying to brush it under the rug. Well, now, apparently, she's gone. She is -- she's out and still though, no official condemnation of making a joke about hey, you know, John McCain is dying.

LOCKHART: Yes. I mean, listen, there's no way to defend either her comment or the White House reaction to it. And we don't know why she's gone. She may have decided herself. She may have been fired. And we probably will never know definitively.

You know, I think the part of that saga that I think was most revealing though was the next day when she went in front of the president and pointed around the room and said they're are a leaker, they're a leaker. And I think that gives you a sense of the environment in there.

And in that sense, I do have some sympathy for the people working there because it's a snake pit and at some point, you have to stand up and have the courage and the morality to say I'm not going to be here. I'm going to -- enough is enough.

BURNETT: Yes. Well, we'll see. We'll see if that happens. Thank you all.

GERGEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, super Tuesday. That's tonight. This could be the make or break night for Democrats when it comes to winning back the House. Literally coming down to tonight. And polls closing in the next 30 minutes

And designer Kate Spade found dead in her home. A suicide note addressed to her daughter. What led Spade to take her own life?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [19:28:10] BURNETT: Breaking news, we are moments away from the first polls closing tonight. It is the biggest primary night ahead of the midterm. Super Tuesday of 2018. Voters in eight states casting ballots today. Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and the big Kahuna California where the stakes could not be higher.

John King is OUTFRONT. And John, the results in California tonight truly could make or break the Democrat's chance to get control of the House.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly can, Erin. It certainly complicates the math. It's going to be hours before we can count the votes over here. California, the polls don't close until 11:00 here in the East.

But let's just do a little basic math and set up where we are as we go through this in the year ahead. Here's the House of Representatives as it now stands. You see all that red. That's the Republican majority.

But, let's go through a lot of these districts we know who's going to win in November because the way they're drawn, we think 180 seats already likely to go to the Democrats. A 159 likely to go to the Republicans.

Then you come to all of these races. These are the races in there from coast to coast that are in play. A lot of red, right? If the democrats are going to get the two dozen, they need 23. So say two dozen to get the majority back. They have opportunities coast to coast. But wow, do they have a lot of opportunities out here in California.

Look at this here, 10 districts we see are competitive. This year at least at this point, look at that, Erin, only one of them is blue. Nine Republican-held districts in play in what should be a Democratic year. So when you go closer into California and take a look at it, there's all of the districts but you come down here, these are the 10 we're talking about here.

If you're the Democrats, you're looking as these districts right here, and then you come down at the moment, one likely Democratic, two lean Democratic, two toss up. There's four if they hold their one. There's four they could pick up.

Two lean Republicans in a good year, there's two more. If you need 23, 24, six right there. Six right there. If you have good candidates. If you have a candidate at all. It's complicated because of the rules in California. That's what tonight's on b about.

BURNETT: And those rules obviously are crucial. You know, it's been called the jungle primary system. Obviously, it's incredibly unusual, but it really also could drive the entire result as jungle primary contact.

KING: It sure could. So let's go a little deeper. These are the 10 races we're watching in California. Actually, let's look at these ones here. These are seven races, right? Two, four, six and one seven, all --

[19:30:00] It sure could. So, let's go a little deeper.

These are the ten races we're watching in California. Let's look at these ones here. These are seven races, right? Two, four, six and one seven. All held by Republicans.

Why are these the top targets for the Democrats? All these Republican-held seats won by Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections. So, if you're Democrats and looking to pick up a bunch of seats, this is where you look, incumbent not running, incumbent not running. These Republican incumbents trying to win again.

Again, look, two of them lean Democrat. Two are toss up. Two lean Republican. If Democrats can get the leans in a big blue year, two, four, six, you need 23, 24, you can get a quarter of the way there right here, if you have a bigger year, you can get more.

Here's the problem. You go through these districts right now, in at least three of them, you see them down here, in at least three of them, the jungle primary rules top two candidates are on the November ballot. Doesn't matter if it's two Republicans. It doesn't matter if it's two Democrats.

In at least these three districts tonight, so many Democrats ran, Erin, because they saw the opportunity. The Democratic Party is worried when we count the votes tomorrow, might take more than that because of the late results coming in and mail-in ballots. They are worried and these three top targets, they might not have candidates at all come November.

BURNETT: Wow. And if you don't have someone on the ballot, you aren't going to win.

KING: That's it.

BURNETT: Just stating the obvious here.

All right. Thank you very much, John King.

But, you know, important to state, this comes as we have new reporting coming in to CNN, this moment, the White House now talking about a, quote/unquote, loyalty test.

They're going to use to determine if and who Trump will endorse for the midterms.

Pam Brown is breaking this story. She's back with me.

And, Pam, what have you learned about this loyalty test?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, sources tell me and my colleague Sarah Westwood that White House aides are advising the president on where to leverage his star power based in part on how loyal candidates have been to him in the past, particularly incumbents.

So, White House officials are going back, scrutinizing what certain candidates have said about the president, both before and after the election as well as their voting record, to weigh how loyal they have been to President Trump and that is what the being used to advise him in terms of whether or not he should intervene in a primary race.

We're seeing that play out with the California primary, with the president flexing his political muscle on Twitter today, backing Devin Nunes, as well as Kevin McCarthy, who are both on the ballots in California. They are two Trump allies. They've been very loyal to the president.

But, notably, he did not throw his weight behind Dana Rohrabacher, another -- Rohrabacher, another Republican who is an incumbent because he's been critical of the president in the past. We should note, Erin, that that is not the only factor, not the most important factor in terms of loyalty. Sources tell us they're also looking at how vulnerable the candidate's poll numbers as well as fund raising efforts to decide who the president should support, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you so much for your reporting.

And I want to go now to Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Democrat from California.

Big night obviously in your state tonight, Congresswoman. I want to start with that reporting that you just heard about a so-called loyalty test that the president could use to decide who to endorse, who to campaign for.

Is this unusual or is this just something anybody would do? I mean, who would want to endorse somebody who's disloyal to you?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, you know, I think it's typical of president to exact loyalty oath from those he supports. That doesn't surprise me. I don't know that that has historically always been the case. Often times, presidents have supported candidates who may be lukewarm, but who will be important for the principles within a particular party, whether it'd be Democratic or Republican.

So, this is an unusual presidency. There's no question about it. Truth doesn't matter and loyalty does.

BURNETT: So, tonight is a big night and John King was sort of explaining this jungle primary in your state. But, obviously, this is crucial for Democrats, right? This is the primary night, the Super Tuesday of this entire midterm. Obviously, you need 23 seats, a net gain, to regain control of House, which Democrats desperately want to do.

Are you concerned Democrats could literally get shut out of key districts in your state, literally with not even a name on the ballot come November because of this rule tonight? SPEIER: There's a high likelihood that that's going to happen in the

number of seats in California. There were seven districts out of the 14 held by Republicans, seven districts where Hillary Clinton actually won more votes in that Republican district. Those were many of the districts that we were targeting.

And we are suffering from exuberance. We have lots of Democrats running in these various seats, and what's going to happen in all likelihood is going to be a splitting of the votes among the various Democrats --


SPEIER: -- and then conceivably two Republicans in the runoff.

BURNETT: So, if that's what happens, are you saying there's a chance here that you don't have a chance at regaining the White House because of the California primary tonight?

SPEIER: Well, the California primary will weigh in, no question about it.

[19:35:01] But we've got lots of opportunities in states like Pennsylvania where the lines were gerrymandered to prevent what would be appropriate districts that link both Democrats and Republicans. We'll have I think huge pick ups there.


SPEIER: I think in North Carolina as well. So, I think there's lots of hopeful opportunities. But don't forget that Conor Lamb won that district that was won by Donald Trump by some 25 points and there are 147 districts that are less conservative than that district and a Democrat won in that one.

BURNETT: Congresswoman, before you go, you know President Clinton has gotten a lot of criticism after saying he didn't owe Monica Lewinsky a personal apology. I want to play for you what he said in an interview that caused the consternation and what he said later to try to downplay the whole thing.


CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: But you didn't apologize to her.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I have not talked to her.

MELVIN: Do you feel you owed her on apology?

CLINTON: No, I do not --I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion I was sorry.

The suggestion was that I never apologized for what caused all the troubles for me 20 years ago. I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family and to the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: In public.

Do you think, Congresswoman, that a public apology makes up for as he openly admitted, never speaking to Monica Lewinsky and personally apologizing to her?

SPEIER: I think that that is a real tough question. Monica Lewinsky may not want to talk to former President Bill Clinton. There is no question that was a very low point in his administration. It was very difficult --

BURNETT: Does that mean he shouldn't have tried, that he's right to say, I didn't need to do it or try to do it?

SPEIER: Well, you know, I don't -- I can't speak to what went on then. But I can say that an effort could have been made, probably should have been made. But he should have respected whatever message he received from Monica Lewinsky and her family in terms of whether or not she wanted to take a call from him.

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Speier, thanks. Appreciate your time tonight.

SPEIER: Thank you for inviting me.

BURNETT: Next, President Trump blames the Super Bowl champs for making him cancel today's meeting. So who's really to blame?

And fashion designer Kate Spade found dead in her home this morning. Tonight, we have new details this hour about the suicide note she left behind.


[19:41:06] BURNETT: Source close to the White House tells CNN the president will continue to pound the table on the National Anthem. That it's going to be a strategy for the midterm elections to use this specific issue, he thinks it's winning one.

This as Sarah Sanders refused to say whether he should shoulder any of the blame for the athletes not wanting to visit the White House today.


REPORTER: This is a president who called NFL players SOBs, who implied that some players who don't stand for the national anthem do not belong this in this country. Does he bear zero responsibility for players like the Warriors and Cavs not wanting to come and the Eagles bailing?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has -- his position hasn't changed on this throughout the process and the president's position was very clearly stated in a number of forums and venues. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Our political commentator Marc Lamont Hill, and former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes are OUTFRONT.

Marc, so, does he bear any responsibility for the fact that obviously a lot of them didn't want to come?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course, he does. You know, this isn't even a partisan issue. I mean, there have been champions during every presidency. This isn't happening to Bush or Reagan. This isn't happening under Clinton. This isn't happening under Obama at the same rate.

Of course, there are players who don't want to come, but it's about the context that Donald Trump has created where people don't feel their rights are being honored. The way they're feeling antagonized by the sitting president. It's these issues that are making people not want to come to the White House.

You can come to the White House and disagree with the president, but there's something bigger here and Donald Trump is playing into it and I think so quite deliberately.

BURNETT: And, Steve, I mean, look, he, obviously -- the president thinks this is a winning issue for him. I mean, is that -- is that a reason to do this because it's going to help you in the midterms?

STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, that alone is not -- it is a winning issue, but that alone is not a reason. I would certainly disagree with Marc. There's no First Amendment issue here.

No one has a right to protest at work. No one has an unfettered right to protest at work. I don't. You don't, Erin. Marc, if you work for somebody, you don't.

Nobody can show up at work and stage political protests as they please. So, that's a red herring. It's a ridiculous issue.

But more importantly to this specific case today, these players and the NFL in general has been incredibly disrespectful and not just to Donald Trump. I mean, we can put that aside. Fine, if they don't like Trump.

Disrespectful to the office of the presidency, to the landmark that is the White House. I'll tell you this, I've been honored to have been invited there quite a bit since he won. It's an amazing place. When you walk in there as a patriotic American, there's a thrill of just being there.

That fact that they didn't say yes to that, I'll respect --

BURNETT: Why? I don't understand. Some people and we played this earlier in the hour. Some who disagree with him agree with you, right? That it's about the building and the office and not the person, but others don't. Why are they unpatriotic for feeling one way and not another?

CORTES: If they're real, because they're grandstanding. If they were real about their grievances, whatever they are politically, you know what they should have done, the adult thing to do instead of acting like a bunch of spoiled primadonnas? What they should have done is showed up, met the president, probably for the first time and said, Mr. President, may we have a meeting later, this is a celebration today, not political, but this is a celebration about Philadelphia, about football, about the Eagles. Can we come back and talk substance on policy?

I can guarantee you --

BURNETT: Steve, you have a point, but when you say grandstanding, if they are grandstanding, Marc, what the heck was he doing with canceling the whole thing?

HILL: That's my point. To Steve's initial point, my point here is this is primarily a First Amendment issue, although they have a right to do so. It's a question about whether or not we want to use this opportunity to talk about things and whether we want to honor people's ability to do that.

Yes, you can't protest at work normally, but most jobs don't make you sit there for a 20-minute ceremony honoring the flag of a nation state before you punch in at the assembly line. So, it goes both ways here.

As far as grandstanding goes, I remember Mike Pence came to a game for the sole purpose of leaving when players were kneeling.

[19:45:01] BURNETT: Right.


HILL: The Trump administration has set up events for the sole purpose of walking out. You talk about drama, tweeting about this, writing about this, canceling an event the day before it happens, when there's no new evidence, no new information about it. It's an act of grandstanding here. Let's not pretend this is about a political gesture that begins with the eagles.

The act every Sunday of people standing there with aircraft carriers and the flag waving as we affirm and legitimize a nation state. That is a political act. Politics didn't start with the players. It started with the NFL.

BURNETT: Steve, on some level, is this about the president being upset they didn't come? He loves polls and he loves crowds and he loves a lot of people around him and, you know, he wasn't going to get that today. He was going to look bad by his measure, right, 10 guys or five guys. He thought this was pretty paltry.

CORTES: Right. By the way, no, I think it would have been, so I don't blame him for not wanting that optic. But it's much deeper than that. And to Marc's point, like listen, does the NFL, you know, is there, does this legitimize like you said the nation state of America? Absolutely. Football is part of our DNA. It's part of our culture. It's part of our community of America.

And every Sunday, one of the things we've done for years and years is get together and play and watch this amazing game and celebrate this amazing country that gives us this opportunity to do so and to break that culture I think is sad and it's sad for the NFL, for the leadership of the NFL, sad for the players, sad for the game, sad for our youth. And the president is standing up against that. I say, God bless him for doing so, and it's a political world, it is.

BURNETT: They've never been disinvited before. So, you know, I guess depends on how you look at this.

All right. Thanks to both. Marc, you have the words. So, I'll give the last one to Steve. Appreciate your time.

And next, designer Kate Spade found dead in her apartment. A suicide note addressed to her daughter. What happened?

And then on a much lighter note this evening, Jeanne Moos saying good- bye to something that really needed to go.


[19:50:49] BURNETT: New tonight, the shocking death of Kate Spade. The designer and culture icon found dead in her New York City apartment. Police source telling CNN that she hanged herself with a scarf that was supposedly tied to a door knob.

The image here that you're seeing is so tragic and grim.

We are learning new details at this hour about the notes she left behind that addresses her 13-year-old daughter.

Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT.


KATE SPADE, FASHION DESIGNER: Hi. I'm Kate Valentine Spade.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iconic fashion designer and businesswoman Kate Spade was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment Tuesday morning from an apparent suicide, according to an NYPD source. The 55-year-old allegedly hanged herself with a scarf attached to a doorknob.

Her body was found was discovered by her housekeeper. A suicide note was found where she addressed her 13-year-old daughter.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1962, Katherine Brosnahan was the fifth child in a family of six.

SPADE: I really did like fashion and I really thought I was very innovative. So, my mother was actually very good at encouraging me to dress however I wanted.

CASAREZ: After graduating from Arizona State University, with a journalism degree in 1985, she began working for the fashion magazine, "Mademoiselle".

She worked her way up to become a senior fashion editor but in 1992, encouraged by her future husband Andy, Spade quit her job to design handbags.

SPADE: Andy and I were out, honestly, at a Mexican restaurant, and he just said, what about handbags? And I said, honey, you just don't start a handbag company. And he said, why not? How hard can it be?

CASAREZ: Kate Spade the brand was launched in 1993. At first, the company struggled.

SPADE: I said, I think we should shut it down. I'm very conservative. And I said, I have no interest in losing money.

CASAREZ: But with her husband's help, the company grew from a scrappy purse business offering just six styles of handbags to a multimillion dollar empire that sold clothing, shoes, jewelry and home goods.

JOE ZEE, FASHION JOURNALIST: We lost an incredible human being, we lost an incredible woman who really paved a way for all of these other designers to be able to do what they do.

CASAREZ: In 1999, she and her husband sold half her company to the Neiman Marcus Department Store fore more than $33 million. In 2006, they sold the rest for $59 million, only to see the brand was sold soon after to Liz Claiborne for $124 million.

In 2017, the luxury brand Coach snapped up the brand in a $2.4 billion deal.

ZEE: And I think what Kate did with her collection was so unfounded back then. She created this idea of needing an it bag at an accessible price point.


CASAREZ: The New York City medical examiner's office continues its investigation tonight. And although an official cause and manner of death have not been determined, they do believe this is suicide because of the note that was addressed in part to her daughter, because of the physical condition of the apartment and because of a witness that they spoke to and as we know, it was the housekeeper that found her body -- Erin.

COOPER: So tragic.

Thank you so much, Jean. We obviously have so much to learn about this tragic suicide.

Next, a much lighter note for our show. Jeanne Moos on an end of an era that thank God is over. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:50] BURNETT: Tonight, Miss America says goodbye to the bikini.

Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miss America will still be there, but this won't.

Say so long to the swimsuit competition.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, MISS AMERICA CHAIRWOMAN: We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That's huge.

MOOS: Actually, the swimsuits themselves were pretty huge back in 1921 when Miss America started. Gradually, they became more form fitting.

The demure two-piece devolved into a bikini.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had time for hairspray and butt glue and that was it.

MOOS: Candidates won't need butt glue anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a step in a right direction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. I am going to miss it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's disappointing. Well, what's left? The essay?

MOOS: The emphasis will be on talent and brains, amid old standbys.


MOOS: Like tears of joy, tangled up sashes and falling off crowns.

The evening gown competition will be revamped to allow contestants to wear what they want but it's bye-bye bikinis.

Some men on Twitter were bitter. Removing the swimsuit competition from the Miss America pageant is like removing fighting from hockey, it will fail.

No more scantily clad women? It sounds like great radio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is the only reason I watch it. Me and my mom sat there and were like, look, she had a nice (AUDIO DELETED).

MOOS: Other woman took a dim view of the pageant. It's a dinosaur, move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm as gay as pink paint, so I don't give a damn.

MOOS: Contestants will have a lot less skin in the game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It stops the suit from riding up.


MOOS: Ah, into the sunset.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Well, good riddance to that. I never knew about the derriere glue.

Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.