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WSJ: Trump Org Top Official Called To Testify In Cohen Case; W.H. Official Plays Word Games After Banning CNN Reporter; .Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 26, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:03] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUT FRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next. Ultimate nightmare scenario. Trump org CFO subpoenaed by a grand jury. Will he spill the family secrets? This is Bob Mueller scrutinizing Trump's tweet.

Plus, Trump says he's helping farmers by getting a deal with the E.U. But this deal is just starting to be negotiated. Will it even close to make up for the trade war he started with China? We have the numbers and they don't add up.

And she's been a Republican for 40 years, now, switching parties. What was the last straw? I'm going to ask the Oregon politician, she is my guest. Let's go OutFront.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the ultimate nightmare scenario. That is how source is describing tonight's legal development for the President. Allen Weisselberg is the Chief Financial Officer for the Trump organization. He's been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in the criminal investigation of Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Now, this is according to the Wall Street Journal this evening.

Weisselberg is basically the most senior person in the Trump organization that is not mean to Trump, as the Journal points out. In fact, the source close to the Trump organization says, quote, there wasn't a big deal that didn't get approved without Allen. In fact, here is Allen appearing on an episode of "The Apprentice" with President Trump. The former Trump organization employee says the subpoena is the, "ultimate nightmare scenario for Trump". And added these of Weisselberg, "he knows where all the financial bodies are buried."

Weisselberg reportedly arranging for the Trump organization to pay the $35,000 monthly retainer to Cohen, who then paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her silence about her alleged one-night stand with Trump. And the tape recording of Trump and Cohen talking about paying off a Playboy model shows how important Allen Weisselberg is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that -- I'm going to do that right away. I've have spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with funding.


BURNETT: Allen Weisselberg, no doubt that it's some other Allen. And this audio recording, by the way, reportedly just the tip of the iceberg. The Washington Post now reporting that the government has seized more than 100 recordings that Cohen made of conversations, which relate to Trump. CNN caught up with Cohen today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What else is on the tapes?


BURNETT: Cohen's silence coming as we're learning Bob Mueller is now scrutinizing Trump's Twitter account. According to the New York Times, Mueller's team is investigating President Trump's tweets and statements about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former FBI Director Jim Comey to see if they amount to obstruction of justice.

Now, a Twitter account is a public record, right? Mueller is now looking at it reportedly to see whether the President, one, intimidated witnesses or, two, tried to pressure officials to end the Russia investigation. Now, we know Mueller wants to ask Trump in particular about this tweet. It was posted on May 12th, a year ago. Three days after Trump fired Comey. "James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press."

Better hope, of course, you know, to most of us it sounds like a threat. The White House insisted at the time it was meant in no way to intimidate Comey. But like I said, it sure sounds that way to allay person. Especially when we learned what Comey who was running the Russian investigation at the time said Trump demanded of him in those private conversations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he asks you what you want, then says what he wants?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: That I expect loyalty. I need loyalty.


BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny begins our coverage OutFront live at the White House tonight. And Jeff, you have some breaking new details about the President's reaction to all of this. What's been called this ultimate nightmare tonight? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We do, Erin. The President, of course, in the mid-west today, trying to change the subject and talk about other matters. But I am told by someone that familiar with this mood (ph) that he was fuming when he was leaving Washington this morning. And he is coming back even angrier. He's been watching these news accounts all day long as he is traveling on Air Force One and as he's holding before events.

And this is someone, as you were describing, you know, there's no one who knows more about Trump finances than Mr. Weisselberg. So I am told by a Republican close to the White House said this to me. It's getting closer and closer to his inner circle. How do you think he feels when I was asking for the President's reaction.

Now, it is important to point out that he has been subpoenaed to be a witness. He's not a target of the investigation or believed to be a target of investigation. And this did not likely come as a surprise to the President. I'm told that he was alerted by his lawyers before he saw that report from the Wall Street Journal. But that does not make it any less worrisome in the sense that it is someone who knows all of the Trump finances. It is someone who the President worked with most intimately in Trump Tower.

[19:05:09] So as the President flies back here to Washington, arriving at the White House shortly in this hour, we'll see if he has anything to say about this. If past is prologue, he will not answer our questions about this, Erin, but that does not mean he is still not seething. Erin?

BURNETT: Right. Silence does not mean not paying attention. In fact, probably means the opposite in this case. Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

And now I want to go to a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, that's, of course, where all this is playing out, Harry Sandick. Former New Jersey Attorney General, Anne Milgram, and Political Editor for the New York Times, Patrick Healey. And you're all with me here in New York which is a great thing.

So Anne, let me start with you. Former Trump organization employee, you know, said that the subpoena happening in the Cohen probe (ph) of Allen Weisselberg, the words were ultimate nightmare scenario for Trump, because he knows, quote, anything and everything, including where all the financial bodies are buried. How scared should the President be right now?

ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think that this is an enormous problem for the President. If you think about following the money trail which is what prosecutors always do, this man it leads directly to him. And so this is the Trump inner circle and the Trump organization, all these questions and all the financing come back to him. And so the fact that he has been subpoenaed to provide evidence and will be, you know, taken oath to testify truthfully, that means a lot. And so, obviously, it has to be something that is potentially deeply problematic for the President. BURNETT: Harry, she's pointing to the inner circle, right and the Wall Street Journal describes Weisselberg is, quote, the most senior person in the organization that's not a Trump.


BURNETT: That is a big thing to say. Because, you know, that's the person as close as can you get.

SANDICK: Yes. Hired by the President's father, something like 40 years ago. And I think that, look, as they said in the intro, we don't know whether he has any exposure of his own to fear, but in a way, that could be worse. Because he is being compelled to testify in the grand jury. The only way to avoid testimony in the grand jury is to invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. So if he really has no liability of his own but only can point the finger at others, in a way that's even worse because he has to go and answer the questions.

Now he may do that voluntarily in a proper session. His recollection may be an issue because of how many different transactions he's been involved in. But he's going to be asked about the tape that we've all been listening to for the past three days.

BURNETT: Right. You know, Patrick, we hear Cohen saying I talked to Allen Weisselberg about this sort of -- and the tone is don't worry, don't worry, Mr. Trump --


BURNETT: -- I've gone through it with the guy.

HEALY: You know, I mean, Allen Weisselberg's name when Donald Trump hears it, it connotes trust. This is the guy who knows how to handle my money, how to handle the finances --


HEALY: -- how to organize things in the way that I like as Harry said. He's been with the Trump organization, the Trump family for many, many years. And to that point, Erin, it's not just sort of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. And this is a guy who was thinking early on about how the Trump organization can get into Russia in the first place going back years in terms of the deals that he has knowledge of.

BURNETT: And what this tape does is it puts him in the middle of playmate payoffs as well as Russia deals. I mean, this shows this guy was involved with everything which is extremely --

HEALY: I mean, in President Trump's mind, I mean, Michael Cohen, yes, was the fixer. He associated, you know, Cohen with sort of handling his problems. But Weisselberg, I mean, in a way sort of a much bigger figure. Weisselberg is the one who's handling the money, who is handling the deals. BURNETT: And Weisselberg, Harry, was somebody Trump seemed to obviously respect much more than Cohen. I mean, you know, sources telling us, friends of Cohen's that he desperately was trying to get a sign from the President. I'm going to be here for you, don't worry, right.

SANDICK: Right, right.

BURNETT: No such time came. And you sort of like to think if Cohen really expected one, what was he is thinking? This is a guy who cut his salary in half in the year 2009.


BURNETT: He knew what Trump thought of him.


BURNETT: And disdain on some level has to be one of the worst that comes to mind.

SANDICK: Yes. And he knows how the President often has been reported, you know, treat very close associates in a way that's dismissive when it serves his purposes.


SANDICK: It's not clear that Weisselberg is going to get that treatment when he goes into the grand jury.

BURNETT: And Anne, when it comes to the Mueller, right, looking at the Twitter. OK, Twitter account is public. We can all look at it. The question is what does he glean from it legally? Obstruction of justice is one of the issues, but also whether he tried to impede the Russian investigation.

We just looked at his Twitter this spring, since May, 40 tweets, nearly 40. So anyway that's 38 or 39. Anyway, that they scrolled by outside (INAUDIBLE). They all involve the words witch hunt or hoax. Can public tweets that we all saw actually now hurt the President legally?

MILGRAM: So there's no question that all of this is fair game. I mean, we know or have reason to believe that the President personally tweets. And so that these are his words, and essentially he is giving us a window into what he thinks about issues. So they are completely fair game.

And, you know, when we saw his Attorney Rudy Giuliani say, well, usually obstruction of justice and witness tampering aren't public. The truth is, of course it can be, right? And so, part of the investigation will be to get information from people and from witnesses and then to marry that with what Trump is saying publicly, and overall look at what impact would that have had on influencing witness or impeding their testimony or preventing their testimony.

[19:10:17] So it all goes together into this question about --

BURNETT: It's interesting, we have never seen, I mean, talk about without precedent when you look of a Twitter account being aligned in this way. Harry, on the obstruction of justice, I mentioned Comey at the top of the program but also Jeff Sessions as part of this. Last month, the President tweeted of Sessions, "The Russian witch hunt hoax continues all because Jeff Sessions didn't tell me he was going to recuse himself. I would have quickly picked somebody else. So much time and money wasted. So many lives ruined. And Sessions knew better than most, there was no collusion."

You know, I'll just play a few other times he's gone after Sessions because that's just the tweet. Here's his public record.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

I'm very disappointed with the Attorney General.

The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself. He made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.


BURNETT: All public. But is that an obstruction of justice case right there?

SANDICK: It absolutely can be. This is the reverse of how obstruction of justice cases usually unfold. Usually you see actions. And then you are left to wonder, what was that person thinking when he took those actions? Here, it's almost the reverse or at least the messing piece of the puzzle in most cases. The state of mind of the person who may have obstructed justice is laid bear over and over again through tweets, through public comments that absolutely can be used against him as Anne just said.

BURNETT: Which is interesting because psychologically, he is so different than so many other people. All right, you know, all of a sudden, there's a whole element to this. It's different, Patrick.


BURNETT: The Mueller probe looking at pardon offers? And whether, you know, that was dangled out there to try to influence things. Trump has been regularly asked about pardons. And he has dangled it out there. Again, it's a public record. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens. Let's see. They haven't been convicted of anything. There's nothing to pardon. It's far too early to be -- it is far too early to be thinking about it.


BURNETT: That's a dangle.

HEALY: It's a dangle. I mean, President Trump, let's put it gently, does not watch his words. He never has. He like to sort of say what he thinks, say what he feels. But what he doesn't understand, it seems like maybe he does, is that he's exerting political pressure, personal pressure. He is sort of putting almost feelers out there, you know, in a regular way on Twitter, on camera, in which he is basically clearly trying to influence the game.

Whether that rises to, you know, obstruction of justice, I think we have to wait for Bob Mueller to say. But what is extraordinary is that he's created a paper trail that, you know, it differ to the prosecutors. But, I mean, you would think that, you know, lawyers would tell their clients, stop.

BURNETT: I mean, Anne, as a final word, I mean, what do you think ends up being more important here? The public record we can all see or the private finances and the more secretive stuff that Weisselberg would know?

MILGRAM: I mean, I suspect the latter. But, again, this is all a part of one conversation.


MILGRAM: And so, I think at the end of the day it will be, you know, we'll be thinking and looking at all of this together.

BURNETT: It is amazing. And as I said it's so unique to the individual we're talking about. Almost nobody else would have done this in such a public way. Thanks so much to all three.

And next the White House's new talking points about banning a CNN reporter from an event after she asked questions. Plus, the President claims credit for stopping a trade war. But we looked at the numbers and they do not add up.

Plus, she's an elected official from Oregon, lifelong Republican. And she's OutFront to tell me why she just quit the party.


[19:17:23] BURNETT: Today, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine, not backing down from the White House's decision yesterday to block CNN's Kaitlan Collins from covering an event in the Rose Garden.


BILL SHINE, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Could you ask her if she we ever used the word banned? I've seen it on lower thirds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What word would you use, Bill? What word would you use?

SHINE: When you ask her if we ever used the word ban, then I will answer that question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we are, what's the word you will use?

SHINE: You ask her -- focus now -- you ask her if we ever used the word ban.



BURNETT: Lower thirds of the things you see on the bottom of the screen and Mr. Shine banning. Because here is the truth, banning, baring, restricting, not inviting, frankly, this is a matter of semantics. We stand by with Kaitlan reported all the way along which is that she was told she was not allowed to cover a open press event that you were hosting Bill Shine after asking President Trump questions about Michael Cohen at an earlier even in the Oval Office. OK.

This all comes as CNN reports that Bill Shine's influence is rising in the White House. There are days when the former Fox Executive sees the President much more than the Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Now OutFront now, Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation and CNN Political Commentator, Steve Cortes, President Trump's 2020, reelect Advisory Council, along with our Political Commentator and April Ryan, White House Correspondent, American Urban Radio Networks. OK. Thanks to all of you.

Joan, let me start with you since you're sitting next to me. Does the word matter as Bill Shine obviously is saying it does?

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: No, the word does not matter. I mean, we're all journalists here. So let's be honest, Bill is a journalist too. We shorten things. We've got the lower third. We've only got the lower third. We might not say, she was uninvited, she was told she cannot come. She was banned.

The message was communicated, the she was not welcome there and she did not go. So, this is ridiculous that this ex-journalist is playing word games with journalist. And it's not working.

BURNETT: So Steve, look, you know, presidents get questions shouted at them all the time, right? So yesterday, you know, the President wanted to talk about trade and Kaitlan asked questions about the Vladimir Putin summit and about the Michael Cohen tape which as the only representative for the broadcast media. It was a question everyone wanted to ask.

And I just wanted to make the point for the viewer that this is the way it goes. And here's how I'm going to make that point.


BURNETT: I'm going to show two presidents who aren't Trump.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking forward to working with the new Congress. Thank you for your time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you think Saddam's execution was handled appropriately?

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Kathleen Sebelius, for the outstanding work that she's doing, making sure that millions of Americans can get health insurance. Thank you.

[19:20:12] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you won't negotiate, how can you get a solution? How can you bring an end to this if you won't talk to the congressional leaders?


BURNETT: So, Steve, this is how it goes. They say things, they want to talk about one thing, they get yelled a question about another. I mean, George Bush certainly didn't want to talk about Saddam's execution, right? I mean, what was he talking about?

CORTES: Right.

BURNETT: Oh, yes, the new Congress. What happened with Kaitlan Collins is what happens. This is how it goes. Did Shine make a mistake?

CORTES: Listen, Erin, I think he did. Yes. I really do. Journalists are supposed to ask questions and they're supposed to ask tough questions and that happens all the time and it happened in these shouting, you know, matches, which we have. I also say this. I think part of the reason, though, also, to defend the White House on some of these issues, the White House believes and I think correctly so, that the generally, the media, is so antagonistic toward the White House and literally so biased.

Well, you can laugh, but it is literally so antagonistic and so biased. But there are reasons --

APRIL RYAN, W.H. CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: I'm laughing to keep from crying because you believe this foolishness. This President came out saying that we are the enemy of the people. We did nothing to him. From the moment he was elected president, even before that, when he thought he was going to be president. He did not want us in the White House. So the antagonism started with this administration. They do not want the tough questions.

Steve, don't drink the cool aid. Don't drink it. You understand that a free and fair press is what this -- the First Amendment. So don't play that game. We were warred upon. We did not war upon him. There is not a bias. If this President continues to do what he's doing because a lot of this stuff he is doing. No, Steve, no, don't go there. He's tweeting things.

CORTES: April, that's ridiculous.

RYAN: He is (INAUDIBLE) some thing to that nature. No, it's not ridiculous. This is what the President is doing. We have a right to ask. We have a right to ask. And this President and this administration and Bill Shine of all people is going to play these, have his war of words on Kaitlan Collins. She is a credentialed member of the press in the pool.

And I'm going to say this to you. And I think Senator McCain was absolutely right, when you start oppressing and censoring the press, it begins a dictatorship. Steve, don't believe the cool aid. Don't drink it.


CORTES: All right. When you talk about the dictatorship --

RYAN: What makes us different, a free press, free and fair independent press.

CORTES: Do you realized how divorced you are from reality? And no American out there, by the way, cares about this nonsense, cares about this.

WALSH: That's not true.

CORTES: The press briefing room nonsense. They don't.


RYAN: If this President suppresses us -- it's not about us. It's about the American people getting information.

CORTES: Oh my gosh.

RYAN: And let me say this to you.


RYAN: What do you mean oh my gosh? Let me say this to you. We are the first line of questioning an American President. And if he can't take a serious question, he is thin skinned. And maybe she should rethink the job.


CORTES: April, well, you have shown -- what you have shown and what the entire White House briefing room --

RYAN: What I have shown. CORTES: -- is that, yes, is that you are not honest brokers in this debate. What you have shown --

RYAN: I'm not honest? I'm not honest?

CORTES: And your opposition to the President --

RYAN: I'm opposition.

CORTES: No, You're not.


RYAN: I'm not warred upon. I have been told stop shaking my head. I've been told to get the Congressional Black Caucus together for a meeting with the President.

CORTES: You can say (ph) that doesn't change your lack of honesty in covering this President in an honest way. And what he is doing for regular Americans who don't care --

RYAN: I guarantee you, if they ever try to ban me, there will be a problem. I have not lied, I have done anything to get this President, a report on everything that he's done, everything that he's done.


BURNETT: OK. The reality of it is the whole point is it's supposed to be a confrontational adversarial relationship of asking questions they don't want to be asked.

[19:25:06] They pick the reporters they're going to give interviews to. Obama picks people that he like. Trump picks people that he likes. Bush -- That's how it goes, OK, when they're doing an interview. And then when you get these opportunities, people ask tough questions. That's the way it's supposed to go.

Steve, when it comes by this President, yesterday, right, when he's asked by Kaitlan, he didn't want to talk about it. He got mad and he clearly looked livid. But there are times when he's asked questions when he's thrilled to jump back in on it, OK? Let me just play some of those.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you regret signing the executive order?

TRUMP: No, no, the executive order was great.


TRUMP: I'll be announcing that on Monday. Monday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you want to quite the WTO?

TRUMP: WTO has treated the United States very badly. And I hope they change their ways. Thank you, everybody.


TRUMP: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think Helsinki? Or Vienna?


BURNETT: The point I'm making there, Joan, is, you know, Bill Shine is saying you were asked to leave and then you asked a question and that was disrespectful. That is what happened right there and the President was happy to answer. And that's just one of many examples whether it's with this President or other presidents.

WALSH: Right. And the other problem here, Erin, is that this President has given one official news conference. One regularly scheduled news conference. His whole term, with groups of people.

Stop laughing at us, Steve, that's disrespectful. And also don't call my friend April dishonest.

RYAN: That was me laughing. I'm sorry.

CORTES: I'm not laughing.

WALSH: That's right. OK.

RYAN: That was me laughing, Joan, I'm sorry.

WALSH: All right. You are laughing at me.

RYAN: (INAUDIBLE) about it, I'm sorry.

WALSH: He's given one regularly schedule press conference.

RYAN: Yes.

WALSH: And that is the truth. And that's when people get together. They send their reporters with questions. They have a strategy these pool sprays where people don't know who's going to be called on, maybe one reporter from each journalistic frame is in the room. Those don't count. And maybe he wouldn't get so many hostile questions if he actually sat down regularly with a cross section of reporters rather than people at Fox.

BURNETT: What do you say to that, Steve?

RYAN: That's true.

CORTES: Listen, I would like more press conferences. I think the President the more he gets in front of the oppositional press, the better he does. So, actually I think he should be on CNN. I really believe that.

(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: -- the free and fair press is speaking truth to power. And that is holding them to account and asking questions they don't want to be ask. So when you use the word opposition to describe the job of a free and fair press, you're doing a great disservice to the country.

CORTES: Really, I totally disagree. Because you know what?

RYAN: Steve, you --

CORTES: A disservice to the country -- 1

RYAN: Go ahead.

CORTES: -- is when the press pretends that they are objective. And when I watched that White House briefing room, it is not -- you can say, oh my god, you can be exasperated. But you know what? I think any fair person who watch this --

RYAN: I am going to say because you are delusional and you're a liar.

CORTES: We'll say that that is not -- really, I'm a liar? Really? Here's the thing also. Here's what you (INAUDIBLE).

RYAN: You're not the worth the G in your OP. You're not worth the G in your OP.

CORTES: We won in 2016 because we saw beyond and what you saw.

RYAN: You played on race. You played on division. You played on race and division.

CORTES: Really? So we ran because of racism? Really?

WALSH: Yes, and also Vladimir Putin and James Comey.


CORTES: By the way, the very people who won our election in Michigan and Ohio and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, those very same voters have twice voted.


RYAN: Because Russia helped you. Because Russia helped you.

CORTES: Really? Really? Russia won the election? Really?

RYAN: Oh well yes.

CORTES: Really? Do you want to hang your hat on that that Russia won the election?

RYAN: That's what your Justice Department is saying. That is what everyone's -- You owe me an apology too, because you're trying to slander my name. You're going to find out more a lot. I want to see something (INAUDIBLE). You're kidding, you're not worth the G in your OP.

CORTES: If you believe that Russia won this election, then have you no business being even in this --


BURNETT: There is no evidence that Russia's meddling actually altered the outcomes of the election. At least thus far that has been the conclusion. Thank you all very much.

And next, Trump claims victory.


TRUMP: We have reached a break through agreement yesterday with the European Union.


BURNETT: But we looked at the numbers and guess what, they do not add up. And this is all about numbers when it comes to tariffs and Americans. Plus, the breaking news, the deadline to reunite families separated at the border. That is tonight. Hundreds of those families still apart with hours to go.


[19:32:45] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, President Trump declaring victory on trade. Here he is.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am very proud to report we have reached a breakthrough agreement yesterday with the European Union, commonly referred to as Europe.


BURNETT: Now, you heard him saying it's a done deal. Really as he admitted just yesterday, negotiations are actually just starting.


TRUMP: So, we're starting the negotiation right now. But we know very much where it's going.


BURNETT: Look, the reason why the president wants us all to feel like the deal is done is because there are Americans being hit hard now by the tariff war. Those Americans include the farmers that Trump addressed directly yesterday by saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Soybeans -- soybeans is a big deal, and the European Union is going to start almost immediately to buy a lot of soybeans. They are a tremendous market by a lot of soybeans from our farmers in the Midwest, primarily.


BURNETT: OK. Look, the implication of what he is saying is clear. He is picking soybeans for a reason and he's saying Europe is going to buy a lot of soybeans for a reason. So many soybeans that they will fill the massive hole from China, which, of course, is fighting back against Trump's trade war by slapping massive tariffs on U.S. soybeans up to 25 percent.

So, if it were true that Europe could fill the hole created by China, it would be good for the president, crucial voters for him in the Midwest. But we decided to check the numbers. But guess what? It turns out it does not add up. Last year, China imported $12.3 billion worth of American soybeans, $12.3 billion. Europe, well, you can you see that little skinny thing on the bottom, $1.6 billion.

So, Europe could buy as the president said a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot more. A tremendous amount more soybeans and it would not even come close to fixing the hole left by China, and the president knows the truth here because his White House says it's going to give $12 billion to farmers hurt by his trade war. So, that number adds up. That's exact same amount bought by China. He's going to give them a subsidy to make up for that loss. Europe can't make up for that.

OUTFRONT now, Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas. He's the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He met with two of President Trump's top economic advisers today, Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro.

[19:35:03] Chairman, it's great to have you with me. I really appreciate it. It's been a while since I've seen you.

So, let me just play for you if I could --


BURNETT: -- something the president just the said today.


TRUMP: We just opened up Europe for you farmers. You're not going to be too angry with Trump, I can tell.


BURNETT: So what do you make of it, Chairman? China buying $12.3 billion. The E.U. $1.6 billion. You could triple that number, you're not even close to China's buy. How does this math work out?

HENSARLING: Well, I think we have to wait for the math to unfold. I don't know the answer to the question.

I mean, what I think is good news is we have now at least called a truce, a truce on the trade war with the E.U. This is a good thing.


HENSARLING: And maybe -- and the other good thing is, at least we now have both the administration and the E.U. claim to have a mutual goal, and that is zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies.

Now, we might not get there, but this is the first time for the E.U. to articulate this. And sometimes the administration stated different goals. So, I was heartened to hear what the goal was and then, frankly, I don't know what the math is going to be on soy beans and LNG.


HENSARLING: But, you know, turning the corner and increasing trade, you know, as a matter of trajectory, this was a good day.

BURNETT: Right, right. I mean, obviously, LNG. We don't even have the terminals, right? We can't even do that right now. But, look, I see your point, right?

HENSARLING: Oh, it's not going to happen overnight.

BURNETT: Yes. No, I mean, that's --

HENSARLING: Directionally, you want to go to the right way.

BURNETT: But when you hear the $12 billion, and this really matters to the president, right? This is a crucial votes for him. This is the Midwest. The soybeans situation is a crucial one. Very specifically.

Today, the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was asked if this money was a bailout, the $12 billion subsidy. And he responded very passionately, Chairman. Here he is.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: We're not bailing out any farmers.

REPORTER: Twelve billion dollars is not a bailout?

MNUCHIN: That's a ridiculous comment. It's not a bailout. What we're doing is --

REPORTER: It's not a bailout?

MNUCHIN: -- to the extent that other countries unfairly and illegally target our farmers, we will stand up and fight for them. This is not a bailout.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Twelve billion dollars of subsidies, Chairman. Would you agree that is not a bailout?

HENSARLING: Well, listen, I think highly of our secretary of treasury. The role he's played in tax relief in this economy.

But you know I grew up working on a farm. My dad was a farmer, my granddad was a farmer. We want trade not aid. I believe this is still a bailout. It is a bailout from these policies.

Now, listen, when all is said and done, I hope the administration's trade policies prove to be brilliant. But again, the goal has got to be to allow Americans to export more, not import less. I don't know where it's all headed and there is a lot of nervousness and anxiety.

Again, a lot of good news from what we heard in E.U. But we're just at the start of the process. I also think it's encouraging with the E.U. that maybe we can all focus on the legitimate target, the serial violator, the WTO provisions in the nation that by hook and crook is taking our technology and intellectual property, and that is China.


HENSARLING: I've encouraged the administration. Let's work with our traditional allies, E.U. and Canada, and focus on the real problem. And that's China.

BURNETT: So, I know I sound like Sesame Street, saying $12 billion is the number of the day. But I bring it up again, and I bring it up in this way, Chairman, because $12 billion sounds like lot of money. And when it comes to a subsidy, not economically distortive, it is a big number. But it's a drop in the bucket for the United States?

HENSARLING: Listen, I disagree with the policy. I made that very clear. I made that very clear. I disagree with the policy.

BURNETT: You made it extremely clear right now. But I just want to put it in the context of the deficit, which in 2019, it was $493 billion. This is something, look, you have been very, very vocal about.

This year, it's projected to be $890 billion, OK? So, you are talking a double. Next year, $1.1 trillion.

What the heck happened? This is under a Republican Congress with a Republican president.

HENSARLING: Well, again, Congress doesn't control this particular Credit Commodity Corporation funding. I wish we did. I certainly wouldn't vote for it. But, apparently, the president has the power to do this.

And, again, I have been public at disagreeing with this. I mean, the good news is that we actually have more tax revenues coming in. But that's a part of the challenge --


BURNETT: Tax receipts are down by a third.

HENSARLING: -- but ultimately, ultimately -- well, look, months, months, year over year, tax revenues are up. If we have 2.85 percent economic growth, the tax relief pays for itself. If it doesn't, then it doesn't. But right now, we're expecting the new GDP figures soon, you know the consensus appears to be in the high 3s, perhaps 4.

But anyway, set that aside what we really have to do is reform current entitlement programs for future generations.

[19:40:03] I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. It's the most foreseeable crisis in America's history and I regret that we as a nation haven't come to grips with it and a $12 billion bailout to farmers is not helpful.

BURNETT: So, let me -- let me ask you this, because you have done something that many might not expect. You have teamed up with the ranking member of your committee, Representative Maxine Waters, right? You got a Democrat and a Republican working together.

HENSARLING: I'm not sure I expected it either.

BURNETT: Right. But, I mean, this is the point nobody expected anybody to be working together across party lines. The two of you had a piece of legislation, that protects investors, eases financial regulations, packed the House, bipartisan 406 to 4, the White House is recommending the Senate pass it.

But Waters, you are working with her. This is what the Mr. President has said about her most recently. Here's what he said.


TRUMP: Yes, she is a low IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day. I mean, honestly, she's somewhere in the mid-60s. I believe that.


BURNETT: What do you think of that?

HENSARLING: Well, the truth is, there is a number of things that the president says that I don't necessarily agree with. And there are a lot of things Maxine Waters says that I don't necessarily agree with. But we had an opportunity to work together. It's hard, it's tough lifting.

But I think we did something that ultimately will be good for entrepreneurs, small businesses, in capital formation. You can't have capitalism without capital formation.

So again I believe that we try -- I try to civil. I try to be respectful. And again, Maxine Waters has said some incendiary things and the president has said some things. (CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I guess I just --

HENSARLIING: Again, I looked in the Constitution, Erin, I looked in the Constitution, I am not constitutionally obligated as a member of Congress to comment on everything the president says. That would keep me very busy, nor am I obligated to say a comment on everything Maxine Waters says as well.

Again, she says a lot of things and does a lot of things I disagree with. I agree with much of what the president does. I don't always understand what he says or why he says it. But I do know this, for many Americans, we're having the best economy of our lifetimes and it's mainly due to President Trump. I just hope we don't blow it all on a global trade war.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, Chairman. I appreciate your time, Chairman Hensarling.

HENSARLING: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, breaking news, more than 700 children separated from their parents tonight with hours to go to the reunification deadline. Why is the government claiming it has met the deadline?

Plus, a Republican for nearly 40 years now turns Democrat. That elected official joins me with why.


[19:46:28] BURNETT: Breaking news, fuzzy math. The Trump administration claiming it has met tonight's deadline for reuniting families at the border, announcing 1,442 children have been reunited.

But this is a big but, 711 have not been reunited. So, instead of admitting, OK, we are 711 shy, the administration is claiming those children are ineligible for reunification.

So, Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.

Miguel, can you explain this? The Trump administration trying to claim all families are back together? They're not. They're giving an excuse, what's the truth?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So that 711 number fits into the sort of three categories essentially. Those parents or children who have been deported, while the children remain here, or the parents remain here. Some of them, a small number of them, the government can't even account for. Another group of those says that those parents signed away their right to be with their kids and were deported without their kids.

On that question, there is a lot of controversy because some parents claiming they were under duress, they were more worried about their kids than their asylum process, and the lawyer says they didn't have a fair understanding o what was happening during the time that they were being asked to sign documents, to do stuff, while their kids were missing?

In some cases, lawyers saying all their clients could do was cry through their initial asylum hearing, the incredible fear as they call it. It was in that background that these numbers were made and that you have 711 number. The government saying that it has now reunited some 1,442 children. But this was out of a total number of 2,500 that were left after the under 5s are done.

So, it was a policy, bad, uncoordinated, perhaps inhumane from the get go. And it is still that way today -- Erin.

BURNETT: And, Miguel, you know, it comes as the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security is now investigating how the department handled the situations. So you do have an inspector general report which is commencing. That's important.

What more can you tell us about that?

MARQUEZ: This -- yes, so this investigation started before zero tolerance. So there was a test program in the El Paso sector where parents were separated before the zero tolerance was talked about. That's being investigated. The process now of zero tolerance and how the government got to a situation where it separated all these parents without any thought at all how they could get them together and only under a judge's order now have they been forced to come up with the process, all of that is being investigated, and that was at the request of 120 House Democrats.

So, it's going to be months and months of that investigation, and many, many months before we get final answers on this -- Erin.

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

Now, after 40 years in the Republican Party, one elected official in Oregon is saying enough.


LORI STEGMANN (D), COMMISSIONER OF MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON: I wanted to share some great news and I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I have changed my political party.



BURNETT: Lori Stegmann is OUTFRONT. She's the Multnomah County commissioner in Oregon. I'm sorry if I didn't get the full county name right, Lori.

STEGMANN: That's all right.

BURNETT: But let me ask you, you have been a Republican your whole life, OK? STEGMANN: Yes.

BURNETT: And, you know, in a country where you have two parties, that can be a very important part of identity. You are an elected official. It's been a brilliant part of yours.

Why are you now switching parties?

[19:50:01] STEGMANN: Well, that's an excellent question. You know, it really hasn't been just one thing. It's been a culmination of so many things that had happened that the Trump administration has come down upon the American people. For me, I'm an orphan, an immigrant. And with the family separation of children, that was really the final straw for me.

And so, it was something very personal to me.

BURNETT: I mean, I can hear the emotion in your voice.


BURNETT: So, you know, some people might say, OK, well, Trump has said, you know, when he said they're rapists, or obviously, the infamous tape that he said. Let me just play a couple things he said well before these whole separations at the border. Here he is.


TRUMP: You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's a like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait.

And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETE). You can do anything.

We have a very hostile judge because to be honest with you, the judge should have thrown the case out on summary judgment, but because it was me and because there was a hostility toward me by the judge, tremendous hostility, beyond belief, I believe he happens to be Spanish.


BURNETT: So, those are just two examples. But I think, Lori, what's interesting is you're saying, all of that added up. But it really was what, has just been happening at the southern border that made you change your mind, your party?

STEGMANN: Yes. I mean, the Trump administration and President Trump, the misogyny, the racism, I serve on a board on all women, the Multnomah County Commission Board, our board is the first majority minority board in nearly 165 years. I'm the first Asian-American. I'm the first Korean-American to ever serve on the board. This is not the ideals and the beliefs that our country, a country

that I know and love is part of. And it's horrifying to me that more people aren't doing what we need to do. We need to speak out, we need to stand together and we need to call out the inequities and the horrible things that are happening at the hands of our current federal administration.

I for one, as an immigrant, I want people to understand, this is the face of an immigrant. We are all immigrants. I came to this country when I was 6 months old. I was adopted by a loving family. I put myself through college, I started my own business.

I -- you know, this -- I have lived the American Dream. And I have a responsibility to pay it forward, and there were so many people that I have never met that have given me this opportunity. And, honestly, if not being able to come to America, I would be dead.

And I jokingly say, I turned out pretty good. But I say that in all seriousness, because if you give people the same basic humanity and kindness and love that we all deserve, we can all thrive.

BURNETT: Right. Well, Lori, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

STEGMANN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Omarosa's "Unhinged". That's a new book promising to rock the White House.


OMAROSA MANIGAULT, REALITY TV STAR: Like I was haunted by tweets every single day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you vote for him again?




[19:57:44] BURNETT: Omarosa's new book is called "Unhinged." So, who is it referring to?

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No more nodding at the president's words. No more smiling alongside him. Omarosa is on the attack with "Unhinged."

When she left the White House she said --

MANIGAULT: It is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear. MOOS: Profound wasn't how the publisher described it. A stunning

tell-all and takedown, explosive, jaw-dropping.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said she has a story to tell, I'm sure she will be selling that story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, she will. I'm fully sure.

MOOS: She sold to it for under a million dollars, a source tells CNN. As for the title, it's word Omarosa once used about a fellow contestant.

MANIGAULT: Jen's losing it. You know, she's just completely unhinged.

MOOS: "Unhinged" might be aimed at the White House, but as one tweet put it, full props for the title for her autobiography.

Online commenters competed to convey the degree to which they couldn't care less.

I can't wait to not read this. I will be first in line to not buy this book. You lost me at Omarosa.

But it wasn't lost on Omarosa that teasing out nuggets about her White House experience on "Celebrity Big Brother" could stoke interest.

MANIGAULT: Like I was haunted by tweets every single day. It was not going be OK. It's not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you vote for him again?


I feel like I just got freed off of a plantation. Hallelujah.

MOOS: Unfortunately, we don't have any advance excerpts from Omarosa's book, but one commenter imagined this sneak peek. Me, me, me, me again, more me.

Remember Omarosa's immortal words?

MANIGAULT: Every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.

MOOS: She may have to bow a lot after "Unhinged" is unveiled next month, though the president seems proud when his detractors hang unhinged on him.

TRUMP: He's totally.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody kicks Omarosa out of the White House.

MOOS: -- New York.


BURNETT: I just have this flashback to one time when then Donald Trump said to me, what do you think of Omarosa? You know, people hate her but I kind of love her. I think they love watching her. And guess what? They do.

And thanks for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.