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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Sources: Roger Stone Confidant "Manhattan Madam" Met With Special Counsel's Team For Voluntary Interview; Accountant Testifies She Sent Fake Letter To a Bank To Help Manafort Get A Multimillion Dollar Loan; Trump Backed Candidates Winning Big In Primary Races; Trump Slams Russia Probe as "Hoax" Hours After Intel Says Russia is Trying to Interfere in 2018 Elections; Party Drug Ketamine Found to Help. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 3, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, closing in two top Trump associates under pressure. Prosecutors making their case against Paul Manafort and a big development on Roger Stone. The president suddenly silent.
Plus Trump doubling down on his claim that Russian election meddling is a hoax even after his intel chiefs say it's real and continuing. And a group of wealthy Saudis spent five days at a Trump hotel in New York spending so much money that revenues actually went up at the hotel for the first time in two years. Are you kidding me? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the wall is closing in on President Donald Trump. We're learning tonight that special counsel Bob Mueller interviewed someone who could hold the keys to Trump's inner circle, someone who has been close to Trump's long-time friend and campaign adviser Roger Stone for decades. She's known as the Manhattan Madam.
And tonight, four sources tell CNN that Kristin Davis sat for a voluntary interview with Bob Mueller's team this week. Now, Davis could be crucial. She has a personal and a professional relationship with Stone. She knows a lot. And when it comes to Trump, Roger Stone is tight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: We talk politics, but I'm not going to characterize it because if I do then that indiscretion would most likely mean that those conversations would end. The president has to have confidence that he can talk politics or policy with a friend of 40 years without it appearing on the front page of the newspaper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A friend of 40 years bragging about keeping President Trump's secrets, but will he keep them if Mueller finally closes a trap on Stone. Because we're also learning of another big Mueller blow to Stone tonight, a judge ordering another person close to Stone to appear before the Mueller grand jury, that's former Stone associate Andrew Miller. He fought a subpoena from Mueller, the judge, though, said no. So Andrew Miller will appear.
And as Mueller shines those bright lights closer and closer to Roger Stone, today Trump's former campaign chairman faced another gruessing (ph) day in court. Prosecutors slamming Paul Manafort for a fourth day showing he lied to his accountants, trying to prove he lied on his taxes. Lies, lies, and more lies, that is the story from prosecutors.
And let's be clear, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort were not "coffee boys" like team Trump has tried to dismiss another Trump aide who pleaded guilty in the Russia investigation. These two men were equals to Trump. Men that he publicly praised and priced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Roger Stone has been very nice. He thinks I'm doing fantastically.
Mr. Manafort, who's by the way, who's by the way, a respected man. He's a respected man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So will Stone or Manafort flip on Trump? All right. Evan Perez was in the Manafort courtroom today. He's OUTFRONT.
And, Evan, you know, you've been there every day this week. You say you heard some of the most damaging testimony today.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin. I think we've heard some of the most damaging testimony, in particular, from Paul Manafort's accountants. And one of them in particular, she is Cindy Laporta. She got an immunity deal from the special counsel in order to testify.
And really what she represents is an insider. She's someone who, according to prosecutors and according to her own testimony today in court, she was involved in the conspiracy to help Paul Manafort move some of this money from these offshore accounts and in Cyprus that he did not declare to the IRS and help some of that money move back, and then fudge the numbers so that he could lie on his income taxes. In particular, there was one part of the testimony in which she described a loan for $900,000. I think we have some of the exhibits that the government showed in court today for $900,000 loan in 2014.
And according to her own testimony, this money was supposed to be classified as income but by classifying it as a loan. It allowed Manafort to reduce his taxes by as much as a half million dollars for that year. So here we have, for the first time, someone who is an insider explaining exactly how this conspiracy works. We know that the government has charged him with bank fraud, with, obviously, with tax fraud. And so what this is building towards obviously, Erin, is that they're going to now move on to some of the bigger witnesses.
Rick Gates, who was also part of this conspiracy, according to the government, his testimony obviously is going to be a very fiery thing because we expect that Paul Manafort's lawyers are going to try to attack him as someone who lied to the FBI. He's pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. So expect some of that, some of those fireworks to happen next week.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan. Of course, there's also that, you know, personal and emotional and you're talking about Gates and Manafort, right, friends, mentor/mentee relationship, sort of father/son. So that is going to be fireworks.
[19:05:01] Now, I want to turn the Roger Stone news. So we're talking about Kristin Davis, right, the Manhattan Madam, sitting down with the special counsel. Alex Marquardt has this part of the story.
And, Alex, Kristin Davis has been brought in, she's now sat down this week, we've learned, to talk to Bob Mueller and the big question of course is what she might know about Stone and his dealings with Russia, right, whether it be WikiLeaks or Guccifer 2.0.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. The big question is how she's really connected to this Russia probe. She is yet another unbelievably colorful character that's been caught up in Robert Mueller's web.
And what we do know, Erin, is that this interview took place this week, it was on Wednesday and it was voluntary. Now, what's less clear is exactly what the Special Counsel's Office is looking for. Sources have told CNN that they do want Kristin Davis to testify before a grand jury. And that's a real indication that they may be zeroing in on Davis' close friend Roger Stone who of course has advised Donald Trump for decades.
Now, Davis, who as you've noted, is known as the Manhattan Madam and Roger Stone may have also been close for years. She ran a high end prostitution ring here in New York and then she went to jail as part of the prosecution scandal that took down Governor Eliot Spitzer. It was after that stint behind bars that she then paired up with Stone who advised her campaign for New York governor in 2010 when she ran on a platform of legalizing marijuana and prostitution.
Stone later put Davis on his own payroll. She helped him with clerical work, setting e-mails and setting up media interviews and then there's another twist. Stone is the godfather of Davis's son, but at least two witnesses have been also been asked whether he's actually the father which appears to have annoyed Stone.
In a new statement, Stone has said, "Kristin Davis is a long-time friend and associate of mine. I am the godfather to her two-year-old son. She knows nothing about Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration or any other impropriety related to the 2016 election which I thought was the subject of this probe. I understand she appeared voluntarily. I am highly confident she will testify truthfully if called upon to do so."
Erin, we've also reached out to Davis' lawyer and the Special Counsel's Office. They have not responded. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Alex. It is just an incredible cast of characters. They were actually not in a reality show, but in real life when you hear some of these things.
OK. OUTFRONT now, Frank Bruni, "New York Times" columnist, Laura Coates, former federal prosecutor and Shan Wu, former federal prosecutor and former lawyer for Rick Gates.
So, Frank and Laura, let me start with you both because you're here with me. The walls closing in, Frank, obviously, on some very close people to the president. Grim news for Manafort. You heard Evan saying the most damaging day of testimony so far for him. Roger Stone, you've got this woman testifying and another associate now losing his fight. He's going to have to testify as well yet Trump was silent.
FRANK BRUNI, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Maybe because of all that. But I mean Trump being silent one day just means Trump's going to be noisy the next. It's never a consistent trend line.
BRUNI: But it is interesting to wonder about that silence and wonder what's going through his head. There's no way the president isn't noticing this. There's no way he's not worried to some degree. Now, he may believe they have nothing to say about him, he may know differently, but either way, it becomes clear to him and this is a day that really reminds him of that just how thorough and just how wide ranging the Mueller investigation is.
BURNETT: So, Laura, you know, here's the thing. When we talk about Roger Stone, you know, I remember several months ago having lunch with Michael Cohen and he said to me well they've never called me, they've never talked to me and I remember almost kind of jokingly saying well, that means you're toast. You know, it sort of like -- but that was in fact what the case was in terms of, you know, they're going to be looking into him. Stone is the same way.
LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes.
BURNETT: Not talking to Stone but we've got Kristin Davis, other people close to him, Sam Nunberg, Michael Caputo. Now you've got this guy Andrew Miller. They're all going to be talking. What does this mean for Stone?
COATES: It means of course that Mueller's probe is thriving on the anxiety and uncertainty of all these things. Remember, his directive is not simply to look at the campaign-related collusion. Rosenstein said if he comes across any other criminal activity in the course of that investigation, he need not ignore like a big pile of cocaine as he go search for homicide in the house.
He can look at the coffee table as well and to have that situation with Paul Manafort -- with Michael Cohen, excuse me, it may now be that perhaps Donald Trump is silent because a target is not him in that capacity and everyone is closer and closer to Roger Stone with the WikiLeaks, with the Sam Nunberg interview talking about the comments talking to him, maybe it's zoning in as also on him as well and he has reason and cause to be nervous.
BURNETT: I mean, Shan, when you add it all up, does Stone get indicted here? Is that what were -- is that what this is building towards?
SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It certainly is building in that direction and, you know, for someone like Stone, not being spoken to is definitely a bad sign as you point out about Cohen. It's a little bit like musical chairs. You don't want to be the last person out there and they've spoken to everybody else, you'll have nothing to offer them and they'll have all the information they need on you already. So that's definitely going to be a problem for him.
[19:10:04] BURNETT: So, Frank, you know, then there's Manafort today, as Evan said --
BURNETT: -- the most damming day so far. His own accountants given immunity because you're obviously not going to work as an accountant again once you admit that you lied for your client or knew your client was lying which they did. They say he lied on his taxes. One of them saying her firm helped them do it to falsify these documents about the loan that could have cut his taxes by half a million dollars as Evan was reporting.
We are going to see Manafort's actual tax returns.
BRUNI: Unlike someone else, right?
BURNETT: Which may remind many Americans that we have not seen Donald Trump's.
BRUNI: Exactly. No, and you -- it is impossible not to wonder if Americans who are tuned into this trial, and probably fewer than we think, if they are not going to be struck by that same irony. It's also interesting the accountant admitted that she falsified things.
Something else really interesting is going on in court today which is all of these people who worked on Manafort's taxes are being asked who is in charge. Was it Rick Gates or Paul Manafort because the prosecution is anticipating the defense that no, this is just -- these are mistakes that Rick Gates made and Paul Manafort is being falsely blamed for them. All of these people are saying, no, Paul Manafort was the man in charge and that's a very specific deliberate question the prosecutors would ask.
BURNETT: They've been putting it to everybody. And, Laura, you know,, "The Washington Post" saying that the lead attorney for Manafort, you know, was talking to people during a break and his defense was, "Nobody intending to violate the law would leave the evidence around for his accountant to find it."
COATES: That sounds a lot like Rudy Giuliani making a comment that no one commits a crime in broad daylight or in the open. Sounds, you know, very ironic. And in fact, that's exactly what actually happened here according to the prosecution's case.
And in fact, if you know you're going to have a complicit accountant which is in fact this person was, to draft that fake letter, to get that loan and falsify the documents, then certainly you would leave the evidence and the bread crumbs for that person to find.
And I think it's just completely ridiculous for a jury to be expected -- that's not sequestered, that's may not buy this scapegoating tactic that you're blaming on your minion, that also everyone is against you and you had no knowledge this is going on. Everyone out of the goodness of their hearts and against their licenses decided I'm going to help you commit a crime just because I don't want you not have that jacket.
BURNETT: He's trying to trying to say I didn't know I was doing it. But the accountant is admitting that they did it on his behalf, that they did falsify and lie. You're now supposed to believe the accountant actually didn't come back to you and say, hey, just checking this doesn't add up, right?
BURNETT: That the account would take that all on themselves, it doesn't add up.
COATES: It doesn't add up. And so what you saw the first day of the trial was they're trying to say listen, all this is crazy, this lavish spending. Now we're getting to the meat of the bone that says why did he need these loan documents? And who was helping him? And the meat of the matter is, did you commit fraud? It's a document-heavy case. It's not one about he said versus she said. It's not he versus he. It's either the documents speaks the truth or they don't. Either you were $3 millions up like you said or you are one million in the hole.
BURNETT: So Shan, you know, Rick Gates is obviously is going to be crucial to this, right? He is the one that person after person here as prosecutors have brought to the stand, they said, you know, Rick Gates wasn't the guy directing it, right? Paul Manafort himself said I want the M cut in my flowers and I want, you know, in my garden and here's my landscaping bill, et cetera, et cetera.
But he's going to take the stand and you were Gates' lawyer, you know it, right? So he stood for Paul Manafort, now he's turned on the guy who was his mentor and his boss. This is going to be an incredible moment for him. What do you think he's going to say?
WU: Well, I think it's going to be a very difficult moment and probably we'll expect some drama in the courtroom. I think what we're seeing today with the trend of the immunized witnesses gives us a little bit of insight into what's probably going to happen with Gates's testimony, which is the big question with the immunized witnesses is are they going to step forward and admit to complete knowledge, deliberately engaging in fraud?
They are doing that so far with that accountant and most likely that's what you're going to see with Gates too. In my prediction would be based on that trend, he is going to come forward and say that Manafort knew about this, that they were all working together on this. And that is a tough flip for the defense. They need to confront that head on and try and turn that tide against him and that's going to be rough with him.
BURNETT: And as I said, two men prized and praised by the president. Roger Stone and Paul Manafort right in the crosshairs of Mueller, a crucial night for this president. Thank you all three.
And next, another Republican backed by Trump scoring a big primary win. The president's batting average so far is through the roof. Should Democrats counting on this big wave be very afraid?
Plus, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charges Kim Jong-un is failing on his promise to denuclearize. Your move, President Trump.
And Dr. Sanjay Gupta on a so-called date rape drug that is now being used as a save shot, literally a save shot for suicide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since you took Ketamine, have you ever wanted to die from suicide again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not had one single thought.
[19:18:25] BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump heading back to the campaign trail after notching another big win last night in Tennessee. That's where Trump's pick, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, won the Republican primary for a Senate seat.
And now, the victorious Trump is heading to Ohio this weekend for a big rally to back another candidate in a hotly congested congressional ways -- race, sorry.
OUTFRONT now, Joan Walsh, "The Nation's" national affairs correspondent and CNN political commentator along with Steve Cortes, member of the president's 2020 reelect advisory council and also a political commentator for us. OK. Thanks to both. Joan, you're with me, Trump's victory record is impressive. OK. When you look at candidates he's endorsed so far this primary, whether it's Congress or Senate or governor, his wins, 19, his loss column, four. Could he single-handedly let's just take the House, deliver the House?
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: No. Absolutely not. His win record, Erin, is only in Republican primaries so far. So when he's gone out, when he campaigned and rallied for Rick Saccone in the Pennsylvania special congressional election, Conor Lamb won that seat. When he endorsed one more in Alabama, Doug Jones won that seat in Alabama. When he endorsed Ed Gillespie in Virginia, Ralph Northam won that seat. So he is -- this is his party, he's won the Republican Party but when he crosses over, he's hurting his candidates so far.
STEVE CORTES, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: You know, listen, I might surprise, Joan. I agree, Joan, I think this is the Democrats' race to lose. I really do. History argues on their side when you look historically. Incumbent presidents, their first midterm is disastrous. It was for Obama, for Clinton. They bought lost majorities. It was for Ronald Reagan. Current polling, RealClearPolitics average shows 7% advantage for Democrats.
[19:20:05] So the Democrats --
BURNETT: So you don't look at the primaries, Steve, at the 19-4 win/loss record and feel calmed?
CORTES: Well, I don't feel calmed. I'm worried. But here's how I get over the worry and here's how I think as Republicans we score an upset is we need to rally as a party much more to Donald Trump. If we can effectively put Trump on the ballot, he won 230 House districts versus 205 House districts for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
CORTES: The reason that those 230 districts are not solid, the reason that those aren't solidly in the Republican camp for this 2018 race is because too many squish establishment Republicans in Washington, D.C. on the Hill have not embraced the Trump agenda.
If they do in the next couple months and if Trump can effectively put himself on the ballot and make this a reelect and I think he's going to campaign as hard as he did in 2016 in the coming weeks and months. If he does that, then I think we have a fighting chance but it's an uphill battle.
BURNETT: So, Joan, here's the thing though. You know, when Trump goes on the campaign, he loves this. OK.
BURNETT: This is like oxygen for him.
BURNETT: OK. So he's going to out --
WALSH: -- three bubble.
BURNETT: Last night, he went to Pennsylvania for -- to campaign for Lou Barletta and, you know, he attacked the press. He said I'm friends with Putin. He talked about his election win, right? I mean pretty much people can recite this in their seat.
BURNETT: But the key thing may have been what he said about Barletta, his opponent who was a long-term Democratic senator Bob Casey, I want to play that part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: All right. Let's get back to some boring subjects like Bob Casey. So Bob Casey. Well, isn't that boring after this wonderful -- I've got to talk about Bob Casey falling asleep. Don't fall asleep as we talk about Sleeping Bob. Sleeping Bob. That's it. Sleeping bob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: OK. That's funny. You know what? Bob Casey can sleep because he's about 20 points ahead of Lou Barletta in this race.
BURNETT: So that doesn't worry you? That's the thing that Trump does. He gives the nickname, he makes people laugh, Democrats didn't figure out what to do with it, Republicans didn't figure out what to do with it and he crushed them all.
WALSH: Right. It worked in the Republican primary. He did not crush Hillary Clinton, she won by three million votes, the popular vote.
BURNETT: On a popular -- well, but we're an Electoral College country.
WALSH: I know.
CORTES: That's not what decides elections, Joan, you know that very well.
WALSH: Steve, stop yelling in my ear. He won --
CORTES: I didn't yell but we have a constitution and the popular vote does not decide elections.
WALSH: He won the Electoral College, I agree. He did not crush Hillary Clinton.
CORTES: All right. We have a constitution.
WALSH: So he didn't crush anybody. He didn't crush anybody and --
CORTES: Well, he did electorally and that's all that matters.
WALSH: And Lou Barletta is not --
BURNETT: But is anybody ready for this? Let's get to that point.
BURNETT: Anybody ready of this? This is the way Trump beats people. He comes in and everybody laughs when they hear that.
WALSH: Oh my god, though. All of these vulnerable senators like Bob Casey, like Sherrod Brown, like Tammy Baldwin, like Joe Manchin, they are all up in their races, Erin. This was supposed to be a bloodbath for Democrats, especially in the Senate. RealClearPolitics only has seven tossup seats and three are actually Republican seats. Democrats are defending their turf really, really well. So this is not going to go well for Steve. I mean We'll see -- we'll talk in November.
CORTES: As I just mentioned, the opposite is actually the case. The Democrats are clearly favored here. History, polling.
WALSH: Not in the Senate.
CORTES: OK, but the House.
WALSH: The Democrats are defending like 23 Senate seats. So Republicans is just defending nine.
CORTES: Nobody -- no credible person thinks the Democrats can take -- no credible person thinks the Democrats can take the Senate. I mean that's just not a play. What's in play is --
WALSH: Actually, a couple analysts said it's a tossup right now.
CORTES: Well, I think that's ludicrous but regardless. In the House they are clearly favorites. And how do we Republicans then score an upset win? I believe that it's got be Trump has to make the case and people like me have to make the case that this is in effect his second election, because if the Democrats take the House, they will impeach the president. And they're trying to be coy about it and they're trying to talk around it and whisper around it. Some people aren't like Tom Steyer and (INAUDIBLE). They're being honest.
CORTERS: But the reality is if they take the House, they will impeach the president. And if we get that message out correctly --
WALSH: Only if he deserves it.
CORTES: -- to the deplorables, to people like me, they will rally and --
WALSH: Glad you're calling yourself deplorable.
CORTES: I'm proudly a deplorable. I'm very, very proudly a deplorable.
WALSH: That's good.
CORTES: And if we convince my fellow deplorables that this is a referendum on the Trump presidency, that they are trying to take back and nullify 2016, then we have a fighting chance but we're the underdogs here. We have to be scrappy and we have to fight. And nobody does that better by the way than this president.
BURNETT: Certainly that scenario you have to put out there is not going to get turnout if you don't say you're the underdog, right? I get it. I totally get it. But from your point of view, Joan, you know, you've got to act like you don't have it in the bag because you got to turnout too.
WALSH: You know, it's race by race and these are local races, especially these House races. They're local races so people have to focus on local issues.
[19:25:08] It can't be just counting on anger at Trump. That fires up the base but that doesn't get everybody out the door to vote. So, you know, I don't take anything for granted but right this minute, things look good for Democrats.
BURNETT: Well, I have to say, the Sleeping Bob was funny and, Steve, I'm sure you will give it to Joan that Joan's response, he can afford to sleep because he's up 20 points. It's funny too although we'll see if he gets the last laugh. OK. Thank you both.
WALSH: We'll talk about it in November, I'm sure.
BURNETT: And next, Trump and his national security team far from on the same page when it comes to Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We acknowledge the threat. It is real. It is continuing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So why did the president hours later say it was a big hoax?
Plus, Trump's hotel in New York getting a huge boost in revenue, all thanks to a group of Saudi Arabians.
BURNETT: Tonight the White House defending President Trump's latest slam of the Russia investigation as a hoax. A claim the president made to the entire nation at a rally just hours after his own intelligence chiefs appeared at the White House to say, yet again from their point of view, Russia attacked American democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: As I have said consistently, Russia attempted to interfere with the last election.
TRUMP: Now we're being hindered by the Russian hoax.
COATS: We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States.
TRUMP: In Helsinki, I had a great meeting with Putin. They wanted me to walk up and go like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:30:02] BURNETT: OK. Jeff Zeleny is with the president in New Jersey.
Now, Jeff, the president obviously, you just saw it there, undercut his entire national security team hours after they took Russia on as a group from the White House. Why?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, that was the big question at that rally, was he going to talk about it? He said it was a hoax again.
I'm told by talking to a variety of administration officials and people close to the president that he does not want to relent and talk about Russian election interference with his base. He does not want to give that in that cupid of setting, but he does realize that it is a problem.
And politically speaking, it's a problem as well. His polls took a hit at a Helsinki summit. There's no question that voters want to see this government take a tough line on election interference. So he wants to show that his government is doing something.
But, Erin, he still has not shown, you know, the inclination to talk about it. And that's the central question here. If the president of the United States is not talking about it, really screaming from the rafters, from rallies, you know, using that megaphone he has, is anyone else going to take it seriously? Is Vladimir Putin going to take it seriously?
So, again, at the end of this week, it was extraordinary to see all those national security officials making this case. The president, so far, has not joined them -- Erin. BURNETT: Right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much. You know, it was
incredible, right? The government making the case with the president of the United States undercutting that very same government on the same point. It's hard to fathom.
OUTFRONT now, the former director of national intelligence under President Obama, General James Clapper.
General Clapper, great to have you with me again.
So, the president, you heard it, right? He says the Russia investigation is a hoax. Hours after parading his intelligence chiefs out, all of whom said the opposite.
Why does he demean them like that do you think?
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, I think whatever else we say about his inconsistencies, one of the things he's been inconsistent about since we briefed him in January of 2017 about the Russian meddling is he cannot get his head around the fact of the Russian meddling when the evidence for which was just overwhelming because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of his election and he certainly appears to me can never acknowledge that to his base who he was obviously playing to in his rally at Wilkes-Barre.
BURNETT: Now, CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd earlier today said this was all just a PR stunt. And I know you know Phil. He put it very bluntly. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Let's be clear. That was not a security meeting yesterday.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So that was a PR stunt to your mind?
MUDD: That was a PR stunt. Give me a break, yes. They got used.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you agree?
CLAPPER: Well, I think I take issue a little bit with my good friend Phil Mudd on this. I thought it was pretty compelling to have -- I mean, yes, it had a PR aura about it just because it was in the White House press room, but I thought the messages that were conveyed all down the line by the -- essentially, the heavy artillery in the national security arena was pretty compelling.
And I thought that all of their statements were genuine and sincere, and they all made the point one way or another that Russia poses a profound --
BURNETT: So, you believe them. But did they get used by their boss?
CLAPPER: Well, as subsequent events would indicate, they certainly got as Jennifer Rubin of the "Washington Post" indicated, got hung out to dry big time, and I was trying to imagine what I would have felt like were I still in Dan Coats' shoes or that position had that happen to me in the last administration.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you something about Dan Coats, because, you know, today, the Russian's called the U.S. focus on Russia hacking hysteria. They like to use that word. It's been three weeks, right, since the Helsinki summit.
Dan Coats who replaced you as DNI chief has said -- has just said he is still not able to talk about what happened in the one-on-one meeting. He just doesn't know, right? That's completely different from what the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
I want to play both of them for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I'm not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened in Helsinki.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I had a number of conversations with president Trump about what transpired in the meeting and I think I have a pretty complete understanding of what took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, General, can you think of any reason why the national intelligence chief, right, the top intelligence advisor the president of the United States, Dan Coats, is in the dark on the meeting. He's been very open about it twice now. When the secretary of state says, oh, I'm confident, Trump's told me what happened, he's telling one but not the other?
CLAPPER: Well, I obviously can't explain it. I think it is terrible commentary actually on this whole Helsinki fiasco. What should have happened was convene a meeting of the National Security Council, particularly the national -- you know, those directly involved in this -- secretary of state, secretary of defense, the DNI, et cetera -- and get a very thorough debriefing on what happened.
[19:35:16] And apparently, I don't know, maybe the president is playing favorites with secretary of state who he does have affinity with.
CLAPPER: But it's sad when the DNI is cut out. And to Dan's credit, he's been completely honest about it and public about it.
BURNETT: Yes, he certainly has been. And I want to ask you because you mentioned briefing, obviously, now President Trump and now President Obama in January, 2017, which in part was about that dossier. I know you personally weren't a part of, you know, that word for word, right, but you were, you know, in that group of intelligence chiefs. Federal government is now, a judge has ruled, going to have to tell
"BuzzFeed" whether you, Brennan, Comey, Admiral Rogers briefed President Obama before "BuzzFeed" published the dossier which was, of course, on January 10th.
Now, I believe you've been clear about that, right? That briefing happened before January 10th, right?
CLAPPER: So, if you're speaking of the briefing to President Obama, yes.
BURNETT: OK, so I guess the big question for you is when you look at this now and what's happened now and what still is still unverified in that dossier, do you have any problem with the fact that "BuzzFeed" published it?
CLAPPER: Well, you know, the media is going to do what it's going to do. It wasn't an intelligence document per se. That was a call on their part.
We knew that that dossier was widely distributed, lots of people had it, in the run-up to the briefing and the only reason in the no good deed goes unpunished department, we thought that the president-elect at the time, Trump, should know about the existence of the dossier and what was in it and we tried to be as discreet about that as possible, ergo necking down to just James Comey and the president-elect after the formal briefing on the intelligence community assessment, which did not include findings from the dossier.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, General Clapper. I appreciate your time as always, sir.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, the manhunt for the killer of a prominent Houston cardiologist had a bloody end. What happened?
And some wealthy Saudis decided to stay at the Trump International Hotel. Why would they pick that hotel? Well, they stayed there, and they stayed there for only five days.
Wait until you see what happened to the revenue of the entire hotel in five days.
[19:41:26] BURNETT: New tonight, Trump's hotel in New York receiving a huge boost from the Saudi government. A five-day stay by the crown prince's entourage was enough to put the beleaguered Trump International Hotel's rental revenue back into the black.
Now, this is according to reporting today from "The Washington Post". This is a really big deal, right? In five days, it's back in the black, when that revenue had been falling for two years.
OUTFRONT now is Jonathan O'Connell. He's one of the reporters who broke this story.
I mean, Jonathan, you talk about five days, a two-year trend is reversed. That's pretty stunning, and the Trump Hotel revenues are back in the black, just like that?
JONATHAN O'CONNELL, WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: Yes, it was quite a turner for the Trump hotel. So, New York hotel prices have been competitive recently. It's been a tough two-year run for the Trump Hotel.
And then during this much publicized visit from the Saudi prince and his entourage to the city, not for the Trump Hotel. Some associated travelers of the prince all stayed at the Trump International Hotel for those five days. We don't know how many, but, you know, room rates are typically above $600 a night, and if you add up a bunch of $600 a night for those five days, depending for how many people they have, it's a big kind of a turnaround for the hotel.
BURNETT: OK. So, it is a big turnaround, and you're saying just rooms, or do you have any sense of like what the heck the money could have been spent on if it wasn't just the room or other things?
O'CONNELL: All we know is the information for the most part that the manager of the hotel provided to people who owned the units there. So, the Trump Organization, the president's company, does not own all the units of the hotel. Individual investors do.
O'CONNELL: And a lot of those folks are not pleased with the revenue they've been seeing given what's happened with the Trump brand in New York.
BURNETT: Right, and, of course, you talk about the drop.
But here's the thing, let's just be clear, because we weren't born yesterday, the Saudi entourage didn't just randomly pick this hotel and nothing else was available, OK? They picked the Trump International Hotel because it's the Trump International Hotel, and
you're talking about this happening so quickly.
Do you have any idea what they might have expected to get in return for such a massive spend or was it just, oh, hey, make sure we mention that, hey, we stayed at the Trump hotel?
O'CONNELL: It's hard to know. It's also -- it's interesting decisions by the Saudis because we've seen a number of foreign countries book big business at Trump's hotel in D.C.
O'CONNELL: And a very public, obvious way. Sometimes when their prime ministers or leaders are in town to meet at the White House with the president, they will also stay at the president's hotel down the street. This visit in New York is a little different in that it didn't appear
that they were trying to make a deal about it. It was not easy for us to determine details about their stay or how much they spent, or even who paid for it. So, it's a little bit different from what some of the other kind of countries have done, which seems more obvious.
BURNETT: Right, right, and it, of course, raises so many questions as to why because -- you know, interesting, not the ordinary choice.
All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate your time, Jonathan.
O'CONNELL: Sure. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, the man who shot and killed a Houston heart surgeon while he was biking cornered by police today. That story.
And a so-called date rape drug now being used to save lives. Literally called a save shot by some. The story is stunning and Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on the ground.
[19:48:24] BURNETT: New tonight, the manhunt is over. The man suspected of killing a top Houston doctor who was on his bike in broad daylight dead tonight.
Police say Joseph Pappas killed himself as two police officers confronted him today. He was wearing a bulletproof vest. Police say Mark, George H.W. Bush's former cardiologist, was fatally shot by Pappas, possibly as revenge for Pappas' mother dying in his care 20 years ago. This is a stung story.
Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.
You've been covering this. I mean, Ed, it is incredible when you think about this. A 20-year-old ago incident as he perceived it.
How did police finally find Pappas?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, remember, this murder took place on July 20th. It has been more than a week that all of this unfolded.
And it was around 9:30 this morning Central Time that an employee with the Houston park board who was going through a bayou area there where there had been a history of graffiti, kind of checking on these areas, spotted what that person thought would be the suspect that authorities had been looking for for so long. He called -- that person called into investigators and that brought a couple of officers out to the scene.
The suspect, Pappas, walked into this neighborhood where he was eventually confronted by two officers on the front lawn of this quiet neighborhood, and that is where he ended up taking his own life this morning. BURNETT: Wow. Now, police say they found an extensive intelligence
file, those are the words they used at a home on the doctor, but also the names of dozens of other people.
What else do you know about that?
[19:50:03] LAVANDERA: Well, this really kind of speaks to the confusion that what investigators found inside his home and the uncertainty of what exactly this man had planned that had investigators here in Houston so concerned. Inside that home, as you mentioned, it was described as his investigative file.
Police have told us that once they were able to go inside the home on Wednesday, they found all of these extensive documents where essentially Joseph Pappas had been tracking and monitoring, had gathered a large amount of information on Dr. Mark Hausknecht, how he was moving around, a lot of details about his life and essentially staking him, and figuring out his movements to be able to plan all this.
In the course of doing all of that, Erin, there was also the name of several other dozen names of doctors and people who work at the Texas Medical Center, this huge complex of medical buildings where the doctor also worked. Those names were also passed over to medical center officials so that they could be warned about all of this.
One source describes to a local television station as a hit list. The police here kind of disagreed with that, wouldn't describe it as a hit list by any means that was a concern. But it was a list of names that were on this paper. And obviously that raised a lot of alarms for investigators.
BURNETT: Certainly did. All right. Ed, thank you very much.
And next, doctors using a common date rape drug now as something to stop suicides. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has an incredible report you don't want to miss. That's next.
[19:55:43] BURNETT: Could a drug stop suicidal thoughts in hours, literally? It's an incredible thing to even suggest.
Well, there is a drug. It's called ketamine. It's an anesthetic, also used illegally as a club drug. It's now being used by some doctors who have patients in a serious suicidal state.
It comes as we have learned calls to the national suicide hotline have doubled. And as we remember the lives of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, both lost to suicide.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT.
ALAN FERGUSON, KETAMINE PATIENT: The predominant thought was I need to be -- I need to be dead. I don't want to be here. And that's for as far back as I ever remember.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Major depressive disorder, post traumatic stress, Alan Ferguson was 18 when he was first diagnosed. Over 35 years, he tried just about all the medications modern medicine had to offer.
(on camera): Did they work at all?
FERGUSON: No. I can say that now.
GUPTA (voice-over): Alan picked a day he wanted to die, quit his job, gave away his dog Zeke, and had a final phone call with loved ones.
But almost as an after thought, his psychiatrist asked if he would consider an anesthetic medication known as a ketamine.
FERGUSON: I wasn't worried about trying something I never tried before. I was worried about trying something else that wasn't going to work.
GUPTA: Ketamine is widely thought of as a club drug, a dating rape drug. But at several hundred centers around the country, doctors have been using it off label to help patients at real risk of dying from suicide. Some have even referred to it as a save shot.
For Alan, it worked, and fast, within hours.
FERGUSON: I honestly have never -- have never had the experience of waking up and not being sorry that I woke up. I don't use hyperbole, but it is for me. It's phenomenal.
GUPTA: Alan got his first infusion on May 25th, and his depression went from severe to mild. After a second infusion on June 1st, for the first time in his adult life, Alan no longer had depression.
Dr. Kevin Kane gave Alan his infusions.
DR. KEVIN KANE, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: I tell people that ketamine is effective for 70 percent of patients with treatment-resistant depression.
GUPTA (on camera): This is your room?
FERGUSON: This is my room.
GUPTA (voice-over): For about 40 minutes, Alan sat here with his I.V. hooked up to his arm, a heart rate monitor and his music.
(on camera): People talk about hallucination, disassociations, even out of body experience. Did you have any of that?
FERGUSON: The first day --
GUPTA (voice-over): Alan told me it felt like his whole body was on Novocain, like what you get at the dentist. KANE: We see those side effects. But I don't look at them aside
effects. You know, sometimes that can be a very powerful thing, that disassociation.
GUPTA: Ketamine also seems to target areas of the brain that have withered away due to depression and grow new synapses, as you can see in this model.
None of this comes cheap, nearly $500 an infusion, with most patients needing up to six infusions to start, with boosters every few weeks after.
For now, insurance doesn't cover any of it.
(on camera): Since you took ketamine have, you ever wanted to die from suicide again?
FERGUSON: I have not had one single thought.
GUPTA: Not a single thought?
FERGUSON: Not one.
BURNETT: I mean, Sanjay, it's so incredible. You know, obviously, you know, I know a lot more to be tested and done. But you're talking about something that could work in literally hours as opposed to traditional treatments that either don't work at all or, you know, drug names we all know. Things like Prozac can take weeks or months. And for someone suicidal, that can be the difference between life and death.
GUPTA: That is big difference, I think. And you're right, this is early days with regard to using ketamine like this. Ketamine as a drug has been around a long time. But it's just now being tested in these early trials, and they look promising.
But it's that rapid onset I think, you know, how fast it works, Erin, that makes all the difference. It can take four to six weeks for some of these other antidepressants to start working. If you are suicidal, this has been referred to potentially as the save shot or as this rescue drug as some of the doctors have called it. So, there's not many things that behave that quickly.
BURNETT: Sanjay, thank you so much.
GUPTA: You got it, Erin. Thank you.
BURNETT: And thanks so much to all of you for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.