Return to Transcripts main page


Trump's Attorneys Take Over Hannity's Radio Show To Slam Mueller; Avenatti: I'm Seriously Considering Running Against Trump; Washington Post: Omarosa Claims She Turned Down Hush Money; Charlottesville Braces For Possible Unrest, Under State Of Emergency; Trump's New Attack on NFL Players Who Protest During Anthem; Melania Trump Used Immigration Policy Her Husband Calls a Disaster to Get Her Parents' Citizenship. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: -- we appreciate it. I'm Jim Acosta. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: Out front next, hamming it up, Trump's top two attorneys in the Russia investigation hosting Sean Hannity's three-hour radio show joking, taking calls, in and out of commercial. Is it all just a laughing matter for Trump?

Plus, the KKK Imperial Wizard who was arrested at the deadly Charlottesville rally, speaks to CNN about why he'll never hang up his role (ph). This, as that city braces again for possible violence and unrest.

And Melania Trump's parents become American citizens through the so- called chain migration that Trump despises. The attorney for the first lady's parents is my guest. Let's go out front.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, Trump trying to make a joke of Bob Mueller. The President's top two attorneys, Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani taking three hours out of their day, not to work on the very serious Mueller investigation itself. An investigation, let's remember, that Giuliani has explicitly said he fears could lead to possible impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States. No, taking three hours to guest host a radio show, and to be specific, I'm talking about Sean Hannity of Fox News radio show.


JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Hey, welcome to "The Sean Hannity Show". Jay Sekulow and Mayor Rudy Giuliani. How about that? Giuliani and Sekulow.


SEKULOW: That is. We can start all kind of speculation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Sure, speculation that the President's lawyers are trying out to become the next famous duo like an Abbott and Costello or a click and clock or Key & Peele. Listen for yourself to some of the questions that Rudy and Jay decided to take from callers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaking in regards to Hillary Clinton, we have proof of that. And why are we not pursuing that? Why is not A.G. Sessions pursuing those criminal acts?

SEKULOW: You got a little ring going on there, Peter? Sounds like, I'm a drummer. You're either keeping a really steady beat, or you're, you got -- or you, right, or a click or you got your wipers on. It's one of the two. I suspect it's wipers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just got to know that after this is over, that you guys are really going to drop the hammer on some of these people. I mean, Comey, Mueller, all these other people.

SEKULOW: Well look, I mean, I have some experience with government officials that have not done appropriate conduct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should be looking at and investigating and charging Barack Obama with abuse of power.

SEKULOW: What do you think, Rudy?

GIULIANI: I don't want to jump --

SEKULOW: I don't think you can charge.

GIULIANI: I would agree with you, it is crying out for an investigation.


BURNETT: Crying out for an investigation. Happy to entertain all those sorts of questions, right? And even when Rudy and Jay were talking about something that was germane like their negotiations with Bob Mueller, about an interview with the President of the United States and the Russia investigation, there was sort of a similar side show that kept going on.


SEKULOW: We're not going to tell you what we have said. Even though Rudy wanted to the other day. Our reporter --

GIULIANI: I was afraid you'd get mad at me.


BURNETT: Joking and teasing about their letter to the Special Counsel with their negotiation points about an interview with the President of the United States. We're not going to tell you his playground talk which is much like the President's cryptic tweet yesterday, quote, stay tuned, cliffhanger member (INAUDIBLE) said, stay tuned.

Today's performance was classic Trump reality show circus. And that is something Rudy Giuliani has been happy to perform in with Trump for decades. Here's the Trump-Rudy Giuliani duo hamming it up as they break ground on Trump's International Hotel & Tower back in 1995, posing with the jackhammers for the cameras. And then, there's this. This unforgettable skit that they did in the year 2000.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, you're really beautiful. A woman that looks like that has to have her own special scent.

GIULIANI: Oh, thank you. Maybe you could tell me what you think of this scent.


BURNETT: Just to be clear, that was Rudy Giuliani. Both men also attempting to make folks laugh, hosting "Saturday Night Live." But this is not a joke. Mueller's investigation has charged 32 individuals and three companies. Twenty-six of them are Russian.

Kaitlan Collins is out front live in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, where the President of course is on his working vacation. And Kaitlan, we've long heard an echo between the President and his lawyers in Fox News. But now, literally, we're talking about fill-in guest hosts.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Erin, you're seeing just how close that relationship has become. And it's incredibly unusual to see the President's legal team host a show like this, of a partisan host, on a news channel, but that is exactly what we're seeing play out. But, Erin, also what we witnessed today is just how much Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow are not only doing the President's legal work when it comes to the Russia investigation. They are also handling the P.R. for all of this.

They are making a lot of the arguments that we've heard President Trump make. Rudy Giuliani had dinner with President Trump last night. And you heard him run through the list of things that the President has said not only about the Special Counsel's investigation but also about Jeff Sessions and Hillary Clinton and the like. That is what we heard today.

[19:05:10] But of course, Erin, you see those other events today that really show just what Rudy Giuliani is doing here, and trying to make this public case for the President and why they think this investigation is a witch hunt. And Rudy Giuliani saying this week that he believes this investigation should be brought to an end by September 1st. But the Special Counsel Robert Mueller really threw a wrench in that today when they subpoenaed someone to testify on September the 7th. Someone who is going to testify on the 7th, they said that aide that helped Roger Stone get in touch with WikiLeaks. And it really just goes to show how it is Rudy Giuliani really trying to set the tone for the White House. While the Special Counsel is not saying much but through their actions are not responding on their own to Rudy Giuliani.

BURNETT: All right, Kaitlan, thank you very much. Their actions, of course, showing they are the ones who control the timetable here and in fact they do.

Out front now, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who sits on the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees and also joining us Frank Bruni, New York Times Columnist and Harry Sandick, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District here in New York. Senator, OK, as ridiculous as it was, whether you see it as offensively ridiculous or hilariously ridiculous is almost not even the point. The Trump team has said this whole thing is really about public relations. So then they do three hours of filling in for Sean Hannity with the Trump base. Is this actually going to help them? Could they win in the court of public opinion by doing what they did today?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: They may win with their base. I doubt they are scoring very many points in the broader court of public opinion. What they are succeeding in doing, bit by bit, point by point, joke by joke, is trying to discredit --


BLUMENTHAL: -- Bob Mueller and drag down the investigation. I've seen this tactic before the prosecutor, where there's no defense. So, a defense attorney tries to make a joke. It was not really serious. Didn't hurt anyone.

BURNETT: Tries to belittle it.

BLUMENTHAL: And belittles it. And it's part of a coordinated and concerted attack on Special Counsel involving members of Congress who have launched the same kind of demeaning and dismissive attack. So it's coming from a lot of different sources.

BURNETT: So, you know, again, there was some serious discussion today, you know, about the interview itself, whether it's going to happen with the state of negotiations. Jay Sekulow was asked about it. Here's what he said.


SEKULOW: I think the constitution's clear that there's not a right to interview the President under Article 2. I think the Supreme Court would come to that conclusion. I think it also raises serious issues not just for this President but for future presidencies. And especially, Rudy, with the nature and scope of the cooperation that this White House has given to the investigators, it's unprecedented.


BURNETT: No right to interview the President. And size and scope of the cooperation this White House has given is unprecedented. Agree?

BLUMENTHAL: It has been unprecedented and how little could have been.

BURNETT: Even though they say, what, tens of thousands of pages of documents and the numbers they throw out?

BLUMENTHAL: Well, it has to be measured in the sense of respect for the investigation, calling it a witch hunt and a hoax. Again, belittling it certainly is not cooperation. But here's the more serious point. The President of the United States is not above the law. He has no free pass to avoid investigations.

Brett Kavanaugh has raised the question of whether, in fact, the President should be subpoenaed. But the United States versus Nixon case, unanimously decided by the Supreme Court, said in effect the President's not above the law. He can be subpoenaed. And that subpoena will be upheld, Jay Sekulow notwithstanding.

BURNETT: It would be amazing to see if that comes to a test. I mean, Harry, you know, when you hear all this --


BURNETT: -- you know, again, let's go back to this, you know, when they say hoax and witch hunt, which, by the way, they said that today, right?


BURNETT: That's just par for the course at this point. Thirty-two individuals have been charged, 26 of them Russians, six American. This investigation has been far from a hoax, if you look at it from any measurable deliverable.

SANDICK: Absolutely right. And, in fact, we've seen now, even as the Manafort trial of the President's former campaign manager proceeds towards the end of the government's case and then towards defense case and verdict, we see parallel to it the investigators continuing to look at Roger Stone, subpoenaing one of his close associates today. Another of his associations has been subpoenaed and has said that he'd rather take contempt then testify, and that's going to and that will be appealed from a district judge to an appeals judge. So even while he is working on the trial, Mueller team, the Mueller team's also pursuing all these other leads. It's far from a witch hunt. There are many open leads of the investigation.

BURNETT: And yet you have the top two attorneys. Now, we do have the Raskin couple who are working on this, and maybe the other one is doing all the work. But the top attorneys that the President see, that we all see, this is how they spent three hours of their day, joking around, talking about Obama being -- or Hillary, whatever it was, right?

[19:10:06] FRANK BRUNI, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: But as you mentioned earlier, this is a public relations campaign. I mean, Rudy Giuliani is not doing much lawyering at all. He's doing a lot of spokesman duties. BURNETT: Yes.

BRUNI: And he is out there, day after day, hour after hour, with the most jocular manner possible. Because he's trying to say what, we have nothing to worry about here. But this week has been fascinating because the way you knew that Mueller's investigation would not wrap up, nor findings be announced by September 1st was the moment Rudy Giuliani said that must be the deadline. He was setting up something fake that could not possibly be met so that they have a new club to bang Mueller with.

You know, the same deal goes with the questions they said he won't answer. They're exactly the questions that Mueller would want to ask him. So they're sort of setting these tests, these deadlines, et cetera --

BURNETT: Sort of why did you fire Jim Comey.


BRUNI: They're setting Mueller up to fail their ridiculous test so they can see witch hunt and continue to refrain.

BURNETT: And then you have Roger Stone. So when you talk about, you know, Kaitlan referenced, right, someone related to the whole WikiLeaks connection and Roger Stone. Now supposedly going to be appearing from or on September 7th which would -- it certainly looks like a big slap in the face to Rudy Giuliani. We all seem to be closing in on Roger Stone, who's a very, obviously, close friend and was an adviser to the President.

The Manhattan Madam, Kristin Davis, testified before the Mueller grand jury. Another Stone associate, Andrew miller, skipped out on his grand jury to try to test Mueller in some way. And now we've got this radio host, Randy Credico, who was, you know, was supposedly a link between WikiLeaks and Stone is going to have to testify. Do you think Roger Stone is going to be charged? Is this inevitable at this point? He has not been questioned, of course.

BLUMENTHAL: He's been named in an indictment. In fact, he was named in one of the most serious indictments that Robert Mueller has issued against those Russians.


BLUMENTHAL: Intelligence operatives, deployed by Vladimir Putin. He was not identified by name. But he was, in effect, named. So he faces some very serious exposure. Frank's absolutely right. The developments of this last week, even though we tend to focus on the circus and the side shows, the Giuliani/Sekulow show today, Andrew Miller was held in contempt of court.


BLUMENTHAL: For refusing to appear in the grand jury. He has, so far as I can see, very little grounds for asserting any sort of privilege or any basis to not cooperate. Plus there are those other associates who are close to Roger Stone and where Roger Stone's exposure is, very seriously, is his contacts with Guccifer and the other Russian fronts, and what it means going forward. This is not only about what happened in 2016. It's the continuing pervasive threat.

BURNETT: The threat from Russia. Now, you know, amidst all this, the Rudy and Jay show, whatever it might be, you got the Michael Avenatti show going on, OK, which is at least equal to it. He's out in Iowa. Supposedly, I guess still working on Stormy Daniels' case, but also looking at a presidential run. Here's what he said.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: I'm here to listen to the great people of Iowa, explore the fair and figure out if it makes any sense to run for the presidency or not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How seriously are you considering this?

AVENATTI: I'm serious about considering it.


BRUNI: OK. I'm not sure I believe that at all, because this is someone who has manipulated the media like a master and this is getting him a lot of attention. What fascinates me about this is his brand is as an adversary of Trump. But I think he's sort of an analog of Trump. And he's very Trumpian in so many ways, including the sort of manipulation of the media, including overpromising things that never materialized. How many things did he say he'd show us, discs that were photographed on Twitter, we'd never seen the context of it.

BURNETT: Other women he's vetting.

BRUNI: Right. Michael Avenatti has a lot of Donald Trump in him.

BURNETT: And now what do you make of this as a senior Democratic Senator? Would you support Michael Avenatti?

BLUMENTHAL: I would not support Michael Avenatti for president of the United States. I'm not sure I'd support him for any political office unless he can demonstrate some knowledge of the issues, and something other than just the showmanship, which perhaps he has done very well for his client but less so maybe on the legal front. But the point here is that the Trump team is relying on showmanship and circus, to bring down the investigation, to degrade and demean the process. And I think the court of public opinion's going to be very harsh on him.

BURNETT: Quick final word, Harry, how long do you think it goes? Is Mueller really almost done?

SANDICK: No, I don't think he's done. He's going to go quiet because he doesn't want to upset the election. So at some point in the fall, he's not going to charge anyone. But that doesn't mean his team is going to stop interviewing people, putting people in the grand jury, collecting evidence. Getting ready for whatever comes next year. [19:15:05] BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much.

And next, Omarosa says she was offered $15,000 a month in hush money after leaving the White House. And guess what, there's a document to prove it. And our next guest has seen it.

Plus, an eye-opening story you'll see only out front. Can a Klansman who opened fire at last year's rally in Charlottesville literally open fire be reformed?


RICHARD PRESTON, IMPERIAL WIZARD, CONFEDERATE WHITE KNIGHTS OF THE KKK: Some Klans did have a history of terrorizing black folks but not all Klans did. And I've never terrorized a black person in my life.


BURNETT: And Democratic Candidate Ben Jealous drops the "f" bomb when asked is he a socialist.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you identify with the term socialist?



BURNETT: And Jealous will be out front tonight.


BURNETT: New tonight, Omarosa Manigault Newman says she was offered $15,000 a month, a month, in exchange for her silence after she was fired from her job at the White House. Now, this is according to The Washington Post. And it's just one of many bombshell allegations in Omarosa's new book. The White House hitting back today saying in part, "Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations."

Out front now, Josh Dawsey, who broke the story for The Washington Post. Josh, of course, also a Political Analyst for us here at CNN. Good to have you with me, Josh, on this Friday. $15,000, I have to pause to make sure everyone understands, a month, adds up to $180,000 a year.

[19:20:07] Omarosa says this cash offer was made by Lara Trump, the President's daughter-in-law who has not responded to our request for comment. What more can you tell us about this?

JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure. So that was her salary also in the White House, $180,000. The offer came right after she left around January 20th. Her last day in the White House was, you know, right around the 20th, a one-year mark of the presidency. She wanted to make it to the year mark.

And there was an extensive nondisclosure agreement that The Washington Post has reviewed independently that shows $15,000 a month for her in exchange to do some diversity outreach and fund-raising for the campaign and to not make any negative comments about President Trump, Vice President Pence, any members of his family, any of his businesses or any comments that would hurt the President in anyway. It's somewhat analogous here, into the $15,000 a month that the RNC was paying Keith Schiller, the President's former body guard --


DAWSEY: -- on retainer. And a number of Trump associates at the Super PAC America first, Sean Spicer, Corey Lewandowski for a while, no longer, Katrina Pierson are all on retainers as well. But as --

BURNETT: But she -- right, you've seen it. So this is --

DAWSEY: Yes, I've seen it.

BURNETT: You know this to be true, this $15,000 a month offer was there.

DAWSEY: Yes, I've seen the retainer, I've reviewed it with my own eyes. And the retainer is interesting because what it came after is John Kelly comes in and fires her and says, you know, there are all these ethical issues, all these reasons you shouldn't be in the White House. These are serious issues, you must go. And then all of a sudden she's offered a similar job on the campaign.

BURNETT: Right. Ethical issues a problem here, but not there. Obviously that does not make sense at all.

OK. The other thing is here, Josh, there are tapes. Omarosa recorded some of her conversations. And you have listened. You personally, Josh Dawsey, to some of these recordings, what did you hear?

DAWSEY: She's recorded extensively the conversations in the White House. And some of the recordings I have listened to as well. What I'd heard in the recordings are a lot of the exchanges in the book, some of the ones that we, quote, from in our story, our word for word, what are in tapes. Now, that said, everything is not, you know, fully vetted. Not every claim she makes in the book is fully vetted.


DAWSEY: But a lot of the claims in the book are backed up by tapes. Omarosa had a tendency in the White House to record her conversations widely with aides, even with the President. People familiar with the tapes have told us --

BURNETT: What's a good example? Did she hear anything with the President or if any conversation that you can check?

DAWSEY: I can't disclose too much of what I heard on the tapes on air tonight. I can just tell you that there are many of them and a lot of the book will be backed up by tapes.

BURNETT: The book, briefly, Josh, also mentioned a tanning bed in the White House. She says there's one there. Obviously, other aides in the White House tell you there isn't. A lot of people are shooting at Omarosa right now.

DAWSEY: Right. Well, she was not necessarily popular in the White House. She was a pretty polarizing aide. For months even before she left, many of her colleagues thought she was taping them and they were correct. She -- A lot of folks in the White House didn't really know what she did all day. But she was popular in the President's eyes. And a lot of her colleagues did not want her in senior staff meetings, wanted her gone. Reince Priebus didn't like her, John Kelly didn't like her.


DAWSEY: But at the same time, she still had the respect of the President and his family. And I think now she's doing what a lot of her former colleagues feared she would do upon leaving his, you know, write a scathing tell-all, where part of it is likely true, part of it may not be true, and, you know, it puts the White House on the defensive because she was making $180,000 a year. She was one of the most prominent people in the government. She was there for a year. You can't just say she's a nobody.

BURNETT: Thank you so much, Josh, I appreciate it.

DAWSEY: Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: And next an OutFront exclusive. A KKK Imperial Wizard who was arrested last year at Charlottesville rally, a year later speaking to CNN.



PRESTON: Because I want to see the Klan become one when it once was.


BURNETT: Plus, the First Lady Melania Trump's parents became American citizens through what's called chain migration even as President Trump has slammed it again and again and again. Hypocrisy? Well, the attorney for the First Lady and her parents is going to speak out front tonight.



[19:28:39] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard Preston admitting what he did during the deadly white nationalist unite the rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia. That's Preston, yelling the "n" word, aiming and firing on the direction of a black counter protester holding (ph) a blue torch.

Preston spoke to CNN for the first time since he pleaded no contest in the case against him. Are you sorry for shooting the gun towards a black man?

PRESTON: No, because I protected people on the steps. That's all I was doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you did say the "n" word before you fired that gun. Why?

PRESTON: Can I ask you a question? If you're standing in a group of 1,000 black folks --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There wasn't 1,000 black folks around you.

PRESTON: I can't tell you how many there was. But, OK, a large group of black people, OK? How do you get one black man's attention in a crowd full of black people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say hey, you, with the torch. There's a thousand ways.

Preston said he went to protect a confederate statue as a member of a militia, but he also wears another hat.

PRESTON: The heck with all these illegals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That of an imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan chapter. Four year, he's been trying to re-brand the KKK as peaceful (INAUDIBLE) not hate-filled racists.

Do you hate black people?

PRESTON: No, I have friends that are black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you're an Imperial Wizard of a Ku Klux Klan group. And the Klan has a history of terrorizing black folks. How can you say that?

PRESTON: Some Klans did have a history of terrorizing black folks, but not all Klans did.

[19:30:04] And I've never terrorized a black person in my life.

SIDNER: Why not join the Kiwanis Club? Why not call it something different? Why the Ku Klux Klan?

PRESTON: Because I want to see the Klan become what it once was.

SIDNER (voice-over): He references this, the second rising of the Klan, when thousands marched through Washington in 1925.

PRESTON: At that time, that march was about the fact that our country was allowing immigrants to come here, change their names, no documentation. If your name was Schwarzkopf, you could come here and call yourself Schwartz, and nobody cared.

SIDNER: He fails to mention it was about keeping blacks Jews and immigrants from rising socially or politically. But he says his plan is different.

PRESTON: It's not about a black man, a white man, a red man and a yellow man. It's about a red, white and blue.

SIDNER: But he's still awaiting sentencing in Charlottesville. While he waits, something remarkable is happening because of this man. R&B musician Daryl Davis has spent decades engaging with Klan members and challenging their beliefs. He and Preston have talked for years via phone. Suddenly, Davis was standing up for Preston in court.

(on camera): What do you say to the judge?

DARYL DAVIS, R&B MUSICIAN: I testified on his behalf. I also paid part of his bail money to get him out.

SIDNER: You paid part of his bail money?

DAVIS: I did.

SIDNER: Is he taking you for a fool? Using you?

DAVIS: No, not at all. Not at all.

SIDNER: How do you know?

DAVIS: Because he and I were already friends. I said, I'm willing to take Mr. Preston and he has agreed to go down to this museum with me and take a tour of it and learn something.

SIDNER (voice-over): He's referring to the National Museum of African-American History.

DAVIS: Seeing what he's going to see there is going to plant a seed. The seed may not blossom today, tomorrow, the next day. But eventually, he'll come out, because the truth never -- can never be squashed.

SIDNER: The two men bonding over history and returning to Davis' home to find another shared passion. His track record speaks volumes. Davis says 200 of the Klansmen he's befriended over the years have left the group, more than 40 of them with a simple gesture, relinquishing their Klan robes to him.

(on camera): You don't think you'll ever give up your robe?

PRESTON: No, I'll be buried in it.

SIDNER: Are you sure?


SIDNER (voice-over): But then this happened. Richard Preston who had never been married, had Daryl Davis at his Klan wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you stand in the presence of God --

SIDNER: This time, it was David giving something away. The bride.

(on camera): His friendship has been something really special to me.

DAVIS: He wanted me to be a part of this wedding. That's beautiful. That's a seed planted.

SIDNER: Considering their relationship and the fact that the white nationalists "unite the right" rally is scheduled to be here in D.C., I asked both men where they thought race relations in this country were headed. They both said they thought it would get worse before it gets better -- Erin.


BURNETT: All right, Sara, thank you very much. Another incredible report there from Sara.

Now, let's go to Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent at "The Nation". And Paris Dennard, a member of the President Trump's 2020 re-elect advisory council.

Joan, you're here with me. So, let me start with you.

You know, let's just play an exchange here from Sara's piece, between her and Richard Preston. Here it is.


SIDNER: Do you hate black people?

PRESTON: No, I have friends who are black.


BURNETT: He's an imperial wizard with the KKK. He says but don't worry, I've never terrorized a black person. Says he'll be buried in his robe though.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: He shot a gun at a black person while using the "N" word, so we actually saw something that proved that he's lying, Erin.

BURNETT: Do you think that Daryl Davis can change his mind, will ever change his mind?

WALSH: I don't know, God bless him, I hope he does, but he hasn't so far. He's going to be married -- or buried. He was married. He's going to be buried in his robe.

You know, people are entitled to spend their lives that way. I really respect Mr. Davis for making that effort. But I don't see it coming too much when it comes to Richard Preston. That was a disturbing report actually.

BURNETT: Paris, what's your reaction?

PARIS DENNARD, MEMBER, TRUMP 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Well, you know, one of the things I just -- that made me pause is we've been dealing with this issue of racism for so many years in this country, many since the foundation, if you want to go back that far.

But from a point of a 1925 rally, going down street, where we've seen presidents and their corsages -- excuse me, funerals and we've seen all the things we've been proud about as a nation and we've seen -- we've seen that happening in 1925 tells me that while we've made a lot of progress, significant progress, in terms of race relations and the plight of African-Americans in America, we still have a long way to go.

And I just think that this Klansman is just doing what I believe all of these white supremacists and KKK members do, is manipulate the media to spread their platform.

[19:35:09] And it's unfortunate that they try to mask it and say he's really a friend and David Duke does this every campaign season, and it's unfortunate because all they want to do is have a platform to spread hate. It's a terrible thing to do.

BURNETT: OK. Of course, you know, this is -- let's just remember the president of the United States has said there are good people on both sides when it comes to these white supremacists and imperial wizards, whatever they might be.

And, Paris, I want to give you a chance to listen to what the Charlottesville mayor said on CNN when asked if the president is responsible for the racial division and tension that we are seeing right now. Here's the response.


NIKUYAH WALKER, CHARLOTTESVILLE MAYOR: Well, you know, when you are comfortable with spewing that kind of hate, as 45 appears to be, then it definitely is causing turmoil within the community and making people feel very comfortable with subjecting others to that level of hate.



DENNARD: I can understand how the mayor, Mayor Walker, of Charlottesville is trying to search for an answer, trying to find a reason, a rationale, as to why something so disgusting could happen in 2017, United States of America, in a city that she runs. Everyone wants to find the reason, the rationale, to point their finger at somebody.

BURNETT: Do you agree, Paris, there's good people on both sides?

DENNARD: And she's --

BURNETT: Like the president said?

DENNARD: Erin Burnett, don't ask me ridiculous questions like that.

BURNETT: Why is it a ridiculous question, Paris? You're sitting here act -- saying that this is something that's been going on since the beginning of the country, acting like the president of the United States has nothing to do with it. He has said there are good people on both sides. I am asking you, as a supporter of him, who's African- American, do you agree?

DENNARD: And, Erin, I'm saying, again, that's a ridiculous question.

BURNETT: Why? Why is it a ridiculous question, you should be able to answer it, Paris.

DENNARD: Erin, it's a ridiculous question because you know that the president was not talking about the 1925 rally.

BURNETT: No, he was talking about the white supremacists, one of whom killed someone at a rally one year ago this weekend, that's who he was talking about.

WALSH: It's a very simple yes or no question. Were there good people in Charlottesville protesting as Nazis and white supremacists?

DENNARD: I think -- first of all, I didn't know this was the Joan Walsh show, but I'll answer your question, Erin.

WALSH: I'm just following --

BURNETT: Joan is allowed to ask a question. You can ask one too, Paris, but right now, I'd appreciate if you'd answer the one you were asked first.

DENNARD: Yes, and I'm going to answer your ridiculous question by saying the president could have been talking about Mayor Walker, if she was there, and actually, the woman who was tragically killed by that racist was somebody who I believe was and will always be a good person that was there.

WALSH: But she was on one side --

BURNETT: We're talking about the Nazis.


WALSH: Heather Heyer was on one side. They were on the same side, Paris.

DENNARD: Let's be clear, Joan, Joan, Joan --

WALSH: Asked about the other side, the Nazis and the white supremacists.

DENNARD: Joan, when you get a show, I'll come on it, but until then, I'm going to talk to Erin --

WALSH: I'm a guest on this show. Erin's fine with what I'm doing.

DENNARD: Well, I'm not going to be accosted by you and asked --

WALSH: I'm not accosting you. I'm having a conversation.

DENNARD: I'm not having a conversation with you, Joan.

WALSH: We're on the same show together. We're both CNN contributors. It's your job actually.

DENNARD: I don't need you tell me what my job is.

BURNETT: Paris, I feel like you're being needlessly belligerent.

DENNARD: I'm not being belligerent.

BURNETT: I asked you simply, do you agree there are good people on both sides. The answer is yes, I agree, or no, I do not. Why is it hard to answer?

DENNARD: Because I'm not going to let you do and try and do what you all do regularly in the media, which is trying to make it seem as if President Trump is by any means responsible for what happened in Charlottesville or to make it seem like the president feels that the murder of that woman was somehow good or justified or that --

BURNETT: I said nothing about what he thought about the murder of that woman. I simply am quoting what he said and asking you if you agree.

WALSH: It's a very simple question.

BURNETT: That is what he said. That's a fact, Paris.

DENNARD: You know what else is a fact, the president denounced hatred, violence and bigotry. That the president denounced the KKK, David Duke, and otherwise back in 2016, before Charlottesville.

WALSH: It's been a while.

DENNARD: It doesn't matter -- it doesn't matter how long it took him to do it but he did it multiple times. And the fact is the president did it.

BURNETT: Paris, you really thing it doesn't matter how long it took him to do it? I'm kind of shocked how long it's taking you to say that you think there aren't good people on both sides.

DENNARD: Because I'm not going to take the bait and do what you all do here in the media.


BURNETT: It's not a bait, Paris. All you needed to say is I don't agree with that.

DENNARD: I'm not answering your yes or no question. I don't agree what you're doing.

BURNETT: There's so many ways you could have answered the question.

DENNARD: I don't agree with what you do. Don't tell me how -- just because you don't like my answer, Erin, doesn't mean it's not the right answer.

BURNETT: I'm calling you out for not answering.

DENNARD: And I'm calling you out for asking ridiculous questions and making inferences about the president and about me and it's inappropriate and it's wrong. This -- you could have had a conversation, which I tried to do, about the video that you played.

[19:40:01] But what you did end up doing is try to make a correlation between that Charlottesville and the president of the United States, just because the mayor was searching for a person to blame for it.

If you want to blame somebody, blame the racist.

BURNETT: Paris --

DENNARD: If you want to find somebody to blame, blame the racist who killed that poor woman. But those people are evil. Those people are horrible. And the president denounced it and I have denounced it. And I'm going to do it again.

But I won't allow you to do --

BURNETT: OK, there you go. Now you've done it.

Paris, to be clear --

DENNARD: No, but it's ridiculous.

BURNETT: -- it is the mayor who said -- it is the person that is 45, by the way, she refuses to call the president by his name, which is a separate issue, and I think a big problem that people do that.

DENNARD: A huge problem, it's disrespectful.

BURNETT: She is the one who said he is causing this. OK.

DENNARD: I said --

BURNETT: But she's not alone. The white supremacist, the Nazi yesterday that Sara Sidner interviewed himself said it was November 2016 --

DENNARD: Erin, you're an accomplished journalist, you know full well what they're trying to do.

WALSH: That's just factual -- DENNARD: No, David Duke comes on every presidential campaign and he

endorses and supports the Republican because that's the only way he can get credibility. So, what you all do is fall for it, hook line and sinker every time. The white supremacist and the racist want to come on. They say we support Donald Trump. We like Donald Trump. Despite --

WALSH: I wonder why. Do they say that about Romney? I don't remember that.

DENNARD: They do it. They do it to all Republicans.

WALSH: I don't remember David Duke saying I love John McCain. I don't remember David Duke saying I love Mitt Romney, I'll all for Mitt Romney. I just don't remember that, Paris. I'm not sure it happened.

DENNARD: It's a media ploy and you fall for it --

WALSH: Is it?

DENNARD: Yes, it is.

WALSH: So you're tell meg that happened and I forgot it?

DENNARD: I don't know -- again, Erin, to answer your question, because it's not Joan's show, I believe what's happening is the media is being allowed to be played by these racists and you all give them a platform, and you feed into the narrative by asking me ridiculous questions and trying to draw inferences about the president when he's denounced racism, bigotry and violence multiple times back in 2016 --

BURNETT: And says someone of Mexican heritage wouldn't be able to weigh in on his case because he called Mexicans rapists --

WALSH: And insults the intelligence of our colleagues --


BURNETT: Paris, these are fair questions and that's the -- you can make whatever arguments you want but they're fair and they are important questions and they matter to a whole heck of a lot of people in this country.


BURNETT: Thank you both very much for being with me. I want to end it there.

DENNARD: And there are a lot of people who agree with what I believe as well, and they don't like the platform that you give to racists and white supremacists, and you're drawing insincere and ridiculous conclusions about a narrative about this president because you hate him, because you want him to fail.

WALSH: Have a great weekend, Erin.

DENNARD: Have a great weekend and you do the same.

And, Joan, it's not your show. Get one if you're qualified to do it.

WALSH: I'm well aware. Thank you.

DENNARD: No, you act like it's not, but you have a great day and God bless you.

WALSH: God bless you.

BURNETT: Thank you, both.

DENNARD: Erin, that was to you.

BURNETT: And next, Trump insults NFL player's intelligence. Why is it such a familiar line of attack?


BURNETT: She is a low IQ individual, Maxine Waters.


BURNETT: Plus --


TRUMP: Chain migration is a disaster for this country. Chain migration is terrible.


BURNETT: Yet the first lady's parents just became American citizens through that exact program and their attorney will be OUTFRONT.


[19:47:02] BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump going on offense again against NFL players protesting during the national anthem. Tweeting in part, quote: The NFL players are at it again, taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the national anthem. Numerous players wanted to show their outrage at something most of them are unable to define.

The attack just hours after several players took a knee, raised a fist or stayed off the field for the first preseason games.

OUTFRONT now, the Democratic nominee for Maryland governor, also the former NAACP president, Ben Jealous.

And, Ben, good to have you back. I appreciate your time tonight.

So, the president says --

BEN JEALOUS (D), MARYLAND GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. BURNETT: -- these players are protesting something that, quote, most of them are unable to define. Does -- is that questioning their intelligence and understanding of why they're doing something or would that interpretation go too far in your view?

JEALOUS: Yes, I'm not sure. What I know is that he came out and he said what he said about our great basketball player, LeBron James. We know -- we heard on the tease what he said about Maxine Waters, Congresswoman waters. So, it's certainly within the realm of possibility.

BURNETT: So, you know, you mentioned that. Let me just share some of this with people, if people aren't familiar. The president does have a history of accusing some of his African-American critics of lacking intelligence, right? You mentioned LeBron James. That was mentioned in the context of my colleague Don Lemon here at CNN.

The president tweeting: LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which wasn't easy to do. I like Mike, presumably a reference to Michael --

JEALOUS: Has he ever met Don?

BURNETT: The president? Yes, he has met Don. He said positive things about him at times too. But that was what he said.

And then let me -- I'll play again for you, Ben, the -- what he said about Maxine Waters so people can understand the broader context of why this question's being asked. Here's the president.


TRUMP: 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: So, Don Lemon's the dumbest man on television. Maxine Waters has an IQ in the low 60s. And, Don is, you know, so dumb he made LeBron look smart.

JEALOUS: Don is brilliant and Maxine is brilliant and Lebron is brilliant.


BURNETT: Is this racism from the president?

JEALOUS: This president -- what is real, and we feel it here in the DMV, as coming into D.C. this weekend, we have all of these very hateful people who are clearly inspired by this president. Whether he's hateful or whether he just inspires hateful people, either way, he's not the one who should be leading our country. And we frankly need to be led by people who are going to pull us together, not tear us apart.

BURNETT: Now, as you're running, you know, you had a passionate moment. You know what I'm talking about. I'll play it for those who don't remember.

But were asked yesterday whether you would define yourself as a socialist, after your opponent in Maryland, the Republican Governor Larry Hogan used that term to describe your politics, right, in a negative way.

And here's how the exchange unfolded.


[19:50:04] REPORTER: Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you identify with the term socialist?

JEALOUS: Are you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kidding me? Is that a fine enough point?


BURNETT: All right. You know, you were laughing. You have apologized obviously for dropping the F-bomb there. But my question to you, Ben, why did you speak out so passionately against socialism. It seemed what you were saying there is no F-ing way I'm a socialist and don't put that on me.

Am I wrong?

JEALOUS: Right. No, I mean, that's absolutely right. Even when I campaigned for Bernie Sanders, I was very clear. I'm a venture capitalist. I'm a practicing capitalist, all right?

I'm one of quite frankly not that many black men in our country who actually have the responsibility of investing in early stage companies. And I'm proud of that.

And what happened right before that, the reason I felt so passionately, that's what you asked was, quite frankly, this word -- these types of labels have a long history of being used against black leaders to discredit us. It was what Barry Goldwater call King, a communist, what the Tea Party called Obama socialist, now Maryland governor is using that label against me as he seeks to lie and smear me these vicious attack ads he's been running for weeks.

We know why he has been doing it. We said if he runs attack ads before Labor Day, it means he is worried he might lose. So, he started running them before the Fourth of July. He is clearly, clearly worried.

But what the people of our state deserve is a real debate. Why is it our schools on his watch have dropped from first to sixth? Why is our economy dead last in the region as far as growth? Why is it that the overwhelming majority of us feel like we're no better off and many of us feel worse off than four years ago? And what are we going to do to finally get health care costs under control? And that's what we don't get to talk about.

BURNETT: Right. Well, Ben, I appreciate your time. And this is a race we're watching very closely. I was born and bred on the eastern shore of Maryland. So, it is a race of utmost interest and importance to me, personally.

Thank you very much. I appreciate the time.

JEALOUS: I was down in -- appreciate you. I was down in Salisbury last night.

BURNETT: That's where I'm from.

JEALOUS: They're still very proud of you.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you.

And next, Trump in-laws using a system the president wants to get rid of in order to become legal citizens. Their attorney speaking out tonight, next.


[19:55:14] BURNETT: New tonight, Melania Trump's immigration lawyer is speaking out. A source telling CNN that the first lady sponsored her parents for their citizenship, which was granted yesterday. Now, that is considered family-based migration. It is something President Trump repeatedly slams. He calls it chain migration.

OUTFRONT now, the immigration lawyer for Melania Trump and her parents, Michael Wildes. He is also the author of "Safe Haven in America: Battles to Open the Golden Door."

And, Michael, I appreciate your time tonight and your willingness to speak out.


BURNETT: So, the bottom line here, just so everyone understands, right? I mean, Melania, who wants to spend time with her parents and be able to spend time with her family, she sponsored them to become American citizens, correct?

WILDES: Absolutely. Look, let's put things in perspective here. At a best, the president's intention is to protect us from terrorists and ISIS and to have a better vetting system to make sure qualified people come to the United States.

Melania Trump is not president of the United States. She's married to the president of the United States, and, yes, years ago, she began the process as an American citizen following millions of others in trying to bring her parents to the United States. They got green cards and eventually, when they were interested and eligible, they on their own then applied lawfully for citizenship and obtained the great privilege yesterday. Mrs. Trump, effectively, and I spoke to her this afternoon, has given

great comfort as she does the nation's work knowing that her parent, the grandparents of her child can actually work and look after her son while she's traveling with the president. This is a tradition that happens in all rank, in all files of life, whether you're president of the United States, and that is the first naturalized first lady that we have.


WILDES: Or people who eventually navigate through the waters into America. This is a tradition where we have hinged doors, those golden doors have been hinged and the whole idea of calling this chain migration is really outside of the ethos of what was intended.

BURNETT: And, look, you know, you speak of this eloquently. Her love of her parents is someone everyone hopefully can connect with, right? Something anybody would want to do, to bring your parents to a country if you moved there.

But family members bringing in family members just because they are family members is something that the president opposes. And when I say opposes, I don't need to tell you this, Michael, but I'll tell our viewers. I mean he vehemently opposes it.

And I want to play how strongly he feels so our viewers can understand.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chain migration is a disaster for this country. Chain migration is terrible. Chain migration is a killer.

Chain migration, it's horrible, it's horrible.

The chain is like a disaster. You bring one person in, you end up with 32 people.

You come in, and now you can bring your family. And then you can bring your mother and your father, you can bring your grandmother.

We have to end chain migration. We have to end chain migration.


BURNETT: Your client, including the first lady --

WILDES: Well, tell us how you think --

BURNETT: -- clearly don't agree.

WILDES: Yes. Well, tell us how you think, Mr. President.

Let me take off one-half as the first lady's immigration lawyer and her family and put on my own personal hat. It's unconscionable to scare people into believing that you cannot

bring nephews. You cannot bring nieces or uncles. You can't bring 32 people here. And some of the quotas (ph) are backed up for 10 or 15 years from particular countries.

This whole notion of chain migration actually is a beautiful bedrock of immigration law and policy called family reunification.


WILDES: Imagine this: people will work harder and love more and do more for America knowing that their loved ones, their immediate relatives, their parents, their children --


WILDES: -- to say you can bring one relative and not another relative, I can understand that some of them may be in jeopardy, and you may want to retool an antiquated migration system --

BURNETT: So, Michael --

WILDES: -- that looks weird to have a lottery system.


WILDES: But chain migration? No, family reunification.

BURNETT: And you're talking about a policy the president despises. You're doing it on CNN, a network the president publicly despises. You said you talked to the first lady today.

Obviously, she knows you're on the show tonight, right? You're on CNN. You're here. You're talking about it. She knows, right?

WILDES: Absolutely. And to the first lady's credit, from day one, she knew I'm a former mayor in New Jersey. I just succeeded in a primary as I hope to be mayor of my city again, that I'm a very proud Democrat.

I'm a second generation immigration lawyer. My father represented John Lennon in a celebrated case where he took on the Nixon administration. The Lennon Doctrine is actually the law that set the stage for President Obama to give out DACA.

So, she came to a qualified lawyer --


WILDES: -- with a pristine case, with the intentions of bringing her family here like everybody else would.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time. And we appreciate her being willing to let you speak your mind and represent her and her parents. Thank you so much, Michael. I appreciate it.

And thanks to all of you for joining us. Have a good weekend.

Anderson's next.