Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
W.H. "Can't Guarantee" Tape Doesn't Exist Of Trump Using N- Word; New Tape Raises Questions About Trump And The N-Word; W.H.: Trump Calling Omarosa A "Dog" Is Not About Race. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 14, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- that voting is not secure is fake news.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it would be a bipartisan issue to protect elections. Thanks very much, Drew Griffin, alarming investigation.
I'm Jim Sciutto. Thanks very much for watching tonight. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: Out front next, no guarantee. Sarah Sanders unable to say the President has never used the N-word despite Trump's adamant denial. Why not?
Plus, Trump lashing out in another vicious attack calling Omarosa a dog. The White House says it's not about race. Does that add up?
And breaking news, a top adviser to Jim Mattis under investigation tonight. We're going to tell you what she's accused of doing to her staff. Let's go out front.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, the N-word. In a stunning development, the President's top spokesperson today was unable to say for certain that there was no tape of the President using that vial and racist word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people they'll never hear Donald Trump utter the N-word on a recording in any context?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can't guarantee anything, but I can tell you that the President addressed this question directly. I can tell you that i have never heard it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to be clear, you can't guarantee it?
SANDERS: Look, I haven't been in every single room.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: I haven't been in every single room. I can't guarantee anything. I mean, just let that sink in for a moment. The President's top spokesperson cannot say for sure that he has not used the N-word. It is incredible that this is even a question and that we're even talking about it.
And now as for taped evidence of such a thing, this is an explosive claim that is being made by the President's former Senior Adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman. It seems basic, right? The President's Press Secretary would have asked the President if he used that word before she went out and took reporter questions about the topic, right? Go and ask them, and then come back out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you asked the President if he's ever used the N-word?
SANDERS: The President addressed that question directly via Twitter. I'd refer you back to him. I can certainly say I've never heard him use that term or anything similar.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But have you asked him directly, Sarah?
SANDERS: The President -- I didn't have to, because he addressed it to the American people --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You haven't asked him?
SANDERS: -- all at one time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why haven't you asked him directly?
SANDERS: Again, the President answered that question directly on Twitter earlier today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. So she can't guarantee it. She won't say he didn't say it. But she is right about one thing here. The President did answered the question and definitively so on Twitter saying, Mark Burnett called to say that there are no tapes of the "Apprentice" where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by wacky and deranged Omarosa. I don't have that word in my vocabulary and never have. She made it up." Mark Burnett, of course, the Executive Producer of the "Apprentice".
Now, first things first, the President was definitive, right? The word is not his vocabulary, he's never used it. So, why wouldn't his own Press Secretary guarantee he didn't say it? Does she not trust him? Does she think it's entirely possible that he would say such a thing because he has already said these things on tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She is a low I.Q. individual, Maxine Waters.
You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
Look at my African-American over here. Look at him.
Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, this all comes as Omarosa is now releasing a new recording. This time, an October 2016 phone conversation where Omarosa talks about the possibility of a tape where the President says the N-word. This conversation is between several campaign officials including Katrina Pierson, the Trump campaign spokeswoman. And Pierson is going to our guest on the show in just a moment.
First, I want to go to Kaitlan Collins out front live at the White House. Kaitlan, the President was definitively. He said the words not in his vocabulary and he never said it. So why won't Sanders guarantee, why won't she say that he wouldn't use that racist word?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, that's the question on everyone's mind here. The President was definitive and clear in his tweet last night saying that that word is not in his vocabulary. So it seemed like a simple request for the Press Secretary to say that she is quite sure no tape will ever come out of the President uttering that word. Instead they are deflected and said she'd never heard him say it herself, that he had said he's never said it but she would not state definitively that we will never hear President Trump use that word in an audio recording.
She also made several other stunning remarks throughout that briefing fielding these questions about Omarosa's book, which make several stunning allegations about the President. And when she was asked about the President referring to one of the top African-American officials in this White House, someone who made $179,000 per year one of the highest salaries you can earn here in the west wing, referring to her as a dog as he did on Twitter this morning, saying that he was thankful his Chief John Kelly fired her so quickly after he entered the west wing. Sarah Sanders said that wasn't a racist remark by the President because he insults people of all races and does not leave anyone out essentially saying that he is an equal opportunist when it comes to those jabs, Erin.
[19:05:10] Sarah Sanders saying that as well. And also not answering a question about whether she herself has signed an NDA. That is, of course, when a lot of these boils down to what Omarosa is facing that backlash or the arbitration from the Trump campaign saying that she violated a confidentiality agreement. But Sarah Sanders herself wouldn't answer if she had signed one either.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. Of course others have said they have Marc Lotter, former adviser, obviously said on the show last night, he did sign one. Out front now, our exclusive interview with Katrina Pierson, Senior Adviser for the Trump 2020 campaign. And, of course, you're all familiar with her as the spokesperson for the 2016 Trump campaign. Katrina, great to see you again.
KATRINA PIERSON, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: Hi, Erin, thanks for having me.
BURNETT: OK. So Sarah Sanders isn't guaranteeing the President hasn't used the N-word, right? She says, I can't guarantee anything. And then she continues to say, look I haven't been in every single room. Are, you, Katrina, willing to guarantee the President has never and would never use that word?
PIERSON: Well, I mean, I reject the question. I mean, how can you sit there and ask somebody if they know anything that's not about themselves? I can say the exact same thing that Sarah said. I've never heard him say the word. I only judge people by the way that they treat me. So the fact hat we're even having this discussion is ridiculous and it's all because of Omarosa's ridiculous claims.
BURNETT: Well, as we just played, right, there are plenty of things he said that put it within the realm of the possibility, and that's the big question. Are you comfortable saying that it doesn't fit within the realm of possibility of anything you have ever that he have said?
PIERSON: In my experience, I'm comfortable saying that it's not in the realm of possibility for me. I can't speak for anybody else other than myself.
BURNETT: I want to play the tape, Katrina, where you are talking with Omarosa and another Trump campaign aide. Her name is Lynne Patton, and it's about this issue, about whether the President used the N- word. I know you know the tape that many of our viewers haven't yet heard it. It just came out today. So let me play it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PIERSON: I'm trying to find out at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it.
LYNNE PATTON, AMERICAN EVENT PLANNER: I said, well, sir, can you think of anytime that this might have happened and he said, no.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER TRUMP'S AIDE: Well, that's not true. So --
PATTON: He goes, How do you think I should handle it and I told him exactly what you just said, Omarosa, which is well, it depends on what scenario you are talking about. And he said, well, why don't you just go ahead and put it to bed.
PIERSON: He said it. No, he said it. He embarrassed. (END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, that's you at the end. For anyone who couldn't hear it, you said, no, he said it. He is embarrassed. Can you explain what you said?
PIERSON: Absolutely. You know, first, I'll say that CBS was played by Omarosa today. Omarosa went around making a very specific claim that I had been refuting for the last two days. And then she took two different audios submitted it to them where it was conflated into one story.
Now, since then, Erin, the transcripts have been released thankfully because now we can see that there were two different discussions being had. What I will say is I was refuting the claim that she, Omarosa had said that I personally had a conference call with Jason Miller and that I said that Donald Trump actually said a derogatory term. And that is false, and the transcript proves it on call number two. However, what you don't hear on these tapes is Omarosa. You don't hear the hours upon hours of Omarosa's consistent, constant -- she really was a dog with a bone when it came to this tape. She was dooming and glooming.
PIERSON: This is really important because this is the context of what we are talking about right now. It got to the point to where we had a campaign to run. So what you hear in that tape, which is not the tape she has been referencing is me placating to her, which I did a number of times, because she would not let this tape go.
BURNETT: So let me be clear. Because when you say -- you know, you're saying that he said it, he's embarrassed was just you placating her. And when this tape came out today, right, then it was played, you put out a statement.
PIERSON: Two tapes.
BURNETT: All right. And in your statement, you used that word, Katrina, "In her secret tape recording of me, it was one of many times that I would placate Omarosa to move the discussion along because I was weary of her obsession over the alleged tape". What I'm trying to understand, Katrina, is if that you're weary of it and you're trying to placate her, how is saying he said it placating? That is admitting.
PIERSON: Well, it's very simple. Because if you look at the transcripts, which most people haven't seen, you see it's Omarosa who is the instigator her. She is literally arguing with Lynne Patton.
PIERSON: But Erin, let me get to that. She is arguing with Lynne Patton about him saying it. The President himself said he didn't. Omarosa is the one saying that he did. So what you hear me doing is interrupting saying, OK, OK, he said it, he said it, he's embarrassed, like let's move on. That was completely a different context.
BURNETT: So you're saying that Patton that's being misinterpreted. You're not actually saying he said it. You're saying, oh, he said it, he said it, it's all about tone.
[19:10:07] PIERSON: Look, Erin, I'm telling you. Your viewers I'm pretty sure have run into an individual that is the complete epitome of annoying to where you absolutely have to finally give in in order to get on about your day. That happened a number of times because Omarosa is a bully. She will get it in your face if you're not telling her what she wants to hear. She had a mission.
And what we see now, the only thing Omarosa accomplished today was she had let everyone know what her tactic was. She would use things and stories and scary tapes to try to coax people into saying what she needed to build this narrative. And you can tell that if you read the transcript because myself and Lynne Patton both refer to her as to the information that's being referenced.
BURNETT: OK. So I want to understand then why there is a discrepancy. Because last night you told Ed Henry that the conversation with Omarosa never happened, right? You know, whether we're disputing the tone or what you were placating or not, right, you're saying it never happened. That was before this tape of that very conversation came out.
Now, obviously, there is a tape, so it came out, you put out a statement and said, oh well, I said what I said because I was placating. I just want to play again what you said at the end when you said he said it. Here you are.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PIERSON: No, he said it. He's embarrassed.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: So what changed, right? I mean, now we know the conversation did take place. Last night you said it didn't.
PIERSON: No, that's not the case.
BURNETT: But that was before you knew there was a tape.
PIERSON: No, that's not the case. That's not the same conversation. That's why I say it's important to look at the transcript.
BURNETT: Well, it was the conversation about the President using the N-word. I understand there were multiple of those conversations --
PIERSON: Erin, there are two different discussions. The claim that I'm refuting is Omarosa made the claim that I had a conference call with Jason Miller and that I confirmed that he, quote, said it, and that is a lie. And the transcripts prove it. And it's a totally separate discussion. BURNETT: And you're saying that's what you are saying to Ed Henry. You're saying that conversation with Jason Miller did not happen. So you're saying -- What you said last night is not in conflict (ph) with the new tape today?
PIERSON: Absolutely. I never confirmed that Donald Trump said a derogatory term to Jason Miller. It didn't happen.
PIERSON: She is conflating two different tapes. That's how CBS got played.
BURNETT: But in the tape that they played, which is about the N-word when you say the President said it, he is embarrassed. You're just -- You basically saying at that moment you were lying to Omarosa to make her go away?
PIERSON: Yes, that's the placating. You have to read the full transcript. That's the beauty of this. Omarosa is the instigator in the transcript. She is the one that's pushing the narratives and then here --
BURNETT: -- the President of the United States used the N-word in a blow off kind of a manner. It's not a blow off sort of thing, is it?
PIERSON: Yes, it is. It is, because it's not real. That's the whole point. She consistently pushed this narrative, multiple scenarios. And I was tired of it, Erin. We had an election to win. So that's why I stopped her from arguing with Lynne and said all right, he said, he said it, he's embarrassed, move on.
And, you know what my colleagues reminding me of today?
PIERSON: That the only time that they recall me saying he said it, he was embarrassed was because of the "Access Hollywood" tape. So, again, I said the exact same thing, this is placating to Omarosa and she is using that to conflate the narrative and the transcripts are proof.
BURNETT: The President has now tweeted many disparaging comments about Omarosa, but she's wacky, vicious, not smart, a loser, nothing but problems, a low life, someone who missed work and meetings. Of course, a dog. Are you comfortable with this?
PIERSON: I'm perfectly fine with it. He is nicer than I would have been. This is a man that -- this is a man that spent years helping this woman build her brand, make money, become a star, invested in her ventures, gave her a top job at the White House, and this is how she is repaying him? I think the President is actually going easy on her.
BURNETT: So you don't think any of this is racist? PIERSON: No, I don't.
BURNETT: Being not smart or a dog, you're comfortable with that?
PIERSON: Not one bit.
BURNETT: Did you ever sign an NDA with Trump?
PIERSON: Yes, I did, actually.
BURNETT: So basically, if you had heard him say the N-word, you wouldn't tell me about it any way.
PIERSON: No. I'm telling you the truth. I'm not up here to lie. I'm telling you the absolute truth. That I did signed an NDA with the campaign because everyone sign an NDA with the campaign. I wouldn't come on this program as a black woman, Erin, and tell you that someone didn't say a derogatory term when they did. I would just leave the campaign. It's that simple.
BURNETT: All right. Well I appreciate your time, Katrina. Thank you, and good to talk to you again.
PIERSON: Great to be here, Erin. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, the White House defending Trump's latest attack, which is calling Omarosa a dog.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: This has absolutely nothing to do with race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Does it, or not?
Plus a former executive of one of Trump's casinos says he was offered money for silence and refused. So what happened next to him? Jack O'Donnell is my guest. And a CNN exclusive tonight, a senior pentagon official under investigation for misusing her staff. And what she is accused of is the swampiest of the possible swamp behavior.
[19:18:49] BURNETT: Tonight, the White House defending President Trump calling Omarosa Manigault Newman a dog, insisting that the insult is not about race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: This has absolutely nothing to do with race and everything to do with the President calling out someone's lack of integrity. The idea that you would only point a few of the things that the President has said negative about people that are minorities -- the fact is, the President is an equal opportunity person that calls things like he sees it. He always fights fire with fire. And he certainly doesn't hold back on doing that across the board.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Out front now, Tara Setmayer, former Communications Director for Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Ben Ferguson, Host of the Ben Ferguson Show. Tara, quote, absolutely nothing to do with race. That's Sarah's version, do you buy it?
TARA SETMAYER, FMR. COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR REP. DANA ROHRABACHER: Maybe, maybe not. I mean, Donald Trump has made so many racially insensitive and some flat out races comments in the past that it doesn't really matter at this point whether it's racist or not. It's inappropriate. It's definitely sexist. I think that he was probably going for a female dog in that reference -- that word as opposed to maybe something outright racist.
[19:20:01] But Donald Trump seems to get off on saying derogatory things about people of color. The list is long. From our own Don Lemon down to Lebron James, to Maxine Waters, where he questions their intelligence. And that doesn't go unnoticed.
So -- And that's just part of -- that's just recent things. That doesn't count the history of comments that Donald Trump has made that we have relegated many, many times throughout his entire life. So, you know, at this point, I think it's fair to say that it's inappropriate, it's petulant and at no point should the President of the United States or any of his representatives be making excuses for the President of the United States using that language about anyone.
BURNETT: So Ben, he does like to call people dogs. And let me just give you a couple of examples.
BEN FERGUSON, HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Yes, I loved it. And used it often.
BURNETT: Yes. Let me play a couple of examples. By the way, there's tons, but here's a few.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm standing at the debates. I'm watching Marco sweating like a dog on my right.
The last election should have been won except Romney choked like a dog. He choked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And he used it on Twitter to describe Glenn Beck, Ted Cruz, Steve Bannon.
BURNETT: You know, is --
FERGUSON: Yes. Here's what I'll say. BURNETT: Then here's the question I have for you.
BURNETT: The best comeback that Sarah Sanders had is the dog thing isn't racist because he calls everybody a dog. Does that bother you?
BURNETT: OK, good.
FERGUSON: No, it doesn't bother me because this President of the United States of America. There is one thing. If you want to be offended by a group -- and let's say we actually break this down just to the issue of gender and race, the number one group that should be offended by Donald Trump calling him a dog statistically is white conservatives who reigned against him or wrote articles against him or talked against him in the primary.
The second group that should then be angry at him by statistics should then be white journalists who are the second most offended group that he refers to as a dog. The third group should then be white women, and the fourth group now should be minority African-American woman named Omarosa. Because -- And this is the President, whether you like it or not, this is how he fights back. It is not racist. Because it's proof that it's not, in the fact, that he goes after conservative white men with the word dog more than any other group.
Then white journalists more than any other group. Then there is a couple of women that you can find. And for people now to act like they care about him referring to someone as a dog and throwing in the race card and the sexism card, where were you standing up for white conservative men when they were being called the dog by the President. Why weren't you outraged then when he was doing it on an almost daily basis against people he was running against like --
SETMAYER: I know where I was. I was right here on this network throughout the campaign saying that Donald Trump's behavior was unbecoming and it was not acceptable and it was diminishing of the office of the presidency, even when he was a candidate. I didn't support him, and everyone knows that. And as a conservative, I also pointed out the hypocrisy of conservatives who were supposed to be -- we were supposed to be the party of family values and morals, the moral majority making excuses for him behaving like this. The evangelicals making excuses for behaving like this. Where is that evangelical community? They should be coming out saying the President of the United State is not very Christian like.
So, you know, there's a number of reasons why that this was not OK. But here's the other thing. Donald Trump using the term dog.
SETMAYER: Let me just finish my point. BURNETT: Let her finish. Then you can jump in.
SETMAYER: Donald Trump using the term dog. Not only for Omarosa, which, you know, for women that it's offensive but is in general as an insult. It's at best petulant. At worst it's dictatorial. That's what dictators do to dehumanize their opponents and that is -- neither one of those is good.
BURNETT: So Ben --
FERGUSON: Here's what I will say.
BURNETT: -- go ahead.
FERGUSON: Working in campaigns, working in presidential campaigns, you trust someone and they do what Omarosa did, recording conversations, clearly never working on your behalf, in reality just trying to make sure she made a million bucks off of a book deal and had blackmailed against you and worked with you.
And again, I don't think Omarosa should ever been hire.
FERGUSON: Let me finish, let me finish, let me finish, let me finish. Omarosa never should have been hired.
SETMATER: That's true.
FERGUSON: She should never been anywhere close to this campaign. She should have never been close to the White House. She had no qualifications to that job.
BURNETT: So why do you hire then?
SETMAYER: So why do you hire her, four times.
FERGUSON: Let me finish. Clearly, the President then decided and the White House decided she was not fit to be in this White House, they got rid of her. This is a woman who -- the entire time was going after her own personal gains and her own personal career and using the White House to her advantage. And when you do this, you better expect that your former employer is going to fight back hard against you. And that's what the President did. I don't blame him for that.
BURNETT: He was fine with it. He was fine with all of the above. Think about it, about how she cried and so he gave her a job. And then he said all these wonderful things about her, and how he is saying all these horrific things about her.
FERGUSON: I think horrific things about someone who tape recorded conversations and went into secure locations.
BURNETT: I just want to play for all of you -- for you guys, when the President went on Howard Stern, because this is where he often with, you know, talk about how really thought about things, went on Howard Stern, he was talking about "The Apprentice" and a new version he wanted to do. And here's what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
[19:25:12] TRUMP: There was a concept, OK, thrown out by some person. Nine blacks --
HOWARD STERN, AMERICAN RADIO PERSONALITY: Go ahead.
TRUMP: -- against nine whites.
STERN: This I like.
TRUMP: And it would be nine blacks against nine whites, all highly educated, very smart, strong, beautiful people, right?
TRUMP: Do you like it?
TRUMP: Do you like it, Robin?
ROBIN QUIVERS, AMREICAN RADIO PERSONALITY: Well, I think you're going to have a riot.
STERN: Yes, I like it.
STERN: I like it.
TRUMP: It would -- you know, it would be the highest rated show on television.
QUIVERS: Oh yes.
STERN: Let me ask you a couple of questions if I may, because I'm pretty good with this stuff, OK? Very dark blacks or light-skinned blacks?
STERN: Assortment of blacks.
TRUMP: Against whites.
STERN: And whites.
QUIVERS: Well, how many blondes?
TRUMP: Probably nine. I'd say nine.
STERN: Wouldn't that set off a racial war in this country?
TRUMP: I don't think -- see, actually I don't think it would. I think it would be handled very beautifully by me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That was 2005. Ben, what do you make of it? That'd be handled very beautifully by me. Assortment of blacks, light skin, dark skin. You can write it off to say he said it on Howard Stern or you could say he said it.
FERGUSON: Yes, this is on Howard Stern, and this is where they talk about ideas that clearly never came to fruition. I don't see --
BURNETT: That he liked. An idea he liked.
FERGUSON: -- why this is anything to do with --
BURNETT: Putting blacks against whites.
FERGUSON: I mean, he said this is unique and interesting idea. I don't like the idea. I think there's a lot of people probably unfortunately that would have watched that show. I do think that when everybody agreed on that point they probably would have watched it. People like watching train wrecks. That's what reality TV is.
SETMAYER: Not OK. I think that that is certainly racial. And it just goes along with other racial things that he's been attributed to saying. Let's not forget that the one -- someone who used to work for him, John Donnelly, I think his name was wrote in a book ,that Donald Trump said that he didn't like blacks counting his money because blacks had a trait that was lazy.
So, you know, Donald Trump has never disputed that. That was in a book in 1991. He didn't sue that guy but, you know, and he could have for defamation or whatever if that was true, if he was offended by that. Black dealers sued him when he owned casinos in Atlantic City for racial discrimination at work because it was known that they would pull black dealers off of the floor. So when he came there, and also when big rollers came in, there is a litany of things that Donald Trump has said in his career that has been racial.
So, it wouldn't surprise me, a, if this tape existed. If he come into fact that he would come up with that is interesting. And if that tape did exist, we'll never see the light at day because guess what? Mark Burnett doesn't own it, it's owned by MGM. And they have to get Donald Trump's permission to release any of that out take or footage.
BURNETT: All right.
SETMAYER: So that's why we're never going to see that tape --
BURNETT: Thank you both. And, by the way, the point that you just raise, Tara, about the former casino employee --
SETMAYER: Yes. BURNETT: -- who run the casino who said that he called black lazy.
BURNETT: So he's going to be on the show next and going to be talking in detail about that.
SETMAYER: We haven't even know that.
BURNETT: Jack O'Donnell was his name and he is going to be out front.
Plus, the breaking news, four important primaries across the country today. Could Republican Governor Scott Walker be in danger after tonight?
[19:31:34] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: New tonight, the Trump campaign filing an arbitration action against Omarosa, claiming her book and book tour are violating an NDA. That's a confidentiality agreement.
It comes after the "Washington Post" reported that Omarosa was offered $15,000 a month by the Trump campaign to keep quiet after she was fired from her White House job and that money added up to $180,000 a year, which, of course, was the top salary at the White House, which she was being paid.
OUTFRONT now, former president and chief operating officer of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Jack O'Donnell. He's also the author of the book "Trumped: The Inside Story of Donald Trump - His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall".
Jack, good to have you back.
So, when you learned -- you say that when Trump learned, you were writing this book, right? You were writing this book back in 1990, then one of his lawyers reached out, tried to pay you off. Tell me what happened.
JACK O'DONNELL, FORMER PRESIDENT & CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, TRUMP PLAZA HOTEL & CASINO: Well, he didn't just reach out, Erin. And thank you for having me.
Unannounced at my office. I was working for Merv Griffin by then, the attorney showed up at my office, walked in unannounced and said he wanted to talk to me. He said we have heard about the book. We want to know what we can do to, you know, to have you kill it. What do you need?
And I said -- I said, Joe, I don't need anything. I said, the book is way beyond that point and I need to write this book anyhow to set the record straight on a few issues. But he clearly was offering money.
O'DONNELL: If I would -- BURNETT: OK.
O'DONNELL: -- kill the publication of the book.
BURNETT: So, you say in addition to that, and I presume, you know, you are saying it was very clear, but obviously, it doesn't seem like it was explicit in terms of amount or anything like that. But you also received threats, warnings.
What were they? Are these things that you think Omarosa should be thinking about now?
O'DONNELL: Well, immediately, you know, during that conversation, when he realized that I would not take money, the threats started right then and there, face to face. The attorney then told me that he was sorry, you know, that that was my position and that what they were going to do next was that they were going to go on a campaign to try to ruin my marriage by creating stories that I was having affairs. They also went on to say that they were going to ruin my career professionally and they were going to try to try my business ethics into a customer who was allegedly an organized crime member and made it very clear to me that they were going to ruin my life, you know, right then and there.
After that time -- and I did report that to the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey the next day --
O'DONNELL: -- because I thought the threats were so serious. But the threats didn't stop after that, Erin. They continued. I got not only anonymous threats, but I was told by another executive in the organization to be careful, that I was being followed 24/7, that they were going to do anything that they could to get their hands on that manuscript.
BURNETT: And obviously you did go ahead and publish it. I mean, Omarosa now has gone ahead with her book, which, you know, look, there appear to be some serious factual errors in there but she does have tapes which have come out and raised questions. The president has responded by calling her a loser a low life and a dog among other things.
Do you think his attacks on Omarosa are racist?
O'DONNELL: Well, I absolutely do. I think that maybe, you know, people associate the negative connotation of a dog with a woman when they say -- you know, when they use it that way.
[19:30:05] So, I think that's normal. But I think combined with Omarosa being a woman and an African-American, I think he's used it very strategically.
And listen, he does have a very long history. He is a racist through and through. He doesn't have to use the word "N" word for it to become very clear what he is. And I think in this case -- BURNETT: And you never heard him use that word explicitly, right?
O'DONNELL: -- I think he used it very strategically.
BURNETT: The "N" word itself, just to be clear?
O'DONNELL: Erin, no, to be clear he never used that word in front of me.
O'DONNELL: And the multiple times that he talked negatively about blacks, Puerto Ricans in particular, and women, and also, by the way, people with lower economic capability. He talked very derogatively about all four of those groups of people.
BURNETT: I want to -- can I quote, Jack, from --
O'DONNELL: But he never did use that word.
BURNETT: OK. And to your point, though, I think what you're trying to say is he didn't use that word but he did express incredibly racist sentiments. And I want to quote from your book.
You say and this is you quoting Trump, quote, I've got black accountants at Trump Castle and at Trump Plaza, black guys counting my money, I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. I think the guy is lazy. It is probably not his fault because lazy seasons a trait in blacks it really is, I believe that. It's not anything they can control.
I mean, just let that sink in to everybody for a moment, Jack. And then let me ask you a very just important question, I think. Did you write this down right after? I mean, was that off of a tape?
I mean, are you -- you put it in quotes. Is that truly in quotes, that's what he said?
O'DONNELL: Yes, yes. Yes. I did write that down, Erin, right after it happened. And also when I came back from that meeting at Trump Tower in New York, this was prior to the accident in -- I was the present chief operating officer, but I had a gentleman, Steve Hyde (ph), that I reported to. And I told him about it, because I was concerned because that was really the first time that it became crystal clear how Donald thought about black people.
BURNETT: And do you think -- we know the president has talked about taping people. Omarosa is taping people. Do you think there are going to be more tapes coming out of the White House from others?
O'DONNELL: Well, listen, there is a very bad culture, it appears, in the West Wing. And it really has been going on since he took office. So, it wouldn't surprise me. I clearly think it wouldn't surprise me if Trump himself was continuing his pattern of taping people. But it wouldn't surprise me if there's more tapes, Erin. You and I spoke about it a few weeks ago. It's the way he lived his
life. I mean, he is more Tony Soprano, you know, than he is presidential. And he's not going to change just because he is trying to be a president today.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time. Good to talk to you again, Jack.
O'DONNELL: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And a stunning number in a new poll shows Democrats prefer socialism to capitalism. Talk about stunning things.
Plus, a CNN exclusive, allegations of misconduct by one of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' most senior advisors. We have the breaking story. We'll tell you exactly what she is accused of.
[19:42:12] BURNETT: Breaking news: polls closing just moments ago in Vermont. There are four states tonight holding primary elections. On the ballot in Vermont, Democrat Christine Hallquist looking to make history as the nation's first transgender governor.
Both parties also paying extremely close attention to Minnesota and Wisconsin, right? That's where the president -- Wisconsin obviously that crucial win that could have put him over the top for the overall election. Can he keep the upper hand?
OUTFRONT now, the former special assistant to George W. Bush, Scott Jennings, and former White House communications director for President Obama, Jen Psaki.
Thanks to both.
All right. Scott, Democrats picking a nominee tonight to face Scott Walker, right, in this very important race.
You know, when you lock at Wisconsin, President Trump flipped it, right? Stunned Hillary Clinton, but he won by less than 1 percent. This is -- this is as crucial of a state as it gets. Walker admits this could be his toughest test yet. But Walker is seen as a big part of the Republican establishment.
Could he lose?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He could, absolutely. The environment of course is bad everywhere for Republicans. That's going to be the case in Wisconsin.
On the other hand, Scott Walker is a survivor. Democrats have tried and tried and tried to take out Scott Walker. He has frustrated them mightily. He does have a good story to tell on the Wisconsin economy. The Democrats are trying to ride an enthusiasm wave up there.
I'm watching the turnout numbers tonight in Wisconsin, Erin, to see if what would have seen in some other Democrats primaries spills over to Wisconsin and these other Midwestern states.
I think Scott Walker is in a tossup race but I wouldn't count him out ever. The man knows how to survive.
BURNETT: He certainly does, right? He is only the governor or the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall.
Jen, what do you think when you are looking at the primary tonight on the Democratic side how crucial is turnout?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's pretty crucial because it will tell you with the enthusiasm that we have seen in other parts of the country, in the recent special election in Ohio, in Virginia, when both wings of the Democratic Party really coalesced to help elect Governor Ralph Northam, if that exists in Wisconsin.
Every state is different. Yes, we've seen a lot of energy and enthusiasm across the country. I think we'll see that tonight.
But I think you can't rule out Scott Walker. The fact is, he is our white whale, the Democratic white whale. We would love to take him out. But it is a race that will still be tough at the ends of the day.
Ultimately, there's not been a front-runner on the Democratic side. I don't think that matters because the races across the country hasn't been about political rock stars. It's been about enthusiasm and wanting to send Trump a message. But that's a part of this as well.
BURNETT: Now, when we talk about enthusiasm, you know, I mentioned this poll, right, this stunning poll on the Democratic side that I think may stun both of you. But, you know, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right, and Bernie Sanders have sort of being the standard bearers for socialism. A new Gallup poll says that 57 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of socialism.
[19:45:04] It doesn't get into details of how they actually define it. But nonetheless, 57 favorable, 47 percent view capitalism favorably, which is a pretty stunning when you think about the country we live in and how it is run.
Jen, how shocked are you? Is this -- is this a good thing, something you would expect to see?
PSAKI: The number did surprise me, but there is a big part of me that wasn't surprised because Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they are the excitement and the energy in the Democratic Party right now. Now, my view is that if we run a Bernie Sanders or an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez type of campaign in 2020, we will lose because neither of them could be elected in 90 percent of districts around the country. But it is still struggle within the party to figure out how to capture enthusiasm and energy without going to the extreme left.
BURNETT: I mean, a huge struggle. Scott, two of six candidates that Ocasio-Cortez endorsed in last week's primaries won, right? So, that's to Jen's point. Ninety percent of the districts could not elect these candidates.
But I have to say I love Ben Jealous, the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland for saying what he really thinks because I know he had to apologize for it. But, by god, this is what the guy really thinks. He was asked if he was a socialist. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you identify with the term socialist?
BEN JEALOUS (D), MARYLAND GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Are you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kidding me? Is that a fine enough point?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Scott, you love this. You love that socialism is a word being bandied about and thrown at Democrats to see if it sticks?
JENNINGS: Well, Scott Jennings, the Republican operative likes the fact that the Democrats are descending into socialism. Scott Jennings, the American, hates it because we all should be defending the capitalistic system that has lifted millions and billions of people out of poverty over the course of the last, you know, several centuries.
So, I don't like it that one of the two great American political parties is going in this direction. But, hey, if this is the direction they want to go, fine. This is the fracture that's going to define 2020. For all the warts and problems and controversies that Donald Trump is going to have, the Democratic primary is going to drive whoever their nominee is far to the left.
And if they don't nominate a socialist, these left wingers may go out and run a third party candidacy against the Democratic nominee which could tank the Democrats' chances. They got real problems on fractures on my opinion on the American left.
BURNETT: There is a lot of fractures on both sides. Who is the most fractured. I guess we are all like a broken egg right now, trying to reassemble it.
JENNINGS: The Republicans are unified. The Republicans are unified. Are the Democrats? I don't think so.
BURNETT: Unified, Scott.
JENNINGS: Ninety percent of the Republicans support Donald Trump.
JENNINGS: Who is the leader of the Democratic Party.
BURNETT: Well, that's a good question.
JENNINGS: They came within a whisker of nominating a socialist in '16. They'll probably nominate one in '20.
BURNETT: You know what? We are overtime. But, Jen, I will just give you a quick chance. Can you quickly name who you would say the leader of the Democratic Party is right now?
PSAKI: Look, I think it's up to the American people to determine that. And on the other side, I think Donald Trump makes most of the Republican establishment uncomfortable. Democrats have come together in the primaries. They'll have to come together in 2020 no matter who the nominee is. But we have seen a record of doing that.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.
And next, a senior Trump appointee at the Pentagon under fire amidst allegations she used her staff to run errands, file her mortgage, get her dry cleaning. The swamp.
Plus, the name Sarah Sanders does not want to invoke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That this individual, with the fact that this person, like the author of this book --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:52:24] BURNETT: Breaking news: A Trump appointee and top civilian adviser for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is under investigation tonight. Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, has been accused of retaliating against staff members after she used some of them to conduct her personal errands, like pick up her dry cleaning, going to the pharmacy and working on her mortgage paperwork. This is according to sources close to the probe.
Barbara Starr broke the story and is OUTFRONT.
I mean, wow, Barbara, talk about the swamp, right? What more can you tell us about these allegations that you've learned?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Erin.
What we now know is inspector general is conducting an investigation of this matter after complaints were made by employees who said they were transferred inappropriately after they complained about having to do some of these personal errands. And as you said, what were they?
Let's just tick through some of them. That she had people who worked for her getting her dry-cleaning here in the Pentagon, buying her pantyhose, working on her mortgage paperwork, getting her luncheon snacks regularly, driving her on snow days to the Pentagon. All of this is not permitted under federal and especially Pentagon ethics rules. You cannot use the people who work for you to conduct your personal business. So, these are allegations, allegations of misuse of staff, allegations
of reprisals against staff being investigated by the inspector general. No findings yet, no conclusions, but it is all being looked at, and we may learn more in the coming days about results of this review -- Erin.
BURNETT: How close are Mattis and White, as far as you know, Barbara?
STARR: Well, she is, as the chief spokesperson for the department his top person to interact with the news media and advice him on the news media. But as chief spokesman, she has not appeared on the podium since May. So we haven't really seen all that much of her. We really haven't been officially been given a reason why.
Neither she nor the secretary, they're both traveling in South America on an official trip, neither of them commenting on this. The only thing the Pentagon is saying is that there is an ongoing review, and they cannot comment.
But, look, it is getting attention across the Pentagon tonight, because most people know when it comes to things like picking up your dry cleaning just down the hall where from where we are, Defense Secretary James Mattis gets up out of his office and he goes and picks up his own dry cleaning.
BURNETT: Wow, all right. Well, that's a pretty significant statement there. Obviously, if you juxtapose it with what is alleged here.
Barbara Starr, thank you very much.
BURNETT: And next, just how far will Sarah Sanders go to avoid saying a certain someone's name?
BURNETT: Tonight, the same Sarah Sanders will not say.
Here is Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She is inescapable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Omarosa Manigault Newman.
MOOS: Better known as --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Omarosa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Omarosa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Omarosa.
REPORTER: Do you feel betrayed by Omarosa, sir? MOOS: But do you know who won't betray the president by speaking
SANDERS: It wasn't until this individual started to negatively attack.
MOOS: Omarosa was on practically every reporter's lips in the White House briefing room.
REPORTER: Like Omarosa.
REPORTER: Make Omarosa feel better.
REPORTER: If you would like to president to stop tweeting about Omarosa?
MOOS: Even the president uses her name. Wacky Omarosa. Wacky and deranged Omarosa. But when Sarah Sanders was asked about --
REPORTER: His attacks on Omarosa.
MOOS: She did everything to avoid saying her name.
SANDERS: This individual with the fact that this person, like the author of this book.
MOOS: Her favorite formulation for evading the O-word.
SANDERS: This individual, the lack of individual that this individual has shown.
MOOS: But I guess this individual beats being called.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Low life. She is a low life.
MOOS: Sarah Sanders finally broke down and said it one time.
SANDERS: With respect to Omarosa.
MOOS: This individual reminds us of that woman.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Ms. Lewinsky.
MOOS: Mrs. Manigault Newman's famous first name may have been plastered on the screen, but it was screened out by the press secretary.
SANDERS: This individual.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.
CLINTON: That woman.
SANDERS: This person. MOOS: New York.
BURNETT: I guess it's better than saying that dog again and again.
Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts next.