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Trump Revokes Ex-CIA Chief's Security Clearance; Jury To Begin Deliberations In Manafort Trial After Hearing Final Pleas From Prosecution & Defense; Trump Lawyer Giuliani Threatens To "Unload" On Mueller; Gov. Cuomo: America "Was Never That Great"; Interview with Congressman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 15, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Jim Sciutto. Thank you so much for watching us tonight. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: Out front next, breaking news, an abuse of power. Former CIA Director John Brennan ripping into President Trump after he revokes Brennan's security clearance. Why is Trump making this unprecedented move tonight?

Plus, the White House already under fire for whether the President said the N-word, now questioned about a lack of diversity.

And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's critics pouncing after he said America was never that great. What does this mean for the potential presidential candidate? Let's go out front.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, the breaking news. President Trump going after his enemies in an unprecedented way tonight. The President today truly is unprecedented what he did to former CIA Director John Brennan. According to Brennan, after he revoked that security clearance, the President didn't even inform him. He let Brennan find out through television.


JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I was called by a friend and associate when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was giving that statement so I had no knowledge of it beforehand. No one contacted me. I have not heard anything from any government official since then or before then.


BURNETT: OK. So not only did no one from the Trump administration, from the White House, tell the former head of the CIA that the President of the United States had in an unprecedented manner stripped him of his security clearance. CNN is reporting tonight that the CIA itself was caught off guard. They didn't know this was going to happen.

And we are reporting that no one consulted the top National Security Adviser to the President, Dan Coats. That's an incredible thing to think about. So on what grounds does the White House say this unprecedented decision was made? Well, Sarah Sanders of course was the one who had to take the questions. The President didn't want to do it himself. Here's what she said.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations while outbursts on the internet and television about this administration.


BURNETT: So what is she talking about? Because Brennan has been critical, sure. That's his right as an American citizen.


BRENNAN: I think Donald Trump has badly sullied the reputation of the office of the presidency with his -- invective with his constant disregard I think for human decency. That's why I used the term that this is nothing short of treasonous, because it is a betrayal of the nation. He is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

I'm at a loss of words to describe just how outrageous his words, his statements, his behavior has been.

He lacks integrity. He is dishonest. He is mean-spirited.


BURNETT: OK. They're strong words. But do they justify the unprecedented action of stripping the former director of the CIA of his security clearance? No, they don't because that happens when you divulge classified information. So they most certainly don't justify that. That is according to the Republican Senator Susan Collins, who tells CNN that while in her opinion, Brennan has, "been far too political in his statements, unless there was disclosure of classified information of which I'm unaware, I don't see the grounds for revoking his security clearance".

And that's the key thing here. You would think that the White House to take this unprecedented action would have been prepared with mountains of evidence, right? Classified information being divulged, all of that would be needed to revoke the security clearance of the man who spent 25 years with the CIA, a man who served both Republican and Democratic presidents.

But when Sarah Sanders was asked point blank, does she have any evidence whatsoever that Brennan misused classified information, she couldn't answer the question. In fact, the question was very direct from Major Garrett. He said does this suggest Brennan has misused classified information or monetized access to it. Which was alleged by this administration. He asked directly. Her answer, no, I wouldn't make any assumptions. I'm telling you what the decision was based off of.

No evidence. And yet an unprecedented action was taken without even consulting America's top security agencies. So why now? Well maybe this is why. Team Trump doesn't want to talk about Mueller's Russia investigation which passed a major milestone today with Paul Manafort's case, the President's former Campaign Chairman going to the hands of the jury. And team Trump definitely doesn't want to talk about this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say to critics who see his attacks on Omarosa as part of a patten of insulting prominent African Americans?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you asked the President if he's ever used the N-word?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: have you asked him directly, Sarah?

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?

SANDERS: I can't guarantee anything.


[19:05:06] BURNETT: Sure sounds like purging your enemies and having everyone talk about that may be better for Trump tonight than talking about Omarosa, the fact that his own spokesperson can't guarantee he's never said the N-word, or Bob Mueller.

Jeff Zeleny is out front live at the White House. And, you know, Jeff, it's a stunning action, it's an unprecedented action. And the big question since they gave actually no evidence of him ever doing anything wrong with classified information is why now?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, that is a good question. It's a question that tonight is still really unanswered. But we do have a window into at least the White House's thinking on this. You'll remember back about three weeks ago on the 23rd of July, that's the very first time that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that the President was thinking about revoking the security clearance of John Brennan and others. This is right after that Helsinki summit, he was being so critical of his, you know, tepid language towards Vladimir Putin.

We got a sense of the President may have gone right ahead with that. When you look at the date on the statement from the President announced today by Sarah Sanders, it seemed like it was new information. It seemed like the President just reached this. But if you look at the date right here on the statement from the President, it's right there in front of our viewers there, July 26th, 2018, that was the first date that was sent out. That was three days after this was first discussed saying it was under review. Then the White House quickly sent out a revised statement that did not have a date on it. A White House official said that, look, it was a copy and paste error, that date should not have been on there. But the reality is it offers a window into either, a, it was a mistake or, b, likely more of a reason for the President has been sitting on this potentially, looking for a change of subject. Many things to change the subject.

I'm actually told, though, Erin, the President is fine with how this Omarosa conversation is playing out. He believes that it's just fine for his base. But that Paul Manafort trial is a different matter entirely. That is something the verdict could come tomorrow. The jury of course is going to be deliberating this and of course that Russian investigation. So that is what has changed. The President clearly may have made up his mind some weeks ago, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny. And just to be clear, the 26th of July was three weeks and one day ago.

ZELENY: Indeed.

BURNETT: That is not a sudden decision or any new evidence.

All right, let's go out front now to the Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Intelligence Committee. Congressman, good to have you back. You know, you heard --


BURNETT: -- John Brennan said he found out from a friend who was literally watching Sarah Sanders on television announce this. No one called him. He still, according to what he said in the past hour, he's not heard from any government official. What's your reaction?

SWALWELL: It sounds a lot like former FBI Director James Comey who had to watch on television, thought it was a joke when people told him he was being fired. And that just shows the respect or lack of respect that the President has for people who have patriotically served this country in law enforcement and the intelligence community.

BURNETT: So as I mentioned, you know, we're reporting and Jim Sciutto was able to find out that the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, right, top National Security Adviser to the President wasn't consulted, he didn't know about this. We are also reporting the CIA itself as an institution, right, just the former head of the CIA, it's unprecedented action, no one checked with them, right. So, this was made by the President, right, and it is within his purview to do this, right, but it was certainly made without any input on classified information being divulged.

So --

SWALWELL: And Erin, also as the Ranking Member on the CIA subcommittee, I was not informed. I, you know, I'm checking right now with our intelligence committee staff to see if anyone there was informed. I think the bigger picture here, though, because it's insulting the way that the President has done it, it looks quite petty that he has done this the day after John Brennan criticized him. The big picture here, though, is we're less safe because the President is doing that.

And a couple of weeks ago when this was been floated by the President, I called a secretary who had served in a prior administration, I said secretary, I just want to be sure I'm not being too harsh on the President for wanting to do this. I said did you ever call on former senior administration officials from prior administrations, and he said he did it all the time. He said when he made decisions, he wanted to understand why prior administration officials had evaluated a situation differently or the same and he said it helped him make decisions. And so, we're having a much more insular national security team if we're going to just penalize people who can help.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, now you can't have the current director of the CIA call his predecessor and ask. His predecessor had intelligence and made decisions based upon it. What do you make about this date? You know, they're saying it was -- it's unclear, the typo, or copy over, whatever it was.

But the letter that was dated with all of these taking away the security clearance was dated July 26th which is three weeks and a day ago. Why do you think all of a sudden the letter comes out today? Then they re-released it, right, and took a date off of it. But, obviously, it looks like this decision had been reached more than three weeks ago. They waited until today.

SWALWELL: To me, Erin, the simplest explanation is the correct one. They probably felt the heat.

[19:10:02] People I hope spoke up and said don't do this, this system allows us to call on our best and brightest, but I think the President is such a small person that he could not weather the criticism that was put at him last night by former Director Brennan and I think it was forced today. That seems to explain a lot of the President's behaviors. It was more lizard brain reflexive rather than any drawn out process to think it through.

BURNETT: Well, of course, as I pointed out, you know, Sarah Sanders was asked directly, did she have any evidence and they didn't have any, right. And she had earlier when she gave her explanation said that he had made all these outrageous allegations which appears to be the truth. That's what they were upset about, not classified information being released which, of course, would be the only thing that would justify removing a security clearance.

Congressman, the President doesn't like Brennan because Brennan has criticized him. That's the bottom line. It gets under his skin. I just want to play again some of those times, that Brennan criticized him.


BRENNAN: I think Donald Trump has badly sullied the reputation of the office of the presidency with his invective, with his constant disregard I think for human decency. That's why I used the term that this is nothing short of treasonous because it is a betrayal of the nation. He is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

I'm at a loss of words to describe just how outrageous his words, his statements, his behavior has been.

He lacks integrity. He is dishonest. He is mean-spirited.


BURNETT: Look, those are harsh things, OK. Nobody wants to have them said about. It's personal on a level. The Republican Senator Susan Collins, though, you know, her point was, OK, wish you hadn't been so political but that is not reason to strip anyone of their security clearance. But her point that he has been too political. Do you agree with that?

SWALWELL: Well, he's a citizen now and he has a right just like we all do to state his opinion. And Erin, what I fear is that the list of people that, you know, CIA Director Gina Haspel or Mike Pompeo or General Mattis can go to when they need to make a decision. And I can tell you as someone who looks at classified information every day and the threat picture that we face, that there are decisions that prior administration officials made that are still pending today.

We want them to have a long list of experts that they can go to to protect all of us. And if you're just cutting the list of people who agree with the President, then I think we're going to have a very narrow view of the world and how we can protect it.

BURNETT: Before we go, Congressman, Brennan was asked today what he's going to do about this. Here's how he responded.


BRENNAN: Right now I'm still absorbing the announcement. And it's not going to affect my speaking out, my criticisms of Mr. Trump. I'm going to try to do it in a professional way, but I don't know what recourse there is and so I'll just take things one day at a time.


BURNETT: You just mentioned you're on the CIA, you know, subcommittee of the intelligence committee of which you are a part. Is there anything you can do about it, or he can do about it, or is this his own deal, the President is in charge.

SWALWELL: Yes. I'm not as worried about what John Brennan is going to do about it. He's a person of integrity. I'm worried about -- and I'm wondering what is Senator Corker going to do about it. Because Senator Corker said a couple weeks ago when this was floated by the President, he said that this is only something that would only happen in Venezuela.

Paul Ryan said that this was something the President was only doing to troll the public. So what are these people who said that this couldn't happen going to do now that it has actually come to our shores and it's not just Venezuela.

BURNETT: Right. Are they actually going to stand up and take action as you point out. Paul Ryan certainly dismissing it as somewhat of a joke. Obviously it is no joke tonight. Thank you very much, Congressman Swalwell.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, breaking news. The jury headed for deliberations in the Manafort trial. Will the jury spare him from a potential life sentence time in prison. Plus, the White House struggling to answer a basic question tonight. How many African Americans work at the White House?

And a nine-year-old boy reunited with his mother in Guatemala after being separated at the border. Why is Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer at the center of this story?


[19:18:00] BURNETT: Breaking news. Paul Manafort could be hours away from learning his faith. And this is a crucial milestone because this is the first step in the Mueller investigation and it's going to jury. The jury in the former campaign chairman's trial has begins deliberations. It is now in their hands and this is after hearing hours of closing arguments from the prosecution and defense.

Kara Scannell is out front. She has been in the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia. And Kara, you know what's incredible, this is a big moment. I mean, America said, what's going to happen with this Mueller investigation. Well, this is the first case at trial. The defense did not even present a case but they did I know, in their closing arguments say Manafort should be found not guilty. What was the more persuasive argument?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Erin, you're right. This is a really big moment now after 10 days of trial testimony. The decision will be in the hands of the jury tomorrow morning when they begin deliberations. And Manafort attorneys have been projecting confidence. They've telling reporters that they believe that they pointed out shortcomings in the government's case.

Inside the courtroom for about 90 minutes, they addressed the jury telling them, suggesting really that the case is politically motivated, that the Special Counsel's office was cherry picking, and selecting certain bank records and financial documents of Manafort. And they were also saying that, you know, this was really stacked up, that they shouldn't believe Rick Gates, the government star witness because he was a liar.

Now the government didn't back away from that. They told the jury to focus on the 27 witnesses that they heard over those 10 days of testimony. They said Rick Gates isn't perfect and that the jury didn't have to like him. Manafort's team had made a big deal of Rick Gates having an affair, and the prosecutors tackled that head on. They told the jury that Rick Gates' affair doesn't make Manafort any less guilty. They also told the jury that the real star witness of this case are the documents, 388 of them. Erin?

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

And I want to go to the former Assistant U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick, White house Reporter for Politico, Eliana Johnson, and Author of "The Threat Matrix: Inside Bob Mueller's FBI and the War on

Global Terror, Garrett Graff.

[19:20:01] Harry, you know, this is the first big test. This is a huge deal for this President, when he watches this trial. How soon could we have a verdict?

HARRY SANDICK, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I think we could have one by Friday afternoon. I mean, juries if they can finish their work by the end of the week are known to like to do that, so maybe Friday after lunch. Now if there's an issue here, a juror or two that has a dissenting view, then, you know, all bets are off could spell for several days.

BURNETT: And the standard is what? Beyond reasonable doubt?

SANDICK: Proof beyond a reasonable doubt on every count.

BURNETT: On every count. All right, Eliana, this is obviously near and dear to the President. You heard Jeff Zeleny saying this is -- you know, that he may care a whole lot more about this development than he does even about Omarosa and the N-word. How nervous should the White House be about this verdict for the former campaign chairman?

ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, I think the White House has a lot at stake in this case and that if Mueller's team loses this, it will be an enormous blow. This is the first building block in Mueller's case and he is building up to a larger case against Donald Trump. We know that because when Rick Gates testified, he was Trump's deputy campaign manager, there was a private talk between Gates -- or between the prosecution, the judge and the defense attorney, and they indicated that the Mueller's attorneys had talked to Gates about his role on the Trump campaign, and the prosecution is going to try to squeeze Mueller if he's convicted for his testimony against Trump as well. So this should not be looked at in isolation but rather as a building block that Mueller is going to use if he wins to leverage against Trump.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, that's the crucial thing here just to make the point here.


BURNETT: Manafort all of a sudden convicted -- all of a sudden could become much more loquacious.

SANDICK: I think that would be in his interest, assuming that he has something that will help Mueller. We've all assumed, I have assumed that he knows things about the Trump Tower meeting and about other dealings with Russia about the change in the Republican Party platform that nobody else would know, but that's the big inference here. If he knows something, he would do well to try to (INAUDIBLE).

BURNETT: Exactly. I mean, that is why this is so crucial. And as Jeff Zeleny is reporting, that's what the President seems so worried about tonight.

I mean, Garrett, you now have, you know, to show how concern they are in the White House, Rudy Giuliani issuing a threat to Bob Mueller. He tells Bloomberg, "If he doesn't get it done in the next two or three weeks, we will just unload on him like a ton of bricks. Write the damn report so we can see it and rebut it." What's Mueller's reaction to Rudy Giuliani do you think saying if you don't get it done on my timetable, I'm going to unload on you like a ton of bricks.

GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR, "INSIDE ROBERT MUELLER'S FBI AND THE WAR ON GLOBAL TERROR": I don't think that Bob Mueller is paying much attention to Rudy Giuliani's daily rantings. What is just so odd -- and we need to pause and remember this. Rudy Giuliani is one of the nation's most revered and celebrated and famous U.S. attorneys. And it's clear listening to him talk these days that he has forgotten more about the way that the Justice Department operates than most people in their lives ever know, with an emphasis on the word forgotten. Because he keeps inventing these policies and timetables that don't actually exist and have no bearing on Bob Mueller's investigation.

BURNETT: I mean, Harry, because -- you know, just to be clear here.


BURNETT: You're saying -- right, they've been setting timetables since last Thanksgiving, that it was Christmas, then it was spring, then it was June 12 after the Korean summit --


BURNETT: -- then it was July 4th, and then it was September 1st. But now we know Mueller is taking some testimony related to Roger Stone --


BURNETT: -- on September 7th, I believe.


BURNETT: That means there's no way that they're going to be done with a report in the next three weeks, I mean, just to state an obvious issue here. So Rudy then is stuck doing what?

SANDICK: I think he is just making speeches in school year thoughts (ph). I think the real audience here is not the lawyers because as Garrett just said, I don't see why the Mueller team cares at all about is they're going to keep doing their work in secret until they're done. I think the audience is Trump supporters and his surrogates to signal that it's time to go to the mattresses so to speak.

BURNETT: Were talk, we're ready to fight and that's what the President wants to hear his lawyer saying.


BURNETT: I mean, you know, Eliana, this is not the only wild comment Giuliani has made within the past 24 hours. I feel like I need to caveat with that because obviously he has become infamous for them in the past several months since he started working for the President. Last night, he insisted facts and truth are not black and white. And that's not the first time he's done it.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: If fact-counting is anything, we've never had anybody with the level of mendacity that he has. Not even close. So we'll leave it there --

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: It's in the eye of the beholder.

CUOMO: No, facts are not in the eye of the beholder.

GIULIANI: Yes, it is.

CUOMO: You're always welcome to argue the case.

GIULIANI: I don't know how you separate fact and opinion.


BURNETT: I mean, Eliana, it's incredible. I mean, I don't know how you separate fact from opinion. But this is what Rudy Giuliani obviously thinks is working.

JOHNSON: It's true. You know, it's quite telling in that tape. Giuliani said nowadays facts are in the eye of the beholder, and I think that's quite true.

[19:25:08] But I think the key thing to understand is that Rudy Giuliani is not a lawyer in the traditional sense of the term protecting his client from criminal charges. Giuliani knows that ultimately he will have to protect Trump from impeachment, which is a political matter that plays out in Congress. And so, his audience is really the broader American public.

And I think in setting these deadlines, July 4th, September, he is trying to build in the eyes of the American public the sense that this probe is dragging on far too long. So when he sets these deadlines, and then the Mueller probe extends past that, I think he's trying to build that sense and it is succeeding in a sense that 45 percent of the public now thinks that the Mueller probe is illegitimate.

BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much. And, you know, for those out there who just want the facts, this probe obviously has gone on in much shorter period of time than any other Special Counsel probe in U.S. history. So, on that matter, Mueller is moving much more quickly than others have in the past. But, obviously, that's not what team Trump would have you think. Thanks very much to all.

And next, despite trying to change the subject, the White House still struggling to answer basic questions about diversity.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But how many black staffers are there into this building, Sarah?

SANDERS: Look, I'm not going to go through and do a count.


BURNETT: Plus, one Republican senator speaks out after Trump calls after Trump calls Omarosa a dog.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Are you comfortable with that kind of attack?

REP. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: No, I'm not comfortable with that. I don't think words like that should be used.



BURNETT: New tonight, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders refusing to answer what's a very simple question. How many African Americans work in the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But how many black staffers are there into this building, Sarah?


SANDERS: Look, I'm not going through and do a count, same way I'm not doing a sit down and count on the staffers that are in your news organizations.

REPORTER: Thirty percent of the country is African-Americans.

SANDERS: And we would love to diversify our staff and continue to do so. We do think it's important. We're going to continue to work to make that happen.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Angela Rye, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Gina Loudon, a member of President Trump's 2020 reelection advisory council.

Gina, let me start with you. You know, in the context we're talking about, all this discussion about Omarosa, and whether there's an N- word tape, and Kellyanne Conway not able to say the last name of one African-American she could label who worked with her in the White House, it would seem a simple question, how many black staffers work in the White House? She couldn't even give a rough number. Does that disappoint you?

GINA LOUDON, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: You know, what disappoints me is the division and the fact that we're having to count people based on their skin color, I don't like that. And I think that, you know, you look back at our history, we have a pretty amazing history of overcoming slavery, of expanding civil rights, of women's rights, and a lot of those things happened under American presidents who didn't have any minorities at all on their White Houses.

Thank God we do. I looked over the list of people I know there, about one-third are a minority or women. Those are great strides. Could they be better? Absolutely.

And I know -- I talked to some of my friends in the White House tonight, and they said, yes, they would love more diversity in the White House. The problem is when you have someone come out, and defend the president or even say they want to sit down and have a conversation with him, for example, Kanye West, they're completely annihilated in the press.

And so, there is a trepidation there. So, I think if we could focus on the fact that we would like to build on that and work on it together, I know the administration is open to that.

BURNETT: So, your number is roughly a third and that counts women, too. So, you're saying two-thirds are white men, and one-third are diverse in some way, but you're counting women in there? Just to make sure I understand.

LOUDON: Erin, if you look at the comms department, as far as my count, I did this cursory before the show, but Hogan Gidley is the only white guy I can even find in the comms department. So, I think it depends department to department. It's going to vary.

But I think the bottom line is the policy that comes out of this White House, 700,000 new jobs, record unemployment for all minorities and women. I mean, you know the list and it's a good list.

And there's more coming out. There's new -- on Dodd-Frank repeal. There's great news coming out about small business leaders, many of them are minorities. So, there's a lot of good news, Erin.

BURNETT: Angela?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think I got stuck at Gina saying that American presidents have done a great deal for people of color like ending slavery? Like I think I'm stuck in 1865 right now. Like I can't believe that's --

LOUDON: That was a Republican president. RYE: You know what, sis? And that's great, but you just really

missed the mark. For you to have to say, right, that we don't necessarily need diversity in this White House.

LOUDON: That's not what I said. That is not what I said.

RYE: Let me tell you what I heard, I don't think you hardly understand.


RYE: You're going to keep talking over me. My black life matters and so does my voice. Listen to what I'm saying to you.

What you said was deeply offensive. What I am telling you is you can't say, at least you shouldn't feel comfortable saying it in 2018 that this White House not having diversity can be akin to presidents who didn't have any black people on their staff --

LOUDON: They do have diversity.

RYE: -- but for slavery, freeing slaves. Like that's not OK in 2018.

LOUDON: Thank God it happened.

RYE: I let you talk through all of that nonsense. I just need you to let me finish my point. My point is this.

You're not going to be able to successfully name one black person who works in the West Wing because you know what, Omarosa didn't even work in the West Wing. So, regardless of your points about slavery which are nonsense, I hope you RIP those talking points tonight, they should never be resurrected.

I'm telling you it is a problem in this White House with the staff, the reason is it's slim pickings. You know why? Because nobody wants to work for a racist. There's not a single senior black person in the White House, and don't you dare say to me Ben Carson because he doesn't work there, how dare his gifted hand who is a brain surgeon and who has never done anything on a construction project become the secretary of housing and urban development. This whole administration is nonsense just like your talking points.

BURNETT: Go ahead, Gina.

LOUDON: You know, Angela, I understand your feelings on this but here's my point.

RYE: No, you don't.

LOUDON: I have an adopted minority son, yes, I do, who happens to have Down's syndrome. He experiences bigotry every single day in a myriad of ways, not just skin color, but also because of his disability.

[19:35:04] And I understand that you and I don't agree, but I would not support a president I believed would be a threat to his future.

RYE: Well, you are.

LOUDON: I would like a constructive conversation. I think, you know, I think points like yours that are focusing only on the negative and not even acknowledging 700,000 new jobs for black people in this country, record low unemployment and the rest of it, it is tantamount to what Andrew Cuomo said that upset me, too, that America has never been great. Not focusing on what we've done well --


RYE: America has never been great. It is not great because people like you come on and lie for the president of the United States and tout, bring out your son as an example? You should be completely ashamed of yourself.

LOUDON: What America is doing well. And how about look at what we can do and agree to build on it --


LOUDON: -- rather than call each other names, and cut each other down and be divisive. I don't think this is -- I think America is tired of the division, Angela.

RYE: Starts at the top, Gina. Guess what? As soon as your president stops calling people names, maybe he will set a better example for everyone else.

BURNETT: All right. We'll leave it there. Thank you both very much.

And next, the emotional reunion of a mother and son months after being separated at the U.S. border. A reunion that may not have been possible without the help of Stormy Daniels' attorney.

Plus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, you just heard this mentioned. Here's what he said and it stunned a roomful of people.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We're not going to make America great again, it was never that great.


BURNETT: Wait until you hear the reaction in the crowd. So what's his explanation?


[19:40:33] BURNETT: New tonight. A nine-year-old boy has been reunited with his mother in Guatemala nearly three months after they were separated because of President Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy, and the person who helped make this happen, Stormy Daniels' lawyer and potential presidential candidate Michael Avenatti. Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mother and her son's first embrace after being separated for 81 days by U.S. immigration officials. Nine-year-old Anthony Ortiz's biggest concern when he sees his mom, wiping her tears away.

(on camera): What did your son say to you, what did you say to him when you saw him after all this time?

ELSA ORTIZ ENRIQUEZ, ANTHONY'S MOTHER (through translator): I started crying for joy, he kept telling me not to cry. Mom, don't cry. He doesn't like to see me cry.

SIDNER (voice-over): They were separated by immigration officials in May when they crossed the U.S. Mexico border illegally, fleeing Guatemala, the family running straight into the realities of a new Trump administration policy to separate children from families as a deterrent to the undocumented.

Anthony was one of at least 380 children HHS said last week was still in U.S. custody with a parent who had been deported. The Ortizes' day didn't begin with joy. It began with him walking into immigration court, a hearing that ended in his tears.

A judge ordered he could go home, but that could take up to 60 more days. But Anthony had something others in his predicament didn't, a private attorney, the same man who represents porn star Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ORTIZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: This is an absolute outrage. If the president and Mr. Miller and the rest of his cronies truly want people to come here illegally returned to their country as quickly as possible, then why did the government attorney repeatedly upstairs refuse to agree to what we asked for, namely to take this young boy home to his mother today.

SIDNER: Avenatti petitioned the court to allow him to take temporary custody of him and take him to his mother in Guatemala immediately, all at Avenatti's expense. The government attorney refused Avenatti's request, but less than eight hours after that hearing with cameras surrounding him, HHS officials handed Anthony over to Avenatti and his co-counsel Ricardo Avianda (ph).

With that, Ortiz was taking his first flight ever, a three and a half hour flight from Houston to Guatemala. All of this as Michael Avenatti has floated his interest in a potential 2020 presidential bid, leading to critics wondering if this was his foray into one of the hottest political battles going.

(on camera): What do you say to critics who say this is a publicity stunt? How do you respond to that?

AVENATTI: Well, first of all, I don't know any critic saying it is a publicity stunt. This isn't a publicly stunt. I've been representing dozens of mothers and children for weeks now, traveling around the country, doing good work, having kids reunited with their parents. I mean, my record speaks for itself.

SIDNER: The Ortiz family didn't care one way or the other. For them, it was a miraculous turn of events that left the family whole again.

ENRIQUEZ (through translator): Thanks to God I have him here now, and thanks to Mr. Avenatti who has been so good to me since the beginning.


SIDNER: And Michael Avenatti says he was happy to help. As for critics, he bristles at the idea it was a publicity stunt, saying he was doing these cases long before he ever thought about potentially running for the presidency -- Erin.

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

And next, one Republican senator slamming Trump, saying he went too in calling Omarosa a dog. Will other Republicans follow his lead?

Plus, Jeanne Moos on why Paul Manafort may have cold feet literally.


[19:48:19] BURNETT: New tonight, the Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is under fire for saying America, quote, was never that great.

Cuomo's comments made at a bill signing event today were met with gasps. And I want to play them for you in full. Here he is.


CUOMO: The simple point is all of this comes down to this. We're not going to make America great again. It was never that great.

We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of our population, is gone. And every woman's full potential is realized and unleashed and every woman is making her full contribution.


BURNETT: Cuomo is up for re-election, trying to fend off a challenge in his own party from actress Cynthia Nixon which he massively leads in the polls at least until now.

President Trump has even dared Cuomo to run against him in 2020.

OUTFRONT now, the Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, Brenda Lawrence, who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

And I appreciate your time, Congresswoman.

So, you know, when this happened, you heard when he first said, we're not going to make America great again, it was never that great, there were sort of oohs, ahhs, and gasps. I mean, people are pretty shocked. He then, of course, went on to try to explain what he meant.

What's your reaction?

REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE (D), MICHIGAN: First of all, thank you, Erin, for being here.

My reaction is this; we've had some dark moments in our history in this great country that I call my home.

[19:50:05] You know, there was slavery. There was a time that I as a woman was not allowed to vote. There were civil rights movements. There are times in our history that we had to confront something that was wrong in our country.

And the thing that gives us a sense of saying that we're moving in the right direction is that our democracy stood up. There was never an easy process. It was that we stood up and we fought back, and we changed things.

We have a lot to change now, and, unfortunately, it feels almost like the clock is being rolled back, because we had made so many accomplishments in this country.


LAWRENCE: I still pledge of allegiance to one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.


LAWRENCE: But freedom is not free.

BURNETT: Now, I do want to ask you, though, because, you know, Cuomo is the Governor of the state of New York. He is up for reelection, he is obviously also a very potential candidate for 2020.

His Republican challenger said that Cuomo owes the nation an apology and he should be ashamed of himself.

Do you think these comments will haunt him until November? Because, obviously, the way you just describe this country getting better is not at all what he said, right? I mean, maybe he was trying to be cute with his play on words. But, you know, that's a sound byte made in heaven for somebody running against him for office.

LAWRENCE: Yes, it is. But, you know, every person has to tell their own story.

But what I will say is that we cannot run away from the truth. We cannot run away from the fact that I was once -- my forefathers were enslaved. But we as a country, our democracy and our Constitution, we fought through that. We resisted.

We resisted as women to have rights. And now, we have to resist what we see happening every day, being led by a president that is trying to divide us again.

BURNETT: President Trump has been under fire when you talk about being divisive for his attacks on Omarosa Manigault Newman, right, his former aide. He has called her, among other things on Twitter in the last couple of days a loser, a low life and a dog.

And now, Republicans are even saying he went too far. Here is Orrin Hatch, your colleague.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I'm not comfortable with that, and, you know, I don't -- I don't think words like that should be used, especially by the president.

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: You don't go lower than her low. The White House is on the verge of winning this one, and now they're losing it again because the president went too far.


BURNETT: And that, of course, was Ari Fleischer, Former White House spokesman.

Are Republicans doing enough to denounce Trump for words he is using, whatever Omarosa may or may not be, honest, dishonest, it's besides the point. We're talking about the president's words to describe her.

LAWRENCE: You know, it's interesting to see a white man say he's uncomfortable. I'm sitting here in America as a black woman and knowing that one of the things -- tools that were used during slavery was to dehumanize you, to call you names and not treat you as a human being. To hear this is insulting.

And then we have the president of the United States who took an oath to serve, protect, defend, and here he is destroying relationships and not having the political understanding or compassion to understand the power and the damage his words make every single time he does it. It is so frustrating.

And I can tell him shame on you, the fact that you are comfortable on a national platform to address a woman in that way, shame on you and you are the president. And, unfortunately, you're my president too. And I'm telling you, I always think he's hit rock bottom. This is totally unacceptable.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Congresswoman, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

LAWRENCE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Paul Manafort taking a stand in court, refusing to put on socks. Jeanne Moos is next.


BURNETT: Tonight, Paul Manafort literally getting cold feet. Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It came as a no socks shock. Here is a courtroom sketch of Paul Manafort, and all I can think about is no socks?

After all those photos of ostrich and $18,000 python jackets he bought, the skin that's now getting attention is human ankle. As if all the other jokes weren't enough.

SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: And Manafort did not take the stand. However, he did take a watch, three wallets, and the judge's gavel.

MOOS: Now, his sockless feet are Twitter targets. Another inmate took his ostrich socks.

Other public figures flaunt their socks, be it President George H.W. Bush with his lobster and Superman socks worn on his 89th birthday, or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sporting everything from ducks to Chewbacca.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're famous for your sox.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: It distracts people every now and then.


MOOS: Yes, well, so do no socks in a courtroom. Since he is in custody, Manafort is not allowed to wear a belt or shoelaces, and he is only allowed government-issued white socks.

His spokesman tells CNN he doesn't like white socks.

As "Esquire" put it, Paul Manafort is being forced into socklessness by his own vanity. Though "Esquire" actually points out, actually, white socks are awesome. They're in.

But some loafer lovers prefer freedom for their feet. And if he wouldn't wear white sox, it's a safe bet the fashion conscious former Trump campaign chairman wouldn't get caught dead in Trump hair sock, selling for 30 bucks at Walmart.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: I don't like the white sock look.

All right. Thanks for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere. Just go to CNN Go.

"AC360" starts right now.