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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
NYT: Trump Used "Dubious Tax Schemes" And "Outright Fraud" In 1990s To Grow The Fortune He Got From His Parents. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 2, 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] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room". "ERIN BURNETT OUT FRONT" starts right now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Out front next, breaking news, an explosive report in The New York Times showing Donald Trump and his family engaged in outright fraud to avoid millions of dollars in taxes. New York State is investigating tonight.
Plus, the clock is ticking on the FBI investigation into allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, so why hasn't the FBI spoken to Christine Blasey Ford? And why did President Trump -- why did he say that it's a scary time for men in this country? Let's go out front.
Good evening, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, breaking news. Tax schemes and fraud. That is the allegation tonight in a bombshell report by The New York Times that digs deep into the -- into President Trump's finances. The more than a year long investigation by the Times reveals a lot, including this.
President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes, they write, during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud. Trump's parents transferred over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million based on tax laws at the time, according to the Times. But the Trumps, according to the research, paid only $52.2 million, a tiny fraction, about 5 percent, of what they should have paid to the IRS.
According to a trove of confidential tax returns and financial records obtain bid the Times, the President is not the self-made billionaire that he has repeatedly claimed to be. The alleged fraud, according to the New York Times, includes Trump receiving at least $413 million in today's dollars from his father, starting at a very young age. Like really young. Like this. "By age 3, Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today's dollars, from his father's empire. He was a millionaire by age 8", writes the Times.
The money increased with the years to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s. That is clearly a far cry from what the President has repeatedly claimed, that he is a self-made man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me, and you know, I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of $1 million. I came into Manhattan and I had to pay him back with interest, but I came into Manhattan and started buying up properties and I did great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: A million. More like $413 million, according to the Times. A lawyer for the President is pushing back, though, tonight, putting out a statement to the Times, Charles Harder writes this. "There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate. President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters."
But these matters, which the Times details, are stunning. That is why New York State is now investigating and this is renewing calls of course for the President to release his tax returns. I want to go straight to New York Times Reporter Sue Craig. She joins me on the phone. She helped break this story along with two of her colleagues. Sue, can you hear me?
SUSANNE CRAIG GOVERNMENT & POLITICS REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES (through phone): I can.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for coming on. I mean, you worked on this for a year and a half. What surprised you the most in your investigation, Sue?
CRAIG (through phone): Well, I guess what surprised us is, first of all, it's the amount of money that the President received from his father. I mean, when you look at sort of what has been written and even if you're skeptical about his claims that he only got $1 million loan, he got more than $400 million that we could track and in addition, he got $60 million some in loans from his father. And then the second leg of it is, he got not only did he get all that, but when you look at how it was swelled, it was through acts of tax evasion that we -- tax evasion, tax fraud that we came across in our reporting and it was incredible to see just -- I mean, that amount was increased greatly because of the tax fraud that was involved and the games that were played.
BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, the numbers, the dollar amounts we're talking about are really eye popping, when you are talking about the President of the United States. From your investigation, Sue, who was the driving force behind the whole dubious tax scheme to pull this off?
CRAIG (through phone): Well, I mean, I think that it's interesting and the reason that we wrote it in one piece, it really is a story about a father and a son, and Fred Trump, for years, for his life, was, you know, famous for not wanting to pay taxes, and I think he passed that gene down to his son. And you see so many times in this story that both of them were involved in the various schemes that we uncovered, and they delighted in it. They delighted in these transgressions that they found. So, I mean, I think it's very much an interwoven story about two men who, you know, I think Donald Trump learned from his father about how to do this. [19:05:06] BOLDUAN: And just for our viewers, can you lay out the breadth of the documentation that you guys combed through for this investigation?
CRAIG (through phone): Absolutely. We looked at thousands of pages of public documents, but in addition, through our sourcing, we had sources who gave us tens of thousands of pages of confidential financial documents from Fred Trump's empire and that includes bank statements, that includes financial records. It includes personal bank statements of Fred Trump, and we also had access to more than 200 tax returns.
CRAIG (through phone): Of various Trump entities, including ones from Fred Trump and including entities that Donald Trump was a partner in.
BOLDUAN: Sue, New York State's now investigating. Where is this all headed?
CRAIG (through phone): Well, that's -- that investigation is very interesting, because one of the most overt frauds we found involved a company called all county building supply. It was the company that the Trumps set up when they realized their father in their 80s was sitting on so much cash. He was incredibly wealthy, he hated debt, and they were facing the prospect of paying a 55 percent estate tax, so they set up a company that helped them drain the cash out of Fred Trump's building so that they wouldn't have to pay this estate. And in doing this, they created padded receipts in this scheme and they then passed it on to their tenants when they were justifying increasing the rent on their rent regulated buildings. So there's a lot of area for New York State to explore in this.
And the question now is, will the IRS look at this? Some of it is old, but, I mean, there seems to be not only area for that but also, I think, an increased demand to see the President's tax returns. I mean, if we found out this through, you know, the hundreds of tax returns we have from his father, it begs the question is, what's in there with Donald Trump's tax returns? And what aren't we seeing? I mean, it was staggering to look through this when we started to piece it together, just how much was going on and how many games were being played.
BOLDUAN: Wow. Sue, congratulations on an amazing report you guys put out tonight and all of your hard work. I really appreciate you coming on.
CRAIG (through phone): Thanks.
BOLDUAN: Kaitlan Collins is out front now at the White House for us. Kaitlan, Sue lays it out. I mean, eye-popping, she was describing in terms of what they found when they started piecing this together. How is the President responding to this report?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So far, Kate, there's been no official response from the White House but we know President Trump reads the front page of the New York Times almost every single day and it's hard to even guess what his reaction is going to be when he sees this headline splashed across the front page tomorrow morning, which it presumably will be. This is a devastating read, Kate, because it goes against everything that President Trump has fashioned himself as being for the last few decades, and arguably part of what helped him win the presidency.
He painted himself as this self-made billionaire. He inspired a lot of his supporters into thinking that because he had a small loan of $1 million, which he paid interest on and repaid to his father, even though this reporting shows he actually did not do that. He actually received a lot more and he actually didn't pay a lot of it back, that is what inspired a lot of people to feel like he was one of them, that they also can take themselves from a position that he was in and build a vast wealth of empire -- a vast empire of wealth similar to what he did.
And, Kate, we often hear that when we go to the rallies like the one President Trump is at tonight in Mississippi, we hear this from people all the time, they left him off the hook for certain things he says or does because they say he's not a politician, he's a businessman. And that even goes to when he criticizes businesses for buying things overseas or selling things overseas. He says, well, I did it because it was smart and because I'm a businessman and that was how the rules worked at the time.
Now, when people read this, the question here, Kate, is how will the President spin this, will it be to a way where it affects his supporters and the way they think about him or will it be something that he can spin himself out of. But, Kate, this is a devastating read that shows a pattern of deception and that he was not the self- made billionaire he described himself as. In fact, he was already wealthy even as a toddler.
BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, thanks so much. Amazing. The Times says that they had given the White House quite a bit of time to respond and they had not gotten -- they did get that response, that letter statement from Trump's attorney. But let's discuss all of this right now.
Out front tonight, John Dean, Former Nixon White House Counsel, Karen Tumulty, she's a Washington Post Columnist, Harry Sandick is here, he's a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Rob Kovacev is former Senior Counsel for the Tax Division of the Department of Justice. Thank you all so much.
John, let me ask you this. If this is right, and Sue laid out their extensive reporting that they have, he was a millionaire by the time he was eight years old. That is not self-made at all. He's known to not tell the truth, but this is big. What do you think this does to the President?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I don't think he was that precocious at eight to make a million dollar a year. But what's interesting to me is the big picture this is going to fit in, and the reaction his core and people in general are going to have. [19:10:10] This came up in the Nixon years, and it became actually a part of his impeachment proceedings where they considered an article of impeachment for his cheating on his taxes where they overvalued a gift he made of his vice presidential papers and the public got it. They got tax fraud. They didn't understand all the nuances of obstruction of justice but the man on the street understood not paying taxes, so it will be interesting to see how this plays.
BOLDUAN: And Karen, to what Kaitlan was getting at, all of these really takes a sledge hammer to the image that the President has carefully crafted over the years of being a self-made billionaire. I mean, he ran on that claim.
KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. It makes you wonder whether he should have called his first book the art of the self-deal. It really -- This story portrays the Trump family as practically a criminal enterprise and it was not just tax fraud, but people were getting hurt. I mean, people in their buildings were having their rents increased because within the company, they were artificially inflating the cost of capital improvements. You have these brazen moves in there, like at one point, Trump's Atlantic City casino is circling the drain, so his dad just sends someone into the casino to buy $3 million worth of chips and then just not gamble with them. This is just like -- it's not just tax law. They are doing things that appear to break laws across the board and to hurt just ordinary people while they are doing it.
BOLDUAN: Rob, as I'm learning tonight, there's a statute of limitations on tax fraud. New York State is investigating. Do you -- what are they -- what do you think they could be investigating? Do you think there still could be criminal liability here?
ROBERT KOVACEV, LAW CLERK, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE 4TH CIRCUIT: Well, first off, if you're looking at the criminal liability, that statute's long gone. Federal level, it's six years. New York State, I think, it's similar. It's gone. So you don't have to worry about that. If you're looking on the civil side, you have to look at civil fraud, which is very hard to prove.
The IRS has the burden. It's a higher burden of proof, and there's no statute of limitations, but it's very hard to win those cases if you're the IRS. And the same for New York State.
BOLDUAN: Harry, what do you think -- I mean, some folks long said that it was because of connections, financial connections with Russia, that's why Donald Trump didn't want to release his tax returns. No one knows and there's no basis of that because no one has seen it, but do you think this gets to -- this would be a reason why he wouldn't want to release his tax returns?
HARRY SANDICK, FMR. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I think it does, and I think in a sense, we had some clues about this with those partial returns that have become public in the past, showing the claiming of a remarkable -- something like $900 million tax loss and then setting that out for many, many years as an offset. I think if the record is what we think it is, he pays much less tax than one would expect somebody to pay given his life circumstances and the kind of lifestyle that he has. And for all the reasons we've heard, there are probably legal but also political reasons why he doesn't want that to come out.
BOLDUAN: And again, through his attorney, John, he denies it. And the denial also -- his family is also denying it, saying that they have -- they have paid all appropriate taxes. The denial, though, does what, do you think?
DEAN: Well, let me put another historical spin on this for you. Nixon's most famous denial was, I'm not a crook. And that related directly to his tax returns when he was protesting the fact that they were accusing him of not paying his taxes. So, I, again, don't think the people on the street, when I see a report this well investigated, and there's still more to investigate, they're just going to accept that denial at face value.
BOLDUAN: I do, though -- Karen, I am sure there will be some Trump supporters who will say that they, one, don't believe the exhaustive investigation with more than 100,000 documents, including confidential documents. I get that there is going to be a segment that -- I mean, we've seen it over and over again, of, you know, Donald Trump's tried and true supporters, they don't -- they're not going to listen. They don't want to hear anything else. They will support him no matter what. They will look past any infractions, if you will, because they like what he's doing. I do wonder, though, what the impact of this is going to be. This is an exhaustive investigation.
TUMULTY: Well, I do think you're right. I think for the most die hard Trump supporters, they're going to say, hey, he's a rich guy and he's really smart and smart rich people don't pay any more in taxes than they absolutely have to.
BOLDUAN: Yes, and none of us want to pay taxes anyway. Yeah.
TUMULTY: But I do think that, again, there are things in this report where you can see them hurting ordinary people and I think that that could potentially be corrosive, but does this move the needle?
[19:15:12] Does this make people decide to support Trump, not to support Trump? I'm skeptical. I've gotten very skeptical that pretty much anything can do that.
BOLDUAN: Yes. And you know what? On some level, move the needle or not, it doesn't matter. The truth coming out in this exhaustive reporting coming out is important enough. I know we can all agree in that.
Rob, how much work did it take, would it take to avoid taxes like this, to engage in these tax schemes? Laid out in here, that are confusing to the layman.
KOVACEV: Well, first off, you're talking about schemes. A lot of this is just standard tax planning for people with high net worth.
BOLDUAN: Yes. KOVACEV: And some of the things that happened that are perfectly legal under estate tax look awfully weird to people that aren't tax lawyers. And you're seeing that with some of the trusts and some of the valuations that are mentioned in the piece. There's definitely a lot of work, a lot of lawyers, accountants, valuation experts that, you know, worked on this. And the IRS audited from what I understand.
BOLDUAN: Yes. There is that element of it. Harry, I want to look at the numbers again because they are staggering according to the Times.
BOLDUAN: The President's parents, it said, transferred well over $1 billion to their children at the 55 percent tax rate on gifts and inheritance, that would place -- that were in place at the time, it would -- the tax bill would have been at least $550 million. Thanks to the tax dodges or working the tax code, if you will, that the Trumps could do, they paid $52.2 million, which is 5 percent. What could that mean, though, here, if they're trying to avoid taxes on a billion dollars?
SANDICK: So, it can mean two things. I think to some extent, Rob is right, that some people would be surprised to know what estate planning is and how parts of these are almost certainly legal. I think the most damning parts are the parts, as we've already heard, the mark-up scheme, because that goes beyond tax law. It goes into the idea of creating a fake entity that is -- has a residence listed as the President's cousin at his house and they're marking things up by 100 percent and 120 percent and then essentially passing those costs along to completely innocent people who live in Trump-owned buildings in the 1990s in New York.
And so completely innocent people are being made to suffer in order for the President's family to engage in tax planning. And so that portion of what we see in the article, I think, is beyond the scope of traditional tax planning. The idea that a valuation would be lower or higher depending on the purpose, it's a reality that valuations sometimes do differ if the person conducting them knows the purpose of the valuation. But the mark-up scheme seems very hard to justify.
BOLDUAN: So you have -- we have a statement from the President's attorney. The President will be taking the stage tonight. We will see if he addresses that, and we will definitely let you know if he does. Thanks, guys, great to see you all.
Out front for us next, more on the breaking news. Will Congress act on this New York Times report? I'm going to ask the congressman whose job it would be to help lead an investigation.
Also, just breaking, also from the New York Times, a letter written by Brett Kavanaugh back from 1983, calling him and his friends obnoxious drunks.
And Trump making a very telling statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It's a very scary time for young men in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:22:16] BOLDUAN: Breaking news, the New York Times reporting that President Trump engaged in a series of, quote, dubious tax strategies to make millions from his father's real estate business. Including a, quote, unquote, sham corporation to hide millions of dollars in taxable gifts from his parents and undervaluing his parents' real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns.
Out front now, Democratic Congressman from Texas, Lloyd Doggett, sits on the Ways and Means Committee which would, of course, take a lead in any congressional action based on this report. Congressman, thanks for coming in.
REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: I wanted to just get your reaction to this massive investigation from the New York Times tonight.
DOGGETT: Well, it's really an impressive piece of investigative journalism. It's unfortunate that instead of exercising oversight, this Republican Congress is only engaged in overlook. These are the type of issues that our committee should be exploring to assure that we have public confidence in our tax system, which is so important, and that it not be viewed the way another New York magnate a few years back, Leona Helmsley said, taxes are just for the little people. That appears to be the Trump attitude also.
BOLDUAN: After this -- I mean, I think I kind of know the answer, but after this report comes out, do you expect any congressional action?
DOGGETT: Not from this Republican Congress. You know, this is -- I've made seven attempts -- seven motions, one on the floor, six in committee. The first one was on Valentine's Day last year. The last one was this past month when we were in session. Asking the Republicans to stop covering up the Trump tax returns. This is just part of a pattern.
My last motion followed his praise of Paul Manafort after his conviction that related to extensive tax evasion. We have a pattern here that today we learned so much more from the distant past, but this is the President who said a couple years ago that he was smart for not paying any taxes. That kind of attitude --
BOLDUAN: But Congressman, as you well know, you're saying Republicans covering up for the President. There's no law that requires that a president or presidential candidate release their tax returns. I know that's something that you called for but do you think this could get you any closer to seeing his tax returns?
DOGGETT: I certainly think it will come January with a new Congress. It is true there is not a law. There should be. Requiring Presidential candidates to do what all of them have done voluntarily for decades, and which Donald Trump, as a candidate, said initially that he would do. But there's another law on the books that dates back well into the beginning of the last century that gives the Ways and Means Committee, on which I serve as the tax policy ranking member, to request returns from the Treasury Department and that's exactly what I've tried to do on seven times, and that's exactly what the Ways and Mean Committee Republicans have blocked.
[19:25:19] They have covered up those returns. There is so much to be learned from the Russian investigation, right up to the changes that were made in the new tax law that I think were directly benefitting the Trump family.
BOLDUAN: Donald Trump's attorney put out a statement and in the statement calls the allegations and the report 100 percent false and also says that when it comes to the family money, I'll read it for you, "The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law". The family has also put out a statement, saying, all appropriate taxes were paid. Trump says he has nothing to do with this. Do you leave open that as a possibility?
DOGGETT: You know, I've read those, and I thought, don't these sound like every other Trump denial? It's always, he didn't do it, it was someone else, it never happened, and then it is, oh, it didn't make any difference, it wasn't illegal. This is part of a pattern of a President who's really a phony, who has 7.5 lies per day according to one study that was done. We cannot have confidence in him. We need to fact check. We need to oversight. And that's what my motions have been intended to do.
And I think when we have something other than a Republican cover-up Congress, we'll get to the bottom of this. We'll be able to look at the more recent data and see if we don't have this continued pattern of using basically tax evasion and in the Trump family case, an empire built on federal subsidies and then tax evasion so that really American taxpayers got hit twice by this family.
BOLDUAN: Well, we will see if the President has more response tonight as he is holding campaign rally. Congressman, thank you for coming in. I appreciate your time.
DOGGETT: Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Out front for us next, we have more breaking news. The New York Times also uncovering a letter from Brett Kavanaugh written in 1983, talking about obnoxious drunks. Why?
And why did he sign it, "Bart"?
Plus, President Trump saying it is a scary time for men. What about the women?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:30:57] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: More breaking news. "The New York Times" obtaining a 1983 letter written by Brett Kavanaugh where he refers to himself and his friends as drunks. In the letter, Kavanaugh is talking about a condo rental for an upcoming Beach Week and Kavanaugh says in the letter, the following, quote: It would probably be a good idea on Saturday the 18th to warn the neighbors that we're loud obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.
The letter is also signed "Bart" which is something that was brought up in that hearing.
Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT with me now.
Sunlen, this letter does seem to conflict somewhat, at least, with the way Kavanaugh described his high school years over and over again in the hearing.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's very true, Kate. He, during the hearing, he really tried to down play his drinking, saying that he's someone that likes beer occasionally, had a few too many beers, but not someone that drank to the point of being drunk or blacking out or forgetting things.
And that's why this letter is potentially significant here. It's just one more piece of the overall puzzle of who is Brett Kavanaugh, who was Brett Kavanaugh back in high school, and you rightfully point out one of the other significant points of this letter, the fact that he signs it "Bart", and that is significant because his friend back in high school, Mark Judge at, the center of a lot of these allegations, he wrote a book. And in that book, it's said to be fictional, he identifies a character named Bart O'Kavanaugh and this is something that came up during Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings and he would not admit to knowing anything specifically about this character in the book and if it was him.
Here's that exchange now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: He references a Bart O'Kavanaugh vomiting in someone's car during beach week and then passing out. Is that you?
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE Mark Judge was a friend of ours in high school who developed a very serious drinking problem. Now, as part of his therapy, or part of his coming to grips with sobriety, he wrote a book that is a fictionalized book and an account. I think he picked out names of friends of ours to throw them in as kind of close to what -- for characters in the book.
So, you know, we can sit here --
LEAHY: Are you Bart Kavanaugh that he's referring to, yes or no?
KAVANAUGH: You'd have to ask him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And we do know that Mark Judge indeed has been interviewed by the FBI as part of this supplementary probe so we will see indeed potentially this week what the results of that investigation are. I want to underscore one other part of this letter, Kate, important to note here that it doesn't allege sexual misconduct, but it certainly does speak to the credibility here and we've heard that on Capitol Hill so many times, especially over the last 24 hours, how this picture that he paints of himself, the portrait, and how his truthfulness, potentially, is called into question with reports like this.
And that's certainly what many Democrats and at least one Republican saying tonight that if he did lie under oath about drinking or otherwise, that that would be disqualifying.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Sunlen, thank you so much.
OUTFRONT tonight, former FBI senior intelligence adviser, Phil Mudd, Jen Psaki, former White House communications director for President Obama, and Scott Jennings, a former adviser to Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.
Guys, thanks for coming in.
Scott, you see what Kavanaugh wrote in that letter. Do you think he misled the committee about his drinking?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't, and I say so what? I don't care about this letter. I don't really care because Brett Kavanaugh in the committee hearing said repeatedly, I like beer. I mean, how many times have we seen it replayed over and over? He said, sometimes I had too many beers.
He did not mislead the committee. There is this willful attempt today to create a narrative that just doesn't exist. Brett Kavanaugh admits to drinking. He admits to drinking in high school. He admits to drinking in college and he admits to sometimes drinking too many beers
So I don't believe he misled the committee, and Harryly, I think the American people are looking at all these stories and seeing how ridiculous it really is.
BOLDUAN: Jen, do you see it that way?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think there's been a dangerous lowering of the bar of what we should expect from people who serve on the Supreme Court.
[19:35:04] And large part thanks to Donald Trump and how he has lowered the bar. It should matter. It does matter if Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath about his past, about his drinking history, about sexual assaulting women, all of that matters. And it should matter to senators.
It should be a question of whether an individual like that has the decency, has the integrity to serve on the Supreme Court. He's not owed this job. He's really interviewing for a job here.
BOLDUAN: You know, one thing that's still not clear, Phil, is if drinking -- his past in high school and college, his drinking habits, did he minimize his drinking habits, how does it fit into what they're investigating? It's not clear that that's actually being investigated. Do you think it needs to be now? Not just with this letter but in terms of everything else that we have heard.
I mean, the president himself said today, Phil, that if Kavanaugh lied to the committee, that would be unacceptable, and that seems to be the area where there seems to be conflict.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, time out. Let me clarify this for you. I think we have two basic questions here. The FBI's charge is to look at the allegations of sexual aggression, sexual assault, and to determine, based on witness interviews over 96 hours -- they get 4 days. That report is due Friday, whether they find credibility in those witnesses from 35 years ago.
Now, I can see a secondary issue. What was this -- what was the environment at those parties to determine whether people were so drunk they can't remember?
The FBI's business at this point is not to write the biography of who a judge was 35 years ago, and if you think that's special treatment, I get regular security updates and my security clearance. The security guys looking at my clearance are not going to go back 35 years, so I think if they look at the drinking stuff, I don't see that as particularly relevant unless it relates to the assault charges.
BOLDUAN: Scott, Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys tonight, they put out a letter and said that the FBI is not reached out to them to interview her for this investigation. And just yesterday, President Trump had said that the FBI should interview anybody that they want within reason and also, of course, called for it to be a comprehensive investigation.
Can you call -- do you call it a comprehensive investigation by the FBI if they don't talk to Blasey Ford?
JENNINGS: Well, I don't want to second guess the FBI. They're the experts at doing this and I wouldn't presume to know what's best in conducting an investigation like this. They would know that.
I would just ask an honest question, though. Is she planning to change her testimony? I mean, she just testified for several hours in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Is she planning to tell the FBI agents something different, something additional, altered details?
If so, that would be a significant fact but I would presume she's going tell the FBI precisely what we just saw her say on television.
BOLDUAN: I think the difference would be the follow-up questions that come from a trained, as you said --
JENNINGS: She answered quite a few follow-up questions that committee. I mean, she laid out a lot of information and she was a compelling speaker. I just would wonder, is she planning to change the story?
BOLDUAN: No, the one part that was missing, and Rachel Mitchell, the outside counsel, she said she wasn't going to ask about the details of what happened inside that room. I would say Christine Blasey Ford was relieved to hear that. You could see that on her face, obviously, but what happened in that room, I think, you would care too what that gets to.
But, Jen, what do you say? I mean, to what Scott's saying, she testified for hours, she was questioned by ten Democrats and a sex crimes prosecutor. Do you trust the FBI if they don't see the need to hear more from her?
PSAKI: Well, I don't think we know that yet, whether they're going to reach out or not. I assume they will. As you just alluded to, during her testimony, she was clearly, while she was very poised, she was clearly very uncomfortable with some of the areas the line of questioning could have gone into.
There's no question she could have a more in depth conversation with appropriate officials from the FBI if given that opportunity and certainly hopefully they will reach out to her and her lawyer.
BOLDUAN: Phil, are you surprised the FBI has not talked to Christine Blasey Ford yet?
MUDD: No, I'm not surprised. Look, one of the -- and we've seen this in the investigation by former Director Mueller of the Trump campaign contacts with the Russians. You don't talk to the main witness until you get a picture, a narrative, of what's happening.
BOLDUAN: That's interesting. OK.
MUDD: So I think one of the reasons here might be that they're trying to figure out the best narrative they can in the space of four days and then you go say, I think I have an understanding of what other people say. What do you say?
That would also provide some questions that couldn't be asked in that hearing last Thursday because they have more information.
By the way, before you let me off the hook here, I love Senate Democrats who didn't turn over this information and agreed to 96 hours for the FBI after 48 hours saying why haven't they done the investigation like I want them to do it? Really? Are you kidding me?
BOLDUAN: I'm never kidding. You know I'm never kidding.
Scott, let me ask you this. Mitch McConnell, for a second day in a row, has said that the Senate is going to vote on Kavanaugh this week.
[19:40:01] Not all of the power, though, we know, is in his hands. Yeah, he can call a vote. But the power right now is with three Republican senators at this moment who say that they wanted to see an FBI investigation, they're holding out. They don't have a vote, just look at the math. He needs two Republicans. If he loses two Republicans, it's toast.
Do you think if they're not there yet, if they're not a yes, if he doesn't get a yes from them, do you think he's going to call a vote?
JENNINGS: Well, I think it largely depends on what you just said. How are these three Republicans, Flake, Murkowski, and Collins feeling. They hold all the cards in the scheduling, I mean, that's the truth. Flake when he laid said he wanted this to last not more than one week. So, if the FBI gets this work done in under a week, then I think McConnell can hold to his time line.
I've heard Democrats complain today already, Feinstein says she wants another delay to look over these documents. I mean, it took Chuck Schumer all of 16 minutes with what he knew about Brett Kavanaugh to come out in opposition. I imagine they could take a day and read the FBI report and be ready to go.
BOLDUAN: Jen, let me ask you about that. Because McConnell also has made a point for the past couple days to talk about Democrats moving the goal post and the way that McConnell's laying it out is he says, first they wanted to delay until after the midterms, so it doesn't look political. Then they wanted to delay over missing documents in the first hearing, then a delay because of the allegations that surfaced from Christine Blasey Ford and now they want more investigation because of his drinking -- his drinking in the past and high school and college.
Can you make the case that's not moving the goalposts?
PSAKI: Well, look, I don't think Democrats want Brett Kavanaugh on the court. That was true even before these allegations, but I think at this point, with all of this information that has surfaced, they want to give the time to explore and get to the bottom of what happened exactly here.
I think with these Republicans, let's not give them too much credit here. I think there's no question -- I hope I'm surprised, they're all going to vote for him. They just delayed this, even Senator Flake, I mean, he was confronted by a number of sexual assault victims and then he sheepishly suggested they extend it for a week.
This isn't heroism exactly. I'm pretty certain they're all going to vote for him. McConnell is probably going to have the votes. So this is really kind of a show effort.
BOLDUAN: All right, guys. Great thank you for coming in. I really appreciate it. Let's see when the FBI wraps this up. They've got three more days now. Let's see what happens.
OUTFRONT for us next, though, President Trump with this warning tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a very scary time for young men in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: But are young men really the ones under attack right now?
Plus, Jeanne Moos on Trump's insult on a female reporter, the explosive reaction from coast to coast.
[19:46:32] BOLDUAN: Tonight, President Trump has a stark warning for the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I say that it's a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very -- this is a very difficult time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And the president is not the only one who feels this way. His supporters, his family, echoing his concern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST, THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW: These women are angry at -- something has happened to them in their lives, and their rage and anger, they take it out now on the country or on all men or men in the powerful majority, which are white Christian men and so forth.
DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: I got boys and I got girls and when I see what's going on right now, it's scary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you scared most for, your sons or your daughters?
TRUMP JR.: I mean, right now, I'd say my sons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And when asked what his message is to women today, the president said, quote, women are doing great.
OUTFRONT now, Rob Astorino, who is a member of President Trump's 2020 reelect advisory council, and Adrienne Elrod, former director of strategic communications for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.
Rod, do you agree with the president? Are you scared and angry right now?
ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: I'm not scared, I'm not angry, but I think I know what he meant by that and I think there's a Trump translation on some of this stuff. The point he was trying to make is, and this isn't about white men or
about Republicans, this is about everyone. If you've got a son or daughter, I have a son who's 15 and I have two daughters who are younger than that. I think at this point, you know, you're talking to every parent, saying, look, the world is what it is right now, and you've got to be very careful and everything that you do, the way you treat people, the way you talk to people. And that's just a warning that every parent should be giving to their child.
If you're in high school, you know, the pranks aren't always pranks. If you're in college, no means no. But also, we've seen what's happened in this world, and I think this is what he was getting at, you know, I don't know what the Duke lacrosse kids were, if they were Republicans or Democrats, but I do know that they were falsely accused, and that is what he was trying to get to.
BOLDUAN: But in this moment that we're in right now, Adrienne, "The Washington Post" has written about the growing sentiment among Republican men, using words like a wave of unbridled anger and anxiety from many Republican men and this outbreak of male resentment. What is this?
ADRIENNE ELROD, FORMER DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Yes. Look, I mean, there's a lot of men out there who I think are scared to death that women that perhaps they've sexual assaulted or sexually harassed or done something wrong to in the past are going to come out, because the me too movement has allowed for a much more open forum for these women who have been in these types of situations to come forward. So I think you're seeing a lot of men who are very fearful of that.
I also want to point out and I think first of all he's delivering red meat to his base because the one group of -- the one demographic who is still very supportive of Brett Kavanaugh in the latest Quinnipiac poll that just came out are white non-college educated men and that comprises a large portion of Donald Trump's base. So I think he's trying to say to his base, hey, listen, guys, I know this is really tough right the now, but I'm with you. We have a lot to be worried about and that's why we've got to support Brett Kavanaugh and believe him over these women like Dr. Blasey Ford who came forward with very credible allegations.
BOLDUAN: You don't --
ASTORINO: So Adrienne just said, only dumb white guys who voted for Trump --
ELROD: That is not what I said at all.
BOLDUAN: That is -- that is a polling demographic.
[19:50:01] No, college or non-college educated, and that's a factual statement.
ASTORINO: I get that. I just don't like that term.
ELROD: That's what it's called in the poll.
ASTORINO: But here's the point. If you did something wrong, then you should be worried. I don't care what age you're at. But if you didn't do something wrong and you're falsely accused, and in this era right now --
BOLDUAN: Then you shouldn't be worried!
ASTORINO: No, you should be worried, still, because an accusation is all it takes right now to ruin your life. You can be thrown out of college, and we've seen how many kids right now, how many boys, young men, are going into criminal justice system, going into the courts to get their names back and put back into college, because they were thrown out by kangaroo courts when they were falsely accused.
ELROD: And how many women have been silenced --
ASTORINO: That's what he's talking about. Not those who did something.
ELROD: How many women have been silenced for years and years and years and have not felt that they've had the comfort level to come forward and admit that they have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted? We're finally in a place now in society where they feel more comfortable doing so, coming forward. There's more acceptance. There's more support and embracement. And the fact that Trump doesn't -- he's always been against women.
ASTORINO: Come on --
ELROD: He's always had this animus against women.
BOLDUAN: Let me play one thing else that the president said today. And I think this kind of gets to where we are right now. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In this realm, you are truly guilty until proven innocent. That's one of the very, very bad things that's taking place right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: OK, guilty until proven innocent should be a concern for everyone, regardless of gender. But would it not be more convincing if this president has ever believed women making such an allegation against one of his people? I mean, you can go through it. Roy Moore, Rob Porter from his office, himself. On the flip side, he gladly believed Bill Clinton's accusers and even brought them to a debate.
There is not a pattern of him giving people the benefit of the doubt here. ASTORINO: It's funny that the liberals and progressives who supported
Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton, those who came forward with credible evidence against Bill Clinton --
BOLDUAN: Don't you worry, I'm getting to Hillary Clinton in a second, but I want you to answer about Donald Trump and his pattern of not giving people the benefit of the doubt.
ASTORINO: Take Trump out of this for a second. The question is, how do parents who have sons feel right now? And are they nervous with letting their son into college, when there's this era right now, where there are accusations which are -- some of them are true and some of them are not true. But just the accusation alone can get you kicked out of school, ruin your life, get you labeled a sexual predator for the rest of your life. Yes. You should be scared if we're going to go down that path where accusations --
ELROD: How about parents who have daughters who are concerned that they're going to be sexually harassed or sexually assaulted by somebody without anybody else seeing it, without anybody else to corroborate that? That is where I think -- that's the thing. And finally, because women are coming forward and we have people, particularly it seems to be men on the Republican side who have a real issue with this.
BOLDUAN: Adrienne, because I said I was going to get to it, I'm going to get it. Hillary Clinton weighed in on Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford and she says she thinks she's very credible and if you have to ask yourself, why would anyone put themselves through this, if they didn't believe that this was so important? This gets to kind of a -- is this a tough thing for her to be weighing in on?
ELROD: You know, look, I don't think it's a tough thing for her to be weighing in on, because I think she's invoking the same feelings that millions of women felt and millions of men, too, who watched Dr. Blasey Ford's very incredible, very heartfelt testimony last week. She was very credible. She came forward with a lot of compassion. She was nervous, she didn't come across as a, you know, some sort of political leftist Democrat. She came forward as a concerned citizen.
So, I think Hillary Clinton was simply channeling the viewpoints that many Americans feel.
BOLDUAN: But again, past statements do come back to bite you.
OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on Trump's insult to a female reporter and how the White House got it so wrong.
[19:57:47] BOLDUAN: Tonight, the White House admits it made a mistake when it comes to what the president said to a female reporter, but it's not the mea culpa you might think.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It started out friendly enough.
TRUMP: OK, question? Yes, go ahead. Sure.
MOOS: But the exchange that followed between president Trump and ABC's Cecilia Vega was so harsh that someone tweeted, does the White House have an HR department?
TRUMP: She's shocked that I picked her. She's like in a state of shock.
CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS: I'm not. Thank you, Mr. President.
TRUMP: That's OK. I know you're not thinking. You never do.
VEGA: I'm sorry?
TRUMP: No, go ahead.
MOOS: The White House went ahead and somehow transcribed the president as saying, that's OK, I know you're not thanking, you never do.
But by morning, the transcript was corrected to read, That's OK, I know you're not thinking, you never do. But what was he thinking?
On talk shows, you could actually hear the studio audiences gasp when the clip was played. From Kimmel --
TRUMP: OK, I know you're not thinking, you never do.
VEGA: I'm sorry?
TRUMP: No, go ahead.
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: What a creep.
MOOS: To Seth Meyers.
TRUMP: You never do.
VEGA: I'm sorry.
TRUMP: No, go ahead, go ahead.
SETH MYERS, COMEDIAN: I mean, how much of a sexist (EXPLETIVE DELETED) can you possibly be.
MOOS: To "The View".
TRUMP: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
MOOS: But defenders said President Trump would have given the same treatment to a male reporter. That was funny, you hate him, he hates you, it's fair. He would have done that to Acosta, just keeping it equal.
Conan's sidekick, Andy Richter tweeted, tongue in cheek, I do have the to say, I'm loving the GOP's outreach to women voters. "The Daily Show" inducted the exchange into the ranks of great moments.
TRUMP: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.
That's OK. I know you're not thinking, you never do.
MOOS: It's the putdown critics can't stop putting down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know who was his usual charming self.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
TRUMP: That's OK, I know you're not thinking, you never do.
VEGA: I'm sorry?
TRUMP: Go ahead.
MOOS: New York.
BOLDUAN: I said it last night and I'll say it tonight. You see how Cecilia Vega handled it? She just kept doing her job.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" starts rights now.