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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump: "People Have To Behave" And "Practice Decorum" At The White House But Does That Include The President Too?; Trump Legal Team Balks At Mueller's Post-2016 Election Questions; Washington Post: CIA Concludes Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Killing; NYT Reports Trump is Asking Aides, Is Mike Pence Loyal?; Republican Brian Kemp Wins Razor Thin Race for Georgia Governor. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 16, 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: The program airs tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. Vowed (ph) have done this. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, President Trump calling for respect and decorum in the White House. This is reality.

Plus, President Trump's legal team pushing back on specific questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And we're going to tell you what they are. This as Trump says he has written the answers to Mueller himself.

And the breaking news this hour, The Washington Post reporting that the CIA has concluded the Saudi crown prince personally ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. Not what President Trump wanted to hear. What will Trump do now? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, lashing out after a court ruled against the President and in favor of CNN. A judge saying the White House must temporarily reinstate Jim Acosta's press pass. In response, President Trump speaking aloud, threatening to walk away from all press questions he doesn't like. He says it's all about decorum and respect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talk about rules and regulations, what do you mean, sir?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Decorum. You can't take three questions and four questions and just stand up and not sit down. Decorum. We have to practice decorum.

You were there. You understood, and you understand we want total freedom of the press. That's very important to me. It's more important to me than anybody would believe. But you have to act with respect. You're in the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Decorum and you have to act with respect when you're in the White House. Like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is on his hero journey right now, and he might not expected to have a crazy mother -- like Kanye West run up and support, but best believe we are going to make America great. For me, also as a guy that looks up to you, looks up to Ralph Lauren, looks up to American industry guys, nonpolitical, no -- with the beep on it, so I had the balls, because I have enough balls to put on this hat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Let's just quote again what the President said today. Quote, you have to act with respect. You're in the White House. So, in the President's own words, here's what should have happened to Kanye West.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If I think somebody's acting out of sorts, I will leave. I'll say, thank you very much, everybody, I appreciate you coming, and I'll leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Like this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm standing in that spot. I love this guy right here. Let me give this guy a hug right here. I love this guy right here. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: A hug for Kanye, but for reporters he doesn't like, his own lack of decorum is on prominent display.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot, you ask a lot of stupid questions.

The same thing with April Ryan. I watch her get up, I mean, you talk about somebody that's a loser, she doesn't know what the hell she's doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I don't even need words here, do I? I mean, look, this isn't about decorum or respect for the White House, right? It's about controlling the press. The President making it clear that if he can't take away press passes, fine, he'll manipulate other journalists to accomplish his goal of silencing the questions he doesn't want.

In fact, he didn't hide his intent. So let me play a little bit more of what he said today so you can hear it for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If I think somebody's acting out of sorts, I will leave. I'll say, thank you very much, everybody, I appreciate you coming, and I'll leave. And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that's acting up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That's the crucial final line, right? Trump will leave if he doesn't like a question so he's betting that losing access to him altogether will make all the other reporters get in line and silence the reporter who was, quote, unquote, not being too friendly or acting out of sorts. I'm sorry. Acting out of sorts.

Look, this isn't about decorum or respect. If it was, President Trump would know that a question a President doesn't like is showing respect for the White House, because that is what a free press and democracy is all about. Maybe he should listen to what a President he says he greatly admires had to stand and take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAM DONALDSON, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Sir, if I may, the polls show that a lot of American people just simply don't believe you, that the one thing that you've had going for you more than anything else in your presidency, your credibility, has been severely damaged. Can you repair it? What does it mean for the rest of your presidency?

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I imagine I'm the only one around who wants to repair it and I didn't have anything to do with damaging it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He didn't kick him out. Didn't like the question, tried to answer it. Tough questions aren't disrespectful or lacking decorum. Having someone in the Oval Office dropping f-bombs and then giving them a hug is.

Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT. Jessica, the President responding directly to the judge's ruling, right, in favor of CNN's Jim Acosta, which temporarily is forcing the White House to reinstate Acosta's press pass. And obviously what we're hearing today is he seems to be saying he'll find other ways to silence those he doesn't want to hear.

[19:05:10] JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin. And that seems to be the message, really, from every facet of the White House, not just the President. Even Sarah Sanders said in a statement immediately after the judge's ruling that the White House, they plan to develop rules and procedures in their words, and they say that there must be decorum at those press conferences and any interaction with the President.

What's interesting is the judge in this case, Timothy Kelly, he's a Trump appointee, he's been on the bench for just about a year, he also touched on that possibility when he read his ruling today. He said, it's quite possible the President may never call on Jim Acosta again. But then Judge Kelly quickly pivoted and he said that that potential decision from the White House to not call on Jim Acosta, he said that wasn't relevant to his decision today. And that decision today, Erin, it was a very narrow ruling here. The judge found that Jim Acosta's due process rights were likely violated when the White House revoked his pass so suddenly. He said that since Acosta didn't have any notice or an opportunity to challenge the decision, and as a result, the hard pass must be instated -- reinstated, which it was.

BURNETT: Yes.

SCHNEIDER: You know, but this was just round one, and by all accounts, it looks like the White House is going to move forward with this fight. The Justice Department has said as much, and of course they're also going to try to get a much broader ruling on their broader argument that First Amendment protections don't mean an absolute right to access at the White House. So, this litigation path, Erin, it could take a while, and in the meantime, you heard it there from the President. He's going to tamp down on press availability, maybe not ask -- call on reporters that he doesn't like their questions. He said it today he might limit the number of questions. He might bar them from making statements. So there could be a lot of implications here, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. You know, you talk about, you know, penny wise, pound foolish, I mean, this is pretty stunning.

OUTFRONT now, former Adviser of four Presidents including Reagan and Clinton, David Gergen, former Staff Member in the George W. Bush White House and Host of PBS "Firing Line", Margaret Hoover and CNN Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston.

Margaret, you're with me. You know, no problem calling someone stupid or a loser if he doesn't want to hear what they have to ask but now, fine, we'll reinstate the press pass but we may not hold the availability. We may not allow questions. We may try to get you guys all the turn on each other. Not about decorum.

MARGARET HOOVER, HOST, PBS "FIRING LINE": Well, it's all about decorum so long as decorum is a one-way street and that's the deal with President Trump is that decorum is a one-way street. He wants to be treated with respect, but he expects a certain kind of coverage from the press, because this is what he is actually good at in the private sector was branding and marketing himself and he did that by very carefully crafting how the press covered him. And it just turns out that when you're a private entrepreneur and businessman, there's a lot more flexibility to be able to do that with the tools and levers of the press and not when you're the President of the United States.

BURNETT: I mean, you know, David, you see how he talks to reporters. Kanye West, obviously, we all just saw that laid out. I mean, have you ever seen anything like that? What do you make of that juxtaposed with decorum and respect being the words of the day from President Trump? DAVID GERGEN, FMR. ADVISOR TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: Well, we haven't seen anything like Kanye West before, and I trust we will never again see a person like that in the Oval Office speaking like that. It's hard to bring your kids in to watch television these days sometimes, isn't it? But it's good to see you back.

Look, I think the fundamental issue here is the right of the public to know and hold the President accountable. And parliamentary governments, the prime minister has to go in every day and answer -- and have question time and respond to in a very public way what's going on within the government. We don't have that in this country. There is no question time for Presidents.

And the only thing we have are these press gatherings. When the press can ask questions on behalf of the country. So it's really important to maintain that tradition. That goes all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt, over 100 years of presidents answering questions on a regular basis. You know, Franklin Roosevelt used to have two press conferences a week on average over 13 years and he was very, very accessible and it was a lot of decorum, a lot of respect shown to him.

You know, Frankly, I think that the respect -- there's higher respect shown to a president today than when I first went to Washington. When I first went there, the president -- the press conferences, usually the press would stand up and there would be a lot of shouting and jumping to get the president's attention. Now people are sitting down and I think there is more decorum. What is at issue here is this decorum argument is really -- is a cover so that they can, you know, they can control the press and turn away questions that are inconvenient, which I think then reduces the public's capacity to know what's going on.

I would add one coda. That is, this was a significant victory today in the courts for CNN and for freedom of the press, especially because it came from a Trump appointee to the court.

BURNETT: Right. That is obviously significant, as you and Jessica point out.

[19:10:00] Mark, you know, the clip that I played, Sam Donaldson asking former President Reagan something he didn't want to be asked, right? Other Presidents get this. This always happens. As David said, you know, they used to stand up when you're certainly with the press secretary, right? I mean, it's one more question, one more question, yelling, I mean, if you aren't tough, don't go in that room. But no one's ever been -- you haven't seen banned -- no one's been banned from these press conferences, no one losing credentials, so what happens here for Trump?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, a couple things. One is I would take what he said today, his warning, very seriously. I do think that the White House is going to continue to clamp down on the amount of information that they send out. And quite honestly a lot of the information that they're sending out right now is misinformation, so I agree, we have to have these news conferences every day. We have to have the back and forth with the administration. Otherwise, we're not going to be able to keep them in line.

And it's worth noting, even if you don't like CNN, if you're watching us right now or if you don't like Jim Acosta as a person, it's not about us. It's about you. And I think that people need to understand that because if they come and knock us out, they're coming for you next and that's very, very scary.

BURNETT: Right. That's the precedent, Margaret, that would be set here and what's amazing is that what the President's saying is, I can get there another way. Fine. Have your little press pass. I don't have to call on you. I don't have to hold the press conference. I can have your peers turn against you.

HOOVER: And what he's trying to do is he's also trying to send a message to journalists who cover him in a way that he views as favorable, and he's calling on them, giving them 45 minutes to show up at the White House and giving them as much time as they want with him. This just happened with the Daily Caller. Two reporters in the Daily Caller were called out of the blue for a sit-down with the President.

Look, there is a criticism amongst Republicans that the President's writing here too, that the media's unfair, the media's been unfair to presidents for a long time. There's no president that believes the media is fair to them, OK?

BURNETT: That's right.

HOOVER: This is the system of checks and balances. There's not -- not the Clintons, not Bush, not Obama, not Hillary Clinton, and nobody believes it's fair but that's the entire, by design, by the founders. This is why we have a First Amendment. This is why we have a series of checks and balances.

BURNETT: Right.

HOOVER: And so we can be -- we, meaning the American people, not people in the press, the American people can hold our government to account. By the people, of the people, for the people.

BURNETT: You know, David, let me play, again, the interview with Fox News, right? When you talk about the friendly outlets that he chooses to give his time to. Let me just play again what he said to them about acting up. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If I think somebody's acting out of sorts, I will leave. I'll say, thank you very much, everybody, I appreciate you coming, and I'll leave. And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that's acting up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Just walking out and leaving, David. What would be the precedent for that if he just started doing that every time he didn't like a question? GERGEN: I just think it would be very inhibiting for the whole set of exchanges if you're always going to be on edge if you ask a question that he finds inconvenient then he walks out. If they're going to have a set of rules, it's got to be when a reporter asks a question, that reporter can have a follow-up so you can dig a little deeper. It's got to be that you do call on the wire services, you do call on the leading organizations out of there. You don't go ideological on them. It's got to be a set of rules that serves both the president and the public and the press.

BURNETT: And yet, Mark, he also -- you know, he's already made it hard for some, right? The reporter he called stupid is a CNN reporter. He didn't like her questions. The reporter he called a loser, April Ryan, people know her as well, right? He has no problem humiliating someone and denigrating them in a way that lacks decorum and respect, that's for sure, when he doesn't like them already.

PRESTON: Yes, no question and we can just lay it at the footstep of his own house. We heard Melania Trump the other day say she's not surprised that people make fun of her or don't understand why she's pursuing this goal of ending cyberbullying. Well, we know why people make fun of her because of that, because her husband is really leading the charge in cyberbullying.

HOOVER: This is a devil, I'm sorry. You know, he needs to be careful because all you do is risk rallying a real backlash from the press and the American people if you make the entire press the enemy of the good -- the enemy of the people or the enemy of yourself, what are you doing but risking a backlash because if you're not tough enough to go out and take questions on behalf of the people you represent, who's the weak one?

BURNETT: All right. Well said and we'll leave it there. Thank you all.

Next, President Trump reveals he has personally responded to Bob Mueller's questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I write the answers. My lawyers don't write answers. I write answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The President's long-time friend and attorney, Jay Goldberg, responds.

Plus, breaking news, The Washington Post this hour reporting that the CIA has concluded the Saudi crown prince personally ordered the assassination of a Washington Post columnist. But the President reportedly resistant to accept his own intelligence chief. Why?

And Kellyanne Conway's husband reveals what he really thinks about the Trump administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[19:15:00]GEORGE CONWAY, HUSBAND OF KELLYANNE CONWAY: The administration is like a -- show in a dumpster fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump's legal team balking, taking issue with some of the questions as they have in hand from Special Counsel Bob Mueller. According to a source familiar with negotiations, Trump's team claiming questions about the transition period after the election should be off limits. They're citing executive privilege.

But today, the President came out, spoke about it publicly. He says he is finished with at least some of the written questions from Mueller and he wrote those answers himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I write the answers. My lawyers don't write answers. I write answers. I was asked a series of questions. I've answered them very easily. Very easily. I'm sure they're tricked up because, you know, they like to catch people, gee, you know, was the weather sunny or was it rainy?

He said it may have been a good day, it was rainy, therefore, he told a lie. He perjured himself, OK? So you have to be careful when I answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions, but no, it's -- the questions were very routinely answered by me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, President Trump's long-time friend and attorney, Jay Goldberg, also the author of the new book, "The Courtroom Is My Theater: My Lifelong Representation of Famous Politicians, Industrialists, Entertainers, Men of Honor, and More."

[19:20:08] You know, you've obviously talked to the President over a long period of time about this entire investigation. What do you make of how he is being right now, making the whole point, I wrote it, I wrote it, I don't need the lawyers, I wrote them?

JAY GOLDBERG, PERSONAL FRIEND AND LONGTIME ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's a big mistake. A person who acts his own client has a fool for a client -- a person who acts as his own lawyer, rather, has a fool for a client. Mark Twain said that. And it's a big mistake. Because the people on the other side are anxious to make a case, and they'll engage in perjury traps and reading everything the way they want to read it, and force a trial, which would be to subject the President to a circus atmosphere, and it's a big mistake.

BURNETT: Why do you think he's insisting on doing it, then? Why is he insisting on writing his own?

GOLDBERG: The question would be whether he did.

BURNETT: Right. So he may be saying it but it's not really --

GOLDBERG: He may be trying to show macho, but I can't imagine that Giuliani wouldn't have gone over the answers to make sure that they're accurate or not. And I'm not sure that the President is telling the absolute truth when he says that he wrote these answers out himself.

BURNETT: So, if he's not telling the absolute truth there, we know he has a tenuous relationship with the truth in many ways on statements he says separate from this investigation, just in general life when he comes out and says things. Why do you call it a perjury trap? Maybe it's just there's a lot of lies.

GOLDBERG: Well, first a perjury trap, to the viewers, it's the role of a prosecutor to prosecute past an existing criminal behavior. It's not the job of a prosecutor to manufacture alleged criminal behavior. A perjury trap --

BURNETT: You're saying if he said, I knew -- I didn't know about that meeting in Trump Tower --

GOLDBERG: Right.

BURNETT: -- and it turns out he did.

GOLDBERG: Yes.

BURNETT: Is that a lie or a perjury trap?

GOLDBERG: It depends on whether it's true or not. It would subject the President to a possibility of a trial. And remember the President is subject to the criminal law at least once he leaves office. And to subject himself to the possibility of a trial would be not in the public's interest or certainly not in the President's interest.

BURNETT: But if -- I'm just trying to understand. If they're asking a question, did you know about that?

GOLDBERG: Yes.

BURNETT: And then the written answer, he says, yes, I did, let's just say he did, right?

GOLDBERG: Obviously, before he said he didn't. That's a significant lie. That would be fair game, right, or no?

GOLDBERG: It would be. And that's why intelligent defense lawyers do not subject their clients to examinations by prosecutors. If you're an alleged target of an investigation, and he has to be viewed as a target, you don't subject yourself to interrogation by a prosecutor.

BURNETT: So you're saying they shouldn't even be doing these written questions -- GOLDBERG: No. I mean, I opposed this from the outset. In fact, I

made my position known in April. I remember it exactly. I said, do not subject yourself to interrogation by a prosecutor. I don't trust --

BURNETT: No matter the format.

GOLDBERG: I don't trust certain members of the staff of Mueller. One of whom I'm very, very concerned about, and it came to me as a surprise that he's now involved in answering questions. Because I think there's a good possibility of him winning in the Supreme Court or the lower courts that the President is not subject --

BURNETT: But he shouldn't have to answer the questions at all.

GOLDBERG: Yes.

BURNETT: OK. All right, so you think he shouldn't even be doing these and if he is, his lawyers should be writing them, not him.

GOLDBERG: I'm convinced that he may have written them, but the lawyer would have the final word.

BURNETT: OK. So, yesterday, when this came out, when it started to come out that we may be at a stage here where he has finished some of these answers, he went on Twitter. He had been quiet on the Russia investigation for a while but he went on Twitter and he called the Special Counsel all kinds of bad things, conflicted, the team thugs, nuts, he made false claims in some of these tweets, just inaccurate things about Mueller and he has tenure and his party affiliation. And today, he was asked about those, and here's what he said, Jay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You on Twitter yesterday, you seemed a bit agitated about what you might be receiving the Mueller investigation.

TRUMP: No, I'm not agitated. It's a hoax. The whole thing is a hoax. There was no collusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, he's convinced that the issue is whether there's collusion or not. And I say, it goes beyond that. That the prosecutor could allegedly nail somebody on a host of issues, except and in addition to the question of collusion. He could ask him whether there was a meeting that he attended at a certain time and place. It doesn't necessarily have to be collusion.

[19:25:09] BURNETT: Before we go, CNN this week had a larger part about the President's state of mind, the chaos in the White House, people who are departing, people close to him said he's pissed at damn near everyone. That's a quote. Some of his long-time confidants worried for his health, they say he gained weight but he doesn't look well, they're worried about him. You've known him a long time. Do you see anything to be concerned about? GOLDBERG: Well, in the room, prior to my appearance, I commented to my wife that he looked very well.

BURNETT: You think he looks very well.

GOLDBERG: I thought he looked very well. And of course he's under a great deal of pressure. I mean, his road of -- he's been on the road since the time he announced his candidacy.

BURNETT: Fair.

GOLDBGER: So, of course he's worn with the trips and the attacks on him and the question of his wife's behavior in the firing or ostensible firing of a woman who worked in the White House. So, he's subject to a great deal of stress, but I think he looks very well.

BURNETT: All right, Jay, thank you very much. I appreciate your time. Good to see you.

GOLDBERG: I broke my shoulder, so I'll say good-bye with my left hand.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you.

GOLDBERG: OK. Good to see you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, breaking news, The Washington Post reporting that is CIA is determined the Saudi crown prince personally ordered the assassination of a Washington Post columnist. So, will President Trump now hold the Saudi prince accountable? And the President reportedly questioning the loyalty tonight of this man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm deeply humbled as your Vice President. Greatest privilege of my life. The greatest privilege of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Why the sudden concern about Pence.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Major development this hour. The CIA has determined that the Saudi crown prince ordered journalist Jamal Khashoggi's assassination, the journalist who resided in Washington, D.C. According to The Washington Post, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence which included this, a phone call that the crown prince's brother, who is the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi.

[19:30:07] OUTFRONT now, Shane Harris, one of the reporters who broke the story for "The Washington Post."

Shane, obviously, this is a huge development. This is not what the president wants to hear tonight. So, tell me what the CIA has -- what has convinced them of the fact that MBS ordered personally this assassination?

SHANE HARRIS, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it's kind of a mosaic of intelligence, actually. There's the phone call that you mentioned, which is quite important with the ambassador talking to Jamal Khashoggi before he disappeared.

Also, there is a phone call from inside the consulate, we understand from our sources, from one of the individuals that was part of this hit team, calling back to Saudi Arabia to confirm to a senior aide to Mohammed bin Salman that the assassination had taken place. There's also an audio from a listening device inside the consulate that the Turks had placed and that audio was given to the CIA. There's other forms of intelligence we probably don't even know about.

But also a big part of this is the CIA's assessment since well before Jamal Khashoggi was killed that nothing really happens in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia without Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince's say- so. And they find it impossible to believe that an operation of this magnitude could have occurred without MBS, as he's known, authorizing it, and so that is also factoring into their conclusion that he was the person who ordered this assassination.

BURNETT: And literally you're saying from the consulate where, at this point, Jamal Khashoggi's body is being destroyed with acid or disposed of in some way, somebody in that consulate calls MBS, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and says, it's been completed.

HARRIS: An aide to the crown prince, that's right. Which is kind of a stunning fact when you consider that you would assume that if you were operating inside a diplomatic facility like this, there might be the risk in that country that you could be intercepted. This was a brazen attack, as we all know, and has been well-documented.

But the intelligence ultimately was collected by the United States and also by other governments, including Turkey, and is forming this full picture that we're seeing now.

BURNETT: All right. This isn't what the president wants to hear. He's made that loud and clear, right? I talked to MBS, he assures he did nothing, he doesn't want to hear this, right? There's nobody probably who wanted to be given the out of saying somebody else was responsible, which Saudi Arabia's trying to say, right? Blaming deputy head of intelligence, anybody but MBS.

So, what's your analysis, Shane, as to why this came to you guys, right? Was the CIA worried that this would be swept under the rug or that the president wouldn't take action? I mean, it is interesting that this is coming out this way.

HARRIS: Well, we've been reporting pretty aggressively, as you know, on this story for a long time, and one of the questions that we have had, obviously, is what assessments are being made.

BURNETT: Yes. HARRIS: About these fragments of intelligence that are being

reported. You know what I think is interesting in this, you mentioned President Trump, this is not news to him. He understands this information. He probably knows more about what the CIA has than we even know about what they have at this point.

And it has been made clear to him that the assessment is that Mohammed bin Salman directed, ordered this assassination. So, what we've seen and what we've reported on before as well is that the White House's position on this has been to essentially try not to take too much action. Yes, there were these sanctions this week, but they followed on a statement from the public prosecutor in Saudi Arabia and charges there that, of course, implicated a lot of people but not Mohammed bin Salman.

So, you know, I don't think it's -- it's no secret the president has not wanted to pin this on the crown prince.

BURNETT: Yes, certainly puts him in the hot seat tonight, then. Shane, thank you very much, and obviously, as some very significant reporting there.

The CIA assessment that the crown prince is involved, obviously, is not what President Trump wants to hear. Trump said last month, let me quote, I will say this. I spoke with the king. I spoke with the crown prince yesterday, and he strongly said he had nothing to do with this. This was at a lower level.

Let's go to Kaitlan Collins. She's at the White House now.

Kaitlan, look, this coming out and now everybody knows the CIA's assessment, now it conflicts with what the president wants to hear. Is this going to force the White House to act or not?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And you're right, Erin, that was a great question about why this assessment became public. Does the CIA trying to shield itself of any responsibility for this for whatever decisions the White House makes?

And I think Shane made a great point there, that, of course, President Trump likely already knows this. He met with Gina Haspel after she traveled back from Turkey after getting all these intelligence assessments, so he likely already knows what we know, but the question is, what is he going to do going forward? Because this isn't the first time the president has been at odds with an intelligence agency before during the his presidency but now they are really putting the ball in his court with this decision and that's because -- from Gina Haspel, the handpicked CIA director from President Trump who succeed Mike Pompeo after he took over at the State Department.

[19:35:07] So, it's raising questions about how the president will react now that this CIA assessment is public. But also, Erin, it points back to Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser who has forged a very close relationship with the crown prince who the CIA is assessing did know and did order the killing of this journalist, so it puts even more pressure on this White House not just to act but also to focus on this relationship that Jared Kushner has forged with them.

So, the question really is now, Erin, is the White House going to act on this? Are they going to let this slide them by? But really right now, all the focus is going to be on the White House who, for the past few weeks, has tried to put this story behind them.

BURNETT: Yes, they certainly have.

Kaitlan, thank you.

I want to go now to Bob Baer, former CIA operative.

Bob, what do you think the significance is here of the fact that this is coming out now, right, and the details, right? Like they are including the details. There was a call made from inside that consulate after the horrific dismembering of Jamal Khashoggi's body in which someone calls the crown prince's top aide saying the operation has been completed. It does not get more damning than that.

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: It doesn't get more damning, Erin, it's clear that the crown prince ordered a premeditated murder of Khashoggi. You look at the context, you look at the intercept, the phone calls, you look at the Turkish leaks on this, you look at the fact that more than 20 people showed up in an operation.

In Saudi Arabia, there is no such thing as a rogue operation. Anybody who knows Saudi Arabia knows that Mohammed bin Salman ordered this, and I think the interesting part is the CIA has confirmed this, and it's almost as a revolt from Langley, telling the president, look, you can say what you want, but you're absolutely wrong.

And let's don't forget this was sort of his first deal going to Saudi Arabia and starting an alliance with Salman, and Mohammed bin Salman, this is the art of the deal, I trust this guy, the arms deal and the rest of it. This is a huge setback for the president.

BURNETT: I mean, it certainly is. You got to remember the crown prince, when this first came out, said, oh, Jamal Khashoggi left the consulate, right? Remember the guy who had dressed up in his clothes and, you know, there's already been blatant lies from his mouth directly.

BAER: You can't trust anything they say at this point. I mean, they're trying to cover up for the crown prince. There's nobody that can replace him right now. The crown prince controls the intelligence service, the police, the whole country

And so what do you do now? Is it going to be a dynastic fight over, you know, getting rid of him? The king is senile. He's only lucid a couple hours a day, and I do worry about the stability of Saudi Arabia. You have to. And the significance for us.

BURNETT: All right. Bob Baer, thank you very much. Obviously, the president now with a huge, huge decision to make.

And next, a problem with Pence. Trump reportedly questioning aides over whether his vice president is loyal. Why now?

Plus, Kellyanne Conway's husband, George, in a very public feud over the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE CONWAY, KELLYANNE CONWAY'S HUSBAND: I don't think she likes it. But I don't -- you know, I've told her I don't like the administration, so we're -- it's even.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:42:00] BURNETT: Is Mike Pence loyal to President Donald Trump?

"The New York Times" reporting that the president is repeating that question so many times that some of his aides have become alarmed. If you remember, it was just last week when the president asked Pence to be his 2020 running mate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Will the vice president be your running mate in 2020?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I haven't asked him but I hope so. Mike, will you be my running mate? Stand up, Mike, please, raise your right hand. No, I'm only kidding.

Will you? Thank you. OK, good. The answer is yes.

REPORTER: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. Despite that exchange, though, "The Times" is reporting that some outside advisers are suggesting the president switch running mates and again they're saying he has been asking about Pence's loyalty so many times that his aides are alarmed.

OUTFRONT now, Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent at "The Nation", along with Marc Lotter, former press secretary to the vice president, and, of course, Marc, I'll note you did sign an NDA when you left the White House.

So, Joan, you're with me. Let me start with you.

White House statement in response to this "New York Times" story, quote, the president absolutely supports the vice president and thinks he's doing an incredible job helping carry out the mission and policies of this administration. And yet, he's asking about his loyalty so many times, aides are alarmed.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Well, I mean, the president has been acting in this last week kind of like a cornered animal, Erin. I don't think he trusts anyone except maybe his children. So, it's kind of -- it's almost natural that it would even extend out to Mike Pence, who has shown incredible loyalty as far as I can see.

I mean, we know that people in this White House leak. I have never heard his name as one of the leakers or one of the people with the knives out for the president. He goes out, he defended him when people were really attacking him for his language after the synagogue murders. He defended him after Charlottesville. He defends him, you know?

And so, it's very weird. It just seems to me like a sign of the president's paranoia, not a sign of anything Mike Pence has done.

BURNETT: I mean, Marc, if this is the case, that he is questioning Pence's loyalty so often that aides are alarmed, what does that make you feel? You know Mike Pence better than anybody.

MARC LOTTER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Well, and I also know that the president has the absolute faith in the vice president. I've traveled with both of them extensively in the last couple of months, and I've never heard anything like that.

Look, since day one, there have been people out there trying to drive a wedge between the president and the vice president from the time he was named on the ticket, and this is like a sport in Washington, D.C., about every midterm in your first midterm, someone questions whether the vice president's going to be on the ticket or not. President answered that a week ago and I don't think anything has changed.

BURNETT: Well, one of the -- the ways that this president has gauged loyalty is how people treated him with the infamous p tape, right? And I -- p, the letter. You guys know what it stands for. Mike Pence, you just went through Joan all the times he's been loyal and stood by the president. That tape, the "Access Hollywood" tape, he was not. He put out a statement, Marc.

As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video. I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.

[19:45:03] "The New York Times" is reporting the president has never forgotten that statement. We know with others he didn't forget it, right? Chris Christie didn't go on TV that weekend to defend him, he became totally persona non grata.

Is it possible that something like that, you have couple little things and then something like that all of a sudden he remembers it and this matters?

LOTTER: I don't think so. Because I also remember being with the vice president that weekend and he said the president needed to go out and explain to the American people and he did. The vice president was on the campaign trail the very next day. We were fund-raising in Newport, Rhode Island, and we were then off and running again for the final month or so of the election and he hasn't stopped. In fact, he's in, I think, Papua, New Guinea, or in transit between Australia and New Guinea representing the president in the Indo-Pacific all week long.

BURNETT: Joan, here's the thing. Mike Pence, as you say, is, obviously, the "Access Hollywood" thing may or may not be significant at this point, but in so many other ways, I mean, loyal to a point where it's become sort of a joke and a punch line in some ways. I mean, here are some of the examples.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president to a president who's working every day to renew the greatness of this country.

From King David's time to our own, President Trump has now etched his name into the ineffaceable story of Jerusalem.

The book is entitled "The Art of the Deal" and it's actually an American classic.

Greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to a president who's keeping his word to the American people.

I'm deeply humbled as your vice president to be able to be here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He's known, of course, for his looks at the president.

WALSH: Longingly.

BURNETT: Look, if he is, as "The New York Times" reports, questioning the loyalty of a guy who says things like, you're like King David, "The Art of the Deal" is an American classic, then who the heck does the president trust?

WALSH: No one. I mean, I think we've gotten to this point where he is capable of questioning the loyalty of this man. I mean, even in that clip that you showed before where the president asked him to be his vice president, you know, and he said, raise your right hand, oh, no, don't do that. But he raised his right hand.

I mean, he is so responsive to this president's quirks and his --

BURNETT: That's an interesting observation. I didn't even notice that.

WALSH: He did. And his quirks and his insecurity and his paranoia, he is just a soothing presence that Melania is not to be honest, at least in the public sphere, I don't know what she's like at home.

So, it's -- I think it's terribly disloyal. This man does not -- I don't like him. Excuse me. I didn't vote for him. I don't know him personally. But he doesn't deserve this.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. And next, Kellyanne Conway's husband speaking out in a way we have never heard before. I'm going to speak to one of the men who sat down with George Conway.

Plus, President Trump called a race before it was actually ready to be called.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: If you were reveling a little too quickly, Mia Love is now in the lead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:31] BURNETT: Tonight, George Conway, Kellyanne Conway's husband, a respected conservative lawyer giving a blunt, to say the least, assessment of President Trump. Here is what he said when he was asked why he withdrew from consideration of a job at the Justice Department as chief of the civil division.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: I don't know what time of year it was, I'm watching this thing and the administration is like (EXPLETIVE DELETED) a dumpster fire. And I'm like I don't want to do that, I don't know. And then it's like -- then you got the Comey firing, and then you got him going on TV saying, I had Russia on my mind, and it's like oh, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, Dan Klaidman, the editor in chief of Yahoo News who interviewed Conway in the podcast called Skullduggery.

Dan, thank you very much.

I mean, a bleep show and a dumpster fire, and you know, putting his hand on his head, I mean, look, Conway has criticized the president on Twitter, but this is a whole new thing, a whole new game that you have now seen. Why is he doing this right now?

DAN KLAIDMAN, INTERVIEWED GEORGE CONWAY: Well, I think it was an evolution. He started doing it fairly subtlety at first, retweeting some people, and then starting his own tweets, and then overtime, he just got angrier and angrier and decided that it was time to speak out.

BURNETT: You know, you talked about when Trump won, he had tears of joy, George Conway did, right? He and Kellyanne at that point very much aligned. And you asked him about this. How does he feel defending voting for Trump? To make it clear, George Conway did vote for Trump. Here is how he answered your question.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CONWAY: I wasn't a big fan of the Clintons generally and my view was that he was the lesser evil, and --

KLAIDMAN: Is that still your view?

CONWAY: I don't know. I don't know. If I had to, you know, I just don't know if faced with the choice again, I would probably move to Australia.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BURNETT: I mean, do you believe him?

KLAIDMAN: I absolutely believe him. He has every incentive not to speak out, primarily the fact that his wife is one of Trump's top advisors. You know, but also a lot of people have not spoken out because they feel like they need support someone.

You know, these conservative lawyers, you know, primarily they are conservative about advancing a legal agenda and they are concerned about making sure that there are conservatives on the Supreme Court. And, of course, Trump has been able to do that with two nominations and I think Conway's view is a little bit of a devil's bargain, that some of these conservatives have kind of sold their souls, and his view is, you know, there is more than the Supreme Court, there is basic values.

BURNETT: I want to play another exchange. Your colleague Michael Isikoff here asking Conway about Kellyanne, right? I mean, these two people are married. The top advisor to the president is married to this guy who is calling it -- you know, throwing expletives around about how he feels about Trump.

So, here is this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KLAIDMAN: How is all of your activity, anti-Trump administration activity going on with Kellyanne?

CONWAY: I don't think she likes. But I don't -- you know, I told her I don't like, you know, the administration. So, it's even, you know, it's one of things. I mean, if I had a nickel for everybody in Washington who disagreed with their spouse about something that happens in this town, you know, I wouldn't be on this podcast. I've been probably on a beach somewhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. This is more than a normal disagreement. So, let's just be clear about that. But do you buy this? This is a typical D.C. marriage? KLAIDMAN: No, it is not a typical D.C. marriage. I think that, you

know, the fact that he said he started that by saying she is not happy with what he is saying, but he also doesn't like the Trump administration, it is reflective of what's really going on. And I think just looking at the sort of the tone and the body language, the sense that I got, and it is only a sense is that there is issues in the Conway household that remain unresolved on this issue.

BURNETT: Yes, look, I think anyone watching would expect that, but the question is, how does this -- what happens here? I mean, Conway recently wrote an op-ed in "The New York Times", right? And he was very critical of Matt Whitaker's amendment as acting attorney general. He said it was unconstitutional.

President Trump was asked about it. I just have to play this response. It's pretty -- well, you listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[19:55:01] REPORTER: Is Kellyanne's husband wrong?

TRUMP: Who?

REPORTER: Kellyanne's husband wrote --

TRUMP: You mean Mr. Kellyanne Conway?

REPORTER: He wrote that you were unconstitutionally appointing. Is he wrong?

TRUMP: He is just trying to get publicity for himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: First of all, it is just a demeaning thing, right? To call someone Mr. Kellyanne Conway is demeaning. You know, what about all the woman who've changed their names who've been called missus for all these years, right? Is that supposed to be demeaning? He finds out that he is like a boss. All of that goes in his category of how he treats mean.

But when it comes to it, is this going to end up a choice that Kellyanne has to make, do you think, Dan? Trump or her husband?

KLAIDMAN: It could, it could. It's hard to know. I mean, we have seen in recent weeks that Trump seems to privilege loyalty over almost anything else. I mean, there's a story today actually in "The New York Times" about questioning whether his vice president, Mike Pence, is loyal enough.

I think that's what's interesting about that clip and what the president said is it's right out of his playbook, which is to day, when he's not -- doesn't like someone or feels threatened by someone, he basically, his stock answer is I don't know that person. In this particular case, I think he just almost tried to just take his whole identity away saying, he's not going to say George Conway, he is Mr. Kellyanne Conway.

And when we asked Conway about it, his response was interesting. He said, well, I also, he kind of deflected it. And he said, I also call myself Mr. Kellyanne Conway. I think he's making a very different. He's doing that to say, I'm proud to be married to Kellyanne Conway. So he sort of pivoted based on what Trump said and made a more kind of magnanimous point.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dan. I appreciate your time.

KLAIDMAN: Happy to do it.

BURNETT: And some breaking news to tell you about. A major victory or Republicans in Georgia. Brian Kemp pulling out a razor thin victory in the race for governor. His Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams who was looking to become the first black female governor in history, acknowledging defeat just moments ago.

OUTFRONT now, Tom Foreman.

Tom, look, a lot of things to go through here, but this race seemed to be heading in this direction, basically leading one governor's race in limbo. That is Florida.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and then there was one.

Let's take a look here in Florida, it's still a tight race in a sense, but here's the reality. Andrew Gillum, the Democrat, was very much hoping that somehow as the recount happened, the machine recount, that some of these blue areas would somehow cough up enough votes to the difference.

But this is the real difference. He had to overcome a pretty big margin here, more than 33,000, almost 34,000 votes. There is no sign that is going to happen now. He is still saying you have to count every vote. Ron DeSantis already acting like the governor-elect. This looks like it's pretty much a done deal, even it's not officially that way yet, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. So, that's on the governor side. But the House, right, we have seen races come in throughout the week and there are few left to be called. One of them is Congressman. I have to say play it again, because the president was reveling in what was anticipated to be her loss the day after the election when it looked like she was going to lose. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK, we'll see if that is the last word here. FOREMAN: He's not very sorry about that, frankly, Erin, he seems

happy about in the sense that she didn't embrace him, so she went after him. But look at what has happened here. For the past couple of days, Ben McAdams has had a tiny lead over her. Just today, this thing rolled around again, and I want you to look at how close this is.

She is ahead by 419 votes, that is a tiny margin in all this, but the interesting thing for Donald Trump is, if it holds on, if she becomes the winner there, then yes, it is another Republican vote from someone that she shunned and treated badly. So, I don't know how much that is worth, Erin. This is the big map on all of this, the big map is that there is six outstanding, only two of them where the Republicans are now leading the vote.

One of whom is a Republican that he dissed. Hopefully the counting will be done before 2020 and we have to go to the next election, Erin.

BURNETT: I mean, yes, a lot of this has taken quite a bit of time. But when it comes to Mia Love, obviously his words, only likely to add fuel to her political dislike of him.

FOREMAN: In all fairness, what does she owe to him now? I would think kind of nothing.

BURNETT: Yes, I think that's fair to say.

All right, Tom. Thank you very much, as we're watching that.

Thanks very much to all of you for joining us. Have a great weekend.

Don't forget. You can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere, just go to CNN Go. We'll see you again on Monday.

"AC360" begins right now.