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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Roger Stone On Pleading The Fifth: "No Attorney In Their Right Mind Would Allow You To Put Yourself In That Jeopardy"; Trump's Trade War With China Intensifies After Exec Is Arrested. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired December 6, 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: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: Out front next, pardon me. The President's longtime Adviser Roger Stone showing there is nothing he won't say to get the President's attention. As Mueller is about to drop what could be his biggest reports yet.
Plus, concerns intensifying tonight over an all-out trade war after the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive. And unprecedented move the White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro is out front.
And Trump claims undocumented immigrants are taking American jobs. So why were they reportedly working in his room at the country club? Let's go out front.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, anything for a pardon. The President's longtime confidant, Roger Stone, speaking out today laying the flattery on thick. Hoping that President Trump is listening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER TOP ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I pray that he runs for reelection. I believe that he can be reelected if the next two years are anything like the last two years and I will be proud to stand with the President through thick and thin. Thank you and God bless you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: An excellent (ph) salute. This after the President praised Stone's, quote, guts and standing up for him in a tweet. Bob Mueller, of course, is investigating Stone's possible involvement in Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. The Special Counsel has spoken to several of Stone's associates, but he hasn't spoken to Stone himself. And today, Stone was publicly defiant, even as he made it clear he knows the walls are closing in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: Mr. Mueller and his strike force have examined every aspect of my life, my personal life, my family life, my social life, my business life, my political life, my sex life. FBI agents have been seen rummaging through my garbage, my cleaning lady was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. Stone is admitting Mueller is certainly looking at him closely. And he's well aware that in less than 24 hours Mueller will drop, look, it could be the two most consequential court filings so far. Filings that could lift the lid on the Mueller investigation. One a memo on what former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen allegedly told Mueller in 70 hours of interviews and how helpful he was, whether he should be sentenced into what. And a memo about what former campaign Chairman Paul Manafort allegedly lied to Mueller about even after agreeing to cooperate with him. And Stone truly in the center of this now.
He's a third part of a triumph world along with Manafort and Donald Trump himself. Manafort and Stone ran an influential Washington lobbying shop back in the day. Stone has been close to Trump meantime for 40 years and both Trump -- I mean, sorry, Stone and Manafort were close advisers to Trump during the election. This comes as we are learning who may be Mueller's boss as the Russia investigation comes to a close with these big decisions.
William Barr, former Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush is emerging at the top candidate to replace the fired Jeff Sessions, according to two people familiar with President Trump's thinking tonight. And a look back at what Barr has said in the past reveals that he and the President seem to be quite close on a few crucial issues. Barr seems to back up one of the President's favorite talking points, for example, about the Special Counsel, which is this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The problem with the Mueller investigation is everybody has got massive conflicts. I call them the 13 angry Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Echo Barr who told The Washington Post, "In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party. I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group". So that's on Mueller's team.
Barr also commenting on former FBI Director Jim Comey's firing, which is, of course, central to the whole investigation and obstruction of justice considerations writing in an a op-ed in May of last year. The headline "Former Attorney General Trump made the right call on Comey."
Evan Perez is out front in Washington. And Evan, there are certainly some reasons why people may have umbrage with this possible nomination of Barr. Democrats could raise heck about some of those things, but we also know that Barr and Mueller go way back. EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. When Bill Barr was running the Justice Department as Attorney General from 1991 to 1993, Robert Mueller was the head of the criminal division, so he was Mueller's boss back then and they had a very good relationship. People who know both of them I've talked to today said that they had a very good respect for each other. And over the years since Bill Barr has been in semi-retirement over the last few years, I think these are people who would have probably run into each other here in Washington. Both of them are Republicans.
Of course, Bill Barr was a supporter of President Trump. So it's not a surprise that he would be making some of these comments unlike a lot of people in the establishment. People connected to Bush 41. Bill Barr was a full-throated supporter of the President.
[19:05:10] But, of course, you know, the fact that the President is considering Bill Barr we're told that he is emerging as a consensus candidate for the President to nominate as the attorney general, of course, you mentioned we're waiting tomorrow, Erin, for a big drop from Bob Mueller and his current investigation. In particular, the memo that he's going to file tomorrow with regard to Paul Manafort, who you remember went to Bob Mueller and his investigators at least nine times, dozens of hours spent behind closed doors providing interviews.
And now according to Mueller has lied. So we expect we're going to see more about what exactly those lies are and we hope we might see a little bit more about what this investigation has turned up on to the central question, Erin, of whether or not there was any illegal coordination between people connected to the Trump campaign and the Russians, who by the way, were the people that Manafort was in business with for many, many years.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Evan. You know, as we said, the wall is closing into something. The question is what.
Out front now, Harry Sandick, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Anne Milgram, former Federal Prosecutor, and Patrick Healey, Political Editor for the New York Times, all with me. All right, Harry, Stone -- a lot to talk about here. Stone, I pray runs for reelection with the Nixonian -- I mean --
HARRY SANDICK, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Love it.
BURNETT: And, of course, he did work for Nixon. For those who think that that was accidentally, clearly, it wasn't. But after he spoke there, he spoke to our Sara Murray off camera to CNN and he would not say if he would invoke the fifth if contacted by Mueller. That's a hypothetical. Is it?
SANDICK: Well, I think at the end of the investigation into Stone, which there does seem to be an investigation into Stone --
BURNETT: Yes. SANDICK: -- it is often the case, but not always that the prosecutor will go to the targets' lawyers and say would you like to come in and make a presentation. Would your client like to testify in the grand jury or meet in a proper session? So many prosecutors, and I wouldn't be surprised it was the case here, would give him that opportunity, but many defendants would at least decline to do it themselves. Maybe they'd send their lawyer in to kind of make a pitch to say don't charge my client and here's why.
BURNETT: Interesting though as Stone is willing to -- I mean, so blatantly be a sycophant to the President. You know, I pray you run for reelection and, you know, I'm with you through thick and thin.
ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Yes, that message I think was for the President. And, you know, Stone is playing potentially the pardon card if he has get indict and charged and potentially go to trial. I think he would probably look for a pardon.
I also agree with Harry's point. You know, he -- it's clear he's under investigation. He's the target of a federal investigation. There's no reason why he would go in voluntarily right now. He's already testified in the House Intelligence Committee. Potentially could have jeopardy if he was not truthful before that committee. And so, any testimony he would give now, unless it was part of a proper which could not be use against him in addressed case, would be problematic.
BURNETT: And which is interesting, just to make the point. Of course, he is taking the fifth when it comes to a Senate request from Dianne Feinstein, which came yesterday. But, you know, the President the other day tweeted, you know, quoting Roger Stone, I will never testify against Trump.
The President continued in his tweet to day, "The statement was recently made by Roger Stone essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about, "President Trump"." "Still my favorite part of that tweet. "Nice to know that some people still have guts." And then Stone today continued, not just to say, you know, he'd prayed it on for reelection with him through thick and thin, he laid it on. He actually was very direct to the President. Here is Roger Stone today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: I was proud to see a tweet from the President of the United States who lauded me for my guts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: These two are so close. It's so important to remember that for years before Donald Trump became President, he'd a pretty closed circle around him of people who he trusted, who he got advice, both good advice, bad advice, you know, the dark arts of --
BURNETT: Forty years of Roger Stone.
HEALY: Forty years of Roger Stone. I mean, from the sort of the Roy Cohn, school of politics and having someone there who will, you know, frankly give you a lot of advice about how the ends justify the means. And, you know, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone were two key figures in that. And Roger Stone knows the words that the President wants to hear very much. He gave it to them. He was giving it to him again today.
But, again, this is such a major figure that Trump does have to worry about. The reality is that Roger Stone knows and has a lot of probably secrets around things like WikiLeaks, like Julian Assange.
HEALY: Roger Stone was someone who Trump would go to for sort of the extracurricular campaign activities. And Mueller, you know, knows that there's maybe something there.
[19:10:03] BURNETT: Right. Which is important because I think, you know, you have to remember Trump did take stock and faith in people who were sort of of his generation and of his age, you know, and respect them in a way he didn't. Some of the younger people, right, they knew more people that he had known for a longtime.
Harry, when we look at where we are, though, you've got, you know, Stone saying these things today on the eve of a crucial day.
BURNETT: Right? You've got the Manafort, what did Manafort lie to Mueller about, according to Mueller. And then of course, you know, Michael Cohen.
BURNETT: We're going to find out. Seventy hours. How useful it was. Michael Cohen could go to jail for incredibly a long period of time given (INAUDIBLE) out there. So if Manafort says, we really need to truncate that, that would be saying something, right?
SANDICK: Yes, I mean, I think that that if we see more than we saw a couple nights ago with the redacted document, we could learn some real details about the investigation. You know, normally when a cooperator is sentenced, it's at the very end of their work and the case is mostly over. And so the 5k letter, the substantial assistance letter, is usually not heavily redacted because it's all known. But here we're in this unusual position where someone like Cohen or the Manafort's story is still very much in the middle of the story. So I wouldn't surprise me that we see something like we saw with Flynn.
BURNETT: Look, we just -- I mean, we know there have been multiple avenues for Mueller, right, when it comes to whether it's obstruction of justice collusion, but then we just found out the other day formally saying multiple investigations --
BURNETT: -- in the Flynn filing.
BURNETT: So you have Cohen's, you know, essentially similar filing and perhaps with equal if not more reductions come tomorrow.
MILGRAM: I think I agree with Harry completely. I think if Manafort lied about things unrelated to the other investigations or about things that are not -- you know, let's say he lied about his personal finances, then we'll see exactly. Anything related to any ongoing investigation, we will not see. So, I think we're all going to be really curious about it. But I personally am prepared to read a lot of blacked out lines and perspectives.
BURNETT: Right. But I think the context there is really important. If it's blacked out, it matters to the Mueller-Russia investigation. If it isn't, it might be Manafort specifically.
BURNETT: So now William Barr. Obviously, you know, how do we take William Barr? A guy who said there's too many Democrats on the Mueller team, right?
BURNETT: You know, a guy who has questioned said the President should be allowed to start an investigation if he wants specifically referencing Hillary Clinton.
BURNETT: Right? This is a guy who has said he did the right thing with Comey. This is what Trump wants to hear. But, yet, he's an establishment guy --
BURNETT: -- who goes way back with Mueller.
HEALY: He's an establishment guy who, you know, Joe Biden praised during the Senate confirmation hearing back in the early '90s. You know, he's someone who got a lot of praise for running the Justice Department in a professional way. He's not someone who would seem like an obvious political lackey who would just protect the President as Trump said, you know, President Obama had and Eric Holder as Trump saw it, that we men (ph) a protector.
You know, William Barr doesn't seem to be that figure. So, he's sort of -- he maybe enough to kind of satisfy the President, satisfy the White House, which does want a permanent attorney general. But he's not the kind of person who is going to come in and give the President control over Bob Mueller. I mean, it does not look like that. And it seem like that was what the President was pushing at. BURNETT: It did. I mean, certainly he sees that headline although, you know, you have to read an op-ed to know what it says, but as we know it is the newspaper that writes the op-ed headline and not the person who writes the op-ed. Mitt Romney learned that the hard way. OK.
Thank you all very much. And next, President Trump said he was going to fix the trade deficit with China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a trade deficit with China of $500 billion a year. It's no good. But we're changing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's halfway through his term and today we found out that that trade deficit is at a record high. What the heck is going on? White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro is out front.
Plus, President Trump has railed against undocumented immigrants. So, why were they reportedly making his bed, cleaning his toilet at his country club?
And the North Carolina race roiled by accusations of fraud. The Democrat in that race a moment ago withdrawing his concession. The story getting bigger. The Republican chief out front.
[19:17:43] BURNETT: Tonight, an unprecedented arrest escalating Trump's trade war to a whole new level. One of China's most important business leaders arrested in Canada. She is the CFO of Tech Giant Huawei, one of China's marquee companies. Huawei makes more cell phones than Apple. Revenues this year are set to top Boeing's. The source telling CNN the view amongst some officials is she could be used as leverage with China in trade talks and of course the expectation is she will be extradited to the United States.
Out front now, Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy. OK, Peter, this threw everything into disarray today. It shocked everybody. What is going on here?
PETER NAVARRO, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: It's pretty simple. Two issues are totally separate. The trade negotiations and this arrest. The Justice Department acts on an independent track. The coincidence of the arrest happening in the same time frame was just that.
And what we need to do on the negotiation side is just proceed from the dinner that we had in argentina over the next 90 days to see if China can come to an accommodation with the bad behavior they engage in across a wide range of things. And meanwhile, the Justice Department will do what it needs to do.
BURNETT: But can I just ask you a question on this? I mean, if that's really what happened, the Justice Department did it, are you saying they didn't tell the President? He had no idea?
NAVARRO: Yes. And I was at the dinner with President Xi and President Trump. This was an amazing thing with two Presidents there. I was also an active participate in several meetings we had with the President leading up to that dinner. We had discussions with the teams, Steve Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow, John Bolton, Secretary Pompeo, of course, Ambassador Lighthizer.
This issue never came up. The President was unaware of it going into that dinner, as were all members of the team. And, look, I think what's interesting to observe here, is that the fact to the matter is the reason why we're having some trouble with China is they do stuff like this all the time. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they force technology transfer.
[19:20:00] So, on any given day, there have been actions taken against China over the course of the administration.
BURNETT: OK. But let me just ask you, because Huawei, as you and I both know, right, Huawei is a really important company, right? Its suspective (INAUDIBLE) ties to the Chinese government which is what you are referring too. But they sell more smartphones than Apple. The revenue this year set to top Boeing, which is the largest exporter from the United States of America. This woman is the daughter of the founder, the Chief Financial Office. It doesn't get more important than this.
So if the President didn't know and he's in the middle of trade talks with the President of China and this it happens, he's got to be po'ed, isn't he, that no one told him? I mean --
NAVARRO: Right. You'd have to ask the President. But, again, I think it's important, Erin. We're a democracy. We're not China. In a democracy we have the Justice Department that pursues felonious behavior. And the allegations appear to be --
BURNETT: But we have a President who regularly likes to tell the Justice Department what it should and should not be doing.
NAVARRO: Well, let's stay on point here. We're talking facts now. And I'm giving you the facts. So what I'm saying simply is that the Justice Department did what it had to do base on the evidence that was presented to them. Meanwhile, we were in Argentina at an extraordinary dinner.
I mean, if you want to get into some of the details, I think your viewers might be quite interested in that. But I think we said -- I think we covered the ground. Is there anymore you'd like to talk about?
BURNETT: I would like to ask you about the details. I personally think the President if he did not know about this has to be really angry because it doesn't add up. But I want to ask you about the specifics of the talks. They are important, right? You're there at the dinner. He comes out of the dinner and he sends some tweets that that's really what sent the market into chaos a couple days ago, right, when they fell nearly 800 points because he was tweeting specifics of a trade deal that would end tariffs. And then it appear there's no signed deal.
One of those tweets, Peter, "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the United States. Currently the tariff is 40 percent. Has China explicitly agreed to do that or not?
NAVARRO: So, first of all, on the market issue, you and I go back years ago we were on another network talking markets all the time.
NAVARRO: And my read of this market is that we have a very strong economy. All indicators are bullish. The market is trying to work through a number of things and slackness (ph) in the housing market triggered by some actions by the Federal Reserve and some other things there to assign this volatility to the trade issue I think is misplaced. Now having said that --
BURNETT: But I don't think there's any question in anyone's mind what caused the 800-point drop the other day.
NAVARRO: No, I think there's a big question in people's mind about that. I simply don't buy into that. I mean, you know this as well as I do, Erin. When you get a downward move in the markets in these days, you have all these electronic trading programs come in. They are not parsing that the way you and I might parse that. But anyway I think the more interesting question is what happened in that dinner.
BURNETT: Yes. So is that agreed to or not? The President specifically tweeted it. Is it like -- I mean, that's not a sign thing. Is that for real or no, right? That's a simple question.
NAVARRO: Well, certainly, we didn't sign anything over the appetizer. But here's what happened. Again, your viewers will find this very interesting.
NAVARRO: We came into that room as a team prepared to listen to the Chinese very carefully and prepare to leave that room and have the tariffs go up on January 1st or not. And what happened was something that's never happened in modern history. The President of China sat there for about 45 minutes with translation and basically tried to sell the American President on this deal. That's extraordinary.
You usually don't have the head of state of China doing that, as usually left to the minions. And it was extraordinary because he kept laying one thing after another on the table. There's the list of 142 items that China collected based on the original complaint that we made when we went over to Beijing with the team.
And so, my point is that based on what appeared to be sincerity on the part of President Xi and the warm chemistry between the two Presidents, at the end of that, there was understanding that the Chinese would proceed in good faith over the next 90 days.
NAVARRO: And that if they address of all these issue and I want to emphasize that because there's structural issues --
NAVARRO: -- and then there's this market access issues. Then we would see where we're at.
BURNETT: All right. So, where we are at right now this morning, of course, the numbers came out, the most recent numbers. The trade deficit between United States and China is at a record high, which, of course, Peter is the exact opposite of what the President has said again and again and again would happen under his administration. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a tremendous deficit in trade with China. We have to do something about it. We can't continue to let that happen.
[19:25:00] Our relationship is very good with China and we intend to keep it that way. But we have to do something to seriously relieve that trade deficit. We can't have a $500 billion a year trade deficit.
We have a trade deficit with China of $500 billion a year. It's no good. But we're changing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You know, when is he changing it, right? I mean, he's been in office almost two years. His term is almost half over. He talks like that all the time. And yet it just hit a record.
NAVARRO: So let's say two things here. First, I share completely the President's concern for the trade deficit. It represents a transfer of wealth, factories and jobs to foreign lands. We need to address that.
Now the reason why China's deficit continues to rise is precisely why it's going to be difficult to trust them when it comes time to sign any kind of deal. Two things that have happened. For example, is from the time that Ambassador Robert Lighthizer announced that there would be tariffs, we saw the Chinese yuan go down by almost 10 percent, which was clearly designed to offset the impact of the tariffs. At the same time in anticipation of the tariffs, the Chinese really upped their exports to the U.S. trying to stuff things into channels.
So, what I think will happen is with the tariffs in place, which are important and necessary to defend our technological crown jewels, we'll see structurally that deficit begin to come down. One of the things, Erin, that was addressed clearly at the dinner in Buenos Aires was China's currency misalignment, which historically has been egregious and continues to be egregious. So these things, we're trying to affect structural change here with our trading partners.
NAVARRO: For example, with the new USMCA replacing NAFTA, it's going to be a great deal, but it won't really take place, take effect for months more, same thing with core (ph). So, we won't feel the effects on the trade deficit until all of these things come in. But nobody is coming to the table unless President Trump is doing what he's doing, which is to be the toughest President on trade in history.
BURNETT: Maybe, I'm just pointing out the numbers show we're two years in and we're going the wrong direction. That's all I'm pointing out.
NAVARRO: I told you why I think that's so important that the President is committed to that. And structurally, what we need to do is to really nail that. We're working hard on it.
BURNETT: All right. I'm sure you are. It's always nice to talk to you. Peter, I appreciate your time.
NAVARRO: You take care, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you. And out front next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Illegal immigration takes American lives, American jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But why then were they reportedly making the President's bed? Plus Drew Griffin uncovering new evidence of more suspicious ballots in North Carolina as officials could be about call for a new election there.
[19:30:13] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, "The New York Times" is reporting undocumented immigrants are working illegally at President Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey golf course. Two women telling "The Times" they used phony papers to get jobs as housekeepers are saying, quote, many workers do the same.
One of the women, Victoriana Morales (ph), even told "The Times" that, quote, an employee of the golf course drives her and a group of others to work every day, she says, because it is known that they cannot legally obtain driver's licenses.
Amanda Miller, spokesperson for the Trump Organization tells CNN, quote, we have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and a very strict hiring practices. If any employees submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they would be terminated illegally.
OUTFRONT now, Steve Cortes, member of the president's 2020 Reelect Advisory Council, and Keith Boykin, former Clinton White House aide.
Keith, your reaction?
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is typical Trump inconsistency. We see this in the pattern and the past. We know he was having the Trump shirts that were made in Bangladesh. We know Trump ties were made in China. Trump suits were made in Mexico.
We know that Trump was hiring workers, seasonal workers who were foreigners for Mar-a-Lago in Florida. We also know the Trump's wineries were hiring seasonal workers who were foreigners in Virginia.
BOYKIN: So, Trump does a lot of talk about immigration and how horrible it is to have foreigners come in and taking our jobs. But he's one of the chief culprits who's guilty of that practice.
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The premise you're talking about there, Keith, is legal immigration in those cases in Mar-a-Lago and at the wineries. So, that's a key distinction.
BURNETT: This is illegal. Let's be clear.
CORTES: Right. And let's also be clear as "The New York Times" said in their story, there's no indication at all that the president knew about this or that management of Trump Organization knew.
BURNETT: So, can I just make one point on that? Because I happen to know people who work in these industries and have to hire people. It's common practice for people to submit false paperwork and everybody knows they do it, because you can't get enough workers. They have fake numbers. They do it.
Everybody knows. The IRS even knows they do it. "The Times" actually says they ran on this security number, to several public databases. None got a match, which is an indication it's invalid. The number at the back of the green card doesn't correspond to the format used.
Any basic smell test, it would appear this is quite common, OK? So when they say we have strict hiring practices, I call B.S. on that.
CORTES: I don't doubt some low level manager chose to not look with a skeptical eye.
CORTES: I'm not trying to demean her. She's a maid. She wouldn't have been hired by the president, right? She wouldn't have been hired by the CEO. BURNETT: I'm not yet talking about him. I'm just saying the company, you're saying that it would be low level managers that knew.
Here's the thing. What this case proves, I'll be the first to admit it's mildly embarrassing for the president. Someone that rails against illegal immigration and he has one working in close proximity to him.
BOYKIN: Not just one, others.
CORTES: No, one that we know.
BURNETT: Literally cleaning his personal room.
CORTES: Here's the thing. You know what proves the fact she was able to work there and the fact that she used counterfeit, illegally counterfeit documents to get that job. It shows how pernicious and pervasive this problem is.
BOYKIN: Trump is a hypocrite.
CORTES: Keith, that's not fair. He did not hire her.
BOYKIN: If his company was serious about not hiring illegal immigrants, they could have run a basic due diligence test through E- Verify to prove this wasn't true. Trump bragged in the campaign trail that he did E-Verify. And nobody's failed.
But clearly, he didn't do that. He was not telling the truth.
CORTES: He was talking specifically about the new Trump Hotel, which was his newest project and he said emphatically no one illegal was hired. We did E-Verify throughout.
So, that was important. This one was hired before he got into politics.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you a question, Steve, and you tell me whether you think this is relevant. "The New York Times" reports she doesn't speak English. She's a maid and does not speak English. Trump asked her her name, where she was from with her basic English and she said she's from Guatemala.
CORTES: Right, and his response was Guatemalans work incredibly hard.
BURNETT: He was generous, right? No one is saying that. But look, he's got a lot going on.
It would appear hard for him to not realize at that point. I'm on this platform. Make sure everything is clear over here. CORTES: If he were to say are you illegal, you would attack him for
being biased against foreign people.
BURNETT: I wouldn't suggest he would say that to her. He would make sure that his hotel was not doing that.
BOYKIN: Trump wants the police officers to be asking immigrants people who look differently.
BURNETT: No, he wants them to cooperate with federal law enforcement to get dangerous illegal aliens out of our country.
[19:35:01] BOYKIN: And the hypocrisy of you talking about the Trump Hotel E-Verify thing. When Trump built his own Trump Tower in 1980, he hired Polish undocumented workers to build that tower. He stiffed them. He didn't pay them for that.
It's true. It's documented. And this is a history. It goes way back. It's not something he started doing recently.
He's been doing this for decades and doesn't care about immigration against as a wedge to use against his opponents and to vilify people who he thinks can be easily demonized.
CORTES: That's totally untrue.
BOYKIN: The history suggests otherwise.
CORTES: According to "The New York Times" article today, there's 8 million illegal workers in the United States. I think there's more than that, but let's just accept "The Times", there's 8 million workers. Think of how much higher wages would be for American citizens, particularly working class people who do these menial jobs that we're talking about if we didn't have 8 million illegal workers competing.
Donald Trump identified the unfairness. He realized that both parties, Republican and Democrat, were complicit in tolerating if not encouraging illegal immigration.
BURNETT: So, you're saying the president is willing to hire people to do jobs and stiff them out of jobs?
CORTES: I'm saying he identified this problem, ran on it in 2016.
BOYKIN: He's the exploiter of the problem.
CORTES: Your premise is, though, that he interviewed her, knew she was illegal and hired her anyway.
BURNETT: Do you think he doesn't know people in the broader restaurant business, this is how it's done?
BOYKIN: Under the table.
BURNETT: This is how it's done. The fake numbers, everything. Everybody knows it.
CORTES: The service industry is unfortunately --
BURNETT: But the president not to be aware of that, that that's how his business operated --
CORTES: Of course, he's aware they are largely operated that way. But he's aware it needs to change. That it's incredibly unfair.
BURNETT: Wouldn't he want to set an example at home?
CORTES: He did. Because once he got into politics, he didn't know she was illegal. I guarantee she's gone now.
BURNETT: That's the whole thing. She's getting kicked out.
CORTES: By the way, she should. She should be. She's not a legal worker. She used counterfeit documents to obtain the job.
The president is the victim in this case. He's the victim of the fraud.
BOYKIN: I say one thing, she's a very courageous person to come forward and speak about this issue.
CORTES: There's nothing courageous about breaking into our country and taking a job of the American citizens.
BOYKIN: Speaking about the hypocrisy of Donald Trump and the administration, knowing she will probably lose her job and maybe deported, that takes courage.
CORTES: There's nothing courageous about coming --
BOYKIN: There's nothing courageous about hiring people who you know that you've been railing against in your campaign. That's not courageous either.
BURNETT: We hit pause for now. Thank you both. Good to see you both in person.
And next, CNN uncovering new evidence of questionable ballots in North Carolina tonight, allegedly to help the Republican candidate. The head of the North Carolina Republican Party is OUTFRONT next to respond.
Plus, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler today rolling back rules on the coal industry. This is the same Andrew Wheeler who used to lobby for the coal industry. That story, ahead.
[19:41:37] BURNETT: Breaking news, North Carolina's ninth congressional district race rocked by allegations of voter fraud now an even more turmoil this evening. The Democrat Dan McCready says he's withdrawing his concession after growing evidence of fraud, which allegedly benefitted the Republican Mark Harris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN MCCREADY (D), NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I didn't serve overseas in the Marine Corps just to come back home and watch politicians and career criminals attack our democracy. I call on Mark Harris to tell us exactly what he knew and when he knew it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Harris currently leads by 905 votes.
Drew Griffin, as you know, has been covering the story, investigating all week in North Carolina.
Drew, tonight, we have new information about suspicious ballots uncovered in yet another location.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Another county in that ninth congressional district, our own review, a CNN review of these absentee ballot mail-in envelopes found that just four people had signed dozens of those ballots raising the questionable validity of those ballots.
I want to show what I'm talking about. You're supposed to have two witness signatures on the outside. These are supposed to be your relatives or friends saying, yes, the person voting absentee is a real person.
This one person Lisa Britt, she signed 28 of those ballots in Robison County. She signed another 42 of those ballots in Bladen County. She's associated with this ring of workers who are working for a fellow named McCrae Dowless.
McCrae Dowless paid by the Republican candidate to get out the absentee vote. He's now the subject of a criminal investigation looking at, number one, did he stuff the ballot box with absentee ballots for the Republican. And number two, did he suppress the vote of Democrat absentee ballots by tossing them out. Both of those under investigation.
Also under investigation by the board of elections here. And as you just pointed out, more and more almost hourly now the credibility of this ninth district congressional race erodes -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Drew Griffin, who has been on the ground reporting on this.
I want to go to straight now to the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, Dallas Woodhouse.
And, Dallas, I appreciate your time.
OK. Trying to understand as much of this as we can tonight. First, you just heard Dan McCready taking back his concession. Do you support a new election in this race?
DALLAS WOODHOUSE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY: We're not quite there yet, Ms. Burnett. I mean, it is our position that the board of elections has to come out and lay out everything they know.
And the question of certification of the race, of course, is separate of the federal -- the criminal, federal and state investigations, which have to continue. We have to put people in jail who violated the law.
But the question of certification needs to be a numerical one. Is the illegal behavior, the bad behavior, enough to call into question the outcome of the race? If that is the case, the law requires a new election and we will not oppose it.
If the state board of elections can definitely say that the bad behavior, the criminal behavior that should be prosecuted did not rise to a level of putting the outcome of the race in doubt, then Mr. Harris needs to be certified.
[19:45:03] I think the more likely outcome is the board of elections is not going to have had sufficient time to answer those questions --
WOODHOUSE: -- and since the Democrats and the U.S. House have already said they don't plan to seat Mr. Harris, it seems like to me the investigation has to continue to these questions or answered for the people of the ninth district in North Carolina.
BURNETT: OK. But the bottom line is, you're waiting obviously for the number of questionable ballots to exceed the margin of victory for Harris, right? If I'm summarizing, but you're not going to lead on calling for a new election. You're going to wait for the board of elections.
WOODHOUSE: No, and I have talked with drew and this has been a systemic failure in the state of North Carolina for a decade or more between three different governors of both parties, between different boards of elections. Federal and state prosecutors have known about this for years. They haven't been able to get a handle on it.
The truth of it is, only the significant media sunlight, which has been a helpful thing to the people of North Carolina, they are the ones that are going to help get this fix for the future. But as good as those media reports have been, we don't call for new elections based on media reports, even as credible as they may be. We have to let the nonpartisan election investigators, who we have a lot of faith in, come in public and lay out the facts. Remember, it's also important that should a new election need to be
called that the people on the other side that voted legitimately and believe in their candidate are brought in on board realizing that this would be necessary. So it takes a full public airing of the facts.
BURNETT: I understand. So, let's talk about some of those starting with "The Washington Post." they are reporting and beg to differ with this if you want to, but they are saying you were told about suspected voter fraud in May after the GOP primary, in the same race. So GOP primary happens and they come to you. Aides to then-GOP Congressman Robert Pittenger, the guy who lost, telling you, again, according to "The Post", hey, we suspect voter fraud. Pittenger, of course, lost to Mark Harris.
So, they came to you and said, they were suspicious. Do you think you dropped the ball, Dallas?
WOODHOUSE: I don't. We vaguely recall some of that.
I think it's just important to remember that under party rules, we cannot interfere in primaries. Obviously, if we understood the magnitude of all this, but quite frankly, we get a lot of calls from candidates after think lose a primary, wanting us to referee disputes and we try to avoid that.
And even if we should have done something, let me say this -- all we could have done is call the state and federal investigators and the board of elections, which already knew. They already knew and knew for years and they weren't able to stop it. So, nothing we could have done would have stopped us being where we are, as bad as it is.
And I have to tell you, I told Drew this morning, I saw his reporting last night at 10:30. I went into the bathroom and started throwing up. The talk about manipulation of ballots of certain demographic categories is abhorrent to everybody in the Republican Party. I cannot think of anything worse. And it's just horrendous.
BURNETT: Look, when we look at the absentee ballots cast, which in the primary they say they specifically raised this issue, right, 22 percent in one county. The next closest county in terms of percentage of total votes was only 2 percent. I mean, when you look at, you know, a hockey stick, you got a hockey stick right there.
And this overall issue is something that you have spoken about very passionately. I want our viewers to hear.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WOODHOUSE: Should the election board find that these are absentee ballot mills, with the purpose of fraudulent voting, those people should go to jail. They should go to jail. They should spend the first term of the Trump administration behind bars.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: You were talking specifically about absentee ballot mills, as you call them. People should go to jail.
WOODHOUSE: Erin, let me be clear, that is still -- Erin, let me be clear, that's still my position. The people involved in this that executed it and knew about illegal behavior, they should be spending their time in prison through the second term of the Pence administration. That's not changed at all. That's why I'm here to talk about how bad this is.
Look, I'm just trying to say -- one thing is we do not necessarily examine the vote totals very closely of our winning candidates. We win and we move on to the general election. I did notice that Bladen County came out very favorable for Mr. Harris, but we didn't look at the absentee ballot.
Maybe we should have. We didn't. We asked around a little bit and what we were told is something that I think is true, but incomplete is that Mr. Harris had a number of churches that know him from his preaching and his evangelical positions and they were supporting him.
And that was enough for us to move on to a general election.
[19:50:00] WOODHOUSE: If we had said anything, we would have been telling the same investigators that already knew. They already knew.
BURNETT: Yes. All right. Dallas, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much for coming on and answering the questions.
WOODHOUSE: And thank you. And I want to shout out to CNN. Y'all have done a fabulous job and it's been helpful to the people of North Carolina.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. I hope our Drew Griffin is listening to that. Thanks again, Dallas.
And next, the Trump administration ignoring scientific evidence, helping out the coal industry in a very specific way, and the guy in charge used to be the lobbyist for the coal industry.
Plus, New York City's latest celebrity. This one is great. Jeanne coming up.
BURNETT: New tonight, the Trump administration helping out the coal industry. The acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler today announcing he's rolling back rules for new coal plants. This is the same Andrew Wheeler that was a lobbyist for the coal industry.
Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're putting them back into business. We're going to have clean coal. Clean coal. RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Keeping his
campaign promise, the Trump administration is trying to make it easier to build new coal power plants.
ANDREW WHEELER, ACTING EPA ADMINISTRATOR: We're rescinding unfair burdens on America's energy providers and leveling the playing field so that new energy technologies can be part of America's future.
MARSH: Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler was a coal lobbyist. His firm represented clients, including Murray Energy, which bills itself as the largest coal mining company in America. From 2009 until last year, Murray Energy paid his old firm nearly $3 million. Wheeler was cheered on by members and supporters of the coal industry Thursday, as he announced a proposal that will benefit his old industry.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: It's snowball.
MARSH: Wheeler is also a former top aide to climate change denier Senator James Inhofe.
Wheeler's new proposal would roll back an Obama era rule that required most newly built coal plants to drastically reduce their emissions. The agency's new proposal flies in the face of a recent Trump administration report that urges swift action in curbing greenhouse gases to avoid catastrophic flooding, drought, economic recession, and extreme heat due to climate change.
(on camera): Is this the sort of situation where you are ignoring this government report because it clearly said that we urgently need to curb emissions? This proposal seems to do the opposite.
WHEELER: We're not ignoring the government report, we're still looking at the report itself.
MARSH (voice-over): The report warns the economy would lose hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.
TRUMP: No, I don't believe it. Right now, we're at the cleanest we've ever been, and it's very important to me.
MARSH: Well, Erin, the Trump administration wants to roll back yet another environmental law, just as another new report warns that global fossil fuel emissions are about to hit an all-time high.
[19:55:02] That matters, because it's the emissions that scientists say that triggers those catastrophic effects of climate change. And, of course, today's announcement is happening as the world is meeting to talk about how they can curb their carbon emissions, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Rene.
And next, Jeanne Moos on the hunt for the most famous duck in the world. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: Tonight, why is New York, social media, and CNN's Michael Bass so obsessed with a particular duck?
Here's Jeanne Moos on a rare bird.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's the duck that all other ducks revolve around. A flaming star, the mandarin duck of Central Park. Ever since he parked himself here about two months ago, his celebrity has taken flight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's beautiful.
MOOS: Out of towners flock to see him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just for the duck, paid $50 to park.
MOOS: New Yorkers can't believe he's real.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks fake, honestly. Like am I being punked
MOOS: Regulars have given him names.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Mandy. Go ahead.
MOOS: Oh Mandy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I call him Mandy.
MOOS: Others have called him Mandarin Patinkin, after the actor.
He's also known as the most eligible bachelor in New York.
Mandarin ducks are native to East Asia, not North America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got two leg bands. So, he came from somewhere. He belonged to somebody.
MOOS: The going theory is Mandy escaped from someone's collection of exotic birds or someone dumped him here. His photo has made it all the way back to China in the People's Daily. He's on t-shirts and even inspired imitators like mandarin dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the talk of the town.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is almost a Picasso painting.
MOOS: Mandy the duck is catnip for the quackarazzi, photographers who are always training their lenses on him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to get some action shots and I got some of them flying.
MOOS: Urban rangers to keep an eye on him to make sure onlookers are --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Respecting the duck.
MOOS: Sure, over the weeks, his reputation has taken a hit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enchanting mandarin duck in Central Park turned out to be a mallard nipping jerk.
MOOS: We did see him repeatedly chasing other ducks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he looks nasty. He's like attacking them, that's not fair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, the mandarin just sitting there doing nothing.
MOOS: A case of mistaken identity, or perhaps Mandy is defending himself from underwater sneak attacks like this one.
A birder told "The New York Times" he's the Kim Kardashian of ducks. We tried to lure him.
Mandy. With his namesake song.
But it drove him back into the pond. I guess he wanted to duck Barry Manilow.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: I didn't know ducks could be so nasty to each other.
Thank you for joining us. Anderson starts now.