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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Comey Slams Trump For "Lying," GOP For Doing Nothing About It; Mueller Releases Memo On FBI's Interview With Flynn; Giuliani Hints Trump Tower Moscow Talks Lasted Longer Than Thought; Interview with Rep. Mike Quigley (D), Illinois; Source: Trump Privately Expressing Anxiety About the Markets, Dow Dives More Than 500 Points, Down Nearly Eight Percent in December. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired December 17, 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: Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, James Comey lashing out accusing the President of the United States of being a liar and of attacking the rule of law. The fired FBI Director shaming Republicans for not standing up to Trump.
Plus, what game is Rudy Giuliani playing? Is he a bad lawyer or muddying the waters to help Trump?
And breaking news, the Dow, plunging more than 500 points yet again. The market is right now on track for the worst December since the great depression all the way back to 1931. Is it fair to blame Trump or not? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Comey lashing out at Trump and the entire Republican Party. Former FBI Director Jim Comey on the Hill today, and he was there for another closed door hearing with Congress. After nearly six hours behind closed doors with members, Comey came out heading straight to the cameras to take the latest shot in his growing war with the President. This time he called the President a liar. No hesitation with that word, and he did so repeatedly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: The President of the United States is lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI, and attacking the rule of law in this country. The FBI's reputation has taken a big hit because the President of the United States with his accolades has lied about it constantly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Comey's anger and personal slams coming as Trump in just the past week, this is just the past week you're looking at, six tweets slamming Comey and the FBI, including personal slams like when he says, "Comey had no right heading the FBI at any time but especially after his mind exploded." I didn't make that up. That personal insult clearly though did not cause Comey to go in front of the cameras back that happened and days past with nothing from Comey.
What did cause him to speak out was the President's tweet yesterday. Trump, "Remember, Michael Cohen only became a rat after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable and unheard of until the witch hunt which he illegally started. They broke into an attorney's office."
OK. Comey taking issue with a very important thing here, the facts. The fact is, no one broke into an attorney's office, Michael Cohen's office was not broken into. The FBI had a court issued warrant. President Trump knows this, so there is no other word for his statement then that it was a lie.
Today, Comey saying Republicans need to step up and stand up to their leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: Republicans used to understand that the actions of a President matter. The words of a President matter, the rule of law matters, and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today?
At some point, someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their vase, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country. And not slink away into retirement, but stand up and speak the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pretty powerful words. Slink away into retirement. Obviously there are several individuals he's clearly referring to, even with that. Tonight, silence from those Republicans.
Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT at the White House. And Kaitlan, how is the President dealing with this shot from his nemeses Jim Comey, right? There was a moment, several long, long minutes today, right, where Jim Comey was on every single cable screen calling the President of the United States a liar.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And you can bet the President likely saw that, Erin. And I've talked to some White House aids, and they said there is almost no doubt that the President is going to respond to what James Comey said when he came out there and said, that the President is essentially trying to burn down the FBI. And that Republicans on Capitol Hill are his willing accomplices.
Now, that wasn't enough for President Trump to respond to. James Comey also flatly refused to take responsibility for any damage that has been done to the FBI's credibility blaming it all on President Trump and saying an all rest at his speed essentially.
Now, the question is not whether or not the President is going to respond to this because aides have said essentially, keep your eyes on your phone and your Twitter feeds because you can expect the tweet from President Trump in the near future. But the question here, Erin is, as the Mueller probe has progressed, President Trump has try to paint this picture of an FBI and essentially a law enforcement system that is biased against him. And the question is going to be raised after seeing James Comey come out, make those comments, is he helping or hurting the President's case there.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. And that is the crucial question, right.
So, let's go now to Josh Campbell, Former Specialist Assistant to the former FBI Director Jim Comey. No one knows him better. Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent with "The Nation" and Scott Jennings, Former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush.
Scott, look, a silent tonight from the GOP, even when Comey refers to some of them slinking away into retirement. I think we all can name some of the individuals to whom he is referring. Is he right that the GOP is to blame for part of this problem not standing up to the President?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, look, I -- with all due respect to my friend Josh, and I know he's going to want to comment on this because he's so close to Director Comey, but I can't really think of anybody in politics right now, in public life who has less of a political constituency than former Director Comey.
[19:05:13] The Republicans certainly don't pay much attention to what he says. The Democrats are still mad at him over 2016.
So, I know what he's trying to do tonight, he's trying to make up for his own shortcomings and his own contributions to the decline of the reputation of the FBI. And he wants to pin the blame on Republicans, Republican leaders who are retiring, the President, what have you. But I don't think it's going to work. I think his own reputation and credibility has taken a real hit since he left his post and for good reasons. So, I don't think many people on the Hill are going to pay much attention to what he says tonight.
JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: So, I think and so -- my brother Scott I love you, but I think the one thing that was missing there was an answer to the question which was where are the Republicans in standing up to these attacks on the rule of law. Now, the way I look at it and I've been long consistent in this that, you know, I distinguished between actions that Jim Comey took and Jim Comey the person. So, the actions he can speak for himself.
The person, when they try to, you know, label him as some kind of corrupt official I'm just going to speak out about that. But one thing that's interesting in these attacks on James Comey is that after James Comey was fired, 157 times President Trump tweeted that this lawful investigation is a witch hunt. After James Comey was fired, you had the President of the United States saying that FBI agents executing a lawful court order saying broke into the office of his lawyer. You had President's TV (ph) Attorney Rudy Giuliani saying that they're Nazi storm troopers. After James Comey was fired, you have Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee releasing this embarrassing memo whether they were cherry-picking intelligence to manipulate the pubic. I don't know how long the show is. I can go on and on and on that these all happened after James Comey was fired. So, yes, he has things that he has to answer for. But what we're talking about are the corrosive attacks the President is making on the rule of law right now on law enforcement for a political reason
BURNETT: OK. To the point you're making, when you talk about 157 times, you know, Joan, part of the issue here is, you know, Comey is standing up now, and he has obviously, he did his book touring, but today was a new level --
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, "THE NATION": Right.
BURNETT: -- in the way that he was saying liar. This all started by they broke into an attorney's office that particular tweet.
BURNETT: Which we know the President of the United States knows is untrue. OK. When he knows it's untrue it doesn't willingly -- I will call that a lie because it's a lie. That's specifically when Comey was asked about that tweet today. Here's how he respond. Let me play that.
WALSH: Got it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: It undermines the rule of law. This is the President of the United States calling a witness who has cooperated with his own Justice Department a rat. Say that again to yourself at home, and remind yourself where we have ended up. We have to stop being numb to it whether you're Republican or Democrat, you need to stand on your feet, overcome your shame and say something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Are people becoming numb to it?
WALSH: I think people are becoming numb to it. And look, Scott's right that there are folks on the left, and I'm one of them, who has issues with what James Comey did at the end of the 2016 election but this is separate.
First of all, he was called, instead of doing their oversight function with regard to the President, his administration, we now know there are 17 different investigations into some aspect of Trump's life. Instead of doing that, they continue, this is the second time House Republicans have hauled this man before them. He asks for the hearings to be open. They refuse, they say they have to be closed.
So, he had every right to come out and defend himself. And he's at the end of his rope to see people spend six hours on him rather than six hours on the President. And finally, I do think -- I believe the President has called Michael Cohen a rat before. But that tweet did take us into new territory.
BURNETT: I think --
WALSH: Calling a cooperating witness a rat and you're the commander- in-chief. There's something deeply wrong with that.
BURNETT: I mean, is sort of it's like it implies that you did something wrong too. I don't know.
WALSH: Well, it does. That's right.
BURNETT: It's something confusing about it. But Scott, the point that Comey is making here, just on the simple point about Trump lying, right? I mean, Trump is lying about the FBI breaking into Michael Cohen's office, OK. We know Donald Trump knows every intimate detail about that whole thing. At this point because he's comment on it consistently. When he lies like that, is that an assault on the rule of law? I mean, is there any other way, Scott, to look at it?
JENNINGS: Well, it's an assault on his own credibility and his own defense and his whole investigatory regime just because I think Director Comey lacks certain political credibility right now, doesn't mean everything he said today is incorrect.
JENNINGS: The President should not lie about this investigation. The President should not call Cohen a rat because it implies that he himself has done something wrong. The President on a stick to the arguments that actually are an affirmative defense to some of things he's been accused of as it relates to what Cohen pleaded guilty to.
So, no, I don't think the President should lie. I think the President should stick to the truth and stick to the things that are actually helpful and not self-defeating as it relates to defending against this investigations.
BURNETT: Josh, OK. Look, I think that was right powerful what Scott just said. But, OK, and here's the but, it's not just Comey, OK?
[19:10:02] And we're at a strange moment in this country. I get it. Everyone get it -- watching gets that. However, it doesn't make these easy things to listen to coming from people that we have always proceed to be, right, the leaders of law, a political people, right, because Comey is not alone.
Here are others, right, that lead the top intelligence apparatus to this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think some of his tweets just indicate how ill-suited he is for the presidency. And also some of his handling of some of these issues I think just demonstrates again, he is incompetent.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: He seems to have a separate reality for each day, each tweet, each statement in an interview which has little or no bearing to what he said in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: John Brennan also tweeted, Josh, recently, "I take great solace in knowing that you", he's telling the President, "realize how much trouble you're in, how impossible it will be to escape American justice. Mostly I'm relieved you'll never have the opportunity to run for public office again."
BURNEET: I mean, is that -- I mean obviously, they're trying to stand up for the rule of law. But is this risking muddying the waters and looking as if it is simply hate for Trump?
CAMPBELL: It could. And I tend to put Director Brennan in different category. I respect him. I think he's been a little more aggressive in his language that I would use. But as we look at people like Brennan and Director Clapper and Director Comey, this is the way I see it. You have people that spent their careers, dedicated to our institutions who served them. They weren't out making money, building buildings or, you know, on Wall Street, they were serving the nation, these institutions that they love.
So as they look at what's happening now the President of United States, the commander-in-chief systematically working to destroy these institutions, to undermine the rule of law, to undermine justice and the intelligence community for purely political reasons. What is the alternative? If they stay quite, he's corrosive narrative continues without response. So face with those options. I don't think you can -- there's anything you can do but speak out when you see an institution you love under attack.
WALSH: Quite honestly, I also think that if leading Republicans in Congress were doing more and saying more, some of these men might not be going as far as they're going, but I think, you know, all three of them have served both Republican and Democratic presidents. They've never seen anything like this. The partisanship around these legal questions I think is shocking to them, and enforces them to go further than perhaps they want to.
BURNETT: Scott, to that point, because I think Joan is completely right about if there were more people speaking in the GOP, right, they wouldn't be, right? They're only doing it because no one else is in that void. The question to you Scott is will they? Will anyone in the GOP truly stand up in a way they haven't before? Because there are -- you know, Richard Byrd continuing with that investigations, Senate intelligence in a very, you know, highly respected manner. But will we see outspoken --
JENNINGS: I think they're going to have to -- yes, I think they're going have to see more on the Russia collusion side than they have already. I don't think this campaign finance stuff as it relates to Cohen is going to roust any Republicans because, a, lot of Republicans don't think what's Cohen --
BURNETT: We're not going hear them stand up to the President about his words.
JENNINGS: -- pleaded guilty to his crime.
BURNETT: -- his words, Scott. Because, I mean, I understand what you're saying right, but that to me is a (INAUDIBLE) if they're hiding behind because what he -- he's still saying what he's saying, right? He still saying that the FBI is full of a bunch --
JENNINGS: I think that if the request is for -- sure, if the request is for -- that the question is when are Republicans going to, quote, do something or say something. I think it's going to be at the conclusion of the Mueller report, or when a congressional committee issues a final report that says, here's the truth and here's the full picture and here's the full story on Russia.
We don't have that yet. So, if you're asking me for an honest assessment, my honest assessment is, they're going to wait on Russia. They're not going to take debate on Cohen because they don't think it's a big deal.
CAMPBELL: So if I could jump in. So here's -- I mean, naive to say perhaps when it comes to politics, my specialty is law. But when the two collide I can't help but, you know, try to question and figure out, why is the party of law enforcement not standing up to attacks on law enforcement and the rule of law?. I genuinely don't understand it. And, you know, I think a lot of folks are maybe (INAUDIBLE) because if you look at law enforcement institutions, I know I served in one, they tend to hue conservative (ph).
I talked to FBI people nearly every day and they are furious at these attacks. People who are across the political spectrum, but more so on the right because they see their own party sitting there and not doing anything. So, that's the part I just can't understand. What is keeping these good people?
And Scott, you and I have talked, I worked for the Republican Party back in day before I went in the FBI. I cannot understand why these good people are not standing up to say, Mr. President, you're out of line. Our institutions of justice are more important than your political future.
BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much.
BURNETT: And next, we have breaking news, Special Counsel Bob Mueller, as we look here just releasing a memo about the FBI interview with Michael Flynn. This now highly contested interview. We've gotten new details about that and about Flynn's lies when he lied about contacts with the Russian officials.
Plus, Rudy Giuliani, his latest defense of President Trump. Was it on purpose or did he really do a lot more harm.
[19:15:03] And two new investigations reaching a stunning conclusion. Russian interference in the 2016 election worse than we've ever known.
BURNETT: Breaking news, Special Counsel has released a memo with heavy reductions, just looking at it here. And you can see some pages maybe not as bad as others, but obviously some pages heavy reductions about the FBI's interview with Michael Flynn. This was the interview in which Flynn lied to those FBI agents when they asked about his contacts with then the Russian ambassador to the United States, that of course, was Sergey Kislyak. Now, Flynn is due to be sentenced tomorrow.
Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT. Shimon, you've been looking through this very revealing document. And I say that even as sure there is -- there are reductions, but there's a lot of non-reductions too compared to some of the memos recently. There's a lot to learn from this.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: There are certainly is and really we don't get this kind of window inside of an FBI interview. Certainly not in these kinds of cases, sometimes it takes years before this kind of information is released. So I think it's important for people to keep that in mind.
PROKUPECZ: You know, we're certainly in places with this investigation that we never thought we would be. So what's important in all of this it's how the FBI really describes that interview with Michael Flynn at the White House. And essentially what you see in reading all of these is that Michael Flynn is downplaying his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
[19:20:00] Of course everyone was alarmed that Flynn would be having these conversations with the Russian ambassador. But what's clear is that the FBI here in a friendly manner approached this asked him questions and he essentially just downplayed the contact.
At one point, and remember that there was this discussion about whether or not after the Obama administration reacted by expelling some of the Russians, closing some embassies here in the U.S. whether or not Michael Flynn, that the FBI wanted to know whether or not Michael Flynn was having conversations with the Russian ambassador about the action that the Obama administration undertook.
He clearly, in this one conversation where the FBI asks him about that, he denies it. They asked him, did he encourage Kislyak not to escalate the situation and to keep the Russian response reciprocal or not to engage. And what the FBI agent says, quote, a tit for tat and Flynn essentially says not really. While when you read the statement of offense that the FBI in the Department of Justice filed against Michael Flynn that's actually not the case. Flynn told him not to escalate the situation. So clearly, here you have a good picture inside that FBI interview of what was going on, how Michael Flynn was responding. And tomorrow, certainly, as you said I just sensing we will hear more.
BURNETT: All right, Shimon, thank you very much.
All right, as we're starting to go through this here, I want to go to Harry Sandick, Former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and also with me, John Dean, of course, the Former Nixon White House Counsel.
OK, so Harry, this is 10 pages.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes.
BURNETT: But there's a lot of it that is not redacted some of it which is. We weren't expecting to get this, I know it's going to name like a three or two but we're not expecting to get it. What's the significance of what that it's here and what we're learning?
SANDICK: So the judge wanted to see this before sensing Flynn because Flynn's lawyers essentially tried to make it seem like the FBI was maybe pulling a fast one on Flynn that it was all just a big mistake. And then Mueller's response was not at all, we gave him every opportunity to tell the truth. And the judge said, I'd like to see the actual report. FBI interviews aren't typically tape recorded or videoed, so this is the best record of what happened at interview.
And the judge today said, you know, this is a public court proceeding. This document should be public so that everybody can read it. And that's why we got it. And when you read it, it does support what Mueller said. They gave him many opportunities as Shimon was just explaining almost reading back verbatim things that he said and saying is that what you said? And Flynn denied it over and over again.
BURNETT: Right. And yet, John Dean, of course Flynn says, oh, you know, I don't really totally understand his defense but, you know, I guess you weren't -- you didn't tell me that I couldn't lie or I didn't understand but I couldn't lie. And so, therefore, the interview wasn't fair. It was certainly not what comes across from this.
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well this belated defense is something of a tempest in the tea pot. Flynn has clearly pled guilty. As Harry said, the reason this document is public, is the judge wanted to see it, and that's why it was forced out, and I guess it's appropriate. And as Harry also mentioned, these are not recorded, which has always been one of my bifs with the FBI given the technology today. Why don't they record these? They resist it because they sometimes play a little bit with their interpretation. I don't think that happened here, but I would feel better if there's a recording.
BURNETT: I think it's just -- I'm glad you say that because I think a lot of people watching would say, I mean, at this point in history with the technology, we have why not. April, it is though a pretty stunning thing for them to release this literally hours ahead of his sentencing.
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes. Well, you know this is transparency I guess to a certain extent at its best, to really find out and it also gives those who say this is a witch hunt or it's not right. More understanding into what's going on.
And you have to remember even though he will be sentenced tomorrow, there's a recommendation by Mueller for him not to be sentenced, because he's still very valuable, very valuable to this investigation, this Russia investigation. I mean, 2016 -- I mean, and when you look at it, 2016 was the time that this President was trying to be president. And that's a critical time. And any time you have this kind of situation where those connected to the President have issues of wrongdoing and lies, it leads into other things, and this is the problem for this White House.
And for those who also say, you know, why is this, you know, such a big deal, because you cannot go in to -- I equate it and I said this before, you cannot go into a home and a police can't go into a home and look for let's say drugs, and they see that the wife or the husband is being abused and ignore it, you've got to bring it all into the scope.
[19:25:04] BURNETT: So this comes as Rudy Giuliani has done something which is quite hard to understand, so -- but possibly incredibly important. And this is introducing a new and possibly much more damning date on the time line, as to when discussions with Russians on a Trump Tower in Moscow ended, right? Michael Cohen had said, OK it was June of 2016 which was pretty bad that the President said all sorts of cow telling things up until that point.
Now, Rudy Giuliani is saying it went all the way until November, election. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: Did Donald Trump know that Michael Cohen was pursuing the Trump Tower in Moscow into the summer of 2016?
RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL LAWYER TO TRUMP: According to the answer that he gave, it would have covered all the way up to November of -- couple of November 2016. He said he had conversations with him about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Harry, OK, November of 2016. That is not the summer, that's November. So that's six months later that Michael Cohen himself said these discussions were going under. Was that purposeful by Rudy Giuliani?
SANDICK: I'm going to assume that it was purposeful. I guess you -- It's maybe not our safe assumption, but assuming that it was purposeful, it was to draw the sting of some revelation that we're about to hear either in a charging document, in Mueller's ultimate report, so that Giuliani isn't out there advancing the June date when he knows that in a matter of days or weeks, the November date will take hold.
BURNETT: So I mean, you know, John, to that point, because when you add six months, you add six months where now you could have had discussions going on about Trump Tower in Moscow which involved offers to Putin himself, while Donald Trump is on tape saying things like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn't that be good? I mean, is that a bad thing? Like Putin, Putin called me brilliant, I like it. They want me to disavow.
They said, we would like you to disavow that statement. And I said, you think I'm going to disavow that statement, are you crazy?
I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly but there's nothing I can think of that I'd rather do, than have Russia friendly as opposed to the way they are right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: John Dean, those three things happened after Michael Cohen said discussions were over, but now in the interim, right, before Rudy Giuliani is opening the door to those discussions being over. Why in the world would Rudy Giuliani do this unless Harry is right, and he knows something pretty damning is going to come on the time line?
DEAN: We also know that the Russians were upping their game and they're trying to deal with our election process during the same time period that he's now expanded outward. With Rudy, you never know if he's ahead of or behind the curve, if this is an intentional plant to draw the sting or a mistake. I've -- I never can be quite sure with Rudy, but it could well cover a lot of activity that would be charged and not make him look like a chump if it's right.
BURNETT: I mean, April, you know, to the point here about Rudy Giuliani, he just came out and completely changed his time line and then it looks like, you know, he's front running something really bad, or he made a huge mistake. I'm remembering when he added the President for lying about Stormy Daniels, right? And here he is doing that.
RYAN: Yes. Yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman 130,000, I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money. Sorry I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. It's not campaign money. No campaign finance violation. So they funneled it through a law firm. Funneled through a law firm and the President repaid it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, I didn't know he did.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There's no campaign finance law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, the headline there was, the President knew about it, and he repaid it, April. And then -- And you heard Sean Hannity sort of like, OK, let's talk about campaign law. The point is, Rudy Giuliani has done this before. By the way, he front ran the President of the United States having lying about Stormy Daniels there. It looks like now that was purposeful, could this be the same?
RYAN: Right, right. Trying to cushion the blow before the blow comes. But at the same time, you know, you've heard from so many people to include people in the White House who are talking quietly. Rudy Giuliani gets out in front of them before they even know. And many people are saying, Rudy Giuliani needs to stop talking as well as the President, because they are putting more nails in the coffin and closing their own coffin.
But the bottom line is, when you talk about this payment, and I'm going back to 2016 again, and that timeline of November. November was a big month. November was the lead up to the election, then the election that you have President elect. Either way, no matter what part of November this happened in, it doesn't bode well, it looks like it's more about personal interest and personal gain for this President to be or President elect to have over the good of the country.
BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much.
Could be the best defense he's going to be able to come up with is, I didn't think there was anyway I was going to win, so I kept up trying to get the tower the whole time. I don't know.
Next, more questions about Rudy Giuliani's defense strategy. When Giuliani was mayor, he was so tough on crime. But now as Trump's attorney, some crimes are no longer crimes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP ATTORNEY: It's not a crime, George. Paying $130,000 to Stormy whatever and paying 100 to the other one is not a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, two explosive reports say Russia used every major social media outlets to influence the 2016 election, much deeper, much broader than we knew before. And a top Republican says it has not stopped.
BURNETT: Tonight, new details breaking about the enormity of Russia's interference in the 2016 American election, and the lengths that Russia went to to help Trump both during and after the election. There are two new reports that were commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee, bipartisan, analyzed more than 10 million tweets, 116,000 Instagram posts, 61,000 Facebook posts, by the Russian government-linked Internet Research Agency.
This is a group, by the way, I want to be clear which has been indicted by the special counsel Bob Mueller earlier this year, right? So, it's not just someone saying, oh, they're kind of linked to Russia, they've been indicted, OK?
One report finding, quote, what is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party and specifically Donald Trump.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley from Illinois, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thanks very much for taking the time.
Look, the U.S. intelligence has come to this conclusion, but this is significant because it is coming from a Senate Intelligence Committee. This is a bipartisan release, OK? This is bipartisan saying they've evaluated this, and it was done by Russians to help Republicans and specifically Donald Trump. Your reaction?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: It's a bipartisan release, but the response has not been. Look, we've known for a while, the Russians are really good at weaponizing social media.
[19:35:02] It's been part of the Kremlin playbook for decades now. We know how effective and sophisticated they are.
Our response so far, recognizing it's ongoing has been to -- on the Republican side launch another attack against who? The intelligence community. The FBI, the Justice Department.
Other countries have responded this in a much more effective way, bipartisan manner, to educate and inform the American public, to hold the social media platforms accountable for their public responsibility. We're simply not doing this. As a result, the Russians efforts will be ongoing.
BURNETT: Now, to this point about ongoing, right, the report finds that it continue after the election, it continued with the purpose of helping President Trump. I want to put in perspective here the actual effect on the election results, because this is a crucial thing, right, that I feel like people keep revisiting.
Did the interference sway the election? Or did not, right? First it was no, it didn't. And people asking the question whether it did or didn't.
Let's take Wisconsin. President Trump won that state. It was a crucial state. It was close. A big reason that he won was -- black turnout, down 25 percent in the state in 2016 from 2016, which was obviously Barack Obama's second term.
Was the extent of the Russian influence campaign, OK, which we now know from this report targeted African-American voters. Was it enough to swing the election of Trump? I give you the example of Wisconsin. What do you say swing or influence?
QUIGLEY: I think you have to look at three key states that swung that election, the Electoral College -- Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Together the vote difference in all three states that amount or a number of people that would fit into Soldier Field in Chicago. It's a really small amount.
The extraordinary effort here by the Russians had some dramatic effect. How to quantify that is extraordinary difficult. I think what tells us is the Russians won, right? No matter what the result was in the election, I think it had a dramatic impact on this, they won because we were so willing to believe all of this.
And it wasn't just their efforts as you reference, the African- American community. Their efforts to, in a positive way, posit the Trump campaign helped as well. I'm not the kind of expert that tells you how effective tweets and other social media platform efforts are, but obviously it had a dramatic impact. I think others have suggested that the election was won because of this.
QUIGLEY: If you coupled it with everything else that took place, the Comey statements just weeks before the elections, the fact that the Russians hacked and dumped all these e-mails, had some impact on the election.
QUIGLEY: I was told you're never going to go forward effectively if you're just going to focus on relitigating the last election. My response is, we're never going to have the democratic, free and open process, if we don't stop this now and recognize the impact we've already faced.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about a development in the investigation. In the "New Yorker", Jeffrey Toobin interviewed your colleague, Congressman Schiff, incoming chair of your committee, as you all been investigating this. And soon-to-be chairman Schiff says he plans to subpoena information on Trump's transactions with Deutsche Bank because of Deutsche Bank's long time relationship with Trump and its past ties to Russians and money laundering.
Now, look, everybody has followed this whole investigation has heard about Deutsche Bank. Do you think there's a smoking gun there that no one has found yet? Is it really possible or people are just saying, oh, Deutsche Bank and there's nothing there?
QUIGLEY: I think Deutsche Bank has a history of being one of the few banks that financed the Trump Organization for the last decade because of their problems with American banks and their own financial problems. I recognize as we know that they were fined $600 million for illegally laundering money for the Russians in New York state.
So, I guess after watching this and being part of the investigation for two years, there are no coincidences. I just began to look at this in Cyprus over a year ago. I think there's a lot more to learn.
And I guess the last barometer here is, how does the president react when the president gets close or even discussions come out about the finances? He calls it the red line, that's when he was first threatening to fire or attempt to fire Mueller. So, there's certainly a lot of smoke there, I think the American public deserves a right to know exactly what was done there, not just because Mr. Schiff recognized the possibility of compromise.
[19:40:05] BURNETT: Yes.
QUIGLEY: I think there's been something even bigger than that's play here, and that is what was the president's interest during the campaign? As a candidate, was he looking out for the American public, Russian oligarchs, his own personal finances? Fair questions.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Congressman.
QUIGLEY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, from America's player to Trump's attorney, our special report on Rudy Giuliani, because I've got to tell you, the tape here is incredible. The then and now. No -- there's no situation where it's more stark.
Plus, another rough day on Wall Street, the Dow plunging 508 points. We are learning about just how anxious the president is about this development tonight. That's coming up.
BURNETT: Tonight, Rudy Giuliani does a 180. Giuliani says possible campaign violations are not a crime. Neither is collusion, which is conspiracy by another name.
But this is the same man who has cracked down on the pettiest of crimes, litter, public urination. What happened, Rudy?
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Your response?
GIULIANI: Pathetic. The man is pathetic. TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whether he's attacking
the president's former attorney for cooperating with the special counsel or suggesting another Trump insider turned witness was entrapped.
GIULIANI: That's a setup, they set up Flynn. Look at what they did with Flynn.
FOREMAN: Rudy Giuliani bats down every accusation that Donald Trump has done anything wrong. Hush money to women who say they had improper relations with Trump?
GIULIANI: It's not a crime. It's not a crime, George. Paying $130,000 to Stormy whatever and paying $100,000 to the other is not a crime.
FOREMAN: Trump denies the affairs, it's a far cry from Giuliani's days as New York's mayor in the mid to late '90s. He went after subway fare cheaters, jaywalkers, vandals, panhandlers and more.
Back then, Giuliani swore by the broken windows theory, you stop big crimes by going after small ones, dotting every I, stopping every pee.
[19:45:01] GIULIANI: You've got to pay attention to somebody urinating on the streets. It may be a minor thing, it may be a serious thing, but you cannot ignore it, you have to deal with it. It is against the law to urinate in public.
FOREMAN: His singular focus on minor offenses became a Seinfeld bit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're starting the press conference.
GIULIANI: Mayor Giuliani will do everything possible to cleanse the city of this falsified nonfat yogurt.
FOREMAN: Still, crime did decline.
So, when the Republican convention to nominate Donald Trump needed a law and order speaker? Guess who got the nod.
GIULIANI: It's time to make America safe again. It's time to make America one again, one America!
FOREMAN: Now he takes on any and all Trump accusers. Allegations the president was negotiating business deals with Russia, even as the Kremlin was interfering in the election.
GIULIANI: Collusion is not a crime. It doesn't exist.
FOREMAN: Suggestions the special prosecutor's probe is justified.
GIULIANI: I'm telling you, George, they're going to look for unpaid parking tickets. And see if they can nail them for unpaid parking tickets.
FOREMAN: The change is startling. He was once a zealous prosecutor. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now we have him lying to the public, changing the facts left and right to suit whatever pr purposes he's cooked up for the president. It's really disappointing and I think it undermines the Department of Justice.
FOREMAN: The reason you hear opinions like that from former colleagues and people who have followed his career closely, when he was locking up white collar criminals and mafia bosses is that this is simply so astonishing, Erin. This is a very big change for a man who once said there were no small crimes.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, nonfat yogurt to collusion and conspiracy was quite a leap.
FOREMAN: That was fiction, but the rest of it was fact.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Tom Foreman.
And next, the Dow dropping another 500 points. The worst December right now on pace for the worst December since the 1930s. One official telling CNN the president now expressing anxiety, even as publicly he insists that the economy is strong.
And Jeanne Moos on Trump's tough talk. Why is he sounding a bit more like this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I'll give it to you through the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, a source telling CNN the president is privately expressing anxiety about the markets.
The Dow today plunging another 508 points today. And when you look at it, the Dow and the S&P are -- well, would make anybody anxious. They're on track to the worst December performance since the Great Depression, all the way back in 1931. And the Russell 2000 index, which is often seen as the canary in the coal mine, both for better and for worse tracks smaller companies is now down 20 percent from its record high in the summer and that would put it in a formal bear market.
OUTFRONT now, Catherine Rampell, columnist for "The Washington Post", and Stephen Moore, informal White House adviser, author of "Trumponomics".
[19:50:00] Catherine, look, the president is nervous, OK, as should all Americans be, right? You got a pension, you got a 401(k), you got any kind of investments, you have been taking some serious pain in recent weeks.
How worried should the president be?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it was always a dumb idea for him to stake the metric of his performance on the stock market, right? I mean, presidents don't control stock markets. Even they did, even before this rout, he did not compare favorably, actually, to Obama, and of course, what goes up can also go down. So, yes, he should be nervous because he's the one who told us, this is how you measure the success of my presidency.
BURNETT: I mean, Steve, he has said that repeatedly, right? He said, look, the economy is great. The economy is great, and, of course, the markets, which are up, they are up from inauguration, still 19 percent. Steve, but every day when it went up, he would be tweeting about it, and now, of course, the silence is -- well, you know, very silent.
STEVE MOORE, INFORMAL WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, one of the lessons here, Erin, something I've said on your show many times, which is that markets don't like trade wars, and we're in a trade war with China right now. I think it's an important trade war for Trump to win. There's so much uncertainty about how this is going to turn out.
I'm somewhat optimistic Trump is going to pull out a victory here. But there's no certainty about it. But one thing I would say, Erin, that I disagree with you a little bit is look at the fundamentals of the economy, I think they do look strong. The reading for the 4th quarter which will end in a couple of weeks, is 3 percent growth which is strong, manufacturing is good, construction is good, industrial production is good, consumer confidence is good.
So, there seems to be right now a disconnect, in my opinion, between where the stock market is headed which is south and the real economy, which is, you know, north.
RAMPELL: I would argue that there are actually some worrying signs in the economy. It's not clear that we're immediately going to have a recession. I don't want to freak people out, but, you know, housing looks weak. We have this big run up in risky corporate debt. The yield curve has partially inverted, which has always happened preceding recessions over the last 50 years.
So, there are some worrying signs both in the markets and in the real economy. And basically, what you see is that Republicans borrowed $2 trillion for tax cuts a year ago, and have very little to show for it other than a lot of stock buy backs.
MOORE: We got a lot of growth out of it. Look, my point is Trump is really, I mean, almost staked his whole presidency right at this point, Erin, on pulling out this trade deal with China. Now, it's a hard thing for him to do because that means Beijing has to cooperate, right, they have to come forward in the next 60 or 70 days.
BURNETT: Or he can cave and pretend he did a deal and declare victory. The question is how much internal fortitude does he have to not do that?
MOORE: Well, this is the fight of our lifetime. We are in a cold war with China right now, and I think capitulating to China would be, in my opinion, the worst of all options for the long-term security for our country both with respect to national security, economy security. So, we've got to get --
BURNETT: You're saying we didn't want this war, now we're in it.
MOORE: Well, there's no turning back. We've been on a trade -- as Trump said, we have been in a trade war for ten years with China, and we have a president who's calling them out on it.
RAMPELL: Well, the obstacle to coming to a deal with China is not only whether China is whether to give in, it's also Trump keeps changing his mind what he actually wants China to give in on, right? As we have talked about, Stephen, many times on this show and others, the actual sins that China has committed have to do with like very deep structural issues including their subsidies for state owned enterprises, their disrespect for intellectual property, et cetera, whereas Trump mostly wants to talk about the deficit, the trade deficit, which is not at core the main problem here, and which most economists would say --
BURNETT: And a trade deficit that has made many Americans standard of living surge, for better or worse, we all must admit that.
MOORE: Americans are behind Trump on this trade dispute with China. I mean, I think people finally -- look what happened last week, Erin, with the cyber security breaches and so on, and the espionage. I mean, this is a country that is bad actor on the world scene on every stage. We can't cave in on them.
RAMPELL: If you look at Americans opinions about trade over the last few years, they have become more pro-trade.
MOORE: That's good. I'm pro-trade.
RAMPELL: I'm pro-trade as well. I think Trump is on the wrong side of the messaging here, in fact, there's a myth that there was a surge of protectionist sentiment over the last few years and it's just not the case.
MOORE: We're going to get a big stock market rally, and that's what I'm counting on.
BURNETT: We'll see. We're on pace of the worst December since the Great Depression. We're down 4 1/2 percent this year. But the Dow is up 19 percent since inauguration. So, it's two very different tales, we'll see which one --
RAMPELL: It was up way more after Obama, I'll just point that out.
BURNETT: Thank you both.
BURNETT: Jeanne Moos on Trump talking rats. Is the president trying to sound like Tony Soprano?
[19:57:55] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump's tough talk goes to the mattresses. Here's Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When President Trump referred to his former attorney as a rat for talking to the government, critics came scurrying.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Frankly makes him sound more like a mob boss than president of the United States.
MOOS: And not for the first time, the president had previously tweeted about a John Dean type rant, prompting someone to ask sarcastically, is this your James Cagney imitation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I'll give it to you through the door.
MOOS: Or maybe the president prefers the Sopranos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three months ago by you, the rat (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
MOOS: The president has tweeted admiringly of how Paul Manafort refused to break. He wondered who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone or Manafort.
Former FBI Director James Comey noted a similarity.
STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT HOST/COMEDIAN: The way the Trump administration is organized reminded him of something.
JIM COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I had a flashback to my days investigating the mafia.
MOOS: But Colbert didn't think the president was tough enough to be a mob boss.
COLBERT: Luca Brazi sleeps with the fishes but I sleep with the filet of fishes.
MOOS: Another phrase the president uses?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Flipping, they call it. I know all about flipping.
MOOS: You know, you could almost mix up quotes from Donald Trump with quotes from the actual don of a crime family.
Who said it, Trump or Gotti asked "The New York Times," he doesn't know me but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way, was Trump not Gotti responding to a Joe Biden taunt about fighting Trump. Working in construction, Donald Trump couldn't entirely avoid the mob.
DAVID LETTERMAN, LATE NIGHT HOST: Do you use mob concrete or not?
TRUMP: Well, it is the best concrete.
MOOS: And President Trump knows all the best words, mob words.
TRUMP: I know all about flipping for 30, 40 years, I have been watching flippers.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN New York.
MOOS: What a parting shot. Wonderful by Jeanne as always.
Thanks so much for joining us.
"AC360" begins now.