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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Interview with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; Court Filing Reveals Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Shared Polling Data with Russian Who Has Intel Ties; Soon: Trump's Prime-Time Speech Selling "Crisis" To Justify Wall; Soon: Trump to Deliver Prime Time Oval Office Address. Aired 7-8pm ET
Aired January 8, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:05] ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: Out front next, a credibility crisis. President Trump about to address the nation making his case for the wall. Can he convince the public he's telling the truth?
Plus the Congresswoman who called Trump a mother f'er who should be impeached is out front. Any regrets? And breaking developments on the Russia investigation, Paul Manafort sharing campaign information with a Russian tied to intelligence. Let's go out front.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, Trump's crisis. You're looking at a live shot of the White House where tonight President Trump will address the nation using the gravity of the Oval Office to make his case for building a wall on the border with Mexico and for shutting down the government for 18 days and counting to do it. According to sources, the President will use individual family stories to make a claim for a crisis along the 2,000 mile border with Mexico. And the word crisis is what this is all about for team Trump. He has to prove that there is one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation is also in the midst of a crisis on our southern border, crisis at our southern border. Crisis at our southern border. Crisis at our southern border.
Crisis at our southern border. Undeniable crisis at our southern border. Crisis at our southern border. We have a national crisis.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have a national crisis.
We have a national crisis. We also have a humanitarian crisis at our border.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: The humanitarian crisis. Humanitarian crisis at the border.
Humanitarian crisis at the border.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a crisis at the border. A absolute crisis. It's a national emergency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: If you say it enough will it be so? In a conversation with reporters, Vice President Mike Pence and several other members of the administration used the word crisis 37 times. But as of right now, the only real crisis that the administration is facing is a credibility crisis, convincing skeptical lawmakers and a public that there actually is a crisis and that the current standoff is actually worth it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: I know you're covering it, but he also needs to cut out the middleman because there's a lot of misstatement and lies told about him routinely every day. Just look at around. And so he needs to make sure that he can get his message directly to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Lies and misstatements about him? All right, let's be clear because right now it's the President and his administration who have been misleading the American public. Today, Vice President Mike Pence again citing this statistic when talking about the need for a wall along the southern border only. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: Nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to come into the United States through various means in the last year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. That's highly misleading at best because Pence is talking about a wall on the southern border. That's the whole crisis, right? We need the wall on the southern border.
And according to a senior Trump administration official, only about 12 of those terror watch list individuals were stopped at the southern border. That means 3,988 of them were not trying to come in via the southern border. OK. So maybe those other places are something to talk about? No, not to this administration.
Let's talk about the southern border. Now, one suspected terrorist is one too many, so why imply the number is 4,000? Maybe because a $25 billion wall, which is what this will cost at the least when he's done building it, is not the best way to stop 12 people. And then there's this claim about Trump's wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's about stopping drugs so we have to have it. Got to have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Got to have it to stop drugs. Only in an out front investigation, our Ed Lavandera went to the front lines in the border war against drugs. He went to the southwest corner of California where San Diego hits the Mexican border. That is one of the most heavily fortified walls sections current in existence, right? The wall is going to work, it's going to work there.
The border wall in fact is even doubled up there in some places yet that has not stopped the flow of drugs. This is what we found, underground tunnels some as deep as 70 feet used to smuggle massive loads of drugs into the United States. In fact, San Diego sector's tunnel task force has found more than 60 smuggling tunnels since 2001 according to USA Today.. And the paper reports that the biggest load of drugs enters through those tunnels.
Let me just be clear again, those are tunnels that go under walls. So this claim that a longer wall which will, again, cost taxpayers at least $25 billion or more once it is built will stop the flow of drugs is misleading at best.
Abby Phillip is out front live outside the White House as we are getting ready for the President's address. Abby, what do you expect to hear from him?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Erin. Well we are not expected to get excerpts of the President's remarks tonight. But what we have heard from our sources is that while Democrats are expected to focus on the effects of the shutdown, President Trump is going to be focused on the effects of illegal immigration on American families. That's part of the argument he's been making for weeks about his border wall but what we'll be looking for is what statistics do the President use to justify this wall, those statistics you've been talking about earlier today that have been debunked widely. Will he repeat them again tonight?
[19:05:04] One thing that we have also been told the President will not do is declare a national emergency. This has been an idea that has been bandied around by the President and aides for days, but our sources tell us that it's not expected to happen tonight in his speech. That being said, the President remains willing to use that as a tool in his arsenal, particularly according to the sources if he feels like negotiations are going nowhere. This is for President Trump his big opportunity to make the case for his wall which is not particularly popular at the moment. The question is can he change minds on that critical issue for his administration right now, Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Abby, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Democratic Congressman Adam Smith. Congressman, I appreciate your time. So, you know, you just heard 37 times, right, you know, from Kellyanne Conway to Sarah Sanders to the Vice President over and over this is a crisis. You know, we laid out the numbers.
If you go with their 4,000, 12 of which of whom they say were apprehended along the southern border, that leaves you with 3,988 of whom were not. So we're going with a crisis here. That's not where you would pick it. Do you see one on the southern border?
REP. ADAM SMITH (D), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: No, there is not a crisis of border security. And that's what's really troubling about the President's approach. He has sort of this vague notion that we need to do more on border security, but what does that mean? We have done a ton on border security in the last 15 years, including, by the way, built a rather substantial wall over, I forget exactly how many miles, but quite a few miles of border.
BURNETT: 702 they says customs and border protection.
SMITH: And increased border patrol agents. We've added drones and sensors and sent military personnel, both active duty, guard and reserve, and by in large it's worked. The number of unauthorized crossings of our border is at historic lows right now. The number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. also at historic lows.
So, yes, border security is always going to be a challenge. We have many challenges in government, but there is no evidence whatsoever that border security has become a larger problem in the last year or two. There has been an increase in asylum seekers but understand the asylum seekers are not a border security issue. They turn themselves in. They're not trying to sneak across. The question is how do we process them?
But in terms of border security, the President hasn't made -- he hasn't made the case. He hasn't said, look, here's where they're coming in. Here's what we need to stop them. It's just sort of a vague notion that he'd like to have a wall.
BURNETT: And of course when we talk about drugs, right, you look at some of the most heavily fortified even with double wall sections and you've got tunnels with massive amounts of drugs going under them, right? So a wall obviously when you look there, the crucial San Diego area, not solving the entire problem.
You know, sources tell CNN tonight, Congressman, that the President thinks this is a PR battle. He can turn up the heat on you guys, on the Democrats, by convincing more people that a wall is necessary. What do you say? Do you think you could lose this on the PR?
SMITH: I think that's sad to begin with, that we have 800,000 federal employees not getting paid. Our security, you know, a lot of them are, they work for Homeland Security. He's jeopardizing our security to try to win a political argument? I mean, I can't predict for sure how the American public is going to break on this, but there's no reason why the President can't reopen the government, pay those workers, enhance our security now and then come to Congress and make his case. Explain to us why he needs extra money.
In fact, this 5.6 billion, he hasn't even said what he's going to do with it.
SMITH: He would just kind of like to have it. BURNETT: And of course I want to be clear, 5.6 billion as you know, but I want to make sure our viewers know, right, that is not all he's asking for. That's what he's asking for right now. It's in a sense a down payment. We all know, he has admitted, the price tag for his wall is going to triple, quadruple, quintuple that amount.
SMITH: Yes, absolutely.
BURNETT: So, the top Republican in your committee, Mac Thornberry, told the Washington Post today, "In short, I'm opposed to using defense dollars for non-defense purposes". Obviously referring to this emergency, right? This national crisis. If the President declares it, right, he'd be able to take Defense Department money instead of having Congress approve it and use it to build the wall. Have you discussed this with him, with Congressman Thornberry?
SMITH: Yes, I have.
BURNETT: Yes. How did that go?
SMITH: It's gone well. I mean, this goes back, gosh, months that the President has talked about it. And there is bipartisan agreement on the Armed Services Committee that we have too many actual needs at the Department of Defense and within the national security budget to afford to take money away from it for something that, again, does not in any way enhance U.S. security. So there's bipartisan opposition to taking money out of DOD for this wall.
BURNETT: And yet, you know, here's someone like Lindsey Graham who sometimes seems to criticize the President. Now he's coming out and saying, he supports this whole idea of a crisis. Obviously that's on the Senate side. But do you think Republicans will get behind the President or will they say this is a step too far? This threatens the institutions of our country to do this? Where do you think your Republican colleagues will fall?
SMITH: It's hard to say. I mean, they've followed this President in ways that I would not have expected several years ago.
[19:10:03] I think, you know, they're still kind of afraid of him, and Mark Sanford, Congressman from South Carolina who did stand up to the President and lost a primary is one of the biggest reasons why. They're afraid of the President coming in and challenging them in a primary even if they disagree with him on policy. So it is hard to say which way they would break. I just hope that we can skip past all the political analysis and who's going to win the political war and focus on, you know, getting the government back open because that's what's in the best interest of the American people.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much Congressman Smith. I appreciate your time.
SMITH: Thanks for the chance.
BURNETT: And next, another top Republican, this time splitting with Trump saying end the shutdown first then deal with any conversation about a wall. Is Trump losing his own party or not?
Plus, she shocked her party when she said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: We're going to go in there and we're going to impeach the mother --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib response to criticism in her first primetime national interview. That's this hour.
And Paul Manafort's lawyers accidentally revealing an unbelievable link between the Trump campaign and Russian operative.
BURNETT: Breaking news, signs of cracks in Trump's own party. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska just moments ago speaking out talking to Manu Raju telling him that the government should be reopen while the border fight place out, saying, "I think we can walk and chew gum".
[19:15:12] Now this is obviously turning against the President. The White House now knows it has a problem. Vice President Pence late today on Capitol Hill meeting with House Republicans. Republican Congressman Will Hurd of Texas, who by the way, represents more of the southern border than any other member of Congress and says a wall is a bad idea. He said it incredibly directly. He tells CNN he is not convinced by Pence's argument.
Out front now Patrick Healy, Political Editor for the New York Times, Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation and Steve Cortes, member of President Trump's 2020 Re-elect Advisory Council. Patrick, look, a President can't afford to lose support here. You know, it's that people like Lindsey Graham who are, you know, jumping on as Lindsey Graham has done so many times. But Lisa Murkowski, no, reopen it? And then discuss it later which is what Democrats have been saying.
PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. And this is the problem that he's going to face, I mean, whether someone like a Joni Ernst in Iowa or Shelley Capito in West Virginia, whether and other Republicans who are even closer to his base than certainly like a Murkowski will start saying let's separate this. Let's focus on just getting the government open. We need Homeland Security open, TSA workers need to get their paychecks. Everybody who works for the government is putting in work deserves to be paid and then we'll get to border security.
I mean, that is the crack that is -- that's threatening him and why he's going to the Senate, you know, tomorrow, going to the Hill tomorrow to talk to Senate Republicans. The worry that no matter what he says tonight pretty quickly Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are going to be able to box in Republicans and you may start seeing more defections.
BURNETT: Well and those defections happen, Steve. Then what does he do if he loses the fight that he has picked, right? Give me my 5.6 and then? If it is reopened and then we'll debate it. How does he try to spin that?
STEVE CORTES, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Well, I think he has to convince those squish Republicans, and that's really what I would call them, to get a backbone because you can't negotiate from that kind of weakness. You'll have no leverage then once the government is reopened. But I think more importantly is what he's doing tonight is speak directly to the people because I think most of those senators, maybe not Murkowski but most of them, will respond to their constituents who still on the Republican side at least are still squarely behind the President on this issue.
But I'm not surprised, honestly, that there are some vulnerabilities among the Republican caucuses in both Houses. Republicans have been every bit as complicit for decades in creating this system where we tolerate illegal immigration on a mass scale in this country as the Democrats have been. It has been unfortunately a very bipartisan failure in this country. Donald Trump ran as much against the Republican Party on this issue in 2016 as he did against the Democrats.
BURNETT: OK, I'll give you that, that he did run against both of them on this. But, Joan, what about where we are here? Because now not only do they have issues on the Republican side, but then you've got, you know, people like Pence, Jared Kushner actually today --
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Right.
BURNETT: -- calling Joe Manchin who obviously is a Democrat who can often, you know, go on the Republican side, right, go with the President to try to get him to switch over. So they are trying to pull over some Democrats.
WALSH: I think that's crazy. I don't see Joe Manchin switching. He just won re-election. He's got five years before he has to beat Craven again. So I don't see --
BURNETT: I like the word choice.
WALSH: I just don't see Democrats losing senators. I think there's real fear. Politico is reporting that up to 25 House Republicans could dissent. Someone like Will Hurd is really a leader and has made a common sense case for why the wall makes no sense. I mean, you already referred to this, but the notion that we have tunnels under walls, you know, where we have doubled walls, that's the way the drugs are coming in. I mean, this -- the more this gets debated I feel the more the American people understand, this is kind of a cockamamy idea.
WALSH: And -- CORTES: Can I address that tunnel issue?
BURNETT: Let me finish. And it's getting less and less popular. It's losing -- The idea of the wall is losing popularity and the idea of the shutdown is really unpopular.
CORTES: OK. But if I can address this tunnel because this is an important point. You know, we're not talking about a medieval wall. We're talking about a high tech modern wall with cameras and sensors, and yes, anti-tunneling --
BURNETT: This is exactly where exist (ph) where those tunnels are.
CORTES: No, and there's not anti-tunneling technology which exists which the Israelis have used incredibly effectively mostly to keep bombers out but it can be the same for smugglers of any type. So, this is going to be, if we do it right, is going to be an incredibly high tech, very effective walls. Walls do work. We're not talking about Hadrian's Wall or the Great Wall of China. We're talking about what like Israel has right now.
HEALY: He's not talking about anti-tunneling technology right now. He's still so focused. And that's what he ran on, Steve, in 2016. it was so clear we're going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it. And those are words that, you know, he knew and his advisors knew he was going to have to deliver on for the base at some point.
BURNETT: Right. And Steve, of course, we're saying is that we don't want to -- you know, old technologies work, right? He talks about the wheel and a wall.
[19:20:03] He's not talking about anti-tunneling technology when he talks like that.
CORTES: No, it's all --
WALSH: Don't spend money on a wall that's not needed.
CORTES: He's saying it's both and it's all technology. Walls do work obviously, right? We wouldn't construct walls if they didn't. But it's walls plus. So I think it's disingenuous --
BURNETT: Steve, when this whole misleading thing that they're saying, right, 4,000 people, right?
BURNETT: 3,988 of whom according to customs and border protection, right, are not coming in, are trying to come in on the southern border. And yet one -- So on what planet if you think that's a crisis would you pick the 12 rather than the 3,988?
CORTES: Now, the White House thankfully corrected itself and it needed to because that was a silly statement. (CROSSTALK)
CORTES: But hold on.
CORTES: There's a massive crisis outside of terrorists. It's not only known terrorists coming into the country. What we have right now are thousands, tens of thousands of people getting caught coming into this country. And it's a complexion of --
BURNETT: Why are they then continually saying the 4,000 and that 12 people is a crisis?
CORTES: No, they're not continually saying that. They corrected it today. Kellyanne Conway went on television and corrected the record and she needed too.
BURNETT: And why is Mike Pence still saying it today?
CORTES: I don't know why he is and he shouldn't. But here's the important point. It's not about just terrorists. That is an issue. But it's a much smaller one than they promoted but it's more about the masses of non-terrorists but still illegals who are breaking and entering into our country. And we shouldn't feel good about that just because most of them aren't terrorists.
They're still doing enormous harm to the United States costing us a ton of money and creating a humanitarian crisis at the border and probably threatening our law enforcement who want -- the thing about it is, to some degree who cares what Trump wants and what I want. Let's listen to the cops on the front lines. The law enforcement officers of customs and border protection and they tell us overwhelmingly that they want a border wall and they want more border security.
BURNETT: Patrick, is the President tonight going to change the tune? I mean, are we going to hear about the 4,000? Are we going to hear about the terrorists? Are we going to hear about -- Of course we're going to hear about these things.
HEALY: Of course we're going to hear about all of these things. I mean, we've heard Kellyanne Conway, Mike Pence, Steve, I mean others, I mean there's a lot of different messages. It's terrorists, it's coming over the southern border, it's port of entry, it's the opioid crisis. I'm not sure what he can put together in the eight minutes that will so compellingly change mind in terms of independents.
But even more, the gamble. He's making a real gamble tonight. Because he needs to basically make his best case argument. You know, maybe -- you know, maybe --
BURNETT: In less than eight minutes.
HEALY: In less than eight minutes and then you're going to see those 20 Republicans, others, you know, in the Senate and the House who are going to say, that's the best he could do. He just did it on primetime on every network, you know, in America and if that's the best that he can do, we're not buying that we need to keep the government shut down for weeks and weeks. You know, he's going to -- this could be like a man without a country pretty quickly.
BURNETT: Thank you all very much.
WALSH: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib who called the President a profanity and called for his impeachment in the same sentence is speaking out in her first primetime national interview.
Plus breaking news, Paul Manafort, he shared polling data, the internal polling data with a Russian operative. Did you know that that -- we found that out today? I mean, this is the closest link yet between the Russians and the Trump campaign and it's only one little tiny part of what is a lot of redactions.
[19:26:58] BURNETT: New tonight, Democratic Senator and rumored 2020 candidate Kamala Harris defending freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for using an expletive to describe President Trump while vowing to impeach him. Here's Senator Harris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Honestly, the -- my candid response is that she is not the first nor will she be the last elected person to curse in public. I mean -- now, you know -- and so that's my response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: To applause. And here's exactly what Congresswoman Tlaib said just hours after being sworn in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TLAIB: And when your son looks at you and says, Mama, look, you won. Bullies don't win. And I said, baby, they don't. Because we're going to go in there and we're going to impeach the mother --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Out front now from her first national primetime interview, the Democratic Congresswoman from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib. And Congressman, thank you for being with me. I know you've got votes. I mean, look, it's been nearly a week since you made those remarks. Are you surprised it is still being talked about so much?
TLAIB: Very much so. I can tell you, you know, I'm very unapologetically me. And I know people back home that I've represented for six years in the state legislature in Michigan are kind of used to my realness, used to this passion and -- that I have. And I know for many people it did get the best of me at that moment and for many people it might have been very much a distraction. And that's what I'm really wanting to get this hump over it is to start talking about the Trump shutdown and how critically important it is for us to be able to get our government back up and running because of the huge human impact and the toll that it's taken on our residents back home.
BURNETT: So when -- you know, when other Democrats have come out, you know, they've obviously -- you know, they've criticized you for this, right. It's not just been Republicans. And it certainly just hasn't been men, you know that, right? I mean, you know, here's a few of them. Elissa Slotkin, you know, your fellow new Congresswoman from your state spoke out yesterday. Here's a few.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELISSA SLOTLIN (D), MICHIGAN: I just can't support that kind of language. I think we're trying to set an example for our kids.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: To act like that just awful and to speak like that is even more deplorable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really like that kind of language.
SEN. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: I think that the office of the presidency should be treated with respect. It's not something I would say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You know, Brad Sherman there at the end, Congresswoman, is obviously he's introduced articles of impeachment, right, so he agrees completely with your sentiment. You know, I guess what I'm trying to understand, and I know it's got to be hard, right, because you were saying you were caught up in the moment.
BURNETT: But do you feel like the right word to say is I'm sorry, I wish I hadn't said it. I don't like the guy but I wish I hadn't -- I'm sorry or is it fair to say you don't really feel comfortable going that far?
TLAIB: No. I mean, what I want to do is not allow women like myself that have every right to be angry and upset and mad and to curse. That somehow they're not allowed to do it in some sort of public forum. I can tell you this, what I completely very much don't like is that it did become a distraction. For me it might have been, you know, if a heat of the moment or whatever, but I got to tell you it's like right now we're in the middle of a shutdown and I'm getting interviewed to talk about cursing instead of talking about the veterans I just left back home. And then again --
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Right. TLAIB: And to continue on to know that we passed to open up government and it's sitting in the Senate right now. We don't need the president of the United States to sign these bills. You know why? Because within ten days, they become effective and then we can get our government back up and functioning.
I don't understand why we're not able to do that and then go back to the negotiation table. If you really do care about the American people, then let's get our government back up and running. You know, our focus is so much on this versus the fact that right now, I have residents that have nowhere to turn to.
Food assistance -- I mean, think about SNAP and the food assistance. People are literally waiting for it to be put on their carts so that they can go and get milk and eggs for their kids.
BURNETT: I do want to talk to you about the shutdown, but I do think people -- it's an important question when you talk about what's happened with discourse in this country.
BURNETT: And what we believe about our institutions and the offices that represent us as American citizens, right? I mean, look, the president came out. You know, he's talked about you specifically.
I wanted to give you a chance to respond. Here is President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought her comments were disgraceful. I think she dishonored herself and I think she dishonored her family. Using language like that, I thought it was highly disrespectful to the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Separate from the person, do you agree? Do you think that there's a point there about the office? Not the person.
TLAIB: The only person disgracing the office of the president is the president of the United States currently and that's Donald Trump.
I'm not going to, you know, continue to discuss the fact that -- continue on to -- for him to say what he said and continue to do the exact same thing that he's criticizing me for.
He has to be putting the American people first. He has to understand that the culture and this kind of dissent that he has for me is something that is felt across this country. I am not the only one that is this angry and this upset and as a person, again a woman of color, as a person that is newly elected here, the first thing I have to vote on and I did was to get the government back up and running, and now, he continues to delay that and continues to hurt our families. BURNETT: And he's going to be talking about that tonight. He's going
to be addressing the nation in a couple of hours, Congresswoman, on why he says there's a crisis on the border, why the government shutdown should not end until he gets the funding for his wall. Obviously, you're opposed to that wall.
Your Democratic colleague John Sarbanes last week came on this show. He said he's opposed to a wall, but he's open to fencing, that the word choice might matter here.
I want to play it for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN SARBANES (D), MARYLAND: I and other Democrats and a lot of Republicans will vote for smart border security. Now you can have border security that's a combination of physical barriers, whatever they may be.
BURNETT: So a fence is on the table for you? Some kind of fencing? You would pay for that? You would put money --
SARBANES: Well, there's fencing -- there's fencing now at the border.
SARBANES: There's always been -- there's always been fencing at the border, so some kind of fencing is always part of the equation.
BURNETT: Does the word matter to you? Would you vote for a fence but not a wall, Congresswoman?
TLAIB: Look, actions matter more than words. And I can tell you, we have to be a humane country. This is not about a wall, Erin, and we all know it. We need to stop talking about the fact that this is about a wall. He could have done it when they had the majority in both the Senate and the House.
We passed -- what we passed out of the House of Representatives is exactly what McConnell and all of his colleagues voted for before the new members came into the House of Representatives, before the Democrats got back into the majority. What is he waiting for? We didn't even put anything in there that many of us campaigned on.
We basically sent back exactly what they passed literally weeks before we got into office until we got sworn in and so I'm really frustrated with the fact that we keep trying to move this about a wall when we all know it's not about a wall.
BURNETT: There's also obviously talk out, right now, in your party, with the big change that's happened in the House, about taxation. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has floated out taxing the wealthiest in this country up to 70 percent. What she referred to as, quote, the tippy tops. Would you support that?
TLAIB: Look, you know, I have the third poorest congressional district in the country and we need to get to a point where we all pay our fair share. Too many families are hungry. Too many families are suffering because inequality in education funding. All of that from public education to a number of issues that I think are really important to our country, but we can take care of that later. We need to focus on the shutdown.
[19:35:01] BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time. Congresswoman Tlaib, thank you so much.
TLAIB: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: And next, Manafort's legal team accidentally revealing what the president's former campaign chairman shared info with an accused Russian operative. So, what was this is one thing that he shared. They didn't mean for us to find out about this but we now do. Is it evidence of collusion and conspiracy?
Plus, the Supreme Court refusing tonight to protect a mysterious company from Robert Mueller.
BURNETT: Breaking news: a new court filing has revealed what could be the first major link between the Trump campaign and Russia when you're talking about possible collusion or the legal term, of course, conspiracy. Paul Manafort's lawyers in an improperly redacted court filing said they blew it. And they revealed that Manafort shared campaign polling data, so internal information about polls with a man they say is tied to Russian intelligence.
This is while Manafort was serving as the Trump campaign chairman. So, Mueller says that he's sharing information with this person that Manafort -- that Mueller says is an operative. In a filing, team Manafort's response to accusations that he had lied to the special counsel even after he said he would cooperate.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.
And, Evan, how important is this shocking error?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was a surprising mistake that was made. I think the importance of this filing and the revelations really is that it tells us, Erin, that the Mueller investigation is still very much focused on this idea of collusion of the conspiracy.
[19:40:10] And this gives us a little bit of a window into some of the things that they appear to have found so far in this investigation. We have so precious little of their findings so far. As you mentioned, first of all, the idea that Paul Manafort during the time that he is running the campaign as chairman of the campaign, he is having interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik who the FBI, who the Mueller team investigators say is a Russian intelligence operative for the GRU.
And the GRU, of course, Erin, is one of the intelligence agencies that hacked into the DNC. So, the question then becomes is what kind of information was being exchanged. One of the things they say in this filing was shared was inside polling data, internal polling data from the campaign. They also say that there was discussions of Ukraine policy for the campaign and I guess for the future administration.
Again, this is something that is being shared by someone who is running the campaign and someone who's a Russian intelligence agent. There's also a mention in the documents about a meeting in Madrid that we had never known about between Konstantin Kilimnik and Paul Manafort. What does this add up to?
We still have a lot of questions obviously that are not answered by this document or from other filings in this investigation. But what it tells us, Erin, is this idea of the conspiracy is still very much being pursued by the Mueller investigation.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan.
And Harry Sandick is with me now, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District, along with Laura Coates, former federal prosecutor.
Harry, let's talk for a second as Evan is. And Evan used the word conspiracy, right?
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes.
BURNETT: That is the legal term, collusion. Rudy Giuliani can say it until he's blue in the face. It's not a crime. Well, conspiracy is. So, let's use the word.
We are learning that a chairman of a presidential campaign was sharing internal polling data and other things. By the way, subsequently there was a change in policy on Ukraine and the Republican platform at the convention with accused Russian operative.
SANDICK: Yes, I mean, look, two things come to mind. Number one, what possible explanation could there be that is innocent, at least for Manafort's perspective, for why he's sharing internal polling data with somebody believed to be connected to Russian intelligence. It's an extremely unusual thing to do.
You don't hear of campaign managers for other presidential candidates in the past having these kinds of connections.
And then, secondly, if there was an innocent explanation, why wasn't it offered to Mueller and his investigators? Why did Manafort lie about it, which the lies, they color our view about whether this was innocence or not and make it seem like it was probably not some innocent, harmless interaction.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, what could possibly give anyone the impression that there was collusion, Erin, between somebody that was high ranking in a campaign and member of a Russian intelligence organization? You have here the idea that the Russians have been already indicted in terms of an internet troll farm. There's already been indication that Vladimir Putin himself supported the nomination and actual presidential campaign of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, and that there was a tactic used to try to infuse further division among the American electorate.
And you have somebody providing polling data that could possibly give people a roadmap on just how to do that precisely. So, you have this error that really in many ways has inured to the benefit of the American people. Although, I have to tell you, Erin, it's not that uncommon to have a redacting error in pleadings and in court of a high profile case. It's particularly odd to happen. But it's not so uncommon.
But what is uncommon is that he's saying in his pleadings, I inadvertently lied perhaps to special counsel Mueller. What he's not saying is I inadvertently provided polling information or a Ukrainian peace plan to people who were not a part of America and in many ways may have impacted or influenced an American election.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, that's just -- just to call it out here. I mean, there's no inadvertent lying by Paul Manafort. He's run these for decades. He's had incredible experience. He knew exactly what he was doing.
But, Harry, what about also that we're finding out this guy Kilimnik, ties to Russian intelligence Mueller says definitively, according to Mueller. He's met with him in the United States. We find out about a meeting after Trump won in Madrid that Manafort had not disclosed.
SANDICK: It shows the continuation of this relationship. We've seen reporting before that Manafort when he left the campaign didn't totally disappear from the ambit of Trump and his team and now we know that he's continuing to meet with Kilimnik. I think Manafort referred to Kilimnik as my Russian brain. They were very close. Their dealings together were many, many years.
BURNETT: It's pretty incredible, Laura.
And, you know, you also have today the Southern District of New York, right, charging Natalia Veselnitskaya.
[19:45:01] So, everyone knows her, of course, as the Russian lawyer, who said she is an agent of the Russian government, right, who attended the Trump Tower meeting, right, with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and others. Now she's been charged as of today by the southern district of New York for obstruction of justice.
Now, this isn't Bob Mueller charging her, this is the southern district. What do you make of it?
COATES: Well, it's an unrelated case to Mueller where she's being charged with obstruction in a money laundering case. But there's a very key connection. You mentioned the Trump Tower meeting. Remember what actually got Kushner and Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. there was the promise for information that was damaging to Hillary Clinton coming from the crown prosecutor of Russia.
In this particular filing in the SDNY, you got her having a charge of obstruction why? Because she provided false documentation and false statements in a case where she is presumed and actually evidenced to have actually coordinated with a prosecutor in Russia, a chief prosecutor, a head senior prosecutor in Russia. So, you have this woman who's saying, I have no relations but yet there is evidentiary proof in Manhattan that she most certainly is.
BURNETT: And, Harry, the bottom line, you talk about this coming from the southern district and not Mueller. Do we read anything into that, what could happen with Mueller?
SANDICK: Well, I think Mueller can use this information to the extent he wants to explain to people that the Trump Tower meeting was definitely a meeting with someone who was very connected to the Russian government, those are the allegations here. That she misled people in the course of the Southern District's investigation. It was in part because she obstructed a southern district investigation, as Laura said.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.
And next, the Supreme Court handing, I'm sorry, Robert Mueller a victory in this massive fight going on with the mysterious company.
Plus, Vice President Mike Pence is doing his best to stand by his man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you -- you -- you --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:50:51] BURNETT: Tonight, a mystery company fighting a subpoena in the special counsel probe asked the Supreme Court to take up its case. This is what the heavily redacted filing looks like. I mean, talk about heavily redacted. The only words you can really see are, you know, mentioning basically the names of the court.
All we know about this company is that it's a foreign government-owned corporation and it is fighting this through the courts legitimately. Supreme Court ordered the company to continue paying a $50,000 a day fine until it complies with the subpoena. The Mueller probe has been a thorn in the president's side for months but it's just one of many investigations the president is facing and all of this is front and center, now Democrats control the House.
Jessica Dean is OUTFRONT.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump calls it a witch hunt and maintains special counsel Robert Mueller won't find anything that proves collusion with Russia.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have nothing to do with Russia.
DEAN: Trump does have obvious and undeniable connections to the Trump Organization, the Trump presidential campaign, the presidential transition, and the inaugural committee, all of which face active criminal investigations or have been implicated in criminal wrongdoing.
GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What we shorthand as the Mueller probe actually is a whole constellation of different investigations by state, local, and federal prosecutors and tax officials.
DEAN: "The Washington Post" reports federal and state investigators are probing the hiring practices of Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, following accusations by former employees. Their lawyers told "The Post" they were knowingly hired as undocumented workers by managers there and were even provided with fraudulent documents. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said in a statement, quote: If any employee submitted false documentation, they will be terminated immediately.
Trump held many of his cabinet interviews at the resort during the presidential transition in 2016.
REPORTER: How were your meetings, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: Really good.
DEAN: The president's former personal attorney and mix fixer Michael Cohen implicated Trump in campaign finance violations involving illegal hush payments before the 2016 election. Cohen insists Trump directed him to make the payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.
REPORTER: Mr. Cohen --
DEAN: Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and making false statements to a bank. The president says Cohen is lying.
TRUMP: He's a weak person and what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence.
DEAN: Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating how the Trump Inaugural Committee spent the over $100 million raised, and whether some donors including foreign nationals contributed in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That doesn't have anything to do with the president or the first lady.
DEAN: Then there are the new investigations House Democrats may choose to undertake, now that they're in the majority. GRAFF: There's all sorts of behavior that may not rise to the level
of criminal charges, but are things that in our political system should be punished and things that would be personally embarrassing to the president if they came out.
DEAN: A notion the president dismissed by threatening to use the Republican-controlled Senate to launch counter investigations.
TRUMP: They can play that game, but we can play it better because we have a thing called the United States Senate.
DEAN: And President Trump has called that Democratic congressional oversight presidential harassment, but, Erin, we also know that the White House counsel's office is gearing up for whatever Democrats are going to bring to them in the coming months and weeks ahead, the new White House counsel starting in December. He was slated to hire around two dozen new lawyers to kind of fill out that office as they prepare for more investigations from the Hill.
BURNETT: All right, Jessica, thank you.
And next, Jeanne Moos on Vice President Mike Pence doing all he can.
[19:58:11] BURNETT: Tonight, Vice President Pence twists into a pretzel to make Trump's alternate reality a reality. Here's Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The vice president has taken flak for his adoring gaze at President Trump, for his silent head swivel during that Oval Office confrontation, and now for his sighing.
PENCE: Well, you -- you --
MOOS: And those pained eyebrows.
PENCE: That was his impression.
MOOS: During interviews that had anchors calling him out.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Mike Pence just tried to pull a fast one on us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence knows that he's lying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He knows.
MOOS: Lickspittle bootlicker tweeted one critic, with more than just his pants on fire. The vice president is known for his professed rectitude, prompting someone to tweet, I'm calling Jesus because Pence just broke a commandment. The V.P. rattled off misleading border stats and was asked about his boss' statement that past presidents had told Trump that they should have built a wall.
TRUMP: Some of them have told me that we should have done it.
MOOS: Except representatives for the four living presidents said, never happened.
PENCE: Well, you -- you -- I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous administrations.
MOOS: Almost hard to watch. It's bad enough getting caught in your own lies, but to have to explain someone else's?
MOOS: Pence's performance inspired a one-word tweet that sent us to the dictionary for guidance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oleaginous.
MOOS: Meaning oily or offensive ingratiating.
Watch out if you stand too close to your man. His habits may rub off on you.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And thanks so much for watching us. Don't forget. You can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere, on CNN Go.
"AC360" starts now.