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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump AG Pick Shared His Controversial Memo On Mueller With Trump Lawyers As Trump Is Forced To Say "I Never worked For Russia"; Trump Team Rebuffed Mueller Request For In-Person Interview With Trump In Recent Weeks; Growing Questions About What Trump Discussed With Putin In 2917 As WH Plotted Response On Trump Tower Meeting. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired January 14, 2019 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Trump forced to say he's not working for Russia, but does anyone take him at his word? Plus, breaking news, Trump's pick for attorney general, just revealing that he has shared a controversial memo with Trump's legal team, one that supports the President. This on the eve of his confirmation hearing.

Plus more breaking news. The House voting on a resolution to disapprove of Congressman Steve King after he supported white supremacists. Is that enough? The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus speaks out. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, not a Russian agent. Trump today forced to deny that he works for Russia. The President of the United States going before cameras to deny being a Russian agent. Stop for just a moment. This after "The New York Times" first reported the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into whether the President was secretly working for Russia. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never worked for Russia. And you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That is an incredible statement for the President of the United States to have to make. I never worked for Russia. He said it again and again and again. Here's the thing. It can't be a disgrace. It is a question that now is even being asked on his favorite channel of the President by his personal friend, Jeanine Pirro.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS: Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But she had to ask. And then the President went on to say this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I've been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other -- probably any other president, period. But certainly the last three or four presidents, modern day presidents, nobody's been as tough as I have, from any standpoint.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Tough on Russia? Well, the President's behavior doesn't really back up his words. I mean take this. "The Washington Post" is now reporting that the President has gone to "extraordinary lengths" to keep the specifics of his five face-to-face conversations with Putin secret. He's even confiscated notes from his interpreter after a meeting with Putin. And of course, he has taken Putin's word over that of United States intelligence agencies, refusing to consistently acknowledge that Russians hacked and meddled in the 2016 election to help him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And then when it comes to his actions, there's this, right? Just recently, Trump announcing he's pulling U.S. troops from Syria, one of the single wishes of President Putin. By the way, when you talk about folks in Russia, that folk matters a whole lot, and he came out and specifically praised President Trump's move as correct.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They're all coming back, and they're coming back now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: No one happier to hear that than Vladimir Putin. And in fact, President Trump has had nothing but kind words to say for Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think Putin's been a very strong leader for Russia.

Putin is a nicer person than I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And Trump's connections to Putin's Russia have been out in the open for years, of course. His time as a businessman, pursuing a deal to open a Trump Tower in Moscow. Of course, that continued even as he was running for president. And he was a candidate, he directly called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's e-mail.

Now, the list could go on and on. I want to go to Pamela Brown, OUTFRONT live outside the White House. Because Pamela, when it comes to the Russia investigation, more breaking news right now that you have on the President and Bob Mueller.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. We have learned that the President's legal team in recent weeks rebuffed Robert Mueller's request to ask follow-up questions to the President in person. This was after the President and his team had submitted answers to those written questions from before Trump was in office.

And so sources tell me, my colleagues, Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz, that Robert Mueller then followed up and put in this request to ask follow up questions without specifying which questions he wanted to ask to the President in person. That was rebuffed by the President's team.

So what is clear here, Erin, is that that continues to be a sticking point as Robert Mueller's probe is winding down. He still wants to talk to the President in person. As one source told me, Robert Mueller is not satisfied. Now, we've heard the President's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, say that a presidential interview would happen over my dead body.

And sources are telling our team that Robert Mueller has upset or concerned the President's legal team in recent weeks. One thing that has been a sticking point is allowing Michael Cohen, the President's former attorney, to testify in front of Congress. That has only lessened the chance of a voluntary interview with the President, according to sources we've been speaking with.

[19:05:09] And remember, Erin, it was just about a year ago, that there were serious, substantive discussions about allowing the President to talk to Robert Mueller, that fell apart. And now it seems both sides are farther apart than never. The question now, will this end up in a subpoena fight? Bill Barr will be testifying tomorrow. He is the President's AG nominee, and that is expected to be something he would be asked. Would he approve such a subpoena request if it happens from Robert Mueller. Erin?

BURNETT: Which, Pam, you know, is crucial. And obviously, I think pretty significant, when you have at this point in the investigation, which we know is nearing its end, in some way, shape, or form, that Mueller still wants to talk to the President of the United States. You also, when you talk about Bill Barr and his hearings tomorrow, you have some new information on the President's nominee for attorney general. And this could be very significant for this hearing. BROWN: That's right. This is also something that is expected to be a focal point. The fact that Bill Barr had chaired this memo that he wrote with more than just top DOJ officials, which is what we already knew. We're now learning through my colleague, Ariane de Vogue, that he also shared that memo saying that the obstruction probe conceived to tapped White House lawyers including Special Counsel Emmet Flood, Solicitor General Noel Francisco among others. He shared it wildly.

This was a memo laying out on 17 pages why he didn't think it was right that Mueller was investigating the President on obstruction. And it certainly raises questions why he shared it with the White house. Did he want it to go to the President, was he angling for the job? Now he would say that, no, that is not the case, that he just wanted to share his views with as wide a circle as possible. Erin?

BROWN: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela. And obviously a very significant, Barr saying he did discuss that memo with the President prior to his nomination.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Denny Heck, member of the intelligence committee.

Congressman, obviously I want to start with some of this new reporting. Mueller wants this face to face, right? They submitted written answers. Here we are nearing the end, and Mueller wants more and he wants a sit down. That obviously could be very significant. Should Mueller go ahead with a subpoena of the President?

REP. DENNY HECK, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I don't believe, Erin, frankly, that the President or Rudy Giuliani acting as an attorney ever intended whatsoever for the President to actually sit down with a face-to-face with Director Mueller.

But, you know, the fact that he will not do it begs the same question that so many of his other behaviors beg. Why did he ask for the translator's note? Why did he defend Putin last year at Helsinki? Why does he refuse to sit down? And the answer is increasingly and inescapably, because he's hiding something.

BURNETT: Now, you know, on that front, you have the President now denying he's a Russian agent. Last time we spoke, you said, the writing's on the wall. The walls are closing in. This is the beginning of the end for the Trump administration. That was when you and I spoke just a few weeks ago. What do you say tonight?

HECH: I was right. Listen, I am beginning to feel I am on the set of the Manchurian candidate. This is beyond bizarre now. And I guess my question for all of those who continue to support the President is, what lie will it take in order for you to open up your mind to the fact that there might be something highly nefarious going on here, after all the evidence, after the 16 operatives of the Trump campaign reached out to Russian operatives, after all of the indictments, after all the criminal convictions, what will it take for people to understand. This is not good for America. This is not good for America's future, whatsoever. BURNETT: Let me play again what he said today, which, by the way is after his personal friend, Fox News host, Jeanine Pirro, right, asked him directly if he was an agent of the Russian government. He was asked about it again today and here's the response. Let me play it for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I never worked for Russia. And you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax. It's just a hoax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Your response?

HECK: So, I'm of an age, Erin, well, I well remember when another president protested a little too loudly, I am not a crook. That, of course, was Dick Nixon. And of course history reveals that he was a crook. That's how I feel, that's how I react when he makes that assertion.

BURNETT: So when you -- you know, you're speaking as you're speaking, you're saying, you were right in the beginning of the end and we're there. I mean are you at the point where you see grounds of impeachment at this time?

HECK: I am of the school that believes that there's an awful lot of information that Bob Mueller has that we do not have. So if you think about one of the significant news developments last week, namely the kind of clumsy court filing with the redacted material by the Manafort team, the redacted material was unmasked, and you think about, Erin, all of the court filings that have occurred over the last year, in all the redacted material, if you took just the redacted material and added it together, it would form a book thicker than war and peace.

[19:10:06] Bob Mueller knows all of that stuff. He knew what was in the redacted material of the Manafort filing, and he knows all the rest. That's redacted, so the public can't consume it. Imagine what else will be discovered, once his report is submitted. So, I think we had to wait for the quintessential professional to complete his work.

BURNETT: The irony of picking dust to ask you (ph) as your reference point on a novel.

All right, I want to ask you about though the House Intelligence Committee, your committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, they met today to talk about whether to subpoena the interpreter's record, you just referenced that from one of the Trump/Putin meeting last summer, right? One of them was just Trump/Putin and Putin's interpreter, so we wouldn't even know.

Then there's another one, right? Where there was just Trump and his interpreter and Putin and his interpreter. You want to subpoena those records. Do you know what was decided? Is that subpoena coming? HECK: I don't know what was decided, but I think what absolutely defies explanation, Erin, is why wouldn't the President want his own top-level advisers to know what was discussed? I mean, they're the ones charged with actually implementing his policy and the foreign policy direction he wants to take. They have to have that information in order to help him be successful and he didn't even want them to have that information.

So once again, I ask, why? Why wouldn't he share that with his inner circle, his most trusted advisers? Unless there was something there he didn't want revealed.

BURNETT: Quickly, before we go, are you concern, though, that if that is subpoenaed that that would mean future presidents wouldn't be able to speak freely with their counterparts?

HECK: I am on the assumption that if it is subpoenaed, if it is provided that it will have gone through the same vetting process by the intelligence community that all the rest of that kind of material would.

BURNETT: All right, bye. Appreciate your time. Thank you, Congressman Heck.

HECK: You're welcome.

BURNETT: And next, the day President Trump seized his Russian interpreter's notes is the same day but he found out "The New York Times" was about to run a bombshell report on the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. They were calling for comment. Is all of this just coincidence?

Plus, President Trump claiming Democrats are breaking with Pelosi in the shutdown showdown. Are they? And Trump asking about Steve -- asked about Steve King embracing white supremacy. A guy he'd said he was the biggest donor for. Here's how that went down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I haven't been following it. I really haven't been following it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:16:02] BURNETT: Tonight, growing questions about what President Trump discussed with Vladimir Putin during two face-to-face meetings in Hamburg, Germany. In one meeting, Trump seized his interpreter's notes and demanded the details not be shared with anyone else.

In the other, Trump and Putin were alone except for Putin's interpreter. No other American was present. All of this happening the same day that the "New York Times" reached out to the White House about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which involved Don Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Russians who said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Just a coincidence? Sara Murray is out front.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A private dinnertime chat between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in 2017 sparking new questions about what exactly the two men discussed. As Trump geared up for meetings with world leaders, the White House received an unwelcome inquiry.

"The New York Times" had learned that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer at Trump tower in the summer of 2016. Trump's lawyers had known of the meeting for weeks, but now "The Times" was doing a story and need a comment. That afternoon, Trump and Putin met for two hours.

TRUMP: It's an honor to be with you. Thank you.

MURRAY: Seeming to hit it off, even as Putin denied meddling in the 2016 election.

REX TILLERSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: There was a very clear, positive chemistry between the two.

MURRAY: Then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been in the room, along with translators. But a former State Department official tells CNN the President confiscated the American interpreter's notes and insisted the staffer keep the details of the conversation secret. The White House insists that's outrageously inaccurate.

That evening in Germany, Trump sought out Putin at a dinner for world leaders. The two men spoke for roughly an hour. The meeting, which was eventually confirmed by the White House, wouldn't become public for more than a week.

IAN BREMMER, EURASIA GROUP PRESIDENT: No one attended that from Trump's side. There was no translator there. There was no adviser there. It was just Trump. For him not to say then afterwards, oh, by the way, let me give you a quick debrief on the meeting I have with Putin, that's exceptionally unusual.

MURRAY: Trump's meeting came soon after Justice Department officials had moved to open a probe into Trump for potential obstruction of justice, an investigation that included trying to answer a disturbing question. Was Trump making moves designed to benefit Russia or was he merely an innocent party? There's no indication Trump knew at the time that he was under investigation.

After Trump's double face-to-face with Putin in Hamburg, he headed back to the U.S. Aboard Air Force One, Trump and his advisers hashed out a statement to respond to the "New York Times." According to the statement, in Donald Trump Jr.'s name, "We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children in the 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer." Days later, it came out that the lawyer had actually promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. As the carefully crafted statement fell apart, Trump was still talking up Russian adoptions, insisting that's what he and Putin discussed over dessert.

TRUMP: I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting, because that was a part of a conversation that Don had in this meeting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, Andrew Wies, a Russia expert at the Carnegie endowment was one of the prominent voices questioning whether all of these events were just happen in stance. But a number of Democratic lawmakers have also come out in the wake of what we've learned about how secretive the President has been about his meetings with the Russian President and said, we really need a lot more information. Erin?

BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you.

And I want to go now to former federal prosecutor, Jack Weiss, also a former Democratic member of the Los Angeles City Council, and CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Jack, your name is not a coincidence. Your brother is Andrew, right, as Sara was just referring to. He posted this thread on Twitter about the timeline crediting you with the idea. How did you connect all the ideas here?

JACK WEISS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, look, Andrew is a Russia policy expert and I'm a former fed. So for the last two years, we just go back and forth on a daily basis whenever something pops up. When the Hamburg summit first occurred and Ian Bremmer came out with that scoop of his after the summit that Trump had sought Putin out and had met with him privately. We both thought that was bizarre and probably indicative of something.

[19:20:13] Over the weekend that just passed, when "The Washington Post" reported that Trump had confiscated his interpreter's notes from the meeting earlier in the day, instructed that interpreter not to talk about the meeting with anyone. We just thought it was important to lay out the whole chronology that Sara just did in her report.

You put all of that together and for me as a former fed, I say, it's the crucible. It's the crucible, when your defendants, your targets are getting found out. What do they do when they learn that someone's on to them, as "The New York Times" was on to them, and notified the White House on the morning of July 7th?

BURNETT: I mean -- and they make that call. Now, Gloria, of course, in one of the meetings, right, Rex Tillerson is there. You might think, OK, at this point he would have leaked out whatever happened, but there was then a second meeting, right where there wasn't even an American interpreter present, right? It was just Putin, Trump, and Putin's interpreter. Private conversation that occurred, that was somewhere between 15 minutes and 40 minutes, depending on who you believe.

Could all this just be a coincidence? This timing that there's these meetings on the day "The New York Times", you know, asked for this response and then the next day the President has a response, which, by the way, turns out to be untrue.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: By the way, we didn't know about the second meeting for quite some time, right?

BURNETT: Right. That's a fair point.

BORGER: I mean it wasn't as if they came out and said, oh, by the way, the President just met with Vladimir Putin --

BURNETT: Yes. To your point, Ian Bremmer is the one who found out about it. That's how we got -- yes, yes.

BORGER: Right, exactly. It wasn't anything they wanted to reveal, which is also extraordinary, when it comes to two heads of state having a secret meeting. You know, could it all be coincidence? OK. You have to allow that -- sure, it could. But don't forget, we have been involved in covering this Russia story for quite some time. And is it a coincidence that 16 members of the President's campaign or associates of the President's campaign had dealings with Russia? Well, you could say that's a coincidence, too, for a very small campaign.

So, I think that timelines like this, the one that the Weiss' are talking about, that was Sara Murray's timeline, lead people to raise a lot of questions. And I think these are the questions that the Democrats are raising and that Mueller is raising, because attorneys set up timelines like this to try and figure out whether to connect the dots and see whether one thing is related to another thing.

And here, when you have the Trump Tower meeting, you have the President writing a misleading -- dictating a misleading statement, a meeting with Putin not revealed to the press, you know, you have to sometimes put one and one together and get two.

BURNETT: Right. And I guess you say, you know, you say sometimes it's correlation causality, is correlation conspiracy or collusion, maybe the right way to ask the question in this case. I mean, Jack, if the President and Putin did discuss, you know, this "New York Times" story that it was coming and a response to it, how bad would that be?

WEISS: Well, it would be -- I think it's disastrous for them. Remember, at that moment, on the morning of July 7th, no one, no one in the public knows that a year earlier, there had been that infamous Trump Tower meeting between Trump's son, his son-in-law, and his campaign chairman and agents of the Russian government. No one knew that.

So when "The New York Times" calls the White House the morning of July 7 and says, "we're about to report this." If you're on the Trump team, you have to think, this is a -- this could be a devastating story. What does Trump do after that? He has the two-hour meeting, and then he seeks out Putin on his own.

What's interesting about him seeking out Putin on his own at that G20 Summit is -- Trump's an amateur. Putin is the ultimate pro. Putin knows at that moment what eyes and ears are on that conversation, and it will be very interesting when we learn, and one day we're going to learn, what Putin said to him that was maybe evocative in relating to the cover story that Trump hatched the next day.

BURNETT: And of course, you know, interesting what if Trump did seek that out, right, given that there was no one else on his -- the American side and even an interpreter for that conversation.

Gloria, also this reporting tonight, the President's nominee for attorney general, Bill Barr, right, he said, "I'm going to have --" no, "I'm not going to get involved with the Mueller thing, I'm totally fine with it, it needs to go ahead."

BORGER: Right.

BURNETT: He's obviously testifying tomorrow. You know, if he's going to get approved to be attorney general. And we're now finding out tonight, CNN reporting, that there was a memo that he wrote supportive of the President's view on obstruction of justice. And he wrote it, great detailed memo supporting the President and he discussed it with the President. That's a big deal.

BORGER: Well, he not only -- he discussed it with the President's attorneys. He discussed it with, you know, the President's attorneys, who were trying to come up with their own legal theories about obstruction of justice. He's completely allowed to do that, as a private citizen. He wrote a memo and distributed it, all-around, and then discussed it verbally with them.

[19:25:08] And so the question I think that we're going to hear the Democrats raise tomorrow is, was he putting the thumb on the scale? Was he saying, hey, I'm a good lawyer, I can give you some legal arguments.

And then we -- you know, we know what he said about his views of the special counsel, how it ought to be independent, et cetera, et cetera. But I think this does give the Democrats a new set of talking points to raise against him tomorrow.

BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty incredible, right? (INAUDIBLE) says Barr discussed the memo with Trump prior to his nomination, according to a source familiar with the discussions. That would not be normal, correct?

BORGER: No, I don't -- well, you know, I don't know. I don't think it would be normal, but nothing is normal in this administration. And don't forget, you know, you have Whitaker there now, who also holds the same view or some view about the special counsel and the investigation.

He's called it a witch hunt. I think Bob Barr is certainly qualified to be attorney general, but, you know, these questions about a conflict are certainly going to be raised.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both so very much. And next, President Trump claims he's winning over Democrats when it comes to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Many of them are saying we agree with you. Many of them are calling and many of them are breaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Talking about the wall. Plus, Senator Mitt Romney calling for fellow Republican Steve King to resign. Will it happen? We have details about a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:33] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news. At least 12 senators from both parties have just come out of their first meeting on trying to end the longest shutdown in American history. It comes after President Trump says that Democrats are breaking.

Here's what he told reporters earlier this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a very big crisis, a humanitarian crisis on the border. Everybody knows it. They know it. And many of them are saying we agree with you. Many of them are calling and many of them are breaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.

Phil, are they breaking?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this point, Erin, there's no evidence of that. I've kind of reached out since I saw those comments earlier today to a number of Democrats trying to see if they were aware that there had been any daylight, which will be a new development, and probably an important one, and the answer was, to this point, no.

What the president more likely was referring to was a new White House strategy. I'm told from several sources, the White House will soon send invitations to moderate House Democrats, Democrats from districts that President Trump won, try to peel them off from leadership. Have them over to the White House, meet with the president, talk about border security, and see if they can get him to their side.

It's a long shot. There's no question about it. There have been no significant breaks from any Democrats from leaders in both the House and Senate. If you want to know where things stand right now, you talk about that

Senate meeting, the closed door meeting, the new gang meeting tonight, I'm told that meeting was rough-going. That's a direct quote from somebody that was involved and one of the primary reasons why, Democrats are sticking together. Their base line is the government has to be reopened before any negotiations on border security commence.

Erin, you know well, that is an idea that has been rejected multiple times by the president, both from Democrats and from his close ally, Lindsey Graham. Basically, all of this means is that everybody is pretty much sticking in their corners right now, despite what the president or White House might be saying. And this shutdown, which is now at 24 days, only looks like it's going to take longer.

BURNETT: All right. Phil, thank you.

And I'm going to go now to Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent at "The Nation", and Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush.

Scott, the president says that Democrats are breaking. You heard Phil, no evidence of it. I guess he thinks if he says it, he can make it so.

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, I think there is some evidence that the Democrats, at least some of them, are squeamish that this has gone on so long. And certainly, they must be squeamish about their own hypocrisy. Several Democrats voted for the Secure Fence Act back in '06. President Obama himself built some of the steel slat barriers that Donald Trump wants to build today.

So, they must be aware of their own hypocrisy. I don't think they're going to break with their leadership, though, until Donald Trump introduces a game-changing idea into this debate. If he would bless the Senate Republicans moving forward with trading the wall for a fix for the Dreamers, for DACA, I think that would immediately divide his opponents on this and it would force them to choose between the Dreamers and Schumer and Pelosi. I think they would pick the Dreamers.

Hopefully, the president will see the strategic value in that and make that deal some time in the future.

BURNETT: Joan, in the past few days, there have been Democrats who indicate they would support some sort of fence. Scott points out there's been support for a fence in the past.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Yes.

BURNETT: Overall, ABC News is showing over the past year, support for a wall is up. Over the past couple of months, our polls show down. But over the past year, from 34 to 42 percent. That, obviously, is a big increase.

Could Democrats be making a mistake?

WALSH: No. They're right on policy and they're right on the politics. I mean, in the last week, we've seen -- in the last couple of weeks, we've seen this shutdown become increasingly unpopular, Erin. We've seen the wall decrease in popularity. And we've also seen the share of Americans who say, this is the president's fault and the Republican Party's fault increase.

So Democrats would be crazy. I think down the road, there is some room for compromise. There are places along the border where a wall makes sense. Everybody has said that, including Nancy Pelosi. Most of her caucus would agree with that.

The problem is, we have a delusional and partially deranged man in the White House, who's making up this idea that Democrats are caving, who refuses to negotiate in good faith, who by many reports, actually told his chief of staff to "shut the F up" in the last set of negotiations with members of Congress.

I mean, he can't be trusted by either party.

BURNETT: Well, and he doesn't a win-win, he sees it as a win-loss, right, as how this goes. I've got to play something that just happened about the shutdown for both of you. This is the president -- he did go ahead with some meetings today despite the shutdown, including one with the Clemson Tigers for their championship meeting and here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I had a choice. Do we have no food for you? Because we have a shutdown, or do we give you some little quick salads that the first lady will make, along with -- along with the second lady, they'll make some salads.

[19:35:06] And I said, you guys aren't into salads, or do I go out, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, do I go out and send out for about 1,000 hamburgers? Big Macs. So we actually did that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: That's appalling. It seems to me like the president will not be happy until there is not one single female Republican voter in the country. It's incredibly sexist. It also -- I mean, I don't know why I'm stuck on this, but Ivanka is not the second lady. She is actually -- I don't think she deserves this position. She's actually a senior adviser to the president.

So, the idea that he would demean her specifically in that way, he shouldn't talk about the first lady that way. We aren't all here to make salads for men. It's disgusting.

BURNETT: I'm presuming he was talking about Karen Pence when he said "second lady."

WALSH: Oh, God, I'm sorry. But she shouldn't be doing it either. BURNETT: I mean, Scott, look --

WALSH: That's crazier.

BURNETT: -- sometimes what people say when they're being funny exposes exactly who they are and what they think. Not that there was any question, but this is pretty clear.

JENNINGS: I certainly didn't take his comments to be sexist. I think that if somebody took them that way, you know, that's fine --

BURNETT: So Mike Pence maybe could have made the salads --

BURNETT: Scott, can I just ask you, how in the world can you not see that as sexist, to make the assumption that his wife will go make salads for a bunch of football players? What is she, the cook?

JENNINGS: I didn't hear it that way. We make salads almost every night.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Do you expect your wife to make them all for you? Maybe she does! Fine.

JENNINGS: I make some and she makes some.

BURNETT: OK, but that's not what he said!

JENNINGS: I didn't take it that way, if somebody took it that way, that's fine. It didn't strike me that way. I think he was trying to make a joke about feeding hamburgers to football players. I think you might be over-reading this one.

BURNETT: I'm not over-reading it. He made a joke that was sexist about woman. I guess maybe what we're disagreeing with is whether it's funny and whether humor is something that's serious.

WALSH: I think Scott's disagreeing that it's sexist, which he's entitled to his opinion. It's not going to be a popular one, but --

JENNINGS: I didn't -- it didn't strike me that way. And I'm not -- I -- I'm surprised, I'm surprised that you all are taking it that way, but that's fine.

WALSH: Wow. OK.

BURNETT: I'm going to leave it there. Yeah, no, I have to say, I'm open about when I have an opinion on things, I feel pretty strongly it's a sexist thing to say.

All right, thank you both.

And next, Mitt Romney condemning his Republican colleague Steve King for embracing white supremacists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R), UTAH: I think he ought to step aside and I think Congress ought to make it very clear, he has no place there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, Democrats say they want to subpoena the interpreter who was the only other American in the room when Trump met Putin in Helsinki. Who is she?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:47] BURNETT: Breaking news, "The New York Times" reporting that Republicans plan to vote tonight on whether to remove Congressman Steve King from the House Judiciary Committee and other committees.

King silent tonight. Walking out, asked was, asked, asked, completely silent staring ahead as the House prepares to vote a dissolution resolution for him. After he wrote, white nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization, how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?

Sinister use of the word "our."

And Senator Mitt Romney telling our Manu Raju tonight this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I think he ought to step aside and I think Congress ought to make it very clear, he has no place there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRON now, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic congresswoman, Karen Bass.

And, Congresswoman, the latest news this hour, Democratic aide telling "The Washington Post" that there's a plan to vote tomorrow on a disapproval resolution against Steve King, which is what happened with Joe Wilson, when he yelled "you lie" at President Obama's State of the Union. Is that enough?

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA), CHAIRWOMAN, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Well, you know, I do think it's a good thing that we do that, but I definitely do not think that it's enough. And I am grateful to hear that Senator Romney says that there's no place in the Republican Party for Steve King. And it's my hope that the Republican Caucus actually kicks him out. That says that he can no be a member of the Republican Caucus.

And in addition, they remove him from his committee assignments, because the committees that he's on absolutely impact the people that he has been so negative about. You know, what Steve King said recently is just probably number 25 or 30 in Steve King's greatest hits. He's been making statements like this for years. I just think now, in this atmosphere, he feels completely emboldened. And I think that it is utterly unacceptable.

BURNETT: Now, President Trump is claiming complete ignorance of King's remarks, Congresswoman. Here he is today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Mr. President, what about Steve King's remarks on white supremacy?

TRUMP: Who?

REPORTER: Steve king? Congressman Steve King?

TRUMP: I don't -- I haven't been following it. I really haven't been following it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASS: Well, you know, Trump also didn't know David Duke, he didn't know about white supremacists. I mean, he always says that.

He certainly knows about Steve King's reputation. As a matter of fact, one of the things that Steve King says is that he helped lead Trump down the road of supporting a wall. He has been --

BURNETT: Well, Trump has bragged about raising more money for Steve King than anyone else, which is a pretty big thing to brag about and not know what he's saying.

BASS: Well, there you go. So, he, of course, knows what Steve King has said. He knows who he is. He knows what he represents. And frankly, I think that part of Steve King being so emboldened now is because of the atmosphere that has been created by President Trump.

BURNETT: You know, you mentioned David Duke. And obviously, Trump today saying that he doesn't know the Steve King story, which obviously, anybody who watches cable news or is on Twitter knows it and nobody watches those two things more than this president. During the campaign, right, he was asked about David Duke, former leader of the KKK, who Trump has talked about in interviews for 25 years. In fact, calling him a racist.

[19:45:01] But he was asked him in 2016, when David Duke supported him. Here's what Trump said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Will you, unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?

TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don't know.

TAPPER: Would you just say, unequivocally, you condemn them and you don't want their support?

TRUMP: Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASS: I don't know why anyone needs to look at the group. It's either a white supremacist or it's not.

I think that Trump has been very consistent. He really doesn't care who it is that supports him, as long as they support him, whether they're racist, whether they're crazy, whatever, he is not going to disavow that. And I think that that's unfortunate. And I think it has contributed to an atmosphere that leaves Steve King feeling that it's perfectly appropriate for him to say the things he does.

BURNETT: Congresswoman, before you go, when Mitt Romney directly said that Steve King needs to resign, do you agree?

BASS: Yes, I absolutely agree.

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

BASS: Thank you.

BURNETT: Much more to come on that story. Steve King silent as he left the halls of Congress tonight.

Next, Trump claims he was tough on Putin when they met.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I had a meeting with him, the two of us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

TRUMP: It was a very tough meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: It's true, it was just two, right? It was him and Putin, oh, and Trump's interpreter. So, there's only one other American who would know if it was tough. Who is she?

Plus, Jeanne Moos on the president's confusion over his own travel plans today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:36] BURNETT: Tonight, CNN has learned that after a 2017 meeting in Germany with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump took his notes and told the interpreter, you can't speak about this with anybody else. This comes as Democrats are debating subpoenaing Marina Gross. She is the only other American in the room when Trump met with Putin again. This was the meeting last July in Helsinki. There were only two

Americans in that room, Trump and Marina Gross.

Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Helsinki last July, President Trump stood alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin after their two-hour meeting and seemed to take Putin's side on certain things like meddling in the U.S. election.

TRUMP: I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer.

KOSINSKI: But to this day, the only other American who knows exactly what was said in there is the interpreter, Marina Gross, a well- respected State Department employee for at least a decade who interpreted for Laura Bush at the Sochi Olympics. Now as more emerges, first reported by "The Washington Post" about Trump's discussions to keep his discussion with Putin a secret, even after one meeting in 2017, taking his interpreter's notes and telling them not to discuss them with anyone including members of his own administration.

Democrats who now lead the foreign affairs committee are discussing subpoenaing Marina Gross which would be unprecedented.

REP. GERALD CONNOLLY (D-VA), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Getting to the truth, frankly, is more important than precedent or executive privilege. The only person besides Putin who witnessed and was privy to the conversation is Marina Gross, the translator. She has to be heard from under oath before our committee.

KOSINSKI: Democrats in Congress called for this months ago, but Republicans blocked it.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: It's so many months past Helsinki, we still don't know what went on. And you just scratch your head and say what is it.

KOSINSKI: Now there is a chance, but also debate over whether it's a good idea. Interpreters are working on a code of confidentiality. There are worries that breaking this barrier could prevent leaders from being able to speak freely, privately with each other in the future.

There's a possibility the White House could try to claim executive privilege. For now, though, the president has merely been trying to cut down on leaks from his own aides, which in itself is extraordinary. But the president is just calling it --

TRUMP: Fake news. That was a very good meeting. I have those meetings one-on-one with all leaders including the president of China, including prime minister of Japan, Abe. We have those meetings all the time. No big deal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI: Well, there are many reasons many feel this is a big deal. And "The Washington Post" reported after his 2017 meeting with Putin in Hamburg, Trump's top aides tried to get information. They went to the interpreter who refused to give them anything because Trump told him not to. But according to this reporting, he did say during the meeting when Putin denied meddling, Trump responded with I believe you -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And next, Jeanne Moos on Trump's geography lesson today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Here's Jeanne.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When President Trump arrived on stage --

TRUMP: I'm thrilled to be here.

MOOS: Here wasn't where he'd first said he'd appear when he tweeted in the morning that he would be addressing the Farm Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Love our farmers, love Tennessee. A great combination.

Great, but wrong. The convention was in New Orleans, Louisiana. The tweet was deleted.

Pesky geography. So many countries to get wrong twice.

TRUMP: Nambia. Nambia's health system --

MOOS: And with all those 50 states, easy to miscalculate.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: I've now been in 57 states.

MOOS: It's understandable when you're on the road so much that a president in Kansas City might say --

TRUMP: Right here in St. Louis.

MOOS: Or a vice president in Virginia might plead --

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: With you, we can win North Carolina.

MOOS: Even Bruce Springsteen once gave Pittsburgh a shout-out --

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MUSICIAN: Party noises, Pittsburgh!

MOOS: -- at a concert in Cleveland.

SPRINGSTEEN: Cleveland, too.

MOOS: Springsteen caught himself. It took others to took others to catch President Trump's mistake when he toured he fire ravaged community at Paradise, California.

TRUMP: And what we saw at Pleasure. What a name.

MOOS: Unfortunately, the wrong name.

TRUMP: We just left pleasure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paradise.

TRUMP: Paradise.

MOOS: Some geographical bloopers seem to be contagious, passed on from politician to politician.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: African nation suffers from incredible disease.

BIDEN: There's no reason the nation of Africa.

MOOS: Continents get called nations. Countries get called cities.

TRUMP: So Belgium is a beautiful city.

MOOS: Sarah Palin got branded as geographically clueless.

TINA FEY, COMEDIAN: I can see Russia from my house.

MOOS: When she actually had her geography straight.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You can see Russia from land here in Alaska.

MOOS: But there's one place no U.S. president could possibly mess up, right?

TRUMP: And God bless the United States.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Anderson's next.