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Mueller Wants To Know About Trump's Campaign Ties To NRA; Fact; NRA Expect More Than $30 Million To Back Trump; Ex-Trump Aide: Special Counsel Mueller's Team Asking About Trump Campaign's Ties to NRA; Giuliani Tells CNN Trump Is "Not Pissed" With Him Despite Series Of Comments Where He Contradicts Himself And The President; Giuliani Insists He Hasn't Lied For Trump After Asking In Interview "So What Do I Care?" If People Think I Lied For Him; Giuliani Suggests He's Been "Through All The" Trump Tower Moscow "Tapes," Then Says He "Shouldn't Have Said Tapes" White House Won't Say If Trump Would Veto House Bill To Open Government. Aired: 7-8p ET

Aired January 22, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: And the shutdown, they got to do it quickly because there's a lot at stake. Rene, good reporting. Thank you very, very much. And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: I'll try next breaking news mall are now looking at Trump's ties to the NRA. The same NRA, whose connections to Russia been under scrutiny by Congress. Plus the Senate is out to vote on two bills as 800,000 federal workers are hours away from missing another paycheck. Is it all for show? And the student at the center of the viral stare down with a Native American elder speaks out, let's go OutFront.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight breaking news in Mueller's Russia investigation, CNN learning tonight that Mueller is digging into President Trump's ties to the NRA. It's a significant development this hour since we know the NRA has been under scrutiny for months because of its ties to Russians. And the NRA was core to Trump's victory, the group spending $30 million on Trump's campaign. That is a staggering number and it is more than the NRA spent on all political races combined in 2008 and 2012. It's a love that Trump returned.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're actually great people.

This is an amazing group. They're great people. Great people.


BURNETT: One of the NRA's most scrutinized ties is to the Russian you see on your screen Maria Butina. She's already pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States of America as an agent of Russia and the way she did it allegedly infiltrating the NRA. And the same woman who is now admitted to being a Russian agent was somehow selected as the first questioner to candidate Trump. She asked about his intended relationship with Russia at a rally in Las Vegas.


MARIA BUTINA: I'm visiting from Russia.

TRUMP: Ah, Putin, a good friend of Obama-Putin. He loves Obama a lot, good.

BUTINA: If you would be elected as a President, what will be a foreign politics especially in the relationships with my country and do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging of both economy or you have any other ideas?

TRUMP: Okay. Obama gets along with nobody. The whole world hates us. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin.


BURNETT: The big question tonight, was Russian money going to the NRA with the purpose of electing Trump? Back to that $30 million staggering number. Keep in mind foreign nationals are prohibited from contributing to any election activity in the United States. So if Russian money was being funneled through the NRA to help Trump, it's a huge deal and then there's this. If it happened, did Donald Trump know about it?

Sara Murray is OutFront live in Washington breaking the story. And Sara, what have you learned about what Mueller is looking at?

SARA MURRAY, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Erin, as you point out we know that the NRA has faced all of this public scrutiny because of all of the money it spent on the 2016 election as well as its ties to these Russian nationals. But this is really the first indication we're getting that the special council wanted to know more information about the early Trump campaigns ties to the NRA and we learned this from Sam Nunberg who's a former Trump campaign aide who told CNN he was actually asked in his February 2018 interview to explain a little bit more about how Trump came to build these ties with the NRA, how we ended up speaking at the 2015 NRA annual meeting before he even became an official presidential candidate.

And CNN learned that as recently as a month ago Mueller had some more follow up questions about this. Now, what's not clear at this point is whether this is some kind of deeper dive by Robert Mueller into questions like the NRA's finances, whether they may have had some kind of Russian money funneling through them to help Trump or whether this was simply sort of an exercise to check all the boxes, to make sure that they covered all of their bases about things that have been sort of talked about and speculated about publicly.

Now, the NRA did not respond to our request for comment today, but they previously in some letters they shared back and forth with lawmakers denied that they took any significant sums of money from Russians. They denied that they use any foreign money for election related purposes. On this story, specifically, the special counsel declined to comment. We should note that when President Trump got that list of questions that Mueller wanted him to answer, there were no questions about the NRA, so at least they're not asking Trump about it at this point, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Sarah Murray, thank you very much. I want to go out front now to the Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Member of the House Ways and Means Committee. I appreciate your time, Congressman.


BURNETT: So, look, the NRA when you look at the details here, right, the $30 million is staggering. They so far have said they received contributions from more than 20 Russians, but they say these weren't a big deal. They added up to a little more than $2,500, not $30 million. Do you believe them?

DOGGETT: No, the NRA, of course, so here in Congress, so intertwined with the Republican Party and the Trump administration that it really means no Republican action when it comes to raise more gun safety, but $30 million they had a big investment as Vladimir Putin had a big investment in seeing Donald Trump elected.


BURNETT: So when the NRA says it did not use foreign funds for election related purposes, right, which is what would be against the law, do you believe that Russia was somehow using the NRA or involved here to funnel money to help elect Trump? Does it go that far in your view? I don't know.

DOGGETT: It certainly could. It needs to be thoroughly explored. I hope the special prosecutor or special counsel is doing just that. It's clear that Putin cared enough that they dispatched the woman you just mentioned who's in jail right now as an agent to try to connect better into the NRA and we don't know what her role fully was. There's just such incredible irony that the NRA would link up with Putin who restricts gun rights and claim that they're promoting gun rights.

BURNETT: Right and, of course, she has pleaded guilty as we said to being an agent of Russia, right, in conspiring against the United States of America.

DOGGETT: That's right.

BURNETT: Last year, Congressman, when the house was under Republican control, Democrats had a lot of complaints, right? They said Republicans aren't allowing them to continue with efforts to investigate this issue, right, whether Russia used the NRA to funnel money or not. Are you going to investigate this particular issue now?

DOGGETT: I hope that will be done. Any investigations that occur here need to have a specific purpose that does not interfere with Robert Mueller's work and I think the most important thing we can do right now is to ensure the protection of his work, his work product eventually gets to this Congress and to the public. But at some point, I think this does need to be thoroughly investigated.

BURNETT: So you have been very outspoken about other things as well including, right, the Trump administration's lifting sanctions against Russian companies. And I want to ask you about a New York Times report, right, they are saying that there is a binding confidential document that they've seen which shows a deal between the Trump administration and Putin confidant oligarch Oleg Deripaska. And basically the administration had said, "Oh, we're going to lift sanctions because he's slashing his stake of the major aluminum company in particular. He's no longer going to have control."

New York Times says that's not so. Deripaska is going to be relieved personally of hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and he and his allies will keep majority ownership of that most important company Rusal. What's your response? They said this was going to be punitive for him and it looks like this document shows the opposite according to The Times.

DOGGETT: Well, I think the document which I have here as well as the letter that accompanied it both show that there's a problem here. I got involved in this last summer when three days after the Helsinki surrender by Trump to Putin, they dug out a thousands of exemptions that were being sought mostly by American companies and pulled out one for Rusal and gave them an exemption from Trump's tariffs. They eventually withdrew that and now they're focused on sanctions relief and it concentrates on doing as much as possible secretly and as fast as possible.

They told Congress about this as we were departing for the Christmas holidays. I visited personally with the Secretary of the Treasury and asked that there be an extension. We have asked for additional time for a thorough review. What we really need to do is to have an intelligence assessment, classified assessment that determines whether Mr. Deripaska still has effective control of this company. The goal was to change Russian conduct not to change things to help a thug like Deripaska.

BURNETT: Yes. So you're saying you've seen this document.


BURNETT: What is in it that shocks or surprises you? I mean am I accurate in the description here, confidential binding document that shows Deripaska losing hundreds of millions of dollars in debt relief and what else is in there that's important for us to know?

DOGGETT: Well, I think it raises a question as to him having effective control of this company. You know he spent half a million dollars in the last six months hiring a former Republican Senator and his lobbying firm to try to influence the administration, the Congress, and foreign ambassadors. And I've got that document as well and it's interesting that the company that represents that is lobbying for Mr. Deripaska mentions that 48% control of one of his companies by another is effective control.

The Treasury set this arbitrary number that as long as Deripaska didn't own 50% of the stock, he handed out some of it to his banker, to his former wife, and other relatives, and his own Trump type foundation that as long as he didn't have 50%, he didn't have effective control. We disapproved this in the House.


The Senate needs to disapprove it also. McConnell needs to stop blocking it and we need that intelligence assessment to find out is this just another Trump favor for Putin or is it a legitimate transaction. It certainly looks like a sorted deal to me.

BURNETT: It's interesting you say it looks like a sorted deal, certainly giving shares to your ex-wife with wrong Deripaska does have a very, very tight financial relationship would not be losing control. I mean the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, he put out a statement. Congressman you saw it. He said the sanctions would, "Sever Deripaska's control." Those were the words used by the Treasury Secretary of the United States.

By the way overruling the recommendation of his own staff, right? They had said don't do this. He overruled and did this in Deripaska's favor saying it would sever. You're saying it doesn't. Do you want Mnuchin back in front of Congress to testify on that?

DOGGETT: I do. He's been invited to be back in front of our committee this Thursday. I hope he comes. He's been asked to extend time so we can have a thorough briefing on this and if he's right, if this does accomplish the objective, why not permit a reasonable period of time to have a classified independent intelligence assessment through the CIA, and other intelligence organizations to determine will he still have effective control in Putin's Russia or is this a truly independent relationship. I doubt that it is. I think this is just helping Putin. It was really Trump just sliding another gift under the Putin Christmas tree.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Congressman.

DOGGETT: Thank you.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. We should point out of course Oleg Deripaska for years has not been able to get a visa to the United States except for when he was passed off as a member of the diplomatic corps to get into this country. OutFront next, Rudy Giuliani alluding to tapes of Trump in a head scratching new interview and they really are at this pointing, I mean, what exactly is he talking about. Plus we're just hours from a crucial deadline, 800,000 workers will miss another paycheck if the government does not reopen tonight, if they have a deal. And we are learning there are two scheduled votes at the Senate, does either one matter at all. Plus, President Trump inviting the students in the viral confrontation with the Native American elder to the White House. As the team at the center of the stare down speaks out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as standing there, I had every right to do so.



BURNETT: New tonight, Rudy Giuliani telling our Dana Bash that President Trump has quote "not pissed with him." This is the New York Times report, several people close to Trump are exasperated with Giuliani's interviews about Trump and Russia. Giuliani's latest mess comes during an interview with The New Yorker in which he suggested Trump's conversations about Trump Tower Moscow are on tape. Okay, so this is how the exchange goes.

Rudy says, "I have been through all the tapes. I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the emails and I knew none existed." He's referring to a proof of the timing of discussions. The New Yorker then asked, "Wait, what tapes have you gone through?" Giuliani, "Oh, I shouldn't have said tapes." The New Yorker then tries to clarify, "So, there were no tapes you listened to though?" Giuliani, "No tapes. Well, I listened to the tapes but none of them concerned this."

Again this is the Trump Tower Moscow meeting how long those conversations were going on specifically involving Donald J. Trump. OutFront now, former Assistant U.S. Attorney with the Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick and White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, also the author of under fire reporting from the frontlines of the Trump White House.

So Harry, there's tapes, there's no tapes, there's tapes, there's tapes but not about Trump Tower Moscow. Obviously, now he's telling CNN, "Oh, I'm talking about Michael Cohen tapes, but they weren't about this. They were of other conversations." What's going on?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I really don't know. I mean you can have the two theories broadly. One crazy like a fox. This is all somehow intended to distract people from other things and create sort of a circus-like atmosphere with making statements and then retracting them. I tend to think it's not that deliberate and that it's just somebody who isn't asking the first question that you have to ask in defense work or really any legal work. Before you do something, how does this help my client, how is this advancing the ball, if it's not advancing the ball, don't do it. Stop talking and I don't understand why he's doing this.

BURNETT: How you could see this as advancing the ball, I mean, because April to the point that Harry is making, Rudy Giuliani has said a lot of things to which there appears to be no strategy in part because they're catching someone out for being a liar explicitly in some cases, the President of the United States, right? So he said the opposite of Trump and meaning one of them is a liar, it was Trump on the Stormy Daniels' payment, right? That's been proven. We don't know yet which one of them was lying about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia or how long Trump was involved in those negotiations for a potential Trump Tower in Moscow. But let me just play this for you.


TRUMP: They said, "Maybe Donald Trump is involved in projects with the Russian." The answer is no. No.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: The President can remember having conversations with him about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout 2016.

GIULIANI: President also remember - yes, probably up to, it could be up to as far as October, November.

TRUMP: There is no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians.

GIULIANI: I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No.

GIULIANI: .. funnel throw offer and the president repaid it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I didn't know that he did.



BURNETT: Okay. April, Rudy, now he says that the president has no problem with him, right, the quote was he is not pissed with me. Could all of this be purposeful, a strategy?

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: I don't know what it is, but I can tell you this, you just laid out a great pattern and this is not fake news, this is real. This is a pattern of things that Rudy Giuliani has said on tape and the things that the President just said on tape. Now, the bottom line is he may be friendly with the President but my sources are telling me that the attorneys that are working with the president in the White House that inner circle, they are frustrated with Rudy Giuliani, and they don't know how to tell the President. That's simple.

And then, they're also feeling that Rudy Giuliani is unhinged as he is jeopardizing the President's case by saying one thing one day and saying another thing the next. Rudy Giuliani should stop talking. We've been saying - I've been saying it over and over again, so have other lawyers. As a lawyer, you're supposed to sit back and wait and he's trying to play to the court of public opinion, but he's putting his client in jeopardy.


BURNETT: So Harry after the Stormy Daniels bombshell that we just played from Giuliani, I just love it, and as I say it every time I love Sean Hannity. Oh, okay, yes. All right, so Trump tried to downplay the comments as Giuliani making mistakes when that incident happened because he was new and he couldn't know everything going on. Let me play it.


TRUMP: Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago, but he really has his heart into it. He's working hard. He's learning the subject matter. Rudy know it's a woodcut. He started yesterday. He'll get his facts straight.

Rudy is great but Rudy had just started and he wasn't totally familiar with everything.


BURNETT: That was 263 days ago, Harry.

SANDICK: Yes, that excuse no longer washes and as April was saying, there are other lawyers working for the President. Some of them are outside of government and many are inside of government. We know from reporting that more than a dozen new lawyers went to work at the White House counsel's office, some of them are very talented. One of them is a former colleague of mine. Those are really the people who should be directing the strategy. And if Giuliani is interfering with that strategy by making these statements then, he should do as April said, he should stop talking.

BURNETT: And yet April he told The New Yorker he's not concerned if people think he's a liar. The magazine asks, "Saying things for Trump not always being truthful about it, do you ever worry this will be your legacy? Does that ever worry you in any way?" To which Giuliani responds, "Absolutely. I'm afraid it will be on my gravestone. 'Rudy Giuliani, he lied for Trump,' somehow I don't think that'll be it, but if it is, so what do I care. I'll be dead." Now, he's trying to clarify by the way those comments, April, to our Dana Bash saying, wait, he's not lying for the President, but then he said that his gravestone could say that. I mean, it is confounding.

RYAN: It's confounding the back-and-forth continues, even on his own legacy. The Rudy Giuliani that we knew at 9/11 is no more, okay. We could put a tombstone there. We don't know this person. This person according, again, to the President's lawyers and attorneys who are dealing with this Russia stuff, they are feeling that he is "unhinged" that's the word I'm getting. They are very concerned, because this is putting the President in jeopardy and, again, they are scared to tell the president.

Rudy Giuliani, he just needs to be quiet and the quieter he is, his silence could be deafening, but it could also save his client. I'm not trying to give Rudy Giuliani any tips on how to be a lawyer for the President of the United States, but any legal expert would say, "Be quiet." And he's showing himself.

BURNETT: And, of course, it's scary. I think the scary thing that you're saying is that people are so scared to go to the President and tell the truth and say what they think. It's one of the biggest problems he faces. Thank you both.

And next, the Senate preparing to vote on two bills as more than 800,000 Americans are just hours away from having a second pay period with no money coming at all, the 0.00 paycheck. Are these bills just a waste of time? Plus President hopeful Elizabeth Warren taking on Trump and his signature project.


ELIZABETH WARREN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: Now, make no mistake, this wall is dumb.



BURNETT: Tonight, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have announced they're going to take two votes. Okay, and this is about the shutdown, one of the votes is going to move ahead on the President's plan to fund the government, so that means he gets his $5.7 billion wall in exchange for some DACA protections. The ones that he had taken away. The other bill will be to move forward on one of the bills, the House of Democrats passed to reopen the government in February 8th.

Okay, so here's the problem, for either of these to actually do anything, they need 60 votes to pass and is there any chance of that? Phil Mattingly is OutFront from Capitol Hill. Phil, what's the answer to that?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: At the moment it looks like neither is going to pass and that's just in taking a kind of an early survey of Republican and Democratic aides that are involved in this looking at kind of just the bare reality as it currently stands. If you look at the chamber, there's 53 Republicans in the Senate, 47 Democrats. The Republicans are going to need seven Democrats to come over and support the President's proposal which Democratic leaders and most to the rank and file has already panned as not a compromise at all and not on the table.

Democrats will need at least 13 Republicans to join them and what their proposal would do is essentially reopen the government until February 8th and open some opportunity to have the discussions on border negotiations and border security. Here's the issue here for Republicans and we've talked about this before, Erin ...


MATTINGLY: ... the President opposes that plan and if the President opposes it while some probably three, four maybe five Senate Republicans are willing to break with the President, the vast majority the conference is not. So the idea that 13 of them could break or even want a veto-proof majority, you're going to need seven, eight, nine, 10 more of those. It's just not a reality right now. That's what everybody is saying. I think the bigger question right now is twofold.

One, is the president going to change his mind at any point in the next couple of days? It seems like no and if that's the case, both of these will fail. And the final would be if both of these fail does that serve as kind of the trigger to bring people to the table and actually have a discussion, a real discussion that we haven't seen for days, maybe even weeks. Right now we don't know the answer that, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Phil, thank you very much. So I want to go now to Democratic Strategist, Keith Boykin, and former Republican Congresswoman, Mia love, both political commentators for us. So Mia, these bills, you heard Phil, unless the President really changes his stance, they're not going to pass. So it seems from that perspective to be a waste of time while federal employees literally they don't get the go-ahead by midnight, they can't issue these paychecks for Friday, so we're going to miss another pay period.

MIA LOVE, FORMER UTAH CONGRESSWOMAN: Yes. Well, I don't think it's a waste of time because at least they're voting on something. Unfortunately, these are procedural votes and it allows that 60-vote threshold to get through. So, of course, you've got the President's plan where you need seven Democrats to vote for the President's plan which includes the 5.7 billion, the temporary protective status three years extension including DACA, all of those things that the President talked about. And then the other bill is the House bill that was passed that only opens up the 25% of government that was shut down till February 8th.

[19:30:01] LOVE: So, we're going to end up. Even if that passes, are you in the same place again on February 8th. So, at least they're taking a vote. But again, this is not.

I've spoken to my colleagues. I've spoken to my friends on both sides of the aisle. There isn't one person that is actually seeing these things, seeing that actually pass the 60 vote threshold.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: So, Keith, given that, is this a waste of time or no?

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: I sort of agree with Mia, actually, in that I don't think it's a waste of time only because they're doing something. They're making progress.

However, it does also come as a reflection of the fact that Mitch McConnell has been in control of the United States Senate for the past 32 days of the shutdown and has not allowed any of the nine Democratic House bills that have passed to reopen the government to be introduced on the Senate floor. He's been the bottleneck that's prevented any sort of action on this, by now introducing legislation, it's showing the fact that he could have done something all along. He failed to do something.

So, I think that's a reflection of the fact that he's abdicated his responsibility as leader of the Senate majority.

BURNETT: So if this doesn't happen. And, you know, even if you get a government maybe reopening before the State of the Union, they're going to be close to it at this point, Mia. You know, the White House says, OK, we're going ahead with our plans the Secret Service says, we're OK. We're going to go through our walkthrough, right? We're going to do our thing.

But an adviser telling CNN the idea of a rally has been discussed, something that we know is oxygen for this president. Should he just bag the State of the Union, go out, do his message at a rally? Is that a good idea?

LOVE: I don't think it's a good idea. Look, the American public is suffering. They need to know what the plan is. They need to know -- they need to hear from people. We have to stop the posturing.

Again, think about this there are some my former colleagues saying, look, $5.7 billion, if you think about it, you know, we're willing, as long as we get the $5.7 billion, we're willing to pretty much talk to speaker Pelosi about anything. Anything is on the table. It's going to be above -- below that threshold. They see it as a -- you know, this is nothing compared to the 867 billion dollar ad bill that -- the farm bill that they pass.

Also, the two bills include a little over $12 billion in disaster funding also. So, they're a lot of the colleagues I spoke to today who feel like, OK, $5.7 billion. Let's start talking about this.

BURNETT: Yes, go ahead, Keith.

BOYKIN: Except that Republicans had control over the United States Congress of both chambers for two whole years and did nothing about this. And now, suddenly, after Republicans have lost control of the house, it becomes the crisis. If it was such an emergency, they should have done something before.

Secondly, you got the fact that the American people voted on this, in November. They voted on which side they are going to support. They have voted against the Republican and now this is effectively a coup that the Republican Congress is orchestrating to overturn the will of the American people.

LOVE: Wait. Just one minute, I just need the make sure there was a little correction there, because when I was in the House of Representatives, we had a really good comprehensive immigration bill that actually helped families on the border. As a daughter of parents that immigrated to this country, immigration was one of my top priorities where I actually went against my own leadership to get these bills on the floor.

And, unfortunately, with temporary protective status, with a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and protection at the borders, we didn't get any support from the minority at that time. So, I think again this is something that actually can be fixed. Speaker Pelosi can come to the table and ask for whatever. I just want it done.

There are people that are literally there saying, let's get rid of -- if the leadership can't fix this, let's get together on our own and see if we can push a vote that will open up government.

BURNETT: That would be interesting to see, talking about a coup.

BOYKIN: They had two years to do it and they didn't do anything.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.

And next, the governor known for being the first to legalize marijuana, my guest, John Hickenlooper. Is he ready to run for president?

Plus, the teen in that viral stare down is speaking out as President Trump invites him and his classmates to the White House.


[19:38:07] BURNETT: New tonight the dumb wall, Elizabeth Warren belittling President Trump's signature issue. Here she is moments ago campaigning in Puerto Rico.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Now make no mistake. The wall is dumb. But it serves the president's purposes, turning people against people, particularly against people of color, and stirring up the fear and hatred he so actively promotes.


BURNETT: Warren is one of a crowded field of close to ten candidates on the Democratic side. More could be about to jump in.

John Hickenlooper, who just finished two terms as governor of Colorado, term limited out. He is headed to Iowa this weekend and he joins me here tonight.

Governor, good to talk to you. Good to see you again.


BURNETT: All right. So, you've announced a trip to Iowa. You are going this weekend.


BURNETT: You've got a big decision to make. So, what would make you stand out? It is a crowded field. It is a diverse field. What would make you stand out if you jump in? HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think I'd look at it from a prospective, I'm one of the few if not the only candidate who is actually able to bring people together who were in conflict -- you know, they're feuding and get them to put down their weapons, take the time to hear each other and the actually achieve progressive goals to their willingness to work together and create a compromise.

BURNETT: And you have done that on transportation, obviously, on infrastructure and marijuana, most perhaps nationally discussed.

HICKENLOOPER: And methane regulations.

BURNETT: And methane. You have done -- look, you were a two-term governor. When are you going to make a decision now on when you're going to do this? It's already crowded.

HICKENLOOPER: You journalists are always so impatient.


HICKENLOOPER: We should -- I hope, March, we spent a lot of time working on it. We're trying to make sure to make the right decision once.

BURNETT: Right decision once. So, March, so let me ask you about something that I know you are thinking about. When you talk about making the right decision, the people who have jumped in early have already may gone on an apology tour for a sense of things they have done in their past.

[19:40:02] Here's a few.


REP. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I realize that things I had said were wrong.

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my past, I said and believe things that were wrong.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bottom line is the buck stops with me and I take full responsibility for what my office did.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I know we haven't always gotten things right. But I've always tried.


BURNETT: So one of the items that is a huge part of your legacy as governor, right, a lot of people know you, is the legalization of marijuana, right? I mean, your state led on this. This was five years ago.

Is there anything you regret about it? HICKENLOOPER: No. I mean, I was against it from the beginning

because we were worried about a spike in teenage consumption. A lot of brain scientists were worried that would take away slivers of young people's long-term memory. Their brains going rapidly, this high THC, marijuana is very dangerous.

So, we had to put in a system, even though I opposed it to make sure that we give it a fair chance to work. States are the laboratories of democracy. Do we make mistakes? Sure, again, I could have been on those pictures saying we should have gotten on top of edibles sooner, and more quickly.

We should have been out ahead of the emergency room issues where people were taking, you know, a brownie would have eight doses of THC in one brownie and the customer didn't know that, or it wasn't clearly marked.

We figured that stuff out. But that's a part of being a laboratory. You don't get everything right.

BURNETT: So, you don't regret it overall? It was the right decision as to where this country is going, you do believe that?

HICKENLOOPER: You know, I think if you look at it, and many of our worst fears haven't happened, no demographic has really seen a significant increase in consumption, except seniors. I leave that. You can make your own decisions about that.

BURNETT: When it comes to teenagers, though, we talked about this before. It's surveys that say there's not an increase. But there's -- we don't yet have the formal data on some crucial things, like, the I -- whether there is a long-term I.Q. --

HICKENLOOPER: We don't. I totally agree with that. Although I will tell you in terms of the amount of consumption and frequency of consumption, we survey every two years, north of 20,000 people and a large chunk of them are kids. That's a big sample. I think we feel fairly secure there is not a spike in consumption.

BURNETT: That makes up for the methodology.

Now, you vetoed three bills regarding pot in your final year as governor, OK? Whether people with autism can use medical marijuana, tasting rooms and also investment restrictions on pot. Has the national push gone too far? Are we moving too fast? Because this is going to be a big question for you if you run.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, we look at it and the tasting rooms, when we changed our constitution to legalize recreational marijuana, it was explicit that this wouldn't be out in the public consumption. The autism issue, which is -- clearly there are many people who have autism of all ages who marijuana helps them. But we hadn't finished. We had another year's work of testing it because when government legalizes a pharmaceutical drug of any kind, we are basically taking that step and saying this is not going to harm other people in this population. BURNETT: You weren't ready to do that. Now, before you go, I want to

ask you this. One of the biggest issues in your party that you're going to have to answer is whether they should move ahead and impeach President Trump or not.

And today, former Secretary of State John Kerry said this. Here he is.


JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He doesn't take any of this seriously. He doesn't have the ability to have that kind of conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what would you say to him to get it, sir? What would your message be?

KERRY: Resign.




BURNETT: Resign?

HICKENLOOPER: That's I think wishful thinking. At this point with the government shut down, all these issues around the dumb wall. You look at it and say, it's brinksmanship, it's behavior typical to a very young child trying to get attention.

Resign is not a bad solution, but I don't think he's going to do it. Children don't usually resign from the arena.

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

HICKENLOOPER: Good to see you.

BURNETT: And next, farmers who voted for Trump feeling the pinch from the government shutdown. Do they still back in?

Our Bill Weir on the ground.

Plus, the man seen in this viral standoff between the Native American elder and that teenager speaking out tonight.


NICK SANDMANN: My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Philips. I respect him. I'd like to talk to him.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:48:03] BURNETT: Tonight, farmers around the country feeling the pain from the shutdown that has no end in sight. They are a group already hit hard by Trump's trade war with China.

Bill Weir is on the ground OUTFRONT.


KATE EDWARDS, VEGETABLE FARMER: My grandparents are farmers. And I thought my grandpa was the smartest man I'd ever met.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like most Iowa farmers, Kate Edwards loves the rhythm of the season, seeds in the spring, harvest in the fall. But while winter is a time to plan, this winter is a time to worry.

EDWARDS: As a farmer, it's kind of the worst time of year for the government to shut down because --

WEIR (on camera): Is that right?

EDWARDS: -- if it was at any other time of year, we need to (INAUDIBLE). In the winter months, you're a business person. So, this is the time of year we're making business decisions.

WEIR (voice-over): But she says the shutdown makes it much harder to apply for loans, collect checks or see the Department of Agriculture data needed to plot the next crop.

(on camera): I suppose you also have to make equipment decision, right, investments?

DAVE WALTON, CORN AND SOYBEAN FARMER: Oh, that's an easy one. We don't have any money, so we're not investing.

WEIR (voice-over): Dave Walton says the shutdown is a one-two punch that came when President Trump started a trade war with China. This destroyed his profit margin in soy beans while raising the cost of his equipment.

WALTON: The cost of a new grain bin went up 15 to 25 percent. So things are already tight. If you are thinking of buying a grain bin, you're probably not going to do it now.

WEIR: But he refuses to criticize a president who flipped Iowa from blue to red with the big help from farmers.

WALTON: You know I think there is some growing uneasiness. We're sort of in the middle of the game. You can't predict the outcome of the game in the middle.

WEIR (on camera): But you can second guess coaching if you are down by 50 points.

WALTON: Yes, absolutely. Yes, we're down by a few touchdowns, if you want to put it that way. He campaigned on a lot of things he's doing right now and he's doing it.

BRIAN WOLKEN, MAYOR OF MONTICELLO, IOWA: A lot of farmers, big supporters of Donald Trump.

[19:50:02] Until he's out of office, I don't think you'll hear them say anything bad about him --

WEIR: Really?

WOLKEN: -- or bad about the tariffs. I think they're just going to say, it's going to be good for us in the long run.

WEIR (voice-over): When he's not growing soybeans, Brian Wolken is the mayor of Monticello. He says that most farmers he knows will swallow the pain of patriotic pride.

Oh, and $12 billion bail out doesn't hurt.

(on camera): By borrowing more money from China to pay you guys a subsidy.

WOLKEN: Yes, he knows that we're taking a hit. He's acknowledging that the tariffs are having a negative impact on the agriculture industry. And so to keep the farmers happy, he's given us a subsidy.

WEIR: Does that make sense?

WOLKEN: It does if his plan works out in the long run.

MEL MANTERNACH, RETIRED FARMER: It's unbelievable that the farmers in Iowa can still support Trump when it's costing them thousands every week. I can't believe that they're that blind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're being placated with a $12 billion bail out.

WEIR (voice-over): Over Darel's Diner in Monticello, Gary the eye doctor tells me after he was critical of Trump supporters, he lost a few regular patients. And while a Democrat won this district in the midterms, political riffs are only getting wider.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got die-hards.

MANTERNACH: The die-hards are dying harder.


WEIR: Well, just today the Agriculture Department said we're going to call back almost 10,000 farm service agency workers. These are people who process those loans. So between that and the $12 billion subsidy, you can see which voters the president cares most about. Whether or not he feels their pain in an empathetic way, he sees their power and throwing as much help as he can.

BURNETT: As you show, the loyalty is very deep, but the runway is very long, and he sees something with this and I'm sure is quite placated himself.

Thank you, Bill Weir. Excellent.

And next, the Native American elder involved in the viral confrontation makes a new request. What does he want from those high school students?

And this weekend on CNN, the incredible true story of triplets separated at birth who find each other as adults.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I tell people my story, they don't believe it, but it's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would it be like if you turned the corner one day and you saw yourself?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time the boys met, the three together, it was a miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was nothing that could keep us apart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's when things kind of got funky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something was not right. I'd like to know the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was always a question mark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The parents had never been told.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are trying to conceal what they did from the people they did it to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's still so much that we don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you not tell us?

ANNOUNCER: "Three Identical Strangers", next Sunday at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.



[19:57:20] BURNETT: Breaking news. The student at the center of the controversial encounter that went viral between a Native American elder a group of high school students wearing "Make America Great Again" hats is speaking out tonight as the White House says it has, quote, reached out and voiced our support to the student's school. And says there could be a White House visit. Let's go straight to Sara Sidner who is OUTFRONT.

And, Sara, what are we hearing from the teen at the center of this? Nick Sandmann is his name.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Nick Sandmann send a statement yesterday letting everyone know how he felt about what happened there in Washington, .D.C. Now, we are hearing from him in person and he clearly doesn't blame himself or the other students or the chaperones. He puts the blames on the adults in the situation, those who were standing against him, including Mr. Philips.


NICK SANDMANN, COVINGTON CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT IN VIRAL VIDEO: As far as standing there, I had every right to do so. I don't -- my position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Philips. I respect him. I'd like to talk to him. I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing.


SIDNER: So you heard him there extending an olive branch saying I'd like to talk to him. And so, you're getting a clearer picture now of someone who has decided he would like to have a conversation after all of this blew up. And it all blew up because of a viral video that got thousands of thousands of views from one perspective.

And we know now from a longer video, that there was a lot going on, a lot of tension being hurled at these kids from four black men standing there who called themselves Hebrew Israelites. They started all this tension, and you saw Nathan Philips walking up with his drum coming between the two groups.

BURNETT: Look, there's still so many questions it's hard to know if we'll ever really know who's telling the truth and what really happened. But, of course, everyone wants to take a side and point a finger and now and the Native American involved in the confrontation is asking to meet with the students.

I mean, what's going to happen here, Sara?

SIDNER: You know, we'll have to wait and see. I guess this is one of those things that is like developing every single day, something new happens if the president inviting the Covington Catholic high school kids to see him and sit with him.

I do want to read to you what the Native American gentleman said. He said, look, I read the statement from Nick Sandmann. He said that he stared at me for a long time and he didn't apologize, and he believed that they are intentional falsehoods in this testimony.

But I do want to bring up something else, and that is basically there's been a lot of talk about whether Nathaniel Philips served in the military and particularly served in Vietnam, because it was put out he was a Vietnam veteran. It turned out he did not serve in Vietnam, something he told "The New York Times". He told CNN that he was a Vietnam times veteran. In other words, a Vietnam era veteran, but did not serve Vietnam.

BURNETT: OK. All right, Sara, thank you so very much.

And thanks to all of you.

Anderson's next.