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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Northam Worried He'll Be Branded "Racist For Life" As Ex- Classmate Reveals New Details About How Yearbook Photos Were Chosen; Virginia Governor Begs For More Time As Ex-Classmate Reveals New Details About How Yearbook Photos Were Chosen And Published; Northam's Ex-Classmate Reveals Details About Yearbook Photos; Source: Federal Prosecutors In New York To Subpoena Trump Inaugural CMTE For Documents; Source: Trump Inauguration Committee Faces Subpoena From Federal Prosecutors In NY; Committee To Comply; Trump's Schedules Leaded To Axios Show Trump Spent Nearly 300 In "Executive Time" Vs. 77 Hours For Meetings Including Policy; Axios: Trump Spent 60% of Schedule In "Executive Time". Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 4, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NIMA ELBAGIR, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN:
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: ... Elbagir doing very courageous, excellent world class reporting as she always does for us. Nima, thank you so much for that reporting. I'm Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OutFront next breaking news, CNN learning new details about the racist photo and how it ended up on the Governor of Virginia's yearbook page as the embattled Governor still hangs onto his job begging for more time. Plus, breaking news, prosecutors want information from the Trump inauguration committee and the committee is getting ready to comply with the subpoena, the source familiar with the situation just confirming that news to me moments ago. And a major leak revealing how President Trump spends the majority of his day, what is he doing with his time and who would leaked such a series of private documents? Let's go OutFront.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett OutFront tonight it just doesn't add up why is Ralph Northam still the Governor of Virginia? He has given a series of increasingly incomprehensible explanations for this racist photo that was in his medical school yearbook. According to a source, Northam telling his cabinet this morning that if he goes now he'll be branded a racist for life and that he needs more time to clear his name. Because so far his attempts to do so have defied common sense. Here he is saying, it's not him in that picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH NORTHAM, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: I believe then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo. This was not me in that picture. That was not Ralph Northam. I'm telling the truth today, that was not my picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: The problem, of course, is that Northam had already said
that it was him on Friday releasing a statement saying, "Earlier today a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive." So the first it was him and then it wasn't him in a photo that, of course, no one could possibly not remember being in.
Outside the governor's mansion today, they were protests, people chanting Ralph's resign at the list of those calling for his resignation is much too long for me to read. The DNC, every single major Democratic candidate for the White House, the state's two Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, the Virginia State GOP, the bipartisan and overwhelmingly response accelerating after Governor Northam's strange weekend press conference where he admitted to dressing up in blackface another time in the same year as the photo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORTHAM: I dressed up, what's his name? Michael Jackson, excuse me, that's why I have Pam with me. I had the shoes, I had a glove and I used just a little bit of shoe polish to put under my or on my cheeks and the reason I used a very little bit is because I don't know if anybody has ever tried that, but you cannot get shoe polish off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So first you he didn't remember Michael Jackson's name and then the reason to use just a little bit on his face was because he'd done it before? I mean, "And the reason I used a very little bit is because I don't know if anyone's ever tried that, but you can't get shoe polish off." But the strangest moment might have been when he was talking about dressing up in blackface as Michael Jackson in more detail, Northam smiled and nodded and then his wife stepped in. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are you still able to moonwalk.
PAM NORTHAM, WIFE OF RALPH NORTHAM: Inappropriate circumstances.
NORTHAM: My wife says inappropriate circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And we have breaking news at this hour from our Sara Sidner, OutFront live in Sarah Seidner OutFront live in Richmond, Virginia. And Sara, this is a big development here as we try to understand what the heck is happening here. You just spoke with someone who worked on the yearbook staff and what did you just find out?
SARA SIDNER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We heard from Dr. William Elwood. He worked on the 1984 yearbook staff at EVMS, the same school, obvious, that Governor Northam went to and he said this, he said, "Look, the pictures were not chosen at random by the staff. The pictures were actually sent by each individual student to the yearbook staff in a sealed envelope. The yearbook staff then took the sealed envelope opened it up and they placed the pictures on the actual personal page of each of the physicians who were graduating."
And I asked him, "Look, is it possible that you or someone on the staff accidentally mixed up the pictures and put somebody's picture on the wrong page and maybe that's how this picture ended up on Dr. Northam's personal page?" And he said, "Anything is possible, but it is not probable." He said, "Either someone would have had to have done it maliciously or someone would have had to have done it mistakenly. But all of these pictures in this yearbook, they were in a locked area that only staff could get in." And in his mind it really doesn't seem possible that that would have happened, but like he said anything is possible.
So now we know a little bit about how the yearbook staff worked and that according to this one person who did work on that 1984 yearbook staff he said, "Yes, indeed I was one of the layout guys and they sent us, each physician sent us their pictures in a sealed envelope." I should also mention this, we talked to quite a few people who are voters here, just the constituents of Governor Northam, and it was a mixed bag as to what they thought should be done because of this picture. Everyone was equally annoyed with this picture.
Some of them said, "Look, he cannot continue to govern because he has so much time spent on this controversy and he's trying to deal with this and he can't govern at the same time." And they want his full attention on issues that affect Virginians every single day. And then, there were others and several African Americans who told us, "Look, we live in the state, we've seen this before, this is nothing new to us. We know that in this particular area and in the South in general that racism was a real issue. It still is an issue."
And they say, "Look, we can forgive Governor Northam, but we want to see that Governor Northam does right by us and the citizens all of the citizens here in Virginia if he can do that we can let this go." Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Sara, thank you very much. And I want to go OutFront now to the Virginia House Democratic Caucus Chair, Charniele Herring. And thank you very much. I appreciate your time. I mean, the Governor says he needs more time, should he have more time or does he need to just resign now?
CHARNIELE HERRING, VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE: He needs to resign now. I mean, he has committed these acts. Apparently, he's actually told me personally on Friday that he acknowledged that it was him in the photograph. He then tried to backtracked it in Saturday and described putting on blackface. It's too much for the Commonwealth to bear. I'll tell you right now today, we're in crossover session. There are serious things that we need to address like the tax issue, our budget and what he's doing is serving as a distraction.
I understand that he wants time to clear his name, but Virginians don't have time. We need to refocus on the task at hand and it would help the Commonwealth, if he step aside soon, very soon.
BURNETT: And if he does not do that, what can you do about it?
HERRING: Well, I'm not ready to go there yet, but he needs to step aside. He needs to resign. The more senior elected officials feel that he will step aside and do the right thing for the Commonwealth and I'm asking him again to please resign.
BURNETT: I want to play for you, Charniele, just because it was strange and incomprehensible what we saw this weekend. Just a couple of those key moments that I just referenced from the Governor's press conference. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORTHAM: I dressed up - what's his name? Michael Jackson, excuse me, that's why I have Pam with me. I had the shoes, I had a glove and I used us a little bit of shoe polish to put under my or all my cheeks and the reason I used a very little bit is because I don't know if anybody's ever tried it, but you cannot get shoe polish off.
REPORTER: Are you still able to moonwalk.
P NORTHAM: Inappropriate circumstances.
R NORTHAM: My wife says inappropriate circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Delegate Herring, what was your reaction to those moments?
HERRING: I was horrified. The description of putting on blackface, how much shoe polish he put on the face. Horrified actually. I was just horrified and I don't think the Governor and this is another thing, fully appreciates the pain, it is for African-Americans to sit there and listen to him say that. Now, I've known Governor Northam for almost a decade or a little bit over a decade and I think that he has a good heart, that his actions have been painful in cutting for many Virginians, African-American, and non-African-American alike.
And again for the love of the Commonwealth and I know he loves his state as much as I do with all his art, he needs to step aside and resign today.
BURNETT: And you do reference that you've known him for about a decade, Delegate Herring. Are you surprised, I mean, everything I keep hearing is no one knew any of this is coming and now all of a sudden under one yearbook it's coonman which is a racist slur and then there's this picture and then he's admitting to dressing up in blackface in another time and then he's talking about putting it on his face and there's just a sudden onslaught, is it a surprise to you altogether?
HERRING: It's a big disappointment, I can say that. It's just a huge disappointment. And you think about this in 1984 when he's describing putting on blackface, that's when Governor Wilder was making his bid to be the Governor of the Commonwealth, the first African-American Governor in these United States. That was profound. And so it's not that long ago and it's just as shocking and it's disgusting.
And again he needs to resign. Think about this and think what credibility does he have when negotiating trade agreements for the Commonwealth, when dealing with legislators because honestly for me that will always be in the back of my mind.
BURNETT: I mean, yes, that's the reality and you'd have to work with him every single day. So when he says I'll go and I can't effectively govern, what you're saying is that time passed and it passed a few days ago.
HERRING: It passed a few days ago. He cannot effectively govern now. It is time to step aside and I know it's hard, but it is time.
BURNETT: All right, well, Delegate Herring, we are awaiting whether there is a development from the Governor tonight. As you just heard, the latest news we have is that those pictures would have had to be submitted in a sealed envelope. I mean, it's getting worse and worse if that's even possible.
HERRING: It is.
BURNETT: Thank you so very much. I appreciate your time.
HERRING: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: And next breaking news, federal prosecutors are zeroing in on President Trump's inaugural committee. A source just telling me that prosecutors out of New York intend to subpoena documents about donors on who they pay. And someone in the White House leaking President Trump's schedule showing he spends about 60% of his time in what's called executive time, tweeting, watching television, making phone calls.
Tonight, the White House responds and President Trump expected to deliver a message of unity at the State of the Union his team says. So then what is with the new attack on Nancy Pelosi?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's doing a terrible disservice to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Breaking news, President Trump's inaugural committee facing a subpoena for documents from federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. The source telling me moments ago that they are ready to comply and I'm told that one area of interest for the Southern District of New York appears to be whether donors paid vendors directly for anything related to the inauguration. OutFront now, Harry Sandick, Former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Laura Coates former Federal Prosecutor, and David Gergen, former Adviser to Four Presidents.
Harry, here's what I know, it's a subpoena, they're waiting for it. It's for documents and we know that some of this is related to who may have paid for services.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: That makes total sense. If I were conducting this investigation, I would be interested to know whether any payments were made by foreign businesses or foreign individuals and whether the idea of having the payments made directly by these outside people was a way of essentially trying to skirt the reporting requirements that exist that the committee has to keep track of who its donors are, some people aren't allowed to make donations such as foreign individuals and businesses, and maybe this was a way around it. That's what the prosecutors probably wondering about.
BURNETT: Right. I mean because Laura, obviously, just to make the point clear, right, foreign donors are not allowed to be doing this. So if it happened that would be a violation.
LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Absolutely.
BURNETT: What's the significance, Laura, of the fact that this is a subpoena now, I mean, that they're not - that it's gotten to that point?
COATES: Well, the subpoena, of course, remember one of the biggest powerful things of a grand jury is that there is an ongoing investigation and they have rights to actually get documents. It's not a request, it's not one that just says, "If you feel like providing it to us, could you maybe do so." It's a demand and it's backed by the federal court through the grand jury process. And so there is reason to believe in order to get the subpoena that there is information out there that may be like into a crime.
And so they're exercising their right under the grand jury subpoena power to get documents and anything else that may follow. It also tells you that there is an arm other than the Mueller probe who's looking at documentation related to donations for the inaugural committee and the Trump campaign into inauguration. This is very big news.
BURNETT: And David Gergen, this also we know the inaugural committee right it raised an eye raising and historically unprecedented figure, right, of hundred million dollars. This is coming out of the Southern District of New York. As Laura points out, separate from Bob Mueller but the Southern District of New York is, of course, also Michael Cohen, what's the significance of that, David?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: Well, I think we've been assuming perhaps wrongly but many assume that the Mueller report is going to come in within the month and that basically is going to begin to end it. And what this says is, "No. No. No, even as Mueller closes up there's another front opening." And for Donald Trump that means he may be mired in this kind of thing for the rest of his first term. This may be a constant headache for him and it's going to be a subject of intensive reporting.
BURNETT: So let me ask you, Harry, because according to ProPublica, Rick Gates which was the deputy to the chairman of the inaugural committee, the chairman, of course, was Tom Barrett. According to ProPublica they are setting two sources saying that some vendors, Rick Gates, asked a couple of vendors, "Hey, can you just take a payment directly from a donor rather than through the committee?" Okay, that would be deeply concerning but that's the reporting that Rick Gates asked them to do this.
Let's just talk about the significance of that, if that happened, is there any way that the inaugural committee more broadly wouldn't have known about it if Rick Gates was hypothetically acting completely on his own?
SANDICK: It's hard to imagine that because an invoice comes in for a block of hotel rooms, let's say, and the inaugural committee is going to have to pay for that unless somebody else pays for it. And if the invoice just gets paid, how could the committee not have known? Is there some sort of guardian angel who's paying invoices for people?
That doesn't happen to my bills and I'm guessing it doesn't happen to the inaugural committee either. They must know who's paying for this. And all of the pieces are coming together, the grand jury subpoena, the existence of witness testimony to explain what's happening. And so as David just said, the southern district investigation isn't ending anytime soon.
BURNETT: And what else do you think they could be looking at, Laura? As I said, obviously, that's one thing that I am told in here, but there obviously is likely to be much more that the southern district is requesting in this subpoena.
COATES: They're going to compare and contrast essentially who are the people who were integral in the campaign and who were there to actually see the end result of the campaign. It's an interesting dynamic, because you want to essentially see people who are getting the output of all of their riches.
So they're going to compare and figure out if there's anything that somebody who was an investor in the campaign initially, are there foreign nationals who were providing money prior to the inauguration who then got to receive their just dessert at the end of it. What I find most fascinating about this, Erin, are the kind of cases that Robert Mueller is farming out.
Two separate occasions when it deals with campaign contributions, Mueller has shown he is not interested to the degree of collusion. He has farmed back to Fighters of New York. He's farmed back Michael Cohen about the campaign contributions related to Stormy Daniels and any other payments, Karen McDougal. He has farmed back to the S, T and Y similarly issues about foreign donations of campaign contributions.
I find that really remarkable given the fact that his mandate includes figuring out essentially how to follow the money. So if he is not interested in that particular aspect of it, I wonder what he's truly honed in on. And it also could be that he was anticipating that at some point his tenure would end and he had to make these systems automated by being able to funnel out the exact matter of his mandate.
BURNETT: You know there's also been reporting, of course, Harry, that Ivanka Trump herself was involved in email exchanges with some of the hotels and Stephanie Grisham who was people who were involved with planning this and that Ivanka Trump herself was involved in well how much of this cost or her how much of this pay. So if you talk about the inaugural committee, it involved the Trump family just to be clear, right?
SANDICK: Absolutely. The Trump family, his closest advisors, they planned this event and there are going to be emails, text messages, witness testimony it seems maybe from Gates to help put it all together. It sounds as if the Southern District's corruption unit which I think is handling these subpoenas believes that they may be on to something and they're going to just follow it where it leads.
BURNETT: David, just to put the exclamation point here on the amount of money we're talking about, right, I mean again hundred million dollars raised for an inauguration, that is an unprecedented figure just to begin with.
GERGEN: Yes. I think it may be double or more about what Barack Obama raised and there are these continuing questions about, "Okay, where did all of this money go? Did people of the Trump organization or the family make any money out of this? And who paid what foreigners are paying?" I do think of one note of caution, Erin, and that is Tom Barrack who ran the inaugural committee is in many circles one of the most respected people around Donald Trump.
GERGEN: I know the President wanted him to come into the government, but it's hard to see him sitting over some sort of piggy bank and being contended and letting to go. I just don't think that's not his personality, that's not his reputation.
BURNETT: No, it isn't and certainly he runs a publicly traded company. It wouldn't make any sense at all, but obviously the reporting from Axios relates to Rick Gates, his deputy and a lot more questions tonight. Thank you all very much. And next someone leaks the President's secret, White House schedule, the White House tonight responding. Plus, intelligence officers reportedly warned to avoid telling President Trump any intelligence that contradicts what he says in public. A member of the House Intelligence Committee response.
Tonight, the White House condemning a leak that shared major details about the President's schedule. One aide describing it as a "disgraceful breach of trust." These are the schedules leaked to Axios. They show the President, and here's just some of them, spends about 60% of his scheduled time as executive time. The White House says, "During the timeframe they looked at the President makes phone calls and takes meetings." That's how executive time is defined.
There are no other details though about how that time is spent considering, it is the majority of his day. Obviously, it's an important question. The counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway says the schedule does not detail how much the President really does.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Whoever leaked it doesn't know what he's doing during that block of time, so that's pretty obvious. I'm told 388 people have access to that broader schedule, the very few have access to the other schedule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The other schedule. All right, OutFront now Michael Caputo, former Trump Campaign Adviser and Robby Mook, former Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton. Thanks to both. Okay, Robby, what do you make of this executive time, 60% of the time on the schedules that we have here say executive time.
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR HILLARY CLINTON: I mean the President made big promises on the campaign about how he was going to be a big manager and going to get a bunch of things done. We just had a shutdown of the government for many, many weeks that yielded absolutely nothing.
And I guess I'm a little bit less surprised about that today, because it turns out he's really not doing very much of the office and I think if any of the rest of us spent 60% of our time hanging out in the break room, we'd probably be let go of. If he was on the apprentice, he'd probably get fired. So I just don't know if the President is lazy, if he's tired, I don't know what's going on. But I think the American people should be pretty exasperated tonight that this President with a lot going on in the world and in the country just is not really shown up to work most of the time.
BURNETT: I mean, Michael what do we make of this? You say, "What, is he lazy? Is he tired? Is he what?" You worked with him.
MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I did. I've never worked with somebody that worked so hard. He sleeps maybe four hours a night if he's tired and the idea that - I actually has got a hold of the intern's copy of the President's schedule really doesn't surprise me and the leakers that are abusing the President, the people who are still in the office of the White House who are leaking, they shouldn't be there.
I mean I think that if you're in the White House and you decide to do something to hurt the President, you should just quit and in fact this is a criminal leak. We know there's more detailed copy of the schedule. We know he does dozens of phone calls, tons of meetings, and to go with the intern's copy of the schedule and say that means the President doesn't work hard. Look, comparatively to, let's say, George W. Bush, he's less structured. George W. Bush was notoriously very structured.
If you read "The Art of the Deal," you know he values more flexibility in his time, but to look at the intern's copy of the schedule and say that the American should be somehow concerned, I think it's a little bit too much handwringing over this.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: What do you say, Robby? I mean, Kellyanne is trying to make that point, 388 people have access to this, but there's another, more secretive schedule. And somehow on that, we're going to see, you know, I mean, I don't know what level of detail. I would assume tweeting is not on there.
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Yes, I just don't know how credible that is. This White House is not very credible about very many things. It's odd to me that they would be distributing a schedule for the president of the United States to interns at all, frankly.
But, look, I think the bigger point here is that this is someone who spends most of his day watching cable television on social media, chatting with reporters, chatting with news commentators. He is not someone who is engaged in the business of running the country. And I think that's why you see the federal, you know, these federal offices are basically getting hollowed out, people are quitting.
Like I said, we had a shutdown that yielded absolutely nothing. And I think you're now seeing why. He's more -- it's more important to him what's going on in this television screen right now than what federal officials are doing.
BURNETT: And, Michael, what about the point, we don't know who leaked this, but we do know that this person spent a lot of time gathering, right? I mean, this was over a long period of time. So this person harbors a very strong feeling about the person that they worked for. And it's a pretty nasty feeling.
Cliff Sims, who, of course, have a book out about his time in the Trump White House, he came out tweeted something that I think summarized it pretty well.
Just consider the sheer amount of time and effort it would take to compile two months' worth of schedules. If most leaks are voluntary manslaughter, this was premeditated murder.
Michael, what does it say to you that there are people who work in the White House, who not only hate the president personally, this is about him personally, enough to do this to him, but they think it is their duty to remain there and keep doing it.
CAPUTO: I don't think anybody would believe that it's their duty to violate the law. This is a federal crime. And, you know, a national security crime. Imagine if this criminal decided it wasn't enough to leak past schedules and leaked future schedules, what kind of trouble could come from that.
I think that Alexi McCammond and Jonathan Swan at "Axios" should be treated, just like "The New York Times'" James Risen was in 2010 and James Rosen of Fox in 2013 and the entire "A.P." bureau in 2013 was treated by the Obama administration. We should figure out who this was. We should find out -- let's go back in Alexi and Jonathan's e- mails two years like Obama did.
Let's go through all their phone records. Let's pull their bank records. Let's pull their credit records. Let's look at their parent's e-mails like they did to Mr. Rosen and find out who did this.
If Barack Obama can do that, let's put Donald Trump's team to work to find out who this criminal leaker is.
BURNETT: Robby, let me give you a chance to respond to a crucial point here, though, which is, maybe, look, went all want to know more about what the president is doing and certainly for posterity, we want to know that. It's only appropriate and it's only right. However, just because executive time also exists of watching cable TV and tweeting does not mean that he's doing other things.
I want to play for you what the NATO secretary general said about Trump's impact on NATO. It's important.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: By the end of next year, NATO allies will add $100 billion extra U.S. for defense. So, we see some real money and some real results and we see that a clear message from President Trump is having an impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's a lot of money, Robby. And you know what, even if all of that came from his tweets and his constant nastiness about NATO publicly, it's a lot of money and it's making a big difference, isn't it?
MOOK: Well, I think it's a rich irony to talk about president Trump quote/unquote strengthening NATO. I don't know that any modern president has done more to undermine the organization, through his coziness with Vladimir Putin, he's repeatedly and very publicly questioned whether the alliance, which is incredibly important to our security here and the security to have the free world, he's constantly questioned whether it should even exist.
So I think that the idea that he's somehow strengthened it is just not the case.
BURNETT: Final word to you, Michael. But more money is more money?
CAPUTO: More money is more money. $100 billion is a heck of a lot stronger than it was the day before the $100 billion. And I'll tell you how that money came out.
That's because the president spent time during executive time on the telephone with each of the leaders of the nations who were members -- members of NATO. That's exactly how it happened.
And if you don't like the way the president spends his executive time, maybe you would be satisfied with the zero dollars that were there before.
[19:35:03] BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. You get the last word as Robby had the first. Thanks.
And next, President Trump continuing to undermine his own intelligence officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have intel people, that doesn't mean I have to agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And as Beto O'Rourke gets ready for a big national interview with Oprah, are all the comparisons to Obama overblown?
BURNETT: President Trump refusing to commit to special -- to the public release, I'm sorry, of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation report. Here's the exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you make the Mueller report public, because you say there's nothing in there --
TRUMP: It's totally up to the attorney general.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you would haven't a problem if it became public?
TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me, that's up to the attorney general. I don't know. It depends. I have no idea what it's going to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT at the White House.
And, Pamela, of course, he does have an idea of what it's going to say, if you go with his public comments, right, where he has publicly said, there is no collusion, there is no wrongdoing, there is nothing whatsoever to see here, so then why wouldn't he then commit to letting the American people see the report?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, this is President Trump being Trump, being noncommittal, even though, as you said, he has said all along that there is nothing there, no collusion, and that the entire investigation is a witch hunt.
But I spoke to a source familiar with the matter who actually told me tonight, Erin, that the president is actually following the advice of his lawyers on this issue.
[19:40:05] They have told him to be noncommittal publicly, because it is true. They have no idea what is in the report, when the investigation will wrap up. And there is concern that there will be other equities at stake, depending on what is in it, and particularly as it pertains to executive privilege. I can tell you in speaking to sources, Erin, that the White House council's office is gearing up for a fight over executive privilege in the report, if Democrats subpoena the Department of Justice to learn more, if they're not satisfied with what the attorney gives them.
Now, under the regulations, the attorney general is expected to notify Congress, but he is not obligated to actually tell them what's in the report. So it remains to be seen if we're going to find out anything. But the president, as you pointed out, continues to be noncommittal on this issue, Erin.
BURNETT: Pretty incredible, 18 months in, to imagine after all of this, that we might not know.
Pamela, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to the Republican Congressman from Ohio, Mike Turner, who sits on the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committee.
And, Congressman, I appreciate your time. It's great to have you here in person.
OK. You have made it clear that you support the Mueller probe being public, after these 18 months and all of the agony this country has gone through. Let's get it out there. Should the president just do the same?
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I don't know who's advising the president or why he's making the statements he is, but I can tell you this, the report has to be public. If you look at what's happened on the Intelligence Committee, and all the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted for even the transcripts of the portions of the interviews of our investigation to be made public. They're going through the review process now. And there will be, I'm certain, some things that are redacted as it's being made public that relate to, you know, classified materials or other things that cannot be publicly disclosed.
But the crux, the heart of the report and the conclusions and the facts and circumstances on which it's based have to be public so that the public can review it and we can have faith in our electoral system.
BURNETT: So you then are supportive of redactions that come from whatever it might be, the CIA or the FBI? That the intelligence community would have the ability to redact? That's it?
TURNER: I think the public would expect that. They would expect there to be some things in it that for national security reasons would not be made public. But the report itself, the facts, the circumstances, the conclusion of the Mueller team have got to be made public, because the public has got to have confidence that this investigation was, you know, unimpeded, went to its conclusion, and that it's available for the public.
BURNETT: So last week, as we all know, the president's intelligence chiefs put out a 42-page public report, which anybody could read, and they went, as they always do, out of the Senate Intelligence Committee and they talked about it, they testified about it. And they did so on tape.
And they took issue, obviously, they had a different conclusion than he did, for example, on Kim Jong-un's pursuit of nuclear weapons, on whether ISIS has been defeated and is still trying to attack the United States. And he is continuing to, you know, berate them, as he did, publicly.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to move on here, but I should say, your intel chiefs do say that Iran is abiding by that nuclear deal. I know you think it's a bad deal, but --
TRUMP: I disagree with them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You disagree about --
TRUMP: By the way, I have intel people, that doesn't mean I have to agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But the thing is, he doesn't just disagree, he went on Twitter and called them naive and called them passive and said they needed to go back to school. How big of a problem is this?
TURNER: Well, it's certainly unfortunate. I mean, we don't elect a president, obviously, to blindly take the advice he's given from the intelligence community.
TURNER: But at the same time, you know, there should be, you know, certainly the professional respect that you would expect in the process. Now, with respect to North Korea and whether or not North Korea will agree to give up their nuclear weapons, I've been a North Korea skeptic. I think the president's doing the right thing, though, in putting pressure on China, sanctions on North Korea, military buildups that they feel the insecurity as to what could happen, if there is a conflict, and then doing direct talks with North Korea. Now, I don't think that his intelligence team is outright saying that
that's not going to be successful. They're trying to give us some context of the intent of the individuals --
BURNETT: Well, they're saying there's no evidence that there's been any halt in North Korea's nuclear situation, which, of course, is counter to the president's belief, which I think we both know and our viewers know, is that his personal connection with the person can supersede --
TURNER: We have had a halt in tests, that I think has been important break, and that hopefully -- because, again, we all have the same goal here. And we want these negotiations to be successful.
TURNER: But in order for them to be successful, you have to go in with that certain level of skepticism, knowing that North Korea does not wish to do this and that this is going to take a full-court press.
BURNETT: Fair point. So when "Time" magazine is reporting two intelligence officers are saying, look, when they go in, they are now told to not tell the president anything that contradicts his personal point of view. So, don't give him the intelligence if it contradicts what he's said publicly about whatever, ISIS is defeated and the troops are coming home.
[19:45:01] Well, he doesn't want to hear that they could be planning attacks on America. I'm just giving as an example something that would fit that bill.
One intelligence official accused the president of what they call, quote, willful ignorance. That has got to concern you, that they're now not even telling him the truth.
TURNER: Well, and again, these unnamed sources, so we don't have someone who's come forward and said, I've been in these meetings and identify been instructed this. But your question is, would this be a problem? Of course it would be a problem.
Now, I think if you look at Secretary of State Pompeo, who obviously was giving him his daily briefings himself when he was the head of CIA, I mean, he certainly has indicated that the president is engaged and the president is both receiving information and is using it to form late policy. But I think what's important here as we look at that is the policies that he's pursuing are the ones that we want pursued. It's the process we have of getting there and hopefully we will.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Congressman.
TURNER: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: All right. Good to see you.
And next, as Democrats search for the next Obama, is Beto really the answer?
Plus, Jeanne Moos on why one of the president's biggest supporters is talking about napping on the job.
BURNETT: New tonight, Beto O'Rourke getting ready for his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
[19:50:00] It's his national debut as his potential rival Cory Booker takes on President Trump, who says Booker has no chance at being president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't need a president that's going to put down people or divide people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But can Booker, Beto, or any of the other Democrats capture the country's imagination like Barack Obama once did?
Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before any Democratic presidential candidate can hear those words and bask in the echo of that applause, they must start here. As Barack Obama did 12 years ago this week.
BARACK OBAMA, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I recognize that there is a certain presumptuousness in this, a certain audacity to this announcement.
ZELENY: The 45-year-old junior senator from Illinois was a rising star, but a long shot presidential candidate.
OBAMA: I know that I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I have been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.
ZELENY: Most every Democrat eyeing the White House this time around has already met privately with Obama and strains of his message and name are showing up in the early stages of the race.
Senator Kamala Harris striking a unifying tone and drawing an Obama- sized crowd during her announcement.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our United States of America is not about us versus them. It's about we the people. ZELENY: Senator Cory Booker evoking the Obamas.
BOOKER: I miss Obama. And I miss her husband, too.
I'm really grateful for the kind of leadership he provided this country.
ZELENY: And Senator Sherrod Brown telling voters this.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Obama knew if he didn't win Iowa, the race was over.
ZELENY: Back then, even after Obama won the Ohio caucuses, his primary fight with Hillary Clinton was just beginning.
OBAMA: They said this day would never come.
ZELENY: David Axelrod, the architect of the Obama campaign, said rebounding from moments of crisis was the most important test for Obama and any candidate.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Presidential races are gauntlets, and in a rough way, they're supposed to be, where you simulate the kind of pressures that people will face if they become president. And people get a chance to judge you in those moments.
ZELENY: At the dawn of one of the most wide open campaigns in memory, predicting the next Obama is foolhardy.
AXELROD: I did not know how he would handle the pressures of the race. We don't know that now about any of these candidates.
ZELENY: The former president plans to stay out of the primary, telling Democrats he knows the torch should be passed, but it could be complicated if Joe Biden jumps in.
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: As vice president, I saw first-hand the courage of Barack -- excuse me, the president. He's my buddy.
ZELENY: And heads turned when Obama called Beto O'Rourke an impressive young man who ran a terrific race in Texas.
OBAMA: It felt as if he based his statements and his positions on what he believed.
ZELENY: All eyes are on O'Rourke again Tuesday, as he appears in New York with Oprah Winfrey, who gave Obama her first political endorsement.
OPRAH WINFREY, CELEBRITY TV HOST: I'm here to tell you, Iowa, he is the one.
ZELENY: Now, there's not going to be a political endorsement from Oprah Winfrey tomorrow in Times Square when he sits down with Beto O'Rourke, but, of course, all eyes will be on that. And that is one of the central questions hanging over the campaign. Is Beto O'Rourke going to get in? Is Joe Biden going to get in?
We know that President Obama has been talking to a variety of Democrats. I'm told some of whom are not even in campaign yet. So, look for others potentially to come.
But, Erin, everyone is looking to Barack Obama at least as a path to a junior senator winning the White House -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Jeff.
And next, Jeanne Moos clocking in at the White House and finding out what the president does during executive time. Jeanne style.
[19:58:03] BURNETT: Tonight, time apparently flies when it's executive time.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's 8:00 a.m. Do you know where your president is?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Executive time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sheer amount of executive time.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: I speak to him often during that executive time.
MOOS: "Axios" reported leaked schedules show that President Trump spent 60 percent of his time, the orange blocked, in unstructured executive time.
Critics wasted no time mocking Trump's schedule by crossing out nothing on a to-do list. The "it's executive time somewhere" mug is already for sale.
But someone suggested Lay-Z-Boy should come up with a recliner named executive time.
"Newsweek" has already done it on its cover. Comedians have been making jokes since executive time was first associated with the president last year.
SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: Oh, my god. President might be our first president who works so little, he technically qualifies for unemployment.
MOOS: Not exactly the image he projected. TRUMP: I will work so hard. I just want to stay in the White House
and work my ass off. I'm going to work for you. You're not going to have time to go play golf.
MOOS: Except for maybe a round this past weekend with Tiger and Jack Nicklaus.
One defender equated Donald Trump's executive time with Winston Churchill's nap time.
Newt Gingrich tweeted Churchill took a nap every afternoon, getting into his pajamas. PJs aside, many were miffed that Newt would dare to compare these two. Churchill fought Nazis. Trump defends them.
Chris Christie came to the president's defense.
CHRISTIE: There's no one who knows him who is ever going to accuse him of not working hard enough. He's a hard worker.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: He spent less time being the American president than it would take to watch "The American President."
MOOS: Or as Frank and Peggy Lee once sang.
FRANK SINATRA AND PEGGY LEE (singing): Nice work if you can get it --
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
LEE: If you try --
SINATRA: I got connections too
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: A thanks so much to all of you for joining us. See you tomorrow.
Anderson starts now.