Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Michael Cohen Makes Surprise Visit To Capitol Hill Ahead Of Testifying Before Three Committees; Michael Cohen To Testify Before Three Committees Next Week; Michael Cohen Spent Several Hours Inside Senate Intel CMTE's Secure Spaces With His Attorneys Ahead Of His Testimony; Michael Cohen To Testify Before Three Communities; Includes Slew Of Topics Such As Trump's Biz Practices; Judge Imposes Full Gag Order On Roger Stone After He Posts Photo Of Judge With Crosshairs On Instagram; Judge Silences Roger Stone, Calls Instagram Post "Sinister"; Judge Silences Roger Stone After Crosshairs Instagram Post; Warns "This Is Not Baseball There Will Not Be A Third Chance"; Jussie Smollett Rejects Evidence Laid Out By Prosecutors After Accusing Him Of Staging Racist And Homophobic Attack; Jussie Smollett Defiant Amid Allegations He Staged Attack; Jussie Smollett Defiant After Prosecutors Say Her Staged Attack; Calls Arrest A "Spectacle" And Maintains His "Innocence". Aired: 7-8p ET

Aired February 21, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


NINA DOS SANTOS, EUROPE EDITOR, CNN: ... and there's very little that they can do to try and get more information from him. Of course, as I was saying before, he is now a Russian citizen as well, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: Nina Dos Santos, excellent reporting. Thanks very much. That's it for me. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OutFront next, the President former attorney, Michael Cohen, on Capitol Hill today days before a highly anticipated public hearing that all of us will see. What was he doing? Plus, a federal judge rips into the President's longtime friend, confidante, Roger Stone after he posted a picture attacking her, stunning details from inside the courtroom this hour. And breaking news, the actor accused of staging a hate crime just releasing a statement, maintaining his innocence saying he has been betrayed in the face of text evidence proof. Let's go OutFront.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, Cohen heads to the Capitol. The President's former fixer in Washington today, it was a surprise visit that lasted several hours. Cohen was trying to avoid being seen, try to use a freight elevator to move between floors. Today's visit though comes just days before his return to testify on Capitol Hill and seen he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen, your attorney told us that you were now meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee today, is that true?

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: He didn't want to answer the question. Here's the thing,

Cohen is about to testify for three straight days and one of them will be in public for all of us to see. It is a huge surprise for President Trump who probably thought he was in the clear after Cohen backed out of his testimony earlier this month. But now Cohen is going to have three days to tell all, two behind closed doors, one in public.

And what is he going to tell about Trump? Well one source close to Cohen told the Wall Street Journal, "He's going to say things that will give you chills and those things are about the President of the United States. They are exactly the topics Trump is most afraid of, money, his business and his family." Now, President Trump put a good face on this, right? Remember about Michael Cohen when he said, "I have nothing to fear."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Cohen, he's agreed to testify before the House Democrats next month. What do you think of that, are you worried about that?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not worried about it at all, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But he is and he should be, 12 years together, countless deals, payments to porn star and a playmate before the election, a possible tower in Moscow and that may be the tip of the iceberg. The fact is Michael Cohen knows a lot about Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: He knows the truth. I know the truth. Others know the truth and here is the truth, the people of the United States of America, the people of the world don't believe what he's saying. The man doesn't tell the truth and it's said that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Trump's dirty deeds. Well, Trump wouldn't want any of those public if they happened. Cohen says Trump is threatening his family in order to keep him from testifying, in fact. Threats like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He should give information, maybe, on his father-in-law, because that's the one that people want to look at, because where does that money - that's the money in the family."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: It's comments like that one that forced the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to warn the President last night when Cohen's testimony was announced that quote "any efforts to intimidate family members or pressure witnesses will not be tolerated." Evan Perez is OutFront live in Washington.

And Evan, it was a surprise to see Michael Cohen on Capitol Hill today rather unprecedented ahead of his testimony. What was he doing there?

EVAN PEREZ, SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, he spent much of the day, Erin, behind closed doors in the secure rooms there in the Senate and this is the room - these are the rooms where they keep classified information and people can go in and read these documents, they cannot take them out. One thing that he may have been doing is reviewing his previous testimony to make sure that when he testifies next week it all lines up.

Obviously, this is an issue for Michael Cohen after all he has pleaded guilty to lying to this very same panel back in 2017. And look, I mean, I think what we're looking forward to not only to that testimony which he'll be back before the Senate committee on Tuesday, he's also got the public testimony which you made a mention of on Wednesday which is before the House Oversight Committee. And that's the committee that has already put out a list of items that they have that they believe that Cohen will be able to address during what we expected the hours and hours of testimony.

By the way, that's exactly at the time that the President is going to be overseas in Vietnam doing his summit meeting with the North Koreans. And among the things that the House committee says that they're going to be discussing with him are public efforts by the President and his attorney to intimidate Mr. Cohen. They also said potentially fraudulent inappropriate practices by the Trump Foundation. Of course, this is very close to the President and his family.

[19:05:02]

And, of course, the President's compliance with campaign finance laws which goes to those payments to the women which is what started all of these problems for Michael Cohen and, of course, the President. So, of course, Wednesday is going to be the big day because it's all going to be in public. The Tuesday testimony is going to be behind closed doors. We expect that the Senators are actually going to participate in the questioning which is unusual, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Evan, and I want to go now to someone who's going to be in the room asking questions on that public testimony for all of us to see. Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda of California, Member of the House Oversight Committee, and Congressman I appreciate your time.

So you heard Evan. We understand Cohen was with his attorneys on Capitol Hill today. Do you know why they needed to be there and in that room where you go to see classified information?

HARLEY ROUDA, OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: I would imagine based on the fact he's going to have several days of testimony. As you've mentioned some behind closed doors that they're laying down some of the ground rules, some of the expectations and some of what we might expect to hear from his testimony.

BURNETT: As we're saying he obviously being there today suggests that perhaps he needed to do review documents that he could only view there in that classified room. That could be anything, of course, but that would include transcripts from his prior appearance. Do you think that's possible that they were doing that or concerned about possible perjury looking at old transcripts or it's unclear?

ROUDA: I think it's a combination of all of the above. We want to make sure that Michael Cohen is prepared for his testimony and while we are thrilled that he's contrite because he got caught and we have some tough questions for him. We need to understand what's going on in the Trump administration as well as the Trump organization regarding multiple areas, whether it's campaign finance laws, whether it's paying off individual with hush money, what's going on in the hotel, the number of Russians who have paid cash for condos across the world in his projects. We have a lot of questions. We want a lot of answers.

BURNETT: So Cohen has reportedly said that what we're all going to hear in this public testimony, in that room where you'll be, what he's going to do is "give you chills," that's how we're going to feel when we learn what Michael Cohen has to say about Donald Trump. Do you think that'll be the case?

ROUDA: I definitely think there's a possibility of it and you couple that with Mueller's report, hopefully coming out in the very near future. The amount of breadth and depth of that investigation and the testimony that Michael Cohen will be providing. I think there is a possibility that yes we're going to see some activity and behavior that's clearly unbecoming of the President of the United States of America.

BURNETT: Do you think we'll learn anything that could threaten the presidency?

ROUDA: Let's see what the evidence says. I think more importantly than that I am hopeful that my colleagues both in the Democratic caucus, in the Republican caucus stand up to our constitutional obligations under Article 1. And if there is actionable items against this President that we hold him accountable for his conduct.

BURNETT: Congressman, you mentioned Mueller's investigation. We're expecting it to be formally done any day. I mean it could even be tomorrow. So when you say the report, how soon do you think we'll see a report? It sounds like you believe we will see one that it won't be a fight after Mueller announces it's done.

ROUDA: Well, we have this continuing question as to what the Attorney General is going to release or not release. I am hopeful that the entire report subject to National Security implications as determined by Congress is released to the public for our full review. That's democracy. That's what the citizens of the United States deserve and I'm very hopeful that the Attorney General will do his job in this area. BURNETT: Some say there's going to be enough in there to warrant

impeachment proceedings, even if there's nothing criminally indictable, but that there would be enough to warrant impeachment which is a political process. Do you think that's likely? Is that what you expect?

ROUDA: Well, I think many would say there's enough offenses right now or evidence of offenses that we have impeachable information right now. But I think in any qualified prosecution, you want to get through the full investigative analysis and that is what Mueller's report does. There's no reason to take action until you have all of the facts. That report will provide us with a clear understanding of all of the facts and then whatever action needs to be, will be taken.

BURNETT: Congressman Rouda, thanks for your time.

ROUDA: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next Roger Stone's dirty tricks catch up with him. A federal judge slams the President's former confidant banning Stone from doing what he does best. Plus, breaking news, the actor accused of staging a hate crime just releasing a statement, pushing back against accusations and text evidence that he did all for money.

[19:10:01]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And breaking news, in the only 2018 election that still has not been called. The State of North Carolina now ordering a whole new election.

Breaking news, Roger Stone silenced, a federal judge imposing a full gag order on a long time trump confidante after Stone posted a photo of the judge on Instagram with, as you can see, what appear to be crosshairs behind her head. The judge saying no press releases, no blogs, no media interviews, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no Snapchat posts, I'm sorry, nothing about the case.

That, of course, is the oxygen that keep Stone alive and on top of that no statements can be made on Stone's behalf by spokesperson's family members or even volunteers. Stone was arrested in charge last month on the Russia investigation for obstruction of justice, witness tampering and making false statements. Kara Scannell begins our coverage OutFront in Washington.

So Kara, a pretty stunning and dramatic day in that courtroom, you were there.

KARA SCANNELL, REPORTER, CNN: Oh, it was, Erin. I mean, the judge really took Roger Stone to task here. He took the stand to apologize to her, but she essentially took over questioning and was hammering him on the why and how did he post this and Stone's answers were pretty inconsistent. He said at one point that the image was randomly selected, but then it came out that he had two to three images of the judge on her phone.

[19:15:01]

She even asked him, "Have you ever tried Googling?" As though she couldn't find a photo of her without those crosshairs behind her. He also said that the photo was obtained by a volunteer and then when she asked him who was the volunteer he said he couldn't remember even though that was just four days ago. He also though admitted that he did write the words that accompanied the post, the one line in particular the hashtag #fixisin as he's been critical of the judge because she put another ally, Paul Manafort, behind bars for witness tampering.

And Stone also though apologized and he said that this was a stupid lack of judgment, but the judge said that she found his apology to be hollow and his testimony not credible, Erin.

BURNETT: I mean, pretty stunning and direct. You use the word contrite, how did he react?

SCANNELL: It was interesting when he was on the stand answering the questions, he was at time speaking over the judge really trying to get his point across. He was gesturing broadly, but when she starts to explain this gag order on him, he just put his head in his hands, he leaned back and it looked like his eyes were closed letting the reality of this sink.

BURNETT: Wow, when you think about the drama or the Shakespearean drama of all of this. Thank you so much, Kara. And I want to go down to Gloria Borger and John Dean, Nixon White House Counsel. Gloria, just thinking about this and the drama of it, Stone says in court he didn't know who chose or posted the image on his Instagram account, even though his cell phone was used to post it.

GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Bizarre.

BURNETT: So someone took it from him and - I mean, it does ring hollow. What was he trying to do in there today?

BORGER: Well, I don't know. I think it was trying to help himself and I think it was pretty risky of his lawyers to let him testify at all and now we know why because he didn't help himself one bit. As Kara was saying, he started out pretty contrite. That was going pretty well. And then, once she started questioning him, he started dissembling and it was very clear he's got five or six people working for him, but he didn't know who it was who posted it, yet he did do the hashtag #fixisin.

I mean, he doesn't have a thousand people working for him, it's a small operation. And so the irony here is was he making false statements to a judge who is going to preside over his trial for making false statements. So it was a little crazy to me. BURNETT: I mean, and John there were times as you've heard Kara

described he was very contrite talking over the judge, trying to make his case, trying to apologize. And one thing just - when you hear about the drama in that room, John, is that it's such a far cry for the demeanor that we now know and associate with Roger Stone, flashing the victory sign the day he was arrested on the court steps, selling t-shirts and stones. Do you think that he is realizing how serious this is?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I really don't. I think he's still playing games. When he came out of the courtroom he had a smirk on that was somewhere between a laugh and a cry. And I think he knew he got away with something, because he's not in jail tonight. But here's the other thing, as Gloria said, he made the judge even thought he was making false statements.

What he's done is he surround himself by a small group of proud boys which is the neo-fascist group that is all over the United States and there's a Florida unit that apparently has attached themselves to Roger and they were there to protect him. But it's one of those people who undoubtedly came up with the picture or researched and found it, ran it by him. He knows exactly who did it.

And this is a federal crime and it'll be amazing if they don't further investigate it, because I don't think he squared with the court today.

BURNETT: I mean, Gloria, Jeffrey Toobin spoke about Paul Manafort's appearance the other day and I was just thinking if you're Roger Stone, are you thinking about Paul Manafort. I want to just play what Jeff Toobin said, because I thought it was pretty powerful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: I saw Paul Manafort in court the other day. This is a man who looks like he's dying. He is walking with a cane. He looks disoriented. Prison is rough for anybody and, yes, he did wrong, and he did wrong over and over again, but - I mean, this man is really, really in danger of losing his life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I mean, Gloria, Stone is what, three years younger than Paul Manafort.

BORGER: Yes.

BURNETT: Is he looking at Paul Manafort, the high flyer with the ostrich coat, and the suits, and the fancy life and all the women. And now the guy can barely walk and is disoriented and is almost certain to die in prison, does Roger Stone look at that and go, "That could become me."

BORGER: I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.

[19:20:01] I know that it is way too late for him to flip and I know that nobody

would probably want him to flip anyway because the judge today said he was not credible, so why would you do that. I think that Stone and Manafort used to be business partners at one time, but I think Stone is kind of looking out for, number one, which is himself and I think he fully expects that perhaps the President will pardon him, and that will be his way out of this.

That may have been what Manafort thought at one point and maybe he's still thinking about it. But I think Roger Stone is still trying to figure out a way out of all of this and maybe a pardon if he gets convicted of anything is a way for him.

BURNETT: John, when Gloria says it's way too late to flip, obviously, given what the judge has said about Stone's credibility, do you think Trump is concerned at all now about Stone?

DEAN: Well, he could be. Stone has a lot of information from a lot of 40 years of knowing Trump. They obviously have shared a lot of secrets. He may be a key person in the Russia investigation. We know that there are contacts now between Roger and WikiLeaks that have not been released.

So yes I think he is the threat, but Roger would have to give up something awfully big to get himself out of the problem he's gotten in, he's never been before a grand jury. He's not a credible witness as the judge said today. So he's between a rock and a hard place as is Mr. Trump.

BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much.

BORGER: Sure.

BURNETT: And next breaking news, actor Jussie Smollett just releasing a statement calling today's arrest a spectacle, but what about his own text messages? Plus North Carolina just ordering a whole new election in the only race that has still not been called.

[19:25:00]

Breaking news, defiant actor Jussie Smollett just releasing a statement saying his rights to being presumed innocent were "trampled on" today after being charged with making up a hate crime. This statement released moments ago on his behalf reading in part, "Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."

Authorities, of course, detailed today how Smollett allegedly paid two men to help him stage an attack. They went into great detail. He claimed it was a racist and homophobic hate crime, of course. They say they have text messages that show every single stage of this and they say that he staged it because he was unhappy with his salary on a television show Empire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: I know the racial divide that exists here. I know how hard it's been for our city and our nation to come together. Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. I'm left hanging my head and asking why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Nick Watt is OutFront. He, of course, has been there in the courtroom. And Nick, police prosecutors obviously, we just saw it there, visibly angered, shaken by the proceedings today. You were in the room when Smollett appeared in court and you heard all of the text evidence that seems to lay this out painfully clearly.

NICK WATT, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. And, Erin, let me just first say the judge was also visibly angry. I mean, he said, "Listen, of course, Jussie Smollett is innocent until proven guilty." But he said, "If this is true," he called it 'utterly outrageous'. And he also spoke specifically about the noose that Jussie Smollett allegedly told these men to hang around his neck. The judge said if that - he said that symbol conjures up such an evil in this country.

And listen, I wouldn't use the word spectacle. It was an extraordinary scene though, Jussie Smollett standing in the courtroom. His family in the public gallery also standing throughout the proceedings as this prosecutor, as you say laid out their case minute detail. Phone records showing phone calls and text messages both before and after the attack.

Now, prosecutors also say that Jussie Smollett first hired one brother then the other. He gave him a hundred bucks to go and buy the rope to make that noose to buy red caps which they didn't end up wearing in the end, to buy clothing to wear during the attack. He also apparently took them to the scene and talked them through it. He said, "Hit me hard but not too hard. Allow me to fight back a little bit." And he also apparently pointed out to the brothers a security camera on which he hoped this attack would be captured.

Now, after the attack when he was giving his statement to the police, Smollett also told the police, "I think there might have been a camera there that might have captured this." As it turns out that camera was turned around and did not capture the events, but the detail that the prosecutors went in today was absolutely intricate. They were on their feet for a long time laying it all out.

Smollett's lawyer, of course, then stood up and said, "Listen, my client is innocent. He wants to clear his name." Smollett is going to be back in court in March, but the legal aspect of this is one side of it, the kind of social fallout from this of a man claiming he had a noose around his neck when prosecutors say he didn't, he made it up. That is going to go on, Erin, for a long, long time. Back to you.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Nick. And I want to go now to Keith Boykin, former Clinton White House Aide, Co-Founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, which is a civil rights organizations dedicated to empowering members of the black LGBT community and Steve Cortes member of President Trump's 2020 Re-Elect Advisory Council. Thanks to both.

Keith, President Trump this morning tweeted "Jussie Smollett, what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments." Keith, what Smollett allegedly did and as we now have seen this painstaking text evidence laid out, is it stoking hate and racism just like Trump?

KEITH BOYKIN, CO-FOUNDER, NATIONAL BLACK JUSTICE COALITION: Well, I'm glad you used the word "alleged," Erin, because he's now issued a response and said that -- he's denying the charges against him, he has a right to the presumption of innocence, so I don't want to presume he's guilty, either. And I think Donald Trump is making the dangerous mistake of presuming that he is guilty.

And you know, this is a danger on the part of the president of weighing in on this, one side or the other, when the story first came out, he said it's horrible, now he's saying that Smollett is stoking racist fears. Maybe he should sit back and say nothing for a change, Donald Trump, you know. He's responsible for leading racist charges against the Central Park Five, against Barack Obama and his birth certificate and all these other things --

BURNETT: Keith, you know, it's just like the judge said. Yes, presumption of innocence, but are you going to say they just made up all the text messages, where he said, get a noose and put it around my next? Do you want to pretend that's not all out there?

It sounds kind of like Trump, if I just say it didn't happen, it didn't happen, even though god knows, I mean --

BOYKIN: I think that's wrong, Erin, because I think in America, people are entitled to a process in court. I'm not going to sit here today because he's been charged, that means he's automatically guilty. If that were the case, then maybe Roger Stone is automatically guilty. Maybe Donald Trump is automatically guilty, because he's been implicated by the Southern District of New York.

I think in America, we still have a system of due process. Yes, I understand the evidence has been out there and I think the court needs to decide how they're going to weigh this evidence, but if we're going to have a presumption of innocence for Donald Trump and his figures and his associates, we should also have a presumption of innocence for Jussie Smollett.

I'm not -- first, let me just be very clear. I'm not denying that if he did this, this is wrong and reprehensible. I'm just not going to say that he definitely did this without having all the evidence.

STEVE CORTES, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: There's an important distinction here, though. Of course, he gets the presumption of innocence in our courts, as does anybody. As does somebody who kills somebody on videotape for us to plainly see. That assailant still gets the presumption of innocence in the courts.

But in the court of public opinion and in the court of just reasonable judgment, that doesn't mean that he gets the presumption of innocence. We all saw the videotape of those brothers buying this ridiculous, theatrical assortment of goods that they used, including red -- apparently, you know, supposed to be MAGA hats, hoods.

So we don't have to hide behind, you know, well, let's wait and reserve judgment. The facts in the case now are plainly evident for any reasonable person to say, he's guilty. Now, a court has to, of course, be more careful than that. But you can't hide behind that presumption of innocence.

BOYKIN: I'm not hiding behind anything. I'm asking for consistency and I would ask you to do the same thing. I'm not defending -- if Jussie Smollett did this, I would be the first person to say, this is someone who's known him for eight years, I think it's inexcusable and reprehensible and I think there should be repercussions. He should be held accountable.

I'm also saying that he is entitled to be treated fairly in a criminal justice system.

BURNETT: Do you feel in any way that you are a bit in denial here, when it comes to just your own sense --

BOYKIN: I don't think --

BURNETT: Again, we can go through the texts. I'm not going to go through them all. We all know they're there, we know the video's there, yes, there's a court, but there's also you, Keith, what do you say?

BOYKIN: What am I supposed to say, Erin? Am I supposed to say, because I've been presented evidence from the Chicago police department that I've seen on television --

BURNETT: Do you think they faked it?

BOYKIN: -- that I'm supposed to condemn someone I've known for eight years because of this?

All I'm saying is, if it's true, I condemn it. I absolutely condemn it. I'm just not prepared to say, without giving him that opportunity.

And I would -- again, I want to point to you, Steve, and say, if you're going to make assumptions because of a charge, then you should also make an assumption about Roger Stone and about Donald Trump, who have also been implicated in federal crimes.

CORTES: Hold on. You said that twice now. Donald Trump has not been charged with anything.

BOYKIN: The Southern District of New York has been implicated in a federal crime and Roger Stone has been implicated in a federal crime.

CORTES: He has not been implicated -- Roger Stone, yes. You cannot just throw around words like that. BOYKIN: I never said charged, I said implicated. Be clear.

BURNETT: Keith, if we had text messages like this about the president of the United States and Paul Manafort talking about meeting with a Russian lawyer, it would be done.

BOYKIN: We have -- we have!

BURNETT: I can't even imagine what people would do that with that?

BOYKIN: Erin, we have e-mail messages with the president of the United States -- with people of the president of the United States, his staff, his son-in-law --

BURNETT: But we don't have any of them -- we have no e-mails from the president of the United States.

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: -- meeting with the Russian in June of 2016! So don't give me this whole notion that --

CORTES: Here's what I find astounding and frustrating --

BOYKIN: -- be consistent about this! I'm perfectly willing to say and I've said it now four times, I think, that if he did this, he should be held accountable.

[19:35:04] All I'm saying is that he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. And Donald Trump --

CORTES: In a court of law. In a court of law.

BOYKIN: -- and Donald Trump wants to attack everyone and speak about this and tweet about this. He hasn't said a single word today, not one word, about this Coast Guard white supremacist who was plotting a mass terror attack in the United States. Yet he has the time to go off and tweet about Jussie Smollett.

Let's have some consistency here. Donald Trump is the last person who needs to be speaking about this. He needs to be trying to bring the temperature level down, not raise it up. Unfortunately, he's become such a divisive figure in this country, that this is just the wrong way to handle this. Let's have a moment we can sit down and have a conversation.

BURNETT: Steve, Steve?

CORTES: Yes, look, what I find frustrating and really astounding is how quickly everyone who believed the story was willing to immediately not just say that this happened to Jussie Smollett, but to affix blame on both the president and on anyone who supports the president.

And now, though, when it is plainly evident to any reasonable person that he's guilty, I'm not saying the court of law says, but to any reasonable person that he's guilty, now we're hearing, there has to be an abundance of caution. Why? Because now it doesn't make the MAGA supporters look guilty. And there's a double standard there.

And I would also point to the double standard, just yesterday, there was an act of actual political violence. A terrible attack at UC Berkeley where a conservative student was punched in the face, was viciously attacked by somebody, purely for his political views. That has gotten almost zero attention from media today.

BOYKIN: Steve, a Trump supporter sent pipe bombs to the very office where I'm sitting right here today at CNN. We could go through the list of examples --

CORTES: And all political violence is wrong.

BOYKIN: -- of people who have did things. But I am not one of those people who went out there and said the MAGA people were responsible for this. I didn't say a single word about the Jussie Smollett case, except to report what he said. I never took an opinion about it, I never stated anything publicly about it until yesterday or the day before. So I'm not that person that you're talking to.

CORTES: I didn't say that you did, Keith, but plenty of people in media did, plenty of people did. They immediately blamed MAGA supporters --

BOYKIN: And Donald Trump did, as well. We should all take a minute, step back and relax and wait for the process to unfold.

BURENETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, breaking news. A shocking turn of events out of North Carolina. The Republican who had already declared victory, done, out, calling for a new election?

Plus, President Trump ordering his administration to stop a woman from returning to the United States. She had gone and joined ISIS. She had called for attacks on America. But can Donald Trump keep her out?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:19] BURNETT: Tonight, voter fraud allegations leading to a new election for a North Carolina House seat. The state's board of elections voting unanimously for a new vote in the ninth congressional district following an investigation into absentee ballot issues, irregularities.

The Republican, Mark Harris, who has been leading in the contested race agreed, hold a new election. His announcement coming after his son testified he'd warned his father not to hire a political consultant who is now at the center of this entire thing. That testimony leaving Harris in tears.

Dianne Gallagher is OUTFRONT.

And, Dianne, you've been covering this hearing for days. A tremendous amount of detail involving alleged voter fraud and now this moment, tears. Where are we? DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Erin, if you had

asked me this morning if this is where we were going to be right now, I would have told you that you are absolutely crazy.

This hearing started off with a bombshell. A worker who basically confirmed everything that people had suspected, saying that she was paid to illegally collect ballots, fill in forms, do things that she wasn't supposed to do. It continued with the testimony from the candidate's son, who happens to be an assistant U.S. attorney, saying that, look, I warned my dad about this guy. And by the way, here are the e-mails, the paper trail proving that.

And today, the candidate himself, Mark Harris, got up on the stand, began to testify, and then suddenly, just before lunch, his attorneys asked to take a little recess. They wanted to talk with the general counsel. By the time they came back about an hour and a half, two hours later, Erin, he stood up on the stand and apparently the testimony had convinced him, as well.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK HARRIS (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Through the testimony I've listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called. It's become clear to me that the public's confidence in the 9th district seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Now, look, Erin, he was hoping that initially, at the beginning of this, that the board was going to go ahead and let him take this seat that he initially had said he won. So at this point, where we are is that the board is going to have to set a new election. That includes a primary and potentially even a second primary, depending on how many people get in and what those are, and then another new election to fill that 9th district. This is now one of two special elections for congressional districts in North Carolina that they're going to have to do here. Two seats that are empty right now.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Dianne. She's there on the ground.

And now, political editor for "The New York Times," Patrick Healy. Wow! Here we are. I mean, this is just a stunning turn of events, right? It's the only still-undecided race. Here we are, and now Mark Harris says, let's have another election, which is a pretty stunning thing. And the right thing to do, but not what anyone expected to happen today.

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICAL EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right, big surprise.

BURNETT: The president has said nothing. HEALY: Yes, well, what can he say? I mean, this is politically

devastating for Republicans. For years, President Trump and Republicans have tried to create this image that Democrats were stealing elections.

BURNETT: Millions of voter fraud ballots.

HEALY: Democrats -- phony votes, you know, President Trump would have won the popular vote against Hillary Clinton, if not for all of this voter fraud by Democrats. Never proven, no evidence. The president made a big to do about creating this sort of show commission on voter integrity.

And now, the Republicans have the biggest case of voter fraud that we've had in this country for years. A congressional seat in a safe Republican district in North Carolina, that they should have had no problem winning, that they themselves are directly implicated in pulling off a fraud.

[19:45:02] And you have the congressional candidate's own son on the stand, saying, I told my dad this guy was dirty, this guy was crooked, don't sign him up to run, you know, your voter ballot campaign. And the Republicans signed him up anyway.

BURNETT: So, now you have not only something that goes completely against the narrative of the president, right? Just that voter fraud is rampant in this country and it's illegal immigrants, you know, specifically is what he likes to say, right? That's his -- that's the number one bogeyman. And then Democratic. You've got it on the Republican side.

Now, when you get to the seat, though, now that the Republican candidate is standing up and saying, let's do the right thing, 905 votes, right? That was the difference?

HEALY: Right.

BURNETT: And the Republican was ahead by 905 votes in this whole imbroglio of the recount. Can Republicans hold on to the seat if there's a new election?

HEALY: They have a decent chance. It's a pretty safe Republican district. North Carolina is one of the gerrymandered states favoring Republicans. This district was sort of built for a Republican to win.

Mark Harris is going to have a lot of trouble if he runs with the kind of baggage that he's got now. He may well not run, but there are other very strong Republican candidates who could. And they don't have a strong blue wave to roll in the Democrats. So it could be -- it could be tough for Democrats to take.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Patrick.

And next, the woman who left the United States to join ISIS and wanted attacks against America, posted about it. She now wants to come back. President Trump says no way and her family is threatening to sue. Could she come back?

And President Trump inspiring haircuts around the globe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whether we love it or hate it, it's my hair!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:28] BURNETT: Tonight, taking on Trump, the family of a woman who left Alabama to become an ISIS bride says they'll file a lawsuit to try to challenge the Trump administration's claims that she is not an American citizen and cannot come back to the United States.

The administration, though, is standing firm, no.

Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HODA MUTHANA, AMERICAN WOMAN WHO JOINED ISIS: I had a new motherhood instinct.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): speaking from a refugee camp in southern Syria, Hoda Muthana, 24 years old, mother of a baby son, and an ISIS bride from America, is begging to come home.

She told ABC news --

MUTHANA: I'm almost cried myself to sleep every day because I know that when I do get back, I probably will be sentenced to jail for I don't know how much time.

KOSINSKI: The United States, though, country of her birth and where she grew up in Alabama today said definitively she's not coming back, not welcome here.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: There are now over 800 terrorists that are being held, foreign terrorist fighters that are being held in Syria today. She's just one of them. She is a terrorist. She is not a U.S. citizen. She ought not return to this country.

KOSINSKI: The State Department holds that since Muthana's father came to the U.S. as a diplomat from Yemen, she wasn't entitled to citizenship at birth. The children of diplomats generally aren't.

Her family, though, argues that her father's diplomatic posting technically ended just before she was born, and that these issues were all resolved years ago to the point that the U.S. gave her a passport. The official response, that her father still had diplomatic immunity at the time and so that passport, which she appeared to burn on social media after she ran off to join ISIS in 2014, was improperly issued. So here is a young woman who may not legally be American, who made her

choices as an adult, married ISIS fighters three times in Syria, who tweeted calls for Muslims to murder Americans.

MUTHANA: It's crazy. I can't even believe I thought of that, really.

KOSINSKI: Yet on the other hand, here is a young woman who now describes herself as regretful, traumatized and disgusted by her actions, whose ever only known the United States prior. Her family says she has no other citizenship, so blocking her from the U.S. would not only make her someone else's problem, but might mean she is never prosecuted for her time with the terrorist group.

These are exactly the moves President Trump has been trying to urge and shame other countries into not doing. He tweeted: The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany, and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The alternative is not a good one and that we will be forced to release them.

For Hoda Muthana, her family says it is now ready to file suit to try to bring her home to them.

MUTHANA: When I go back, I will learn more, and I will try to help people not make the same mistake that I have.

(END VIDETAPE)

KOSINSKI: There is going to be debate over what is the right thing to do here, Erin. She was born here. She came from here.

So, should it be the U.S.'s responsibility to deal with her since that's what the U.S. wants other countries to be doing? And legally, both sides are really splitting hairs over what they think her status should be. And the U.S. isn't the only one taking a hard line here. Remember, this week, the U.K. stripped citizenship from one of its ISIS brides.

BURNETT: Wow. And you wonder where they go.

All right. Thank you so much, Michelle. An important story.

And next, Jeanne on why President Trump and Kim Jong-un are now going head to head.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:56] BURNETT: Tonight, when it comes to Trump and Kim, one barber cuts both ways.

Jeanne's OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two of the world's most famous haircuts will soon be splitting hairs in Hanoi. TRUMP: Whether we love it or hate it, it's my hair.

MOOS: Now, a Hanoi barbershop is saying it can be your hair. In honor of the upcoming summit, the owner is offering free Kim Jong-un or Donald Trump haircuts.

SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: Or if you're really bold, ask for both.

MOOS: Actually, most are asking for Kim Jong-un's shaved sides and high-rise. This 9-year-old says he likes looking like North Korea's leader, and besides, none of his classmates could pull off the look.

No one in my class is as fat as me, he says.

As for the Trump look, Trump's haircut looks great and it suits my age, he says. He is 66.

Both leaders have a hairy history.

TRUMP: My whole life they said, is it or isn't it?

MOOS: Is it or isn't it real? To prove it's the genuine article, make that follicle, Donald Trump has been inviting people to muss and inspect his hair for years.

TRUMP: Come on, Barbara, get over here. You're going mess it up for this interview.

MOOS: But no one is grabbing the great leader's hair in public.

Five years ago, there were reports that male college students in North Korea would be required to get Kim Jong-un haircuts.

And while some said students were ordered to sport the same look, later stories said men aren't allowed, that there are only 15 approved hair styles, and Kim's wasn't one of them.

When the chairman changed his haircut, it provoked both serious analysis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim Kong-un wants to project the image of his grandfather.

MOOS: And jokes, could Kim Jong-un's new haircut carry a warhead?

The two leaders could commiserate about the hair jabs.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: And his hair tried to fly to Mar-a-Lago.

MOOS: The president's hair will soon fly to Hanoi where these guys may have new hairdos, but their faces say don't.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: I can't.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.