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Michael Cohen Wraps Up House Testimony; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D) California Is Interviewed About Michael Cohen's Testimony; Congress Demands Info On Security Clearances For Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner; Trump Calls Out Democrats For Not Taking a Stronger Stance Against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's Comments; Anti-Defamation League Says White Supremacist Propaganda is Now at a Record Level. Aired 11- 12a ET
Aired March 6, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[23:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful place, high. I think it's a mountain town, like 3,000 feet there, got a lot of snow. Hopefully, they'll be around for a long time, so everyone can visit. Thanks for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with Erin Burnett, the upgrade, in for D. Lemon, starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: I love Bend. I love blockbuster. All right, thank you, Chris Cuomo. And this is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Erin Burnett, in for Don Lemon.
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, wrapped up eight more hours of testimony today, eight more hours behind closed doors, so now north of 20 before the House Intelligence Committee, his fourth congressional appearance in eight days.
Sources are telling us tonight that Cohen gave more documents and that among the documents, there was one that showed edits that were made to the false testimony he gave to Congress in 2017. You remember the testimony, right? That in part is why he's going to prison, about the Trump Tower Moscow Project.
Now, those documents are intended to support his claim that he made publicly last week that one of President Trump's lawyers, Jay Sekulow, in particular, made changes to Cohen's statement about the project's timeline, an accusation Sekulow calls completely false.
Now, this is crucial, right, because this all comes down to whether the Trump family with Cohen were negotiating on Trump Tower all the way through the election, as Rudy Giuliani has now said that they were. Cohen claims his 2017 statement was reviewed ahead of time by other lawyers including an attorney for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Here's Michael Cohen tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The hearings went very, very well. I believe that all of the members were satisfied with the statements and the responses that I gave to them. I told them that any additional information that they would want, they should feel comfortable to reach out to my counsel, and I would continue to cooperate to the fullest extent of my capabilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, the intelligence chairman, Adam Schiff, called today's hearing productive, said Cohen was fully cooperative, answered all questions, and provided the committee with important testimony and documents. Also tonight, just coming out, Rudy Giuliani is telling CNN that lawyers are reaching out to him to see if the president will grant pardons to people who are under scrutiny by the Justice Department in the Russia investigation.
And here with me now is Congressman Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He was there today.
Congressman, thanks for your time. Look, I know you can't get into the full specifics of this, but the bottom line question is this, did you hear anything from Michael Cohen that leads you to believe crimes were committed by the president or anyone in his orbit, anything new?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: I heard that last week in the public hearing, and I heard further concerning testimony from him over the last 16 hours that he has presented to us. Erin, he brought new information last week that we have not heard before as to the conduct of the president and came back today with corroborating materials. And so I am very concerned, and now our job is to bring in other witnesses who can either corroborate or contradict Mr. Cohen and we're going to do just that.
BURNETT: All right. So, other witnesses are coming in and obviously we are eventually going to get a transcript of the closed-door testimony that you had today with Mr. Cohen. And you're confident Americans are going to feel this wasn't a fishing expedition. There was really -- there was new stuff. There was more nefarious behavior alleged or documents produced to prove such.
SWALWELL: Yes, and it was actually a sad 16 hours for our country to just -- to listen to Mr. Cohen, somebody who was so close to the president for 10 years. I was waiting to hear that, you know, maybe this president of ours, you know, maybe there are some redeeming qualities that qualify him to be president, that he has a vision for the country, that he cares about people, that he's an honest person.
And we didn't hear any of that. We heard about a president and an organization and a campaign and a transition and an administration that is corrupted at its core. And now we're left to do something about it.
BURNETT: When you say corrupt at its core, I want to talk about some specific things we do know happened today, congressman. Obviously, as you say, you know, documents were produced. Among them, documents allegedly showing how a Trump lawyer edited Cohen's testimony in 2017 to Congress, which was false, right, when he said discussions to end -- negotiations about Trump Tower Moscow ended in January before the primaries. That's what he said. That's what he put in the testimony. Obviously, that was a lie.
SWALWELL: So, I can --
BURNETT: He's admitted he wrote that line himself. So, did you see anything in those edits that made -- gave you pause or concerns since that ultimate lie was written by Michael Cohen?
SWALWELL: I can't go into what he said today about statements from the White House or pressure from the White House. But what I can tell you is that if there is evidence that is corroborated, that the White House was dictating to Michael Cohen that false statement or the White House's lawyers at the direction of the president, that's obstruction of justice.
The same thing goes for pardons. If there is evidence that can be corroborated, that the presidents is dangling pardons to Michael Cohen or other potential witnesses, that is obstruction of justice.
[23:05:04] The president has absolute pardon power, but I think that power is limited when it relates to an investigation where he is a subject.
BURNETT: Did pardons come up today? Did you get more details on that?
SWALWELL: So, I can't go into that. I think you can conclude that, you know, what was discussed in the public hearing and pardons were discussed, you know, we dived a little bit deeper. But again, our job is not to jump to a conclusion yet. It is to follow the evidence. There is a lot more evidence to follow, thankfully, because Mr. Cohen was so cooperative.
BURNETT: All right. You mentioned obstruction of justice when it comes to that testimony we were talking specifically, right? The testimony, when he went to Congress, that's part of the reason Michael Cohen is going to prison, right? That he lied, he lied about when those Trump Tower Moscow discussions ended, right?
OK, so, he's now admitted, as I just said, that he put that lie in himself. But he was saying it was under pressure, right? Under pressure to fit with the Trump-Russia narrative which is that there is nothing to see here. But he also says -- his adviser, Lanny Davis, is saying Ivanka Trump's lawyer signed off on that testimony, right, which had the date, which was a blatant lie on Trump Tower Moscow. This could matter greatly because here is what Cohen has said in public testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Who were the family members that you briefed on the Trump Tower Moscow project?
COHEN: Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.
LYNCH: OK. Now, were these in the regular course of business or did the president or family request the briefings?
COHEN: This is in the regular course of business.
LYNCH: Do you recall -- there is a question on the number of briefings. Do you recall how many of them might have been?
COHEN: I'm sorry, sir?
LYNCH: Do you recall how many of these briefings there might have been?
COHEN: Approximately 10 --
COHEN: -- in total.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, congressman, look, this isn't too hard to raise some serious questions here, right? Michael Cohen is briefing Ivanka Trump 10 times, as he said there, if that is true, and her lawyer signed off on a very basic thing, which is a very significant lie about when those Trump Tower negotiations ended.
This could be very serious for Ivanka Trump, right? She would have known that was a lie if she had seen that testimony. Do you want to hear from her? Do you think it is possible she obstructed justice?
SWALWELL: Ivanka Trump should come before Congress. I'll let the chairs of the different committees sort out where that is. But I don't think her hands are clean at all in this considering the role that she played and the knowledge she had about the Trump Tower Moscow at a time when her father was a candidate for president of the United States.
And I understand your point also about Michael Cohen's credibility. As a former prosecutor, you always have to look at someone's motivation and past inconsistent statements. But the lies that he told in the past were only to benefit Donald Trump.
It's not like we had someone who came in and had lied for another boss in the past, and now we're wondering why they are doing it here. He was lying to protect Donald Trump. I think that can't be lost on what his motivation was.
BURNETT: I want to just get to some new reporting coming out at this hour, congressman. "The New York Times" reporting tonight that Rudy Giuliani says that lawyers from multiple individuals under investigation have contacted him about whether Trump would pardon their clients. That's what Rudy Giuliani is saying. What's your reaction to that?
SWALWELL: Well, Donald Trump could avoid if that's true, and I don't believe at all that it is. But if Donald Trump would just come forward and say that I am above this, I want to have the appearance of no impropriety at all, and I'm not going to give a pardon to anyone who is in this investigation because of what that looks like, and so I'm going to be above it.
If he would just say that, this part of discussion will die. But he won't say that. I think he won't say that because I suspect that he is dangling pardons and that does benefit from people believing that if they just stay quiet or they keep to the party line or stay on message, that one day they will be absolved of this liability.
BURNETT: Congressman Swalwell, thanks for your time tonight.
SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thank you.
BURNETT: All right, I want to bring in Shimon Prokupecz and Renato Mariotti now to respond.
Shimon, look, Swalwell seemed very happy with the testimony. Adam Schiff seemed very happy. He called it enormously productive. Jackie Speier said it was explosive. Jim Himes said they learned a lot.
You know what? I spoke to Republican who had a very different tale about today. But we are supposed to get a transcript. So, we're going to find out what happened in there, right?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. We're supposed to get a transcript. The big thing is, you know, we saw Michael Cohen today wheeling in luggage. He only had an overnight stay in Washington, D.C. When you saw the luggage that he was wheeling in today, presumably that was all the documents --
PROKUPECZ: -- that he was bringing in to the committee. I mean, he spent the night in D.C., so it's not clear why he would need all that luggage. The thing is they're going to have to put up at some point, right?
The members of Congress who are out there now saying this was explosive, we learned all this new information, it's going to have to come out. How much of it is actually new? Keep in mind also, Erin, as you know, the Mueller team, the Southern District of New York had all of this information.
[23:10:00] They gave all this back to Michael Cohen. So, it's clear that a lot of this is no longer under investigation by them or at least they feel comfortable enough to say, hey, here you go.
So, yeah, look, I think today obviously was a very important day because I'm sure a lot of what he's saying certainly is being backed up by what he wheeled in to the members of Congress to see.
The thing is politically, yes, perhaps, this is going to be a problem for the president and for his family. The other thing is whether or not this is actually there is some kind of criminal violation in the end in all of this. All of that is still really unclear.
BURNETT: Right. We don't know. We don't know what other party Southern District may have done with that information. I do love that detail, Shimon, rolling around suitcases full of documents.
BURNETT: Some Cold War spy novel. Renato, Michael Cohen's attorney is confirming to CNN something that could be important. He's saying Cohen did write the lie in his 2017 testimony. The lie that was, hey, all discussions about Trump Tower Moscow ended before the primaries. Obviously, Rudy Giuliani has admitted they continued all the way through. That's a lie. It is part of the reason Cohen is going to prison.
He's saying he did that right at the direction of -- not the direction but that he felt very clearly that he was being told to do that by the president's team. And now, Cohen's team is saying that Jared and Ivanka, their attorney actually signed off on it. Is it really possible that their attorney signed off on it without them having any knowledge? These dates are really crucial thing and they all would have known that the date was untrue.
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's a great question, Erin. I will say that it's hard for me to believe that they didn't know, but of course the burden on a prosecutor would be to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they knew. And that's really the question here. You have all these other people involved. They weren't Donald Trump.
In other words, if it was the president who was personally reviewing this, personally editing it, personally signing off, that's one thing. He was there. He was involved in the project. The attorneys can say, I wasn't aware, I hadn't discussed that, I hadn't looked at the documents, I didn't have that in my mind at the time, et cetera.
MARIOTTI: And really it's up to the prosecutors to prove it. As Shimon said a moment ago, they have those documents and they will ultimately be able to make a decision as to prosecution.
BURNETT: Shimon, Congressman Swalwell said -- you know, he was pretty clear, right? He doesn't think Ivanka Trump's hands are clean. If Cohen's version is right, 10 briefings, and I would imagine if there were 10, you know, if he has got the documents and the evidence to back that up, briefing Ivanka 10 times, then what she said to ABC last month about the whole Trump Tower Moscow thing is kind of amazing. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBY HUNTSMAN, ABC NEWS HOST: The Moscow project in Russia --
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: Barely know it.
HUNTSMAN: -- the Trump Tower.
TRUMP: I've learned a lot more about it watching the news. HUNTSMAN: I'm sure. We're all still trying to learn about it, too. The president said he had nothing to do with Russia during the campaign. But you did have a role on this. What was it?
TRUMP: Literally almost nothing. I mean, we look at -- we were an active business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Barely anything. I've learned so much from TV, Shimon. Do you buy it?
PROKUPECZ: No. That's not what Michael Cohen said. You're right. Presumably he does have the evidence to back it up. The documents, maybe there's e-mails, maybe there's text messages, there's recordings perhaps. So he will have that information to back it up. What we kept seeing consistently throughout this story, throughout this investigation, really the last two plus years is that anything that comes to Russia, everyone that's been involved in this investigation has lied.
Whether it's the Moscow project, whether it's some contact with Russians, with ambassadors, Kislyak, all that stuff, people have consistently lied. And we still never really will understand probably why they all continue to lie.
PROKUPECZ: But Michael Cohen is saying, hey, listen, this is not the case. She was much more involved. And her involvement was the spa, right? She was going to have a spa at this Moscow project. That's essentially her involvement, the number of meetings. Certainly Michael Cohen says there were many, many more meetings. Some of this information just one last point has been backed up by the special counsel.
They said this and they raised this issue, that there were more meetings than he initially admitted to. So they clearly saw this evidence and they felt it was strong enough to put it in court documents.
BURNETT: The one thing I will say, first of all, she had a lot of involvement in other projects in that region. So it doesn't add up that she wouldn't have been involved. It doesn't seem to.
But also the spa, it's interesting, if you look at her involvement in spas and it's been a Trump SoHo in other places, she's been involved and proudly so in every detail of the every single detail. So, to say, oh, it was the spa, that actually seems she's really involved if she actually checked her own historical comments.
[23:14:58} Renato, what about Giuliani telling CNN lawyers for multiple people in this whole pardons for their clients and reached out, is that to be expected or do you think that that says something that they would think Trump was open to do that? MARIOTTI: I got to say once again it tells me that Rudy Giuliani really has no idea what he's doing here. I don't know why he thought that was a good idea to reveal publicly. It's very unusual. There's a pardon process. There's pardon application. There are actually attorneys at the Justice Department that review pardon applications.
It is very odd that attorneys would be approaching the personal lawyer for the president about pardons while there's an ongoing investigation, and they haven't even been charged with wrongdoing. There's talk today about a pre-pardon for Michael Cohen before there was charges.
This is back when he was in Trump's camp or at least still somewhat in Trump's camp. That's really bizarre and unusual. I think it raises a host of legal questions. You heard Congressman Swalwell telling you a moment ago that he considered that potential obstruction of justice.
BURNETT: Shimon, pardons, right? You got Sheriff Joe Arpaio on the list. These are people the president has already pardoned. His offense was contempt of court. Scooter Libby, obstruction of justice, perjury, false statements. Dinesh D'Souza, campaign contribution fraud. And also the president granted clemency for the two ranchers in the malicious standoff in Oregon. He has bucked the norms.
PROKUPECZ: He has certainly bucked the norms. Renato there talked about this entire process. You go through the Department of Justice. In many of these cases, the president didn't even go through the Department of Justice. He did this on his own. He found a way to get around that. There's a whole process, an entire process that you go through when you're going to pardon someone. That has not happened.
He will issue a pardon through a tweet essentially, if it comes down to that. And he's picking people that normally would not be suitable for pardons. So, look, you know, I think you talk to anyone, they certainly expect there to be more pardons, perhaps people that are involved in this investigation.
Once Mueller leaves and once the Mueller investigation comes to a conclusion, we'll see what happens. We'll see certainly what happens with Paul Manafort, who is supposed to be sentenced tomorrow. Does he ultimately get pardoned in all of this? That could still happen.
BURNETT: All right. That's an incredible thing to say at this point. All right, thanks so much to both. Next, Congress demanding answers on the presidents granting his daughter and son-in-law security clearances after his top experts, intelligence officials and security advisers, refused to do it. Are their clearances putting American security at risk? The former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, is next.
[23:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: House Democrats now looking into Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's security clearances after report that the president granted them, overruling the recommendations of top aides and intelligence and security officials. The White House is firing back, refusing to hand over documents, calling the request unprecedented and "extraordinarily intrusive."
I want to bring in James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence.
Director, it is great to have you with me. I appreciate your time tonight. Look, you said the president has the right to give clearances to anyone he wants. That is true. That's part of why we have to think about who we vote for. You want to pick someone who is going to make good decisions on these things.
How serious of a problem does it have to be for the White House personnel security office, the chief of staff and the White House council, to all say no to someone's security clearance?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's a great question. Unfortunately, we don't know exactly the nature of the reservations that came up that the FBI and/or CIA actually had about particularly Jared Kushner's clearance. But just at the point you make, I will just reinforce, it is the president's prerogative as the head of the executive branch to grant and take away clearances as he sees fit.
Now, he is in doing so, he's assuming the responsibility there. Is it what he has done unlawful? No. Is it a practice dangerous to security? Absolutely. Again, not knowing exactly the nature of what the problems or anomalies were in Jared Kushner's background -- just the word on Ivanka Trump. Ivanka -- Anderson Cooper had a segment earlier this evening describing what she does.
Well, as far as I can tell, nothing she -- whatever she's doing does not require any level of security clearance. But she has an office in the West Wing and as an administrative consideration, it's probably a lot more convenient for her to be cleared just because of what she's potentially exposed to, given the sensitivity of what goes on in the West Wing.
BURNETT: The last we heard and there's been no update on this in a long time, she has been under FBI scrutiny in part for the Vancouver Trump Hotel project. We have no idea if that was related to this. But we do know that there is a lot of foreign dealings and a lot of foreign business and a lot of foreign money still coming in to both Jared and Ivanka.
CLAPPER: That's exactly among other things. There are about 13 different behavioral characteristics that are looked at in the course of doing a background investigation. And one of those obviously is foreign entanglements of any sort and particularly financial irregularities.
So, clearly there's a vulnerability here for potential leverage, let's say by China if, you know, Jared Kushner owes a lot of money to China. That's not particularly a good place to be with respect to security clearance particularly at the highest levels. Given his portfolio, he needs it.
[23:25:02] And so again, the president is taking his responsibility. If something goes south, he will be kind of hard pressed to blame somebody, which is what normally what he does when something goes bad.
BURNETT: You know, I mean, diplomats in Washington, Jared and Ivanka, people would take them out to dinner. People would offer them really fancy beautiful children's clothes. There are all kinds of things being put on offer. People are trying to win them over, take their measure.
When you look at the White House personnel security office, chief of staff and White House counsel all saying no, does that in aggregate make you think that there was something specific or just could have been there are foreign entanglements so that could possibly be an issue?
CLAPPER: It could be. I don't know whether there was something really acute here, potential compromise or just in general not having a full explanation of some -- an inability to mitigate or adjudicate some of these complications.
And I guess Jared particularly has a complicated background in terms of foreign engagements and financial engagements. And if the FBI could not resolve those in their own mind, but it could be very general or it could be very specific. Again, we don't know.
BURNETT: Before we go, director, I do want to ask about the questions being raised about your testimony. This was to Congress. It was on domestic surveillance programs back in 2013. Now, you have said you made a mistake when you denied the government was wittingly collecting data on millions of Americans. You said you didn't understand what you were being asked about.
Senator Ron Wyden is challenging you on that now. He says, "James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance. To be clear, I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand." He's speaking out to you. I want to give you a chance to respond.
CLAPPER: Well, this has been kind of the constant state of dialogue since this happened in 2013. I just didn't understand or didn't think about what Senator Wyden was asking me about. What he was asking me about in a rather (INAUDIBLE) way and you never see the preamble to his question in which he brings up the term "dossier," which suggested to me content.
So what he was asking about was Section 215, the storage program maintained by NSA. I didn't even think about that. What I thought about was Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, so two different provisions here governing two different forms of collection.
So I thought of the latter. And my comment that it would only be inadvertent, that comment only makes sense in the context of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which governs collection of non-U.S. persons overseas.
Yes, I guess Senator Wyden did -- I found it after the fact -- did send something over the day before the hearing which was on the worldwide threat, by the way. For whatever reason, I didn't get that. I was concentrating on the subject of the hearing which is a worldwide threat.
And by the way, had I understood what Senator Wyden was asking about, I would have still been in a bad place because at the time, the program was declassified. He wanted me to make a public acknowledgment of that right after. I couldn't do that because the program was classified.
Later on when it was declassified, then I wrote a letter to the committee acknowledging my mistake. By the way, I testified, I guess, 20 or 25 years on the Hill, answered hundreds, maybe thousands of questions both orally and in writing, and always attempted to be truthful.
So just for this one question, for change of pace, I'm going to deliberately lie and do it on live television in front of one of my oversight committees. That's stretches -- that's incredulous (ph), anyway. So, in my mind, I made a mistake. I wasn't thinking about what he was asking about. I didn't lie.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I hope that he has heard how you just laid it out and explained it. Thanks so much, director. I appreciate your time.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: The Democratic Party is split on what to do about allegations of anti-Semitism against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. The president now blasting them, saying they need to take a stronger stand against anti-Semitism. Does he have any right to criticize?
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: President Trump slamming House Democrats for not officially condemning Congresswoman Ilhan Omar over her criticism of Israel that has been widely condemned as anti-Semitic. He tweeted, "It is shameful that House Democrats won't take a stronger stand against anti-Semitism in their conference. Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it's inconceivable they will not act to condemn it."
OK, now, there is a point, but there is also this point, that comment is coming from a person who said there were good people in this group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jews will not replace us! Jews will not replace us! Jews will not replace us!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So presumably some of those are good people. Joining me now are Alice Stewart, Van Jones, and Max Boot, author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."
Perhaps that was among the reasons, Max.
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That was a big one.
BURNETT: Right, I know, Charlottesville. Van, look, (INAUDIBLE) is not always the best way to look at the world. However, we just saw what was said there. The president said there were good people on both sides. Obviously, you know, either still believing that or believing he should, you know, that people should have ignored that he said it. How can he make this stand now?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's unfortunately just not a good person to make these kinds of interventions against bias and bigotry because there have been so many acts of bias and bigotry coming from the right that he just hasn't spoken out against forcefully enough. And so unfortunately, you have a commander in chief and a president of the United States that does not have the moral credibility to denounce these kinds of things without having this kind of response from people.
At the same time, I think inside the Democratic Party, we're having a bunch of challenges ourselves because there are legitimate concerns and grievances about the way that the government of Israel has conducted itself at times with the Palestinian people.
JONES: But how you talk about that is very tricky because you don't want to give aid and comfort to anti-Jewish bigots. As younger generation tries to raise those concerns, it keeps bumping up against some of these problems. So the president is kind of taking advantage of some of those internal problems in our party.
BURNETT: Alice, when you look at the issue here of the president, obviously, it was Charlottesville. But on anti-Semitism, we talk often about a dog whistles that he puts out on white supremacy. But when it comes to anti-Semitism, we tweeted out an image once of Hillary Clinton. The most corrupt candidate ever was inside the Star of David on top of a pile of cash.
Then he was in front of an audience of Republican Jewish committee members and called them negotiators. He said they wouldn't support him because he didn't want to accept their money which is obviously an inappropriate joke that he made. Then he said don't say I'm anti- Semitic. I have beautiful Jewish grandbabies, referring to Ivanka's children.
[23:35:00] Does he have moral authority on this, Alice?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He does and the fact that today the issue is what we're talking about Congresswoman Omar's comments and the president was right. He was right to say we cannot have this type of language. It should not be tolerated in any way, shape or form. There's no place in America for anti-Semitic comments.
Look, we can all agree that he didn't handle Charlottesville the way that it should have been handled. That being said, he has since denounced racist comments. He said there's no place in America for anti-Semitic or racist or hateful language and it shouldn't be tolerated. But Van hit the nail on the head.
People can have problems and issues with the policies of Israel, but it doesn't mean you should condone anti-Semitic comments. This is bigger than Congresswoman Omar. This is the Democratic Party condoning such language and moving so far to the left with regard to this type of hateful language with regard to the Green New Deal, with regard to so many of the policies. If they are going to go so far to the left, that is not where America is going. If that's where the Democratic Party wants to go, they are going to be the party of the past.
BURNETT: I want to ask about that. I want to give Van a chance to respond to that. Max, first of all, does the messenger matter? The messenger has encouraged (ph) anti-Semitic things said, anti-Semitic things, racist things, and misogynistic things regularly. Does it matter?
BOOT: Of course, it matters. I have lived in this country for a long time. I never experienced open anti-Semitism until Donald Trump started running for president. All of a sudden, my e-mail inbox and my Twitter account started filling up with this garbage of people sending me pictures, for example, of me in an oven with Trump pulling the lever to kill me.
This became common even. Even though he is very pro-Israel, he is legitimating anti-Semitism on America because he's giving a license to the haters out there. So he has no standing to condemn somebody like Congresswoman Omar.
But at the same time, I'm afraid the Democrats are giving up the moral high ground because they are hesitating to condemn Congresswoman Omar and there's a difference between condemning Israel which is totally legitimate. I disagree with a lot of Israeli policies. I don't think (INAUDIBLE) makes sense. I think Benjamin Netanyahu is a terrible prime minister. That's totally legitimate. But Congresswoman Omar was going to an ugly place where she was saying --
BURNETT: She's repeatedly going to an ugly place.
BOOT: She is saying that people who support Israel have dual loyalties and that's not a proper thing to say because -- that is what she said, Van.
JONES: No --
BOOT: She said I should not --
BURNETT: Allegiance to a foreign government.
BOOT: -- support a foreign country. Nobody talks about that. Support England or South Korea or Germany. You can support all those alliances. Nobody ever says you have a dual allegiance in England, South Korea or Germany. They say it about Israel because that is an old anti-Semitic.
JONES: Hold on a second. This is how it gets tough. She didn't say dual loyalty. She was --
BOOT: She said it right there.
JONES: The words dual loyalty, no, you said dual loyalty interpreting her tweet. That's what I'm saying. You have a younger generation of people who are coming on. My generation, we were very well educated in trying to deal with bigotry and bias. I'm 50 years old.
BURNETT: Well, look at Van (ph).
JONES: Thank you very, very much. We were very well educated. African-American and Jewish dialogue was a very big deal in the '80s and '90s. We have back away from that. Some of the younger people, I think, sometimes don't know that they are crossing these lines.
BURNETT: They take it for granted because they haven't had to deal with these things.
JONES: All I am saying is if he had said dual -- she had used that actual slur, I just want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt to let her learn in public. She did not say dual loyalty.
STEWART: But here's the problem --
BOOT: She apologized last month and she keeps on saying it. It's a concern.
BURNETT: I have to leave it there. I'm sorry. Thank you all very much. And don't miss "The Van Jones Show" this Saturday night at 7:00 Eastern. That's right here on CNN. And the president is gushing over Ivanka at the White House, says she works so hard. But a lot of people are starting to ask, what does she actually do? Because the big question is, does she even need the security clearance? And then didn't tell the truth about. We'll talk about that next.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: So, the news of President Trump pressure White House aides to give security clearance to his daughter, Ivanka, raising new questions tonight about what does she do.
Here to discuss, Doug Brinkley, Annie Karni, and Gwenda Blair, author of, "The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President."
So, Annie, let me start with you. Ivanka Trump is very important. She's got a senior role. She is in the West Wing. She's got it all, but what does she do? Does she do anything she needs security clearance for?
ANNIE KARNI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, if you're a senior official working in the West Wing, I think that you -- it's just easier to have a clearance for the meetings you're in, for the meetings you don't have to leave. Most of the senior administration officials assistance to the president have a security clearance.
So, it's not about -- I mean, mostly, she works on women's issues. She's just -- I mean she gets involved with personnel issues in the past. She worked on the world -- choosing -- helping to choose the new World Bank leader. But just for the -- for being around and for being around the president at senior level, it's just easier to have one than not to have one if you're going to be in meetings.
[23:45:01] BURNETT: The sort of administrative argument that Director Clapper was saying he could see his argument for, although obviously he felt that it shouldn't have happened given the recommendation was not to do it.
Gwenda, tell us about the relationship between Ivanka, Jared and the president, you know, now. Why would the president do this, defying intelligence, his chief of staff, the White House counsel, and give his daughter and son-in-law clearance and then lie about it?
GWENDA BLAIR, AUTHOR: Well, you know, in real estate, there's like this old saying, you know, the three things that matter are location, location, location. I think for Trump the three things that matter are loyalty, loyalty, loyalty. And Jared and Ivanka are -- that's his final backstop. He is -- everybody else he can throw under the bus. He's not going to throw them under the bus. And in turn, they will be completely loyal. I think that's the, you know, top, top, top reason they are there.
BURNETT: Doug, certainly, he would not throw his daughter under the bus. Obviously, there are questions about whether the son-in-law when push comes to shove.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, look, it's all an issue of nepotism. Bobby Kennedy was such a great attorney general. I mean dealing with things in the old miss with James Meredith in Alabama. We call the Justice Department the Robert F. Kennedy building now.
So there's a feeling that Ivanka might be able to be a power player in the administration. Instead, she's really seen more as an appendage of Jared and Jared is under a lot of scrutiny for what are his dealings internationally, what have been his business ties to China, to Saudi Arabia. And so, to think of her as just an ornamentation in the West Wing belies the fact that she really has access to whatever Jared knows, which means by nature she knows where all the skeletons are buried.
BURNETT: I mean -- so Annie, you know, the president today was gushing over Ivanka as he has want to do, and this was an advisory board meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's so formal, a special person, and she's worked so hard as you all know. I want to thank you, Ivanka, for your devotion to the American workers, our great workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So obviously, this is coming from her father, Annie. Is she deserving of all this praise for the work she's been doing? How successful have her initiatives been?
KARNI: Well, I would just say her presence there by his side, holding his hand, isn't a coincidence, I don't think, with the stories about their clearances. This is showing that she's still here. She's still prominent in the White House. She's not diminished because of the stories about the clearances.
The White House officials also said that Jared Kushner is speaking at an RNC donor event at Mar-a-Lago this weekend. So, these moments are to show nothing has changed with their position just because of these potentially damaging stories. So I mean it's notable she's there. It's not a coincidence. It's a big photo op for her.
Has she been successful on her initiatives? You know, I think she got -- she did get some credit for pushing a child care tax credit and working with Marco Rubio on that in the tax bill. She has limited her influence from what she started out trying to stay on these women's initiatives.
But I think her -- the reason she's most important in the White House is because she's someone that has the president's ear. She's someone that is not going to be thrown under the bus, as you said. And that -- and she's the president's daughter and other staffers are aware of that and work around Jared and Ivanka because they have a different status in the White House because of their relationship.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all. And the Anti-Definition League says white supremacist propaganda is now at a record level. Why?
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: A new report from the Anti-Defamation League reveals historic increases in the use of hateful propaganda by white supremacists. Such incidents are nearly tripling in just one year. That's from 2017 to 2018. And we have more tonight from our Stephanie Elam.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Charlottesville, Virginia, one of the largest demonstrations in recent years by white supremacists.
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, NATIONAL DIRECTOR AND CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: These extremists are exploiting a charged political environment. They are exploiting a social fragmentation.
ELAM: But since the Unite the Right rally, many of these hate groups have adjusted their methods to avoid the scrutiny that came after Charlottesville, stepping up their campaign in other tried and true ways, like distributing leaflets and posting flyers.
GREENBLATT: These flyers are not just about finding new members. They are about spreading terror and intimidation and harassing marginalized groups, get their ideas and their ideology, literally, from the margins onto main street.
ELAM: At first glance, these flyers may not seem like hate rhetoric.
GREENBLATT: They try to lure people in by perhaps talking about European culture, how do we preserve what we have here in the face of illegal immigration. So, only when you dig a little bit deeper do you realize you're talking about classic white supremacy.
ELAM: In 2018, white supremacists increased their propaganda output by nearly 200 percent, with more than 1,100 distributions across the United States according to the Anti-Defamation League. That's compared to 421 incidents the year before. Why is using a flyer a beneficial tool for them?
[23:55:00] GREENBLATT: What they are trying to do is to spread their poison in ways that don't force them to have to confront people.
ELAM: Protecting their own anonymity in the era of smartphones and social media. And while college campuses are often targeted by hate groups, the Anti-Defamation League finds the number of off-campus community prop began that incidents jumped a staggering 572 percent in 2018, while on-campus incidents rose 9 percent from 2017. The ADL says these 2018 propaganda distribution counts are by far the highest annual numbers ever.
GREENBLATT: White supremacists try to go where the action is.
ELAM: The findings also show that rise in hate group propaganda was mainly concentrated in large metropolitan areas, with the highest levels in California, Texas, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Florida and Virginia. It's a way for them to still get their message out, but with a lot less risk. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Stephanie, thank you very much and thanks to all of you for watching. Our coverage continues.