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To Secretary Nielsen: "Either You Are Lying... Or You Don't Know What's Happening At The Border"; Head: Attorney: Michael Cohen Authored False Line In Testimony To Congress; Trump & Ivanka Attorneys Signed Off On It; Trade Definit Explodes Under Trump's "America First" Policies; U.S. Trade Deficit Explodes To 10-year High Under Trump, Despite Trump's Promise To Cut The Deficit; Dems Accuse Nielsen Of Lying Or Ignorance On Border Policies. Aired: 7-8p ET

Aired March 6, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: Thanks very much for that. And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OutFront next breaking news, Michael Cohen back on Capitol Hill with documents that he says proof team Trump's lawyers edited his testimony to Congress. This is Cohen says he has even more information to share. Plus, promise broken. President Trump promised to shrink the trade deficit, so why is it soaring 10- year high? And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aligning herself with Nancy Pelosi. How the freshman Democrat is helping Pelosi move the party? Let's go OutFront.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront this evening, the breaking news, Michael Cohen just wrapping up his fourth and final hearing before Congress. Cohen today spending another eight hours behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT 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.


BURNETT: The top Democrat on the committee for once seemed to be satisfied with what he heard.


ADAM SCHIFF, CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: He answered every question that was put to him by members of both parties. He was fully cooperative with the committee. We had requested documents with Mr. Cohen, he has provided additional documents to the committee. There may be additional documents that he still has to offer and his cooperation with our committee continues.


BURNETT: What more could Cohen know that we don't? All right, so that raises a very important and significant question. In addition though to additional documents and the willingness to provide even more. Cohen also today provided the copy of his testimony to Congress in which he lied about the timing of Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.

Now, the copy he provided today is the one marked up by President Trump's attorneys. Now, we do not know exactly what they changed. We do know that Cohen says the edits were made to fit the President's Russia narrative.


COHEN: He doesn't give you questions. He doesn't give you orders. He speaks in code and I understand the code because I've been around him for a decade.


BURNETT: Code? Perhaps on a direct change. Well, now, Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, is admitting tonight the Cohen himself wrote the false statement saying the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations ended before the primaries, instead of going through the election as Rudy Giuliani has stated. OK, so they're saying Cohen put that line in himself, but Cohen he's also saying tonight that Ivanka Trump's lawyer signed off on the testimony with that lie in it which could be a major development.


STEPHEN LYNCH, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Who were the family members that you briefed on the Trump Tower Moscow project?

COHEN: Don 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 the regular course of business.

LYNCH: Do you recall, there's a question on the number of briefings. Do you recall how many there might have been?

COHEN: I'm sorry, sir.

LYNCH: Do you recall how many of these briefings there might have been?

COHEN: Approximately 10 in total.


(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: That's a lot of briefings and it's not something you forget

about a project that would have been hugely significant for the Trump Organization. So if Cohen's version is true, he put in the wrong date under pressure from Team Trump to total false narrative on links to Russia and Ivanka Trump's lawyer signed off on something that was false. Could that be at least obstruction of justice? Evan Perez is OutFront on Capitol Hill. And Evan, this obviously going to be very significant if Ivanka Trump's lawyer signed off on the testimony, knowing it was false, if she really been briefed 10 times about such an important project.

EVAN PEREZ, SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right, Erin. Look, if you knowingly help someone lied to Congress then you also could be in trouble. And what Michael Cohen is doing here is not only implicating Jay Sekulow who is one of the President's attorneys, but Abbe Lowell who represents Jared and Ivanka as well as Alan Garten and Alan Futerfas.

Now, these are two Trump Organization attorneys at the time. If you remember, the President and Michael Cohen were part of a joint defense agreement and so it wasn't unusual for everyone to be sharing information. Now, the question is, what were those edits? According to Michael Cohen and the documents that he provided, he says that they made some changes to the to the document that he was submitting, which was his false testimony. This is one of the reasons why he's going to prison in May. He has admitted to lying to Congress, so the question is how substantive were those changes that were made.


Now, we have heard from Jay Sekulow who last week commented on Michael Collins testimony and he said that any suggestion that the President's attorneys were part of making changes to lie to Congress is categorically false. So the question is now what do Democrats going to do about this, is this something that the committee is going to investigate further and perhaps even prosecutors in the Southern District of New York who have been looking at this, according to Michael Cohen.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Evan. Obviously, significant developments as all this information keeps coming in and I want to go now to David Gergen, Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security and Harry Sandwick, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District here in New York.

So Harry, let's start with this, there's a question of who's telling the truth, what the documents are going to show in the information. However, if Michael Cohen is right, he briefed Ivanka Trump 10 times and she knew full well that those negotiations of what would have been a crucial project for this family and this company were going on well for the auction. She knew then that that date that was in there was a lie. If her lawyer signed off on it, what could that mean?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, if the lawyer signed off on it after essentially taking it back to his client, to Ivanka Trump and said, "Is this accurate? Do you have any corrections?" And she said, "No, it looks good." It could well be obstruction.

The concern I would have as a prosecutor is this Ivanka essentially saying, "Look, if that's what Michael Cohen remembers, I don't have any first hand basis to challenge it. Everything I've learned about this is from Cohen and so therefore I'm not commenting on it." Or it's not commenting on it and knowing full well that it's false and hoping that the false statement gets accepted as true by others?

BURNETT: Right and, of course, we don't know, Juliette. Again, we know based on Michael Cohen and look this is based on various people. But he's saying he briefed her and her brother 10 times. Those briefings, obviously, continued well into the election. So when she saw a date saying this ended before the primaries, she would have known that was a lie, right?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: That's exactly right. So you have to put sort of the testimony about the piece of paper and changes to the piece of paper. What he also testified to was that these ongoing meetings about Moscow and the Trump Tower there.

Now, whether - and you have to believe at this stage, that this was a substantial change. I know we're reporting that we don't know the nature of the changes. I find it very hard to believe that these House members are coming out saying it was significant and it's not. They didn't change the word 'the' to 'them'.

This is significant and it goes to the core of hiding the Trump Tower Moscow deal, which is something that if Trump thought he was going to lose the election, he wanted to continue to protect his empire and that's the thing that he is clearly lying about now.

BURNETT: So David, this is going to get - at the core of this is how exactly this happened. First of all, there's a document now that he has submitted that shows edits and we don't know what those are, they're significant they say. We don't know what, but we do know that the specific date lie was inserted by Cohen, signed off by Ivanka Trump's lawyer.

When last week home was asked about this, "Why did you lie?" He said it was that he felt under immense pressure. He knew what the narrative was supposed to be when it came to the tower in Moscow, but he was very explicit when he said what the President did and didn't do. Here's what he said.


COHEN: Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress ...


BURNETT: You know, David, this is - I'm going to ask her the legality of this in a question, but this is, obviously, the way the President operates. John Kelly writes a memo about how the President ordered him, but he said he felt ordered. It wasn't directly ordered, but it was clear it was in order to clear Jared Kushner's security clearance over the concerns of the FBI and intelligence. Jim Comey writes a memo about his interactions with the President, all because they may not know the code or maybe by that point they do but they know they're being told to do something even though he's not directly doing it.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: Absolutely. I think on that issue whether the President uses a code that is indirect but you know exactly what he means when you walk away, I think that's extremely credible, and we've heard it from several people now most recently, Mr. Cohen. And so I think that part of the story we don't have to question that very much and he basically understood he was supposed to go in and lie for the President about when these negotiations ended.

As to the other figures or characters in this story, I must say if what Cohen - if it's true that anybody knew other than Cohen that there were lies in that testimony, they're going to be in real trouble.


But we should be cautious, we don't have any direct proof yet that anybody else knew. For example, it may well be that Cohen and did not tell Ivanka and, again, Ivanka did not recognize the date or it may be that her lawyer didn't bring her the document that have her go over paragraph by paragraph.

BURNETT: Well, that I suppose would be a separate issue. But I would imagine if the whole thing at this point is the timing of whether you colluded with Russia in a quid pro quo, you've been briefed 10 times or were involved with the discussions about Trump Tower Moscow through the election, the first thing you check for was that date.

GERGEN: I agree with that, but let's say it may well be that the President didn't want Ivanka told about some of this stuff. What I'm saying is we don't have ...

BURNETT: But he's saying he briefed her 10 times, David. I mean I'm not trying to get an argument, David, but I mean I'm saying she knew that those negotiations continued because she was being briefed on them and she knew that that was something that the President was saying publicly was not happening, right?

GERGEN: Well, you may well be right, but it's also possible that those 10 briefings were earlier. We just don't know now. I think we're going to be really curious to find out what the members of the committee tell us coming out of there, what they've heard, that's going to tell us a lot about who actually knew. Somebody probably knew beyond Cohen, that somebody is going to be in trouble, but I just don't think we know for sure who that somebody is.

BURNETT: So Juliette, I want to get you in, but Harry let me just ask you purely on the legal issue of this. The President would look me in the eye and say, "There's no Russian business." And he'd go on to lie to the American people in his way he was telling me to lie, but he's not saying lie. So how does the law deal with that? Is there any way that that is a legal issue or not? SANDICK: Well, there are two sides to this. The core and legal point

is that if you tell someone to lie directly or through code it is illegal either way. And so telling someone indirectly with a nod and a wink the way Cohen describes it ...

BURNETT: And can you prove that?

SANDICK: ... that's the second question is that the reason why many people when they give a legal instructions, they often couch it in a code or try to dress it up in some way that's deniable is because it makes it harder for prosecutors to prove it later on. So here it's certainly not impossible and it's proved all the time in federal court and trials where drug dealers or mobsters or people engaging in insider trading say, "I want you to make that trade, bear in mind I didn't know anything about that earnings announcement that's coming tomorrow." And you say this and it's, of course, not true and that's essentially what Cohen is saying here. So it makes it a little bit harder to prove, but it's just as illegal as if you tell the person directly.

BURNETT: All right, Juliette, go ahead.

KAYYEM: I just wanted to pick up on David's point. There will be a question about when these meetings occurred. I'll tell you who and who knew. I will tell you who did know that the President was lying about the Trump Tower dealings in Moscow and that's Putin and his team.

And so while this is going on what we have to remember is you have an enemy of the state knowing that the candidate for the republican party at this stage is lying about his dealings. And so when people like me - yes, maybe it's collusion. You don't even have to get to collusion. The question is was the President compromised by what Putin knew to be falsehoods that the President was telling the American public, his lawyers, maybe even his daughter.

So we always have to remember that it's not just our lawyers and the legal debates that we're fighting about, Putin knows all of this and it's ongoing and therefore had something on Trump, which may explain all of this crazy behavior for the last two and a half years.

GERGEN: That's a good point. Good point.

BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much. And next, America's trade deficit soaring. So what happened to this promise about the deficit?


TRUMP: It's going to end, folks. It's going to end. You can't do that. We can't do it.


BURNETT: Except when he can. Plus, Democrats hammering Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen over the administration's immigration policy today.



KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Would you like me to answer any of your questions?

BARRAGAN: Well, you don't have answers.


BURNETT: The Congressman that you just heard and saw is OutFront. And a Republican Senator revealing that she was sexually assaulted in the military, an emotional revelation. That story OutFront.


Tonight, a Trump record that is not one he wants to celebrate, America's annual trade deficit at a 10-year high. And when it comes to goods, things we buy and sell physical things, a record all time. This was something that President Trump with the core of his agenda he said those days were over.


TRUMP: How many nations can have a trade deficit of - with one country $505 billion, OK? Nobody. You can't go on like that.

China this year going to make $500 billion in terms of trade deficit, can't have it.

We have trade deficits with Mexico of $58 billion a year. Japan massive numbers. It's going to end folks.


BURNETT: Well, I don't know, maybe it ends in the Next two years and there's just a dramatic stunning plunge like we have never seen before. No, that would not happen because that will be part of some sort of a massive financial crisis. So that is not adding up and it's not just the trade deficit, the national debt, the budget deficit, all of them soaring under President Trump, and we're going to hear his promises in a moment.

I want to go first to Steve Moore, informal White House Adviser, Austan Goolsbee, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama. Steve, I understand that there is always a tweet and there is always a sound bite and of course there is here too. He said that we weren't going to have these trade deficits, can't have them, it's over, it's over, it's over, we're now at a 10- year high all-in and a record for goods.


BURNETT: Yes, that's for you. I thought I had rendered you speechless.

MOORE: OK, I'm sorry about that. So look, Erin, we have the best economy in 20 years. I'm so proud of where we are right now with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.

BURNETT: I did render you speechless, you decide to change the subject.

MOORE: No, I just want to - no, but this is - see, this is changing ...

BURNETT: What's up with the promise and then the record?

MOORE: No. No. No. Erin, it's not changing the subject because the booming economy, I think even Austan might agree with me with it on this.


That when you have a booming economy what happens, your trade deficit goes up because you've got companies - even Larry Summers said this in the New York Times today, countries are lining up to invest in the United States and that's why we have so many jobs in this country.

The trade deficit, Austan, tell me if you agree with me is a sign of a good, strong economy because we have consumers that are flushed with cash, we've got investors who want to invest in the United States. To do that they have to have dollars and they have to sell us more.

BURNETT: So I guess when he promised to get rid of it and said it was a bad thing, he was totally wrong, I guess ...


MOORE: Erin, one last thing - Erin, just one quick thing, I always told Trump that ...


MOORE: ... OK, go ahead.

BURNETT: Go ahead, Austan, do you agree first of all the rising trade deficit is a good thing?

GOOLSBEE: No, Steve is embracing a point of view that is the complete opposite of what President Trump has said. Now, the place I'm going to agree with Steve, the very quotes that you play there, Erin, about the President's statements about what the trade deficit means or what it means for the economy. We use that as a recruiting device here at the University of Chicago Business School. We say, "This guy went to Wharton."

And we play those lines, so the fact that he proposed policies that we said at the time on this very program, he says he's going to get rid of the trade deficit by having a massive tax cut and by putting in these tariffs on China, that's confused, it's wrong, it's actually going to increase the trade deficit and it's going to increase the budget deficit, and it did both of those things. So this is exactly what you would have thought would happen and they can't understand what's going on.

BURNETT: And Steve, OK, so can I just say, Steve, that the trade deficit, OK, quickly ...

MOORE: Well, let me say one thing - OK, go ahead.

BURNETT: ... all right, so trade deficit, then there's budget deficit, those numbers were no good, and then there's the national debt which has gone up by more than $2 trillion since the President took office. I have a young children, I try to explain big numbers and it's like how many books to you have to stack up to go to the moon, how many kids do you have to stack up to go to the moon to get to 2 trillion.

I don't even know, Steve. It's a problem. It's the bottom line. And, again, it's a broken promise. Here he is.


TRUMP: I know how to get the debt paid off. I mean, I know things that other people won't have a clue.

With the economy growth, we'll start reducing our debt and reducing it big league which I want to do.

I'll get us out of debt because I'm very good at it. Nobody can do it like I do.

We have to get rid of our debt. We have to balance our budget.


BURNETT: Does he care at all, Steve, about what he said and what he's doing?

MOORE: Well, first of all on the budget deficit let's not forget that the national debt went up by $10 trillion under Obama. So we have a long way to get to the $10 trillion mark under Obama's ...

BURNETT: OK. OK. I mean how many wrongs make a right when it comes to that?

MOORE: No. No. No. Look, I'm just saying ...


GOOLSBEE: Let's remember recessions and wars.

MOORE: We did except ...

(CROSSTALK) GOOLSBEE: There has never been a bigger increase in the deficit in

the history of the United States outside of recessions and wars than this. This is the biggest ever.

MOORE: But you also created the weakest recovery ...


GOOLSBEE: Our deficits were from a giant recession, outside recession and war.

BURNETT: I love it, "But your deficit are worse than my deficit."


BURNETT: Hold on. Steve, seriously ...

MOORE: So let me make this point ...

BURNETT: ... he said he was going to do something about it and all he has shown is complete and utter disregard for the fact that the number is only going one way and that's up.

MOORE: So what I'm saying is the number one goal of Donald Trump from the first time I started talking to him about this was to grow the economy, put Americans back to work, get wages up, increase manufacturing, increase construction. I mean look, Erin, we have the best economy in 20 years. We have the best economy for workers in 50 years. You have to go back to when The Beatles were still together to find the time when we had a better ...


BURNETT: Steve, things are so great. Why we have all of these records on borrowing?

GOOLSBEE: Could I express a little bit of doubt of that?

MOORE: I mean, Austan, look at the number.

BURNETT: OK, Austan.

MOORE: I mean, we've got 7 million more jobs than we have people to fill them.

GOOLSBEE: OK, let's look at the numbers. Can I make a comment on the numbers, Steve?

BURNETT: OK, respond, yes.

GOOLSBEE: OK, in the second quarter last year, our growth rate was in the fours, which was very strong. The next quarter in the threes. The fourth quarter in the twos. The forecast for the quarter we're in now in the ones. The tax cut was a sham of the highest order, promised to give us a decade of booming growth over 3%. It's already petered out, it's not even 12 months later. MOORE: We're now seeing the job's numbers, Austan. I mean 300,000

jobs in December, 300,000 jobs in January, wage increases for workers. I mean, what's not to like about this picture?

GOOLSBEE: Look at it, Steve.

MOORE: I mean, the reason we have trade deficit right now, Austan, is because our economy is the ...


GOOLSBEE: Steve, you've been quoting us the numbers and then I tell you the numbers are not right and you just give us different numbers.

MOORE: Because those are the numbers that matter.

GOOLSBEE: You're just changing the numbers.


BURNETT: Steve, the debt matters. How can you say the debt does not matter?

GOOLSBEE: ... is like on wheels, we're just going to roll it around.

MOORE: So you're saying you would rather have a smaller deficit and fewer Americans having jobs? I wouldn't. I'd rather have more people working. I'd like to see wage increases for workers and the tax cut is working.


GOOLSBEE: ... is to go back.


BURNETT: Final word, Austan.

GOOLSBEE: No, the tax cut is not working. The tax cut is the most unpopular tax cut in the history of American polling and the reason why it's unpopular is it isn't working.

MOORE: How did we get to 3% growth in Trump's second year. You couldn't get 3% ...

GOOLSBEE: We didn't. We didn't. It was 2.9%. I just told you the growth rate went from the fours, to the threes, to the twos, and now the ones, so why is that happening?

MOORE: We're at seven out of 10 Americans feel good about the economy now.

BURNETT: We're going to leave with the question. I will simply say this, the President said he cared so much about debt, Steve, and yet just as he was beginning to run, he twice said, "I'm the king of debt. I love debt. I love debt." And that seems to be the truth because that is where we are now.

MOORE: Well, we're going to get good trade deal with China.

BURNETT: All right, thank you both. And next, the Congresswoman who had this heated exchange with the Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.


BARRAGAN: OK. Well, let me tell you, madam Secretary, either you're lying to this committee or you don't know what's happening at the border.


BURNETT: Plus, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joining force with the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Are they taking the whole party to the far left?

Tonight, the Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen grilled facing angry questions from members of Congress on the President's immigration policies.


BARRAGAN: You testified that asylum-seekers are not being turned away at the ports of entry. Was that your testimony here today?

NIELSEN: They are not turned away. They are brought in. I'm not sure if you're talking about the migrant protection protocol.


But in that case ...

BARRAGAN: Any asylum-seeker who comes to a port of entry, you basically --

NIELSEN: They are allowed to make their claim.

BARRAGAN: OK, well, let me tell you, Madam Secretary, either you're lying to this committee or you don't know what's happening at the border.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Now, we're going to speak to that congresswoman in just a moment. First, though, I want to go to Kaitlan Collins, who's at the White House.

And, Kaitlan, you know, this was very combative, and Nielsen has been under a lot of pressure by this president. How closely did he watch her testimony today?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we know he watches these hearings very closely, but typically cares more about the coverage coming out of them than what actually transpires during the hearings, but he's going to be watching clips like the one you just played on repeat, on television, over the next few days.

Nielsen is an interesting case. You saw her spar with several Democrats today, but she is someone who has clashed with the president throughout most of her tenure. They haven't gotten along. The president has claimed she's not doing enough on immigration and almost quit after the president reamed her out over immigration numbers.

But things changed after the government shutdown. The president started to take a liking to Nielsen and he started praising her in front of other members of his cabinet at those meetings. So, today, she was sparring with those Democrats and even refused to contradict the president on some of the claims he's made where he's gotten the numbers wrong. So, it will be interesting to see how he evaluates her performance during those pretty testy exchanges.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. And all eyes on that.

So, now, let's play some of these crucial clips. OUTFRONT now, the Democratic congresswoman from California, Representative Nannette Diaz Barragan. She sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, and you're going to see some more of the questioning.

I want start, though, with you, Congresswoman, the exchange we just heard, one of the heated exchanges you had with Secretary Nielsen today. Do you stand by that statement that either Nielsen is lying or doesn't know what's happening at the southern border?

BARRAGAN: Absolutely. The secretary, when asked questions, was unaware of what's happening down there. We have video footage of people being turned away. I heard it myself.

She tried to lead Congress into thinking that everybody had an opportunity to present themselves. We know that's not true. And I just couldn't have her sit there either lying to Congress or telling her that that is not the case and what is happening at the southern border.

BURNETT: Now, you had several exchanges with her that I just played one of them, right. But I want to play more of another in the hearing when you asked her specifically about those asylum-seekers who are being turned back at the Mexican/U.S. border.

Here is this exchange.


BARRAGAN: Can you produce every single list at the port of entry that's under U.S. --

NIELSEN: We do not have the list, to be clear. The list is in Mexico.

BARRAGAN: So you have the authority to do a list but you don't have access to the list and you don't control that list?

NIELSEN: What I mean by the list, ma'am --

BARRAGAN: So you're basically farming this out to the Mexican authorities --

NIELSEN: Would you like an answer to any of your questions?

BARRAGAN: Well, you don't have answers.

NIELSEN: How do you know, because you're not giving me the opportunity?


BURNETT: OK. So first of all, on the substance of that, what is the status of this list? Do you believe her, that there is a list that's in Mexico?

BARRAGAN: Well, what's happening at some of the ports of entry is that officers are telling asylum-seekers, instead of processing them there, which is what they should be doing, is go get on a list. And we will call you later. And as I witnessed myself this weekend, the gentleman wasn't even told about a list. He was told to leave if he didn't have a visa.

But there is no authority under U.S. law to have these lists. And she tried to explain that she had authority, and when questioned about it, she couldn't provide any regulation, a statute, a law. She just says they are -- have the ability to make sure migrants are safe.

Well, guess what? They're not safe in Mexico if you're having them sit there and wait. And the fact that she doesn't even have these lists, can't produce these lists, it's outrageous.

BURNETT: Now, when you said to her, well, you don't have answers, she said how do you know when you're not giving me, basically, to answer. Do you think if you had given her more of an opportunity she would have had more answers?

BARRAGAN: No, because it's not that challenging. If there is authority, tell me where it is. She started talking about process again.

And this is what she does. She is great at doing it. She filibusters the time. She doesn't answer the question.

And if you take a look, we actually had the screenshot for her on the DHS website. It says "myth," that people are turned away at the border. She was providing the answer from what's on that website, which is not authority at all.

BURNETT: So, you know, the president has been using the words "humanitarian crisis" to talk about the border, right? He's been justifying his declaration of a national emergency.

The Customs and Border Patrol now says crossings are at a breaking point, 76,000 people apprehended, crossing illegally or without papers in the past month alone. These are all numbers, obviously, Congresswoman, you know very well, but to our viewers know them.

[19:35:03] Front page of yesterday's "Washington Post," this is now getting national coverage. This is a mother from Honduras, clinging to her son as this record crossings continue.

Is this a crisis now? Because it sure looks like one. A humanitarian crisis.

BARRAGAN: Well, the only humanitarian crisis is the one this president has created. Look, I went down to the south border several times. I've been there to look at the cells where these kids were being held before they died. And it's just really not acceptable.

There has to be a better way. And there is a better way. First, the agents at the border need to be following the law. There is nothing, again, that says they should be turned away.

When I was down at the south border, the agent back in December said they didn't have capacity to process the asylum-seekers. Well, if there is no capacity, show it to me. I said, I'm a member of Congress. I was with another member. And they wouldn't do it.

BURNETT: But just to the point of -- that there are human beings here that are going through such agony, as you are laying out yourself, it is a humanitarian crisis, right?

BARRAGAN: It is a humanitarian crisis the way people are being treated at the border, the way that this administration is not following the law. But there is a problem going on in the Northern Triangle. And we as Americans should look to make sure to see what we can do to help there.

If you talk to people like Secretary Jeh Johnson, he said they did that in the prior administration. That would help alleviate people coming here. So we need to A, invest in those countries, and B, we need to be following the law here at the border. And that isn't happening.

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Barragan, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

BARRAGAN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi have, of course, been at odds.


REPORTER: Are you offended that Speaker Pelosi called this the Green Dream?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: No, I think it is a green dream.


BURNETT: And now, they're joining forces. Why?

And Senator Martha McSally with an emotional revelation today.


SEN. MARTHA MCSALLY (R), ARIZONA: So, like you, I am also a military sexual assault survivor.



[19:41:08] BURNETT: Tonight, the AOC effect. Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez now aligning with the house speaker, Nancy Pelosi, after a rather rocky start.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It seemed only yesterday when it appeared Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and freshman upstart, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might be politically at odds, given Pelosi's thoughts soon after that upset primary win in New York's 14th district.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They made a choice in one district. So, let's not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that.

CARROLL: And then the speaker's initial take on Ocasio-Cortez's sweeping plan to combat climate change, the Green New Deal. In February, Pelosi referring to it this way in "Politico": The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is. But they're for it, right?

REPORTER: Are you offended that Speaker Pelosi called this the green dream?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: No, I think it is a green dream.

CARROLL: That was then. Now, Ocasio-Cortez, the fire brand of the progressive left and the House speaker have found common ground. The two teaming up to take on moderate Democrats who supported a Republican amendment to a gun control bill that would alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement when an undocumented immigrant attempts to purchase a firearm.

PELOSI: It's a gotcha on the part of the opposition. Let's make life easy. Just vote against them.

CARROLL: Ocasio-Cortez, siding with Pelosi, tweeting: Mind you, the same small splinter group of Dems that tried to deny Pelosi the speakership are now voting in surprise ICE amendments to gun safety legislation are being called the moderate wing of the party.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I'm not here to bully or tell anyone else how to govern or what their communities feel.

CARROLL: Those comments coming despite reports Ocasio-Cortez threatened to draw up a list of Democrats siding with Republicans, retribution coming in the form of being challenged in the primary by progressive Democrats.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: What I'm saying is that you are -- by separating yourselves out from the caucus, you have made a list in the vote count of the caucus of Democrats that is susceptible to Republican manipulation, and frankly, will be held accountable by progressive activists.

CARROLL: Centrist Democratic speaking out against pressure to shift left.

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D), NEW JERSEY: Democrats shouldn't be in the business of primarying other Democrats or producing Nixonian-type lists where we're deciding who our enemies are within the party. That makes no sense to me. We need to get together and work together.

REP. JEFF VAN DREW (D), NEW JERSEY: I know what it is to be a Democrat. I know what it is to fight to be a Democrat. I know what it is to be on a list for elimination for people that don't want you there for some reason, although it's usually not other Democrats. It's usually Republicans. But that never worries me.


CARROLL: And, Erin, those moderate lawmakers telling us they're doing what their constituents want them to do. And while Pelosi and Ocasio- Cortez may be in line on a particular issue, the real challenge going forward is how the Democratic Party is going to deal with progressives who want to see it move more and more to the left -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Jason.

And OUTFRONT now, former Clinton White House aide, Keith Boykin.

OK, Keith, so what's going on here? Is this really an allegiance that's forming or a case of, you know, keep your friends close and your enemies closer?

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, I think they need each other. I mean, I've been saying this for a while privately. Ocasio-Cortez can only go so far without disappointing the establishment. And Nancy Pelosi needs the support of the left, the progressive movement. So, in a way, they balance each other out and they can sort of tag team on issues.

They're not going to agree on every issue. They're going to disagree from time to time, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not that far off from the mainstream of the party in some issues, because the party is moving in her direction.

[19:45:00] Remember, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders both endorsed her when she ran in the general election. BURNETT: So, here's the question, though. You know, when it comes to

-- I guess the question is she the future of the Democratic Party and the future of massive -- tens of millions of Americans, or is this the future of a smaller group who are very powerful in the primaries? Michael Bloomberg is saying it's the latter.

You know, when he said he wasn't going to run, he said, we cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme. That would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into four more years. Obviously, the extreme there would refer to -- AOC wing of the party.

BOYKIN: I remember when Michael Bloomberg was a Republican. I remember when he was an independent. I don't know that he is a Democrat, so I'm not going to take advice from Michael Bloomberg on what the Democrats should do.

But I know that Hillary Clinton got 66 million votes when she ran in 2016 and she almost won, except for 77,000 votes in three states. I know that Democrats --

BURNETT: She was a moderate. She ran from the middle.

BOYKIN: Exactly my point. Exactly my point. If you have somebody who motivates the base even more, that's likely to even turn out more people. Those 77,000 people --

BURNETT: So you're counting -- the people in the middle are going to vote for that person on the extreme left no matter what in the general. The base will turn out --

BOYKIN: Well, I don't know how extreme left you're talking about. The majority of Americans agree with the Democrats on issues like jobs and health care and education and climate change. The American people are with the Democrats in that --

BURNETT: Certainly on principle, but then when you say things like paying for it, people's views change pretty quickly. It doesn't all come for free.

BOYKIN: Well, remember this. Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. That's clearly an indication of where America is.


BOYKIN: That's the future. It's not the Republican Party of Donald Trump. They happened to get in this time because of a fluke with the Electoral College. But the country is aligned with the Democratic Party, moving in that direction.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT next, Senator Martha McSally of Arizona with a shocking and emotional revelation today. She chose to publicly tell the world that she was sexually assaulted in the military. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCSALLY: I was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer. I stayed silent for many years.



[19:50:54] BURNETT: New tonight, Republican Senator Martha McSally revealing she was sexually assaulted and raped while she served in the Air Force. McSally is the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and she shared her story today during an extremely emotional Senate hearing in front of the cameras.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.


MCSALLY: So, like you, I am also a military sexual assault survivor.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Survivor and senator, representing Arizona now, and revealing today that she was once a young Air Force member who felt she couldn't speak up.

MCSALLY: In one case, I was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer. I stayed silent for many years, I didn't report being sexually assaulted. Like so many women and men, I didn't trust the system at the time.

I blame myself. I was ashamed and confused. And I thought I was strong, but felt powerless.

LAH: McSally's story even more astonishing because of who she is. McSally crushed military and societal barriers, America's first female fighter pilot to fly in combat. She sued the Department of Defense over a policy requiring all women to cover themselves off base in Saudi Arabia, a policy that the DOD would change.

A proud veteran, McSally told me as she launched her Senate run how central her military career was to her identity, but when she eventually reported the assault to her superiors --

MCSALLY: I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences were handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years over my despair. Like many victims, I felt the system was raping me all over again. But I didn't quit.

LAH: McSally had survived assault before joining the military, telling "The Wall Street Journal" that at age 17, her high school track coach sexually abused her. The coach denied the allegations to "The Journal."

MCSALLY: Are you going to be a fighter pilot?

LAH: During her unsuccessful run for the Senate as a Republican, McSally talked about the hard times she suffered as a younger woman. Now as a U.S. senator appointed to fill the late Senator John McCain's seat, she is fighting for change in the military on behalf of survivors like her.

MCSALLY: We must fix those distortions in the culture of our military that permit sexual harm towards women and, yes, some men as well.


LAH: The Air Force released a statement after McSally spoke in that subcommittee hearing writing, quote, the criminal actions reported today by Senator McSally violate every part of what it means to be an airman. We are appalled and deeply sorry for what Senator McSally experienced and we stand behind her and all victims of sexual assault. We are steadfast in our commitment to eliminate this reprehensible behavior and breach of trust in our ranks -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And Jeanne is next.


[19:58:13] BURNETT: Trump gets the "Mean Girls" treatment. Here's Jeanne.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We expect it out of, say, Mariah Carey.

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: I was like, why are you so obsessed with me?

MOOS: But Hillary Clinton is no Mariah Carey. Nevertheless, when Hillary finally said -- --


MOOS: President Trump mocked her by tweeting: Aw-shucks, does that mean I won't get to run against her again? She will be sorely missed.

Seventy-one-year-old Hillary fired back with a famous meme from "Mean Girls."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you so obsessed with me?

MOOS: We've occasionally seen Hillary's youthful side, throwing balloons and even shimmying.


MOOS: But those who complimented her use of the me allowed it might not have actually been her idea. Hillary Clinton, OK, maybe Hillary's social media manager, is the best Trump troller ever. Joked another, Hillary Clinton's gay intern searching for that "Mean Girls" GIF.

Read one tweet: Now that's likable. A reference to this.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: You're likable enough, Hillary.

CLINTON: Thank you so much.

MOOS: Someone even photoshopped Hillary to look like "Mean Girls" character Regina George. But this wasn't the most bizarre use of the meme ever. That happened last year when the Twitter account used to represent Iran's supreme leader threatened to eradicate Israel calling it a malignant, cancerous tumor. To which Israel's embassy in Washington replied, yep, with the exact same "Mean Girls" me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you so obsessed with me?

MOOS: Meme diplomacy it was dubbed. If it's good enough to scare the ayatollah, maybe Hillary figured it's good enough to poke President Trump.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, sing it, Mariah.

CAREY (singing): Why are you so obsessed with me --

MOOS: New York.


BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360," sorry, starts right now.