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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) Rhode Island is Interviewed About Not "Shutting the Door" on Impeachment of President Trump; Dems Pushing Impeachment Don't Hesitate to Break with Pelosi. Aired: 7-8p ET

Aired March 12, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: ... congratulations to this entire wonderful family. To our viewers, thanks for watching. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OutFront next, the Russian connection, the President's former campaign chairman just hours from being sentenced at the center of the case. His contact with an alleged Russian agent. Plus, President Trump lashing out as one of the only banks that would do business with him is now the target of a new investigation. What could they have on Trump? And a new book says Trump tried to push Ivanka out of the White House. Let's go OutFront.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, Manafort's Russia connection. We're hours away from Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman from his first sentencing for crimes related to Russia. Front and center, Manafort's relationship with his co- defendant, a Russian.

A Russian Mueller says is tied to Russian intelligence. A Russian that Judge Amy Berman Jackson has already said is material, her word, to Mueller's probe. That Russian is Konstantin Kilimnik. He won't physically be there, he's not a U.S. citizen, but his presence will loom large in that courtroom and tomorrow we may be a lot closer to finding out if this is the ultimate lie.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was no collision whatsoever. There never has been.

There's been no collusion. After two years, no collusion.

There was no collusion.

No collusion.


BURNETT: Judge Jackson can sentence Manafort for up to 10 years. Keep in mind, she is the judge who not only sent Manafort to jail to begin with, but to solitary confinement. This after he was accused of witness tampering while awaiting trial. She also ruled last month that he violated his plea deal by lying to prosecutors about his interactions with Kilimnik.

Now, Judge Amy Berman Jackson's ruling comes early tomorrow and she has complete discretion over whether that sentence will run on top of or concurrent with the 47 months Manafort received last week from Virginia-based Federal Judge T.S. Ellis. A sentence that shocked everyone with its leniency, Mueller requested 19 to 25 years but Ellis had been critical of the Special Counsel. During the trial, he even questioned whether Mueller's team overstepped its authority saying, "You don't really care about Manafort's bank fraud. You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever."

Tomorrow is going to be a very different case and perhaps a very different sentence. Laura Jarrett is OutFront live at the Justice Department tonight. And Laura, a big day in court tomorrow.

LAURA JARRETT, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Absolutely, Erin. No matter the outcome tomorrow will be a significant moment in the legacy of the Special Counsel's Russia investigation. Manafort facing off against a Harvard-educated former prosecutor who knows his case inside and out, and the only real question is whether she throws the book at him or opts for leniency.


JARRETT(off-camera): She's the Judge who originally put Paul Manafort behind bars. Now, Judge Amy Berman Jackson is back in the spotlight with the power to put Manafort in prison another 10 years.


TRUMP: I feel very badly for Paul Manafort.


JARRETT: An Obama appointee unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Jackson has been overseeing a series of cases related to Robert Mueller's investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, what's the message you want to send to the Committee today?


JARRETT: Including that of Roger Stone and Rick Gates. And her history with Manafort runs deep. She revoked his bail last June after finding he tried to coach potential witnesses, a violation that has kept him in jail ever since. And unlike T.S. Ellis, the Judge in Virginia who painted Manafort's crimes as an aberration in an otherwise blameless life. Jackson has been unyielding in her assessment that Manafort lied about matters essential to the Special Counsel's work.

Concluding in February, he made multiple false statements about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate prosecutors say has ties to Russian intelligence. While his attorney says Manafort has been unfairly vilified.


KEVIN DOWNING, PAUL MANAFORT'S LAWYER: There is no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.


JARRETT: And she's shown a nonsense approach when it comes to the cases of other Trump associates as well, scolding Trump confidant Roger Stone after he posted a picture of crosshairs next to her head. Jackson telling Stone "From this moment on, the defendant may not speak publicly about the investigation or the case or any of the participants in the investigation or the case. Period."


JARRETT: While, Manafort is facing some serious time any way you look at it, Stone's lawyers are hoping to keep him out of jail, trying to convince Judge Jackson that he didn't violate her gag order in that re-release of his book that discusses the Russia investigation in the introduction.


Stone will be in court on Thursday, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much Laura and I want to go now to Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst, Jack Weiss, former Federal Prosecutor and Asha Rangappa, former FBI Special Agent. OK. Thanks to all.

Jack, let me start with you. Look, Judge Jackson has not had any patience for Manafort, the witness tampering, and by the way keep in mind, obviously, there's been guilty pleas by Manafort in these charges. A stark contrast to Judge Ellis who seem to have so much sympathy for Manafort. So will tomorrow's sentencing look very different from last time where the judge remember famously said Manafort had led a "otherwise blameless life."

JACK WEISS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, it's night and day. She's such a serious person. You look at all of her previous efforts in this case they've been detailed, they've been thorough. She also has the benefit of having been both a federal prosecutor and a defense lawyer, so she kind of knows BS when she sees it. She called Roger Stone on his when he was on the witness stand just a few weeks ago.

And remember, she's made specific findings about Paul Manafort that he lied about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik who we just saw in your opener. So will we get a bombshell about Manafort's conspiracy with the Russians tomorrow? Maybe that's asking a bit too much, but she has already found that he lied about what he did with the Russians. That will certainly factor into her decision tomorrow. BURNETT: So Asha, this is a really important sentencing tomorrow,

because you've got people watching, some of whom may not have been indicted yet, some of them like Roger Stone, not been sentenced yet. What does someone like Roger Stone think when he sees Manafort get only one year more than Michael Cohen behind bars, but the possibility of a pardon is still on the table from Manafort, so Judge Jackson has this on her shoulders too or does she look at it that way that she needs to have Manafort sentence become big enough to send a message to others or not?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think she needs to send a message to the defendant but I think it would not be in her role to send a message to the President. I mean that is really his prerogative and I'll talk about that in a second but she should be able to take into account all of his behavior in deciding to sentence him.

And what I think is more interesting here is what he was not charged with. Manafort is kind of a fulcrum here between Russia and the campaign, and a lot of that was uncovered I suspect in the counterintelligence investigation and may not have actually been charged in court. So I think the question is, can Congress or will Mueller's report actually reveal that and, of course, if Trump does pardon Manafort, he would potentially lose his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and could potentially be asked to testify in front of Congress, so it could be a double-edged sword for him as well.

BURNETT: And Gloria, I want also make it clear, last time, of course, Manafort was sentenced in part for cheating the public out of $6 million in taxes. He did not apologize for that or anything else in his statement to the court. He will have a chance to speak tomorrow, do you think he will say anything differently?

GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, it's hard to say. I mean he has a terrible relationship as you've pointed out with Judge Jackson who's been tough on him. But if you're looking towards a pardon and I'm not the attorney here, if you're looking towards a pardon as I believe he is, why would you apologize?


BORGER: Donald Trump probably would not like that very much. I think Judge Jackson would like to hear an apology and by the way Judge Ellis pointed out that he would have liked to hear an apology which he did not get from Paul Manafort. But if you didn't apologize in one court, are you going to apologize in the other? He could always surprise us. Sure. But maybe he thinks that's not what Donald Trump wants to hear.

BURNETT: Which I guess is the audience of one. We've got the judges. I mean, Judge Ellis even said, "You should apologize tomorrow."

BORGER: Yes, absolutely.

BURNETT: But we'll see. I mean, all right, so to the point Asha was making, Jack, after the last sentencing, Trump came out and echoed the words of Manafort's lawyer.


DOWNING: There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved with any collusion with any government official from Russia.

TRUMP: His lawyer went out of his way actually to make a statement last night, no collusion with Russia.


BURNETT: OK, Jack, look, that trial wasn't about collusion at all, it wasn't even on the table, it's about bank and tax fraud. Now, this trial wasn't about collusion either as Asha points out. That wasn't the charge, but yet the contacts with this alleged Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik are material to Muller's probe and obviously he's a co-defendant with Manafort in this case.

So where are we? Does this mean there is no charge of collusion and, obviously, the legal term for that would be conspiracy coming or not?

WEISS: Well, I don't use the term collusion for that reason.


It's about conspiracy and Asha with her National Security background also uses the term compromise. In here with Manafort we see evidence of both conspiracy and compromise. Collusion is not charged because it's not a thing, it's a fake Trump term. It's not a term we use in the law.

But remember, what he has pled guilty to here is a very extensive scheme of financial fraud, of money laundering, of violating for an agent registration, and other banking regulations and he has pled guilty to the witness tampering, the witness tampering involving his conversations with - or his attempts to contact foreign witnesses on his behalf.

So what you have here is an elaborate international conspiracy to be sure. Is it the last we'll hear about Manafort in this case? I suspect that if there are indictments brought later on for the Trump Tower meeting that Don Jr. was involved in, we could very well see Paul Manafort figuring in later on as well.

BURNETT: And that is the big question, whether it be more indictments could ban by Paul Manafort. Asha, could Manafort still be charged with conspiracy?

RANGAPPA: Yes. I mean I think that is definitely legally possible, but to go to Harry's point I think that is important from an intelligence perspective to also read between the lines. He mentioned compromise and what we know from what has been revealed in the trial is that this is a person with deep connections to people connected with Russian intelligence, who was deeply in debt to Russian oligarchs, who showed up on the doorstep of the Trump campaign willing to work for free, who was sharing polling data under whose watch, the platform on Ukraine was changed in the Republican National Convention.

Erin, in the FBI we call this a clue and even though it may not constitute a crime, it can still be a National Security threat, and I think that is what we need to keep our eye on not simply the bar of whether somebody crossed the line of criminal behavior.

BURNETT: So Gloria how close are we then to Mueller? Obviously, Manafort's sentencing being finished could be very significant. It may not be the driver, the determinant, but it could be.

BORGER: Sure. We don't know definitively, I'll tell you that. But there are seem to be a fewer roadblocks in the way of Muller issuing some kind of report to the Attorney General. There's going to be status reports soon on General Flynn and Rick Gates, two important co- operators. The Roger Stone trial is going to go forward. You have the Manafort sentencing tomorrow.

So it seems to me that things are getting sort of tied up here and that maybe this is a moment for Mueller to say, "OK, these things are done." He's allowed them to proceed. These things are done. Now, I can go and do what I need to do and give the report to the Attorney General.

BURNETT: Yes, to Bill Barr and then of course the fight begins. Thank you all very much.

BORGER: Yes, thank you.

BURNETT: And next breaking news, President Trump going on offense as New York investigators target one of the only banks that would do business with him. A bank that could be central to his political future. Plus, a top Democrat with this warning, if Mueller's report is not made public ...


ADAM SCHIFF, CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Congress will have to recreate everything that Mueller investigation did.


BURNETT: And he once said this about impeaching Bill Clinton.


RICK SANTORUM, FORMER MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE: Patron is about determining whether he is fit to lead this country and that's what we should focus on.


BURNETT: Why is Rick Santorum saying something very different now when it comes to President Trump? Well, I'll ask him. He's OutFront.

[19:15:00] Breaking news, President Trump slamming his home State of New York and

its Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, tweeting there "Now proud members of the group of PRESIDENTIAL HARASSERS. No wonder people are fleeing the State in record numbers. The Witch Hunt continues."

OK. This coming after the State Attorney General subpoenaed two banks for information on funding for Trump Org projects. That is a red line for the President of the United States. Deutsche Bank is among the banks which Congress is already looking at because of the millions, millions, millions it lent to trump and Deutsche Bank's role in a Russian money laundering scheme. Athena Jones is OutFront.


ATHENA JONES, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN(off-camera): It was one of the only major banks that would do business with Donald Trump and now Deutsche Bank is facing growing scrutiny because of that decades-long relationship. New York Attorney General Letitia James who ran for office vowing to investigate Trump's business dealings is demanding that the bank provide records related to Trump organization projects.


LETITIA JAMES, THEN-CANDIDATE FOR NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: President Trump was almost on the verge of bankruptcy and then all of a sudden he was flushed with money. And we all know that domestic banks were not offering him and extending any credit to him and so the question is where did he get all of that money from.


JONES: The subpoena seeks documents covering loans, mortgages and lines of credit the lender has extended Trump to finance hotel projects in Chicago and Washington, D.C., a golf course outside Miami and records relating to Trump's failed bid to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills in 2014. A source familiar tells CNN.

The bank's relationship with Trump took shape in the late 1990s after multiple bankruptcies made Trump less attractive to many lenders. According to The Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Bank has led or participated in more than $2.5 billion in loans to Trump affiliated companies since 1998.

Investigations involving the bank's loans to Trump are growing, including by Congressional Committees and now this civil inquiry from New York's top cop. The AG's office has also subpoenaed New Jersey- based investors bank for records related to the Trump Park Avenue project it backed according to a source.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I am providing the committee today with several documents.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JONES: The latest inquiry was launched after former Trump lawyer and

fixer Michael Cohen testified about Trump's allegedly shady business practices on Capitol Hill.


COHEN: It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.


JONES: Cohen accused the President of manipulating the financial records he provided to Deutsche Bank as part of his effort to get a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills. Cohen supplied copies to Congressional investigators.


In recent years Deutsche Bank has faced allegations of money laundering and sanctions violations. In 2017, the lender was fined more than $600 million in penalties stemming from a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme that involved its Moscow, New York, and London branches. Those allegations raising questions for senior lawmakers.


CHAIRMAN: Well, we'll need to talk to some of the banks that have been doing business with Mr. Trump like Deutsche Bank which has had a history of laundering Russian money. It was a bank, one of the very few, if only that would do business with Mr. Trump after American banks refused.


JONES: Now, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank said, "We remain committed to cooperating with authorized investigations." Meanwhile, representatives for the Trump Organization and investors bank did not respond to our request for comment, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Athena, thank you very much. I want to go OutFront now to the former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick and Forbes Associate Editor for Wealth, Dan Alexander, the guy that does the Forbes list, so you know a whole lot about Donald Trump in a lot of ways.

So let's start first though with Deutsche Bank, because this is the whole red line, his finances, family finances, the relationship between Trump and Deutsche Bank goes back two decades and Deutsche Bank was when no one else wanted to deal with Donald Trump, Deutsche Bank did. How crucial was Deutsche Bank?

DAN ALEXANDER, FORBES ASSOCIATE EDITOR, WEALTH: Deutsche Bank was instrumental in making Donald Trump go from a guy who was a failure and had all of these problems in Atlantic City to The Art of the Comeback. He wrote a whole book about this. Without Deutsche Bank, none of that happens. You need financing to do big projects especially when nobody trusts you.

BURNETT: All right, so Deutsche Bank, you can't overstate the importance of Deutsche Bank.

ALEXANDER: Deutsche Bank was critical for Trump.

BURNETT: OK. So Harry if Deutsche Bank is critical for Trump and Deutsche Bank by the way also paid $630 million dollars, that is a huge fine in penalties for a Russian money-laundering scheme which was a $10 billion in money laundering. OK. So you've got Trump on the one hand this money-laundering scheme, those two things do not necessarily need to be related in any way, but they've, I suppose, could be who knows. Is it harassment to look into whether there's a relation or not?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: No, it's definitely not harassment. I think it's interesting in part because of the Russian connection that you mention. And look, of course, not everyone who does business with Deutsche Bank was part of money laundering, probably most people who deal with Deutsche Bank are totally clean. But the connection between Trump and Russia, this is another one and so why would this not be investigated carefully given the connections between Deutsche Bank and Russia money laundering.

Secondly, as we were saying a moment ago, why is this institution alone amongst many institutions the one that is willing to do business with him and there's been some reporting that it's not even sort of the commercial lending part of the bank where you would expect they might loan money to help real estate project. But the private net worth group which normally would handle asset management, investing your money and loans to buy a house or pay for your kids to go to college or something, not loans to buy the Buffalo Bills, for example.

BURNETT: OK. So Dan this relationship was very important. Deutsche Bank was loyal to Trump when no one else would be or loyal may not be the right word, but you say it went both ways, what do you mean?

ALEXANDER: Well, yes, and it's important to look at the context here. So at the time that this relationship began, Deutsche Bank really did not have a large real estate lending arm and actually originally the loans did come from their real estate lending arm and then it changed years later. So they needed to go for somebody who - they weren't going to get any borrower that they want and Donald Trump wasn't going to get any bank that he wanted.

So they were both sort of in the situation where they kind of needed each other and on the first two deals they did together which were 40 Wall Street and Trump World Tower both here in New York, they did really, really well. And so that created sort of this trust and this relationship has evolved over the years. Now, ultimately it led to lawsuits and some of that, some of this, but ultimately they got over it and kept doing business together. BURNETT: All right. So Harry one of the two House committees that

are now looking into Trump's ties to Deutsche Bank which, obviously, could be crucial here. We don't know but it could be crucial. This was the source of money. The Intelligence Committee, Chairman Adam Schiff is on that list, has repeatedly linked Deutsche Bank, Trump and money-laundering repeatedly. Here he is.


SCHIFF: Well, if the Special Counsel hasn't subpoenaed Deutsche Bank he can't be doing much of a money-laundering investigations.

The concern about Deutsche Bank is that they have a history of laundering Russian money and this apparently was the one bank that was willing to do business with the Trump Organization. Now, is that a coincidence?

If this is a form of compromise, it needs to be exposed.


BURNETT: OK, if true and that's the huge if ...


BURNETT: ... if there is any, is Trump compromised by Russia? Could he possibly be an unwitting or witting asset?

SANDICK: It is possible if there is this connection that Congressman Schiff hypothesizes.


It is absolutely possible that prior crimes could be used as leverage. We've heard Juliette Kayyem and others talk about the ability of foreign governments. If they know about a crime and we don't, it's potentially leveraged to use against him. It's also true that the intersection of money laundering and real estate is something that is now a real enforcement priority group within the Treasury Department called FinCEN a couple of years ago added new regulations that if you're in the real estate business and you see a suspicious transaction, it's not just if you're a good citizen you report it, you're now required by regulation to make a report to the Department of Treasury and say, "Hey, this looks suspicious. There could be money laundering here."

BURNETT: There are a lot of all-cash buyers and even now with Trump projects around the world, you have a lot of these buyers. Quick before we go, inflating assets, that's what he does.

ALEXANDER: He did it for years with Forbes and it's not surprising to see that he did it with financial institutions as well. These are smart guys. My guess is that they looked at it and called him on it just like we did.

BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much. And next, countries around the world grounding the 737 Boeing MAX plane after a second crash. So why are carriers in the United States still flying them even after a software edit is now recommended? Democrats, by the way, want to impeach Trump, some of them undeterred by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments.


RASHIDA TLAIB, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: No one, not even the President should be above the law.


Tonight, a top Democrat warning that if the Justice Department does not make Special Counsel Bob Mueller's report public and provide the underlying evidence behind it to Congress, the House could go and do it all over again. Here's the House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: -- and provide the underlying evidence behind it to Congress, the House could go and do it all over again.

[19:30:07] Here's the House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGNECE COMMITTEE: If the department opts to adopt a new policy, opts to put forward a double standard and deprive the Congress of this evidence, it will mean that the Congress will have to re-create everything the Mueller investigation did.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

All right. Senator, wow, I mean, it's been 18 months. I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of pages and people. OK, re-creating the Mueller probe, is that a serious threat?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I think having to do a lot of independent investigation would become necessary if we didn't get meaningful access to the Mueller report, and where necessary, even to some of the statements and evidence behind the report. This is not the ordinary type of criminal prosecution in which the department is properly jealous of its prerogatives and does not let members of Congress into the investigative process. This is a special process involving the president of the United States and the special counsel statute and related to impeachment, potentially.

So we're playing I think by different ground rules. And those ground rules ought to include full cooperation with the Congress. BURNETT: All right. You mentioned the word impeachment. The House

Judiciary chairman, so, if your colleague over in the House, Jerry Nadler, spoke to CNN about impeachment today. I wanted to play for you what he said, Senator.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've been skeptical about moving forward on impeachment without bipartisan support. There's some concerns on the left that Democratic leadership appears to be shutting the door to this before the Mueller report has come out.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, certainly I'm not shutting the door.


BURNETT: Are Democrats trying to have it both ways on this impeachment issue right now, Senator?

WHITEHOUSE: That's not the way I think of it. I've spent a lot of time in court rooms and doing prosecutions. There's an order of proceeding. The first thing you do is you put your evidence together. And then you make your case. And then you will ask for the judgment that you seek.

In this case, the judgment that would be sought would be to proceed with an impeachment. But the House is newly under a Democratic control and I think they deserve time without having to discuss impeachment yet --


WHITEHOUSE: -- to look at the evidence and put together a case to the American people. A very important piece of that will be the Mueller report. The Mueller report could conceivably be sufficiently damming that there is brought bipartisan sentiment that this president needs to be remove removed, or not. We just don't know that yet.

BURNETT: So, that's the crucial thing, is you used the word "bipartisan". Obviously, the House speaker used it yesterday, too, and just to make it clear, people -- some people watching, they think the president should be impeach, some may not. But you can obviously impeach him in the House but he would stay in office because it comes to you in the Senate.


BURNETT: You need 20 Republicans on board, right? That's the bipartisan that we're talking about.

WHITEHOUSE: That's technically the bipartisan that we're talking about. I suspect that the House leadership would also like to see the impeachment vote in the House be bipartisan as well.

BURNETT: For the optics.

WHITEHOUSE: So that people can proceed, kind of in the good faith feeling that we're doing our constitutional duty and not running a political errand.

BURNETT: OK. But do you really think that if this is something short of an all-out conspiracy, a specific crime, an indictable crime. That you could get 20 of your colleagues on board? Do you have any idea what the bar is from your conversations with them?

WHITEHOUSE: No. Not really. But, you know, in many cases, you go back to the Republican effort to impeach President Clinton, the bar was pretty low there. And the Senate rejected it. So, it has to be a higher bar than that. That's one thing that we know.

BURNETT: All right. I want to ask you about something as well, Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8, as you know, that horrific crash, 157 people onboard were killed. Obviously, now, that aircraft has been grounded by aviation authorities and airlines across the world, but not here. The FAA just released a statement saying that it can keep flying here.

They don't know what went on. They've recommend a software. Boeing is putting a fix in with response to Lion Air before they even know what happens with this.

Do you think the plane should just keep flying?

WHITEHOUSE: You know, I'm not an aviation expert. I do think that when the rest of the world is saying we need to get to the bottom of this before we let this plane fly, that puts a lot of pressure on the FAA to undertake a very serious and very rapid investigation.

[19:35:00] Unfortunately, what we see so often in the Trump administration is regulatory agencies that take their signals from big industry.

And we want to make absolutely sure the fax is not trying to keep these planes flying, even though they're not safe, just because Boeing and airlines want it that way. So, that is a notion that has to be dispelled once so many other governments have made the more cautious step of grounding the aircraft.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Senator. Thanks so much.

WHITEHOUSE: Good to be with you.

BURNETT: And next, Sarah Sanders speaking with the split over Pelosi's hard line on impeachment.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think Nancy Pelosi is clearly already starting to lose control of her party.


BURNETT: Plus, a new book reveals how president Trump tried to get his daughter Ivanka to quit and go home to New York.


BURNETT: New tonight, the case to impeach President Trump. Now, Democrats who want to forge ahead with impeachment have been unmoved by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi very publicly saying, guys, we are not there yet. And by the way, she continued to say Trump is not worth it.

It's not the first time we've heard this debate. Here is then Senator Rick Santorum, a Republican who voted to impeach President Clinton. Here's what he said back in 1998.


THEN-SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I'm not really interested in punishing this president.

[19:40:00] That's not what impeachment is all about. I mean, impeachment is about determining whether he is fit to lead this country and that's what we should focus on.


BURNETT: Fit to lead this country.

Now, here's what Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart also in the center of this back then, said in 1998.


JOE LOCKHART, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Because of politics, the House, a majority party has impeached the president because they could do it, because they had the power to do it, and without making an effective case for it.


BURNETT: OK. So you heard the operative lines in each of those cases while things have changed.

All right. OUTFRONT now, the two gentlemen you just saw, Rick Santorum and Joe Lockhart.

Rick, what happened to the turtleneck? OK, hold on --

SANTORUM: I think we look remarkably good for all those years, both of us.

BURNETT: I must say, you both do. I did like that sartorial styles change over time. But you both do look good.

So, Senator, you said back then that impeachment is not about punishment. It is about determining whether the president is fit to lead this country but you are not for impeachment with Donald J. Trump. Why?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, in the case of Bill Clinton, we had a very clear criminal act. I mean, he lied under oath. I mean, that's a very serious criminal act. People are prosecuted for it all the time.

That's one of the reasons that I didn't want Trump to give testimony to Bob Mueller, because I was afraid of that very thing.

BURNETT: That you knew that his daily lies become lie under oath.

SANTORUM: Given the president's tendency to, you know, exaggerate on occasion, I was very excited about him replying to those written interrogatories as opposed to a deposition.

BURNETT: OK. Joe, you think Republicans have a double standard.

SANTORUM: Well, I do. I mean, think a lot of what underpinned the comments of many Republicans in the House and the Senate was somehow that they were morally offended by what Clinton had done, the affair with Monica Lewinsky. And the fact of the matter is, there is a double standard now.

This president, we have the "Access Hollywood" tape. We have 22 women who have credibly accused him of sexual assault. We have hush money paid for to have a porn star. We have Buttigieg on CNN Sunday night calling it the porn star presidency.

The fact of the matter is, Newt Gingrich, the speaker of the house, told Erskine Bowls, the then chief of staff, he said why are you going forward with impeachment? He said, because we can. It was an act of raw political power.

Now, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have that raw political power right now and they are choosing not to do it. They're choosing to wait to see what the facts are and they may not impeach at all because they believe at that that's the right thing to do.

BURNETT: OK. So, Senator, I saved the best for next. This is something else that you said right after you voted to impeach President Clinton. Quote: I don't think there are a lot of people around Washington, D.C. on the Hill, that if Bill Clinton looked them in the eye and told them something, that they would believe him immediately. I think that's important in governing this country.

So I felt that he had, that removing him was necessary under the area of leadership. OK. So, the reason I mentioned this is that's where you moved the bar. You made about it looking a guy in the eye and believing he was a liar. How is that any different than what we have now?

SANTORUM: And the premise was that he did lie under oath. That is a difference.

And, look, let's be honest, if Donald Trump lied under oath in his interrogatories, in fact, a lot of things with Michael Cohen saying the president must have lied about then in his testimony, that would be an impeachable offense. It is an impeachable offense. If someone lied under oath, it's an impeachable offense.


BURNETT: So, Senator, let me understand it, because when he went on Air Force One, he was asked whether, you know, the Stormy Daniels payments and he said no. That was a lie, and he lied to the American people. It was under oath.

SANTORUM: Erin, the reality is --


BURNETT: But we're talking Bill Clinton impeachable (ph) lying about having sex with Monica Lewinsky, under oath. Both of these are sordid and awful things that I wish we didn't have to talk about that.

SANTORUM: I agree.

BURNETT: But one person was impeached for that. Why should President Trump not be by your logic? I mean, the difference is he lied blatant to the American people, not under oath?

SANTORUM: I wish it was the only time presidents lied, to the American people. We can go back to just about every single president that lie to the American people. That's not impeachable.

But when you are in a court of law and you lie under oath, that is. And I think you'll find a lot of Republicans will have a big problem if Donald Trump is proven or shown to have lied under oath. I think that will be a very different bar.


LOCKHART: I actually don't think you will. I think you'll final Republicans finding a way to shift the goalpost. Newt Gingrich in a candid moment did not say he was worried about the president's testimony. He did not say that he was worried about the president's behavior, given that he was engaged in some of the same behavior himself as was his successor, Bob Livingston.

[19:45:05] What Newt Gingrich said was, we're going to impeach the president because we can, because we have the power to. And that's the difference between Republicans and Democrats. And there's a lot of Republicans still on the Hill. Lindsey Graham comes to mind, who we're going to have a hard time explaining how they were so critical from a moral basis with Bill Clinton. And how they give this president a pass.

I'll argue, you know, all night long that, you know, Bill Clinton made a terrible mistake. I think it is debatable whether he committed perjury. I don't think he does. Senator Santorum thinks he did.

But if you want to put up the moral character of this president against anyone, I think almost anyone will win that debate.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, a knew book revealing surprising details about the relationship between President Trump and his daughter Ivanka.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Daddy, can I go with you? I like that. I said yes, you can.


BURNETT: Plus, Jeanne on Mitt Romney's unique way of blowing out birthday candles.


BURNETT: Tonight, "The New York Times" reporting that a new book reveals President Trump wanted his daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, out of the White House.

[19:50:08] Trump reportedly telling the chief of staff at the time, John Kelly, quote, get rid of my kids. Get them back to New York. And that Trump and Kelly then agreed to make Ivanka and Jared's lives so difficult they'd be compelled to resign. This as Ivanka Trump struggles to balance being a senior advisor and a daughter.

Kate Bennett is OUTFRONT.


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington buzzing about a new book "Kushner, Inc." by writer by Vicky Ward and its focus on Ivanka Trump's unprecedented role as both daughter and influential advisor to the president, a murky area Ivanka has had to define.

LESLEY STAHL, CBS REPORTER: People think that you're going to be part of the administration, Ivanka.

IVANKA TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: I'm -- no, I'm going to be a daughter.

BENNETT: The family connection has led to complicated political issues. Ward writes how Ivanka defended her dad after the deadly Charlottesville protests. Trump saying there was, quote, blame on both sides. Ivanka adamantly sticking up for her father.

Ward writes Ivanka told White House economic advisor Gary Cohn who was rocked by Trump's remarks and by Ivanka's response, quote: My dad's not a racist. He didn't mean any of it.

Publicly, she's played the role of defiant daughter, sidestepping salacious headlines.

INTERVIEWER: Do you believe your father's accusers?

I. TRUMP: I think it's a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he is affirmatively stated that there's no truth to it.

BENNETT: Saying privately she's able to voice her opinion.

I. TRUMP: I am part of a staff. He's the president. I'm part of a team.

BENNETT: Ivanka tasked with tackling policy issues, from family work leave funding to economic empowerment for women. Trump in return heaping praise as both boss and father, sometimes with cringe worthy results.

D. TRUMP: She's so good. She wanted to make the trip. She said, dad, can I go with you? She actually said, daddy, can I go with you? I like that. Daddy, can I go with you? I said yes, you can.

BENNETT: And just this week during a White House meeting.

D. TRUMP: She's so formal. Special person and she's worked so hard, as you all know.

BENNETT: The book also taking a look at Ivanka's West Wing role. Ward writes, citing a source at the State Department, Ivanka would request travel on Air Force planes. If the request was denied, Ivanka and Kushner would invite along a cabinet secretary, often Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in order to gain access.

But is Ivanka advisor, daughter or perhaps the answer is both? The result, in Washington more scrutinized than perhaps any other presidential family member in modern history.

I. TRUMP: There is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. But this isn't supposed to be easy.


BENNETT: Now, Kushner's lawyer's spokesman tells CNN, quote, it seems she, Vicky Ward, has written a book of fiction rather than any serious attempt to get the facts. Correcting everything wrong would take too long and be pointless.

So, Erin, definitely pushback from the Kushner and Ivanka Trump camp, but we haven't heard from the two themselves. The book is out next week.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. A lot of people will want to read that one.

And next, Jeanne Moos on the great divide over how Mitt Romney blew out the candles on his birthday cake.


[19:57:58] BURNETT: It's a blowout for Mitt Romney's birthday. Here's Jeanne.


CROWD: Happy birthday --

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Mitt Romney tweeted out a video of his staff presenting him on his 72nd birthday with a cake made out of his favorite snack, Twinkies, you'd think that Twinkies would be the story.


MOOS: But nope. What everybody else was saying holy cow about was this.

ROMNEY: Look at this.

MOOS: He picked up every individual candle and blew it out. "The Daily Show" called him an -- incredibly life-like Mitt bot.

ROMNEY: Are you kidding?

MOOS: Someone tweeted you don't get a wish for each one, buddy. Oh, yes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't burn yourself.

ROMNEY: These are all wishes I'm getting.

MOOS: It's true most big-time politicians try to blow out their candles all at once. The queen of Denmark foiled George W. Bush with too many candles. And Hillary Clinton needed help from Bill. The icing on the cake was the head caress.

But Mitt does things differently. After all, this is a guy who tried to iron or steam his shirt while wearing it.


MOOS: Life isn't fair. It's your birthday, you post a nice little video moment to your social media and you get burned by your own candles.

But Senator Romney takes the cake for consideration. He told TMZ: I have a bit of a cold and I didn't want to spray my germs all over the Twinkies for everybody else to eat. At least one study has shown blowing out candles can increase cake bacteria by 1,400 percent.

So to the charge that Mitt Romney blows out birthday candles like a serial killer, we say Mitt didn't blow it, it's flu season and blowing out candles is basically sneezing on the cake.

ROMNEY: Holy, cow!

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN. New York.


BURNETT: I know it really isn't fair, is it, Mitt Romney? But you know, I've got to say, though, I think he was just being polite. I would have appreciated the same kind of courtesy. Gosh, a guy with the flu.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.