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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Announces Grounding of All Boeing 737 MAX Jets; Rep. Tim Ryan (D) Ohio is Interviewed About the College Admissions Scandal. Aired on 7-8p ET
Aired March 13, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OutFront next breaking news, former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker not denying that he spoke with President Trump about Michael Cohen's case and was involved in conversations about the scope of the Southern District of New York investigation. This according to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Plus, the President grounding Boeing 737 MAX planes getting ahead of the FAA's announcement causing a heck of a lot of turmoil. Tonight, the FAA saying the data shows there are similarities between those two fatal crashes in six months. And Paul Manafort with more prison time, the prison where he may be headed, no locks, no bars, no barbed wire, some say it's more like a dorm than a prison. Let's go OutFront.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight the breaking news, a major revelation tonight by the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler speaking to reporters now the revealing details about what he says former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told him behind closed doors today. And this is what it all adds up to, an accusation that President Trump tried to derail and interfere with the federal investigation into his former fixer Michael Cohen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY NADLER, CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: One; unlike in the hearing room, Mr. Whitaker did not deny that the President called him to discuss the Michael Cohen case and personnel decisions in the Southern District. Two; while he was Acting Attorney General, Mr. Whitaker was directly involved in conversations about whether to fire one or more U.S. attorneys. And three; while he was Acting Attorney General, Mr. Whitaker was involved in conversations about the scope of the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Berman's recusal, and whether the Southern District went too far in pursuing the campaign finance case in which the President was listed as individual number one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. Berman is Geoffrey Berman, a Trump ally. He's the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. So he recused himself from the Cohen case, so Whitaker according to Nadler admits he discussed Berman's recusal. Remember, the New York Times has reported that Trump asked Whitaker, directly asked Whitaker whether Berman could be put in charge of the Cohen probe.
So Whitaker today is admitting he discussed Berman's recusal. It could be a major revelation that goes all the way to the President. Because remember under oath in February, Whitaker denied ever being pressured by the President to interfere in any investigation. This is under oath.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT WHITAKER, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: At no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the Special Counsel's investigation or any other investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Ultimately, if Trump asked Whitaker to intervene in the Cohen probe and stack it with his ally, then not only did Whitaker lie under oath, then this would also be a lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ask Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to change the leadership of the investigation into your former personal attorney Michael Cohen?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. Not at all. I don't know who gave you that. That's more fake news. There's a lot of fake news out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But why would Trump ask Whitaker to interfere in the Cohen investigation? Well, the simple answer often the right one but the simple answer here would be because the President is terrified of Cohen. CNN obtaining emails today that reveal a back-channel set up between Trump's legal team and Cohen. This was back in April of 2018 after Cohen's office was raided. An attorney who said he was speaking with the President's attorney wrote in part to Cohen "You are loved. Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places."
Manu Raju is OutFront live on Capitol Hill tonight. And Manu, what happened today with Chairman Nadler, the former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was behind closed doors, what else are you learning tonight?
MANU RAJU, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, we're learning from both Republicans and Democrats that Matt Whitaker did in fact raised concerns with his staff about the scope of the Southern District of New York's investigation into Michael Cohen. According to Republican staff who were present at the meeting, Whitaker believes some of the campaign finance charges against Michael Cohen were "specious."
Those are the words that Whitaker used in his private testimony. He said that he raised this privately. But the Republicans are saying that he did not go and communicate those concerns directly with the Southern District of New York, instead of raising that to his own staff. Now, we're also learning about his contacts that may or may not have occurred with the President about the Michael Cohen case.
Now, he, according to Jerry Nadler, he did not deny having any conversations with the President about the Michael Cohen case.
According to Republican aides, he says he did not remember having any of those conversations but he's told them today that he would have remembered if there were any contentious exchanges, but he couldn't remember if there were any changes that have occurred at all between the President and Whitaker over to Cohen case. Also, he discussed a potential firing of certain U.S. attorneys, Republicans downplaying that today saying it's all just personnel issues. Democrats say this could be a reason for concern.
Now, after the meeting, one of the Republican who was in the meeting, Doug Collins, had a different take than Jerry Nadler, said that it was clear from what he heard that Whitaker did not interfere with the Mueller investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG COLLINS, RANKING MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: One of the biggest takeaways I found of this whole thing was that Mr. Nadler agreed that the worst fears and expectations of Mr. Whitaker were not borne out, that he did what he was supposed to a job and didn't interfere with the investigations going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So they say he didn't interfere with the Mueller investigation or the Southern District of New York investigation. And I asked specifically about the issue of recusal, the U.S. attorney in that office if he recused. The Republican aides said that what Whitaker said was that, "You just don't undo recusal." So he seems to have denied being involved in an effort to un-recuse, if you will, Geoffrey Berman's decision to step aside from that probe.
But Jerry Nadler said that he was part of those discussions. But one reason why there seems to be some disagreement on both sides about what was exactly was said was that there was no transcript of this closed-door interview happening just between these two leaders, so it's going to be open to somewhat to interpretation, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Manu, thank you. And I want to go now to Berit Berger, former Federal Prosecutor, Shan Wu, former Federal Prosecutor, and the former lawyer from Manafort's associate, Rick Gates, Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, and April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.
OK, Berit, does any of what Nadler is saying raised red flags to you, given the rules and given obviously what the President and Mr. Whitaker have said in the past which directly contradicts what Nadler says Whitaker said today?
BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean my first thought is for a meeting that was an attempt to clear up confusion over Whitaker's prior testimony, this didn't really seem to clear anything up here. It seems like there's still a lot of confusion about what he said then and what he said now.
I think when you actually look at what is appropriate and what is inappropriate, it's important to sort of put them in different categories. Of the acting head of the Justice Department, it was totally appropriate for Whitaker to have conversations with his staff about ongoing investigations including investigations by the Southern District of New York into Michael Cohen.
In a normal case, it may not even be inappropriate for him to have conversations with the President about some ongoing investigations. This however was not a normal case, because the President was implicated.
BURNETT: He's individual number one.
BERGER: As you know he was individual one, exactly. So that would take this out of the normal case and put it into a situation or if Whitaker had those conversations with the President, that could very much be an inappropriate conversation.
BURNETT: So, Shan, I want to play again a little bit more of what Nadler says Whitaker told him today behind closed doors. Here is Jerry Nadler.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADLER: While he was Acting Attorney General, Mr. Whitaker was involved in conversations about the scope of the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Berman's recusal, and whether the Southern District went too far in pursuing the campaign finance case in which the president was listed as individual number oen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So Shan, I just want to make this clear, again, Geoffrey Berman was a Trump ally. He'd recused himself, so if there was a discussion about trying to undo that that could matter, that could be a big development here. Is this problematic if such conversations happen?
SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think it's very problematic, Erin. It's obviously very problematic if he was having those conversations with the President. But I would disagree with Berit. I think even within his own staff, the idea that he is questioning the scope of Berman's recusal, that just indicates he doesn't understand refusals.
I mean, you recuse because you have a conscience, you have integrity, you're conflicted and he wants to question the scope of that. I mean, it indicates his own ethical problems. So that conversation in and of itself suggests there's a problem there.
BURNETT: I mean, April, here's the thing, Berman, of course, was a trump ally, we know that, and we can assume that was why he chose to recuse himself in a case with the President of the United States with whom he is an ally is individual number one. OK, I just played the President, of course, denying that he talked about any of this. "Fake news. Fake news. What are you guys talking about." Can you take him at his word here?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: No, not at all. Because too much has come back on him. I mean, let's go back to Air Force One when we asked the President if he knew anything about those payments. That's one thing out of so many different things at the ...
BURNETT: And he gave a blatant no and that was false.
RYAN: And then we found something totally different and the White House has tried to reshape Rudy Giuliani who's trying to reshape - I mean, the credibility issue is the problem, but we have to find out where the where is, we have to find the receipts or the proof, if you will, to make sure to nail this down. But once again this is a smack of a conflict-of-interest impropriety at the very least.
BURNETT: So, Juliette, here's the thing though when April uses the words receipts and proof, that is what it comes down to, and that appears to be where the big question is going to be, because no one has said that the President directed Whitaker to stop the investigation directly. He didn't say, "You know what, Matt? You need to put this thing to rest. Get rid of this thing. End it."
No, he didn't do it that way. He calls Whitaker and lashes out about how unfair it is, how it's all load of baloney, how it doesn't make sense, that's what he says. And when he says those sorts of things, that is what makes me wonder if what Michael Cohen had to say in his congressional testimony is actually going to be what this comes down to. Here's Michael Cohen, Juliette.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Juliette, if this was in code, is there anything that would actually implicate the President in doing anything wrong?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I mean, it could and I think that's right, I think that the President has learned to talk to certain people in this kind of code. "I'm mad. I'm pissed off. You essentially in authority power need to do something about it."
And what strikes me about Whitaker which I just think is really interesting coming out of this hearing today is the President put a very weak and one has to just admit now totally unqualified man to lead the Department of Justice. But it was his weakness that ended up being sort of a bad thing for Trump, because his ability, because Whitaker's ability to actually act on any of this was completely sort of overwhelmed by essentially career Justice Department people who knew better, who basically were either not going to allow Whitaker to do anything or stop Whitaker from doing something that Trump wanted.
What we have to remember is the fact we're even having any conversation right now about how to interpret Whitaker's conversations with the President of the United States regarding an investigation of the President of the United States means to me that the President clearly wanted to influence the Attorney General of the United States at that time, because those conversations in and of themselves should not have been happening under any rule system whatsoever.
BURNETT: I mean, I guess that's the bottom line, Berit. I mean, he finds a way to get what he wants without explicitly saying it because he's a sophisticated player. I want to ask you about those emails, that email that came to Michael Cohen from an attorney Robert Costello.
So Robert Costello is kind of working on behalf of Cohen, considering working for him, speaks to Rudy Giuliani who speaks for the President. "You are loved. Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places." Now, Cohen is giving this email over to say, "Look, this is proof they were dangling a pardon. It seems like Costello is saying, "That's because you asked me to call and ask for one and so I did, and so then I wrote you that." Are we ever going to know what happened here whether Cohen lied to Congress?
BERGER: I'm not sure and I'm not sure that this email really advances the ball. I mean, it's a little funny that Michael Cohen is holding this up as the thing that's going to exonerate him from any questions here. This could have really bad implications for Michael Cohen. I mean, we know that this matter has now been referred to the Justice Department. It's not totally unheard of if the Southern District of New York feels that Michael Cohen lied in his congressional testimony. They could certainly charge him with additional crimes.
So in fact this email, look, it's vague enough that it's hard to look at it on its face and say, "Aha, this is a smoking gun one way or the other." But it definitely raises some eyebrows and it's funny to me that Michael Cohen would put that out there as something that actually proves his point.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, and again why one would lie to Congress again about something like that when I think kind of everyone expected him to have asked for a pardon at least when they were friends. Next, all of you staying with me, President Trump adamant he's been exonerated after his former campaign chairman was sentenced to another 43 months in prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can only tell you one thing, again, that was proven today, no collusion. There's no collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Except that wasn't on the table, that was not what was proven today. And breaking tonight, President Trump announcing the United States grounding one of Boeing's the most popular, its newest plane after two deadly crashes and we've got new details about the links between those two tonight. And the biggest college cheating scam ever prosecuted in the United States, one congressman and possible 2020 candidate saying it shows a shameless rigged system. Tim Ryan is OutFront.
New tonight, Trump twisting words. President Trump insisting he's been exonerated after Paul Manafort was hit with another 43 months in prison today. So the total Manafort is seven and a half years. Obviously, this was the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump. President Trump today though claiming this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can only tell you one thing again that was proven today, no collusion. There's no collusion. There's no collusion and there hasn't been collusion and it was all a big hoax. Today, again, no collusion. The other day, no collusion. There was no collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: There was no collusion on the table, okay. It was not proven that there was no collusion, because it wasn't part of the cases. So Judge Jackson actually went out of her way to make it crystal clear that today's sentencing was absolutely nothing to do with the President's collusion with Russia or lack thereof. Telling the courtroom, "Any conspiracy, collusion, was not presented in this case. Therefore it was not resolved by this case." She then added "no collusion" is "simply a non-sequitur." I mean, no collusion was found because it was not presented. But that's not what the President keeps saying.
Shimon Prokupecz is OutFront live in Washington. Shimon, just after the sentencing today for Manafort, so we get up to these seven or so years.
The Manhattan DA has unsealed new criminal charges against Manafort, literally coming within an hour or two of the sentencing. What are these charges and what's the reason? Obviously, it was not a coincidence on the timing. SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER, CNN: No, it absolutely
was not a coincidence. There's obviously concern that Paul Manafort is going to be pardoned by the President and that he would be a free man and he'd be able to walk out whatever jail or prison he's ultimately going to serve his time.
So what the Manhattan DA's office did, they unsealed this indictment which virtually means now that there is a hold on Paul Manafort, so that if the President tomorrow, Monday, Tuesday, whenever decided, "You know what? I'm going to do this today. I'm going to pardon him." Paul Manafort is not going to be a free man. He won't be able to walk out of prison. If he does walk out, the Manhattan DA's office will take custody of him and he'll be brought to New York where he's going to face these charges and they all are very similar to what he's already been convicted of and pleaded guilty to.
And Erin, this is very rare, state prosecutors rarely bring similar charges in cases where the FBI and where the U.S. Attorney's Office has already gotten convictions and have already gone the defendants to plead guilty. And it's obvious, the only reason they're doing this is because there's a real concern that the President is going to pardon him and the investigators do not want that.
BURNETT: Right, of course - I mean, Manafort pleaded guilty to this stuff. So all right, thank you, Shimon and now let's go back to Berit, Shan, Juliette and April. So Juliette, let me just get to this point about collusion, the President keeps saying it and I guess he obviously knows it's not true, but he doesn't care. He thinks that half of the people in the country may listen and just believe what he says regardless of the truth even though this case was not about conspiracy so the lack of conspiracy would not be proven.
KAYYEM: Yes. I mean, there's like the number of times he says it is sort of irrelevant at this stage. What we have to understand is that the only defense strategy that Donald Trump has at this stage is what I'll call TLP; tweets, lies and pardons. That's all he's got left at this stage.
So the fact that he is going gangbusters on the first two at least, the couple of dozen tweets this morning, the lies about what was said today in the Manafort sentencing, and the dangling of the pardon of which, of course, we know Sarah Sanders has not denied at this stage. That's the defense strategy.
So we shouldn't be surprised that that trump is essentially sort of doing what his lawyer said. He does not have the facts at this stage. We know that because so many people close to him are in jail at this stage. I mean, there's like you can't deny that reality.
BURNETT: So April, he's trying to create an alternative reality, he figures if he says it there are enough people who will either believe him or be confused enough by what he is saying and therefore think that we're having a conversation about something that isn't on the table that he wins just by muddying the water?
RYAN: So, yes, he has to muddy the water especially as his former campaign manager is receiving more of a sentence, seven and a half years now. This President wants to create in the midst of Paul Manafort's extra sentencing, this winning picture for himself, that there's no collusion. As we just heard, there's no collusion that was on the table in this matter today.
But the bottom line the President wants to distance himself is far from the loss for Paul Manafort to still make himself look like he's a winner, to say there's no collusion. So the President, it's the ultimate reality show of his reality, a White House reality show that's airing right now in CNN.
BURNETT: And Berit, just to make the point here right as Shimon said how unusual it is, not only has he been convicted, he's pleaded guilty, so he can't kind of try to fight it. But for state prosecutors to go after someone, these New York charges, residential mortgage fraud, among them one of the most serious. So he's looking at one to three years minimum, eight to 25 years maximum. These are huge ranges, but those would be inescapable. There's nothing a President can do to pardon on a state charge.
BERGER: Yes, that's exactly right and I think that's one perhaps motivation for the District Attorney, bringing these charges was really as a backstop in case of a pardon on the federal charges. So they will involve some of the same conduct and my guess is the defense will certainly raise arguments about double jeopardy.
It is pretty easy to overcome that even in New York which has pretty strict double jeopardy rules, but I think the defense will not be successful in making those arguments. So Manafort is facing some pardon proof charges here in the state that would guarantee some state jail time.
BURNETT: So Shan, how significant are the new charges?
WU: They're very significant. They're probably disheartening to Manafort, but I actually think there's a silver lining for him. I don't think Trump is very inclined to pardon them right now because Mueller is done with them. There is no more leverage they have on Manafort. But there is an incentive for the State Prosecutor for the Manhattan District Attorney to want to leverage Manafort.
And so Trump may be worried afresh and he would pardon Manafort not out of any sense of loyalty to him, but only if it serves a self interests. So if he's worried about it, he might actually not pardon him because of these charges.
BURNETT: Wow, which of course would cause epic chaos on Capitol Hill. Thank you all very much. And next, President Trump surprise announcement after two deadly crashes involving the new popular Boeing model flown in the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hopefully, they'll very quickly come up with the answer but until they do the planes are grounded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, actress Lori Loughlin of Full House released on bail after being charged in the largest college admissions scam ever. Congressman Tim Ryan says the scandal speaks to a much larger issue in the U.S. He's OutFront.
Breaking news, grounded, President Trump making a surprise announcement that all Boeing Super Max 8 and 9 planes in the United States will be grounded on his personal order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 Max 8 and the 737 Max 9 and planes associated with that line. Boeing is an incredible company. They are working very, very hard right now and hopefully they'll very quickly come up with the answer. But until they do, the planes are grounded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, so he got ahead of the FAA, which then says it has received new data, and that data shows similarities between Ethiopian Airlines crash in which 157 people were killed and the Lion Air crash, that was all the way back in October, 189 people were killed.
Abby Phillip is OUFRONT from the White House. Martin Savidge is here with what the FAA is now saying.
And, Abby, let me start with you.
The president getting ahead of the FAA on this big announcement. It sounded like he wanted to be the one to make it, to announce it, to have it be his prerogative. What made him do this?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. It seemed very much President Trump wanted to be on the forefront of this announcement today, especially in light of how closely tied he has been to Boeing, as a company. He's praised that company both today and in the past. He personally played a role in selling these jets to foreign nations, most recently to Vietnam after the president went there for a trip.
But he spoke to the Boeing CEO yesterday, who urged him to keep the planes in the air. But then today, after this new information was revealed, the president spoke again to the Boeing CEO. He spoke to the American Airlines CEO as well. And along with the FAA and the Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, they made this decision to ground these flights. The pressure had been building on the FAA, on Boeing, and on the White House for there to have been something done about this. And especially after Canada grounded those flights today, it was
untenable, according to an official for the United States to be the only major country allowing these planes to remain in the air. So, President Trump getting ahead of the FAA, saying that he was going to ground the flights, but also notably saying that he had confidence in Boeing to resolve the problems, because he continues to be very closely tied to this company, especially because he believes they are closely tied to American jobs, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Abby. Of course, Boeing, the largest exporter from the United States as well.
And, Martin, what the FAA is saying tonight is hugely significant and concerning. The data shows similarities between both fatal flights that seems to be some sort of a pretty obvious link.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And in fact, they say that they had some telemetry that actually verifies this. It isn't just that they suspect there are similarities. This is really what the FAA has been talking about ever since the president announced the U.S. is taking part in grounding the MAX 8 aircraft.
So, this began to come out through the Canadians, actually. And it was the Canadians who said there was new satellite data that seemed to imply significant similarities between these two tragic airline crashes.
And then later, the FAA itself came out and said actually two things. There was some new information and evidence that apparently had been gathered on the ground in Ethiopia, NTSB investigators are there, part of the teams helping out. And then also, they refer to this satellite data.
And essentially what this data shows is the upward motion of the aircraft. The Ethiopian airline, from the moment it took off to the moment that it crashed. They took that kind of data track and they matched it up against the Lion Air flight, and what they found was that it was very, very similar. In fact, strikingly similar. So much so that the FAA said given all that, it was best that they err on the side of precaution and become the last nation to declare that the flights, the planes would be grounded -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Martin. I want to go to Bill McGee, aviation adviser for "Consumer Reports", author of "Attention All Passengers".
I mean, Bill, it's pretty frightening because they overlay those two flight paths. They see how similar they are. And they were aware that there were issues.
BILL MCGEE, AVIATION ADVISER, CONSUMER REPORTS: Those are some of the key questions, Erin, is what did Boeing and the FAA know after October 29th but prior to Sunday? And those are the questions that we have to get answers to. Yesterday, "Consumer Reports", you know, announced along with many others that we think that both Southwest and American, the two U.S. operators of this aircraft, should ground the airplanes. If they didn't, we thought the Federal Aviation Administration should. Now, we see that today.
But there are a lot of questions about exactly what the timeline is here between October and March.
BURNETT: And such crucial questions. You have 157 people who died. So, there's also this issue of the FAA itself. It's being run by an acting administrator. This is this issue we see across this administration. Acting.
Dan Elwell, a former American Airlines executive, industry lobbyist. The president doesn't actually have a nominee to take this over full time. How big a problem is this?
MCGEE: Well, I think it is a problem because that office has been vacant, and when you don't have a head of an agency for a long time, you know, obviously, that can affect how all of the different departments work.
[19:35:12] You know, you and I have talked about the FAA before, and in 2012, I was here twice in fact, when my book "Attention All Passengers" came out, and we talked about some of the systemic problems at the FAA.
You know, to be clear, at "Consumer Reports" since I have been there in 2000, we have seen problems with FAA oversight across four administrations. You know, Clinton --
BURNETT: It's a systemic problem.
MCGEE: -- Bush, Obama, Trump.
Now, what we're seeing is that with this government shutdown that has sort of been forgotten by some people, it was crucial. We wrote about it in "Consumer Reports". We did an investigation in January.
And we pointed out that, you know, air traffic controllers were getting a lot of attention, and understandably so and rightfully so. But what was going on behind the scenes?
A lot of people don't know exactly what FAA inspectors do. And there was nobody, nobody on the beat for over a month. And that's what our concern was. We talk to inspectors all the time.
BURNETT: So, now, the president tweeted yesterday, and he said in part, airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed but rather computer scientists from MIT, and he continued with Albert Einstein, sort of a joke. Does he have a point that planes are becoming too complex, or is it just completely and utterly inappropriate that a president would be coming out and basically saying, I would be scared to fly. Planes are too complex for pilots?
MCGEE: Well, I'm not exactly clear what the point of the tweet was, but I think buried in there was a point about technology and the cockpit that has some validity. I wasn't exactly sure what the overall point was. Sully Sullenberger who we know from the Hudson River, the pilot of the
U.S. Airways Aircraft, he has been vocal about this for years. What we don't know in this case is these two airlines, were they given proper instruction from Boeing when the aircraft was delivered so that their pilots in turn could be trained properly on this system?
And this MCIS system, you know, it's an automatic pilot type of thing.
MCGEE: This is a real concern, is that are pilots being trained enough?
BURNETT: Do pilots fly?
BURNETT: Or are they being trained --
MCGEE: In his situation, he and his first officer, they were flying that aircraft. So now, when the technology fails or the technology is not available --
BURNETT: Can the pilot fly?
MCGEE: Right, the old timers call it stick and rudder. Can you actually fly that plane?
MCGEE: The problem is in these two incidents, again, you can't stress it enough, these are brand-new airplanes. The one in November was two months old. The one the other day was four months old. You don't see that often.
The problem is, is that, you know, if the technology fails at such a low level on takeoff, you don't have a lot of recovery time, 35,000 feet is one thing.
All right. Bill, thank you very much.
MCGEE: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, one lawmaker says the largest college admissions scam has uncovered a much bigger issue plaguing this country. Tim Ryan is OUTFRONT.
Plus, no locks, no bars, no barbed wire. We're going to take you inside the prison where Paul Manafort could be sent.
[19:41:55] BURNETT: Tonight, actress Lori Loughlin appeared in court in Los Angeles just moments ago, where her bond was set at $1 million. Loughlin, best known as Aunt Becky on the sitcom "Full House" is accused of paying half a million dollars in bribes to get her daughters recruited to the USC crew team, despite the fact her daughters do not row.
She is just one of 50 people nationwide arrested in the largest college admission scam ever prosecuted by the DOJ. Other charges include photoshopping kids' faces unto stock photos of athletes, to lie and say they were great poll vaulters. Also paying tens of thousands of dollars to a fake charity, which they got to deduct on their taxes and then someone went and cheated on the SATs for their kids, upping the scores.
For many, this speaks to a larger issue in this country. Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio tweeting: This is a rigged system. In the real world, people work overtime to help their kids get into and pay for college. Students bust their butts in school to make their grades. This is shameless.
Congressman Ryan joins me now OUTFRONT.
Congressman, look, this is a horrible thing that we have heard happening and speaks to a real void in basic moral values by these individuals. You see this as something more, though. A divide between the haves and have-nots.
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), MEMBER, APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: Yes, no question about it. I mean, I represent a district in Northeast Ohio, Youngstown State University, Kent State, University of Akron, not too far from Pittsburgh where a lot of working class people work really, really hard to make sure they can help their kids get into college. And, you know, it's hard. And the kids have to work sometimes in order to make their way through school, and sometimes they get bumped and they can't get into a good school, like one of these coastal schools.
And then you see what's happening here. I'm sure there's a lot of hard working people out there in California, middle-class, working- class families. They kids got bumped because people were cheating the system. I just don't think that's right.
But it speaks to the fact that if you have a lot of money in society today, you have access to the absolute best technology, the best health care, the best education, the best neighborhoods, the safest neighborhoods. And the system is in your favor.
And I'm not mad if you're wealthy, you have those advantages. I just get a little upset when everyone else gets screwed in the process.
BURNETT: So, look, you have talked about some things you would do. You sponsored multiple bills, for example, on college tuition. One of them that you have endorsed is Bernie Sanders' College for All Act. So, that basically makes it free tuition at public colleges and universities, and slashes student loan rates as well.
So, "USA Today" estimates that it is $70 billion a year in tuition alone in this country for public universities. That's $70 billion a year just for tuition.
Where would that money come from if you were going to give that for free?
RYAN: Well, let's first start by saying we do K-through-12 education now, and that was for an industrial age, an industrial economy. We now have to all go back to school.
[19:45:00] No one is going to get anywhere with a high school diploma. So, this is a national investment that we need to make. And we get the question all the time, how are you going to pay for the tax cuts that are now costing us about a trillion dollars a year?
Look, I think we need to make this system much more efficient. I think a lot of people go to college who shouldn't be going to college and who really don't want to. We could save a boat load of money just by telling people, let's focus on community college.
Let's focus on going into the unions and getting an apprenticeship. Let's focus on a two-year degree, because 70 percent of people who go to college end up dropping out, and we all pay for that one way or the other.
So, if we streamline the system, if we make the system more cohesive from K-through-14, for example, we're going to save a lot of money that we could then use for a lot of other things in our society. And to me, the benefits of having a well-educated population outweigh the costs.
BURNETT: So, when Amy Klobuchar, obviously, your colleague in the Senate, she's running for president. She said when she was asked whether she supported this, I wish. If I was a magic genie and could give that to everyone and we could afford it, I would.
She said categorically she is not for free four-year college for all. She says you can't afford it.
You obviously completely disagree.
RYAN: Well, you know, I'm not saying has to happen tomorrow. We can -- we can do this.
I think, first and foremost, you streamline the system. You squeeze all the fat out of it. We stop wasting all this money on people who do go to school for a year or a year and a half and then drop out because that costs the taxpayer a lot of money right now in Pell grants, students loans and all these other things. If we squeeze that fat out, we're going to save a lot of money.
Then we start encouraging kids to get on a path where they may only need a year or two of college. And the aspiration can be K-16, but let's stop saying we can't do things because it can't happen tomorrow. We didn't go to the moon in one day or one week or one year. But we got there.
And I think it's important for us to say education is valued in society, and if we're going to compete against China and win in the long term, if we're going to reverse climate change in the long run, we better have a really skilled workforce out there working for us.
BURNETT: All right. So, look, you have a lot of passion about this. You disagree with others running. Last time you and I spoke about a month ago, you said you were seriously considering. Those were your words, whether you yourself would run for president.
Are you close to making a decision?
RYAN: Yes, we're getting there. The next few weeks we're going to make a decision one way or the other. These issues we face every single day are concerning to me. You know, I sit in the classified briefings and see what China is doing. I see where our education system is.
And really, the public discourse, which is the most frustrating thing, isn't anywhere close to the challenges that the families are facing in the district that I represent or across the country. We are ill- prepared for the challenges coming down the pike on climate change, where China is, income inequality, health care, our food system, our health care system.
We're not addressing any of these challenges. And so I'm looking very closely at it because I'm not hearing a whole lot of new ideas, and it may be time for a generational shift for us.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman, thank you.
RYAN: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, the prison on Manafort's wish list. This one is racquetball court, softball fields and a menu that has fresh cappuccino. And those are not the only perks.
Plus, how much would you fork over for a Bible with Trump's signature?
[19:52:29] BURNETT: Tonight, Paul Manafort making the case that the president's former campaign chairman should spend the next 7.5 years at the go-to prison for white collar criminals. The prison with surprising perks.
Suzanne Malveaux is OUTFRONT.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paul Manafort's home for the next seven and a half years will likely be here at the federal correctional institute in Cumberland, Maryland, more than 130 miles northwest of the White House.
The medium security facility can hold more than 1,200 male inmates. With just over 2 housed in a minimum security area known as the camp where Manafort would likely stay. The prison which looks more like a college campus or country club is
famous for the white collar criminals and celebrities who've done time here. Among them, lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Clinton Whitewater pal, Web Hubbell.
The secluded prison is surrounded by woodlands. No barbed wire fences here. Inmates can enroll in classes in business, education and music, and fill afternoons with dog walking or full time work. They have access to e-mail and nearly unlimited phone calls.
The topnotch facility at their disposal: a gym, TV rooms and softball field with running track. Inmates can shop from a commissary menu that includes a French cappuccino, cocoa butter soap and racket bells.
Manafort's stay would begin with a 6:00 a.m. wake-up call but much of the rest is his own with an inmate check in at 4:00 p.m. and lights out by midnight. Visiting family and friends stay in nearby houses over the weekend.
There are some restrictions at the prison camp. Manafort would have to wear a green uniform Monday through Friday during the day. On off hours, no fancy suits. Just athletic apparel and thermal underwear are allowed. No smoking, no alcohol or illicit drugs, no gambling or tattooing.
MALVEAUX: Today, in addition to sentencing Manafort to more prison time, Judge Amy Berman Jackson made it clear for the record she did not appreciate Manafort and his counsel describing his previous prison stay at another facility as solitary confinement whereby he had his own private cell, adjacent work space, his own bathroom and shower, personal phone and laptop. She called it disingenuous and used to get public sympathy -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Suzanne.
And next, Jeanne on the big bucks someone forked over for this book.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody loves the Bible more than I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:58:05] BURNETT: Here is Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Talk about an odd couple.
TRUMP: I brought my Bible. MOOS: But, lately, President Trump and the Bible have been buddies. For instance, this week a bible allegedly signed by the president at a rally three years ago was auctioned off on eBay for 325 bucks. Truth be told, an expert we talked to suspects the Bible signature on your left might be fake, citing poor sizing, the constantly changing angle of the letters.
Another tell-tale signs: the collector who listed it didn't get back to us.
When President Trump recently visited a tornado-ravaged area of Alabama, he was handed Bibles to sign. Even Melania signed one.
Now, there is no commandment saying thou shall not sign a bible. There is actually a tradition of Bible signing in the South.
But that didn't stop this cartoonist from noting the irony. That is the same pen he used to sign hush money checks for the porn star he got with while cheating on Melania.
On the late show, the hand of god reached out to squirt cleaner on the autographed bible.
Conan made a similar joke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I let Donald Trump sign my bible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry, there is help. Miracuclean Bible wipes get to the source of sinner's signatures.
MOOS: No Miracuclean might be a little harsh for some spots.
TRUMP: And nobody loves the Bible more than I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering what one or to of your favorite Bible verses are.
TRUMP: I don't want to get into it because to me, that's very personal.
MOOS: Then there was the testament test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you Old Testament guy or New Testament guy?
TRUMP: Probably equal.
MOOS: Sounds like when Sarah Palin was asked what newspaper she reads.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: All of them. Any of 'em.
MOOS: And if you don't know a song from a Proverb, best to avoid citing chapter and verse.
TRUMP: Two Corinthians, right? Two Corinthians 3:17, that's the whole ball game. MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson is next.