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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

WSJ: Major Players Trump's Inner Circle Interviewed by SDNY; Mnuchin: Treasury Will Miss Deadline for Trump's Tax Returns; Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is Interviewed About Democrat's Demand for Six Years of Trump's Tax Returns; ; Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Is Interviewed About Bill Barr's Basis On President Trump Is Spied On. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired April 10, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: Yes. And we know President Trump call the Prime Minister Netanyahu today to congratulate him on his win. Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, thanks very much. And thanks to our viewers for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OUTFRONT next, a conspiracy theory. The President's Attorney General sounding more like President Trump saying he believes the Trump campaign was spied on. Where's the evidence? Plus, President Trump's inner circle sitting down with federal prosecutors talking hush money payments. Should President Trump be concerned? And breaking news, the deadline for Trump to turn over his taxes is tonight and the Treasury Department is just responding. Let's go out front.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a stunning claim from the Attorney General Bill Barr. He said he thinks the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): You're not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?

BARR: I don't. Well, I guess you could - I think that spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK, all of that pausing and um, well, and then the key words, "I think, I think, I think." Of course, the problem is think is not an appropriate standard for the highest ranking law enforcement official in the United States. Proof is the only acceptable term for such an incredible accusation to be leveled in public testimony to the American people. So when Barr was asked directly did he have proof, on what basis was he making this accusation of spying, here's what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: I'm now asking what the basis is or what the facts are that lead you to that thought. OK, I felt I am concerned about it and I was asked about whether there was any basis for it and I believe there is a basis for my concern, but I'm not going to discuss the basis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Felt and believe, neither of those words are synonymous with proof. Again, we're talking about an accusation of spying which he says he has some concerns about and basis for, but he backed up with absolutely no proof. And Barr is an incredibly accomplished lawyer. He knew exactly what he was saying, because what he was doing was repeating what we've all heard from his boss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a big think going on right now which is spying.

They spied on me. They spied on our campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Bill Barr knew that Donald Trump was watching today, not just the American people, but the President and the one person he seems to be speaking directly to is President Donald Trump. So is there a there there? Well, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner who, of course, has been investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election in the Trump campaign for nearly two years was asked today by CNN. "Have you ever heard anything like this accusation, spying on the Trump campaign from the intelligence community?" Here's the answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So you've never been told what he said today?

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Absolutely not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Absolutely not. So the Attorney General of the United States who knows that the entire genesis of the Mueller investigation itself is already being looked at by Barr's Inspector General. That's been being under investigation for over a year. He comes out today and says he think there was spying. If Barr has something to say about those results, he should put out the facts.

And by the way, before he levels accusations based on feelings, thoughts and beliefs, why not let the country read the Miller report? Kaitlan Collins is out front at the white house tonight. And Kaitlan, what Bill Barr had to say today must have been music to the President's ears. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This was a

major assertion by the top law enforcement official in the country. And, Erin, as you showed right there, it's echoing what President Trump has said for months, though maybe in less certain terms.

Now, this came as a surprise to people inside the West Wing. Several people I spoke with today were not expecting Bill Barr to make the statement that he did today, because even though the President has insisted four months that his campaign was spied on, people in the White House have been less hesitant to say as much. They instead let the President say it but they haven't gone that far.

Now, what Bill Barr said is already being cheered by the President's allies, including Mark Meadows, the Congressman from North Carolina. And you can expect more statements like that to come from President Trump once he sees these remarks, because he's been traveling all day in Texas while Bill Barr was testifying. But before the President even left the White House this morning for Texas, he was already talking about this and he was saying that the Mueller investigation was essentially illegally started and he said he believed it was an attempted coup on his campaign.

Erin, that was way before Bill Barr even made those remarks, so certainly when the President sees them, he is going to take full advantage of them.

[19:04:55] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. I want to go now to Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of the Judiciary Committee. Also, the former Attorney General for Connecticut. Senator, good to have you with me. So you and the Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are among the Democrats calling on the Attorney General to retract, to formally retract the statement that spying on the Trump campaign did occur.

You heard, he said he think, he believes, he says that he has basis for his concerns, do you think he's making up that he has basis for that concern or could he really have something?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): First of all, he acknowledged there is no evidence. That's his term, no evidence for the claim of spying. Second, his credibility will be absolutely shredded if he fails to retract this assertion. As Attorney General of the United States, he is supposed to represent the justice system and the people of the United States not serve as Donald Trump's consigliere a or his Roy Cohn as Donald Trump wanted an Attorney General to be and that's exactly what he's doing.

He's feeding that false narrative. He's creating an ad for Donald Trump's next campaign. You can bet you'll see that clip in the Donald Trump campaign and I think he has to withdraw this remark.

BURNETT: So why do you think he did it? I mean, I pointed out, look, this is a person who is respected by a lot of people, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle. A person with a long and very credible career. Do you really think he just went out there today and basically knew he was going to kind of trash that reputation? BLUMENTHAL: You know, Erin, it's really a mystery. Here's a man who

was highly regarded as an institutionalist, that was the term used about him during his confirmation proceeding. You could agree or disagree with him, but he was going to be a professional and this remark is about as unprofessional for any prosecutors as could possibly - this term is literally stunning for anyone who has done surveillance or intercepts or criminal investigations and I think it will forever taint his tenure.

BURNETT: All right, obviously, as I pointed out, the Inspector General has been looking at the genesis of the Mueller investigation itself for over a year, so there is an investigation which would include anything that happened as a predicate to the Mueller investigation. But Barr says he thinks that there needs to be, it seems, another investigation as to whether the spying on the Trump campaign happened and let me play a part of that exchange for you, Senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: I don't. Well, I guess you could - think that spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.

SHAHEEN: Well, let me --

BARR: But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated, and I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it's my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agency staying in their proper lane and I want to make sure that happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Does he have a point there?

BLUMENTHAL: Well, here's his point that's well taken, for any kind of surveillance there has to be a predicate. What that means in law enforcement terms is there has to be an alleged violation of law, raising probable cause for this intrusion into personal privacy. That's what FISA courts look at, what other courts look at before they issue a warrant for a wiretap, for example.

BURNETT: Yes.

BLUMENTHAL: Where he's off the rails is referring to as spying and saying he has unanswered questions that need to be answered before he can reach a conclusion without acknowledging that there is an investigation. His own inspector general is looking at precisely that question.

BURNETT: Right.

BLUMENTHAL: And by the way, you made the point earlier and it is perhaps one of the most important points here that one way to answer some of his questions would be to disclose the Mueller report, likely that report will answer most of these questions.

BURNETT: Right. Which, of course, as I said we need to have - now we know there were FISA warrants on Carter Page, FISA warrants on Paul Manafort before the campaign and after but not during the campaign. Those are what we know thus far. But Barr then commented, Senator, further on his concerns about whether there was - again, the word spying, of course, is deeply charged word and an inappropriate word it would seem.

But I want to play his reasoning for why he thinks it's important for the American people to know what he's saying. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: There are also kind of - there can be abuses that may not arise to the level of a crime, but that people might think is bad and want to put in rules or prophylaxis against it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The argument there seems to be the same argument that we - may seen from the Mueller report. There could be abuses that may not arise to the level of a crime, but people still have a right to know about them.

[19:10:01] BLUMENTHAL: And he is right that if there were abuses if there were violations of law, which his own Inspector General is likely to at least find out that is whether there were, then there should be action. But the point is the American people deserve to see the Mueller report, that's the reason I've offered legislation, bipartisan legislation that would compel disclosure and that's really the way to begin answering these questions.

Give the American people what they need and deserve. They paid for this investigation. They deserve to see it.

BURNETT: So he also talked about obstruction of justice today, his decision to say that the Mueller report - that he would not go ahead with anything on that front. So he said Mueller did not make any determination on the obstruction of justice as we know. Barr said it's a big question as to whether Mueller wanted the Attorney General to make decision on obstruction of justice or whether he wanted that to go to Congress. So the Mueller report did not exonerate, but then it goes out there.

Barr chose to make that decision himself and not send it to Congress. Here's how Barr answered questions about it today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Did he express any expectation and interest in leaving the obstruction decision to Congress?

BARR: Not that - he didn't say that to me. No.

LEAHY: So he said the obstruction decision should be up to you? BARR: He didn't say that either. But that's generally how the

Department of Justice works. Generally, Grand Juries are to investigate crimes and a prosecutor's role at the end of the day is binary, are there charges or no charges or is this a crime or not a crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Is he right that that's how it works and he did the right thing in making the decision because Mueller didn't?

BLUMENTHAL: No, that generally is not how it works. The prosecutor generally makes a recommendation. When I was U.S. Attorney, a Chief Federal Prosecutor in Connecticut, I don't think there was a single case where the prosecutor, the line attorney who is with the Grand Jury did not make some recommendation, so the facts here are extraordinary. What Bill Barr has done is taken a jump ball. For whatever reason Bob Mueller did not make a recommendation and he's tip that jump ball, toss it to the President.

He's performed the function again that the President wanted his consigliere, Roy Cohn to perform, which is his protector. And that's why the American people, again, need to see that Mueller report, not the Barr summary which has been very successful in shaping the headlines without providing the substance.

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

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with very harsh words for the Attorney General tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The chief law enforcement on our country is going off the rails.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: A former FBI Assistant Director who says Barr may have crossed the line today is out front next. Plus, breaking news, federal prosecutors about to sit down with one of Trump's favorite targets, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Yes, this is about to happen. Why? And breaking news, the Treasury Secretary just responding to Democrats' deadline to turn over the President's taxes by midnight. What is the message?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:13] BURNETT: Off the rails, Democrats fuming after Attorney General Bill Barr testified without providing evidence that spying did occur on President Trump's campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PELOSI: The chief law enforcement officer of our country is going off

the rails yesterday and today. He is the Attorney General of the United States of America, not the Attorney General of Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Out front now, Greg Brower, former FBI Assistant Director under Jim Comey, April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and Jack Weiss, former Federal Prosecutor.

Greg, this was a stunning comment, obviously, coming from the top law enforcement officer of the United States. You worked under Comey as the top efficient on the FBI. Did Barr cross the line?

GREG BROWER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR UNDER JIM COMEY: Well, at best, Erin, it was very confusing. At worst, it would appear that he may have crossed the line. The only correct answer in my view to that series of questions was to simply say that the DOJ Office of Inspector General is looking at all these, so I'm not going to comment any further.

But what's more puzzling to me and not that this would necessarily be appropriate for the Attorney General to discuss in this hearing, but he is uniquely positioned to know all of the facts underlying this investigation. On his first day in office, he could have someone Rod Rosenstein and others who know all of the facts to his office and said, "OK, guys, the Bureau and the Department are getting killed with this stuff. I need to know what happened." And he could have been briefed up completely. It's puzzling to me that he purports to not know what the facts are.

BURNETT: So this is the question, right Jack? He would know the facts. He is the top law enforcement official of the United States. He is now presiding over what has been a one year investigation by the Inspector General into the genesis of the Mueller report, which of course would include all of this.

JACK WEISS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, and instead today he sounds like he's using Devin Nunes' talking points. And if you're Attorney General and you sound Devin Nunes, you're doing it wrong. Now remember, this is someone who over the past several weeks has been so precise in his language. The purposely vague book report, the purposely vague letters about the book report.

Even yesterday in the House saying, "I'm not making news today and saying nothing." So when he used the word spying today, he meant it. The question is exactly what game was he playing, but it's not a slip. It's not an accident. It's nothing we should give him a pass on.

[19:19:43] BURNETT: And April he used the word spying. Look, the word spying is a heavily charged word. It is also - it's a legal word, OK? When someone is an informant or an agent or a spy or under investigation, these are very specific terms. Spy is not a specific term. Spy is a term that evokes certain things that seem to play to the audience of one. APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS:

Right. There are a couple of things here, Erin, and that audience one is always watching, especially in their executive time. But Erin, the word spying in this moment was a strategically placed moment for shock and awe. William Barr knew exactly what he was doing.

He indirectly went after Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, former President of the United States without calling their names. And why? I've talked to sources about this, Barr would never say that on the Hill, but that's what he was saying indirectly according to the sources. And if you put the pieces of the puzzle together, why allegedly was this President being spied upon?

Well, if we go back when he was a candidate, he charged and dared Russia to go into Hillary Clinton's emails, to hack her emails. He publicly said this. So that along with some other issues raise concerns with the intelligence community and therefore if Barr wants to call it spying, he can call it spying, but there was a probe. That is the reason for this probe into then candidate Donald Trump who's now President in his relationship with Russia.

BURNETT: Now, the issue also came up today as to what the Trump campaign really knew about the issue of foreign interference in the election and this is important, because we have reported that the Trump campaign was told explicitly, in August of 2016, the now President of the United States was personally told by U.S. senior intelligence officials that there was interference and that this was an issue.

And yet today, Barr claimed the Trump campaign was never told of any possible interference. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: They had two former US attorneys in Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani involved in the campaign, and I don't understand why the campaign was not advised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So Greg, Trump tweeted in May of last year, "Why didn't the crooked highest officials of the FBI or 'Justice' contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?" So what Barr said today echoes with President Trump said in May of last year. Again, the President was personally warned. You hear Bill Barr saying the campaign was not advised. Is somebody lying or is there ambiguity?

BROWER: Erin, let me try to explain this. In my experience and I think it's been reported that after the conventions, the major party conventions, the presidential and vice presidential nominees and their senior staff are given defensive briefings, so they know what to look for in terms of the usual efforts by foreign powers and others to infiltrate and try to get intel from the campaigns, so that clearly happened.

But secondly and what was missing, I think, from today's discussion is that let's say hypothetically that there is concern on the part of the FBI based upon intelligence that a certain campaign is perhaps coordinating with a foreign power. And let's say hypothetically that even the candidate might be implicated in that conduct. The last thing the Bureau is going to do is to brief that candidate in that campaign its ongoing investigation into that potential activity.

BURNETT: So you're explaining --

BROWER: That's the disconnect.

BURNETT: You're explaining why it would be that they would warn but perhaps not explicitly on every detail and that little distinction there is what Barr maybe grasping onto today.

BROWER: That and the other distinction or disconnect is there's a difference between the ordinary briefing of a campaign and a candidate for defensive purposes. And the idea that the subject of an ongoing counter-intelligence investigation that goes beyond defensive would be clued into the status of that investigation. That's simply would not happen. And so hypothetically, I'm saying if that was the case, that would explain why the Trump campaign was not or a campaign in that position would not be fully briefed.

BURNETT: Yes. And I want people to note, obviously, I noted you worked under President Obama and with Jim Comey. You also were a Republican lawmaker, so you're coming at this from both sides not just in terms of your expertise but also politically.

Jack, what do you make of that then though that the Attorney General today chose to raise that issue and I want to make it clear, he's a guy with a really amazing resume. He's a guy who knows the Department of Justice. He knows everything that Greg just said and yet he chose to say what he said today.

WEISS: Yes, it's a key debating point but the real question is why didn't Don Jr. and Jared Kushner tell Trump that they were meeting with Russians? Why didn't Paul Manafort tell Trump that he was dealing with Konstantin Kilimnik? Why didn't Roger Stone tell Trump? I'm just responding to Trump's own tweet or is it the case that they might have and is it the case that we might learn from the report that Bill Barr and perhaps Trump himself have read. Perhaps we will learn from that report what those folks told Trump about their contacts with the Russians.

[19:25:19] BURNETT: So April what happens in the meantime, Nancy Pelosi says Bill Barr is going off the rails. You heard Senator Blumenthal said that he has to recant or else, what's the or else? What do they do?

RYAN: The bottom line is that there's going to be a lot of talk on the Hill. But in essence Bob Barr - I mean, William Barr, excuse me, will have to come up with something. He's not going to recant because what's going to happen is he is trying to raise the bar, raise the level going forward, and trying to change the rules of how probes are conducted into presidents and these candidates and that's what he's ultimately trying to do. So ultimately in time while the conversations and figuring out what

can be done against William Barr, William Barr is going to have to start shutting up or put up with this because it's all about trying to change what has happened with the U.S. President as it relates to Donald J. Trump.

BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much. And next breaking news, he's one of President Trump's favorite targets, Jeff Bezos. And now he is about to speak to federal prosecutors, that same prosecutors who are looking into the hush money payments related to Trump. Plus, Trump says he can't release his taxes because he's under audit. Is that true? Here's the Commissioner of the IRS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES RETTIG, COMMISSIONER OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: I think I've answered that question. No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:29:56] BURNETT: New tonight, major players in President Trump's inner circle interviewed by New York prosecutors as part of the probe into hush money payments made the women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

[19:30:06] "The Wall Street Journal" reporting that investigators questioned former White House communication director Hope Hicks and Trump's long-time body guard Keith Schiller, two people who were always by Trump's side, and we already knew the SDNY, of course, has talked to Michael Cohen, "The National Enquirer" publisher David Pecker, and Trump Org chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, all of whom were intimately involved with these payments.

Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT.

So, Shimon, now we know Hicks and Schiller have been interviewed. What does that tell you about how broad this now is?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: It's much broader probably than we anticipated or thought it was. The fact that they're going deeper into the folks who were the closest to the president during the campaign certainly and into the White House, when you think about Hope Hicks, she was very close to him. She helped craft many of the statements, many of the public responses, so you can see why prosecutors would want to talk to her.

On the Schiller side, it's very interesting. It's really the first time that we're hearing that federal investigators were talking to him. There has been a lot of questions around him. His thing is he also was very close to the president. A lot of phone calls sometimes, you wanted to get in touch with the president or with Donald Trump during the campaign, you'd have to no through Schiller. So, you can see why perhaps prosecutors wanted to see who is Schiller in contact with? They were working this case to try to figure out, OK, what did the president know? What did Donald Trump know about these hush money payments?

BURNETT: All right. Shimon, stay with me because you also have some more news.

I want to go now to add into the conversation here, Harry Sandick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, your former title, and former very vice president for corporate relations firm American Media, obviously parent of the "National Enquirer", Stu Zakim.

So, let me just say, Harry, as Shimon points out, Keith Schiller, 20 years with Donald Trump, OK? And, by the way, in the Stormy Daniels case, Keith Schiller is the guy who actually brokers the meeting in the room. I mean, Keith Schiller is not only is involved during the campaign and would know possibly about any payments, he knew what happened at the time in terms of the facts of what happened and with whom. Hicks, of course, was a much newer entrant but knew the president by watching the campaign, Shimon says.

So, how significant is it that these two people are now a part of this?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: It's very significant. What it shows now the curtain is being pulled back a bit on the Southern District investigation is that it was never just, this is what Michael Cohen said. And that was the A to Z of the investigation. They talked to other people, very close to Trump as we know from the reporting and we've learned from other places, they've obtained e-mail, search warrants, even before it was a public investigation, they knew a tremendous amount about what was going on.

So, the picture that was a painted in the story and by Shimon is of a very mature investigation that mostly seems to be at an end.

BURNETT: So, Stu, let me ask you, right? America Media is "National Enquirer", David Pecker is CEO of American Media. So, he and Trump go way back. He would often, as you said, buy stories, hide them, put them in the back of the room, they'd never see the light of the day.

Hope Hicks calls David Pecker about a story at "Wall Street Journal" story on the Karen McDougal, the playmate that the president allegedly had an affair with. Why would Hope Hicks make that call?

STU ZAKIM, FORMER SVP OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, AMERICAN MEDIA INC.: Well, as a corporate communications person, your job is to protect your client. Her client is Trump. So, if you know an outlet has a negative interview about you, you want to use your influence to try and smooth that over, put spin on it, which I'm sure what her goal was in making that call to Pecker.

BURNETT: Right. But she would have known, I would presume, or would she have not known? Trump would have said call Pecker or she didn't know?

ZAKIM: I'm sure that's not an independent decision of hers. I'm sure she was told to call Pecker and try to figure it out and make it work.

BURNETT: So, Shimon, let's get to the other breaking news on this, the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. This story is incredible. He is now expected to meet with Southern District of New York prosecutors, same Southern District investigating the hush money payments, Bezos, of course, is the one that says Saudi Arabia was behind the Enquirer story that outed his affair after "The Washington Post". Which he owns, was so critical of Saudi Arabia.

PROKUPECZ: Right. So this tells us they are taking this very seriously. This investigation is, sort of, we can argue now, is escalating. They're meeting with the alleged victim in this entire situation, what they want to know, obviously, is whether or not they can prove these allegations from Jeff Bezos and his team that the Saudis hacked his devices, somehow got into his phones, got into his devices and were able to maybe leak some of this information.

The other thing they are very interested in is this extortion, potential extortion scheme by AMI and whether or not there is any criminal charges that they can bring against the Southern District, whether or not they can bring criminal charges against AMI. And obviously the Saudis, too.

[19:35:00] The FBI is very interested in all of this material as well.

Why all this is also important, obviously, the role that AMI played in the hush money payments, right? They already have an agreement, a non-prosecution agreement from the Southern District of New York because of their role in this entire scheme. Well, now, that could get ripped up. And essentially, they could face charges for that and now this as well.

And that's something that prosecutors want to question him about what he knows, his communications with AMI, and obviously, they want his device, they want to go through his phones, his computers to see exactly if the Saudis got in. Look, Bezos people say we have the evidence. We have the proof.

BURNETT: Right.

PROKUPECZ: What they have and the FBI wants and what proof they need to make a case perhaps could be two different things. We'll see. It's definitely very significant.

If the richest man now in the world now meeting with prosecutors in New York who have been investigating --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: And it's incredible. It's incredible.

PROKUPECZ: The Trump campaign, have been investigating these hush money payments, have been investigating other issues surrounding Trump, this is significant.

BURNETT: This comes in the context of the yelling about "The Washington Post," yelling about fake news, gleefully celebrating the end of Jeff Bezos' marriage, Saudi Arabia, in support of Saudi Arabia, which has provided a lot of money to "The National Enquirer". I know it's complicated, but all roads lead to Trump.

And do you have now the richest map of the world, a foreign power and Donald Trump and prosecutors involved in investigating things related to Trump all in one sentence.

SANDICK: And the prosecutors can really go wherever this leads. They're go him to start, not surprisingly talking to the victim, as Shimon said, looking at his devices, trying to figure out forensically if they can see the trail, who hacked into these devices and from where? If it leads to Saudi Arabia, they can go there. They can charge people anywhere around the world.

Now, whether they'll come here and face charges on another story, that will allow them to tell the story of what happened here. Who you this very wealthy and powerful man was sort of brought down in this very public way.

BURNETT: Well, of course, and who knows what they will find. If they go there, you have the questions raised, about the president of the United States, choosing to take Saudi Arabia's side over that of his own intelligence actions, as "The Washington Post" was doing all that very, very incredible reporting on Jamal Khashoggi's death.

Stu, we have a report tonight from "The Washington Post", which reports "The National Enquirer" is expected to be sold imminently. What do you -- what do you make with that?

ZAKIM: Well, as I've said for a long time, David Pecker is a very smart businessman, more importantly, he's a survivor. I predicted he was going to land on his feet. This is his out to land on his feet. The hedge fund company who owns them, clearly threw their arms up in the air and say --

BURNETT: Apparently, according to "The Washington Post", really disgusted by the Bezos reporting. What do you think of that?

ZAKIM: Well, you know, on the one hand, they should have known who they were going into business with. I mean, it's not an open secret how the "Enquirer" does business. So, David is a master salesman and, obviously, he did a sales job not knowing what they were buying into, because this isn't the first time the things hit the fan. This is a bigger level. But there has been many other topics where the "Enquirer" has been under the gun before. So, you have to -- yes.

BURNETT: Perhaps Jeff Bezos will buy it.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNETT: Thank you all.

And next, President Trump saying no way will he turn over his taxes to the House Ways and Means Committee before tonight's deadline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm under audit. I won't do it. If I'm not under audit, I wouldn't do it. I have no problem with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: A member of the House Ways and Means Committee responds.

Plus, President Trump is standing by his Federal Reserve pick Herman Cain, despite huge opposition from Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Herman is a wonderful man. He has been a supporter of mine for a long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:42:26] BURNETT: Breaking news, the treasury secretary moments ago responding to the Democrats' demand for six years of Trump's tax returns. The deadline for those returns is tonight.

Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he won't meet the deadline and is getting the Justice Department involved. He says quote in a letter: The committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose and the constitutional rights of American citizens.

This as the president stands firm, saying today he is not giving up his tax returns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have no obligation to do that while I'm under audit. And no lawyer would tell to you release your tax returns while you're under audit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But even the IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig says the president could release them if he wanted to. This whole audit thing -- not so much.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. SANFORD BISHOP (D-GA): If anybody's tax return is under audit, is there a rule that would prohibit that taxpayer from releasing it?

CHARLES RETTIG, IRS COMMISSIONER: I think in answer to that question, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: OK. It was a definitive answer.

OUTFRONT, Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Good to have you with me, sir.

So, Secretary Mnuchin -- let's start with him. He says this sets a dangerous precedent, right? He is making a point that probably could resonate with some people that Congress shouldn't be able willy-nilly pick a name out of the pot and say I want your taxes because I want them? Is he right, this sets a dangerous precedent?

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): No, he's not right. And you have to wonder how many lawyers, how much time does Secretary Mnuchin need in order to understand that the word shall means shall? I mean, he's got the Treasury Department lawyers. He's got the Internal Revenue Service lawyers.

He's now got the Department of Justice and the attorney general. He's got the White House lawyers and Trump's personal lawyers, but, of course, President Trump thinks that all these taxpayer funded public lawyers are his personal lawyers, his Michael Cohen of the moment. And all these lawyers are just in the way. What we have here is a fancy repackaging of what Secretary Mnuchin provided as real double talk when I questioned him in committee last month.

He's using the same steal arguments that the Republicans used to cover up my motions for two years. We now have some oversight. The law is clear, they should move forward, promptly.

BURNETT: OK.

DOGGETT: Also, Secretary Mnuchin is ignoring the delegation of authority that exists to the IRS commissioner. It is only that commissioner whose comments you just played who should be making this decision.

[19:45:04] Not obstruction from anyone else.

BURNETT: All right. Yes. The Treasury Secretary obviously says he's going to be in charge here and consult with the Justice Department.

Let me play something that president Trump said just a few days ago on this front. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) plan to tell the commissioner of the IRS not to disclose to the House Ways and Means Committee your tax returns?

TRUMP: They'll speak to my lawyers. They'll speak to the attorney general.

REPORTER: Will you direct the IRS to do that?

TRUMP: They'll speak to my lawyers and they'll speak to the attorney general.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, that's what the treasury secretary is doing, Congressman, he is now doing exactly what he wanted, right? Speaking to the Department of Justice and speaking to attorney general?

DOGGETT: Yes, it seems to be, it will be another form of obstruction. The president, the White House lawyers, his attorney general, all obstructing the IRS commissioner from fulfilling what is really a statutory ministerial administrative duty to hand over what the law requires him to do.

BURNETT: Secretary Mnuchin is, you know, I want to be explicit here. He says he is supervising the response to your committee's request. It sounds like you are saying that's not acceptable. But it should be the IRS Commissioner Rettig presumably, right? So when Secretary Mnuchin specifically says he is overseeing it, what is that?

DOGGETT: Yes, well, Secretary Mnuchin is ignoring what former Secretary Larry Summers has pointed out, that there is a longstanding delegation of authority from the treasury secretary to not be involved in these individual tax matters and give that responsibility to the RIS commissioner. That can be changed only by giving 30 days' notice to Congress, which they have not done.

So I think Secretary Mnuchin is trying to control what happens from the IRS commissioner, just as President Trump from your comments is trying to use every lawyer at his disposal to say that shall does not mean shall and to put himself above the law.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Congressman Doggett. I appreciate your time.

DOGGETT: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, why is President Trump defending Herman Cain, even as member over member of the GOP is up in arms about Cain's nomination to the Federal Reserve board?

Plus, Jeanne Moos on President Trump's advice for George Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:51:05] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump standing by Herman Cain, his pick for a seat on the Fed, despite growing concerns among Senate Republicans over the controversial choice. Mitt Romney saying: I don't think Herman Cain will be on the board of the Federal Reserve. Pat Roberts, whether he's qualified to be on the Fed, I just don't know. Cory Gardner, flat out no, when asked if he would support Cain.

Can Cain make it? Athena Jones is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: I like Herman Cain, and Herman will make that determination. ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President

Trump fielding reporters' questions about his Federal Reserve pick, Herman Cain, while professing to know nothing about how Cain's confirmation battle is unfolding.

TRUMP: As to how he's doing in the process, that I don't know. You go through a process, but Herman is a great guy and I hope he does well.

JONES: This, despite a growing concern on Capitol Hill from Trump's own party about Cain's history and fitness for the job.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell playing it cool during a press briefing.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We're going to look at whoever the president sends up. It's his choice to decide and once he makes a nomination, we'll take a look at it.

JONES: But sources say behind the scenes, he's advising senators to make their concerns known to the White House before Trump formally submits Cain's nomination, to avoid a public fight.

Why the concern? For one thing, lawmakers worry Cain's closeness to the president, who has called Cain a friend and a very terrific man, could weaken the independence of the Fed, the most powerful central bank in the world. Trump has repeatedly blasted Fed policy. Cain founded the pro-Trump political action group America Fighting Back.

HERMAN CAIN, 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bottom line, folks, 999 means jobs, jobs, jobs.

JONES: The former pizza executive whose catchy tax plan won him fame during his 2012 presidential run holds unusual sometimes controversial views. He has said the U.S. should return to the gold standard, and advised against raising the debt ceiling, even though not doing so could be catastrophic for the economy.

CAIN: I don't believe the debt ceiling should be raised. I don't believe the debt ceiling has to be raised. Secondly --

REPORTER: Wouldn't we go into default? Wouldn't there be consequences?

CAIN: No, those are scare tactics.

JONES: He floated conspiracy theories online like this tweet accusing President Obama's Labor Department of fabricating unemployment numbers, and sexual assault allegations from four women derailed Cain's presidential aspirations.

SHARON BAILEK, ACCUSED CAIN OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: And he put his hand on my leg, under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it towards his crotch.

JONES: Cain denies the allegations and defended himself on Facebook over the weekend.

CAIN: So be it. Let them go back and dig up eight-year-old stuff. I will be able to explain it this time where they wouldn't let me explain it the last time, they were too busy believing the accusers.

JONES: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stopped short of vouching for Cain but told CNBC --

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I don't know Cain very well but I have every reason to believe the president supports him and feels strongly, so yes, I would think he should be confirmed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said earlier this week that Cain's nomination is still being vetted and has not been yet sent to the Senate.

Some GOP senators like Colorado's Cory Gardner have already indicated they won't support Cain, should he be formally nominated. And since the party can't rely on any Democratic votes, they can only afford to lose a few Republicans -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Athena.

And next, President Trump reportedly criticizing George Washington for bad branding. He says the first president should have been more like him. Jeanne reports.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:53] BURNETT: Trump reflecting on George Washington, and the things that matter most, according to a new report. Here's Jeanne.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leave it to President Trump to give George Washington advice. It was about a year ago the president and his then buddy, the president of France, went on a tour of Washington's estate. "Politico" described it as Trump's truly bizarre visit to Mt. Vernon.

"Politico" reports President Trump remarked that if Washington was smart, he would have put his name on it, meaning Mt. Vernon. You've got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.

BURNETT: I love to put my name on things, I have to tell you.

MOOS: The CEO of Mt. Vernon who was leading the tour noted that Washington did succeed in getting the nation's capitol named after him. Good point, Trump said, with a laugh.

The group that owns Mt. Vernon didn't deny the reported comments, but said they do not properly convey the tone.

Cue Trump critics, yes, if only Washington had put his name on Mt. Vernon, then maybe people would have remembered him. Yeah, maybe we wouldn't need reminders like the $1 bill or the George Washington Bridge.

Is there anything Donald Trump won't stake a claim to?

TRUMP: Trump steaks are the world's greatest steaks. I have Trump International. Trump magazine. Trump airline.

MOOS: Not to mention things other people name after him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trumpy bear.

MOOS: Trump's produced Trump vodka, Trump wine, even Donald Trump Jr.

TRUMP: There's going to be a real wall. It's going to be a Trump wall.

MOOS: And this could have been the George Washington colonnade.

"Politico" reports President Trump did approve of the bed in which Washington died. Trump felt the bedpost and pronounced it a good bed to die in.

The good thing about not plastering your name on things is you won't feel the pain of people taking it off, like at these Trump place apartments.

Isn't this great?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me think of the song "I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair --

MOOS: And what's more, there's no rush to wash out the guy in the wig.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.