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Trump: "I know Nothing About WikiLeaks, It's Not My Thing"; Comey: GOP "Bears Some Responsibility" for Trump's "Lies". Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired April 11, 2019 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "OUTFRONT": OUTFRONT next, feeding the conspiracy theory. President Trump taking his attorney general's controversial words and running wild. Is Barr covering for Trump or not? The Mueller report, 9of course, coming any day.

Plus, growing opposition to President Trump's pick for the Federal Reserve, Nancy Pelosi calling him one of the worst picks Trump could possibly make. So what does Steve Moore have to say? I'll ask him. He's on the show. And is a former Governor of Massachusetts going to officially take on Trump and the GOP primary Bill Weld is my guest. Let's go out front.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, fueling the fire. Attorney General Bill Barr giving President Trump what he needs to push Trump's on founded claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think what he said was absolutely true. There was absolutely spying into my campaign. I'll go a step further with my opinion, it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying and something that should never be allowed to happen on our country again. And I think his answer was actually a very accurate one.


BURNETT: Trump seizing on one word Barr said again, and again and again, spying.


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


BURNETT: Spying, of course, is a loaded word. A loaded word that Barr used purposefully without, as he said, any proof.


BARR: I have no specific evidence that I would cite say right now. I do have questions about it.


BURNETT: Spying, a word that top Republican Senator Marco Rubio who is on the Intelligence Committee, made it clear he thinks does not apply.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Espionage to me is an international thing. What we're talking about here is a law enforcement function.


BURNETT: But the damage may be done as Barr prepares to make what could be the most important decision of his career, exactly how much and what to release of the Mueller report. There are legitimate questions as to whether he's acting on the American people's behalf or President Trump's, because he's now refusing to answer a very simple question. Listen to this.


SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): Do you believe that the investigation that Director Mueller undertook was a witch-hunt or illegal as has been asserted by the President?

BARR: As I said during my confirmation, it really depends on where you're sitting.

REED: Well, you're sitting as the Attorney General of the United States with a constitutional responsibility, so if you could answer in that regard?

BARR: I'm not going to characterize it. It is what it is.


BURNETT: It is what it is? He doesn't want to characterize it. Look, part of the reason this is a really strange response is because Barr had no problem answering the question very directly in his confirmation hearing.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Do you believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch-hunt against anybody?

BARR: I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch-hunt.


BURNETT: OK, so that was very simple, but now he won't say that. Barr's about-face on this is feeding Trump's witch-hunt mania and it shows just how much Barr is all-in with Trump now. Trump's handpicked FBI Director Christopher Wray has been very clear too, no problem saying what he thinks about witch-hunt.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR OF THE FBI: I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch-hunt.


BURNETT: And leading Republicans have no problem saying what they think either, Lindsey Graham, quote, I don't believe this is a witch- hunt. John Thune, the Senator saying, quote, it's not a witch-hunt. Senator Thom Tillis saying, "I'm not sure that I agree with witch- hunt." Abby Phillip is out front live outside the White House. And Abby, Trump clearly happy with where his Attorney General's head is on the cusp of the release of the Mueller report.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, this might be the first time in over two years that the President has actually been happy with the person who has the job of Attorney General in his administration. The President clearly thinks that Bill Barr is on his side when it comes to this, all being an illegal, unprecedented spying campaign into his 2016 campaign. And he's doing that without really needing much explanation from Barr.

Barr didn't go into much detail about what he even meant by that. But the President is reading into it, what he wants to. And part of that is an interesting turnaround for President Trump. President Trump didn't have much of a relationship with Barr going into this post. He learned later on after he was picked to be Attorney General that Barr had a personal relationship with Robert Mueller, so there was some suspicion there. And now it seems that any concerns that the President might have had about whether Bill Barr might be loyal to him and this job have been elated, at least in his mind.

The question is what does Bill Barr really mean by all of this, does he actually buy into this whole idea that the Russia investigation is a witch-hunt? Either way, President Trump seems very comfortable leaving these decisions up to his Attorney General and it's worth noting that I also asked President Trump about the Mueller report and the fact that bar said that he wasn't going to redact that report to protect the President's reputation.

Now, we know that the President's lawyers believe that they might want to weigh-in on what was in the report to perhaps try to protect any sort of executive privileges that might be necessary there. But the President told me that he had no concerns at all. He's saying this publicly and leaving this up to Barr in public and I think that's notable, because in the past, he has not been willing to do that when it comes to this Mueller investigation. He clearly seems to be comfortable with where his Attorney General is on all of these issues, Erin.

[19:05:35] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Abby. I appreciate it. And I want to go now to the Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch of the House Judiciary Committee. And Congressman, I appreciate your time. REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): My pleasure.

BURNETT: Is it possible that - because I'm pointing out he's changed where he was on witch-hunt. He's throwing out the word spying and, obviously, we know his long and respected career. He's not doing it without understanding the significance of it. So is it possible that Barr has changed his mind on the issue of witch-hunt and is using the word spying? Because he's come to those conclusions on his own based on something he saw in the Mueller report.

DEUTCH: Well, if that were the case, he would have answered that way. He didn't. I mean, Erin, what's clear here is that the Attorney General like so many other figures from the Trump administration came up to Capitol Hill, where he testified to an audience of one and that's the President.

When he couldn't rule out the term witch-hunt about an investigation that if nothing else confirm that people close to the President in his personal life, in his campaign and in this administration are now either in jail or on their way to jail. If he can't rule out witch- hunt and then turns around and talks about spying, which then leads the President to start throwing around words like a coup and treason, he did it for the President. He made the President happy.

But we can't ever get to the point where we accept some of the administration triggering the president and having the president attack our institutions again, and again and again when he uses words like coup and treason about the men and women who are pursuing justice in our country that's damaging to our entire nation.

BURNETT: And you have a point whatever Barr's intent was. There's no doubt but it triggered Exactly the President said that it did, so that's fair. You've accused Barr of hiding the full Mueller report, but yesterday he did say, Congressman, that he's going to explain his redactions and maybe that's why it's taking so much time. He's going to explain them. He's going to go point by point, he says, and footnotes and say why things were redacted. And if Congress feels like they need more information, he wants to provide - he wants to talk to you guys. Here's how we put it.


BARR: We plan to identify very specifically which redactions relate to which category and try to explain why that redaction was made. The fact that information is classified doesn't mean the Congress can't see it. I'm willing to work with the Judiciary Committee's to see if there's a workaround that could address any concerns or needs that they have.


BURNETT: Do not take him at his word when he makes those promises about redactions and working with you.

DEUTCH: Well, we don't we don't need workarounds. We need the facts. He can't use rules of secrecy to avoid providing Congress, a co-equal branch of government, with all of the facts. We're now weeks after Mueller completed his work. Mueller knows what's in the report. The Attorney General knows what's in the report and Congress knows about a four-page summary with about a hundred words from the report.

It's not a question of whether he works with us. He should turn over everything the entire report. All of the evidence that goes with it, Congress can handle it. Congress needs the information and ultimately the American people need and deserve the truth. That's what's at stake here.

BURNETT: Congressman, Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein just did an interview with The Wall Street Journal and he said something I wanted to give you a chance to respond to, because he obviously sees this very differently. He was asked about Barr and he says, quote, he's being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he's trying to mislead people, I think it's just completely bizarre. Does that surprise you to hear that from Rod Rosenstein?

DEUTCH: Well, what's bizarre is the idea that the Attorney General of the United States can't acknowledge the importance of this, can't rule out the term witch-hunt, has chosen to refer to spying by the men and women of the Justice Department and has told us he's going to turn over a Mueller report with multicolor redactions rather than giving us the full report which is what we deserve.

We know how to handle classified information. We do it literally every day. He knows that. Rod Rosenstein knows that. They can't use these rules to prevent facts from coming out, because when they do it starts to look like a cover up.

[19:10:19] BURNETT: So the President today was asked about Democrats and the Russian investigation's issue of a witch-hunt. I wanted to play for you what he said to give you a chance to respond to this. Here he is.


TRUMP: You know when the Democrats go behind the scenes, and they go into a room backstage, and they sit and they talk, they laugh, because they know it's all a big scam, a big hoax. And it's called politics, but this is dirty politics, so this is actually treason.


BURNETT: So you know it's all a big scam, you know it's treason and you laugh behind closed doors. What do you say?

DEUTCH: I say that we cannot accept as normal, a President of the United States who throws around terms like treason. The fact is at a time when the American people are desperate for Congress and the White House to work together to give economic opportunity to everyone, to provide health care, and lower prescription drug prices, invest in infrastructure, all of the things that people want us to do.

When the President throws around terms like treason and try to take down the President, it shows that he's not committed to working on behalf of the American people. He's focused only on himself every single day and that prevents us in this case from getting the facts in the Mueller report out to the American people and more importantly, frankly, it prevents us from doing the things that the country is rightly demanding that we do, but there's a President whose only focused every day on himself.

BURNETT: Right. Thank you very much, Congressman Deutch. I appreciate your time. And next, when it comes to investigations, Attorney General Bill Barr and President Trump sound alike even decades apart.


BARR: Whether individuals are being singled out and treated unfairly.

TRUMP: We have been treated very, very unfairly.


Plus, the President's Federal Reserve nominee Stephen Moore facing fierce backlash. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi getting personal, calling him one of the worst picks the president could have made and unqualified. Steve Moore will respond out front. And President Trump now claiming he knows nothing about WikiLeaks after Julian Assange is arrested. So how does he explain this.


TRUMP: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks. This WikiLeaks is fascinating.



[19:16:09] BURNETT: New tonight, former FBI Director James Comey rejecting Attorney General Bill Barr's comments that Barr believes spying took place against the Trump campaign.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I really don't know what he's talking about when he talks about spying on the campaign. It's concerning because the FBI, the Department of Justice conduct court- ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as spying. And the reason I mention what he means by that is if the Attorney General has come to the belief that that should be called spying, wow.


BURNETT: Out front now, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's of Criminal Division, Bob Litt. He's also the former General Counsel of the Director of National Intelligence during the Obama administration. White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, and Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo News, Michael Isikoff who's covered Barr for a very long time.

Bob Litt, let me start with you. Do you share the former FBI Director's sentiment, sort of how Comey ended there, wow, if Barr thinks that legal court-ordered surveillance is spying.

BOB LITT, EX-GENERAL COUNSEL FOR NATIONAL INTEL DIRECTOR UNDER OBAMA: Well, I think there are a number of problems with Barr's language. One of them is as former Director Comey said spying connotes that the FBI was secretly trying to find out what was going on in the Trump campaign. And there's no suggestion that that was the case.

It's also the problematic that he used language that fits right into a sort of partisan political agenda, which we saw the President seizing on this evening. And it's problematic also because he's basically throwing his own FBI and people in the Department of Justice under the bus by suggesting that they behaved improperly.

BURNETT: I mean, Michael, Comey today went on to say Bill Barr after - he made it very clear that he'd be shocked by what he said, but he said that of Barr, quote, his career has earned him a presumption that he will be one of the rare Trump cabinet members who will stand up for truth and facts. Comey continued then to say, quote, language like this makes it harder.

You have covered Barr for a long time, do you think Barr's language, this spying, this lack of refusing to call something that has resulted in nearly 200 criminal counts a witch-hunt, that he won't say it's not a witch-hunt. Does that make it harder to believe Barr is going to stand up for the truth?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Well, look, I was surprised actually more by his refusal to answer the witch-hunt question than the spying. I mean the spying thing, look, that was a loaded term. But if you know Bill Barr, he prides himself on being blunt on being something of a provocateur when he talks and so you know it didn't shock me that he would use that word.

He did make it clear that the issue was not spying per se which is a word you can use for the - he was talking about surveillance under a FISA warrant, the most intrusive thing the U.S. government can do, suck up all of your emails, eavesdrop on your phone calls without you knowing about it. But he made it clear the issue is was there an adequate predicate for it and I think that's something that the Office of Inspector General has been investigating for some time in the matter of the Carter Page FISA warrant and I think that we should wait and see what the Inspector General finds on this.

I will not be shocked if the Inspector General doesn't come back and criticize some aspects of what the FBI has done here, if only because almost every inspector general report I've ever read contains criticism of the way the Justice Department conducts its business.

[19:20:02] BURNETT: April, one thing though on one hand you could say, look, this is the top law enforcement official in the country, and this person should be standing up for the American people and this person should not be throwing the word spying around when it triggers, as the Congressman I think accurately just said, the President to go off on a rant about a coup and all of these things and feeds into his narrative.

However, the top law enforcement official in the land in the case of Bill Barr is backing his President which sounds a lot like Eric Holder. Here's what he said in 2013 when Eric Holder was asked when he might leave the Obama administration. Here's how he answered.


ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm still the President's wing-man, so I'm there with my boy.


BURNETT: April, how is that difference? Clear, Holder saw the job of Attorney General as do the bidding of the president. How would Barr be any different?

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: So let me say this, I covered Eric Holder and Barack Obama. What's different here is that they were friends, but the divider was the fact that they understood the separation between the White House and the Justice Department. That's the big divider.

President Barack Obama did not reach his hand in and say, "Look, this is what you need to do. You need to have an investigation on this and that." He allowed Eric Holder to do what Eric Holder had to do. When Eric Holder came into the administration, you could say they were of like minds and that was it. But here, you have Barr playing to the party of one, the President of the United States.

When he was going for his confirmation hearings, he sounded like he was about, we, the people. He was doing this for the people.


RYAN: But listening to these loaded words or this word spying, you talk about a trigger and loading, oh, my gosh, he's aiming and ready to fire for the President.

BURNETT: No question --

RYAN: So there is a big separation. I mean, yes, Barack Obama and Eric Holder were friends, still are friends, OK, to this day. But there was a definite separation between President Barack Obama reaching into the Justice Department understanding he could not influence and he should not influence anything that the Justice Department did.

BURNETT: OK. So Bob, we found an interview, obviously, Bill Barr now echoing more of the witch-hunt talk, using spying which, of course, he know is a loaded term. It's a trigger word for the President. But we actually look back, Larry King - Bill Barr went on Larry King in 1992. Everyone has been on Larry King treasure trove. So Barr explains to Larry why he opposed an independent counsel at the time and what he said then, just listen to Bill Barr and now listen to Donald Trump attacking the Mueller probe. It's pretty interesting.


BARR: There's no one to determine whether or not time is being wasted.

TRUMP: I think we've wasted enough time on this witch-hunt.

BARR: Whether individuals are being singled out and treated unfairly.

TRUMP: We have been treated very, very unfairly.

BARR: Whether exorbitant amount of money is being spent on a particular investigation that doesn't warrant it.

TRUMP: They've wasted millions and millions of dollars. They should have never been in a so-called investigation.


BURNETT: They sure sounds alike, Bob.

LITT: Well, there certainly are a lot of parallels there. I'd like to know a little bit more of the context. I assume that Attorney General Barr back in 1992 was talking about the independent counsel statute and there were a lot of people who thought that that was a bad idea for some of the reasons. I don't think he was talking about any particular investigation which of course is what the President is doing in this case.

Again, I would hope that the Attorney General would consider it part of his job and an important part of his job to be looking out for the institutional interests of the Department of Justice against the kind of politicization that April was talking about before.

BURNETT: And Michael, just to make this point on the word spying, when you say Barr wants to be a provocateur. Barr knows that that's Trump's word, doesn't he? He knew exactly what he was doing when he started throwing that word around yesterday.

ISIKOFF: Sure and let's remember, he's got a constituency on Capitol Hill that believes this as well. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his authorizing committee, Lindsey Graham has endorsed, it reflected the same sentiments and said he believes that there are serious grounds to investigate the way the FBI conducted the origins of the of the Russia investigation.

So I think Barr may have been playing to his authorizing chairman as much as to the President. But look all of this is going to wash out next week when we actually see the report or we'll see how much of the report we'll see. And I think that people are going to reach their conclusions on this after we read the actual contents of Mueller's report instead of getting distracted by descriptions such as this.

[19:24:56] BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. And next, he's one of President Trump's most ardent defenders. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MOORE, TRUMP'S FEDERAL RESERVE PICK: His policies have been phenomenal.


BURNETT: But can Trump's Fed pick, Stephen Moore, put politics aside? He's out front. Plus, WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, arrested. If he's extradited to the United States, what could he tell officials about WikiLeaks' ties to Russia?


[19:28:43] BURNETT: Tonight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasting President Trump's picks for the Federal Reserve. Pelosi calling Stephen Moore and Herman Cain, quote, the worst, ill-suited appointments that the President could come up with. Going on to call them, quote, unqualified. Well, without further ado, one of those men, the President's pick for the Federal Reserve, Stephen Moore.

So Nancy Pelosi says you are the worst, you are ill-suited and you are unqualified. And what do you say to the Speaker?

MOORE: Well, look, I have 35 years experience in the policy game. I was the youngest budget analyst in Washington at the age of 25. I served as Donald Trump's economic adviser. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished. A lot of people said it would be impossible to make this agenda work. By the way, we just got an incredible blockbuster number today on the economy with the lowest unemployment insurance claims in 50 years.

So I'm very proud of the fact that these policies have worked so well for America. I think my qualification stand up pretty well. I've been on this show many times with you.

BURNETT: Indeed.

[19:29:44] MOORE: I was one of the people who said that the Fed made a mistake in December in raising rates and I remember it was very controversial when I said that and I was proven right. The Fed has to admit a couple weeks later that they had made a mistake and reversed course. I was the one who helped put this plan together.

So I think my qualification - people can look at my qualifications.

[19:30:00] I was chief economics writer for "The Wall Street Journal," chief economist for the most important think tank in the world, the Heritage Foundation. I think those are good qualifications.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: So, the Fed is an independent body. You brought up the economic numbers from today. You openly support President Trump. You're a contributor, I mean now, but you were until this announcement. You came on and argued for things for Trump, whether it was economics or other issues. MOORE: I would stop you there. There were many times, you can go

back and look at the tape. There are many times on your show and others on CNN because I was a contributor here where I took issue with Trump on issues of trade and issues of the budget.

So, look, I do support a lot of this president's policies. I think they have been phenomenally successful for the economy. I'm not going to apologize for that, I think I was right and critics were wrong. But there are many instances where you can see I differed with Donald Trump.

BURNETT: You use the word phenomenal. You wrote a book called "Trumponomics".


BURNETT: And the president, there's a couple of tweets he put out. He put out, tweeting about you that you completed an incredible book, referring to "Trumpnomics", and saying it's been "The Year of the Worker" by Steve Moore. So he promoted your book. When you say phenomenal to talk about some of his policies, it is a word you used a lot.

MOORE: I think they have been phenomenal.

BURNETT: You stand by it. Let me just show the tape.


MOORE: I'm not sure we could have a presidential candidate that would deliver these kinds of results with this phenomenal economy.

His policies have been phenomenal. I mean, we got the best economy now in 20 years.

One of the things I discovered in the last two-and-a-half years I worked with Donald Trump on economic policy is he has an amazing capacity to prove all of the economists wrong.


BURNETT: Will it be independent, when he says you're a fool and yelling in your face as we can do.

MOORE: Look, I do believe in the importance of an independent Fed. I think it should be divorced from politics. I have a good economic record. By the way, many people on the Fed, including previous chairman, Ben Bernanke, worked as chief economist for George W. Bush and it became the chairman of the Fed.

So, it's not unusual for the president to take someone that agrees with his economic views, that was the case when Barack Obama chose Janet Yellen. I'm not sure why it is inappropriate. And it happens to be true. I was the one said if Donald Trump was elected, we could get 3 percent growth and full employment. Wages are rising. By the way, when I get to the Fed, Erin, I'm going to be dogged in

terms of promoting growth. I want to be the growth. I want high wages for workers, stable prices. I disagree with the idea that higher wages are a problem. We want higher wages for workers.

BURNETT: So the top banks testifying on Capitol Hill this week were asked specifically about your previous statements supporting return of the gold standard. And I wanted to play --

MOORE: Wait, wait, I don't think I said much about the gold, I'm not in favor of gold standard. I'm in favor of using commodities as forward looking indicator where prices are.

BURNETT: I want to play something. Do we have Steve? Here you are.


MOORE: I think we have to reestablish some kind of gold standard.

We need to go back to a gold standard. We really do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your opinion on the gold standard and would you advocate that to Mr. Trump to make America great, you have to make the money great again?

MOORE: Yes. This is about monetary policy. Let me just say this. Yeah, I like the idea of going to gold standard and restoring.


MOORE: So let me respond to that. I think that a gold standard would be better than we have now, but I think there's a much better system we could put in place, not just gold, all commodities. They're a forward looking indicator where prices are going. That's one of the reasons when, you know, last summer --

BURNETT: So you changed your mind.

MOORE: I think a gold standard would probably be overly restrictive, but what I am in favor is looking at a basket of commodities, you know, 30 commodities.

BURNETT: So you're in favor of a --

MOORE: I am. I'm in favor of a rule over discretionary policy. I do not agree with --

BURNETT: And not a free floating dollar.

MOORE: No, what I am in favor of is a stable dollar is the very reason we have a currency. You want the dollar in your pocketbook --

BURNETT: But linking commodities is a big step. A big change from what you said before.

(CROSSTALK) MOORE: It is. By the way, I have made a case that if we have used some kind of a commodity index, wouldn't have such a severe financial meltdown in 2008 and 2009.

BURNETT: So, when oil prices surge to 150 bucks a barrel and everything else surges --

[19:35:01] MOORE: Look, the reason that -- one of the reasons prices were surging in terms of these commodities was because the Fed was pumping too much money into the economy, and that's what created, it contributed in a major way to the financial bubble that burst and cost huge amounts of money to the American people.

BURNETT: OK, right now, looks like Herman Cain is out. He was also named --

MOORE: That's news to me.

BURNETT: Count the number of Republicans.


MOORE: I read that story. I think Herman Cain is a great choice. Here's a --

BURNETT: Nine percent corporate tax, 9 percent personal tax. You like that. You're happy to be in the same sentence as Herman Cain.

MOORE: Can you imagine how much growth with the economy if you get tax rates to 9 percent?

BURNETT: So, you're a 999 guy?

MOORE: I don't know if that's the exact way to do it, but I love the idea of a flat tax, where you go to have the lowest tax rates in the world and we would soak in capital from the rest of the world. It would be huge for the economy.

Now, I don't know about the exact particulars of the 999 plan, but I love flattening rates and broadening the base. I have been for that for 25 years, just as Steve Forbes has, and I think the American people love the idea of a flat tax.

BURNETT: When I said 9, it's pretty simple. It's 9 percent, 9 percent, 9 percent -- 9 is OK.

MOORE: I think -- you know, you could do worse than that. It's better than 30 and 40 percent tax rates.

BURNETT: All right. Steve Moore, thank you very much. Good to see you.

And next, at one time, President Trump couldn't get enough of WikiLeaks, now that its founder was arrested, times have changed.


WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.


BURNETT: Plus, former Republican governor, a popular one, said this is the month he would decide whether or not to challenge President Trump. Bill Weld is OUTFRONT.


[19:40:25] BURNETT: New tonight, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange behind bars and President Trump is keeping WikiLeaks at arms' length.


TRUMP: I know nothing about WikiLeaks, it is not my thing. I know nothing really about them. It's not my deal in life.


BURNETT: Well, unfortunately for him that is not true. According to "Politico", Trump talked about WikiLeaks more than 140 times during the 2016 election, like this.


TRUMP: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.

This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable. It tells you the inner heart. You got to read it.

It's been amazing what's coming out on WikiLeaks.

This WikiLeaks is fascinating.

This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove.


BURNETT: He knows more than anybody about anything except for when he wants to say he knows nothing about something he appears to know a lot about.

Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Julian Assange is detained after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy by British police. The now long bearded WikiLeaks founder who has been hold up in the embassy for nearly seven years faces extradition to the U.S. on one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The single charge has been sealed for more than a year, but it

revolves around WikiLeaks publishing nearly a million documents in 2010, including classified material about America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and secret State Department cables. Assange's attorneys insist he always acted as a journalist and is protected under the First Amendment.

JENNIFER ROBINSON, JULIAN ASSANGE'S LAWYER: This precedent remains that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.

SCHNEIDER: But federal prosecutors say Assange broke the law when he conspired with then U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning who is now in jail to crack a government password and steal classified documents. U.S. officials have said the leaks created a serious national security risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julian Assange has put American lives at risk.

SCHNEIDER: So far, Assange is not charged for WikiLeaks' role in the Russian hack of thousands of Democratic and Clinton campaign emails that were posted on WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: We have more material related to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

SCHNEIDER: But a U.S. official tells CNN more charges against Assange are expected.

TRUMP: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.

SCHNEIDER: The president praised WikiLeaks as it dropped the stolen emails during the campaign, but backed away when he was asked about Assange's indictment today.

TRUMP: I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It's not my thing.

SCHNEIDER: Then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo called out WikiLeaks as a hostile actor in 2017.

MIKE POMPEO, THEN-CIA DIRECTOR: Non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.

SCHNEIDER: Assange's charges aren't part of the special counsel's now wrapped investigation, but Mueller's team mentioned WikiLeaks in several other indictments. Roger Stone, a former adviser to Trump, was indicted in January for lying about seeking out the stolen emails from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

And last July, the special counsel mentioned WikiLeaks as organization one in an indictment alleging Russian intelligence officers hacked DNC computers, starting in March, 2016. Prosecutors said WikiLeaks wrote to Guccifer 2.0, a person run by Russian intelligence, asking for anything Hillary related.


SCHNEIDER: And it was a stunning court appearance in the U.K. today with the judge there calling out Julian Assange as a narcissist, who can't get beyond his own selfish interests, and, Erin, the judge found Assange guilty for violating terms of bail. Now, Julian Assange is in custody in the U.K. while he awaits extradition hearing May 2nd when he will find out if he will be sent here to the U.S. to face the first of what could be many charges -- Erin.

BURNETT: Pretty stunning with a sitting president that WikiLeaks helped, but the president says he didn't know but they were linked to Russia.

Thank you very much, Jessica.

This is an incredible story that is happening now. I want to go to Steve Hall, retired CIA chief of Russia operations on national security analyst for us as well.

Steve, you know, Mike Pompeo, secretary of state who obviously stands by the president on almost everything has made it clear that WikiLeaks is a hostile intelligence service abetted by Russia. That obviously is the way things are, and now you have the tangled web and Julian Assange could be coming to the United States after all these years when Donald Trump is president of the United States.

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, Erin, there's good stuff here. Good stuff is looks like Julian Assange after holding up in the embassy in the U.K. will have to try to address his real issues and will have to face justice in the United States, which is as it should be, certainly in my mind based on the WikiLeaks cooperation and even perhaps working at the behest of the Russians.

[19:45:18] So, that's going to be a big deal as well as other things, the Chelsea Manning stuff and there's just a lot of -- a lot of stuff now he has to answer for which he has been avoiding, very successfully, for the past couple years by hiding in the embassy.

BURNETT: So, today, you know, the president said, I don't know about WikiLeaks, I don't know anything about it, obviously over the years, I love WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks, going on and on and on and how fantastic it is and the treasure trove that it is. And today it is I know nothing.

What do you make of that?

HALL: You know, Erin, I really don't bother to listen much to the president any more because you know as soon as he says X, the next day it is X or Y or something different, so, it's almost irrelevant. To me, the really interesting thing is when the legal proceedings are done in the U.K. and he is extradited, what then begins to come out during the course of legal proceedings here in the United States will be interesting.

Equally interesting in my view is how really the United States, not only the press but our society and our system of government are going to deal with the atrocity when somebody like Assange tries to cloak himself in the concept of journalism and open society kinds of stuff. We need to be smart how we deal with that, not allow him to do that.

BURNETT: That's exactly what he is going to try to do, as you point out. Thank you very much, Steve. I appreciate it.

And next, President Trump's approval rating among Republicans, near 90 percent. Is the party looking for someone to take on Trump? One former governor who's flirting with that very idea is OUTFRONT.

Plus, Sanjay on the search to relieve stress.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The owl is really cute and therefore, it's supposed to relieve your stress. All I see is a bird of prey.



BURNETT: Tonight, former FBI Director James Comey blaming Republicans for enabling President Trump.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: There are so many lies coming at us now, there is a danger that the touchstone will just wash away, and we will stop measuring our leader and leaders against the truth, and should it be plural, because the Republican Party bears some responsibility here.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, one Republican who is standing up to President Trump, Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, who set up an exploratory to challenge Trump in the Republican primary.

[19:50:02] Governor, look, you've run a libertarian ticket before. You have moderate stances on some issues -- you know, abortion, marijuana among them. President Trump is obviously very popular among Republicans. But you heard James Comey saying the Republican Party bears responsibility for the situation we're in part because of not being willing to speak out.

Is that why you're doing this? Because you feel some sort of a moral obligation, an obligation to take him on?

BILL WELD (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: No, I'm doing it because I think I could start Monday as president of the United States. And I've thought that for 10 or 15 years.

However, I would agree with what James Comey just said, and I think one of the major issues in this campaign is going to be the rule of law and the erosion of the laws and covenants that have undergirded the world economy and the United States system of justice in the past. They're really being thrown to the dogs. And that was made plain even today by the statements involving spying by the attorney general.

BURNETT: And I want to play that for you again. I want to make it clear, your background obviously as governor, you also worked in the Department of Justice under Ronald Reagan. You know Bill Barr. You know Bob Mueller.

What did you make of what Bill Barr said yesterday? And let me play again just the operative line here on what he said that there was spying and his basis for making that claim. Here is Bill Barr.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. I think there is a spying did occur. I believe there is a basis for my concern, but I'm not going to discuss the basis.


BURNETT: He went on the say he has no evidence he is able to discuss at this time. What do you make of that, Governor?

WELD: So let me tell you what the law is. Since the time of the adoption of the Constitution all down to the present, this country has spent mega dollars and spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make sure that politics would not rule the Department of Justice. I resigned from the Department of Justice in 1988 when I saw that divide being breached, and we separate by law the investigative function and the prosecution function.

An investigative agency like the FBI or the CIA, if they want to start an investigation, they do it internally. They don't have to come to the prosecutors. They don't have to come to the Justice Department appointed officials and say may we open an investigation?

So when they open an investigation of something they see going on in a political campaign that they think may transgress the law, nobody can say that's spying. That's opening an investigation.

BURNETT: Which is surveillance, and as they would have done. By the way, he made it clear he has no evidence that anybody did it illegally. He also said that directly. But we're talking about, let's say there is evidence that Russia is trying to infiltrate the campaign, and therefore we are going to surveil to see if that's true. And if that's what happened, that would be completely within the law, correct?

WELD: Yes. Let's suppose I'm investigating La Cosa Nostra organized crime in New England, as I did when I was U.S. attorney in Boston. And I'm working with the FBI, and the FBI says, let's open an investigation because we have predication here and we have evidence from this, that and the other. And it wouldn't have occurred to me say, what? You're going to spy on organized crime? How can you spy on organized crime? It's not an opposite word. BURNETT: So the word as you point out, it's a political word.

WELD: It's a charged word.

BURNETT: You've said you'd make your announcement, your decision about running in April. Obviously here we are, basically the middle of April. Are you running?

WELD: Well, I'm going to make -- I'm going to make that call within the next ten days to two weeks, Erin. And I hope you'll be among the first to know.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Governor, I appreciate your time. We look forward to talking to you much more. Appreciate it.

WELD: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Sanjay Gupta, traveling the globe for the secrets to living longer. What did he find?


[19:57:16] BURNETT: CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta is on a new mission: traveling across the world to find the secrets to living longer.

Here is a preview of his new CNN series, "Chasing Life."


GUPTA: We know that there's remarkable things happening all over the world that can help us live longer, better, happier, more productive lives.

It felt like the needle went almost to the bone.

Thought I was in pretty good shape. This takes it to a whole different level.

Is this what helps you live long?

I could be arrested in the states for doing what I'm about to do.

Could I work here?


BURNETT: And Sanjay is with me now. This is going to be so amazing. You're traveling and you're seeing culture and you're getting at the big questions that all of us have, which is how to live longer, and talking about mortality.

So you go to Japan --


BURNETT: -- where we think of them as living incredibly long, and yet they have an epidemic of deadly stress.

GUPTA: It's unbelievable. It's one of the most stressed countries in the world, Japan, the mainland of Japan. But as you point out, there is this juxtaposition because off the coast you have Okinawa, this chain of islands which is beautiful. They call it the land of immortals. And people are likely to live over 100 years old.

Japan right now is dealing with something that I think is very concerning, though. Young people, they have this term called "karoshi", which means illness or death from overwork. It's become such a big thing that they actually medically reimburse and hospitalize people for this.

So, they're dealing with this. They're trying to figure out how to best curtail the stress.

BURNETT: So what do they do? Owl cafes? What is this owl business?

GUPTA: When you have a really stressed society, it evolves into all these various stress-relieving strategies. So, you have adult swaddling. They have crying sort of clinics. They have owl clinics.

I got to tell you, Erin. I --

BURNETT: You're not a bird fan.

GUPTA: I've always been fearful of birds. So they said that this is going to help relieve my stress. And it absolutely did not. That's a bird of prey, just to be clear, and that's all I could think about when I was doing that.

But this is what's happening over there to try. And hot baths. Forest bathing has become a real thing in Japan, people actually unplugging, getting into the forest, breathing in the aroma of the forests. When a society is as stressed as Japan is, they come up with these various strategies.

BURNETT: So, I think it's going to be fascinating to learn about all this. Where are some of the other countries you take us?

GUPTA: Bolivia. I was in the middle of the Amazon rainforest living with an indigenous tribe. I was in India, studying ayurvedic medicine. Italy, the healthiest country in the world. Norway, the happiest country in the world.

I mean, what a privilege, right, that we get to travel to these places and see this. But they all had some purpose, some reason that we visited them.

BURNETT: Well, what a privilege and what an exciting thing to see it. I know you talked about this ages ago, and have I been so excited.

GUPTA: Yes, you were very supportive. I appreciate that.

BURNETT: I'll be a big viewer. Thank you, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BURNETT: And "CHASING LIFE WITH DR. SANJAY GUPTA" premieres Saturday at 9:00, right here on CNN.

And Anderson starts now.