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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Officials: Trump Told Border Protection Chief He'd Be Pardoned If He Were To Break Immigration Law; New Mueller Report Details: Rosenstein Says It Will Clear Up Questions About Russian Interference In Election; Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) Is Interviewed About Rosenstein's Comment On Mueller's Report; Buttigieg Says He Has More Experience In Government Than Trump; Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) is Interviewed About Her Opposition Over Trump's Federal Reserve Picks; Federal Judge Slams Trump's "Great Assault On Our Judiciary". Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired April 12, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: It is a fascinating story. Thank you so much, Elaina Plott. Definitely worth checking out. We really appreciate it.

ELAINA PLOTT, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar and thank you so much for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OUTFRONT next, President Trump tells one of his top immigration officials he'll pardon him if he breaks the law. This is Trump threatens to dump migrants into sanctuary cities. What's going on? Plus breaking news, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein revealing new details about what's inside Mueller's report. What he's saying tonight? And a federal judge goes after President Trump, comparing his attacks on judges to the KKK. Let's go out front.

And Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, dangling a pardon. CNN learning that President Trump told the man who's about to become his Acting Secretary of Homeland Security to break the law, to stop asylum seekers from entering the United States and saying if he was sent to jail, according to senior administration officials, the President told Kevin McAleenan he would pardon him.

The conversation took place during the President's last trip to the border just a few days ago and alarmed homeland security officials, according to The New York Times. It comes at the same time as the President was delivering this blunt message to migrants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is full. Our area is full. The sector is full. I can't take you anymore, I'm sorry. It can happen, so turn around. That's the way it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And now a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security

is telling CNN that, well, no at no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal. Of course, never mind all of the reporting out there in the multiple sources, but there is what he had actually told the American people himself.

The reality of this is that the President's apparent disregard for the rule of law has been a theme. CNN is also learning that the President is ignoring legal advice by threatening to release migrants into sanctuary cities as a way to retaliate against his political enemies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We'll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it, whether it's a state or whatever it might be. They say we have open arms. They always say they have open arms. Let's see if they have open arms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And that last part could be the problem the President's team telling him that this does not pass legal muster. In fact, they tried to stop him from leveling this threat. Eight minutes before the President announced that he wanted to do this, to send illegal migrants to sanctuary cities and he made his formal announcement on Twitter. His own White House had released a statement saying he would not send migrants there. They wrote, "This is a non-story. The Administration's position is that we want to deport, not release, illegal aliens."

Of course, then they get undermined and completely contradicted by their boss. Abby Phillip is out front live outside the White House. And Abby, what is going on inside the White House because clearly they're not on the same page and the President is not listening to his advisors and top legal experts.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not at all, Erin. The President is once again making his own policy on this issue of immigration and the White House is just trying to keep up with the things that he's saying on a day to day basis. The problem here stems from the President just simply being deeply frustrated by what's going on at the border.

He's been President for two plus years. The situation is the worst that it's been since 2007, according to the numbers that we've seen about the flow of immigrants at the southern border and the President wants people at the border and in his administration to do a lot more. The problem is he's been asking them to do things that are either illegal blatantly or borderline illegal and these are just the latest examples of some of these policy proposals that the President and some of his top aides have been pushing that just simply have not passed legal muster.

We had reported even prior to learning about this latest issue or when it comes to the sanctuary cities that the President had been telling his aides that he wanted them to stop migrants from being able to come over and claim asylum. He doesn't want to wait for the laws to change. He's been asking them to simply go ahead and do this.

And then DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had to advise her staffers that they have to follow the law, that they simply can't just take the orders from the President. They can't violate the law and carrying out immigration laws. But it just reflects the frustration here within the White House and the fact that the President and some of his top aides are trying to change their staffing around immigration issues to resolve some of these problems.

For example, the General Counsel at DHS John Mitnick we know is a source of frustration to Stephen Miller. He wants him gone in part because Mitnick push back on this idea of sanctuary cities. So there is still a push and pull happening here in this White House about who is in charge of making policy and determining what is legal and what is not.

We still don't know who is going to win out eventually. Many of these officials are still in their positions, but White House aides are still urging for more hard line policies on immigration to satisfy the President, Erin.

[19:05:03] BURNETT: All right. Abby, thank you. And now, the Democratic Mayor Sam Liccardo from San Jose, which of course is a sanctuary city. April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and Greg Brower, former FBI Assistant Director and former Republican Nevada State Senator. Thanks to all.

Mayor Liccardo, let me start with you. So let's start with the headline here that the President is effectively telling the now acting head of the Department of Homeland Security to go ahead and break the law and not let people in. Your reaction?

MAYOR SAM LICCARDO (D-CA): Well, good evening, Erin. There's no amount of irony. That is enough to describe what's going on when you got a President urging people to enforce the law. At the same time, he's urging folks to violate law. In the city of San Jose, we welcome all immigrants and the threats of the President certainly don't amount to threats to us.

BURNETT: Greg, what do you say?

GREG BROWER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR UNDER JIM COMEY: Well, I'll tell you, Erin, as a former naval officer and as a former federal prosecutor, it is understood by all U.S. military personnel and civil servants that lawful orders are to be followed and that unlawful or orders are not to be followed. And I'd like to think that even the acting leadership at DHS and the lawyers of DHS know the difference between the two and will act accordingly.

BURNETT: April, the thing is the President obviously, we've talked about dangling pardons many times, right?

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes. BURNETT: But he has promised to take care of people in general from

wrong doing in the past several times. Here's one of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Yes, get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court. Don't worry about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So this time when he is saying stopping asylum seekers from entering the United States. "Don't worry, if you do it, I'll pardon you." Do you think he was being serious?

RYAN: Erin, let's start here. This is not about politics. This is about grown man's temper tantrum, number one. Because he's not getting his way when it comes to immigration. We have to really start there. This is not someone who understands governance. This is about his whims.

Unfortunately, this President is putting out pre pardons. The White House is going to call it a joke or trying to call it a joke. It's not a joke. When you're at this level, the President of the United States words matter. This is not a joke. Words matter. They have ripple effects.

But the President put that out there for him to know, "Look, do my bidding. Do my bidding." He did it in public. This is a sad day for this country. It's about the rule of law, not a temper tantrum when you don't get what you want.

BURNETT: All right. So it sounds like he's saying, "I'm bigger than the law," or, "I'm above the law. I'll do what I want and I'll take care of it for you," which obviously should trouble anyone. Mayor Liccardo though, you said we welcome all immigrants, talking about San Jose.

The president today did confirm that he's pushing this plan that would be retaliatory against cities like yours by releasing detained migrants into sanctuary cities like San Jose. So on this tweet which he sent, contradicting his own administration, he says, "Open borders, open arms, so this should make them very happy." Talking about sanctuary cities.

So is he right? I mean, are you happy? If he were to do this, forget the legality for a second, if he were to send all illegal migrants to sanctuary cities and you've got a whole lot more people than you're used to getting, would you be OK with it?

LICCARDO: Well, certainly we welcome anyone who comes to our city, who has gone through the incredible hardships, and taking the great risk to come to this country and to be a part of this country. That's what we believe in, in San Jose. But it seems to be it's no solution, even the President's own advisors admit it's not a solution. This is cynical silliness rather than a solution. And what we're all looking for is comprehensive immigration reform,

we're looking for real solutions like expedited asylum processing and we're not getting that from this President. We're not getting solutions. We're getting cynical silliness.

BURNETT: So Greg, let's talk about the legality of it now, because the reason that the President's own team, his own Chief Legal Counsel for DHS said that he couldn't do this was because in order to do something like send all illegal migrants to sanctuary cities that he would have to have a, quote, strong mission related rationale, and he couldn't do it for political retaliation, which, of course, in his tweet when saying, "Open borders, open arms, you should be very happy." It's pretty clear that that's what he's doing.

Could argue after a tweet like he said, after things like he said that this is not political retaliation?

[19:09:42] BROWER: It certainly looks political to everyone watching including, I would expect the lawyers around the President at the White House and so it would be tough to make that argument. As you indicated in your introduction, Erin, I have had the privilege of serving both as a law maker and an executive branch. And when you're a law maker, you get to make the laws. It's not easy. You can't do it unilaterally, but that's where the laws are made.

In the executive branch, whether you're a cabinet official, a lower level official, or the President, you simply have to follow the law. And so that's what the reality for the President should be here. He simply has to follow the law. If he wants the law changed, he can go Congress and try to make that happen. But until unless that happens, he simply has to follow the law.

BURNETT: So April, the President wants everyone to know when it comes to the law and the situation here that he and he alone is calling the shots on immigration. I want to play the exchange from just the other day on the White House lawn. I know you remember this, but Trump was asked about Stephen Miller, his senior advisor.

RYAN: Yes. Yes.

BURNETT: His rising influence on immigration and Miller is very powerful, but when the President was reminded of that, he didn't like it so much. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Stephen is an excellent guy. He's a wonderful person. People don't know him. He's been with me from the beginning. He's a brilliant man. And frankly, there's only one person that's running it. Do you know who that is? It's me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So we call that fattening up for the slaughter, April. "He's brilliant. He's amazing. He's wonderful."

RYAN: Yes, you're absolutely right.

BURNETT: "Oh, but by the way, buddy, I'm the guy running this place."

RYAN: Yes.

BURNETT: Do you think this is all the President's idea, the sanctuary cities' threat?

RYAN: Stephen Miller is the immigration guru at the White House, plain and simple, ending of story. You can close that book. We've seen the President's reaction when people get too much attention for issues like Steve Bannon, remember him? He's now out of the White House. So if I were Stephen Miller, I would tread lightly as I craft the immigration policies that this President is doing, it's breaking the rule of law in this nation. It's Stephen Miller. It is Stephen Miller. It is Stephen Miller.

BURNETT: And Mayor Liccardo, before we go, what would your message to the President be tonight?

LICCARDO: Well, we're an incredibly successful community in the city of San Jose because almost 40% of us were born in a foreign country and we have one of the highest per capita incomes, one of the lowest violent crime rates. Immigration makes us a great community and makes us a great country. So I'd urge the President to follow the law and stop using immigration as a political threat.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all three very much. And next, breaking news, Deputy Attorney General behind closed doors revealing new details about what's in the Mueller report. Plus Pete Buttigieg says his experience as mayor gives him an advantage in the 2020 race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Put simply: Downtown South Bend is back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So do resident of South Bend, Indiana agree? And opposition to Stephen Moore's nomination to the Fed getting very loud after he flip-flopped on a major issue on this show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:16:41] BURNETT: Breaking news, new details about what's inside the Mueller report. The details tonight coming from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein behind closed doors at a private lunch today. The release of the report is expected imminently. A justice department official confirming to our Laura Jarrett that Rosenstein told the group that the report will clear up questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Out front tonight, democratic congressman David Cicilline. He's on the House Judiciary Committee and I appreciate your time. So let me get to this, we're hearing that Rosenstein made this comment with a point. He wanted to emphasize the core of the Mueller investigation was Russian interference in the election and that was thoroughly investigated and charged as we know. You've had 30 some odd Russian entities and individuals charged.

It sounds like he's trying to make a point that one should expect that to be the bulk and the other part, the Trump-related part, to not be as bulky. Are you satisfied with that?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Well, we just don't know. I mean we know certainly that our intelligence community concluded with high confidence that the Russians engaged in a very sophisticated attack on our democracy led by Vladimir Putin for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton. So we know that. I expect the report will detail that significantly.

But it just underscores why we need to see the full contents of this report to understand what the trump associates did, what the Russians did, and how we prevent this from ever happening again. But with all due respect to Mr. Rosenstein, I think we all understand the importance of seeing the entire report in all of the contents before the judiciary committee.

And we really don't want to rely on summary for Mr. Rosenstein or Mr. Barr. We need to make those judgments ourselves by seeing the full report.

BURNETT: So do you have any guidance tonight, Congressman, as to when this report will be released? Obviously, Barr had said within the week. He said that last, what was it, Tuesday, so we're almost there.

CICILLINE: Yes. Yes. I mean, I think our expectation is it will be very soon, but I think this is very concerning. The whole sequence of events. This should have been released to the judiciary committee immediately in a fully unredacted form. We can make judgments working with the Special Counsel and Attorney General about what can be released to the public.

But this idea that he's taking all this time to kind of take out this stuff that he wants that he's going to deliver just portions of the report to Congress is completely unacceptable. We need to know what he's trying to keep secret and why and we're going to fight very hard to make sure the American people know all of the facts because no one is above the law and we're going to continue to do our oversight responsibilities to make that point.

BURNETT: OK. So you may have an unlikely set of allies in your Republican colleagues on part of what you just said, Congressman, John Kennedy, the Senator today told CNN that he's confident Barr will only redact what's necessary. And by the way, Barr has said he's going to put footnotes in explaining the reasons for his redactions, so we'll see whether they provide enough detail.

But that if he goes further and there's too many redactions, Kennedy will fight alongside you. here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I think Bill Barr is a straight-up guy.

But as I've said even if you don't agree with me, he's not a moron. He's not going to release a report in my opinion with every third word redacted. And if he does, I'll bring fresh help like a lot of my Democratic colleagues, but I don't think he'll do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:20:01] BURNETT: Do you trust Republicans? I mean, he's always saying every third word. Obviously, this is going to become subjective, but do you think enough of them are on your side here on seeing it all?

CICILLINE: Well, I'm glad to hear Senator Kennedy say that. We had a vote in the house, 420 members, Republicans and Democrats unanimously said the report should be released in its entirety. So they've said that in the House, but I think unfortunately we've seen Mr. Barr in his recent testimony make it very clear that he believes he works for the President and his role is to somehow protect this President rather than honor the oath he took to the constitution and to the American people.

So I'm very skeptical, but I'm delighted to hear that there are some Republicans that are saying the right things. This is about the right of the American people to know the truth, to know the facts, to see the full contents of this report, and I welcome the Republican support of our efforts.

BURNETT: Now, Bill Barr, of course, when he was in his confirmation hearing said that this was not a witch hunt. He declined to answer the question earlier this week in testimony. He has changed. He used the word spying instead of surveillance to refer to what he indicated - he has no indication is anything other than legal monitoring of the Trump campaign.

And yet Rod Rosenstein is defending Barr to The Wall Street Journal saying, "He's being as forthcoming as he can, and this notion that he's trying to mislead people, I think, is completely bizarre." What do you think?

CICILLINE: Yes, I disagree. Look, I mean, William Barr said during his confirmation hearings that he would be as transparent as possible, but what he's done is quite different. He gave a four-page summary in which he tried to shape this narrative and in it he said there was no obstruction of justice even though the Special Counsel said that is not true that he would not exonerate the President. It was the exact opposite.

So said the President was exonerated from obstruction of justice. Mr. Mueller said he is not. So he's begun to try to shape this narrative. He has resisted releasing the report in its entirety to the judiciary committee and he said in his testimony that he works for the President. And so I think unfortunately he - we shouldn't forget Mr. Barr also auditioned for this job. He wrote a 17-page memo in which he argued the President could not be guilty of obstruction of justice because he runs the justice department. The President of the United States says, "You're hired." And he

delivers on that. So I have lots of reasons to be concerned about Mr. Barr's conduct. And the statements he's made in the last couple of days about spying, it's the President's narrative. He used the very words the President used to promote this conspiracy, deep state theory. It's really, really disappointing.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman, Cicilline, thank you.

CICILLINE: Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: And next, Pete Buttigieg and Vice President Mike Pence escalating their feud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Pete quarrels with the First Amendment.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm not critical of his faith. I'm critical of bad policies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, Elizabeth Warren, calls Trump's Fed pick Stephen Moore unqualified and unsuited for the job in an eight-page scathing diatribe. Will Moore's nomination survive?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:26:51] BURNETT: Tonight, Pete Buttigieg planning to formally launch his presidential campaign. He's going to do it on Sunday in South Bend, Indiana where he has been Mayor since 2012. Buttigieg says it is his experience in South Bend that makes him more qualified for the White House than President Trump. Vanessa Yurkevich is out front in South Bend to take a look at Buttigieg's record.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT(voice- over): Downtown South Bend, a bustling main street with upscale restaurants and shops. But not long ago, it was desolate after the manufacturing industry fled the city.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUTTIGIEG: Put simply: Downtown South Bend is back.

All right. Whoa, look at that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): Now, as Buttigieg readies his official announcement for president, he's pointing to his leadership of this midsize city as the right kind of experience for the white house.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUTTIGIEG: We would be well-served if Washington started to look more like our best-run cities and towns rather than the other way around.

MARK MCDONNELL, OWNER, LASALLE GRILL: See you later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

MCDONNELL: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): Mark McDonald owns La Salle Grill downtown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCDONNELL: This is the heart of the city. The neighborhoods may be the soul of the city, but this is the heart. You got to have a pumping heart to have anything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): A conservative who voted for President Trump, McDonnell doesn't always see eye to eye with Buttigieg, but he still gives the Mayor credit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCDONNELL: I still feel he's a straight shooter. He's honest. He's whip-smart. Seems to be very organized and very business-oriented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): But his Downtown South Bend improved, people who lived in neighborhoods outside the city center started asking, "What about us?"

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REGINA WILLIAMS-PRESTON, SOUTH BEND CITY COUNCILWOMAN: We were easily dismissed, it seems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): Like City Council Member Regina Williams- Preston who ran for office after Buttigieg launched an initiative in 2013 to demolish 1,000 neglected homes in 1,000 days, aimed at revitalizing the city's neighborhoods.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: We understand traditional models of economic development, but if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten. And what we've always gotten and what cities all over the country have always gotten is displacement of poor people and people of color, gentrification. (END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): After pressure from the community, Buttigieg compromised, allowing for 40 percent of the homes to be refurbished instead. A metric he points to as a success story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUTTIGIEG: But the most heartening news out of this initiative is that 657 of these properties, almost half, have been repaired rather than torn down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: So what I said to him at that time is that, "We're going to challenge you. We're going to be putting this pressure on you And you need some battle scars."

YURKEVICH: Does he have those battle scars? Is he ready to lead in a new way?

PRESTON: I think we might have given him a few.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): In a neighborhood on the edge of town, resident Stacey Odom had her own run-in with the Mayor, literally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACEY ODOM, SOUTH BEND HOMEOWNER: He told me, "I'm on my way to a meeting." I said, "I understand." I said, "But I have a couple of quick questions for you."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH(voice-over): Her house was one of the thousand on the chopping block. She wanted off but hit roadblocks with the city.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[19:29:56] YURKEVICH: When you stopped the Mayor on the street and he gave you his card and said, "Give us a call. We'll help you." Did you really think that he would help you?

ODOM: Actually I did. I was a little skeptical, but I thought at least he would get back with me.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): And he did. And Odom was able to refurbish her home.

ODOM: That's what turned me. That's what said to me that this is a man that has the potential to be president.

(END VIDEOTAPE) YURKEVICH: We spoke to Buttigieg earlier this afternoon by phone, and he says he's explored and now it's time to make it official and announce a decision. I'm also told by a campaign aide that he will have no prepared remarks on Sunday. If he does bring any notes on stage, they will be written by Buttigieg himself.

And, Erin, as this campaign becomes official, I'm told they have no pollster, no strategist, and no speechwriter, and they tell me they're looking to keep it that way. Very lean and run just like a startup -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, thank you very much. Interesting details there.

All right. Now let's go to Keith Boykin, former Clinton White House aide, and Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush.

Scott, even the Republican Trump voter in Vanessa's piece likes Mayor Buttigieg.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I have said to some folks lately of all these Democrats running, the only one of them that I could even remotely see myself feeling possibly able to even consider voting for would be Pete Buttigieg. I don't align with his politics at all, but certainly somebody who's been an executive and somebody who has had to make real world pragmatic decisions, and somebody who has had to deal with real economic development is far preferable to some of these raving socialist lunatics like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Yes, I think Buttigieg comes off as a real guy and comes off as somebody who's more of a pragmatic than a socialist crusader. And that would probably attract more moderate voters than some of the rest of the Democrats could do.

BURNETT: So, Keith, Buttigieg is set to formally announce on Sunday. Is it a strength or a weakness in the Democratic primary when you have that Trump voter there in the piece and others like that and people like Scott saying what Scott just said? When you have people saying those things about you, that you're a moderate, you make sense in a field of raving socialists, is that a problem, Keith, for Buttigieg?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know how seriously to take Scott so I can't really tell you how to respond to that. But I think that any Democrat who wants to win the primary has to be competitive with the progressive wing of the party and that wing is not necessarily looking for somebody who's a moderate, they're looking for somebody who will advance the Democratic progressive agenda.

I will say this, though, when you compare the experience that Pete Buttigieg has against Donald Trump, Mayor Pete has seven years of chief executive governing experience. He's a former naval intelligence officer, he served in Afghanistan, he speaks seven languages. Meanwhile, Donald Trump had no government experience, never served in

the military, he dodged the draft in Vietnam and he barely speaks one language. If you compare the two, I think Donald Trump is far below where Pete Buttigieg is in terms of qualifications to be president of the United States.

BURNETT: So, Buttigieg's record in Indiana is in part tied to the former governor of his state, left anyone forget that was the now Vice President Mike Pence. Buttigieg does not want any ties to Mike Pence right now. He is taking him on over gay rights explicitly.

Here they both are today talking about each other.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope that Pete will offer more to the American people than attacks on my Christian faith or attacks on the president as he seeks the highest office in the land. I think Pete's quarrel is with the First Amendment.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: How so?

PENCE: All of us in this country have the right to our religious beliefs.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: Yes, I'm not critical of his faith, I'm critical of bad policies. I don't have a problem with religion. I'm religious too.

I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people, and especially in the LGBTQ community. So many people feel even today like they don't belong. You can get fired in so many parts of this country just for who you are, and that's got to change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, Keith, is Pence elevating Buttigieg by engaging him directly on this? Buttigieg to be clear is running third right now. He's not even formally running until Sunday but is running third in the polls. But when Mike Pence is taking him on directly, does that help him?

BOYKIN: Well, yes, he does help him. I know he's running third, I think, in Iowa and New Hampshire. I don't know if he's running third nationally. But, you know, when you have a person like Mike Pence who Republicans like and Democrats don't like and that person is a national figure and that person is attacking you, that only helps you as a candidate. And I think Pete Buttigieg has some good points to make.

You know, Pence campaigned by saying that he was a Christian first, a conservative second and Republican third.

[19:35:08] BURNETT: Yes.

BOYKIN: And, in fact, he hasn't governed that way. Pete Buttigieg has accurately called him the cheerleader for the porn star presidency.

It's not just about a question of First Amendment, it's also about his support for conversion therapy, his support for laws in Indiana that would allow discrimination against gay and lesbian customers by businesses. All those things are concerns to not only LGBTQ people but people that are Americans concerned about fairness.

BURNETT: So, Scott, Buttigieg says he doesn't want to fight with Pence, even though he is. Listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUTTIGIEG: I'm not interested in feuding with the vice president, but if he wanted to clear this up, he could come out today and say he's changed his mind. That it shouldn't be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are. That's all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He says he's not interested in feuding and this is not about politics, it's about people. He has a very genuine way in terms of how he presents himself. Do you believe him, Scott?

BOYKIN: I believe that he is definitely trying to elevate himself by engaging Vice President Pence. I think it absolutely helps him to look like he's in a fight with somebody who's going to be on the other ticket.

Look, I don't think Mike Pence or any other Republican, though, is going to take a lecturing on Christian values from somebody who is in a political party that is advocating for late term, full term and post term abortions in some cases. So, I think Buttigieg is being selective in how he chooses to posit his Christianity versus Mike Pence's.

They're obviously never going to see eye to eye on how to view their religious faith. I think this is mostly a political move by Buttigieg. I think he is a genuine person but there's no question, if he's fighting with Mike Pence, he's in the driver seat of the news cycle that day.

BURNETT: I have four words to say. Stormy Daniels and "Access Hollywood."

BURNETT: And that is correct --

BOYKIN: You can infer what that means.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: You know, morality sometimes but not others. Thank you both very much.

And next, opposition growing to Stephen Moore's nomination to the Fed after this exchange OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MOORE, ECONOMIST: I'm not in favor of gold standard.

BURNETT: So I want to play something then for you.

MOORE: I think we have to re-establish some kind of gold standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, in a very rare attack, a sitting federal judge slams President Trump from the bench.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:40:58] BURNETT: Tonight, Trump's Fed pick is under fire, 2020 presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren sending scathing letters to Stephen Moore and Herman Cain. In an eight-page to Moore, Warren writes in part, quote: You have a long history of making wildly inaccurate claims about economic policy that appear to serve political ends, suggesting that you are unqualified and unsuited for the job for which you are expected to be nominated.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Jennifer Wexton who sits on the House Financial Services Committee.

And, great to have you with me, Congressman.

Look, the senator's words are very harsh. But, you know, last night, Stephen Moore was on the show, he listed off some of his qualifications, right? Chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, budget analyst at the age of 25 in the White House, chief economics writer at "The Wall Street Journal."

Is all of that -- does that all add up to someone who can do this job?

REP. JENNIFER WEXTON (D-VA): My issue with Stephen Moore and a lot of other people's as well is he's just unqualified to lead the Fed. He doesn't seem to understand how monetary policy works.

BURNETT: So you -- when you talk about this, this was an exchange that you had when you were talking to the bank CEOs this week. They were all there on Capitol Hill. We can see you asking these questions.

You were asking them about the gold standard, which has become central to this, right? It's central to what rules the world. Is it gold or is it the U.S. dollar? They all disagreed with the position that the Fed should be scrapped in favor of the gold standard.

I asked Moore about the gold standard and his position on it last night. I want to play the full exchange for you, Congresswoman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BURNETT: So the top bank CEOs were testifying on Capitol Hill this week, as you know. They were asked specifically about your previous statements supporting overturn of the gold standard --

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

BURNETT: So, I want to play something for you. Do we have it? Here you are.

MOORE: I think we have to re-establish some kind of gold standard in America.

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? Because to make America great again, you've got to make the money great again.

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

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

BURNETT: So, when you said that, so you've changed your mind?

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BURNETT: Congresswoman, what's your reaction to that? He said he didn't say what he said and now he's saying he changed his mind.

WEXTON: Right. Are you going to believe him or are you going to believe your lying eyes? He said it three times. Who knows what he believes at this point?

But even if he now believes that it shouldn't just be gold and it should be a number of commodities, how are we going to choose these commodities? What is it going to be pegged to? Not to mention the fact that pegging the Fed and monetary rates to commodities going back to the gold standard or whatever takes away a lot of the tools that the Fed can use in the case of a recession, and that's something that is not helpful in today's economy.

BURNETT: So, if Herman Cain right now obviously was possibly -- the president said he wanted to nominate him and it doesn't look like he's going survive the Senate vote, so it doesn't look like he's going to get into the Fed. Does Cain's likely failure benefit Steve Moore? Do you think Steve Moore will succeed?

WEXTON: Well, it shouldn't -- it shouldn't matter the fact that Herman Cain was completely unqualified does not make Stephen Moore any more qualified than he would be otherwise. I still believe he's supremely unqualified and I hope that the Banking committee in the Senate agrees.

BURNETT: So what happens from here in terms of where this goes?

WEXTON: Well, the question is whether the -- whether he will be officially nominated.

[19:45:03] You know, besides the gold standard, he's -- he wanted the Fed to hike interest rates at the beginning of the Great Recession. You know, he has some issues, I guess, with unpaid taxes and a lien on his own. I'm not sure he's really the best candidate.

So whether the nomination becomes finalized still remains to be seen. But ultimately, he would have to be vetted and confirmed through the Senate Banking Committee.

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

WEXTON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a federal judge takes on President Trump and his attack on judges.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When politicians attack the courts, it's dangerous, political and guilty of egregious overreach. You can hear the Klan's lawyers, assailing officers of the court across the South.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, Jeanne reading between the blacked-outlines in Mueller's report. She has it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight a rare and scathing rebuke of President Trump from a sitting federal judge.

Here's Judge Carlton Wayne Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, talking about the president's attacks on judges.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE CARLTON WAYNE REEVES, U.S. DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI: When politicians attack courts, it's dangerous, political, and guilty of egregious overreach.

[19:50:07] You can hear the Klan's lawyers assailing officers of the court across the South. When the powerful accuse the courts of opening up our country to potential terrorists, you can hear the southern manifesto's authors smearing the judiciary for simply upholding the rights of black folk.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: It's powerful stuff and it's exceedingly rare to hear that sort of commentary.

OUTFRONT now, Joey Jackson, criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst.

I mean, this is -- you know, you're likening -- he is likening what President Trump has done and said to the KKK, how rare is it to hear something like this from a sitting judge?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Erin, it's very rare but at the same time, I think there's a pent-up frustration. That frustration is based upon what we're not hearing in terms of rebuking the president for his rhetoric and his dialogue. As you and I discussed moments ago before we came to air, we heard Chief Roberts, the chief judge of the court, when Trump went after the Ninth Circuit thinking it's too liberal, thinking their rulings were, you know, you name the adjectives, Trump said, you heard Roberts said, no, you don't have Obama judges, you don't have Bush judges, you have judges that protect the integrity of the court system. That needed to be said.

I think this judge, again being frustrated, you know, Trump has taken over the party. He's not being rebuked by members of his own party. Federal judges serve for life. And while there are certain regulations and ethical conduct they have to abide by, they don't lose their First Amendment right to state their piece. If the president is going to state his First Amendment piece, certainly a sitting judge can.

BURNETT: So, here's a question I have. This judge happens to be a President Obama appointee.

JACKSON: Yes.

BURNETT: When he does something like this, does he feed into the very narrative that the president says exists, which is this partisan.

JACKSON: You know, I think he feeds into a narrative that you need pushback. Mind you, this too. He's only the second black -- only the second black federal judge in Mississippi. What year are we in, right?

So, the fact is, I don't think he feeds into the narrative. I think he feeds into a narrative that enough is enough. We need a federal judiciary that is composed of, you know, that looks like the populous. Why is it that you have appointees that are 90 percent white. And, you know, the law is the law, Erin, but at the end of the day, it's the interpretation of that law that matters. It means everything.

When I'm in a courtroom arguing my case, the degree to which it's going to be received depends upon the philosophy of the court, the person sitting there. So you need a diversity of judges. I think he did the right thing.

BURNETT: He pointed out that 90 percent of the judges appointed by Trump have been white. He also mentioned Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Of course, he's the Indiana-born judge that Trump said could not be impartial because he was Mexican. Let me just play what the judge said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REEVES: I know what I heard when federal judge was called very biased and unfair because he is a Mexican heritage, when that judge's ethnicity was said to prevent his issuing fair rulings, questioning the judicial temperament of a man solely because of the color of his skin. I heard those words and I didn't know if I was in 1967 or 2017.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That's pretty incredible stuff. That is saying the president, what he said, was white supremacy.

JACKSON: Look, it's very compelling. And the fact is that you need pushback. You need people to be reminded that you need a diverse judiciary. You need people to be reminded that the way we're going assailing immigrants, assailing African-Americans, burning down churches, it's a sad state of affairs. If somebody in Trump's own party is not going to say it, perhaps a federal judge should. And that's what he did.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Joey Jackson.

JACKSON: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Jeanne Moos blacking out over Mueller's report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:58:07] BURNETT: Tonight, the Mueller report almost here. Blacked out and color coded. And here's Jeanne.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prepare to be teased, frustrated, annoyed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what drives the public crazy.

MOOS: If you prefer the Mueller report left to the imagination, you'll love --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The redacted version.

MOOS: Or maybe you're one of those people --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't want the reductions.

MOOS: -- to get your hopes set on --

BASH: The unredacted report.

MOOS: -- because Attorney General Bill Barr -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's still busy redacting.

MOOS: Barr's cleaners, redactions while you wait, penned one cartoonist.

Another predictive readers might cherry pick their conclusions from blocks of black bars.

The satirical Borowitz Report headlined: Redaction of Mueller report halted as Barr passes out from sharpie fumes. But forget redaction black, the way it's usually done. Are you ready for a little redaction distraction? It's getting a makeover.

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We will color code the excisions from the report.

MOOS: Twitter, tittered, imagining a kaleidoscope of redactions. Different colors will explain the basis for each redaction, whether it's grand jury testimony or something that would reveal intelligence sources. You can bet one past mistake won't be repeated, when lawyers for Paul Manafort redacted a court document in a PDF format that allowed the redaction to be lifted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, then reporters just clicked on the black part like delete and then they just saw the stuff. Surely you can figure out how to go to Kinko's. Come on, man.

MOOS: Past heavy-handed redactions have been the butt of jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Donald Trump complained this investigation was costing us millions, I didn't know he meant in toner.

MOOS: At least you don't have to read between the lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the way, I like that pattern. And with a few slight alterations, this would be the new American flag.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thank you for joining us. Have a good weekend.

Anderson starts now.

[20:00:00]