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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

The Dow Closed Early And Deep In The Red; Defense Secretary James Mattis Now Leaving His Post Much Sooner Than Expected After President Trump Became Angry Over His Resignation Letter; Elizabeth Warren: House Should Start Impeachment Proceedings; Joe Biden to Announce 2020 Run Next Week. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 19, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, payback, Donald Trump loved the Mueller report before it came out, but hates what's in it today. Tonight he's threatening to get even. Plus, a top Republican the only one speaking out against Trump says he's sickened by Trump's behavior. How long will others remain silent? And Senator Elizabeth Warren, the latest Democrat to put through impeachment proceedings. Is that the next step? Let's go out front.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump looking for payback. Twenty-nine hours after the damning Mueller report came out, the President is lashing out as the report sinks in. Trump tweeting tonight, "It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even spying or treason."

Turn the tables, look, it's a serious threat but it's coming from the President of the United States and that's after he completely ripped the Mueller report apart. The president calls the report fabricated and totally untrue, total BS. And then Trump took it further calling it the, quote, crazy Mueller report. Here's the thing that's crazy, listen to the President before the Mueller report was released.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you think Robert Mueller acted honorably?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, he did. Yes.

I've been totally exonerated, no collusion, no obstruction.

The Special Counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And tonight, none of those things seem to be the case anymore. Now, it's the crazy Mueller report. It does seem to be that what's crazy is how President Trump has flipped and flopped on the Special Counsel and his report. It was just 48 hours ago that Trump was all too happy to discuss the findings of Mueller's report so the world. Listen to him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You'll see a lot of very strong things come out tomorrow. Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference. Maybe I'll do one after that, we'll see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: They were strong things and the president didn't come out. He never gave that press conference. Perhaps it's because he actually read the report and finally saw what fellow Republican Mitt Romney says he's seen tonight. Romney speaking out after reading the report saying, quote, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President. I am also appalled that, among other things fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia. Reading the report is a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders."

Kaitlan Collins is out front live outside the White House to begin our coverage. And Kaitlan, the President seemed all too eager to talk about the findings of the Mueller report. He was bragging about it, saying he was exonerated. How wonderful it all is and then that changed.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin. We went from total exoneration to today total BS and that press conference he floated never materialized. But that's because as reporters started to go through this report, a pretty damning portrait of the President emerged, one that portrayed him as this habitual liar who pressured his staff to defend his lies and that's the staff that often ignored some of the President's directives because they believed it was on the brink of breaking the law.

Now, we have to keep in mind here, the President already knew what was coming out in this report because Bill Barr told reporters that both the White House Counsel got a view of this redacted report and the President's outside legal team also got to take a look at it before it was released to the public, days actually before it was released to the public. So the president knew what was going to be in here, but what he didn't know was how it was going to be covered and what the media was going to focus on the most.

And as often in the case with this President it's how something is portrayed on television or in the newspaper headlines that really affects the way he views something and that clearly was what happened here, because not only was it about the president's lies that he was essentially caught with documents, with statements from people who worked closest to him shows that he isn't essentially in control of his own staff and that at times his staff is managing him and that's an image the President does not like.

This idea that his staff is having to control him or to restrain him, because the President often likes to say he is the one in charge and he is the one responsible for his successes. That's not the portrait of this report portrays and that's certainly something that has aggravated the President and that is why you've seen a total change in tune from him on the Mueller report.

BURNETT: All right, Kaitlan thank you very much and I want to go now to Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, also a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congresswoman, great to have you with me tonight.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Thank you.

[19:05:01] BURNETT: I mean look the President lashing out, saying that it's fabricated, it's all made up hours after he had said how great it was going to be. Crazy Mueller report he calls it and he's threatening retaliation, the quote, it is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people. That's the President of the United States speaking from his official account. Your reaction?

SPEIER: Well, I worry about the President of the United States. He is only capable of seeking revenge from people and he has done that historically by firing people and calling them nasty names. Don McGahn gets a Profile in Courage because had he followed what the President had asked him to do, Donald Trump would probably not be President today and now he's excoriating Don McGahn because he doesn't like the fact that he told the truth.

Ten times he obstructed justice. How many times do you get to obstruct justice as the President of the United States? He is supposed to be protecting the Constitution, not trampling it.

BURNETT: So let me ask you that though, because on this issue when you say 10 times obstructed justice, obviously, it was a very damning portrait which was laid out, but for example in some of those cases it was the attorneys - for the President called the attorneys for Michael Flynn and threatened and so Mueller couldn't prove that the President himself knew about it or had directed it, hence unclear if it's obstruction. It seems that you see it as obstruction and if you do, are you then in support of impeaching the President?

SPEIER: I am in support of having the Chair of the Judiciary Committee meet with Special Counsel Mueller, explore whether or not there are grounds for impeachment and if so to pursue them. I don't think we are there yet, but I think you have to be in a position to make the case. I think the American people have to absorb this report. I've read it once. I started reading it a second time and I must tell you that as you read it over and over again, he realized that this is truly not normal and not legal.

BURNETT: It's certainly a disturbing portrait and many of its parts, but when you say you don't think we're there yet, I don't know if you know that Senator Elizabeth Warren who of course is running for President just came out and she said, "The severity of this misconduct," I'm quoting her, "demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States." So you think she's out of her skis?

SPEIER: No, I don't think she's out of her skis. I think we may be saying the same thing. I think we need to begin the process whether these actions rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors to be taken up on the House floor should be determined over the course of the next few months. I know the American people are exhausted by this process, but the truth of the matter is we have a democracy at stake here.

BURNETT: So when you say begin the process, you're beginning - you want to begin formally talking about it but not to formally initiate proceedings, am I understanding it?

SPEIER: That's correct.

BURNETT: OK.

SPEIER: Yes, that's correct.

BURNETT: So when you hear Mitt Romney, the first Republican to speak out in Congress against President after the Mueller report, let me just read what he said again. "I am sickened that the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals of the highest office in the land, including the President." What's your reaction to that? I mean those are powerful words. Are they just words or do you think this is the start of something more from your Republican colleagues?

SPEIER: Well, Mitt Romney is his own man and I think he feels confident enough that he isn't up for reelection for six years and has the ability to speak up and incur the wrath of Donald Trump which I'm sure he will and stand for it. I mean I think he is a principled man and he's showing such by making the statements he's making. I don't think any Republican can read this document and then say this is a good man. This is not a good man.

BURNETT: A growing number of Democrats are now calling on Attorney General Bill Barr because of his role in this, the summary that he put out that he said wasn't a summary, he told a press conference before he put out the report. Things he said in that press conference we'll ask you about in a moment. But they're calling on him to resign. Here are three of them, two of whom, of course, are running for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): I think he has extraordinarily damaged the Department of Justice. He never should have been there. He should resign.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the Attorney General should resign immediately.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If he were ever asking me for advice which he won't, I would advise him to step aside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Should Bill Barr go? Should he resign?

[19:09:58] SPEIER: Well, I don't think he's going to resign. He may need to be impeached, but I think that he has shown that he is not the Attorney General for the American people. He is the Roy Cohn for Donald Trump and the way he is orchestrated rolling out this report and then misrepresenting it I think suggests that he is not here to make sure justice is done. He's here to make sure Donald Trump is protected.

BURNETT: So are you for impeaching him at this time?

SPEIER: I would certainly consider it. He's not going to resign, so that's just a nice way of saying he should go. The only way he would go is if we were to impeach him.

BURNETT: But you're not quite there yet on that.

SPEIER: No. I mean that would be the means by which you would get him out. He is not the highest law enforcement officer of this country following the constitution of protecting the United States.

BURNETT: One of the things he said that's causing a lot of this consternation is that there was no evidence of collusion in the report. Obviously, this word collusion is - it's a real word, but it's a made-up word because it's not the legal word which is conspiracy, of course. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Special Counsel found no collusion by any Americans in IRA's illegal activities. There was no evidence of the Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government's hacking. No underlying collusion with Russia. As he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He did though or Bob Mueller did, of course, detail in 107 pages of this report, as you know, communications between the Trump campaign and Russia, sharing of internal polling data which went on for months with someone that the FBI believes are - says is a Russian informant among other things, many other things. Do you agree on no collusion?

SPEIER: Well, collusion, of course, is not a word of art. It would be conspiracy and I think there was coordination and there was an effort to work together to try and get Donald Trump elected. If it rises to a criminal intent to conspire, maybe not, but certainly an intent to conspire to get Donald Trump elected. And now you have Mr. Barr suggesting like taking words right out of the President's mouth that there's spying going on.

This is a truly pivotal moment in our country and it's really incumbent on us as Americans to read this report and to absorb it, because it is very damning and that's why the President went from saying, "It totally exonerates me," to now it's a piece of garbage.

BURNETT: Right, piece of BS, his word. All right, thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Congresswoman, as always.

SPEIER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, lies, intimidation, corruption, does the Mueller report show that Trump is running the White House like the Mafia? Our next guest put that on. Plus, did former White House Counsel Don McGahn save Trump's presidency as the Congresswoman just said? We'll tell you exactly what he did do. And on Rod Rosenstein's much talked expression during the Attorney General's presser.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:07] BURNETT: All the President's lies, well the Mueller report does paint the Trump White House as a hotbed of dishonesty. President Trump regularly ordered his aides to lie. I mean it's in here again and again. He even told his aides to tell other aides to lie, which sort of makes it pretty clear he knew it was a problem for him to do it directly. He want to put someone in the middle.

Anyway, one of the most damning takeaways from the Mueller report is that, it's just a culture of lying and corruption laid bare by the Special Counsel. Out front now Eric Levitz of New York Magazine who wrote, quote, Mueller Report Confirms Trump Runs The White House Like It's The Mafia. Those were your words as I promised I would show everyone who did that. April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and our Political Analyst, and Mark Preston, CNN senior political analyst.

So Eric, your story Mueller Report Confirms Trump Runs White House Like It's The Mafia, one example that you single out is when the President asked the then White House Counsel Don McGahn about McGahn's conversations with Mueller and Mueller writes, "The President then asked, 'What about those notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.' McGahn responded that he keeps notes because he is a real lawyer and explained that notes create a record and are not a bad thing. The President said, quote, I've had a lot of great lawyers like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes."

Let's not forget Roy Cohn, of course, was a longtime Trump lawyer. He lost his license for unethical behavior. So Eric, this anecdote, this told you a lot.

ERIC LEVITZ, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE'S DAILY INTELLIGENCER: Yes. Well, I think that the key - there are two real big problems that this anecdote reflects which - one of them is that Donald Trump believes that loyalty to one's boss should take precedence over adherence to the law and he's therefore comfortable asking his subordinates to subvert or even break the law on his behalf. And this is a perfectly fine philosophy for mafia boss.

If your job is to run a criminal enterprise than being comfortable asking people to break the law preview is a real asset in that position. Unfortunately, Donald Trump's job is not to run a criminal enterprise but to lead the executive branch of the United States which is to say his job is to faithfully execute the laws of the United States and in that position this philosophy is quite problematic.

The second problem that it reflects is that Trump does not really recognize the distinction between his personal lawyers and the government's lawyers, so not only is he comfortable asking his personal lawyers to subvert the law but is actually comfortable asking the White House Counsel who represents the office of the presidency not him personally and is similarly comfortable asking the Attorney General to prioritize loyalty to him over the faithful execution of the laws.

BURNETT: Well, I don't know, I mean I remember many summers being a paralegal and there were a lot of notes lying around. There's a lot of note taking that goes on because lawyers take a lot of notes, Mark. I mean look - but here's the thing, Mueller points numerous examples of Trump directing his aides to lie. Let's take the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

He wanted Rosenstein to say firing James Comey was his idea.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

[19:20:04] BURNETT: As in Rosenstein's idea. So again --

PRESTON: Retroactively.

BURNETT: I want people to - I'm selling the Mueller report for people to read it, because it does read like a story and it's not boring. This is not like reading something boring. This is quite fascinating. OK. "That night, the White House press office called the Department of Justice and said the White House wanted to put out a statement saying it was Rosenstein's idea to fire Comey. Rosenstein told other DOJ officials he would not participate in putting out a 'false story.'"

PRESTON: What an interesting character in all of this because not only does he have to push back against the President, but he has to stand behind the Attorney General yesterday as he's delivering his pre press conference before the report gets delivered. He has really been put in an unbelievable situation Rod Rosenstein has, he almost like he was a prisoner, stuck behind the Attorney General.

BURNETT: We have a whole special segment on that later on.

PRESTON: I know, it really is, but I will tell you this, I mean you're absolutely right that what the President has done is he has put an incredible amount of fear into people and that's what exactly what we were seeing there. He was trying to force Rod Rosenstein to take that lie and defend him even though he knew that it was a lie.

BURNETT: All right, so that then, April, sometimes the President according to Mueller told aides to tell other aides to lie which is I point out is really important, because if you really thought it was fine to tell someone to do that, you would do it. When you put an intermediary in there, say, before your lawyers go and threaten somebody that's cooperating with the Special Counsel because you don't want them to cooperate, all of a sudden you get plausible deniability.

Let me give an example here, Reince Priebus. So, again, I read from Mueller, the President asked Reince Priebus to have K.T. McFarland draft an internal email that would confirm that the President did not direct Michael Flynn to call the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Priebus said he told the President he would only direct McFarland to write such a letter if she were comfortable with it." Of course, April, McFarland told Priebus she didn't know what the truth was here and she didn't end up doing it. She decline to even respond to the request. Have you ever seen anything like this, April?

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Not in the 22 years that I've covered for White House, Erin. Not at all. This Mueller report as you were talking about, you haven't read anything like this, see anything like this. It reads like a ratchet novel with a street slick ruthless businessman who does not pay attention to the rule of law who just happens to be the President of the United States.

It's about whatever the President's whims are regardless of the consequences and you must cover it up and fall on the sword for him. I've never seen anything like this in the worst of days at the White House, be it Monica Lewinsky in the impeachment of Bill Clinton or be it 9/11 with George W. Bush and yellowcake and all of that and then going into the Obama years. I've never seen anything, anything, never ever like this.

BURNETT: So Eric in your article you also point out that President Trump wanted to distance himself from that whole Trump Tower meeting. In particular he wanted to distance himself about whether he knew about it. So you write about that the meeting that we know about between Hope Hicks, the President, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

And Mueller writes, "Kushner brought a folder of documents to the meeting and tried to show them to the President, but the President stopped Kushner and said he did not want to know about it, shutting the conversation down." Now, Eric you see this episode as being different from previous presidents who I think we all know there are times the president wants plausible deniability or doesn't want their fingerprints on something. How can we understand this to be very different than that?

LEVITZ: Yes. Well, I would say the real distinguishing factor in this episode is that Hope Hicks and Trump's communications professional realizes at a certain point that these emails are going to get out and so what you're going to do --

BURNETT: These are the emails between Don Jr. and ...

LEVITZ: And Goldstone, yes.

BURNETT: ... Russians about - Rob Goldstone about the meeting, yes.

LEVITZ: Yes. So she views this from a political operative perspective. This is bad news, but it's inevitable, it's going to get out. Let's get ahead of it. Release the emails and take ownership of the story, level with the American people and put a spin on it that is as flattering as possible. Trump's response really is - it's more - he cannot handle that and he responds more as though it's a criminal cover-up, immediately trying to suppress the emails, trying to rewrite these statements to misrepresent exactly what happened at the meeting.

BURNETT: It's a much more defensive response and one that really shows both less savvy but also less consideration for the obligation that he has to level with the American people as their top representative.

[19:24:42] BURNETT: So April and Mark, I want to ask you about Sarah Sanders, because obviously she made a comment from the White House podium saying that the rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Jim Comey. She said it as a fact and she said it more than once. She told Bob Mueller that quote that was not founded on anything in other words she didn't have any conversations with anybody she just said it because it supported what she want, she made it up.

She was asked about it today and she went back to defending the lie that she admitted under oath to the Special Counsel was a lie. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I said that it was in the heat of the moment, meaning it wasn't a scripted thing, it was something that I said which is why that one word has become a big deal. But the big takeaway here is that the sentiment is 100 percent accurate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: She admitted, April, to the Special Counsel she hadn't talked to anybody, so when she said it she made it up. She admitted that, but now she's saying it 100 percent accurate. What do you make of this explanation?

RYAN: Well, let me say this, the White House is very concerned. I got a call today because you know as I said I called her a liar. And the White House tried to explain to me what it was. A lie is a lie is a lie. She calls us fake news; she is a fake press secretary who is disseminating lies. She embellished at the very least. You know, if she talked to maybe two or three she embellished saying the word countless -- countless verses a few or none.

She lied to the press who in turn delivered that information to the American public. It's not about us; it's about the American public. From that sacred podium to give this information that's wrongful to -- people are not going to be able to trust her or even this administration. It's - it's -- it's even bigger than Sarah at this point. It's now the president. It's now his minions. Can you trust? And the answer is no. There are big questions today.

BURNETT: Mark? PRESTON: Let me be the one to say that I'm not surprised by anything

that has happened in this report because we have known about it all along. All we have seen now is that it is being quote/unquote "reported" by somebody else, in this case federal investigators, that are proving what has been written over the past two years happens to be true.

BARNETT: Yes, well and we can still hope everyone will read this for themselves because as I said it's very readable and very important.

RYAN: Ratchet.

BARNETT: Right. Thank you all very much. And next he spent millions of dollars of his own money to push for Trump's impeachment. Does Mueller's report give Tom Steyer anymore urgency. He's out front next.

And his name was mentioned hundreds of times in the Mueller's report - hundreds of times. Can you imagine if that were are your name? Tonight the president is taking aim at the man who is in there hundreds of times who may have saved him and his presidency.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:54] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, Senator Elizabeth Warren calling for the House to launch impeachment proceedings.

Warren making her case in a series of tweets, writing: The Mueller report lays out facts showing their hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed the help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into the attack.

She then continues, quote: The House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.

OUTFRONT now, Tom Steyer, founder of the Need to Impeach campaign, and former DNC chairman and governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell.

I appreciate both of your time.

Tom, when you hear Elizabeth Warren, of course, who is running for the Democratic nomination for the White House, are you happy? Is this enough? Is this the beginning of the onslaught or just going to be a sole voice?

TOM STEYER, FOUNDER, NEED TO IMPEACH: Well, I believe she is part of a chorus that has read this report, has seen that what we have watched in real-time is detailed in truth which is the president has clearly, consistently, obstructed justice and put his personal interests ahead of the justice system and the people of the United States. And so, she is calling for public televised hearings in the House so that the American people can see exactly what happened and so we can get a sense of what it was and whether it rises to the level of removing him from office.

BURNETT: Governor, you think impeachment is a futile effort, though, why?

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: It's a futile effort because we will never convict in the senate. Even with the votes to impeach in the House, it takes a two third vote. And with the Republicans controlling the Senate, there is absolutely no chance as it stands now as the evidence has been developed now, there is no chance that we could convict.

And all we would do is have an impeachment proceeding and a trial that would last almost into the election which would fire up the Republican base in ways that nothing else can do, and would hurt our chances of getting rid of Donald Trump at the ballot box. If we could get rid of Donald Trump by going the impeachment route, I would say yes, but there is zero chance that that will happen.

So the one thing we should be concerned about is the 2020 election, and the effect of what we do.

BURNETT: Zero chance, Tom.

STEYER: Well, I think that what the governor is missing is the American people, because if we have a series of public televise the hearings where everybody across the country, whether the Democrats or Republicans or independents gets a chance to see what's been going on, then I put my trust in the American people. And if we flip as a people that would put enormous pressure on every elected official to see whether in fact supporting Donald Trump is in his or her personal interest.

BURNETT: Are they going to hear anything they don't already know, though, Tom, in those hearings? It's like this report, there is little in it we don't know in it's totality, that that is damning. But people sort of have made up their minds, haven't they.

STEYER: Erin, I think it's completely different when you have a hearing and you get to watch it on TV. That's what happened with Michael Cohen. That's what happened with Brett Kavanaugh.

And honestly, that's what happened in 1974 with President Nixon, where, in fact, a series of hearings brought new evidence to light that otherwise wouldn't have happened including the tapes. And it was must-see TV across America. And people of both political parties and independents decided, my goodness, this president is a crook and he has to go.

And I believe that is exactly what would happen now.

BURNETT: Governor, do you think that televised hearings will have the outcome?

RENDELL: Well, tom gives an example that defeats his point.

Brett Kavanaugh hearings, I thought the hearings made it clear that he was unqualified to sit on the Supreme Court. But the Republican base stayed solidly. In fact, his favorability grew during the public hearings, because people thought he was being picked on. People thought we were taking advantage of him. People thought we were harassing him, et cetera.

I don't think you're going to shake the base. If you don't shake the base you're not going to shake one Republican senator.

[19:35:01] There is no chance -- and what we are doing is jeopardizing our chances of beating Donald Trump where we can beat him and should beat him at the ballot box.

STEYER: So let me say this, Erin.

BURNETT: Tom, go ahead.

STEYER: I've gone around this country for the last year and a half and talked to people in blue states and red states. And Americans share much more than separates them. Everybody is nervous about losing in system because they know this system is under attack, that it is dysfunctional and that this president is at the heart of it.

So, I'm willing to put my trust in the American people. I believe that they will give it a fair reading. And that in fact, they will be as Mitt Romney was, sickened by what they see.

BURNETT: So, Mitt Romney did come out, right? His tweet tonight: I'm sickened to the extent and pervasiveness of dishonest, the highest office of the land, including the president.

That's what he said. I don't know what he would do.

RENDELL: Right.

BURNETT: But I know you need 20 Republicans in the Senate to the governor's point. Tom, that seems to be at this point impossible, doesn't it?

STEYER: Well, let me say this. We have gone around this country -- our organization Next Gen America is the largest grass roots organization in the United States. In Governor Rendell's home state of Pennsylvania, we organized in 2018 young people throughout the state. In 2014, they turned out at a 12 percent rate. In 2018, they turned out at more than a 36 percent rate.

This is the largest generation in American history. They are looking for people to tell the truth, to be straightforward and to take honest stands. And that's what we are doing.

We are trying to gather the force of the American people to tell the truth and protect a Constitution that it frankly under attack and a democracy that is clearly under attack from the White House.

BURNETT: Governor, will anything change your mind?

RENDELL: Well, now that was great work what Tom did. And he helped us get a record turnout that swept Republicans away. That's the way to do it.

But nothing that Tom did has shaken that 40 percent approval rating that the president has. And I dare say if we poll Monday, if we poll Monday after the hearing -- the reports was made public, and it is disgusting. I agree with Mitt Romney, it makes you sick to think that guy is our president.

But after we poll, my guess, is if it at best he is down to 38 percent approval rating. You're not going to shake the base. And all you're going to do is make sure we get an avalanche of red turnout. That's counterproductive.

STEYER: Let me say this. Let me say this. Putting out a 400-page document in legalese is not exactly what I call public televised hearings. The one hearing we have had that deals with this issue was Michael Cohen, and that moved approval 6 percent for impeachment. When we polled --

RENDELL: The Kavanaugh hearings back fired.

STEYER: When we polled --

RENDELL: The Kavanaugh hearings back fired.

STEYER: Excuse me. Let me finish. When we polled impeachment, we get into the mid-60s if we can prove just obstruction of justice. So, what I believe is it the American people are much more honest. They are much more compassionate. They are much more brave and decent than the governor is suggesting. They are more open-minded.

Let's put it to the American people -- of by and for the people and not keep the evidence in Washington, D.C. Let's put it on TV and let the American people have their voice.

BURNETT: Governor, I'll give you the final word.

RENDELL: I think history teaches us lessons. When the Republicans impeached Bill Clinton and they impeached him and sent him over for trial, it did nothing but destroy the electoral chances in the next election because everyone knew it was a partisan effort.

Now, I agree, what was in that report is discouraging to say the least. But it's not going -- go ask Mitt Romney if he is ready to vote for impeachment. For all the things he said, ask him if he is a yes for conviction of impeachment. If he says he is, then I might change my mind.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

RENDELL: Ask him Tom.

STEYER: Thanks, Erin.

RENDELL: You can get through to him, Tom, call him and ask him. And report back to Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you.

And next, former White House counsel Don McGahn's name appears more than 500 times in the Mueller report. Did his defiance against Trump, which Trump is now lashing him, actually save Trump's presidency?

And he is in. Joe Biden expected to announce candidacy next week, formally. Is it a game changer for others who are still on the sidelines?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:43:02] BURENTT: Tonight, President Trump lashing out, much of his anger focused on the former White House counsel Don McGahn. McGahn's name is mentioned more than 500 times in the Mueller report. That's a lot of times. It's more than one per page on average. He spent around 30 hours talking to the special counsel.

And Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT with how McGahn's defiance may actually saved Trump's presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Total B.S. As the president rages against the Mueller report, he appears to be singling out one particular person who spoke to investigators -- former White House counsel Don McGahn.

DON MCGAHN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Thank you very much.

FOREMAN: Watch out for people that take so-called notes, Trump tweeted, when the notes never existed until needed.

MCGAHN: It's been a privilege to be part of a presidential campaign that was successful.

FOREMAN: It's a big turnaround considering McGahn's role during the Russia probe. It was McGahn who refused to fire the special counsel when Trump said, Mueller has to go. McGahn who refused to lie about it later.

The Mueller report indicates both actions protected Trump from obstruction charges.

But Jack O'Donnell, a former executive in the Trump organization says Trump's anger is typical.

JACK O'DONNELL, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE: In this case, where Don McGahn really saved him it's not relevant because the bigger picture makes Donald look bad.

MCGAHN: I don't have a list of enumerated power I can look to and I advise the president. What I can and I can't do. It's more general.

FOREMAN: The Mueller report suggests Trump was always suspicious of McGahn's potential power.

Why do you take notes Trump reportedly said in a meeting? Lawyers don't take notes. When McGahn said he was a real lawyer, Trump shot back. I've had a lot of great lawyers like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes. Cohn served Senator Joe McCarthy during his infamous campaign to root

out communists and he worked for Trump in the 1970s when Trump's company was accused off discriminating against African-Americans.

[19:45:03] Cohn had to settle in that legal battle and eventually lost his license for unethical conduct.

Still, before McGahn left the White House last fall, Trump said he would not be a rat.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has done an excellent job.

REPORTER: Any concern about what he said to the Mueller team?

TRUMP: No, not at all. Not at all.

FOREMAN: Perhaps the president had reason to think that. After all, when he was trying to get his casinos up and running years ago battling politicians, regulators and more, who helped manage every detail no matter how small? Don McGahn's uncle, Pat.

O'DONNELL: Because literally Donald could ask Pat McGahn to do anything. And he would do it for him. Obviously, Don McGahn had his limits with Donald Trump.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: You could argue that even Trump fans face something of a puzzle right now. What should they think of Don McGahn? Yes, Donald Trump is saying bad things about him. But he is, as you said, Erin, arguably the man who saved the Trump presidency.

BURNETT: Right, that's the irony.

FOREMAN: Yes.

BURNETT: That's the guy he is shooting vicious arrows at.

FOREMAN: With friends like these.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you very much.

And next, Joe Biden poised to announce his run for president next week. Finally, finally, it's like he had gum on his shoes. Will the decision force others like our next guest John Kasich to sit out?

And Jeanne Moos on Rod Rosenstein's stoic and blinkless -- I mean, yes, isn't that dangerous? -- performance.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, the first cracks appearing among Republicans on the Mueller report.

Top Republican Mitt Romney releasing this statement tonight. Quote: I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the president.

OUTFRONT now, John Kasich, former Republican governor of Ohio and our senior political commentator here at CNN.

Governor, I appreciate your time.

Mitt Romney is the first and it just happened a few hours ago.

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you.

BURNETT: Speaking out about the president, sickened, pervasiveness of dishonesty, mentioning the president specifically.

How significant is this moment? Do you think other Republicans will take his lead?

[19:50:04] KASICH: Well, Erin, I really don't know. I give Mitt a lot of credit for coming out and saying this. You know, you've got to recall, I never supported the guy, I never endorsed him, I didn't vote for him, I didn't go to the convention.

And a lot of people wondered why. Well, it's right in front of you. If you don't want to read the whole report, just read parts of the report, the kinds of things that were happening in there.

I'm not only disappointed and angry, I'm sickened by all of this, because this is not the kind of performance or the kind of behavior that I saw from so many of the presidents I've either observed or have known. And -- but I think it's good that Mitt has spoken out.

I don't know what others are going to do. It seems so much of the time, they put their finger in the air and figure out whether it's safe to say something. I mean, we all ought to be saying that this is just not acceptable behavior.

But, again, for those that have tried to understand, why did I not support him? Was I angry? Was I bitter? Had nothing to do with it. I'm not surprised by this, to tell you the truth. I'm not surprised at all.

BURNETT: When people say, you know, I don't know if you heard the last conversation, but Tom Steyer, his whole cause is impeachment. Governor Rendell said he thought it was just futile, in part because he thought you're not going to get the vets.

In part, Mitt Romney may say this, and, sure, he's a man of great moral character, but that's different than saying he would vote for impeachment. Governor Rendell says, OK, if Mitt Romney says that, then I'll change my mind, then I'll be on the same page.

KASICH: Yes, I don't --

BURNETT: Do you think any Republicans in the Senate would get there or no, Governor? KASICH: I don't know. I can't predict them. I would be surprised.

But I think what Ed Rendell, and I did watch it, Erin, because I watch your show. What Ed Rendell was saying was, it's proper for the Congress to continue to look at this and investigate. Mueller basically told him to do it.

But what I think Governor Rendell is trying to say is, if we get caught up in that and we forget the issues of health care, we forget the issues of prescription drugs, we forget the issues of income inequality, we may not win this election.

And I'm going to tell you another thing, Erin. I've been all over this country. In the last couple of months, in particular, the last month, taking questions from people, 600,000, 700,000, 800,000, 900,000 people in a room at a time, no one asked me about Mueller. They asked me about a lot of other things, but they don't ask me about that.

And I think there is some degree of fatigue among the American people, like, let's get on it.

BURNETT: It's an interesting point.

KASICH: I heard from --

BURNETT: That's what Senator Klobuchar said today. She said, she got four questions about it. So you have a good point.

So when you say you're answering all of these questions about issues that affect people individually and personally, you know, you're still thinking and wrestling with this decision yourself. And Joe Biden now says he's getting in, right? Or we understand, we are told it will be next week. That he will formally announce.

You know, you and Joe Biden have a lot in common in terms of where you're from. You're from the Rust Belt. You're considered moderate voices in both of your parties, considering where both of your parties have gone, to different extremes.

Does Joe Biden getting in affect whether you'll run, Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Well, I would have to be in a primary to begin with or run as a third party. And like I've said all along, if I can't win, then I'm not going to do it. And right now, I'm not really going to see that path. But that's today. You don't know what could change in a relatively short period of time.

In regard to Joe, as I think you know, I have been bullish on Joe Biden for a long time. He comes across as more moderate and despite the fact that he went through this -- through this duff period, Joe Biden knows how to connect. And if he can come across with some ideas that show that he's young, even though his age is a little bit more, he will do -- he do very well.

We'll have to follow it and I'm interested in it. BURNETT: All right. Governor, always appreciate your time. Thank

you.

KASICH: Thanks. Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the Bill Barr sideshow, literally. What's the deal with those two guys back there? Flanking the attorney general.

Jeanne is on the hunt for answers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:58:18] BURNETT: Before the Mueller report became, you know, the best seller, someone else was stealing the show.

Here's Jeanne.

(BEIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: While everyone was eyeing the potential for --

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: An obstruction of justice offense.

MOOS: Many noticed that obstruction of eyelids offense. Rod Rosenstein's unblinking stare held viewers captive.

BARR: Conspired or coordinated.

MOOS: The timing of his blinks seemed coordinated.

BARR: Non-corrupt motives.

MOOS: Almost 20 seconds in between.

Looks like he just came from a taxidermist. Like he was added later in photoshop. Rod Rosenstein's eyes got their own twitter account. Hostage to Department of Justice, is my soul now with Chris Christie's, a reference to another famous blank stare over President Trump's shoulder.

TRUMP: It's abysmal.

MOOS: How abysmal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie looks like a guy who suddenly isn't sure if he turned the stove off before he left for work.

MOOS: Actually, the deputy attorney general did adjust his glasses.

BARR: I will now have a few questions.

MOOS: He even eked out a couple of weak smiles. For instance, when his new boss thanked him, even if Bill Barr did think he was over his other shoulder. BARR: Thanks, Rod.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you.

BARR: Yes.

MOOS: The other human backdrop, the mystery bearded guy, inspired a comparison to a confederate colonel. Actually, he's Edward O'Callahan, principal associate deputy attorney general. Colonel sounds higher.

But it was Rosenstein who mesmerized the Internet. Rod Rosenstein is winning a staring contest against all of us right now.

When it comes to an unblinking gaze, Rosenstein almost beat the eagle. And in a blink, someone added a sound track.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Try not blinking for that long. It's actually kind of hard.

Anyway, thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.