Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Pelosi on Impeachment: If the Facts Take Us There, "We Have No Choice, But We're Not There Yet"; House Judiciary Chair: Subpoena for Don McGahn Still "Stands"; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is Interviewed About House Judiciary Investigation on Trump; Source: ISIS Suspect Gave Advance Warning of Sri Lanka Bombings. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired April 23, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Our hearts go out to them. Will Ripley continue to be safe over there. Be careful. There could be more we're hearing potentially on the way. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the White House ignoring tonight's deadline to turn over Trump's taxes and now Democrats are about to make their next move in the high-stake showdown. Plus, Jared Kushner making a stunning claim suggesting Mueller's investigation was more damaging than Russia's attack on the 2016 election. And the President's Twitter tirade more than 50 tweets in less than 48 hours. What is going on inside the White House? Let's go out front.

Good evening. I'm Erica Hill in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump says no. The administration missing a key deadline tonight to turn over the President's tax returns to Congress. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin telling Democrats he's consulting the Justice Department to determine if the demand is even legal. In response, Democrats if you're ready to up the ante a source telling CNN the House Ways and Means Committee is prepared to subpoena the President's returns if the White House doesn't comply and this, of course, is just the latest salvo in the battle over congressional oversight.

The White House doing all it can to stonewall Democrat's investigations. Lawmakers push back. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings today announcing he is prepared to hold a former administration official in contempt over security clearances. Now that official refusing to appear on orders from the White House.

All of this as Democrats issue yet another subpoena for the President's financial records. The President trying to stop that by filing a lawsuit and new this afternoon is the White House trying to stop former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hogan, is the White House going to allow Don McGahn to respond to that subpoena to testify before Congress?

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: That's going to be up to the attorneys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is executive privilege being considered here in the White House to prevent McGahn from testifying?

GIDLEY: Again, that's up to attorneys ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The same attorneys who told that administration official not to appear? Perhaps if it was up to the President things would be different. This is what he had promised just a few weeks ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you going to cooperate with Mr. Nadler?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I cooperate all of the time with everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: A pledge to cooperate and yet the actions of the President and the White House tell a much different story. Kaitlan Collins is out front live outside the White House. So Kaitlan, stonewalling seems to be a major part of the strategy there.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Today the White House is essentially testing the power of Congress and in this letter, Mnuchin, is pushing that deadline to May the 6th on whether or not to decide to release the President's taxes because he says he's still waiting on some legal conclusions from the Justice Department.

But if you read this letter that he sent to the House Ways and Means Committee today, it does not sound or actually it does sound like he is laying the groundwork to deny this request. He's citing legal concerns, constitutional requirements and also the reason the people who want the President's taxes want them. In addition to this letter, citing several Democrats who are saying they are seeking the President's tax returns and essentially the Treasury Secretary is expressing concern that these Democrats only want the President's tax returns for political purposes.

So watch to see what happens by May the 6th, but Erica it does not sound likely that they are going to do it. Now, that comes amid what we are seeing here at the White House which is that they instructed late last night that that former Security Director Carl Klein should not show up for his scheduled testimony on Capitol Hill today. And tonight we're learning they are also likely to do the same with John Gore.

That's a Justice Department official that Democrats want to speak with about adding that census question and that citizenship question to this census form and that is someone they want to speak with, but the White House is saying tonight they do not think it's likely that he's going to go up there and testify unless he can have a Justice Department lawyer present, and that's something that we have seen Democrats push back against.

And, of course, the biggest thing coming out of this is whether or not Don McGahn, the former White House Counsel is going to end up testifying. And right now our sources are telling us from inside the White House that they may seek to find a way to where Don McGahn does not have to comply with that subpoena. Of course, it's expected what they want to talk to him about after seeing what was published in the Mueller report last Thursday, but the white house is essentially saying there's a chance they could assert an executive privilege over certain conversations or memos or anything that McGahn was involved in.

So watch for a battle to play out there and essentially you're seeing this escalate on so many fronts, not just taxes and security clearances but even down to the former White House Counsel, Erica.

[19:04:50] HILL: Kaitlan Collins with the latest for us. Kaitlan, thank you. Out front tonight, Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly. He's a member of the House Oversight Committee which, of course, was set to interview the former White House official on security clearances today, as we just heard about from Kaitlan.

The White House certainly stonewalling here, sir. But as we look at this and Kaitlan laid out for us on a number of fronts, everything that is going on Democrats casting a very wide net. Would you have perhaps a bit more luck if things were more targeted?

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): Well, I think it looks like a wide net compared to the previous two years where there was no net at all. And unfortunately the Trump administration is a target-rich administration. There are so many instances of ethical lapses, suspected wrongdoing, deliberate abuse of power that frankly our six Committees jurisdiction are on full-speed trying to get at the facts and get behind the scenes to understand the narrative that's emerging which is not a pretty narrative for America and certainly not one that reflects well on Donald Trump.

HILL: In terms of getting at those facts, let's focus for a minute on these security clearances which as we know the President has the legal authority to grant them as he wishes. We know that, that's been established. The White House though telling Klein not to appear before the committee today because you were seeking confidential information. Why do you disagree on that point with the White House?

CONNOLLY: Well, we know from a whistleblower who went public, Ms. Newbold, that Mr. Klein was issuing security clearances, interim security clearances, secret security clearances and top secret clearances sort of with impunity. He was overlooking a serious allegation, serious negative information in background checks that would have normally prevented the issuance of a clearance or certainly cause people to pause and that compromises national security.

We're not talking about just any old agency, we're talking about the White House and if anything should be secure and if background checks should be thorough and complete, it ought to be at the White House. So we want to try to make sure that we're protecting that institution from possible abuse by having this decline come and explain his process, his thinking and his decision-making.

HILL: So we should point out the President's Deputy Counsel though argued the subpoena unconstitutionally in their view, encroaches, I want to make sure I get this right on fundamental executive branch interests as you know. But the White House did agree for Klein to appear along with an official from the White House counsel's office. That was rejected. Why is that not an acceptable alternative?

CONNOLLY: It has never been the practice of our committee to have an agency attorney accompany a witness who's being deposed. It can have a chilling effect. In fact, it's designed to have a chilling effect and that's a good practice. It was a practice under Republican majorities and Democratic majorities and for Democratic White Houses and Republican White Houses.

All of a sudden, this White House does not want to play by those rules. We're not going to change our House rules to accommodate this particular President because he's got something high.

HILL: When we look at all this, Chairman Cummings, now says he's going to consult with the committee in order to schedule a vote on contempt for Klein, but his attorney saying in a letter, quote, with two masters from two equal branches of government, we will follow the instructions of the one that employs him. Is it really fair to hold him in contempt if he's obeying the orders of the co-equal branches of government, the one that employs him?

CONNOLLY: Well, Erica, I understand that that's a question but how does Congress enforce its will, Article 1 of the Constitution is about Congress' powers which are awesome and they're designed to put a check on the executive and for that matter, the judiciary. That's why it's Article 1 not Article 3 or Article 14.

The founders saw the congressional power and the role of the legislature as preeminent. And to defy the legitimate operations of Congress to try to get at facts and to try to curb bad practices going on in the White House and the administration, that's our constitutional role. And defying the will of Congress, I think, has to be resisted and the best way to do that is to enforce subpoenas in the courts of law and when those subpoenas are defied to hold people in contempt.

HILL: Congressman Gerry Connolly, I appreciate you taking the time to join us tonight. Thank you.

CONNOLLY: My pleasure, Erica. Any time.

[19:09:43] HILL: OUTFRONT next, Jared Kushner downplaying Russia's attack on the U.S. election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JARED KUSHNER, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S SON-IN-LAW: The investigations and all of the speculation that's happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Plus, President Trump taking to Twitter 57 times in less than 48 hours. What's sparking the Twitter tirade? And Democrats' impeachment dilemma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe Congress should take the steps towards impeachment.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I worry about is that works to Trump's advantage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: 2020 candidate Eric Swalwell is out front.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:14:04] HILL: Tonight, Jared Kushner with a new take on the Mueller investigation and Russia. All of that meddling in the election, the sweeping systemic interference we've learned about not nearly as damning as the resulting investigations. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KUSHNER: You look at what Russia did, buying some Facebook ads and trying to sow dissent and do it. And it's a terrible thing, but I think the investigations and all of the speculation that's happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads. When you look at the magnitude of what they did and what they accomplished, I think the ensuing investigations have been way more harmful to our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Out front now former Adviser to Four Presidents including Nixon and Clinton, David Gergen, former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and Politics Editor for The New York Times Patrick Healy.

David, I hear those words way more harmful to our country. That's his assessment of the resulting investigations.

[19:14:55] DAVID GERGEN, FORMER ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: And he's got it exactly wrong. The Mueller investigation was far more serious attack and to think that he would sort of dismiss the indictments of some 25 Russians who were hacking in, to think that he would dismiss The New York Times has reported 126 million people likely saw those Facebook ads.

It's part of an overall offense that the administration is going on now. There are stiff argument in the Congress on all sorts of requests. They're ordering to boycott of a White House Correspondents then our press must be first and foremost stupid. And they're going on the attack on the Mueller probe and all of that just adds up to one thing and that is they want to bully their way back into this. They dropped four points at least in the polls and they're trying to rally. I think they're really worried about 2020.

HILL: They may be worried. Anne, when you look at the facts I mean I know that may not be always perhaps where they're focused, but Anne, when we do look at the facts, the findings were - and I'm quoting directly here, the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. A Russian troll group purchased over 3,500 Facebook ads reaching tens of millions. Facebook's own estimates 126 million users likely saw them and they're still meddling and yet here we are.

ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I mean it's terrible in my mind to even equate or have a conversation about these two things and sort of the way that Kushner has done it is to try to make some equation that we could even compare these things when we can't. What the Russian government did and what Mueller has found is the sweeping and systemic attempts to influence our election. You've just talked about the scope.

It's extraordinary when you read 200 plus pages of volume one of Robert Mueller's report, it lays out in excruciating detail that a foreign adversary, a foreign government took an enormous - spend an enormous amount of money in time to hack into the elections and effectively did so by reaching millions of Americans and that is incredibly important.

The second piece is that it was a completely lawful investigation that was started by the President's hand-picked Deputy Attorney General, a Republican political appointee and the whole purpose of doing investigations is to find out the truth of what happened. To say that that hurts democracy is the exact opposite, so I'm in agreement with David on that.

HILL: It's also fascinating too because, Patrick, as we look at Jared Kushner's statement, it's really a clear reflection as David alluded to of what we're hearing from the White House and what White House's messaging is in fact if you put them side-by-side it really puts it in perspective. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KUSHNER: I thought the whole thing was kind of nonsense to be honest with you.

TRUMP: You got all this nonsense. There's no collusion, no nothing.

KUSHNER: The ensuing investigations have been way more harmful to our country.

TRUMP: I think it's very bad for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The President tweeting afterward, "Great interview by Jared. Nice to have extraordinarily smart people serving our Country." He's clearly winning with the audience of one, but it is to both of your points this is much more than a political talking point. The ramifications here are vast. They are important and downplaying the seriousness of a foreign adversary actively working to undermine and influence an election can't be ignored and yet that's the road they're continuing to go down.

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, absolutely. I mean, it's the inner circle of the Trump White House that feels the need to parrot back this language that they know somehow helps a deeply insecure president who still worries about his own legitimacy, the legitimacy of his own elections and they're even willing to diminish and downgrade. As Anne said, the systemic interference by a hostile government in our elections to just a couple of Facebook ads for really what's the reason to make the President feel better, to make him feel more secure in his own skin.

I mean there's no real reason why Jared Kushner who's a smart guy would get up on that stage and use language like that except to make the President feel a little bit better about the fact that he beat Hillary Clinton in the electoral college, but not in the popular vote. And it just - it's so striking this nation that has been at war over centuries that had faced adversity on so many fronts that that when it's so clear from our own intelligence agencies from almost two-year report by the Special Counsel a basic set of findings that everyone can't simply agree on based on the evidence, because the President of the United States needs to feel a little bit better about his election.

GERGEN: Yes. I think there's another side of this. I think we've covered the ground about why the Mueller investigation was so - why the Russians attack is so serious. But it's also equally true that the Mueller investigation was extraordinarily important to our democracy.

Because if we really seriously believe in checks and balances, we needed a thorough investigation that both sides could say, "You made an honest attempt to get to the truth." And the Trump presidency is far stronger today than it was before the Mueller report came out. But they've allowed themselves to get dragged back into this and making these senseless arguments that is discrediting their own victory.

[19:20:10] HILL: Well, it's fastening to your point too and Anne I'll throw this one to you. They do look stronger. The President came out initially, total exoneration which we know was not exactly true, but very positive in the beginning, all about the Mueller report. And then we've seen this shift now and it's interesting to watch that shift and how they're playing it because to your point David, they could have just said, "Look, it's actually not so bad." Before the 448 redacted pages came out.

With that being said, it is remarkable to watch that shift and this persistence really, this persistence of saying, "I don't like it and so therefore it must be bad and it must be wrong."

MILGRAM: Well, I mean it feels like and the president has done this for the past few years, he's attempted to delegitimize Robert Mueller's investigation by calling it a witch-hunt, by criticizing Mueller personally saying he was conflicted, whatever he could do. Now, the fascinating thing is in some ways they want to embrace the first half of the report which Robert Mueller said clearly he was not finding that the President or a member of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians and they want to distance the second part and discredit the entire part on obstruction.

And it really is - it's going to be fascinating to watch, because I think they're trying to sort of frame it as a complete exoneration but also that it wasn't that - we just heard it, it wasn't that big a deal. And so like everybody made way too big a deal about it for two years. The media, the investigation and nobody should be focused on the outcome.

HILL: It's also too, part of what we also heard from Jared Kushner today is he said in response to your question about Russia getting close why didn't they reject Russia getting close to the campaign. We didn't know what Russia was doing, what it was doing. Entirely possible, but still no matter how many excuses you make for, "We're not politicians, this is our first campaign. We didn't really know what we were doing." If Russia comes to you, at the end of the day that should raise a red flag.

HEALY: It absolutely should. I mean on the one hand, presidential campaigns aren't necessarily vetting deeply, investigating deeply sort of everyone, the intent of everyone who's coming in. But when it's either Russian nationals or representatives of Russian organizations who are coming to the Trump campaign and sort of suggesting as Donald Trump Jr. said, "Maybe we've got dirt on Hillary Clinton. We'll be able to bring this to you."

You have to wonder about the intent, the desire to influence and ultimately whether you want these people to be partners in your political effort.

GERGEN: It's also true. As long as the President of the United States takes a casual attitude toward what the Russians have done, we are extremely vulnerable in 2020 to them doing it all over again.

HILL: The fact that it's not a priority, exactly.

GERGEN: Exactly.

HILL: And not listening to your own intelligence officials and if nothing else approaching it from that respect, yes, absolutely. David, Anne, Patrick, I appreciate it. Thank you all.

MILGRAM: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, from The New York Times to tariffs, to terror, the president lashing out at just about everything. So could it be the Mueller report to blame? Plus, an American father describes the heartbreaking moment. His children were fatally injured in those deadly Easter bombings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Your instinct was to get out?

MATTHEW LINSEY, FATHER OF TERROR VICTIMS: Yes, as soon as possible.

WALSH: To move them with you.

LINSEY: Yes, but maybe I should have just stayed and covered them with my body.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:27:14] HILL: Tonight, President Trump sitting down with Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, weighing in on, where else? Twitter. The President said they had a, quote, great meeting in the Oval Office. Just one of 58 tweets and retweets since yesterday morning touching on the terror attack in Sri Lanka.

The Mueller report, The New York Times, tariffs, The Economy, Jared Kushner, even golfer Ernie Els' charity work. One tweet even an attack on Twitter. Out front now, Rob Astorino, a Member of President Trump's 2020 Re-Elect Advisory Council and Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent at The Nation. Good to have both of you here.

I think we all know this pattern, right?

ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Yes.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Yes.

HILL: We see a Twitter surge from the President and there is something that has gotten under his skin. So Rob, since you're closest to the President at this table, what is it? Is it the Mueller report? Is it the subpoena for Don McGahn?

ASTORINO: Trust me, there are a lot of us, Republicans and Trump supporters, who want him to be like this, because the tweets --

WALSH: That's not happening.

ASTORINO: It's not happening. No, he'll still go like that. He learned a long time ago to control the message and he will tell anyone who tells him not to tweet, "You think you're such a genius? I got elected president when everyone told me not to and everyone is talking about what I'm tweeting." So he's right in that respect, but I think it also can drive him off course.

I wish he would have vaulted out of the Mueller report and gone around barnstorming around the country and saying, "Look, here's what we've been doing. Here's what I'm going to do and let the Democrats go crazy." WALSH: Yes. I mean the thing about the Mueller report is a couple

weeks ago he was exonerated. He liked Mueller. The process worked. It was over. And now he's disparaging and tarnishing someone who he claimed exonerated him. He can't have it both ways.

So to go back to the, "I was set up," witch-hunt message means he's scared and I think he is truly scared of impeachment. I mean --

ASTORINO: No.

WALSH: Yes. Oh, I think he's absolutely frightened and I think he sees - I don't know what Don McGahn is going to do, but privilege doesn't cover him. So I think that we are seeing someone - I would say he's lost it, except he hasn't had it for a while.

ASTORINO: Ouch.

HILL: Well, go ahead quickly.

ASTORINO: No. I mean, look, I read the entire Mueller report and I would have been really angry too if that happen to me because when you know you didn't do anything wrong ...

WALSH: He did a lot wrong.

ASTORINO: ... and the FBI Director comes in and says, "You're not the target of this." And he says, "OK. Well, say that so I can get on with my life." And he says, "No." It's like if somebody accused you of murder and you knew you didn't murder anybody and the prosecutor came in and said, "Look, we know you didn't murder anybody. We're going to go through this whole process." You'd be angry too and I think that's what's happened.

WALSH: Well, you're smarter than this.

ASTORINO: No, no, no.

WALSH: You're smarter than this.

ASTORINO: He didn't do anything wrong.

WALSH: He wasn't under --

ASTORINO: The whole first volume was is ridiculousness.

WALSH: Well, it wasn't ridiculous but he was --

ASTORINO: And it should never led to the second volume.

[19:30:00] WALSH: Well, but it did and, no, it's ridiculous. The Special Counsel found clear and convincing evidence.

ASTORINO: No.

WALSH: The pattern of not collusion, but a pattern of Russian interference and a lot of contacts. ASTORINO: Minor characters.

WALSH: So, there's that.

He became a target when he fired Comey. And then if you can read -- if you can read volume two and say nothing bad happened when he repeatedly tries to get Don McGahn to lie to fire Mueller, then to lie about firing Mueller -- I mean, there are -- there are 12 things he is accused of I think eight are very serious.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Here is what is else fascinating I want to play the exchange the president had, brief exchange yesterday with reporters. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Are you worried that your staff is ignoring your orders on the Mueller report portrays?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody disobeys my order.

REPORTER: Are you worried about impeachment, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Not even a little bit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Nobody disobeys my orders. But, Rob, it's laid out clearly plenty of people did.

ASTORINO: They did.

HILL: They weren't comfortable with what the president told them to do.

WALSH: Rob Porter --

ASTORINO: Yes. And you know what? They did. And thankfully, they did. And in some respects, right and President Nixon had the whole thing with Haldeman where he said, look, I'm going to tell you right now, at times if I tell you something you shouldn't do, don't do it.

And I think that's what staff is supposed to do to protect not only the country but to protect the president as well.

HILL: Do you think -- I mean, this is a very serious question.

ASTORINO: But I think a lot that was anger.

HILL: Do you think the president understands that.

ASTORINO: I think so. But, look, as I read that, the first -- my first thought was wait a minute, how did -- how did we get through four years of Obama administration when they knew that Russia was playing games and they didn't do anything about it? Then, the second step is --

WALSH: They tried to do anything about it.

ASTORINO: They didn't do anything.

WALSH: They did a lot about it and tried to warn Congress but Mitch McConnell stopped them.

ASTORINO: Oh, come on. It was their administration, their Justice Department.

Then candidate Trump becomes President-elect Trump, he is told about this stuff and he is told that he is not a target. He says, all right then say that. And they don't. So, this narrative has been going on.

WALSH: They can't that, they can't clear you because then they have to come back and say, you are a target when -- if you become one.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: And Comey explained that to him patiently like he's a child.

HILL: He's taking things seriously about Russian interference. We heard from Jared Kushner today who said, listen, you know what, it's not like a not a big deal. Facebook was far worse. The Russia -- the investigations rather that stemmed from this. This is terrible.

WALSH: A few Facebook ads.

HILL: It was Facebook that was worse.

You're concerned that the Obama administration didn't take things seriously enough. Can you sit here and say you think the Trump administration is taking things seriously enough, that they're brushing off, the fact that we know from our own intelligence, it's not over?

ASTORINO: No, it's not over. And I think the administration and Congress needs to make sure this doesn't happen again, because it happened once. It happened twice. And I think it can happen again.

You know we're outside is the Time Warner Center and they had Hillary Clinton -- did you see what she said today? I mean, I cannot believe Hillary Clinton of all people said, that this president was treated differently and probably should have been indicted. Seriously, Hillary?

This is why Democrats say please just go away.

WALSH: A lot of us. She is in a majority position among Democrats. If you see the polls among Democrats alone, 76 percent for impeachment. So, Hillary speaks for a lot of us.

ASTORINO: No, what Hillary did and got away with and how she was treated differently, that's the whole issue.

WALSH: I'm not relitigating that.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: We are not relitigating anything. But I do not do want to get your take on what we just learned.

So, the recently retired French ambassador to the U.S. just sat down with CNN and talked about the differences that he saw during his term because he was here under Obama obviously and then also President Trump. Listen to his assessment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERARD ARAUD, FORMER FRENCH AMBASSADOR: This administration is totally dysfunctional, because a lot of offices are still empty two years after the inauguration of President Trump. People are appointed and they leave after a one year. Or if there are people in the office, as I said before, they don't know what the president will decide the day after. So, it's -- it's in a sense, it's dysfunctional.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: He is saying it's dysfunctional. We should say too he called former President Obama a little bit arrogant. It's not like he had a love fest for President Obama.

What he was talking about are the vacancies, right, and the work that is not getting done.

WALSH: And the acting -- all the acting post.

HILL: And we know how much there is, and the impact it could have on diplomacy. Is that a focus? Is that a concern at all for this administration?

ASTORINO: First of all, I would tell the French ambassador, I and nobody in America really cares what you have to think about our government. Worry about your own yellow vests. You got your own problems over there.

HILL: This is one of -- this is one the U.S.'s most important allies. And if you have him saying here's my concern --

ASTORINO: Yes, but who care what is the former ambassador saying about our country? You got your own issues.

HILL: This is what's not working.

WALSH: Right.

ASTORINO: And who is he to judge.

WALSH: The approval American of leadership -- there is a recent Pew poll taken from 2016 to 2018, the approval of American leadership in the world dropped 75 percent in France, 75 percent in Germany, 50 percent in -- excuse me, in England.

[19:35:08] The one place it rose was in Russia. All ever our allies feel that way. It is a dysfunctional administration and that is also what the second volume of the Mueller report will tell you as well.

ASTORINO: We also don't have a president --

HILL: Joan and Rob, we're going to have to leave it there.

ASTORINO: -- on the apology tour.

HILL: Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushing back against Democrats who want to impeach President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): But if the facts, the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we're not there yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: So, does 2020 contender Eric Swalwell agree? He is my guest.

Plus, ISIS taking credit for the deadly Easter Sunday bombings as Sri Lanka's prime minister admits they could have been prevented. So what happened?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Breaking news, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says he still expects White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before his committee. Now, this comes after "The Washington Post" says the White House is planning to assert executive privilege to block McGahn from appearing before Congress.

Nadler has issued a subpoena to McGahn as part of the House investigation into obstruction of justice. McGahn was mentioned more than 150 times in the special counsel's report, which details his refusal to allow the president's order to fire Mueller.

[19:40:06] White House spokesman Hogan Gidley responded to Nadler's demand earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Hogan, is the White House going to allow Don McGahn to respond to the subpoena to testify before Congress?

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: That's going to be up to the attorneys but what I can tell you is it's pretty clear what Jerry Nadler and others are trying to get to do here. They don't want to get to the truth. They want to get to this president and at this point, I don't know what Jerry Nadler think he is going to get that Robert Mueller didn't except for some political points with the base. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: OUTFRONT now, Democratic presidential candidate, Congressman Eric Swalwell from California. He sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.

Good to have you with us tonight.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

HILL: So, Congressman, have you or the chairman at this point heard directly from Don McGahn?

SWALWELL: No, we have not. We are encouraging him to come in. You know, he doesn't work at the White House process. He waived the privilege.

I don't think just telling the truth to Mueller should be, you know, anything that, you know, he can say he's done the right thing so far. If that's the standard, just telling the truth makes you hero. No, being a hero would be coming even when the president says that he's asserting a privilege and then raise your right hand tell us what happened. That would be doing the right thing.

HILL: In terms if you say the president does exerts the privilege --

SWALWELL: Yes.

HILL: -- as an attorney, is there anything that you can point to that tells you he absolutely has that privilege or doesn't have the privilege in this case?

SWALWELL: Yes, he has waived that privilege. And the president also has said he has nothing to hide.

So, Don McGahn, you know, again, he is not kept in a cage at the White House. He can come in on his own and testify and there is nothing the White House can do. So I'm encouraging him. I think everyone on the committee encouraging him do the right thing. He told the Mueller team about instances of obstruction.

The country should know, you know, how the president obstructed a lawful investigation. And allow us to decide how you hold someone accountable for doing that.

HILL: You talked about talking to some of my colleagues this morning you talked about how you want to see the redacted version of the report. You want to hear from McGahn as we know. You would like to hear from Mueller.

There is talk about impeachment, especially among Democrats, and a question there. You seem to say you're not ready to go down that road. Is there something that would move the needle for you?

SWALWELL: Yes.

HILL: Is there something in particular you want to hear from any of those people?

SWALWELL: I think we're on the road to impeachment. It's certainly not a road anyone chose to go down, but it's one that, you know, we may have to go done it to save our country.

I was a prosecutor for seven years. So, when I would go to court, before I walk through those courtroom doors, I always wanted to make sure my witnesses were subpoenaed, my pencils are sharpened, my exhibits are ready, because I only one shot to make the case.

And I think that's the case here. So, getting the full report and understanding exactly what happened, having Mueller testify. And I think seeing is believing, and, you know, a report is one thing. But for the American people to hear the instances of links between the Trump campaign and Russians but also the instances of obstruction, I think you're going to see more buy in from the American people and maybe more buy in from Republicans.

And, finally, just because Trump rushes to judgment and draws conclusions without relying on evidence doesn't mean we should follow suit. I think people are counting on us to be orderly and make sure the rule of law stands.

HILL: That's part of what we heard from Nancy Pelosi.

SWALWELL: Yes.

HILL: I want to play what she had to say a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces -- paths that we could go down to in our country. But if the facts, the path of fact finding takes us there we have no choice -- but we are not there yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: We are not there yet. If the path takes us there, that's where we will go.

You say we are on the road.

SWALWELL: Yes.

HILL: You two are maybe on slightly different roads at this point.

SWALWELL: Yes.

HILL: There are a number of people still within the Democratic Party and some of them, your fellow 2020 contenders who we heard from here on CNN last night, who are very clear they see it laid out already in the Mueller report and they believe you should be pursuing.

SWALWELL: I think what makes me different from them is I actually am someone that would have to prosecute that case. I'm the only one on the Judiciary Committee. I understand why they feel the way they do.

Again, I don't want the president to get away with nothing happening. I have a 2-year-old, I count to three and take toys away when he is bad. If we don't do that, he is going to continue to be bad.

We've got a bad kid in the White House. It's not just the Mueller report. It's the Emoluments Clause violations, cashing on access to the Oval Office, possibly telling the commissioner for border patrol, go ahead and violate the Constitution, I'll pardon you and let you off. I mean, there's so many things out there. We have to set a standard not just for him, but future presidents.

HILL: I want to get your take on something Jared Kushner had to say early today. I'll let you hear it in his own words.

SWALWELL: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JARED KUSHNER, ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Quite frankly, the whole thing is a big distraction for the country. And you look at what, you know, Russia did buying some Facebook ads and try to sow dissent and do it, it's a terrible thing. But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that's happened for the last two years has had much harsher impact on the democracy that a couple of Facebook ads.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: That's the first we heard from him since the release of the Mueller report.

SWALWELL: Yes.

[19:45:00] HILL: Your thoughts?

SWALWELL: Russia did more than just buy some ads. Russia attacked our democracy. The Trump team met with Russians, they never said no. They held up green lights. They expected to benefit from it.

And the Mueller report says a lot of things but it doesn't say oh, by the way with these contacts stopped. And so, most importantly, what I want to know is are there ongoing threats to our national security? Can we expect more of this in 2020?

Have we now created a permissive environment for other countries to think, well, democracy is open for business? We can all come in and get our preferred candidates elected.

And so I think it's insulting to the intelligence community findings but also I think doesn't uphold our values as a democracy to say that that's all they did.

HILL: Congressman, appreciate your coming in. Thank you.

SWALWELL: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on President Trump's royal treatment.

Plus, heartbreak as an American father talks about losing two children in the deadly attacks in Sri Lanka.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LINSEY, LOST TWO CHILDREN IN BOMBINGS: The bomb went off and they both were running toward me. I'm not sure whether that's what killed them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: New tonight, ISIS claiming responsibility for the deadly series of Easter bombings at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. More than 300 people were killed. Surveillance video provided to CNN shows one of the alleged suspects entering a church with a backpack just moments before a blast.

[19:50:06] The country's prime minister also revealing an attack on another hotel failed and that the attacks could have been prevented. And we're now hearing from one American who not only lost two children in the attack but watched as they were hit by the blast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINSEY: My children, they had actually went down to the buffet before me and got the food for me, filled up my plate. And then I wanted a little bit more to drink. I was going to get it. My daughter said she'd get it.

And then the bomb went off and they were both running toward me, and I'm not sure whether that's what killed, you know, them or not, but we started -- and I knew there'd be another bomb because there always is with these things. Another bomb went off and --

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So your instinct was to get out --

LINSEY: Yes, as soon as possible.

WALSH: To move them with you.

LINSEY: Maybe I should have just stayed and covered them with my body.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: OUTFRONT now, former CIA operative Bob Baer.

Bob, from what we're learning, there were intel officials in India and the United States that warned Sri Lanka in the beginning of April. There were repeated warnings, memos over the last days, including a memo from Sri Lankan security that was so specific, there were actually a list of suspects. This feels like a massive failure. ROBERT BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it wasn't a failure

on the part of the United States and India because that information was transmitted to Sri Lanka. It's part of the fault of Sri Lankan police who didn't act on it. That government is fairly dysfunctional, still hollowed out by the civil war.

Yes, so, it's a horrible failure.

HILL: And from what we understand, the prime minister saying there is still a threat, there are still suspects out there, quote, on the run with explosives. I mean, just put that in perspective for us. How dangerous is the situation on the ground right now?

BAER: Well, if I were -- I wouldn't go in a hotel frequented by foreigners or any public place, train station, airports, nowhere. If there's still bombs out there and these people are very effective and very dangerous, and apparently, the police do not have a grip on this. This group came out of nowhere, and maybe with assistance from the Islamic State.

But it's very dangerous in Sri Lanka. And if I were a tourist, I would get out.

HILL: ISIS claiming some responsibility, as you know. The president has regularly claimed that ISIS has been defeated. What should we be taking away from this horrific event from everything we're learning through today?

BAER: Well, Erica, he was always wrong about being 100 percent defeated. We knew that after Syria fell, after the capital fell, at least people would disperse and go on the offensive. They went underground, which, in fact, makes them more dangerous at this point, and we simply don't know where they're going to strike next, but there are a lot of them out there and they're very committed and they will do a lot more damage before they're done.

HILL: Bob Baer, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.

BAER: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next on a much lighter note, Jeanne Moos on President Trump's date with the queen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:14] HILL: Tonight, President Trump set to get the royal treatment. The president, we're learning, will make his first state visit to the U.K. Mark your calendars. That will happen June 3rd.

And when I say state visit, I mean all the pomp and circumstance. In fact, he'll become just the third U.S. president to receive a full state visit from the royal family.

Jeanne Moos takes us on a trip down memory lane with President Trump and the queen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The queen and President Trump, soon to be back together again. We can hardly wait. All that pomp and protocol to mess up. Remember the last time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He broke royal protocol by walking in front of the queen, but she quickly stepped forward to correct --

MOOS: But not quickly enough to stop the jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's cutting her off like he's trying to beat her to the early bird special.

MOOS: Actually, there was a lot of real-time coaching going on, royal gestures indicating where to go. Without a rehearsal, no wonder President Trump ended up going off into the wild blue yonder.

Comedians piled on with imaginary protocol breaches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During dinner, put his elbows on the Magna Carta, wore a Burger King crown the entire time.

MOOS: But the Obamas made their own royal faux pass. Michelle acknowledged in her book that she touched the queen first on the shoulder, a no-no, and the monarch reciprocated, placing her hand on Michelle's back.

President Obama put the queen in a bind. She had to ignore him when he toasted her --

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: To the Queen --

MOOS: -- because he did it while Britain's national anthem was playing.

President Trump had tea with the queen.

TRUMP: This was supposed to last for 15 minutes, but it lasted for like an hour because we got along! We got along.

MOOS: But long before President Trump actually met the queen, they were practically inseparable. This is one way to make America Great Britain again -- face-swapping.

A graphic designer made a name for herself by replacing the queen's face with the president's, over and over. There was queen Trump in his youth, the Donald with a duck -- make that a swan.

His first trip to the U.K. inspired the Trump baby blimp. On his upcoming state visit, take care not to make like a blimp, blocking the queen.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Thanks for joining us tonight.

"AC360" starts right now.