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Tensions Rising as U.S. Seizes North Korean Cargo Ship; Negotiators Meeting Right Now, Hours Before Deadline, Tariffs to Rise on $200B of Chinese Goods. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired May 9, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: One hour from now we'll all be watching. Anderson, thanks very much for coming in. I appreciate it very much. Thanks very much to our viewers for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, what is Trump afraid of? The President on the defense about his son's subpoena. Is there something Donald Trump Jr. knows that President Trump wants to hide? Plus, Democrats say they have the backing of millions of voters who want Trump impeached. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib who is leading the charge is out front tonight. And the fight for 2020, a record number of women are running for president. Why aren't they in the lead? Let's go out front.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, what's Trump afraid of? The President going on a nearly five-minute rant about the subpoena of his son, Donald Trump Jr. A subpoena from the Republican- led Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump is in a furor on defense tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President as you saw the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Don Jr., that's the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee. What do you make of that?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Mueller report came out and they said he did nothing wrong. My son was totally exonerated by Mueller. And my son is a very good person, works very hard. The last thing he needs is Washington, D.C.


BURNETT: And, of course, Donald Trump Jr. did not cooperate with the Mueller investigation. I mean look we know that the Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to talk to Donald Trump Jr. about issues related to the Russia investigation.

One example, that infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting which Trump Jr. originally testified to Congress that he only told Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort about. According to the Mueller report though he told the entire senior campaign staff.

So what else did Donald Trump Jr. possibly lie about and why? Well, he's certainly trying to block Congress from finding anything out and he's banking on help from one of his father's most ardent supporters these days, Senator Lindsey Graham.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): To me Mueller is the last word for me, so I'm over undone. He testified before the committee, testified to the Special Counsel.


BURNETT: OK. Let's just be loud and clear about that. Testify to the Special Counsel did not happen, that is false and it was not for a lack of trying by Mueller. Mueller very clearly writes about one of the key incidents that he looked at, that Russia meeting. And of that in the report he writes, quote, the Office spoke to every participant except Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr., the latter of whom declined to be voluntarily interviewed by the Office.

And then as you can see three lines of redactions, Grand Jury related. Are these redactions what Trump is afraid of? Could they reveal Trump Jr. was considered a target or a subject of the Special Counsel? We simply do not know. But we do know that he didn't voluntarily sit down or answer any questions from the Special Counsel, why?

Well, the President sure seems to be spooked. He's already making it clear that Congress may never hear from his son again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should he fight that subpoena?

TRUMP: Well, let's see what happens. I'm just very surprised.


BURNETT: Abby Phillip is out front at the White House. Abby, there's real frustration inside the White House on the subpoena for Don Jr. As I said, I mean, we played clips there but the President really going on a rant for five minutes about it today.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you could see the frustration in his face and in his demeanor when he was answering these questions about his son Donald Trump Jr. repeating that his son had tried to stay out of all of this, stay out of Washington. He had helped out with the campaign, but didn't want to get caught up in this.

And the President seems to be frustrated that this is not coming from the Democrats, this is coming from the Republican-led committee and it's bringing Donald Trump Jr. back into the middle of the Russia investigation, but he's been spending weeks trying to discount, trying to say case closed. Those were the words of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that a lot of other Republicans had coalesced around. President Trump and his allies now fear that what this is doing is

giving Democrats a new opening to say this is a legitimate line of inquiry that going over some of these lines that have actually already been addressed in the Mueller investigation is a worthy task for the Senate and for the House. And President Trump, I think, has very limited resource here.

Unlike a lot of these other individuals who face subpoenas from the Democratic-led committees on the House side, Don Jr. never worked in this White House and does not work in this White House now. So it might be a case where President Trump can do very little to stop his son from going before this Committee and unless, of course, Don Jr. decides to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, which could create some more political problems for him and for the President going forward, but this is clearly a tough situation both the President and his allies today, deeply frustrated by what is going on in the Republican- led Senate Intelligence Committee, Erin.

[19:04:55] BURNETT: Abby, thank you. And now David Gergen, Adviser to Four Presidents, Juliet Kayyem, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama and John Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush.

So David, I don't know why Lindsey Graham said that he was - he sat down or was interviewed by the Special Counsel. Lindsey Graham should know, there's no excuse for Lindsey Graham not to know that that's false. So but I'm going to presume he didn't know and that he wasn't intending to mislead. Does it look to you like Don Jr. has something to hide here?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: Well, it certainly gives that indication especially if he's going to invoke the Fifth Amendment. So he want to incriminate himself, if he hides behind that I think it causes other political problems. You just suggested if he doesn't show up at all he could be held in contempt and thrown into jail.

You have to believe that's not going to happen, but because he's the President's son does not mean he's above the law, no more than the President is.

BURNETT: So Juliette, why do you think the committee wants to hear again from Don Jr.? Obviously, there's these possible inconsistencies, there's all of these cases that have been referred out, and it's very clear here, these redactions that come after right after they say he refused to be voluntarily interviewed by the Special Counsel.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, it appears that what they're looking at is a determination of whether Don Jr. perjured himself when he testified before them or any of the other committees and it falls into two lines just as you look at the documents here. And both of them have to do with volume one in the Mueller report, not the obstruction of justice but the Russia stuff.

BURNETT: Conspiracy, collusion, yes.

KAYYEM: One if, of course, the meeting. Exactly. So one is, of course, the Russian meeting in Trump Tower which Don Jr. tried to minimize and testified that it wasn't a big deal but, of course, we have evidence and testimony from a whole bunch of other people contradicting that.

The second though let's not forget is also Trump Tower Moscow which was really in Don Jr.'s orbit. He was pushing it with Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen now has testimony out there of which he says, "Don Jr., I briefed him almost a dozen times on Trump Tower meeting." That goes to the question of why was the Trump campaign so willing to accommodate Russia during the election. It was because they had business interests that they were presuming they would continue under the belief that Donald Trump would lose.

So both of those are huge issues that are simply contradicted by too many others for the Senate Committee to ignore and one would suspect that Don Jr. has to take the fifth so that he doesn't perjure himself.

BURNETT: So John I want to play something the President said additionally today about Don Jr. and the Mueller report. Here he is.


TRUMP: The Mueller report came out. That's the bible. The Mueller report came out and they said he did nothing wrong. The only thing is it's oppo research.


BURNETT: He's got schizophrenia when it comes, obviously, to the Mueller report and Mueller. Sometimes it's the bible, sometimes it's like a complete load of lies. I mean I don't know it depends on the day when you ask him I suppose, John.

But the reality of it is, is Mueller clearly said Don Jr. would not voluntarily sit down with him, but Mueller let Don Jr. go without an interview, didn't push it there. Should that matter to Congress? Do you read anything into that?

JOHN YOO, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL OF LEGAL COUNSEL UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: Oh, it's a good point you're making, because Congress isn't bound by what Mueller founder or didn't find. Congress is free to have its own investigation. They have the right to conduct oversight of the spending of federal dollars about how the Justice Department is doing its investigations and if, I guess, if they want to see that the Justice Department properly investigated Donald Trump Jr. for alleged campaign finance violations or collusion itself, they're free to do so.

And you're quite right also I think the reporter made the point that since he's a private citizen, since he didn't serve in the government he doesn't have the right to claim executive privilege or a lot of the other means to keep things confidential that people in the government like a Don McGahn or White House Counsel would have available. BURNETT: So it's interesting, David, because obviously that could

mean that Donald Trump Jr. simply - he's out of luck on this one. He's going to have to eventually do this and unless they're willing to throw him in jail literally. And the President today seemed to lament that his son ever got involved. Here's what he said about that.


TRUMP: I was very surprised to see my son. My son is a very good person, works very hard, the last thing he needs is Washington, D.C. He could rather not ever be involved.


BURNETT: What's the risk, David, to the President of his son being forced to testify and come in here again under oath?

GERGEN: I'm sorry, what was the worst thing for the President?

BURNETT: I said what's the risk for the President.

GERGEN: What's the danger?

BURNETT: Yes, the danger for the President.

[19:09:48] GERGEN: :The risk is there's more to this story than has come out. Juliette made two big points about things that they will want to explore, but what if there's more there behind these issues. I think we need to know that and Mueller didn't give him a complete pass after all.

He did say he was in violation of campaign laws, but he just didn't think he ought to bring it or I'm not sure if he thought he could win the case. But he left it on that. I think the other interesting thing, of course, is the role the Republicans are playing in this.

This is the first time we've had a major conservative Republican like Senator Burr who is well-respected break with the White House and he must feel some compulsion to do that. But we have to remember that Burr has also told The Washington Post in past days that even if Donald Jr. was found to be lying to the Senate, he was not inclined to pursue perjury charges.

So at some point you have to ask what is this all about. Why are they then calling him?

BURNETT: Especially - right, because if it isn't about whether he perjured himself and that would mean it is about something else, something we don't know about, something possibly new. I mean that's just - to you point, that would be what that means, definitionally.

John, look Don Jr. in recent days just one of many examples of Trump trying to stonewall Congress when it comes to Don McGahn testifying, when it comes to the Mueller report itself, when it comes to the backup data associated with it and all of the volumes of that Don Jr. now. Is the President taking this too far on all of these inquiries just saying, "No, no, no, no."

YOO: Look, both branches here have constitutional interest at stake. Congress has the right to conduct oversight under the Constitution and the President has the right to keep something secret such as I would say discussions between him and the White House Counsel. But what the Supreme Court has made clear what President Trump can't do is declare blanket resistance to refuse to send any witnesses to the Hill to allow any documents to be produced.

The Supreme Court has made clear it's an issue-by-issue, document by document process. You can't say, I'm just producing nothing. So I think both sides here from, I'd say, are rushing. They want to have some kind of constitutional confrontation rather than stepping back and trying to reach a deal or an accommodation which is the way most congresses and presidents settle these kind of conflicts.

BURNETT: All right, well thank you all very much. And, David, before we go, happy birthday.

KAYYEM: Happy birthday.

GERGEN: You're very sweet. Thank you.

YOO: You don't look a day over 50.

KAYYEM: I know.

BURNETT: I move the marker. Everyone gets a decade as long as they want to hold on to it.


BURNETT: Thank you all very much.

GERGEN: Take care.

BURNETT: And next, Democrats claim they have signatures from millions of voters, 10 million to be exact calling for the President's impeachment.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): I always tell people this is your House, you tell us what to do. And this is us telling this House what to do.


BURNETT: Will the House act? You just saw her there, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib who is leading the impeachment effort is next. Plus, the fight for 2020. A record six women seeking the Democratic nomination. Are they being held to an unfair double standard?


KATE MCKINNON, COMEDIAN: I'm over here working round the clock to give you free college, but, oh, look in there, 'Beto O'Dork' did parkour in a Starbucks. Wow.


BURNETT: And Trump's former ghostwriter breaks his silence leaving Trump as clueless and a failure when it comes to business and wait till you hear about this book that they wrote together. He's out front.


[19:16:54] BURNETT: New tonight, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moving toward impeachment. Here is the speaker earlier today.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The President is almost self-impeaching, because he is everyday demonstrating more obstruction of justice and disrespect for Congress' legitimate role to subpoena.


BURNETT: This is Democrat Rashida Tlaib in Al Green delivered a flash drive to Congress. On this drive, get this, 10 million signatures demanding the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.


TLAIB: This is incredible because this is how movements start. And I always tell people this is your House, you tell us what to do. And this is us telling this House what to do.


BURNETT: Congresswoman Tlaib is now out front. Of course you know she also introduced a resolution in March urging the House to investigate whether Trump should be impeached. Congresswoman, 10 million signatures. That is a lot and you hear Speaker Pelosi now saying President Trump is almost self-impeaching. Those are the words she's using now. Do you think she's coming over to seeing it your way?

TLAIB: What I think is important is to recognize that 10 million people said that we need to hold this President accountable, I think that speaks volumes. I mean just alone just think about it, 10 million people want us to uphold the United States Constitution, 10 million people want us to investigate this President and whether or not he has violated the United States Constitution and whether or not he's acting above the law.

And I think that is tremendous movement that is moving saying to all of us as Members of Congress, "Please. Please do something. Take back our democracy. Get back our country." Because for so many of us we're seeing this becoming a slippery slope into a president who really does believe that he's above the law. I think any of us, yourself, Erin, or myself doing anything that he's done including not divesting in his businesses while he's president.

All of the interactions between the Trump Organization and the Trump administration, we would be under investigation today. We would probably be prosecuted and within 24 hours.

BURNETT: All right. So you have these signatures, Nancy Pelosi, is talking about self impeaching which is not dismissing it altogether which was - where she was not too long ago. But there are some Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee which, of course, would begin and oversee impeachment proceedings who have weighed in on this in recent days and here's a little bit of how they're putting it, Congresswoman.


REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): there is no question that at some point if the President's effort to stonewall and prevent us from getting information continues, that that may form an independent basis for obstruction in and of itself.

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): I think we're inching closer to it every day.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 we may have to go down to save our country.


BURNETT: At some point inching on the road. Are they dodging this?

[19:19:53] TLAIB: No, not at all. I mean the President of the United States is pretty much acting in defiance. I mean there's checks and balances, Erin. I mean we're here as the United States Congress. We have to hold the President accountable to the rule of law.

The fact that continuously members of this administration and others are not cooperating in providing documentation that we can be transparent, open with the United States of America, the American people and the public. It's really important. I mean, look, I'm new here but I have watched while people on the outside are screaming, "Why aren't you doing anything about the President, him acting above the law."

BURNETT: You're new but you've introduced this impeachment resolution, you've taken the leadership role. You have seven co- sponsors, but you hear people saying things like that. I mean are more lawmakers talking to you about adding their names and actually putting their names on something that would be taking a stand as opposed to just words?

TLAIB: Well, more of them are getting engaged by coalition's like MoveOn that collected the 10 million signatures across the country. They're hearing from the American people, the American public who want an end to this. I mean we spent almost two years alone just on the Mueller report close to over $20 million being spent on the investigation.

We just demand accountability, but we also want this to end. We want our democracy back. We want some rule of law and order back into our democracy and our process and that's not happening with this president continuing to defy our request and continue to make a mockery of it.

BURNETT: So the person here who would initiate these proceedings, the individual person, of course, is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Chairman Nadler. He is now saying we're in a constitutional crisis, but he says impeachment may just not be the answer. Let me just play his exact words for you.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): We've talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why are you resistant to moving forward with impeachment?

NADLER: The short answer is that may not be the best answer in this constitutional crisis.


BURNETT: Does that frustrate you? It may not be the best answer.

TLAIB: Look, I try to do the right thing. I don't look at things with political strategy, I look at - when I look back at this moment in our country, this remarkable moment in our country, I want to look back and said I did something. Right now doing nothing is not an option and 10 million people just told us do something. And so I'm going to continue to advocate and elevate their voice here in the halls of Congress and I know slowly but surely we'll be able to hold this President accountable.

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Tlaib, thanks so much for your time.

TLAIB: Thank you.

BURNETT: And coming up in the next hour on CNN, don't miss the town hall with former FBI Director Jim Comey. That is at eight o'clock with Anderson. And next, the fight for 2020. The women running for the Democratic nomination make their case to voters.



I have got plans. I got a plan.


BURNETT: But why some of the men sucking up all of the oxygen? And President Trump's former ghostwriter breaks his silence, saying his book about Trump's business prowess simply doesn't add up. He's my guest.


[19:26:59] BURNETT: Out front tonight, the fight for 2020. New polling in the crucial swing state of New Hampshire showing Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg at the top of the pack. So where are the six women running? MJ Lee is out front.


WARREN: Because that's all anybody wanted to talk about is what I was wearing, what my haircut was.



MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): Six women seeking the Democratic nomination for president in a historic election, four senators, one congresswoman and a spiritual writer.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): As a young mom I will fight for your children as hard as I would fight for my own.


LEE(voice-over): Female voters across the country telling CNN that it is time for a woman to finally take the White House.


KELLY GRIEF, IOWA VOTER: We make up, I think, 51% of the population.

DEVORAH BADEE, MICHIGAN VOTER: I don't think a man could ever handle the pressures of that office any better than a woman.


LEE(voice-over): But there is another darker sentiment, frustration about sexism fueled by flashbacks to Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will.


LEE(voice-over): Democratic voters describing a lingering trauma from the last presidential election.


about you getting Hillaried in the election. Meaning that you get held to a higher standard than your opponent for potentially arbitrary or maybe even sexist reasons.


LEE(voice-over): And concern that nominating a woman again will hand Donald Trump a second term.


TERESA JONES, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: I think that most people didn't vote for her because she was a woman and I think that they ended up voting for Trump because he was a man.

JULIE SWYGERT, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: I worry about the old boys club.


LEE(voice-over): Nine months out from the Iowa caucuses, some of the women who want to see a female president leaning towards supporting one of the men.


BADEE: I would vote for Joe Biden, because I think he has the best chance of winning the presidency.


LEE(voice-over): On the campaign trail, the female candidates making a forceful case for why women are just as electable as men.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And people told me it can't, it cannot be done. They're not ready for you. It's not your time. It will be hard work. It will be run (inaudible) and I didn't listen, and we won.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Someone once said and I agree with part of this, but not all of it that women candidates should speak softly and carry a big statistic. OK. So I think you know I don't always speak softly.

WARREN: It's going to be fun when I say and I won because that's what girls do.


LEE(voice-over): A recent CNN poll showing no indication that women are overwhelmingly supporting the female candidates over the male candidates. This man telling CNN he does have a gender bias.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there were two equally qualified candidates,

one was male, one was female, I would support the female. It's high time we had a female president.



LEE: Now, as the election heats up and we enter the next stage with the Democratic debates beginning in June, electability is a word that we will probably hear more often as all of the candidates start looking ahead to next November, Erin.

[19:29:54] BURNETT: MJ, thank you. And now, former Republican Congressman and CNN Political Commentator, Mia love and Angela Rye former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus and Political Commentator here as well.

[19:30:04] BURNETT: You know, Angela, I have to say, it frustrates me as a woman, as a parent that we have been having these conversations still and yet we are because of what we hear, you know? Some of these women voters who are not convinced a woman can win. They may want a woman to win but they're not convinced a woman can. You look at the polls, you have Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg out there.

Is this because of gender or something else?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it absolutely has a lot to do with gender and it has to do with being able to understand that we actually are very capable. There was a tweet put out the other day by Dan Zach who said Warren, Gillibrand, Harris and Klobuchar have never lost an election in their political careers but Biden, Buttigieg, O'Rourke, and Sanders, and Booker all have. And I think that alone is telling.

I remember going through, Erin and Mia, I'm sure you all can recall, the 2008 election, in my community, the black community, there were tons of people saying they were with Hillary Clinton because America was not ready for the first black president. Here's what will make America not ready -- people not believing that women have the ability to do that. And I would think, right, as we go into 2020, the 100th year anniversary of women's suffrage we would believe it was high time women can actually win.

BURNETT: It is, Mia, to me just shocking. You can look at a lot of countries where you don't have all of the things that this country has in terms of gender equity, obviously there's still plenty of challenges and issues here, and they've had female presidents.


BURNETT: I don't understand what the issue is. I mean, you're actually pointing to a poll, right?

LOVE: Yes. Yes.

BURNETT: Tell me about that, Georgetown University analysis.

LOVE: Georgetown University actually stated that one in eight Americans still believe that women are emotionally unequipped to deal with the -- with the pressures of office. I found that absolutely incredible because -- I mean, if you think about this, women run the economy. They take care of kids. You have children. I mean, I have three kids.

And I remember -- I kept getting, you're not experienced enough. You're not educated enough. You're not ready for office even though I ran a city successfully, got the city completely out of bankruptcy. I still continue to get all of these things.

And I might note that in this study, it also stated that Republicans, that number doubled among Republicans which is really quite I think is sad because we as Republicans know how much women give to the economy and how much their --


BURNETT: You know, Angela, I just had a flashback to a moment I had in eighth grade when I ran for class president. I lost to a boy. I remember over hearing two girls in sixth grade say, well, Erin's really nice but she's a girl.

That was a long time ago. And I think there's a part of me that I literally still get hot inside when I remember that comment. That kind of stuff is still happening.

RYE: Well, Erin, that's just the thing. It is still happening, so it's good that you get hot about it. But I think the question for all of us, right, is what happens when we get hot about it? How do we respond to it?

The first call to action for all of us is the 53 percent of the women -- white women who voted for Donald Trump and did not vote for Hillary Clinton, what makes the interests of the men in their lives more important than their own? What makes you doubt your experience?

When you go into your job and you second guess yourself on whether or not you should be paid the same as your male counterpart, you know, when you're probably doing the work way better than them, why aren't you -- why don't you deserve that same paycheck? Once we start kind of decompressing and understanding all of those things, unpacking all of those things, I think we'll be a whole lot closer to a woman president.

BURNETT: I mean, you know, I want to play a moment of "SNL" to you, Mia, from over the weekend, which I thought was very telling. This is the Kate McKinnon playing Elizabeth Warren.


KATE MCKINNON AS SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: I'm over here working round the clock to give you free college but, oh, look there, Beto O'Dork did parkour in Starbucks. Wow.

Woops, I just figured out universal pre-K. But what's that over there? Mayor Pete Buttageg playing piano and speaking fluent Klingon.


BURNETT: OK, it's funny, but yet, you think of Amy Klobuchar saying a woman has to wield a statistic.

LOVE: Yes.

BURNETT: You know, I could tell you even back in the day, right, you'd get all of your facts, everything all together, that the standard did seem to be so much higher.

LOVE: I think what's sad is that when you think about it most women when you get into office, at least all of the colleagues on both sides that I know, they got into it completely selflessly. Like it was -- it's a major heartache.

Think about this.

[19:35:00] I had to figure out -- we all have to figure out what are we going to do with our kids when we're going back and forth.

BURNETT: Right. You're commuting across the country in Congress.

LOVE: Commuting across the country.

And so, this -- running for office is an incredibly difficult thing. You have to make a lot of sacrifices, more sacrifices as a woman. And, again, having that double standard or having to rise above what the norm is, doing much better than most people expect that you're going to do, it's a very -- it's a very difficult thing.

You have to do twice as much work in order for you to get anybody to get to where they are, any woman.

BURNETT: Right. Thank you both very much. And I think there's a lot -- I want to keep having this question. I feel like we're at the tip of the iceberg here.

RYE: Yes, you need a town hall, Erin.



BURNETT: All right. Thank you.

RYE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Trump's former ghostwriter speaks out. Was the book he wrote with Trump fact or fiction? Look at this thing that we found and wait. Hope you got to read it. It's next. Plus, breaking news: Kim Jong-un wants Trump to know he oversaw North

Korea's latest missile launch. Remember when Trump was bragging there'd been no missile launches or tests? Well, that's no longer true as the U.S. seizes a North Korean ship. What happened to this?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then we fell in love, OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters.



[19:40:10] BURNETT: Tonight, calling Trump out. A man whose job it was to get inside Donald Trump's head and share his story with the world says Trump is a failing real estate developer who had little idea what he was doing.

Charlie Leerhsen was Trump's ghost writer for his 1991 book "Surviving at the Top." He worked with Trump during the years that "The New York Times" bombshell report showed Trump had over $1 billion in losses. In the couple years double the next biggest loser in America.

It is a starkly different picture than the one painted in "Surviving at the Top."

So, Charlie Leerhsen is OUTFRONT.

So, you know, "Art of the Deal" becomes his bestseller. Then he wants to do a sequel, and so, he sits down with you, you write it. As I said, you really get his voice. I encourage people to read it. It's quite fascinating, he talks about an open marriage and all kinds of things like that.

But let me -- let me just ask you, during this time, things are turning around for him very much to the south.


BURNETT: We now see a billion dollars in losses and now you feel like you need to speak up because obviously that's not what he said in the book.

LEERHSEN: Well, I thought it was interesting that from the story that the times dug up the other day about the ten years of income tax, you think of chaos and misery, but in the center of that was this quiet office where he was going through fabric swatches most of the day and in the middle of all this sturm und drang, he was oblivious to it. He wasn't really paying a lot of attention to the plaza hotel and the Trump shuttle and the other things he just invested in.

BURNETT: So, you know, let me just show some examples because he wanted to use this to portray -- I guess when you got in his head, did he believe the spin that he was giving you? LEERHSEN: Well, as I say in the piece, the only thing I think he's

above average at is compartmentalizing. So, he was able to put all that bad stuff --

BURNETT: The failure.

LEERHSEN: -- in a box that he didn't think about during the day. I think it only really bothered him when it became public. At this time things were really going to hell in his business, but the public didn't know about it yet so he wasn't that concerned.

BURNETT: Then he wants to put this book out to -- I'm curious what word you'd use. Let's talk about a yacht. He bought a yacht. He calls it the Trump Princess in 1987.


BURNETT: Actually from a relative of Jamal Khashoggi, Adnan Khashoggi. He also had to turn it over to lenders because he was so far in the hole that he lost the boat. In the book, he says after a couple of years, I started to think about an even bigger boat and I had plans drawn for a second one. This is a classic example of how I keep trying to top myself. Owning the world's most magnificent yacht only made me want to get something bigger and better. But as much as I've enjoyed it until now, I don't need it anymore. I don't want it anymore.

In that year when it was taken from him --


BURNETT: -- he had $42.2 million in business losses. This was not spinning.


BURNETT: This was just a blatant lie.

LEERHSEN: Oh, yes. And I can -- I can still see myself at my kitchen table writing what you just read.

BURNETT: You remember him telling you this.

LEERHSEN: No, he didn't tell me that. We had -- each time we had a whole book of braggadocios stuff all prepared. Then as we were ready to go to press "Forbes" magazine and some other people came out with the news that he actually had a below zero net worth, that everything was going south. His wife Ivana left him. Mike Tyson was his meal ticket in Atlantic City got knocked out. Everything is going poorly. So, we had to salvage the book, w had to come up with these lame explanations, meaning me and the editors.

BURNETT: To try to sell the whole thing.

LEERHSEN: He wasn't really involved --

BURNETT: Interesting he makes a point in here he's the one who left Ivana. I mean, that's all there, it's happened contemporaneously.

Trump shuttle. You got a picture with the Trump shuttle is the boast airline of any kind anywhere. He bought the shuttle for $365 million. It never made a profit, lost $182 million that year on his business losses. So that was also B.S.

LEERHSEN: It was and all of these deals were really stupid deals that he made for the plaza hotel, the Trump shuttle. He simply paid too much for them and he did the equivalent -- if you bought a house and only put $10 down, your mortgage would be astronomical. You couldn't pay it every month. That was the position he was in.

BURNETT: What was your impression of him?

LEERHSEN: At the time I thought he was a goofy -- what we call in New York, a bridge and tunnel guy. He was from Queens, I was from the Bronx, so we got along. The stakes were lower, it didn't matter that much. He wasn't evil, he wasn't mean, he was going to separate babies form their families, he was like a middle level real estate guy with aspirations.

So, I didn't think he was evil at the time, but I think he is now.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. I enjoy going through this.

All right. Next, breaking news, Kim Jong-un overseeing North Korea's latest missile test. United States seizing a North Korean ship. Are Trump and Kim once lovers according to Trump now in a dangerous collusion course?

Also breaking tonight, we're just hours away from a major deadline that could result in you paying more for food and clothes. Can Congress do anything about it?


[19:49:02] BURNETT: Breaking news. We now know Kim Jong-un personally supervised North Korea's missile launch overnight. These are the new images from North Korean state media which show Kim apparently overseeing the launch of two suspected short-range missiles. This comes as the United States says it has seized a North Korean cargo ship alleging it was in violation of sanctions.

Trump and Kim who, of course, most recently met in person two months ago once again appear to be on a dangerous collision course.

Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After two meetings with Kim Jong-un on the world stage, all that pomp and strange (ph) circumstance yielding very little and zero in the way of denuclearization. One of the few things the Trump administration could keep touting was at least they were talking and at least North Korea hadn't fired off any missiles since 2017.

Well, no more. All in a matter of days, Kim Jong-un is back at it, testing weapons systems Friday and now launching multiple short-term range ballistic missiles.

[19:50:03] Trump's tone decidedly less glowing on the subject today.

TRUMP: Nobody is happy about it. I don't think they're ready to negotiate.

KOSINSKI: The other positive Trump could still point to is North Korea agreed to return the remains of U.S. soldiers from the Korean War. Well, they've stopped that too, stopped answering calls. Big setbacks to what Trump had hoped would be a foreign policy crowning glory.

TRUMP: I like Kim. He likes me.

He's never had a relationship with anybody from this country.

KOSINSKI: From the early days of name-calling, Trump calling Kim a maniac, little rocket man. Kim calling the president a loser, lunatic, mean old trickster and human reject.

In 2017, North Korea returned imprisoned American student Otto Warmbier in a coma. He died days later.

Three months later, Kim tested a nuclear weapon.

But then things started to change with North Korea invited to the Olympics in South Korea. Kim wanting to talk to the United States. There were letters, big oversized letters from Kim that Trump called beautiful.

TRUMP: He wrote me beautiful letters.

KOSINSKI: Missives back from the president. Trump sent Kim a CD of Elton John's "Rocket Man".

The first Trump/Kim summit almost a year ago, and Trump talking about Kim in over-the-top praising terms.

TRUMP: And then we fell in love.

KOSINSKI: There were ups and downs in this bizarro bromance. But without agreeing on even a definition of denuclearization, Trump's second summit with Kim in February all fell apart. No other meetings planned.


KOSINSKI: Kim Jong-un looked thrilled and beaming in those pictures North Korea released of these latest missile launches, what are essentially a show of muscle and anger towards the United States for not lifting sanctions, and to South Korea for continuing military exercises with the U.S. So, yes, you could say that this provocation could have been much

worse and much bigger. Still, though, the message here to Trump, of course, is the opposite of a love letter -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Michelle.

And next, breaking news. We are just hours from President Trump slapping higher tariffs on Chinese goods, which means higher prices here.

Plus, a special week coming up on CNN, highlighting the champions for change who left an impact on us. Take a look.



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Some stories.

BURNETT: Are so powerful.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: They leave their mark.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Nobody has ever affected me the way your son did.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Their work creates real impact.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meet the change-makers we have never forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a difference seven years makes.

GUPTA: This is the place where you jumped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. This is the place where I live.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my first time today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are the champions for change.

BURNETT: It is amazing.

GUPTA: I just get to tell you a story.

ANNOUNCER: "Champions for Change: A Week-Long CNN Special Event", all next week.



[19:57:26] BURNETT: Breaking news: down to the wire. We're just hours away from a major deadline. Tariffs on Chinese goods are going to go to 25 percent if the Chinese and U.S. negotiators don't come to agreement.

And President Trump, here's what he said.


TRUMP: I have no idea what's going to happen. I did get last night a very beautiful letter from President Xi, let's work together. Let's see if we can get something done.

But they renegotiated the deal. They took many, many parts of that deal, and they renegotiated it. You can't do that.


BURNETT: Let's hope that letter was better than Kim's letter, which also is apparently so beautiful before the missiles started flying.

Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.

Phil, look, just so people know, 25 percent on Chinese goods means that affects prices here, right? Those are goods coming here. That gets passed along. Republicans have been really vocal about this. They have not liked it. It's hurting many states, including red ones.

What's the reaction on Capitol Hill to what the president is doing?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, just a few short minutes ago, I texted a senior Republican aide who works on these issues, asked what Republicans are feeling right now just four hours before that deadline. The one-word response: anxiety.

And that really reflects where Senate and House Republicans have been on this issue over the course of the past months, and certainly, in a very acute way over the course of the last couple of days. Their opposition is obviously ideological.

This isn't necessarily how Republicans traditionally operate on trade. But as you noted, they're also very concerned about retaliation that would hit several sectors of the economy, agriculture sectors, consumers facing increased prices that would significantly impact their states. I think they also look at it from political perspective. The economy right now robust in first quarter growth, a bull market. Jobless rate is down as low as it's been in about 40 years. Why would you want to mess with that right now? But there is also a

kind of a reality that is, they can't do anything about it right now. It's about the negotiators that are in the room with the midnight deadline.

BURNETT: So Congress can't do anything to stop this, even though they so desperately want to?

MATTINGLY: Yes -- what's been most interest, it's not just with China, it's also with the section 232 tariffs related to U.S. allies on national security grounds Republicans are viscerally opposed to. Congress over the course of decades, over the course of multiple administrations have largely abdicated their responsibility over trade, kind of turned it over to the executive branch.

We've seen efforts in the past start to tick up little bit and never really go anywhere. There is kind of a sense we're trusting the president on this. We hope that he can get this there in the end. They hope that this is saber-rattling in a way to get a deal, but they're all waiting like everybody else, Erin.

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

And thanks so much to all of you for joining us.

"AC360's" town hall with former FBI Director James Comey starts right now.