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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
GOP Rep. Amash Doubles Down on Call For Trump Impeachment; Bernie Sanders: I Want to Speak to People Who Voted for Trump. Aired on 7-8p ET
Aired May 20, 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: ... to all the grads and their families, their professors, everyone else. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next breaking news, a striking blow to President Trump, federal judge ruling Congress has a right to the President's financial records. It is a decision tonight with major implications. Also breaking this hour, the President denying Democrats their star witness blocking the former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying in the morning. Plus, the fight for 2020, Bernie Sanders deep in Trump country. Does he think he can win anybody over? Let's go out front.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, a major blow tonight to President Trump. Democrats could be about to get what many believe is the holy grail, President Trump's finances. A federal judge has ordered this ruling, 41-page ruling, an accounting firm to hand over Trump's financial records going all the way back to 2011. This is a devastating setback for the President who is doing everything he can to stop Congress from getting any information to find every single subpoena. Trump fighting back just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as the financials are concerned, we think it's totally the wrong decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So the judge lays it out here, Judge Mehta, 41 pages. He's in favor of the House Oversight Committee's argument. The argument is that the requested documents from Trump will help strengthen ethics and disclosure laws and ensure the president is not violating the Constitution. So the judge writes in part, "These are facially valid legislative purposes" from the Oversight Committee which, of course, has incredibly broad powers to look at whatever the heck they want to look at.
And these words are key, because team Trump and his staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill have consistently argued that the President has every right to defy Congress, because there's no legislative purpose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW & JUSTICE: What is the legitimate legislative purpose?
REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX): The president is absolutely right to be fighting this. This is not a legitimate request. It has no legal, legislative purpose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to see him. I'm not going to request them, supposed to serve a legislative purpose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The Treasury Secretary when it comes to the tax returns has repeatedly put out in statements, there's no valid legislative purpose, but you heard what the judge said these are facially valid legislative purposes. The president's number one defense according to this judge doesn't apply. The ruling therefore most likely could be used as precedent for other judges who will rule on Trump's defiance of subpoena after subpoena after subpoena, including the one for Trump's tax return which is headed to court now.
Kaitlan Collins is out front live at the President's rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. All right. Kaitlan, we heard the President just before he got ready to board Marine One and coming to where you are, what's his next move?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's confirmed that they are going to appeal this decision. Now, that is going to make this likely the next step in a very lengthy and legal process before you'll remember before the President sued this firm to stop them from releasing this information and just there in the lawn he dismissed what happened today as crazy, he said that it was because it was this judge who is appointed by President Barack Obama.
And he framed it as Democrats just trying to get a redo. But, Erin, while this is likely going to turn into a very lengthy and legal battle, make no mistake this is a loss for the President and a test of what he's attempt was to do and his administration's strategy was which was to stonewall Congress on all of their subpoena demands.
Now, this judge's ruling today is saying that essentially they do have legitimate legislative purpose for the reasoning why they wanted the President's financial records could help Democrats as they've tried to get more information from this administration, because this is related to financial records from before he was even in office. So this could likely help them.
So while this is going to drag out for a while likely, it is going to potentially get bothered to those other Democrats and maybe those other judges as they are making decisions about the White House's strategy to totally stonewall House Democrats as they attempt to do oversight of the administration.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. And I want to go now to Harry Sandick, former Assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Networks and Seth Hettena, former Investigative Reporter for Associated Press and Author of Trump/Russia: A Definitive History. OK. Thanks to all.
So Harry, 41 pages, the judge took his time and laid this out. How significant is the ruling?
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: It's very significant. It's a very thorough opinion that lays out in detail why this judge is not going to interfere with Congress' right to conduct oversight that he explains that Congress has very broad authority. There only has to be some facially legitimate legislative purpose.
The judge isn't going to dig in and say, "Well, would I do it differently if I was Congress?" As long as it's within the general ballpark of congressional authority, the subpoena is going to be enforced and very significant the judge did not agree to stay this decision, to hold off on enforcing it until an appeal can be done. Unless the appeals court or the Supreme Court stays this order, that subpoena has to be complied with by the accounting firm right away.
[19:05:20] BURNETT: Right away and so they've got just a few days to go ahead with this appeal, which they say they're going to do, the President.
SANDICK: That's right. The only delay will be that it takes a few days for the accounting firm to pull together the documents and make a production. But the court won't delay if this subpoena is live, it's active, it's binding on the accounting firm.
BURNETT: April, that is a big blow to this president.
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes, it's a big blow. It's such a blow that Congressman Elijah Cummings, the head of Government Oversight and Government Reform told me by phone just before we went on air, this is a major, major victory. He said it twice, major victory twice.
And but the President is going to fight like hell to make sure that the Government Oversight and Reform Committee does not get what they've been deemed to get his taxes. He's going to take it as far as going against him. We've seen he's already disparaging the circuit court judge who is a black judge, who has sided in favor of President Trump on occasion.
He's also if that doesn't work, he's going to go to the D.C. Court of Appeals. If that doesn't work, he's going to go as far as the superior court, the Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court to make sure that these taxes will not be revealed. Why? Because these taxes have tentacles. It could show what he does and does not have. It could also go into companies that we did not know or countries that the President has been in question of before, so the President is going to fight.
BURNETT: So Seth, he's going to fight, but let's talk about what's in here because they've requested right information from back to 2011 from the President's accounting firm. Personal and business information, it's very explicit here in the ruling being clear that yes the subpoena includes both and both are being upheld, personally as well as various associated businesses and entities dating back to 2011. How much could be in here, Seth?
SETH HETTENA, FORMER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: It could be a lot. Let's back up. The reason why we're here is because of Michael Cohen's testimony. He brought statements to Congress showing that Trump regularly inflated his assets and deflated them to suit his purposes. That's grounds for a criminal investigation and that's what the line Congress is pursuing here.
Another point is this is different than getting tax information. Tax information is not going to be made public. That's going to be kept behind closed doors. There's no privileges for accounting information. This can be disclosed to the public and let's not forget that accounting information is what put Paul Manafort in prison where he is right now.
So there's a lot that could be in here. There's a lot of criminal investigations that could come out of this and that's why Trump is fighting so hard.
BURNETT: And the point you're making, Seth, just to be clear is that if what Michael Cohen said is true and Michael Cohen by the way did bring some pages from this accounting firm to that testimony to say when the President wanted to buy ...
HETTENA: That's right.
BURNETT: ... what was it, an NFL franchise, he, according to Cohen, lied about his net worth. When he wanted to do other things, he lied about his net worth according to Cohen the other direction. But you're making the point that those things would be criminal.
HETTENA: Right. I mean lying on a bank statement is a criminal offense. Lying on financial forms and financial disclosure forms would be grounds for a criminal investigation. There's a lot that could come out of this and this is the danger that Paul Manafort found himself in. They dragged his accountant in the court and they produced her notes. And if Trump is directing his accountants to lie, that could come out and that's a big blow.
BURNETT: So Harry, the stakes are incredibly high.
SANDICK: Yes. The stakes are very high because this is useful information to better understand the President's finances and it may not even have been something that was within the scope of the Mueller investigation or not entirely.
BURNETT: Right. This is the redline that he said you don't cross.
BURNETT: So in terms of as April saying he's going to fight it and you're saying it's a live subpoena, if it doesn't get overruled in the next seven days, they have to hand it over. But let's say it does, hypothetically, just to play the appeals process out, how long does it take before we know?
SANDICK: So if it gets stayed by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia which would be the next court up in the chain, that appeal process even if expedited would still take several months to go forward and then there could be an appeal from there to the Supreme Court being on that. And these cases are not frequently litigated because usually they are resolved by compromise, between the recipient of the subpoena and the congressional committee.
But when they have gone to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has generally ruled in favor of Congress. So there is broad authority for Congress to act and president.
[19:10:08] BURNETT: And president, OK. So April on this point, the President has already been weighing in on his way to the rally where Kaitlan is tonight. He's obviously making this personal and disparaging the judge. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As far as the financials are concerned, we think it's totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. So he's making it about Obama. We all know, April, he's done this a lot when he criticizes Obama judges. But I think it's important to note late last year, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare rebuke of what the President continues to do on this front saying, "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."
Clearly, April, the president does not care about that. He thinks that this argument works for him politically.
RYAN: Well, and let's go back. Remember he went against the Latino judge because of his ethnicity. This president does things like this. He wants to go after this judge and say, Obama, but there's also code with this, this judge is a black man as well. So let's see how this plays out because this president will go after minorities in a moment's notice.
But this judge also has sided with this president. He might have been an Obama-appointed judge but he has had thoughtful rulings on the side of this president. And if the President is using the fact that this is about the presidency, no it's not. He doesn't have a ground to stand on with that. This is about his personal finances. Other presidential candidates
and presidents have successfully given their finances so people can peruse. It's not a law as of yet, but he is trying to fight this any way he can by going after the judge. He can't stand on this ground. The people of America, we the people, are saying they want to see his taxes and his financial information.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. And next breaking news, President Trump blocking former White House Counsel, the star witness from testifying, defying yet another subpoena tonight. Plus, a Republican congressman doubling down on his calls to impeach President Trump. So will this move the needle when it comes to Democrats actually launching such proceedings? And the fight for 2020 tonight, President Trump just arriving in the crucial State of Pennsylvania. His own internal polling now shows him trailing Democrats.
[19:16:26] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump blocking former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress tomorrow morning. According to the White House, "The former counsel to the President cannot be forced to give such testimony and Mr. McGahn has been directed to act accordingly."
Directed not to cooperate. This is a huge move by the President to deny Democrats' the star witness into whether the President of the United States obstructed justice. Now, the White House goes on to say, quote, the Democrats do not like the conclusion of the Mueller investigation - no collusion, no conspiracy, and no obstruction. Of course, that wasn't the conclusion, no obstruction.
Mueller did not clear the President of obstruction, explicitly saying he was not exonerated. More than 900 former federal prosecutors of both parties have signed on to a statement to say when they read the Mueller report it was very clear they thought the President would be charged with obstruction if he weren't president, meaning impeachable crime.
Mueller's report of course leaves it undecided whether or not President Trump obstructed justice. So now it's left to Congress right for Congress to look into that. Trump, of course, does not want Congress to do that, why? Remember, McGahn was one of Bob Mueller's key eye witnesses. He's crucial to this, if you're going to look into the question.
He was interviewed for more than 30 hours. He's mentioned in the report more than 500 times more than any other witness. Evan Perez is out front. So Evan, obviously, no one is more important than Don McGahn. Others, of course, will be crucial but Don McGahn at the heart of the obstruction discussion. The Justice Department, do they stand on solid footing?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they stand on the footing that they've been standing for 50 years, Erin. They're citing all of these rulings from the Office of Legal Counsel that say that people who are very close to the President, can you hear me?
BURNETT: Yes, I can.
PEREZ: OK. So they're citing all of these rulings from the Office of Legal Counsel that say that if you're a close adviser of the President, that you don't have to show up for this, that you do not have to submit yourself to questions from members of Congress simply because of the executive privilege and the idea that this is a close, close adviser to the President. Don McGahn, of course, is a lawyer who was working for the office of the presidency.
Now, the question is, Erin, when this goes to a court and there's no doubt that this is going to go before a court, I think you're going to look back and we're going to look back especially at the Bush administration and Harriet Miers who similarly refused to show up for a subpoena and in the end years later after courts ruled that she had to answer some questions, in the end they made a deal and she was able to answer some questions. Again, it may take years, but that's where I believe this will end up going.
BURNETT: Right, of course, that does give a precedent perhaps in favor of - we'll see what that means for the timing here, but obviously that is crucial. I want to ask you also about the developments here from Michael Cohen. We've got newly released transcripts that show that Cohen testified under oath that the President's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow knew he was about to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower discussions in Moscow, that he was going to say that those discussions ended months earlier than they did.
BURNETT: Jay Sekulow, of course, the one who apparently gave him this direction, how significant is it that Jay Sekulow, the President's personal attorney, is implicated in this now?
[19:19:50] PEREZ: Well, look, it's a big deal for the President's former personal lawyer to be essentially accusing the President's current personal attorney of wrongdoing here. And the question is whose word are you going to believe? Now according to Michael Cohen's testimony. He says that Sekulow knew that that information was false, that he was directed to essentially at the direction of the president, by the way, to essentially make those false statements.
Now, if you talk to the White House, they say that the reason why everybody coalesced around the idea that everything ended in January of 2016 was simply because that's all of the emails, all of the documentation ended there. So we did get a statement from Sekulow's attorney, Jane Raskin, and it says in part Michael Cohen's alleged statements are more of the same from him.
And essentially they're saying this guy is a liar, don't believe anything he says.
BURNETT: All Right. Evan, thank you very much.
BURNETT: Out front tonight, Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch. He's a member of the House Judiciary Committee. And Congressman, thanks for your time.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): My pleasure.
BURNETT: I want to start with the new reporting tonight, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen apparently told the House Intelligence Committee, we've got the transcripts now, that Jay Sekulow, the President's attorney told Cohen to lie, to put in a statement to Congress that he stopped negotiations to build that Trump Tower Moscow at the beginning of 2016.
Of course, we know that's false. They continued well into the campaign. What's your reaction?
DEUTCH: Well, if that's true, obviously, it's a very damning piece of news. But unfortunately, Erin, it's not terribly surprising. This comes on the same day that a judge said that the president can't block the release of his financial records. These two stories seem to go together.
The President clearly doesn't want Congress investigating. He doesn't want Congress investigating based on the obstruction of justice arguments set forth in the Mueller report, he doesn't want Congress investigating based on the personal dealings of him and his company. And his family, and he's willing to go to great lengths, apparently, to prevent any of this information from coming out to the American people.
BURNETT: So to the extent here that he's now saying McGahn can't appear, that his former White House Counsel can't appear, they're saying he has constitutional immunity. The legal opinion from the Justice Department, of course, that went to your committee, "Congress may not constitutionally compel the President's senior advisers to testify about their official duties." What's your response?
DEUTCH: Well, I am quite certain that in any reading of the law and of what Don McGahn's job was, obstruction of justice was never part of his official duty. Let's remember, Erin, that Don McGahn, for people who have not read the Mueller reports, he's the person who the President went to and said, "Fire Mueller. Get sessions to unrecuse himself."
Lied to the American public over and over again he's mentioned and we need the ability to hear directly from him but again the administration is using the Justice Department as its own lawyers and is coming up with this notion that you can't be forced to testify on something that has nothing to do with your official duties and everything to do with trying to pursue justice under law.
BURNETT: I mean I know you've seen your fellow Democrat on your Committee, David Cicilline is saying tonight, "The House should open an impeachment inquiry." He's now taking that step and he's been very careful about his wording. He's now saying if McGahn does not show up, if McGahn doesn't testify then, you all should move forward with impeachment proceedings and an inquiry, do you agree?
DEUTCH: Well, I agree that we certainly ought to spend just a minute, Erin, reflecting on what impeachment is. It's the last opportunity we have constitutionally to protect the separation of powers in our country. And when the President first is mentioned more than a dozen times for potentially obstructing justice and we need to investigate, then goes out of his way to obstruct Congress and even goes to court try to obstruct us from doing our job.
Then, anything that will give us more tools to get to the truth ought to be considered and certainly our only choice is we can throw up our hands and say, "The President is right, no one has an interest in getting to the truth and let him continue to block it" or we can look at every means we have in order to get to the truth to ensure that no one is above the law.
BURNETT: So look I know you're putting that as one thing out, but it is important here as they defy, they don't show up, they defy subpoenas, you know your Chairman, Jerry Nadler, has said it's a constitutional crisis.
DEUTCH: I agree with him.
[19:25:06] BURNETT: So what does it take for you? You do agree. OK. So what does it take for you at this point to say, "Let's do it. Let's go ahead with these impeachment proceedings." Because at least that would enable you to get the information that they are denying you now.
DEUTCH: Yes. And it would provide, as I said, it would provide tools for us, more tools for us to move forward and I think have an easier time getting this information that we need. Look, I've been pretty clear about this, Erin, I think we ought to instead of doing this piecemeal, we ought to be right upfront with all of the people that we expect to hear from and let's just put it to the administration once and for all.
Instead of going through this piecemeal time and time again where we wait until the last minute and see if they're going to block it.
BURNETT: So you do it all, you see what they say and then if the answer is no then you impeach, but you're not there yet.
DEUTCH: And when they say the answer is no as we predict they will, it will be clear to the American public that they have only one interest and that's in trying to prevent the truth from coming out, then it will be clear what direction we have to go.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Congressman Deutch, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
DEUTCH: Thanks, Erin. That was good to be with you.
BURNETT: All right. And out front next, President Trump lashing out at a Republican Congressman who is now calling for his impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He's been against Trump from the beginning. He probably wants to run for some other office. I don't think he'll do very well. He's been a loser for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, President Trump speaking in Pennsylvania where Joe Biden is currently ahead in the poll, so can Trump keep up?
[19:30:36] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: New tonight, Republican Congressman Justin Amash doubling down on his call to impeach President Trump, tweeting, quote: People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation and therefore cannot be impeached, arresting their argument on several falsehoods. They say there are no underlying crimes. In fact, there were crimes in fact revealed by the investigation, some of which are charged and some of which are not but nevertheless described in Mueller's report.
And that's just a taste on what he said today, as he also faces a brand new primary challenger in his district over his comments against Trump. And the president himself is now jumping in with his trademark language.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's been against Trump from the beginning. He probably wants to run for some other office. I don't think he'll do very well. He's been a loser for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, editor of "The National Review", Rich Lowry, and Bill Kristol, who's the director of Defending Democracy, a conservative anti-Trump organization.
So, Bill, look, Justice Amash has always been someone who makes his own counsel. He is not loquacious, certainly not in public. Obviously, he's choosing to make this point on Twitter, very carefully considered.
But does this move the needle at all? Look, it's a Republican, that's significant, but that's it so far?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE BULWARK: Yes, I think it will actually have less effect on other Republicans who I think 90 percent of whom are not interested in crossing Donald Trump. I think it adds to the pressure on Nancy Pelosi, on the speaker to get a little more sense of urgency that they have this massive report from Robert Mueller. He opens the question of whether there was obstruction of justice or not and maybe they should take a look at these things and have hearings. So I do think the House will move to more formally convene an
impeachment inquiry and start having hearings. When we get people to testify, it's obviously a question with Don McGahn and stuff. But, fine, let's have the actual hearing and let the White House make the case that Don McGahn's testimony is not relevant to an impeachment inquiry. I think that's a very hard question to make.
BURNETT: Well, you know, here's the thing, it's interesting, Rich, because the argument that Justin Amash makes is very constitutional. It's extremely conservative, right? It's not political in nature which is why Nancy Pelosi hasn't move forward with impeachment proceedings because she's afraid it'll be perceived as such. Justin Amash is making it, you know, he's making his constitutional argument.
And now, the president comes out and calls him a loser. Does it matter how the president chooses to handle himself?
RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: I admire Amash's independent- mindedness and his courage, because there's some significance he might lose a primary over this. And I don't agree with his analysis.
I mean, the underlying crime, the big white whale is the Russia conspiracy, Russian collusion, it wasn't there. Trump obviously hated this investigation, scheming at various times, but proceeded --
BURNETT: I don't want to relitigate the report, but we all know maybe they didn't find conspiracy. There were things that could have risen to the level of what common people call collusion, but there's a legal standard --
LOWRY: The report -- the investigation proceeded to its lawful conclusion. He could have invoked executive privilege on all his White House officials, he didn't. He could have blocked the report and have ordered Bill Barr not to block it, and now Congress has a report, and this is where I agree with Bill, I have a different view of bill on impeachment probably as I am against it.
But they have the report. It's there. It's all there. They don't need to hear from McGahn or anyone else. They have all the facts setout in a two-year investigation by a prosecutor that had all sorts of powers and was very aggressive.
BURNETT: Which former DOJ prosecutors have said it was obstruction and they should impeach, even based on the information they have without asking for more, or subpoenaing more. I mean, it's a legitimate question, isn't it?
LOWRY: Well, again, what was obstructed, what was stopped? There's a de facto impeachment report in the lap of Congress right now that was produced by Donald Trump's Department of Justice.
KRISTOL: But Donald Trump said McGahn was not telling the truth when he recounted meetings with Trump. I agree with you. My point of view if Trump doesn't let McGahn
testify, they should just say we should take the Mueller report as correct in so far as running the vote, and then make a decision. And they may decide to censure. But they might decide that they're two impeachable issues in there and seven there are. I'm open-minded.
They do owe the country, I think, a series of hearings whether you hear from constitutional law experts as well as fact witnesses if they can testify like McGahn and just make a decision.
[19:35:04] BURNETT: All right. But what about --
LOWRY: Any damaging material that was left on the cutting room floor by Robert Mueller, a 400-page report is ridiculous.
BURNETT: But the point I'm making is there's plenty of people who read it who experts said there's enough in there, right? So, you know, if you're saying there is and I want more, you know, sort of being -- you know, maybe you're being a bit of a wimp here, right?
LOWRY: The obstacle to impeachment is not these claims of executive privilege the White House is making. It's Nancy Pelosi because she doesn't want to do it because she thinks the politics are bad and she also agrees with Bill Barr. Bill Barr didn't think a real legal jury would convict. Nancy Pelosi doesn't think the Senate --
BURNETT: So, Justice Amash has not been hesitant to call the president out in the rare times he has spoken. He has criticized him before. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R-MI): I think that Trump presents a kind of threat to our system that is maybe in some ways bigger than what the Democrats present.
I would like Donald Trump to go back to "The Apprentice".
Certainly, I'm upset with the Republicans. I don't think they should be supporting the president in an action I think is clearly executive overreach.
I think the president is violating our constitutional system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, so does he lose to a primary challenger? I mean as Rich is pointing out, you now have one in there.
KRISTOL: He could. He may not to choose for re-election or he may choose to run as the libertarian candidate for president. Who knows? I mean, look, I give him credit for saying what he believes and I think really without excess of political calculation. I think he genuinely thinks this.
BURNETT: Clearly -- LOWRY: If this was political calculation, it was the worst political
calculation in the history of the galaxy.
KRISTOL: It's worth losing your seat to go down well in the history books.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And next, the fight for 2020. Is Trump running scared in Pennsylvania? His internal polling shows he should be at least right now.
Plus, the Bernie Sanders strategy going after Trump voters. Does Bernie have a chance?
[19:40:44] BURNETT: All right, you are looking at live pictures. There's President Trump. He's arrived in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. And it comes as we are learning that the president's internal polling shows Trump lagging in two crucial states, both Pennsylvania and Michigan.
And, look, those are crucial in every way, including the fact that he won them by the narrowest of margins in 2016, and they're a big part of the reason that he is where he is right now, which explains why he is starting to spend time with messages like this in those states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania. Well, I'm thrilled to be back in this state that gave us American independence. You know that. American steel, which we now have coming back. By the way, like never before, and generations of American patriots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Rob Astorino, a member of President Trump's 2020 Re-Elect Advisory Council and Maria Cardona, Democratic strategist and former DNC communications director.
So, Maria, look, it's internal poll [it's not internal polling. Quinnipiac shows Joe Biden beating Trump in Pennsylvania 53-42. But it is really early. You do not want to look this good this early because problems can happen. Can Biden keep it up?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what Biden needs to continue to do is make the argument that what Trump promised in 2016 not just to all these Midwest voters but to America as a whole and to those who have actually been lagging behind economically, that he has actually betrayed them.
And look, very specifically in these Midwestern states, it shows he has been struggling since the election, since he won them, right, his approval rating has been eroding. Pennsylvania and Michigan have been lagging behind the rest of the country --
BURNETT: But what about Biden? You're avoiding the Biden question.
CARDONA: No, I think what I'm telling you is if Biden continues on this message that he is actually the one who's going to take care of them, he's not going to start a trade war with China that's going to make farmers in the Midwest suffer. He's not going to take away health care from millions of those very same voters who backed Trump. These are very key economic issues, Erin, that even though on paper, the economy's doing great, it's not doing great for everybody.
BURNETT: Right, no, that's true. Now, Rob, you know, Biden, though, has made Pennsylvania personal. Obviously, he was born there. He's picked Philadelphia as his campaign headquarters. He likes to talk about Pennsylvania every chance he gets like these.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm going to be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it's going to happen here, in western Pennsylvania. No one's going to campaign harder to win your hearts, your trust and your support than the son of Katherine Eugene Finnegan from Scranton, Pennsylvania. When I look at this crowd, let me tell what I see. I see my old neighborhood in Claymont and Scranton. I see the backbone -- and this is not hyperbole, I see the backbone of the nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, you're a member of the 2020 advisory re-election council. Biden obviously is very compelling to many voters in these states, but Pennsylvania is his home state. He's got a couple of home states, but it is obviously a powerful one for him.
You look at the internal polls. Are you worried at all at this point when you see an internal poll in?
ROB ASTORINO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Completely meaningless.
BURNETT: Explain why.
ASTORINO: Well, July of 2011, OK, so two months ahead of the cycle where we are right now, Obama, do you know where he was? He was at 47-39. He had 39 to any Republican running against him because --
BURNETT: But nobody knew who he was and everybody knows Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
ASTORINO: But he was at 39, and his approval rating was at a 44 or 45. The point is, a lot more to go and the economy is always, always a major, major factor, especially this time. Look, I think it's so baked in right now. You have a real love and a real hate for Trump, right? So, it's going to be more than ever a base vote.
However, it's going to be Trump versus somebody, and it may not be Biden because he's just starting outright now.
[19:45:03] They haven't even picked him apart yet, the left. So he's got 23 other people who are going to be slinging arrows at him before Trump even does that, and there's a lot to remind about Joe Biden.
BURNETT: So, Maria, let me ask you, as because Rob points out, he's just getting -- I do find a great irony of the fact that he's just getting in when Trump four years ago wasn't even in the race yet and now, it's considered late. As I keep saying it is a damning statement about our entire process, but that being said, Biden has not had a chance -- he's known by everybody, right, but you're looking at Trump's numbers. Thirty million bucks in the first three months of this year. Trump's campaign and the national GOP, $82 million with the cash on hand.
How troubling is that when you look at someone like Biden having to compete?
CARDONA: Well, I mean, it's certainly astounding the amount of money Trump is going to bring in, but that's really no surprise. Erin, as you know, Republicans normally always outspend Democrats especially when Democrats are the opposition party.
But what I will say is that there's a lot of money on the Democratic side. Let's remember we have 23 candidates, we talked about this the other night, right, and so you're going to have candidates every single night going at Trump, underscoring why he is unfit for office and specifically for Biden and, frankly, others you have Sanders and you have Warren who are talking about -- and Kamala Harris who are talking about the economy and how this president has actually betrayed those very voters and those Midwestern states that trusted him to take care of him economically and he hasn't.
ASTORINO: He certainly has. Look, there's no question about it the economy is doing well. People are working again and Joe Biden has lost twice in a Democratic primary for president, and this isn't the same Democratic Party that he ran on when he ran those two other times. So I don't think he excites not the base of the Democratic party, and it's going to be this. It's going to be Donald Trump, and for some people hold your nose with an economy doing well. Or is it an Elizabeth Warren or one of the others who are going to turn this country inside out with regard to who we are as a nation?
BURNETT: All right. I hit pause --
CARDONA: That's talking like someone who's scared of Biden.
ASTORINO: I'm not.
CARDONA: It sounds like it.
BURNETT: Thank you both.
And next, Bernie Sanders --
CARDONA: Thanks, Erin. BURNETT: Bernie Sander from the far left taking his argument straight to voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think those people in Georgia who are voting for Trump take a look at his last budget. He lied to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, Jeanne on Trump's love for Trump.
[19:51:24] BURNETT: Bernie Sanders sweeping through the South in a push to win over Trump voters. So, does he have a shot?
Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: In a field of 23 candidates, most Democrats are focusing all their energy on winning over Democratic voters, but Bernie Sanders is already looking past the primaries.
SANDERS: We're going to speak to the people who voted for Donald Trump.
NOBLES: Sanders has dedicated much of his travel to states that Donald Trump won in 2016, traveling through Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April.
SANDERS: Thank you, Michigan.
Thank you, Pittsburgh.
NOBLES: He was also the first candidate to sit down for a Fox News town hall last month and tonight, Sanders is wrapping up a four-state swing of southern states. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama filled with Trump voters and delivering a message specifically aimed at making the case that his policies are better for them than what Trump has delivered in his first two years in office.
SANDERS: I beg those people in Georgia who voted for Trump, take a look at his last budget. A trillion and a half dollars in cuts to the Medicaid program, over $800 billion in cuts to Medicare, and tens of billions of dollars in cuts to Social Security. He lied to you.
NOBLES: But for Trump voters like Lloyd Ashley, who came to hear Sanders speak in Georgia, they remain unconvinced. Ashley argues that neither Trump nor Sanders supporters will switch sides.
(on camera): Do you think that that can resonate with at least some voters? LLOYD ASHLEY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think it's going to resonate.
I think the people that were Bernie supporters are going to be Bernie supporters.
NOBLES: Still, Sanders believes even though they might be tough to convince, it's worth a try. In Alabama today, Sanders specifically highlighting the plight of poverty in the red state, arguing it is something Trump has ignored.
SANDERS: Today in Mar-a-Lago Donald Trump's friends will pay $200,000 to get admission into that country. But at a time when so few have so much and so many have so little, it is time we address the issue of poverty.
NOBLES: But even some Democrats are inclined to support Sanders like Richard Hannah who attended his rally in Birmingham, but has yet to pick a candidate, wonder if Trump voters can be won over, especially by someone as progressive as Sanders.
RICHARD HANNA, DEMOCRATIC UNDECIDED VOTER: I have got a lot of respect for Bernie and a lot of his ideas but I'm not sure if the moderate folks that we got a pull back from Trump are willing to vote for somebody like Bernie.
NOBLES: And while there's no doubt that Bernie Sanders has specific appeal to Trump voters on this trip, there was also a Democratic primary play here as well. Two of the states, Alabama where we are tonight, and North Carolina will vote on Super Tuesday. South Carolina, of course, the first primary in the south and the other state, Georgia, take all four of those together, those are states that are won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Erin, this time around Bernie Sanders would like to put those states in his win column.
BURNETT: All right. Ryan, thank you.
And next, Jeanne on Trump's favorite person to talk about.
[19:58:13] BURNETT: Tonight, Trump brags about Trump. Quote: the big story is that Trump made a lot of money says Trump.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's first when it comes to the third person.
TRUMP: Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump.
MOOS: He's even done it in a tweet. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign, which prompted author J.K. Rowling to poke the president. I wonder whether Trump talks to Trump's self in the third Trump person when Trump is alone.
TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump.
You wouldn't be hearing about the word immigration if it wasn't for Donald Trump. Trump was able to give him something, I don't know what the hell it was, but it doesn't matter.
MOOS: This is a man who tweeted, congratulations, Donald, on his own "Apprentice" ratings. He said: Thanks, Donald, when consumer confidence went up.
(on camera): But Donald doesn't have a monopoly on thanking himself. Remember this guy.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Thanks, Obama.
MOOS (voice-over): Thanking himself for lower gas prices.
(on camera): You know, there's actually a technical term for this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Illeism.
MOOS: Psychologist Kevin Volkan has two theories for President Trump's use of a third person.
KEVIN VOLKAN, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think he's either branding himself which, of course, he's very good at and I think he does it almost unconsciously. And I think also this could be, you know, indicative of narcissism where, you know, you're constantly referring to self.
TRUMP: No side tracks, Donald. Nice and easy.
VOLKAN: You want the world to revolve around you.
MOOS: Psychologists say toddlers are often illeis before they fully grasp the concept of I and me, like Elmo.
And now, Elmo has a question for you.
MOOS: Tweeted one Trump critic, he gives third person talkers like cookie monster a bad name.
COOKIE MONSTER: Cookie monster alive.
MOOS: Forget cookies. The president likes his own name in his mouth.
TRUMP: Donald Trump.
COOKIE MONSTER: Cookie Monster.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.
TRUMP: Stay on point, Donald, stay on point.
MOOS: New York.
BURNETT: And thanks for watching.
Anderson starts now.