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Trump Slams Tillerson for Saying He Was "Out-Prepared" By Putin; Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is Interviewed About China Trade, Trump's Impeachment, and His Presidential Run. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired May 23, 2019 - 19:00   ET



HOWARD STERN, AMERICAN RADIO PERSONALITY: I don't think he likes being president at all. I think he liked winning the presidency. He likes to win.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You're going to hear more from Howard Stern on AC 360 later tonight, 8:00 pm Eastern, the full interview, one hour long tomorrow night 10:00 pm Eastern. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, nasty war of words between the President and the House Speaker on a whole new level tonight. What is it about Trump and Pelosi? Plus Pelosi claim she didn't need to impeach to get what she wants. A former Counsel to the Watergate Special Prosecutor says she's dead wrong, why? And the fight for 2020, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan running for president and sometimes sounding like Trump too. He's my guest. Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, vicious and personal. President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a war of words. Words that are shocking considering we are talking about the heads of the executive and legislative branches of the United States of America.

President Trump, just a short time ago, questioning the most powerful Democrat in America's fitness.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was sad when I watched Nancy all moving the movement in the hands and craziness and I watched it. That's by the way a person that's got some problems.


BURNETT: The President attacking Pelosi's extraordinary press conference, but there is something about Pelosi because the President who has claimed that when he is hit, he hits back 100 times harder. He said that. Well, he sure didn't. In fact, his attacks paled in comparison to Pelosi's needling of the President again, and again, and again. Questioning whether he's fit for office. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country. This is not behavior that rises to the dignity of the Office of President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your prayer comments almost suggest you're concerned about his well-being.



BURNETT: An intervention, concerned about his well-being, these are serious charges. They're not just casual insults of a president by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Pelosi kept going, slamming Trump's ability to run the White House and making him look like a child.


PELOSI: I can only think that he wasn't up to the task. I pray for the President of the United States. The President, again, stormed out and I think - first pound the table, walk out the door. Another temper tantrum. I actually ardently pray for the President, because we need - sometimes when we're talking to him, he agrees.

And then like I said one time, "Who's in charge here? Because you agree and then all of a sudden something changes. What goes on there? Who's in charge?"


BURNETT: You have to wonder how truly ardent those prayers are. Look, the hits were relentless. So how did Trump fight back? Well, first he sent his staff out to counter this whole temper tantrum thing to say, "No. No. No." He was calm.


TRUMP: Kellyanne, what was my temperament yesterday in the room?


TRUMP: What was my attitude when I walked in? Did I ever scream?

CONWAY: No. You were calm and you were very direct.

TRUMP: What was my attitude yesterday at the meeting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mercedes is right. Kellyanne is right. You were very calm.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: OK. Well, then after he put each of them, I mean, can you

imagine one of them actually a little out of control, "Mr. President, my boss." OK. Then, he finally came out with this classic but still just as bizarre as ever line.


TRUMP: I'm an extremely stable genius, OK.


BURNETT: Wow, the good old stable genius line just set Pelosi off as if she was waiting there on her phone for a tweet, she tweeted just a short time ago, "When the "extremely stable genius" starts acting more presidential, I'll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues."

Despite the escalating attacks and a back and forth that you would think was part of some sort of a fictional story that I just told you and it's all fact, Pelosi still says she's still not ready to go down the path of impeachment.


PELOSI: The President is engaged in a cover-up. It's in plain sight. It cannot be denied, ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice. Yes, these could be impeachable offenses. We can get the facts of American people through our investigation, it may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not. But we're not at that place.


BURNETT: We're not at that place, because supposedly I guess we are still praying. Abby Phillip is out front live outside the White House. Abby, the president clearly was flustered by Speaker Pelosi today.

[19:04:51] ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it does seem that Nancy Pelosi has gotten under President Trump's skin. Almost to that point, President Trump seemed to struggle to find some kind of nickname for her. He tried out crazy Nancy but then said he shouldn't do that because he's already called Bernie Sanders crazy.

It's a bit of a sign that President Trump is struggling to figure out how to deal with this person who seems to be maneuvering around him and outmaneuvering him in certain situations. But what our sources are also telling us this is all about is the President's growing frustration with all of the inquiries happening on Capitol Hill that Nancy Pelosi is basically leading the charge for.

The President feels like as these inquiries are getting closer to his personal finances, his family, they are encroaching on these things that he thought were off limits. He said today to reporters that the Democrats are trying to impeach him, trying to get rid of him for 2020 and in order to do that they are trying to attack him by a thousand stabs, a thousand stabs was the way that he put it.

So President Trump is airing this frustration to his friends and to his allies. And I think having a difficult time figuring out how to best confront that and he's fed up and told Nancy Pelosi I am not going to do anything with you and other - and the other Democrats legislatively until these investigations end.

Now, the trouble is Pelosi seems to have made it clear that she is not going to accede to that ultimatum. And so I think what we saw here at the White House this afternoon was the President's frustration bubbling over. He took some of the same attacks that Nancy Pelosi had lobbed against him and fired them right back at her. That's another clear sign that President Trump is a little bit rattled by this standoff with Pelosi.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Abby. And I want to go now to a Democrat who's been calling for impeachment proceedings against President Trump, Congressman Don Beyer. So Congressman, thanks for your time. Let me just start with this back and forth which as I've said it almost reads like some sort of a fiction or comedy, except for it's real and because it's real it's quite disturbing. Do you think the speaker's comments about President Trump were appropriate?

REP. DON BEYER (D-VA): Oh, I do and I know how frustrated she was and the other Democrats that were in that meeting. We would like to get to an infrastructure bill and they had the meeting just a few weeks ago where they theoretically had an agreement for $2 trillion and we would like to get to agreement on the USMCA, the new NAFTA part two.

So when people like Nancy Pelosi, and Richie Neal and Steny Hoyer goes in and the first thing he does is wrap his hands on the table and walk out. It's incredibly frustrating when you're trying to govern and legislate.

BURNETT: So the President obviously retaliated to her words. I mean she used the word cover-up multiple times today, temper tantrum, ardently praying and praying for him. I mean it was something and he retaliated. Here he is, Congressman.


TRUMP: She's a mess. Look, let's face it, she doesn't understand it and they sort of feel she's disintegrating before their eyes. Crazy Nancy, I tell you what, I've been watching her and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She's lost it.


BURNETT: So she's calling for an intervention because ostensibly he's losing his mind. He's saying she's losing her mind in an incredibly derogatory manner. Is what he said OK because of what she said? Is this all now OK just at the same level?

BEYER: No, it's not OK. First of all, it's laughable to think that Nancy Pelosi is falling apart. I think she's absolutely at the height of her skills. I've never seen her more focused, more concentrated. She is a difficult battle right now, because on the one hand Democrats control the House. We have a huge agenda, some of which we've already passed. A lot of things we want to do to move this nation forward, prescription drug prices, the cost of the health care infrastructure, cleaning up corruption.

At the same time, she leads us, leads all Americans in trying to hold the President accountable for many of his lawless actions. I mean she's right on the cover-up. We've been trying to get his tax returns for a couple months now and the 1924 law is crystal clear, we had a memo just a week ago saying that Mnuchin is not going to turn over the tax returns. We've been trying to follow up on Mueller's 10 instances of obstruction of justice, which he didn't indict on because he said he believed that you can't indict a sitting president and he left it to us.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, well he didn't directly leave it up to anyone which is a separate issue about Mueller and whether there was a mistake made there about the lack of clarity. But yes that is why we're in this position, but let me ask you because the Speaker said today the President needs an intervention.

She talks about a cover-up and, of course, you all could intervene with impeachment which you support. Is she talking out of both sides of her mouth? She's trying to make people like you, calm down, hold on, trust me, even though she's not doing what you think she should be doing?

BEYER: No, I don't agree that she's not doing - I think the four leading chairmen, judiciary and intelligence, et cetera, are doing everything they can within the law to get the right people to testify, the right documents. So what speaker Pelosi has done is said, "We're going to take this step by step by step."

I'm joining the group of maybe two dozen Democrats saying, "Begin the inquiry of impeachment." It's probably the next right step, but we obviously will call for it but it's up to her to decide when we move forward.

[19:10:07] BURNETT: So you respect when she won't do it, because she's not doing it, I know you're saying you need to, she's not doing that and she did give a reason today. Let me just play it for you.


PELOSI: The President's behavior in terms of his obstruction of justice, the things that he is doing is very clear, it's in plain sight. It cannot be denied; ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice. Yes, these could be impeachable offenses. Now, I do think that impeachment is a very divisive place to go in our country and we can get the facts to the American people through our investigation. It may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not, but we're not at that place.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: I mean that's pretty definitive, "We're not at that place."

You're saying that's the next step. So has she made you change your mind and back off or do you believe that she's ready to go there?

BEYER: I don't know she's ready to go there and maybe I'm a little ahead although that's a value judgment on being ready to do the impeachment inquiry. But I do respect her deep desire not to further divide the country and it's a really tenuous balance. It's a judgment call between fulfilling our responsibility to defend the Constitution to not let a lawless president set that precedent for the years to come and also try to bring the country back together.

I think this is the first President in our history who's made his whole political strategy of dividing us rather than bringing us together.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman Beyer, I appreciate your time. Thanks, sir.

BEYER: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Pelosi has a history of going after Trump even questioning his manhood, her word not mine. What is it about her that gets under his skin so much? Plus, President Trump calls his former Secretary of State dumb as a rock. What happened to his promise that he would only hire the best people? And is it the hottest endorsement of 2020, who will get AOC's stamp of approval?


[19:15:52] BURNETT: Tonight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questions whether Trump is up for doing his job.


PELOSI: I can only thing that he was wasn't up to the task of figuring out the difficult choices of how to cover the cost of what the important infrastructure legislation that we had talked about three weeks before.


BURNETT: Yes, there was the intervention because he's ostensibly losing it. Look, this was a crazy day and it is not the first time Pelosi has gotten personal. In December she told a group of lawmakers according to a source that's Trump's signature issue the border wall was, quote, a manhood thing for him and went on to say, quote, as if manhood could ever be associated with him.

Out front now CNN Political Commentators; Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation and Alice Stewart former Communications Director for Ted Cruz. Some days I like to say five years ago, if I said to you guys that that would have just come out of my mouth on this show, you'd say - well, here we are.

Joan, OK, not up to the task, a manhood thing, here's the bottom line, Pelosi successfully and effectively riles him up.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: She does. She knows exactly what she's doing. Sometimes I am reluctant to be gendered about this, but it is like she's dealt with toddlers, it is like she's raised children and she just has this instinct for getting under his skin.

I mean Pelosi has been in a little bit of trouble with her caucus. There's a rising number of people who at least in the last few days we're calling for impeachment. Now, they're starting to walk it back.

But when he attacks her, when he comes at her, it strengthens her hand and she basically called for an intervention today. She's been making cracks about his competence and mental health. She will take her remarks - I started to say, "Well, the intervention is impeachment, Speaker Pelosi." But when he attacks her, her members have her back.

BURNETT: They did, right?

WALSH: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Those who were for impeachment, we just heard one of them, I mean now they're all trying to act that they're all in line. I mean she succeeded at that, so effective in that regard. Alice, let's just play though a few of the other digs over time just to sort of let everyone know this isn't a one-day thing from the Speaker. Here she is talking about the President.


PELOSI: Maybe it was lack of confidence on his part that he really couldn't match the greatness of the challenge that we have.

The President may not know this, but Hawaii is part of the United States of America. Maybe he doesn't realize that.

A temper tantrum by the President. I'm the mother of five, grandmother of nine, I know a temper tantrum when I see one.


BURNETT: What do you say, Alice? She went straight there, calling him a toddler, he doesn't know Hawaii is a state, he lacks confidence, I mean, that is just drill, drill, drill. Is it appropriate?

ALICE STEWART, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: It's not appropriate, but this is the world that we're in right now. And look, a war of words is easy but the battle for bipartisanship in Congress is hard. And unfortunately, lack of getting anything done is the collateral damage that we have here.

And look, Nancy Pelosi is successful if her agenda or if her objective is to get under the President's skin, check that box she is doing it. And also as we've seen today, if her objective is to rally and unify the Democratic caucus and the more progressive wing of that, check that box she is doing it. But if her objective is to get something done and move legislation,

she's not doing anything on that and that's the goal. To be successful in this war of words, both sides need to realize, "OK, we've done that. The game is over. Let's work together for the American people," because that's what they're there for.

WALSH: Respectfully, they have passed dozens and dozens of pieces of legislation. Mitch McConnell will take them up but she has gotten everything done that she said she would do. They've passed voting rights reform, they've passed campaign finance reform, they've passed all sorts of things, measure strengthening the Affordable Care Act. She is delivering.


WALSH: It's not going anywhere but --

BURNETT: But she has the majority, you don't need bipartisanship to do that.

WALSH: I know. But to say that she's neglecting to legislate while she taunts the President, that part isn't fair.

[19:20:59] BURNETT: OK. OK. I understand the distinction. Can I ask you though Nia-Malika Henderson had a great op-ed. I don't know if you guys saw, but Nia wrote about this battle between the two, this nastiness, and she writes, "And Trump, who clearly respects (fears?) Pelosi because of her power, her wealth and her family lineage, is her most effective target.

So Joan, what is it about her, age, gender, background? What is it that makes her uniquely a difficult target? He has no problem slamming women.

WALSH: Right, absolutely.

BURNETT: He has no problem slamming people.

WALSH: Absolutely.

BURNETT: He has no problem slamming older people like himself, but yet it's harder for him with her.

WALSH: Well, I think Nia-Malika as always is onto something in terms of prestige. He always wants the good opinion of people who have power. Despite all of the things he says about the failing, losing New York Times which is neither, he really wants to be respected by his local paper of record.

When she became the Speaker in 2007, he sent her a nice note. She is somebody who represents a certain level of prestige, a certain level of accomplishment. He would like her approval.

BURNETT: Approval.

WALSH: Yes. And he can't get it with the way he's acting. BURNETT: So Alice then you have this issue of the nicknames, so he

called her crazy Nancy but then said, "I can't do that because Bernie is really the crazy one." But this is the guy of the nicknames, little Marco, lying Ted, crooked Hillary, whatever it is, bullying people has been a go-to tactic and yet ...


TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi or Nancy as I call her.

The MS-13 lover, Nancy Pelosi.

We've got to stop crying Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

I don't want to say crazy Nancy, because if I say that you're going to say it's a copy of crazy Bernie and that's no good, because Bernie is definitely crazy.


BURNETT: That was just an hour ago there at the end, Alice. Why can't he get a nickname for her?

STEWART: The internal focus group that's going on in his head with the branding is still at work. He's fine-tuning what he's working on. Look, I was the victim of his branding with Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz came out with a brand trusted and when Ted became a huge challenge for Donald Trump then he came out with lying Ted.

And Nancy Pelosi is someone that he has tried to work with, tried to get along and try to move legislation along and when she became a challenge as she is now and today she questioned his mental stability and his fitness and saying he had a temper tantrum. That's when he said crazy Nancy.

He may be tweaking that. He may find something else, but when she hits a nerve with him --

BURNETT: It goes with what offended him, yes.

STEWART: Yes, his branding is kicking in.

BURNETT: Which is interesting. All right. Thank you both very much. And next, the Trump administration ignoring subpoenas refusing to turn over documents. So will these words come back to haunt President Trump?


TRUMP: You know when you delete something or when you don't provide the documents requested after you get a subpoena from the United States Congress, that's a criminal act.


BURNETT: I mean, there really is a comment for everything, isn't there? Plus, dumb as a rock, President Trump unloading on his hand- picked former Secretary of State.


[19:27:15] BURNETT: Tonight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi standing firm on impeachment.


PELOSI: We want to follow the facts to get the truth to the American people. If we can get the facts to the American people through our investigation it may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not, but we're not at that place.


BURNETT: Not at that place. But could impeachment proceedings actually be the way the Congress can get answers from the President? Out Front now Adviser to Four Presidents, David Gergen, former Federal Prosecutor Laura Coates and Philip Allen Lacovara, he was Counsel to the Watergate Special Prosecutor, argued U.S. versus Nixon before the Supreme Court.

We've had you on, on this very issue. It has now become the heart of everything, right, Phil? You've Democrats, the House Speaker saying, quote, I'm not sure we get any more information by instituting an impeachment inquiry as her defense of why they should have all of these various subpoenas out there being argued individually.

She says they'll get there that way. They don't need to do the formal proceeding. You disagree, explain why.

PHILIP ALLEN LACOVARA, FORMER COUNSEL TO WATER GATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: I do disagree. I think she can't get there as confidently by just doing these scattered shut hearings by the different oversight committees.

I think there's a greater likelihood that when this battle ultimately gets to the Supreme Court and I'm sure that's where Trump expects it to go, he is going to have a stronger argument with the pro Trump conservative justices including two that he's appointed in battling Congress' right to get general oversight subpoenas enforced as contrasted with the battle that he would have in convincing the court to get away with not complying with an impeachment inquiry, which is what I've been recommending for a good long time.

BURNETT: Yes, you certainly have. So Laura, what's your reaction? Impeachment inquiry obviously opens up the door to everything in one fell swoop, plus, obviously, hearings and a whole process that's very public as opposed to a scattershot situation.

LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, technically you shouldn't need to have to go to an impeachment inquiry in order to have the Congress be able to flex their oversight authority. I mean the Constitution does contemplate they can actually walk and chew gum at the same time, both legislate, investigate and also seek impeachment or investigate the President of the United States for accountability issues. They should be able to do so.

But the good point that he's making, of course, the idea of what would expedite the process and what would go into dismissing the President's argument which is, "Listen, there's no legitimate legislative purpose here. You're just out to get me. It's a witch-hunt continued."

Well, having an impeachment inquiry would take you outside of the context of purely oversight which can be limited. Again, Congress needs to have all of the details in order to actually be able to implement legislation, so it would have that effect but at the long run they shouldn't need to do so.

[19:30:06] BURNETT: And obviously, we're in a situation we're in. You know, obviously, we're in this weird world that we're in. David, though, this world that we're in, Justin Amash, one Republican in Congress has come out in favor of impeachment proceedings. And he has done so clearly on constitutional grounds. Other Republicans have been very loyal to Trump even though Amash says privately, many have expressed to him that they agree. Publicly, he is solo.

With Nixon, though, it was very different, right?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It was very different. It's worth remembering when the articles of impeachment that were voted upon in the House of Representatives that in the first article and the first major test, it went down 27-11. Six Republicans, over a third of the Republicans on the committee voted to impeach. So did three conservative southerner Democrats.

But to have over a third of your own party break with you is no where near where we are in terms of the Republican Party's loyalty to President Trump. I actually think that Nancy Pelosi is playing in as brilliantly as anyone might in a position she is in, that in politics and in the Supreme Court and when you move toward the Supreme Court I do think there is such a thing as ripening and making sure the issue is ripe before you push. I don't think it's ripe yet.

BURNETT: Right, and I guess --

GERGEN: Fifty-seven percent of the people in the country are against impeachment at this point. She's also got a couple of dozen new members of the House who are Democrats who ran in Trump districts and won.


GERGEN: And you put them at peril if you move right now.

BURNETT: Right. Now, of course, before the Nixon impeachment proceedings the public wasn't in favor. This is the discussion whether you need to present a formal hearing to watch and observe to change that point of view if it changes or not.

I mean, Philip, the Democratic Congressman Zoe Lofgren was on the show earlier and she tried to explain why they she thinks impeachment proceedings would be premature. You know, why she thinks she could get the information they need the way they are going now. And here's her explanation.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): The I-word doesn't change what you need in order to get your subpoenas enforced. I worked on the Nixon impeachment on the staff of Don Edwards. I was on the committee during the Clinton impeachment.

So, this is not my first rodeo when it comes to misbehavior in the executive branch. And there is a process you have to go through. It's frustrating but you have to do it.


BURNETT: So, Philip, what do you say to her? That's the argument being made by team Pelosi.

PHILIP ALLEN LACOVARA, FORMER COUNSEL TO WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think there are two responses to that. One is practical. One is theoretical.

On the practical level, what they are doing now is conducting or trying to conduct inquiries among a scattershot of committees. The contrast with the impeachment inquiry during Watergate was that you had a single, coordinated, consolidated focused hearing before the Judiciary Committee. That makes a lot of difference in terms of educating the public about whether there are grounds to impeach.

And then on the theoretical or legal side, as I've tried to argue in various fora, I think the power to get the information you need to make the case to the American public is much greater if you are conducting an impeachment inquiry as contrasted with just a variety of individual committee oversight hearings.

BURNETT: Laura, you know, one thing here is that the president has been pushing back. They said he has said we are fighting everything now. Twenty-plus subpoenas, investigations they are trying to block all of them. Of course, he has weighed in on this pretty much exact situation before, which is defying a congressional subpoena. Here he is in the campaign.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know when you delete something or when you don't provide the documents requested after -- after you get a subpoena from the United States Congress, that's a criminal act.


BURNETT: For her but not for him, Laura.

COOMBS: Well, I know, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at least two years ago into the future. That's part of what's going on right now, and that's shooting himself in the foot. But the idea about the defiance, this comes down to the notion the president on the one hand having the strategic delay tactic employed here.

I'm not certain he believes he will be successful ultimately being able to thwart the subpoena but the delay inures to his benefit to a certain extent. On the greater issue however, the one thing about is you have two judicial opinions now they're saying that Congress is right, and the Congress is the one that will ultimately decide whether article of impeachment should be drafted in the first place.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.

And next, President Trump calling his former secretary of state dumb as a rock. Was this not true?


TRUMP: I promise the American people that I'd ask for our country's best and brightest, and we have that.


[19:35:06] BURNETT: Best and brightest. And dumb as rocks.

Plus, President Trump says China is paying for the $16 bailout he announced for America's farmers today. That claim does not add up.


BURNETT: New tonight, dumb as a rock, President Trump slamming former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, because Tillerson told a House committee that Trump was not prepared for his 2017 meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In case there was any question how Trump and his former fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson feel about each other, the president of the United States today laid it out by tweet. Rex Tillerson, a man who is dumb as a rock and totally ill-prepared and ill-equipped to be secretary of state made up a story, he got fired, that I was out- prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don't think Putin would agree.

Current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed him up on that.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's pretty outrageous and probably explains why Rex Tillerson is no longer the secretary of state.

KOSINSKI: Tillerson's outrageous offense in their view was to appear before members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 7-hour session and answer questions telling them according to congressional aide that is in Trump's long meeting with Putin in 2017, Trump was not ready. [19:40:05] CNN reported at the time that White House aides only had a

few pages of material to prep Trump for the diplomatic faceoff, wanting to keep things tight to help Trump focus.

And while Tillerson believed himself and Trump shared the goals for the country, the same could not be said of their personal values. Tillerson wouldn't elaborate.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has made clear that having a relationship with Russia is better than not having one. I think everybody can agree on that.

KOSINSKI: On presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner's outsized role in foreign policy, everything from Middle East peace to China, aides say Tillerson told lawmakers Kushner didn't consult with the State Department or other agencies, and his naivete opened him up to being played.

Trump now on his second use of a dumb as rocks for the former CEO of Exxon seems to still be smarting from that time Tillerson referred to him as moron in a meeting at the Pentagon. Trump, according to officials, then made Tillerson get out in front of cameras in a humiliating defense of the president.

REX TILLERSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He's smart. He demands results.

KOSINSKI: Tillerson, though, never denying that he had called him a moron. Five months later, he was tweeted out of office.

TILLERSON: God bless America.


KOSINSKI: His true feelings on Trump, now shares.

TILLERSON: He's pretty undisciplined, doesn't -- doesn't like to read. Doesn't read briefing reports.

If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.


KOSINSKI: For months, three House committees have been trying to get information from the White House, from the State Department, on Trump's various contacts with Vladimir Putin. They haven't had luck.

Rex Tillerson is one of the few people on the planet who has at least some knowledge of that. It's obvious he is willing to talk, having spent so many horsepower with the lawmakers, also clear just how unhappy this is making the president -- Erin.

BURNETT: Absolutely thank you very much, Michelle. And next the fight for 2020, presidential candidate Congressman Tim

Ryan going after the same blue collar voters as President Trump. So can he win them over?

Plus, it's one of the most sought after endorsements. Who will Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez support?


[19:46:17] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump promising a bailout to American farmers. He says every dollar will come from China.


TRUMP: I'm announcing that I have directed Secretary Perdue to provide $16 billion in assistance to America's farmers and ranchers. It all comes from China.


BURNETT: But it doesn't. The fact is that that is not true. Just today, the International Monetary Fund just came out and explained putting out a study showing it will be Americans and American companies paying for the tariffs, not China.

OUTFRONT now, 2020 presidential candidate, Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat representing Ohio.

Congressman, look, you know, so these tariffs obviously impact your state. The president keeps saying China is paying for them, right? He keeps saying it again and again. Are you afraid the president's claims on this are going to stick and that people will believe him even though it is not true?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I mean, I was in Iowa and back in Ohio now. I will tell you the farmers know he is lying. I 3mean, they just -- they know it. And so, I think he is really on shaky ground, because they're already upset with him that he is doing this. And that he is causing them trouble.

They haven't made a profit in five years in farming in America. There is a recession in rural America. Now he is lying about it. And that's starting to really bother them. I think he is in danger territory now of losing rural America. We have to be tough in going in there and trying to have a plan for rural America.

BURNETT: So, these are -- look, these are people you try to reach out to. You're trying to appeal for them for their vote. You're trying to appeal to some of the same voters the president was very successful winning over last time around.

And frankly, Congressman, sometimes you and the president have sounded rather the same. Take a listen.


TRUMP: And we're going to tell millions and millions of unemployed Americans, my favorite two words. You're hired.

RYAN: And you're hired now. We need to say that to the American people.

TRUMP: Our country is going to start building and making things again.

RYAN: We're going to start building things again in the United States.


BURNETT: So, Congressman, look are you concerned that those words, those word echoes -- that pitch to the same constituents could hurt you in the primary?

RYAN: Not at all. I mean, the Democrats want a good paying job. But the president is not delivering. We do have low employment. The stock market is up.

But the average person is not keeping their nose above water. They're surviving, they're not thriving. Seventy-five to 80 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Forty to 50 percent of Americans can't withstand a $400 or $500 emergency.

I live with these people, Erin. I know the struggles they have. The president doesn't know. We are getting our rear ends kicked by China.

They are destroying us in the electric vehicle market. They control 50 -- almost 50 percent of that market. They control 60 percent of the solar panel market. They are running circles around us with the 5G.

The president has got the rhetoric right, but he has no plan or policy or hasn't done anything to try to position workers here in America to actually start manufacturing things again.

BURNETT: So, one of the reasons the president was speaking today was obviously announcing that plan. He was responding also to the house speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who had the press conference where she was talking about him and impeachment. On that issue, you have said you want to, quote, let the process play itself out. She obviously is there.

But more of your colleagues have come onboard with the idea of starting process now, especially after Don McGahn refused to testify.

[19:50:04] One of them, Congressman David Cicilline, who changed his mind this week, and here is why.


REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): I think the opening value of opening inquiry is that it signals to the administration, to the witnesses who may be contemplating finding subpoenas that this is an important proceeding. Actually, it would raise the level of seriousness. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: You're in Congress. Your vote, you know, you could be called to vote on this. Have you considered changing your position, Congressman?

RYAN: No. I'm watching every day very closely what's happening here, and, again, I believe that the president has obstructed justice. I believe that him trying to really stonewall this whole investigation is very, very dangerous, and I think at some point if he keeps going, we are going to have to look at taking the next step.

But we've got to bring the American people along. I think we've got to do what we did not do in 2008 during the financial crisis. We should have been bringing bankers and heads of financial institutions before Congress, educating the American people as to what was going on, and I think we need to do the same thing now.

BURNETT: So, Congressman, I want to ask you about what Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen has had to say about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when he talked about this issue, about her refusing to start the impeachment process. He think she is completely wrong and here's what he said about it.


REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): She says she is doing this because of patriotism not politics. It's hard to see that. Patriotism would say jump in to help for a heavenly cause. And the fact is when you have a Constitution and you have a rule of law and it's being destroyed in a reckless gangster manner, you need to act. The only reason not to act is because of politics. Patriotism says act.


MADDOW: Obviously, he's calling her unpatriotic. You challenged her position as the minority leader in 2016. Do you think Cohen's assessment of her now is fair?

RYAN: You know, everyone has an opinion here. I think Speaker Pelosi is handling this well. We have a very diverse caucus. We have a lot of people who don't want to necessarily impeach, and we have people that do want to impeach.

And the reality of it is there is a process here that we need to go through. So let's bring the American people along. I think that more people hear about what's going on, they're going to understand what's happening here.

We got to get back on to the economic message, though, Erin. That's what I'm talking about in my campaign, bringing jobs. I want to enroll people to this new economy. There is an industrial revolution happening in America, and we got to win it in the United States.

And if people are interested in enrolling in that, they can go to We want to make sure that we're building this out. Impeachment is going to be here, but we've got to get the economy straight.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman Ryan. I appreciate your time tonight. Thanks.

RYAN: Thanks, Erin. Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the woman 2020 Democrats want in their corner, and they're doing all they can to win her endorsement.


[19:57:01] BURNETT: Tonight, 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are teaming up to take on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Retail workers and workers across the country deserve so much better.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Yes, and they also deserve a treasury secretary who fights for them.


BURNETT: So does that mean an endorsement?

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is one of the most coveted endorsements on the political landscape, and it will come from freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has signaled she might endorse a candidate during the Democratic primary.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: But it's not going to be for a while. So --

CARROLL: Perhaps, but already, some 2020 candidates have emerged as front-runners.

WARREN: Hello, Bedford!

OCASIO-CORTEZ: What I would like to see in a presidential candidate is one that has a coherent world view and logic from which all these policy proposals are coming forward. I think Senator Sanders has that. I also think Senator Warren has that.

CARROLL: Ocasio-Cortez has four million-plus Twitter followers and has proven herself a progressive power player on the Hill.

And while some 2020 candidates brush off talk of endorsements --

REPORTER: And do you think you'll ask her for your endorsement? No?

WARREN: I haven't asked anybody for endorsements. CARROLL: It's clear some are already jockeying for opportunities to

tap into Ocasio-Cortez's popularity. Senator Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have teamed up on occasions, appearing last week at a rally for the Green New Deal. The two also introduced a plan to combat predatory lenders, but none of that has stopped Senator Elizabeth Warren from courting her. Warren wrote a glowing essay about Ocasio-Cortez for "Time" magazine, citing her meteoric rise from bartender to congresswoman, writing "a year ago she was taking orders across a bar. Today, millions are taking cues from her."

The two even shared a "Game of Thrones" season finale moment on Twitter.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: We were getting so close to having this ending with just women running the world.

WARREN: Exactly.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And then the last two episodes, oh, they're too emotional.

WARREN: Yes, exactly. Can't do that.


CARROLL: Still, Democratic hopeful Washington Governor Jay Inslee had a Twitter moment with Ocasio-Cortez when she tweeted praise for his own ambitious climate change plan.

REPORTER: Have you asked Representative Ocasio-Cortez for an endorsement, and what would that mean to your candidacy?

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, we haven't talked about that.

CARROLL: And while former Vice President Joe Biden is polling as the Democratic front-runner, he's looking like a long shot for Ocasio- Cortez's endorsement. The two at odds over proposals to combat climate change.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need a middle of the road approach to save our lives. That is too much for me.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've never been middle of the road on environment. She'll find nobody has been more consistent about taking on the environment and a green revolution than I am.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: And thanks to all of you for joining us.

Anderson starts now.