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Trump on Impeachment: "It's a Dirty, Filthy, Disgusting Word"; Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) is Interviewed About Trump and Impeachment; Trump Slams Reports White House Tried to Keep USS McCain Out of Sight; Warren Rises in Polls As She Goes After Frontrunner Biden. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 30, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next breaking news, Attorney General Bill Barr's spin machine telling his version of the story pushing back on Bob Mueller. Plus, did President Trump accidentally admit the truth today when it comes to Russia? And Elizabeth Warren rising in the polls as she directly takes on frontrunner Joe Biden? Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, Barr turns on the spin. The President's Attorney General going on camera tonight to try to regain control of the narrative surrounding the Mueller report. Barr also trying to clean up the fallout from Mueller who, of course, declined to clear Trump of crimes.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I personally felt he could have reached a decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In your view, he could have reached a conclusion.

BARR: Right. He could have reached a conclusion. The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he's in office, but he could have reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity. But he had his reasons for not doing it.


BURNETT: By saying Mueller could have reached a decision on criminal activity, Barr is misleading. He's leading people to believe that if Mueller had found criminal activity he would have said so. But that is explicitly not the case. We know why Mueller didn't directly accuse Trump of criminal activity.


ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUSEL: It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.


BURNETT: Mueller didn't out crimes because he couldn't charge Trump as a sitting president with crimes. That's the whole OLC opinion. What Mueller did say though was damning enough.


MUELLER: If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.


BURNETT: Mueller wanted the world to know that if he could have exonerated Trump, he would have done it, bottom line. Of course, Barr took it upon himself to exonerate Trump, less than 48 hours after receiving Mueller's 448 report, 48 page report and without reviewing the backup data, which objectively there's not enough time to read, digest, evaluate the information and make a decision as important as whether to indict a sitting President of the United States. And it is the opposite decision that more than 1,000 former DOJ prosecutors of both political persuasion say they would have reached.

So today Bar was asked about why he made that decision. Instead of letting the decision on whether or not to charge a president go to Congress. Here's Bar today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he seemed to suggest yesterday that there was another venue for this and that was Congress.

BARR: Well, I'm not sure what he was suggesting.


BURNETT: He's not sure what Mueller was suggesting? Here's what Mueller said yesterday.


MUELLER: The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.


BURNETT: Of course, that process is Congress and it is impeachment. Mueller was clear and by the way, you just look at volume two page eight of the Mueller report. You didn't have to get to page 448 or anything, just go to volume two page eight, quote, the conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances, and the principle that no person is above the law. The Attorney General Barr knows exactly what Mueller said. He is a

two-time Attorney General. He knows what was said and he knows that right now he is spinning his way around this and the big question is why. Bar says he's all about the law and the facts.


BARR: The Department of Justice is all about the law, and the facts, and the substance and I'm going to make the decisions based on the law and the facts and I realized that intention with the political climate we live in because people are more interested in getting their way politically.


BURNETT: Well, the thing is that Barr is so far giving Trump everything that Trump wants politically, cover to undermine the Mueller investigation than its origins. Just listen to Trump and Barr.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I'm most interested in is getting started, getting started on going back to the origins of exactly where this all started.

BARR: The first step is find out exactly what happened.

TRUMP: They spied on me. They spied on our campaign.

BARR: I think that spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.


BURNETT: It's not just a word echo, let's be clear. Trump's own FBI Director says spying is not the accurate word. Evan Perez is out front. And Evan, Mueller holds this news conference when Barr is out of town. And when I say out of town, I mean, they say he's meeting with tribal leaders in Alaska. He's not in the continental of the United States.

A day later, Barr sits down for an interview. Is this becoming a battle of who gets the last word?

[19:04:55] EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It seems like that at this point and, look, I think for a lot of people at the Justice Department who were excited when Bill Barr became Attorney General. They're anticipating that he was going to turn to page. He was going to bring down the heat that the department has been feeling for the last couple of years from the White House, from the political attacks that they've been getting.

And the opposite is happening simply because of the words that the Attorney General is choosing to use. And you just go to the last part of what you were talking about, the fact that the Attorney General is doing this review of the origins of the investigation. I think one of the most important parts of what Robert Mueller said in his address yesterday, the 10-minute press conference he did yesterday, Erin, is to remind us of why this all began.

This began with a concerted attack from the Russian military against our political system and then he ended his remarks by reminding everyone that the central part of this is that the Russians were interfering in favor of one candidate and against the other and he wanted to remind Americans of all of that, so that's where this all began. The Attorney General I think is still doing this review.

And look, by the way, even inside the Justice Department everyone would agree that if someone did something wrong, then the department should correct that and look at that. But it's the words that the Attorney General is using that I think has drawn some concerns even from inside the department about exactly how this is going, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Evan, please stay with me because Evan got a lot more here tonight to break on news. I want to bring on our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger to the conversation along with Philip Allen Lacovara who was the Counsel to the Watergate Special Prosecutor and argued United States versus Nixon before the Supreme Court. Also with us, former federal prosecutor Laura Coates.

Philip, let me start with you. Is Attorney General Barr just trying to set the record straight here or just spinning?

PHILIP ALLEN LACOVARA, FORMER COUNSEL TO WATER GATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: I think it's absolutely a spin using the same terms of the emotive, accusatory terms that President Trump has used makes it clear that he's on Trump's campaign platform. And I don't think you can take seriously his argument that he's just trying to set the record straight.

In fact, he's confabulated in ways that are really dismaying to a lot of people who've known him and respected him over the years and as Jim Comey said proximity to Trump tends to eat away at your soul. And I'm afraid that's what's happening here.

BURNETT: I mean, Laura, let we play a little bit more of the exchange where Barr said this is about the facts. He denied trying to protect or enable President Trump. Here he is.


BARR: The Department of Justice is all about the law and the facts and the substance. And I'm going to make the decisions based on the law and the facts and I realized that's intention with the political climate we live in because people are more interested in getting their way politically. So I think it just goes with the territory of being Attorney General in a hyperpartisan period of time.


BURNETT: Speaks calmly, has the fire going behind him. Does that change at all the reality of what he's saying, Laura? I mean is he being above the political fray here? LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I mean it was very soothing,

the environment, but it wasn't persuasive for me or whatsoever. Because a lot of the criticism that he is facing has been the product of self-inflicted wound. Remember, we are in a very partisan world, that's absolutely true. People have a partisan lens.

But the reason they're criticizing him in particular is the way in which he has on the one hand promised transparency and the other hand how he rolled out the Mueller report, including that conference that he gave hours before he actually released the redacted version of the report where it sounded much like he was in line as the personal attorney of the President as opposed to somebody who was the Attorney General of United States.

And having said that, he also talked about the idea of the President of the United States. Listen, of course, he couldn't be involved in obstruction. He was simply angry and that's why he lashed out in a way. Well, that would have perhaps had more of a nonpartisan tone, Erin, had he not already written an 18-page memorandum before he even got the job that created the self-fulfilling prophecy that he never was going to find obstruction.

BURNETT: So Gloria, to the point here on obstruction, Barr, again, is defending why he said he believe spying took place in the Trump campaign. I just want to emphasize as we play this. Bill Bar has been Attorney General of the United States twice.

He has been a lawyer at the CIA. He knows the implications of the word spying as negative and extra judicial. He knows it's not the accurate word for everything that we understand to have happened and so let me just play his explanation.


BARR: I guess it's become a dirty word somehow, it has never been from me. I think there's nothing wrong with spying. The question is always whether it's authorized by law and properly predicated. And if it is, then it's an important tool the United States has to protect the country.


[19:09:59] BURNETT: I mean, Gloria, it sort of defies belief. Yes, I think spying did occur. It would never had a negative meaning for me. He would say, "Yes, I do understand counterintelligence activity is approved by a court did occur." I'd like to know exactly why. That's a totally different thing than spying and he just keeps using the word the President uses.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly. Look, this was a counterintelligence investigation, what would he have liked people to do and he used the word spying on purpose. He knows that it's a loaded word, of course he does.

And so to hear him sit there and say, "Well, we're in a hyperpartisan environment," et cetera, et cetera. Well, I would argue that he's contributing to it by using that kind of language. Language matters in these kinds of situations and, of course, now he's heading up an investigation of the investigators in which the President has given him incredible authority. And so we'll have to see how that proceeds, but it doesn't seem as if he has unbiased going into it.

BURNETT: I mean, and Philip, just to be clear here, when you look at the outcome of the Mueller investigation, which Mueller as Evan points out, reminds us it was about an attack on America by a foreign government. A concerted attack in which there have been dozens of indictments, hundreds of criminal charges against Russians for attacking the United States.

And yet, the President has accused the FBI officials who launched the probe of treason. Treason for launching a probe into a foreign government's attack on the United States. It's a stunning thing to even think about. When Barr was asked about it again tonight though, still wouldn't criticize the President. Here he is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't think they've committed treason?

BARR: Not as a legal matter, right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you have concerns about how they conduct the investigation?

BARR: Yes. But sometimes people can convince themselves that what they're doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don't realize that what they're doing is really antithetical to the democratic system we have.


BURNETT: Again, Philip, the tone and the background do a lot, but what about what he says?

LACOVARA: I think that's an astonishing statement for an attorney general to make and he's smart enough to know the impact of a statement like that on the people in the counter intelligence agencies when he says kind of dismissively, "Well, they didn't technically commit treason. And maybe they're just convincing themselves that they're doing the right thing when they're investigating the documented and undeniable efforts by the Russian government to decide who would be our president."

I just can't believe that the Attorney General doesn't realize that he is deliberately insulting and denigrating the professionals in the law enforcement and intelligence community in order to try to pull President Trump's bacon out of the fire.

BURNETT: I mean, Laura, just to be clear. There's no way that Barr doesn't know exactly what he's doing. I mean I keep emphasizing the respect that he has when he took this office. What Evan is reporting, people, the DOJ the way with which they embraced his appointment, his background at the CIA, he's been Attorney General before and yet he says these things, and it is astonishing.

COATES: It is astonishing and, of course, one thing I thought I --

LACOVARA: He's an old Washington hand.

COATES: Sure. Well, one thing I did think of when he said it was, "Well, I'm surprised that based on the conduct we've all seen that Attorney General Barr would say that somebody else was acting in the higher good and thought that they convinced themselves with that. I was surprised by that moment of it, because it seems to be kind of hypocritical statement.

But the other issue here for me, Erin, is the idea of when people talk about spying, well, he meant it in a pejorative way, I can't get in his mind, but the way that he conveyed the information, and about the genesis of this entire investigation conveyed that he was trying to do it in a pejorative way, number one.

Number two, there has been oversight. It's not left to the members of intelligence community or even to somebody who is filing a FISA application warrant simply willy-nilly say, "You know what? I feel like doing something." There is oversight. There is accountability. There are checks and balances that are in place to ensure that it's not just a matter of somebody's gut instinct. It has to be supported by the evidence.

And so to say that it was just an attitude of, "Well, they've convinced themselves of doing the right thing," really doesn't speak volumes to his knowledge of what the intelligence community really does.

BURNETT: And maybe that's one of the ...

BORGER: And by the way ...

BURNETT: ... yes.

BORGER: ... the Trump-appointed Head of the FBI happens to disagree with him. What about that?

BURNETT: Right, Christopher Wray said it's not the word he would use, right.

BORGER: Exactly.

BURNETT: And you know what, Evan, with all the criticism and some of it may be completely warranted that Mueller is getting for why wouldn't you challenge the OLC decision, the fact that the guy got in a box and never tried to get out of it in a sense it's calming. It's OK there are people who have such respect for the laws and the rules that they're not going to do anything to veer outside the lines.

PEREZ: Right.

BURNETT: And to that effect, Evan, you do have new reporting on exactly what Mueller was doing during the investigation. [19:14:53] PEREZ: Right, exactly and it's all about the Constitution

and I'll get to our new reporting in a second, but let me just add one quick thing.


PEREZ: The word treason is defined in the Constitution and the answer, the one word answer that the Attorney General should have given to that question was, "No, it's not treason," because if you just look it up, it is not treason, right?


PEREZ: But, yes, we do have new reporting that really shines a light on exactly what was happening behind the scenes over the last couple of years. It turns out that Robert Mueller was a bit of an enigmatic figure even to the people who are close to this investigation. There were some people who barely ever saw him. Some witnesses who came in, he never sat down and watched any of their interviews.

Paul Manafort, the chairman of the campaign, for instance, came in for days, and days and days, Mueller was never there. But Don McGahn came in for his 30 hours of interviews and Mueller sat through most of it. He apologize for having to step out to run an errand for a little while.

And we also have a really interesting anecdote of where the President's lawyers call up the Justice Department very angry when they discover that the Special Counsel's office is naming the President in a document, a plea document and they think it's a shoddy thing to do. And so they call for this crisis meeting and they demand a meeting with Mueller. Mueller doesn't show up.

It really goes to show you that even people close to this investigation had different experiences about Robert Mueller. And, again, I think previous a little bit of what Congress might get from him if they demand that he show up for testimony. He's not going to veer away from the principles here that has guided him including what you saw yesterday that he's going to stick to the report that he wrote and I think they're going to have to figure out whether that's enough to get from Robert Mueller.

BURNETT: Well, certainly for about a thousand former DOJ prosecutors, it was enough so maybe they need to deal with their political problems first. Thank you all very much. And next, President Trump goes on a tirade filled with falsehoods like this one.


TRUMP: I believe that Russia would rather have Hillary Clinton as President of the United States than Donald Trump.


BURNETT: We'll check the facts. Plus, the President believing he'll be saved by the courts if Democrats try to impeach him. What he's talking about? And the USS John McCain, new details tonight about why Trump staff wanted it out of sight.


[19:20:54] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump's tirade in the Mueller report. The President in a 17-minute freewheeling rant said thing after thing that is untrue like this.


TRUMP: There's no obstruction. There's no collusion. There's no nothing.


BURNETT: Here's Bob Mueller.


MUELLER: If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit crime, we would have said so.


BURNETT: And then there was Trump's personal attack on Bob Mueller.


TRUMP: I think he is a total conflicted person.


BURNETT: Of course, the Justice Department cleared Mueller of any conflicts of interest when he was appointed special counsel. Trump also said this about who Russia preferred to be President of the United States.


TRUMP: I believe that Russia would rather have Hillary Clinton as President of the United States than Donald Trump.


BURNETT: Here's Vladimir Putin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA(through interpreter): Yes, I did. Yes, I did.


BURNETT: And then there was Trump's interpretation of what Mueller said yesterday.


TRUMP: So he said essentially you're innocent, I'm innocent of all charges.


BURNETT: That is not what Mueller said. Again, Mueller said that he could not say Trump did not commit a crime. Out front now ghost writer for Trump's book Surviving at the Top, Charles Leerhsen, and former Special Advisor President Obama Van Jones who hosts THE VAN JONES SHOW on CNN.

So Van, the President stood on the White House lawn, 17 minutes went by plus a few seconds, his most extensive comments on Mueller and he just ranted and raved and as we could see there, he said a lot of things that aren't true.

VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all just personally I was in the gym trying to get my workout and try to lose these 10 pounds and then he comes on and I just stopped and stared. It messed up my whole day. I mean this is terrible. He didn't say one true thing in 17 minutes. I just gave up and went back to work because I mean it's a lot to process, it's unbelievable.

We are under attack from a foreign power. The most important thing that can happen right now is this country to come together and make sure that we have a credible election in about 18 months. We need the President of the United States to be focused on that and instead he's just making up stuff. And I mean you literally wind up speechless.

You have to fact-check. It's one thing to fact-check sentences. You have to back check like words and commas and ...

BURNETT: And phrases, yes, dangling participles.

JONES: I mean, it just messed my whole day up, man. I'm never going to lose this weight.

BURNETT: All right. Charlie, in the 17 minutes there was a lot that happened. OK. Another line that stood out in particular to you was when the President was yelled a question about impeachment and here is his answer.


TRUMPM: To me it's a dirty word, the word impeach. It's a dirty, filthy, disgusting word and it had nothing to do with me.


BURNETT: Why did that stand out to you?

CHARLES LEERHSEN, GHOSTWRITER FOR DONALD TRUMP'S "SURVIVING AT THE TOP": It stood out to me because it showed that I think that he's mortified about impeachment, whatever you want to say about the politics of it.

BURNETT: Well, they say he's goading or he wants it and by the way you spent a lot of time with the guy.

LEERHSEN: I spent a lot of time ...

BURNETT: It's not what you hear.

LEERHSEN: ... locked up in the office with him and that's the crazy like a fox opinion of Trump that he's crazy like a fox, but I think that theory is an insult to small fur-bearing animals. I mean he's simply not like the rest of us and I think the fact that Van and the rest of us can get up in the morning and be shocked or appalled after all of this time by his lies shows that most people overnight we come back to our state of being basically good people. Trump is not a basically good person. He's not a basically moral person.

BURNETT: But you do think that the concept and the idea of impeachment from what you heard there today mortifies him and upsets him. That is not a just get my name right no matter what you say. He doesn't want that.

[19:25:03] LEERHSEN: He doesn't want it. One of the few things he understands about the presidency is that it's bad to be impeached and that it's embarrassing to be impeached and that flies in the face of his regal, royal presidency where if you're impeached you have to show up when they tell you, you have to sit where they tell you, maybe you have to answer questions that's not what a king does and he wants to be a king.

BURNETT: So Van, in addition to that which I just thought it was interesting because he couldn't stop, he was reaching for adjectives, right, dirty, filthy, disgusting, I mean it was dripping with disgust and disdain. He also slammed Bob Mueller. This was personal about Mueller. Here's what he said today.


TRUMP: I think he is a total conflicted person. I think Mueller is a true never Trumper. He's somebody that dislikes Donald Trump.


BURNETT: Always love the third person when not necessary, Van. OK. But here's the thing, the reason I highlight that is that, that was Trump today. Here is Trump since the Mueller report came out, talking about Bob Mueller, not today but many other days.


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

TRUMP: Yes, he did. Yes, he did.

The Mueller report was great. It could not have been better. Bob Mueller, I guess you could say he wasn't a friend of mine but he

did something that was really the right thing to do.



BURNETT: Go ahead, Van.

JONES: Well, it's the thing that's most confusing in that whole confusing thing. Bob Mueller did not say anything any different than he wrote. I mean some of the stuff that we've been showing him saying is literally word-for-word what was written. And so the President says after it's written - maybe he didn't read it, he says, "The report is great. I'm innocent. This is wonderful."

Then, Bob Mueller literally says the same thing he wrote on television and now he's conflicted, he's a terrible person, he's out to get me. He doesn't like me. Well, hold on a second, if according to you the Mueller report totally exonerates you, why are you mad? Why are you mad? You shouldn't be mad. You said that the report lets you off the hook that you've been exonerated.

So this is the thing that doesn't make any sense. As you've said, "I look at it fresh every day. I try to give everybody a fair shake." But this is literally making no sense at all. If the Mueller report is great on paper, why is it different when somebody reads it on television? If you love it on paper, why do you hate it when it's being read? It's this thing he has about being embarrassed on television.

BURNETT: So let me play, Charlie, to you more about the President on Russia and how Russia did not help him even though, of course, that is the conclusion of U.S. intelligence in the Mueller report and anybody who knows anything about this on intelligence side. Here he is.


TRUMP: No. Russia did not helped me get elected. Do you know who got me elected? Do you know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn't help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think help the other side.



LEERHSEN: Well, this is a kind of a person that we all grew up knowing was ridiculous the kind of person who appraises himself, puts down everyone else, thinks he's smarter than everyone else. The kind of person that your mother told you to be suspicious of and here he is doing it in spades everyday in front of us and yet he has his supporters still. That's kind of more amazing than Trump himself acting that way I think.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Charlie. I appreciate it. JONES: Can I say one thing about that?

BURNETT: Yes, Van.

JONES: I mean, honestly to say, "I got me elected." There are 60 million people who went and voted. This is democracy. The voters got you elected and the voters deserve to have their election protected next time and we cannot lose sight of that. All the ups and downs, impeachment, whatever, the voters got you elected and we deserve to have our vote protected, get back on that focus on that and let's move forward.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, both. And don't miss Van's new series REDEMPTION PROJECT. See what happens when victims and offenders of violent crimes meet face-to-face, that is Sunday night at 9:00 with Van. And next, the one word Trump calls dirty, and filthy and disgusting plus President Trump now slamming a report that the White House requested the USS McCain be out of sight while he was in Japan.


TRUMP: Somebody did it, because they thought I didn't like him, OK, and they were well meaning, I will say.


BURNETT: The reporter who broke the story is out front.


[19:32:31] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, President Trump's new dirty word.


REPORTER: Do you think they're going to impeach you?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't see how, they can because they are possibly allowed, although I can't imagine the courts allowing it. I've never gotten into it. I never thought that would be possible to be using that word. To me, it's a dirty word, the word "impeach". It's a dirty, filthy, disgusting word and it nothing to do with me.


BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT at the White House.

So, Kaitlan, what is the president talking about when he says he can't imagine the courts allowing it.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it's not clear what the president would seek from the courts as far as it comes to impeachment because, of course, that's a process that the Constitution delegates to Congress. It starts with Congress and goes on with Congress and ends with Congress.

So, it's not clear how the courts would get involved in this situation or what the president is talking about and the White House hasn't gotten back to us on this. But this is in an idea that the president has floated out there before, saying if any tried to impeachment, if the Democrats tried to impeach him, he would take it to the Supreme Court. But, of course, it's not clear how that would happen and it seems to be a misunderstanding actually of how the impeachment process would play out.

Now, we do know that this comes as the president has become increasingly sensitive to this idea of impeachment. As you were seeing these calls ramp up, especially just now in the last 24 hours after Robert Mueller made his statement, that rare appearance on camera that we have not seen very much, but also as the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to keep a lid on impeachment talk. And, right now, it doesn't seem clear that the Republican Senate would at all be onboard with some idea like impeachment.

So, for right now, Erin, White House officials are not concerned about this. But this idea about the president is floating out there about the courts just does not seem to be a feasible one.

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

And now, Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum who is in favor of impeaching the president.

Congressman, I appreciate your time.

So, you heard the president say the courts would not allow you Congress to impeach him. Do you have any idea what he is referring to? What's your response to that?

REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM (D-MN): No, I don't backup and it is a -- as a social studies teacher, I think he needs to go become and retake civics because the House certainly has the ability to launch investigations. And if they feel they have enough evidence, impeachment.

BURNETT: Right. There is no -- there is no court involved.

All right. So I want to play again --


BURNETT: -- for you, Congresswoman, part of what the president said about the word impeachment.

[19:35:01] He brought this part up on his own, right? This is from the gut. Here he is.


TRUMP: To me, it's a dirty word, the word "impeach". It's a dirty, filthy disgusting word. And it had nothing to do with me. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Your reaction?

MCCOLLUM: Well, I think the fact that we're talking about moving forward with high level investigations that could lead to impeachment does have to do exactly with the president. We know that this president has committed covering up his actions.

He lies to the American public all the time. It's well-documented. 10,000 lies in the Washington post. And so, we have every right to get to the truth because the president is not above the law. So we need to be able to do our work. And that's why many of us are saying we have to look at impeachment because he snubbed his knows as Congress doing its job through the regular subpoena power.

BURNETT: So, you've been clear obviously you support impeachment and now a few additional Democrats joined those calls, right, after Mueller made a statement yesterday. Do you -- but it hasn't been this sudden stampede, Congresswoman. Let's be fair. It hasn't been a stampede.

Do you think there are more Democrats supporting it but are afraid to come out publicly at this point?

MCCOLLUM: Well, many of my colleagues were taking in break to read the Mueller report and, of course, look at it again. And then Mr. Mueller spoke. I think people are going to be very shocked at the way what the president does really can't shock anybody anymore.

But this morning, the tirade that we saw on the White House lawn, his misinformation, his tweet earlier in the morning about the Russians helping and saying he won the election on his own, which is totally back and forth, you know, what side is he speaking from?

But I would say this -- I mean, Democrats are taking this very seriously. There is a broad diversity of opinion. And that's good. When we come together and form unity it will be a thoughtful one.

Whereas many of my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle, what they say in the elevator and then I hear on shows such as yours are very different, you know, exact opposite. So, you know, we're having thoughtful discussions and we need to do that.

BURNETT: So, when you hear Justin Amash come out and say he is for it, you are saying other Republicans are telling you basically the same, right, in the elevator, in private. What's holding them back?


MCCOLLUM: -- Republicans say that the president's use of emergency powers is outrageous.


MCCOLLUM: They -- you know, some of the things he has done in the budget with zeroing things out, what he has done with the border wall and then saying, you know, he can spend money however he chooses to, that Congress -- I'm on the appropriations committee we have the power of the purse.

They are outraged but some of these remarks, but I don't hear them say it publicly.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate you're time, Congresswoman.

MCCOLLUM: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the president denying any involvement in trying to move the USS John McCain while he was in Japan, you know, basically so it would be out of his sight line and wouldn't have to see it. So, then, who made the request to move it and why? The reporter who broke the story has new details and he's OUTFRONT next.

Plus, the fight for 2020. Elizabeth Warren rising in the polls. Is it because she is not afraid to go after the front runner?


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe Biden is on the side of the credit card companies.



[19:42:30] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump slamming reports that the U.S. military tried to keep the USS John McCain out of sight during his trip to Japan. This despite his defense of anyone who was involved.


TRUMP: I don't know what happened. I wasn't involved. Now, somebody did it, because they thought I didn't like him, OK? And they were well-meaning, I will say.


BURNETT: Alex Marquardt is OUTFRONT.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even in depth the late Arizona senator John McCain has been attacked repeatedly by President Trump.

TRUMP: I was not a big fan of John McCain in any way shape or form.

MARQUARDT: But he denies going so far as demand the USS John S. McCain be moved so he couldn't see it during his trip to Japan. TRUMP: But I would never do a thing like that. Now, somebody did it

because they thought I didn't like him, OK? And they were well- meaning, I will say.

MARQUARDT: Well-meaning, appearing to want to please the boss.

Officials from the navy say that the White House military office emailed back and forth with some Navy officials planning for the president's trip including one email obtained by CNBC stipulating USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.

Naval officials confirmed to CNN that the White House asked the ship be moved or obscured. Upon hearing about it, one official said Navy leadership told them to, quote, knock it off. Instead of moving it for the president, "The Wall Street Journal" which broke the story reported that a tarp was hung to cover the name but officials say it was there for repairs and taken down before the president arrived.

"The Journal" also reporting that the acting secretary of defense approved measures so that the ship didn't interfere with the visit, which he flatly denies.

PATRICK SHANAHAN, ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I never authorized, I never approved any action around the movement or activity regarding that ship. Furthermore, I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Senator McCain.

MARQUARDT: The president has never shared that feeling. Candidate Trump denied that the former Navy pilot who was shot down in Vietnam, imprisoned for five years and tortured was a hero.

TRUMP: He was a where hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured, OK?

MARQUARDT: In speeches as president, even as McCain was dying and well after, the president has gone offer McCain for blocking him from repealing Obamacare.


MARQUARDT: And as the president refuses to let go, McCain's grieving daughter says that Trump is making the process unbearable.

[19:45:03] MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF LATE SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: It's impossible to go through the grief process when my father who has been dead ten months is constantly in the news cycle because the president is so obsessed with the fact that he is never going to be a great man like he was.


MARQUARDT: And, Erin, the president was also asked today whether he owed the crew of the USS McCain, whose namesake, John McCain, is revered in the Navy, and whether he owe them an apology. He said no.

Now, the question becomes which staffer or staffers at the White House is behind those emails, telling the Navy to move the ship from view? It should be easy of course for them to figure that out if they haven't already. But given the president as we just heard is out there praising that person's intentions, it doesn't seem likely there will be much punishment -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Alex. I guess the president thinks whoever it was had his back.

OUTFRONT now, one of the "Wall Street Journal" reporters to break the story, Gordon Lubold.

So, Gordon, I know you've got new details on how all this went down. Tell me.

GORDON LUBOLD, REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I think what we know is that based on the reporting yesterday about the email that what happened was, you know, a senior-ish level person from the White House, White House military office, directed advance people on the ground to do something about the optics that were presented by -- the optics challenge posed by the chip being there.

And I think part of the problem is and see any directive from the White House would be taken very seriously by even, you know, any officers. But I mean lower level officers who wouldn't necessarily know to kind of push back on it then began to kind of execute efforts to obscure the name of the ship.

BURNETT: Well, you talked about the tarp being there. I mean, but also Gordon I think what is chore from this and perhaps most disturbing and important to take away, is that people at the White House thought the president would want this. He is defending whoever did it. It seems he was actually very happy that they would have asked for it.

It almost doesn't matter whether it happened or not. The point is they thought he would want it try tide to do it to accommodate him.

LUBOLD: Right. I think where some of this -- the thread of this story got lost was in the end it's not clear that the ship's name was obscured or anything. A barge was moved but the Navy says it wasn't moved to obscure the name.

The tarp, you know, was put on there -- some officials say it was for the maintenance of the ship, which as you know was involved in a big accident in 2017.


LUBOLD: But we know that from our own reporting that the sailors were told to look for a tarp or something to obscure the name of the ship. Whether it was down by the time of the event or not is like as you say kind of immaterial.

BURNETT: It's kind of immaterial.

All right. So, Shanahan saying I didn't sign off on it. The president is saying fake news. What do you say to them?

LUBOLD: Well, secretary -- acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan denied that he knew or did a directive of any kind. I think what we know is he was aware of the optics challenge again of this ship being where the president was going to be visiting, and was aware of the- that it would be a problem and they had to do something to either move the ship which was impractical because it was being repaired, or otherwise kind of deal with it.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

LUBOLD: Thank you.

BURNETT: That's one of the stories people might say, oh, it seems frivolous. It's not frivolous. It's actually incredibly disturbing. Thank you.

And next, the fight for 2020, Elizabeth Warren climbing in the polls, becoming a serious contender. Why?

Plus, Jeanne Moos on Trump's new obsession.


TRUMP: We talk about the I-word. The I-word.



[19:51:50] BURNETT: Tonight, the fight for 2020. Elizabeth Warren saying Trump belongs in handcuffs. Warren rising in the polls as she takes on Trump and the front-runner Joe Biden.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elizabeth Warren is getting results by grinding it out. More often than not these days, she is driving the conversation in the Democratic presidential race.

WARREN: If he were anyone other than president of the United States, he would be in handcuffs.

ZELENY: She has been out front on impeachment.

WARREN: It's not politics. There are some issues that are bigger than political convenience, and this is one of them. You know, my view is: make everybody vote.

ZELENY: And a host of policy ideas, like a new child care cost calculator.

WARREN: Put in how many kids you have or even how many you're planning to have, and you can see how much money you will save under this plan.

ZELENY: The Massachusetts senator's stock is rising. From single digits in March to double-digits now in some national polls.

And she's been one of the few rivals willing to take on front-runner Joe Biden, even re-igniting an old feud with the former vice president over bankruptcy laws.

WARREN: I got in that fight because they just didn't have anyone. And Joe Biden is on the side of the credit card companies.

ZELENY: Since her formal announcement in February, where she took the stage to Dolly Parton's working class anthem working "9 to 5", Warren has been working longer than that, and she is putting on the miles, already visiting 18 states and Puerto Rico.

Her campaign stops are often policy addresses from the opioid scourge in West Virginia and Ohio, to protecting public lands in Colorado and Utah. She is headed to Indiana and Michigan next week to deliver an economic message, which will put 20 states on Warren's map.

Those six words have become a soundtrack of her candidacy, from proposing to break up big technology companies to forgiving most student loan debt. The campaign trail has become Warren's classroom, explaining ideas like the professor she once was, promising to pay for all of these plans with a wealth tax.

WARREN: Do we think that the two cents should stay with the top 1/10 of 1 percent? They can't pitch in two cents on the 50 millionth and first dollar?

ZELENY: In Iowa, where Warren has visited seven times she has more people on the ground than any other Democratic rival. She is banking on building an organization this summer that will help her break through the crowded crop of candidates.


ZELENY: Now, Warren's advisers have been tight-lipped on one thing. Can she raise the money to catch up with the rest of the candidates? Of course, she has sworn off the high dollar fundraisers.


ZELENY: And she is attracting some of Bernie Sanders's supporters.

But, Erin, the question tonight, will she get some of his donors as well.

BURNETT: All right. Jeff, thank you.

And next, Jeanne on Trump and the I-word.


[19:57:54] BURNETT: Tonight, Trump's obsession with an I-word. Here's Jeanne.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It used to be just another word in President Trump's vocabulary.

TRUMP: The impeach word, impeach Trump. Maxine Waters, we will impeach him. Has he done anything wrong? No. But let's impeach him anyway.

MOOS: But as impeachment loom larger --

TRUMP: What a job he has done. By the way, we're impeaching him.

MOOS: The president's preferred word got shorter.

TRUMP: To talk about the I-word. The I-word.

MOOS: And finally, he blew up.

TRUMP: To me, it's a dirty word, the word "impeach". It's a dirty, filthy disgusting word.

MOOS: Apparently, it wasn't quite so dirty, filthy and disgusting five years ago when citizen Trump tweeted about President Obama. Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?

Now it's impeachment that he is calling gross. Legal scholar Laurence Tribe responded tongue-in-cheek: Those obscene founding fathers, a bunch of dirty old men apparently, and someone else used Trump's old excuse.

TRUMP: This was locker room talk.

MOOS: To explain how filthy impeachment got into the locker room constitution.

(on camera): But many consider impeachment to be a peach of a word, and they rush to defend it.

(voice-over): It is second in beauty only to the word resignation. Comedians were already eyeing the president's use of the I-word.

TRUMP: The big I-word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): What are the words that begun with "I" that relate to the president neatly, ill tempered, immoral and ignorant.

MOOS: From Colbert's "Late Show".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Inappropriate, insufferable, and imminently impeachy

MOOS: To Randy Rainbow. TRUMP: To talk about the I-word.


TRUMP: The I-word.

RAINBOW: Impotent?

TRUMP: The I-word.

RAINBOW: Irrational?

MOOS: Considering how President Trump now considers impeach to be --

TRUMP: The dirty filthy disgusting word.

MOOS: He sure used to enjoy employing it with gusto.

TRUMP: But he didn't do anything wrong. It doesn't matter. We will impeach him!

MOOS: Is that an impeachable offense?

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: We will impeach him!

MOOS: New York.

TRUMP: But he is doing a great job.


BURNETT: Filthy.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.